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Monster Trucks Review

Very Good

Word has it that a 4-year-old came up with the idea for this unapologetically silly action movie. And it's a proper guilty pleasure. From the director of Ice Age, it never takes itself seriously, so disarms even the grouchiest members of the audience with its energetic mayhem and characters. It's very childish, and sometimes rather too cute, but it's also a lot of fun.

In rural North Dakota, an oil drilling company has unearthed something from deep underground. And it's teenage loner Tripp (Lucas Till) who discovers a huge octopus-type creature that turns out to be friendly, intelligent and rather adorable. It immediately takes refuge in the empty engine cavity of the truck Tripp is building, and it provides more power than Tripp imagined. All of which drags Tripp's popular-girl lab partner Meredith (Jane Levy) into the adventure as the oil company boss (Rob Lowe) sends his henchman (Holt McCallany) to find and dispose of the creature before the environmental officials can shut him down. But his chief scientist Bill (Thomas Lennon) is having doubts about killing the two endearing monsters they've already captured.

Yes, it sounds like a premise a 4-year-old might come up with, mixed with an ecological message for our times and some surprisingly impressive digital effects. The script breezes through all of this, as the cast and crew blithely charge forward through a series of laughably entertaining action set-pieces. It's never terribly thrilling, but the scenes are so good-natured that they keep us smiling. Till and Levy are charming heroes, and their strong chemistry is thankfully allowed to simmer in the background. Pepper is initially the film's antagonist as Tripp's harsh sheriff stepdad, but he hands over these reins to an enjoyably evil Lowe. And Lennon provides some nice moments of comic relief as the sensitive scientist won over by these blobby beasts.

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Monster Trucks Trailer


Tripp doesn't like the small town life that's currently encapsulating his life. He's a senior in high school and can't wait to make a break for a fresh start as soon as possible. Tripp is a great mechanic and starts building his own monster truck but what happens next was beyond belief for the student.

As Tripp works on his car, he discovers a monster living inside his car. Initially scared of the oddity, the human eventually warms to his unlikely new friend and realises that he must've come to the surface after a recent oil drilling accident. 

Tripp calls the monster Creatch and notes that he's incredibly intelligent and loves dining on large quantities of fuel. With hunters hot on the heels of Creatch, Tripp must devise a way to protect his new friend.

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Almost Christmas Trailer


It's everyone's favourite time of year, the Christmas holidays when families come together every year to celebrate the birth of Christ, what could possibly go wrong? In the case of the family in Almost Christmas, everything! This new Christmas comedy film directed by David.E Talbert follows the story of how a beloved patriarch asks his family for a Christmas all together stress free, where they all get along. 

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Legendary Trailer


Mike and Cal are brothers but since the death of their father - almost ten years earlier - they haven't spent much time together. Mike is a lot older than his brother and has been lost touch with his mother. Feeling a need to re-connect with his brother and the want to achieve something, Cal joins the wrestling team dispite his slender frame. The brothers connect over a love of the sport although their mother isn't over enthusiastic about the idea.

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Alpha and Omega Trailer


Kate and Humphrey are two wolves, they're both members of the same pack but from opposite ends of the scale. Kate is an Alpha, her father is the main alpha male and his daughter behaves exactly how she should; she take her duty and commitment to the pack seriously. Humphrey, on the other hand, spends his days making jokes and playing about with his other omega friends.

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Death At A Funeral Trailer


Death often brings a family together and this story is no exception. Aaron and his partner Michelle are finding it hard enough having to live with Aarons folks whilst they get their lives in order. When the death of Aaron's father happens, the whole family is sent into turmoil. A funeral is arranged and Aaron's brother Ryan returns home from LA where he lives and works as a successful writer.

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Shooter Review


OK
As the hero of Shooter, Mark Wahlberg narrows his eyes into a piercing stare, delivers his bite-sized chunks of dialogue under his breath, and maintains a constant state of muscle flex so that each vein in his ropy arms sticks up like a speed bump on an elementary school driveway.

Wahlberg even boasts the ideal name: Bob Lee Swagger. The surname ensures he's all attitude. The fact that he goes by three monikers means he's a bona fide presidential assassin, situated in a class above Lee Harvey Oswald.

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Dreamgirls Review


Very Good
If only they had let Bill Condon direct Chicago instead of just writing the screenplay. As Condon shows with his razzle-dazzle adaptation of the 1981 Tony-winning musical Dreamgirls, he would have been quite an improvement on Chicago director Rob Marshall -- who, before he gave us a mostly-Chinese cast for Memoirs of a Geisha, tried unconvincingly to prove that Renée Zellweger could sing and Richard Gere could dance. It didn't quite kill the movie (the material is almost indestructible), but made one wonder what it could have been with some actual professionals in the lead. Condon makes no such mistake with Dreamgirls, finding a cast with just the right mix of theatrical chops and movie star charisma. In short: If anybody's thinking of doing a film of Jelly's Last Jam, they should see what Eddie Murphy's schedule looks like.The story is just about perfect for a musical: simple enough to hang a number of tunes on, and not so complex that it requires an inordinate amount of dialogue. A quick pastiche of a number of popular R&B groups from the 1960s and '70s, the musical follows one talented Supremes-like trio of singers, the Dreams, as they get their big break doing backup for James Brown-esque screecher James "Thunder" Early and secure the services of ambitious proto-music mogul Curtis Taylor. The fortunes of some will rise, others will fall, trusts will be betrayed, and beliefs about love and friendship will be tested -- basically nothing that can't be best expressed by a soaring ballad.Dreamgirls fairly jumps out of the gate with startling impatience, doing everything possible to get the audience's attention short of having the performers actually reach out from the screen and drag people up on stage. The entire beginning -- set backstage at a Detroit talent show -- is a barrage of spotlights, flashy and coordinated outfits, and neck-breaking music-video editing; the remainder of the film lets up a little, but not much. The energetic songs come fast and quick, Condon and his brilliant cast snapping them out like there's no shortage. Fortunately, there isn't.The genius of the original musical was setting itself in such a fecund period for R&B and soul, thus providing a deep well from which to draw inspiration. It was that period starting when songs that were popular on African-American radio ("race records," as they were called) were either ignored or stolen and watered down for the white mainstream, moving into the golden era of the Motown groups and stretching up until the early stirrings of disco. Dreamgirls hits, sometimes obliquely, on a number of big historical moments from this period, such as the scene where Taylor (Jamie Foxx) comes up with the idea of payola to bribe DJs to get the girls' songs on the air. The film is hardly weighted down by history, however, as there's always another number to get to, or another fight to resolve; most of the latter being caused by Effie White (Jennifer Hudson), the loudest and most talented of the trio.Condon took a risk by casting a relative unknown (well, save for American Idol) in this key role, but it more than pays off. Cast aside by Taylor fairly early on, once the chillingly business-like producer decides she's too much trouble, Effie spends a good deal of time in exile, working on a comeback. As everyone knows, Hudson more than holds up her end in the singing department, rattling the rafters each and every time it's called for. But fortunately she's a good enough actress to keep her character likeable, admirably tough instead of annoyingly stubborn. Foxx plays things closer to the vest than he normally does, which gives his character a chilling villainy at times, but comes dangerously close to non-acting at others -- with a similarly muted turn in Miami Vice, this could mark a disturbing trend for a normally explosive performer.The biggest and most pleasant surprise, however, is Eddie Murphy as Early. When he could have fallen back on his well-tooled James Brown impression, Murphy instead mixes up a number of different performers into his act and adds his own swagger and polish, while not forgetting the painful vulnerability of a once ground-breaking artist who's terrified about being left behind (there's more than a little autobiography in this performance). It's as though a curtain has been raised from Murphy: He knew and we knew all along that he could pull off something like this, but it just took the right film to make everybody realize once again, what a star he is.With all the killer tunes and star turns (even the normally sleep-inducing Beyoncé Knowles, as the Diana Ross-like Deena Jones, knocks it out of the park) it's surprising in the end that Dreamgirls isn't a complete winner. Maybe too much ground is covered too fast, too much attention paid to flash and artifice, when more groundwork should have been laid. For some reason, even with all the powerful emotions unleashed during the film, there's a strange hollowness at the end, once all the bright lights have dimmed and echoes faded. Maybe it's too much to ask that a musical deliver knockout songs and a solidly-constructed story at the same time, as the two often work at cross purposes. More likely, we should just be happy that Hollywood has figured out how to make musicals again, even if they only come around every four years or so.His girls like to party all the time.

The Color Purple Review


Very Good
Heart-wrenching and universally loved, The Color Purple isn't really about the color purple. It's about the trials and tribulations of black women in the turn-of-the-century south, and how they conquered over all the abuse, the poverty, and the lack of anything resembling a life. And it's directed by Steven Spielberg.

Whether this was Spielberg's most desperate attempt to win an Oscar (didn't work: The Color Purple received a whopping 11 Oscar nominations and won precisely zero) or a genuine kinship with the black women of the 1910s we'll never really know. But Purple is a solid enough film, though it lacks true inspiration and gets a little wandering and lost after an hour of running time (and you've still got 1 1/2 more to go!).

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The Royal Tenenbaums Review


Essential
Family isn't based on sweet kisses on the cheek. Affection between parent and child is not established by saying the magical phrase "I love you." Instead, the strongest conversations often come through in stares and sarcastic remarks. As the old saying goes, you only hurt the ones you love, and family members are usually first in line.

This adage is wholly true for the Tenenbaums, a charismatic dysfunctional family set in a slightly surreal New York City. With an all-star cast and crisp dialogue, this film does what many other films of its genre lack -- it creates a family environment that is entertaining as well as easy to relate to.

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Beloved Review


Bad
Long-awaited before its release, most viewers of Beloved have tried to forget the multi-hour ordeal of a train wreck that their beloved Toni Morrison novel became on the big screen. As befits any Oprah pet project, Beloved the movie is indulgent, egocentric to its star (Winfrey, of course), heavy-handed, and sanctimonious. The story of emancipated slave Sethe (Winfrey), her daughter Denver and the drooling, gibbering zombie named Beloved (Thandie Newton, in a role that is as embarrassing as it is horrific) is somehow simplistic and utterly nonsensical at the same time. Director Jonathan Demme is also at fault for failing to exhibit even a modicum of restraint in making this film. After 3 hours of excrutiating torture on screen (costumes and set design aside), you'll probably agree with me that the worst thing about Beloved is that it's simply too long. By about 3 hours.

Manderlay Review


Very Good
You should be very suspicious of anyone who owns Dogville and no other Lars Von Trier film. It's a ruse, a hoax, and a ploy, a way for that pretentious NYU philosophy major with the vintage Members Only jacket to impress that really cool, semi-punk girl with the cool Husker Du pin and prove to her that his brain is much more worthy than anyone else's. To like Dogville alone is to like the idea of Von Trier and to think you're special for picking up all the philosophical ideas behind it, along with name-checking Brecht. You're not, and Breaking the Waves, Dancer in the Dark, and The Element of Crime are much better films. Expect a copy of his latest film, Manderlay, Dogville's sequel, to be placed on that NYU kid's DVD shelf right next to Dogville, allowing for more philosophical meandering but this time, on racism and white, liberal guilt.

Picking up after the violent ending of Dogville, we catch up with Grace Mulligan (Bryce Dallas Howard, replacing Nicole Kidman) as her and her father (Willem Dafoe, replacing James Caan) end up at a small southern plantation named Manderlay. A young, black woman runs up to the car, yelling and crying about how they are going to whip Timothy (Isaach De Bankole). Stopping the car immediately and running onto the plantation, against her father's wishes, she finds that Manderlay is a plantation that still employs slavery. Seeing this as a grave injustice, Grace takes a few of her father's goons and starts running the plantation more like a business, making the white owners work while the slaves are given freedom to go about as they please, receiving shares in the crop's revenue. The slaves are led by Willhelm (Danny Glover), an older man who used to serve Mam (Lauren Bacall), the head of the plantation. As things progress, a dust storm, a child's death, the execution of an elder and Grace's slowly unraveling lust for Timothy start raising the issue that maybe things were better as they were.

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Danny Glover Movies

Proud Mary Trailer

Proud Mary Trailer

There's no-one quite like Mary Goodwin. She's a sexy and totally bad-ass hitwoman with an...

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Word has it that a 4-year-old came up with the idea for this unapologetically silly...

Monster Trucks Trailer

Monster Trucks Trailer

Tripp doesn't like the small town life that's currently encapsulating his life. He's a senior...

Almost Christmas Trailer

Almost Christmas Trailer

It's everyone's favourite time of year, the Christmas holidays when families come together every year...

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Rage Movie Review

Rage Movie Review

Nicolas Cage acts his socks off in this thinly plotted thriller, which is set in...

Beyond The Lights Trailer

Beyond The Lights Trailer

Datari TurnerNoni Jean has always been an immensely talented singer and performer, winning local talent...

Luv Trailer

Luv Trailer

Woody Watson is an 11-year-old boy with a broken family and an unpredictable future. His...

Age Of The Dragons Trailer

Age Of The Dragons Trailer

Age Of Dragons is based on Herman Melville's classic novel Moby Dick, but this version...

Legendary Trailer

Legendary Trailer

Mike and Cal are brothers but since the death of their father - almost ten...

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Death At A Funeral Movie Review

Death At A Funeral Movie Review

If you've seen Frank Oz's 2007 British comedy, it feels rather pointless to watch this...

Alpha and Omega Trailer

Alpha and Omega Trailer

Kate and Humphrey are two wolves, they're both members of the same pack but from...

Death At A Funeral Trailer

Death At A Funeral Trailer

Death often brings a family together and this story is no exception. Aaron and his...

Shooter Movie Review

Shooter Movie Review

As the hero of Shooter, Mark Wahlberg narrows his eyes into a piercing stare, delivers...

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