Hopes were high that this film might finally crack the curse of movies based on videogames. There may have been some hits (like Tomb Raider or the Resident Evil franchise), but none has ever been critically acclaimed. So perhaps reuniting the cast and director of 2015's Macbeth might finally break the cycle. But while there's plenty of whizzy stuntwork, this film never finds a story or characters to grab hold of the audience.
In present-day Texas, death row prisoner Cal (Michael Fassbender) is executed by lethal injection and wakes up in a gloomy fortress towering over Madrid. He's been saved by shady businessman Rikkin (Jeremy Irons), whose daughter Sofia (Marion Cotillard) is a scientist experimenting with DNA memory. Rikkin needs Cal to travel back into his own history using a mechanical contraption called an Animus to find out where his 15th century ancestor Aguilar (also Fassbender) hid the Apple of Eden, which holds the key to controlling human will. But Cal discovers that he is the last in a long line of Assassins who have sworn to protect the apple from Knights Templar like Rikkin or his imperious supreme leader Ellen (the fabulously gloomy Charlotte Rampling).
The idea is a clever one, and director Justin Kurzel keeps the visuals grounded with action that feels earthy and real rather than digitally manipulated. Indeed, the combination of sleek sci-fi thrills with medieval fantasy horror is very cool. But there's one huge problem with the premise: all of the big fight sequences and eye-catching parkour acrobatics take place in distant history. Cal can experience these things, but he can't actually do anything, so there's no peril involved. Instead, we get endless explanations of the technology and historical inter-connections, which never quite make sense regardless of how much the characters talk about them.
Continue reading: Assassin's Creed Review
Callum Lynch is a criminal facing the death sentence but is given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to escape his fate by joining the mysterious Animus Project set up by Abstergo Industries. Abstergo is to its time essentially what the Knights Templar was in the 12th and 13th century, and want to hook Lynch up to an experimental piece of technology that will allow him to experience and explore the memories of his ancestor Aguilar de Nerha who lived as an Assassin in 15th century Spain. He's returning to the age of the Spanish Inquisition which means he must absorb the warrior skills of his long-dead relative - but that only means that he's developing the tools to take down the organisation that pose a threat to him in the modern day.
Continue: Assassin's Creed Trailer
Ghostbusters is a new film for 2016 and is based on the 1984 film of the same name and is directed by Paul Feig. The film features four women on their quest to save New York City when various ghosts take over and exercise control over the humans.
Two authors Erin Gilbert and Abby Yates write a novel about the existence of ghosts and the revelation that they believe they do exist. However this novel is not taken seriously and when it becomes apparent that Gilbert wrote this book, she becomes the centre of a joke in her professional career as a teacher at Columbia University, even her students don't take her seriously.
This film quickly becomes the tell - tale narrative of who's laughing now, when Gilbert teams up with Yates and two other women to fight the ghosts that have decided to inhabit the city. A mission is deployed and the quartet set out to save the world from the evil ghost Rowan, providing the audience with lots of laughs along the way.
Assassin's Creed sees Michael Fassbender cast as the protagonist Callum Lynch, in this action adventure film that is based on the video game franchise of the same name. Lynch's identity no longer exists and he is forced by revolutionary technology to hear, see and feel the memories of his ancestor Aguilar de Nerha, who was an assassin during the Spanish Inquisition.
Continue: Assassin's Creed Trailer
Erin Gilbert is a brilliant quantum physicist and holds a high ranking lecturing position at Columbia University, that is until a past novel she's written comes to light. The novel was written by Erin and her friend Abby and claims that ghosts are real. When strange occurrences start to happen in Manhattan, Erin and Abby are reunited in a bid to put a stop to the ghostly apparitions.
They set up a small business to help being who are being haunted by the ghosts, the old friends are joined by Jillian Holtzmann, a nuclear engineering mastermind who's just as geeky as the other two girls, the team then recruit Patty Tolan, a lady whose knowledge of New York and its underground is almost unrivalled.
Together the four women for The Ghostbusters.
Arnold Rothstein's Pocket Watch, Al Capone's Courthouse Suit and Richard Harrow's Mask - you can actually own these 'Boardwalk Empire' props and costumes!
Ever wanted to own the iconic mask worn by Jack Huston's Richard Harrow in 'Boardwalk Empire'? What about the suit worn by Steve Buscemi's Nucky Thompson in the series' opening title sequence? Well, due to an auction currently run by Screenbid, you can own these very items as well as hundreds more like them.
'Boardwalk Empire' ran for five seasons between 2010 and 2014.
'Boardwalk Empire' concluded its fifth and final series late last year, leaving HBO with a tone of props and costumes knocking around. Lucking, Screenbid was able to come to the rescue, offering to sell off the props and costumes from some of your favourite prohibition gangsters and bootleggers at an auction, running from 20th to 29th January 2015.
Continue reading: You Can Now Own Awesome Props From HBO's 'Boardwalk Empire'!
Jim Bennett is an English professor at a college and he's also always been one for taking risks. By day he is the sensible, bookish type but by night his life is a dangerous spiral of gambling huge amounts of money to dire consequences. As the gambler he is, he takes a chance in asking his bank to loan him a quarter of a million dollars in order for him to pay back a gangster so that he may stay alive, but when that fails he is forced to take on the services of a loan shark named Frank. Meanwhile, his relationship with his mother is getting tenser and tenser by the day as she wishes more than anything for her little boy to be safe. Also, it seems a student of his named Amy Phillips has discovered his secret life, but wants more than anything for him to take her out to dinner even if it will wreck his school reputation.
Continue: The Gambler Trailer
Stars of forthcoming crime comedy 'Inherent Vice' Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin were among the guest arrivals at the movie's premiere held during the 52nd New York Film Festival. The movie follows a detective forced to take on a case more personal in nature than he's used to.
Michael Fassbender was among the cast of historical biopic '12 Years A Slave' who attended the New York Film Festival premiere of the flick. He was joined by director Steve McQueen and main star Chiwetel Ejiofor.
Rose Perez and Michael K Williams - Rapper Jay-Z recently performed his track 'Picasso Baby' from his new album 'Magna Carta... Holy Grail' for six straight hours in front of a live audience at New York City's Pace Gallery. The footage from the event has now been edited down for the video release, which Jay-Z is calling a ''performance art piece''. The promo features artist Marina Abramovic, who inspired the the concept, and other celebrity names including Judd Apatow, Rosie Perez, Alan Cumming, Michael K. Williams and Taraji P. Henson, as well as Pablo Picasso's granddaughter Diana Widmaier Picasso - New York City, United States - Wednesday 7th August 2013
We recap season three in anticipation of the show's fourth
Problem is - unless you’ve the time to re-watch season 3 before September, or you took notes, which you didn’t – there’ll be things you’ve forgotten. No fear, because here’s a recap of season 3’s highlights, and what we’re looking forward to in season 4. Spoilers, come on.
The main plotline in the show’s third season was the war between Gyp Rosetti (Bobby Cannavale) and Nucky Thompson. Luckily, for Nucky, his allies included Al Capone and Chalky White – masterfully portrayed by Stephen Graham and Michael K Williams respectively. This culminated in a tense but ultimately satisfactory season finale for Nucky, who took down Rosetti with a little help from his friends.
Continue reading: Boardwalk Empire Season 4 Date Announced – The Story So Far
We take a look at the Django Unchained cast that could have been
Django Unchained caused controversy even before it came out, with people questioning whether Quentin Tarantino should be making a film about slavery, especially considering it was a comedy drama, and was very, very gory.
Tarantino does what Tarantino does, though. And he does whatever he wants. Having made people laugh about Nazi-occupied France and slavery in the southern belt of America, the legendary director will helm a third historical film, completing a trilogy of sorts. But with with all the gun violence and racial tension surrounding the film – a film that won multiple awards – the casting secrets were never revealed.
Quentin Tarantino talks to The Texas Film Hall of Fame
Continue reading: Django Unchained: The Alternative Cast That Never Was
Robert Chew, the actor known best for his role as crime boss Proposition Joe in the hit HBO series The Wire, has passed away from apparent heart failure earlier today aged 52.
Michael K. Williams, who played Omar Little on the show, posted an obituary in honour of the actor on to his Instagram account this afternoon (Jan 18), with his sister confirming the news with press shortly after. Chew, who also starred in Homicide and The Corner - shows also masterminded by The Wire creator David Simon - was also an active member of the Baltimore community and worked closely with the city's youth through his acting classes.
He was an active member at the United States' oldest still-active African-American community theater company, the Baltimore City Players, and would regularly contribute to the organisation right up until his recent health problems forced him away from the centre. Working with the Areana Players Youth Theatre, he would help numerous members of the group to gain roles in the show for it's fourth series, which was based around the Baltimore city school system. He was described as a "fine and generous man" by Simon shortly after the announcement of his death, and the Baltimore community will surely suffer from the loss of one of the city's most loved sons.
When a young man named Jason accidentally and unwittingly gets caught up in drug dealing with a gang, he faces a mandatory minimum sentence of up to 10 years after being wrongly arrested for the crime. His father is a strong believer of his innocence and will do everything in his power to have his son let off. He visits a lawyer who says that he can be granted his liberty if he acts as an informant in the gang and help the police make arrests. However, Jason is too frightened after his ordeal and his father asks instead if he can be the one to go undercover. He does so and uses his construction business to find a manual labourer who may have contacts to the criminal world and be able to offer him an introduction. With the offer of help, he is soon ranked highly in the mob which increases his chances of collecting information, but puts his own life and the lives of his wife and young child at immense risk. Just how far will he go to protect his son from wrongful imprisonment?
'Snitch' is based on the PBS Frontline documentary of the same name which details the increase in the use of informants to reduce prison sentences. It has been directed by Ric Roman Waugh ('In the Shadows', 'Felon') who co-wrote it with Justin Haythe ('The Clearing', 'Revolutionary Road') and is set for release on February 22nd 2013.
Director: Ric Roman Waugh
Continue: Snitch Trailer
Woody Watson is an 11-year-old boy with a broken family and an unpredictable future. His father is absent and his mother is in rehab leaving him to be cared for by his grandmother and recently out of prison uncle Vincent in their Baltimore home. His aspirations are questionable, admiring Vincent for his life of crime. One day, while Vincent is supposed to be taking Woody to school, he instead takes him out to the bank where he expected to be granted a loan for his food business. However, he is flatly refused based on his criminal past and he is forced to engage in one more drug dealing job for his ruthless boss Mr. Fish with young Woody looking on. When he witnesses his uncle falling into his violent past, he must choose what sort of life he wants to lead for what was meant to be a lesson in how to be man, has turned into a lesson in how to screw up your life like the rest of your family. Will Woody pick the right path?
'Luv' is the gritty drama based on how a broken family can force a child to admire the wrong sort of people and end up making them make life changing decisions at a very young age. It has been directed by Sheldon Candis ('Young Cesar') who also co-wrote the screenplay with Justin Wilson in his full length feature debut and is set to be released on November 9th 2012.
Directed by Sheldon Candis
Continue: Luv Trailer
Three Brooklyn cops are confronting moral dilemmas on the job. Eddie (Gere) is a week away from retirement when he's asked to help a couple of rookies learn the ropes. But he'd rather just keep his head down. Tango (Cheadle) is deep undercover in a drug sting, threatened by a tough FBI agent (Barkin) to set up his childhood friend (Snipes). And Sal (Hawke) is looking to steal some drug-bust cash to top up his salary so he can look after his pregnant wife (Taylor) and children.
Continue reading: Brooklyn's Finest Review
With an all-new cast, it feels almost like a jazz riff, playing with the characters and themes and sending them in new directions. And it's both hilarious and clever.
When she realises that her husband (Williams) hasn't overcome his urge to make obscene phone calls, Joy (Henderson) heads to Florida to see her sister Trish (Janney), who has told everyone that her husband Bill (Hinds) has died. But he's actually in prison for abusing a young boy. Trish is now seeing a nice Jewish man (Lerner) and being a bit too honest with her son Timmy (Snyder).
Continue reading: Life During Wartime Review
Fifteen months later, The Wire returned for its brilliant swan song. David Simon, Ed Burns, and crew famously dedicated each season of The Wire to an institutional failure (the drug war, the middle class, political reform, the schools) that has contributed to the extended death of Baltimore, and by extension all of America's inner cities. For the show's final go-round, the show takes on the decline of local media. Simon spent years -- several of them tumultuous -- at the Baltimore Sun before he started creating amazing TV shows. Naturally, Simon brings much of his personal disaffection and melancholy to his portrayal of that disintegrating daily.
Continue reading: The Wire: Season Five Review
More than enough, it turns out.
Continue reading: The Wire: Season Four Review
Sadly, the most passionate and persuasive argument in recent years against the current disposition of the government's stance in the so-called "War on Drugs" came not from a think tank armed with stats and big ideas or a celebrity eager for a cause, but from a TV show. The third season of The Wire, which aired on HBO in late 2004, continued its sprawling and justifiably lauded Dickensian crawl through its web of stories centering on the inner Baltimore drug trade -- following, with an unusual focus to detail and character, both the gangs fighting for territory and the cops of a major case unit assigned to busting up their organizations. But where the show became more than just an abnormally well-made, balanced, and realistic law and order drama (and there's no need here to heap more praise on the show than already has been done), and became something entirely different, was in the fourth episode, "Amsterdam."
Police major "Bunny" Colvin (previously a supporting player on the show), desperate to see some improvement in his crime-ridden West Baltimore district and tired of watching his cops waste all their time busting street corner dealers to no larger effect, institutes a new policy: If all drug dealers move to three designated zones in the district and sell there, they will not be arrested. In effect, he legalizes the drug trade in a large part of an American city. The cops don't get it, the drug-dealing kids don't either, as it throws into question the entire reality of their limited universe where the kids sell drugs, occasionally they get hassled or arrested, but everything goes on without change; as one of the dealers says, "Why you got to go and fuck with the program?"
The point being made here by the two creative forces behind The Wire -- investigative reporter David Simon and veteran detective Ed Burns, both of whom know this territory better than almost anyone -- is quite simple: the drug trade has atomized vast and forgotten swaths of American cities, like West Baltimore, and decades of simplistic, head-knocking, "tough on crime" enforcement has made zero difference. So, take a page out of Amsterdam's book, where a blind eye is turned to the drug traffic in certain designated areas, and see if you can at least make some poor neighborhoods normal again by ridding them of turf-battling drug gangs.
Colvin -- a strange kind of revolutionary -- gives a speech using the "brown paper bag" analogy Simon introduced in his book The Corner: Men drinking on the street will carry their liquor in a brown paper bag -- the cops know it's liquor but don't arrest them for public drinking because the men are at least making an attempt at hiding the bottle. It's the same with pushing drug dealing to what Colvin calls the "free zones"; it's a civil truce. Call it legalization, call it a truce, call it dealing with reality, Simon's point is that drugs will be dealt, and the more you can keep the trade itself from ruining the social fabric of already distressed neighborhoods, the better. And if you can weave this message into a thrilling hour-long crime drama, all the better.
As for what the remainder of this season dealt with, it would be futile to go into much discussion of that, since The Wire's storylines rival Tolstoy's in their complexity. Suffice it to say that one must watch the show as one reads a book, starting at the beginning of season three -- even with that "previously, on The Wire" intro which HBO prefaces its shows with -- is next to useless. For those who have already been watching, of primary importance is that the show's quality remains undimmed. Simon's writing staff has been beefed up by the addition of top-shelf novelists like Richard Price (Clockers) and George Pelecanos (The Night Gardener), who bring some welcome flourishes of both character-driven realism and pulp crime drama to the proceedings. A few of the show's more central characters get their arcs reversed, with the classically rogueish cop McNulty (a wonderfully snarky Dominic West) coming to a crisis of self-destruction, and striving criminal mastermind Stringer Bell (the iconic and contemplative Idris Elba) finding himself stuck between worlds, too street for the business world and too thoughtful for the street. And although several long-running characters continue to pop up -- like free-range gunslingers Omar (Michael K. Williams) and Brother Mouzone (Michael Potts), and Bubbles (Andre Royo), the junkie who serves as the closest thing The Wire has to a chorus -- story is always sublimated to the overarching themes, with the focus never straying far from Simon's central conceit of the American city in crisis, and what to do about it.
The Wire has cast a sardonic eye on the efficacy of current drug law enforcement since the beginning. In the very first episode, a detective who just used the term "War on Drugs" gets a quick schooling from another detective on why the term just doesn't apply, with the world-wearied quip, "Wars end." By presenting an idea for how one might, if not win a war that has done so much damage to American cities and the economically disadvantaged, then at least call an honorable truce, the show became not just the best show currently on television, but also possibly the most important.
Anyone else see Charlie Brown's shirt?
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