Most people are brought up with a clear idea of right and wrong, but when it comes to retribution, mankind remains torn. When a Chicago doctor named Paul Kersey hears that his wife Lucy has been killed in a home invasion leaving his daughter Jordan critically injured, he decides to take matters into his own hands. Police have no leads, so Paul purchases a gun and tracks down the perpetrators himself with no mercy. His quest begins with taking revenge on the men that were responsible for the death of his wife, but soon turns into a vigilante vendetta against criminals in general. The people he's protecting believe him to be some kind of guardian angel but that doesn't mean the law are going to give him a free pass. When is taking another person's life no longer considered wrong? Is Paul Kersey really a hero or is he the worst kind of villain?
Continue: Death Wish Trailer
Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years as filmmakers struggled to work out how to blend its inventive mismatch of genres. Enter Colin Trevorrow, who's first film Safety Not Included was a mix of comedy, drama and time-travel adventure. In between making blockbusters for the Jurassic and Star Wars franchises, Trevorrow invests this unconventional drama-cum-thriller with plenty of heart, eliciting terrific performances from his central cast. But it never feels very authentic.
The story centres on single mother Susan (Naomi Watts), whose complex life is managed by her genius 11-year-old son Henry (Jaeden Lieberher). Adorable younger brother Peter (Room's Jacob Tremblay) offers plenty of support, but it's Henry who keeps everything running and supports the family with his savvy investments. Then he begins to suspect that his classmate Christina (Maggie Ziegler), who lives next door, is being abused by her stepdad Glenn (Breaking Bad's Dean Norris). But Glenn is the police commissioner, so Henry knows that calling the cops is useless. Instead, he makes an elaborate plan and writes it down in his notebook so his mother can take action.
The film's first half is a fascinating drama about the delicate balance in this unusual family. Beautifully played with layers of resonance by Watts, Lieberher and Tremblay, these are people we would like to know a lot more about, and we settle in to discover their secrets. All three are excellent, continually surprising the audience with insightful character touches that make each person vivid and likeable, even with their flaws. And then the Hitchockian plot kicks in, the suspense gurgles over and everything begins to turn rather implausible. This is kind of the point of the story - that experience is perhaps more important than intelligence - but it's much more difficult to engage with.
Continue reading: The Book Of Henry Review
Henry Carpenter (Jaeden Lieberher) is a genius for his meagre 11 years and the reason why his single mother Susan (Naomi Watts) copes so well taking care of him and her younger son Peter (Jacob Tremblay). He helps her out with all her financial problems, and does his best to keep Peter in line at the same time. But there are more pressing matters on Henry's mind. His next door neighbour and classmate Christina (Maddie Ziegler) is in trouble. She lives with her abusive stepfather Glenn Sickleman (Dean Norris) who also happens to be the police commissioner, make it impossible for Susan and Henry to go to the police about their concerns. However, Henry has it all worked out and has documented an elaborate and inventive plan to rescue Christina in his notebook. Having always put all of her trust in her son, Susan agrees to help him execute the plan.
Continue: The Book Of Henry - Trailer and Clips
Ray is a dedicated FBI investigator with a crush on his District Attorney supervisor Claire and a close friendship with his partner Jess. However, all those whimsical circumstances are thrown out of the window when a corpse is discovered in a dumpster in LA. Ray discovers that it's the mutilated body of Jess' teenage daughter, and the devastated pair set out on a vengeful mission to find the perpetrator. Unfortunately, the suspect they pick up - of whose guilt they are convinced - they are forced to let go when no solid evidence is found. Thirteen years later, Ray returns with a new lead, having spent every evening since searching through the US prison system for their murderer. But this time, they're thinking of bringing him down their own way.
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There's a fundamental flaw to this multi-strand social media-themed drama: it's told completely from the perspective of older people who are fearful about the possibilities, rather than the generation for whom electronic communication is the norm. It's well-made by director Jason Reitman (age 36) and his cowriter Erin Cressida Wilson (50) from the novel by Chad Kultgen (38), but it kind of misses the point that this is the future of human interaction. So younger (or more switched-on) viewers won't buy the cautionary message.
IR's set in Austin, Texas, where Rachel and Don (Rosemarie DeWitt and Adam Sandler) are each so focussed on finding space outside their marriage that they don't notice that their teen son Chris (Travis Tope) is hanging out with self-proclaimed slutty cheerleader Hannah (Olivia Crocicchia). Her best friend Allison (Elena Kamporis) is starving herself to be like her, spurred on by her mother (Judy Greer), who is doing everything she can to make Allison a star. Meanwhile, Patricia (Jennifer Garner) is desperate to control how her daughter Brandy (Kaitkyn Dever) uses small-screens, especially worried about her growing friendship with Tim (Ansel Elgort), whose father (Dean Norris) is annoyed that he has quit the school football team.
Oddly, the film seems to adopt the adults' fears as its central tone: the internet and mobile phone communications are potentially dangerous, addictive and isolating. But this makes the film feel more like a sermon than a set of intertwined stories. A far more interesting approach would be to explore how communication and relationships are shifting due to the influence of online media. Indeed, the generational aspects to the films various plotlines are the most compelling elements, with clashing points of view between grown-ups and kids. But audience members who believe that mobile phones and social media sites are the future will struggle with the way Reitman presents them as inherently troublesome.
Continue reading: Men, Women & Children Review
Spoilers. Spoilers that will ruin the best show ever made. You have been warned.
It’s difficult to fathom a world without Breaking Bad. From the formative earlier episodes to the wrap-up job done by the last half of the fifth season, we’ve come to love and care for Walter, Jesse, Hank, Skyler, Marie and Walter Jr. And Mike. Don’t forget Mike. But instead of mourning the passing of such a giant, it’s important to celebrate the brilliant times it brought us.
Breaking Bad was - and is - a behemoth of modern television. While The Wire and The Sopranos brought us the inner dealings of criminal gangs in New Jersey and Baltimore, commenting on social injustice along the way, BrBa provided a new landscape to romanticize – it was something truly original, borrowing enough tropes of writing gone by to remain familiar.
Continue reading: The Very Best Breaking Bad Moments - Staff Picks
There are SPOILERS in this review of the final episode of Breaking Bad.
In many ways it didn’t matter how Breaking Bad ended; the journey was such that the show’s quality was undeniable. And if the journey ended like The Sopranos, Dexter or Seinfeld – i.e., caught up in a maelstrom of controversy and disappointed losers – then so be it.
It's sad to see them go, but what a way to go
But Breaking Bad was, and is, amazing.
Continue reading: The Breaking Bad Finale Review: Felina - My, That Was Satisfying
Stephen King's adapted television series has finally made it to the British Isles: how was it received by early critics?
Under The Dome, the premise is simple: the residents of small American town Chester's Mill find themselves separated from the rest of the world by a giant physical barrier, known as 'the dome.' No one knows why the mysterious, semi-permeable dome has appeared but the Chester's Mill denizens must find a way to maintain order, survive, and ultimately escape.
The show is based on master horror writer Stephen King's 2009 novel of the same name and the author also wrote the first episode of the CBS series. Set for 8 episodes, the series is billed as the "mini-series of the summer" and has been widely praised by US critics, having been one of the six series chosen for the 'Critics' Choice Television Award for Most Exciting New Series,' and attracting a whopping nearly 18 million viewers to its pilot episode on 24th June.
Continue reading: 'Under The Dome' Debuts On UK TV After US Success: Are Critics Won Over?
Breaking Bad's tenth episode of its fifth and final season aired last night (18th August). Focussing on the dynamics of the White-Schrader family, we saw Skyler remain convinced her husband will get away with his crimes (who knows, maybe he will) despite protestations from Hank and Marie.
In the second half of the final season of Breaking Bad, the writers are holding no bars in destroying the fictional lives of their characters. In last night's episode 'Buried', Walter White's (Bryan Cranston) family are certainly not united. We've seen the White's and the Schrader's ups and downs over the years and the show's five seasons: from family barbeques to Hank Schrader's (Dean Norris) realisation that his brother-in-law is a prolific meth dealer.
Bryan Cranston at the Film Society of the Lincoln Center's Celebration of Breaking Bad.
The episode opens with Walt attempting to reach Skyler (Anna Gunn), only to realise that Hank has rung first. He assumes Hank will inform Skyler about his meth cooking activities, but we see Hank and Skylar meeting up to discuss Walt. Skyler refuses to leave Walt, despite Hank's pleadings, even dragging his wife into the mix and promising "your best interest and mine are the same."
The cast of TV drama 'Breaking Bad' arrive for The Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York where AMC celebrate that last episodes of the TV series. The stars including creator Vince Gilligan and main star Bryan Cranston sign autographs and take pictures with fans outside the venue.
Most people are brought up with a clear idea of right and wrong, but when...
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Ray is a dedicated FBI investigator with a crush on his District Attorney supervisor Claire...
There's a fundamental flaw to this multi-strand social media-themed drama: it's told completely from the...
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