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
The quality of the animation in this musical comedy may not be up to Pixar standards, but the story and characters are thoroughly endearing. And the music is fabulous. As it follows a group of likeable animals through a variety of plots and adventures, there's plenty for everyone in the audience to connect with. So even if the climactic action mayhem gets a bit ridiculous, the movie keeps us laughing. And it also makes us want to get up on that stage and belt out a few numbers.
It's set in a city populated by animals. Buster (voiced by Matthew McConaughey) is a koala who has been obsessed with musical theatre since he saw the diva Nana (Jennifer Hudson then Jennifer Saunders) perform when he was a child. So he grew up and bought the theatre. Now with audiences waning, he stages a musical competition to save the theatre. In the auditions, he selects his finalists: anarchist porcupine Ash (Scarlett Johansson), jazzy mafioso mouse Mike (Seth MacFarlane) and silky voiced gorilla Johnny (Taron Egerton). He also teams up two pigs as a double-act: frazzled housewife Rosita (Reese Witherspoon) and German dancer Gunter (Nick Kroll). There's also golden-voiced elephant Meena (Tori Kelly), who's too shy to face the audience so takes a role backstage. Of course, nothing goes as planned.
The key conflict comes from Buster's frantic efforts to avoid bankruptcy, plus rather half-hearted action subplots involving a gang of bears and Johnny's criminally minded relatives. These generate quite a bit of tension that erupts into rather outrageously destructive slapstick along the way. More interesting are the personal journeys of the various contestants, especially as Ash, Meena and Johnny all discover their voices and Rosita finds inventive ways to balance her long-lost career with her role as a mother to 25 rambunctious piglets. Yes, the film is rather crowded with characters and storylines, and the animation looks plasticky, but everything comes together cleverly,
Continue reading: Sing 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
Buster Moon is one of the good guys, he's a koala who's lived his life for the theatre he loves. His sunny disposition is somewhat hindered at the thought of his once great and popular theatre being lost. In need of making money, Buster must come up with an idea to save his theatre - and if it can be helped, also encourage the animals of his home town also become enthusiastic about live entertainment.
Buster's secretary accidentally advertises a singing contest to the residents, the flyer explains that they're looking for a fantastic new talent and the winner of the competition will win 100,000 dollars! Buster finds his theatre is once again the centre of a bustling metropolis and goes ahead with the auditions.
There's a few standout performers including a mom who's life revolves around her 25 piglets, a gorilla who's trying to break away from a bad way of life and a small mouse who might be small but has all the wits and sneaky ambition of the other contestants combined!
Continue: Sing Trailer
Echoing his witty writing style, Bill Bryson's memoir of his trek up the Appalachian Trail is adapted as a gently amusing comedy that combines big landscapes with sharp observational humour. Even though it centres on two old men, the film's message is almost identical to Reese Witherspoon's Wild, except that this movie never preaches at all. Instead, it meanders along with a wry smile and an ear for a snappy punchline.
Bill (Robert Redford) has moved back to America with his English wife Catherine (Emma Thompson) after living in Britain for 20 years. And now he feels the need to reconnect with his homeland. So he decides to hike the 2,100-mile mountain path from Georgia to Maine. Catherine insists that he takes someone with him, but the only volunteer is Katz (Nick Nolte), a wheezing ex-alcoholic with whom Bill deliberately lost touch. Even so, they set off on their walk, having a series of small adventures as they meet other hikers (including the hilariously too-perky Kristen Schaal), flirt with a hotel owner (Mary Steenburgen) and get into a bit of trouble when Katz has a romp with a married woman (Susan McPhail). They also encounter a couple of grizzly bears and find themselves trapped overnight on a narrow mountain ledge.
The question obviously isn't whether or not they complete the epic trek. No, this is a film about how self-discovery continues into old age, and so does the ability to discover new things in the world. Director Ken Kwapis makes the most of the picturesque landscapes, while including superb details that make the journey come to life. Although there are several sequences that were obviously shot in a studio with a fake backdrop and green-screen vistas. And some of the events along the way are badly contrived, dipping into silly slapstick. On the other hand, the running conversation between these two long-time friends is priceless.
Continue reading: A Walk In The Woods Review
Bill Bryson has been living in the UK with his English wife for a long time but now feels his retirement is wasted on the luxury of home comforts. Now after moving back to the US, he wants adventure, and what better way to get it than by hiking the 2,200 mile long Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. It's a glorious woodland walk for anyone, but it's rarely finished by even the most experienced hikers and the thought of this ageing man taking on the dangers of the trail frightens his kids and his wife. It seems Bill is deadset on this challenge, and while his wife can't stop him doing it, she can at least insist he be accompanied by a friend. Unfortunately, the only person crazy enough to join him is his fat, former alcoholic buddy Katz, whose probably going to be more of a hindrance than a help, but will at least be exposed to some much needed reflection... and a few hungry bears.
Continue: A Walk in The Woods Trailer
High school can be the worst time for some people, and for Greg Gaines (Thomas Mann), it turned out to be especially horrible. His parents inform him that his classmate, Rachel Kushner (Olivia Cooke), has been diagnosed with leukemia. The two make a fast friendship out of a mutual intention to not be sympathetic, but that plan doesn't work out as well as planned. Greg and his best friend Earl make 'bad films' in their spare time, and decide to devote a film to Rachel. Unfortunately, as they specialise in bad films, they struggle to make something that will truly honour her and cheer her up.
Continue: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl Trailer
Nick Offerman is taking on one of the greatest characters in American literature.
Nick Offerman, the actor best known for playing Ron Swanson on Parks and Recreation, is to play Ignatius J. Reilly from John Kennedy Toole's novel A Confederacy of Dunces. Offerman will lead a stage adaptation of the novel written by Jeffrey Hatcher.
Nick Offerman will star in a stage adaptation of A Confederacy of Dunces
The production, which begins at the Huntington Theatre Company in Boston in November, follows the self-regarding Reilly who is also a colossal slob.
Continue reading: Nick Offerman To Play Ignatius J Reilly In 'A Confederacy Of Dunces'
After seven seasons, it’s time to say our teary goodbyes to Pawnee
It’s all over for ‘Parks and Recreation’ sadly, as the acclaimed series ended its seven season run last night, with final episode, ‘One Last Ride’. The comedy had received numerous accolades during its tenure on NBC, as well as amassing a devoted fanbase and helping elevate the careers of stars Amy Poehler and Chris Pratt.
Amy Poehler aka Leslie Knope
Appearing on ‘Late Night With Seth Meyers’ immediately after the final episode ended, the cast along with the show’s co-creator Michael Schur, dished on some of their storyline pitches which didn't end up making the final series.
Nick Offerman has directed a music video for Tweedy.
He's best known for playing the grumpy breakfast loving Ron Swanson on NBC's 'Parks and Recreation', but Nick Offerman has turned his hand to another profession: music video director. He's overseen the delightfully weird video for Tweedy's song, 'Low Key', which also features a host of celebrity cameos.
It's a different gig for the actor, usually seen in front of the camera
Tweedy is the latest project from Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy, comprised of himself and his son Spencer Tweedy. 'Low Key' is the first single from their first album, 'Sukierae', and the offbeat video shows them going door-to-door in attempts to sell their record to disinterested members of the public. Man of Steel actor Michael Shannon features as the assistant of the record label boss, whilst Melissa McCarthy, Conan O'Brien, Andy Richter and Chance the Rapper feature amongst the bemused homeowners who are visited by the band. There's also a very strange twist at the end of the video, but we won't ruin the surprise!
Continue reading: Nick Offerman Has Directed A Music Video And It's Full Of Celebrities
Date of birth
26th June, 1970
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