Sunday, 21 December 2014
Meet The Artifacts.
98 Minutes. Starring: Ben Stiller, Robin Williams, Owen Wilson, Steve Coogan, Ricky Gervais, Rebel Wilson, Rami Malek, Patrick Gallagher, Dan Stevens & Ben Kingsley. Director: Shawn Levy.
Admit one more time to the fond, fun, festive feeling of another holiday season, Ben Stiller adventure comedy. Because after tonight the 'Night At The Museum' will be closing its doors for good. That's right, Larry the security guy is hanging up his torch. Its been one hell of an animal/artifact house ride for Stiller. When he wasn't busy "focking" around with Robert De Niro's family, the 'Zoolander' and 'Dodgeball' star had another franchise to go along with 'Meet The Parents' while everything else waited for their long awaited sequels. After the first classic, 'Night At The Museum' went to the capital, Washington D.C. for the brilliant 'Battle Of The Smithsonian' sequel, you just knew there'd be a big three. Now to complete the family box-set trilogy, the film and franchise face heads to England's capital, London where it channels the last 'Mummy' film by hopping on a double-decker bus to Egypt, by way of the British Museum. The sacred tablet that brings everything to life is wearing thin, but thankfully this series isn't as Stiller helps bring it and everything to life once again with the fine form over the years that saw 'Tower Heist' and 'The Watch' turn into bigger and better films then critically advertised. A formidable run of form that cumulated in his last fall career crescendo of his 'Forrest Gump' like journey of 'The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty'. Stiller is the man. There's just something about Ben.
So along comes another sequel and its as still as super as the unnatural behaviours of the 'Natural History Museum's' exhibits that do everything but collect dust after midnight. In the magic hour it all comes to one hell of a big party no matter how small Owen Wilson and Steve Coogan are in role and stature. Stiller's old running mate forms a dynamic duo with Brit Frat Pack, international member Steve Coogan. Bringing Rome and the Wild West together for a showdown and conquest of banter and trademark humour of visual aids. Exhibit B sees old favourites like Rami Malek and Patrick Gallagher return as historical figures in both world and this films past. Now sure, with a more of the same sequel, some people will be turned off by old gags being run again and again but tell that to 'Anchorman' and 'Dumb and Dumber' too. Besides there's some new tricks to go with this sequel welcoming back the theatrics we loved so much from the first two. Kids will love it and parents will be glad to be sharing in the festive fun this Christmas. Packing up the museum and shipping some of the exhibits to London for a short trip and we have some new English traditions to add to Ricky Gervais' second silly but sincere outing. After having a breakout year with 'The Guest' (a film that looked like 'Drive' if it was directed by Michael Bay), Dan Stevens plays a hilarious, Bradley Cooper looking Lancelot and makes this film fools gold with his jests. Even Aussie Rebel Wilson brings a pitch perfect British accent, hilariously stepping in for Jonah Hill's new museum guard. And what American film looking for a little good ole blighty would be complete without Ben Kingsley? Add this to the stunning, enthusiastic special effects and some more after hours surprises from dynamic director Shawn Levy and you have another great museum night to save the day. Even Stiller goes back to his early days and plays another character and the results are man making fire genius.
Still, as we have one last walk around the halls of this hallowed museum we must bid a farewell to one of America's greatest exhibitions. And this is where if you allow us we pay tribute. You just know that even though the doors are closing for sunrise they couldn't do another 'Night At The Museum', because who else could play President Theodore Roosevelt than the late, great Robin Williams? The guy even looked the spitting image of Teddy. And from the first time his mannequin came to screaming and fooling life like Kim Cattrell the fatherly fun and fortune hasn't stopped. From the wordplay to the wisdom, Williams has acted up to the part he played perfectly. Just like he did in all his films from 'Mrs Doubtfire' to 'Patch Adams'. Only a true legend who deserves his place on comedies Hollywood Mount Rushmore could play such an American icon. Here in his final 'Museum' and all too tragically movie outing (visual at least, you can hear his voice one last time in next years 'Dennis The Dog'), Robin spreads his wings and does what he did so brilliantly and beautifully better than the rest. With the museum artifacts threatened to return to what they once where, some wax hands and presidential confusion gives Robin the chance to return to his trademark riffing we loved so much from the man whose resume reads "I do voices" before his name. Forget just comedy, its Hollywood gold like Cary Grant's look, James Dean's swagger or Clark Gable's line from a man that was more than the muses. Fondly but then all too sadly in the end, here you're yet again so engaged to the energy and enthusiasm of a man that never lost that, form or face that you forget that he's still unbelievably no longer with us. You never want his day to end and for him to return back to a statue, only to never scream and shock us again. Still Hollywood should make one for the man that made them. Smile and rest peacefully Robin. Goodnight. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Sunday, 14 December 2014
The War Of The Rings.
144 Minutes. Starring: Martin Freeman, Sir Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, Richard Armitage, Evangeline Lily, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Aidan Turner, James Nesbitt, Ken Stott, Stephen Fry, Sylvester McCoy, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving & Benedict Cumberbatch (As The Voice Of Smaug). Director: Peter Jackson.
Once more unto the breach my friends! We all know how this day is going to end. This is it! One last time! Peter Jackson's 'King Kong' huge vision of middle-earth comes to a dream like close. After his original 'Lord Of The Rings' trilogy changed the blockbuster movie world and storytelling as a whole. The man who directs like he has his sights on being the next Spielberg, took Tolkien's classic book ends and turned them into something truly beyond the most vivid imaginations of parents who grew up on the bedtime stories worldwide. Having the passing on, nostalgic pleasure of an opportunity to take their own children to see and share a story in this digital age, where unfortunately reading to our children before bed has turned into Kindles and iPad videos. Still honouring tradition, Jackson took action and went back to the original book of 'The Hobbit' and that big, red dragon that so far had only been seen in inspired illustrations of influence over the generations. Now 'The Hobbit' may read like a pamphlet in relation to the fellowship of door-stops that came after, but Jackson has still managed to squeeze three films out of it in the generation of eight 'Harry Potter' films and a 'Hunger Games', 'Mockingjay' being split into two. First came 'An Unexpected Journey' with a rejuvenated, precious feel and Gollum. Then last December in the new yearly tradition came the most fun and entertaining film of the Rings with 'The Desolation Of Smaug' where we finally saw the dragon enter. Now with this year, this trilogy and this story coming to an epic close fans are left screaming and shouting for 'The Silmarillion'.
'There And Back Again'...just not quite. A fitting finale like this needs to an end with a bold BANG! So this stories script has been rewrote to 'The Battle Of The Five Armies' and believe me this fight club of battle royales even makes '300' men look like a band of babies. Even with Katniss trying to take the arrow lead off Legolas, throwing bows, 'The Hunger Games' is starving in relation to this fall, yearly blockbuster tradition. Now from 'The Winter Soldier' start this may have been Marvel's blockbuster year in this 'Age Of Ultron', with 'Captain America', 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2', 'X-Men: Days Of Future Past' (hello Gandalf) and of course the 'Guardians Of The Galaxy', you still have to make room for the shire. In this monster, big budget effects year of 'Transformers' and the 'Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes'. Nothing comes close to this beast and its smouldering Smaug...not even the king 'Godzilla'. The dinosaurs of 'Jurassic World', the Terminators of 'Genyisis' and 'The Force Awakening' of 'Star Wars' has a lot to live up in 2015 as 2014 comes to a book end close. This film wraps it all up completely with a classic core of effects, emotion and epic war of magic and madness. Sure at times some silly slapstick action and unbelievable set-pieces may make it look like Michael Bay maybe snuck into the editing suite, but a more focussed, formidable finale is more forgiving and fitting. Even if at times it feels anti-climatic, because after all this and that, that came before...what wouldn't. It's still a geeks treat, for something that one day next to the 'Rings' will make for one epic, one sitting DVD night. Even the most die-hard, devoted fans have finished their 9-5, only to go straight to the cinema to watch all three, back-to back, only to surface out of the cinema at three in the morning. Now that's epic.
In the dawn of this middle earth of the dwarfs one Hobbit will rule them all. His name...Martin...or should we sat Bilbo. As Freeman shows more than Ian Holm and takes the ring (that he'll eventually give to) off Elijah Wood, this man proves the show that he can carry a massive movie for three perfect pictures. This 'Holmes' partner in crime-solving that has taken over Holm is a born-again star for more than just his 'Sherlock' show as his classic co-star Benedict Cumberbatch again provides the incredibly scorchingly sinister and scary voice of Smaug. On fire with his Oscar worthy 'Imitation Game' year that will lead to the Marvel of 'Dr. Strange'. Still even his grand growl is smoke and mirrors in reflection to how epic this dynamite, dynamic dragon looks in all its special, scaly and scary effects. Flying through town with a fire blaze of glorified, death and destruction. This is something that fans who couldn't stop turning the page to that one illustration have being wanting to feast their eyes on for decades. Speaking of old legends and Marvel mutants, there's nothing stopping the magic of Magneto as Sir Ian McKellen once again casts a classic and at times comedic spell as the grand Gandalf. One scene with the legendary 'Rings' circle of trust of Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving and Christopher Lee is a remarkable redux of a reunion. Just like Orlando Bloom's growth, now entertainingly teaming up with the incredible, star of the future Evangeline Lily and the elf king Lee Pace who is camping up quite the likable, villainous year after his 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' out of this earth, breakout. The "newer" actors who are now an established part of middle-earth folklore really shine here (just check out Aidan Turner, mark these words one day he'll play late INXS rock legend Michael Hutchence) all the way down to James Nesbitt, Ken Stott and the legendary Sylvester McCoy and Stephen Fry, out of the frying pan and into Smaug's fire. Still its the man tasked with bringing down the beast, Luke Evans who really prevails after a bullseye year. Almost over the new Viggo in Richard Armitage who succumbs to "Dragon Sickness" and a healthy dose of acting ability, wandering round pools and halls of gold like Scrooge McDuck. All these nuggets pay off for a film that strikes gold even with all the coins pouring away into the block busting budget. Sure in relation to the trilogy this finale may be a little bit 'Dark Knight Rises', but in the years that come, this too will go down in legacy making legend. Perhaps its just all too bittersweet that this beautiful battalion of blockbusters is coming to a classic close. As this Hobbit puts his hairy feet up, middle earth will never quite be the same. TIM DAVID HARVEY
Friday, 12 December 2014
2015 may be the 'Age Of Ultron' in the intergalactic 'Star Wars' battle of science fiction and comic books, but you don't have to wait until then for a geeks dream with one of the years most anticipated films and sequels.
Run to the bright lights of Times Square like Steve Rodgers after the whole defrosting thing and you may just find something even more illuminating in the core of the entertainment world of New York City and the rest of the planet. In Discovery, Times Square, Marvel's mightiest heroes have their own museum. The 'Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N'. Something Marvel founder Stan Lee calls, "indescribable"!
We'll give it a shot! How about it's bigger than Captain America's muscles, Thor's hammer, Hulks anger problems, or Tony Stark's ego? This place is awesome, paying homage to the first classic Avengers assembling...and we're sure more will be added with all the phases of films coming out trying to out library the comic-books that have been coming out for generations.
Suit up! You want to see Cap's suit? Or Thor's realms and Iron Man's armour? They're all here, along with the Black Widow, Hawkeye and Nick Fury's duds, complete with authentic bullet hole. They're all refrigerator locked behind the same glass that held Loki...oh and his septre and 'Reindeer Games' attire are here too. Along with some more souvenir surprises that go beyond just regular movie merchandise.
We don't want to spoil or 'Bazinga' all the big bang fun that comes the moment you get your pass to become a probationary agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. But this isn't just another look don't touch exhibition, although you may want to leave that camera at home for this classified centre. This place is inspiringly interactive. From the physical to the educational. After learning more about the solar system and nine realms whilst searching for Thor's him of Asgard, why not test your strength against Captain America if you think you can beat this skinny kid?
Here's betting you thought Broadway was Times Squares biggest, blockbuster attraction. Now the Avengers are and that Scharwma joint is only a few blocks away...TIM DAVID HARVEY
Thursday, 11 December 2014
108 Minutes. Starring: Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day, Chris Pine, Jennifer Aniston, Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz & Kevin Spacey. Director: Sean Anders.
Re-hired and fired out the comedy cannon, 'Horrible Bosses 2' is the new super sequel from a new formidable, funny franchise like fellow 2014 sequel '22 Jump Street' that refuses to grow up and get a real job. There's no pink slips here for comedies new big three of Jason Bateman, Sudeikis and Charlie Day who are back on fond and favourable form as three tools in the machine who just cant catch a break when it comes to their head honchoes or their severance revenge. This time after having an entrepreneurial idea stolen they decide to go into the kidnapping business with a steal of a twist. Applying risk management here however this sequel is more 'Waynes World 2' then a second 'Hangover'. Its a nostalgic, formula throwback to what wasn't broke and didn't need fixing in the first comedy classic, however its no heavy carbon copy. How dya like them now? With Jennifer Aniston's tongue in x-rated cheek comedy a mouth-full and a classic, criminal cameo from 'Se7en' surprise Kevin Spacey, everyone is back...well except Colin Farrell. Still in a 'Django' reunion we have everybody's favourite Christoph Waltz. But of course its Mr. 'Expletive' Jones, Jamie Foxx who steals the show hilariously along with Captain Kirk, Chris Pine who is boldly the best thing about this boss picture. Energising it on all levels with his charm and charisma. Just call this cap this 'Bosses' employee of the month! TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Wednesday, 10 December 2014
By TIM DAVID HARVEY
No animals where harmed in the making of this mans career! Between being nominated for Academy Awards for possibly three years running (more on that later) and being named the 'Worlds Sexiest Man Alive', this Oscar darling is unleashing the beast inside. Whether he's toting guns as a talking Racoon, that hangs out with three word vocabulary trees in space for this years biggest film or hitting the Broadway stage of the concrete jungle, Empire State of New York as 'The Elephant Man', Bradley Cooper doesn't seem human. Its for sure been a long time since this poster boy of Hollywood and one of the industries most likable icons was engaged with playing the perfect bastard with no glory, while Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn where 'Wedding Crashers'. It seems like an even longer time when before he was famous he sported long, scraggly hair, like that first scene in his acting breakout 'Limitless' as he asked his idol Sean Penn a question from the audience of James Lipton's 'Hollywood Actors Studio'. Now a cut above the rest this guys cleaned up and had fans reaching for answers of advice from himself after having his own show. The buck doesn't stop there either for a movie money guy who joins Hollywood's other Bradley and the Leo DiCaprio likes of pretty boys maturing and showing their much more than their looks. You can add theatre to the career resume too of a guy that's heading to the stage like his fellow Marvel mutant, Wolverine, Hugh Jackman a few blocks down the road of Times Square in 'The River'.
There's an Elephant in the room however if you stream back uptown with the lights and taxicabs of the Big Apples entertainment core of 42nd street. It comes from a monster of a big, bold and beautiful Broadway powerhouse performance as the 'Worlds Sexiest Man' plays the disfigured 'Elephant Man' in a 14 week running, acclaimed piece of theatre that also stars legendary, journeywoman, character actress Patricia Clarkson. Following the life of the shows subject Joseph Merrick since he was only 12 years old, this labour of love is a nightly passion project for Brad and hang with Mr. Cooper long enough and you can see just how much enthusiastically exhausted, heart and soul he's pouring into this performance. Between all the award worthy movies that have dealt with everything from mental wars to world ones and the big budget picture perfect life of cinemas classic comedies and comic books this just may be the most important, inspiring and influential role to date for a man who's seemingly working on as many scripts that have hit his cluttered welcome mat in the Hollywood Hills. And he's doing more than just simply paying the bills. Something appears to be eating away at him like a debt he must repay to the humanity of the acting world. You can see it in his impassioned speech at the MTV Awards of all places for the 'Beat Kiss' gong with Jennifer Lawrence of all awards for the anxiety dealing 'Silver Linings Play Book', where he let the audience know that the oft-ignorantly brushed aside world of mental health was real even to a man who could have seemingly any woman or role he wanted. Revealing an issue that need to be addressed in the fact that more American soldiers are lost to depression and suicide on return home then on the battlefield (more on things of that nature later too). Tackling the inspiration over isolation, mind over matter, brutal battle of a man that cruelly wasn't accepted by the public this man does it again. Screaming Merrick's cries of "I AM A HUMAN BEING" to those who treated him like an animal simply because they didn't understand.
Get it? And you thought this mans best performance of the year came as as a hairy, two-foot creature. After Marvel's monster year of big blockbusters in 'Captain America-The Winter Soldier', 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' and 'X-Men: Days Of Future Past' their best was truly saved for last in their out of this world, space Avengers of 'Guardians Of The Galaxy'. A mega movie that beat all the 'Transformers', 'Planet Of The Apes' and ultimate movie King Kong 'Godzilla', whilst turning the Parks and Recs of Chris Pratt into a star (lord) that next years big blockbuster 'Jurassic World' will be thankful for going up against the real Han Solo in 'Star Wars' and of course the Avengers in this 'Age Of Ultron'. Between sci-fi queens like Zoe Saldana and wrestling kings like Dave Bautista, two characters stole the show, looking nothing like their Hollywood heart throbbing vocal providers as Rocket and Groot just may be the new Christmas toys this year, selling by the minions under the Douglas Fir's of every kid and their parents alike. 'Fast and Furious'' Vin Diesel may have only had to say "I am Groot", but he did it with so much passionate range, while you couldn't get Coopers chattering Racoon to shut up...and you didn't want him too either. Sounding almost nothing like Bradley but making a radical, attitude shift in everybody's favourite comic and C.G.I. character, Cooper showed even more real and underrated raw acting range, especially in the timing of comedy for a character we cant wait to see climbing the tree again with a machine gun space blaster. This critters bite is even better than his bark! OH yeeeeeah!
Finger on the trigger, gun in hand and with the Kodak Theatre in his crosshairs, Cooper looks to tale aim at another Oscar nomination with the legendary outlaw and quickest draw in Hollywood Clint Eastwood. And its only right the old and new alike cross career paths. For Clint the legend who is proving to be just as iconic a director as he is actor has wrapped up a great year with his phenomenal, stage to screen 'Jersey Boys' adaptation. Now following Bradley's even better 2014, the two unwrap a new story this Christmas day that will make sure over turkey and tinsel movie fans don't forget those fighting for our freedom who cant make it home for the holidays. 'American Sniper' sees the director of war torn classics like 'Flags Of Our Fathers' and 'Letters From Iwo Jima' return to the trenches but this time in a modern warfare, with his new million dollar baby in his Bradley Cooper lead. Cooper bulking up and adding weight like gold by eating every 55 minutes for the role of America's deadliest sniper with 150 kill-shots to his name. This all too true tale could just be too good for just a nominee. Following his nomination for powerfully playing a wounded man with troubling anxiety problems alongside Jennifer Lawrence in 'Silver Linings Play Book' really rewrote this guys life script in more meaningful and moving ways than one. While his reunion with with Lawrence and director David O. Russell's 'Fighter' stars in last years cool and slick 'American Hustle' played another Oscar nomination into his hands. Although the man may have only won the award for best selfie photographer of the year that night (trust me...he is), the guy-despite a hilarious scene where he imitates and mocks massive comedian star Louis C.K.-should have really been nominated for 2013's most underrated and best film 'The Place Beyond The Pines'. Maybe having him and Ryan Gosling on the same screen (to go with Eva Mendes of course) made it all one handsome blur. Maybe it was really incredible, next generation actor and Green Goblin Dane DeHaan's breakout movie and career vehicle. Or maybe, just maybe if you look deeper you'll find Coopers best of his catalogue.
Never fear this guy may just be an Oscar regular like his co-star and next Meryl Streep in Jennifer Lawrence. They've only added a third collaboration in as many a year to their hectic and huge 2014 schedule too. Its no wonder there aren't dating rumours thanks to this couples charming chemistry. Its a good job Bradley's on Broadway for 14 weeks only because he may have another theatre appointment in February, going up against himself. With Lawrence 'Serena' saw a classic, old and traditional middle America simple story of timbre with a deeper and darker root. Although it'll never strike gold like the silver from the linings of their greatest play book, it has much more substance than just the slick 'Hustle'. Its another notch to the expanding Hollywood waistline of Cooper too amongst the wasteland of rom coms and early days confused films (his scene was cut out of the great Ben Affleck and Samuel L. Jackson thriller 'Changing Lanes') this talented thesp has escaped. Man of the moment McConaughey watch out alright!? 'Failure To Launch'? Yeah right! Speaking of which, wouldn't Cooper have been perfect for the new 'True Detective'? With all due respect to Colin Farrell and Vince Vaughn. Like the greater, more underrated actors of our generation, like Jamie Foxx this serious talent has some seriously classic comedy chops too. After playing the perfect best friend of Jim Carrey in likable agreement to 'Yes Man' he only kick-started his career with a 'Hangover...no make that three of them in a terrific trilogy birthed from a straight classic and highest grossing R rated comedy of all time. A headache to mainstream Hollywood now that taste of the after hours had a kick. Kicking so much it sent Cooper to the 'A-Team' boot camp as this eighties franchise reboots Face card. Who else for the new handsome Dan to play hey? You just have to love it when a plan and a career comes together! That's when things get truly 'Limitless' like the Bradley breakout picture of acting acclaim. Forget loving 'Lucy', popping a pill that made him use 100% of his brain and become a better and more successful man, Cooper's career took the same invincible injection, shot in the arm in the first of many films where Bradley bested his legendary De Niro co-star. Thinking ten moves ahead of him this was truly the wolf packs Lone Ranger moment and if you think about it all the other seriously great films and nominations may not have come if it wasn't for this dose of performing for more than just laughs. No longer stuck in the rut of a running joke, there's no limits to this Hollywood sniper who doesn't just need the most popular actress in the work by his side to get our attention. But he more than holds his own in the hottest character couple this industry can put on screen. With untitled Cameron Crowe and John Wells projects in the pipeline and more Marvel Rockets out this Galaxy in his formidable future, the man whose career hopes where once clawed to playing the 'Crow' in a remake are really taking flight on their own now. As an elephant walks through the bright Broadway lights of Times Square, New York City this rocket wont stop 'till it shoots for the biggest star. Soon you'll be able to see it in his Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Sunday, 7 December 2014
A River Runs Through Broadway.
Neons, cameras, action! That's what the earths entertainment core of Times Square, New York City is all about. Follow the lights of all the billboards, to the billions of tourists cellphones and the stream of chrome Taxicab lights that take you there and you may flow down 'The River'. No we're not talking about a classic Bruce Springsteen double album and song. More like the Circle On The Square theatre that currently plays home to Jez Butterworth's amazingly atmospheric Broadway show that with one light on the far stage draws everyone in and illuminates Manhattan's theatre scene like regulars 'Jersey Boys' and 'Wicked'. Following his 2009 success with 'Jerusalem', all praises due to Butterworth's latest show that is so well lighted and directed it draws you in and almost makes its subject of fishing like a religious experience. Spiritual, the smaller but superior Circle In The Square down a side-road, just a few blocks after Times Square is so significant and effective at this from its centre stage to focussed light, that forget hundreds, even those in the 30 dollar, standing room only light will feel so close and immersed that they may as well bring their own bait and tackle.
So 'The River' is about fishing, but catch and release this and you'll see there's much more to it then this and its one beautiful and broad cabin, living room setting that stages the feverish , and at times surprisingly funny drama. From the wood to the oil lamp this burns with a moonshine varnish of the darkness and depth of humanity that normally you'd have to make for and find off-Broadway. It seems however that inbetween all those 42nd Street lights there is a new focus drawing fans and A-List, Academy Award nominated, leading men superheros to town. Rocket the Racoon, Bradley Cooper is currently shining his star power on to something even more acclaimed than his potential three Oscar nominations in a row (we see you 'American Sniper') with his passion project, 'The Elephant Man' down the road. A story that has been close to the heart of the 'American Hustle' star since he was a mere 12 years of age as the planets sexiest man takes on the world of a disfigured man in the public light. Another Hollywood heartthrob in the form of another superhero 'X-Men' following Marvel's arguable best year takes a trip with us across 'The River' however, as Wolverine, Hugh Jackman gets his claws back into theatre, where his amazing-albeit still criminally underrated acting-started. The actor that proved to the Academy along with 'Nightcrawler' Jake Gyllenhaal that he really could act in the unlocking of 'Prisoners' (a case can be made for it being the overlooked movie of last year alongside Bradley Cooper's 'The Place Beyond The Pines'), got his Oscar nomination-and what should have been his award-for the thespian theatre of one of the worlds greatest stage shows, 'Les Miserables'. But here, without hitting a single note-although reciting W.B. Yeats' 'The Wandering Aengus' poem-the former host really sings.
Hitting fabulous form by the script Jackman is the cast out line and hook and sinker bait of this lakeview theatre. Armed with wellington boots and a red t-shirt the housewives favourite even auctions off for charity (I bet you're booking your tickets now aren't you...and we mean to New York if you don't even live there), Jackman brings sincere and strong acting to a straight forward set. A man seemingly torn between two women walking in and out of his life (and believe me even shedding more light on this would be all too revealing), Hugh grants us with some depth and desperation, powerful passion of character as this Aussie rules Broadway once again. With the Playbill's clapping in a round of applause in his favour Jackman has the audience hanging on his every word and more for just his charming and charismatically studded star status. From baring his soul to wearing his heart on his sleeve, even if this show was in the city of New York's largest auditorium this lead draws you close with a lead strong performance that is as soberingly grounding as a seaman's anchor dropped for the port of alcohol. Over dinner and wine even Jackman preparing a caught fish for supper is acting at its simplest but poetry purist best. Still the man in this show isn't the only thing this river runs through. The women in this piece are perfect as they bring wonder to this three-piece show. Cush Jumbo is fondly funny and engagingly evoking, while the equally bold and beautiful Laura Donnelly is the perfect match drawing as many laughs and hearts and even haunting us with her candlelight singing of Yeats. More than its incredible, star lead this 85 minute show without intermission leaves you immersed and begging for more (and we aren't just talking about Hugh ladies) from the show and love and life. A reflection of our lives itself from the fishing lake, this thought provoking, open-ended show of morals and mortality stays with you like the fish you catch but cant quite unhook. Underneath the peaceful tranquility of 'The River' there's more going on in this stream of consciousness as you dive down. What a catch! TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Thursday, 27 November 2014
139 Minutes. Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Nelsan Ellis, Dan Aykroyd, Lennie James, Craig Robinson, Jill Scott, Aloe Blacc, Viola Davis & Octavia Spencer. Director: Tate Taylor.
Get the funk up on this! They say this is a mans world, but right now it would be nothing, NOTHING without a Chadwick Boseman. After knocking it out the park, playing Brooklyn Dodgers legend and first professional, African-American baseball player Jackie Robinson in '42' this kid has made history. Now he's standing next to the likes of Robert Downey Jnr and Chris Evans and receiving scripts from Marvel, as he's beaten out the legendary likes of Denzel Washington to play the 'Black Panther' in his own movie and the highly anticipated Iron Man and Steve Rodgers face off in 'Captain America-Civil War'. The talented Anthony Mackie and his Falcon better watch out! There's a new soaring talent, swooping into town. Academy Award acclaimed Jamie Foxx be warned too. The impressionist star of 'Ali', 'Ray' and 'Redemption' may be rumoured to play everyone from Martin Luther King Jnr to Mike Tyson, but there's a new heavy hitter, biopic king in the ring ready to make that Oscar speech. He should have made the Academy home-run, purely off the one scene where he shows "the guts not to fight back" and breaks down along with a bat in a tunnel after hearing the worst racial abuse you've seen since '12 Years A Slave'. Still maybe its his time on the stage now with a biopic that walks the line with the Johnny Cash and Ray Charles ones, besting them all, even Clint Eastwood's 'Jersey Boys' this year. Papas got a brand new bag...and boy you're going to love it.
Chadwick Boseman is James Brown. No, really! Brown...James Brown! You see Brown, not the actor Boseman. Talking to the camera like 'The Wolf Of Wall Street', from the hair sprayed, legendary fade to the footwork of a funk genius. All the way to those screaming splits. Its a shame too, because you should really see just how great an actor this kid himself really is, if you weren't so distracted by how Jamie in 'Ray' uncanny it really is. Dynamite, superbad this performance is explosive. The walk, the talk, the dancing, the singing. It's all down like it was in this boys nature. He performs on stage in concert with this guys portrayal so well they may even give this guy an album deal like Terrence Howard's 'Hustle & Flow'. At least let Matthew McConaughey give him the 2015 Oscar. What did the 'Dallas Buyers Club' star say in his speech? "I didn't see a false note anywhere". Well alright, alright, alright! In harmony with the Godfather of Soul and mastering melody of chameleonic characterization, this is the best success since James Brown changed the face and feel of music. Chadwick even struggles and ages with him, through the unforgiving years and tears perfectly for a complete performance of a complex character. Every move, mannerism is to the set-list of this stats life script. From the explosive, epic Vietnam performance in the beginning (as a matter of fact the first act musical/action opening builds like a Sam Cooke/Will Smith crescendo for Michael Mann's classic and timelessly inspiring 'Ali') to his old hobbled swagger of age and out with the old school defiance, this man Boseman is responsible for making sure nothing can kill the funk. In another great year of movies after last years Oscar party there is no performance from this year more alive than this. Brad Pitt in 'Fury'? Jake Gyllenhaal in 'Nightcrawler'? Matthew McConaughey in 'Interstellar'? Just like Michael B. Jordan sitting next to all the top actors in a Hollywood roundtable for his 'Fruitvale Station' portrayal, Chadwick claims his place. Grounding every out of this world film with this years 'Gravity'.
With 'The Help' of Tate Taylor-a director no stranger to the Academy-this film and performance is a classic by any funk or film number. And by bringing some of his 'Help' stars into this music mix he has his own Lee Daniels 'The Butler' moment for a film that surely, cruelly shouldn't miss February too. After mothering Michael Jordan in 'Fruitvale Station', Octavia Spencer is on helpful hand and formidable form here as a guardian figure. Even in limited screen time she shines. Just like the always incredible Viola Davis, who as Brown's mother tormented by abuse and the alcohol she tries to wash it all down with, gives us a soulful, tortured performance. Again even with the spare change of an almost two and a half hour film she makes a play for the nomination. There's a complex cast of big names and unsung heroes here all making their notes from television to music. Even new Bernie Mac funny man Craig Robinson joins the band and shows more than his funny-side. Whilst from the 'Famous Flames' to the burn outs there is so much fire in this hot mess and mix. 'The Walking Deads' Lennie James is perfect as the opposite of that in character comes as a half-dead, neglectful father. But if the Oscar doesn't go to James Brown then it certainly should go to 'True Bloods' Nelsan Ellis as Bobby Byrd. A man and actor who defines the work 'Best Supporting' even when the lead defies. Ellis who has been making standout performances in musical biopics for years (see Jamie Foxx (again) in 'The Soloist') is two notes away from his own lead movie and spotlight moment. This picture of perfect portrayal truly has it all. Even adding the Godmother of modern day neo-soul Jill Scott to the matrimony side of the funk legend. Hey, even new soul star of the moment Aloe Blacc gets more of that dollar he's been needing. And if you need another legend, how about a real 'Blues Brother'? As Dan Aykroyd is as perfect here as the day he donned that suit, shades and hat. If that's not enough for you to rock and roll with then shine a light! Only Mick Jagger helped produce a movie about the papa that was already a Rolling Stone years before this kid would be loved by everyone, even those that hate the Beatles, whilst having magazines named after him. Still amongst all these big names and even the Godfather himself, the cover star here is Chadwick Boseman and heading towards his own trilogy this don is the man. The 'Black Panther' who changed the face of sport and music. For this man and his world it all feels so good. OWWWW! TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Monday, 24 November 2014
The Hunger For More.
123 Minutes. Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Natalie Dormer, Sam Claflin, Stanley Tucci and Donald Sutherland. Director: Francis Lawrence.
Full? Had enough yet? 'The Hunger Games' getting a little too greedy? Turning one book into two films and a trilogy into the new yearly 'Harry Potter' fall, blockbuster tradition, making you forget about the dawn of 'Twilight'. And lets not even talk about 'Divergent', let alone 'The Mortal Instruments'! Hey, if 'The Hobbit' can turn something that reads like a pamphlet in relation to the 'Lord Of The Rings' into a trilogy, the worlds biggest star, Jennifer Lawrence can do whatever the hell she likes and this Christmas, after 'Catching Fire' last fall this 'Mockingjay' is set to sing and beat Bilbo, ring or not. Put that on your Christmas list and keep the change you filthy animal. This is smoking hot! The fires not out yet. It rises like the end of a 'Dark Knight' trilogy and in this day and age of big threes, Jennifer Lawrence of the Academy is a two time Oscar nominee with one big win and franchise under her bow. Inbetween rewriting Suzanne Collins' playbook, J-Law has flipped the script on her own career. Going from big blockbuster hits to Oscar parties with Bradley Cooper. Hows a trilogy with Rocket the Racoon in her winning 'Silver Linings Playbook', last years nominated 'American Hustle' and this years 'Serena' for you? Now after a Summer season of scorching hot blockbusters that seems to have been dominated by Marvel their 'Guardians Of The Galaxy', Lawrence's own 'X-Men: Days Of Future Past', 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' and 'Captain America-The Winter Soldier', these new 'Games' that begin the falls Winter, warmer blockbusters have already taken over the clunky, but money oil-rich 'Transformers: Age Of Extinction' as the highest grossing film of this year. Now that's a real monster like the 'Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes'. Smaug doesn't stand a chance against this arrow.
Bullseye! Lawrence hits the mark again and overcomes all the horrendous internet hatred (and people try to make big news out of why she won't log on to Twitter...you surprised?) that she had to cruelly suffer through via trolls and predators to stand above it all like her character does against the capital. And what character too! Even if her rebellion tries to manipulate her like a perfectly poised pawn in this political and sociological game of chess, her own inner resistance is anything but futile. Now as she fights tears, rage, bow and arrow, she torches everything she touches like her new Hawkeye arrow accessories. Legolas may have had us all like cupid last year but even he's going to clench up at this amazing, incendiary archery. Even after last years sequel and 'Hustle' that followed her 'Silver Linings' and original you would have thought the hottest actor of the moment and the legend of her already defining legacy had already had her best year. But with this, the dark drama 'Serena' and of course her scene stealing Mystique in this years 'X-Men' that was truly first class she truly makes a mainstream movie metamorphism into something none of us expected. Bringing even more emotion and acting acclaim to this episode of 'The Hunger Games' than her other Oscar worthy and worldly hits this Mockingjay truly spreads her wings. And forget whistling in allegiance because she sings on this note too. So much so that her song from this movie is already ready to hit the iTunes charts. Next they'll be screaming for an actor album like Scarlett Johannson, just like new sensation Lorde (the Jennifer Lawrence of the pop world) and her song of 'Hunger'. Lawrence of the directing Francis variety again catches his star (and no relation) on screen perfectly for a man who took the reigns of the sequel and shows its in safe, chariots of flames hands for the next two. Forget Keys, Katniss is the girl on fire.
Law isn't the only order to these 'Games' however. There's enough character here to split the next film into more easter eggs than a Sunday and Monday in late April can handle. Josh Hutcherson is back and extending his acting range again. Where even out of the games, he faces even harder challenges like his fellow opponent and love interest. It's clear this young actor is hungry for more. As is brother of 'Thor', Liam Hemsworth who has more on his acting plate with this one. Just like in the books this is where his character comes alive off the pages. And how about Katniss' significant 'other' support without the romance? Lenny Kravitz's Cinna may sadly be gone and no longer rocking with this one, but we can thank Jennifer Lawrence's muse like inspiration for his super 'Strut' album of September. Woody Harrellson is still here however, no longer holding the bar at 'Cheers' but playing it perfectly straight and sober. And even without all that dolled up make-up Elizabeth Banks shows us what she's really like and what she's really made of...and it's a prettier light than any picture of Max Factor could make-up. Stanley Tucci is also as dressed down as his character could possibly be for some stripped-down, on-screen, intimate interviews. This is no longer the show, it's the postgames analysis. Then of course there's the dearly departed, late, great Phillip Seymour Hoffman who comes in to his own in this one and it's so great to see the tragic genius having what looks like great fun here. You can't tell if it's his character or the actor constantly trying to suppress that smirk and that's the point. Add a grey-haired, 'Game Of Thrones'/'Lord Of The Rings' looking hybrid Julianne Moore to the resistance mix (and yes she's still age defying pretty even going grey) and more 'Thrones' and Hemsworth co-stars like Natalie Dormer of 'Captain America-The First Avenger' and 'Rush' fame then you have one stellar cast. All headed off by young and old greats alike, like the charming Sam Claflin and Donald Sutherland who as a master of acting with this character makes us all hate him. Now that's the mark of an actor to love. Just like the always perfectly peculiar Jeffrey Wright. Bond's Felix is now almost the Q to Katniss 007. This today however is the by the book franchise that ignites everything in its path, even if coloured in dense and charcoal pallets, for a torn texture of bombs dropping to more horror than a halloween movie and "Peacekeepers" patrolling more like 'Tron' like Stormtroopers. To kill a 'Mockingjay' you will have to bring more than fire. Like a magician hiding his ace in the hole hand until his final trick, you'll be glad this film was cut in half with a highly strung, sharp point. Ladies and gentlemen, chins up, smiles on! Let the final quarter of the games begin! TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Wednesday, 19 November 2014
Our new 'Focus Future Features' begins with a look at Chadwick Boseman.
This Mans World.
Good God! Who is this kid? He looks familiar, but trust me you aint seen anyone like him before. He kind of sounds like he's from Georgia, but he's Brooklyn to the bone. Not only does he act, whilst writing plays and scripts he also flips his own one to the letter. He's also pretty handy at baseball and singing. Get the funk out of here, you say right? But seriously this guy hits it out the park! And when he isn't doing all of this...well he's quite simply just saving the world as we know it.
Harrison Ford told this young man as he stepped up to the plate that he wanted him to show everybody that he had the guts to "NOT fight back"! Now the rest is history. Racial, sport, music, movie and personal history. After moonlighting on popular T.V. shows like 'E.R.' and 'Third Watch', whilst starring in football films, Chadwick Boseman had his 'Draft Day' last year with his spot in '42'. Playing legendary Brooklyn Dodgers baseball player and iconic figure in African-American history, Jackie Robinson, Boseman displayed more than just humble and honest grace and greatness in his first, full-length, first and foremost feature. One in particular scene where Boseman's Robinson takes out the vile racist abuse he's given verbally on the field, physically with a baseball bat onto a wall in the tunnel is acting at its most influential and inspired from the restrained tears and screams of rage. With this moneyball swing, he struck out at our hearts and showed us he was the man. Not just to play Robinson, but to be the new Jack actor in this Academy acting game and class.
Following that perfect performance, Chadwick worked his lips like chapstick, getting behind the microphone as he transcended the crossover entertainment industries. This new bag ready to make Papa proud showed us how to 'Get On Up' on a perfect portrayal of late, legendary soul singer James Brown. With Oscar whispering 'Best Actor', this gold standard could prove to be a better music biopic than 'Ray'. Your new character chameleon is here. Even Jamie Foxx who is set to play both Martin Luther King Jnr and Mike Tyson might want to worry. The new power player in brilliant biopics is here and his name is Boseman. From the funky style to the soulful swagger and trademark gravel drawl and signature singing voice, Bose' has Brown down from the Little Richard hair to the Elvis shoes. Just look at him ageing and reacting to letting a shotgun off. Good God indeed!
Playing off his own song sheet, you don't have to note this guy off as the future. He's right now. Now Marvel comics movie studio network of epic entertainment has picked him up. After their incredible year, headed off by 'Captain America-The Winter Soldier', the franchise known for finding new faces (see Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston) and knowing which rising stars shine brightest (like Anthony Mackie and Dane DeHaan) have made a play for your Jackie Robinson and James Brown. Joining Captain America's third outing and his 'Civil War' with Iron Man in this age after 'Ultron' will be the legendary Black Panther character of the cult comics. In a trilogy of superheroes and alongside, similar, soaring actor Anthony Mackie's Falcon, Boseman's Panther even has its claws in its own solo movie. Chadwick even beat out the legendary likes of 'The Equalizer', Denzel Washington for this role. Still to those thinking the sixty-something legend is too old anyway, perhaps they should see him play the Black Panthers father and original Panther...now that would be perfect. Purring away like the career of this young thirty-something stud, three huge films in and so much more to come. Like an acting machine, God almighty knows this big hitter is a superstar to marvel at. The pride of the panther is strong. It'll never fade to black. Feel good? TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Friday, 14 November 2014
Remember when we talked about Channing Tatum joining 'The Hateful Eight' and wondering what a Tarantino Western would be without his old hand Christoph Waltz? Well it appears the two time, Q.T. Oscar winner will be busy with Daniel Craig instead. Waltz, who turned both 'Inglorious Basterds' and 'Django Unchained' into classics is set to sign on for 'Bond 24'. Now that's a bingo!
Bullseye! I bet Mr. Bond wasn't expecting that!
How do you go about beating a new 'Bourne', (the spy franchise that briefly took over Bond) now that Matt Damon is back as Jason? By hiring the ultimate nice guy/bad guy Waltz who surely will be playing the next James Bond villain. One who will be even better than 'No Country For Old Men's' Javier Bardem camping it up in 'Skyfall' and possibly as legendary as Jaws or 'Goldfinger'. As Bond takes a tango with 'Django's' Waltz, do we expect him to talk? No we expect Bond fans to die with excitement for this one.
Christoph's cunning charisma will make this next 007 a sure fire hit, knocking the living daylights out of the competition. Between 'Bourne' and 'Mission Impossible', Jeremy Renner certainly has his work cut out for him. You can currently catch the ever likable Waltz as a bad guy in the hilarious 'Horrible Bosses 2' sequel. But after all the fun and games soon this Western and World War II hunter will be given a license to kill. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Wednesday, 12 November 2014
Even he received his fair share of hate before the rampant Twitter age when he was originally announced to play The Joker. A Batman character that everyone thought belonged to Mr. Nicholson only. Turns out they didn't know Jack...or Heath for that matter. He changed the character, made it his own and rewrote comic-book history, legend and legacy. Still even though he'll always be the Joker-with fans wishing they saw more-one day his clown make-up will have to be donned again.
How about another 'Best Supporting Actor' for the role? Someone with 'American Psycho', Christian Bale experience. Just as people where getting used to Ben Affleck being the new Batman, its been reported that Jared Leto may be the new Joker. Why so serious? The 'Fight Club' star who only takes a hiatus off from his mega stardom 30 Seconds To Mars band every seven years to make real movies is an acclaimed actor. A man who just won the gold for a gaunt and great 'Dallas Buyers Club', while his 'Best Actor' co-star Matthew McConaughey has just collaborated with 'Dark Knight' director Christopher Nolan on his 'Interstellar' future. Leaving an actor with magic to his method about to hold all the cards.
Now how about a magic trick? After Jake Gyllenhaal's skinny on the next Oscar win with 'Nightcrawler', you would think the old 'Brokeback' buddy of Ledger whose sister Maggie was in 'The Dark Knight' alongside Heath would be perfect for the role. Still lookalike Leto may be the one to follow Ledger, especially with Ryan Gosling dropping out. Its just like Jared to take on something like this and show Hollywood what he's really made of, more than music. Coming with DC Comics' 'Justice League' of 'Batman vs Superman' and all the Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern and Aquaman assembling that will come with it to battle rival Marvel's Avengers, will be the 'Suicide Squad'. Forget Spider-Man's 'Sinister Six', this villain movie, directed by David Ayer of formidable, 'Fury' fame could be led by Jesse Eisenberg's Lex Luthor. While superstars Will Smith and Tom Hardy (wait a minute...hasn't he already played a D.C. villain?) have all signed on. If that wasn't enough, 'The Wolf Of Wall Street's' Margot Robbie has just been inked to play the Joker's girlfriend Harley Quinn, beating out supermodel Cara Delevinge.
If that isn't enough for Jared to sign on like a dog chasing cars then I don't know what is. He may have been originally lined up for Benedict Cumberbatch's 'Doctor Strange', but whatever doesn't cast him, will simply make him stranger. In honour of Heath, Leto's about to show you how he got these scars.
Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins, Demian Bichir, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen and Bruce Dern. That ladies and gentlemen is your ‘Hateful Eight’. The new, ‘Django Unchained’, Western follow up from Quentin Tarantino that is set to blaze saddles in the wild Hollywood west when it hits town. With plenty of Q.T. and Western pedigree, from ‘Pulp Fiction’ to ‘Justified’ back in the saddle this looks set to be another classic from a dynamite, dynamic director with real true grit. A man who from ‘Jackie Brown’ to ‘Inglorious Basterds’ had owned this generations great films.
And then there’s Tatum…
Reports are surfacing that Tarantino is eyeing up Channing Tatum for a role in this new movie. The young star that reversed his rom-com beginnings like a Matthew McConaughey and now holds the keys to the hugely popular ’21 Jump Street’ and ’Magic Mike’ franchises is generating Oscar buzz with his new ‘Foxcatcher’ film. If that wasn’t enough he’s also wrestling with the hugely popular Marvel Gambit character. Playing his cards right for a new solo film and the forthcoming X-Men ‘Days Of Future Past’ epic follow up ‘Apocalypse’ the guy who ironically started out his young, adult life stripping now has a future looking more successful than a role in Vegas. They’re just throwing money at him.
If this man joins Quentin’s epic ensemble, he’ll further his super soaring, star stock. The charismatic talent has already shown his outlaw ways with a classic cameo in Johnny Depp’s ‘Public Enemies’ as Pretty Boy Flloyd and now the Hollywood heartthrob has a chance to show the movie world what he’s really made of. From his ‘Coach Carter’ beginnings to his latest, deeper, darker ‘Side Effects’. The scripts keep coming for the man who flipped his career one. So much so that the worlds greatest director on the form of his life is taken notice. The only question now is, ‘what’s a new Quentin Tarantino film without Christophe Waltz?
Or Tatum’s ‘White House Down’ co-star Jamie Foxx for that matter! We need a ‘Channing All Over Your Tatum’ remix.
(Thank you for reading our new #SilverLinings column feature that takes the original, working title name for our #FilmsForFridays blog)
Sunday, 9 November 2014
NASA Flyers Club.
169 Minutes. Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Mackenzie Foy, Casey Affleck, John Lithgow, Topher Grace, Bill Irwin, David Gyasi, Wes Bentley & Michael Caine. Director: Christopher Nolan.
10. 'Gravity' has just been grounded! In 2014, your new 'Space Odyssey' and Houston rocket play for the Academy stars your 'Dallas Buyers Club' 'Best Actor' Matthew McConaughey. An astronaut on the classic 'The Wolf Of Wall Street' cameo and superb, small-screen 'True Detective' form of his life. Well, alright, alright, alright! 9. Armed with layers of 'Inception' inspiration, his old friend Michael Caine and a Dylan Thomas poem, British, 'Dark Knight' trilogy director Christopher Nolan doesn't go gentle into that good night as he rages and rages against the dying of the light. Filmed like it was made in the out of this movie world, changing eighties and set to the most sonically soaring, church stepped, organ offering, almost biblically epic score from the classic composer of cinema Hans Zimmer. As he tries to beat his best Batman and 'Prestige' moments in his and our fond filmographys, this is another 'Memento' to dark magic and magnificent movie making. Once the 'Warner Bros', 'Paramount' and 'Syncopy' post classifications come into identifying play you know the biggest film of the year is here. 8. With his screenwriting brother Johnathan, Nolan orbits around many issues from the time and tide of love to hate and life to death, with a running against the clock theme of the cruel but mankind nature of time. All whilst boldly and beautifully taking us more than out of this world...but out of this realm. In mesmerising for IMAX wormholes to black ones and planets and dimensions inbetween this film will do more than answer those conspiracy questions of whether we put a flag and a footprint on the moon. In this superhero age that this dynamic director helped coin with two-face realism, anything is possible in this generations Hollywood.
7. “We used to look up in the sky and wonder at our place in the stars, and now we just look down and worry about our place in the dirt," states a sober and sombre McConaughey's Cooper character and in this day and quotations age its a line worthy of both the best Hollywood has to offer and the worst the world needs to learn. The easy going, mild-mannered, surfs up demeanour of McConaughey is now acting seriously towards sublime superstardom in this Oscar solar system. Brad Pitt's 'Fury' and the 'Nightcrawler' of Jake Gyllenhaal be warned. This Oscar gold is anything but a fools one. After the 'Lincoln Lawyer' likes of 'Killer Joe', 'Mud' and 'Magic Mike' brought him back to the 'A Time To Kill' and 'Amistad' amazing Academy accolades of this year, here's betting you didn't think it could get much better. Still in months time you'll be making room on your DVD shelf or Netflix account next to 'The Wolf Of Wall Street', 'Dallas Buyers Club' and 'True Detective' for this one. From a canvas Carhartt coat to a new age space suit, McConaughey engineers and pilots a perfect performance and picture. More than his distinctive drawl of soothing soundbites, this man has graduated from the Washington, Denzel school of facial expressive acting of moving mannerisms. Taking flight with his own mothership connection. 6. Matthew's not the only one touching heart strings, hairs on arms and shivers down spines though. Nolan lets the cat out of the bag again as Anne Hathaway follows proving everyone wrong like Heath Ledger in 'The Dark Knight Rises' as Selina Kyle, with another slick performance with substance. After singing her heart out for her last Oscars the leading lady shows she doesn't just need 'Les Misersbles' to cut her hair off and show real range of drama and depth. Write that one in your 'Princess Diaries' or 'How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days' guides.
5. She's not the only one still. After her 'Lawless' and 'Zero Dark Thirty' breakouts, Jessica Chastain brings a performance that is compelling as it is complex. An ever real and raw Casey Affleck and an epic, big name cast list of more family ties than you can shake a casting directors stick at brings everything and everyone together in tough tenderness, in a world on its knees in true grit, ashes to dust. How about '3rd Rock From The Sun's' John Lithgow back on planet Hollywood too? The last time we saw him apes where taking over. A grown up Topher Grace and the 'American Beauty' of Wes Bentley graduates to a whole new level. Whilst David Gyasi breaks out as the next perfectly peculiar Jeffrey Wright of this character acting game. Even clown and 'Sesame Street' voice Bill Irwin puts his vocals to an android that will have you dreaming of more than electric sheep and sarcasm at 95%. Then of course there's the legend that is Michael Caine. 4. But how about a young Mackenzie Foy rewriting Murphy's Law? This young star playing McConaughey's daughter Murph almost steals the whole show and for a film that features digital IMAX solar scapes through space and time, the best and most amazingly captivating scene in this whole epic, three hour picture is when McConaughey tells Mackenzie he's leaving her world for outer space. As McConaughey tears up, tears through and tells her, "I love you Murph...forever", if you're not thinking of your nearest and dearest kin at this moment with a heavy heart you might want to check your pulse. Especially as the emotions soar through the rising score, dust and rockets as McConaughey drives away to the counting down of launch control and the unaware running after of his heartbroken daughter. That ladies and gentleman is how you build and act transcending scene. Through all his cinematic wonders and this trek across the stars this Sci-Fi, comic book age wars through, this is Nolan's greatest human touch, straight to the earth of our emotional core. Its not just the space, time continuum. Its mankind's one. 3.2.1. We have lift of! GO! TIM DAVID HARVEY
Saturday, 1 November 2014
Los Angeles Crimes.
117 Minutes. Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Riz Ahmed & Bill Paxton. Director: Dan Gilroy.
Never in your 'Worlds Wildest Police Chases' could you imagine this! Even Sherriff John Bunnell has never seen anything this crazy! After seemingly been followed by stringers himself with 'Fury's' David Ayer and Michael Pena for the engrossing and evoking 'End Of Watch' as the LAPD, Jake Gyllenhaal is now tracking the sound of the blue and whites himself, in Oscar competition with his old friends. Ready for his Academy close-up, Gyllenhaal is the 'Nightcrawler'. X-Men fans rejoice at this 'First Class' performance. But don't get too excited about this marvellous movie role. This Halloween season Jake isn't painted in indigo, with yellow eyes and nails climbing up walls. But slimmed down to a gaunt, McConaughey Oscar 'Buyers Club' weight, this Hollywood heartthrob is seemingly teleporting across the Californian coast of Los Angeles neons, responding to major crimes and emergencies with his camcorder and selling his found footage to the highest news anchor bidder. Following a 'Source Code' matrix revolution of an acting future with his new meal-less method of acting this 'Nightcrawler' reaches DiCaprio hills territory, after almost unlocking the gold last year with Wolverine, Hugh Jackman for 'Prisoners'. Arguably 2013's best movie between 'The Place Beyond The Pines' and of course '12 Years A Slave'. Now in a 'Drive' classic thunderbird ride that fellow actor of type, Ryan Gosling would be jealous of and responding to a 'Collateral' of L.A. Times action, this Dan Gilroy picture takes inspirational cues from both of those Angelino classics. All whilst itself serving as a blood red, lipstick stained love letter to Los Angeles.
Aspiring cinematographers everywhere better not miss the opening credit montage whilst buying popcorn for their girlfriends. Because all the screensavers, postcards and travel guides couldn't capture the lonely look of a smog soaked Los Angeles in all its brittle beauty quite like this. In a mere cast-roll few seconds Gilroy confirms himself as a great and his direction across the rest of this City of Angels and devils picture portrait is formidably flawless and a rival to the 'Collateral', 'Drive' ruling crown. Still from the mansions on the hills to the skyline everything here is less than Jake. If you thought he was on the form of his life already since 'Love and Other Drugs' then wait until your heart beats to this performance of sinister substance. Creepily crawling around with a camera zoomed into blood and guts this is not a Halloween horror film...but it may as well be. Gyllenhaal is straight new 'American Psycho' scary, falling down like you've never seen him before. As darkly drawn out in his performance as his look, complete with a sinister streak of hair pulled back round his police scanner, pricked up ears at times he almost looks like his 'Brokeback' friend Heath Ledger's Joker. We now know who could do the honour of carrying the Batman mantle for his late, great companion. From shaking the morning mirror in the bathroom a little more crazily than we would all like to on our darkest day this is a raw reflection of inner demons setting freak-show free. A moment where alone in his apartment he laughs at the T.V. like he's watching it with someone epitomizes his loneliness and craziness. Armed with some seemingly sarcastic sayings that his character crackpot believe are as sane and straight as himself and issuing madcap manipulating threats like they where chocolate or ice cream choices, Jake has never been this horrendously horrible. Yet you can't help bit be drawn into his cruel charm and callous charisma for what is an amazingly loveable performance of the most abhorrent, unlikable man. Now that truly takes some doing...and no one does it better than Jake!
Behind the lens, Gyllenhaal isn't the only focus in this feature. Zoom into rookie partner in documenting crime Riz Ahmed and you have a new talent developing before our time at a shutter speed rate. There's also some veterans that have been on screen for decades bringing new developments to this bold broadcast. Rene Russo may have been moonlighting as mother of 'Thor' for a while now but in this L.A. noir dark world she illuminates like downtown. She hasn't looked this good in Los Angeles since she came downstairs wearing nothing but an oversized Lakers t-shirt in 'Get Shorty'. Gyllenhaal was obviously watching. Everyone's looking at Bill Paxton now too. Following his '2 Guns' hallmark bad guy rejuvenation, he's made a great, grand return. Just like in this years Tom Cruise 'Edge Of Tomorrow' where he drilled home his Sargent role with acclaimed authority. Here he ties everything together in a frayed bow as a veteran stringer. Every great cast deserves a powerful premise and this one delivers all the way to the jigsaw put together set pieces that are as full horsepower, turbo, throttle, car chase, bullet shot exciting as anything you've ever witnessed on screen, Hollywood or newsreel real. Your looking at an Oscar candidate film of the year on this report. If last years fall campaign for the Oscars was all about the inspiring struggle for survival from '12 Years' and 'Captain Phillips' to 'Gravity', this year is a dark depth and turn different. Last year was about real heroes. This year is about crazy psychos. There's even a police station exit homage to Keyser Sose that walks the walk for all you 'Usual Suspects'. From 'Gone Girl', to 'Serena' and even the 'Fury' of war, only Robert Downey Jnr's 'Judge' or an 'Interstellar' McConaughey can save us all from this brilliant bleakness. Still this years skinny on 'Best Actor' looks to belong to the weight of Gyllenhaal's performance. Come Oscar night he'll be crawling underneath everybody's skin. TIM DAVID HARVEY
Tuesday, 28 October 2014
Golden Linings Storybook.
109 Minutes. Starring: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence & Rhys Ifans. Director: Susanne Bier.
Hustling their way across America, the sexiest woman and man on the planet, Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper have been the toast of the Academy for the past couple of seasons. Even one Oscar has been raised in Lawrence's name amongst all the nominations. Showing their more than the formidable 'Hangover' and 'Hunger Games' franchises, Cooper and Lawrence woke up from any typecast headaches and got their teeth into more gritty roles. Their love in the oft-ignored face of mental illness story, 'Silver Linings Play Book' was more than a modern classic based on Matthew Quicks influential and inspired novel, it was also a crucial, generational art imitation of life and the difficulties facing millions of men and women around the world. Lawrence may have won the Oscar she so richly earned and deserved in all its gold, but you should check Coops impassioned MTV acceptance speech highlighting how anxiety and depression claims more soldiers lives than combat to see just how important this film is. Following that the director David O. Russell reunited them after barely a year with some of his 'Fighter' co-stars for the slick 'American Hustle'. This may have been more style than substance and the perfect on-screen partners may have shared a brief moment of actual screen time together (where their characters didn't actually acknowledge each other), but when it came to the Kodak theatre in February the cameras where on them again like the Golden Globes didn't matter. The nominations where sent back their way even though Bradley should have actually got the nod for last years underrated, best film 'The Place Beyond The Pines'. None of that would matter however thanks to 'Gravity' and '12 Years A Slave', this 'American' dream and its poster boy and girl couldn't hustle Oscar.
Now doing the hustle deeper into more traditional and historical America and looking like a country version of Bonnie and Clyde, Bradley and Jennifer are back together in their third charm and second vow of loving partnership, to have and to hold with no Raisin Bran in sight. This time in the new Brad and Jen its Cooper chasing Lawrence on horseback after all those mornings she kept jogging after him. So is the story of 'Serena', no not a film about the Williams tennis playing sister, but one that is such a good spot of sport, that it has Dallas Maverick basketball owner Mark Cuban as an executive producer. After dominating the Summer, 'X-Men's' Mystique and the 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' Rocket man are back to doing the other thing they do best, right in the thick fall night of the Summer blockbuster market giving way to Oscar season in an 'Interstellar', 'Fury' of 'Gone Girl's' and 'Nightcrawler's'. Their latest fall play for February gold also looks to book some ledger earnings in the timber trade as we head back to the old Smoky Mountains of the United States Of America's prosperous past, from the forests to the railroad. An old testament love story true to the tone and tenor of times gone by, director Susanna Bier brings us something 1992 or Robert Redford would be proud of, but more than a river runs through this heartland, haunting tale. To reveal more would be to air this cinema couples dirty laundry and you should know by now that that just 'aint right. Still its a skeleton in the closet scandal that could rock you to the bones. With an amazing atmospheric opening of Cooper sitting out on his North Carolina, tar-heeled, log-cabin in the woods porch, draped in poncho looking out to mountains mistier than the ones Hobbit's sang so deeply about, IMAX couldn't even do justice in all it's 4K to what this leading man and are eyes are witnessing.
There's a cold chill in the air that wool couldn't even warm and the eerie look of smoke across the fir of God's sincere landscape almost has a sinister look and feel to it. It almost looks like murder. And so the plot thickens like an opposite reflection to the airs altitude. How do you follow such a sensational scene setting, not seen on screens like this for storybook years? Something that the words of a Cormac McCarthy would be proud of needs a stellar scribe that can continue this engraving of epic evocation. That's where Ron Rash-taking a leaf out of the McCarthy's and Elmore Leonard's of the writing worlds books-and his tree turner comes into novel, script following play. The story may be a strange one that may turn your coffee table reading cold, but with some strong shots matched with a healthy measure on the cast front all the way down to an accented, all American psycho Rhys Ifans, there is a lot brewing here. There's more than meets the hungry eyes here for this lovesick story. The subject matter may be far from Hollywoodland, but in this 'Gone Girl' age of awareness, manipulative relationships will be brought to the light of two casting actors unafraid to deal with some of todays most prevalent and problematic topics that lay hiding underneath the surface of mental unawareness that need to be exposed to the redemption of recognition. If you thought Cooper's best year was his last one then you may be wrong, inbetween voicing Racoons and hunting pumas. Showing more of a range, that critics with him in the crosshairs took shots at him for not having, Bradley may be closer to Brad than you think. He's the best thing about this movie, even standing next to the one individual able to take shine off his star in 'Serena' herself Jennifer Lawrence. The new Meryl Streep on a streak that could surpass in just a few decades of matching work, Lawrence brings more diversity to this duality in a triple threat year that sees her latest award tour join her formidable 'Hunger Games' and 'X-Men' franchise stellar sequels. Could this even be her greatest year after owning the last two? One things for sure, you can expect her to be dancing around the Oscar podium as much as she is tripping over its red carpet each year at the Academy. With this dark drama and saving this from being a train wreck both actors show who they really are with more to them then even meets their number one fans eyes. Lets hope there's more than a big-three because on-screen for better or worse Mr. Cooper and Miss Lawrence belong together. It's a marriage of Academy gold lined matrimony. Now what will we see from the next page of the playbook? TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Wednesday, 22 October 2014
Bond Of Brothers.
134 Minutes. Starring: Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Pena, Jon Bernthal & Scott Eastwood. Director: David Ayer.
War! War! War! It seems like 'Fight Club' star Brad Pitt has been in a lot of wars lately and we're not talking about the one where the biggest and most recognizable star in Hollywood is still fighting against ironically also being one of its most underrated. From bidding wars with other top actor Leonardo DiCaprio's production company for a 'World War Z' with the zombie walking dead to even battling against racism for '12 Years A Slave'. This is the World War II acting veteran who became an 'Inglorious Basterd' of a Nazi scalper alongside Quentin Tarantino. Pitt didn't join his 'Oceans' team of George Clooney and Matt Damon for their magnificent 'Monuments Men' art heist from Hitler's Third Reich however. That's because he was in Germany putting together a fast and furious band of brothers featuring the young likes of Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Pena and Jon Bernthal for a tank, fuel injection down the road for 'Fury'. Right now an apocalypse of a war movie this is as real, raw and hard hitting as a 'Saving Private Ryan' in the 'Das Boot' submarine, pressure container confides of tank warfare. This cabin fever immersing you and beating you senseless in its hull from your cinema seat gives us another film on the classic, epic 'Schindler's List' scale. You cant really call this harrowing horror show exciting or entertaining without losing some due respect, but boy is this brutal film brilliant.
Smoke rises from the inside of the tank, outside the port hole just like some grenades have gone off inside, but it's Pitt, the original Bradley of the Academy with a pack of cigarettes up his sleeve. Hair back and sides shaved, with an up top slicked back further than his age 50 defining years as he speaks in a traditional tone that is a throwback to his 'Basterd' character but once more with more feeling and realism. He and his crew are swearing and spitting like it's 'Moneyball' tobacco, making another big swing for the Oscars. Still no polished gold will gleam greater then the men whose medals they honour with this all too real and raw film that is anything but spit and polish Hollywood. Explosions of fireworks with no celebration and ammunition flying through the early 1900's air like futuristic lasers as men tear each other down like trees in what would otherwise be a peaceful park is all too poignantly insultingly ironic. That's the point too from people dying like its nothing in gratuitous violence that shows how much of a horrid waste war is. Showing a new generation of moviegoers who may not want to pick up a history book, just how bloody, injust and evil it got. Stopping mens hearts and destroying their souls on all sides from the most horribly awkward dinners to young boys being taught how to be men in all the wrong ways that you wouldn't dare nightmare of bringing someone up like today. We live in a watered down internet world today where we go to social media "war" over nothing. Time we remember a period where young men and their families gave everything and lost the same. It's time in this ignorant iPhone app age to stop treating this like its nothing.
This film really is something, just like its captain Brad Pitt. The master of many disguises Brad Pitt continues his 'Seven' 'A River Runs Through It', 'The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button' and 'The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford' vast versatility. Here he has you hanging on the war torn tone of his every word, whilst learning more expression from his face to face time with another man he's gone to battle with, George Clooney. Here Pitt starts by being the man that says more with a few choice grimaces then he does with a thousand words wrote home. Sure he's not the earnest "earn this" of Tom Hanks' 'Saving Private Ryan', but realer and rawer he's still admirably performing a heroes role honorably. Put this amongst his greatest roles and best works as he honours the folded flag proudly and bravely with all due diligent respect to the men that did this for real. As do the rest of Brad Pitt's crew directed by corporal director David Ayer, the writer of 'Equalizer' Antoine Fuqua's 'Training Day' classic and the man who caught some more cops on camera for the inspired 'End Of Watch', to go along with directing Arnold Schwarzenegger's 'Sabotage' this year. No wonder he's been given the comic license for the 'Suicide Squad'. Here bringing 'End Of Watch' actor Michael Pena along for the ride, who yet again shows he's more than the man who speaks for everybody about the scary scale of just a few men going against what seems like hundreds (see 'Gangster Squad'). And how about the crazy talent of the mad Jon Bernthal? Remember the guy that could sell you a pen in 'The Wolf Of Wall Street'? There's a lot of hands on deck here. Even Clint Eastwood's singing son Scott who honours the flag of his great directing father. Speaking of 'Letters From Iwo Jima', you can put 'Fury' next to this and the 'Monuments' best that show different sides of the battle of WW2. The real draws are the kids here though. 'Percy Jackson' and a Disney kid. What a revelation Logan Lerman is here, growing up on unfolding screen in more ways than one. If you thought 'The Perks Of Being A Wallflower' and 'Noah' put him on the map then this just may Google him to the Kodak Theatre. Just like Shia, who continues this transforming, 'Lawless' acting that is putting him in terrific, tear-jerking territory. Forget the cutting and non-bathing, method actor behaviour, here the man that hit big on 'Wall Street' showing 'Money Never Sleeps' is a measure and the standard of emotional brilliance. An emotional and physical film to the soul core of pain in itself, this is relentlessly violent in its teaching method, moral message. Clunking and clanking around in a tank, this film beats the living and spiritual shit out of you. The middle-aged Pitt may look the part amongst these young bucks, but aside his award worth acting, Logan and Shia's poignant and poised presence reminds us of something. The war took too many of our young and that's just one tragedy of all too many that is such an important thing to acknowledge here more than the bullets and brimstone leaving us furious. Even in the heat of battle in an all encompassing war, nobody ever really wins. But boy they should never lose our pride and honour. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Sunday, 19 October 2014
142 Minutes. Starring: Robert Downey Jnr, Robert Duvall, Vera Farmiga, Vincent D'Onofrio, Dax Shepard, Jeremy Strong & Billy Bob Thornton. Director: David Dobkin.
Judgement day! Okay Robert. Or should I address you as Downey? Or Mr. Jnr? It's time to face a jury of your peers. Or as they are otherwise known as, 'movie critics'. With your 'Due Date' in court, you're making your 'Sherlock Holmes' case (and I move to recess for another one of those) that you are more of an Academy Actor looking to bring order to the gold statues than just the man in the iron mask. Sure 'Iron Man' and this new superhero phase of 'Avengers' and Marvel in this 'Age Of Ultron' is more than just R.D.J's career calling card, it's his ace in the hole saviour. Plus with news only this week that he will be in the 'Captain America 3' sequel (or should we say 'Iron Man 4') in a superhero, comic-book turning page that will lead to a 'Civil War', it's clear that Stark has many more marks to come. Still more than Tony, more than Oscar, Downey wants to show you he's still a real actor inbetween the Happy, Favreau assisted 'Chef' cameos to tide us over. I mean have we forgotten how beautiful he played in 'The Soloist' with a duet with the electric, eclectic Jamie Foxx? This is a man who overcome the dark depths of a drug depression and added the real and the raw to his trademark, evergreen, no matter the light, cocksure charisma and charm. All this and still the juries out as critics want to judge, 'The Judge'!?
Objection! One that will not be overruled. This all seems ironic...it may just be ignorance. Sure even if this is more Oscar bait than material, we still get the hook. Script, line and sinker. This law and family disorder is more than just Robert popping up in 'Ally McBeal', playing piano, showing he can sing like his subtly strong solo album...yeah just like the Black Widow Scarlett Johansson's super singing career, you didn't know, did you? This is the realest thing he's done since walking barefoot around an empty house singing along to Elton John's 'I Want Love' better than Justin Timberlake did impersonated the star specs for 'This Train Don't Stop Here Anymore'. Right now in this science fiction, superhero age, following the red hot Summer blockbuster season of Marvel, Oscar season is going 'Interstellar' in full 'Fury' force. It has been ever since 'Amazing Amy' went missing and everyone blamed Batman like Harvey Dent was murdered again. Why are superheroes getting even more serious? From Wolverine getting his claws and chords into the 'Les Miserables' stage and even more Academy 'Prisoners' bars, to even another X-Men in co-star Jake Gylenhaal...oh wait...wrong 'Nightcrawler'. Still, even in this geek generation there's got to be more circumstance behind this pomp and the man who hides behind his cockiness is about to show more shades of himself than Grey. Staying forever young and successful like Dorian, Downey paints an almost perfect picture with this performance. Almost in the sense that this master of the poker face, finally wears his heart on his sleeve and shows us his vulnerabilities. He's only human...and what a quality that really is. Give him a hand, because he's played a great one. In 'The Judge', Downey is the greatest executioner. And the winner is...
Another Robert! Duvall perhaps. What more can we say about this iconic legend? What in another case would be a man heading for retirement is actually one sustained, reigniting that fire. In a league or lake of his own, sitting in his trademark fishing boat showing us more to tackle with like that minute and a half he proved he could sing in 'Crazy Heart'. Here playing a legendary judge, with more family fond integrity than Phillip Banks (Rest Peacefully James Avery) he's on trial for his life, but will he accept the counsel of his lawyer son Robert? A son who passed the bar but also the 'Welcome To Hoosier Country' sign as he left a fractured father son dynamic in the state of Indiana to the winds of big city change in Chicago. This deep drama is more than a simple story of family values or reflective metaphor. It's a yellow legal pad, by the book scripts of moral and mortality tales that brings a new firm to those law dramas of the past. Forget a gavel...this hits you like a jackhammer. If you cant handle this truth like the small town, small falls beauty of Carlinville, Indiana, then there's plenty more holding court. From strong, albeit almost stealing performances from Vera Farmiga an Vincent D'Onofrio. As well as a moving one from Jeremy Strong and a puking one from 'Punk'd's' Dax Shepard. If this wasn't enough your 'also starring, and' in this Dobkin directed piece leaves us with the great Billy Bob-Thornton. Clearly attending the same 'Darrow' law school as Kevin Spacey did for 'A Time To Kill' and having one swish metal drinking cup that he puts away with a slice to any opponents imaginations jugular, this man plays prosecution with conviction. Still, at the core of this courtroom drama is a father and son one that shows no matter how many disillusioned decades of ignorant pride and mislead and fired anger there can be a hope of resolution and redemption if things are worked on and through together. From toilets to tornados, dignity and desperation and for better or worse these two R's and Roberts, funny and forthright, work together for that gold. The verdict? Sure this film is guilty of appealing to this Oscars like this article is to cliches, but its still all genuine. Amongst all the hate it's that heart that matters. Some stories are just as simple and soulful as that. No further question your honour. The defence rests. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Monday, 13 October 2014
By TIM DAVID HARVEY
Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight? Well, then you'll know what we're talking about! That infamous night of tragedy for one family, but not just any old family. The billionaires taking a walk down the wrong alley after the final curtain call from an opera show. But in this moment the fat lady was about to sing for them like a shot out of a revolver, screaming like a siren of the blue and red emergency services in response. You've heard about this story like you've seen it all before. Again and again like Peter Parker and Uncle Ben, but you can't change it. Just live it over. Scary isn't it? Like that wrong turn on that cold and strange feeling night where you just knew something wasn't right. Steam rises from the cities grids like smoke from a fire about to rise. Brimstone is in the air. There's a chill that runs down your spine. It almost feels like Winter, but its only another dark night because its after hours. A man approaches a man, wife and son as they head for the welcoming lights of a busy, public street. Their sweet escape, no doubt. Yet after the wife clutches tighter for her husbands arm like it was getting even colder the shadowy figure cuts them off. He's scary, desperate. Like a drifting street thug from no home to corner. Looking almost like he's wearing make-up, or even half a face. It depends all on how you tell it. He's after the usual stranger, late night exchange. The time...right off your wrist. Your spare change...and the rest of the money you own in that wallet and of course those pearls. SNATCHED! As they break and fall into nothing so do two bodies as husband and wife become concrete as two shots ring out and only the stranger stands. Before he runs past the kneeling boy who screams into this dark night. Screaming until the sirens appear and a young detective rushes out of his police cruiser and puts his coat around the little boys shoulders. Flashing his badge as the boy reads two things, "Gotham" and "Gordon" the cop tells the boy its going to be ok and asks his name. Through shivering cold and fear the boy replies, "Bruce...Bruce Wayne".
You may know him...as the Batman. The Dark Knight, the Caped Crusader, Bats. The superhero president of D.C. in the face of the Avenging Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, the Incredible Hulk and everything else to Marvel at. The t-shirt worn and paraded around by everybody, every second street. No matter their age, race, culture, country. Worn as a solidarity symbol like he's actually a hero of this modern worlds generation as kids run around with his toy. Well he sort of is....and he's been doing this since the last year of the 1930's. He's Adam West, Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Christian Bale and Ben Affleck. He's Dick Tracy, Sherlock Holmes, James Bond. He's Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and Prince with the 'Partyman' theme. He's Michael Jordan and Babe Ruth. Heck he's even Superman to most people. Forget the Man Of Steel versus the Dark Knight. In this 'Dawn Of Justice ' we already knew who won the war the first time we saw that Easter egg of a teasing poster in a derelict, moss covered Times Square in Will Smith's 'I Am Legend'. He's the superhero with money as his power, with bucks in reserve. Like his kevlar, stealth and martial arts training. Still he's not the spoilt, little brat...even if you want him to be. His only entitlement is to use his "power" for the greater good. You know what they say, with great amounts of money comes great responsibility. Forgot super speed, X-Ray vision, a ring, or the ability to talk to the fishes like Dr. Doolittle had trouble with the Mafia, this guys got all the cash collateral to save the day through all the tech and gadgets. Tony Stark's Iron Man even knows this. He's even got his Alfred butler in the form of the pre-computer voiced Jarvis. Now tell me what came first, the bat or the tin-can?
My moneys on Batman. He's still my favourite superhero. Heck isn't he eveybody's? No power, just an everday, everyman...with a trust fund. Right now in this comic-book, superhero saga and geek generation ahead of the 'Ultron' sequel it really is the age of the Avengers and Marvel in their Phase Infinity. From their Captain America leading team to the X-Men academy and Fantastic Four family they really are a formidable franchise of formidable franchises. This is before we even begin to mention the likes of Deadpool, Daredevil, Blade and the Punisher. Lets not forget that young high school kid that likes to take photos and go all over the web too. With all due respect to Clark Kent, Green Lantern and the Flash, Marvel have the best heroes...except for one. D.C. on the other hand have all the best villains (sorry Loki), they're just all in Batman (sorry Lex) and his gallery of rogues. From the brutality of Bane to the questions of the Riddler, the cat, someone who you'd put in your field to protect your crops, the guy who shifts from good to bad, dark to light in a flip of a coin, to the guy with the umbrella that waddles funny and the clown who has the last laugh. No wonder Gotham is the worlds most dangerous city, no matter how fictional it is. No wonder the detective of detective comics has been doing this for almost 100 years. The century of the caped crusader hasn't just been about battling with the baddest bad guys. It's also been spent fighting his own inner demons.
CRASH! BANG! WALLOP!! Ever since Bob Kane and Bill Finger sketched down the 'Worlds Greatest Detective' they always knew there was going to be more. More incarnations and redesigns, but here's betting they didn't think it was going to be quite like this. From all the black and white, light and dark, Master Wayne has come in many forms. From the camp Caped Crusader to the devilishly Dark Knight. From news stands to consoles...and for the most part, they have all been as hero worshipped as the original icon himself in his legendary legacy. You may remember the 'Bat Touche'. Even if you want to forget the 'Bat Card'. Always leave home without it! So those thinking the latest in the Knighthood line isn't worth his sword should realise that superhero films are becoming like comic-book libraries. There's so many of them that this collection is now a catalogue and as you reach in your coral of comics you'll always find a dynamically different darked crusader of the cape and cowl...so why not the same for cinema? After the 'Bat-Man' made his 1940 solo debut, kids and kidults alike where being entertained by his herosism on a weekly basis and it still lasts today in this ass-kicking age. Still these captivating cells of movable action, also like any great responsibility powerful hero had a moral message behind it. This writer was recentely brought a Batman comic by his girlfriend from the year he was born (forget a newspaper, now THAT is a true love, romantic present (oh and it was from July 20th, 1985...I know, I'm old)) and it was all about Batman saving a tree. You forgot he was the original billionaire, playboy philanthropist right?
CRASH! KAPOW! SOCK?! Twenty years after sandwich boy kids saved all their pennies to read all about it, they ran home as quickly as they could to watch it on their television sets as Batman had made it to a household name. Back then Adam West really was a family guy and quite possibly the campest thing next to his Robin sidekick, Burt Ward's extremely short shorts. Back then compared to this NBA players looked like they where wearing Hammer pants. We see you John Stockton to Allen Iverson. Holy tongue in innuendo inducing cheek Batman! What was this? Chasing after a phone flashing bright red phone protected by a cake dome and sliding down firemans poles. This was so gay...and yet so great. We mean happy too as this laugh a minute look at the darkest hero not taking himself too seriously was a good, clean fun classic and it turned West into an icon for more than being the first ever, "real" Batman. He managed to keep a straight face through it all too even though he never took himself too seriously. Through having explosive shark repellent, spray rack handy, to running round with a Willie Coyote ACME bomb above his head and not having a place on the beach and boardwalk between all the sunbathers and fish to throw it. It may have only run for two years, but twice weekly and into 120 episodes like it was the only thing on the box it still lasts to today. With its eat your greens, drink your milk and wear your seatbelt life lessons to the theme music this was just awesome fun and with some 'BOOM' and 'BANG' ahead of its time fight scenes. 'POW', 'ZONK'! Na, na, na, na, naa!
Batman was in need of taking his row of tents back to his darker roots however. A different bat-time and a different bat-channel needed to be tuned into. The legendary likes of Frank Miller and Alan Moore in the eighties tapped into this aesthetic with classic comic-book graphic novels like 'The Dark Knight Returns' and 'The Killing Joke' respectively. Two brilliant books that still today remain as popular and sought after as the modern movie inspired by them too. From your standard comic strip to some of the amazing artwork you've ever seen painted and created on cell canvas there are even more spin-offs and side projects to keep this cape flying through the darkest knight. From the 'Black and White' looks of kids cartoons to some of the harshest pencil lines ever scrawled into scribe their is a vast array and epic, eclectic mix of a celebration of the characters captivating creations. Just look at the Japanese juxtaposition of the brilliant 'BatManga' that reads backwards, in more ways than one for example. The series mixes classic camp Batman and Robin with some inventive villains that you can't find portrayed in the Rouges Gallery, but appear to have their own unique, supernatural side. Until our caped detective brings their reality to light. Sherlock Holmes like, elementary my dear! From the comics to the cartoons, children and readers today still get the chance to keep their weekly wonder of the Caped Crusader going at a Batsignal to the sky alert! The comics also offer something most mainstream movies cant. Everything from making otherwise conflicting characters like Poison Ivy and Mr. Freeze look convincingly cool to exploring some character roots that are too dark for the P.G.-13 route. Just like Harvey Dent returning to his Two-Faced alter-ego via acid and a scalpel. Ouch Hollywood! Some of the most vivid and captivating comics capture the crusader like the Gotham P.D. never could and bring to life this man and his Metropolis in a way that even Frank Miller's classic 'Sin City' couldn't on its movie-making and changing cinema screens. Now this my dames, is a hero to kill for. Even if he isn't the hero we deserve. Don't worry though, he can take it.
Just look at his movie career. It's had more ups and downs than Mel Gibson's, but this lethal weapon with a braveheart is anything but expendable. They may take his pride, but they'll never take his...yeah you know the rest. After the original Robert Lowrey 1940's serials where a little more serious than the series that came after, Batman needed an even darker route to the dirty streets of Hollywood. They had no idea how dark it would eventually get, but before that the 'Sleepy Hollow' scissorhands of darkest director Tim Burton where perfect in bringing the wings of the Bat to life. Only this week 'Birdman' superhero Michael Keaton may have been reported as saying he has, "zero interest in Batman", but as classic cool and controversial as the time he called Michael Jordan's first game out of retirement at Madison Square Garden on live BBC as "f###### boring", this guy better say Bruce Wayne's name three times like Beetlejuice. Batman, Batman, BATMAN! He's the original big name, big town one in a graphically vivid Gotham that was brought to it's undead life. With love to Adam, many consider Michael the man and the original Batman, even if he did take second billing to two legends, Jack Nicholson and his Joker. A character that proves sometimes the bad guy is the best and even more popular than the iconic hero, which has been Batman's Joker's calling card across comics and movies for almost a century. Back then Nicholson was considered the original Joker as it was criminal to believe anyone else could don his purple suit and clown smile, aside perhaps the man that made it rain purple like a Laker win. You're laughing too right? And I thought my jokes where bad!
'Batman' had everything the fans wanted...even a full, soundtrack album from THE artist himself Prince! And you thought R. Kelly's 'Gotham City', Seal's 'Kiss From A Rose' and U2's 'Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me' where great huh?! It was only right Batman and Burton returned...for erm 'Batman Returns' and when the legendary Mr. Strange Christopher Walken is a villain that gets dispatched in the first act, you know this sequel is worthy of a third. Anyone who thought Nicholson was the only Joker didn't know Jack, (or should we say Heath) but right now aside from the 'Gotham' origins could you see anyone but Danny Devito waddling the waddle of the Penguin (despite Empire's Phillip Seymour Hoffman prediction which sadly now will never come to light)? Forget the classic 'Roxanne'-nosed, suit wearing comic character, Devito really was a penguin riding round in a rubber duck that looked like it belonged in the Hulk's bath. Arguably this funniest mans greatest role. No wonder Warner Brothers once considered Steve Carrell and the late, great Robin Williams for the new millennium Joker the rate comedy actors can reach deeper and darker, amazing acting depths. Danny wasn't the only problem for the Boy Wonders boss however. Michelle Phiffer's turn-leather suit classic Catwoman character was as super as it was sexy. The storm of Halle Berry may have almost ruined the character, but at the top of her career and game, Michelle made the cat purr...her way. Selina Kyle was a formidable feline and with the cat and the top hat, Batman had more stories to deal with at night than Dr. Seuss.
'Batman Forever'! That was the idea when the golden era of 90's movie became the big and bold blockbuster one. In the 1995 midpoint of this decade too, director Joel Schumacher put the pedal to the metal like his Michael second-namesake to make the mainstream movie as 90's and action hero as Schwarzenegger (watch this space) and Stallone. Riddle me this, riddle me that! Who's afraid of the big, black bat? With Keaton gone like Burton's Bat tombstone, it was a case of "whose your huckleberry" as the Joker like pouting of Doc Holliday went from the Wild West to the Adam one. Val Kilmer was the new Bruce Wayne, with the chisel, chin and cold demeanour to don the cape and cowl. With Chris O'Donnell and those plastic pecs by his Robin muscle-breasted side this D.C. Universe was expanding too. From the gadgets to the grandiose it was clear this was getting bigger and bolder...but better? Only time and the ridiculousness of Alicia Silverstone's Batgirl could tell. As asked for and appreciative as this Alfred like alliance was its clear people preferred it when the man in bat worked alone. Thank comic-book God's for the darkly camped up bad guys and the legends of the 90's though. Runaway 'Fugitive' legend Tommy Lee Jones' Two-Face entrance was good, but Jim Carrey's Riddler one was better...no question. Both seemed born to play their roles and don that crazy, twin tailored suit and Lantern envious green, showing a little too 'Borat' much spandex. Before a new young and impressing, Harvey Dent lawyer and the rumours of everyone from Leonardo DiCaprio to Eminem walking with the Riddlers cane their was nothing like this devilishly good double act. Even when things got silly it still got super and even a Scrooge McDuck rain of coins bringing the end to the dime flipping one of Dent was called perfectly. With all this paying off in box office receipts and Academy appreciation what could possibly go wrong?
After what seemed like 100 cheesy one-liners, and Arnold Schwarzenegger freezing and busting through a wall in escape, only to poke his head back through the hole, nodding and grinning for your approval whilst saying; "chill"! That! THAT! Motherf###### that was what could go wrong. What killed Batman? The ice age! The same thing that killed the Dinosaurs made the Bat extinct and it all came cheesily confirmed from Schwarzenegger. There's more freeze ridicule here than the amount of cold themed villains D.C. actually have as 'Robot Chicken' hilariously dead-pans in a sketch where all the freeze villains don't check their cold, calculated calenders as they attack the same place on the same day. Hey Arnold! What the hell was this! What a way to ruin two of America's favourite superheros careers in one cold front sweep. No wonder you ran for office. You ran from Hollywood. I mean we love you but this heavy duty suit almost killed you. It gave you a heart attack and this film could have even gave Michael Bay a migraine. George Clooney has since apologised for this 'Batman & Robin', thank God his Academy career accepted that mistake. On paper this looked great, the suave Clooney as Bruce Wayne and Arnie as Batman's ultimate foe. Who knew this would be all too true. By George did you see the Batsuits he brought with that damn Batcard? Schumacher ran this one off the road. Even Adam West wouldn't do this camp s###! Even Chris O'Donnell and Alicia Silverstone could do better. Clueless? Did you see how they de-iced a frozen Robin? Riddle me that! Sure Uma Thurman was the perfect choice for Poison Ivy in this pulp fiction but they even killed that one Bill! Thank God for that Smashing Pumpkins song that ended up beginning the dark phase of the 'Watchmen'. I remember as a kid my mum punished me for some unruly behaviour by grounding me and not allowing me to see this movie. This boy wonder was devastated. Holy staying in doors Batman! Little did I know she was right. She WAS doing me a favour. For a fun laugh I'd love to watch this today and see if it still holds up, but I'm not sure if it even qualifies for the 'it's so bad, it's good theory'. I'm the biggest Clooney and Batman fan that will put up with anything, but this!?! Then again we may have this film and everyone involved to thank, owing it a debt of gratitude for what it and its extended hiatus resulted in years after. The ultimate reboot in the redux age. So for that Schumacher, Clooney and Arnie we salute you. Maybe we all just need to, "cool down" in our best Austrian accent! OR MAYBE HELL NO NOT! THAT MOVIE ALMOST RUINED ALL OUR COLLECTIVE CHILDHOODS LIKE THE 'TURTLES' AND 'TRANSFORMERS'! OK...OK, I'll chill out...wait, what?! Damn!
In the new millennium it was time for a new beginning! Forget Alfred of Commissioner Gordon, although the British intelligence of Michael Caine and Garry Oldham redefined and made these characters like Morgan Freeman's Lucius Fox in an 'Inception'/'Interstellar' intergalactic inspired party of cast members. Batman's greatest ally may just be director Christopher Nolan who showed the 'Dark Knight' would return like Frank Miller promised. With 'Batman Begins' this man brought the darkness of night back to the light of a Hollywood day with a film that is now the manufactured model, carbon copy for almost every action and/or superhero flick that is following in more ways than one. As soon as that monorail soared into the grand metropolis of the new Gotham City, by way of a gothic, Chicago portrayal you knew this was going to be epically special. Especially with Wayne Manor being given an old English face-lift and the classic Batmobile a tumbler tumble for the new internet, digital, social media news cycle age. Everything came in black. Even new, previously un-unleashed villains came to legacy making light. Liam Neeson's Ra's al Ghul and Cillian Murphy's Scarecrow being the sinister shape of things to come. Then of course there was Master Wayne himself and as a boss Bruce like Springsteen, the American superhero dream was redefined in Brit 'American Psycho' Christian Bale, who after all the Keaton's, Kilmer's and Clooney's proved to be the perfect cave man for the Batsuit. From the underground lair to the signal in the skies, this was all done with dark depth and raw realism. It just worked...perfect, cinematic wonders. Then if you thought it couldn't get any better at the end of the film Gordon handed Batman the evidence bag of a new crazed criminal in towns calling card. Batman turned it around. It was a playing one. A Joker card! Every hair on ever neck of everybody stood still. They where about to do it!
How about a magic trick? Forget for a second how great Christopher and Christian made 'Batman'. Forget about Maggie replacing Katie for Rachel. Forget even how realistically raw and terrificly, terrifyingly talented Aaron Eckhart's Harvey Dent metamorphosis into Two-Face was. Forget another scintillating, superior score from classic composer Hans Zimmer. Forget the brilliant bank job that classics like 'Dog Day Afternoon' with more Pacino and De Niro 'Heat' could only dream of. Forget the Mann Michael's 'Collateral' damage action and tension inspirations. Forget about 'The Dark Knight' gliding around an IMAX Hong Kong dawn like Superman. Forget about this being the best childhood reliving, inspiring film that reminds you of why you fell in love with big budget cinema and formidable filmmaking since the dinosaurs ruled the blockbuster earth in 'Jurassic Park'. Forget the fact that this writer saw this film almost 20 times at cinema and never got bored for one scene, still eagerly anticipating Christmas for the DVD release. Forget the fact that I was dating a girl who worked at a cinema at the time probably being the reason. Forget the hype, because even with all the big buzz around every superhero film that comes out, especially in this 'Winter Soldier', 'Amazing Spider-Man', 'Days Of Future Past' and 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' year of Marvel nothing....NOTHING compared to this! Forget all the hate. The message board that would have been a Twitter hate-crime today abuse that came with the casting. Forget all the 'How dare he's' and 'Jack Nicholson is the only Joker'. Affleck take inspired note. It was all erased in an internet refreshed in a social media cycle when they first heard that voice on that trailer. "Starting tonight people are going to die...I'm a man of my woooord"! Then they saw that face.
"Goood evening Commissioneeeer?! Self-applied clowns make-up, covering self or abuse harmed scars like war paint. In artistic blotches like the bleached, slicked back gangrene hair. All in an off-purple suit carrying nothing but knives and lint! Why so serious? Heath Ledger is the Joker with the last, "hee, ha, hoo, haar" laugh in a legacy that will last and last in his name. We wish the tragically late and great actor-who died shortly after filming-was still here for his family and not our entertainments sake. Even if another 'Dark Knight' duel with Nolan and Bale was really what every wanted for the trilogies epic conclusion. Still Ledger's Academy certified, posthumous Oscar winning supporting, villain role (and the first time someone playing an already so deeply and diversely established character of an entertainment franchise to win) made more than just pencils disappear. The anarchist agent of chaos showed us it was not about money, sending us all a message as Nolan let his clown out the box. It was almost beautiful but all too sadly poignant when the Joker made his escape exit, by hanging his head out the back of a cop car in an iconic and classic moment of madness. Still the cult and cinema fans wanted more. This may be about Batman, but like we are all nothing without breaks us down and makes us. Completing him like 'Jerry Maguire' in an inspired interrogation of law and disorder, what is Batman without the Joker? And who is the Joker without Heath Ledger? Even if we didn't really get to find out how he got those scars. It's almost too tragically bitter that one of Ledger's Joker's last lines to Bale's Batman were, "I feel like you and I will be doing this forever". If only and somewhere in heavens fondest memories. We still miss you Heath. Never forget!
It was going to take a hell of a lot to follow something and someone who could never be replaced for 'The Dark Knight Rises'. So how about the brute force of the muscle bound Bane? Played boldly and brilliantly by an almost completely unrecognisable Tom Hardy, in 'Bronson' shape and form, who had his own hijacking opening scene on board an aircraft as this franchise soared to new special effects heights. If the Joker's mad mind beat Batman up psychologically, then his next foe needed to beat him down physically to really matter and Bane did that brutally beautifully in a back breaking moment that is the trilogies most forceful and formidable fight scene. Marion Collitard joined Hardy in Nolan's 'Inception' cast after party but it was Anne Hathaway who proved to be the real heroine (sort of) overcoming some initial Ledger like Joker hate from fans to show she had the cat ears (and suit...my word) to bring Selina Kyle back. A moment where she escapes both the criminals and the cops physically and creatively in a bar is truly inspired. Cat got your tongue? In a movie past the Dark Knight peak and trying to one-up the last in 'Baying' everything up there was some faults with these stars, but on the whole this conclusion was an epic, big one it deserved. Even if it did remind you a little of Adam West running around with that big fused bomb. Picture this as a better ending, Batman fights Bane on a rooftop in front of all the cops and criminals below, holds him up and breaks HIS back, breaking HIM along with the spirits of the thugs being defeated by Gothams finest below. Happy?! From even bigger bats to rocking stadiums and shutting down cities this was something else entirely. Still hit replay on 'Record' star Joseph Gordon-Levitt and you'll see more from this Flash Gordon. In a movie of 'Inception' stars (minus only DiCaprio's rumoured Riddler) and show stealers the man who did exactly that to Nolan's last did that here too. Levitt's beat cop John Blake was the new Jim Gordon this city deserved full of a rising fire inside of hope and integrity to do the right thing. Even throwing his badge into the Gotham river in the end he wanted to follow in Batman's law assisting but not always abiding principles and as he picked up some of Bruce Wayne's handed down things his government name was revealed, perfectly and classically. His name being 'Robin' as this Nightwing looked to take the place of the end of the Dark Knight. A trilogy that some see right there with the greatest, 'Lord Of The Rings', 'Star Wars' and 'Godfather' ones.
Still, it's on you now Ben! Still not before another prequel for a true origins story between D.C's 'Green Arrow' and 'Flash' T.V. series' as 'Gotham' airs now, going to battle with Marvel's 'Agent Of S.H.I.E.L.D.' and forthcoming 'Daredevil' and 'Agent Carter' in the battle of the small screen. The perfect show for fans of cop ones and Batman (holds up hand) takes us back to Bruce Wayne's childhood before Batman, and you thought you where tired of seeing Spider-Man's Uncle Ben die (holds hand up, stretched put even further like a teacher ignoring). Starring Ben McKenzie in the lead role as young, beat cop Jim Gordon (before the commission) and Will Smith's wife Jada Pinkett and a young Bruce with a big coat on his shoulders this is set to be bigger than you think. A nice, fitting origin, spin-off story that see's the city of Gotham fall with no heroes to the dark desperation that made it necessary for a new detective to step in, despite cop Gordon's valiant by the book work. Sticking to the script we also get to see a young Catwoman, Poison Ivy, Riddler and Penguin before the accidents and/or incidents that made them truly evil and the villains they are known for in fond fiction today. It's a concept that is as interesting as it is inspiring and with a powerful pilot hoping to give wings to more seasons, this fall the first Batman series since West and Ward could be this franchise of eclectic incarnations ace in the hole and who knows what could happen if Jim Gordon's desk is presented with a Joker card. Right now we'd settle for a young Harvey Dent in law school for the second serial before he revealed both his faces of lawful truth and court conflict disorder. Still with all due honour to Heath and the respectful leaving alone of his character, one day and in one way or another the fans will and need to see the Joker again. Maybe in a different light-hearted dark. Like the spiky, skinny, traditional British villain in the 'Arkham' video games as portrayed by Mark Hamill. Star Wars' own Luke Skywalker of all people.
The rise of video games over television and movies as a prime, not primitive form of storytelling and fan interactive entertainment is an interesting and influential future concept in itself too. A different and even darker and cooler side of the Bat itself, the 'Arkham' video game series is so playability perfect and graphically great that cult fans even make 3 hour Youtube video movies out of their cut-away footage. Just look at the Deathstroke 'Arkham Origins' trailer. Who cares about the darned 'Not Actual In-Game Footage' small-print disclaimer. If the next Batman film looked like this for the video-game, rich like '300' graphics of its director, Zac Snyder would have no problem following in the hot seat that's back read, 'Nolan'. From joystick thumbing and tapping, hand-to-hand combat fight scenes to a Gotham and its side-street corner, side-stories these computer generated imaged look the part more than anything else and the scripts are as well wrote as the matrix layers of code. Just look at an image of the Dark Knight perched like a Gargoyle on the edge of a skyscraper soaked to the cowl in a rain harder than Christian Slater and Morgan Freeman. How has a movie not captured a mesmerizing and monumental moment on screen like this...yet?! Forget Hollywood, every consoled household knows that Batman exists in many forms that can lay claim to be the best. Just like the opening childhood debate of the 'Batman Begins' sister and spiritual sequel in the animated 'Gotham Knight' and all the pulp fiction like separate stories that follow. From robots to ghoulish creatures the knight of Gotham, Batman could be anything. Even a popular LEGO character.
Even Ben Affleck. Even a formerly Marvel derided 'Daredevil' (that was a lot better than people like to admit) speaking of small-screen series. Even a man that came back to Academy favour and told ever critic to 'Argo' f### themselves and is about to do it again. Even a man that actually turned down Snyder's directing job for 'Man Of Steel' because he felt he had a lack of special effects experience, only to be picked up by Zac for the sequels biggest attraction. Even a man that has already played Superman himself and donned that suit. Albeit with a false nose and albeit by portraying George Reeves in 'Hollywoodland'. Even a hero of heroes who has more to him that you think. Even what some have dubbed as the most hated man in America, from his internet trolling that made Ledger's look lame to being the prime suspect in his wifes murder in his role in the new media movie storm that is 'Gone Girl'. Still he too can prove everybody wrong. From it's first look it seems that paying heed to what your hearing can really be the appearance that is truly deceiving. Ladies you don't need a shower scene and a wide lens in his latest movie to see this man has the bulked up body to play the brute Bruce Batman we see in the comics. Plus the classic cowl and off-grey suit that mixes and matches the comics and the last incarnation of the 'Dark Knight' that is widely, favourable received as the best, this could be the perfect potion to take this avenging superhero back to power over Marvel's most wanted. Forget the 'Age Of Ultron', this is the age of 'Batfleck' for better or worse with no Matt Damon Robin. An amazing actor that has shown action ability in 'The Town' is about to take Gotham by storm battling both critical hate and the most powerful hero in the world in 'Batman vs Superman-Dawn Of Justice' while Wonder Woman and the rest of the Justice League will come to assembling alliance in a league of their own. The Flash, Green Lantern, Cyborg and Aquaman look to have some epic company in the concrete form of a Superman battling suit as seen in the teaser trailer at a convinced comic-con and in the amazing Frank Miller animation 'The Dark Knight Returns' which is as much a part of the Wayne's latest legacy as Nolan's age is. It all looks so damn good and those missing Christopher and Christian Bale will see a new day and maybe one day like 'The Dark Knight Returns', an old Batman decades later, out of retirement and reunited with his cape and cowl. Bale would be old and Hollywood weathered enough to do that in a couple of decades around 2040. There's your signal under the pale moonlight. Now that would be a way to mark a century. Now after 100 years, THAT would be a Batman.