Wednesday, 17 January 2018

REVIEW: THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI

5/5

Missouri Tiger.

115 Mins. Starring: Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, John Hawkes, Caleb Landry Jones, Lucas Hedges, Zeljko Ivanek, Clarke Peters, Abbie Cornish & Peter Dinklage. Director: Martin McDonagh.

First Billboard: "Raped Whilst Dying". Beyond brutal, but by jove is 'Billboards' brilliant. 'Fargo's' Frances McDormand is a molotov cocktail of a force amongst a farce in 'In Bruges' and 'Seven Psychopaths' director Martin McDonagh's 'Three Billboards'. A modern masterpiece of the year that is as oddly hilarious as it is assumingly heartbreaking. Such is the ebb and flow of this charred black comedy and dynamite drama spark is going to leave as many people wanting to visit Ebbing, Missouri as McDonagh did Belgium's Bruges. And just like that offbeat, outstanding shot of isolated but inspired dark dramedy that saw Colin Farrell's forlorn, suicidal hitman gain peculiarly both our sympathy and praise. This billboard puncuated picture is chock full of characters with as many heavens gate saving graces as they have hell to pay flaws they fall through again and again like that old, creaking floorboard you should always have repaired, if not fixed to step over. But frankly not Frances. McDormand is dormant in that department. Alive despite being soul broken dead inside following the evil assault and death of her daughter. She ties her hair up as folically far as it will go north, pulls on some blue overalls all the way to her collar and crack of a new dawn gets to work on finding the man who murdered her baby girl. And seeing as Ebbing, Missouri's local police department would rather investigate a case of Krispy Kreme's than a young woman's ravaged rape, torture and murder, she more than sprinkles them with some truth. She pepper sprays them in a way none of their coffees with extra sugar could wake them. Firebrand papering some previous derelict pop art torn billboards of various commercials past with a scarlet letter so rage raw red it engulfs all blue and white police cruisers that patrol past like the very sirens they should be putting on. Just give the Cohen 'Raising Arizona', 'Burn After Reading' and 'Hail Caesar' triple crown actress the Academy Award already. Even if Oscar queen Meryl Streep is about to 'Post' her latest ballot and next, best actress of the moment Jessica Chastain has given a big-three of her best last year all worthy of a nomination ('The Zookeepers Wife', 'Miss Sloane' and 'Molly's Game'). As McDormand and McDonagh (reuniting with almost as many 'Seven Psychopath' players (Harrelson, Rockwell, Ivanek and Cornish)) give us an instant classic that will legacy last beyond any award season for their billboard moment.

Second Billboard: "And Still No Arrests"? And whose fault is that? Well according to the police report, Chief Woody and his partner so buzzed he's lightyears away from that detective detail he craves as much as the heroes in his comics he'd love to be if only he could get his feet off the desk and his badge pinned on his shirt properly. Or as they more commonly go by in the Hollywood industry Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell. Two former platinum character actors turned leading men with definitive distinction. Who despite the character problems here in the middle may act like they might actually come good when it comes to a different sort of Academy. And boy do they have the best lines here to deliver this. 'Cheers' Norm familiar face Woody may have shown us that 'White Men Can't Jump' whilst earning his jersey name in the franchise likes of the sequel leaden 'Hunger Games' and 'Now You See Me' magic series'. But here yet again this 'Natural Born Killer' shows us he is a 'True Detective', whether 'Triple 9' call or 'Rampart' corruption. Even balding under the 'No Country For Old Men' cameo stetson that had you moving your feet, Woody still balls like Billy Hoyle. It's not a case of 'The People vs Larry Flynt' but the billboards versus Chief Willoughby. And after proving he was the best human actor alongside Andy Serkis' motion captured white dots to the 'War For The Planet Of The Apes' conclusion to Ceasar's trilogy, cut-throat razor shaving his dome, Woody is a cut above all that here in his sharpest slice yet. But just wait until 'Psychopath' Rockwell rocks too, shooting for the moon and whoever's willing to stand up to him and call him a racist pig like we all see it. How the man who can play both slick ('Iron Man 2') and sick ('The Green Mile') can mine likes out of such a morally abhorrent character is unbelievably almost akin to how some of these f### boys can do so on social media. But despite the douches and fake celebrities that bag up the real world, this here is a testament to this great actors real reputation for versatility that he has hard worked earned in a Hollywood that needs its sleeves rolled all the way up. Still, no one plays disgustingly distinguished quite like this big I am Sam. And if he doesn't get at least a nomination for his repugnant cop you can only hope sees redemption policing, than the Academy needs to look past the crass character and view the class act behind those red and dead eye hiding aviators.

Third Billboard: "How Come Chief Willoughy"? That's what everyone is picket punching asking by the sign in this role call, All-Star cast of role playing character actors on their collective career highs. As Martin makes his mark by bringing the best and worst out of everyone in this harrowing yet heartfelt, guffawed but grotesque picture of duality...as such is life. What more can you expect when the skinny on 'Winter's Bone' standout John Hawkes who is practically in every other film you've ever seen (don't believe us trapse Wikipedia) is at his best and worst here as an ex, expected to be atypical, but with some other reaffirming traits too. Then there's 'Manchester By The Sea' supporting player Lucas Hedges who never got the same from the Academy like Affleck, but hopefully will with 'Lady Bird' or with a stones throw here. The kids the future like former 'First Class', X-Men academy actor Caleb Landry Jones who owned his moments in last years horror favourite 'Get Out' and Tom Cruise 'American Made' movie, but is close to his own one now after never being better than right here, right now. Then there's 'X-Men: Apocalypse' and of course 'In Bruges' actor Zeljko Ivanek known for 'Damages' and 'Madame Secretary', showing great and recognisable character, copping a duty behind the desk. With new, smooth rolling detective in town Clarke Peters bringing his 'Person Of Interest' and 'The Wire' credits behind his badge, along with the velvet voice to rival Morgan Freeman's beautiful baritone. Even Bradley Cooper's 'Limitless' love interest and co-star Abbie Cornish is here to show the cast is exactly that like the Australian actresses accented range. And how about Mr. Lannister himself? As 'Game Of Thrones' standout Peter Dinklage may look like a mix of his characters from 'Elf' and 'X-Men: Days Of Future' past here, but he really brings some of the best and brightest moments too in a dinner date and drink after worth of screen time. There really is so much going on here in McDonagh's movie that will leave you crying with laughter and horror. But in a contrasting, heads and tails movie there is one fact that leaves no sides for debate. This leaves everything else out right now outside. Aside from a C.G.I. deer that still makes for a dearly beautiful scene this thing is flawless. And has the most beautiful use of the "C U Next Tuesday" word this side of the blades of Margot Robbie's 'I, Tonya' glory. 'Three Billboards Outside, Ebbing Missouri'...now that's a lot to read. Especially over three advertising hoardings. But by the 'Moonlight' of mid-February in 'La La Land' you'll be damn sure it'll be wrote in an envelope sealed, 'Best Picture'. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Further Filming: 'Fargo', 'In Bruges', 'Rampart'.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

REVIEW: HOSTILES

4.5/5

3:10 To Hostile Territory.

135 Mins. Starring: Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike, Wes Studi, Jesse Plemons, Rory Cochrane, Timothee Chalamet, Jonathan Majors, Adam Beach, Q'orianker Kilcher, Paul Anderson, Bill Camp, Stephen Lang, Ryan Bingham & Ben Foster. Director: Scott Cooper.

Truer grit has barely been ground through tobacco spitting teeth. Now you'd be 'Unforgiven' for thinking they don't make good, bad and ugly westerns like Clint Eastwood used to anymore. Because for all your Rio's and 'Magnificent Seven's' there is still a fistful of modern day more. And we aren't talking about the neo genre of todays classics like 'No Country For Old Men', 'Cold In July', 'Hell Or High Water' and dare we say it even the latest Hugh Jackman, Wolverine 'Logan' movie. Did we forget the Cohen's even greater remake of John Wayne's 'True Grit' now? Take 'Tombstone' Kurt Russell's ultraviolent 'Bone Tomahawk' for ball breaking example. Perhaps one of the genres greatest now or then. How about old man Tommy Lee Jones starred and directed 'The Homesman' that really brings it all back to your front door? Or even Fassbender's 'Slow West' wild ride with a fellow Nightcrawling X-Men. Even the 'Dark Knight' himself Christian Bale, despite all the billions Batman's Bruce Wayne brought is no stranger to the spurs in dust genre. Remaking the classic '3:10 To Yuma' into another one as he tried to get a murderous Russell Crowe on a last train deadlier than the Orient Express. But now reuniting with his 'Out Of The Furnace' director Scott Cooper (who gave us the acoustic, cowboy, 'Crazy Heart' of Jeff Bridges and the modern wild west of Johnny Depp's 'Black Mass' gangster) and going straight into the fire of racial and land ownership politics still rife and rampant today like wildfire, Bale drops a haymaker for not only his best western, but all round movie yet. 'American Psycho', 'The Machinist', or last years utterly criminally underrated 'The Promise' with 'Doctor Zhivago' prescribed love triangle, Oscar Isaac and Charlotte La Bon. Keeping the memory of the Armenian genocide and those of their people that survived, alive. And now as Christian's faithful general in Costner costume dances with all sorts of wolves, the oldest American genre in movie making history is drawn to a 'Hostiles' takeover.

Bale brings forth a formidable Captain character based on late 'Missing' and Tom Clancy 'Jack Ryan' series screenwriter Donald E. Stewart's unpublished, maverick manuscript. Directed straight arrow perfectly by old 'Furnace' friend Cooper, Christian's character plays not only reluctant hero, but reluctant retiree seemingly unwilling to learn from everyones previous mistakes, aswell his own, or this late in life. Especially with one last job no man in his position wants to do. Especially even one so war raw fuelled with flammable hatred, captured behind the trademark long beard of Bale's hidden mouth and strained veins of a road weary warrior with at least one or two good fights left in him. In the name of the law, but not the lord he still somehow flickers belief in, although he'd rather flick through Caesar than the Bible, Bale's born soldier is old testament slaughtering Native American's he like so many others at the time call savages, all on their own land. So you can imagine his reservation in being detailed with transporting one across the plains. Especially one who personally is his sworn enemy, responsible for as cutting as many heads (and ingloriously like a bastard, scalps) as he is...but one who has taken the hearts of men he calls friend...if not family. Bale at his brutally bold and at times blisteringly beautiful best gives this all the grit and spit he's got, no polish. The only sheen that resides here is beyond the pride of his uniforms badge, but down to the corrupted core of a man that has a lot more heart than his soulless killing suggests. A leather and chaps cauldron of repressed anger and restrained goodness simmering, the passion of Christian lip bit and lump throated is so powerfully pure. All the way down to the silent screams and the tears that come spilling out from every place a leak can spring, that this is his most puncuated project yet. Forget the words he doesn't say, but when he's wise or comforting to it boy do they count. Like '3:10' what you read on this mans face when it barely even looks like he's registering an emotion tells so much more, giving light of day to finishing E. Stewart's stellar, moving manuscript. They say the eyes are the soul and as you see Christian Bale's through his piercing ones you can barely look away.

On the road he picks up 'Gone Girl' Rosamund Pike. And she really is this time, having just witnessed her whole family slaughtered by real savages burning her house to the ground in the first five minutes of this movie that will leave you 'Tomahawk' shell shocked and raw for revenge. Widowed, homeless and childless, Pike left still holding her baby amongst the charred wall remains of her home brings real post traumatic pain to the forefront of her tour de force performance. Christian is movingly sympathetic and kind to her, opening up a well of grace and humility thought forgotten amongst all the discriminate evil, but Rosamund's Rosalie is the real revelation. Showing all emotion from the sleeve to her bleeding, broken heart in the ground, pleading to our every sense of humanity. One scene shovel struggling to bury her entire family alone won't just leave you in tears, but with both your mouth and your guard down. There's no physical look to describe this type of pain, until Pike spikes us with it and leaves it eating at us inside. If Christian doesn't make it to the Academy, at least give Rosamund a nomination in a late run worthy for the Oscars like 'All The Money In The World', 'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri' and Speilberg, Streep and Hanks' 'The Post'. As a matter of fact Cooper's whole cast is ready for acclaim. Just like the welcome return of 'Last Of The Mohicans', 'Dances With Wolves' and 'Heat' legend Wes Studi, a study of measured brilliance and soulful greatness. Flanked by his family of ever underrated 'Cowboys and Aliens' and 'Suicide Squad' star Adam Beach who first made his name bringing power to his people in 'Flags For Our Fathers' and 'New World's' Pocahontas' Q'orianker Kilcher as a powerful Elk woman. Bale's boys helping him on the trails transportaion (Cooper's 'Black Mass' character actor, Jesse Plemons, bearded 'Argo' actor Rory Cochrane, 'Interstellar' ready for Oscar to 'Call Me By Your Name', Timothee Chalamet, star of this instant Jonathan Majors, 'Peaky Blinders' and 'Sherlock Holmes-A Game Of Shadows' gun for hire Paul Anderson and even singer/songwriter Ryan Bingham giving us a 'Rio Brave' like campire song break), are all nothing short of absolutely brilliant in what they say and on their conflicted faces don't speak. Even familiar face veterans like Bale's 'Public Enemies' co-star and 'Avatar' star Stephen Lang and 'Lawless' character actor Bill Camp (even better here than how good he is at the table of 'Molly's Game' right now) set up shop in cameo form. And as if that wasn't enough, come 'Hell Or High Water', 'Yuma' co-star Ben Foster shows up halfway through to add another outlaw wildcard to this territory traversing mix as maddingley brilliant as Ben always is. But as grandiose and great as this indie film looks, from the Hollywood who's who cast to the cinematic canvas of this great American land as timeless as the gunfights here that feel as vintage as they do modern day set-piece made and orchestrated, there's a moral message here that shoots right for your direct center. One that proves to us no matter our race, creed or social stature we all lay claim to this land one day we'll all belong under. So simply we better get along whilst the gettings still good before we all get got. Because behind every colour of skin and shade of eyes is a yearning soul and heart that beats the same. And this has so much of both in equal moving measure. The race for the best film of the year has already begun out the gates of 2018. With, without flaw one of the greatest westerns of our time. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Further Filming: '3:10 To Yuma', 'The Homesman', 'Bone Tomahawk'.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

REVIEW: THE GREATEST SHOWMAN

4/5

The Show Must Lo-Gan.

105 Mins. Starring: Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, Rebecca Ferguson, Keala Settle, Charles Stratton & Zendaya. Director: Michael Gracey.

There's no business like the man that invented show business. And who better to play this kind of entertainment entrepreneur than Hugh Jackman? Retracting his old man 'Logan', growling Wolverine claws, this ex X-Men plays the man who had the big top mind to coin the circus and all the attractions in it, P.T. Barnum with his certain joie de vivre. One of Hollywood's leading lights of showmanship in this city of stars, all the way from down under really is 'The Greatest Showman'. He's already shown us 'The Prestige' of magic and sang from stage to screen in the Academy of Oscars thrown like roses at the epic, iconic 'Les Miserables' awarded adaptation. The 'Australia' actor who made the real superhero jump a downhill wow factor in last years epic and emotional 'Eddie The Eagle', is really reaching a new personal best like his deepest, darkest and last movie of real adamantium steel yet this last year just gone. One neo-western, genre great that could make it all the way to awards season, like the arresting 'Prisoners', or this one for a man who once hosted his own version of the all singing and dancing with Beyonce Oscars. There is no one better in this industry in ever need of his infectious inspiration to play P.T. to a tee. This bub is a classically trained man of theatre bud. All you need to do is take a stream of consciousness down his Springsteen stripped-down, one man and two woman, fisherman play 'The River' of a few years back that held stage in a side street off midtown Manhattan to see this man has the raw potential, not to mention the ready made power to bring the greatest show to the greatest city in the world, New York in  a matrimony marriage of magic. One of Barnum's most famous quotes reads, "fortune favors the brave, and never helps a man who does not help himself". But you best believe in Hugh who shows us on this cinematic stage the show must go like Shakespeare said.

Ringleading a firey hoopla of lions, elephants and men hairier than bears (oh my!), Jackman's ringmaster is the top hat and tails that tell, all the way down to how he clutches at his ringmasters cane with puncuated purpose. The moment the old, vintage 20th Century Fox logo slideshow stutters into todays iconic classic logo, the music shifts from a tale as old as the flashbulb photography of 1835 at the tender age of 25 to modern music of these millennials's Spotify playlists. And the almost 50 year old Jackman who can play forever young like his engrossing enthusiasm or his ability to jack himself up to play the mutant wolfman doesn't miss a beat or single octave. Stepping with an astute flair of Astaire, whether hip-hop or old showtunes note perfect. This dynamo of a directorial debut from fellow Aussie and visual artist of 'Ned Kelly' and 'The Magician' Michael Gracey really shoots for what you can see from the Hollywood hills grace of the Griffith Observatory. And even those 'City Of Stars' songwriting geniuses behind Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone's 'La La Land' that won almost every Oscar except the last envelope get to 'Rewrite The Stars' here in some cinematic numbers that are still cool enough to aux rock on your next road trip. Circus coloured like a Baz Lurhman moxie mix of 'Moulin Rogue' and 'Great Gatsby' gold slick and with water for C.G.I elephants showing well and truly no animals were harmed in the making of this movie like they never should be, this movie is bold, beautiful and bat crazy. Borrowing costume and cinematically from Hugh's who who of 'Prestige' and 'Miserables', but without a hint of misery in this esteemed piece of entertainment eminence...which is exactly the resolution we need in the New Year post-Christmas blues of a cold January. Pure joy, unadulterated. From the grubby, foggy town bread stealing beginnings that heartbreakingly tells us "this isn't the life I promised you...not even close", to the fruits of his labor of and for love that lead to new homes, food on the table for his family everynight and a supremely tailored suit our leading man changes like we do our socks. The jack of all trades Jackman can do it all, especially as the no for an answer dreamer with a recipe for reality born in Barnum. And just wait until this handsome and heartfelt man of honor really sings. Forget an award nomination. This man deserves his own category. One signed and sealed, showstopper thanks to this dynamite delivery.

Hold your applause however. Because this pack is more than it's Wolverine leader as the show will never go on without something to see. And there really are some sights to behold here, tightrope to trapeze in some classic chereography to rival the French fancy of the Cirque de Soleil. So much so if the pyrotechnics can pull it off like the stage hands here, this candy coated American dream should see the wicked stage in real life in the 'Jersey Boys' and 'Chicago' electric Times Square of N.Y.C. itself, starring Showman Jackman for an epic, extended run. Because this movie moving the millions has the numbers to do it from songs that beat and pick you up, pinning your dreams hammer and nail. One shot for shot slide across the bar, drinking game dance stumble you never want to call last orders on, even when you get your coat rivals the stepped up sailor Jerry 'No Dames' tap-dance of Channing Tatum in the Cohen's 'Hail Caesar'. And who else to partner up with Jackman in a showcase like this than 'High School Musical' generational great Zac Efron? A slam-dunk of a cast, forever embalmed in forever 21 youth, despite reaching his thirties and new heights in this years hilarious 'Baywatch' save and the good 'Neighbors' franchise that is even borrow a cup of sugar bold enough to wake up zombies in the next installment of their trilogy making franchise. The effervescent Efron has barely been better and the man who can play serious, seriously good ('The Paperboy'/'Parkland'), but still have fun mixes both here for a moral message behind the curtain of all that magic. He falls hard for Marvel's 'Homecoming' Spider-Man's M.J. crush Zendaya like the rest of Hollywood have. And here the young actress of the future and right about now shows exactly why she can go by one name already like Destiny's Child. They make a stand for race relations and relationships with anyone your heart falls for in a movie that features 'Manchester By The Sea' Academy actress Michelle Williams as a wonderful woman, wife and moving mother and 'Life' and new 'Mission Impossible' franchise star Rebecca Ferguson, formidable as a singing starlet and sensation Barnum wants to have to bring his show to a whole new stage...as if meeting the Queen at Buckingham Palace wasn't the crown jewel. But for all the all-stars holding stage here the real wonders of the show are the extraordinary people P.T. wanted the world to see in all their unique individuality and quirks. From bearded ladies and teen wolfs to the tallest and heaviest men in the world. As Jackman's Barnum makes star attractions of those others in ignorance and hate call "freaks". Showing that the only unusual thing about being different than everyone else is the courage and one of a kind power it takes to be your very own person, true to self in a freakish world always trying to change what's good and right because it doesn't have the bravery to be it itself. And that's an idea that will stay with you long after the curtain closes on this piece of classic cinema. Whether you're someone who has suffered the same bullied belligerence hiding in the shadows of shyness and silence until now (and if you ever doubt yourself or your dream this New Year remember they used to throw fruit and bottles at Prince of all people when he used to perform on stage...Prince?!). Or whether you are exactly the someone who has denied these people just like you their voice and their right to be heard. Well here...they are given all the worlds stage. And bursting through the miserable barricades this is why the real stars of the show are the beautiful Keala Settle, commanding Charles Stratton and all the people they really represent with no apologies except the ones we owe them. You see them now?! This is you. This is me. This is us. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Further Filming: 'La La Land', 'The Prestige', 'Les Miserables'.

Saturday, 30 December 2017

REVIEW: THE FOREIGNER

3.5/5

Kung-Fu Yoda.

114 Mins. Starring: Jackie Chan, Pierce Brosnan, Ray Fearon, Michael McElhatton, Liu Tao, Charlie Murphy, Orla Brady & Katie Leung. Director: Martin Campbell.

Ni hao! Now if the streaming service Netflix is foreign to you old school, red letter multiplex cinema head purists, then it's time to no longer be lost in translation like Murray on 'Groundhog Day' over and over again. They say there's more than one way to skin a cat and you old dogs better believe there's more than one way to release a big, mainstream movie this forlorn fall. No matter what 'The Last Jedi' is telling you in cinemas now. It's not just big blockbusters that are zapping each other this time of the year in a time were the legendary 'Jumanji' is a video game and Hugh Jackman is still 'The Greatest Showman'. There's a star wars on the small, smartphone screen too. And in all these streaming wars, despite Amazon being in their prime and Apple taking a bite out of T.V. aswell as music, all the competition really chills in the face of Netflix. The new multimedia giant who even survived the fall of Kevin Spacey and their very own original origin show 'House Of Cards'. The exclusive content channel that even has scores of series' of their very own street-level Marvel heroes. Not to mention somethings you may have heard of like 'Orange Is The New Black', 'Narcos' and 'The Crown'. Let alone rights to the laughable likes of Jerry Seinfeld and Dave Chappelle. But how about their movies for those who want to lazy stay in on date night? Well after groundbreaking ones like Idris Elba's 'Beasts Of No Nation' started the Oscar so better pay attention ball rolling seasons ago, more movies made for Netflix only have appeared with some of the biggest, most exclusive names in Hollywood. This year especially were we have seen a 'War Machine' from Brad Pitt, a 'Mudbound', ground up Oscar favourite and another Academy acclaim starring the actor...erm Dustin Hoffman. And even this Christmas to New Year period one of the most famous faces in the world Will Smith can be found illuminated on your phone for the critically slated but commercially underrated 'Bright' that itself cops a battle with Smith's sons former 'Karate Kid' mentor Jackie Chan, otherwise known as 'The Foreigner'.

And like 'Jane Got A Gun', Natalie Portman playing the widow of JFK, Jackie is acting his heart and soul out. Chinaman legend Chan goes hell by the Stephen Leather 1992 book as 'The Foreigner', but unlike that 80's rock of ages band he isn't wanting to know what love is. But who the hell the bomber is that took his daughter. And for the ageing Asian action-hero who is far from 'Expendable' (yet...make the call Sly!), this is more Neeson, 'Taken' then Keanu, 'John Wick' in the closing chapters of this legends still legacy making career. His iconic fighting style still palms up with fists of rougher housing fury in brutal, but brilliant fight scenes dyed with more 'Atomic Blonde' powerful peroxide, raw realism over polished perfection. Sure this greats kicks these days are more Charlie horse than Chuck Norris roundhouse, but like Ali past his prime he can still deliver a knockout blow because he'll always be the greatest. And just you wait until he unloads with a home made shotgun in a handyman visit to your home, in a buckshot bullet, blunderbuss of bumbling action that is more forcefully real than reality-less funny. One stove to living room apartment set-piece that doesn't just throw the kitchen sink at you...but the flash flat-screen T.V. too. Sure the 'Police Story' legend doesn't move at a 'Rush Hour' pace anymore (even 'Rush Hour 3'), but it's even more incredibly inspired and impressive that he still puts his body on the line even more. As the man who always does his own stunts and is always O.K. shows and proves to us running and falling down a roof with the rest of the sliding tiles that if there's a bone in the human body that he hasn't broken yet in his laundry list of hospital gown sick notes then our skeleton's haven't evolved to it yet. But it's more than the power of the physical here. As psychologically a salt and peppered Jackie is at his personal best here. At least his most influential since Tokyo, Japan's martial art-less, in house drama, 'Shinjuku Incident'. Forget a broken pelvis or back at a break neck pace. Chan nurses a broken heart here and a forever bruised soul with a deep and dark portrayal of a man powerless in pain, but ready in a revenge soaked return for retribution. Jackie Chan has an honorary Oscar from the Academy for a reason more than the high-wire highlights. He's always been willful and able to actually act. But here the nuance amongst all the noise, eye of Chan see's so much more inside the very being of a man who has lost everything he lived for. And still soldiering on, it doesn't get realer or genuinely felt in true thespian testament than that. The Academy may just invite this lovable actors character back this mid-February. Because this is heart.

Yet Chan isn't the only formidable one in 'The Foreigner'. Cue 'November Man' Pierce Brosnan this December. Yes Bond...that James Bond. Who reunites with 007 'Goldeneye' director Martin Campbell, who also dealt the cards in Daniel Craig's 'Casino Royale' takeover hand and...erm the bright 'Green Lantern' movie (which technically gave us Ryan Reynolds 'Deadpool'...so thank you Martin!). Playing a Gerry Adams lookalike with his homegrown Irish accent on two fingers whiskey high potency. Playing an ex member of the IRA, seemingly playing it politically straight, but also in the way of Chan's arrow hearted desire to bring the terroists who took his daughters life in the explosive crossfire of making a "statement" to justice. Campbell's gritty ashes to dust movie from London to Northern Ireland is closer to the marrow than the bone, as this isn't just raw and relevant for history, but right, damn now especially too. And thankfully a piercing Brosnan on the brute best of his career doesn't let up like this movies terribly tense and terrifyingly taught tone, in both his characters ignorance and refusal to yield to both the power of information and peace. The cruel and contradictory confliction of a coward and a corruptor is captured perfectly by the former action hero himself who shares a surname with Charles. Never have you seen a character who refuses to admit or accept, yet forget or give up on his buried but dirt knee rubbed past. And never in his great career has the actor ever been better and perhaps ever will be. His own convincing conflictions setting of a catalyst of events and sub-plots that almost unfairly sidelines Chan somewhat, all until his karmatic conclusion matches the ante of his explosive entrance. Sub-stories that include characters and actors like 'Thrones', 'Zookeepers Wife', 'King Arthur' and 'Justice League' familiar face Michael McElhatton. Former police procedural actor now commander of counter terroism (via a 'Beauty & The Beast spot) Ray Fearon on fearless, offical form. Emotionally widowed wife Orla Brady. Charlie Murphy (not the late, great comedian brother of Eddie, but a 'Peaky Blinders' leading lady of tomorrow) and amazing Asian actresses Liu Tao and Katie Leung. But this clever cast still has nothing on the man whose had every risked limb of his life in one until he finally found the part that is set to (re)make him instead. The streaming supernova Netflix between Bronsan back catolouging also shoots many a Chan classic. From the 'Drunken Master' to 'Kung-Fu Yoga'. And all 'The Tuxedo's', 'Young' and 'Railroad Tigers' and exclusive 'Skip Traces' with 'Jackass' Johnny Knoxville inbetween. Yet it's this 'Foreigner' that you will really relate to...no matter where you come from. Still dancing and kung-fu fighting like those boys that were as fast as lightning at 60, Chan is still the man. Yeah Jackie! TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Further Filming: 'Shinjuku Incident', 'November Man', 'Terror In Resonance'.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

REVIEW: BRIGHT

3/5

Bad Orcs, Bad Orcs.

118 Mins. Starring: Will Smith, Joel Edgerton, Lucy Fry, Ike Barinholtz, Kenneth Choi, Edgar Ramirez & Noomi Rapace. Director: David Ayer.

It's going to be a 'Bright' Christmas this season for the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. But can the one-time 'I Am Legend' fall, "Lord of the Films" wrap orcs, fairies and other creatures of legend together with humans as well as he 90's mixed a Jazzy Jeff record scratched music career with the science fiction of zapping aliens his secret society welcomed to earth? Well here comes the man in black as a boy in blue and when there's a megastar Will Smith, you know there's a Hollywood way. One that can make this 'Bad Boys' meets 'End Of Watch' and everything this side of the shire work after throwing the book it was supposed to go by out. As to cop this buddy orc fairytale actually takes you out of fantastyland and into the gritty 'Sabotage' realism of working the downtown beat from the hood to the cruiser of the LAPD. F### furious, 'Fury' director David Ayer-who uses that mother lovin' word like puncuation in his brute mess films-reunites with 'Deadshot' Will Smith after their DC Batman villain guns for hire 'Suicide Squad' for an 'End Of Watch' style police partnership with a twist. There's no handheld camcorders to stringer document this procedure this time. Just a thousand year legend you'll have to see intermingle with us today to believe will fly like a fairy that looks nothing like Tink. "Fairy lives don't matter today" and apparantly neither does this movie according to "worst film of the year" scathing critics. But that cringe-inducing corny line that Smith still delivers on time like the mailman aside, 'Bright' is more illuminating than the critics putting it in the winter night give light of day credit for. As this buckshot and reload, seedy Los Angeles crimes night action is a hell of a red and blue flashing lights ride of enjoyable entertainment. Even if the "can't we all just get along" well intentioned message gets diluted in the Kool-Aid of some "oh yeah" too sugary for your teeth one liners. Turns out it's going to be a 'Bright' day as all is alright after all.

'Legend' had it that Will Smith Boxing Day movies would have patrons queing out the door and back again like he really was the last man on earth back in the day. Now this festive period you can just stream them instantly on Netflix at home or on your phone like all those Marvel shows, as Smith joins fellow big names this year like Brad Pitt's 'War Machine', Jackie Chan's 'The Foreigner', or Black Panther Chadwick Boseman's 'Message From The King' in going from the cinemax big-screen to one as small as up to the palm of your hand. But this is the future and the man who couldn't save a contrived but meant to be 'It's A Wonderful Life' meets 'Scrooge' classic Christmas movie 'Collateral Beauty' despite his charismatic best efforts is looking to downgrade the collateral damage to his A-list career on a minus report card. Even if that means dropping the charm for a more offensive arsenal alongside Ayer. The dynamo to dynamite director of rough around the edges cinematic scrapes that are either 'Fury' or 'End Of The Watch' game changing. Or like the maddeningly muddled 'Suicide Squad' or this right here. As Ayer gives the man with the nice clean raps (who even reunited with his D.J. Jazzy Jeff in the Las Vegas of the U.K. Blackpool of all places after Croatia this Summer for one hell of a show) a stereotypical streets of L.A. playground slapped with a parental advisory sticker and some epic content straight out of your childhood bedtime storybook. Ayer is the blunderbuss, Smith the steady hand. Making this movie somewhere between the precision of a sniper...or a machine gunner. And this pistol whipped quick draw in the end is good, not bad...even if at times it really is orc ugly. As when it comes to this city of fallen angels with dirty faces look, lit only by flickering neon reading, "X-X-X" Ayer's blunt force still hits home, despite the trauma. This graphic, comic-book violence has the makings of a cult, graphic novel.

Willing his way through it all. Whether Shrek's with bad teeth or elves with ears bigger than his, Officer Smith is a good cop despite the agent of change, 'Bad Boys' veneer. This is Mike Lowry, but beat after years on the job...yet still with that sense of humour as ammunition. Not to mention a pencil moustache Carlton would be proud of. Sure this is a far cry from the movie megastar millions, Smithsonian days of 'Independence Day' or 'I Robot'. Even those sci-fi to inspired ones of 'Hitch' or 'The Pursuit Of Happyness'. But yet just like the father/son trials of the critically scorched 'After Earth', or the not quite superhero 'Hancock' there's still a heart here. And the subtely soulful Smith (who don't forget only two falls back gave us his best Oscar worthy knockout since he played the greatest 'Ali' with the NFL brain injury tackling 'Concussion'...probably the most important sports movie of all time) can carry anything in this patrol of a formidably futuristic looking Los Angeles (even more so than in real life that still has those elements entwined like 'Lethal Weapon' Danny Glover's 'Predator 2' beat). Even partners that look like orc rejects from 'The Hobbit'. As riding Martin Lawrence shotgun to his bad cop/good orc 'Training Day' like ride is 'Warrior' and Academy 'Loving' worthy actor Joel Edgerton. The amazing Aussie who has been lighting it up since 'Midnight Special' is Jon Voight as Howard Cossell in 'Ali' unrecognisable here alongside Will. Almost looking like a Killer Croc 'Suicide Squad' reject riding shotgun. Yet still finds a way to the humanity of this creature and an aching heart behind all that hours in the chair make-up and snaggle teeth. Fellow countrywoman and 'Vampire Diaries' sucker Lucy Fry is also a shining standout despite the platinum blonde from down under looking like this is the third film Smith and Margot Robbie have done together since the slick 'Focus'...but that my friends is actually a con. This trio traverse an impressive cast including 'Neighbors' star Ike Barinholtz as a grubby cop you're not sure whether is dirty or not...but could sure use a wash round the ears and Marvel Howling Commando, come Spider-Man head teacher Kenneth Choi in almost what comes as a cameo. They're not the only talent grossly underused. As 'Gold', 'Point Break' actor Edgar Ramirez who probably only had a few days worth of shooting because he's in everything right now plays an elf on fleek (albeit one left on the shelf in the season of singing loud for all to hear). Whilst 'The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo' and bleach blonde and blue contacts, 'Promethesus' star Noomi Rapace looks great as this movies villain but barely has a screenplay page worth of dialogue. It's a good job she plays practically everyone in her other Netflix film, because you'll be asking what happened to her lines like 'What Happened To January'?! But this is one movie you should definitly still stream too. A trademark rough and not quite ready David Ayer stunted piece of genius that merely needs a little more mastering, but is as engrossing as its flaws. With a clever concept that's saying something but still has plenty of Toyota and (and I quote) "titty bar' stunning shootouts in the chamber to numb any dull, preachy pretense. Call me Mr. Brightside but this cop patrol for a wand actually works Potter. For Smith all is 'Bright' like all is calm. What you gonna do? TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Further Filming: 'Suicide Squad', 'End Of Watch', 'Predator 2'.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

REVIEW: STAR WARS-THE LAST JEDI

3.5/5

The Fisher Queen.

152 Mins. Starring: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyong'o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, Kelly Marie Tran, Billie Lourd, Laura Dern & Benicio Del Toro. Director: Rian Johnson.

This isn't the sequel you are looking for. Search your feelings, you know it to be true. Or then again is 'The Last Jedi' all just a messy trip, mind trick? As the 'Star Wars' saga continues for a long time in a galaxy far away. Decades following George Lucas' original and quite possibly the greatest trilogy of all-time (sorry 'Godfather') that not only changed the science fiction, gravity defying genre, but also the movie world as a whole, the new milleniuum came with young Anakin, pod racing and Ja Ja f###### Binks (he so sorry). Sure the prequel trilogy that looked as promising as Darth Maul's dual revealing saber and the light battle that ensued (but now...or should we say "WOW" will never be the same thanks to Owen Wilson) was a different sort of menace. But it had it's moments (Obi Wan and Django duelling like the old west in the rain anyone?) and if it wasn't for the limbless failure Lucasfilm learnt from we wouldn't have this brand new trilogy and solo stories that bring the rolling credits right back to us. 'Star Trek' Bad Robot reboot director J.J. Abrams of all filmakers gave the next generation 'A New Hope' truly in his cheers and tears evoking fun and fantastic epic 'The Force Awakens'. And after this trilogy took a year break for the blueprint of the equally entertaining 'Rogue One', 'Star Wars Story' band of resistance brothers. Lead by another Rey of light with an even funnier droid that played like one of those perfect Playstation 'Star Wars' zapping games. It now returns like the Jedi for the last one (or should we say part two?) as this force of a franchise looks to do what 'The Hobbit' did each Christmas a few years ago and be the Smaug like fire that burns the box office down. Because apparantly even the 'Justice League' trinity of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman can't. But when it comes to this lord of the films in a Marvel superhero age how does this saga as old as Mark Hamill's Lucas beard keep up at a hyperspace pace with their Mickey Mouse Disney brother? Well with Abrams now A.W.O.L. to the trilogy conclusion at least it's time for the director of the most original and outstanding sci-fi in years ('Looper' complete with a Joesph Gordon-Levitt vocal cameo here alongside Stormtrooping Daniel Craig like ones from 'Inception' co-star Tom Hardy and two royals as you should never be afraid to dream a little bigger darling), Rian Johnson to lead the Resistance to a first class film against the First Order.

Energize...oops sorry, wrong movie! Yet still warp driven or not this sophomore sequel still has that Rian looping energy even with J.J. gone 'Into Darkness' for this follow up. Episode 8 and part two begins yet again with another Academy acting Oscar Isaac and his and our new favourite droid BB-8 (the best beach volleyball since Tom Hanks' 'Cast Away' Wilson) having the most fun of his compelling career, this time firmly in the cockpit of his beloved X-Wing, console charging through cinematic classic carnage. Reminding us of what it would have been like if Al Pacino never turned down that Solo part and thankfully being present and oh so correct throughout in a new jacket even cooler than the one he gave to his bromance jacket brother Finn. John Boyega (no spoiler because you've seen the almost show it all trailer) is back after having a jagged light saber stripped through his spine. And moving us like Motown the 'Detroit' Oscar worthy is better than ever attacking the block like dealing with aliens and chrome dome Stormtroopers ('Game Of Thrones' and 'Top Of The Lake' standout Gwendoline Christie again in limited time in the spotlight again more than literally shines) is nothing new. And amongst all the rock face drama between the biggest cliffhanger in 'Star Wars' history and 'Murder On The Orient Express' actor Daisy Ridley who again kills it as Rey the hero this new world looking for light deserves after all the dark and cute robin/hamster like hybrids the Porgs (which are so cash cow cute you'll probably find them on the top aswell as underneath your tree this Christmas) there is so much more to this force. Visually Johnson's vivid imagination is on a machine-level scale like no other and this whole movie is canvassed in stark scarlet. From the blood red herrings of the trailers and mosaic posters to the salt of a storming desert warfare scene to dust to dust. Even the chess piece like Imperial Guards surrounding the red room of Supreme Leader Snoke are a samurai army of rouge. And as for what comes to a hilt in there...DAMN! Now no longer in huge hologram form we finally see Snoke for who he is. And the Ceasar of mo-cap acting Andy Serkis (who deserves his own motion capture category Academy and Oscar for his new 'Planet Of The Apes' trilogy work of real emotion and devotion) is supreme as Snoke, even if the leader looks like Gollum grew up, developed a skin condition and was left one of Hugh Hefner's bathrobes. The February forthcoming T'Challa villain joined by fellow 'Black Panther' star Lupita Nyong'o in a motion capture cameo that begs for more from the '12 Years A Slave' Oscar winner. Snoke wants to turn the guilt ridden Kylo Ren to a snake that will never slither from the Dark Side. And after showing these scars 'Paterson' and 'Logan Lucky' underrated star Adam Driver drives this home with such a force that the only thing disappointing about his whole angst-apprentice thing is that he destroys that Darth Vader idolizing mask everyone loved so much they put their hands over their mouth like Bane to idol impersonate themselves. Come on Ben...finish what you started.

Resolution will have its day here in a film that deals with more family drama then Dr. Phil and still has enough in the budget for a big, gaudy casino country scene that's just as bat s### crazy as some of the creature characters that reside here. And like all the animals that stampede through here sometimes it's all too messy for every fans liking. And as Disney strict kept to the script that all this Star Wars story that ties in to every book and game ever released with that iconic logo (whether even comic-book or playing cards) is sometimes 'The Last Jedi' feels like it's all being made up as it goes along in what has already become the most divisive 'Star Wars' movie yet. And to those saying it's the second best of all-time, it's more like the original trilogy in podium order, then the last two years two tied for fourth, this and then the prequel trilogy, headed by the 'Phantom Menace'. All this and thank goodness for the good ole likes of Chewie, R2 and Anthony Daniels C3-P0 who has finally given Iron Man his arm back. But give credit where directing credits are due because after the flat feeling of this film that albeit is all too noticable, Johnson saves the day with some amazing action and defining drama to make up for some mistakes that make us yearn for the man who regarded Henry and then was bold enough to blast a saber right through Harrison Ford's Han Solo. One legendary light fight and duel in particular will seperate whats dark from all that's bright until everyone runs crimson. So in this movie for every metaphorical Binks there's a Bobba (and no don't worry or rejoice that wasn't an Easter Egg...they aren't here). For every hammed up general acting from a much better Domhnall Gleeson there is a new actress showing us how good she is in the introduced Kelly Marie Tran who got so emotional about earning her first big break here. Even though she had to lie to her family and friends for this shrouded in secrecy sequel and say she was shooting an indie flick in Canada. As a matter of fact there's so much new hope in the form of some veteran help here. 'Jurassic Park' legend Laura Dern, complete with purple rinse looks like she could carry on after Carrie with all due respect in honour. Whilst a stuttering 'Sicario' saga star Benicio Del Toro grubbly steals the show like he collects infinity stones in the Marvel Universe for this war. But you can't beat the old dogs and original big-three, even without Ford's Solo. Mark Hamill's Luke Skywalker is finally back and hilariously not just glaring at his glow stick sword for half a minute, lifting his Jedi cloak hood up with his Terminator fingers after all this time. He's not the baby faced whiner anymore. These decades and days he resembles someone who truly looks like a father figure and it's here on these highlands where this former student becomes the master and mentors his new apprentice. All whilst learning much more about his path and how to trim, if albeit not to shave. Hamill is hallmark here however and the only honoured homage that pays better tribute to this movie and all the Jedi franchises that have come before it is that of the Princess. Now generally speaking more like a queen as Carrie Fisher is a formidable force here in her final movie that she fittingly sees through to the end in a conclusion that will leave you no longer thinking, but knowing that this muse and her movie gave their everything they had to each other until the final fade out. And after some soaring scenes that draw even more smiles across faces than that C.G. 'New Hope' beginning, 'Rogue One' end cameo who will carry the light in her rest? Well who else but another great young actress with powerful potential and that hair do to match? Who else but an actress whose appearance here is more acclaimed than just an actual tribute cameo? Who else but the brilliant Billie Lourd? Who else but Carrie Fisher's daughter? After all this franchise was always about one thing stronger than the force...family. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Further Filming: 'Star Wars-The Force Awakens', 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story', 'Star Trek-Beyond'.

Monday, 18 December 2017

REVIEW: MOLLY'S GAME

4/5

Mollywood.

140 Mins. Starring: Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Michael Cera, Joe Keery, Jeremy Strong, Bill Camp, Chris O'Dowd & Kevin Costner. Director: Aaron Sorkin.

Much more than stakes or Academy aces are high here as Jessica Chastain goes all in for 'Molly's Game'. One of today's best actors who is about to become an 'X-Men' this Summer like 'A Most Violent Year' co-star Oscar Isaac's 'Apocalypse', swaps her trademark 'Dark Phoenix'/Molly Ringwald (could she be 'IT' too?) do for some raven locks. Growing into them to play Molly Bloom and the real life story based on her memoir of the same movie name about the former Olympic skier who salomon switched to another game. All the way from the thin air of Colorado to the hot sun of Hollywood, chicaning via the debauched sin of Las Vegas. Running the biggest and most exclusive, underground, billionaire boys poker game for athletes and politicans and DiCaprio's and Affleck's alike. Although here to protect identities they are more like Cera's and that kid from 'Stranger Things' with the hair for you chip geeks. It's not all how this slick movie looks however in black and red as under the wig is a perfect performance for Chastain's Oscar chasing big-three roll of 2017. See also her heroic roles in the war resistance of 'The Zookeepers Wife' and her one woman 'Miss Sloane' army against every gun range in the United States. But now former creator of the real 'American President' in 'The West Wing' (forget a Trump or Frank Underwood) Aaron Sorkin follows his screenplay work for the likes of David Fincher ('The Social Network') and Danny Boyle ('Steve Jobs') for a dynamic directorial debut that leaves it all on the green felt table. Much like his Michael Lewis adapted 'Moneyball' big swing, now showing that you should never leave his inspired ideas in the hands of someone else or the cutting room floor (see the criminally underrated 'Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip' starring Bradley Whitford and Matthew Perry). For this 'Molly' you're looking at the hottest screenwriter in Hollywood and one of it's legendary, legacy making leading lights. Shall we play a game?

Digits stack like chips and numbers crunch like snow under skis on the most devastating descent as Sorkin sorts through some casino lever slick pulling direction that hits the jackpot like three reels of the same slot. Running the facts and figures like another Michael Lewis adapted movie in 'The Big Short', Aaron's debut in the chair headlined "director" makes it all look so too cool easy and like he had more time behind the lens for the likes of his screenplay big-three, 'The Social Network', 'Steve Jobs' and 'Moneyball'. But just like "playing a song for your daddy, right here in the store" or the 'if only the real world was really like this' wonder of 'The West Wing' there's huge heart behind all the hallmark hit highlights. Cue a Winter coat Costner on a cold Central Park bench again a la 'Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit'. Otherwise Sorkin's 'Molly' goes it 'Sloane' alone and makes her own modern American dream luck with no Hollywood b.s. damsel in distress hero to save the day for this heroine, or no love interest to keep the paint by numbers stereotypes crass canvased. Because just like Sorkin said, shooting down film festival press, "Brad Pitt didn't need one in 'Moneyball'", as Robin Wright was playing house with 'Her' director Spike Jonze in that Billy Beane movie. And from the winter sports pages snake eyes to the double or nothing second career gamble, 'Zero Dark Thirty' actress Jessica Chastain brings lights out, magic hour power of performance to her real world implicating character. She caters to the rich and famous high rollers but will never be brought or played by them. She holds her own and does her job, to those who think she looks the part...NO! She is the part and to those who think she's an object of desire or someone to flirt with between hands and cash exchanging for chips go home, grow up and think again. Her only interest besides her bank account is furthering herself and a career and high life that was lost on the slopes. This is Molly's empire...you're just playing in it. So lose your toys in the sandbox and get some perspective, because this woman even holds off the mob, takes a beating and picks herself up and carries on like any strong person and individual would. This is someone who walked away from a mountain sized fall that should have crippled her...physically and psychologically. A couple of goons in cheap suits? Forget about it! Chastain has been chasing and subsequently been called for these roles she's showed and proved for ever since her breakout in 'The Help'. And just like her leading co-star, 'La La Land' Oscar winner Emma Stone who is even greater in her latest movie 'Battle Of The Sexes' this is more than gender politics or going against a backwards Hollywood(land). This is the right for everyone willing to put in the work to get their equal share. Whether in dollars, sense or a piece of the American dream pie that should be all world reaching.

'The Tree Of Life' lead Jessica Chastain isn't the only one in full bloom however, playing a woman named after a James Joyce character. Idris Elba walks away from a critically shot down adaptation of Stephen King's The Dark Tower', which he Gunslinger carried with lonely charisma and yearning heroism to give us one of his best roles to date. Right next to the 'Beasts Of No Nation' Oscar rob that should have got more 'Blood Diamond' attention even if it was the state of Netflix a couple of years ago (and still somewhat to this day). London's 'Luther' again shows just like 'The Wire' how acclaimed his American accent can be as this Great British actor who grew from the small screen to the cinemax one is as so slick as the game he's trying to find a legal loophole around. But there's no oil to this lawyer even in a land of snakes as this attorney has a stirring soul behind all those legal briefs and objections. As a matter of fact switching seats more times than celebrities courtside at a Knicks game at Madison Square Garden, this reluctant representative has the biggest legal aid heart since Denzel Washington took Tom Hanks 'Philadelphia' case in '93. Just wait for Idris' impassioned, inspired peace saying speech that lump in the throat draws more cheers and tears than his "apocalypse" one in 'Pacific Rim' that even cancelled out Bill Pullman's 'Independence Day' one. The defence rests. But still there's even more to this movie that is more than just a casino or courtroom drama. It's layered. Take former 'Superbad' geek Michael Cera oozing milleniaal, "don't care" cool as a player who likes to "destroy lives" even if his top lip looks like it's still trying to get through puberty. This man yet again shows us he has more 'Scott Pilgrim' tricks as he takes on the world with all his 'Youth In Revolt' alter-egos. Even 'Stranger Things'' Joe Keery-who proved he had a lot more in the bag than being a douche in season 2 cameo-appears with that trademark Brylcreem showing us that in a couple more trips to the cinema he'll be Cera. As an ever versatile Jeremy Strong also shows us his strength of an actor as the usually all round good guy plays someone you'll hate. Whilst vests like Bill Camp bring character actor defying definition to small roles of significant that 48 hours at the table smell of substance. And if that wasn't enough 'IT Crowd' favourite Chris O'Dowd polishes off an American/Irish accent and whatevers left in whiskey on his bar tab. But for all the big names and recognisable faces at this all-star table of movie star high rollers its the legend Kevin Costner that really has presence in the shadows like in his hammer to "white only" bathroom stall sign support for the real life moon landing heroes of last years 'Hidden Figures'. Because this isn't the 90's 'Bodyguard', 'Waterworld' and 'Untouchable' legend Costner's movie...it's Chastain's. And as Sorkin soaringly writes and directs his vision of this story on screen shows one day she can do it all too. As in bringing the real Molly Bloom to life Chastain doesn't just partake in the game...she rewrites the rules of it. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Further Filming: 'Miss Sloane', 'The Social Network', 'The Big Short'.