California is well-known for playing host to regular earthquakes, being located right on top of the San Andreas fault; in other words, the tectonic plate boundary that separates the Pacific and the North American Plates. However, rarely have earthquakes been seen that have reduced whole cites to rubble, caused huge chasms in the Earth and deadly tidal waves through streets killing thousands of people. The only option for residents is to get as far away as possible, though with such a huge disaster ripping through the state, this one is still going to have an effect on the other side of the country. Meanwhile, chopper pilot Ray and his estranged wife are desperate to find their missing daughter Blake first, and use a Fire Department rescue helicopter to search high and low throughout the state.
Continue: San Andreas Trailer
Breaking Bad has won five of the nine categories in the Primetime Emmy Drama Awards. The series, which finished its run last year, dominated this section of the awards and won the award for Outstanding Drama Series amongst others. Here is a quick analysis of each drama category.
The Primetime Emmy Awards were held on Monday evening (25th August) in Los Angeles and there was stiff competition in every category although the results were ultimately highly predictable.
Breaking Bad dominated the drama awards at the Primetime Emmys.
Continue reading: Primetime Emmy Awards 2014 -Breaking Bad Predictably Dominates Drama
Fiercely original and wildly ambitious, this provocative drama is often thrilling simply because it's like nothing ever put on-screen. This means that it can be somewhat overwhelming at times, as the film cycles through its dense plot, which seems to meander and stumble here and there. From inventive filmmaker Ari Folman (who made the award-winning animated doc Waltz With Bashir), this is a challenging look at identity in an increasingly digital society.
The story begins in the present day, as actress Robin Wright (playing a variation on herself) is living out of the limelight with her two kids (Kodi Smit-McPhee and Sami Gayle). Then her agent Al (Harvey Keitel) brings her a very strange job offer: a film studio boss (Danny Huston) wants to buy Robin's image to digitise and use in movies, while the real Robin is free to live her life away from Hollywood. Since her son's medical condition needs her attention, she signs a 20-year contract and lets the studio create an avatar that will carry on her career. Two decades later, advances in technology have made this kind of virtual existence available to the general public, so as a pioneer Robin is invited to the Futurists Congress, which is held in an animated alternate reality.
Essentially the story is told in two halves. The first part of the film is a smart and funny razor-sharp satire of Hollywood image-making, as the studio wants the young Robin Wright of The Princess Bride and Forrest Gump rather than the older, more serious actress. And from her perspective, she still wants to control her image as much as possible ("no Nazi or sci-fi movies!"). Then events leap forward to the animated Congress, which is a deluge of colourful characters from vintage cartoons and videogames. In this realm, people can be whatever they want to be. But the truth is that they are living drugged-up Matrix-style lives in the real world while their avatars cavort as if in a dreamland.
Continue reading: The Congress Review
'The Princess Bride' actress Robin Wright plays a fictional idea of herself, as someone struggling to land acting roles despite her immense fame decades ago. In the movie, her son is suffering from increasing blindness for which she needs to raise many to help. Her agent has one last idea; seeing as she can no longer land movie roles, Miramount Studios want to scan her whole body, emotions, voice and personality to be used in digital imagery for future films so she no longer has to act. Desperate, she accepts the deal; allowing the studio to take ownership of her and accepting the money they pay her for it. Years later, however, she has become a major movie star once again and now Miramount want to showcase their new avatar programme at the Futurological Congress, whereby buyers can turn themselves into animated versions of anyone - and Miramount wants Robin to let people become her. As her life progresses, she starts to wonder just where the reality has gone in this virtual world.
This intriguing half-animated sci-fi drama explores themes of virtual reality and the limitlessness of human endeavour in the technological era. It has been directed and written by Ari Folman ('Waltz with Bashir', 'Made in Israel', 'Saint Clara') and is based on the novel 'The Futurological Congress' by Stanislaw Lem. 'The Congress' is due for UK release on August 15th 2014.
'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' has performed poorly with the critics - so why have Sony already commissioned two further movies?
You would have been forgiven for assuming The Amazing Spider-Man 2 had been a monumental success. It's everywhere. Posters, trailers, merchandise. Sony have gone big with the sequel to Marc Webb's 2012 movie and with Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx and Paul Giamatti amongst the cast, you can bet your life this one was big, big, budget.
Andrew Garfield in 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2'
But then there's the reviews. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 ranks way, way lower than previous Spidey movies and with 55% on Rotten Tomatoes, is still 8% lower than the second lowest ranked movie - Sam Raimi's 2007 movie Spider-Man 3. Next comes The Amazing Spider-Man, which introduced Garfield as the webbed hero and nabbed 73% from critics. Raimi's original movie Spider-Man scored 89%, though the superb sequel landed a stunning 93% in 2004 with the unrivalled Alfred Molina as villain Dr Octavius.
Continue reading: With 55%, 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' Is The Worst Spidey Movie Yet
'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' stars Emma Stone and Paul Giamatti made their entrances on the red carpet at the New York premiere of the movie. The actors play Spider-Man's love interest Gwen Stacy and his nemesis The Rhino, respectively. Emma certainly stood out in a floor-skimming, white, Grecian gown.
As with the too-early franchise reboot in 2012, this sequel struggles to balance the demands of a teen romance with a superhero blockbuster. The interpersonal storylines are sharply written and skilfully played by the gifted cast, but the eye-catching effects sequences feel like little more than a shiny distraction. Action fans will love the way digitally animated Spidey swings more realistically than ever down the streets of New York, but the fact remains that these scenes are cartoons. And a new template is badly needed for this genre.
It kicks off as Peter (Andrew Garfield) nearly misses his high school graduation to save the city from another crazed nutcase. His girlfriend Gwen (Emma Stone) is fed up, and then crushed when Peter breaks up with her because he's worried about her safety. So she considers taking a place at Oxford University to get away. Meanwhile, Peter is also trying to understand the truth about why his parents (Campbell Scott and Embeth Davidtz) left him to be raised by his Aunt May (Sally Field). But he's interrupted from all of this by the arrival of old pal Harry (Dane DeHaan), back in town to inherit the family business from his dying dad (Chris Cooper) and in need of moral support from Peter.
In each of these three plot strands, Peter faces a significant dilemma that's beautifully played by Garfield as a cheeky, good guy who worries about the darkness all around him. And there's also a nefarious side-plot trying to take over the movie, as nerdy technician Max (Jamie Foxx) is transformed by an electric shock from Spider-man's biggest fan to a spark-emitting villain called Electro. This shift doesn't make sense on any level, and Harry also has a sudden personality change that's badly under-explained, forcing the film into a series of huge action showdowns along with a completely irrelevant aside about two colliding airplanes that feels tacked on to up the human stakes.
Continue reading: The Amazing Spider-man 2 Review
Peter Parker is facing a period of deep confusion in every aspect of his life. No longer is everything black and white, nor is it easy to know what the right thing to do is anymore. He's struggling to cope with the death of his dear Uncle Ben, while still feeling unfamiliar with his past in regards to his parents. He's also trying to hold down a relationship with Gwen Stacy, but she ultimately adds to his troubles when she finds herself in a dilemma of her own. Meanwhile in his professional capacity as Spider-Man, he's not finding it easy to differentiate between the villains, the heroes and the just plain hard-done by. He faces deadly battles with the formidable Rhino and the rage-filled Electro; the latter of who it turns out is just as frightened of his own power as everybody else is. It turns out that there is a darker force happening elsewhere, and when his friend Harry Osborn returns, he starts to see OsCorp's sinister involvement.
Continue: The Amazing Spiderman 2 - Clips Trailer
The incredible cast of 12 Years a Slave open up on the experiences of making the film
If '12 Years a Slave' doesn’t win a single award from now until the Oscars, it will still go down in history as one of the 21st century’s most important, affecting films. The story of Solomon Northrup’s enslavement and the subsequent hell he faced is as brutal as any ever told, and to truly extract even a modicum of sincerity, the entire cast had to be both honest and befittingly talented.
But when you’re speaking of a cast that comprises Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Brad Pitt, Pual Giamatti, Quvenzhané Wallis and Michael K. Williams, honesty and talent is never in question.
Continue reading: Meet The Cast Of 12 Years A Slave [Video]
Much more than a film about 19th century slavery in America, this sharply well-told true story has a lot to say about the world we live in today. And as he did in Hunger and Shame, filmmaker Steve McQueen puts us right into the middle of the story so we live it ourselves. Watching this film is a riveting, unnerving and ultimately moving experience.
It's based on a firsthand account by Solomon Northrup (Ejiofor), a musician who is living with his family in 1841 Saratoga, New York, when two friendly men offer him a great gig. But they drug him and sell him to slave traders, who send him to New Orleans and strip him of his identity. He spends the next 12 years working for two masters. Ford (Cumberbatch) is a fair man who puts him under the watchful eye of the cruel Tibeats (Dano). Then he is sold to Epps (Fassbender), a harsh boss who sends him into cotton fields and angrily suspects that Solomon is more educated than he admits.
Made with an earthy, realistic style, there's a clear sense that McQueen and screenwriter Ridley stuck closely to the details of Northrup's memoir, which was published shortly after his release and became a bestseller at the time. By never indulging in Hollywood-style exaggeration, the events remain grounded in the characters, drawing on the spiky interaction between them. At the centre, Ejiofor is utterly magnetic, delivering a transparent performance that takes our breath away. In his terrified eyes, we experience this horror ourselves.
Continue reading: 12 Years A Slave Review
"Downton" starts this season as a smash hit in the US.
Hold on to your dinner jackets, people, because Downton Abbey is almost back on PBS. The fourth season of the show premieres this coming Sunday, bringing with it some exciting changes for the ever-troubled Crawley family and the other inhabitants of Downton. Here are just a few of the cliffhangers that need resolving this season.
Paul Giamatti in Downton Abbey.
The sudden death of solicitor Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens) in a car crash at the end of 2012 Christmas special shocked viewers to the point where series creator Julian Fellows reportedly received some very threatening letters.
It was announced this week that two villain-led spin-offs are being produced by Sony, with more to follow
Sony Pictures announced in Thursday, 12 December that they have big plans for the Amazing Spider-Man series, plans that involve various spin-offs and possibly even an ensemble release or two in the not-so-distant future. The announcement comes as Sony try to keep up with Disney and Warner Brothers, who have already gained a foot-hold in the superhero movie business, with Sony hoping to capitalised on the popularity of Spidey and his many cross-over villains and fellow heroes.
Spiderman isn't leaving Sony's rooster any time soon
On Thursday, Sony Pictures announced - via Electro Arrives - that they are working on two villain-centred spin-offs from the Spidey franchise: Venom and The Sinister Six. This will give the film company opportunity to develop two major aspects from the Spider-Man comic books without having to rely on the Amazing Spider-Man films alone. Sony announced that they have appointed a “franchise brain trust" to oversee their expansion of the Spider-Man film franchise, who will ensure the series can survive outside the confines of the Amazing Spider-Man.
Check out the action-packed Amazing Spider-Man 2 trailer below, followed by a ton of picture.
Finally, after months of teasers and clips; on set photos and interviews, the first official Spider-Man 2 trailer is here, giving us an extended look at the action. Andrew Garfield will be taking on Jamie Foxx as Electro, Paul Giamatti as the Rhino and The Green Goblin in the highly anticipated sequel.
Here is is! Swinging about
"Every day I wake up knowing, that the more people I try to save, the more enemies I will make," says Garfield in the trailer. "And it's just a matter of time, before I face those with more power, than I can overcome," he adds.
Peter Parker has always had difficulty trying to prioritise his life. There's the personal side of it; the ordinary teenage angst, trying to hold down a relationship with the lovely Gwen Stacy and mourning the death of his Uncle Ben; then there's the side about saving the world from supervillains and general criminals terrorising the street as Spider-Man. While more often than not successful, he is about to face his biggest challenge yet as he is swamped by enemies such as the formidable Rhino and the quick as lightning Electro. Not only that but, as his friend Harry Osborn returns, he begins to realise that weapons manufacturer OsCorp is cropping up in all situations regarding his foes - just what is Osborn's father plotting?
Continue: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Trailer
This true story only barely avoids becoming sloppily sentimental, thanks to a solid cast and a final act that generates honest emotion. Awash with the Disney spirit, the film breaks free of the marketing machine to recount events that are lively and often very funny, but also manage to be sharply moving. It's the kind of crowd-pleaser that deserves to do well both at the box office and in awards ceremonies.
Set in 1961, it's the story of how Walt Disney (Hanks) finally lures PL Travers (Thompson) to Hollywood to woo her into signing over the film rights to Mary Poppins after some 20 years of pestering. She is equally determined to protect her creation, which is very close to her heart. But she agrees to work with the screenwriter (Whitford) and composers (Schwartzman and Novak) as long as she has veto power. Her demands are crazy ("I don't want the colour red anywhere in the movie!"), but everyone tries to win her over. Eventually Walt realises that he needs to find out exactly why Mary Poppins is so important to her. And that the story is more about Mary's affect on the family's father, Mr Banks, than the children.
Indeed, in parallel flashbacks we see Travers' childhood in rural 1906 Australia, where she lives as a young girl (Buckley) with her lively father (Farrell) and shattered mother (Wilson). Her dad's alcoholism is the driving force of these scenes, which feel like a completely separate film intercut with sunny 1960s Hollywood. But they add weight to Thompson's remarkably detailed performance, which is marvellously withering and hilarious, and also subtly emotional. Her interaction with the buoyant Hanks is sharp and jagged, and the film's nicest scenes are between Travers and her driver, sensitively played by Giamatti.
Continue reading: Saving Mr. Banks Review
This starry drama has documentary realism going for it, although without a single well-developed character it never finds any resonance. By recounting JFK's assassination from a variety of previously unseen angles, we learn some new things about that fateful day in November 1963. Oddly, the script doesn't even focus on the hospital that gives the film its name. That might have helped give the film some focus.
We watch the shooting in Dallas through the eyes of Abraham Zapruder (Giamatti), famously the only person to capture the event on film. He is immediately contacted by a Secret Service agent (Thornton), who helps him process the film and make copies. Meanwhile at Parkland Hospital, two residents (Efron and Hanks) and a tenacious nurse (Harden) are working against the odds to save Kennedy's life. And elsewhere, an FBI agent (Livingston) is following the trail of the shooter, whose brother and mother (Dale and Weaver) have very different reactions to what has just happened.
Writer-director Landesman jumps straight into the events without properly establishing the characters. But it's impossible to feel emotion when we don't know anything about the people we're watching, and we can't feel suspense when we know what's going to happen. So we're left to soak up the details, which are often fascinating (ever wonder how to get a coffin into a plane?). And while the actors are good enough to play the intensity of each scene for all it's worth, the only ones who register with us are Giamatti and Dale, because what their characters go through is more complex than we expect.
Continue reading: Parkland Review
Expect Downton Abbey season 5 to hit UK screens in mid to late 2014.
Downton Abbey has unsurprisingly been renewed for a fifth series by ITV following its season four finale on Sunday evening (November 10, 2013).
Tom Branson, Played By Allen Leech.
"We promise all the usual highs and lows, romance, drama and comedy" said Gareth Neame, director of Downton Abbey creators Carnival Films in a statement obtained by the Hollywood Reporter. Julian Fellowes will return to write the new series, which ITV are likely to churn out next year.
Continue reading: Downton Abbey Behemoth Trudges On With Fifth Season Confirmation
The overwhelming response to the Steve McQueen picture is that it is a deep, sometime difficult watch that prompts the best from the director and actors
12 Years A Slave is the film version of Solomon Northup's account of his kidnap and subsequent sale into slavery until his rescue twelve years later. The real-life account of the tragic fate of Northup and the appalling conditions he and millions of other slaves were forced to endure has been turned into a feature-length epic by British director Steve McQueen, who leads a largely British cast in the film that is being heralded by critics as a must-see film.
Chiwetel Ejiofor is spellbounding in 12 Years A Slave
Starring Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon, McQueen adapted the memoirs of the main character along with John Ridley to chronicle Solomon's harrowing twelve years, where he went from being a freeman living in New York, to a plantation slave in New Orleans between 1841 and 1853. Ejiofor has been roundly praised for his exceptonal acting talents, as have the rest of the cast, who include Brad Pitt, Paul Giamatti, Paul Dano, Benedict Cumberbatch, Alfre Woodard and Michael Fassbender, whose role as the heartless slave trader Edwin Epps has also been widely applauded for his unflinching brutality and realism.
Whizzy and superficial, this isn't the most complicated animated film ever made, but it's a lot of fun if you can buy into its silly premise about a snail who moves at super-fast speed. Aside from its riotous sense of energy and thrilling action sequences, the script is also packed with enough deranged humour to keep the adults laughing along with the kids.
It starts in a normal garden, where Theo (voiced by Reynolds) dreams of racing his human idol, the Indy champ Guy Gagne (Hader). Theo even calls himself "Turbo", annoying his pragmatic brother Chet (Giamatti). Then a freak accident involving nitrous-oxide gives him lightning speed. In search of a chance to race, he meets another dreamer with a practical-minded brother: Tito (Pena) is a man who owns a taco truck with his grumpy sibling Angelo (Guzman). And it's Tito who works with local business owners (Jenkins, Jeong and Rodriguez) to help Turbo achieve his goal to enter the Indianapolis 500 and race against his hero. On the track, Turbo is assisted by a pit-crew of Tito's pet snails (Jackson, Rudolph, Dogg and Schwartz).
Yes, the plot is preposterous, but the script openly acknowledges the insanity of the "snail vs car" race, maintaining the dizzying size discrepancy as all of the characters are just as incredulous as we are. The filmmakers also create a hilarious snail underworld packed with running gags about the perils of being so little. Although they haven't included much slime, which is a strange omission for a movie aimed primarily at pre-teen boys. Still, each snail (and each human too) is such a bundle of big personality traits that we don't really mind the gender and ethnic stereotypes.
Continue reading: Turbo Review
The period slavery epic moves into pole position for an Academy Award.
Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave has secured a place as ‘Oscars favorite’ following its triumph at this year’s Toronto Film Festival. The Steve McQueen-directed epic – based on the memoir of Solomon Northrup – remains the odds on choice for Best Picture at 13/4.
Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon Northup in 12 Years a Slave.
By winning the BlackBerry People's Choice award, 12 Years a Slave follows in the footsteps of previous Oscar winners, The Kings Speech and Slumdog Millionaire. What was once a the faint hum of Oscars buzz is now a powerful thud as McQueen’s latest effort leaves Mandela and Osage County in its wake.
Date of birth
6th June, 1967
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