For those who knew him, Gary Unwin (better known as Eggsy to his friends), was never a likely candidate for a spy. After stealing a car and being a bit of a hooligan (who's always up for a laugh) eventually Eggsy landed himself in trouble with the police. What the outside world didn't know about Eggsy was his father was an incredibly brave probationary secret agent and Eggsy displays many of his father's strengths. Kingsman Harry Hart sees Eggsy's potential and trains him up as a Kingsman spy. Only Eggsy and one other trainee, Roxy, succeed in proving that they have what it takes to become a Kingsman. Together, with the help of Harry and their quartermaster, Merlin, they defeat psychopathic billionaire Richmond Valentine. Their mission is a success but in the process Harry is shot in the head.
Though Eggsy loses his mentor, life continues for the young spy and he becomes the Kingsman that Hart always knew him to be. As worldwide threats become known, the Kingsman are once again placed as the brink of extermination. Their headquarters and training grounds are blown up and Eggsy and Merlin must once again find a way to save the world.
Their hunt takes them to America and it's revealed that The Kingsman aren't the only highly secret organisation looking to protect the world; the two Brit's are introduced to Champagne, Jack Daniels and Tequila - three agents working for the Statesman, the US equivalent to Kingsman. With the help of their new American counterparts, Eggsy, Merlin and some other familiar faces might just stand a chance of saving the world all over again.
Not the subtlest director working in Hollywood, Michael Bay brings his surging machismo to this retelling of the notorious attack on an American compound in Libya on the anniversary of 9/11 in 2012. As always, Bay stages the action on a big scale in a way that looks amazing, but he neglects both the story and the characters. As a result, the film feels epic and beefy, but is impossible to engage with.
It opens as a team of hired soldiers assembles at a secret CIA base in Benghazi. Jack (John Krasinski) is the newest arrival, joining his old pal Rone (James Badge Dale) and four more tough guys (Pablo Schreiber, David Denman, Dominic Fumusa and Max Martini). Meanwhile just up the road, the American Ambassador (Matt Letscher) is staying in a rather unsecure compound with not quite enough security, despite stern warnings from Washington that trouble is brewing. Sure enough, as night falls a local jihadist militia launches a violent, fiery assault. The CIA base chief (David Costabile) tells his men not to join the fight, but of course they can't resist the chance to charge in and save the day.
Over a long and bludgeoning two and a half hours, Bay carefully recreates this long, vicious night of fighting, as the situation continually twists out of control. The best thing about the film is the way it depicts how difficult it was to know which locals were on which side, but even this is simplified in Chuck Hogan's script. Everyone on-screen is interchangeable as either a bewildered nerd or a fierce warrior, and the only one in between is by far the film's strongest character: Peyman Moaadi's translator, who gets pushed right into the middle of the nightmare. In the few quiet moments, there are clumsy attempts to give these manly men some back-story, but it's the same for everyone: former black ops soldier with a wife and kids back home.
Continue reading: 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi Review
Devil's Knot is a biographical thriller drama based on the events of the West Memphis Three case directed by Atom Egoyan (The Sweet Hereafter, Chloe) and written by Paul Harris Boardman and Scott Derrickson (Sinister, The Exorcism Of Emily Rose).
Devil's Knot tells the chilling story of three young boys, Stevie Branch, Christopher Byers and Michael Moore, going missing in the town of West Memphis, Arkansas. When the bodies are found beaten and murdered, the police and religious people of the town put the blame to a group of teenagers they believed to be Satanists, due to the dark nature of their appearance. After police investigation, three young adults, Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley Jr., are arrested for suspicion of the crime. These three youths claim to be innocent of the murders, but the citizens of the town want justice for the murdered children and the punishment of the teenagers, innocent or not, seems to be their best answer.
The film will star academy award winner Reese Witherspoon portraying Stevie Branch's distraught mother, Michelle Enos (World War Z, Gangster Squad) as Vicki Hutcheson who was key in the arrest of the teenagers, Academy Award winner Colin Firth as private investigator Ron Lax and Dane DeHaan (The Amazing Spider Man 2, The Place Beyond the Pines) as Chris Morgan, who was a suspect in the murder case.
With only a hint of a futuristic setting, Spike Jonze takes a remarkably honest look at human emotions as a man and his computer's intelligent operating system fall madly in love with each other. Utterly grounded in believable characters and situations, this is a boldly inventive exploration of how we connect with each other. It's also one of the most involving, witty and evocative movies of the year.
It's set just a few years into the future, when we've essentially done away with keyboards and talk to our phones and computers. So Theodore (Phoenix) works in a company that writes letters for people who want a more tactile way of communicating. While trying not to let his recent divorce from Caroline (Mara) influence his work, his friends (Adams and Letscher) set him up on a blind date with a sexy woman (Wilde). But he's not quite ready to move on until he begins opening up to his new interactive operative system, which calls herself Samantha (voiced by Johansson). And she has such an open-hearted personality that Theodore can't help but fall for her.
The film has a breezy, fable-like tone that allows heavy themes to emerge without weighing us down. Indeed, the central idea is that relationships are difficult because we can't help but evolve individually, which sometimes means drifting apart. Obviously, this has huge ramifications when your partner is a limitless computer mind that will never stop expanding. But Theodore doesn't want to think about this; he is frightened by the idea that Samantha is changing. Yes, despite the vaguely surreal premise, the film is packed with things we readily identify with.
Continue reading: Her Review
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For those who knew him, Gary Unwin (better known as Eggsy to his friends), was...
Not the subtlest director working in Hollywood, Michael Bay brings his surging machismo to this...
Devil's Knot is a biographical thriller drama based on the events of the West Memphis...
With only a hint of a futuristic setting, Spike Jonze takes a remarkably honest look...