Thursday, 28 October 2010


('FILMS FOR FRIDAYS' is taking a sabbatical for a fortnight, but check back in two weeks for the first reviews of films out this fall).

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 23: (L-R) Actors Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon and wife Luciana Barroso in the audience at the 16th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on January 23, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

(With their 'True Grit' plus 'Tron: Legacy' and 'Hereafter' Matt Damon and Jeff Bridges, two of the hardest working and best actors in the industry look to dominate the fall.

...there's a lot to look forward to including the birth of 'Due Date' a road trip comedy starring Robert Downey Jnr and Zach Galifiankis (or as he's more affectionately known Alan from 'The Hangover') the movie directed by hungover director Todd Phillips also stars Downey Jnr's 'Soloist' co-star Jamie Foxx and looks like this generations 'Planes Trains & Automobiles'...

...speaking of trains, hit movies about to arrive don't just stop there with the release of 'Unstoppable'. A high octane action, thriller from Tony Scott and Denzel Washington, who last collaborated on another 'Training Day' with The Taking Of Pelham 123'. The movie is about an unmanned train which wont stop, is full of deadly chemicals and is heading towards everything in it's path. 'Star Treks' Chris Pine and Rosario Dawson also star...

...if that's not enough danger you could always risk 'Jackass 3D' were Johnny Knoxville and co again defy death and permanent injury to bring you even closer to wild stunts and glorious stupidity, this time in stunning 3D...

...if that isn't eye catching enough why not try the computer animated 'Megamind' from Dreamworks that stars Will Ferrell and Brad Pitt, the mere thought of this is hilarious...

...and if that isn't out of this world enough for you maybe you should look to the 'Skyline'. The latest alien movie, which to be honest looks part 'Independence Day' part 'Mars Attacks'...

...still if you want to go beyond that you could try 'Hereafter'. This supernatural thriller contacts the dead in more ways than 'The Sixth Sense' did. Plus it marks the second collaboration between legendary director Clint Eastwood and front running, leading man, Matt Damon. Who previously won the world with the classic 'Inviticus'. This new duo look so good together, you'll wish they'll make movies forever more...

...over the next few months you should also check out 'The Next Three Days', the latest Russell Crowe thriller co-starring Liam Neeson about a man trying to break his wife out of prison... start December, Kevin Spacey puts his hand back in to movies with 'Casino Jack' a film about a disgraced Washington power broker...

...Reese Witherspoon leads an all star cast with Jack Nicholson and Owen Wilson in 'How Do You Know' a love triangle that involves Paul Rudd...

...if your looking for more comedy it doesn't come much larger than life than Jack Black in 'Gullivers Travels' a film where Gulliver encounters a small race of people called Lilliputians. See this film if you really want to see what six inches looks like...

...if that's too rude for you why don't you meet the 'Little Fockers' instead, the third installment in the hilarious Stiller and De Niro 'Meet The Parents' franchise, featuring everyone from the first two movie and Jessica Alba. Now you want to meet up again with this family, don't you?... close out the year Jeff Bridges matches his 'Crazy Heart' with a crazy schedule. First starring with Matt Damon (another guy working overtime (see above)) and Josh Brolin in 'True Grit' a more apt adaptation of the book which the 1969 film of the same name remade...

...Bridges other film this fall looks to be the film of the year. 'Tron: Legacy' is a sequel decades in the making that is set to redefine Disney and 3D (making it relevant again after it's novelty period). 'Tron' looks so shiny and stunning (these words don't begin to do it justice) that it just might blow 'Avatar' out of Pandora and leave its viewers looking at how young the 'The Big Lebowski' looks and saying 'duuuude'...

There are so many films for this fall that this is just the tip of the popcorn. So make sure you get a taste of all you can because your 'Films For Fridays' is looking real sweet for the holidays.TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Sunday, 24 October 2010



12A, 111 Minutes. Starring: Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren John Malkovich, Richard Dreyfuss, Brian Cox, Mary-Louise Parker & Karl Urban. Director: Robert Schwentke. Writer: Jon & Erich Hoeber

Morgan Freeman & Co prove their far from 'The Bucket List'.

Cast member Morgan Freeman poses at a special screening of the movie Red at the Grauman's Chinese theatre in Hollywood, California, October 11, 2010. The movie opens in the U.S. on October 15. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni(UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT PROFILE)

Who says you cant teach an old dog new tricks? Bruce Willis may be 55 but he's still 'Die Hard' and Helen Mirren may be 65, but she's still fancied by a fair few men who wouldn't like to admit it (not me of course). Also Morgan Freeman may be 73 but that doesn't stop him from acting like a 25 year old and as for John Malkovich, he may be 56, but he's still...well John Malkovich.

So to the movies aim or not, it's no surprise that these guys are drafted into a high octane action film, because they can still do it. Well Helen Mirren's casting may be a surprise but hey, her majesty will do as she pleases thank you very much. With 'RED' and Willis' other movie 'The Expendables' this year it seems that in 2010 the old dog really is having his day.

'RED' is yet another comic book classic from the DC machine, but a whole different read all together. 'RED' is about four ex CIA agents who come out of retirement, not that their worried about their pension, (as if these lot have to) their more concerned about what they know and who knows this (the CIA is never portrayed in a positive light in the movies).

It all starts with Bruce Willis who plays ex CIA agent Frank Moses (to be 'Frank' how many times is Bruce given a name like this in movies), who isn't really settling down into suburban life until his old, less boring life catches up with him. You know the deal, bullets, bodies, little more explanation then someone wants him dead. So with a first date in tow (if I'm honest Bruce comes on a little too strong here) Moses realises that he's not the only one targeted and then tries to get the band back together. With their lives on the line the four must reach into their old bag of tricks and avoid assassination, all whilst banding together on the run.

At one point Morgan Freeman is dressed like this fab four are about to join Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club, and just like those four boys from Liverpool this gang stands the test of time. Morgan oozes cheek, charm and cool all at the same time. While Bruce is on typical stellar form and Malkovich is at his formidable funniest in years, still crazy and stir crazy from all that time alone with his conspiracy theories. It's Helen Mirren who steals the show however, perfect in a role that for a more serious film would seem miscast, but not in this picture. She's perfect with a gun and I was wrong with what I said about her before. I'M IN LOVE!

These four corners of 'RED' don't just bring the film together, the middle supporting cast is on top form too. Richard Dreyfuss seems to be back on the map and his acting direction in this film is hilarious, while Scotsman Brian Cox is effortlessly great yet again amongst the Hollywood highlands. Karl Urban (who's career is moving at light speed at the moment), is great as the CIA agent hot on the gangs trail. He's slick, intimidating but has an integrity about him all at the same time. Not your typical villain, 'Star Trek's' Leornad McCoy shows he has the bones for acting. There is also some great support work from Malkovich's favourite pig, which you shouldnt turn your snout up at.

So will these 'other guys' break into the headquarters of the CIA and settle old scores and remove that price on their head? Well your going to have to check this out for yourself, but one thing you can bank on is a guarantee of popcorn action and classic comedy. Sure this film is a little throwaway, a little pop corny and a little forgettable in the post summer, pre-fall Cinema season. Still however as much as this film might get lost amongst other blockbusters it's still one of the most enjoyable films of the year.

The action is unbelievably good, emphasis on 'unbelievable' and it is perculiarly funny, emphasis on 'peculiar'. The direction is mapped out well too, includings some great cuts between scenes and different cities, complete with their classic 'Greetings From' post cards, 'The Boss' would be proud. This DC picture is a refreshing change from the usual comic adaptations. Not that it's normally a bad thing, but if you didn't know any better this movie doesn't feel like a DC picture. Thus showing that the franchise has more super tricks up their sleeve.

Overall all though 'RED' isn't the highest rater this year, in terms of guilty pleasures this film scores high however. Think of it as 9 'Law Abiding Citizens' out of ten. This is one movie that shouldn't make a loss at the box office. All the principal actors in this film are tried and tested, veteran talents and it's elementary that this produces nothing short of great performances, amazing action and large laughs. You'll already know before the first bullet is shot that this sure fire, hit of a film is going to be something enjoyable. You can take that as 'Red'.TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010



U, 92 Minutes. Starring: Alin Arkin, Jeff Bridges, Mia Farrow & Christopher Lee. Writer: Peter S. Beagle. Director: Jules Bass & Arthur Rankin Jnr.

SAN DIEGO - JULY 23: Actor Jeff Bridges inside the TRON MySpace Party At Comic-Con 2010 San Diego on July 23, 2010 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images for MySpace)

Forget 'Ponyo' or 'Spirited Away', if you’re an anime fan 'The Last Unicorn' is a must see! With vocal talents from Jeff Bridges and Christopher Lee, this film gets ever more impressive, with a beautiful soundtrack and animation that could only be described as art.

The story is based on Peter S. Beagles novel of the same name following a Unicorn who believes that she is the last of her kind. Desperate to find the other unicorn she sets out on a quest, on her travels she faces many dangers including the ferocious red bull who tries to catch her. Along with a few eccentric friends she meets along the way the unicorn finds herself in a castle falling in love with a young prince, but at a price…

Sure, at a first glance you would think this to be a children’s adventure film, but I argue for the cause! This film is truly beautiful and although over 25 years old still relevant. I would suggest the film more for the ladies but anyone who loves art, fantasy or is just a major movie buff must see 'The Last Unicorn'. SAMANTHA SMITH.

Sunday, 17 October 2010



12A, 120 Minutes. Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Rooney Mara, Andrew Garfield, Brenda Song, Armie Hammer, Rashida Jones & Justin Timberlake. Writer: Aaron Sorkin. Director: David Fincher

A likeable movie that's a real status maker.

Actors Justin Timberlake, Andrew Garfield and Jesse Eisenberg (L-R) pose during a photocall to promote the movie The Social Network in Berlin, October 5, 2010. REUTERS/Thomas Peter (GERMANY - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)

Love or hate Facebook, there is no denying that it has defined youth culture over the last decade. That guy with the canvas from MySpace must be sitting somewhere laughing at the Facebook jokes on 'Funny People' and whoever invented Bebo must be crying somewhere because Facebook kept refreshing while all other social networks were left as disregarded as pop ups.

So it was only a matter of time before they made a film about the website that practically everyone seems to be on. 'The Social Network' is the true story behind this social revolution. It takes us back to 2003, where Mark Zuckerberg, a student from Harvard university shuts down the campus' network with 22,000 hits on a 'FaceMash' site. A site which allows visitors to compares and rate girls photos as to who is more attractive (I can honestly say I've never been on this site). Following this controversy the Computer whiz-kid comes up with a way that friends in universities can contact each other and view their profiles etc (you know the rest, you do it every day).

Of course the rest is history. It's the start of 'The Facebook' revolution...uh hum, sorry 'Facebook', the founder of 'Napster' was right, it does sound better. If you think that you can't make much out of a movie from this except something real boring than join all the people who didn't think this Social Network would last because your wrong. The story of money, young entrepreneurs, jealousy and legal action is so interesting. Plus the drama is turned up so much that this film's psychological aspects could almost stand up next to the 'Wall Street' series.

Mark Zuckerberg may have 500 million friends a half dozen years later but his relationship status is listed as 'single' and his best friend (co-founder Eduardo Saverin) is suing him for 600 million dollars. The celebrity, billionaire may be making lists like Forbes but he's also making it onto the hate lists of several different people who all what a bit of credit for Facebook and more importantly a piece. Money talks and the battle over this is what makes this film speak. What makes it sing however is the relationships between all the characters and how it all changes with riches and fame for better or worse. Yet again these themes haven't been dealt with as well since Gordon Gekko ruled Wall Street, even if that film only came out last week.

The story of this film speaks for itself. Even if the real Facebook founders (who weren't involved with this picture) may argue in the press this film is the genuine article and what really went down makes for some real drama with little extra needed in ways of story telling. Still legendary 'Fight Club', 'Zodiac' director David Fincher knows the code and speaks the language of this story clearly well. The setting of the make or break dream world of California and the prestigious, aspirational beginnings of Boston's Harvard University make for perfect backdrops. While university man and top actor Kevin Spacey tutors brilliantly in the executive producers chair reuniting with Fincher after their killer collaboration on 'Se7en'.

This is all written and put together perfectly by Aaron Sorkin. The mind and pen behind the critically acclaimed 'The West Wing' (and deservedly so) and the commercially abstained 'Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip' (a great series that deserved more). This big three of Fincher, Spacey and Sorkin prove that even though this social network is a young man's game, the old hands behind the scenes are pulling the strings and computer cables. There's also a killer soundtrack from incredible Nine Inch Nails front man Trent Reznor who has provided the soundtrack for conflicted youth for different generations and now going all Eddie Vedder's 'Into The Wild' provides one for this Facebook generation.

It's the performances in this film however that confirm this story's acceptance and connection. Jesse Eisenberg (fresh off hitting big, killing rotting undead flesh in 'Zombieland') and Andrew Garfield deliver their best performances and there's great support from Brenda Song and Rashida Jones who do more than make up the friends numbers. Two guys in support really shine though and their played by on man, Armie Hammer. Arnie Ham's it up almost sounding like the Terminator as he believably and wonderfully plays both the Winklevoss twins (the days of bad edited spit screens are over), two prestigious Harvard alumni who are also rowers. Smart, strong, obnoxious and a joy to watch.

The real star of this show is a guy that very girl requests on Facebook, Justin Timberlake. The superstar of pop again shows he has acting chops. Playing the founder of 'Napster' Timberlake steals every scene. His confidence shining through as he plays the fast talking, charming but skeleton closet ridden Sean Parker. It's a ballsy move by singer Justin to play a guy that the music industry technically hates but Timberlake has the bones to do it. Timberlake really keeps the film going, holding it down, loading every scene with talent. His coolness shines every time he speaks, even if that's not so hard to do when your standing along Einsberg. A kid so damn geeky he makes Michael Cera look like Robert Downey Jnr.

So if you really want to see why your on 'Facebook' so much it's time to get offline on Friday night and actually go out and find out, because even this story is about more than a screen, keyboard and mouse. It's time to take control and enter and return to the real world, so you can see just what made this cultural phenomenon click. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010


(In the first of our new 'DVD Night In' series, new writer Samantha Smith gives us a different take on Hollywood).


18, 87 Minutes. Starring: Melanie Griffith, Stephen Dorff, Alicia Witt
Adrian Grenier, Mink Stole, Ricki Lake & Maggie Gyllenhaal. Director: John Waters

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 05: Director John Waters arrives at the 25th Film Independent Spirit Awards sponsored by Piaget held at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on March 5, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Getty Images)

After watching Hairspray the up-beat colourful musical that is John Waters most famous film, I was expecting Cecil B. Demented to be a colourful romance filled with singing and dancing, I couldn’t have been more wrong…

This cult film starring Steven Dorff is about a group of renegade teenage film-makers who kidnap a Hollywood starlet in an attempt to make and underground film that will say a big F**K YOU to mainstream cinema.

A laugh out loud parody of underground film making, which portrays obvious movie mistakes including bad dubbing, cameras being where they shouldn’t and obvious bad acting… some you notice and some you have to look out for! If you are a movie buff I strongly recommend that you watch this film particularly if you have become bored of the same old crap that is being churned out by Hollywood. This film will leave you totally hyped up and feeling rather clever at the fact that you recognised all the film terminology and intertextual references.

A brilliant in your face comedy that doesn’t take its self too seriously but also has a great underlying message that is sure to get you thinking…SAMANTHA SMITH.

Monday, 11 October 2010



12A, 113 Minutes. Starring: Michael Douglas, Shia LaBeouf, Carey Mulligan, Frank Langella, Susan Sarandon & Josh Brolin. Director: Oliver Stone

Douglas & Stone go double or nothing on a movie set to sell, sell, sell.

Oct 07, 2009 - New York, New York, USA - Actors (L) SHIA LABEOUF and (R) MICHAEL DOUGLAS on location for the new movie 'Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps' held at the Central Park Zoo. © Red Carpet Pictures

It has been more than 20 years since the original 'Wall Street' movie hit the big time. The Oliver Stone classic paved the way for a much deserved Oscar for Michael Douglas who banked on a career performance as financial lizard Gordon Gekko (Douglas would finish the 80's strong with this and the dark, classic, crime thriller 'Black Rain'). One meltdown and punch to Charlie Sheen's face in Central Park ended Gekko's reign and a story that would hold for decades. Still the influence of this classic has had an impact on the movie market since then even being brought into by the 2000 classic 'Boiler Room' which starred Giovanni Ribisi, Vin Diesel and Ben Affleck. A sequel now seems long overdue or does it?

In fact the 'Wall Street' franchise may have lay dormant for years but the sequel 'Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps' has come in perfect timing. Sequels these days don't come easy and neither does money. Wall Street 2 knows how to move with the times even if Gekko's mobile phone doesn't (and you thought your Nokia was a brick) and the film set in 2008 reflects the recession well mirroring Gekko as a man once on top of the world, now down and out and getting old as a new age of top dogs and sharks take their bite out of his infamous 'Greed is Good' philosophy.

Right from the start of the film it's clear that times may have changed but a classic villain should never be bet against. Movie goers who have never seen 'Wall Street' can invest in this film pretty quickly and any fan of the original thinking about cashing out will think again after the opening scene. You are thrown right back into the story as Gekko leaves prison and receives his personal effects, that includes a gold money clip, which has a point of having no money in it. As Gekko leaves prison a limo pulls up but it's not for him, it's for someone who's young enough to be his son. It's the beginning of the film and the villain is already defeated. Where can he go after hitting rock bottom? The only way is up and like those surging lines of stock forecast Gekko's heading to the top.

Back in New York (which is a city that never sleeps like money) Gekko meets young, passionate Wall Street trader Jake (Shia LaBoeuf) who is about to marry his estranged daughter Winnie (Carey Mulligan). Gekko has lost his time, his daughter, his Wall Street and his money and he wants it all back. Winnie wants nothing to do with her father but Jake takes to Gekko like green to money and that's were the story and the trouble starts. Gekko agrees to help Jacob with his problems in Wall Street but there is a derivative, Gekko is using his help as leverage. In return for Jake's help in reconciling his relationship with Winnie. So will the new anti-hero Gekko trade greed for good and reconcile with his daughter and gain with his soon-to-be son in law? Or will we see that cigar puffing, Pat Riley slicked hair lizard that once did outlandish things wearing even gaudier ties yet again? Well to find out your going to have to check this film out because remember everything has a price...OH NO! His influence is powerful.

Although 'Money Never Sleeps' isn't a classic it's still an asset to the 'Wall Street' franchise and the epic filmography of both Douglas and Stone. It's rare these days that a sequel stands up to the original, especially after so many years but this is what makes 'Money Never Sleeps' a boom instead of a bust. Due to the changing times and tones, this film is completely different to the original but still forms a cohesive story following it. The two films can line up next to each other and stand apart all at the same time. This financial thriller gives audiences so much drama without a single scene of action and even today it's still rare that a film can capture someones attention like that. Plus there are great support performances from Josh Brolin, Susan Sarandon and Frank Langella (who's stock has rose since 'Frost/Nixon'). There is also a great cameo from director Oliver Stone and an even better cameo from someone who has made his mark walking down Wall Street before.

The film itself is as slick as Gekko's trademark Dapper Dan hair. New York looks as grand and ruling as ever in all it's brilliance and the stock graphics on the Manhattan skyline and the time lapses further echo the films overtones. As for the undertones as soon as the opening credits role the feeling of familiarity is brought back with the same infamous, 80's font of the original 'Wall Street' movie, there's nothing as evocative as nostalgia. So remember don't sleep on one of the best films of this year. 'Wall Street' and Gekko may have been gone for years but their back with a bang. Time to save the moment for a film that goes for broke and brings in the returns. TIM DAVID HARVEY.