Davis Okoye (Dwayne Johnson) is passionate about his job at Everglades National Park, particularly with regards to an intelligent ape, his best friend, named George. One night, some kind of missile hits George's enclosure which, upon inspection, sprays him with an unknown substance. The next morning, Davis arrives to find George cowering in his cave in obvious fear and pain, and Davis realises he has grown at least two feet since he last saw him and his weight has almost doubled.
With the help of scientist Dr. Kate Caldwell (Naomie Harris), they find the object that caused George's transformation, and deduces that it's part of some genetic editing technology being developed by the government. Of course, given that it's managed to find its way into the home of George - who, incidentally, is displaying more and more unpredictable behaviour - that means there's likely to be other 'edited' animals out there, something like... a 30-foot wolf, or a gigantic crocodile.
Davis protests about George being taken away by the military for testing, but this now-outsize ape can certainly take care of himself and is not about to become a science experiment if he can help it. But there might be a chance for Davis to get his friend back; there's talk of an antidote for the technology being created and it soon becomes clear that Davis is the only person willing to chance it than execute the innocent animals.
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Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches our attention with its vivid characters and original setting. Based on real people and situations, it also rings unusually truthful in its combination of comedy and drama. It's another remarkably observant movie from Danish director Lone Scherfig (An Education).
The setting is 1940s London, where the Ministry of Information has assembled a team to make movies to help with the war effort. Catrin (Gemma Arterton) is a secretary who finds herself assigned as a screenwriter, working alongside Buckley and Parfitt (Sam Claflin and Paul Ritter) to write movies for veteran actor Ambrose (Bill Nighy). When Catrin discovers a story about twin sisters who participated in the Dunkirk boatlift, she proposes it as a film idea, and soon the entire crew goes into production, adding an American soldier (Jake Lacy) to the cast to accommodate the wishes of US military allies. This annoys Ambrose, who had been hoping to play the hero himself.
Scherfig directs the film with a light touch that brings the period to vivid life and never bogs down in the intensity of wartorn Britain, recognising the reality while undermining it with brittle humour and messy romance. Catrin has an artist husband (Jack Huston) who isn't happy about her new job, and there are hints of a romantic-comedy subplot between Catrin and Buckley.
Continue reading: Their Finest Review
It's the early 1940s and World War II is in full swing. Bombs are raining down on London in the Blitzkrieg threatening to tear the country in two, but the British are made of sturdier stuff. Catrin Cole is a writer who comes to realise that the absence of ambitious young men in the workplace due to recruitment into the army has opened a door for her. She is appointed by the film division of the Ministry of Information to write the supplementary women's dialogue of a new propaganda film about Dunkirk, however she is told that she'll get no screen credit and won't be paid as much as her male counterparts. She goes one step further and writes the whole script, impressing all involved if leaving them a little indignant. Plus, she finds an unlikely ally in an aging film star named Ambrose Hilliard, who longs for the days he had major roles.
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Elizabeth Sloane is a lobbyist and often finds herself facing off against some of the most important politicians in America. She's a consummate professional and is often taken as cold and calculating but these elements of her personality only work to her benefit.
In many ways, being a successful lobbyist is like being a chess champion, you always must have the foresight to be at least one step ahead of your opponent and making sure they don't see your moves coming - and if they do, making equally sure that you have a counter measure in place.
After years of success, Elizabeth decides that her time has come to take on one of the biggest challenges; the Gun control laws and Elizabeth soon becomes aware at just what lengths people will go to in order to protect their second amendment right.
Charlotte Cooper is the family matriarch and all she wants is for her family to be together at Christmas. All her children are now grown up and some have kids of their own. Like most families, their bond over the years might've loosened slightly as day to day life gets in the way but Christmas is different, it's a time to reunite and enjoy the holidays together.
Easier said than done with the Cooper's. Charlotte and her husband have decided to divorce (a secret they plan on keeping from the family as to not destroy the family break) their oldest daughter lives in another state, is out of work and has been dumped by her partner and is hates the idea of going home and facing the family whilst their son is currently dealing with his daughters back-chatting ways. As many problems are there are, there must be a way through in the spirit of Christmas.
Director Jessie Nelson has described The Coopers as The Christmas Von Trapp family commenting: "I like to say The Coopers are The von Trapps of this Christmas. They are the von Coopers,"
Charlotte Cooper is determined to make this Christmas the best holiday the family has ever had, given that it's the only time of year when everyone's together. But, of course, while she and husband Sam are struggling to get everything perfect, everyone is equally struggling with other areas of their lives. Daughter Eleanor has been single for a while now, and the last thing she wants to do is arrive home without a boyfriend - again! And so, she convinces a soldier she meets at the airport to accompany her to her Christmas family reunion and pretend to be her partner, to which he reluctantly agrees. Meanwhile, the other daughter, Emma, gets in trouble with the police for jewel theft, and their son Hank has his work cut out when it comes to caring for his young daughter Madison alone; especially when she starts to learn some seriously unfriendly words.
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Therese Belivet is just starting out in life, bored by her simple job in a department store and even more so by her relationship with Richard. She dreams of bigger things; a career as a set designer and experiencing true love. Love has never found its way into Therese's life, that is until she meets a privileged and sophisticated older woman named Carol with whom she immediately bonds. While Carol's life is the opposite of Therese's in that she enjoys luxury on an everyday basis, she is equally dismayed by her love life; trapped in a marriage with a man she does not love, so that she may continue seeing her young daughter. As her relationship with Therese deepens, their attraction for each other becomes clear to everyone else, as well as Carol's intriguing friendship with close companion Abby, and she faces losing everything in her quest to discover herself once and for all.
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It's 1952 and 20-something Therese Belivet is struggling to contend with her humdrum life working in a New York department store, repulsed by her relationship with a man named Richard and dreaming of a career in set design. Soon she meets a customer named Carol; an older, refined and supremely elegant woman who she immediately forms a connection with. Carol herself is in a marriage that brings her no joy and is hoping desperately for a divorce, but this only seems to threaten her relationship with her daughter, whom she cannot afford to lose. Meanwhile, Therese is struggling to control her feelings for Carol; torn between admiration, deep sexual attraction and jealousy over Carol's history with her best friend Abby. It's a difficult time for both parties as they attempt to find order in their feelings in a decade not altogether supportive of their closeness.
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An inventive take on the rom-com genre, this genuinely hilarious film is even more engaging because its characters and premise are unexpectedly honest. It also has a level of realistic unpredictability, as the feisty characters refuse to behave like the people we normally see in the movies. And the story is consistently laugh-out-loud funny even as the plot is essentially very serious.
It centres on struggling stand-up comic Donna (Jenny Slate), whose regular venue is an open-mic bar in Brooklyn where she's offered moral support by her sparky pals Nellie and Joey (Gaby Hoffmann and Gabe Liedman). She may not make much money, but she has a great life. Her boyfriend (Paul Briganti), on the other hand, is tired of being the butt of all of her best jokes. So he dumps her. Donna reacts by having a meltdown on-stage and then getting drunk in another bar with Max (Jake Lacy). He may be a stranger, but he seems like a nice guy, so she takes him home. A few weeks later she discovers that she's pregnant, and her emotionally supportive friends and parents (Polly Draper and Richard Kind) can't help her make the big decisions ahead of her.
This is a film about a young woman finally taking responsibility for her own life, facing up to some difficult responsibilities and moving forward. But since this is a comedy, it's of course not very smooth sailing. Slate plays the role with impeccable comical timing, somehow making the rather pathetic Donna thoroughly likeable. And the actors around her add crisp humour exactly where its needed, providing much more than mere comic relief: each one is an integral element in Donna's journey. One of the most cringe-inducing sequences features the terrific David Cross as a predatory old friend who offers Donna a riotously messy distraction.
Continue reading: Obvious Child Review
Donna Stern is a comedienne from Brooklyn who has a very unfunny meltdown on stage after finding out that her best friend has been sleeping with her boyfriend. Subsequently, she loses her stage residency and seeks comfort in her supportive parents and the friends she can still trust. In a bid to ease her pain, she makes a brave move to venture out of her home and she eventually meets a handsome man of a similar personality named Max. He is intrigued by her unapologetic honesty and boundless energy but, after their one night stand, Donna finds herself with one more huge problem. She is now pregnant and feeling pretty dead set on having an abortion, but first she has to tell Max; something that proves harder than it sounds when it becomes obvious that he has made her feel happy again.
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An inventive take on the rom-com genre, this genuinely hilarious film is even more engaging...