'Fortitude' is on the way back.
Sky Atlantic and U.S cable channel Pivot has renewed its Arctic mystery-drama Fortitude for a second season following strong reviews and ratings. Written by Low Winter Sun's Simon Donald, the first season boasted a glittering cast including Stanley Tucci, Michael Gambon and Sofie Grabol.
Stanley Tucci [L] and Sofie Grabol [R] starred in the first season of Fortitude
The first season told the story of a small-town in the Arctic circle rocked by a violent murder. Tucci played Detective Chief Inspector Morton from London's Metropolitan Police, who flies flown to the peaceful close-knit community to investigate.
Continue reading: Sky Atlantic Renews 'Fortitude' For Second Season
Jason Statham may be playing essentially the same character he always plays, but this noir-style thriller has a somewhat groovier tone thanks to the Las Vegas setting and a scruffy William Goldman script. It's also directed with wit and energy by Simon West, who keeps everything moving very briskly. Although not fast enough for us to miss the fact that it's all rather thin and pointless.
As always, Statham is a former black-ops agent whose jaded, frazzled exterior obscures his fighting-fit action moves. His name this time is Nick Wild, and he works as a bodyguard for wealthy clients like Cyrus (Michael Angarano), who needs protection as he visits Vegas casinos with vast sums of money. He also has a lot to learn from Nick about gambling and wants to learn some of those action moves too. Meanwhile, Nick's ex-girlfriend Holly (Dominik Garcia-Lorido) asks him to help her get revenge against the swaggering gangster Donny (Milo Vengimiglia), who kidnapped and viciously terrorised her. Nick knows that getting even with Donny will put him on a collision course with mob kingpin Baby (Stanley Tucci), but he can't resist a challenge.
Nick is one of those characters who can't resist much. He's addicted to high-stakes blackjack, life-threatening confrontations and his own seedy poverty. So clearly the goal of the screenplay is to find some sort of uneasy redemption. Statham has played this role before in his sleep, so he looks almost bored here, which makes him vaguely intriguing. His gimmick this time is an ability to turn everyday objects into lethal weapons, including a seriously nasty moment with a pair of hedge clippers. It also helps that the film is packed with colourful scene-stealers who add plenty of badly needed spark, including a ripped Ventimiglia and the reliably wonderful Tucci, plus lively cameos from the likes of Sofia Vergara and Anne Heche.
Continue reading: Wild Card Review
Nick Wild (Jason Statham) is working as a Las Vegas bodyguard for hire, mainly due to his lethal professional skills, but also because of a slight gambling problem he has. Unfortunately for Wild, he allows business to get mixed up with his personal life, as he chooses to help a friend of his that gets savagely beaten by a Vegas thug. After extracting a bloody revenge on the thug, Wild finds his simple little existence challenged by an entire crime family that seem hell-bent on sending him to a shallow grave in the desert. Wild knows that one way or another, he's not gonna be in Vegas by the morning.
Continue: Wild Card Trailer
But is 'Mockingjay Part 1' just a set up for the best yet to come?
'The Hunger Games' continues to go from strength to strength, garnering solid reviews and big box office takings. The latest instalment, 'Mockingjay Part 1', debuted at number one on both the American and British box office charts, and looks likely to hold the top spot until 'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies' opens next month.
Jennifer Lawrence makes another stunning performance in 'Mockingjay Part 1'
Critics have given the film a 66% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes, down from 84% for the 2012 original film and 89% for 'Catching Fire'. This is probably due to the fact that third novel 'Mockingjay' has been split into two movies, which leaves 'Part 1' sometimes feeling like a set-up to something much more exciting still to come.
This four-part franchise, based on the Suzanne Collins novels, turns very dark with this strikingly bold third film, which once again makes the most of perspective to recount a parable about normal people rising up against oppression. This may be a sci-fi apocalypse, but the story is packed with present-day resonance and messy characters who are sometimes unnervingly easy to identify with. So while things get very grim in this chapter, it's still a hugely engaging film, packed with real-life humour and emotion. And it makes Mockingjay Part 2 unmissable.
The story picks up not long after the chaos of the Quarter Quell, when Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) realised that she had been a pawn for a planned revolution that cast her as the iconic Mockingjay. Now in hiding, the rebels need her to assume the role publicly, but she has other concerns. So she makes a deal with rebel President Coin (Julianne Moore) and her sidekick Plutarch (Philip Seymour Hoffman) that she'll help them if they guarantee safety for the captured Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), who has apparently been brainwashed so he can be used for propaganda purposes by the Capitol's President Snow (Donald Sutherland). Working with her old hunting buddy Gale (Liam Hemsworth), Katniss takes on the Mockingjay role, locking horns with Snow as the rebellion grows in strength.
Once again, director Francis Lawrence vividly tells the story from Katniss' imperfect point of view. This is a teen consumed with anger and confusion, and she can't figure out why she's so inspiring to everyone who looks at her. But she's beginning to understand her impact and how she can use it to help the people she loves. This makes her heroism remarkably human, rather than the usual noble movie self-sacrifice. And Jennifer Lawrence brings so much depth to Katniss that the character transcends even the most jarring plot points. Her internal journey also makes this much more than yet another dystopian teen adventure.
Continue reading: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 Review
Katniss Everdeen has survived the latest political disaster of Panem following the shocking 75th Hunger Games. Her home, District 12, has been destroyed with her sister Prim and neighbour Gale having only narrowly escaped, and her partner Peeta Mellark has been captured and brainwashed by the formidable President Snow. She has been taken to the underground rebellion that has become of the long thought destroyed District 13, alongside her newest Games partners Finnick and Beetee, and her mentor Haymitch. All the rebels of District 13 are relying on Katniss to lead their revolution against Panem's government, but in doing so she risks the lives of so many. Her symbol of hope, the Mockingjay, has been banned from all districts but she refuses to let the meaning disappear from the heart's of her peers as she sets out to fight against Snow once and for all.
Following Katniss Everdeen's escape from the catastrophic 75th Hunger Games with mentor Haymitch and two of her Games partners Finnick and Beetee, she is reunited with her sister Prim and neighbour Gale after learning that her home of District 12 has been destroyed. Now she's based in the secret underground remains of the forgotten District 13 where she and the Panem rebels are planning to bring freedom to the nation. Peeta Mellark and the other Hunger Games survivors are being kept and brainwashed by President Snow, who is attempting to quell the disturbance of Panem with a series of propaganda television broadcasts, but when Beetee interrupts one broadcast with a pirate transmission, he thrusts a serious threat upon Snow's government with one simple phrase: 'The Mockingjay lives'.
With each film in the Transformer saga, Michael Bay makes it clear that all he's interested in are massive metallic special effects bashing into each other and usually exploding. Because otherwise this is a vacuous thriller without any characters to speak of, no sense of plot coherence and an appallingly simplistic sense of geography. There's plenty in this franchise to enjoy (just watch the original 2007 film again), but Bay takes everything so seriously that only die-hard fans will have any fun this time.
The story picks up five years after the cataclysmic Transformers' battle in Chicago, as Texas inventor and overprotective single dad Cade (Mark Wahlberg) builds gadgets in his rural barn, oblivious to the fact that his 17-year-old daughter Tessa (Nicola Peltz) is secretly seeing 20-year-old Shane (Jack Reynor). Luckily, Shane is a race driver, so he's handy to have around when black ops agents commanded by shadowy CIA director Attinger (Kelsey Grammer) raid Cade's farm looking for an old truck that turns out to actually be Optimus Prime in hiding. This sparks a return to Chicago for more mayhem, followed by a hop to Beijing and Hong Kong, where Optimus Prime and a handful of remaining good-guy Autobots take on the villainous Lockdown. Helped of course by Cade, Tessa and Shane, plus billionaire inventor Joshua (Stanley Tucci).
The new gimmick this time is dinosaurs, building on a prologue showing the real reason they went extinct. This comes back in the climactic battle in the form of Dinobots, ancient Transformers that will have fanboys squirming in their seats with joy while everyone else yawns and looks at their watches, astounded that Bay has somehow managed to stretch this paper-thin story out over nearly three hours of metal-on-metal chaos. As in the earlier films, the action is quite literally cartoonish, purely animated mayhem that's not easy to decipher. At least the humans help keep it vaguely approachable, as they provide running commentary in their dialogue and bounce through the air like plastic action figures who never get hurt.
Continue reading: Transformers: Age Of Extinction Review
Chinese profits are expected to come close to the US market this time around.
Transformers: Age of Extinction opens in Hong Kong today, after months of anticipation. Since the previous movies of the franchise performed so well on the Chinese market (which is now the second biggest film market in the world), Paramount Pictures are expecting to gain a sizeable advantage on release weekend, thanks to the early release in Hong Kong. Transformers will open in theatres worldwide one day later.
Clever marketing and strong ties to China are likely to give Transformers an edge on the market.
Age of Extinction has been courting the sizeable Chinese audience since its conception, hense it has a built-in advantage on the local market. It was shot in Hong Kong and three mainland cities including scenes at the Great Wall. Chinese actress Li Bingbing was cast in the film, and four smaller parts were filled by actors chosen from a Chinese TV reality show.
Taking place after the events of 'Transformers: Dark Of The Moon', we see a new part of the Transformers story in 'Transformers: Age Of Extinction' where the human race must rebuild from a great battle between the Autobots and Sentinel Prime. However a new evil force is at hand attempting to change history, which will send Earth into a new crisis. New human friends will help Optimus Prime and the Autobots face their most difficult task yet, on an amazing journey around the planet that will decide who will win between good and evil.
'Transformers: Age Of Extinction' will see a new live action cast featuring Mark Wahlberg as Cade Yeager, Nicola Peltz as Cade's daughter Tessa Yeager, Stanley Tucci, Li Bingbing, Kelsey Grammer, Sophia Myles, T.J. Miller, Jack Reynor and Titus Welliver. Peter Cullen will once again voice Optimus Prime.
Michael Bay reprised his role as director for this instalment of the franchise. The film is written by Ehren Kruger, who wrote the previous two Transformers films 'Revenge Of The Fallen' and 'Dark Of The Moon'. 'Age Of Extinction' also has the same producers as the previous three films Don Murphy, Tom DeSanto, Lorenzo Di Bonaventura and Ian Bryce.
Continue: Transformers: Age Of Extinction Trailer
Following the destruction caused by Optimus Prime's benign Autobots and, their nemeses, the evil Decepticons led by Megatron, the US government have decided to sever ties with the Autobots in a bid to reclaim their crumbling world. After a while, it seemed that they had indeed disappeared completely but Cade Yeager, a struggling inventor who is desperate to put his daughter Tessa through college, is about to make a discovery that would change his life forever when he uncovers the unusual metal properties of the new vehicle he has bought. It isn't long before the government and the Decepticons are swooping in on Cade's home, demanding to know where he is hiding Optimus Prime; America wants to destroy the living machines despite the Autobots past help, and the Decepticons simply want to destroy everything. If the humans want to survive, their old friends may be their only hope.
For what he has said will be his final film, animation maestro Hayao Miyazaki tackles a controversial biopic that could just as easily have been shot in live action. It's as if he's challenging filmmakers to use their imaginations and make the best movies they can make in whatever way they can. And the result is utterly magical, transcending the touchy subject matter to tell a story about the purity of creativity.
Based on the life of aviation engineer Jiro Horikoshi, this Oscar-nominated film opens in the 1920s when young Jiro (voiced by Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the English version) decides to study aeronautics because his poor eyesight won't let him become a pilot. So he dreams of designing the perfect plane, and his inventive approach catches the attention of Mitsubishi, which assigns him to a secret military project working with Japan's allies in Nazi Germany. Meanwhile, Jiro meets Nahoko (Emily Blunt) and they fall for each other as she struggles to recover from tuberculosis and he grapples with the moral issues of designing a beautiful plane that will be used to kill people in wartime.
Clearly this isn't the kind of animated movie Hollywood would ever produce: it's packed with complex characters who don't always do the right thing, and it takes a perspective that requires sympathy with someone who could be considered a historical villain. But Miyazaki tells the story exquisitely, animating the scenes with such inventiveness that it's impossible not to get lost in the breathtaking imagery. Scenes are also packed with lively side characters, including Jiro's bulldog-like boss (Martin Short), a more grounded colleague (John Krazinski) and a suspicious foreigner (Werner Herzog) who seems to be following Jiro.
Continue reading: The Wind Rises Review
Jiro Horikoshi is an aeronautical engineer whose childhood was filled with dreams about becoming a pilot. His poor vision meant that he would never realise his ambition, but he is encouraged to keep up his passion by Italian plane designer Caproni. Resolving to design aircrafts instead of fly them, Jiro studies the art at university, during which time he meets an attractive young woman named Naoko. Their relationship was born out of the dangerous circumstances of the Great Kanto Earthquake, throughout which they helped one another off a fast moving train. As their life together progresses, Naoko falls ill and Jiro struggles to bring in a regular income. He must succeed in the challenge of building the most exquisitely beautiful aeroplane in the world in order to get back on his feet, as his career could be the only thing he has left.
'The Wind Rises' is romantic, heart-wrenching animated adventure directed and written by the Oscar winning Hayao Miyazaki ('Spirited Away', 'Princess Mononoke', 'Howl's Moving Castle'). This Japanese drama, loosely based on Tatsuo Hori's 1936 short story 'The Wind Has Risen', features the voices of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt and Stanley Tucci in the English version. It is due for release in the UK on May 9th 2014.
Director David Fincher is intent on having Christian Bale play Steve Jobs in Aaron Sorkin's new film about the late Apple CEO. If Bale doesn't take the bait, would these other actors be worthy of taking his place?
Let’s hope the next attempt at making a movie about the life of American entrepreneur and late CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs is an improvement on the last one. Ashton Kutcher tackled the role in 2013’s Jobs, which only took $35m at the box office...worldwide. This hasn’t deterred Sony, who believe that there is still money to be made with a new script and a new actor.
Ashton Kutcher played Steve Jobs in 2013's jOBS
Many were not pleased that Kutcher had been chosen to play the role, perhaps they’ll be happier to hear that this time Christian Bale is rumored to play Steve Jobs. The new script has been written by Aaron Sorkin, with Guymon Casady, Mark Gordon and Scott Rudin on hand to produce. Director David Fincher has his sights set on the Oscar winning star of The Dark Knight trilogy and American Hustle, although neither Sony nor a representative for Bale have confirmed that he is actually set to nab the role. In turn, David Fincher will allegedly only direct if they do manage to get Bale on board.
Continue reading: Christian Bale To Play Steve Jobs? Other Actors Who Could Suit The Role
It's been four years since the disastrous conflict between the benevolent Autobots, led by Optimus Prime, and the evil Decepticons, led by Megatron. Now, it appears that the US government is no longer willing to work alongside the Autobots and instead long for Earth to be reclaimed by mankind. Cade Yeager is an inventor who is struggling to find the money to get his daughter Tessa through college, but he's about to make the breakthrough of a lifetime when he discovers that a vehicle he has newly purchased is made from no ordinary metal. On realising that he is housing Optimus Prime in his workshop, the government and the Decepticons are quick to attack, though when it becomes clear that Megatron is still hellbent on taken over Earth, he must band together with Optimus to save themselves and everybody else on the planet from total extinction.
Continue: Transformers: Age Of Extinction Trailer
The poignant and beautiful new Studio Ghibli movie will soon be released in the UK.
The Wind Rises may not have been the flashiest or most talked-about movie at last night's Academy Awards but could prove to be one of the most arresting animated movies of all time upon its widespread UK release in May. The new Studio Ghibli picture was completely overshadowed by Disney's Frozen at the Oscars, with the winter musical's months of box office success and performance from Idina Menzel at the ceremony proving too difficult to ignore.
'The Wind Rises' Follows The Story Of Jiro Horikoshi, A Designer Of Fighter Planes.
Animated in the distinctive, delicate and detailed anime style, the Japanese film deals with challenging historical events and presents them in a creative yet respectful way. The Wind Rises is a look at the life of real-life Japanese engineer, Jiro Horikoshi, the man who designed Japanese fighter planes during World War II. The story follows the genius Jiro from his childhood to becoming an adult amidst the savagery of war.
With a constant barrage of hilarious visual and verbal gags, this riotous animated adventure might entertain adults more than kids. Although youngsters will enjoy the whizzy pace and manic 3D animation. Based on one of Jay Ward's anarchic 1960s creations (see also Rocky & Bullwinkle), it's a relentless onslaught of jokes and puns, with a hint of educational value thrown in for good measure.
After a lonely puppyhood, the intelligent dog Peabody (voiced by Burrell) studied to become a globally acclaimed artist, sportsman and inventor, eventually adopting a human boy, Sherman (Charles), as his son. But now it's time for Sherman to start school, which isn't easy when you're a genius with a dog as your dad. Sure enough, mean girl Penny (Winter) mercilessly bullies him while Child Services officer Mrs Grunion (Janney) plots to have him taken into care. So Peabody invites Penny's parents (Colbert and Mann) and Grunion over to sort things out. But in an effort to impress her, Sherman shows Penny the Way Back time machine he and Peabody use to explore history. And Penny decides to stay in Ancient Egypt.
The movie barely pauses for breath, racing from the Pyramids to Renaissance Italy for an adventure with Da Vinci (Tucci), then on to the Trojan War and Agamemnon (Warburton). At every step, the script gleefully subverts history with goofy slapstick, poo jokes, movie references and absurd touches that come out of nowhere. It's a remarkably intelligent approach to kids' comedy, and even if the chaos sometimes feels exhausting, it's so funny we don't really mind. And the energetic plotting will delight children as much as the rather surreal idea of having a dog as a dad.
Continue reading: Mr. Peabody & Sherman Review
Liam Hemsworth appears alongside his 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire' co-stars, including Jennifer Lawrence and Elizabeth Banks, at the movie's New York premiere held at the AMC Lincoln Square Theater.
'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire' New York premiere at the AMC Lincoln Square Theater saw arrivals from lead star Jennifer Lawrence, who was seen talking to reporters on the red carpet in a black, blazer-style dress; Elizabeth Banks, who turned heads in a sparkly, embellished, black jumpsuit; and Stanley Tucci alongside his stunning wife Felicity Blunt.
After 2012's The Hunger Games caught us off-guard with its subtle themes, this sequel more than lives up to the hype, dramatically expanding the scale of the action while letting the actors deepen their characters. It's a full-on action epic that cleverly retains author Suzanne Collins' narrative trick of telling the story through a flawed perspective. And it provides the needed push to give the whole saga real momentum.
We join our heroes not long after the last film ended: Katniss and Peeta (Lawrence and Hutcherson) are in trouble for challenging the authority of President Snow (Sutherland) and sowing the seeds of rebellion in the districts. Now they have to travel around the nation with their team - drunken mentor Haymitch (Harrelson), preening manager Effie (Banks), quietly subversive designer Cinna (Kravitz) - soothing ruffled feathers. But of course they only make things worse. So new Gamesmaker Plutarch (Hoffman) plots a way to force them back into the games with all of the past victors, so they can be wiped out for good. And Katniss is so busy worrying about protecting Peeta that she fails to remember who the true enemy is.
Screenwriters Beaufoy and deBruyn (aka Oscar-winner Michael Arndt) inventively maintain Katniss' narrow, inaccurate point-of-view right through the film, which keeps the audience wrong-footed all the way to the end. It's an exhilarating trick that makes the tour of the districts painfully dull and the return to the games utterly horrifying. It also gives Lawrence the chance to flex her own Oscar-winning chops, further tormenting us with her inability to choose between two good men: Peeta and Gale (Hemsworth), her pal back home. She certainly doesn't trust newcomers like the mouthy Johanna (Malone) or the too-hunky Finnick (Claflin).
Continue reading: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Review
Date of birth
11th November, 1960
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