Nightmare Alley is a 2021 psychological thriller film directed by Guillermo del Toro and starring Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, and Willem Dafoe. The film is an adaptation of the 1947 novel of the same name by William Lindsay Gresham. It tells the story of a carnival worker named Stanton Carlisle (Cooper), who rises through the ranks of the carnival world by using his skills as a manipulator and con artist. However, his ambition and greed lead him down a dark path, as he becomes embroiled in a web of deceit and corruption.
The film explores themes of power, manipulation, and the corrupting influence of ambition. Del Toro's direction and the performances of the cast, particularly Cooper and Blanchett, have been praised for their intensity and nuance. The film's visual style, which evokes the gritty, seedy world of carnivals and sideshows, also received praise for its ability to create a sense of unease and danger.
Overall, Nightmare Alley is a well-crafted, gripping thriller that delves into the psyche of its characters and the dark side of human nature. With a talented cast and director, the movie is a must-watch for fans of psychological thrillers, crime dramas, and film noir.
Seventh Son is a 2014 epic fantasy film directed by Sergei Bodrov, based on the novel The Spook's Apprentice by Joseph Delaney. The story follows Thomas Ward (Ben Barnes), a seventh son of a seventh son as he apprentices to the Spook (Jeff Bridges), also a seventh son of a seventh son. Thomas Ward is trained by the Spook to protect the land from all manner of supernatural threats, but his training is dangerous, and time and again tests his abilities and his courage. Eventually, he will have to go up against Mother Malkin, the most dangerous witch in the land, in order to protect his county's inhabitants from her threat. The film's release was delayed a number of times, but finally hit theaters on February 6th, 2015. Critics gave the film mixed reviews, but praised the performance of the cast.
Jupiter Ascending is a 2015 science fiction film directed by Lana and Andy Wachowski. The film was plagued by production problems which delayed its release for nearly a year. The film stars Mila Kunis as Jupiter Jones, a woman working a dead-end job cleaning other peoples' houses. As it turns out, though, there is more to Jupiter's life than she could possibly imagine; when Caine Wise (Channing Tatum), an ex-military hunter arrives on earth to track her down, Jupiter discovers that she is genetically marked as the next in line for an astounding inheritance. Her actions from this point forward could change not only her own destiny, but the entire balance of power in the galaxy. The movie received mixed to negative reviews from critics, who praised the beautiful visuals featured in the film, but who derided clunky narrative storytelling. Fans of Terry Gilliam will be amused to know that the director of Brazil makes an appearance in a scene made to resemble his classic film.
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is the 2014 conclusion to Peter Jackson's Hobbit film series, preceded by The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug in 2013, and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in 2012. This story concludes the big screen re-telling of J.R.R. Tolkien's beloved fantasy saga about the hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and the band of dwarves led by Thorin Oakenshield II (Richard Armitage) on their quest to reclaim the dwarves' homeland. Will the dragon Smaug be defeated? What will happen when the five armies clash? Who will emerge victorious on the battlefield, and at what price? This film reveals the fates of the heroes while also creating a bridge to Peter Jackson's hit franchise The Lord of the Rings. While this installment diverges significantly from the original book, it crafts a satisfying emotional conclusion to an epic film saga.
Director Ridley Scott takes on the epic task of retelling one of the most beloved stories in the Old Testament. Exodus: Gods and Kings, follows Moses (Christian Bale) as he rises to stand against the Pharaoh Ramesses II (Joel Edgerton). Other stars include Sigourney Weaver, Ben Kingsley, Aaron Paul, and John Tuturro. Moses frees the slaves and parts the Red Sea so that they can cross. The plot will be familiar to anyone who has seen Cecil B. DeMille's classic film The Ten Commandments. Exodus: Gods and Kings received mixed reviews from critics, but was lauded for its visual spectacle and epic tone and sweep. The actors in the film were also praised for their stirring emotional performances. For those who enjoy Bibles stories transported to the big screen, Exodus: Gods and Kings is an entertaining and epic retelling of a classic tale.
The Hunger Games Mockingjay – Part 1 is the first installment in the two-part finale to the Hunger Games trilogy film series adaptation, based on the final book in the series by Suzanne Collins. Jennifer Lawrence stars as Katniss Everdeen, who has twice survived the Hunger Games, and now finds herself in District 13. Her victory in the 74th Hunger Games has sparked a rebellion, and she now finds herself both a target and an inspiration. Reluctantly, she becomes the figurehead for the revolution, while also fighting to save Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson). The actors in the film received critical acclaim for their performances. On its release, the film helped the series to set a record as being the only franchise to have three films earn more than $100 million in a weekend. For readers of Suzanne Collins' hit book series, this movie is a must-see continuation.
Interstellar is a 2014 science fiction film directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, and Michael Caine. Physicist Kip Thorne served as executive producer. The film's production dates back to 2007, when brothers Christopher and Jonathan Nolan originally wrote the script, and its epic production cycle has manifested epic results. As a science fiction film in the truest sense of the word, Interstellar bends space and time and explores what it means to be human. With resources on Earth dwindling and the planet quickly becoming unlivable, it is up to a small team of scientists to find humanity a new home among the stars before it is too late. Interstellar won Best Visual Effects at the 87th Academy Awards, and was nominated in four other categories. Critics praised its powerful visuals, moving soundtrack, and its elegant blend of physics and philosophy.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is the follow-up to 2011's Rise of the Planet of the Apes, the reboot of the original Planet of the Apes classic science fiction saga. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is directed by Matt Reeves and stars Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Toby Kebbell, and Kodi Smit-McPhee. As the eighth theatrical installment in the Planet of the Apes franchise, it met with widespread critical acclaim. In the story, the growing society of apes led by Cesar comes into contact with a band of human survivors. Initially the two bands reach an uneasy truce, but this peace quickly fractures as the two groups vie to determine which will inherit the planet as the dominant species. The film received positive reviews for its plot, emotional depth, and its visual design.
Edge of Tomorrow, perhaps known equally well by its tagline "Live, Die, Repeat" (featured on the DVD box) is a military-themed science fiction film starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt. An alien race has attacked, and an inexperienced combatant, Major William Cage (Cruise) is dumped into a suicide mission. He dies within minutes, but finds himself resurrected through a time loop which forces him to relive the battle again and again (intentionally in the manner of a video game, only in real life). Each time he dies, but each time, his skill in combat and his knowledge of the enemy also increases, and he and Sergeant Rita Vrataski (Blunt) move another step closer to defeating their seemingly unbeatable foes and saving the planet. The film was widely praised by critics and audience members alike, and was particularly recognized for its success in breaking out of traditional gender roles with Emily Blunt's character.
Maleficent is Disney's 2014 retelling of their classic animated tale—with a twist. In this revisionist fairytale, Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) lives an idyllic life in the forest before the human she has fallen in love with betrays her in exchange for a kingdom, cutting off and stealing her wings. As revenge, Maleficent curses the new king's baby daughter, Aurora (Elle Fanning) to prick her finger on a spindle and fall into a death-like sleep on reaching adulthood, only to be woken by true love's kiss. Little does Maleficent realize that Aurora will be nothing like her father, and may be the only hope of restoring peace to their fractured land—and to Maleficent's heart. The film received mixed to positive reviews, with reviewers praising the performance of the two lead actresses as well as the emotional richness in the storytelling.
Transcendence is a serious science fiction film which explores questions of mortality, technological overreach, and responsibility. Johnny Depp plays Dr. Will Caster, a dying A.I. researcher, who transfers his emotions and personality to an A.I. interface with the help of his wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall). This experiment bestows near-omnipotent power on The Will Caster A.I., but as one might expect with any person who has died and been resurrected, Dr. Caster is no longer quite the same man. As Dr. Caster's quest for knowledge morphs into a quest for power, it dawns on his fellow researchers that they may be helpless to stop him. While Transcendence received mixed reviews, the film's distinctive visuals were widely praised, as well as its willingness to confront major questions of our time.