Jesus has had many faces on the big screen, with some more memorable than others.
The story of Jesus has been told many different times on the big screen, with a wide variety of interpretations. But what’s more diverse is the list of actors who have found themselves playing the son of God. Sure we all remember Jim Caviezel in The Passion of the Christ, but did you know Will Ferrell also once donned a wig and a beard to play Jesus?
Jim Caviezel in The Passion of the Christ.
A rare film that adds up to much more than the sum of its parts, this works as both a dramatic character study and a tense thriller. The title is Mexican slang for "hitman". And with fierce direction, razor-sharp writing and breathtakingly layered performances, this is one of the most involving, thrilling movies of the year. It also has something urgent to say about the political world we live in.
Kate (Emily Blunt) is the leader of an FBI unit in Phoenix, and is taken aback when offbeat Homeland Security agent Matt (Josh Brolin) asks her to join his team tracking a Mexican drug cartel kingpin. She brings her partner (Daniel Kaluuya) along, and they struggle to make sense of their new mission, especially the shady operative Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro) who's working alongside them. The question is which organisation is actually running this operation, and what the real goal is. Clearly international laws are being bent at every step, and Kate is worried that she might also be compromising her moral and ethical principles. Meanwhile over the border, a local cop (Maximiliano Hernandez) is involved in activities that may cause trouble for his family and community.
Director Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners) keeps this story tightly under control, taking the audience along on Kate's odyssey into the dark side of international law enforcement, which has little regard for the law. Blunt brings a remarkable authenticity to her role as a steely, smart leader who is always on-edge, trying to find a way through an unpredictable situation. As she quietly reveals Kate's thought processes, the audience is able to identify with her at every step. Which makes every scene both riveting and emotionally wrenching. Opposite her, both Brolin and Del Toro are on top form, infusing the film with quirky details, black humour and challenging ideas. There's also an astonishing role for Jon Bernthal as a cowboy who flirts with Kate, and then some.
Continue reading: Sicario Review
An intriguing premise keeps the audience gripped for about 20 minutes before the movie runs out of steam. Which is far too early. Despite the always-engaging presence of Ryan Reynolds, this fantastical thriller is slick enough to hold the attention, but fails because it's unable to generate any interest in the central characters. And instead of exploring the fascinating issues the story raises, the filmmakers instead fall back on irrelevant violence.
The story opens as billionaire Manhattan businessman Damien (Ben Kingsley) discovers he has six months to live. But he has heard about a new medical procedure called "shedding", in which his mind is implanted in a lab-grown body. At $250 million, it seems like a bargain, so he signs up with Dr Allbright (Matthew Goode) and prepares to abandon his old life for a new one. He wakes up in New Orleans as Edward (Reynolds), and begins to adjust to his fit new 35-year-old body. But after he misses his adjustment meds one day he has a series of bewildering flashbacks that make him wonder about the true nature of the shedding process. Maybe his new body wasn't so "new" after all. So he goes looking for answers, which involves teaming up with Madeline (Natalie Martinez) and seeking help from his business partner Martin (Victor Garber).
There are all kinds of intriguing themes swirling through this set-up, including issues of identity and mortality. But writers David and Alex Pastor seem uninterested in exploring any of this in lieu of a much more simplistic morality tale packed with continual shoot-out and chase scenes, plus far too much body-swapping. All of this is produced to a very high standard by director Tarsem Singh, who has a reputation for seriously stylish cinema (see The Fall or The Cell). He adds a strong edge to every scene, with intriguingly haunting editing choices and camerawork that add plenty of tension and uncertainty even if the plot itself is utterly predictable.
Continue reading: Self/Less Review
Kate Macer is an FBI Agent who's about to undertake probably the most dangerous mission of her career so far. It's not her usual department, but she has been taken on to help in the ever swelling drug war along the border of the US and Mexico. There's a drug lord taking over the sprawling metropolis of El Paso, people are getting killed left right and centre. In order to take him down, a lot of people need to be executed along the way - but Kate's not so sure her task is an entirely moral one when she is forced to pull a gun on nearly everyone who gets in her way. As she doubts the mission and questions the history of Matt, the task force's leader, she starts to understand that they only real assignment she's being faced with is survival - even if that means breaking her own rules.
Continue: Sicario Trailer
David Hyde Pierce, Victor Garber, Linda Lagorga and Jonathan Groff - Alzheimer's Association New York City Chapter hosts the Annual 'Forget-Me-Not' Gala, An Evening to End Alzheimer's - Arrivals at The Pierre - New York City, New York, United States - Monday 8th June 2015
Victor Garber - A variety of celebrities were photographed as they arrived at the CW Network's 2015 Upfront event which was held at the London Hotel in New York City, United States - Thursday 14th May 2015
A missed opportunity, this European action romp begins with a terrific premise but never quite makes anything of it. Finnish writer-director Jalmari Helander certainly knows how to make a sharp, snappy action-comedy (see Rare Exports), but this script is badly compromised by simplistic plotting and gags that go for the easiest target every time. Which leaves the actors looking like they're standing around waiting for something interesting to happen. And it leaves the audience feeling badly let-down.
It opens as 13-year-old Oskari (Onni Tommila) is sent into the mountainous Finnish wilderness to prove his manhood by hunting down a stag all by himself. His father (Jorma Tommila) isn't hugely confident, but wishes him well. Meanwhile, preening terrorist Hazar (Mehmet Kirtulus) has just shot down Air Force One as it flew overhead. As the plane goes down, the US President (Samuel L. Jackson) boards his escape pod, and the first person he meets on the ground is a gob-smacked Oskari. Together, they set out to get to safety while escaping the tenacious thugs who are after the President. And officials at the Pentagon (including Jim Broadbent, Victor Garber and Felicity Huffman) are watching everything unfold by satellite, while the President's security chief (Ray Stevenson) leads the ground party.
The set-up is great, and offers plenty of scope for both over-the-top action sequences and Home Alone-style mayhem, but Helander never quite settles on a tone, perhaps because the 13-year-old hero demands a PG-13 sensibility that undermines any chance of proper black comedy. Yes, there's plenty of violent destruction, but it's cartoonish rather than clever, so the film feels silly rather than exhilarating. Jackson is clearly having a lot of fun as the annoyed President, adding some gravitas to his usual action-hero persona while delivering his requisite snarky one-liners. But Helander never quite finds anything new for him to do. And young Tommila looks far too serious all the way along.
Continue reading: Big Game Review
What would you do if you had one of the smartest minds and largest bank accounts on the planet, but were still faced with your own mortality? For Damian (Ben Kingsley), a man credited with single-handedly building a city. He is also, steadily deteriorating and dying from cancer. When a shadowy scientist named Albright (Matthew Goode) offers to save him with an experimental treatment, Damian believes he has no choice if he wants his mind to live on. With his mind implanted into the body of someone else (Ryan Reynolds), he begins to enjoy his revitalised body to enjoy his life. That is, until he starts to realise the sinister truth behind living out an immortal existence in, what is revealed to be, a stolen body.
Continue: Selfless Trailer
12 points down in the polls, the President of the United States of America (Samuel L. Jackson) is flying over Finland in Air Force One - aware of the fact that his own party is out to get him. However, when a sudden missile threat is discovered, the President is forced to evacuate by the suspicious Morris (Ray Stevenson). As the President evacuates, Morris also jumps from the plane, watching as it explodes in the air. The President finds himself on the ground with Oskari (Onni Tommila), a young boy out to prove himself as a hunter. Yet there is now far greater game to be hunted in the Finnish forests, as Morris is hunting the President himself.
Continue: Big Game Trailer
Ben Affleck leaps on to the A-list of directors with this relentlessly entertaining thriller, combining comedy and nerve-jangling suspense to maximum effect. Based on a declassified story that's unbelievable but true, the film is also clear-eyed about politics without ever getting lost in the big issues. Instead, it keeps us engaged through terrific characters who are beautifully played by a lively cast.
As Iran's 1979 revolution boiled over into street protests over America's assistance to the deposed Shah, rioters stormed the US embassy and took 52 Americans hostage. In the chaos, six staffers snuck out the back door and took refuge in the home of the Canadian ambassador (Garber). With the Iranians on their trail, the CIA chief (Cranston) decides to try to get them out, and Agent Tony Mendez (Affleck) comes up with a wild idea: he creates a fake sci-fi movie called Argo with the help of a veteran producer (Arkin) and an Oscar-winning make-up artist (Goodman), so the six escapees can pose as a Canadian location-scouting crew and leave the country.
Yes, this plan sounds utterly ridiculous, but the fake Argo is exactly the kind of cheesy Star Wars rip-off everyone was trying to make at the time, so the idea of scouting colourful Iranian locations isn't as far-fetched as it seems. And screenwriter Terrio keeps us laughing as Mendez and his Hollywood cohorts concoct this elaborate scam. These scenes are so good that Arkin and Goodman walk off with the whole movie, giving loose, witty supporting turns that are likely to be remembered in awards season. Affleck gets in on the fun as well, then also effortlessly takes on the more intense action scenes to hold the whole film together.
Continue reading: Argo Review
When the Iranian Revolution protests began to take place in 1979, their main target was the US embassy in Tehran. It didn't take long for an army of militant Islamic extremists to infiltrate the building and seize 52 American citizens as hostages with only six victims managing to escape and take refuge inside the Canadian ambassador's home. It is decided that the six escapees must be found and smuggled out of Tehran before they are killed. Tony Mendez is a CIA officer specialising in covert government operations who is enlisted by the government to conceive a plan of exfiltration. His plan involves him and his team travelling to Iran under the guise of a film crew preparing to shoot a pretend movie called 'Argo'. However, as is expected, not everyone is confident in this less than risk free operation.
'Argo' is loosely based on a true story depicted in the real Tony Mendez' account of the events that took place during the hostage crisis as well as an article written in Wired in 2007 called 'How the CIA Used a Fake Sci-Fi Flick to Rescue Americans from Tehran' by Joshuah Bearman. It has been directed and starred in by Ben Affleck ('Good Will Hunting', 'Pearl Harbor') and written by Chris Terrio ('Heights') and will be released in US theaters on October 12th 2012.
Starring: Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin, John Goodman, Victor Garber, Tate Donovan, Scoot McNairy, Rory Cochrane, Christopher Denham, Kerry Bishe, Kyle Chandler, Chris Messina, Zeljko Ivanek & Titus Welliver.
What more can come for the Panda who has it all? Since gaining the respect of his heroes - Master Shifu and the furious five - and defeating the evil snow leopard Tai Lung, Po's life in the Valley of Peace is perfect but it isn't to last.
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