Wednesday, 27 August 2014
By TIM DAVID HARVEY
Everybody is laughing loudly! The jokes on the champ as this actor/singer shows he's the king of the comedy ring, knocking out the rib breaking high notes whilst playing the fool. Then we hear that famous lisp speak; "hey c'mon Jamie. Look I heard your jokes! I heard you talking shit". Except that isn't the pitbull punching proud Mike Tyson, but the testament to Richard Pryor and Red Foxx humour Jamie Foxx himself. A joke about the last time he ran into the heavyweight champ after the last time he impersonated him for some inspired gag reels. Think his influential imitation was spot on? Well seconds out for the next round that's going to go beyond and really make an impression. Recentely the former heavyweight champion of the world Mr. Iron Mike Tyson told press what some people years ago wouldn't have believed like the end of a LL Cool J/Foxx feud on 'Any Given Sunday'. "Jamie Foxx is going to play me" a hoard of dictophones taped for the record as cameras flashed like this was the champs next big fight to catch everybody's ears. Evander's safe though as after his raw and revealing autobiography, Tyson is penning someone else to tell his controversial but compelling life story. Now after all the impressions and biopics and some age defying C.G.I. to go with that forever young muscle (Foxx is only two grades younger than Mike) who else to pull this out the box than Foxx? Another one bites the dust.
This chameleon character who can win as many Oscars as Grammy's is truly 'Unpredictable' from music to movies and forget about being right there, or even above the poster boy Will Smith and legend Denzel Washington as best among African-American actors. In this modern day Hollywood he is one of the all-round and time best and most underrated, hardest working actors in the industry today. Most A-Listers would pray for his catalogues spare change that you can find with the classic offers on films like 'Law Abiding Citizen' and 'The Kingdom'. This is an Oscar nominated and victorious gold standard actor who showed he was more than a chauffer for megastar of the golden era Tom Cruise in the cab classic 'Collateral'. Arguably the only leading man better is our generations truest thespian Leonardo DiCaprio and these boys are about to duke it out and draw for another big picture. I mean this is Quentin Tarantino's 'Django Unchained' that we can only pray is in 'The Hateful Eight' for the good Lord's sake. This is the man who if you didn't dismissively think was not doing enough even electrified New York City and the neon entertainment core of the world Times Square for 'The Amazing Spider-Man' sequel like a member of the Blue Man group off Broadway. Showing like Dane DeHaan and the Sinister Six that true movie super power doesn't always lie with the heroes, even though Marvel did want him as Luke Cage back in the pre-Terry Crews day. Now about to play an anti one this man is about to flip both sides of the black history coin. It will get controversial with Tyson, but this pull no punches performance will send all this criticism to the canvas. Right before he takes the belt and then earns himself a seat next to the best set in stone as he moves towards what could be the making of his magnificent movie-scope yet. Some dreams just come true. Again and again over the years and Jamie Foxx may as well get another big speech ready as he's about to play one of the most iconic heroes in world history, in civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr.
In clinching one of the most sought-after roles in Hollywood, Foxx is about to make history for what could be his most captivating cinematic moment in his phone directory heavy, catalogue career (his cell is only going to keep ringing too). Much like Washington playing Malcolm X or anyone playing president. Even if Will Smith is lined up for Obama (its only fair after Foxx took Django while Smith was filming 'Men In Black 3'), here is a man that's already played the first fictional president under the protection of Channing Tatum for 'White House Down', an underrated throwback to the 90's big blockbuster that went a step wrong coming after 'Olympus Has Fallen'. Some just need to read the Channing all over your Tatum t-shirt, 'Go Jamie Foxx Yourself'. Oliver Stone's MLK picture may have been unfairly turned down but if Foxx is still set to climb the mountain this great man did this will make and mark for his careers greatest moment of significance and testament. From the love inspired by Dr. King to the hate Iron Mike received its quite the parallels and divergent paths for a man on the road to one of the most epic and eclectic filmography's these Hollywood Hills have ever seen. Man this is going to be something. A thread that most big name and game actors would be cautious to pull, but not the fearless Foxx. The only man that can do this is the one who has dead on, dead-pan imitated everyone from Bill Cosby to Luther Vandross to his own flattery. A man whose career the old and young greats from Morgan Freeman to Anthony Mackie wish they could have just a peek of a scene of. This mans art is impressionism. Just check the his career canvas.
The man that started his career live 'In Living Colour' made raw comedy leaving people as delirious as Eddie Murphy, before digging for musical Grammy gold with the likes of Kanye West. Blame it on the alcohol but this man is drunk off a desire to work his hardest at his craft through the night to a hangover. Still its the perfect portrayals of real life men in the characters he's captured that have truly made him iconic and are about to make his legacy that more legendary. Playing a real man of history is a dedication different than just playing a character. After playing a fictional NFL player in 'Any Given Sunday' for arguably his first big, leading picture, this man scored a touchdown with something that could have convinced as a portrayal of a real famous player. Foxx's sports world got as real as Freddie a few years later as he starred in Michael Mann's epic take on the greatest sportsmen and showmen of all time 'Ali'. Will Smith's definitive but unfairly critically dismissed performance as Muhammed Ali should have taken the Oscar gold it was nominated for, no matter how good Denzel Washington was in 'Training Day'. Still as greatest of all time that performance was, the Fresh Prince's old friend Jamie was in his corner as Drew Bundini Brown. It doesn't get much better than this for some ringside experience for Tyson with Foxx's first biopic take on a figure from the public eye...although a little to the right. From contagious charisma to alcohol addiction Foxx showed the red and blue corner of this mans own fight and the entertainer showed the world he was a real actor from the unmade day of a man dealing with waking up to a drunk depression. Acting like this paved the way like a well looked after back yard for the likes of Nick Cannon in 'Bobby' and rapper Common in every other film in 2010. Still as Chicago's finest M.C. rapped, "they couldn't tell it was me like Jamie in Ray", he Kanye and John Mayer before recording 'Go' off his classic 'Be' saw Jamie greatest portrait of singer Ray Charles. After Mann confinded in Foxx again for his cab drive 'Collateral', Foxx earned a 'Best Supporting Actor' Oscar nomination he should have won, making history as one of the only three to win both. History like his Barbra Streisand company of both Oscar and Grammy trophy cases. He did get an Oscar however for 'Ray' and with his sound a like and eye prosthetic look a like, perfect performance this is a brilliant biopic benchmark and until his Martin has a dream his greatest moment on silver screen.
Still in that same year of 2004 (his Oscar winning and career making year of 'Collateral', 'Ray' and 'Redemption' is a lot like Matthew McConaughey's one this 2014 of 'Dallas Buyers Club', 'True Detective' and his 'The Wolf Of Wall Street' stealing cameo) another nomination should have came for 'Redemption: the Stanley Tookie Story' as Foxx portrayed the noble peace prize nominated former Crip gang founder and leader to wide acclaim for a story as moving as the subjects anti-gang childrens books. Compelling catharsis, once again the true nature of Foxx's character itself captivated. Just like with 'Ray', Jamie communicated his time with the real man to bring his real deal character to life. So much so the pair became close friends. More disheartening than the fact that some in the mainstream dismissed this revolutionary movie was that Tookie himself was not pardoned from a tragic death row execution. Jamie was one of Stanley's last phone calls and as moving this is those in power should have made mountains for a man that showed more than just remorse and recovery. A cruel turn of fate saw Stanley executed no more than a year after the films release on December 13th, 2005, Jamie Foxx's birthday. Redemption may have not been given to this man from the state but this film and more importantly his inspiring story will live on from the justice of Jamie. Some 'Stealth' a 'Jarhead', a legendary fictional character from the hot-slick 'Miami Vice' remake reboot (also with Mann) followed, as did 'Dreamgirls' singing from the same playbook sheet as 'Sunday' , showed Foxx could step in the name of Motown as well as carry its tune alongside Beyonce's Dina Ross like diva. Still things got real supreme when he played a different instrument for 'The Soloist'. Just like with 'Redemption' this was another all too real life account that shows the proof this man can deal with crafting the controversy of Tyson. Playing Nathanial Ayers the homeless, schizophrenic cello player who went from New York's Julliard to skid row, Foxx delved even deeper and darker but brought some light and joy too, to a bittersweet tale. Pointing west to the story wrote by the Los Angeles Times journalist, Steve Lopez who re-discovered him (played diligently by the charismatic but also concentrated Robert Downey Jnr (who Foxx reunited for on 'Due Date' showing if Don Cheadle ever leaves the 'Iron Man' side like Terrence Howard he could play the War Machine Rhodes)) Foxx played both cello and cellist as beautifully as he did poignantly. Not only did he capture the look, he was also mindful to the issues of the oft-ignored problems of mental illness years before 'Silver Linings Playbook' won over an Academy. Forget a nomination, that should have been Oscar number two. Then again maybe that will be saved for Michael or Martin...or even Marvin because this singer could play anybody and that's no joke. He's even remaking 'Annie' with Jay-Z. No matter the hard knock life this man will take it on inbetween hilarious 'Rio' and 'Horrible Bosses' sequels like a motherf*****! When sticking to the script of others Jamie Foxx acts like he's wearing a mask, but still what makes him, him shines through and through and that is no disguise. Now hows that for an impression?
Tuesday, 26 August 2014
City Of Damsels.
102 Minutes. Starring: Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Josh Brolin, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Rosario Dawson, Eva Green, Powers Boothe, Dennis Haysbert, Ray Liotta, Jaime King, Jamie Chung, Jeremy Piven, Christopher Lloyd, Juno Temple, Christopher Meloni, Stacy Keach, Lady Gaga & Bruce Willis. Director: Robert Rodriguez & Frank Miller.
Some nights are like this. Take a look out the window. Dark and gloomy looking isn't it? That rain that poured as you so snored can only further water one notion in your mind. That hot Summer you had is officially over. Done! Now I hate to be downcast and be the bearer of bad weather but I think that pulled to your neck coat already told you how cold these nights are getting. Check your local papers movie listings and they will tell you the same thing. Despite all the Marvel superheroes, 'Godzilla's' and Apes that ran through this red hot season of blockbusters, the curtain falls and the theatre door is shown with 'Guardians Of The Galaxy', 'The Expendables' and now arguably the last of Summers big bucks movies in this one. Unless you love 'Lucy' like Scarlett Johansson that is. Speaking of cash, the black and white, graphic noir of 'Sin Cities' apt, pre-fall looking 'A Dame To Kill For' seems to have bombed like lead. Still that doesn't mean this film doesn't explode on your screens like a pipe. When 'Transformers' that aren't worth their metal take three figures of boom and something so influentialy inventive that it inspired a decades gone worth of recycled clones, (much like an 'Age Of Extinction') busts what does that tell you? Sometimes its about more than commercial money in cult successes. Frank Miller's novel work knows this. As does the Grindhouse work of Robert Rodriguez who made his 'Pulp Fiction' off Miller time. So much so that even legendary director Quentin Tarantino popped in for a quick drink and directed scene. 'Sin City' was a straight revolutionary classic and after years of waiting and Angelina Jolie and Lana Del Ray rumours (now that would be a forties fatale, dame to kill for) this town gets the sequel it deserves and has been waiting for. Viva Las Vegas?! Nah it's got no chips on Basin City.
A rotten sink and toilet town so soiled its only colour is a bleak black, offset occasionally by the illuminations of police sirens or sleazy neons promising you one night your stolen wallet will never forget. It all looks even more iconically immersive in three dimensions reaching out for IMAX. In a digi-age that leaves most dates wanting to ditch those Roy Orbison glasses no matter how pretty the woman, this is one film born to leave the world of 2D behind. But this is no 'Toy Story' type. More like monsters incorporated and institutionalized. Just like Marv! You see him. In all his brutality on 'Just Another Saturday Night' between all that ironic snowflake beauty on this pictures opening. You know the guy that kind of looks like Mickey Rourke and even punched that guys ticket and someone elses teeth back into Hollywood? Remember he kind of liked that leather coat you where wearing? A mighty fine one at that too for a tongue-in-cheek man ready to pull other men's ones literally through theirs. Joking around, telling one kid its hard to kill a Rourke. Even Stallone knows this guy ain't 'Expendable' anymore. Even if the 'Die Hard' Bruce Willis is, getting his 'Sixth Sense' on as a spirited ghost of this films past. Never leaving Jessica Alba's Little Nancy's side like the perverse patrons of her strip-club never leaving her stage as she dresses down and reveals the darker depth of her real acting ability...her most attractive quality. Scaling new highs as she hits the bottle and pours bullets of revenge down the chaser chamber of her gun. Here Mrs. Fantastic is truly something to Marvel at and not just an invisible stereotype. This 'Last Dance' really is one of 'Booze, Broads and Bullets'. More like Dames, Lames and Automatic-Weapons with no Candy too. Plenty of guns and a stun, six-shooting Rosario Dawson, plus Jaime King times two (hang on am I having continuity issues, its not good to forget your medicine when you have a condition) to high-heel boot in old town. This isn't the romantic-com to take your damsel not looking for distress to. This is comic-books darker turn that could make Batman cower in his cowl. Especially in the face of another returning figure in Powers Boothe's sick senator with a vocal tone and laughing timbre of pure tailor-made terror. An elected fear and fever of punch, puncuating power and incorrigible intimidation played to the villianous vileness we expect in this dark day.
Still a film like this needs some new blood and fresh meat. Especially with some major players being replaced. This film and its new following where called on to answer the demand. Especially out of respect and loving memory of the dearly departed Brittany Murphy and Michael Clarke Duncan. 24/7 talent Dennis Haysbert commands this with his literally crippling presence as Dennis honours Duncan to the muscle. Just like Jamie Chung does stepping into the crossbow of new mother Devon Aoki's Miho with a 'Sucker Punch' kick to that arrow. Just like man of the moment Josh Brolin makes Clive Owen's face of Dwight his outstanding own, with a Thanos voice born for this Frank Miller graphic comic. Even if he did lose out to the gruff of Affleck for Batman. Speaking of which, the Robin that stole the show from the 'Dark Knight' like he did from DiCaprio in 'Inception' takes the limelight here too. This isn't the first time Joseph Gordon-Levitt's owned a Bruce Willis special after closing that guys loop. Here playing his hand for all he's got this ace in this deals hole is a Josh Hartnett upgrade who is even better than the Johnny Depp as advertised rumours in the production stages of this picture. This 'Don Jon' is the man. 'Hit Record', read them and weep. The baby-face assassin from '3rd Rock' is playing with a full deck and all you need is a quarter to buy-in. There's even some spare change cameos from hard working greats like Ray Liotta (it hasn't been this quick and funny since those old Heineken commercials) and Jeremy Piven (a spectacle in replacement for Michael Madsen's bifocals) and the latest greatest likes of beat veteran Christopher Meloni and sophomore star Juno Temple. Not to mention the rah, rah of Lady Gaga, the incredible Morgan Freeman voice rivalling of Stacy Keach (he was inspired in 'If I Stay') looking like Jabba The Hut and Christopher Lloyd for great Scott's sake. All this epic ensemble has more fresh one-liners and wordplay this cliched writer could only dream of. There's so many all-stars hitting town here the lack of Benicio Del Toro or Elijah Wood doesn't even unbelievably matter. All this and we haven't even got to the dame in this game. After bringing another Frank Miller graphic sequel to life this year in '300-Rise Of An Empire', former Bond girl Eva Green is to die for as 'Sin Cities' 'Dame To Kill For'. Sexy and smouldering this is her 'Casino Royale', bearing it all gamble that wins everyone over in this city of sin. Sex and violence may be on the table but the cards are loaded with enough hearts and diamonds trying to be kings and queens in this deal to make this officially a sequel that looks better than the first as much as it bangs louder from the holster. Between sepia and an Instagram filter, this is as slick as it is sick. Every frame is formidably focussed. As is the 'Skin City', Steven Tyler soundtrack of Aerosin. This graphic gloss is a modern day homage to old cinema that shows more colour than the splashes of blood and wine that cant be washed out by those diluted imitators. There's some substance with this style too and not in an abusive way for a film that pulls all the punches even if it isn't a hit. Now that my friends is truly the sin. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Sunday, 17 August 2014
Everything Is Awesome.
Forget out of this world. 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' is almost out this Marvel universe. The classic movie in arguably the comic book, formidable franchises greatest year (see the perfect playlist of 'Captain America-The Winter Soldier', 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' and 'X-Men: Days Of Future Past') is the best and must fun film of a monster 'Godzilla' and 'Planet Of The Apes' 2014. Now every hero deserves a soundtrack...otherwise what else is Starlord going to strut too? How about the "ooga-chaka's" of Blue Swede with this films signature song that has had us 'Hooked On A Feeling' all year since the teaser trailer? Way before Captain America was taken off ice for 'The Winter Soldier' and even before Chris Pratt built the blocks of his superstar showdown in 'The LEGO Movie'. The movie is magic in its own in Marvel's age of Avengers but it does owe something to this song. Just like this song and the rest of the soundtracks nostalgic homage owes something to these Galaxy Guardians in bringing their classic hallmark musical legend to the modern mainstream, who needs something between all that Bieber and bull####! Everyone's new favourite team of avenging superheroes, Peter Quill, Gamora, Drax The Destroyer, Rocket the racoon and Groot the talking the tree that sounds a lot like Vin Diesel have something special for their spaceships stereo and those long road trips between planets.
It all comes from the foam and plastic of Starlord's old Walkman and 90's headphones that has another moral music message in the fact that even in this mp3, digital age of iTune and Spotify playlists that there is something pure in the simple but classic form of what constitutes an "actual" mixtape. So like an old rap D.J. of yester-decades gone would say, 'get your tape decks ready'. Ready with your hand on your ghetto blasters, too tempting to not touch, big, red button to record these radio hits before the pesky D.J. talks all over the end of your favourite song and ruins it (I see you Tim Westwood, literally drop the bombs). Forget streaming, an auxillary line-out, forget even C.D's because it's time to throw it back to the black cassettes with their white label that where only annoying the moment their reels got caught in your stereos heads and you had to work with more screwdrivers than a bartender. This is more than a soundtrack. We have an 'Awesome Mix, Vol 1' courtesy of Mrs. Quill, Starlords mum, a classic soundscape of pop music history, so much so that it has topped the billboard 200 charts, the first time a soundtrack of non-original material has done so. Now what did we tell you about what the mainstream needed? Sounds like dedicated justice to the speakers from peoples living rooms to their car pools...trust me you're going to want a lift. This is the compilation album that because of the film has its own originality to its greatest hits nature. Even in the downloading depression of music this is one playlist that will be rocking and rolling to the 'Age Of Ultron'.
Even Norman Greenbaum's 'Spirit In The Sky' that has been used in every other movie you've seen with its iconic and inspired "when I die and they lay me to rest/gonna go to the place that's the best/when they lay me down to die/going up to the spirit in the sky" lyrics is here! This magic hour song may not have been in the film like it should, but it gave new life to the second trailer and in an internet age hungry for more trailers of goosebump gratifying, evoking excitement despite the spoilers. This makes for one of cinemas best commercials. We have the rocking and blowing Raspeberries who 'Go All The Way' and one of the galaxies Ziggy Stardust, David Bowie's boldest and best ('Moonage Daydream') in a labrynth of legendary legacy. Then there's a timeless love song classic in Elvin Bishop's 'Fooled Around and Fell In Love' which there is no doubt everyone can find rooting through their parents vinyl collection just like the opposite, atmospheric side of that heart and soul classic coin in 'I'm Not In Love' by 10cc that hasn't sounded this good today since Huey Morgan of the Fun Lovin' Criminals covered it with playful blues brooding. Who says big boys don't cry? Also what's a rock and roll soundtrack without the Jackson 5? The classic 'I Want You Back' has a new legendary legacy in the films funniest scene. Mike would have loved to see this. From the strut your stuff opening of Redbone's rocking 'Come and Get Your Love' to the coolest explosion of head nodding guitar on The Runaways classic 'Cherry Bomb', hello daddy, hello mum we sure do love the music you used to listen to. So much so that we don't want this press play and then repeat roll-call of rock of ages to stop. Hoping there's another classic that will make our faces fix in an instant recognition of pure joy every time every track kicks in. Especially "if you like Pina Colada's and getting caught in the rain" like Rupert Holmes' 'Escape' or the epic dance off that The Five Stairsteps 'O-O-H Child' can set off. Things feel easier listening to this epic mix that ends poignantly on the ultimate collaborators Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell's 'Aint No Mountain High Enough'. Listen baby sure we cant wait for the sequel of 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' but its the 'Awesome Mix, Vol 2' that we are really listening out for. Preach! Like Rocket would say..."oooh yeah"! TIM DAVID HARVEY
Thursday, 14 August 2014
The Hollywood Over The Hills.
126 Minutes. Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Antonio Banderas, Wesley Snipes, Jet Li, Dolph Ludgren, Kelsey Grammar, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford & Arnold Schwarzenegger. Director: Patrick Hughes.
Man I'm getting old! I remember when the first 'Expendables' classic mash-up of Hollywood hard-men came out in what seems like yesteryear. Now there's a trilogy! Speaking of things coming in threes, this writers about to hit 30 and these decades older action heroes are bypassing me...heart pun intended. Following the sequel smash Sly Stallone is back with director Patrick Hughes for 'The Expendables 3'. Between his 'Bullet To The Head', 'Escape Plan' and all the 'Rambo' and 'Rocky' reduxes, Sylvester at sixty is dancing and no pussycat, writing and showing the age old proof that he can still make films like he used to. All our fondly nostalgic action flicks from the 80's and 90's that pull all sorts of punches, loaded with billions of bullets in the chamber and countless classic one-liners in the clip. This is the same 'Cobra' who in the face of a threatened mall explosion simply replied,"that's O.K.. I don't shop here"! Classic! Stallone isn't trying to be something he's not, or reaching for Oscar territory in his more seasoned years. It's popping corn for the mind so leave your brain with the usher. He's just trying and working to be the best at what he's good at with a little bit more heart and humour and in that he's giving us some of his best films in years...if not ever Ironically this franchise of quote en quote "past it" all-stars is quickly becoming his most famous franchise. Plus so what if that thing he's good at just happens to be kicking peoples ass. So what if sometimes we need subtitles to go with that. Read all about it because you're going to want to quote this guy pun for pun. Winning the arms race you now have a trilogy that will make for the perfect movie marathon with your boys and beer. This third act actually proves that real last action heroes don't come a dime a dozen. As good as the kids and guys like The Rock and Vin Diesel are they don't come a ricocheted bullet close to this legends lights, camera action legacy. If you don't believe me...just ask his friends.
There's a lot of them! The Terminator, Indiana Jones, Mad Max, The Transporter, the Universal Soldier, Passenger 57, Zorro, a kung fu legend, a mixed martial arts one, an NFL player with Old Spice in his veins and even Dr. Frasier Crane (where's Niles? Now THAT would be hilarious) all join Rambo! Pass the botox and the heart pills. I guess the only ones really 'Expendable' are past franchise faces Mickey Rourke, Chuck Norris, Jean Claude Van Damne and Bruce Willis (the way they write the guy that argued over a million that to him is spare change is priceless). They join rumoured Clint Eastwood, Nicholas Cage and Jackie Chan in disappointing M.I.A. status. Hey, I could watch an 'Expendables 4', so long as a touring Steven Segal opens up that acoustic guitar case and reveal some really offensive weapons 'Desperado' style...and as for the 'Puss N Boots' we'll get to the best thing about this movie in a whisker! I think it's time to line-up the usual suspects first and we aren't talking about Benicio Del Torro in 'Guardians Of The Galaxy', another big assembling that shows like 'Sin City' that this Summer blockbuster season of 'Godzilla's' and 'Apes' that Marvel started is not over yet. Lighting a victory cigar on his power-player proud poster, Sly is truly the man in this Expendable ensemble. Gunning and grunting his way to his best action set-pieces and comedy-liners in years....even if they didn't take "the stairs" in the end. Flying round off oil and water, blood and aviation fuel, this guy is the ignited kerosene catalyst of this petroleum pictures as his trademark plane rumbles through the sky in the same vocal tones as its pilot. With the early Christmas by his cock-pit side in the Jason Statham bromance we have the dynamic duo that crosses oceans and timelines. Still what's Rocky without one of his greatest adversaries, come friends by his side in Dolph Lundgren? He mounts up with the muscle Randy Couture and mouth (plus even more muscle...and a gun that really talks) of Terry Crews as the regulars make a welcome return to this arsenal of trailers with built in gyms like legend Jet Li...and then of course there's the man who is always back. Sly without Arnie is like Springsteen without Dylan, the Lakers without the Celtics...Batman without Superman, or D.C. without Marvel. Following their prison break the dynamite double act add more shells and syllables to their ode to action heroism. With some obvious puns and one that cleverly may go over all our heads (well played Sir Sly), how about that for a total recall?
These heavy heroes for hire that don't hit like vegetarians have some new recruits too. The fresh faces of Kellan Lutz, Ronda Rousey, Glen Powell and Victor Ortiz who give us what you could call 'The Expendables Juniors', as these young kids are a better idea than the 'Female Expendables'...not to be sexist but whose going to join Sigourney in Hollywood? Technologically advanced in this day and age and high kicking like these old hands wished their replaced hips could, its a natural progression but does go to prove one thing, the real Expendables cant be replaced. They can't be beat, just joined and we sure hope Segal can hear that behind all that ponytail. Even Seattle's favourite radio psychiatrist who used to frequent bars in Boston is here to more cheers. Grizzled only by stubble with words as his weapons, Kelsey Grammer is on fire as a hot shot recruiter, even if you did want to see him tote guns like you wanted to see him as a 'Transfomer' in the 'kill this franchise' now 'Age Of Extinction'. Even the 'Fugitive' talent of legend Harrison Ford is onboard and any critic who thinks Sly had to put a gun to his head, or a pen to an even bigger cheque to get him here may want to check themselves or the skies. As getting into a chopper with the man who took down the 'Predator', it looks like Han Solo hasn't had this much fun since he flew around in the Millennium Falcon. Still it's some of the bigger guns that bang more for Sly's buck. The 'Lethal Weapon' of this piece is Mel Gibson's bad guy. From some classic, crazy charisma straight from the 90's playbook of the bad guys he used to book with Danny (if only he wasn't too old for this s###), to his hallmark tough guy talk even being an upgrade from Van Damme's classic 'Jean Villain' from the last stand. The last of the dog tags go to the best however. It literally looks like these guys broke Wesley Snipes out of prison for the first off the rails scene and as this out of jail actor sharpens his skill-set out of the slammer, 'Blade' looks to be even handier with one than Statham's Christmases' gut tidings. Still there's crazy and then there's Banderas as Antonio goes all bananas and hams it up for what has to be his craziest and funnest performance. There's some heart and soul in here too with a man that plays up being desperado to join Stallone's TNT team. As he kills about four guys in one ACHME burst and screams, "this is the best day of my life", he may not be lying as he makes his mark, ripping and roaring through like a big 'Z'. This is the point too in this nostalgic homage that isn't afraid to not take itself took seriously but is still true to its genres type with the new (old) recruits adding to its legend! They never made films like this anymore until a couple of old dogs teached us some new tricks in making popcorn action movies taste better. Sure the plot could be wrote on the back of a napkin (then again some of the worlds best songs were) in Stallone's favourite 'Rusty' bar, but you could never write a better cast of favourites than this. When it comes to taking us back to the good old days Mr. Expendable spares no expense. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Sunday, 3 August 2014
The Avengers: The Next Generation.
122 Minutes. Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Djimon Hounsou, Karen Gillan, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close & Benecio Del Toro. Director: James Gunn.
Hooked on a feeling? Then that new sensation might just be the Marvel movie mixtape of superheroes that they've been putting out for decades now. In the wake of D.C.'s Batman and Superman success, the class of X-Men and family of Fantastic Four came first, but even they needed a reshuffle and reboot respectively in this age of Avengers that began with Robert Downey Jnr's classic, charismatic Tony Stark 'Iron Man' origin story and ran through all the assembling phases of Captain America, Thor and The Incredible Hulk solo movies and sequels. Continuing all the way to the 'Age Of Ultron' follow up next year that will try to beat the biggest and best superhero assembling of all time. Still in what looks to be Marvel's greatest year from the best Captain America ('The Winter Soldier'), Spider-Man ('The Amazing Spider-Man 2') and X-Men ('Days Of Future Past') movies that are beating all the Summer monster movie competition from 'Godzilla' to 'Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes', their latest and last film of the 2014 they've dominated looks to be more than just their funnest and best. This most entertaining film could be better than those other heroes for hire. With these latest rag tag bunch of collaborating characters that see Lego pieces, wrestlers and Star Trek, sci-fi aliens suit up with some bark and bite in one heavenly assembly of a hell sent team. As Marvel are smart enough to meet superheroes with science fiction for an opera of space redefinition in this big bang, geek digital day and age is this truly the new Avengers?
These days you know what to expect from a Marvel movie. From looking out for our old friend Stan Lee to almost being thrown out by the cinema ushers cleaning up the popcorn for that cult after credits clip. Still from 'Firefly' to 'Farscape' no one was expecting this 'Battlestar Gallactica', that sees a universe-wide crew led by a Han Solo, 'Star Wars' esque outlaw fighting over an orb that looks more like a Death Star paper weight than the Avengers Tesseract looked like 'Star Trek's Borg cube ship on a staff night out. Channeling not only his inner Harrison Ford, but his R.D.J. Tony Stark one too for a charming and cocksure charismatic turn as Peter Quill, Chris Pratt is Star Lord. Who?! Star Lord man! The legendary outlaw like John Stamos and the 'Moneyball' big hitter and 'Parks & Recreation' actor that after voicing the lead Emmett in this years biggest blockbuster 'The LEGO Movie' is now showing himself here as Hollywoods next biggest star. About to take a trip to 'Jurassic Park' next year too, everything really is awesome for the new franchise face. Showing the hallmark heart and humour that makes for todays leading men, this lord is the star but doesn't do it alone. After going all 'Avatar' blue and 'Star Trek' surviving red, sci-fi queen Zoe Saldana colours her career the green of her former federation roommate for a perfect performance as comic Goddess Gamora. Kicking comic book ass like she did alongside cap Chris Evans and Asgard gatekeeper Idris Elba in 'The Losers', right now Zoe has a trope of go to franchises that make her this giant genres most formidable female.
Still with all this star power its a professional wrestler and by comparison a somewhat amateur actor that lays the smackdown and almost steals the show. With concrete charisma that the Herculean Rock could only sniff a dream of, Dave Bautista is cooking as the droll Drax The Destroyer who is more than the engraved look of muscle and might, but a funny and fondly favourite character that has more dimensions than his chiseled frame. Even if he cant quite take it all literally. Still in this galaxy of gorgeous graphics that bring comic cells to creative life like no other and 'Dawn Of The Dead' Gunn directed amazing action its two of the green screen dreams that truly hold guard with two of Hollwood's biggest names vocally behind them. Playing a wooden tree with a three word, "I Am Groot" vocab, 'Fast and Furious' franchise forerunner Vin Diesel shows why his gravelly growl was perfect for the gentle 'Iron Giant'. Bringing more depth and emotion to this oak strong performance, this giving tree makes these three words as special as the ones everyone want to hear. Then there's one of todays biggest pin ups Bradley Cooper who seems to have woken up from the worst 'Hangover' and into the body of a swearing and spitting, genetically CGI modified racoon. This rocket man however soars as the Oscar nominated star shows real range with a sometimes unbelievable and others uncanny voice. Ladies I'm afraid it may not look like him, but Cooper truly sounds like something else giving an iconic Marvel character and combo new life in this next generation. Aint nothing like him, except him! Rocket and Groot are the new R2-D2 and C-3PO in this guarded galaxy far, far away. Even with this terrific team of all-stars we have a cast-list of some of the biggest names in the business adding to Marvel's family and friends.
From an unrecognisable 'Hobbit' Elf king Lee Pace who looks like he's bench pressed a few Hobbit's in a villain role, to an even more hard to identify Doctor Who partner in Karen Gillan with a Tardis skin colour, this cast is as fantastic as it is dynamic. Whistle while he outlaws, Michael Rooker, joins former 'Stargate' henchmen, come sci-fi soldier Djimon Hounsou, and the serious Glenn Close and funny John C. Reilly team of galaxy casts all the way down to T.V. stars like the gallant acting of Sharif Atkins of 'E.R.' and the A-hole, A-game of Peter Serafinowicz. On a quest to add small but significant star turns to this sci-fi usual suspects line up that also sees the classic camp collecting of Benicio Del Toro, Liberace it up. A cameo that was masterfully introduced like this movie at the end of the last Thor film...look out for the cracking Easter egg too. With all this and Josh Brolin rising, 'Guardians' has the big bucks for the big names and numbers too as a Marvin Gaye, Jackson Five and classic rock soundtrack bangs like a 'Cherry Bomb' and scores more significance than being a ghetto blasting nostalgia for the coolest film of the year. All this, plus what trip to the cinema is complete without a Bacon reference, sizzling on a 'Footloose' Kevin heat? Showing 'Sin City' and 'The Expendables' that the Summer season of blockbusters is still alive, despite 'Transformers' turning into a scud missile this film holds guard for the year of massive movies that Marvel began with the 'Winter'. In these star wars Marvel are out of this world in a galaxy of their own of intergalactic inspiration. We can only hope now that all these characters and teams get together for a real amazing assembling to marvel at. Its time for the Batman and Superman to smarten and suit up. Because right now Marvel's separate franchisees have us sold, hook, line and sinker. Oh what a feeling! TIM DAVID HARVEY.