There's a terrific script at the heart of this World War II thriller, with a blast of complex romance alongside some dark Hitchcockian twists. But filmmaker Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump) was probably the wrong man for the directing job, as he overproduces every scene to within an inch of its life. Everything is so big and slick that the story begins to be swamped by the too-perfect costumes and scenery. Which makes it difficult for the audience to engage in what should really be a scrappy, dangerous little drama.
It all kicks off in 1942 Casablanca, where Canadian pilot Max (Brad Pitt) meets French resistance agent Marianne (Cotillard), and together they pose as a couple to infiltrate a party and assassinate a high-ranking Nazi. They also fall in love, and afterwards decide to move to London together and start a family. But a year later, as they are raising their young daughter in leafy Hampstead, Max is told by British officials (Jared Harris and Simon McBurney) that Marianne may have secretly been a German spy all along. And there's now a countdown, as a trap as been laid to prove her guilt unless Max can find evidence to the contrary.
What follows is a tense series of events that are drenched in suspicion and intrigue as Max scrambles around to find the truth while trying not to let Marianne know what he's up to. It's a clever set-up that's very nicely played by Pitt and Cotillard, both of whom bring contrasting layers of emotion and subterfuge to their roles, plus plenty of swooning romantic energy. Most intriguing is that both are able to remain likeable as things progress. So whatever the outcome, it won't change how we feel about them. The adept actors in the side roles are excellent, although they're little more than more scenery around the central couple.
Continue reading: Allied Review
Adopting a deliciously groovy vibe, Guy Ritchie turns the iconic 1960s TV spy series into a flashy action-comedy. There's absolutely nothing to this frothy romp, but it's packed with hilarious characters and lively action scenes that continually surprise the audience with inventive twists on the genre. And it just might turn the suave, fast-talking Henry Cavill and the brooding, engaging Armie Hammer into A-list stars in the process.
It opens in 1963 East Berlin, where ex-con CIA operative Napoleon Solo (Cavill) is trying to help sexy mechanic Gaby (Alicia Vikander) escape to the West, chased by his nemesis, KGB agent Illya Kuryakin (Hammer). Gaby's father is a nuclear scientist on the verge of selling his secrets to a rogue Italian billionaire couple (Elizabeth Debicki and Luca Calvani) so, even though the Cold War is raging, the CIA and KGB decide to cooperate on the mission. This means that rivals Solo and Illya must work together as they travel to Rome with Gaby, making contact with British agent Waverly (Hugh Grant) and Gaby's creepy uncle (Sylvester Goth). And of course, there are unexpected wrinkles along the way.
As always, Ritchie cleverly subverts each set-piece, letting chase scenes unfold in carefully staged but enjoyably inventive ways, often putting the real action in the background while the characters act as if they're above all this nastiness. As popcorn entertainment, this is first-rate, with a cast that's more than up to the challenge. Cavill is particularly smooth, a Bond-style spy who seems unable to resist seducing every pretty woman he meets. Hammer's role is pricklier, since Illya never quite relaxes, although his petulance makes him just as likeable. Their interplay is snappy and often very funny but, unlike Ritchie's similarly toned Sherlock Holmes movies, this strains to avoid being a bromance. Solo and Illya continue to spy on each other right to the end, maintaining their Cold War distance even as they team up to save the world.
Continue reading: The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Review
America and Russia have never seen eye to eye, but they do have some of the best government spies the world has to offer. Now's the time to put their differences aside in a bid to fight the real enemy - crime - as an international organised gang find themselves in possession of an atomic bomb powerful enough to kill billions. Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin, American and Russian agents respectively, are thrust together as a team to hunt down the criminals and save the world, returning the destructive weapon to the CIA. However, predictably, it's not the most comfortable of duos, but perhaps these competitive professionals can use their animosity usefully, because they're about to face off against some unlikely and dangerous suspects.
Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin are American and Russian government agents respectively - and an unlikely team given America's long history with the European nation. Unfortunately for them, whether they like each other or not, they have no choice but to band together to save the world from a deadly threat. A criminal organisation with global membership have managed to get their hands on an atom bomb with which they could destroy billions of lives, so they have to investigate to ensure it's returned safely to the American government before anyone can get hurt. Along the way though they meet some unlikely suspects, including femme fatale Victoria Vinciguerra, and team up with another feisty agent named Gaby Teller. They are willing to do anything to succeed in their mission. They have the skills to save the world. They are U.N.C.L.E.
Throughout the early 1960s, the Cold War was in full swing. Two agents, one from Russia and one from America are at each other's throats throughout the conflict. Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) is a CIA agent, known for his suave and womanising nature. Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer) is a KGB known for his brutality and deadly efficiency. When a criminal organisation sprouts from former Nazi soldiers, Russia and America temporarily put aside their differences to find a solution to the problem. Unfortunately, getting the two men (who have made a career out of trying to kill one another) to work together, may not be as easy as it seems.
Continue: The Man From U.N.C.L.E - Teaser Trailer
The Man From U.N.C.L.E looks pretty awesome.
The first trailer for Guy Ritchie's take on the iconic 1960s spy series The Man from U.N.C.L.E has rolled out online and the British filmmaker appears to have made a movie - or at least attempted to make a movie - that is stylish, humorous and action-packed.
Henry Cavill replaced Tom Cruise in The Man From U.N.C.L.E
In the big-screen adaptation, Henry Cavill plays Napoleon Solo, a slick American spy who teams up with Russian Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer) to stop a rogue organization that is fully nuclear equipped. The duo's only real lead is the daughter of a vanished German scientist who is key to infiltrating the shadowy organization. They now face a race against time to save the world - which just sounds awesome, doesn't it?
Continue reading: First Look At Guy Ritchie's 'The Man From Uncle' [Trailer + Pictures]
Finding the perfect house is an important part of starting a family. But for one family, the perfect house may not be all that they first thought. The Bowen family, Eric (Sam Rockwell), Amy (Rosemarie DeWitt), Kendra (Saxon Sharbino), Griffin (Kyle Catlett) and young Madison (Kennedi Clements) are in for a terrifying surprise, when they discover that their estate was built upon the sight of an ancient graveyard. But rather than realising there is an army of vengeful spirits, they are under attack from a horrific poltergeist. When they seek help from paranormal expert Carrigan Burke (Jared Harris), the poltergeist itself begins to discover everyone's true inner fear, and uses it against them.
Continue: Poltergeist - Teaser Trailer
Filmmaker Bernard Rose gives the period biopic a kick in the seat of the pants with this raucously creepy drama about 19th century violin virtuoso Nicolo Paganini, who played so innovatively that people thought he had made a pact with the devil. Rose takes this idea and runs with it, stirring in modern-day ideas of fame and celebrity and finding a series of very clever ways to make violin-playing feel fresh and intriguing. So it's a little frustrating that the central figure remains so oddly out of reach.
After struggling to get anyone to pay him any attention in early 1800s Vienna, Nicolo (played by real violin prodigy David Garrett) signs his soul away to Urbani (Jared Harris), a fast-talking promoter who turns him into a celebrity across Europe. In London, musician Watson (Christian McKay) wants Nicolo to play the Royal Opera House and restore the local fortunes, so hawks his home to bring him over. When he finally arrives, the streets are full of screaming fans, clamouring tabloid hacks (including Joely Richardson) and women protesting Nicolo's notorious womanising and devil worship. But Watson, his mistress Elizabeth (Veronica Ferres) and daughter Charlotte (Andrea Deck) try to sooth Nicolo's artistic temperament. Of course, Nicolo is immediately smitten by Charlotte.
The film has a refreshingly free-wheeling tone, with handheld camerawork, whizzy editing and a continual sense of the music, which is played at high-energy in a variety of colourful locations. Every scene is also layered with bawdy intrigue, as characters mistrust and/or lust after each other. The seasoned cast members have a great time with this. Harris is gleefully sinister with his towering hat and sinister accent. McKay is haplessly eager for his ship to come in far against the odds. And Richardson goes enjoyably broad as a journalist willing to do anything for a scoop.
Continue reading: The Devil's Violinist Review
A triumph on a variety of levels, this staggeringly detailed stop-motion animation has a wonderfully deranged story packed with spirited characters. It also takes on some seriously important issues without ever getting heavy-handed about it. So while we're laughing at the astounding visual mayhem, there's plenty of depth to keep our brains spinning. And what the film has to say about communal paranoia is vitally important in today's world.
The story takes place a decade after a baby was kidnapped by the Boxtrolls, nighttime scavengers who prowl by night. Over the last 10 years, their legend has grown, and the people are now terrified of being eaten. So the red-hatted Snatcher (voiced by Ben Kingsley) and his sidekicks (Richard Ayoade, Nick Frost and Tracy Morgan) set a goal to exterminate the trolls in exchange for prestigious white hats, which will let them join Lord Portley-Rind (Jared Harris) for his evening cheese-tasting events. Then Portley-Rind's daughter Winnie (Elle Fanning) spots a boy among the Boxtrolls, learning that Eggs (Isaac Hempstead Wright) is actually the kidnapped baby. And that Boxtrolls aren't actually villains at all. But can she get her father to pay attention to her for even a moment, so he can understand that Snatcher is the real bad guy?
Everything on-screen is in constant motion, with cluttered scenes that are a feast for the eyes. Action sequences are complicated and layered, drawing the eye all over the screen as the stakes grow higher with each scene. The mechanical climax feels like one step too far, but the filmmakers keep the focus tightly on the characters, each of whom has a bundle of quirks and obsessions that make them flawed and likeable. Even the nefarious Snatcher has a soft side, and Kingsley has a great time bringing out each aspect of the hilariously vile character, including his scene-stealing alter ego, the fabulous drag queen Madame Frou Frou.
Continue reading: The Boxtrolls Review
Like an ancient Roman version of 2012, this disaster epic is a pure guilty pleasure, sparking plenty of laughter along with the massive effects-based carnage. It also helps that the screen is packed with muscle men in skimpy skirts. The actors dive in with gusto, adding plenty of personality to the ridiculous dialogue, while director Paul W.S. Anderson shamelessly ramps up the action mayhem.
It begins in AD 79 Britain, where Roman Senator Corvus (Kiefer Sutherland) is on the rampage, slaughtering the entire Celtic community of young Milo (Kit Harington), who is taken to Londinium to become a gladiator. When he rises to fame, he's transferred to Pompeii, where he immediately catches the eye of young noblewoman Cassia (Emily Browning), much to the scowly disapproval of her politically active parents (Carrie-Anne Moss and Jared Harris). An outsider among the local slaves, Milo is befriended by tough guy fellow gladiator Atticus (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje). And when Corvus comes to town to claim Cassia as his bride, Milo decides to take a dangerous stand for both revenge and the girl. Meanwhile, Mount Vesuvius is rumbling, getting ready to unleash plenty of movie-style havoc.
It's impossible to watch this without thinking of the cheesy, similarly styled TV series Rome or Spartacus, with their corny melodramas, excessive violence and bare flesh. Even though this is on a much bigger scale with seriously enormous 3D special effects, it's just as cheesy. And equally entertaining as well. Harington is terrific as the hunky hero, building much stronger chemistry with the honourable Akinnuoye-Agbaje than the distressed Browning. And seasoned veterans like Harris, Moss and Sutherland clearly have a great time chomping madly on the scenery as Pompeii burns.
Continue reading: Pompeii Review
Date of birth
24th August, 1961
In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...
Adopting a deliciously groovy vibe, Guy Ritchie turns the iconic 1960s TV spy series into...
America and Russia have never seen eye to eye, but they do have some of...
Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin are American and Russian government agents respectively - and an...
Throughout the early 1960s, the Cold War was in full swing. Two agents, one from...
Finding the perfect house is an important part of starting a family. But for one...
Filmmaker Bernard Rose gives the period biopic a kick in the seat of the pants...
A triumph on a variety of levels, this staggeringly detailed stop-motion animation has a wonderfully...
Eggs is a young boy living in the dairy loving, wealthy town of Cheesbridge. He...
Like an ancient Roman version of 2012, this disaster epic is a pure guilty pleasure,...
The Boxtrolls are odd underground creatures that wear cardboard boxes as if they were shells....