Saturday, 26 February 2011
We pick 5 old films we watched this week for your consideration.
THE UNTOUCHABLES: Complete, classic cinema. If you ever wanted to know why Kevin Costner became so good. Or just how hot the young, talented Andy Garcia was. Or just how Sean Connery got a second, Paul Newman successful career after Bond. Or just how deep De Niro's classic roles go, touch on this timeless, dramatic action thriller. Costner plays Elliott Ness in the true story of how his police force brought down notorious gangster Al Capone (De Niro). The action is acclaimed, the drama moving and the historical setting perfectly done in 1930's Chicago. Another thing this epic movie is is tense, just check into the train station scene for your ticket to this ride. There you will see movie moments that will live in cinematic history.
THE 25th HOUR: In one of Spike Lee's most underrated films, Edward Norton stars as a man who has 24 hours to live his life before he begins to do his time in prison. With all terrific, trademark Spike Lee trickery and a beautiful, poignant homage to the World Trade Centre in the opening credits, this film is dangerously dark but undeniably uplifting in parts. Plus there is brilliant support from Barry Pepper, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rosario Dawson and Brian Cox who give some of their finest performances. Look out for the scene of Edward Norton reflecting in the mirror. Perhaps the perfect image of the social tensions that existed in New York and around the world post 9/11.
AS GOOD AS IT GETS: Sure Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt may not be as fresh as daisy dukes like Katherine Hiegel and Ashton Kutcher but they still come up smelling like roses. In fact the younger generations could learn a lot from this golden oldie, especially the best compliment/chat up line ever from Nicholson. This comedy was brought to you from James L. Brooks. You may know him from such comedy classics as 'The Simpsons' or this years reuniting with Jack in 'How Do You Know'. This movie centre's around Nicholson's character. A miserable man with OCD, who writes romance but can't seem to create any for himself. Still deep down he is a good man and is offered the opportunity to show this to his waitress love interest (Hunt) and his gay neighbour (played delightfully by Greg Kinnear) and butter-wouldn't-melt dog Bernard. With great support from Cuba Gooding Jnr this is more then your average romantic comedy. Warm, affectionate, hilarious but insightful, this uplifting gem takes it higher then the rest. It's a classic. Great films don't get much better then this.
GOOD WILL HUNTING: With 'Hereafter' and 'True Grit' currently doing the rounds and 'The Adjustment Bureau' about to be released, let's take a look at the classic film that made Matt Damon and Ben Affleck's (who's doing brilliantly too with the Oscar worthy 'The Town') career. Written and acted brilliantly by the pair, 'Good Will Hunting' is an aspiring, inspirational movie about as a troubled maths genius played perfectly by Damon. Just in time for the Oscars this award winning classic is worthy of any accreditation and is the perfect story in and outside the movie as Damon and Affleck went from just any, old aspiring young writers to superstars overnight. Plus the ever, versatile Robin Williams is incredibly warm and honest in his performance and the film is set in the down-to-earth, English feeling, timeless, classic, beauty of Boston, New England. The film also has one of the best lines ever, so go see about it. Now how dya like them apples?
LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD (DIE HARD 4.0): Then again if you want to leave your thinking caps at home then how about this? The perfect couch potato chip/popcorn movie that is probably in everybody's DVD collection and on T.V. every other night or channel. With 'Die Hard 24/7' in the works, the fourth instalment of the grubby wife-beater, McClane series is one of the best. Bruce Willis may be old but he's still got it over anybody in action. Justin Long may not be as cool as Samuel L. Jackson but he's still on a continual hot streak of form. Timothy Olaphant may not be European but he sure makes a slickly, sarcastic villain and the action may not be as ludicrous as the 90's...oh wait he kills a helicopter with a car and surfs a jet. Sure this film is more serious, but it's also seriously good. The only thing that looks better then the action is Maggie Q, but Nikkita's got nothing on John McClane. Yippee kai yay. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Tuesday, 22 February 2011
Not out of this world, but still it takes off.
15, 104 Minutes. Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Seth Rogan, Sigourney Weaver, Kristen Wiig & Jason Bateman. Directors: Greg Mottola. Screenplay: Simon Pegg & Nick Frost
The latest film by our very own lovable Brits Simon Pegg and Nick Frost delves into the science fiction genre in a not so traditional way. When two Sci-Fi geeks Pegg and Frost travel to the US in the hope of catching a glimpse of notorious UFO hotspots they get more than they bargained for when they literally crash into Paul, an eccentric alien who has been ‘chillin’ at a secret base in area 51 for the past 50 years.
Looking at Pegg’s track record with films I was anticipating a film closely on par for comedy with 'Shaun Of The Dead' and 'Hot Fuzz' however, 'Paul' is slightly disappointing in the comedy department. The film tries to hard to cater for both English and American audiences and the two types of humour mixed together don’t always work effectively. That isn’t to say that the film doesn’t have its moments, when the comedy works it works well, Pegg and Frost bounce off each other not to mention the superb vocal performance given by Seth Rogan which would have your believing that Paul was actually his true form.
In regards to the science fiction, this film totally kicks ass! With intertextual references to both popular science fiction outlets and a little of the lesser known, Paul really does provide something for everyone. The story is a fun journey of self discovery, friendship and extremely closes encounters, with a great cast including some pleasant surprises from the science fiction world; 'Paul' truly does do it’s genre proud in both the stereotypical and the more modern take on sci-fi culture.
Although I probably wont be rushing out to buy the DVD this film was a great way to spend my Saturday afternoon, and I'd recommend it as an easy watch to go and see with a group of mates. SAMANTHA SMITH.
Sunday, 20 February 2011
In the debut of our feature, 'DVD Rack' we pick 5 old films we watched this week for your consideration.
THE MACHINIST: With Christian Bale lapping up the awards and critical praise for his dedication to 'The Fighter' let's look back at the first film that Bale gave 100% to mentally and psychically. Portraying an insomniac who has severe problems with weight and anxiety, Bale gave a career performance to begin his with every twist and turn. Dark, haunting but full of meaning, expect nothing but incredible film-making. The less said the better, because you must see.
FOUR BROTHERS: With Mark Wahlberg pulling as much punches as Christian Bale in 'The Fighter'. It's only right we look back to one of his best. Years back Wahlberg was trying hard to shake that Marky Mark tag but still with films like this everyone began to really warm to the hot actor. Wahlberg teams up with his brothers Garrett Hedlund ('Tron: Legacy') and rap and R&B's respective best, Andre 3000 and Tyrese to avenge the death of their foster mother. John Singleton directs a gritty but moving, and violent but funny piece. Terrence Howard also delivers an effortlessly excellent performance. The soundtrack is a class in it's own and the action scenes could even give Michael Mann a green eye. Speaking of eyes you may even shed a man tear or two. From the opening credits, thumping drums of Marvin Gaye's, 'Trouble Man' where Wahlberg drives in an old American classic through the frozen, foggy lonely Detroit streets you know this is going to be something.
INVICTUS: Matt Damon has recently displayed his versatility in 'True Grit' but if you thought this was the first time that Damon showed his range then you'd be wrong. Matt's portrayal of South African Springbok rugby star Francios Pienaar showed incredible dedication. The leading man bulked up and even dyed his hair a suspect Bros, blonde in a superb performance in Clint Eastwood's compelling epic. Still it was Morgan Freeman's long-awaited, highly anticipated, legendary, Oscar worthy performance as Nelson Mandela that defined the picture 'Invictus'. This utterly uplifting, incredibly inspiring story of how Mandela used the Rugby World Cup to help unite his people is pure poignancy and gold for the silver screen. Cinematic beauty from the struggle to the success, start to finish.
SHANGHAI KNIGHTS: Now for something completely different. With all the Western buzz surrounding 'True Grit' how about a different take? In the sequel to the smash comedy, 'Shanghai Noon', Jackie Chan steps into John Wayne's spurs (sort of) and again shows us impossible moves, incredible fighting and hilarious but genius set-pieces. This film is set in old foggy London, with a thrilling, electrifying climax at Big Ben. If that wasn't enough, stepping into Chris Tuckers buddy role, Owen Wilson owns his scenes with his trademark charm and wit. What a rush.
FEARLESS: Still if you like your martial arts a little more serious then how about Jet Li's last epic? From the fighting to the cinematography and the score, to the scenes of old China, this film is beautiful. With an incredible journey both spiritual and gruelling, what results is a poignant message. A traditional film which pays proper and due deserved homage to the craft of martial arts. Unlike many of the Hollywood re-hashes that are chopped up these days. Jet Li shows he really is a bonafide actor with a genuine performance of depth and character, showing the change between an emotionally driven man and one at peace. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Sunday, 13 February 2011
From 'The Duke' to 'The Dude', 'True Grit's' spurs keep clicking.
15, 110 Minutes. Starring: Matt Damon, Jeff Bridges, Josh Brolin, Hailee Steinfeld & Barry Pepper. Directors: Joel & Ethan Coen. Screenplay: Joel & Ethan Coen
From years to decades and new centuries, great stories will remain told in all their original glory and all their, 'True Grit'. This is especially true in this written and directed Cohen brothers picture and legendary Speilberg production. The brothers with a knack of telling terrific, tall talents, awaken and re-invigorate the John Wayne classic with the help of their dude from 'The Big Lebowski', Jeff Bridges and some A-List talent, old and new school (literally, one hasn't even graduated).
'True Grit', portrays the story of Mattie Ross (Steinfeld), who's father is murdered by Tom Chaney (Brolin). She enlists the reluctant help of muttering, marauding, Marshall Rooster Cogburn (Bridges) and reluctantly accepts the aid of meaty, Texas Ranger LaBoeuf (Damon). On the quest to find the killer of her father, her mettle will be tested and her real grit and determination brought to justice. From the, flickering lantern, ash rain darkness of the opening scene, to every fondly reminiscent frame and final sunlight, this movie takes you back to the wild days with every gallop, as the notoriously left Cohen's do right and don't go West of the original story.
'The Dude' is big, sitting comfortably in 'The Dukes' saddle. Jeff bridges the generations gap perfectly, slurring his speech, whisking his whisky and carrying his pistols with cocksure confidence. He is the perfect modern-day interpretation of Wayne as he furthers his own legend. After his 'Tron: Legacy' and his Oscar worthy, 'Crazy Heart'. Don't be surprised if this Hollywood gunslinger steals the crown jewels and Colin Firth's penned speech in these coming February weeks.
As the dude makes sure this aggression will not stand, those standing in his way really do plant their feet. Dusting off his 'Jonah Hex' stetson, the usual smooth looking Josh Brolin roughs it as Chaney, adding another real performance to his ever impressive line of credits. Barry Pepper also goes through a little transformation, in need of a dental checkup and a mouth-guard, riding Robert Duvall's horse with confident homage in his own right and interpretation.
The real heavyweight performances come on Bridges side however. His partner Matt Damon brings his shield and Ron Burgundy moustache for a shining performance that anchors in the actors versatility. This leading man saddles up for a trip that shows he is no one trick pony. With 'Grit', Damon's true talents are 'bourne.' Along with 'Hereafter' and the forthcoming 'The Adjustment Bureau', the hardest-working man in Hollywood continues to hit big for what almost seems like every other month, with no sign of hiatus.
Now for what everyone has been talking about, forget what you've heard. Hallie Steinfeld doesn't deserve the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for this, she deserves the Best Actress award. She is the evoking light that brings this story to the eyes of the new generations. This rookie performance is as confident as a graduate, with the conviction of a veteran. She stands next to Hollywood's best in movies most marketable Matt Damon and the legendary legacy of Bridges and more then just holds her own. Everything you've read about her is true and the some...and this girl is only 14 years old. A true acting prodigy, her strength in character makes 'Kick Ass'', Chloe Mortez look like a shy school-girl. Steinfeld's future is set in stone.
With a saloon of talent, the Cohen brothers make their presence felt with their Western legend. Following 'Fargo' and the modern-day, Western esque, Brolin born, 'No Country For Old Men', the Cohen's craft another classic for their collection. From delightful dialogue to alluring action, this film is funny, tense and exciting. It is a gritty trip come thrill-ride in one linear, straight-laced, suited and booted smart movie. The Cohen's add their own style without compromising the substance of the original. From almost identical scenes to alternative takes, the brothers pay homage with true integrity. This tribute peace is a testament to true film-making. The duke would be proud and would maybe even smile for this one. Let's just hope there is a 'Rooster Cogburn' sequel. Amongst many classics to already begin 2011, this film of the year displays real, genuine courage and determination. Now to shoot from the hip, does this picture stand up to the original? Well this debate will have to be settled like they did back then, because it's a draw. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Saturday, 12 February 2011
Sandler & Aniston take their trademark styles together and go with it.
12A, 116 Minutes. Starring: Adam Sandler & Jennifer Aniston Director: Dennis Dugan. Screenplay: Allan Loeb & Timothy Dowling
Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston just keep working at their respective comedies and projects, it's about time they got together. From last years shoe-sized aged, 'Grown Ups' to the forthcoming 'Jack & Jill' (where Adam plays both male and female leads) Sandler keeps getting sillier. While from last years, 'The Bounty Hunter' and 'The Switch' and more to come Jennifer Aniston continues to rival Katherine Hiegel for the female, romantic comedy throne. Well now just in time for Valentines Day and something the Jacks can go along with just like the Jills, Sandler and Aniston combine their trademark comedies for 'Just Go With It', a romantic-buddy comedy with a difference.
For years Sandler's character, Danny is a successful plastic surgeon who also has artificially been going with the lie that he is unhappily married after his own engagement became disconnected. From claiming he's being neglected to beaten, Danny uses his ring to strike gold with random women on nights out. Then, however he meets the girl of his dreams, Brooklyn but when he wakes up she's holding the ring that she finds in his jeans, and he's tries to grasp onto any explanation he can. Sounding like a typical guilty, 'just give me a minute' guy, Danny has to come up with a plan to get the girl back.
So this is where Jennifer Aniston comes in. She is Danny's receptionist and best friend, Katherine (hmm, appropriate name). He calls in Katherine to pose as his soon to be ex-wife so he can get his story and his life straight with Brooklyn. This is where the problems and comedy ensue, because Katherine has two kids, and two kids that no how to barter and bargain. So as the kids get in on the act (one taking the acting a little annoying too far) it's off to Hawaii to further go with the lie.
You can imagine where this story will go, but I'm not spoiling anything here. Sure it's predictable but I can also guarantee that you'll enjoy the trip. Just like the immature but grower, 'Grown Ups' before it, this film could do with a little trimming of the fat. Still the large laughs, more than make up for the weightless ones. Sandler's one-liners and slapstick still command attention, but it's when Aniston's side of the romantic comedy comes into play that things get real watchable. Sure the sap is turned up full notch, but this is the kind of good sap, like the stuff used in 'Jurassic Park' to create classic moments.
Sandler and Aniston are once again on top form, making this all look like child's play. Plus Katherine's kids, played by Bailee Madison and Griffin Gluck are effortlessly good as they go along with the farce. The scene where they negotiate with Sandler is hilarious and there are also as many tender scenes as there are rib-tickling ones. Just like any 'Happy Madison' production, Sandler guarantees his friends more work and Nick Swardson is the recipient of the biggest cheque, adding to the humor, especially when he gets a bit up, close and personal with a sheep.
There are also some great cameos. American sportscaster Dan Patrick puts in some more presenting work for a hilarious hula show. While their are two more cameos from two very big and very different stars that won't be spoilt here. They are best left as a surprise. Still once they come into play this picture becomes much more brighter and much more funnier as they steal the show, much like one does on the Oscars and the other does in concert. It's one of many a pleasant surprise in a movie that gets better then it looks and starts. The locations in this movie make the film shine that much brighter, as this 'Couples Retreat' really shows us the screen saver like images of Hawaii. The soundtrack is also a positive ska to a good looking picture, especially for Sting and The Police, who should be receiving a pretty large, royalty cheque for all their songs and re-makes that are used here.
Sure there's nothing too new here and if your single you might want to steer clear of romantic comedies this week. Still it's more than just schmaltz, and if your someone that isn't the biggest 'Happy Madison' fan it's more than just slapstick. There is something for everyone, especially all couples involved looking for a treat this Friday or February 14th. Still if that's not for you, this movie is still warm and funny and sure to draw smiles. Forget what you think and 'Just Go With It'. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Friday, 11 February 2011
Unraveling the latest Disney twist.
PG, 100 Minutes. Starring: Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi, Donna Murphy Director: Nathan Greno Byron Howard. Screenplay: Dan Fotraitsgelman
Well, once again Walt Disney studios have outdone themselves with this adaptation of classic fairytale 'Rapunzel'. To date this is the most expensive animated production ever made and the third highest grossing Disney animation falling only shortly behind 'Aladdin' and the 'The Lion King'.
When the beloved queen becomes ill before giving birth, the king orders his royal subjects to search the land for a flower that holds magical healing qualities. However, unbeknown to the king is that the magical flower is being hidden by a wicked old lady who uses the flower to keep herself young and beautiful. By mere chance the flower is found and used to save the queens life. The princess is born soon after, a beautiful child with long golden hair. The wicked old lady breaks into the Palace and tries to cut off a lock of the little princesses hair believing that it will posses the same magical qualities as the flower however, as soon as the hair is cut it turns brown, furious the wicked woman kidnaps the princess and locks her in a tower, years pass by and The princess grows up not knowing who she is and believing the wicked woman to be her mother but when a young rogue climbs the tower to hide out, the princess realises there’s a whole world outside her window… and starts out on an exciting and perilous adventure!
'Tangled' is everything you want with a Disney film, romance, adventure, loveable animal comrades and of course Disney wouldn’t be Disney without a few cheeky songs and montage moments. The great thing about this film is that it can literally be enjoyed by everyone; I even caught Tim Harvey giggling! (No Shame (TIM)) I believe that 'Tangled' can easily rival any Dreamworks production, in aspects of humour, story and imagery.
I’d recommend watching this film in 3D, there are particular moments in the film that are simply breathtaking and 2D might take away from those moments. All in all I would say that 'Tangled' is well worth the money spent on it, the imagery is just wonderful and the adaptation of the 'Rapunzel' story is heart warming projecting lovely morals about love and friendship. It is defiantly one to take the kids to although as a 21 year old woman I came out the cinema with a huge smile on my face proving that Disney is defiantly not just for kids! SAMANTHA SMITH.
MY TWO STUBS WORTH: Sam's right. Just when you thought the ideas may be running out, Disney come back with a more modern take on the 'Rapunzel' tale. Cool, charming, magical and moving, 'Tangled' doesn't get tied up with trying to walk the thin line between staying traditional or trying to hard to appeal to the modern day crowd. It is straight, trademark Disney and brushes aside any notion that the legendary franchise can't appeal to new generations without losing it's integrity. The story of this film is so good that it would work just as well on the old, classic celluar level. Still, it looks great in all it's computer animated beauty and eye popping, 3D. Scenes with lanterns beautifully lighting up the night sky are really brought to life and an underwater scene is so well done that the characters look real. Speaking of which, with a comedically charismatic leading man, and a damsel in a distress she can 'pan handle' herself, these characters are favourites which are easy to please. With classic Disney songs, humor, animals you'll fall in love with and voice work that speaks volumes, this film appeals to everybody from the early ages to the old and men and women alike. Throw away your inhibitions this weekend and go see a movie you can really let your hair down to. Disney has still got it. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Thursday, 3 February 2011
Wahlberg and Bale roll with the punches.
15, 116 Minutes. Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams & Melissa Leo. Director: David O. Russell. Screenplay: Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson
There have been rounds after rounds of great boxing movies made over the years. From the iconic 'Raging Bull' to the legendary 'Rocky' series and the critically acclaimed 'Million Dollar Baby' to the criminally underrated, classic 'Ali' and many, many more competitors. From Robert De Niro to Will Smith all leading men (and women...sorry Hilary) have straddled the ropes between their fighters battles inside and out the ring. The theme of in the corner, down-trodden individuals rising up is one of the most popular themes in American cinema for the everyman achieving everything, against all odds and rising up from nothing.
Nothing more than boxing exemplifies this. It is the ultimate form of movie escapism and fantasy of character aspiration. Now after all these epics comes the true story of 'The Fighter', where the ever unbeatable, rising Mark Wahlberg (Oscar nomination or not, come on Academy, you honoured everyone else) delivers another knockout performance portraying Micky Ward. A boxer down on his luck, reaching for the big ratings, with his prime time fading like an axed T.V. Show.
Still lucky or not for Micky he has people in his corner. His brother/trainer Christian Bale is always there for him through thick and thin as the leading man slims right, right down for his incredible dedication to this supporting role. As Micky fights for his career and his brother, (who is a crack addict) he also has affairs of the heart to deal with in the form of his ex-wife's custody over his kids and his new love interest, dolled down and played up perfectly by Amy Adams. The whole town is behind their prize fighter, even his extended family, spearheaded by his mum/manager, played with conviction by leading character actress of the moment, Melissa Leo.
Wahlberg is perfect as Micky, with his build, attitude and swinging swagger. Over the years from creating 'The Perfect Storm' or hanging with his 'Four Brothers', Marky Mark has furthered his status in this movie business and now with this role he takes the title as one of Hollywood's, leading heavyweights. The ever versatile Amy Adams also stands by her on-screen man to show that she too is quickly becoming one of the most sought after, go to female leads.
There is terrific support from all corners in this movie. Still it's Christian Bale who steals the show and probably every award coming this February with an incredible supporting, uplifting performance as Micky's down and out brother Dicky. Bale's character transformation is incredible as he really captures the real man for himself. Skin and bone, mannerism and nuance. Bale also captures the troubles, talents and terrific spirit and likeability of a local hero who once went toe to toe and round to round with Sugar Ray Robinson. Right in Oscar season Christian comes out swinging with a performance that is a testament to just how good he really is. 'Batman' may bring him the big bucks, but behind the mask the depths this leading legend will go to for a movie both psychically and mentally are unparralled.
This 'Fighter' hits you from all angles, knocking you for six. The film deals with the brushed aside issue of crack addiction in America with a sobering, serious account. This film is a journey from the bottom to the top and it really makes you sit up and take note. As for the family drama in this film. It is raw with none of the usual Hollywood shine. What's results is some real performances that will guarantee some award polishing. David O. Russell's direction knuckles up two. The boxing scenes are captured perfectly. They are real like 'Raging Bull', yet with a cinematic feel like 'Ali'. This film is all original however only taking tips from those have fought before it. It uses television cameras for the fights as a great method of capturing realism. These scenes ensure that the psychical side of this film matches the authenticity of the mental side. With a great soundtrack consisting of choice cuts from everyone from Ben Harper to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, this movie scores big on picking the right tracks two.
'The Fighter' is about to face even tougher competition this month, but as it goes bout after bout with Kings and survivors as the Oscars it stands proud. With Wahlberg snubbed unfairly by the Academy, 'The Fighter' is already taking hits, but don't count this competitor out. Even if this film ends up beaten, it really has fought the good fight. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Wednesday, 2 February 2011
After 'Inviticus', Eastwood and Damon travel deeper here.
12A, 128 Minutes. Starring: Matt Damon, Cecile De France, Thierry Neuvic, Bryce Dallas Howard, Frankie McLaren . Director: Clint Eastwood. Screenplay: Peter Morgan
'Dirty Harry' returns to San Francisco by way of London, Paris and Indonesia. After an incredible South African journey in 'Inviticus', Clint Eastwood brings his travel companion and new favourite collaborator, Matt Damon along for the ride for 'Hereafter'. This film has nothing to do with globe-trotting however, it goes a little further than that. In this movie Matt Damon's character is a former famous psychic, who's sixth sense isn't to see dead people but to actually talk to them.
He feels this gift is a curse however and despite business proposals from his brother and pleading from just about everyone who knows of his power, he wants to start afresh. Still that can't stop him from connecting with people in all different ways. Damon isn't just the only one troubled however. We also follow the story of a journalist in Paris, (played by Cecile De France) when her life and perception of is thrown into turbulence after she survives the Indonesia tsunami. The other story we follow is about a young boy in London (played by Frankie McLaren) who loses his twin brother and is on the verge of losing his mother to social services.
Eastwood ties these stories together perfectly and again directs touchy subject matter with a touch of class. Again his subtly in drama speaks volumes in both it's discretion and it's message. Unlike most directors Clint does not ham it up, instead offering food for thought. He also produces some perfect parallels between love coming together in a cooking class and falling apart in fancy restaurants, in tender and dramatic scenes respectively. He walked the fine line of race perfectly in 'Gran Torino' and showed true sportsmanship in the uplifting 'Inviticus'. Now in 'Hereafter' Eastwood tackles the here-and-now, including a reconstruction of 2004's tsunami in Indonesia and the July 7th London Underground bombings. Still despite this being close to the bone, the genuine talent directs this with a certain dignity and taste. You know there is more of a message here then simply cashing in and this is yet another reason that the legendary actor has forged himself an iconic second career behind the camera.
Cecile De France and Frankie McLaren, despite being relative unknowns show they are worldwide talents with their memorable, moving performances in common. They bring the tender, touching, tearful moments that give this film it's heart. There is also great support throughout in the more minor roles from recognisable faces. If you didn't think actors from 'Twilight', 'Curb Your Enthusiasm', 'The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air' and 'Jerry Maguire' couldn't add to the drama then you'd be wrong.
Still it's the star of the show Matt Damon that really draws us in, taking the characters hands and the audiences hearts. With yet another humble, honest, genuine performance the all-round, nice guy's spirit shines through in this life after picture. The leading man of leading men yet again shows why he's Hollywood's most marketable star with another diverse, talented performance to add to his expanding, legendary filmography. His character may be down-trodden but his hope and care still shows as he recognises the dead but just wants to live. Damon plays the conflicted man as well as fellow 'Departed' star Dicaprio.
All in all, despite this not being Eastwood or Damon's best picture it still deserves the nomination. Besides these guys have so many good films in the books they can write what they want. With a tackling of a subject matter we could all find hard to grasp, the film delivers a powerful message. As Eastwood makes port back in San Francisco, he really captures the Californian cities old beauty, as it adds to the haunting, nostalgic, isolated tone of this movie. Eastwood also captures Paris and London perfectly. As he adds stamps to his passport, his direction abroad make it look like he's a native with little need of a guide. On this tour-de-force of a film Clint gives us a picture that will impact here and last in the after. TIM DAVID HARVEY.