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TIFF 2014: The Imitation Game (2014)

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My TIFF 2014 reviews continue to trickle through and today I’ve got something special, one of my most anticipated films of the year, “The Imitation Game.” Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Mark Strong, and Rory Kinnear, “The Imitation Game” retells the unbelievable life-story of Alan Turing. Feel free to click on the link below which will redirect you to my review over at The Cinematic Katzenjammer and please drop a like/comment/share.

The Imitation Game (2014)

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Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

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A much more passionate labyrinth and overall refined offering than The Hurt Locker. Director Kathryn Bigelow and writer Mark Boal once again delve into the war overseas with Zero Dark Thirty and bring a fact driven theatrical adaptation of the most elaborate manhunt in history to the screen. Using familiar tactics such as tense situations and loveable characters, Boal and Bigelow triumph once again with Zero Dark Thirty. However, setting aside the similarities in the strain and showiness between The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty. Bigelow and Boal insert new facets like intellect and balance to make Zero Dark Thirty more effective, complete and full of intensity. Featuring Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Mark Strong, Kyle Chandler, Joel Edgerton, and Chris Pratt. Zero Dark Thirty’s all star cast are layered throughout its multiple story lines and given enough purpose to fulfill their potential.

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A CIA operative named Maya (Chastian) is thrust into the war on terror. One of her first experiences is the extraction of information through any means necessary, understanding that this is the extreme needed at times to gain knowledge. Working with her partner Dan (Clarke), Maya quickly learns and adapts to life overseas. Over seven years, Maya is narrowing down her leads in hopes of finding Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden. With the help of Joseph (Chandler), George (Strong), and numerous other, in 2011, her tireless efforts are about to pay off. Staying in contact with Patrick (Edgerton), Justin (Pratt), and the Navy team. Maya observes the mission to the suspects home.

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While the depth of the material Zero Dark Thirty is based upon is somewhat of a blur to the public eye. The surface of it has been broadcast from a far on every news channel since 9/11. Being able to produce such a definitive and enjoyable piece of cinema from an overseen and collated event years in the making is something Boal, Bigelow, and crew should be proud of. Jessica Chastain is the only actor to earn an Oscar Nomination for her performance in the film and deservedly so, she is incredibly pragmatic. Her natural essence and unrelenting drive fit perfectly into her role. Jason Clarke should have garnered more praise and a nomination in his supporting role to Chastain but was snubbed in my opinion. Clarke is intimidating and ruthless encompassing everything needed to be emotionless and feared. The rest of the supporting cast is equally as impressive, holding nothing back. Zero Dark Thirty is a smart, entertaining nail biter.

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Zero Dark Thirty: 9 out of 10.

Sunshine (2007)

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Following in the tradition like other science-fiction defining films such as: Solaris (1972), 2001:A Space Odyssey (1968), and Moon (2009). Sunshine uses the complexity of physics and the elegance of the cosmos to create one of the most complete genre films to date. With a star studded cast featuring Cillian Murphy (Inception), Rose Byrne (Insidious), Chris Evans (Captain America: The First Avenger), and Mark Strong (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), Sunshine is not only visually stimulating but is also incredibly acted. Directed by Danny Boyle, a current all star behind the camera, Sunshine is both hypnotic and eye opening. Don’t spend too much time on the science of it all, regardless of its authenticity, it is after all, science fiction and a film.

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In the not too distant future, a group of astronauts and physicists are assembled to pilot a mission to the Sun. The reason for the voyage is to restart our dying star. Previously, a similar mission was sent to reignite the Sun, however communication was lost and the ship and its inhabitants were never heard from again. The package the crew is sent to deliver is a stellar bomb which should theoretically restart the Sun. On their journey to our dying star, the crew receives strange signals and encounters severe setbacks and tribulations.

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Whether it’s the slow transit of Mercury or the approaching, immense Sun, the music used to accompany these visuals makes the film. With John Murphy lending his contribution in completing the score with the bands Underworld and I Am Kloot, Sunshine would not be complete without its hauntingly epic compositions. All the while Boyle is using simplicity and awe inspiring moments such as never before seen celestial imagery and our closest encounters with the solar system to stir the audiences imagination. Sunshine literally and figuratively goes places we only dream about and accomplishes its journey with flare and style. Leading the way for the cast is Murphy who’s portrayal of a torn physicist admiring the universe, essentially living his dream while it’s marred by the circumstance is astonishing. Byrne is marvellous as she is constantly contradicting her characters moral and emotional sides. Evans and the rest of the crew follow Murphy’s dynamic suit into the abyss, while Strong is outstanding as an insane rogue astronaut. Sunshine is somewhat of a looking glass into the Earth’s inevitable demise and how humanity must come together to delay the apocalypse.

Sunshine: 9 out of 10.