This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's. And the most remarkable thing about this film is that it's not a feature-length advertisement for the fast-food outlet. Instead, it's a strikingly balanced, warts-and-all exploration of one man who pioneered a whole new way of making a fortune, even if it meant crushing some innocent people along the way. Which of course makes the film both entertaining and involving.
Michael Keaton delivers a storming performance as Ray, who we meet as a travelling salesman in the American Midwest in 1954. Unable to get anyone to understand his theory about simplified menus and faster service, he follows a lead out west to Southern California, where brothers Dick and Mac McDonald (Nick Offerman and John Carroll Lynch) have done just that. He buys into their concept and begins opening franchises back in the Midwest, and his network rapidly expands. But a business partner (BJ Novak) shows him that he'll need to push the brothers aside if he wants to make some proper money.
Director John Lee Hancock keeps the film's tone light and the pace brisk, never bogging down in the darker edges of the story. But he never shies away from them either, which adds a blackly comical tone to Keaton's full-on performance as a man who will do whatever it takes to make a profit. As a result, the audience is able to sympathise with Ray even though he's increasingly unlikeable, a charming monster who shamelessly borrows ideas from everyone he meets. This makes his relationships with his fragile first wife (Laura Dern) and his more aggressive second wife (Linda Cardellini) fascinating, even if neither woman is very well defined.
Continue reading: The Founder Review
Ray Kroc is a milkshake maker salesman who is intrigued by a large number of orders one day and decides to track down the business buying them. It's a burger restaurant in California owned by two brothers named Richard and Maurice McDonald who have revolutionised dining with their lightning fast service and quality control. Ray starts to see potential in the company and tries to encourage them to branch out, and while the McDonald brothers are initially hesitant, they soon slowly allow Kroc to take over their business without realising that they are in danger of losing their hold on it. Kroc wants McDonald's and he's not going to let anyone stand in his way.
Continue: The Founder Trailer
Brad is a good-natured and very correct radio executive who has also wanted to have children of his own. Since marrying his beautiful new wife, his dream comes true when he becomes the stepfather to two delightful children named Megan and Dylan. As much as he tries to be a father to them, however, they are not entirely filled with respect for him; something that becomes a problem when their real father Dusty Mayron phones up out of the blue. He's everything Brad isn't; handsome, super cool and a total god in the eyes of his children. When Dusty moves back over to spend time with his children, he and Brad find themselves battling each other for the kids' affections, doing everything they can to out-do each other in parenting. Can these two completely different souls ever become friends? Or will they remain parental rivals forever?
Continue: Daddy's Home Trailer
Marvel fans will love the action mayhem in this Avengers sequel, but everyone else will vividly feel the fatigue that has descended over this franchise. After the bright spark of originality in last summer's Guardians of the Galaxy, we're back to the same tired formula involving terrific actors battling for screen time in between gratuitous, brutal action sequences that are so digitally animated that they're technically cartoons.
The film opens in the middle of the action as Captain America (Chris Evans) leads Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye (Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson and Jeremy Renner) to recapture an Asgardian sceptre. Tony then discovers that the sceptre could be useful for Ultron, his artificial intelligence project to create a global peacekeeping force. But this goes badly wrong as Ultron (James Spader) springs to life and decides instead to obliterate humanity to make space for his population of smart machines. So the team races from America to Africa, Korea and Eastern Europe, facing off against Ultron and his super-powered twin cohorts Pietro and Wanda (Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen), who of course defect to the Avengers. They also get help from a human-computer entity called The Vision (Paul Bettany).
Yes, there are a lot of characters in this film, and writer-director Joss Whedon is exceptionally good at giving each of them something to do, both dramatically and in the thick of the action. These brief moments of humour and emotional depth are what make the movie enjoyable, giving the solid actors some meaty material to play with.
Continue reading: Avengers: Age Of Ultron Review
Oprah obsessed Alice Klieg suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder which causes her to be socially awkward, impulsive and stubborn, and she's about to find out that money truly can buy you anything. After winning an impressive $86 million in the lottery, her first port of call is a major TV station, where she pitches an idea for hosting her own talk show. They offer her a slot at a cool $15 million, and she subsequently decides to stop taking her medication and pursue fame and recognition. The only problem is, she sucks at hosting her own show. The producers know they have to do something to save their embarrassment over this fiasco of a deal, but with Alice stuck in her own world and resolutely ignoring advice from friends and family, there's not a lot they can do to help her.
Continue: Welcome To Me Trailer
Warner Bros. greenlights a 'Scooby Doo' live action reboot.
A brand new Scooby Doo movie has been given the green light by Warner Bros. just days after the announcement that the original Shaggy voice actor, Casey Kasem, had passed away. Whilst it's unlikely that the two headlines are anything more than a coincidence, the movie news is bound to receive a greater interest from those looking to remember the life of the radio star and actor.
The studio is said to be "starting from scratch" to create a brand new incarnation of the well-loved kid's mystery series, according to Deadline. Though very few details are known at this stage, the new movie will follow in the same vein as its predecessors in that it will be live action instead of animation.
Many will remember Warner Bros.'s two noughties live action reboots of the classic animated show, Scooby Doo and Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed. The first of the two movies was an instant hit, earning $275m worldwide but its widely-panned, Razzie-winning, 2004 successor fell short of that figure by $90m and the series was halted.
Continue reading: New 'Scooby Doo' Movie Announced In Wake Of Casey Kasem Death
After a tour of duty, Kelli (Cardellini) is home with her husband Mike (Shannon) and their two young daughters. She dives right back into her factory job, but something doesn't feel right. After a couple of setbacks, she discovers that Mike has been having an affair with Cara Lee (Swencionis). And when she has her driving licence taken away and is court-ordered to rehab, Kelli's rebellious streak kicks in. It's there that she meets Bud (Slattery), a jaded fellow war veteran who refuses to play by the rules.
Continue reading: Return Review
Kelli is a soldier who spent fifteen months on a military tour in Afghanistan. She is eager to return to normal life in Ohio and to reunite with her husband and their children. She initially greets them with joy and returns to her previous job at the factory, happy to be settling back into a normal routine.
Continue: Return Trailer
I can see where they were going with this movie. The whole advertising campaign, in fact the entire production, is an attempt to sell the film as a late '70s, early '80s teen sex comedy. The poster art is reminiscent of the cartoonish painted posters for films like Animal House, even the title credits are superimposed against clips of Space Invaders (or is that Galaga?).
Continue reading: Grandma's Boy Review
Wrong-o! Story: Crazy piercing/tattoo/Internet fetishist (Snider, playing the Marilyn Manson role) kidnaps kids and pierces/tattoos/tortures them. Fetishist is caught and "rehabilitated". Fetishist is lynched. Repeat.
Continue reading: Strangeland Review
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