This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to give the story a photo-realistic sheen. The addition of more songs makes it feel much more like a big movie musical. And the use of real actors adds quite a lot of detail and subtext in the character interaction. But basically, this is still the same romantic fairy tale: lovely to look as it makes the audience swoon and sigh.
It's set in a French village, where Belle (Emma Watson) is looked at with suspicion by her neighbours for her empowered-female ways, reading books, expressing her opinions and running the farm where she lives with her single dad Maurice (Kevin Kline). It's no wonder that the vain soldier Gaston (Luke Evans) pursues her, since she's the only girl who isn't chasing him. Then one day Maurice and Belle have a fateful encounter with a castle hidden in a deep woods under a curse. Imprisoned by its beastly master (Dan Stevens), Belle befriends the staff, who have been transformed into household objects like a lampstand (Ewan McGregor), clock (Ian McKellen), teapot (Emma Thompson), harpsichord (Stanley Tucci) and feather duster (Gugu Mbatha-Raw). All of them conspire to help Belle fall in love with the Beast, which would break the spell.
Director Bill Condon (who made Dreamgirls and the final Twilight movies) makes the most of the live-action cast, allowing them to stir all kinds of undercurrents into their roles, which adds weight and interest to the rather predictable storyline. The film still looks largely animated thanks to an extensive use of digital backgrounds and characters, but the actors add an earthy tone that breaks the surface, bringing in some more textured emotions and sharper humour. The whole cast is excellent, with particular scene-stealing energy coming from Evans and Josh Gad (as his super-faithful sidekick LeFou), who are both funny and villainous at the same time. And Kline is also a standout for a surprisingly thoughtful performance.
Continue reading: Beauty And The Beast Review
Has humanity been left to defend itself against the ruthless Decepticons now that Optimus Prime has vacated the planet? It may seem that way, but the Autobot leader is still relatively close by, seeking his own mission to uncover the secrets of his origins. Father and daughter Cade (Mark Wahlberg) and Tessa Yeager are surviving as best they can under the protection of the few Autobots that remain, but Megatron is on the warpath reducing the planet to rubble and wiping out every human that stands in the way of his domination. There's a hopeless, apocalyptic mood running through this new story, because the war between man and machine will no doubt continue to wage until one of both races are extinct. However, there may be, at least, another hero who can save Earth from total ruin.
Take a closer look at the cast of 'Beauty and the Beast' in the final trailer for the forthcoming live-action Disney re-boot. Gaston loves himself more than Belle, Belle loves books more than boys, and Maurice loves his daughter more than anybody else. Meanwhile, the Beast hates everything and everyone equally, but that's about to change when Belle volunteers herself as his prisoner in exchange for her father's freedom. She has much pity for the Beast and wants to make the best out of a terrible situation, especially when he presents her with the library of her dreams. He's relying on her love to rescue him from the curse that binds him in his monstrous form, and to rescue his friends and servants from their furnitural guises. But together they have an important lesson to learn about love and companionship.
Continue: Beauty And The Beast Trailer
With the few remaining Autobots in hiding, the world is a dark place. Galvatron is still at large and Optimus Prime has left earth to fulfil a bigger mission, having gone to seek out the Creators. Having previously helped the Autobots, Cade Yeager is still in danger and the war between man and machine is reaching ever higher levels.
The Decepticons still have a wish to invade and take over the planet Earth and now it looks like they might be in the best position to do so. Why do these machines have such a fascination with our planet and how many genuine Autobots are left to help fight alongside humans?
The soundtrack to the first trailer for Transformers: The Last Knight is a re-working of Flaming Lips single 'Do You Realize' recorded by Ursine Vulpine.
To outsiders, the castle which sits on the outskirts of a small town is just another run down building soon to be turned into ruins but the secrets the beautiful building hold are some laced in magic.
The royal prince who lives in the castle hasn't been seen for years and no one but a witch knows the truth of what happened to him. When Prince Adam was young, he was confronted by a witch seeking shelter from the weather in return for a beautiful rose. The young prince had little time for beggars and dismissed the old woman without much of a thought. As punishment for his cruel arrogance and having seen the lack of love in his heart, the witch curses the prince and his castle.
Having been turned into an unsightly beast with horns and fur much like a goat, he now spends his life in a castle along with his bewitched staff - for they suffer the same curse as their master and have been turned into household objects. The witch didn't want to just punish the thoughtless Prince, she did give him a little hope - she left him with the rose he originally turned down; if he could find true love by the time the last petal fell from the rose on his 21st birthday, he and his castle would be free from the curse.
Continue: Beauty and the Beast Trailer
Disney have released the new teaser trailer for the remake of the much-loved animated film Beauty and the Beast. The 2017 version of this classic Disney film is a live-action movie and it is claimed that the Disney magic will not be lost as a result, but rather preserved and made even more magical. Emma Watson stars as the protagonist, Princess Belle and Dan Stevens as the Beast.
The narrative follows Belle on her quest to find her father who has been captured and imprisoned in the Beasts castle, on arriving at the castle she finds herself becoming imprisoned as well. In order to free her father she agrees to stay in the Beasts castle as his prisoner. After spending time with the Beast she starts to see beyond his frightening exterior and into his kind heart and soul, which leads her to start falling in love with him.
However Belle soon finds herself caught in the middle between the two men who want her, the Beast and Gaston and it is in this climatic end that leads her to confess her love for one of them, but which one she chooses, you'll have to watch and see.
This film demonstrates that you don't need guns to make an exciting thriller. Based on a true story, this is a journalistic procedural following a team of newspaper writers who take on a corrupt system. The outcome is well-known (they won a Pulitzer Prize and launched the global investigation into child abuse by Catholic priests), but the film is still utterly riveting, beautifully written and played to perfection.
In 2001, the Boston Globe's investigative Spotlight team is working to report the biggest stories in the city. So newly arrived senior editor Marty (Liev Schreiber) asks them to find out if there's truth to rumours that the local Catholic Archdiocese is covering up abuse. But he's unaware that the church controls the city, and the Spotlight writers (Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams and Brian d'Arcy James) quickly encounter heavy resistance from the establishment. As they persistently dig deeper, they realise that the story is exponentially bigger than anyone thought it was. Two lawyers (Stanley Tucci and Billy Crudup) prove to be crucial in this process, as the team works to prove that the Cardinal (Len Cariou) has been covering up abuse for decades.
Cleverly, writer Josh Singer and writer-director Tom McCarthy never play this story for its salacious details. Instead, they focus on the people involved, which gives the film a strong sense of what's at stake here and the urgency of getting the story exactly right. It's a rare movie that can maintain this balance, gripping the audience and building suspense without ever tipping over into sensationalism. And the filmmakers bring out some strong emotional resonance in sensitive conversations between the journalists and the victims. All of this is expertly played by actors who stir in personal details without letting their characters' side-stories interfere with the larger narrative. They also resist the temptation to overplay the material, letting the facts of the case provide every gut-punch.
Continue reading: Spotlight Review
'Fortitude' starts tonight - and it looks like you're in for a treat.
Fortitude, Sky Atlantic's big-budget crime drama set in the Arctic Circle, begins tonight after a heavy marketing campaign playing on its key stars, Sofie Grabol, Michael Gambon, Christopher Eccleston and Stanley Tucci. It's a rich and hugely talented line-up - but will Fortitude push the envelope or retire into the clichés seen so often in murder-investigation-in-frosty-setting.
Sofie Grabol leads the cast in Sky Altantic's Fortitude
Of course Grabol is best known as Sarah Lund from The Killing - the pioneering Nordic drama that has inspired countless terrible imitations since. She plays Governor Odegard, who's busy opening an ice hotel carved out of the side of a glacier in Svalbard. However, when the crimeless community is rocked by a grisly murder, detective DCI Morton (Tucci) is flown in to restore calm and solve the mystery.
Continue reading: 'Fortitude' Starts Tonight - But Is It Just 'The Killing' MK 2?
In the palace of Versailles, a tremendous garden is maintained. One day, the builder and head gardener sees an ordinary woman arriving at the palace, and, throwing aside ideas of conformity, chooses to rearrange some of the garden into something that pleases her. He takes her on with the hopes of updating and adding some life to the traditional gardens, and steadily begins to fall for her. As she finds difficulty integrating into the high society that he is from, he ensures her that, in fact, she is envied by the upper classes for her newness. But when that envy turns into something more, the gardener will have to fight tooth and nail to maintain the garden, their love, and their lives.
Continue: A Little Chaos Trailer
With the incredible ramifications of the end of the yearly ritualistic sacrificial televised Hunger Games, the world is thrown into disarray when the supposed saviour of the underprivileged working class travels to District 13 to help with the revolution she inadvertently started. Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) is the last hope and symbol of resistance against the capitol that seeks to keep her and her people as poverty-stricken slaves, and after surviving the aforementioned Hunger Games twice, Katniss must learn that 'it is the things we love most that destroy us.' Now, with an army at her back, Katniss must change the course of history and bring freedom to the masses through a global armed revolution.
'22 Jump Street' reached first place at the US Weekend Box Office. The comedy starring Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill gained $60 million in its opening weekend and is likely to stay at the top of the Box Office this weekend, if the new competition is anything to go by.
22 Jump Street and How To Train Your Dragon 2 have topped the US weekend box office. The two newcomers gained, respectively, first and second position knocking, The Fault In Our Stars off the top spot. The latter film has plummeted to fifth two weeks after its release. Maleficent remains in the top three, having being pushed out of second position by HTTYD2. But after two weeks, the Disney re-envisioning of the Sleeping Beauty fairytale is doing fairly well.
22 Jump Street, which stars Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill as two undercover cops in college, has received positive reviews from critics and has evidently won over audiences with the reprisal of childish antics and easy laughs we encountered in the original, 21 Jump Street. It's the perfect film for the summer months and with the new competition released this weekend (20th June), may not be out of the box office top ten for some time. So what is on offer for this weekend?
Contenders jostle for Cannes Film Festival awards on Sunday, 'Star Wars' offers fans a chance to join the cast, and 'Batman v Superman' starts filming in Michigan. New trailers arrive for action blockbusters 'Transformers', 'Guardians of the Galaxy', 'Kingsman' and 'Life of Crime'...
As the Cannes Film Festival winds down this weekend, a handful of films are emerging as frontrunners for the prestigious awards ceremony. Higher-profile contenders include David Cronenberg's 'Map to the Stars' starring Robert Pattinson, Mike Leigh's 'Mr Turner' starring Timothy Spall, the Dardenne brothers' 'Two Days One Night' starring Marion Cotillard and Tommy Lee Jones' 'The Homesman' starring Hilary Swank. Disappointments have included Olivier Dahan's 'Grace of Monaco' starring Nicole Kidman and Ryan Gosling's directing debut 'Lost River' starring Christina Hendricks. Take a look over our own top five Palme d'Or Winner predictions.
But for most movie fans, the even bigger news is that 'Star Wars: Episode VII' has started filming at Pinewood in London, complete with a competition fans can enter for a chance to actually appear in the movie. In a video clip for the charity initiative Star Wars: Force for Change, Jj Abrams explained this week that the programme will work with Unicef to help children around the world. Watch 'Star Wars: Force For Change' Trailer.
Mark Wahlberg steps in to play Cade Yeager, a working class mechanic who just happens to stumble across Optimus Prime.
With all that Oscars nonsense out of the way, it’s time to focus on explosions, Mark Wahlberg and massive robots. Luckily,Transformers 4: Age of Extinctionis basically made up of those three things; showcased by the film’s brand new and shiny trailer, which you can watch below.
Transformers 4: Age of Extinction sees Mark Wahlberg step in as 'the main guy'
Marky Mark’s doing what he does best: playing a working class underdog. This time he’s Cade Yeager, a Texas-based mechanic whose business is failing, forcing him to forage for scrap materials to sell on and put his young daughter through college. When he finds a beaten up old truck, though, he inadvertently incurs the wrath of the U.S government. Optimus Prime is in his garage, but not for long.
When Jiro Horikoshi was a young boy, all he ever dreamed about was flying planes - at least he did until one night he came across Italian plane designer Caproni in one of his dreams, who subsequently told him that his poor vision means he'll never be a pilot. Jiro instead resolves to take up aeronautical engineering and design aircrafts himself . While at university, he meets a young woman named Naoko who he helps off a train during the Great Kanto Earthquake and the pair become close. His life begins to spiral, however, with his work projects becoming few and far between and Naoko's health deteriorating. But will Jiro finally realise his dream and build an aircraft of pure beauty? Or will his dream come crashing to the ground?
Continue: The Wind Rises Trailer
Fans at the big game were treated to a 'Transformers' teaser.
Fans at Sunday's Super Bowl were given an exclusive sneak peek into the new Transformers movie, Age of Extinction, in what was the first public show of scenes from Michael Bay's ultra-cool new space robot action epic. As was previously rumoured, the title refers to the prehistoric creatures that will feature in the new film as opponents to Optimus Prime and Co.
Name-Based Jokes Aside, All Hopes Are On 'Age Of Extinction' To Revive The 'Transformers' Franchise.
As previous Transformers movies have successively bombed with critics, the name of the new movie alone will lend enough Bay-bashing ammo unless Age of Extinction is truly the turnaround that the director has promised.
Check out the fun-filled trailer below.
It’s not easy being the world's smartest and most brilliant dog. In fact, it’s pretty darn difficult. Mr. Peabody is taking his endless adventure pallet onto the big screen, with a time-travelling yarn through ancient Greece and Egypt.
Mr Peabody urged Sherman not to use the WABAC
Ol’ Peabody would probably just be sitting around playing scrabble with young Sherman now, if the scamp didn’t have designs on impressing the equally yong but more mischievous Penny Peabody.
Michael Bay has assembled a skilled new cast for Transformers 4: Age of Extinction.
The Transformers franchise just keeps on trucking and now, armed with Mark Wahlberg as his leading man, Michael Bay has dreamed up a title for his brand new big-budget action sci-fi. Transformers 4: Age of Extinction. Oh and there's a shiny new poster - check it out below.
This franchise should have been rendered extinct three movies ago, one critic will write in June 2014. The jokes are there. The jokes are obvious, but Bay has decided to dangle a carrot and let the haters gobble up the dinosaur references anyway.
In fact, if some reports are to be believed, prehistoric creatures may well even feature in the movie's plot, though details are yet to be announced. The poster appears to add credence to that theory.
Continue reading: Transformers 4 Titled 'Age Of Extinction': No Jokes, Please
Take a look at clips from the exciting new Percy Jackson movie, released in just a few days time.
Get ready for the new installation of the magic and adventure of Percy Jackson & The Olympians series, the brand new fantasy spectacle that's about to propel its way into cinemas across the world.
Percy (Logan Lerman) is the son of Poseidon and uses his special abilities for quick thinking, unpredictable fighting style and water skills such as ability to breathe underwater to good use in the upcoming movie, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters.
The Iron Man 3 premiere in London pulled in some A-list names, and some...well, not so A-list names.
Robert Downey Jr, Rebecca Hall and Stanley Tucci were among the high profile attendees at the Iron Man 3 premiere in London on Thursday (April 18, 2013). After an initial postponement following the death of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the premiere went ahead and was a typically star-studded affair. Of course, most of the crowd had turned out to catch a glimpse of Downey Jr, the Hollywood star who reprises his role as Tony Stark for the third time in the latest movie. Speaking to Sky News at the premiere, the actor said he was unsure if he will play the role again. "Right now the future is uncertain, but I think it's very important that we end this first Marvel phase in a way that is definitive and has people asking questions," he said.
Robert Downey Jr Wearing His Signature Sneakers At The Iron Man 3 Premiere
Downey's contract is up with Marvel, though it would be unthinkable for the studio to let him go without a fight. His co-star Don Cheadle, who plays War Machine, said he would do his best to persuade the actor to don the metallic suit again. "I'm going to threaten him that I'll let all his secrets out and then maybe we'll see if he can come back!" he joked.
Among arrivals for the 'Promised Land' premiere in New York were the movie's stars Matt Damon with his wife Luciana Barroso, Scoot McNairy with his wife and 'Monsters' co-star Whitney Able, John Krasinski, Rosemarie DeWitt and her husband Ron Livingston. Producer Mike Sablone and director Gus Van Sant were also present.
Remade from a 1966 romp starring Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine, this con artist action-comedy is enjoyably silly but never much more than that. Part of the problem is a lack of chemistry between stars Colin Firth and Cameron Diaz, and the film focuses on goofy slapstick instead of a coherent plot. So we may chuckle along the way, but it's hard to be interested in anything that happens.
Firth is at the centre as Harry, a London art expert who has a score to settle with his arrogant billionaire boss Lionel (Rickman). So he sets up an elaborate scam involving a fake Monet painted by his talented pal Wingate (Courtenay). But they need the help of a sassy Texan, PJ (Diaz), to make it work, and she doesn't play along as Harry imagines she will. Soon she's flirting shamelessly with Lionel while Harry sneaks around in the background setting up the con and struggling to pay for her extravagant stay in the Savoy. Meanwhile, Lionel is trying to make a deal with a group of hard-bargaining Japanese businessmen.
While the Coen brothers' script bursts with absurd wit, Hoffman directs the film as a mindless farce, missing every chance for black comedy. From the animated Pink Panther-style titles, the tone is light and frothy, the characters are paper thin and the plot's convolutions never seem to amount to anything. Most of the big set-pieces are irrelevant asides, such as a half-hearted scene involving the lion that's featured far too prominently on the movie poster. Or a long sequence in which Firth cavorts around the Savoy without his trousers. It certainly doesn't help that Firth and Diaz never generate even a spark of attraction between them.
Continue reading: Gambit Review
Matthew Vaughn has decided against directing the sequel to X-Men: First Class, instead opting to helm another 20th Century Fox film, the comic-book drama Secret Service, according to Deadline.com.
X-Men: Days of Future Past is likely to be another huge money-spinner for Fox - with Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy and Jennifer Lawrence confirmed to return - so it's refreshing to see Vaughn opting to try something new instead of taking the riches that will inevitably come attached to a huge sequel such as Future Past. Vaughn, 41, appears to be a filmmaker who knows what he wants: he quickly passed on directing the sequel to the Kick-Ass movie, entrusting the job instead to Jeff Wadlow. Anyway, Fox has moved pretty quickly in replacing Vaughan, with Bryan Singer likely to be confirmed for the project in the near future. You may remember Singer directed the X-Men (2000) and X-2 in (2003) though he's best known for the superb Usual Suspects (1994). He was already signed on as a producer on the new film, and the move will see Singer and Vaughn switch roles with the latter stepping back to a producing role.
Singer, 47, has a pretty open schedule having completed shooting on his modern day fairy tale Jack the Giant Killer, starring Nicholas Hoult, Stanley Tucci and Ewan McGregor.
Continue reading: Matthew Vaughn Passes On X-Men Sequel: Who's The Replacement?
Harry Deane is a pretty hopeless British art curator who has suffered years of condescension and disrespect at the hands of his preposterously rich and eccentric boss that is the renowned art collector Lionel Shabandar. Frustrated at his own lack of recognition in the art world, Harry decides to organise an elaborate plot of revenge on his employer by tricking him into buying a seemingly priceless Monet painting that happens to be a fake. As part of his cunning ploy, he travels to the states and meets a stunning, blonde Texas cowgirl who he enlists to help him by posing alongside her grandmother as inheritors of the valuable piece. He takes her to England where Shabandar is immediately taken with her and goes to all lengths to charm her. Harry's affection for Nicole is also growing and his jealousy of the two of them results in more than one embarrassing situations.
This flamboyant crime comedy is a remake of the 1966 Academy Award nominated film of the same name which starred Michael Caine ('The Dark Knight', 'Children of Men') and Shirley MacLaine ('The Apartment', 'Terms of Endearment'). Not only has this 2012 movie also got an all-star cast, it has been written by the multi-Oscar winning writing brothers Ethan Coen and Joel Coen ('No Country for Old Men', 'Fargo', 'True Grit') as well as being directed by Michael Hoffman ('One Fine Day', 'The Emperor's Club'). It's set for release in the UK on November 21st 2012.
In what was once North America, the ruling class demands an annual sacrifice of the 12 districts that once rebelled: each must select two teens, a boy and a girl, to battle in a wooded arena to the death, with the last one standing crowned victor. In the poor mining District 12, the tributes are ace archer Katniss (Lawrence) and muscly baker Peeta (Hutcherson), who forge an awkward friendship as they're thrust into the televised competition. Trained by Haymitch (Harrelson), promoted by Effie (Banks), groomed by Cinna (Kravitz), interviewed by Caesar (Tucci) - it's simply overwhelming.
Continue reading: The Hunger Games Review
Jack is a young farmhand working for the King. One day, he comes across small bean-like objects, which are described as 'holy relics' from a faraway land. The relics, however, are full of dark magic and could change the world if placed in the wrong hands. Jack is entrusted with them, on the condition that he doesn't lose them or get them wet. Jack is puzzled but accepts the relics anyway.
That night, a terrible storm rages. Jack has left the bean shaped objects on a surface in his hut, where rain falls on them through a hole in the ceiling. At first, nothing happens; then Jack looks on in horror as a beanstalk grows from the ground under his hut. The beanstalk connects the human world to a world where giants roam.
Jack lands himself in trouble when a giant kidnaps the beautiful Princess Isabelle. The King sends some of his best men up the beanstalk with Jack to rescue Isabelle. Their rescue attempts are nearly in vain, though, when the giants wage war on the humans. It is up to Jack to save Isabelle and his kingdom.
Jack The Giant Killer is directed and produced by Bryan Singer, who is well known for directing the films The Usual Suspects; Superman Returns and the X-Men films. The film is based on the British fairy tale; the screenplay for the film was written by Christopher McQuarrie and Dan Studney.
Starring: Nicholas Hoult, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Warwick Davis, Bill Nighy, Eddie Marsan, Ian McShane, Ewen Bremner, John Kassir, Eleanor Tomlinson, Ralph Brown, Ben Daniels, Daniel Lapaine and David Frost
Director: Bryan Singer
Release Date: 15TH June 2012
Running Time: TBC
Back in 1964, Author of classic novel 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest', Ken Kesey, set off on a famous road trip across the USA to the New York World's Fair. He was accompanied by what came to be known as 'The Merry Band of Pranksters', a rebellious group of truth-seekers, one of which was Neal Cassady, an icon celebrated in Kerouac's 'On the Road', and the man in charge of decorating and driving their transport - the Magic Bus.
Continue: Magic Trip Trailer
Steve Rogers is a sickly young man who has always been bullied in the streets of 1940's Brooklyn because of his weight. He applies for World War II military duty in an attempt to toughen up but is rejected as 'unfit for duty' because of his frailness. Steve isn't put off, however and attempts to enlist again, despite dissuasion from his friend, 'Bucky' Barnes.
By never taking their ludicrous plot seriously, they've made a true guilty pleasure.
Fed up with dead-end Iowa, Ali (Aguilera) heads for Hollywood. Despite having no experience or training, she's sure she can make it as a singer-dancer. After a series of rejections, she stumbles upon the Burlesque Lounge on Sunset, run by jaded diva Tess (Cher) with the help of her long-suffering buddy Sean (Tucci). Ali charms sexy barman Jack (Gigandet) into a barmaid job, while keeping her sights on the stage. And she's also wooed by Marcus (Dane), a developer who's trying to buy the financially strapped club.
Continue reading: Burlesque Review
Olive is a straight up girl, she works hard in classes, she isn't one of the most popular kids in school but she's happy enough being herself and hanging with her true friends - one of which is called Brandon. Olive is the only person he's confided in and told that he's actually gay but that doesn't stop the homophobic school bullies from laying into him every day. Brandon propositions Olive with an idea, a fake fling. Go to a party, lock themselves in a bedroom and let all hear what they want to think is going on.
Continue: Easy A Trailer
Ali is a girl who's desperate to break away from her small-town life. Seeking a new start she buys a one way ticket to LA and lands a job waitressing at a club called The Burlesque Lounge, the club owner and headline act is a lady called Tess, though she was willing to give Ali a break by offering her the cocktail waitress job, all Ali wants to do is perform on stage. Enamoured by the lavish and flamboyant costumes and striking choreography Ali is sure she would be a perfect addition to their troupe. Tess doesn't see her potential but a few other of the club workers know Ali's secret; she can sing - a small girl with a big voice.
Continue: Burlesque Trailer
This film is packed with involving performances, even though Jackson takes a bloated approach to what should be a quietly emotional drama. And in the end, the production design is so lush that it swamps the story's themes.
In 1973, Susie (Ronan) is a happy 14-year-old just beginning to blossom. Her crush on a fellow student (Ritchie) is about to culminate in her first kiss, but she's instead brutally murdered by a creepy neighbour (Tucci). Her parents (Wahlberg and Weisz) are distraught, and Grandma (Sarandon) needs to come help care for Susie's younger siblings (McIver and Christian Thomas Ashdale). Susie watches all of this from "my heaven", longing for her parents to recover their balance and aching for some form of revenge.
The central theme is that Susie's yearning for vengeance is preventing her parents from moving on, and it's also keeping her from resting in peace. As the months and years pass, she struggles to let go of her connections to her family and also to dislodge her killer's hold on her. This intriguing idea is more suited to a small-budget filmmaker forced to find subtle, creative ways to depict the interaction between the afterlife and the living world.
Jackson, of course, has no budgetary constraints, and indulges in constant eye-catching effects that are drenched in colour and symbolism. This luxuriant approach seems odd for a story this fatalistic; it's not likely to be a commercial hit no matter how glorious the digital artistry is. While some viewers will connect with the raw emotional tone, concepts of the cruelty of fate and the fragility of life are lost.
Even so, Ronan delivers another knock-out performance packed with nuance and meaning even though many of her scenes only require reaction shots. It's in her eyes that the film comes truly to life, as it were. The other standouts are Sarandon, who brazenly steals scenes in what's essentially a thankless role, and Tucci, who never resorts to stereotype in his portrayal of a sinister loner. Jackson, on the other hand, continually applies cliches around him, from shadowy angles that generate palpable suspense to a ludicrously over-the-top coda that erases any subtlety the film might have.
Richard Gere, perfectly cast, plays Clifford Irving, a down-and-out writer who in 1971 wrote (and nearly got published) a fake biography of Howard Hughes. Desperate to jump-start his career, Irving duped his editor Andrea Tate (Hope Davis) and the top dogs at McGraw-Hill into believing he was not only a friend of Hughes, the notorious recluse, but that the billionaire had tapped Irving to write his life story. Smelling a publishing sensation, McGraw-Hill offered Irving a then-record publishing deal, and the writer suddenly found himself the crown prince of the publishing world.
Continue reading: The Hoax Review
But forget about September 11th for a moment and consider this: Is there ever a good time to release a film that endorses bribing airline personal for tickets to carry a suitcase containing a ticking nuclear bomb onto a plane? The answer is easy. Pre- or post-September 11th, there is no appropriate time for a comedy this poorly conceived. Big Trouble is irresponsible filmmaking; it doesn't even justify the space for an explanation. But since reviews are my business, let me try to sort out this movie's mess.
Continue reading: Big Trouble Review
When the core of our planet stops spinning on its axis - a reason is given, though it makes little sense - a motley crew of hastily-trained scientists must accompany two astronauts (Bruce Greenwood, Hilary Swank) to the Earth's center so they can jump-start our globe using nuclear weapons.
Continue reading: The Core Review
Lopez is Marisa Ventura, a divorced mom forced to raise her young son Ty (Tyler Posey) on her salary as a maid for a ritzy Manhattan hotel. Each day, she drops Ty off at school and travels by subway from the Bronx to work where she arrives just in time for the morning briefing on the glamorous guests the maids will serve that day. These guests include the newly single socialite Caroline Sincaire (Natasha Richardson), who has come to the hotel to sulk, and New York Assemblyman Chris Marshall (Ralph Fiennes) who is there to prepare for his upcoming campaign for Senator.
Continue reading: Maid In Manhattan Review
Gere plays Chicago lawyer John Clark, a man in a rut. Day after depressing day, it's the same routine of drawing up a few wills, running a couple miles on the treadmill, and returning home to apathetic wife Beverly (Susan Sarandon) and their two teenage children. The only highlight of his day is the fleeting moment when the "L" train passes by the beautiful but solemn looking woman in the window of Miss Mitzi's Dance School. Drawn to her, John impulsively jumps off the train and into the dance studio where he's confident that lessons will bring happiness back to his life.
Continue reading: Shall We Dance? (2004) Review
In The Terminal, Spielberg gives us Hanks as Viktor Navorski, a visitor from the fictitious country of Krakhozia in Eastern Europe. Hanks, made up to be pasty and lumpy, puts on a mush-mouthed accent reminiscent of Yakov Smirnoff, and finds himself landing at New York's JFK on a mission we won't discover until the end of the film. We know only that it involves a Planters peanut can.
Continue reading: The Terminal Review
This second film from American Beauty director Sam Mendes presents a highly stylized and muddied look into the world of the Irish mob. Michael Sullivan (Tom Hanks) is at the center of it, as mob boss John Rooney's (Paul Newman) personal "Angel of Death." Raised as Rooney's son, Sullivan and his family have been given an idyllic life, marred only by the secrecy of Sullivan's dastardly work. But when his oldest son Michael Jr. (Tyler Hoechlin) witnesses dad taking care of business, their world is shattered, as mob boss Rooney's overeager son murders Sullivan's wife and youngest child in response. Now, Sullivan must put his loyalty to the test to protect his oldest son Michael and buy a life for them both.
Continue reading: Road To Perdition Review
Jeff Collins (Omar Epps) is a recent Police Academy graduate. His first assignment is to infiltrate the city's largest narcotics ring and take down druglord Dwayne "God" Giddens (LL Cool J). In order to get close enough to God and make an arrest, Collins [alter ego J. Reed] is forced to plunge further and further into criminal activity himself. Clashes with the Captain (Stanley Tucci) over crossing the line between effective undercover work and unjustifiable violence, and a love affair (Nia Long), are mandatory sub-plots in the formulaic script. Every element of the story is underdeveloped and flat, none providing additional value or even distraction. It's too bad that Omar Epps' solid performance is buried almost as deeply as the pool queue God uses to torture a victim during one of his outbreaks.
Continue reading: In Too Deep Review
I've always seen "A Midsummer Night's Dream" as one of Shakespeare's daffier comedies -- what with the fairies and all -- so this film version, adapted by director Michael Hoffman ("One Fine Day," "Restoration"), came as something of a surprise because it takes itself so seriously.
Hoffman seems to hold the Bard's less jestful observations on amour ("The course of true love never did run smooth") in higher regard than his saucy slapstick of miscommunication.
The laughs are definitely present, but they're subdued as two pairs of young sweethearts steal away into the forest (of 19th Century Tuscany in this adaptation) trying to escape the consequences of an arranged marriage, and rush headlong and unknowingly into the domain of impishly interfering immortals.
Continue reading: A Midsummer Night's Dream Review
It would be a terrible shame if talented actors like Stanley Tucci, Delroy Lindo and Alfre Woodard have reached a point where money trumps professional pride. But I can't imagine any other reason they'd sign on to a half-witted, obscenely formulaic, huge-budget save-the-Earth sci-fi embarrassment like "The Core."
Almost exactly the same movie as "Armageddon" -- and almost as insufferable -- it features a handful of good-looking scientists and NASA astronauts who, instead of going into space to set off a nuke and save the world from a asteroid, travel to the center of the Earth to set off a nuke, thus restarting the dying molten core and saving the world from electromagnetic disaster.
The exact same shopworn characters die in the exact same order, some accidentally, some heroically to save the mission. The simplest laws of physics and even plain-as-day physical facts are utterly ignored (the nuke-the-core plan is based on two-dimensional thinking even though the Earth is -- duh! -- a sphere).
Continue reading: The Core Review
Date of birth
11th November, 1960
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