Monday, 28 November 2011



Bay transforms the franchise back to prime-time.

12A, 154 Minutes. Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Josh Duhamel, John Turturro, Tyrese Gibson, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Patrick Dempsey, Kevin Dunn, Julie White, John Malkovich & Ken Jeong. Voices: Peter Cullen, Leonard Nimoy & Hugo Weaving. Director: Michael Bay. Screenplay: Ehren Kruger

If Michael Bay does anything, you know he does it BIG! From creating an 'Armageddon' to hanging out with 'Bad Boys' his big hits come with a bang. Still his loudest exclamation point on Hollywood, popcorn, blockbuster movies has got to be the 'Transformers' franchise. When he first took the cartoon to the big-screen in 2007 he gave the geeks and sci-fi nuts a wet-dream with a classic explosion in cinemas. 'Transformers' was just too good, the sequel 'Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen' was a little too much however. Good but a little grandiose, even for this director. So with this third part of this trilogy, Bay decided to tone things down a little and grow things up. With a darker, yet cooler film we see less robots and Megan Fox but more awesome action and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (replacing Fox as Shia LaBeouf's lead love interest).

In this movie the 'Autobots' and humans war with the 'Decepticons' really steps up to an 'Apocalypse Now' pace as the fate of the world once again is in the metal hands of either the good or bad alien robots. From Washington D.C. to Chicago and the rest of the world the invasion looks epic and as for fighting the good fight, these tin-cans really get it on. 'Transformers-Dark Of The Moon' cranks it up a notch, re-charging the series with exhilarating excitement and amazing action set-pieces. From mid-air transformations to tense, gripping moments, you'll drop your popcorn and maybe even shed a tear (can you believe that?).

The Speilberg overseen piece takes a leaf out of other film scripts and pays homage to everything from 'The Dark Knight' to 'Star Trek'(just listen out with Spock ears). It's also got a first-person shooting angle of respect to gaming and a rear-view reference to the executive producer's 'Jurassic Park', just look. Most of all thought this film pays the right homage, justice and respect, to itself, saving the legacy of the young and olds favourite cartoon by giving us a more adult-favoured movie that is still suitable for children's excitement levels.

This right balance is maintained despite there yet again being more action and robots then you could shake a metal stick at. Sure the throwing everything at the wall philosophy is applied again, but this time more sticks. Sure you've still got regional robots with annoying accents and crazy going on, but it makes up for the cool comic-relief from all the high-octane action that really makes the most of imax, 3D and movie escapism. Throwing everything on us again, all in all this time it works. Plus from Bee's buzzing makeover to Optimus Prime's, 'take no mess' dominance this movie is the sequel that 'Revenge Of The Fallen' should have been.

Everytime this film looks like it's going to fall short it picks itself back up. So there's some crazy CGI of JFK (they should have just got Greg Kinnear) but there's a legendary 'how did they get him' cameo from Buzz Aldrin, now that's cool. Plus even though there's a few subtle, unnecessary jabs at departed Megan Fox, and a desecration to the legendary Lincoln Memorial in D.C.-which is just plain wrong-this can be forgiven. With horrendously hilarious cast additions of John Malkovich and 'Mr. Chow' himself Ken Jeong and a strong consistent return from magnificent mainstays Shia LaBeouf, Josh Duhamel, John Turturro and Tyrese Gibson, all the parts come together perfectly. Even with a complicated blueprint, this just fits.

LaBeouf has the mettle to lead and his steel and iron based friends really do give this huge movie it's weight. Plus with a top scoring soundtrack featuring Linkin Park yet again and their epic latest hit, 'Iridescent', everything sounds, looks and feels as great and exciting as it should. This massive hit is really wrapped up however by the addition of 'Decepticon', 'Shockwave' and his 'Driller' pet making for some of the most jaw, people and building dropping scenes in the whole movie. This dumb-fun film has all the smarts to make it extravagant yet engaging. Kicking the a** of the slumping-sequel. 'Dark Of The Moon' stands tall and prime in a series that could still hit it's optimal peak if it looks to improve even more. Down-grading the faff and up-grading the action this franchise goes from a fail right back to A-star territory. Top marks. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Sunday, 27 November 2011



A home run right on the money.

15, 133 Minutes. Starring: Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill & Phillip Seymour Hoffman Director: Bennett Miller. Screenplay: Steven Zaillian & Aaron Sorkin

For all who don't know, I'm a basketball fan...and a British one to boot. Meaning I really don't know diddly squat about Baseball, when it comes to writing about this sport I'm really minor league. Still that doesn't mean 'Moneyball' didn't strike me...hard. The true life, amazing Baseball drama with Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill in the outfield has it's bases loaded for an award road trip. It really is a big hit.

This is one of those times where you should listen to the American critics and not the British ones and not because they're biased. It's because their right. This true story is truly the inspiring underdog story of the year. From the Red Sox to the non sport fans it fundamentally changes the game. It's hallmark baseball from the cap tilts to the spitting in cups. You can't help but believe in this film like Brad Pitt's ex-player, now coach Billy Beane believes in his team. You see the Oakland Athletics really are the opposite end of the New York Yankee's, in fact their an organ donor team for the pinstriped ballclub. Not only do they lose to them, they lose their best players to them and everyone else.

So being truly an underdog Pitt recruits economics and statistical whiz-kid Jonah Hill to put together a team of affordable players that if played by the numbers should guarantee success. The formula is termed 'Moneyball' and it's the Vegas of Major League Baseball casino's. Will it work? Well you'll have to see for yourselves but one thing that does work about this movie is everything. Pitt and Hill's charismatic chemistry could only be stronger if this was a romantic film and the legacy making legend and the primed rising star have barely been better.

There's a great supporting cast too, that's what happens when you hire the great Phillip Seymour Hoffman in the dug-out. He really does look the part, the catchers mit of baseball coach really fits. Bennett Miller directs a perfect pitch from the top 'Social Network' playbooks of Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zaillian. From wood snapping sound effects to perfect silence of the sound of losing the drama is really cranked up to the max, while being battered up by a subtle but atmospheric score. There's even some fitting Ice-T narration (I guess working for 'The Other Guys' really beefed up his resume) for you hip fans.

From boardroom meetings to perfect action on the field the excitement and anticipation is always at a fever pitch and a merry-go-round of calls really shows you just how nerve-wracking and enthralling a trade-deadline and the business of sports can really be. This film really does wonders for the sport of baseball recently like 'Any Given Sunday' did for American Football' and 'Coach Carter' did for basketball. Put the boring or alienating notions aside this film of dreams and ideas really is what the romanticism and beauty of sports is really made of. Epic stuff. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Friday, 25 November 2011


This weeks 'DVD RACK' is a random selection of favourite films from one-of-a-kind, dynamic, versatile talent Johnny Depp, who is currently hitting the box office while taking sips from 'The Rum Diary'.

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL: The original and critically the best of the acclaimed franchise. Once this hit our shores, the adventure genre and fun at the cinema were redefined. With action that didn't take itself to seriously and comedy that didn't go too far this movie was the right, potent mix, plus the graphics where a treasure. Johnny Depp captained a crew stocked with talent that included Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley and Geoffrey Rush. The box-office competition sunk without a trace.

CHARLIE & THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY: Even with all the Gothic greats they've conjured up, this may be the strangest and most satisfying creations of all the perfectly peculiar collaborations between arguably the greatest director/actor combo Tim Burton and Johnny Depp. Depp is just so weirdly wonderful as Willy Wonka with a role so perfectly honed if it was anyone else it'd be hard not to be typecast. With all the cult characters Depp's played it's hard to imagine he could make yet another unique individual stand out, but here's the thing about Johnny; this individuals like no other he makes it all look so easy. The graphics, imagery and overall cinematography is surreal and sublime, while Burton's heralded dark direction is also magical and touching (a more overlooked trademark of the great filmmaker).

EDWARD SCISSORHANDS: The film that really put the '21 Jump Street' stars oddities on the map however along with that of director Tim Burton was the one about the boy with the scissors for hands who makes one hell of a landscape gardener (now how does he...?). Strange, scary, sweet and sad all at the same time, Depp and Burton found a new way to captivate audiences with their form of storytelling. The clinically cold suburban setting in this film and the refreshing starved movie industry in reality weren't ready for what hit them.

ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO: Sure 'Desperado' is the classic from Robert Rodriguez's 'Mariachi' trilogy but this ensemble piece was the most entertaining and exciting. With the coolest direction and sounding score this picture was top notch. Eva Mendes, Mickey Rourke, Willem DaFoe, Danny Trejo and even Enrique Igleasis rounded out an incredible cast led by desperately, effortlessly cool 'Desperado' Antonio Bandares. Still it was Depp's crooked cop and even more crooked villain that stole every scene the story and the show. If you thought he was calm, collected and cool under pressure just wait until you see how he handles himself and his predicament in the thrilling, third act. Go see it!

DONNIE BRASCO: When the perfect, past evoking, crime-caper 'Public Enemies' came out I always remember someone saying; "at last Johnny Depp playing someone normal". Well that fantastic film is worth checking out too but for the best of Depp's "normal" films look no further then 'Donnie Brasco'. This undercover classic about the true telling of a cop going undercover is great for it's incredible story but also the ability of a then younger/establishing Depp standing next to legend Al Pacino. It's hard to not be intimidated by such a classic actor or the threatening role he plays but Depp's performance and character more then holds it's own. If you can get past the gritty gangster elements and the stupid "are you calling me a dumbski" talk (gangsters really speak like that, then yes you are dumb (I better watch my back now)) this is a seriously significant piece of cinema. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Thursday, 24 November 2011



Tyrese show's us the way.

This writer has put down the pen of late and picked up three inspiring books from three influential individuals in the urban music industry. The first was rapper/actor Common's spiritual journey 'One Day It'll All Make Sense', the second was business and music mogul Steve Stoute's cultural exchange 'The Tanning Of America', and now the latest is R&B and movie star Tyrese Gibson's 'How To Get Out Of Your Own Way'.

This isn't an autobiography, this isn't a self-help's something in-between. Making for a powerful, motivating piece of prose Tyrese's success story is one of struggle, survival and self-strategy. Part religious and part spiritual, with God and self together it all blends into the perfect recipe of success and self-fulfilment.

This book really should garner your self worth's attention after a humbling, tragic foreword this book begins with Tyrese detailing his humbling beginnings in Watts California. Talking about how he had to ignore the financial and instantly gratifying temptations of the world of drug dealers in the 'hood. This millionaire actor and singer used to find it incredibly hard to string a couple of quarters together to get the bus to school and get his education.

We all remember his infamous Coca Cola commercial at age 16 and Ty' inspires us with how this 30 second spot resulted into a 15 year and counting career. His journey really is incredible he used to not be allowed on the bus, but following an advert where he sang on one about a soft drink he now never has to take the bus again. If your that doesn't serve as encouragement and inspiration then what will?

If this fact sends shivers down your spine then this book is for you from the spine to the acknowledgments. From Tyrese breaking down the relationship between men and women and that of positivity and success he really lets you into his mind and guides you down the right mental path without sounding too preachy or like he's trying to be the next Dr. Phil. Tyrese keeps it real with his talk and genuine accounts of his life's experience. He doesn't act all high or might or talk down to us, he acts like our friend sitting next to us through these pages. He tells us it's fine to be labelled 'weird' if we are just different (citing Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and himself) but that if we are feeling down we shouldn't label ourselves 'depressed', as the shoe will fit. It all makes perfect sense. It's not cheesy or corny, it's devoted and meant.

Tyrese shares the complacent life changing advice he received from mentor and megastar Will Smith and along with the Fresh Prince's five people theory puts it into words for our own benefit and reflection. To conclude this great, game-changing read the movie star-who this year starred in two top franchise sequels ('Fast Five' and 'Transformers: Dark Of The Moon')-talks about his break into acting (with John Singleton's 'Baby Boy') and how no matter how successful or happy we should all strive to always better ourselves.

Millions of Tyrese's social networking Twitter followers will know how much this man's character inspires on a daily basis. It's this constant motivation and feeling of self-worth that has just this week given this multi-platinum, Grammy winner a new number one album. Counting and sharing his blessings Tyrese offers us an 'Open Invitation' to his way of life and thinking and it's a real positive step forward. Like the man himself says "don't leave this on the bookshelf". This is a real page-turner with depth that reads more into life. So open up and don't let anything stand in its way. It's really out there. TIM DAVID HARVEY.



Showering all in reception with laughs.

15, 125 Minutes. Starring: Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Ellie Kemper, Melissa McCarthy, Chris O'Dowd, Jon Hamm & Jill Clayburgh. Director: Paul Feig Screenplay: Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig

If you've always been the bridesmaid but never the bride then this is the film for you. Guys you don't have to worry either, this is one ladies-choice, Friday date night film that isn't a chick flick. 'Bridesmaids' is not only one of the funniest films from this years Summer blockbuster season, it's also the best female-fronted movie in years.

A pleasant surprise of humor and heart this movie is as good as people say it is. Billed as the female version of 'The Hangover' this movie is also something refreshingly different from the similar structure of this seasons 'The Hangover Part II' (still an excellent film mind you). Still these maids take the comedic honors as 'Saturday Night Live' alumni Kristen Wiig leads her band of sisters on a wedding plan they or we will never forget.

From the grossest and most inconvenient case of food poisoning, to the most awkward speeches (and you thought you've heard them all), Wiig crashes these wedding plans as hilariously as Vince Vaughan and Owen Wilson. Just try and stop watching when Wiig tries to get O'Dowd's policeman's attention. She's not alone though as woman of the year Rose Byrne adds to her Summer blockbuster, dominant trilogy (see her in 'X-Men: First Class', 'Insidious' and every trailer when you go see a film too) with a bitchy but brilliant performance.

The bride to be (Maya Rudolph) show us more of her comedic styling after last years 'Grown Ups' , while Melissa McCarthy plays the Zach Galifianakis, 'Hangover' role to a tee (golf-gear included). The iconic Jill Clayburgh is also brilliant in her last movie performance (Rest In Peace). The grooms in this movie look and walk the part too, from British, 'The I.T. Crowd' funny man Chris O'Dowd to 'Mad Men's' Jon Hamm, who quite frankly plays a d#@$ to a fine point, nailing it and giving the movie some of it's funniest moments. BOOM!

All in all from the big problems to the big day, to freaking out on airplanes to taking care of business in front of automobiles this is one hell of a funny film. If you don't think it looks like it is, then go see and prove me wrong. Everyone can enjoy this film, it's not just for hen party invitees. With a matrimony of class, crass comedy and a simple, but sweet story this is one proposal for a film for Friday that won't leave you with cold feet. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Monday, 21 November 2011



Horrendously hilarious.

Starring: Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston, Colin Farrell & Jamie Foxx. Director: Seth Gordon. Screenplay: Michael Markowitz, John Francis Daley & Jonathan Goldstein

Just when you thought comedies out of Hollywood couldn't be more rib-tickling or head-scratching the Jason's of Bateman and Sudeikis team up with Charlie Day for the new comedy 'Horrible Bosses'. A film that takes the fantasy of killing the boss you hate to an all new reality. The three friends really have their work cut out for them, as a psycho, man-eater and tool really are the bosses from hell. Bateman's boss (played by Kevin Spacey) is a power-mad manager who makes his client drink eighteen year old scotch at eight in the morning, all whilst teasing him with a promotion he'll never get. Day's dentist boss (played by Jennifer Aniston) is a sex-crazed maniac which may not sound all that bad until you take into account that Day is engaged and blackmailed by Aniston who really wants to get her teeth into him.

If you thought that was bad then wait until you meet Sudeikis boss (played by Colin Farrell) if you thought the bald head was scary then wait until you see how he goes about his working day, or how he literally tries to 'trim the fat'. So when nothing else works the three look to get rid of their bosses once and for all. To help them with their firing line they hire a man by the name of Mr. Jones (just wait until your introduced with his first name). Mr. Jones (played hilariously by Jamie Foxx (it's great to see Foxx and Farrell back on the screens together for the first time since 'Miami Vice')) acts as the guys murder consultant and offers them direction for their murder master plan.

Just as the boys are about to do the deed however, everything goes drastically wrong and the boys have everyone from 'The Wire's' Wendell Pierce to NFL player Isaiah Mustafa on their tail. This black comedy really is one of the brightest films this year. The story will keep you guessing like an Angela Landsbury murder mystery and you'll die laughing at the throw your head back and grab your belly at the one-liners and set-pieces. The leads are three-of-a-kind. Day impresses, Bateman reaffirms his status as one of comedies best leading men, while Sudeikis shows that with this and the first-rate 'Hall Pass' he may just be the best comedy actor of the year.

The bosses from hell really are heaven sent too. It's great to see Spacey back on the screens as we forgot how scary he could be, while Aniston has never looked or been better with a drop-dead gorgeous and funny turn. Colin Farrell may just be the best of the worst however with a freakishly funny and bizarrely brilliant role, his character really is on something, from middle of the day office parties to un-affectionately naming co-workers after 'X-Men' characters, trust us the way he looks isn't the weirdest thing. There are also some classic cameo's here too, from Foxx's sly murder 'expert', to a nice role from Donald Sutherland and a fantastic and funny appearance from Mr. Ioan Gruffudd as a 'wet-work' expert.

All in all this ensemble cast are guilty of nothing but entertaining us in this great Seth Gordon film. With a perfect plot that mixes all the hallmarks of classic murder capers and modern-day gross out comedy, this film is as clever as it is silly. 'Horrible Bosses' murders this years competition of other so-called, hilarious comedies and in a Summer blockbuster season dominated by sequels and remakes this original, classic film looks set to make a killing. TIM DAVID HARVEY.



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

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

'Unstoppable' marks the second collaboration between actor Denzel Washington and director Tony Scott in as many a year and not only that it's another film about trains. After the previous years brilliant remake of 'The Taking of Pelham 123' and now this you could almost see Washington and Scott sharing a prized train set in one of their lofts, but still let's stay on track here. Just like the pair have done time and time again (just like with 'Man On Fire') Scott and Washington hit big again as the great Denzel teams up with upcoming star/Captain Kirk of the new 'Star Trek' franchise Chris Pine. 'Unstoppable' is a film based on true events and if these events where anything like you see in this film than they involved some really brave people.

The film basically is about a runaway train that carries some really lethal cargo. The train due to a really, really bad case of human error ends up accelerating away unmanned. Now that's a 'DOH!' moment right there. Not only that (and this is where the Hollywood comes in) the train is on course with a train full of schoolkids and then what seems like every sleepy, small, beautiful town the United States of America has to offer. So it's up to the hard-working, down-trodden working man, (in this case Washington and Pine) to fix everybody else's mistakes from higher up, while someone else probably takes the credit (do I sound like I know something about this? bitter?).

So as the pair go hog-tailing after this runaway train what results is a tense, explosive thrill ride that will leave you saying 'only in the movies', but apparently not in this case. Chris Pine is incredible in this. From his first charming and charasmatic scene in 'Star Trek' he claimed his place but here he acts even more like he's been around in this industry a lot longer than he actually has. Acting alongside Washington primarily in the cockpit of a train, (you have to have some high 'Collateral' acting for closed situations like this) he isn't fazed by the legend. He's complimentary and holds a scene on his own all at the same time. As a matter of fact the whole cast keep this film steaming ahead. The support may not be A-list (it's not far off however) but all the actors bring their A game, led by Rosario Dawson. The versatile actress (who's career has always been steaming ahead) gives one of her finest performances, technically if you like sitting in Denzel's chair and role from 'Pelham'.

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

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

Sunday, 13 November 2011



Hope from the pages of Chicago.

"Being a poet is a powerful thing".-COMMON

This year this writer embarked on a trip to Chicago a decade and a half in the making. Since 11, since Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman and the Chicago Bulls I've been drawn to this beautiful, classic city. Since modern music greats like R. Kelly and Kanye West changed the tides of the Windy City music scene my ear has been lent even more. Over the last decade however one man from this city of Illinois has drawn me in further...even before President Barack Obama. That man is Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr.

"The First Emotion I Ever Felt Was Love".-COMMON

Otherwise known as Common. The rapper/actor has really shown us common sense, heart, love and inspiration and influence through his music and lyrics and other work. He has defined rap in the last decade with two positive moving and barrier-breaking albums (the back-to-back 'Be' and 'Finding Forever') that changed the game for the better like his groundbreaking classic 'I Used To Love H.E.R'. Even if he questioned it to begin with, without a doubt the writing of a book was always the logical and meaningful next chapter for this hip-hop spokesman. So here we have it, 'One Day It'll All Make Sense' (named after one of his breakthrough albums), a true to its name story of how everything in life comes together.

"'Be' was a great time in my life as an artist. I felt like I had risen to another level of artistry and fame".-COMMON

Common's story is really one that you want to absorb in all it's inspiration an love. It's the kind of wonderful read that will take you on a journey all day as you strive to take it all in on one, quiet Sunday, coffee shop tour of your town sitting. This book makes for the perfect Christmas present that you just want and need to come early. Legendary writer Maya Angelou is right this is a "magnificent memoir" full of marvellous memories of an amazing life. One that took part in a million man march and saw the election of the first black President. One voice of a race and generation that has seen and been a part of major change.

"What has kept me going through all the struggles I've faced in my life? The love of God. The love of family and friends. The love of hip-hop."-COMMON

As you really turn the pages this book will fill you with laughs, contagious enthusiasm and inspiration, you may also shed tears as Rash sheds light on his life and those he's lost with beauty and poignancy. From his humble beginnings in Chicago to his world-wide success, chapter by chapter of his life is told by Common and his mother Dr. Mahalia Ann Hines in inspiring italics. From feeling the effects of the brutal murder of Emmett Till to meeting another Chi-town icon while being a ball-boy for the Chicago Bulls to his success in music and movies it's all here. From his close brotherhoods with super producers Kanye West to the late, great, legendary J. Dilla (rest peacefully) to the acting advice from forefathers and icons Denzel Washington and Morgan Freeman.

"Being an actor has helped me to articulate my feelings with greater clarity and precision".-COMMON

Common even gives light to the loves in his life from singer Erykah Badu to tennis ace Serena Williams as well as the places of the world that have had a profound effect on him from Cuba to China. This book also gives us some funny stories with Prince and insight into his triumph over the Fox News criticisms of his White House appearance. In this frank, honest but fair and considered memoir Rashid also shares his thoughts on his beef with West-Coast legend Ice Cube and his evaluation of his President, truthfully saying; "Whatever Obama has failed to do to satisfy certain people's political agendas has been far exceeded by what he's achieved on the level of our spirits".

"A man knows who he is and has a sense of responsibility for himself, his family, and his community. A man believes in something and stands for it. He does his best to practice what he believes".-COMMON

Each chapter (named after one of his aptly titled, iconic songs including 'Love Is' and 'Retrospect For Life') starts with a beautiful, heartfelt letter to someone in his life from his mother to Erykah, to his younger himself or his unborn son. This personal piece of writing makes for a book that is more than Common's love for 'h.e.r.' or his silver-screen dreams. It's a testimony to God, love, family and positivity, the cornerstones of his successful life. On one of his biggest hits; 'The Corner' this poetic rapper told us; "I wish I could give you this feeling". Well it looks like he finally has. A feeling of life, love, friendship, family and artistic integrity. This is a book for anybody, hip-hop head, movie buff or not, religious or spiritual, single or married with children. This is a book for anyone that believes that being good and gaining ones definition is not a tale of fiction but a story we all write for ourselves. After all that's just common sense. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

"My aim has been to inspire and raise consciousness".-COMMON

Friday, 11 November 2011



Goes down smoothly.

15, 101 Minutes. Starring: Johnny Depp, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Rispoli, Amber Heard, Richard Jenkins, Giovanni Ribisi. Director: Bruce Robinson. Screenwriter: Bruce Robinson.

Johnny Depp is the man, one of Hollywood's realest leading men that keeps drawing them in picture after picture. Sure everyone knows how good he is. Women want him, men want to be him and all that song and dance. Still in-between all the jazz of the peculiar and strangely unique characters Depp plays it's easy to forget just how cool and nice he cleans up. Only the classic Michael Mann picture 'Public Enemies' has done that in recent times until now.

Here's Johnny the real deal, classy and seemingly effortlessly cool, calm and collected in this years toast to him and the legendary scribes of Hunter S. Thomas' novel. From the same bottle of 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas' comes a new tonic, one part Hunter and one part Depp. This is 'The Rum Diary'. No, these aren't the drunken ramblings of Depp's Pirate persona Jack Sparrow but the work of an intrepid journalist.

Set in San Juan, Puerto Rico the cool, paradise and beauty of this film is not far from the Caribbean and from the sky-high, Dean Martin 'Volare' opening its clear your in for a classy journey. This story is exactly that romantic and stylish, but purists don't fear there's substance on this island and we're not talking about the alcohol. There's car humps of humour and tongue lashing and some Johnny 'Depth' once this film switches axles and really gets going. Showing some integrity between all the booze and journalists, this film has something to say even if it is subtlety. A film revolving in and out of bars is bound to have some sobriety.

Depp even in his late forties is still on top of his game even at the bottom of a glass. He must be drinking from a fountain of youth. Michael Rispoli is right behind him in great, film-favourite favourable support. As for the love interest Amber Heard is undeniable and a throwback like this perfect period piece. Depp's problem lies with Heard's boyfriend played coolly by Aaron Eckhart who shows us a real two-face. Strap a wig on an on-form Richard Jenkins and add an even more stranger than usual but sublime Giovanni Ribisi to the mix then you've got a potent cast to add to a picture perfect backdrop. From it's beauty to it's ugly truths this film tells us a little personal, quirky story with some knowledge and history to boot. Now that's real journalism. I'll drink to that. TIM DAVID HARVEY.



Depp & Jolie take a light vacation.

12A, 103 Minutes. Starring: Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp, Paul Bettany & Timothy Dalton. Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck. Screenplay: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck,Christopher McQuarrie & Julian Fellowes

Somewhere in between Angelina Jolie wounding a little in 'Salt' and Johnny Depp about to venture 'Stranger Tides' as Captain Jack Sparrow comes 'The Tourist'. A film where the A list, Hollywood young living legends check into Venice to cut a movie whilst taking a vacation. Racking up the miles from Paris to Venice they remake a 2007 French hit 'Anthony Zimmer' with German director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck.

The set up is simple...ish, just like the plot. Angelina Jolie's character, Elise is followed by the police, all sorts of special agents and behind the newspaper and coat guys as they are all after her husband, Alexander. Her husband sends word for her to take a train from Paris to Venice in order to find a suitable stooge with a similar build and height. Elise's task is to make this man look like her husband so her tail will be thrown off the scent. This is where we meet Johnny Depp's Frank and the story begins.

This jet setting film is designed to be a style over substance affair and is more of a classic crime caper than your average slick thriller. Still as Depp and Jolie look to explore some different territory the critics have already began to set up camp. This is exactly what 'The Tourist' is however, it's just different. It may not be the greatest release this year but that doesn't mean it's bad. It may not be well travelled but neither is it in way over it's head. The film is light but enjoyable, a little slow in parts but also one you can keep pace with. It may not be the most memorable Friday you'll have but it will be an enjoyable one.

The film is well written and even if you suspect a twist you will still be kept guessing until the end. There are some brilliant choice pieces of direction, like when the pair are shot (with a camera that is) in separate rooms. The romance and chemistry between the two stars may simmer more than it boils, but it still bubbles. The laughs may be few but there are some pure moments of comic genius, besides this isn't a romantic comedy either, nor is it an action thriller. The film sits somewhere between the two genres serving as a caper that would of felt at home in the 50's. Classic feeling like the timeless European backdrop.

Now even though it's sitting in an era of special effects and big budgets, 'The Tourist' is as quaint an as endearing as it's location. Proving that an old dog doesn't have to learn new tricks to get attention. It's refreshing in a film to see two 'regular' characters involved in action but not just automatically able to handle weaponry or action situations, like say a random chef who is 'Under Siege'. Although this film isn't one you could call 'real' at least there's some authenticity to it.

Nothing new or broke here as Depp is on his usual, top, charming form and Jolie is on her alluring one as she rubs off from her dose of 'Salt' in a film that the aforementioned should have been more like. The leading man and woman effortlessly perform well, motoring this film along, even if it looks like they never leave second gear. Still no one can pull off running across rooftops like Jack Sparrow in his P.J.s like Depp can and no one can put on and wear those dresses and that quiet confidence like Jolie. The A listers get a B plus and the support from Paul Bettany and Timothy Dalton help bond the film together.

Still even with the one time sexiest man and woman alive taking top billing the films top attraction is the beautiful locations of Paris and more notably Venice. From every old hotel balcony to gondola filled river this picture is a postcard of perfection. Visually stunning and not mentally challenging, 'The Tourist' may have been called a lot of things but one thing it is is enjoyable. The film is the ideal Friday night date movie, with neither party having to compromise. It's not too romantic for the guys and not too violent for the girls. Depp provides eye candy for the girls and a mans perspective for the guys and Jolie vice versa. Even if 'The Tourist' is a bit of a vagabond in nomads land looking for a place to go it still hits home. Sure it may not be a five star destination but like many love it or hate it trips, it's best you check it out for yourself. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Friday, 4 November 2011



Making a steal.

12A, 120 Minutes. Starring: Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Casey Affleck, Alan Alda, Matthew Broderick, Téa Leoni, Michael Peña, Gabourey Sidibe & Mel Brooks. Screenplay: Ted Griffin, Jeff Nathanson. Director: Brett Ratner

We've all thought of it at one time or another. Disgruntled employers who work for peanuts while their bosses get away with murder all love the fantasy of taking back from the bosses what they feel is rightfully theirs. This is the subject of 'Tower Heist', a new crime caper comedy were Ben Stiller et al seek revenge on horrible boss Alan Alda.

Stiller, Casey Affleck, Michael Peña and Gabourey Sidibe all work for Alan Alda in The Tower, New York. When things get bad legally for Alda, they all become victims, losing their pensions in the Ponzi scheme, so they decide to take revenge and rob their ex-boss for all their worth. To do this they enlist the help of career criminal Eddie Murphy, while bringing Matthew Broderick along for the ride, all whilst avoiding the law (led by Téa Leoni) and their manager Mel Brooks. This film is like a light, family-friendly (minus Eddie Murphy's 'Raw' mouth) 'Oceans 11'. Still much like Clooney's effort it's a real entertaining ride with twists, turns and surprises you don't see coming. It's a classic idea done for the modern age with charm and class.

Stiller leads this ensemble class with laughs and ease, it almost feels like a 'Night At The Museum', the way he brings everyone together. The legend Alda also makes for a classic villain, while Affleck and Peña are on fine form once again. As is Matthew Broderick-albeit looking a lot different-its been a real, long time since 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off'. Still it's Murphy that brings the most laughs, looking a little older himself (it's been a long time since 'Beverley Hills Cop') it's great to see the family man doing something a little different from his kids movies, bringing his old self back. The rest of the cast makes for a great team too, Gabourey Sidibe makes the most of her precious time, while Téa Leoni plays a cop brilliantly in this pursuit of the gang and Mel Brooks brings more legend-power.

Filmed incredibly during the famous New York 'Macy's Day Parade' this picture is well done and looks great. Sure it's not as Brad Pitt glamours as knocking off casinos in Vegas but still it gets the job done. New York looks amazing on camera too thanks to Brett Ratner's brilliant direction. It's Stiller however that leads this picture to the money however, having us laughing all the way to the bank. Steal your self away this weekend to a great escape that has the makings of comedy gold. This is a stick-up, your money or your laughs. TIM DAVID HARVEY.



A likeable movie that's a real status maker.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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