In a magical world of fairies and goblins, two worlds live secluded from each other, with neither knowing of the other's existence. But one day, a beastly creature stumbles out of the forest, causing the fairies to question just what lives in the woods. With the two societies meeting for the first time, hostilities emerge, leading to the kidnapping and ransom of one of the fairies. With all-out war on the horizon, to falls to an elite group of heroes to venture where no fairy has gone before, and prove that perhaps the two races aren't as different on the inside as they are on the outside.
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With the upcoming release of 'The Penguins of Madagascar', Benedict Cumberbatch and John Malkovich who star in the film. Cumberbatch plays Classified, an arctic wolf and leader of the team The North Wind, while Malkovich plays Dr. Octavius Brine - a villainous octopus. The two actors quiz each other on the animals that they play in the film, with Cumberbatch answering questions like 'how many members are in the average wolf pack?', and Malkovich being asked 'how many hearts do octopi have?' In between questions and answers, the interview contains clips of the upcoming film.
Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private return from Madagascar with their own adventure as formidable and super sharp espionage agents. Their world is under threat from a dangerous octopus villain named Dr. Octavius Brine who plans to dominate the Earth with his sea-dwelling cronies and the penguins are the only things standing in their way - well, them and elite crackforce The North Wind. The organization, led by the dashing wolf Agent Classified, are on a mission to stop Brine in his tentacle-y tracks using Classified's formidable presence, Eva's analytical power, Short Fuse's explosives expertise and Corporal's terrifying brawn. Together with the penguins they may have a chance at saving the world from whatever dreadful scheme Brine has on his mind - though his ignorance of modern technology lessens his menace potential just a little.
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Nicolas Cage acts his socks off in this thinly plotted thriller, which is set in the same moral universe as the Taken movies, where mass murder is excusable if your daughter's been kidnapped. Despite a low-budget aesthetic, director Paco Cabezas invests each scene with straight-faced emotion, never acknowledging the general implausibility and irresponsibility of the story itself. But with Cage's rampant performance and Cabezas' visual style, the film almost works as melodramatic escapism.
Cage plays slick businessman Paul, who has finally put his criminal past behind him. But when his over-protected 16-year-old daughter (Aubrey Peeples) is kidnapped, he digs out his old leather jacket and turns to his boyhood partners in crime (Max Ryan and Michael McGrady) for help. While Paul's new young wife (Rachel Nichols) urges him to sort out this mess, his old police detective pal (Danny Glover) warns Paul against taking the law into his own hands. But he can't help it. Especially when it becomes clear that the Russian mobster (Pasha D. Lynchikoff) he clashed with nearly 20 years earlier might be involved in an attempt to get revenge.
While the plot itself doesn't have any real surprises, it at least tries to twist and turn its way through the story. And along the way, Paul's experience gets increasingly emotional, giving Cage the chance to indulge in everything from slow-burn frustration to tear-stained grief to full-on mad-dog violence. Rage indeed! Cage explodes with fury so many times that he seems in danger of transforming into the Hulk at any moment. And the actors around him wisely back up and let him have the stage to himself. Otherwise, there isn't much to the film, with a series of average car chases and fist-fights that are brutal but forgettable.
Continue reading: Rage Review
The newest addition to the 'Madagascar' franchise arrives in the form of spin-off 'The Penguins of Madagascar', which centres around the penguin characters, Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private. Details of the plot are yet to be unveiled, but the trailer suggests that in an attempt to save the day, the penguins are interrupted by an elite group of animals known as North Wind, which results in them being stranded in a desert.
Each of the penguins will be voiced by the same actors who played them in the Madagascar films; Tom McGrath as Skipper, Chris Miller as Kowalski, John DiMaggio as Rico and Christopher Knights as Private. In terms of new characters, ever rising star Benedict Cumberbatch voices wolf Classified, the leader of North Wind, while John Malkovich (RED, Being John Malkovich) is the film's octopus antagonist Dr. Octavius Brine. Also, comedy actor Ken Jeong (The Hangover franchise) plays North Wind's explosive and demolition's expert Short Fuse; Annet Mahendru stars as Eva, North Wind's snow owl intelligence analyst; and Peter Stormare is the Norwegian bear Corporal.
The film is directed by Simon J. Smith and Eric Darnell. Darnell has directed all the other films of the 'Madagascar' franchise, as well as 1998's 'Antz'. It's Smith's first time one of the movies, though his previous animation directorials include 'Megamind: The Button Of Doom' and 'Bee Movie'.
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A consistently hilarious stream of in-jokes keeps the audience in fits of laughter even if there's virtually no plot to this follow-up to the 2012 hit 21 Jump Street. Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum revive their amusing double-act to poke fun at sequels and franchises amid silly set-pieces and starry cameos. And it gives filmmakers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller their second terrific comedy of the year, after The Lego Movie.
Following their successful bust of a high school drug ring, undercover officers Schmidt and Jenko (Hill and Tatum) are assigned by their grumpy captain (Ice Cube) to infiltrate a university and track down who's dealing the new drug whyphy. But both get distracted by life on campus: Schmidt begins a romance with Maya (Amber Stevens), while Jenko finds his meathead soul-mate in football teammate Zook (Wyatt Russell). With their partnership in jeopardy, Schmidt and Jenko must refocus on a spring break trip to Mexico, where they discover an old nemesis (Peter Stormare) on the loose.
Using a non-stop series of gags about how follow-up movies are more expensive and less original, the filmmakers go about proving this hypothesis with amusingly overwrought sets and a chaotic, derivative narrative that has very little momentum. Meanwhile, they pack every moment of the film with witty humour that's played expertly by Hill and Tatum, who rekindle their chemistry with a steady barrage of gay double entendre that reveals the movie's true nature as a brom-com. On the other hand, neither the actors nor the filmmakers are willing to push things too far, so they settle for silly vulgarity instead of any black comedy or edgy humour.
Continue reading: 22 Jump Street Review
Lively and imaginative, this raucous adventure-drama recaptures the ramshackle futurism of director Terry Gilliam's 1985 masterpiece Brazil, throwing a lonely guy into a series of events that get increasingly surreal. And while we never lose interest, the plot seems to fall apart about halfway in, circling around itself and the pungent themes that ooze through every scene.
The central figure is Qohen (Waltz), a genius who feels like life has lost its meaning. He hates the corporate mentality at Mancom, where both his manager (Thewlis) and the computer system drive him nuts. Then after a chance encounter with the big boss (Damon), he's given a new assignment to work at home crunching numbers to prove the Zero Theorem. Everyone is vague about what this theorem is, but Qohen likes being away from the office. But now he's distracted by the seductive Bainsley (Thierry), who puts on a sexy nurse outfit and lures him into a virtual reality environment. He's also assigned 15-year-old computer nerd Bob (Hedges) to keep his system up and running. Or maybe everyone is spying on him.
The central theme is the search for meaning in life, which is echoed in Qohen's inability to feel, taste or properly experience anything. And the theorem itself turns out to be an attempt to prove conclusively that everything is meaningless. This allows Gilliam to deploy his vast imagination in every scene, with a flood of corporate and religious imagery, suggestive innuendo and topical gags about free will in a society that values making money at the expense of actually living. All of the actors grab on to these ideas, adding comical physicality and knowing humour to each scene.
Continue reading: The Zero Theorem Review
The trailer for Jonas Akerlund's indie-comedy 'Small Apartments' introduces a superb cast including Matt Lucas, Peter Stormare and Billy Crystal.
Who wouldn't pay to see a comedy movie starring Matt Lucas, Juno Temple, Billy Crystal, Peter Stormare, Amanda Plummer, Rebel Wilson, James Caan, Johnny Knoxville and...wait for it...Dolph Lundgren? Well, that's exactly what you're getting for your money in Small Apartments, which premiered in the UK on March 22, 2013. Nick Nunziata of Chud.com summed the whole thing up in his review of the quirky flick, "They don't make them like this anymore. Actually they've never made them like this before," he wrote.
Continue reading: Small Apartments: Meet 2013's Most Random Cast! (Trailer And Pictures)
Franklin Franklin is a wig-donning, Swiss wannabe loner who lives alone in a small apartment having previously lived with his mentally deranged brother Bernard. He's not the only eccentric character at the complex, however; his wacky neighbours include the Liquor store worker Tommy Balls, Tommy's herpes ridden girlfriend Rocky, the beautiful Simone and the ill-tempered Mr. Allspice. One day, Franklin finds himself in a spot of bother when he accidentally murders his landlord Mr. Olivetti when he pays him a visit about the rent (of lack of it). In an attempt to cover up the homicide, he clumsily stages it as a suicide, which the cops become very suspicious of. Things don't get any easier either, as his Franklin's brother dies suddenly from a brain tumour and he ends up getting badly beaten in the street. Will Franklin find that future that he dreams of? Or will his tedious life gradually spiral further out of control?
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Relentlessly quirky and strange, this pitch black comedy manages to combine its outrageous silliness with some surprising emotional resonance. Swedish filmmaker Akerlund (who directed Lady Gaga's Telephone) keeps the film's pace snappy as it lurches through a series of crazy situations that aren't remotely believable. But the starry cast manages to hold our interest.
Everything centres on a run-down apartment complex in Los Angeles, where Franklin (Lucas) lives in his dumpy flat, dreaming of someday moving to Switzerland to play his alpine horn in the mountains. Clearly unhinged, Franklin desperately misses his brother Bernard (Marsden), who went away but still sends him a daily audio-tape message. Then on the first day a tape fails to turn up, Franklin's whole life starts to unravel, starting with the fact that his landlord (Stormare) is lying dead on his kitchen floor. Franklin's attempt to get rid of the body draws the attention of two detectives (Crystal and Koechner), who start quizzing the neighbours (Knoxville and Caan). But this is only the start of Franklin's big adventure.
The story is structured as a series of wacky set-pieces set apart by luridly colourful flashbacks and fantasy sequences that fill in the back-stories for each of the characters. As a result, everyone on screen bursts with personality as well as motivations for everything they do, which makes watching them a lot more interesting than we expect. Crystal and Caan emerge as the most engaging people on screen, but even nuttier characters like Lundgren's "Brain Brawn" pop psychologist are fun to watch. By contrast, Lucas gives Franklin an eerily blank face: this is a man who still hasn't figured out who he is.
Continue reading: Small Apartments Review
Made in Germany, this raucous adventure merrily refuses to follow the usual Hollywood route of blanding-down a fairy tale for the lowest common denominator (see both Snow White movies last year). It's still pretty stupid, but it's so unapologetically over-the-top that we're consistently entertained. And it helps that the filmmakers are clearly aware of how ridiculous the plot is, so they push it even further.
The film opens with a horror-style version of the Grimm Brothers' fable, then jumps years ahead as Hansel and Gretel (Renner and Arterton) achieve notoriety as bounty hunters specialising in tracking down and dispatching witches. When they arrive in a small village, they rescue innocent young Mina (Viitala) from the bloodthirsty mayor (Stormare), then vow instead to capture the area's real wicked witch Muriel (Janssen). The sheriff is sure they're con artists, so forms his own posse. Meanwhile, Hansel tentatively falls for Mina, and the duo also meet their teen super-fan Ben (Mann), who joins them as they head into the woods.
Norwegian writer-director Wirkola has created a gonzo action-horror movie out of the familiar bedtime story, complete with wildly outrageous creatures, fiery battles and almost as many explosions as a Michael Bay Transformers movie. Meanwhile, Renner and Arterton strut through medieval Europe like 21st century action heroes, wearing skin-tight leather, head-butting their foes, swearing like sailors and shooting massive guns at anything that moves. In other words, Wirkola's approach is essentially satirical, which allows him to indulge in astounding levels of grisly violence without it ever getting too nasty.
Continue reading: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters Review