marion knight


Every year, I took a holiday. I went to Florence, there’s this cafe, on the banks of the Arno. Every fine evening, I’d sit there and order a Fernet Branca. I had this fantasy, that I would look across the tables and I’d see you there, with a wife and maybe a couple of kids. You wouldn’t say anything to me, nor me to you. But we’d both know that you’d made it, that you were happy. I never wanted you to come back to Gotham. I always knew there was nothing here for you, except pain and tragedy. And I wanted something more for you than that. I still do. -  Alfred


On this day in music history: February 13, 1996 - “All Eyez On Me”, the fourth album by 2Pac is released. Produced by DJ Quik, Dat Nigga Daz, DeVanté, DJ Pooh, Dr. Dre, Lawlay, Bobby “Bobcat” Ervin, Johnny “J”, Mike Mosley, Doug Rasheed, Rick Rock, QD3 and 2Pac, it is recorded at Can-Am Recorders in Tarzana, CA in October 1995. Prior to the release of his previous album “Me Against The World”, Tupac Shakur is arrested and incarcerated at the Clinton Correctional Facility in upstate New York, after a woman accuses the rapper and his entourage of sexual assault. Unable to post the $1.4 million necessary for bail, Tupac spends the next eight months in prison beginning in February of 1995. On October 12, 1995, Death Row Records CEO Marion “Suge” Knight and Interscope Records co-founder Jimmy Iovine posts Shakur’s bail in exchange recording three albums for the label. Now a free man, Tupac quickly enters the studio to begin recording. Working a host of top hip hop producers including Dr. Dre, Daz from The Dogg Pound, DJ Quik and Johnny “J”, the rapper demonstrates an astonishing work ethic, completing as many as two to three songs a day. The first album under Tupac’s contract with Death Row (though counting as two of the three albums under Shakur’s contract) is finished in just few short weeks. The twenty-seven track double CD titled “All Eyez On Me” also features guest appearances by Snoop Dogg, The Outlawz, Nate Dogg, K-Ci and Jo Jo Hailey of Jodeci, E-40, B-Legit, D-Shot, C-Bo and Richie Rich. The album is proceeded by the single “California Love” (#1 R&B, #1 Rap, #6 Pop) which features Dr. Dre and Roger Troutman of Zapp. It spins off a total of four singles including “How You Want It” (#1 R&B, #1 Rap, #1 Pop), “2 Of Amerikaz Most Wanted” (#46 R&B) and “I Ain’t Mad At Cha” (#18 R&B Airplay, #58 Pop Airplay). Enthusiastically received by fans and critics, “All Eyez” goes on to become 2Pac’s best selling album. It is also the last album released by the legendary rapper in his life time, coming only seven months before he is shot and dies from injuries sustained in a drive by shooting in Las Vegas, NV on September 7, 1996. “All Eyez On Me” enters the Billboard R&B album chart and Top 200 at number one, spending three weeks at the top of the R&B album chart, two weeks at the top of the Top 200, and is certified 10x Platinum in the US by the RIAA, receiving a Diamond Certification.

Now we know why Jessica was afraid to turn her back on a Hasting i.e. a Drake.

I also think Toby knew Mary was Spencer’s mom (or at the least that Veronica really wasn’t/Spencer was adopted). He knew if he pursued legal action against Radley over his moms death that it would’ve come out.

And that’s how Peter got him to agree to a settlement.

(2016, Robert Zemeckis)

As an old-fashioned throwback to wartime dramas like Casablanca, Robert Zemeckis’ Allied fills a hole that most people probably didn’t think was missing in our current cinematic landscape. It’s not a surprise that the film didn’t find an audience since there’s not really a demand for something like this, but I personally have a great affection for the kind of movies Allied emulates and so for me its well intentions were enough to (mostly) pepper over the cracks in it. Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard are your traditionally gorgeous leading couple who meet cute as spies assigned to work together, and eventually fall in love, but there’s a pretty distinct variation in quality of performance from the two.

Cotillard does wonders, crafting a femme fatale for the ages who would have fit perfectly in those pictures of old, furthering the notion that the actress belongs to another era, which is only part of what makes her such an alluring screen presence these days. Her partner, however, is stiff as a brick, with his A-list good looks lost in an emotionless performance that’s supposed to be anchoring the film, yet instead lets it down in a big way. The writing for the character, from a script by the usually excellent Steven Knight, isn’t great to begin with, but even still Pitt’s performance leaves a lot to be desired. The script fumbles in other ways as well, particularly in the side characters, all of whom are non-entities who feel like they need a lot of fleshing out, with those played by Matthew Goode and Lizzy Caplan especially feeling like the film awkwardly pushes them as being significant without justifying it, giving the impression that maybe these characters had whole plots left on the cutting room floor.

The big hook that Allied sold itself on was the question of whether or not Cotillard’s character was a Nazi, a double agent the whole time even as her and Pitt have built a life together and had a child. Despite being billed as the basic premise of the movie, this concept doesn’t get introduced until we’re well into proceedings (as in at least halfway through), and once it’s on the table the film actually loses momentum and falls pretty flat towards the end, as it stretches itself out far too long until arriving at a climax that felt from the beginning like the only way the story could really go. It’s easy to pick out flaws in Allied, as it has its fair share of them, and I couldn’t really blame anyone for letting these ruin the film for them.

As I said before though, in spite of all of this, it was the old-fashioned nature of the film that drew me to it and worked a charm on me stronger than the damage any of its problems did. Unsurprisingly, given his history on such major films, Zemeckis puts together a marvelous production on a beautiful canvas, complete with gorgeous cinematography, excellent costume and production design, and a couple of very solid action sequences. On top of that, Knight constructs this story with an epic wartime scope that spans years and really has patience and takes its time unfolding, which is something we’re not accustomed to seeing these days, but was a very welcome shift for me personally. It’s not perfect, but I’d definitely take this over the very large majority of redundant factory line products the studios are pushing out these days that are making half a billion dollars or more.


Meet Michael Fassbender as Callum Lynch in Assassin’s Creed.

Based on the massively popular — and prolific — video-game series of the same name, Creed is set to open in theaters Dec. 21, 2016.

Before hardcore Creed gamers start scratching their heads (and filling up the comments) about how exactly Callum Lynch fits into the game world, we can tell you that Fassbender’s character was created specifically for the film version. (The movie isn’t retelling any of the existing Creed games, but rather introducing new characters into the same world.)

Lynch discovers he is a descendant of the secret Assassins society through unlocked genetic memories that allow him to relive the adventures of his ancestor, Aguilar, in 15th Century Spain. After gaining incredible knowledge and skills he’s poised to take on the oppressive Knights Templar in the present day.

Also starring Marion Cotillard (The Dark Knight Rises), Michael Kenneth Williams (12 Years a Slave), and Ariane Labed (Before Midnight), cameras start rolling for Creed on Monday. Filming is set to happen in Malta, London, and Spain.


The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Dark Knight Trilogy rewatch part III - and for such a great trilogy a rare occurrence, a re-review (original review here).

More of the same really. Great plot, amazing action, superb effects, brilliant performances.

Bale remains a solid Batman (annoying voice aside) but for me this movie is all about Bane. This the third part of a three day trilogy rewatch so I can compare this performance very closely to that of Heath Ledger’s for the Joker… slightly blasphemous to do so but I now think they are much closer than I originally may have. They are very different performances but both brilliant. Hardy transmits an aura of indestructible menace and malevolence that is made all the more harrowing by that crazy high-pitched voice.  

I was also far more impressed with Anne Hathaway, she delivers conflicted hero/villain really well and is a vast improvement on the campy Halle Berry or Michelle Pfeiffer Catwoman stuff. 

Stellar casting even the small roles, Cillian Murphy, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine for example are have just minutes of screen time and that’s before you start noticing Quinn from Dexter, Jamie from Blue Bloods, Richard from Lost and Carcetti from The Wire.

On rewatch I now think this is the weakest of the three movies but being the weakest movie in this trilogy makes for a hell of a movie - I mean this was in the 2012 Top Ten Ronnies list after all.

Watch this Trilogy and watch it in order in a short space of time for added enjoyment.

“When Gotham is ashes, you have my permission to die”.

“You think this can last? There’s a storm coming, Mr. Wayne. You and your friends better batten down the hatches, because when it hits, you’re all gonna wonder how you ever thought you could live so large and leave so little for the rest of us”.


Marion Cotillard - The Passionate Issue, No. 244, June 04
Before La Vie en Rose, Inception or The Dark Knight Rises, Marion was in a cute French film called Love Me If You Dare. She told us: “I won’t do an American movie because it’s an American movie. Ever. The only good reason is because it’s vital to do. I would have the feeling to betray first myself and second the audience. You can’t do that. I mean, some people do, but I won’t ever do that.”

Photography Dennis Schoenberg.