Two years ago, Kingsman: The Secret Service seemed to come out of nowhere, ruffling feathers as it took an anarchic, often transgressive approach to the super-spy genre and made a star of Taron Egerton. Now Matthew Vaughn is back with a sequel, and it's rather clear that he has a franchise in mind. The new movie is still wildly energetic and eye-catching, but it also has a more predictable plot that takes fewer risks.
We catch up with Eggsy (Egerton) as he's a respectable member of the Kingsman juggling his private life with his serious girlfriend Princess Tilde (Hanna Alstrom). But megalomaniacal drug lord Poppy (Julianne Moore) and her part-cyborg henchman Charlie (Edward Holcroft) launch a vicious attack on Kingsman bases, leaving Eggsy and his colleague Merlin (Mark Strong) on their own. For help, they turn to their American counterpart Statesman, run by Champ (Jeff Bridges). His agents Tequila, Whiskey and Ginger (Channing Tatum, Pablo Pascal and Halle Berry) offer help getting Kingsman back on its feet. And they also reveal that they've rescued fallen agent Harry (Colin Firth), who is recovering from a brain injury. Meanwhile, Poppy launches a global assault.
To tell this rather simple story, Vaughn indulges in all kinds of flashy visual trickery. The action sequences are choreographed like wacky cartoons, as the camera swoops through the complicated mayhem with acrobatic skill. And the characters are vividly played by the top-notch cast with maximum personality flourishes. Egerton is terrific at the centre, as adept at physicality and comedy as he is at finding a touch of emotion here and there. His scenes with Firth are especially strong. And Moore makes the most of her goofy kingpin, who is trying to recreate 1950s Americana in the jungle, plus added madcap 1970s flair with a riotous Elton John, who gets stuck right into the mayhem.
Continue reading: Kingsman: The Golden Circle Review
For those who knew him, Gary Unwin (better known as Eggsy to his friends), was never a likely candidate for a spy. After stealing a car and being a bit of a hooligan (who's always up for a laugh) eventually Eggsy landed himself in trouble with the police. What the outside world didn't know about Eggsy was his father was an incredibly brave probationary secret agent and Eggsy displays many of his father's strengths. Kingsman Harry Hart sees Eggsy's potential and trains him up as a Kingsman spy. Only Eggsy and one other trainee, Roxy, succeed in proving that they have what it takes to become a Kingsman. Together, with the help of Harry and their quartermaster, Merlin, they defeat psychopathic billionaire Richmond Valentine. Their mission is a success but in the process Harry is shot in the head.
Though Eggsy loses his mentor, life continues for the young spy and he becomes the Kingsman that Hart always knew him to be. As worldwide threats become known, the Kingsman are once again placed as the brink of extermination. Their headquarters and training grounds are blown up and Eggsy and Merlin must once again find a way to save the world.
Their hunt takes them to America and it's revealed that The Kingsman aren't the only highly secret organisation looking to protect the world; the two Brit's are introduced to Champagne, Jack Daniels and Tequila - three agents working for the Statesman, the US equivalent to Kingsman. With the help of their new American counterparts, Eggsy, Merlin and some other familiar faces might just stand a chance of saving the world all over again.
Elizabeth Sloane is a lobbyist and often finds herself facing off against some of the most important politicians in America. She's a consummate professional and is often taken as cold and calculating but these elements of her personality only work to her benefit.
In many ways, being a successful lobbyist is like being a chess champion, you always must have the foresight to be at least one step ahead of your opponent and making sure they don't see your moves coming - and if they do, making equally sure that you have a counter measure in place.
After years of success, Elizabeth decides that her time has come to take on one of the biggest challenges; the Gun control laws and Elizabeth soon becomes aware at just what lengths people will go to in order to protect their second amendment right.
Nobby is a good ol' northern lad who loves nothing more than spending time with his family and mates down at the local pub but there's something missing from his life - his brother. When Nobby and his brother were young boys, they were separated and the two haven't seen one another since.
Being separated for so many years has led the two grown men down very different lives. Nobby has multiple children and lives with the love of his life whilst his brother, Sebastian is a loner who doesn't have a personal life at the cost of his job, a professional spy.
When Nobby manages to track down his brother, the two are reunited and it instantly leads to Noddy making costly mistakes for his brother. The spy's mission is ruined and he must go into hiding and re-evaluated his plan. Ever the thinker, Noddy comes up with the perfect place for Sebastian to lay low. Grimsby - the boys home town.
Continue: Grimsby Trailer
Nobby and Sebastian are long lost brothers who live completely different lives. Sebastian is a highly skilled MI6 assassin whilst his brother, Norman Grimsby - affectionately known as Nobby - leads a much simpler life.
Football loving Nobby lives in North England with the love of his life Lindsey and their eleven children. Their life is good and they're all very happy together - yet Nobby longs to reconnect with his brother. When Nobby's search finally returns a positive result, he doesn't realise how much danger he's putting both himself and his brother in.
The brothers are finally reunited but unbeknownst to Nobby, Sebastian has exposed a deadly plot that could scale to a global disaster. With both brothers on the run, Nobby must put some of his northern traits to one side and help his brother protect the world.
Continue: Grimsby - Red Band Teaser Trailer
The best London’s West End has to offer was out in force at the 39th annual Olivier Awards.
Angela Lansbury and The Kinks musical Sunny Afternoon, were the big winners at Olivier Awards, held on Sunday evening at London’s Royal Opera House. At the ceremony, hosted by Lenny Henry, Arthur Miller’s A View From The Bridge also won big, taking home three awards including best revival.
Lansbury took home the best supporting actress award.
Angela Lansbury, who turns 90 this October, returned to the West End last year as Madame Arcati in Blithe Spirit at the Gielgud Theatre. The actress took home the best supporting actress for her performance, telling the audience "I simply can't believe it,” while accepting the statue.
With virtually the same tone as they used in their superhero spoof Kick-Ass, filmmakers Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman take another riotously adult approach to pastiche, this time tackling the James Bond genre. Essentially they have made a 007 movie that refuses to tone itself down for the PG-13 audience, indulging in the profanity and excessive violence other films shy away from. So it doesn't really matter if the plot itself isn't quite as rebellious as it pretends to be.
Kingsman is a top-secret spy agency located in a Saville Row tailor, beholden to no corporation or government. Led by Arthur and Merlin (Michael Caine and Mark Strong), these gentlemanly super-agents use the names of the knights of the Round Table. And when one of them dies, they know it's time to get with the times and recruit someone young and hip. So they set up a rigorous school for trainees, with one lucky graduate set to earn a spot at the table. Harry, aka Galahad (Colin Firth), chooses rough East End teen Eggsy (Taron Egerton) as his candidate. The son of a former agent, Eggsy shows considerable promise even if he lacks the expected refinement. Then just before the final selection is made, they discover that mobile phone billionaire Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson) is up to something nefarious. So Eggsy and fellow rookie Roxy (Sophie Cookson) kick into action to figure out what he's up to, and stop him.
Despite constant reminders that "this isn't that kind of movie", it clearly is. Every Bond element is here, including the crazed villain with an elaborate lair and a technically augmented sidekick (Sofia Boutella's vicious blade-footed henchwoman Gazelle). The only difference is that where Bond hints cheekily at violence and sex, Vaughn and Goldman go for it. This film is packed with outrageous, over-the-top carnage and intensely rude dialogue, delivered with relish by the expert cast. Firth, Caine and Strong are terrific at combining tweedy propriety with public schoolboy naughtiness, while Jackson merrily plays around with Valentine's god-complex.
Continue reading: Kingsman: The Secret Service Review
A biopic that plays out like a cerebral thriller, this film traces the life of Alan Turing, the British maths genius who essentially invented the computer and won World War II before being driven to suicide by a cruel legal system. So it's striking that Norwegian filmmaker Morten Tyldum (Headhunters) infuses the film with humour, energy and intelligence. And with an astounding performance from Benedict Cumberbatch, he also manages to find layers of nuance in first-time screenwriter Graham Moore's on-the-nose script.
We meet Cumberbatch's Alan as a 27-year-old Cambridge professor in 1939, recruited by MI6 officer Menzies (Mark Strong) and military commander Denniston (Charles Dance) to join the team at Bletchley Park as they try to crack Germany's Enigma code. An eccentric genius, Alan struggles to fit in with his colleagues (Matthew Goode, Allen Leech and Matthew Beard), but he manages to connect with Jean (Keira Knightley), whom he recruits even though she's not allowed to work alongside the men. Then Alan begins to build his ambitious, unprecedented computing machine. No one understands how it can help decode Enigma, but they can see that he's on to something. Meanwhile, Alan has his own secret: he's gay, which is a criminal offence at the time.
The story is told with three interwoven timelines, with the central plot being the race to break Enigma and turn the tide of the war against the Nazis. Alongside this are scenes set in 1951, when a policeman (Rory Kinnear) interviews Turing about his homosexuality. And there are also flashbacks to 1928, when the young Turing (a superb Alex Lawther) has his first encounter with cryptology, romance and pretending to be someone he's not. The links between these three strands feel somewhat pushy, all hinging on the line: "It's people no one imagines anything of who do things no one can imagine." But Tyldum allows plenty of space for the actors to add uneven edges that draw out the meaning in more subtle, involving ways.
Continue reading: The Imitation Game Review
It's World War II and things are looking bleak as the allies struggle to decipher the Germans' ingenious Enigma Code; a puzzle that could bring an immediate end to the war with all their movements quickly surfacing. Unfortunately, their enigma seems to be nearly impossible, at least until the British government enlist the help of gifted university graduate Alan Turing, whose remarkable ability for solving problems has eluded no-one. With the help of a tireless team, Turing sets about developing a top secret machine with the ability to find and eliminate all possible sequences with the speed and efficiency that would be impossible just using a human brain. When it seems he indeed has managed to make a breakthrough, discoveries about his personal life put him in danger of the very people he was trying to help.
Continue: The Imitation Game - Interview Clip
A clever premise can't help but grab the audience's attention as this mystery-thriller plays with ideas of identity and memory, but the simplistic filmmaking makes it feel like a cheat. Writer-director Rowan Joffe (2010's Brighton Rock remake) badly underestimates the audience, using melodrama and contrived storytelling to try to manipulate viewers' emotions. And it doesn't help that the leading lady can't move her face.
Nicole Kidman stars as Christine, who wakes up every morning thinking that she's 23. When she discovers Ben (Colin Firth) in her bed, she's almost as horrified as when she sees her 40-year-old face in the mirror. But Ben patiently explains who she is, that he's her husband and that an accident damaged her ability to make new long-term memories. When he leaves for work each day, she is contacted by Dr Nash (Mark Strong), who helps nudge her into the present. But all of this does little more than make Christine wonder whether anyone is telling the truth. As she digs deeper each day, she gets in touch with her friend Claire (Anne-Marie Duff), who offers some continuity. And by piecing clues together she begins to realise that there's a gap between what's really happening and what she thinks she remembers.
With elements of both Memento and 50 First Dates, this film is packed with tricky elements that add to the suspense, creating a creepy atmosphere that's surprisingly moving as seen through Christine's eyes. Even with her immobile face, Kidman's eyes are alert and emotive, strongly conveying Christine's yearning to understand the truth. Opposite her, the always terrific Duff has the film's best role simply because she seems to be who she claims to be. Meanwhile, Firth and Strong have a great time wrong-footing both Christine and the audience, or maybe they're just misunderstood. The fascinating premise forces us to sift through the clues ourselves to figure out what's going on.
Continue reading: Before I Go To Sleep Review
Two years ago, Kingsman: The Secret Service seemed to come out of nowhere, ruffling feathers...
For those who knew him, Gary Unwin (better known as Eggsy to his friends), was...
In 1980, a group of six armed terrorists storm the Iranian embassy in London, taking...
Elizabeth Sloane is a lobbyist and often finds herself facing off against some of the...
Although it contains some memorably outrageous comedy moments, this movie (retitled The Brothers Grimsby for...
Nobby and Sebastian are long lost brothers who live completely different lives. Sebastian is a...
With virtually the same tone as they used in their superhero spoof Kick-Ass, filmmakers Matthew...
A biopic that plays out like a cerebral thriller, this film traces the life of...
It's World War II and things are looking bleak as the allies struggle to decipher...
A clever premise can't help but grab the audience's attention as this mystery-thriller plays with...
Alan Turing is a mathematician whose genius leads him to be enlisted in a major...
Christine Lucas is suffering from a complicated form of amnesia whereby she cannot remember anything...