Friday, 29 April 2016
World War 2.5
147 Minutes. Starring: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Paul Bettany, Paul Rudd, Chadwick Boseman, Elizabeth Olsen, Tom Holland, Emily VanCamp, Martin Freeman, Frank Grillo, Marisa Tomei, John Slattery, Daniel Bruhl & William Hurt. Directors: Anthony & Joe Russo.
Winter is done. It's time for war! As Marvel soldier on the summer has finally come. Amongst all the 'Resurgence' of 'Independence Day', 'Star Trek', 'Ghostbusters', 'Jason Bourne' and the Fox 'Apocalypse' of 'X-Men' blockbusters joining the first quarter/fourth wall breaking 'Deadpool', the biggest film of the year is finally here. 'Captain America: Civil War'. Choose a side. Team Cap or Team Iron Man?! Because this is a fight the critically down, but not commercially out 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' started. A film seconds out from being off screen, featuring D.C. Comics two champs that actually hits harder than those that didn't take refuse to concede. Besides according to the powers that be this Marvel Contest Of Champions wouldn't have even had the bell rung if it wasn't for the God Among Us that are still facing an Injustice. Now with Bats and his Detective Comics Co living and dying by the shelved 'Sinister Six' inspired 'Suicide Squad' movie were they hope Jared Leto's killer joke is not on them, Marvel have already won more than the battle and still have rounds left from Benedict Cumberbatch's cosmic 'Dr. Strange' and the bruising 'Luke Cage' Netflix series this fall. This is thanks to the punishment they and Jon Bernthal have already doled out for the dynamite/dynamic, duking out, stellar season of 'Daredevil'. Stan Lee's team needn't worry about the 'Man Of Steel' because they're too busy fighting themselves like seemingly every other caped crusader this year. That's what they mean about 'superhero fatigue' right? Now taking a public vs privatisation of world peace, loose leaf out of the comic books according to 'Civil War', the moral core and emotional dilemma of vigilante violence is put to the test once again following the repurcussions of the clunky 'Age Of Ultron'. And every Avenging Marvel will choose where they lie, from serum soldiers to Stark Tech, a couple of master assassins, some enhanced individuals, a cat and even some insects. Resulting in a caped conflict D.C. will fear. Following the political thriller events of 'The Winter Soldier', the third part of the 'Captain America' trilogy that started with the mom and apple pie war years of 'The First Avenger', may not only give us the biggest and best film of the year but also in Marvel cinematic history. Not to mention one of the all-time greatest superhero sequels and trilogies, like 'The Dark Knight' and its own trifecta. Even if this army doesn't have a Hulk...or Thor.
'Raganork' will give those Gods and monsters their chance to fight in a whole other realm however, before Marvel go out of this world like 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' and hit phase 'Infinity'. Were we hope there's even more Fury too. The directing brotherhood of Anthony and Joe Russo will handle both of those epic parts too as here they magnificently manage to spin so many party plates and pieces copacetically. And infinitly with this and the classic 'Cap 2' you know they'll be able to keep up pace even on a cosmic scale. On your left! That's because this film rooted in soldier soil and political turmoil in all it's trappings of real world mirroring corruption and catastrophe is still so exciting like 'The Winter Soldier' classic that froze out the notion of a sophomore sequel slump to the first or even 'Avengers Assemble'. From epic cat and mole chases to an aerial airport assault that really takes off and grounds every other blockbusters effects, this hand to shield combat (with action directors from 'John Wick' lending a clenched fist), really packs a wallop. Just like a stunning staircase scene thats action ascends as the actioneers descend. It may not be the dubbed 'Avengers 2.5', but Cap 3 may just be the best all-round superhero movie since 'The Dark Knight', no joke. Back in 2008 when Robert Downey Jr's Batman billionaire playboy, philantrophist 'Iron Man' was just getting (this all) started and would have made for the best movie of that year if it wasn't for dear Heath. But still do you rather side with Marvel's red, white and blue answer to Superman? In the blue corner, even with all the heroes for hire this is still the skinny kid from Brooklyn's movie. Heroic, integral and so damn polite Chris Evans is 'Captain America' like Christopher Reeve is Superman, or his foe is Stark. He's still Human Torch, fantastic hot as Steve Rogers no matter the fire he faces. He could do this all day. He carries the Shield like his best friend Bucky carries the pain and guilt of his 100 year past. And the stellar Sebastian Stan wears this criminal confliction with real conviction like that metal on his arm. He was the Terminator in the last movie but now looking for salvation this is his judgement day, running away on a motorcycle with a blatant stunt double. The Buck stops here! But don't forget about Cap's other sidekick. Anthony Mackie really soars as the Falcon getting his talons in here for this American eagle, complete with a comic inspired, drone war bird to call friend if he gets jealous of the two O.A.P. B.F.F's. Rounding out the rest of America's men (and women) is the straight shooting Hawk, Jeremy Renner letting arrows fly like hunger, arming up with his 'Hurt Locker' co-star and the wonderful witch that is Elizabeth Olsen's own shades of Scarlett. Stepping out of Quicksilvers deaths door and becoming an Avenger. Maximizing Maximoff in the wake of no longer running with the silver sprinter. But let's not forget about the little guy, because after his own 'Ant-Man' movie last year stood tall, the fondly funny, little man Paul Rudd really is one of the biggest things about this movie.
Excelsior! But what about Tony Stark's iron legion? R.D.J is back as Iron Man and he's as fun as ever, leaving you in bolts. He has one one liner for The Winter Soldier that even tops his Loki 'Reindeer Games' or Shakespeare in the park ones. But at the heart of Stark there's a character arc reactor to the fallout of the Ultron programme and much more that gives this film its emotional core and the Academy actor plays it all poignantly and powerfully perfect. The special effects C.G. team behind Michael Douglas' young Hank Pym in 'Ant-Man' also give us a look at a real Downey Jr alongside John Slattery's originator Howard Stark in loving lament. Robert Downey Jr is Iron Man like Batman is Christian Bale...or maybe Ben! Iron Man's own Cap Falcon sidekick War Machine flies like a real wingman too, with more weapons of mass destruction upgrade. Nobody right now is having the week Don Cheadle is having coming off his brutually brilliant biopic of Miles Davis. He is miles ahead of the original and outstanding Rhodey Terrence Howard and the Iron Patriot paint job that made this machine head look like the love child of Iron Man and Captain America. But with no lost here between Steve and Tony, Stark needs more power from his tech. And he has that in the android upgrade the Vision. Former J.A.R.V.I.S. in ear app Paul Bettany is at your service with a visonary turn as the synthetic hero with feeling. Here trying to wine and dine his comic book love interest and manifest himself some stay at home dad comfortable sweater and slacks too. Then there's one of this franchises most famous faces, Scarlett Johansson still at Black Widows peak, kicking ass and both sides of the conflict coin. Just like double Agent 33, played with get Carter gumption by Emily VanCamp. But how about the new recruits? After playing the funk out of James Brown in 'Get On Up' and the first African-American baseball player in Major League history, Jackie Robinson for '42', it was only the right the best new actor around, Chadwick Boseman played the first black superhero in comic book history, the Black Panther. And T'Challa really is the highness. With pure Panther power this cats got claws man...vibraniuum ones that can leave its mark on Caps shield like no one else. Soulful and noble, playing the King of Wakanda with regal dignity and grace, Boseman reaches the throne with his debut big-three of diverse but dominant boldness and integrity. Watch him! But did you catch the spider? The scene stealing Peter Parker coming out the water spout! After Sony and Marvel studios went dutch on the Spider-Man character, 19 year old Tom Holland shows us he is really amazing and superior, even leaving the great Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield wincing like incies. Flipping funny and acrobatically agile, from the seventies throwback suit to the shy/cocksure, Parker/Spidey dynamic this new web crawler that's about to hit the world wide one really is ultimate in all his homage. What a real Marvel in his homecoming! And how about the fox Marisa Tomei as Aunt May, answering all the old critics perfectly. We only have one question...can we stay for dinner? Add Frank Grillo wearing a near skull and Cross-Bones in war zones only the Punisher knows, an underused but accented Martin Freeman and 'Incredible Hulk' standout William Hurt in a commanding General presence, but sadly no red Hulk (yet?) if you were hoping at least someone got angry here. Well there's enough animosity between both sides and the powers that be to not even warrant a villain. But even so Chris Hemsworth's former 'Rush' racing opponent Daniel Bruhl (no wonder Thor's not in this movie) is brilliant as Baron Zemo...we just want to see him don the purple hood at one point. Even the purple heart of veteran Captain Rogers can't stop war and that's what makes this civil one anything but. Besides there's an even bigger one coming and more than the world is at stake. And when it all comes down to it, the one that wins...is us. And in this gauntlet we're with them to the end of the line. Oh Captain my Captain! Salute! TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Tuesday, 26 April 2016
102 Minutes. Starring: Helen Mirren, Aaron Paul, Barkhad Abdi & Alan Rickman. Director: Gavin Hood.
In the eye of the needle there's not much that seperates right and wrong in the pressure point of a split decision...or life and death for that very matter. But there's so much behind it all and that's why you can get more than an hour and a half worth of screen time on a subject that rests on the hair standing, split second, finger on the trigger choice between destruction and devastation. That is the critical issue at the moral core of 'Eye In The Sky'. A military minds movie that sits down with drone warfare much like the Ethan Hawke thriller 'Good Kill' of last year, that showed how soldier safe but almost video game unreal and cruel using drones in air strikes really is. 'Enders Games'' Gavin Hood's under the radar, more real life console conflict thriller, taught with Greengrass political tension is born from the same notion. Yet several otherwise quiet and unpopulated rooms from London to Las Vegas decide who will live and die for the greater good and of course the preservation of many more lives. It's almost like shooting craps in Sin City until the desert becomes big smoke. But this is more than just Sunday morning, screen time debate over a cup of tea and plate of biscuits. As Hood uncovers the big players with Dame Helen Mirren, 'Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul, 'Captain Phillips'' Barkhad Abdi (no stranger to life and death tension) and the late, great, dearly missed Alan Rickman in his final feature he asks us a critical question. If you could take out a room of extremists getting ready for a suicide bombing in as safe as a safe zone could be would you? But wait...what if when you were about to engage a young girl set up a stall outside the house and started to sell bread for her family. Just what then would you do?
It's an explosive question that will stay with you like a guerilla on your back throughout the tight unfolding story that will leave your wracked nerves on the end of despairs chair. Sure there's a lot of sitting and waiting in this one. But careful what you wish for if you want something more thrilling. Because the accented action will leave you punch puncuated. From joystick games of life and death to 007's Q military grade gadgets on the ground like boots there is more than just big brother in the air up there. They're watching! But all eyes are on Helen Mirren leading this look at this picture of an all too real life video we don't even see on youtube. The Dame whose played everyone from The Queen to an out of retirement, gun-totting action heroine in 'R.E.D' (but never a damsel in distress) suits up again in camo for a commanding performance, leaving everyone addressing her as 'Maam'...as well they should. You have to bow down to a knighted talent like this, following in the legendary footsteps of national treasure Judi Dench. She's more than her majestys answer to Meryl Streep across the pond. She's more than the British Intelligence this movie needs. She's an actor of great depth and distinction. Dignity and poise. And here under the worst pressure she honours any soldier, male or female who have ever had to make a literal not figurative life changing choice like this. Mirroring them perfectly, Mirren like a fly in the room, eye on them is mesmerizing. No wonder she was given the go ahead for this mission.
As were more accomplished actors. Just like B.B's Aaron Paul who is really getting good in this acting game...seriously good. You saw him bring more substance to the drug world, when he did more than just call it in for this years 'Triple 9' ensemble alongside the likes of Casey Affleck, Anthony Mackie, Kate Winslet and Woody Harrelson. But now behind the dial he faces a real emergency in the hotseat as the trigger man to all this droning on from the powers that be. Ready to make an opinion of a decision, but a literal long way from committing the very act themselves. Decisions made on the British Isles effect the Middle East all by way of the U.S state of Nevada. You can feel the weight of a new world on Paul's shoulders and he wears it on the souls of his eyes that control the skies. All the way through to the bulging veins on his forehead that almost become varicose. Matters of life and fatality have never been this stressed. Looking down at all though we do have some ground control thanks to the brilliant Barkhad Abdi who we last saw making his debut taking over captaincy of ships from Tom Hanks' 'Captain Phillips'. Look at him. Look at him! He's a real actor now. Abdi abides by a real and raw performance of measured soul that shows he is more than just a BAFTA winning one hit wonder or trick pony. Barkhad will attend another Oscars once again, mark these words...his name may just be in an Academy envelope too. But for what he's achieved in his legendary lifetime lets here it for Alan Rickman who commands his last performance from the chair with bold and beautiful confidence under confliction. Whether you know him as Hans Gruber or Snape, one of the greatest actors in great British history was more than just 'Harry Potter' and 'Die Hard'...and generally speaking this last role may be one of his best. The dearly departed is devoted to the cause here in tragically the last time we will see him on screen...although we will hear that iconically unmistakable voice through the looking glass one more time for this years 'Alice In Wonderland' sequel. Here though with the presence of grace and a mild mannered privacy of intensity, he has the last poignant word on just how real and raw war is even with the arms length advancements of technology. He also reaches to the only comic relief this forlorn film has over a toy baby doll like only this equally eccentric and eclectic man could. Here's to Rickman and for that and everything else he's done...thank you dear Alan. To the sky...always. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Monday, 25 April 2016
100 Minutes. Starring: Don Cheadle, Ewan McGregor, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Keith Stanfield & Michael Stuhlbarg. Director: Don Cheadle.
One day my biopic will come. That must have been kind of blue, going round young prince Don Cheadle's mind like notes over the 10 years he worked on this pure, poetic passion project like a War Machine. Now Colonel Jim Rhodes is using that 'Civil War' money to do battle with the music industry all for his muse...and we aint just talking about Francis. This is 'Miles Ahead'. Don Cheadle doesn't just embody Miles Davis, he goes that extra mile writing and directing him. With this Milestone he adds a production credit to his quintet of storytelling, but goes further down the road of Davis' life than being such an amazing actor. This is beyond the bones of a regular biopic were you're left thinking and forgetting that it's actually an actor on screen and not the real thing, like Jamie in 'Ray', or Black Panther, 'Team Iron Man', 'Captain America' avenging co-star Chadwick Boseman as James Brown in 'Get On Up'...or the first major league black baseball player Jackie Robinson in '42'. This is the man who also played Sammy Davis Jr's best since the heartbreakingly raw 'Hotel Rwanda'. Did you forget this 'Oceans Eleven' Rat Pack member and Marvel team player was one of the best actors around? Behind the notes this story of the best jazz musician of all-time doesn't look at the whole songsheet, more one line of music. But boy does he play the f### out of it! Miles once jammed with the late, great, dearly departed Prince on some unreleased material that will likely never see the light of day and fittingly this look of the genre king focuses on his literal life and death fight for the rights to his own music he has slaved over. Think this man just gave up for half a decade? NO! This cat literally would have died for his passion...by the gun. Now would one of your favourite big talking rappers who wouldnt have a voice if it wasn't for this raspy one do that? Didn't think so! Sure the narrative here may be all over the place like the man himself...but that's just jazz man!
It's a beautiful thing. Just one chapter of a sensational story that deserves your verse. And Cheadle writes it so well. Leaving you wishing for more footnotes to preface this than his Iron Man sidekick has sequels. Still like a Rolling Stone its his partner in crime Ewan McGregor who gets it all down for the record here. Playing a weed and tweeded out journalist looking for the diary of Davis' innermost influences and innervisions, Ewan is on the form of his career, like he was an actor all anew. With hair longer than his 'Star Wars' time in a galaxy far, far away from a barbershop and hitting drugs harder than 'Trainspotting', McGregor runs with the time and tide, look and feel of this era perfectly. The man who is about to go to the desert to play both Jesus Christ and the devil is on both shoulders of Miles as they kick in the door of record company offices scarily hilariously and Starskey and Hutch themselves round exciting but stakes lead car chases and gunfights. And just wait until he dukes it out with jazz's Ali over a punching bag. It's actually a nice moment, training you for the metaphors of life. It seems like they have to bob and weave from everybody. 'Boardwalk Empire', 'Hugo', 'Men In Black 3', 'Doctor Strange' and everything else actor/Joaquin Phoenix lookalike Michael Stuhlbarg furthers his wide net, character actor catalogue by playing an exec as shady as the 'tache and 70's sunglasses he hides behind. Whilst 'Selma' and 'Straight Outta Compton' rising star Keith Stanfield, who played Snoop Dogg so well furthers his range as a junked out musician with perhaps as much perplexed paranoia as he has substance of talent. Yet its the remarkable Emayatzy Corinealdi who plays Davis' funny valentine Francis...the beautiful woman on the iconic cover of Miles Davis' 'Someday My Prince Will Come' who really is a queen worthy of a king and every magazine cover, not just viynl. Proving this film of great loves is just as much for Bess as it is Porgy.
Yet from classic compositions on wax to critics articles printed on press, the realest ish wrote here is Cheadle's love letter to the Don of Jazz. "If you're gonna tell a story man, tell it with attitude", Miles used to say and boy does Don tell it right from the script to the directors chair. The 'House Of Lies' actor is the truth here. Genuinely no one else could portray this legend in this instantly iconic role. It's a perfect personification. Steamin' and workin' with quiet, yet fierce intensity, from the timbre of his grit in your eye gravelly voice to the tenor of his mood as unpredictable as where the next note out of his trumpet will go. Even if the autobiography history of the man isn't played out first hand. It's captured in those hauntingly piercing eyes that run for Miles, caught perfectly by Cheadle first-person. That's where the soul lies. And it's given real heart from actor to subject whose read, heard and felt it all. It's more than the look from the Nat King Cole smart 'Kind Of Blue' age to the James Brown funky, fresh dressed 'Bitches Brew' era. Speaking of which this actor/writer/directing triple threat is even more instrumental as he learns how to blow in the wind and play Social Music like the man that could move hands like he could fingers. Look for a neon illuminating end in concert with the legendary likes of Herbie Hancock to see how this man performs like he doesn't play. It's the baddest thing on film...if you dig it! It almost sounds as great as the man himself...and that's the point. From Chet Baker (look out for Ethan Hawke's dark depth turn behind brass that is 'Born To Be Blue') to John Coltrane's love supreme nobody could touch Davis...for well, you know a million of those things. But Cheadle comes close. This is even greater than 'Mo' Better Blues' with all due respect to the duet of Denzel Washington and Spike Lee. But here collaborating with the spirit of this jazz master, Don Cheadle does it all. From the 'Sketches of Spain' to the etches of pain, his writing hits the highest sixteenth, his dynamic direction brings all the players cohesively and creatively, all back together again like an encore. But one more time...it's just that look! Wow! And we aren't just talking about the dress of a closet only Prince could attest. Or the moves and mannerisms that are just Miles. Cheadle is ahead of it all. Don is the cool. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Thursday, 21 April 2016
Los Angeles Crimes
10 Episodes. Starring: Cuba Gooding Jr, John Travolta, David Schwimmer, Courtney B. Vance, Sarah Paulson, Sterling K. Brown, Nathan Lane, Bruce Greenwood, Jordana Brewster & Kenneth Choi.
Guilty pleasures don't come as darkly melodramatic as this...or do you object? 'The People vs OJ Simpson-American Crime Story'. How can we enjoy something like this? Are they really doing a show about this? About this man? A man who by all accounts except the one read by a jury of his "peers" is anything but the juice. But in regard to the controversy of the century lets leave divisive personal opinions out of this one. This is a review of a television show...not the justice system. You can imagine the team of bigwig Hollywood players in Los Angeles putting this one together. 'Let's get a big name to put his big bucks behind this production. How about John Travolta? It's been awhile since 'Face/Off' but the 'Saturday Night Fever' star still knows how to grease the industry wheels. Hey, maybe we could get him to play a few scenes in it! As a matter of fact speaking of the small screen what's David Schwimmer doing? We could cast him as a Kardashian that will make us more friends. How much have we got left? Enough to afford some underrated but acclaimed household names like Sarah Paulson and Bruce Greenwood? Maybe a 'Fast and Furious' star? After all this is L.A. Perhaps we could even get Nathan Lane to play it straight...now wouldn't thay be something? But who in the hell are we going to get to play O.J.? Wesley Snipes? Maybe he needs the money...but not the problems. How about Cuba?! Yeah Gooding Jr. He won an Oscar for playing an American Football player in 'Jerry Maguire'. He may just have the charisma to pull off the impossible'. Something like that? But alas let's not be so cynical. Sure it may not be as classic as 'The People vs Larry Flynt', but 'The People vs OJ' is one of the best shows on T.V. at the moment in this 'Making A Murderer' age. And this is from a furniture spud that has a hard time juggling 'Empire', 'Gotham' and 'Agents of SHIELD' on a Monday, all whilst trying to binge watch the latest season of 'Daredevil' like there's no tomorrow. What do you mean there's 50 episodes of 'House Of Cards' to catch up on? Where do they get the time to make all these shows...let alone us watch them?! But for all that is out there this is the one you should keep watching like everyone in the world did the trial back in the 90's. From the L.A. riots to a trial by corrupt fire that saw potentially the most criminal act of conviction walk away a free man due to doubts that are still sustained to this day as more than unreasonable. Think you know it all? Read more into it.
Courtroom dramas were the thing in the golden nineties entertainment era like 'The Firm', but now the 'American Crime Story' team are bringing it all back. But can we handle the truth? Because it looks like reality can't check it. Check this, based on the book of the same name 'The People vs OJ Simpson' will bring to light more evidence that will leave you with even more questions or disbelief that you can't beggar to believe were overuled. But as these plot points and twists come into play can we really enjoy this well made television "story" that well writes itself? Or is it more necessary viewing...in all the cases files of corruption and controversy. Especially in a time like the world we live in today. "Racism still alive, they just be concealing it". That's what controversial rap star/Mr. Kardashian, Kanye West said on his first album when he was just a College Dropout. But now all we care about is the life of Pablo's Yeezy's. Yet this race war was a trial that should have been more about the man and did he do it? And less about "the man" and what he was doing. But what did we just say about personal opinions on this matter? So lets leave the fiction behind. Fact is this take on the trial of the century is one of the best series' of the new milleniuum and we're already a decade and a half in of 'Sopranos' and 'Mad Men' through the wire. No matter what you think of O.J., Cuba Gooding Jr is perfect as Simpson. When the former NFL star was on the wide receival of more televisions being tuned into him than that famous yellow family he became one of the most recognisable faces in the world, albeit for all the wrong reasons. Now Gooding may not look a thing like O.J, but oh is he so good here. It's a transformation another way. Much more subtle than an impersonation. Its not physical...its psychological. It's not the gridiron experience of being shown the Maguire money. It's those lead worn eyes and all that comes out of the lids beneath them and that world worn, weary recognisable voice. All the rubbish his character spews or tries to recycle in his own mind. Cuba nails the crisis of O.J's inner conflictions, offset by his outer contradictions with undeniable conviction. He just fits.
Still he plays the shadows brilliantly in the background for another A-team of A-listers that make for the team behind or in front opposition of Simpson. He may be everyones focus, but he's not just the main focal point in this epic ensemble. You just have to love Courtney B. Vance as the most famous lawyer in the world, Johnnie Cochran. The star of 'The Preachers Wife' and Angela Bassett's husband looks and plays the part to the cufflink of his well manicured look and court starched suit. Compelling in his conversations with the court, cloaked in charm and charima, the man articulates with alliteration amazingly...alright?! Expect more letters handed to Vance, summoning B for more work. This show stealers Cochran is cocked and loaded with the reasons Simpson's lawyer knocked this one out the park for him, even the hypnotizing, ludicrous "you must acquit" mantra. The defence never rests. You wouldn't think the prosecution would stand a chance. But then from '12 Years A Slave' to 'Carol' you wouldn't ever accuse the maverick Sarah Paulson giving up without the good fight. Here she steps out of the stellar supporting stakes to lead counsel, clearing the bar. It's all about Marcia, Marcia, Marcia. Still by her side is the incredible and inspired actor Sterling K. Brown who offsets Cochran's confidence with the fighting nerve of a man on the right side, trying to do that thing. All whilst almost everyone sees him wrong, or on the "white side". All because of an ignorance that fails to see that this case is more than black and white, but the actual black and white of what happened. Still amongst all those grey areas and dark times Brown performs and plays it all admirably. Anxiety hasn't been gut wrenched through the screen from the soul this heart deep and real since Trai Byers' emotion in 'Empire'. You can more than hear it in the solidarity stunted stammers of his voice. You can see it in his eyes, behind those glasses that magnify that very soul that will not waver. So many give their all to this trial which really captures everything about modern day America from then until now. Featuring Nathan Lane breaking free from the 'Birdcage' and heading in another direction, playing a man he or we should despise with defiant definition that subtely screams, "I'm going to show you how bad this really was and in a way still is"! There's also room for valuable veteran Bruce Greenwood on this roster with a spark off the desk of the D.A's office. And 'The First Avenger' and 'The Wolf Of Wall Street' player Kenneth Choi who plays judge to this jury with killer execution. Even petrol head Jordana Brewster shows she's no air head in her fast but fury filled screen time on the stand. This show isn't afraid to hit nitrus and bring out the big guns. From David Schwimmer's finest in years, Ross worn, aged but seasoned in his acting talent. Bold in loyalty and innocently beautifully bringing depth and of course drama to a Kardashian. To John Travolta, fake tanned and botoxed up to the Los Angeles lawyer type hilt he plays with different but dynamite distinction. Holding his elbow in his hand and clap working the other one as if to make the universal sign for bull####. His puncuated performance is anything but though. In this All Star role call of Hollywood's take on historic Los Angeles Times that tell you more than the tabloid stories say or should share. It's the people behind 'American Crime Story' vs an unjust world. First they took on the LAPD, next season it's how the American Government dealt with Hurricane Katrina. You're going to demand a retrial. There's a storm coming. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Monday, 11 April 2016
The Cloverfield Project.
103 Minutes. Starring: John Goodman, Mary Elisabeth Winstead & John Gallagher Jr. Director: Dan Trachtenberg.
Go postal and take a trip to '10 Cloverfield Lane' and you may just wish you never wiped your feet on the welcome mat. Because this "spiritual successor", sequel of sorts, side story to the 'Blair Witch' found footage project of 'Cloverfield' is just as much in orbit with the horror genre as it is the science fiction one. And boy is it scary! After the fallout of the alien apocalypse in New York and now set in a shelter from the storm above, it goes nuclear on your every nerve. As above as below, from the death from above to the six feet under and rising depth of a bunker home that brings claustraphobia to your every fear and worst nightmare. But boy is it good! 'Cloverfield' director J.J. Abrams takes a Speilbergian production side-seat and executive credit on this one following his twin 'Trek' and 'War' with the stars that shows in this reboot age he is rocket fuel to the boldly gone, galaxy far, far away franchises. Crimson and clover, how about a do-over? Because this one is sort of a retake in itself, or the one sequel that you can say is nothing like the original...let alone superior. We may not know exactly what it is, but this film is anything but that problem. First time director Dan Trachtenberg rachets up the tension on this second 'Cloverfield', behind a sonically scary score that will take your head off like the Statue of Liberty in the first film and leave the hands of Hans needing a Zimmer. From the car passing the fields of crops primed to be circled at the beginning you have no idea which way this is all going to go round. As this top ten sci-fi of the last decade finds its own, new lane.
Now lets ride with 'Die Hard 4.0' actress Mary Elisabeth Winstead in this Cloverfield 2.0 as she is in a race against time, pack your things and go, run for her life. But spot the ring on the table and you'll see that its the doomsday of divorce she's skipping town for. But whose that voice on the phone calling her back? Well this 'Alias' is a vocal cameo from a Hollywood hearthrob/Racoon taking out the trash in a whole new galaxy. I bet you didn't see that coming? Well this film has plenty of those blaring moments ready to run you off the road and hit you sideways. Waking you up to the concrete floor basement of this underground cellar that's as cold as the pipe your handcuffed to isn't. Just like 'Saw', strapped up with a broken leg cast in leather. Face that! Yeah, Mary Elisabeth Winstead's had better days...but perhaps not as an actress. This may just be her best role yet. The 'Die Hard' breakout, who never got her not so 'Good Day' sequel star is dynamic dynamite here in this explosion of the senses atuned with fear. Her host in this house of horrors, John Goodman. Still on his half decade tear that started with the Oscar winning 'The Artist' and cumilated on a Jean Dujardin reunion in 'Monuments Men'. Between other terrific turns in 'Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close', 'Flight', 'Argo', 'Inside Llewyn Davis', 'The Gambler', 'Trouble With The Curve' and the third 'Hangover' movie. But this is 'Red State' frightening. Here the question is; is John a good man or not? One thing he's really good at is acting. Scary good as you'll never guess if this man seeking a friend for the end of the world is telling the truth or lieing with the devil. Stocked up with all the canned food and packaged ready meals his Costco cart could carry and making the living room of his man cave look his best like the sitcom set of 'Roseanne', this is far from fun...but you have to appreciate some wicked wit. Sinisterly serious but with something compelling about his creepy charm. John is so good as a man powered by human race holocaust paranoia and a ungracefully social inept, perplexed view of people. After all the the big number pictures this 'Big Lebowski' star has marked down this complex character could be his biggest score and the number one things dear John's always remembered for. He's just that good.
Yet threes a crowd. And you know Green Day Broadway star John Gallagher Jr. is going to cause trouble like a rock star in a hotel room with the television set on a short cable lead. Still the anchoring star of 'The Newsroom' is terrific as a hick who could have made good on an athletic scholarship if he just took that bus out of town and didn't make that wrong turn over and over again like another horror franchise. He's a trucker hat stop or two away from all of that though junior. Time to find your way home. Abrams and this new 'Cloverfield' director have set up shop with all the bells and whistles of some out of this world as we know it, 'Alien' horror rooted in the nature of fiction of the future that plays on our consciousness of what exactly we are doing for tomorrow today. Just like the prophetic parables of the pioneering forefather of this genre Phillip K. Dick. The 'Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep' writer would be proud of this total recall adapted from the screenplay 'The Cellar' and moonlighted under the no spoilers or leaks allowed name of 'Valencia'. No sketches of Spain however, this is almost all too 'War Of The Worlds' radio broadcast, fake fear inducing real. It hits you not so subtely but maybe not so seriously like a family board game gone all too skin crawling and lump throat familiar. Who am I? What is this? Something that will leave you screaming like the harsh ear drum rolling sound of screeching, slashing metal from the iron lung bunkers opening and closing door you could have sworn levered towards something else. What is this? The real follow up to the 'Cloverfield' franchise that many thought was originally J.J's 80's Speilberg homage 'Super 8'. Well that's more like 'Midnight Special'. Get your camcorders or iPhones ready because from the millenials to the vine generation this is something else entirely. Even Hud himself T.J. Miller couldn't quite catch something like this on camera...and he just directed the long awaited, eagerly anticipated Marvel, comic-book adaptation 'Deadpool' movie. Well mercs mouths are going to be moving about this one. The aliens praying on mother earth like a mantis are back...and you may not be able to see them but it sounds like they're getting even bigger and better. Now all you want to do is crawl your way to the top and really see the abducting light. Just make sure you send us a postcard...we want to see where all this goes. You know the address. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
111 Minutes. Starring: Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst, Adam Driver, Jaeden Lieberher & Sam Shepard. Director: Jeff Nichols.
00.00. Zero Dark. Get your Super 8's ready. It's time for a close encounter of an extra terrestrial kind. 'Midnight Special' isn't some dodgy offer at a seedy strip joint, but a 1969 Creedence Clearwater classic and a film that matches the tone and time of quintessentialy old, small town America perfectly. Let this new, fresh but vintage science fiction shine on you. Speilberg would be proud...or executive producer if he wasn't too busy green lighting and reassembling, same parts 'Transformers' junk. 'Midnight Special' is some real mid-night hour beauty, unique in its own right. Albeit taking cues from the 80's, tomorrows new world, sci-fi and UFO greats and even a little storytelling inspiration from the classic Cormac/Cohen likes of 'No Country For Old Men'. Still here in Jeff Nichols' fourth feature it looks like no world for young boys with special abilities. Because Michael Shannon is on the run from the men in black government and those "he's the second coming" small-town religious zealot types all screaming "I WILL FIND HIM" like his 'Man Of Steel' character! All about a boy who reads comics with a flashlight and has Superman eyes once he takes off those Cyclops swimming goggles. Good job Zod is on his side. Take shelter because you never know what will hit you, or come out of the sky as the great 'Mud' director gets his hands dirty with what a morally or mindful crippled or corrupt people or culture would do if they discovered something real in this science fiction new age, powered by our love of superheroes. Yet this is the real Marvel. Following brilliant and unique E.T. films like the recent '10 Cloverfield Lane' bunker find that refuse to alienate the genre, this is compelling, beautiful and just looks and feels so damn special. Damn the time...you'll want to stay up and watch this no matter the hour.
Shannon shines like the whites of his on-screen sons eyes, despite looking road and world weary in this tripping ride. He's out of this one here however with one of the signature performances of his Academy autographed career. The 'Revolutionary Road' Oscar winner and 'Boardwalk Empire' standout walks a new weathered line in these back countries. With a fork in the road from the big budget comic world he even co-starred in in this months 'Batman v Superman-Dawn Of Justice' as a corpse, he goes back to being an instantly recognisable, independent face with a body of work that is still so surprisingly so much more about quality than it is quantity (but did you see how funny we was last Christmas in 'The Night Before'?!). Exhibiting understated qualities that shouldn't be overlooked. They should be undeniable to the eyes of the soul. Like this film its indelible. This is his best pipe strong lead since his chilling classic 'The Iceman'. Going from pinstripes to Carhartt this is Shannon's coldest yet, playing a man who would give the bones of his soul to save his son. Riding shotgun to him with a blunderbuss is everyones new favourite friend Joel Edgerton in this American muscle, pumping iron on a night vision, dark highway. Here this State Trooper, last seen as an officer of law and disorder, aligning with the Boston illegal of Johnny Depp in the brilliant mainstream massacre 'Black Mass' cops another classic role. Ever since his 'Warrior' breakout win this ruling Australian has had more than a lot of fight in him. Whether chasing down leads on the 'Life' of Dane DeHaan's James Dean, or getting his light sabre duels on in 'Star Wars' this man is a force of nature. And you can file this special next to his seal in 'Zero Dark Thirty', his page turning turn in Baz Lurhman's 'The Great Gatsby' adaptation and the vastly underrated remake of 'The Thing' as his best work to date furthering his formidable filmography. Here he's worn but as tough as boot leather and tied to this out of the same sense of duty that is adopted by the patrol he ironically has to turn his back on for the greater good. Sometimes even when you go by the book you have to rip out some pages and here Edgerton is on a tear. Write that down and underline it! Matter of fact, circle it twice!
Before the dawn however there's more magic to this mid-nite hour supernova. A long way from the 'Spider-Man' days of playing school hall M.J. to Tobey Maguire's Peter Parker, Kirsten Dunst is all grown up and matured in character. Here bringing another indie gem to her stand alone career. More mothering than sunday, there is a tortured nurturing side to the woman she plays that she brings forth with real emotive compassion and raw restraint. Don't hold back...this is one of her best yet. Hair tied back and with no make up you can see who Mary Jane really is...and it's beautiful. Speaking of the science fiction world of geek Big Bangs its time for some Adam Driver girls. And the 'Star Wars' star awakens even realer acting on the lighter side of alien activity...even if some times he sounds like he's still talking through that Kylo Ren mask. I gurantee he'll finish what he started though...one hell of a big break from the small screen to the linings of the silver one. In a remarkable film of magnificent mystery and slow snake slithering suspense, which sees Nichols reunite with 'Take Shelter' star Michael Shannon (can we see Jessica Chastain in another one of this directors movies too? We'd love that almost as much as a 'Tree Of Life' reunion with Malik!), 'Mud' scene stealer Sam Shepard also stars. Albeit a little too brief, but still so brilliant. Still the pick of this A list cast has to be the kid, the young pup of this litter. Jaeden Lieberher may still be too young to make grades, but he records a star one here. As illuminating as the effects on his pupils this young man exhibits great poise and mastered maturity beyond his wonder years...perhaps a necessary trait in the Hollywood evils of this 'child star' age. By your mother, Lieberher is the genuine article. This all makes for the foundations of great fiction beyond science to something much more true...family. It's everything in this evoking epic that is as close to the heart as it is atmospheric. Sure between the air up there and all thats brought down to earth this 'Tomorrowland' and some of its plot could do with some more explaining. Or maybe that's just what makes it that more of a rare jewel. Plus when you see what's between the look of a son and his fathers eyes what more explanation do you need? You understand? Now that really is special. TIM DAVID HARVEY.