Since novelist Dan Brown wrote a new thriller featuring the symbologist Robert Langdon, Tom Hanks and director Ron Howard have reteamed to bring it to the big screen. But this second sequel to The Da Vinci Code feels like a pale imitation of the original. Gone are the clever, fake-academic revelations and rather wacky action antics, and in their place are clues that feel utterly irrelevant, accompanied by fights and chases that are incoherent.
At least it opens well, with Langdon (Hanks) waking up in a Florence hospital without a clue how he got to Italy. Then when a sexy cop (Ana Ularu) tries to kill him, Robert's hot doctor Sienna (Felicity Jones) helps him escape. She also has an unusual knowledge of antiquities, so she travels with him to figure out why he's being chased by the police, an army of World Health Organisation officials (led by Sidse Babett Knudsen), a man (Omar Sy) leading a team of violent goons and a shady businessman (Irrfan Khan). Robert traces all of these shenanigans to the recently deceased billionaire anarchist Bertrand (Ben Foster), who was plotting to release a virus that would kill off half of mankind to halt overpopulation. Is his plan still going forward? Can Robert stop it in time? The next clues are in Venice and then Istanbul.
The settings are gorgeous, and Howard knows how to use them to pack the film with old world elegance. But while David Koepp's script keeps the mayhem moving along whether or not it makes any sense, Howard directs everything at a glacial pace. So it looks like Hanks is in danger of falling asleep at any time, even in the middle of a car chase. There's also the problem that the central premise is utterly preposterous: if you're planning a terrorist attack that will kill four billion people, would you take the time to set it up as an elaborate scavenger hunt? And it doesn't help that everyone in the movie seems untrustworthy. The script sorts the good from the bad as it goes along, but it never matters.
Continue reading: Inferno Review
After all the hype, it's impossible not to expect steam from this adaptation of E.L. James' mommy-porn bestseller, but the average episode of Red Shoe Diaries is friskier than this movie. Still, it's a well written and played drama, building an unusual romance with a series of scenes that are sometimes sexy but never actually transgressive. And the nicest surprise is that in the hands of director Sam Taylor-Johnson it becomes a witty tale of female empowerment.
It's set in the American Northwest, where Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) is finishing her studies as an English literature major when she's asked by her journalist roommate Kate (Eloise Mumford) to interview Seattle's most eligible bachelor, billionaire Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan). Ana's awkwardly confident approach immediately gets under his skin, and he pursues her as if she's a corporate acquisition, complete with non-disclosure agreements and a contract that would make her submissive to his dominant. But she isn't so sure about all of this, and as she falls for him, she begins to make him break his own rules. Of course he thinks she should be punished for that.
Essentially, this film is mere foreplay, as the push and pull between Ana and Christian cycles through various set-pieces on the way to an ending that is clearly designed to get fans in a lather for films based on the second and third novels in the trilogy. And the studio would be wise to keep Taylor-Johnson and screenwriter Kelly Marcel (Saving Mr Banks, another story of male-female control) on board, as they have clearly beefed up James' novel with a strong dose of wry humour, bringing out the deeper themes rather than focussing on the under-developed plot and characters.
Continue reading: Fifty Shades Of Grey Review
What on Earth could Rita be talking about?
Rita Ora has teased fans of the Fifty Shades of Grey franchise by telling them to expect "the biggest and most amazing shock" as EL James' erotic trilogy is given a movie transformation. The film, which is currently being shot in Vancouver has experienced plenty of delays with its casting and filming but if Rita's words are anything to go by, it should all be worth it upon the 14th February 2015 release date.
Rita Ora Is Loving Her New Role In The '50 Shades' Movie.
The 23 year-old pop star, who has been cast in her first speaking movie role as Christian Grey's sister, Mia, said she is "so excited" about the movie and that the release is "gonna be the biggest and most amazing shock ever."
Continue reading: Rita Ora Promises Fifty Shades Fans "The Biggest And Most Amazing Shock"
With an attention to documentary detail that makes everything viscerally realistic, this film grabs hold and never lets go, cranking the suspense to nearly unbearable levels and then tightening its grip even further. Like director Greengrass' United 93, this is a film that makes us forget our daily routine, sending us on a harrowing journey that feels more like a life experience than watching a movie.
It's based on true events from March 2009, when Richard Phillips (Hanks) took a routine job captaining a cargo ship filled with food aid from Oman to Kenya. Then off the coast of Somalia, they're attacked by the tenacious pirate Muse (Abdi) and his three cohorts (Abdirahman, Ahmed and Ali). These aren't terrorists, they're desperate young men who take violent action only because they have to. But their demands for money go unmet, and the stand-off escalates as Phillips' crew fights back against the armed intruders. Then the American Navy responds with overwhelming force, trying to calm the situation without getting Phillips killed.
Aside from one background sequence in Somalia, we watch the entire story through Phillips' eyes, which makes us feel like we are right in the middle of it. Greengrass insists on realism, refusing to indulge in digital trickery when he can get real ships and helicopters out on the ocean instead. This gives the film a jolt of authenticity that's impossible to re-create in a studio, as we can feel the isolation of the expansive sea as well as the dangerous claustrophobia in the pod-like lifeboat where the climactic scenes play out. And there isn't a false note. Even with a well-known actor like Hanks in the central role, we are completely drawn in.
Continue reading: Captain Phillips Review
As Hollywood rolls into awards' season, the head honchos at Universal Pictures and Focus Features are probably busy plotting for 2013 having landed the rights to the Fifty Shades of Grey movie. Warner Bros, Sony Pictures, Paramount and Mark Wahlberg's company all placed bids for the rights in one of fiercest movie bidding wars of recent times. Despite the general critical mauling of E.L. James book (though massive sales figures), the movie boasts a pretty impressive team. The Social Network producers Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti have signed on while Terra Nova's Kelly Marcel will pen the script.
But that's all the boring stuff. We want to know who's playing Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele right? Murmurings around Hollywood suggest Ryan Gosling is pretty much everyone's first choice to play the wealthy protagonist. Universal want Gosling, the producers want Gosling, the fans want Gosling, hell, Gosling probably wants the role himself. Irish bookmaker Paddy Power have the Drive actor as 2/1 favourite, though one man threw a pretty giant spanner into the works this week. He's the third favourite with the bookmaker, he plays Superman in the forthcoming movie Man of Steel. He is Henry Cavill.
The 29-year-old British actor - who screen-tested for the role of James Bond before Daniel Craig got the part - discussed Fifty Shades of Grey during a recent interview with Details magazine. When quizzed as to whether he would take the role, Cavill gave a curious answer. Whereas Gosling, Ian Somerhalder and Michael Fassbender have coyly laughed off suggestions of becoming Mr Grey, Cavill said, "Whether that happens, that decision will be made at the time it has to be made. It would be a very different kind of thing than Man of Steel." The interviewer observed that Cavill spoke in "the measured tones of someone who knows his way around a Hollywood gag order."
Continue reading: Wait, Has Henry Cavill Signed On For Fifty Shades Of Grey?
Besides some cheap scares, it never generates a moment of suspense, but it's still good fun.
In suburban Las Vegas, Charley (Yelchin) is a nerdy teen with an impossibly hot girlfriend (Poots) and a feisty single mum (Collette). But there's something suspicious about the new neighbour Jerry (Farrell), whom Charley's best friend Ed (Mintz-Plasse) insists is a vampire. And as events start to get increasingly bizarre, Charley begins to believe it himself. He asks TV vampire expert Peter Vincent (Tennant) for advice, but Peter is a jaded showman who doesn't really believe in the supernatural. Or does he?
Continue reading: FrightNight Review
Milton (Cage) is on a mission to avenge the death of his daughter and rescue his grandchild from a charismatic satanic cult leader (Burke). But he's being tenaciously pursued by a man (Fichtner) who calls himself the Accountant and clearly has supernatural powers. Indeed, it turns out that Milton has escaped from hell, and the Accountant is here to bring him back. Although he rather enjoys causing chaos here on earth. Meanwhile, Milton teams up with Piper (Heard), mainly because she has a seriously hot car.
Continue reading: Drive Angry Review
When Ben Campbell (Sturgess) learns that Harvard Medical School will cost $300,000 for tuition, room, and board, he sees no possible way of paying the bill. While studying one night, he is approached by Jason Fisher (Jacob Pitts) who invites him into the secret world of Professor Micky Rosa's (Spacey) card-counting club. With an elaborate system of formulas, buzzwords, and signals, Rosa and his students have been hitting Las Vegas on weekends and winning big. They now want Ben to join their clandestine cabal. At first, he says no. But thanks to the seductive sway of juicy Jill Taylor (Bosworth), Ben acquiesces. Soon, he is leading the group toward untold riches -- and the investigative glare of casino security agent Cole Williams (Laurence Fishburne).
Continue reading: 21 Review
Now then: What does this have to do with Johnny Blaze, superstar motorcycle daredevil? Well, writer-director Mark Steven Johnson will tell you, in a second prologue, after the opening credits, showing Blaze, as a teenager, making one of those unfortunate and confusing satanic contracts in an attempt to save his father's life. Johnson is apparently under the impression that this 20-minute backstory technique worked so well in his Daredevil that he can't afford to, say, skip it and get right to Nicolas Cage, who eventually shows up as the adult Johnny, about to be confronted by the consequences of said contract. Young Johnny's deal is so inadvertent and, again, vague, that the situation lacks considerable drama, but the show must go on.
Continue reading: Ghost Rider Review
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