In remaking the 2011 French thriller Sleepless Night, the filmmakers have dumbed down both the title and the plot, leaving everything feeling rather over-familiar. Nothing remotely surprising happens, and there's absolutely no subtext beneath the relentless verbal and physical violence. But a first-rate cast makes it watchable, and the action sequences are shot with a gritty energy that's rarely seen in these kinds of mindless thrillers.
It's now set in Las Vegas, where Detective Vincent (Jamie Foxx) and his shifty partner Sean (Tip "T.I." Harris) have stolen a stash of drugs during a deal between psychotic criminal Novak (Scoot McNairy) and vicious casino boss Rubio (Dermot Mulroney). Also on their trail is the Internal Affairs investigator Bryant (Michelle Monaghan), who is looking into police corruption with her partner Dennison (David Harbour). And after Novak kidnaps Vincent's teen son (Octavius J. Johnson), he only has one long night to sort out the mess, catch the bad guys and clear his name.
The main problem here is that Vincent is a good guy from the start, an undercover straight-arrow who has absolutely no internal conflict. This doesn't give Foxx much to play with, aside from worrying about his son and juggling questions from his ex-wife (Gabrielle Union). He just charges through each scene as the only heroic figure on-screen, Die Hard style, while Mulroney and McNairy merrily chew their way through the scenery. Both are clearly unhinged, and the actors have a great time striking each macho pose. Monaghan gets a slightly more complex role, although Bryant is little more than an irritant in the film, doing all the wrong things for all the right reasons. At least she's a forceful woman in a sea of brutally violent tough guys.
Continue reading: Sleepless Review
As they do every summer, the Martin family relocate to their summer home over the holidays to take a little time out. As soon as Doug arrives he reunites with his best buddies who are busy chasing young girls in bikinis. It doesn't take long for Doug to settle into his summer lifestyle and when he casts an eye on the next door neighbour Doug can't help but be taken in by Lena, a beautiful woman married to a successful investment banker, Elliot Harper.
Continue: Careful What You Wish For Trailer
There's nothing clever about this deliberately rude and vulgar comedy, but certain audiences will find it absolutely hilarious. Never afraid to head straight into the cheapest, nastiest gag, director Dan Mazar and writer John Phillips throw their odd-couple stars into a series of riotously awkward situations, usually involving nudity. And even if it's not as funny as it ought to be, at least there's some meaning to the chaos.
Zac Efron plays Jason, a bright young Atlanta lawyer who takes after his workaholic father (Dermot Mulroney). But Jason's grandfather Dick (Robert De Niro) remembers a more interesting Jason, before ruthless ambition took over his life. So after Grandma's funeral, Dick asks Jason to drive him down to Florida a week before Jason is due to marry the high-maintenance Meredith (Julianne Hough). Jason quickly discovers that Grandpa is intent on sowing some very wild oats, detouring their journey through Daytona at spring break, where they meet a couple of girls (Aubrey Plaza and Zoey Deutch) who are up for pretty much anything. What Jason doesn't know is that Grandpa is doing all of this to remind Jason who he really is, and to show him how to enjoy life instead of control it.
The script sometimes lays on this message rather thickly in between a series of deliberately jaw-dropping gross-out sequences. Predictably, drugs and sex abound, and most of the jokes are so corny and ludicrous that they're not remotely believable. Everything that happens strains to shock the audience, which means that nothing is actually very shocking. But while the story has no tension at all, it also manages to grab hold of the audience simply because the characters are so vividly played by the fearless Efron and De Niro. Neither role is much of a stretch, but they dive into even the yucky and/or naked moments with gusto, developing some chemistry in the process.
Continue reading: Dirty Grandpa Review
Dick Kelly has never been able to unwind, he's a retired army general and even though he has a foul-mouth, he lives a rather subdued life - well, far more subdued than he's like. After being given a new lease of life, Dick convinces his grandson to take him away, what Jason doesn't realise is Dick is planning a wild weekend at Daytona beach. The only problem with this is Jason is one week away from getting married to his bosses daughter and is perhaps one of the most unlikely people to ever visit somewhere like Daytona Beach.
On the way Dick and Jason make a few new friends. Dick is desperate to sow his wild oats whilst all Jason can think about is getting the trip over and done with. Jason despondently remarks that most grandads would be happy with 'toffee and socks' - alas not Dick.
Dirty Grandpa was directed by Dan Mazer who produced many of Sacha Baron Cohen's movies including Bruno, Borat and The Dictator. Mazer is also set to direct upcoming movie The Flash starring Ezrz Miller.
A provocative drama wrapped in the skin of an adult sex comedy, this sharply written and performed movie is hugely entertaining even as it grapples with some big issues. The central themes here are notions of celebrity and sexuality, neither of which is nearly as clear-cut as the audience or characters think they are. And the script allows actors like Jack Black and James Marsden to do what they do best while undermining their usual personas with some edgy shadings.
Black plays Dan, the self-proclaimed leader of his high school class' 20-year reunion. He has always felt invisible, and is annoyed that he gets no respect from the reunion committee. Then he spots hot classmate Oliver (Marsden) in a TV advert and hatches a plan to increase his popularity by convincing Oliver to attend the reunion. He lies to his boss (Jeffrey Tambor) about needing to go to Los Angeles on business, and he gets carried away as the openly bisexual Oliver shows him the partying lifestyle, taking things far beyond where he thought his limits were. Back home, he can't admit any of this to his sharp wife (Kathryn Hahn) and begins to lose touch with his smart teen son (Russell Posner). Then when Oliver turns up, things get even more precarious.
Filmmakers Andrew Mogel and Jarrad Paul get everyone into this mess in the usual ways, with snappy dialogue, goofy antics and rather a lot of humiliating embarrassment for poor Dan. Then they do something interesting: they refuse to play it safe, taking a surprisingly complex journey through questions about everything from peer pressure and family dynamics to the illusion of fame and the unspoken spectrum of sexuality. So even though the characters aren't always likeable, and even though all of them make some questionable choices, they're unusually sympathetic because the astute script and performances make them thoroughly recognisable.
Continue reading: The D Train Review
Instead of wrapping up a trilogy, writer-turned-director Leigh Whannell launches a new horror franchise with a movie that's scary even if it's not particularly original. Its trump card is a strong central performance from the wonderful Lin Shaye, who plays out a sort of origin story (although they could still go back further) for her memorable character from the first two movies.
She's Elise, a medium in touch with the spirits of the dead, and as this story starts she's closed down her practice for good. Then the bright teenager Quinn (Sophie Scott) shows up, desperate to speak to her recently deceased mother while she makes important decisions as high school comes to an end. But Quinn has inadvertently made contact with a much more malevolent spirit in her apartment building, and when her father (Dermot Mulroney) realises that her life is in danger, he convinces Elise to help. Meanwhile, Quinn's little brother Alex (Tate Berney) gets in touch with Spectral Sightings internet ghostbusters Tucker and Specs (Angus Sampson and Whannell), who are about to see their first real ghost.
The film looks terrific, from the everyday creep-outs in the creeky old houses and apartments to the much darker atmosphere of "the further", which Elise has to enter in order to rescue Quinn from "the man who can't breathe" (Michael Reid MacKay), a seriously gruesome spirit who isn't content just haunting the living: he wants them to join him. Shaye delivers a performance that's unusually complex for this genre, as Elise struggles to balance her past and present with a flood of emotions, a reluctant determination to help and a generous sense of prickly humour. Mulroney also adds some weight as a concerned single dad at the end of his tether. And Scott has a promising charisma in the opening scenes, less so when the plot reduces her to a scream queen.
Continue reading: Insidious: Chapter 3 Review
A year and a half ago, a young girl lost her mother. She misses her every day, and continues to relate the stories of her life to her mother, hoping that she can still be heard. The problem is, if you make contact with one ghost, all the ghosts can hear you. When Quinn (Stefanie Scott) becomes the subject of attention for a particularly harrowing phantom, Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye) is forced to reluctantly agree to use her powers of communicating with the dead, with the hopes of freeing Quinn from the creature that has now possessed her.
Continue: Insidious: Chapter 3 Trailer
Tracy Letts adapts his own prize-winning play into a blistering depiction of one of cinema's most dysfunctional families ever. It's still rather theatrical, throwing a mob of top actors into a room for what feels like a fight to the death, but it's so well written and so beautifully observed by the actors that we can't look away. And of course Meryl Streep walks off with the show.
Everything kicks off when Beverly Weston (Shepard) goes missing, leaving his ruthlessly straight-talking, pill-popping wife Violet (Streep) to assemble the family in their rambling Oklahoma home. They have three equally feisty daughters: Barbara (Roberts) is a tightly wound bundle of anger with an estranged husband (McGregor) and surly teen daughter (Breslin) in tow; Karen (Lewis) is a free-spirited floater with yet another random boyfriend (Mulroney); and Ivy (Nicholson) is fed up with being the dutiful daughter who stayed close to home. Also on hand is Violet's sister Mattie Fae (Martindale), whose husband (Cooper) is the family patriarch now that Beverly is gone, which means their son (Cumberbatch) feels even more useless than normal.
What plot there is centres on skeletons rattling out of closets and relationships imploding spectacularly. The film is a series of brutally intense encounters between people who probably still love each other in vaguely undefined ways and express it through bitter bursts of witty cruelty. Streep has the meatiest role as the imperious Violet, who knows a lot more than she's letting on. And her chief rival is Barbara, played with unnerving intensity by Roberts. The only person we even remotely like is Mattie Fae, and the always-superb Martindale finds all kinds of layers in the character.
Continue reading: August: Osage County Review
Apple have set the standard high, did director Joshua Michael Stern get it right?
Apple is famed for its increasingly innovative design, high build quality and improbably rise to the top of the technology ladder. The story of Steve Jobs – the man who brought the company into the 21st century having initially left them – was just waiting to be told.
Ashton Kutcher at the Jobs premiere
But now it’s here, does it live up to Apple’s incredible standards? Ashton Kutcher plays the titular character, Mr. Jobs, who died in October 2011. Unfortunately, according to the critics, he hasn’t seem to have done his subject justice.
Continue reading: Does Ashton Kutcher's 'Jobs' Live Up To Apple’s Impeccable Script?
'Jobs' has failed to impress critics in early reviews. The film follows the story of Apple founder Steve Jobs' rise to become the technology icon we view him as today. Starring Ashton Kutcher as Jobs, the film has not been received favourably two days before its US release.
Jobs -Ashton Kutcher's latest contribution to film has failed to impress critics, who have unanimously slaughtered jOBS in their reviews. It has been described by critics as "bland" and a movie which "barely hints at the complexity of his [Steve Jobs'] ambitions and emotions."
Ashton Kutcher at the premiere of Jobs at Regal Cinemas in L.A.
Jobs tells "the story of Steve Jobs' ascension from college dropout into one of the most revered creative entrepreneurs of the 20th century", according to IMDb.
Date of birth
31st October, 1963
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