Whitey Bulger has had the FBI under his thumb for too long, and now people are starting to notice. How can a criminal mastermind responsible for every major offence in the city pass by seemingly unnoticed for an entire lifetime? It's true he landed in Alcatrez at a young age, but the older the more dangerous he becomes; a kingpin of the South Boston criminal underworld who escaped justice by informing authorities of all movements of the rival gang, the Italian Mafia, as suggested by his most useful contact and friend John Connolly. But the Irish Winter Hill Gang is growing ever more powerful, and Bulger's feelings of invincibility lead to more and more murders and destruction. It's time he was stopped, but finding him is not going to be easy.
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Irish-American criminal mastermind Whitey Bulger was arguably one of the most dangerous men in America before his arrest in 2011 at the age of 81. He'd already spent time in Alcatrez as a much younger man, having spent a lot of time on the streets of South Boston. However, by the 70s he proved to be the FBI's best tool in controlling organised crime within the country, and he was eventually persuaded by his friend John Connolly to be their informant in all workings of the rival Italian Mafia. However, it's not safe business being both a highly respected gangster and a police informant, and while much of his activity is being largely ignored as he rises to become top of the Irish Winter Hill Gang, it seems he is gaining too many killings and dodgy dealings under his belt to go unnoticed.
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Sometimes, the greatest hiding place is in plain sight. For twelve years from the mid-1990s, he was the FBI's second most wanted fugitive, behind Osama Bin Laden. Throughout the 1970s, he was an FBI informant, revealing information to bring down an Italian American crime family, and he was the brother of a US senator. But really, his informant years were to stop another family from invading his own turf. Whitey Bulger (Johnny Depp) was one of the most brutal and violent criminals in Boston, being the secret puppet master behind one of the most dangerous crime families in history.
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On 14th December 2014, the New York premiere for 'Selma' took place at the Ziegfeld Theatre, with various celebrities and stars of the film gracing the red carpet. Amongst these was Oprah Winfrey, who appears as African-American civil rights activist Annie Lee Cooper. Andre Holland and Jeremy Strong - both of whom also appear in the film - posed on the red carpet as well.
Jeremy Strong - Shots of a variety of stars as they took the the red carpet for the premiere of the movie drama 'Selma' which was held at the Ziegfeld Theater in New York City, New York, United States - Sunday 14th December 2014
“What happens when a man stands up and says ‘enough is enough’?” So goes the question raised by Martin Luther King, Jr. (David Oyelowo) when President Lyndon B. Johnson (Tom Wilkinson) declines to help him in battling the race-related violence in Alabama. In retaliation, King organises a peaceful protest; he has African Americans march into Selma, Alabama, in an attempt to gain rights to vote. What follows, is a truly horrifying attack from the police on the peaceful protest which was televised and seen by millions, forcing the President’s hand, as he is forced to watch innocent people suffer.
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This generational drama strains so hard to be serious that it's almost laughable. Its big themes are only superficially addressed, while the bloated nearly two and a half hour running time could easily have been cut down simply by eliminating all of the emotive close-ups of actors with tears welling in their eyes. In other words, while there are the bare bones of a decent movie in here, it's been badly compromised to turn it into Oscar bait.
At least it starts well, with a sequence centred on Hank (Robert Downey Jr), a slick Chicago lawyer with a precocious daughter (Emma Tremblay) and an angry trophy wife (Sarah Lancaster) who has had enough. Hank's cold-hearted ways are a legacy of his estranged relationship with his father Joseph (Robert Duvall), the no-nonsense judge in a small-town Indiana town. Then Hank is called home when his mother dies, comforting his brothers Glen (Vincent D'Onofrio), whose injured hand ended his baseball career, and Dale (Jeremy Strong), who is mentally challenged. He also rekindles his youthful romance with waitress Sam (Vera Farmiga). Then Joseph is arrested for murder, and Hank steps in to help inexperienced lawyer CP (Dax Shepard) defend him against the shark-like prosecutor (Billy Bob Thornton).
There isn't a single subtle element in this film, as the script is carefully constructed to pull our sympathies back and forth even though both Hank and Joseph are deeply unlikeable grumps. Downey and Duvall are good enough actors to make them watchable, but director David Dobkin (The Change-up) hammers every sentimental scene home with far too much force. And the script is so simplistic that it chickens out before anything interesting happens. Even the court case lacks something compelling to draw the audience in. It certainly doesn't help that the characters are all deeply contrived. Just one example: there's a disability for each of the three brothers: physical, emotional and mental.
Continue reading: The Judge Review
Hank Palmer is a ruthless but excellent lawyer, despised by many of his peers for his habit of representing often blatantly guilty criminals. One day mid-trial however, he receives a call from home informing him of his mother's recent death. Reluctantly, he ventures back to the town of Carlinville, Indiana where he grew up to convene with his family ahead of the funeral. As he expected, the greeting between himself and his father - the local Judge Joseph Palmer - is particularly frosty. As a young college graduate, Hank was desperate to leave the harsh and unfriendly grasp of his father but when the town's sheriff tells him that Joseph is now a murder suspect, he begins to feel a grudging obligation to cast their differences aside and help him protest his innocence.
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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.
A warm drama that drifts into light, goofy comedy, this film is too slight to be a classic, but its subtly sharp-edged script holds our interest and gives the cast something to work with. Frequently very funny, this is much more than just a story of an old man with a robotic sidekick, as it explores jagged family relationships and even features a lively caper subplot.
At the centre is Frank (Langella), who doesn't want to leave the rural home where he raised his now-adult children (Marsden and Tyler). Even as they have their own lives far away, they worry about him living alone, so his son buys him a robot assistant (voiced by Sarsgaard) whose only mission is to look after Frank's mental and physical health. Frank dismissively names it "Robot" and tries to ignore it until he realises that its prime directive allows it to help him secretly relaunch his cat-burgling career. His first target is to rescue the town library run by his old friend Jennifer (Sarandon), which is about to be turned into a high-tech social centre by a young businessman (Strong).
Director Shreier keeps the film's pace gentle, underplaying both the comedy and suspense while letting Langella indulge in an enjoyably grumpy scene-stealing performance. Frank may be losing his memory, but he is still sharp as a tack when it comes to planning a heist, especially with the help of Robot. And watching him build up the confidence to pursue Jennifer is enjoyable as well. Meanwhile, Sarsgaard nods to 2001's Hal in the way he invests Robot with deadpan humour and emotion. By comparison, none of the side characters has much to do since they haven't a clue about what Frank is up to.
Continue reading: Robot & Frank Review
Frank is former burglar suffering from increasingly worsening dementia. His lawyer son Hunter notices his condition deteriorating and decides to introduce him to a robot caretaker programmed to take care of him and assist him in his daily tasks such as gardening. He is at first extremely mistrustful of the machine but soon begins to become fond of it as it cannot tell the difference between legal and illegal actions. The pair decide to commit a huge jewellery heist to win the heart of the local librarian Jennifer's library which is about to close down. His daughter Madison, meanwhile, tries to persuade him to get rid of the robot due to her own uncertainties but Frank insists that it is his friend. However, with his dementia becoming worse and worse, there looks to be only so many things that the robot is able to help him with.
This heartwarming comedy drama is set in the near future and has been directed by Jake Schreier in his feature film directorial debut and written by Christopher D. Ford ('The Scariest Show on Television', 'The Fuzz'). The robot it based on the Japanese humanoid creation called Asimo which was introduced in 2000. 'Robot & Frank' is set for release on March 8th 2013.
Director: Jake Schreier
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