Johnny Simmons, Talia Shire, Beverly D’Angelo, Robin Thomas and Robert Schwartzman at the 31st Annual Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival held at Hard Rock Live, Florida, United States - Saturday 5th November 2016
Based on real events, this sharply well-made film shifts from a rather light-hearted comedy into a horrific thriller. And it feels unnervingly natural as it does so. Where this goes is a bit relentless in its exploration of the darkest aspects of human capabilities, but it's also bracingly truthful. At the same time, it shows the enduring value of an experiment that seemed to go perilously wrong.
In Northern California in 1971, a group of 24 university students respond to a newspaper advert asking for participants in a psychological experiment. On the toss of a coin, organiser Dr Zimbardo (Billy Crudup) divides the young men into guards and inmates, and places them in a makeshift prison where they can be observed. And things start to turn nasty very quickly, as guard Christopher (Michael Angarano) targets snarky prisoner 8612 (Ezra Miller) for extra punishment. The guards also turn on the especially vulnerable 819 (Tye Sheridan). And when the inmates revolt, Zimbardo allows the guards to carry on with their increasingly harsh discipline. But Zimbardo's girlfriend Christina (Olivia Thirlby), herself a psychologist, worries that the situation has gone too far.
It's intriguing, and perhaps obvious, that it had to be a woman who saw through a scenario that had become little more than an out-of-control expression of masculinity. Even more telling, Zimbardo and his team became part of the experiment themselves, as they allowed and were fascinated by the abuse heaped on the prisoners by play-acting guards who let the power go to their heads. Director Kyle Patrick Alvarez (C.O.G.) shoots this in an unusually stripped-down style that gives the film a documentary tone. This low key approach means that the pacing sometimes feels draggy, as the intensely internalised suspense cycles around and around again. But what this is revealing about human behaviour is invaluable, and seriously terrifying.
Continue reading: The Stanford Prison Experiment Review
It's 1971 and University professor Dr. Philip Zimbardo wants to try a new social and psychological experiment. The idea was to take 18 young, well-adjusted males and put half in the role of a prison guard and half in the role of a prison inmate. It quickly became apparent that the guards would dominate this situation and take their new job roles to the extreme.
Though all the volunteers know they're being watch by Zimbardo and his colleagues, this didn't seem to make much difference to how the guards react. Not willing to put up with the actions of the guards, soon the submissive prisoners decide to rebel and take matters into their own hands. As the volunteers fall deeper into their new lives, Zimbardo becomes fascinated by the results and how quickly the situation escalates. When rules start to get broken, when should enough be enough?
The Stanford Prison Experiment is a psychological thriller based on true events. The results of Zimbardo's test were published in a book named The Lucifer Effect.
The Stanford Prison Experiment was directed by Kyle Patrick Alvarez and stars a number of young actors including Michael Angarano, Moises Arias & Ezra Miller.
When news gets round about a gold discovery in the Klondike region of the Yukon, Canada in 1897, it becomes one of the last great gold rushes in history. Bill Haskell and Byron Epstein are two hopeful travellers with an ambition of wealth who travel up to Dawson City (often dubbed 'The Paris of the North') to receive their fortune. However, digging up a life of luxury becomes less straightforward as they are forced to face bitter sub-zero temperatures, gold-digging temptresses and men who won't think twice about killing for profit. Making an easy fortune is one thing; surviving long enough to use it is another.
Continue: Klondike Trailer
Even as this comedy strains to be goofy and transgressive, it catches us by surprise simply because it dares to explore first-time sexual experiences through female eyes. And Aubrey Plaza (Safety Not Guaranteed) brings her usual sardonic wit to the lead role, merrily offending the more timid moviegoers while making more adventurous fans wish the film went even further.
Plaza plays Brandy, who graduated at the top of her Boise high school class. But with that goal achieved, she wonders if she neglected to prepare properly for university social life, so she makes a summer to-do list of sex-related tasks leading, hopefully, to losing her virginity to the hunky guitar-strumming lifeguard Rusty (Porter). She works with him at the local swimming pool along with her nice-guy best pal Cameron (Simmons), who's of course secretly in love with her. But as Brandy works through the list with the help of her friends (Shawkat and Steele) and her experienced big sister (Bilson), she starts to worry that her emotions are getting in the way.
Thankfully, writer-director Carey refuses to let this turn into a romantic slush-fest, keeping the encounters jagged and often very funny. The script is packed with hilariously squirm-inducing conversations about sex, many involving Brandy's far too helpful mother (Britton). Although her dad (Gregg) and her loser boss (Hader) understandably don't want to know. Meanwhile, when the local guys (Glover and Mintz-Plasse) find out about Brandy's list, they are sure to tick off a few items themselves, as does a visiting rock star (Samberg).
Continue reading: The To Do List Review
Brandy Clark is a smart, high-achieving though particularly naive high-school graduate whose finding the prospect of a new life at college daunting. Tired of being relentlessly teased for her sexual inexperience, she compiles a list of bedroom adventures she would like to have before beginning her first year as a freshman. However, trying to catch-up with her friends becomes a shame-filled rollercoaster as she attempts to seduce handsome, floppy-haired lifeguard Rusty Waters who she met at her first college party. She manages to lose her head, as well as her top, as she discovers that there's more to having trysts with guys than just getting physical as the much more confusing emotional side comes into it. The question is, will she survive her first year at college, or will this new world of passion and parties drive this straight-laced girl crazy?
Continue: The To Do List - Green Band Trailer
Brandy Clark is an ordinary high school senior who finds herself suffocated under the pressures of pre-college life. As a sexually curious virgin, she is determined to explore the world of bedroom pleasures before starting her first year at college. From the most bizarre to the most unpleasant and unimaginable, she is resolute that she will experience every sexual adventure she's ever heard of and makes a long, colorful list of everything she hopes to err. 'achieve' in the short time she has left as a senior. Locating willing participants doesn't prove too difficult with many members of the opposite sex on a similar quest to her, and her new found promiscuity proves a lot for her anxious parents to handle.
This hilarious new romantic comedy is not like regular Valentine's Day flicks; it's frank and explicit with no room for censorship, just like a normal pre-college teenager. 'The To Do List' has been written and directed by Maggie Carey in her first feature length movie and its set to be released bang on time on February 14th 2013. Prepare to cover your ears and eyes as you venture into that world you thought (and hoped) you'd long forgotten.
Starring: Connie Britton, Aubrey Plaza, Rachel Bilson, Andy Samberg, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Alia Shawkat, Clark Gregg, Johnny Simmons, Bill Hader, Scott Porter, Nolan Gould, Donald Glover, Adam Pally, Sarah Steele & Lauren Lapkus.
Continue: The To Do List Trailer
Spikier than the average coming-of-age movie, this astute comedy-drama is packed with memorable characters and resonant situations. It's also strikingly intelligent, refusing to accept Hollywood's fake moralising as it grapples with big issues from mental health to bullying. And even better, it's funny and sexy.
Set in the early 1990s, it's the story of the painfully shy Charlie (Lerman), who plans to blend into the background as he starts high school. Scarred by an emotional event in his past, the only new friend he makes is his English teacher (Rudd). Then his sharp wit is spotted by the colourful Patrick (Miller), an anarchic gay teen who doesn't care what people think. Patrick also has a sexy stepsister, Sam (Watson), who takes a liking to Charlie as well, and soon they become inseparable friends. Well, until Charlie loses his nerve to ask Sam out and ends up in a relationship with her friend Mary Elizabeth (Whitman) instead.
After some less-than-thrilling lead roles (such as Percy Jackson or last year's Three Musketeers remake), Lerman finally comes into his own here with a sensitive, intelligent performance that's nicely underplayed. He also has terrific chemistry with Watson and Miller, whose feisty, hilarious love of life fills every scene they're in. They make such a strong trio that we are deeply moved by each rocky shift in their friendship. And Whitman brings a sparky energy to her scenes as the Buddhist punk with a bracingly honest approach to whatever happens.
Continue reading: The Perks Of Being A Wallflower Review
Charlie is a 15-year-old high school freshman with no friends since his best friend Michael committed suicide. He is determined to turn his average life around and become someone people notice. He succeeds, at least, in making friends with two seniors; Sam and her extremely effeminate stepbrother Patrick; who let him into their lives and try to show him a good time. He also warms to his English teacher, Bill, who regularly lends him literary texts to read and absorb. Soon, his relationship with Sam gets stronger and Charlie begins to develop feelings for her that he's never before experienced. His new found friends stand by him through high school as he comes to terms with the death of his friend, his mental illness and with who he is as a person.
Continue: The Perks Of Being A Wallflower Trailer
Morton Schmidt and Greg Jenko were enemies in high school. Schmidt was a nerd who looked like Eminem in an attempt to be cool. Jenko was a jock who took particular delight in bullying Schmidt. In a twist of fate, the pair end up at the same police academy after graduation.
Continue: 21 Jump Street Trailer
After the President is murdered in 1865, inexperienced lawyer Frederick (McAvoy) is assigned to defend Mary Surratt (Wright), who is charged with conspiracy alongside eight others. As a war hero from the North, Frederick is horrified to get this job, but is convinced by his boss (Wilkinson) that she at least deserves a fair trial. Of course, in the hysteria following the war and assassination, that's not likely. The judge (Meaney) clearly takes sides, the prosecutor (Huston) is relentlessly arrogant and the war secretary (Kline) has already decided on a verdict and sentence.
Continue reading: The Conspirator Review
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