With the tagline "A Star Wars Story", this first spin-off from the saga isn't actually a stand-alone movie. It requires some understanding of the context as it chronicles events that lead directly into 1977's Episode IV: A New Hope. It's also a seriously rousing action film with a riveting cast of characters and a surprising willingness to embrace even the darkest elements of storytelling. In other words, it might be the first Star Wars movie made specifically for grown-ups.
It opens as the Empire is systematically crushing the rebellion, leaving them wondering if there's any point to continuing the fight. Rumours are swirling that the Empire is building a massive Death Star, and rebel Jyn (Felicity Jones) discovers that it was designed by her long-lost father Galen (Mads Mikkelsen), who sends her a message saying that he left a flaw in the system specifically for the rebels to exploit. So she joins a team to contact him, led by Cassian (Diego Luna), who doubts that Galen is on their side. They're accompanied by pilot Bodhi (Riz Ahmed) and the sarcastic robot K-2SO (Alan Tudyk), plus the blind wannabe Jedi Chirrut (Donnie Yen) and his battling sidekick Baze (Jiang Wen). And as their mission goes rogue, they come up against the slimy Imperial Director Orson (Ben Mendelson) and the vicious Darth Vader (again voiced by James Earl Jones).
Director Gareth Edwards (Monster) packs the movie with visual references to A New Hope, cleverly matching the design work by avoiding fakey digital effects in lieu of more practical, battle-scared models and lively settings on a series of new planets and a familiar one. This gives the film an electric atmosphere that's edgy and unpredictable even though we all know exactly how this mission has to end. At the beginning, the plot feels a bit splintered, but the strands come together with power, building a gnawing sense of momentum and some real gravitas along the way.
Continue reading: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Review
The Rebel Alliance has fallen into an incredibly dark time. With the destruction of their base in the Hoth system, they have suffered numerous setbacks and defeats across the galaxy. It has been a crushing time for the heroes of the Rebel Alliance as well, as Han Solo (Harrison Ford) has been captured by the ruthless Darth Vader and sent to the vicious crime boss Jabba the Hutt. Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) has suffered greatly, too. Not only has he learned the truth about Vader being his father, but he has lost his hand in a battle with the dark lord of the Sith. Luke must first rescue Han, and then face up to his destiny and battle Vader for the fate of the galaxy.
Continue: Star Wars: Return Of The Jedi Trailer
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. The majestic order of honourable, strong Jedi, do all they can to keep the peace in a galaxy slowly tearing itself apart through trade disputes and separatist uprisings. All the while, they are becoming aware of the steady growth of an ancient group of darker, hate filler Jedi known as The Sith, are returning. In amongst their troubles, a young boy is discovered; a boy who could be more powerful than any Jedi that has ever lived. If a legendary prophecy can be believed, he is the one who will destroy the Sith and bring balance back to the Force - the energy which binds all life together.
James Earl Jones and Cecilia Hart - Photographs of the arrivals at the 2014 Voice Arts Awards in honor of James Earl Jones which was held at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York City, New York, United States - Sunday 9th November 2014
Apple is a tenacious 16-years-old who's been in and out of foster care since the age of eight, after her mother, a junkie prostitute, was arrested for a drug-related crime. Consistently abusive, her mother has tried her best to turn Apple into what she wants her to become, but Apple runs away determined to lead a better life. With no money and barely any possessions, she decides to track down her father who she has never before met and ask him to take care of her until she can do so herself. As it turns out, he is now a huge persona in the financial world, with millions of dollars to his name. Initially reluctant, he agrees to take her in, but when she learns that she has become pregnant after a brief tryst with a boy, it's clear that she's not welcome anymore. Seeking comfort elsewhere, will she finally find the family she's been wishing for?
Continue: Gimme Shelter Trailer
Sex and the City actress Kim Cattrall is to return to the stage for the Old Vic's forthcoming production of Tennessee Williams' Sweet Bird Of Young. The Liverpool-born actress will play a failing Hollywood star who quits the movie business when her anticipated comeback is a flop, reports the Press Association.
A noted theatre actress, Cattrall appeared as Cleopatra in the Chichester revival of Janet Suzman's production of Antony and Cleopatra last summer. She's spent increasingly more time in the UK since the last Sex and the City movie and told The Independent in June, "After Sex and the City ended I was exhausted and needed time out. My marriage was coming to an end and my job was finished and my father had just been diagnosed with dementia. I thought I just needed to stop...I needed to go home. For me that was England and Canada, and England was where I started working again and I'm so glad I did, I feel replenished and strong. Sometimes you really do need to go home again." The Old Vic's spring schedule is awash with high profile names as artistic director Kevin Spacey steps up his programme at the historic venue. It includes a version of Terence Rattigan's The Winslow Boy as well as Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing with stage legends James Earl Jones and Vanessa Redgrave. "The Old Vic has always been first and foremost an actors' theatre, a home for great talent and memorable performances," said Spacey, "I am delighted to welcome Lindsay Posner back to our theatre with The Winslow Boy and I know that audiences will be thrilled at the prospect of Kim Cattrall taking on Sweet Bird Of Youth directed by Marianne Elliott, whom we are so excited to welcome for the first time."
Currently showing at the Old Vic is the Trevor Nunn directed Kiss Me Kate, with Alex Bourne, David Burt and Adam Garcia.
Continue reading: Kim Cattrall Returns Home To Play Hollywood Star At The Old Vic
A recent poll put together to celebrate the release of the board game Stratego Sci-Fi has found that the late Christopher Reeves as the Man of Steel is the public's favourite sci-fi star to grace the silver screen.
Reeves battled off tough competition from Star Wars’ Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Yoda (Frank Oz), who placed second and third respectively, and Star Trek's James T Kirk (William Shatner) and Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart), who placed seventh and tenth in the countdown.
Perhaps the most unusual choice for the top ten was Will Smith's Agent Jay character from the Men In Black trilogy, who made it all the way to number five in the countdown, whereas one of the more natural choices - David Tennant as Dr Who - was pushed all the was down to number twenty.
Continue reading: Christopher Reeves' Superman Is The Greatest Sci-Fi Star
Milo is a typical boy, anything that's good for him, he doesn't really like. His mom is always telling him to eat his greens, but he always tries to find ways around eating dreadful things like broccoli. As far as Milo's concerned, what do moms really know? He'll do just fine on his own. But all is about to change when Milo's mom is abducted by aliens.
Continue: Mars Needs Moms Trailer
If you want the real biopic on Muhammad Ali, look no further than Muhammad Ali - Through the Eyes of the World, a fascinating new documentary that gives a deep and rich overview of the champ's life, while still imbuing it with plenty of star power.
Continue reading: Muhammad Ali - Through The Eyes Of The World Review
Best described as Driving Miss Daisy 2, A Family Thing is a way-way-melodramatic picture about an aging, backwards, racist, Arkansas hick, Earl Pilcher (Robert Duvall). Earl's mother, on her death bed, writes him a letter, telling Earl that in reality, she was not his mother at all, that his real mother was a black woman, and that she died having him in childbirth. Mom #2 implores him to seek out his half-brother in Chicago, for reasons never really explained.
Continue reading: A Family Thing Review
One of Disney's greatest achievements, this is to my knowledge the only animated film to be turned into a Broadway musical. (Beauty and the Beast doesn't count, since that film had prior life outside the Disneyverse.)
The Lion King is primarily memorable because it's not based on a fairy tale or a children's story, and thus avoids the cliches that saddle so many Disney flicks. There's no "love conquers all" message, no moral about how trying hard will make everything come out OK. In fact, for much of its running time, The Lion King says the exact opposite: Hakuna Matata means "no worries," right? It's in the past, so let it go. But The Lion King also tells us that we can learn from the past, that tyrants should be overthrown, and that we should own up to our mistakes in the end.
This also makes The Lion King one of Disney's most adult movies. Though it's rated G, it features numerous scenes of peril and death -- with lion cub Simba orphaned after his uncle kills off his dad to usurp the throne and title of king of the jungle. But that too is part of the famed Circle of Life. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Simba runs off to live in the jungle -- gettin' real, ya know -- stricken with guilt that he (thinks he) killed his father. Eventually he returns home to showdown with evil uncle Scar, who has been ruling the jungle with an iron fist, disrupting the Circle of Life.
The Lion King is one of Disney's last great 2-D creations, with computers aiding in some truly stellar moments such as the wildebeest stampede. Lots of perspective shots and moving cameras make this one of the genre's most film-like movies.
If there's anything annoying about the film, it's the singing, young Simba sounds like a young Michael Jackson. On the new song added to the just-out DVD release of the movie, the atrociously vapid "Morning Report," he sounds like a castrato Michael Jackson. You almost don't want him to succeed, but thankfully, Simba eventually grows up and is replaced, voice-wise, by Matthew Broderick. By way of other extras, there's a whole second disc of goodies, including an extensive selection of making-of footage, a deleted scene or two, an alternate first verse of "Hakuna Matata," a special home theater audio mix (sounds good), and about a bazillion kid-friendly features like games and singalongs.
The Lion King has rightfully spawned one of the most enduring industrial complexes ever to come from an animated cat. Way to go, Disney.
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Ah, the majesty.
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