Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory. Jordan Peele moves into writing and directing with this offbeat comedy, a fresh and fiendishly smart story with engaging characters and provocative themes. It's a combination of a knowing issue-based drama, lively romantic comedy and unhinged horror that hits all of its targets with precision. And it keeps us gleefully entertained with its escalating terror.
The story centres on Chris (Sicario's Daniel Kaluuya), whose girlfriend Rose (Girls' Allison Williams) invites him home for a weekend to meet her parents Missy and Dean (Catherine Keener and Bradley Whitford). Rose assures Chris that they're so liberal that they won't mind at all that he's black. But things don't feel quite right from the start. For one thing, there are two creepy servants (Betty Gabriel and Marcus Henderson) who seem to be lurking everywhere. And Rose's brother Jeremy (Caleb Landry Jones) revels in stirring up problems. As things get increasingly freaky, Chris calls his best friend Rod (Lil Rel Howery), an airport security officer back in New York, for advice. Then things take an even more bizarre turn when Missy and Dean's friends arrive for an annual party.
Peele begins to play with the audience right from the start, using Michael Abels' disorienting music and Toby Oliver's quirky camerawork to maximum effect. Often this involves pushing us far too close to a character whose behaviour is just a bit off. Every moment is undercut with humour, including awkward moments and snappy gags that serve as a relief valve even as they set us up for something scary. It's such clever filmmaking that we have little choice but to sit back and enjoy the ride. And woven through all of this is an inventive and lacerating exploration of attitudes toward race in American society.
Continue reading: Get Out Review
Alice Eckle is a roller-skating waitress deeply in love with Indiana State Trooper Scott. Before the two can get engaged, however, Eckle suffers a severe accident with a nail gun and gets a nail lodged deep in her skull. Unfortunately for her, she doesn't have any health insurance so she is forced to walk away from hospital without any surgery to remove it. In the meantime, she suffers brain damage which causes her to have mood swings, an increased sex drive and unpredictable behaviours. Needless to say, Scott is less than keen on the idea of marrying her now. No matter though, Alice appears to have other things on her mind; she wants to meet young Congressman Howard Birdwell to show her support for his proposition of beginning a healthcare bill. Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to have a clue what he's talking about, but that doesn't stop her falling head over heels for him.
Continue: Accidental Love Trailer
Catherine Keener - Shots of a variety of stars as they arrived at the Robert F Kennedy Ripple Of Hope Gala awards ceremony which were held in Manhattan, New York, United States - Tuesday 16th December 2014
Catherine Keener - Photographs of a variety of stars as they arrived at the 24th Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards which were held at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City, New York, United States - Monday 1st December 2014
Fans of the Oscar-winning 2006 Irish film Once (and its more recent stage-musical adaptation) may find this American drama a little derivative, but it's a strong story in its own right. This time writer-director John Carney has assembled a starry cast to nicely capture the rhythms of New York's streets. And the songs, while not quite as integral to the story, are gorgeous.
The opening sequence sets up the story from two perspectives, as music producer Dan (Mark Ruffalo) hears songwriter Greta (Keira Knightley) reluctantly perform at a bar's open-mic night. Both of these people are at their rope's end: always seeking offbeat talent, Dan is on the outs with his record label partner (Yasiin Bey, aka Mos Def), and wants to reconnect with his estranged wife and teen daughter (Catherine Keener and Hailee Steinfeld). Meanwhile, Greta has just been dumped by her rising pop-star boyfriend Dave (Adam Levine), who got his big break from a song she wrote. To stop her moping, her pal Steve (James Corden) encourages her to start singing her own songs. In Greta, Dan sees the kind of artist he longs to make records with, so with nothing to lose the two set out to record her songs at locations around the city for a new album.
Like Once, this is a love story that doesn't actually involve romance: these two people need each other to discover their life's passions. So Ruffalo and Knightley get the chance to create some terrific chemistry without much of a threat that they'll fall for each other. Indeed, each has other fish to fry, as they try to sort out their emotional connections elsewhere. Their flirty friendship plays out in a fresh, effortless way that generates some complex emotions and ideas. Ruffalo is always great at creating these kinds of loose, slightly hapless characters, while Knightley delivers an even more earthy performance, letting her own sparky personality emerge on-screen for the first time along with some serious skill as a singer. And the supporting cast add texture in just the right places.
Continue reading: Begin Again Review
Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine talks about making his acting debut in the music comedy 'Begin Again' in which he stars as an emerging musician who ditches his girlfriend in New York to pursue higher career prospects. He stars opposite Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo and Hailee Steinfeld in the movie.
'It's surreal because I never had the hankering to be an actor and I don't even consider myself one still - maybe someday I will be', he revealed in a red carpet interview at the Tribeca Film Festival premiere. 'But this was just one of those surprises that I followed and it turned out to be one of the most fun and amazing experiences I've had in my life.'
Keira Knightley talks about working on her new movie 'Begin Again', in which she stars as a dejected singer-songwriter in New York alongside Hailee Steinfeld, Mark Ruffalo and Adam Levine. Although not a natural singer, Keira had to pull off a few tunes of her own in the movie.
Continue reading: Keira Knightley - Begin Again Red Carpet Interview
Dan Mulligan is a former record executive who has just been spectacularly dismissed by the label he was employed by. Now penniless with nowhere to go and no-one to talk to apart from his hormonal teenage daughter Violet, he is desperate to find some musicians and get his career back on track. Meanwhile, a young singer-songwriter named Gretta has just been dumped by her co-musician boyfriend Dave after he manages to secure a major label deal for himself. Depressed and alone, she finds herself performing solo on a stage at a small bar where Dan happens to be drinking. Captivated, he decides to take her under his wing and help her achieve the success she so craves with his own unusual methods, and both find themselves transforming as people in almost every way.
Formerly entitled 'Can A Song Save Your Life?', 'Begin Again' is a touching comedy drama with a thrilling all star cast. It has been written and directed by John Carney ('Once', 'On the Edge', 'Zonad', 'The Rafters'), and is the story of how music can change many people for the better - and, sometimes, for the worst. The film is due for UK release this summer on July 11th 2014.
The Jackass crew takes an oddly gentle approach here, abandoning their more riotous stunt-based movies for a series of undercover pranks, like Borat or Bruno without the social commentary. It's sometimes very funny, although more gags fall flat than hit the mark. But fans will enjoy the interaction between Knoxville and his fearless 8-year-old cohort Nicoll.
Knoxville is in character throughout the film as Irving, an 86-year-old whose wife has just died. At the funeral, his wayward daughter (Cates) turns up to drop off her son Billy (Nicoll) before she goes to prison. So Irving's job is to drive from Nebraska to North Carolina to deliver Billy to his loser dad. On the ensuing road trip the relentlessly mischievous Irving takes advantage of his newly single status to chat up every woman he meets, often with Billy's sharp-witted help. They also get up to all kinds of trouble, robbing a convenience shop, crashing a wedding, upstaging male strippers in a bar and even entering a "little miss" beauty pageant to earn some extra cash.
Whether you find this funny or not depends on your enjoyment of jokes that centre on genitalia, with a particular emphasis on farting. Essentially, the film is a series of elaborately staged set-pieces in which Irving and Billy do outrageous things to get a Candid Camera-style reaction from the general public. And it's often quite funny that people just shrug off things like drinking beer with an 8-year-old or carrying his dead wife's body in the boot of his car. The best sequence involves a gang of burly bikers who dedicate themselves to protecting abused children; watching them close ranks around Billy is actually rather sweet.
Continue reading: Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa Review
With a strikingly against-type performance from the late Gandolfini, this film gives the romantic-comedy formula a welcome adult spin. Writer-director Holofcener keeps the characters authentic even as she indulges in some rather farcical plotting. And her astutely observational dialog lets the cast members create characters who are funny, flawed and thoroughly engaging.
At a party, massage therapist Eva (Louis-Dreyfus) meets two people who become important in her life. First is Marianne (Keener), whose snappy wit and honesty make her much more than just a new client. And then there's Albert (Gandolfini), an unlikely suitor who charms Eva with his dry wit and warm camaraderie as they share common emotions about daughters (Fairaway and Hewson) who are leaving home for university. But as Marianne moans about her miserable ex-husband, Eva realises that she's talking about Albert. And she knows that if she tells them that she's made this connection, she'll lose both a friend and a boyfriend.
Holofcener takes this simple idea and stretches it nearly to the breaking point. Fortunately, the film's real strength lies in the interaction between these people, and it's easy to identify with their hesitance as they endure a series of awkward moments that feel bracingly realistic. All of the dialog bristles with humour that feels improvised, and Louis-Dreyfus has always been an expert at combining comedy with both underlying strength and fragility (see Veep). Gandolfini seems like a strange match for her, but he plays the role so beautifully that we root for them as a couple.
Continue reading: Enough Said Review
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
With a tear, fans can wave goodbye to the late actor in this sweet and funny rom-com.
It's perhaps fitting that James Gandolfini eschewed his gangster typecast in favour of a warm, good-humoured teddy bear of a man in his last ever film, Enough Said: it marks the end of an era.
James Gandolfini's Last Film Has Premiered In New York.
Known for his role as mob boss Tony Soprano in the long-running HBO drama The Sopranos, Gandolfini died this June of a heart attack whilst holidaying with his family in Rome, aged 51 which came as a massive, heart-breaking shock for his fans. The just-released Enough Said marks the actor's last ever filming.
Date of birth
23rd March, 1959
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The Jackass crew takes an oddly gentle approach here, abandoning their more riotous stunt-based movies...
With a strikingly against-type performance from the late Gandolfini, this film gives the romantic-comedy formula...
With an attention to documentary detail that makes everything viscerally realistic, this film grabs hold...
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