Not the subtlest director working in Hollywood, Michael Bay brings his surging machismo to this retelling of the notorious attack on an American compound in Libya on the anniversary of 9/11 in 2012. As always, Bay stages the action on a big scale in a way that looks amazing, but he neglects both the story and the characters. As a result, the film feels epic and beefy, but is impossible to engage with.
It opens as a team of hired soldiers assembles at a secret CIA base in Benghazi. Jack (John Krasinski) is the newest arrival, joining his old pal Rone (James Badge Dale) and four more tough guys (Pablo Schreiber, David Denman, Dominic Fumusa and Max Martini). Meanwhile just up the road, the American Ambassador (Matt Letscher) is staying in a rather unsecure compound with not quite enough security, despite stern warnings from Washington that trouble is brewing. Sure enough, as night falls a local jihadist militia launches a violent, fiery assault. The CIA base chief (David Costabile) tells his men not to join the fight, but of course they can't resist the chance to charge in and save the day.
Over a long and bludgeoning two and a half hours, Bay carefully recreates this long, vicious night of fighting, as the situation continually twists out of control. The best thing about the film is the way it depicts how difficult it was to know which locals were on which side, but even this is simplified in Chuck Hogan's script. Everyone on-screen is interchangeable as either a bewildered nerd or a fierce warrior, and the only one in between is by far the film's strongest character: Peyman Moaadi's translator, who gets pushed right into the middle of the nightmare. In the few quiet moments, there are clumsy attempts to give these manly men some back-story, but it's the same for everyone: former black ops soldier with a wife and kids back home.
Continue reading: 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi Review
Max Martin, David Deman, Mark 'Oz' Geist, Dominic Fumusa, John 'Tig' Tiegen, John Krasinski , James Badge Dale - Premiere of the '13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi' screening at Aventura AMC Theater - arrivals at Aventura AMC theater - Aventura, Florida, United States - Thursday 7th January 2016
In this featurette, we get to meet some of the real life heroes 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi is based on. The film tries to stick as accurately as possible to the minute by minute account of what these men experienced.
After the Oscar-winning 2008 documentary Man on Wire told this story with such energy and suspense, it was only a matter of time until someone decided to make a full-on adventure movie. And it's no surprise that the filmmaker turned out to be Robert Zemeckis, known for putting the seemingly unfilmable on the screen, from Who Framed Roger Rabbit to Forrest Gump to The Polar Express. So even if the film feels oddly artificial, this is a rousing, thrilling movie overflowing with cheeky energy.
At the centre of the story is Philippe Petit, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt with a twinkle in his eye and a faintly silly French accent that works perfectly. In Paris, Philippe is working as a street performer when he sees a drawing of the planned Twin Towers of New York's World Trade Center, and he immediately vows to put a wire between them and walk on it. Over the next few years, he recruits a team of accomplices, including his girlfriend Annie (Charlotte Le Bon) and his circus-performer mentor Rudy (Ben Kingsley). Then in Manhattan, they find some men (James Badge Dale and Steve Valentine) to help them on the inside. And in August 1974, just before the towers were finished, they set their elaborate plan in motion.
While other accounts of this story describe Petit's high-wire performance in words and grainy still photos, Zemeckis uses swooping camera movement and vertiginous angles to give the audience goosebumps as Petit elegantly walks back and forth more than 400 meters above the gawping crowd below. After the rousing caper that went on before, this sequence is exhilarating. And Gordon-Levitt plays it beautifully, channeling the man's mischievous passion into every step. This even helps the audience accept the silly narration segments, in which Petit describes the action while perched on the top of the Statue of Liberty with 1970s Manhattan in the background.
Continue reading: The Walk Review
Philippe Petit is a young French high-wire artist, passionate about his tightrope dream and determined to find the perfect place to take the walk of his life. Soon he comes across the newly completed World Trade Centre's Twin Towers in New York; imposing edifices standing at more than 400 metres tall, larger than any man-made structures on Earth. After his first visit to the skyscraper rooftops, he knows he must do everything in his power to achieve this impossible dream - even if he risks death or prosecution in doing so. He hires some technically skilled friends who are willing to covertly set up the wire between the buildings and, after a few nervous doubts, injuries and complications with police, he takes the plunge and performs the most memorable high-wire act in history.
Continue: The Walk - Extended Trailer
Benghazi, Libya has become out-of-control, with Islamic extremists terrorising the state with multiple bomb attacks. As such, the CIA operatives that have been stationed there to covertly observe the terrorism are in more danger than ever before, and so an elite team of former military weapons and manouvre experts are brought on for ultimate security. Jack Da Silva is the team's newest recruit, having previously trained SEALs at the Coronado Navy base. Led by the sharp and formidable Rone, the six-man group face their first major attack when Islamic radicalists storm the US embassy. With the death of an American Ambassador occurring not long after, it's clear that these men have something close to a suicide mission to undertake. But they're willing to risk everything to save the rest of their country's civilians.
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.
Continue: The Walk Trailer
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.
Continue: The Walk - Teaser Trailer
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.
Continue: Miss Meadows Trailer
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.
Date of birth
1st May, 1978
Not the subtlest director working in Hollywood, Michael Bay brings his surging machismo to this...
In this featurette, we get to meet some of the real life heroes 13 Hours:...
Being a security contractor stationed in Benghazi is a job that most people would not...
After the Oscar-winning 2008 documentary Man on Wire told this story with such energy and...
Philippe Petit is a young French high-wire artist, passionate about his tightrope dream and determined...
Benghazi, Libya has become out-of-control, with Islamic extremists terrorising the state with multiple bomb attacks....
On 7th August, 1974, one man chose to walk a high-wire between the two buildings...
French artist Philippe Petit made history in 1974 for his death-defying high-wire feat in New...
Ever had one of those teachers that simply will not tolerate bad behaviour? Well, elementary...
This starry drama has documentary realism going for it, although without a single well-developed character...
On November 22nd 1963 in Dallas, Texas, the hugely adored President John F. Kennedy was...