Saturday, 25 February 2012
It 'Aint Safe No More .
117 Minutes. Starring: Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds, Vera Farmiga & Brendan Gleeson. Director: Daniel Espinosa. Screenplay: David Guggenheim
Denzel really is the man. From film to film, whether it be 'Inside Man' or 'Man On Fire' this actor is among the hottest talents of all leading men in Hollywood circles. With a legendary filmography this modern day icon and great of our generation just keeps going. Like his last incredible movie he's 'Unstoppable' and now it's up to Hollywood heartthrob/funny man turned older, serious A-list actor Ryan Reynolds to try and catch and contain him.
Now what a task that is for poor Ryan Reynolds who plays a low-level agent assigned to one of the CIA's Safe Houses as its housekeeper. His latest house guest is Washington's Tobin Frost and if you thought Denzel's Academy winning turn in 'Training Day' was one bad to the bone character, then you 'aint seen nothing yet. It is Oscar weekend after all and the Best Actor winner awards himself with another hit.
No one plays it safe in this movie as Reynolds and Washington trade blows, bullets and mental torment like Denzel's character in 'Training Day' picked up 'Collateral's' Tax-cab stalking, hit-man Tom Cruise character. With raw power, emotion and hand-to-hand, heart-to-heart combating passion and smarts Washington gives another trademark terrific performance but this time it's with even more hard-worked finesse. While Reynolds is no slouch either, rubbing the 'Green Lantern' one last time to prove that he really can help carry a big-name, big-budget picture like this. Even whilst standing next to and against a true superhero in Washington.
As Reynolds has to protect his house and ex-CIA now rouge criminal Washington what results is more action and thrills and spills than you'll see all decade in a seek and destroy/cat and mouse thriller that looks incredible over the beautiful backdrop of South Africa's Cape Town. Everyone is on the hunt for Washington like scriptwriters and directors as Vera Farmiga, Robert Patrick and Brendan Gleeson all bring their A-game to an A+ of a movie.
Dark, desperate and determined this is a dominating picture to start the year. Sure this film is long, but it helps with the frustrating drawn out nature of Ryan Reynolds characters manhunt for Denzel Washington. There's a lot of blood, sweat and tears in this one and what results is the perfect portrayal of just how much this agent wants to get his man. With corruption and hard truth's with every twist and turn this is one film you'll really want to fathom and figure out. Catch it if you can. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Friday, 24 February 2012
This week Ryan Reynolds tries to contain legendary actor Denzel Washington in 'Safe House'. So this weeks 'DVD Rack' looks at some of Denzel's greatest works. Catch his new release review later.
TRAINING DAY: The one that got him the gong. The Academy loved Denzel's crooked take on mentoring young rookie cop Ethan Hawke so much they awarded him with the 'Best Actor' Oscar. This film is one of many that defines Washington's career and is also a great way to start this weeks feature. Especially since he plays a likable villain again in this weeks 'Safe House' with Ryan Reynolds and especially because it is Oscar weekend. This thrilling action-packed chiller takes us around the streets of L.A. and the limits of intimidation. Dark, compelling and truly a classic. This film has everything from a fitting soundtrack to even great acting performances from rappers Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre.
PHILADELPHIA: One of the most moving performances from Tom Hanks or any actor ever seen in cinemas. Playing a man battling AIDS and discrimination from the workplace Tom turns up the notch as he puts his heart and body into this work. He deserved every carat of his Oscar for this one. Standing alongside the 'other' top male actor of the nighties (our Denzel) the pair brought magic to the silver screens as Washington took 'Philadelphia's' case and sought liberty. From Bruce Springsteen's epic 'Streets Of Philadelphia' opener around town to Neil Young's deep 'Philadelphia' ending, this is an American classic. Harrowing yet inspirational and moving and real, this really was the genuine article that fought the fight that no one should have to, and still it won.
REMEMBER THE TITANS: A truly inspirational tale, whether you like Football or not. Washington along with Will Paton coaches a High-School team made up of black and white players in the tense and recently desegregated times of the early seventies. With racism still an issue Denzel helps unite a team, a community and its cultures in a profound piece. With thrilling sports scenes and even more emotionally dramatic ones this film is both thought-provoking and feel-good. With then-young T.V. stars Donald Faison ('Scrubs') and Ethan Suplee ('My Name Is Earl') and a youthful and skinny Ryan Gosling (ladies) and an even younger Hayden Panettiere this perfect picture has everything. From the statements made to the feelings that are touched down this movie starts tears and raises hairs. This true story is one of the realest and most genuine movies you'll watch. Truly inspirational.
DEJA VU: Denzel Washington as the good-natured, 'do the right thing', heroic leading man. This week and 'Training Day' aside, haven't we seen this all before? Yes, but it's all so good. In almost everyone of his movies, every year Mr. Washington brings this familiar, favourite character right when where fiending for him. Somehow as well it all feels fresh and new from the rest of the Hollywood fodder. This is because Denzel possess a one in a million, genuine quality and for that he really is the best actor of this generation and possibly the greatest black actor of all-time. This movie is so good it'd be most leading men's best, but with all of Washington's greats it gets lost somehow. That is until you find it out and watch. With Paula Patton and Jim Cavizel this Tony Scott great is another example of another classic director/actor combo.
UNSTOPPABLE: Now here's a runaway movie. Think you've seen it all before? Especially with Denzel? Well you haven't. Washington brings his trademark serious and charming talent to his and Tony Scott's second train related film (See the brilliant, 'Taking Of Pelham 123' remake). What results is a rip roaring, adrenaline fuelled, nail biter of a film, that will have you on the edge of your seat even after a second viewing. Chris Pine is also honestly, brilliant in this movie. As Kirk swaps the captain's chair for the conductors one. Rosario Dawson is also stunning in this picture and to believe that 'Unstoppable' is based on a true story is impossible. The fact remains however that even with all the other big budget blockbusters that year, Scott and Denzel's latest is one of the best.
THE HURRICANE: With so much in Denzel's classic career to choose from where do we start with the rest? Well how about this brilliant biopic (more portrayals coming)? This knocks you out. Denzel's ringside look of the life of the wrongly imprisoned Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter-the man that inspired the Bob Dylan protest song; 'The Hurricane' is a true modern great. It has the strength to go blow to blow with the best boxing movies. Round for round, pound for pound 'Ali' or 'Raging Bull'. This truly is a fighter.
ANTWONE FISHER: Denzel's directorial debut is a brilliant run out the gates. With Derek Luke leading the charge and Washington playing an inspiring and poignant psychiatrist.This true story, co-wrote by Antwone Fisher himself is a real, dark but necessary account of a mans life. The power of persevering over any pain is offered here at its highest measure. Not much can beat this.
MALCOLM X: The reason Denzel Washington won't portray Martin Luther King...because he's already made this other brave biopic. From the magnificent 'Mo' Better Blues', to the best basketball picture 'He Got Game' and the incredible 'Inside Man' Spike Lee and Mr. Washington have made some classics...but nothing...nothing tops this look at one of the most influential and inspiring figures of the last century from the best actor of our generation. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Thursday, 23 February 2012
-BEST ACTOR (Jean Dujardin)
-BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS-(Bérénice Bejo)
-BEST DIRECTOR (Michel Hazanavicius)
-BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
-BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
-BEST ART DIRECTION
-BEST COSTUME DESIGN
-BEST FILM EDITING
Très Bonne .
Starring: Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, John Goodman, James Cromwell & Uggie The Dog. Director: Michel Hazanavicius. Screenplay: Michel Hazanavicius
This year the eagerly anticipated, Oscar tipped French film 'The Artist' was released. This perfect picture is seen as more than a homage piece to the silent movie...it's a continuation of the genre. So in honor of a great new movie whose actions speak and peak louder than words, let's say more with as little as possible. Much in the style of a silent movies intertitles, let's spell it out.
This movie is...
"The silent film everyone's been talking about",
"A hallmark to the history of cinema"
"How movies should still be made",
"A Cannes classic",
Not to mention...
"This silence is golden",
"A black and white classic full of colour and vibrancy",
"With a dog cuter and even more talented than Eddie form 'Frasier'"
"The only thing that doesn't make this film look like it's straight from the twenties is the familiar faces of James Cromwell and John Goodman",
"Cooler and classier than the coolest two words in the English language...'Dean' and 'Martin",
"Leaves stories of today lost in translation",
"A true romance of French fancy brought to the Hollywoodland hills",
"With a charming, classic leading man and a beautiful screen starlet just as charismatic who would of been big stars back then and will be now",
"A true masterpiece",
"An 'Au Revoir' to the notion that old films are old hat",
TIM DAVID HARVEY.
-BEST ACTOR (George Clooney)
-BEST DIRECTOR (Alexander Payne)
-WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)
Trouble In Paradise.
115 Minutes. Starring: George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, Beau Bridges, Judy Greer, Matthew Lillard, Amara Miller & Robert Forster. Director: Alexander Payne. Screenplay: Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon& Jim Rash
This could be it. This could finally be the movie that garners George Clooney the 'Best Actor Oscar' this coming February that he so richly deserves. The legendary actor/Cary Grant of our time that gave us the classics 'Michael Clayton', 'Up In The Air' and the more recent 'The Ides Of March' really has acted in the perfect picture with 'The Descendants'. A film set in the private and peaceful Hawaii centered around the personal wars of family, business and love.
"My friends on the mainland think just because I live in Hawaii, I'm in paradise" Clooney's character says to start the film, but we begin to see and believe that there's much more lying underneath. What we know is that this leading man's wife is on life support and not as close to her husband as originally thought. What's more is our man of the moment is now left holding the kids, with whom he has even less of a relationship with. What this gives us is not a film about neglect and hate, but more a character study of love and devotion, which is complexly humble and simply beautiful.
'About Schmidt' and 'Sideways' director Alexander Payne understands the more human side of movies again. With another hit he brings the hurt and pain, and the joy and healing perfectly as him and Clooney delve into the depths of human nature and emotion with sublime subtly but direct distinction. This is no Hollywood gloss, it's cinematic class. Hawaii provides the perfect contrasting backdrop for a film that deals with some ugly truths but deals with them with dignity and poise, resulting in a perfectly beautiful message. The film is also subtly scored sweetly with some beautiful Hawaiian music. It's one Israel Kamakawiwo'ole version of 'Somewhere Over The Rainbow' away from being the most sensational soundtrack of sounds echoing over the celluloid.
From wayward kids to ones that are going places and stunning backdrops to sobering inner city images this film shows both sides of the coin and this pays off in full. Not only is it one of Payne's most polarising pictures it's also the performance Clooney needed just to show us how good he really is. He adds a different take to his formidable filmography and bares all his emotion and ours, from the subtle grimaces to the lack of dry eyes in the house. This is a second career making, mesmerizing job done with distinction from a modern great. One who could have retired before this and still been heralded, but now had proved himself wrong that he's running out of time and interest. Clooney is back on top. Gong or not.
You need to get to theatres and cinemas quickly to see a five time Academy nominated moving movie that will resonate long after all the Oscars have been polished off. With great support from people we know (Beau Bridges, Robert Forster and Matthew Lillard) to those we're getting to know (Shailene Woodley and Amara Miller who play our characters daughters with pride) this film tops the rest. With some classy comedic moments that ease the tension but do not cheapen the tone, this movie breaks the seriousness of life to us with care and compassion. 'The Descendants' is ready for ascension in the movie ranks. This slow burner is a fast learner, thought provoking and nostalgia inducing. From generation to generation everyone will get his film. After all it's about family and love. Now what's more important than that? TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Sunday, 19 February 2012
12A, 129 Minutes. Starring: Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, Thomas Horn, Max Von Sydow, Viola Davis, John Goodman, Jeffrey Wright & Zoe Caldwell. Director: Stephen Daldry. Screenplay: Eric Roth
There have been many films regarding the tragic events in New York in 2001 since the terrible tragedy happened over a decade ago but none have been quite as heartfelt and as emotional as what comes next; 'Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close'. Packing heart and hurt into this hard hitting punch this account of a child searching for answers after the loss of his father is a story that is bitter yet sweet in places.
Favourite Tom Hanks plays the father and with a formidable performance his inspiration provides the influence of this picture even with limited screen time. His on-screen son (Thomas Horn) finds a key in a vase he accidentally breaks whilst searching through his fathers things. This leads the boy on a quest to look for where the key fits. Armed with a tambourine and a last name to go off this shy kid has to confront his fears in a breakthrough performance from Horn.
Along the way Hanks spirit spurs the exploring on as our young lead meets all sorts of people in all sorts of places while trekking round the five boroughs of New York City. All sorts of people are made up of a stellar cast of stars with shining perfect performances from Viola Davis to John Goodman and more. More being another incredible, inspired but made-to-look-easy performance from underrated great Jeffrey Wright with all his restrained passion. Add some magnificent mothering from Sandra Bullock that even rivals her 'Blind Side' and another Oscar nominated performance and what we see is a picture worthy of award.
It's Academy nominee Max Von Sydow who goes beyond words and writes one of his best roles yet. Flawed but mysterious the study of his character helps this films development. Still amongst Hanks and the other greats Thomas Horn leads all parts in this cinematic play. Then again Daldry's dynamic direction from the great shots of the city and the mostly due dignified sensitivity of the subject matter offer real substance. Apart from some ill advised scenes and strange styled title sequences this film deals with it's subjects tragedy with respect and remembrance for those lost.
It really does get close as this film takes it out of you and leaves you well and truly drained emotionally but to tone everything down would have shown little heart or soul. This film shows viewers just what those who lost someone are going through and that is worth our consideration. Sure this film wont help us understand the senseless attacks but it will help us remember and spare a though. Which is something we can all respect. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Saturday, 18 February 2012
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.
TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Friday, 17 February 2012
On the ledge of your seats.
12A, 102 Minutes. Starring: Sam Worthington, Elizabeth Banks, Anthony Mackie, Jamie Bell, Edward Burns, Ed Harris, William Sadler & Génesis Rodríguez. Director: Asger Leth. Screenplay: Pablo Fenjves
'Man On A Ledge' may have a 'Snakes On A Plane' obvious title, but it's more than a film that does exactly what it says on the tin or police code name. As Sam Worthington's lead steps out and treads the fine line between attempting suicide and making a statement; what we have is a tension-confined, perfectly executed building gripping drama that takes the 'Collateral' confides of 'Phone Booth' to 'Tower Heist' heights.
Here's the tipping point. If you have been put off by this film and haven't made the jump yet let me pull you back in. This crime thriller has all the trappings of a great one-off entertaining movie of blockbuster proportions. From epic shots of the stunning supporting character that is the city of New York, to edge of your seat, twists, turns and genuine thrills and spills; you'll be left guessing with a mouth open right to the thrilling conclusions.
Trust me this is one of the biggest and most pleasant surprise films of 2012 so far. Like the previous thrilling thriller this movie goes 'Haywire' offering us strong substance beyond the hype and buzz. To reveal too much would be to lead you on a trail that spoils more than the trailer so just trust us on this one; you do want to do this.
Coming off being a start-studded franchise pick for the 'Terminator' and 'Clash Of The Titans' (more 'Wrath' coming soon) series' Sam Worthington ascends more with this descent. Some call him a poor man's DiCaprio but Worthington proves his worth beyond another cliched comparison stepping forward as his own man. The rising talent of Elizabeth Banks also stands in our leading man's way as her cop character tries to talk him down. Elizabeth banks herself another great job. While Jamie Bell once again steps out of his 'Billy Elliott' ballet shoes to show he can dance to any part, this time teaming up with the gorgeous and genuinely talented Génesis Rodríguez.
The stellar, star-studded, sublime cast doesn't end there. From William Sadler's concern, to Edward Burns cool, laid-back outside interest cop, everyone steps it up with their contributions. Ed Harris makes a convincingly cold villain rich with evil while the next Terrance Howard; Anthony Mackie offers another dynamic dimension to this structure. The man that stole the show in 'The Adjustment Bureau' shows he can speak and stand with the rest with his classic leading man bound talents. This guy sure is a star for the the future...one that belongs in the high-rises.
Sure this towering epic is one hell of a tall tale, but it has grounded scripting and a great story arc that rises the tension and the guessing games throughout the three acts. This has all the Hollywood hallmarks of classic thrillers set in N.Y.C. It's core audience should belong to those who miss modern movies with an original story. It's been standing alone for some time now but this man on the ledge of a skyscraper makes for a perfect Friday night popcorn movie. You better catch it before it's too late. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Thursday, 16 February 2012
To celebrate the release of 'Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close', starring the legend that is Tom Hanks, this weeks 'DVD Rack' take some choices from his classic career.
PHILADELPHIA (1993): One of the most moving performances from Hanks or any actor ever seen in cinemas. Playing a man battling AIDS and discrimination from the workplace Tom turns up the notch as he puts his heart and body into this work. He deserved every carat of his Oscar for this one. Standing alongside the 'other' top male actor of the nighties (Denzel Washington) the pair brought magic to the silver screens. From Bruce Springsteen's epic 'Streets Of Philadelphia' opener around town to Neil Young's deep 'Philadelphia' ending, this is an American classic. Harrowing yet inspirational and moving and real, this really was the genuine article that fought the fight that no one should have to, and still it won.
FORREST GUMP (1994): Sure, people didn't like John Travolta's Oscar snub for 'Pulp Fiction', but realise that Hank's performance as Forrest was as iconic as the film itself. So Hank's deserved the second back-to-back Academy win after legend Spencer Tracy. Critics have tried to have their say but nothing defines the nighties more then this movie. In fact it defines past generations and many of it's young viewers futures with lashings of history and inspiration. Mixing real-footage with the movies most incredible moments, this picture brings to life everyone from Elvis to John Lennon. From military service to playing ping-pong, the actor who's played it all, played a character who really did it all (like the chocolates you never knew what you where going to get from this mans life). A fictional figure, that somehow seemed real in a story that captured the history of America and the world over the decades. Smarter then he looks and as sweet and charming as they come, this movie matched this in all it's tone. It had important statements to make too. Truly, timeless, truly classic. We hope 'Forrest Gump' runs on and on through the next generations.
THE GREEN MILE (1999): Just when you thought he had done it all, Hanks raised the bar yet again and starred in this epic that took Stephen King's chiller pages to the screens and spines of it's audience. A film like no other, this movie about prisoners on death row is both disturbing and inspirational. The drama features some of the best acting from Hanks, Barry Pepper, David Morse, Gary Sinise, Sam Rockwell and James Cromwell but it was Michael Clarke Duncan who proved to be larger then life in this role. This three-hour film really takes you on a journey, through happiness, sadness, elation, hope and introspection. You'll laugh, cry, and be glad you took the time to witness a modern great.
ROAD TO PERDITION (2002): Tom Hank's followed the Denzel Washington, 'Training Day' trend in this one and played his first anti-hero. Yet the nice-guy Hank's could never fully cross over to the dark-side (it even seems strange watching a guy like Denzel do it, I guess that's why they gave him the Oscar) as he played a gangster that we felt sorry for, going on the run to protect his son from James Bond (or should we say Daniel Craig). 'American Beauty' director Sam Mendes gave us an accurate adaptation of Richard Piers Rayner's graphic novel and old America. This acclaimed movie brought out great performances from Jude Law, Stanley Tucci, Tyler Hoechlin and the late, icon of all legends Paul Newman. Dark, gripping, tense but heartfelt this brings the action and drama at a hard-hitting, Tommy-Gun pace. A sure-fire hit.
CAST AWAY (2000): How can one man acting alone hold our attention for so long in a film? Well, easy if that one man's named Tom Hanks. This Robert Zemeckis classic was controversial in it's popularity but anyone who likes a movie that take a gamble that pays off will love this. Hank's accompanied by a volleyball called Wilson plays all the problems and potential that comes with a part like this perfectly making this movie a real success. This isolated acting probably helped Hank's in his development of his following classic 'The Terminal'. This 'Cast Away' brings hope, inspiration and tears to the eye (even if 'current hit 'Bridesmaids' jokes about it). Helen Hunt also gives a trademark top performance but it's Wilson who wins the best supporting actor on this one even if he remains Charlie Chaplin with his acting. Hanks is the real career survivor however with a tough-role that shows the man can make the best of any situation or script he is given. You have to hand it to Hanks, there's no one like him. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Sunday, 12 February 2012
Spy Hard Love.
97 Minutes. Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine & Tom Hardy. Director: McG. Screenplay: Timothy Dowling & Simon Kinberg
Let's get it on. This Valentine's brought us a sneak preview of one of the funniest romantic comedies of the year...well make that a rom-com that pulls more punches than the rest. This is one action flick that is the perfect date night film, making cases for both sides of the argument beyond the hot, young talented cast. Now 'This Means War', let the games begin.
Fellas! Ever liked the same girl as your best friend? Come on now and admit it. Well at least your not spy's, then things would have got even more complicated than a Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin triangle, because it's all here. Ever wanted to see Captain Kirk of 'Star Trek' and Bane from 'Batman' get it on (fighting that is)? Because that's exactly what happens when both Chris Pine and Tom Hardy fall for Reese Witherspoon.
The two CIA agents take stalking to the next level as they spy on each other and use all sorts of tactics and equipment to one up and keep tabs on each other. With hilarious consequences this triangle of turmoil shapes up to be one of the funniest and refreshing comedy films of recent time. From Pine's Kirk to Hardy's British charm the two young actors of the moment show they have the class and charisma to carry this picture, all whilst duking it out for the girl, as this gentleman's agreement turns from hand shakes to fist fights.
Also the Academy certified Witherspoon once again walks the line confidently in a leading role. Showing she really is one of the contenders to the rom-com throne. The crown fits well as she leaves the boys to play off of each other while she deals with the games the play from trank darts to making it rain. Love may be in the air...but sabotage is on the cards too.
Sam Worthington, Bradley Cooper and Seth Rogen may have turned down this movie, but you shouldn't. It was good enough for notorious director McG and the production chair of Will Smith. While the fresh princes of Hardy and Pine show they really are the men for the job even if it's unclear who Withersppon will end up with. That's what makes this film great, its crazy unpredictable and therefore insanely funny, watchable and thrilling. From the action set-pieces to the more tender moments this film has everything. War is good for one thing in this movie. Absolute entertainment. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Saturday, 11 February 2012
We pick 5 old films we watched this week for your consideration.
WEDDING CRASHERS: This hilarious woman-hitting on hit stars Owen and improv-king Vince Vaughan as guys who crash other peoples big days to get dates. The pair try to 'hitch' up with women at weddings...classy indeed. There's a great cameo from Will Ferrell in this hilarious 'frat pack' comedy. The guest-list of this movie really is incredible too, from Christopher Walken to the rising of Racheal McAdams. There's also a convincingly cold, callous performance from Bradley Cooper, (you can currently see him in before the big-day sequel 'The Hangover Part II') minus the stubble, hair and class-act charm.
I LOVE YOU MAN: Keeping the Wedding theme engaged, this recent comedy classic about a man who goes on a series of man dates to find a best-man for his wedding is simply hilarious. Comedies best and still most underrated leading man Paul Rudd really shines in this one, as does Jason Segel, (who stars with Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake in this weeks 'Bad Teacher') who established himself a comedic star after his breakthrough performance in 'Forgetting Sarah Marshall'. With a rush of nostalgia, Hollywood highlights and some of the greatest gags out that side of Los Angeles in years this is truly a bright, delight of a Summer film.
GET HIM TO THE GREEK: Not 'Forgetting Sarah Marshall', this spin-off/unofficial sequel may not have featured Segel or Sarah (apart from a hilarious cameo), still it did feature one of the best young funny men (Jonah Hill) and it warmed us to the acting talents of Russell Brand (who tickled every funny bone and even pulled a few heart strings). Getting him to the Greek Theatre we also saw just how funny Diddy really was in support and we also where convinced that Australian (yes she's not America either) Rose Byrne was British. The woman of the moment who stars in this weeks 'Bridesmaids' and also holds the box-office with top draws 'X-Men: First Class' and 'Insidious' was on top form here too, as was every character, gag, comedy set-piece and scenario scenes. This is how comedies should be made, the stupider the better. You'll want a to line your house with fur and see more comedy from hip-hop mogul Diddy after this one. Go Greek tonight and get the DVD.
BOBBY: With the sublime series 'The Kennedy's' making it's mark on British television despite being cancelled in the states lets take a look at Emilio Estevez's classic film about JFK's brother, 'Bobby'. With an all-star, all-time cast featuring guys from acting/singing legend Harry Belafonte to young star Shia LaBouef (who's set to do battle with and against robots in next weeks, latest 'Transformers: Dark Side Of The Moon'), this movie had everything mixing real-life footage of Bobby Kennedy with the inter-mingling stories of the films subjects. Taking cues from 'Crash' and even 'Forest Gump' this movie had stirring performances from Martin Sheen, Laurence Fishburne, Nick Cannon, Ashton Kutcher, Freddy Rodriguez, Anthony Hopkins and more from a star-studded A-list. A truly deep, at times inspiring, but ultimately moving testament to what could of been one of the greatest moments in American history but turned out to be one of the most tragic. A must see and learn.
X-MEN ORIGINS-WOLVERINE: When franchises have run out of sequels, it's time for the prequels and going back to the 'Origins' of X-Men really was something to 'Marvel' at. With all the characters to choose from it was clear that Hugh Jackman's most-popular 'Wolverine' character would sharpen this series. Darker, bigger, more exciting and epic, Hugh was joined by some new friends who now deserve 'Origin' movies of their own. From Liev Schreiber's villain, to versatile superhero Ryan Reynolds (catch him currently as 'The Green Lantern') and all his 'Deadpool' charm and deadpan wit and super-cool Will.I.am. this might just be the best X-Men yet. Look for that to change when an R-rated Wolverine travels to Japan. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Sunday, 5 February 2012
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 last 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, tact 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.
Saturday, 4 February 2012
The first of our 'Oscars Pick's' looks at our favourite; 'Moneyball'.
-BEST ACTOR (Brad Pitt)
-BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR (Jonah Hill)
-BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY (Bridget O’Connor and Peter Straughan)
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.
Thursday, 2 February 2012
With George Clooney looking to finally win over the Academy and receive his first 'Best Actor Oscar' with his career performance in 'The Descendants' released last week, this weeks 'DVD RACK' looks at his greatest hits.
OCEANS ELEVEN: With the worlds best entourage not named Sammy, Frank and Dino; Clooney enrols leading men Matt Damon and Brad Pitt as they get their Rat Pack on. Taking on the ever king of cool Andy Garcia-and the royalty of casino's like 007-Casey Affleck, the late, legendary, laugh-out-loud Bernie Mac (R.I.P. you are truly missed), Elliott Gould and many more star-studded players put their hands in. Sure casino players may not really look like this but this movie is as cool as the hell in Sin City and Vegas has never looked better, being taken back to it's cinematic qualities of the 50's. The best of the rest, this film is big, with a pack all playing their cards right. Confident like Sinatra, charismatic like Dean Martin and cool like Sammy Davis, Clooney and this picture make a smart classic. If there's nothing on the tube tonight, it's time to channel the greats.
MICHAEL CLAYTON: Clooney's politically poignant film is amongst the first of his greatest works. Adding some of the best takes to his, Tom Wilkinson, Tilda Swinton and Sydney Pollack's filmography this is a modern great of dramatic and thrilling proportions. Who needs gun's and bullets to really scare someone? This taught, edgy and terrifying tense thriller is clinical to the core. Sure this film's business is about the world of law, but with mental breakdowns and corruption on the cards there are some unjust deals in a film that plays the strongest hand of director Tony Gilroy's career. The scene with the horses is a subtle but beautiful stampede into classic cinematic territory. This is more than a melodrama, it's the personal effects of the lives of those in power bared to all.
UP IN THE AIR: Another classic character study into human nature and emotional baggage. This film really takes off. Our leading man plays a character who travels around America to tell employees of firms that they're getting the sack (hey, someone has to do it if the bosses don't have the balls). He also moonlights as a man who gives motivational speeches...now how ironic is that. Exactly! This film is a humbling, honest but poignant look at the contradictions and conflicting nature of everyday life. With great performances from Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick on board this is more than an in-flight movie, it's an Oscar worthy picture that had Academy nominations but didn't strike gold. It still hit the sky however furthering Clooney's flight plan as one of the greatest filmmakers in the world.
THE AMERICAN:As George Clooney adds more stamps to his passport 'The American' on the outside looks like an excuse for the housewives favourite sexiest man alive to get his Chevy Chase on and take a European vacation between work. Still, however if you take a look inside this picture you'll see that it is in fact another great Clooney film to add to the collection as the leading man furthers his legend. In this modern day George Clooney may be the closest thing we have to Cary Grant. The similarities to the classic star and the modern day hero are apparent. Even the score and the poster of 'The American' is a throwback to vintage cinema art and promotion. While the black and white image of a running Clooney on the billboard is almost has shades of 'North By Northwest'. Quite fitting for a man who might play Robert Vaughan's (a man who looked like the next Cary Grant) role in an upcoming 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E' film.
THE IDES OF MARCH: Politics is a dirty game and Ryan Gosling, Paul Giamatti, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood and Jeffrey Wright all campaign for this in George Clooney's political thriller based on the book 'Farragut North' by Beau Willimon. If you loved 'Michael Clayton' than be aware of 'The Ides Of March' perfectly placed last November, a year before the big election month. This movie was just the ticket coming in last fall to hit the ballot for best movie of 2011. It's got our vote. Clooney is formidable even if his character takes the background. Still, this is his picture in front of and behind the lens. It's Gosling who's in the forefront however even though his character works behind Clooney's scenes. You can even see from the innovative and impressive 'Time' Magazine film poster that the faces are changing. Hollywood may still be Clooney's world, but over the next four years people will be chanting Ryan Gosling's name more. Soon this elect will enter the elite of presidential leading men. Right now the polls are his and this is just the primary. Just wait for his election day.
THE PERFECT STORM: Mark Wahlberg and a whole crew of famous faces join the boy George on an expedition of an epic movie. These fisherman come across some high seas and as they become natures bait what we are offered is a movingly tragic tale of friendship, companionship and camaraderie.
O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU? A perfectly peculiar, period piece set in sleepy ole Mississippi. Clooney and his cohorts get into all sort of tight spots, but the Dapper Dan lead and his film remain slick throughout.
GOOD NIGHT & GOOD LUCK: Sublimely shot in beautiful black and white. This journalistic look of America in the 1950's is a poignant portrayal, directed and acted perfectly by Clooney. Like his other noir hit 'The Good German' it's visually cinematic, but it's lead anchor David Strathairn that makes this movie stunning.
REVIEW: THE DESCENDANTS