Month: July 2015

Blue Is the Warmest Color

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Blue Is the Warmest Color

Acclaimed French filmmaker Abdellatif Kechiche’s latest, based on Julie Maroh’s graphic novel, was the sensation of this year’s Cannes Film Festival even before it was awarded the Palme d’Or. Adèle Exarchopoulos is a young woman whose longings and ecstasies and losses are charted across a span of several years. Léa Seydoux (Midnight in Paris) is the older woman who excites her desire and becomes the love of her life. Kechiche’s movie is, like the films of John Cassavetes, an epic of emotional transformation that pulses with gestures, embraces, furtive exchanges, and arias of joy and devastation. It is a profoundly moving hymn to both love and life.

This is an amazing film about young love that is actually honest with its audience. There are countless of films about people falling in love, but when you see “Blue is the Warmest Colour”. You realize just how rare films are that make a sincere attempt to catch what it really is like to fall for someone, without sentimentality, forced cuteness or cheap emotional manipulation. This is the rare love story that has real emotional truth about it. The fact that it is about two women who fall for each other is almost secondary to the way the film catches the universality of what it is like to fall in love and maintain the relationship.

Blue Is the Warmest Color

“Blue is the Warmest Colour is a naturalistic and touching film, whether you’re gay, straight, bisexual, or whatever orientation. This is a film that can give you relationship advice and life guidance no matter what your orientation may be. It isn’t an indulgent film bringing only a unique gay relationship to light and nothing more, and it isn’t an ode to “coming out” and stockpiled clichés of “being different.” It shows how an interaction with a person can have a truly provocative impact on you as a person.

The struggles between the two lovers is depicted in breathtaking detail. The director masterfully captures all of the turmoil and hardship going on between Adele’s and Emma’s relationship. The movie’s long running time does not effect the film at all because you are so immersed into their characters. The sexual realization of Adele is perfectly shown in the movie. She is confused and doesn’t know what she wants, it is a typical teenage problem.

This movie is ultimately about Adele and her struggles to find her true self. The transformation that she experiences is utterly engrossing to watch. The film’s nearly three hour running time is devoted to showing the growth of her character and it is absolutely amazing to watch it unfold right in front of your eyes.The intimate scene’s between Adele and Emma are nothing short of miraculous in their depth and their honesty. The conversations are heartfelt, and the pain is evident and shared. It’s realism of the world we live in is honest and raw.

Blue Is the Warmest Color - Lea Seydoux

The movie owes so much of it’s emotional power to its two fantastic actresses. They really bring it their all in this. I’ve never had doubts of these two performances, the characters felt like real people and you felt so much for their relationship. Their emotional hardships feel completely real. The character’s flaws and insecurities feel so authentic because you actually believe them as real human beings. We never lose sight of their chemistry and devotion to one another, even in the most difficult of times.

The two of them are like fireworks, waiting to explode out. I cannot recommend this film enough to those of you out there who are interested in seeing this. This is one of the wisest and least condescending films I’ve seen this year. I congratulate the director, Abdellatif Kechiche and the two actresses, Adele Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux for an emotional and spiritual journey that had me compelled to the screen for 179 glorious minutes.

Development

Director and screenwriter Abdellatif Kechiche developed the premise for Blue Is the Warmest Colour while directing his second feature film, Games of Love and Chance. He met teachers “who felt very strongly about reading, painting, writing” and it inspired him to develop a script which charts the personal life and career of a female French teacher. However, the concept was only finalised a few years later when Kechiche chanced upon Julie Maroh’s graphic novel, and he saw how he could link his screenplay about a school teacher with Maroh’s love story between two young women.

Blue Is the Warmest Color - Adele Exerchopoulos

Casting

In late 2011, a casting call was held in Paris to find the ideal actress for the role of Adèle. Casting director Sophie Blanvillain first spotted Adèle Exarchopoulos and then arranged for her to meet Abdellatif Kechiche. Exarchopoulos described how her auditions with Kechiche over the course of two months consisted of improvisation of scenarios, discussions and also of them both sitting in a café, without talking, while he quietly observed her. It was later, a day before the New Year, that Kechiche decided to offer Exarchopoulos the leading role in the film; as he said in an interview, “I chose Adèle the minute I saw her. I had taken her for lunch at a brasserie. She ordered lemon tart and when I saw the way she ate it I thought, ‘It’s her!’”

On the other hand, Léa Seydoux was cast for the role of Emma, ten months before principal photography began in March 2012. Kechiche felt that Seydoux “shared her character’s beauty, voice, intelligence and freedom” and that she has “something of an Arabic soul”. He added on saying, “What was decisive during our meeting was her take on society: She’s very much tuned in to the world around her. She possesses a real social awareness, she has a real engagement with the world, very similar to my own. I was able to realise to how great an extent, as I spent a whole year with her between the time she was chosen for the role and the end of shooting.” Speaking to Indiewire on the preparation for her role, Seydoux said “During those ten months (before shooting) I was already meeting with him (Kechiche) and being directed. We would spend hours talking about women and life; I also took painting and sculpting lessons, and read a lot about art and philosophy.”

Blue is the Warmest Color Poster

Blue is the Warmest Color

Directed by: Abdellatif Kechiche
Starring: Léa Seydoux, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Salim Kechiouche, Jérémie Laheurte, Catherine Salée
Screenplay by: Julie Maroh, Abdellatif Kechiche, Ghalia Lacroix
Cinematography by: Sofian El Fani
Film Editing by: Sophie Brunet, Ghalia Lacroix, Albertine Lastera, Jean-Marie Lengelle, Camille Toubkis
Set Decoration by: Coline Débée, Julia Lemaire
MPAA Rating: NC-17
Studio: Wild Bunch Films
Release Date: October 25, 2013

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Ghost Team One

Ghost Team One

When roommates Brad and Sergio accidentally arouse the dead, they team up with sexy amateur ghost hunter, Fernanda, to expose the evil inside their home. But just as the guys start to get close to their hot new partner, they discover that a horny demon wants in on the action. Now, cameras are up, and more than fear is rising in this outrageous romp where only one thing is certain: someone is gonna get screwed.

In order to impress a girl, two roommates set out to make a documentary about a murder that took place in their house decades ago. The girl thinks that the victim’s ghost still resides there, the two guys think that making a movie with her will get them laid. But after they set cameras up around the house, and scary/funny things begin to happen that seem legitimately supernatural… they realize that the ghost is not only real, but she’s become smitten with our guys. Now, they have to try and find a way to get this ‘ghost bitch’ out of the house. A subversive, comedic take on the found footage genre.

Ghost Team One

Ghost Team One Review

“Ghost Team One” aims to do for “Paranormal Activity” what “Scary Movie” did for “Scream” — parody a successful horror franchise with a raunchy mix of scatological and sexual humor — but an aggressively obnoxious tone undermines a decent concept and appealing cast. Insufferable result fails as subversive satire or simply a silly good time, limiting the appeal of helmers Scott Rutherford and Ben Peyser’s feature debut to the frathouse circuit and like-minded havens for lowbrow humor. Simultaneous VOD and modest theatrical release from Paramount (home of “Paranormal,” natch) reps the savviest way to capitalize on minimal commercial potential.

As presented in de rigueur found-footage fashion, slacker buddies Sergio (Carlos Santos) and Brad (J.R. Villarreal) throw a wild house party leading to an unexpected discovery: Their home is haunted. And rather than any old run-of-the-mill spirit, it’s the ghost of an Asian prostitute they’re living with. Would-be hilarity ensues, severely hampered by an overall lack of creativity and uninspired exploitation of the “erotic paranormal activity” premise.

Despite the potential to push the envelope of hard-R content a la “Scary Movie” 13 years ago, there’s very little nudity (a random extra flashes her breasts at the camera early on, while a later shot of Brad sleeping in the buff inexplicably blurs out the nether-regions) and absolutely no explicit sex. Not that anyone can accuse the filmmakers of good taste, given the foul-mouthed preponderance of masturbation jokes and sexual references.

Ghost Team One

A juvenile sensibility dominates throughout, extending to the characterizations of the guys’ third roommate, Chuck (Tony Cavalero), a racist moron and drug addict struggling to stay sober, and significant femme roles — foxy paranormal groupie Fernanda (Fernanda Romero) and Brad’s burnout friend with benefits, Betsy (Meghan Falcone).

Even with the atypical casting of two Latino leads, the pic makes no attempt to avoid the typical genre pitfalls of sexism, homophobia and racism, with Asians particularly bearing the brunt of the tasteless jokes. The largely unseen and completely unheard cameraman is named Billy Chen (Eric Sun), and seems to exist exclusively so Chuck can call him “Ching Chong.”

Cavalero’s over-the-top idiot reaches his nadir in the third act when he’s possessed by the sex worker’s spirit (he starts making pho and dressing in flowered robes). What might have been a provocative gambit of role reversal all too predictably devolves into an absurdly prolonged minstrel show, replete with “me so horny”-level humor.

Santos and Villarreal get off to a shaky start with thoroughly unappealing characters, but eventually develop a likable camaraderie buoyed by solid comic instincts. An unexpected reference to Alfonso Cuaron’s “Y tu mama tambien” and an amusing punchline to the requisite Ouija board scene (“It’s made by Hasbro!”) hint at the possibilities if they had had more consistent material to work with. Romero and Falcone similarly show flashes of promise above the restrictions of their roles.

Ghost Team One

Second Review for Ghost Team One

Written and directed by Scott Rutherford and Ben Peyser, Ghost Team One is a found footage horror comedy that centers on roommates Sergio (Carlos Santos) and Brad (J.R. Villarreal), who, after throwing a wild house party, arouse the lecherous spirits dwelling in their home. The next morning, they team up with a drop-dead gorgeous partygoer and ghost enthusiast, Fernanda (Fernanda Romero), to help expose the lingering specters. Soon, however, both Sergio and Brad start competing for Fernanda’s affections, which leads to one titillated demon wanting in on the action.

Though Fernanda is beautiful and sexy, we quickly learn that she’s a bit crazy, too, and Segio knows it. That dynamic progresses and interweaves throughout the movie, with the boys slowly discovering that Fernanda isn’t quite the perfect girl they thought she was. Between the three of them, they begin to uncover secrets about the house, attempting various (and sometimes hilarious) tactics to lure the demon out and capture it on camera.

But at its heart, Ghost Team One is about the friendship between Sergio and Brad, whose close bond fuels most of the comedy. Both boys have a natural chemistry together that’s boosted by the film’s effective use of improv. The interplay between them is very believable, and in most instances their reactions to paranormal encounters are insanely true to life.

One of my favorite recurring bits they have is, when they get too freaked out in the house, they simply run away to the nearest busy street and catch their breath before they decide it’s safe to go back inside. It’s a subtle gag, but one that most found footage horror films wouldn’t try for fear of taking the characters out of the action. But because this is a horror comedy, it actually works.

Ghost Team One Movie Poster

Ghost Team One

Directed by: Ben Peyser, Scott Rutherford
Starring: Carlos Santos, J.R. Villarreal, Tony Cavalero, Meghan Falcone, James Babson
Screenplay by: Andrew Knauer, Arthur Pielli
Production Design by: Rémy Englander
Cinematography by: Ben Peyser
Film Editing by: John DeJesus
Costume Design by: Rémy Englander
Music by: Mike Plas
MPAA Rating: R for strong sexual content, brief graphic nudity, pervasive language, some drug use and violence.
Studio: The Film Arcade
Release Date: October 11, 2013

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Dallas Buyers Club

Dallas Buyers Club

Taglines: Dare to live.

In 1986 in Dallas, a man diagnosed with HIV (Matthew McConaughey), began smuggling alternative medicine with Rayon, an HIV-positive transgender woman (Leto). It is loosely based on the true-life tale of Ron Woodroof, a drug taking, women loving, homophobic man who, in 1986 was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS and given thirty days to live. He started taking the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved AZT, the only legal drug available in the U.S, which brought him to the brink of death. To survive, he smuggled , anti-viral medications from all over the world, but still illegal in the U.S.

Other AIDS patients sought out his medications forgoing hospitals, doctors, and AZT. With the help of his doctor, Eve Saks (Jennifer Garner) and a fellow patient, Rayon, Ron unintentionally created the Dallas Buyers Club, the first of dozens which would form around the country, providing its paying members with these alternative treatments. The clubs, growing in numbers and clientele, were brought to the attention of the FDA and pharmaceutical companies, which waged an all out war on Ron. DBC follows Ron Woodroof’s personal fight to survive, which had lasted 2191 days when he died on September 12, 1992, six years after he was diagnosed with HIV.

Dallas Buyers Club Movie Poster

Dallas Buyers Club

Directed by: Jean-Marc Vallée
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto, Jennifer Garner, Steve Zahn, Dallas Roberts
Screenplay by: Craig Borten, Melisa Wallack
Production Design by: John Paino
Cinematography by: Yves Bélanger
Film Editing by: Martin Pensa, Jean-Marc Vallée
Costume Design by: Kurt and Bart
Set Decoration by: Robert Covelman
Art Direction by: Javiera Varas
MPAA Rating: R for pervasive language, some strong sexual content, nudity and drug use.
Studio: Focus Features
Release Date: November 1, 2013

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Machete Kills

Machete Kills Movie - Sofia Vergara

Taglines: Trained to kill. Left for dead. Back for more.

During an operation of a Mexican Cartel, Machete Cortez and Sartana Rivera intercept the criminals alone, but another group arrives and a masked man kills Sartana. Machete is arrested, accused of killing his beloved Sartana and Sheriff Doakes hangs Machete. But the President of the USA pardons and recruits Machete to kill the revolutionary Marcos Mendez that has threatened the USA with a missile with a bomb.

Machete goes to San Antonio to meet the Miss San Antonio Blanca Vasquez that will be the liaison between Machete and President Rathcock. Then Machete goes to the brothel of Madame Desdemona to seek out the prostitute Cereza that is Mendez’s mistress. Machete meets Mendez and learns that his heart is connected to the missile and only the arm dealer Luther Voz is capable to disarm the bomb. Now Machete needs to bring Mendez to the USA in less than twenty-four hours and save his new country in a dangerous journey with betrayals.

Machete Kills is an American action-comedy film written and directed by Robert Rodriguez. It is the third film based on Grindhouse fake trailers. Danny Trejo, Michelle Rodriguez, Tom Savini, Billy Blair, Electra and Elise Avellan, Felix Sabates and Jessica Alba reprise their roles from the first film, as well as being joined by series newcomers Mel Gibson, Demián Bichir, Amber Heard, Sofía Vergara, Lady Gaga, Antonio Banderas, Cuba Gooding Jr., Vanessa Hudgens, Alexa Vega, William Sadler, Marko Zaror and Charlie Sheen (credited by his real name of “Carlos Estévez”).

Machete Kills Movie - Amber Heard

About the Story

The film starts with Machete Cortez (Danny Trejo) and Sartana Rivera (Jessica Alba) attempting to capture weapon dealers who have been supplying the Mexican drug cartels. The military men are then all killed by the gangsters, who in turn are wiped out by another intervening party. Its leader murders Sartana while Machete is arrested by a corrupt Sheriff Doakes (William Sadler) and Deputy Clebourne (Samuel Davis).

Doakes tries to unsuccessfully hang Machete but the President of the US, Rathcock (Charlie Sheen), intervenes. Machete is brought to the White House, where the president offers him US citizenship if he eliminates Marcos Mendez (Demián Bichir), a psychopath who is threatening to fire a nuclear missile at Washington, D.C. if the American government does not intervene to stop the rampant drug cartels in Mexico and the corruption of its government.

Machete agrees and travels to San Antonio, where he meets his handler Blanca Vasquez (Amber Heard), an undercover beauty pageant competitor. She sends him to Acapulco to meet a young woman, Cereza (Vanessa Hudgens), who can lead him to Mendez. Machete finds her in a brothel run by her mother, Madame Desdemona (Sofía Vergara), who attempts to kill Machete before he escapes with Cereza. She takes him to Mendez’s associate, Zaror (Marko Zaror), who kills Cereza before taking Machete to Mendez’s base of operations.

Machete Kills Movie - Michelle Rodriguez

There, Machete learns that Mendez has wired the missile’s launch device to his heart and triggered its launch in 24 hours. If he dies, the missile fires. After killing Zaror he captures Mendez, intending to escort him to US and find a way to disarm the missile. Machete learns that Mendez is an ex-secret agent who tried to expose his corrupt superiors, only to be betrayed and forced to watch his family being tortured. The trauma drove him insane by creating his split personalities, as well as led him to join forces with the missile’s creator.

Shortly thereafter, a hit is put on their heads. Machete is targeted by Madame Desdemona and her prostitute assassins, including a shapeshifting hitman called El Camaleón (Lady Gaga), as well as Doakes. Machete and Mendez manage to reach the US and kill Doakes and Clebourne only to be caught by a reborn Zaror and the same mercenaries who killed Sartana. Zaror decapitates Mendez and Machete is riddled with bullets by the gunmen.

Machete wakes up to find himself in a healing tank. He is taken to meet Zaror’s benefactor—corrupt businessman, inventor and Star Wars fan Luther Voz (Mel Gibson). He shows Machete Mendez’s beating heart, preserved in a jar, as well as informs him of his plan to manipulate extremists throughout the world to detonate nuclear weapons while planning to escape in a spaceship to rebuild society in space. Machete then escapes with help from Luz (Michelle Rodriguez), who had heard about the hit on Machete. She informs him that the only one who can disarm Mendez’s heart is Machete’s old enemy, Osiris Amanpour (Tom Savini). Machete contacts Vasquez, who instructs him to meet her at a rendezvous point.

Machete Kills Movie

Arriving there, Machete is betrayed and ambushed by Vasquez, who is in league with Voz. As she is escaping into the desert, Machete gives chase and jumps onto the top of her vehicle but falls off after gunfire comes through the roof. Machete is then given a ride by El Camaleón, who tries to kill him one last time. But he escapes and El Camaleón ends up being shot to death by a group of racist rednecks just inside the US border.

Machete then reunites with Luz and her group, the Network. They infiltrate a fundraiser at Voz’s base of operations. Machete realizes Voz was the one who killed Sartana and fights him. He severely burns Voz’s face, disfiguring him to the extent that Voz is forced to wear a metallic, silver mask. Meanwhile, Vasquez shoots Luz in her good eye, completely blinding her. Luz kills Vasquez in return but is captured by Voz, frozen in Carbonite and taken aboard his ship.

Machete jumps on the missile as it launches and disarms it in mid-air, while Voz boards the ship and departs with the Zaror clones, his supporters, as well as Luz. The disarmed missile then plunges into the Rio Grande and Machete is rescued by President Rathcock, who asks him to follow Voz into space and kill him. Machete agrees and uses a SpaceX rocket to depart to Voz’s Station in Earth’s orbit, where he is given a laser machete to start his mission.

In a post-credits scene, an outtake from the Luz and Blanca fight scene is included followed by a shot of President Rathcock in front of a space background inquisitively brandishing two of Voz’s guns (the molecular disruptor and the same pistol used to kill Sartana) before firing wildly at an off-screen target.

Machete Kills Movie Poster

Machete Kills

Directed by: Robert Rodriguez
Starring: Danny Trejo, Michelle Rodriguez, Sofía Vergara, Amber Heard, Antonio Banderas, Cuba Gooding, Jr.
Screenplay by: Kyle Ward
Caylah Eddleblute: Steve Joyner
Cinematography byB Robert Rodriguez
Film Editing by: Rebecca Rodriguez, Robert Rodriguez
Costume Design by: Nina Proctor
Set Decoration by: David Hack
Music by: Robert Rodriguez, Carl Thiel
MPAA Rating: R For strong bloody violence throughout, language and some sexual content.
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: October 11, 2013

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Ender’s Game

Ender's Game Movie

Taglines: The future must be won.

Ender’s Game is an American science fiction action film based on the novel of the same name by Orson Scott Card. Written and directed by Gavin Hood, the film stars Asa Butterfield as Andrew “Ender” Wiggin, an unusually gifted child who is sent to an advanced military academy in outer space to prepare for a future alien invasion. The supporting cast includes Harrison Ford, Hailee Steinfeld, Viola Davis, Abigail Breslin, and Ben Kingsley.

In the future, humanity is preparing to launch an attack on the homeworld of an alien race called the Formics who had attacked Earth fifty years earlier and killed millions. Gifted children are trained to become commanders of a new fleet for this attack.

Cadet Andrew “Ender” Wiggin draws the attention of Colonel Hyrum Graff and Major Gwen Anderson by his aptitude in simulated space combat. They order the removal of his monitor, signifying the end of the cadet program. Ender is beaten up by Stilson, a student he defeated in the combat sim, but Ender fights back and severely injures him. Ender confesses his grief to his older sister Valentine, but is harassed further by their older brother Peter. Graff arrives to announce Ender’s entrance into Battle School. Graff places Ender with other cadets his age, but treats him as extraordinary, ostracizing him from the others.

Ender's Game Movie

Among other studies, the cadets are placed in squads and perform training games in a zero gravity “Battle Room”. Ender quickly adapts to the games, devising new strategies older students have not yet seen. Graff reassigns Ender to Salamander Army, led by Commander Bonzo Madrid. Bonzo is resentful of the new addition and prevents Ender from training. Another cadet, Petra Arkanian, takes Ender and trains him privately. In one match, Ender goes against Bonzo’s orders and working with Petra, achieves a key victory for his army.

Meanwhile, Ender plays a computerized “mind game” set in a fantasy world aimed to present difficult choices to the player. In one situation, Ender creates a solution to overcome an unsolvable problem. Later, he encounters a Formic in the game, and then a simulated image of Valentine entering the ruins of a castle. Inside, he finds another image of Valentine but as he nears, it turns into an image of Peter before the game ends.

Graff promotes Ender to his own squad, made from other students that have gained Ender’s trust. They are put in increasingly difficult battles. In one match against two other teams including Bonzo’s squad, Ender devises a novel strategy of sacrificing part of his team to achieve a goal, impressing Graff. Bonzo accosts Ender in the bathroom after the match, but Ender fights back and mortally harms him. Distraught over this, Ender prepares to quit Battle School, but Graff has Valentine speak to him and convince him to continue.

Graff takes Ender to humanity’s forward base on a former Formic planet near their homeworld. There, Ender meets Mazer Rackham, who explains how he spotted the shared-mind nature of the Formics to stop the attack fifty years prior. Ender finds that his former squad members are also here to help him train in computerized simulations of large fleet combat; Rackham puts special emphasis on the fleet’s Molecular Detachment (MD) Device that is capable of disintegrating matter.[note 1] Ender’s training is rigorous and Anderson expresses concern they are pushing Ender too fast, but Graff notes they have run out of time to replace Ender.

Ender’s final test is monitored by several of the fleet commanders. As the simulation starts, Ender finds his fleet over the Formic homeworld and vastly outnumbered. He orders most of his fleet to sacrifice themselves to protect the MD long enough to fire on the homeworld. The simulation ends, and Ender believes the test is over, but the commanders restart the video screens, showing that the destruction of the Formic homeworld was real and Ender had been controlling the real fleet this time. Despite Graff’s assurance he will be known as a hero, Ender is furious as everyone will remember him as a killer.

As Ender struggles with his emotions, he recognizes one of the Formic structures nearby similar to the ruined castle from the game, and believing they were trying to communicate with him, races out towards it. He follows the path set by the game, and encounters a dying Formic queen who has been protecting another queen egg. As the movie concludes, Ender writes in a letter to Valentine that he is heading to deep space with the egg, determined to colonize a new Formic world with it.

Ender's Game Movie Poster

Ender’s Game

Directed by: Gavin Hood
Starring: Harrison Ford, Abigail Breslin, Hailee Steinfeld, Asa Butterfield, Ben Kingsley, Viola Davis
Screenplay by: Gavin Hood
Production Design by: Sean Haworth, Ben Procter
Cinematography by: Donald McAlpine
Film Editing by: Lee Smith, Zach Staenberg
Costume Design by: Christine Bieselin Clark
Set Decoration by: Peter Lando
Music by: Steve Jablonsky
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some violence, sci-fi action and thematic material.
Studio: Summit Entertainment, Lionsgate Films
Release Date: November 1, 2013

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Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Tagliness It is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.

Nelson Mandela’s life story is told with this Justin Chadwick-directed adaptation of the once-imprisoned South African leader’s autobiography. William Nicholson provides the script, with Idris Alba and Naomie Harris heading up the cast.

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom is a biographical film directed by Justin Chadwick and scripted by William Nicholson. The film is based on the 1994 book Long Walk to Freedom by anti-apartheid revolutionary and former South African President Nelson Mandela. The film is scheduled to premiere at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival in September, before being released on November 29, 2013. It stars Idris Elba and Naomie Harris.

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom is a South African film based on Long Walk to Freedom, the 1995 autobiography by Nelson Mandela, a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary and politician. Producer Anant Singh started working on the project after interviewing Mandela while he was still imprisoned two decades ago. Following the publication of Mandela’s autobiography, Singh was granted the rights to the film adaptation, which was completed 16 years later by screenwriter William Nicholson. The film is directed by Justin Chadwick.

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom Poster

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Directed by: Justin Chadwick
Starring: Idris Elba, Naomie Harris, Terry Pheto, Robert Hobbs, Grant Swanby, Terry Pheto
Screenplay by: William Nicholson
Production Design by: Johnny Breedt
Cinematography by: Lol Crawley
Film Editing by: Rick Russell
Costume Design by: Diana Cilliers, Ruy Filipe
Set Decoration by: Fred Du Preez, Melinda Launspach, Mandla Mathenjwa
Music by: Alex Heffes
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some intense sequences of violence and disturbing images, sexual content and brief strong language.
Studio: The Weinstein Company
Release Date: November 29, 2013

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Runner, Runner

Runner, Runner Movie

Taglines: Play or be played.

Princeton grad student Richie, believing he’s been swindled, travels to Costa Rica to confront online gambling tycoon Ivan Block. Richie is seduced by Block’s promise of immense wealth, until he learns the disturbing truth about his benefactor. When the FBI tries to coerce Richie to help bring down Block, Richie faces his biggest gamble ever: attempting to outmaneuver the two forces closing in on him.

Runner Runner is an American crime thriller film directed by Brad Furman, and written by Brian Koppelman and David Levien. The film stars Justin Timberlake, Ben Affleck, Gemma Arterton, and Anthony Mackie, and was produced by Arnon Milchan, Jennifer Davisson Killoran, Leonardo DiCaprio, Michael Shamberg, Stacey Sher, Brian Koppelman, and David Levien.

It was released in Belgium, France and the Philippines on September 25, 2013, and in several other countries on the following days. It was released in the United States on October 4, 2013. Some parts of this narrative are based on the life of Nat Arem, a professional poker player and former accountant at Deloitte Touche who helped uncover cheating in online poker by using statistical methods to analyze thousands of games. The film received generally negative reviews from critics.

Runner, Runner Movie

About the Story

Richie Furst used to have a lucrative career on Wall Street; this history prevents him from receiving tuition assistance at Princeton, so he funds his master’s degree by referring students to online gambling, for which he receives a cut. After the dean threatens to expel him for these activities, Richie tries to win his tuition using his excellent poker skills in online gambling, but he loses all his money to a cheater, something he is able to prove by statistics.

Richie goes to Costa Rica to confront Ivan Block, who runs the biggest empire of online gambling websites in the world, including the one Richie lost his money on. After Ivan sees the statistics, he finds coders have coded the software to allow them to cheat. After firing those involved, Ivan tells Richie he’ll pay him millions per year to stay in Costa Rica and assist with the site.

Richie slowly begins a romantic relationship with Rebecca Shafran, ex-lover of Ivan, who appears to have no objections. Ivan has Richie blackmail a gaming affiliate with videos of his infidelity to force him to sign with Ivan. FBI agent Shavers kidnaps Richie and threatens to ruin his life in various ways if he does not assist in a conviction of Ivan Block. Shavers cannot do anything legally as he has no authority in Costa Rica, but he takes advantage of this to use tactics that would be illegal and unethical for law enforcement inside the United States. Ivan tells Richie that everyone in the organization ends up confronted by Shavers at some point.

Over time, Ivan’s organization is revealed to be less than ethical. He sends Richie to bribe Costa Rica gaming director Herrera with too small a payment, which leads to Richie being beaten. Ivan tells him it comes with the territory of such a lucrative career. Ivan throws Herrera and his bodyguard into a lake of crocodiles, but pulls them out before they are eaten. Richie’s friend Andrew Cronin, who works on the software design for Ivan, finds that Ivan is running a Ponzi scheme; the players’ accounts have no actual money, and Ivan uses the money as his own bank account, keeping just enough to allow players to cash out when they need to. Cronin disappears and is later found nearly beaten to death. Aware that Richie might be wanting out, Ivan buys the massive poker debts of Richie’s father and brings him to Costa Rica, using him as a hostage.

Runner, Runner Movie Poster

Runner, Runner

Directed by: Brad Furman
Starring: Justin Timberlake, Gemma Arterton, Ben Affleck, Anthony Mackie, Ben Schwartz, Diana Laura
Screenplay by: Brian Koppelman, David Levien
Production Design by: Charisse Cardenas
Cinematography by: Mauro Fiore
Film Editing by: Jeff McEvoy
Costume Design by: Sophie De Rakoff
Set Decoration by: Monica Monserrate
Music by: Christophe Beck
MPAA Rating: R for language and some sexual content.
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: October 4, 2013

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Carrie

Carrie Movie - Chloe Grace Moritz

Taglines: You will know her name Carrie.

A sheltered high school girl unleashes her newly developed telekinetic powers after she is pushed too far by her peers. Carrie White is a lonely and awkward teen who is constantly bullied at school by her peers, and beaten at home at the hands of her religious mother. But Carrie has a secret: She’s been blessed with the terrifying power of telekinesis; and when her peers decide to pull a prank on her at prom, they’ll soon learn a deadly lesson: If you play with fire, you get burned.

Carrie is an American supernatural horror film. It is the third film adaptation of Stephen King’s 1974 novel of the same name, though Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Screen Gems, who produced the film, employed a script that was reportedly more faithful to King’s original novel. The film stars Chloë Grace Moretz as the titular Carrie White, and Julianne Moore as Carrie’s mother, Margaret White. Following the initial announcement of March 15, 2013 as the release date, the film’s public launch was later postponed to October 18, 2013.

About the Story

Alone in her home, Margaret White (Julianne Moore), a religious, yet disturbed woman, gives birth to a baby girl, intending to kill the infant but changes her mind. Years later, her daughter Carrie (Chloë Grace Moretz), is a shy, unassertive girl, who nears her graduation from Ewen High School in Maine.

Carrie Movie

While showering after gym class at school, Carrie experiences her first menstrual period. She naively thinks she is bleeding to death. The other girls ridicule her, and longtime bully Chris Hargensen (Portia Doubleday) records the event on her smartphone and uploads it to YouTube. Gym teacher Miss Desjardin (Judy Greer) comforts Carrie and sends her home with Margaret, who believes menstruation is a sin. Margaret demands that Carrie abstain from showering with the other girls. When Carrie refuses, Margaret hits her with a Bible and locks her in her “prayer closet”. As Carrie screams to be let out, a crack appears on the door, and the crucifix in the closet begins to bleed.

Miss Desjardin informs the girls who teased Carrie that they will endure boot-camp style detention for their behavior. When Chris refuses, she is suspended from school and banned from the prom. She storms out, vowing revenge.

Carrie learns that she has telekinesis, the ability to move things with her mind. She researches her abilities, learning to harness them. Sue Snell (Gabriella Wilde) regrets teasing Carrie in the shower room and attempts to make amends by asking her boyfriend, Tommy Ross (Ansel Elgort), to take Carrie to the prom. Carrie accepts Tommy’s invitation. When she tells her mother, Margaret forbids Carrie to attend. Asking her mother to relent, Carrie manifests her telekinesis. Margaret believes this power comes from the Devil and is proof that Carrie has been corrupted by sin.

Carrie Movie

Chris, her boyfriend Billy Nolan (Alex Russell), and his friends plan revenge on Carrie. They kill a pig and drain its blood into a bucket. Margaret tries to prevent Carrie from going to the prom, but Carrie telekinetically locks her mother in the closet. At the prom, Carrie is nervous and shy, but Tommy kindly puts her at ease. As part of Chris and Billy’s plan, Chris’s friend, Tina Blake (Zoë Belkin), slips fake ballots into the voting box, which name Carrie and Tommy prom queen and king.

At home, Sue receives a text from Chris taunting her about her revenge on Carrie. Sue drives to the prom, arriving just as Carrie and Tommy are about to be crowned. Sue sees the bucket of pig’s blood dangling above Carrie but, before she can warn anyone, Miss Desjardin hustles her out, suspecting that Sue is planning to humiliate Carrie.

Chris dumps the bucket of pig’s blood onto Carrie and Tommy. Chris’s shower video appears on large screens above the stage, inciting laughter from some in the audience, until the bucket falls onto Tommy’s head, killing him. Enraged, Carrie takes her revenge telekinetically, killing several of the students and staff (except for Miss Desjardin). A fire breaks out and, as the school burns to the ground, Carrie walks away, leaving a trail of fire and destruction in her wake. Chris and Billy attempt to flee in Billy’s car. Chris urges Billy to run Carrie over, but Carrie flips the car into a gas station, setting the place on fire them.

Carrie Movie

Carrie arrives home and she and Margaret embrace. Margaret tells Carrie about the night of Carrie’s conception. After having shared a bed platonically with her husband, they yielded to temptation one night and, after praying for strength, Carrie’s father “took” Margaret, who enjoyed the experience. Margaret attacks Carrie, who attempts to flee but kills her with several sharp tools. She becomes hysterical and makes stones rain from the sky to crush the house. When Sue arrives, a furious Carrie grabs her with her powers, but senses something inside Sue, and tells her that her baby is a girl. Carrie pushes a stunned Sue out of the house to safety as the house collapses and apparently kills the Whites.

About the Production

In May 2011, representatives from MGM and Screen Gems announced that the two companies were producing a film remake of Carrie. The two studios hired Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark playwright Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa to write a screenplay that delivers “a more faithful adaption” of King’s novel—Aguirre-Sacasa previously adapted King’s work The Stand into a comic book in 2008.

Upon hearing of the new adaptation, King remarked, “The real question is why, when the original was so good?” He also suggested Lindsay Lohan for the main role and stated that “it [the film] would certainly be fun to cast”. Actress Sissy Spacek, who played Carrie in de Palma’s adaptation, expressed an opinion on the choice of Lohan for the character of Carrie White, stating that she “was like, ‘Oh my God, she’s really a beautiful girl’ and so I was very flattered that they were casting someone to look like me instead of the real Carrie described in the book. It’s gonna be real interesting.” In March 2012, the role of Carrie White was offered to Chloë Grace Moretz, who accepted the role.

Kimberly Peirce directed the film, while Moore starred as Margaret White and Gabriella Wilde played Sue Snell. Alex Russell and Ansel Elgort are also members of the main cast, and Judy Greer played the gym teacher Miss Desjardin.

Carrie Movie Poster

Carrie

Directed by: Kimberly Peirce
Starring: Chloë Grace Moretz, Judy Greer, Portia Doubleday, Alex Russell, Gabriella Wilde, Ansel Elgort, Julianne Moore, Cynthia Preston
Screenplay by: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Production Design by: Carol Spier
Cinematography by: Steve Yedlin
Film Editing by: Lee Percy, Nancy Richardson
Costume Design by: Luis Sequeira
Art Direction by: Nigel Churcher
Music by: Marco Beltrami
MPAA Rating: R for bloody violence, disturbing images, language and some sexual content.
Studio: Sony ScreenGems, Metro Goldwyn Mayer
Release Date: October 18, 2013

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Escape Plan

Escape Plan Movie

Taglines: The most secure prison ever built.

Ray Breslin is the world’s top authority on prison structural security, who finds himself having to put his skills to the test when he is framed for a crime and sent up to a prison he helped design. He must escape and figure out who put him behind bars.

Early reports in 2010 speculated that Bruce Willis was cast as Ray Breslin. It was revealed by producer Mark Canton on The Matthew Aaron Show that Jim Caviezel has signed on to the film and has been revealed to be the main antagonist in the film, the prison warden Hobbs.

It was revealed in April 2012 that British actor Vinnie Jones has been signed on to star in Escape Plan. Vinnie Jones revealed to the newspaper The Sun that there are three inmates escaping from the prison. Jones has been confirmed to be starring in the film, and it has been revealed that Jones is playing the antagonist Drake, the corrupt and ruthless prison guard. Jones stated he starts filming on April 19 in New Orleans.

Variety and other media in the news have stated that Amy Ryan, Vincent D’Onofrio, and 50 Cent, have joined the cast of Escape Plan. It was confirmed in Mid-April that 50 Cent is the computer expert who was once incarcerated for cyber crimes helping Breslin’s character escape, D’Onofrio as the deputy director of the high-tech prison and Ryan as Stallone’s business partner and his potential love interest.

Escape Plan Movie Poster

Escape Plan

Directed by: Mikael Håfström
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, James Caviezel, Vincent D’Onofrio, Sam Neill, Amy Ryan, Steven Krueger, 50 Cent
Screenplay by: Miles Chapman, Jason Keller
Production Design by: Barry Chusid
Cinematography by: Brendan Galvin
Film Editing by: Elliot Greenberg
Costume Design by: Lizz Wolf
Set Decoration by: Bradford Johnson
Music by: Alex Heffes
MPAA Rating: R for violence and language throughout.
Studio: Summit Entertainment
Release Date: October 18, 2013

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The Fifth Estate

The Fifth Estate Movie

Taglines: You can’t expose the world’s secrets without your exposing your own.

Following Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Daniel Brühl), an early supporter and eventual colleague of Julian Assange (Benedict Cumberbatch), “The Fifth Estate” traces the heady, early days of WikiLeaks, culminating in the release of a series of controversial and history changing information leaks. The website’s overnight success brought instant fame to its principal architects and transformed the flow of information to news media and the world at large.

The Fifth Estate is a thriller film directed by Bill Condon, about the news-leaking website WikiLeaks. The film stars Benedict Cumberbatch as its editor-in-chief and founder Julian Assange, and Daniel Brühl as its former spokesperson Daniel Domscheit-Berg. Anthony Mackie, David Thewlis, Alicia Vikander, Stanley Tucci, and Laura Linney are featured in supporting roles.

The film’s screenplay was written by Josh Singer based in-part on Domscheit-Berg’s book Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange and the World’s Most Dangerous Website (2011), as well as WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy (2011) by British journalists David Leigh and Luke Harding. The film’s name is a term used to describe the people who operate in the manner of journalists outside the normal constraints imposed on the mainstream media.

The Fifth Estate Movie

About the Story

The story opens in 2010, with the release of the Afghan War Logs. It then flashes back to 2007, where journalist Daniel Domscheit-Berg meets Australian computer hacker Julian Assange for the first time, at the Chaos Communication Congress in Berlin. Daniel’s interest in online activism has led him to Assange, with whom he has corresponded by email. They begin working together on WikiLeaks, a website devoted to releasing information being withheld from the public while retaining anonymity for its sources.

Their first major target is a private Swiss bank, Julius Baer, whose Cayman Islands branch has been engaged in illegal activities. Despite Baer’s filing of a lawsuit and obtaining an injunction, the judge dissolves the injunction, allowing Julian and Daniel to reclaim the domain name. As their confidence increases, the two push forward in publishing information over the next three years, including secrets on Scientology, revealing Sarah Palin’s email account, and the membership list of the British National Party.

At first Daniel enjoys changing the world, viewing WikiLeaks as a noble enterprise and Assange as a mentor. However, the relationship between the two becomes strained over time. Daniel loses his job and problems arise in his relationship, particularly concerning the BNP membership leak, which also revealed the addresses of the people involved, and caused several to lose their jobs.

The Fifth Estate Movie

Assange openly mocks Daniel’s concerns about these issues, implying his own life has been more troubling. Assange’s abrasive manner and actions, such as abandoning Daniel at his parents’ house after having accepted their dinner invitation, only deepen the strain further. Interspersed throughout the film are flashbacks hinting at Assange’s troubled childhood and involvement in a suspicious cult, and that Assange’s obsession with WikiLeaks has more to do with childhood trauma than wanting to improve the world. Daniel begins to fear that Assange may be closer to a con-man than a mentor.

He also notices that Assange constantly gives different stories about why his hair is white. Assange at first tells Daniel that WikiLeaks has hundreds of workers, but Daniel later finds out that Daniel and Assange are the only members. Most importantly to Daniel, Assange frequently claims that protecting sources is the website’s number one goal. However, Daniel begins to suspect that Assange only cares about protecting sources so people will come forward and that Assange does not actually care who gets hurt by the website, though Assange claims that the harm the website may cause is outweighed by good the leaks create. Daniel’s girlfriend tells him that she believes in his cause, but that it’s his job to prevent Assange from going too far.

The Fifth Estate Movie Poster

The Fifth Estate

Directed by: Bill Condon
Starring: Peter Capaldi, Benedict Cumberbatch, Stanley Tucci, Carice van Houten, Laura Linney
Screenplay by: Daniel Domscheit-Berg, David Leigh
Production Design by: Mark Tildesley
Cinematography by: Tobias A. Schliessler
Film Editing by: Virginia Katz
Costume Design by: Shay Cunliffe
Set Decoration by: Véronique Melery, Lieven Baes
Music by: Carter Burwell
MPAA Rating: R for language and some violence.
Studio: DreamWorks Pictures
Release Date: October 18, 2013

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