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Creed Review

Extraordinary

While this film is basically Rocky VII, it's also much more than that, and perhaps the best in the series as it tells a standalone story with energy and skill. Reteaming writer-director Ryan Coogler with actor Michael B. Jordan after their underrated gem Fruitvale Station, this pulsing drama is also one of the best boxing movies in recent memory, harking back to classics in the genre while reinventing them with textured storytelling and raw performances.

Jordan plays Adonis, who never met his father, the iconic boxer Apollo Creed. He also refuses to take his surname, even after being adopted by Apollo's widow (Phylicia Rashad) and raised in a Los Angeles mansion with a great education. But he also can't resist the temptation to box, starting out in backroom Tijuana brawls. Finally he realises that something's got to give, so he heads to Philadelphia to explore his roots, meeting his father's former friend and rival Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) and asking him to teach him a few tricks to help further his career. But Rocky is battling his own issues, so these two mismatched men push each other forward. Adonis finds romance with the feisty Bianca (Thompson), and Rocky decides to help Adonis train to face the tough British champ (Tony Bellew).

The essence of this story is that we have to make peace with the past to move on to the future. This is woven into the script beautifully, without ever preaching, as Coogler encourages the audience to constantly see what's happening beneath the surface. This requires the actors to deliver unusually complex performances, and Jordan is wonderfully conflicted as a man whose inner nice guy is warring against his own history. Stallone, meanwhile, delivers one of his best performances ever as the sardonic, battered champion. He's relaxed and open, reminding us why we fell in love with Rocky to begin with.

Continue reading: Creed Review

Blackhat Review


Good

Michael Mann doesn't make standard frantic-pace thrillers (see Heat and Public Enemies); he prefers to work at a more controlled stride, so while this hacking adventure-mystery is intriguing it also feels a bit plodding. Yes, the film erupts now and then into a viscerally exhilarating action sequence, including a couple of astonishing shootouts, but over the course of two and a quarter hours it barely builds up a head of steam. And it's further frustrating that the intriguing characters never quite emerge as real people.

It opens with a cyberattack on a Chinese nuclear power plant, after which Captain Chen (Wang Leehom) heads to America to consult with FBI Agent Barrett (Viola Davis), urging her to get the one man who can solve this case: Chen's former MIT roommate Nick (Chris Hemsworth), now serving 13 years in prison for hacking. On supervised release, Nick heads to Hong Kong with Chen and Barrett, plus a minder (Holt McCallany) and Chen's computer-whiz sister Lien (Tang Wei), who immediately catches Nick's eye. As they secretly begin falling for each other, Nick indulges in a lot of illicit computer work to trace the attack to ruthless thug Kassar (Ritchie Coster) and his shadowy boss Sadak (Yorick van Wageningen). But they're based in Jakarta, and the FBI has no jurisdiction there.

Aside from some cheesy inside-the-computer animation, Mann makes the film look sleek and stylish, dropping clues into each scene to fill in the bigger picture about what is happening. And when an action set-piece breaks out, the film becomes urgent and gritty, with handheld camerawork and a breathless sense of peril that suggests that no one is safe. On the other hand, the script asks us to believe that Hemsworth's imprisoned computer geek can suddenly become a full-on action man, with astonishing gun-handling skills, the muscly precision of a Hollywood stunt man and the ability to out-strategise both spies and super-villains in a massive climactic showdown in a crowded city square.

Continue reading: Blackhat Review

Blackhat - Cyber Hacking Featurette


For the production of 'Blackhat', writer/director Michael Mann had to brush up on his knowledge of hacking in order to put together a film on the subject. Actor Chris Hemsworth had to undergo a master class on hacking and the use of computers. Mann also discusses how terrifying the idea of a cyber-criminal being able steal whatever they please from anywhere in the world at any time. 

'Blackhat' follows the story of a hacker that can target anywhere in the world, stealing money and amassing wealth before causing a string of terrorist attacks upon the world. The US and China form a specialist taskforce to discover the identity of the hacker and find him before he is able to strike again. When they find themselves unable to trace the source, they turn to Nicholas Hathaway (Hemsworth), a convicted hacker serving jail time for hacking. If Hathaway is able to find and expose the mysterious hacker before it's too late, he will be free to live his life. 'Blackhat' is due to be released in the US on 16th January 2015, with a UK theatrical release following on 20th January in the same year. 

 

Blackhat Trailer


When an unnamed hacker begins to steal money from wherever he wants, he turns his attention on acts of terror. After the destruction of a Chinese power plant, a collaboration of American and Chinese agencies begin trying to find just who this person is. They finally hit on the idea of bringing convicted hacker Nicholas Hathaway (Chris Hemsworth) out of his 15-year-jail time, in order to help them track down the illusive boogieman. But as he is always one step ahead of them, it seems that even Hathaway's help will not result in them catching their crook. 

Continue: Blackhat Trailer

By The Gun Trailer


Nick Tortano has always felt under pressure to do well in his life, no matter what that takes. He's constantly been the subject of bitter disappointment from his Italian father, who deeply disapproved of the life of petty crime and dodgy dealings that Nick had entered into. Having become so used to his criminal ways, Nick knows no other way to live his life, but is still ultimately ambitious in his career of violence and covert money making. Thus, the next step for him led him to join the Boston mafia, and while he may have found true status, he soon finds out that there's a lot more to this criminal underworld than he initially realised, and when he falls in love with a young girl named Ali Matazano, he suddenly discovers for the first time that he finally has something to lose - and he's in more danger of that than he thought.

Continue: By The Gun Trailer

Blackhat Trailer


When an anonymous hacker is able to disrupt the files for three major banks around the world, it the US government find themselves unable to stop the mysterious cybercriminal. After beginning a joint operation with China, they turn to Nicholas Hathaway (Chris Hemsworth), a hacker serving a fifteen year sentence for his crimes. In exchange for his freedom, Hathaway agrees to help the combined force track down and stop the hacker. But when his cyber-attacks turn into acts of terrorism, Hathaway discovers that he is facing an enemy not motivated by money or politics. An enemy that exists everywhere at every time, and can strike out against whoever he pleases. 

Continue: Blackhat Trailer

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Ritchie Coster Movies

Creed Movie Review

Creed Movie Review

While this film is basically Rocky VII, it's also much more than that, and perhaps...

Blackhat Movie Review

Blackhat Movie Review

Michael Mann doesn't make standard frantic-pace thrillers (see Heat and Public Enemies); he prefers to...

Blackhat - Cyber Hacking Featurette Trailer

Blackhat - Cyber Hacking Featurette Trailer

For the production of 'Blackhat', writer/director Michael Mann had to brush up on his knowledge...

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Blackhat Trailer

Blackhat Trailer

When an unnamed hacker begins to steal money from wherever he wants, he turns his...

By The Gun Trailer

By The Gun Trailer

Nick Tortano has always felt under pressure to do well in his life, no matter...

Blackhat Trailer

Blackhat Trailer

When an anonymous hacker is able to disrupt the files for three major banks around...

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