Wednesday, 23 March 2011
A clear, unlimited high, 'FFF' approved.
15, 105 Minutes. Starring: Bradley Cooper, Abbie Cornish, Anna Friel & Robert De Niro. Directors: Neil Burger. Screenplay: Leslie Dixon
You may have seen some adverts in your local paper or on your morning commute subway for 'The Clear Pill'. A drug claiming to make you access 100% of your brain all the time, giving you 'Limitless' and I quote "Strength, Superior Intelligence and Memory, and Unbeatable Self-Confidence". The advertisement is even endorsed by man of the moment Bradley Cooper, ('The Hangover') now that's one impressive co-sign. Don't get your hopes up, alas this typical American miracle drug, 'giving you the world, costing you your life' promotion is fake and is part of the campaign for Cooper's new movie 'Limitless'. Still this was a great way of raising awareness for the film. The ad looks so authentic and signature I wouldn't be surprised if it had a 'War Of The Worlds' effect and convinced some people, especially because the posters have little literal reference to the film itself.
Still in this movie Cooper's character Eddie is sold on this faux 'clear pill' (or to be falsely official NZT) which in the reality of the movie allows it's taker to access all of their mind, (confidence, smarts etc.) all of the time. Now I know there's a lot of men out there who would wish they could take a pill to become Bradley Cooper, but not at the start of this picture. Cooper plays a down and out writer who looks more like, well I hate to admit it someone like me then a Hollywood star. He is only one word into his book (hey that's still impressive, it's more then most writers) and even his girlfriend (the lovely Abby Cornish) is losing faith, but then he is given a breakthrough with this groundbreaking drug.
Then he finishes his book, learns how to add up properly, hits the gym, gets a 'classic Phil' haircut, become intelligent, fashionable and cultural (with no need for subtitles), but more importantly goes from a few dollars to a few more zero's at the end of his paychecks. As he goes from zero to hero and ashy to classy it's no doubt that everyone from Robert De Niro to anyone with an ounce of greed wants a piece of his mind...literally. The amazing Kanye West song 'Power' on this films awesome trailer states "How can one man have so much power" and that's a great notion and theme for this movie as Cooper's about to find out the Julius Cesar lesson of power, not the Peter Parker one and the Gordon Gekko lesson of greed.
Based on Alan Glynn's book 'The Dark Files' the more Cooper sees the light the darker this film gets. So as the corruption and consequence begins what unfolds is an absolutely strong, potent, tour de force movie. Even without an A-Team or wolfpack behind him Bradley Cooper can lead a movie virtually by himself. Going from shaggy to clean cut and a sexy Jesus to how he looked in the 'Wedding Crashers' (oh yeah, right?), Cooper goes through every emotion and character change with all his trademark charisma and charm and yes I do have a man crush, but come on.
You don't have to be on something to see clearly that with this innovative, motivating film and the highly anticipated 'The Hangover Part II' (following pure, legendary, modern-day comedy gold) that this will be Bradley Cooper's year once again. There's no medication needed either, this is all Bradley. An A-Lister who's headed to the top of the Hollywood class. Cooper's making all the other leading men follow suit and boot. Robert De Niro also shows that even when looking like he's phoning in a role the legend is still one of the best in the game. The actress in this picture also provide sound support from Abbie Cornish standing by her man to Anna Freil looking a little frail (it's the make-up, I'm not a bitch) but having strength in depth with her acting smarts. No wonder Hollywood snapped her up.
Overall 'Limitless' may not go above the rest but it does go beyond. A real trip. Burger's meaty direction really induces and hooks the audience with it's time lapse, kalidescopic, White Stripes, 'Seven Nation Army' esque triangular effect. From it's simulated graphics to distorted camera angles, the effects of euphoria and paranoia related with the films subjects substance is abused in a way that fashions things in a more cutting edge way then just simply style. Sure it comes down on occasion and could use an extra two doses but it still hits. From Cooper furthering his legend to De Niro lamenting his legacy the acting is complex and not transparent for a genre of this type. Taking inspiration from other movies, all whilst creating a new supply of buzz itself, this slickly directed, smart 'what would you do' film isn't just a volatile mix. It's the perfect prescription. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
This weeks 'DVD Rack' comes early thanks to Sam Smith's top five thriller special.
1. The Silence of the Lambs
Ok, so this one may fall into the horror/thriller genre but it had to be my number one. Anthony Hopkins portrays his most famous character the notorious Hannibal (the cannibal) Lector and still manages to send shivers up my spine whenever he appears on the screen. Not to mention Ted Levine’s portrayal of serial killer and skinner buffalo bill, seriously creepy and yet you can’t help but be captivated by his on screen presence. 'The Silence of the Lambs' is a none stop thrill ride that will most certainly keep you on the edge of your seat… but just a tip, might not want to eat your rare steak with liver beans whilst watching this one.
Yet another film on the darker side of the Thriller genre, but this one is truly fantastic and not just because Morgan Freeman (a true legend) is in it. 'Se7en' follows the Story of two cops investigating gruesome murders by a serial killer who believes in killing people for committing each of the seven deadly sins. A film that will literally have you wanting to change your ways just in case someone decides to copy it definitely deserves to be in the top five. Of course I also have to mention the cinematography in this one, a really great feel of film noir surrounds this film it’s dark, gloomy and brilliant.
Yes, I know it’s a tad cliché to put a Hitchcock film in my top five thrillers but I am sure you will all agree that 'Psycho' well and truly deserves its place among the greats. Although I would like to give honourable mention to Hitchcock’s 'Strangers on a Train' which is also one of my favourites however I think Psycho had to win it… two words ‘shower scene’ enough said.
4. Kiss The Girls
Based on the James Patterson Novel, not many people I’ve spoken to have seen this one which is such a shame! Another Morgan Freeman film, 'Kiss the Girls' is about a detective Alex Cross whose niece has been kidnapped by a mysterious killer self named Casanova. I love this film because it really does give you the Scooby Doo feeling… when you desperately try to guess the killer before the end. A great film, a great twist, a great cast what more could you want?
Everyone’s top film of 2010, 'Inception' wiped the floor with all of its competitors to be in the top five, I think it may have been my number one if not for legendary status of the above films. A totally original and imaginative storyline Inception will just blow your mind… literally. If you haven’t already seen it, you should ask yourself what you’re doing with your life.
I thought this list would be so easy! Here’s a few other thrillers that deserve a mention. 'Fight Club', 'Hide and Seek', 'Rear Window', 'Taxi Driver', 'American Psycho', 'The Wicker Man' and of course the legendary 'Jaws'. SAMANTHA SMITH
Saturday, 19 March 2011
Going by the book, McConaughey reaffirms his case.
15, 119 Minutes. Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Ryan Phillippe, Marisa Tomei, William H. Macy, John Leguizamo & Michael Peña. Directors: Brad Furman. Screenplay: John Romano
We haven't see a lot of Matthew McConaughey over the last few years, apart from the odd romantic comedy and perfume add (where he shows us a little more of himself, ladies be advised). It seems this Southern star is at his best however when he steps into the courtroom on the right side of the law, ('A Time To kill', 'Amistad') but in the case of this Michael Connelly novel based movie 'The Lincoln Lawyer', McConaughey has his feet on both sides of the law in this Brad Furman picture.
McConaughey heads an all-star cast, full of talent. He plays Mickey Haller, a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney who is more spin doctor then 'do the right thing' lawyer like he was in 'A Time To Kill'. McConaughey's office is in the back of his classic, Lincoln sedan, as he is driven round L.A. while making his rounds and his name. The people he represents really are in need of a lawyer and after years of defending criminals McConaughey is handed Ryan Phillippe's case. Phillippe's, Louis Roulet character is being charged with assaulting a prostitute, who he assaulted him and set him up for his money. As McConaughey looks deeper into the case he realises it mirrors a former case of his involving a client Jesus Martinez (Michael Peña), the deeper McConaughey gets the darker it gets, as he really becomes involved in this case.
It's only mid-March but it's already been an amazing year for movies and this is by far one of the best. From the sheen of the 60's esque opening credits, to the views of the beautiful bright city of Los Angeles and the scorching, classic soundtrack (Bobby 'Blue' Band, Marlena Shaw and a lot of classic, real hip-hop) this movie is as slick and cool as McConaughey and his hair. McConaughey himself is on career-best form, slick, savvy, cool and charming, McConaughey makes his case yet again as the perfect lawyer. Still, this is not a case of a former top actor being typecast, this is a different role all together for an actor who is firmly sat in the front seat of his prime.
The supporting acts in this movie really make this film the main feature presentation for this Friday. Playing 'The Lincoln Lawyer's' ex-wife, Marisa Tomei shows yet again that she's the hardest working actress and one of the best there is with Hollywood firmly in her sights. Ryan Phillippe is also back on fine form and you'd never believe how menacing this guy can be with all his cruel intentions. William H. Macy also bring his trademark A -game, even if he forgets his hair clippers and comb, assisting McConaughey to the end. Great, but underrated, versatile talents, John Leguizamo and Michael Peña also have small but significant roles pulling out big performances, supporting this movie, helping it be one of the biggest films this year.
Overall this film is as dark, classic and timeless as this lawyers automobile. As good as this movie looks however-from the fresh suits to the crisp Californian mornings- it's serious substance outweighs it's seductive style. When the case of 'best movie of 2011' comes to a close this fall, when the jury reaches their verdict, 'The Lincoln Lawyer' will be found guilty of being one of the best. Gripping, entertaining, powerful and alluring this is further evidence that McConaughey and court-room dramas don't belong back in the nighties. This court-room thriller with a real story can be stood up and sworn in todays generation of popcorn and 3D movies. The defence rests. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Friday, 18 March 2011
We pick 5 old films we watched this week for your consideration.
A TIME TO KILL: Matthew Mconaghey represents as a lawyer again this week in 'The Lincoln Lawyer', so lets take it back to the mid-nighties when he stepped in the courtroom for Samuel L. Jackson in 'A Time To Kill'. A powerful race drama that will make thinkers out of the ignorant should have sweeped the Oscars if it wasn't mired in controversy. Kevin Spacey, Sandra Bullock and the Sutherland's lend a hand in one of the best, most underrated movies of one of the best decades of cinema history, the 1990's. As Samuel would say, 'YES IT DESERVED MORE AND I HOPE IT GETS IT"!
ROMEO + JULIET: One of 'The Lincoln Lawyer's' supporting actors John Legizamo is one of the business' most talented, underrated all-round actors. He's a great character actor but can lead too and although Baz Luherman's 'Romeo + Juliet' was best known for it's modern take and it's Romeo (Leo DiCaprio) and Juliet (Claire Danes) but arguably as Tibult, Leguizamo along with Harold Perrineau as Mercutio stole the show. As soon as he stubs out his cigar with his steel-capped heel and draws his sword, (or his gun), with all his charm and cocksure confidence he owns everybody, the moment and the movies best moment. Truly a theatrical moment, played up the right way. BANG!
DOUBLE JEOPARDY: Tommy Lee Jones is currently bringing his acting silver to the linings of cinema screens worldwide along with Ben Affleck in 'The Company Men' but back in the 90's is where this super star character actor really shined. Chasing another 90's mainstay Ashley Judd (where is she these days?) in 'Double Jeopardy' many saw this as a unofficial sequel and spiritual successor to the classic 'The Fugitive' and 'U.S. Marshall's' movies. In this picture Judd is wrongly imprisoned for murdering her husband, and you want to know the kicker? He isn't even dead and with the laws of double jeopardy (no, it's not a game show) you can't be tried for the same crime twice if already found guilty, so therefore revenge is a dish best served legal. Jones and Judd are perfect in this as are the cities of New Orleans and Washington D.C. It may be nighties nostalgia but they just don't make action thrillers like this anymore.
BATMAN FOREVER: We reviewed 'The Dark Knight' last week, so now it's the turn for a lighter, funner film from the caped, crusading franchise. Tommy Lee Jones was also in this one playing a camper but cooler two-Face and Jim Carrey was perfect as The Riddler, making you think he could even do it now in the darker, Nolan movies. Sure this picture wasn't as good as Michael Keaton's first two Batman's but it was definitely better then 'Batman & Robin'. We pay tribute to this film in the honor of great British actor Michael Gough who sadly passed away this week. He played Alfred in all the first four Batman movies before Michael Caine played perfect homage to the role. We thank Gough for his service and may he rest in peace.
ARMAGEDDON: Tommy Lee Jones 'Company' co-star Ben Affleck really is the man of the moment following his second-wind and second career a a director for last years steal of a hit, 'The Town'. Still after 'Good Will Hunting' with friend Matt Damon, Affleck took a lot of roles people knocked him for, this however wasn't one of them. An out-of-this-world, end-of-the-world smash really was one of the biggest movies of it's kind taking the threat and power out of 'Deep Impact' (which was released at the same time and in it's own right great). This movie had everything from an all-star cast (Owen Wilson, Michael Clarke Duncan, Steve Buscemi, Billy Bob and many more recognisable faces) to Steven Tylers greatest song (Aerosmith's 'I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing') and his beautiful daughter Liv. This corny, but classic popcorn bubbling action flick belonged to Affleck and leading man Bruce Willis and their finale scene. Just like a friend said this week, if you don't shed tears to this one you aren't a real man. This really is something. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Saturday, 12 March 2011
We pick 5 old films we watched this week for your consideration.
THE DARK KNIGHT: Aaron Eckhart leads a troop of soldiers against an alien invasion this week in 'Battle: Los Angeles' but back in 2008 with Batman, Eckhart as Harvey Dent tried to take down Heath Ledger's classic Joker in 'The Dark Knight'. The greatest Batman and sequel of all time was an instant classic thanks to the late Ledger's legendary performance that re-defined the comic books character. Still this movies legacy also belongs to Nolan's dark direction, Bale's best Batman and Eckhart. Playing a hero living long enough to become a villian, Eckhart had inspiring integrity as Dent, then criminal coldness as Two-Face. A ground-breaking great. 'Rises' won't be the same without Ledger or Eckhart.
FAST & FURIOUS: Michelle Rodriguez joins Eckhart's army this week in 'Battle: Los Angeles' but she won't be reprising her other role in the upcoming 'Fast Five' Still she helped motor on the 'Fast & Furious' franchise playing Vin Diesel's love interest all whilst holding her own in strong support. This series became so successful when this fourth movie went back to it's 'original parts' that this year a fifth movie is coming out and a sixth has even been green-lighted. After 'Tokyo Drift', the 'Fast' team took it back to the past with this pure, petroleum filled, perfect prequel. Diesel and Walker re-fuelled this movie and the popcorn movie genre with one shift of the gear.
WEDDING CRASHERS: With this weeks release of 'Hall Pass' let's take it back to another Owen Wilson buddy comedy about chasing women. This classic comedy where Owen and improv-king Vince Vaughan try to 'hitch' up with women at weddings...classy indeed. There's a great cameo from Will Ferrell that 'Step Brother's' co-star Richard Jenkins almost bested in this weeks 'Hall Pass'. The guest-list of this movie is incredible too, from Christopher Walken to the rising of Racheal McAdams. There's also a convincingly cold, callous performance from Bradley Cooper, minus the stuble, hair and class-act charm.
ME, MYSELF & IRENE: Speaking of 'Hall Pass', how about another Farrelly Brothers comedy? The kings of gross really produced a royal flush with the king of slapstick Jim Carrey. Carrey switches personalities in a side-splitting comedy. This classic farce is funny for all the wrong reasons. From strange family dynamics to putting animals out of their misery this movie is so wrong, yet there is something so strangely right about it. This schizophrenic, narcissistic comedy really does manage every emotion into pure comedy. If your easily offended however, it may be best to repress.
THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS: Anthony Hopkins is awakening the demons of his darkest characters currently in cinemas with 'The Rite', still nothing will beat Hannibal Lector and espeically 'The Silence Of The Lambs'. A truly, clinically, cold classic. You could see the psychosis in Hopkins character and the fear in Jodie Foster. The tension between them thicker then his plexi-glass prison. The sequels where great but this original was the series' definition. The 'fava' of horror, thrillers no wonder it took more Academy Awards then victims. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
With permission, the Farrelly brothers pass the boundaries.
15, 105 Minutes. Starring: Owen Wilson, Jason Sudeikis, Stephen Merchant,
Jenna Fischer, Christina Applegate, J.B. Smooth & Richard Jenkins. Directors: Bobby & Peter Farrelly. Screenplay: Pete Jones, Kevin Barnett & Bobby & Peter Farrelly
Guys what would you do if your girl gave you a 'Hall Pass'? Say what? You say? I'm talking about a week off the relationship, not an allowance to take a leak during class. The kind of 'we we're on a break' Ross from 'Friends' argument. Sure some of you wouldn't like to admit it but that could be a pretty sweet deal for you, and even more of you wouldn't like to admit that if you where back on the market you probably wouldn't even appeal to the bargain basement hunters. Still, of course I'm just kidding but like the interesting premise of this Farrelly brothers comedy who knows what sort of hilarious realities would come to pass?
In a movie part, 'Old School' and part 'Wedding Crashers', Jason Sudeikis steps into the Vince Vaughn buddy role with hall of fame comic actor Owen Wilson, as the two funny people are as happy as Madison with their new take on single life. I can't tell why the duo would be restless though with wives like Christina Applegate and Jenna Fischer however. With a week free from marriage the pair look to go Dublin like Ireland, engaged with a barrage of bad chat up lines and tactics. Husbands the age of Wilson and Sudeikis beware, this movies going to make you feel real old, as nostalgia only looks good in hindsight for the pair as their teenage dream turns into a middle aged nightmare.
Owen Wilson once again lights up the screen with is wit and charm, but Sudeikis more then lovingly and laughingly holds his own, showing he really is a star in the making. Yet another product of the 'Saturday Night Live' talent pool helps make this weekend highlight another top film for Friday. Still, it is the support in this film that lifts this movie up like an arm in a cast. Applegate and Fischer are the perfect comedy leading ladies as they go out in search for their own fun, but it's Wilson and Sudeikis' friends that really make this buddy comedy that more non-family friendly.
Ricky Gervais best mate Stephen Merchant goes for his own success, with a sensational if not stereotypical performance. It's all meant however as the British talent gives this movie some comedy intelligence, especially after the credits where he gets his due with a few shots of hilarity to add to this potent mix of comedy. Also comedian and T.V. star J.B. Smooth, offers more enthusiasm with a cool, stand-up performance. The real stand-out performance comes from Richard Jenkins however. The 'Step Brothers' and sometimes serious actor is the classiest of clowns with an embarrassingly great performance as one of those old men clubbers, expert in preying on young, loose women. His classic comedic performance is made complete with a trilby, gold chains and fake tan.
The Farrelly brothers direction is what takes this hilarious movie to all the grossed out places you could imagine. From chow time to lunchboxes in the sauna this movie is disgustingly and disturbingly funny. Some scenes are as exactly random as getting high on a golf course, while others will leave you laughing with shame for what seems like 18 scenes later. Still for all the disgust the brain can take there is also some heart-warming aspects of this comedy. Taking a cue from Ben Stiller movies the makers of 'There's Something About Mary' stick to the classic, modern-day comedy script like Cameron Diaz's hair-gel. All in all 'Hall Pass' is everything you would want from a comedy, hilarity that knows no boundaries, surrounded by a layer of feel good warmth. With this reality check, once again the daredevil duo of the Farrelly brothers prove that when it comes to slapstick and toilet humor, their the 'Kingpin'. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
A more welcome invasion.
12A, 116 Minutes. Starring: Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez, Will Rothhaar, Ramón Rodríguez, Bridget Moynahan, Ne-Yo, Cory Hardrict, James Hiroyuki Liao & Michael Peña. Director: Jonathan Liebesman. Screenplay: Christopher Bertolini
Not another alien invasion movie out of Hollywood! Not another American army based movie! If that's what your thinking, don't worry. Sure this is another alien invasion/American army based movie, but this combination is what makes this a welcome and fresh take on our obsession with the idea of aliens being hostile (they may be alright you know). The genre is reinforced with a battalion of a cast and a full force of special effects and tank strong action set pieces. Inspired by the 'Battle Of Los Angeles' in 1942, (where there was a falsely suspected air raid of L.A. during World War II), this movie rages against the tired, sci-fi, mainstream genre machine.
Think 'Saving Private Ryan' meets 'Independence Day', this movie is a realistic piece of science-fiction that could of had a 'War Of The Worlds' effect on the more naive inhabitants of Los Angles if this movie took a leaf out of the fake-realism advertising book of Bradley Cooper's new movie 'Limitless'. The premise of this movie is simple. The world is under-attack from alien's, but as per usual in movies the focus is on Los Angeles as a bunch of emotional, passionate, conflicted U.S. soldiers lead the worlds resistance. HOORAH!!!
These 'Band Of Brothers' are led by Aaron Eckhart, who looks a little bit older, but at least he saves his whole face this time. 'The Dark Knight' star illuminates this picture with his strong acting and conviction in his battle-hardened characters confliction. Eckhart leads an army of diverse talent as they go to war with some refreshingly designed aliens and spaceships. Michelle Rodriguez again brings her trademark, out-of-this-world toughness to help give this movie more punch. Taking her pilot training from 'Avatar' out of Pandora to propel this movie even further forward. Also Ramón Rodríguez (no relation) furthers his great supporting roles in 'The Taking Of Pelham 1 2 3' and the second 'Transformers' movie with a more commanding performance here.
There is even more force to this cast. 'True Blood's' Jim Parrack brings 'True Grit' to this movie like his name was Rooster Cogburn, while movie/T.V. and music video actor Cory Hardrict shows he's more then a recognisable face with a strong performance in his own personal battle with Eckhart's character. One of the movies great surprises is R&B star Ne-Yo. As the 'So Sick' talent 'Stomps The Yard' with a performance that shows he's got acting weapons as he trades his trilby for a helmet. Bridget Moynahan and Michael Peña also further their household names with some welcoming additions to the casts as civilians.
Liebesman's war like direction of this film adds a real authenticity to it. From L.A. freeways to backyards the action is thrilling, all travelling and real and right at your door. The special effects really are special and the lack of Hollywood shine on the fights scenes give this picture a even more thrillingly, terrifying real-life feel. The incredible city of Los Angeles looks epic even in it's downfall and as a Laker fan I'm just glad they didn't touch the STAPLES Centre. Even the acting and emotion in this film feels realer and more genuine. There's more beef to the hamming up and even the cheesy nature of this, like many American battle movies is more uplifting then other mainstream movies. This is thanks to the high-standard writing of Christopher Bertolini and the high-caliber of the acting talent at this movies disposal. Finally Hollywood is making inspiring action pictures as well as they did in the mid 90's.
'Battle: Los Angeles' is the perfect fix for those awaiting a taster of the Summer blockbusters yet to come and those disappointed by last years L.A. based, alien movie 'Skyline'. Sure this film may not be as flashy or as futuristic as the illuminating, ahead of it's time skyline of downtown L.A. at night, but it's more real and right now. Sure rumored sequels in other cities may cool off this franchise but this Friday night, 'escape in L.A.' is hot like the Californian sun. If this film was released in July it may not win the battle with the big name blockbusters, but right now in the madness of March, it wins the war. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
15, 104 Minutes. Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Colin O’Donoghue & Alice Braga. Directors: Mikael Håfström. Screenplay: Matt Baglio & Michael Petroni
Now, I know what you’re thinking… “Great, yet another film about exorcists and the devil blah, blah blah.” However, I am happy to announce the release of an exorcism film that’s actually not bad!
When Michael Kovak (O’Donoghue) wants to escape his dreary life his only option is to join a seminary to become a priest. As his education comes to an end he finds himself lacking the faith to finish his exams. In an attempt to make him change his mind Michael’s tutor sends him to Rome to take part in exorcism classes. Still unsure of his religious belief Michael is sent to see Father Lucas Trevant (Hopkins) a practising exorcist who introduces him to some of his patients, but are they possessed or just in need of psychiatric help?
Unlike many other mainstream exorcism films 'The Rite' follows the personal journey of the lead character as well as offering the conventional horror storyline. I must say I was pleasantly surprised to find that this film had no need for the stereotypical head spinning or other such nonsense that can take away the believability from a film. 'The Rite' uses different methods playing on our own beliefs and thus creating a film that is scary without use of special effects or over the top blasphemy and bad language although saying that, this film defiantly does not lack in the creative department the imagery used is brilliant, keeping it simple and therefore creating maximum effect as your imagination does the rest.
Of course, the best thing about The Rite is Anthony Hopkins, his portrayal of Father Lucas’s possession is fantastic. Without a hint of any Hannibal Lector characteristics he manages to become a completely different kind of scary and steals every scene. I also found myself enjoying Colin O’Donoghue’s depiction of Michael Kovak, his character develops dramatically throughout the film from a trainee priest who doesn’t believe in God to a man faced with proof of the devil. His character development is convincing and he does well considering he hasn’t played a lead role in a high concept film before.
Quite possibly the best horror movie I’ve seen for a long time but The Rite is not without its flaws. At some points I felt that the storyline was lacking a back story and often the audience was left to figure it out for themselves, not a bad thing if you have a great imagination but does leave you feeling confused. The transitions between scenes could be smoother and occasionally let the film down. All the flaws are outweighed by the fact that this horror actually has a storyline and more than just two dimensional characters, very refreshing to see something a bit different in this genre.
Even if you don’t like horror, go and see this film, if just for Anthony Hopkins! But don’t forget, just because you don’t believe in the devil, doesn’t mean you’re safe from him…SAMANTHA SMITH.
Monday, 7 March 2011
To be Blunt, Damon's latest needs no adjustment.
12A, 106 Minutes. Starring: Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Anthony Mackie, Michael Kelly, John Slattery, Anthony Ruivivar & Terence Stamp. Directors: George Nolfi. Screenplay: George Nolfi
"A real man makes his own fate". That's what Leonardo DiCaprio's character Jack said in the movie 'Titanic'. Sure his characters fateful end left him hanging on to a plank of wood that only had room for one, but still that's not the point. DiCaprio's character's philosophy can also be attributed to 'Departed' co-star and fellow A-Star List, leader of all leading men Matt Damon in both his career and latest role in this weeks 'The Adjustment Bureau'. Damons career choices have taken him from a floppy haired, young Oscar winner to a true 'Bourne' star. The worlds, official most marketable actor is always working, in high demand and on our screens at least three times a year. He even has three films out now. Following his second, stunning collaboration with Clint Eastwood in 'Hereafter' and his uplifting versatility in his supporting role in the Cohen's classic 'True Grit', Damon delivers on this new picture, standing alongside the best of British in Emily Blunt.
As adjustment's where made this movie was long delayed from it's moment of release and was considered by some to be a turkey. Still with a little tinkering, what we now have is a highly anticipated movie that delivers, giving us food for thought and if it is short of anything, it is just short of being a masterpiece. This great story is based on the Phillip K. Dick short novel, 'Adjustment Team' and is re-told perfectly by the writing and direction of George Nolfi. Take JFK, with a bit of Bobby and a dash of Obama and you have Damon's character David Norris. A senator who despite being a nice but rough around the edges bad boy is running for New York and could go even further. When all takes a turn for the worse and looks lost however he meets the woman of his dreams, Emily Blunt (hey, isn't she everyone's). From her inspiration he loosens up more then his tie and gives a career speech. His moment is made however, with her number in his pocket.
Sounds like it was meant to be, right? WRONG! This is when a bunch of 'Mad Men', 'Third Watch' guys step in to form 'The Adjustment Bureau' and of course any bunch of oddball, villain esque men in American movies have to be led by an old Brit, and you can thank Terrence Stamp for sealing a performance with as much conviction as Sam Rockwell and Hillary Swank. So as they burn that precious piece of paper with Blunt's number on like a jealous ex, you'd think that would be it right. NOPE! When the two star-crossed lovers run into each other again three years later just by chance (now that really is luck) it's time for more OTT changes and 'Truman Show' style cover ups. You see Damon's character could be President and Blunt's ballet dancer could give the 'Black Swan' a run for her money, but not if their fates intertwine even more then the damage their meeting has already done.
So cue some funny (but pretty damn stylish) hats and the dashing through doors, portals, different parts of New York and all sorts of genres as this story paths out with elements of sci-fi, romance, thrilling action and a dash of humour. This really is an exciting thrill ride that goes completely to plan. Whether your with it or not at the start, by the end of this movie you've got to take your hats off to a smart, engaging film that is a refreshing piece of cinema. It's not 'Bourne' just because it's Damon. It's not 'Inception' just because it's more peculiar then some Statham farce. It's Damon and Blunt giving trademark, top performances, taking a strange picture from uncertainty to acceptance from their respective characters desperation to determination.
Damon is his usual charismatic, nice-guy calm, but he also looks capable of winning any political election with his openness and any woman's heart with his genuine emotion in this perfect performance. His chemistry with Blunt has the makings of a classic in this different science fiction picture. Factor that in with Blunt's classy, confident, 'take no crap' leading lady performance and you have the perfect male and female movie for date night or whatever you call this Friday. This damsel in distress has the conviction of a dame and keeps up pace with Damon, keeping this film running as much as him and as much as this movies poster. Now that's a billboard success.
A cameo from political satire king Jon Stewart and his show isn't the only extra star power that's great to see. The support in this movie changes it for the better too. From T.V. Stars John Slattery to character actor of the moment and 'Fair Games' Michael Kelly. Still with all this versatile and underrated talent it's the even more multi-talented and underrated Anthony Mackie that almost steals the show, even from Damon with an engaging, uplifting and aiding performance that makes the movie. This guy who's been on and off Broadway like George Benson and has played Tupac Shakur is a star in the making. You could almost say it's destined to happen and hey he should know all about that.
As futuristic as this tall story is, it's the old stories that are best and this before it's time, Phillip K. Dick narrative stands the test in this modern day. This movies beautiful cinematography in it's digital form is highly defined and directed perfectly. From the camera angles and shots, to the beautiful, unique capturing of New York, a city that appears in three times the movies that Damon does in any a year. The story is stellar, switching between movie genres as effectively and as convincingly as a Spielberg director or Depp actor. Like true science-fiction this film has heart and mind and like a true thriller it has action and drama, making it truly welcome amongst typical soulless films today in all fellow genres. What makes this true ensemble piece even better is it's thought provoking everyday, simple themes beneath it's complicated layers, such as the highly debated love versus success and the even more argued fate or manifest destiny idea. 'The Adjustment Bureau' in fact had it's own group of powers that be trying to shut it down and hold it back, but it was no use. Just like true love, this movie was meant to be. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
We pick 5 old films we watched this week for your consideration.
WHAT'S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT: After the Oscars honored a woman's struggle with Natalie Portman's role in the 'Black Swan' last week, they could do good to look back at one they got wrong. Forget about 'The Bodyguard', this is one soul singer biopic that's truly, brutally real. 'What's Love Got To Do With It', charts the story of mainstream soul to pop music success story Tina Turner. Unlike most films however, this story shows behind closed doors and the horrible truths that existed as Tina suffered domestic abuse by the hands of her husband Ike Turner. Sure this film is harrowing and unpleasant to watch but it's also necessary. Not just to see what really happened and how much the truly brave and strong singer has overcome but to bring attention to the critical issue of domestic violence, where most of the victims sadly suffer in silence. Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne give career, Oscar worthy (beyond just the nominations) performances as Tina and Ike. Fishburne is so clinically cold in this great performance you'll come out hating him, while Bassett is utterly brilliant as the women with a beautiful mind and bold heart. This really is the best, simply and plain.
HANCOCK: Sure this may not be Will Smith's best movie, but then again this is not your average superhero movie, making for a refreshing change for the saturated genre. Smith plays 'Hancock', not so 'super' and not so 'heroic', but with crime fighting powers and the ability to withstand anything and anybody, except a few rounds with Jack Daniels. Smith however is on top form, charismatic as ever, even when playing an 'asshole'. There is great support from family unit Jason Bateman and Charlize Theron while the CGI and effects really are special. Even when this funny film shifts in mood from light to dark it's still appealing in it's action and heroism.
THE TERMINAL: Tom Hanks and Steven Speilberg are the 90's, Hollywood, family friendly version of Martin Scorsese and Leornado DiCaprio or Clint Eastwood and Matt Damon. The pair have made all sorts of classic movies, but this airport based comedy is both terminally funny and terminally uplifting. With a similar, isolated but improvised premise of the pairs 'Castaway' adventure, this film makes the most out of any situation. Check in and you won't be bored with any delay. Hanks and Speilberg are on trademark, stellar form, propelling a likable story on with their instantly appealing ways. Catherine Zeta-Jones, Stanley Tucci, Jeffrey Wright and an early Zoe Salanda are all great company as passengers in this journey. This trip is also unexpectedly moving and thought-provoking. Even if you missed it the first time round, catch it while you can.
OCEANS ELEVEN: It's another week, so that means another film from Matt Damon. So before we review 'The Adjustment Bureau', let's look back at Damon's enormous, ensemble piece. With the worlds best entourage Damon stands and holds his own next to George Clooney and Brad Pitt as they get their Rat Pack on. Taking on the ever king of cool Andy Garcia and the royalty of casino's like 007, Casey Affleck, the late, legendary, laugh-out-loud Bernie Mac (R.I.P. you are truly missed), Elliott Gould and many more star-studded players put their hand in. Sure casino players may not really look like this but this movie is as cool as the hell in Sin City and Vegas has never looked better, being taken back to it's cinematic qualities of the 50's. The best of the rest, this film is big, with a pack all playing their cards right. Confident like Frank, charismatic like Dino and cool like Sammy, this picture is a smart classic. If there's nothing on the tube tonight, it's time to channel the greats.
THE SUM OF ALL FEARS: It's not just Matt Damon who's on a constant hot-streak right now. Fellow college and directorial alumni Ben Affleck is back on top thanks to last years 'The Town'. So lets take it back to the early years where Ben was offered most of the Matt Damon, A-List pictures. Stepping into the Harrison Ford, Jack Ryan mantle of the popular political thrillers Affleck brings a confidence and assurity to a classic role even with big, legendary, shined and polished shoes to fill. The movie may not be a classic but it's still thrilling and exciting and the special effects are really explosive and decimating. There's also great support from Liev Schrieber and Morgan Freeman assumes the voice of James Earl Jones for a perfect homage as the Jack Ryan narrative continues. TIM DAVID HARVEY.