Thursday, 26 December 2013

REVIEW-THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY

3.5/5

There's Something About Mitty.

114 Minutes. Starring: Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Shirley MacLaine, Adam Scott, Kathryn Hahn & Sean Penn. Director: Ben Stiller.

Into the wild Ben Stiller goes. Straight from the cells of a 'New Yorker' strip to the legendary pages of 'Life' magazine. Off the beaten track from the directors chair to Academy consideration, Stiller gives us another quirky outing to his catalog that toes the independent line between mainstream and expressive. Sure the formidable, family franchise 'Meet The Parents' is this Godfocker's trilogy and meat and potatoes, but for every 'Zoolander', there's a 'Greenberg' and now via Greenland and Iceland, 'Red Hour Ben' takes a red eye across the world to traverse new ground and give every idealistic traveler the inspiration to truly make their crazy dreams a reality. It's influence like this that make this more than just the zoned out dream world of wanderlust. A beautiful six minute commercial break trailer led by Freddie Mercury's Queen cries of "is this real life, is this just fantasy' truly says it all in noteworthy, 'Bohemian Rhaposdy' form and as Ben looks to make his own 'Forrest Gump' story, his run past the classic 'Life' magazine billboard covers of Martin Luther King Jnr, JFK, John Lennon and Muhammad Ali truly has the makings of something iconic like the moon-landing or Marilyn Monroe. Now read all about it, we have the makings of a new hero in the form of the funny every-man. Behind that cold-steel briefcase and beige bland jacket and tie is the real, all worldly man beneath the white-collar stacks and sheets of office work. Now are you ready to make this break? This is a real shift from 9-5 to alive, no more work and all play. Still is there ambition and substance behind this style or is it all just the makings of dreams?

The life and times of Walter Mitty is a photo journalists travel journal across the landscape of life that offers more for it's viewers to read into. This short story by James Thurber from 1939 is given the long player treatment after it was acknowledged as a classic of American literature after appearing in the massive magazine 'The New Yorker'. 'Mittyesque' may as well be a dictionary term for those who daydream of wild heroics they never actually put into real effect. This story has such a legacy it's already been made into a film once and legends like Spielberg and Ron Howard almost had a go at directing like Jim Carrey and Ben's friend and 'Hutch' to his 'Starsky' running mate Owen Wilson had starring. Still, now it's Stiller's turn as he looks to the pages of 'Time' chasing 'Life' magazine to give even more lasting legacy to the legend of newsstands that like their product are tragically dying out thanks to unfortunately this very form of digital media. Still, as impressive as the truly special effects are in this evocative piece of cinemas this story is at it's most sweet and simple when it's exactly that. Sure concrete skateboarding surfing through the streams of yellow from taxi cabs in lower Manhattan while fighting over a fully extended Stretch Armstrong doll, fully featured with more twisting facial expressions is truly incredible like all the other insights into the imagination of our Walt, but it's the soaring scenes of the worlds real wonders which look and speak for themselves without a hint of CG or Photoshop. Backed up by a sublime soundtrack that truly 'Wakes Up' the senses from Arcade Fire to the ground control to major Tom, 'Space Oddities' of the original weird and wonderful Ziggy Stardust himself, David Bowie, everything about this film has the makings of a lasting classic and Stiller's road to true greatness.

Now there's a few sedate bumps but that's what makes this journey that much more fulfilling, as Stiller flies and skateboards through a rugged and raw movie that's truly his.The 'Frat Pack' 'Night At The Museum' exhibit star has already proved he can direct with depths in Jim Carrey's dark comedy spark-plug of 'The Cable Guy', like his own 'Zoolander' and 'Tropic Thunder' greatest hits, but here he proves he can truly dream up greatness from a seating position too. With the camera on himself he also shows how he is still one of today's most followed leading men, especially in comedies as he owns the Boxing Day season previously inhabited by the crowd-drawing loved likes of Will Smith. Steve Carell hasn't taken his offbeat comedy crown despite the Brick and Minion mortar. This Spanish news-team leader still runs the street and as impeccable he anchors his own beautiful broadcast in what right now is Burgundy's world. With more color and vibrancy, Stiller's subtle but strong skill-set matches the bashful beauty off it's backdrop. As a shy and retiring Mitty who comes out with courage this character development helps the growth of this mans acting game and gain. It's hard not to love this guy and it's impossible not to like him. No matter what 'Family Guy' say about his ears, this guys movies are far from terrible. This one in fact...terrific. The recently underrated comedian assembling 'Tower Heist' and 'The Watch' showed he still had it. This shows he has so much more. More lies behind the eyes of a facial expressive actor who shows that behind the comedy one-liners lies some dark drama , with a punchline of humorous hope giving life to the inspired. Still it's more than just Stiller, himself and Mitty on this road trip.

No longer the 'Bridesmaid', but instead the queen of comedy Kristen Wiig comes off her own 'Anchorman' legend to own this month like her co-star Rose Byrne used to own the trailer reels. With beautiful dyed-hair and a different, dramatic look to her stand-up gags she gives new depth to her range and future. Is there a leading lady more sought after then her right now? More of the fairer sex give this film its grounding and supporting force as legend Shirley MacLaine gives more terrific 'Terms Of Endearment' while 'Anchorman'/'Step Brothers' starlet Kathryn Hahn shows she is still one of the most funniest and underrated ladies in the biz. Fellow 'Step Brothers' star Adam Scott gets a star for effort as he was born to play a grade A douche. On the other end of the line an eHarmony representative phones in some classic comedy like his career work for some dialed up light and warm relief, while on the other side of the world we get a true legend adding his traversed and traveled thoughts to this piece. It literally looks and seems like they found Sean Penn in the middle of nowhere for this discovered addition that is as welcoming and moving as a simple but sublime scene of football skill among the mist and dust off a mountain peak. This is a film that takes it just this high with some of it's most simple pleasures that make even the most death-defying leaps into burning buildings just a spirited aside to the faith of what's real in this world of dreams. This fantasy adventure is no secret anymore even if it is more lovely than it is lasting. It's the hyped eagerly awaited journey that hopes to find it's destination date with Oscar this coming February. Sure, this may not be the "quintessence", but it's quintessentially one of Stiller and the modern, movie mainstreams most refreshing and uplifting efforts in recent years, that will last in favorable young hearts and wandering minds for decades and trips to come. It may not be all a box of chocolates, but it's still so Bubba Gump shrimp sweet. If this positive life soul search for negative 25 is how Ben wants to frame the rest of his career, then run Stiller, run. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

POPCORN REVIEW-ANCHORMAN 2-THE LEGEND CONTINUES

No time to read a full review in this digital age? Inspired by a recent application here's a mini, popcorn bite-sized review of 'Anchorman 2'.

This Christmas we spell comedy R.O.N. Last time I looked in my leather bound, Burgundy dictionary there was a picture of Will Ferrell’s iconic newsman under the word “funny”. It seems like an age since ‘The Legend Of Ron Burgundy’ gave us one of the greatest comedies in ‘Anchorman’. Now nine years, NASCAR drivers, ice-skaters, Basketball players, minions and minions and a whammy later, the news team of Ferrell, Carell, Rudd and Koechner are back. Assembling with yet more A-listers and classic cameo surprises to fill a news-team battlefield, Adam McKay takes this to the 80’s and a satirical 24 hour news cycle. There’s much more between the gags that leave you gasping for the air that left the room from the fell flat ones. Sure nothing beats the original but this ‘Legend Continues’ without a ‘Hangover’. That’s how much of a big deal this is…don’t act like you’re not impressed. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

REVIEW: ANCHORMAN 2-THE LEGEND CONTINUES

3.5/5

Still C.L.A.S.S.Y.

119 Minutes. Starring: Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, David Koechner, Christina Applegate, Kristen Wiig, James Marsden & Harrison Ford. Director: Adam McKay.

This is more than just kind of a big deal. Finally, the one comedy sequel that everybody has been waiting for is here in between all those 'Hangovers' and 'Police Academy' sequels (what is it now? 72?). Almost a decade after the DVD dominance of 'Anchorman-The Legend Of Ron Burgundy' became THE new cult, classic comedy of this generations age the news team is back! Names you may be fondly familiar with. Names like, Ron, Champ, Fantana and Brick, otherwise known as Will, David, Paul and Steve. Regular Joe names, but irregular perfect personalities. The first 'Anchorman' movie became an overnight Friday night film night success even if the movie performed like a cannonball in mainstream cinema, pushing leather bound books off the shelf and always going down smoothly like scotch. It had fights with bears, 'Brat Pack' stars, hair products, cologne and pleats and it still played perfectly like a jazz flute. Everyone was on the classiest thing cinema had seen since Cary Grant and Clark Gable and by the beard of Zeus was it funny. It spawned an inspired bonus movie 'Wake Up Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie' and even a tell all memoir this year with Ron Burgundy's awesome "autobiography", 'Let Me Off At The Top-My Classy Life & Other Musings'. Ferrell's feral comedy career spread like wildfire after that, to NASCAR ('Talladega Nights-The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby'),  ice-skating ('Blades Of Glory'), Basketball ('Semi-Pro'), some 'Step Brothers', 'Other Guys' and even more gag reels. Between filling and filing the box sets and seasons of the American version of 'The Office'  and the minions and minions of 'Despicable Me', to go along with some of the best romantic comedies of the past 10 years (Paul Rudd...'I Love You Man'), the rest of the Channel 4 news team haven't done bad either....WHAAAAAAMY! Still, the fans want more and more than just Scotch flavored 'Ben & Jerry's (to enjoy with your film of course...now wheres that cash check cows), Lego pieces with unmistakable mustaches, Dodge Durango commercials funnier than 'Big Red' and more promotion for 'Burgundy Wednesday' that you could throw an orange at. That's right the news team is assembling with avengance for 'Anchorman 2' as 'The Legend Continues'.

Fans fear not too, when there's a Will, there's a funny and between the epic facial expressions and drum and symbol striking one-liners, the king of comedy is back with his Chaplin character. Ron Burgundy is still the balls...simply put. Stepping back into the off-maroon blazer and mustache like the seventies or Movember wasn't yesterday everybody needs to come see how good this still looks. What more could you expect from the man who discovered the wheel and had his dog eat a whole cheese worth of it. The legacy of this legend truly continues as classy and comedic classic as ever. What more can this man do after building the Eiffel tower out of metal and brawn? Well how about overcome worse disabilities than sticking a knife in his leg in 'Talladega Nights' or raising animals more scary than pregnant pandas out the deep blue? All in-between breaking down the barriers of race and offending just about everybody either side, outside of America from Mexico to Canada even getting some hockey stick..."sorry". Even with a marriage to maintain and a little Burgundy to raise this man still has the news to read off the teleprompter, without a question mark. Here he sensationally and satirically explores the world of 24 hour news and if anything from his recent moonlighting at various sports channels around the clock can prove...he's still got it like salon quality hair. Last time I looked in the dictionary, comedy was defined by R.O.N. in all caps. Still if hes going to do this he's going to need his news-team by his side and from the looks of comedy rom-com leading man Paul Rudd as Brian Fantana and the cowboy hat, stetson swings of David Koechner's Champ Kind this team knock it out the park. Especially with the sweet Brick who is on stupidly hilarious form by the good heaven almighty talents of Steve Carrell. This time finding himself in-between a brick and a hard place of love alongside 'Bridesmaid' Kristen Wiig, who is the latest 'Saturday Night' star to go truly live with an even better year than her last couple. Just wait for Boxing Day, this funny lady is the closest thing to the kings of Ferrell and Carrell even if you don't think woman belong in than newsroom. She'll rev your belly-laugh engines.

There's more on air behind the camera than this however and that is a scientific fact as sitting in the directors chair Adam McKay brings it all together for a perfect broadcast. From favorites like Ed Harken to new faces of familiarity like Greg Kinnear and Megan Good. Matter of fact there are more classic cameos in this film then you'd want us to spoil for this fight night. Now can we just get a classic Vince Vaughn laugh? Please Dorothy Mantooth...be a saint. With all this primetime talent you'd think that'd be enough for the ratings, but we also have Indiana Jones and Han Solo, as Harrison Ford gives us a double scotch classy turn. While of course Christina Applegate is back to anchor the news and Ron's heart. If that wasn't enough for the strings or rib-tickling, James Marsden continues his recent hot streak (see Cyclops' blazing '2 Guns', or his Kennedy turn in 'The Butler') with one of his funniest and best performances. Even Kanye West gets to be in his favorite movie and as for the soundtrack it's as epic and eighties as Ron's barber. From the whales vagina of San Diego to the big apple of New York this news-team takes top-billing over this classic cast as they try to make it best in the big city. Some jokes may fall flat here but what do you expect after all the years of eager anticipation and high hyped expectations? Other jokes will blow up the room like the fire in Ron's eyes when you tell him he has bad hair and from old favorites like the tricks of loyal dog Baxter to the trade of Fantana's 'grooming' essentials these gags will never cease to amaze you. There's 'Blades Of Glory' skating to the sound of jazz and Basketball jokes that are anything but 'Semi-Pro' with these all-stars. To go along with the quality news reporting we've expected from these stand up fellows. From cute animal clips that could shut down Vines to the 'World Wildest Police Chases' that could turn Sheriff John Bunnell's hair back to black. 'These critics thought they could make a home on tearing comedy sequels down...little did they know they'd be spending the rest of their time going back to whore island.'

Sure at times the comedy reverts back to the formula of it's old cliche, but  not yet 'Hangover' tired and it's the sort of fond favoritism the cult fans want from the original classic. Besides if it 'aint broke, don't fix the teleprompter. If you don't think sequels like this work tell it to 'The Naked Gun', 'Wayne's World' or your DVD player for the next few years. The first film will always be the one, true classic but this second egg is no chicken...or turkey just shy of thanksgiving. Just before Christmas your buddy 'Elf' is back to give the fans what they want, the best present wrapped in a big Burgundy bow. Smiling and laughing's your favorite right? Will we see a trilogy Mr. Ferrell? Popular consensus and money marketing will probably say "cha-ching, yes", but right now this comedy anchor Godfather is pulling all the strings and dusting the feathers across our rib-cages. Sewn together between set-up set pieces to the classic character comedy that is this reporters calling card this film will leave you in stitches...even if you do have some time to recover from the pain and tears in-between. With all the 'and rest' moments here you'll have time to write down the new, classic quotes for your news feed conversations while anticipating the laughs, camera, action that will come later. Leaving fans with more glee than those kids that sing in-between class and break-ups there's even a 'best friend' ode better than Doug's song bound to give you some 'Afternoon Delight'. Comedy sky-rockets in flight, this is still the date night movie that will leave you rolling around afterwards when in Rome. Just don't take most of this seriously...it's supposed to be silly even if a little heartfelt and honest. From trying to understand Australian to translating some seriously sublime satire comedy in the newsroom hasn't been this funny and formulating since Jon Stewart gave 'The Daily Show' its most perfect press. This isn't CNN...this is comedy network nostalgia that still keeps it classy. Other sequel comedies need to do their research and would do good to take notes of this journalists jovial jokes. Good news, Ron Burgundy is still number one. Now don't act like you're not impressed. Am I right? Saaaay whaaaaaat?! TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

REVIEW: THE HOBBIT-THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG

4.5/5

Shire Class.

161 Minutes. Starring: Martin Freeman, Sir Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, Richard Armitage, Evangeline Lily, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, James Nesbitt, Ken Stott, Stephen Fry, Sylvester McCoy & Benedict Cumberbatch (As The Voice Of Smaug). Director: Peter Jackson.

OK fellowship...I'll admit it. It took me the love of my life, the channeling of my inner geek (who am I kidding I am a geek and proud) and one epic, three, three hour film DVD night (that was interrupted and then moved to close the last classic, biggest battle scene on the worlds smallest television screen upstairs...I know right?!) for me to get properly into the 'Lord Of The Rings' trilogy. No, I'm not Tolkien the piss, but boy did I not know what I was in for. Something so grand and epic it's right there with the testimony trilogies of 'Star Wars' ,'Godfather'' and my own personal geek favorite 'The Dark Knight'. Peter Jackson's triumphant three part vision of J.R.R Tolkien's wonderful three part story was truly a trilogy that deserved another and as of last year we got that in the outstanding, original book that spawned it all, 'The Hobbit'. Sure compared to the 'Jurassic Park' gate doorstop 'Rings' trilogy this short story is a pamphlet but a perfect one at that and only Jackson could turn each 100 pages into a three hour film in themselves (especially with the help of the screenplay labyrinth of 'Pacific Rim' future blockbuster explorer Guillermo del Toro) for yet another holy trinity of heaven sent magical movies that are now chasing the wand of 'Harry Potter' epic spectacle stakes. After last years 'Unexpected Journey', exceeded everyone's epic expectations and saw more dwarfs than 'Snow White' and more endings than a Bruce Springsteen encore the only questions we where left with where; "why didn't those lazy eagles drop them off just a little further"? The film introduced a new quest of classic characters that would win over cult cameos from Elijah Wood, Hugo Weaving, Christopher Lee and Cate Blanchett and also showed that their dinner parties could be as fun as some of their escape art battles. The film even took my personal Jaa Jaa Binx, Gollum and turned him up a notch to now one of my favorite characters. In the sequel he's now sorely missed, but don't be shy. Delve deeper into the darkness of the cave and you'll love to step into the light of this warm like mulled wine Winter festive season movie just in time for an early Christmas this fall.

For now it's time for 'The Desolation Of Smaug' and for all you fans out there no my lad that's not an earthquake you hear in your IMAX theaters like those thunderous storm giants hurling rock strong set-pieces. Get ready for some blazing 3D as we're about to go 'There And Back Again' for yet another powerful part of this long saga that is anything but boring and getting nothing but absolutely better. This in fact might be the best of them all, so you know the finale's going to be a formidable foe of force. Far over the misty mountains you can see the landscape of this film is more than just a tour guide for the stunning beauty of its New Zealand set. There's so much more to this story that you can take from by the book. No wonder I delved into my parents cupboards to find their old, original illustrated version of 'The Hobbit'. As right as reading the words before the actions are, part of me wishes I left a lot of these stunning scenes to surprise. Prose purists will be satisfied to the letter though. As there are river rapid barrel rides as crazy and as exciting as those people that used to ride down Niagara Falls in kegs and web sticky, scary giant, 'your worst nightmare', spider scenes as electric as the trailer for the new 'Amazing Spider-Man' sequel at 48 sick, stunning frames per 'pass the popcorn bucket' second. From drinking at middle-earths local Prancing Pony to bear changing milk servers this film is a different animal altogether, confirming and creating this perfect prequel to one of the greatest sets of cinematic experiences of all time. In this modern movie-world it only gets graphically better to the most special effect and with all the arrows flying around no one can escape being hit to love this like Cupid. This film has so much character and we haven't even begun to talk about the cast, which is assembling the stars at a Marvel rate. Of course we're off to see the grand wizard as Sir Ian McKellen arises as Gandalf in-between his moving Magneto 'X-Men' bid to resurrect his classic career to the 'Days Of Future Past'. While 'The Hobbit' himself is truly the incredible rising leadership of Martin Freeman armed with his letter opener (now named after a certain someone from The Police (don't stand so close to him)), who takes the ring from Elijah Wood in more ways than one. Believe me this too...shall pass.

Bilbo Baggins has a lot more to deal with here though and we're not just talking about his dwarfs, from Richard Armitage's Mortensen channeling Thorin and rising 'Mortal Instrument' pin-up Aidan Turner (who really should have been the one to play Michael Hutchence in the new INXS biopic) and T.V's tuned in James Nesbitt and mini-Santa Claus Ken Stott who are back in great fan favor. There's so many big names in this series that you can even add Great British national treasure Stephen Fry (whose being making the movie sequel, classic book adaptation rounds recently as 'Sherlock Holmes' brother in 'A Game Of Shadows') and one of the original 'Doctor Who's' Sylvester McCoy complete with the luck of bird crap crusting in his hair. By the ears of Spock there's elves to deal with here too, from 'Twilight' saga star Lee Pace keeping and camping it up as a '300' worthy king to the rising red haired talent of femme-fatale Evangeline Lily who recently went to battle in 'The Hurt Locker' and 'Real Steel'. Here she throws some serious bows but that's nothing compared to her arrow-man. Yep that's right, clench up ladies because Orlando Bloom is back as Legolas with Hawkeye avenging vision. The kid with the Florida first name truly blooms, matures and grows in the 'other' franchise of the new millennium that made him a megastar alongside Disney's 'Pirates Of The Caribbean'. With better acting, hair and some serious archery skill so quick at the speed of a dart, this is a bulls-eye hit and return of redemption for the actor. The elf ear arrow action scenes really prick up the pace of this picture and give it it's range. After taking the wheel of the 'Fast & Furious' franchise to London, handing the keys to the passenger seat villain Jason Statham, Brit Luke Evans shows real humble honor as another skilled archer with more behind his bow than you think. Oh and we almost forgot there's a few Orcs too. Freeman has more than enough talent to win over this old audience to the new Jackson attraction, but it's another one of his co-stars from 'Sherlock' that really furthers this insired, influential investigation. It's all elementary for this Dear Watson as there's one part left that could take the Bilbo riddles of Gollum to school.

In a class of his own you know it's all about the red dragon (yep that's right people he's red) like a 'Hannibal' sequel and this fire-breather is really about to eat you up in stunning big-screen high-definition. If you thought that Benedict Cumberbatch gave us the best villain of the year in his Khan good/bad conflict of the light shining 'Star Trek-Into Darkness' then just wait until you hear him here. More than just blowing hot air, the man-whose voice recently had all the 'Cumberbitches' in awe of his R. Kelly 'Sex Genius', 'Black Panties' lyric reading on Jimmy Kimmel-wins the Tom Hiddleston Loki theatrical British villain war with the next impressionable voice. His army of Beatle-mania screaming female fans may wish they could see him but his studio sound, super vocal skill is enough to fill the auditoriums with an attracted audience. How to Cumberbatch your dragon with a Sean Connery 'Dragonheart' this actor deserves to be a Smaug so and so as he pitches the perfect vocal chords to go along with this classic character he makes as magic as 'Merlin'. A character only better for how it legacy lasting looks as this books pictured dragon is perfectly illustrated here for those who have been imagining and dreaming just quite how Smaug would look on screen in-between all those pools of Mr. Scrooge revenue. Here they hit gold, truly sitting on a pile of money with a breath of fire air that is hotter than the classic cast-list, or scintillating set-pieces that make this movie already that much better than the rest. Finally after all these decades, years and hours it's worth the wait to finally see this beautiful beast who takes over this film and we can only hope will soar further and help this trilogy really fly. Clawing away, this years movie competition of incredible comic-book and sci-fi imagination and creative invention is ashes now no matter how big, blockbuster or special effects the picture compared to this old story made anew. Throw as may Avengers or superheros at is as you like, even 'The Hunger Games' don't have enough arrows as this dragon 'Catching Fire' takes wing. Even 'Gravity' is grounded by the cinematography of the dragon and the fire in the belly of this story. Nothing can fan the flames now when it comes to this amazing adventure and the desolation of the box-office that reduces everything else to smoke. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

LEONARDO DICAPRIO Feature-THE LONE WOLF OF HOLLYWOOD

Leo's Star Signs.

By TIM DAVID HARVEY

"This is America! This is my home! The show goes on! They're going to have to send the national guard to take me out! Because I 'aint going nowheeeere"! Leonardo DiCaprio stirs everyone's energy, striding, swaggering and shouting enthusiastically down a microphone with slicked back hair and a blue suit only Pat Riley or the rest of the eighties would be proud of. A boisterously hot 'Boiler Room' of slimy, Gordon Gekko slick wannabe 'Wall Street' traders are watching in idolizing admiration. Looking at the man who literally throws dollars away like the waste basket was a Basketball hoop. Like money doesn't sleep on everything from smashing up back to the 80's, Delorean like vehicles and other cars straight off the lot, to sides at meals so expensive you would think they could cure cancer. Throwing wine glasses on the floor when he says hello to his mansion guests before pool parties more populated than Kendrick Lamar. Then launching lobsters and peeled off notes at federal agents as they leave his yacht with all his arrogance all to the soundtrack tune of the Dead Weather and Kanye West. 'More' just simply isn't enough for this guy as he looks like he's having the best and boastful time of his life. Stop! Hold up...wait...Leo?! No this isn't a money hungry change of heart for the soulful philanthropist whose work for the environment is instrumental, but the latest role in his Scorsese actor/director classic combo of cultural creativity. 'The Wolf Of Wall Street'-the true story of Jordan Belfort, the real life Gordon Gekko-could be good enough to make the classic Michael Douglas series look like spare change. Even with it being "trimmed" down to an expensive 3 hour run time the film-which features THE new 'Moneyball' super sidekick, comedy boy wonder Jonah Hill and the redemption of the realest character creator Matthew McConaughey and that divine drawl- has been received with a critical standing ovation of applause as the last horse in the race stampeding it's way to the February Academy of the Oscars. With Martin's new Bobby DeNiro-even holding his arms out and giving that trademark 'Niro nod and questioning facial expression-following the dark mob of 'The Departed', the high-flying 'The Aviator', the epic ensemble of 'Gangs Of New York' and the sublimely sinister 'Shutter Island' this actor/director partnership have made nothing but the best work of their classics. They're even looking at the old blue eyes of Sinatra next. To be Frank they can tell any story they want...doing it their way.

If you thought the best commercial success of 2010's inspired 'Inception' and haunting 'Shutter Island' was the best year of Leonardo DiCaprio's career than you might want to track his last 365 calender days. As great as that was, last Christmas we saw Leo get bloody...literally, putting aside the calling-card conflictions to play the vilest villain with crazy conviction. In Quentin Tarantino's new classic 'Django Unchained', an Oscar winning Christophe Waltz, along with standout performances from lead Jamie Foxx and Samuel L. Jackson gave this modern take on old westerns and Q.T. his best script read since 'Pulp Fiction'. Still it was like candy land for the sweetest cast when Leo played the best worst bad guy of all-time in Calvin Candie. Serving up a tense and taught dinner-table of defining dialogue for the director known for his prose. Like a true professional with incredible improvisation, Leo even played through the pain of actually cutting his hand on glass, rubbing his blood all over Kerry Washington's face unscripted. Staying in character this sick moment was a shock for poor Kerry who would of perhaps preferred a heads up for her face-time, but it still made for a crucial moment in a critical scene and I'm sure the nice guy made it up to her (apparently he was so in character that after having trouble with the racism ended up not conversing much with Foxx before scenes, according to Jaime). With a big beard and bad teeth...and an even bolder and bad suit, the pretty boy with the floppy hair went bad and as ugly as he could for a moment of brutality the film needed to step up the down treading behavior even more. Following his strong supporting role, he reunited with the man that took him to the Hollywood Hills for Baz Lurhman's adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel 'The Great Gatsby'. With a whole lot of 3D pomp and circumstance, some critics where dulled by the vibrant colors of a film whose Jay-Z produced soundtrack scored higher. Still, what was undeniable was the morning after party half of the film where Leo turned up the classic conflicted acting to a stripe sharper than his suits. He saved the picture and proved he was the right man to play the legendary Jack Gatsby who people have been trying to picture over the pages for decades. From the moment you heard his voice climb the stairs and extend his drink to the screen with that welcoming smile, you knew this old sport was the man. This is the reason this guy is the leading man lone wolf a top the hills of all the Brad Pitt's and George Clooney pretty boys turned great male actors with his next great and possibly best 'Wolf Of Wall Street' picture about to take legacy lasting frame.

One year off 40 and this Los Angeles born California kid is full grown to his prime that never looks to pass. Just imagine the decades of Clint Eastwood great work we can expect from the amazing ageing of the man who did that all made-up playing 'J. Edgar' with investigatory inspiration. From a child-star to now, we've seen it all grow and mature before our viewing eyes from the 'Growing Pains' sitcom series, 'Santa Barbra' soaps and everyone's favorite 'Roseanne' to the graduated Academy of Oscar nominated roles. Named Leonardo after his mother experienced his first kick while looking at a Da Vinci painting, the kid has been making art ever since. O.K. commercials for Matchbox cars and the 'Critters' films aren't exactly Shakespeare, but 'Romeo + Juliet' certainly is and in the year that was truly his young mans dream this and the maiden voyage of 'Titanic' made him a worldwide star on every households television and on the poster laden wall of every teenage girls bedroom. His love duet with Kate Winslet, still resonates in the sea changes of memories today, regardless of anniversary and his modern guns over swords remake of the greatest love story ever wrote alongside Claire Danes and the scene stealing John Leguizamo is just the coolest thing ever that has inspired many a generation of 'O' or '10 Things I Hate About You' 'bard remake that could never pass the rum like Baz's sunscreen moment. The star sign of Leo has come a long, legendary way since then, but even before then he already had come so, so far. From being handpicked by Robert DeNiro and then beaten on screen by him for the grueling 'This Boys Life', maybe Bobby knew before Martin, he was mentoring his replacement. Able to capture struggle like men decades his senior couldn't he then played the mentally handicapped brother of superstar Johnny Depp for 'Whats Eating Gilbert's Grape', which showed there really was something much deeper to this kids wonderful work. The intense performance was difficult to watch, but even Oscar did as the whole world took deserved notice. What was eating this kid? More light was shined on 'Total Eclipse' and heart on the soulful 'Marvins Room', it was clearly time for this young man to play with the big boys.

In the epic ensemble of the drawn western 'The Quick And The Dead', Leo clicked his spurs with the legendary likes of Gene Hackman, Russell Crowe and Sharon Stone. With six-shooter, cocksure confidence this kid walked taller than his over-sized cowboy hat and boots. For one of the more unforgiven, underrated modern westerns of recent times, DiCaprio displayed true grit, even if Sony pictures was showing his star potential the tombstone. Sharon Stone believed in him though giving him the best break by generously paying for his salary like Sylvester Stallone does for others to keep him in the picture out of the pocket. Although his teenage character tried to wrongly and unsuccessfully seduce the leading lady on-screen, it;s clear he won over the star off it with his acting. His poignant, powerful final scene was the beginning of something great too. After replacing River Phoenix for the homosexual love story of 'Eclipse', Leo went even deeper into the locker room for 'The Basketball Diaries' alongside young greats Mark Wahlberg and Juliette Lewis. More than your average sports journal, this bitter taste and tale of youth wasting their life on drugs and the desperate and pride swallowed lengths they go to score was the darkest, but also light-shedding necessary pictures of modern youth for a mainstream that needed more straight shots and less watered down storie for their collective consciousness. This out of bounds picture was more than just a game for the die-hard Lakers fan. Films like this have helped him become a Jack Nicholson courtside regular, but it's a slam dunk over those ignoring people in poverty. Taking everything to court it remains one of his purest and most powerful plays. A short film with friend Tobey Maguire 'Don's Plum' was greatly received even if the pair never intended it for release it would lead to them collaborating again decades and years later for 'Gatsby', just like the actor/director partnership of Lurhman and Leo that would follow a year later with his 'Romeo'. If everyone didn't love him then or after he painted the perfect portrait of love, while sketching Kate Winslet aboard the 'Titanic', his star stock would rise again with the De Niro reunion and Oscar company of great Meryl Streep for 'Marvins Room', as the stage show was played out perfectly on screen. 'Leo-Mania' was in full massive, mainstream effect, but the humble but appreciative man took it all in stride even mocking himself in a cameo for Woody Allen film 'Celebrity'. He then played twin roles for the steel strong 'The Man In The Iron Mask', revealing more sides of himself, however then he ditched the floppy boyish good look hair for some puppy fat and more well rounded performances as he took his career to an island of it's own.

On the stranger shores of 'The Beach', Leo drew a line in the sand with his first voice of the generation cult, classic. Strange and sublime, this film reaffirmed the bolder choices of his youth that the 'Titanic' mainstream was now ready to sail with him for the rest of his career. His opening monologue of one individuals freedom to travel the boundaries of their life and self discovery could inspire more people than the pages of 'Into The Wild'. A backpackers dream, this took him round the world even more, travel ready for his biggest successes to that destination date. 'Catch Me If You Can' wasn't just the name of a stellar picture that saw Leo shine above THE 90's go-to legends of directing and acting in 'Jurassic Park's' Steven Spielberg and 'Forrest Gump', Tom Hanks himself. It may as well of been Leo's life motto too. Travelling through 147 locations in just 52 shooting days, this was Leo's first of many depictions of real-life men of crime and conflict (like the real 'Wolf Of Wall Street', Jordan Belfort) in this crime caper as DiCaprio played Frank Abagnale Jnr with on-point, perfect conviction. The man who forged checks and unbelievably posed as doctors and pilots was played with genuine belief from Leonardo, earning the star his third Golden Globe. The iconic scene where he walks through a police-filled airport, dressed as a pilot and surrounded by the most beautiful air stewardesses, set to the tune of Frank Sinatra's 'Come Fly With Me' remains one of the most legendary scenes in recent movie-making history. A defining moment for the star and an inspiration for many an airline commercial and even the recent taken off 'Pan Am' series. The international success of playing troubled characters changed the tides of a blockbuster 90's making movie-world. It got darker still alongside Daniel Day-Lewis for the worldwide mob hit of 'Gangs Of New York'. There would be a hell of a of blood in DiCaprio's first partnership with Martin Scorsese, which has led to the star being in every one of Marty's pictures-save 'Hugo'-since then. Things took off for the pair and 'Caprio's real life portrayal even further with 'The Aviator', where Leo channeled the eccentric and deeply troubled airman pioneer and movie-maker Howard Hughes down to the long fingernails. It was a deeply dedicated, no holes-barred, but still really respectful performance that remains the best of not only the Leo/Scorsese partnership, but all the work of either director and actor. From rags to riches and all the way back and forth again, it resonates so much longer than the repeating, fading out anxious words of it's three hour finale.

Leo kept it third time the charm with Martin, as they traveled to Boston with fellow die-hard Laker Jack Nicholson and Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg and 'The Aviators' of Alec Baldwin among an epic ensemble, classic cast for the cops and robbers, detective class in it's own of 'The Departed'. Bold, brutal and brilliant you don't see twists coming like this off both sides of the gun in THE modern day police story that all other action thrillers should take heed too. This came off the heels of DiCaprio travelling to Africa to explore more of the worlds woes and personal tragedies in hard-hitting, grime behind the shine look of 'Blood Diamond'. Complete with a quirky accent and a soundtrack he helped handpick with legendary, top rapper Nas this socially conscious film remains one of the stars most important and influential with an inspired performance that mirrored his philanthropic life work. The kind of filmography resume entry that takes him to the Tom Hanks and Brad Pitt stakes of epic but universally underrated work. With amazing acting, this film proves even his 10th or 20th best picture would be other actors crowning moment of glory. The conscious look and discovery of all that's going on in the world continued with the truth told of the tense and taught 'Body Of Lies' alongside Russell Crowe, where Leo went to the undercover darks to show just how serious an actor he was and still is. Looking at terrorism in the Middle-East it didn't get realer and rawer than this. Then, however a reunion with Winslet saw him take it to the opposite side of love as Leo took it home for Sam Mendes 'Revolutionary Road' and the personal demons and home horror of what goes on behind the white-picket fence of a failing marriage. Yep, this was more depressing than a sinking ship, but it was a suburban look of 1950's America that still his timeless lessons that need to be learnt about love and life today. The dark recesses of the mind where delved even deeper with Scorsese once again for the psychological warfare of 'Shutter Island' from it's misty, atmospheric boat-ride beginnings, to it's nightmare filled, waking dead scenarios played out through the brain stems of a man who lost his whole family, life and mind. This was so harrowing and hauntingly great it could almost personally ground 'The Aviator'. This acclaimed Wall Street look at human behavior under the morality of massive amounts of money against the former pictures look at the mortality of the pressure of loss has a lot to bank on when it comes to this definitive human horror movie. This film even went deeper critically than the dream-induced Christoper Nolan commercial blockbuster success of the influential 'Inception', which made mega household stars of the likes of Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Tom Hardy, taking the lions-share of this entire cast to the conclusion of the epic 'Dark Knight' trilogy (aside Leo who was rumored as the Riddler...how great would have that been?). It was all a dream world for DiCaprio following his biggest mainstream success. Then the worlds best actor of the moment teamed up with arguably the worlds best director Clint Eastwood as the pair went political for the biography of J Edgar Hoover, the director of the FBI who to his credit revolutionized crime-fighting with fingerprint identification, but also to his detriment black-mailed great men like Martin Luther King Jnr and the Kennedy's.

The pair made some public enemies as well with the critics words on their portrayal as would anyone building a controversial character. It seems Leo brings a likability to most of is conflicted characters except this one, but done with all due respect and historical diligence the pair crafted a criminally over-looked classic with Judie Dench and Armie Hammer. The controversial themes where dealt with, with a touch of class and consideration. It remains as enigmatic and interesting as the man himself, presenting both sides of the coins like all true historical biographies should afford to. Let's hope the reception won't stop a reunion between DiCaprio's other great director partner...and let's hope the legendary actor Clint, passed on some camera tricks to a lead who may one day take the chair himself. One things for sure as Leo ages gracefully and greatly over the year he'll have his Eastwood later career defining roles like he did as a million dollar baby. After critics cooled on him a little bit and DiCaprio avoided controversy by stepping away from a Mel Gibson Viking picture because he was against the troubled directors time and tirades, it looked like the hardest working man in Hollywood was taking a break on his acting craft. That was until he left all those notions quick and dead for his return to the wild west and his first real take on the dark side of playing it Denzel in 'Training Day' dirty. His unchained big-three led by 'Django' and the old sport of 'Gatsby' continues with the cash celebration on 'Wall Street' that parties so hard it had to be cut down. 'The Wolf Of Wall Street' looks to take Scorsese and Leo even higher together as a partnership and on their own individual performances of merit, before the pair order another one for the road as they take on the chairman of the board for the ultimate Rat Pack of films. DiCaprio will collaborate with his adversary Django in the crime thriller 'Mean Business On North Ganson' Street' with Jamie Foxx for more perfect partnerships. Who know just quite whats next for the man who in 'The 11th Hour' makes documentaries and works for the improvement of the environment an philanthropy like it was his full-time job. As he seeks to improve the world from activism to his human touch brought to his characters his mission isn't complete. This is one lone wolf with solar panels on his home in the hills. Donating his money and time to global warming, it's clear there's more on this mans mind than the trappings of fame, success and money despite the themes of his latest lesson learning movie. This is truly what separates and sets this actors character free. When it comes to all he's done, it doesn't get more real-life and legacy leading than that. After all, this is his world, this is home, they could send the whole of Hollywood down and they still wouldn't take him out.

Friday, 29 November 2013

REVIEW-SAVING MR. BANKS

4/5

Craving Mr. Hanks.

125 Minutes. Starring: Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman, B.J Novak, Bradley Whitford, Ruth Wilson & Colin Farrell. Director: John Lee Hancock.

What do you get if you take a mouse with extremely big ears and cross him with a flying nanny and a talking umbrella? You get the story behind Walt Disney turning acclaimed author P. L. Travers' 'Mary Poppins' sensational story into his super studios most magical film. We all know about the spoon-fulls of sugar and how the medicine goes down but supercalifragilisticexpialidocious the actual real story behind the tale of this amazing woman is truly something else and in John Lee Hancock's latest he plays John Lee Hooker, drawing us in and blind-siding us with 'Saving Mr. Banks'. The follow up to his acclaimed sports dramas and his own take on the story of 'Snow White' for a darker, modern age. Here, though Hancock takes it back like Herbie to the original story behind the tallest tales we all grew up with. In doing this he picks two of the 90's to now golden era icons to portray two of storytelling's greatest legends-albeit in different ways-of all time. As English as a pot of tea, Emma Thompson orders hers and brushes off the 'Nanny McPhee' warts and all to play the woman behind THE maid of honor. Everyone wants to read more into this story including the 'Captain Phillips' of an Oscar year, Tom Hanks himself. It's his season again like whats playing on your television movie nights right now from the late eighties to early new millennium stretch. Who else to play the great Walt Disney, than our leading man legendary icon? Setting sail to the mid-February love of the Academy, the only thing that could stop Hanks last film from hitting an award is well...him and this Walt.

The two stars give the man and woman story makers behind the childhood imagination of books and movies their just page in entertainment history. Sitting uncomfortably we begin with Thompson, whose Travers character won't give up her baby and story of Mary to the cartoon, all singing, all dancing penguin, pixie dust world of Disney and the Mickey Mouse empire without her rights and fight. There's much more behind the wonder and whimsy of this story that meets the suitable for all children eyes and without giving too much away, you really need to see for yourself what this is all really about and who Miss Poppins really came to save and just whether Mr. Disney can do the same for the woman who gave us the magical woman who came to make a difference in everyone's lives young and old. Some may see Thompson's character as a typical, typecast, English, posh snob, with a battleaxe heart and a take no prisoners, with no compliments or 'True Grit' sugar with her pronouncements, still there's much more to her than stereotype. Just like there's much more to one of the worlds most underrated and versatile leading ladies. 'Stranger Than Fiction' with 'Sense and Sensibility', the woman who had a wizardly turn through the 'Harry Potter' series leaves us truly spell-bound as we see what lies behind the words of the woman who wrote every child and critics acclaimed book and possibly the name of her portraying actress in the next gold award engraving. It's impossible not to like her no matter how tough she seems on an exterior that leaves everyone from 'West Wing' wonder (by recent way of the criminally cancelled, Californian classic 'Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip' and Marvel 'One Shot', 'Agent Carter', 'Captain America' spin-off) Bradley Whitford to the stellar singing team of Wes Anderson's favorite Jason Schwartzman and former punk turned good B.J. Novak looking inward for inspiration.

How much more inspiration do you need than the man behind Goofy and Minnie, played by the man behind Woody and Forrest Gump? Tom Hanks is just that great and right to play the ultimate movie-making man of all time. Hanks has almost as many classic credits as Walt himself, owing to Mr. Disney some of those films himself. Still, just as Hanks has done the Disney name proud in previous films, he does the man so here with no spoon-fulls to sugar coat the truth. Real and raw, the man behind the mustache twitching laughter is given the behind the smiles truth treatment this 'Movember'. This is what makes not only this month, but this year one of Hank's genuinely greatest. A leading man so legendary his 20th best film, let alone his 30th would be among some of today's so called greatest best work, Tom has given us two more to add to the top ten list of catalog consideration. As he ages like the finest acting wine, the truer the stories get the more genuine the talent of the every-man, Bruce Springsteen, American rock star of the movie world gets like the Academy's 'Philadelphia'. With no cheese and nothing spread thin, Hanks crafts the complexities of the man behind his character subtlety and sincerely with some truly moving moments of movie magic behind the fake facade of seeing fairies. 'Captain Phillips' is his new great port of call in all it's classic tense and claustrophobic elements, but even in a supporting role here, Hanks helps set this Disney story free. The book doesn't stop with great leading man here however as Paul Giamatti shows he is more than just a driver in this Disney vehicle. Chasing Phillip Seymour-Hoffman as ever and running down the character actor notion, Giamatti drives past his latest JFK 'Parkland' in a black Lincoln that is anything but cold and calculated for a wonderful week and perfect performance of warmth that sees past it's darker depths.

A darker turn that lies behind Disney and this story and it's inspiration. Yep, it's not all ice-cream smiles and innocent laughter in this kingdom for this P.G. film. What more could you expect from the man who killed Bambi's mother? Here you can see from the mothering eyes of 'The Lone Rangers' rising actress Ruth Wilson that Travers troubled but determined home-life inspired something much more deeper and meaningfully moving in Poppins' service to family. All of this will be pictured perfectly by one of yet another of the leading underrated and versatile A-list greats with more classic credits than critics give credence for. Playing Emma Thompson's father (yeah I know right?) Colin Farrell is truly terrific from his success and struggles of a worn suit and tie wearing man who just wants to bring enough money and happiness home from work that his family can bank on without too much debt. What lies beneath the spoils and statements really gives you an account on what this story is really about and Farrell is formidable in forging this from being the worlds most inspired, funnest father despite his inner, tragic turmoil . In an Oscar season that looks like a two horse race of Thompson and Hanks' leading men and woman or Hank's own pair of powerhouse pictures, the Academy shouldn't forget it's star pupil. A man who has overcome so much addictive troubled times in his own life shows just how much it affects a man here in a performance deeper than just a simple script. It's a story that's told out of necessity to both the original story and today's new message. Sure this is a comedy as much as it is a drama and there are a lot of laughs that go with an American legend of the Peter Pan, candy bar, sickly sweet generation and a woman who won't have their cake and eat it too, but behind the smiles the real story is crying out to be heard clearly in all our understanding. A story that shows this modern movie mainstream that doesn't hold back that it's time to take it back to what it's really about. Only then by way of a fitting times gone by homage Disney logo can we truly learn what our beloved Mary is all about in this history of traditional tales. To see the story we've been reading for generations in all it's chapter and verse. Now that's what Disney magic is really made of. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Friday, 22 November 2013

BOOK REVIEW-RON BURGUNDY: LET ME OFF AT THE TOP-MY CLASSY LIFE & OTHER MUSINGS

4/5

Bound For Leather.

Since the dawn of time, scholars through lost translations have tried to find the meaning of life. While author after author have inscribed text after text that goes down in the concrete engraved world of historical and legendary writing. Guys like Shakespeare, Twain, Dickens, Chaucer, Kerouac, the libraries go on...and then of course there's Ron. Open one of his many leather bound books and you'll read something so transcending that it could burn your eyes like that human torch that banks turn away. Yep, that's right they're kind of a big deal like the 'Channel 4' Anchorman of San Diego, California himself. We all became cult followers of the classic 'Legend Of Ron Burgundy' and this Christmas 'The Legend Continues', but before that comes something you'll want to see under your tree more than a jazz flute, lamp, bottle of sex panther, or even the man himself. Christmas has come early you smelly pirate hookers as the legendary newsman has released his tell-all, memoir. The autobiography of Ron Burgundy 'Let Me Off At The Top-My Classy Life & Other Musings'. By the beard of Zeus, the perfect scotch table read hits you like a straight shot to the ovaries.

As you open this book, you'll be met with the familiar classic book smell of rich mahogany, but the words themselves would put any teleprompter to question mark shame. What more could you expect from the man who discovered the wheel and built the Eiffel tower out of metal and brawn? Still, beware San Dieogans and beyond if you are easily offended or aroused you should put this book under the bed with the mistress and the rest of the monsters. If you are of a certain race, or ethnic background, belong to a religious group, live in a particular country, are of a particular gender or age, and generally live or breath...you're in trouble. Black, white, rich, poor, young, old, boy, girl, man, woman, cat, dog, you can all join hands together in one world and be royally offended, but hey this is Ron and when it comes to Mr. Burgundy he can even tell his own town where to go. The man who put whale's vagina's on the map is going after everyone on it...even dinosaurs aren't safe...and they're extinct. From his humble beginnings to having the greatest hair you could ever wish to touch (he shares some of his grooming habits and horsehair myths here too), this is the mustache you really must ask after this Movember. The renowned ladies man will leave you with a pattern in the pleats as he teaches his fellow man how to get a woman in just one breath (and all it's back-of-your-neck varieties), while also telling us the secrets and stories, anchoring his own man. From comparing his love-rat status to "six Wilt Chamberlain's"  and even sharing an intimate moment with Bruce Lee.

Ever wondered how to behave in a prison riot? Feces throwing or masturbation? Ever needed any advice on how to handle yourself in a bar-fight? Well let Burgundy's Jack Johnson and Tom O'Leary take you for a round, punch by punch. In epic battles that will leave more than just tridents on the floor. This is a man who camped with Bobby Kennedy and maybe did a little more with Walter Cronkite. This is a man who tells us that Joni Mitchell makes him want to kill himself...and as for the Bible...well which book do you think this bar-humble man thinks is better? The book featuring inspiring passages and life lessons to live by...or that one you find in every hotel room? Burgundy's scribe is full of it...literally. Basketball diaries of star wars to wrestling with Jackalopes. From neighborhood disputes to Watergate-like revealing moments in world history that will finally be seen for what they are, through the eyes of the premiere man of telling the news with salon quality hair. A man who has broke such stories as; squirrels on water-skis and pandas giving birth. Speaking of salon quality hair, Ron also dishes the dirt on Hollywood legend Warren Beatty and reveals that he might not just be the one-woman man we thought he was. Yes! Really! I didn't mean to spoil it but that Warren! It doesn't get much crazier than this. With all these revelations and secrets shared no wonder some of this book is blanked out...they'll get it right by the final draft...oh...wait. Proving he has the balls to write this book, his way, the Sinatra of news-casting let's it all hang out in the wind, with one scotch for his Baxter and one for the road.

Sip, by sip this book goes down smooth in one read, from the history of Mexico to healthy eating advice for your kids ("if you don't eat your vegetables, the Burgundy boys will kick your ass"). With hands on advice from the man who dealt with live bears (here's a tip, no disco lights or Donna Summer), you won't immediately regret the decision to buy this book. Its the perfect read and companion if you find yourself ship-wrecked back at your home on whore island. It all comes together perfectly from the man who "invented the Wonderbra and the Supersoaker in the same day". The only thing that's missing is perhaps a whammy preface from Champ Kind, or on the scene foreword by the ever forward Brian Fantana. Or perhaps an afterword from Brick, "I love book" anybody?! Still, this is Ron's book and he wont let anyone else take away his moment. They say when there's a will there's a Ron, but even that Ferrell creature is merely a semi-pro or step brother to the man who can sell Lego, Ben & Jerry's and Dodge Durango's all in one go while offending ballroom dancers and all horses great and small (read more here and learn how to actually break a steed with some carefully whispered ("YOU'RE AN IDIOT"!) words). Hey, everybody! Come and see how good this book looks. From his news-team being assembled and honored in a Washington D.C Newseum to the pages going for the Pulitzer, Ron Burgundy's legend is about to make history again. You're going to want to be on this book. From conversations with himself to a portrait of his life with picture perfect proof this man is hitting all the high-jazz notes. Through it all, chapter and verse, the legend that is Ron Burgundy reads, writes and keeps it classy. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Monday, 18 November 2013

REVIEW-THE BUTLER

3.5/5

Gold Service.

132 Minutes. Starring: Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, David Olyelowo, Elijah Kelly, Terrence Howard, Cuba Gooding Jnr, Lenny Kravitz, Robin Williams, James Marsden, Liev Schreiber, John Cusack, Alan Rickman, Jane Fonda, Nelsan Ellis, Vanessa Redgrave, David Banner, Mariah Carey & Clarence Williams III. Director: Lee Daniels.

From Abraham Lincoln to Barack Obama and all the Kennedy's and Clinton's in-between there's not many that have served in the White House for over two terms, Let alone more than a decade or half century. Except, that is Forest Whitaker's inspiration of Eugene Allen, a historical figure like no other. A waiter and butler who served everywhere from the West Wing to the Oval Office for 34 years, before retiring as head butler with a resume of broken down boundaries and stereotypes and everyone from Ronald Reagan to Richard Nixon as a reference. In this influential interpretation from 'Precious', 'Paperboy' director Lee Daniels of 'Monsters Ball' debut fame an all-star, all-talent, role playing, 'Bobby' like, eclectic, ensemble cast from the mans Rolodex of everything from Academy Award winners to musicians and talk-show hosts is served up. This story of history making movement through the decades and ages a' changin' is one of 'Forrest Gump' epic storytelling proportions, but one as real and raw as life's uplifting and heartbreaking beautiful struggle really gets. The plight and the might of those men, woman and children who suffered so much hateful racism from an ignorant world decades back is mirrored and reflected by the man who went from the lowest of the low to the tip of the top, serving not only his country but the men his country forgot. When it comes to inspiration it doesn't come much more influential than this introspective look of integrity to the dot of the I.

Forest Whitaker couldn't play this part any better with a perfect portrayal of a hero unsung until now. The man who played the worst of the worst for his Oscar winning 'Last King Of Scotland' plays the best man he could for maybe his second award tour. Behind his service smile, there is a weary look of a mans life that served some of the highest people in all of the lowest and wrong ways just to do right for his family. Still, putting pride into his work and honor into his duty, the man that helped change the time and tide of not only his inner-work but the outer work from a presidential position is given amazing assistance by the leading man this industry and Academy has missed. In the forest of Whitaker's great career the roots of this tree will stand out for generations more as it has for ones before. Behind every great man like this, is a strong woman and we have one here in full support and leading light with billionaire, television queen Oprah Winfrey. If you thought this woman was all talk show host than you must be Ellen confused. Did you forget about her Academy nominated debut in 'The Color Purple'? Well you can be reminded about what that was like next February, because when it comes to acting the hardest working philanthropist with a show on the side is back. The mighty 'O' shows strength of character and will of resolve as she goes through the personal turmoil that goes through her husbands long tenure and the personal and public events that surround all these years of lasting marriage through turbulent times. Oprah may carry this film, but in this production everyone gets awards.

There's academy certified thespian Terrence Howard who returns to consideration with this and the emotion of the arresting 'Prisoners'. A little too sinister in the tooth for his own good in this one, Howard really shows all the ends of his range. As does David Oyelowo of 'Planet Of The Apes', 'Jack Reacher' and 'Lincoln' and forthcoming 'Jurrasic World' and everything else fame (he's collaborated with actor ('The Last King Of Scotland') and director ('The Paperboy') before too) alongside his enigmatic Elijah Kelly brother. How they make this man pushing 40 look like a teenager is anyone's make-up guess, but it comes from the same team that makes Liev Schreiber look unrecognizable as Lyndon B. Johnson with an unmistakable performance. The same team that gives as good a Nixon nose as John Cusack does a made-up performance. In fact all the presidents men are perfect here from Robin Williams musings as Eisenhower to Brit Alan Rickman playing THE American president Ronald Reagan with punctuated perfection. It's his wife Jane Fonda's Nancy or the Cyclops to Kennedy vision of a surprisingly perfect JFK in James Marsden that truly elects more in this house of acting cards however. The two top draws that polish the silverware better than this are Whitaker's fellow workers. Cuba Gooding Jr returns to the limelight looking and feeling like he never left, while 'Precious' rock star and 'Hunger Games' major player Lenny Kravitz continues to catch fire in anything he does with the odds in his favour. He's not the only musician hitting high notes here as Daniels brings Mariah Carey back for a cameo as well as down south rapper David Banner for the truest portrayal of a man growing up in a unforgivable, evil hardship. Along with the veteran presence of greats Vanessa Redgrave and Clarence Williams the third, to the new, rising stars of Kelly and 'Soloist' Nelsan Ellis as Martin Luther King Jnr, this portrayal is the perfect mix of storied stars and grassroots talent.

From the cotton fields to the White House this is a story told as movingly as it is harrowing. From inspirational moments of real change from tomorrow to today, to sickening moments in history that will still rock you to the core this is necessary trip through history with no despair spared and all hope kept going. With practically every actor going, every major event over the last century from the assassination of JFK and MLK to the forming of the Ku Klux Klan and Black Panthers is explored in all it's political and social implications and cause and effects. Even the later 80's and 90's are identified by amazing ageing make-up and the use of his and her, all in one shell suits. As real and as raw an account of modern life over the last 50 or so years as it gets, this may not have all the facts of it's portrayed mans life correct, but it still presents some lasting truths which everyone can learn from for a better way. The change we see today is all born from a black man who made it to the White House with all his inspired influence before the man who holds its chair today. Rightfully so before he passed, Eugene Allen got to meet President Barack Obama in all the realized Martin Luther King dreams he became. If only he got to meet the man who has done him the first-hand justice he deserves in the movie-world that reaches more people than unfortunately the history book one does. In a respectful and right performance guided by the next great director of modern, movie-making times, Forest Whitaker helps tell the story of a man that more in this digital age need to read up on, because if it wasn't for the likes of Eugene Allen, many of us wouldn't be able to see this today. No matter what race you are, Allen helped us all, not because of the color of his skin but the content of his character. When it comes to that type of work, there is no greater service to man. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

REVIEW-GRAVITY

3.5/5

Space 2013.

90 Minutes. Starring: Sandra Bullock & George Clooney. Director: Alfonso Cuaron.

Houston...we have a problem. It's been two years since NASA's last space shuttle mission and when it comes to space travel in a science-fiction dominated 2013, everyone is looking to the futuristic fables like 'Oblivion' or 'Elysium' and the rebooted, rebranding of all the 'Star' 'Wars' and 'Trek's in J.J. Abrams' lens flare eye of vision. Even classic 'Apollo 13' director Ron Howard is staying grounded in the tarmac of Formula One for this years 'Rush' of petroleum powered production. I guess, good old fashioned space-travel entertainment has been drifting around with that golf ball they fore-casted off the moon all those landings ago. Then again there's one man who likes this mission and his name is Alfonso Cuaron. The one-time 'Harry Potter' director with 'Great Expectations' even had a lobbying desire to actually film this out of this world and in space. Yeah, and try and explain losing one of Hollywood's best to the never ending black-hole that is the night sky above earth. It doesn't get much bigger than Sandra Bullock and George Clooney either. Even Kirk couldn't boldly go to retrieve these guys from a never ending washing machine spin cyclone through the cycles of space.

This threat is the makings of this thriller and drama which shows that all it needs is a couple of actors and a perilous premise to really reach new movie-making depths without hitting the shallow subjects of say an 'Open Water'. Like Ryan Reynolds 'Buried' alive the crafting of this concept is classic. In the seas of space, which the U.S.S. Enterprise voyaged like moral bound pirates, anything can happen swimming against the darkest depths and what results is a strong story to go with some of the most classic cinematography you'll see ever. You may just finally have use for those Roy Orbison 3D glasses and extra pounds or bucks for those IMAX seats, because these spectacular effects are truly special. In three dimensions you'll be truly immersed in the final frontier that you'll feel awe inspired surrounded by the world around you, but all that space might make you sick with every twist and turn of this thrilling plot and set pieces with a puking punch. If you thought from the open seas of a liner to the confines of a hijacked lifeboat was the most tense and claustrophobic thing you'll see and feel all year, then I'm sorry Tom Hanks' 'Captain Phillips' but you haven't sat in a satellite pod, with only counting down percentiles of limited oxygen as your company. These guys have though and against the tides of a career resurrecting performance and year from Tom Hanks only the likes of Clooney and Bullock could possibly keep up the Oscar race with this fellow 90's defining great.

When your confined to an astronaut suit that gives you the range of motion of the marshmallow man off 'Ghostbusters', what you say better mean something and this perfect partnership have the behind the visor look to go with the simple but subtly strong script. The master of  the warm, press-conference smile George Clooney steps up his facial expressions for a wise worded, guided performance of a veteran spaceman on his last mission. Funny, forthright and typically Clooney the man who took television drama's to the 'E.R' heights of filmography is up further in the air again and truly belongs in the modern movie world with another great performance to add to his list that is as versatile and deep as it is underrated and somewhat overlooked. Suffering from the same good looking fate as fellow 'Ocean' Brad Pitt, one of not only Hollywood's but the worlds brightest stars has some of his time in the sun blinded by how big his name is. Orbit around his career and this and you'll see just how great his justified talented range and character is in this supporting performance. This is Sandra's show though and manning her biggest career vehicle since 'Speed', the woman who returned to the Academy of great film-making with 'The Blind Side' is having quite the Tom Hanks year herself. Following a couple of years off here and there and 'Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close', Bullock proved she has the comedy chops for 'Bridesmaid' Melissa McCarthy for 'The Heat' and her hot streak reaches the sun here. With depth and will it's as hard to believe here character is a space rookie, just as it's impossible to fathom this actress is almost 50. Give her another half century for an 100% performance however.

The perfect atmosphere makes for a pressurized cooker of action and drama in a film that will set off a new chain reaction in the ever evolving but from essence made science-fiction genre. With two of the best performances from two of the best leading men and women in acting, Cuaron has the perfect direction for an edge of the world, edge of your seats picture that stands out in 3D to really draw you in to its atmosphere. Adding a familiar voice for communicating back home with Houston, this film is the perfect homage as well to the great expeditions that's proceeded it. When it comes to space movies this ones in a world of it's own. After 2013 Tom Hanks and Ron Howard may not need their next 'Apollo 13' right now-while Kevin Bacon has his own commercial start in everyone's movie-but they have a lot to contend with next February when it comes to Bullock and Clooney's tethered together rocket launch. From the still calm of a peaceful space, to their silent, powerful threats that lie within it, this is as beautiful and brutal as it gets. Simple but superb there's more to be explored in this space than anyone thought or imagined. This wilderness ship-wreck is more than just a lot of stars. It's the physical and psychological battle of momentary ingenuity over permanent isolation and strength of will over the peril of destruction. When it comes to all this spirit in the silence of the vacuum of space, 'Gravity' really pull you in from your center to its core. This is earth-breaking. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT Feature FLASH GORDON

Not Your Average Joe.

By TIM DAVID HARVEY

Hey Joe! What you doing with that red button in your hand? It's time to hit record people on the classic, legendary legacy making career of a man who surely is no longer just the familiar face that makes people say "hey isn't that the kid from '3rd Rock From The Sun'?! As great as the 90's and his out of this world situation comedy was, he's all grown up now to the tune of 32 baby-faced years and the long hair has been cut to his production partner brother Dan. Now a clip above the rest the world is Joseph's dream in technicolor. This fall see's the release of the first film he's both wrote and directed, where he plays 'Don Jon', a sex addict who really cares about only a few things in life. His body, his pad, his ride, his family, his church, his boys, his porn and his girl...Scarlett Johannson. Wow! Some guys have all the luck. Who knew Robin would be so cool and have more under his night owl working night-wing than we all thought?

Sure a directorial debut featuring a comedy-drama wrote about an Italian-American who hates movies (particularly rom-coms) but loves porn is a bold one, but it's also a beautifully done one to the good vibrations of a decades back feeling American suburban family life. Complete with the bold Robin Thicke like lettering introduction of the coolest, classiest, confident trailer in a day and internet age of commercial cinema coups of braggadocios popcorn statements that blurs the lines of other efforts and the memories of what film you're about to watch. Yep that's right the Robin that's crossed over superhero franchises like Ben Affleck, the next Wonder Woman and possibly himself again and picked up a Black Widow is really spinning a great web and internet network. Recruiting the lamented likes of Julianne Moore, Rob Brown, Glenne Headly, Brie Lason and Tony Danza it's clear this top Don Joe knows movies and with his own production company behind his script, directors chair and leading man light it's clear he knows how to make them too. Gordon-Levitt is the don when it comes to the next great, pretty boy turned good Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Jake Gyllenhaal actors out there, but there is much more than meets the eyes of the twenty-something 'housewives to be' favorite pin-up. Check past the cover of any 'Vanity Fair' or 'GQ' magazine and you'll see more to this feature presentation than the face that sells newsprint and ticket stubs.

Just like the singing side of his Scarlett co-star (check out her Tom Waits covers or her 'Break Up' album with modern music maestro Pete Yorn (especially 'I Am The Cosmos')  for how her voice is more than just the appeal of her 'Lost In Translation' karaoke effort), Levitt has more space in his studio than just room for piling scripts. Are you recording? Why not hit the phrase 'hitRECord' into your browser or more importantly Twitter feed (that you'll constantly want to update with opportunity) and you'll see just what this man is doing not just for himself and his company but everyone in the world whose wanted more than just their 15 minutes of fame on the biggest stage....including you. Yes, you! Taking it further than just the big bucks of Pitt's team outbidding Leo's company for the huge 'World War Z', Joe and brother partnered 'hitRECord' team is offering life and a survival guide to young artists in a digital diluted age of epic expression. With so much material out there in the blog and youtube, Facebook sharing generation and so many big companies taking young, quote on quote, inner-circle to international interns massive work-load for free with little promise or even help (hey, I'm speaking from experience), here is one man who is taking all of this to task. Giving you his word unlike those faceless corporations hiding behind false hope-mongering half-truths. It's refreshing that one of Hollywood's biggest and most in demand stars is doing something he doesn't need to do, for the good of those break searching underground talents who would que up for hours just for the hope to not be turned away for a 'Star Wars' audition and of course the art itself. Just check his personal pitch video introduction to his companies website that is as inspirational as it is charismatic and has as much substance as it does style. It's about to get even bigger.

Right now hitRECord offers writers, illustrators, singers and songwriters and so many more artists the chance to work on all sort of genre creations in video, music, literature, photography, performance, spoken word, screenwriting and graphic art in what is simply THE place to see and be when it comes to artistic integrity and expression in it's purest and most powerful form. What's more if your art makes money, so do you...writers and experience searching artists will know just how refreshingly satisfying that sounds in an industry of wounded and more curbed enthusiasms than Larry David. From it's 'Morgan and Destiny' movies to it's 'Tiny Stories' children's books and it's 'Move On The Sun' C.D. album across the board collaborations to so much more hitRECord is about to tape over the whole industry. Now with a  brand new cable variety television show presented by Joe himself about to debut everyone's work to every television in every home stay tuned for a televised revolution of everyman redemption. This is so much more than just another round of reality victim T.V. offering a commercial break interrupted 15 minute shot. This is the real deal from a man that recovered from some child-star forgotten years to a mature mainstream age that can't even pretend to ignore his new 'adult' movie. This man is everything entertainment like singer/comedian/actor Jamie Foxx. Behind that honed fake Italian accent is a man who is anything but fugazi, a man that pays attention to every detail in  not only his own work, but the art of others. Like the hidden talents around the globe his underrated talent is bubbling to the surface even more through the Hollywood flipped script of critical doubt and commercial success. His incredible acting will one day garner him the greatest awards, but his inspired internet artist, call to boundary, groundbreaking arms, that...that will be his lasting legacy.

This is a man who even though it seems like he's been around forever has plenty of years and decades left to craft not only his own career, but the success stories of millions of other on just his inspiration itself, yet alone his production company's anti-corporate promise. Still, working like there's no James Franco tomorrow the man is giving us the Jimmy Dean approach with a new flipped script twist, work fast, become legendary young. This is the boy wonder who last year gave life to the end of 'The Dark Knight Rises' (just look at how he acts with his life on the line) and possibly a spin-off to a franchise that had to finish as strong as possible after the groundbreaking but heartbreaking performance of the late, great Heath Ledger as the redefined Joker villain. With his beat cop John Blake assisting Christian Bale's legendary dark Batman, you had to wait until the end-after he throws his badge away brilliantly-and hear this kids real name to see just how close to the caped crusader this perfect partner was. In an 'Inception' cast-loaded film that featured everyone in Christopher Nolan's mind-bending epic but the one-time Riddler rumored Leonardo DiCaprio, Joe stole the show and kept it going alongside Tom Hardy's brutal Bane. Just like he did in his smartly dressed, slicked back, inspired fashion and acting statement in the previous futuristic thriller that really was the true inception of his mainstream rebirth with it's gravity defying, grandiose defining, hand-to-hand action combat sequences. Now just like Hardy he is the present and future of every other major film. From 'Lawless' to 'Looper', last year Tom and Joey played cat and mouse games with everybody. In 'Looper' Gordon-Levitt really cut the cheese as prosthetics and his accented chameleonic portrayal made him able to play a young Bruce Willis in his own character and mans right. Another classic time-travel movie took it to a whole other science-fiction level and gave Levitt more swagger and cool-points than that brown leather and blunderbuss. Right now no one can close this boys loop.

He's been shooting straight his whole career. From his Jewish, Sherman Oaks beginnings to making it in America's Hollywood homeland. In L.A. his acting gigs began earlier than the '3rd Rock', with his own scarecrow take of 'The Wizard Of Oz' and some commercial success for Cocoa Puffs and Pop Tarts among others. After eating all that breakfast it was time to make a meal out of some television work from 'Dark Shadows' to the illumination John Lithgow led sitcom that would never alienate him front the big-time despite him finding the celebrity life uncomfortable. Yesteryear's 'Big Bang Theory' meets 'How I Met Your Mother' displayed comic timing and a face of the future that even Harry could see. Like the Hendersons this was a family comedy for the new ages. A year before the new millennium Joseph hit the movie circuit with a new teenage classic for the young crowd alongside fellow sci-fi, T.V. comedy darling Larisa Oleynik (of 'The Secret World Of Alex Mack' fame...remember?), Julia Stiles and the beginning of Heath Ledger's beautiful but brutally brief career in '10 Things I Hate About You'. A far cry from his 'Halloween', 'Beethoven', or even 'A River Runs Through It' beginnings, this cult, locker pin-up classic flipped the play-write playbook on Shakespeare's 'The Taming Of The Shrew'. After a college break and then a dropout return, Gordon-Levitt looked to get deeper and darker and bolder and better as he took on real roles like the mental institution of 'Manic' or the 'Mysterious Skin' of a gay prostitute who had a darker past than his bleak present.

These haunting and harrowing performances of real complexity, along with the film-noir of 'Brick' or the sexually repressed Mormon themes of 'Latter Days' are resume reasons why this man is black and white perfect for the the eagerly anticipated and long awaited 'Sin City-A Dame To Kill For' sequel. This comic book star is more than just art house or fan girl approved, he's everybody's favorite "new" actor with an old testimony of terrific scripts, where he's turned word to gospel like the kid everyone looks up to in school. He takes everyone to class with his charm, but it's the soul of his performances that could even turn the controversial to instrumental from the heart to the gut. 'The Lookout' bank heist played into more critical and fans hands as did his performance in another cult go-round in 'Killshot'. It's in recent years that he's really come into his own however like most men leaving their twenties for their more secure and settled 30's (see; Gosling, Ryan, Reynolds, same name). Now with a body of work behind him he's a young legend with an old career of catalog hits, sort of like the movie equivalent of singer/songwriter Ryan Adams with subtle indie smashes that strike to the heart of those really listening and paying attention. There's so many films in his career like this, but the golden kid really hit platinum with a modern day rom-com drama for this generation which struck the biggest hearts since '10 Things'. As iconic as the t-shirt wearing poster on every girls dorm room door, Joseph Gordon-Levitt set classic chemistry with new Hollywood 'it' girl Zooey Deschanel in '(500) Days Of Summer'.

You can put that up there with the best of the rest even if you want to leave 'G.I Joe' on the shelf like toy soldier of the time Channing Tatum now has. There has to be some '50/50' in an experimental career that has seen some powerful performing arts of promise like his cancer-stricken character alongside comedic Seth Rogen. Over the last year Robin has gone to war with General Zod in the epic bike-ride across New York in 'Premium Rush' alongside Michael Shannon and played the Presidents son in Speilberg's epic take on 'Lincoln' for an underused but unquestionable contribution. The rest of this year and what follows could look even better for a man who has more comic books to read than just Batman and 'Sin City'. Right now, alongside fellow T.V. funny man turned peoples favorite actor Paul Rudd, Joe Levitt is in the running for the role of Marvel's legendary Ant-Man role. Who knows who will blow-up and who will shrink when it comes to this role because either or would bring their own dynamic and distinct take on the original Avenger leaf carrier. In this ever expanding Marvel universe there's surely room for a man that even convinced Nolan that his dark knight didn't have to be a one man show. Still, whether his multi-facial and faceted career will don another mask is yet to be decided. Right now it's on Jon and everyone else as hitRECord and it's lead man 'Don Jon' are about to win over everyone's hearts and creative minds. If you could script it better than this Joe would probably read it and if you're still not convinced by the man with a great hit career for the record maybe it's time to press play. This dons the one and his names Joe.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

REVIEW: THOR-THE DARK WORLD

'Thor'/5

Game Of Realms.

112 Minutes. Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Stellan Skarsgård, Idris Elba, Christopher Eccleston, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Kat Dennings, Ray Stevenson, Zachary Levi, Tadanobu Asano, Jaimie Alexander, Rene Russo & Chris O'Dowd. Director: Alan Taylor.

Are thou in a gaming mood? After the classic comic-book, all-time assembling of 'The Avengers' (depending on which country you're in) last year, Marvel's Phase 2 is looking more exciting than the classic/origins mix of 'X-Men-Days Of Future Past'. We've recently had a primetime T.V. show ('Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D') and the epic third part of the Robert Downey Jnr comic 'Iron Man' trilogy to truly enjoy with Marvel's lighter approach to their dark Batman led D.C. battle. What could be more fun, full stop than that before we expose the dark depths of Captain America's 'Winter Soldier' or the green envy of the ever-changing Hulk? Well it's time to dust off your mothers drapes, because the mighty god of thunder, come 'Thormula One' driver Chris Hemsworth is back in a 'Rush' of fall films as Thor in the super sequel 'The Dark World'. Kenneth Branagh's bold first 'Thor' movie took everyone by surprise with a Marvel legend older in history than even Cap and became many peoples favorite character and film (especially the fan girls) even with RDJ's charm and Chris Evans muscles. Oh and yes this case of Shakespeare in the park is bringing THAT brother along for the realm ride too. With these two battling back-to-behind the back, Marvel are just still so unstoppable.

Now Branagh may be joining Hemsworth's on-screen 'Star Trek' son Captain Kirk in Chris Pine's new 'Jack Ryan' thriller (rest peacefully Tom Clancy), but Thor is back and all magically medieval across the Nine Realms with Alan Taylor, the director of THE T.V. series ('Game Of Thrones') that's even putting movies to shame like a 'Band Of Brothers' after 'Saving Private Ryan'. Still even with the darker and more traditionally beautiful, ravishing realm direction of mainstream throne taker Taylor it's the dire straights of these brothers in arms that makes for this film, franchise and series' dynamic direction. No matter how great they get in the next legion of pretty boy Pitt, DiCaprio actors turned good, Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston where born to play Thor and Loki. It's what hammered down the first films story arc in a Marvel franchise known for it's epic lesson learned story-telling that matches it's comic effects and laughs. The sibling rivalry was what set the tone and tide of worldwide change in New York for 'The Avengers' movie where Loki stole the show behind a pane of glass, leaving everyone else in the outside looking in. Imprisoned behind those same Khan inspired see-through 'Silence Of The Lambs' jails that Avengers director Joss Whedon actually used with cult comic vampire Spike in his coming of age 'Buffy' series, Loki's tricks, schemes and game of emotions are set free once again. Now not having the two brothers meet into an hour into the film is a De Niro/Pacino 'Heat' masterstroke by Taylor, but when they do meet it's a storm.

A forecast of brotherly banter and argument angst make this the perfect partnership that strikes the fine good guy and bad guy line between sidekicks and villains. If you thought it got cloudy with a chance of meat and balls when Thor touched down on earth and flew Loki out of a S.H.I.E.L.D. jet to a forest of force, then wait until you battle walk through this one. With Thor reluctantly enlisting the help of his imprisoned, wayward brother Loki who will know if this difficult domestic partnership will assemble for the good or the dark side in this dark world. All we know is that in a franchise that can twist and twist and turn the legendary Mandarin into Trevor Slattery and possible back in for the better or worse of the fans. Besides didn't Loki stab Agent Caulson through the heart with his sceptre anyway? All you need to know is that this is probably the most entertaining, fun film of the year that has seen an incredible coral of comic-book and sci-fi movies from the 'Man Of Steel' to 'Star Trek's own dark sequel. It's been quite a year of blockbusters and Thor ends it all with a thunderstruck bolt that could even make 'Iron Man' and AC/DC look as tame as...well that Euro-Dance 'Blue' song. Rocking with a hammer and his 'Point Break' hair out, Chris Hemsworth's fall swing could make him THE leading man of 2013. With his 'Rush' of charismatic fuel to Ron Howard's Formula One drama and proving himself worthy of this kingdom and realms, Hemsworth is the right, one, true king.

Hollywood now must go Down Under, via Great Britain as the classically trained Tom Hiddleston is showing everyone from Benedict Cumberbatch to the Joker that he holds the card as top villain and classically trained actor. Even stepping up the conflicted, troubled sides of the lost boy who wants to be king from the first movie and raising the stakes he opened up to a whole new world in 'The Avengers', Hiddleston is out of this realm and ready to leave even more quims and fan-girls mewling. As great as Academy certified Natalie Portman is as our bearded warriors love interest, it's the bromance between Thor and his Shakespearean brother that steals all the bases and knocks it out the park. If you thought the relationship between these two brothers and actors couldn't get better for the worse, then just wait until this franchise goes film for film, like comic-book, for comic-book. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you won't believe how much you want more. These two actors where relatively unknowns just years ago but now they headline a stellar cast that really is a mix of future A-listers and Oscar legends. Portman makes a welcome return after a makeup break that saw her shipped away by S.H.I.E.L.D. in 'The Avengers' movie for safety and possibly salary reasons. With her crack team of one broke girl striking rich in Kat Dennings and the ever versatile and hard-working Stellan Skarsgård, these scientists show more big bang to their theories. While a 'Doctor Who' steps out of the Tardis and becomes the perfect villain that 'The Hobbit' would be proud of as Christopher Eccleston becomes a dark elf with the help of Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje who has found and unwrapped quite the career after 'The Mummy' and 'Lost'.

Speaking of 'Who', the man who was rumored to be both that and Bond gate keeps the kingdom of Asgard as dryly as he can with another subtly hilarious turn. Idris Elba might not be shouting and delivering rousing, inspirational 'Independence Day' speeches like he did in 'Pacific Rim', but with fewer words he makes his mark and presence known on guard and in control of Anthony Hopkins' world. The 'Hannibal' legend himself wakes up from his Odin, beer soaked sleep for another great performance with his shouting speeches and between the teeth pronunciations of power. With his loyal wife by his side Rene Russo shows she can still kick ass and look great as Queen. Thor's band of merry men return too from Jackie Chan to Xena Warrior Princess. Ray Stevenson (who made 'The Other Guys' that much funnier) with his beard, Tadanobu Asano (with his own, new beard) and 'Chuck' himself Zachary Levi (who replaces the Chris O'Dowd (who actually makes a funny cameo here) looking Josh Dallas (Levi was originally meant for the role but was 'Tangled' up with Disney) who has his own Prince duties to deal with in 'Once Upon A Time') joins the rising talent of Jaimie Alexander, who earns more screen time as much as she should affection from Thor. After all he has her sword and counsel to rely on. This all makes for an incredible cast that even features the greatest Marvel cameo ever and we aren't talking about the classic Stan Lee one, which is as hilarious as ever. You know this is something to Marvel at. You better stay behind after the credits for more shawarma surprises in a movie that is a thunderous Thor-de-force from start to finish. From it's beautiful beginnings of visionary cinematography to the brotherly love/hate that really bonds this story and film together you can trust that this sequel will be just as great and grand if not bolder and better than the outstanding original.

From hilarious tube-stops to one-liners on the other end of the ringtone the light relief is as hilarious as the action and special effects that are blockbuster amazing. With so much fun and excitement you'll throw your drink down and proclaim "ANOOTHEEER" in homage once again. Alan's tailor made direction takes the crown as king, and with Chris Hemsworth heading the throne looking like Sean Bean this is one game of realms that's bawdier and bolder than the rest. These Norse Gods mead more than vikings and with their wooden s.h.i.e.l.d.s show that the future of 'The Avengers' lies somewhat and somewhere in the tradition of the past and a whole new world for Disney. 'The Age of Ulton' may be upon us, but first we want another from the brothers that made the first film that thunderbolt of lightening, very, very exciting. You'll be crying Gallileo for these kings and queens wanting to add another film to you're epic Marvel DVD collection that one day could out shelve the epic comic-book one. In a time where cult fans treat these stories from cell to screen like sacred text, this sequel does it by the comic-book with a God of Thunder legend that strikes twice, the right way into the heart of the story. With more spin-offs at the ready from and for Vin Diesel to Bradley Cooper, these 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' are about to be let into the Marvel universe, but right now the jewel of the realm belongs along the Bifrost in Asgard. It's Thor's world now and in an 'Avengers' alliance series whose characters make each other step it up in the ultimate friendly rivalry has the metal man or the ultimate shield got what it takes to assemble more or will they just be Hulk sick green? From a fall season 'Catching Fire' with 'Lords Of The Rings', the god of thunder was reduced the competition to rocks and rubble. It's all his now. Number one with a hammer down. Anyone else? TIM DAVID HARVEY.