Vin Diesel makes a bid for yet another franchise with a supernatural action romp that's both deeply ridiculous and enjoyably entertaining. The premise is basically Underworld with witches, and Diesel uses his meathead charm to coast through his role as an immortal warrior. Thankfully, the crazed production design and some solid costars do most of the acting for him. And director Breck Eisner keeps the pace snappy enough to hold the audience's interest, even if we're laughing at it rather than with it.
Diesel plays Kaulder, who in the 13th century killed a nefarious witch queen (Julie Engelbrecht) and was cursed with immortality. Now 800 years later, he's living the high life in Manhattan and leading the Axe and Cross to contain the world's witch population. His assistant is the 36th Dolan (Michael Caine), who has just named the 37th (Elijah Wood) when they're attacked by the mysterious Belial (Olaf Darri Olafsson). He's determined to resurrect the queen and return humanity to the dark ages. So Kaulder sets out to stop him, teaming up with helpful witch Chloe (Rose Leslie), who has some special abilities that aid them as things get increasingly crazed.
Continue reading: The Last Witch Hunter Review
Kaulder is an immortal witch hunter, the last of his kind having been cursed with eternal life by his foe the Queen Witch centuries earlier. There was once a time where witches ran afoul of the entire Earth, bringing with them a destructive plague to exterminate humanity. After Kaulder's explosive victory, however, the world was a little safer. Now living in New York - miserable and lonely, while his deceased wife and child are worlds away in the afterlife - Kaulder discovers that it's not over yet. The Queen Witch has returned with a vengeance, but this time it's going to take more than a witch killer to take her out. In order to slay her, you've got to be like her, and so Kaulder must unite with a beautiful young sorceress with the ability to destroy her - even if it's against his better judgement.
Continue: The Last Witch Hunter Trailer
After the 2011 black comedy The Guard, Brendan Gleeson reteams with writer-director John Michael McDonagh for a darker comical drama grappling with issues of faith and forgiveness. McDonagh's usual jagged dialogue and snappy characters are on-hand in abundance while the film digs deep through a rather meandering, episodic plot.
In rural Ireland, Father James (Brendan Gleeson) is quietly enduring confessionals when one of his parishioners says he's going to kill him next Sunday. Shaken, James begins to explore his faith and mortality over the coming week. His daughter Fiona (Kelly Reilly) arrives following another suicide attempt, and he consoles a grieving French visitor (Marie-Josee Croze) and visits an imprisoned killer (Domhnall Gleeson). But almost anyone in the village could be the aspiring murderer: the over-emotional butcher (Chris O'Dowd), drug-addict doctor (Aidan Gillen), ladies-man African (Isaach De Bankole), shifty millionaire (Dylan Moran), eccentric fisherman (M. Emmet Walsh).
Intriguingly, it never really matters who issued the threat (James has a pretty good idea), because that's not the point of the film. McDonagh is exploring bigger ideas here, adeptly mixing riotously funny dialogue with startlingly bleak emotions. The film's languid pace nearly lulls us to sleep, then wakes us up with another sparky scene-stealing performance from the gifted cast. Gleeson is wonderfully muted, expressing more with an exhausted sigh than most actors can manage with a Shakespearean monologue. His moments with Reilly crackle with honest emotion, and the deceptively simple scene between father and son actors Brendan and Domhnall is a heart-stopper.
Continue reading: Calvary Review
Father James Lavelle is a good-natured priest whose life is thrown into confusion and disarray when an anonymous man tells him in confession that he will kill him in a week's time - the only reason being because Lavelle is an innocent man. Of all the shocking things he's ever heard in confession, none have thrown him quite as much as this. Unable to go to the police under the rules of the 'Seal of the Confessional', Lavelle consults his church peers pondering whether it was merely an idle threat, or whether his life really is in danger. In his apparent last week in existence, he scrutinises the corrupt individuals of his sin-filled parish, wondering along the way why people seem to focus more on their vices than their virtues, but when his beloved church is burnt to the ground, his views on good and evil become distorted.
'Calvary' is the darkly comic drama about the timeless story of good and evil, and guilt and innocence. It has been directed and written by BAFTA nominated John Michael McDonagh ('The Guard', 'Ned Kelly') and is set in Ireland's beautiful West Coast countryside. The film is set to be released on April 11th 2014.
Adenike and Ayodele Balogun are a traditional Nigerian couple living in Brooklyn, New York and working together to run a small family restaurant. Following their joyful marriage, like most Nigerian couples, they were expected to have children. However, after so many years, it becomes clear that one of them is struggling with fertility issues, and there is little chance of conception between the two of them. With Ayodele's mother dreaming of them having a son named George and wanting what she believes is a perfect life for her son, Adenike fears that he will stray from her and is forced to make a decision that could either ruin or salvage their floundering marriage. However, it soon becomes clear that the only way to save them is to make sure she keeps her decision secret.
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The Limits of Control, the 11th feature by the New York-born auteur Jim Jarmusch, is another work that is inarguably stamped by its director's idiosyncrasies and, like Volver, there have been several critics who have questioned if its artistic success is not so much a result of it being a Jarmusch film rather than simply a good film. It emits a dark-shade cool, as befits any Jarmusch joint, and it features several of the director's usual performers, including the Ivorian-born actor Isaach De Bankolé in the lead.
Continue reading: The Limits Of Control Review
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
Picking up after the violent ending of Dogville, we catch up with Grace Mulligan (Bryce Dallas Howard, replacing Nicole Kidman) as her and her father (Willem Dafoe, replacing James Caan) end up at a small southern plantation named Manderlay. A young, black woman runs up to the car, yelling and crying about how they are going to whip Timothy (Isaach De Bankole). Stopping the car immediately and running onto the plantation, against her father's wishes, she finds that Manderlay is a plantation that still employs slavery. Seeing this as a grave injustice, Grace takes a few of her father's goons and starts running the plantation more like a business, making the white owners work while the slaves are given freedom to go about as they please, receiving shares in the crop's revenue. The slaves are led by Willhelm (Danny Glover), an older man who used to serve Mam (Lauren Bacall), the head of the plantation. As things progress, a dust storm, a child's death, the execution of an elder and Grace's slowly unraveling lust for Timothy start raising the issue that maybe things were better as they were.
Continue reading: Manderlay Review
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