Thursday, 25 June 2015



Kitty's Back.

Class is back in session as one of Pixar's most beloved alumni of 'Toy Story's' and 'Cars', returns for a prequel. Ooh look that rubber ball stamping lamp is getting all Sci-Fi franchise on us. The sequel to the massive classic 'Monsters Inc' may not have the cute Mary Boo (who may have just influenced someone in 'Despicable Me' so adorable I'm going to die) but all your other favorites are back for the first time with some new fond, funny faces down the halls of this origins story. Taking it back to the old school, this animated feature still in C.G. looks at how the Billy Crystal clear voiced Mike met the big and cuddly Sully of John Goodman. With your favorite giant Polar Bear looking character left in the wash with one of Robin Williams shirts and basically something that looks like it came out of your nose, forming the biggest and smallest dynamic duo since Shaq and Kobe what more could you want? Well Steve Buscemi's back too and so is the royal seal of Great Britain's National Treasure Helen Mirren for a new C.G. face. Hitting the books and red cup and Greek letter basics of the work and play of university life this is even a nostalgic trip for those that don't have one eye and multi-colored fur. Leaping out the closet and into the trophy cabinet, there's no sophomore slump here when these freshmonsters take it back to their rookie card days. School is no longer out this Summer and you won't even want to warm that thermometer in your mouth under the bedside lamp. When it comes to this incorporated franchise you won't even want to be saved by the bell. TIM DAVID HARVEY.



White House First & Down.

Jamie Foxx proves himself a worthy election as a peaceful and powerful president in this Obama changed world. Foxx may not be playing Barack or have the Will Smith ears to do so in a maybe forthcoming Spike Lee biopic, but the man who unchained Big Will's 'Django' role (Smith was offered but committed to 'Men In Black 3') shows som...wait, hang on! Sorry! Wrong movie! That's our review for fellow 2013 White House Under Siege movie 'White House Down' starring the aforementioned Jamie Foxx and Channing Tatum, who takes on the 'Die Hard' Bruce Willis hero hunk role, complete and 'Magic Mike' stripped down to the string vest. A McClane claim that today's Willis, Gerard Butler lays first and foremost shotgun to. 'Training Day' and forthcoming 'Magnificent Seven' director Antoine Fuqua is the great 'Equalizer' here as he plays chicken to the egg that is Roland Emmerich's own cracking cinematic look at capturing the worlds most famous residence. The code word 'Olympus Has Fallen' came before the 'White House' downer and as much as the 'Independence Day' director loves blowing up the White House he doesn't do it quite like this. The bullets and brawn action of this meat and potatoes, 90's blockbuster homage make it's new age, somewhat sequel or directors cut re-write of sorts look like spam and mash, as Foxx's 'Law Abiding Citizen' co-star Butler at President Aaron Eckhart's (I guess that 'I Believe In Harvey Dent' campaign went better than we thought) service does action heroism a great, abiding one here. So much so that it appears London Bridge is burning down for a sequel too as we've just seen the first images from 'London has Fallen'...what is he going to look after the Queen and his crown jewels? 'Olympus' hits gold thanks to a strong and recognizable cast of the likes of Angela Bassett, Robert Forster, Cole Hauser, Rick Yune, Ashley Judd, Melissa Leo, Dylan McDermott and the former 'Deep Impact' President Morgan Freeman, who may be next in line...but here is appropriately cast as "Speaker" Allan Trumbull. It's the bulk brute of Butler however that keeps us strapped into this film like a bulletproof vest. We sure could suit up for a sequel, but let's not get 'Taken' too far out of Washington D.C. We think by 'Delaware Has Fallen', they'll be out of ammunition. TIM DAVID HARVEY.



Reason To Believe.

Wait a minute....this isn't a film about Springsteen?! It doesn't matter though. This is as classic as the boss Bruce album that gave us 'Atlantic City' down the road. This beautiful and wonderful, black and white highway patrol is quite the trip too. Dark only in its look in comparison to the man from New Jersey's edge of town, you cant quite call this one. Is it a comedy? Drama? A black comedy? A bleak one? No matter what you take it for, it's a sobering sweet story worthy of your future and nostalgia's consideration. A cinematographers classic, directed by the vision behind Jack Nicholson's 'About Schmidt' and George Clooney's 'The Descendants', Alexander Payne, really takes us on a journey from Montana to Lincoln by way of some hilarious roadside judgement stops at places like the iconic Mount Rushmore (speaking of Lincoln). 77 years and a million dollar scam mailing won't stop Bruce Dern (father of Laura who was interestingly in the Payne wrote third 'Jurassic Park' movie. In todays 'Jurassic World' they may want to forget that one) from walking and moving us in the process towards 'The Great Gatsby' and 'Django' actors most warrior worthy performance. This was just the Oscar ticket like his fellow legendary co-star June Squibb playing wife with battle axe, warrior stand by my old man support. Now we can't wait to see the man that's still got the spurs in Tarantino's 'Hateful Eight'. Riding shotgun on this journey of no rainbow color to a pot of gold, comedy, 'Magruber' actor Will Forte is a serious, force of will power doing more than just humouring his fathers hope with helpings of heart. Supporting character actor of the moment Stacy Keach is here too for each player across the boards finest couple of hours. This new black and white classic is coloured with hallmark, vintage storytelling inspiration for the modern ages influence. Maybe one day the chrome will see color because this fathers house is a mansion on the hill. 'Nebraska', 'It's A Wonderful Life' indeed. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Friday, 19 June 2015


Everything Is Roarsome.


THWACK! There's nothing quite like the sound of wood on cork. Like the moment a champagne bottle is popped at the toast of celebration. That split second sound that leads to an euphoric eruption of epic enthusiasm. Sports hold that moment for us like no other outside of the Hollywood dream of the movie world. In mere moments ones life can change from relative years of obscurity to seemingly evergreen celebrity like no other. It happens on just another day, to someone that seems like just another person. But then it all comes together like the fates aligned for it all meant to be. This is how lives change in the blink of an eye as it all comes to pass. This kid is the perfect example of this. He just seemed like another supporting player in someone else's moment. You knew his face, but not his place. The star of someone else's victory lap. Like the legendary Oakland Athletics. Or Billy Beane. Or heck, even Brad Pitt! But then his number is called from life's dugouts. And you're about to know his name for sure! A late, great legend like Phillip Seymour Hoffman (Rest Peacefully) see's it...even if the kid pointing to himself and mouthing "me" in question doesn't...yet. Here's a guy who they said "lacked confidence", "to put it nicely". Which Pitt replied, "then give him some". You can be afraid of a lot of things in this life. Success, failure, fame, notoriety. The makings of your moment...the damn ball! It's all a metaphor and part of life's rich tapestry of challenge that you have to weave and re-write your own way. So in symbolism this kid steps up to the plate for his 'Moneyball' moment. Putting the whole team of players and movie-making moment on his tense shoulders and back as he assumes the position with the bat. He takes the deepest of breaths and centers himself. All his nerves and excitement culminating together as he tightens his wrists. Here's the pitch and this is his make or break...then it all snaps. As this kid's a hit! He knocks it right out of the park! Right out of the whole arena of clapping and cheering fans calling his name over and over again like the new MVP.

CRACK! The strip of leather keeps snapping in the mid-air! Looking like it's going to unravel forever, until it licks it's target and in a snap recoils back to it's starting point like a boomerang. Ripping things apart in fine defining lines and points of laceration. As the whip coils back its wrapped around the hands of a man who tightens his grip around this potent weapon, just like he did that powerful bat. A leather jacket would go nicely with this leather accessory. Maybe even a fedora of some kind. Let's face it too this guy knows how to rock the wanderers khaki and cowboy look. Maybe that's why this Hollywood player looks to continue his cinematic stampede with Westerns as well as the best of science fiction future. Right now some of this may just all be rumor, but the question that doesn't need answering like rhetorical is who else but Chris Pratt could be the new 'Indiana Jones'. He's already drawn Harrison Ford comparisons for his last two movies and would be perfect to step into the tipped hat of the otherwise irreplaceable Ford. About to have more franchises under his leather belt than even Harrison did, after playing Han Solo in some set of trilogies that war with the stars or something of that force or nature. Awakening his out of this galaxy, superhero super-stardom even more, Pratt is anything but the definition of his second name as he defines his in the modern movie lexicon. Just to think a mere few years ago, the biggest thing he was a part of was a cute and chubby, fondly funny supporting star in the stellar sitcom 'Parks & Recreation'. Now it's all Parks and Raptor recreation (thanks for the pun Matt) for a guy who is muscling up to the best roles in the leading man weight room that's full of pin-ups and thespian poster boys. It all started with more supporting roles of significance in movies like the big-hitting 'Moneyball' and the Jessica Chastain war-report 'Zero Dark Thirty' that saw Pratt and a Seal-team of soldiers hunt down Osama Bin-Laden. What else can this out of this world talent do? He's even cornered everyone's favorite best-man role. From the birth of Vince Vaughn's 'Delivery Man' and a Jason Segel, Emily Blunt hilarious 'Five Year Engagement' inbetween, to the future love of Joaquin Phoenix's 'Her'. Now this guy looks set to assemble with one of the greatest posses of all-time in 'Training Day' and 'The Equalizer' director Antoine Fuqua's remake of 'The Magnificent Seven' (the classic original a remake of the Japanese 'Seven Samurai' itself) alongside the likes of Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke and Kingpin himself Vincent D'Onofrio (as of late a Pratt ally of sorts). Now how's that for Marvel's most marvelous man (yep that's right Tony...or should we say Downey, you may have 'Iron Man' and 'Sherlock Holmes' but look what this Guardian has now in Avengance)?

Not bad for a guy that used to be homeless when he wasn't a daytime 'Magic Mike' like stripper. Not bad for a kid from Virginia, Minnesota whose about to turn 36. Not bad for a kid who grew up being on 'The O.C.' before he was Andy Dwyer. Not bad for a guy that was named "Disgusting Danny" in the movie 'What's Your Number' alongside Captain America; Chris Evans, The Falcon; Anthony Mackie and his wife 'Scary Movie' star Anna Faris. A guy who used to only be know for being that recognizable face from 'Bride Wars', or 'Jennifer's Body'. Or that girlfriend stealing prick that got nailed with a keyboard hitting "F### you" in 'X-Men' Professor X star James McAvoy's own 'Wanted' breakout. A modern Marvel that was once a voice in an animated 'Batman' episode. One of the many Hollywood stars that was part of that Raspberry awful 'Movie 43' film. A guy that auditioned to play Captain Kirk in the 2009 'Star Trek' movie before the perfect Chris Pine took the role and bridge, although how great would it have been to see Pratt as James T. with all his charm and charisma for what we're sure would be a breakout role that he would have made his own? Yet, something else was meant to be. Just like the fact that he didn't end up being cast in another Sci-Fi huge hit, 'Avatar' as he read for Jake Scully who would end up being played by the at the time breakout star Sam Worthington. But those in the casting department who said he didn't have "that thing" or "it" that they where looking for couldn't be more wrong today. A guy who once upon a time played regular Joe's with names like 'Bobby', 'Barry', 'Kyle', 'Scott', 'Justin', 'Doug', 'Darren', 'Brett', 'Paul' and of course 'Andy', then played someone called 'Emmett'. Someone confused as the 'Special'. A 'Master Builder' in the magnificent new 'Toy Story' child's C.G. dominating film 'The LEGO Movie' which brought the building block play-thing franchise to new commercial crossover heights. With Pratt voicing the biggest yellow star since Bart Simpson with short and humble pie eating brilliance for anyone that previously wrote him off, all whilst claiming "they liked him before he was cool" in a new franchise family. There just may be more Lego piece characters than actual human beings in this wide world...this is just how big this thing is and could get brick by brick.

Then came something even bigger and out of this world. A real Star. Or should we say Peter Quill A.K.A, Star-Lord. Who? The star of 'Guardians Of The Galaxy'. Last years biggest blockbuster and movie if not one of the biggest things ever seen out of the monster dominating Marvel comic-book franchise. And just when you thought Robert Downey Jnr's 'Iron Man' lead 'Avenger's' was the king of all of Stan Lee's teams of 'X-Men' and the 'Fantastic Four'. And just when you thought that with all the 'Star Trek' and 'Star Wars' Kirk's and Solo's there wasn't enough room in this galaxy for another guardian and spaceship travelling planet explorer. And to think Pratt at first passed on his breakout and iconic role because he didn't want everything to turn out as blue as what happened with 'Avatar'. To think critics thought a film with a talking Racoon and tree was going to be lost like a scud missile in a Black Hole. Little did they know that the talking Racoon and tree where Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel. "I Am Groot" indeed! That's bark speech for; "how wrong they all were"! With his out of this world talent on display alongside a group of A-list franchise stars including Sci-Fi queen Zoe Saldana-who Pratt could have easily starred alongside in both 'Star Trek' and 'Avatar' if given his shot back then-this new leading man lead a gang of misfits to the top of the world. Still armed with a Solo blaster, red leather outlaw jacket and the most 'Awesome Mix' your dearest mother could give you, Pratt's Star-Lord was instantly iconic in this modern movie classic. Now after years of not being able to buy a role, the man whose landing many legendary ones will one day in the future be the measure of new actors trying to take his biggest star in the world mantle. Just like RDJ's Tony Stark of Hugh Jackman's Wolverine one day people will be wondering who could possibly take over the role of Star-Lord in a 'Guardians' reboot from the one and only Chris Pratt. Still, if there was ever a role to rival that, it'd be this one right now in 'Jurassic World', as Pratt's park-ranger Owen proves you don't always need Jeff Goldblum for a big and bold 'Jurassic Park' movie. Re-opening the gates of this franchise and his own career, Pratt is like Dr. Alan Grant on steroids, whilst extra starch pressed into his Bob Peck Raptor hunters khaki's. The former young actor who always seemed to play characters that couldn't mature is now playing someone so muscled up that the biggest star in this monster movie isn't even a T-Rex. This guy can even tame this series most sinister creatures, the Velociraptors. A gang that could even rival a Galaxy hopping one of green aliens, tree's and small critters with even more bark. Pratt and his new movie powerhouse are leaving more than just their big footprint as they have stomped all the box-office competition to the tune of the second-biggest opening in 690 million dollars. And just to think this time a year ago this guy was considered to be a nobody in some Hollywood circles. Now this 'Jurassic World' film is on a Gallimimus pace to overtake no other than 'Avatar' as the worlds most successful movie of all-time. It's funny how things turn out isn't it. Now with the whole galaxy, Raptors and karma on his side this star has become the lord of the films. With a Jones for another franchise and something magnificent in his holster this man has as many potential big movies as his characters have pockets. We haven't even dino-claw scratched the surface of what this leading man is cooking up in his lab. Something good...something bad! A little bit of both? This man has more than part of a plan now and it defies this very earth and nature of extinction. Those old directors and films back in the day just went and bet against Chris Pratt...probably not a good idea!


Sunday, 14 June 2015



Parks & Raptors.

124 Minutes. Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D'Onofrio, Ty Simpkins, Nick Robinson, Omar Sy, B.D. Wong, Jake Johnson & Irrfan Khan. Director: Colin Trevorrow.

Dinosaurs have been a part of this writers DNA for as long as I can remember (Forget that cool and cute cartoon strand of excellent exposition that looked like it was lifted from a 90's Microsoft 'Paperclip', "how can I help you?" program). Way before the amber sap of Amblin Entertainment, when Michael Crichton's brilliant bestselling novel idea of bringing these prehistoric creatures back from extinction was brought to life in 1993. When 'Jurassic Park' opened its gates and the minds of every child's vivid imagination and wonderment and instantly became a classic and the biggest and best blockbuster of all-time. Not just the greatest and most creative movie ever made by iconic director Steven Spielberg of classics like 'E.T.' (please nobody ever try and remake this in C.G.) and 'Jaws' (you're going to need a bigger tank as this shark makes a cameo here. A little more than tongue in cheek as he's gobbled up by a massive Mosasaurus, one of this zoo and movies most magnificent attractions). Before all that I was just a small boy with some big toy dinosaurs, slamming them in to each other and trying my best to cough up roaring sounds years before my voice would even break. Back then I thought my imaginations had the makings of a decent story. Maybe those in charge of the 'Jurassic' franchise looking to come back from the brink of the third installments extinction should go back to the future and sign up my young mind, because nothing will beat the magic or the Goldblum of the original. Although the sequel based on the other classic Crichton book 'The Lost World' had all that and that golden age 90's blockbuster feel too. Now, however in this 'Mad Max' reboot revival and 'Furious 7' sequel saturation age we have a new series, armed to the teeth of new franchise star Chris Pratt. More than cutting it, hot off the rocket heels of his out of this world 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' superhero, superstar debut (literally this time last year to some Hollywood types he was a nobody). But will this series capture the same imagination of a young boy who may as well be Ross from 'Friends' the way he loves dinos like Jennifer Aniston's Rachael, even 20 years later as almost a 30 year old man? The same kid whose childhood plastic dinosaur toys where joined by the classic 'Jurassic Park' figures and vehicles he found under the family tree, Christmas morning in '93 and the T-Rex he found on his bed Christmas night (thanks forever mum and dad). The same kid who used to boast, armed with the old, collectible cinema cap (that I hope that's still in the attic) that he'd seen 'Jurassic Park' twice without even going to the toilet once...because you know how that all turned out. A big kid who loves 'J.P.' as much and for as long as his favorite sports team the Los Angeles Lakers (sorry Toronto Raptors). You get it. My childhood was basically those big wooden gates, now strangely but ever-so sweetly in modern blue and chrome with a theme park monorail sliding into it. Welcome to 'Jurassic World'!

Do you hear that? Can you feel it? Do you see the vibrations in your glass of water or soda and popcorn. They're back! Even if you've seen it all before to start this years Summer blockbuster season like 'The Avengers-Age Of Ultron'. Re-waking your fond nostalgia like fellow dinosaurs Arnie in the 'Terminator' spell-check and the Cruise away from middle-age in 'Mission Impossible-Rouge Nation.' Ready to duke it out old school style with the new domination of Marvel. But do the monsters and machines have what it takes to beat superheros like the 'Fantastic Four' and 'Ant-Man' no matter how big they are? The latest sequel/reboot of sorts in the 'Jurassic' age has some of that old world feeling, as well as being that much apart too. Which in muddled confusion may be one of the reasons this film is really and truly good, but not as great as everyone is saying (there I said it and I'm sorry). Big in its blockbuster sense, but shallow like when you get to the bottom of your popcorn and its nothing but kernels in it's depth, even for a movie of its type. And before you say; "it's a big-budget effects film, the only depth you need is the Mosasaurus tank". I say to you remember those Crichton theories by the book that Jeff Goldblum's Ian Malcolm brought to cinematic light (you see the page by page references here at least)? Well this is just chaos! Even if sometimes that in theory is a great thing! Perhaps armed with embryonic influence, the re-makers who are "so preoccupied with whether or not they could" here maybe need to "stop to think if they should". Perhaps 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes' writers Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver should have brought more darkness after the 'Dawn'.  Never 'Transformers-Age Of Extinction' s####-noise however, the white hot action features a lot of running and screaming as per. But far less "ooh's" and "aahs" that Ian Malcolm promised a young Vince Vaughn in his dramatic debut in 1997's sequel, before the comedy actor brought that signature laugh for decades, only to come back full-circle this year, all-serious (and probably sublime) for 'True Detective' season 2. The more things change the more they should stay the same. So don't slap 'Jurassic World' on a lunchbox just yet. Maybe it's time to buy a 'Jurassic Park' t-shirt off eBay like one of the best things about this movie, 'New Girl's' Jake Johnson (he collects dinosaur me), in his Nedry do good role. As a matter of fact, what became of that shaving foam canister? Ah, ah, ahh! For the joy of nostalgia's sake there are plenty of picture pretty perfect, magic word dedications to the originals that are outstanding and too good to ruin here (like a classic comedy cameo...and no it's not Samuel L. Jackson with a metal arm like I hoped...he may be in everything, but not in this) in just another review. Just like when that beautiful, iconic theme music comes in, (with a perfectly 'Jaws' like executed slow, death piano peril version played on the trailer) rivaling 'Star Wars' once again. Whereas the new Hollywood, IMAX, 3D stuff that tries to obliterate everything else is epic, but not just on the same scale as the old school. In some ways the franchise has learned from the Rex-battling and beating, Spinosaurus logo of 'Jurassic Park III' that is better (especially next to this...albeit being very similar) than most give credit for (I know..."Alan"!). Yet hybrid Hollywood creation trying to out monster last years 'Godzilla' as 'Predator' of this heat seeking forest or not, the T-Rex is the lion 'King Kong' of this jungle. Always has been. Always will be. Even if you're too still to see, this small armed legend could out box any other creature when it comes to movie legends. Say all you want about his own 90's 'Godzilla' impression in 'The Lost World' but nothing here tips or even cracks the window of the two trailer, two Tyrannosaurus tag-time, tension build battle. I'm sorry "Imodium" Rex-playing with a weird hamster ball, instead of taking on the best jeep you've ever seen-you've got style beyond Barney...but you don't give me the s####. Thank goodness they didn't hybrid that 'Trisegasaurus' (or is it 'Stegatops'?) toy we saw on store shelves...although one day can we get a little more than a classic sick Triceratops or human rhino charging one? A fight between a T-Rex and these horns would make for one epic dino-fight. Even if we do have the Wrestlemania of an out of the cage match one here that tags on to the end better than anything you could smell The Rock cooking from 'San Andreas' to Isla Nublar, Costa Rica.

There's more than just one of our dinosaurs is missing! Remember the old film had you not wanting to go to the bathroom in more ways than one? Even if "when you've got to go, you've got to go". Don't get me wrong this film isn't one big pile of s###! It is good...especially for it's time. Nudge, classic dinosaur eye terror blink wink! But when the even impressive C.G., can't top the classic, vintage Animatronics of 20 years back then Houston...we have a problem. Sorry...wrong movie! But that's the point! 'Jurassic World' is an enjoyable tribute with a formidable footprint into the future. But for all those "38 sequels" Chris Pratt has signed up for lets go back to the meat and potatoes of the Rex we love in our imaginations grown up toy stories. Sure this movie works on a lot of levels. From the craziest Birdcage I've ever seen since Robin Williams and Nathan Lane, to a pretty funny Petting Zoo that really does poke and prod fun. As a matter of fact this film is a lot smarter than you (or I appear to be giving credit for) think. With a new novel idea, of turning 20 years on the parks head and having it open for business that needs more boom in this iPhone age of everyone lost in screen time. Perhaps after all the man versus God playing of creator and controller of life debate, nobody gives a crap anymore. It takes some shots at us, whilst delivering one in its own arm. Having it's hand forced to cook up a whole new dinosaur in the lab. But as Chris Pratt (always with all the best lines) somewhat ironically tells us "they're dinosaurs...WOW enough"! Again the tricks of this trade add more legacy to the legend, but the magic is just missing here. There's no real, special spark until Bryce Dallas Howard lights a flare and the red-haired bob bombshell is on fire here too mind. No longer to be confused with fellow great actress from 'The Help', Jessica Chastain as we all join the 'Dallas Bryce Club'. Especially when she breaks those heels in and looks more like a part of Laura Dern's costume department in the final act of the movie, complete with a blood-curdling, classic "RUUUUUN" scream that's hallmark movie peril perfection. There's cast similarities all around. 'Iron Man 3's' Ty Simpkins connects with Nick Robinson (no, not the B.B.C. political editor but the sitcom star of 'Clarissa' and 'Sabrina's' 'Melissa (Joan Hart) and Joey') to try the cute, lost, not-immediate family so it's OK (it really isn't) kid shtick with marks for effort, but they'll never be Lex and Tim. Whereas 'Life Of P.I' star Irrfan Khan takes ownership from Hammond, but will never be the tiger colorful personality that's old dear Dickie (Rest Peacefully Dr Richard Attenborough). French, 'Bishop' star of 'X-Men: Days Of Future Past' Omar Sy is a welcome new face (although he could have used that big energy absorbing gun), while it's great to see one old one appear in B.D. Wong (who also impressed with Will Smith in this years 'Focus'). The ever-likable Vincent D'Onofrio is here too. Coming off his crowning Kingpin, classic moment in the new Marvel, 'Daredevil' series to play a gun-ho InGen employee who forgets what it Bob Peck means to be a true, park ranger. Whereas part Peck (training Raptors instead of hunting them) and Dr. Alan Grant hybrid Chris Pratt is canvas khakis (without the fedora...that would be a little on the Jones nose) on washing-up powder steroids in this new world. Making fan-boys of dinosaurs and comic-books alike eased in their pain of missing the old shade faces and leather. His 'Indiana Jones' audition is whip-crack delivered here for a man who is as good in this as he is as Star-Lord in 'Guardians'. Now everything is awesome for this 'LEGO Movie' franchise king is the face of more films than when Robert Downey Jnr was both Tony Stark and 'Sherlock Holmes' at his peak. Pratt did tell other director James Gunn he wanted to shoot 'Iron Man' in the face...I think he just did. Knocking it out the park like he did in his supporting role in 'Moneyball'. Even convincing us in what otherwise could have been the worst thing that happened to this franchise since a satellite phone call, that he can train and tame this series most vicious creatures and characters...the Velociraptors (although they do look stupid wearing what looks like Beats By Dre headphones (oh and what's with all the beyond a gift shop gag product placement) as a part of the coolest, 'Wild Hogs' biker gang you've seen since Schwarzenegger's one man, shotgun show in 'Judgement Day'). With a relationship built on respect...not Bates 'Misery' domestication. This film may hit you like a cinder block, but we'll always prefer throwing everything including the kitchen sink. Giving us his world of tomorrow, director Trevorrow's Park re-opening and bold, blockbuster debut seems to have dinosaurs ruling the earth once again like 65 million years ago from its gate receipts and it's well worth a visit. But I'm still not sure if I completely endorse this park. After careful consideration, you may not too. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Friday, 12 June 2015

THEATRE REVIEW: THE ELEPHANT MAN (Haymarket Theatre, West End, London)


Silver Linings Playwrite.

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Alessandro Nivola & Patricia Clarkson.

November's in New York have a magic about them all in themselves. It's just that place and that time of year and oh how they compliment each other. Like the lights being switched on for that iconic Christmas tree at the Rockefeller, which at a child's imagination glance at the star up top almost seems as tall as the epic Top of The Rock itself. Christmas is hailing a yellow car on Fifth Avenue in the snow because you have one too many brown bags. And then after all those fond festivities, you have even more to look forward to as Times Square gives way to the next calendar in the greatest party under a glittering ball that the world can give you in New Year in New York. That's all to come. As of right now this writer had his own hand of magic last November in N.Y.C. Checking out some Broadway productions for the first time, he happened on a duel for his evenings ticket between Marvel heroes Wolverine and Rocket the Racoon. Opting for Hugh Jackman's 'The River' over Bradley Cooper's 'The Elephant Man' after meeting the ever-enthusiastically friendly Australian, who was very gracious in the face of a faulty camera held by this fan. Still after Jackman's intimate and inspired fishing love story by the boardwalk, this writer managed to get in line to meet another one of his acting heroes after his own respective show. As Bradley Cooper went round each fan signing Playbill's and reenacting his fine form as one of the best selfie takers for the worlds most famous photo of that nature, this writer had to thank the man for his anxiety beating 'Silver Linings Playbook' film and his outing in it for all that it helped so much. Switching the pen from his Hancock hand to shake mine in response with a heartfelt thank you and respective nod this fans moment was made. Made and retold here not to brag or boast in our modern-day selfie culture of showboating, but more to illustrate just how great this underrated actor and man is regardless of his Hollywood heartthrob stakes. Thanks to the real respect and due dignity he brings along with the pure passion and seemingly effortless energy to each one of his roles, characters and the issues they are facing that all of us may share or relate to from time to time. From 'Silver Lines' to 'American Sniper's' no role is more telling of this in its testament to it than the one of 'The Elephant Man'. Leaving New York that night I just knew I had to see that show, three months gone or not.

As luck would have it for this Englishman no longer in New York, this off-Broadway theater show now finds itself in the West End of London by way of the beautifully old Haymarket Theater. This time and week I just could not miss its latest run. Fittingly for Bradley Cooper too-the actor who has been intrigued and inspired by Joseph Merrick since seeing the David Lynch 'Elephant Man' film at 12 years old-this passion project helps Cooper bring Merrick back home to England. And the traditional Haymarket Theater helps bring this old English texture back to life as Bradley does Joseph. You couldn't get more traditionally great and British even if you went down Baker Street with a tweed cap and smokers pipe my dear Watson's. From stage-hands serving as servants and chamber maids and audience facing, old-style photography stance moments bringing stand-up direction and deliverance to the front-stage spotlight, this perfect play is honed and rehearsed to a punctuated power. The commas between acts and scripts are brought to more enlightening light by exclamations of performances by supporting players whose names may not be as bright-light, top-billing big as Cooper, but belong in Hollywood none the less. Just like veteran actress Patricia Clarkson who has been in everything from classics like 'The Untouchables' to 'The Green Mile'. The brilliant and beautiful Clarkson brings forward a soulful role of real heart and consideration. Playing a famous actress may not be a hard feat, but the subtle way of sincerely dealing with the subject matter here is as Patrica figuratively and literally bares all for moving and mesmerizing moments. The woman who played one of the Rachael Solando's in 'Shutter Island' is joined by the other Solando Emily Mortimer's husband Alessandro Nivola. You may just know Alessandro Nivola from his break-out, award nominated role in the Nic Cage/John Travolta actioneer 'Face/Off' as the nerdy and weedy Pollux Troy. Or the beefed up role he brought before Chris Pratt in 'Jurassic Park III'. Although with this weekends release of the already hugely popular and successful 'Jurassic World' feature, most would like to forget this previous film. Forget training Raptors, technically Alessandro literally voiced one. Isn't that right "Alan"!? Still recently the form of this 'American Hustle' Cooper co-star has been formidable to say the very least for a man deserving of more. See this years David Oyelow double 'Selma' and 'A Most Violent Year'. Here, however the Boston born American household name is almost unrecognizable from the cheap seats in mustache and voice. So much so that this main actor here-who almost serves as a narrator like storyteller as well as the doctor who looked after Merrick-could have had his British actress wife serve as a dialect account. All his own however this performance is accented.

Just like Cooper's who with an amazing accent with the Merrick hometown Leicester twang shows vocally and visually just how great an actor he really is. Three Oscar's have almost bore Brad's name and surely a Tony and so much more should do now for Cooper. An actor voted 'Sexiest Man Alive' shows he's more than just looks as he plays the disfigured Elephant Man with evoking expression over the modern special-effects of prosthetics and in-doing so brings us a portrayal that's as amazing accurate as it is respectfully dignified. Looking and listening to this man at work shows just how an amazing actor the big-name of big pictures like 'The Hangover' series and 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' franchise really is and how limitless the range of  a man who started off his career in bit-parts in 'Yes Man' and the 'Wedding Crashers' truly appears in scope too. Bringing more than just the nuances of the man he's playing, Cooper brings real, heartfelt emotion and comedy over tragedy duality, wit in the face of woe to a complex and complete characterization. From underrated greats like 'The Place Beyond The Pines' and controversial but courageous turns in things like 'American Sniper', the man who has even played a Racoon has shown great skill and sincere sentiment too. You can just see and hear it in his outspoken award acceptance speeches with all his heart, expressing the need to show care and help to more and more American soldiers who die because of mental-health and stress problems after war, over the numbers that die out on the battlefield. Still through all this DiCaprio and fellow namesake Pitt rising leading man and acclaimed actor's powerhouse performances nothing bests this greatness as he honors his hero who would be proud of this perfect portrayal. Those not in attendance of these 12 week runs may hopefully one day see for themselves just how great if this revival gets a rebirth in cinemas like most modern shows of significance do. If so, all the cast should be kept on place as the three-time Academy award nominated actor could finally get his Oscar after three straight years of applauding another winner. Here, though envelope or not, Cooper signs, seals and delivers his signature. This is more than an award or Hollywood movie, it's a real, live and breathing testament and tribute to someone who should be known in memory properly as Joesph Merrick. More than just a man. An incredible human being. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015



Joint Break.

Passing on the 'Joint', this 'Film By Spike Lee' is something completely different from the dynamic director of modern greats like 'Do The Right Thing' and 'Inside Man'. Remaking the 2003 Korean classic 'Oldboy' a decade later with veteran leading man Josh Brolin who plays a man fire-bent on revenge after waking up to hell of a hangover in the form of a hotel booking with no check-out or window escape for 20 years. And I bet you thought your recent road stop motel was bad. With the curtains drawn if you go into this movie blind, you'll know you'll be seeing something special when names like rising 'Godzilla' and 'Avengers' (the Scarlet Witch is alongside Nick Fury and Thanos here for your six degrees of superhero seperation) actress Elizabeth Olsen and Sharlto Copley (the normal likable gut showing just how great an actor he is by being abhorrently awful in character here, depressingly dislikeable and far from his comic, classic 'Elysium' bad man) pop up in the opening credits. Long-time Spike Lee collaborator Samuel L. Jackson is uncredited but here too with a sinister look that makes for his most formidable first frame in his fountain of a fantastic and filled filmography. Still its the old boy Brolin who is the best here in a unique but unnecessary remake that is that sick in parts despite some hammered home amazing action, terrific tension and defining drama. It's Brolin's brilliant acting in all his maverick mannerisms and epically evoking emotion that make this a powerhouse performance in a picture that would have been as perfect as this if more original. The outstanding Brolin has barely been better we just wish Josh had a picture this vivid. Still, this is a decent tribute to a true classic that will always belong in Korea. Here in America is perhaps no country for 'Oldboy'. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Sunday, 7 June 2015



She Spy.

120 Minutes. Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Jason Statham, Rose Byrne, Miranda Hart, Bobby Cannavale, Allison Janney, Peter Serafinowicz, Morena Baccarin, 50 Cent & Jude Law. Director: Paul Feig.

I spy, with my little eye. Something beginning with...ahahahahaahhahahahahaha!! No longer the 'Bridesmaid' and now always the bride, 'The Heat' is on for queen of comedy Melissa McCarthy. No longer the Midwest, white-trash of 'Tammy', even if her blowing up cover will have you believe, Double M is getting her Leslie Nielsen on spying hard in what could just be the slickest comedy of the year and her best yet. Even if you go undercover and look everywhere for something on the double. An agent of hilarity bringing the Candy comedy, the former host of 'Saturday Night Live' is now the toast of the funny, cooler side of the hot Hollywood pillow. Even in a scorching Summer blockbuster season of dinosaurs, Terminators and all those Marvels, here's one super-spy that's a real hero. The woman with the golden pun. Going from the Moneypenny to Jude Law's Bond audition (complete with a dodgy but delightful American accent for the Brit...well he couldn't roll up all his cuffs could he?), to the funny field herself, McCarthy goes from in-ear to in-operation quicker than someone who doesn't use Q-Tips. Do you hear me? Are you listening. Melissa is kicking 'Kingsman' ass on her own secret service with the stars. Yet it's her perfect partner, Paul Feig who forms a great double-act like a hilarious version of Bond and Bourne in this 'Spy' game. After going back-to-back in the ladies 'Hangover' of 'Bridesmaids' and the classic cop comedy 'The Heat' with Sandra Bullock, Feig is the one in McCarthy's ear from behind the console giving her the perfect direction that only this performer could deliver to your door...even if she has to let herself in. Kicking it all the way down! Freeze!

Getting even smarter, this classic comedy of decades gone finds itself sitting pretty and perfectly today in an industry that sometimes tries way to hard. But it's not all easy. In-between some reel-worthy gags and millions of popcorn chuckling one-liners are some amazing action choreography that hands down is some of the best hand-to-hand ass kicking you'll see this side of the aforementioned 'Kingsman' or 'Jack Ryan'. This mission impossible is made Picard so and almost 'Red'-like that it's anything but 'Tinker, Tailor' for you espionage kids. That's thanks to some Great Brits bringing their intelligence and ineptitude abroad back from the national treasure home of the spy genre. Now a franchise in the making, has some sequels left in the barrel thanks to the gun-totting likes of Sherlock Holmes sidekicks and 'Transporters'. Suiting up and bow-tieing up that shaken Martini, Jude Law is smoking and stirred as a slick, hit agent whose name is Fine! Really...'Fine'! But his performance is much more than that as he brings a hilarious highlight to his vast and versatile filmography. Sending up the Bond symbol, like fellow Brit Colin Firth in his 'Secret Service' movie can these two kings one day deal and shoot it out to play 007 himself? Because as well as having the parody perfect shtick, he sticks it to them and everyone else with his moves. Want the flip-side of that? Then let's leave the royal part of London for some cocky cockiness in the form of all-action hero with balls (in his hands) in the form of Jason Statham. Who may be a little too muck common to one day play James, but has a license to kill it here. Stealing the show here as he goes one above Law and sends up himself. Locked and stocked with two Cagney and Lacey smoking barrels, every line, comeback and where sure outtake here is as pitch perfect as a bunch of singing girls he crushes. And he'll make everyone feel like one here as the 'Expendable' actor shows he's anything but, on a career year that has seen him with the keys to the 'Fast and Furious' franchise and is now in rumoured line to join the Marvel franchise of formidability, to play the iconic 'Daredevil' villain Bullseye (previously, literally headed by Colin Farrell). Although we can just imagine Her Majesty's foulest and finest kneeing someone in the private parts and proclaiming, "I'm f###### c###"! I beg your pardon, but this guy here perfectly tells us what to do with that knighthood.

This films packing even more in it's crime caper, chase and dashed run-time. McCarthy's former fellow sash wearer Rose Byrne furthers her international comedy reign. As the star of 'Neighbors' (no not that one) and 'Get Him To The Greek' (who is also going back to X-Men to continue her serious streak) tries on another dialect with an accented performance. The rose of this picture burns all the competition as a velvet smooth villain. Yet again sending up herself...or at least the way actresses of her generation or type are perceived. Just like Melissa does in this big movie that sticks it to stereotypes and shows you the jokes on you. More laughs are brought from another British stand-up talent in the form of Miranda Hart whose holding all the cards as the new Dawn French with her own stage and show and now across the pond supporting stardom that's only going to get better. Just like the one of another countryman Peter Serafinowicz, parodying up his European neighbors after years of supporting roles that recently saw him take it out of this world with those 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' a-holes. Add the ever hard working and improving Bobby Cannavale (whose in Sam Jackson almost everything right now) and 'Gotham's' Morena Baccarin then it's all looking good, headed up by 'West Wing' and 'Mom' star Alison Janney in-charge of it all, commanding this comedy. Even that's not all that meets the spy-eye with some classic cameos from Mr. McCarthy, Ben Falcone and 50 Cent who re-ups from his 'Last Vegas' comedic chips and plays his funniest hand. Now would you ever see Kanye do that?! Crazier than a lady with more arms than cats, this cream of the crop comedy lurks behind the scenes only to jump out and scare the Summer competition so much that even the latest 'Insidious' would run and hide afraid (no wonder former star Byrne opted for this one with her Bridesmaid sister this week). With enough scooter power to run 'Mad Max' off his own fast 'Fury Road' and leave 'Furious 7's' The Rock's 'San Andreas' at fault this spy goes harder than all those that need to try as such. The spy the critics loved, s####### the opponents. Groovy bello Melissa! TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Monday, 1 June 2015



Texan Triangle.

Case in point, Casey Affleck has come out of the shadows of being Batman's baby brother to make his name all for himself. It all started with Ben Affleck's directorial debut 'Gone Baby Gone', when the former 'Good Will Hunting' and 'Oceans' trilogy supporting actor became a leading star. Now in the same indie, critical vein of the blood work of 'The Killer Inside Me' and his Oscar worthy, award nominated 'The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford' comes 'Aint Them Bodies Saints' for the 'Interstellar' actor. An enduring and endearing love story named after a country song and set in the lonesome state of Texas as three go for love in the triangle. This outlaw romantic drama of crime and time through the heart and soul is a cinematographer and composers dream, as debut director David Lowrey lays all of this out beautifully. With rising 'The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo', 'Side Effects' and 'Her' actress Rooney Mara and one of Hollywood's most underrated and hardest working actors in Ben Foster ('3:10 To Yuma', 'Lone Survivor' and even more Wahlberging films) this film is more than just Casey. But like brother Ben when Affleck went all 'Argo', this is his moment too. With great support from rising actors Rami Malek and 'Red Tails' standout Nate Parker this rising independent picture is all about the new, best and brightest. Just like this old Texas turn of events on the whole Bonnie and Clyde, ride or die scenario complete with Stetson and western Wrangler shirts. As these star crossed lovers risk their lives by the gun for some grand action, nothing is more compelling here than the opening, perfection image of affection of 'them' (Casey and Rooney), being cuffed and carried away by officers with their heads resting on each other lovingly and longingly. It sets the tone for this whole movie of poetic style. The substance stating that real love, real "till' death do us part" lasts through anything. Will go through anything. Ain't that what it's all about? These bodies really are worthy of saints. TIM DAVID HARVEY.