Not the subtlest director working in Hollywood, Michael Bay brings his surging machismo to this retelling of the notorious attack on an American compound in Libya on the anniversary of 9/11 in 2012. As always, Bay stages the action on a big scale in a way that looks amazing, but he neglects both the story and the characters. As a result, the film feels epic and beefy, but is impossible to engage with.
It opens as a team of hired soldiers assembles at a secret CIA base in Benghazi. Jack (John Krasinski) is the newest arrival, joining his old pal Rone (James Badge Dale) and four more tough guys (Pablo Schreiber, David Denman, Dominic Fumusa and Max Martini). Meanwhile just up the road, the American Ambassador (Matt Letscher) is staying in a rather unsecure compound with not quite enough security, despite stern warnings from Washington that trouble is brewing. Sure enough, as night falls a local jihadist militia launches a violent, fiery assault. The CIA base chief (David Costabile) tells his men not to join the fight, but of course they can't resist the chance to charge in and save the day.
Over a long and bludgeoning two and a half hours, Bay carefully recreates this long, vicious night of fighting, as the situation continually twists out of control. The best thing about the film is the way it depicts how difficult it was to know which locals were on which side, but even this is simplified in Chuck Hogan's script. Everyone on-screen is interchangeable as either a bewildered nerd or a fierce warrior, and the only one in between is by far the film's strongest character: Peyman Moaadi's translator, who gets pushed right into the middle of the nightmare. In the few quiet moments, there are clumsy attempts to give these manly men some back-story, but it's the same for everyone: former black ops soldier with a wife and kids back home.
Continue reading: 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi Review
Devil's Knot is a biographical thriller drama based on the events of the West Memphis Three case directed by Atom Egoyan (The Sweet Hereafter, Chloe) and written by Paul Harris Boardman and Scott Derrickson (Sinister, The Exorcism Of Emily Rose).
Devil's Knot tells the chilling story of three young boys, Stevie Branch, Christopher Byers and Michael Moore, going missing in the town of West Memphis, Arkansas. When the bodies are found beaten and murdered, the police and religious people of the town put the blame to a group of teenagers they believed to be Satanists, due to the dark nature of their appearance. After police investigation, three young adults, Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley Jr., are arrested for suspicion of the crime. These three youths claim to be innocent of the murders, but the citizens of the town want justice for the murdered children and the punishment of the teenagers, innocent or not, seems to be their best answer.
The film will star academy award winner Reese Witherspoon portraying Stevie Branch's distraught mother, Michelle Enos (World War Z, Gangster Squad) as Vicki Hutcheson who was key in the arrest of the teenagers, Academy Award winner Colin Firth as private investigator Ron Lax and Dane DeHaan (The Amazing Spider Man 2, The Place Beyond the Pines) as Chris Morgan, who was a suspect in the murder case.
With only a hint of a futuristic setting, Spike Jonze takes a remarkably honest look at human emotions as a man and his computer's intelligent operating system fall madly in love with each other. Utterly grounded in believable characters and situations, this is a boldly inventive exploration of how we connect with each other. It's also one of the most involving, witty and evocative movies of the year.
It's set just a few years into the future, when we've essentially done away with keyboards and talk to our phones and computers. So Theodore (Phoenix) works in a company that writes letters for people who want a more tactile way of communicating. While trying not to let his recent divorce from Caroline (Mara) influence his work, his friends (Adams and Letscher) set him up on a blind date with a sexy woman (Wilde). But he's not quite ready to move on until he begins opening up to his new interactive operative system, which calls herself Samantha (voiced by Johansson). And she has such an open-hearted personality that Theodore can't help but fall for her.
The film has a breezy, fable-like tone that allows heavy themes to emerge without weighing us down. Indeed, the central idea is that relationships are difficult because we can't help but evolve individually, which sometimes means drifting apart. Obviously, this has huge ramifications when your partner is a limitless computer mind that will never stop expanding. But Theodore doesn't want to think about this; he is frightened by the idea that Samantha is changing. Yes, despite the vaguely surreal premise, the film is packed with things we readily identify with.
Continue reading: Her Review
The actress will appear in the U.S. comedy series as an attorney when the show returns to the air this autumn (08), and Letscher claims Holmes will stun audiences with her star turn on the show.
He tells People.com, "She does a song-and-dance number that is the best one we've ever done.
"We've done tons of (musical numbers), and she was just phenomenal."
Continue reading: Holmes Wins Praise For Singing And Dancing Guest Stint
Jeff Daniels writes, directs, and stars in the movie as Fred Barlow, a struggling but fulfilled door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman. When his rival competitor, Winslow Schnaebelt (Harve Presnell), agrees to a "winner takes all" contest, they begin an all-out competition to see who can sell the most vacuums over a limited time period.
Continue reading: Super Sucker Review