What would you do when your own morals come into direct confrontation with your duty to protect your peers? For Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper), a U.S. Navy SEAL working as a sniper in Iraq, the question comes in one of the worst possible ways. An armed patrol, under the watchful eyes of Kyle, is confronted by a woman and a child. When the woman hands the child what looks to be a Russian grenade, Kyle desperately calls for someone else to see and make a confirmation. When no one can, he is faced with the choice of killing the young boy in his tracks, or jeopardising the safety of his colleagues.
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At the highly regarded college of Winchester University, racial tension is at an all time high. While a group of white students are planning to throw their traditional African-American themed party, many black students are firmly protesting. Meanwhile, the mixed race Samantha White is enjoying popularity as the host of her 'Dear White People' themed radio show, which aims to combat existing stereotypes at the college, but disaster strikes for her when the all-black residential hall faces eradication in order to further diversify students. However, it seems a reality show is keen to document her story - but that means her college peer Coco Conners is looking at rejection for her own pitch. Lionel Higgins joins the newspaper team to help ease some of the tension, but it seems not all black students are clued up on their own cultures.
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Lena Duchannes is a Caster whose family has plenty of dark power between them, but rather than feeling empowered, Lena just wishes she can be mortal so she wouldn't have to hide and people wouldn't talk about her all the time. When she moves to the small and somewhat conservative town of Gatlin, South Carolina, she finds herself an outcast but is soon noticed by her school mate Ethan Wate who is enchanted by her and the excitement her arrival brings to this ordinary, unmoving town. However, their relationship is compromised by the fact that Lena only has a matter of days left before she is subjected to the Claiming; a process that will decide whether she will turn to the Light or the Dark side of magic. While her uncle does everything in her power to make sure she is claimed to the Light, the all-powerful Sarafine is convinced that she will have great magical supremacy which would better be served in the Dark.
'Beautiful Creatures' is the story of just how much love can conquer and, equally, the devastation it brings. It has been adapted to screen by Oscar nominated director and screenwriter Richard LaGravenese ('P.S. I Love You', 'The Mirror Has Two Faces') from the book of the same name by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. The fantasy romance will be released in time for Valentine's Day on February 13th 2013.
Director: Richard LaGravenese
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Despite taking a full-on approach to the issue of alcoholism, filmmaker Ponsoldt undermines his own case by telling a story about the problem itself rather than the people caught up in it. And by avoiding the bigger questions, he leaves us with characters and a situation that are hard to care about, no matter how harrowing the story gets.
Schoolteacher Kate (Winstead) is a mess. Out drinking every night with her husband Charlie (Paul), she turns up drunk to teach her classroom of 6-year-olds. One morning when she's sick, she lets them believe she's pregnant. But lying to the kids sparks her guilt, which gets worse when a colleague (Offerman) covers for her and her boss (Mullally) throws a baby shower. So she joins AA and gets help from her sponsor Jenny (Spencer) to straighten out her life. But once she's sober she wonders whether she can stay with the still-drunk Charlie.
Essentially the film lets all of the characters off the hook since it's the alcohol that's the real villain, not any failing of willpower or self-discipline. In this world, it's not possible to be "the kind of people who have a glass of wine with dinner": you're either a falling-down drunk or a pious teetotaller. And even worst, both Kate and Charlie have tragic back-stories that explain why they are alcoholics. So the film's approach is purely superficial, which makes it impossible to identify with the characters or even root for them to sort out their messy lives.
Continue reading: Smashed Review
Kate and Charlie Hannah's marriage came about through their shared love of partying and getting drunk. All is well in their relationship as long as they are drinking together. However, when Kate's excessive partying pushes her into the dangerous territory of hard drugs threatening her teaching career when she continuously lies to her boss, she decides that it's time to deal with her problem and quit the booze for good. While Charlie vows to help her, he finds going sober less easy and Kate beings to question whether their relationship is built on love or whether their vision of each other has been blurred by alcohol over the past years. Quitting drinking also forces Kate to confront her conduct at work and her difficult relationship with her mother.
'Smashed' is a comedy drama with more drama than comedy. While the antics of Kate and Charlie may be funny at first sight, it is clear as the story goes on that this a story about burying your darkest problems. It has been directed by James Ponsoldt ('Off the Black') who also co-wrote the movie with actress Susan Burke in her screenplay debut. 'Smashed' is scheduled for release this year on December 14th 2012.