Here's another remarkable biopic from Oliver Stone, who has used all-star casts and intensely pointed filmmaking to trace the lives of such people as JFK, Nixon, Jim Morrison and George W. Bush. And now he turns his attention to whistleblower Edward Snowden. This is an urgent, skilfully made film that manages to avoid preachy politics as it asks the central question: was Snowden a traitor or a patriot?
Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Ed, a nerdy genius who never went to university but was spotted by CIA trainer Corbin (Rhys Ifans) and brought into the fold. Rising through the ranks, he moves from Virginia to Switzerland, Japan and Hawaii, accompanied by his long-suffering girlfriend Lindsay (Shailene Woodley), who isn't allowed to know what he does for a living. Over the years, his faith in America's government is shaken as he discovers the scale of its data-gathering operation, collecting all telephone and internet information on every person on earth, whether or not they're a suspect. And he believes that the taxpayers have a right to know what their elected officials are doing.
The script tells the story as Ed describes his life to filmmaker Laura Poitras (Melissa Leo) and two Guardian journalists (Zachary Quinto and Tom Wilkinson) while hiding in a Hong Kong hotel, an event recounted in the Oscar-winning documentary Citizenfour. Eventually, this element of the story generates some proper action as the CIA tracks him down and gives chase. Stone orchestrates these scenes expertly, generating some real adrenaline without sacrificing the bigger narrative. And Gordon-Levitt is simply remarkable, vanishing into the role so effectively that the final dissolve to the real Snowden is barely perceptible. His chemistry with Woodley is complex and engaging (even with a gratuitous sex scene), creating a terrific central love story to guide the audience through the events.
Continue reading: Snowden Review
Edward Snowden always knew he wanted to serve his country and, as most young men and women who feel the need to serve their country, he enrolled in the United States Army Reserves, training was tough and it took a toll on his body, an accident led to Snowden fracturing both his legs, his plans for the future were thrown into chaos and he had to evaluate a new way to serve - as well as make a living.
Turing to one of his other natural skills, Snowden continued to hone his computer skills and finally applied for a job at the CIA. Working his way up the ranks, Snowden became an intrinsic member of staff and it lead him to be offered a new job at the NSA by their deputy director. His job was to analyse the internet, to find new ways to intercept the one communication from the 'bad guy' amongst all the innocent communications each person sends on a day to day basis but what he discovers is that the NSA have access to far more knowledge and information than he or any other normal citizen would expect.
Though he's never believed in sharing state secrets, now he's privy to this information, Snowden knows he must do something with it and that he might be putting his life on the line in order to bring this enormous data privacy breach to light. Sneaking out files via a micro drive hidden in his rubik's cube, Snowden contacts three journalists Laura Poitras, Ewen MacAskill and Glenn Greenwald with his newly found knowledge and they begin to unfold the information.
Continue: Snowden Trailer
James Conrad is a British captain who leads an international envoy to the middle of the Pacific Ocean to charter some of Earth's most distant and mysterious lands. The captain is accompanied by a number of other members on the team including Randa, a government official who appears to know a few of the islands mysteries; a female photojournalist called Weaver who is known for her war photography; US Lieutenant Colonel Packard who is in charge of the UK troops who are also part of the mission.
As the vessel approaches the island, spirits are high and the team are ready to take choppers to the green land known as Skull Island. Soon their mission becomes disastrous as the inhabitants are far more feral than they could ever imagine. Equipped with guns, Ammunition and rocket launchers, the humans feel that they're able to overcome whatever may await them on the island but the truth is that they could never come face to face and beat the beast that awaits them.
Kong: Skull Island is the latest reboot of the King Kong story and it focusses on the start of the story originally told in 1933.
Continue: Kong: Skull Island Trailer
To Jenny's family, she's always been somewhat of a loner. Even though she's the oldest sibling, as far as they're aware she still lives a bachelorette lifestyle with her roommate in the city.
When Jenny returns home for the christening of the newest member of their family, it doesn't take her mother and father long to start the usual 'when are you going to find a man and settle down' lecture. Finally caving to their questioning, Jenny lets slip that she is in a relationship and that this partner might just be the one that she's ready to settle down with. What all Jenny's family don't know is that her partner is actually her current roommate Kitty.
After years of living together and being open about their relationship with their city friends, Jenny comes out to her parents and announces her wish to marry the love of her life. Having lived a sheltered existence, this comes as a huge shock to Eddie and Rose and neither know how to take the news - asking Jenny to keep her partner a secret. As time passes and the lie becomes unmanagable, the Farrell family find themselves being pulled apart. To find a way to keep their family together, each must face facts and find a way to adapt to make a future together.
Continue: Jenny's Wedding Trailer
In June 2013, a high-flying 29-year-old government employee named Edward Snowdon suddenly found himself the most wanted man in the world after leaking classified documents from the US government to the media. An intelligent young man, whose army career at just 20 led him to join the CIA and eventually become an NSA contractor where he was faced with what he deemed as seriously questionable ethics from his colleagues, and those above him. Disturbed by the lies spoken by those around him and with a direct concern for the welfare of the people, he sought justice. He knew what such a move would entail, and indeed he was accused of being a traitor when the government tried to suggest that his actions had a negative impact on their counterterrorism programmes, but he knew he couldn't watch the citizens of Earth be continually deceived.
Continue: Snowden - Teaser Trailer
More than just a misfire, this attempt at a rude comedy goes so spectacularly wrong that it actually contradicts its own jokes even as it's telling them. But then it undermines everything as it goes along, for example indulging rampantly in comical cruelty before trying to say something meaningful about the dangers of bullying. The real question is how the cast members could have agreed to make a movie in which they all come across as incoherent idiots.
The story opens as Dan (Vince Vaughn) clashes with his boss Chuck (Sienna Miller) then quits dramatically, taking newly retired Tim (Tom Wilkinson) and airhead newbie Mike (Dave Franco) with him to start a new sales company. But after a year, business isn't good, and the future hinges on making a massive deal with Bill and Jim (Nick Frost and James Marsden). The problem is that Chuck is also bidding for the business, so Dan, Tim and Mike fly off to Maine and then Berlin to seal the deal with a handshake. Impossibly they arrive in Berlin at the same time as Oktoberfest, the marathon, a gay S&M festival and the G8 Summit, with its accompanying anarchist protest. Meanwhile back home, Dan's wife (June Diane Raphael) is having problems with the kids.
Frankly, there is so much going on in this film that it's exhausting. It's as if screenwriter Conrad just threw everything he could think of onto the page and didn't worry if it made even a lick of sense. Every scene feels interrupted by a bit of random chaos that isn't remotely amusing. And despite making a movie that's obsessed with sex, the filmmakers are unable to decide whether they want to make fun of it or are terrified of it (so they end up being both at the same time). Each time something interesting or funny threatens to happen, it's sideswiped by something so breathtakingly bungled that we don't know where to look.
Continue reading: Unfinished Business Review
Tom Wilkinson - A host of stars were photographed as they attended the UK premiere of 'The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel' which was held at the Odeon Leicester Square in London, United Kingdom - Tuesday 17th February 2015
One of the finest biopics in recent memory, this drama manages to present someone as iconic as Martin Luther King Jr. as a normal man anyone can aspire to emulate. Anchored by an internalised performance from David Oyelowo, the film is skilfully directed by Ava DuVernay (Middle of Nowhere) with a sharp attention to subtle details. And the script by newcomer Paul Webb draws the characters with such complexity that the film has provoked controversy from people who like their heroes untextured.
The film enters Martin's story as he is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize alongside his activist wife Coretta (Carmen Ejogo) in October 1964, just over a year after his soaring "I have a dream" speech. And a few months later, he's called to Selma, Alabama, to help blacks who are being denied the right to vote by racially motivated voter registration laws. Martin meets with President Lyndon Johnson (Tom Wilkinson), who has more pressing things on his political agenda, then heads to Selma to lead a march on the state capitol in Montgomery. But the peaceful protest is met with nightmarish violence, ordered by Governor George Wallace (Tim Roth). So as the protesters regroup and plan a second march, Martin heads back to Washington to challenge Johnson to set some new priorities.
Cleverly, the script just covers a few months, punctuated with a series of King's most rousing speeches. Since none of this is presented for its big inspirational value, it has a much stronger kick than we expect. The film's punchiest scenes are almost silent, as King struggles to knot his tie before an appearance or fails to find the words to confess his infidelities to his wife. Oyelowo is so transparent in the role that King emerges as an everyday man with a gift for oratory in the right place at the right time. But it's his steely desire to do the right thing that makes him inspirational. And how he reacts when he discovers the human cost of his actions.
Continue reading: Selma Review
While preparing to film 'The Grand Budapest Hotel', director Wes Anderson and company scouted for locations, finding an abandoned shopping centre which they converted into the lobby of the hotel. The exterior of the hotel was primarily shot through the use of miniatures, as were certain action sequences from the film. The minute detail was continued into the creation of costumes for the extras, as each one was supposedly created to have their own entire backstory. Furthermore, the setting for 'The Grand Budapest Hotel' is the fictional Republic of Zubrowka. This, too, was created in detail, with various passports, newspapers and small businesses that were designed with a tremendous amount of detail.
Continue: The Grand Budapest Hotel - Featurettes
Could 'Selma' win Best Picture at the Oscars after this new controversy?
And this is when the potential Oscar winners start deflecting criticism from all angles. With Ava DuVernay's acclaimed Selma now the second favourite (behind Boyhood) to win Best Picture at the Oscar, the Academy Award mud-slinging has well and truly begun.
Tom Wilkinson plays President Lyndon Johnson in Selma
As Deadline points out, two recent opinion pieces have questioned the historical inaccuracy of the movie, particularly its representation of President Lyndon B Johnson, played in the movie by Tom Wilkinson.
Continue reading: So How Inaccurate Is 'Selma' Exactly?
Tom Wilkinson - Shots of a variety of stars as they took the the red carpet for the premiere of the movie drama 'Selma' which was held at the Ziegfeld Theater in New York City, New York, United States - Sunday 14th December 2014
Pepper Flynt Busbee (Jakob Salvati) is a 7-year-old boy who stands much shorter than any of his classmates, to the worry of his mother (Emily Watson). He has few worries himself though, despite the occasional bully, forever playing adventure games with his beloved father (Michael Rapaport) and feeling like he can take on the world. Things take a turn for the worst, however, when his father is sent off to fight during the troubles of World War II. Distraught, Pepper is willing to do anything to get his father back, and when he is encouraged to use his focus to move an object during a magic show, he starts to see that he really can do anything. He's determined to use his ability to summon Mr. Busbee back home, but he has to be careful never to let a single trace of doubt cross his mind.
Continue: Little Boy Trailer
Date of birth
5th February, 1948
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