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A Bigger Splash Review


Italian filmmaker Luca Guadagnino (I Am Love) reteams with Tilda Swinton for this fresh, tricky drama about four people whose lives are inextricably intertwined. A remake of the 1969 French classic La Piscine, it's a twisted story packed with insinuation: fast, funny and surprising. The actors infuse each scene with a spark of lusty intrigue, while Guadagnino makes everything look gorgeous.

It's set on an isolated island off the coast of Italy, where rock goddess Marianne (Swinton) has gone to recover from vocal chord surgery, so she can only speak in a whisper. She's accompanied by her long-time younger boyfriend Paul (Matthias Schoenaerts), and as they relax naked together in the sunshine their idyll is invaded by Marianne's hyperactive ex and Paul's old friend Harry (Ralph Fiennes), who proceeds to strip off and cavort around the pool, as if he was invited. He brings along his moody daughter Penelope (Dakota Johnson), who immediately begins to flirt with Paul. It's clear that Harry wants Marianne back after all these years, so there's some real tension quietly gurgling up between these four very different people.

Each of the actors gives a remarkably open-handed performance. Swinton and Schoenaerts are enjoyably evasive, firm in their feelings for each other and united against this onslaught. Johnson is terrific as the surly outsider who conceals her agenda to everyone except the movie audience. By contrast, Fiennes is hysterically talkative, never sitting still as he pushes everyone's buttons with his strong opinions and riotous actions. It's the film's flashiest performance, and it's utterly magnetic. And all of the actors are wonderful at suggesting things about their characters' inner motivations that perhaps they don't want to admit to themselves. Yes, this is a story about the deepest elements of being human, animal instincts that can cause problems in the modern world if we forget that they're part of what makes us alive.

Continue reading: A Bigger Splash Review

Richard Linklater To Direct Jennifer Lawrence In The Rosie Project?

Richard Linklater Jennifer Lawrence Michael Costigan Ethan Hawke

Richard Linklater is set to direct Jennifer Lawrence in 'The Rosie Project'.

According to Deadline.com, the 54-year-old 'Boyhood' director is in talks to work with the 24-year-old actress on Sony Pictures' adaptation of Graeme Simison novel, following Phil Lord and Christopher Miller's decision to drop out of the film to direct the Han Solo 'Star Wars' spin-off movie instead.

Produced by Matt Tolmach and Michael Costigan, 'The Rosie Project' will focus on a genetics professor with limited social skills who thinks he has conjured a scientific survey to find a perfect mate, but, instead, finds Rosie, a mismatched woman who becomes irresistible to him

Continue reading: Richard Linklater To Direct Jennifer Lawrence In The Rosie Project?

Out Of The Furnace Review


Coarse and not exactly subtle, this dark drama might disappoint viewers expecting a more traditional revenge thriller, but there's something more interesting going on here. And even though it starts at full volume and only gets more intense, the film is actually remarkably thoughtful and measured in its approach.

It's set in the Rust Belt, industrial Pennsylvania, where Russell (Bale) works in a steel mill and worries about his little brother Rodney (Affleck), who's deep in debt to a local bookie (Dafoe). Then a late-night car crash lands Russell in prison, and when he's released everything has changed. He has no job, his girlfriend (Saldana) is now dating the local sheriff (Whitaker), and Rodney is paying off his debts by fighting in bare-knuckle boxing matches. Even more perilous is the fact that all of this puts the brothers on a collision course with vicious local redneck Harlan (Harrelson), who has no intention of making their lives easier.

The film opens with a particularly brutal display of Harlan's menace, so we know what's coming. And as everything goes from bad to worse for our two heroes, the film feels almost aggressively harsh. Of course, Bale and Affleck are terrific as these damaged men whose fierce bond both helps and puts them into danger. And both actors let us see beneath the surface as their lives fall apart. In what could be the thankless ex-girlfriend role, Saldana has some surprisingly powerful moments. And Harrelson is a deeply terrifying force to reckon with.

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The East Review


Despite a bunch of cold characters and a deeply contrived plot, this film is so infused with hot topicality that we are held in its grip all the way through. The issue is corporate irresponsibility and grass-roots activism, both of which feel ripped straight from the headlines to give the movie an edgy, almost documentary urgency. On the other hand, it's nearly impossible to get involved in the story's inter-personal dramas.

Director Batmanglij is reteaming with Sound of My Voice actress-cowriter Marling, who this time plays Jane, a corporate-security spy assigned by her shark-like boss (Clarkson) to infiltrate the eco-terrorism group The East. The goal is to prevent them from attacking any of her clients. It takes Jane awhile to worm her way into the anarchists' inner sanctum, where she immediately finds an affinity with leader Benji (Skarsgard), medically trained Doc (Kebbell) and flamboyant Luca (Fernandez). It takes longer to warm to the prickly Izzy (Page), but eventually Jane finds herself part of the core team, invited to participate in a series of jams in which The East gives company bosses a taste of their own toxic medicine.

In the cast of a pharmaceutical giant, this is quite literally the case: they infect the executive (Ormond) with the dangerous drug she's selling to the developing world. And the gang also stages assaults on oil companies in ways that are eerily easy for us to identify with, because the activists are making an important point. Indeed, we never really doubt where the filmmakers' sympathies lie: even if their actions are illegal and rather nasty, these "terrorists" are the good guys. At least this moral complexity gives the film a brainy kick.

Continue reading: The East Review

Stoker Review


You could argue that this film is all lurid style over substance, but there's actually a lot going on behind the stunningly gorgeous imagery. Korean director Park (Oldboy) beings his lavish visual approach to this Hitchcockian story about a family infiltrated by a predator. Packed with references to iconic movies and books, the film is heightened and deranged, and its intense moodiness gets under the skin.

It centres on 18-year-old India Stoker (Wasikowska), distraught after the death of her beloved father (Mulroney). Without him to soften her, she's also even angrier than usual at her needy mother Evie (Kidman). Then the charming, handsome Uncle Charlie (Goode) turns up at the funeral and moves in to help them grieve. Actually he seems to be trying to seduce Evie, who is flattered by his attention. But the housekeeper (Somerville) and an auntie (Weaver) don't stick around long enough to see what's really going on, and it becomes clear that Charlie actually has his sights set on India.

Both the script and the direction continually echo familiar literary and cinematic icons, from the family's name to the Shakespearean family plot to the prowling interloper (see Robert Mitchum in the 1950s classic The Night of the Hunter). Director Park's camera prowls through the house like a ghost, catching tiny details in every lushly designed scene while finding all kinds of shadings in the performances. Wasikowska is terrific as the sensitive, rather cruel young woman at the centre of the storm, while Kidman steals her scenes with a haunted, conflicted performance. Between them, Goode is almost painfully seductive. And clearly dangerous.

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Woody Harrelson Signs For Out Of The Furnace

Woody Harrelson Billy Bob Thornton Forest Whitaker Leonardo Dicaprio Michael Costigan Ridley Scott Ryan Kavanaugh Sam Shepard Scott Cooper Tony Scott Zoe Saldana

Woody Harrelson is to appear in 'Out Of The Furnace'.

The 'Hunger Games' actor is expected to play Curtis DeGroat, the leader of a violent crime ring, in the forthcoming thriller, despite Billy Bob Thornton previously being close to signing a deal for the role.

The movie - which will be directed by 'Crazy Heart' helmsman Scott Cooper - sees Slim (Christian Bale) released from jail after serving a long sentence for murder.

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Welcome To The Rileys Review

Observant writing and direction make this exploration of grief surprisingly uplifting. This also gives the cast members the chance to play complex characters who engage our sympathies while never wallowing in their sadness.

Doug Riley (Gandolfini) and his wife Lois (Leo) have a quietly tense marriage that's infused with grief over the death of their teen daughter. So when Doug's mistress (Davis) dies suddenly, he doesn't know how to cope. Then he discovers that Lois has already bought their tombstone. On a business trip to New Orleans, he develops a tentative father-daughter relationship with young prostitute Mallory (Stewart). But while he's helping Mallory get back on her feet, Lois is in meltdown mode. So she stops taking her pills and drives to New Orleans.

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Alexander Skarsgard Heading To The East?

Alexander Skarsgard Brit Marling Julianne Moore Michael Costigan

Alexander Skarsgard is in talks to join the cast of eco-warrior movie 'The East'.

The 'True Blood' actor is said to be in discussions to join Brit Marling in the film - which she penned alongside director Zat Batmanglij - as the leader of an eco-terrorist group who is seeking revenge against environmentally unethical corporations.

Produced by Michael Costigan, while the plot details of 'The East' are not clear it is believed the movie will focus on a female agent who infiltrates the eco-terrorist net.

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Cyrus Review

This twisted variation on the romantic-comedy takes a sharply funny look at male relationships. And Reilly and Hill get to shine in extremely vivid characters that keep us both laughing and cringing with fear over what might happen next.

After seven years, John (Reilly) still hasn't got over the break-up of his marriage to Jamie (Keener), but now that she's marrying Tim (Walsh) he really should move on. At a party, he meets Molly (Tomei), an improbably hot woman who actually seems to like his goofy behaviour, and their relationship gets serious very quickly. But Molly's 21-year-old son Cyrus (Hill) isn't quite ready for his mother to settle down with another man and launches a silent campaign to scupper the romance.

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Body Of Lies Review

No matter their talent, actors, directors, producers, and editors will always have difficulty overcoming a flawed script, and William Monahan's Body of Lies screenplay is broken beyond the point of repair. A bewildering mishmash of double-crosses, cover-ups, and clichés, Monahan's treatment unfortunately undermines some terrific performances and a solid outing for director Ridley Scott.

Lies is based on Washington Post columnist David Ignatius' 2007 novel about CIA agent Roger Ferris (Leonardo DiCaprio), a well-trained operative on a deep-undercover assignment to track the elusive Al Qaeda terrorist leader Al-Saleem (Alon Abutbul). Dubbed "the white whale," Al-Saleem has been plotting suicide bombings on European and American soil to avenge the blood spilt by U.S. and U.K. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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