Almost forensic in its approach, this smart thriller explores a drone strike from a variety of perspectives that bring the moral dilemmas sharply into focus. This includes textured performances from seriously gifted actors who add layers of political, military, legal and emotional meaning to each moment along the way. So the film is continuously gripping, putting the audience right in the middle of the action.
The target is in a suburb of Nairobi, where three of the world's most wanted Somali jihadists are gathering to prepare two young suicide bombers for a mission. British Colonel Powell (Helen Mirren) is overseeing the operation from London, with her American drone pilots (Aaron Paul and Phoebe Fox) working in Las Vegas. The hitch is that two of the targets are UK citizens, and one is American, which means that they also need to have government officials in on the discussion. So Lt General Benson (Alan Rickman) is watching with British government ministers (including Jeremy Northam and Monica Dolan). Meanwhile in Kenya, a local operative (Barkhad Abdi) is on the scene. But just as everyone agrees to fire the missile, a young girl (Aisha Takow) wanders into the danger zone.
What follows is a remarkably tense escalation of decision-making, as everyone passes the buck up the chain to avoid making the call themselves. Guy Hibbert's script orchestrates this skilfully, keeping the atmosphere taut while stirring generous doses of black comedy into the interaction between soldiers and politicians. This includes amusing scenes in which Britain's foreign secretary (Iain Glen) is dragged into the conversation while suffering food poisoning in Singapore. Yes, the film has a terrific sense of instant global connections, as its characters work together at a huge distance from each other and from the target of their operation.
Continue reading: Eye In The Sky Review
Although it contains some memorably outrageous comedy moments, this movie (retitled The Brothers Grimsby for North America) is such an awkward combination of gross-out humour, violent action and sappy sentimentality that it never becomes a classic. Sacha Baron Cohen creates yet another lively alter ego as lager lout Noddy, although he isn't nearly as fully formed as the indelible Ali G, Borat and Bruno.
Noddy Butcher lives in Grimsby, northeast England, with his girlfriend (Rebel Wilson) and 9 or maybe 11 kids. His main passions in life are football and beer, then he learns that his long-lost brother Sebastian (Mark Strong) is alive and working as a super-spy. So Noddy heads to London and crashes Sebastian's latest mission, protecting a model-turned-philanthropist (Penelope Cruz). In the havoc, the brothers end up on the run trying to both clear their names and prevent an impending terror attack. This takes them to South Africa and Chile, as they're pursued by both a villainous thug (Scott Adkins) and a ruthless assassin (Sam Hazeldine) hired by Sebastian's boss (Ian McShane). Along the way, they're assisted by Sebastian's love-lorn colleague (Isla Fisher), locals (including Gabourey Sidibe and Barkhad Abdi) and the gang from Nobby's hometown pub.
The script merrily pushes the boundaries of taste, often with riotous vulgarity. Some of this is so jaw-dropping that it's funny (an unforgettable scene involving a herd of elephants), while other jokes are harder to take (a running gag about HIV infection). Most of the humour centres squarely on male genitalia and anal insertion, which gives the film an oddly homophobic undercurrent that will only amuse the drunken yobs in the audience. More interesting is the wildly astute pastiche of Britain's perceived benefits fraud subculture. But director Louis Leterrier (The Transporter) seems uninterested in this, instead focussing on intensely brutal action, which results in an unusually high body count for a comedy.
Continue reading: Grimsby Review
Drones are now one of the most effective weapons the military have when fighting in battle. Their surveillance abilities are incredibly high quality and make it much easier to find and target individuals who are wanted.
Colonel Katherine Powell has been given a mission to go and find and capture an ex-British citizen who's become an extremist and is meeting with some of the men on the most wanted list. Having been previously connected to a series of suicide bombings, the Colonel tracks down the woman (currently going under the new Ayesha Al-Hady) and makes contact with her superiors to let them know her progress.
Using a multitude of surveillance equipment, Powell soon becomes privy to the terrorists next plans, she discovers that the bombers are planning another imminent attack. Placed in an impossible situation, Powell and her bosses must decide how to complete the mission without the loss of civilian life.
Scroll down for a bigger list of the actors invited in to Hollywood's most prestigious film club
Like a basking shark, hoovering up the most talented plankton the world of cinema has to offer, The Academy has extended a warm invitation to a slew of new potential members.
Lupita Nyong'o with her Oscars at the 2014 ceremony [Photo: Getty images, credit: Kevork Djansezian]
The headline acts comprise a host of last year’s most prominent nominees and winners: Lupita Nyong’o, who stunned with her performance as Patsey in Steve McQueen’s moving drama ‘12 Years a Slave’, Barkhad Abdi, whose turn as an uncompromising Somali pirate provided a perfect foil for Tom Hanks in ‘Captain Phillips’ and Pharrell Williams, who imbued Despicable Me with an irresistibly catchy soundtrack, have all been invited in and could vote for next year's nominees and winners.
Who deserves to win one of the slightly more humorous movie awards?
The MTV Movie Award nominations have been announced and you know what? It’s so refreshing to see some different movies thrown into the mix! The MTV Movie Awards don’t take themselves quite as seriously as the Academy Awards or the BAFTAS, taking pop culture into account just as much as a good performance. The main movies that we’ve come to be acquainted with over awards season are still up for nomination, but which of these nominees do you think deserve a chance to take home one of the sillier (for lack of a better word) awards?
Chris Hemsworth WILL Win Best Shirtless Performance
Barkhad Abdi might have wowed in 'Captain Phillips' but the recognition is yet to equal financial sucess for the actor.
Barkhad Abdi might have taken home a BAFTA for his role in ‘Captain Phillips’ and earned an Oscar nomination, but it seems the actor has found himself in dire financial straights since his big movie break. So how exactly has an Oscar nominee now found himself broke and where can his career take him next?
Barkhad Abdi after his BAFTA win for 'Captain Phillips'
Barkhad Abdi was born in Somalia and spent the early part of his childhood being raised in Yemen. When he was 14 his family moved to the United States and settled in Minnesota, where the actor has since being living. Before landing the role in ‘Captain Phillips’ opposite Tom Hanks, Barkhad had worked as a limo driver, something which has been much played upon by the media as part of his ‘rags to riches’ story. While Barkhad was working as a limo driver in 2011 he heard of an open casting call happening in Minneapolis for Somalians to star opposite Tom Hanks in a new movie. Despite having no experience Barkhad went for the audition and got the role of Abduwali Muse, the leader of the pirates who would hijack ‘Captain Phillips’ ship. He was originally kept apart from Hanks until the pair had their first scene together to add to their performances. Speaking of the surreal experience of starring alongside Hanks Abdi said his thoughts on their first scene were ‘I can't believe I'm doing a scene with the Forrest Gump guy!”
Continue reading: The Financial Troubles Of Barkhad Abdi, And What's Next
It's not all champagne, yachts and fun coupons - unless you're Leonardo diCaprio, anyway.
The lifestyles of the rich and famous were on display for all to see on Sunday night; golden statuettes were handed out, thousand-dollar tuxes were worn and after parties were attended. Barkhad Abdi, a relative newcomer to this lifestyle, enjoyed all of that – apart from the statuette bit – but that doesn’t mean he’s living the movie-star lifestyle.
Barkhad Abdi Lays Down The Law in Captain Philips, Opposite Tom Hanks
It’s hard to escape the cynicism that surrounds Hollywood’s love for Abdi. The huge standing ovation he received for his Bafta award did seem a touch forced, especially considering he wasn’t that good in Captain Phillips. Then again, escaping war-torn Somalia, immigrating to the U.S via Yemen, becoming an actor, starring in a Hollywood blockbuster and winning an award for it is the stuff of movies, and his newfound peers are probably just relishing in the rarity of his remarkable story.
Sunday's Academy Awards look like they may be the least predictable in years, although we know Lupita Nyong'o will wear the best frock. This week's new trailers offer a glimpse of Godzilla, a snappy return for Veronica Mars, and Michael Cera terrifying Juno Temple in Chile...
All eyes are on Hollywood this weekend as the Academy Awards take place this Sunday night. The least predictable Oscars in years, there are multiple possible winners in most of the major categories, as Gravity, 12 Years a Slave and American Hustle vie for Best Picture and Alfonso Cuaron and Steve McQueen contend for Best Director. We relive some of the the biggest upsets in Oscars history here.
Other too-close races include actor (Matthew Mcconaughey vs Chiwetel Ejiofor), supporting actor (Jared Leto vs Barkhad Abdi) and supporting actress (Lupita Nyong'o vs Jennifer Lawrence). The only sure thing is Cate Blanchett for Best Actress. And that Gravity will mop up all the technical awards. Here is more detail on the best supporting actress Oscar battle between jennifer lawrence and lupita nyong'o being too close to call.
The American Hustle star was the victim of some eagle-eyes camera work, but insists he didn't say anything untoward.
There were some pretty nasty accusations flying round on what was otherwise a cordial affair at the Baftas last night; when Emma Thompson read out Barkhad Abdi’s name for the Best Supporting Actor award, the camera fixed on Bradley Cooper and his apparent, “who’s that?” snub.
Barkhad Abdi picked up the BAFTA for Best Supporting Actor
Of course, as a supporting actor in one of 2013’s biggest films, acting alongside Tom Hanks and directed by Paul Greengrass, it’s pretty obvious who Abdi is to anyone in the industry, let alone anyone with even a fleeting interest in film. And that’s something Cooper sought to reiterate. He told The Independent: “I can’t even tell you how insulting this is not only to me but to Barkhad."
Continue reading: Hey Internet, Of Course Bradley Cooper Knew Who Barkhad Abdi Was
With an attention to documentary detail that makes everything viscerally realistic, this film grabs hold and never lets go, cranking the suspense to nearly unbearable levels and then tightening its grip even further. Like director Greengrass' United 93, this is a film that makes us forget our daily routine, sending us on a harrowing journey that feels more like a life experience than watching a movie.
It's based on true events from March 2009, when Richard Phillips (Hanks) took a routine job captaining a cargo ship filled with food aid from Oman to Kenya. Then off the coast of Somalia, they're attacked by the tenacious pirate Muse (Abdi) and his three cohorts (Abdirahman, Ahmed and Ali). These aren't terrorists, they're desperate young men who take violent action only because they have to. But their demands for money go unmet, and the stand-off escalates as Phillips' crew fights back against the armed intruders. Then the American Navy responds with overwhelming force, trying to calm the situation without getting Phillips killed.
Aside from one background sequence in Somalia, we watch the entire story through Phillips' eyes, which makes us feel like we are right in the middle of it. Greengrass insists on realism, refusing to indulge in digital trickery when he can get real ships and helicopters out on the ocean instead. This gives the film a jolt of authenticity that's impossible to re-create in a studio, as we can feel the isolation of the expansive sea as well as the dangerous claustrophobia in the pod-like lifeboat where the climactic scenes play out. And there isn't a false note. Even with a well-known actor like Hanks in the central role, we are completely drawn in.
Continue reading: Captain Phillips Review
Almost forensic in its approach, this smart thriller explores a drone strike from a variety...
Although it contains some memorably outrageous comedy moments, this movie (retitled The Brothers Grimsby for...
Drones are now one of the most effective weapons the military have when fighting in...
With an attention to documentary detail that makes everything viscerally realistic, this film grabs hold...