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The Gift Review


Marketed as a horror-thriller, this sharply well-made film is actually a bleak drama with a strong message about bullying. Actor turned writer-director Joel Edgerton creates a vividly creepy atmosphere as he digs into the perceptions and motivations of three central characters, and he finds plenty of opportunity to unnerve the audience in the process. There are a few big jolts, but it's the unsettling themes that freak us out.

There has clearly already been quite a lot of trauma in the marriage between Simon and Robyn (Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall), so much so that they've packed up their home in Chicago and moved to Los Angeles to start over. As they're settling into their stunning new home in the hills, Simon runs into his old school friend Gordon (Edgerton), who seems to appear out of nowhere, worming his way into their life with a series of thoughtful gifts. But Simon doesn't want to reconnect with Gordon, whom he always thought was a weirdo, which Robyn thinks is rather cruel. She reluctantly agrees with Simon that they break contact with Gordon, due to pressures at work and in their attempts to start a family. But things immediately turn very nasty. And Robyn realises that there's more to Simon and Gordon's past than either is letting on.

With a pungent sense of foreboding, the film is instantly riveting, mainly because it resembles movies like Fatal Attraction. So we brace ourselves for that bunny-boiling moment, and as a writer, director and actor, Edgerton plays with us mercilessly, dropping all kinds of hints and revelations about the reality beneath the surface of these characters. But instead of turning into a crazed, violent thriller, the film instead takes a much more internalised approach, generating suspense from the implications of what is happening. Essentially, it works because it forces us to understand even the darkest motivations of the characters.

Continue reading: The Gift Review

'The Gift' Premiere

Rebecca Hall - 'The Gift' premiere at Regal Cinemas L.A. Live - Arrivals - Los Angeles, California, United States - Thursday 30th July 2015

Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall
Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall
Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall
Jason Bateman, Joel Egerton and Rebecca Hall

The Gift Trailer

Simon and Robyn barely have time to contemplate their perfect lives with their happy marriage and beautiful new house when they come face to face with the less than perfect past. While shopping at a department store Simon bumps into an old classmate named Gordo, though it takes a while for him to recognise him. When a bottle of expensive wine shows up on their doorstep from Gordo, they are left wondering how he got the address but nonetheless invite him over for dinner to say thank you for the house-warming gift. But pretty soon Gordo starts frequently showing up uninvited with stranger and stranger gifts, and when Simon tries to break off their unwanted friendship, things start to get scary. Threatening notes are left, Robyn's fish are suddenly dead and their house is being vandalised. Robyn starts to become seriously suspicious of her husband when the suggestion of an uncomfortable past between the two men arises, and she's desperate to find out what happened before things get out of hand.

Continue: The Gift Trailer

2015 Tribeca Film Festival

Rebecca Hall - 2015 Tribeca Film Festival - 'Tumbledown' - Screening at Tribeca Film Festival - New York, New York, United States - Sunday 19th April 2015

Rebecca Hall
Rebecca Hall
Rebecca Hall
Rebecca Hall
Rebecca Hall

Video - Rebel Wilson Poses With Crystal The Monkey At 'Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb' Premiere - Part 3

Rebel Wilson posed alongside Crystal the Monkey on the red carpet at the New York premiere of 'Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb'. Crystal, who plays Dexter in the movie, appeared to have a rather firm grip on Wilson's perfectly preened hair, though no damaged was caused when the pair parted ways.

Continue: Video - Rebel Wilson Poses With Crystal The Monkey At 'Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb' Premiere - Part 3

New York Premiere Of 'Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb'

Rebecca Hall - Shots of a variety of stars as they arrive for the New York Premiere of 'Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb' which was held at The Ziegfeld Theater in New York City, New York, United States - Thursday 11th December 2014

Rebecca Hall
Rebecca Hall
Rebecca Hall
Rebecca Hall

A Promise Review


When a French filmmaker travels to Belgium to film a German story in English, it's hardly surprising that the resulting movie feels somewhat awkward. Fortunately, the filmmaker in question is the detail-oriented Patrice Leconte (The Widow of Saint-Pierre), and he's working with a fine British cast that makes the most of even the stiffest dialogue. It may all feel rather superficial, but the plot is packed with surprising twists and some real emotion.

It's set in 1912 Germany, where young engineer Friedrich (Game of Thrones' Richard Madden) quickly impresses his sardonic boss Karl (Alan Rickman) at the steelworks, and is promoted to be his personal assistant. When Karl is bedridden with a heart problem, Friedrich moves from his squalid garret into Karl's elegant manor house, taking on extra responsibilities as a tutor for Karl's son. He also catches the eye of Karl's much younger wife Lotte (Rebecca Hall). Their attraction is clearly mutual, but both are naturally afraid to say anything about it. And when they finally do, it's just as Friedrich is about to head off to Mexico for a two-year assignment. So they vow to wait to act on their forbidden love until he gets back. Then the Great War breaks out, and their reunion is delayed, seemingly indefinitely.

Intriguingly, there's a sense that Karl invited Friedrich into his home as a replacement both at the factory and as Lotte's husband. This emerges mainly in subtext through Rickman's clever performance, which bristles with wit and emotional energy, effortlessly stealing the focus from the central romance. Madden is suitably likeable as Friedrich, although it's difficult to understand why he is so besotted with Lotte when he already has a devoted girlfriend (Shannon Tarbet) whose only flaw seems to be that she's a bit clingy. Meanwhile, Hall gives a terrific turn as a young woman whose stiff upper lift obscures a near-bursting passion, which she channels into haunting piano playing that echoes through the house, tormenting both Karl and Friedrich.

Continue reading: A Promise Review

Transcendence Review


Far too slow-paced to work as a thriller and too shallow to properly challenge us as science fiction, this film is unlikely to please many audience members. That isn't to say that it's unwatchable: it looks terrific, and features a strong cast who are solid in thinly written roles. But the material promises far more than the film delivers.

At the centre is Will (Johnny Depp), an artificial intelligence expert who is attacked by an anti-technology terrorist group. With only weeks to live, his wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) and his colleague Max (Paul Bettany) upload his consciousness into his computer system, so after he dies he is able to transcend his humanity to solve far-advanced problems. He directs Evelyn to create a vast secret hideout to further develop the work, which progresses for two years until the terrorists, led by Bree (Kate Mara), find them. And now Will's old colleague Joseph (Morgan Freeman) and an FBI agent (Cillian Murphy) have to choose which side they're on.

This is precisely where the script fails: the sides are far too clear from the start. What should be a story packed with moral ambiguity is instead shaped into a straightforward good versus evil drama that betrays screenwriter Jack Paglen's mistrust of technology. And since everything is slanted so sharply, there's nowhere for the story or characters to go. First-time director Wally Pfister (the Oscar-winning Dark Knight cinematographer) makes sure everything look terrific, but everything moves so hesitantly that we feel like we're watching the movie in slow motion. It's as if the film is always on the verge of saying something important, but can never quite get the words out.

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Johnny Depp Flagging Big-Time As 'Transcendence' Takes $11 Million

Johnny Depp Morgan Freeman Rebecca Hall

Warner Bros' flagging star Johnny Depp will be desperate for one of his upcoming projects - Mortdecai, Into The Woods and Black Mass - to land big on the box-office after his latest sci-fi flick Transcendence took just $3.7 million on Saturday night. The movie is tracking for an $11 million opening.

Johnny Depp Transcendence Johnny Depp in Transcendence

The sci-fi thriller follows Will Caster (Depp), a researcher in the field of Artificial Intelligence working to create a sentient machine that combined the collective intelligence of everything ever known with the full range of human emotions.

Continue reading: Johnny Depp Flagging Big-Time As 'Transcendence' Takes $11 Million

'Transcendence' Passed Over For Critics' Praise: What's Wrong With Johnny Depp's First Sci-Fi?

Johnny Depp Rebecca Hall Paul Bettany Christopher Nolan

Johnny Depp's new science fiction thriller Transcendence isn't even out yet in most countries but box office prospects are looking shaky for its upcoming debut weekend. With its intriguing premise and dark moral message, the film was supposed to be simultaneously Depp's comeback after the critically trashed Lone Ranger and first foray into leading a sci-fi film but has unfortunately failed to ignite reviewers' imaginations so far.

Johnny Depp Transcendence
Depp Undergoes An Eerie Cyber Transformation In 'Transcendence.'

Transcendence sees Depp star as scientist Dr. Will Caster, a computer genius at the forefront of artificial intelligence research before he is taken out by an anti-technology activist. Determined not to die, the scientist and his wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) rush to find a way to upload his consciousness so that he can communicate even beyond the grave. However, not everybody is certain of what will happen if they succeed, especially as Carter's mind begins to evolve and become more powerful than he could have ever dreamed.

Continue reading: 'Transcendence' Passed Over For Critics' Praise: What's Wrong With Johnny Depp's First Sci-Fi?

'Transcendence': Negative Reviews For Johnny Depp's 'Lone Ranger' Comeback

Johnny Depp Rebecca Hall

‘Transcendence’ is a stern Springtime test for Johnny Depp; the 50-year-old actor mooted an end to his film career following the very public failure that was ‘The Lone Ranger’, and a crowded box office, including the hotly anticipated ‘Amazing Spider-Man 2’ will see his star power put to the sword like never before, especially without the Disney machine behind him. 

Johnny Depp in Transcendence Cheer up Johnny

In that context, the reviews for his new sci-fi thriller, ‘Transcendence’ – from director Wally Pfister (Christopher Nolan’s long-time d.p.) – make for painful reading. The entire extent of the damage can’t be confirmed yet, but two things are for sure: this won’t ease the ‘Lone Ranger’ pain, and Johnny Depp’s reputation still hangs in the balance. 

Continue reading: 'Transcendence': Negative Reviews For Johnny Depp's 'Lone Ranger' Comeback

Premiere Of 'Transcendence' - Outside Arrivals

Rebecca Hall - Premiere of 'Transcendence' held at the Regency Bruin Theatre - Outside Arrivals - Los Angeles, California, United States - Thursday 10th April 2014

Rebecca Hall

Premiere Transcendence

Rebecca Hall - Film Premiere of Transcendence - Los Angeles, California, United States - Friday 11th April 2014

Rebecca Hall
Rebecca Hall
Rebecca Hall
Rebecca Hall
Rebecca Hall

Johnny Depp Promotes 'Transcendence', But Attention Turns To 'Black Mass'

Johnny Depp Joel Edgerton Guy Pearce Dakota Johnson Ben Affleck Matt Damon Morgan Freeman Rebecca Hall Paul Bettany

Johnny Depp has begun his promotional tour for his new science fiction thriller Transcendance, which opens on April 18. However, journalists appear to be more concerned with another of the actor's upcoming projects, Black Mass - in which he plays convicted mobster Whitey Bulger.

Johnny DeppJohnny Depp Plays An Artificial Intelligence Researcher in 'Transcendence'

"I don't think of him as Whitey - it's James 'Whitey' Bulger," Depp said at the Four Seasons Hotel during a press day for Transcendence

Continue reading: Johnny Depp Promotes 'Transcendence', But Attention Turns To 'Black Mass'

If Women Make The Best Spies, Will We Ever See A Female Bond?

Daniel Craig Rebecca Hall

A leading female intelligence officer has gone on record as saying women make "bloody good spies" because of their ability to understand emotions and multi-task. During an interview with the Times, an anonymous intelligence officer going by the name of Lisa suggested that being a mother is an advantage too, because it allows women to connect with a wide variety of people, from terrorists to political leaders. 

Daniel CraigDaniel Craig Is The Current James Bond

"I am less of a threat than a single female," said Lisa, who is married with young children, "They [the terrorists] have mothers, sisters, daughters."

Continue reading: If Women Make The Best Spies, Will We Ever See A Female Bond?

Rebecca Hall

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