Yuri is an artist living in Ukrainian Cossack family in the early 1930s. All seems well in the land; the people are free, well-fed - and Yuri himself has fallen in love with the beautiful Natalka whom he has known since he was a child. However, their lives are about to change forever with the new communist regime of Soviet Union leader Joseph Stalin. Millions of people in agricultural areas of the USSR are left to starve to death as their harvest is confiscated by a ruthless government. It's a famine known as Holodomor which lasted between 1932 and 1933, and even when farmers try to move to more affluent areas, their travel is impeded by more official regulations. Together the people of Ukraine must band together to take back their country and their crops, and bring this cruel starvation episode to an end.
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Word has it that a 4-year-old came up with the idea for this unapologetically silly action movie. And it's a proper guilty pleasure. From the director of Ice Age, it never takes itself seriously, so disarms even the grouchiest members of the audience with its energetic mayhem and characters. It's very childish, and sometimes rather too cute, but it's also a lot of fun.
In rural North Dakota, an oil drilling company has unearthed something from deep underground. And it's teenage loner Tripp (Lucas Till) who discovers a huge octopus-type creature that turns out to be friendly, intelligent and rather adorable. It immediately takes refuge in the empty engine cavity of the truck Tripp is building, and it provides more power than Tripp imagined. All of which drags Tripp's popular-girl lab partner Meredith (Jane Levy) into the adventure as the oil company boss (Rob Lowe) sends his henchman (Holt McCallany) to find and dispose of the creature before the environmental officials can shut him down. But his chief scientist Bill (Thomas Lennon) is having doubts about killing the two endearing monsters they've already captured.
Yes, it sounds like a premise a 4-year-old might come up with, mixed with an ecological message for our times and some surprisingly impressive digital effects. The script breezes through all of this, as the cast and crew blithely charge forward through a series of laughably entertaining action set-pieces. It's never terribly thrilling, but the scenes are so good-natured that they keep us smiling. Till and Levy are charming heroes, and their strong chemistry is thankfully allowed to simmer in the background. Pepper is initially the film's antagonist as Tripp's harsh sheriff stepdad, but he hands over these reins to an enjoyably evil Lowe. And Lennon provides some nice moments of comic relief as the sensitive scientist won over by these blobby beasts.
Continue reading: Monster Trucks Review
Tripp doesn't like the small town life that's currently encapsulating his life. He's a senior in high school and can't wait to make a break for a fresh start as soon as possible. Tripp is a great mechanic and starts building his own monster truck but what happens next was beyond belief for the student.
As Tripp works on his car, he discovers a monster living inside his car. Initially scared of the oddity, the human eventually warms to his unlikely new friend and realises that he must've come to the surface after a recent oil drilling accident.
Tripp calls the monster Creatch and notes that he's incredibly intelligent and loves dining on large quantities of fuel. With hunters hot on the heels of Creatch, Tripp must devise a way to protect his new friend.
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While this thriller plays with themes of political ethics and ambition, it merely lets them simmer in the background. Director Hughes is clearly much more interested in macho posturing and the convoluted scandal-based plot, so he lets the cast members merrily chomp on the scenery but neglects to give us anything that engages our brains.
The broken city of the title is New York, where Mayor Hostetler (Crowe) covered up a shooting involving cop Billy (Walhberg) to protect himself seven years ago. Acquitted but disgraced, Billy is now working as a low-rent private detective when the mayor calls in a favour. He hires Billy to find out who his wife (Zeta-Jones) is having an affair with before it derails his re-election campaign against the passionate rising-star Valliant (Pepper). It doesn't take Billy long to get the incriminating photos, but clearly there's something much bigger at stake here, so he continues to investigate the situation, which uncovers such high-reaching corruption that Billy's life is in danger.
Demonstrating how little the film cares about its characters, Billy's long-time girlfriend (Martinez) is dispatched suddenly after a series of arguments during which she refuses to put up with his boorish, chauvinistic stupidity. Why she stuck with him this long is the real question. But this and other eccentric relationships in the plot are much more interesting than the dull property-development boondoggle that Hughes instead decided to focus on. The problem is that this leaves Wahlberg with the only remotely complex character, an intriguing mess of a man who overreacts wildly to everything and yet seems to want to do the right thing.
Continue reading: Broken City Review
When a young man named Jason accidentally and unwittingly gets caught up in drug dealing with a gang, he faces a mandatory minimum sentence of up to 10 years after being wrongly arrested for the crime. His father is a strong believer of his innocence and will do everything in his power to have his son let off. He visits a lawyer who says that he can be granted his liberty if he acts as an informant in the gang and help the police make arrests. However, Jason is too frightened after his ordeal and his father asks instead if he can be the one to go undercover. He does so and uses his construction business to find a manual labourer who may have contacts to the criminal world and be able to offer him an introduction. With the offer of help, he is soon ranked highly in the mob which increases his chances of collecting information, but puts his own life and the lives of his wife and young child at immense risk. Just how far will he go to protect his son from wrongful imprisonment?
'Snitch' is based on the PBS Frontline documentary of the same name which details the increase in the use of informants to reduce prison sentences. It has been directed by Ric Roman Waugh ('In the Shadows', 'Felon') who co-wrote it with Justin Haythe ('The Clearing', 'Revolutionary Road') and is set for release on February 22nd 2013.
Director: Ric Roman Waugh
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Billy Taggart is a less than perfect former police officer who is hired by the newly elected mayor of New York City, Nicholas Hostetler, to investigate his wife Emily Barlow's infidelity and find out exactly who she is romantically involved with. When he manages to acquire photographic evidence after following Barlow for Hostetler, he realises that this is a whole bigger thing and Taggart finds himself stuck in a position he can't get out of, where the mayor plans to discredit him in a major set up upon discovering a few smudges on his police record which could be potential harmful to him. However, it seems that the mayor has chosen the wrong cop to pick on as the unrelenting Taggart will stop at nothing to achieve justice and expose Hostetler as the corrupt politician he is.
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John Reid is the Lone Ranger; a law-abiding man of justice from Texas who resolutely wears his mask and disguise at all times and vows to fight crime and keep the peace in his town. Battling alongside him is his trusted Native American companion Tonto, a painted spirit warrior and the complete opposite of Reid but, nonetheless, they make the perfect crime-fighting duo as they set out to conquer the theft and corruption that threaten the harmony of the people.
'The Lone Ranger' is the Walt Disney Pictures adaption of the legendary Western tales that started out on the radio in the 1930s before hitting TV screens in the 50s. It's a stunning modern take on the stories combining serious action with hilarity, with wonderful character development and the heart-warming partnership of Tonto and his 'kemosabe'. It was only right that Oscar winning big budget director Gore Verbinski returned to Walt Disney to work on the movie, having previously worked on Disney's popular film series 'Pirates of the Caribbean'. The screenwriters included those who wrote the modern story of another masked hero on 'The Mask of Zorro' Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, along with Justin Haythe ('The Clearing', 'Revolutionary Road'). The movie will hit cinemas in the UK on August 9th 2013.
Starring: Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, William Fichtner, Ruth Wilson, James Badge Dale, Tom Wilkinson, Barry Pepper, Helena Bonham Carter, Mason Cook, James Frain, Harry Treadaway, Matt O'Leary, W. Earl Brown, Leon Rippy, Timothy V. Murphy, Joaquin Cosio, Damon Herriman and Robert Baker
Armie Hammer brought the Lone Ranger teaser trailer with him last night, as he made time in his busy schedule for an appearance on The Tonight Show, reports E! Online.
Looking dapper, sitting alongside Jay Leno in a bespoke grey suit, Hammer, who plays the titular peacekeeper alongside Johnny Depp, spoke of his time on set for the film: "I showed up on set and I said 'ok great we are gonna do the things with the scorpions right' and Gore [the director] was like 'I think we have to rework that.," he laughed, adding: "We were rehearsing with the dummy and the horse bit the dummy's nose off." More importantly, though, a teaser trailer for the new film accompanied his presence, and it didn't disappoint. We saw Western gunslingers, chugging steam trains and of course, the mercurial Depp looking suitably quirky in his Tonto attire. We've also been treated to a moody poster for the film recently, which sees the lone ranger's eyes in a rough depiction of the iconic black eye mask.
Continue reading: Lone Ranger: Armie Hammer Sparks Trailer Alert!
True Grit is a 1968 Western book by author Charles Portis, Ethan & Joel Coen now lend the story and re-work it into a film adaptation. They are not the first directors to turn this book into a film as it was also attempted by Henry Hathaway in 1969 and starred John Wayne.
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That's Seven Pounds in a nutshell, and it sounds more like Saw 6 than a holiday drama reuniting Pursuit of Happyness director Gabriele Muccino with Will Smith. But unlike Happyness, the feel-good movie of 2006, Seven Pounds is just the opposite -- a feel-bad movie -- and its unpleasant aftertaste lingers in your mouth for days. After watching this depression-inducing saga of sadness, you'll need a Zoloft prescription.
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We Were Soldiers is based on the book We Were Soldiers Once...And Young written by Lieutenant Colonel Harold Moore and Joseph L. Galloway, the only journalist willing to go into the front lines to capture a first hand account of the war. In the film, Mel Gibson plays Harold Moore, a down-to-earth officer who is responsible for leading a group of innocent, naive young men into the area of Vietnam known as "The Valley of Death." But not soon after Lt. Col. Moore and his troops touch down, their position is compromised and they find themselves outnumbered almost 5 to 1. The American soldiers engage in a deadly battle for control of the area.
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Neither tearjerker nor suspenseful crime drama, 25th Hour is extraordinary in that it avoids all the clichés that such a premise so often invites. It is instead a carefully focused character study about a charismatic but condemned man who must come to grips with his sentence before morning. Edward Norton plays Montgomery Brogan, the felon in question. He spends his last free hours visiting his father (Brian Cox) and attending a going away party in his honor at a New York nightclub. In tow are his girlfriend (Rosario Dawson) and his two childhood pals, Frank (Barry Pepper) and Jakob (Philip Seymour Hoffman) -- the latter of which is so perfectly cast that you can't help but chuckle the first time you see Hoffman give his usual dyspeptic sneer, signaling that he is disgusted not only with his high school English students but essentially the entire outcome of his life.
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If 1950s sci-fi schlockmeister Ed Wood could have gotten his hands on $60 million and CGI special effects, he might have made a movie as hilariously gawdawful as "Battlefield Earth."
Seriously on par with Wood's infamous "Plan 9 from Outer Space" as one of the worst motion picture in science fiction history, this bloated, brain-dead, narcissistic, almost completely nonsensical cinematic disaster is likely to make anyone with any kind of summer movie standards long for the return of movie-mocking Comedy Central series "Mystery Science Theater 3000."
A man-vs.-monster parable about an enslaved human race rebelling against their alien masters a millennium after being nuked back to the Stone Age, almost every scene features such bad writing, bad acting and absurdly implausible circumstances that it just begs to be viciously ripped apart.
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"The Green Mile" begins with a little deja vu. Like Tom Hanks' last mid-Century, Oscar-baiting drama, "Saving Private Ryan," it's bookended by a modern framework that finds an old man reluctantly reminiscing about a difficult year of his life, more than half a century ago.
Because of the familiar faces and the similar prestige posturing, this platitudinous structure invites a little eye-rolling as Dabbs Greer (Reverend Alden on "Little House On the Prairie"), playing the aged Hanks, begins to spin what becomes an engrossing three-hour yarn about a year of extraordinary horrors and miracles on death row in a Louisiana state penitentiary.
Hanks plays prison guard Paul Edgecomb, an unjaded joe in charge of death row who treats people on both sides of the bars with humanity and civility. Set in 1935, the central story opens with the arrival of a kindly colossus of a condemned killer named John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan).
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In a reasonably fresh twist on the organized-crime genre, "Knockaround Guys" is a post-Tarantino-styled slick flick about a quartet of pampered gangsters' sons trying to prove their worth as wiseguys.
"To regular people we're stone f**ing goombahs," gripes sharp-dressed 20-something tough Matty Demaret (Barry Pepper), who has recently given up his dream of going legit as a sports agent because his last name scares the bejesus out of potential employers. "But to knockaround guys, to our fathers, we're nothing but errand boys."
Now Matty's plan for his crew to earn some respect within the mob has gone horribly haywire. Entrusted to deliver $500,000 cross-country, Matty enlists a paranoid, recovering cokehead buddy called Johnny Marbles (Seth Green) because he flies a small plane and can make the trip in a day or two. But while refueling at remote Wibaux, Montana airport, Marbles panics when eyed by the local law and lets the bag of money out of his sight.
Continue reading: Knockaround Guys Review
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