With the tagline "A Star Wars Story", this first spin-off from the saga isn't actually a stand-alone movie. It requires some understanding of the context as it chronicles events that lead directly into 1977's Episode IV: A New Hope. It's also a seriously rousing action film with a riveting cast of characters and a surprising willingness to embrace even the darkest elements of storytelling. In other words, it might be the first Star Wars movie made specifically for grown-ups.
It opens as the Empire is systematically crushing the rebellion, leaving them wondering if there's any point to continuing the fight. Rumours are swirling that the Empire is building a massive Death Star, and rebel Jyn (Felicity Jones) discovers that it was designed by her long-lost father Galen (Mads Mikkelsen), who sends her a message saying that he left a flaw in the system specifically for the rebels to exploit. So she joins a team to contact him, led by Cassian (Diego Luna), who doubts that Galen is on their side. They're accompanied by pilot Bodhi (Riz Ahmed) and the sarcastic robot K-2SO (Alan Tudyk), plus the blind wannabe Jedi Chirrut (Donnie Yen) and his battling sidekick Baze (Jiang Wen). And as their mission goes rogue, they come up against the slimy Imperial Director Orson (Ben Mendelson) and the vicious Darth Vader (again voiced by James Earl Jones).
Director Gareth Edwards (Monster) packs the movie with visual references to A New Hope, cleverly matching the design work by avoiding fakey digital effects in lieu of more practical, battle-scared models and lively settings on a series of new planets and a familiar one. This gives the film an electric atmosphere that's edgy and unpredictable even though we all know exactly how this mission has to end. At the beginning, the plot feels a bit splintered, but the strands come together with power, building a gnawing sense of momentum and some real gravitas along the way.
Continue reading: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Review
Ben Mendelsohn attending the premiere of Walt Disney Pictures and Lucasfilm's 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood, California, United States - Sunday 11th December 2016
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is a standalone Star Wars film which acts as an important subplot to the original 1977 movie 'A New Hope'. In the man film, Luke and his uncle take ownership of a droid sold to them and as Luke cleans the droid up he hears a section of a message left for someone called Obi-Wan Kenobi pleading for his help. Luke decides to find the only man he knows by the name of Kenobi and his mission turns into the story we all know.
The data on R2-D2 memory is the story of Rouge One. The Rebel Alliance are aware that the Galactic Empire are building a humongous super machine capable of destroy vast areas of space and one of their rebel fighters might just hold the key to more information than she knows.
Jin Erso is a loyal member of the Alliance though she often acts as a lone rebel and takes risks greater than her superiors would like. When a fraction of the Alliance learns that Erso's father played a crucial role in building the device she knows that she must track him down.
The Galaxy is on the brink of a major war being won by dangerous rulers and only a few fighters stand between the Emperor and his unrelenting army which is constantly surging peaceful plants. The destruction and invasion of any planet who won't agree to the Empire's stringent regulations is all but destroyed.
Jyn Erso is one such rebel fighter who is willing to go to any lengths to fulfil her mission, often landing her in trouble with her seniors but her independent demeanour means that she might be a perfect candidate for an imperative mission - the failure of which could mean the end of the galaxy as its citizens know.
Jyn and a small team of fellow rebels must steal plans for the Emperor's newest and deadliest weapon, The Death Star.
Continue: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Trailer
The first stand-alone Star Wars Anthology film will hit cinemas this December.
Darth Vader has been confirmed as featuring in the upcoming Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the prequel to 1977’s A New Hope. The news was confirmed on Tuesday's edition of ‘Good Morning America’, when they unveiled Entertainment Weekly’s latest cover which promises the inside scoop on the movie.
Continue reading: Darth Vader Confirmed As Appearing In 'Star Wars: Rogue One'
As the story snakes south through the United States along the Mississippi River, this movie builds up a bleak, mopey vibe that's difficult to engage with. It's the story of two gambling addicts who think that the answer to all of their problems lies just around the next bend in the river, and it's sharply well written and directed, with astute performances from the lead actors. But it's also relentlessly grim and unsympathetic.
They start their journey in Iowa, where estate agent Gerry (Ben Mendelsohn) is at the end of his rope when he meets cocky gambler Curtis (Ryan Reynolds). There's a spark of recognition between them, as Gerry sees Curtis as himself 10 years younger, thinking maybe he can kickstart his life again. So they hit the road together, heading for a high-stakes poker game in New Orleans. Along the way, they stop to visit Curtis' favourite prostitute (Sienna Miller) in St. Louis and Gerry's bitter ex-wife (Robin Weigert) in Little Rock. And in between, they visit Memphis to win some extra cash. But by the time they reach New Orleans, things are starting to look desperate again.
Continue reading: Mississippi Grind Review
Gerry's gambling addiction has gotten way out of hand. He's already lost everything in his quest for winning, so now he's thousands of dollars in debt to nearly everybody he knows. Continually losing doesn't stop him hitting the casino, but when he meets casual poker player Curtis - who unlike Gerry doesn't let a desire for the win take over his life - he forms an unlikely bond and finds that his luck is beginning to turn, but not necessarily in the money stakes. The pair team up in order to go for the big bucks on New Orleans' legendary poker scene, and Curtis soon finds that Gerry needs something big to pull him out of the rut that is his life. He's got to learn that there's more to life than winning, but is he willing to take a gamble on the advice of his mysterious new friend?
Continue: Mississippi Grind Trailer
First-time feature filmmaker John Maclean takes a strikingly original approach to the Western, creating a realistic road trip for two very different men. Genre fans might wish it was more of a shoot-em-up (the massive final gun battle is astonishingly earthy), but it more than makes up for that with a strong sense of its characters and settings. And by shooting it in New Zealand, Maclean found an unspoiled, spectacular landscape that has its own memorable impact.
The story centres on Jay (Kodi Smit-McPhee), a tenacious 16-year-old travelling from Scotland to find his beloved Rose (Caren Pistorius), who has moved to the Wild West with her father (Rory McCann). As Jay enters dangerous bandit country in Colorado, he meets bounty hunter Silas (Michael Fassbender), who offers to accompany him through the perilous forests and mountains ahead. What Jay doesn't know is that Silas used to be in the most feared gang in these hills, led by his old pal Payne (Ben Mendelsohn). And as they traverse the landscape, meeting various robbers and some angry Native Americans, Payne is never too far behind, because he's hoping they'll lead him to Rose and her father, who have a $2,000 bounty on them, dead or alive.
What makes this movie so engaging is the growing connection between Jay and Silas, who aren't quite as different as they seem to be on the surface. Smit-McPhee plays Jay as soft and naive, and yet his fearlessness shows a steely inner strength that should never be underestimated. Meanwhile, Fassbender gives Silas a jaded charm as the stranger who doesn't want anyone to know who he really is. While Jay wears his emotions on his sleeve, Silas clearly feels them just as strongly but has learned the hard way to keep them bottled inside. Especially while living in a place like this, where any true sense of civilisation has yet to take root.
Continue reading: Slow West Review
When a young boy in Scotland falls in love with young girl, he is prepared to travel across the world to follow her. When she travels to the United States, he follows her, and travels forever west in order to find her. In a lawless land where only the most deadly can survive, the boy, Jay Cavendish (Kodi Smit-McPhee) is forced to team up with the mysterious Silas (Michael Fassbender), and work under his mentorship as they travel west together. The only problem is, that there is a bounty on his head, and a team of people desperate to collect it.
Continue: Slow West Trailer
With his writing-directing debut, Ryan Gosling shows audacious skill as a visual artist but never quite manages to recount a story that grabs hold of the audience. It's a stunningly gorgeous film packed with strong, earthy performances from a starry cast playing against type. But there's no momentum at all to the narrative, which is packed with random symbolism that never quite resolves into anything either meaningful or emotionally engaging.
Lost River is a decaying, abandoned city on the edge of a lake created by damming up a river and flooding another town. In what's left of their neighbourhood, Billy (Christina Hendricks) lives in her family home with her sons: a toddler and a teen named Bones (Iain De Caestecker), who helps support the household by scavenging for copper in the vacant buildings nearby. But he's encroaching on the turf of self-proclaimed gangster Bully (Matt Smith), who is intent on exacting vicious revenge. Meanwhile, next-door neighbour Rat (Ronan) is caring for her delusional granny (Barbara Steele) and trying to help Bones. And when the new bank manager Dave (Ben Mendelsohn) turns down Billy's cry for help, she takes a job at his seedy underworld nightclub alongside Cat (Eva Mendes).
Aside from some blood-soaked cabaret, what goes on in this nightclub remains rather mysterious, as Billy finds higher-paying work in the purple-hued basement fetish rooms. But then everything in this film is enigmatic, as Gosling deliberately refuses to connect the dots. This gives the film an intriguing David Lynch-style tone, although it lacks Lynch's eerie resonance. There's also a touch of John Waters-style trashiness and Terrence Malick-style natural beauty, plus the clear influence of Gosling's heavily stylised past directors Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive and Only God Forgives) and Derek Cianfrance (Blue Monday and The Place Beyond the Pines). In other words, almost everything in this film feels like a reference to another movie, but it's expertly assembled to look fabulous from start to finish, with some seriously striking sequences along the way.
Continue reading: Lost River Review
Dark times have engulfed the world. With the steady rise of economic depression across the globe, a small town has found itself under the thumb of a feared bully (Matt Smith). Single mother, Billy ('Firefly' and 'Mad Men''s Christina Hendricks) has to engage in a dark lifestyle to provide enough for her family to survive, and provide the best life possible for her children. Her eldest son is desperate to help take some of the load off her shoulders, and ends up stealing from the Bully, earning his hatred. All the while, they town lurks on the banks of a flooded town, known to everyone as the Lost River.
Continue: Lost River Trailer
With the tagline "A Star Wars Story", this first spin-off from the saga isn't actually...
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is a standalone Star Wars film which acts as...
The Galaxy is on the brink of a major war being won by dangerous rulers...
We all know the story of Luke Skywalker and the legendary Jedi and rebels who...
As the story snakes south through the United States along the Mississippi River, this movie...
Gerry's gambling addiction has gotten way out of hand. He's already lost everything in his...
First-time feature filmmaker John Maclean takes a strikingly original approach to the Western, creating a...
With his writing-directing debut, Ryan Gosling shows audacious skill as a visual artist but never...
Dark times have engulfed the world. With the steady rise of economic depression across the...
Aside from impressive 21st century digital effects, this new take on the Moses story pales...