Writer-director Marc Abraham gets ambitious with this biopic about iconic country music star Hank Williams, but the film is far too choppy to provide much insight. Leaping through the decades without much context, the film never explores what made Williams such an important artist, so it's difficult to understand the impact of his tragic death at just 29. That said, Tom Hiddleston shines in the role.
Cutting around in time, the film shows Hank (Hiddleston) as a young man with a singular vision: he's determined to perform at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. His young wife Audrey (Elizabeth Olsen) and his mother Lillie (Cherry Jones) argue about who will control his career, but Hank just gets on with it, relying on help from music publisher Fred Rose (Bradley Whitford). Finally at 26 he gets his first No 1 single, and lands a spot at the Opry, becoming a fast-rising superstar. But the chronic back pain he has suffered since childhood leads him into alcohol and drug abuse, which of course begins to take a toll on his career as well as his friendships, marriage and health.
The film skips around Williams' life, moving on to the next scene before this one seems quite finished. This means that the story is never able to build up any momentum, and also that each fragmented period of time feels under-explained. And the people around Williams appear and disappear at random, so the actors never get any traction in their roles. Hiddleston does find moments of resonance, simply because he's in every scene in the film and establishes a bit of rapport with the audience. It's also astonishing that he performs the songs himself. But Abrahams's approach to storytelling never offers any insight into Williams' fame, talents or personal life.
Continue reading: I Saw The Light Review
That generic title obscures a surprisingly complex exploration of the real-life events surrounding the fall of iconic American newscaster Dan Rather in 2004. And while the film's script is rather talky (it's like Aaron Sorkin's The Newsroom crossed with George Clooney's Good Night and Good Luck), it's strongly made point is too important to ignore. And it features yet another storming, intelligent performance from Cate Blanchett.
She plays Mary Mapes, a producer at the classic CBS news programme 60 Minutes, who just a few months before the 2004 presidential election is working on a story about incumbent George W. Bush's shady National Guard service during the Vietnam War. She has an ace team of investigators (including Topher Grace, Dennis Quaid and Elisabeth Moss), plus the nation's top news anchor Rather (Robert Redford). But after the story airs, Mary is attacked with questions about the authenticity of a series of memos that trace irregularities in Bush's service record. Her boss (Bruce Greenwood) applies plenty of pressure as the controversy gains more traction than the story itself. And the media storm that follows catches everyone by surprise.
This account is based on Mapes' own memoir about these events, which gives the film a personal, as opposed to journalistic, tone. It hints heavily at both government and corporate efforts to discredit the story, putting Mapes and her entire team in an impossible situation. The film also makes it clear that those memos were indeed real, and that the controversy was actually just misdirection. What brings this to life is the revelatory acting from the ensemble cast, led beautifully by Blanchett, who gives Mary a passion for the truth that's fuelled by her inner demons. And the entire supporting cast adds layers of wit and insight, although Redford kind of relaxes on his easy charm as the engaged, engaging Rather.
Continue reading: Truth Review
Following his deadly ordeal of being put through the Twelve Labours by his father Zeus and his people, all Hercules wants from life is to rest quietly with a loving family. Unfortunately for him, now is not the time for resting as the gods have delivered another bout of chaos to the world. Being well known by all as a man with all the strength of a god, Hercules is forced to lead a battle against a new menace as the King of Thrace gets him and some like minded warriors to band together as the world's most formidable army. They must defeat a powerful rival general as the vicious descendents of Hades infect the land. It's a deadly mission, the minions of hell being immortal and ruthless, and their defeat can only be accomplished by someone with power above the mortal realm.
Continue: Hercules - Extended Trailer
American director Roger Corman is one of the film industry's most influential directors. Born in 1926, he is best known for the numerous low budget B movies which he has directed. Not only is he influential to many of Hollywood's great directors, Corman has also launched the careers of William Shatner; Jack Nicholson and Robert De Niro, to name but a few.
Continue: Corman's World Trailer
In order to make a documentary about the shady world of brand integration in films and television, Spurlock decides to sell his new project to the highest bidders. And discovers that there's a parallel world of public relations, advertising, product specialists and neuro-marketers who make a lot of money doing this. After a slow start, sponsors climb on board, and Spurlock makes sure to keep their products on-screen as he conducts interviews with experts.
But does this compromise his journalistic or artistic integrity?
Continue reading: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold Review
Josh Kovacs has been a resident in Queens for more than ten years; in that time, he has acquired and lived in one of New York City's most secured and lavish apartments. He works for the Wall Street billionaire Arthur Shaw, who just so happens to live above Josh, in a swanky penthouse flat, making him the wealthiest resident there.
One day, Arthur is convicted of stealing two billion dollars from his investors and he is placed under house arrest. The investors he stole from turn out to be Josh and his crew; Arthur has taken their pensions that they entrusted him to manage. Josh is forced to admit that his retirement fund was taken too.
Josh and his crew form a plan to take back their pension fund, which they think is hidden in Arthur's penthouse. They call upon a petty robber, Slide, to help them, who in turn hires his team of amateur thieves, to scout the penthouse. It turns out that the crooks know the layout of that particular apartment, so taking the two billion back should be a cinch, right?
Starring: Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Matthew Broderick, Casey Affleck, Tea Leoni, Michael Pena, Gabourey Sidibe, Alan Alda, Nina Arianda, Judd Hirsch and Marcia Jean Kurtz
When Ben Campbell (Sturgess) learns that Harvard Medical School will cost $300,000 for tuition, room, and board, he sees no possible way of paying the bill. While studying one night, he is approached by Jason Fisher (Jacob Pitts) who invites him into the secret world of Professor Micky Rosa's (Spacey) card-counting club. With an elaborate system of formulas, buzzwords, and signals, Rosa and his students have been hitting Las Vegas on weekends and winning big. They now want Ben to join their clandestine cabal. At first, he says no. But thanks to the seductive sway of juicy Jill Taylor (Bosworth), Ben acquiesces. Soon, he is leading the group toward untold riches -- and the investigative glare of casino security agent Cole Williams (Laurence Fishburne).
Continue reading: 21 Review
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