The surprisingly thoughtful prequel trilogy comes to a powerful conclusion with this robust, dramatic thriller, which avoids most of the annoying cliches of action blockbusters to offer something much deeper. As before, the film is anchored by a startlingly realistic motion-capture performance from Andy Serkis that fills the screen with complex emotions.
As the lab-created virus continues to sweep across the world, killing humans and giving sentient abilities to apes, a tenacious Colonel (Woody Harrelson) is making one last stand for mankind. While raiding a nearby ape village, he kills ape leader Ceasar's (Serkis) family, which finally convinces Caesar that peace with humans won't be possible. With revenge in mind, Caesar takes his faithful orangutan advisor Maurice (Karin Konoval) on a mission to track down the Colonel while arranging for the colony to make its escape. Along the way, Caesar reluctantly rescues an abandoned little girl (Amiah Miller) and a chatty orphaned ape (Steve Zahn). Meanwhile, the Colonel has holed up in a military base awaiting reinforcements from the north to wipe out the apes for good.
Unlike most action movies, this film plays out patiently, with long scenes that reveal internal motivations, deepening the characters and situations profoundly. Director Matt Reeves never rushes through a set-piece, allowing them to evolve organically, even if there are a couple of oddly convenient plot points later on. The point is that the film centres on the internalised thoughts and feelings of the characters, rather than their physicality in the big action moments. Which of course draws us into the complexities of the story and forces us to consider the bigger ideas swirling around. This also means that scenes never play out in predictable ways, constantly surprising the audience with refreshing twists that undermine and redefine the genre.
Continue reading: War For The Planet Of The Apes Review
After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise, continuing with this King Kong prequel. It's a ripping adventure, cleverly directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts (The Kings of Summer) to resemble a snarky Apocalypse Now remake with added gigantic beasts. And the eclectic cast makes sure that there's plenty of comedy, villainy and heroics to draw the audience in.
It's 1973, and Bill (John Goodman) is taking a pair of scientists (Corey Hawkins and Jing Tian) to an uncharted island to verify reports of prehistoric creatures before the Russians can get there first. En route, they stop in Vietnam to collect a mercenary adventurer (Tom Hiddleston), a photojournalist (Brie Larson) and a helicopter squadron led by Packard (Samuel L. Jackson). But their noisy arrival on the island enrages towering monkey Kong (mo-capped by Terry Notary and Toby Kebbell, who also plays a member of the team). With their choppers grounded, the main job now is to get out of here alive. And after discovering a castaway WWII pilot (John C. Reilly), they learn that Kong is actually protecting the world from far scarier monsters.
The story is told with a blast of dry humour, weaving in lots of sharp banter along with a collection of iconic 70s rock anthems. This gung-ho approach makes the movie energetically good fun, obscuring the fact that it's not particularly deep or meaningful. There are big themes gurgling away under the surface (such as the way blind militaristic action unearths dangers far worse than the perceived enemy), but these things remain subliminal, only barely visible amid the fast-paced action and big effects mayhem. That it all leads to some heavily animated monster-vs-monster destruction is hardly surprising. But when a movie is this light on its feet and so cheerfully frenetic, the audience is really only interested in hanging on for the ride.
Continue reading: Kong: Skull Island Review
Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists and turns that the audience never sees coming. It's a complex series of events that sometimes gets a bit bogged down in the under-explained details, but the characters are fantastic. And at the centre, Matthew McConaughey shines in a role that requires him to completely change the way he looks.
It's set in the late 1980s, as the fast-talking salesman Kenny (McConaughey) is trying to raise funding in Reno for a project he has been dreaming about for decades: prospecting for gold in Indonesia. He is sure there's a fortune in those mountains, but everyone else is dubious. And even as he's on the verge of losing everything, his wife Kay (Bryce Dallas Howard) quietly stands by him. In desperation, he gets on a plane to Jakarta, pitching his idea to local adventurer Michael (Edgar Ramirez), who escorts him into an area populated by head-hunters. When the companies back in America hear that they've found gold, there's more money than Kenny and Michael can count. But the FBI suspects it's a scam.
McConaughey is magnetic as the balding, overweight Kenny, a guy who simply won't take no for an answer. He is convinced that there's gold in the rainforest, even though no one has ever seen any, and his optimism is infectious to both the other characters and the movie's audience. This makes all the men in suits opposite Kenny look rather dull by comparison. Howard gives her role a powerful kick of emotion, although Kay is sidelined by the plot. And Ramirez gets some terrific scenes as the Indiana Jones-style explorer. All of these people seem to be caught up in a flood of events they have no control over, and the film races along without pausing for breath.
Continue reading: Gold Review
A difficult movie to market, this isn't actually the BFG-style fantasy adventure it looks like. Instead, it's a darkly emotional journey taken by a young boy who is grappling with huge issues he doesn't quite understand. In other words, it's a film for adults that centres on a child. It's also one of the most moving films in recent memory, with a powerful cast and a remarkably resonant sense of authenticity even in its big effects-based sequences.
In northern England, 12-year-old Conor (newcomer Lewis MacDougall) is running his home while his mother (Felicity Jones) undergoes treatment for cancer. He's rather annoyed that his grandmother (Sigourney Weaver) keeps butting in to take over, and also that his father (Toby Kebbell) lives in America and can only drop in for short visits. Overwhelmed by all of this, Conor imagines the gigantic yew tree in a nearby churchyard coming to life and visiting him at night. This monster (voiced by Liam Neeson) spins a series of fables about princes and dragons, exploring complex themes Conor can't quite grasp because they don't have the simple morality of obvious heroes and villains. And now the monster tells Conor that he has to recount the final story himself, and that it has to be the truth.
Yes, this film is exploring the wrenching nature of mortality and grief, and how it feels to discover for the first time what it means to each of us personally. Thankfully, writer Patrick Ness (adapting his own novel) and director J.A. Bayona (The Impossible) are clever enough to make a film that will touch grown-ups and children in very different ways. The basic story works as an adventure odyssey with strong dramatic kicks. And while youngsters are caught up in the rich depth of ideas that are momentous but just out of reach, the audience members with experience in this area will find some scenes almost overwhelmingly emotional.
Continue reading: A Monster Calls Review
Conor's life has never been easy, his mother is loving but any other family members are distant from the young boy. He's bullied at school and is increasingly turning into a loner. One night Conor goes to sleep but it awakened by a noise at the window.
What is revealed to Conor is a monster who starts talking with the boy. He says he'll tell the boy a series of stories in return for the boy eventually telling his own. As nights pass, the monster and the boy become closer friends but as the monster begins to get Conor into trouble, he must face up to a few issues in his life that he's been avoiding.
A Monster Calls is an adaptation of the Patrick Ness book of the same name. The book was originally published in 2011 but had its roots actually came from famed children's author Siobhan Dowd who wrote Bog Child. Dowd began work on the A Monster Calls before her death but unfortunately ran out of time, at which point Ness picked the novel up.
A Monster Calls stars Liam Neeson, Lewis MacDougall, Felicity Jones & Sigourney Weaver.
The new fantasy blockbuster Warcraft stars Travis Fimmel and Toby Kebbell in the lead roles as a human and an orc trying to find peace as a huge battle looms.
But while Fimmel is there on screen, Kebbell is digitally augmented as the 900-pound orc chieftan Durotan. After making his name as an actor in acclaimed films like Control and RocknRolla, Kebbell discovered that he had a gift for motion-capture performance when he played Koba opposite Andy Serkis in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
He laughs when he recalls approaching the role: "Stupidly, I figured anyone could do a monkey. I was like, 'Oh yeah, ooga-booga!' A little scratch under the armpit, I'm good. Little did I know that by week two of working with my motion coach Terry Notary I would be barely able to walk after crouching for 10 hours a day. And working with Andy Serkis is like working with a grand master. I had an apprenticeship."
Continue reading: Toby Kebbell Hones His Performance-Capture Skills In Warcraft
Based on the iconic strategy game, this fantasy battle epic will appeal mainly to either the gamers themselves or audiences that love wildly detailed fantasy worlds. Everyone else will probably feel a bit lost when faced with the stream of confusing names, spells and magical phenomena that fill every scene. It looks terrific, and is directed with plenty of energy and personality. But it feels both overcrowded and superficial.
With their home world Draenor dying, the orcs need to travel through a portal to the human realm Azeroth to find more life force to steal. One orc chieftan, Durotan (Toby Kebbell), is having doubts about this murderous plan, and thinks peace with humans might be a better option. His rival chief Blackhand (Clancy Brown) and the cackling orc shaman Gul-dan (Daniel Wu) disagree, and set a massacre in motion. Preparing for the attack, human King Llane (Dominic Cooper) turns for help to his top knight Lothar (Travis Fimmel), sorcerer Medivh (Ben Foster) and apprentice wizard Khadgar (Ben Schnetzer). Then they meet outcast half-caste Garona (Paula Patton), and she offers another way to take on the invaders.
For the uninitiated, the elaborate mythology is so detailed that it blurs together into something rather incomprehensible. Director Duncan Jones doesn't have time to explain everything, so he charges ahead and just lets the dialogue overflow with references that may or may not be needed to work out what's happening. The film leaps from one strikingly staged battle to another, all cleverly designed to mix digital animation with gothic costumes. It looks pretty amazing in 3D, but the only characters who emerge with any depth are Durotan and Garona, nicely played by Kebbell and Patton under mounds of effects, makeup, fur and teeth.
Continue reading: Warcraft Review
Travis Fimmel is set to lead the cast in one of the most epic films of 2016. Warcraft: The Beginning is based on Blizzard Entertainment's hugely successful computer game. Warcraft: The Beginning is being directed by Duncan Jones (The son of David Bowie who previously directed Moon starring Sam Rockwell)
Warcraft: The Beginning is a live action film released in 3-D by Universal & Legendary Pictures.
The full trailer will launch November 6 2015
The Marvel Comics adaptation has opened to extremely poor critical notices.
Director Josh Trank has taken action to distance himself from the critically derided reboot of Fantastic Four, appearing to claim that the studio, 20th Century Fox, was at fault for interfering with his “fantastic” vision of the movie.
The movie, which is the third such attempt to launch a big screen franchise out of the Marvel Comics tale, has been roundly panned by reviewers in the last couple of days since its August 4th premiere. Starring Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Jamie Bell, Michael B. Jordan and Toby Kebbell, it currently holds a 9% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, making it the worst reviewed superhero movie of 2015 thusfar.
Toby Kebbell stars as the villain in the new 'Fantastic Four' movie
Until the special effects take over in the final act, this is an unusually gritty, grounded superhero thriller, with characters who are so believable that the wacky science almost seems to make sense. This is Marvel's very first franchise, and the filmmakers are unable to resist the pressure to indulge in an overblown finale, and the digital mayhem they give into is oddly unexciting. So as an origin story, this film is more involving than most, but the superhero action itself feels rather limp.
It opens as an exploration of the school friendship between the misunderstood genius Reed (Miles Teller) and junkyard bully Ben (Jamie Bell), whose teleportation science experiment gets them in trouble. But Dr Storm (Reg R. Cathey) sees that their work solves a problem he has encountered in his own experiments, so he brings Reed to New York to join his well-funded, high-tech team. Working with Victor (Toby Kebbell) and Storm's children Sue and Johnny (Kate Mara and Michael B. Jordan), Reed builds a full-size teleporter that succeeds in crossing over to another dimension. And Ben joins the crew for an illicit first voyage that goes spectacularly wrong, leaving Victor on the other side, while Reed, Ben, Sue and Johnny emerge with superpowers caused by altered DNA. The big boss (Tim Blake Nelson) immediately starts training them for military action, but Reed remains determined to make things right.
A strong cast helps all of this play out with remarkable introspection, letting each character develop an organic back-story that brings them together as an uneasy team. The inter-relationships are complex and engaging, veering from rivalry to camaraderie. Teller anchors the film with a layered performance as a smart, troubled guy who struggles to maintain friendships as he focusses on his work. Mara and Johnson add some feisty attitude, but it's Bell and Kebbell who provide the spark of personality that makes this crew so engaging. Then both of them become animated characters (Bell as The Thing and Kebbell as Dr Doom) without even a hint of the actors visible underneath. And the movie never quite recovers its momentum.
Continue reading: Fantastic Four Review
The surprisingly thoughtful prequel trilogy comes to a powerful conclusion with this robust, dramatic thriller,...
After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...
Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...
A difficult movie to market, this isn't actually the BFG-style fantasy adventure it looks like....
It's the 1970s and Captain James Conrad and Lieutenant Colonel Packard are leading a group...
Conor's life has never been easy, his mother is loving but any other family members...
James Conrad is a British captain who leads an international envoy to the middle of...
Based on the iconic strategy game, this fantasy battle epic will appeal mainly to either...
Azeroth is a beautiful and civilized kingdom, it's human inhabitants are goverend by their much...