Wednesday, 29 April 2015
He Know Tai Chi.
Show me Keanu's opponent! Lately people have been declaring the killer 'John Wick' (it really is mass murdering the box office, pistol whipping it into shape) in the name of this guys comeback. Now forgive me for going all LL on you Cool James' but what comeback?! He's been here for years. Don't call it like it is, fine! But there's plenty more reasons than the '47 Ronin' that this guy has been on top of his block busting game-that has played the likes of 'The Matrix', 'Point Break', 'Speed', 'Johnny Mnemonic', 'The Devils Advocate' and 'Constantine'-and remains a constant in this movie world. One of them may be the 'Bill & Ted' and 'Lake House' stars underrated versatility to go along with his evergreen youth (even in the contradiction of middle-age) and likability. One arrow of Keanu's ever expanding range on the bow lands him in the Far East where his love for all arts martial takes him to acting alongside his damn good directing debut in 'Man If Tai Chi' that is shot even more beautifully than its lavish locations across Asia. Now any thought that the all round nice guy plays his hallmark hero here is dispelled in the first few seconds of screen time when he stabs the stuffing out of some guy, whilst grimacing about being "owed a life". It appears this is a new direction for Neo in more ways than one with this fighting artistry being the spiritual sequel that 'The Matrix' deserves. Just check out Reeves' formidable fight finale that sees him playing the Morpheus amazing ass kicker to co-star Tiger Chen who leaves a legacy of legend here alongside great performances from the likes of Karen Mok and more. Half subtitles, half Reeves, pay attention to this electrically shot and stunning set-pieced picture. One that proves Keanu is still that and that before 'John' there was plenty of fire left in the candles wick. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Tuesday, 28 April 2015
Leeeets geeeeet reeeadyyyy toooooo...retire! Now here's some Expendable action for you. In the red corner we have Rocky Balboa, Stallone...looking like he'd need a Stairmaster for those steps in Philly. In the blue, the Raging Bull, De Niro, who looks like he's been grabbing the pig by the horns, all the way to bacon and eggs each morning. But woah, woah, woah! Who am I apart from some skinny blogger to throw shade at two legends. This is fun...and I mean the film, not the jokes. But this comedy has got them too as it boxes clever and clearly shows these action and gangster icons aren't afraid of a little tongue in cheek before the denture gets in the mouth guards way. One scene where a Rocky style montage ends up with Sly going one-on-one in a meat locker with a dead cow is inspiringly hilarious. A great surprise comedy like Bobby's geriatric 'Hangover' of 'Last Vegas', De Niro shows once again he can go from meeting the 'Godfather' to 'Meet The Parents' in seconds out, without the flat gags. This hilarious homage has plenty in its corner, even great bouts of boxing as it takes hits and premises from the last 'Balboa' movie. There's more handling the bucket and sponge here from the stool as the hilarious Kevin Hart, 'Argo' where to go Alan Arkin and musician LL Cool J help rap this up. Yet its the still beautiful Kim Basinger and the De Niro gene pool Jon Bernthal of 'Wall Street' wolf and 'Fury' frame that show heart behind the rib tickles. Stallone/De Niro. It's quite the billboard event knockout and despite the critics punches pulled, these two show its not how hard they were hit, but how they get back up without a crutch. There's more than just dust on these knuckles. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Woah! In Keanu Reeves new comeback movie that's eating the critics and customers up like corn that pops, his character 'John Wick' kills around 79 people, the bullet count says. In this movie he only needs to inspire 47. Inspired by the real life group of 18th-century Japanese samurai, who without a master used Chūshingura to avenge the death of their lord, this traditional story is retold with a supernatural twist. One that turns special effects dragons into formidable fighting foes. It's clear Keanu Reeves-who thanks to that minute in 'The Matrix' knows kung fu-is looking to expand his martial artistry. You only have to see the 'Man Of Tai Chi' or his Pistol Pete packing heat moves in 'Wick' to see this guy can still move in bullet time...even at 50! Sporting the longer hair and bearded alternative, alter-ego to his clean cut, Hollywood heartthrob look, the guy has clearly still got it. Far from the last samurai though he has aided by a true warriors performance by 'Rush Hour 3' and 'The Wolverine' star Hiroyuki Sanada, who has really been coming into his own over the last few years. Hiding nothing, this entering dragon is no crouching or shying tiger. Instead its a fearless, hero picture that honours the greats, despite critics flying daggers. Although this left Universal in the red, it's clear that thanks to their latest star vehicle and Reeves recent fist and furious film, the pair are getting along promisingly now. Still it was critical catalyst cinematic adventures like this that showed that the 'Point Break' star could still hit...point blank. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Dog the bounty hunter ain't got jack on these cops. Arnold Schwarzenegger is back people and older and badder than ever. With a 'Commando' commanding performance leading a gang of agents that look more like tattooed Terminators on motorcycles, this is the most action Arnie gun fun you've had since he spun that shotgun round on the back of that storm drain chasing Harley. And you thought him 'Expendable'! Nah! Like his buddy Stallone he's got an 'Escape Plan' for those sly critics just looking at age. Far from 'The Last Stand' this grit and grime sidewalk sweep of street crime shows us this 'Last Action Hero' has still got it as the Governator of this universe chomps down on a victory cigar. Arnie muscles up a cast of household name heavyweights with Sam Worthington, Olivia Williams, Terrence Howard, Mireille Enos and Joe Manganiello who all trade their recognisability for real and raw performances of range. This team with a Bronson death wish is all brought together by forthcoming 'Suicide Squad' pack director David Ayer with furious range. A man who last year showed he was the real deal with the raw ravaged Brad Pitt 'Fury' of tank turmoil. And yes this film is just as violent with the words and action, but behind all the F-bombs and bullets is something inked deeper than the tattoo's underneath the bulletproof vests. And that's Arnold's rep. This isn't career suicide or sabotage. He told you he'd be back. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Unflinching, unsettling and uncompromising, 'Zero Dark Thirty' is the kind of movie that wakes you up in the middle of the night. Yet you need to open your eyes to this. In the immediate aftermath of the hunt and capture for Bin Laden this film was made and gave its dynamic director Kathryn Bigelow Oscar glory over her ex James Cameron and at that point the biggest movie ever in 'Avatar'. So both sides won and Bigelow's modern film matched 'The Hurt Locker' for real and raw drama right at your door. Over the last few years a lot of Hollywood pictures have headed to the Middle East to make sense of all this war. From the courageous 'Lone Survivor' starring Mark Wahlberg to the controversial 'American Sniper' from Clint Eastwood and Bradley Cooper. Yet this one dealing with the most sensitive of subjects really takes you further. Featuring standout performances from suits like Kyle Chandler and Mark Strong and soldiers like Joel Edgerton and Chris Pratt, this all-star, A game is rounded out by the always brilliant, yet underrated Jason Clarke and the late, great James Gandolfini. Yet all good men would be nothing without a woman and its not just Bigelow leading the charge. Leading lady Jessica Chastain takes this film by the scruff of its neck and makes it her outstanding own. This was the 'Lawless', 'Interstellar' and 'A Most Violent Year' standouts moment and along with 'The Help' has made quite the career for arguably the best actress around today. Its a performance of magnitude for a situation so strong it requires one of true grit, depth and dedication which Chastain has an artillery of. No matter the opinion of war, she is worthy of your commendation. Do her the honor! TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Saturday, 25 April 2015
Bonds between brothers beat bullets, brutality and blood. It's something as deep as bravery in a soldiers heart, engraved like the dog tags around their neck. No matter your opinion on the tragedies of war, many men who fight for the rights of their people are heroes. Even if those who send them off to slaughter with a stroke of a pen who act like that are far from that truth. A hard subject to handle, the Academy Award nominated Clint Eastwood and Bradley Cooper movie 'American Sniper' divided people to clear lines of good and bad. Such is the conflicting nature of war. This great film makes us think of another one from a year back. The man Cooper played Chris Kyle knew the man of this movie, Marcus Luttrell. The author of 'Lone Survivor', a brilliant book and the guide to his survival against on your worst enemy, unimaginable odds as his whole team was killed and he was left to fend for himself in the middle of a war zone. The ever hard working, underrated and great Mark Wahlberg responds to the call of duty in playing Marcus, with arguably the performance of his career. Still matching some beautiful backdrops captured on camera for the highest definition seen this side of special effects, this film has so much more substance than style. Waking modern mainstream thinking up to both sides of the coin of war that cruelly leaves many lives hanging on the fickle fate balance of chance. There's more to conflict than ammunition and oil and this film gets to the heart and soul of matters as simply and poignantly as life should be. You don't leave your fellow man behind. You never give up! No matter the evil. You do it for peace. A troop of great actors, in medal worthy performances from the terrific Taylor Kitsch, emotive Emile Hirsch, always brilliant Ben Foster and equally bold Eric Bana round out this cast led by the wonderful Wahberg. Yet less we forget. The real heroes here are Marcus Luttrell, Mike Murphy, Matt Axelson, Danny Dietz and many more of our best and bravest lost so we can be found. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Thursday, 23 April 2015
141 Minutes. Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Cobie Smulders, Anthony Mackie, Hayley Atwell, Idris Ebla, Stellan Skarsgard, Andy Serkis, James Spader & Samuel. L. Jackson. Director: Joss Whedon.
Reassemble Avengers! We need you! Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and the Incredible Hulk this Summer season of scorching, big and bold blockbusters isn't the same without you! Sure the 'Fast and Furious' franchise put the key in the ignition to start this years popcorn movie campaign of 'Jurassic Park' and 'Terminator' franchise monsters and machines, but you always have to make way for Marvel. Just like last years 'Captain America-The Winter Soldier' early year de-icer, 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' web wonder, 'X-Men: Days Of Future Past' and its quantum, mutant mix and 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' and its whole new universe of comic-book dimensions which was arguably the franchises best 12 months on screen yet. Leading to one, in this 2015 that might beat it, by way of the Disney crossover animated beginnings of 'Big Hero 6', a critically acclaimed, highly popular exclusive Netflix series of lawyer/vigilante 'Daredevil', taking Marvel to darker places and instant, binge watching establishment of new, popular, rebooted core characters and now this. This being the big one, before the seemingly unstoppable franchise stretches itself to the gambles of the 'Fantastic Four' first family reintroduction and the shrink or swim stakes for the franchise leaf-carrier 'Ant-Man'. Judging from what we've seen however all looks perfectly timed and set up for the ultimate Hollywood sequel machine by the comic book. And even if they where against it all, they have something that could even avenge the awakening forceful popularity contest of the new 'Star Wars' and 'Batman V Superman-Dawn Of Justice' trailers. This isn't just the 'Age Of Ultron'. This is the age of the Avengers, the magic of Marvel, complete with classic Stan Lee cameo. Who knew all these iconic characters he sketched generations ago would still stand the testament test of time in this modern, mainstream movie market?
Artificial intelligence!? If that isn't, this is. The 'Ultron Programme' to those not familiar with the legendary Marvel comic book-that sees this anarchic android standing over a broken shield and most of Marvel's most popular characters down-trodden-was a tin can of worms project opened up by Tony Stark, who wanted to use self-sufficient A.I.'s to guard the world from alien attacks. Still, here's guessing 'Bicentennial Man' is missing from his DVD collection, because this robot goes all 'I, I, I' and 'Ex Machina', looking for his own open minded way to rule the world his way...through its destruction. This isn't BayMax people. This is Iron Man's Frankenstein monster! Its alive...IT'S ALIVE! Stand aside Loki your sneaky, charming, devilish villain has been replaced with a more advanced machine that is still chrome and automatic charismatic. Voiced by 'Stargate's' James Spader, who plays his 'Blacklist' bad hand perfectly and takes us through a portal to a whole new dimension of bad guy, duality all the way down to the rooted for circuits. Its his metropolis now! Bringing in some European imports to ally by his side on the form of the "fast and weird" Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, our Avengers better keep up and keep their heads. Roaring from partners in 'Godzilla' last year to siblings here new blockbuster duo of the fast/furious Aaron Taylor-Johnson and truly hypnotic Elizabeth Olsen are on fire and magic. Even if you may prefer Evan Peters' fun Quicksilver in the new 'X-Men' this one is just as fast and formidable. Seeing him punch Cap in slow mo is worthy of an instant replay. SNAP! Whichever one you see coming may come down to a photo finish! Add newcomer, Korean model Claudia Kim and 'E.R.' vet Linda Cardellini to this beautiful mix and then you have quite the cast of characters all the way down to Marvel family cameos from the lovable likes of machine gunning Don Cheadle, American bird flying Anthony Mackie (its awesome to see the Falcon of Mackie alongside the Hawk of Renner for a 'Hurt Locker' reunion we should have seen in 'The Winter Soldier', in what sounds like a classic, cut scene), amazing agents Cobie Smulders and Hayley Atwell, the keeper of gates Idris Elba and Asgard ally Stellan Skarsgard and even Gollum and Ceaser himself Andy Serkis, showing he doesn't only need white spots and green screen to add colour to his silver screen shine. Still the extras that gives you exactly that-even next to Samuel L. Jackson's almost as legendary at Stan Lee's cameos-is Paul Bettany's JARVIS vocal and visual upgrade. Playing the iconic comic book character Vision, this behind the scenes star sees some much deserved light, illuminating this superhero and picture with a performance Daredevil blinding.
'Ultron' goes ultra however thanks to its main feature presentations. From the outstanding origin movies to their superior sequels, 'The Avengers' are still earths mightiest heroes. Robert Downey Jr's Tony Stark's Iron Man leads the way with his classic charm and charisma. He's got jokes, but he's got depth too. Showing yet again the tragedy behind the comedy as this time our creator faces annihilation from his own invention. After his sequel became, the best stand alone Avenger film last year, Chris Evans is perfect as the stars and stripes of patriotism; Captain America. Complete with a better, brand new suit, but still trying to find an identity in this world of this man out of time, challenging what is right and wrong. The matter of mere mortals even concerns our God's as Chris Hemsworth gives us another thunderous performance as Thor. Whilst firmly setting into his green skin like envious actors before him, Mark Ruffalo brings more emotion and empathy to this inspired Hulk...and just wait until you see him rage against the machine that is Iron Man's huge, "Hulk Buster". Incredible! Add these amazing set pieces with some love bites with the red flame of Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow (who amazingly performed in this action movie whilst pregnant) then this movie has everything. Even a straight shooting performance from Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye that meets more than one mark. Bullseye! Sure, more required assembly could have put this movie over the top of the first movie mountain, but it was always going to be an almost impossible bar to clear. Still director Joss Whedon slays it like Buffy, from hilarious sword in the stone style hammer worthiness and some real dramatic depth that dares you to call this superhero genre shallow. Its a shame this is Whedon's last waltz, but its a beautiful one at that, even if a 'Daredevil' shade darker than Marvel is used to. Still the Russo brothers of 'Winter' are coming and their classic 'Civil War' between Steve Rodgers and Tony Stark is what everyone is waiting for like a 'Fear Itself' movie one day. Along with the assembling of more iconic heroes from Chadwick Boseman's Black Panther and Benedict Cumberbatch's Dr. Strange to whoever finally has the rights to play Spider-Man. It's all so spectacular and will all assemble together with the brothers twin movies against the gauntlet of the titan enemy Thanos. In an even greater war you might need some 'Guardians' and now Marvel are out of this galaxy, they are heading towards assembling phase 'Infinity'. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Tuesday, 21 April 2015
Cold As Ice.
Feeling chilly? Then how's this for an icebreaker? Captain America and General Zod assemble and suit up to defeat their foes. No we're not talking about Superman, but any mortal standing in these hitmen ways. Except women and children, as Michael Shannon goes the opposite direction of the Titanic and teams up with Chris Evans and his ice cream truck to sink his targets as cold as frost. This is 'The Iceman' people, no not a biopic about San Antonio Spurs legend George Gervin, but a real life mobster who killed more than 100 people between the mid sixties and eighties. This classic film to the texture looks traditionally right, even if its subject is far from it. Shannon's sublime screen time here drew comparisons to De Niro and Pacino (think of the brilliant, versatile Oscar Issac in 'A Most Violent Year' last fall) standing next to the wonder Winona Ryder, this leading man should have seen Oscar gold too. Chris Evans deserves more praise too, for a role that is anything but nice-guy, Captain America. This Avenger decked out in unwashed long hair, beard and horn rimmed glasses looks like he belongs on a whole other register in this uncivil war, especially serving popsicles and cones with more in the freezer. Yet he makes his character ever likable...and should we say cool?! This slick, mob cut is the godfather of new age, traditional gangster movies with more depth below the ice. There's so much here to crack through. Even great cameos from the former pretty boy likes of James Franco and Stephen Dorff who really act up. And what gangster film wouldn't be complete without the veteran of this game legend Ray Liotta and...erm David Schwimmer? Laugh all you want friends, but you may not even recognize Ross here at first with long hair and a maverick moustache. He handles this role perfectly too in a film that is a cut above the chest freezer. Like two cubes in whiskey, this chiller thriller shoots straight. It puts everything and everyone else on ice. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Do you want to ride? Comedian Kevin Hart is arguably the funniest man on the planet...and former N.W.A. rapper Ice Cube, the angriest. So you know that this little buddy/all comedy, riding shotgun showdown is going to be for the 'Bad Boys' of bullets and bantering. Think of this as a funny mans 'Training Day', all the way to the hilarious referencing. Its all light hearted chuckles and action in a class comedy that you just can't help go along with. In their Mexican standoffs it's like every line of dialogue was designed to infuriate Cube and keep Hart's beating laughs anything but ice cold all the way to the barbeque. Everyone's talking about Kevin, your new 'Wedding Ringer', singing to the tune of a sold out stadium show tour this year. The types his rapping partner, 'Straight Outta Compton'-who is about to be honoured by his own son in a biopic (now how about a classic cameo?)-was used to. This is straight crazy. Sure Hart's latest double-team, place trader with legend Will Ferrell wasn't as classic as we all thought or hoped it would be, but this one really gets hard as Ice Cube jumps out of 'Jump Street' right into the crack! With passenger seat support from the likes of the always great John Leguizamo, rapper/rising actor David Banner and legend Laurence Fishburne this journey is given more chrome and paint with its top twos torque. Now with a sequel on the way featuring hilarious when hungover Ken Jeong, new 'X-Woman' Olivia Munn and actor/singer Tyrese Gibson its about to get real Fast and Furious. Enjoy the ride...just don't give Ice Cube a Prius...that wouldn't be a good day! TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Saturday, 18 April 2015
Starring: Charlie Cox, Deborah Ann Woll, Elden Henson, Toby Leonard Moore, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Bob Gunton, Ayelet Zurer, Rosario Dawson & Vincent D'Onofrio.
Dare you open your eyes to this? Giving one of comic-books most sought after characters a slot on something that's technically not even prime time television per se could seem like fighting in the dark...but that's kind of the point. As our lead says it best; "there are other ways to see". Now the franchise of franchises Marvel is on a super heroic tear that's showing us that they are even more unstoppable in their second phase. Set your ones to stun for this one because after 2014's second defrosting of leading man 'Captain America-The Winter Soldier', the Electro recharged before the reboot 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2', arguably the best mutant mash-up in 'X-Men: Days Of Future Past' and the runaway, out of this world hit, 'Avenger' rivalling 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' gave Stan Lee's team arguably their greatest year yet, they could possibly even assemble a better one in this 2015. After the Disney crossover 'Big Hero 6' opened up a whole new San Fransokyo world of 'Toy Story' like domination, the studios of Marvel now have the charming Stark/Star-Lord confidence of stretching and shrinking to some 'Fantastic Four' and 'Ant-Man' projects. Which judging from their latest efforts will be a lot greater than the fan-boys worries are doing them justice. This is the year of 'The Avengers' however and more aptly the 'Age Of Ultron' for the reassembling of Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and The Incredible Hulk next week for a team and film that is the most eagerly anticipated one of the year. Even in this moment and 365 that's an awakening force of 'Star Wars' and 'Batman V Superman' trailers that are really breaking the internet. With more web assembly happening by rights, Marvel is just getting bigger and better, introducing even more popular comic characters and actors from Ryan Reynolds' 'Deadpool' to Benedict Cumberbatch's 'Doctor Strange' to the movie mainstream by the book.
Yet their latest reintroduction shows real vision. Somewhat ironically in the same week that Ben Affleck's vocal introduction to Batman is leaving fans cowering in their cowl for a different and better reason than previously social media strung up and crucified like a criminal tied-up on a Bat-Signal ways, his old 'Daredevil' character-that those who fear his Bat said he ruined-is returning and even rising to a popularity never seen before too. In a 'Begins' like origin story that's even darker than the Knight in black, Marvel give their fun turn a little more thump. Hell, a lot more of fist and broken jaw ass kicking, as your favourite lawyer by day, vigilante to those he couldn't convict at night (damn the justice system...he really is a better lawyer than advertised), is about to pass the bar and use it to beat those on the wrong side of the law until they'd rather be behind the right side of the justice ones. Mixing magnificent martial arts and lengthy legal proceedings this lucky 13 show season will leave you begging for a retrial revival, because beyond the corny and camp but actually pretty cool cinematic adventure, 'Daredevil' is back and this time the devil will care...and you will dare. All the way to the guns blazing, operatic finale that has shades of Jack Ryan's 'Sum Of All Fears', speaking of Affleck. With the new age T.V. watching of Netflix replacing your regular scheduled programmes and offering up all episodes immediately for those couch marathon, binge watching aficionados of comic-books and top series', its time to start your free trial (a nod of appreciation to them for the gracious gesture of offering audio descriptions to those visually impaired too. After all Marvel is about showing that there are no limitations and everyone can be a hero). As in this day and age where most shows from 'Game Of Thrones' to 'House Of Cards' are like extended movies in this trilogy, reboot age, you have your new favourite show. Move aside 'True Detective' this one rewrites the law he takes into his own hands, breaking bads face. Hells Kitchen is cooking with all sorts of characters as our Daredevil serves his end of the Loki ravaged New York City breakfast every morning like bacon and eggs. Protecting them from a Kingpin that strikes almost as much fear into the cities beating heart as Gordon Ramsey does in Hells. These kitchen nightmares however are woken up by the dreams of our heaven sent hero.
The 'Man Without Fear' strikes exactly that into his foes as he nightcrawls across the darkest end of day in a black, pulled down balaclava mask and ensemble that's even better than his trademark red one. If you didn't know much about British 'Stardust' and 'The Theory Of Everything' actor Charlie Cox then you will now in his Murdock vs Murder moment in movie-making like, small screen history. He plays Daredevil with blind ambition, making this legendary character his outstanding own, all the way down to the rose tinted glasses that only he is looking through. We can see a man torn between honest integrity and cruel influence, making a case between inspiration and isolation and this in turn engages all the senses. You've heard all about it, now witness the smell of fear, the taste of vengeance and the touch of God. From a saturday night of crime in the city to Sundays morning confessional you can forgive this hero for treading the fine line between good and evil...because he's an expert in it. And this lawyer plays it all with a guilty of greatness conviction. He has plenty of legal aid to represent him too. From 'True Blood' twin screen star Deborah Ann Woll sinking her dramatic teeth into another great role, to best friend in the cuddly, funny Faverau role playing, fond form of Elden Henson. Emmy Award winning 'E.R.' guest star, 'Romeo & Julliet' chief of police and Stanley Tookie 'Redemption' director and actor of great depth Vondie Curtis-Hall also joins valuable veteran actor Bob Gunton in extending his formidable filmography range with a supporting but strongly significant, role that's anything but background noise in this drama that wreaks as much havoc in the chambers as it does in the streets. Add Toby Leonard Moore's perfect right hand man to great guest stars like legend Scott Glenn and saint Peter McRobbie and the always real Rosario Dawson to stitch up this 'Sin City' and give it some more pulse as a nurturing Night Nurse with a bold but mild mannered bedside manner, and then this star power assemble adds more big names to the ever expanding Marvel family and universe in Hollywood. None bigger however than Vincent D'Onofrio's Wilson Fisk. We should never say this Kingpin's name but the actors chameleon actor is just so darn, devil be damned good. Even better than the late, great, criminally underrated mastermind Michael Clarke Duncan. It's hard to believe this is the same guy from Robert Downey Jnr's 'The Judge', but now going all executioner he's ready to trade Marvel Civil War stories. His entrance is televised art and every grimace and gesture honed to a man that can even bring the heart out of a seemingly soulless villain on comic book paper all the way to your front doors gravel drive that is his Vin vocal like delivery. You'll do more than root for this man who shows the emotion and pain behind all of that he inflicts on others, whilst also showing some heart with the lovely Ayelet Zurer for better or worse. Rotting the Big Apple to its very core from the kitchen there is no bigger bark and bite than this. Its this hero versus villain depth that brings more dramatic dynamics to this crime caper of a crusader without a cape. There's plenty of Easter Eggs too this April to keep you connected to 'The Avengers'. From Cap's punching bag gym, to Tony's stark superhero registrar campaign posters. Seeing this all connect and link together with what Marvel has in store for Phase 3 sure is something. Like the alliance of Murdock, Cage, Jones and the man with the Iron Fist for another Marvel series set to join 'Agent Carter' and the ones of 'S.H.I.E.L.D.' in their 'Defenders' battle with D.C's 'Gotham', 'Flash' and 'Arrow' for small screen prominence. They've already won the big screen war and with this on the box one worthy of a billboard nothing is going to be civil now. A new dark knight is watching over the city some call Gotham and it looks like even Batman will have to tighten his utility belt. Just wait until he tries to dance with this Devil in the pale moonlight! See for yourself...he may not dare! TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Wednesday, 8 April 2015
Dear John if you thought Keanu Reeves career was down to the wick you'd be wrong. Here he plays butcher, baker and candlestick maker as Neo shows he's still the one like Twain. They're calling this Keanu's best film since 'The Matrix'. I guess as great as it is it wouldn't be really cool and thrilling to call this his best film since his Sandra Bullock 'Speed' reunion 'The Lake House'. As here the forever young star at a half century goes from Bogus to Bogeyman playing a man going on a 'Kingsman' church shootout professional killing spree after thugs steal his car and kill his dog. On a "they messed with the wrong man" trailer tip, all you need for an amazing, brain at the condiments section, action movies heart and justice...or hey even a plot is a cute dog. This revenge thriller dressed in leather and painted with a red mist hue is a 90's throwback, B movie styling that can be marked with an A plus. If this film goes below 50 bullets a minute, the audiences interest dies, so the ever likable Keanu justifies his Hollywood homicide by kicking even 'Taken's' ass. And yes this too will have a sequel as you can put this next to the 'Constantine's' and 'Johnny Mnemonic's' of the cult classics of the diverse range of this laid back looking but fearless actors classic catalogue. As Keanu growls in the face of everyone's doubt here, alongside a class cast of Dafoe's and John Leguizamo's; "people keep asking me if I'm back...well I guess I am"! He proves this point for real, not passively, but aggressively. Number one with a bullet. Its never "just" a dog. This one John has just had his day. Wicked. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Tuesday, 7 April 2015
Are you hard yet? Get this! Here almost 'Trading Places' like a classic rags and riches, Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy, eighties throwback, 'Get Hard' deals up the reigning king of comedy and arguably perhaps the funniest man on the planet today together. As the king of Hart's everybody needs to talk about Kevin right now and with this and the start of this years 'Wedding Ringer', the stand-up star looks to be in matrimony with movies, for better or worse for the rest of his Hollywood, 'Ride Along' life. Still its a different way with Will. Ferrell goes at everything like a feral creature. Frank the tank's, basketball players, news anchors. A real legend that's more than a big deal. This little and large pairing is perfect then in this comedy that sees a big business guy seeking the advice of the guy that cleans his car when faced with a sentence a little longer than; "I want it back by 5". Sounds pretty suspect...and it is, but we hope in the name of satire and not cheap, substance starved jokes. Because of course something featuring a double team like this is full of jokes, but lets hope its on something a little more sincere than us. With classic cameos from the best of rock and rap in John Mayer and T.I. everyone goes hard here in a film full of yachts, flame throwers and kiestering. From classic Will to Hart's inspired role playing beats these two are guilty of being funny, but we'd like to see Kevin and Ferrell sentenced for more. Maybe not a sequel but in the future this parole board would like to see more from these two from their next hearing! Get it? Its not hard! TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Friday, 3 April 2015
134 Minutes. Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordan Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Chris 'Ludacris' Bridges, Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, Jason Stathman, Lucas Black, Djimon Hounsou, Ronda Rousey & Kurt Russell. Director: James Wan.
"Great vengeance and furious anger", striking "those who attempt to poison and destroy" Diesel's brothers is the petrol that ignites the fast revenge of 'Furious 7's pulp fiction. The holy number of seven across religion and culture, marking the end of these seven days on this Good Friday, just days after Paul Walker's birthday brings a Fast Friday like no other. For this is for him. And this Easter weekend after all the Oscar parties are now just a Kodak picture, the Summer blockbuster season of Marvel, monsters and machines begins early with this checkered flag that makes its popcorn movie, fuel converted popping redefinition, head start, injected by trademark nitrous for the petrol porn age of boys toys. 'The Fast And Furious' was an instant classic like no other, back when it was released in 2001, before this franchise would add lanes and lanes of sequels in a decade and a half of chicanes later. '2 Fast, 2 Furious' added another double act of stars to the buddy, daylight car robbery, before 'Tokyo Drift' spun this franchise in another direction via Japan and a whole new continent of a cast. Then almost titled the confusingly same as the first, but dubbed 'New Model, Original Parts', the fourth installment 'Fast and Furious' brought it all back to the roots of this franchises gears for arguably one of the best 'Fasts'. That was until 'Fast Five' added a Rock and some more faces from an old place for that 'Oceans Eleven' meets 'Italian Job' crime caper. Giving this 'Furious' ride more torque, this kept this speed racer motoring on across oceans to the streets of London for the sixth installment. Now breakfast can wait with this meal ticket as you don't need to shake your cereal boxes anymore for more of these toy cars. All sorts of familiar cover star faces are back in a film where you'll finally believe a car can fly. From sky-diving out of planes and abseiling down rocky mountains, to jumping between buildings in Abu Dhabi that make Tom Cruise's 'Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol' leap between buildings in Dubai look like a cakewalk, not a glass, tallest skyscraper one. This car carnage just found another gear that could take it all the way to a top ten, when most thought it would be gone in 60 seconds. As Paul Walker now so bittersweet says; "just when you thought it couldn't get any better"!
Diesel is still the engine that keeps this star vehicle humming at the concrete of the lights like his trademark, gravel grounded chords. The franchise king who can now add the barking, three worded voice of a tree for Groot in 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' to his 'Riddick' sidekick side-project, will always sit on poll here. As the leading man when it comes to being one of the last few, real, remaining, Die-Hard action heroes in his prime (you know he's a Hollywood hard-man when he even gets married in a string vest). Even his classic car isn't 'Expendable'. Still as the American muscle faces off with one here, 'Transporter' star Jason Statham gives our hero the action Jackson nemesis he deserves for the lights and camera. Facing off in a classic, socket wrench street showdown that makes cars the new Wild West, holster gun-slinging draws in this stare down face off. If you thought those punch-ups with The Rock where classic, this is just a pebble in the water compared to what you're about to see here. Especially with Dwyane Johnson still cooking and wrestling with it all, as our new action hero fighting for sport, one man chisel and charisma cavalry, complete with Arnie, Terminating Gatling. Stath, the big, bad brother of last movies London baddie Luke Evans is primed to tie these things together. Bringing another 'Expendable' action star into the honed frame as UFC fighter Ronda Rousey tags in for Gina Carano (almost like the hip and happening cameo of rapper Iggy Azalea does fancily for Rita Ora), whilst 'Ong-Bak' megastar maestro Tony Jaa adds so much more kick to this push start Luckily for Vin his family comes first and Statham's 'Death Race' co-star and singer Tyrese Gibson is back in the drivers seat with his car radio on loud for a motor-mouth, mean-mugging performance that shows exactly why the 'Southpaw' star is probably about to add a 'Green Lantern' script to the all-action table read next to his 'Desert Eagle' one in this ride along too. Add the tech and rapping Ludacris to the console as a USB like plug-in to this drive and its a production that beats to the streets of tires and treads. From the funny to the heart-warming, the ride or die women of Michelle Rodriguez and Jordan Brewster and their emotional core and soul step it up once again to show you why they've been here from the start and will always stay. Still if nostalgia's in your rearview then how about some more Lucas Black for the road that bridges the gap from Texas to Tokyo like the road return of Mrs Thor, Elsa Patakay? More tinkering also adds 'Game Of Thrones' talent Nathalie Emmanuel to this one of cars with the departure of dear faces like 'Wonder Woman' Gal Gadot and drift king catalyst Sung Kang. Also riding casting shotgun are 'Gladiators' like Djimon Hounsou for extra intensity and the old hand of 'Death Proof' Kurt Russell who escapes from retirement to L.A. to add more legend and a classic action hero to a stellar series that's already ran its own legacy.
Still for all the new age, thrash metal, chrome and paint action and hallmark, city of lost angels, 'Race Wars' nostalgia that Justin Lin replacing, 'Insidious' director James Wan can creatively and classily conjure up, its the heart that matters the most. And looking under the hood of this machine and you'll see that the heart lies with Paul Walker. Now resting peacefully, the tragic, late superstar who died in an automobile accident, over an all too soon year ago, comes alive here for one last ride on a tear and tear. This is in part to the parcel of his definitive delivery, thanks to the digital help of his two brave brothers Codey and Caleb and this films trunk load of a budget. It's a valiant effort of the whole brotherhood here for a man that means so much to this franchise and its family of friends. One that is digitally and practically seamless doing this man as proud as they are of him. Now although how tragic and emotional it is to watch (just like hauntingly and heartbreakingly hearing him ask; "what's one more funeral?") this man in his final few hours of film, what a final film it is for him. Even though it is still heartbreakingly unbelievable to realise that he is really gone for the saddest screen time shine we've seen since the late, great, tragic but beautiful, Heath Ledger performance in 'The Dark Knight'. Here Walker is running, going all-action hero with core, coming to terms with life itself, hard to heart emotional acting accents. All his might and muster with as much brains as bullets and more chambers to the hands and heart of an action star with more smarts than the genre usually grants. There's so many thrilling set-pieces and stunts here he really was giving his all in every scintillating scene, pulling no punches, physical or psychological. Just like he lived his life in the more respectful way of saying it as, ceasing every moment by the horns, just like this films steering wheel and shift. The superstar talent who was showing more acting range and diversity on later movies like the heartbreaking 'Hours' and strong 'Brick Mansions' has been here since the first twist of the key in the ignition, only missing one film in the trip to Tokyo. To imagine this franchise now changing lanes and going in a different direction from and without a co-headliner as prominent and important to this franchise as his Diesel sidekick is lump in the throat, hard to believe. Still life must go on like this saint Paul would have wished and wanted. And as these counting car movies look to move to the Big Apple of the core of New York for at least three more laps, they will always honour their flagship driver in this his victory lap. As for the flashback and character to actor, send-off tribute, we don't want to add a spoiler to this motor moment. But trust us its worthy of your tears as it is worthy of a man whose weight can be measured on more than just living a quarter mile at a time on a dime. As hauntingly poignant as Paul Walker once said; "If one day the speed kills me, do not cry because I was smiling," we can't help but shed one more tribute tear for that last smile and goodbye. For him though, meeting his brother at the lights, side by side once again, like they where always meant to be, "just like old times", Paul Walker's name will live and drive on. TIM DAVID HARVEY.