James White is in his twenties and struggling to cope with the stresses that life keeps throwing at him. His mother Gail is seriously ill, and while he's happy to be there for her, he is desperate for some time away from New York to re-evaluate his life. Unfortunately, his vacation just turns into a whirlwind of self-destruction; indulging in more drugs, drink and generally less than honorable behaviour than ever before. He insists that his return will bring some real changes in his life, he might even get a job, but it's clear to his family and the people who he meets along the way that he's got a long way to go before he can take adulthood by the horns and learn some responsibility. He needs the love of his mother right now, but he's too terrified at the thought that she might leave him any day.
Continue: James White Trailer
Cassie Sullivan is only 16-years-old but her fighting spirit and courage has left her as one of the only survivors on a demolished Earth. The world has been taken over by alien forces known only as The Others, and they have launched a strategic attack on the planet in order to gain ownership. First came the darkness as the mothership wiped all power from the globe; the second wave brought total devastation in the cities, flooding everything in sight; and with the third wave came an airborne infection so deadly it took out whole nations in months. It wasn't long before they launched their invasion, killing any survivors and possessing human beings as hosts to walk among people in secret. Now what's left of the world is preparing for what may be the most apocalyptic wave of all, but the strongest people have survived and they're not ready to give up their home just yet. Cassie knows to trust no-one, but when she meets another apparent survivor, she knows she has to put her faith in him if she wants to find her missing brother.
Continue: The 5th Wave Trailer
After her sister Shannon returns to Fresno, California following her stint in rehab for sex addiction (which in turn came after she was fired as a schoolteacher), Martha takes it upon herself to help her get a fresh start. She invites her to stay with her and gets her a job as a hotel maid in Fresno Suites where Martha also works. It isn't long before Shannon relapses big time, and her failure to maintain responsibility results in her accidentally killing a hotel guest, who also happens to be an Olympic hammer-thrower. She manages to persuade Martha to help hide the body, but before they can get very far they are discovered by a couple named Ruby and Gerald - and they want $25,000 in three days to stay quiet about the incident. The only option they have is to commit more crime, and so they rob a sex shop in order to flog the stock and make up the money. They're hardly professionals and they'll be lucky to escape this mess scot free, but maybe Shannon can finally learn to think about others before herself.
Continue: Addicted To Fresno Trailer
Sometimes, the biggest life lessons are the ones learned by other people. For someone desperate to earn the fame and recognition they rightly deserve, it can serve as an important revelation to see an ordinary person have fame thrust upon them. So goes the story of David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg), a young novelist and writer for Rolling Stone magazine, who spent five days with David Foster Wallace (Jason Segel) over the course of his book tour. Lipsky wanted to have everything that Wallace had, but when Wallace was faced with the news that his novel had become a New York Times bestseller, his life was set to change forever.
Continue: The End Of The Tour Trailer
After a couple of gimmicky transgressive comedies (Humpday and Your Sister's Sister), writer-director Lynn Shelton takes a more observant approach this time. So even if, as before, the script never quite fills in the gaps in the story, it at least knowingly recreates relational awkwardness in a remarkably sensitive way. And the characters are almost eerily easy to identify with.
The centre of the story is Abby (Rosemarie DeWitt), who is debating whether she should move in with her rebound boyfriend (Scoot McNairy). This sparks her to think about her whole life, and she ends up recoiling at the idea of touching human flesh. Which is a problem since she's a massage therapist. By contrast, her dentist brother Paul (Josh Pais) believes he might have the ability to heal his patients, so he consults Abby's reiki-practitioner colleague (Alison Janney) for advice. Meanwhile, Paul's daughter Jenny (Ellen Page) is terrified to tell her father that she hates working as his assistant. And she's even more afraid to admit that she has a crush on her aunt's boyfriend.
Along the way, Abby, Paul and Jenny are all pushed into a turning point in their lives by an unexpected change in circumstances, which of course feels a bit contrived. But the film's real strength is in the messy connection between family members who have issues with themselves and each other, all of which are expressed through clumsy conversations and uncomfortable physicality. As insecure siblings, DeWitt and Pais are terrific in complex roles that draw on the actors' nervous energy. But only Pais and McNairy are genuinely likeable: men who haven't a clue what to do. By contrast, the always terrific Page and Janney have much less-developed roles.
Continue reading: Touchy Feely 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
Small and earthy, this low-key drama simply follows a group of 30-ish characters as they use their friends to sort out their own issues. It's nicely played with a raw openness, although filmmaker Swanberg has a tendency to overdramatise scenes to make a point rather than letting things play out organically. Even so, it's sometimes painfully easy to identify with these flawed people.
The story is set around a small Chicago brewery, where Kate (Wilde) works in the office then hangs out after hours with the guys who make the beer. So she's often late arriving home to her music producer boyfriend Chris (Livingston). For a weekend away, Kate and Chris are joined by Kate's work buddy Luke (Johnson) and his girlfriend Jill (Kendrick). But as they hike in the countryside and hang out together, attraction springs up in all the wrong places. Back home, Kate and Chris decide to separate, while Jill heads off on a long-planned holiday on her own. And as Luke helps Kate put her life back together, their flirtation comes to a head.
In fine mumblecore style, this film meanders through its scenes focussing on conversations while skipping over some key moments that might have helped us understand things more clearly. It feels more like a slice of life than a plot-driven story, even though we can see early on that Kate and Luke are on a potentially messy collision course. Fortunately, both Wilde and Johnson bring offhanded honesty to their roles, creating realistically awkward interaction that bristles with possibilities. These are people at a specific point in life where they feel the need to settle down even as they're still exploring their options.
Continue reading: Drinking Buddies Review
When Abraham Zapruder, a women's clothing manufacturer from Texas, excitedly set up his camera to record the grand arrival of the much-loved President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jackie Kennedy in Dallas on November 22nd 1963, he had no idea that he would in fact record one of the most shocking and most watched films in history when the President was fatally shot by a nearby gunman. He became one of a string of unlikely individuals to get involved in one of the world's most publicised assassination cases, along with all the doctors and nurses who were forced to overcome the shock when Kennedy was rushed to Parkland Hospital; the family of the alleged killer, US Marine Lee Harvey Oswald; and those FBI agents who could've prevented the incident when they had Oswald in their grasp.
'Parkland' is a new historical drama about one of the most famous assassinations in history which is set for release ahead of the event's 50th anniversary. It has been directed and written by Peter Landesman who is controversially best known for his New York Times article on sex slavery 'The Girls Next Door' which he later turned into a film called 'Trades' and which was publicly accused of being at least partly fictitious. 'Parkland' is set to be released in the UK on November 8th 2013.
'The Conjuring' is released in UK cinemas today. Released in the US two weeks ago, the horror movie has already grossed over $92 million.
The Conjuring is released in UK cinemas today (2nd August). It's been a surprise summer box office hit in the US, but will the British respond in the same way?
Vera Farmiga at the premiere of Bates Motel held at Soho House in L.A.
The Conjuring had a brilliant opening weekend, gaining $41.5 million and warding off big-budget films such as R.I.P.D., Despicable Me 2 and Turbo. Since then the film has known no bounds: as of 31st July, The Conjuring had made over $92 million. A significant sum considering it was released in the US only two weeks ago.
The Wolverine has placed at number one in the US Weekend Box Office. This latest instalment in the X-Men franchise has proved popular with audiences but less so with critics.
The Wolverine, starring Hugh Jackman, has placed at number one in the US Weekend Box Office. The latest instalment in the X-Men franchise sees Wolverine a.k.a. Logan visit Japan in order to face his past. The movie continues the story of X-Men: The Last Stand in which we saw Wolverine forced to kill Jean Grey (Famke Janssen). Also starring alongside Jackman are Hiroyuki Sanada (Sunshine) and models Tao Okamoto and Rila Fukishima.
Hugh Jackman with Tao Okamoto (L) and Rila Fukashima (R) at the London premiere of The Wolverine.
Those who have commented positively on The Wolverine have said the film creates a diverse character which "pumps some feeling into the guy along with his muscles and steel talons" (Geoff Pevere - Globe and Mail). Others, such as Toronto Star's critic Raju Mudhar, have praised the production team for ensuring the "superhero/Asian crime drama mash-up" is successful.
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