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Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens

Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens

Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens is the film that J.J. Abrams was put on Earth to make, as evidenced by the “Star Wars” echoes in his hit series “Lost,” and the way he kept trying to turn “Star Trek” into “Star Wars.” These tendencies could seem cutesy or irritating elsewhere, but they make sense in an according-to-Hoyle “Star Wars” movie.

This new one, set 30 years after the events of “Return of the Jedi,” is funny, touching, and surprisingly light-footed. It boasts a lot of familiar elements, including Skywalker family mythology and another Death Star-type weapon, as well as self-aware lines about how things work in this series.

The film ultimately runs up against the limitations of its own nature: like the James Bond films, the “Star Wars” movies are pretty much obligated to revisit certain elements, to the point where they might feel played out even if they hadn’t been raided by other films, TV shows and books (including Harry Potter). But it’s still an exhilarating ride, filled with archetypal characters with plausible psychologies, melodramatic confrontations fueled by soaring emotions, and performances that can be described as good, period, rather than “good, for ‘Star Wars.'”

And it’s a treat to see beloved older characters placed beside new ones in situations that respect Lucas’ myth-making but correct his flaws as a storyteller, including the default whiteness of his casts.

Not only have Abrams and his co-writers, Lawrence Kasdan and Michael Arndt, centered the story on a young woman and a man of color (played respectively by Daisy Ridley and John Boyega), they’ve made them so compelling and quirky that the film never seems to be putting an up-to-date wrapping on moldy clichés.

Like all of the new characters, they seem to live and breathe. When they earn the respect of Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) by improvising a solution to a technical problem, or grab a lightsaber and start swinging, the result is not merely a crowd-pleasing display of heroics; it’s an affirmation that a good movie with a good heart can serve as everyone’s mirror.

Decades after Darth Vader threw his master down an elevator shaft, the galaxy is still wracked by war. The Republic is still the Republic, but now they’re not-too-secretly financing the rebellion against the remnants of the Empire, which has been supplanted by something called the First Order. The Empire went into retreat in “Jedi” when Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) turned his father back toward the light side of The Force.

But the Empire’s remnants were tenacious. Now that Luke has gone into hiding following a disastrous attempt to train a new class of Jedi, they’ve gained strength and audacity, and built a variation of the Death Star that’s embedded in a living planet—basically an artillery cannon with intergalactic range. The re-branded Imperials look and sound even more Nazi-like than the villains from the first trilogy.

One of the only scenes where Abrams completely overdoes it (which is hard to do in a “Star Wars” movie) is the rally prior to the super weapon’s inaugural blast: the supreme commander of the First Order (Domnhall Gleeson) addresses tens of thousands of troops arranged in Leni Riefenstahl patterns, jamming his pasty face into the camera and practically spitting into the lens.

The plot kicks into gear on the surface of the desert planet Jakku. A wisecracking X-wing pilot named Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) acquires a fragment of a map that reveals Skywalker’s location from an Obi-Wan-like elder (Max von Sydow, groomed and costumed to resemble Alec Guinness).

He hides it inside his trusty droid, BB-8, a rolling ball with a segmented head that can do dandy vaudeville double-takes, only to be captured by the film’s chief baddie, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). Ren is an iron-masked, black-clad, homicidally depressed warrior who flies into room-destroying rages and speaks to the recovered helmet of Darth Vader like Hamlet addressing Yorick’s skull.

When Ren removes his helmet to reveal Driver’s long face and watery eyes, we may feel as though we’re seeing the second coming of young Anakin Skywalker, who had good in him but gave in to adolescent power fantasies and let the Emperor corrupt him. “I can have anything I want,” Ren petulantly tells a captive who resists his mental probing.

In short order, we meet the film’s other new leads: Rey (Ridley), an orphaned scrap-metal scavenger, and the ex-Stormtrooper Finn (Boyega), a conscientious objector who went AWOL after watching Ren and his storm trooper armada carry out a My Lai-style massacre while searching for BB-8 and his map. Then Rey, Finn and BB-8 escape a strafing run by TIE fighters by piling into

Han’s old ship, the Millennium Falcon, which just happens to be owned by one of Rey’s scrap metal customers, and get captured by a freighter that just happens to be piloted by Han and Chewie, who just happen to be searching for the Falcon in that part of space. As in every “Star Wars” film, this one leans on chance meetings and coincidences, and you just have to accept them as the sort of things that would happen in a fairy tale or opera—or at the very least, as proof that the galaxy is smaller than it looks.

The Starkiller Base is ten times the size of the last Death Star, but key characters cross paths inside of it so regularly that it might as well be a U-boat.

Lucas’ prequels balanced light with gathering darkness, and rhymed scenes, situations and shots with the original trilogy’s, to create a sense of history repeating and inverting itself. Abrams and company have done something similar in “The Force Awakens,” but at the level of characterization and scene-building. This is a subtler way to revise (or recycle) elements in a popular franchise while finding something new in them, and it explains why this film feels more fully realized than any “Star Wars” movie since “The Empire Strikes Back“—it’s certainly warmer than the prequels, which often failed at characterization and plot even as they served up intricate sequences and haunting images.

The map hidden inside BB-8 is this film’s equivalent of the Death Star plans hidden in R2-D2 in “A New Hope”; Jakku is basically Tatooine; other planets evoke icy Hoth from “The Empire Strikes Back” and the tropical moons of “A New Hope” and “Return of the Jedi.” Wrecked star destroyers poke up through sand dunes; a leathery-skinned reptilian pachyderm jams its snout into a watering hole; TIE fighters loom against boiling sunsets; a thousand-year old temple crumbles beneath an onslaught of laser bolts. This stuff might seem like fan fiction illustrated by calendar art if Abrams didn’t balance spectacle with feeling.
Rey is the new Luke, but also the new Han, while Finn is a combination of Luke, Han Solo and a C-3PO worrywart. (“Stay calm,” Finn says during a tense walk alongside Poe. “I am calm,” Poe snarls. “I’m talking to myself,” Finn explains.)  But even though Finn is the film’s funniest character, the script never goes so far as to turn him into mere comic relief. Nor does it permit Rey to become a glorified ingenue. Finn and Rey are tormented by believable personal demons and wield their blasters and lightsabers with fervor. You believe they could hold their own against Ren, who can stop blaster bolts in mid-air and spelunk inside prisoners’ minds. And you believe in the reality of CGI’d supporting characters as well, including Andy Serkis’ Supreme Leader Snoke, a gollum-esque dictator with a hideous puckered mouth whose hologram image is the size of the Lincoln Memorial, and Lupita Nyong’o’s Maz Kanata, a diminutive, ancient pirate whose goggled eyes can see into people’s souls.

Elsewhere, Abrams proves that that he’s given as much thought to the larger cultural meanings of “Star Wars” as to its iconic characters, gadgets and spaceships. Many film historians have noted the way Lucas’s first film, which came out two years after the end of US involvement in Vietnam, flipped that war’s script upside-down, making defeated Americans identify with “rebels” who were essentially Vietcong-like guerrillas, and root against an industrialized military whose literally-scorched-earth tactics were all too Western. A shot of a storm trooper roasting a hut with a flamethrower brings the original trilogy’s Vietnam obsession full-circle (to Iraq, maybe), even as the dogfights—many of which are conducted within planetary atmospheres—reconnect “Star Wars” with the propellers-and-goggles adventures that enthralled Lucas as a child. Like the movie’s countless references to other “Star Wars” setpieces—including both Death Star battles, the Dagobah tree scene from “Empire,” and the creature menageries of “A New Hope,” “Jedi” and “Attack of the Clones”—the historical allusions never overwhelm the basic story, which is very much in the spirit of the 1977 original: a bunch of nobodies end up saving the galaxy, with a mighty assist from a wise elder.

These films are a part of American history, cinema history, and our personal history, all at once. The new faces up there on the screen are as compelling as the familiar ones because they remind us that in the world of “Star Wars,” as in our world, life goes on no matter what.

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Star Wars Smashes Global Box Office Record

Star Wars Smashes Global Box Office Record

Star Wars Smashes Global Box Office Record. Star Wars: The Force Awakens has smashed the record for the biggest box office debut weekend globally with tickets sales of $529m (£355m).

The previous record, $525m, was set by Jurassic World in June.

The seventh instalment of the nearly 40-year-old space saga also opened with a record-breaking $248m in the US and Canada.

Star Wars has also had the biggest opening day and Saturday receipts in UK and Ireland box office history.

With its Sunday takings projected to be £7.5m, it is expected to achieve the largest four-day weekend total in British and Irish cinemas.

JJ Abrams’ film grossed £9.6m on Thursday, including £2.4m from midnight screenings.

That exceeded the previous best of £9.48m set by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 in 2011.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens went on to make £8.6m on Saturday in the UK and Ireland.

Star Wars

Star Wars

These figures meant it had already overtaken the lifetime totals of several big films, including the first Hunger Games release and The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

Jurassic World currently holds the record for the largest four-day weekend in the UK and Ireland.

The new Star Wars film also set a new opening night record in the US and Canada.

The Force Awakens made $57m on Thursday night, beating the previous record of $43.5m held by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.

  • Star Wars’ Abrams leads move from CGI to reality
  • Will The Force Awakens be biggest film of all time?
  • The bit part Star Wars actors who are more popular than ever
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens gets rave reviews
  • Star Wars quiz: Do, or do not – there is no try

 

 

Analysts say the space saga could become the biggest-selling movie of all time.

This is despite the fact that Jurassic World’s had the advantage of opening in China on the same weekend it opened everywhere else.

The Force Awakens, in contrast, will not debut in the world’s second biggest cinema-going territory until 9 January.

The latest film returns to “a galaxy far, far away” some 30 years on from the action of 1983’s Return of the Jedi.

It sees original trilogy stars Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher reprise their Han Solo and Princess Leia roles alongside younger franchise newcomers.

“Our sole focus has been creating a film that delivers that one-of-a-kind Star Wars experience, and director JJ Abrams, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy and the Lucasfilm team have outdone themselves,” Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn said in a statement.

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Avengers Age of Ultron

Avengers Age of Ultron

Avengers Age of Ultron

When Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) jumpstarts a dormant peacekeeping program, things go terribly awry, forcing him, Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and the rest of the Avengers to reassemble.

As the fate of Earth hangs in the balance, the team is put to the ultimate test as they battle Ultron (James Spader), a technological terror hell-bent on human extinction. Along the way, they encounter two mysterious and powerful newcomers, Pietro and Wanda Maximoff.

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Fast And Furious 7

Fast And Furious 7

Fast and Furious 7

Dominic Toretto and his gang return once more for ‘Fast & Furious 7’, which sees them being hunted by Ian Shaw, who wants to avenge his brother Owen’s death.

Hoping to finally enjoy a normal life in the United States, Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) and Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) must find and stop Ian before he kills them all. How to defeat him? Impossibly fast cars and lots of explosions, of course.
Directed by James Wan (‘Saw’, ‘The Conjuring’), ‘Fast and Furious 7’ is Paul Walker’s final film, and features action legend Jason Statham as the villain.

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The 87th Academy Awards Are Now Taking Place In Los Angeles

The 87th Academy Awards Are Now Taking Place In Los Angeles

The 87th Academy Awards Are Now Taking Place In Los Angeles

Here’s a list of the awards winners in full

Best supporting actor

WINNER: JK Simmons for Whiplash
Robert Duvall for The Judge
Ethan Hawke for Boyhood
Edward Norton for Birdman
Mark Ruffalo for Foxcatcher

Achievement in costume design

WINNER: The Grand Budapest Hotel – Milena Canonero
Inherent Vice – Mark Bridges
Into the Woods – Colleen Atwood
Maleficent – Anna B Sheppard
Mr Turner – Jacqueline Durran

Achievement in makeup and hairstyling

WINNER: The Grand Budapest Hotel – Frances Hannon, Mark Coulier
Foxcatcher – Bill Corso, Dennis Liddiard
Guardians of the Galaxy – Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou, David White

Best foreign-language film

WINNER: Ida – Paweł Pawlikowski
Tangerines – Zaza Urushadze
Leviathan – Andrey Zvyagintsev
Wild Tales – Damián Szifrón
Timbuktu – Abderrahmane Sissako

Best live-action short film

WINNER: The Phone Call – Mat Kirkby, James Lucas
Aya – Oded Binnun, Mihal Brezis
Boogaloo and Graham – Michael Lennox, Ronan Blaney
Butter Lamp – Wei Hu, Julien Féret
Parvaneh – Talkhon Hamzavi, Stefan Eichenberger

Best documentary short subject

WINNER: Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 – Ellen Goosenberg Kent, Dana Perry
Joanna – Aneta Kopacz
Our Curse – Tomasz Sliwinski, Maciej Slesicki
The Reaper – Gabriel Serra
White Earth – Christian Jensen

Achievement in sound mixing

WINNER: Whiplash – Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins, Thomas Curley
American Sniper – John T Reitz, Gregg Rudloff, Walt Martin
Birdman – Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Thomas Varga
Interstellar – Gary Rizzo, Gregg Landaker, Mark Weingarten
Unbroken – Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, David Lee

Achievement in sound editing

WINNER: American Sniper – Alan Robert Murray, Bub Asman
Birdman – Aaron Glascock, Martín Hernández
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – Brent Burge, Jason Canovas
Interstellar – Richard King
Unbroken – Becky Sullivan, Andrew DeCristofaro

Best supporting actress

WINNER: Patricia Arquette for Boyhood
Laura Dern for Wild
Keira Knightley for The Imitation Game
Emma Stone for Birdman
Meryl Streep for Into the Woods

Achievement in visual effects

WINNER: Interstellar – Paul J Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter, Scott R Fisher
Captain America: The Winter Soldier – Dan Deleeuw, Russell Earl, Bryan Grill, Daniel Sudick
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett, Erik Winquist
Guardians of the Galaxy – Stephane Ceretti, Nicolas Aithadi, Jonathan Fawkner, Paul Corbould
X-Men: Days of Future Past – Richard Stammers, Lou Pecora, Tim Crosbie, Cameron Waldbauer

Best animated short film

WINNER: Feast – Patrick Osborne, Kristina Reed
The Bigger Picture – Daisy Jacobs, Chris Hees
The Dam Keeper – Robert Kondo, Daisuke “Dice” Tsutsumi
Me and My Moulton – Torill Kove
A Single Life – Joris Oprins

Best animated feature film

WINNER: Big Hero 6
The Boxtrolls
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Song of the Sea
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

Best production design

WINNER: The Grand Budapest Hotel: Adam Stockhausen, Anna Pinnock
The Imitation Game: Maria Djurkovic, Tatiana Macdonald
Interstellar: Nathan Crowley, Gary Fettis
Into the Woods: Dennis Gassner, Anna Pinnock
Mr Turner: Suzie Davies, Charlotte Watts

Achievement in cinematography

WINNER: Birdman: Emmanuel Lubezki
The Grand Budapest Hotel: Robert D Yeoman
Ida: Lukasz Zal, Ryszard Lenczewski
Mr Turner: Dick Pope
Unbroken: Roger Deakins

Achievement in film editing

WINNER: Whiplash – Tom Cross
Boyhood – Sandra Adair
The Imitation Game – William Goldenberg
The Grand Budapest Hotel – Barney Pilling
American Sniper – Joel Cox, Gary Roach

Best documentary features

WINNER: Citizenfour – Laura Poitras, Mathilde Bonnefoy, Dirk Wilutzky
Finding Vivian Maier – John Maloof, Charlie Siskel
Last Days in Vietnam – Rory Kennedy, Keven McAlester
The Salt of the Earth – Wim Wenders, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, David Rosier
Virunga – Orlando von Einsiedel, Joanna Natasegara

Best original song

WINNER: Glory from Selma – Lonnie Lynn (Common), John Stephens (John Legend)
The Lego Movie – Shawn Patterson (Everything Is Awesome)
Beyond the Lights – Diane Warren (Grateful)
Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me – Glen Campbell, Julian Raymond (I’m Not Gonna Miss You)
Begin Again – Gregg Alexander, Danielle Brisebois (Lost Stars)

Best original score

WINNER: Alexandre Desplat – The Grand Budapest Hotel
Alexandre Desplat – The Imitation Game
Hans Zimmer – Interstellar
Jóhann Jóhannsson– The Theory of Everything
Gary Yershon – Mr Turner

Original screenplay

WINNER: Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo – Birdman
Richard Linklater – Boyhood
E Max Frye, Dan Futterman – Foxcatcher
Wes Anderson, Hugo Guinness – The Grand Budapest Hotel
Dan Gilroy – Nightcrawler

Adapted screenplay

WINNER: Graham Moore – The Imitation Game
Jason Hall – American Sniper
Paul Thomas Anderson – Inherent Vice
Anthony McCarten – The Theory of Everything
Damien Chazelle – Whiplash

Best director

WINNER: Alejandro González Iñárritu for Birdman
Richard Linklater for Boyhood
Bennett Miller for Foxcatcher
Wes Anderson for The Grand Budapest Hotel
Morten Tyldum for The Imitation Game

Best actor

WINNER: Eddie Redmayne for The Theory of Everything
Steve Carell for Foxcatcher
Benedict Cumberbatch for The Imitation Game
Bradley Cooper for American Sniper
Michael Keaton for Birdman

Best actress

WINNER: Julianne Moore for Still Alice
Marion Cotillard for Two Days, One Night
Felicity Jones for The Theory of Everything
Rosamund Pike for Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon for Wild

Best picture

WINNER: Birdman
American Sniper
Boyhood
The Imitation Game
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Selma
The Theory of Everything
Whiplash

The 87th Academy Awards are now taking place in Los Angeles, these are the result of full winner 2015.

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Fifty Shades Of Grey

Fifty Shades Of Grey

Fifty Shades Of Grey, the eagerly anticipated film adaptation of the global phenomenon ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’, which sees young, naïve student Anastasia Steele begin a torrid relationship with billionaire Christian Grey.

When Anastasia agrees to interview Grey, a hugely successful businessman, the two find themselves powerfully attracted to each other. But as Anastasia will find out, Grey has some very specific tastes when it comes to romance.

Arriving in cinemas just in time for Valentine’s Day, ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’ is a date movie which is sure to get people talking and pulses racing.

Except for the new instalment of Star Wars, there is no more steamily anticipated film this year than Fifty Shades of Grey. Advance ticket sales, boosted by its Valentine’s Day release, have been record-breaking. In book form, the “erotic trilogy” of British author EL James has sold over 100m copies worldwide. And the producers’ casting hunt for actors to play starry-eyed ingénue Anastasia Steele and her bondage-obsessed new paramour, the endlessly mysterious billionaire Christian Grey, has been a magnet for more tabloid speculation than typically greets a royal birth….,,THE TELEGRAPH”

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Into The Woods

Into The Woods

The Golden Globe-nominated star Meryl Streep is joined on the red carpet by co-stars Emily Blunt and James Corden for the gala screening of her film Into The Woods

Into The Woods follows a baker and his wife who have been cursed by a witch, combining the stories of Red Riding Hood, Jack And The Beanstalk, Rapunzel and Cinderella.

The baker (James Corden) and his wife (Emily Blunt) must find the magic items they need to break the curse, which prevents them from having children. On their quest, they meet many characters from Grimm fairytales who are on their own journeys.  With an all-star cast including Meryl Streep, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine and Johnny Depp, ‘Into The Woods’ is the eagerly anticipated big-screen version of the beloved Broadway musical.

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Edge Of Tomorrow

Edge Of Tomorrow

Edge Of Tomorrow 2014 cover imageEdge of Tomorrow tells the action-packed story of a solider caught in a killer loop as he is forced to fight the same battle over and over again.

In the film Edge of Tomorrow which is set In the near future, soldier Bill Cage is sent into combat with extraterrestrial invaders. He’s killed in action, but wakes up again only to find himself reliving the same nightmare day again and again. With each repetition, Cage has the opportunity to change the outcome and the fate of Earth itself.

Edge of Tomorrow is an adaptation of the Japanese sci-fi novel ‘All You Need Is Kill’.

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Godzilla

Godzilla

The giant radioactive beast roars back to action in Gareth Edwards’ man vs. monster sci-fi reboot Godzilla.

There is mass terror and death in store for humankind as Earth comes under attack from the mighty monster known as Godzilla. As the military try to bring the monster’s devastating rampage to an end, the future of the human race hangs in the balance.

Godzilla_2014_poster-7‘Godzilla’ stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass), Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) and Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene).

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Film Premiere Jack Ryan Shadow Recruit

Film Premiere Jack Ryan Shadow Recruit

Film Premiere Jack Ryan Shadow Recruit. Start in January 20, 2014 6:00 pmEnd:January 20, 2014 9:00 pm

At  Vue Leicester Square

Stars walk the red carpet for a European Premiere for the Jack Ryan reboot. Based on the CIA analyst created by espionage master Tom Clancy, “Jack Ryan Shadow Recruit” is a blistering action thriller that follows Ryan (Chris Pine, “Star Trek”) from his quiet double-life as a veteran-turned-Wall Street executive to his all-out initiation as a hunted American agent on the trail of a massive terrorist plot in Moscow.

CONFIRMED ATTENDING: Chris Pine, Kenneth Branagh, more TBC.

 Synopsis:

Ryan appears to be just another New York executive to his friends and loved ones, but his enlistment into the CIA secretly goes back years. He was brought in as a brainy Ph.D. who crunches global data – but when Ryan ferrets out a meticulously planned scheme to collapse the U.S. economy and spark global chaos, he becomes the only man with the skills to stop it. Now, he’s gone fully operational, thrust into a world of mounting suspicion, deception and deadly force. Caught between his tight-lipped handler Harper (Academy Award-winner Kevin Costner), his in-the-dark fiancée Cathy (Keira Knightley) and a brilliant Russian oligarch (Kenneth Branagh), Jack must confront a new reality where no one can seem to be trusted, yet the fate of millions rests on his finding the truth. With the urgency of a lit fuse, he’s in a race to stay one step ahead of everyone around him.

Stars walk the red carpet for a European Premiere for the Jack Ryan reboot. Based on the CIA analyst created by espionage master Tom Clancy, “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit” is a blistering action thriller that follows Ryan (Chris Pine, “Star Trek”) from his quiet double-life as a veteran-turned-Wall Street executive to his all-out initiation as a hunted American agent on the trail of a massive terrorist plot in Moscow.

CONFIRMED ATTENDING: Chris Pine, Kenneth Branagh, more TBC.

 Synopsis:

Ryan appears to be just another New York executive to his friends and loved ones, but his enlistment into the CIA secretly goes back years. He was brought in as a brainy Ph.D. who crunches global data – but when Ryan ferrets out a meticulously planned scheme to collapse the U.S. economy and spark global chaos, he becomes the only man with the skills to stop it. Now, he’s gone fully operational, thrust into a world of mounting suspicion, deception and deadly force. Caught between his tight-lipped handler Harper (Academy Award-winner Kevin Costner), his in-the-dark fiancée Cathy (Keira Knightley) and a brilliant Russian oligarch (Kenneth Branagh), Jack must confront a new reality where no one can seem to be trusted, yet the fate of millions rests on his finding the truth. With the urgency of a lit fuse, he’s in a race to stay one step ahead of everyone around him.

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