Director-cowriter Dee Rees (Bessie) gives this 1940s drama such an epic scale that it might have played out better as a TV miniseries, with more time to flesh out the characters and complex situations. But the themes are so vivid that it still gets under the skin, and the nonstop voiceover from a variety of characters adds plenty of thoughtful insight. If only there were fewer plot details brought over from Hillary Jordan's source novel, it might be an easier film to identify with.
It's set just as the US enters World War II, and Henry (Jason Clarke) buys a farm in Mississippi. His wife Laura (Carey Mulligan) isn't thrilled about leaving her comfortable home in the city to raise their two daughters in the muddy fields, accompanied by Henry's racist father (Jonathan Banks). She gets some support from their black tenant Florence (Mary J. Blige), wife of sharecropper Hap (Rob Morgan), who hopes one day to have a farm of his own. Florence and Hap's son Ronsel (Jason Mitchell) is fighting in Europe, as is Henry's charmer of a brother Jamie (Garrett Hedlund). And when these two soldiers return, their friendship stirs resentment among the bigots in the surrounding community.
The film's approach to segregation in the Deep South is riveting, and makes it important to see, especially as it so vividly depicts how this kind of racial division degrades everyone in ways that are both brutal and eerily subtle. And as the story progresses, it becomes increasingly clear that something horrific is going to happen. Rees gives the film a soulfulness that makes it thoroughly involving, even if she gives away a couple of key plot points in the prologue. She also creates a strikingly realistic atmosphere, with a rainsoaked landscape so vivid we feel damp closing in around us.
Continue reading: Mudbound Review
The stars were certainly put through their paces to succeed at this project.
The new adventure epic Everest dramatises a real-life event from May 1996, when the mountain was packed with climbers just as a freak storm rolled in. Of course, even in ideal conditions, the world's tallest mountain is an enormous challenge. As team leader Rob Hall (played by Jason Clarke) says in the film, "Human beings simply aren't built to function at the cruising altitude of a 747."
Everest tells the true story of mountaineering's most shocking disaster
Clarke was familiar with the story. "I was doing theatre in Sydney in 1996, and during a tech rehearsal it was on the news," he recalls. "By the time I heard about the film, I had read the book and visited base camp as a traveler."
With visually stunning imagery and a solid A-list cast, this film just about transcends its oddly uninvolving story. Based on true events, the scenes are harrowing and emotive, but spreading the story among an ensemble obscured by mountaineering gear and snowstorms makes it difficult to engage with anyone. And the plot-strands that do find emotional resonance feel like they've been manipulated.
In the early 1990s, companies began selling Everest expeditions to wealthy clients, and by the spring of 1996 there were 20 teams of climbers jostling for position on the slopes of the world's highest peak. Kiwi guide Rob (Jason Clarke) opts for a cautious approach with his team, which includes impatient Texan Beck (Josh Brolin), journalist Jon (Michael Kelly) and the nervous Doug (John Hawkes), who only just failed to reach the summit on his previous attempt. Rob's base camp manager Helen (Emily Watson) keeps everything running smoothly and, since the mountain is so overcrowded, Rob coordinates the climb with a rival guide (Jake Gyllenhaal) and his team. On the day of the final ascent, the skies are clear, but delays along the way and an approaching storm threaten the climbers.
Since the is a true story, it's clear from the start that some of these people won't make it home. And Icelandic director Baltasar Kormakur lays on the emotion thickly, with an overly pushy-majestic score by Dario Marianelli and several sentimental phone calls home. Rob's wife is played by Keira Knightley, and you can almost hear the ominous chord when she reveals that she's pregnant. A bit subtler is Beck's interaction with his wife, played with insinuating bitterness by the always terrific Robin Wright. Meanwhile, Clarke's sensitive leader and Brolin's bullheaded alpha male contrast nicely with Gyllenhaal's cool dude, while Sam Worthington is almost lost in the shuffle as a friend who's climbing a neighbouring peak.
Continue reading: Everest Review
Get ready for the likes of 'Everest', 'The Danish Girl' and 'Black Mass'.
With the Venice Film Festival kicking off this week, awards season is officially underway. Venice has been the launchpad for a number of films that have gone on to Oscar glory. Last year, the opening night film was Birdman, and the year before it was Gravity. So there are big hopes for this year's opener, the true-life thriller Everest, directed by Icelandic filmmaker Baltasar Kormakur with an ensemble cast including Jake Gyllenhaal, Robin Wright, Emily Watson and Jason Clarke.
Jake Gyllenhaal stars in true story disaster thriller 'Everest'
And anticipation is running even higher for a number of other movies. Venice is hosting the premiere of The Danish Girl, the true story of one of the world's first-known transgender women, played by Eddie Redmayne. Can he win back-to-back Oscars? This week's new poster and trailer are very promising.
Continue reading: Awards Season Kicks Off With Venice Film Festival 2015
Quite possibly the most ambitious films of the year, Everest tells the true to life tale of the eight people who suddenly found themselves stuck in a blizzard on the mountain whilst attempting to reach the summit.
Jason Clarke & Jake Gyllenhaal talk about a few of the experiences they faced whilst on this unbelievable shoot. The film team travelled to many different locations, including the foothills of Everest and the Italian Alps to try and recreate the surroundings as accurately as possible. Whilst onset the film makers were constantly put in peril, they were told about avalanche warnings and their sets would occasionally be wiped out by unexpected snow movement.
As Jake Gyllenhaal says in the featurette: 'This production and the intensity of making this movie is absolutely extraordinary - it's a site to behold'.
When two different climbing parties set out on the expedition of their lives, they knew there would be dangers; however, no-one could prepare them for the tragedy that was in store. Reaching the summit of Mount Everest in Nepal is every passionate climbers dream, but this isn't a trip to take lightly. Such altitudes and temperatures are not meant to be experienced by human beings as frostbite and altitude sickness are almost inevitable perils, not to mention falling, strong winds and, of course, avalanches. As fate would have it, these climbers are about to run into one of the worst snowstorms ever documented as an earthquake hits the nation and mother nature has no mercy. Victory turns to catastrophe in an event that will change the lives of the survivors.
Continue: Everest Trailer
Blake Lively shared a beautiful picture of her breastfeeding her daughter, James, on Instagram on Thursday (16th July).
Blake Lively is proving, as if there should be any doubt, you can be a hands-on mum and continue having a successful career. She also had a positive message to add about breastfeeding. The 27-year-old beauty shared a picture on Instagram in which she is seen, wearing a bikini, breastfeeding her daughter James. Lively is currently filming on location in Thailand and has taken her eight-month-old daughter, James, along with her.
Blake Lively at the New York premiere of The Age of Adaline in April 2015.
This declining franchise really needed a jolt to the head, but the producers disappointingly opt to play it safe with an unambitious script and child-friendly action. After the OK part 3 (2003's Rise of the Machines) and a weak part 4 (2009's Salvation), this film is unlikely to win new fans or keep the old ones hoping for more. Even though it's made to a high technical standard, the movie feels derivative and safe, avoiding any properly dangerous tension for a series of badly contrived action set-pieces.
It opens in 2029, as plucky rebel John Connor (Jason Clarke) is fighting the world-dominating Skynet machines with the help of his right-hand man Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney). When Skynet sends a Terminator (the young Arnold Schwarzenegger) back to 1984 Los Angeles to kill John's mother Sarah (Emilia Clarke), Kyle follows to rescue her. But he arrives to find the timeline already altered. Sarah had been attacked years earlier, rescued at age 9 and raised by an ageing Terminator she calls Pop (the present-day Arnie). Since everything has changed, Sarah and Kyle decide to jump forward to 2017 San Francisco so they can stop Skynet from taking over the planet with its Genisys operating system. But when they arrive, they realise that there's been even more jiggery-pokery in the timeline.
The way the film wraps in and around the 1984 original is clever, with added intrigue in the fact that Kyle and Sarah haven't yet fallen for each other and conceived John. So when he turns up in San Francisco, there are all sorts of mind-bending possibilities. Alas, the screenwriters can't be bothered to play with them. Instead they structure the film as a series of rambling expository conversations leading to yet another pointless flurry of explosive carnage. Honestly, if Terminators are literally indestructible, why bother trying to defeat them with guns? And yet everyone keeps shooting at them, just making them mad.
Continue reading: Terminator Genisys Review
Some people get a once in a lifetime chance to make history. Some people, unfortunately end fining themselves part of events that live in infamy. Such is the story of the people who attempted to climb the highest mountain in the world, Mount Everest, in 1996. Their story would later be referred to as the 1996 Mount Everest disaster, as two competing expeditions were caught on the mountain by a horrific storm, leading to the most terrifying events on the mountain until that point. This is the story of those climbers.
Continue: Everest - Teaser Trailer
A meaty, fascinating story is splintered into three plot strands that battle for the viewer's attention, so while the film is never boring, it's also oddly uninvolving. Fortunately, it has an excellent cast and is shot with skill and a relentless intensity to feel like a big, epic-style dramatic thriller with heavy political overtones.
After a scene-setting prologue, the story starts in 1953 Moscow, where Leo (Tom Hardy) is a war hero now working in the military police, purging the city of its spies. Or at least its suspected spies. In the Soviet socialist utopia, crime officially doesn't exist, but Leo finds it difficult to tell his best pal Alexei (Fares Fares) that his 8-year-old son was killed in a train accident when he was so clearly tortured and murdered. Ordered by his boss (Vincent Cassel) to let it go, and menaced by his rival colleague Vasili (Joel Kinnaman), Leo continues investigating, resulting in a reprimand that sees Leo and his wife Raisa (Noomi Rapace) relocated to the the grim industrial city of Volsk. But when another young boy's body appears here, Leo gets his new boss (Gary Oldman) to see the connection.
There are at least three main plots in this film, and the filmmakers oddly never allow one to become the central strand. There's the mystery involving this brutal, unhinged serial killer (Paddy Considine) stalking boys along the railway. There's the thriller about Leo being brutally taunted by Vasili, who has a thing for Raisa and is trying to crush them for good. But the only emotionally engaging strand is Leo and Raisa's complex marriage relationship, which takes a couple of unexpected turns. Along the way, there are several action sequences shot with shaky cameras and edited so they're impossible to follow. And there's a sense that the film also wants to be a grandiose Russian epic with its expansive cinematography and big orchestral score.
Continue reading: Child 44 Review
Date of birth
17th July, 1969
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