FILM: NON STOP
CAST: LIAM NEESON, JULIANNE MOORE, MICHELLE DOCKERY, LUPITA NYONG’O
DIRECTOR: JAUME COLLET-SERRA
Global action star Liam Neeson (‘Taken’ series, ‘Unknown’) is U.S. Air Marshal Bill Marks in this suspense thriller that plays out at 12000 metres in the air. During a transatlantic flight from New York City to London, Marks receives a series of cryptic text messages demanding that he instruct the airline to transfer $150 million into a numbered account. Until he secures the money, a passenger on his flight will be killed every 20 minutes.
Struggling with his personal demons has drained Marks of any passion for the heroic calling of his profession. He has come to view his important assignment as merely a desk job in the sky. However, another day at the office becomes a high-stakes crisis when shortly into a routine transatlantic flight, Marks’ world is upended.
Surrounded by only a couple of people he initially believes are trustworthy—including his fellow passenger, Jen Summers (Golden Globe Award winner Julianne Moore of the upcoming ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 1 and Part 2’) — the resourceful air marshal must use every nuance of his training to uncover the killer travelling on board the aircraft. What follows is a nail-biting cat-and-mouse game with the lives of hundreds of passengers hanging in the balance.
The suspense thriller reunites Neeson with ‘Unknown’ director Jaume Collet-Serra and producer Joel Silver (‘Unknown’, ‘The Matrix’ series, ‘Sherlock Holmes’ series).
As Silver offers, filmmakers have an incredible opportunity with and a unique gift in Neeson. “Liam is a phenomenon. He has been thought of as this great actor for his entire career, and suddenly, later in his life, he has become an action star. You never take your eyes off him,” says Silver.
The producer reflects that not only is Neeson’s ferocity plausible — the former boxer has an imposing physicality that matches his intense line readings — but his vulnerability makes the audience love to see him in this kind of role. “Liam is an actor who the audience supports the second they see him,” adds Silver.
“They want him to succeed and not get hurt. They want him to be okay and to get rid of the bad guys and do what he has to do. You go on this ride with his character, Marks, and sense his despair in not knowing what to do or where to go. Then you realize how good he is when he figures it out, which is what makes for an exceptional cinema experience.”
Neeson’s transition early in his career from serious dramatic actor to global action star has been well documented by the press and marvelled at by his peers. Still, he takes nothing for granted. “I was thrilled when Joel called me up about this,” the actor says. “I literally couldn’t stop turning the pages.”
The performer admits that he was drawn to the role of Bill Marks because of the character’s flaws and the fact that the ex-cop has to earn the trust of the passengers and the audience at the same time. Neeson observes: “When we see Bill in the start of the film, he’s a guy on the edge and someone you don’t want to sit beside on a long-haul flight. The finger of suspicion points to him for quite a period. But I was drawn to him because in a very basic, cinematic, iconic-figure way, he fits that mold of someone who does what he has to do to save the day. He’s an everyday guy who rises to the challenge.”
FILM: RIO 2
VOICE CAST: ANNE HATHAWAY, JESSE EISENBERG, JEMAINE CLEMENT, KRISTIN CHENOWETH, BRUNO MARS, GEORGE LOPEZ, TRACY MORGAN, LESLIE MANN, RODRIGO SANTORO, ANDY GARCIA, JAMIE FOXX
DIRECTOR: CARLOS SALDANHA
In April 2011, Twentieth Century Fox released Fox Animation and Blue Sky Studio’s CG animated feature ‘Rio’. The film was born from the imagination of Carlos Saldanha, who co-directed or directed the global blockbusters ‘Ice Age’, ‘Ice Age: The Meltdown’ and ‘Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs’. Saldanha had long wanted to write a love letter to his hometown of Rio. He came up with a story about a nerdy, highly domesticated bird who goes on the adventure of a lifetime in that wondrous city.
To fully realize the scope and breadth of this magical world and its vivid characters, Saldanha brought together an all-star voice cast, led by Oscar nominees Anne Hathaway and Jesse Eisenberg, Oscar and Grammy-winner Jamie Foxx, acclaimed musical artist will.i.am, actor-musician Jemaine Clement, comedic actress Leslie Mann, actor Rodrigo Santoro (a Brazilian native), actor-comedian George Lopez, and funnyman Tracy Morgan.
The filmmakers enveloped the action – and audiences – with a combination of Brazilian sounds and contemporary pop music. The soundtrack featured a stellar musical cast performing under the guidance of composer John Powell and Brazilian music legend and ‘Rio’s’ executive music producer, Sergio Mendes.
‘Rio’ became a worldwide smash with a global box office tally of $486 million. It also was a huge hit on DVD and Blu-ray disc.
Now, Saldanha returns to Brazil and reunites his beloved characters in ‘Rio 2’. In the new film, it’s a jungle out there for Blu, Jewel and their three kids, after they’re hurtled from Rio to the wilds of the Amazon. As Blu tries to fit in, he goes beak-to-beak with the vengeful and villainous Nigel, and meets the most fearsome adversary of all…his father-in-law.