A clever premise can't help but grab the audience's attention as this mystery-thriller plays with ideas of identity and memory, but the simplistic filmmaking makes it feel like a cheat. Writer-director Rowan Joffe (2010's Brighton Rock remake) badly underestimates the audience, using melodrama and contrived storytelling to try to manipulate viewers' emotions. And it doesn't help that the leading lady can't move her face.
Nicole Kidman stars as Christine, who wakes up every morning thinking that she's 23. When she discovers Ben (Colin Firth) in her bed, she's almost as horrified as when she sees her 40-year-old face in the mirror. But Ben patiently explains who she is, that he's her husband and that an accident damaged her ability to make new long-term memories. When he leaves for work each day, she is contacted by Dr Nash (Mark Strong), who helps nudge her into the present. But all of this does little more than make Christine wonder whether anyone is telling the truth. As she digs deeper each day, she gets in touch with her friend Claire (Anne-Marie Duff), who offers some continuity. And by piecing clues together she begins to realise that there's a gap between what's really happening and what she thinks she remembers.
With elements of both Memento and 50 First Dates, this film is packed with tricky elements that add to the suspense, creating a creepy atmosphere that's surprisingly moving as seen through Christine's eyes. Even with her immobile face, Kidman's eyes are alert and emotive, strongly conveying Christine's yearning to understand the truth. Opposite her, the always terrific Duff has the film's best role simply because she seems to be who she claims to be. Meanwhile, Firth and Strong have a great time wrong-footing both Christine and the audience, or maybe they're just misunderstood. The fascinating premise forces us to sift through the clues ourselves to figure out what's going on.
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Striking a tone somewhere between the po-faced original and the silly Part 2, this rampaging action nonsense is badly overcrowded and chaotic, but there's plenty of comedy and whizzy stuntwork to keep the audience entertained. It of course helps a lot that the film is packed to the rafters with iconic actors and lively newcomers. And their sassy dialogue helps make up for the idiotic plot.
It opens with a prison break, as Barney (Sylvester Stallone) and his team (Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture and Terry Crews) rescue their old cohort Doc (Wesley Snipes) then head off on a mysterious mission that turns out to involve their presumed-dead nemesis Stonebanks (Mel Gibson), who is targeting Barney's team. So Barney and his pal Bonaparte (Kelsey Grammer) set about finding four new commandoes (Kellan Lutz, Ronda Rousey, Glen Powell and Victor Ortiz) to take on Stonebanks, but of course nothing goes as plan. For the final face-off they're joined by the old team, CIA boss Drummer (Harrison Ford), former colleagues Trench and Yin (Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jet Li), and chatty newcomer Galgo (Antonio Banderas).
The ever-increasing cast means that some characters can't help but be pushed into the shadows (Crews and Li are barely in this film), while others hover around the edges of scenes injecting moments of sarcastic wit. Each of the characters gets his or her moment of eye-popping action, as the film lurches from set-piece to set-piece in a whirl of bombs, bullets and blades. All of this is fun because the actors are gleefully refusing to take any of this seriously. The scene-stealers this time are Gibson, terrific as the swaggering villain, and Banderas, who's hilarious as the only person who can string a sentence together.
Continue reading: The Expendables 3 Review
Avi Lerner and Mel Gibson - Stars attended the Premiere of 'The Expendables 3' on August 11th 2014 which was held on Hollywood Boulevard at the TCL Chinese Theatre - Arrivals - Los Angeles, California, United States - Monday 11th August 2014
James Franco makes his directing debut with this ambitious adaptation of William Faulkner's notoriously downbeat novel. No surprise: it's extremely grim! It's also a bit too cleverly shot and edited to tell the tale from each character's perspective, which means there's no central point to draw us in emotionally.
The story takes place in rural Mississippi in the early 20th century, where the Bundren family have surrounded Addie (Grant) on her deathbed. Her children are all nearby: daughter Dewey Dell (O'Reilly) stays by her side, Cash (Parrack) saws timber for her coffin, Jewel (Marshall-Green) rides his precious horse to clear his mind, and Darl (Franco) tries to keep everyone happy, including youngest brother Vard (Permenter). But their dad Anse (Nelson) has promised to bury Addie in Jefferson, a three-day journey away. And as they painstakingly make their way across the countryside, each of them has a personal issue to deal with along the way.
All of the characters get a chance to narrate part of the film, which lets us see their inner thoughts and dreams and understand the secrets they are hiding from each other. Along with Franco's use of split screens to show scenes from multiple angles, this essentially makes us all-seeing witnesses to the story, unable to dive in and engage with the raw emotions that are churning around everyone. The film is beautifully shot and acted with real soulfulness, but it also feels eerily dispassionate about these fragile people.
Continue reading: As I Lay Dying Review
Barney (Stallone) and his team of ageing mercenaries are coerced by Church (Willis) into heading into hostile territory to retrieve a top secret electronic gadget. Most shocking is the fact that Church insists that a woman, Maggie (Yu), joins them. And when things go wrong, Barney leads the gang on a grisly revenge mission against a nasty villain (Van Damme) who's callously putting humanity in peril. Along the way they're joined by Church and Trench (Schwarzenegger), and get help from lone-wolf Booker (Norris).
Continue reading: The Expendables 2 Review