Tuesday, 27 October 2015
The Last Waltz?
148 Minutes. Starring: Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Dave Bautista, Monica Bellucci & Ralph Fiennes. Director: Sam Mendes.
Hold the Martini for Idris Elba, because all rounds are still on Daniel Craig. As for right now there is only one Bond. 007, James Bond has returned in 'Spectre' and it's a spirited affair. Like an awakening force of Winter blockbusters after a dinosaur and Marvel machine hot Summer that's even showing 'Star Wars' that Bond, not Han shoots first. Shake one part of the best Bond since Sean Connery and stir in some Waltz, then if this really is the last dance for our leading man you're going to want to memorize every step. From the inspired intro of artistic aesthetics harmonized by Sam Smith's Adele following, epic theme song the writing really is on the wall in drawing through the barrel, dripping red blood. The melody of parts of Craig's list of Bond films flows like Martini off the rocks. From the opening deal of the classic hand in 'Casino Royale' to the chips down ultraviolence of 'Quantum Of Solace', all the way to the best of British pride 2012 year of the London Olympics, Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee and the 50th year of Bond that culminated with the sensational 'Skyfall'. Going by the book these stories would make the author of all of double-0-sevens pain Ian Fleming proud. Now with Sam Mendes' directorial license and his killer assassin spy Craig going by the name Bond...James Bond one more time, 'Spectre' looks to be spectacular down the scope of what could be the final gun drawn.
Day of the Dead? Is it here? This may just be the reckoning...but don't count on it just yet and don't count out Craig...just count on him. Because from the stand-off in Mexico City's busiest day of it's carnival calendar, Daniel is alive with exuberance, enthusiasm and all that's effortless and cool too in an all-action hero that doesn't have to worry about breaking a sweat...so long as the tie on his suit isn't crooked. From chopper crowded, claustrophobic action reminiscent of the 'Da Vinci Code' to Austrian snow-fall aerial assaults, skiing through the slopes and harking back to classic Bond blockbusters, James is back. From magnificent Morocco all the way home in foggy old London town which is today a forever classic with a modern twist just like it's most famous agent. Who really keeps this apace and alit in todays changing times all the way to a Fawkes hot, big smoke, formidable finale on Westminster Bridge that could even bring down the Houses of Parliament like some guy that tried. This man however has plenty of British Intelligence behind him (the only thing missing is American Jeffrey Wright's formidable Felix feline again for you cats) at MI:5 too for a 'Kingsman' year of 'Secret Service' movies that even busts the blocks of the MI:5 of Tom Cruise's 'Rogue Nation', summer smash. Forget another 'Spy' spoof. 'Mission Impossible'? Nah not with this stellar service. The secrets out. From the intelligence of 'Paddington Bear's' Ben Whishaw's Q, who really is the marmalade with his gorgeous, old-school gadget show to Ralph Fiennes' maverick M maestro stepping in for the dearly departed Judi Dench character. As time goes by more Bond girls show they are more than just the stereotypical bras and blouses and Miss Moneypenny is worthy of that crowning. Naomie Harris is on the pound sterling yet again as Bond's greatest and most underrated ally by his side. The perfect partner who doesn't have to Bond breaks heart again by putting a hole through his chest again. She does more than take her bloody shot. Than quite possibly the longest Bond movie in history is joined by the oldest Bond girl in history, but that shouldn't matter or even be an issue. Monica Bellucci is a girl on fire here and would be this films femme fatale if it wasn't for Lea Seydoux, who we've previously spied as a villain in 'Mission Impossible's 'Ghost Protocol'. Going from the Givency and Chanel of old Bond-esque perfume commercials, to the scent of a commercial star of a movie that's beyond all that and its hallmark opening credits. Catching Vesper vapors, Seydoux is sensational as a top billing actress. Expect more to follow lady Lea's lead.
Bond wouldn't be Bond without his baddie however and this could be as good...or as great...or even as bad as it gets. The weeping eye madness of 'Hannibal' Mads Mikkelsen really set the table and perspiring tone for this game, but after the camped up cruel classic of 'No Country For Old Men' versatile villain Javier Bardem the question is how do you top an adversary as amazing as the gold haired Silva? The answer is with two-time Oscar winning 'Inglorious Basterds' hunter and 'Django Unchained' hit-man Christoph Waltz dancing with his destiny to be one of the best Bond bad guys of all-time. It isn't just Tarantino who brings the best out of Christoph, Mendes helps Waltz mesmerize from everything he says to the accented way of everything he does. Even when he picks lint off his jacket it looks as callously conning as it does charmingly compelling. Say hello like 'Scarface' to the bad guy that you love to root for as much as you hate to hate. But from all the eagerly awaited buzz to all the highly anticipated rumors is this man truly a classic Bond villain? That's for your eyes only. You'll just have to see for yourself. Just like you'll wrestle with the idea that Dave Bautisa's hallmark henchmen has shades of both Odd-Job and Jaws. But with all these international men of mystery here get your teeth...and nails into someone that's more than just an 'Austin Powers' random task as the 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' Drax is a straight, out of this world destroyer on the W.W.F's star movie careers Volume 2. Still from Russia with love, on her majesty's secret service, Daniel Craig's Bond comes in like a Thunderball with the living daylights to die another day. They say you only live twice, but the iconic Daniel is forever with his legendary legacy that will never die like tomorrow. Raising eyebrows like Roger Moore, laughs like Lazenby and with the suave and scuffs of Brosnan and Dalton, Craig even has that Connery charm. Now next rounds on who? Live and let live, the view for the next Bond may look to Elba, but right now his kill license is a provisional. Before the Martini is slid across the bar lets raise a glass and toast one brilliant 007. 'Spectre' is a spectacle and it's all because of Craig. Now how about another...again? Never say never! TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Friday, 16 October 2015
119 Minutes. Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain, Charlie Hunnam & Jim Beaver. Director: Guillermo del Toro.
Tides of Crimson run through this portrait of Gothic love like veins. Threatening to touch any heart that comes near the creaking floorboards of this home. This mansion on a hill of red clay that's in some renovation need of some serious damp proofing. Autumn leaves falling through it like dead moths before the light burns away like ash to the snow fall of winter. And the insects...oh the insects! Have we set the scene for you for the latest from the 'Pans Labyrinth' of legendary Mexican director Guillermo del Toro? Who follows big blockbusters like 'Hellboy', 'Blade' and 'Pacific Rim' with one hell of a horror fest this side of the Atlantic just in time for Halloween. Yet this is not your average horror movie even if it will make you fall back in love with the great genre this 'Shocktober'. This house is haunted with more than just spirits. It's alive with the ghosts of love and hate and some heavyweight performances from Hollywood's best from all sorts of shores. That's what happens when you put the Marvel of the villainous Loki in the middle of a love triangle featuring his Australian bride to be Mia Wasikowska and her former 'Lawless' co-star and our suave Brit Tom Hiddleston's (who she starred alongside in the offbeat vampire romance of 'Only Lovers Left Alive') sisters keeper Jessica Chastain, reuniting with Del Toro after the 'Mama' mother of all horrors. Now with this crowded house, 'three's company' is not the idea and with all the foundations about to sink into this blood meridian, will this red dawn bring the house down?
There's more than just twin peaks in this red summit from Guillermo that is beautifully directed even in its traditional, matinee moviemaking, love storytelling, blossoming beginnings. From the set of the fortress of solidarity built to scaling new heights, to the classic American Gothic horror cinematography that is dripping with artistic blood and beauty in every frame of every scene. All your senses will be engaged in a creepy, unnerving spectacle that won't allow you to settle or take your eyes off what you don't want to see behind you. From the haunting special effects to the spirited costume design, Toro has given us another classic of his time and nothing he's done looks quite as great and grand as this. Bringing 'Thor' and 'Avengers' star Tom Hiddleston into the mix is an inspired move too. The man whose about to flip the script and sing from a whole new song sheet as Hank Williams in the 'I Saw The Light' biopic may just have his breakout, center stage spot moment right here. Sure Benedict Cumberbatch was originally eyed for this role (and the energizing Emma Stone for Mia's mesmerizing one), but to be fair this fellow classically trained actor looks like the better, perfect choice for this role and not merely the second fiddle to play. Hiddleston refuses to be the actor to go with when Benedict if busy. Tom's the one, first and foremost and is showing that he has more tricks than what lies up Loki's sleeve. Are you always going to fall for that? This guy is for real. Hiddleston doesn't just bring the charm and charisma...hell he has in his blood. He also draws out the depths and emotion of the peaks of his acting. Making us fall for all of his character, for better or worse, in love and times of cholera. Besides who else can really get up in all that vintage garb? Add veteran legend Jim Beaver whose on as fine a form as his beard than only a 'Son Of Anarchy' can stop Tom. And after driving Jaegers with Del Toro for the epic Robot/Godzilla wars of 'Pacific Rim', Charlie Hunnam is getting his detective hands dirty even if he has the eyes of an optician and one for our leading lady. The Great Brit Hunnam convinces again as an American with an accented performance that may just be among his stepped up best. You thought this big picture was all about the big three? Time to break through a fourth wall.
Beware what really lies up-top 'Crimson Peak' however and that's the two, twin leading ladies of this picture that show a modern day Hollywood that woman in this industry don't have to play up to a stereotype. Chauvinists be every afraid. Mia Wasikowska is one of the strongest young actresses out there. After falling down the rabbit hole as 'Alice In Wonderland', Mia has come back up, playing everything from 'Jane Eyre' to starring alongside two of her off-screen boyfriend Jesse Eisenberg in 'The Double'. Yet still this may just be Wasikowska's breakout and iconic role of her making too. With Goldilocks hair she lets it all down wearing a white gown and sheet by candlelight for some legendary scary scenes of walking through the dead of things that go bump in the night. Still it's Mia's complete performance of chaste courage under fear that lights up this beautiful portrait of bold as love brutality. Yet nobody gets the picture quite like the script and scene stealing Jessica Chastain who continues her modern movie domination as arguably the best actress and certainly the hardest working one around today, now even with a side of her you've never seen before. If you thought she went 'Interstellar' with her 'Most Violent Year' in 2014 than wait until you see this. You ain't seen nothing yet like her NASA commanding on fire performance of the red planet in 'The Martian' latest mission to save Matt Damon. Or this red-heads peak, going goth black for a slick, villainous, lady of jealous rage role. The madness of this woman is crazy good. Jessica plays demented with new dimension, passively, aggressively and with more upstairs than a couple of demons and skeletons in the closet. Even with layers to her scornful looks and twists to her mild-mannered to quick tempered awkward politeness you still can't help but love her and one of her best roles...by far. No matter how good the 'Zero Dark Thirty' and 'The Tree Of Life' star has been, Chastain is off the old ball and chain here with the bubbling cauldron of blood-red passion that's smoldering and simmering and could boil at any moment. That's quite a bitches brew from the sketches of former Spanish-language director Guillermo del Toro who brings us a whole new labyrinth of lovers and the tricks of his trade that this Halloween are just the treat. Fear not, American Gothic just got real scary again with 'Crimson'. Take it as red! TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Saturday, 10 October 2015
The Secret 'Life' Of Rebel Jimmy.
111 Minutes. Starring: Robert Pattinson, Dane DeHaan, Joel Edgerton & Ben Kingsley. Director: Anton Corbijn.
Rebel without a pause, James Dean lived fast and died all too young behind the wheel at the tender age of 24. Now today 'East Of Eden' and his definitive classic 'Rebel Without A Cause', we have no idea just how big a movie star this icon could have been. That being outside the legendary legacy left after his death as a status symbol of teenage angst and painful discovery in a confusing time for the youth of America that refused for that, or them to be a subject of ignorance. Even if their perceived emotion of that was their cigarette and scowl stand against it all. From 'Rebel' and all he left for the cause, it's clear that if this man was still around today he would have amassed the filmography of a Kirk Douglas, or Paul Newman...or even a Brando. But we'll never really know! But even in just one film this kid changed the world. Now here's looking at the career Chronicles of dynamic, dramatic actor Dane DeHaan who will give us more of a personal glimpse of Jimmy and his 'Life' behind the 'Twilight' lens of picture lead subject Robert Pattinson in the new film from international director of 'The American' Anton Corbijn. Who brings the best out of 'A Most Wanted Man', just like he did with another late, great taken too soon before his time, Phillip Seymour Hoffman. This is 'Life' no not the prison comedy starring Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence but another arresting double act.
And from the filaments of a red room opening that's establishing light even evokes the look of something belonging to a higher power when it all comes into focus, its clear this is Pattinson's developing picture and from the shutter start the flashbulbs are on him. Following the 'Life' processes of Ben Stiller's imaginary image in the vivid look of 'The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty', Pattinson photographs for the 'Time'-less magazine of legend with the iconography of a real American dream icon. Capturing the camera work of a man whose photo essay on a 'Moody New Star' helped make the career of the Dean of young acting and also quite poignantly glimpsed some images into the deeply personal life of the troubled but soulfully talented star and young man. Now, coming of age and no longer in the foundation of the pale-skin, eternal youth that made him the franchise face of the 'Twilight' walking undead saga, Pattinson is breaking new dawn in his career with this imagery interview by a vampire. The young great Brit tries his vocal hand at honing another American accent with inflection shades of Affleck. Yet his whole performance is punctuated with the strained and starved subtly of a raw-ly repressed journalist who's hungry not only for work, but the journal of that which will make a difference. Lucky for him, he has the no nonsense, experience is a teacher, 'prove yourself to me first' hand of Joel Edgerton as an engaging actor who speaks in fewer words than he writes, but is ink instrumental and influential in putting it all down on paper. It's a beat-down inspired performance from the versatile, character actor of our coming of time. The antithesis to Jimmy's biggest boss and potential match-striking career extinguisher in the cigar chomping Ben Kingsley. The opposite to his character in Joseph Gordon-Levitt's American dream to perform 'The Walk', but strolling the line of being on just as fine a form.
Yet we all know who this is about. Dean...or should we say Dane. DeHaan is perfect as James Dean. Giving us the Jimmy thing about the real man Hollywood knew as James Dean. At Times Square times buried in the rain and smokes of a winter coat this great Dane looks like classic Dean in photographic memory moments. The times his baby faced looks don't however, it doesn't matter this acting assassin still kills it in subtle nuances, grimaces and gestures. He has the attitude down from the voice to the studied mannerisms. It's more than just an amazing act, making for a perfect portrayal from the actor whose played everything from Ryan Gosling's son in 'The Place Beyond The Pines' to Norman Osborne's one as the ghastly Green Goblin in the newest 'Spider-Man' series...and has been 'Amazing' in them all. The latter we almost wish wasn't rebooted, even with the thanks to the rights of Marvel due to DeHaan's depth of performance which was so good at being villain bad it almost spun a new web into a 'Sinister Six', no superhero movie even before D.C's 'Suicide Squad' decided to hang it up. Here the mild-mannered Dane as James is still a measure of youthful revolt in angst and anxiety with a capturing of the crawl-space confides only confliction of what was the matter of the subject. A flat at times story may be up for debate but there's nothing to confuse here with how classic DeHaan is. Anytime a plot curveball is pitched up from New York City to Hollywood, Los Angeles, via the barn farms of Indiana it's only as a device that develops further the struggle of the illumination of the star of Dean and the photographer that tried to capture it in the right light. From the negatives to the reel we see projected on screens gives us the full story of a chapter of the mans life, even if sombrely and poem poignantly its never going to have a happy ending when this story is unfinished, leaving us chasing the end of this tale. Still what actor and actor subject give us is a poetic meditation of the calm amongst the chaos of a young life scripted to an ill-fated twist all too tragically taken too soon. Dane DeHaan gives us a brave and bold biopic in the Oscar time of Joseph Gordon-Levitt's 'The Walk', Johnny Depp's 'Black Mass', Lance Armstrong's 'The Program' and of course Michael Fassbender's 'Steve Jobs'. Maybe it's time to swipe away and look up from the phone of a man whose images is still iconic in this digital age of trend to trend, hash-tag forgetting. That's Jimmy. That's James Dean. And this is his 'Life'. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Friday, 9 October 2015
123 Minutes. Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Charlotte La Bon, James Badge Dale & Ben Kingsley. Director: Robert Zemeckis.
Inspiration comes in many forms. Sometimes it comes in the form of a world famous city like New York. Sometimes in the iconic buildings and structures that scrape its skyline. Sometimes, just sometimes however it comes when a petite Frenchmen hangs a wire between two towers and walks across it. This petit Frenchmen being Philippe Petit, who back in the 1970's when the iconic but now tragic Twin Towers first stood, walked on the air between them with only a tight-rope below his pumps. Turning what where at first seen as huge office block "filing cabinets" into things of legend, decades before they would be and always be remembered for something so devastating. But no matter what cruel act took these landmarks, what Petit did the day he broke into the towers to really take in their awe-inspiring look and view was an act of joy, an act of kindness and between all of that, an act of art too. Walking taller than nobody else and making sure the towers will always stand in memory this great mans life should do the same. Especially the documentary of this magicians greatest feat, which was no trick. This 'Man On A Wire', a performance piece from this exhibitionist from Paris, France that needs no Hollywood remake. Yet as unbelievable as this all is, what this man amazingly did remains to some either forgotten, ignored or worse still never even realized. In a digital age where most lie on a couch in refresh wait measuring worth, celebration and "fame" in the filters of likes and retweets maybe we finally have the effects to retell a story of one man that when nobody was watching at first reached higher than 10 stories above the Eiffel Tower to create one hell of a picture in the heavens that they hopefully won't scroll past. Time to learn more about the man and his passion to achieve the inspirational and the impossible. Time to go through the wire.
Hit record! Because you only got one shot at this and you're not going to want to miss it. Joseph Gordon-Levitt has done a great deal on this '3rd Rock From The Sun' in the name of his art. He's been the 'Inception' of our dreams. The Robin to our 'Dark Knight's' Batman. He's even given us '500 Days Of Summer'. Quite simply the 'Don Jon' with his own production copy that finds, shares and collaborates with eager to be discovered talent. He's even the type of star who can turn down the Lord lead of 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' to work on passion projects like last years 'Sin City-A Dame To Kill For', which in black and white was a hell of a lot better than most critics gave overdue credit for. Still its this passion project that may be one of the best young actors around todays perfect production. With a turtleneck, accented performance of this artist that not only talks the talk, but walks the line after working toe-for-toe with the wire walker himself. Now we just hope he knows how to walk the red carpet walk to the stage to collect what comes after the words "and the winner is..." opens the envelope. So many gold statues go to those who bring the drama, but once in a while why not give it to someone that enthuses joy? Now can he get a round of applause as he bows to his audience? Not only does Joseph's technicolour, seventies retro performance bring the act and art of Petit to life. Joe also channels with seemingly effortless genuine affection the mans "joie de vivre". In a recent Oscar season trend of fourth wall, screen barrier breaking, direct to camera 'Wolf Of Wall Street' DiCaprio narrated acting we've seen it all. From Michael Fassbender's globe theatre worthy audience addressing in 'Macbeth' to Matt Damon's 'Martian' man-alone inventive plot device video logs. But nothing beats Levitt levitating to the skyline of New York with a hand from that lady of Liberty like the 'Bad' Michael Jackson video as he raises a torch for the World Trade in documentary form paying sweet homage to the source material. It would be almost too bittersweet if we weren't wrapped up in the magnetic charisma of this leading man and the real life maestro he followed in clear inspiration and joy for life. This love letter to the towers is signed, sealed and delivered with a dedication from this amazing Joe's signature. Two fingers pinched to the lips, tres magnifique! Mwah!
There's more to this 'cou' however that's first half of sweet, yet sincere sentiment backstory segues into a cat-burgling caper, complete with a spy score. Scaling the heights of an 'Ant-Man' heist (another role this Marvel Joe went down-to-the wire with the perfect Paul Rudd for...although here he proves he could have stole it too) before the third act, high-wire finale designed for your 3D IMAX's most vivid imaginations becoming no longer illusions. 'Yves Saint Laurent' nominated, French-Canadian star Charlotte La Bon plays the love of Levitt's mans life and the woman who was the Joy to the French dubbed version of this years biggest animation and movie 'Inside Out' brings even more happiness outside and in here. Whilst rising character actor of the moment Janes Badge Dale continues to be in every other movie and worthy as many as he can too leading an accomplished rap sheet list of accomplices. He's got a hell of a jacket, even if his short sleeve, slick Summer shirts never wears one. Then of course there's legendary Brit Ben Kingsley the sir of Hollywood as ever. Between this and the Dane DeHaan 'Life' of James Dean being the accent to any character he plays, even if we can still hear some of the Mandarin in him. Now who better to direct this wonder this middle of October 2015 than the man who brought us Marty McFly and the 'Back To The Future' trilogy? Great Scott Doc its Robert Zemeckis! No stranger to bringing a mans weird and wonderful life to an epic journey of joyous cinema, from Tom Hanks and 'Forrest Gump's box of chocolates to Tom Hanks and that volleyball Wilson in 'Cast Away'. No stranger in pointing Oscar actors back in the direction of the Academy, like 'Philadelphia' co-star Denzel Washington's 'Flight' plan. This soaring spectacle with stunning scenery is in the air space of his best, but with the new techniques of his directing tricks of the trade, especially for the dimensions of the IMAX screens arguably his most inventive work since he rolled out the 80's drug-lords favourite DeLorean as something that could drag-race with H.G. Wells. Still rooted in the depths of story and the emotive nature of the people who write their own. Zemeckis keeps our hearts warm with inspired introduction, before throwing them right up to the heights of our mouths with his next moving bit of movie-making. As Joe's Phillip takes his first steps on the wire with real depth, no safety, nor net into the atmosphere of the breach between the iron giants of the World Trade Centre, seemingly without a window to the souls watching inside it's truly as haunting a moment as it is inspiring. The scary sound of creaking cables leaving a lump in your throat for more reasons than one. From there on out however, you wont believe it. Just watch, because this wire taught, nerve snapping tension of spinal shivers will leave your goose well and truly pimpled. A spectacle more stunning than the electric fireworks of Times Square on New Year in New York. It's like nothing you've ever seen before on screen. Its indescribable. But if we where to call it anything, its something beautiful...emotional. But only tears of joy will be shed. Reminding you between Zemeckis and Joe Levitt's best just how great they really are and just how fantastic filmmaking can really get with one of this years top ten best. Reminding us more importantly however that nothing can scale what Phillip Petit performed that day even with todays cinematic sense. A record that like the towers in our heart will forever stand. For that it's time you and the 'Man On The Wire' took a walk that's a towering freedom. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
121 Minutes. Starring: Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro & Josh Brolin. Director: Denis Villeneuve.
'Traffic' comes to a standstill here on the border of dynamite director Denis Villeneuve's epic career explosion and a set-piece as C-4 executing with this cinematic creep through the tunnels and the layers of the cartels of South America and beyond. Influential international actor of Academy acclaim Benicio Del Toro won an Oscar for Best Actor in the similar substance of the narcotic classic 'Traffic' and Villeneuve may have driven at criminally least a supporting nomination out of him here as this out of this galaxy Marvel becomes The Collector of real gold that shines brighter than any Infinity Stone. We haven't even begun to get to the Blunt and Brolin gems here either for a film that might just sweep award season across the board with a classic cast all the way down to the supporting chess pieces (an accomplished Daniel Kaluuya, Victor Garber, Jeffrey Donovan and Maximiliano Hernández (you know that guy they threw off the roof in Cap 2)). After the French/Canadian director brought us the arresting 'Prisoners' arguably the best, albeit most underrated film of 2013 and in turn the best work of double-leads Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal who deserved their just awards (which they where never even declared for even in nomination), he gave Gyllenhaal the multiplicity treatment for 'Enemy', festival favourite, not just for the fact that it was set in the web of Toronto, Canada, home of Villeneuve and the second only to Cannes Film Festival. This double-act being a chiller confusion thriller of the subconscious that stays with you like the raw revelation of discovering your own doppelganger. Now two classics, deserve a third and this time with even more Hollywood movie-making experience, budget and stars its time for the podium. Villeneuve is in pole position too with this tense thriller of 'Zero Dark Thirty' political dialogue and the clock and the accomplished action all this talk walks with this new-age, real-time force of a film of Michael Mann making sublime standards, set to a terminating-ly sinister and sublime score. This story needs to be heard as clear as it is loud.
Like the hands of a Punisher perfect, classic cameo we won't straight-up spoil round Emily Blunt's neck, Villeneuve won't let up. From the terrifying sound of "fireworks" in the distance to what looks like the madness of a morgue on puerile public display this will have you almost have you throwing up and gagging your mouth with your handkerchief like the stars on screen. Tenser than Terry Crews' arms, everyone is expendable in an unsettling movie of more than just graphic violence that will pull either side of your nerve to the taught snapping point of your crawling skin. Sounds like an ideal date movie hey? The Devil is wearing something other then Prada here to be Blunt. "Welcome to Juarez" Del Toro tells Emily (after we thought he had scared her enough on 'The Wolfman'). Yeah, right! There will never never more rude awakened uninvited entrance across state lines than this. You bet! But Emily Blunt handles it all like a pro. You better believe it. Fighting for her right and by the book code in a place where the chapters change just like director Denis fought to keep her character female in a hypocrite Hollywood that wants to see its "femme fatales" in a different kind of uniform. One that usually comes in leather. No wonder Blunt passed on the Black Widow, she's got more bite here with Avengance and just like Scarlett has more shades to her status as an amazing actress. Even a shower scene is only used for the gratuitous effect of showing us what some of the world that lies beneath is really like. Blood running off her like she was Carrie in a 'Blade' vampire party, but the effect far more real and raw. Emily showed she could go to battle with action 'Live.Die.Repeat' alongside, not behind the all-action 'Mission Impossible' of Tom Cruise and now going to combat in a rogue nation Blunt shows the other side of the knife in a dramatic devastating and bullet brutal performance that cuts, heals and cuts again. Its bound to leave a scar over the engraving of an award, but more importantly the cerebellum of those trying to ignore or forget how the world really works in its darkest corners. But from these shadows Emily Blunt shines as one of the worlds best.
Just like the hands of Texan quick-draw, gun-slinger Josh Brolin who may as well also have his hands round Blunt's neck too in a more flip-flop passive/lives for the clean-kill shootout aggressive way. The man with 'True Grit' in no countries or sin cities for old men who has already played a cocky lone star character you can't help but like in this Summers epic 'Everest' blockbuster climb does it again. This time "dramatically overeacting" to a whole new mountain of trouble whose peak you can't even see for the clouds of corruption and judgement. In this big-three he may be the third-tier, but he's no string along, making his stated point in this drugs triangle. Thanos may have to take a throne backseat again to The Collector however as Benicio Del Toro inspires the iconic hands together shaking of a fan who can't hide their fandom at their favourite finally getting and acting up to the role he deserves. This 'Usual Suspect' is no longer stuck in the 'Traffic' of an old trophy cabinet win or the legendary legacy making of playing the iconic 'Che' over two perfect parts. "What the f###"?! Del Toro tells you what with a revolutionary career redemption raw off the right and wrong of trying to find redemption in revenge. Its a hairpin trigger of a complex emotion to deal with but Benicio bears with it all brilliantly from the weathered emotion on his face all the way to the tortured soul of his character and the suppression of what you don't see...or wouldn't ever wish your worst enemy to even witness. This stone cold killer with a silencer twisted around his real pain is still slick amongst all that's sick. Just like he says in the movie this "won't make sense to some American ears" but don't doubt him. Soon you'll understand. 'Sicario' in Spanish means "hitman" but Benicio Del Toro brings much more definition to the word in his redefining role. 'Sicario' es brilliante! TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Wednesday, 7 October 2015
Up In The Thin Air.
Knuckles whiter than the mountains of the Himalayas they clamber and crawl up. A bitter cold so shivering and freezing you will think this IMAX screen is 4D the way your hair doesn't just stand on end, but is pulled right out of your goose-pimple pores. That's you on the tip of your seat, grabbing the wrists of your date. This isn't your average Hollywood disaster blockbuster, big budget effects picture. As a matter of fact this document based on true events is respectful to the eight people who died after reaching the summit of Everest back in 1996 and as for all that green screen, this cinematography is as awe-inspiring realistic as it comes in look and feel. If you've got your thermal coat on this winter in theatres you may even begin to believe your actually there, this film is that immersive an experience of the peak of all that is epic in mother world and the nature she brings. Biting you with frost, icing over the tips of your fingers and toes you can almost feel it. A cast of A-list actors on their A-game take you that much closer to the edge of this experience. New leading everyman Jason Clarke following his 'Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes' with the support of his wonderful wife on-screen Keira Knightley. A hairy, duded-out Jake Gyllenhaal taking 'Southpaw' hits from the snow. A Texan proud Josh Brolin (whose currently on the Mexican border of the stunning 'Sicario') and the proud love of his lady Robin Wright. The 'Perfect Storm' disaster seasoned John Hawkes and the always supportive, character actor Michael Kelly. An avalanche of support coming from the Base Camp radio of 'Gosford Park' great Brit Emily Watson and new 'Man From U.N.C.L.E.' and 'Macbeth' actress of the moment Elizabeth Debicki who acts like a veteran at only 26. And lets not forget former franchise face, leading man Sam Worthington who almost steals the show with the most emotive performance here. More important to credit mind are the real people who climbed this wonder and monster mountain of the world, no act and those who tragically never came down. This is all for them. We should do more than plant a flag. Nothing at this point tops them. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Tuesday, 6 October 2015
Game Of Crowns.
113 Minutes. Starring: Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Sean Harris, Elizabeth Debicki, Jack Reynor, Paddy Considine & David Thewlis. Director: Justin Kurzel.
Winter cometh. And thou should feast their gaze on this tale of sorrow, desperation, ambition, greed, power and that what corrupts absolute from the quill of William Shakespeare. Retold from the bards scroll by 'Snowdon's' Justin Kurzel in the highlands of a snow bound Scotland that doesn't forgive, all senses will be lent to a masterpiece remade with magnificent mesmerisation. Ears, eyes, the feel of something as visceral as it is visual. Thou can almost smell the stank soil of the filthy air and taste the brutal betrayal. Sword and crown. Throne and thorn. This doth taketh 'Macbeth' through boiling toil and trouble that bubbles like a cauldron that repeats. Brimstone burnt to the blood red, epic end.
All hail Fassbender! All hail Fassbender!
That which will be king? And have his crown? Academy or Oscar. Bard or Bafta. A man with mettle who moveth such like Magneto. Inglorious. A bastared slave master for a dozen dark years. The apple of the future fruits eye. But here lies a much worse man and all the betterment for it with the creed of an assassin. Blood red, brave hearted war paint dripping to his hands that carry such shame. Every emotion sunketh deep from under the skin, to a dagger you see before you straight to the soul. Blood streaming like tears, perspiring on the battlefield. Like the war waged in this warriors heart. A kings crown on a head full of the thorns of a scorpion sting. Deception, treason, evil. Murder. On this world stage doth this lead player maketh a killing. And that of a legend. That is he. Cursed all that stand in his way.
All hail Macbeth! All hail 'Macbeth'!
And then there is she. The lady. The maid Marion. French Cotillard. Understated as which she is unmistakable. Beauty covering the ugly truth that lies beneath this act. Behind every good man is a woman and with a dagger behind every bad one, one that manipulates. Yet mesmerizes. Closeth to the blades edge. Yet still with the hope of the light of a new day. In all this darkness, she still lights up the stage with all the players. The friend or foe of Paddy Considine. A revenge ravaged Sean Harris and his lady of elegance and decadence Elizabeth Debicki. Uncivil blood running unclean for this Romeo & Juliet from the palm of Macbeths blade. Like the last true king of Scotland, David Thewlis and the rightful heir Jack Reynor. The stage is set to a chilling curtain climax, draped in darkness.
All hail Macbeth!
And therin lies the rub. Something wicked this way comes and if I doth protest too much its a feast for the sense. With blood-curdling battles that scream with a thing more original than sin as our players address the audience as direct as the day they first set foot on the stage. Their souls piercing our very eyes. Striking your heart like the iron blood of a drawn sword. Cumberbatch's 'Hamlet' has met its match in this winter of no more discontent. Be satisfied. The royalty of this Shakespearian company requires a production of this tale alive to the globes stage, because only one man has told it better. Yet here lies the will to take this all further. To be heard forever more. 'Macbeth' will never be undone. Hail! Hail! Hail! TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Monday, 5 October 2015
(WARNING: Contains spoilers for the movie 'Under The Skin').
Under the bright lights of quite the Hollywood career, Scarlett Johansson has become one of the worlds biggest and best actresses. Whether under the Tokyo neons of coming of age in the Japanese classic 'Lost In Translation', or in the Marvel Avengers web of the Black Widow giving female superheroes and heroines more bite than just being a couple of legs. Heading into her 30th year and motherhood last year however seemed to also amazingly give her hardest working and best year in her career filmography. From her own big-budget blockbuster 'Lucy' to the best Avenger one and her most significant stint in the 'Captain America' sequel 'The Winter Soldier' that is leading to all sorts of 'Age Of Ultron' and 'Civil War' in Marvel's massive movie world domination. She didn't just kick ass however, inspiring indie from her applied vocals in the digital age future of Spike Jonze and Joaquin Phoenix's 'Her' that crushed more smart phones than drunk nights, to all she cooked up in the perfect recipe for 'Chef'...and then of course there was the one that really got 'Under The Skin'.
Driving round Glasgow in a pick-up truck picking up random men seems like a dream come true for Scotsmen or even a hidden camera gag and it was actually kind of both. Playing an alien driving round and looking for men to take home and kill may sound like 'Species' too, but this Johnathan Glazer movie has been called everything and anything from the best movie of its year, to one of the best British films of the decade and one of the most original and best science fiction movies ever made. After watching it yourself you'll forget asking what the hell Hollywood star Scarlett Johansson is doing in Scotland helping people find their way to Tesco and beyond when you witness a film that's had people hailing Glazer as the new Kubrick for bringing out even more shades of Scarlett, as the amazing actress shows she can be creepy and sexy at an inspired and unnerving way, all at the same time. And this classic is exactly that...smouldering and so, so sinister.
So you know what all the fuss is about...but what is it really all about? Peel back the layers of 'Under The Skin' and there's more than meets that outstanding optical opening that again is as captivating as it is eye-lid skin crawling. We live in a revolutionary movie age where things are much more subtle and hidden messages aren't exposed to us in exposition that instead of tapping us on the shoulder, hits us with a Spacey, 'Se7en' sledgehammer. After watching an extensive Youtube video on the meaning behind Jake Gyllenhaal's doppelganger movie 'The Enemy' that features spiders and hints to a subconscious desire to cheat, we wanted to see if there was a web of metaphors and messages within the skin of this film starring the Black Widow. A film that's been called everything from a "poetic meditation of loneliness" to a mirror help up to modern days evil, sex driven rape culture.
Our opinion lies somewhere between both as we think this film could be a metaphor for prostitution. With Scarlett's character driving round and making conversation with random men and would be suitors before offering to take them home only if they're "lonely" and have no family. In the inspired black, dark-room scenes where the sex looks to take Preying Mantis place before they sink into a cold tar like abyss that finishes them off after seemingly harvesting their organs whilst turning them into just "skin" we see more depth in this "void" of everything else. Where in more ways than one is the men giving themselves completely to Scarlett and sex. Like prostitution it's more than all the money and the act, its the loss if everything heart, soul, man-hood, what it means to be human.
Which raises another issue, who is the man on the bike that follows Johansson's character and "takes care" of everything and seemingly everyone (in one scene capturing an escapee like he "owed him something") with a threatening and imposing presence on Scarlett? Is he another alien? A human enabler or would be preventer? We even think he could be a pimp! And if this whole thing is on a Gyllenhaal subconscious level who is Scarlett? Is she really an alien...or just a girl who feels like one as she's lost all her humanity to prostitution that just makes victims out of everyone? This could even extend to the man that feels he can just have his way with her in a brutally evil forest, "lost in the woods" scene and even the subsequent shedding of her old skin scene and theme that then ultimately leads to her being burnt alive as her ashes rise to a foggy sky...like a phoenix! Rising again in rebirth like a woman who will no longer sell her body and soul for sex. Just a thought under review. Could that be an interpretation? Whatever it's really all about its a modern day classic now as hauntingly timeless as the tireless questions only a really iconic and influential movie like this raises. On the surface, this could be more than skin deep. TIM DAVID HARVEY.