Tag Archives: Ben Kingsley

Review: Ender’s Game

Enders_Game_Poster1Gavin Hood’s “Ender’s Game” is like a CliffsNotes version of a book that still reads well.

Asa Butterfield leads as Ender, a young boy who’s plucked from his family on earth and enrolled in Battle School in space. There, under the supervision of Colonel Graff (Harrison Ford), Ender is trained to become a leader within the International Fleet so the humans can squash an alien race called The Formics and eliminate the threat of future invasions once and for all.

Orson Scott Card’s book takes place over the course of five years. Ender is recruited when he’s just six-years-old and the narrative concludes when he’s 11. The concept of a six-year-old showing signs of militaristic prowess can be tough to digest, but Card then gives Ender such a thorough and thoughtful build throughout the book that by the time Ender reaches his final exam, you know he’s ready for it. Gavin Hood, however, does not have that luxury.

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Your Guide to the “Enderverse”

Enders_GameIf you haven’t read Ender’s Game, the futuristic scenario about a boy whisked off to train to battle aliens can be a lot to digest. Here are the basics of Ender’s Game so you can kick off your studies at Battle School at the top of your class.

THE FORMICS

Years prior to Ender’s story, humans come face to face with an alien race called the Formics. An insect-like species, the Formic social structure consists of a hive queen and workers. The Formics invade Earth intending to colonize it but a human general, Mazer Rackham, defeats them. Assuming the Formics could be regrouping for another attack, the International Fleet (IF) is on the hunt for military prodigies to ship off to Battle School and train to become humanity’s last line of defense.

BATTLE SCHOOL

Kids are plucked from their families all across the globe and shipped off to this military school far off in space to cultivate tactical skills and build an army to fend off the Formics. The curriculum consists of standard classroom courses, free play time and a familiar boarding school-like camaraderie, but above all else is the unprecedented competition that takes place in the rotating room at the facility’s core called the Battle Room.

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Review: Iron Man 3

Iron_Man_3_PosterAfter all these years and all these film, the Marvel Universe is starting to feel very real and that’s vital to “Iron Man 3’s” success because without that acquired ability to re-tap into this realm where Iron Man, Thor, and more are the norm, the details of this installment of the franchise might have been too unsupported to let you enjoy the charm of Tony Stark, the excitement of seeing dozens of Iron Men assemble, watching Pepper Potts get a hefty dose of action and more well earned highlights.

It’s post-“Avengers” time and Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is still reeling from the battle in New York. Even while suffering from frequent anxiety attacks, Tony must carry on because there’s a new threat that needs his attention, a terrorist known as The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley).

That synopsis is cut and dry, but “Iron Man 3” is loaded with new and returning characters, intricate story details, and plot offshoots, too. Everything works well enough to make “Iron Man 3” the electrifying Tony Stark showcase you’d hope it to be, but unless you’re coursing through on cruise control, it’s easy to get caught up in the barrage of information and then frustrated with the lack of cohesive details.

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Tribeca 2013 Interview: A Birder’s Guide to Everything’s Rob Meyer & Luke Matheny

Kodi-Smit-McPhee-A-Birders-Guide-to-EverythingWriter-director Rob Meyer and co-writer Luke Matheny’s “A Birder’s Guider to Everything” likely won’t incite a mainstream birding craze, but the pair does deliver a charming coming-of-age tale that’ll at least let you enjoy it vicariously through the film’s Young Birders Society.

Kodi Smit-McPhee, Alex Wolff and Michael Chen are David, Timmy, and Peter, the only members of their high school’s Young Birders Society. When David is convinced he spotted an extinct Labrador duck, the YBS vows to track it down before it flies off for good. With their classmate Ellen (Katie Chang) and her powerful camera lens in tow, the boys “borrow” Timmy’s cousin’s car and head off to a park in Connecticut in order to catch the duck in the flesh (or feathers), and become birding legends.

While celebrating the premiere of their very first feature film at the Tribeca Film Festival, Meyer and Matheny sat down to talk about the challenges of transitioning from short films, the honor and pressure of working with Sir Ben Kingsley, the infectious high spirits of their young cast, and more. Catch it all for yourself in the video interview below and hopefully we’ll see “A Birder’s Guide to Everything” back on the big screen soon as it continues its festival run.

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Tribeca 2013 Interview: A Birder’s Guide To Everything’s Alex Wolff, Katie Chang And Michael Chen

Birders-Guide-ThumbWant a good taste of what to expect from Rob Meyer’s Tribeca Film Festival entry “A Birder’s Guide to Everything?” Just check out this interview of Alex Wolff hamming it up, Michael Chen geeking out about his birding knowhow, and Katie Chang trying to keep them under control.

The film stars Kodi Smit-McPhee as David Portnoy. While he’s still feeling the effects of his mother’s passing, his father is preparing for his second wedding. David’s only outlet is his passion for birding so when he suspects he spotted an extinct Labrador duck, he and his Young Birders Society friends, Timmy and Peter (Alex Wolff and Michael Chen), take off on a road trip with Ellen and her top-notch photography gear in tow in order to intersect the duck’s migration and snap a picture before it’s gone for good.

After wrapping up a very important business call, the group dished on the audition process, their birding training, and most importantly (and amusingly), the slew of shenanigans that went on behind and in front of the camera, something that undoubtedly enhanced the on-screen group dynamic making the YBS an undeniably loveable bunch.

Check out the gang in action in the video interview below and see the film in full when it screens at Tribeca on Wednesday the 24th at 3pm or Friday the 26th at 6pm.

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Interview: Hugo’s Asa Butterfield, Ben Kingsley, Chloe Moretz And More

What better way to spend the most magical time of year than by seeing a particularly magical and inspiring movie? No, this isn’t a review – that you can find right here – but there’s really no way to talk about Hugo without being swept right back up by that incredible adventure.

Based on Brian Selznick’s book, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Martin Scorsese’s Hugo tells the tale of a young orphan named Hugo (Asa Butterfield) who keeps the clocks running in a 1930s Paris train station by day and tries to finish his deceased father’s work by night, restoring an old automaton. In attempt to find the pieces to fix the elaborate machine, Hugo targets Georges Méliès’ (Sir Ben Kingsley) train station toy stand. And yes, that’s Georges Méliès as in the iconic filmmaker of the late 1800s and early 1900s. Méliès catches Hugo in the act and after finding some stolen goods and Hugo’s notebook of automaton instructions, rather than merely reprimand him, Méliès is so distressed by his findings he takes and threatens to burn Hugo’s notebook. However, with the help of Méliès’ goddaughter, Isabelle (Chloe Moretz), Hugo not only comes closer to fixing the automaton, but fixing Méliès, too.

In honor of Hugo’s November 23rd release, a large portion of the gang assembled for a press conference. Producer Graham King, screenwriter John Logan, the station inspector Sacha Baron Cohen, Lisette the flower shop owner Emily Mortimer, Moretz, Butterfield, Kingsley and novelist Brian Selznick all came out to talk about working with Scorsese, dabbling in film history while making a film and so much more. Check out some of the highlights in the transcription below.

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Review: Hugo

Part of the beauty of filmmaking, is the ability to transport viewers to another reality. Back in the late 1800s and early 1900s, filmmaker Georges Méliès seized the opportunity to put stop tricks and painted film cells to use, combining his skills as a magician and filmmaker to, quite literally, bring dreams to life. Ultimately, we’re still doing the very same thing today, but with the wildly advanced technology and more thorough understanding of storytelling, director Martin Scorsese has created one of the most successful attempts at bringing an audience into the movie with Hugo.

It’s the 1930s in Paris, France. After losing his father (Jude Law) in a terrible fire, young Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield) is forced to live with his only relative, his uncle, Claude (Ray Winstone). A far from responsible drunk, Claude pulls Hugo out of school and shows him the ropes at work, teaching Hugo to keep the clocks running at a Paris train station. And it’s a good thing, too, because when Claude leaves Hugo to his lonesome, it’s up to Hugo to keep things timely.

When he isn’t tending to his train station duties, Hugo is hard at work at the one thing his father left behind, an automaton. Hugo regularly snatches up food and milk from the train station vendors and also frequents grumpy old Georges Méliès’ (Ben Kingsley) toy stand, a place prime for automaton part collecting. When Méliès catches Hugo in the act, he demands the boy empty his pockets. Amidst the usual mess of rogue toy parts is a notebook with automaton drawings and instructions that oddly rub Méliès the wrong way. When Méliès takes Hugo’s precious notebook, Hugo turns to Méliès’ goddaughter, Isabelle (Chloe Moretz), for help and the two discover they have a lot to offer one another, Isabelle helping Hugo get his automaton up and running and Hugo giving Isabelle a taste of adventure.

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