As Tilda Swinton reteams with her Snowpiercer director, Korea's Bong Joon Ho, it's perhaps unsurprising that the resulting movie defies genres. Not only has it sparked a debate about Netflix-produced films that people want to see in cinemas, but it's also a story with huge political resonances laced through its premise. That said, this is essentially a movie about a girl and her beloved hippo-sized pig. And it's warm, witty and remarkably engaging.
Swinton plays twins Nancy and Lucy, who take over their family's multinational corporation after their ruthless father dies. With a desire to feed the world, Lucy has bred a series of gigantic pigs and placed them with farmers around the globe. Ten years later, her celebrity judge Johnny (Jake Gyllenhaal) crowns the winning pig as Okja, raised in the Korean mountains by teen Mija (An Seo Hyun) and her grandfather (Byun Heebong). But now Mija is horrified that they are taking her best friend away, so she sets out on an epic quest to Seoul to find Okja before she's put on a plane to America. Meanwhile, a group of animal rights activists led by Jay (Paul Dano) is also trying to free Okja, and they hatch a plan to take Mija to New York and stage a very public rescue.
The film has a snappy, witty tone that propels us into the story, with moments of satirical comedy, earthy humour and some exhilarating, inventively staged action. And the reason it works so well is due to the title character: thanks to seamless digital effects, Okja emerges as a smart, playful and brave creature whose bond with Mija is very strong indeed. This adds a powerful emotional kick, balancing the cartoonish but still remarkably textured performances from Swinton and Gyllenhaal. By contrast, An nicely underplays Mija, while Dano and his gang (including Lily Collins and The Walking Dead's Steven Yuen) add an intriguing edge of soulful compassion.
Continue reading: Okja Review
Mowgli is a human boy known as a man-cub to his peers, among which are an array of jungle beasts. Left in the jungle as a baby, he was taken in by a family of wolves who raised him as their own. However, the older he grows, the more of a threat he becomes to a formidable villain named Shere Khan; a Bengal tiger with a deep fear of fire and loathing of man. Led by an impatient black panther named Bagheera, he is sent away from his jungle home to the safety of a nearby man village, though the journey becomes less straight-forward the further they stray. Mowgli befriends a fun-loving bear named Baloo, but finds Khan is not the only jungle menace as he is set upon by a gang of monkeys led by the orangutan King Louie, and hypnotised by a vicious snake named Kaa.
Continue: The Jungle Book - First Look Trailer
After the rather lacklustre teen-dystopia adventure The Maze Runner, the action continues in this equally gimmicky sequel. It's the middle episode in novelist James Dashner's trilogy, so it lacks a proper narrative structure, building through a series of action sequences that put our heroes into jeopardy. But the film never develops any suspense because writer T.S. Nowlin and director Wes Ball never bother to properly develop the characters or find an original approach to the action.
After escaping from the Maze, Thomas (Dylan O'Brien) and his friends (including Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Ki Hong Lee and Dexter Darden) find themselves in the Scorch, a wasteland created by some sort of environmental catastrophe. They're rescued by Janson (Aidan Gillen) and taken into a sort of halfway house for lost teens, where Thomas meets Aris (Jacob Lofland), a loner who knows something nefarious is going on. Sure enough, the monolithic corporation WCKD, run by Ava (Patricia Clarkson), is using these kids because they are immune to the disease that's turning people into Cranks who maraud across the landscape. To avoid this fate, Thomas and crew plot an escape, fleeing into a devastated city, where they meet Jorge (Giancarlo Esposito) and feisty teen Brenda (Rosa Salazar). Pursued by WCKD, they travel on into the mountains in search of a safe haven.
Yes, this has essentially become a zombie thriller now, as the Cranks chase the kids even more relentlessly than Janson and WCKD do. The problem is that everything about this film feels familiar, from crowds of The Walking Dead to The Day After Tomorrow's abandoned shopping mall to Transformers 3's tilting skyscraper. As with the first film, the dialogue overflows with corny mythology in which everything given an ominous, cool-sounding name. It's all so constructed that it sounds utterly artificial. And the derivative action sequences are directed without even a hint of realism.
Continue reading: The Scorch Trials Review
Having overcome a series of deadly encounters in the box-office smash The Maze Runner, this much-anticipated second chapter in the dystopian young-adult series finds Thomas and his fellow Gladers facing their greatest challenge yet, as they search for clues about the sinister organisation known as WCKD. Their mission takes them to a desolate landscape called the Scorch, where they face new dangers at every turn. Teaming up with resistance fighters, they must take on WCKD's powerful forces in an attempt to uncover the organisation's shocking plans for these young heroes.
Continue: Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials Trailer
Following their supposed escape from the monster infested maze, the surviving Gladers led by Thomas are taken to an underground facility in the wake of a devastating solar flare known as The Scorch that has left the vast majority of the population infected with a disease called the Flare, but little do they know they are about to enter Phase Two. Soon they begin to realise that they're still part of WCKD's dastardly experiment and they must find a way to escape once and for all or risk more of them dying untimely deaths. They are warned about the dangers of entering the barren wasteland that has become the rest of the world, but they have no choice if they want freedom. Cities have been overtaken by sand dunes, but they soon about to discover yet more unfathomable horrors that lie before them.
This dark thriller is so relentlessly stylish that it's distracting. Refusing to settle down to focus on its intriguing central story, filmmaker Greg Francis whirls around through a series of whizzy flashbacks that layer in all kinds of subtext and interest. But it's so fragmented that the film never quite builds any suspense, instead becoming a grotesque horror movie featuring a slasher who tortures and kills with Saw-like maniacal glee.
It centres on young rookie Detective Jeter (Beau Mirchoff), whose recent bust has elevated him to the ranks of the elite cops (Ron Perlman, Titus Welliver, Giancarlo Esposito, Ron Eldard and Corey Large) who meet for a weekly poker game. At his first night with them, each recounts his most iconic case, and afterwards Jeter staggers out a bit tipsy, running into his underaged girlfriend Amy (Halston Sage) who is being menaced by a man (Michael Eklund) in a terrifying mask. Next thing Jeter knows, he's drugged, tied up and being held by this self-proclaimed paedophile who clearly has some sort of agenda here. Jeter can hear Amy in the next room, but every time he tries to escape their captor seems to be one step ahead of him.
All of this plays out of sequence, constantly interrupted by the other five cops' stories and even the masked man's own past, all played out in with flashy visuals and a clever integration of Jeter into past events as he watches them unfold. Sometimes the film also goes into his mind as he plays out a scene hypothetically. All of these fragments weave into the central story in some way, but filmmaker Francis never quite brings it into any sense of focus. It's so hyperactive that all the audience can do is sit back and enjoy the inventive visuals and up-for-it cast, while being horrified and/or entertained by the brutal violence.
Continue reading: Poker Night Review
An in-depth look at who could star in season 2 of HBO's intense crime drama 'True Detective'.
Nic Pizzolatto put the sincerity and quality of True Detective’s story over multiple seasons of the show, asserting that a strict 8-episode format would be condusive to a strong third act. And judging by the critical claim he’s received – his creation is being talked about in the same breath as The Wire – one is inclined to trust the man who risked everything to write the new HBO anthology series.
Woody Harrelson [L] and Matthew McConuaghey [R] as Hart and Cohle in 'True Detective'
“One of the reasons I wanted to do an anthology format is I like stories with endings. I like a good third act. And continuing serial dramas, they tend to have really good beginnings and really long middles and then sort of have to hustle to develop an ending. And I like the idea of telling a self-contained story,” explained Pizzolatto.
Continue reading: True Detective Season 2: Which Pairing Can Pick Up From Cohle And Hart?
Activision have pulled out all the stops for the new trailer for Destiny
The makers of the new multi-platform videogame Destiny have pulled out all the stops for the trailer for the upcoming title. Activision's latest effort have enlisted the help of Jon Favreau and Breaking Bad's Giancarlo Esposito for the epic teaser, which went online on Thursday (May 23).
The live-action trailer was directed by Iron Man director Favreau and prominently features Gustav Fring himself Esposito. The trailer follows the same kind of storyline used in the game, which is set in a futuristic world where players take the role of Guardians of the last stronghold in post-apocalyptic Earth. The trailer aims the introduce would-be players to the concept of the game, which Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg described as “as a grand fable for the ages.”
Giancarlo Esposito; Joy McManigal 2013 HBO's Golden Globes Party at the Beverly Hilton Hotel - Arrivals Featuring: Giancarlo Esposito, Joy McManigal Where: Los Angeles, California, United States When: 13 Jan 2013
Alex Cross is a homicide detective in Washington DC who comes across a series of gruesome and elaborate murders on duty. The victims look as if they've been tortured to death with a reasonable amount of skill, as if the perpetrator was an expert in inflicting pain. Cross deduces that their suspect is ex-military going by his techniques and it doesn't take long before he and the murderer, Michael 'The Butcher' Sullivan make contact. It is clear that Sullivan is deranged, believing that inflicting pain is his calling in life. In spite of any mental incapacities, however, Cross loses all sense of his own morality and indeed sanity when Sullivan targets and murders his beautiful wife on their anniversary and he sets out to track down this killer once and for all, though things do not appear as easy as he might've thought.
'Alex Cross' is the crime thriller adapted from the popular American novelist James Patterson's twelfth book on the character, 'Cross'. The movie's screenplay has been written by Marc Moss, who also wrote the previous Alex Cross-based movie 'Along Came a Spider', alongside Kerry Williamson in her writing debut. With a director like Rob Cohen ('The Fast and the Furious', 'xXx'), expect high-energy action and thrilling danger from this exciting upcoming flick set ton hit UK cinemas on November 30th 2012.
Starring: Tyler Perry, Matthew Fox, Jean Reno, Giancarlo Esposito, Rachel Nichols, Edward Burns, John C. McGinley, Yara Shahidi, Chad Lindberg, Cicely Tyson, Carmen Ejogo, Stephanie Jacobsen and Ingo Rademacher
Giancarlo Esposito and Ziegfeld Theatre - Giancarlo Esposito, and Family, New York City, USA - at the New York premiere of 'The Adventures of Tintin' at the Ziegfeld Theatre. Sunday 11th December 2011
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