Leo DeCaprio ( Titanic ) and Joseph Gordon Levitt ( Looper ) are hi-tech thieves who steal secrets from their victim's head. To do this, they have to enter the person's subconscious and interact with their dreams - a dream within a dream, as Edgar Allen Poe put it.
Our heroes are hired to do the impossible - to plant an idea in a man's mind. Their target is Cillian Murphy ( Batman Begins ). They recruit a team that includes Tom Hardy ( Star Trek: Nemesis ) and Ellen Page (the girl from Juno).
As an added distraction, Leo has the same subplot he did in Shutter Island - he is haunted by the death of his suicidal wife. This time she is played by the French actress who (like Tom Hardy and Gordon Levitt) appeared in Nolan's next Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises ).
As with all good Film Noirs, something goes wrong and our protagonist must go on the run. His future self (Bruce Willis, who already did this in Twelve Monkeys ) comes back, on a Terminator -like rampage to kill The Rainmaker and save the future.
The problem with this story is the number of shocking coincidences. Our hero blunders into the families of TWO suspects, both within handy walking distance for him.
The result is a contrived mess full of temporal paradoxes. Unfortunately Time Travel in fiction only works in ways that the writer feels benefit the plot. Nobody cares about getting it to make sense any more. If reading this paragraph gives you a sense of deja-vu, either you are a time traveller or else the facts in it are true of so many Time Travel stories that it tends to get repeated a lot.
Matt Damon ( True Grit ) is a US Politician who meets Emily Blunt , an English ex-pat ballerina in NYC. But a group of supernatural entities (angels in all but name) who can alter reality have been ordered to manipulate his destiny and keep him apart from the woman. They call in Archangel Terence Stamp ( Phantom Menace ), who isn't afraid of using extreme methods.
Each segment is told in a different fashion - melodrama, comedy, action-adventure and so on. The SPFX are incredible, and the make-up (which allows the cast to play different age groups, and even different races) is awesome.
The Cast themselves are incredible. Halle Berry is her Oscar-worthy awesomeness, as always - but the real knockout is Tom Hanks ( Green Mile ). He conveys a series of different characters (or different takes on the same character) that are entirely convincing, and show his incredibly diverse range.
When our hero is not reliving the 8-minute time loop, he is trapped in a capsule - like Ryan Reynolds in Buried, communicating with an Erin Grey lookalike in full military dress uniform via a computer interface.
This is a nice take on time travel - it has some interesting limitations (reminiscent of 7 Days ) and works on a number of levels. There is a love story, a 24-style anti-terrorist plot, and a scifi setting where the science is actually part of the plot. The excellent script is topped off with a competent director and a great cast - there is no weak link.
Denzel is a dreadful cop. He's so keen on following a suspect that he charges off alone to do what is obviously a two-man job. The result is that he causes multiple traffic pile-ups, involving god knows how many civilian casualties.
As things get more and more convoluted, it becomes obvious how much the writer/director owes to Twin Peaks . Other good news is that this Indie film actually has the courage to let the female cast show their breasts in the sex scenes - unlike The Roommate , a recent dire mainstream Hollywood effort.
Rachel McAdams is the title character, wife to Mr Bana. She sticks with him through a dozen miscarriages, because his offspring time-jump in the womb. Can they successfully carry a child to term?
The other problem is, because she can see flashes of his life in a non-chronological sequence, she sees him bleeding from a lethal-looking gunshot. But he cannot change his fate, so he is doomed to live out the inevitable.
The title character is born with a strange medical defect - he ages backwards. Eventually he looks like Brad Pitt ( Fight Club ), and falls in love with ballerina Cate Blanchett . In real life the actors are about the same age, but here thanks to make-up they age in opposite directions. As time passes in New Orleans and Benjamin is seemingly unchanging, one is reminded of Interview with the Vampire .
Typical of Fitzgerald's work, this is a slow and tedious drama. UK Comic 2000AD covered this idea in a 3-page Future-shock This is dragged out to over two hours, in an era when 90 minutes is about average for a film.
The girls fantasise that the drafty old Victorian Asylum is a more comfortable prison - a Moulin Rouge-style bordello where they are unjustly imprisoned, and our heroine only has five days to escape. And when she dances ...
The heroine goes into a deeper fantasy, a dream within a dream - like Inception ! This is a World War One analogy, there the girls dress like Japanese school-girls embracing girl-power (think Kill Bill meets DOA: Dead Or Alive ) must slaughter armies of steampunk zombies, and stray orcs left over from Lord of the Rings ... Like 300 , but with girl-power.
But is it anti-Feminist? Every female character is powerful and positive - the only dangers are fantasies, remember? (or are they?) The male characters are negative - with the exception of the mentor (Scott Glenn - Silence of the Lambs ) and a cop at the end (Ian Tracey). But the males are supporting characters, functionaries. This movie more than passes the infamous Bechdel test. But it shows that female empowerment is a male fantasy. And that seems to have created a negative backlash.
In short, this is a love-it-or-hate-it film. In this reviewer's opinion ... watch it yourself, make your own mind up!
The middle section centres around Balthazar Getty ( ), a young man who gets seduced by a femme fatale (also played by Patricia Arquette ). She is the moll of gangster Robert Loggia (best known from a similar role in Scarface).
The problem with this as a film noir is the surreal undertones that confuse matters.
The first twenty minutes of the story is spent setting everything up for the 1950s. Conveniently for Marty, every middle-aged person spent the entire day telling him what they did in the EXACT WEEK he gets sent back to. All he has to do is not interfere with the timeline. Can he do that? Well, he ends up having to play matchmaker with his own parents ( Lea Thompson and Crispin Glover - Charlie’s Angels ) or he will disappear from history, and can never go Back to the Future.
This is a wonderful piece of film-making that works well on every level. Yes, the exposition-filled First Act seems clunky - but this is a comedy-drama, it should not be taken too seriously. What seems amazing is that the 1980s Marty would fit in so well almost thirty years later, while by travelling thirty years into the past he is completely a fish out of water. The 1950s is as foreign to him as it would be to us. In all fairness, Life on Mars did that with the 1970s. But it still makes the mind boggle.
Once Marty and Doc are together again, the duo must re-enact the events of the first film, but in the wild west instead of the 1950s. Also, instead of Marty trying to discourage his own mother's romantic attentions, Dr Brown starts a burgeoning romance with schoolteacher Mary Steenburgen .
There are plenty of references to the previous films. Marty meets his ancestor, who looks just like him - and for some strange reason his wife looks like Lea Thompson ... meaning Marty's parents were cousins! Marty poses as Clint Eastwood, and re-enacts one of the most famous scenes from the spaghetti Western series.
There is an element of character development in this installment. Marty always gets riled when bullies insult him or challenge him - will he mellow out into a more Nineties type, and prevent the terrible personal future that awaits him in Back to the Future II ?
A scientist investigates a farmer's claim that aliens and cultists inhabit a mountain near his remote farmhouse. He is completely genre-blind, making every cliched mistake in the book. But Lovecraft's works are probably the SOURCE for most of the cliches, so we have to give it a bit of leeway. The execution is excellent, taking us from suspense to a dramatic climax that grows effortlessly from Lovecraft's premature ending.
An American OAP goes missing. His son goes to Germany to find him. A German OAP tells him an incredible story ...
Back in the 1930s a meteorite hit a remote farm. The rock from space dissolves into the ground, mysterious, creepy and suspenseful descent into insanity and horror.
The film was shot in black and white, which works well since the story is set in the 1930s. Also, since the story is about an alien - imperceptible - colour, we cannot expect to actually see it.
The climax - the colour itself finally appears - involves great SPFX. But it is too in-your-face to fit in with the relatively low-key film. The script is good enough, though - the confusions are tied up in a nice little twist.
This is yet another Stephen King piece, ruined by dumbing-down for the mainstream audience.
This is a remake of the classic 1970s film by Brian DePalma . The new Director ( Kimberly Pierce ) is one of the few females to helm such a large-scale project. Although the story was written by a man ( Stephen King ), the main five roles are all female. The male roles (originally played by William Katt and John Travolta) are held by new faces.
Moretz has to carry the film, and delivers a great performance as always. But she already covered this ground in Kick-Ass 2 , where she played a High School outsider persecuted by Mean Girls who delivers a violent reprisal.
Detective Ted Levine ( Silence of the Lambs ) investigates an accidental death at a commercial laundry run by crippled old Robert Englund ( Nightmare on Elm Street ). Someone got pulled into a massive laundry press, and squished to a pulp. It turns out this is not the first time someone has been killed or mutilated by that particular machine.
Thomas Jane ( Deep Blue Sea ) is an artist who creates posters for movies. His wall includes John Carpenter's The Thing , while his current masterpiece is The Dark Tower (the obligatory Stephen King reference). However, his domestic bliss is ruined by bad weather. An overnight storm is followed by a strange mist that blows in from the direction of a secret US Military lab.
Our hero and his pre-teen son end up trapped in the local supermarket with a variety of townies, including three familiar faces from The Walking Dead - Laurie Holden, Jeffrey DeMunn and Melissa McBride.
What raises this above the usual monster movie is the fact that it is basically an ensemble piece, a character-based drama with a cast of stars. The supermarket worker (Toby Jones Wayward Pines ) is the insightful voice of reason, while the redneck (William Sadler Roswell ) is a slave to his emotions. The Lawyer (Andre Braugher - Andromeda Strain (2008) ) is a rational thinker who assumes the others are only joking about monsters in the mist. The check-out girl ( Alexa Davalos ) just wants to spend quality time with her boyfriend (Sam Witwer - Being Human USA ), and he in turn is a military man who knows more about the mist than he is letting on.
The worst of all, worse even than the monsters in the mist, is the bible-thumper ( Marcia Gay Harden ). She thinks it is the Day of Judgement from the Bible, and tries to convince the others that she is a prophet so she can infect them with her own religion-inspired perjudices. Our protagonist soon learns that the last place you want to be is trapped in a confined space with a gang of bible-thumping rednecks.
What makes this film controversial is the ending. While the original story is open-ended, Darabont gave this a definite conclusion. This is a love-it-or-hate-it scene, and if you read a negative review of this film then the ending is probably the reason. Watch the movie for yourself, and make your own mind up.
The otherworld in this case seems to be a commentary on modern-day American politics. Villainous Texan good-ole-boy Matthew McConaghy ( ) harrasses a couple of African-American men in Union blue - the Gunslinger (Idris Elba - 28 Weeks Later ) and his father (Dennis Haysbert - ). It turns out that in their reality, the generic term Gunslinger now means a specific kind of soldier - just like the term Huntsman was re-defined in the film Huntsman: Winter's War . However, this one has superpowers - and his revolvers were made from the melted down sword Excalibur!
This movie is less than a hundred minutes long, but is comprised of a series of books that connects all the novels in the Stephen King universe. As a result, there is quite a lot of unexplained back-story. Strangely, none of this seems to matter. The story, simplistic as it is, has been told many times before and is easy to understand. There are good guys and bad guys, and beyond that everyone's motivation is irrelevant because they are all defined by their actions.
The boy teams up with the gunslinger, just like the protagonist in The Last Action Hero became sidekick to Arnold Schwartzenegger's character.
In the end, nothing is explained but everything is tied up. No six-movie series, this appears to be a stand-alone.
This movie is set in 1989, but it seems like the setting is anachronistic. After all, the original novel was set in the 1950s and that is what this feels like. For example, this is set in a small town that is murder capital of the world. The number of dead and missing is even greater than that of Cabot Cove in Murder She Wrote. Even in the 1980s this would have come to the attention of the State Police and the FBI. However, in this film the only law enforcement is a tin-badge sheriff who can barely keep control of his own son - a vicious schoolyard bully.
This story is about a group of children that hang out together in the summer of 1989. They are a bunch of outsiders, not easily defined like the group in The Breakfast Club. No, they are more like The Goonies , or the boys in King's other story The Body (AKA Stand By Me). The difference is that they are more diverse - there is a jewish boy, a black kid and a token girl. The bullies that harrass them are white trash, the kind that might grow up to become a Trump voter.
The kids discover that their town is cursed. They all have nightmare visions of the things that terrify them, and at the heart of it is always ... Pennywise the dancing clown. Of course, we are half way through the movie before they actually tell each other about it.
In the end the evil is defeated, albeit temporarily. The children bond emotionally with an exchange of bodily fluids. After all, the best way to defeat fear is with love.
However, the monster has only gone back to sleep for another 27 years. There is a sequel movie, to come out the next year.