The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder of 1.5 million Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians by the Turkish government between 1915 and 1923. Turkey has long denied that this took place, so the filmmakers take a rather soft approach to the story, setting out a romantic plotline with the genocide as a backdrop. So the resulting drama is somewhat uneven, but the events are so powerful that the film can't be ignored.
It opens in 1915 as the Ottoman Empire is collapsing. Mikael (Oscar Isaac) is a young Armenian studying medicine in Constantinople with a promised fiancee Maral (Angela Sarafyan) back home. Even so, he falls for Ana (Charlotte Le Bon), who shares his rural Armenian background. But she has a boyfriend, Chris (Christian Bale), who is investigating rumours of war as the Germans arrive to help the Turkish government round up its ethnic minorities. Mikael is soon arrested, but escapes from the work camp to return to his parents (Shohreh Aghdashloo and Kevork Malikyan) and Maral. Meanwhile, Chris and Ana are trying to report the story of what's really happening, and Mikael joins them to help a group of orphan refugees.
Yes, this is a sweeping epic in which there's a lot going on, and it's filmed on a lavish scale. The characters' lives continually intersect throughout the story, and the intensity of the wartime atrocities is seriously powerful. On the other hand, this makes the four-sided romance feel like a melodramatic distraction. The actors are solid, but the earnest tone undermines any real emotional edge. Isaac is sincere and decent, Le Bon is strong and wilful, Bale is solid and cynical, and Sarafyan is lost in the shuffle. Aghdashloo, as always, provides wrenching support.
Continue reading: The Promise Review
Michael is a promisingstudent living in Armenia during the Ottoman Turkish Empire, who agrees to marry a rich woman in return for a dowry than can put him through medical school. He travels to Istanbul where he meets a reporter for the Associated Press named Christopher and his Armenian love interest Ana who grew up in France. It isn't long before a love triangle develops between the three of them which causes tension in their relationships, but all of that ceases to matter when the Empire begins the Armenian Genocide. He manages to get out of serving in the army, but after trying to save a member of his family he gets locked up in a prison camp himself. With his village in danger, all he wants is to rescue his family and his people, and Christopher - freeing himself of his jealousy of Ana and Michael's attraction - insists on helping in their escape.
Continue: The Promise Trailer
When the Starship Enterprise finds itself under forceful attack, the crew on board fight to their best ability but it's not enough. The unstoppable wave of aliens constantly bombarding the ship means that the crew must accept defeat and flee to an unknown planet. Given the crew were deep into a five year mission, their location to the rest of the Federation is unknown and a rescue mission is going to be far from easy.
Continue: Star Trek Beyond Trailer
A harrowing true story infused with sharp humour and bristling intelligence, this riveting film is an auspicious writing-directing debut for TV news comic Jon Stewart. It's based on London-based journalist Maziar Bahari's book Then They Came for Me, a strikingly intimate memoir about being imprisoned in Iran. But the film never becomes a rant at an unjust society. Instead, it digs deep beneath the surface to find much more resonant, and more important, themes.
Maziar (Gael Garcia Bernal) left his pregnant wife (Claire Foy) at home in Britain to travel to Tehran to cover the contentious 2009 elections, after which the streets broke out in protests at what people saw as a rigged victory for Ahmadinejad. Maziar stays to report on this, and does a comical interview with a member of Stewart's team at The Daily Show. But the regime sees this as cooperation with an enemy, and arrests Maziar in his mother's (Shohreh Aghdashloo) home, charging him with espionage. While held in the notorious Evin Prison for nearly four months, Maziar is subjected to psychological torture at the hands of an interrogator (Kim Bodnia) he names "Rosewater" because of his scent. And the memories of similar experiences endured by his father and sister (Haluk Bilginer and Golshifteh Farahani) help Maziar survive his ordeal.
As a director, Stewart continually finds clever ways of revealing the inner workings of Maziar's mind, revealing his thoughts in inventive imagery and sounds. For example, one sequence beautifully weaves in Leonard Cohen's Dance Me to the Edge of Love, which holds a powerful memory for Maziar and also echoes the music and movies Iran's religious regime has strictly forbidden. Even the ghostly appearances of Maziar's father and sister are seamlessly integrated into the story. And the other significant achievement here is a refusal to make anyone a villain. As played by Bodnia, Rosewater is a man doing what he believes to be right, with pangs of conscience that eerily echo the news headlines about how American interrogators mistreated prisoners at Abu Ghraib and Bagram.
Continue reading: Rosewater Review
Commander Raiden (Clive Owen) of the seventh rank is a skilled and gifted soldier, who rose from bloody battle during the Great Wars with an unwavering loyalty for his ageing but resolutely brave master Bartok (Morgan Freeman), despite the latter having been dishonoured and shamed by the corrupt ruler for publicly standing up for the rights of his enslaved people. After his brutal execution, all those firmly loyal to Bartok - led by Raiden - seek to avenge him in the only way they know how, with Bartok's warning of their ruler's merciless intentions strongly in mind. Raiden will lead them into the ultimate battle, in spite of their small numbers, having made far too many sacrifices in their lifetime. As his rebellion unfolds, he begins to understand that, despite what the rule claims, no honourable man can ever be 'dishonoured'; it is something inborn, and something worth fighting for.
Continue: Last Knights Trailer
Maziar Bahari is an Iranian-Canadian journalist who embarked on a week long trip to Iran in 2009 in a bid to cover the story of the presidential elections, leaving his pregnant wife behind. He spent his time filming campaigns and students, but still understanding that sometimes he needs to turn the camera off for his own safety. However, when situations got heated and the protests began, he decided to make the brave move in videotaping the chaos; including such situations that could've been compromising to the government. Accused of being a foreign spy, he was later arrested, blindfolded, beaten and mercilessly interrogated, with information even as trivial as his Facebook interests being used against him. Despite the fear and the injustice, however, he got through with an extraordinary ability to focus his mind, laughing his way through his four month imprisonment and knowing deep down that he would be free before long.
Continue: Rosewater Trailer
Channel 4, a major UK television channel, will show Islamic services on air and issue the call to prayer, the adhan, during Ramadan. The executives hope viewers who associated Islam with extremism will re-think their position.
Channel 4 will deliberately 'provoke viewers' by sounding a live call to prayer over the Ramadan period (which begins on Tuesday 9th July). They hope it will educate bigoted viewers who associate Islam with terrorism. A spokesperson for the Muslim Council said the organisation is grateful to Channel 4 for providing an opportunity to "portray a more realistic account of Islam and Muslims". The spokesperson went on to say this consideration is "symbolic for belonging and solidarity".
Ahmed Ahmed at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival Reception, Beverly Hills Hilton.
In doing so Channel 4 has opened itself up to criticism by other religious and secular groups. They have been warned to keep their coverage in check. However, it has been pointed out by secular groups that the BBC covers a large number of Christian ceremonies and occasions. Less than 60% of the population are Christians (according to the 2011 Census).
Continue reading: Channel 4 Will 'Provoke' Viewers With Ramadan Coverage
What if our future was planned, if everything in life was part of one big plan, sometimes being in the right place at the right time is more important than you'd think, and if you're running late, the consequences can be greater than you realise. One event may lead onto a totally different outcome. Politician David Norris is about to learn just how important his set fate is to the world. After meeting an intriguing and beautiful woman called Elise, Norris is instantly drawn to her but their first meeting should have been their only one yet when fate gives him a break he once again sees Elise.
Continue: The Adjustment Bureau Trailer
In 1986, French-Iranian journalist Freidoune Sahebjam (Caviezel) is driving through Iran when his car breaks down in an isolated village. Called "crazy" by the men, Zahra (Aghdashloo) corners him and recounts the brutal events of the preceding day. Defenceless in a society ruled by Sharia law, Zahra's niece Soraya (Marno) was the subject of a conspiracy led by her husband (Negahban), who wanted to marry a 14-year-old. To do this he had to gain the support of the local convict-turned-mullah (Pourtash) and the weak-willed mayor (Diaan).
Continue reading: The Stoning Of Soraya M. Review
The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...
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