Sunday, 25 September 2011



Crazy, sexy, cool.

12A, 130 Minutes. Starring: Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, Marisa Tomei, Kevin Bacon. Director: Glenn Ficarra & John Requa. Screenplay: Dan Fogelman

Steve Carrell has no luck with women. Not to be harsh on the great guy but in this movie he just doesn't have his way with Julianne Moore, Bill Cosby's wardrobe or automobiles. It's safe to say like the drinks his character drowns his sorrows in his marriage is on the rocks. So here's the twist; in comes ladies man Ryan Gosling as our R-rated 'Hitch' to give Carrell a new wardrobe, style and lease of life with the ladies, including a real fox in Marissa Tomei. Julianne Moore-who seems to be bringing home the Kevin Bacon-won't know what has hit him. Gosling likes to swan about with various females but his attentions also been caught as he tries to court Emma Stone. Throw in a smitten babysitter, some confused kids and some disgruntled adults and there we have some 'Crazy, Stupid, Love' and our latest situation romantic comedy for the big screens.

Call me crazy or stupid but this is one hell of a love story. Heart filled and realer then most rom-coms this is a heaven sent thinker, not a stinker. It's cool and classy like the bar Carrell and Gosling frequent but down to earth and homely like the primary setting. The man that went from 'Brick' to formidably firing up the critically welfare-prone American 'Office' has produced another gem. Steve Carrell has given us another Vince Vaughan/thinking man's comedy that explores the darker sides of relationships but still lightens things up with some gorgeous gags.

The ladies are going to love Ryan Gosling too-who has come a long way since 'Remember The Titans' (remember that)-plus the guys will wish they where photo-shopped too. Slick, smart, well-dressed and charismatic it may be time for guys like Ryan Reynolds and James Franco to stand aside. Julianne Moore pops in again with a consistently great performance while Emma Stone continues her hard work as the 'Easy A' actress rises her star stock. Just call her the new Rose Byrne with this, 'Friends With Benefits' and the aid of 'Help'...she's in everything.

More star meat's given to this film as Carrell has beef with Kevin Bacon, while the sexy, sultry Marissa Tomei just keeps looking and getting better. Everyone takes part including 'America's Next Top Model' Analeigh Tipton, hot actress of the moment Liza Lapira and many more. I mean even Josh Groban makes an appearance...Josh Groban?! I'm sorry this is new to me, I don't watch 'Glee'. Still even with a recognisable cast you still don't know what your going to get from this movie until you watch it. From some 'Run Fatboy Run' gym gags done better to some tender tapped late night phone calls. One thing you can be sure of is some crazy laughs, stupid fun and a lot of love. TIM DAVID HARVEY.


We pick 5 old films we watched this week for your consideration. This week my personal top 5 favourite films.

ALI: Will Smith wasn't robbed the Oscar (Denzel schooled everyone with 'Training Day'), but he was robbed the respect. People may have thought his unique personality couldn't capture another so in kind, but Smith really channeled Muhammad Ali perfectly from the impressive speech and mannerisms to the impossible dedication and weight gain. In the actors finest and most underrated performance this lost classic was epic. Another DVD choice in this rack directed distinctly by Michael Mann, this picture helped develop a working relationship between Mann and Jamie Foxx (that lead to another classic referenced here) following a breakthrough, incredible performance from Jamie as Bundini. Jon Voight was also unrecognisably unique as Howard Cossell. Also giving this film weight was it's sublimely soulful soundtrack (the Sam Cooke intro is just so uplifting and inspiring) and the fight scenes which are the best ever seen in cinema...yeah I said it. This film rolls with the strongest of punches.

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 villain, 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.

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.

COLLATERAL: Action thrillers don't get more tense and exciting then this. The master of celluloid Michael Mann directs a perfect movie that brought the Richard Gere and the best out of Tom Cruise and along with 'Ray' made Jamie Foxx an all-round star and double Oscar nominee. Action and gunfights haven't been this hot since Mann's 'Heat' and in the confides of a taxi-cab the drama and tension between Cruise's hitman and Foxx's driver is perfectly taught. Mann also handpicked a right soundscape and captured the haunting, beautiful, futuristic yet isolated feeling of downtown Los Angeles perfectly on digital cameras. Mark Ruffalo, Jada Pinkett Smith also offer stellar support.

DOG DAY AFTERNOON: A true story where a man robs a bank to finance his gay lovers sex change. You know this movies something else. In one of Al Pacino's best ever roles the young actor really displayed his depth and range with this 70's classic. Dramatic but hilarious, tense but touching, this movie is both timeless in it's classic nature and ground-breaking in it's before it's time stature. Al Pacino really had his day with this one. Amongst all his other legendary roles and it's controversy this film has become somewhat lost. You may not have heard of it, but by the time you've finished watching you'll want to tell everybody what you've just seen. Witness the perfect crime. TIM DAVID HARVEY.



A thunderous, Thor-de-force.

12A, 130 Minutes. Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Stellan Skarsgård, Jamie Alerxander, Rene Russo & Idris Elba. Director: Kenneth Branagh. Screenplay: Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stentz & Don Payne

By now you'll know what to expect from the Marvel franchise and it's budding Avenger series. Comic humor and action? Check! References to other movies? Check! Hilarious Stan Lee cameo's? Your damn right...check! Still anyone going into this film expecting the same old stuff, with their arms folded in prepared disappointment will be pleasantly surprised. Not that there's anything wrong with the other Marvel Films (they are great) but with all the sub-Avenger films and other superhero reboots coming out it's hard not to be geeked out (in the wrong way) with all this comic-book carnage. That is until you take in the excitement of 'Thor'.

OK so you may be familiar with the mythical or comic book story of 'Thor' (and let's face it both are treated like ancient text), but here's the skinny on the story of the God that's so ripped he looks like the dudes from '300' on steroids. So Thor's about to be named king by his father Odin (Hopkins) much to his brother Loki's dismay and jealousy, but then some frost giants (who look like some dodgy 'Star Trek' villains (come to mention it Hemsworth previously stared briefly in the new 'Star Trek' movie as Kirk's father in an emotionally charged and poignant scene) attempt to steal their confiscated bio-frost (which sounds like some sort of detergent). So Thor armed wit his new vanity and arrogance seeks revenge much to his fathers disapproval.

This leads to his banishment to earth, where Thor is found by a research team led by Natalie Portman. This leads to some hilarious and peculiar happenings as Thor finds it hard to get to grips with coffee house etiquette and transportation means. Still if you think he's got problems back home his father's stress has led him to fall into a deep 'Odinsleep' (nice to have a type of sleep named after you hey?) which leads to the scheming Loki literally and figuratively assuming the throne. This leads to more problems for Thor as both his world and his new one are under serious threat, but can he get his Excalibur on and hammer down these problems?

This is some ridiculously good yarn wrapped up by director Branagh (who better for this, really) in all it's epic, loud Brian Blessed bravado. As entertaining as it is surprising this film is primed to storm the pre-summer blockbuster season no matter how 'Fast and Furious' it is. This film has realms of talent. After an impressive cameo in 'Star Trek', Chris Hemsworth bulks and beefs up beyond belief for a meaty role. While 'Black Swan' Oscar winner Natalie Portman spreads her wings and steps into Marvel's Gwyneth Paltrow type roll perfectly as the strong female lead. Stellan Skarsgard and Kat Dennings also make the perfect team for her but Loki is not a good ally for his brother Thor and Tom Hiddleston plays this perfectly. Thor also has some friendly, funny and fantastic support from friends led by the beautiful and talented Jamie Alexander. Even though there in smaller roles new and established favourite talents Idris Elba and Rene Russo but in strong plays to help make this film that much bigger. Still it's legendary talent Anthony Hopkins who was born for his role as Odin, hamming it up and playing it perfectly to a tee.

Graphically speaking this movie is stunning and content wise it's suitable for adults and young kings. With some introductions to other Avenger characters in cameo's and some other movie references to Marvel at this film keeps both this franchise and series going. Exciting and funny this is pure entertainment and the mix between fantasy and real world works showing that this film doesn't treat itself so seriously. From the pomp and extravagance of the fantasy world to the easy going, small-town circumstance of the real world. It's this right mix and the fun, action-packed thrill-ride of this film that will extend this avenging franchises reign, leading fans to proclaim like 'Thor' after a drink for 'ANOOOOTHEEEERR'! TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Thursday, 22 September 2011



Tap into this one..

140 Minutes. Starring: Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton, Jennifer Morrison, Frank Grillo & Nick Nolte. Director: Gavin O'Connor. Screenplay: Gavin O'Connor, Cliff Dorfman & Anthony Tambakis


Let's get it on! Think of all the clichés you want. 'It will leave you floored', 'it roles with the punches', 'it will take the wind out of you'. This is all true but this film is anything but a cliché. It's about time the worlds fasting growing sport of Mixed Martial Arts got it's due in a movie. Think that Boxing is the only form of fighting that can be given romanticism and drama in a Hollywood picture? Well think again. Rocky couldn't go three rounds and a balboa with this true to it's name 'Warrior'. This picture shows this setting makes for a perfect 'Raging Bull' meets 'Fearless' drama as fists, martial arts and the true art of real fighting are mixed. Forgive the cliché's but in the still Autumn season this film is a runaway, surprise, classic hit that will make you realise why you love movies as it pins you down to the edge of your seat. Take a minute.


Get off the ropes and don't sit on the fence, with all hype being directed at the wrong movies at the moment this fighter is the prize pick that should make it to Oscar season like Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale's time in the ring. This is much more dramatic, grittier and brutal to boot, flip, punch and kick too. You have to understand if you took one look at this writer you would know he isn't a fan of MMA and the UFC, but after this movie it's more than garnered his attention and respect. This movie has just done a hell of a lot for this sport. Like 'Any Given Sunday' did for football or Kevin Costner did for baseball.

Gavin O'Connor sets the scene perfectly in the gutter-poet Springsteen, make or break Atlantic City which is a long way and far cry of the big lights, slots and hopes of Vegas. This picture cashes in on it's beautifully brutal background. The film also makes the most of current times and problems, as the story of two brothers fighting each other in and outside their discipline isn't the only battle made. The war on young soldiers minds and financial crisis on individuals home life is also take to task and script with thoughtful writing and tactful direction. The convincing compassion also feels out alcohol addiction and faith in family versus faith in our father. This sip of true life is heaven sent. It all connects like the characters with every powerful blow.


Submit. This is no stop-gap between Christopher Nolan blockbusters. Following his charismatic, scene-stealing performance in 'Inception', Tom Hardy is doing more than just bulking up for Bane in 'The Dark Knight Rises' in this film. He's showing his incredible versatility, one that holds the belt like no other. Hardy even makes you forget he's also hitting big this week in the hard drama 'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy'. This is his time and this is his movie. Think 'Inception' co-star Leonardo DiCaprio plays the conflicted man well? Hardy will make you believe every dark emotion. This film is no weight shift segue, it's his moment.

The same can be said for on-screen brother Joel Edgerton and father Nick Nolte, the respective up and coming star and legendary veteran also pack an emotional punch in dramatic performances with brutal honesty, displaying all the unrelenting strength and pathetic weakness of some human emotions in a right and just way. All actors bring their A game and everything they have as even the slightest expression reveals more plot points then simple exposition ever could. These complicated techniques expose just how great this film really is. The fights in this movie are epic even before an one steps in a ring, and when they finally do the fight scenes are as choreographed as brilliant as 'The Fighter' or 'Ali', seconds out to none. With a real emotionally thrilling climax that does the rest of this heart and soul picture justice even the toughest looking grown man in the cinema was shedding a few man tears.





A classic career worthy of cinema.

Even though the band Pearl Jam are huge and legendary for their help pioneering the iconic Seattle grunge scene-which was also made famous by the heaven sent Nirvana-they still remain one of the worlds most underrated rock acts. So in steps fan and former Rolling Stone editor Cameron Crowe with a camera as he directs and documents the bands two decade long career over two hours to show the world the justice they deserve. Crowe looks to add to his impressive film credits (that include the Oscar worthy 'Jerry Maguire' and the Kate Hudson career maker 'Almost Famous') with 'Pearl Jam Twenty' that deserves it's time on the big screen before it hits the DVD racks.

From the beginnings of the awe-inspiring and stunning aerial view of Seattle's skyline you instantly become immersed in the culture of the city that bore this band. The digital views are so detailed it almost feels like your there. Then as some familiar, favourite guitar kicks in the fans are right there, immersed in this epic trip down memory lane. To say this band have been through a lot is another statement that underestimates them but Crowe really makes the most of what they're worth. His direction isn't just slick (from stunning scenery and the perfect pick of songs, soundbites and other related or loosely related clips (everything from Elvis and Bob Dylan to Adam Sandler and 'Celebrity Deathmatch' are used here)) it's also deep, determined and tastefully insightful.

Everything from the tragedy of Mother Love Bone to Kurt Cobain and the Roskilde festival are dealt with with tact and humble honesty. While the alliance with Canadian legend Neil Young and the brilliant boycott of Ticketmaster are addressed and celebrated with assessment and class. All these moments are punctuated by some great performances like the majestic MTV Unplugged show and the inspiring Italian acoustic flair in fair Verona. The notoriously publicity shy band also give Crowe and us a big look into their private lives. Especially and surprisingly the favourite frontmen Eddie Vedder who takes us round his home.

You'll really learn a lot from this documentary film like just how incredibly underrated a guitarist Mike Mcready is and just how much this selfless band have done for others in all their generosity and camaraderie. With accounts from the band, Soundgarden's Chris Cornell and this films directors own personal memories and accounts this really is a deeper, expert eye's look into a genre of music and a nostalgic time of everybody's lives. This film recently premiered at the traditional (second only to Cannes) Toronto International Film Festival to rave reviews from everyone from top film magazines to 'Keerang'. It was released in conjunction with a book, live album and live show at the Air Canada Centre in the T-Dot, but as incredible as all these things are (especially the epic live show these guys put on) it comes second to the story of this band. Twenty years on Mookie Blaylock and Pearl are made proud. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Sunday, 18 September 2011



The old switch-a-roo..

108 Minutes. Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Jason Bateman, Leslie Mann & Olivia Wilde & Alin Arkin. Director: David Dobkin. Screenplay: Jon Lucas & Scott Moore

Buddy comedies don't get much closer than this. Funny men Jason Bateman (who's had a busy 12 months with the very hilarious 'Horrible Bosses' and 'The Switch') and Ryan Reynolds (who's had an even busier year with the brilliant 'Buried' and 'Green Lantern') really get on the same page in 'The Change Up', which goes all 'Freaky Friday' for the guys, or 'Face Off' with less bullets and surgery.

Ryan Reynolds is your typical playboy, living the pot-head, no commitment young mans dream, while family man Jason Bateman is working his life away. Envying each others lives they get drunk and go piss in a fountain...and guess what happens? As the two switch bodies, each actor plays the other part real well, kind of like how John Travolta and Nicholas Cage did in 'Face-Off' switching between good and bad guys. The nice guy charm of Bateman and the charismatic cockiness of Reynolds can not be duplicated but from their performances it's clear these two actors and friends know each other pretty well...inside out you could say.

The females in this picture, support and stand by these confused men as these guys go through some hilarious one-liners, but sometimes the 'who let the Farrelley Brothers in' gross out gags are too much. The baby jokes will leave you crying, you be the judge of whether it be the good way or the bad way. When this movie hits the mark though it tickles the ribs and pulls the heart strings like all good buddy comedies do as these two top actors save a script that changes up between hit and miss like the leads do personalities. Top comedy leading man Bateman is genuinely brilliant as usual, dry but delightful, while Reynolds is as always entertaining though it may be time for him to leave the Van Wilder college days behind. Otherwise and all in all this comedy is fun and will leave you appreciating what you have and don't have all at the same time. Sure 'The Change Up' is a recycled story that doesn't really alter much but sometimes it's best when things stay the same. TIM DAVID HARVEY.



Zoë Saldana is ready to bloom..

108 Minutes. Starring: Zoë Saldana, Michael Vartan, Cliff Curtis, Lennie James, Callum Blue & Jordi Mollà. Director: Olivier Megaton. Screenplay: Luc Besson
Robert & Mark Kamen

What do you get if you take an unconventional Hollywood picture add some French, a hint of Colombian and set it in Chicago, all whilst arming the hottest young female actor in the world with a gun and plenty of attitude? You get 'Colombiana'. 'La Femme Nikita' director Olivier Megaton reloads his female assassins gun and hands it to Saldana, who since huge hits 'Star Trek' and 'Avatar' has the future of Hollywood in her hands.

She may want to grasp a little tighter however as this action flick shoots a little below her range. It's far from being a bad film but 'Colombiana' does not reach the heights that Salanda's career is about to scale. Her ceiling is higher then this basic action that sticks to the script and unfortunately some stereotypes. Even a great soundtrack featuring Johnny Cash can't help this film from being hurt a little. It's exciting and cool but just a little too weak for such a strong character and lead.

This is still far from a character assassination as the crazy, sexy, cool Saldana gives this movie some TLC showing she can carry herself both physically and mentally in this movie that is packed with some sensational, set-piece action and some emotional heart. It's raining tears and bullets in a movie that overcomes its dry spells with some bright spots. From looking like a drunk Rihanna with short-hair in disguise to looking as sexy as Halle Berry in a catsuit, Zoe can fit into any 'guise and looks all the better for it. With some attractive direction the 'Avatar' star doesn't even have to go blue for this movie to attract your eye.

As our lead Catalina (this would have made for a better name for the movie) family get slaughtered in Colombia, she heads to America to get her 'Lady Of Vengeance' on, with the help of some great training and support by classy, character actor Cliff Curtis. That's basically it as this simple style over 'The Brave One' substance affair doesn't screw around. Some nice detective work (thanks to Lennie James) and entertaining shark attacks save this film from being sunk and buried. Still a little bit more of a story or some 'Leon' would of been the best dish served cold. Then we would really have a hot movie on our hands, still armed with a pistol Saldana still holds some heat and shoots straight. With better aim and more time on her next shot, she'll find her mark and hit the target. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Friday, 16 September 2011


This weeks DVD selection takes it to the rack of great Basketball movies.

COACH CARTER: Samuel L. Jackson teaches a band of brothers how to really play this game and be men, in this educating, game of life, modern-day classic. The sublime performances match the scoring soundtrack throughout and Jackson's never been better in this action. Part 'Remember The Titans' but mostly setting it's own path and legacy this true, legendary story of Carter is loved and influential and inspiring to coaches and teachers alike.

THE BASKETBALL DIARIES: In one of Leonardo DiCaprio's youngest and greatest performances he gives us a brutally honest take on the effects of drug abuse in sports and the youth. Sure basketball is a back-story here but it's not the real issue that needs to be addressed. With great support from Mark Wahlberg and Juliette Lewis this movie slam dunks all over Hollywood shine and censorship.

WHITE MEN CAN'T JUMP: Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes take shots at each other and racial barriers in this groundbreaking and entertaining comedy. Set in the legendary courts of Los Angeles, the action of these Venice Beach boys look as good as Rosie Perez.

SEMI-PRO: Woody Harrelson (you can also see him playing pickup with Justin Timberlake currently in 'Friends With Benefits') re-laces his sneakers and joins Andre 3000's 'Coffee Black' on Will Ferrell's comedic court as the comic genius drops another classic. Portraying the fictional Flint Tropics this is a very real and amusing look at the most entertaining league in basketball history; the ABA. Bears at halftime and other Evil Knievel stunts, this sort of stuff actually happened. You must see this one for a bit of comedy and history. Let's get tropical.

SPACE JAM: Follow Michael Jordan down the 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' hole as he plays with Bugs Bunny and all your favourite Warner Brothers. Disney missed out on this one. Sure its a mickey mouse film that Bill Murray called his worst but he, Larry Bird and a bunch of cartoon characters brought the laughs as Mike brought the charm and money to the table as he showed why he was the worlds biggest star. The kids loved it too and at least Charles Barkley promised he'd never date Madonna again. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Monday, 12 September 2011


Faster & Furious.


It all started up again with Tokyo, 'Tokyo Drift' to be exact. In the third, but chronologically last instalment in the 'Fast and the Furious' franchise. The cars, music, Sung Kang, Japan and that girl from the Bruno Mars video did a good job of keeping the series running on fumes, but still it was missing something. In the final scene of the movie our lead is challenged to one more race. As he pulls up to the starting line a beautiful, classic American muscle car flexes into view. Could it be? As we see the dome of the driver and we pan round and there he is in a fresh white tee in the driving seat, it's Dominic Toretto or should we say Vin Diesel, the biggest star of 'The Fast and the Furious' torque, adrenaline fuelled blockbuster. Even in this 30 second or so cameo we are reminded of the charisma and charm of this character and actor that had been missed since the great, but not the same feeling '2 Fast 2 Furious'.

Then came the big moment. The 'new model, original parts' ensemble that became the fourth 'Fast' movie that took everything back to the original so much that the similar title ('Fast & Furious') is still bound to cause confusion when ordered on DVD today. Diesel refuelled the franchise along with old friends Paul Walker, Jordan Brewster and Michelle Rodriguez for a thrilling ride that engine gunned this franchise into this years formidable 'Fast Five' sequel. A movie so hot and cool it was filmed in the Rio De Janeiro in Brazil and featured more old friends in the form of the franchise favourites Tyrese, Ludacris and Sung Kang and a brilliant, new baddie to wrestle with in the form of Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson. 'Five' has become so famous with it's thrills, spills, action and visual entertainment that it's widely considered as the best in the far. Still with all this 'Italian Job' meets 'Oceans Eleven' film has to offer it's the lead that brings everything together in this ensemble piece. It's clear to see that Vin Diesel is back in the driving seat with his career nowhere near the rear-view.

The Hollywood hard-man age seems to have died with the ageing of the Stallone's, Segal's and Van Damme's (even though they still make great movies) but there's just something about Mark Sinclair Vincent. Something that goes beyond his Brooklyn bouncer to actor, director, producer, screenwriter success. Something that goes beyond his forever young, 44 years of age and something that goes beyond his millions of inspired Facebook followers who are moved by his motivating and inspiring posts that could only be rivalled by 'Fast Five' co-star Tyrese's influential Tweets. It goes beyond social networking or Hollywood status. This charismatic character is today's leading movie tough guy, but with added smarts.

He anchors two major franchises in the 'Fast & Furious' and 'Riddick' and he was irreplaceable in the 'xXx' one (maybe it's time somebody made a call). His heavy star weight is so big that excitement is already buzzing for his next drive and fist-fight with fellow strongman 'The Rock' in 'Fast Six' due Memorial Day 2013 in a series that doesn't seem to be running out of road. Why so long you ask in anticipation? Well that's because Vin's currently filming the new 'Riddick' movie for a franchise that featured the dark, classic 'Pitch Black' and the exciting 'Chronicles of Riddick'. Right now the only other man who leads two huge, box-office franchises still current is Robert Downey Jnr (with 'Iron Man' and 'Sherlock Holmes') arguably the most charismatic and popular figure in Hollywood right now, two characteristics that help Vin to not be far off.

Vin Diesel is one of your most marketable movie makers because the ladies love him like Cool James and the fellas love the lights, camera and action of his films. Diesel's far from unleaded as he can still roll wit the punches and special effects like he asked someone for what Bruce Willis was having. The hard-worker keeps his frame and creative pictures honed because of his love for his art. He keeps the love for 'Riddick' alive in computer games and animated spin-off features, while even when critically panned he shows his underrated diversity and underground talent like in the harshly judged and actually good 'Babylon A.D.'.

Still it's the depth of his personality and character that bring out the deeper human aspects of his tough characters. Just take a look at another underrated gem of a movie for example in the revenge thriller 'A Man Apart' that stands right next to similar modern greats like Denzel Washington's 'Man On Fire' or Jodie Foster and Terrence Howard's 'The Brave One'. In this movie Diesel plays a man hell bent on revenge after criminals kill the love of his life. Armed with true grit and genuine heart Diesel perfectly shows both sides of a man, battling between love and hate and good and bad.

This conflicted performance was done with so much class that it seemed to inspire his character in 'Fast & Furious' who also looked to avenge the loss of his love. Showing that this one-time guilty pleasure franchise had more to it in moments of innocence, Diesel showed this movie was more than just candy for the average fuel-heads. Take a look at Diesel in 'A Man Apart' trying to save his girlfriend or watching his Dom Turreto character watching his girlfriend sleep and walking away in 'Fast & Furious' for more 100 per cent proof acting. Or how about how his character talks about losing his father and driving in 'The Fast & Furious' or re-telling his favourite memory of his dad in 'Fast Five' and you can see by the expression on Vin's face just how deep he digs to bring out the complexities and characteristics of his roles.

Born in New York City with Italian and black ancestry to a psychiatrist and astrologer mother, Diesel has had a wide multi-cultural upbringing. He made his acting debut at age 7 and has been performing, writing and directing ever since, his short film 'Multi-Facial' made waves at the Cannes Film Festival in 1995. Today his awesome resume doesn't just list some amazing movie he can also add the founding of production companies, One Race Films, Tigon Studios and Racetrack Record to his credits. Before Vin stepped into a car ready for a street race or a spaceship ready to save the world he made his mark in many other movies. From a moving but short-lived performance in 'Saving Private Ryan' to his strong, deep voice being used right in 'The Iron Giant' animated feature.

Still it was in the Ben Affleck led indie hit 'The Boiler Room' that Diesel really heated up. This cult classic had shades of a modern 'Wall Street' and the story of young greed featured a standout, scene-stealing performance from Vin who showed integrity even in this money-hungry movie. Then after taking the wheel in 'The Fast & Furious' movie the offers came rolling in at high-speed, from showing he could have fun and not take himself seriously in 'The Pacifier' to almost playing the film adaptation of the video game 'Hitman'. With all this constant, Diesel energy (that's where the name comes from) it's little wonder he was handed the keys back to the 'Fast & Furious' franchise, or used in character to ignite the driving, action video game 'Wheelman'.

Vin Diesel continues to motor on whatever the medium. Whether it be showing his social conscious side by representing for his love of the Dominican Republic and its multicultural facets by appearing in President Leonel Fernandez campaign ads or by directing the short film 'Los Bandoleros'. Or whether it be motivating and inspiring the public daily with inspiration on the Internet or by keeping his private life exactly that by adopting as he's been quoted "the Harrison Ford, Marlon Brando, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino code of silence". Vin has remained Vin, true to himself, the people and his work. Showing he is more brains then brawn, Vin just keeps going with no sign of slowing down. From more chronicles of Riddick to 'Fast & Furious' shifting from fifth gear who can stop the Diesel?



Stranger but still saavy.

12A, 137 Minutes. Starring: Johnny Depp, Penélope Cruz, Ian McShane & Geoffrey Rush. Director: Rob Marshall. Screenplay: Terry Rossio & Ted Elliott

Are you ready to set sail with Captain Jack again? Well prepare yourself for a different course because it's all change on deck. First off Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley have abandoned ship but don't abandon hope as those mates go. There's a new heading and direction and it features zombies and mermaids and of course this franchises classic,charismatic captain; Johnny Depp.

In this fourth installment of the series Captain Jack is once again left asking what happened to his beloved pearl. Still this captain sans ship isn't without more problems. He's a wanted man in London, someones trying to impose on his legend and this time it is him who is pres-ganged to an evil pirates crew. Still at least he's on a ship, albeit captained by vicious pirate Blackbeard (played with heart by 'Lovejoy' Ian McShane) and his daughter and Sparrow's love interest (played by the beautiful Penelope Cruz). On this voyage Blackbeard and Captain Jack are in search for those maidens known as mermaids (though these ones are a far cry from the Disney one that hangs out with crabs, they look more like they've got a bit of 'Twilight' in them) and their years that will help the joys from the fountain of youth pour. Still their not the only ones concerned with looking less like Rod Stewart. The Spanish inquire to, while Captain Barbosa is back-well sort of-he doesn't appear all there as Geoffrey Rush has the opportunity to camp it up even more, looking more like he's keeping royal company by every 'Kings Speech'.

Johnny Depp is once again on top, effortless form as he continues to put Captain Jack Sparrow next to the superheroes as one of cinemas favourite and most popular characters. It's hard not to be moved to laughter by his physical comedy or smile at everything that comes out his mouth. He really does keep this film afloat. As does the great Penelope Cruz, who is an upgrade from Keira Knightley and the old testament of Ian McShane, whose magic sword wielding villain is just as sharp as Bill Nighy's Davey Jones. There is also a dynamic, albeit different supporting cast. While it's great to see Geoffrey Rush firmly back up deck and Keith Richards on hand for another rolling cameo, as is Judi Dench with a great, brief appearance from the Dame.

This film is enjoyably funny and swashbucklingy entertaining with plenty of one-liners and sword-fights to keep you on course. Still the problem with this 'Pirates' franchise is that there have been so many movies it's getting a bit too predictable. If 'Stranger Tides' was the second film instead of the brilliant 'Dead Man's Chest' you may be rocking with the best, but instead this whole brand is in threat of being sunk by the 'seen it all before' notion. Still however this voyage is a very good one even if the other expeditions where more epic. The film still is exciting, enjoyable and the beautiful locations make for one sought after movie. There is even talk of a fifth movie (hey the 'Fast & Furious' did it) but can this franchise raise the flag even more? It all depends on Johnny Depp and how far he's willing to take this ship. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Thursday, 8 September 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 most fitting image of the social tensions that existed in New York and around the world post 9/11. 10 years on, let's all remember those we lost on that tragic day.

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', 'True Grit' and 'The Adjustment Bureau' making big box-office returns this year, 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.

Sunday, 4 September 2011



A great trip to cinema, no strings attached.

12A, 109 Minutes. Starring: Mila Kunis, Justin Timberlake, Patricia Clarkson, Jenna Elfman, Bryan Greenberg, Richard Jenkins & Woody Harrelson. Director: Will Gluck. Screenplay: Keith Merryman, David A. Newman,Will Gluck & Harley Peyton

It doesn't matter who you take to this movie, friend, lover or something between your all going to benefit from a friendly romantic comedy with a lot more than just barrels of laughs and schmaltz. Following the success of Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman's 'No Strings Attached' comes 'Friends With Benefits', starring Portman's 'Black Swan' co-star Mila Kunis and Kutcher's favourite 'Punk'd' victim Justin Timberlake. This all seems a little too close to comfort, until you sit down to watch this flick and realise it lies in a class of it's own.

The two leads make the competition follow with their charisma, charm and chemistry. The pair appeal to both sexes, that is you men and women can put up with a lot of Justin and Mila's rear ends and vice versa (I'm sure the opposite sex won't have a problem). Kunis again is on her versatile and vivacious form, while pop's leading man Timberlake just keeps getting better as an actor (see also, his scene stealing performance in 'The Social Network' and more to come, trust us) even if is at the current cost of his musical career being on a milk carton. Nothings missing from this picture however. It's hilarious, but not all the time, meaning it isn't overbearing on the warmth and heart of this feel-good story. The easy going nature of the film also helps set the tone of a picture perfect shade to screens this late Summer.

The premise is simple, boy meets girl and they become 'F.W.B's' or whatever you want to call it. The plot however is not as shallow on that, as you really come to terms wit the grey areas in this black and white appearing comedy. Sure as a movie of this type it's cliched, (and it does a good job at joking about this thanks to a hilarious Jason Segal 'subplot') but it's not contrite. It's sincere too but not too serious. The film doesn't just deal with the complications of all kinds of relationship problems, it's also the second Hollywood picture to deal with the difficult problem of Alzheimer's with dignity, taste, tack and class. Yes this movie is that genuine.

There's also sweet support from Patrica Clarkson, Jenna Elfman (at one point you'd be easily fooled into thinking she's Renee Zewelleger) and the moving and marvelous Richard Jenkins. 'Cheers' go to Woody Harrelson however for the funniest performance as the versatile character acts up as a gay sportswriter and the ultimate buddy. From getting closer to the Hollywood sign and the Manhattan skyline, the awesome cities of New York and Los Angeles team up for more support with all their depth, character and charm. Everything just looks so good.

As slick and stylish as the 'GQ' background, this man and woman of the year really give us a cover story worth reading into. Complete with a high, scoring, classic, select by numbers soundtrack that reminds us of the good, ole days from 'Kris Kross' to literally jumping around to a lot of 'Semisonic' (no not 'Third Eyed Blind'). By this films grand, 'Closing Time' you'll benefit from these friends showing you in a non-generic way just how good and meaningful relationships can be, no matter what the label. There's more to this 'chick flick' than what meets the stereotype. There are strings attached after all. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Friday, 2 September 2011



A fantastic, fast, furious fifth installment, five star entertainment.

12A, 130 Minutes. Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordan Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Sung Kang, Tego Calderon, Matt Schulze & Dwanye Johnson. Director: Justin Lin. Screenplay: Chris Morgan

Time to give into your convictions because cinemas greatest guilty pleasure has returned, just when you thought enough sequels was enough 'The Fast & Furious' franchise forward throttles into 'Police Academy' numbers for 'Fast Five', the latest and possibly greatest parts of the series in terms of excitement and action. Vin Diesel is back in the drivers seat, with Paul Walker riding shotgun as the best of the rest of the films return to car pool in an ensemble, heist piece which has shades of the 'Italian Job' and 'Oceans Eleven'. Set in the stunning, beautiful city of Rio who needs to watch a film about an animated bird? Instead if 'Fast Five' is your pick this Friday expect the heat to be turned up in one of the hottest action films for years, complete with more action, more bullets, more cars, more girls and more guys willing to go to the cinema then ever before.

In the confusingly titled 'Fast & Furious' fourth film, Vin returned to act, fine-tune, produce and help put the Diesel back in this franchise and what has resulted is a brand new saga to a series that was running on fumes when it drifted through Tokyo. Now Diesel and Paul Walker are on top, career-saving, re-defining form and what's more they've brought some old friends along for the ride. Matt Schulze (Vince) returns for the first time since the original film to make things interesting and awkward with Walker's Brian character. While we are given a double dose of '2 Fast 2 Furious' as singer Tyrese and rapper Ludacris return to bring more entertainment to this exciting, thrill-ride. Jordan Brewster is also back as Brian's love interest to give this white knucklehead ride more heart while franchise favourite Sung Kang returns with a rest-assured resurrection, despite looking like his work was done after 'Tokyo Drift' (you've got to love prequels). Still, if that doesn't make you believe in ghosts be prepared for more surprises as this so-called 'dumb' film follows it's heart from the last movie and tries to get all clever entering twist territory.

The plot obviously is simple, but still the thrills and spills that are better then most more then make up for a paint by numbers artistic direction. Following the fourth installments end Brian and his new other side of the law pals unbelievably break Diesel's, Dominic "Dom" Toretto character out and what follows is more sensational stunts and awesome action that are more ludicrous then the movies supporting cast. Still, it's all part of the inhibition-aside action that make this picture one of the best reasons to put that diet on hold and pick the popcorn back up. This is the perfect weekend picture, as watching these criminal characters on the run is the best movie escapism you'll see all year. In-between drag racing cop cars and pulling vaults across the freeway and making Michael Bay's 'Bad Boys 2', car-dropping direction look tame (and to do that to the man that took 'Transformers' too far is an achievement in itself), Dom and his crew have to evade the capture of Dwanye Johnson's DSS Agent character. As 'The Rock' keeps rolling, he becomes a welcome addition to this series, even making Vin Diesel look puny in comparison... (mini-Rock anyone? (pebble?)) that is until they fight, that's when you know it's really on.

With 'The Rock' cooking up more action and Diesel and Walker firmly back in control of this franchise this film motors forward and with great performances from the charismatic Tyrese, the hilarious Ludacris and the cool and collected Sung Kang, plus a cameo this writer predicted and you'll be glad to see coming this franchise has all the right parts to have enough left in the tank for a sixth movie. You best believe it's coming and after this movie there will be no doubt you'll want to see it coming. Like a hitch hiker left at the side of the road even this films worst critics and everyone will be left with their thumbs up. With everyone back and on the right path this series has enough torque to go the distance and it's thanks to action packed, adrenaline fuelled films like this. The 'Race Wars' junkies may be a little disappointed with it's lack or races but the other set-pieces more then make up for it. Either way though even Charlie Sheen knows winnings winning and this film doesn't do this by an does it by a mile. TIM DAVID HARVEY.


This weeks 'DVD Rack' Is a 'Fast & Furious' Top 5 special.

1. FAST FIVE: Available on DVD this week (wait for the review). This torque, adrenaline filled action-packed, ensemble, 'Italian Job' meets 'Oceans Eleven' esque caper may just be the best yet. More cars, girls, cast members, action and stunts then you could shift a clutch at. The gangs all here (with some added 'Rock' for the cooking) so you know this films going to bang. You never thought this possible but you'll actually be excited for a sixth. As our favourites race in their getaway cars, popcorn-movie escapism has never been better. Capping off a dynamite explosive set of films this is one dynamic group. Catch them while you can.

2. FAST & FURIOUS: With a name so similar to the first film that it probably causes mess ups with DVD ordering this movie felt more like the original in more ways then one. Hence the tag line stated, 'New Model, Original Parts' and what we saw when he lifted the hood was Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Roudriguez, Jordan Brewster back in the driving seat. One of the most exciting and important films of the series this perfect action picture harked back to the classic and was the catalyst for this franchises second-wind. With better acting and an incredibly well orchestrated opening scene/heist this movie really did rev and turn everything up motoring these movies on. It also proved that nothing works quite as well then tried and tested American muscle.

3. THE FAST & THE FURIOUS: The first part, where it all started and the engine of this franchise, this was a different guys movie then usual. More exciting and with a better story this film was a runaway hit, coming at the right time when we needed but didn't expect a film about cars to do so well. The world was introduced to the talents of Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Roudriguez, Jordan Brewster and the type of cars we only dreamed about seeing at the bottom of cereal boxes. This really was a find.

4. 2 FAST 2 FURIOUS: Tyrese took the wheel from Vin Diesel and his charisma, charm and acting smarts helped give a scorcher of a slump-surviving sequel set in the gorgeous city of Miami. '2 Fast' had a double dose of everything from the action to the cars. The movie also helped break the beautiful Eva Mendes into the mainstream and showed that rapper Ludacris was just as entertaining on the screens then he was on the mic. Without the Diesel, critics expected this movie to be pulled, instead it ran everything else off the road.

5. THE FAST & THE FURIOUS-TOKYO DRIFT: OK, so the principle cast took a pit stop on this one but that doesn't mean this film didn't still go. Set in the terrific city of Tokyo (Japan stand up) the dangerous world of drift racing was exposed for more thrills, spills and if you thought you'd seen all the crazy cars you could imagine then obviously you've never been to Japan because you hadn't seen nothing till this. Lucas Black and Bow Wow did a good job but it was Sung Kang that introduced himself as a favourite character in this series, plus there was a classic cameo that fueled things to come. This movie is different, but that's what makes it and this franchise that more distinct. TIM DAVID HARVEY.