Like her career, Michèle has always micromanaged her life; she's constantly in control and has an demeanour about her that makes her almost indestructible. This is all changed when she is attacked in her home, a space people associate as a safe haven.
Michèle deals with the attack in her own way and tracks down the man who assaulted her and the foes are both drawn into a dangerous game which could lead to either of them being killed.
Elle is based on Philippe Djian's novel 'Oh', director Paul Verhoeven explains how he was given the original idea from producer Said Ben Said: "The idea wasn't mine; it came from the producer, Saïd Ben Saïd. He contacted me in the US, sent me Philippe Djian's novel, which I read and found very interesting. I knew we had the material for a movie, but I had to think it through and find my way of appropriating a story I would never have come up with myself."
'Dalton Trumbo had gone from novelist to a successful career as a Hollywood screenwriter which saw him become one of the town's highest paid writers and even earn an Academy Award nomination. But his bright career came to a crushing end in 1947 after he was one of nine people who refused to testify in front of the House Committee on Un-American Activities. This led to Trumbo being blacklisted from Hollywood and effectively ending his movie career. But despite being blacklisted Trumbo refused to give up and instead continued to write, often under pseudonyms, working on films such as Oscar winner Roman Holiday. His fight against the U.S. government and studio bosses over his freedom to write and work entangled everyone in Hollywood from gossip writer Hedda Hopper to Kirk Douglas who would call on Trumbo to pen the scrip for his epic drama 'Spartacus' and help bring about the end of the Hollywood blacklist.
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America and Russia have never seen eye to eye, but they do have some of the best government spies the world has to offer. Now's the time to put their differences aside in a bid to fight the real enemy - crime - as an international organised gang find themselves in possession of an atomic bomb powerful enough to kill billions. Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin, American and Russian agents respectively, are thrust together as a team to hunt down the criminals and save the world, returning the destructive weapon to the CIA. However, predictably, it's not the most comfortable of duos, but perhaps these competitive professionals can use their animosity usefully, because they're about to face off against some unlikely and dangerous suspects.
Throughout the early 1960s, the Cold War was in full swing. Two agents, one from Russia and one from America are at each other's throats throughout the conflict. Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) is a CIA agent, known for his suave and womanising nature. Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer) is a KGB known for his brutality and deadly efficiency. When a criminal organisation sprouts from former Nazi soldiers, Russia and America temporarily put aside their differences to find a solution to the problem. Unfortunately, getting the two men (who have made a career out of trying to kill one another) to work together, may not be as easy as it seems.
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Quite the best thing Verhoeven has going for him is his fantastic Dutch cast, headed up by Carice van Houten in a relentlessly fearless performance as the singer Rachel Stein, who is forced into one morally compromising position after another. The film starts in 1944, when Stein has been in hiding for years, but is sent on the run after an errant Allied bomb destroys her hideout. As a former singer, she's able to take on new personas with great ease, but there's always a tough brightness about her, the statuesque ease of someone who's accustomed to being stared at and fought over.
Continue reading: Black Book Review
Bleibtreu stars as Tarek, an ex-journalist turned cab driver who comes across a newspaper ad seeking participants to partake in a University sponsored psychological experiment. The experiment is to be set in a mock prison environment, and Tarek is immediately intrigued by the possibility of writing a story based on his experience as a research subject. Tarek is able to sell the idea to his former editor, and he then applies and is accepted as one of the test cases.
Continue reading: Das Experiment Review
After a brief prologue that finds Hitler (Bruno Ganz) choosing Traudl Junge (Alexandra Maria Lara) - the woman who would later become the subject of the 2002 documentary Blind Spot: Hitler's Secretary - as his secretary, Hirschbiegel's film whisks us away to 1945 Berlin, where der Fuhrer and company are vainly attempting to keep the Aryan dream alive from a concrete bunker deep underneath the battle-ravaged city. Hitler remains convinced, against overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that the war remains winnable, and Ganz - an actor whose strength is usually found in contemplative silence - superbly brings the horrific fascist to maniacal life, balancing an exhausted, stooped posture and twitching left hand (always held behind his back) with sudden delusional tirades of mouth-frothing madness. Surrounded by increasingly cynical military officers, an unrepentant Hitler is agitated, desperate, and unable to relinquish the belief that his Nazi army will re-mobilize for a final, fatal strike against the Russians. Meanwhile, absurd and surreal last-gasp mini-dramas play out throughout the bunker, from Junge and her fellow secretary's attempts to remain optimistic and Albert Speer (Heino Ferch) and Heinrich Himmler's (Ulrich Noethen) eventual desertions to, most chillingly, Magda (Corinna Harfouch) and Joseph Goebbels' (Ulrich Matthes) plans to exterminate their six children should National Socialism crumble.
Continue reading: Downfall Review
For those not already versed in the lore of Adolf Hitler'sfinal days, the intimacy, immediacy and bunker-mentality minutia of "Downfall"may make for truly engrossing cinema. A detailed, historically accurateaccount that bears witness as the psychotic dreams of a 1,000-year ThirdReich slip away from its increasingly paranoid Fuehrer, this bravely matter-of-factGerman epic features uniformly powerful performances and is an eerie, vividrealization of gray-walled claustrophobia and the terror of saturationbombing. (The camera shakes in a uniquely unsettling, knock-you-off-your-bearingsway with each mortar shell.)
The fantastic Bruno Ganz (best known in the US for "Wingsof Desire") plays Hitler with a broken kind of humanity that makeshis evil subtler than expected, but by extension all the more chilling.His senior staff is accounted for nearly every moment of the detailed film,but none of them stands out except Ulrich Matthes as psychotically loyalpropaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, and Corinna Harfouch as his wife.She has the film's most disturbing scene, poisoning her children to "save"them from growing up in a world without National Socialism.
But while director Oliver Hirschbiegel ("DasExperiment") very effectively takes youdeep inside Nazi Germany's crumbling heart and brings many infamous momentsacutely to life, his film doesn't offer much in the way of new insight.The script is more of a textbook play-by-play than an examination of impulsesand psyches, and while the Hirschbiegel and his cast add those dimensionsthrough their fine work, it seems the only way he could invest the audiencein these events was by seeking out a sympathetic minor character -- inthe person of Hitler's young secretary, Traudl Junge (Alexandra Maria Lara)-- and beef up her significance.
Continue reading: Downfall Review
Psychologically resounding but bedeviled by somewhat preposterous plot developments, "Das Experiment" is a German thriller loosely inspired by a Stanford University study in which volunteers were placed as guards and inmates in a mock prison to see how they'd interact.
Before the 14-day trial was over, the real experiment went awry with the "guards" becoming power-mad. This film takes this concept to the next level, as one of the "prisoners" -- a former newspaper reporter (Moritz Bleibtreu, "Run Lola Run") trying to get a job-recovering juicy story -- deliberately provokes the reactionary "guards" into a slippery-slope game of domination that soon turns violent and spirals out of control.
The strapping, charismatic, intelligent, expressive Bleibtreu gives a superb performance as he asserts himself among the prisoners -- some of whom don't take well to his rabble-rousing since they just want to lie low and collect the 4,000 Marks they're promised for being guinea pigs.
Continue reading: Das Experiment Review
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