In the not-too-distant future, life on planet earth is perfect. World peace has finally been achieved. There is no more war, hunger, disease, or environmental disaster, and humans live in contented harmony with each other. Sounds pretty cool, no? So what’s the problem?
Set behind the scenes of the BBC newsroom as an investigative news program is launched, the drama plots the personal lives, professional interplay, and jealous ambition between aspiring journalist Freddie Lyon (Ben Whishaw), ambitious young producer Bel Rowley (Romola Garai), and Hector Madden (Dominic West), the face and lead anchorman of this rising television news team. A love triangle ensues and the intense ambitions between the rising news team plays out against the backdrop of a mysterious murder and Freddie's controversial and dangerous investigation.
The BBC has been churning out some pretty entertaining programs lately with Sherlock and now The Hour. This six episode set starts off very slow and it almost lost me, but I was hooked once I got to know the characters and Freddie began to unravel the mystery behind the murder.
<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/imaginarium.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>In exchange for extraordinary powers, Doctor Parnassus (Chrstopher Plummer) makes a deal with the Devil to turn over any child he fathers when they turn sixteen. But as his daughter Valentina's (Lily Cole) birthday approaches, a mysterious stranger (Heath Ledger) arrives with the power to change everything. Does the good Doctor risk everything and make another deal with the Devil?
<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/incrediblehulk.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Scientist Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) scours the Earth for an antidote to the unbridled force of rage within him: The Hulk. But military mastermind General Ross (William Hurt) wants to control this power and will stop at nothing to capture Bruce to obtain the secret contained in his blood. In desperation, the general unleashes a nightmarish beast of aggression whose powers match the Hulk's own: the Abomination (Tim Roth).
Once one of the world's top crime fighters, Bob Parr (a.k.a. Mr. Incredible) fought evil and saved lives on a daily basis. But 15 years later, he and his wife Helen (the former Elastigirl) have been forced to take on civilian identities and retreat to the suburbs. Itching for action, Mr. Incredible gets his chance when a mysterious communication summons him to a remote island for a top-secret assignment.
Pixar has quite a track record with its films, and this is one of their best. I love how they take something from our society (rampant personal injury lawsuits) and weave it into a story about superheroes that can no longer practice their craft because someone gets a sore neck when being saved from certain death! The cast is brilliant here with Craig T. Nelson and Holly Hunter as the husband and wife crime fighting team along with Samuel L. Jackson as Lucius Best/Frozone.
<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/inform.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>In 1992, Archer Daniels Midland (AMD) divisional president Mark Whitacre (Matt Damon) became the highest ranking whistleblower in US history when he accused his company of price-fixing schemes with its worldwide competitors. Instead of leaving the company, Whitacre stays on the inside and helps the FBI gather evidence by wearing a wire and videotaping secret meetings in order to build the government's case against the greedy executives. Unfortunately for Mark, he wasn't as smart as he thought.
<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/theint.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>With an intelligent script but sour ending, <i>The International</i> is another outstanding video encode from Sony. Using a mixture of 35mm and 65mm film, it showcases how great Blu-ray can look with meticulous attention to detail. The audio isn't as good as the video, but one scene in particular stands out in this regard and features one of the best gun battles I've viewed in the past couple of years.
<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/theint.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT><i>Interpol agent Louis Salinger (Clive Owen) is determined to expose an arms-dealing ring responsible for facilitating acts of terrorism around the globe. But as his investigation leads Salinger and his partner, Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Eleanor Whitman (Naomi Watts), deeper into the secret world of greed, corruption, and murder, they become targets of a deadly conspiracy so vast, they soon find the only people left to trust are each other.</i>
The Interpreter is a "diplomatic thriller," if such a thing is possible. And, having been a diplomatic correspondent for several years, I can tell you, the thrills, on the rare occasions they can be found, are wholly intellectual. And so it is with this movie. It offers a long, long windup to a fairly tame denouement.
<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/invention.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>In an alternate reality in which lying doesn't exist and everyone speaks the truth and nothing but the truth with no worry of hurt feelings. When one man (Ricky Gervais) suddenly develops the ability to lie, he finds it has its rewards. A new world of fame and fortune opens up but he steadfastly refuses to fib his way into the heart of the woman he loves. Can he get the girl on his own merits?
<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/redoctober.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Jack Ryan is the central character in 12 of Tom Clancy's novels about the CIA analyst. When the debut book, <i>The Hunt for Red October</i>, hit the silver screen in 1990, a relatively unknown actor, Alec Baldwin, starred as Ryan in what was to become the first of many adaptations from the successful literary series. But a combination of factors—a new studio head at Paramount, some bad press about Baldwin and Kim Basinger on the set of <i>Marrying Man</i>, and the availability of superstar Harrison Ford, led to the replacement of Baldwin in <i>Patriot Games</i> and <i>Clear and Present Danger</i> with Ford in the lead role.
<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/kk.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Daniel (Ralph Macchio) and his single mother move from the east coast to Los Angeles and he has a difficult time meeting new friends. When he becomes the object of bullying by the Cobra Kai, a menacing group of karate students, a local handyman (Pat Morita) teaches the teenager self defense and in the process the two become the best of friends.
<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/kevinsmith.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Writer/director Kevin Smith made his feature-film debut in 1994 with the cult-classic comedy <i>Clerks</i>, a hilarious story about a pair of witty counter clerks in New Jersey starring Brian O'Halloran and Jeff Anderson as the two main characters Dante and Randal. Also debuting in the film are Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith), who will show up in many more of Smith's productions.
The Kid With a Bike is a heartbreaking, gripping, ultimately unsettling, but very satisfying film—an odd jumble of adjectives, I know, but the Dardenne brothers of Belgium routinely provoke these dissonances in the works they jointly write and direct. Their earlier films (The Child, The Son, La Promesse, among others) are notoriously hard to warm to: The characters are obstinate, the pace slides and rambles. The Kid With a Bike, which won the Grand Prix at Cannes, is sunnier, more kinetic, but it, too, disrupts assumptions, snaps you in unexpected directions: just like life.