Susannah Grant - Premiere of HBO Films' 'Confirmation' at Paramount Theater - Arrivals at Paramount Theater on the Paramount Studios lot - Hollywood, California, United States - Thursday 31st March 2016
Also based on the first in a trilogy of post-apocalyptic teen novels, this thriller feels like it could be a worthy successor to The Hunger Games saga, with its smart story and strong characters. The premise feels remarkably grounded, as it follows a feisty teen while her world is turned upside down by an alien invasion. And Chloe Grace Moretz gives one of her most complex performances to date as a quick, flawed heroine.
The title refers to the stages of invasion, as unseen aliens quietly take over the planet. And then not so quietly. Most of humanity has been killed by disasters or disease, with the survivors waiting for whatever the next wave of attack might be. Before this, Cassie (Moretz) was a normal 16-year-old with a crush on the cute Ben (Nick Robinson). Now she's running for her life, trying to rescue her little brother Sam (Zackary Arthur), who has been whisked to safety by the gung-ho Colonel Vosch (Liev Schreiber) and his military resistance. Along the way, she meets farm boy Evan (Alex Roe), whom she reluctantly trusts mainly because he's such a hunk. Meanwhile, Ben finds himself in Sam's unit in the newly formed child's army Vosch is training to hunt down aliens who have taken human form.
Director Blakeson keeps the pace brisk without rushing past important details. This makes what happens feel unusually believable, and it also allows the actors to add personal touches to their performances. Moretz finds Cassie's innate courage and quick physicality, but nicely balances it with her impulsive decisions and adolescent self-doubt. As in most of these movies, she has to be in a love triangle, but her scenes with both Robinson and Roe offer something a bit more intriguing, mainly because both actors have surprises up their sleeves. There's also a fourth person in this relationship in the form of Maika Monroe's tough-girl fighter Ringer, perhaps the most intriguing character on-screen.
Continue reading: The 5th Wave Review
On paper, the treacle-meter for The Soloist is nearly off the charts. But while Wright (Atonement) hasn't fashioned anything like a classic, and the screenplay by Susannah Grant (Erin Brockovich) is frequently thin on motivation, the film is not even close to the disaster that it should have been. This is higher praise than it may sound.
Continue reading: The Soloist Review
I use the word "nice" because the characters come close to having personalities, but back away politely; their lives are so caught up in this admittedly life-changing event that the outside world doesn't seem to exist. The movie is realistic enough to show Gray moving out of her new house because she can't afford to pay the rent on her own, but not so unsparing that any of the characters, rich or poor, have employment that qualifies as anything other than a mild distraction. For a few movie-days, the free time looks like mourning; an hour in, it begins to resemble, well, one of those movies where no one has a real job.
Continue reading: Catch And Release Review
It's only a mild heresy to turn a beloved children's book and animated film into a star vehicle for the wee Miss Fanning, the go-to child actress who has become Hollywood's only A-list star under the age of 13. The only real surprise is that she doesn't have her own production company yet.
Continue reading: Charlotte's Web (2006) Review
If you're ready to buy in to the writer-as-alcoholic cliché, you should just love 28 Days, which pulls out every stereotype in the book. Sandra Bullock stars as Gwen, the aforementioned drunk writer (living, naturally, in New York City), who ruins her sister's wedding by insulting her during the toast, falling on the cake, and wrecking the "just married" car by crashing it into a house! Off to rehab for her, where she meets a cast of characters drawn so broadly they could populate a sitcom on UPN.
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To say your siblings are terrifying is an understatement; they are either young enough to physically torture you and mentally annoy you with the precision of a mime or they are old enough to make you really worried. Rose Feller (Toni Collette) shares my torture in abundance, if not more so. She has been looking after and taking care of her younger sister, Maggie (Cameron Diaz), since their mother died. We meet Maggie while she is getting nailed in a bathroom stall at a high school reunion. Sparks fly when Rose catches Maggie screwing Jim, the man she is seeing, and throws her out of the apartment they've been sharing. Unable to go anywhere else, Maggie goes to her father's house where she uncovers years of hidden birthday cards from a grandmother she thought was dead. So Maggie packs her bags and heads to Miami to bunk up with grandma Ella (Shirley Maclaine), the grandmother who was cast aside by her father. Meanwhile, Rose starts seeing a fellow lawyer, Simon (Mark Feuerstein), starts a dog-walking business and sets out to reconnect with Maggie.
Continue reading: In Her Shoes Review
In real life, Pocahontas was an Algonquin Indian who is said to have prevented the execution of colonist John Smith in 1607 by her father when she was only 12 years old. Since Smith couldn't speak Powhatan, his interpretation of the events may be mistaken, but it's generally thought today that the story is true. In thanks, Pocahontas was later captured by settlers at Jamestown, taught English, and taken to England where she was celebrated as an "Indian princess" and married off. Before much time could pass, though, she got smallpox (or some other disease) and died at the ripe old age of 23.
Continue reading: Pocahontas Review
It won't be for its aura of jurisprudence. As a primer on the U.S. legal system, Erin Brockovich is not terribly compelling. The legal mumbo-jumbo is all there and feels accurate enough, but the heart of the movie simply doesn't rest with the details of the case, which features Pacific Gas & Electric poisoning 600 people in a small California town with chromium (and then telling them it's good for them).
Continue reading: Erin Brockovich Review
The BBC drama starring Aidan Turner returns to BBC One on September 4th.
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