With the tagline "A Star Wars Story", this first spin-off from the saga isn't actually a stand-alone movie. It requires some understanding of the context as it chronicles events that lead directly into 1977's Episode IV: A New Hope. It's also a seriously rousing action film with a riveting cast of characters and a surprising willingness to embrace even the darkest elements of storytelling. In other words, it might be the first Star Wars movie made specifically for grown-ups.
It opens as the Empire is systematically crushing the rebellion, leaving them wondering if there's any point to continuing the fight. Rumours are swirling that the Empire is building a massive Death Star, and rebel Jyn (Felicity Jones) discovers that it was designed by her long-lost father Galen (Mads Mikkelsen), who sends her a message saying that he left a flaw in the system specifically for the rebels to exploit. So she joins a team to contact him, led by Cassian (Diego Luna), who doubts that Galen is on their side. They're accompanied by pilot Bodhi (Riz Ahmed) and the sarcastic robot K-2SO (Alan Tudyk), plus the blind wannabe Jedi Chirrut (Donnie Yen) and his battling sidekick Baze (Jiang Wen). And as their mission goes rogue, they come up against the slimy Imperial Director Orson (Ben Mendelson) and the vicious Darth Vader (again voiced by James Earl Jones).
Director Gareth Edwards (Monster) packs the movie with visual references to A New Hope, cleverly matching the design work by avoiding fakey digital effects in lieu of more practical, battle-scared models and lively settings on a series of new planets and a familiar one. This gives the film an electric atmosphere that's edgy and unpredictable even though we all know exactly how this mission has to end. At the beginning, the plot feels a bit splintered, but the strands come together with power, building a gnawing sense of momentum and some real gravitas along the way.
Continue reading: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Review
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is a standalone Star Wars film which acts as an important subplot to the original 1977 movie 'A New Hope'. In the man film, Luke and his uncle take ownership of a droid sold to them and as Luke cleans the droid up he hears a section of a message left for someone called Obi-Wan Kenobi pleading for his help. Luke decides to find the only man he knows by the name of Kenobi and his mission turns into the story we all know.
The data on R2-D2 memory is the story of Rouge One. The Rebel Alliance are aware that the Galactic Empire are building a humongous super machine capable of destroy vast areas of space and one of their rebel fighters might just hold the key to more information than she knows.
Jin Erso is a loyal member of the Alliance though she often acts as a lone rebel and takes risks greater than her superiors would like. When a fraction of the Alliance learns that Erso's father played a crucial role in building the device she knows that she must track him down.
In a clear echo of Frozen, this Disney animated adventure centres on a fiercely independent young woman who doesn't follow the rules, doesn't need a man and sings songs of empowerment. But this story is set in the lush South Pacific, with deep blue seas, verdant rainforests and fiery volcanoes. And that gives it a fresh blast of energy and culture that more than makes up for the lack of proper tension in the rather formulaic story.
On a remote island, Moana (voiced by Auli'i Carvalho) is the daughter of the pragmatic chief (Temuera Morrison) and his sensitive wife (Nicole Scherzinger). Feeling like the sea is beckoning her, Moana is always in trouble, because the islanders are terrified of the dangers in the ocean beyond the reef. But Moana's grandmother (Rachel House) encourages her to follow her yearnings, revealing that Moana is the promised one who will travel to find the exiled demigod Maui (Dwayne Johnson) and return the Heart of Te Fiti to its rightful place, restoring life to the islands. Even though she feels inadequate, she heads off on her quest. And when she meets up with the arrogant Maui, she realises that this is going to be even harder than she thought.
Continue reading: Moana Review
The Galaxy is on the brink of a major war being won by dangerous rulers and only a few fighters stand between the Emperor and his unrelenting army which is constantly surging peaceful plants. The destruction and invasion of any planet who won't agree to the Empire's stringent regulations is all but destroyed.
Jyn Erso is one such rebel fighter who is willing to go to any lengths to fulfil her mission, often landing her in trouble with her seniors but her independent demeanour means that she might be a perfect candidate for an imperative mission - the failure of which could mean the end of the galaxy as its citizens know.
Jyn and a small team of fellow rebels must steal plans for the Emperor's newest and deadliest weapon, The Death Star.
Continue: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Trailer
Moana has spent her life travelling with her family is on the vast blue waters surrounding Polynesia - even when she's on her island home, she can't be far away from the sound of waves lapping the shore. Moana's father is the chief of their small village and he's always know his daughter had a gift not given to most, Moana was a born navigator and now she's about to undertake her first real adventure.
Moana must go and find a fabled island, she won't be alone as the demi-god Maui has found himself taking to the young girl and will help her on her mission.
We all know the story of Luke Skywalker and the legendary Jedi and rebels who fought to keep the universe safe but what about the other Rebel Alliance fighters who were doing their all to protect their freedom? Jyn Erso has never been one to stick to the rules; she's been alone since her teens and doesn't require the protection of others to make her own way. A member of the rebellion who likes to rebel from all authority on both sides of the war.
She has unlimited gumption and a fierce attitude which attracts her to the leaders of her rebel unit. Jyn is ordered to locate and bring back important data on a new deadly weapon that the Galactic Empire is building and beginning to test. The Dark Star is the Empire's new planet destroyer and its secrets are closely guarded by Darth Vader and his legions of fighters all willing to lose their lives in a bid to keep the Empire the ruling force.
Jyn and her small team of fighters set out on a mission that they know they're likely not to return from. The rewards outweigh the risks and Jyn must retrieve the plans before it's too late.
An entertaining film about sobering true events, this is the story of notorious screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, who defied McCarthy's communist witch-hunt hearings in the late-1940s and was blacklisted by Hollywood for more than a decade. As written by John McNamara and directed by Jay Roach, the film is bright, funny and emotionally resonant, clearly simplified to make it more involving. And with such a terrific cast on board, it's both revealing and a lot of fun.
In 1947, Dalton (Bryan Cranston) is the film industry's top-paid screenwriter, so of course Senator McCarthy's House Un-American Activities Commission goes after him about his rumoured links to the communist party during the war. But he and nine fellow writers refuse to testify, so they're imprisoned for contempt, denied work by the Hollywood studios and targeted personally by the powerful gossip columnist Hedda Hopper (Helen Mirren). To survive, Dalton begins writing under a series of pseudonyms for the B-movie producer Frank King (John Goodman), creating a script factory in his home with the help of his wife Cleo (Diane Lane) and daughter Niki (Elle Fanning). Two of these screenplays win Oscars, and it isn't until Dalton begins writing Spartacus in 1960 that actor Kirk Douglas (Dean O'Gorman) breaks the studio blacklist.
Roach directs this story in a sunny, snappy way that includes lots of smart wordplay and a clear sense of the us-or-them mentality that has defined America since the Cold War. People need a villain to hiss at, so anyone with even a passing connection to communism will do. And Mirren hisses better than most. Her performance is riotously funny and relentlessly nasty at the same time. More textured characters include Louis C.K. as a fellow writer and Michael Stuhlbarg as conflicted actor Edward G. Robinson. All of the actors are excellent, anchored by Cranston's wonderfully prickly Oscar-nominated turn as a bullheaded man who hilariously seizes every opportunity to make an inspiring speech.
Continue reading: Trumbo Review
42 is the true to life story of Jackie Robinson and his rise to the top as one of America's best and most respected Baseball players and the manager of Brooklyn Dodgers, Branch Rickey, who decided to end racial segregation by enlisting Robinson onto his team.
In 1947, Branch Rickey controversially made a name for himself when he signed Jackie Robinson to the Brooklyn Dodgers. At the time, this kind of behaviour was unheard of, and both Robinson and Rickey were sure to cause problems for themselves - both on and off the pitch. Racism was rife between player on every team including the Dodgers and Robinson's transition was one of the most courageous of its time.
Continue: 42 Trailer
The trailer for Brian Helgelald’s 42 was released this Thursday, and while the film isn’t getting a lot of hype yet, it looks... cool.
It looks like classic award bait, to be honest. The story of Jackie Robinson, the first black player in Major League Baseball, hits at a trifecta of notorious award winning genres of film – the inspirational sports flick, the historical drama and let’s not forget the exploration into race relations. Add to that a killer cast, featuring Hollywood hopeful Chadwick Boseman in the leading role, as well as Alan Tudyk, Christopher Meloni and Harrison Ford (seriously). Expectations for this one are high and rightly so.
Naturally, the story of Robinson is one of struggles and overcoming adversity, as critics so often like to describe things. As you may imagine, in a time and place overripe with stereotypes and judgement, Jackie Robinson wasn’t exactly welcome, but he did pave the way for others after him. So, historically accurate or not, the film will certainly cash in on the drama of the story. It may be a bit too early to start the buzz around 42, however, since the flick actually won’t be coming out until April this year. Anyway, when it does come out, this will probably be one to look out for.
Continue reading: 42 Will Cover All The Bases Of Award Success
As a boy, Abraham Lincoln learns from his father, Thomas, that vampires are real. Worse still, it was vampires that took the life of Abe's mother, Nancy, rather than 'milk sickness' as he previously believed. The news, understandably, shocks Abraham, who vows to avenge his mother and hunt down and kill vampires.
Continue: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter Trailer
In recent times Kate and Bill's marriage has been a little fragile. Both are committed to their jobs and their 18 year old son, Sam, is spending less and less time in the family home; the Carroll's aren't the family they once were. When Bill and Kate wake up one morning to hear on the news that someone at their son's college has gone on a shooting rampage, they fear for the safety of their son. With the campus on lock down, the only thing they can do is try and call Sam and check everything is OK, as they wait for confirmation of their sons safety, they are greeted by a knock at the door. Not only was Sam killed, he was the one who took the lives of seventeen people.
Continue: Beautiful Boy Trailer
When man first landed on the moon over 40 years ago, their journey was well documented and broadcast on the TV around the world, what we weren't to know was the details of a secret mission the astronauts carried out on the 'dark side of the moon'. What they discovered was beyond their belief, evidence that we're not alone in the universe.
Continue: Transformers 3: Dark Of The Moon Trailer
On the heels of 2005's blockbuster The 40-Year-Old Virgin, writer/director Judd Apatow again mines hilarity from the relatably human in a comedy about a one-night stand with unexpected consequences: Knocked Up. Katherine Heigl (Grey's Anatomy, Roswell) joins Virgin alums Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann for a comic look about the best thing that will ever ruin your best-laid plans: parenthood.
Continue: Knocked Up Trailer
By now you've heard about the concept of "A Knight's Tale" and had the time to become justifiably dubious. A 14th Century jousting adventure set to the tune of guitar rock stadium anthems? How could that possibly be anything short of laughable?
The answer is -- well, I don't know exactly. But when, five minutes into the movie, a crowd of peasants at a jousting tournament starts stomping feet in time and bellowing "We will/We will/Rock You!" (and soon thereafter do "the wave"), I defy you not to grin an aw-what-the-heck grin and go along for the ride.
The story itself isn't much more than a dressed-up, time-warped sports underdog yarn, in which the lowborn hero ("The Patriot's" jaunty Heath Ledger) poses as a knight (only those of noble birth are allowed to compete) and becomes the toast of the jousting world. But in the hands of writer-director Brian Helgeland (who helmed "Payback" and co-wrote "L.A. Confidential"), the movie's cliché-spawn chassis is merely a jumping-off point for a jocular, undeflatable, high energy theme-park ride of action, wisecracks and romance.
Continue reading: A Knight's Tale Review
Director Betty Thomas' name in the opening credits of "28 Days" came as a big relief leading in to what looked like a soft-pedaled, politically corrected comedy about a happy-go-unlucky drunk -- played by button-cute Sandra Bullock -- wise-cracking her way through rehab.
It was reassuring to see that the woman holding the reins was a filmmaker who certainly knows how to turn a sow's ear into a silk purse. I mean, if she could make Howard Stern not only presentable but borderline sentimental (and without a hint of saccharine whitewash) in "Private Parts," surely a touchy subject like alcoholism is safe in her hands.
And so it is. Striking a sure-footed balance between its addiction woe and impudent humor, Thomas isn't afraid to scoff at twelve-steppers and include jests of questionable taste while still pulling off a story of a woman's difficult personal journey toward sobriety.
Continue reading: 28 Days Review
Can somebody please stop Ben Stiller?
Since becoming a box-office draw with "There's Something About Mary," the guy has been a horrendous ham, devouring scenery with an eye-bugging, eyebrow-stitching schtick so stale and predictable that his last dozen movies have all included the same gag: slow-motion scenes of Stiller madly mugging while dancing, or running, or playing the titular game of schoolyard pain and humiliation in "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story."
The only variation in his on-screen persona is that sometimes he's an irritatingly neurotic, hapless chump ("Along Came Polly," "Envy," "Meet the Parents") and other times he's an irritatingly arrogant, mock-sexy-pouting, self-obsessed moron ("Starsky & Hutch," "Zoolander").
Continue reading: Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story Review
With the tagline "A Star Wars Story", this first spin-off from the saga isn't actually...
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is a standalone Star Wars film which acts as...
In a clear echo of Frozen, this Disney animated adventure centres on a fiercely independent...
The Galaxy is on the brink of a major war being won by dangerous rulers...
Moana has spent her life travelling with her family is on the vast blue waters...
We all know the story of Luke Skywalker and the legendary Jedi and rebels who...
The filmmakers behind Tangled and Wreck-it Ralph join forces for this entertaining animated action comedy,...
An entertaining film about sobering true events, this is the story of notorious screenwriter Dalton...
14-year-old Auli'i Cravalho from Oahu, Hawaii opens up about being cast in her first ever...
'Dalton Trumbo had gone from novelist to a successful career as a Hollywood screenwriter which...
Oprah obsessed Alice Klieg suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder which causes her to be socially...