Thursday, 29 December 2016
97 Mins. Starring: Will Smith, Edward Norton, Keira Knightley, Michael Pena, Naomie Harris, Jacob Latimore, Kate Winslet & Helen Mirren. Director: David Frankel.
'Collateral', the taxi cab confides, claustraphobic classic starring Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx remains one of this writers all-time favourite films, more than a decade after the modern great was first released. 'Collateral Beauty' starring both leads very good friend Will Smith, on the other hand is a lot like if you watched 'American Beauty', but then found a thorn in one of those roses. I don't mean to sound like a prick, but this collateral damage is more ugly than it is a bright lights role call of some of the biggest names in Hollywood. This many All-Stars haven't been wasted since an old and past their best Jordan or Kobe farewell retirement game. Names like Smith, Norton, Knightley, Harris, Winslet, Mirren and especially rookie of the year Latimore are nowhere near their leading light expiration date. But here 'The Devil Wears Prada' director David Frankel shows us that Satan also rocks around the Christmas tree in a Santa hat. Because if it hasn't felt like Christmas this year, now its past this ghost won't offer you any good tidings to make you feel like it is any more so. No wonder this movie was boxed up a day after December 25th. Last Christmas was only a few sleeps ago but it really was a dark one. We lost George Michael. Our Princess Carrie Fisher the very next day. And now just when we thought we were done with the tears. This collateral hit, St Nick beard disguised as special schmaltz hits us right were it hurts. But this isn't one for sorrow, or for that matter tears of joy. More like ones of anger. What looked like another 'Christmas Carol' cliche, that was tis the welcome season for (especially after the year of death, Trump and Brexit), turns out to be something just as confused and contrived as this cruel calender. 'It's A Wonderful Life' this is not.
Boxing Day Will Smith films are usually the ticket that lead to long and winding lines out the theatre doors. But with this one you may need an air stewardess to help you find the nearest exit. He was legend (and still is...I mean who else has the greatest in the world charisma to portray and play 'Ali'?)...but then again that was ten years ago in 2007. Movies with this Fresh Prince trying to be Hollywood's king without going stale set in New York used to light up this city like Times Square on New Years. Remember 'Hitch'? That date doctor really was the perfect prescription the audience ordered to rise the Empire State up like it's most world famous building. And sure this winters tale really does focus in the best time of year for a city so festive they named it twice, but after a year of important, inspired biographies by the book and Deadshot comic adaptations on the comeback trail, Will seems to have lost his way a bit. Like if he had said yes to the regurgitation of his 'Independence Day' franchise this Summer for his big screen return. Sure this Hollywood squad assemble isn't career suicide...but it's definitly a concussion. Even if Mr. Smith who once passed up on 'The Matrix' (and 'Django Unchained' speaking of Foxx), is A-game accented, incredible in every inspired scene he emotes with his raw, restrained passion crippled under a fathers love ravaged by tragedy and the charity of cheap sentiments that offer no substance to a man looking for nothing in all his grief here. Just like he's trying to keep hold of Oscar gold, whilst everything else is just brass. He's the most tasteful, expensive decorations, on a tacky, plastic tree. But all these paint by numbers, script building blocks and cliched parts don't even slot together. God help the team behind this if they ever have to put and Ikea chest of draws together. What on the trailer surface looks like a bereaved man writing letters to love, death and time, reaching out to the cosmos, only to be visited by three angelic representations of them straight out of 'A Christmas Carol' lawsuit of 'It's A Wonderful Life' counter arguments actually turns out to be the most cruelly contrived manipulation of a mans emotions and mental state, no matter the intention. A man who lost his daughter for Christs sake. And all for what? Friendship or company? Money or something richer? We won't completely ruin this like we did when we rode 'Passengers' in our last review (our bad...we're sorry! But who gets lost in space waking up almost a century too early and then wakes someone else up to the same rude awakening fate just because their a hot blonde whose jokes are only funny...because well they're Jennifer Lawrence (cheat sheet...you don't have to fake laugh when she's not actually there)...yeah it's not been the best week for movies), but the gaslighting winner of the biggest, humanity devoid film of the week that really just shows how bad and morally corrupt this world and our social life trending today really is is this turkey (at least 'Passengers' buckled a cautionary tale amongst it's horror hull of the ultimate modern day partner choosing stalking) and all the Hollywood trimmings can't save it.
When everything here is this manipulating who needs friends or films like these? Because apart from Will if you took out most of the big names and their low characters out of this one and kept the theme strictly to the trailer that was sold to us (ah hem 'Passengers') and away from tired twists (even if two (TWO?), sweet relief late ones would almost save this clusterf### of a starry night if they didn't look like an 11th hour rushed and messy rewrite), we'd have the guilty pleasure our innocent, naive buzz fed minds hoped for with all it's on pitch paper conviction. But the trouble is we don't have that or this. Even if it tries to turn everything all around. The needle is gone on this moral compass and everything else just looks lost like a mess that doesn't make any damn sense. Miss Moneypenny Brit, Naomie Harris who has being doing the Hollywood rounds since she was Jamie Foxx's girlfriend in 'Miami Vice' is great and newcomer singer Jacob Latimore who made the festive 'Black Nativity' hip-hopera really sing deserves his moment. But some of our Academy Award winners won't be receiving Oscar nomination envelopes through their doors this New Year. Although they play it as best they can Helen Mirren's death warmed up character seems muddled and Keira Knightley's love is like a first date in need of that emergency intervening phone call from your best friend halfway through dinner. Everything is not O.K. when someone as good as Kate Winslet has to phone it in and a calling on everything he has Michael Pena can't ring true. And the less said about or by the character wrote for Edward Norton the better. After one deplorable moment he concludes in confession, "I need a drink"! But buddy I loved you as the Hulk but you need a lot more than that. He tries to put on the charm, but ends up looking like a snake as these "friends" and co-workers look more like they're drilling for oil than getting to the core of their boss and "brothers" condition. The only bright light on this night that should have stayed silent, Will Smith even finds a way to make his corny and pretentious opening line of "what is your why" make and work more sense than it's trying to provoke by looking superior. The rest of this cast can't even bring meaning to the word...let alone their own definition. There's a good film in here but it's drowned under more b.s. than there is big stars. There's a moment in this movie were Will Smith lacking in faith says, "there's no such thing as Collateral Beauty". In this case we kind of think if only that were true. And in another instance, shortly after the above picture of what looks like Helen Mirren handing him his lines was taken, Will Smith tells the G.B. national treasure playing the granny reaper sharply, "I don't want this"...yep! Because although we wouldn't rather be dead, we don't love this and we just wish we could get our time back. Where's a Murray Christmas when you need one? We've all been scrooged! TIM DAVID HARVEY.
See This If You Liked: 'It's A Wonderful Life', 'A Christmas Carol', 'Seven Pounds'.
Hunger Games Of The Galaxy.
116 Minutes. Starring: Chris Pratt, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Sheen, Laurence Fishburne & Andy Garcia. Director: Morten Tyldum.
Quick question! If you were marooned on a desert island who would be the one person you would choose to be cast away with...after Wilson of course? Okay let's be more specific. Which Hollywood heartthrob or starlet would you most like to be lost in space with all on your own? Man or woman two of the sexiest and successful actors on the planet right now, Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence would probably be pretty high on your list. The faces that turned the 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' comics (not to mention the 'X-Men' ones...we have another superhero crossover here) and 'Hunger Games' books into formidable franchises. All whilst winning Oscars for the likes of 'Silver Lining Play Books' and nominations for sheer self in 'Joy' and rebooting 50 year old, Hollywoodland classic pictures like 'The Magnificent Seven', not to mention modern day classics of the 'Jurassic' era. But if you were stranded on a Star-Lord type of spaceship all by your lonesome would you wake one of them up out of a 'Captain America' like cryogenic sleep for company?! But WAIT you freak, this is after they've been frozen for 30 years and have around another Steve Rogers 90 left before they arrive on their new planetary home with their new, current status dormant friends who have chosen to take the century long, family and friends coffin abandoning 'Interstellar' trip away from the blue planet earth. Some would call that a major stalker alert. Others...murder. That's just some of the complex, conflicted questions raised by inspired director of 'Dr. Strange's' Benedict Cumberbatch's 'The Imitiation Game' Morten Tyldum with his movie 'Passengers'. Not to be confused with the Anne Hathaway and Patrick Wilson airplane horror...I'm assuming it's that...that's not a review. This is. So time to play Iggy Pop passenger and ride through the solar system tonight.
Tyldum gives us a tidal wave of questionable character and extra baggage on this trip through moral murk and the stars of galaxies far, far away in a sci-fi that won't be lost in the trek of all the other space science fictions out there in this rogue 'Star Wars' reboot awakening era. We have yet to see the 'Life' of Ryan Reynolds and Jake Gyllenhaal (not to be confused with the James Dean one of Dane DeHaan that only came out last year), DeHaan's 'Fifth Element' like 'Valerian' adaptation with model and real 'Suicide Squad' villain Cara Delevingne and of course the latest 'Alien: Covenant' horror in 2017. And this year we have already visited '10 Cloverfield Lane' again and had a 'Resurgence' of the 90's classic 'Independence Day' that was unfortunatly more like a regurgitation, but this pre-'Arrival' stands out from the rest not starring Amy Adams...and not just because of Jennifer Lawrence. And it's because of it's original...albeit obnoxious ides which not only leaves you leaving the cinema asking what you would do (I mean would you even take this friend and family killing universe flight away from your life), but questions what we're all made of and just what is the matter with us. And as this 'Deep Space Nine' on it's side like sinking ship faces it's own 'Titanic' like fate with the seas of spaces meteors acting like icebergs this love story is anything but Jack and Rosey (we're pretty sure Jen wouldn't give Chris any room on that plank of wood either and we're not talking about her characters morals...we're talking about his). At least the graphics and C.G. view of the ships quarters and all the space between blooms. One scene that truly makes waves sees Jennifer Lawrence literally swim through zero gravity. Sure there is a repelling nature to the themes of this tale. But you can't deny the magnetism of the on-screen power couple that forces you to your seat like gravity boots.
And 'Passengers' does ride close to the floor, staying grounded in principle and the conflicts and cruelty of manipulating relationships after a shotgun like blast of shock and awful behaviour. Marvel at how someone as charismatic as Chris Pratt's lead really acts more like his last name as you are left repeating it more than his Twitter handle, but creep through the subtext and you might see 'Headhunter' literally employee firing line, Norwegian director Tyldum would be offering us up a cautionary tale that acts as a moral modern metaphor to how we treat love and life these days from the cherry pick and dump choose nature of dating to the swipe left act of social media relationship replacement, if only we'd take our face out our phones for a stalk breaking minute. Science fiction has been using future fables to hold up a moral mirror of metaphor and ask us deeper questions than our place amongst the stars since the dawn of its time. From the by the book forefather, Phillip K. Dick beginnings that has inspired every modern sci-fi idea and literal script by book movie from 'Total Recall' to 'Blade Runner'. To this now new age of '2049' where Denis Villeneuve's decades in the making sequel goes to blaster war with another Ridley Scott produced, classic, timeless, originator epic as the 'Alien' will now burst out the chest and mind of Neil Blomkamp. A modern K. Dick chap with his 'Elysium' and 'District 9' real modern world, and new look on space and time today. You only have to read the book 'Arrival' is based on and Ted Chiang's 'Story Of Your Life' shorts to look and read more into these existential questions based on much more than our universes place. And with Pratt bringing some sympathy and accountability to his characters devils and Jennifer Lawrence offering up some of the best, aggravated acting of her career (aside from when she wakes up...it's hard to mask faking being 'Dazed and Confused' unless your names McConaughey "alright, alright, alright"?) on this one-man ship of truly akward to horrifying engineering stakes, these two still have chemistry despite the combustible nature of their pairing. They offer up another big picture to their already milky way expanding role calls in something that even if ignorant in it's Hollywood polish over decency psoriasis ending that nixes real redemption is still a long way away from the isolated nature of George Clooney's 'Solaris'. And there's even more big names in this superstar matrix in legendary form. As before reuniting with the Neo chosen one of Keanu Reeves in 'John Wick: Chapter 2', Laurence Fishburne returns to space after his 'Event Horizon', with a 'Preadators' like mid-film appearance looking like he needs to take more than a red pill. And if you want to talk about legendary cameos. The great Andy Garcia literally has a walk on. His really is a case of seen it all in the trailers. Although he does bring us his best beard yet. But with all the big names and famous faces here it's the whiskey glass spit and polish of Michael Sheen's android tending bar that really steals the show and pays the tab. Although we still can't unsee this character actor of our time as Tony Blair (or even David Frost) the versatile figure that channeled the late, great David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust for his club owner in 'Tron: Legacy' knows how to raise his own bar once again. Despite being all Lieutenant Dan beneath the waist, showing us all what we thought newsreaders looked like below the desk when we never saw their legs. Even if you'd rather prop up his bar than ride 'Passenger' with our lead that takes Star-Lord's womanising to a whole new jerk the breaks level, you can't deny the star power of Pratt and J-Law's co-pilots. But this galaxy may need a guardian. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
See This If You Liked: 'Lost In Space', 'Solaris', 'Guardians Of The Galaxy'.
Wednesday, 14 December 2016
X-Wing-Days Of Future Past: Rogue Cut.
133 Minutes. Starring: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Riz Ahmed, Alan Tudyk, Jiang Wen, Forest Whitaker & James Earl Jones. Director: Gareth Edwards.
Marvel at just how much Disney has milked the 'Star Wars Story' for all it's worth commercially. But people with a disturbing lack of faith beware because as Lucasfilm goes 'Rogue' in this one they don't even look or smell like going sour anytime soon. Or as they call it "going all 'Police Academy'" with these sequel like they fear all the red capes coming will. After the original Han, Luke and Leia, Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher 'Star Wars' series became 'The Godfather' of science-fiction trilogies that all 'Lord Of The Rings' and 'Dark Knights' are measured by, everyone couldn't wait for George Lucas' Empire to strike back. But when the return of the Jedi's new 'Phantom Menace' milleniuum trilogy gave us the attack of the binks we all needed a new hope. And that's when energized 'Star Trek' reboot director J.J. Abrams switched sides and solar systems like a Siths revenge and took this formidable force of a franchise out of darkness and into the light speed of the Winter warmed fall that used to belong to filthy Hobbitses, that now shows the superhero Summer where the real blockbuster heat lies. Ever since Walt's kids strapped some Mickey Mouse ears on Darth Vader this has been a reawoken force. And the most iconic movie villain of all-time (cue the heavy breathing) that needs no introduction like he does cough drops is back too, with all his Stormtrooper men, some black, scarily sleek Deathtrooper upgrades and those "tall, walky things" from "that snow planet" as your friendly, neighbourly Spider-Man puts it for a war that is anything but Civil as they enter through the trees with 'Jurassic Park' goliath measures of equal intimidation and inspiration. As the rebel hearts armed with more X Wings than Oscar Isaac's hero poetic Poe-who began this new generation so boldly-look to cross out the blueprint plans of the Death Star before it shows us the real Dark Side of the Moon in the best cult, blockbuster heist movie since 'Ant-Man' grew to the big-screen. This is Mission Impossible for this Rogue Nation but boy do you want to light the fuse.
'Godzilla' director Gareth Edwards has given us a monster roaring onto our screens like a tie-fighter. You want a big movie done? This young directors going to spit one out like a blue, light flame, igniting and cutting through the competition like a saber. Illuminating IMAX with an aerial assault of vivid visuals and puncuated planets in a whole new cinematic universe. This goes beyond setting your phasers to stun. Never mind how good the latest trekkie installment was this year, concluding their long lived and prospered trilogy. Long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away those iconic ascending credits may be gone but this 'Rogue One' still rolls with the classics...like Skywalker. Remember from all the 'Clone Wars' animations to Stan Lee comics. The books you read, the games you play, the cards you trade and even the sneakers you lace it's all tied together in one complex but cohesive story. It's not just merchandise...it's a movement. And our solo hero here is not Rey, but Mrs. Jones. As Felicity, who looked to have her big break as Felicia's Blackcat in a 'Sinister Six' like sequel idea (that came before all of D.C.'s 'Suicide Squad' and 'Gotham Sirens' villian movie callings) to the now Electro plug-pulled Andrew Garfield 'Amazing Spider-Man', come Tom Holland Marvel family 'Homecoming' got hers in her award worthy turn as Eddie Redmayne's Professor Stephen Hawkings' wife. Now in going head-to-head with her former on-screen love and his 'Fantastic Beasts...And Where To Find Them', 'Harry Potter' saga, Tom Hanks' 'Da Vinci Code' sequel co-star Felicity Jones is inferno hot, taking us through the theory of Star Wars history for this stellar, spin-off prequel that stands all on its own in more ways than one. If your looking for a sequel, you will have to find new hope. But never fear, there are solo Vader and Han movies that look as promisingly good as Donald Glover as Lando. That sounds as legendary legacy making as Childish Gambino's latest classic album 'Awake, My Love'. Jones' Jin character is just as legendary a heroine as Daisy Ridley's, albeit very different in her dynamics. This is beyond a stereotype as she shows there is more than just the force with this multi-cultural, band or rebels cast with more soul than usual Hollywood typecast stigma. There is more than the usual movie magic here that comes with the future vision of these fables. There's a spirit of us grouping together with a team against all the odds. Knowing that even if this Suicide Squad of anti-heroes for hire look like they are marching to their imperial death, we're more than willing to walk with these new stars.
War ready your new favourite sidekick in our heroes corner like Rocky to Creed in this next gen is Diego Luna. Matt Damon's best friend in the Phillip K. Dick of sci-fi movies that aren't based on the amazing authors books Neil Blomkamp's 'Elysium' is soldarity soldiering great here as he was heartbreakingly good in his breakout blockbuster movie. But this is his mainstream breakthrough thank you. Time to give him his own movie...or at least Netflix show. 'Ip Man' Donnie Yen also comes to American audiences from Asian ones with a flurry as quick as one of his kung fu parries, as the martial arts legend who iconically played the legend that trained Bruce Lee steals the show like he did in the 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon' Netflix 'Sword Of Destiny' sequel on a sheet of ice. This guy takes out more Storm Troopers than door frames...yet he's the one whose blind. These two are the standouts but they head an all-star, all-academy cast that may be the underrated, best yet that 'Star Wars' have assembled. Not to mention who on the third rock from the sun is under those storm trooper helmets like FN-007. Featuring another Chinese legend in Jiang Wen, 'Nightcrawling' breakout and 'The Night Of' star Riz Ahmed and 'Dodgeball' pirate, 'Serenity' star and forthcoming 'Frozen' and 'Wreck It Ralph' sequel voice Alan Tudyk furthering his studio work as prolific as Gollum, ape and of course Snoke Andy Serkis' motion-capture one as this years BB-8 favourite droid K-2SO that looks like the love child of C-3P0 and the Iron Giant with an 'Interstellar' TARS humor setting. What more would you expect from the man who voiced Sonny in 'I, Robot'? He really is one! The droid we've all been looking for. There's even legends here in the form of performance perspiring Mads Mikkelsen who just got 'Strange' with Marvel's new doctor and 'Ghost Dog' and 'Last King Of Scotland' star Forest Whitaker who has been on a resurgence ever since he was of service for Lee Daniels' 'Butler'. Hitting 'Southpaw' with Jake Gyllenhaal last year, before being part of Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner's alien 'Arrival' only last month, for what was the blockbuster of the year until he swapped military fatigues for a rebels unifom. Mentoring our hero Jim with Yoda or Lupita wisdom. But all these heroes for hire need a villain bigger than the Death Star. And 'Bloodline', 'Black Sea', 'Slow West', 'The Place Beyond The Pines' and 'Killing Them Softly' scene stealer (yes we had to mention them all...believe us we're leaving stuff out) Ben Mendelsohn destroys them all loudly, finally starred up as the big bad he and his villain classic voice has always deserved to be. With his cape dragging in the waters of a Bahama beach, sand in your eyes fight set-piece thats like 'Pirates of The Carribean' meets your greatest artillery of war movies like he doesn't care you would think no one could outshine or outshadow him. But this is the first film were the lord Anakin Skywalker became returns since the time he was just a hologram stood next to the late, great Sir Alec Gunniess' Obi Wan (yes...we're leaving the "NOOOOO" out), amongst a whole host of cameos here brought back to young, new life by the good people of C.G.I. No character, actor or villain is as legendary as Vader or the returning iconic voice of James Earl Jones who is no longer just Simba in the clouds. Spaces lion, the king of bad guys is the only thing that could stop a rebel. And in this 'Star Wars Story' that is a strong one and will choke you up with its force hold that's how you truly go 'Rogue'. May the lord be with you...yet always against you. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Friday, 9 December 2016
124 Minutes. Starring: Brad Pitt, Marion Cotillard, Jared Harris, Simon McBurney & Lizzy Caplan. Director: Robert Zemeckis.
Scalping Nazis seems to be Brad Pitt's job these days. He rocked a maverick moustache like Sweeny Todd's barber chair and got what he wanted as he performed haircuts on the Third Reich with Quentin Tarantino as an 'Inglorious Basterd'. Then he gave himself a short back and sides with his tanked up suicide squad of Shia LaBeouf, Jon Bernthal, Michael Pena and Logan Lerman for David Ayer's 'Fury'. But what happens in the mist of a world war when even the woman you love is not all she seems too? No we're not talking about the huge Hollywood stars press puncuated personal life powered by rumors of the on-screen alliance here, which we will keep what it should have always remained...private. But the French leading lady Marion Cotillard of 'Macbeth' acting standards' character. But is she an actor? Is she even French? A German spy surely not? Or is she really 'Allied'? That's what you'll be left asking all the way through this refreshingly unpredicatble movie, before Tom Hanks' best 'Forrest Gump' and 'Cast Away' director Robert Zemeckis answers as he takes flight on a third act even more terrifically taught and tense than the time he put Joseph Gordon-Levitt's French trapeze artist on a wire hung between the two towers of the World Trade Center and let him walk. This thrilling red line is even thinner. Pitt's soldiers love life is facing an apocalypse right now.
Brad's third World War II film is just as brilliant as it is different than the first individual two. Showing that it doesn't matter how this unbelievably middle-age pin-up looks (scraggled facial-hair like he's just spent 'Seven Years In Tibet' or the dapper dan 'Captain America' look of this forties classic that socks it to Hitler) he still has the Academy substance over the gorgeous Gentelmans Quarterly style alongside a Chanel advert model just as beautiful and talented. Because critics or maybe 'Team Angelina's' have been calling this like they saw Jolie's 'Tourist' escapade with Johnny Depp back in Rome. All Tom Ford, but no 'Nocturnal Animals'. But just like that was a criminally underrated throwback crime caper classic to the Cary Grant era this is an old boys Hollywoodland tour de force that Clark Gable would be proud of or the future hall of filmography fame of Pitt's will be when it's all said and looked back on. This is as monumental as friends George Clooney and Matt Damon's 'Ocean Eleven' like 'Monuments Men' team-up that Brad missed the boat for and the actual true soulful story in the name of art that inspired it. And critics called old father time on that one too...and Bill Murray, John Goodman and Cate Blanchett were in it to boot. Brad Pitt shows here with duty and diligance to both country and family that he is a classic leading man for any ages and just like his vast but still crazily so underrated filmography for a superstar of his magnitude (take 'Legends Of The Fall', 'A River Runs Through It', 'Twelve Monkeys', '12 Years A Slave', 'The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button', 'The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford', 'Moneyball' and most recently 'The Big Short' for your next DVD night starters), timeless. World War 2 or 'World War Z'.
Pitted against it all-even his own squadron-Brad brings back that furiously forceful 'Fury' action acting as he single-handlely takes out a tank of German soldiers armed with a pin and a good right arm (he even dispatches a soldier with a biscotti before his coffee loses its crema), before exploding into that epic emotional 'Se7en' like acting that is anything but a sin, but draws on all of them. 'La Vie En Rose' star Marion Cotillard is anything but rusty here either being the bones of this picture by bringing forth all her previous body of work. The French actress really is a classic, throwback Hollywood starlet like 'The Artist' in this grey area tale that is more than shades of black and white. Perfectly paired alongside Pitt but against our theories or doubts she plays the 'whose that girl' role to a tee. Remember Fassbenders forthcoming 'Assassins Creed' co-star was the master manipulator as his lady in 'Macbeth'. No wonder revolutionary director Christopher Nolan tapped up her side switching enigmatic talents twice for 'Inception' and 'The Dark Knight Rises'. Here in a classic cast she is the only one who can get close to Pitt. Including an underused but still utilized Lizzy Caplan as his on-screen sister, coming off the 'Masters Of Sex' and some nice trick treats for the 'Now You See Me' sequel. Allied almost against him in command are two actors with that range of a performance. Stealing the one scene he's in like he owns the movie, Simon McBurney puts the fear of God by death into Brad Pitt like he did Denzel Washington's 'Manchurian Candidate' as a demon doctor with devastating side effects and repurcussions. But it's Sherlock Holmes' Moriarty that really takes us over the edge. But the just great Jared Harris had never been better, even if the last time he was next to one of Brad Pitt's curious character he was looking completely different at sea too. With changing tides coming to our shores, director Zemeckis looks to navigate a picture that will sail as good as 'Forest Gump', no cast away flight. Offering to light the ladies cigarette first he scratches the surface of this book of matches before building up this slow burners ratchet tension. Like the plummeting plane gliding down the most amazing aerial assualt of siren piercing realism ever seen on screen slowly but sinisterly. All the way until everything comes crashing down around us and we get the answer to why we're shedding tears, whether they be in relief of joy or perplexed pain. This is just what makes this traditional tone and texture movie from the classic cinematic start setting in Casablanca of all places so darn good for the duration. As you wonder which side everyone is on in this love and war were all is not fair. No matter your ally. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Thursday, 8 December 2016
Creed For This.
117 Minutes. Starring: Miles Teller, Aaron Eckhart, Kathy Segal, Ciaran Hinds & Ted Levine. Director: Ben Younger.
CRASH! BANG! 'Whiplash'! Miles Teller actually claims that and then some as he enters the ring to 'Bleed For This' and portray divine Providence boxer Vinny 'The Pazmanian Devil' Pazienza, who took the wrong turn on a highway one day and ended up in a spin cycle that rinsed him and put this red corner devil in a halo . Quite the canvas for his career as his spine was one hit or getting up out the car akwardly bump away from paralysis. But then again this is quite the real life comeback story boxing movies like 'Creed' and the 'Rocky' legacy wish they could script. Because this 'Cocky Balboa' takes a 'Southpaw' hit (and we aren't talking about the underrated 'Fantastic Four' reboot mister!) and comes back swinging with an extended arm like Gyllenhaal, taking its place on the steps between 'Ali' and 'Raging Bull' as one of the best boxing movies. Teller has his foot on the gas and never has to let up or put the breaks on, unlike people who park on San Francisco roads. Forget a cliche. This seconds out genre still dancing at 2016 looks like a million dollar baby of a franchise, no matter how breakneck the pace. As brilliant 'Boiler Room' director Ben Younger coming of age fuses this all together and really screws in the sense of pain. Forget a cringe or tingle down your spine this will wreck your every nerve if you have it. Blood, screw and muscle tears.
Miles ahead our leading man Miles Teller is racking up the hits and big numbers like a bank teller. Kind of like one of the real life 'War Dogs' he portrayed alongside Jonah Hill, which goes toe-to-toe with this as one of the best underrated films of the year. But now this dogs war zone is the punishing ring and his weapons for sale are strapped under two gloves, left and right. Drumroll please! He may not get the Oscar...but he's got the belt. At least give this kid a nomination...he's graduated from the Academy. Whipping and lashing with his Tommy Hearns and Jack Johnson, stretching the canvas with his fantastic left and right. But his doom here? His symbol headshot teacher? His Jonah looking to make bucks out of him before he's over the hill? Two shady promoters that make Don King and all his Mr. T bling look like a princess and blaow. No less than Jake, Teller tenses and muscles up to fighting weight to give us fight scenes and ringside set-pieces that are all rage no bull#### (Scorsese scores points as executive producer). It takes dedication to train to hit at this level. But to show the arrogant charismatic, bruised soul of a down and out, cornered New England prospect coming out of the blue collar stool with bloody knuckles like Boston 'Fighter' Mark Wahlberg takes real heart kid...and that's why this fighter and actor is a real prize. Forget a knockout cliche, Miles has the brass knuckles that could at least scuff Oscars gold.
And it's not like he doesn't have his opponents outside the ring like the tried and tested one of this Pasmanian devils own inner demon. Cue a string of Jersey bound Barbie girl dates that are made up to the maximum factor and the instantly vocally (if here not visually) recognisable Ted Levine (of 'Silence Of The Lambs', 'Heat' and 'Shutter Island' infamy) as a former trainer more backing him into a corner as he wants to squeeze every cent of penny, not ounce of sweat out of the kid. With a sneering sinister undercurrent performance that on the surface once looked like loyalty shows Ted's talents beyond how he talks and the actor we always thought the criminally underused of late Levine was always destined to be. And hats and old 80's shady frames off for 'Road To Perdition' and 'Miami Vice' character actor Ciaran Hands playing brilliantly against typecast as the Rhode Island father of Miles' fighter with the two clawing paws. With her son living in anarchy, 'Married...With Children' star and instantly brain scanning recognisable 'Futurama' voice Kathy Segal's mothering character too looks, but is nothing like Melissa Leo as her son shrine and candlelight vigile keeps her woories warm with the army of sisters on the tube in the frontroom as she can't watch the hits like Brad Pitt in 'Moneyball'. But with all this support it's fellow man of the moment (albeit a little out the lead) Aaron Eckhart who shows what it really means to be behind somebody. If 'The Dark Knight's' Harvey Dent gets a nomination for your supporting actor he'll only be going up against himself. As after being in Tom Hanks cockpit corner as the co-pilot of 'Sully' this month he's back on wingman duty once again. Though the classically leading man looking handsome Eckhart's chiseled features could not look any different. The trim traded for paunch and those blonde on blonde locks have receeded further than the waters in 'Deep Impact', so much so you can't tell if he's balding or about to join the monastery. And with that Boston beans accent if it wasn't for the chin you wouldn't be able to tell it's him like Jon Voight in 'Ali' as Howard Cosell. The district attorny of Gotham really does have two faces. But this is just one half of Aaron's acclaimed performance as in playing the hungover trainer that brought the pitbull out of Mike Tyson with sobering sincerity, Eckhart etches his name along with 'Sully' on best actor considerations regardless of the season. And just wait until he gets down...because this guy dances better than Oscar Isaac in 'Ex Machina', worthy of a trophy in itself. All in all, for this a maturing Younger, Miles' soul and the heart of Eckhart do more than just bleed...they live for this. And they got the scars to prove it. Can't outbox that. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Friday, 18 November 2016
96 Mins. Starring: Tom Hanks, Aaron Eckhart, Holt McCallany, Michael Rapaport & Laura Linney. Director: Clint Eastwood.
BRACE! BRACE! BRACE! HEADS DOWN! STAY DOWN! We'll get right into it like this film does so attention awakening. Only this writer would watch 'Sully' on a damn IMAX screen two days before taking a flight to New York. But when your Captain Sully speaking is 'Captain Phillips' Tom Hanks, taking flight like his 'Philadelphia' co-star Denzel Washington you know you are in good hands. Even when nobody prepared for this. Even when "this is dual engine failure at 28 hundred feet, followed by an immediate water landing with 155 souls on board". Thank God acting great Hanks has finally alinged with acting legend and directing one Clint Eastwood in the co-pilots seat like Leonardo DiCaprio ('J.Edgar'), Matt Damon ('Invictus' and 'Hereafter') and Bradley Cooper (in Eastwood's previous picture 'American Sniper') to give us one of Clint's greatest movies alongside 'Million Dollar Baby', 'Changeling' and 'Gran Torino' (notice the electric Times Square Easter Egg? This isn't a shameful plug this is as accurate a 2009 commercial billboard as the proof of time magazines on the airports classic Hudson News racks). And as Hanks responds to the 'Highest Duty' (and book you'll probably, somewhat strangely find in those same newsagents) of real life Captain Chesley 'Super Sully' Sullenberger, with Eastwood he recreates the miracle that happened on the Hudson only some seven years ago. As birds scarier than Hitchcock took out both engines shortly after Sully's flight left the terminal, forcing him to turn back and land ON the Hudson as there was no chance of returning to any of New York's major airports from JFK to LaGuardia. A crash landing in the city only devestated by its biggest aerial attack and cruel tragedy by the hand of terrorists only some eight years prior. All this in mere minutes after tray table stowed take off. All this yet the brave and brilliant Sully and his co-pilot Jeffrey Skiles saved all 155 people on board without a scratch on them. Still Sully faced technical and legal drama questioning whether he could have made it back however as he was asked a myriad of personal questions like 'when was his last drink', 'does he have any problems at home', as his 40 years in the air was judged on 208 seconds. Now in playing Sully if you're going to judge Tom Hanks 40 years on screen between 'Saving Private Ryan', 'Apollo 13' and 'Cast Away' and 'Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close' and 'Bridge Of Spies' on 96 minutes than this just may very well be his best. Brace for impact!
Captain Hanks who right now on Amy Adams double feature form is also igniting the 'Inferno' of Dan Brown's latest 'Da Vinci Code' book adaptation has courage under fire here. The fall favourite of November reign, playing a real life legend like 'Saving Mr. Banks' is a measure of outward, cool calm with aggravated anxiety below, under 'Captain Phillips' pressure under threat. With 'Saving Private Ryan' dedication to duty and a 'Cast Away' soul that will let no in-flight worst nightmare hell or high water break him. His mild-mannered 'Bridge Of Spies' heart under make or break circumstances on an out of this world, 'Apollo 13', life or death stake is raised to a miraculous high. All on an 'Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close' IMAX immersed scale (that sounds like your right under the plane like a pair of ear mufflers and ping pong paddles) that doesn't just take you in to the cockpit, but X-ray inside the central nervous system and every strained strand of Hanks' Sully personification. And as Tom from air to sea makes it back to dry land that's when the real acting takes wing. As the Academy Award winning actor takes off towards his next Oscar, no 'Captain Phillips' or even 'Bridge Of Spies' snub (we can only hope). Ingraining the isolated loneliness of a man in the public and procedural not so private eye, locked in his hotel room with his dreams and wrongly perceived demons, a million miles and a phone call away from the woman he loves that he needs to hang on and not hang up. A celebrated man almost haunted by this and not the hundreds of lives he saved and families he brought back together, but the ones he felt he could have endangered if his miracle nose-dived into a tragedy. Hanks captures the conflict of this heroes heart perfectly with diligence and due respect and restraint all on Clint Eastwood's deubuted IMAX directing cameras (taking off early against an 'Arrival' of 'Loving', 'Fences', 'Birth Of A Nation' Oscar favourites like 'Manchester By The Sea') that tell a more poignant story than the thousand of news reports that brought remote control click-bait, harrowed drama without a shred of consideration to the families watching of this averted disaster.
And a disaster movie this is not, as Eastwood moves beyond the blockbuster lights to give us the human touch of this story of great humanity in the face of unfathomable responsibility. As the accounted for passengers and crew and the emergency services of New York came together like they did on their darkest day more than a decade ago to throw themselves in the line of duty in saving and preserving lives. It's an inspiring not overly dramatised look at Americans coming together as one in a time they sorely need it. And aside from some midtown madness plane crash nightmare scenarios made IMAX scale deep real, that still all seem too soon after 9/11 Clint, ever the master of personal and dramatic subtely doesn't over do it. Instead going for just the facts, one being that this century in the making film icon may well be a better director than he is an actor...and that's really saying something. And the rest of the cast and crew from three stewardesses that look and are in sync like sisters (character or actor...amazingly they're not) to a recognisable list of passengers all play their part in this miracle. From the always responding to the official call of duty Holt McCallany (who recently starred with another 90's golden era Tom in Cruise's 'Jack Reacher' sequel 'Never Go Back') and everyones favourite New Yorker and now barman Michael Rapaport. Leading lady Laura Linney also responds to the call with a stand by her husband, show of great acting support on the cordless that is anything but phoned in. But it's the great Harvey Dent, Aaron Eckhart on the 'Dark Knight' form of his life that is the closest to an award like the two faces of legends Hanks and Eastwood. The man who is also balding in Miles Teller's corner for the knockout 'Bleed For This' is only going up against himself in the supporting actor stakes as here he is the perfect wingman with a maverick, magnum moustache, no Goose tragedy. But for what it's worth with all these top guns, for what they have directed and acted here, Clint Eastwood and Tom Hanks deserve the Oscar. But for what they actually did then, Captain Chesley Sullenberger, Jeffrey Skiles and the rest of New York's finest involved in the 'Miracle On The Hudson' deserve a medal. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Tuesday, 15 November 2016
Not So Fantastic Beasts (And How To Dress Them).
116 Minutes. Starring: Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Isla Fisher, Armie Hammer, Jena Malone, Laura Linney & Michael Sheen. Director: Tom Ford.
Stay awake and alert for this animalistic intention fashioned by Tom Ford if you can. Because the style icons grand cinematic design doesn't know if its treading shallow water or diving deeper. And we're not quite sure if these stylish 'Nocturnal Animals' are saying something of substance or are really just quite pretentious. But boy do they button up and look good. The suited and booted all-star A-list cast affair on the red carpet here didn't even look this good surrounded by the 'let them have cake' Hollywood crowd at the films premiere. That's what you get when the man behind the camera is the focus of so many celebrites in front of it that even Jay-Z named a song off his last album after him, because that's just how he rocks. Tom Ford, brought the lonely best out of a Caine bespectacled 'Kingsman' Colin Firth's 'A Single Man'. Now Tom affords more with these night owls based on Austin Wright's 'Tom and Susan' bestseller in this Tom and Jerry, cat and mouse narrative with glitz and glamour mammals and big-names like Adams, Gyllenhaal, Shannon, Taylor-Johnson, Hammer, Fisher, Malone, Linney and Sheen buying into this book. With a screenplay on a story based on a novel idea (that's a story inside a story people...confused yet?) wrote by a womans jilted ex-husband brimmed with cruel and abhorent violence to women and drowning depression and despair to one man in particular. A read called 'Nocturnal Animals' dedicated to her and named after what she was once called for better or worse. Showing seemingly in this trending time that revenge is a dish best served passive aggressively in writing. But should we read more into this?
Depending on which film you see this week will determine how much you like Amy Adams. The 'Big Eyes' Oscar nominated actress is looking for her Academy Award next February with two films this week. Coming off her second big 'Man Of Steel' report, scooping the 'Batman V Superman' fight of the century in 'Dawn Of Justice', Adams is really here, right now. Just wait until her 'Arrival' to see how front and centre she is with a perfect performance in an amazing alien movie that has a close encounter with the greatest science-fiction odyssey's ever made and maybe even the best pictures of this year, from director Denis Villeneuve who gave us last years best film, the sinisterly stellar 'Sicario'. But with this 'Nocturnal Animal' Adams makes herself up even more as an artist trying to canvas a life of frivolous fakes in a seemingly neon perfect Los Angeles, City Of Angels were everyone has decided that their halo doesn't quite go with there outfit. More than dressing to impress this amazing Amy is a Blunt train track away from being a gone girl in a vapid world of social media bottomless pit timeline emptiness and its lack of graces. Were the only one trying to reach out, albeit the wrong way is her ex, played by a Leo Oscar chasing Jake Gyllenhaal. A man about to bring new 'Life' to his career with his own big budget, 'Alien' like sci-fi alongside 'Deadpool' Ryan Reynolds. An actor whose also had the best brought out of him by Villeneuve in his locked in 'Prisoners' performance and 'Enemy' dual-opposite double act. A leading man coming out swinging after some misfires recently. No matter how good they were, 'Demolition' didn't quite hit like he expected and 'Southpaw' was out-duked by Rocky's 'Creed' protegee. And although we still need so see Jake no less than on Nightcrawling form, he's something else here. Even if we rarely see his real authors character and instead the semi-autobiographical broken hearted character from his books story, wrote and chapter dedicated with an anxiously agitated, mourning maraudering performed characterization. As Adams and Gyllenhaal can look and play young star struck lovers full of early twenties hope and invincibility and real world-30 year olds stunted and strung out, medicated on disappointment and never be the same again doubt, drowned on disenchanted social sorrows. What a difference a beard and make-up makes.
Fashion fit into the rest of the films themes, the stylistic supporting cast is corset tight. Quicksilver Beatle Aaron Taylor-Johnson is so savagely good at being bad you just can't watch. A skin-crawling tense and every nerve drawn out roadside fender bender, driven off the highway set-up, set-piece is as throat lump scary and eternity like long as it safety shreddingly should be. You want to do more than kick his ass as he disgustingly wipes his own bare one on an outside toilet with not a care in the world or one for what he's done or the people he's done it too. You just hate him...and that's the sign of an actor to love. Just as bad, albeit in a more betraying way is the douche armed Armie Hammer, not hamming it up as the all round nice guys plays a man who is as much a prick as the needle and thread left in his suit...probably a Tom Ford. There's even more runway acting talent with Isla Fisher's muse playing. An almost unrecognisable, Dolce dolled up Laura Linney of 'Sully' going against type and showing just how great an actress she is. An even smaller and stylish polished cameo from maverick Michael Sheen than his Ziggy Bowie like one in the stardust of 'Tron: Legacy'. And 'Batman v Superman's' cutting room floor fodder Jena Malone, whose satirical fashionist shows just how little meaning we place on life and what or who we love over the latest app and new phone models in one of the best moments in this movie, until it turns into some 'Drag Me To Hell' inspired horror shock and awful. Yet in this 'Midnight Special' it's Michael Shannon's stereotypical Southern sheriff that is the most refreshing thing about this picture...even if he does jack the owl line from Michael Mann's crime syndicate 'Heat'. Who? Al Pacino! What do you mean who? Shannon steals the show even as his skinny character (who looks nothing like his body double cameo General Zod in this years oft-mentioned here 'Man Of Steel' sequel) is dying of the cigarettes he may as well still smoke like a cop. On his way to 'Loving' more Oscar work the one of a kind character Shannon is having quite the career couple of years. Keeping this design up like a silver buckled belt and holster he and our two leads head a headshot worthy cast that give a greater look to this picture that's in need of a better portrait. Without them this style piece would have no substance in this iPhone swiping social age sense of ego-inviting entitlement and Ford's latest which tries to bar all of that may be in need for a factory reset itself. Between a feast of the flesh opening that is all human form type celebratory, but overkilled unecessary in the artist character and directors intentions (whatever they may be) and a lot of criminally inappropriate suggested and screamingly blurred sexual violence in a world so wrong today there is such a term as "rape culture", a lot of this is critically misguided. Epsecially in a world were you don't always have to prove your words by action, but merely the directorial power of suggestion. Sure this writer could be a prude or even a bit too preachy ('Blue Velvet' and 'A Clockwork Orange' are missing off my 'to watch' list), but in artistic integrity there's more beauty and genuine intention in what you don't see. And like someone dressing themselves as something they're not just to please the masses, there's a real, personal message here to heed. It's just hidden behind all that make-up. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Thursday, 10 November 2016
116 Minutes. Starring: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Michael Stuhlbarg, Tzi Ma & Forest Whitaker. Director: Denis Villeneuve.
Between Brexit and Trump and the deaths of Prince and Ali...not to mention the great Ziggy Stardust, David Bowie, you'd be forgiven for wanting to leave this world on a rocket ship for a life on Mars like Matt Damon farming his own poop potatoes. But here's another big blockbuster movie about aliens inhabiting planet earth in between all your Summer and fall 'Star Trek's' and 'Star Wars' coming right back at you. But it's going to take a mild-mannered French Canadian from a place everyone in the now not so United States wants to leap the wall for to show this is not just another Hollywood 'Independence Day-Resurgence' sequel regurgitation popping like corn for salty mouths in need of something a little sweeter. Something that could possibly vividly outsmart the out of the war of this world, latter year, modern day future greats of 'Gravity' and 'The Martian' on an 'Interstellar' level. Not to mention the other sci-fi's in this endless game of future fables, like Ryan Reynolds and Jake Gyllenhaal's 'Life' (not to be confused with Robert Pattinson and Dane DeHaan's (look for his elemental vivid 'Valerian' trailer with 'Suicide Squad's model actress Cara Delevigne today) James Dean picture. Or Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence's classic, buddy cell block comedy). And it's going to take something from last years best picture 'Sicario' director Denis Villeneuve who also gave us the Gyllenhaal arresting 'Prisoners' and doppleganger friend or foe 'Enemy' double act. Something that would make the 'Elysium' of modern day science fiction and real world reflective fact director Neil Blomkamp about to reboot 'Aliens' proud, before Villeneuve races forward with Harrison Ford, Ryan Gosling and Jared Leto's android for the 'Blade Runner 2045' sequel himself. Not to mention the authoring forefather of all science-fiction storytelling and prophercies from the aformentioned 'Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep' and all the 'Total Recall's' after Phillip K. Dick. Remember this one, before it goes wholesale.
Arriving on screens just in time before the 'Star Wars' story hype goes rogue, this awkening force from Villeneuve is more than his 'Blade Runner' audition turned warm up. Hotter than anything else out there right now, from all Affleck accounts to Dr. Cumberbatch's strange tales. Odder things can be found here. Call it, 2016: A Space Oddity. This spaceship not in all realms so tall tale based on Ted Chiang's sensational short 'Story Of Your Life' circles around ideas of life, love and the eternal flat-circle of time going interstellar with what's really out there in a galaxy far, far away. With cerebal matters, heart beats and searches of the soul looking at the circumference of our own lives and the mistakes we make over and again on a 'Looper' real. This also has real world implications for our divided nations. Especially now, how if we don't come together for our own peace we are pulling the trigger, or pushing the big red button on our own destruction. Nuclear or insular. And if we don't see the signs and hidden meanings here. We're all f#####...excuse me..."Trumped"! But this is more than political, it's personal too. Because everything starts from what we have within. And if we want to be the heroes of our own or other stories than we have to stop being our own worst enemies. And Villeneuve reaching back to his enigmatic, envoking 'Enemy' mirror image with Gyllenhaal and some of its creeping and crawling spider themes gives us another vivid picture and character portrayal that will leave us with as as many questions as it answers and leaves open come credits curtain. More than just open to your own and others interpretations (such is the nature and order of our tree of life), you'll be talking, thinking and tweaking this essential rewatchable one in your own mind for months, finding new meaning upon hidden one. One thing that won't be up for debate is just how good this is. This belongs in the same solar system as the greats from the first time you saw 'Contact' to Sam Rockwell on the 'Moon'. Today, the day the science-fiction world stood still.
No stranger to Jake, starring alongside Gyllenhaal in fashions Tom Ford's grand directorial design 'Nocturnal Animals' the next screen across, Amy Adams is having quite the week. Not to mention the year for Lois Lane, scooping all the big pictures and headlines if you forget what critics said about 'Batman v Superman' and just see how great the 'Dawn Of Justice' really is. The 'Big Eyes' Academy nominated actress may just be looking at her next Oscar award. The enchanting star on her 'American Hustle' really is a fighter...just ask Batman (no not Affleck, but Christian Bale), about Supermans lover. Alongside a Chastain or Blanchett, her mastered craft really is art. As she communicates non-verbally with some Octopus looking creatures squirting silent inkwells up for interpretation like pychologists asking you to tell them what you see, her mind brutually blotted by mourning no mother should wake up with, Adams translates so much more without words. There's more to life than what you say and they told you this amazing Amy had big eyes. In her lingustic corner with the science concentration bit is Hawkeye himself Jeremy Renner, shooting straight on a film that isn't his lead, but his stellar support. Just like the Avenging franchise background face of 'Mission Impossible' and 'Bourne' does best, he plays the corners, but very much outside the box. That's why he and his army of 'Hurt Locker' talents made it from a warzone to the Oscars. Just like Academy accredited, always brilliant Forest Whitaker playing a colonel with military precision of conviction, before we see him rebel in the next months 'Star Wars-Rogue One' alliance. His scraggily hair and beard there dome shaved here as he heads a cohesive cast featuring Michael Stuhlbarg who has been on Joaquin Phoenix's periphery for awhile and Chinese legend Tzi Ma who seems to have been around forever...and we really hope he always will be. All in all the next (if not right now) directing great Villeneuve gives us a picture just as great as his fellow one word big-three of 'Prisoners', 'Sicario' and the oft-overlooked 'Enemy'. And it's a classic from the first vivid window frame look of the never ending ocean to the finger and lip trembling instrumental of Dinah Washington's 'This Bitter Earth', that still haunts your tears like a thousand violins from the time Leonardo DiCaprio wept to it on his brutually best 'Shutter Island'. All the atmospheric way to the first iconic look of the vertical half-sphere shells of these space craft bringing a spine-tingling new look to the gravity of this genre. For once not Hollywood hovering over all the worlds most famous landmarks, like they'd know...what's wrong with Deleware? Played in by the sinister 'Sicario' Oscar nominated score keeper, Johann Johannson, reuniting with Villeneuve here to give us a harrowingly scary, sonar introduction to these extra terrestrials that really are so much more. The behind the smoke screen prison glass first viewfinder tunnel vision of these other-worldly beings, as anxiety inducing as the twisting plastic of the hazmat suits will lift you off your feet like a whole new type of zero G's. From 'Metropolis' to '2001: A Space Odyssey' when it comes to the greatest science-fiction movies of all-time, this 'Arrival' is here to stay. Now that's what I call a close encounter! TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Monday, 31 October 2016
Balancing The Crooks.
128 Mins. Starring: Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons, Jon Bernthal, Jeffrey Tambor & John Lithgow. Director: Gavin O'Conner.
Bank on Ben being public hero number one on the Hollywood hit list of smokin aces for many a return. The top bill is cashing in on his Affleck name and you don't even have to wait to 'Live By Night', the Johnny Depp, Dillinger gun 'Public Enemies', period gangster piece from the acting/directing double threat of the 'Gone Baby Gone', 'The Town' and the Academy acclaiming 'Argo' big-three for this to dawn. Ever since this 'Daredevil' had critical hell and the kitchen sink thrown at him after the cinematic disaster of 'Pearl Harbour' the 'Good Will Hunting', Matt Damon co-sign, career starter has gone from Bennifer's 6% on Rotten Tomatoes cooled 'Gigli' to Hadid hot. Getting behind the camera on his own performances has clearly worked. But he still stands for other directors chairs too, from the slick 'Runner, Runner' to the sick 'Gone Girl'. And of course the Dark Knight double of 'Batman v Superman-Dawn Of Justice' and the frequent cameo 'Suicide Squad' villain movie. The pair have been put through the critical meat grinder, but both were actually well done even if D.C.'s dark, Snyder sinister tones are a rarer taste to Marvel's full of fun meal ticket. Either way Batfleck's beginnings have shown we may have a Caped Crusader and lonely playboy Bruce Wayne just as good as Christian Bale's spirited performance. And after the dust and dusk settles on the 'Justice League' ensemble, Ben will go back to the directors hotseat for 'The Batman' movie which could be his most iconic turn on screen and behind it yet. But first it's time for Ben to handle someone elses books again as he is under direction once more for 'The Accountant' and all that pays off.
Movie commerce and critics seem to be at dividends once again however for Ben's latest dark by night vigilante with more humanity than your average hero. Affleck's accountant affords more than just giving you stock tips. He also stock-piles crooks for his clients like the book balancer does guns, ammo and Pollack paintings...it's not the most original way to get paid, but it paints a picture. You see here Ben Affleck is a hit-man in more ways than one, yet he's no gun for hire. He's the judge, jury and executioner who decides who should pay their debt to society and at what cost. With a stroke and tap of his keyboard just as lethal as him cocking the hammer and pulling the trigger as he controls, alts and deletes and cuts out the middle-men...literally. It would seem that Affleck's character that goes by famous mathematician aliases is functioning on a higher level. And his character here is on the Autism spectrum. But as much as that can be seen as a stereotype, there is some misguided cliches here that border on tired, or at the very least routine. The 90's great, Bruce Willis 'Mercury Rising' this is not and between eating his food off a one seperated plate order with one knife, one fork and one spoon for dessert and some bright lights and heavy metal self conditioning before bed, Ben brings a sincere sensitivity to a role he says is close to his heart which is more than just Bat brooding as he blows his curled fingers before each task. Sure this is a far cry from Dustin Hoffman's 'Rain Man' or more importantly real life, but as Affleck lets bullets spray in epic thriller set-piece escapism he shows once again, dressed in black that he's the action hero we all need and deserve. And he doesn't need a cape and a cowl to do it (although there is a pretty cool Action Comics Easter Egg for the man who dared to roll one up to Clark Kent of the Daily Planet's alter-ego). Or a utility belt full of gadgets as he arms up with enough Smif and Wessuns and fists and cuffs to show that he was 'Bourne' for this just like his Boston brother.
His investment in this picture that isn't even his own (it belongs to 'Warrior' suprise, best film of 2011 hit maker Gavin O'Conner. With the gloves off like UFC for this ultimate white knuckle knockout, with heart behind its hard head) seems chips down all in, but there is plenty more cast collateral here in a roll call of assests that reads like a good fiscal year. But between real 'Daredevils' and 'Whiplash' smart Oscar winners that are all 'Pitch Perfect', is the undeniable but underused talent here spread a little too thin on this bacon and eggs? Or are they all accountable? Academy man J.K. Simmons finds himself as a treasury agent looking to cook Affleck's books. And whilst everyone waits for him to throw a symbol at someones head, he does put the clamps on a young agent in the field (played by a standout amongst all the big-names Cynthia Addai-Robinson, taking big-screen aim from her 'Spartacus' and 'Arrow' beginnings). And decked out in a charcoal rain coat and trillby looking in Affleck's wardrobe of identical suits in a Wayne manner, the simmering Simmons gives us an early preview of his forthcoming Batman, Jim Gordon commission. Following this superhero roll call, many people (even Deathstroke himself Joe Manganeillo) have called for SNL Squirrel Girl, Anna Kendrick to play Batfleck's Robin in the same gender swapping vain as the Frank Miller 'Dark Knight Returns' classics that clearly inspired Batman's dawn 'Justice League' duel with Supes this year. Here though, more than a green glasses, red head sidekick we thought Jena Malone was going to be, this lovable interest of the heart beats to our leading mans rhythm until she pulls a Chloe Moretz 'Equalizer' disappearing act as she is kept arms length away from the violent third act. Still in a film that features so many big names and heroes that veteran legends Jeffrey Tambor and John Lithgow are reduced to small but still significant "and featuring" supporting roles, its walking deadshot Jon Bernthal that steals the show. Ever wanted to see a showdown between The Punisher and Batman in a vigilante battle of injustice? Going against a grafitti skull and cross-bones typecast, Bernthal sets his die as a more charismatic Castle, frankly using his own voice and style for a change instead of the gruff growls of 'Fury' his darker characters would have you believe are innately his. Suited and leather glove booted, Bernthal kills it in every scene he owns, from the car stake out to a kitchen barstool table top midnight snack from the glow of the fridge that has homaged shadows of 'The Winter Soldier'. Someone should of knocked, because this Jon knows how to break bad oh so damn good. All in all this All-Star cast makes this a stand alone hit and a satisfying, pacy thriller that really amps up the action once the accountant invades your home like the first and fifteenth. Sure some may see chapter two franchise potential in this more serious 'John Wick' like killing maker. But in a time and tide of trending sequels how about a one and done as clinical and precise as a silencer round? Time to close the account. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Saturday, 22 October 2016
115 Mins. Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Mads Mikkelsen & Tilda Swinton. Director: Scott Derrikson.
Strange days hit Marvel as the superhero franchise force finally shows some love to their cosmic-book 'Dr. Strange' fellow in their Avenger roll call to 'Infinity' schedule. And it's time you made an appointment too. Go see the Benedict Cumberbatch, 'Doctor Strange' tale to astonish. Because this sorceror really is supreme. This in 'Inception' on an hallucinogenic, medicated by a 'Matrix' meets 'Batman Begins' origin story. From the strange clouds of the Empire State Building and Big Ben skyline (they like to get the landmarks) folding and falling into themselves like a skyscraper shard of glass cats cradle. To Far East in a flash, Hong Kong neon, cyberpunk kaleidoscopes and martial art lessons with your inner self on a whole other astral plane. You'll feel like you took the red pill, whilst patting your jacket pocket for your spinning thimble top dose of reality. Doctor, doctor! This really is strange. But then again this is from the Marvel that brought us a man that could shrink down to the size of an ant (when he's not scaling the airport heights of a skyscraper), not to mention a talking Racoon and tree (It's like they said in 'Iron Man 3', "since the big guy with the hammer fell out the sky, subtely's kind of had its day"!). I am no longer surprised...or at least I wasn't until I watched this Potter. You're a wizard Benedict! And a fine one too! This hero takes us higher with more than Iron coming out his fist as he stands psychedelic watch over Spider-Man's New York's Greenwich Village, whilst Hells Kitchen's Defenders take care of themselves and those chilling with Netflix. Time to take your face out your phone though because this smart blockbuster is beautifully built for immaculate IMAX inspirations. And as the Summer season of 'Civil War' fighting blockbusters give way to the 'Star Wars' of the fall this rogue is the one who really has the force. Strange...but true.
Marvel have introduced a lot of their iconic comic characters to the cinematic universe this year with great success. From the bullet punishing Frank Castle to the black power of Luke Cage. Not to mention their first African superhero, the Black Panther and the one and only, superior Spider-Man and his real Marvel 'Homecoming'. But now it's Mr. Dr. Steven Strange's turn and who are we to judge? This Sorceror has had a spell with Marvel and on us since the middle of the last century...his comic books now sacred text. And who better to play him than an English 'Bard who has played Hamlet? If you thought that Marvel taking the classicaly trained Tom Hiddleston for their scheming Loki was an acting steal than you aint seen nothing yet. As after Robert Downey Jr., another 'Sherlock' star with a goatee makes his new home, trading bowler hat for cape and Baker Street for N.Y.C. as he plays another rich genius, humbled by life changing injury and a great responsibility of powers with his sense of accomplishment American twang accenting the arrogance. And with this Doc op, Benedict Cumberbatch, who made a crazy jacked, iconic Khan villain as he plunged 'Star Trek' 'Into Darkness' and was an inferno of a flame throwing voice in 'The Hobbit's' desolation as Smaug is really still on fire here in line with the good guys once again like a nice English gentelman like him should always be. 'The Imitation Game' Academy graduate turns the firework spiral with his life-size replica of an icon from a 'flowers in your hair' time when everyone was caught in the psychedelia of Hendrix's haze. The perfect Strange. From his weird and wonderful look and feel of character, taylor made towards Steven and by the hairs on his chinny chin chin and the seams of his cloak of levitation that is what makes Cumberbatch stranger and in no danger of losing his power. Surgically precise in his perspective of performance, Benedict has a doctorate in it. He could even evict House, setting up his own sanctum as the future face of this franchisee of a Stan Lee father franchise. Now what sorcery is this?
This is the sorcerers apprentice and with plenty of magic up his sleeve Cumberbatch's Strange has the Academy perfect cast of characters in support that are just what the Doctor ordered. Cumberbatch's '12 Years A Slave' co-star Chiwetel Ejiofor switches to sidekick role in the pairs less than Oscar dramatic reunion...but oh how fun it is this time. The ever underrated Ejiofor brings subtle but distinct defintions to understated and understanding supporting character...aswell as the wifi password. As does 'The Martian' and character actor Benedict Wong who doesn't even need to change his last name. But it's the always terrific Tilda Swinton going against traditonal type in a stereo sonic role as she brings a new dimension to the mentoring Ancient One. With the numbers and experience to do it however many are calling Matt Damon 'Great Wall' like whitewashing b.s., but they can't see the real reason for reversing stereotype (like with Wong's comic serveant, come cinematic sorcerer) or the empowering gender role reversal in a Hollywood and critical circuit ignorant to that too. This isn't Emma Stone in 'Aloha' HELLO! Add another or Ryan Gosling's leading ladies Rachel McAdams in a 24/7 E.R. night nursing character (assisted somewhat by the inclusion of inspired 'The Infiltrator' star Benjamin Bratt), that is more superheroine than medicine woman and you have a lot of strong female characters from actresses who you wouldn't expect anything less from. All these Ziggy Stardust heroes need is a villain. And who better than a Bond one? As Mads Mikkelsen is weeping from the eyes again, giving Marvel two Hannibals alongside Odinson Anthony Hopkins to go against their twin Sherlock's (at least we've got a Watson in 'Civil War's' Martin Freeman. Now hey Jude join the band...Mr. Napkin head origin story anyone?!). And between this terrifyingly terrific villain and his Rogue 'Star Wars' character, not to mention having the best quip of your quntiessential fun Marvel banter, it's Mads world now. All these 'Strange' occurences are brought to the comic-book wall breaking life of our most vivid imaginations and what more would you expect from 'Sinister' director Scott Derrikson delivering us from metaphysical evil, who knows how to bring us alternate realities so fascinating their frightening? As Marvel's quack (no not Howard the Duck) teleports through New York and Asgard like realms of space and time at an 'Adjustment Bureau' portal pace, this visual and visceral masterstroke is the perfect prescription. More than cape cookie-cutter for your browsing superhero history, all told this is more than mere smoke and mirrors. But now 'Doctor Strange' has shown himself on the grandest, cinematic scale can he prove as powerful as the Avengers fantastic four force of Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and The Incredible Hulk? Stranger things have happened. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Friday, 21 October 2016
118 Minutes. Starring: Tom Cruise, Cobie Smulders, Patrick Huesinger, Danika Yarosh, Madalyn Horcher, Aldis Hodge, Holt McCallany & Robert Knepper. Director: Edward Zwick.
Reaching back like you never thought Jack, Tom Cruise is on another Mission. But this time it's not impossible. It's by the birth of a Lee Child book for an action packed, awesome adaptation, bullett richocheting off the pages and into cinemas. And who better to run and run (and RUN!) through the crossfire than Tom Cruise? The 'Top Gun' franchise face really is the top Hollywood star and has been for more than three decades (the big blockbuster that took his career off from the cockpit is 30 years old this year. This writer was one years young...yep! Get ready to feel old, as Tom looks nowhere near that, pushing the middle of middle-age). From 80's fare like 'Cocktail' and 'The Color Of Money'. To Academy graduating Oscar worthy acting classics, 'Rain Man' and 'Born On The Fourth Of July'. Underrated filmography greats sometimes lost in the shuffle like 'Jerry Maguire' and 'Collateral'. To Speilberg science fiction legends in 'Minority Report' and 'War Of The Worlds'. And more future fables in the 'Edge Of Tomorrow' ('Live. Die. Repeat') and 'Oblivion'. Not to mention his fuse running 'Mission Impossible' franchise and 'The Mummy' one he's about to unwrap as production unravels the opposite way. And now reuniting with 'The Last Samurai' director Edward Zwick Cruise adds another in 'Jack Reacher' and the 'Never Go Back' sequel to the meat and potatoes, old-school, 90's golden era Hollywood, American muscle and it's McQueen 'Bullit' homaged, full-throttle car chase of the first hit. Delivered like one hell of a right cross from Tom and his two knuckles. 'Jack Reacher' is back battling with 'Bourne' and 'Bond' (and even Cruise's Hunt) like the 'Jack Ryan' reboot hasn't quite done by the book. In a time between all the Summer season blockbusters and fall Oscar favourites that chapter and verse looks to adapt to the pages of novel film ideas from 'The Girl On The Train' to Tom Hanks' Robert Langdon and Dan Brown's 'Inferno'. But whether July or Christmas, when it becomes to making big blockbusters or formidable franchises work, Cruise is in control.
And as Zwick's first movie with Cruise since that last Samurai opens with a look of the 80's to its credits, it feels like no time has passed since the 'Risky Business' early 'Days Of Thunder' for Cruise. He still storms on the screen no matter the cost to his all stunt performing frame. And they said this diminutive dynamo couldn't play the 21 (this fall) books, six foot three Reacher. But Zwick's soldier who was tall enough to almost literally lose his head in 'Samurai' in a freak stunt accident more than measures up and fits the part...he is the part. Critics with their eyes wide shut who think otherwise when it comes to Reacher are just clutching at short straws. Tom has all of Jack's trades. From the fist to the fury of some machine gunning action, this rapid fire star more than keeps up, he Bolt's up, outrunning them all. Someone should put him in the next 100 meters in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Sure he'll be almost sixty then...but he'll still be dancing. Cruise is a knockout. From peppering bad guys with a salt shaker to being a one man team of airport security. And he's still bouncing off walls and leaping off buildings like there's no edge or tomorrow. But behind the brilliant bruising bare knuckles is the bare bones of an actor that really knows how to get to the behind bruised rib-cage beating heart of Reacher and the searching soul of Child's collection. More than drifting through the vagabond backstory of a man caught between hitchiking and the ups and downs of an opposable thumb. Showing us the inner conflict of a loner character taking it out on the people that try and put the ones he saves in the same place who might not be as lonely as he first thought. And with a firm grip on his craft this is another reason why no Hollywood blockbuster leading man can top this gun. Not even close. Not even a shot.
But on the left of this guys hip, but more than a sidekick sidearm is the smouldering Cobie Smulders. Rosamund Pike may be 'Gone Girl' like departed David Oyelowo (they're about to go to 'A United Kingdom' together to blur the color-lines at the Oscars), but Cobie's a slam dunk, G.I. No Jane, all-action hero in her damsel in distress first film place. Forget 'How I Met Your Mother', how is this woman not been in films like this sooner? Aside from this Avengers experience in the field as Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Maria Hill. A real life superhero who has stretched across many a Marvel film, but needs to be in more. Hell, give this agent the series. With shades of looking like a young 'Daredevil' and 'The Matrix' actress Carrie-Anne Moss you can't dodge this. She's armed to the true grit teeth. Give her her own action franchise start-up and she'll finally have a holy Trinity. Hell she deserves it! Because she can keep up with Cruise...literally! In a Cap and Falcon, 'Winter Soldier', "on your left" montage of running that makes up so much ground it could track the next Tom Cruise running Supercut on Youtube all by itself. But after this Hollywood movie finally gets it right why does the marketing team have her back to Cruise and us on the promotional poster? If you didn't know she was in this movie you'd have a hard time telling who it was on the billboards. It could be fellow Marvel and 'Thor' Lady Sif star Jaimie Alexander there's that much of a blindspot. Still a couple of complaints aside, paired with rising stars Danika Yarosh and Madalyn Horcher this film is all about breakout talents showing their face in this franchise. Like 'Straight Outta Compton' hit MC Ren's Aldis Hodge or by the hymn sheet villain Patrick Heusinger. But what would a film about an ex-soldier be without some veterans? And the always dependable 'Black Hat' brilliant Holt McCallany and arresting, vile 'Prison Break' villain Robert Knepper afford more in spare change screen time than most big budget leads do in a whole movie. Cinematic director Edward Zwick knows how to work it all in a traditional type Hollywood blockbuster that years and Bond/Bourne like installments from now will still be timeless. And like this right now a hit! Exploding into an actions fireworks of a finale with a shot of Bourbon in New Orleans' French Quarter this Halloween night. Which is no half-measure for this all-American so impossibly 54 it's scary. Now someone try and say they wouldn't go back to this Jack again...nah! Never that! TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Tuesday, 18 October 2016
The Camp Knight.
78 Minutes. Starring: Adam West, Burt Ward, Jeff Bergman, William Salyers, Wally Wingnert, Steven Weber, Jim Ward, Thomas Lennon & Julie Newmar. Director: Rick Morales.
KAPOW! Holy half-century reboot, animated revolution Batman! The Bright Knight rises and returns again! Bruce Wayne has gone West...all the way back to the swinging sixties as Adam and his ward Burt pick up the red, flashing phone one more time. Now get ready to slide down the phonebooth like, quick-spin changing firemans pole to the Batcave because Adam West and Burt Ward look to run back to nostalgia...just like the camp they set and sent up with their cult sixties series. Sure when it comes to comic-book superheros breaking into the blockbuster show, despite 'The Dark Knight' trilogy Marvel rule the roost. If The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy and Fox's X-Men weren't enough than this year Stan Lee's team in this age of 'Civil War' brought more of their cult characters to cinematic crossover, superstar success. From the Black Panther and an amazing Spider-Man, to Power Man; Luke Cage and The Punisher. Not to mention what we're about to see with Benedict Cumberbatch's 'Dr. Strange' fellow. Let alone what the Thanos gauntlet holds for the calenders 'Infinity War'. But just outside the yolk D.C. are cooking too...even if aside from what will happen with Superman and Wonder Woman in the Justice League they pretty much have all their eggs in one basket...a Bat Basket. But there's more than one way to make an egg. You can fry it, boil it, scramble it...or even hide a couple of Easter ones. And aside from Ben Affleck's Clark Kent glasses breaking Batman in this 'Dawn Of Justice' which was way better than those who criminally underrated it, there's plenty more wearing the cowl. And we're not just talking about Christian Bale, Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer and (thankfully) George Clooney when it comes to the Batman. But beyond that to the wide range of inspired and influential incarnations, more versatile and diversifying in it's icons than any other superhero. The Caped Crusader has built his own 'LEGO Movie' spin-off and in a gallery of costumed billionaires almost as Arkham vast as the Rogues, he even has the Bruce begins of the 'Gotham' villain series. But aswell as the asylum of video games let's not forget the true comic cartoons like the classic 'Batman-The Animated Series that have lead to many an inspired feature film off the cells. Including this years tribute to the best, most groundbreaking graphic novel in 'The Killing Joke' with 'Star Wars'' Luke Skywalker as the Clown Prince of Crime, The Joker himself. But after that adaptation didn't leave as many people laughing as the jesters hoped and with the dark backlash to the brooding 'Batman v Superman' movie it's time for something a little lighter.
And who better than 'Family Guy' Adam West to be the clean, cut Fresh Prince of midnight vigilante justice dressed in bat black? Remember kids, always use the pedestrian crossing and help an old lady across too if you get the chance...so long as it's okay by her. And what better way to bring West and Ward back from their iconic mid-twentieth century series than in animated form? Because even if Batman and Robin in real life look more like Commissioner Gordon and Detective Harvey Bullock these days...their voices haven't missed a beat. From the moment you see Adam and Burt's Bats and Boy Wonder in cariacture you can see just how animated they really are. They look right on the Batcard money, just like they never left home without it. And that's brought out by not just an A-team of amazing Asian and American animators (bringing the 60's back like the Stones or the Batmanga that recently rolled back out in black and white comics), but the colour their collective voices and their charisma and chemistry fill-in. Always painting outside the lines and never by the numbers. Pun perfect and banter batted out the park the dynamic duo have still got it like Magic and Kareem, Starskey and Hutch, John and Paul. Just like dancers who don't miss a step decades later this is a ball. Remember the Bat Touche?! These Knights aren't the only ones returning to this Batman after all these decades however. How about Julie Newmar's sultry and slick Selina Kyle? She still has the claws as Catwoman. Still purring. Still got the cream! She doesn't need some milk.
Sadly though not everyone makes it here . But to those dearly departed homage is paid, fondly and in full. Late, great legend Cesar Romero who is just as much a Joker as Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger, new squad member Jared Leto, or the voice of Mark Hamill is honoured by Jeff Bergman's impressive impression. Whilst William Salyers and Wally Wingnert's respectful respective interpretations of the Penguin and the Riddler like 'Gotham's rise of Corey Michael-Smith and Robin Lord Taylor have iconic undertones, no question or sneering cackle. If that wasn't enough Steven Weber is worth more than pennies as Bat butler Alfred, whilst comic-booth legend Jim Ward returns as the Colonel Sanders looking Commissioner Gordon in this reunion. With a vocally unrecognisable funny-man 'I Love You Man' comedy movie scene-stealer Thomas Lennon with an Irish O'Malley accent by his by the book side. Fun Bat fact, Lennon treated Bale's Batman in 'The Dark Knight Rises'...geek out to that cult crossover cameo friends. And now thanks to this fun frolic with the Felonious Four you have a sequel to look forward to next year with fellow sixties T.V. show camped up king, Captain Kirk of 'Star Trek', William Shatner hamming it up as Two-Face. Now hows that for a coin toss Harvey? True popularity never dies like a cult. The original series may have only lasted two seasons and four years for its legacy, but it's legend has lived on for more than five decades. And all in all this fond Bat family affair from Rick Morales is a pure, irresistible joy of simple pleasure in a dark time on screen and off it. Light and lovable you have to poke your head out your window for this one again as the Caped Crusaders climb to the ceiling once again, all the way to a utility belt showdown, only missing some shark repellent. From a caves worth of Bats (some satirically brass knuckle darker), not wearing hockey pads to inescapable Bond like classic scenarios, like a death by T.V. dinner this Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis duo is out of this world Mars hot again. Save the microwave. And there's a tray full of made up jokes not just from the man in the purple suit to feed your fun for the whole nuclear families couch surfing appetite. And as for those fisticuff scenes as iconic as the original Batmobile. They pack a wallop in big, bright on-screen punching letters. This is good, clean, pop culture fun. What a crusade against age and caped conventions. Expect more cosplay from San Diego to D.C. Holy hating naysayers na, na, na, na, na, to you! BATMAN! The original and best. Sock it to 'em Mr. West! The world is yours again! TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Monday, 17 October 2016
Aesha thank you for your time. How are you? What have you been up to?
Hey! I'm great! Thank you for asking. Currently I just took a trip to Georgia, it's beautiful out here!
You recently had a guest spot in the hit show 'Gotham'. How was that experience?
Yes, I had a co-star role in the first season of Gotham, episode 4 called "Arkham". It was a dream come true. I've always been such a huge Batman lover. In fact, out here in Georgia, I just got the Batman symbol tattooed on my bicep! Working with director TJ Scott was an amazing experience. The scene was set in the Lansky building, which was a 1950 style set with old school typewriters. I felt like it was a different time period. My character was a bit more outspoken than most, which was what made her speak up when Det. Gordon had his questions. I connected to her in that way because people always found me to be a bit outspoken as well!
Would you be open to returning to that show in some capacity for more episodes or the extended D.C. universe maybe?
As far as returning to the show, if there is a need to go back to the Lansky building than YES!....Unless my character just so happened to work there and I do something completely different and unrelated. I am all for that as well. Either way I am blessed to have that experience! Gothemite forever!!
From 'New York Undercover' to 'Third Watch' you have plenty of T.V. show experience in the Law and Order field. Is there something that attracts you to that genre and those sort of roles? We could see you playing a lead detective.
I appreciate that you see me as a lead detective! Right now in my new film 'Smoke Screen', I play contract killer Emma Peirce. She is ambiguously good/bad. I love roles like that with a dash of dark humor. With that being said, straying from my current ideal I don't mind playing good or bad and I personally have traits of detective like qualities that I connect with. I love getting to know people and getting to the bottom of who they are pretty quick!
Can you share with us memories from your award winning lead in 'Arresting Gena'?
'Arresting Gena' has to be one of my fave films I was ever in! I was fortunate enough to work with such a talented cast of actors at the beginning of their careers such as Adrien Grenier, Sam Rockwell, Paul Giamatti, Summer Pheonix, Brenden Sexton, Kirk Acevados, Heather Matarazzo...to name just a few. It was the film with the most buzz at Sundance and went onto getting me the 'Peoples Choice' Best Actress award at Olympia Film Festival. The film really changed my life!
From singing the National Anthem for the New York Mets at Shea Stadium and starring in Levis commercials what remain your fondest memories in growing up in this industry and what advice can you give those looking to break through?
Best advice to people breaking through is everyone wants to witness a piece of real life, which is why reality tv is doing so well! I had a huge support system at home and I took a lot of what is thought to be "risks" I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. I didn't care much about what others thought of me and I never really wanted to fit in, nor did that concept make any sense to me either! I was completely outspoken, determined and passionate. I also went through a lot of schooling such as performing arts, Strasberg, Esper, UCB, Centerstage and had private coaches such as Seth Gilliam and Ann Ratray etcetera, etcetera.
Your accomplished dancing talents has also brought you many accolades. From Elton John to the Wu-Tang Clan what has been your favourite music video that you've performed in?
Elton John 'Believe' has to be one of my favorite music videos I have ever been in, directed by Marcus Nispel. Besides my kissing scene, I found it so exciting to run across the very top ramp in Grand Central Station that is usually closed off to the public. They had me running and jumping into a mans arms as a light went off at the perfect part of the song. I still go there till this day and look up to that exact spot and remember that glorious day!
How can acting translate to dance and vice versa in regards to expression and emotion?
Acting, dance, modeling singing etcetera are all forms and outlets of expression. It depends which medium you perfer, I love them all and each project I do I feel enhances my character as a person.
Has being that close to different genres and greats in music inspired your own writing?
I was most inspired by a talented music producer named Eddie Cascio. He produced one of my songs called 'Bad Press'. Eddie was Michael Jacksons protégé and allowed me to record on Michael's mike and hang out in the room he would stay in, in the private getaway. This family meant the world to Michael and just being there gave me a surge of energy I have never felt before. Isn't that what its all about though? energy? Usually I like to live in a bubble and create my own sound by tapping into universal energy and just letting it flow through me. My brother Geffen is a talented rapper, producer and I have recorded with him in his studios throughout my life as he has always inspired me in the hip-hop industry my whole life. I have learned a lot from him.
How did it feel to read the award winning poem in Angelina Jolie's indie movie 'Lovesick' and what can you tell us about the beauty and freedom of independent filmaking and work?
The poem I read in Angelina Jolie produced movie 'Lovesick' was an amazing experience. I was used to that poem getting lots of attention from everyone. It had also won me first place in the poetry competition of Kingsborough College before I attended NYU and graduated with b.s. in Media, culture and communication. I also just published 'The Midnight Hour' in my new poetry book on Barnesandnoble.com called "Wild Rantings Of A Teenage Girl'. My Lord I have done everything I could with that one poem!
Your paper turned book 'The Model Body' is extremely important, especially today. How do you feel this positive writing and empowering message helps in a time were things like the media and society are still reinforcing tired sterotypes that can make many women, especially young ones growing up and maturing in this world feel negative about themselves when they shouldn't?
'The Model Body' plan is really my answer to getting over borderline anorexia and gaining control over my body. My book also stands for self acceptance. Being a model I know how the world can make a girl feel like there are "standards" to live up to. I am not 16, not 5'9 but still it hasn't stopped me from repping a type that is fine to be. Girls should love themselves no matter their shape and size and should be proud to represent how God made them for that special purpose.
Although each person is different can you offer any advice could to those suffering from anorexia, especially in a time were even turning on their phone, let alone their television can make them feel much worse?
Best advice for all eating disorders is we all have control of ourselves and we are what we eat to extent. Understand cause and effect and make your choices accordingly.
You also work in the fashion industry as a model and designer with great influence. How do you feel that too inspires and helps people feel empowered from within?
I want to empower people to be who they think they are and let nothing stop them.
Can we look forward to some new music from your band 'The Acception' soon? How does this passion compare to all the others you have?
I will start working with my brother Geffen to produce more music soon, when I have time. Never know whats next, though I am searching for an acoustic guitarist. The Acception was a group with the talented Jessie May who is a solo artist now. We collabed experimentally and went to Nashville to drop off the song I wrote and we recorded over to Third Man Records as we wanted Jack White to see if he heard anything with it. Jess and I are huge vinyl lovers as well as Third Man Records lovers and wanted to give it a home. We still don't know if Jack or Third Man Records ever heard that song yet but I did come home with one of their record players for now!
From your multi-cultural roots to living in a cosmopolitan city full of that in the heart of New York how does all that inspire and influence your wide range of work?
NYC inspires me by all the opportunities I get on a daily basis!
You are named after a Stevie Wonder song that means 'fire'. With all that you do in a variety of accomplished roles and the pressures they bring how do you keep yours burning?
My fire burns for the reckoning I have been awaiting my whole life for. That chance to more than just survive as an artist- but thrive.
What's next for you?
'Jane' my new comic book that I created and co-wrote with 'Smoke Screen' director Sean Buttimer and the artist The Crow. It's about a young outspoken girl that sometimes is known to be a spy.
Aesha we thank you for your time. We really appreciate it. We wish you all the best for the future.