Wednesday, 19 February 2014
SURPRISE! That movie with Superman and Batman that you've been waiting for ever since that 'I Am Legend' poster and that announcement is out NOW! Except here to the joy of some on this internet Bats is no longer being played by Ben Affleck, but Will Arnett of all people and to go with that high-school girls favourite Channing Tatum is taking Supermans cape. Wonder Woman and the Green Lantern are in it too. As are-believe it or not-Han Solo and C3P0 and erm...some NBA players, the legend of Ron Burgundy and even William Shakespeare and Abraham Lincoln for crying out loud. You must be dreaming right? No, but this is kind of trippy...especially in 3.D. This is the ultimate movie mash-up since the Avengers assembled (it'd be perfect here to see them alongside D.C. characters, but they cant get their own Spiderman, Wolverine rights together) and this is something you've truly never seen before. This is the best thing to happen to your childhood and your kids toys coming to life since Woody and Buzz's 'Toy Story' birthed a new generation of C.G. films that look great for kids and make laughs for parents. A digital age of greats like the 'Shrek', 'Monsters Inc' and 'Despicable Me' series'. Fresh off the princesses' of 'Frozen's icing over of the winter box-office and just in time for the kids holidays comes a true 'blocks'-buster in 'The Lego Movie' that's so funny it'll leave you in bits and pieces. With plenty of die-hard collectors in-jokes and generation lessons learnt (I thought school was out) to keep you playing and piecing together those old blocks. The only people who'll be left upset here are Playmobile.
Under construction this film sticks to the instructions and gives us a hallmark coming-of-age kids story seen by the charcaters they and generations before have adored. It's crazy to believe that the legendary Danish company 'Lego' has produced more Lego men than there are actually people populating this earth. Crazy isn't it? Now that's true world domination. That's not even counting the bricks. You could build even more houses and cities for people with all those left over pieces. Lego can count on even more fans and sales joining this yellow brick road after this one however as this movie looks set to unite old fans and new alike. The building blocks of this epic kids movie see a construction worker called Emmett (played nicely by 'Parks & Recreation' and 'Moneyball's Chris Pratt, who you can see in the last best film to capture kids vivid imaginations upcoming sequel 'Jurassic World') learn that he's no ordinary guy, but in fact the "chosen one" like 'The Matrix's' Neo. His Trinity comes in the form of the Wyldstyle pink and blue hair, with a shade of cool black attired Elizabeth Banks who adds a great voice credit to her growing career resume. With great chemistry between the two leading pieces, even with Lego's limited facial expressions we have something truly special here and the makings of some popular new characters and film series. You can expect these two new additions to the brick house being amongst the top-sellers in the classic Lego world and under this years Christmas tree.
The same goes for Morgan Freeman's 'Almighty' God-like wizard Vitruvius who the legend lends his trademark documentary ready voice to, giving one of his funniest and best studio-soundbites to the booth of his baritone work. The devilishly evil Lord Business and his Bricksburg building stilt legs and fire horns make for the perfect villain as does the voice of formidable funnyman Will Ferrell. Fresh off his continuing comedy legend in 'Anchorman 2' and with a trident throw to his devil sketch 'Saturday Night Live' days, Ferrell adds more than just his blockbuster name, but his hilarious talking tricks of the tickling trade too. If that wasn't enough the man that's in everything Liam Neeson, plays a good cop and a bad cop and his father perfectly hilariously. Showing both sides of the 'Exorcist' swiveling head personality and the rib-rubbing range of his Irish accent to a tee-hee-he. Will Arnett's classic, black Bat, Bale gruff voiced impression is hilarious too for the most hilarious Batman since George Clooney, while Charlie Day's crazy classic voice is perfect for that 1980s space astronaut guy we all will be for once proudly old enough to admit we remember. Add new comedy great Nick Offerman's blundering 'Bionicle' like pirate to this Carribean and Alsion Brie's unicorn/anime hybrid for fictional fans all over the world and you have truly the most random toy chest of figures that you'll love to play with thanks to the true master builders of directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller.
If you're screaming "MOM, DAD, I WANT MORE!" Then you've got it. Thanks to the hilarious '21 Jump Street' pairing of Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill fitting together some hilarious Superman and Green Lantern cameos (if only we could see Aquaman too) before their '22 Jump' sequel. After all the Jaimie Alexander/Gal Gadot hype Cobie Smulders is Wonder Woman, as the S.H.I.E.L.D. 'Avengers' agent is the latest Affleck 'Daredevil' superstar to switch superheroes and comic companies. Add some 'real' cameos and even some fellow animated 'Robot Chicken' ones to 'Magubers' Will Forte's Lincoln going for Daniel Day-Lewis Oscar, these pieces of great are all classic all the way down to the casting of Dave Franco for theis all-brick all-star affair. Speaking of which NBA fans will actually be pleased to see the 'Steel', Los Angeles Lakers superstar Shaquille O'Neal back in movies. KAZAAM! This is just how clever and crafted this movie is. With Lego versions of your favourite adverts, movie-posters and much more themed, hyped build-up before too this Legoland is a perfect set-up event for these small-parts on the big-screen. Sarcasm, satire and seriously funny one-liners are on the manual for adults while a bricks and more bricks spectacle of building action set-pieces and dimensonal effects will keep the kids locked into their seats. So STOP! This colourful, pop-culture animation is amazing and as collectible rememberable in all these popular kids movies like the annoyingly catchy theme song. 'Everything Is Awesome' indeed, now...'Where Are My Pants'? TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Tuesday, 18 February 2014
Oceans 2014, circa 1943. We've traded enough war stories over the years already without talking about art. So after taking the house in Las Vegas it's time for George Clooney and Matt Damon to team up once again-minus Brad Pitt and a few more 'Oceans'-and give something back. Still, don't expect these two who are as thick as thieves to not have some sticky hands on deck. Playing 'Robin Hood' they're tasked with stealing the art that Hitler and the Nazi's stole from the gallery culture rich European countries they invaded and occupied in World War II before returning them to their rightful owners. The 'Three Kings' Gulf veteran has a few more aces up his sleeve with two of the best tricks of the trade in legends Bill Murray and John Goodman, along with a french 'Artist', a 'Good German', some old friends and one monumental cast-list that makes this no old 'Dads Army' but a saving of the private collection of the greats from Da Vinci to Picasso. Who do you think you are kidding Mr. Hitler, based on the 'The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History' book by Robert M. Edsel this is a 'Memphis Belle' of more simple, sweet and sincere films of a dark, dangerous and disturbing time with hallmark heart, wonderful warmth and even some divine comedy.
After his modern warfare call of duty team-up with Matt Damon in 'Syriana' and the aforementioned war faring films, Clooney is truly a veteran in this game. The modern day Cary Grant-who began his internship in the great American drama television series that started the great American drama televison series' trend 'E.R.'-has many leading man classics people forget even recently from 'Up In The Air' to 'The American', 'Michael Clayton' to 'The Ides Of March' and 'The Descendants' to of course the great and grand, Oscar bound 'Gravity'. As a director the likes of the historical television texture of the nostalgic newsroom 'Good Night And Good Luck' and the good ole days feel of the quaint and quirky 'Leatherheads' joins his epic acting and production credits to form a formidable filmography. He takes it back once again with the straight-forward, back-to-basics brilliant shooting of this film of it's time that feels of its type. Incredible direction is met in the middle by an even more inspired way to lead in more ways than one. Subtlety but strongly Clooney arms himself with a moustache and trademark mannerisms and gives one of the best performances of his career that will be remembered like it's 60 years in the making story decades later as an old classic of this legends lasting legacy.
His top recruit 'Private Ryan' is building quite the career catalogue too. One of Hollywood's most marketable men is also one of its most underrated and versatile. If you disagree just check out 'Bourne' and 'Good Will Hunting' star Matt Damon's call to arms in movies like western classic remake of a classic 'True Grit' and one of last years best and legendary underground blockbusters 'Elysium'. From 'The Talented Mr. Ripley' to 'The Adjusment Bureau' and 'The Departed' to 'Invictus' this leading, leading man has more classic credits to his Hollywood bright lights name than most critics would care to think to write. 'Contagion', 'We Bought A Zoo', 'Behind the Candelabra' and Christopher Nolan's forthcoming 'Interstellar' will beg to differ. Here from army fatigues to a badge of medals suit of honour, Damon has never looked better. From Paris to the front-line you can count on some scenes being the picture perfect look for his career resume portfolio and as for the inside job behind the look, it's more than just a great act. Just like Clooney and of course their friend Brad Pitt, Damon is still as strangely underrated as he is greatly the makings of something legendary. Perhaps its just the way of the modern day but in this war drama there are some real screen soldiers to see in a casting call as epic as the task in picture. These days actresses don't get their just deserves or awards until they reach Helen Mirren and Judi Dench status and age, but you best believe that Bafta winner and best tribute speech to Phillip Seymour Hoffman Cate Blanchett is quite possibly the best their is. Fresh off her Oscar ready 'Blue Jasmine' and previous wars fought with Clooney the chameleon, Australian actress shows she can play any age and stage.
Thursday, 13 February 2014
116 Minutes. Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto & Jennifer Garner. Director: Jean-Marc Vallée.
Who shot D.B.C.? A French, Canadian, 'C.R.A.Z.Y.' director called Jean-Marc Vallée whose about to find a lasting home in Hollywood with this Texas range rodeo through the lone state. The real question however is just who the hell does Matthew McConaughey (or musician Jared Leto for that matter) think he is? 'The Lincoln Lawyer'? 'Killer Joe'? He's certainly not a guy living in the 'Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past' skeleton in the romantic comedies haunted closet past even if Jennifer Garner is back with him. Who is this guy? Is he a cameo making mentor of Leonardo DiCaprio's 'The Wolf Of Wall Street'? Or even a serious 'True Detective' alongside Woody Harrelson? Here however he seems to be a Southern drawled and drawn out cowboy who suffers from AIDS, shifting Christian Bale 'Machinist' weight at an opposite 'Raging Bull' rate to trade his trademark muscles for a moustache and career rookie mistakes for a veteran seasoned Oscar. Gaunt but great, bold, brutal and yet beautiful, this is brilliant. Turning a $5 million budgeted film to 23 mill and counting at the box-office, all the while selling pharmaceutical intervention memberships to the hospital checked out needy like a Western 'Robin Hood' from his seedy, budget American motel room, McConaughey has us all-including the Academy-sold.
From the literal bull-riding beginnings this is McConaughey's rodeo. It's not just the skin-crawling capturing that is the body of this now chameleon, adapting actors work. As serious as his thinned down devotion to project is-both acting and health wise-the skinny on this guy is that he literally acts with everything he's got. Even with a beaute of a music-to-the-ears baritone as identifying as Morgan Freeman's this guys Southern drawl can be drawn across many distinct depictions. As far as the country sized state of Texas extends so does his range. Now beneath the voice and the tip of the stetson you can hardly recognise this actor especially from the one from the 'Girlfriends Past'. When 'The Lincoln Lawyer' brought McConaughey back to the case files of his classic 'A Time To Kill' and 'Amistad' beginnings, the actor got more daring and risque with the likes of 'Magic Mike' and 'Killer Joe' showing he's no chicken. Now however he's showing us this is his year before some have even taken down the Christmas tree. First was his chest thumping, cocaine pumping award creating worthy cameo in DiCaprio and Scorsese's 'The Wolf Of Wall Street' and then the breaking great, television game changer of 'True Detective' that sees him play young and old with a touch of darkness and acting craft class. The new slimline figure that you see in both these films however belongs to what may just be his Oscar gold, 'Dallas Buyers Club'.
In the first-film since 'Philadelphia' to take HIV and AIDS and societies lesions of ignorance to task like Basketball legend Magic Johnson did in real-life (this star subject could form a trilogy of films of this nature if someone makes a play), McConaughey isn't the only hero making marks on both trophies and thought with powerful provocation. The new Hanks/Washington one, two punch, powerhouse combo belongs to the guy with the banjo and a rock star as Jared Leto sheds some serious Tom Hanks weight close to Matthews 50 pounds. With dedication to their story and subject and little regard for their health (remember Hanks diabetes was claimed to be caused by epic-weight shifts for his roles from 'Philadelphia' to 'Cast Away') you haven't even seen physical and mental dedication to roles like this for a long time...and we've just witnessed one of the best all-time in '12 Years A Slave'. 30 seconds from more than a 15 minutes of movie fame, the Mars singer Leto can count on the best supporting actor gong, even if some joke it should be an actress one. The pin-up that girls deem 'beautiful' makes for a Budweiser-goggles, good-looking woman at times with numerous looks...check your black book you've probably dated worse. Still the cross-dressing Leto crosses back over from singing to acting (remember him getting it handed to him in 'Fight Club' and 'American Psycho') and proves its more than just his off-screen, or on-screen looks. There's Academy acclaimed acting of artistic integrity and inspiration here darling. Let's hope on the next tour Jared reads some more scripts as well as writing songs, because he really is a true actor by the very method.
Still in Dallas its not just all about the man with the moustache and the one who desperately doesn't want to grow one. Jennifer Garner joins the club too and 'Elecktra' must have been really listening as well as crying to her 'Daredevil' husband Ben Afflecks' 'Argo' acceptance speech at the Oscars too. "You never give up", (that should be this film and its stars motto) he said and far from '13 Going On 30' the beautifully talented actress is back with a 'Draft Day' workload of films for 2014 showing she's keeping busy while Affleck takes on Batman's cowl and the superhero fan-hating internet. Our only worry is, do these guys have a babysitter? A supporting, critical worthy performance as a beyond the bedside doctor with an orderly chemistry with experienced partner McConaughey, Garner brings no doubt. She's the medicine woman behind this method of health service that takes the FDA, the turbulent times of the 80's and a crossed off month death sentence to a war of the wallets, courts, hearts and souls. On the road to the highs and lows of life's twists and turns from the dash we see McConaughey go from sweating and crying hysterically with a pistol riding shotgun to returning, slicked back with Ray Ban's on and real heat in his trunk, looking cool and collected on the same trip. It's all about a metaphor of how quickly life can turn with a shift of gear or a fork in the road. One minute your being told you've got days to live and the next your putting years in to make sure other don't go through the same fate that you want to twist. Ringing in the critics ears in more ways than one, in a world where a homophobic man and a transgender one can go into business for more than just money, that's when you know a singer and a 'Sahara' star (fellow film friend Steve Zahn and the appropriately named Dallas Roberts are here too) can win Oscars. Now these are true Dallas Cowboys. TIM DAVID HARVEY.