Sophie Clé is the head of marketing for her father Jack Clé's company, which sells a ground-breaking tech product called the Oubli which wraps around your ear and taps into your memories to allow you to re-live the happiest moments of your life in high definition. Sophie's most precious memory is the last time she saw her mother, who passed away fifteen years ago. They're trying to market the product to other sad souls with difficulty letting go of the past, but on the cusp of their success Sophie is kidnapped and attacked by a woman named Isa. After her release, her father assures her that she was completely unarmed save for a small cut, but Sophie knows something is wrong. The Oubli is no longer showing her happy re-calls of her mother, but much more sinister flashbacks in which can be seen an argument and a lot of blood. It soon becomes clear that her father is hiding something very dark from her, and now it's not just her memories on the line - but her life.
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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
There's nothing very original in this spy thriller, but director Branagh gives the film a weighty sense of importance that at least makes it feel important. He can't make up for the flimsy plot or cliched characters, but he can coax shaded performances from the cast to grab our interest. And while the action is never as coherent as a Bourne movie, it at least has a sense of gravitas about it.
For yet another reboot of the Tom Clancy franchise, we go back earlier to follow Jack Ryan (Pine) as he is inspired by the 9/11 attacks to leave his financial studies and join the Marines. Shot down over Afghanistan, he undergoes a gruelling recovery and is recruited by CIA operative Harper (Costner) to work undercover on Wall Street, monitoring terrorist fund movements. A decade later his girlfriend Catherine (Knightley) has no idea what his real job is, so when she surprises him on a business trip to Moscow she ends up in the middle of an operation to investigate shady Russian businessman Cherevin (Branagh), who's behind some sort of imminent global attack.
The film's brisk pace focusses on Jack's motivations all the way through, so we understand his earnest desire to serve his country. Although we can't quite figure out how he developed all these he-man skills working behind a desk in a bank. Not only is he adept at firearms and hand-to-hand combat, but he can ride a motorcycle like a stuntman! Fortunately, Pine's everyman persona makes him easy to identify with and bodes well for future franchise instalments. Opposite him, Costner is marvellously lean and cool, Branagh has terrific lip-less menace and Knightley does her best in the standard underdeveloped female role.
Continue reading: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit Review
Jack Ryan is a young office worker at CIA headquarters whose life turns upside down when his cosy desk job turns into a major physical operation. He's been able to hide his dangerous career from his new wife Cathy for a couple of years, but now that someone is trying to kill him, things get a little trickier. He is enlisted to help thwart a major Russian terrorist plot that threatens the lives of millions of people in all the major cities of the world, but when he makes it to Moscow, he finds a very angry wife waiting for him. However, as things turn out, she has a crafty head on her herself and agrees to get involved with the operation as a diversion, but when her life is suddenly at risk, Jack has to decide where his priorities lie.
Based on the Tom Clancy book series which kicked off with 1984's 'The Hunt for Red October', Kenneth Branagh ('Thor', 'As You Like It', 'The Magic Flute') directs action thriller 'Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit' - the fifth film in the movie series produced by Mace Neufeld ('The Aviator', 'Beverly Hills Cop III', 'Asylum'). David Koepp ('War of the Worlds', 'Angels & Demons', 'Jurassic Park') and Adam Cozad are screenwriters and it will be released in the UK on December 26th 2013.
Jack Ryan is a young CIA analyst who joined Intelligence hoping for a comfortable office job that he could easily cover up so that his wife Cathy, who he met three years ago, won't find out what he does for a living. However, things don't exactly go according to plan and he finds himself being targeted by an assassin while uncovering a frightening plot involving Russian terrorists launching a major terrorist strike at the main cities of the world in a bid to destroy the US economy. He is charged to go to Moscow to stop the conspiracy from going ahead but then finds he has other problems to deal with when his wife follows him and discovers the extent of his deception.
Raquel Welch has been cast in a Donatella Versace biopic movie. The film, which is due to air in October on Lifetime, stars Gina Gershon as Donatella, Colm Feore and Enrico Colantori.
Raquel Welch will play Donatella Versace's aunt in a Lifetime biopic TV movie of the fashion designer's life. The film, entitled House of Versace will follow the life of Versace as she is forced to deal with the death of her brother Gianni.
Raquel Welch at the 32nd annual Carousel Of Hope Ball held at The Beverly Hilton in L.A.
The founder of the company, Gianni, was killed in 1997 by spree killer Andrew Cunanan. It is still not known why Gianni Versace was a target of the killer. His niece Allegra, then only eleven, inherited the majority of the company's shares and control. His sister Donatella took over the position as head of design.
Continue reading: Raquel Welch Cast In Donatella Versace Lifetime Movie
Fit snug into the mother superior of self-reflexive roles, Angelina Jolie once again finds herself the eye of the storm in Clint Eastwood's epic melodrama Changeling. Armed with her thick, crimson lips, period duds, and that ever-present cloche, Jolie goes all gooey as Christine Collins, a single mother who finds herself a media fulcrum when she denies that a boy returned to her by the LAPD is Walter, her son who had been kidnapped five months prior.
Based on a catastrophic piece of the infamous Wineville Chicken-Coop Murders, which ran from 1928 to 1930, and the ensuing trials that yielded a major ousting of the LAPD's top tier and almost no real answers, Changeling is an exceedingly visual film yet one that lacks confidence in its imagery, relying too often on clunky language and an unsteady lead performance. This is no loose adaptation of actual events: Collins fought against the terminally-corrupt LAPD for years, became a martyr for forced institutionalization, and kept her job as a roller-skating switchboard operator while continuing the search for her lost boy. That's no small feat for a lone woman in the late 20s/early 30s.
After taking the boy the LAPD presented home, Collins begins to document inaccuracies between the delivered boy and her son, only to be brushed off by Captain J.J. Jones (Jeffrey Donovan), the man in charge of the investigation. Support comes in the form of Reverend Gustav Briegleb (John Malkovich), a flamboyant radio preacher who's been hounding the LAPD for years. When Collins finally takes her story to the media, it's Gustav who starts yelling for her return as she is forced into a psychiatric hospital with a gaggle of mistreated women, the most vocal of whom is played by Amy Ryan.
In its third act, Eastwood switches focus to the trial and execution of Gordon Northcott (Jason Butler Harner), the man who kidnapped and slaughtered over 20 children on his ranch in Wineville, one of which was Collins' son. The introduction of Northcott disrupts the tone and mood of the film, stumbling from feminist parable to legal drama. It does permit a final scene between Collins and Northcott, allowing Jolie a final, enraged plea for closure: It's later revealed that Walter might have escaped Northcott's ranch, a fact that's meant to bolster an infuriating feel-good ending.
Changeling, like most of Eastwood's excellent latter-day work, is a classy affair, but one of technical weight rather than dramatic. Shot by Tom Stern, the brilliant cinematographer who has been working with Eastwood since 2002's Blood Work, the director's latest is covered in dehydrated colors and beautifully scored by Eastwood himself with lilting pianos and blustery strings. While Jolie overplays her scorned mother, the supporting cast blends in beautifully, especially Donovan's complexly-composited policeman and Malkovich's propulsive, lively clergyman. Schematically unstable, it's J. Michael Straczynski's woozy script that proves the film's most incapable cog, handling its cerebral and narrative shifts with the subtlety of a race car hitting a speed bump.
At a hulking 141-minute runtime, Changeling suffers from more than its fair share of showy moments, none more egregious than when momma bear profanely tells off the head of the psychiatric hospital. Eastwood's direction is proficient, but he finds it impossible for his actress and his aesthetics to coalesce. Unable to internalize the drama, Jolie engulfs every scene with an utterance of "I want my son back!," often cheapening the meticulous production design, courtesy of the talented James J. Murakami. It's a gaudy, showboat performance, trading nuance and grace for simple presence; I'll eat a small fishing boat if she doesn't get an Oscar nomination. British director Michael Winterbottom tempered Jolie the starlet as another single mother left as residue after a media-centric tragedy in A Mighty Heart by centering on the procedure of retrieval. With Eastwood, however, Jolie's weeping caterwaul reduces a firebrand of corrupt politics into a work of enthused pageantry.
First we're gonna catch this Zodiac guy, then we'll find your boy.
At the start of the film, Riddick is being chased on a remote, frozen planet by some bounty hunters, whom he promptly dispatches and steals their ship to ride back to the planet of Helios Prime, where their employer was from. Once there, he finds out the bounty was put on him by one of Pitch Black's other survivors, Imam (Keith David, resplendent in flowing robes and a sharp goatee). Apparently, Imam and Aereon (Judi Dench), an ambassador from a ghost-like race called the Elementals, think that Riddick, being a member of the Furion race, will be able to help the galaxy fight off an onslaught of planet-destroying religious fanatics called Necromongers. The Necromongers are on a galactic jihad to bring about something called "the Underverse" and will convert or kill anybody in their path. But, before any of this can really be figured out, the Necromongers' gigantic armada crashes down on Helios Prime and things get really complicated. There's about ten minutes' worth of action that takes place later in a prison which, even now, after much contemplation, still makes absolutely no sense.
Continue reading: The Chronicles Of Riddick Review
"My life is nothing but highlights," confesses Mike Jennings (Affleck), a genius computer hacker who trades big cash for small chunks of his own memory. Jennings gets rich by dissecting massive programs and passing the goods onto rival companies - at which point, all recent activity is erased from his brain.
Continue reading: Paycheck Review
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