Tuesday, 27 November 2012



Watch This.

109 Minutes. Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal & Michael Peña. Director/Screenwriter: David Ayer.

I hate it when an idea for a film I have comes out before I even get the chance to daydream it into a 'Best Picture' category. OK, let's put my petty, jealous, aspiring screenwriting dreams aside and put it out there...I love a good cop movie. From 'L.A. Confidential' and 'Public Enemies' to 'The Untouchables', or 'Heat' to 'Training Day' (speaking of writers there's some of those ones here). With all due respect to the 'Lethal Weapons' and 'Rush Hours' of the world however there needs to be more 'serious', 'buddy cop movies' and between shaky 'Cloverfield' and first hand 'Blair Witch' camera filmed, style footage and 'GTA' like first person shooting comes exactly that in 'End Of Watch'.

I always thought doing a police story via the filmed footage from police cruisers or 'stringers' (that was going to be the name...but I digress) like on the late night, guilty pleasure popular 'Worlds Wildest Police Chases' (shout out to the legendary, pun and white teeth and hair 'tastic Sherrif John Bunnell) would make a good movie. Apparently so did writer/director David Ayer who pens and produces a modern great behind the video camera lens. Even a great shot needs a steady hand or two however and that's where our Starsky and Hutch, cowboy cops come in, complete with standard issue, classic police uniform and car, cruising around Southern California.

The latest Pitt, DiCaprio, Hartnett, pretty boy turned post-30, great actor Jake Gyllenhaal yet again shows us why he's leading up the A-list actor ranks. The man of the moment who always has 'Donnie Darko', 'Jarhead'  and 'Zodiac' behind him has been on fire the last few with a real, romantic comedy in 'Love & Other Drugs' and last years mind-boggling, 'Quantum Leap' time jump classic 'Source Code'. Now with a shaved head and a no b.s. attitude he plays a cop with a badge and a behaviour of warrant. On his side he has his brother and his partner Michael Peña who in-between making a 'Tower Heist' (and showing he has the gift for comedy gab) and joining Josh Brolin and Ryan Gosling's G-Men 'Gangster Squad' shows he's a cop of todays times too. One that shows his brilliant portrayal of gritty, modern day Los Angeles doesn't just end with the powerful, emotional punch of the hit 'Crash'.

With each others hearts and backs our two leads deliver soulful performances in a seemingly soulless profession. Between moonlighting as the bravest firemen and doing some wrong in the name of the right thing these boys go above and beyond the law. From cruiser confessional conversations of great front-seat dialogue to action scenes that are tensely taught with every distorted camera shake, the elements of their job and partnership are captured perfectly. Focus on the charismatic camaraderie and the 'ride or die' loving loyalty and you can see why both these great actors one-up the emotional stakes to deliver a great story and film. You have the right to remain stunned by the brutal and bold moments that really reveal the sides of the law and disorder of modern day policing and crime. The five months worth of 12 hour on-the-job, real ride alongs really have paid off for our two actors. This feels so authentic.

Exciting and emotional with bling that could make Kanye blush and gore that could make Tarantino gag this is something else. With a great soundtrack, (most notably Cam'Ron and Public Enemy) supporting cast (most notably Anna Kendrick and Frank Grillo) and setting scene (just all of L.A. is of note) this is a seriously, straight-shooting affair that's as real and raw as it gets. Documenting this police work on film is an inspired way of showing us the genuine article and it doesn't get much more convincing then Gyllenhaal and Peña's first-rate, dutiful performances of valor. The brotherhood bond in these ones are strong, from the hopeful home lives to the warrior like work-ethic perfect parallels. It's this combination of the partners code that give beauty to a movie that deals with some really ugly themes and truths. What would these too or this film be without each other? With them we have one of this years bravest and best. This is no cop out...call it in. TIM DAVID HARVEY.


Law & Disorder.


Are you one of those movie-fans that get so into watching trailers you forget the film you're actually watching? One of those people that get more excited about trailers then films? Then this new 'Trailer Trash Talk' feature is for you. Let's talk trailers because hey we all wish we where like Cameron Diaz in 'The Holiday' and making them was our job. Following the tragic cinema shootings during 'The Dark Knight Rises' screening this year the movie 'Gangster Squad' out of respect got pushed back and changed a pivotal scene which featured a gunfight in a theatre. Sometimes when films come back after delays and changes things can fall flat but as we see with trailer two the hype and the buzz is still at an exciting, electric high.

Fans of 'L.A. Confidential' and 'The Untouchables' are going to love this fedora and tommy gun, cop versus gangsters affair that meets the two right in the middle. This star-studded, Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Sean Penn, Nick Nolte, Robert Patrick, Giovanni Ribisi, Michael Pena, Anthony Mackie and Emma Stone affair looks to have the makings of a modern-day classic. Set in old cinematic, Hollywoodland Los Angeles and shot in high, atmospheric definition. Jay-Z's soulful 'Oh My God' and it's sample breaks once again punctuate this trailer perfectly and profoundly, like the gun throw and catches that sound like a barrel reloading, making it one of the best commercial success trailers of the year.

The emotional stakes are raised on this film which can't come out soon enough. January may mark some of the best films of 2013 ('Django Unchained' coming soon). From Sean Penn's menacing, bad-guy one liners, to chief of police Nick Nolte's lost but hopeful quotes. With Brolin's 'leave the badges at home' authority and Gosling's torn between 'good cop, bad cop' (bible salesman my arse) and Emma Stone's femme fatale attitude look truly captivating. "Want to take me away from all of this, make an honest woman out of me" Stone says as Gosling replies in perfect, Brando esque mannerisms "no mam, I was just hoping to take you to bed". We haven't even talked about the great supporting cast of Patrick, Mackie, Pena and Ribisi. Even the Chinatown, cinema replacing pivotal scene looks so much more of a clinching climax. From the formidable fashions, to the awesome action and the sensational setting to the classic, traditional, 'cops and robbers' theme this looks to be inspired and incredible. Smoking hot like old cigarettes and smarter then long coats over suits this could even touch 'The Untouchables'. The G-Men are locked and loaded. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Saturday, 24 November 2012



Ready For Academy Gold.
122 Mins. Starring: Bradle Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver, Anupam Khe & Chreis Tucker. Director/Screenwriter: David O. Russell.

Back when this little blog started little over two years ago, the original working title for this film review reel was 'Silver Linings', until someone scoffed at the idea and it remained on the cutting room floor. Still for every cloud and all that hey? Besides 'Silver Linings Playbook' makes and even better name for the new Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence picture. Fresh off their star-making 'Hunger' and 'Hangover' the pair give not only the best romantic comedy of the year (if not the past decade), but also by far one of the best, freshest and inspiring releases of 2012 as a whole.

Meaning much more than the average rom-com (its more like an offbeat drama) this is more 'Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind' then a Hugh Grant or Katherine Heigel fun farce. Still this 'Playbook' is outstandingly original in its own right. Dealing with the darkest themes of cheating, depression, loss and death with bipolar and anxiety disorders this film magnificently manages to shed some inspiring light on some troubled topics. This writer will be the first to admit that he can relate to some of the issues raised in the film, but then again as the whole picture and characters some together this film proves we all can.

In putting arguably two of the most famous, popular and desirable male and female leads of the moment in the forefront of all of this helps, but it's their performances that give more credibility to this claim. It's real and refreshing that Hollywood would deal with these issues with a helping hand, rather than an outstretched one. This movie moment excels like excelcior. It's one of those films that gain a cult interest as looking real good and then turn out to be even better than advertised. Like the fond Football theme, David O. Russell writes out and directs the right playbook that guarantee's great results.

'Sexiest Man Alive' Bradley Cooper shows he can go beyond the comedy with an award worth performance that brings warmth to the inside as much as it starts the waterworks. Showing more of his serious acting side, to go along with some classic comic relief this is truly his picture and his definitive time. As his character is in therapy and on prescription meds, avoiding jail-time after beating his wives lover he meets girl of the moment Jennifer Lawrence. 'The Hunger Games' franchise star shows she has more behind those arrows with a straight-forward, all-together performance as a woman who has just lost her husband and is trying to get her life back on track. From jogging to dancing, bin bags to Raisin Bran and arguing to making up, the close chemistry between Cooper and Lawrence is on a charismatic high, making this a classic story for this moments modern times.

These afflicted leads have some real affection behind them in support too. From Chris Tucker's favorite best-friend role to top character actor Anupam Khe, drawing smiles and laughs to the meeting of the parents in Robert De Niro and the wonderful, mother for all Jacki Weaver. Further showing the connection he and Bradley made on the defining 'Limitless', playing his O.C.D father the former gangster actor shows there are no ends to his talent. With tears and speeches that would insight emotion and inspiration even into the coldest Joe Pesci characters heart, Bobby may just find himself polishing off some supporting awards. Still it's the way this whole film comes together from the way it's shot, in the picture perfect, close and remote suburban Philadelphia (showing it's not always sunny, but it is brotherly) and the way it sounds from it's real and raw dialogue, to it's sweet soundtrack. As beautiful as it is bold and brave there are more than just silver linings here. The whole thing plays by the book like something truly great. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Sunday, 11 November 2012



The Genuine Article.

120 Minutes. Starring: Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman & Alan Arkin. Director: Ben Affleck. Screenplay: Chris Terrio.

'Argo' a science fiction fantasy...or not as the declassified case may be. Based on the true story of the rescue of six U.S. diplomats by CIA operative Tony Mendez from Tehran, Iran during the 1979 hostage crisis, this is one of the realest and best films you'll see all year or decade. Posing as a Canadian film crew making a Sci-Fi movie this out of this world idea seems too good to be true...but it's as real as it gets. More than just a tense and taught, nerve-wrecking thriller, this a necessary political education from actor/director Ben Affleck.

Who better to direct a story about a bad script leading to remarkable happenings then Affleck? The man who wrote his story of success along with Matt Damon in 'Good Will Hunting' was cruelly criticized for his acting work until he got behind the lens. Whilst people where making jokes and thinking this 'Daredevil' was riding the coat-tails of Jason Bourne, the world didn't know what a great director he really was. Swinging his career in a new direction with the classics 'Gone Baby Gone' and 'The Town' Affleck has already proved he's great and now with the amazing 'Argo' he puts himself in the line of Clint Eastwood and George Clooney in the next great actor/director ranks.

Affleck's already given us the ultimate action flick-with heart-with 'The Town' and like the two aforementioned big names he's dealt with some difficult issues. Clint has been known to deal head-on with the issues of crime against children in his later career but Ben went for it with his very first movie in the chair. Now like another one of his peers he looks to his political conscience. So much in fact that Clooney helps him out, collaborating with Grant Heslov for the first time since 'Good Night, and Good Luck' a black and white, thought-provoking newsroom film that felt like it's time. From the 70's aesthetic to the punctuated peril and genuine fear, Affleck has it down here with Eastwood subtly and Clooney smarts. Still the real sense of hope and faith run through this escape movie with a man who's truly inspired.

Affleck acts great too under his own direction with a quiet storm mix of calm courage and dedicated duty. He's not the only one all the way in this either. As the 'Malcolm' in the middle of all this 'Breaking Bad' star Bryan Cranston almost steals the show with a performance that will make his silver screen stardom as big as his television one. Some real hilarious/meaningful support also comes from filmmakers John Goodman and Alan Arkin who are like a more pleasant version of those old guys from 'The Muppets' (and if you want a more accurate version Cranston tells us they're here too). This revolutionary ruse is played perfectly. From Canadian ambassador Victor Garber to the six brave diplomats played brilliantly.

It's Ben Affleck that brings it all together perfectly however, from the original 'Warner Bros' logo beginning, to the burnt out Hollywood hills sign of the times and fashioned look and feel of the seventies both in his home of America and abroad. The parallels between a nonsense science fiction script read through in Hollywood and a very serious, life threatening press conference in Iran (where more people turn up to the former) is provoking and profoundly done. With another classic to add to his legendary directing filmography-that only features three films-Ben Affleck's legacy is made here. With a film equal parts tense and inspiring, hostile and hopeful and lightly hilarious and heavily serious don't get it confused. There are no parallels to Ben Affleck's career. He is no longer the next great filmmaker of our times. He's it right now. 'Argo' and see. TIM DAVID HARVEY.