Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists and turns that the audience never sees coming. It's a complex series of events that sometimes gets a bit bogged down in the under-explained details, but the characters are fantastic. And at the centre, Matthew McConaughey shines in a role that requires him to completely change the way he looks.
It's set in the late 1980s, as the fast-talking salesman Kenny (McConaughey) is trying to raise funding in Reno for a project he has been dreaming about for decades: prospecting for gold in Indonesia. He is sure there's a fortune in those mountains, but everyone else is dubious. And even as he's on the verge of losing everything, his wife Kay (Bryce Dallas Howard) quietly stands by him. In desperation, he gets on a plane to Jakarta, pitching his idea to local adventurer Michael (Edgar Ramirez), who escorts him into an area populated by head-hunters. When the companies back in America hear that they've found gold, there's more money than Kenny and Michael can count. But the FBI suspects it's a scam.
McConaughey is magnetic as the balding, overweight Kenny, a guy who simply won't take no for an answer. He is convinced that there's gold in the rainforest, even though no one has ever seen any, and his optimism is infectious to both the other characters and the movie's audience. This makes all the men in suits opposite Kenny look rather dull by comparison. Howard gives her role a powerful kick of emotion, although Kay is sidelined by the plot. And Ramirez gets some terrific scenes as the Indiana Jones-style explorer. All of these people seem to be caught up in a flood of events they have no control over, and the film races along without pausing for breath.
Continue reading: Gold Review
Mary Mapes is the producer of CBS' '60 Minutes' and, in the run up to the 2004 presidential election, she's looking for a story for her and her team - including anchor Dan Rather - to chase. The team discovers evidence that President George W. Bush failed to complete the required amount of military service during his time in the Texas Air National Guard during the 70s. It's a story that could truly bring down the right wing government if only they can get hold of some solid documents to support the story. That's when Bill Burkett comes in; he's the former Lieutenant Colonel of the Texas Air National Guard and he claims to be in possession of some papers criticising Bush's lack of attendance for his military service, written by his commander at the time Lieutenant Colonel Jerry B. Killian. Unfortunately, in their haste to air the controversial information, the '60 Minutes' team fail to have the documents authenticated - and when several experts out the papers as forgeries, it seems the tables quickly turn on these newscasters in the most devastating way.
Continue: Truth Trailer
Based on the Gayle Forman novel, this teen weepie is wrenchingly emotional and packed with girly fantasies. But the characters and situations have a lot more earthy honesty to them than this summer's other big adolescent tearjerker The Fault in Our Stars. It may be just as relentlessly sentimentalised, but the issues involved are faced with a lot more grit and realism, so the film earns its sob-inducing emotions.
Set in Portland, Oregon, the story centres on the Hall family. Parents Kat and Denny (Mireille Enos and Joshua Leonard) are former rockers who have mildly toned down their wild ways as they have raised their children: 17-year-old Mia (Chloe Grace Moretz) and the younger Teddy (Jakob Davies) to be independent and artistic. Although Kat and Denny are rather taken aback by Mia's obsessive love of classical music and prodigious gift with the cello. Then Mia is shocked to discover that the cool rock-god Adam (Jamie Blackley) at her high school is interested in her. As their relationship develops over the next year, it hits a few bumps along the way. And it's during one of these bad patches that Mia is in a life-threatening car crash with her family. In an out-of-body experience, she watches everyone react to her life-and-death situation, wondering, "Should I stay or should I go?"
Which of course would be a much better title for a rock-n-roll movie than this one. Never mind, since the film is structured as a peeling-onion of flashbacks and out-of-sequence revelations, Mia's conundrum is genuinely complicated, in a movie sort of way. But then everything about this film exists only in the movies, most notably Adam, the most perfect boyfriend in the history of cinema: a bad boy musician with a deep soul, open emotions and thoughtful reactions. He has so clearly been devised to appeal to the teen-girl audience that it's occasionally a bit ridiculous.
Continue reading: If I Stay Review
Despite the fact that this too-soon spin-off feels like a mere cash-in on the Disney Cars/Planes marketing machine, this sequel is actually a lot more fun than expected. Not only is the animation witty and sometimes even exhilarating, but there are some solid messages in the story. On the other hand, there's also the continuing problem of making movies in which the central characters are inanimate objects with cute faces drawn on them. But never mind: see the movies, buy the toys, keep the kids happy!
After the globe-hopping race in 2013's Planes, the new champ Dusty (voiced by Dane Cook) sees his new celebrity career grounded when he develops a problem in his gearbox. He can still fly, but the torque required for racing stunts could do him in. So he decides to retrain as an aerial firefighter to help his local airfield maintain its certification in time for the annual Corn Festival. In training, he is mentored by veteran chopper Blade (Ed Harris), working alongside his starstruck fan Dipper (Julie Bowen), the noble Windlifter (Wes Studi), the sassy Dynamite (Regina King) and the genius mechanic Maru (Curtis Armstrong). But a raging wildfire is threatening the nearby Fusel Lodge, and the local park superintendent (John Michael Higgins) doesn't want to shut it down with so many stars as guests.
The best touch here is to make Dusty utterly full of himself, never listening to any advice before charging in unprepared for the next challenge. It's predictable and underdeveloped, but it makes this chirpy crop-duster far more interesting, and adds some unexpected diversions in a plot that otherwise heads exactly where it has to go. Meanwhile, the screenwriters pack the dialog with witty puns and some snappy verbal and visual gags that allow the actors to give their vehicles a bit of personality, even if some of this is merely ethnic stereotyping or simplistic hero/villain morality.
Continue reading: Planes: Fire & Rescue Review
It's all about revenge in Sin City now as the wounded (both physically and mentally) set out on a trail of death and destruction in a bid to make sure justice is served in their town. Dwight McCarthy is on another rescue mission to save an abused wife as Ava Lord claims she is a prisoner at the hands of her wealthy husband Damien. Unfortunately, it seems her intentions are of the dishonest kind. Thought to be have been executed, Marv wakes up among several corpses with little memory of his alleged crimes, but a strong desire for vengeance. Nancy is heartbroken to the point of insanity following police officer John Hartigan's suicide, and there's no stopping her when she decides to sentence the father of child-killer Roark Junior, Senator Roark, to death. Notorious gambler Johnny is a newbie in the town with his own scores to settle, but it isn't long before he realises he's messing with criminals much bigger than him.
The second instalment of the 'Sin City' film franchise 'Sin City: A Dame To Kill For' is due for release nearly ten years following the 2005 original. Author of the original graphic novel Frank Miller ('300', 'Batman: The Dark Knight Returns', 'Daredevil: Born Again') has adapted the screenplay and co-directs the movie with Robert Rodriguez ('Machete', 'Once Upon a Time in Mexico', 'From Dusk Till Dawn'). 'Sin City 2' is set to hit UK screens on August 25th 2014.
The everlasting trail of violence, death and deceit continues with the return of several characters from the original ‘Sin City’ movie. Dwight McCarthy is back, this time running to the rescue of his ex-girlfriend Ava Lord who claims she is being abused by her wealthy husband Damien; he has his own reasons for wanting to help her, but he could be in for a nasty surprise. The framed and punished Marv wakes up after supposed execution by electric chair only to find that he is lying amongst several dead bodies and can’t remember how he ended up there. Following, her near miss at the hands of serial child-killer Roark Junior, Nancy struggles to deal with the painful death of her rescuer, police officer John Hartigan. Plus, a new face shows up in Sin City, a gambler named Johnny who lands himself in mortal danger when he tries to take on the town’s most formidable villain.
Continue: Sin City: A Dame To Kill For Trailer
After travelling to Hawaii with George Clooney for The Descendants, Payne returns to middle America for this gentle, enjoyable exploration of family connections. Featuring an award-winning performance from Bruce Dern, the film harks back to Payne's About Schmidt as well as David Lynch's The Straight Story in the way it tracks straightforward characters across a rural landscape.
Dern plays Woody, a ramshackle drunk who lives in Montana and is convinced by a marketing mail-out that he has won a million dollars. His wife Kate (Squibb) has given up trying to talk to him, and son Ross (Odenkirk) is distracted by his new anchorman career. But younger son David (Forte) tries to explain the scam before giving in and agreeing to drive Woody to Nebraska to claim his prize. After all, this gives him a rare chance to bond with his rascally dad. Along the way, their journey takes some unexpected sideroads as they visit Woody's hometown, meeting friends and relatives from his past.
The film has a timeless quality thanks to Payne's strikingly astute direction and the elegant black and white photography by Phedon Papamichael. It also has a rhythmic pace, boosted by Mark Orton's tuneful score, infused with both spiky wit and understated sentiment. The key here is David's discovery of who his father really is: an unusually generous man who can't quite balance the reality of how his family and friends have treated him over the years.
Continue reading: Nebraska Review
Disney takes over Pixar's "World of Cars" with this spin-off that no-one really asked for (Cars 2 wasn't exactly a mega-hit). Indeed, this is an essentially disposable adventure, smiley and formulaic with a few minor thrills and a gentle sense of humour. Fortunately, the animation has some charm, as well as the occasional exhilarating moment. So kids are likely to enjoy it.
The protagonist is Dusty (voiced by Cook), a cropduster in rural America who dreams of racing against world champion Ripslinger (Smith) in the Wings Around the Globe race. So he gathers forklift Dottie (Hatcher) and fuel truck Chug (Garrett) as his pit crew, and convinces war veteran Skipper (Keach) to coach him. Despite being afraid of heights, he makes it into the final against Britain's Bulldog (Cleese), Mexico's Chupacabra (Alazraqui) and French-Canadian Rochelle (Louis-Deryfus). But as the race gets underway, Ripslinger and his henchmen continually sabotage the increasingly plucky Dusty.
The plot is so simple that this feels like one of Disney's straight-to-DVD sequels, complete with the deeply bland hero and ruthlessly evil villain. Fortunately, it's livened up by snappy dialog and a cast of offbeat characters that continually add deranged touches adult viewers will enjoy (such as a German forklift in lederhosen or a group of chanting Himalayan-monk tuktuks). There's not much else the strong voice cast can do with these characters. But the animators have a lot of fun with the settings as the race zooms to Europe, India, Nepal, China and Mexico, with whizzy race action that makes the 3D worthwhile for a change.
Continue reading: Planes Review
Dusty is a super swift cropduster whose horsepower would be a force to be reckoned with for many aircrafts were he to compete with them for speed. However, there's just one problem; Dusty is terrified of heights. Cropdusting allows him to skim the ground as he flies so he never has to face to fears. But his dreams of contending at the legendary aviation races means he is desperate to reach the clouds and, with the help of his best friend Skipper - a former Navy plane - he looks set to finally conquer his anxieties. Alongside his tank truck coach Chug, he prepares for the flight of his life as he tackles the likes of the Great White North star Rochelle, the legendary Bulldog and the egotistical Ripslinger for a place among the worldwide aviation champions.
Continue: Planes - Sneak Peek
The trailer for 'Cars' spin-off 'Planes' is now here with the movie set for cinematic release this summer.
Here is your first taster of the upcoming 'Cars' spin-off 'Planes'; an equally endearing animated movie about determination and achieving your dreams set to hit screens on August 16th 2013.
DisneyToon Studios brings us this fantastic new interpretation of the Pixar animated 2006 'Cars' movie and it's 2011 sequel 'Cars 2'. The teaser trailer gives away little about the plot, but introduces our soon-to-be favourite animated character of the year with the pounding drums of 'More Human Than Human' by heavy metal band White Zombie. 'Planes' has been directed by Klay Hall of 'King of the Hill', who is a huge aviation enthusiast - and with that you can guarantee not only rib-cracking humour, but remarkable accuracy. We see Dusty, a nervous cropdusting aircraft with a phobia of heights and the voice of Dane Cook, take on some of the biggest plane racing champions in the world as he vows to conquer his fears and fulfil his dream as a successful air racer despite formidable competition. Beside him are his friends Skipper, an old Navy Corsair voiced by Stacy Keach, and Chug, a fuel tanker who doesn't for a second doubt Dusty's capabilities and is played by Brad Garrett.
Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...
That generic title obscures a surprisingly complex exploration of the real-life events surrounding the fall...
Based on the Gayle Forman novel, this teen weepie is wrenchingly emotional and packed with...
Despite the fact that this too-soon spin-off feels like a mere cash-in on the Disney...
It's all about revenge in Sin City now as the wounded (both physically and mentally)...
The everlasting trail of violence, death and deceit continues with the return of several characters...
After travelling to Hawaii with George Clooney for The Descendants, Payne returns to middle America...
Disney takes over Pixar's "World of Cars" with this spin-off that no-one really asked for...
Dusty is a super swift cropduster whose horsepower would be a force to be reckoned...
Dusty may be a super speedy cropdusting aircraft but there's a reason why he spends...