With its above-average cast and a gritty, realistic tone, this exorcism thriller is a lot more involving than most. Not only is it packed with demonic mayhem, but the complex characters make the drama much punchier, setting up the audience for several big jolts. Even so, the plot builds slowly, finally reaching its most intriguing twist right at the very end, so the credits start rolling just as things get properly riveting.
The title refers to a secret archive under the Vatican run by Cardinal Bruun (Peter Andersson) and his assistant Imani (Djimon Hounsou). It contains files and lots of tapes of demonic possession, including scenes of 30-year-old Angela (Olivia Taylor Dudley). She has a happy life with her cute boyfriend Pete (John Patrick Amedori) and tough-but-kind dad Roger (Dougray Scott), but starts acting a bit strange whenever a raven is nearby. As her behaviour gets more erratic, she is assisted by Father Lozano (Michael Pena), who takes a personal interest in her case. But things spiral far beyond Lozano's expertise, so he calls the Vatican for help. And when Bruun arrives in America to meet Angela in person, he's unnerved to discover that this might not be a demon: she could be the Antichrist.
The screenplay cleverly weaves in news reports and current events to make everything that happens feel grounded in real life. As it continues, the biblical and fantastical flourishes intriguingly fit into this context, while director Mark Neveldine delays tipping over into effects-based action until the final act. This means that the film quietly unnerves the audience from the start, using CCTV footage and some enjoyably scary touches that add to the atmosphere. As a result, the actors are able to flesh out their characters. Dudley gives Angela a strong personality that lingers even after the presence inside her starts to take over. As the three priests, Pena, Andersson and Hounsou don't have much to do, but they add subtle details to their scenes.
Continue reading: The Vatican Tapes Review
Since the death of Christ, the Vatican has been doing all it can to record and suppress the growing number of possessions and exorcisms. Though a constant battle with the Devil has been raging for over 2000 years, he has yet to show his true face to the followers of God. They know only one thing - he could possess any living human being, seemingly randomly. When a young woman is found to be showing the symptoms of possession, two priests are sent from the Vatican, one being Father Lozano (Michael Peña), to find an exorcise the woman before the Devil can take a true hold of her, and begin his attack upon the mortal world.
Continue: Vatican Tapes Trailer
As with the first two films in this dumb but bombastically watchable franchise, writers Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen seemingly put no effort into writing a script that can even remotely hold water. This is such a boneheaded story that it boggles the mind, eliciting laughter every time it tries to show some emotion or menace. But watching Liam Neeson charge around on a personal mission, cleaning up the criminal underworld in the process, is still rather good fun.
Back home in Los Angeles, former super-spy Bryan (Neeson) is trying to re-bond with his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) while waiting for his ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) to leave her sweaty but wealthy husband Stuart (Dougray Scott) and come back to him. But this dream is cut short in a twisted act of violence that leaves Bryan as the prime suspect. With Inspector Franck (Forest Whitaker) on his tail, Bryan traverses the city trying to unknot the mystery and find out who the real villain is, so he can clear his name and protect his family. With the help of an old pal (Leland Orser), Bryan manages to taunt and elude the cops at every turn while tracking down the nasty Russian mafioso Malankov (Sam Spruell). But something is clearly not right here.
Instead of centring on one far-fetched kidnapping, pretty much every character in the story gets "taken" at some point in the movie. The film benefits from this break in the formula, creating a relentless pursuit that runs right through the story. So even if the details never remotely ring true, and even if most scenes feel badly contrived, it's thoroughly entertaining to watch Neeson's stand-in stuntman leap across backyard fences or drive like a maniac on the freeway, causing mass carnage in his wake. Sadly, director Olivier Megaton directs and edits the film by chopping scenes into splinters, then reassembling them so they make no sense at all. It's loud and fast and incomprehensible.
Continue reading: Taken 3 Review
Things are finally quieting down for Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson). After the ex-special forces operative tracked down and returned his daughter (Maggie Grace), then his wife (Famke Janssen) following their captures, Mills is now settling into a normal life in Los Angeles. But when his wife is suddenly murdered by an unknown villain, Mills finds himself accused and ends up on the run from the LAPD. Inspector Franck Dotzler (Forest Whitaker) heads up the investigation against Mills and orders him to give himself up. But Mills is not going down until he looks for his wife’s murderer, finds them, and kills them.
Continue: Taken 3 Trailer
The teaser is everything a good thriller trailer should be: intriguing, exciting...and darn scary.
It has to be said, the trailer for Last Passenger starts off being really annoying - a bellowing, rowdy group of friends are heading somewhere in a car - with amateur-style footage showing the antics of the passengers who are singing and laughing. The sound levels are grating and the camera shot is disorientating. We've heard that the film's about a train, but these people are clearly in a car. What's the point? Then comes the end of the 30 second teaser clip and our stomachs lurch; nothing could have prepared us for the shocking finale to what started off as a merry affair.
The title, Last Passenger, briefly flickers at the bottom of the dark screen and our blood runs cold for a few seconds. It's clearly a movie but the events looked too real to be fictitious. Have we mistakenly signed up for watching a snuff movie? Is this one of those police caution adverts warning kids not to play near tracks or drivers not to speed?
Supernatural horror 'Hemlock Grove' from director Eli Roth opens to more viewers than 'House of Cards' as season one appears on Netflix.
'Hemlock Grove', the new supernatural horror series from Eli Roth, has been announced by Netflix to have had more viewers on opening on April 19th 2013 than Kevin Spacey's 'House of Cards'.
Netflix has become an immediate 'box set' portal for new TV shows; no more waiting until the end of the season to view back-to-back episodes of your favourite show, you can watch them all as soon as the show is available thanks to a new perspective of TV culture. Earlier this year the streaming site debuted the entire first series of Kevin Spacey's new political drama 'House of Cards' with promises to release the second series on its completion. Although it fared well in reviews, it has been overshadowed by the next show to jump on the box set bandwagon, 'Hemlock Grove', which Netflix reveals did rather better in viewing figures, despite receiving a mixed critical reception. 'We're very pleased with its early performance', Netflix said in their quarterly earnings statement. 'Hemlock Grove was viewed by more members globally in its first weekend than was 'House of Cards' and has been a particular hit among young adults.'
Most of these movies feature actors, actresses and filmmakers who really should know better...
This heavy-handed drug-war thriller proves that Oliver Stone has lost the ability to tell a balanced story. And the all-star cast seems clueless about why they're here. Except a vamping Salma Hayek.
Continue reading: The Ten Worst Films Of 2012
Following the near fatal events of 'Death Race 2: Frankenstein Lives', 'Death Race 3: Inferno' sees the now badly scarred Carl Lucas (now known as Frankenstein) attempt to win his final race which will see his release from prison. Having already had success with four races and managing to secure himself as a legend in the Death Race game, things look to be on Carl's side for once. However, when he and his team are transferred away from Terminal Island prison, they are forced to play out this dangerous event in the first ever desert race and the stakes are even higher this time. Will Carl survive and win his freedom? And will a new face find success in franchising the controversial fight-to-the-death scheme?
Roel Reine of 2010's 'Death Race 2' fame (not to mention 'The Delivery' and 'Deadwater') returns as director for an even grittier and more deadly sequel alongside screenwriter Tony Giglio ('In Enemy Hands', 'Chaos', 'Timber Falls'). 'Death Race 3: Inferno' is car racing at its most perilous - the proof is in the name. Will Death Race be the sticky end for Carl? Or will we see happy endings akin to the first 'Death Race' movie? Either way it is sure to take audiences on an action packed thrill ride from its December 2012 release.
Continue: Death Race 3: Inferno Trailer
A mopey tone and hole-ridden plot make this romantic drama rather difficult to sit through. Even though the premise has hints of Charlie Kaufman cleverness, nothing is developed properly, and none of the characters ever come to life.
Mia (Whittaker) is jolted out of her quiet life by the suicide of an old woman in her building. After talking to maintenance man Max (Warner), she starts to suspect that the woman was her in the future. What follows is a trip into her past, as she visits herself 10, 20 and 30 years earlier, encountering the love of her life, Ludwig (Scott), a womanising, drug-addicted jazz musician. Can she convince her younger self (Whittaker again, and Barnes at age 10) to avoid him? And what's his connection with her parents (Fox and Slinger)?
The script throws us into time-travel from the start, before establishing characters or relationships, so we never engage with anything. Ludwig is a slimy loser in each period, so why Mia fell for him is a mystery; his charming-musician days were before she was born. And even though these people have been in each others' lives for decades, there's no sense of continuity. As we visit the time periods in reverse order, everyone's always meeting for the first time, which makes no sense.
Whittaker invests Mia with some emotional resonance, even if the screenwriters contrive for her her to miss painfully obvious clues about each coming twist.
Meanwhile, Scott is an ugly mess until we glimpse his swaggering younger self, at which point we finally see him sing (nicely) and play the trumpet (unconvincingly). Warner becomes a kind of mad-haired timekeeper with a magical lift that's perplexingly right where it always needs to be. The rest of the cast members are also only allowed to deploy one characteristic each.
This isn't much more than a soapy melodrama. As things get messier, and Mia must travel further into the past to fix it, there are some laughable anachronisms, head-shaking incongruities and silly plot points (look, a gun!).
And worst of all, it's completely po-faced, without a moment of real-life wit.
So it plays out like a lifeless, inept version of It's a Wonderful Life.
Mia is walking along the street one day, when she notices shredded photos fluttering to the ground. As she's examining one of them, she hears a loud thud behind her. Turning, she sees the body of an old woman, who has clearly thrown herself from the nearby building - the very building that Mia lives in.
Continue: A Thousand Kisses Deep Trailer
Date of birth
25th November, 1965
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