Shakespeare's Scottish play returns to the big screen with earthy energy, visual style and roaring performances. Acclaimed Australian filmmaker Justin Kurzel (Snowtown) takes an artistic approach that makes terrific use of sweeping landscapes and harsh weather, which allows the cast to put their guts into their roles. Yet while the film looks absolutely amazing, the sound mix is so muddled that anyone unfamiliar with the play will find it difficult to follow.
Michael Fassbender plays Macbeth, an 11th century general who has just triumphed on the Highland battlefield but is struggling internally after he and Lady Macbeth (Marion Cotillard) lost their infant child. So when three witches tell him that he is destined to become king, his wife encourages him to make it happen sooner rather than later. In secret, Macbeth murders King Duncan (David Thewlis) and pins the blame on his son Malcolm (Jack Reynor), who flees in fear, raising suspicion. Now on the throne, King and Queen Macbeth are overwhelmed by paranoia about any hint of a threat to their power, raising distrust of loyal friends like Banquo (Paddy Considine) and Duncan's defender Macduff (Sean Harris). Meanwhile, Malcolm has raised an army in England and is coming back to claim his title.
This is one of Shakespeare's bleakest, leanest plays, and Kurzel gives it an intriguingly expansive tone by setting most of the action outdoors in the elements rather than in shadowy castle corridors. In addition to adding a gritty, muddy kick, this allows the battle sequences to take on a Lord of the Rings-scale intensity. So the effect of this violence on the characters is that much more resonant. Lady Macbeth turns inward, tormenting herself in an extended dream sequence, while Macbeth goes the other way, killing anyone who seems even remotely shifty. But of course they also understand that their ambition and guilt are causing these extreme reactions.
Continue reading: Macbeth Review
Basic training for the Korean War is tough on a group of young British cadets. It's specifically tough on Bill Rohan (Callum Turner), as their sergeant hates him. The only consoling factor is the trainee nurses school just outside of his basecamp. When he's not trying to woo the nurses in the town, he's sneaking over to their school to see the woman he has fallen in love with. But when the sergeant's prize clock is stolen, Rohan must do everything to save his best friend from court marshalling, catch the girl of his dreams, and prepare for war.
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After a long, hard battle, a Scottish Thane learns of a prophesy that will change his life forever. Macbeth (Michael Fassbender) is confronted by three witches, who inform him that he shall one day be king, and that no man born by a woman shall ever kill him. When another of their prophecies comes true, he confronts his wife (Marion Cotillard), who convinces him that he must murder King Duncan (David Thewlis). From there, Macbeth falls into the darkest depths of the human soul, as he betrays those he loves for power, and abandons his friends for the love of prophesies.
Continue: Macbeth - Teaser Trailer
In 1828 Edinburgh, friends William Burke (Pegg) and William Hare (Serkis) realise they can make good money supplying cadavers to world-class surgeon Dr Knox (Wilkinson). But when they can't find a dead body, they kill someone instead. Hare's wife (Hynes) finds out and wants in on it, but Burke can't tell his aspiring actress girlfriend (Fisher) how he makes his living. Meanwhile, Knox is battling a rival surgeon (Curry) for the King's seal. And the local militia captain (Corbett) is closing in.
Continue reading: Burke & Hare Review
Bruno shares a family dinner with his loving parents (Vera Farmiga and David Thewlis) and his older sister Gretel (Amber Beattie). With their sparkling British Masterpiece Theatre accents, the family appears as well-scrubbed paragons of British banality. (Even Richard Johnson, that great bastion of British nobility from the epics of the 1960s, is exhumed to appear as the family's Grandpa.) So it comes as a shock when Thewlis dons a German commandant's uniform for a going-away party and Herman quietly reveals that the Dad has been reassigned, taking the family with him. As Dad remarks, "Home is where the family is." In this case, however, home is Auschwitz and Dad is the new camp commandant, who will be supervising the mass exterminations.
Continue reading: The Boy In The Striped Pajamas Review
Joe turns out to be a recovering alcoholic, and in 28 Days fashion, winds his way to recovery, stopping only for a tepid romance with a lady friend. Then My Name is Joe turns gangsterish, before an abrupt and uninteresting ending -- which might have been redeemed if the film was remotely interesting anywhere along the way.
Continue reading: My Name Is Joe Review
It's easy to see why Pierce Brosnan took the role of the duplicitous, predatory MI6 agent in "The Tailor of Panama." This guy is the anti-Bond, and infinitely more interesting as a character than the cinema idol version of 007.
Andy Osnard is similarly handsome, worldly, cocky and domineering. But he's also dark and flawed, ruthless, mean and corrupt. He's blackmailer, a cheat, a self-serving rogue and a disgrace as a spy -- which is why he's been drummed out of a prestigious position and dumped into a bottom-rung embassy assignment in Central America.
But Osnard has no intention of taking this lying down. Within 24 hours of his arrival, he's planted the seeds of a fictitious rebel uprising in a complex ruse make himself look like a master espionage agent underestimated by the home office.
Continue reading: The Tailor Of Panama Review
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