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War Dogs Review

Good

Based on a rather astounding true story, this comedy-drama centres on two stoners who landed a massive defence contract with the American government to sell arms for the War on Terror. The story is told with a heavy dose of macho swagger by The Hangover's Todd Phillips, which makes it entertaining even as it dodges the heavier themes the plot is raising. It's also set in a world where smugness is an asset and women are irrelevant.

It begins in 2005 Miami, where David (Miles Teller) is working as a masseur and living happily with his girlfriend Iz (Ana de Armas). Then he runs into his old school friend Efraim (Jonah Hill), who convinces him that there's money to be made selling weapons to the US military. Over the next few years, the business expands dramatically, bringing in a fortune as David and Efraim travel into Iraq to see their deals through. Then they land a massive new contract that involves working with a rather dodgy supplier (Bradley Cooper) and processing the arms in Albania. But as they start bending the law to maximise their profits, things start to fall apart.

Phillips tells this with a quick step and a twinkle in his eye, zipping through the events with masculine energy, filling scenes with black humour as the business gets murkier. Hill and Teller make a terrific team, using their impeccable comic timing to make every scene zing. They are also excellent at bringing out the contrasts between David and Efraim: David tries to do things right, Efraim has no moral compass. And their differing approaches to cross-cultural situations are telling as well. Many of their conflicts seem scripted for movie purposes, but they're so well-played that we don't mind too much. By comparison, the supporting cast kind of fades into the background. Cooper grabs attention in a seriously oddball role, while de Armas is completely sidelined as the only person with a conscience.

Continue reading: War Dogs Review

War Dogs Trailer


War dogs follows the journey of two low end arms dealers David Packouz and Efraim Diveroli on their journey to the top when they secure themselves a contract from the Pentagon to provide military weapons to U.S. allies in Afghanistan. In this criminal war comedy the two friends start off their business by exploiting a government initiative that allows small businesses to bid on military weapons contracts.

Continue: War Dogs Trailer

Shaun Toub - Celebriteis attend the World Premiere of 'Captain America: Civil War' at Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. at Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Dolby Theatre - Los Angeles, California, United States - Tuesday 12th April 2016

Shaun Toub
Shaun Toub
Shaun Toub
Shaun Toub
Lorena Mendoza and Shaun Toub
Lorena Mendoza and Shaun Toub

Shaun Toub - Los Angeles premiere of Focus Features' 'The Danish Girl' - Arrivals at Westwood Village Theatre - Los Angeles, California, United States - Saturday 21st November 2015

Shaun Toub
Shaun Toub
Lorena Mendoza and Shaun Toub
Lorena Mendoza and Shaun Toub

Lorena Mendoza and Shaun Toub - Photo's from the American Film Institute's festival 2014 and the premiere screening of 'The Gambler' at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California, United States - Monday 10th November 2014

Lorena Mendoza and Shaun Toub
Shaun Toub
Shaun Toub
Shaun Toub
Shaun Toub
Shaun Toub

Shaun Toub Monday 2nd May 2011 Los Angeles premiere of 'Thor' held at the El Capitan Theatre - Arrivals Hollywood, California

Shaun Toub

Shaun Toub, Celebration and Las Vegas Friday 31st December 2010 The Cosmopolitan Grand Opening and New Year's Eve Celebration at Marquee Nightclub in The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas, Nevada

Shaun Toub, Celebration and Las Vegas

The Last Airbender Trailer


Watch the trailer for The Last Airbender

Continue: The Last Airbender Trailer

The Kite Runner Review


Good
Practically no other nation's modern history has been so rife with grief and shattered expectations as that of Afghanistan; a fact utilized to maximum effect by Marc Foster in his adaptation of Khaled Hosseini's book club blockbuster The Kite Runner. Starting in the relatively chaos-free years before the Soviet invasion and concluding in the middle of the Taliban's theocratic lockdown, the film manages the difficult task of tracking massive historical upheavals while keeping tightly focused on the people forced to live through such tumultuous changes.

The character who ties the whole narrative together is Amir, a spoiled brat of a kid who turns into a spoiled writer as an adult only to grudgingly submit himself to the rigors of becoming a hero near the conclusion. In the mid-1970s, the young Amir (Zekiria Ebrahimi) lives with his prosperous father, or Baba, in a nice house in Kabul. Amir lives a pretty decent and sheltered life, his best friend, the fiercely loyal Hassan (played with emphatic nobility by Ahmad Khan Mahmoodzada), is the son of the family's head servant, and will do practically anything Amir wants. His Baba is a proudly educated and modern man, with his jazz records, turtlenecks, bottles of liquor, and well-kept Mustang; the last particularly beloved by the Steve McQueen-worshipping boys. Amir and Hassan are an excellent team when it comes to the fascinating Afghan take on kite-flying, where pairs of boys get into high-altitude duels, trying to cut the strings of their opponents kites (the sport was later banned when the Taliban came to power).

Continue reading: The Kite Runner Review

Crash (2005) Review


Excellent
In Crash, a simple car accident forms an unyielding foundation for the complex exploration of race and prejudice. Thoroughly repulsive throughout, but incredibly thought provoking long after, Paul Haggis' breathtaking directorial debut succeeds in bringing to the forefront the behaviors that many people keep under their skin. And by thrusting these attitudes toward us with a highly calculated, reckless abandon, Haggis puts racism on the highest pedestal for our review.

There is no better place for this examination than the culturally diverse melting pot of modern-day Los Angeles. In just over 24 hours, Crash brings together people from all walks of life. Two philosophizing black men (Ludacris and Larenz Tate) steal the expensive SUV belonging to the white, L.A. District Attorney (Brendan Fraser), and his high-strung wife (Sandra Bullock). A similar vehicle belonging to a wealthy black television director (Terrence Howard) and his wife (Thandie Newton) is later pulled over by a racist cop (Matt Dillon) and his partner (Ryan Phillippe). Soon, many of these people get mixed up with a Latino locksmith (Michael Peña), a Persian storekeeper (Shaun Toub), and two ethnically diverse, dating police detectives (Don Cheadle and Jennifer Esposito).

Continue reading: Crash (2005) Review

The Nativity Story Review


Good
There's a newly famous scene in Borat where a rodeo official advises the titular character to shave his moustache so as not to arouse suspicion that he's a terrorist. What could that possibly have to do with a movie about the birth of Jesus? Well, given that said rodeo official would have to advise (probably rather awkwardly) virtually everyone in this film to do the same, a whole lot.

Many Biblical epics have graced the screen but few have made any effort to match the casting with the geography. The Nativity Story is a notable exception. In a narrative long since detached from the holiday that celebrates it, Israelite Mary (Keisha Castle-Hughes), living under Roman rule in, well, zero B.C., sees a vision in which the angel Gabriel (Alexander Siddig) tells her that she will conceive a child by the Holy Spirit. Cue the scratching of the record.

Continue reading: The Nativity Story Review

The Nativity Story Review


Good
There's a newly famous scene in Borat where a rodeo official advises the titular character to shave his moustache so as not to arouse suspicion that he's a terrorist. What could that possibly have to do with a movie about the birth of Jesus? Well, given that said rodeo official would have to advise (probably rather awkwardly) virtually everyone in this film to do the same, a whole lot.

Many Biblical epics have graced the screen but few have made any effort to match the casting with the geography. The Nativity Story is a notable exception. In a narrative long since detached from the holiday that celebrates it, Israelite Mary (Keisha Castle-Hughes), living under Roman rule in, well, zero B.C., sees a vision in which the angel Gabriel (Alexander Siddig) tells her that she will conceive a child by the Holy Spirit. Cue the scratching of the record.

Continue reading: The Nativity Story Review

Land Of Plenty Review


OK
Wim Wenders' sense of subtlety and grace started to decline somewhere in the '90s, and in post-9/11 he's clearly lost it altogether. Land of Plenty is his meditation on the Big Event (and I guess at this point we should assume that every film director will eventually make one... come on Spielberg, what's holding you back?). Kudos for having the stones to have the movie take place all the way across the country in L.A., but could the story be more overbearing?

John Diehl plays a Vietnam vet who spends his days in a van keeping tabs on suspicious personages, particularly those with turbans. He's constantly narrating the action into a tape recorder, and he even has a flunky willing to help him "analyze these chemicals by oh-nine-hundred." This is contrasted with his long-lost niece (Michelle Williams), a mopey girl who's all too happy to spend all day working in a soup kitchen. The digital video looks suitably present and "real," but Wenders' wandering sentiments fail to add anything new to what has become a mountain of conversation on the New Paranoia and What the Hell Are We Supposed To Do Now? It's not exactly lazy filmmaking, but it's hard to give it your complete attention.

Continue reading: Land Of Plenty Review

Crash (2004) Review


Excellent
In Crash, a simple car accident forms an unyielding foundation for the complex exploration of race and prejudice. Thoroughly repulsive throughout, but incredibly thought provoking long after, Paul Haggis' breathtaking directorial debut succeeds in bringing to the forefront the behaviors that many people keep under their skin. And by thrusting these attitudes toward us with a highly calculated, reckless abandon, Haggis puts racism on the highest pedestal for our review.

There is no better place for this examination than the culturally diverse melting pot of modern-day Los Angeles. In just over 24 hours, Crash brings together people from all walks of life. Two philosophizing black men (Ludacris and Larenz Tate) steal the expensive SUV belonging to the white, L.A. District Attorney (Brendan Fraser), and his high-strung wife (Sandra Bullock). A similar vehicle belonging to a wealthy black television director (Terrence Howard) and his wife (Thandie Newton) is later pulled over by a racist cop (Matt Dillon) and his partner (Ryan Phillippe). Soon, many of these people get mixed up with a Latino locksmith (Michael Peña), a Persian storekeeper (Shaun Toub), and two ethnically diverse, dating police detectives (Don Cheadle and Jennifer Esposito).

Continue reading: Crash (2004) Review

Maryam Review


Good
Suburban prejudice surrounding real life circumstance is the basis of this fairly impressive debut by writer/director Ramin Serry. While it may play like an after-school special you might have seen during the 1980s on PBS, the emotional struggles portrayed remain digestible, and often thought-provoking.

Maryam (aka Mary, Mariam Parris) is a bright, high-schooler, living in an Iranian household that's substantial enough monetarily (her father, played by Shaun Toub, is a doctor) that her mother (Shohreh Aghdashloo) doesn't have to work. She goes to school, finally gets to drive the family car, and participates in activities such as the school news club. The flipside of this charmed life is that she is the first generation to grow up in America, and her family still abides by some traditional Iranian rules. She isn't allowed out at night, and her father refuses her phone calls after dark as well, especially from boys.

Continue reading: Maryam Review

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Tom Cruise Comes Back From The Dead In 'The Mummy'

Tom Cruise Comes Back From The Dead In 'The Mummy'

New trailer gives a glimpse into this 2017 re-boot.

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Shaun Toub Movies

War Dogs Movie Review

War Dogs Movie Review

Based on a rather astounding true story, this comedy-drama centres on two stoners who landed...

War Dogs Trailer

War Dogs Trailer

War dogs follows the journey of two low end arms dealers David Packouz and Efraim...

The Last Airbender Trailer

The Last Airbender Trailer

Watch the trailer for The Last AirbenderAir, Water, Earth and Fire the four elements that...

The Kite Runner Movie Review

The Kite Runner Movie Review

Practically no other nation's modern history has been so rife with grief and shattered expectations...

Crash (2005) Movie Review

Crash (2005) Movie Review

In Crash, a simple car accident forms an unyielding foundation for the complex exploration of...

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The Nativity Story Movie Review

The Nativity Story Movie Review

There's a newly famous scene in Borat where a rodeo official advises the titular character...

The Nativity Story Movie Review

The Nativity Story Movie Review

There's a newly famous scene in Borat where a rodeo official advises the titular character...

Crash (2004) Movie Review

Crash (2004) Movie Review

In Crash, a simple car accident forms an unyielding foundation for the complex exploration of...

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