Threes the charm @reeddiamond xo
Here's another remarkable biopic from Oliver Stone, who has used all-star casts and intensely pointed filmmaking to trace the lives of such people as JFK, Nixon, Jim Morrison and George W. Bush. And now he turns his attention to whistleblower Edward Snowden. This is an urgent, skilfully made film that manages to avoid preachy politics as it asks the central question: was Snowden a traitor or a patriot?
Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Ed, a nerdy genius who never went to university but was spotted by CIA trainer Corbin (Rhys Ifans) and brought into the fold. Rising through the ranks, he moves from Virginia to Switzerland, Japan and Hawaii, accompanied by his long-suffering girlfriend Lindsay (Shailene Woodley), who isn't allowed to know what he does for a living. Over the years, his faith in America's government is shaken as he discovers the scale of its data-gathering operation, collecting all telephone and internet information on every person on earth, whether or not they're a suspect. And he believes that the taxpayers have a right to know what their elected officials are doing.
The script tells the story as Ed describes his life to filmmaker Laura Poitras (Melissa Leo) and two Guardian journalists (Zachary Quinto and Tom Wilkinson) while hiding in a Hong Kong hotel, an event recounted in the Oscar-winning documentary Citizenfour. Eventually, this element of the story generates some proper action as the CIA tracks him down and gives chase. Stone orchestrates these scenes expertly, generating some real adrenaline without sacrificing the bigger narrative. And Gordon-Levitt is simply remarkable, vanishing into the role so effectively that the final dissolve to the real Snowden is barely perceptible. His chemistry with Woodley is complex and engaging (even with a gratuitous sex scene), creating a terrific central love story to guide the audience through the events.
Continue reading: Snowden Review
Edward Snowden always knew he wanted to serve his country and, as most young men and women who feel the need to serve their country, he enrolled in the United States Army Reserves, training was tough and it took a toll on his body, an accident led to Snowden fracturing both his legs, his plans for the future were thrown into chaos and he had to evaluate a new way to serve - as well as make a living.
Turing to one of his other natural skills, Snowden continued to hone his computer skills and finally applied for a job at the CIA. Working his way up the ranks, Snowden became an intrinsic member of staff and it lead him to be offered a new job at the NSA by their deputy director. His job was to analyse the internet, to find new ways to intercept the one communication from the 'bad guy' amongst all the innocent communications each person sends on a day to day basis but what he discovers is that the NSA have access to far more knowledge and information than he or any other normal citizen would expect.
Though he's never believed in sharing state secrets, now he's privy to this information, Snowden knows he must do something with it and that he might be putting his life on the line in order to bring this enormous data privacy breach to light. Sneaking out files via a micro drive hidden in his rubik's cube, Snowden contacts three journalists Laura Poitras, Ewen MacAskill and Glenn Greenwald with his newly found knowledge and they begin to unfold the information.
Continue: Snowden Trailer
It didn't seem possible, but somehow this action movie is even more preposterous than its predecessor, 2013's over-serious Olympus Has Fallen. Gerard Butler is back as a Secret Service agent protecting US President Aaron Eckhart, this time in a Taken-style scenario in which they leave America only to be immediately thrown into the middle of a massive terrorist attack. But the script is so lazy that there isn't a moment when any of this is remotely believable.
Events are put into motion when the British prime minister dies of a heart attack and security services only have a few days to lock down London so that the world's leaders can arrive for the funeral at St Paul's Cathedral. Mike (Butler) flies in with his boss Lynn (Bassett) on Air Force One, accompanying President Asher (Eckhart) and a platoon of bodyguards. Then just before the funeral, a carefully orchestrated series of bombings and gun attacks take out five heads of state. Of course, Mike and Lynn get Asher out of the fray, but an army of bad guys led by terror mastermind Kamran (Waleed Zuaiter) pursue them across the city. Back in Washington, Vice President Trumbull (Morgan Freeman) and the panicky cabinet (including Haley, Forster and Leo) watch all of this unfold on video screens and coordinates a counter-attack.
Even with four screenwriters, the movie makes no real sense. And worse than that, the filmmakers never take advantage of the story's potential or the heavy-hitting cast. There's a line about how all of London's landmarks have been destroyed, but the on-screen destruction is limited to just one of Westminster Abbey's towers. The depiction of world leaders is laughably cliched. And the award-winning actors have nothing to do but stand there looking worried. By contrast, Butler charges around shooting and stabbing everybody who moves in a display of shockingly brutal machismo. Eckhart is more believably reluctant to join in and dispense some violence, but of course he does.
Continue reading: London Has Fallen Review
Smart and snappy, this comedy is one of the scariest films of the year, using humour to outline the 2008 economic collapse from the inside. With characters who are based on real people, the film shows how economists made a fortune from the financial devastation inflicted on millions of families. And the movie cleverly points out that all of this happened (and people are still getting away with it) because the general public can't be bothered to pay attention.
Things were so booming in the first years of this century that it was easy for the media to divert the attention of Americans away from the dark underbelly of the financial world, creating big scandals out of nothing, spurring rampant buying sprees and making stars of non-entities like the Kardashians. Meanwhile in 2005, investment expert Michael Burry (Christian Bale) noticed that America's mortgage market was turning toxic. So he offered to "short" it, betting against this always-stable market by purchasing credit default swaps. The banks thought they would make a fortune from him, carrying on their dangerous practices. But other experts saw Burry's point, including the nerdy genius Mark Baum (Steve Carell), the shark-like Jared Vennett (Ryan Gosling) and a pair of newbies (Finn Wittrock and John Magaro) who tip off their reclusive mentor Ben Rickert (Brad Pitt). When the economy imploded, these men became billionaires.
Director-cowriter Adam McKay is better known for silly movies like Anchorman, so he packs this film with raucous cutaways to pop culture references of the period, as well as hilariously absurd explanations of economic issues from, for example, Margot Robbie in a bubble bath or Selena Gomez playing blackjack. This approach actually heightens the horror of what's going on as fraudulent bankers and corrupt government officials conspire to undermine the foundations of the economy. Although the explanations still feel like gibberish to mere mortals, it's at least presented in a way that's entertaining.
Continue reading: The Big Short Review
Director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, Olympus Has Fallen) talks about what makes The Equalizer (Denzel Washington) different from other action movie heroes. The name comes from how he spends his days as a "regular Joe", but uses hand-to-hand combat in order to fight his way through legions of bad guys "levelling the playing field". Producer Todd Black (A Knight's Tale, The Pursuit of Happiness) goes on to explain The Equalizer's skill set. He uses impeccable awareness of his surroundings to manipulate his environment into a weapon - this leads to stunt coordinator Keith Woulard discussing Washington's desire to make the fight scenes "dirty and gritty, but he want[ed] it smart".
Continue: The Equalizer - Featurette and Clip
As this massive blockbuster thriller progresses, it's impossible not to become amused by how ridiculous its script becomes. Because the production values are first-rate, with mammoth set pieces, rampant destruction and elaborate stunt action. Meanwhile, the plot and dialog are comically inane, to the point where knowing audience members start giggling helplessly. And frankly, these viewers will enjoy the film a lot more than anyone who tries to take it seriously.
The film opens with a harrowing scene in which Secret Service agent Mike (Butler) saves the President (Echkart) from an accident in which the First Lady (Judd) dies. So he's transferred to office duty, and now only keeps an eye on the White House from across the road. But this is how he spots a fringe group of radical Koreans launch an assault. Led by nutcase Kang (Yune) they storm the Oval Office and take the President, Defense Secretary (Leo) and others hostage. As Mike tries to break them free, he stays in touch with the temporary command centre at the Pentagon, where top dogs (including Freeman, Forster and Bassett) attempt to keep the menace from spreading.
But of course, these officials are useless, and it'll be up to Mike to save the day on his own, Die Hard-style. Improbably, all of his old access codes and passwords still work, so he's able to sneak around the White House and take out the villains one by one. Butler turns out to be rather good in this kind of meathead role, combining Bruce Willis' wit with Sylvester Stallone's brawn. By contrast, everyone else pretty much just sits around saying ridiculous things like, "Oh my God, we're doomed!" At least Leo gets to show some backbone.
Continue reading: Olympus Has Fallen Review
President of the United States Benjamin Asher has had enough trauma while being in office, and things are about to get a whole lot worse. What with the current conflicts between the States and North Korea, there is a known danger that a war could erupt between the two countries; however, Asher had little to suspect when he welcomed a South Korean ministerial aide into the White House. In a terrifying turn of events, he is kidnapped by the aide who reveals himself to be Kang, a North Korean terrorist with little interest in negotiations. Trapped in the building as it becomes under siege by Kang's cohorts is Mike Banning; a former Secret Service agent who was discredited after making a mistake at the expense of a life while acting as a Presidential guard. Despite his being shunned from the government for his errors, with his insider knowledge he becomes the only hope they have of rescuing the President from a grisly fate.
Continue: Olympus Has Fallen Trailer
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
David Arquette Wore A Pretty Fetching Suit To The Creative Coalition Event
Ok, so the biggest party in America was over at the Presidential Inaugural Ball in Washington D.C. on Monday (January 21, 2013) though it wasn't the only place to find glitz and glamour in the capital! It was a similarly star-studded affair at the Creative Coalition Ball held at the Harmon Center at 6th and F Streets, Northwest.
Red carpet attendees at the bash for the non-profit advocacy group for arts and entertainment included Oscar winning actress Melissa Leo, actor Matt Bomer, Hollywood star David Arquette and actor Omar Epps. Former American Idol judge Paula Abdul was one of the more high profile guests, and tweeted to her 2.4 million followers, "Can't wait for the Creative Coalition ball! SO thrilled to be able to witness and take part of inauguration weekend!"
Continue reading: Creative Coalition Ball: David Arquette, Matt Bomer, Melissa Leo (Pictures)
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
Lovelorn singer-songwriter Alex (O'Nan) is struggling to survive in New York after the departure of his latest musical partner (Ritter). And when he loses his day job, he decides to head back across country to stay with his older brother (McCarthy). Before he leaves, he has an encounter with crazed stalker-fan Jim (Weston), who proposes that they become a double-act and take a cross-country tour to an L.A. battle of the bands. He reluctantly goes along with this, and is even more nervous about letting the rather aggressive Cassidy (Kebbel) join them.
Continue reading: The Brooklyn Brothers Beat The Best Review
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
Ditched by his beloved, budding musician Alex thinks things can't get much worse. But when he's fired by both his band mate and eventually his real estate office boss, it's safe to say that he hits rockbottom. Performing gigs at every opportunity (including a special needs school), he is in dire need of his big break. That's were Jim comes in. Jim is a musical enthusiast who develops big ideas after hearing Alex perform. He books a string of US tour dates for the two of them to embark on together to Alex's initial resentment and utter reluctance. Their amateur performances kick off at a wobbly start but the pair eventually start to bounce of one another and create a new sound that sparks interest from audiences. However, the tour comes to an abrupt halt when their unreliable 'tour manager' Cassidy abandons them and Alex is forced to quit the tour and escape to his brother's house where he goes on a journey of self-discovery.
Doug Riley (Gandolfini) and his wife Lois (Leo) have a quietly tense marriage that's infused with grief over the death of their teen daughter. So when Doug's mistress (Davis) dies suddenly, he doesn't know how to cope. Then he discovers that Lois has already bought their tombstone. On a business trip to New Orleans, he develops a tentative father-daughter relationship with young prostitute Mallory (Stewart). But while he's helping Mallory get back on her feet, Lois is in meltdown mode. So she stops taking her pills and drives to New Orleans.
Continue reading: Welcome To The Rileys Review
Teenagers Travis, Billy-Ray and Jarod are best friends who live in a small town in Middle America. One night, they trawl the internet for casual hook-ups outside town and get talking to a 38 year old woman, Sara, who propositions them with no strings attached group sex. The three friends agree and travel to Cooper's Dell, where Sara lives, all the while discussing what they'd like to do with her.
Continue: Red State Trailer
It's nearing the end of summer in Fairbanks, Alaska, and it's almost time to return to school. Vanessa has spent her summer working in an ice cream shack and she's about to be dumped by her boyfriend Philip. To Vanessa, Philip is perfect, THE boy she was meant to be with and after he breaks the news to her, there's only one thing she want to do: win him back.
Continue: Dear Lemon Lima Trailer
In small-town 1993 Massachusetts, Dickie (Bale) is a crack addict who lives in his own glorious past as a boxer who once knocked down Sugar Ray Leonard. But his erratic life is jeopardising the growing career of his half-brother Micky (Wahlberg), who he's training and managing with their tough-as-nails mother (Leo). Micky knows that in order to further his career, he'll need to make a difficult break from his messy family. Then he meets Charlene (Adams), a barmaid who encourages him to go for it. And of course they see her as the villain.
Continue reading: The Fighter Review
All Micky Ward has known is boxing, his half-brother Dicky was once a notable name in the sport but due to drug addiction his career was brought to a halt, now he spends his time training Micky. As Micky's confidence grows, so does his ego, to the point that he openly brags to people in the neighbourhood about his almost certain victory before he's even entered the ring.
Continue: The Fighter Trailer
Date of birth
14th September, 1960
Threes the charm @reeddiamond xo
Oh yes @reeddiamond acting as stellar as always heartbreaking!...but poor Harold in #WaywardPines
Oh @reeddiamond that was awful!..😢
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First impressions can be like judging a book by its cover...even in #WaywardPines
Her #WaywardPines chip?....???
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Reading #WaywardPines !..
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It's the early sixties and 17-year-old Cathleen Harris has decided on what she wants for...
Here's another remarkable biopic from Oliver Stone, who has used all-star casts and intensely pointed...
Edward Snowden always knew he wanted to serve his country and, as most young men...
It didn't seem possible, but somehow this action movie is even more preposterous than its...
Smart and snappy, this comedy is one of the scariest films of the year, using...
Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, Aaron Eckhart and Angela Bassett once again team up in the...
When Dr. Michael Burry discovered that the housing market in the US relied upon a...
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Shia LaBeouf is well-cast in this freewheeling combination of comedy, romance and action. He plays...
Little more than a paint-by-numbers action thriller, it's anyone's guess why the filmmakers have bothered...
Director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, Olympus Has Fallen) talks about what makes The Equalizer (Denzel...
Hank Palmer is a ruthless but excellent lawyer, despised by many of his peers for...
Robert McCall has a modest job at a hardware store in Boston where he longs...