An attempt to muscle in on Luc Besson's Taken-style of thriller, this is an odd mix of French setting, American characters and British cast and crew. The inclusion of hugely current issues like immigration, terrorism and capitalistic excess adds the illusion that the movie is actually about something. So while the plot is preposterous, the film has an edgier, more jaggedly comical sensibility that makes it entertaining.
It's set in Paris, where the gifted American pickpocket Michael (Richard Madden) becomes a terrorist suspect when he inadvertently steals a bomb from a the hapless young Zoe (Charlotte Le Bon), roped into planting it by her anti-fascist boyfriend. On Michael's trail is the bullheaded CIA operative Briar (Idris Elba), who has just been transferred to Paris due to his insubordinate attitude. His new boss (Kelly Reilly) is an old friend who vouches for him, then quickly regrets that decision when he goes rogue and teams up with the fugitive Michael to track down the real villain. They're pursued all over the city by local police chief Victor (Jose Garcia) and his fearsome sidekick Rafi (Thierry Godard), oblivious to the fact that the men they're chasing are actually trying to save Paris from something catastrophic.
The plot itself is fairly simple, but the film is assembled in a way that makes everything look far more complicated than it actually is. Action mayhem breaks out at every turn, with impressively full-on stuntwork, crashing chase scenes and lots of shootouts. A fistfight in the back of a careering van is particularly rough and tumble, as it were. And with such villainous baddies, the filmmakers believe they are justified in killing off dozens of faceless henchmen. One dares to show a glimmer of a conscience, but that doesn't save him.
Continue reading: Bastille Day Review
Paris is known to have problems with pickpockets and Michael Mason is one of the cities sneakiest thieves and now he's accidentally led himself in more trouble than he can deal with.
When Mason lifts a bag from someone, he opens it to discover it contains a whole world of trouble - a bomb. Hot on Mason's tale is a CIA field agent by the name of Sean Briar. The CIA's records show that there's far more to Mason's criminal record than just pickpocketing people but Briar soon learns that there's far more to this case than Mason and he is probably just a fall guy.
Together the thief and CIA operative must go off the books and find the real culprit behind a terrorist threat. As the duo dig deeper into the criminal underworld, they soon find themselves with ever increasing amounts of enemies - on both sides of the law. Whatever unfolds, we know this Bastille Day won't be a usual one.
The reviews for 'Heaven is Real' aren't looking good
It’s always a risk, taking a New York Times bestseller and adapting it for the silver screen. Heaven Is Real documents the near-death experience of a small child, who then recounts with startling detail seeing his sister – lost in a miscarriage – and grandfather, who died 30 years before he was born.
Greg Kinnear at the 7th Annual Kidstock Music And Art Festival
It’s an emotive story, and one that was ripe for a movie re-telling, but it would appear as though Randall Wallace (director) and Chris Parker (screenplay, co-written with others) haven’t been able to recreate whatever it was that made the preceding book so popular.
Continue reading: Turns Out 'Heaven Is Real' - Real Bad. Critics Slate Greg Kinnear Drama
The troubled priest troubled Gleeson
Brendan Gleeson and Kelly Rielly star in 'Calvary'
A good priest in a small town populated by people with dark thoughts, James Lavelle’s life is threatened during a confession. Of course, they’re anonymous things, confessions, and he spends what he believes to be the rest of his living days attempting to narrow down his would-be murderer.
Continue reading: For Brendan Gleeson, His Role In 'Calvary' Was Mental Grind
Oscar hopeful Flight has it's long-awaited box office unveiling today (Feb 1) in the UK and if critical reception and US box office takings is enough to go by then Paramount shouldn't have too much to worry about when it comes to audience numbers.
The film's star, Denzel Washington, delivers yet another powerhouse of a performance that makes his entry into the Best Actor category at the Oscars totally justified as he takes on the role of a veteran commercial pilot who fills his days with women, alcohol and drugs. Supporting Denzel in the flick is Don Cheadle, Kelly Reilly, Bruce Greenwood and Melissa Leo, as well as John Goodman who both delivers a scene-stealing performance - as he so often does.
Whilst Contact Music's own review of the film isn't wholeheartedly positive, the singling out of Denzel's performance is a mainstay among contemporary reviews, such as Rolling Stone and The Guardian, who single out the performance for being "detailed, depth-charged, bruisingly true" and maintaining Washington's "natural gravitas" respectively.
Continue reading: 'Flight' Expected To Take Off At UK Box Office This Weekend
With another deeply committed performance, Washington brings badly needed complexity to what is otherwise a contrived, overstated drama about addiction. It helps that the film is directed by Zemeckis as a kind of companion piece to his last live-action movie, 2000's Cast Away, another film about a man whose life is dramatically changed by a plane crash. Although here he's lost in a wilderness of substance abuse.
Washington plays Whip, a veteran commercial pilot who fills his days with women, alcohol and drugs. Even when he's flying a plane full of passengers. On a routine flight from Orlando to Atlanta, a catastrophic malfunction sends his airliner hurtling toward the ground, prompting an outrageously inventive reaction that saves 96 of the 102 lives on board. Then the investigators discover that he had both alcohol and cocaine in his system at the time. His union rep (Greenwood) hires a high-powered lawyer (Cheadle) to represent him, but Whip doesn't even try to straighten up until he meets young junkie Nicole (Reilly), who's serious about cleaning up her life.
The main problem here is that Gatins' script completely misses the point of his own story, never remotely touching on the central theme of a flawed hero who has no real moral compass. So drugs are the villain; it has nothing to do with Whip's personal failings. Instead, the script just uses a variety of contrived characters to confront him with his drug problems until he finally cracks under all this pressure. Fortunately, Washington is excellent as the high-functioning addict, and the supporting cast is solid in providing whatever element Gatins needs at the moment: Cheadle's straight-arrow efficiency, Reilly's hopeful anguish and Greenwood's steadfast friendship, plus scene-stealer Goodman as Whip's hilariously honest dealer-buddy and Leo as a ruthlessly tenacious investigator.
Continue reading: Flight Review
Director Robert Zemeckis's newest live-action film, Flight took crowds and critics by storm at the New York Film Festival. Flight, starring Denzel Washington, closed out the festival on Sunday night. The film is already attracting buzz as a big awards winner this season.
More importantly, it looks like a return to form for Washington, who has been acting in a slew of action flicks in recent years. It is in dramatic flicks that the actor shines, as everyone, who has seen Flight seems to agree.
The film tells the story of airline pilot Whip Whittacker, who has fallen into substance abuse in order to cope with the struggles of a busy and stressful life. On one morning after, Whip manages to save the lives of his passengers in a crash and is subsequently hailed as a national hero. After the toxicology report comes back however, Whip must face the possibility of losing the glory, the respect, his job and even his freedom and having to learn how to cope with his problems.
Continue reading: Robert Zemeckis' 'Flight' Premieres At The New York Film Festival
When airplane pilot Whit makes an extraordinary landing following an engine failure which saves the lives of his passengers, he becomes a national hero mobbed by the press. It is only when he is introduced to an attorney that he discovers that he the one person he didn't manage to save was himself. The lawyer informs him that a blood test taken on the night of the crash revealed alcohol in system; an offence which is punishable by life imprisonment. An investigation follows and Whit reveals that he did drink the night before he was due for the flight, however, an experiment involving ten pilots in aircraft simulators with recreated circumstances from the crash revealed that, were any other pilot to land the plane in the way that Whit did, they would've killed every soul on board. Was Whit's risky landing a result of drunken recklessness, or was his decision made by the years of experience and general confidence in his area of expertise? This is the judgement the jury must make.
Continue: Flight Trailer
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'.
Richard (Efron) is a 17-year-old wannabe in 1937 New York, determined to get into the groundbreaking Mercury Theatre company run by 22-year-old genius Orson Welles (McKay). When he stumbles into a role in their landmark production of Julius Caesar, Richard can't believe his luck. He's working alongside such ascending stars as George Coulouris (Chaplin), John Houseman (Marsan), Muriel Brassler (Reilly), Jopseph Cotton (Tupper) and Norman Lloyd (Bill). And he feels even more fortunate when Orson's hard-to-get assistant Sonja (Danes) agrees to go out with him.
Continue reading: Me And Orson Welles Review
Arthur Conan Doyle's tales of Sherlock Holmes are known all over the world, both him and his partner Dr. Watson are his most famous characters. In this new film from director Guy Ritchie, a new side to Sherlock Holmes is revealed, one where his fighting skills are just as strong as his celebrated intellect.
Continue: Sherlock Holmes Trailer
Though it is a solid movie with some astute observations, L'Auberge Espagnole constantly pushes you away like a busy parent on a deadline. The movie never makes a connection because it's too busy tackling too many subjects, instead of focusing on doing one thing well.
Continue reading: L'Auberge Espagnole Review
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