The latest adaptation of Agatha Christie's 83-year-old classic whodunit, this lavish, star-studded film is old-style entertainment. Director-star Kenneth Branagh lets the story unfold with attention to detail while filling the screen with eye-catching images, from the spectacular mountain settings to the opulent costumes. And while the story is too familiar to stir up too much suspense, it's played with a strong sense of emotional resonance. And the moral question is provocative.
The Orient Express sets off from 1934 Istanbul with a colourful collection of passengers. A last-minute addition is noted detective Hercule Poirot (Branagh), who has just solved a thorny mystery in Jerusalem and is now heading to London. Even though he shouldn't be working, he begins to weigh up the odd collection of passengers around him, including a gangster (Johnny Depp), countess (Judi Dench), widow (Michelle Pfeiffer), governess (Daisy Ridley), maid (Olivia Colman), salesman (Wille Dafoe), assistant (Josh Gad), butler (Derek Jacobi) and doctor (Leslie Odom Jr.). Then in the middle of the night, one of them is violently murdered. And when the train becomes lodged in a snowdrift, Poirot has the time to dig further into each person's clearly suspicious back-story.
Continue reading: Murder On The Orient Express Review
The planet is in turmoil. Superman is apparently dead and crime rates have surged around the world as a result. But there's more than just petty theft and random assaults out there; mankind are under threat from an alien general named Steppenwolf who, with his terrible army of Parademons, are causing devastation as they search far and wide for three mysterious Mother Boxes hidden on Earth. The people need help, and so Bruce Wayne brings back Gotham's hero - Batman - and enlists the assistance of Wonder Woman to form a new legion of heroes. They, along with Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash, must protect the world from total destruction at the hands of Steppenwolf and, ultimately, his boss Darkseid. They're all very different heroes, with very different ideas about fighting villains, but there's one thing they all have in common - a desire for justice.
Continue: Justice League Trailer
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.
There have been so many awful revenge thrillers lately that we've almost forgotten that it's possible to make a good one, and this is a rare example of striking the right balance of exhilarating action and dark emotion. Yes, there's a high body count, but this isn't a mow-them-down romp: there's a real sense of pain at all of the senseless bloodshed caused by one idiot's inability to conceive that his actions might have repercussions.
The film also gives Keanu Reeves yet another chance to cleverly reinvent himself on-screen as John Wick, a still-feared former mob hitman who left his job to have a happy life with his wife (Bridget Moynahan). But her untimely illness and death have left him a broken man. His only glimmer of hope is her deathbed gift of an adorable puppy to keep him company. Then even this is taken from him, when cocky Russian thug Iosef (Alfie Allen) steals his vintage Mustang and kills the puppy. In need of closure, John resurrects his past, which is a problem because his ex-boss Viggo (Michael Nyqvist) is Iosef's dad, and he knows that John is unstoppable. So Viggo reluctantly offers a massive bounty on John's head, taken up by John's former fellow assassin pals (Willem Dafoe and Adrianne Palicki). But it's doubtful that anyone can stop the legendary John Wick from bringing down the entire Russian mafia.
Intriguingly, everyone in the film knows this legend except the dim-witted moron Iosef, who blithely keeps on carousing while everyone around him prepares for Armageddon. Writer Derek Kolstad and director Chad Stahelski set the story in a fantastical criminal underworld that uses solid gold coins as currency in shimmering underground nightclubs, lavish spas and a mob hotel in which "business" is strictly prohibited. All of this is fiendishly inventive, with a striking visual atmosphere and an even stronger moody tone. At the centre, Reeves gives John a jagged sense of humour as he braces himself wearily for the inevitable carnage, all while trying to control his much deeper emotional pain.
Continue reading: John Wick Review
While preparing to film 'The Grand Budapest Hotel', director Wes Anderson and company scouted for locations, finding an abandoned shopping centre which they converted into the lobby of the hotel. The exterior of the hotel was primarily shot through the use of miniatures, as were certain action sequences from the film. The minute detail was continued into the creation of costumes for the extras, as each one was supposedly created to have their own entire backstory. Furthermore, the setting for 'The Grand Budapest Hotel' is the fictional Republic of Zubrowka. This, too, was created in detail, with various passports, newspapers and small businesses that were designed with a tremendous amount of detail.
Continue: The Grand Budapest Hotel - Featurettes
Critics are slightly uncertain about Keanu Reeves' latest movie 'John Wick', but audiences have voted with their feet as the movie made over $5 million on its opening night.
John Wick was released in US cinemas on Friday (24th October) and has already been hailed as a financial success, making $5.45 million on its opening night. So if you fancy seeing Keanu Reeves back where he belongs - in full action mode - here's what John Wick is all about and what the critics have to say.
The film has been well received by critics who have largely commented on its violent nature. It has been described as the archetypal action film which offers impressive fight scenes and a relatively simplistic storyline. As Vulture's critic wrote John Wick is 'a beautiful coffee-table action movie.' However, others have also criticised the violent element of the film, with one critic remarking John Wick 'is a film where every human being is a sack of meat waiting to be tenderized' (Globe and Mail).
John Wick was one of the criminal underground's finest hitmen until the untimely death of his beloved wife. Now he's living a relatively solitary life with his pet dog, retired from that world and living peacefully. That is until his car gets recognised by some former enemies responsible for his wife's death and he is beaten half to death in his own home, his dog brutally killed in front of him. Unfortunately for the perpetrators, they have no idea who their messing with, and when they are warned by a major crime boss of his uniquely gifted fighting abilities, they are forced to recruit their deadliest men (and women) to take Wick down. But now, with nothing left to lose, Wick is more dangerous than ever before.
Continue: John Wick Trailer
Photographer-turned-filmmaker Anton Corbijn continues to show striking maturity with only his third movie (after Control and The American). Based on the John Le Carre novel, this thriller avoids cliches to become a brilliantly tense spy drama. It also offers Philip Seymour Hoffman another terrific posthumous performance, one of his best ever, as a quietly tenacious man who refuses to get caught up in the hype.
Set in Hamburg, the story centres on Gunther (Hoffman), the exhausted leader of a top-secret anti-terrorist unit who has gathered around him a loyal team (including Nina Hoss, Daniel Bruhl and Vicky Krieps). When they spot an unknown Chechen in town, they identify him as Issa (Grigoriy Dobrygin) but aren't sure what he's up to. Gunther thinks that following him is the best course of action, as he may lead them to much bigger fish. And they're further intrigued when he contacts a lawyer (Rachel McAdams) and a powerful banker (Willem Dafoe). But the local police and German security forces want to arrest Issa and interrogate him, even though this will stop Gunther from taking down a potentially much bigger operation, and even though it looks like Issa isn't a terrorist at all. Only a US embassy attache (Robin Wright) shares Gunther's long-game approach, but can they delay the gung-ho cops?
While the central plot slowly cranks up some powerful suspense, it's the dramatic and thematic elements of the film that truly get under the skin, mainly thanks to Hoffman's world-weary performance as a man whose eyes miss nothing. And he's beginning to wish he could just close them and pretend all of this doesn't exist. Every conversation he has sparks with jagged insinuation, driving the entire film deeper as an exploration of the dangers of self-proclaimed "good guys" with too much military power, especially when they're paranoid. This is augmented by several personal layers of plot-threads, including Issa's own compelling mystery, beautifully played by a gifted cast that's great at saying one thing and meaning another.
Continue reading: A Most Wanted Man Review
Based on the beloved novel by John Green, this film is so squarely slanted toward teen girls that it is likely to annoy everyone else. Written and directed in a way that never allows even a hint of ambiguity, each scene and line of dialogue is on-the-nose, pushing the audience to a specific emotional response. This of course leaves everything feeling manipulative and false. Even so, the movie is rescued by another wonderfully layered performance from Shailene Woodley.
She plays the 17-year-old Hazel, who has been dealing with aggressive cancer for three years and has only just been stabilised by a breakthrough treatment. As she still needs to carry oxygen to breathe properly, her parents (Laura Dern and Sam Trammell) are understandably protective, but she's happy to get out on her own whenever possible. Then in a support group she meets 18-year-old cancer survivor Gus (Ansel Elgort), who is immediately smitten with her and flirts so aggressively that she finally agrees to be his friend, but nothing more. As she hangs out with Gus and his pal Isaac (Nat Wolff), another cancer patient, she begins to open up to her innermost dreams. So she goes along with a make-a-wish plan to travel to Amsterdam with Gus and her mother to meet the author (Willem Dafoe) of her favourite novel. And the trip changes her life in several unexpected ways.
Sensitive audience members will be sobbing from the beginning to the end of this film, simply because director Josh Boone tells them to. More cynical viewers will find it impossible to believe anything on-screen. This isn't because the plot is bad (it's actually quite thoughtful and provocative) or the actors get their performances wrong. It's because Boone and the screenwriters can't resist punching every note as loudly as they can. It's been so tidily shaped into a cinematic structure that everything feels fake, which makes it impossible for the actors to create characters who could exist anywhere besides in a movie.
Continue reading: The Fault In Our Stars Review
The Cannes Film Festival runs May 14-May 25
The final panel for Cannes 2014 has been decided upon, with Sofia Coppola, Willem Dafoe and Gael Garcia Bernal amongst others joining Jane Campion who is serving as jury president. Denmark’s, Nicolas Winding Refn, France’s Carole Bouquet, Iran’s Leila Hatami, China’s Jia Zhangke, and South Korea’s Jeon Do-yeon comprise the rest of the 9 person-strong jury.
Sofia Coppola is one of an eclectic bunch set to judge at this year's Cannes
“Cannes has always sought to adopt a universal and international approach, and in tune with this tradition, Campion will be surrounded by eight luminaries of world cinema, from China, Korea, Denmark, Iran, the United States, France and Mexico,” the Festival said in a statement.
Date of birth
22nd July, 1955
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