I’m devastated by the heartbreaking news and footage in Beirut, and send my prayers to the victims and there famili… https://t.co/g03eY9jVnX
Wakanda is one of Africa's biggest nations, it's still a third world country but it's also holder of many secrets. It's former ruler was King T'Chaka, the nation loved their King but he was killed by a bomb explosion, since then his son T'Challa is his rightful heir and leader of the Black Panther tribe.
After returning to his country, T'Challa finds his country of Wakanda fragmented and in disarray; though his people are still loyal to the crown and his lineage, many people have seized the opportunity to take a piece of Wakanda for themselves - one of which T'Challa is all too familiar with.
Klaw is T'Challa's nemesis and is an incredibly intelligent yet despicably evil man who will go to any lengths to take what he thinks is his for the taking. Klaw wishes to take the Wakandan land for his own and is willing to destroy all its citizens if needs be.
Continue: Black Panther Trailer
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.
This sci-fi drama has an enjoyably brain-bending plot that leaves the audience almost stunned with the weight of its themes. It may be fiction, but the film's exploration of the power of language raises fascinating ideas about the human mind. It's also produced to an extremely high standard, with striking effects and sumptuous cinematography and editing. And as played by Amy Adams, the movie also carries a surprising emotional kick.
Adams plays linguistics expert Louise, who is asked by the American government to help decode the language of aliens who occupy gigantic monolithic ships that appear suddenly, floating over various locations around the globe. So she heads to the American site in Montana and begins working with scientist Ian (Jeremy Renner) under the watchful eye of Colonel Weber (Forrest Whitaker). And of course she's taken aback by these seven-legged creatures who communicate with odd tones and swirling symbols. When coordinated efforts with other teams around the world begin to descend into mistrust, everyone stops sharing their data, and the military leaders decide to take matters into their own hands and destroy the ships. But Louise begins to believe she is onto something important, and she tenaciously pursues a course of action that terrifies everyone, including her.
Expertly directed by Denis Villeneuve (Sicario), the film never lapses into sensationalistic action, and it's even more gripping as a result. Several scenes generate goosebumps for their inventive visual flourishes, including the surprising gravitational twists and the face-to-face interaction with two freaky but oddly endearing aliens Louise and Ian name Abbott and Costello. Special effects are seamless, grounding everything that happens as something eerily believable. But the emphasis is on the emotional drama surging within Louise, and the huge implications it has for the entire world.
Continue reading: Arrival 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
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.
Not the most well-received of Broadway openings.
Forest Whitaker has finally made his Broadway debut in Michael Grandage's revival of Eugene O'Neill's 'Hughie'; a safe choice in some ways, given that there's little action involved and it stands at just an hour in length, but a risky endeavour in others because much more depth is expected from a play of such little substance.
Frank Wood and Forest Whitaker star in 'Hughie'
Set in 1928 in a New York hotel lobby, 'Hughie' features just two characters. Whitaker plays a man named Erie Smith who spends the play delivering a number of anecdotes to the uninterested night clerk Charlie Hughes - played by Frank Wood - while grieving over the death of his friend, Hughies predecessor Hughie. Alas, critics have not been too kind about it. While praising his magificent talent as a big screen actor, having appeared in such epics as 'The Butler', 'Platoon' and his Oscar winning 'The Last King of Scotland', it seems Whitaker's acting style doesn't translate as well to the stage.
Continue reading: Forest Whitaker Fails To Engage Critics With His Broadway Debut 'Hughie'
'Taken 3' brings manhunt action to an all time high as Bryan Mills goes on the run.
Liam Neeson is set to return yet again for another spell of breakneck action and a seemingly impossible manhunt in 'Taken 3'; a movie which he claims will be the biggest of the franchise yet as the tables turn on Bryan Mills.
Liam Neeson returns in 'Taken 3'
We thought the Mills family had finally got their happy ending, with Bryan re-united with Lenore (Famke Janssen) and their daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) apparently over her sex-trafficking trauma of the first movie, moving on with her new boyfriend and heading to college. We thought wrong. Unfortunately for Bryan, he didn't kill enough people and now more overseas criminals are out to eradicate his loved ones, and frame him for murder along the way. On the run from the LAPD, the FBI and the CIA while attempting to hunt down the real killer, Mills is facing a bigger challenge than ever.
Continue reading: Liam Neeson Admits Bryan Mills Has Finally Met His Match In 'Taken 3'
The high-powered casts of August: Osage County and American Hustle show off their Oscar red carpet credentials, while Justin Bieber premieres his new doc and we get first glimpses of Nolan's Interstellar and Dawn of the Apes...
Two big premieres this week were more about raising awards-worthy awareness than launching a movie. Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Chris Cooper, Abigail Breslin and Juliette Lewis were all on hand for the August: Osage County premiere in Los Angeles. Meanwhile in New York, Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner were all dressed up for American Hustle. Both films are scooping up awards and nominations at the moment. Watch Bradley Cooper and Christian Bale arrive at 'American Hustle' NY Premiere and here's another video showing Amy Adams as she dazzles on the red carpet.
Justin Bieber won't be chasing awards for his latest behind-the-scenes doc Believe, which held its much-hyped world premiere in Hollywood on Wednesday. He was joined on the red carpet by director Jon M Chu, who also directed two Step Up movies, the last G.I. Joe blockbuster and Bieber's previous doc, 2011's Never Say Never. You can watch the trailer for Justin Bieber: Believe here.
We round up the films you should and should not be seeing.
It’s a big weekend for the UK box office, kicking off tomorrow (Fri Nov 15), when Jude Law’s Don Hemingway, Forest Whitaker’s The Butler, Joseph Gordon Levitt’s Don Jon and Michael Fassbender’s The Counsellor all coming out.
Jude Law, Forest Whitaker, Joseph Gordon Levit and Michael Fassbender are all hoping to dominate the box office this weekend
The fun and frivolity of Cloudy...beat the high drama of Rush and Prisoners.
As expected, predicted and prophesized, the wonderfully strange world of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 enticed enough families to propel it to the top of the weekend box office.
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 proved magical enough.
It didn’t manage to outgun Hotel Transylvania, though, as the animated comedy grabbed $35m - $7.5m less than the spooky flick managed last September.
The Labor Day box office has given us a winner: 'The Butler' sweeps the board but One Direction's 'This Is Us' puts up a strong fight.
The first shaky reports of the Labor Day holiday box office taking couldn't decide whether Lee Daniel's The Butler or Morgan Spurlock's One Direction documentary This Is Us had sold the most movie tickets across the weekend, so neck and neck they were for a while.
Initially, it did look as though the 1D concert documentary would race ahead, with a predicted $21 million in takings. However, the boyband movie performed well, raking in $18 million but not well enough to overtake The Butler's massive earnings of $20 million. Not only did the two films collectively help made this year's Labor Day the highest earning ever, with $156 million, compared to 2007's $148 million, reports THR, but the weekend also helped contribute to a record breaking summer where an incredible $4.7 billion was taken thanks to a wide array of film to entice filmgoers.
One Direction's 'This Is Us' were beaten to the title of Labor Day's most watched movie, but which film "swept" the board.
This year's Labor Day box office takings marked a record year for Hollywood, with an estimated $156 million paid to see movies across the national holiday weekend. One film "steamed" ahead over the weekend to give all other contenders the "brush" off by "sweeping" in $20 million over the four day holiday. Ok, enough of the cleaning puns; if you hadn't guessed, Lee Daniels' The Butler was the highest earning movie of the weekend, advancing its existing domestic earnings to a total of $79.3 million, according to THR.
'The Butler' is turning into a true success story.
Forest Whitaker [L] and Cuba Gooding Jr [R] In 'The Butler
Officially titled Lee Daniels' The Butler owing to a legal battle, the movie stars Forest Whitaker as a long-serving member of the White House team. Despite early Oscars talk, the movie appeared to have taken a knock with several mediocre reviews, though it battled to a box-office win in its first week.
Continue reading: 'The Butler' Serves Up $17 Million Box-Office To Remain No.1
Lee Daniels' 'The Butler' has well and truly cleaned up in its first weekend, having earned $25 million at the box office.
The Butler has outperformed all of its rivals upon its first weekend, having been released on 16th August to much nodding from critics and $25 million (£15.9m) earned. The film showcases an all-star cast, who portray a period of dramatic social upheaval in America, set around the life of the not-entirely-fictional butler, Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker).
A Shot From The Movie Showing The Kennedys Meeting The Whitehouse's Staff.
Gaines serves as a butler in the White House for 34 years and eight presidents and uses his unique position to witness important presidential discussions of national civil rights issues as the historical events play out. The movie charts such landmark events as Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination, the Vietnam war, the Nixon resignation, Obama's presidential campaign and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Gaines' character is based upon the life of Eugene Allen who worked in the White House from 1952 to 1986.
Continue reading: 'The Butler' Gives Competitors The Brush-Off In First Weekend Success
'Lee Daniels' The Butler' has headed to the top of the US Weekend Box Office following its release on Friday (16th). 'Kick-Ass 2', following an onslaught of negative reviews, has achieved 4th place, whilst 'Jobs' has placed at 7th.
Lee Daniels' The Butler has defeated other newcomers Kick-Ass 2 and Jobs in the US Weekend Box Office. The Butler has headed straight to number one whilst Kick-Ass 2 and Jobs have respectively gained 4th and 7th place.
The Butler has made $25 million in its opening weekend and has gained critical praise. The historical epic is inspired by the true story of Cecil Gaines, a black butler who whilst serving at the White House, saw the offices of eight presidents. His life and family form a touchstone for the audience when addressing such historical events as the Civil Rights Movement and the rise of Black Power in the US.
Early reviews of Lee Daniels' The Butler have been mixed. The film is released in the US tomorrow (Friday 16th August).
Lee Daniels' The Butler is released today in US cinemas. Early reviews of the historical drama have been mixed although most suggest the film is definitely worth a watch.
The film has been praised by critics for being "both deeply affecting and blatant Oscar bait", according to Claudia Puig of USA Today. Whilst Joe Morgenstern of the Wall Street Journal wrote in his review "fiction merges with fact, and finally soars."
Continue reading: Lee Daniels' The Butler Is "Deeply Affecting And Oscar Bait"
Critical opinion is favorable to Whitaker and co., but Lee Daniels can't seem to catch a break.
Lee Daniels’ The Butler will only see its US-wide release tomorrow (August 16), but the film, telling the story of a White House butler, who saw eight presidents come and go during his residency, is already being praised across the internet and back.
The Butler might be patchy, but it's not bad, say critics.
For once, everyone seems to agree what’s so great about the film. The story of Cecil Gains is captivating in many ways, not least of all for its portrayal of the civil rights movement, but for Forest Whitaker in the title role, who steals the show.
The Queen of chat has said sorry for letting her allegedly 'racist' experience in Zurich balloon into a huge debacle.
Oprah Winfrey claimed last week that she was the victim of a seemingly racist attack by a store clerk in Switzerland. Nearly ten days ago (5 August), the Queen of chat was speaking with Entertainment Weekly when she recalled a recent experience at an exclusive handbag boutique in Zurich - whose identity she chose not to reveal, although it later turned out to be the glitzy Trois Pommes - which sparked a media frenzy across much of the globe and calls for an explanation from the store clerk and the store manager.
Oprah has since backed down from the racism row
An explanation is exactly what we got too, and it was one that pleaded the store's innocence and that the whole ordeal was a big misunderstanding, something that even Oprah is starting to agree with. Trudie Goetz, the manager of the Zurich boutique, spoke to CNN to say that the entire incident was a "200 percent misunderstanding" and was in no way to do with racism. Similarly, the woman who served Oprah in Trois Pommes and supposedly declined her permission to see a handbag that was being kept behind the counter has also given her side of the story, again saying that there was a misunderstand between the two, which was most likely caused by her poor grasp of English. Speaking to Swiss paper SonntagsBlick, the shop assistant said, "I wasn't sure what I should present to her when she came in on the afternoon of Saturday July 20 so I showed her some bags from the Jennifer Aniston collection. I explained to her the bags came in different sizes and materials, like I always do."
Stallone makes surprising announcements about the third Expendables romp, and we get more details on films about Princess Diana, Steve Jobs and the White House butler. But the Muppets are the Most Wanted...
The big news this week was that Harrison Ford will join the Expendables for their third film adventure. Sylvester Stallone tweeted the announcement, then went on to mention that Bruce Willis won't be around this time, apparently because he asked for too much money. Stallone was also caught on camera poking fun at Arnold Schwarzenegger's "big ego". Before they re-team for the next Expendables movie, they're costarring in the prison-break thriller Escape Plan. Watch Sly talking about Arnie at Comic Con here.
The next big superhero blockbuster will be Thor: The Dark World, and we got a more detailed look at the film in a new trailer this week. Pretty much everyone is back, including Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Idris Elba and Stellan Skarsgard. The movie looks like a huge-scale action adventure with a sense of humour about it. It opens in October. Watch the trailer for Thor: The Dark World here.
Perhaps not Oscars material, but still pretty good.
While The Butler seemed like an early contender for Oscar contention, the early reviews suggest it may have fallen short in some areas. Praised were the performances, especially Forest Whitaker's, but criticized is the depth of this ambitious movie.
Forest Whitaker and Cuba Gooding Jr in The Butler
“Whitaker digs in deep and gives a marvelous under-the-skin performance; he seems to catch the very essence of a man who has spent his whole life trying not to be seen,” say Variety. “A great film about the American civil rights movement is way overdue. The Butler, overwhelmed by flash and good intentions, doesn't even come close,” The Guardian write in their review.
Continue reading: 'The Butler' - Was Oscar Talk A Tad Premature? Reviews Are In!
'500 Days of Summer' star Minka Kelly, singer Fantasia Barrino and model Yaya DaCosta were definitely among the best dressed at the New York premiere 'The Butler'. Minka wore a floor-length, summery style frock and Yaya displayed her pregnancy bump proudly in tight-fitting blue, while Fantasia ditched the gown altogether to don a cropped black sweater and gold pencil skirt.
Lee Daniels' The Butler gathered high profile crowds at Ziegfield Theater this week.
Lee Daniels has earned his reputation as the director of difficult, socially loaded pictures and his latest, The Butler, is no exception to the rule. The film, based on a true story, details the life of Eugene Allen, a butler, who worked in cotton fields, before being employed by the White House for 34 years and serving during several presidential administration. In the script, Allen has been renamed to Cecil Gaines and the number of presidents, as well as some other details, has been changed, but the film still maintains historical accuracy. The film offers an intimate perspective of the dramatic twists of African-American history in the 20th century.
Cecil Gaines is a modest and dedicated butler at the White House who manages to make for himself a respectable career despite his underprivileged upbringing and cotton farm roots. Starting out as a regular kitchen worker, Cecil soon proves himself to be extremely proficient and works his way up to be the head butler for eight different US presidents. Some of them prove to be discriminatory, treating Cecil with little respect and holding massively differing views to him, but he always remains polite and does everything within his power to care for his employers while keeping any top secret information that he might hear firmly to himself. Meanwhile, he struggles at home with his son; a Black Panther with aggressive views on racial equality who is less than grateful to have a father working for the people that he believes are causing racial oppression.
This story of loyalty and unconditional dedication is based on the true story of Eugene Allen; a butler who similarly lived through years of racial inequality before finally seeing, in his retirement, the election of the first black President, Barack Obama. His story was documented in the article 'A Butler Well Served by This Election' written by Wil Haygood. 'The Butler' has been directed by Lee Daniels ('The Paperboy', 'Precious', 'Shadowboxer') and co-written by Danny Strong ('Game Change', 'Recount') and will be released in the US on August 16th 2013.
Russell Baze lives in a rundown, underprivileged neighbourhood where he works full-time at a steelworks while also trying to support his wife and take care of his dying father. His spirits lift, however, at the arrival of his brother Rodney, a soldier, who has finally come home after serving in Iraq. Unfortunately, he brings will him a burden - he's in need of money and has approached a ruthless crime boss in order to get it. They arrange for him to take part in a bare-knuckle boxing match, but when he fails to comply with the winning/losing arrangements he made with his new boss, he suddenly disappears without a trace. Russell goes to the police who are less than helpful and have been unable to find his brother and so he decides to go after the gang himself, determined to seek justice.
This gripping crime thriller has an all-star cast and has been directed by Scott Cooper ('Crazy Heart') who also wrote the screenplay alongside Brad Ingelsby ('The Dynamiter'). It's a story of desperation, justice and loyalty and just how far people would go to save their loved ones. 'Out Of The Furnace' is set to appear on UK cinema screens on November 29th 2013.
Langston Hughes is a street-smart teenager whose life gets complicated when his beloved mother, with whom he lives alone, gets handed an eviction notice from their Baltimore home as the Christmas holidays approach. In a bid to get her life sorted and spare her son as much pain as possible, his mother sends Langston to live with her strait-laced parents, Reverend Cornell and Aretha Cobbs who he has never before had the chance to meet, in Harlem, New York. Things don't get any easier with his grandfather's rules restricting his life and he winds up getting into even more trouble and becomes desperate to return to his mother. However, with a few devoted new friends and help from a guardian angel, this might just turn out to be the best Christmas ever.
Continue: Black Nativity Trailer
The Cannes Festival winds down this weekend with Steven Soderbergh, Alexander Payne and the Coen Brothers all pleasing the critics.
The big global release this week is The Hangover Part III, and the cast has been jetting around the world for premieres in Los Angeles and London, where fans screamed at actors Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms and Ken Jeong as they paraded up the red carpet. The critical response hasn't been quite as positive.
The 66th Cannes Film Festival winds down this weekend in France. Critics are praising new films by Steven Soderbergh (Behind the Candelabra starring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon), Alexander Payne (Nebraska with Bruce Dern) and the Coen Brothers (Inside Llewyn Davis with break-out actor Oscar Isaac). They weren't so thrilled by Ryan Gosling's reunion with Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn for Only God Forgives, although they praised costar Kristin Scott Thomas for going far against type.
'The Butler' boasts a superb supporting cast including Robin Williams, John Cusack, Alan Rickman and Cuba Gooding Jr.
The first trailer for 'Precious' director Lee Daniels' new movie The Butler starring Forest Whitaker has rolled out online. It has always been assumed that Harvey Weinstein believes the film is one of his better chances of tasting Oscars success this season and the trailer certainly appears to confirm that. It stars Whitaker as Eugene Allen, the man who served eight presidents as the White House's head butler. It's over-the-top, patriotic and, well, Oscar bait.
In the mould as The King's Speech and The Iron Lady, the historical biopic is set for release on October 18th - just in time to be wafted under the nose of the Academy. As well as Whitaker returning to a leading role, 'The Butler' boasts one of the more spectacular casts of the year, including Robin Williams (Dwight Eisenhower), John Cusack (Richard Nixon), James Marsden (JFK), Liev Schreiber (Lydon B. Johnson), Alan Rickman (Reagan), Cuba Gooding Jr (Carter Wilson). David Oyelowo (Loius Gaines) and Oprah Winfrey (Gloria Gaines) are among the supporting cast though this one appears to be set up for Whitaker.
Watch 'The Butler' Trailer!
Speaking to Indiewire last year, Daniels hinted that his movie might be a little too focused on awards, "I'm trying to keep it [The Butler] PG13 which is not easy for me. It's very un-Precious and un-Paperboy... I can't go into my bag of tricks on this one [...] I felt like I directed the film in handcuffs and a muzzle," he said.
Continue reading: Forest Whitaker As 'The Butler' Could Be A Recipe For Success [Trailer]
Cecil Gains is a devoted White House butler who grew up on a simple cotton farm where he and other black workers were not treated with any respect by their white counterparts. From a simple kitchen worker, he rises to be top butler to eight different presidents over the course of more than 30 years. Sworn to secrecy over the goings on at the White House, he serves the likes of Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and Lyndon B. Johnson with all the care that he has in spite of their differing policies and the suppression of his race across the country. He rejects his freedom fighter son's distaste at Cecil's job and never once wavers in his respect for his government. He merely stands back, silver platter in hand and watches the progression of racial equality until the day the country's first black president is finally inaugurated.
This is a story about loyalty and commitment based on the article by Wil Haygood, 'A Butler Well Served by This Election', about Eugene Allen; a real butler who showed his devotion to his job over the course of three decades while he and his fellow black civilians went from being the underdogs to top dog as he lives to see the election of President Barack Obama. It has been directed by Lee Daniels ('The Paperboy', 'Precious', 'Shadowboxer') and co-written by Danny Strong ('Game Change', 'Recount'), and has an incredible all-star ensemble cast. 'The Butler' is set to his theatres in the US on August 16th 2013.
The future looks bright for Ryan Coogler's debut feature Fruitvale Station, snapped up by Harvey Weinstein at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year.
Few had even heard of Ryan Coogler's Fruitvale Station before it won the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. It was snapped up by Harvey Weinstein, who has a well-documented knack of taking little known movies from the film festival and turning them into Oscars gold. Will he do the same with this gritty drama? The signs look good.
Watch the Fruitvale Station trailer!
Based on a true story, it stars The Wire's Michael B. Jordan as Oscar Grant, a 22-year-old living in the San Francisco Bay area. As the New Year approaches, he become determines to turn around his life and provide for his girlfriend and 4-year-old daughter. After boarding a particularly crowded Bay Area Rapid Transit train, Oscar manages to get involved in a fight with some old adversaries and when the BART police are called, he is detained along with other passengers at Fruitvale Station. Through a cruel twist of fate, he is accidentally fatally shot in the early hours by a police officer who withdrew his gun rather than his intended taser. Oscar winner Octavia Spencer (The Help) plays Grant's mother, while Best Actor Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland) is one of the film's producers. This thing has pedigree.
It is due for US release on July 26th 2013, though reaction at this week's Cannes Film Festival - where it is competing in the Un Certain Regard competition - has been unanimously positive. Xan Brooks of The Guardian wrote, "Fruitvale Station made a noise at Sundance, was snapped up by the Weinsteins and played out to roaring approval here in the Un Certain Regard section."
Lee Daniels is clearly vying for Oscars glory with 'The Butler.'
The first trailer for 'Precious' director Lee Daniels' new movie The Butler starring Forest Whitaker has rolled out online and Harvey Weinstein's ambitions of taking this film all the way to the Oscars couldn't be more apparent. Whitaker stars as Eugene Allen, the man who served eight presidents as the White House's head butler.
The movie is clearly Oscar bait. Firstly, it's a typical Weinstein movie in the same mould as The King's Speech and The Iron Lady and secondly it's set for release on October 18th - just in time to be wafted under the nose of the Academy. Oh, and there's a pretty strong cast with plenty of Oscar winners and several up-and-coming stars. Robin Williams (Dwight Eisenhower), John Cusack (Richard Nixon), James Marsden (JFK), Liev Schreiber (Lydon B. Johnson), Alan Rickman (Reagan), Cuba Gooding Jr (Carter Wilson), David Oyelowo (Loius Gaines) and Oprah Winfrey (Gloria Gaines) are among the supporting cast though this one appears to be set up for Whitaker.
Korean filmmaker Kim played with the Western genre before in his wacky 2008 pastiche The Good the Bad the Weird, and this film is just as chaotically uneven, mixing cartoon-style silliness with grisly violence. But the high-energy approach holds our interest, as does Schwarzenegger's immense screen presence in his first starring role since his political career. The film is far too jumbled to hold together, but its sardonic sense of humour makes it a decent guilty pleasure.
Arnie plays Sheriff Owens, who has a quiet routine in his sleepy Arizona-Mexico border town. So when a stranger (Stormare) appears, he sends his deputies (Alexander and Gilford) to investigate. Things get violent quickly, so he deputises a drunken veteran (Santoro) and a moronic gun-nut (Knoxville) to work alongside another deputy (Guzman). What he doesn't yet know is that the baddies are part of an elaborate plan to help a drug kingpin (Noriega) escape from a Law Vegas FBI Agent (Whitaker) and cross the border to freedom in Mexico.
The whizzy plot actually has promise as a straightforward action movie, but Kim throws so much nuttiness at the screen that we can't take anything seriously. The story zings from set-piece to set-piece without much concern for credibility or coherence. It's all very cool, especially the baddie's glimmering, super-fast prototype Corvette, which travels "faster than a chopper" on isolated country roads that are improbably smooth. And his climactic plan to get over the border is astonishingly silly, but played dead straight.
Continue reading: The Last Stand Review
'Skyfall', the new James Bond movie directed by Sam Mendes, hits cinemas on November 9 and already attention is turning to whether or not the picture could snag a surprise Oscar nomination.
'Oscar bait' is a term often used to describe a movie awash with all the key themes that the Academy so readily rewards. For example, they're suckers for epic dramas (Titanic, Gladiator), romance (Shakespeare in Love, The English Patient) and movies packed full of previous Oscar winners (Traffic, The Kings Speech). Oscar bait movies usually hit cinemas at the same time each year- in November or December, wafting themselves under the noses of the Academy just weeks before nominations are announced.
This year, Sony seems to have thrown 'Skyfall' into the fray as Oscar bait, so does the film have a realistic chance of a nomination? Well, as HitFix.com rightly points out, the movie has attached an Oscar winning director in Mendes, an Oscar winning and three time nominated actor in Javier Bardem and an Oscar winning actress and six-time nominee in Judi Dench. Its screenwriter is a three-time nominee while cinematographer Roger Deakins is a nine-time nominee who is almost certain to scoop the prize come February if industry insiders are to be believed. Deakins - best known for his work on just about every Coen Brothers movie - is revered in the movie business and often considered the finest cinematographer of all time. On top of all this, Skyfall's production designer, art director and second unit director have all been handed nominations in the past: i.e - the movie has all the bases covered.
Continue reading: Why ‘Skyfall’ Could Land James Bond An Oscar Nomination
Ray Owens is a police sheriff whose major crime fighting days are all but over when he swaps his job in the LAPD combating drug crimes for the much less strenuous post in the quite town of Sommerton Junction on the Mexican border, after a botched drugs operation left him feeling defeated when his friend and colleague ended up crippled. His comfort in his new post is challenged all too soon when the most formidable drug tycoon in the western world, Gabriel Cortez, slips from the clutches of the FBI. Cortez and his ruthless army head towards the Mexican border in Sommerton Junction at 250 miles per hour in a deadly modified Corvette ZR1 with a hostage, mercilessly shooting at the police officers attempting to arrest them and easily sweeping police cars out of their way. They are pursued by the entire law enforcement of America led by Agent John Bannister, though Owens is unwilling to bring his team into the fight at first, feeling not the officer he used to be. His reluctance becomes irrelevant anyway when he is told to take a backseat due to the lack of experience of his team; however Owens soon changes his mind and bands his modest taskforce together to forcibly take on the fierce drug gang themselves.
Continue: The Last Stand Trailer
Inspired by Armani, Boateng emerged from his childhood in riot-torn 1981 Brixton to become the first black tailor on Saville Row. As the creative director of Givenchy, his influence spread out through the fashion world, even as he juggled his work with his own label and two strained marriages. By 2005, he was at the centre of the Oscar red carpet, teaching American men to stop dressing like boys and reinventing the suit with shape and colour. He was awarded an OBE from the Queen in 2006.
Continue reading: A Man's Story Review
The film is a sloppy pastiche of four portraits of depressed souls in dire circumstances. Jessica Biel plays a stripper who leaves sweet phone messages on her comatose young son's hospital room phone. Ick. She is essentially one of those indie-chic characters who talks fast, snorts coke, and talks nonsensical platitudes to herself in a mirror. Ray Liotta is a guy who walks around town in a dirty suit and rides the bus a lot. From what must be intended as a clumsy flashback (hard to tell, since the movie is so stylistically bankrupt), we know that he is dying, so that gives him license to be as morose as possible for the entire movie. Eddie Redmayne is a mortician who can't get a girlfriend so he bonds with dead people. He looks like he's 12 but is intended to be about 30 from the way the film has him act. Oscar-winner Forest Whitaker fills in the final quadrant, playing a character with absolutely no relation to the others, except for that he is depressed and wants to kill himself. Rather, he wants to give someone else $50,000 to shoot him in the heart. Why? Because it's quirky.
Continue reading: Powder Blue Review
Alcoholic police detective Todd Ludlow (Keanu Reeves) has just finished wrapping up a notorious kidnapping case when Captain Jack Wander (Forest Whittaker) gives him the bad news. His ex-partner Terrence Washington (Terry Crews) is talking to Internal Affairs, and bureau head Captain James Biggs (Hugh Laurie) is looking to take Ludlow down. Before he can intimidate his former friend into not snitching, a pair of gang bangers kill him. Desperate to clear his own name in the death, Ludlow begins to investigate. Soon, he's linking the crime to a couple of local drug dealers who seem incapable of committing the hit. With Wander on his side and Biggs on his back, it will take all the street savvy he has to solve the case -- that is, if someone doesn't try and permanently stop him too.
Continue reading: Street Kings Review
Helming the project are brothers Timothy Lihn Bui (director/screenwriter) and Tony Bui (story/producer), previously responsible for the Harvey Keitel film Three Seasons. For Green Dragon, the film uses a refugee camp as purgatory for the Vietnamese people and constructs a vivid backdrop for examining the attitudes and actions of a displaced people forging new lives.
Continue reading: Green Dragon Review
There is not a single original thought in "Light It Up," a ghetto-transplanted, hostage-situation "Breakfast Club" in which a mathematically diverse group of teenagers are trapped in their high school, keeping a lone authority figure under siege in the name of getting a little respect.
Written and directed by "Black Rain"-scripter Craig Bolotin, it pilfers its urban angst high school air from "Lean On Me," "187" and other good kids-bad school movies. Its paint-by-numbers plot points are lifted from hostage flicks like "Dog Day Afternoon" and "The Negotiator."
The plot: After a scuffle that ends with the on-campus cop (Forest Whitaker) getting shot in the leg, six students take over the school, holding the cop hostage and demanding improvements to their learning environment like books for every student and window repairs.
Continue reading: Light It Up Review
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.
Continue reading: Battlefield Earth Review
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