Boldly optimistic, this action-packed adventure breathes fresh life into the DC universe with a welcome balance of comedy, flirtation and a sense of righteous justice. And at the centre, Gal Gadot is a hugely engaging hero with a refreshing moral clarity to her actions. So even if the movie dissolves into the usual murky digital mayhem in its final act, there's a bright light at the centre that holds us in its grip.
While the Great War rages in Europe, life carries on as usual on the secret island home of the Amazons, where Diana (Gadot) has been raised by her mother Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) and trained by her aunt General Antiope (Robin Wright). When American spy Steve (Chris Pine) crash-lands there, Diana quickly agrees to return with him to war-torn Europe, track down God of War Aries and put an end to the fighting for good. Awed by her fighting prowess and skimpy outfit, Steve agrees to take her. They return to London to confront a smug politician (David Thewlis) and assemble a team so they can return to the front on a mission to take down the nefarious German General Ludendorff (Danny Huston) and his chemical weapons scientist Maru (Elena Anaya). But Diana is still looking for Aries.
Director Patty Jenkins tells this story like an old-fashioned war epic, following a rag-tag group of good guys as they go through a series of battles on their way to the big confrontation. Along the way, there's plenty of comedy banter, dark emotion and even some lusty romance. Putting a woman at the centre of the action gives the movie a strongly resonant slant, especially because she's surrounded by men who always underestimate her.
Continue reading: Wonder Woman Review
Diana Prince is one of the Amazon warriors of Themyscira, a tribe of women with extraordinary power. There is no-one quite as extraordinary, however, as Diana herself. After being shown the noble Sword of Athena as a young girl, our heroine becomes determined to be the one who wields it, training in all areas of combat. When her incredible powers start to shine through, her mother Hippolyta does not want to tell her the truth about her creation. As oblivious as she is to the secrets of her birthright, she becomes determined to save the world after rescuing a marooned military pilot named Steve Trevor. When he informs her of the danger that her kind faces, she insists on going with him to win the war and save the world. Of course, London is hardly the place she wants to be, but she finds new friendships in Steve and his quirky secretary Etta Candy.
Continue: Wonder Woman Trailer
Danny Huston , Jack Huston - Vanity Fair Oscar Party 2016 held at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills - Los Angeles, California, United States - Sunday 28th February 2016
Jones, Hurst, Mitchell and Engel are deep sea divers on an assignment to service an oil pipe in the depths of the Indian Ocean. It's a dangerous task anyway, being 650 feet under and full of compressed air - unable to make any quick escape without risk of death. However, when they are stranded following a severe storm back above the surface, they begin to realise that they might have to with no way of knowing if help is on its way; after all, their boat up top has come crashing to the ocean floor. It's a dilemma that becomes all the more difficult to solve when the group start to suffer from the strains of being underwater for so long; rupturing lungs, decompression sickness and hypothermia are all upon them with the crushing weight of the abyss.
Continue: Pressure Trailer
Tim Burton combines his sunnier filmmaking style (Big Fish) with his more deranged impulses (Dark Shadows) for this amazing true story about both the nature of art and how easy it is to slip into an unhealthy relationship. This is the true story of Margaret Keane, the painter responsible for those huge-eyed waifs that peered eerily from virtually everyone's wall in the 1960s and 70s. It's funny and shocking, and best of all deeply moving.
The film opens in 1958 as Margaret (Amy Adams) is fleeing with her daughter Jane (Raye, then Arthur) from an abusive marriage. She settles in San Francisco, and as she begins to establish herself as a local painter she meets fellow painter Walter Keane (Christoph Waltz), a fast-talking charmer who not only discovers that Margaret's paintings have an audience, but he takes credit for painting them himself. At first it's a case of mistaken identity, then it becomes a commercial issue. But as Walter innovates with printed posters and postcards, creating a whole industry around the mournful images, he begins to live the high life, hanging out with movie stars and world leaders while Margaret is locked in her studio at home painting to meet the demand. After he threatens her with legal ramifications and physical violence if she tells anyone the truth, Margaret finally snaps.
Burton keeps Adams at the centre of the film, drawing out her feisty personality and deep artistic sensibilities while letting Waltz become an almost cartoonish villain whirling around her. It's a clever trick, because it forces the film's central question about whether Margaret's paintings are indeed art (Terence Stamp's snooty New York art critic definitely thinks not), even as her artistic integrity is never in doubt. Adams is terrific in the role, especially since Burton focusses on her expressive eyes to draw the audience in. By comparison, Waltz is rather over-the-top, but he keeps adding subtle shades to Walter's manic bravura, and he makes the climactic courtroom sequence hilariously ridiculous.
Continue reading: Big Eyes Review
'Big Eyes' star Krysten Ritter was among the star arrivals at the New York premiere of the Margaret Keane biopic held at the Museum of Modern Art. Keane herself was also at the event, looking rather shy as she posed meekly on the red carpet.
Director Tim Burton was joined by the cast of 'Big Eyes' at the movie's premiere held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The film is a biopic of artist Margaret Keane, who was involved in a courtcase with her husband over his taking credit for her magnificent paintings.
Margaret is an inspirational American painter desperate to sell her unique artwork depicting women and children with outsize eyes. She takes to the glamorous North Beach in San Francisco in a bid to try and make some money selling on the street and it's there she meets the charming Walter Keane, who takes a strong interest in her talent. The pair marry and have a child named Susan, but things take a dramatic turn when Walter starts selling the paintings under his own name, claiming that art by women doesn't sell as well. While revelling in their luxury, Margaret starts to feel uneasy - despite her apparent dreams of success coming true. She decides enough is enough and takes Walter to court, insisting that she is the true creator of every single Big Eye painting. He's prepared to fight back, but just how far is she willing to go to prove the truth?
Continue: Big Eyes Trailer
Fiercely original and wildly ambitious, this provocative drama is often thrilling simply because it's like nothing ever put on-screen. This means that it can be somewhat overwhelming at times, as the film cycles through its dense plot, which seems to meander and stumble here and there. From inventive filmmaker Ari Folman (who made the award-winning animated doc Waltz With Bashir), this is a challenging look at identity in an increasingly digital society.
The story begins in the present day, as actress Robin Wright (playing a variation on herself) is living out of the limelight with her two kids (Kodi Smit-McPhee and Sami Gayle). Then her agent Al (Harvey Keitel) brings her a very strange job offer: a film studio boss (Danny Huston) wants to buy Robin's image to digitise and use in movies, while the real Robin is free to live her life away from Hollywood. Since her son's medical condition needs her attention, she signs a 20-year contract and lets the studio create an avatar that will carry on her career. Two decades later, advances in technology have made this kind of virtual existence available to the general public, so as a pioneer Robin is invited to the Futurists Congress, which is held in an animated alternate reality.
Essentially the story is told in two halves. The first part of the film is a smart and funny razor-sharp satire of Hollywood image-making, as the studio wants the young Robin Wright of The Princess Bride and Forrest Gump rather than the older, more serious actress. And from her perspective, she still wants to control her image as much as possible ("no Nazi or sci-fi movies!"). Then events leap forward to the animated Congress, which is a deluge of colourful characters from vintage cartoons and videogames. In this realm, people can be whatever they want to be. But the truth is that they are living drugged-up Matrix-style lives in the real world while their avatars cavort as if in a dreamland.
Continue reading: The Congress Review
'The Princess Bride' actress Robin Wright plays a fictional idea of herself, as someone struggling to land acting roles despite her immense fame decades ago. In the movie, her son is suffering from increasing blindness for which she needs to raise many to help. Her agent has one last idea; seeing as she can no longer land movie roles, Miramount Studios want to scan her whole body, emotions, voice and personality to be used in digital imagery for future films so she no longer has to act. Desperate, she accepts the deal; allowing the studio to take ownership of her and accepting the money they pay her for it. Years later, however, she has become a major movie star once again and now Miramount want to showcase their new avatar programme at the Futurological Congress, whereby buyers can turn themselves into animated versions of anyone - and Miramount wants Robin to let people become her. As her life progresses, she starts to wonder just where the reality has gone in this virtual world.
This intriguing half-animated sci-fi drama explores themes of virtual reality and the limitlessness of human endeavour in the technological era. It has been directed and written by Ari Folman ('Waltz with Bashir', 'Made in Israel', 'Saint Clara') and is based on the novel 'The Futurological Congress' by Stanislaw Lem. 'The Congress' is due for UK release on August 15th 2014.
What could have been an intriguing look at how Alfred Hitchcock created one of his most iconic masterpieces is instead turned into a gently entertaining romp. We may enjoy watching the twists and turns as this troubled project takes shape, but the script simply never breaks the surface or gives its stars any real depth to play with. So in the end, the most engaging thing about the film ends up being the portrayal of Hitchcock's marriage.
The story starts with the 1959 premiere of North by Northwest, a hit that critics dismissed as more of the same from a master resting on his laurels. So Hitchcock (Hopkins) decides to give them something unexpected, and takes his first foray into horror based on the little-known novel Psycho, a fictionalised story about a real serial killer. Working closely with his wife Alma (Mirren) on every aspect of the film, he is in constant conflict with the studio chief (Portnow) and the chief censor (Smith), who both believe the material is too strong. Meanwhile, Alma is tired of him flirting with his leading ladies (Johansson and Biel), so she takes a side job with a writer (Huston) who wants to be more than friends.
Oddly, neither director Gervasi (Anvil) nor writer McLaughlin (Black Swan) seems interested in getting beneath the surface of their central character, so Hitchcock is little more than the jovial caricature we saw in his TV anthology series. Hiding under layers of prosthetic face and body fat, Hopkins is good but never seems to break a sweat in the role. Which leaves Mirren to steal the film as Alma, mainly by departing from reality to create a more intriguing movie character instead. And Collette adds some spice as Hitchcock's assistant. But as the cast of Psycho, Johansson (as Janet Leigh), Biel (Vera Miles) and D'Arcy (Anthony Perkins) are only given small details to define them, which leaves them lurking uninterestingly around the edges.
Continue reading: Hitchcock Review
Date of birth
14th May, 1962
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