Tuesday, 19 February 2013



The St. Valentines Day Massacre.

Starring: Bruce Willis & Jai Courtney. Director: John Moore.

Yippee, ki-yay, John McLane is back yet again for the anti-Valentines day movie of February 14th. There's no love lost here inbetween the blood and bullets and even though Bruce Willis may not be able to don the string vest anymore, he still muscles up and shows he's still got the action smarts for a big, holiday blockbuster. Right in the midst of latest releases from the ageing action stars Arnie ('The Last Stand') and Sly Stallone ('Bullet To The Head'), Willis shows he's still not expendable when it comes to being THE tough guy.

The Die Hard series is classic and Valentines day is the perfectly good release date for 'A Good Day To Die Hard'. Following the updated and still fresh surprise of the fourth installment 'Live Free Or Die Hard' (which really was one of the most entertaining and best) 'A Good Day' takes Bruce's Hollywood act to Russia, which recently staged the fake explosion of the Kremlin for yet another surprise franchise return to form in Tom Cruise's 'Mission Impossible-Ghost Protocol'. Following the fourth hit is no easy task and even though this film is more '3.0' then '4.0' it still passes the test like a good grade point average.

Still a good day to try hard could have made this film that much better. Although it is still exciting and entertaining...besides your never going to hate Bruce Willis or John McClane. The man who recently played the same man with Joesph Gordon-Levitt in the Sci-Fi action smash 'Looper' trades daughter for son as the family feuds of New York's finest cop continues overseas. After dueling with Cruise in yet another surprise hit ('Jack Reacher') Jai Courtney proves to be the perfect, Joe-Levitt style lookalike to play McClane's son and through their similarities and differences the father and son dynamic is nailed. At a boy!

Timothy Olaphant had a hard act to follow with all the classic, crazy 'Die Hard' bad-guy but he more than claimed his insane place in the series. Here our villain has an even tougher actor to follow, but between eating carrots and dancing around he seems to have it down, even if he is a bit vegetarian in comparison to those who have had beef with McClane. With aerial action and car chases with class there's a lot more than just good gun fights and funny punchlines in this film that pulls a lot of fist fights. Still with a sixth film on the cards it's time for McLane to get even tougher and prove Willis really is a 'Die Hard' when it comes to the life of this franchise. Let's see a real good day. TIM DAVID HARVEY.



The 'D' Is Loud.

As singer/songwriter/comedian and actor Jamie Foxx rides through the Wild West with the wonderful Christophe Waltz to save his leading lady Kerry Washington from the classic craziness of Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel L. Jackson, Quentin Tarantino really has crafted another classic with his genre whipping 'Django Unchained'. The only thing left to make this all complete is a soundtrack...and boy do we have one here that's truly off the chain.

With incredible interludes of Q.T.'S famous and favorite dialogue (even with some deleted scenes that didn't make the movies final cut, but avoid this albums cutting room floor) and some Spaghetti Western tasty genre joints this really is one of the top scoring, 'Music From The Motion Picture' releases in recent times. You'd have to go back to last years 'Lawless' to find an audio sign of the times more apt or fitting. This is Tarantino's best score since 'Pulp Fiction' and just like the film this OST follows Quentin's greatest with it's own claim for first place.

OK, the talented leading man/singer Jamie Foxx doesn't sing...that may have been a little too 'Wild, Wild West' (coincidentally Will Smith was originaly up for the leading role, before Foxx got it), but he does have his own theme and 'Django' really is one of the best. Harking back to the good, ole days of Western films like Tarantino's traditional opening credits. He even has his own epic, Clint Eastwood style stand down, draw moment in this movie which is punctuated perfectly by 'La Corsa (2nd Version)' by Luis Bacalov. A song that just like in the movie follows modern day soul legend Anthony Hamilton and Elayna Boynton's beautiful cry for 'Freedom'. It doesn't get much more epic than this with the two greatest pieces of music for one of the films greatest and moving moments.

Ennion Morricone's 'The Braying Mule' really rides us through the Wild West and straight to the saloon of past times. Whilst 'Lo Chiamavano King (His Name Is King)' by Bacalov is just movie music at it's moment making best. Jim Croce gives us a nice settled, montage break with 'I've Got A Name', writing beautifully and sounding like a young Elton John. That is before hip-hop comes into play for this modern day reworking of a classic...its only right. Rick Ross (with some co-writes from our movies co-star Foxx) gets deep and dark on the criminally good '100 Black Coffins'. Still it's the 'Unchained' melody and incredible, inspired blend of late legends Tupac Shakur and James Brown that gives this film it's perfect wild shootout music.

'I Giorni Dell'lra (Days Of Anger'), 'Nicaragua', 'Sister Sarah's Theme' and 'Ancora Qui' provide beautifully diverse, and wonderfully sitting background music to score the tempo of this film. Still soul star John Legend's 'Who Did That To You' really steps things up a notch in the movie and on the score. Mr. Stephens furthers his 'legend' with his best individual song in years vowing revenge on the fool that hurt Django's woman. "You better call the police/Call the coroner/Call up your priest/Have him warn ya" Legend warns as Foxx emerges from the smoke of dynamite for an explosive moment, made emphatic by this heated and hot track.

This really is the perfect music for Foxx's 'Django's' rise and redemption. Brother Dege gets real Western and upbeat with the poignant and yet proud 'Too Old To Die Young', while 'Un Monumento' and 'Titoli (Trinity)' are the perfect closers. As an added bonus what Tarantino, hip-hop inspired soundtrack would be the same without a RZA track? As the Wu-Tang, rapping and producing turned acting and directing (Q.T. recently debuted and co-singed the RZA's first martial arts flick)  legend closes the credits with a real rundown. Thus ends a classic film and it's perfect soundtrack. One that scores big on more than just being epic and great music. One score that really makes it's motion picture that bends the history that much more believable. Just like this movies modern take on a classic genre, this soundtrack has moments that you can't distinguish from the past and now and thus here lies a classic for today. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Monday, 11 February 2013


Fuzzy Feeling.

Starring: Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer, Rob Corddry, James Franco & John Malkovich. Director: Jonathan Levine.

I REALLY LIKED THIS MOVIE! There I said it. This is THE valentines movie for you love suckers. If you think the zombie genre has been done to undeath, enough to make you want to eat your brains then you'd be right. Still, this is one refreshing take on the theme to put some colour back into the pale, overdone world of the non-living. With a great story, feel and meaning 'Warm Bodies', really is warm and looks set to be the next 'Scott Pilgrim' cult classic.

If you liked 'Zombieland' then wait until you get your teeth into the mind of this one. Arguably as funny, but with way more heart, this is one of those films that you go see because you think it looks better then it may actually be, but you end up coming out of the cinema even more pleaseantly surprised and glad you didn't pass this film up for DVD and T.V. You need to see how good this is now. This is THE surprise hit of the year, that swings further in a world of cinema strike outs. You actually get more than your overpriced moneys worth. This isn't just about getting so wrapped up in the trailers and latest Kevin Bacon advert that you don't remember or care what your actually watching. This is something to enjoy right this moment.

It's about a boy. Nicholas Hoult to be exact, who after 'X-Men' and more really is bringing his first class acting, even if most of it involves stumbling around and mumbling like an akward teenager...albeit perfectly done. Hoult has come of age now and honed his American accent. From a dry and hilarious narration beginning, to the truest example of character development, Hoult gives what could have been just another zombie comedy with a bit of cheese it's heart and soul. Alongside Teresa Palmer he really makes a great pairing as the two couple up perfectly for quite possibly one of the weirdest romantic comedies ever. For the younger generation, it's quite possibly one of the best too.

What could have been an apocalypse turns out to be a revolution...and there's a plot too. It's more than gags and teeth. Still, to give away anything about this clever, fresh plot would be to ruin the very nature of the pleasant difference this film makes. So like most reviews do, we won't. Let's just put it in lamens terms. There a boy, there's a girl, he's a zombie, she's not. Anything else would spoil the good time your about to have in the cinema. You shouldn't even watch the trailer. Just go in blind and after the hook of the first scene, you'll see what I mean.

There's great support from James little brother Dave Franco (who's really playing up to his elder, now wouldn't it be great to see them both in something?), 'Hot Tub Time Machine' favorite with  Rob Corddry added feeling, 'Crazy, Stupid Loves' Analeigh Tipton and the ever weird and wonderful John Malkovich. This being ever weird and wonderful too in all it's strange days of a land of zombies. The soundtrack too is a must have for you indie darlings. From the unrecognisable must-haves to classics from Springsteen, Dylan and Bon Iver. There's no creature fear here. Just a great story with more than meets the vacant eyes. Just give it a chance. Zombies are people too...even if they are people walking around all hunched over, muttering and bumping into people. Hey...you've been on worse dates. Don't sleep. TIM DAVID HARVEY.


Nice Shot.

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Sung Kang, Sarah Shahi, Jason Moma & Christian Slater. Director: Walter Hill.

Who said Sylvester Stallone was expendable? Right now the 90's action star is on a hot streak with his fellow ageing muscle bound action heroes with no signs of sagging. After his popular and welcoming 'Expendables' franchise brought every action star back in the game...with signs of adding more (Cage, Ford, Eastwood and Chan look set for the third one...can I get a Segal), Sly is back with a 'Bullet To The Head'. A top shooting film that should really be watched, back-to-back, grindhouse style with Arnies 'The Last Stand', just like those good ole, movie guy nights.

Of course 'Bullet To The Head's' formula is simple. Hitmen, revenge a little bit of male emotion, mixed with a hell of a lot of tetesterone and even more left over shell-casings. Yet, Stallone knows how to tell a simple story well and is really flexing his filmmaking talents. Well paced, exciting and far-fetched but still a popcorn movie that doesn't throw the stick too far for the dog. It's well done and set, in the classic city of New Orleans perfectly, with a classic soundtrack to jukebox. This is a good time, good ole days affair from a man who refuses to change...or age with the times.

And why should he, punching and mumbling his way through this one, Stallone's still got it and is Sly with his cunning ways. He also knows how to bring in the co-stars too. Stepping out of the toy cars of the high-octane 'Fast & Furious' franchise for a second, Sung Kang shows he really is one of the hottest, young actors of the moment. Cop this, between suiting up sharply and kicking ass in a parking lot, the nice guy turned good plays a detetcive with Hollywood veteran force. He's no rookie here. With great chemistry this is no cliche joke. This is the next buddy cop picture...except one of them is a hitmen. You get the idea. Teaming up for the same goal, this pair scores.

The rest of the cast are great too, even in limited screen time. From the known (Christian Slater) to the less known (Sarah Shahi), everyone makes their name. The villian of this piece is big and bold too, as Jason Moma  steps out the 'Stargate' and shows Stallone a real formidable foe swinging an axe and hammering down his hammed up part perfectly. What is he a viking? Now sure this is not a thinking mans movie. You could probably take a shot to the head and still keep up with this one, but anyone who's quick to criticise Stallone doesn't know his work. It's not Shakespeare. It's pure adrenaline, pumping movie escapism, with a little bit of heart too. Right now, when it comes to films like this...no one does it better than Sly. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Sunday, 3 February 2013



Enjoy the 'Flight'.

Starring Denzel Washington, Don Cheadle & John Goodman. Director: Robert Zemeckis.

This is your captain speaking. Where about to take off with latest Acadmey nominated Denzel Washington movie 'Flight' and should arrive at his 'Best Actor' destination in about 2 hours and 18 minutes. Please ensure all your electronic devices are turned off and stowed (especially those mobiles), your seat is in the upright position and your tray tables are up. Because Denzel flies in this soaring film. Brace yourselves, Robert Zemeckis is back and this terminal 'Cast Away' will leave you grounded.

After colloborating with nineties legend Tom Hanks for some classics ('Cast Away' and the iconic legend of 'Forrest Gump'), Zemeckis teams up with the other nineties legend Denzel Washington who is still on the top of his two-time, Academy winning game. Just like 'Training Day' this Best Actor nominated performance is as real as it gets in all its sinister and sobering moments. Playing a pilot who miraciously crash-lands a plummeting jet, our hero of the hour has one problem...he was drink-flying.

From a frightening but fantastic opening set-piece that ensures this film will never be shown as an in-flight movie you're really drawn into this bleak but brilliant picture. So much so I almost put my head between my legs when instructed to do so by the airline staff. From vertigo to cabin fever all your worst fears are imagined and put on screen for all to see and believe. Once the aerial action is replaced by the legal process however that's when the real life and death drama kicks in with the sex, drugs and rock and roll lifestyle of a 15 minutes of fame, televised hero.

Denzel's incredible performance gives this film its wings. We've seen for years in short bursts while behind other forms of transportation ('Unstoppable' and 'The Taking Of Pelham 123') that out of nowhere Washington can blinside us with a tear inducing shed of emotion. In 'Flight' it's all laid out here as Denzel bears it all. Blood, sweat and tears, the good, the bad and the ugly and some of the best acting of the career of a man who is used to knocking out classic performance after classic performance. "What f****** life" he shouts back after being told by a friend that he's trying to save his life. This says it all really. With the lowest of the low, Denzel gives us the best of his best.

There's more than the leads performance that gives this film it's Oscar weight in gold. Don Cheadle is in our mans corner as a legal counsel with a conflicting mix of conscience and callousness, that really highlights the human confused side of the conflicting themes of this movie. Go to character actor of the moment John Goodman is also on swaggering and hilarious form even on the spare change of his screen-time. The supporting cast also rises from the sublime but strung-out, Kelly Reilly who is more used to being the gentle lady wife of Dr. Watson in the 'Sherlock Holmes' series and Bruce Greenwood who is used to telling people how may lives they saved as Captain Pike in the 'Star Trek' franchise.

Like a bad night on the sauce 'Flight' is emotional and funny as it messes with your head. Still, this is as real and as raw as drama gets and with Denzel piloting this one you know its going to be good even if it doesn't go down smooth. Brutally honest this film pulls all the punches with no shame. It's a refreshing swig of modern day life that doesn't play too much into the Hollywood b.s. The Hollywood stuff came with the brilliant, blockbuster, special-effects opening. The grounded drama just as nasty and nauseating that closes the rest of the picture is what real movie-making is all about however. The 'Best Actor' contest is hot this year but even the great Daniel Day-Lewis and legendary Abraham Lincoln may have some competition from a disgraced drunk of all people. That's just how good Denzel Washington is. Enjoy the 'Flight'. TIM DAVID HARVEY.


4 Scores/5

The Best Wing.

Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones & Joesph Gordon-Levitt. Director: Steven Speilberg.

"Whatever you are, be a good one", reads an unopened card on this writers bedside table. The word of Abraham Lincoln serving as inspiration everyday when I wake up. Want to see just how inspiring this man really is? In the same week as President Barack Obama got inaugurated for a second term in office on Martin Luther King Jr. day saw the release of 'Lincoln'. A brave and heartfelt, genuine individual in immense and influential power. The great American president who will forever be known for proclaiming emancipation and with a stroke of a pen and casting of votes freed the slaves.

Not the only film, that deals with the issues of slavery, Quentin Tarantino's latest classic with Jamie Foxx, Christophe Waltz and Leo DiCaprio shoots from the hip with furious vengeance. As great as that film is if you want a dose of history and reality then Speilberg's latest galloping off the momentum of 'War Horse' is for you. Just so you know too, Abraham Lincoln may have freed the slaves by day, but he didn't slay vampires at night, although last years 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter' was a bit of glorious fun and with a young Liam Neeson look-alike taking the top hat and axe, we caught a glimpse of who could very well play President.

Still even though Liam Neeson is apparently in everything he's not in this. The man elected to play Abe in 'Lincoln' is none other than legendary role-maker Daniel Day-Lewis and the Academy favorite looks set to lead an impressive bunch of Best Actor nominations this year including the worthy Hugh Jackman ('Les Miserables'), Denzel Washington ('Flight') and Bradley Cooper ('Silver Linings Playbook'). With a chameleonic, charismatic and classic performance Day-Lewis will have his day again. Inspiring tears of joy and pain and shivers of fear and hope this is one hell of an iconic role, figured out brilliantly. They may as well mold gold top hats and beards on to this years Oscars.

The rest of the Academy talent on display here could polish off the gold too. Sally Field's conflicted but classic performance puts her in contention here right behind the President as a committed and dedicated First Lady. Still it's Tommy Lee Jones that lead the 12 nominations and even Daniel Day-Lewis here. With a heartfelt and soulful performance the former winner could strike gold yet again, shouting and fighting for the rights of others so justly. Tommy Lee is still on the top of his game and with 'Lincoln' it's the time the world finally saw it. It's only right. Even the underused but still shown and proved Joesph Gorden-Levitt stirs the soul and heart strings with a moving, coming of age performance. With this and all the work this man has done he's right there with Tom Hardy as the best actor of the moment. Expect Joe-Levitt to join his fellow Oscar winning co-stars in the Academy one day too.

Speilberg yet again has directed with distinction. The latter 'War Horse', 'Lincoln' daylook to just be as epic as the 'Jaws' and 'Jurrasic' periods. The special effects may have been replaced by simple but classic cinematography but the affect is still the same...a classic cause. The director of our modern times shows no signs of slowing down even in his more subtle, slow-buring work. With a great historical and moral lesson, he paints one of the most poignant portraits of American legend for everyone to see...and so they should. Whatever he does, it's a great one. Top hats off. TIM DAVID HARVEY.