Tuesday, 25 March 2014

A Long Way Down

Pierce Brosnan and Toni Collette star in a funny and touching tale of four desperate strangers who form an unlikely pact. Washed-up former TV personality Martin Sharp (Pierce Brosnan) has decided to end it all on New Year's Eve. But at the top of the London skyscraper from which he plans to hurl himself, Martin finds he's not alone. Three other unhappy people have had the same idea. Maureen (Toni Collette) finds the stress of being a single mother overwhelming. Sassy, impulsive teenager Jess (Imogen Poots) has family problems. And JJ (Aaron Paul) dreamed of being a rock star but now works as a pizza delivery boy. After sharing their stories, the quartet agree to stay alive and stick together - at least until Valentine's Day. Adapted from the novel by 'Fever Pitch' and 'About a Boy' author Nick Hornby, this darkly hilarious comedy spins an unusual and moving story of redemption.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Labor Day

Today in Llandudno I have been to see Labor Day.

Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin star in an extraordinary love story about a withdrawn woman who bonds with an escaped convict. Life has been tough for 13-year-old Henry Wheeler (Gattlin Griffith) ever since his dad left home. Traumatised and dishevelled mum Adele (Kate Winslet) is increasingly reclusive. During a back-to-school shopping trip, Henry is accosted by handsome yet menacing Frank Chambers (Josh Brolin), who then forces Adele to give him a ride. It transpires that there's a manhunt for Frank - an escaped convict who's serving 18 years for murder. Over a long holiday weekend back at the family home, he bonds with Henry and begins to draw Adele out of her shell. Narrated by the older Henry (Tobey Maguire), this moving and emotional story is adapted from the novel of the same title by Joyce Maynard. It's directed by Jason Reitman, who gave us 'Juno' and 'Up in the Air'.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Need For Speed

'Breaking Bad' star Aaron Paul puts pedal to the metal in this breakneck street racer vengeance thriller. Underground street racer and muscle car mechanic Tobey Marshall (Aaron Paul) owns a garage that soups up high-end vehicles. When his best friend is murdered during a race, Tobey finds himself framed by his wealthy, arrogant business partner, Dino (Dominic Cooper). Having served his time, he joins a gruelling cross-country car race, during which he plans to get revenge. Hearing of this, Dino puts a bounty on his head. Imogen Poots co-stars as a car dealer who does business with the two men, while Michael Keaton plays the race's eccentric organiser. 'Act of Valor' director Scott Waugh helms this relentless, high-octane, mayhem-packed action movie. It's adapted from the hugely successful video game series of the same title, with roots in the tradition of iconic American car culture movies from 'Bullitt' to 'Cannonball Run'.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

The Book Thief

A book-loving girl bonds with a Jewish refugee in Nazi Germany in this moving adaptation of Markus Zusak's international bestseller. In the late 1930s, illiterate nine-year-old Liesel Meminger (Sophie Nelisse) arrives at the rural home of her new foster parents. Henpecked by his wife Rosa (Emily Watson), kindly Hans Hubermann (Geoffrey Rush) encourages Liesel to learn to read. Things change with the arrival of Max Vandenburg (Ben Schnetzer) - the teenage son of a Jewish man who saved Hans's life during WWI. Now he needs help to avoid capture by the Nazis. While hiding in the Hubermanns' basement, Max forms a bond with Liesel and instils in her a love of books. Narrated by Death himself (voiced by Roger Allam), this powerful adaptation of Markus Zusak's much-acclaimed novel takes a child's eye view of the horrors of the Holocaust. Behind the camera is Brian Percival, who's best known for directing several episodes of 'Downton Abbey'.

Ride Along

A rookie cop's training day spirals out of control in this action-packed buddy comedy starring Kevin Hart and Ice Cube Ben Barber (Kevin Hart) is a wisecracking video game junkie and aspiring cop who's dating the lovely Angela Payton (Tika Sumpter). Now he's finally been accepted by the police academy and is keen to propose. But Angela says she'll only marry him if he secures the approval of the other man in her life - her brother James (Ice Cube). Trouble is that James is a veteran detective with a very short fuse, who has Ben figured as a loser. To get rid of him once and for all, James decides to scare the wits out of Ben with a 24 hour 'ride along' he'll never forget. Needless to say, this backfires horribly! A rib-tickling mismatched buddy action-comedy in the tradition of '48 Hrs', 'Ride Along' also features the great Laurence Fishburne as underworld kingpin Omar.

Monday, 10 March 2014

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Ralph Fiennes, Adrien Brody, Tony Revolori, Willem Dafoe, Jason Schwartzmann, Bill Murray, Saoirse Ronan, Mathieu Amalric, Tilda Swinton, Edward Norton, Owen Wilson, Jude Law, Lea Seydoux, Jeff Goldblum, Tom Wilkinson, Harvey Keitel, F. Murray Abraham

Ralph Fiennes leads an amazing cast in Wes Anderson's quirky comedy about a purloined painting. Between the wars, Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes) is the suave and popular concierge at the Grand Budapest Hotel. Zero Moustafa (Tony Revolori) is the young and impressionable lobby boy who becomes his loyal and trusted friend. After elderly guest Madame D. (Tilda Swinton) dies in mysterious circumstances following a tryst with Gustave, it is revealed that she has left him a priceless Renaissance painting in her will. With the aid of Zero and his girlfriend Agatha (Saoirse Ronan), Gustave swiftly spirits the artwork away. But Inspector Henckels (Edward Norton) soon comes after him. Wes Anderson's first period film is as elaborately designed and elegantly plotted as we've come to expect. After 'In Bruges', Ralph Fiennes gets another opportunity to demonstrate his formidable comedy talents. He's joined by a fabulous cast of Anderson regulars, including the great Bill Murray.

300: Rise Of An Empire

The Greeks and Persians take their spectacular conflict to sea in the epic follow-up to '300'. More than 30 years before the events of '300', the Greeks and Persians clash at the pivotal Battle of Marathon. Still a young man, the future Persian God King Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) mourns the death of his father as he falls under the influence of feisty, ambitious naval commander Artemisia (Eva Green). She witnessed her entire family being slaughtered and now burns for vengeance. Meanwhile, general Themistocles (Sullivan Stapleton) sets out to bring together the disunited Greek nation states and avenge the death of King Leonidas. The stage is set for a breathtaking sea battle! Adapted from Frank Miller's latest graphic novel, the blood-soaked 'Rise of an Empire' is told in the same vivid, kinetic style as its predecessor. It also unfolds on a larger canvas, taking in battles before, after and parallel to those of '300'.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014


Liam Neeson stars in a nail-biting thriller about an air marshal faced with a threat to kill a passenger every 20 minutes! US federal air marshal Bill Marks (Liam Neeson) is jaded and weary. At least on this non-stop flight from New York to London he has the chance to chat to the attractive woman in the next seat (Julianne Moore). But shortly in to the transatlantic journey, Bill receives the first in a series of mysterious text messages on his secure line. It's a threat to kill a passenger every 20 minutes unless the government wires $150 million to a secret bank account. Mayhem breaks out at 40,000 feet as he attempts to identify the killer. Then the authorities discover that the account number is in Bill's name! Back in determined, unstoppable action hero mode, Liam Neeson reunites with 'Unknown' director Juame Collet-Serra for this palm-moistening airborne action thriller.