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With an appropriately jarring sense of energy, this James Brown biopic acutely captures the Godfather of Soul's iconic musical talents, although the fragmented script undermines any emotional kick in his story. The film also struggles to build up momentum, because it continually leaps between various chapters in Brown's life. Which means that it never quite connects these disparate episodes into one coherent narrative. Even so, Chadwick Boseman delivers an electrically charged central performance.
Boseman plays James from the time he was 16, thrown into prison for stealing a suit in 1949, until his comeback in the 1990s. Raised in a brothel run by his Aunt Honey (Octavia Spencer) after his parents (Viola Davis and Lennie James) abandoned him, James is in prison when he meets visiting gospel singer Bobby Byrd (Nelsan Ellis), who takes him in on his release. Together they form The Famous Flames, gaining small-time success as James catches the eye of a manager (Dan Aykroyd), a record executive (Fred Melamed) and the public. A string of major hits followed in the 1950s and 60s, then James went solo in the 70s before the usual issues of fame caught up with him: money, drugs and guns. But he returned to the stage in the 1990s.
The film completely skips over his Hollywood years in the 80s, which wouldn't be a problem if the decade was so notably missing from the film. As the story skips back and forth through the years, the audience is forced to make sense of the disparate scenes, filling in several holes along the way. Aside from one rather surreal scene in a Southern Gospel church, there's never much of a sense of how Brown found his voice or developed his inimitable style. It also never quite captures his impact on the music industry as a whole.
Continue reading: Get On Up Review
The 49 year-old actress recalled growing up in "abject poverty" while being honoured for her humanitarian work targeting childhood hunger.
Viola Davis, an Oscar-nominated actress, has undoubtedly had a very successful television and movie career, but before finding fortune and fame she lived in poverty as a child and was forced to steal and rummage through garbage bins for food.
Viola Davis at the Power of Women luncheon
The 49 year-old star recalled her extremely poor upbringing in a very emotional speech on Friday (Oct 10th) at Variety's Power of Women luncheon, where she was honoured for her humanitarian work, along with Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Lopez and Jane Fonda.
Viola Davis used her platform at Power of Women to back a good cause.
On Friday, October 10, Variety’s Power of Women event honoured one very special woman for her work against poverty. Viola Davis may be an Oscar-nominated performer with her own successful TV show, but she had to fight her way there. The actress made sure to honor those still fighting in her speech.
Viola Davis recalled her difficult childhood and lent her voice to the Hunger Is campaign.
"Although my childhood was filled with many happy memories, it was also spent in abject poverty," she explained to the audience, according to Us Weekly. "I was one of the 17 million kids in this country who didn't know where the next meal was coming from, and I did everything to get food. I have stolen for food. I have jumped in huge garbage bins with maggots for food. I have befriended people in the neighborhood, who I knew had mothers who cooked three meals a day for food, and I sacrificed a childhood for food and grew up in immense shame."
Jane Fonda, Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Lopez were also honoured during the luncheon which was sponsored by Lifetime.
Oscar nominated actress Viola Davis has spoken of growing up in “abject poverty”, during an emotional speech delivered during the annual Power of Women luncheon on Friday (October 10th).
Viola Davis at the Power of Women luncheon
The actress, who stars in ABC’s 'How to Get Away with Murder', was speaking about her own personal experiences growing up which led her to get involved in the 'Hunger Is' campaign.
When an anonymous hacker is able to disrupt the files for three major banks around the world, it the US government find themselves unable to stop the mysterious cybercriminal. After beginning a joint operation with China, they turn to Nicholas Hathaway (Chris Hemsworth), a hacker serving a fifteen year sentence for his crimes. In exchange for his freedom, Hathaway agrees to help the combined force track down and stop the hacker. But when his cyber-attacks turn into acts of terrorism, Hathaway discovers that he is facing an enemy not motivated by money or politics. An enemy that exists everywhere at every time, and can strike out against whoever he pleases.
Continue: Blackhat Trailer
Conor (James McAvoy) and Eleanor (Jessica Chastain) play a couple who fall in love and get married, before hitting various hiccups in their relationship. However, this film is far from the clichéd love story, and instead tells the tale from both points of view, as well as relatable and engaging look at the relationship of two people still trying to figure out who the other person truly is. The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby charts the highs and lows in a relationship between two people trying to recreate the past, so as not to let their love fade away.
Since he was a child, he knew he'd become a star. He may not have had the easiest life growing up in a poor family and enjoying frequent brushes with the law (something that continued for the rest of his life despite his illustrious career), but he was a pioneer in what he did best. Following his first stint in prison as a teenager, he embarked on a musical career that would create a whole new way of looking at music. His funky rhythms, mind-blowing voice and effortless moves on stage would go on to inspire artists for generations even if his troubled personal life left much to be desired. He even took his soul magic to Vietnam during the 20-year conflict - a venture that demonstrated both his patriotism and his bravery. This is the story of James Brown.
Continue: Get On Up Trailer
The stars of the upcoming James Brown biopic 'Get On Up', Viola Davis, Nelsan Ellis and Octavia Spencer, talk about the legendary musician alongside artists Ice Cube, Pharrell, Mick Jagger, Cee-Lo Green and Aloe Blacc in a short featurette ahead of the film's release on September 26th 2014.
Continue: Get On Up - Featurette
Prepare to see one of history's most charismatic funk stars brought back to life.
The trailer has been released for the upcoming James Brown biopic, Get On Up, which promises to bring the greatly adored "Godfather of Soul" back to life. This summer's movie will see Persons Unknown actor Chadwick Boseman hit the big time as he embodies the larger-than-life singer and founding father of funk.
Chadwick Boseman Stars As James Brown In An Upcoming Biopic.
Named after one of Brown's most famous songs, Get On Up will chart the late artist's upbringing from a poor background and being passed around by guardians. James turned to crime as a youngster which earned him time in a juvenile detention centre where his interest in and subsequently passion for gospel music was forged.
James Brown didn't have the easiest childhood being born to two young parents who were so poor they could barely afford to live. After just a few years, his mother left him and he was raised by his aunt who, although was equally as financially insecure, resolved to love him as her own. Naturally, given his tough background, James turned to crime as a youth and spent time in a juvenile detention centre following an armed robbery conviction. It was there he took his passion for music seriously and decided to form a gospel band with some fellow inmates. Following his parole, he joined another gospel group and from there spiralled an illustrious career in funk and soul music that took the entire world by storm. Just as he dreamed, he became one of the music industry's most revered stars, but, alas, he also became one of the most troubled.
Continue: Get On Up Trailer
Since this entire story centres on virtual-reality gaming, it's tricky to feel any sense of what's at stake here. But a strong cast and above-average effects work help hold our interest until the requisite dramatic shift takes hold. Along the way, the movie explores some punchy issues such as the nature of true leadership and the morality of war.
It's set in a distant future: Earth has regrouped after an alien invasion, turning to children to harness their quick gaming reflexes and inner fearlessness. Ender (Butterfield) is a 12-year-old who's sure he'll crash out of training like his older sister Valentine (Breslin). But Colonel Graff (Ford) and Major Anderson (Davis) see something in him and send him on to battle school in an orbiting space station. As he shows true leadership potential and a sharp mind for warfare, he's promoted even further, training with iconic hero Rackham (Kingsley) on one of the aliens' former planets. And as he approaches his final exam, there's the sense that the fate of Earth hangs in the balance.
Yes, everything Ender does throughout his training is game related, either with digitally created environments or in a weightless battle globe with other cadets. This adds huge possibilities for the script to grapple with moral issues as Ender faces some staggering decisions. But since it's just a simulation, does it really mean anything? Thankfully, Butterfield is a terrific actor who lends the character a steely interior life that catches our interest. And being surrounded by the terrific Ford, Kingsley and Davis helps. As do some intriguing fellow recruits played by Steinfeld, Arias and others.
Continue reading: Ender's Game Review
What makes this thriller extraordinary is its willingness to make us scratch our heads and ask questions as the tense, fable-like story patiently unfolds. This creates an almost unbearably involving vibe, from the slow-burn pacing to the unusual character detail. And all of this allows the cast members to dig deep inside their characters.
It starts as two families in rural Pennsylvania get together to celebrate Thanksgiving, then discover that their two young daughters are missing. Keller and Grace Dover (Jackman and Bello) and Franklin and Nancy Birch (Howard and Davis) search the neighbourhood frantically, then try to help local detective Loki (Gyllenhaal) with his investigation. He settles on an oddball (Dano) who seems unable to provide any information at all. With no evidence against him, he's released. But Keller can't bear to think of this man being free while the girls are missing, so he hatches his own plan to sort things out.
There's a lot of symbolism in this screenplay, as everyone reacts to the situation in his or her own way (clearly echoing the world's response to the War on Terror). But it's also a riveting personal story of the desperate need for justice and revenge. Jackman is terrific as the deeply religious man whose love of guns informs his decision-making. He impulsively reacts like Liam Neeson in Taken, charging to the rescue. By contrast, Gyllenhaal's Loki is more measured and observant, while Howard's Franklin struggles with his own moral decisions. The women are a completely different story, and equally provocative: Davis is feisty but helpless, while Bello crawls into her shell.
Continue reading: Prisoners Review
The final trailer Ender's Game has been released. The film is due to be released later this year and stars a host of young actors, supported by more established cast members such as Harrison Ford and Ben Kingsley.
The final trailer for Ender's Game has been released. Set in the future years after an alien-human war, the movie follows Ender Wiggin, a talent young boy who is sent to a military space academy in order to prepare for when aliens next invade Earth.
Asa Butterfield at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con.
Ender's Game teaser trailer, released earlier this year, gave an indication of what can be expected from the film. The final trailer, however, features a dramatic narrative by Harrison Ford who promises the aliens "will be back". It's all very visually appealing in a Star Wars-Superman-Terminator way and with the melodramatic music, intense exchanges and wild landscapes: it certainly appears to be a film fans of science fiction will love.
Continue reading: Harrison Ford Narrates 'Ender's Game' Final Trailer [Trailer]
'Prisoners' is based on tried and tested crime-drama conventions, though Hugh Jackman is an engaging presence, as always.
The trailer for Denis Villeneuve's hard-hitting crime-drama Prisoners has rolled out online, showing Hugh Jackman in his first post-Les Miserables role, and a good one at that. The Australian plays Keller Dover, a regular guy from Boston whose life is turned upside down after his young daughters go missing.
Watch the Prisoners trailer:
Panic ensues as Keller and his wife (Maria Bello) scour the neighbourhood in search of their children, though the only clue is a banged up RV parked nearby. A young detective played by Jake Gyllenhaal gets the case and makes an arrest on an assuming man who is the driver of the vehicle, though with no solid evidence and no sign of the girls, he is forced to release the suspect. Keller subsequently takes matters into his own hands and kidnaps the suspect in a bid to extract information.
Though you've seen the plot - or something similar - a million times, Prisoners looks an entertaining piece of cinema about the horror of one of the worst situations a parent could possibly go through. Directed by BAFTA nominated Villeneuve and writer by Contraband scribe Aaron Guzikowski, Prisoners hits theaters in the U.S. on September 20, 2013 and in the UK on October 4, 2013. The supporting cast includes Viola Davis and Terrence Howard.
Keller Dover is just a regular guy from Boston who goes with his wife Grace and six-year-old daughter Anna to their neighbours' house on what seems like a routine social occasion. No parent blinks an eye when Anna asks if she can take the neighbours' daughter Joy to their house to play, but when there's no sign of them back home later on, panic ensues as the families scour the nearby streets trying to find their precious children. The only clue as to what may have happened to them lies with a banged up RV that had been parked nearby. When young Detective Loki gets involved with the case, he manages to make an arrest on the driver - a seemingly timid and quiet young man called Alex Jones. However, with no solid evidence against him for the cops to keep him in custody in the case for the missing girls, they are forced to release him after 48 hours. Keller, angry with the verdict and fearing for the life of his daughter who he believes is still alive, decides to embark on his own investigation and kidnaps Alex at gunpoint in an attempt to extract information. Though through his panic and frustration in his quest to find his daughter, he may lose himself along the way.
Continue: Prisoners Trailer
Ender Wiggin is the youngest in his family albeit with an astute mind and a powerful logic. It is seventy years since Earth was savagely attacked by the alien race the Formics, more commonly known as the Buggers, and he is exactly what the International Fleet are looking for as they scour their planet for a group of individuals powerful and clever enough to destroy their formidable foes once and for all. He is forced to leave his friends and family and join the Battle School in outer space, but his aptitude throughout all the challenges he is faced with has him upgraded by Colonel Graff to the prestigious Command School under the supervision of war hero Mazer Rackham. He is unaware, however, of just how much hope is being put on him to be Earth's saviour and his ability to make the right difficult decision leaves him with a sense of bitter self-loathing.
Continue: Ender's Game Trailer
While this package has all of the key marketing elements to reach the Twilight audience, the film itself is rather a lot more fun, made with some wit and intelligence, plus a cast that's happy to chomp on the scenery. Based on a four-novel series, this film actually has more in common with True Blood than Twilight, with its Deep South setting and the clash between religious fundamentalism and supernatural beings.
At the centre is Ethan (Ehrehreich), a 16-year-old who is bristling against the isolation of his small South Carolina town. His recently deceased mother instilled in him a love of books banned by the town's hyper-religious leaders, and the local librarian Amma (Davis) helps keep his interest alive. As a result, he's more open than the other teens when Lena (Englert) arrives at school. But she's shunned because her Uncle Macon (Irons) is the town's pariah, a landowner whom everyone thinks is a devil worshipper. Actually, the whole family are casters, people with special powers that are designated good or evil on their 16th birthday.
The plot stirs up some suspense as Lena's big day of reckoning approaches. She's terrified that she'll go over to the dark side like her man-eating cousin (Rossum) or, worse still, her spectral mother, who does her mischief by inhabiting the body of the town's most pious housewife Mrs Lincoln (Thompson). This of course gives Thompson two insane characters to play at the same time, and she has a ball with it. As does Irons with the shadowy, snaky Macon. And at the centre, Ehrenreich and Englert both show considerable promise, with their strikingly non-Hollywood good looks and a depth of character that makes the film more engaging than we expect.
Continue reading: Beautiful Creatures Review
Lena Duchannes is a Caster whose family has plenty of dark power between them, but rather than feeling empowered, Lena just wishes she can be mortal so she wouldn't have to hide and people wouldn't talk about her all the time. When she moves to the small and somewhat conservative town of Gatlin, South Carolina, she finds herself an outcast but is soon noticed by her school mate Ethan Wate who is enchanted by her and the excitement her arrival brings to this ordinary, unmoving town. However, their relationship is compromised by the fact that Lena only has a matter of days left before she is subjected to the Claiming; a process that will decide whether she will turn to the Light or the Dark side of magic. While her uncle does everything in her power to make sure she is claimed to the Light, the all-powerful Sarafine is convinced that she will have great magical supremacy which would better be served in the Dark.
'Beautiful Creatures' is the story of just how much love can conquer and, equally, the devastation it brings. It has been adapted to screen by Oscar nominated director and screenwriter Richard LaGravenese ('P.S. I Love You', 'The Mirror Has Two Faces') from the book of the same name by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. The fantasy romance will be released in time for Valentine's Day on February 13th 2013.
Director: Richard LaGravenese
Continue: Beautiful Creatures Trailer
Based on the Jonathan Safran Foer novel, this film holds its heavy emotional weight in check right up to a rather overwrought conclusion. But along the way, its characters worm their way under our skin.
Oskar (Horn) is the son of a jeweller (Hanks) who died in the World Trade Center on 9/11. A year later, he's still struggling to make sense of what he calls "the worst day", worrying that his sense of his father is fading away. So when he finds a key in his father's things, Oskar embarks on a quest to find the lock. His mother (Bullock) is lost in her own grief, but Oskar finds companionship in the mute stranger (von Sydow) who rents a room from his granny (Caldwell).
With a dense Alexandre Desplat score, textured Chris Menges cinematography and fluid editing by Claire Simpson, this film feels almost like a wave that engulfs us right from the eerily effective opening shot. Daldry has done this before (see The Hours), although this film also has a more manipulative plot in which each character and situation seem to be packed with deeper meaning.
Fortunately, Oskar's sense of yearning helps undermine the sentiment.
Horn is terrific in every scene, beautifully bringing out Oskar's autistic quirks without letting us feel any pity. The way he so brutally dismisses his mother is heartbreaking because it's so honest, and his growing bond with von Sydow's enigmatic, engagingly cheeky renter is fascinating to watch. Bullock gets her most complex role since Crash, and Davis gives yet another terrific supporting turn as one of the first people Oskar encounters on his journey.
Where the film wobbles is in its over-reverent treatment of 9/11 itself, as if Oskar's grief is any more intense because his father died in such a public way.
It's the quieter, more personal aspects of the story that are far more moving, especially as the plot takes some lovely twists in the final act. But Daldry and screenwriter Roth seem even more obsessed with finding a cathartic resolution than Oskar himself, leading to final scenes that feel tidy and a bit sappy. Even so, the film leaves us emotionally stirred in all the right ways.
Date of birth
11th August, 1965
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