Wednesday, 30 September 2015
141 Minutes. Starring: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kristen Wiig, Michael Pena, Kate Mara, Sebastian Stan, Aksel Hennie, Mackenzie Davis, Benedict Wong, Donald Glover, Sean Bean & Jeff Daniels. Director: Ridley Scott.
Life on Mars? Believe it or not Ripley its flowing like water discovered on the Red Planet by NASA only this Monday. Mars is now your new sustainable source of water...now how's that for some hot springs? If only someone told Matt Damon about this...that would have helped him instead of giving his waste the 'Waterworld' treatment. Here he has a déjà-vu case of 'Total Recall', lost in space for the second straight year after going 'Interstellar' with Matthew McConaughey and Jessica Chastain again last fall. So maybe its time the 'Good Will Hunting' writer/actor stops boldly going where no man has gone before. Although in this Star Trek if anyone can handle surviving in space then it's ultimately the identity of Jason Bourne. Even if he's only being doing this for a few years. Around the same time that amazing author Andy Weir's brilliant book that's now a New York Times bestseller favourite has been around. Already taken from the shelves to the screens in what seems quicker than special effect warp speed from 'Prometheus' director Ridley Scott, the great Scott no stranger to 'Alien' movies of a different terrestrial form. This time however just like its by the book log you may even begin to believe this is real, between all the sci-fi special effects and all the scientific, theoretical fact. Scott lays the course mapped out by Weir and as we traverse a planet that looks like the deserts of Utah for more than 127 sols, you'd give your right arm to see something as amazing as this in real life. Grounding the Oscar winning 'Gravity' this is inspired and interesting enough to even influence intrigue next to the 'Interstellar' dimensions of director Christopher Nolan. This is more than Murphy or McConaughey's law...this 'Martian' is real.
Its Ridley's universe now and before J.J. Abrams takes us far, far away to make it his galaxy in the awakening force of a new 'Star Wars' trilogy this Christmas, this science fiction, space odyssey begins the fall season of big blockbusters and Oscar favourites that now always seems to lead with a rocket into space. Houston...we have no problem with that! Now who better to bring us a whole different type of 'Martian' on mars than the man behind 'Alien' himself, Scott? The 'Blade Runner' director is the 'Big Bang' of science fiction, space theory and coming out of the arenas of heroes like 'Gladiator' he knows epics. Now after upping the stakes on a biblical scale for 'Exodus: Gods and Kings', Ridley adds another big box office boom of a movie to his classic coliseum. Even honouring his late, great brother Tony Scott with an 'Unstoppable' streak of human hope, which was an inspired ideal that this 'Top Gun' director soared above everyone else with. Who better to bring this 'Apollo 13' meets 'Cast Away' idea home than icon and idol of modern movie marketing and legacy making legend, Matt Damon? With 'Oceans' of big roles and hits how is the sureme Bourne and the man that hunted for 'Good Will' still so underrated? He was 'The Talented Mr. Ripley' and the 'Private Ryan' they all tried to save that graduated to the ranks of a 'Monuments Men'. From the South African World Cup win for Mandela in 'Invictus', to the classic Wild West of 'True Grit' even his range isn't given the berth its deserved. This guy can even make films about zoos ('We Bought A Zoo') and golf ('The Legend Of Bagger Vance') interesting. And when it comes to sci-fi from Phillip K. Dick ('The Adjustment Bureau') to Neil Blomkamp ('Elysium') this guy knows how to stretch the spectrum. Now against all the odds, presumed dead by his cast off crew and stranded in space, Damon shows all the character of the funny side of the survival of the fittest and what no man has done before all to the tune of a compelling video diary, perfect for this vlogger age. Using the periodic table of elements and his botany ability to stretch the starch out of potatoes fertilised by his own poo to four square meals each day. And therein lies the rub. If that isn't Academy worthy then I don't know what is! Sandra Bullock kind of just floated around in space and she got the Oscar. This guy is performing feats on a water to wine scale. All gags and in-jokes aside the always brilliant Damon hasn't been this great in years and he's about to be re-Bourne next year. Right now though he's bringing even more new life in more ways than one from the dirt. This guy is the s###!
More than this human 'Martian's' independence day however is an all-star cast of crew and ground control looking for Major Tom. There's a star-man waiting in the sky with a Star-Lord soundtrack and some Guardians Of The Galaxy are ready to bring their boy home. Okay, not quite, but there's sort of a link of some Marvel family, from Bucky to Sue Storm as 'The Winter Soldier' of 'Captain America' star Sebastian Stan, on sensational form and the first lady of the first family of the 'Fantastic Four' Kate Mara who returns to space with more power than the fantastic but flawed 'F4' reboot gave her. Making it so for this next generation with the always in everything and always great Michael Pena (who almost outgrew 'Ant-Man' this year as a scene stealer) riding Riker shotgun alongside Norwegian actor Aksel Hennie is our captain and commander Jessica Chastain. After being left to age at a rapid rate on earth last year as 'Interstellar' found Matt Damon, Jess is at the helm now with another great fall after the dusk of last years space exploration and 'Most Violent Year' versatile move in 2014. Here on this red planet of dust storms and the 'Crimson Tide' of a forthcoming Del Toro horror on the horizon about to hit our shores, this red head is on a fury of fire with a commanding performance as captain. The ground crew are no console armchair slouches either. Think an Ed Harris on each desk. There's the director of NASA, Jeff Daniels in serious 'Newsroom', press conference coached ready form, with no dumbness or diddly-dumber stupidity. Butting heads with walking spoiler Sean Bean who wants to throw a spanner in the PR works for the good of the recovery. Those public relations are invited by 'Bridesmaid' comedienne Kristin Wiig, wearing another acting hat that doesn't just play for the red illuminated "Applause" of a Saturday night. Want more? All walks of acting life take small steps here from Canada's Mackenzie Davis to British actor Benedict Wong in pivotal roles that support in more ways than one for Matt Damon's giant leap back into mankind and its movie making. All the way down to Donald Glover, AKA the rapper Childish Gambino who almost steals the show here with his manoeuvre. Its '12 Years A Slave' lead Chiwetel Ejiofor who helps the most with this endurance mission however from the ground up, as the man a telescope away from the stars knows how to turn time and ties into hope and the spirit of home life, on the broad shoulders of a weight that's carries something on the mind that says; "don't give in". This saviour salute to science at its very element has an inspiring message here with this epic, emotional but most of all entertaining exploration. Complete with the bond of a sense of humor for anyone looking to strive and survive against the odds of life. Anything is possible if Matt Damon can live on the most dangerous planet in the solar system with literally s### to eat. Now how about Uranus? TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Tuesday, 15 September 2015
8 Episodes. Starring: Hayley Atwell, James D'Arcy, Chad Michael Murray, Enver Gjokaj, Shea Whigham, Lyndsey Fonseca & Dominic Cooper.
War Is Over! New York, 1946. Captain America may be on ice, but the 'Supreme Headquarters, International Espionage, Law-Enforcement Division' (the 'Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division' to you post 90's, Marvel Cinematic Universe kids) isn't and the number one 'Agent Of S.H.I.E.L.D.', who stood by the side of 'The First Avenger' is on the case...with avengance. Suiting up in a skirt and tie to go to 'Civil War' with her fellow small-screen, but big-time 'Agents' and 'Daredevil's' dominant 'Defenders' beginnings, against D.C's 'Justice' T.V. spin-offs like 'Flash', 'Arrow' and of course the Rouge city of 'Gotham'. Months and decades before 'Jessica Jones' gets her Midtown Black Widow on, 'Agent Carter' weaves her web of espionage years before the Cold War to show not only is she a super spy, but Marvel's first female superhero too. But don't call this first class lady with British intelligence, 'Shirley Holmes'! Even if her SSR (Strategic Scientific Reserve) agents are putting her on a detail even more degrading and derogatory than desk duty! Milk and sugar? Carter may be British like Caine but this is ridiculous and far from her cup of tea. She's an agent after all...and the best one they've got in classic New York City, captured with cinematic class like 'Gotham' in this Marvel flagship show from the start of the Brooklyn Bridge to the tip of the Empire State Building. What more could this 'City Of Marvel' ask for between Buick's and pre-transistor radios that ham-up some acting and punch-steak sound effects to try and bring back good ole Steve Rodgers to a time where television only existed in the cinema? This here takes it back to an America that is no longer all mom and apple pie and is in need of the Old Glory of it's Cap.
Lacing all this velvet smooth, vintage vibe is our Agent Provocateur, the Woman from S.H.I.E.L.D. in this years 'Man From U.N.C.L.E.' spy movie renaissance fair. Hayley Atwell is just dandy in a Peggy Sue time as Agent Peggy Carter. 'One Shot' wasn't enough, there's more bullets in that purse pistol and after holding her own in the Marvel equivalent of a 'Pixar Short', the lampshade is now pointing the spotlight to a desk marked Atwell as Hayley files her first successful series after her formidable film opening. Adding another comic-book flip re-introduction to Marvel's universe after growing up gracefully in an 'Ant-Man' cameo this year, following the make-up of the seasons of wither in her emotional 'Winter Soldier' appearance. Now with more strands of story to added to a legacy of legend with eight episodes of wonder, all that's left to imagine is whether this Agent will get that dance with Cap? Because with just as much on-screen man hours put in as Rodgers, we can now see why this English Rose is America's best girl. Rolling up her sleeves, she just does it. She's fearless, with plenty moxie and gumption. Even in a world where a trough of male pigs would rather call her toots than 'Agent', or grab her behind, rather than shake her hand. Uncle Sam needs her too...even if he's not pointing her way. I guess the world needs this....then and now. And with Marvel's mainstream mirroring of history and a modern day world, there's more than metaphors the children of this decade can take from this generational show that tells more with life lessons. Peggy Carter is more than a S.H.I.E.L.D. operative....she's an agent of change. A true Avenger and an original. An icon! And in playing her with great character representation, but her own personal depth and distinction, Hayley Atwell gives us her signature role of breakthrough and identity. She'll always be remembered for this. Beyond whatever great parts she plays. Not because of a typecast, but due to being a role model for so many. We just knew there was a reason, one film and a few short stints left us wanting more...and it's not the classic cocktail dresses in disguise or the formidable forties fashion and look...she has more dignity and resolve than that. There's just something about her. Hayley Atwell is Marvel's Hail Mary pass that's a touchdown, knockout or hit from a Brooklyn baseball players bat right out of Dodger stadium. Now just wait until Peg lines up a punch, she could give that devil of the kitchen hell, putting him in his place. Quite frankly and still becoming...she kicks ass.
'Daredevil', 'The Avengers', even the heights of 'Ant-Man' and now this. 2015 has been quite the year for Marvel who can also be credited for 'Big Hero 6' and the 'Fantastic Four' for better or worse in their 'Age of Ultron'. And I bet you thought they where out of this world with last years 'Guardians Of The Galaxy'? Well forget Vol. 2, we're still in 'Phase 2' and before next year gets 'Strange' with all sorts of Doctors and in-fighting like the J.L.A. when they should be battling D.C., it's not over yet. It's all connected, like James D'Arcy playing the original Jarvis, the Alfred Butler to Howard Stark's billionaire fathering of the Batman like Tony Stark. Before Iron Man made J.A.R.V.I.S. the voice...and then Vision of Paul Bettany. That's quite an evolutionary upgrade, more than 'Just a Rather Very Intelligent System’. But even so, before all that Jarvis the man was more than just a mere mortal in English gentleman form. Funny, forthright and standing out with more charisma and posh swagger than a positioned fork, Jarvis has all the best lines like a character that eventually becomes just a voice could only have. James D'Arcy plays it up too, with all the pride his 'Prejudice' name could conjure up. This Mr. D'Arcy is a delight...a new Marvel maverick maestro. Just like Dominic Cooper (who's back here in short but significant helpings that may lead to another course in the green-lit second season (here's hoping)) was when he provided a stark Robert Downey Jnr contrast, with younger, cocksure confidence as Tony's pop Howard, before Stark seniors end with 'Mad Men' actor John Slattery. Another tied up, suited and booted choice. Cop some Grade A detective work, courtesy of the professionalism and respect of the crutch of Enver Gjokaj (is he about to be given a 'Winter Soldier' esque false leg?), a slam-dunk from 'One-Tree Hill's' Chad Michael Murray and classic character actor Shea Whigham too. Stepping in with style for the 'One-Shot' of 'West Wing' wonder Bradley Whitford as a classic chief of scotch and marriage on the rocks with a twist conviction. This cast has it all, even a classic cliche, albeit with sass and class, with an aspiring actress milkshake moonlighting as an American diner waitress in Lyndsey Fonseca's (of 'Hot Tub Time Machine' and 'Kick Ass') cap tipped performance. Now that is just what our leading lady ordered for the best friend role. This all just fits and looks perfect, complete with of course another classic cameo from you know who...and this one polishes the others off with style. Just like the texture and tone of the forties feel of all of this tradition of timeless, vintage quality. Still, nothing in this retro renaissance is as much a revolution as our femme fatale Hayley Atwell and her muse Peggy Carter. There's no denying the value of this woman's worth. Aces! TIM DAVID HARVEY..
Wednesday, 9 September 2015
The Hardy Boys.
131 Minutes. Starring: Tom Hardy, Tom Hardy, Emily Browning, Taron Egerton, Christopher Ecceleston & Chazz Palminteri. Director: Brian Helgeland.
He is 'Legend'. The finest British actor of this suited and booted GQ generation. Tom Hardy...or should we say Tom-Tom Hardy on the double act of his legendary life and career legacy. In a modern, no need for suspect split-screen, big-budget time that sees every actor from the enigmatic 'Enemy' of Jake Gyllenhaal and 'The Double' of Jessie Eisenberg seeing deuces. This is the time for top actors to play two characters on green screen. But this trend didn't reach its biggest amount of likes and loves until 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.' star Armie Hammer played twins in the film where he made his name in Jessie Eisenberg's Facebook film 'The Social Network' so-well that people thought there really was two of this establishing actor. Now with even more twin ambition in looking and playing two brothers with the same D.O.B. that couldn't be more opposite in some ways, Tom Hardy is giving us his best on the double, with a buy one, get one free formidable performance of English class with this twin ambition. It's arguably already his time with the best blockbuster under his belt going into Autumn with the massive and magnificent 'Mad Max' that has made it a lovely year for this Hardy boy along with the war games of 'Child 44' reuniting with 'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy' co-star Gary Oldham. But these twins could be his peak. With all due respect to the Spandau Ballet Kemp brothers who back in the 80's seemed like not only the perfect, but the only choice to play 'The Krays' this is the gold with a nice nod to the original K's. But is this Bafta sure-thing the Academy? Oscar knows this 'Warrior' is wild and 'The Drop' on Hardy here sees a one part 'Inception' style inspiration mixed with the madness of 'Bronson' brilliance and Bane of Batman's back-breaking life mumbling brutality double-team going 'Lawless' again in more illegal business. One that sees the actor that could keep us locked in with him riding shotgun in 'Locke' turning the wheel again as he gets wrapped around the real art of acting. Now when it comes to British mob-hits this may just may be 'Godfather'.
Kray-Kray? Nah this is Tom. This is Hardy. Tom is suited. Hardy is booted. Tom is slick. Hardy is sick. Tom is cool. Hardy is anything but collected. Tom is 'Krafty'. Hardy is 'Krazy'. Tom is Ronald. Hardy is Reginald. Ronnie and Reggie. Reg and Ron. Right and wrong? Or just two of the biggest smoking mobsters coming straight out of London in the 1970's when everyone who wasn't mouthing along to the Rolling Stones was getting their satisfaction by singing stories about the Kray's and having sympathy for these devils. Now Tom may make you pleased to meet these brothers in arms, but here you don't have to guess these notorious names thanks to the dire straights they put this countries capital city in. It's important to remember that in the 'Black Mass' of a post-summer season of crime cinema that sees Johnny Depp leave all his diaries of rum in the Caribbean for the brutal, 'Departed', 'Town' of Boston, whilst Benicio Del Toro gives us the Mexican for hitman in 'Sicario', that this is not glamorous. No matter how cool these gangsters look in their attempts to mimic the 'Merican mob like a Sinatra, Sammy and Dino Rat Pack of racketeering 'Goodfellas' that are really all bad...no matter how great these films are. This is crime. It shouldn't pay and Hardy makes it hard to love these characters by bringing all their complexities to cinemas. He also makes it impossibly hard to hate them too, until it really gets bad. With his natural charisma that suits up here again with 'Inception' influence, behind all that 'Bronson' beat and bore down character that's set to flaw critics. On one hand, Tom is the measure of tape-fitted cool between the seams of Saville Row, but there's something behind all that slick, Brylcreem backed down hair. It's the moral, gangsters code heroic turn of a brothers keeper that's also left its heart in a council estate like suburb. And then of course there's the villainous, but equally charismatic and even more funny other brother. Bearing and battling mental health, madness and the ignorance of an industry that wont accept the fact that he has the balls to say he prefers boys...and we may as well be talking about the Hollywood one over the ultimate gangster. Because this is the first time an adaptation has touched this sexuality subject. And boy does Hardy give this man the dignity and respect, even if his crimes didn't quite deserve it. Now if you want to talk about chemistry, when it comes to Tom Hardy and Tom Hardy, this man all by himself has it set to the knife point of perfection. This performance sets a whole new double standard like no other. Two the Hardy way.
Foggy old London town calls on more than the 'Legend' of the Kray's here however. There's the beauty and brains of Emily Browning, the latest Miranda and Mia Australian import from Down Under to show international appeal and versatility. You'll never doubt she wasn't a born, brew and bred Brit here, but that's nothing compared to her complete performance of unconditional love standing by her love, in sickness and in heart filled hate, no matter his life. But this story of brotherly love isn't just about when a man loves a woman and what's potentially the best Brit flick of the year without a suited 'Kingsman' to boot? And new boy Taron Egerton is on Tom Hardy's 'Secret Service' as one twins other half. Laughing with the enthusiasm of a kid that's made it, Egerton is the man. If you thought it was Hardy's year or even Taron's brothers time, you may just be mistaken. This kid is sick. Add a veteran Time-Lord in Christopher Ecceleston as a D.C. (who? You know the joke!), a visionary uncredited cameo of British marvel and 'A Bronx Tale' Mafioso legend Chazz Palminteri in this London boulevard story and this gangster squad is locked and loaded, but it's Hardy's two smoking barrels that snatch the show! Making director Brian Helgeland the guy like Ritchie all the way down to the sleek soundtrack that even has a modern day mainstream singer thrown back to the vintage, cigarette clubs her smoky sound belongs. The cocked and locked, cocky Cockneys are made magnetic thanks to Hardy's double offering even if these opposites repel. From the way one brother works the room, to the way the other, almost unrecognizably Tom one clears it like a China plate shops next customer has horns. Hardy keeps this imperfect partnership and marriage of family going all the way to the bitter of bitter and twisted ends twice over that reminds you there's nothing cool or clever about these criminals (perhaps one of these characters maddeningly wise "blood is thicker than water" musings of wonder should be the all to true cliche, "there's no honor amongst thieves"). This movie, maybe, but this true story its based on should not be celebrated. As a matter of fact we should only raise our glasses to the players here like the hallmark Hardy in homage, going boldly and brutally back to his Bronson beginnings of character, darkness biopsies. Lets hear it for him. As a matter of fact, make that a double. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Saturday, 5 September 2015
96 Minutes. Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristin Stewart, Topher Grace, John Leguizamo, Connie Britton, Walton Goggins & Bill Pullman. Director: Nima Nourizadeh.
'Ultraviolence' like a Lana Del Ray album is a contact high in this new stoner cold, guns-blazing action comedy starring Mr. Eisenberg and Jessie's on-screen girl Kristin Stewart, for their new 'Adventureland' that is all bullets and brains, long hair, too high to care, freebasing fun. Dynamite director Nima Nourizadeh's age of 'Ultra' is a refreshing reinvention of everything action-comedy in a sleuth of spy films this year ('Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation', 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.' and of course the aptly named; 'Spy') that are almost slumbering down to a sloth pace and place, joining those old stoner 'Pineapple Express' comedies that are a few totes away from being doped and all strung out. Although here the creed is more assassin for this undercover agent with a special set of skills that has now taken to a life up on Cypress Hill after being declassified and de-programmed like he's been 'Men In Black' flashy thinged. Now how's that for a split personality? Kind of like Eisenberg's take in 'The Double'. Here Jessie plays just a small town, West Virginia boy, decked out in attire that looks like the 'Back To The Future' costume department went clothes shopping with a lumberjack, with a haircut that only the 'Rock Of Ages' mothers could love . Now the man who has over taken Michael Cera to be the King of Geeks in this American 'Dynamite', 'Big Bang' age and superhero generation goes beyond a typical typecast mere months before he shows and we're sure proves his long locks can take on the bald identity of Superman's greatest adversary Lex Luther in D.C's new Marvel battling 'Batman v Superman' movie in their upcoming 'Dawn Of Justice'.
This kid is anything but kryptonite making 'Ultra' super. As a matter of fact, at 31 years of age Jesse Eisenberg is old enough and more than talented enough to be a Lutheran. Here playing a weedy, post-teen kidult with a Matt Damon memory for his hand-to-hand, 007 alter-ego shaking and stirring lifestyle, you can almost see the transformation from his old, bread and butter genre to the knifes point of his new one. Eisenberg has already shown us just how wide his range is as Zuckerberg for all you Facebook friends that saw the Academy Award nominated nod in 'The Social Network' and now this socially-awkward character brings all the anxiety and action to a more complex characterization before what arguably may be his most challenging role yet. Critics better panic, you don't just have to worry about the red capes coming. If you didn't think this so-called "geek" that still got to take Mia Wasikowska to the prom couldn't go toe-to-toe with the big guns of the comic books he collects then read all about this and just watch. With amazing action at a 'Kingsman' class (oh no not another spy movie...the best of the year mind...in any genre) Jesse shows you in '30 Minutes Or Less' that he's not just send-up funny...but stand-up formidable. Pull those punches. Did you forget the cocky tricks of his charismatic trade in 'Now You See Me' like a sleight of hand? Do you really have to wait for 'The Second Act'? Dudes magic and in one super, supermarket scene of sweeping aisle to aisle action that could even be the great 'Equalizer' to Denzel Washington's warehouse utility store showdown, Eisenberg kicks the ass of every clown in a moment reminiscent of his 'Zombieland'. Beaten and bloodied beyond this films teenage welcoming certificate he could pass as the undead too. But on 100% power this guys never been more alive. All that's missing is Woody Harrelson and his banjo. Straight outta Costco with a frying pan, your new Luthor is fire!
Playing for keeps this indie inspired, big-budget blazing action film doesn't let the hell up! Want more? How about 'Snow White'? Now those who thought young, vampire generation megastar Kristin Stewart was at the 'Twilight' of her career are as wrong as vampires that sparkle in the sun. Blazing hot in this explosive joint epic, she is the firecracker to Eisenberg's trunk load of fireworks, breaking a whole new dawn to her young acting career. Punked and peroxided out to punctuated perfection. After showing she could really act in Julianne Moore's novel academy moment of 'Still Alice', Stewart proves jut how versatile she really is. If Jesse is the big hero than the girl Kristin is the wonder woman behind this good man. That isn't it either for this 'American' dream casting, 'Nashville' star Connie Britton rocking out with a shotgun and 'Interstellar's' Topher Grace acting up as a total douche are aces. Whilst Walton Goggins is smoking to as a pysho assassin, laughing through a lisp and missing more teeth than the aftermath of walking with 'Django' in the pale moonlight. Need anything else to hold your hand? Then the guy that's in everything; John Leguizamo is on evergreen, ever-ready, scene-stealing form in a hilarious homage to that friendly, neighbourhood drug-dealer that helps out like the on-screen best friend, just like the loaded up 'John Wick' he is. Here glittering in comedy gold and a shiny shell suit, finally without a Hollywood stereotypical, script typecast name. This time, this drug-dealer rocks the name...erm Rose. But boy does he pull it off. He blooms! Even 'Independence Day' president Bill Pullman is here to make it all official with a closing speech for a film that won't go quietly into the 7-Eleven convenience store, graveyard shift night. Even in the wake me up days of September this just blazes, giving you the movie munchies. Lets face it you could do a lot worse on a Friday night with a pot of kettle boiled noodles and a spoon. TIM DAVID HARVEY.