This week’s movie releases

This week’s movie releases

FILM: Henry Cavill in ‘The Man From U.N.C.L.E.’

CAST: Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander, Elizabeth Debicki, Jared Harris, Hugh Grant, Luca Calvani

DIRECTOR: Guy Ritchie

Henry Cavill (‘Man of Steel’) stars as Napoleon Solo opposite Armie Hammer (‘The Social Network’) as Illya Kuryakin in director Guy Ritchie’s ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’, a fresh take on the hugely popular 1960s television series.

Set against the backdrop of the early 1960s, at the height of the Cold War, the film centres on CIA agent Solo and KGB agent Kuryakin. Forced to put aside longstanding hostilities, the two team up on a joint mission to stop a mysterious international criminal organization, which is bent on destabilizing the fragile balance of power through the proliferation of nuclear weapons and technology. The duo’s only lead is the daughter of a vanished German scientist, who is the key to infiltrating the criminal organization, and they must race against time to find him and prevent a worldwide catastrophe.

“It’s a zone I find fascinating, the way men interact with each other,” says Ritchie, who directed, produced, and co-wrote ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’ screenplay, based on the hit 1960s TV series of the same name. “Even going back to ‘Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels,’ I’m drawn to that male-to-male dynamic as kind of a genre unto itself.”

Dynamic would be the word for it, as the first time elite CIA operative Solo meets his formidable KGB counterpart, Kuryakin, they are trying to kill each other. Each has been sent to extract the same vital German asset from behind the Berlin Wall at the height of the Cold War, and taking out the competition in the process would just be icing on the cake.

Days later, after being informed by their respective handlers that they will now be working together on the case, killing each other is unfortunately – albeit temporarily – off the table, leaving the sworn rivals to vent their national and professional antagonism in a bare-knuckled, bust-up-the-furniture, “getting to know you” fight designed to convey in no uncertain terms that they might be stuck with this deal, but they don’t have to like it.

So in some respects, it’s a buddy movie…apart from the fact that “they kick the living daylights out of each other as soon as they meet,” says Henry Cavill, who stars as Solo, the suave and often self-serving American agent.

Starring as Kuryakin, Armie Hammer offers the volatile but more conventional Russian’s point of view: “Kuryakin is the ultimate soldier, always in line and giving his best. Then he’s thrust into a position that he hates and there’s nothing he can do about it. This guy he’s working with, this Napoleon Solo, he’s so unorthodox. He doesn’t follow the rules. He doesn’t even seem to know there are rules.”

“What we found so irresistible,” says Ritchie, “was taking these polar-opposite agents and forcing them together so that they start out trying to annihilate each other and end up cooperating, but maybe still not entirely trusting each other. The story is largely the evolution of their collaboration.

The fact that one represents capitalist America and the other represents communist Russia, and these two super powers have to team up to neutralize a threat with global stakes, is a great premise that you can have a lot of fun with, and that’s really the spine of the story.”

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FILM: BOYCHOIR

CAST: Dustin Hoffman, Kathy Bates, Eddie Izzard, Josh Lucas, Garrett Wareing

DIRECTOR: Francois Girard

Dustin-Hoffman-in-BoychoirThe rousing, music-filled ‘Boychoir’ begins with Stet (newcomer Garrett Wareing), who is struggling just to get by in a tough Texas neighbourhood with an overwhelmed single mom. His school principal (Winger) is convinced his angelic singing voice is worth championing, but Stet has no idea how it might help him face the dark realities of his life. That all shifts when a sudden accident lands Stet on the East Coast at one of the most elite private boychoir schools in the country, the National Boychoir Academy. It might be his only hope, but he knows he doesn’t fit in. He’s never studied music, there’s not a single soul to support him and he’s filled with a seething rage he can’t begin to express. Even worse, he immediately runs up against the most demanding, uncompromising and compelling person he’s ever met: the school’s lauded, if increasingly jaded, Headmaster Carvelle (Dustin Hoffman). Yet, Stet’s inner grit brings forth an astonishing sound And the more he sings, the more Carvelle begins to see his passion growing – a passion that will impact not only Stet’s own life but those around him.

From Carvelle himself to his snobbish associate Drake (Eddie Izzard) to the school’s down-to-earth headmistress (Kathy Bates) to the young teacher who fights for Stet (Kevin McHale) to the estranged father who is trying to hide his very existence (Joshua Lucas) to Devon, the star singer who is Stet’s fiercest rival (newcomer Joe West), Stet’s campaign to redeem himself begins to catch everyone’s attention. At the same time, everyone knows no boy singer’s voice can last – or survive adolescence. Change is coming, but with it, a lesson that endures: to make the absolute most of what you’ve got in the moment.