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As the director of The Help, Tate Taylor may seem like an odd choice to make a movie based on Paula Hawkins' sexy mystery thriller bestseller. While the film features three central female characters, it also has a dark and twisty plot. Taylor manages to bring out plenty of insinuating textures in the characters to keep the audience intrigued, but he never quite gets a grip on the Hitchcockian elements of this story about identity and life expectations.
The title character is Rachel (Emily Blunt), who commutes into Manhattan every day, observing life in the suburban homes along the train line. She's particularly fascinated by one house and the blonde woman (Haley Bennett) who lives there with her lusty husband (Luke Evans). But the fact is that Rachel knows this woman: she's Megan, the nanny who takes care of the infant daughter of Rachel's ex-husband Tom (Justin Theroux) and his new wife Anna (Rebecca Ferguson), who live just a few doors down. And Rachel has a history of stalking them. Then she spots Megan with another man (Edgar Ramirez), just before Megan goes missing. So when Rachel emerges from yet another black-out drunken stupor, she begins to worry about what she might have done.
This is another challenging role for Blunt, who plays the shattered Rachel with raw grit. This is a woman who doesn't trust her own mind, knows that she drinks far too much and feels incapable of getting over her past mistakes. The film also occasionally circles around to show scenes from Megan's and Anna's perspectives, and both Bennett and Ferguson bring superbly unsteady textures to the roles. These are three complex, flawed women dealing with very big issues in their lives. And there are smaller but pivotal roles for the gifted Alison Janney (as a detective), Laura Prepon (as Rachel's flatmate) and Lisa Kudrow (as an old friend). By comparison the men are a bit simplistic.
Continue reading: The Girl On The Train Review
Although this comedy-drama seems to have been written specifically to give Meryl Streep a chance to dress up and put on a silly show, it's actually all true. And it's hugely entertaining, generating gut-wrenching laughter and some sharply resonant emotions too. It's also a subtle exploration of pop culture, most notably privileged artists and the fact that there's more to stardom than just talent.
Streep shines as Florence, a socialite who hosts lavish parties in 1944 New York with her husband St Clair (Hugh Grant). Both of them are frustrated artists: Florence sees herself as an opera diva, while St Clair never quite made it as an actor. So at her parties, Florence puts on performances for her friends, oblivious to the fact that she's riotously off-key, while St Clair plays the doting husband, protecting her from criticism and hiring talented young pianist Cosme McMoon (Simon Helberg) as her accompanist. Florence doesn't really mind that St Clair has a woman (Rebecca Ferguson) on the side. But when she books Carnegie Hall to perform a concert for troops returning from Europe, St Clair realises that he can't protect her from a real audience.
Writer Nicholas Martin and director Stephen Frears construct the story beautifully, building up to reveal Florence's voice in a painfully hilarious sequence that's expertly played by Streep, Grant and Helberg. Streep's enjoyment of the role is infectious, and she makes Florence sympathetic by letting us see her yearning to sing. She imagines she sounds like her operatic idols, so can't hear the strangled notes coming from her mouth. And those who don't applaud are laughing so heartily that surely they're just as entertained. Streep's performance soars through the performance scenes, but is just as powerful in the comedy and at moments when Florence is vulnerable and nervous.
Continue reading: Florence Foster Jenkins Review
The Weekend Box Office results for 31st July-2nd August are in and the latest installment of ‘Mission Impossible’ reigns supreme.
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation has topped the U.S. Weekend Box Office (31st July-2nd August). The action film, which was released on 31st July, made $56 million in the U.S. and Canada. The film has made over $40 million more than the other newcomer in the office, Vacation, which comes in at number 2 in the Box Office chart.
The latest 'Mission Impossible' movie might do even better than studios predicted, with over $20 million pulled in on just one night.
It looks as though Tom Cruise’s latest action rampage Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation is going to exceed the very good commercial performance expected of it this weekend, with the news that the thriller has made a near-record $20.3 million on its opening Friday (July 31st).
Industry insiders who have been able to access pre-release audience surveys predicted that the latest MI instalment would make approximately $40 million over its opening weekend. However, the Friday figure from nearly 4,000 theaters – doubly impressive for one that didn’t debut on a Wednesday, according to Forbes – has revised studio expectations upwards to as high as $52 million.
Cruise as Ethan Hunt in 'Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation'
Writer-director Christopher McQuarrie brings a dark and gritty tone to this larger-than-life franchise. Along with a constant stream of barbed humour, the film has an enjoyably knotted mystery plot and action set-pieces that feel like they're grounded in the real world. It's a terrific shift into earthy believability for a series of movies that has previously indulged in gleefully incoherent narratives and exaggerated explosive chaos.
Right from the start, our hero Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is an outsider. As he searches for a shady assassin (Sean Harris) and his mythical organisation The Syndicate, Ethan's Impossible Mission Force is being dissolved by the US government. CIA Director Hunley (Alec Baldwin) absorbs the IMF team, but tech genius Benji (Simon Pegg) secretly helps Ethan, enlisting Luther (Ving Rhames) and William (Jeremy Renner) as well. Soon, all three are gallivanting from Vienna to Morocco and back to London, as Ethan works with double or perhaps triple agent Ilsa (Rebecca Ferguson) to prove that The Syndicate exists and stop its nefarious plan.
The film plays out like an edgy James Bond adventure, as Ethan works with a possibly dangerous woman in exotic locations in pursuit of some very shadowy baddies. McQuarrie's script is unusually lucid for this genre, piecing together the various elements expertly, building a genuine sense of tension without ever letting things tip over into overblown silliness. The chase sequences are remarkably rough and unpredictable, avoiding digital trickery to create moments that are jaw-droppingly authentic. As usual, we can tell that Cruise does his own stunts; the opening hanging-from-an-airplane scene is awesome, and a helmet-free motorbike chase looks even more perilous. With the IMF disbanded, it's never quite clear how Ethan funds his one-man operation, but he has a terrific supply of cool gadgets stashed all over Europe.
Continue reading: Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation Review
The IMF (Impossible Mission Force) have been active for years, but it's time has run out. The head of the CIA (Alec Baldwin) informs them that they are to be disbanded, but some people can't actually adjust to that sort of thing. Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) can't let go, and soon discovers that the IMF is actually needed more than ever. The Syndicate - a Rouge Nation - has been steadily growing over the years, and is seen as an anti-IMF. Now, Hunt and his team must engage in their most impossible mission to date, and fight an enemy which, officially, does not exist.
Despite their countless missions, most of which deemed impossible, the IMF is closing down. Considered an irrelevant and archaic group, the government intends to tie off any loose ends - especially Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise). The problem is, Hunt is a veteran, and a tremendous agent of the IMF, and has uncovered a terrifying secret rouge nation, known as The Syndicate. Hunt plans to track down, expose and destroy The Syndicate through any means necessary. To that end, he recruits his old friends and colleges from the IMF, and plans to take the fight to them. Even if the mission is impossible.
Continue: Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation Trailer
Far more entertaining than it has any right to be, this is a big, messy blockbuster retelling of the Greek myth that thankfully has a sharp sense of humour and some surprising twists up its sleeve. The cast is also packed with veteran performers who know how to make the most of some eyebrow-raising innuendo, generating intrigue while keeping the audience laughing with them rather than at them.
The premise takes a revisionist approach, grounding the legend of the demigod Hercules (Dwayne Johnson) in real stories that have been exaggerated by his nephew Iolaus (Reece Ritchie), who travels with him as a kind of toga-era marketing expert. Their team of mercenaries includes wryly fatalistic seer Amphiaraus (Ian McShane), quick-witted blade-thrower Autolycus (Rufus Sewell), bow-wielding amazon Atalanta (Ingrid Bolso Berdal) and loyal mute warrior Tydeus (Aksel Hennie). When they're offered a fortune by Lord Cotys (John Hurt) to quell a rebellion, they find themselves in the middle of a massive battle that doesn't go the way they expected. And as events take unforeseen turns, Hercules and his gang have to dig deep to turn the tide in their favour.
Johnson is a natural in the role, so massively pumped up that he looks like he could be popped with a pin. His hulking physique and just enough back-story give the character's reputation some weight, both literally and figuratively, so even if he's not half-god his achievements are still pretty impressive. (There are also plenty of hints that he may turn out to be a god after all.) And the surrounding characters add to this with cleverly written roles that are expertly played by British scene-stealers Hurt, McShane, Sewell, Mullan and Fiennes. McShane is so good that he essentially walks off with the whole movie. But relative newcomers Ritchie, Hennie and Berdal more than hold their own.
Continue reading: Hercules Review
Two members of Rebecca Ferguson's family are in hospital after the shooting.
Two members of Rebecca Ferguson's family have been shot in a drive-by shooting in Everton. The singer is said to be "shocked and terrified" by a targeted attack that seriously injured her children's uncle and grandfather on Wednesday evening, according to the Liverpool Echo.
Rebecca Ferguson On-Stage in Liverpool
Karl Dures, 51 and his son Craig Dures, 27, were shot in the leg and face as they stood on the corner of Lance Close. Ms Ferguson - who rose to fame after appearing on The X-Factor - dated Karl's son, also called Karl, and had two children with him. The pair ended their relationship before Ferguson's appearance on the singing show, though the families have remained close.
Continue reading: Rebecca Ferguson's Family Members Shot In Drive-By Shooting
Hercules is a bitter and haunted demi-god filled with resentment for the people and the gods (including his father Zeus) who put him through the Twelve Labours; a series of arduous tasks that saw him dance with death on a number of occasions. Now, alone and with no family of any kind to turn to, his only comfort in the world is fighting to the death in battle, alongside a group of other like-minded warriors who similarly have nothing left to live for. However, they face a challenge of a more ominous kind when the King of Thrace enlists them to train up as the most formidable army ever created in a bid to overthrow a powerful general. This is a fight of a different kind for Hercules; he may have more strength than the average man, but just how far will that take him?
Dwayne Johnson stars as Hercules in the latest adaptation of the Greco-Roman myth. Based on the graphic novel 'Hercules: The Thracian Wars' by Steve Moore, the movie has been directed by Brett Ratner ('Rush Hour', 'X-Men: The Last Stand', 'Red Dragon') and written by Ryan Condal ('The Sixth Gun') and Evan Spiliotopoulos ('The Nutty Professor', 'Battle for Terra'). 'Hercules' is scheduled for UK cinematic release on August 8th 2014.
Date of birth
19th October, 1983
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