Anchored by the almost ridiculously engaging Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, this sci-fi movie travels through drama, comedy, romance and action as it tells a deep-space story with essentially just three characters. Directed by Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game), the film looks sleek and cool, but it's the charismatic duo at the centre that holds the attention.
The spacecraft Avalon is on a 120-year journey from Earth to a distant homestead planet, where its 5,000 hibernating passengers will wake up to start a new life. But only 30 years into the trip, one pod opens by mistake. And James (Pratt) realises that he's come out of suspended animation 90 years too soon. His only company is a robotic barman (Sheen), so in a moment of weakness he wakes up another passenger, Aurora (Lawrence). As they begin to settle in for their long, lonely life together, the ship begins misbehaving, waking up a crew member (Laurence Fishburne) who works with James and Aurora to figure out why all of this is happening. And they'll need to work quickly if they hope to save the lives of the sleeping passengers.
Basically, the film is like a mash-up of Titanic and Gravity. The Avalon is a super-whizzy cruiseliner, and Tyldum finds all kinds of visually stunning settings in its various areas, from the vast shopping mall at the centre to a windowed swimming pool and a few gasp-inducing spacewalks. There's also a riff on the disparity between poor passengers like mechanic James in steerage and the wealthy ones like writer Aurora. Plus a hint of an idea in the corporate conglomerate that's making a fortune from this ambitious project. But these deeper themes remain well under the surface, as the attention focuses squarely on the journey James and Aurora are taking. This may leave the movie feeling rather thin and superficial, but it's also deeply involving.
Continue reading: Passengers Review
Life is quite sedentary in the small town of Bright Hope, the people rely on the support of Sheriff Franklin Hunt and as such he and his deputies keep things in order. When a beaten up man arrives in the town, he's soon asked many questions by the town Sheriff Hunt though is given few answers. The man who gives his name as Buddy is injured and the local doctors assistant tends to his wounds.
That night the town is attacked by unknown vigilantes and a person is murdered. When Sheriff Hunt returns to the Sheriff station he finds his deputy, the prisoner and Samantha (the doctors assistant) all missing. With few clues to work with, Hunt retrieves an arrow from the crime scene and seeks assistance from a native American who informs him where the arrow has come from.
The Sheriff and a small group of towns folk set out into the desert to find the kidnappers but they're far from prepared to deal with the brutal and cannibalistic methods of the troglodyte clan. For the future of their small town and to save the captures prisoners, the men of Bright Hope must out maneuverer the cannibals.
Ever since his wonderful appearance in Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel, we've been waiting for Ralph Fiennes to take up a similar role that shows a completely different side to the actor, now it looks like the Coen Brothers have given the actor such a role. Laurence Lorenz is an eccentric film director who finds himself caught up in a fiasco when Hollywood superstar Baird Whitlock is kidnapped.
Continue: Hail, Caesar! Trailer
Eddie Mannix is a fixer who works in Hollywood where he tames celebrities and keeps theirs, and movie studios', secrets out of the press - no matter how big the story. It's not the easiest job in the world, and it's certainly not always the most morally fulfilling, but it's about to get a whole lot harder when one studio, Capitol Pictures, presents him with a major problem the likes of which could be career destroying. They're working on a huge production epic entitled 'Hail, Caesar!' starring Hollywood sensation Baird Whitlock, but things go particularly awry when he is kidnapped and held for ransom by a mysterious group known only as The Future. They want $100,000, and after 24 hours, the studio aren't looking any more hopeful. Mannix enlists a feisty and beautiful female star to procure the money, while Whitlook finds himself in a most unusual situation.
Continue: Hail, Caesar! Trailer
Richard Haig is a remarkably intelligent, charming, ageing poetry professor, whose life away from the classroom at Cambridge is one of constant hedonism and an unquenchable lust for women. He thinks nothing of sleeping with his attractive grad student Kate and even shamelessly makes a move on her hardlined older sister Olivia, much to her displeasure. Richard is forced to confront the consequences of his over-indulgent behaviour when Kate announces she's pregnant with his child. While fatherhood has never appealed to him much, he is ready to settle down, get married and experience family life, but when Kate falls in love with somebody else, it becomes clear that he's still got a long way to go before he can be considered a responsible person. Kate allows their son to stay with Richard, but only under the supervision of Olivia, who's about to teach Richard more about life and romance than he's ever taught about poetry.
Continue: Lessons In Love Trailer
With an appropriately jarring sense of energy, this James Brown biopic acutely captures the Godfather of Soul's iconic musical talents, although the fragmented script undermines any emotional kick in his story. The film also struggles to build up momentum, because it continually leaps between various chapters in Brown's life. Which means that it never quite connects these disparate episodes into one coherent narrative. Even so, Chadwick Boseman delivers an electrically charged central performance.
Boseman plays James from the time he was 16, thrown into prison for stealing a suit in 1949, until his comeback in the 1990s. Raised in a brothel run by his Aunt Honey (Octavia Spencer) after his parents (Viola Davis and Lennie James) abandoned him, James is in prison when he meets visiting gospel singer Bobby Byrd (Nelsan Ellis), who takes him in on his release. Together they form The Famous Flames, gaining small-time success as James catches the eye of a manager (Dan Aykroyd), a record executive (Fred Melamed) and the public. A string of major hits followed in the 1950s and 60s, then James went solo in the 70s before the usual issues of fame caught up with him: money, drugs and guns. But he returned to the stage in the 1990s.
The film completely skips over his Hollywood years in the 80s, which wouldn't be a problem if the decade was so notably missing from the film. As the story skips back and forth through the years, the audience is forced to make sense of the disparate scenes, filling in several holes along the way. Aside from one rather surreal scene in a Southern Gospel church, there's never much of a sense of how Brown found his voice or developed his inimitable style. It also never quite captures his impact on the music industry as a whole.
Continue reading: Get On Up Review
Since he was a child, he knew he'd become a star. He may not have had the easiest life growing up in a poor family and enjoying frequent brushes with the law (something that continued for the rest of his life despite his illustrious career), but he was a pioneer in what he did best. Following his first stint in prison as a teenager, he embarked on a musical career that would create a whole new way of looking at music. His funky rhythms, mind-blowing voice and effortless moves on stage would go on to inspire artists for generations even if his troubled personal life left much to be desired. He even took his soul magic to Vietnam during the 20-year conflict - a venture that demonstrated both his patriotism and his bravery. This is the story of James Brown.
Continue: Get On Up Trailer
The stars of the upcoming James Brown biopic 'Get On Up', Viola Davis, Nelsan Ellis and Octavia Spencer, talk about the legendary musician alongside artists Ice Cube, Pharrell, Mick Jagger, Cee-Lo Green and Aloe Blacc in a short featurette ahead of the film's release on September 26th 2014.
Continue: Get On Up - Featurette
James Brown didn't have the easiest childhood being born to two young parents who were so poor they could barely afford to live. After just a few years, his mother left him and he was raised by his aunt who, although was equally as financially insecure, resolved to love him as her own. Naturally, given his tough background, James turned to crime as a youth and spent time in a juvenile detention centre following an armed robbery conviction. It was there he took his passion for music seriously and decided to form a gospel band with some fellow inmates. Following his parole, he joined another gospel group and from there spiralled an illustrious career in funk and soul music that took the entire world by storm. Just as he dreamed, he became one of the music industry's most revered stars, but, alas, he also became one of the most troubled.
Continue: Get On Up Trailer
Gentle and very smart, this low-key comedy gets under the skin as it follows a smart young kid into the adult world. Without quite becoming either a frat-house comedy or coming-of-age odyssey, the film knowingly avoids cliches while telling a hugely engaging story with so much charm that it's virtually impossible to stop smiling.
The kid is 13-year-old frizzy-haired genius Eli (Wolff), who longs to attend Harvard but is instead stuck with 27-best choice Whittman College. His first friend there is the oldest freshman, 30-something Leo (Fraser), who is trying to reinvent himself and introduces Eli to the campus' party lifestyle. Then after a run-in with three Harvard snobs, Eli decides to teach his desired university a lesson: he joins Whittman's Mastermind team (alongside Bergman, Lee and de Jesus) and swiftly starts turning their losing streak around as they climb through the ranks and head to a showdown with Harvard at the national finals.
While the competition plot follows a fairly standard trajectory, writer Wierzbianski and director Kent refuse to indulge in trite formulaic melodramatics. Even the way Eli falls for a teen (Garner) from the local town feels fresh and unexpected. And while the humour is rarely laugh-out-loud funny, the smiles are earned because they are grounded in the characters rather than cheap jokes. It also helps that each character is a vivid bundle of complex energy and emotion, nicely played by an up-for-it cast.
Continue reading: Hair Brained Review
'Wilson', starring both Dern and Harrelson, is released in U.S. cinemas on March 24th.
At just 13, Robert Irwin is continuing his father’s legacy and he’s just as enthusiastic about animals as his dad.
Madonna adopted twins Esther and Stella from Malawi earlier this month.
Anchored by the almost ridiculously engaging Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, this sci-fi movie travels...
Life is quite sedentary in the small town of Bright Hope, the people rely on...
Ever since his wonderful appearance in Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel, we've been waiting...
Eddie Mannix is a fixer who works in Hollywood where he tames celebrities and keeps...
Richard Haig is a remarkably intelligent, charming, ageing poetry professor, whose life away from the...
With an appropriately jarring sense of energy, this James Brown biopic acutely captures the Godfather...
The stars of the upcoming James Brown biopic 'Get On Up', Viola Davis, Nelsan Ellis...
James Brown didn't have the easiest childhood being born to two young parents who were...
Gentle and very smart, this low-key comedy gets under the skin as it follows a...
After playing comical sidekicks in rom-coms like No Strings Attached and What Happens in Vegas,...
Carol is a successful vocal coach with an extraordinary talent for accents, even training the...
General Aladeen is the ruler of a country called Wadiya. However, he is not a...
The Coen brothers take another sharp turn, catching us off-guard with this offbeat suburban drama...