For a biopic of a real-life person, this feels like an oddly standard mob thriller. It's the true story of Boston gangster James "Whitey" Bulger, and it's told with gritty filmmaking and robust performances. But there's very little about the movie that sets it apart, leaving it as yet another depiction of violent criminal ambition and betrayal. And by the end, it's difficult to escape the feeling that we've seen it all before.
It opens in 1975 South Boston, where Jimmy Bulger (Johnny Depp) runs the Irish mafia, while his brother Billy (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a senator. Their childhood friend John Connolly (Joel Edgerton) is an FBI agent who has asked for their help in taking down the rival Angiulo family, which Jimmy sees as a win-win situation: he'll get rid of the competition while avoiding jail himself. Over the next 10 years, Jimmy expands his operation dramatically, and he's not afraid to get his own hands dirty as he sorts out problems that are created by his sidekicks (including Rory Cochrane, Jesse Plemons and W. Earl Brown), all of whom are increasingly annoyed at his control-freak ways. But as Jimmy becomes even more notorious, the FBI boss (Kevin Bacon) pressures John to take him down.
The actors dive into their roles. Depp transforms himself physically into a prowling thug with terrifyingly piercing eyes. He may be a heartless killer, but he's also a caring family man. Opposite him, Edgerton has a trickier role as a federal agent who operates more like the gangster he'd rather be, casually ignoring the law to push his own agenda. In the sprawling supporting cast, only a few characters emerge memorably: Cumberbatch has a sparky presence, Cochrane offers some thoughtfulness, and Bacon gets to chomp on the scenery. Other roles are much briefer, especially the sidelined female characters.
Continue reading: Black Mass Review
Whitey Bulger has had the FBI under his thumb for too long, and now people are starting to notice. How can a criminal mastermind responsible for every major offence in the city pass by seemingly unnoticed for an entire lifetime? It's true he landed in Alcatrez at a young age, but the older the more dangerous he becomes; a kingpin of the South Boston criminal underworld who escaped justice by informing authorities of all movements of the rival gang, the Italian Mafia, as suggested by his most useful contact and friend John Connolly. But the Irish Winter Hill Gang is growing ever more powerful, and Bulger's feelings of invincibility lead to more and more murders and destruction. It's time he was stopped, but finding him is not going to be easy.
Continue: Black Mass Trailer
Irish-American criminal mastermind Whitey Bulger was arguably one of the most dangerous men in America before his arrest in 2011 at the age of 81. He'd already spent time in Alcatrez as a much younger man, having spent a lot of time on the streets of South Boston. However, by the 70s he proved to be the FBI's best tool in controlling organised crime within the country, and he was eventually persuaded by his friend John Connolly to be their informant in all workings of the rival Italian Mafia. However, it's not safe business being both a highly respected gangster and a police informant, and while much of his activity is being largely ignored as he rises to become top of the Irish Winter Hill Gang, it seems he is gaining too many killings and dodgy dealings under his belt to go unnoticed.
Continue: Black Mass - Teaser Trailer
Sometimes, the greatest hiding place is in plain sight. For twelve years from the mid-1990s, he was the FBI's second most wanted fugitive, behind Osama Bin Laden. Throughout the 1970s, he was an FBI informant, revealing information to bring down an Italian American crime family, and he was the brother of a US senator. But really, his informant years were to stop another family from invading his own turf. Whitey Bulger (Johnny Depp) was one of the most brutal and violent criminals in Boston, being the secret puppet master behind one of the most dangerous crime families in history.
Continue: Black Mass - First Look Trailer
Carrie Paschall Brown and W. Earl Brown - "American Crime" Premiere Screening, an ABC-TV series beginning to air in the United States in March 2015 at The Theater at Ace Hotel - Los Angeles, California, United States - Sunday 1st March 2015
W. Earl Brown - A host of stars turned out for the Disney ABC Television Critics Aassociation Winter Press Tour which was held at the Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena, California, United States - Wednesday 14th January 2015
W. Earl Brown - A host of stars turned out for the Disney ABC Television Critics Aassociation Winter Press Tour which was held at the Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena, California, United States - Thursday 15th January 2015
When young Cheryl Strayed loses her beloved mother, her entire world seems to come crashing down around her. With her family members distancing themselves from each other in their mourning, she feels she has no-one left to turn to and starts taking heroin and indulging in promiscuous behaviour to comfort herself - if only temporarily. As expected, she and her husband soon divorce as her antics do not improve and she decides that she needs to find another outlet for her grief. Despite having had no previous experience, she decides to embark on a solitary journey across the Pacific Crest Trail; a 1,100 mile hike from California to Canada across brutal mountains and savagely dry desert. Has Cheryl made the biggest mistake of her life? Or will she finally be able to find peace with the world?
Continue: Wild Trailer
Three geeky best friends named Hung, Eric and Joe set out on an adventure of a lifetime to engage in some sword and sorcery style role play. They join a vast group of other LARPers (Live Action Role Players) in a woodland area they name the Fields of Evermore to carry out their dungeons and dragons-esque quest, but when one of them decides to practise a dark spell from an old book, they find themselves facing a genuine paranormal threat. He unwittingly manages to summon a flesh-eating succubus from hell who sets out on a murderous rampage to pick off each role player one by one. Not knowledgeable of demonic menaces of the real kind, the friends must band together to work out how to send the succubus back to its fiery inferno - before it's too late.
Continue: Knights of Badassdom Trailer
Sonny Weaver, Jr. is the general manager of National Football League team the Cleveland Browns who is faced with immediate dismissal if he does not put together an unbeatable draft pick for his team. With pressure from his associates and from Browns fans, he wants to make a spectacular impact on the football world on draft day but, with his ideas being very different from everyone else's, he's in for a big struggle to bring everyone round to his way of thinking and after making what seems like a professionally suicidal trade, even his mother starts to lose faith in him. Excitement builds as draft day nears, with everyone baffled by what could possibly be in store for the Cleveland Browns; but will Sonny pull through with the number one pick of the year?
Continue: Draft Day Trailer
Hung, Eric and Joe are best friends totally into sword and sorcery style role play and re-enactment. However, when they set out on an average sword-battling adventure with their fellow LARPers (Live Action Role Players) in some nearby woodland, a mysterious force overtakes the group and they find themselves facing a genuine paranormal threat when an 'imaginary' spell from an old book somehow conjures up a real murderous hell demon who begins to pick off players one by one. Unprepared for threats of this nature, the friends must band together to work out how to destroy demon, while trying to remain alive in the scariest action role play they'll ever experience.
Continue: Knights Of Badassdom Trailer
John Reid is a Texas ranger; law-abiding and glad to ride alongside his brother, following in his father's footsteps. However, enforcing the law is the last thing on his mind when his brother is killed in an ambush. When he wakes after the attack, injured, he is confronted by Tonto; a strange Native American spirit warrior who wishes to team up with him and seek justice. Reid must abandon the law, and fight the real crime in the town and so he dons his mask and dubs himself Lone Ranger and with Tonto, vows to protect the people from the impending insidious threat.
Here is the Walt Disney Pictures adaption of the 50s Western TV show 'The Lone Ranger' that first gained public attention as a radio show in the 30s. It's an amusing and truly stunning take on the story featuring an all-star cast with direction from the Oscar winning Gore Verbinski ('Pirates of the Caribbean', 'Rango', 'The Ring', 'Mousetrap'). The screenwriting group includes Oscar nominees Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio ('The Mask of Zorro', 'Pirates of the Caribbean', 'Shrek') as well as Justin Haythe ('The Clearing', 'Revolutionary Road'). The movie is set for release in UK cinemas everywhere from August 9th 2013.
By taking a sensitive, honest approach to this true story, breakthrough filmmaker Lewin both avoids sentimentality and keeps the focus on the inner lives of the central characters. He also somehow manages to make a movie about a sexual surrogate strongly involving: we are never even remotely tempted to giggle.
This is the story of Mark O'Brien (Hawkes), a journalist from Berkeley, California, who lives in an iron lung that he can only leave for a few hours a week. Paralysed from the neck down by polio as a young boy, Mark decides at age 38 that he wants to lose his virginity. Consumed by Catholic guilt about this desire, he consults his local priest (Macy), who says he deserves a pass on this one. So his no-nonsense assistant Vera (Bloodgood) finds him a surrogate in Cheryl (Hunt), who starts eight sessions that are designed to lead to sex. And as she gets to know Mark, Cheryl begins to let her guard down.
Lewin refuses to shy away from any aspect of this story, confronting everything in honest, sometimes uncomfortable ways that are never remotely sentimentalised. It would be easy to drift into syruppy schmaltz with this kind of material, but the script maintains a bracingly sharp wit, and the actors cleverly underplay every scene. This adds to the realism and helps us understand all of the people on-screen. Hawkes and Hunt are both transparent and revelatory, each in a difficult role that could have been much showier, but is stronger due to their restraint. Macy and Bloodgood are terrific as the sardonic supporting characters. And Marks (as another assistant) and Arkin (as Cheryl's understanding husband) add terrific layers to their much smaller roles.
Continue reading: The Sessions Review