It's been four years since Mel Gibson played a lead role in a movie, and with all of the tabloid headlines in the meantime it's been easy to forget how magnetic he is on screen. He's looking rather grizzled in this action thriller from French filmmaker Jean-Francois Richet (Mesrine), but his piercing presence turns what's essentially a cheesy exploitation film into something remarkably gripping.
He plays an ex-con tattoo artist named Link, who lives out in California's Mojave Desert, next door to his 12-step sponsor Kirby (William H. Macy). His home may be a trashy trailer, but he has cleaned up his life. Although his quiet reverie is disturbed by thoughts of his 17-year-old daughter Lydia (Erin Moriarty), who has been missing for four years. So he's stunned when she calls him out of the blue for help. Kicking into action, he rescues her and immediately discounts her stories that the ruthless henchmen of her late gangster boyfriend Jonah (Diego Luna) are after her. It doesn't take long for Link to realise that Lydia isn't exaggerating, and as they go on the run, he turns to old prison friends (including Michael Parks, Dale Dickey and Miguel Sandoval) for help. Even though he doesn't really trust anyone.
Director Richet doesn't seem very interested in the father-daughter drama at the centre of this film, even though it's far more involving than the madcap action carnage. Gibson and Moriarty do what they can to create some chemistry amid the mayhem, but they only have a few scenes in which they can push their characters a bit further. And frankly after the set-up, the audience needs that to put the violence in context. This is mainly due to the fact that the brutal pursuit is fairly predictable, and the side characters, as well played as they are, are little more than stereotypes.
Continue reading: Blood Father Review
Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while grappling meaningfully with some very big topics. Set in present-day America, it's a story for today's social climate, but it feels like a classic Western in the way a pair of desperado bank robbers are pursued by a sly detective. It's also beautifully directed and skilfully acted to pull the audience all the way in.
In rural Texas, Tanner (Ben Foster) has just been released from prison when he agrees to help his brother Toby (Chris Pine) stage a series of small bank robberies to earn enough cash to guarantee a future for Toby's sons. Their mother has only recently died, and both are feeling a sense of pointlessness about life, willing to risk everything for a shot at something. But while Toby plans the heists carefully, Tanner is a hothead who continually attracts attention. Sure enough, Ranger Marcus (Jeff Bridges) catches their scent, working with his loyal but sarcastic partner Alberto (Gil Birmingham) to try to get one step ahead of the crimes. And since he's not looking forward to his impending retirement, Marcus is in no hurry.
Thankfully, director David Mackenzie (Starred Up) is in no hurry either, steadily building the suspense with each step in the story, keeping the focus tightly on the characters. This means that several scenes are breathlessly intense. There are so many intriguing things going on here that the film nearly bursts with resonance, from the old-versus-new world themes to the economic reality that has put Toby in this mess to begin with, and the corporate greed that's offering him a way out. Pine and Foster are perfectly cast in these roles, and both deliver layered performances that suggest at a more complex back-story than the one we learn. Opposite them, Bridges is the picture of calm, a terrific role that he seems to glide through effortlessly. But this is a carefully gauged performance that nails the tricky balance between tenacity, intelligence and grit.
Continue reading: Hell Or High Water Review
Hell or High Water is an American heist crime film which follows the journey of two brothers Toby (Chris Pine) and Tanner (Ben Foster) on a bank-robbing mission in order to save their West Texas family farm. This film, directed by David Mackenzie, sees the brothers calculate a series of robberies on banks in order to raise a sum of cash that they need in order to ensure their family farm's security.
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Dale Dickey and Laura Niemi - Shots from the final series event for FX's "Justified" which was held at the Ricardo Montalban Theatre at in Los Angeles, California, United States - Monday 13th April 2015
It is a time for sexual awakening for Kat Connors (Shailene Woodley). The 17-year-old is born again into a new world of desire and pleasure when all of a sudden, out of nowhere, her mother, Eve (Eva Green) mysteriously vanishes. Kat tries to ignore it, and continue enjoying the moment that she has created for herself, although she steadily discovers that her mother's disappearance has affected her more deeply than she originally thought. Thinking that her mother, a stunningly beautiful yet clearly haunted woman, left the family to pursue an affair, Kat finds herself seducing her way to the truth, in an attempt to find out if her mother is still out there, somewhere.
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A filmed staging of Del Shores' provocative stage play, this movie is an engaging exploration of the point where religion and sexuality collide in the American South. It catches the same irreverent but honest tone as Shores' film Sordid Lives (and the accompanying TV series), digging deep beneath the surface to grapple with big issues all viewers can identify with.
Set in Texas, the story centres on Mark (Collins), who has grown up in a fiercely baptist family and is desperate to be a good Christian boy despite his growing awareness of his homosexuality. As his pastor (Newell Alexander) takes a hard line against same-sex desire, Mark identifies three other gay boys in his church group: TJ (Stratte-McClure) desperately wants to resist temptation, Benny (Belli) defiantly decides to be himself, and Andrew (Montgomery) has a dark crisis of faith. Commenting on all of this are two backslidden baptists, the boozy Odette (Dickey) and the chirpy queen Peanut (Jordan), who meet for drinks in a gay bar because no one will judge them there.
Since this is a stage production, the adept actors are able to play these four boys from about age 10 to 25, letting us follow each of their journeys as they struggle to find acceptance from their church, family and themselves. Mark particularly bristles against being called a "sissy", and the story explores homophobia in the culture that's both darkly understated and fiercely violent. Shores certainly never flinches in looking at every side of the issue, which sometimes makes the film feel a bit too all-encompassing. Thankfully, the actors adapt their performances for the cameras, bringing a subtle earthiness to their roles that lets the characters and situations spring vividly to life.
Continue reading: Southern Baptist Sissies Review
Tony Stark may have the woman of his dreams, the technological skills of a genius and the ability to save the world from the occasional threatening force, but he's starting to realise that he's not entirely invincible. Unable to sleep and distracted by feelings of guilt, he is forced to reassess his ability to defend himself and his people as his formidable adversary Mandarin threatens to dismantle his life piece by piece. As he watches his life's work burn before his eyes, he is left only with his inner strength and resourcefulness to have a chance at destroying Mandarin once and for all. For the first time, Stark is feeling very vulnerable as he struggles to come to terms with himself as just Tony Stark rather than the supposedly indestructible Iron Man.
Continue: Iron Man 3 - Alternate Trailer
Tony Stark may be Iron Man, but he's feeling less than unbreakable these days. Plagued by nightmares and guilty feelings, he is forced to doubt himself and his ability to protect himself and the ones he loves against a new enemy; the formidably ruthless Mandarin. His doubts are only amplified when his world and his power source are brutally snatched from him and left to burn at the hands of his enemy and he is left with his own internal strengths and resourcefulness alone to find the perpetrator and end his reign of terror. Stark is finally made to confront himself and his superhero identity as Mandarin sets out to prove there are no real heroes in the world.
The third instalment of this Marvel adventure, 'Iron Man 3' is set to be the most hard-hitting of the movies so far with questions being raised less about Iron Man and more about the true Tony Stark and his deeper abilities. It has been directed by Shane Black (the writer of the 'Lethal Weapon' film series) who also co-wrote the comic action flick with Drew Pearce ('Lip Service', 'No Heroics'). It is set for a spectacular release in cinemas on April 26th 2013 in the UK.
Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall, Stephanie Szostak, James Badge Dale, Jon Favreau, Ben Kingsley, Paul Bettany, William Sadler, Stan Lee, Yvonne Zima, Dale Dickey, Ashley Hamilton, Ty Simpkins, Spencer Garrett,
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Andy Brewster is an inventor who is determined to sell his brand new product by embarking on an 8-day 3000 mile road trip. To kick off his journey, he flies out to visit his mother Joyce who happens to be the extremely embarrassing and over protective kind. After learning that she has remained single since he last saw her and acknowledging that she hasn't had any kind of romance since he was 8-years-old, Andy takes pity on her and, to her utmost delight, invites her to accompany him on his trip across the States. Not against his expectations, Joyce proves a lot to handle with her poor driving skills, extreme naivety and constant warnings particularly against hitchhikers. However, he has a better time than he expects as he and his mother get to know each other more deeply than they have ever done before convincing him that, as much as he'd like to think not, he still needs her around.
This is a wonderfully heartfelt comedy about how the love of a parent never becomes unwanted or unneeded. Directed by Anne Fletcher ('Step Up', '27 Dresses', 'The Proposal') and written by Dan Fogelman ('Cars', 'Bolt', 'Crazy, Stupid, Love.'), 'The Guilt Trip' will hit cinemas on February 22nd 2013.
Starring: Barbra Streisand, Seth Rogen, Adam Scott, Yvonne Strahovski, Colin Hanks, Brett Cullen, Casey Wilson, Danny Pudi, Dale Dickey, Miriam Margolyes, Nora Dunn, Amanda Walsh, Michael Cassidy & Robert Curtis Brown.
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For most of his life, Nick Flynn has never known his father. He has remained absent for most of his life, serving time in prison for forging cheques. Nick's father, called Jonathan, is a self-proclaimed poet and spent most of his time in prison writing letters and poems.
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After her drug-cooking dad jumps bail, 17-year-old Ree (Lawrence) is in an impossible situation: she's desperate to get out of town, but the bondsman (Taylor) is seizing her house, and she's has to take care of her nearly catatonic mother (Richards) and younger siblings (Stone and Thompson) who aren't old enough to hunt their own food. So she decides to find her father, calling on her uncle (Hawkes) for help. But her dad's disappearance is tied up in local customs, and by digging around she stirs a hornet's nest.
Continue reading: Winter's Bone Review
It's been four years since Mel Gibson played a lead role in a movie, and...
Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...
John Link hasn't been the best father, up until recently he's constantly been on the...
Hell or High Water is an American heist crime film which follows the journey of...
It is a time for sexual awakening for Kat Connors (Shailene Woodley). The 17-year-old is...
A filmed staging of Del Shores' provocative stage play, this movie is an engaging exploration...
Tony Stark may have the woman of his dreams, the technological skills of a genius...
Andy Brewster is an inventor who is determined to sell his brand new product by...
Based on the Daniel Woodrell novel, this film is a riveting exploration of old-society notions...