Tuesday, 24 February 2015
All the kings horses and all the 'Kingsmen' couldn't put something like this together again! Forget Mark Millar's 'Kick Ass'! The man who made 'X-Men' first class again, Matthew Vaughn breaks his foot off in your proverbial posterior with this one. As he gives 'The Kings Speech' of British intelligence Colin Firth an elocution lesson in how to spit those marbles out of his mouth and show some real stones, swearing by the comic-book of Chloe Grace-Moretz. Here Vaughn is about to turn the ever likable, don't judge a book by its chav cover Taron Egerton into his next young star in the maketh of movies. Its not all about Joel! This guy just may be a mega blaster star worthy of playing a young Han Solo in a new 'Star Wars' origin story to follow this awakening force. Maybe the unrecognizable cameo here of Mark Hamill had a word. Or maybe Mace Windu and the man who is in everything like a Nick Fury cameo. With a mastermind of a megalomaniac performance, Samuel L. Jackson is the "perthect" villain with only a speech and reality impediment. This film has it all! Even the always solid Mark Strong and the national treasure that is Michael Caine who may be in even more movies than Jackson. What more could you want from an amazing action comedy that throws a flash grenade into the gag reflex laughs and a loose cannon into the knockout fights, as tense and pistol whipping into set-piece shape anything you'd take more seriously? Like a shaken Bond or stirred Bourne as this film takes 007 to a new level of 'Powers' parody. Even replacing the old gun barrel view logo and intro with one between the scotch holding legs of the gridiron, galloping Gazelle. A killer henchwoman with some crazy prosthetics on the rocks. I guess you could call them killer heels as Algerian, former Madonna and Michael Jackson dancer and Nike girl Sofia Boutella just does it, dancing her way into Hollywood tonight. The secret of this new service to superhero cinema is out to the Stark and Wayne manor billions! This is even better than what everybody has been saying. Hidden behind the suit and tie of a swanky Saville Row, London store cover that 'Men In Black' disguises itself a lair of gadgets that would leave 007's Q looking for more letters in the alphabet, this is Sherlock Holmes on the strongest opium my dear watchers. From wild church derby's in Kentucky to good old fashion pub brawls this film does more than just take it outside after one too many. As Egerton inspiringly introduces himself and Firth formidably makes a new acquaintance out of himself, from Merlin to Lancelot these knights throw the round table up and do more than save the queen. This hand? Nothing but kings! TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Saturday, 21 February 2015
133 Minutes. Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Tang Wei, Viola Davis, Holt McCallany, Wang Leehom. Director: Michael Mann.
Hats off to Michael! He is the man! Mann's cinematic theatre has offered us many classics over the years from the journey of the 'The Last Of The Mohicans' director. There was 'The Insider' in all its information age drama with Russell Crowe and Al Pacino and then Pacino's first on-screen meeting with De Niro in the hot, hit thriller 'Heat'. A thrilling inferno that rifle rewrote how action flicks where shot out. Add his double header with Jamie Foxx in the Cruise cab confides of the 'Collateral' classic and the remake of his own hit, 80's T.V. show 'Miami Vice', complete with Colin Farrell hair and you have one legendary director with a hell of a legacy. And who could forget his biopic of the greatest boxer and sportsman of all time in 'Ali'? Transforming Will Smith into the champion role and title of his heavyweight career. Recently though Mann has been M.I.A., despite being known as a deeply, dedicated, prolific proficient of his craft. In a class of his own when it comes to filming blazing gun fights that could even make 'Dirty Harry' holster, subtle emotion that Clint Eastwood would be proud of and some of the most vivid skylines ever captured on a digital camera that even your HD couldn't do justice, Mann is the master. Still his last movie was a half decade back, with the 2009, Johnny Depp, John Dillinger picture 'Public Enemies'. A Thompson gun-ho barrel load that really showed how cinematic classic this Mann could get. Still there was no escape plan then as now Mike is back like Jordan, although maybe now a Mann out of time in this superhero taken over 'Avenger', 'Ultron' age. Still that hasn't stopped him from using the God Of Thunder to hack into the mainstream mainframe, with some new malware in the form if his latest digital, signature hit 'Blackhat'. Renamed from its original 'Cyber' title, that lets face it couldn't be more 90's than this man himself if he had rewrote 'The Net'.
Still you're not waking up to no past pretense or millennium bug here. Mann knows how to keep with the times, but stay true to himself here with a film for the core Apple generation that have switched and swiped out keyboards for smartphones. In uploading Hollywood's hottest star, via an Australian download, he knows how to network and gain new followers too, as he hands the keystrokes to the man that carries the hammer for 'Thor' in 'The Avengers', Chris Hemsworth . A man set to have another monster year like his 'Dark World' sequel and racing 'Rush' of 2013. With this, his Ron reunion 'In The Heart Of The Sea' and of course his latest round of hammer time with Marvel, which should once again be a super-charged thunderbolt to the scorching Summer cinema campaign. Here however, Hemsworth shines like never before beyond the biopics or by the comic-books, showing more of himself...and yes ladies that does mean whipping his top off once again if some of this boy toy action gets too boring. Trust me it doesn't, neither does the slow burning tension of dramatic action captured on a lens that reflects how much Chris can act on a personal level with just a grimace or gesture. Michael Mann's close-ups with the likes of Foxx and Farrell, zoomed into more of these young actors range and depth. Helping them reveal more of their face cards in the gamble of Hollywood poker playing performances. The same now goes for Hemsworth who plays a great hand. Even if his biggest will remain with the 'Avenger', 'Huntsman' franchises and Howard films, this 'Hat' will wear wonders for his career . Showing him as an accomplished actor in black and white with only a few grey area pictures of perfection amongst his big name and game players. Another critical component for both the young Hemsworth and the veteran Mann's career catalogue, this is a dynamite dynamic explosion of depth and neon darkness, that truly shines with substance matching the sublime style of a man that scores his soaring cinematic films with a subtle Zimmer like shimmer.
In this Mann versus machine debate-in this tech age that Michael digitally embraces-he wins. Bursting through firewalls and layers of code, all the way down to the filmed circuits of the mother board. Hemsworth's hacker character rewrites his own career code, but he does so with a group chat of a cast that will make the message boards go crazy. In a love reminiscent of Farrell's beautiful, but tortured, 'Vice' gripped romance in 'Miami', young actress Tang Wei falls for our lead hard and what ensues is layers of love, running through this screen-time of a film that's other connections and conflicts are at an arms length cursory, cursor distance. Viola Davis also brings yet another supporting standout to all the years recently that she's helped punctuate her peers. Yet not much can touch this act of her career arc. Action man for hire Holt McCallany also beefs up the meat and potatoes of this action flick. Whilst singer/actor Wang Leehom shows he has more amazing acting skills to a web of strands of talent, for the performer who mixes rap, rock, jazz and even Broadway to his signature style. Add a hallmark Mann favourite in the great, but underused John Ortiz and you can see this film has it all. In all its neon light, camera angels and amazing action. With this old-school thriller of a new world disorder of cyber warfare, Mann writes himself into the lexicon of the moviemaking equivalent of novelists like Clancy, Connelly, Patterson and Grisham. Authoring a classic career comeback, his style is still perfectly honed. From subway station chases to the orchestration of gun fights as loud and grand as a phantoms opera...and if that wasn't enough for you just wait until the parade of a perfect grand finale. Lets hope we don't have to wait another five plus years for the next Mann, because this is one 'Black' Friday everyone should search for. This 'Blackhat' has enough vice city, collateral heat to keep up with this cyber time and tide. In the advances of technology in this digital age of life and art, this application is an androids dream. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Sunday, 15 February 2015
Browsing through the perfect movie to watch on Valentines weekend and we find this gorgeous gem. Albeit later than a bad case of buffering hour glass...that's computers from the 90's for you tech geeks! The perfect film to watch with her on your special day is 'her', from 'Being John Malkovich', maverick, dilated director Spike Jonze who has recently been jonesin' blink and you'll miss them cameos in big hitters and money makers 'Moneyball' and 'The Wolf Of Wall Street' movies. Here he brings along Academy acclaimed, current star of 'Inherent Vice' Joaquin Phoenix, a genius actor who has risen from the blunt ashes of a critically perceived mid-career crisis. Still here though and very much in this life our lead is looking for love in this digital and social media saturated age. Despite being surrounded by a bevvy of beauties in ex-beau Rooney Mara, big date night Olivia Wilde and bestie Amy Adams. Even having Star-Lord as his wingman isn't helping, although the out of this galaxy Chris Pratt is looking more like starter-overloader than 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' quest saviour. What makes it more inspiringly ironic is that Phoenix's budding career, day job is writing love letters for other couples. Lets give it up for him. Time to bury your face in the phone again. I mean how do you think I'm writing this?! I wonder if SIRI is busy this evening? Because I've got the perfect matchmake! When Joaquin tells you his latest date is an operating system you may laugh. But O.S.G. when its voiced by Scarlett Johansson you wont, on a tear of a career year 'Under The Skin' with this and her Black Widow, Avenger bite of 'Captain America-The Winter Soldier'. Its all digitally beautiful, set between an even more futuristic Los Angeles meets Shanghai...take that San Fransokyo. In this app, apt, Android age this smart film takes swipes at internet dating in this search engine manifested look for love. Accept this one. SIRI-ously good! TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Thursday, 12 February 2015
(Contains 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' SPOILERS)
Marvellous news from Marvel this week. After months of rumours and years of Stark Tower toppled Easter Eggs near OSCORP buildings (how sweet that would have been), Spider-Man is officially a part of Marvel. Marvel's cinematic universe that is, as the original comic-book 'Amazing Fantasy' hero and Stan Lee's favourite finally joins the official franchise family and film he's always belonged too. Sony and Marvel have finally come to an agreement that will split Peter Parker's rent between the two family companies. More importantly meaning your friendly, neighbourhood Spider-Man will be able to assemble with The Avengers for their 'Age Of Ultron' follow-up. Making the 'Infinity War' parts something that could epically suit up the next generation of superheroes in the 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' too. Everything will especially be awesome in the Chris Pratt recharged phase 2 to 3, if along comes a new Marvel house spider to the 'Captain America-Civil War' film that's already gaining more hype and buzz then this years Avenger film, thanks to the appearance of Iron Man and '42' and 'Get On Up' star Chadwick Boseman's Black Panther character. Now Marvel just need their rights to the 'X-Men' and 'Fantastic Four' (although this Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan one looks actually incredible) franchises for one, definitive assemble. Still right now, taking the web reigns of one of all of comic-books most popular heroes sticks it even more to D.C. Maybe its time for Batman and Superman to stop fighting and form this Justice League already. Assemble this with this years 'Ant-Man', the forthcoming 'Deadpool', 'Dr. Strange', 'Inhumans' and 'Captain Marvel' movies, plus the 'Agent Carter' and 'Daredevil' T.V. spots and you have a roster and a schedule that's going to keep every cinema jam-packed and popping like corn condiments for the next decade of box office dominance.
Excited? who isn't, besides Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne? There are so many movie and moments to look forward to from this classic, comic-book catalogue and after turning a talking racoon and tree into a box-office smash anything is possible. We haven't even begun to talk about the hotly anticipated Loki, cliff-hanger face off in the next 'Thor' movie either. This film will have to wait for its fall place however as Spider-Man's solo outing will open the curtains on theatres in the Summer of 2018. That may be a long time to wait, but this franchise has been rebooted twice over the last ten years already. From Tobey Maguire's timid trilogy to Andrew Garfield's truly 'Amazing' turn that's sequel joined 'Guardians', 'X-Men: Days Of Future Past' and 'The Winter Soldier' last year in arguably Marvel movies greatest 12 months...with a Disney 'Big Hero 6' bonus. Which brings us to our next point. Now Spidey is set for another spin (re)cylce (lets hope he doesn't leave his "American flag" in with the washing again), what happens to Garfield? Judging from this reboot and some leaked Sony e-mails during 'The Interview' process, the kid is done. At 31 he's going to be a high-schooler edging towards 40 by the time the next solo film comes out, but then again the baby faced kid could still make it look like he's just been held back a few years. Still, seemingly frozen out of this new process, if Marvel let Andrew go it'll be a real shame. He was an upgrade from Maguire in this by the comic-book look of another origin story, but if we are heading for another reboot repeat of a younger Parker do we really have to see his Uncle die again (although Martin Sheen was brilliant as Ben)? I mean you think he would have learned from the previous two times not to let that robber walk.
Running with this last reboot there are more casualties than Garfield and we aren't talking about the brilliant Emma Stone, who almost got resurrected and recast as M.J. of all people...no not Michael Jordan, but yes Petey's love interest Mary Jane. I know on-and off, off-screen couple Garfield and Stone have movie matrimony chemistry, but this is ridiculous. Lets not even get started on the deleted scenes from the second film of 'Divergent' and 'Fault In Our Stars' megastar Shaline Woodley as M.J...which would have furthered her and this franchise even more. Despite 'TASM2' receiving mixed reviews and fan reception this superior sequel featured a wealth of talent. Now losing the likes of the enigmatic Dane DeHann as the angst-conflicted Harry Osborne/Green Goblin or the magnificent mothering of legend Sally Field's Aunt Mae seems like such a waste. Just like if Jamie Foxx's epic Electro character could be recharged (that lights out Times Square battle shone like neon nights) like the stampeding of Paul Giamatti's Rhino. The third part of this trilogy looks dead in the Alligator sewers, along with that 'Sinister Six' villain movie that looked set to revolutionise comic book genres and traditional, good versus evil cinema. Even 'The Theory Of Everything', Oscar nominated star Felicity Jones had a cameo as Felicia Hardy, who would have eventually become the Black Cat villain, which again seems like another Shaline, star-studded waste for this young franchise of youthful stars of now and tomorrow. Yesterdays film was full of ideas. From the aforementioned great, like 'Whiplash' star J.K. Simmons reprising his role as J. Jonah Jameson, with maybe even more anger, to the downright bizarre resurrection of Parker and Osborne fathers (did you see that head in the box? We aren't talking about 'Se7en') and the plain crazy, like the Aunt Mae origin story...maybe O.K. for a Sunday matinee movie. Now there's an idea! Still, all these ideas now seem to be left on the cutting room floor as our web-slinger will have a new take, maybe taken up by the rumoured likes of young stars Josh Hutcherson or Logan Lerman...both of these pint-sized guys may make Spider-Man look like that baby Spidey off than Evian commercial. Although just like any comic-book incarnation, this 'Amazing Spider-Man' will always remain in the coral of comic-book libraries, it's a real, let down shame we wont see more. Still as Garfield is left in the bathtub Marvel are about to unleash an 'Ultimate' Spider-Man that can finally crawl with The Avengers. It's a big sacrifice that's going to make everybody happy and left wanting to catch a spider. Better get your magazines and coffee cups! TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Friday, 6 February 2015
The Power & The Glory.
127 Minutes. Starring: David Oyelowo, Tom Wilkinson, Carmen Ejogo, Andre Holland, Tessa Thompson, Giovanni Ribisi, Lorraine Toussaint, Stephan James, Wendell Pierce, Common, Alessandro Nivola, Keith Stanfield, Colman Domingo, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Martin Sheen, Dylan Baker, Tim Roth & Oprah Winfrey. Director: Ava DuVernay.
As a writer I did nothing! I failed! Even with my minor position as a writer with a meagre at best influence I sat and did nothing when I should have stood for something. I should have stood up for the countless number of young black men across the United States Of America who lost their lives and their justice to the hateful hands of violence from some in positions who abuse their power as well as the people. But did I? Even being abroad last fall during the protest in the Times Square world watching heart of New York City. Then days later in the capital of the U.S., Washington D.C. checking out the historical landmarks and the monuments statues of some of the worlds greatest leaders and then at night seeing one young girl standing outside the White House alone with a banner singing, "no justice, no peace". Still, no I did nothing. Wrote not word. Even in this social media advanced word of mouth, worldwide opinion sharing age. Even as everybody, even my heroes took to basketball courts wearing 'I Can't Breathe' t-shirts. I wore only cowardice, not courage. The shame. This fact made me a lot of things...but not the man I had intended and the beliefs I was supposed to be about. And I say Martin Luther King Jnr is my childhood hero?! Come on! Time to apologise again Tim and time to write this wrong. Now...
I may have let people down but fellow Brit David Oyelowo, director Ava DuVernay and the rest of the Hollywood walk of fame cast haven't in a powerful and important film that couldn't come at a more appropriate or needed time. One that leaves you an emotional lump. A film as brutally but critically important as '12 Years A Slave' and 'Schindlers List' bludgeoned with the black eyes of histories rawest reality. Ready to march for 'Selma' all the way to the doors of the Academy and what should be a 'Best Picture' Oscar. Especially to make up for Oyelowo being robbed of a 'Best Actor' nod in a year where many great actors from James Brown portrayals (Chadwick Boseman 'Get On Up') to this films prolific producers (Brad Pitt 'Fury') have already lost out to the likes of Cooper, Carell, Keaton, and favourites Cumberbatch and Redmayne. With all due respect to these note perfect, deserving nominee's, Oyelowo should be there too. Like he was a year ago, directly listening to the words of the great Martin Luther King Jr for early doors inspiration. But this time from the brief but brilliant biopic take of Nelsan Ellis (a great actor who should also have been in Best Supporting consideration for his role in 'Get On Up') in another criminally critically and Academy underrated movie moment in Lee Daniels' 'The Butler'. Some of that epic cast join Oyelowo here too at your service for civil rights. From rising star Colman Domingo to rejuvenated standout Cuba Gooding Jnr. And of course Oprah who once again shows us we should never forget that she was an actress first, before the billions of household televised fame. In a distinctly different, yet dynamic role of importance. She joins the big name likes of a raw and sinister Tim Roth, offset by the inherently do-gooding shine of Martin Sheen. In this West Wing however its a brutally brilliant Tom Wilkinson who gets to play president. Lyndon Johnson to be exact, ageing against his old ways and what political promises should pay. All whilst having to keep Dylan Baker's J. Edgar Hoover (another great portrayal of the F.B.I director after 'Public Enemies' and then DiCaprio's darker definition in Clint Eastwood's film...a man who would be proud of 'Selma's' subtle but strong DuVernay direction) at bay all with the help of an amazing aid in Giovanni Ribisi. The Brits make their States statements here as Wilkinson's back and forth with Oyelowo make for some dramatic and defining race relations and its no position of non-message coincidence that they do this standing under the watching portrait of George Washington.
More messages come from a made to measure cast, like the amazing Andre Holland who wrote himself into our casting consciousness alongside Chadwick Boseman's Jackie Robinson in the equal rights, game changing '42'. And that whole idea that Harrison Ford told his young, big-hitting ball player there runs through here. You have to have the guts to NOT fight back. Now Holland needs his leading acting moment of glory. Just like the wonderful Wendall Pierce of 'The Wire'. Forget Michael K. Williams' sensational success for a minute, here's a veteran coming to the game with as much lasting versatility as life experience. Even in cameos this guys got soul. From the bluegrass to the blockbuster. From the old to the new the education of ground and barrier breaking moments in history are brought to life for the youth of today. Young actors of the future Stephan James, Keith Stanfield and Tessa Thompson help illustrate this decades to generation inspiration with a new influence. Whilst even the greatest rapper in hip-hop right now, Chicago's Common looks like he's going back to his 'One Day It'll All Make Sense' days with consciously his best clips in cinema to date. Collaborating with his rising, inspiring 'Glory' track with leading soul man John Legend. One of his best records in a classic, conscious catalogue that should give his Grammy and Golden Globe some Oscar company making him raps Springsteen. Otherwise everything will not be awesome! Where's Carmen Ejogo's award too? Far from the 'Metro' Murphy days, the wife of detective 'Alex Cross' now plays the ultimate other half for an incredible turn as the irreplaceable Coretta Scott-King...with that ladies beautiful blessing. This actress was once married to the great Jeffrey Wright...an actor years ago we thought would be perfect for Dr. King. Still this is Oyelowo's crowning moment as the King. Even making us forget about that shelved and maybe dusted away Oliver Stone movie with the 'Ray' to Tyson king of biopics Jamie Foxx. As much as we sorely want to see that here we see M.L.K. and not the 'Planet Of The Apes' and 'Jack Reacher' actor who only the other week did the detective business in our other underrated Oscar favourite 'A Most Violent Year'. Preaching peace and non-violence here this man is as great as his fellow countryman and 'Luther' star Idris Elba was in following Morgan Freeman and playing Nelson Mandela. Notice there was amazingly no Academy nod there either. From the preaching to the marching, the star David is word and walk perfect in mannerisms of vision. Transforming in body and soul Oyelowo is the next great, showing you the real man behind Martin in all his humbling humanity. And that's what makes this short but significant part of his life that much more personal and that much more than 'Selma'. This is more than a movie...its a movement. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Sunday, 1 February 2015
92 Minutes. Starring The Voices Of: Ryan Potter, Scott Adsit, Daniel Henney, T. J. Miller, Jamie Chung, Damon Wayans, Jr., Génesis Rodríguez, Maya Rudolph, and James Cromwell. Director: Don Hall & Chris Williams.
They say heroes come in many shapes and sizes...but no hero comes bigger and more Marshmallow Man fluffily cuddly than BayMax. Meet your new 'Big Hero 6' and the new snowman simple face of Walt Disney about to bring in that Mickey Mouse money this Winter like 'Frozen' last fall, the queen of this franchise palace. Parental advisory; you better catch BayMax right now...because he will be this years Buzz Lightyear Christmas toy up top of every kids tree cutting Christmas list. Better call Santa! He's cute and caring and an inflated inspiring hit! This may just be the most animated C.G. cartoon since 'Toy Story'. Even some of the biggest 'Despicable Me' and 'LEGO Movie' hits can't quite assemble the millions and minions quite like this. Max is the greatest. He helps heals, flies, kicks and even knows how to slap five...in his own amazing way. Just make sure you keep him fully charged...or you may have some inebriated hilarity on your hands. In this superhero 'Age Of Ultron' and sci-fi robotics just wait until this guy suits up in a Mark Tony Stark would be proud of.
Based on the 'Man Of Action' comics by Marvel this Disney movie finally links up with the big budget brother they recently assembled with. Following Marvel's magic 2014 with 'Captain America-The Winter Soldier', 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2', 'X-Men: Days Of Future Past' and 'Guardians Of The Galaxy', they could have an even better one with 'The Avengers' sequel, 'Ant-Man', 'Fantastic Four' and this. Set in the hybrid, backpackers dream city of San Fransokyo, mixing the video games and anime of the Far East with the American dream, you've never seen the Golden Gate quite like this, even if it does bridge the gap between every major action set-piece in every blockbuster Hollywood movie. Animation of city scapes gave never looked this amazing since Lightening McQueen raced around the neon streets of Tokyo, Japan in 'Cars 2'. This whole film just looks incredible, even without 3D or IMAX it'll have your eyes soaring out their sockets, slapstick cartoon style. Its atmospheric energy hits you like ACME. You better warn your brothers, warn your sisters, warn your cousins. Mickey and Disney have still got it. Even post-'Frozen', in this Fantasia fun of magic from the mouse. The wonder of Walt mixed with the magic of Marvel is just something out of this world. Now before you get excited for the end of this years 'Star Wars', just look at this strength of this awakening force.
Just wait until the Stan Lee cameo too, because this film has it all. Featuring the talented vocals of Ryan Potter, Scott Adsit, Daniel Henney, T. J. Miller, Jamie Chung, Damon Wayans, Jr., Génesis Rodríguez, Maya Rudolph, and legend James Cromwell directors Don Hall and Chris Williams have found the formula for a new franchise face of success. Just call them this years master builders complete with a 'Feast' of a puppy chow sweet, signature short and some Fall Out Boy 'Immortal' montage music. If they don't enter the academy it'll be a crime to computer generated filmmaking education. This is hallmark Disney, even with the Bambi like tragedy. Damn that mouse and his tear inducing ways from kids to parents. Cheeky Mickey! After our leading Hiro battles his way through some robot wars, he sees real tech genius at his brothers school, campus lab. This leads him to some micro-bot inventive projects that inspire as much jealousy as joy. Surely some interested parties will look to crash this kid show and once the punch is spiked there will always be tears at the end of the party. Still its this kids day and he'll fight back if he wants too, assembling his BayMax to defeat a villain that looks luke a Darth Maul/Matrix/Circus hybrid. Yep that's right, scary as hell, but when our heaven sent Pillsbury Doughboy/'Real Steel' match meets this foe we're bound for some 'Big Hero' fun to the Max this side of the Bay. Let's hope this sweet six of hilarity and heart has a seventh seal, because right now we are more than satisfied with our care. Lets take this big hero to its Max! TIM DAVID HARVEY.
148 Minutes. Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, Katherine Waterston, Reese Witherspoon, Benicio del Toro, Jena Malone, Joanna Newsom, Michael K. Williams & Martin Short. Director: Paul Thomas Anderson.
Vice City stories. Gordita Beach, Los Angeles 1970. It's all about Phoenix. Rising like that mythological bird from the ashes of beard in the sink clippings of when he told the world 'I'm Not There' (a smarter film than most give paid attention due credit to), to a purple haze of P.C.P. infused P.I, the man in black is back! The greatest portrayor of Johnny Cash to 'Walk The Line' all whilst holding his thumb down to the biggest and best 'Gladiators' this guy re-enters the arena as one of the Academy's best actors even without the nomination in this two time Oscar hopeful. This is his 'Fear and Loathing' in Los Angeles, even with one too many shots from 'The Rum Diary'. Following his performance alongside the late, great Phillip Seymour Hoffman in a movie that truly brought him back to our consciousness, Joaquin Phoenix teams up with 'Magnolia' and 'There Will Be Blood' director Paul Thomas Anderson to show he is really 'The Master' in 'Inherent Vice'. No not a film about rolled up sleeves, 80's music and Crockett and Tubbs, but a film about a lot of sex, even more drugs and maybe a hint of some rock and roll. Inherently good and playing this bum of a beach boy in denim, canvas, straw and flip flops the man that played Cash looks like he could bank on following Val Kilmer to be the next man to open the doors on a Jim Morrison biography as he relights his fire under the act of cigarettes and narcotics.
Phoenix is just this smoking right now as he gets his Magnum P.I. on, minus the moustache, but a lot of hash. Still there's more substance here than some doped out tale of overdosing it in the city of fallen angel's like former Hollywood stars. This almost three hour fare holds you in a haze of a subtle vice grip, more like stroke as you stay with it through all the seventies blur of confusion and mind-fudgery. Part of this may be because this thing looks perfectly the part. Filmed beautifully to make it look like it was made in the seventies it was set in, this looks as real as it gets, even if it is set in some fictitious sand. This thing is shot through something that it looks like you could probably snap up in a Venice Beach hut shop...and that's a good thing. Plus between all the thrift shop find fashions and time and tide, look, sounds and far out feels this whole film is just on another level entirely. This ones a trip...truly. Back in fond, nostalgia time if you ever lived through this era or to the vivid imaginations of your dreams if the closest you've ever got to something like this is wearing a Led Zeppelin t-shirt, whilst looting through your parents old vinyl for that perfect iPod sound. There's some great story here too, adapted from Thomas Pynchon's novel almost word for feeling as cult classic meets cult classic all the way down to the electric cover art and neon titles. Through all the crime fighting and solving between the law of the land and the disorder of drugs there's even some moments of classic comedy straight out of the sketchbook of when slapstick was the stuff of Pythons not snakes in the grass. Trust your rib -cage, nothing will tickle you as much as this right now. And people thought they'd laughed enough at this guy falling down. He brings it to a whole new Chaplin level art form.
Joaquin delivers it all perfectly, between permed hair and straw hats, offset by blind mans shades and dirty feet. He brings more than jokes and joy to this film he carries for 128 minutes however. He also brings a lot of heart and humility hidden behind a hurt disguised with a lassie-faire, beach beauty adjusted attitude approach. Even amongst some of his hallmark roles, this guy hasn't had a performance as finer. This thrifts guide to 'L.A. Confidential' as quirky cool and lavish looking as it is would be nothing without Phoenix. Even another former down and out actor with experience in these types of Los Angeles times and celebrity crimes, Downey Jnr (who was first considered) couldn't do it quite like this. Perhaps the Avenger is wasted on the Academy bait of 'The Judge' and the great, mainstream 'Iron Man' and 'Sherlock Holmes' franchise series' that should really explore more of Stark and Sherlock's substance addiction problems by the book. Even with all of Hollywood here, Phoenix rises above all the all-stars this February. This film has it all. A bevy of beautiful leading ladies, including Katherine Waterston, Jena Malone, Joanna Newsom and a nice Cash reunion with 'Wild' talent Reese Witherspoon. Even down to 'The Wire' of Michael K. Williams and Martin Short this 3 hours is full of big names in the bright lights of the big city. Still there's a big three here for each hour here starting with Benicio Del Toro's legal aid. This man who even glammed it up grandly for 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' hasn't been better in a crime syndicate since he told some sucker to hand him their car keys. Get it?! "What the"?! Even Thanos of the moment Josh Brolin is here, copping another great role as a detective shouting "MORTO PANACAKO" and looking like he's more than good and ready to pop Phoenix's head off his shoulders in every scene and flatten him like a pancake. Add the ever lovable Owen Wilson and another signature drawl and definitive performance to this and what's not to like? Those three big stars and the rest of the mamas and papas of the Hollywood, California calling cast keep you on the surf, but Phoenix is the one who truly makes waves. River will be proud. There's no escaping this vice. TIM DAVID HARVEY.