Monday, 17 December 2012



Lord Of The Films.

Starring: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage & James Nesbitt. Director: Peter Jackson.

2012 has been a big year for films and a hell of a great year for trilogies and other formidable, famous, fantasy franchises based on comics or books. Following Harry Potter's last spell last year this set of 12 months has seen the end of the triumphant 'Twilight' and the 'Dark Knight' Batman saga. The assembling of 'The Avengers' all-together for THE super, superhero film (and best movie this year) and the beginning of 'The Hunger Games'. Now with Disney aligning with 'Star Wars' to give the new 'Star Trek' (look out for the first 9 minutes of 'Into Darkness') a run for it's galactic money, the 'Lord Of The Rings' universe reopens for it's own prequel trilogy of episodes with 'The Hobbit-An Unexpected Journey'.

We expected as much but welcome with open shires this amazing adventure and arguably the greatest and most popular trilogies of all-time, based on one of the biggest and best reads ever. Unlike the cinder block heavy 'L.O.T.R.' trio of books, the starter of 'The Hobbit' reads more like a pamphlet in comparison. Still underestimate the gravitas of this story at your peril, because Peter Jackson know how to take Tolkien to another trilogy with the first of three parts that look to be just as epic and fun and even more special in it's effects and sequences then it's last decade predecessor that truly has to follow this story. Middle-Earth had broken new, out of this world ground.  Now this writer must shamefully admit he only watched the 'Lord Of The Rings' trilogy for the first-time this year (in one-sitting for my 'call yourself a film fan/writer' defence), but now he's firmly following the fellowship.

After Elijah Wood takes off the ring British actor/Dr. Watson Martin Freeman takes over as the original one to rule them all as 'The Hobbit' and for anyone who may have doubts or think "what's Morgan Freeman doing in the Shire? Narrating?", Martin makes his mark and proves to be one of the best actors that this class of characters has ever chosen. Armed with his letter-opener he is endearing, engaging, funny and forthright, all whilst fitting in and standing out in all his undervalued talents, the Hobbit Bilbo Baggins and Freeman will win over everyone and anyone involved. Straight out of the frying pan and into the fire this new group is a hotbed of talent whether tried or yet to be tested. Featuring a gang of Dwarfs led by one with Aragorn courage that would make Snow White change her mind about her seven with familiar, favourable faces like James Nesbitt and arrow-men who can hit the bulls-eye without Orlando Bloom's Legolas shooting yet.

Still those who miss Viggo Mortensen and Liv Tyler will be pleased to see Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchet and Christopher Lee still brought to the table and of course there's the great Gandalf. With another crowning moment for Sir Ian McKellen, 100 years younger, kicking ass as well as casting spells. Then of course there's that little precious one. In the last three films this writer treated Gollum with the same type of reverence he'd greet Ja, Ja Binks in 'Star Wars', but here this snivelling little fiend is the best thing about this three hour trip. We couldn't wait until our Hobbit lost his way because Gollum loves games and we do too. Don't we precious?

From a truly infectiously hilarious opening dinner to the meal made out of the awesome action scenes that are choreographed with class this is a formidable feast. With the beginning of familiar, unchanged font and a sublime scenic route of special effects this series is seriously back. Even though we are taken back to the beginning and the basics, everything is stepped up a notch. Sure it may not be as epic and as grand as the bold and beautiful battles of the 'Lord Of The Rings' trilogy, but this is a different set of films, familiar but fresh. In this modern day as well, better special effects and reservoirs of resources help this movie match-up to the 'Rings' legend and overtake the landscape of it's own legacy. Just look at the sensational storm giants fight to see how much this film hits you like a thunderbolt of concrete. You don't need IMAX or 3D to see that those ones with big, hairy feet are stepping back onto the red carpet to rule the roost once again. Potter, Twilight, Batman, 'The Hunger Games' and 'The Avengers' have had their turn. Now out of the dark and into the warm familiarity of Winter comes one to rule them all. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012


Half Of 7/5

The 'Madnificent' Seven.

130 Mins. Starring: Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken & Woody Harrellson. Director: Michael McDonagh.

Here are 7 reasons why you should watch 'Seven Psychopaths'...

1. 'In Bruges' director Michael McDonagh is back and following his bold and beautiful first picture comes another brilliant and bruising big-name, no blockbuster 'bollocks' after Bruges. The directors second film is dark but delightful and crass but courageous, sinister but sympathetic, unsettlingly sick in parts but unquestionably sincere in others.

2. Once again our 'In Bruges' tour guide brings Colin Farrell along for his next trip and the star whose had a big year remodeling himself while remaking 'Total Rekall' is still on top of the A-Game he had when he last teamed up as part of this next great actor/director partnership. Just like the classic 'Bruges' showed a deeper side then his standout, scene stealing start in the Speilberg, Sci-Fi blockbuster 'Minority Report', 'Psychopaths' shows a more edgier side then science fiction smash 'Rekall'. Playing an alcoholic, writers block struggling screenwriter our boy provides a tried and tested idea, and an experienced one with an originality that is neither patronizing or condescending. Instead it's courageous and perfect.

3. Woody Harrellson is having an even bigger year then Farrell, with his tour of the latest 'L.O.T.R.' and 'Harry Potter' page turner in 'The Hunger Games' franchise, to go along with his independent hit 'Rampart'. Just like the roles he's been building up over the years, Woody is showing us just how great he really is good or bad. Playing a 'Natural Born Killer' Harrellson shows us his sinister side over his 'Cheers' Woody sweetness. Still you can raise your glass to a ying/yang acor who is just as great at either side of the coin and in playing a mobster who flips between callous and crying over his lost puppy is truly hilarious.

4. Sam Rockwell is another versatile actor with more range then people give him credit for. From the slick (see 'Iron Man 2') to the sick (look away during 'The Green Mile') making him the perfect hit for the man that ties this whole piece together. In an all-star affair he stands out and fits in all at the same time, without cheating or cheapening the story. Darkly humorous and lightly heartfelt this dog thief steals the show. With a bite just as brave as his bravado barking it's great to see Rockwell's crazy talent let off the leash once again.

5. It doesn't get much crazier then Christopher Walken. Crazy, amazing that is. From his facial expressions to his delivery from the dead-pan to the dead-serious, Walken kills it yet again with a chilling and thrilling performance that's also rib-tickling and heart string tweaking. Just look at his moving bedside vigils or how he reacts at gun-point for further reason to his rhythm. Some think one flew over this guys cuckoo nest a long time ago, but if you can't see how together this legend is then you really are insane. Or in need of help. Guess what? I've got a fever...and the only prescription is more Walken.

6. If you need anymore then this cast is vast from 007 girls to Abbie Cornish and some rising talents to the legend and avenging cameo star of the year, Harry Dean Stanton. The cutest Chit-Zu dog and the bunny carried by legendary singer/songwriter/actor Tom Waits brings this movie to a perfect boil with simmering talent throughout. Everyone involved walks their own way without tripping each other up and what we have is a clear winner for best off-beat film of the year. 'Seven Psychopaths' is the craziest.

7. The idea itself (no not this article idea, but the fresh idea of this picture that inspired a different take of a review) is greatest of all and is played out to a punctuated perfection. Set in L.A. but taking shots at Hollywood's violent ways, while scripting and showing us just how much of a contradiction films that try and claim to be 'different' really are. How refreshing. Call me crazy but this is something else. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012



'Dirty Harryball'

Starring: Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, Justin Timberlake, John Goodman & Robert Patrick. Director: Robert Lorenz. Writer: Randy Brown.

It's been an eventful year for Clint Eastwood. To begin 2012 the greatest actor/director of all-time teamed up with the greatest actor of our time Leonardo DiCaprio for the Hoover biopic 'J. Edgar'. A great movie, but one that drew some criticism from some critics in regards to some of the themes and how they where dealt with. More political punches where pulled later on in the year when Republican Clint delivered an endorsing speech for then Presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Critics labeled Clint's speech as "mumbled" and "confused". Don't they know that Dirty Harry grunts? Besides Clint's political beliefs are his own and that doesn't effect how he is as a filmmaker, even with his take on 'J. Edgar'...which in our opinion was terrific.

Now the great director shows he's still a decent man enough to star in a film where someone else is behind the lens for the first time since 1993's classic 'In The Line Of Fire'. Robert Lorenz's baseball/family drama 'Trouble With The Curve' is an ideal, moving matinee. The kind of slow and easy, Sunday afternoon film that's gentle and nice. One you'll love to watch during a perfect, lazy day on the T.V. in the future. Sure it's no classic like an Eastwood direction (and because he's not in the chair on this one it leaves his directing filmography untarnished), but its a real, feel-good film that's missing these days in Hollywood. Like a weekend afternoon baseball game that you don't care how long it takes this is a relaxed, comforting film, with unsettling dramatic elements added for realism. Through everything though, sports and it all, it's all about family. It's all about the simple things and what's more real than that? They haven't made films like this in awhile.

Sure this isn't going to change the game like Brad Pitt did last year with 'Moneyball' but 'Trouble With The Curve' still swings and hits, honoring all sorts of family traditions from the ballpark to the barbecue. Shot simply but stunningly, its beautiful like the classic cars and with some of that serious Eastwood subtly (maybe he has been lending a directing hand) it see's and hits straight. Clint as an actor is on fine form grumbling with his trademark glare but delivering a strict sincerity that shines through. Playing a baseball scout who is being forced into retirement he's trying to stay in the game, while his baseball fan daughter Amy Adams is trying to stay in his life.

Adams again shows just why she has become one of the best female acting picks in a league of her own. Her interplay and scenes with Eastwood are brilliantly acted with charisma, chemistry and collateral baggage. After stealing the show in 'The Social Network' and making his own moment 'In Time' Justin Timberlake shows yet again he's more than a singer as he plays an ex-pro turned scout. His performance is charming and controlled and is he's good enough for Clint, he's great enough for anybody. Plus the rumors of Clint and Timberlake performing a routine of Justin' Saturday Night Live 'Dick In A Box' are too good to be seen. Matthew Lillard and Robert Patrick are also on helpful hand in an A-list cast, but it's John Goodman that makes the grade with his 'Movember' mustache. After 'Argo' and 'Flight' on the way ot seems like Goodman has found the fountain of fan-favorite form.

Films like this normally don't swing for the fence, but with top-tier talent on the bases and a script that strikes the heart strings this is one for the books. They don't make them like they used to. Just check Clint's moving graveside toast and talk for arguably the films deepest and best moment. If anyone else recited 'You Are My Sunshine' to a headstone it would come across corny and cheesy but the way Eastwood does it with the deepest sincerity would move even the hardest of hearts to condolence. There won't be a steady lip or dry eye in the house as you hear Clint work through the words, "you'll never know dear, how much I love you". It's going to be a real sad day when Clint Eastwood will have to give this game up, but you can't force this guy out of retirement. Even with his Western hat and magnum hung up, Clint's still knocking everything he does out the park...with no trouble at all. TIM DAVID HARVEY.