James Vanderbilt

James Vanderbilt

James Vanderbilt Quick Links

News Pictures Film RSS

Robert Redford & Cate Blanchett In Talks With 'Rathergate' Producers To Play Don Rather & Mary Mapes


Robert Redford Cate Blanchett George W Bush James Vanderbilt CBS

It's only been ten years since Don Rather reported on a CBS news programme about the Killian documents, which supposedly showed how former President George W. Bush managed to avoid serving his National Service in Vietnam. A film on the subject, and Rather's subsequent departure from the network, is in the works and Robert Redford is currently in talks with producers to play Rather. Cate Blanchett is also thought to be in negotiations to play Mary Mapes, Rather's producer, as Deadline reports.

Robert Redford
Robert Redford is in talks to play Dan Rather in an upcoming film.

Read More: Robert Redford "I Will Never Enter Politics."

Continue reading: Robert Redford & Cate Blanchett In Talks With 'Rathergate' Producers To Play Don Rather & Mary Mapes

White House Down Review


Good

This may look exactly like Gerard Butler's over-serious Olympus Has Fallen, but it's actually that film's smarter, sillier younger brother: the one you like even though you really shouldn't. As he did with 2012, filmmaker Emmerich has injected this huge action romp with a generous dose of tongue-in-cheek humour while never sacrificing the overwrought spectacle. So even if it's wildly contrived and ludicrously patriotic, it's so gleefully destructive that we can't help but have a lot of fun.

It starts out as ex-military man John (Tatum) tries to impress his estranged 11-year-old daughter Emily (King) by taking her along with him on a job interview at the White House. At that moment, home-grown terrorists strike, led by a disgruntled security chief (Woods). In the chaos, John gets separated from Emily, and as he looks for her he stumbles across the US President (Foxx). As John and the President work to subvert the villains, the politically savvy Emily is posting videos of them on YouTube, which helps the Pentagon command centre, overseen by security chief Carol (Gyllenhaal) and Speaker Raphelson (Jenkins), keep the nation from falling apart. But it turns out that one of the baddies (Clarke) has a personal vendetta against John.

As always, Emmerich infuses the film with a sombre tone then undermines it at every step with witty irony. Each scene is packed with quirky characters, snappy one-liners, knowingly corny sentimentality and bigger-than-necessary mayhem. For example, he manages to wedge a full-on car chase into the White House grounds, complete with a rocket launcher. At the centre, Tatum and Foxx are a lively double-act, bouncing off each other with feisty energy. Furrowed-brow gravitas is supplied by Gyllenhaal, Jenkins and Woods, while scene-stealers include King's plucky young hero and Simpson's megalomaniac hacker.

Continue reading: White House Down Review

'Independence Day' Sequel Will Go Ahead Without 'Expensive' Will Smith


Will Smith Roland Emmerich Channing Tatum Dean Devlin James Vanderbilt

Two Independence Day sequels have been scheduled to be released in July 2015 probably without the star of the first film, Will Smith. In an interview with the director of the upcoming film, Roland Emmerich (who directed Channing Tatum in White House Down), said Will Smith is "too expensive". He also said it was because Smith is "too much of a marquee name".

Roland Emmerich
Director Roland Emmerich at the 10,000BC Premiere, L.A. in 2008

Emmerich directed the first Independence Day, in 1996. However, after 17 years Emmerich is aware he is not only catering for an audience who remember the first film but for those who "are new" to the concept. Hence if Smith were to appear in the upcoming sequel, comparisons will be too easily made. In many respects this could alienate (excuse the terrible pun) the new audience. 

Continue reading: 'Independence Day' Sequel Will Go Ahead Without 'Expensive' Will Smith

The Amazing Spider Man Review


Good
Just 10 years after Sam Raimi's now-iconic Spider-man, Marvel has decided to tell the character's origin story again, using a slightly different mythology. The main difference is the presence of appropriately named director Marc Webb, whose last film was the imaginative romantic-comedy (500) Days of Summer. Sure enough, the interpersonal drama is the best thing about this reboot. Much less successful is the action storyline, which feels awkwardly forced into the film to justify its blockbuster status.

A huge asset here is gifted lead actor Andrew Garfield, who takes on the role of Peter Parker with real passion. Peter is a 17-year-old science nerd in high school who has real depth due to his personal history. Growing up in New York with his aunt and uncle (Field and Sheen) after his parents disappeared, he's more than a little unsettled when the object of his secret crush, sexy-brainy Gwen (Stone), notices him. Meanwhile, he's bitten by a mutant spider and develops some strange powers, which he exercises by chasing down bad guys all over the city.

Continue reading: The Amazing Spider Man Review

The Losers Review


Weak
Raucous and colourful, this comical action flick should be great fun, but a lack of plot or character development keep it from coming together. And it's not actually that funny or exciting.

On a mission in Bolivia, a five-man black-ops team is betrayed by their power-mad CIA boss Max (Patric) and left for dead. But they embark on a mission to get revenge and clear their names, with Clay (Morgan) leading techie Jensen (Evans), demolition expert Roque (Elba), driver-pilot Pooch (Short) and sniper Cougar (Jaenada). They also enlist the help of a sexy-but-shady woman (Saldana) as they track Max and his vile henchman (McCallany) from Miami to Los Angeles and try to stop his nefarious Bond-like plan.

Continue reading: The Losers Review

The LA premiere of 'The Losers' held at Grauman's Chinese Theater

James Vanderbilt Tuesday 20th April 2010 The LA premiere of 'The Losers' held at Grauman's Chinese Theater Los Angeles, California

Zodiac Review


Essential
Talk about a tough sell. David Fincher's most accomplished film to date is a true-crime masterpiece about the Zodiac, an enigmatic serial killer whose random approach to murder terrified Northern California throughout the late '60s and early '70s. Methodical and mesmerizing, the picture flirts with a three-hour run-time, features realistic depictions of senseless slaughter, and builds to an incomplete conclusion that is only satisfying when taken in context (for those unaware, the infamous cold case remains unsolved to this day).

It's also brilliant, the first great film of the year which constructs with painstaking detail a fruitless investigation that grew into an obsession for certain members of San Francisco's media and police forces.

Continue reading: Zodiac Review

The Rundown Review


Grim
The dentist responsible for maintaining The Rundown cast's teeth deserves an Academy Award. Leading man The Rock's flashy grin steals the spotlight from his weight room-generated physique. Seann William Scott must floss three times a day to maintain his dazzling smile. Even Rosario Dawson, playing the leader of rebel guerilla troops, seems to benefit from a tremendous dental plan.

Judging from the amount of time I spent analyzing molars and fillings, you can imagine how exciting I found the action on screen. The Rundown is yet another paint-by-numbers buddy comedy tailor-made for the former wrestler's brawny talents. The story follows bounty hunter Beck (The Rock) into the Amazon on the trail of Travis (Scott), an amateur archeologist and the wayward son of Beck's seedy boss. Travis seeks The Gatto, a solid gold relic reportedly worth millions, and he's racing wealthy land tycoon Hatcher (Christopher Walken) and gorgeous rebel leader Mariana (Dawson) to the loot.

Continue reading: The Rundown Review

Darkness Falls Review


Unbearable
The title Darkness Falls is incomplete. Several other things fall as this 76 minute monstrosity lumbers along, including (but not limited to) your hopes, your interest level, and finally, your eyelids.

Actually, Darkness Falls is the name of a small Maine town that's cursed by a vengeful spirit. One hundred years prior, Matilda Dixon played tooth fairy for the community's little ones. For her troubles, Dixon was hanged from the gallows and burnt to a crisp on the charge of suspicion when two children disappeared. From that point on, Dixon's ghost has haunted the youth of Darkness Falls, claiming their baby teeth in the dead of night.

Continue reading: Darkness Falls Review

Basic Review


Terrible
Is that dramatic "woosh" the sound of the intense hurricane that complicates a doomed Army training mission in Basic? No, it's a byproduct of the ever-accelerating, freefalling careers of Johns Travolta and McTiernan.

Travolta's been in dire creative straits since The General's Daughter, and that's being generous. Ponder these big-budget turkeys: Battlefield Earth, Domestic Disturbance, Swordfish. And McTiernan is in no better position, returning with his first film since his Rollerball crap derby -- another waste of good celluloid in a long line that includes The Last Action Hero and The 13th Warrior.

Continue reading: Basic Review

James Vanderbilt

James Vanderbilt Quick Links

News Pictures Film RSS