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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Review

Extraordinary

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 at the World premiere of 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' held at Pantages Theatre, Los Angeles, California, United States - Sunday 11th December 2016

Ben Mendelsohn
Ben Mendelsohn
Ben Mendelsohn

Ben Mendelsohn at the 2016 GQ Men of the Year Party held at Chateau Marmont, Los Angeles, California, United States - Thursday 8th December 2016

Ben Mendelsohn
Ben Mendelsohn
Ben Mendelsohn

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - Final Trailer & Clips


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.

Continue: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - Final Trailer & Clips

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Trailer


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

New Details Are Revealed About Darth Vader's Role In 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story'


Star Wars James Earl Jones Felicity Jones Gareth Edwards Ben Mendelsohn

Anticipation for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story reached new heights this week, when the first real details about the film were revealed by Entertainment Weekly. The biggest news to emerge was that it will indeed feature the return of Darth Vader. But now we’ve been given even more details about the villain's role in this newest instalment of the Star Wars saga.

Continue reading: New Details Are Revealed About Darth Vader's Role In 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story'

Darth Vader Confirmed As Appearing In 'Star Wars: Rogue One'


Star Wars Felicity Jones Gareth Edwards Ben Mendelsohn

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'

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Trailer


We all know the story of Luke Skywalker and the legendary Jedi and rebels who fought to keep the universe safe but what about the other Rebel Alliance fighters who were doing their all to protect their freedom? Jyn Erso has never been one to stick to the rules; she's been alone since her teens and doesn't require the protection of others to make her own way. A member of the rebellion who likes to rebel from all authority on both sides of the war.

She has unlimited gumption and a fierce attitude which attracts her to the leaders of her rebel unit. Jyn is ordered to locate and bring back important data on a new deadly weapon that the Galactic Empire is building and beginning to test. The Dark Star is the Empire's new planet destroyer and its secrets are closely guarded by Darth Vader and his legions of fighters all willing to lose their lives in a bid to keep the Empire the ruling force.

Jyn and her small team of fighters set out on a mission that they know they're likely not to return from. The rewards outweigh the risks and Jyn must retrieve the plans before it's too late.

Ben Mendelsohn , Emma Forrest - Vanity Fair Oscar Party 2016 held at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills - Los Angeles, California, United States - Sunday 28th February 2016

Ben Mendelsohn and Emma Forrest
Ben Mendelsohn and Emma Forrest
Ben Mendelsohn

Ben Mendelsohn - The Weinstein Company & Netflix 2016 Golden Globe After Party held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel at Beverly Hilton Hotel, Golden Globe - Los Angeles, California, United States - Sunday 10th January 2016

Ben Mendelsohn
Ben Mendelsohn
Ben Mendelsohn

Ben Mendelsohn - BAFTA Los Angeles Awards Season Tea at The Four Season Los Angeles - Arrivals at The Four Season Los Angeles at Beverly Hills - Los Angeles, California, United States - Saturday 9th January 2016

Ben Mendelsohn
Ben Mendelsohn
Ben Mendelsohn
Ben Mendelsohn
Ben Mendelsohn and Guest

Ben Mendelsohn - 27th Palm Springs International Film Festival Gala at the Palm Springs Convention Center - Arrivals at Palm Springs Convention Center - Palm Springs, California, United States - Saturday 2nd January 2016

Ben Mendelsohn
Ben Mendelsohn

Ben Mendelsohn - Shots of a host of stars as they took to the red carpet for the Premiere of the new Netflix original series 'Bloodline' The premiere was held at the SVA Theatre in New York City, New York, United States - Tuesday 3rd March 2015

Ben Mendelsohn
Ben Mendelsohn

Ben Mendelsohn, John Turturro, Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton and Aaron Paul - Photographs of a variety of stars as they arrived at the New York Premiere of 'Exodus: Gods And Kings' which was held at the Brooklyn Museum in New York City, New York, United States - Sunday 7th December 2014

Ben Mendelsohn, John Turturro, Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton and Aaron Paul
Ben Mendelsohn

Black Sea - Trailer And Clips


With jobs for submarine operators steadily beginning to dwindle, an entire sea crew find themselves without jobs. Captain Robinson (Jude Law) has been so committed to the job for so long, that the rest of the world has moved on without him. With his family gone, Robison is turned on to the reports of a Nazi U-boat abandoned at the bottom of the Black Sea. After assembling a crew of half British and half Russian sailors, they set of in search of the gold stash - a stash which will be shared equally amongst them, making them all multi-millionaires. But when the idea starts to circulate that fewer men mean larger shares, the bleak isolation leads to horror and greed, with no possibility of escape.

Continue: Black Sea - Trailer And Clips

Wait, Is Jude Law's 'Black Sea' The Best British Movie Of 2014?


Jude Law Ben Mendelsohn Scoot McNairy David Threlfall Kevin Macdonald

Do we have a late entrant for best British movie of 2014? We're not actually running a competition - the BAFTA's sort of are, and Black Sea might win. On the face of it (of from the trailer), Kevin Macdonald's movie appears to be a formulaic adventure thriller. Sort of Das Boot-lite. And the makers managed to club together to pay Jude Law, for the posters.

Jude LawJude Law plays an Aberdeenshire submarine captain in Black Sea

Law plays a rogue submarine captain who pulls together a misfit crew to go after Nazi treasure on-board a sunken U-Boat at the depths of the Black Sea. However, as greed and desperation begins to set in on the team's claustrophobic vessel, the men turn on each other and begin fighting for their own survival. It's brilliant. 

Continue reading: Wait, Is Jude Law's 'Black Sea' The Best British Movie Of 2014?

Black Sea Review


Good

While this submarine adventure starts out as a brainy thriller with superior production design, it eventually gives in to the demands of the genre: silly plotting and corny melodrama. Screenwriter Dennis Kelly never remotely tries to sell the two big events that cause considerable mayhem for everyone on-screen, so both feel sudden and contrived. At least the cast is sharp enough that the audience is willing to go with it.

It opens in recession-gripped Scotland. After being sacked from the steelworks, Robinson (Jude Law) teams up with fellow unemployed pal Blackie (Konstantin Khabenskiy) to reclaim their dignity by salvaging Nazi gold from a sunken sub in the Black Sea. With finance arranged by Daniels (Scoot McNairy), they assemble a team of Brits and Russians who immediately start re-enacting the Cold War in the rusty Soviet-vintage submarine they'll be using for their heist. Crewmates include a psycho diver (Ben Mendelsohn), a wheezy veteran (David Threlfall) and an 18-year-old (Bobby Schofield) with nothing better to do. But as they skulk along beneath the Russian Fleet, tempers flare and threaten to undermine their mission. Getting their hands on the gold is one thing; making it home alive might be even trickier.

Director Kevin Macdonald keeps the film fast-paced and tense, as the biggest peril this crew faces is in the fiery interaction between themselves. Arguments, paranoia and mistrust lead to violence, which in turn causes a series of problems that threaten the lives of everyone on board the submarine. Frankly, this seems rather far-fetched for a team of supposedly elite mercenaries who know that they need to look out for each other if they have any hope of accomplishing the mission. And with some major plot twists along the way, the story begins to feel like a collection of increasingly implausible obstacles these resourceful men need to overcome.

Continue reading: Black Sea Review

Exodus: Gods and Kings - Featurettes


Director Ridley Scott (Alien, Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven) talks about world of his new film, 'Exodus: Gods and Kings'. The film follows the life of Moses (Christian Bale), and works on "the complexity of his character". Scott also talks about what drew him to the material, namely, the "beauty in the massive scale of it". He discusses the process of using computers to turn four thousand extras look like twenty thousand soldiers. Aside from the battle scenes, we see evidence of the biblical plagues that come from the original story at work. 

Continue: Exodus: Gods and Kings - Featurettes

Exodus: Gods And Kings Trailer


Moses and the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses grew up together as brothers after the former was saved from drowing in the Nile. However, Moses has not forgotten the reason why he was cast into the river; all newborn Israelites were condemned to death by the past Pharaoh for fear of their growing numbers. Now he is enlisted by God to save the Israelites from their slavery at the hands of the Pharaoh's people, but to do so he must turn his back on his brother and friend. The Egyptians fight back as Moses defiantly leads the Israelites on an arduous journey across the desert, while God unleashes a series of horrific plagues and turns their Nile to blood. Egypt face new dangers as God decides that rules need to be laid down for Moses and his people.

Continue: Exodus: Gods And Kings Trailer

With 97%, Is Jack O'Connell's 'Starred Up' The Best Drama Of 2014?


Ben Mendelsohn David Mackenzie

Jack O'Connell is continuing to prove he is not limited to teen dramas and 'Starred Up' - a gritty prison flick from David Mackenzie - is his best movie to date. He stars as Eric Love, a 19-year-old violent and troubled teenagers making the transition from young offenders' institute to an adult prison.

Jack O'Connell Starred UpJack O'Connell In The Critically Acclaimed 'Starred Up'

Eric appears destined for a life behind bars, though the prison's unconventional therapist is determined to help the youngster find a way through, assisted by one of the prison's longest serving inmates - who just happens to be Eric's father.

Continue reading: With 97%, Is Jack O'Connell's 'Starred Up' The Best Drama Of 2014?

Starred Up Review


Very Good

Rising star Jack O'Connell delivers a ripping performance as a young convict with more baggage than you'd think humanly possible. And he's ably supported by Ben Mendelsohn and Rupert Friend in career-best performances. So even if the film indulges in just about every prison-movie cliche imaginable, the focus on intensely realistic characters makes it stand out from other movies.

O'Connell plays Eric, who at 19 is so violent that he has been "starred up" from his young-offenders prison to the big house. The hitch is that he's now on the same wing as Neville (Mendelsohn), the father he's never known. Eric is such a brute that the harsh governor (Sam Spruell) wants to keep him in a hole, but concerned therapist Oliver (Friend) thinks he can help Eric channel his anger in more positive directions. On the other hand, by attending therapy sessions Eric is putting himself right in the middle of his father's rival prison gang.

The demands of the plot are obvious from the start, as the film makes it clear that prison is a hopeless place where violence rules. So while director David Mackenzie (Young Adam) lets the usual vicious nastiness swirl through each scene, he also tries to keep the focus on Eric's more internal struggle against his lifetime of abuse and abandonment. This is of course far more interesting than the prison-life plot, giving O'Connell a chance to deliver a strikingly involving turn as a young guy who's outwardly terrifying but also thoughtful and intelligent.

Continue reading: Starred Up Review

'Starred Up': Jack O'Connell And Rupert Friend Star In Gritty British Prison Drama [Trailer]


Jack O'Connell Rupert Friend Ben Mendelsohn

Starred Up will be released tomorrow (21st March) when Jonathan Asser's brutal new drama will be unleashed on UK audiences. The prison therapist-turned-writer lends his unique personal perspective to this gritty and unrelenting snapshot of the British prison system. Asser used to struggle with his extreme rage until he learned to master it - and discovered a skill for calming violent prisoners; a job that gave him plenty of experiences to make his first screen play as raw as possible.

Jack O'Connell
Jack O'Connell Takes Centre-Stage In New British Independent Film, 'Starred Up.'

Jack O'Connell and Ben Mendelsohn are father and son, Eric and Neville, who find themselves locked up in the same prison after Eric (O'Connell) is deemed too dangerous for a Young Offenders Institution and is upgraded, or "starred up," to an adult prison two years early.

Continue reading: 'Starred Up': Jack O'Connell And Rupert Friend Star In Gritty British Prison Drama [Trailer]

The Place Beyond The Pines Review


Excellent

Mainstream audiences may be disappointed that this isn't a gritty thriller pitting the acting talents of Gosling and Cooper against each other, as it's instead a boldly artful, often moving drama. The three-part structure may soften the emotional punch, but a raw script and intimate direction let the actors find real resonance in every scene.

The title is a loose translation of the Mohawk word Schenectady, the New York town where the story is set. In the first section, carnival stunt rider Luke (Gosling) returns to town and tries to rekindle a previous fling with Romina (Mendes). When he discovers that his last visit produced a son, he decides to leave the circus and settle down, taking a job with a local mechanic (Mendelsohn). To make some extra cash, the two team up to rob banks, which puts Luke on a collision course with beat cop Avery (Cooper), who has a wife (Byrne) and young son of his own. Years later, their now-teen sons Jason and AJ (DeHaan and Cohen) discover a past connection they knew nothing about.

To explore the generational ramifications of these men's actions, the film switches perspective twice, first from Luke to Avery and finally to Jason and AJ. But the script never simplifies anyone into "good" or "bad": these are complex people facing difficult situations the best way they can. And sometimes their choices lead to tragic consequences. With this structure, though, the characters are somewhat fragmented, and only Avery emerges as a fully rounded figure, giving Cooper the best role in the film as he becomes unable to work out what is right and wrong, even though he knows it in his gut.

Continue reading: The Place Beyond The Pines Review

The Place Beyond The Pines Trailer


Luke Glanton is a stunt motorcyclist who currently works with a carnival where he performs numerous death defying feats for just a small pay cheque.  When the carnival reach Schenectady, New York, he becomes increasingly determined to find his long lost love Romina who he idiotically broke contact with for over a year. However, when he finds her, he discovers that she has only recently given birth to a baby boy who happens to be his son, though she was reluctant to contact him about it because of feeling abandoned by him. Realising he can't afford to provide for his new family, he gives up his carnival job and goes in search of other ways to make money. He winds up being persuaded to help out in an armed bank robbery to bring in the cash but is immediately hunted by the police for his involvement. This brings Avery Cross on to the scene; a serious cop with an immense respect for the law who also has a new child to think about as well as his constantly worrying wife. His pursuit to uphold the law leads to criminal discoveries about his police department that he'd rather not be a part of, but things take an even more shocking turn when the long forgotten past of both Luke and Avery are brought up once again.

Directed and co-written by Derek Cianfrance ('Brother Tied', 'Blue Valentine') with writing credits also from Ben Coccio ('The Beginner') and Darius Marder  in his screenwriting debut, the heart-wrenching and desperate story of 'The Place Beyond The Pine' is set for release on April 12th 2013.

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, Rose Byrne, Dane DeHaan, Ray Liotta, Ben Mendelsohn, Bruce Greenwood, Mahershalalhashbaz Ali, Harris Yulin, Robert Clohessy, Emory Cohen, Olga Merediz, Kevin Craig West & Gabe Fazio

Continue: The Place Beyond The Pines Trailer

Killing Them Softly Review


Excellent

Moral murkiness makes this hitman thriller gripping to watch, mainly because we're never quite sure where it's going. Even though it's set in 2008, Australian director Dominik (The Assassination of Jesse James) shoots it like a 1970s thriller, which gives the whole film a superb sense of moral murkiness. And since it's based on a 1974 novel (Cogan's Trade by George Higgins), the film has an almost timely feel to it, using offbeat rhythms and complex characters who refuse to do what we want them to do.

At the centre is Jackie Cogan (Pitt), hired by a bookish mafia executive (Jenkins) to clean up the mess after a mob card game was robbed. The problem is that the two guys behind the heist (McNairy and Mendelsohn) are dimwits who have no idea what they've stumbled into. But Cogan is also annoyed by mob bureaucracy, which takes far too long to get anything done. And he's even more short-tempered with his old pal Mickey (Gandolfini), who he brings in to bump off a middleman (Liotta), except that Mickey is too interested in alcohol and sex to get the job done properly. Clearly, Jackie will have to do everything himself.

Pitt plays the role with a terrific sense of world-weary charm. He has no time for the losers around him, but takes pride in his work, preferring to kill his targets softly rather than causing pain. Meanwhile, Gandolfini is playing an alcoholic twist on Tony Soprano, Jenkins is doing his usual officious schtick, and Liotta is a more soulful version of the mafioso he's played many times before. By contrast, McNairy and Mendelsohn are hilariously clueless. Like characters from a Coen brothers movie, they're likeable even though we never have any hope that they'll get anything right.

Continue reading: Killing Them Softly Review

Ben Mendelsohn Monday 24th September 2012 'Killing Them Softly' Australian premiere at Circular Quay - Arrivals

Ben Mendelsohn

Killing Them Softly Trailer


Jackie Cogan is the enforcer in an organized mob. He becomes the key investigator when a raid takes place at a poker game by two men armed with shotguns who manage to make off with $100,000 when the game was supposed to be protected by the gang. Jackie sets out to find the robbers but when he discovers that they are just two loud-mouthed amateur delinquents, he cunningly uses them to find out who was really behind the heist, pretending to befriend one of them, Steve Caprio.

Continue: Killing Them Softly Trailer

The Dark Knight Rises Review


Extraordinary
When the credits roll at the end of this overlong action epic, it feels like we've just turned the final page of an immersive novel. It takes about an hour to find its stride, but Nolan's final Batman movie is also thunderously complex and entertaining.

It's eight years later, and Commissioner Gordon (Oldman) has allowed the press to create a myth that Batman was a villain. Badly injured, Bruce Wayne (Bale) has become a recluse, tended to by his butler Alfred (Caine). Then a new baddie arrives: Bane (Hardy) is part of the League of Shadows, trained by Bruce's old nemesis Ra's al Ghul (Neeson) to purge the world of human decadence. So Bruce turns to Wayne company boss Lucius (Freeman) to get back in fighting shape, deciding to trust a slippery cat burglar (Hathaway) and a rookie cop (Gordon-Levitt).

Continue reading: The Dark Knight Rises Review

Ben Mendelsohn and AFI - Bridie O'Leary and Ben Mendelsohn Melbourne, Australia - The 2010 Samsung Mobile AFI Awards held at The Regent Theatre. Saturday 11th December 2010

Ben Mendelsohn and Afi
Ben Mendelsohn and Afi
Ben Mendelsohn and Afi

Cosi Review


Good
Cute but predictable, Cosi revolves around the cute-but-predictable premise of a group of insane asylum inmates who put on a rendition of the opera Cosi fan Tutte despite having no acting or singing ability whatsoever (not to mention a lack of sanity). Highlights include the always-on Collette, Barry Otto (channelling Geoffrey Rush), and Ben Mendelsohn (channelling Noah Taylor). Odd, yet cute and, you know, predictable.
Ben Mendelsohn

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Ben Mendelsohn Movies

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Movie Review

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Movie Review

With the tagline "A Star Wars Story", this first spin-off from the saga isn't actually...

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Trailer

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Trailer

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is a standalone Star Wars film which acts as...

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Trailer

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Trailer

The Galaxy is on the brink of a major war being won by dangerous rulers...

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Trailer

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We all know the story of Luke Skywalker and the legendary Jedi and rebels who...

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Gerry's gambling addiction has gotten way out of hand. He's already lost everything in his...

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