Tag Archive: based on a true story


“In a race against time, a crew of art historians and museum curators unite to recover renown works of art stolen by Nazis before Hitler destroys it” – that is the true story synopsis of The Monuments Men, to be directed by George Clooney. Clooney will also be starring in the film alongside a rather impressive cast: Daniel Craig, Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Hugh Bonneville and Bob Balaban. The latest big name actor to join the project is good friend and previous co-star of Clooney’s Matt Damon. Clooney is also co-writing the feature and it is set to start shooting in Europe at the beginning of 2013.

It has long been confirmed speculation, although not actually confirmed, that Jamie Foxx would be playing the main villain Electro in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Well this week it has been announced that what everyone already knew IS true. Foxx seems very excited to be playing the role and he should make for a good villain. Another piece of casting news was announced this week regarding the sequel and that is that Dane DeHaan, of Chronicle fame, will indeed be playing Harry Osborn. Like Foxx, DeHaan has been linked with the role for a while now so it is good to get some solid confirmation about it.

 

Arnold Schwarzenegger has made a swift return to acting since leaving his post as the governor of California, starring in The Expendables 2 and having an incredible four films slated for release in 2013. However, he will also be returning to Conan for The Legend of Conan. The Legend of Conan will not be a reboot or a remake but a catch-up with the old character, a greater hero story apparently. It will completely ignore the Jason Momoa update that was released earlier this year and absolutely flopped. Sylvester Stallone, a good friend of Arnie’s, has relatively good success when he brought back his famous characters (Rocky and Rambo) to the big screen a few years ago and Schwarzenegger will be hoping to do the same with Conan.

 

And how could I ignore the two posters that were released this week for two of the most hyped movies of the next year: Star Trek Into Darkness and Man of Steel.

Superman Into Darkness

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Argo Review

In a year with so many big action sequences and huge blockbuster films hitting the cinema screen it would be easy for Argo to have escaped attention. Argo depicts the unbelievably true story of the rescue of six American diplomats in Tehran, Iran during 1979 in which CIA operative Tony Mendez (played here by Ben Affleck) attempts to infiltrate Iran and get the diplomats out by pretending to be a film crew scouting locations for their new science fiction film titled Argo.

The obvious problem when making a film about a rescue mission is thus: audiences primarily go because they want to see the rescue which puts pressure on the build up to the rescue because it becomes a hard task to get your audience invested in your characters and your story. It was a worrying start for Argo, I felt, because the opening narration which outlines Iran’s state at the time of the events seemed pretty boring and while not exactly irrelevant, it wasn’t actually needed either. Fortunately these early concerns of boredom were soon put to rest, largely thanks to Ben Affleck, although not for his acting.

Ben Affleck is not often quoted as anyone’s favourite actor and, in all honesty, I don’t think his performance in Argo as Tony Mendez will change that at all. Tony Mendez seems to come across as quite a boring although no doubt brave and intelligent man but he’s not a character who immediately gains your interest and pulls you into the story. Fortunately, Ben Affleck is a wonderful director and he directs Argo as well as starring in it and he does a brilliant job of really capturing the emotion of the story. Every time that the film goes back to Iran and focusses on the stranded Americans the film seems to dig a lot deeper than most, with real panic, stress and human pain being shown and Affleck very subtly leaves the empathic audience to really get a feel for the conditions and sadness of the situation by themselves.

Ben Affleck is helped by the fact that he has a very experienced cast for him to direct. The cast combines stars of both television and film in the forms of Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, Alan Arkin, Scoot McNairy and Kerry Bishe among others. Every cast member puts in a more than adequate performance and really bring to the forefront the emphasis on emotion and character. Along with Affleck’s brilliant direction it is partly Goodman and Arkin’s double act and comedic moments that help to sustain interest before the actual rescue takes place.

Once Afflek’s character touches down in Iran and meets the diplomats that is when the pace begins to quicken and things begin to get a lot more interesting! The rescue itself is nail biting stuff that will make your heart thump out of your chest. There is so much suspense and tension created, conflict between the characters, flaws in the plan, will the be found out or not? I think you are best of seeing Argo with no knowledge of the real life escape to save yourself from ruining the ending of the film. Although, even if you do know how the situation resolves itself you will still be overcome with emotion as you will the escape to happen and you wish for everyone to make it out of Iran safely. Of all the films I have seen this year Argo is the one that has created the most tension and suspense. The final act is incredibly gripping, nail biting, edge of your seat entertainment and the audience is rewarded with a fantastic ending.

It would be wrong to call Argo a feel good film but the sense of elation that runs through your body with the climax of the film is unmatched by most films this year. I would suggest that Argo could well be a dark horse for an Oscar nomination. It truely deserves the hype and brings the emphasis of the cinema back to human stories. Just brilliant.

My Rating: 8/10.

Lawless [Trailer]

UK Release Date: 7th September 2012.

Stars: John Hillcoat (director), Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf, Guy Pearce, Gary Oldman, Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska

Plot: Set in the Depression-era Franklin County, Virginia, a bootlegging gang is threatened by authorities who want a cut of their profits.

The Western looks set to make a glamorous return to the cinema screens later on this year when Lawless is released. Directed by John Hillcoat and packed with more than enough big names to overlook the fact that the cast list includes Shia LeBeouf (who will never do anything near as good as Even Stevens in his entire career) Lawless was nominated for the prestigious Palme d’Or at Cannes film festival, therefore proving it must have some merit.

Brits Tom Hardy and Gary Oldman work together again (both will appear in The Dark Knight Rises) and are joined by Guy Pearce as his career continues to have somewhat of a resurgence over the past year or so. The female representatives in Lawless come in the form of critics favourite Jessica Chastain and Mia Wasikowska who are both talented enough to more than hold their own among the male heavyweights here.

Lawless is based on novel The Wettest Country in the World by Matt Bondurant who wrote the book based on his own grandfather and great-uncles. This movie seems to have everything the critics will adore, but will audiences feel the same way? Unfortunately I doubt that this will hit big mainstream numbers as the success of Westerns have been limited over the past decade or more. However, with the stellar cast and the gangster aspect to the film if it is marketed right it could cause a big surprise at the box office!

50/50 (2011) Review.

***WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS***

Released to critical acclaim and receiving two Golden Globe nominations, 50/50 became a success upon release. But why is it so good?

50/50 treads a dangerous line by making a comedy about one of the most sensitive issues in the modern world: cancer. Adam is a twenty seven year old clean living guy who is diagnosed with the disease. 50/50 follows Adam as he struggles to cope with the diagnosis and fights to beat the cancer with the help of his best friend Kyle, his overbearing mother and a trainee therapist.

Seth Rogen and 50/50 screenwriter, Will Reiser.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is absolutely fantastic as the main character as he always is. He allows the audience to really get to know Adam and become emotionally connected to him, almost as if we are going through the battle with him. Seth Rogen comes under a lot of criticism for always playing the same character: himself. But no such criticism should be labelled at him here because Seth Rogen was actually part of the story that inspired this script. Will Reiser, who wrote the film, was diagnosed with cancer and loosely based 50/50 on his experiences and who was the best friend that helped Reiser through his battle with cancer? Seth Rogen, so it is only right that he play that same part here. And what a brilliant job he does, not only at providing some fantastic lines and comic relief but at making the audience really believe how much Kyle cares for Adam, more so as the film goes on. The chemistry and friendship between the two actors is fantastic.

A lot of the credit of making 50/50 feel as real as it is has to go to the director, Jonathan Levine. Levine has been quietly getting noticed with films such as All The Boys Love Mandy Lane and The Wackness but it is here in 50/50 where Levine excels himself. The way in which the film is shot allows the audience to become a part of the world and helps the film to come across as incredibly real, almost as if this was just people in the street going about their lives and not actually a movie at all.

The comedy is well spread out throughout the film and does not take anything away from the dramatic or dark story theme. In particular, one scene just after Kyle finds out that Adam’s girlfriend is cheating on him is particularly hilarious and if you have seen the film then you will know straight away what scene it is. The laughs will not last long though because you will be brought back down to Earth as Adam continues his struggle and one of his friends in chemotherapy passes away leading to Adam almost accepting death to be his fate as well. And as Adam is wheeled away for his operation I think there is a real sense of not knowing which turn the film will take; will Adam survive or won’t he?

50/50 is an incredible roller coaster ride. It can make you laugh and it can make you cry. But more importantly the film and the characters will stay with you for a long time. It is not a film that you will be in a hurry to forget, that’s for sure.

My Rating: 9/10.