Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudekis return as the hapless trio with another plan to deal with their unpleasant upper management. After deciding to launch their own business, Nick Kurt and Dale are soon double crossed by ruthless businessman Bert Hanson (Christoph Waltz), prompting the boys to try their hand at kidnapping to get their payback.
After becoming such a huge hit in 2011, it was inevitable that Horrible Bosses would get a sequel. Three years later, the boys are back, along with some help from their previous targets. Instead of murder though, Nick, Kurt and Dale have turned to the less harmful threat of kidnapping (or ‘kidnaping’ as Kurt spells it). But make no mistake, Horrible Bosses 2 is definitely bigger than it’s predecessor. With Chris Pine and Christoph Waltz joining the cast as father/son business partners as well as appearances from Jennifer Aniston’s raunchy sex addicted dentist, Kevin Spacey’s (now incarcerated) easily angered Dave Harken and Jamie Foxx’s cool, calm and collected Motherf**ker Jones.
While the target is down to one this time round, the story does seem to have grown with it’s cast. Kidnapping it seems, is tougher to pull off, even with the help of the kidnapped (Pine). The inept trio of criminal masterminds provide plenty of laughs with their successfully establish formula of bungling banter and slapstick. From awkwardly positioned shower pressure pumps, to an even more awkward car chase involving the longest train in the world, there’s certainly more than enough comedy highlights throughout the films 108 minute runtime to keep fans happy.
Though Horrible Bosses 2 introduces some interesting new ideas as well as some genuinely funny new characters, they often have to make room for the elements which made the first instalment such a hit. Chris Pine does have plenty to do and brings gags aplenty, but Christoph Waltz feels drastically underused. It’s a shame seeing as he’s proved his comedic timing is good in his more serious roles (Django Unchained, Inglourious Basterds to name two) yet he isn’t given much to do here. This is understandably due to the fact that fan favourites are given maximum screen time to please fans.
The return of the Jennifer Aniston’s nympho sexpot and Kevin Spacey’s foul mouthed bully are both welcome, but at times they threaten to overshadow the gang’s new adversaries. After a certain point it begins to feel more like a reunion than an actual sequel, which is a real shame as there is enough to set up a well thought out redirection for the story before it slips into it’s amusing comfort zone. .
The Ugly Truth
Horrible Bosses 2 is a satisfying comedy sequel packed with just as much fun and perhaps a bit more mayhem than the successful original. While it offers up promising new ideas and characters, it’s the returning cast that inevitably steal the show.]]>
Michael Bond’s beloved bear is brought to the big screen for christmas with the help of Ben Wishaw’s gentle voice (Skyfall). From dark Peru to rainy London, Paddington is on a journey to find a new home. But when an evil taxidermist (Nicole Kidman) begins hunting him down, and nothing but his natural instincts and trusty marmalade sandwich (to be used only in an emergency) to help him, it seems he may be out of his depth!
It seems incredible that it’s taken so long for such an iconic character as Paddington Bear to arrive on the big screen, but what an arrival he makes. Gags aplenty and some fine british acting talent are sure to make Paddington an instant classic.
Ben Wishaw dons the red hat and duffel coat (figuratively speaking) to provide the voice of the titular grizzly ball of accidents waiting to happen. It certainly seems Wishaw was the right choice after the ‘conscious uncoupling’ from Colin Firth. Though we may never get the chance to see what could have been, Wishaw’s younger voice fits Paddington perfectly enough that it’s hard to imagine anyone else trying.
There’s also an impressive line up of supporting actors including Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins and Julie Walters as the Brown family, and the voices of Michael Gambon and Imelda Staunton adding to the list of CGI beariness. And it can’t go unmentioned that current Doctor Who, Peter Capaldi also pops up and seems unable to keep away from telephone boxes for too long…
A simple yet extremely fun storyline keeps Paddington consistently funny and thoroughly entertaining while adding some genuinely heart warming scenes along the way. While it’s not likely that we’ll see it overtake this years already strong selection of children’s films, it’s certainly good enough to warrant more marmalade madness.
Technically, Paddington is too frequently sweet and adorable to have anything bad to say about the film critically. However it must be noted that there are some scenes that are rather dark and seem to warrant the PG rating. Mild threat pops up more than once (one notable scene of which includes a fantastic Mission Impossible reference) which may be a bit too frightening for some younger children. Not much of a criticism, more a warning for nervous parents…
The Ugly Truth
Everyone’s favourite bear is back to bring a whole new generation to his fan base. With a great cast to join him and a constant flow of laughs and charm, Paddington will surely be an instant classic. More please!]]>
The ten contenders for the 2014 BBC Sports Personality of the Year award on 14 December have been announced, with this year’s shortlist predictably featuring a mix of Olympic heroes and sporting superstars.
Rory McIlroy, Gareth Bale, gymnast Max Whitlock, swimmer Adam Peaty, skelton star Lizzy Yarnold and Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton all made the cut. Boxer Carl Froch, dressage victor Charlotte Dujardin , athlete Jo Pavey and Paralympic skier Kelly Gallagher with her guide Charlotte Evans are also nominated.
The public vote to determine the ultimate winner will take place by phone and online on the night, with the ceremony taking place in Glasgow.]]>
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts has announced the winners for tonight’s annual British Academy Children’s Awards. The ceremony was hosted by Doc Brown at the Roundhouse, London and presenters included Samantha Barks, Sharleen Spiteri, Bernard Cribbins, Myleene Klass, Emma Bunton, Jamal Edwards, James Norton, Simon Webbe, MyAnna Buring and Malorie Blackman.
It has been a successful week for the team behind Katie Morag: after picking up a British Academy Scotland Award last Sunday; they won two BAFTAs at tonight’s Children’s ceremony. The first Award was in the Drama category and the second for Performer with Cherry Campbell taking home the BAFTA for her portrayal of the title role. Cherry becomes the youngest BAFTA winner ever at nine years old.
Double-act Dick & Dom - Richard McCourt & Dominic Wood - celebrated winning in the Presenter category for Absolute Genius with Dick & Dom, while another of their shows, Diddy Movies, picked up the BAFTA in the Comedy category.
Kindle Entertainment Ltd triumphed as the winners of Independent ProductionCompany of the Year and as part of the team behind Dixi, the online mystery-drama that took home the BAFTA for Interactive – Original.
For the first time, Cartoon Network won the BAFTA in the prestigious Channel of the Year category while one of its most popular shows, Adventure Time, celebrated a win for International.
The Short Form category was won for the third year in a row by CITV’s Share a Story. There was a consecutive win for the Operation Ouch! team, who picked up the BAFTA for Factual. Aardman’s Shaun the Sheep received a second BAFTA award for Animation.
Warner Bros.’ adventure-comedy The Lego Movie fought off stiff competition from Maleficent, How to Train Your Dragon 2 and Frozen to triumph in Feature Film. TheGame category was won by Mario Kart 8, the latest instalment of the popular racing title.
Peter Firmin received the Special Award for his outstanding contribution to children’s media. The esteemed illustrator and puppet-maker was presented the Award by Bernard Cribbins, and received a special introduction from Michael Palin.
The results of the BAFTA Kids’ Vote were also announced at the ceremony. Over 200,000 votes were cast by seven – 14 year-olds who had their say in a nationwide poll to choose their favourite film, television programme, website and game. The winners in the four categories were: Frozen (Feature Film), Jessie (Television),Minecraft (Game) and Bin Weevils (Website).
Other winners on the night were: Disney Animated for Interactive – Adapted;Lizard Girl for Learning: Primary; Poetry: Between the Lines for Learning: Secondary;Old Jack’s Boat for Pre-school Live Action; Sarah & Duck for Pre-school Animation;Junior Bake Off for Entertainment; and Debbie Moon who won the Writer category for Wolfblood.
OFFICIAL WINNERS LIST
ANIMATION sponsored by Toon Boom
SHAUN THE SHEEP Richard Starzak, Jay Grace, John Woolley – Aardman Animations/CBBC
CHANNEL OF THE YEAR
DIDDY MOVIES 2 Steve Ryde, Dez McCarthy, Annette Williams – CBBC/CBBC
KATIE MORAG Production Team – Move on Up/CBeebies
JUNIOR BAKE OFF Production Team – Love Productions/CBBC
OPERATION OUCH! Production Team – Maverick Television/CBBC
THE LEGO MOVIE Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, Dan Lin, Roy Lee – Warner Bros. Pictures, Village Road Show Pictures/Warner Bros. Pictures
MARIO KART 8 Development Team – Nintendo/Nintendo
INDEPENDENT PRODUCTION COMPANY OF THE YEAR
KINDLE ENTERTAINMENT LTD
DISNEY ANIMATED Development Team – Touch Press/Disney Interactive/Walt Disney Animation Studios
DIXI Dan Berlinka, Nina Metivier, Melanie Stokes – Kindle Entertainment/Syndicut/Lucy Atkinson/CBBC Online
ADVENTURE TIME Pendleton Ward, Graham Falk, Nick Jennings – Cartoon Network Studios/Cartoon Network
LIZARD GIRL Iona Sweeney, Lynsey Miller, Vivienne Franzmann – Feelgood Fiction/BBC Two
POETRY: BETWEEN THE LINES Production Team – Somethin’ Else/BBC Two
CHERRY CAMPBELL Katie Morag – CBeebies
SARAH & DUCK Tim O’Sullivan, Sarah Gomes Harris, Jamie Badminton – Karrot Entertainment/CBeebies
PRESCHOOL: LIVE ACTION
OLD JACK’S BOAT Dominic MacDonald, Tony Reed, Tom Poole – CBeebies/CBeebies
RICHARD MCCOURT & DOMINIC WOOD Absolute Genius with Dick and Dom – CBBC
CITV SHARE A STORY 2013 Waldemar Werbel, Jardine Sage, Frank Mansfield – CITV/CITV
DEBBIE MOON Wolfblood – CBBC
BAFTA KIDS’ VOTE IN 2014
FILM - FROZEN (PG) Walt Disney Pictures
GAME - MINECRAFT Mojang
TELEVISION - JESSIE Disney Channel
WEBSITE - BIN WEEVILS
Summit Entertainment are reportedly interested in approaching Tom Cruise for a major role in their long planned Highlander reboot. Cruise is thought to be on the studios wishlist for the part of Juan Sánchez Villa-Lobos Ramírez, played in the original series by Sean Connery. Ramirez is the mentor of the film’s hero, schooling him in both deadly swordplay and the burdens of immortality.
Fans of the long running often re-imagined franchise should be cautious about the news though as it’s unclear if Cruise is even willing to consider the role. The departure of previously attached star Ryan Reynolds does not bode well on that front. The project remains without either a director or leading man, making it pretty unlikely that Cruise would risk his already questionable box office success by gambling on the troubled remake.
Though the franchise has a cult following in truth many believe the original film should probably have stuck to it’s own iconic catchphrase “There can be only one!”.
Bridesmaids star Melissa McCarthy will reportedly star in an as yet untitled Tinkerbell comedy project. Night at the Museum director Shawn Levy is attached to direct, having been the one responsible for making the unlikely connection between the diminutive animated fairy and the bawdy slapstick wit of McCarthy.
Nicholas Stoller the writer responsible for the laudable Muppets reboot and more recently Sex Tape is attached to craft a scrip that somehow makes all this make sense…]]>
Check out the first official trailer for musical comedy sequel Pitch Perfect 2. The new adventure finds Becca and A-Capella singing sensations The Bellas leaving the comfort zone of inter-collegiate sing-offs to step up to the daunting big leagues of the world championships. Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson and Brittany Snow lead an eager returning cast as the girls once again find themselves outcast underdogs thanks to the fact the rest of the world conveniently hates America…
Luckily, THE PITCH IS BACK in the full trailer below:]]>
Award winning director Mike Nichols has died at the age of 83, passing away in his New York home from an apparent heart attack. After making his directing debut with Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? in 1966 the versatile filmmaker was responsible for Catch-22, Working Girl, Regarding Henry, The Birdcage, Primary Colors, Closer and most recently Charlie Wilson’s War.
However despite an enviable and varied body of work spanning several decades of cinema, the director will undoubtedly be best remembered for iconic screen classic The Graduate. Propelled by a star making turn from Dustin Hoffman and a timeless Simon and Garfunkel soundtrack, the film remains a beloved masterpiece; chronicling the post adolescent malaise of a nervous young man embarking on an affair with a predatory older women, the infamous Mrs Robinson. The Graduate remains arguably the most eloquent portrayal of a quarter life crisis, speaking to subsequent generations of university leavers with the same wry wit and frank truthfulness.
So here’s to you… Mr Nichols.
Set in 1969, The Falling is an unconventional coming of age tale centering on two friends, Lydia (Maisie Williams) and Abbie (Florence Pugh). Despite their powerful bond, when tragedy strikes, Lydia becomes overtaken with a mysterious delirium which soon spreads to other classmates…
Much like Maisie Williams’ most well known acting credit Game of Thrones, The Falling is a film about which the plot can only be slightly mentioned for fear of spoilers. Williams soon takes centre stage to drive much of the narrative as she comes to terms with an event that occurs around the one third mark. The resulting film is a beautifully shot piece accompanied by varied but ever so fitting scores and songs from the era. With gorgeous cinematography from Agnès Godard that adds to the artistic beauty already brought to the screen by Williams and director Carol Morley.
The film benefits from solid supporting cast work from Maxine Peake as Lydia’s antisocial mother , Joe Cole (Peaky Blinders) as Lydia’s magic obsessed brother and Greta Scacchi as one of the schoolteachers. They collectively bring just as much to the screen as Williams does, albeit more sparingly.
But it’s Williams who is undeniably the main attraction in The Falling. The story while hard to interpret at parts is held together by Williams, proving even more than she already has in Game of Thrones that she is certainly an actress to take notice of. With films like this under her belt already at this age she seems to know what she wants and will no doubt become a familiar face as the years pss.
For Game of Thrones fans who are excited to see their favourite actress in her first leading role, it really has to be stressed that The Falling is not an easy watch. It needs full attention and even then it may not give you the answers you want. It is a story that comes with many obvious questions. If you stick with it you’ll find that the story brings it own rewards, if not easy answers. There are some satisfying conclusions to be found, at least for those willing to look hard enough. At 102 minutes long it doesn’t seem too much to commit to.
The Ugly Truth
The Falling is a beautiful piece of cinema which will enthrall you and make you contemplate it’s story long after the credits have rolled. Maisie Williams proves she has more to give in what will most certainly be a long career. It may be a bit too art house for some but if you give it time, it will grow on you.
Check out our red carpet interview with Maisie Williams at the film’s world premiere at the BFI London Film Festival 2014 below:]]>
Emma Thompson narrates Jason Reitman’s latest comedy drama, which delves into impact of technology among a whole host of characters young and old. Various interwoven stories explore how the advent of ever present social media has forever changed notions of privacy, intimacy and identity.
Opening with a shot of a satellite floating in the atmosphere above us, accompanied by the soothing tone of Emma Thompson’s voice, Men, Women and Children almost seems like a documentary. But it’s not long till we’re brought back down to earth as director Jason Reitman (Juno, Up In The Air) studies various character driven stories all focusing on the dangers of the internet. Given the constant debate about whether social media is really helping or hindering communication and recent celebrity photo leaks, it’s a timely and provocative theme.
The main issue he tends to focus on is that of sex and pornography. Whether it’s Adam Sandler and Rosemarie DeWitt as a couple who turn to dating sites and escort services, or Donna Clint (Judy Greer) and her daughter’s ‘acting website’, Men, Women and Children certainly has some interesting story lines which will make you question how pervasive the internet has become in our lives.
The most interesting segment of Reitmans collection of stories however, is that of the young teens played by Ansel Elgort (The Fault In Our Stars) and Kaitlyn Dever (Short Term 12). Elgort plays Tim Mooney, a former member of his schools football team who is abused through texts after letting the team down when he quits to shut himself away in an online game. Unlike Tim who is left to his own devices by his dad as he whittles away time online, Dever’s character, Brandy, is instead tracked, traced and generally trapped by her over-protective mother (played spectacularly by Jennifer Garner) who trusts her daughter so little that she installs a device to literally record every keystroke Brandy makes on her computer.
These stories force audience in a very immediate way to evaluate our own decisions about the prominence of technology in our lives and how the internet may be adversely affecting children and their parents. It’s easy to connect with each of these characters because the dilemmas and decisions they face will feel relevant ad familiar to our own lives.
With plenty of stories to delve into, it’s such a shame that the narrative structure is overall the weakest part of Men Women and Children. Reitman has already done plenty to prove that he has a knack for writing smart humor that is cleverly underplayed with Juno and Up In The Air, but his latest effort doesn’t quite capture the same magic. In particular it would be easy for audiences to mistake Adam Sandler’s muted performance for boredom.
The film’s opening scene sets up Emma Thompson as the well chosen narrative voice for the film, tying together various stories from a detached vantage point, visually manifested as a satellite drifting ever further from earth and out into space. Though deployed often during the first half of the film, her voice becomes a diminished and infrequent presence as the film progresses, leaving the various story lines to struggle on under their own dramatic weight.
The film is undeniably ambitious in trying to tackle such substantial emotional and technological themes, but this perhaps proves overly ambitious for its 116 minute run time.
The Ugly Truth
While it doesn’t always match the exceedingly high standards set by his previous films, Jason Reitman’s latest is an interesting attempt to provide a commentary on the excessive use of internet in our daily lives. Though the film could perhaps be more concise, accomplished performances and important ideas ensure audience will be compelled to think about exactly how much of our lives is spent looking at computer screens.]]>