With its rousing, old-fashioned tone, this fact-based epic is properly thrilling and inspirational, a tale of heroism that almost seems too good to be true. But it's the astonishing story of a real sea rescue carried out by ordinary men who rose to the challenge. It's also expertly directed by Craig Gillespie (Million Dollar Arm) to bring out subtle character detail amid the exhilarating action.
The events took place in a sleepy Massachusetts fishing town in the dead of winter 1952, where Bernie (Chris Pine) is an earnest Coast Guard sailor who has just agreed to marry his strong-willed sweetheart Miriam (Holliday Grainger). Then one night a fierce storm breaks an oil tanker in half just off the coast, and Bernie is sent by his aloof commander Daniel (Eric Bana) to lead a rescue mission. He takes his colleague Richard (Ben Foster) and two young crewmen (Kyle Gallner and John Magaro) with him, heading into the dangerous sea swells. Meanwhile on the tanker's still-floating stern section, engineer Ray (Casey Affleck) becomes the leader of a cantankerous 32-man crew, steering the wreckage toward the relative safety of a shoal. And in these conditions, the odds are in nobody's favour.
Unusually, despite pitch-black conditions with driving rain and swelling seas, the on-screen action is crisp and clear. Gillespie uses vivid effects and clever camerawork to keep the audience right in the thick of things, conveying a vivid sense of scale while detailing the connections between each string of events. And because we understand what's happening and who these people are, the set-pieces are literally breathtaking. This is partially due to the fact that these are normal people who are very easy to identify with, from Pine's inarticulate but tenacious sailor to Affleck's reluctant natural leader. Intriguingly, Grainger's Miriam is the film's feistiest character, a woman who simply can't sit still and wait for news.
Continue reading: The Finest Hours Review
Steve Jobs is widely regarded as a pioneer in the age of technology, making the computer accessible to all with his billionaire organisation Apple Inc. Though as much as he was a genius, he made a lot of enemies on his way to fame, fortune and recognition while relying on his skilled best friend Steve Wozniak. He refused to co-operate with much of the staff at Apple including CEO John Sculley, and henceforth detached himself from the company, but meanwhile his personal life was no more amicable. Refusing to be a father to his college girlfriend Chrisann Brennan's daughter Lisa and denying all paternity shone a bad light on him in the eyes of his family, his colleagues and the public especially when paternity was proven. But upon his return to Apple came a new man, humbled by his previous behaviour and willing to be both a father and a fair businessman. But of all the sacrifices he made to make Apple great, his health suffered most of all.
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It's 1952 and a routine shipment is being undertaken by the crew of an oil tanker travelling along the coast of Cape Cod. However, little did they know of a disastrous oncoming storm that would brutally attack New England like never before. As bad luck would have it, the crew on board the vessel find their tanker suddenly ripped in half by the hurricane and they are forced to await the Coast Guard for rescue unable to move from their sinking boat. 30 men are trapped, not knowing whether anyone was coming to rescue them, not knowing whether or not this was their last night on Earth. After all, it would be a suicide mission for any lifeboat to attempt a rescue in these conditions, but that's exactly what happens. A feat of outstanding bravery for this East Coast Guard.
Continue: The Finest Hours Trailer
For the production of 'Blackhat', writer/director Michael Mann had to brush up on his knowledge of hacking in order to put together a film on the subject. Actor Chris Hemsworth had to undergo a master class on hacking and the use of computers. Mann also discusses how terrifying the idea of a cyber-criminal being able steal whatever they please from anywhere in the world at any time.
'Blackhat' follows the story of a hacker that can target anywhere in the world, stealing money and amassing wealth before causing a string of terrorist attacks upon the world. The US and China form a specialist taskforce to discover the identity of the hacker and find him before he is able to strike again. When they find themselves unable to trace the source, they turn to Nicholas Hathaway (Hemsworth), a convicted hacker serving jail time for hacking. If Hathaway is able to find and expose the mysterious hacker before it's too late, he will be free to live his life. 'Blackhat' is due to be released in the US on 16th January 2015, with a UK theatrical release following on 20th January in the same year.
When an unnamed hacker begins to steal money from wherever he wants, he turns his attention on acts of terror. After the destruction of a Chinese power plant, a collaboration of American and Chinese agencies begin trying to find just who this person is. They finally hit on the idea of bringing convicted hacker Nicholas Hathaway (Chris Hemsworth) out of his 15-year-jail time, in order to help them track down the illusive boogieman. But as he is always one step ahead of them, it seems that even Hathaway's help will not result in them catching their crook.
Continue: Blackhat Trailer
A slow-burning intensity sets this crime thriller apart from the crowd, directed by Belgian filmmaker Michael Roskam with a sharp focus on flawed characters who continually surprise each other. It's also a strikingly involving screenplay by Dennis Lehane, an author known for flashier thrillers like Mystic River and Shutter Island (this is his first film script, based on his short story Animal Rescue). All of this pays off with terrific performances from an excellent cast and situations that genuinely shake up the audience, even if it remains moody and subdued right to the end.
It's set in Brooklyn, where bars take turns acting as the mafia drop point for the day's takings. And after Cousin Marv's Bar is robbed on a non-drop day, Chechen gangster Chovka (Michael Aronov) is furious. Even though he has assumed ownership of the bar from Marv (James Gandolfini), Chovka orders him to get the $5,000 back, implying that Marv knows the thieves. So Marv turns to his mild-mannered barman Bob (Tom Hardy) for help. Bob knows how to keep his head down, and as he works on finding the cash, he discovers an abused puppy abandoned in a trash can outside the home of Nadia (Noomi Rapace), who helps him nurse the dog back to health. But the puppy - and Nadia - were both cast aside by the thuggish Eric (Matthias Schoenaerts), who doesn't want to let anything go.
Viewers expecting an action-packed crime thriller might be disappointed by the muted tone of this film, but it's the kind of story that worms its way under the skin, creating complex characters who are constantly revealing new details about themselves as the situation inexorably escalates around them. Hardy is simply superb, layering all kinds of emotions into Bob's actions as he struggles to maintain his composure while everyone around him does something inexplicable. As a result, the film's final act is a sequence of heart-stopping moments that make the most of the witty, nervy and darkly gritty scenes that went before.
Continue reading: The Drop Review
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
Bob Saginowski works behind the bar at Cousin Marv's in Brooklyn - an establishment often referred to by local criminals as a 'drop bar'. It's where all the money in the town, acquired by illicit means, is dropped off and kept safe from rival gangs and authorities. However, Cousin Marv's turns out to be less safe than they thought when two masked armed robbers break in while Bob and Marv are cashing up and demand all the money. Despite Marv's warnings about who they are really stealing from, the thieves leave with their loot and Marv and Bob find themselves in a sticky situation when one mean crime boss wants it back. Getting involved in circumstances like this is the last thing these guys want and Marv starts to wish he was as well-respected as he used to be. After a vicious killing occurs, the stakes get higher. Will the duo manage to win back the mob's money? And what's the significance of a lost pitbull puppy?
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Writer-director David O. Russell's out-of-control filmmaking style is perfectly suited to a romantic-comedy involving mental illness, and he infuses the film with a sparky unpredictability that's echoed in the perfectly graded performances of the entire cast. Cleverly, even though most of the characters are clinically unhinged, they're all likeable and easy to identify with.
Cooper stars as Pat, who has spent eight months in a mental hospital before his mother (Weaver) comes to take him home early. His dad (De Niro) isn't so sure it's a good idea, but everyone's happy to have him home. And since he finally accepts that he's bipolar, Pat is ready to get on with life. But it's not so easy. He's prevented from reuniting with his wife because of a restraining order, so he visits mutual friends (Stiles and Ortiz) instead. And they set him up with Tiffany (Lawrence), who's psychologically damaged in her own way. Recognising similar needs, they agree to help each other.
Yes, the film has a clear rom-com premise, but the characters are so unpredictable that we are never quite sure what they'll say or do next. And it's not like Pat and Tiffany are the only unstable people here: they're just the only ones with official diagnoses. All of which gives the actors almost too much colourful material to work with. Cooper is a likeable, charming presence at the centre, eliciting our sympathy even when he does something stupid. And Lawrence delivers a full-on performance that often takes our breath away with its clever layering.
Continue reading: Silver Linings Playbook Review
Guests arrive at the 'Silver Linings Playbook' premiere in New York City. Among them are some of the movie's stars Brea Bee with her partner Bill Eccleston, Shea Whigham, John Ortiz and Julia Stiles, as well as the author of the 'Silver Linings Playbook novel' Matthew Quick with his wife Alicia Bessette, radio presenter Howard Stern with his model wife Beth Ostrosky, 'Huff' star Oliver Platt, singer Vanessa Carlton, talk show host Donny Deutsch and 'Pieces of April' star Patricia Clarkson.
The BBC drama starring Aidan Turner returns to BBC One on September 4th.
With its rousing, old-fashioned tone, this fact-based epic is properly thrilling and inspirational, a tale...
It's 1952 and a routine shipment is being undertaken by the crew of an oil...
For the production of 'Blackhat', writer/director Michael Mann had to brush up on his knowledge...
When an unnamed hacker begins to steal money from wherever he wants, he turns his...
A slow-burning intensity sets this crime thriller apart from the crowd, directed by Belgian filmmaker...
When an anonymous hacker is able to disrupt the files for three major banks around...
Bob Saginowski works behind the bar at Cousin Marv's in Brooklyn - an establishment often...
Writer-director David O. Russell's out-of-control filmmaking style is perfectly suited to a romantic-comedy involving mental...
Pat Solitano has just come out of a mental institution where he was sent after...
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