Friday, 29 May 2015
By TIM DAVID HARVEY
"Next time baby!" Terrence Howard looks at the polished iron suit behind him as Robert Downey Jnr shoots off from Stark Mansion as Iron Man. Marveling at "the coolest thing he's ever seen", Howard want its, but doesn't feel ready yet. Opting for another machine in the slick Audi in this ever expensive and expansive, man cave, boy toy garage. As Colonel James Rhodes speeds off, Howard's War Machine would have to wait its turn until the sequel of the 2008 movie that kicked off Marvel's movie assemble of Avengers, that still lasts beyond this 'Age Of Ultron' day. Still when 'Iron Man 2' rolled around and Colonel Rhodes was called to Tony Stark's side in front of a congressional hearing, RDJ looked more than a little surprised as 'Oceans Eleven' and 'Hotel Rwanda' star Don Cheadle walked up to him wearing the machines medals. "I wasn't expecting you"! Downey Jr muses. To which, not missing a beat Don replies; "well, it's me, and I'm here, so get over it and move on!" That's Marvel's funny, tongue in cheek way of telling us that Howard's superhero run had come to an end as he was replaced by Cheadle (and we all had better have been fine with it). No War Machine suiting up. No more "next time baby". Damn!
Still, short of a decade later and Terrence is becoming a War Machine all unto himself, with Howard's new beginning after what most thought would be the end of the press-reportedly troubled but critically-acclaimed terrific Hollywood actor. Right now this big star is back. Maybe not on the big screen (as of yet), but he's dominating the small screen right now. One that seems to be taking over the movie world these days, with its sought after binge watched, shows by the cliffhanger episode. Shows that feel like mini-movies unto themselves and in whole series' even extended and expanded movies. Just look at the most popular thing people are watching right now in 'Game Of Thrones'. Or something like 'True Detective' where movie stars like Colin Farrell, Vince Vaughn, Taylor Kitsch and Rachael McAdams are all suiting up for season 2, behind 'Fast and Furious' series director Justin Lin, after the stellar first, formidable season was big for Woody Harrelson and almost as big as the Oscar and 'Wolf Of Wall Street' cameo for Matthew McConaughey's comeback campaign. Even movie monster franchise Marvel have offered up an all-in-one Netflix binge for their dark but dominant 'Daredevil' series that joins 'Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.' and 'Agent Carter' in their battle with D.C. Comics' 'Arrow', 'Flash' and of course city of 'Gotham'. Now Terrence is getting in on the act too when it comes to critically acclaimed, immensely popular T.V. shows. The guy who made his on the box debut back in 1994 with 'Family Matters' is making his name bigger in households across the world for more than just appearances in the cult, legendary 'Hawaii Five-O' and 'Law & Order' ('LA' and 'Special Victims Unit') as Senior D.D.A. Jonah "Joe" Dekker (a role he really brought veteran actor seniority and substance to). Take 'Wayward Pines' currently for example. The M. Night Shyamalan produced series based on the books by Blake Crouch, starring Matt Dillon as a man who wakes up from a car accident to a small-town he's more than just passing through that's more than a little bit backward to say the least. To reveal more would be too much of a spoil to one of T.V'.s best and most innovative intriguing series' in recent years. The knife-edge cliffhangers making you wish you read the book or recorded and saved all the episodes weeks ago. Right now after this week, you just can't wait for the next and from the moment Howard's sinister but compelling and captivating Sheriff character shook hands with our lead, you wanted to know more from this character than just how can one man make eating something as sweet as ice cream seem so scary?
Then there's the place beyond the pines at the epicenter of the world in New York City. Or should we say the 'Empire'. The ghetto soap opera, state of mind that sees Howard making his multi-million dollar made dreams in the concrete jungle. Building up a hip-hop, family dynasty and record company empire with Taraji P. Henson from the ground up. As Lucious Lyon a former street rapper turned label exec, Howard's character is dying from ALS and no ice bucket challenge can save him. But as cold as ice and all 'Breaking Bad' at the end from the beginning, Lyon is breaking faces, ready to murder the competition to have his empire and whichever son he chooses as heir on top of the world. I mean (SPOILER ALERT) in the first episode this man puts his gay son in a bin and puts a bullet in his best friends head. It doesn't get much worse than this people. But playing bad has never looked so good. Just like in 'Pines', Terrence does this perfectly. Almost making it impossible to hate this guys characters no matter how atrociously abhorrent they are. Now that's the sign of a great actor. One that can play evil so devilishly good...and make us love him regardless of the ravaging nature of the anti-heroes he plays after years of playing the good guy that no one gave the due to as he finished last. I guess it really is 'Hard Out Here For A Pimp'. Now reuniting with his female equivalent in rising leading lady Taraji P. Henson, this hip urban drama that is attracting the guest star likes of Cuba Gooding Jnr, Naomi Campbell, Anthony Hamilton and Lenny Kravitz, Alicia Keys and Chris Rock for the second season feels like a spiritual sequel to the original hip, hit movie 'Hustle & Flow'. The rap drama where Howard received an Academy Award nomination for his mic-icon lead, where one of his songs earned southern rap group Three Six Mafia an Oscar, hilariously presented by Dolly Parton. Maybe a country star can relate to it being hard out there for a P.I.M.P?! Alongside his amazing acting, Howard's real and raw rapping earned him an album deal for some more bars, yet Terrence turned this all on its head. Recruiting Mike Mosley for a studio session that turned into an alternative soul album with jazz and country inflections by the note called 'Shine Through It'. This album may have been critically wrote off, but it's actually a surprise classic, coming in the same year he bolted up for Iron Man. Exhibiting great musical range and a soulful sound and versatile voice, Howard shined through on songs like 'Sanctuary', 'Love Makes You Beautiful, 'War', 'Plenty' and lets face it the whole underrated and unique album that really is art and beauty from a deeply introspective and intense actor. We just wish we could hear more.
It's just unfair, like the whole 'Iron Man' mess. A fall out over something relatively mundane and silly. What seemed like his year in 2008, turned out to be a cursed one as his biggest steps, actually ended up leading him to some of his lowest setbacks. Yet, its why he's here today and his careers back in the big bucks, billboard status. Still, in this fickle, quick world of "first they love you, then they hate you", we'd love to see what it was like if fate fell for him the right way. If we heard more albums from that deal that led to a deep, diverse and delightful disc. He'd surely be making more sincere soul classics now. The type that even if mainstream ignored, lead to this 'Hustle' rapper flowing to some Marvin Gaye casting rumors, that hopefully in the future could lead to the light of the day, like more music (if not Marvin there's country legend Charley Pride, reuniting him with 'Hustle & Flow' director Craig Brewer). After all its no coincidence his latest venture sees him surrounded by hit sounds yet again...even if it is Timbaland who is laying the beat. No matter how much Don Cheadle has made the role of Rhodes his own machine as the face visor rose up and revealed a different man. It would have still been so great to see Howard go to war with Iron Man in the right way for more sequels and Avenger films. Still, Marvel's Hollywood family is so huge almost every actor in the industry has had his part and like the separate comic book incarnations, Howard has had his time in his prime for the first and always foremost, franchise cornerstone. His performance in 'Iron Man' had a fighting flair, with heart and humor to bolt. Sure what's come since can't be changed, but what lead everything to this point can't be erased either. Like the reason this man started off as the highest paid actor on the original movie, even more than Tony Stark's muse. Howard's one and done is as great as it is missed...kind of like another alternative music dude who suited up as the Iron Monger in Jeff Bridges. If this country star made it to the sequel too, there would have been an awesome between scenes jam session with other underrated musicians Scarlet Johannson and of course Downey Jr at least. Sound good? Another time maybe?
Still, Howard's career is more than the trouble man sounds and silence of missed opportunity. There's his dynamic, hood to Hollywood, classic debut in 'Dead Presidents', that was for more than just the paper as he stole our attention in this Hollywood heist. The 46 year old from Chicago, Illinois overcame welfare and racism from an early age to break through in 'The Cosby Show' and various other roles that have mad him a family name in every residence across these United States. One of his films or shows will be laying somewhere in your house...even if it is the obvious one. The man who has appeared in Ashanti ('Foolish') and Mary J. Blige ('Be Without You') music videos and NBA Playoff build-up commercials has also starred on Broadway alongside legends like James Earl Jones (in the adaptation of the classic 'Cat On A Hot Tin Roof') and has also started his biopic biography (just like when he played Ali when he was Cassius Clay in the T.V. movie 'King Of The World'), joining the likes of Morgan Freeman and Idris Elba in playing Nelson Mandela (alongside Jennifer Hudson in 'Winnie'). The man alongside the likes of Anthony Mackie and Chadwick Boseman is ever so close to reaching the Jamie Foxx, Will Smith and of course Denzel Washington legendary likes of African-American legacy makers in the vein of icons like Sidney Poitier. This star of franchises like 'The Best Man' shows he is one himself in a matrimony of movies where his powerful performances became even bigger than the pictures themselves. Kind of a similar look to his perfect 'Empire' portrait. Just like his early roles in 'The Players Club', 'Best Laid Plans' and 'Big Momma's House'. Or his recent ones in the prolific 'Prisoners', 'Empire' creator Lee Daniels' 'The Butler' and actions like Colin Farrell's 'Dead Man Down' or Arnold Schwarzenegger's 'Sabotage'. Then of course there's his classic good cop over corruption character in the five star hit 'Four Brothers'. His even better one, scene and star stealing in Jodie Fosters vigilante, 'The Brave One', revenge mission. One of his finest and most formidable features in film. Or his star standout in the human, collateral damage 'Crash' ensemble that saw an even more tense and terrifying introduction with 'Wayward' co-star Matt Dillon. Still, it's his original film with Colin Farrell 'Harts War' that really made his and its mark. Even outshining Bruce Willis, Howard in one scene and speech revealed more about his character and his as an actor and as a man in a moving monologue of life and race in the harshest realities of the rawest war that still exists today. Lesson learnt? If only! Those who took heed however, saw more than just a great actors moment. They saw what real acting was really about. Conveying a message bigger than yourself. And this is why this actor is bigger than moments in other peoples big movies, like Jamie Foxx's 'Ray', Outkast's 'Idelwild', or 50 Cent's 'Get Rich Or Die Tryin'. "Que sera, sera"! It's all about the meaning he brings to the likes of 'Pride' or the George Lucas endorsed 'Red Tails' flight in tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen, (a group of African-American United States Army Air Forces servicemen during World War II). So many great, underrated roles in a career as such, that deserves more and is about to see that for a man aiming for the top billing and acclaim he deserves as an amazing actor of passion, pride, intensity and integrity. It's these qualities in his acting skill-set that will lead to an even more formidable filmography. Once this man continues to get back to where he's always really been. In the upper echelon. Proving to everybody, surviving through it all, that there will always be a next time...baby!
Tuesday, 26 May 2015
22 Episodes. Starring: Ben McKenzie, Donal Logue, David Mazouz, Zabryna Guevara, Sean Pertwee, Robin Lord Taylor, Erin Richards, Camren Bicondova, Cory Michael Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith, Victoria Cartagena, Andrew Stewart-Jones, John Doman, Nicholas D'Agosto & Morena Baccarin.
Rouges, devils, dancers of the pale moonlight. They're all here in this gallery of characters giving the true beginnings of Batman the origin story that the hero deserves. Marvel's 'Avengers', 'X-Men' and 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' maybe winning the civil, comic-book infinity wars of the cinematic universe, before Batman and Superman put them up. But D.C. still have some capital in the small screen leagues before they reveal their 'Dawn Of Justice'. Marvel's 'Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D' and 'Agent Carter' have had trouble keeping up with the runaway 'Flash', whereas 'Arrow' has been a bullseye for many seasons now leaving other cupids green with envy. It wasn't until Marvel and Netflix went as dark as the modern day caped crusader with their outside the box dominant 'Daredevil' that they really saw the small screen light with their lawyer/vigilante, blind street stalker and easily one of the best things the already formidable franchise has ever done. Yet, D.C. have an answer for that too in the darkest and most famous fictional city this side of Metropolis (now wouldn't that be a spin off?), 'Gotham'. Taking us back to Batman's beginnings when he was just a boy called Bruce, with the Wayne foundation at his feet. All until he saw too much in his lace tying days, as two bodies fell in dollars, bullets and pearls on just another night in the sin and crime of this city in need of a symbol. This is 'Gotham' and before the Bat, there was a cop. A long way away from the commission, but armed with a badge and gun and the right to fight for the justice this city needs if not deserves.
Yes, this is Jim Gordon's rodeo as this G.C.P.D. beat cop, battles all the law and disorder, in his own turf war with the darkness and the light as night falls on a city of animals and clowns. This is part 'Dark Knight' trilogy era superhero realism, part 'Soprano' thanks to dons like John Doman and part classic cop show leaving the competition 'N.Y.P.D.' blue. Coloured in chrome and bleak black and blue paint this smaller budget, but to scale show looks the part. As a matter of fact Gotham's true New York City home has never looked better in its skyline, establishing shots...and that even counts when 'The Dark Knight Rises' took this gothic place from the classic Chicago capturing to the madness of midtown Manhattan. It all looks so good R. Kelly may start singing about this "city of culture" again, but boy you better believe this is no place of peace. Policing it all perfectly is Ben McKenzie as a forthright and fantastic Jim Gordon to the epic end of this new 22 off Jump Street. Copping this role, this former shaggy haired kid off the 'O.C.' surf is THE part despite not having the trademark Gordon long hair, beard and drawn out face...yet. Give it a few years on this particular beat for the cop turned commissioner of Gotham City Police. McKenzie is easily the best thing about this show, but Donal Logue is more than just some emergency back-up. Or a partners oath word and lecture of caution. As the legendary comic cop Harvey Bullock, a beat by trade and age veteran, who in the very first episode goes on a Johnny Cash song rampage and tells the rookie of the year Jim Gordon to take some animal to the edge of the river and put a bullet in his head. The real McCoy, Logue hasn't gone rouge yet. Yet you can bank on him going to the savings and trust of Harvey Dent (we can't wait to see the slick Nick D'Agosto go all Two-Faces sick) and flip out between the coin faces of the right and wrong side of the law, over the next few seasons to become the donut and cigar chomping cop that was a few sprinkles and smokes away from city corruption in the comics. As for Jim's other partners the beautiful Erin Richards and Morena Baccarin literally fight for his affections and win ours and all our awe in the process.
Now how about those who deal with a trade that's even more rouge? The gallery is more or less all here. So much so they've even added a new face that you won't find in the comic strip (yet) in the form of Fish Mooney played by the out of the water and into the fire Jada Pinkett Smith. Arguably the shows biggest on paper billing star, who sadly won't be around for the second season if rumour has it. Even though literally "it's all good". Still with her husband Will Smith arming up as sharpshooting Bat hunter and villain Deadshot for the 'Suicide Squad' movie, a cinematic crossover could be on the cards marked chance (if only). Still there's plenty more femme fatales with fatalism on their mind like the roots of Poison Ivy or a Catwoman that's even got Hathaway's tongue, in the young, goggle wearing Camren Bicondova who looks like she could be Michelle Pfeiffer's daughter. Still, when it comes to legendary rouge villains, not much holds an umbrella to the Penguin. And walking the Oswald Cobblepot waddle, Robin Lord-Taylor has become such a show and fan favourite that fans have been whispering and wishing this guy could and will end up in clown make-up and a purple suit, not a penguin one...but the nose says it all. Unquestionably however, our pick for best bad boy is Cory Michael Smith's Edward Nygma. Truly an Enigma this guys transformation from mortician to morgue maker is bat-dropping, crazy, Carrey creative and classic. As he has laughs through panic and perversions of the mind, will you too? Or will you cry at these haunting hallucinations before the eye? Who leaves his mark without even asking a question? Riddle me that! We can't wait to see what happens when this exclamation point answers the second season and the darker side of his origin. Just like our Bat-Boy David Mazouz who after the thrilling and guns blazing, ass kicking season finale, finished the first series off perfectly with a fan boy delightful discovery with butler Alfred. Played with a young, cockier Cockney, soldier swagger by great Brit Sean Pertwee, who could even make Caine and Irons lie in wait. All this and yet we want so much more. Which this promising show looks to guarantee in a second season as anticipated as a 'True Detective' one for this police department. Perhaps more dread from the dark, almost demonic Scarecrow story and perhaps the Freeze being taken off ice (without the Arnold puns) could tide us over like the birth of a baby bird. Or a medicine woman, like say a Dr. Quinn for this asylum of Arkham's finest. But still just like the end of the real 'Batman Begins' and with all dues to that great, ginger, laughing kid, can someone please pass Jim Gordon an evidence bag with a Joker card in it? Then this great hand of a show will be playing its cards right! Show us a sign...or a signal! Now here's a Batman! TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Monday, 25 May 2015
Problems? Family dynamics? I'll give you some family dynamics! It's Miller time and you don't even want these guys as your Zac Efron and Seth Rogen like 'Bad Neighbours'. This is like 'National Lampoon's' R.V. took a 'Due Date' diversion with a 'Hangover' and picked up a couple of 'Horrible Bosses' on the way too. Meet the Millers. The dad (the hilarious Jason Sudeikis) is a drug dealer. The mum (the ever funny and sexy Jennifer Aniston) is a stripper. While one kid (Emma Roberts on fine form) is a runaway and the other (the wonderful Will Poulter)...well we have no idea what the hell is going on with this kid! We don't think hilarious co-stars Nick Offerman, Kathryn Hahn, Molly Quinn and drug lord Ed Helms (you ain't convincing anyone...we know you're still a dentist Stu) do either. Still this all makes for one fabulous family farce that fuels up the road trip fun and games even if some of you will be left screaming; "are we there yet"?! Sure these days a lot of comedies gag reels are funnier than the actual films themselves but there's some fourth of July fireworks here for a film that tries to smuggle as much smutty laughs across the R rated border as it contraband can. And with the funniest references to R&B lady legends TLC since those 'Other Guys' this 'my fake wife and kids' does more than chase waterfalls as they make a splash. But still, like any family making a trip across country when you make a little roadside stop...try to keep off the grass! TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Monday, 18 May 2015
50 Shares Of Grey.
Lets talk about 'Sex Tape'! No, no Pamela, Paris or Kardashian. But Jason and Cameron making a porno for a crass comedy starring Diaz and Segel that isn't all ass. Sure this sex in the camera plot is extra safe thick mind. It's your classic, 'married with children' trying to get that spark back, so they fire up the old videotape for some home porn. But viewers beware in this digital age movie they didn't think about The Cloud and all the social media, mass sharing that this viral world of hash tags and likes is trending today. Or all the family, friends and public servants Segel gave iPads to as gifts...wait! What! Hang on! Who is this guy? Steve Jobs? Crazy plot timelines up in the clouds aside, Pad swipers like Rob Corddry and a sensational scene stealing Robe Lowe apply themselves perfectly here alongside a classic cameo that keeps us all updated. As for the tape reels participants, you can clearly make out how great they are. Following their partnership on 'Bad Teacher' the still ever sexy Cameron Diaz is the apple of both your eyes and sides, rolling on skates and tube socks. Whilst Segel shows he's still all 'I Love You Man', even though how do you explain this one when meeting your mother? Lost in the clouds of comedy craziness, from SIRIously slapstick dog fighting, to the strangest reference to basketball star LeBron James and clutch legend Derek Fisher going one-on-one this is a ball...and all balls too. Worthy of taping, even if you want to erase after. But still press play and be kind...rewind. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Sunday, 17 May 2015
Hotter Than July.
Feel that? Cold isn't it? No, we're not talking about typical British weather round Summer, but this amazingly atmospheric, terrific Jim Mickle thriller, 'Cold In July' based on Joe R. Lansdale's brilliant book. Starring 'Dexter' and 'Miami Vice's' Sonny Crockett himself. Just listen. As a matter of fact, role up those suit sleeves and slick back that mullet, because this film is as 80's as cops rolling around in automobiles that only drug dealers would drive around now. And you'll be sure to find some classic cars off nostalgias lot in a movie that's got more American muscle under the hood of its spit and polish shine of its look and tone. Even one that iconic legend and show stealer Don Johnson makes his 'B****'', as he goes full 'Unchained', Big Daddy mode complete with Stetson, rhinestone and horns, with the Johnny Cash of a country star all around his spurs. Yet its the almost unrecognizable Michael C. Hall who takes us through this picture of a Parton, 9 to 5 and T.V. dinner, lukewarmly perfect family life, interrupted by a midnight caller intruder, put to an end on the chime of an hour by Dexter washing blood down his sink once again. The far reaching and teaching repercussions and turmoil of this hairpin, split second response results in some of the most tense and thrilling conflict seen in cinemas for years. Especially with legend Sam Shepard in perfect play and Kurt Russell's son Wyatt showing he looks more than just the part to take the passed torch and burn brightly under his own light. To reveal more about this great movie that seems to have about three more films, subplots, secrets and lives all wrapped up under its brutal but brilliant blow would be more than a spoiler, it'd be a crime to cinema. Almost like the fact that this film deserves more in this blockbuster big budget world. Just like it gives its viewers in the pay off of a dynamite, action-eer of a third act that most number one movies in the country would kill to engineer. Even if this modern movie world is no country for old men cold, 'July' still finds its place even in the hottest Summer. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Friday, 15 May 2015
The Max and the Furious.
120 Minutes. Starring: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Zoe Kravitz, Rosie Huntington-Whitely & Hugh Keays-Byrne. Director: George Miller.
Madness?! This.Is.Max! Move aside Mel! Someone harder's come along to take mad to its maximum. Hardy to be exact! The future belongs to this man. Just when you thought Tom was done the breakout 'Bronson' and inspired 'Inception' star is working his hardest. About to own more franchises than downtown coffee retailers despite having such an overblown workload 'The Dark Knight Rises' star was forced to drop out of forthcoming superhero films 'X-Men: Apocalypse' and the D.C. Comics 'Suicide Squad' ensemble assemble. Still that hasn't stopped the man that's about to show the Kemp brothers he can play BOTH Kray twins in expressing his desire to play Marvel's Punisher, or fans expressing there's to see him take the claws of Wolverine that are about to be handed down by the seemingly as irreplaceable as Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark's 'Iron Man', Hugh Jackman. Now which one sounds more perfect? Maybe everything else didn't work out for a reason. Still all this Marvel may even have to wait their turn behind sequels that have already been green lit for a film that's getting maximum ratings across the board. That's just how mad this all is and how great Hardy is in place of the legend Mel Gibson as Max fuelling this formidable, fire franchise and taking it down a road 'Beyond Thunderdome'. Starting out in a Bane like mask and ending up with 'Lawless' method acting mumbling. He's a directors dream, even if it is a nightmare to ask him for directions. Understand it or not, this guy says more with a perfectly crafted facial expression-whether funny or forlorn-than in lines of chatter that this film could write on napkins and coasters. The shy anti-hero shtick is quite endearing too for an actor whose previous character courted Chastain with little conversation. Now this 'action, bomb louder than words, 'Warrior' is at it again with 'Drive' dialogue disdain.
This time is Charlize. As Theron shows there's more to this max pain than the madness of Tom's thumb trigger happy action hero. The veteran of femme fatale, action heroine, big budget flicks herself has barely been better than here, shaving her head and strapping on a 'Winter Soldier' metal arm and looking just as good, she's just as important as Furosia an alley to our road warrior Mad Max on his 'Fury Road' that leaves you battered and bruised like the tank confides of Brad Pitt's formidable war of 'Fury'. Last year the seriously good actress shows she could have a laugh with Seth MacFarlane in 'A Million Ways To Die In The West', but here drawing even more guns she proves she's ass kicking-ly back. Rubbing oil across her face and motoring a war rig of runaway young, forced into marriage brides, this is 'Thelma & Louise' with a testosterone and steroid fuel injection. There's even more riding shotgun however as 'X-Men' star Nicholas Hoult delivers a beast of a performance as a skinny and ashy War Boy, shaved and halfway in a grave if it wasn't for the 'Warm Bodies' stars Max blood donor. What more can we say about this boy? Hoult proves he's a man and worth so much more as he increases his range on this trip. Showing there's more than one fork in the road on this epic car chase in a film that lives, dies and lives again. All in all its one hell of a ride. What a lovely day indeed.
Trunk loads of character and acting action give this death race of vehicular manslaughter more throttle. Jason Statham's lady Rosie Huntington-Whitely transforms from her 'Dark Side Of The Moon' performance to a real actress, who alongside guitar god daughter Zoe Kravitz at her best yet brings the emotional current to this core of cogs and cranks and bullets and brimstone motors. Even original villain Hugh Keays-Byrne returns badder than ever, along with this films origins director George Miller whose spent the last couple of his post-apocalyptic decades directing the likes of 'Babe' and 'Happy Feet'! What the?! Now you might find those pigs and penguins on the front grills of these cars in carnage or even barbequed for sustenance later. Because this film of swines has no feathers or cuteness about it. It kicks your ass for the best part of two hours taking you through storms of sands and beautifully barren 'Book Of Eli' like deserted landscapes. Clutch shifting through stuttering, stop shuttering like filming that makes this amazing assault of the senses as action addict nourishing as it is motion sickness nauseating. Even the taking over genre of video games don't play quite like this. The wolf can wait...even if he does eventually join The Avengers like Spider-Man, because in this Marvel 'Age Of Ultron', this fantastic film of a driving daredevil makes the competition look like ants man. In another monster and machine Summer season of 'Jurassic' past and 'Terminator' future franchises this war machine is the extinction level event, brilliant, blockbuster surprise of the year like lasts 'Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes'. As crazy as a bag of monkeys this insane film stays in your membrane, proving that Aussies rule once again even without Gibson. Just think those poor 'Pitch Perfect' girls have to go against this. Those pitches be tripping, because even in a blockbuster year that the Diesel of Vin started early, here's one road war that could even run the crushing, candy, cereal cars of the 'Fast' franchise off the road. Because this machine madness is taking it to the max, with much more furious fire. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Thursday, 14 May 2015
No Counsel For Old Men.
Need some counselling? You may after this. Because this tense and turbulent crime thriller bordering Mexico bags more foreign bodies than health inspectors. Words may be the main weapons here in this mass destruction of script paper (especially the tree culling extended cut) but the violence here is Del Ray ultra. What else would you expect from legendary 'The Road' and 'Blood Merian' author Cormac McCarthy? Who here extends his legacy with his first wrote screenplay for 'The Counsellor'. Bringing back 'No Country For Old Men' brilliant, sinister star Javier Bardem in yet another chameleon character actors 'guise (see his classic 'Collateral' cameo and his famous 'Skyfall' Bond villain for more great bad in different tones from this thematic guy) gives this film a man who could make talking about an impromptu, car window screen wiping incident sound like one hell of a story. It kind of is, no matter how crazy it sounds. Sure in classic Cormac, this novel idea from the writer is full of conversations. So much so that you may be Elvis wishing for a little more action. But when lines are being mailman perfection delivered by the likes of Bardem and the seemingly effortlessly, always brilliant Brad Pitt, then even when Hollywood's most famous faces tips a waitress its handed over in the most coolest of ways. And when they finally do put down their glasses and take it outside the action is gun cocking and chokingly conflicting and convincing. Leaving you in one snatch of a vice grip. Still great Ridley Scott's latest epic that features the brains and beauty of Cameron Diaz and Penelope Cruz and a cameo list of great likes like Rosie Perez, John Leguizamo, Natalie Dormer and Goran Višnjic is all brought together by the fantastic maestro Michael Fassbender holding counsel. Proving this man can lead an all-star cast like his 'First Class' and 'Bastered' scene stealing showed. Sure this pycho-therapy maybe needed a few more sessions work, but at the end of its time its still got the meat and potatoes of being worthy of a couple hours on the couch. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Monday, 11 May 2015
Like a Jasmine tree growing with new life from Wood, Allen goes blue for his latest picture perfect portrait of New York City love and life. This time however between the Big Apple and the Golden Gate of San Francisco-in what looks like both classic cities most beautiful Summer-this whole film almost looks European in the way it's sublimely shot. Now as for how it sounds, its vintage trumpet score makes it practically feel like a film from the late forties or early fifties. Its a hallmark classic featuring a colourful cast of characters from award worthy Sally Hawkins to the hard working, character actor of the moment Bobby Cannavale. Along with the personalities of Louis C.K and Andrew Dice Clay and the legend that is Alec Baldwin. Still the Oscar went to Cate Blanchett and are you surprised? As along with Julianne Moore and Jessica Chastain this amazing, Australian actress edges ever so closer to the Meryl Streep ranks people already have the likes of Jennifer Lawrence lined up for. Here, with an award winning performance the most versatile actress, who has played everything from 'The Lord Of The Rings' to Bob Dylan (yes, Bob Dylan...no one has looked as well as him than her) extends her chameleonic, creative characterization range to the socialite stakes of a divorcée drunk off the pain of pills and needing to feel worth from her private to her public life. What's love got to do with it? Blanchett is intoxicating and inspiring. Unflinchingly brutal and uncompromisingly brilliant, this is comedy and tragedy all rolled into one signature performance that isn't afraid to take the disorder of anxiety to social and personal head on task. Revealing there's more that lies behind the matters of just another mind and movie in the most hurting truth. Classic heartbreak like Joni Mitchell's 'Blue', 'Jasmine' may not be everyone's cup of tea, but its a taste you won't forget in this modern day of coffee drinkers and liquor lunch dates. Here's a toast to all of that. Cheers! TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Thursday, 7 May 2015
Everybody Rates Chris.
Five, four, three, two, one! And Chris Rock's career is far from done! We could give you five reasons to watch the new movie from one of the greatest comedians of our generation. Or 500 even! Like first and foremost you could say this five finger, high-five to the five boroughs is the perfect hand honoured homage to Rock's New York home and the city that's never off our screens has barely been better printed. You could also say that this film is loosely based on some parody, autobiographical tip to the life of the Chris that everybody loves, like the majority of his earliest and best work. Hate him then how about one of the greatest casts since his 'Death At A Funeral'? Topped by a bill of the beautifully talented Rosario Dawson and Gabrielle Union, the hilarious as hell J.B. Smoove, Tracy Morgan and Cedric The Entertainer and more classic cameos we don't even want to spoil like the casting agent here that milks all this talent for all its worth. Just like the sensational score hip to the 'Top Five Best Rappers' questioning hop nature of this film. Oh and its funny as f###! Need another reason? Just go see it! Oh...and my top five? Tupac, Nas, Outkast, Talib Kweli and Common. *Drops Pen*. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Soaring past the injustices of racism that still unbelievably cruelly exist today, 'Red Tails' takes flight. The Anthony Hemingway direction on true events is backed by the great George Lucas who knows a thing or two about aerial assaults. Still these flying falcons give us the first Lucasfilm, not belonging to the 'Star Wars' or 'Indiana Jones' franchises in over 20 years of cinema. And what a film to break that barrier too. One depicting the African-American Red Tail fighter pilots that battled more than one war, as they overcame years and tears of prejudice to show that they where as brave and as worthy a soldier as any man. On the same wing and flight plan of a 'Memphis Belle' or 'Monuments Men' its refreshing to see a fairer war film about overcoming the most abhorrent abuse not resort to 'Inglorious', 'Unchained' comic-book violence, with all due respect to the terrific Tarantino. This is an inspired history lesson that even children could...and should watch. This epic ensemble features a stellar squadron, featuring the lovable likes of Nate Turner, Tristan Wilds, Elijah Kelly, Daniela Ruah, Bryan Cranston, rapper Method Man and singer Ne-Yo with the lip of an accented performance. Yet its those who've battled through racially charged dramas before that make the real stand. From 'Selma's' Martin Luther King, David Oyelowo to Michael B. Jordan of 'Fruitvale Station'. Then there's the always intensely influential Terrence Howard of 'Harts War' who is on the 'Empire' series of a career comeback and the same going for 'Man Of Honor' Cuba Gooding Jr, whose so proud of his few good men here he can't help but grin into his captains pipe. The scenes of mid-air battle are a voyage for your IMAX screens, but the under all sorts of fire courage of the message here is what flies the highest. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Uncaged in 'Joe' Nic is facing off all his demons, character or actor. Sex, violence. A bottle of whiskey. A pack of smokes. Poor choices. Critics beware the great actor from 'Las Vegas' by way of 'Arizona' is back here in the beautiful, barren backwoods of Texas ready to re-ink his reputation. 'Bad Lieutenant' was no fluke. I have it on good authority that this guy can still play it straight and great. Just don't let him shave and a grizzled beard will give all new character life to a cut above the rest. By the book by Larry Brown (no not the legendary NBA coaches playbook) and playing a man whose business is to poison and chop down trees to replace them with much stronger oak is a tall but growing metaphor of not just his own life here too. Terrific teen Tye Sheridan-who is about to play a young Cyclops in next years 'X-Men' sequel-shows great maturing vision here in this truck stop version of 'Gran Torino'. As he faces his own apocalypse of adolescence, emancipating through the mental slavery of parental abuse. The real tragic figure here is Gary Poulter who plays the drifting, drunk pops with beating and berating brutality, that's as bold and brilliant in its acting, as it is cruel and callous in its almost authenticity. Poulter, complete with the eyes of real-hell experience acting, was a homeless man turned first-time incredibly impressive actor, who in a cruel, twist of life imitating art fate was found dead by a lake shortly after filming. So this is for Gary, a great actor that only few, but more should discover. This legacy here will always live on and find a home in this industry. Hey, 'Joe' isn't just a great Nicolas Cage redemption picture. Its a portrait of how fleeting critical life is like, young and old. As real and as raw as life gets, this 'Joe' is far from regular. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Friday, 1 May 2015
Awakening a 'Sleeping Beauty' to Disney's latest live-action reboots of hits like 'Snow White', 'Cinderella', the forthcoming 'Beauty & Beast', an absolutely hilarious 'Saturday Night Live' skit of 'Bambi' starring The Rock and what we're sure will sooner than later come in the form of a Captain America like reawakening from ice for 'Frozen', comes 'Maleficent'. The return of an iconic villain in a franchise that has as many classic cruel characters as they do Mickey mice and the return of Angelina Jolie. One of the worlds most famous actresses, faces and half of the worlds most famous couple in a fabulous return to form. As soon as you see the iconic, horned sinewy shadow of Maleficent upon the castle walls, you know she and Disney have done it again...and if you need any better reason just wait until you hear that classic cackle. This just may be the best of the sleeping greats turned into genuine, real-life remakes and retellings of what happened once upon a time, offset by singing siren Lana Del Ray's haunting take on 'Once Upon A Dream', that puts a spell on us even more beautiful than her 'Great Gatsby' vintage gem (give her the Bond theme!). From dungeons to dragons this delightful dark fantasy has everything including Juno Temple as a pixie small fairy and Neil Blomkamp and our favourite character actor Sharlto Copley as an accented king. Still if anyone's taking the crown of horns from Jolie's moment than its Sleeping Beauty herself, as Elle Fanning and her contagious smile and happiness reminds us of the joy of what its like to be young, in a film that takes us back to the nostalgia of our hallmark, dream like past like only Disney can. Like the touch of true loves kiss, 'Maleficent' is magnificent! TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Wild, Wild, Seth.
Once upon a time in the West, Seth MacFarlane gave us a million ways to laugh. From the formidably funny 'Family Guy' to its cuddly cousin in the classic 'Ted'. In this movie the more offense caused coming from a mastermind where every man, woman and child is a target, is that this comedy isn't as quick a laughing draw as the rest. Yet it's still a sharp shooter in Hollywood's evergreen vintage love for the traditions of the wild west, from 'The Lone Ranger' to the out of this world 'Cowboys & Aliens' and out of Tarantino's damn mind 'Django Unchained'. Here uncaged MacFarlane gives us the first look of his all-action acting in front of the green screen and its a punctuated performance in a saloon of stars. One that slides a whiskey across the bar for a show stopping and stealing Charlize Theron in a surprising send-up film, the moustache maverick of Neil Patrick Harris, 'Ted 2' Mila Kunis step-in Amanda Seyfried, the always weirdly perfect Giovanni Ribisi and stand up gal Sarah Silverman. And of course the, old hand legend Liam Neeson. Because what's a film without Neeson? The only thing missing here is Samuel L. Jackson in a film that has everybody and everything when it comes to classic cameos. From an unrecognizable Mr. Belding (if you didn't watch Jimmy Fallon's 'Saved By The Bell' reunion), to two classic, comedy cinematic crossovers that we are dying to roll out, but would be too bad to spoil. This is a tale of how the West was almost won by Seth. Sure this film has a little good, bad and ugly, but its still a real barn dance for you old prospectors. Yeehaw! TIM DAVID HARVEY.