Posts Tagged ‘Charlize Theron’

A Nigerian in Mexico

Gringo

Director: Nash Edgerton

Cast: Joel Edgerton, Charlize Theron, David Oyelowo, Thandie Newton, Amanda Seyfried, Harry Treadaway, Sharlto Copley, Alan Ruck

Joel Edgerton’s brother Nash Edgerton directs this colourful and crazy action comedy Gringo about drug running, kidnapping and evil American corporates. Set in Chicago and Mexico, Gringo plays on all the usual preconceptions about America versus Mexico.

Edgerton plays the obnoxious and self-obsessed American boss Richard Rusk who along with the fiesty blonde man eater Elaine Markinson played by South African Oscar winner Charlize Theron (Monster) who together with fellow employee and fall guy Harold Soyinka, an American Nigerian wonderfully played by David Oyelowo (A United Kingdom, The Paperboy) travel to Mexico to conclude a rather shady drug deal only for Soyinka to be left across the border.

Harold Soyinka ingenuously fakes his own kidnapping only to be really kidnapped not once but twice by a nefarious Mexican drug cartel and Rusk’s brother Mitch, a gung ho mercenary played by another South African star Sharlto Copley (Maleficent, District Nine).

What follows is a dangerous action adventure with enough plot twists to entertain audiences punctuated by some truly witty dialogue, all held together by an hilarious performance by David Oyelowo.

His character Harold Soyinka also crosses paths with a naïve Californian couple Miles and Sunny played by Harry Treadaway and Amanda Seyfried. The best scenes in Gringo are between Seyfried and Oyelowo as they both try and figure out what mess they have got themselves into.

Westworld star Thandie Newton (Jefferson in Paris) has a brief part as Bonnie Soyinka who is not only cheating on her husband but ruining him financially.

Gringo is by no means an excellent film but if audiences don’t take the story too seriously then they should enjoy it. Director Nash Edgerton blends equal part action with comedy creating a serious crime caper with a unique twist. Although he doesn’t necessarily paint Mexico in a flattering light. Think kidnapping, tequila and drug running.

For all its faults, Gringo is a fun film to watch and gets a rating of 7 out 10. The plot is convoluted and at times confusing but the action is sudden and unexpected.

 

 

 

Live Fast, Die Harder

Fast and Furious 8

Director: F. Gary Gray

Cast: Vin Diesel, Jason Statham, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Charlize Theron, Tyrese Gibson, Chris Bridges, Kurt Russell, Scott Eastwood, Helen Mirren, Luke Evans, Nathalie Emmanuel, Kristofer Hivuju, Elsa Pataky

As if there weren’t enough Fast and Furious films, there has to be an eighth film less the appearance of actor Paul Walker who tragically died in a car accident in California in 2013, just after filming The Fast and Furious 7.

The Italian Job director F. Gary Gray assembles an international cast featuring most of the actors from the previous films including Vin Diesel as Dominic Toretto, Michelle Rodriguez as Letty along with Tyrese Gibson as Roman and Chris Bridges as Tej Parker. This time the chief villain is South African born Oscar winner Charlize Theron (Monster) as ruthless hacker Cipher who entices Dominic into working for him after she approaches him in a Havana Street. Cipher’s hold of Dominic turns to be blackmail and she constantly manipulates his familial duties and his bond to his gang of drivers.

To add some muscle to the cast are Dwayne Johnson as Hobbs and action man Jason Statham as Deckard who are recruited by a covert intelligence officer aptly identified as Mr Nobody played by Kurt Russell who is definitely experience a resurgence in his career. Mr Nobody’s sidekick Little Nobody is played by Scott Eastwood (Fury) son of veteran actor Clint Eastwood.

Let’s face it the screenwriters are not exactly imaginative with character names. Suffice to say is that audiences that enjoyed all the other Fast and Furious films will definitely enjoy this international joyride as the action swiftly moves from Havana, Cuba to New York and then onto an icy showdown in Russia which involves a nuclear submarine among all the fast cars and snowmobiles. The Manhattan action sequence might be implausible but is definitely not an advert for the benefits of self-driving cars which can be remotely hacked. See it to believe it.

Considering that Fast and the Furious 8 was number one at the South African box office for three consecutive weeks since its Easter weekend opening and that the action film has grossed over a $1 billion dollars worldwide there is definitely enough fan support to sustain this fast-paced action franchise for further films to come.

Judging by the packed cinema when I watched the film, Fast and Furious 8 or the Fate of the Furious has the winning combination of fast cars, gadgets, beautiful women and a healthy dose of Hollywood cameos. This is popcorn cinema at its most formulaic and these films certainly keeps many actors employed.

As the characters live fast and some of them die harder, Fast and Furious 8 is a fun-filled action film but don’t expect anything too highbrow. Audiences should look out for Game of Thrones stars Nathalie Emmanuel as Ramsey and Norwegian actor Kristofer Hivuju as Toretto’s musclebound enemy Rhodes.

Fast and Furious 8 gets a film rating of 7 out of 10. If you enjoyed the other films, then this film will satisfy even the most ardent speed racers who can visually salivate at fast cars and daring stunts.

Sisters of No Mercy

Huntsman: The Winters War

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Director: Cedric Nicolas-Troyan

Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Jessica Chastain, Emily Blunt, Charlize Theron, Nick Frost, Alexandra Roach, Sam Claflin, Rob Brydon, Sheridan Smith

The evil queen stakes just got higher in the prequel to Snow White and the Huntsman, Huntsman: Winter War which is directed by French visual effects supervisor turned director Cedric Nicolas-Troyan. His previous visual effects credits include Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, Snow White and the Huntsman and Solstice.

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Australian actor Chris Hemsworth returns as Erik the Huntsman along with South African Oscar winner Charlize Theron (Monster, Mad Max: Fury Road) as the vicious queen Ravenna.

New to the cast are Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty, Interstellar) as Erik’s estranged wife Sara and an equally evil queen, Ravenna’s sister the Ice Queen Freya wonderfully played by Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada, Into the Woods).

Interestingly this is a female action film and that’s why Huntsman: Winters War works so well although it’s not as good as the original 2012 Rupert Sanders film Snow White and the Huntsman.

Visually, Huntsman is quite dazzling especially in the second half of the film, and director Cedric Nicholas-Troyan makes full use of all the latest CGI available especially when the gorgeous Ravenna emerges out of the illustrious gold mirror looking fabulous.

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In actual fact Ravenna’s outfit, which Charlize Theron naturally uses to its full potential is sure to inspire many a drag queen in the future, wonderfully emboldened with beautiful eye make-up and a fabulous gold head dress to match, a rival to Angelina Jolie’s outfits in Maleficent. Simply gorgeous. Who cares if she is an evil queen, when she looks so stunning!

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Jessica Chastain is suitably bold and kickass as Erik’s opinionated wife who manages to save his life from a collection of hideous goblins which looked as if they escaped from the set of Pan’s Labyrinth.

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Emily Blunt is wonderful as Ravenna’s younger sister Queen Freya whose heart has been turned to ice by the sudden and inexplicable death of her baby daughter who she naturally blames her husband for.

Audiences should watch out for British comedian Nick Frost as a smart-mouthed dwarf Nion and Alexandra Roach as Doreena last seen in Cuban Fury and The Iron Lady as well as Sam Claflin as William, Freya’s doomed husband.

Whilst Huntsman: Winters War is wonderful to watch, the dialogue could have been better written, yet the story is pure escapism, fantasy with a large dose of femme fatale and a couple Erik and Sara who eventually put aside their differences to defeat the evil sisters who are entirely without mercy and vicious to the core.

Huntsman: Winters War is recommended viewing for those that enjoyed Snow White and the Huntsman and should look forward to the third instalment in a film series which was clearly designed to be part of a fantasy trilogy.

The Valhalla Highway

Mad Max: Fury Road

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Director: George Miller

Cast: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Zoe Kravitz, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Riley Keough, Josh Helman

The much anticipated fourth instalment of the Mad Max series synonymous with industrial chic and post-apocalyptic desert car chase sequences arrives with a vengeance without Mel Gibson.

Thirty years from the last film, George Miller directs Mad Max: Fury Road with British actor Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises) impressively taking over the role of Mad Max along with South African born Oscar Winner Charlize Theron (Monster) as the shaven head Imperator Furiosa, a determined woman who escapes the clutches of an evil desert war lord, Immortan Joe played by Hugh Keays-Byrne, who ruthlessly guards the scarce resources of the planet’s water and food for his own anarchic empire, aptly titled the Citadel.

Mad Max: Fury Road is a brilliant energetic and subversive film, an allegorical road trip highlighting the scarcity of the earth’s resources including oil and water, but more significantly, the action and stunt sequences are truly phenomenal. As the diabolical Immortan Joe and his crazed band of war boys, white-faced and vicious chase Imperator across what is dubbed Valhalla’s Highway, a vast epic journey into the end of eternity.

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Shot in Namibia that beautiful desert African country, Mad Max: Fury Road does not disappoint especially with suitably savage and believable performances by Theron and Hardy, both whom have the enormous talent to make this film utterly believable, when even at times the stunts are so unbelievable.

In a clever plot twist, there are a bunch of supermodels and actresses cast in Mad Max: Fury Road including Victoria Secret model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Elvis Presley’s granddaughter Riley Keough along with Zoe Kravitz along with a frenetic Nicholas Hoult (A Single Man) cast as Nux a renegade warboy who is desperate to break free from the tyranny, but gets consumed by the mayhem.

The sets, sound editing and stunts are truly amazing and should definitely be seen on the big screen especially the final chase sequence involving the war rig, a huge menacing oil tanker deftly driven by Imperator with the help of Mad Max as they desperately try to elude the menacing attempts at capture by Immortan Joe and his vicious gang of thugs.

The script is not particularly enlightening but then again this is Mad Max, but the construction of the film is impressive, like a desert opera in three acts, with each act more savage and gripping than the last, a crazed action chase film in a post-apocalyptic setting with no hints of redemption or salvation.

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Director George Miller does a fascinating job at re-imagining the Mad Max tropes for the 21st century audience, placing more emphasis on the value of scarce resources and on the fact that girls can also kick ass too, especially the formidable collective known as The Wives (Huntington-Whiteley, Kravitz and the gorgeous gang) subverting the traditional male orientated chase film and producing a more explicit and frenetic action film that will appeal to all audiences who enjoyed the original Mad Max trilogy.

Incidentally Valhalla in Viking mythology was where warriors go to die after fighting bravely in battle, in this case the chaotic Valhalla highway is paved with destructive intentions, cruelty, action and anarchy. See it to believe it! Highly recommended viewing for lovers of films like The Book of Eli and Max Payne.

 

 

 

 

61st Golden Globe Awards

The 61st Golden Globe Awards

Took place on Sunday 25th January 2004 hosted by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association

Golden Globe Winners in The Film Categories:

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Best Film Drama: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

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Best Film Musical or Comedy : Lost in Translation

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Best Actor Drama: Sean Penn – Mystic River

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Best Actress Drama: Charlize Theron – Monster

Best Actor Musical or Comedy: Bill Murray – Lost in Translation

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Best Actress  Musical or Comedy: Diane Keaton – Something’s Gotta Give

Best Supporting Actor: Tim Robbins – Mystic River

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Best Supporting Actress: Renee Zellweger – Cold Mountain

Best Director: Peter Jackson – The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

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Best Foreign Language Film – Osama (Afghanistan)

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/61st_Golden_Globe_Awards

2004 Berlin Film Festival

2004 Berlin International Film Festival Winners

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The Berlin International Film Festival known as the Berlinale takes places annually in February and is regarded
as one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world.

Winners of the four main prizes at the 2004 Berlin Film Festival were as follows: –

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Golden Bear (Best Picture) – Head On directed by Fatih Akn

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Silver Bear (Best Director) –  Kim Ki-duk for Samaria

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Best Act0r – Daniel Hendler – Lost Embrace

Best Actress – shared between:

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Charlize Theron – Monster

&

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Catalino Sandino Moreno – Maria Full of Grace

76th Academy Awards

76th Academy Awards

29th February 2004

Oscar Winners at the 76th Academy Awards

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Best Picture: Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Best Director: Peter JacksonLord of the Rings: The Return of the King

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Best Actor: Sean Penn – Mystic River

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Best Actress: Charlize Theron – Monster

Best Supporting Actor: Tim Robbins – Mystic River

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Best Supporting Actress: Renee Zellweger – Cold Mountain

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Best Original Screenplay: Sofia Coppola – Lost in Translation

Best Adapted Screenplay: Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh & Philippa Boynes – Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

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Best Foreign Language Film: The Barbarian Invasions directed by Denys Arcand– (Canada)

Best Documentary Feature: The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara by Errol Williams and Michael Williams

Best Original Score:  Howard Shore – Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

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Best Cinematography: Russel Boyd – Master and Commander: The Far Side of The World

Best Costume Design: Ngila Dickson and Richard Taylor – Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Best Film Editing: Jamie Selkirk – Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Best Visual Effects – Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/76th_Academy_Awards

Origin of the Species

Prometheus

Ridley Scott’s much anticipated prequel to Alien, Prometheus contains astounding visuals and superb special effects and thematically centres on the anthropological term of first contact whereby mankind goes into deep space in search of their mysterious origins and discovers species bent on annihilation. Featuring an all star international cast including Noomi Rapace from the Swedish version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, as the pivotal role of Shaw, Michael Fassbender from Xmen: First Class and Inglorious Basterds as David and South African Hollywood superstar Charlize Theron as Meredith Vickers, Prometheus follows the terrifying journey of the Prometheus spaceship into an unchartered planet to discover the origins of mankind.

Whilst the origin of species  remains questionable this film theorises that it is all down to a gradual mutation of DNA and naturally instinctive survival is paramount, in this case one species dominating the others through treachery and deceit. In Greek Mythology Prometheus is a titan who is credited with the creation of man but is also punished by Zeus for the theft of fire for human use – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prometheus. In the sci-fi universe of Prometheus man’s creation and the discovery of something infinitely more powerful than fire is all consuming.

Man’s insatiable quest for knowledge about their origins and his desire for answers that leads the motley crue of the ship to discover not one, but two alien races, one whose DNA feeds off the originator like a parasite and transforms into something purely evil and instantly recognizable. The only answer to creation provided in this film is to the question that the dubious David asks about his maker to Shaw’s love interest the doomed Dr Holloway played by Logan Marshall-Green last seen in 2009’s Brooklyn’s Finest.

As in the visually spectacular Blade Runner, Ridley Scott’s iconic dreamlike vision of the future set in Los Angeles in 2019, which now as it happens is not that far off, Prometheus is set in 2095 and predicts humans quest to discover other life forms, a journey, which like most space travel in the 21st century is predominantly sponsored by large commercial corporations represented in this film by the icy crew manager Vickers played by Theron. Prometheus like Blade Runner and Alien is pure sci-fi thriller with some astounding visuals but leaves the audience  slightly lost in space as the elusive narrative drifts towards a rather sudden and unpredictable climax.

Where the plotlines rupture with some fascinating twists, it is the technical superiority of this film which triumphs making Prometheus eclipse Avatar on so many levels and is worth watching on a cinematic widescreen with digitally enhanced surround sound.

Like Alien, Thelma and Louise and GI Jane, Ridley Scott has often relied on strong female leads to carry his films, and Noomi Rapace is brilliantly cast as the gritty Dr Elizabeth Shaw and carries the intensity of such a murky monochromatic  movie. Best scene is Shaw’s speedy self diagnosis and instant electronic caesarian. Prometheus is brilliant as a Sci-Fi film and an enigmatic prequel, but is not Ridley Scott’s best work, yet still thoroughly entertaining but not quite as terrifying as the original Alien movies or the horrific Event Horizon and like Avatar could have been enhanced by a Sigourney Weaver cameo.

The Evil Queen Stakes

Snow White and the Huntsman

Vicious Vanity takes no prisoners

Director Rupert Sanders visually stunning Gothic Snow White and the Huntsman channels Gullermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth and the hit HBO Feudal Fantasy series Game of Thrones and ain’t no fairytale although all the elements of fantasy are evident from Trolls to Dwarves, to Knights and Fairies. The real winner of Snow White and the Huntsman is the Evil Queen Ravena played beautifully with a seriously unhinged quality by Oscar winner Benoni superstar Charlize Theron, referencing her earlier role in Monster. In Snow White and the Huntsman, Charlize steals the show and is the backbone to this dark fantasy epic featuring Kirsten Stewart as the meek and anaemic Snow White and Thor’s hairy and gruff Chris Hemsworth as the sword wielding Huntsman sent to rescue the damsel trapped in the dark forest…

Mirror Mirror

This Queen ain’t no Bad Apple

Where the frivolous and occasionally funny Mirror Mirror spectacularly fails is the casting of goodie-two-shoes actress Julia Roberts as the Evil Queen in director of The Immortals Tarsem Singh’s frothy and glossy retelling of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves in Mirror Mirror, which as a comedy is fun in parts namely due to the casting of genuine dwarves, along with Nathan Lane and Lily Collins, daughter of singer Phil Collins as the sweet and innocent Snow White, but the casting of Julia Roberts as the Evil Queen?Really?

Joan Rivers, Rupaul  or Kim Catrall could do a better job especially in this semi-Bollywood fantasy featuring  the buff Armie Hammer as the hapless but entirely vacant Prince. Wait for the end of Mirror Mirror to see the Dance number and the redeeming aspect is the fabulous costumes at the Queens Ball with Snow White as a Swan…

Unlike Mirror Mirror, Snow White and the Huntsman is pure feudal old world action with a dash of macabre incest, vanity and vicious magic realism. Charlize Theron steals the show as the completely off kilter pyschopathic Evil Queen who bathes in milk and whose gold mirror comes to life. Twilight star Kirsten Stewart only really comes into her role as the grubby Snow White in the second part of the film, but alas there is no chemistry between her and the Huntsman, played with less enthusiasm by Chris Hemsworth who really made an impact with Kenneth Branagh’s Thor.

Mirror Mirror is suitable for pretty little girls and Snow White and the Huntsman is more closer to malignant  witchcraft appealing to a more jaded generation complete with a sinister Evil Queen hell bent in her quest for the heart of a virgin at the expense of the seven dwarfs, the occasional fairy and a hapless Troll. Charlize Theron is just that much more menacing in the evil Queen stakes and film’s final show down is visually stimulating.

 

 

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