After the death of his father, Brian, Kathy and their son Jake move into a building they inherited. The building is already inhabited by Leonor and her son Jake who rent the shop at the front and the apartment at the back. Jake and Tony soon become friends, they're both into different things but they bond nevertheless.
Jake has always been a bit of a loner and his mum and dad are both glad that Jake finally seems to have a good friend. Each person in the building has their own personal struggles, Leonor's business is quiet and lives apart from her husband whilst Kathy is the main provider for the Jardine family - Brian is a struggling stage actor whose wage doesn't go far enough to cover the family's finances.
When the Jardine's learn that Leonor's rent is considerably under the average amount for the neighbourhood, they feel they have no other option but to increase the amount she pays. Leonor pleas for the Jardine's to be a little sympathetic to their cause and initially Brian allows her to continue renting the property but when his sister intervenes, he's left with no option but to evict Leonor and Jake.
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It's rare for an American remake to be scruffier than the original, but this film is an intriguingly messier take on the super-slick, hugely engaging 2009 Oscar winner from Argentina. Filmmaker Billy Ray (Captain Phillips) has stripped down the tone and revamped the plot considerably, replacing the original film's big emotional surges with grittier intrigue and subtle intelligence.
The story begins as New York security expert Ray (Chiwetel Ejiofor) returns to Los Angeles, picking up the trail of an unsolved murder he worked on 13 years earlier when he was an FBI agent. His former colleague Jess (Julia Roberts) is still in the FBI, while Claire (Nicole Kidman) is now the city's district attorney. Together, they secretly begin looking into the case again, tracking the suspect (Joe Cole) through the city and dodging interference from fellow agent Reg (Michael Kelly). But the investigation doesn't go as planned, jeopardising all of them in their current jobs. And Ray is having trouble sorting out his relational history with both Jess and Claire.
These three fine actors cleverly play with the delicate tensions both between them and in the larger picture. At the centre, Ejiofor is gripping as a man of conscience who is tenaciously hoping for justice in a seriously murky situation. Kidman adds a slightly cheeky tone as a woman who has achieved professional success but never forgets the dodgy choices she has made. And Roberts gets the showier role, losing all of her Hollywood glamour as the tomboyish Jess, a woman with layer after layer of emotional turmoil. The chemistry between them is fascinating, even if the filmmaking approach feels dry and aloof. But there's so much going on in both the story and characters that it's impossible to look away. Nothing that happens is quite what it seems to be, and the big ideas linger in the background, leaving plenty for us to chew on.
Continue reading: Secret In Their Eyes Review
Being over 40 and a female journalist in the city means you don't necessarily get the good projects to work on. Kim Barker is just one of those women and she's in need of a new dose of... something. Her relationship is static and her life hasn't exactly become the success story she hoped it would.
When her news organisation is looking for some new field reporters, Kim decides that it might be the chance she's looking for. Sure, the new job might be based in Kabul, but it's got to be better than what she's got. Arriving in the foreign land, she's sent to 'the fun house', a name given to the building where all the foreign journalists live. Learning how to report from two countries and moving back and forth with armed escorts soon becomes the norm for Kim and she develops a an affection for a country most would be wanting to distance themselves from.
As well as reporting - often menial - stories, Kim quickly becomes absorbed in the local way life as well as finding a few new friends also living in the fun house. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is based on Kim Barker's memoir The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
After living together for 39 years, Ben (John Lithgow) and George (Alfred Molina) are able to get married to one another. As George works as a music teacher for a Catholic school, the news of his same-sex marriage causes him to lose his job, and with Ben receiving a pension, the couple are forced to live off the small amount of money. When they are forced to seek a place to live with their friends and family, they are forced to live separately with different families. In their new life, they discover the true meaning of love and friendship, and teach a little to those around them in the process.
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Love is Strange sees Ben and George stuck with nowhere to live
The result: Ben and George must find a new place to live, but the gentrification of New York has seen the housing market become tremendously difficult to navigate, meaning the newlyweds have to shack up with friends, surviving off George’s private piano lessons and Ben’s pension.
Nathan Harper is a popular kid, he's on the school wrestling team and like most teenagers, knows how to party but he's also always had a feeling of doubt in his life, just something in the background telling him something wasn't right. Delving a little deeper into his past, Nathan discovers a childhood photo of him posted on a missing persons website.
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For over 12 years Prospera and her daughter Miranda have been exiled by Prospera's brother to a baron island where they live a life of solitude accompanied only by spirits and one non-spiritual occupant; Caliban, the son of a witch who died just before the arrival of the two human souls.
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One of Merlin's apprentices, Balthazar (Cage), has been searching for Merlin's heir for nearly three thousand years, finally locating him in New York City in physics geek Dave (Baruchel). Doubtful but intrigued, Dave learns that Balthazar's ex-colleague Horvath (Molina) is determined to resurrect the evil Morgana (Krige) to destroy humanity. But Dave is badly preoccupied by the fact that the girl (Palmer) he has loved since age 9 is suddenly showing him some interest. Can't this world-saving business wait?
Continue reading: The Sorcerer's Apprentice Review
Rango is a chameleon who isn't particularly content living the life of the general chameleon, he sees himself as more of a hero figure, striving to protect those who need him; but when he finds himself in a western town called Dirt, Rango must start playing the role he's always dreamt of fulfilling, but once he's faced by bandits will he be able to keep up the charade?
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Jenny (Carey Mulligan - Public Enemies) is a schoolgirl with very high hopes in a considerably bleak post war Britain. Her thoughts of a place at Oxford University are fuel to her 'study-intensive' life as she forever tries to excel. Until just a short time before her 17th birthday she meets David (Peter Sarsgaard- Jarhead) who is considerably older than her, and she soon finds herself in the middle of a whirlwind romance.
Enticed by the lifestyle that it seems David can offer her, her dreams of Oxford start to slowly dissipate as the idea of an easy life becomes her new fascination. But as she makes the transition from enthusiastic schoolgirl to a lady of sophistication, she starts to question David, herself and the path in life she has chosen to take.
Directed by Lone Sherfig (Hjemve) and with a screenplay from Nick Hornby (Fever Pitch, About A Boy), and featuring a performance from Academy award winner Emma Thompson, the film received great critical acclaim when it premiered at this year's Sundance Film Festival.
Cast: Peter Sarsgaard, Carey Mulligan, Alfred Molina, Dominic Cooper, Rosamund Pike, Olivia Williams and Emma Thompson.
Screenplay: Nick Hornby.
Director: Lone Sherfig.
Richard Gere, perfectly cast, plays Clifford Irving, a down-and-out writer who in 1971 wrote (and nearly got published) a fake biography of Howard Hughes. Desperate to jump-start his career, Irving duped his editor Andrea Tate (Hope Davis) and the top dogs at McGraw-Hill into believing he was not only a friend of Hughes, the notorious recluse, but that the billionaire had tapped Irving to write his life story. Smelling a publishing sensation, McGraw-Hill offered Irving a then-record publishing deal, and the writer suddenly found himself the crown prince of the publishing world.
Continue reading: The Hoax Review
Frida Kahlo's (Salma Hayek) first meeting with Diego Rivera (Alfred Molina) and her injury in a horrible bus accident set in motion the two major forces behind Frida. Bedridden for months in a full-body cast, the young Frida keeps herself busy--and learns to express her internal passions and pain--through drawing and painting. Falling in with the womanizing Rivera and his bohemian cadre of artists and revolutionaries deepens Frida's commitment to her painting and life with the loyal but philandering muralist. Their art carries them from Mexico to New York and back in the company of such impressive historical figures as David Alfaro Siqueiros (Antonio Banderas), Nelson Rockefeller (Ed Norton), and Leon Trotsky (Geoffery Rush).
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Jarmusch enlists a diverse cast of indie stars and former colleagues for this modest ensemble, but his uncharacteristically wheezy writing frequently undermines the film's wry humor. Cate Blanchett, in a dual performance, plays an arrogant version of herself as well as her skuzzy, jealous cousin, but the piece's portrait of jealousy and resentment loses steam after you become accustomed to seeing the actress talk to herself. Similarly, The White Stripes' Meg and Jack White provide a brief lesson on inventor Nikola Tesla's Tesla Coil, but save for the creepy, Mao Tse-tung-inspired portrait of Lee Marvin hanging on the wall behind them, the skit is nothing more than an overly long non sequitur. And even a brief appearance by Steve Buscemi can't rescue an insipid bit about two argumentative African-American twins talking racial politics in a Memphis diner.
Continue reading: Coffee And Cigarettes Review
When the titular meteor (though it's the size of a footlocker it only leaves a 15-foot crate) lands in the backyard of a 12-year-old Irish laddie named Mickey, he presumes it was sent from heaven by his dead parents. Well, why not? Among his crazy grandmother (Brenda Fricker playing that matronly character once again), his unofficial godfather/drug addict/mob man pal Pete (Myers), and the wealthy scientist (Alfred Molina) who is given custody of the meteor by the government, Mickey's got a pretty messed up family life already. Parents speaking to him from beyond the grave sounds almost normal.
Continue reading: Pete's Meteor Review
Set against the idyllic backdrop of a quaint puritanical village in the French countryside, mysterious Vianne (Juliette Binoche) and her daughter, dressed in identical Red Riding Hood outfits, literally blow into town "on the North Wind." Within days, the duo brazenly opens a magical chocolaterie across the street -- gasp -- from the church, and on the first week of Lent, no less. Vianne -- who comes off as a 50's-era Erin Brockovich sporting low-cut tops and bright red stilettos -- is turning the townsfolk on to her sweets, which a la Pleasantville miraculously inspire increased sex drives, feminist awakenings, familial reconciliation and even criminal rehabilitation. Soon, the town's prudish mayor launches a campaign to drive the sin-inducing shop out of business.
Continue reading: Chocolat Review
Most movies about the lives of famous artists never provide a true sense of what drove the person's creativity. Even in a strongly acted, strongly directed biopic like 2000's "Pollock," for example, the closest it came to explaining why heavily splattered canvases were a breakthrough in modern art was when the painter's wife cryptically proclaimed, "You've done it, Pollock! You've cracked it wide open!"
But in "Frida," a transporting cinematic experience about the life and work of Mexican surrealist Frida Kahlo, director Julie Taymor captures the very essence of Kahlo's creative process through a wondrously rich, freeform visual language that fuses the events of her life with the imagery in her paintings so vividly that the artist's work may take on a striking new significance for anyone who sees the film.
Passionately played by Salma Hayek, who has been personally shepherding this project for seven years, Kahlo comes to life in this picture as a complicated, dynamic, proud and intelligent woman whose frequent hardships informed her art. Opening when she was a plucky high school girl (36-year-old Hayek passes for 16 with remarkable ease), Frida is established as a young woman with a spicy individuality even before the 1925 bus wreck that irreversibly altered her life.
Continue reading: Frida Review
The essence of Jay Ward's delightfully dolt-driven cartoons like "Rocky and Bullwinkle," "George of the Jungle" and "Dudley Do-Right" was always a resourceful, goofball mix of silliness, self-cognizance and good, dumb laughs -- a combination that might seem difficult to duplicate outside the medium of deliberately dorky animation.
But two years ago, the balance was mimicked surprisingly well in the live-action "George of the Jungle," with a perfectly cast, pratfall-proficient Brendan Fraser in the title role. But that balance is conspicuously absent as Fraser tries to fill the clumsy shoes of another Jay Ward character -- his vapid but lovable, lantern-jawed Canadian Mountie -- in the almost completely giggle-free "Dudley Do-Right."
Not only does the dilly dorkiness turn to idiocy, which in turn runs rings around the infrequent laughs, but just about the only engaging moment in the entire movie isn't even a sight gag or a goof. It's a completely serious stunt.
Continue reading: Dudley Do-Right Review
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