The kill-or-die scenario that this movie hinges on isn't something new; it's been used in films from Battle Royale to The Hunger Games. What's different here is the utter pointlessness of the exercise. There's no social commentary here whatsoever, nor is there any satirical edge or character-based intrigue. Instead, this is little more than a sadistic exercise in violence and death, more along the lines of the Saw series. And if it didn't have such a terrific cast, it would be unwatchable.
It's set in a suburb of Bogota, Colombia, where the Belko nonprofit agency helps Latin American companies connect with North American employees. One morning, just after the staff arrives for work, there's an announcement: two people must be killed in the next two minutes. And then 30 people must be dead in the next two hours. It doesn't take long until the entire office block collapses into anarchy. The boss Barry (Tony Goldwyn) immediately seizes control of a stash of guns in the security office, while IT guy Mike (John Gallagher Jr.) keeps a level head as he tries to protect his girlfriend Leandra (Adria Arjona). And as chatterbox Wendell (John G. McGinley) goes on a rampage, Dany (Melonie Diaz) manages to keep out of everyone's way on her very first day in the job.
It's hard to believe that this is written and produced by James Gunn, the man behind the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. The script is so simplistic and witless that it can't help but make thinking audience members furious. Convenient elements are added to boost the premise, such as impenetrable shutters closing off the building or tracker chips implanted in the employees that have explosive charges in them that can be triggered with the flick of a switch. In other words, it's clear from the start that it's unlikely anyone will survive. And even if they do, there's no real reason for any of this to be happening.
Continue reading: The Belko Experiment Review
Some people are far more important than you might think. For one lowly cobbler, things are about to change. After a lifetime of fixing other people's shoes, the cobbler, Max Simkin (Adam Sandler) one day dares to try on a pair, discovering that if he walks in a man (or woman)'s shoes, he will become that person. After becoming the wrong person and coming into some money that doesn't belong to him, Simkin must do whatever he can to make it through, and maybe go back to helping other people instead of himself.
Continue: The Cobbler Trailer
With his debut feature, writer-director Ryan Coogler recreates a real-life event with remarkable artistry. Even though the factual story is overwhelmed with emotion and political opinion, he never lets either swamp this film, remaining earthy and realistic in ways that allow the audience to experience what happens in a startlingly intimate, complex way.
Set over one day, New Year's Eve 2008, the film follows Oscar Grant (Michael B. Jordan), a 23-year-old on the cusp of some pivotal life choices. He loves his girlfriend Sophina (Melonie Diaz) and their young daughter Tatiana (Ariana Neal), so knows he has to stop dealing drugs and chasing women. This morning he lost his job just before throwing a birthday party for his mother (Octavia Spencer). And now he's heading across the bay to San Francisco with Sophina and his pals to celebrate 2009. But on the way home, a fight breaks out as their train pulls into Fruitvale Station, and two transport cops (Kevin Durand and Chad Michael Murray) take heavy-handed action to calm the situation.
The film opens with actual video footage of the fateful moment, as captured on a witness' mobile phone, so there's no surprise about where this is heading. Even so, the climactic sequence is so shocking that the emotionally devastation is almost unbearable. As is the outrage that police are allowed to profile racially, which in this case turned an easily resolved situation into something fatal. Amazingly, Coogler never loses his cool, fluidly writing and directing with a grounded honesty that makes everything that much more urgent.
Continue reading: Fruitvale Station Review
'Saving Mr Banks' star Emma Thompson was snapped by paparazzi as she walked the black carpet at the 2014 National Board Of Review Awards Gala in New York.
Photographers were poised and ready with their cameras at the rear entrance of the Marchesa Spring/ Summer 2014 show where a huge host of glamorous celebrities attended during the Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week. Former Hole rocker Courtney Love and 'Killer Joe' star Gina Gershon were among them, both opting for black gowns for the event.
When Melonie Diaz visited the mother of Oscar Grant's daughter to research her role for the film, Sophina Mesa revealed that there were too many painful memories attached, and she would not watch he film herself.
The girlfriend of murdered teenager, Oscar Grant, Jr. has stated that she will not watch the movie inspired by his death, as it will conjure bad memories of his death at the hands of Californian police officers. Grant was killed on 1st January, 2009, when a police officer shot him on a train platform, leaving Sophina Mesa as a young, single mother. While she was happy to meet with Melonie Diaz - the actress portraying her - she has stated that she will now see 'Fruitvale Station' herself.
Related: 'Fruitvale Station' Movie Review
Melonie Diaz explained Mesa's decision, saying that: "She hasn't seen it and she won't see it... People want to move forward." Diaz still ensured a thoughtful approach to the role, explaining that: "This is a movie about someone's life... They [Grant and Mesa] have a daughter and one day her daughter's gonna watch this movie and I don't want her daughter to watch this movie and go, 'That's my mum? I don't know who that woman is,' so there is a responsibility. I wanted to look like her and kinda get her feeling of the relationship."
Continue reading: Oscar Grant's Girlfriend Will Not Watch The Film Based On His Death
Director Ryan Coogler arrives at the screening for 'Fruitvale Station' at the Museum of Modern Art after making his feature-length directorial debut with the true-to-life movie. He is joined by cast members Michael B. Jordan (who portrays the ill-fated Oscar Grant), Octavia Spencer and Melonie Diaz.
Michael B. Jordan is snapped and interviewed on arriving on the red carpet at the screening of 'Fruitvale Station' at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Michael portrays Oscar Grant, who was shot dead in the back in 2009 by a police officer while restrained on News Year's Day in Oakland, California, in this gritty true-story drama.
Ryan Coogler's 'Fruitvale Station' is a remarkable directorial debut.
Fruitvale Station - the new Oscar-tipped most by Ryan Coogler - tells the story of one of America's most unjust killings. In the early hours of New Year's Day, 2009, a young Bay Area kid by the name of Oscar Grant III was unarmed and lying face down on a subway platform in Oakland, California. Seconds later, he was shot in the back by a police officer.
The grainy cell phone footage captured by onlookers incited protests and unrest across the country, opening up a debate on law and order, violence and race, as noted in the New York Times. 'Fruitvale Station' - a movie snapped up by Harvey Weinstein for $2 million at the Sundance Film Festival - takes on extra significance given the roots of its director.
Coogler, 27, is a Bay Area native who went to film school at the University of South California. He remembers the incident all too well and does a stunning job of reconstructing it with the help of his cast Michael B. Jordan (The Wire), Melonie Diaz and Oscar winner Octavia Spencer.
Oscar Grant is a 22-year-old living in the San Francisco Bay Area who hasn't lived a particularly squeaky clean life. However, as the 2009 New Year comes nearer, he determinedly decides to shape-up and become an honest human being attempting to provide for his girlfriend and his 4-year-old daughter and make his mother proud. Unfortunately, a fresh start isn't always that easy and as December 31st 2008 comes to a close, he begins to cross paths with those not healthy in his pursuit of redemption; enemies, old friends and acquaintances he'd rather not see. Preparing to celebrate the New Year with his woman, he catches a particularly crowded Bay Area Rapid Transit train but manages to get involved in a fight with some old adversaries. When the BART police are called, Oscar is detained along with some other passengers at Fruitvale Station and, through a cruel twist of fate, it becomes the last stop he'll ever make.
'Fruitvale Station' is based on the true story of Oscar Grant who was accidentally fatally shot by a police officer who, through his panic, withdrew a gun rather than his intended taser. It is the full length feature debut of Ryan Coogler and the winner of the Sundance Film Festival 2013 Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award. It is due for US release on July 26th 2013.
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