Wednesday, 20 June 2018

REVIEW: OCEANS 8

4/5

The Eighth Wonder Of The Girl.

110 Mins. Starring: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Sarah Paulson, Mindy Kaling, Rihanna, Awkwafina, Richard Armitage, James Corden & Helena Bonham Carter. Director: Gary Ross.

Luck is more than a lady today. And with the men gone, the con is back on in a big way. Here's eight reasons to watch the most stylishly compelling, smart blockbuster of the year, 'Oceans 8' in cinemas now.

1...Sandra Bullock. As soon as the Soderbergh spilt-screens come into play and the 'Orange Is The New Black' bracelets come off, as she strolls out the clink in the same dress she came in with to the winding strumming of Old Blue Eyes' daughter Nancy Sinatra's 'These Boots Were Made For Walking'. To be Frank you know Sandra Bullock is going to walk all over and away with this. Oozing charisma and charm and with a lollipop 'Proposal' even Ryan Reynolds couldn't refuse, 'The Heat' is on for the 'Speed', world famous actress who shows she has the 'Gravity' and the gravitas not to step into astronaut co-star George Clooney's dress shoes, but stand next to him, heel to toe as Danny Ocean's long lost sister, Debbie. Running the show and olive toasting a shaken Martini to his stirring legacy that she's about to drink to with her own twist.

2...Cate Blanchett. Everyone needs a Pitt like partner in crime, leading the show. But who needs a Brad cameo when his vanishing one in 'Deadpool 2' is so hilariously good and you have the greatest, hardest working actress in Hollywood right now, not called Jessica Chastain in the game? Smouldering with smoky, rock star chic and band t-shirts under Aerosmith Tyler leopard print or suit jackets, the 'Blue Jasmine' Oscar winner and 'Carol' herself goes all 'Atomic Blonde' bob with peroxide power. The ever versatile as a character blank slate, Blanchett who played a Godess of a best Marvel villain in the down under 'Thor-Ragnarok' and more personalities than 'Split' in last years 'Manifesto' adds another front page to her catalogue collection. What more could you expect from a woman in 'I'm Not There' who alongside the likes of Richard Gere, best Batman, Christian Bale and Joker icon, Heath Ledger played the best and most lifelike version of Bob Dylan himself? Blonde on blonde she does it just like a wonder woman.

3...Mindy Kaling. Stepping out 'The Office', Mindy joins this project with an eye for the jewels as these queens take more than knight. They own the New York night. Or the marvellous Met in a Gala of gorgeous, graceful gowns. And Kaling is king at telling the difference between what's a girls best friend...and what's merely zirconia. To the cubic inch under any spotlight or 'Wrinkle In Time' this is a diamond of a performance for Mindy's best year at the movies.

4...Sarah Paulson. 'Marcia. Marcia. Marcia'. 'The People vs O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story' and 'American Horror Story' star standout refuses to be a stay at home, watch herself on the T.V. mom. She's aholic for more than shopping too, even if her garage looks like prime real estate for an Amazon warehouse. Paulson is the pulse of this picture and outfit. Puncuating any moment she's in like the top Twitter trending Met Gala dress like hashtag, blessed.

5. Rihanna. Speaking of which, usually the best dressed at the Met, Rihanna shall go to the ball, but via a van in the back alley. As the 'Diamonds' singer shines bright behind the keys on this jewel heist, as a laptop and tech-wiz who hacks into everything like she was a sidekick to Sandra in 'The Net'. After a crazy, constant costume change cameo in last years 'Valerian-And The City Of A Thousand Planets', a sinking 'Battleship' boom and a down to earth lead in the Dreamworks 'Home', Bad Girl RiRi finds her place here amongst this band of sisters. Pocketing her 9-Ball character from the break with the coolest mouse in New Rat City. Dread locked in and as N.Y. as yellow cabs running over steaming grids.

6...Awkwafina. Hip-Hop and 'Crazy Rich Asians' star Awkwafina (who you may remember from being one of Chloe Grace-Moretz's girls next door in 'Neighbours 2: Sorority Rising') is about to blow up. No! Correction, before what should be one of the biggest, cult hits of the year in 'Crazy Rich', Awkwafina has already brought the boom off the board here. Stealing the show and your watch...awkward.

7...Helena Bonham Carter. You couldn't hold this deck of cards without the real queen of hearts however. And legends don't come much bigger, better or with more cinematic credentials than Great Brit Helena Bonham Carter. She's played Queen Elizabeth, Elizabeth Taylor and the greatest character in every Burton picture. And now tailor-made as a fashion designer somewhere between Vivienne Westwood and Kate Spade (Rest Peacefully), she stitches up one of her best and most personal roles yet. Wearing this one like and with the confidence of her own one of a sublime kind style.

8...Anne Hathaway. But with all the confidence tricks here, Catwoman Anne Hathaway in diamonds and furs may just be the steal here. 'The Princess Bride' and 'Devil Wears Prada' 'Intern' fashions her own Streep streak here with a 'Colossal' performance. The white queen to 'Alice In Wonderland' co-star Carter's red one is Cartier dressed up by Helena herself. But she owns everything she dons from the pearls to the heels as she acts like she walks a permanent red carpet and model celebrity, parody plays everything up perfectly. One scene where she reacts to a three, six-figure necklace like an infamous, iconic scene from 'When Harry Met Sally' ("I'll have what she's wearing") is priceless. But rolling out more than casino red, 'Hunger Games' director Gary Ross feasts on Steven Soderbergh's signature style with the best 'Oceans' film since the dialled to 'Eleven' remake classic ('Thirteen' was a lucky dip tribute. 'Twelve' was an extended perfume ad). All the chips are down as even 'Hobbit' dwarf Richard Armitage grows up to a pathetic playboy, man-child but perfect villain and 'Late, Late Show' adopted American James Corden comes in with his best Ricky Gervais impression. Not to mention a crazy, who's who roll call of classy cameos in this funny and fun film. Even if one teased one in this tense affair never comes to the light of day like a cut Matt Damon appearance (to be fair from 'Ragnarok' to maybe even 'Deadpool 2' too, he's done enough), in this twist a minute caper for the cape and tights generation. And of course the city that never sleeps New York, New York from the bridge of Brooklyn to Freedom is a character itself so much so we have to say it twice. And of course the city that never sleeps New York, New York from the bridge of Brooklyn to Freedom is a character itself so much so we have to say it twice...you get the idea. We could do this all day. And 'Oceans 8' is a job you'll love so much you won't be able to wait to go back to work. Whether to tell, or to sell. Those wondering whether '8' would be great need to not be afraid of the worth of a woman's work reboot. Like the proton powered, unjustly underrated 'Ghostbuster' of this time two years ago. Or the buzz of a Marvel headlining Wasp flying with Ant-Man's latest heist this scorching summer with a sting.

Need a ninth reason? Or a tenth? Expect this sequel/reboot hybrid dressed up as a prequel to trilogy add up to the new millennium original 11 like the Rat Pack. Just grab a Metro card and hang with their N.Y.C. subway car success trip, victory lap ensemble assemble, reminiscent of the Bellagio fountain victory stream of Clooney and company. This slick hit is no lake by the ocean. It's a whole new current. Here come the girls. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Further Filming: 'Oceans 11', 'Ghostbusters (2016)', 'The Italian Job (2003)'.

Saturday, 9 June 2018

T.V. REVIEW: EMPIRE Season 4

3.5/5

The Empire Strikes Back.

18 Episodes. Starring: Terrence Howard, Taraji P. Henson, Jussie Smollett, Bryshere Y. Gray, Trai Byers, Grace Byers, Gabourey Sidibe, Ta'Rhonda Jones, Andre Royo, Serayah, Xzibit, Phylicia Rashad, Taye Diggs, Alfre Woodard, Vivica A. Fox, Rumer Willis, Demi Moore, & Forest Whitaker. Created By: Lee Daniels & Danny Strong.

Cookie cutter T.V. series' seem to leave fans with their fill these days. The Batman origin show 'Gotham' is heading to the dawn of its final season. Whilst the next, perhaps last series of Marvel's 'Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D' will be snapped in half like Thanos clicking his fingers to dust. But who gives a f### as we enter the Lyon's den for more in Season 4? Because this 'Empire' breaks the mold...and mould. Keeping it fresh like these young princes who would be king. No wonder these three boys and their two parents have a fifth season on order from Fox. Twenty for 20, this family franchise knows how to make up the numbers as 'Empire' goes extreme. They know how to move units too, from their gold records to their platinum chains. And we aren't just talking about the stellar soundtracks that underscore every series. We are talking about real life beyond this fantasy too. We all know Bryshere Y. Gray A.K.A. Yazz the Greatest has flow for days. Just like Terrence Howard released one of the most unsung, actor come singer jazz albums with the signature 'Shine Through It' back in 2008. But how about Jussie? Smollett who has been making the rounds (last year he starred in sci-fi's 'Alien: Covenant' sequel and this year he's even directing some episodes of 'Empire'), has just recently released his own, outstanding album 'Sum Of My Music' that has equalled to significant streaming success. Featuring the formidable, take the lead, first hit single 'Hurt People' with it's iconic video set in Johannesburg, South Africa and inspired by the long walk to freedom of Nelson Mandela. The video literally starts in the cramped cell Madiba was imprisoned in for 27 years and ends with Jussie just running to a group of beautiful children and falling down as they play with him in pure happiness. But check out the moment when an all red suited and booted Smollett approaches a nightclub with a "Whites Only" sign above the door. He hammers it down, destroying it all before two-stepping into the spot in the name of love with a cane. It's not just a statement against hate but a show of solidarity for co-star Taraji P. Henson. Who had Kevin Costner do the same for her in a whites only bathroom in the Oscar nominated film 'Hidden Figures'. Which was about how the moon landing was propelled by the genius minds of until recently unsung African-American women. Smollett showing us here that even beyond the show this family has got each other. All the way to the Marvin and Tammi, 'Aint No Mountain High Enough' finale swan-song.

Vegas would have odds on this family sticking together, no matter what tries to blow them apart. Even if they are Lions fur draped in more sin than this Nevada desert city itself. Every family almost kills each other right? No! This family actually almost kills each other. BOOM! The last season ended explosively in the casino town as a car bomb almost reduced Lucious and Cookie to crumbs. Didn't they learn from Biggie's 'What's Beef'? "Beef is when you make your enemies start your jeep". Now the only thing crazier than seeing Lucious Lyon hobbling around on a peg leg like something out of 'Pirates Of The Carribean' is him finger painting with Bruce Willis' ex-wife. Yep, he sees music in colour now. Time to start calling him Dwight again. But nurse Demi Moore, full disclosure is a standout guest star bringing Lucio...we're sorry Dwight to a cabin in the woods, 'Misery' barnstorm. And her and John McClane's daughter Rumer Willis is back to for even more acting of substance behind her addiction suffering character. Lucious is on lavishing form however. Even if he kind of works out that limp halfway through the season like 'The Simpsons' Krusty the Klown walking out of his wheelchair mid-theatre performance (*rushing back*, "oh that's right. I'm crippled"). Only an Academy actor like Terrence Howard could pull this or Lucious innate, animalistic ability to utterly repel you, only to compellingly draw you back in so convincingly off. His smouldering intensity is laced with brimstone and the bravado of a man who sold his soul to the devil...and then stole it right back. But to Howard's end there's genuine moments too like that single tear drop for a character that even purs and growls like a lion at times. Or like a Lyon. Terrence is just terrific in this New York Empire state of mind mayne. Taken to task only by Taraji as Henson's 'Hustle' to 'Howards' flow is always the hard engineered work behind the polished wax. Especially behind the bars (check the prison break flashbacks). But Cookie refuses to be boxed in. Whether poundcake or locked down. Looking to set her family and her company free. 'Will they or won't they' isn't even the question. It's whether this Lyon will be the man this womans worth has always deserved and needed him to be? A kings empire is nothing without the one who really wears the crown.

And that brings us to the three kings. No not TGT. We aren't talking about Tyrese, Ginuwine and Tank. But this showstoppers big three. Smollett plays a smouldering pot of strength and sensitivity, dealing with his darkest demons yet. Yet pushing the envelope and his energy into some of his most experimental and inspirational music yet. All whilst making fingerless gloves, long winter coats and cardigans over white tees look fresher than the opposite of death himself. Whilst dripping in jewels, Bryshere Y. Grazy drops even more. Showing he truly is the greatest when it comes to young, "can't tell me nothing", cocky Kanye energy. This brother, son and father also comes of age too in what's arguably his and this shows greatest season yet. But yet again it's the tremendous, trailblazing Trai Byers who bypasses all of this with his amazing acting of aggravated anxiety and aggression. The stand and solidarity he shows for those dealing with mental health issues is as strong and sincere as Smollett's support for those coming out. Yet in this season Trai faces even more tragedy as someone is messing with his meds to devastating mid-season, cliffhanger effect. And wait until everyone finds out what he did to end last season...or even this one. He still has time to clink champagne glasses in celebration with co-star and now wife Grace Byers, who plays the outside threat to this families future (and you thought enough was happening from within). Still there's plenty of help from the returning supporting cast. Although it seems like Leslie Uggams is rooming more with 'Deadpool' these days...you can't have that many people around calling Lucious Dwight. 'Precious' Gabourey Sidibe is getting more of the cherished screen time and stories her Oscar worthy legend deserves. Whilst Ta'Rhonda Jones assists even more too with more humour than she has outfits. Also when it comes to 'The Wire' legend Andre Royo you have to love a lawyer called "Thirsty". Now if these Lyons like to get their hands dirty, than just imagine how many times their legal aid has to wash his hands. And then of course there's the real music stars, young and old. From the swift moving Serayah becoming a star of stage and screen in her own right. Not to mention hip-hop legend Xzibit who knows how to step back into the booth and bring back that heat from the streets like he was still braided up with Dre. Don't believe it? Just you wait. And 'Creed's' Phylicia Rashad and 'Best Man' Taye Diggs return for even more formidable family feuds in the money makes the law bend round courtroom. A cast of big names in recurring roles like Vivica A. Fox is one-upped by the addition of Alfre Woodard who appeared to be the real villain in 'Luke Cage' season one. But for all the A-list guest stars this show has had on its guest list over the years. Cuba Gooding Jr., Mariah Carey and Naomi Campbell to name just a mere few. The Empire isn't big enough for much more come season four. Except for one, huge guest star with an even bigger part. The less we say about 'Black Panther' and 'Roots' legend Forest Whitaker the better. Not because of how great this ever underrated acting great and his body of work actually is. But because of what the star of 'The Butler' serves up here as he joins the pride of the Lyon's. And they all come together for a 'Purple Reign' cosplay party and tribute fit for a Prince. Especially after the symbol has just turned sixty. Nothing compares 2 this. Lee Daniels and Danny Strong have done it again. Strong armed steady. This 'Nashville' meets 'Dallas', 'Dynasty' has it all in guilty pleasure, expectation exceeding escapism on your changed channel. All the way to an epic, emotional and entertaining ending, THIS is how you build an 'Empire'. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Further Filming: 'Nashville', 'Atlanta', 'Dynasty'.

Friday, 8 June 2018

REVIEW: JURASSIC PARK-FALLEN KINGDOM

3.5/5

Jeff Finds A Way.

128 Mins. Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Justice Smith, Rafe Spall, Daniella Pineda, Geraldine Chaplin, James Cromwell, Toby Jones, Ted Levine, B.D. Wong & Jeff Goldblum. Director: J.A. Bayona.

Slap this on your plastic lunch boxes! Uhh...the one and only...Jeff Goldblum is back for the next phase of his...uhh 'Jurassic' era. Hahaha-rawrr-ahaha! And you thought being able to get a Pop Vinyl of his iconic, idolized, shirt-open, laid-back pose was good news. Alas though, like knocking on a security camera and fog breathing on it and wiping it to make sure it's on...now eventually they do plan to have some Dr. Ian Malcolm in their 'Jurassic Park' movie right? Hello? Because in bookmarking this latest adaptation of Michael Crichton's critical idea that Spielberg turned into pure, golden era, Hollywood cinema, the gold of Goldblum is only in this movie for a grand total of two, whole minutes. You've had coitus that has lasted longer than that...I sincerely hope. Now THAT is one big pile of s###! The tinted spectacle of the chaos maddening Malcolm is back, in a wiser and worn wearier doctor appearing in front of congress compellingly. And with the Dapper Don of his hair gone, replaced with a salt and pepper beard, the leather jacket is left back in a park he appears to never be going back to. So like when he appeared in the fly like regurgitation of 'Independence Day: Resurgence' (albeit though with some trademark classic lines like, "they like to get the landmarks" in reaction to the aliens clocking Big Ben), but not in the original 'Jurassic World' reboot, God giveth and God taketh away. Who would have thought that after having the Grandmaster and grand-standing fun of going off script in Taika Waititi's gloriously colourful Zeppelin, 'Thor-Ragnarok' sequel to end last year, Jeff would be reduced to a few notes here behind the microphone? Stuck mouthing off on Capitol Hill, in a courtroom for his entire cameo/seen it in the trailers screen-time, I guess life...uhh...sort of finds a way. It's great to have him back...but we wanted him BACK! Now we just can't wait to hear from the iconic, cult legends next move, shaking out a jazz album (you need to Youtube this dude backing up soul legend Gregory Porter on the ivory) like fellow offbeat oddball favourite and 'Isle Of Dogs' vocal co-star Bill Murray. Goldblum still plays his part here, line for line. But a man like this has to be allowed to improvise off-key. Ahh well. Who better to say it however (apart from SNL, Bill Hader's Al Pacino)? "Welcome to 'Jurassic World'"!

'Fallen Kingdom's' the sequel. And more than heads and pod racing Gyrosphere orbs will roll in a sequel to this franchise trilogy sequel that ups the ante with an eruption of action after three summers lying dormant. With a rumbling that will leave your popcorn popping stomachs asking, "what have they got in there? King Kong?", a volcano literally spits all it and this island has got out at you. Triceratops, Velociraptors and T-Rex's oh my! Even one of those Friar Tuck looking ones that literally bursts through a brick-wall like the Kool-Aid guy. OH YEAH! In a stampede of set-pieces that run through nostalgia and new ways of trying to make green screen look as good as those old, tried and tested amazing animatronics, there's enough emotional call-backs, reaching back to '93 like the tallest tree that will leave you out of tears aswell as breath. As a matter of fact in a dual magma hot scene of I can't feel my legs...or face hilarity (which my friend rightfully so said moved like a lude Leo in 'The Wolf Of Wall Street'...credit where credits due Tayla!), there's more Easter Eggs here than you could fit in an overturned jeep. As a matter of fact an opening, outstanding T-Rex helicopter ropey ladder chase, as thrilling as being stuck under a slumbering one is a "must go faster" call-back for the king of this jungle whose vision is based on movement. This kong of the dinosaurs even has a barking match with the lion ruler of our animal kingdom in a scene reminscent of the Jaws swallowing 'Jurassic "Sea" World' snap of the last film. The Mosasaurs is after surfers now herself...it's O.K. she's being doing a lot of swimming lately. There's even a night at the mansion museum terror that brings the haunted house and classic, straight out the kitchen, hide under your sheets, Spielberg scares back to this franchise by the sinister claw tap-tap. If you're old enough to be a child of the 'Jurassic' period in this millennial era reboot than you'll get the reference as a hybrid, bedroom color scheme sounding Indoraptor (enough with the sock-drawer, 'Weird Science' like cross-breeds already. We know nothing beats when raptors and a T-Rex ruled the earth...but not literally together), runs down a creepily cramped corridor that looks like it was wallpapered by the same concierge that designed the hotel in 'The Shining'. As 'A Monster Calls' director J.A. Bayona rain-soaked, rip-roaringly takes over from yesterday and tomorrows Trevorrow (more from producer Colin to conclude this trilogy that looks to be heading towards a 'Lost World') for some pure dumb as f### blockbuster fun. Like the legendary 'Jurassic World' moment of that man trying to save his two margaritas when those birds of prey came swooping down. Hold on to your butts!

Stilleto point fingers no more as the heels are off now for Bryce Dallas Howard. And bootstrapped ready, Howard is a solo force in herself to make her pops latest 'Star Wars' story see even more opposites of happy days, no matter how good the movie actually is. 'The Help' actress enlisting the help of on/off, 'will they won't they', partner in prehistoric conservation, Chris Pratt. Harrison Ford take note. Fresh off right face, wrong time kicking Thanos' butt in 'Avengers: Infinity War' (but understandably so in one of the Marvel mash-ups greatest, most climatic moments), this galaxy guardian is back as a park and raptors one. Playing the camo Indiana Jones (minus the Alan Grant stetson) to his Han Solo like Star-Lord across the universe. And he's on scorching, "the weathers hot, why not build a barn from the foundations up" form as Shaw in a summer that would be his if it wasn't for that Cable guy, whose nutsack chin he tried to shoot off, Josh Brolin. And of course what would a J.P. or J.W. film be without trying to babysit some Goonies? They're older than Lex and Tim. Or that 'Love Simon' fellow on his own big brother detail. But 'The Get Down's' Justice Smith and truly an 'Originals' Daniella Pineda scene steal like cans of unfound shaving cream. Meanwhile 'Life Of Pi' and 'Prometheus' actor Rafe Spall plays a stock villain looking to up the numbers and the amount of prehistorics he has in his wallet. Whilst old Hammond friend and legend of 'The Green Mile' and 'L.A Confidential', James Cromwell is determined to take a coughed up secret all the way to his characters grave. Assisted by Charlie's daughter Geraldine Chaplin who was so good in Philip K. Dick's 'Electric Dreams' series, there's more that haunts the halls of this house than the things that make the glass of water on your bedside table go bump in the night. And there's even more bad guys for your buck here too. Cha-ching! Hungry for Trump Tower dollars and follicle replacements, 'Captain America's' own German bad brain Toby Jones accents another performance and the door opening, shock horror, wind in the face roar reaction of your next gif (see: "When that member of the squad that never comes out rolls up!"). Whilst Buffalo Bill himself, Ted Levine trys to silence more than lambs with a dental obsessed charm link-collection that he always puts his neck out for. Here the legendary character actor plays like Bob Peck's pack hunter took a tour of acting duty with 'Apocalypse Now'. And what would a new 'Jurassic World' film be without 'Jurassic Park' star B.D. Wong, who is so good here like he was in Will Smith's 'Focus'? Well a lot more if we had more camera time from the one whose name is Jeff. But how much chaos do you want in a movie that throws everything at you, including the kitchen scene? Besides Jeff may find a way by this trilogy conclusion which will surely be better and more convincing than a Raptor that can say "Alan"! Then again with how close Pratt is communicating with his girl Blue, you never know. But as 'Jurassic World' is set to motorcycle ride off into the sunset like one man and a gang of girls with scales, 'Fallen' despite some boneheaded, J.R. ball dropping moments is still king of this 'World'. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Further Filming: 'Jurassic Park', 'Jurassic World', 'The Lost World'.

Saturday, 26 May 2018

REVIEW: SOLO-A STAR WARS STORY

4/5

Chewie...We're Young!

135 Mins. Starring: Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Joonas Suotamo, Jon Favreau & Paul Bettany. Director: Ron Howard.

When this writer was just a scruffy nerf herder of a kid all he wanted to do was act. And act up he did. Begging his mother to enrol him in the local drama school. "I want to be Harrison Ford mum"! Not the next Harrison Ford. But, "I want to be Harrison Ford mum"! The reason being nothing to do with 'Star Wars' or 'Indiana Jones', but actually because of one Dr. Richard Kimble, A.K.A., 'The Fugitive' is besides the point. Anyway...I digress. Now much to my 10 year old dismay over twenty years back, we cry 'Hail Caesar' today! As Alden Ehrenreich gets to be Harrison Ford...or more fittingly Han Solo. "Would that it were so simple"? Alden may have flubbed his lines for Ralph Fiennes, but he sticks to the script here with the compelling charisma of a rebels heart. Ehrenreich beating out the likes of 'Baby Driver' Ansel Elgort, 'Kingsman' Taron Egerton (my Sabacc cards were on him) and the 'Whiplash' of Miles Teller. Like Harrison did sci-fi genre, all-action crossover great Kurt Russell, Bill Murray(?) and the hoo-rah of Al Pacino for Han. For the latest solo 'Star Wars' story...erm...'Solo: A Star Wars Story' that's the real rogue one. After the menacing phantom of a new millennium trilogy tried to reawaken the force like 'A New Hope', but instead ended up as confused as a 'Last Jedi', we now have a new Millennium Falcon for you rebels waiting around as patient as carbonite. And for all the solo projects coming out (from frenemies like Lando to Bobba), just like 'Rogue One' (which was like immersing yourself in the epic 'Battlefront' of one of those 'Star Wars' video game platforms) this seems to be the best of all the new 'Star Wars' stories and series of trilogies coming out. Don't listen to the critics, it was a boring conversation anyway. It's not true. All of it. When it comes to this Solo, you really are going to have a good feeling about this. Hands or Han down. As on the up and up, this cocky and confident driver and flyer has the effervescent charisma of a young kid with his whole future ahead of him. And not the ember charm of an old rebel burnt out by the knowledge that the trick is to "assume everyone will betray you and you'll never be disappointed" as his criminal crew mentor puts it. But take it from us and trust us here that you won't be disappointed as 'Solo' goes it alone for a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away as Alden gets to shoot first. Sort of.

But boy is he a blast with the blaster. Armed to the standoff unclipped holster with that out of this world, space wild west, look and chapped feel of a futuristic western (from the saloon card games, to the train hijacks, to the duels) like 'Westworld' to 'Futureworld'. Even if we do have to see most of the epic establishing shots here from under and between the literal junk of his leather legs. C'mon I know he's supposed to be a sex symbol, but how many times do we have to see Hans solos? Still the 'Blue Jasmine' and 'Rules Don't Apply' (showing they really don't) actor more than fills the boots of Han. Striding in them with pride and a scene of poise, presence and place. Wrapped in a jacket that's so cool even Oscar Isaac's Poe Dameron wouldn't let John Boyega's Finn keep it, because who cares who it looks better on. It fits perfectly like Alden here when he isn't wearing a fur coat that will have his hair raising best friend roaringly wondering what...or who it's made of. With a usual begrudging at best Ford's furiously afforded blessing and standing on his own two as Solo, Ehrenreich is good...a little rough around the edges (but isn't he supposed to be), but good. Showing us that Han lives even after (SPOILER ALERT if you've been frozen in carbonite since late 2015) his own Vader wannabe all the way down to the lozenge worthy (or needed) son turned him into a jagged lightsaber shish kebab (word to the samurai of 'Deadpool') and tossed him into that same void half of Darth Maul is probably still falling down. This young Han has new hope and is more of an eager hero than his reluctant one of the future past who would rather let someone know in two words what most say in three. And this hope is jukebox elbow punched in a fast and furious 'Rush' to the finish line job by 'Willow' and 'Apollo 13' director Ron Howard. The one tasked with bringing this force of a franchise back to happy days. Building on the blocks of the 'LEGO Movies' pieces Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who where found in the cockpit of the Falcon with not a clue how to fly or where to take this thing next. But their original instruction manual blueprint still breathes through this ship, no matter their director to executive producing downsizing (see, 'Ant-Man': Edgar Wright. Despite these Disney franchises requirements, everyones vision still sees the light of day in some way). Howard's end is so good here that he may even be able to take on the dinos of his own daughter Bryce Dallas and the 'Fallen Kingdom' of her 'Jurassic World' with 'Infinity Wars' Chris Pratt next week. The heels are off! There's hope for 'Solo' after all. Just when everyone though it was all about yet to be seen in the 'Sicario' sequel 'Day Of The Soldado', Josh Brolin's Thanos war on Cable and himself in both the latest 'Avengers' and 'Deadpool' sequels. When really with a click of the fingers and a flip switch change of the gears it's the day of 'Solo' right now.

But it's just more than Han with his hands on the controls, clicking and flipping all the switches and pushing all the buttons of this millennium machine for you millennials. And young like Skywalker but with no Luke, this Falcon flyer needs to be taken under someone elses wing. And from 'Happy Days' to 'Cheers' how good is it to see Woody Harrelson in a 'Star Wars' movie?! Adding to his legendary fantasy franchise legacy like he did a cut above the constantly shaving, bald headed rest last year in the 'War For The Planet Of The Apes'. Or has done with the new chapters of 'The Hunger Games' series. Or is about to maybe in the Carnage he's rumoured to bring to the world of Marvel with 'Venom'. But the Oscar worthy 'Three Billboards' star has always been a natural born chameleon as much as he's naturally killed it with the hard work he's put into his multiple films at the multiplex at once. Sometimes you forget it's really him...or how much he's really done. And this is no exception, but exceptional. As Harrelson hustles a 'Star Wars' character for the ages and adds a legendary name to the character vault, like the Star Wars cinematic world adds a legendary name to their Hollywood canon. Woody's heard of a job and he's putting together a tight crew. Featuring right hand woman, no B.S., all about the jobs line of duty, Thandie Newton. Straight out of 'Westworld' and right into an epic train jacking, smash and dash scene of twisting and turning, up and down, dual tracking heights. 'Iron Man's' own M.C.U. birthright Happy Hogan director Jon Favreau himself (whose about to helm his own 'Star Wars' standalone T.V. reborn series) in creature critter form. And of course Chewie, played hair perfectly to the look by Wookie of the year, Joonas Suotamo. The Finnish, former big-man basketball pro player taking over from Peter Mayhew since J.J. Abrams took over from George Lucas with a slam dunk. They've all got to work for Paul Bettany's sinister face streaked in blood villain. The nice guy Vision of the Avengers showing just how versatile and vile this veteran can get. All whilst appearing so busy his character actually in appearance looks like he left the 'Infinity War' set so early they didn't finish taking off his Vision make-up off properly. From the loving scenes of Scarlet heart bewitching romance between all the wars of 'The Avengers', to these light saber dagger wielding, dark lord overtones of oblique evils. This Great Brit adds to his ever underrated legion of work (did you forget how harrowingly haunting he was in the 'Da Vinci Code'? You can bet Tom Hanks doesn't!). And you can bet on Bettany who razor sharp takes over from 'The Wire's' great Michael K. Williams' original big bad, who unfortunatly had to be cut amongst reshoots he couldn't make it back for. But for all the heist and hijinks, let's not forget 'Star Wars' is a love story like 'Me Before You'. And before Leia (Carrie Fisher we love you!), Hans princess was just as rogue as he was. And not to be confused with 'Rogue One' lookalike Felicity Jones, 'Game Of Thrones' atomic star, Emilia Clarke is a class of elegance and grace in 'Solo'. Armed also the strength of solidarity that made her a perfect Sarah Conner in a 'Terminator: Genysis' film that should have been as critically convincing. Like a British Scarlett Johansson at her Widow's peak, Clarke is on fire without the dragons and ignites this picture everytime she's on screen. But when he's not chatting up Emilia's heart here, Alden's Han is flirting with Lando over a game of cards like everyone else wishes they were. As Billy Dee Williams' Calrissian is class of his own played with equal Ehrenreich to Ford honor by Donald Glover. No not Danny's boy. This is Childish Gambino. The same one who voiced Spider-Man Miles Morales, prowlingly played his uncle in 'Homecoming' and gave us a 'Deadpool' cartoon even more R-rated than the Ryan Reynolds version that it was actually shut down before it even had a chance to be banned. The same one who gave us 'Atlanta' (the best and freshest show on television right now...that also fittingly gave us 'Deadpool 2' sidekick Domino) and the real America in his funkadelic, soulful 'Awaken My Love' real and raw rap follow-up and probably the most controversial and groundbreaking music video since before the old Kanye we miss spent a night in Trump Tower. And lets not forget the same one who figured out how to bring Matt Damon home from Mars when everyone else was tired of saving 'The Martian' again. But here the same lion and king whose about to voice no other but a live action Simba nails his Lando solo movie audition in one hand in this 'Solo' movie. Cape to fur coat and canary tailored exquisite, Esquire styled perfection of charisma. Hello, what do we have here? This charmer claims his Lando is pan sexual (which is a good job because now everyone and their momma fancies Glover right about the time that is his now...yep me too). Meaning he's probably f### your pots and pans if they had a heartbeat. He's even maybe got a thing going on with his own electric sheep dreaming and K2-SO humor rivalling android L3 (played with puncuation by fantastic 'Fleabag' actress Phoebe Waller-Bridge). You might want to buckle up baby. Because this is one Donald we could never hate thanks to his disarming charm and arresting emotion all nuanced in one take. His accented performance embodies all that scene or whole show stealing swaggers like Billy Dee. Glover wears Lando like a glove. Believe it. Because everything...you've heard about him...is true. All of it. And all for one and one for all. All the stars, stunts. All the set-pieces and set-up surprises. When it all comes down to all there is in 'Solo' one things for sure. You'll love this...I know! TIM DAVID HARVEY

Further Filming: 'Rogue One-A Star Wars Story', 'Star Wars-The Force Awakens', 'Star Wars-The Empire Strikes Back'.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

REVIEW: DEADPOOL 2

4/5

The Cable Guy.

119 Mins. Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Zazie Beetz, Julian Dennison, Brianna Hildebrand, Stefan Kapicic, Shiori Kutsuna, Leslie Uggams, Karan Soni, Bill Skarsgard, Terry Crews, Rob Delaney, T.J. Miller & Josh Brolin. Director: David Leitch.

"In time you will know what it feels like to lose. To feel so desper"...ahhh f###sickle! Wrong movie! Chimichanga's these timelines are confusing! And oh Canada is it any wonder? As Ryan Reynolds fourth wall and ball breaking, merc with a mouth that has probably kissed your mother is back for 'Deadpool 2'. But this time he's armed with a one-eyed Willie you Goonies. Wait...Josh Brolin? Didn't he just purple reign as the mad titan Thanos in grimace mo-cap for 'Avengers: Infinity War'? Can Stan Lee do that? Yet Yentil's after redeeming two Human Torches what more would you expect from the studio that turned Wolverine into a f###### tree kebab? Or a man who made quite the impression in 'Men In Black 3' convincingly playing a young Tommy Lee Jones, K? And in today's movie world with the ever expanding M.C.U's six degrees of superhero separation (play it with any films cast...go on...we'll wait) running out of Hollywood's biggest names to play all their heroes story arcs. Don't be DP 'Home Alone' aftershave slapped pose surprised that the Marvel machine are casting two-by-two Noah. As Brolin hits f### it, gives maximum effort with the chest expander and takes the 'Jonah Hex' off his superhero career like a DC Universe 'Green Lantern' (yours truly even signals a bat#### hilarious Batman reference to the man who almost donned the Dark Knight's cape). Forget being the star of the summer, reuniting with Benicio Del Toro's Collector character for the 'Sicario: Day Of The Soldado' sequel. This Cable guy is in two of the biggest movies of the year, this month. All now with one Mickey Mouse glove, Disney McDuck money signed check for who you may as well now call Mr. Marvel. As not only is a jacked up Josh, Marvel's biggest bad yet. He's also your Cable provider. We're sorry Keira Knightley may have range, but she didn't get the part this time. The flat top, 'Tokyo Ghoul:re' red eye (talk about a snap of the fingers), Terminator time travelling buckshot and Bucky Barnes arm goes to the mettle and brawn of Brolin. As he reunites with Marvel just weeks later for another 48 hours in Wade's world for Deadpool's number two straight outta main street. X gon give it to ya...again! Cue the music. Because this one sounds better than a crisp high-five.

TAXI! It's time to make sure you haven't left the stove on and call your friendly neighbourhood cabbie (the endearing Karan Soni returns with as much baggage in the trunk as...well someone with someone tied up in the trunk of their car (well...that's just lazy writing)) to hitch you a ride to your local theatre before this one vanishes. Because everyone may be watching the new Avengers film 'Infinity' times and beyond, but it's time for a real Marvel to go to war with Thanos...like...well himself. And armed with two guns and katanas like Wolverine in Japan, Deadpool is done playing with himself. It's time to see if he Stark plays well with other smooth criminals. Namely Josh Brolin who with a click of his dusty fingers goes from a barney with Barney, to an old man prospecting hobo with a shotgun. Vancity's finest, straight outta 'Hillside' Billy, Ryan Reynolds is back in the saucy, red and black leather number and cracking wiser, better than ever. As the smart ass chap in sex doll spandex has so many great one liners he could make Tony Stark's Iron Man look like Fun Bobby without the alcohol friends. Showing Hugh whose really the greatest showman. People magazines sexiest man alive all those years back, who here under the red hood looks like Krang from the Turtles popped out of that big lugs chest cavity, brings even more depth here to this comedy with more heart for a character whose own one can't stop. How's this for a 'Proposal'? The first 'Deadpool' was a rom-com people (and there's more sweet loving with 'Gotham''s crossover Morena Baccarin. Who in real life is actually married to Commissioner Gordon (cue the Anthony Mackie, "well...this is akward" gif)). And in regards to this hallmark sequel, family matters. Like the formidable fire of 'The Hunt For The Wilderpeople' actor Julian Dennison, who shows Marvel's NZ search for hilariously offbeat Kiwi talent didn't just end with that movie and 'Thor-Ragnarok' refreshing director Taika Waititi and his rocking Korg character. Time to print more pamphlets for the revolution....wanna come? And the pissing contest, cocksure Wade Wilson played by this heartthrob with Hollywood royalty on his arm and by his side (the real reason he'll never really regret putting on Hal Jordan's ring when it lead to a whole new one), shows the vulnerable half to his meta-human. In some enhanced acting, from a one of a kind industry talent who recently revealed in a significant stand of solidarity that will mean so much more that even a man like him too suffers from anxiety. Hats off to Reynolds too for his realest and raw performance of the disfigured anti-hero for hire from Hong Kong neon to the samurai swashbuckling of Tokyo, Japan that is still deliriously funny. The blades of Hannibal will always be king. So how about a trilogy trinity?

But X marks more than the D-spot (that's what it's called...right?!) in this force of a movie. What more could you want from a new anti X-Men team and family franchise of Marvel movies that will come from the X-Force across the chest, that's more than a little derivative from the symbol of 'Wonder Woman', all the way to Wakanda? Let alone all these new mutants. That collosal tin-can voiced by Stefan Kapicic behind all that CGI and mega Negasonic Teenage Warhead played brilliantly by Brianna Hildebrand (whose gone from Sinnead O'Conner to a punk rebel teen with an electric whip girlfriend played lovingly by Japanese/Australian Netflix's 'The Outsider' and 'Unforgiven' actress Shiori Kutsuna) are back. But there's even more to the deserted mansion than meets the ice cream this time. Even 'Empire's' returning and loving Leslie Uggams can see that and she never did find the cure for blindness between all that cocaine. You're going to love a sky-rocketing and diving team that features the old muscled spice and Bedlam of 'Brooklyn 99's' own 'Expendable' Terry Crews. Saving the day like his show alongside the Pennywise of 'It' himself, Bill Skarsgard and even more super surprises. Including new fan cosplay (don't forget the Vaseline) favourite Peter with the power and responsibility of type one...and two diabetes played by comedian Rob Delaney. But how about the lady lucky of the afro blown out, Zazie Beetz who has a "Holy S###" real life name even cooler than Negasonic Teenage Warhead? This wonder of a woman has bad guys falling all around her as the laid back, but never toppled Domino. Swagger stealing the whole show as luck would have it even if her amazing 'Atlanta' partner Donald Glover's own 'Deadpool' cartoon hasn't made it past the comic-book, geek approved cutting room floor. Although 'This Is America' people. We think the Childish Gambino whose about to perfectly play Lando in his own Solo 'Star Wars' movie, who was also seen prowling round on the Marvel 'Homecoming' Spider-Man set like his name was Morales again has a lot more going for his brighter than ever stardom spotlight right now. But in a class cast that even ups the ante like the energy of the first film here (like the villainous Francis of Ed Skrein. Who ended up being the hero of the hour last year that 'Hellboy' needed. Stepping aside and socking it to the whitewashing of cultural appropriation), you can't forget barman and best friend T.J. Miller of 'Ready Player One' fame. Not to be confused with departing director Tim Miller (our bad last review...that's what rewrites are for), here replaced by 'Atomic Blondes' peroxide powered David Leitch. The 'John Wick' stunt chereographer who makes this sequel like the one for the man who killed a man with a pencil (a f###### pencil. All because a man killed his dog...I mean who does that. A dog is for life. Disposable henchman are just for moviemaking Christmas), just as good as the first, making up for in epic excitement what the original does in originality. From the parody shows Canadian Celine, 'Titanic' themed Bond beginnings (the actually amazing 'Ashes' for a film that has some real emotion and soul too...inbetween all the Scoutmaster Kevin jokes) and self-aware in-jokes that don't just throw arrows at the sons of Martha. To the 'Atomic', amazing, M.C.U. out boxing, hand to metal arm combat action. From a prison break, escape plan that's truly a riot. To a fast and furious, curb crawling, armoured convoy lorry jack that even takes the concrete out of that bridge busting 'Die Hard 4.0' point for all you string-vests out there. But when it comes to ageing action-heroes. In this movie that has everything, even dusty suit Easter Eggs, it's Josh Brolin's Cable that really hooks you up. Spinal tapping and dialling it all the way up past eleven on some futuristic weaponry that breaks more lead than this half metal, all muscle man does arms. Dare we defy Thanos (a monster of a best-yet villain that even convinced us that he had a point in wiping out half the universe, to perfectly balance the other) by saying Brolin's laid down Cable anti-hero is even better? Because this gold standard, classic character has a gauntlet of power and the stones too. Travelling through time, albeit grounded in reality. With murder on his mind, but with so much soul in his space too. And with daddy needing to express some rage in the best post-credit scenes you've seen in this universe yet, every inch of this is so much more fun than a sandpaper dildo. No need to touch yourself tonight. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Further Filming: 'Deadpool', 'Avengers: Infinity War', 'Green Lan...just f###### with you.

Friday, 27 April 2018

REVIEW: AVENGERS-INFINITY WAR

4/5

Avenge This.

149 Mins. Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pratt, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Zoe Saldana, Chadwick Boseman, Tom Holland, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hiddleston, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Benedict Wong, Gwyneth Paltrow, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Peter Dinklage & Josh Brolin. Directors: Anthony & Joe Russo.

Assembling almost every superhero in the Marvel universe with avengance (Fantastic Four and X-Men too little, too Disney deal late aside), cape fear not. Superhero mash-ups are a lay-up for the Russo brothers. A milk run. They could do this all day. And as a decade and 18 films conclude with the new beginning of Phase 4, this dynamic duo and family of franchise films are with you 'till the end of the line...let alone the post-credits. 'Civil War' reaches 'Infinity'. As the directors who made 'The Winter Soldier' the greatest M.C.U. movie to arguably this day (take away the suit (which they do for a big part of the movie) and the powers and you have a classic spy thriller candidate for 'Manchurian' (remember the reference) on your hands) up the toys in the sandbox ante. Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Doctor Strange (oh we're using our made-up names), Spider-Man, the Black Panther and those Guardian of the Galaxy a-holes. They're all here...plus many more. But we won't tell. Even the ones you speculate from street level to out of this galaxy. Because in this age of spoiler alerts or Twitter trends that should have been deleted and blocked like anyone trying to comment that way on 'Guardians' guardian James Gunn's (who scripts his teams dialogue with redefinition here) Instagram posts, it's better that you go in with less eyes than Thor. But mystic arts trick or not you're in for a treat. As this Marvel Cinematic Universe holds much more than just six stones and a gauntlet of gigantic action that seems to never run out of punches like trying to hit infinity. What more could you expect, or want like the most classic Stan Lee cameo yet from the biggest and best blockbuster of the year? Which should have no problem even clawing away at 'Black Panther's box-office record that even sunk the 'Titanic'. Thanks in part to the King T'Challa himself, who after his own, outstanding revolutionary movie does for 'Avengers 3' what last summers biggest superhero standout 'Wonder Woman' tried to do for D.C.'s 'Justice League' (sorry Supes and Bats need we say anymore?). In some ways this years blockbuster beginning 'Black Panther' is deeper and means so much more. Making it in some ways just as big as 'Infinity' but when it all comes down to it. After the original 'Avengers' assemble and the 'Age Of Ultron' that lasted a shade under three hours. Time, mind, space, reality, power and soul. Nothing is as epic as this.

'08 'till 'Infinity'. 10 years ago when Christian Bale's 'The Dark Knight' was the only superhero running the show with the late, great Heath Ledger's Joker holding all the cards and the last laugh, Marvel looked like what D.C. does now. Forcing to sell off it's Fantastic assets and mutations to other companies with little hope to buy them back like they have now. They couldn't even catch a spider. But after all the 'Amazing' ones later look at the uncanny, superior Tom Holland's 'Homecoming'. This kid has the metal to give the Iron Spider more legs. And it's all thanks to 'Iron Man'. Yes Tony Stark and Robert Downey Jr.'s ego doesn't need the all over massage. But Happy Hogan himself Jon Favreau began all this too. From the nuts and bolts of a terrific trilogy to these two wars that see R.D.J. at his best since his original 'Iron Man' and M.C.U. shot of redemption. Seeing him keep love alive with Gwyneth Paltrow's always on the right side (even with less and less screen time) Pepper Potts, or reunite with science bro Bruce, Mark Ruffalo (who's 'Ragnarok' ravaged Hulk has his own busting out anger issues) is only bested by the prescription banter with Benedict Cumberbatch's stepped up to the magic spinning plate, Doctor Strange. And from Baker Street to a Bleeker Street sanctuary in the Sanctum Sanctorum, it's a treat to see two Sherlock's, old and new, modern and traditional go at each other my dear. Elementary. And after Cumberbatch's cosmic cinematic debut and classic crossover cameo in 'Thor 3', this sorcerer reigns supreme here with the brilliant Benedict Wong by his wizarding world side. Two Benedict's for your benefit. It's as joy inducing as seeing his ego meet the one of Ego the (not so now Kurt) Living Planet's son Star-Lord. Played with lord of the galaxy confidence by Chris Pratt, in what should be his summer, with this and the 'Fallen Kingdom' of 'Jurassic World' too. His vocal back and forth with a bawdy and 'Ragnarok' refreshed (thanks Korg...hope you're still alive out there) Thor who is really thunderous here (thanks to a new tool to bear from 'Game Of Thrones' standout Peter Dinklage. Who channeling his Josh Brolin crossover, already made his Marvel debut in the 'Days Of Future Past' with the X-Men) making this the funniest Marvel film yet. Yep...you bet! But in a trilogy of handsome Chris'. Pratt, Hemsworth and Evans, we just hope for a make friends, make friends, never, never break friends reunion with the ripped stars and stripes of Chris Evans' nomadic Captain America. Who bearded and battered is given two of the best introductions here and still has that striving sense of hope running through that long hair, don't care, "done taking orders" new rules.

Cap (do we still call him that?) has his own secret Avengers team with his loyal wingman Anthony Mackie's formidable Falcon and his 'Winter Soldier' alley Natasha Romanoff. As Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow has gone all Atomic Blonde in looks and kicks. But with so many heroes for hire here some of their back stories get lost in translation. Needless to say we need that Black Widow solo movie like we don't need the Russian 'Red Sparrow' (sorry Raven). Although one moment of all of Marvel's superheroine women of wonder taking on 'Gone Girl' Carrie Coon's villain is inspired influence. Armed with buckshot, best friend Bucky on the other hand we know-thanks to the greatest post-credit, cheer inducing scene in recent wait around for nothing hilarious sting-is in the Vibranium vibrant, wonderful world of Wakanda. As this White Wolf alongside Chadwick's now classic Black Panther game and genre changer and team of super smart sister Letitia Wright (a new generation phase, Marvel millennial class member gets to utter the "what are those" trending line too) , right hand woman Danai Gurira and howling Man-Ape Winston Duke keeps this lavish land, perfectly staged for a third-act set-piece conclusion running forever. There's more Avengers to account for however like fans looking under the microscope for Paul Rudd (you'll get to zoom in on sure summer smash 'Ant-Man and the Wasp' soon), or wondering why Hawkeye Jeremy Renner is missing from the trailers like he is the 'Fallout' of the latest 'Mission: Impossible'. Hey even the hardest working Avengers in Hollywood can't disappoint their kids. Colonel Rhodes, Don Cheadle's patriotic to his superfriends cause War Machine won't remain grounded, despite the crippling signature on the dotted line. And despite playing Bettany reality looking house beautifully, there is so much more to Paul's Vision and Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlett Witch than meets the eye of all the power they hold that could destroy or bring new life. And lets not forget about the rest of those Guardians in 'Avengers' Vol 3. Like brilliant Bradley Cooper's rabbit like, furry fury Rocket Racoon. Or Vin Diesel's young sapling Groot. No longer a scene stealing baby, but a teen going through puberty, video games and ferns where he didn't have ferns before. And Dave Bautista's Drax is literally as hilarious as he's ever been with Pom Klementieff's Mantis managing to evoke even more laughs like she does every emotion. But it's the sisterhood of sci-fi 'Avatar' blue queen Zoe Saldana's green geat Gamora and 'Jumanji' game player Karen Gillian's twisting and turning parts of Nebula that will really be tested and taken to the dramatic limits for a superhero franchise that brings as much cries of tears as it does laughter (y'all remember Yondo whistling in the wind?!). As these out of this world, killer talents are the daughter of Thanos. Definitly the biggest, baddest and best blockbuster Marvel villain yet. Rivalled only by this years watch the throne stealing Killmonger of Wakanda, Michael B. Jordan. The Coogler 'Creed' of he would be king. And Tom Hiddleston's former top billing bad reigining, Loki who just like in the original fight for New York is a key piece here. There's always more to Thor's trickster prince of mischief brother beyond what he really feels. Most actors are lucky to have two big movies a year. But 'Sicario' star (wait for another reunion) Josh Brolin has that in a month and probably the biggest paycheck signed 'Marvel'. As with this and the 'Deadpool' fourth fall and Fox franchise breaking jokes we will surely see, the Cable guy is not pumping the hate breaks. Like 'Green Lantern', 'Jonah Hex' was a long time ago people. After all the years of post-credit teases he finally does it himself and gets off that damn chair (which even his own adopted family hates). Your times up you dumb f...wait, wrong movie! Brolin's brilliant mad titan in mo-cap C.G. is captured with nuance by the actor (sometimes you unfathomably forget he's not just standing there without Serkis hallmark white-dots) that even brings our sympathy and understanding for this big bads crazed cause. The lug does more than pack a wallop. Just like with Michael B.'s "what about us" Killmonger, Thanos has his own point...and he's willing to destroy half the universe with a click of the fingers just to prove it. And that's what makes all this culminations climax and ensuing emotional cliffhanger that will leave you biting your seat gripped nails so much more than just stake and fate. Destiny has arrived. No matter how much you've dreaded it. Now run to it like sold out theatres, because this is what we've all been waiting for. The only question that remains as you only have to wait another year is what's beyond 'Infinity'? Now that will be a real Marvel captain! TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Further Filming: 'The Avengers', 'Guardians Of The Galaxy', 'Captain America-Civil War'.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

T.V. REVIEW: THE ASSASSINATION OF GIANNI VERSACE-AMERICAN CRIME STORY

4/5

Crime Of Fashion.

8 Episodes. Starring: Darren Criss, Edgar Ramirez, Penelope Cruz & Ricky Martin. Creator: Ryan Murphy.

Crime by design seems to be T.V. producing powerhouse Ryan Murphy's calling card right about now. And now after taking O.J. to trial with the people, the 'Eat, Pray, Love' director dials M for murder. Going from the American gothic of the chilling chapters of 'American Horror Story', to the real life, true crime cases that haunt of 'American Crime Story'. Sun to sun, from the city of fallen angels in all of downtown L.A.'s electric noir, to the South Beach neon vice of Miami heat. All delightfully drenched in 90's nostalgia for the biggest stories from the headlines of Hollywood and the watching world. And after retrial reviving the careers of Cuba Gooding Jnr, John Travolta and David Schwimmer like it was 'Jerry Maguire', 'Face/Off' and 'Friends' all over again and making the case of turning Sarah Paulson, Courtney B. Vance and Sterling K. Brown into stellar superstars right now in 'The People vs O.J. Simpson', the gloves are off as Murphy's law and disorder suits up to the greatest fashion designer this world has ever seen. 'The Assassination Of Gianni Versace'. We all know what happens (or do we?!), so no crass, spoiler-alert jokes. But the latest in Ryan's revelatory, acclaimed anthology series is a deeper character study of real people and the acidity versus purity nature of the human condition than when he put the juice on the box. Soap cleaning up all the melodrama to a high end. And after portraying a pivotal moment of black and white America and all the fire and riots that spread from the Rodney King beating to 'The People vs O.J.', 'The Assassination Of Versace' looks at the grand design of a time before Paris where we still had Princess Diana and fashion royalty in our seemingly safer and sweeter world. Until one morning when Gianni was brutually slain on his own art deco, Miami mansion doorstep. With a magazine his clothing contents begin, holding Lady Diana's very inspired image graced on the cover under his arm.

A single white dove, dead, lies next to him at the foot of his golden gate. No this is not exploitative symbolism. The bird of peace was ironically or iconically to the mans legacy and legend, caught in the crossfire. Gianni's grace was even more beautiful than Versace's clothing and even though there are complaints from his estate, this show does its upmost to honour him and his family. Even if at times it's tricky to seam together all that happened with respect to both the material and the source. What's actually cruel, crass and calculated however is some of the gratuitous gossip and sick souvenir hunting public. One couple disgruntled after Versace politely denies an autograph with a "not today", bum rushes past the police cordon tape with a torn out Versace clothing print advert from a magazine and dips it in his blood for their own ignorant immortalisation of this heroic turned tragic figure, before placing it in a zip-bag made for sandwiches like it was not to be tampered with (how ironic!) evidence the police haven't even collected yet. Disgusting! As Versace lies dying in the arms of his lover screaming for someone to please call 9-1-1, an onlooker in the crowd runs a few blocks to his convertible like his life depended on it and reaches into his glove compartment. But NO! Not for one of those brick, cord-pulling Gordon Gekko 'Wall Street' "mobile" phones before the "smart" cell age we live in now. But for his damn camera, as moments after turning into a purile pap with his snap he climbs up on to a manifested pedestal and exclaims his rights to the first picture of this man dead and starts the bidding at probably a weeks rent for a deluxe condo looking over the beach off Ocean Drive. Sick! These musings from Murphy show us how bad it was even back then and gives our selfie and celebrity obsessed, phone screen generation gone into overdrive and a world willing to do anything for a "like" something to really think about right now. Slow burning, yet so compelling, between all the Florida fancy and sun and sand style of this show and it's Italian opera and 80's Ultravox, 'Vienna' synth soundtrack, there's substance behind this fashion icons legendary life and legacy of story.

Jean Luc-Godard, the French/Swiss director tells us that, "a story should have a beginning, a middle and an end...but not necessarily in that order". And after showing us the assassination of Gianni Versace in the outstanding opening scene (not for his death...but the direction), 'The Assassination Of Gianni Versace goes all Tarantino 'Fiction' on us. Showing us and some superb supporting players the backstory of the man hunted for killing this celebrity and all the other murder within him. So much so you may want to cue that famous John Travolta gif on your Twitter timeline as Versace's character becomes the real missing person and not the one on the run. Sure this show may be called 'Versace', but it's not just about Versace, but his assassin too. Not to mention gay culture and the lifestyle of the 90's, coming off the fear of the AIDS epidemic in a post-Reagan era that saw gay people face almost, if not in some areas just as much discrimination-still shut away and hidden-as black people. Which makes this show that might actually be better, arguably just as important as 'The People vs O.J. Simpson' truth and the whole truth that preceeded it. Closeted designer Gianni Versace, struggling to come out to a squinting public eye with fire in theirs is powerfully played with sweet sincerity by 'Joy', 'The Girl On A Train', 'Gold' and 'Bright' actor Edgar Ramirez in flashback form after knocking on deaths door. Heaven sent, Ramirez doesn't just identically look the part...he's pitch perfection. The instantly recognisable actor of the moment is in so much right now it seems like he's been in even more iconic roles than he actually has. But all that changes and is confirmed true now in what stands out as his career defining moment. It's all design. And his 'Counsellor' co-star and 'Blow' and 'Volver' legend Penelope Cruz is perfectly cast by his side as his sister Donatella Versace. Her brothers keeper, lavishingly looking the part from the signature platinum blonde, to the classic belt dress for her flashbulb memory, red carpet moment. As beautiful as the iconic Medusa logo, there's more to Miss Versace than meets the eye however. As a stone strong core underneath all that Miami marble and foundation shows us something rock solid in both Cruz and her muse. And how about the 'Livin' La Voda Loca' of music megastar Ricky Martin people?! He bangs too! Playing Versace's lover Antonio D'Amico and career Russian Roulette with Ryan Murphy like Elton John did with Eminem at the Grammys, the award winner could find himself an Emmy for the mantle even with few episodes worth of song length screen time. His tortured eyes speak more from the battered soul than his bitten tongue to blood on his Sampras whites does. He's heartbreakingly...no devastatingly good. But for all the big names of stage and screen in 'Versace', it's the all singing and dancing in his draws Darren Criss of 'Glee' fame who steals the show with a killer performance of the actual murderer Andrew Cunanan. Who, behind the tucked in polo and chinos innocence we should actually hate. But in bespectacled and bewildering character, reuniting with Murphy and dropping all sorts of 'Glee' like alter-ego Easter Eggs and fabricated back stories straight from the Joker's deck of how he got those scars, a sun-kissed Criss is crisp on the dollar-down money. Exuding rolled up, oversized suit sleeve 90's swagger and sympathy for the devil Darren is rolling and goes from teen T.V. heartthrob to actual acting acclaim with accent. Sure he may be playing an evil, truly despicable character you definitly don't want to see holding a roll of tape for some of this dramas most unwatchable moments of harrow. But boy does he bring every emotion and energy out of his subject for this study of how just deep and dark an individual can get when they've lived a life like his. It may be no excuse to the guilty, but in showing us all the killer inside him has seen, Criss holds nothing back. And that's not the measure of the man he plays, but just how good an actor the star of this show is. He and Murphy have done it again. Now before your television set and Netflix providers hottest producer goes to New Orleans with Paulson, Matthew Broderick, Dennis Quaid's George W. Bush and 'Katrina' for a real, recent and still in need of investigation (not to mention prosecution) crime story of America, can we please get a backstory for the poor dove?! That would suit us just fine. Peace! TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Further Filming: 'The People vs O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story', 'Glee', 'American Horror Story'.