With the tagline "A Star Wars Story", this first spin-off from the saga isn't actually a stand-alone movie. It requires some understanding of the context as it chronicles events that lead directly into 1977's Episode IV: A New Hope. It's also a seriously rousing action film with a riveting cast of characters and a surprising willingness to embrace even the darkest elements of storytelling. In other words, it might be the first Star Wars movie made specifically for grown-ups.
It opens as the Empire is systematically crushing the rebellion, leaving them wondering if there's any point to continuing the fight. Rumours are swirling that the Empire is building a massive Death Star, and rebel Jyn (Felicity Jones) discovers that it was designed by her long-lost father Galen (Mads Mikkelsen), who sends her a message saying that he left a flaw in the system specifically for the rebels to exploit. So she joins a team to contact him, led by Cassian (Diego Luna), who doubts that Galen is on their side. They're accompanied by pilot Bodhi (Riz Ahmed) and the sarcastic robot K-2SO (Alan Tudyk), plus the blind wannabe Jedi Chirrut (Donnie Yen) and his battling sidekick Baze (Jiang Wen). And as their mission goes rogue, they come up against the slimy Imperial Director Orson (Ben Mendelson) and the vicious Darth Vader (again voiced by James Earl Jones).
Director Gareth Edwards (Monster) packs the movie with visual references to A New Hope, cleverly matching the design work by avoiding fakey digital effects in lieu of more practical, battle-scared models and lively settings on a series of new planets and a familiar one. This gives the film an electric atmosphere that's edgy and unpredictable even though we all know exactly how this mission has to end. At the beginning, the plot feels a bit splintered, but the strands come together with power, building a gnawing sense of momentum and some real gravitas along the way.
Continue reading: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Review
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is a standalone Star Wars film which acts as an important subplot to the original 1977 movie 'A New Hope'. In the man film, Luke and his uncle take ownership of a droid sold to them and as Luke cleans the droid up he hears a section of a message left for someone called Obi-Wan Kenobi pleading for his help. Luke decides to find the only man he knows by the name of Kenobi and his mission turns into the story we all know.
The data on R2-D2 memory is the story of Rouge One. The Rebel Alliance are aware that the Galactic Empire are building a humongous super machine capable of destroy vast areas of space and one of their rebel fighters might just hold the key to more information than she knows.
Jin Erso is a loyal member of the Alliance though she often acts as a lone rebel and takes risks greater than her superiors would like. When a fraction of the Alliance learns that Erso's father played a crucial role in building the device she knows that she must track him down.
The 'Rogue One' and 'Nightcrawler' star, 33, also details how stereotyping extends into the real world.
‘The Night Of’ and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story actor Riz Ahmed has penned a heartfelt essay about breaking down racial stereotypes in Hollywood and the wider world, published by The Guardian this week.
The 33 year old British actor, who comes from a Pakistani family, has revealed he feels both “typecast” as a terrorist every time he passes through airport security when travelling, and also that this impression extends the range of roles he’s offered as a professional film star.
At the start of his career, he was frequently given narrow roles based around what he calls “the minicab driver / terrorist / cornershop owner” stereotype, he wrote in the article published on Thursday (September 15th).
Continue reading: Riz Ahmed Pens Essay On Racial Profiling In Hollywood
The Galaxy is on the brink of a major war being won by dangerous rulers and only a few fighters stand between the Emperor and his unrelenting army which is constantly surging peaceful plants. The destruction and invasion of any planet who won't agree to the Empire's stringent regulations is all but destroyed.
Jyn Erso is one such rebel fighter who is willing to go to any lengths to fulfil her mission, often landing her in trouble with her seniors but her independent demeanour means that she might be a perfect candidate for an imperative mission - the failure of which could mean the end of the galaxy as its citizens know.
Jyn and a small team of fellow rebels must steal plans for the Emperor's newest and deadliest weapon, The Death Star.
Continue: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Trailer
It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum, and now they're back. The plot feels like it was agreed by a committee, as thin as the non-title of this film. Honestly, this franchise offers endless options for titles, and they just decided not to bother this time. So even though the story has a whisper of soap-opera silliness about it (yet another blurred memory comes to light), the film is relentlessly entertaining, building momentum as it surges from dark drama to intense action.
Since finally figuring out who he is, Jason (Damon) has been earning a living as a bare-knuckle boxer on the Greek-Albania border. Then his former cohort Nicky (Julia Stiles) uncovers a new piece in his life puzzle, which allows the CIA's Director Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones) to track them down. As he sends in a ruthless assassin (Vincent Cassel) to get rid of them once and for all, plucky CIA analyst Heather (Alicia Vikander) takes a different approach, determined to bring Jason back into the firm. But he's not coming in without a fight, and as the stakes rise, the chase shifts from Athens to Berlin, London and finally Las Vegas.
As all of this is happening, Dewey is also trying to strong-arm the billionaire founder (Riz Ahmed) of a hot social media platform to allow the CIA to have access to its customers. And he's heading to Vegas as well. This sideplot integrates cleverly with the main narrative, although its message about government overreach is a bit heavy-handed ("Privacy is freedom!"). Still, it adds some kick to the whizzy computer gadgetry that fills this franchise, from tracking devices and tiny earpieces to miraculous hacks.
Continue reading: Jason Bourne Review
Jason Bourne comes as the fifth instalment in the revival of Bourne to our screens where the film sees the return of Matt Damon as the protagonist and its returning director Paul Greengrass. Bourne is a former secret agent who has previously failed to understand his own identity and battles with a constant process of finding out new information about himself. In this sequel Bourne is once again at war with the people that have turned him into the man he is and struggles to cope with the sheer amount of pressure he is put under from the state.
Continue: Jason Bourne Trailer
We all know the story of Luke Skywalker and the legendary Jedi and rebels who fought to keep the universe safe but what about the other Rebel Alliance fighters who were doing their all to protect their freedom? Jyn Erso has never been one to stick to the rules; she's been alone since her teens and doesn't require the protection of others to make her own way. A member of the rebellion who likes to rebel from all authority on both sides of the war.
She has unlimited gumption and a fierce attitude which attracts her to the leaders of her rebel unit. Jyn is ordered to locate and bring back important data on a new deadly weapon that the Galactic Empire is building and beginning to test. The Dark Star is the Empire's new planet destroyer and its secrets are closely guarded by Darth Vader and his legions of fighters all willing to lose their lives in a bid to keep the Empire the ruling force.
Jyn and her small team of fighters set out on a mission that they know they're likely not to return from. The rewards outweigh the risks and Jyn must retrieve the plans before it's too late.
Jason Bourne is used to living in the shadows. Since uncovering the wrongdoings of operation Blackbriar and Treadstone, Bourne has been in hiding, to the outside world Jason Bourne does not exist. Once again finding himself having to surface, Jason Bourne is a hunted man.
Memories of his past are slowly returning to Bourne but what as his limited allies are quick to remind him, there's a war going on and what Jason might not remember are the things that might be most important.
Jake Gyllenhaal discusses the great lengths he went through to prepare for his role in the film 'Nightcrawler'. In the movie, Gyllenhaal portrays an insomniac new reporter, who creeps around recording crimes and the aftermaths thereof, selling the footage to local news networks for a living. The actor discusses how different the character was from anything he had ever done before, as well as revealing how he spent two months losing weight and staying up at night and sleeping during the day. In this featurette, actress Rene Russo and 'Four Lions' star Riz Ahmed discuss how much they admire Gyllenhaal for, not just his performance, but the lengths he went through to achieve said performance.
Continue: Nightcrawler - Featurette
'Nightcrawler' premiered at the Toronto Film Festival on Saturday (6th September) and its star Jake Gyllenhaal has been praised by critics for his depiction of a desperate and immoral crime scene journalist.
Jake Gyllenhaal's performance in Nightcrawler has been highly praised by critics ahead of the film's US and UK release.
Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler.
Continue reading: Jake Gyllenhaal Receives High Praise For 'Nightcrawler'
Lou Bloom is a hard-working budding journalist whose deep obsession with his career has rendered him more than a little unstable. He traverses the LA streets at night, keeping an eager eye out for the frequently occuring violent crimes that swamp the darkness, and finds himself first on the scene with his camera for a series of serious incidents. It soon becomes clear that the the bloodier the crime he stumbles upon, the higher his pay rate is when he sells those first shots for the news; but that kind of exposure begins to seriously damage his mental health and general sense of morality. He decides to go for a job as a television newscaster, feeling thoroughly confident of his hard work over the years, and stands to live by his rather unnerving motto: 'If you want to win the lottery, you have to make the money to buy the ticket.'
Continue: Nightcrawler Trailer
Following the passing of 'The Sopranos' star, screen great Robert De Niro will step in to portray the lead character on the HBO series
Robert De Niro has been appointed as the lead actor in the upcoming HBO mini-series Criminal Justice, a seven-episode stretch that the late James Gandolfini was initially slated to star in. The passing of Gandolfini had left the project in limbo, however with the appointment of De Niro the show will continue to air as planned.
De Niro will now star in the crime drama in place of Gandolfini
HBO confrimed De Niro's appointment to The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday, 25 September, adding that Gandolfini will be given a posthumous executive producer credit on the show. The mini-series is an American adaption of the hit 2008 BBC series of the same name, which was the brainchild Peter Moffat and starred Ben Whishaw and the late Pete Postlethwaite. The HBO version, which is being made in association association with BBC Worldwide Production, of the show will be initially directed by Steven Zaillian, with others stepping in as the series progresses. Moffat will serve as an executive producer on the HBO series.
Martin and Claudia are two lawyers who were formerly in a relationship. They are roped into a case together on the defense team of an alleged terrorist, following a tragic bombing in a London market one morning in November. It may be a difficult job to being with, but things don't get any easier when they covertly discover that their client was actually assigned as an undercover spy for MI5 and was supposed to lead them to the bombers before the attack. They soon begin to realise that their every move is being closely watched, and with threats on their life by some powerful people following their investigations and risky suggestions in court, they must escape the controlling force that is the government before they are eradicated - though it could be too late.
Continue: Closed Circuit Trailer
A terrific story is compromised by the demands of commercial filmmaking, adding action-thriller scenes to what should be an introspective drama while distractingly beefing up side-roles for American stars. But at the centre is another superb performance from Riz Ahmed (Four Lions), who again takes a complex, challenging approach to the subject of terrorism.
The narrative is fragmented into flashbacks as Changez (Ahmed) tells his story to an American journalist (Schreiber) in Pakistan while a tense hostage situation swirls all around them. Years earlier, Changez was a high-flying Pakistani student, graduating from Princeton and landing a prestigious job on Wall Street when an executive (Sutherland) recognises his talent. He also has a sexy artist girlfriend (Hudson). But all of this is shaken after the 9/11 attacks, when he is harassed by police and immigration officials. Fundamentally changed, he returns to Lahore to become a lecturer in violent uprisings. But this makes the CIA think that he's become a terrorist himself. Perhaps he has.
The various strands of the story are intriguing, and the actors are all watchable as they add layers to Changez's overall story. But the jumbled structure of the film reduces the narrative to a series of seemingly unrelated scenes. Hudson and Sutherland are solid but add little beyond their characters' stereotypical American reactions to Changez's decisions. The always superb Schreiber is better used as a more shady figure. But other characters vanish just when they get interesting, such as Changez's parents, played by acting legends Puri and Azmi.
Continue reading: The Reluctant Fundamentalist Review
On a bleak East London estate, Aaron (Ahmed) is a low-life dealer hanging out with his thuggish best pal Ed (Skrein). When Ed's phone goes missing, they trace it to crack-addict Michelle (Mond), who they force to turn tricks to pay Ed back. Meanwhile, a young kid (Indianda) must prove himself if he wants to join a gang led by Marcel (Sagar). Later, Aaron has a chance encounter with terrified Katya (Press), who abandons her baby with him. Unable to find her, Aaron lets Ed arrange a black-market adoption.
Continue reading: Ill Manors Review
Ill Manors follows the hardships of six unrelated people in London - Kirby, and ex-drug dealer fresh from prison; Ed (Skrein), a ruthless thug with his own agendas; the drug-dependent Michelle (Anouska Mond); Jake, who has somehow got tangled up in gang-related affairs; Chris (Allen), who is seeking revenge; Katya (Press), who seeks to escape; and Aaron (Ahmed) who is intent on doing the right thing.
Continue: Ill Manors Trailer
When her father loses his livelihood in a traffic accident, Trishna (Pinto) needs to support her family in Rajasthan. So she takes a job offered by flirty tourist Jay (Ahmed), who works at his father's hotel in Jaipur. When Jay pushes their relationship further, Trishna runs home. But Jay finds her and talks her into moving with him to Mumbai, where they can live together while he pursues his dream of being a film producer. And as he becomes more distant, Trishna wonders if she's made a terrible mistake.
Continue reading: Trishna Review
To bring peace between the two leading kingdoms in 1920s Arabia, Sultan Amar (Strong) allows Emir Nesib (Banderas) to raise his two sons. Younger son Auda (Rahim) grows up as a bookworm with a soft spot for Nesib's daughter Leyla (Pinto), which comes in handy when they are asked to marry to link the two kingdoms. But their fragile treaty is strained when Texans arrive and start to to drill for oil: Nesib rather likes the money, but Amar sees this as a violation of their treaty.
Continue reading: Black Gold Review
Omar is a Muslim from the North of England who's been radicalised. He decides he's going to form a terrorist cell with his friend Waj and two other recruits, a Nihilist Islamic convert called Barry and a bomb maker named Faisal - the only member who will not sacrifice his life because his sick father has started eating paper.
Continue: Four Lions Trailer
Date of birth
1st December, 1982
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