Friday, 31 July 2015
131 Minutes. Starring: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Rebecca Ferguson, Sean Harris & Alec Baldwin. Director: Christopher McQuarrie.
53? 53?! When they did 'Interview With A Vampire' with the generational, seemingly millennial, Hollywood movie icon Tom Cruise they should have asked what this vampires secret is. Because this guy ain't 53? A middle-aged man doesn't do this kind of stuff. Normally reaching for the morning paper and slippers would require most this age the use of a stunt double...but not this man. Here's a guy that became a legend in the 80's with big pictures like 'Top Gun' and 'The Color Of Money'. Only to accompany these classics with some of his bravest and boldest best, like the back then oft-ignored troubled subject matter of a Vietnam vet in 'Born On The Fourth Of July' to go with the autism awareness of 'Rain Man'. This guy can really act and it was this 'Cocktail' that gave him his 'Days Of Thunder' that made him a 90's megastar, 'Maguire' movie machine like his first namesake Hanks. Between 'Samurai's' and 'Vanilla Skies' this guy hasn't stopped or slumped either for three straight decades for quite the thirty plus year reign as the star of Hollywood's walk of fame. He's even recently gone from being a fall favourite to a Summer blockbuster sure-thing circuit, even of late going out of this big budget world to the land of Sci-Fi with 'Oblivion' and one of last years best, albeit most underrated blockbusters in 'Edge Of Tomorrow'. It really does seem like 'Groundhog Day' for the 'Live. Die. Repeat' star as the franchise guy returns to his franchise of franchises for the fifth 'Mission Impossible' installment, going all 'Rogue Nation' and reuniting with director Christopher McQuarrie just when they changed lanes with their new 'Jack Reacher' star vehicle. Forget throwing the book, the fuse keeps going on this old tube CBS show reboot and its iconic title sequence of sound that has been kept alight for almost as long as Cruise's cinematic career has. After the first Brian De Palma straight-forward spy smash, came the flash of a Woo slow-motion sequel (that was probably actually 2 minutes of footage stretched over 2 hours of screen-time) and then a terrific turn of both to complete the trilogy from J.J. Abrams flare of the lens. Then out of nowhere the spirited Brad Bird, Bad Robot 'Ghost Protocol' went forth with a fun force as the biggest and best in the franchise. Now with another accepted mission the guy that has sky dived into vaults, jumped out of some of the worlds tallest buildings, climbed up the others (not to mention ran back down them) and ran and ran some more is still around and doing all his own stunts without even needing CGI for his forever young face. Here T.C. even goes land rogue in deep blue, holding his breath while we don't have to as he's even riding around on those motorbikes again (but thankfully without the matching leather) for a film that classically combines elements from its previous four epics. In control Cruise even grips on to the side of a huge plane with just his wits and his fingertips. No wonder this 'Top Gun' will only do a sequel if they do it for real in this digital age. With this guy, there is no danger zone!
Explosive when others this age are implosive, Cruise is making more of these franchise emissions possible due to all his hard work. He may just be Hollywood's greatest and most underrated stunt men, as well as actor with all due respect to the unsung heroes. All the Joe's that really suit up for your favourite superheroes as soon as their regular secret identities wear a mask. This amazing, all-action hero will still be dancing at 60 like Ali. More than just floating like a butterfly, gripping on to the sides of heavy duty aircraft, with his eye on the sparrow, or even the smallest piece of granite that could rip him to shreds (or almost break a rib) in less time than it takes to take a funny G-Force selfie face, hash-tag 'sideoftheplaneagainlol'. Even no longer a young gun, this Top Cruise is still soaring, grounding his peers. And when he's not doing that he's diving underwater and holding his breath until his cheeks are almost blown apart in a different sort of way. Cruise is straight crazy! Don't even ask him for a lift home either. Just check out how he leaves a BMW or the colour of his co-star Simon Pegg's face riding shotgun. This is vehicular manslaughter that spins round the streets of 'Knight & Day' on an epic scale that the 'Fast and Furious' or the 'Fury Road' of 'Mad Max' can't keep up with as full throttle Tom-Tom laps them again. And after all the vehicles and henchmen are totaled, Cruise still flows with the hand-to-gun combat action that made him such a thriller in the Michael Mann cab classic 'Collateral' (one if his best). Just wait until he shows the opera real drama with an action encore. No wonder this is one of the best blockbusters of another hot Summer in Marvel's Avengers' 'Age Of Ultron' and 'Ant-Man' and the robot resurrection of 'Terminator-Genisys' and the monsters of 'Jurassic World'. Cruise is no dinosaur, he's a machine showing that the Summer season doesn't end with the 'Fantastic Four' reboot or Guy Ritchie's spy's from 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.' who will really have to pull something from the undercover to beat this one. Just like the 'Spectre' of the legendary Bond with the IMF's fun alternative to 007 who over almost 20 years has never changed its lead actor. Next to this even the quick fire and hand action of Bourne may need a rebirth.
Hawkeye knows this and Jeremy Renner assembles with the right team after his 'Ghost' surprise debut that looked like he could one day receive the acceptances for the lead for future films if he so chose to. Still like 'Jerry Maguire' this is still Tom's mission statement and the disarming Renner from the last movie is more 'Protocol' here. But still even if his detail is more desk duty, file this one under another dynamic performance for the range of the straight shooters bow. Cruise even recruits the original 'Jack Ryan'; Alec Baldwin who after his rocking comedy circuit is back on the hunt for Hunt like it was the 'Red October' and not the middle of Summer. With a clear and present danger in the form of Sean Harris of 'Prometheus' sinister villain, Cruise's legendary Ethan Hunt gets the old team back together. Like the all-action accompanying Q in the field of Simon Pegg and his hilarious comic-relief. Or the Felix like Ving Rhames who returns to fine form after his last film, last scene cameo put an end to his series hiatus as Ving brings back a guy that's been with Cruise from the start. Still there are some that are M.I.A. from 'MI:5' that we hope make the MI:6. Namely the third and fourth films femme fatales of Maggie Q and Paula Patton who couldn't be part of this mission plan due to scheduling conflicts...I mean one of them is 'Nikita' so you can understand. Instead new British star Rebecca Ferguson (not to be confused with the singer) makes a dynamite debut. Matching Cruise punch for punch in the acting stakes and looking the part. Lavishly looking like she's been plucked from a Connery era Bond movie with her classic screen starlet looks and compelling confidence that make her look like she's been making these type of movies for years and not someone who at only 31 has barely dipped her toe in the pools of movie glamorous locations with just a handful of flicks to her name...currently. She and he make this movie work wonders, continuing the fun trend of the last film that showed neither franchise or franchise face are ready to self destruct in five seconds. Between inventive techniques that relate to the origins of these missions and hallmark homages to this series in directional tone and testimony this is the perfect mix for another round of the Cruise cocktail. There's gorgeous gadgets that picks the locks, turns playbills into laptops and glass into dust that are so good they could even make Batman jealous, let alone leave Bond's Q looking for a new job. Still it's the amazing action from this franchise that treats planes, trains and automobiles like cinematic Candy. Matter of fact, this one film may have more stunning set-pieces than the whole franchise combined. Disavow everything else. It would take a nation of millions the hold this mission back. This year it's time to go 'Rogue'. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Sunday, 26 July 2015
The Walking Dread.
95 Minutes. Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Abigail Breslin & Joely Richardson. Director: Henry Hobson.
Judgement Day! Schwarzenegger vs Zombies. Time to see if the all-action Arnold can actually act...wait...what? Is this not another Arnie film where he totes guns and kills more bad guys than he sheds bullets in the name of brain eaters? I mean this film even stars a veteran of the undead before 20, Abigail Breslin of 'Zomieland' fame...and we all know how that one turned out. Even back then in 2009, when Breslin was barely a teen, the fright night zombie genre was looking a little tired around the eyes and done to death despite that hit action comedy. More Dawn of the End than 'Dawn Of The Dead'. Still since then the genre within one, if a usually uninventive horror one has shown signs of everlasting life. From one of the worlds most popular T.V. shows on the box, 'The Walking Dead' to 'World War Z''s novel idea of the brilliant books of Max Brooks that ran with the idea of giving these staggering souls drunk off death a little more athleticism. Now too, with Breslin as one of the 'Warm Bodies' in 'Maggie' she and her walking dad are giving a new redemptive resurrection to another zombie film in a genre that leaves most people moaning. In her own Judgement Day, Maggie may turn at any moment to the dark side of those infected with a worse plaque than death ("it's not a tumor"!). Facing the fate of zombie nation or containment, this young girls choices have gone from a night with friends or Facebook to blood or brains. With worse growing pains than puberty, after being bitten with the worse kind of bug this girl will mature into a flesh eater before graduating to the cap and gown. No wonder her Schwarzenegger father armed with a curfew instead of a 22 wants to wrap her in more than cotton wool.
If you think you've got problems waiting up all night for your teenage daughter and wondering why she's not called than spare a thought for Arnold Schwarzenegger. He has no idea when his will be back. You see like with his first horror a decade before his on screen daughters one in 'Zombieland' the former Mr. Universe is staring down his career 'End Of Days'. Still even after returning from the retirement of running for office, the former Governator of California is showing he is far from 'Expendable' and still a franchise face beyond 'The Last Stand', 'Escape Plan' or 'Sabotage' features. He is still legend like the other undead film he was set to star in before politics got in the way. The 'Conan' and 'Predator' series star has proved this by returning to the terrific 'Terminator' franchise that he made his testament, with one of this years best blockbusters of an always big Summer of Marvel and monsters. Even if his 'Genisys' machine was as exterminated by critics, as it was by those who thought he was a dinosaur belonging in 'Jurassic World' instead with their true lies. Those who should take heed to the "Hasta La Vista Baby" punchline kings new catchphrase..."Old Not Obsolete"! Now playing 'Eraser' to all the hate this last action hero is about to become an acting one, looking out for a young daughter in peril against an army of unbeatable enemies, albeit this time without strapping up in the military issue 'Commando' weaponry and war-paint. Moving on from the robotic acting-that was actually inspired for the times he had to motion capture the micro-idiosyncrasies of the machine made man Terminator-the underrated master of action and the comic timing reliefs of laughter and some tears brings us some real drama here and amazing action. He's more than back!
Obsolete becomes absolute as Arnold defies critics and convention to be acclaimed with conviction. Rolling around in a pick-up and checked lumberjack get-up like the real American the Austrian has become. This is the real accented performance without telling...or should we say "yelling" his daughter to take her toy back to the carpet or get to the flying machine with rotating blades. But just you wait until he gets his hands on a chopper, because of course there's some killing of those who are already dead by a mortal man who will do anything to help his daughter from zombies, or becoming one. Because after all sometimes the person you should protect someone from is themselves. This is an epic emotional, pure performance of subtle nuances and restrained passion from the gentle giant that only a real father could understand and relate too after all these years. Blinking back the tears, it almost took a guy that's been around since the early eighties to reach his seventies to show us that he's more than just the daddy as the former 90's golden age king has some new millennium independence with this indie hit. With his fellow action friend and rival Sly Stallone rewriting his action films with his own creative twist, it was about time his 'Escape Plan' co-star went one better with a soulful standout that will move even the most dead to the world to more heart. With 'Nip/Tuck' actress Joely Richardson by his side there's more love here in this family affair, but its Abigail Breslin who is the real actress here one day worthy of the Academy acclaim. Although we'd love to have seen how horror star and 'Carrie' remake young great Chloe Grace Moretz would have done in these dark shadows. In a 'Signs' setting the former 'Little Miss Sunshine' who has been a star standout in underrated films of recent years like Halle Berry's 'The Call' and Harrison Ford's 'Enders Game', brings real maturity and acting acceptance, facing fickle futile fate without a sisters keeper. Thank the man who once beat the devil for being a parent who will do anything to keep his child safe. That's the basic idea of this rookie director Henry Hobson movie that works best as a family drama with a sci-fantasy sub-plot. Sure this indie burner with more backing production companies than that 'Family Guy' scene tease skit at times moves slower than caramel off a spoon but its still stirring with a melting pot of tension mixed with the opera of more meaningful melodrama. And the zombified scenes, even in the fleeting form of few flashbacks are truly terrifying. Just like Breslin's bathtub scene...and you thought that Britney Spears video was scary. This runs through you like the black veins of the infected, standing and scarring out like varicose. This is unsettlingly scary in a whole different sort of way. With themes of death and disease plaguing family dynamics whether young or old this is one bleak picture. But there's some brutal beauty to it. Even if this Terminator isn't bringing the Apocalypse now he still bringing thumbs up, in the hordes. This one will stay with you 28 days, or weeks later. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Friday, 24 July 2015
Million Dollar Rocky.
123 Minutes. Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachael McAdams, 50 Cent, Naomie Harris, Oona Laurence, Rita Ora & Forest Whitaker. Director: Antoine Fuqua.
Welcome to the punch! Raging in the red corner and burning with a heart full of revenge, Jake Gyllenhaal is back. Back from the blue corner, McConaughey 'Dallas Buyers Club' rail-thin neon 'Nightcrawler' Oscar slight. Muscling up from scrawn to brawn in less months than syllables in the calender year to bring us a powerhouse performance that could go 12 rounds with his dark depths of crawling into the night. Another formidable film that you can add to the next DiCaprio and Pitt's chameleonic cinematography of greats like the arresting 'Prisoners' and cop show 'End Of Watch'. Not to mention the change of course 'Source Code' to an already classic career of 'Jarhead', 'Zodiac', the definitive 'Donnie Darko' debut and of course the classic that brought everyone together, including late, fellow young great Heath Ledger; 'Brokeback Mountain'. 'Southpaw' is a first round and rate knockout, willing to go toe-to-toe with the likes of 'The Fighter' or UFC's 'Warrior', punching above its weight for the same ring as 'Million Dollar Baby', 'Rocky', 'Raging Bull' and the underrated Mann classic that should have been Will Smith's iconic career making Oscar; 'Ali'. Ready to take the belt with blood and sweat from its peers. This lucky lefty hits its mark in the Mayweather age, before the 'Rocky' spin-off 'Creed' starring Sly Stallone and Michael Jordan (a kid set to be the next sports icon) gets the chance to leave it's corner. That's thanks to 'Training Day' director Antoine Fuqua entering the gym after last years 'Equalizer' reunion with Denzel Washington, proving that when it comes to films like this, Fuqua has no equal, no opponent. With originally a film that was wrote with the real Slim Shady, Eminem in mind, the man that once wrote a Riddler rap audition to Christopher Nolan for 'The Dark Knight Rises' passed on the opportunity to co-star with his protégée 50 Cent. Instead the blonde bomber from '8 Mile' road chooses to provide the soundtrack of this ride like he did with Sia in 'The Equalizer' with 'Guts Over Fear'.
That's because the brave glory of Jake Gyllenhaal is the phenomenon here and not just for the mass effect he had on his body, going from flesh and bone to abs and lats in what in a Hollywood 15 minutes looked like one gym session. The skinny on 'Nightcrawler' may have been the skin-crawling psychotic psychological transformation as well as the physical one, but there's more than what meats the eye in this body of work. As Gyllenhaal once again goes beyond the surface to show what lies beneath the darkness he has seen behind those black eyes, no matter how forced closed they are by wool or another mans hand. From dusting knuckles to hitting the canvas this boxer shows the ecstasy elated highs and sickingly sobering lows of being the definition of a fighter on the ropes in and outside of the ring for this prize fighters metaphor of life. Boldly Balboa showing us that no matter how hard he can get hit, he still gets back up because that's all that matters. Taylor Swift's bad blood can't even beat this guy. Gyllenhaal is punch drunk in love with capturing characters creatively and in collaboration with the complexion of his complexities. Here he brings us the elements of what would have made Marshall Mathers character as well as the makings of his own man. From the pure pain of lasting loss and the morals of a more meaningful victory, forget about punches pulled, or gloves that are off...this guy gets the belt. And with her own ring his wife of this movie Rachael McAdams is wonderful here. Made up in boxers wife blonde tan, heels and cocktail dress, but showing the dedicated depths of her hair tied back and stripped down 'True Detective' season 2 cop character of genuine grit. Never looking better in picture or presence, McAdams is the emotional crux and evoking catalyst of this movie that hits you with a blindside on your left.
Right to our man in the middle of all of this is plenty more in our characters corner. It's not just Gyllenhaal's Billy Hope character giving the definition of his surname. His on screen daughter, child actor Oona Laurence is a revelation. Just wait until she matures like 'True Grit's' Haille Stanfield. There's women here the show this sport isn't just a mans world like Ali's daughter. James Bond's Moneypenny, Naomi Harris brings more stellar service of substance as a social worker on Hope's case while British singer Rita Ora shows some meaning behind the music, hitting some dark dynamics of range as a drug junkie after her cameos in 'Empire' and 'Fast & Furious' (speaking of that, what happened to singer and rising actor Tyrese Gibson's role?). Rapper 50 Cent also brings acting credit to his name Curtis Jackson worthy of a few dollars more in what could have been his mentors movie. Floyds buddy may have just become bankrupt, but going for broke here he makes a declaration as a cash crooked promoter that is throwing rocks and rolls at Don King's crown. Still when it comes to Jake's throne the only one that can pound for pound match him in acting weight is the great 'Last King Of Scotland' Oscar winner Forest Whitaker. A legend the stood next to the energetic and emphatic icon of enthusiasm; Robin Williams in his debut days for 'Good Morning Vietnam' to most recently being at the service of every President (including the reunion with Robin's Eisenhower) in Lee Daniels' 'The Butler'. Here Whitaker, playing the ringside Christian Bale to our fighters Mark Wahlberg gives a hangover wake up call to a heavyweight champ in dispute with a Joe Frazier sobering gym, training young fighters living in poverty, but promise. Drunk off punch and too many glasses spiked with whiskey, Forest's character searches for redemption at the bottom of his career after not finding it at the bottom of his glass. This raw and real sparring partner gives our Oscar worthy lead his Academy acclaimed supporting actor. The 'Ghost Dog' star shows even more spirit than the soul of his heart-wrenched past performances of acting pain and critical gain. Fuqua's whole f-bomb to those that write off the down and outs is the perfect fist bump to anyone fighting with their backs against the wall. Wearing us down with the drama only to floor us with the action, using a swift hook to rope-a-dope us until we can't take it anymore and he takes over. From the rings of the Mecca of Madison Square Garden to the casino circuits of Las Vegas this rumble in the concrete jungles is a Manilla thriller. Yet from the classic choreography to the defining drama everything here is less than Jake. The real K.O. delivering us the heaviest blow. Count on it! It's over! TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Friday, 17 July 2015
I Love You, Ant-Man.
117 Minutes. Starring: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Bobby Cannavale, Tip 'T.I.' Harris & Michael Pena. Director: Peyton Reed.
Honey, I shrunk the Avengers! Forget the Marvel might of The Incredible Hulk. This is the Incredible Shrinking 'Ant-Man' midget. It's one hot Summer right now, so of course the ants are coming out. No matter if the critics are trying to put the powder down to stop them. Or the monsters and machines of 'Jurassic World' and 'Terminator Genisys' are trying to stomp them under their feet. This Ant man can lift up blockbusters 50 times its weight. Just you wait! Even the picnic of 'Ted 2' can't bear as funny and formidable fruit as this. This ones set to infest like insects itching and scratching this big budget Summer season of cinema like freshly cut crass. Forget hayfever. This ones running and knocking it out the park when they thought it'd be the flu for Marvel's Phase 2 season. But alas, this could even make the 'Age Of Ultron' cold it's that sick. And the ever assembling franchise within a franchise now has one of its own original members suiting up with the iconic, Captain America, Thor, Iron Man and the green, mean machine. The Marvel machine is dominating everything from big screen to the small Netflix one (just try to tell me you haven't binge watched the 'Daredevil' series) and even other films studios (just wait for Fox's 'Fant4stic' and the 'X-Men' crossover). Even after a huge 'Winter Soldier' season of 2014, this is their year. They've even got the Spider back for next years 'Civil War' of superhero trenches and troops in their dawn of justice league battling. Forget a 'Batman V Superman', Marvel rule D.C. like Washington and we haven't even begun to talk about 'Big Hero 6' yet. But this hero, this man made insect is the ace in the ant hole of Marvel's calender run. Even if this borrower makes everyone else look like basketball players this is still a tale to astonish. The weird but wonderful, wrote off but critic and comic book re-writing, fun and funny pleasant surprise like 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' last year. We just knew it. Even the racoon can't sniff out this Ant swarming all the Groots and leaves around. We.Are.Impressed. This.Is.Marvel!
And this is Paul Rudd's moment to be the hero. The 'This Is 40' actor known for 'Clueless' and 'Friends' graduates from the 'I Love You Man' and 'Wanderlust' comedies to show he's worthy of being a real superhero role model as Scott Lang...the Ant-Man...and yes, it is too late to change the name. But who would want to after this? Rudd is the perfect charismatic and charming actor to take this crazy concept and make one of Marvel's most bizarre characters and movies its most brilliant also. Giving character confidence to the forthcoming phase 3 likes of the Black Panther and Doctor Strange. Funny and forthright the comedy king with a serious streak is exactly the kind of actor that was born for a Marvel movie. Even if you need to replace your 3D Roy Orbison's for a magnify glass, Paul still stands tall. We can just only hope he'll graduate and gravitate to the Giant Man part of his characters jacket that will make the already biggest anticipated Avenger blockbuster 'Civil War' that much more epic because 'Ant-Man' could farm some serious sequels and spin offs. But after seeing the giant news team assemble poster campaign of 'Anchorman 2' making everyone look like ants, we just cant get past the image of Brian Fantana doing the "no pants dance" between skyscrapers. But still, how can you not love Rudd here, with the potent Sex Panther splashed on with a slap of bass? If you thought the only funny superhero that could suit up in the most amazing armour was Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man than we have a stark contrast for your tech in this awesome assemble that zips up one throwback of a 50's horror flick suit (check out Vulture's trailer remix whilst that's in your mind). And how about the original Ant-Man? Legend Michael Douglas is on fire as the original ant Hank Pym. The icon from the comics is brought to life by the brilliant 'Black Rain' actors return to action and some crazy, impressive C.G. amongst a classic cameo cast for some old S.H.I.E.L.D. soldiers suiting up a brilliant backstory. The graphics are so good they make 'Terminator Genisys' look like it was really made back in the 80's of the footage they could only recreate without the rights to use. As the slick Douglas is taken back to the Gekko era of his 'Wall Street' days who needs anti-ageing cream when the Avengers have an app that will do that? Now everybody-especially Douglas-want to turn back the clock and scream "prequel"! As much as we'd like to see Rudd grow too, surely it's the backstory that Pym, like Mike deserves...and he wants his wife as The Wasp too.
There's more abuzz here with Evangeline Lilly as Pym's daughter bringing us even more hope to the widening Marvel family in this epic cinematic universe. She's no shrinking violet. If you thought the Widow had bite than just wait until you see this former 'Hobbit' elf character add another string to her brilliant bow. Shooting straight and teaching Rudd's Lang to punch and be punched the famous 'Lost' actress finds a new home and series on Avenger island. Then there's Corey Stoll who suits up in the Yellowjacket and shows he's crazy enough to be the perfect villain drunk off perceived betrayal and an even bigger perception of his own self-righteousness. Still there's more lighting up Marvel's fight with the dark side. Actor with real character Bobby Cannavale is in everything at the moment and he cops himself another great role. Whilst the first rapper to join Stan Lee's crew Tip T.I. Harris extends his 'American Gangster' and 'Get Hard' filmography by almost stealing the show in every scene. The only one that stops him doing this is multi-talented 'End Of Watch' and 'Fury' actor Michael Pena who really does burgle this blockbuster, proving a great sidekick doesn't even need a suit. This heist movie on a smaller 'Oceans' scale takes it to 11...and we aren't talking about centimetres. It has everything, two "don't you dare leave the cinema" early post-credit sequences worthy of you missing the last bus home and even the best Stan Lee cameo that brings more laughs than that idea of him being in one of The Collectors cases in volume one of 'Guardians' that was never used. Those who thought this movie was dropped like a kids ice cream when genius 'Cornetto Trilogy' director Edgar Wright stepped down, don't worry the ants still attract. Even though we'd love to see Wright's wonderful version he's still here on writing and production credit, after all it is his baby. Entering the and house in replacement Peyton Reed brings it on and with some Russian Doll, comic-book like shrinking effects builds a great sense of scale from the bathtub to the dance floor for some set-pieces that are as stunningly believable as they are boldly surreal. The vivid visual effects and groundbreaking gags of the Avengers' small soldier and his flying ant allies are so huge even in comparison if the big, Golden Gate backdrop of San Francisco. This whole nest of effects looks as incredible as this films inspired poster campaign. Flexing between a small fry and super size me Ant-Man shows he can muscle up with the rest of the Avengers and to those comic book fans sneering at this being the most ludicrous superhero concept than how about fellow insect 'Spider-Man' or a guy that turns big and green and loses all his clothes except the waistline of his trousers when he gets 'Hangry'. This is no Puny hero! This Marvel icon finally gets his movie moment a half century in the making. The only debate now about this new Avenger is those fans wondering whether he was in the other Avengers films the whole time. After the lack of 'Jurassic' magic and 'Terminator' edge this little man has both and therefore makes for the biggest blockbuster of the year. You'll be itching for even more from Marvel now you have ants in your pants. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Tuesday, 14 July 2015
Empire State Of Music.
12 Episodes. Starring: Terrence Howard, Bryshere Y. Gray. Jussie Smollett, Trai Byers, Grace Gealey, Malik Yoba. Kaitlin Doubleday & Taraji P. Henson. Created By: Lee Daniels & Danny Strong.
In New York, dreams are made in this concrete jungle and like in Fair Verona, these bright lights that inspire you is where we lay our scene. Too over the top for you? Well this is a soap opera melodrama created by dynamic director of 'Precious' and 'The Butler" depth Lee Daniels. They're calling this one the urban 'Nashville', let alone the street 'Glee' and it couldn't be more fitting as the stories of hip-hop have compelled comparisons to the great genre of country music for quite some time, despite their distinctive spurs and sneakers differences. But what's is judged by a cover on the surface is a different books story underneath. Just like this raw and remarkable series that is the real deal of T.V. shows dominating over movie stories, like all your 'Gotham's', Daredevil's', 'Wayward Pines' and 'True Detective's'. Sure on the critical outside looking in, 'Empire' looks like it is decked out in record label cliches. The rapper turned mogul Diddy and Dupri wannabe Lucious Lyon is the king of this Jay-Z jungle, without a mis-spelling. With a hardwood office holding court as a basketball floor, with a hoop at the head of this Lyon kings table. His knights...or should we say heirs are playing chess, off of each other, or just straight playing for their place on the throne that one day Lyon senior will relinquish as they go for his Caesar on their Brutus behavior. Hey, this almost is Shakespearian. You see Lucious Lyon is dying in this new 'Breaking Bad' trend of good guys going bad, for broke and tombstone. Here lies a man crippled by ALS, but with ice water in his streets made, gravel paved veins. The rap ruler turned CEO and music president is about to pass the torch in his dying light to one of three sons. The young, cocky rapper. The homosexual singer son of a homophobe. Or the businessman who can only hold a c-note. And then there's the ex that wants her piece too. When it comes to the crunch of this cake don't forget about Cookie! Want anymore cliches? Good! Because this serious series turns them all on their heads. Heads that roll like this was about rock.
Rapping up some of the biggest names in the business, 'Empire' is an empire in itself. Even super producer Timbaland is manning the soundtrack boards like Hans Zimmer. Just wait until you hear the soundtrack of this musical. Lee Daniels latest joint venture even sees the legendary likes of Mario Van Peebles directing...but can they get him in the show please? This record industries all about the hot guest spots and this 'Empire' family features cameos from the likes of Brits Estelle and Rita Ora, soulful stats like Anthony Hamilton and Mary J. Blige, rappers like Snoop Dogg and Juicy J, a legend like Patti LaBelle and even Courtney Love. A Nirvana of Hollywood cameos continue with the likes of 'Captain America' soldier on security detail Derek Luke, heavenly, gospel soul Jennifer Hudson and 'Precious' talent discovered by Daniels, Gabourey Sidibe. Not to mention supermodel Naomi Campbell and superstar Oscar winner Cuba Gooding Jr. on a horse. The only one missing is the guy from Old Spice commercials. And just wait until you hear who they've got for the even bigger Season 2. Common, Alicia Keys, rock god Lenny Kravitz, funniest man alive Chris Rock and Oscar winning Marisa Tomei, whose just landed an iconic role as the best looking Aunt Mae, Peter Parker has ever seen in the new Spider-Man movie. M.J. and Gwen Stacey better watch out! And this isn't even the principal cast. One that is rounded out by the newcoming likes of the great Grace Gealey and un-doubtable Kaitlin Doubleday alongside veteran presence Malik Yoba. The sons of the sins of their father truly claim their place however. Bryshere Y. Gray, otherwise known as Yazz The Greatest plays another young rapper, with the cocky, balls to the wall, never be backed down outlook of a 21 year old with the world and his future at his any Air Jordan affordable feet. Cocky, but charismatic, somewhat charming and somehow contagious. Jussie Smollett on the other side of the coin flip has the wisdom of a 30 year old to ride with his woes. The true, breakout star of this showstopper, Smollett shows us his soul on R&B wax. Its more than the more than just feet moving music however as Jussie's role and character sings for equality and everyone everywhere who needs more than a voice to hear that not only do black lives matter, but the livelihood of anybody regardless of sexual orientation does too. Anyone ignorant to this learns their lesson the real hard way here. Trai Byers, completes the three kings and proves he pictures a portrayal just as important to modern day society and culture as his co-star, showing he is more than just the suit and tie to his brothers microphone and stand. For someone who plays a guy who all business can't sing, this man is so talented. Bringing to the limelight of the oft-ignored public, the consideration to the private pain issues of mental health that even some big time Hollywood pictures have shied away from. It's bold, it's brave and it's one of the biggest, most monumental and meaningful portraits 'Selma' actor Byers will ever paint. His one moment in the studio will never leave you as it reaches out through glass.
The same glass that the palm of Taraji P. Henson is pressing. Looking for a hand to be extended, or for someone to hear her call on the telephone. From the bars of jail, to being a prisoner outside her own hymn sheet company, Henson plays a woman scorned with a furious fire that won't be denied. The multi-talented and faceted actress adds another string to her bow and show to her reel (you can also currently catch her in Jim Cavizel's 'Person Of Interest') and is the emotional energy and passion stilettoe pointed swagger of this series. Still, whether anybody likes it or not this is Terrence Howard's 'Empire' and the iconic actor of influence, who brings inspired intensity to any role he undertakes is on a tour de force to make Lucious Lyon the next Walter White family man of trying to make the most out of his demise. He's more than the danger however. In the very first episode this guy puts his son in a trash can and a bullet hole in the head of his best friend. But no matter how bad this guys character is, you cant help but love and root for Howard's end of all of this and the reboot of his career that was cruelly crucified by industry big-wigs behind the scenes, as callous as his powerful but pitiful character on screen. Forget a Marvel or Jamie Foxx beef. Never mind an underrated and stocked classic album, Terrence shines through it and channels and portrays this all perfectly. He even left fellow hit Fox show, featuring his trademark, standout acting; 'Wayward Pines' early for this...and no one ever gets to leave that town. He's more than back. This is his moment that the game owes him...and just waits until he raps himself round that acoustic guitar we first heard on that offbeat, outstanding jazz album. He's running all over Mr. Johnson's lawn now! You don't even know. Plus with this rapping partner to former on screen flame Taraji laying down some of those real and raw rhymes that that album deal hoped for, is 'Empire' a spiritual sequel to 'Hustle & Flow'? If not it may just be one to 'Baby Boy' as after months of speculation and intriguing Instagram teasing on a 'Green Lantern' level, 'Fast & Furious' franchise face and music megastar Tyrese Gibson, fresh off the release of his last album 'Black Rose' will be joining season 2, reuniting with his heart Henson for his biggest collaboration since the one with R&B legends Ginuwine and Tank. Now by season 3 who will be the king of Lyon's land? Ones thing for sure this show has everything. Music industry criticisms versus innovations. Legend v legacy. Power themes and metaphors. Corruption warnings and lessons. The struggle for success and/or survival. The ideas of notoriety versus narcissism and anything else you could think of wrapped up in a social commentary that provides a chorus of a communion to more than just one culture. Even with all that however this show has so much soul like the James Brown like logo get up. And that's just the beginning. With so much more to come you ain't see nothing yet. There's nothing that can bring down this Empire. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Enough talk! Debate, hate! Let the games begin! You really want to settle this? Then lets wait until 'Batmen v Superman' get it on in next years 'Dawn Of Justice' in the battle with Marvel's Avengers 2.5 in Captain America's 'Civil War' with Iron Man, where the two iconic, duking it out comic-book franchises will be too busy fighting amongst themselves to worry about whose taking sides and winning.
Stan Lee's team may have the belt now and next years 'Winter Solider' sequel featuring every Avenger (except the seemingly uninvited Thor and Hulk) and the introduction of the Black Panther and the highly anticipated, eager awaited, big Spider-Man deal is set to be the victory lap in Washington.
"On your left".
But don't count out D.C. yet. Shaded in the darkness of Marvel's light hearted, fun approach the Detective Comics are about to illuminate the blockbuster skies like the new Bat Signal. Comic Con convinced us. The 'Justice' trailer is in a league of its own. Even more than Jared's Joker and new, classic laugh introduction to the 'Suicide Squad' that we want to see 'really, really bad"!
Leto may even be in Zack Snyder's 'Man Of Steel' sequel if the Easter egg of Easter eggs cracks open the old comic-book reference of the Joker killing Robin with a crow-bar. And you wondered what was with the Clown Prince's hip-hop metal grill! This Frank Miller time 'Dark Knight' homage is set to illuminate. With a bulky, Bat-Suit that could even battle the Hulk-Buster. The epic duel of epic duels with the fictional, iconic cities of Metropolis and Gotham side by side-creatively like no comic before-in richness and poor health like San Francisco and Oakland (will there be a basketball, champion Gotham State Warriors?) for a novel idea never seen in the graphic books. This to go with the return of Superman's own Joker, Lex Luther, back for the first time here, Jeremy Irons as a more scientist looking Alfred and a Wonder Woman that looks...well wonderful (if a little Xena Warrior Princess) will leave fans looking at this epic, event film and thinking; "now there's a Batman"!
Speaking of the devil, we've been defenders of the Batflek for quite some time under the pale moonlight. And now everyone-even the most angriest Christian Bale fan-is ready to move on and hand the cowl to the man that's about to rewrite the career he scripted with 'Good Will Hunting' alongside Matt Damon. This guys not going to piss in the suit...he looks great in it. The right cut and in hallmark grey, bleak in its tone but offset perfectly by the billionaire bucking trend of him making a real Bruce Wayne playboy, philanthropist too. He hasn't just got the chin to play Bats...he's got the balls to do it too.
Still I must join the Daredevil (that film was a lot better than most admit. Even if the new series completely blind sides it), "how dare he's" with one concern for the 'Gone Girl' actor playing the Bat Boy. After overcoming all the mid career madness of all the poor choices and 'Bennifer' critics, Affleck went on to show he was still a great actor, but an even better director, behind the camera like a young Clint Eastwood. In just three films he elevated himself to Hollywood's big three. With 'Gone Baby Gone', directing baby bro Casey, Affleck went to the bold and brave, dramatic, dark depths of a Clint film like 'Mystic River'...with his first movie. Then he went back to the 'Good Will' beginnings of his birthplace Boston for 'The Town'. Bullet for gunfight 'Heat' the greatest action film you have or will see either side of 10 years. Then the politics and Oscar came with the amazing 'Argo'...need we say anymore?
Now some may be quick to say "Argo f### yourself" to this writer, but this writers concern is the deeper Affleck goes into the dark knight, the less light we'll see from his camera lens. Sure the man who once turned down directing 'Man Of Steel' and almost starring in its sequel due to a cited "lack of special effects experience", (despite once technically, suiting up and playing Superman as the original George Reeves in 'Hollywoodland') may have just been handed the Batmobile keys to direct and star in the solo, stand-alone movie 'The Batman'...which is now becoming as hotly awaited as this new one, but we're talking about some original storytelling. Although we cant wait to see the man that called Batman, "America's 'Hamlet's'" spin on the cave dweller that only comes out at night. Ben's last three movies are arguably the reason he's here now in the position he is to play the fictional American hero and icon. And if you want to talk about a career reboot, just ask Avenger leader Robert Downey Jr. how much being a superhero takes up your time. Even a billionaire playboy one with all they tricks and tools.
Between all his solo Hollywood albums and the group work of the 'Justice League' how can we complain though at what will probably be the making of this mans commercial career? Especially with the future flight plan of the Bat under his wing. We just can't wait to see more of the critically acclaimed work that starts from script scratch from this man. Like a reunion with B.F.F. Matt Damon (and we're not talking about a Robin team up), or director Fincher for 'Strangers On A Train'. Still for the man that studies Hitchcock Im sure we'll see as much alter ego Affleck directing in the day, as much as we will crime fighting, vigilante justice at night. After all if he wants to star in comic books as well as write them, to go along with whatever direction he's taking, he can. He can do anything he wants! Why? Because he's BATMAN! TIM DAVID HARVEY
Thursday, 9 July 2015
115 Minutes. Starring: Seth MacFarlane, Mark Wahlberg, Amanda Seyfried, Giovanni Ribisi & Morgan Freeman. Director: Seth MacFarlane.
"Here comes the bear! All dressed in fur"! Da-da-da, daaa! America's favourite family bear is back after a three year high that has seen director and actor Seth MacFarlane draw critics on his straight-shooting western wise-cracker 'A Million Ways To Die In The West'. All whilst continuing his one line, one lane reign as the king of controversial comedy, with his television box of tricks in the legendary 'Family Guy' and the 'Futurama' to his Griffin's 'Simpsons'; 'American Dad'. Almost as crazily cute, crassly crude and as comedic classic as Stewie Griffin, is 'Ted', the movie franchise buddy comedy, brother bear of Seth's family unfriendly small-screen extended couch gag. Sure Ted may sound like Peter Griffin after one too many Pawtucket's but he still looks the C.G. convincing part and in this New England, new chapter of the multi-talented writer and performers career is as Boston as the Celtics, Aerosmith or 'Departed' F-bombs. And with Academy Award nominated actor Mark Wahlberg giving an accented performance next to our new furry friend, 'Ted' was an instant comedy classic on the scale of 'The Hangover' and 'Horrible Bosses'. So good that we let 'The Cleveland Show' slide. So much so that of course its time for the obligatory sequel in a modern movie world of under due and overcooked reboots and re-hashes.
'Ted 2' stays on the pipe though, smoking hot in a Summer blockbuster vehicle of the same 'Fast and Furious' and 'Mad Max' franchises, along with the dinosaurs of 'Jurassic World' and 'Terminator: Genisys'. This second pass it, pass it offering is no teddy's bear picnic and won't be ruined by the ants of Marvel. No matter how many superheros they assemble this year in 'The Avengers', 'Fantastic Four' and the iPhone small screen dominance of 'Daredevil'. Because this furry-hero sequel takes it to comic con without having to play dress up. Stealing geeks lunch money and starting one hell of a battle Royale between everyone from Star Trek captains to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Cowabunga indeed dudes! This is the perfect pizza and beer movie for those looking for a comedy high between the trademark punch pulled, pop culture references and riffs to the classic stick slapping physical comedy. MacFarlane is on fine, furry, fiery form yet again with arguably his best, stand alone, couch imprinting, ass and balls gag character. Whilst sitting next to his green leotard and white spots is the ever great, hard working and underrated talent of Mark Wahlberg who has been knocking it out of Fenway again and again over the years, with movies like 'Lone Survivor' and 'The Gambler' and shows once more that he has the comedy chops too with this crack. From taking more than just a sample of gross out comedy, to giving a hand to NFL legend Tom Brady in the wrong sort of way these thunder buddies catch lightning in a plastic specimen cup twice. Striking us with involuntary noises from the belly louder than God's farts. We could watch the relationship between man and bear in the wild of downtown Boston for life.
This 'Ted' sequel gives you more too with the return of the weirdly wonderful Giovanni Ribisi amongst some cameos as classic as this 'Family' guys infamous cut-aways. Morgan Freeman's voice is on hand too as he makes a warm welcome addition to this movie, but don't worry Patrick Stewart's classic, storytelling narration still makes it so. Still, Mila Kunis isn't back unfortunately. No, no one told her to "shut up Meg", she was just busy making her own family guys. Instead Amanda Seyfried steps into the love interest role with heart and humour giving this film and one and a half man show the extra puff it needs after starring in 'A Million Ways'. MacFarlane's new darling plays it perfectly, even breaking out the acoustic like a corny guy at a campfire for some real talent. This bloke bombshell is even game on sending up her looks, but giving as good as she gets she shows she's just as funny in anyone's eyes. Still with some moral ambiguity amongst all the offensive jokes targeting just about everyone and anyone (does that kind of count for equal rights?) is Seth going soft on us? As Ted ties the knot with the string of marriage and tries to bear fruit, minus some accessories (therefore he's a friend in need of a "hand" but Sam Jones has run out of Flash), he has more 'legalize it' problems than claiming he has glaucoma. It's a case of 'The People Versus Teddy Flynt' as the whole world are screaming "YOU'RE A TOY!" to a guy that once had so much buzz like Woody. Still as this Toy story hits the shelves and chambers of court it still sustains the laughs also whilst not so subtly trying to say something as a sidebar. This equality message may seem a little West of Seth but we have no objection. Besides this guy has been making smaller gestures than this in 'Family Guy' for years even if it was followed by a psyche gag after. Getting to the heart of a cuddly toy that says 'I Love You' when you press its tummy, MacFarlane plays for more than just laughs, like the guy that breaks into epic songs when he can always does. The Sinatra tux, all Astaire opening credits number reminiscent of the 'Family Guy' theme is chairman of the board, big band proof of this...and it rocks! This just might make you laugh and cry. In 'Ted 2' some of the stuffing may be missing but it's still open season on the bear necessities of classic comedies. The string on his back hasn't run out of cord yet. Ted still talks! How about a 'T3d', because this bear still has arms! TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Thursday, 2 July 2015
Age Against The Machine.
126 Minutes. Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Clarke, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney, Lee Byung-hun, Matt Smith & J. K. Simmons. Director: Alan Taylor.
Hey Arnold! It's great to have you back! Sure for all you Shakespearean bards out there this living legend isn't exactly Socrates, but you can't say this man isn't an inspirational figure for the late 21st century. When the 67 year old was just a young boy living in Austria he dreamed of being three things. The world champion in bodybuilding, a world famous, action hero-actor and the President of the United States Of America. Well barring the laws of nationality stopping him from being POTUS he's done all those things, even being the Governor of California, the largest state in the U.S.A. It doesn't get much closer than that. Nor does it get much more get off your butt motivational. Just check his cinder block of a memoir that looks like it's read and drank through more than a few shakes of protein. This is a man who redefined what it meant to be a Hollywood action-hero, even beating out all threats foreign (Jean Claude Van-Damme) and domestic (his good friend/even better rival Sylvester Stallone) in his day...or should we say decade. One that saw the Governator and Mr. Universe define films and franchises like the classics 'Predator', 'Conan', 'Commando' and 'Total Recall'. All whilst sending himself up perfectly in funny films like 'Twins', 'Kindergarten Cop', 'True Lies' and 'Last Action Hero'. Still the one film that defined him and the 80's to 90's generation of action heroes and movies was the 'Terminator' machine of a franchise. From the first thriller that was almost like a robot horror to the outstanding, ahead of it's 'Back To The Future' time in epic effects 'T2', proving sequels can surpass their original creators. A formidable, big, blockbuster film, which like 'Jurassic Park' and 'The Dark Knight' is one of the three event movies of this writers life. My childhood is practically being in awe of Arnie spinning and reloading that shotgun with one arm in that iconic motorcycle storm drain chasing scene in L.A, years before this sneaking downstairs kid was old enough to be allowed to watch it. A decade later and 'Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines' was fun if a little clunky, whilst the Arnie-less (unless in C.G.I) 'Terminator: Salvation' starring Batman's Christian Bale as John Connor in the leading of the resistance was raw, rusty but still ever ready. It was affirmative that this robot relic of Hollywood needed a tinkering and reboot, 'Expendable' franchise star Schwarzenegger needed a recharge too fresh out of office and into new films like 'The Last Stand', 'Escape Plan' and 'Sabotage'. So it's time for man to meet machine once again as Arnie gets back to the chopper to put pedal to the metal.
In this robot recall it's time to see if this running man can keep up with all the monsters and Marvel of modern day movies and still be that robot eraser we all love, before critics exterminate his end of days. Well this Goliath, 'Godzilla' monster equivalent of an action-hero machine isn't just back...he's here to stay in 'Terminator: Genisys'. Living about 20 years on earth, driving a pick-up, wearing comfortable clothes and going grey. You don't like it..."bite" him! With 'Genisys' robot Arnie hasn't just typed out the name of his favorite Phil Collins band without the machine help of a spell-check. You can feel it in the air of the futile future tonight that 'Genisys' is Sky-Net and in this digital app-age where we're all connected to our cells and smart phones, this movie is about to show you, two years later in 2017 it's time to really be afraid of androids...or maybe Apple (nudge, poke, semi-colon, closed bracket)! Moving away from the Big Apple of Hollywood's eye to the Golden Gate set-piece stakes of the stunning San Francisco, that recent big blockbusters like 'Pacific Rim', 'Planet Of The Apes' and this months upcoming 'Ant-Man' superhero have bridged, this movie crosses the iconic red iron like no other. Flipping a truck more times than 'The Dark Knight' for one of so many acid-hot, reflex, stunning set-pieces that show action and Arnie can still bang for your buck, metal to mettle. 'Game Of Thrones' director Alan Taylor who gave 'Thor-The Dark World' his game of realms, vivid and vast directing magic shoots a guns and roses tribute to the 80's here that's blazing hot in both it's reference testament and it's modern, phone distracted crowd pleasing entertainment. Arnold too, armed with the ageing skin tissue of a robot out of time (the original working idea was that he would play an old family friend that the machines based the future likeness of the Terminator on...which would have worked well too, but maybe albeit a little too 'Jingle All The Way' family friendly) and some new catchphrases proves to the critics he's "old...but not obsolete", showing he can still muscle up and show Mike real magic with the XXL action and even make light of himself up with his infamous one-liners and robot deadpan wisecracks. Here's a guy that recently, hilariously shocked people at Hollywood's Madame Tussauds by posing as a real-life waxwork of his 'Terminator' character. A man that hilariously but justly shut down a homophobic troll on Facebook only this week by launching one of his famous catchphrases in response to a bigotry comment. Hasta La Vista critics! Schwarzenegger has still got it. Able to keep up with those 'Fast and Furious' speed-racers, show the 'Fury Road' of Max more madness and prove he's no dinosaur or extinct like 'Jurassic World' in this Summer season of blockbusters in this years 'Age Of Ultron', that shows this superhero is as good as any 'Avenger'. Now Marvel at that!
Sure like 'Jurassic World' (starring 'Salvations' Bruce Dallas Howard) before it and 'Jurassic Park' after the original 'Judgement Day' this new tribute testament can hallmark homage all it likes, but it'll never go back in time and overcome or kill the original. And with the 'bring your kids', lack of an R rating this franchise loses some of it's edgier, sinister streak, just like the bigger and better, arm-folded audience defying 'Jurassic World' fails to recapture that old 90's Hollywood magic somewhat. Still, that doesn't mean that either of these updates aren't successful in bringing new audiences and their parents who grew up with these films together alike. And in the modern day age of sequels and reboot saturation's of original ideas, it's great to see these monsters and machines still stand the test of redefining time. Forget what you know, this movie is re-writing it all and is this years surprise blockbuster of the big-budget, billion ton movie Summer like last years 'Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes', these two franchises now sharing more than just a leading star. This animal is still thumping it's chest too like a new-age 'King Kong', scaling the movie world, despite critics flying around in machine gun loaded paper planes. That's thanks to some fresh faces joining "Pops" Schwarzenegger. Almost as iconic as 'The Terminator' itself the woman he was once sent to kill Sarah Conner is a character that has been played by many actresses even having the 'Chronicles' of her own T.V. show. Still Linda Hamilton-who made the role as iconic as Sigourney Weaver in 'Aliens'-has always been hard to replace...until now. 'Game Of Thrones' star Emilia Clarke (fitting because co-star Lena Headley played Connor in the 'Chronicles' T.V. show) proves she can muscle up to play the freedom fighter we are sure inspired Lara Croft in this game of time zones. Even without the dragons and blonde wig she's still blazing hot, switching swords and stones for semi-automatics and bullets beautifully and brutally. Whilst 'Zero Dark Thirty', 'Gatsby' and 'Lawless' actor Jason Clarke (no relation off-screen) replaces his 'Public Enemies' co-star Christian Bale perfectly as the leader of the resistance John Conner. All grown up from the previous Public Enemy t-shirt (with the aforementioned film, were these Conner's all meant to be and written in the Hollywood stars?) wearing incarnations, with a twist that we hope you didn't see in the coming trailer because it'll ruin what works almost as well as the infamous, classic one in 'Terminator 2: Judgement Day'. For all those who know what I'm talking about...just how even better of a surprise film would this be if we didn't know. The major shake-up continues with 'Die Hard' franchise son Jai Courtney arming up to another series as the legendary Kyle Reese, finally after the original movie giving the characters legacy the more outstanding screen-time that he deserves. Time-Lords unite too as former 'Doctor Who' Matt Smith applies himself to these frames with a formidable feel for these foes of the future. Even Oscar winner J.K. Simmons is here still on a roll after 'Whiplash', albeit more 'stumbly' than angry. And if you miss Robert Patrick, 'G.I.: Joe' star Lee Byung-hun, plays a T-1000 with Patrick perfection, mirroring him whilst casting his own reflection in some effecting moments that takes us back to the 80's of the original in feel and fondness. This film even has those lasers at night war of the machines we were promised and thought we'd finally have 'Salvation' in with the fourth film, only to be left with a derelict waste-land of the aftermaths of battle that still leaves us fighting with our imaginations for a future film called; 'Terminator: War'! All in all this is more that just satisfying and gratifying...it's electrifying. But with Arnie suiting up in leather and metal face alongside these new parts of liquid metal and nano bot Terminators, this movie shows no matter how much you update in this modern age...nothing beats the old model. Come back with me to the future if you want to love! TIM DAVID HARVEY.