Ben Affleck launched his directing career 10 years ago with his film of Dennis Lehane's novel Gone Baby Gone, and he now returns to the author to adapt this Prohibition-era gangster drama. It's a big, beefy story with colourful characters and a snaky, expansive plot. And it's beautifully assembled by a skilled cast and crew. Even so, the film never quite generates quite enough energy to engage properly with the audience.
In 1927 Boston, Joe (Affleck) is a war veteran who has turned to crime to survive. But problems arise when he launches a torrid affair with the moll (Sienna Miller) of the Irish mob boss (Robert Glenister). With his life in danger, he turns to the rival Italian mafioso (Remo Girone) for a job, and is sent to Tampa to run their rum-smuggling operation. Working with his pal Dion (Chris Messina), Joe makes a success of a string of speak-easy bars and finds love with a the sister (Zoe Saldana) of a Cuban gangster. Then as he plans to open a huge casino, his gentlemanly agreement with the local police chief (Chris Cooper) is threatened. And it doesn't help that the boss in Boston begins to meddle.
Everything is assembled with a sumptuous sense of style, from the cool cars to the epic suits and hats. The film looks gorgeous, shot with muted colours that echo the subdued emotions of people who never quite say what they think. Of course, this creates a big problem, because it leaves Affleck's Joe looking like a blank slate, intriguing to watch but impossible to sympathise with. Nothing feels properly developed, with romances that seem to exist for no real reason and business relationships that appear to be based on some sort of unexplained subterfuge. The most riveting element of the story is Joe's clash with the KKK, a powerfully bull-headed group that refuses to play by the usual mob rules.
Continue reading: Live By Night Review
With its darkly emotive themes and brittle humour, this well-made drama by Jean-Marc Vallee (Dallas Buyers Club) isn't quite what it appears to be. It's not, for example, an exploration of grief, although that's in here. And it also isn't meant to be taken literally, because it's more of a parable. The main clue is in the moment when the central character comments that everything in his life seems to be a metaphor. Indeed it is. And this heightened sense of meaning makes the entire film unusually vivid.
The film opens as Wall Street banker Davis (Jake Gyllenhaal) emerges unscratched from a car crash that kills his beautiful wife Julia (Heather Lind). Unable to grieve, he begins to feel like the world around him is shifting inexplicably. So he starts taking things apart to see how they work, or why they don't. Soon he's dismantling his entire house. His father-in-law Phil (Chris Cooper), who is also his boss, becomes increasingly perplexed at Davis' erratic behaviour. And the only person Davis confides in is customer services rep Karen (Naomi Watts) and her confused 15-year-old son Chris (Judah Lewis). As Davis worms his way into their world, he slowly begins to see his own life more clearly.
This is a film about how some people let themselves drift along in the expected ways, never questioning what happens even though it doesn't feel quite right. In Davis' case, his wife's death jolts him awake. He begins to see the real world around him for the first time, including the absurdities of the life he had built around himself. Gyllenhaal invests Davis with remarkable layers of emotion as a generally cheerful guy being pulled apart from within by something he initially can't understand. His reactions to people around him grow increasingly more honest as the film progresses. And by the end, he's defying expectations and conventions in ways that feel shocking but are actually bracingly truthful.
Continue reading: Demolition Review
Chris Cooper, James Franco , Lucy Fry - Hulu Original '11.22.63' premiere at the Regency Bruin Theatre - Red Carpet Arrivals at The Bruin Theater - Westwood, California - Los Angeles, California, United States - Thursday 11th February 2016
Chris Cooper - Hulu Original '11.22.63' premiere at the Regency Bruin Theatre - Red Carpet Arrivals at The Bruin Theater - Westwood, California - Los Angeles, California, United States - Thursday 11th February 2016
Davis Mitchell is very successful in what he does for a living, though he's not as productive when it comes to his marriage. He's an investment banker stuck in the same old daily routine and he tends not to ever think about anything else. However, he is forced to re-evaluate himself and the way he lives his life when his wife Julia dies suddenly in a car accident. His father-in-law and boss Phil doesn't think much of Davis, but encourages him to pick himself up off the ground and start appreciating the world around him. After deciding to file a complaint to a vending machine company, Davis ends up writing numerous letters about his personal struggles and confessions. When they are discovered by a woman named Karen whose struggling to overcome problems of her own, they start a friendship that will encourage Davis to take apart his life, and re-build.
Continue: Demolition Trailer
As with the too-early franchise reboot in 2012, this sequel struggles to balance the demands of a teen romance with a superhero blockbuster. The interpersonal storylines are sharply written and skilfully played by the gifted cast, but the eye-catching effects sequences feel like little more than a shiny distraction. Action fans will love the way digitally animated Spidey swings more realistically than ever down the streets of New York, but the fact remains that these scenes are cartoons. And a new template is badly needed for this genre.
It kicks off as Peter (Andrew Garfield) nearly misses his high school graduation to save the city from another crazed nutcase. His girlfriend Gwen (Emma Stone) is fed up, and then crushed when Peter breaks up with her because he's worried about her safety. So she considers taking a place at Oxford University to get away. Meanwhile, Peter is also trying to understand the truth about why his parents (Campbell Scott and Embeth Davidtz) left him to be raised by his Aunt May (Sally Field). But he's interrupted from all of this by the arrival of old pal Harry (Dane DeHaan), back in town to inherit the family business from his dying dad (Chris Cooper) and in need of moral support from Peter.
In each of these three plot strands, Peter faces a significant dilemma that's beautifully played by Garfield as a cheeky, good guy who worries about the darkness all around him. And there's also a nefarious side-plot trying to take over the movie, as nerdy technician Max (Jamie Foxx) is transformed by an electric shock from Spider-man's biggest fan to a spark-emitting villain called Electro. This shift doesn't make sense on any level, and Harry also has a sudden personality change that's badly under-explained, forcing the film into a series of huge action showdowns along with a completely irrelevant aside about two colliding airplanes that feels tacked on to up the human stakes.
Continue reading: The Amazing Spider-man 2 Review
Peter Parker is facing a period of deep confusion in every aspect of his life. No longer is everything black and white, nor is it easy to know what the right thing to do is anymore. He's struggling to cope with the death of his dear Uncle Ben, while still feeling unfamiliar with his past in regards to his parents. He's also trying to hold down a relationship with Gwen Stacy, but she ultimately adds to his troubles when she finds herself in a dilemma of her own. Meanwhile in his professional capacity as Spider-Man, he's not finding it easy to differentiate between the villains, the heroes and the just plain hard-done by. He faces deadly battles with the formidable Rhino and the rage-filled Electro; the latter of who it turns out is just as frightened of his own power as everybody else is. It turns out that there is a darker force happening elsewhere, and when his friend Harry Osborn returns, he starts to see OsCorp's sinister involvement.
Continue: The Amazing Spiderman 2 - Clips Trailer
Tracy Letts adapts his own prize-winning play into a blistering depiction of one of cinema's most dysfunctional families ever. It's still rather theatrical, throwing a mob of top actors into a room for what feels like a fight to the death, but it's so well written and so beautifully observed by the actors that we can't look away. And of course Meryl Streep walks off with the show.
Everything kicks off when Beverly Weston (Shepard) goes missing, leaving his ruthlessly straight-talking, pill-popping wife Violet (Streep) to assemble the family in their rambling Oklahoma home. They have three equally feisty daughters: Barbara (Roberts) is a tightly wound bundle of anger with an estranged husband (McGregor) and surly teen daughter (Breslin) in tow; Karen (Lewis) is a free-spirited floater with yet another random boyfriend (Mulroney); and Ivy (Nicholson) is fed up with being the dutiful daughter who stayed close to home. Also on hand is Violet's sister Mattie Fae (Martindale), whose husband (Cooper) is the family patriarch now that Beverly is gone, which means their son (Cumberbatch) feels even more useless than normal.
What plot there is centres on skeletons rattling out of closets and relationships imploding spectacularly. The film is a series of brutally intense encounters between people who probably still love each other in vaguely undefined ways and express it through bitter bursts of witty cruelty. Streep has the meatiest role as the imperious Violet, who knows a lot more than she's letting on. And her chief rival is Barbara, played with unnerving intensity by Roberts. The only person we even remotely like is Mattie Fae, and the always-superb Martindale finds all kinds of layers in the character.
Continue reading: August: Osage County Review
Peter Parker has always had difficulty trying to prioritise his life. There's the personal side of it; the ordinary teenage angst, trying to hold down a relationship with the lovely Gwen Stacy and mourning the death of his Uncle Ben; then there's the side about saving the world from supervillains and general criminals terrorising the street as Spider-Man. While more often than not successful, he is about to face his biggest challenge yet as he is swamped by enemies such as the formidable Rhino and the quick as lightning Electro. Not only that but, as his friend Harry Osborn returns, he begins to realise that weapons manufacturer OsCorp is cropping up in all situations regarding his foes - just what is Osborn's father plotting?
Continue: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Trailer
The new incarnation of Electro looks creepy, but also very cool - and not just because of his blue complexion.
Everyone got a glimpse of Jamie Foxx as Electro in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in some newly released pictures from the set of the movie.
In the stills, Foxx is seen wearing creepy blue makeup and a grey hood. This means that the movie will significantly deviate from the original version of the villain, which was portrayed wearing a bright green suit with a yellow lightning mask. According to the LA Times, this portrayal of Electro will more closely resemble his Ultimate incarnation, which also has a different backstory – being the result of genetic experimentation, instead of a power line accident. It isn’t clear yet how much of the back story the producers plan to keep, but Foxx did give the reasons behind the choice of costume in an interview with Blackfilm back in December: “They want to have it more grounded and not as comic book-y, so it won’t be green and yellow,” he said. “They want to try new things, like a liquid rubber and things like that, and there are all these bolts and stuff in my arms when they are hanging me upside down and trying to figure out what happen [sic]. How did he become this way? So, it will be some new stuff.”
Sounds pretty cool to us. The sequel to the 2012 film is due in May of next year and, as previously announced, Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone will be reprising their roles. Additionally, Shailene Woodley will join the cast as Mary Jane Watson, Chris Cooper and Dane DeHaan as Norman Osborn and his son Harry, Paul Giamatti reportedly as villain the Rhino, and Colm Feore and Felicity Jones in roles yet to be announced.
Continue reading: Jamie Foxx Has Got The Blues As Electro In 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2'
Ben Shepard is a young and ambitious reporter determined to make a name for himself in the media world. When Sharon Solarz, a member of the radical left organisation Weather Underground, is arrested for her involvement in a bank robbery and subsequent murder 30 years ago, Ben smells an important story that could be his big break. Meanwhile, attorney Jim Grant, a single father of an 11-year-old daughter named Isabel who was also involved in the crime, is forced on the run from the FBI as Ben sparks a new manhunt, but on the way he changes course in an effort to expose the truth and prove his innocence. Ben discovers that the whole story is more complicated than he initially thought, particularly as not everyone appears to be who they say they are.
Continue: The Company You Keep Trailer
American Beauty actor to tread in Willem Dafoe's footsteps as the Green Goblin
The makers of the new Spider-Man film have revealed another cast member ahead of the second of the Andrew Garfield-starring reboot of the Marvel Comics series. It’s been confirmed that Chris Cooper will be turning out as the Green Goblin in the film, meaning that the cast can now boast two Oscars winners in their line-up, with Jamie Foxx already announced as another nemesis, Electro.
USA Today reports that Cooper will be joining Emma Stone, who will be reprising her role as Gwen Stacy, whilst Shailene Woodley of The Descendants will be playing Mary-Jane Watson. You might recall that the previous Green Goblin was played the mighty Willem Dafoe, so there’s certainly pressure there to try and better what was a fine performance. However, if anyone can do it, Cooper can; he won an Oscar back in 2002 for his performance in Adaptation and can point to strong performances in American Beauty and Capote in a glittering career.
Ben Affleck launched his directing career 10 years ago with his film of Dennis Lehane's...
Joe Coughlin was born and raised in a good family, his father was the police...
With its darkly emotive themes and brittle humour, this well-made drama by Jean-Marc Vallee (Dallas...
Davis Mitchell is very successful in what he does for a living, though he's not...
As with the too-early franchise reboot in 2012, this sequel struggles to balance the demands...
Peter Parker is facing a period of deep confusion in every aspect of his life....
Tracy Letts adapts his own prize-winning play into a blistering depiction of one of cinema's...
Peter Parker has always had difficulty trying to prioritise his life. There's the personal side...
The Weston family know they are probably one of the most dysfunctional families around, but...
Ben Shepard is a young and ambitious reporter determined to make a name for himself...
There's a reason this expertly shot and edited documentary is skimming under the radar: no...