Master filmmaker Ridley Scott is back to continue the story 10 years after the events of 2012's Prometheus. And while this film carries on with the bigger themes about creation and identity, at its heart it actually has much more in common with the film in which he kicked off the franchise, 1979's Alien. Yes, this is a horror movie. It's slickly made and packed with engaging characters, and it gets gruesomely scary too.
The setting is somewhere in space in 2104, as the colonising ship Covenant carries a few thousand sleeping earthlings to a new world, tended to by the android Walter (Michael Fassbender). Then a space flare awakens the 15-person crew, and they hear a rogue radio transmission from a nearby planet that's eerily perfect for colonisation. Captain Oran (Billy Crudup) thinks it's worth checking out, potentially shaving seven years off their journey. First officer Daniels (Katherine Waterston) isn't so sure. But off they go, exploring the spectacular mountainous terrain, where they find a crashed ship and a city populated only by the Prometheus' android David (also Fassbender) and some creepy, acid-salivating creatures that he has something to do with.
The plot plays out like a slasher movie, as the crew members are picked off one by one, starting with the ones we don't know and building up to the starrier cast members. Each main actor gets to invest some back-story into his or her role, establishing relationships and personality quirks that hold the interest. Waterston is clearly the protagonist from the start, grieving over the death of her husband (James Franco in video clips) and showing natural leadership skills. Crudup is the impulsive captain who mellows into someone much more intriguing as the story progresses. And McBride has the other standout role as a tenacious pilot. But of course it's Fassbender who walks off with the film, excelling in scenes in which Walter and David engage in a kind of twisted bromance with nasty sibling-rivalry undertones.
Continue reading: Alien: Covenant Review
Ten years after the disastrous expedition that was Prometheus, another group of space explorers band together on the ship Covenant, hoping to uncover a previously untrodden paradise. Among them are Daniels, an expert in terraforming, and Walter, a synthetic android who looks like a replica of David though much more advanced. Unfortunately, the paradise they hoped for doesn't exist and instead they bump into David himself who is 'living' in a world full of terrifying creatures. The face huggers are back, the xenomorph is definitely back, and there is a sickness that threatens to engulf them all.
Perhaps a dark prophecy of what's to come lies in the 'Last Supper' clip, where one of the crew members, Faris, starts apparently choking on her food as the pilot jokes, 'The food's not that bad'. The scene and the words themselves hearken back to the famous chestburster scene from the original 1979 film, where Kane suffers a grisly alien attack during the final meal before cryostasis. Thankfully, this time was just a minor choking incident, and Walter was on hand to save his team member.
'Alien: Covenant' is the second part in the new prequel series for the franchise, and the sequel to 2012's 'Prometheus'. Directed by the Oscar nominated Ridley Scott ('Blade Runner', 'The Martian') with a screenplay by John Logan ('Penny Dreadful', 'Spectre'), it has already made 7th place in the Most Anticipated Films of 2017 in the Indiewire Critics' Poll. The trailer features a sensationally eerie cover of Nat King Cole's 'Nature Boy' by Norwegian singer-songwriter Aurora, and the film is set to be released on May 19th 2017.
Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history, this film centres on just a few days in her life to offer some telling insights not only into the woman in question but also the culture of celebrity and the nature of political legacies. Yes, it's a complex, provocative film, artfully directed by Chilean filmmaker Pablo Larrain (Neruda) and anchored by a riveting performance from Natalie Portman.
The story is set in the aftermath of John F. Kennedy's assassination in 1963, as Jackie (Portman) retreats to her seaside home in Massachusetts to make plans for her future. She is visited by a journalist (Billy Crudup), who asks her about her experience in the days after her husband (Caspar Phillipson) was shot while sitting next to her in the back of a car. During these days, she has been faced with some big questions. Who is she arranging the funeral for? Herself? Her children? The American public? The future generations who will remember her husband? The only people she can confide in are her brother-in-law Bobby (Peter Sarsgaard), her assistant Nancy (Greta Gerwig) and a straight-talking priest (John Hurt). Her husband may have been a relentless philanderer, but Jackie is consumed by grief and unsure where her life will go now.
Continue reading: Jackie Review
Jacqueline Bouvier was always a highly independent woman, even when she was a debutant; she made a lasting impression on most who she met. Jackie always aspired to be a journalist and in 1947 she was offered a prestigious junior editor position at Vogue magazine, though she decided not to take the position in the end. Having travelled to various countries and lived in Paris for a short time, Jackie was an incredibly worldly lady and it's not so much of a surprise that she caught the attention of many men.
John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline met through social groups and they were both attracted to one another for many reasons and had similar life experiences. John was a rising star of politics and after his election to the Senate, he proposed to his love. Her answer didn't come as quickly as Kennedy might've hoped as she was assigned by the Washington Times-Herald to cover the coronation of Queen Elizabeth in the UK; ever the professional Jackie completed her assignment before taking Kennedy up on his offer. In 1953 the couple were married at one of the social events of the century. Though Kennedy was dedicated to his work, the deep love between the two was evident to all and Jackie was a constant support for her husband who eventually became president in November 1960.
Jackie's style, elegance and grace made her a much loved First Lady but more than that, she was dedicated to President Kennedy's vision and shared his burden.
Continue: Jackie Trailer
This film demonstrates that you don't need guns to make an exciting thriller. Based on a true story, this is a journalistic procedural following a team of newspaper writers who take on a corrupt system. The outcome is well-known (they won a Pulitzer Prize and launched the global investigation into child abuse by Catholic priests), but the film is still utterly riveting, beautifully written and played to perfection.
In 2001, the Boston Globe's investigative Spotlight team is working to report the biggest stories in the city. So newly arrived senior editor Marty (Liev Schreiber) asks them to find out if there's truth to rumours that the local Catholic Archdiocese is covering up abuse. But he's unaware that the church controls the city, and the Spotlight writers (Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams and Brian d'Arcy James) quickly encounter heavy resistance from the establishment. As they persistently dig deeper, they realise that the story is exponentially bigger than anyone thought it was. Two lawyers (Stanley Tucci and Billy Crudup) prove to be crucial in this process, as the team works to prove that the Cardinal (Len Cariou) has been covering up abuse for decades.
Cleverly, writer Josh Singer and writer-director Tom McCarthy never play this story for its salacious details. Instead, they focus on the people involved, which gives the film a strong sense of what's at stake here and the urgency of getting the story exactly right. It's a rare movie that can maintain this balance, gripping the audience and building suspense without ever tipping over into sensationalism. And the filmmakers bring out some strong emotional resonance in sensitive conversations between the journalists and the victims. All of this is expertly played by actors who stir in personal details without letting their characters' side-stories interfere with the larger narrative. They also resist the temptation to overplay the material, letting the facts of the case provide every gut-punch.
Continue reading: Spotlight Review
It's 1971 and University professor Dr. Philip Zimbardo wants to try a new social and psychological experiment. The idea was to take 18 young, well-adjusted males and put half in the role of a prison guard and half in the role of a prison inmate. It quickly became apparent that the guards would dominate this situation and take their new job roles to the extreme.
Though all the volunteers know they're being watch by Zimbardo and his colleagues, this didn't seem to make much difference to how the guards react. Not willing to put up with the actions of the guards, soon the submissive prisoners decide to rebel and take matters into their own hands. As the volunteers fall deeper into their new lives, Zimbardo becomes fascinated by the results and how quickly the situation escalates. When rules start to get broken, when should enough be enough?
The Stanford Prison Experiment is a psychological thriller based on true events. The results of Zimbardo's test were published in a book named The Lucifer Effect.
The Stanford Prison Experiment was directed by Kyle Patrick Alvarez and stars a number of young actors including Michael Angarano, Moises Arias & Ezra Miller.
Michael Rezendes is a dedicted reporter for the Boston Globe and part of their Spotlight Team; an investigative division focused on justice and whistle-blowing. When accusations of child sex abuse by members of the Catholic Church arise, he leads the team into their latest case, determined to uncover the truth about a morally questionable priest and his scandalous activities across six different parishes over the course of several decades. It is alleged that the church knew what was going on, but chose not to act and hold their reputation above the welfare of their children. Not only that, but past statements from attorneys don't appear to add up and a delicate battle ensues with the government and police all getting involved as the Boston Globe take on the church. There's a large team at the newspaper working on bringing this case into the open once and for all, and they refuse to let these atrocities be swept under the rug another time.
Continue: Spotlight Trailer
While the story centres on twisted moral dilemmas, this 1970s-set thriller takes such a hesitant, internalised approach that if never lets viewers under the characters' skin. As a result, there's virtually no spark of real life here, despite the presence of several fine actors and a twisty plot that focusses on how decisions affect relationships. It's an oddly muted approach to events that really should have a much stronger emotional jolt.
It's 1974 Brooklyn, where Chris (Clive Owen) has just been released after 10 years in prison. His police detective brother Frank (Billy Crudup) offers help with finding a place to stay, getting a job and escaping his former life of crime, but the options are limited. While trying to reconnect with his junkie-prostitute ex Monica (Marion Cotillard), Chris also begins dating the younger Natalie (Mila Kunis). And he finds himself drifting back into his old gangster role. This causes a conflict of interest for Frank in his work as a cop, especially since he's further compromised by having an affair with Vanessa (Zoe Saldana), whose boyfriend (Matthias Schoenaerts) he's just put in jail.
Filmmaker Guillaume Canet is remaking the 2008 French thriller Rivals (in which he played the Frank character), and he recreates the period beautifully, shooting the film in a grainy 1970s style that emphasises character over action. So it's odd that the characters feel so thinly written, with most of the ambiguity drained from each moral issue they face. Much of this is because everyone is pushing their emotions away and internalising their thought processes so no one else can see them. But this leaves the audience out in the cold. And as a result, everything feels obvious and inevitable, which makes it impossible to get involved as events escalate. It's as if these people are tragic losers, so no amount of sympathy will save them.
Continue reading: Blood Ties Review
Frank is a remarkable cop with a lot to look forward to in his life, but as happy as he is, he still has major worries for the people around him. His brother Chris has just been released from prison after a gang-related murder several years ago. Frank wants to make sure Chris stays on the straight and narrow as he rebuilds his shattered life, and offers him shelter, a job and an opportunity to restore his relationships with his former wife Monica and his children. However, Chris also finds himself reconnecting with some old 'friends' and it soon becomes clear that he has no intention of living straight. All Frank wants is a happy and secure family, but if he keeps trying to save his wayward brother's back from the law, he could find himself facing an uncertain future in the force.
'Blood Ties' is the Hollywood re-make of Jacques Maillot's 2008 French film 'Les liens du sang' which is also adapted from the novel by Bruno and Michel Papet. It has been directed by Guillaume Canet ('Little White Lies', 'Tell No One', 'Whatever You Say') and co-written by James Gray ('Two Lovers', 'We Own the Night', 'The Yards') and is due to appear in theatres on March 21st 2014.
Stiller stars as Evan, an overachiever who can't bring himself to tell his loving wife (DeWitt) that he's sterile. When there's a murder in the super-store he manages, he forms a neighbourhood watch group with three losers: Bob (Vaughn) is struggling to cope with his teen daughter, Franklin (Hill) has an unhealthy obsession with guns, and Jemarcus (Ayoade) is a goofy sex addict.
All three would rather drink beer and play stupid games than keep their community safe. But then they discover that the killer was actually an alien who is leading an invasion of Earth.
Continue reading: The Watch Review
Julianne Moore and Billy Crudup - Julianne Moore, Billy Crudup New York City, USA - Manhattan Movement and Arts Center presents family performances to benefit 'Save The Children' with Freckleface Strawberry The Musical Saturday 10th December 2011
Date of birth
8th July, 1968
Master filmmaker Ridley Scott is back to continue the story 10 years after the events...
Ten years after the disastrous expedition that was Prometheus, another group of space explorers band...
Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...
Jamie doesn't live a normal life, he's raised by his single mom and lives in...
Jacqueline Bouvier was always a highly independent woman, even when she was a debutant; she...
Based on real events, this sharply well-made film shifts from a rather light-hearted comedy into...
This film demonstrates that you don't need guns to make an exciting thriller. Based on...
It's 1971 and University professor Dr. Philip Zimbardo wants to try a new social and...
Michael Rezendes is a dedicted reporter for the Boston Globe and part of their Spotlight...
While the story centres on twisted moral dilemmas, this 1970s-set thriller takes such a hesitant,...
You'd think that a film written by Stern (the surprisingly witty Mr Popper's Penguins) and...