In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply pointed stories about women's lives. So this drama weaves together three narratives with distinct female perspectives. Based on short stories by Maile Meloy, these tales only barely intersect, but they echo similar themes in a striking rural Montana setting.
In the central story, Beth (Kristen Stewart) is a young lawyer who drives four hours twice a week to teach a night class, where she develops a fan in a young rancher (Lily Gladstone) who has a secret crush on her. Meanwhile, Laura (Laura Dern) is another lawyer representing an injured worker (Jared Harris) who took a small financial settlement before learning that he would never physically recover. And then there's Gina (Michelle Williams), who is building a home in a gorgeous location with her strained husband (James Le Gros) and surly teen daughter (Sara Rodier). They need a pile of old sandstone that has been sitting for some 50 years next to the home of a man (Rene Aberjonois) everyone's afraid to talk to.
All of this is set against Montana's big-sky landscapes, sumptuously captured on-screen by cinematographer Christopher Blauvelt. Everything is crisp and wintry, and Reichardt cleverly designs the film in a simplistic, insightful way that quietly focusses on unspoken interaction between the characters. Yes, much of this movie is completely silent, as these women consider the realities of their lives. This of course allows the actresses to make the most of their characters, adding weight and depth to each scene, often without saying a word.
Continue reading: Certain Women Review
Eggs is a young boy living in the dairy loving, wealthy town of Cheesbridge. He was adopted as a baby and is a perfectly ordinary boy - apart from the fact that he was brought up in a sewer by an unusual group of foster parents. The Boxtrolls are underground creatures feared throughout the town as sinister and dangerous monsters, but in truth they are remarkably kind and so shy that they spend most of their time hiding in the boxes they wear as shells and venturing out at night so that they don't bump into the Cheesebridge residents. All they wish to do is collect discarded rubbish and turn it into incredible machines. Unfortunately, despite their harmlessness, a vicious exterminator named Archibald Snatcher is after their heads when the town's council insists on their removal. Eggs must help save his family, but first he's got to start behaving like a regular boy.
Continue: The Boxtrolls - International Trailer
Like an ancient Roman version of 2012, this disaster epic is a pure guilty pleasure, sparking plenty of laughter along with the massive effects-based carnage. It also helps that the screen is packed with muscle men in skimpy skirts. The actors dive in with gusto, adding plenty of personality to the ridiculous dialogue, while director Paul W.S. Anderson shamelessly ramps up the action mayhem.
It begins in AD 79 Britain, where Roman Senator Corvus (Kiefer Sutherland) is on the rampage, slaughtering the entire Celtic community of young Milo (Kit Harington), who is taken to Londinium to become a gladiator. When he rises to fame, he's transferred to Pompeii, where he immediately catches the eye of young noblewoman Cassia (Emily Browning), much to the scowly disapproval of her politically active parents (Carrie-Anne Moss and Jared Harris). An outsider among the local slaves, Milo is befriended by tough guy fellow gladiator Atticus (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje). And when Corvus comes to town to claim Cassia as his bride, Milo decides to take a dangerous stand for both revenge and the girl. Meanwhile, Mount Vesuvius is rumbling, getting ready to unleash plenty of movie-style havoc.
It's impossible to watch this without thinking of the cheesy, similarly styled TV series Rome or Spartacus, with their corny melodramas, excessive violence and bare flesh. Even though this is on a much bigger scale with seriously enormous 3D special effects, it's just as cheesy. And equally entertaining as well. Harington is terrific as the hunky hero, building much stronger chemistry with the honourable Akinnuoye-Agbaje than the distressed Browning. And seasoned veterans like Harris, Moss and Sutherland clearly have a great time chomping madly on the scenery as Pompeii burns.
Continue reading: Pompeii Review
The Boxtrolls are odd underground creatures that wear cardboard boxes as if they were shells. Shy and wary of the unforgiving world around them, they take to the streets at night to recycle rubbish from dustbins and store it in their homes below the streets of Cheesebridge; a town fixated with money and smelly cheese and who are less than welcoming to their sewer dwelling neighbours, who they believe to be enormous insidious menaces. That couldn't be further than the truth when it comes to the Boxtrolls; there is simply nothing menacing about them, so when they find themselves being pursued by a ruthless exterminator by the name of Archibald Snatcher, all they want to do is make sure they are well hidden. They have a protector, however, named Eggs - a young boy who the Boxtrolls adopted as a baby - and he's about to show them just how brave they can be in the face of danger.
Continue: The Boxtrolls Trailer
After being enslaved, Milo is made into a gladiator with indomitable strength. He is forced to compete in various games to fight to the death for the entertainment of the people of Pompeii. However, he faces new threats when he falls in love with Cassia, the daughter of an extremely wealthy and powerful man, who is pushed into engagement with a barbaric Roman Senator. Not only that, but everyone faces a disaster of gargantuan proportions when fearsome volcano Mount Vesuvius erupts, engulfing the city in a cloud of smoke and showering it with boiling lava and scorching rock. Milo sets out to rescue his beloved Cassia as the city begins to tremble and crumble away, but just how invincible is he now?
This epic action adventure is set in 79 AD, Rome and is a timeless story of the power of love in the face of ultimate adversity. It has been directed by Paul W.S. Anderson ('Resident Evil', 'AVP: Alien vs. Predator', 'Death Race') and among writing credits are Janet Scott Batchler and Lee Batchler ('Batman Forever'), Julian Fellowes ('Downton Abbey') and Michael Robert Johnson ('Sherlock Holmes').
'Pompeii' will explode onto cinema screens in the UK soon on February 21st 2014.
Continue: Pompeii Trailer
Eggs is a young orphaned boy who had possibly the most unusual upbringing one could ever think of; he was raised by a group of inhuman trash collectors called the Boxtrolls who live in a dingy by cosy underground cave. However, The Boxtrolls, named so because of the large cardboard boxes they wear on their torsos, find their rubbish filled paradise under huge threat when a ruthless exterminator by the name of Archibald Snatcher decides to wipe out these unusual creatures for good. Eggs must do everything within his power to stop him and save his friends (and family) from certain death.
Continue: The Boxtrolls - Teaser Trailer
Jared Harris married longime girlfriend on a yacht in Miami, Fl., at the weekend.
Mad Men's 'Jared Harris' married his longtime girlfriend, Allegra Riggio, on Saturday (Nov 9th).
The ceremony took place in Miami, Fl., on a yacht, Us Weekly reports.
The 51 year-old popped the big question back in June of this year (2013), with a custom heart-shaped ring design by Erica Courtney.
Continue reading: 'Mad Men' Actor Jared Harris Marries Allegra Riggio
Poltergeists, creepy children and eerie happenings infiltrate this dark John Pogue movie.
Riding the wave of the recent horror genre trend for the supernatural and paranormal, The Quiet Ones is a brand new British movie intended to scare you out of your pants.
Jared Harris Plays An Oxford Lecturer With A Special Interest In The Paranormal In 'The Quiet Ones.'
Looking at the trailer, there isn't actually that much to be scared of apart from the loud and sudden 'jumpscare' sound effect, the creepy staring children, the strange-looking experimentation equipment, the black and white films, the screaming, the smashing...Er, ok, well it looks like there's lots to be scared of.
Professor Coupland is an Oxford University physics professor in the seventies, who understands and accepts that supernatural episodes occur - though he has his own theories on how they're manifested. Ghosts and phantoms are nonsense in his opinion and he gathers up his team to set out on a dangerous experiment to prove that poltergeist activity is caused by strong negative energy emitting from humans - usually children. However, on their quest to collect photographic evidence of paranormal phenomena by creating their own poltergeist, their young female subject appears to become traumatised after being left alone for a short period of time. She starts to experience a strange presence near her and the experimenters struggle to contemplate just what evil they have unleashed with their controversial testing.
Continue: The Quiet Ones Trailer
Fans of Cassandra Clare's book series won't mind that this film is overcrowded and chaotic, but the uninitiated will be worn out by what feels like a superficial mash-up of leather-clad stereotypes. Director Zwart (who remade The Karate Kid) certainly creates a lively sense of energy, zipping through each scene as if he's trying to cram every moment in the book into two hours. But as a result, nothing grabs hold.
Our hero is Clary (Collins), a New York teen whose mother (Headey) never told her that she was a Shadowhunter, a half-angel whose job is to protect humanity from demons. But just as she meets goth dreamboat Shadowhunter Jace (Campbell Bower), her mom is kidnapped. So she and her best pal Simon (Sheehan), who has a secret crush on her, travel with Jace into the city's underworld of angels, demons, werewolves and vampires. At the secret Shadowhunter headquarters, she meets leader Hodge (Harris) as well as siblings Alec and Isabelle (Zegers and West). And everyone warns her about the villainous Valentine (Meyers), who has some sort of nefarious master plan involving Clary and her magical cup.
The film is structured as a series of quests, as Clary learns about her supernatural abilities by visiting the City of Bones under a cemetery, breaking into a church to collect a stash of demon-fighting weapons, consulting with a variety of magical creatures, and so on. But these individual sequences never quite connect together into a story with any momentum. It's simply impossible to get involved in these events without being able to identify with the characters, none of whom are properly developed. Obviously, readers of the books won't have this problem, but such a fragmented film is unlikely to draw new fans to the franchise.
Continue reading: The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones Review
A historic epic from Steven Spielberg carries a lot of baggage, but he surprises us with a remarkably contained approach to an iconic figure. What's most unexpected is that this is a political drama, not a biopic. It's a long, talky movie about back-room deal-making on a very big issue: ending slavery in America. It also has one of the most intelligent, artful scripts of the past year, plus a remarkably wry central performance.
Daniel Day-Lewis constantly grounds Abraham Lincoln in his earthy humanity, good humour and tenacious desire to do the right thing, no matter what it takes. The film essentially covers just one month in which Lincoln works to outlaw slavery before ending four years of civil war. Secretary of State Seward (Strathairn) reluctantly supports this plan, enlisting three shady negotiators (Spader, Nelson and Hawkes) to convince wavering members of Congress to vote in favour of a constitutional amendment. Meanwhile at home, Lincoln is under pressure from his wife Mary (Field) to keep their oldest son Robert (Gordon-Levitt) off the battlefield.
All of this political wrangling makes the film feel like a 19th century version of The West Wing, and Kushner's script crackles with wit, nuance and passion, clearly echoing today's political debates about issues like gun control and human rights. We find ourselves wishing that our own politicians were this creative about getting the votes they need on important issues. This meaty approach gives the cast terrific dialog to bite into, although Spielberg never lets anyone run riot with scenery-chomping antics. The closest is probably Jones, as the fiery anti-slavery supporter Thaddeus Stevens. He's terrific in this role. And Field shines too in as the spiky Mary. Even if she's about a decade too old for the character, she brings intelligence and emotion to every scene.
Continue reading: Lincoln Review
Clary Fray has been made to live as a normal girl all her life with her mother making sure she never discovers who she truly is. However, when she watches a man getting slaughtered in a nightclub and seemingly is the only one who notices, she starts to suspect that there's more to the world than most people can see. The killer is a man called Jace who reveals himself as a Shadowhunter; a half-angel demon slayer with the power to make himself invisible to the Mundane (humans). Soon, Clary discovers that her mother is in grave danger having been brutally kidnapped from their home and she finds out that her mother is also a Shadowhunter who has been having Clary's memories of unusual happenings blocked all her life. Clary must embrace her true identity and help Jace and the other Shadowhunters in the battle to maintain the balance of good and evil and return her mother back to her.
Here comes the latest teen fantasy movie adaptation in the shape of 'The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones'. Based on the first book of a series by Cassandra Clare, the movie has been directed by Harald Zwart ('The Karate Kid' , 'Agent Cody Banks') and written by I. Marlene King ('Just My Luck', 'Now and Then') and Jessica Postigo in her screenwriting debut. It is due to hit screens on August 23rd 2013.
Director: Harald Zwart
'Lincoln' will show the last four months of President Abraham Lincoln's life as he campaigned for freedom before he was tragically assassinated in 1865. It will reveal in detail the extent of his conflict with various members of the cabinet over his decision to abolish the slave trade towards the end of the American Civil War. His very close success in the House of Representatives over the proposition of the Thirteenth Amendment which outlawed slavery is portrayed as one of the most crucial steps in his work against the trade. The last months of his life also saw him fail to negotiate an end to the War and saw the Union's ultimate victory.
This drama-fuelled biopic is the important story of one of the most influential and inspiring presidents of the United States that have ever been in office. It has been based on some of the biography 'Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln' by Doris Kearns Goodwin with an adapted screenplay by Oscar nominee Tony Kushner ('Munich') and the directing genius of the legendary Steven Spielberg ('Jaws', 'E.T.', 'Jurassic Park', 'Schindler's List', 'War of the Worlds') who wanted to show Lincoln 'at work' and not just 'posing for the history books'. Spielberg has described the former president as 'arguably the greatest working President in American history'. The movie is set for release in the UK on January 25th 2013.
Starring: Daniel Day Lewis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tommy Lee Jones , Michael Stuhlbarg, Jackie Earle Haley, Jared Harris, Lee Pace, Sally Field, James Spader, Julie White, John Hawkes, David Strathairn, Bruce McGill, Hal Holbrook and Adam Driver.
Ritchie, Downey and Law are back with another manic romp that feels more like a Victorian James Bond adventure than anything about the famed Conan Doyle characters. While it has the same comical energy, it's not quite as fun as the first go-round.
Brilliant Cambridge professor Moriarty (Harris) is up to no good, taking on Holmes (Downey) by messing with those around him, including his girlfriend-nemesis Irene (McAdams) and his partner Watson (Law), who plans to retire after his upcoming wedding to Mary (Reilly). But nothing goes as planned, and Holmes and Watson are propelled into a vicious game of intrigue that sends them to Paris where they team up with a sexy gypsy (Rapace). They also get help from Holmes' brother Mycroft (Fry) as they head to a climactic showdown in Switzerland.
Who needs logic when the action is this wildly exhilarating? And much of it is drastically slowed-down so Ritchie can show us Holmes' powers of deduction as well as whizzing bullets, explosions and other cool-looking things. The dialog is the same mix of faux intelligent banter and shameless innuendo, which gives the actors something to play with, especially as Downey and Law amusingly move beyond bromance into Brokeback territory.
But we do need some logic. This plot is so messy that it never engages us. And as it builds to a climax in a crazy cliff-perched Alpine castle, we begin to lose interest. Even with the bigger action, zingy dialog and colourful characters, this film barely works up any steam. Whenever Holmes isn't being mischievous, Downey actually looks bored. And Rapace is so sidelined that it's difficult to understand why she's here at all; the filmmakers never give her anything interesting to do.
It's a shame the screenwriters never push the characters further. But at least Ritchie keeps things moving briskly, filling the screen with comical nuttiness and big-gun mayhem. Even if Moriarty makes no sense (would someone this intelligent resort to such a ridiculous plan to make his fortune?), Harris adds heft in the role, including some jagged chemistry with Downey. Let's just hope that the requisite third film lets us in on the joke.
In 1892, the Crown Prince of Austria is found dead; his death is ruled as suicide, according to Scotland Yard detective Inspector Lestrade. But Sherlock Holmes knows that this isn't true: all the evidence suggests that the Crown Prince was murdered, by one Professor Moriarty, whose genius is matched only by Holmes'.
Kristen is a young and beautiful girl who's just been institutionalised in a hospital for the mentally unstable. It's 1960 and she has no idea of why she's become a patient, her memory of life before whatever drove her to be seen as unbalanced totally escapes her and the doctors don't appear to be shedding much light on her situation either.
Continue: The Ward Trailer
Whether she knew it or not, Bettie Page was breaking a lot of taboos when she started posing in bondage films and photos (maybe she knew but just decided to not care?). Current trends in modeling, including Dita Von Teese and Suicide Girls, often cite Page as an inspiration for their work. In Von Teese there is a certain comparison, but Suicide Girls, whether they like it or not, are not celebrating taboo. If anything, they are destroying taboo and making everything normal, even the strange and macabre. The trick with Page was that she didn't really see it as a bad thing; she never had it in her mind to exploit the idea of "the bad girl." Whether this was on director Mary Harron's mind when she opted to take on the life story of Bettie Page is up for debate.
Raised in Tennessee to a strict, religious family and a father with a fondness for bathing suit areas, Bettie Page (Gretchen Mol) is set to become a teacher at college when she marries an army man and promptly leaves him when he hits her. After being sexually assaulted by a group of men, she makes her way to New York City to become an actress. The moment of fate comes when an off-duty police officer and amateur photog decides to take her picture. Soon enough, she's being sought out by famous photographers like Bunny Yeager (Sarah Paulson) and specialty photography siblings Irving and Paula Klaw (Chris Bauer and Lili Taylor, respectively). Her friends, mostly male, are astonished by her nonchalant attitude towards nudity and bondage. She just sees it as "silly pictures," but the Senate, led by Senator Estes Kefauver (David Strathairn, absolutely wasted), thinks it's warping the youth of America. Mostly, Bettie just wants to make a nice, God-fearing life for herself with a man who doesn't judge her.
Continue reading: The Notorious Bettie Page Review
This cryptic little indie starts out with the story of a Frenchman (Olivier Martinez) in Mexico, fascinated with bullfighting, indeed. When his cute little girlfriend unleashes a bull on him for some unknown reason, she ends up getting gored. That's bad enough, but her dad turns out to be a major crime boss, and he proceeds to go on a rampage against our poor Frenchman.
Continue reading: Bullfighter Review
It's an offbeat concept that might fit in a chop-'em-up horror movie or a sad, pathetic character study -- yet writer/director Pritikin finds his own niche with the idea, producing a creatively eclectic tale. Dummy is full of exciting surprising laughs, true heart, and enough dysfunctional characters to fill a Wes Anderson film.
Continue reading: Dummy Review
"The Day After Tomorrow" isn't quite the disaster of a disaster flick I thought it would be.
Don't get me wrong -- it's bad in a way only $150-million movies with awe-inspiring special effects can be bad. It's riddled with nonsensical pseudo-science, saddled with supposedly brainy characters (climatologists, high-school science whizzes) who nonetheless haven't a scrap of common sense, and stuffed with stock characters designed for the kind of instant sympathy (or instant comic relief) that doesn't require actually giving them a personality.
But for popcorn munching and smart-remarking during a bargain matinee, it's a bad movie worth the price of admission.
Continue reading: The Day After Tomorrow Review
Date of birth
24th August, 1961
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Finding the perfect house is an important part of starting a family. But for one...
Filmmaker Bernard Rose gives the period biopic a kick in the seat of the pants...
A triumph on a variety of levels, this staggeringly detailed stop-motion animation has a wonderfully...
Eggs is a young boy living in the dairy loving, wealthy town of Cheesbridge. He...
Like an ancient Roman version of 2012, this disaster epic is a pure guilty pleasure,...
The Boxtrolls are odd underground creatures that wear cardboard boxes as if they were shells....