It's 1963 and Elisa (Sally Hawkins) has spent her life trying to be as normal as possible, despite the fact that people rarely see her that way. She is a mute, which means there are few career opportunities for her at that time. But she does manage to land a job at a top secret government laboratory as a janitor, her brief being to get in, clean up and get out. Her life of silent solitude has left her curious to what's going on at her workplace, however, and she soon discovers that her bosses are hiding something deeply disturbing.
In a large tank of water she discovers a humanoid alien of sorts (Doug Jones), scaly and amphibious, and something about him makes her feel sympathy for him. She decides to visit him everyday, teach him about the world and how to communicate in the only way she knows how. She feels a bond with him; both of them are essentially trapped in the same lab, and both are thought of by society as outcasts in one way or another. But Elisa is in no danger of being dissected for science.
Her boss, Strickland (Michael Shannon), has no empathy for this incredible Amazonian creature. He is only interested in what he can gain from his prisoner. Elisa has no choice but to plan an rescue mission, though if she succeeds she'll surely be caught and arrested. But this isn't about being brave, it's about being human.
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Despite a strong sense of the characters and the setting, this film struggles to engage viewers with its downbeat story about how tough life is. Even though the performances are powerful enough to hold the attention, the film feels like it drifts aimlessly along, never coming into focus in a meaningful way. And since everything is right on the surface, there isn't much subtext to help the events resonate with the audience.
In the God's Pocket neighbourhood in 1980s Philadelphia, everyone knows everything about each others' lives. Mickey (Philip Seymour Hoffman) works as a driver delivering meat, but spends just as much time planning small-time scams with his pal Arthur (John Turturro). Then his life is thrown out of balance when his hothead stepson Leon (Caleb Landry Jones) dies in what is suspiciously described as a workplace accident. Mickey's wife Jeanie (Christina Hendricks) struggles to cope with her son's death, so Mickey is easily pressured by the local mortician (Eddie Marsan) into buying a funeral he can't afford. To make some extra cash, he plans a heist with Arthur and their careless pal Sal (Domenick Lombardozzi), which predictably goes awry. Meanwhile, a famed local journalist (Richard Jenkins) starts looking into Leon's death.
It's not like the film is low on plot: there are plenty of story strands to push each character further into their own personal desperation. And the tightly knit setting provides an intriguing counterpoint as everyone's dirty laundry is aired for all to see, which pushes their true emotions even further underground. This lets the actors deliver riveting performances, even as they're all beaten down to mere husks of humanity. In one of his final roles, Hoffman is terrific as a guy for whom everything goes relentlessly wrong. Hendricks is pretty wrenching as the rather drippy Jeanie, whose interaction with Jenkins is both warm and depressing. Thankfully, Turturro and Marsan provide a spark of energy, as does Joyce Van Patten in a scene-stealing role as Arthur's gun-crazy aunt.
Continue reading: God's Pocket Review
Whizzy and superficial, this isn't the most complicated animated film ever made, but it's a lot of fun if you can buy into its silly premise about a snail who moves at super-fast speed. Aside from its riotous sense of energy and thrilling action sequences, the script is also packed with enough deranged humour to keep the adults laughing along with the kids.
It starts in a normal garden, where Theo (voiced by Reynolds) dreams of racing his human idol, the Indy champ Guy Gagne (Hader). Theo even calls himself "Turbo", annoying his pragmatic brother Chet (Giamatti). Then a freak accident involving nitrous-oxide gives him lightning speed. In search of a chance to race, he meets another dreamer with a practical-minded brother: Tito (Pena) is a man who owns a taco truck with his grumpy sibling Angelo (Guzman). And it's Tito who works with local business owners (Jenkins, Jeong and Rodriguez) to help Turbo achieve his goal to enter the Indianapolis 500 and race against his hero. On the track, Turbo is assisted by a pit-crew of Tito's pet snails (Jackson, Rudolph, Dogg and Schwartz).
Yes, the plot is preposterous, but the script openly acknowledges the insanity of the "snail vs car" race, maintaining the dizzying size discrepancy as all of the characters are just as incredulous as we are. The filmmakers also create a hilarious snail underworld packed with running gags about the perils of being so little. Although they haven't included much slime, which is a strange omission for a movie aimed primarily at pre-teen boys. Still, each snail (and each human too) is such a bundle of big personality traits that we don't really mind the gender and ethnic stereotypes.
Continue reading: Turbo Review
Turbo has big dreams for such a small garden snail; dreams that stretch beyond his regular, sluggish, plant-pot dwelling life. He wants to become the fastest mover in the world, even faster than his favourite racing driver, and compete at the IndyCar races, but, as nature would have it, no matter how much training he does, he simply can't gather speed. However, one day, while gazing at the blurry flow of traffic on a highway, his wish comes true when he is sucked into the back of a vehicle and submerged in a tank of nitrous oxide. On making an escape, he finds himself glowing like a lightbulb and zooming past his inching friends a hundred times faster than he ever believed was possible. On his journey to speedy stardom, he meets Whiplash, Skidmark, Burn, Smooth Move and White Shadow; a crew of other racer wannabes who take him under their wings.
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Turbo might be just your average garden snail but there's one thing that sets him apart from all his friends; he is tired of the slowness of life and has dreams of becoming the fastest creature in the world. While his friend Chet does everything within his power to convince him that he should enjoy the life he has and forget his impossible aspirations. However, while Turbo wistfully watches the flow of traffic on the highway, he makes a wish that unexpectedly defies biology. He is sucked into the engine of a racing car and is subsequently submerged in a tank of nitrous oxide which causes him to glow brightly. When he realises that it has also given him the ability to move at an extraordinary pace, he is determined to compete at the IndyCar races and become the first snail in history to win in a vehicular race.
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Addie Bundren is on her deathbed in the Mississippi town in which she lives with her family. However, she has very specific last wishes; she wants to be buried in the town of Jefferson, which is not the most straightforward of arrangements for her children Cash, Darl, Jewel, Dewey Dell and Vardaman, and husband Anse. Nonetheless, they dutifully make preparations to carry her coffin across county in a wagon but encounter many obstacles in the way from flooding to disturbing family secrets that threaten to tear their once tight-knit family apart. With each of the Bundrens suffering their own problems in their lives, the prospect of laying their beloved mother to rest becomes a burden for many of them and the entire mission turns into less of a dying woman's final request, and more of a test of loyalty.
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When USCP officer John Cale is turned down as he applies for a highly coveted role in the Secret Service, he is devastated but cannot find it in himself to disappoint his young daughter Emily who idolises him and his job. In a bid to give Emily an experience to remember, he takes her on a tour of the White House, but what started out as the most normal of days (if a little extra exciting for Emily) quickly becomes a situation of life and death when terrorist groups launch a series of bombs that hit the White House causing a shocking scene of devastation. John now finds himself with the responsibility of keeping his daughter safe from harm as well as protecting President James Sawyer along with the rest of his country. He may have lost out on becoming an official protector of the President, but he now faces a true test of his abilities that is unlikely to go unnoticed.
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Turbo is a regular garden snail who, unlike his friends, is bored of living his life at a. well, snail's pace. As much as his friends and family try to convince him that his dreams of becoming a super-fast racer are, frankly, ridiculous and utterly fruitless, he refuses to give up hope and makes a wish that is set to change his life forever. After accidently finding himself taking a ride on the roof of the racing car of one of the fastest racers in the world, he finds himself flying into a tank of nitrous oxide which transforms his genetic code and makes him one of the fastest moving creatures on Earth, putting other wannabe snail racers to shame.
'Turbo' is the hilarious and delightful new animated movie from DreamWorks about the power of hope and determination in striving to achieve your dreams. It is David Soren's directorial feature film debut, though he has worked on a string of other animated flicks in other departments. He also co-wrote 'Turbo' with Darren Lemke ('Jack the Giant Slayer', 'Shrek Forever After') and Robert D. Siegel ('The Wrestler', 'Big Fan'). It is scheduled to be released in UK cinemas this Autumn on October 18th 2013.
Ben Shepard is a young and ambitious reporter determined to make a name for himself in the media world. When Sharon Solarz, a member of the radical left organisation Weather Underground, is arrested for her involvement in a bank robbery and subsequent murder 30 years ago, Ben smells an important story that could be his big break. Meanwhile, attorney Jim Grant, a single father of an 11-year-old daughter named Isabel who was also involved in the crime, is forced on the run from the FBI as Ben sparks a new manhunt, but on the way he changes course in an effort to expose the truth and prove his innocence. Ben discovers that the whole story is more complicated than he initially thought, particularly as not everyone appears to be who they say they are.
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Turbo is a garden snail with big dreams of becoming the speediest snail in the world. He is seen as a figure of embarrassment among his snail community, his family and his friends for rejecting their slow and steady way of life but is nonetheless determined, through an intensive training routine, to become like his all-time favourite idol, Guy Gagne; a Indianapolis 500 racing champion for IndyCar. One day, his treasured dreams seem set to be realised when, following a freak incident, he develops an incredible superpower that allows him to move at a mind-blowing pace giving him the chance to truly compete at the IndyCar races and win the Indy 500 champion title for himself.
'Turbo' is a wonderful animated family comedy from DreamWorks about determination, hope and achieving your dreams. It is the feature directorial debut of David Soren who has previously worked on 'Shark Tale', 'Madagascar 2' and 'Shrek' in various departments and who also acted as a co-writer for the film alongside Darren Lemke ('Jack the Giant Slayer', 'Shrek Forever After') and Robert D. Siegel ('The Wrestler', 'Big Fan'). It's a delightful little tale due for release much later in the year on October 18th 2013.
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Paul Giamatti, Michael Pena, Luis Guzman, Bill Hader, Richard Jenkins, Ken Jeong, Michelle Rodriguez, Maya Rudolph, Ben Schwartz, Kurtwood Smith, Snoop Dogg, Samuel L. Jackson
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Date of birth
4th May, 1947
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