It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This raucous historical romp spins the iconic legend into something that's relentlessly entertaining, even if it never quite satisfies because it's in such a hurry to set up a sequel. Thankfully, there are some deeper themes along the way that give the actors something to chew on besides the scenery.
In post-Roman Britain, King Uther (Eric Bana) has been killed by his brother Vortigern (Jude Law), who made a deal that involved some very black magic. But Vortigern is haunted by the fact that Uther's infant son Arthur somehow escaped and will someday return to pull the sword Excalibur from the stone and claim his rightful throne. Meanwhile in Londinium, Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) has no idea who he really is. Raised in a brothel and trained as a muscled fighter, he has a nice little racket going on. So discovering his identity is a shock. He's immediately spirited away by a mage (Astrid Berges-Frisbey) and some rebels (Djimon Hounsou and Aiden Gillen) who help him plot how to take back his crown.
The entire film is essentially a chase as Vortigern and his chief goon (Peter Ferdinando) pursue Arthur and his growing band of rebels. That all of this is leading to an epic confrontation is no surprise. But Ritchie oddly frames each action sequence as a splintered montage, which means we're only ever watching a series of key images with no momentum or context. Some of these work cleverly, but they begin to wear us out: we know what's happening but we're not able to experience it ourselves. Thankfully the dialogue has a witty present-day snap that brings the characters and the camaraderie between them to vivid life.
Continue reading: King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword Review
Arthur grew up as a peasant on the streets of Londonium having escaped the terror that was unleashed upon his father Uther Pendragon's kingdom when he was just a boy. But despite growing up away from his royal roots, there was always something special about him; a determination and a willingness to stand up and fight no matter how big the enemy or how slim the chances of survival. This does not go unnoticed by the current King Vortigern, who took over the throne all those years ago. Arthur is captured and imprisoned by Vortigern's men and it's then he learns of his true destiny. And that destiny is sealed when he manages to pull the sword of Excalibur from the legendary stone with the world watching. Vortigern will stop at nothing to keep his ill-gotten crown, but still he underestimates the power that the sword wields. Using his newfound power, he joins with the kingdom's resistance to regain what's rightfully his and avenge his father along the way.
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Mary (Debra Winger) and Michael (Tracy Letts) have been married for a long time and, like in so many long-term partnerships, their passion has cooled and they no longer fulfill each other romantically. As a result of this, both of them stray and begin serious affairs with other lovers (without each other knowing). Eventually, they decide to make the enormous decision of asking for a divorce, but neither of them can find it in their hearts to do it. Their lovers are getting angry and frustrated, and once again they find themselves in the arms of one another. For whatever reason, a spark as reignited between them, and they embark on their most passionate affair yet - with each other.
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Arthur might have an extraordinary destiny, but after his birthright was taken from him at a young age, he has grown up an agent of the streets of Londonium and now the idea that he has royal blood is almost laughable. That is until he manages to unsheath the mighty sword of Excalibur from a stone; a feat that can only be achieved be he who is worthy of the throne. This forces him to make a choice, he can ignore the destiny that is pressing in around him or he can seize it once and for all. He joins the kingdom's resistance and it's there he meets the beautiful Guinevere who encourages him to learn of the power that he wields and defeat the tyrannous Vortigern, avenging his parents and ending his rule for good.
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For the most part, Arthur has taught himself all the life lessons he knows, he lives a rough life with his friends in the town, fighting comes as standard for the young man, however Arthur's life is about to change for better and worse. When Arthur is challenged to pull the famous sword from the stone he achieves something that all men before him have failed to do, he retrieves the sword.
Arthur's life story becomes a little clearer, Arthur is the son of Uther Pendragon a noble king loved by his people but when he dies his crown and seat on the throne are stolen by Vortigern who will go to any lengths to secure his future as leader of the kingdom. Since the death of Pendragon, the whole country has slowly fallen into chaos - particularly the capital, Londinium. Vortigern rules with an iron fist and his willingness to use dark magic cause more and more problems.
As Arthur learns about his past, he unites with a group of rebels but the new owner of Excalibur is far from enthusiastic at fighting Vortigern's army. As time passes Arthur realises that he must be the one to restore some peace to the city but with Vortigern leading his troops it's not going to be an easy battle.
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A buoyant celebration of the power of music, this is the third blissfully entertaining musical romance from John Carney, who also wrote and directed Once and Begin Again. Set in the 1980s, this brightly comical film is packed with fabulous songs, both real hits from the period and fantastic pastiche numbers. And it's vividly performed by a fresh cast.
It's set in 1985 Dublin, where 15-year-old Conor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) is furious when his parents (Aidan Gillen and Maria Doyle Kennedy) transfer him to a local catholic school due to financial trouble. Conor's adored older stoner-rocker brother Brendan (Jack Reynor) is still living at home, while their younger sister Ann (Kelly Thornton) observes the craziness of her family with wry detachment. Then Conor falls for sexy bad girl Raphina (Lucy Boynton), trying to impress her by telling her that he's in a rock band. So now he really needs to create one. He gathers some other outcasts at his new school, and they become Sing Street, trying to write some "futurist" songs. But finding their own sound is tricky.
As this scrappy band comes together, they take inspiration from the music around them, including pop bands like Duran Duran, The Cure and Spandau Ballet. Their own songs and clothing hilariously echo these styles as they try to find a way to connect with their audience while expressing themselves artistically. And the songs are fiendishly catchy, each accompanied by a hand-made music video that cleverly traces the boys' passion for music and their coming-of-age as artists in their own right, all within the context of the period. At the centre, Conor's journey is twisty, complex and hugely resonant. Walsh-Peelo is a very likeable actor who's thoroughly believable as a young guy trying desperately to act grown up, despite the terrible examples of his bickering parents and slacker brother.
Continue reading: Sing Street Review
After the rather lacklustre teen-dystopia adventure The Maze Runner, the action continues in this equally gimmicky sequel. It's the middle episode in novelist James Dashner's trilogy, so it lacks a proper narrative structure, building through a series of action sequences that put our heroes into jeopardy. But the film never develops any suspense because writer T.S. Nowlin and director Wes Ball never bother to properly develop the characters or find an original approach to the action.
After escaping from the Maze, Thomas (Dylan O'Brien) and his friends (including Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Ki Hong Lee and Dexter Darden) find themselves in the Scorch, a wasteland created by some sort of environmental catastrophe. They're rescued by Janson (Aidan Gillen) and taken into a sort of halfway house for lost teens, where Thomas meets Aris (Jacob Lofland), a loner who knows something nefarious is going on. Sure enough, the monolithic corporation WCKD, run by Ava (Patricia Clarkson), is using these kids because they are immune to the disease that's turning people into Cranks who maraud across the landscape. To avoid this fate, Thomas and crew plot an escape, fleeing into a devastated city, where they meet Jorge (Giancarlo Esposito) and feisty teen Brenda (Rosa Salazar). Pursued by WCKD, they travel on into the mountains in search of a safe haven.
Yes, this has essentially become a zombie thriller now, as the Cranks chase the kids even more relentlessly than Janson and WCKD do. The problem is that everything about this film feels familiar, from crowds of The Walking Dead to The Day After Tomorrow's abandoned shopping mall to Transformers 3's tilting skyscraper. As with the first film, the dialogue overflows with corny mythology in which everything given an ominous, cool-sounding name. It's all so constructed that it sounds utterly artificial. And the derivative action sequences are directed without even a hint of realism.
Continue reading: The Scorch Trials Review
Having overcome a series of deadly encounters in the box-office smash The Maze Runner, this much-anticipated second chapter in the dystopian young-adult series finds Thomas and his fellow Gladers facing their greatest challenge yet, as they search for clues about the sinister organisation known as WCKD. Their mission takes them to a desolate landscape called the Scorch, where they face new dangers at every turn. Teaming up with resistance fighters, they must take on WCKD's powerful forces in an attempt to uncover the organisation's shocking plans for these young heroes.
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Following their supposed escape from the monster infested maze, the surviving Gladers led by Thomas are taken to an underground facility in the wake of a devastating solar flare known as The Scorch that has left the vast majority of the population infected with a disease called the Flare, but little do they know they are about to enter Phase Two. Soon they begin to realise that they're still part of WCKD's dastardly experiment and they must find a way to escape once and for all or risk more of them dying untimely deaths. They are warned about the dangers of entering the barren wasteland that has become the rest of the world, but they have no choice if they want freedom. Cities have been overtaken by sand dunes, but they soon about to discover yet more unfathomable horrors that lie before them.
Aidan Gillen - Actor Aidan Gillen seen leaving The Merrion where he was doing press for 'Charlie' - the RTE Charles Haughey mini series, Dublin, Ireland - 04.12.14. - Dublin, Ireland - Thursday 4th December 2014
Human ambition is the thing that shapes the world and moulds our futures. From our ventures into space, our studies of evolution and experiments in human and animal reproduction, mankind will never stop searching for answers in a bid to gain more and more control of the planet and, ultimately, the universe. When one young apprentice sets out to understand and use nanotechnology in an unfamiliar environment, her ambitions are simply to show just how capable she is to the ultimate authority, but it seems her dreams are nowhere near reachable at this stage. The question is, will she overcome all odds or will she fail at the final hurdle?
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Date of birth
24th April, 1968
It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...
Arthur grew up as a peasant on the streets of Londonium having escaped the terror...
Mary (Debra Winger) and Michael (Tracy Letts) have been married for a long time and,...
Arthur might have an extraordinary destiny, but after his birthright was taken from him at...