On 7th August, 1974, one man chose to walk a high-wire between the two buildings of the World Trade Centre. Philippe Petit (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is an adrenaline junkie who loves to walk across the highest ropes he can, and coming from France to America shows him a new chance to start over, and break records. With the help of his team, he intends to set up something highly illegal and incredibly dangerous, to prove the possibilities mankind is capable of. But with this great feat set in motion, the question steadily begins to grow as to whether he will actually accomplish it.
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French artist Philippe Petit made history in 1974 for his death-defying high-wire feat in New York, where he performed a series of tricks across a cable that was rigged between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. Having been learning to command a tightrope since the tender age of 16, by the time he was 25 he was ready to shock the world with his extraordinary courage and ability in what was possibly one of the most dangerous stunts in human history. Not only that, but his walk actually turned out to be completely unauthorised; a feat of trespassing that took Philippe hours and hours of planning and careful deception. However, when it came down to it, seeing just how much he thrilled the crowd that gathered in the streets below, he was naturally let off all charges by an impressed judge.
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Ever had one of those teachers that simply will not tolerate bad behaviour? Well, elementary school teacher, Miss Meadows (Katie Holmes) is one of those teachers. Miss Meadows is a pillar of society, and acts with a certain sense of grace and elegance that delights her friends and neighbours. But Miss Meadows’ extra-curricular activities are certainly not on the usual syllabus, as she tracks down and kills unsavoury members of the community. But when an investigation begins into an unknown vigilante that ended the life of a multiple murderer, Miss Meadows realises she is being sought by the law she has worked tirelessly to protect.
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This starry drama has documentary realism going for it, although without a single well-developed character it never finds any resonance. By recounting JFK's assassination from a variety of previously unseen angles, we learn some new things about that fateful day in November 1963. Oddly, the script doesn't even focus on the hospital that gives the film its name. That might have helped give the film some focus.
We watch the shooting in Dallas through the eyes of Abraham Zapruder (Giamatti), famously the only person to capture the event on film. He is immediately contacted by a Secret Service agent (Thornton), who helps him process the film and make copies. Meanwhile at Parkland Hospital, two residents (Efron and Hanks) and a tenacious nurse (Harden) are working against the odds to save Kennedy's life. And elsewhere, an FBI agent (Livingston) is following the trail of the shooter, whose brother and mother (Dale and Weaver) have very different reactions to what has just happened.
Writer-director Landesman jumps straight into the events without properly establishing the characters. But it's impossible to feel emotion when we don't know anything about the people we're watching, and we can't feel suspense when we know what's going to happen. So we're left to soak up the details, which are often fascinating (ever wonder how to get a coffin into a plane?). And while the actors are good enough to play the intensity of each scene for all it's worth, the only ones who register with us are Giamatti and Dale, because what their characters go through is more complex than we expect.
Continue reading: Parkland Review
On November 22nd 1963 in Dallas, Texas, the hugely adored President John F. Kennedy was shot to death as he arrived in the city with First Lady Jackie Kennedy. A women's clothing manufacturer named Abraham Zapruder had no idea of the events that would unfold as he set up his camera preparing for Kennedy's arrival; no idea that his footage would be seen by millions repeatedly as the only visual evidence for what took place that day. Few people know anything about this man, or indeed the other people who ended up becoming involved in this historic tragedy, such as the doctors and nurses who were forced to perform immediate life-saving attempts even with their initial shock and devastation, and the family of alleged killer US Marine Lee Harvey Oswald.
This historical drama tells the stories of the lesser known figures who became involved with one of the most famous assassinations in the history of the world ahead its 50th anniversary. It has been directed and written by Peter Landesman who is best known for his sex slavery article 'The Girls Next Door' which was published in the New York Times. 'Parkland' will be released in UK theatres on November 8th 2013.
When Abraham Zapruder, a women's clothing manufacturer from Texas, excitedly set up his camera to record the grand arrival of the much-loved President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jackie Kennedy in Dallas on November 22nd 1963, he had no idea that he would in fact record one of the most shocking and most watched films in history when the President was fatally shot by a nearby gunman. He became one of a string of unlikely individuals to get involved in one of the world's most publicised assassination cases, along with all the doctors and nurses who were forced to overcome the shock when Kennedy was rushed to Parkland Hospital; the family of the alleged killer, US Marine Lee Harvey Oswald; and those FBI agents who could've prevented the incident when they had Oswald in their grasp.
'Parkland' is a new historical drama about one of the most famous assassinations in history which is set for release ahead of the event's 50th anniversary. It has been directed and written by Peter Landesman who is controversially best known for his New York Times article on sex slavery 'The Girls Next Door' which he later turned into a film called 'Trades' and which was publicly accused of being at least partly fictitious. 'Parkland' is set to be released in the UK on November 8th 2013.
Everything about this film screams excess, from the ludicrous two-and-a-half hour running time to the whopping scale of the action sequences to Johnny Depp's bizarro costume. But this reunion between Depp and his original Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy director Verbinski is a solidly made romp that actually has some genuine laughs and thrills. There's certainly never a dull moment.
It's set in late-1860s Texas, where John Reid (Hammer) arrives to visit his brother Dan (Dale), whose wife Rebecca (Wilson) is John's former flame. After an elaborate prison break, John is deputised and joins the posse of rangers hunting down the escapee. When they're ambushed, John is the lone survivor, nursed back to health by quirky outsider Tonto (Depp), a Native American who knows how to get to the bottom of what's going on here. So they go undercover to find the truth, which involves a secret silver mine, construction on the first transcontinental American railway, and tensions between European settlers and the native Comanche community.
The script is a complex riot of details that resolutely refuse to gel into a coherent picture until the screenwriters are good and ready to fill in the gaps. In the mean time, they throw the characters into a series of madcap action set-pieces that are wildly cartoonish in the way everyone just dusts themselves off afterwards and carries on. From train crashes to horseback chases, this is non-stop action. And Verbinski is an expert at staging these massive sequences, so they're a lot of fun to watch, especially when the film is populated with such energetic characters.
Continue reading: The Lone Ranger Review
Starting as a clever Contagion-style investigative thriller, this fiercely paced apocalyptic adventure begins to fall apart early on when smart logic is jettisoned for the more visceral thrills of seeing Brad Pitt save the planet. Sadly, almost every major plot point makes no sense at all, and by the time the film reaches its corny finale, we can no longer suspend our disbelief. But at least it's packed with exciting set pieces that get our pulses racing.
It's set in the present day, as strange unrest breaks out around the world. And when the marauding hordes of undead arrive in Philadelphia, the Lane family barely escapes with their lives. Gerry (Pitt) is a former UN military officer who gets help from an ex-boss (Mokoena) to evacuate his wife (Enos) and children to the safety of an aircraft carrier off the coast. Then he's put to work on a globe-hopping mission to find the source of the infection, travelling first to ground zero in Korea, then to infection-free Israel and finally to a World Health centre in Wales. Along the way he picks up a sidekick in the form of feisty Israeli commando Segen (Kertesz).
The script is only ever interested in Gerry, so the filmmakers never bother deepening any other characters. There's some nice chemistry between Pitt and Kertesz, but she remains essentially irrelevant. As the film goes along, Pitt assumes the responsibilities of experts, soldiers and scientists, so he can singlehandedly solve the mystery. It's utterly preposterous, especially since he has to miraculously survive frequent zombie attacks that kill everyone else. And we won't speak of a shockingly ill-conceived plane crash, which removes what's left of the plot's credibility.
Continue reading: World War Z Review
Changing the writer and director for this third Iron Man movie turns out to be the best thing that could have happened, because Shane Black is a much more focussed filmmaker, and he gives this franchise a badly needed kick. We know that he and Downey work well together (see Kiss Kiss Bang Bang), but we could never have anticipated how Black would bring clarity to Downey's comical riffs. He also makes the action scenes much more human, and therefore a lot more thrilling.
The story takes place in the overall Marvel chronology. Wealthy arms manufacturer Tony Stark (Downey) is feeling badly shaken by his experience working with the Avengers to fight off an alien invasion. So he dives into his work and neglects his relationship with Pepper (Paltrow), who also runs his company. Then two faces from the past reappear: bio-scientist Maya (Hall) is an old colleague of Tony's, while technical genius Aldrich (Pearce) has a past with Pepper. And both seem somehow connected to a wave of nasty bombings that is terrorising America, masterminded by a menacing man who calls himself the Mandarin (Kingsley). And the Mandarin's next target is Tony.
Intriguingly, the script keeps Tony out of the Iron Man suit for much of the film's running time, which makes his character feel much more grounded than ever before. It also makes the action set pieces even more spectacular, since they're not mere robot-vs-robot animated battles. So even if the dialog is peppered with technical gibberish, at least it has a personal dimension. Which not only deepens Tony and Pepper as characters, but makes the surrounding people more interesting. These include Tony's old pal (Cheadle), two self-healing goons (Dale and Szostak) and a pre-teen (Simpkins) who helps Tony. And with his constantly surprising character, Kingsley very nearly steals the show.
Continue reading: Iron Man 3 Review
John Reid is a Texas ranger; law-abiding and glad to ride alongside his brother, following in his father's footsteps. However, enforcing the law is the last thing on his mind when his brother is killed in an ambush. When he wakes after the attack, injured, he is confronted by Tonto; a strange Native American spirit warrior who wishes to team up with him and seek justice. Reid must abandon the law, and fight the real crime in the town and so he dons his mask and dubs himself Lone Ranger and with Tonto, vows to protect the people from the impending insidious threat.
Here is the Walt Disney Pictures adaption of the 50s Western TV show 'The Lone Ranger' that first gained public attention as a radio show in the 30s. It's an amusing and truly stunning take on the story featuring an all-star cast with direction from the Oscar winning Gore Verbinski ('Pirates of the Caribbean', 'Rango', 'The Ring', 'Mousetrap'). The screenwriting group includes Oscar nominees Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio ('The Mask of Zorro', 'Pirates of the Caribbean', 'Shrek') as well as Justin Haythe ('The Clearing', 'Revolutionary Road'). The movie is set for release in UK cinemas everywhere from August 9th 2013.
Gerry Lane is a government employee whose job takes him on missions he never imagined he would take when a terrifying pandemic sweeps the globe. His idyllic family life with his loving wife and two young daughters is shaken when martial law is thrown into practise as a deadly rampage of bloodthirsty creatures ensues, consuming the entirety of Russia and is on the brink of overpowering the US. Humankind will come to an end in 90 days unless Gerry and other government officials can find a cure for the quickly spreading disease and discover the creatures' weakness. He does his best to fly his family to safety in a helicopter, but nobody is immune and his mission looks almost impossible as hundred foot walls aren't even big enough to keep the undead monsters at bay as they crawl easily across cities like insects. Will humankind unite once and for all to fight the biggest global threat in history?
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Tony Stark may have the woman of his dreams, the technological skills of a genius and the ability to save the world from the occasional threatening force, but he's starting to realise that he's not entirely invincible. Unable to sleep and distracted by feelings of guilt, he is forced to reassess his ability to defend himself and his people as his formidable adversary Mandarin threatens to dismantle his life piece by piece. As he watches his life's work burn before his eyes, he is left only with his inner strength and resourcefulness to have a chance at destroying Mandarin once and for all. For the first time, Stark is feeling very vulnerable as he struggles to come to terms with himself as just Tony Stark rather than the supposedly indestructible Iron Man.
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Tony Stark may be Iron Man, but he's feeling less than unbreakable these days. Plagued by nightmares and guilty feelings, he is forced to doubt himself and his ability to protect himself and the ones he loves against a new enemy; the formidably ruthless Mandarin. His doubts are only amplified when his world and his power source are brutally snatched from him and left to burn at the hands of his enemy and he is left with his own internal strengths and resourcefulness alone to find the perpetrator and end his reign of terror. Stark is finally made to confront himself and his superhero identity as Mandarin sets out to prove there are no real heroes in the world.
The third instalment of this Marvel adventure, 'Iron Man 3' is set to be the most hard-hitting of the movies so far with questions being raised less about Iron Man and more about the true Tony Stark and his deeper abilities. It has been directed by Shane Black (the writer of the 'Lethal Weapon' film series) who also co-wrote the comic action flick with Drew Pearce ('Lip Service', 'No Heroics'). It is set for a spectacular release in cinemas on April 26th 2013 in the UK.
Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall, Stephanie Szostak, James Badge Dale, Jon Favreau, Ben Kingsley, Paul Bettany, William Sadler, Stan Lee, Yvonne Zima, Dale Dickey, Ashley Hamilton, Ty Simpkins, Spencer Garrett,
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