Based on real events, this sharply well-made film shifts from a rather light-hearted comedy into a horrific thriller. And it feels unnervingly natural as it does so. Where this goes is a bit relentless in its exploration of the darkest aspects of human capabilities, but it's also bracingly truthful. At the same time, it shows the enduring value of an experiment that seemed to go perilously wrong.
In Northern California in 1971, a group of 24 university students respond to a newspaper advert asking for participants in a psychological experiment. On the toss of a coin, organiser Dr Zimbardo (Billy Crudup) divides the young men into guards and inmates, and places them in a makeshift prison where they can be observed. And things start to turn nasty very quickly, as guard Christopher (Michael Angarano) targets snarky prisoner 8612 (Ezra Miller) for extra punishment. The guards also turn on the especially vulnerable 819 (Tye Sheridan). And when the inmates revolt, Zimbardo allows the guards to carry on with their increasingly harsh discipline. But Zimbardo's girlfriend Christina (Olivia Thirlby), herself a psychologist, worries that the situation has gone too far.
It's intriguing, and perhaps obvious, that it had to be a woman who saw through a scenario that had become little more than an out-of-control expression of masculinity. Even more telling, Zimbardo and his team became part of the experiment themselves, as they allowed and were fascinated by the abuse heaped on the prisoners by play-acting guards who let the power go to their heads. Director Kyle Patrick Alvarez (C.O.G.) shoots this in an unusually stripped-down style that gives the film a documentary tone. This low key approach means that the pacing sometimes feels draggy, as the intensely internalised suspense cycles around and around again. But what this is revealing about human behaviour is invaluable, and seriously terrifying.
Continue reading: The Stanford Prison Experiment Review
It's 1971 and University professor Dr. Philip Zimbardo wants to try a new social and psychological experiment. The idea was to take 18 young, well-adjusted males and put half in the role of a prison guard and half in the role of a prison inmate. It quickly became apparent that the guards would dominate this situation and take their new job roles to the extreme.
Though all the volunteers know they're being watch by Zimbardo and his colleagues, this didn't seem to make much difference to how the guards react. Not willing to put up with the actions of the guards, soon the submissive prisoners decide to rebel and take matters into their own hands. As the volunteers fall deeper into their new lives, Zimbardo becomes fascinated by the results and how quickly the situation escalates. When rules start to get broken, when should enough be enough?
The Stanford Prison Experiment is a psychological thriller based on true events. The results of Zimbardo's test were published in a book named The Lucifer Effect.
The Stanford Prison Experiment was directed by Kyle Patrick Alvarez and stars a number of young actors including Michael Angarano, Moises Arias & Ezra Miller.
Jason Statham may be playing essentially the same character he always plays, but this noir-style thriller has a somewhat groovier tone thanks to the Las Vegas setting and a scruffy William Goldman script. It's also directed with wit and energy by Simon West, who keeps everything moving very briskly. Although not fast enough for us to miss the fact that it's all rather thin and pointless.
As always, Statham is a former black-ops agent whose jaded, frazzled exterior obscures his fighting-fit action moves. His name this time is Nick Wild, and he works as a bodyguard for wealthy clients like Cyrus (Michael Angarano), who needs protection as he visits Vegas casinos with vast sums of money. He also has a lot to learn from Nick about gambling and wants to learn some of those action moves too. Meanwhile, Nick's ex-girlfriend Holly (Dominik Garcia-Lorido) asks him to help her get revenge against the swaggering gangster Donny (Milo Vengimiglia), who kidnapped and viciously terrorised her. Nick knows that getting even with Donny will put him on a collision course with mob kingpin Baby (Stanley Tucci), but he can't resist a challenge.
Nick is one of those characters who can't resist much. He's addicted to high-stakes blackjack, life-threatening confrontations and his own seedy poverty. So clearly the goal of the screenplay is to find some sort of uneasy redemption. Statham has played this role before in his sleep, so he looks almost bored here, which makes him vaguely intriguing. His gimmick this time is an ability to turn everyday objects into lethal weapons, including a seriously nasty moment with a pair of hedge clippers. It also helps that the film is packed with colourful scene-stealers who add plenty of badly needed spark, including a ripped Ventimiglia and the reliably wonderful Tucci, plus lively cameos from the likes of Sofia Vergara and Anne Heche.
Continue reading: Wild Card Review
Nick Wild (Jason Statham) is working as a Las Vegas bodyguard for hire, mainly due to his lethal professional skills, but also because of a slight gambling problem he has. Unfortunately for Wild, he allows business to get mixed up with his personal life, as he chooses to help a friend of his that gets savagely beaten by a Vegas thug. After extracting a bloody revenge on the thug, Wild finds his simple little existence challenged by an entire crime family that seem hell-bent on sending him to a shallow grave in the desert. Wild knows that one way or another, he's not gonna be in Vegas by the morning.
Continue: Wild Card Trailer
'The Brass Teapot' sees a young couple given the ultimate payoff, before things start to go wrong.
Juno Temple appears destined for stardom and her latest stepping stone to the top is 'The Brass Teapot,' a movie based on the comic book of the same name. A sort of indie-romance-fantasy-comedy, the movie follows the story of a married couple who are struggling financially to live in the big city. Of course, when this happens, there's really only thing to do: buy a teapot that magically fills with money every time you hurt yourself. Right?
Directed by Ramaa Mosley from a script by Tim Macy, The Brass Teapot see's John and Alice (Michael Angarano and Juno Temple) living a life of physical pain to enjoy huge luxuries. They start waxing, tattooing, hitting each other while all the while becoming richer and richer. Though initially insisting on stopping after reaching one million dollars, Alice (shock horror) finds herself unable to stop wanting more, putting herself and John in grave danger. It all appears pretty harmless and will no doubt appeal to a certain crowd, we're just not sure which yet. Nevertheless, Temple is an actress on the up and she's worth watching in anything at the moment.
Continue reading: No Pain, No Gain For Juno Temple In 'The Brass Teapot' (Trailer)
John and Alice are a married couple in their mid-twenties struggling with trying to find their place in a world that they can't afford to live in. John has been laid off at work, while Alice's fruitless attempts to compete with more experienced career seekers aren't paying off. One day they discover an antiques store on the side of the road and Alice is immediately enchanted by an old looking brass teapot. She discovers that every time one of them hurts themselves, the pot explodes with cash leading them to believe they've found the future they've been dreaming of at last. The pair start waxing, tattooing and beating themselves to their hearts' content as they become richer and richer by the hour, and while they initially insisted they would stop after reaching one million dollars, Alice finds herself unable to stop wanting more. They put themselves in grave danger as the teapot's history comes back to haunt them and their once perfect relationship is now being tested for the first time.
Continue: The Brass Teapot Trailer
Mallory (Carano) is a former military operative who's now a private contractor.
After working with Aaron (Tatum) on a rather dodgy kidnap-rescue in Barcelona, her U.S. Government boss Kenneth (McGregor) sends her to Dublin on an assignment with British agent Paul (Fassbender). But things quickly get messy and, when she ends up on the run, she desperately grabs a passerby (Angarano) and tells him her tale while figuring out what to do. The only men she trusts are a political puppet-master (Douglas) and her ex-military guru dad (Paxton).
Continue reading: Haywire Review
In his senior year at a Manhattan prep school, George (Highmore) can't muster up the energy to do his schoolwork. A bright kid with serious artistic talent, he's in trouble with the principal (Underwood) for failing his classes. He's also uninterested in communicating with his mother (Wilson) or stepdad (Robards). The class' hot bad girl Sally (Roberts) takes an interest in him, but he can't do much more than follow her around, even when his mentor painter (Angarano) urges him to make a move.
Continue reading: The Art Of Getting By Review
Michael Angarano Sunday 25th July 2010 out and about during Comic Con San Diego, California
Will Stronghold (Michael Angarano) is the son of the world's greatest heroes, super-strong Captain Stronghold (Kurt Russell) and high-flying Josie Jetstream (Kelly Preston). However, despite his impressive lineage, Will's lack of astonishing abilities poses complications on his first day at Sky High, a Hogwarts-esque floating academy for exceptionally gifted teens. Because of his embarrassing ordinariness, Will is shuttled into the "Sidekick" academic track (euphemistically referred to as "Hero Support") with his hippie best friend Layla (Danielle Panabaker) and other lamely powered misfits. Sidekicks are unpopular geeks and Heroes are the cool kids at this fantastic high school, which also features a cheerleading squad made up of clones, a mixed-lineage (hero and villain) rebel as Will's brooding arch-nemesis, and bullies acting as evil henchmen for a mysterious fiend who's plotting revenge against the Stronghold clan. This passing interest in metaphorical subtext proves tantalizing during Will's admission to his dad that he's a sidekick (a moment that recalls X-Men 2's "coming out" scene), as well as with the repeated adult refrain that Will is just a "late bloomer" (thus linking his nascent strengths with puberty). Yet content to only skim the surface of its symbolic potential, the film doggedly opts for obviousness when subtlety is called for, ultimately turning its story into simply the latest misfit-makes-good-and-proves-that-dorks-are-people-too adolescent fairy tale.
Continue reading: Sky High Review
2002's "Dogtownand Z-Boys" (now available in an excellentDVD) was an adrenaline-rush history of the Zephyr Skateboarding Team, adaredevil band of teenage surf bums who were the first to take wave-ridingmoves to the streets and empty swimming pools of drought-stricken SantaMonica in the early 1970s.
This handful of young turks (oneof whom became the director of that film andthe writer of this one) invented the board-gripping, back-scratching, wall-climbingstyle that launched the entire rebel culture of extreme sports -- but youwouldn't know it from "Lords of Dogtown," which concerns itselfmore with fabricated love triangles, unhappy home lives and rivalries thatformed when fame came calling.
While the performances of the young cast members -- keyZ-Boys are played by John Robinson from "Elephant,"Emile Hirsch from "TheGirl Next Door" and Victor Rasuk from "RaisingVictor Vargas" -- are multifaceted, they sometimes have the under-rehearsedfeel of a bawdier after-school special. Or maybe that's just the clumsyexpository dialogue: "Hey, I think we should start a skateboard team,man," says one shirtless, long-haired dude to another. "There'smoney in this!"
Continue reading: Lords Of Dogtown Review
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