An unusually inventive approach brings this story to life, as the filmmakers get into the mind of the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson to reveal how he created those unforgettable songs. Even more impressive is the depiction of Wilson's troubled personal life, which plays out with an unnerving resonance rarely matched by rock-star biopics. This is due to artful direction and writing plus committed performances from Paul Dano and John Cusack, who play Wilson at two key points in his life.
As a young man in the 1960s, Brian Wilson (Dano) is a prodigious genius, preferring to stay in the studio while his brothers Dennis and Carl (Kenny Wormald and Brett Davern) and their bandmate Mike Love (Jake Abel) head out to meet girls on tour. They don't understand Brian's obsession with oddball sounds, but let him do his thing until it becomes clear that he's mentally unstable. Years later, in the late 1980s, Brian (now Cusack) falls for Cadillac saleswoman Melinda (Elizabeth Banks), who realises that he is being over-medicated and possibly abused by his controlling psychiatrist guardian Eugene (Paul Giamatti). And instead of leaving, as Eugene orders her to do, she fights for Brian.
These two time periods are interwoven together in a strikingly seamless way, shifting back and forth to build a potent dramatic and emotional momentum. By seeing everything from Wilson's perspective, the filmmakers are able to take the audience on a remarkable journey through his life, avoiding the usual predictable formula. Wilson's life may follow the usual trajectory of success followed by drug abuse, but his mental illness adds an involving angle that's depicted with sensitivity by Dano and Cusack, as well as director Bill Pohlad and writers Oren Moverman and Michael Alan Lerner. Even more impressive is Banks' performance, which is the key that takes us right into the story. It's a beautifully textured turn that reminds us that she can do a lot more than steal movies in comical roles (see Pitch Perfect, Magic Mike and The Hunger Games).
Continue reading: Love & Mercy Review
Jake Abel - A host of celebrities were photographed as they arrived for The 3rd Annual Noble Awards which honor humanitarians and their hard work around the world. The awards were held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, United States - Friday 27th February 2015
There can't have been a very big demand for a sequel to 2010's The Lightning Thief, but at least this is another adequate adventure for the teen demigods. Much more child-friendly than the first movie, this episode is essentially just a series of heavily animated action set-pieces strung together by the flimsiest of plots. At least it has a sense of energy and some jagged humour to keep grown-ups engaged.
At Half-blood Camp, the refuge for the children of gods with mortals, Percy (Lerman) continues his rivalry with hot-shot Clarisse (Rambin). And when the protective barrier around the camp is poisoned, it's Clarisse who leads a mission to find the healing Golden Fleece in the Sea of Monsters. But Percy knows that he's the subject of a prophecy about the fleece being used to resurrect the destructive Chronos, and that his nemesis Luke (Abel) is up to something evil. So Percy takes his friends Grover and Annabeth (Jackson and Daddario), plus his newly discovered cyclops half-brother Tyson (Smith), and heads off on his own quest.
Despite a few close calls in which characters come close to death, we're pretty sure nothing nasty will happen to these young franchise characters. But director Freudenthal (Diary of a Wimpy Kid) never hangs around long enough for us to realise that there isn't actually any suspense or intrigue in the plot. The film's pace is frantic, as the characters bolt from one crazy scenario to the next, often without bothering to logically connect the two. Several scenes could be cut without changing the story, while others are pure indulgence, such as Fillion's extended cameo as Luke's parcel-delivering father Hermes.
Continue reading: Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters Review
In a relatively quiet week for movies Arthouse filmmaker Harmony Korine comes dangerously close to making a mainstream movie and Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Christopher Walken ensemble for A Late Quartet
It's a relatively quiet week for the movies, with no major releases this week as everyone braces for the true launch of the summer blockbuster season with Tom Cruise sci-fi action Oblivion on 12th April, followed two weeks later by Robert Downey Jr's return for Iron Man 3. There won't be another quiet week until September, basically.
So in cinemas this week, the US and UK swap releases: American audiences will get their chance to see James McAvoy in Danny Boyle's sleek hypnosis thriller Trance, which is No 3 on the UK box office chart. While British cinemas will get a look at James Franco's scene-stealing wannabe rapper-gangster in Spring Breakers, which currently sits at No 9 on the US chart.
While out promoting last week's rather quietly released sci-fi adventure The Host, costars Max Irons and Jake Abel chatted about the on-set pranks between the co-stars, showing a considerable gift for improvised banter. They look a bit punchy after sitting in these seats answering questions for hours on end, but after lots of joking around, they eventually get to talking about the film.
'Percy Jackson & The Olympians: Sea Of Monsters' is due for release this summer with fantastic new cast additions along with welcome returns from 'The Lightning Thief' ensemble.
The trailer for the second instalment of the Percy Jackson series 'The Sea of Monsters' is finally here welcoming the return of four members of 'The Lightning Thief's all-star cast along with some exciting new additions.
Following a pretty harrowing school year in discovering that his father is the Greek god Poseidon in 'Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief', Percy Jackson's ordeal is nowhere near over. In the words of Spider-Man, 'With great power comes great responsibility' and that certainly applies here as now the new Percy Jackson Sea of Monsters trailer shows that Percy is forced to defend his half-god friends and family from the destructive forces of Kronos; a force so evil his sons Zeus, Hades and Poseidon had him destroyed. With his dark spirit now a threat to the world, Percy must recover the Golden Fleece; the only object that can save the world and which is located in the unambiguously named Sea of Monsters. Returning to join him on his quest is his good friend Annabeth Chase played by Alexandra Daddario plus new additions in the shape Douglas Smith as his half-brother Tyson and Leven Rambin, who plays the feisty Clarisse, daughter of the God of War. Logan Lerman makes his return as Percy and Jake Abel is back as the double-crossing son of Hermes, Luke. We also see Brandon T. Jackson back as Percy's best friend Grover Underwood, who's less than happy about Percy's dangerous mission.
While the premise of this sci-fi thriller feels like yet another of Stephenie Meyer's two-boys-one-girl fantasies, a superior writer-director and cast make this is a stronger film than Twilight. The plot may be rather contrived, but the actors bring out some sharp intelligence in the script to make it surprisingly involving.
It's set in a future time after aliens have snatched the bodies of 90 percent of humanity, eliminating hunger, crime and the environmental crisis. But secret pockets of rebels have avoided being possessed by these white mini-jellyfish beings, and are seeking ways to fight back. So when the alien being Wanderer is implanted in the resistance leader Melanie (Ronan), the head Seeker (Kruger) hopes to infiltrate her memories and find out where they're hiding. But Melanie is stronger than anyone thinks, managing to remain conscious alongside Wanderer, winning her to the rebel cause. She heads to the human's secret desert hideout, where Uncle Jeb (Hurt) renames her Wanda and accepts her into the fold. But some humans aren't so sure, and the Seeker is hot on her trail.
It's deep in this maze of rather too-sophisticated caves that the crinkled romance develops, as Melanie is reunited with her boyfriend Jared (Irons), but doesn't want him kissing her when Wanda is in control of her body. Then Wanda falls for Ian (Abel), and their kissing makes Melanie even more furious. Yes, like Twilight, this film seems to think that kissing is the ultimate expression of human connection, giving this film a quirky four-sided love triangle at its centre. Meanwhile, the more thriller-like plotline builds as the Seeker gets ever closer. All of this is played out very seriously, with almost no offhanded humour or humanity, but the emotions are intriguingly resonant.
Continue reading: The Host Review
Max Irons and Jake Abel discuss pranks, crazy fans and deep messages at a press junkett promoting their new movie 'The Host' in New York City. The movie is based on the book series by 'Twilight' author Stephanie Meyer.
With critics hoping for more G.I. Joe action as per Rise of Cobra, they are in for a disappointment. A brand new World War Z trailer shows Brad Pitt and company in a couple of the movie's spectacular looking set pieces.
This week's biggest global release is G.I. Joe: Retaliation, and critics were on edge at press screenings earlier in the week, hoping against hope that the sequel maintained the entertaining ironic subversiveness of the 2009 original, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. Alas, the news isn't good.
The week's other blockbuster is The Host, based on the novel by Twilight author Stephenie Meyers. Saoirse Ronan stars as Melanie, a young woman facing an alien force that's taking over humanity. In fine Twilight style, there are two leading men vying for her affections, played by rising-star hearthrobs Max Irons and Jake Abel. Despite good early word-of-mouth, the studio hasn't shown the film to critics.
It's very silly, but also thoroughly entertaining because it gives us exactly what we want.
When the evil Mogadorians invade the planet Lorien, nine super-powered infants are sent to earth, charged with both preserving their race and protecting humanity. The Mog commander (Durand) has already done away numbers one to three, and has caught the scent of Number Four (Pettyfer), who's hiding with his guardian Henri (Olyphant) in Ohio. Going by the name John, he just wants to be a normal teen with a sexy, interesting girlfriend (Agron) and a nerdy, loyal friend (McAuliffe). But he's also being followed by a hot super-babe (Palmer).
Continue reading: I Am Number Four Review
Although, the Greek-gods premise lets the filmmakers indulge in some visually whizzy sequences that keep this rather lightweight action movie entertaining.
Percy (Lerman) is a New York teen whose mother (Keener) has never told him that his father is the god Poseidon (McKidd) and his best pal Grover (Jackson) is actually a protector satyr. When Zeus (Bean) discovers that his lightning bolt has been stolen, he blames Percy. So Percy has to learn quickly who he is so he can find the lightning thief and restore peace to feuding brothers Poseidon, Zeus and Hades (Coogan). In addition to Grover, he gets help from a professor-centaur (Brosnan) and his fellow demigod Annabeth (Daddario).
Continue reading: Percy Jackson & the Olyimpians: The Lightning Thief Review
Neither did I until I caught Marc Abraham's Flash of Genius, a sober biopic with a surprisingly destructive core that recounts how casual inventor Bob Kearns deciphered how one could pause a perpetually sweeping wiper blade, then fought the Ford Motor Company for proper credit.
Continue reading: Flash of Genius Review