There's a terrific script at the heart of this World War II thriller, with a blast of complex romance alongside some dark Hitchcockian twists. But filmmaker Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump) was probably the wrong man for the directing job, as he overproduces every scene to within an inch of its life. Everything is so big and slick that the story begins to be swamped by the too-perfect costumes and scenery. Which makes it difficult for the audience to engage in what should really be a scrappy, dangerous little drama.
It all kicks off in 1942 Casablanca, where Canadian pilot Max (Brad Pitt) meets French resistance agent Marianne (Cotillard), and together they pose as a couple to infiltrate a party and assassinate a high-ranking Nazi. They also fall in love, and afterwards decide to move to London together and start a family. But a year later, as they are raising their young daughter in leafy Hampstead, Max is told by British officials (Jared Harris and Simon McBurney) that Marianne may have secretly been a German spy all along. And there's now a countdown, as a trap as been laid to prove her guilt unless Max can find evidence to the contrary.
What follows is a tense series of events that are drenched in suspicion and intrigue as Max scrambles around to find the truth while trying not to let Marianne know what he's up to. It's a clever set-up that's very nicely played by Pitt and Cotillard, both of whom bring contrasting layers of emotion and subterfuge to their roles, plus plenty of swooning romantic energy. Most intriguing is that both are able to remain likeable as things progress. So whatever the outcome, it won't change how we feel about them. The adept actors in the side roles are excellent, although they're little more than more scenery around the central couple.
Continue reading: Allied Review
It's 1942 and the world is in the middle of a war unlike any that have happened before. The Nazi Party not only have control of Germany but they've branched out into France and their grip is tightening on lands further afield. The allied forces only held relatively small areas in France and many operatives worked undercover.
Marianne Beausejour is one such operative, she's a beautiful woman who managed to infiltrate certain circles. She's deep undercover and is trusted by her enemies. Max Vatan is spy assassin who's sent to France to help the allied forces. The pair fall for one another and start a love affair. As their relationship deepens, their safety is compromised and they both must fight to protect the love they've built.
The story for Allied is written by Steven Knight (Burnt & Peaky Blinders) and is said to be based on a true story.
Jones, Hurst, Mitchell and Engel are deep sea divers on an assignment to service an oil pipe in the depths of the Indian Ocean. It's a dangerous task anyway, being 650 feet under and full of compressed air - unable to make any quick escape without risk of death. However, when they are stranded following a severe storm back above the surface, they begin to realise that they might have to with no way of knowing if help is on its way; after all, their boat up top has come crashing to the ocean floor. It's a dilemma that becomes all the more difficult to solve when the group start to suffer from the strains of being underwater for so long; rupturing lungs, decompression sickness and hypothermia are all upon them with the crushing weight of the abyss.
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An intriguing premise keeps the audience gripped for about 20 minutes before the movie runs out of steam. Which is far too early. Despite the always-engaging presence of Ryan Reynolds, this fantastical thriller is slick enough to hold the attention, but fails because it's unable to generate any interest in the central characters. And instead of exploring the fascinating issues the story raises, the filmmakers instead fall back on irrelevant violence.
The story opens as billionaire Manhattan businessman Damien (Ben Kingsley) discovers he has six months to live. But he has heard about a new medical procedure called "shedding", in which his mind is implanted in a lab-grown body. At $250 million, it seems like a bargain, so he signs up with Dr Allbright (Matthew Goode) and prepares to abandon his old life for a new one. He wakes up in New Orleans as Edward (Reynolds), and begins to adjust to his fit new 35-year-old body. But after he misses his adjustment meds one day he has a series of bewildering flashbacks that make him wonder about the true nature of the shedding process. Maybe his new body wasn't so "new" after all. So he goes looking for answers, which involves teaming up with Madeline (Natalie Martinez) and seeking help from his business partner Martin (Victor Garber).
There are all kinds of intriguing themes swirling through this set-up, including issues of identity and mortality. But writers David and Alex Pastor seem uninterested in exploring any of this in lieu of a much more simplistic morality tale packed with continual shoot-out and chase scenes, plus far too much body-swapping. All of this is produced to a very high standard by director Tarsem Singh, who has a reputation for seriously stylish cinema (see The Fall or The Cell). He adds a strong edge to every scene, with intriguingly haunting editing choices and camerawork that add plenty of tension and uncertainty even if the plot itself is utterly predictable.
Continue reading: Self/Less Review
What would you do if you had one of the smartest minds and largest bank accounts on the planet, but were still faced with your own mortality? For Damian (Ben Kingsley), a man credited with single-handedly building a city. He is also, steadily deteriorating and dying from cancer. When a shadowy scientist named Albright (Matthew Goode) offers to save him with an experimental treatment, Damian believes he has no choice if he wants his mind to live on. With his mind implanted into the body of someone else (Ryan Reynolds), he begins to enjoy his revitalised body to enjoy his life. That is, until he starts to realise the sinister truth behind living out an immortal existence in, what is revealed to be, a stolen body.
Continue: Selfless Trailer
The New York premier for 'The Imitation Game' saw celebrities fall upon the Ziegfeld Theatre in droves, amongst them were 'Game of Thrones'' Charles Dance, as well as Matthew Goode and wife Sophie Dymoke.
A biopic that plays out like a cerebral thriller, this film traces the life of Alan Turing, the British maths genius who essentially invented the computer and won World War II before being driven to suicide by a cruel legal system. So it's striking that Norwegian filmmaker Morten Tyldum (Headhunters) infuses the film with humour, energy and intelligence. And with an astounding performance from Benedict Cumberbatch, he also manages to find layers of nuance in first-time screenwriter Graham Moore's on-the-nose script.
We meet Cumberbatch's Alan as a 27-year-old Cambridge professor in 1939, recruited by MI6 officer Menzies (Mark Strong) and military commander Denniston (Charles Dance) to join the team at Bletchley Park as they try to crack Germany's Enigma code. An eccentric genius, Alan struggles to fit in with his colleagues (Matthew Goode, Allen Leech and Matthew Beard), but he manages to connect with Jean (Keira Knightley), whom he recruits even though she's not allowed to work alongside the men. Then Alan begins to build his ambitious, unprecedented computing machine. No one understands how it can help decode Enigma, but they can see that he's on to something. Meanwhile, Alan has his own secret: he's gay, which is a criminal offence at the time.
The story is told with three interwoven timelines, with the central plot being the race to break Enigma and turn the tide of the war against the Nazis. Alongside this are scenes set in 1951, when a policeman (Rory Kinnear) interviews Turing about his homosexuality. And there are also flashbacks to 1928, when the young Turing (a superb Alex Lawther) has his first encounter with cryptology, romance and pretending to be someone he's not. The links between these three strands feel somewhat pushy, all hinging on the line: "It's people no one imagines anything of who do things no one can imagine." But Tyldum allows plenty of space for the actors to add uneven edges that draw out the meaning in more subtle, involving ways.
Continue reading: The Imitation Game Review
It's World War II and things are looking bleak as the allies struggle to decipher the Germans' ingenious Enigma Code; a puzzle that could bring an immediate end to the war with all their movements quickly surfacing. Unfortunately, their enigma seems to be nearly impossible, at least until the British government enlist the help of gifted university graduate Alan Turing, whose remarkable ability for solving problems has eluded no-one. With the help of a tireless team, Turing sets about developing a top secret machine with the ability to find and eliminate all possible sequences with the speed and efficiency that would be impossible just using a human brain. When it seems he indeed has managed to make a breakthrough, discoveries about his personal life put him in danger of the very people he was trying to help.
Continue: The Imitation Game - Interview Clip
Benedict Cumberbatch appears to deliver a stellar performance as Alan Turing in 'The Imitation Game'.
It appears Benedict Cumberbatch has thrown his hat in the ring for next year's Oscars, playing Alan Turing in the forthcoming drama The Imitation Game. The movie tells the story of the legendary code-breaker and his team at Bletchley Park, who raced against time to break the German's Enigma code during World War II.
Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing in 'The Imitation Game'
Turing's genius in cracking the code is attributed to the premature end of World War II and his work is said to have helped saved thousands of life.
Alan Turing is a mathematician whose genius leads him to be enlisted in a major code-breaking scheme during World War II, where he is set the task of deciphering German secrets. Working strictly covertly at the Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park, he and his team study tirelessly in order to crack a complex Enigma that would allow them to win the war. To everyone's surprise, he begins building a machine which he insists will have the capability to interpret any Nazi Enigmas with it's ability to eliminate possible sequences with efficiency and speed. However, frequently scorned for his unconventional methods and later for his sexuality, he becomes the unsung hero of the War, saving millions of lives and bringing justice upon the world.
Continue: The Imitation Game - Teaser Trailer
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