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
This much more light-hearted sequel reinvigorates the franchise after Disney's quirky but murky 2010 reboot of Lewis Carroll's classic, which sent the heroine into Underland (not Wonderland) for a dark adventure that spiralled into a Lord of the Rings-scale battle. Thankfully this time the odyssey remains personal, centred on lively characters rather than overwrought plotting. And Alice's time-travelling quest is both pointed and engaging.
After captaining her late father's ship on a global journey, Alice (Mia Wasikowska) returns to 1875 London to bad news: her mother (Lindsay Duncan) has made decisions that take her future out of her hands. As she struggles to respond, she is summoned back to Underland to help her friend Hatter (Johnny Depp), who is emotionally devastated by the fact that his entire family has been killed. So Alice decides to help by confronting Time (Sacha Baron Cohen) and stealing a device that will allow her to travel back to help the younger Hatter. But she also becomes entangled in the early life of the White and Red Queens (Helena Bonham Carter and Anne Hathaway), and the feud that grew between them as young sisters. Meanwhile, Time is terrified that Alice is unravelling the fabric of reality.
The emotional nature of Alice's mission adds a surprising layer of suspense to the entire film, while director James Bobin (The Muppets) adds a breezy comical tone to Tim Burton's stunningly visual designs. Some of the more wacky flourishes don't quite work (such as the "sea of time" imagery or Time's hand-powered vehicle), but the film more than makes up for these with wonderful character details. This lets the actors relax into their roles while cranking up the surreal touches. Wasikowska is great as the plucky heroine fighting for her right to control her own life, a strong point that's made without preaching.
Continue reading: Alice Through The Looking Glass Review
As Alice is once again taken into the magical and mysterious world that she's somehow connected to, Alice finds herself with her friends on the other side of the looking glass. Through Alice doesn't really know why, she's attached to the peculiar world and its inhabitants but her latest visit will put the young girl in grave danger.
The Red Queen has gained a dangerous new ally who is out to find the young blonde haired girl. As the clock ticks and tocks, the game of kings becomes a whole new reality and Alice must find a way to beat her opponents.
Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking Glass is based on the characters from Lewis Carroll's novel and is produced by Tim Burton. The Muppets director James Bobin directs the feature film.
Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper shot 'Serena' before 'Silver Linings Playbook' - so what took so long?
Filmed in the Czech Republic more than two years ago, the American Depression-era drama 'Serena' took a long time to get to the big screen, during which time its stars Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence were nominated for Oscars in two other films together: 'Silver Linings Playbook' (for which Lawrence won Best Actress) and American Hustle.
Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper re-unite on screen with 'Serena'
Directed by Oscar-winning Danish filmmaker Susanne Bier ('In a Better World'), the film is a sweeping romance set in the wilds of Carolina's Smoky Mountains, based on the novel by Ron Rash. It's a complicated story with plenty of subtle textures that are ideally suited to Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, as well as fine supporting players like Toby Jones, Rhys Ifans and Sean Harris. But the film's postponed release has sparked some bad buzz, as people wondered about the delay, which usually indicates some significant tinkering by the studios. And that's rarely a good thing.
Continue reading: Lawrence And Cooper's 'Serena' Takes Its Time Getting To The Screen
The producers of 'Elementary', CBS' adaptation of the adventures of Sherlock Holmes, have confirmed actor Rhys Ifans will be joining the cast as Sherlock's brother, Mycroft.
Rhys Ifans will join the cast of Elementary, alongside Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Lui. The Welsh actor will play Mycroft Holmes, Sherlock's older brother. He is a definite feature in the season's premiere, airing in September but any possibility of further appearances has not been mentioned.
CBS' Elementary sets the traditional story of the famous detective in New York. Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu starring as Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson will, according to reports encounter Ifans in London. The season premiere will be set in the British capital as the deducing duo are forced to deal with one of Sherlock's former cases. Ifans as Mycroft allows them to stay with him at Baker Street. Apparently a reasonable amount of sibling rivalry and tension will ensue.
Rhys Ifans, pictured at the 2012 Place for Peace dinner in London, is to join the cast of Elementary as Mycroft Holmes.
Continue reading: 'Elementary' My Dear... Mycroft? Rhys Ifans To Join The Cast Of Sherlock Holmes
As a young boy, Peter Parker's parents, Richard and Mary, sent their son to live with his aunt and uncle, Mary and Ben, 'for a little while'. Years later, Peter is still living with his relatives; his mother and father have not returned. He befriends and falls in love with Gwen Stacey at high school and the two of them start a relationship.
Continue: The Amazing Spider-Man Trailer
In the 1970's Howard Marks was one of the biggest weed smugglers in the world but the Welshman from the small town of Kenfig never indented to become such a major player in the industry. In the beginning Marks started out as a relatively minor drug dealer, supplying small amounts of dope but as his connections began to grow more opportunities became available.
Continue: Mr. Nice Trailer
During the Blitz in London, posh children Cyril and Celia (Vlahos and Taylor-Ritson) are sent to stay with their aunt, Mrs Green (Gyllenhaal), on her farm. While she awaits news of her soldier husband, she struggles to manage her three rambunctious kids (Butterfield, Woods and Steer), pay her bills, fend off her financially desperate brother-in-law (Ifans) and keep the dotty local shopkeeper (Smith) from doing something dangerous. The person she needs is clearly Nanny McPhee (Thompson), who arrives with several stern-but-magical tricks up her sleeve.
Continue reading: Nanny McPhee & The Big Bang Review
Watch the trailer for Nanny Mcphee and The Big Bang
Continue: Nanny Mcphee and The Big Bang Trailer
In 1983 L.A., studio exec William (Thornton) wants to reconcile with his heavily medicated wife Laura (Basinger) while continuing to see his self-doubting TV newscaster mistress (Ryder). Their son Graham (Foster) is indulging in drugs and sex with his girlfriend (Heard) and best pal (Nichols), who's also sleeping with Laura for cash. Meanwhile, Graham's doorman (Renfro) is trying to please his criminal father figure (Rourke), but Graham's friend Tim (Pucci) has no interest in connecting with his dad (Isaak).
Continue reading: The Informers Review
Legal radio stations in 1960's Britain weren't exactly what you'd call interesting to listen to if you were part of the hip young generation. 2 hours of rock was their weekly limit.
Continue: The Boat That Rocked Trailer
In Red Dragon we learned who he was. In Silence Of The Lambs we learned how he did it. Now comes the most chilling chapter in the life of Hannibal Lecter - the one that answers the most elusive question of all - why?
Continue: Hannibal Rising Trailer
The deceptively simple plot begins when uber-famous film star Anna Scott (Roberts) winds up in William's (Grant) book shop on Notting Hill, something of a British cross between a pre-Disney Times Square and a Moroccan street market. After William accidentally dumps orange juice down Anna's front, an on-again, off-again, on-again, off-again, on-again love affair blossoms.
Continue reading: Notting Hill Review
It's not really Spacey's fault, it's just the script. Spacey is Quoyle, a newly single father, after his slutty whore of a wife (Cate Blanchett) is killed while selling their daughter on the black market to earn spending cash for her latest biker boyfriend. Quoyle spends his time grieving and in denial and soon decides to follow a long lost aunt to the homeland of his family in Newfoundland. There, he stumbles into a job as the shipping news reporter for the local newspaper.
Continue reading: The Shipping News Review
Here's what I do know: Rhys Ifans and Joseph Fiennes play partners in a business somewhere in Britain. They're out of cash, so they decide to borrow money from a Russian mafioso of sorts. Meanwhile, Ifans and his girlfriend (Sadie Frost) decide they want to have babies... but they can't get pregnant. But Ifans eye is wandering... to his secretary and to Tara Fitzgerald's Russian mafia princess. For some reason, everyone wants this guy! And if they don't want him, they want him dead.
Continue reading: Rancid Aluminum Review
The Replacements is a hokey mistake of a football film, a mishmash collage of one-dimensional characters, rampant stereotypes of cultures and races, cliched emotional statements of purpose, and Keanu Reeves wishing for The Matrix sequel to start principal photography. The story is loosely based around the pro football players' strike in 1987 and a rag-tag team of replacement football players taking up the reins of professional play for a variety of teams with names like the Washington Sentinels. Keanu Reeves stars as Shane Falco, a has-been football college player looking for redemption. Gene Hackman dons a fedora like Tom Landry and speaks with gusto like a certain coach in Hoosiers.
Continue reading: The Replacements Review
Little Nicky (Adam Sandler) is the devil's third---and least impressive---son. Bested in brains by his brother Adrian (Rhys Ifans) and in strength by his brother Cassius (Tiny Lester), Nicky finds little joy outside of hanging out in his hell-bound bedroom, banging his head to heavy metal favorites. That is, until his father's 10,000-year reign draws to a close and it's time to name the new ruler of Hades.
Continue reading: Little Nicky Review
Having now seen "Little Nicky," in which Adam Sandler plays the retarded son of Satan, I have formulated a hypothesis I'm calling the Sandler Theory of Exponentially Obnoxious Returns. It goes something like this:
Adam Sandler goes out of his way to make each gimmick character he plays ("Billy Madison," "Happy Gilmore") more grating than the last, just to see how far he can push it before his easily amused fan base will turn on him.
His most detestable character to date had been "The Waterboy," but that Southern-fried dope was mister congeniality compared to Nicky, the little devil that couldn't. Sandler spends this entire movie with his face screwed up in a hit-by-a-shovel grimace and speaking in a silly, raspy voice like a little kid pretending to be sick so he can stay home from school. There's no joke here. It's just Sandler's version of stretching as an actor.
Continue reading: Little Nicky Review
Date of birth
22nd July, 1967
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Gorgeously shot, this period drama has a terrific setting and vivid characters, but is edited...
As the Great Depression begins to sweep across America, George Pemberton (Bradley Cooper) and Serena...
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Segel and Stoller repeat their duties from 2008's Forgetting Sarah Marshall and come up with...