Monday, 29 November 2010

R.I.P LESLIE NIELSEN (1926-2010)

3113, HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - Sunday November 28 2010. FILE PICTURE DATED 1992 of actor Leslie Nielsen, who has died from pneumonia at the age of 84. The dead-pan comic who starred in comedy classics such as Airplne and The Naked Gun , passed away in a hospital near his home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with his family at his side.  Actor Leslie Nielsen at his home in LA. Photograph:  Paul Harris,

When comedic legend Bernie Mac passed George Clooney said "The world just got a little less funny," well it's become even less funnier now with the sad passing of a comedy great, Leslie Nielson. "Surely you can't be serious". The hysterical star of 'The Naked Gun' trilogy and 'Airplane' was suffering from pneumonia, he was 84. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family as we tip our hats to a true, individual, genuine Hollywood legend. Where would guys like Jim Carrey and Will Ferrell be without him? He will always live on through his deadpan and no longer will we call him Shirley. Rest in peace Leslie. Thank you sir. TIM DAVID HARVEY

Sunday, 28 November 2010



15, 105 Minutes. Starring: George Clooney, Violante Placido, Thekla Reuten, Paolo Bonacelli, Irina Bjorklund, Bjorn Granath, Johan Leysen, Filippo Timi. Director: Anton Corbijn. Screenwriter: Rowan Joffe.

The leading man of the United States 'Rome's' around Europe.

WESTWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 30: Actor George Clooney arrives at the premiere of Paramount Pictures' 'Up In The Air' held at Mann Village Theatre on November 30, 2009 in Westwood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

As George Clooney adds more stamps to his passport 'The American' on the outside looks like an excuse for the housewives favourite sexiest man alive to get his Chevy Chase on and take a European vacation between work. Still, however if you take a look inside this picture you'll see that it is in fact another great Clooney film to add to the collection as the leading man furthers his legend.

In this modern day George Clooney may be the closest thing we have to Cary Grant. The similarities to the classic star and the modern day hero are apparent. Even the score and the poster of 'The American' is a throwback to vintage cinema art and promotion. While the black and white image of a running Clooney on the billboard is almost has shades of 'North By Northwest'. Quite fitting for a man who might play Robert Vaughans (a man who looked like the next Cary Grant) role in an upcoming 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E' film.

This American and his film however are as individual and original as they come. With Clooney taking lead and production credits he looks to repeat on the classic status of 'Michael Clayton' with another deep dramatic thriller delving into characters with conflict and a troubled human nature. 'The American' centres around George Clooney's hit man character, who is in Italy for one last job where he has to construct a rifle but apparently doesn't even have to pull the trigger (we'll see). It is apparent however that the hunter has become the hunter and death isn't the only thing this assassin has been marked for. He's the target of love too.

What results is a rich tapestry of classic writing, direction and acting in a moody and atmospheric piece. This slow burner ignites from the start all the way to the last billow of smoke. The tension of this picture is pulled from the first brutally beautiful, frozen frame of the snowy wilderness and tightens all the way to the thrilling and anxious climax. Sure this film is slow and if you don't stay with it you may get lost in your own thoughts but like a great novel (and this film is based around a brilliant one ('A Very Private Gentleman')) it's best to keep reading into this. Each frame is directed and shot perfectly, the Italian scenery is beautiful but also captures the protagonists loneliness and isolation. These are perfectly depicted by Clooneys espresso (or should I say Nespresso) for one moments in Italian coffee bars that are as lonely and evokingly reminiscent of Edward Hoppers 'Nighthawk' painting.

The drama and the action is clinical and calculated but still the entertainment multiplies being just what a Clooney fan ordered. Whilst the romance is as real and evoking as the women in this picture. As the drama builds you know this is Clooney's domain and again he delivers. Just like 'Michael Clayton' this is a study of a character with his back against the wall and just like Clooney himself the character responds with class. There's even a scene similar to the closer of 'Clayton' where Clooney is head on with the camera as the direction goes through the motion of his changing emotion and expression perfectly.

The cold, dark, side streets of Rome provide the right backdrop for some perfect action set pieces. It also looks like Clooney took a 'Bourne' crash course lesson on cold killing from his 'Oceans' friend Matt Damon. Where as in contrast the beautiful sunny, pretty as a Picasso picture scenery of the Italian countryside provide the best setting for some of the films more touching and poignant moments. These stark contrasts help develop the impersonal assassin side and just a man personal side of Clooneys character. What results is one of the deepest stories from an actor who refuses to tread shallow water. George Clooney once again takes his time with this picture like art and you can see the master of his creation in every stroke. TIM DAVID HARVEY.



18, 103 Minutes. Starring: Colin Farrell, Ray Winstone, Anna Friel & Keira Knightley Director & Screenwriter: William Monahan.

London's been calling for a cooler gangster flick so Farrell and Winstone answer.

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 15:  Actor Colin Farrell speaks onstage at the 'Ondine' press conference held at the Four Seasons Hotel on September 15, 2009 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

England and London especially have a great reputation for gangster movies. These movies are as gritty and as real as they come. Still there's been a need over the last few years for these films to balance the grit and realism with cool and class. This is where William Monahan's 'London Boulevard' comes in. A graphic but gratifying gangster flick. Which is cool and in parts even funny and moving.

After the success of his penmanship on the Scorsese classic 'The Departed', Monahan goes it alone, entering the directors chair for a film which stars versatile leading man, Colin Farrell. 'London Boulevard' centres around Farrell's hard man Mitchell (no relation to those 'Eastenders' brothers, but he's tough enough to be). Mitchell comes out of prison after 3 years on GBH and enters a life of unemployment and squalor. His only friend is Billy (Ben Chaplin) a guy who deserves all the profanity put his way in this picture that we cant print here.

So with no help to get back on the straight and narrow Farrell has to take any work he can get but a break comes when he meets Keira Knightley. Knightley plays a film star frightened and fed up of the paparazzi (aren't we all?) who need Farrell's rough around the edges character to rough up and protect her from the media frenzy that is her front lawn.

Still Knightley isn't the only one interested in Mitchell and the press aren't the only problem that follows him and demands his attention. A London gangster played by Ray Winstone (a 'Departed' standout who's probably played more mobsters now than Robert De Niro (imagine if this guy moved over to family movies as well...scary)) also demands Mitchell's services, but will he supply.

What results is a great movie that's thrilling and captivating all at the same time. The sombre touching moments breath fresh air into the gangster genre without grappling with it's integrity or toughness. This film is like a Ferro Roche tough on the outside but with a smooth soft centre. It's the hard hitting action that draws you into this movie, it's the depth that keeps you there. The most thrilling elements of this piece aren't the action set pieces but the psychological ones.

The dialogue is not only cool it's cold, and clinically precise. There are parts of this film that your genuinely scared of Ray Winstone (well who wouldn't be?) and when Colin Farrell and Ray Winstone square up to each other and shout, their so close their almost kissing and you believe for more than a second that Farrell's character isn't screwing around or intimidated by Winstone at least for that minute.

Their are moments in this film where if you let your mind get away from you, you really will be shocked and the romance in this film is real, not just put in to tie everything together. Farrell and Knightley's chemistry is beyond the physical. This film is clearly influenced by the film noir classic trappings of 'Sunset Boulevard' and it shows live and in colour. This dark film is interesting and engaging from the first flick of the stylish credits and this cool direction is maintained through the film to avoid audience disconnection.

The soundtrack of this movie is on point right from The Clash this music goes together with the film like a black suit and an open shirt. Still this film goes beyond style, suiting up with a suitable amount of substance. By the end of the film you feel for the characters and your really left guessing and anticipating what's going to happen. The climax of this film is classic 'Departed' as well with more than a few people making that definition. You'll be left on the edge of your seats, playing the guessing game for the entire third act of this film, which turns 'London Boulevard' from a thriller to a killer film.

The support in this film is great as all the actors show that their the cream of the Britain acting talent crop. Farrell again proves he's one of the top ten leading men out today (if not five) with another stellar performance. It's one for his filmography books as again he shows his versatility, despite a shaky at times cockney accent from the Irish talent. The charming Ray Winstone is again at his menacing best. Even though your so drawn into the other subplots in this film that you forget Winstone's in it until he shows up part way through. Still from the first moment he steps out a personalised Rolls Royce his gangster character rules each scene.

The leading ladies of this film command attention too. Even though you might spend half this film wondering whether it's Keira Knightley or Natalie Portman, Portman...I mean Knightley delivers one of her better performances. She even gives a well written monologue about the use of women in movies which may have some bitter realism on it. David Thewlis is also fantastic, despite looking like a stoned Alan Rickman as he plays Knightley's aid and friend who really, really doesn't do much. Still once his character develops he means a lot to the film and his real life partner is also great as Farrell's sister. The 34 year old looks as good as she did 10 years ago but acts her age in sliding into the role of an immature, alcoholic young woman in need of help. Plus her on screen on and off love interest Sanjeev Bhaskar is top notch as this movies help to the hero. The star of the new TV show 'The Indian Doctor' put the scrubs back on for a surgically good performance. Stephen Graham is also again on hand for another hit British movie. The versatile character actor again adds another string to his bow with an on target cameo.

All in all 'London Boulevard' pays homage to 'Sunset Boulevard' in more ways than one. Plus standing on it's won it intimidates the rest of the recent British gangster movies with it's grit, toughness and overall it's overriding heart. Down the road this film will stand the test of time whether caught at the cinema or hitting big outside the big screen, once it hits DVD shelves and television like Farrell's other European classic 'In Bruges'. Through the traffic of crime films this year 'London Boulevard' stands out like a capital. TIM DAVID HARVEY

Wednesday, 24 November 2010



12A, 98 Minutes. Starring: Denzel Washington, Chris Pine, Rosario Dawson. Director: Tony Scott.

Tony Scott and Denzel's love for trains is getting out of control.

WESTWOOD, CA - OCTOBER 26: (L-R) Actor Chris Pine, director Tony Scott, actors Rosario Dawson, and Denzel Washington arrive at the premiere of Twentieth Century Fox's 'Unstoppable' at Regency Village Theater on October 26, 2010 in Westwood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

'Unstoppable' marks the second collaboration between actor Denzel Washington and director Tony Scott in as many a year and not only that it's another film about trains. After last years brilliant remake of 'The Taking of Pelham 123' and now this you could almost see Washington and Scott sharing a prized train set in one of their lofts, but still let's stay on track here.

Just like the pair have done time and time again (just like with 'Man On Fire') Scott and Washington hit big again as the great Denzel teams up with upcoming star/Captain Kirk of the new 'Star Trek' franchise Chris Pine. 'Unstoppable' is a film based on true events and if these events where anything like you see in this film than they involved some really brave people. The film basically is about a runaway train that carries some really lethal cargo. The train due to a really, really bad case of human error ends up accelerating away unmanned. Now that's a 'DOH!' moment right there. Not only that (and this is where the Hollywood comes in) the train is on course with a train full of schoolkids and then what seems like every sleepy, small, beautiful town the United States of America has to offer.

So it's up to the hard-working, down-trodden working man, (in this case Washington and Pine) to fix everybody else's mistakes from higher up, while someone else probably takes the credit (do I sound like i know something about this? bitter?). So as the pair go hog-tailing after this runaway train what results is a tense, explosive thrill ride that will leave you saying 'only in the movies', but apparently not in this case.

Chris Pine is incredible in this. From his first charming and charasmatic scene in 'Star Trek' he claimed his place but here he acts even more like he's been around in this industry a lot longer than he actually has. Acting alongside Washington primarily in the cockpit of a train, (you have to have some high 'Collateral' acting for closed situations like this) he isn't fazed by the legend. He's complimentary and holds a scene on his own all at the same time.

As a matter of fact the whole cast keep this film steaming ahead. The support may not be A-list (it's not far off however) but all the actors bring their A game, led by Rosario Dawson. The versatile actress (who's career has always been steaming ahead) gives one of her finest performances, technically if you like sitting in Denzel's chair and role from 'Pelham'.

Speaking of which it's Scott and Washington's chemistry that champions this movie as they add another great collaboration to their classic collection. Sure Denzel plays a lot of similar roles sometimes but just like George Clooney his characters bring out the decency, charm and charisma of him, thus helping you identify and sympathise with the roles he plays from the jump. 'Unstoppable' features those hallmark Scott and Washington moments that make their films that much more potent than the other films out there. It has those touching, sombre moments. The identifiable moments of human struggle and sacrifice and those joking, relief moments that help bridge the gap between tense situations. These are the elements that help piece together the films the duo do, making them much more than just thrillers, dramas or action pieces.

Sure this film is one of those that you may only watch once but that's not necessarily a bad thing. On this train, thrill ride you'll love the journey and stay with the thrilling plot at every stop. Other blockbusters rely on violence and special effects whereas this film is built off man and machine and some brilliant writing. Just like watching a motor race, it's hard to tell how fast a moving train is actually going on screen, but thanks to some great direction and camera work the scenes is set. With all this drama, action and tense moments you may as well throw away those nail clippers because after this gripping, nail biting hour and a half, you aint going to need them.'Unstoppable' is even better than advertised, so catch it while you can. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Thursday, 18 November 2010



18, 94 Minutes. Starring: Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, Chris Pontius, Ryan Dunn, Preston Lacy, Rob Stull. Director: Jeff Tremaine

This time they really are in your face.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 02: Johnny Knoxville attends the UK Film Premiere of 'Jackass 3D' at the BFI IMAX on November 2, 2010 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart Wilson/Getty Images)

Sure this really isn't a conventional movie. No real plot, or act structure as such...but you know what? Most movies don't warrant trilogies, even if a 3rd film allows the '3.D.' line to be marketed but believe me these Jackass' deserve a third go round. After the hilarious three seasons of the groundbreaking, head casing MTV television show and two incredible feature films all that was left was for the guys to complete their 'Godfather' of juvenile comedies. In finishing the trilogy they had to finish strong and with plenty more bang and what better way than to do this in 3D. Actual 3D cameras were used (unlike most '3D' movies) and thrown up on (definitely unlike most '3D' movies).

What results is the best way you can see the most grossed out, hilarious, (at times impressive, at others too much) stunts you'll see on the silver screen. Stallone or Arnie wouldn't nightmare of doing half this stuff. So let Beavis & Butthead introduce you to some like minded people and don't try this at home because a movie event like this needs to be seen on the big screen.

Want action? There's plenty of that. Fast cars? A Lamborghini will leave your smile wider than usual. Romance? In the form of man love, there's a little bit too much of that. Nudity? There really is a little too much of that. Pontius, I'm looking in your direction. This movie doesn't let up or let down the Jackass tradition. There's more bulls, puke and excrement then ever before and it's still so disgusting, yet ever so entertaining.

Bam Magera's family still fall for animal related pranks. Steve-O still does the most crazy, sick stuff that even he doesn't want to do, but does anyway in the name of comedy and Johnny Knoxville proves that he really is a Jackass, yet again stepping up the 'gnarly' stuff he does. Proving he's very much a part of the team and not a pin up presenter.

Your going to be taken back to your high school prom. Just don't expect a limo. You can enjoy a game of pin the tail on a donkey. Just leave your tun, remember, don't try this at home. You'll get a little bit too close to grandpa and you'll wish your dog was a bit more friendly. Your going to be prodded and shocked. Paint balled and bull horned. Disgusted and scared, but when your laughing who cares about s***. Literally. This movie is part guilty pleasure, part impressive performances of stunts. Either or you've got to love it.

With cameo's from Jackass favourite affiliates and a brilliant soundtrack spearheaded by the casts assist on Weezer's new classic 'Memories'. This familiar franchise is still fresh 10 years later. Although the fond memories of some of the most frankly, f'd up stuff is so many years back now. Despite it feeling like it all started yesterday.

Love it or loathe it. Laugh or throw up Jackass was a revolutionary show. It may be cleaner than 'Dirty Sanchez' but it was also more original than it. This chicken came before the egg and Steve-O would probably put this same metaphorical chicken up his backside if you asked him, because hey when it comes to comedy anything goes. So this weekend throw away your inhibitions (because your wont need them) and finish that popcorn bucket (because you might need it for something else) and sit back and enjoy a 3D experience that will open your eyes more than 'Avatar' just in a very different way. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Monday, 15 November 2010



15, 95 Minutes. Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Zach Gilifianakis, Michelle Monaghan, Juliette Lewis, Danny McBride, Jamie Foxx. Director: Todd Phillips. Writer: Todd Phillips, Alan R. Cohen, Alan Freedland & Adam Sztykiel

Expect hilarity this Friday.

NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 01: (L to R) Director Todd Phillips, Robert Downey Jr., and Zach Galifianakis attend a screening of 'Due Date' hosted by The Cinema Society & DKNY Jeans at AMC Lincoln Square Theater on November 1, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

It's hard to find one funny thing about this film...and that's because there's too many rib tickling moments in this modern farce where Robert Downey Jnr, Zach Galifanakis and Todd Phillips do it again with the feather dusters.

If you've watched the classic 'The Hangover' too much than take two of it's stars and call us in the morning because director Todd Phillips and breakout star Zach Galafanakis prove that striking lightening twice is no headache. The rising start show their far from under the weather of pressure as they deliver another hilarious hit. A comedy that feels like 'The Hangover' meets the timeless 80's classic 'Planes, Trains & Automobiles'.

In this modern esque tale Galifanakis adopts the lovably annoying character persona of John Candy, while Robert Downey Jnr shadows the over-worked, grumpy Steve Martin character that just wants to get home to his (growing) family. Although 'Due Date' is a brilliant homage to a classic formula, realise it is it's own film also. This is no carbon copy that would head Due South this is a film that is classic and stands next to 'Planes, Trains & Automobiles' in it's own right and worth just like the legendary 'Uncle Buck'.

The one of a kind Galifanakis-like comedy legend John Candy-has what seems like a million scene stealing moments all throughout this picture but still the ever appealing Downey Jnr holds his own in every scene. Roberts charm is ever present here, even when playing a character that is a few 'a' words stronger than arrogant.

Fans of classic, John Hughes, 80's family comedy must be aware, especially if they haven't seen 'The Hangover' because Todd Phillips may be 'Old School' but his brand of humour isn't 'Planes, Trains & Automobiles'. Yet again Todd armed with his unlikely poster child Galafanakis pushes the comedy envelope and boundaries without distancing himself or needing to yell 'cut'. This sick comedy is still healthy and not in need of a shot during flu season. Still despite these differences this film has some overdue touching moments from Todd Phillips that feel almost classic John Hughes. As this director is coming in to his own he clearly respects the legends.

There are moments in this movie where you will be left with an Ed Helms like reaction in 'The Hangover' to Galifanakis' use of a babies hand. It's shameful but oh so funny in moments. Who would of thought this evening you'd be laughing at child abuse or animal cruelty. Seriously though only in this movie are jokes so close to the bone pulled off by the skin of everyones cringing teeth. There's no skeletons in the closet in this movie and to reveal too many of the jokes in this gem would turn this review into a spoiler but rest assured you'll die laughing ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

Although 'Due Date's' two men and their dog are enough to keep up appearances it's the movies cameo's that stage a brilliant run to the final curtain. Juliette Lewis is at her usual top form and it's good to see 'Role Models' and 'The Hangover's' amusing character actor, Matt Walsh on the screens yet again. The same also can be said for 'Pineapple Express' and 'Eastbound & Down' star, Danny McBride. McBride has some great comedy exchanges with Downey Jnr playing a Western Union employee. Wu-Tang Clan rapper RZA also proves that he has the acting chops yet again around 'Funny People' giving us an all to accurate portrayal of airport security. There is also a great appearance by two men who are usually joined by a half. Plus what's a Todd Phillips movie without a cool, chuckle catching cameo from the man himself?

It's Jamie Foxx however that gives the best cameo. The acting/singing/comedian triple threat holds his own when its just the three of them (him, Galafanakis and Downey Jnr). His appearance leads to a hilarious subplot and him and Downey Jnr extend the chemistry they developed in the classical drama 'The Soloist' to the comedy world. These two versatile talents need to team up more like Galafanakis and Phillips.

Going into this film if you were thinking this film was going to be great you might just be a little disappointed because this film is so much more than that. Sure this film is no 'Hangover', it's more like the best Friday night you've had in awhile the evening before. Sure maybe you won't remember it as much as that 'Hangover' the morning after but when your next 'Due Date' arrives you aren't going to want to miss its delivery. TIM DAVID HARVEY.