The Watergate scandal is one of the biggest political incidents of the 20th century, which began with a break-in at the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate complex in Washington DC. Mark Felt was the deputy director of the FBI at the time of the incident (1972); his 30 years of FBI experience informed him that something seriously wrong was going on with the subsequent investigation. His own boss was ordering them to cease its own case, and when it became clear that there was a spy amongst them, Mark (later nicknamed 'Deep Throat') began to secretly leak information to various media sources and, with the help of journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, ultimately managed to uncover the truth behind the burglary. Everyone knows the outcome of this shocking investigation, and that it was all part of President Richard Nixon's re-election campaign, to wiretap phones and rob top secret documents, began a new wave of political mistrust amongst the entire nation.
While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America, it's also a remarkably involving true story about a couple tenaciously holding on to each other in the middle of a storm of oppression. By taking such a personal approach, writer-director Jeff Nichols grounds the movie in authenticity, eliciting fine performances from the entire cast, with especially notable turns from Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton.
It's 1958, and cross-racial marriage is illegal in Virginia. So Richard Loving (Edgerton) takes his pregnant black girlfriend Mildred (Negga) across the state line to Washington D.C. to get married. When they return to the family farm, they're immediately arrested and exiled to Washington, where they start a family. But Mildred longs to raise their three children back in their rural hometown, with their extended families around them. When Richard consults a civil-liberties lawyer (Nick Kroll), he finds that there may be some legal hope for them if they are willing to take on the system. This requires the help of a constitutional expert (Jon Bass) and the tenacity to stand up to a century of ingrained prejudice.
The film is written and directed with a sharp attention to detail, which means including some facts that are rather messy. This sometimes leaves scenes feeling unfinished, but the point is that real life isn't as tidy as it is in the movies. This also means that the film never tries to build a melodramatic sense of momentum, remaining intimate and somewhat reticent, echoing Richard and Mildred's personalities. Many of the biggest scenes take place off camera, while we are instead watching these steely, softspoken people who changed American law by quietly remaining true to their love for each other. Both Negga and Edgerton deliver subtle, wrenching performances as everyday people who express their strong views mainly in telling glances and touches that say more than words ever could.
Continue reading: Loving Review
Little more than a paint-by-numbers action thriller, it's anyone's guess why the filmmakers have bothered to make a connection with the 1980s TV series of the same name. Because this film bears almost no resemblance to it. Instead, this is a reunion of Denzel Washington and Antoine Fuqua, who last collaborated on the Oscar-winning Training Day. And since it's packed with brutal violence and questionable morality, that's clearly where this movie's roots truly lie.
Washington stars as Robert, a meek shelf-stacker at a DIY warehouse store in Boston. He can't sleep at night, so he heads to the local diner to read classic novels. That's where he meets Teri (Chloe Grace Moretz), a teen hooker who is having problems with her psychotic Russian pimp (David Meunier). Ever so quietly, and clearly relying on some external source of income, Robert goes about helping Teri secure a free future. But when he offers to settle her debts, the pimp and his thugs just laugh at him. So Robert mercilessly kills them all, drawing on his secret past as a black-ops agent. The problem is that this puts Robert at odds with the top Russian boss Teddy (Marton Csokas), who heads to Boston to get even.
In standard action movie tradition, Robert works his way right through the entire Russian mob, along the way cleaning up Boston's corrupt police force before the requisite final confrontation. His only distraction is a brief visit to his old CIA boss (Melissa Leo) and her husband (Bill Pullman) for a bit of moral support and added starry cameo value. Yes, there isn't much about this movie that doesn't feel concocted for the box office, which means that the story is both achingly predictable and littered with gaping plot-holes. And with Washington in the focal role, everyone else fades into the woodwork. Moretz is excellent but badly underused, while Csokas is never given much to do with his one-note villain.
Continue reading: The Equalizer Review
Robert McCall has a modest job at a hardware store in Boston where he longs for a peaceful life on his own to live out the rest of his days. He is a retired black ops commando and, unfortunately for him, that part of his life is not over - merely laying dormant. After meeting a young girl named Teri and seeing her trapped in a circle of abuse and danger within what appears to be a gang of pimps, he vows to help her. However, after taking them down with an extraordinary amount of grace and dexterity, he discovers that they are in fact part of the powerful Russian mafia who are hellbent on killing him. The odds aren't looking good for McCall, whose sense of justice and responsibility has been quickly reignited, but when it really comes down to it, it's difficult to tell who should be afraid of whom.
Continue: The Equalizer Trailer
It's all about revenge in Sin City now as the wounded (both physically and mentally) set out on a trail of death and destruction in a bid to make sure justice is served in their town. Dwight McCarthy is on another rescue mission to save an abused wife as Ava Lord claims she is a prisoner at the hands of her wealthy husband Damien. Unfortunately, it seems her intentions are of the dishonest kind. Thought to be have been executed, Marv wakes up among several corpses with little memory of his alleged crimes, but a strong desire for vengeance. Nancy is heartbroken to the point of insanity following police officer John Hartigan's suicide, and there's no stopping her when she decides to sentence the father of child-killer Roark Junior, Senator Roark, to death. Notorious gambler Johnny is a newbie in the town with his own scores to settle, but it isn't long before he realises he's messing with criminals much bigger than him.
The second instalment of the 'Sin City' film franchise 'Sin City: A Dame To Kill For' is due for release nearly ten years following the 2005 original. Author of the original graphic novel Frank Miller ('300', 'Batman: The Dark Knight Returns', 'Daredevil: Born Again') has adapted the screenplay and co-directs the movie with Robert Rodriguez ('Machete', 'Once Upon a Time in Mexico', 'From Dusk Till Dawn'). 'Sin City 2' is set to hit UK screens on August 25th 2014.
As with the too-early franchise reboot in 2012, this sequel struggles to balance the demands of a teen romance with a superhero blockbuster. The interpersonal storylines are sharply written and skilfully played by the gifted cast, but the eye-catching effects sequences feel like little more than a shiny distraction. Action fans will love the way digitally animated Spidey swings more realistically than ever down the streets of New York, but the fact remains that these scenes are cartoons. And a new template is badly needed for this genre.
It kicks off as Peter (Andrew Garfield) nearly misses his high school graduation to save the city from another crazed nutcase. His girlfriend Gwen (Emma Stone) is fed up, and then crushed when Peter breaks up with her because he's worried about her safety. So she considers taking a place at Oxford University to get away. Meanwhile, Peter is also trying to understand the truth about why his parents (Campbell Scott and Embeth Davidtz) left him to be raised by his Aunt May (Sally Field). But he's interrupted from all of this by the arrival of old pal Harry (Dane DeHaan), back in town to inherit the family business from his dying dad (Chris Cooper) and in need of moral support from Peter.
In each of these three plot strands, Peter faces a significant dilemma that's beautifully played by Garfield as a cheeky, good guy who worries about the darkness all around him. And there's also a nefarious side-plot trying to take over the movie, as nerdy technician Max (Jamie Foxx) is transformed by an electric shock from Spider-man's biggest fan to a spark-emitting villain called Electro. This shift doesn't make sense on any level, and Harry also has a sudden personality change that's badly under-explained, forcing the film into a series of huge action showdowns along with a completely irrelevant aside about two colliding airplanes that feels tacked on to up the human stakes.
Continue reading: The Amazing Spider-man 2 Review
Darren Aronofsky continues to ambitiously experiment with genres in this Old Testament blockbuster, but this is his first real misstep as a filmmaker, as the impressive parts simply don't add up. Still, there are flashes of genius as the epic struggle between good and evil is echoed both in the grand spectacle and within the characters themselves.
It starts with the original sin, which divides Adam and Eve's sons - brutal killer Cain and peaceful caretaker Seth - into warring factions. A few generations later, all that's left of Seth's righteous line is Noah (Russell Crowe), his wife (Jennifer Connelly) and three sons (Logan Lerman, Douglas Booth and Leo McHugh Carroll), plus an adopted daughter (Emma Watson). After he has a vision that God is planning to cleanse mankind with a flood, Noah consults his grandfather Methuselah (Anthony Hopkins) and builds an ark to save his family and all of earth's animals. He also gets help from the Watchers, rock-encrusted fallen angels who previously assisted Cain's descendant Tubal (Ray Winstone), who goes into battle mode to stop Noah.
All of this is inventively set in a post-apocalyptic landscape left in ruins after generations of fighting. And Noah is the last true believer tending to creation, refusing to eat meat (although he wears leather accessories) and ruling over his family like a tyrant. This of course creates various carefully scripted conflicts for his family over the months they're stuck in the ark. But the moralising is never as deep as it pretends to be.
Continue reading: Noah Review
Peter Parker is facing a period of deep confusion in every aspect of his life. No longer is everything black and white, nor is it easy to know what the right thing to do is anymore. He's struggling to cope with the death of his dear Uncle Ben, while still feeling unfamiliar with his past in regards to his parents. He's also trying to hold down a relationship with Gwen Stacy, but she ultimately adds to his troubles when she finds herself in a dilemma of her own. Meanwhile in his professional capacity as Spider-Man, he's not finding it easy to differentiate between the villains, the heroes and the just plain hard-done by. He faces deadly battles with the formidable Rhino and the rage-filled Electro; the latter of who it turns out is just as frightened of his own power as everybody else is. It turns out that there is a darker force happening elsewhere, and when his friend Harry Osborn returns, he starts to see OsCorp's sinister involvement.
Continue: The Amazing Spiderman 2 - Clips Trailer
Noah is a normal family man faced with major responsibility when his dark visions lead him to see God's plan to wipe out the corrupt humanity that has plagued his Earth. When he realises that a great flood will be the disaster that will destroy all life, he subsequently sees that a new life will come after it that he must help to re-create. He and his family decide to build a colossal ark to keep them safe from the oncoming catastrophe, and thus use it to save the planet's animals as well. However, the fact that they have been blessed to live has angered their fellow neighbours, who band together in an attempt to seize the ark and save themselves. In an extraordinary turnaround, Noah and his family find themselves facing the bigger threat of their own people, rather than the deadly wrath of the Lord himself.
Continue: Noah - Extended Trailer
Date of birth
30th June, 1966
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As with the too-early franchise reboot in 2012, this sequel struggles to balance the demands...
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Noah is a normal family man faced with major responsibility when his dark visions lead...