Wednesday, 27 July 2016
123 Mins. Starring: Matt Damon, Julia Stiles, Alicia Vikander, Vincent Cassell, Riz Ahmed, Ato Essandoh & Tommy Lee Jones. Director: Paul Greengrass.
Consider this a rebirth. Resurrection. After Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye looked to carry on 'The Bourne Legacy' in twenty twelve, you just knew you couldn't really do Robert Ludlem's novel character without the legend. 'Jason Bourne' himself. Matt Damon. No matter how good a franchise actor the Avenging Renner is. Just like being the choice to carry on Ethan Hunt's 'Mission Impossible's' it's hard to accept it without Tom Cruise. At least Clint Barton's brought his bow and arrow out of retirement for a straight shooting pluck in 'Civil War'. Truth be told however Jeremy forged quite the legacy, spying a spin-off. But Matt just remains the most marketable man in Hollywood. America have been searching for this spy for too long. Saving this 'Private Ryan'. Going 'Interstellar' and out of this world...twice, looking for this 'Martian' lost in space. But after proving in his "alien" blockbuster with Ridley Scott last year that he could survive life on mars living off just potatoes harvested from his own poop, Batman's best friend proved he really was the s####. Now it's no ultimatium reuniting with trilogy and 'Green Zone' director Paul Greengrass-who has recently been lost at sea with a tense and terrific, pirate cast away Tom Hanks as 'Captain Phillips'-it's supremacy.
Bond for the Bauer generation, you have to say you just love watching Bourne...even if someone can be forgiven for shockingly mis-hearing you. Hardcore spy films have been a good lookout for quite some time. They are as traditional as vintage Vodka Martini's...no matter how they come served. In last years 'Spectre' of espionage thrillers 'Mission Impossible' faced a 'Rogue Nation' and we even saw the return of another 60's classic (no, not Austin Powers) in 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.'. Where Henry Cavill went all cavalier against characteristic Clark Kent type and showed just how charismatic he was with his own double-0 audition. Even new 'Ghostbuster' Melissa McCarthy and the proton to her pack, director Paul Feig couldn't help but get in on the action with their silly, but seriously funny 'Spy' paradoy. Still even in the year of 007 James you can't call it a spy game without Jason and that's why Matt is back after his career redux drawing power from the red planet. Even if it looked like Renner was going to be the first of many actors to take on the Bourne mantle like multiple Bonds the only thing from 'The Hurt Locker' here is their classic cinematographer. Damon remains Connery on this one. The one, true and only. Although we'd hold our collective breaths for however long it takes to see both on screen for the ultimate 'Bourne' crossover mash-up. Just like hold out for that Moby themed finale every film after J.B. gets one over somebody or can tell how tired they look from a snipers scope distance. Forget Tyrese Gibson's crazy but entertaining idea of having Jason Bourne join the 'Fast & Furious' team and franchise. He will just have to settle for the 'Fury Road' of Charlize Theron...we know we could cope. And if Robert Ludlum is to Bourne what Ian Fleming is too Bond and Matt Damon, Sean Connery. Then Greengrass is Sam Mendes. Or is that the other way round? I spy...
Green lighting the tensest action from classic espionage cobbled streets of Europe, mopping up all the Metro area action back on a moped again, to the neon of Nevada, Greengrass gives his respawned Bourne all the zones to play in. You think that mini-car chase that paid homage to the identity of Gene Hackman's 'French Connection' really hit and connected? Well just wait until you see Jason strip down every vehicle on Las Vegas boulevard, breaking dreams like casinos in a classic car carnage scene that just won't stop pileing up the set pieces. The last time Damon got away with something like this in Sin City he had George Clooney and Brad Pitt by his side...not to mention the rest of the 'Oceans'. Now one-upping a trilogy a bare knuckled and chested jacked Damon is swinging back as Bourne...even without a book. Forget by the book. Damon goes against it all. Superhero blockbusters, special effects, father time...Kimmel. Not to mention a class cast. From Oscar winning 'Danish Girl' of the moment and former 'Ex Machina' android actress Alicia Vikander, on the versatile form of her young life. To a stirring Julia Stiles...you didn't just think it was Bourne returning did you? And 'Nightcrawler' shotgun star Riz Ahmed creeping through the online service and servers public vs privacy debate with a real voice. To familiar face from 'Hitch', 'Get Him To The Greek' and 'Django Unchained' Ato Essandoh on the confident breakout streak the back catalogue of his career deserves. But it's the veterans that give the best service...even if it is on the wrong side. Two of the most expressive faces in the business just get better with age. The callous villainy of Vincent Cassell is so good you just can't help but see him as nothing but bad. Whereas Tommy Lee Jones hasn't been at an official position like in a 90's blockbuster like this since he chased down 'The Fugitive'. But now on the other side of the law he hasn't been this sinister since he was 'Under Siege' either. Just look at the evil in his eyes when he orders his team to cut off the proverbial (we can only hope) head. Or in the same board meeting, beats later how calm he looks behind his desk and tie as he demands a girl be "put in a box" (we sure can only hope he doesn't mean a wooden one). You just knew that if Bourne was going to go on he had to have a legend stand in his way. And it doesn't get much bigger than this. From 'Independence Day' to the 'Apocalypse' if your sick of cinematic candy this blockbuster Summer it's time for your meat and potatoes. 'Jason Bourne' and the man who plays him, Matt Damon...the Tim Duncan of movies. Always getting it done even when we just take it for granted forget. All whilst showing those who dare to call them boring just how entertaining they really are. With all due respect to the raw and real Renner, 'Bourne' will always be Damon's identity. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Tuesday, 26 July 2016
Jokes On Luke.
76 Mins. Starring: Mark Hamill, Kevin Conroy, Tara Strong & Ray Wise. Ditector: Sam Liu.
How about a joke? I promise it will kill you! You just have to give Luke Skywalker a hand...c'mon let me hear it! He's finally crossed over to the dark side. All in a purple haze. Now 30 Seconds To Mars frontman and 'Dallas Buyers Club' Oscar winner Jared Leto may be having the latest laugh as The Joker. Hoping to kill it in the upcoming weeks 'Suicide Squad' movie that has been teased for around a year now (check the new 'Justice League' and 'Wonder Woman' trailers, that just seems to be what DC do). Even though he has a big purple suit to fill in the late, great redefining 'Dark Knight' actor Heath Ledger who will always have the last laugh. But 'Star Wars' star Mark Hamill has been punching lines as the Clown Prince for decades now. He's as much Batman's arch nemesis as Leto, Ledger, Jack Nicholson and even Cesar Romero are...if not more so. Almost every comic-book that has turned into cartoon cariacture from the 90's classic, timeless 'Batman-The Animated Series' to feature films have heard Hamill's unrecognisable, but unmistakable Joker voice...and of course laugh. You don't just have to watch the latest 'Kingsman' film to be mistaken for thinking this guy is as British as the Secret Service. Even when you console yourself with Batman's 'Arkham' video games you can't escape his maddening Mark. Hamill has played The Joker card more than anybody. And you just thought he was standing on some rock in the highlands of Scotland looking all forlorn. Jokes on you!
Or is that Luke? Now many an animated Bats flick have had almost as much success as the big, live action feature films (that may not be too hard right now after this years critically and commercially disappointing 'Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice' movie that was actually damn good), from 'The Dark Knight Rises' to 'The Dark Knight Returns'. But this time they're going for the comic-book crown. Taking geek arguably Batman's most infamous and best graphic novel (at the very least the best Joker one), 'The Killing Joke' and finally making Alan Moore and Brian Bollard's 80's classic a big-screen feature now those who grew up reading it when they shouldn't will be trying to hide it from their own kids. In making a cartoon out of Batman's darkest night (with respect to Paul Dini's (the man whose Batman animated series brought the clown out of Hamill himself and also introduced us to a new character creation of his you may have heard of, or be hearing more of soon, Harley Quinn) latest autobiographical, meta novel that overcomes any adversity, physical or emotional), this could easily be suicide for a struggling D.C. But with a hit squad lead by director Sam Liu (and featuring a world weary vocal Ray Wise, the right choice as Commissioner Gordon and a terrific Tara Strong as his Batgirl (with a tacked on and somewhat sexually tacky in its lack of tact, but Strong held entertaining origin story for a character so popular right now even 'Iron Man 3' and 'Nice Guys' director Shane Black wants to do a movie about her) daughter Barbara), turning classic cells into rich animation (complete with colourful Easter Eggs at a coin flip...including a headshot of the greatest jester to ever tell the Jokers tale) as vibrant as neon nights sometimes bad guys don't die. No matter how you interpret the classic ending.
But as another new era of Batman begins, going back to this classic we have a vintage feeling film that can still have mass appeal to the mainstream digital generation, whether you're watching it in 4K or at home on the barcelounger. That's because Mark Hamill and the man who may have played the Bat more times than his adversary has played the "two-bit wack job", Kevin Conroy make for a hell of a team...or should we say pair of bitter enemies?! These guys are two of a kind as Batman and the Joker just like Adam West and Ceser Romero, Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson, Christian Bale and Heath Ledger and soon to be Ben Affleck and Jared Leto...just you wait seven days. They belong to their own animated, die hard, comic coral generation. Between all the lozenge needing Bale grunts and growls and Affleck's dynamic digital upgrade, tell me does anyone have a voice that just bleeds Batman more than Conroy? And aside from Ledger making the white war paint make-up all his own and Leto seemingly impersonating him from a vocal standpoint (Jared just loving this too, with his own photographic interpretation of this novels classic graphic cover on the lens of his Instagram feed filling the Mars mainstream masses with cult nostalgia) is any mans voice and laugh more cruelly clowning as The Joker then the one made by Mark? Cult arguably even more The Joker than he is Luke, Hamill brings it all out of the prince of purple (with all due respect to the late, great Artist that once made an entire 'Batman' soundtrack off one dance). All the "just one bad day" madness and the gravity of an honest and painfully human origin story we didn't see until Moore showed us more. He has all that it takes...with just a little push. This may just be his ace in the hole turn as the playing card trick, his best hand yet. We told you you had to give it to him. Now how about we shake on it? Put it there! Because the jokes on all of us. By the rain of a pale moonlight we'll all leave this ending laughing. Even if it kills us. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Friday, 22 July 2016
Frontier & Furious
122 Minutes. Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, Karl Urban, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Sofia Boutella & Idris Elba. Director: Justin Lin.
50 years! Half a century. That's how long 'Star Trek' has been in space. The final frontier. All for the voyages of the Starship Enterprise. Continuing it's mission. Seeking out new lives and new civilisations. Boldy going where no one has gone before. Except the late, great forefather Gene Roddenberry. Who from the outstanding, original series to next generation and those in 'Deep Space Nine' continuing Enterprise's voyager, all the way to the warp speed streaming of a new Netflix show in the next dimension has influenced it all. But nothing has seemed quite as inspired as J.J. Abrams original Kirk and Spock series movie reboot classic in 2009 from the moment a before 'Thor' Chris Hemsworth introduced himself to the world he sacraficed his fathering George Kirk character for so poignantly and every pure emotion evoking powerfully. Before the script flipped elation of the Kirk kid going all Thelma no Louise in a drop-top classic Cadillac through the cornfields of vintage/futuristic Iowa to the 'Sabotage' of the Beastie Boys illest communication now as synomynous to this series as it is iconic too it. And those who love a good nostalgic retro throw and call back will just love riding along with this hip-hop gem again like another powerful fight song from Public Enemy. Almost as much as they'll love seeing one of this series' best characters-albeit in the few minutes of one act-Hemsworth back in the chair for 'Star Trek 4'. Now that film will be a beast boy. But let's not go beyond 'Beyond'. After going boldly but bleakly 'Into Darkness' with Benedict 'Cumberhench's' Khan character for the supped up sequel that was fellow 'Bard Brit Hiddleston's glass celled Loki 'Avengers' inspired, J.J. ended his five year mission by going against what all die hard fans could ever imagine out of this world by directing the new 'Star Wars' film with what now looks like his 'The Force Awakens' audition. But boy did he knock it far, far away and out the galaxy as the science fiction master is now the go to genius when it comes to rebooting iconic cult classics for their own maiden voyages in space...FACT! Now when it comes to the wild west versus spaces seven seas twin rivaling sci-fi space franchises how can you choose between 'Star Wars' and 'Star Trek'? Like choosing between Stallone or Schwarzenegger. The Lakers and Celtics. The Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Batman or Superman. It's like being asked which of your kids you love more. It just has to be equally...even if you do favour the eldest. It's too close to call. You can't have one without the other. And as Abrams goes from lens-flare director to executive producers chair he gives the comm to the Linsanity of Justin Lin. The famed 'Fast and Furious' director that's taking J.J.'s Enterprise beyond warp speed and hitting the Nitrus.
Beyond 'Darkness', drifting through the solar system like it was the neon of downtown Tokyo, Japan, Justin Lin pulls off his biggest job since the 'Fast Five' heist in Rio. Now we're one string vest away from Vin Diesel pulling up alongside the Starship Enterprise in some American Muscle you know can fly (if you saw it Burj Khalifa in Dubai like it was Tom Cruise), and challenging Kirk to one last ride. But what would get hit first? The nitrus or warp? Still Justin has shown he's not just about the cereal box cars-although in this craft he does bring bikes worthy of Bourne-directing the first couple of Colin Farrell formidable episodes in season two of the cruelly wrote off but still critically disappointing 'True Detective', for your filmography evidence. Plus with all joking aside however this franchise has had to race against a lot of loss and we're not talking about the directors driving seat. The halfway to 100 'Star Trek' franchise itself has been hit by many a seismic shift over the last year as tragic as 2016 has been. First we said Live Long and Prosper one last time forever to the original Mr. Spock Leonard Nimoy who passed away early last year and then all too tragically and accidentally we lost one of our youngest and best. The sweet soul of Anton Yelchin who made Chekov beloved again. Passing just weeks before this and many more films the versatile character created were set to be released. And beyond this film as the cast and crew pay tribute to Nimoy on screen with a testament tribute, Lin trademark toast to those we love who we have lost, the look on Anton's a million stories able to tell actors face is almost as powerfully poignant as his no longer able to be funny, meta joke, red shirt reaction in 'Into Darkness' is now cruelly so. But still in his final Trek his buddy dynamic with Pine's Kirk reminds us that when it comes to losing the people we love after the mourning they live forever and are to be remembered in the happy and good memories. But oh to hear him say "Captain On The Bridge" one more time. To add insult to tragedy almost like Shatner, original crew member George Takei snubbed 'Star Trek: Beyond's' John Cho's compelling character and arc in finally revealing Sulu as having a husband and family. An actual amazing tribute to Takei and all he had to put up with and go through, even on a show that was multi-cultural and accepting in almost all relations in a future leading methaphor for the changing times which we actually still need now more than ever. The still gracious George thinks it skews Gene's original vision. But with all overdue respect does he not know what this new timeline reboot series alongside the original is all about? Or how tastefully and subtley beautiful the moment to be seen on screen is handled with respectful care and no trace of any kind of Hollywood bulls###? At least Zachary Quinto in his defense does more than admirablly honor Spock and Nimoy. Like two fingers together...for always.
With so much damage to report like the Enterprise spoon splitting like an egg opening carnage of Linsane breakthrough, 'Star Trek' had to hit back with phasers set to more than stun. And they did...with a 'Sledgehammer'. The Sia 'Chandelier' smashing Rihanna delivered monster which was just the huge hit this franchise needed to stonecut a concrete Summer of blockbusters solid, but ones not breaking any new ground. Building everything back up brick by brick all hands are on deck for the classic crew of this new generation. Even if 'Darkness' screaming stereotype Alice Eve and her potential for more is missing off the ships log. They have to be to take on 'Beasts Of No Nation' bad man Idris Elba, breaking free of 'Apocalypse', Oscar Issac, pathetic prostetic constraints. As this Lutheran that could even beat Macklemore in a dance off breaks new ground as Krall, a Khan like threat to an 'Elysium' like community of space station humans. The 'Thor' star who is one 'I Love Taylor Swift' t-shirt away from passing and shaking co-star Tom Hiddleston's martini bar to be the new Bond is exactly the star power the third part of this trilogy needs. Like his forthcoming 'The Dark Tower' from the King of horror, he is stirring. Just like Quinto's quintessential modern Spock...always the logical choice. Or Karl Urban being both the flesh and bones of Doc McCoy. Complete with scotch and conversation on the rocks in place of Bruce Greenwood's last called Pike. 'Dammit Jim I'm a Doctor not a barman!' (I'm sorry I couldn't resist) Not to mention Galaxy Guardian Zoe Saldana leaving everyone green the way she can switch from Avatar blue to showing true. And of course 'Star Trek's Steve Rogers, your Captain oh Captain Chris Pine. Unstoppable in his finest hours as James T. Oh so charismatic and oh so Kirk even down to the wig homaging comb over hair. Slick! Comm complete with his helmsmen in front, Cho and Yelchin meaning so much with everywhere they take us. And if you want more power, the beaming Simon Pegg has it as Scotty. Even hilariously serving as screenwriter here even if you canny believe it. Like the number of times he calls Sophie Boutella "lassie", passing annoying for endearing. You'd almost think her unrecognisable alien character was canine. But the former Madonna back-up dancer that moved us so convincingly in 'Kingsman' that everyone thought she actually had metal skewering spikes for feet steals every scene she cuts. Now you know why she's here...why we're all here. To enjoy new captain Lin in the directors chair ("he likes that seat") give us an anniversary tribute to more than just everything 'Star Trek' that plays like a retro, classic episode from the old series. Frontier awakening fun and entertainment on a solar system epic scale. And not just for everyone. For Anton. Live long like your life prospered. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Saturday, 16 July 2016
By TIM DAVID HARVEY
Almost famous for something other than what you see on screen. Behind the scenes if you go inside the actors studios you just may hear more from your favourite artists. Actors who can lend their creative craft to another medium. From movies to music some of your favourite Oscar winning Hollywood stars have added albums to their Academy. And we're not just talking about Frank Sinatra and the rest of the Rat Pack. Or even the "Rap" pack led by the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Will Smith. In no particular order here's ten of the top thespians making tracks today.
Oscar Isaac: Ever since the Oscar worthy Isaac went 'Inside Llewyn Davis' with those Cohen brother folk the next great actor of our generation has hit another tuning fork in the road of his set to be epic journey of a career. Much like his chamelonic slicked back and shaven or shaggy beard and curls looks he brings to his diverse roles he makes real, the man has married the two performing arts together in mesmerizing matrimony. You can see all of this in black and white for the beautifully shot and wrote 'Switchblade City' (his own outstanding written work) video across a New York Subway for Details magazine. Now we need more like the force of his inspired 'Star Wars' ditty. Forget about those awesome rumours that he may be playing Springsteen...we need an actual album too.
Robert Downey Jr.: R.D.J. may be universally, out of this world famous as much as he is charismatic these days for his career avenging Iron Man work for Marvel, but the late 90's was a stark contrast for the man that some call Tony. The promising actor went to war with drug addiction and you could see it during his guest spots on hit golden era show 'Ally McBeal'. What you could also see and hear however was just how talented the charming actor was behind a piano. These ivory vocals lead to a decadent debut of an album ('The Futurist') and then a powerfully poignant Elton John video much like the Justin Timberlake 'This Train Don't Stop Here Anymore' one where the actor that broke through as Chaplin mimed along to Elton's best 'I Want Love' in an empty mansion before lip-syncing was a thing. Now if Elton and Eminem can do it live we want a duet.
Scarlett Johansson: Losing yourself in translation, listening to Johansson sing karaoke with Bill Murray in Tokyo isn't the only way you can see different shades of Scarlett. Even if the Black Widow's Japan classic with 'Scrooged' lead to a Sofia Coppela special reunion for 'A Murray Christmas' variety show last fall. Scarlett Johansson may have been missing here, but you can't let her 'Break Up' duet album with sensational singer/songwriter Pete Yorn pass you by. It was more than a gimmick or the one big hit 'Relator'. Just listen to her compellingly channel 'I Am The Cosmos' on her own. Or her own beautiful solo album 'Anywhere I Lay My Head' comprised of covers of compositions by the legend Tom Waits. And we all know how successful the 'Big In Japan' singer is between scripts and songsheets. Underrated isn't the word.
Jeff Bridges: With a voice like Beau's brother you just know this dude has the True Grit required to make music to drink White Russians too. The man that can go from Tron to country in a chord or code change really knows how to make a legacy for himself. It all started with his country strong work in 'Crazy Heart'...which also showed just how good Irishman Colin Farrell could jig as a Texan singer. This Oscar nominated performance lead to the gravelly voiced storyteller cutting a self-titled country L.P. that really made a name for itself. Bridging the gap between music and movies Jeff knows how to really tie everything together.
Terrence Howard: With Robert, Scarlett, Jeff and even Gwyneth Paltrow's 'Glee'-ful forarys into music you just know the jam sessions between scenes for the 'Iron Man' movies were something to marvel at. And even though he eventually got replaced by the man that was ahead of it all this year as Miles Davis, Don Cheadle, Terrence Howard could have joined in too. Because the man that was given a record deal after rapping up his hip-hop film 'Hustle & Flow' alongside 'Fast & Furious' rapper/actor Ludacris flipped it all completely. Releasing a jazzy classic, albeit cruelly critically wrote off album 'Shine Through It' that was his soul 'Sanctuary'. That wasn't rap but every other genre that influenced it. Now following his disappointment he's back in the game as T.V. show soap hip-opera's Lucious Lyon, running an entertainment series 'Empire'. But we'd love another album that shines through it all. Please Terrence! Don't stay off 'Mr. Johnson's Lawn'!
Jamie Foxx: Comedian Jamie Foxx may have had the last laugh on co-star and rival Howard's album which he said went double plastic. But the man that made his Oscar gold with 'Ray' knew how to hit platinuum too and not just when channeling Charles for Kanye West's 'Gold Digger'. The 'Slow Jamz' expert has shown he's a music, movie and comedy triple-threat with four albums added to his impressive genre and store section defying and defining catalogue. His biggest hits include 'Unpredictable', 'Extravaganza', 'Blame It', 'Fall For Your Type' and of course...'Hollywood'. Funny!
Zooey Deschanel: Zooey is far from a 'New Girl' when it comes to music and we're not talking about her 'Yes Man' mock-group Munchkin By Proxy or when the actress sings 'It's Cold Outside' in the shower with Will Ferrell's 'Elf'. Not only has she cut cute collaborations with '500 Days Of Summer' co-star Joesph Gordon-Levitt...who we need to hear more from. She's also hit record on her perfect She & Him partnership with maverick musician M. Ward. The couplets couple even crafted a haunting, hallmark Christmas album just in time for the holidays. Now you really must stay!
Ryan Gosling: 'La La Land' has another surprise for us as the trailer for Ryan Gosling and Emma Stones 'Crazy, Stupid, Love' reunion from 'Whiplash' director Damien Chazzelle shows Ryan really can carry a note like he was singin' in the rain for this Gene Kelly like classic dance number. Now it'll be all the guys screaming "oh come on" as Gosling strips away more layers. As the Hollywood heartthrob far from an ugly duckling is really black swanning right now. Heard it all before? Than just listen to the Dead Man Bones of his choir backed chorus of folk music bandmanship...also in time for Christmas. This guy who you didn't even think was funny until his turn with another actor come singer Russell Crowe really is nice.
Jared Leto: Chickens and eggs, jokes on us. Is this guy a singer or actor? He used to be few ('Fight Club') and far ('American Psycho') between but after joining the skinny of Matthew McConaughey's Oscar winning 'Dallas Buyers Club' this is no act. And as this rock stars punk clown prince is set to join Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger's Joker squad (not to mention Mark Hamill's always animated 'Killing Joke') this good bad guy will either be an ace in the hole winning hand or career suicide. If the latter is true and it's just another 15 minutes of fame Jared just has some other little project to fall back on...something called 30 Seconds To Mars.
Joaquin Phoenix: Inspiring this all Phoenix rose from walking the line as the greatest country star of all time in his beautiful biopic to coming back down to the ashes of a Zach Galafianakis looking 'I'm Not There', launching a W.T.F. rap career like an in reverse Terrence Howard. Turns out it was all a joke for cousin Casey Affleck's mockumentary. The Academy accredited is back to his acting best ('Inherent Vice'), but with a voice like that it's time he cashed in on some of that Johnny country. Time for Phoenix to return to that ring of fire.
Friday, 15 July 2016
By TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Ridiculous. Downright. That's what Oscar Isaac looks like right now. In what almost looks like any actors career 'Apocalypse'. Now it's a good job you can barely tell it's him, although his trademark Academy accredited acting skill still breaks the mould through the Plaster of Paris, cheap looking outfitted ensemble that looks like something whipped up for a kids Halloween party last minute. Encased like he was still in a sarcophagus with a metal cobra skin hood and a Blue Man group complexion, someone should tell the costume designer of the latest big 'X-Men' blockbuster that the new 'Power Rangers' lot is next left...because this is definitly a wrong turn. Fox's formidable run as Marvel franchisee is the longest superhero one yet. Starting with the new milleniuum Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Sir Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen trilogy in 2000 and ending with this rebooted trilogy that started so 'First Class' promising with new X and Magneto, James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, peaked with the all-cast encompassing timelines of the classic 'Days Of Future Past' and then all came down to this. There was so much promise here. The third installment in an inspired incarnation of a Marvel product, when every other caped crusader even 'Batman vs Superman' failing to out duke Stan Lee's cinematic studios that were about to deliver their 'Civil War' knockout punch with Spider-Man avengance. I mean in this comic-book 'Hunger Games' this franchise had Jennifer Lawrence. Not to mention the aforementioned, another clawing away Hugh Jackman cameo and the best of the futures bold and brightest. 'Game Of Thrones' startlet Sophie Turner as the Phoenix Jean Grey. 'Mud', 'Joe' and 'The Tree Of Life's' gracefully growing up actor Tye Sheridan eyeing Scott Summers' Cyclops part and the Nightcrawling (not in a Gyllenhaal way) Kodi Smit-Mcphee of 'The Road' and 'Slow West' (with Fassbender) fame. They even had a faster talking and walking Quiksilver than the Marvel Cinematic Universe-with all due respect to the Avenging Aaron Johnson of the 'Age Of Ultron'-in the enigmatic and perfect Evan Peters. And then of course there was the next greatest actor of this generation in Isaac as the most formidable foe in this Marvel families comic history. What could possibly go wrong? Well like an Emperor looking for new clothes a wardrobe malfunction. It wasn't like this film was that terrible-and Oscar's gold standard acting was still on polished display-but it could have been terrific. A comic franchise story of great minds and mettle just ended up looking like a muddled mess. Especially when in the Cerebro virtual reality mind of Professor Xavier a taller than six Shaq's ' Apocalypse lay over a face down X, stuck his fist in his back and whispered creepily in his ear..."Charles...I'm still inside you"! Damn!
It's a far cry from last fall when Oscar Isaac was flying when it came to cult classics...literally. In what looks like the new Summer weathering season of big blockbusters, now his fellow X-Wing pilots are about to go 'Rogue One' this December in a month that Lucasfilms look to dominate for the next decade like their name was Peter Jackson. After all these years and Ja Ja Binks tears 'Star Wars' fans and cinematic purists finally got the new hope they were looking for in 'The Force Awakens'. Now this film and franchises renewed fame may have been dominated by the epic return of the original big-three Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill as Han Solo (complete with Chewie), (Princess) Leia and Luke Skywalker in a cliffside cameo. Not to mention the future faces of Finn and Rey fronted by the awakening talents of John Boyega and Daisy Ridley, plucked from relative obscurity and lines of adoring fans queing up for their chance to be the new star of this movie event...please tell me they knew showing up in line dressed as Darth Vader or Yoda wasn't going to work? This isn't a convention. Still from the original series, to the next generation of J.J's vision, this trek across 'Star Wars' was owned from the outset by someone else piloting this picture at light speed. And this someone was Oscar Isaac. Cloaked in his chamelonic and charming, cinematic charisma and one cool jacket that we're sorry does not look better on the brilliant Boyega, Isaac didn't need a Sith Lord, dark-side hood to fit in. From his signature long black curls to autographing his action Hancock, this thorough thespian mixed sensational script delivery (his one-on-one one liners with big bad Kylo Ren are too good) with the contagious fun of a man playing laser tag with his kids. And boy did this poetic actor look heroic as Poe. No wonder Abrams went against his original idea to give us the death of Dameron. Flipping it and giving us the chance to see Isaac get his Skywalking X-Wing on. Giving us the chance to look at his development through the next episodes of the titanic space battling trilogy. Giving us the chance to watch what it would have been like if Al Pacino didn't turn down George Lucas' offer to play Harrison's Han back in his 'Dog Day' (coincidentally Oscar's favourite film...ours too!) seventies.
Because this solo sensation really looks like the son of 'Scarface'. Or somewhere between this 'Godfather' and De Niro. Don't see it? Then just head down to your local newstand and pick up a copy of Rolling Stone's latest cover, featuring Isaac holding a puppy endearingly in his coat...probably called Oscar too (the dog...not the jacket I think that's Carhartt). A cover that will be a classic like the iconic magazine named after one of the best bands and Dylan songs ever in time. The fall forlorn picture of New York unmistakability almost envokes shades of 'The Panic In Needle Park'...without the strung out. Need more proof than look inside Isaac's best and most criminally underrated epic (you'll come to learn now...or in streaming catalogue years time there's a lot of them) 'A Most Violent Year'. A film that for the majority does not feature much graphic action, but instead pulls no punches of gangster movie insults as Oscar's award worthy turn shows how to do business in a world of mobsters-both physical and financial-the right way. Most righteous in all this year of violence like Poe, Isaac's strength of character never turns to the dark side even when he's facing financial death by a thousand undercuts. Even when he's driven to draw a gun he doesn't pull the trigger. Showing that even when a man is forced into the shadows of the corner of their darkest depths there's a big difference between pointing a gun and using it. In a beautiful looking, made and performed picture alongside our generations fellow greatest and most hard working, albeit somewhat crazily underrated actress Jessica Chastain, this is the best leading man and leading lady partnership we've seen in so many years we can't remember the last one as great. Most excellent.
This man of many faces (like 'The Talented Mr. Ripley' games of 'The Two Faces Of January') can play almost anybody. Sure clean shaven and slicked back he looks like a Goodfella, but Tom Hanks tussle his hair and let a shaggy beard grow like Zokies Scoob and this man that can win Golden Globes and then eat Cheetos with chopsticks (so the fangirl meme for the social media dubbed 'Internet Boyfriend' goes) has shades of 'Thunder Road' days Springsteen. No wonder they're talking about a Bruce biopic...sorry Brad. Now you know which flame haired actress and Pitt 'Tree Of Life' co-star could and should play Patti. Isaac has already played perfectly with Bruce in the background as a New Jersey moustached mayor in the all too true, show us your attention demanding, award winning HBO mini-series 'Show Me A Hero'. Now show me a boss, because Oscar can really play. All you need to do is watch and listen to this soulful actor strum along with those Cohen folk (and Justin Timberlake?! Actually amazing here) in his beautiful breakout 'Inside Llewyn Davis' of award and the same New York nostalgia as 'A Most Violent' and Rolling Stone cover worth. Or see him strum along to his own composition, the beautifully wrote and performed with true songwriter restraint 'Switchblade City' in the Subways of New York City like a rogue Roosevelt Dime, underground talent in a un-Hollywood power move that you only hope breeds a non-commercial album like Avenging Black Widow Scarlett Johansson cutting collaboration projects with Pete Yorn or covering Tom Waits classics, or 'Empire' star Terrence Howard's jazzy underrated, behind the notes 'Shine Through It' classic record for artistic profit. Yeah...he can play! As pleasant as a surprise as discovering that Ryan Gosling can sing and dance on the new 'La La Land' trailer like Channing Tatum in 'Hail Caesar'...he can tap too dames! Isaac can dance too girls. If you saw how he served last years cult sci-fi gem 'Ex Machina'. One of sciences indie fiction best and Vikanders android breakout that saw an almost unrecognisable Isaac alongside 'Awakens' co-star Domnhall Gleeson blur the lines between too good and too far in a future prophercy fable as much of a force as he was and still is. We told you he was chamelonic. Well here with all the hair on his bespectacled face this guy looked more like someone who spends too much time searching the internet than being the one in your girlfriends Google history. There needs to be a cult gold statue award show in February for films of this nature. But you just know one day Oscar will get his from the Academy like a Revenant. Because this guy is the next best actor of this milleniaal Hollywood generation after Leo. Yep that's right the guy that you might forget co-starred with DiCaprio in 'Body Of Lies' whilst he was making his way in this acting world with roles of rising significance (See Also: Russell Crowe's 'Gladiator' "sequel" with Ridley Scott, 'Robin Hood'). Don't forget all this multi-talented and faceted actor has already done like those who slept on his 'Mojave' villain in his perfect year in our last one. Did you forget how slimily sinister this sweet soul was in the decadent demon of 'Drive' weaving between L.A's neon nights? Did you even remember he was in this movie like Jeremy Renner's 'Bourne Legacy'? Well if you're in a haze to get you up to speed with Isaac, Christian Bale's 'Promise', more science fiction 'Annihilation' and wars with the stars will be the next episode that Oscar's career tunes into. And after that who knows?! His own outright picture?! A comic-book super power this hero really deserves?! Or maybe Isaac will finally add Oscar to his name?! Because if this Guatemalan/American, Julliard grad just named one of 'Time' magazines 100 most influential people doesn't achive this accreditation than I know what you'll think it will be! Ridiculous! Damn right!
Monday, 11 July 2016
I Aint Afraid Of No Troll.
116 Minutes. Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, Kate McKinnon, Michael K. Williams & Chris Hemsworth. Director: Paul Feig.
Who they gonna call now? All the trolls and the critics. Hiding behind keyboards and headlines ranging from the moronic ignorant to the demonic mysoginistic. Crossing their streams and trying to put proton pack pistols to Paul Feig's 2016 'Ghostbusters' reboot starring-in their eyes-a bunch of 'Bridesmaids' before they've even seen it. Book, cover! Sexist, bastards! Because the one sci-fi blockbuster reboot decades in the making that shouldn't have happened this Summer is 'Independence Day-Resurgence'...and that starred all the original actors (except Big Willie Smith). In a slumping Summer season of sadness were even 'X-Men' films have given us a blockbuster...I think the word you're looking for is 'Apocalypse', these girls busting ghosts are a hit like last years Bond girl parody 'Spy', buddy-cop cuff 'The Heat' or anything else the director/actor power partnership of Feig and McCarthy have put their hilarious one liners too. And this is no surprise success like the 'Now You See Me 2' sequel, even if all the haters are gonna do their usual. Now they don't, won't, will wish they could! And as the original 'Ghostbusters' Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson and writers Dan Akroyd and the late, great Harold Ramis pass the Proton Packs to the outstanding Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon it's clear to see in 3D that this 80's cult hit makes for a great new milleniuum blockbuster special that will have your eyes popping like you were risen from the dead yourself. And as this girl proton power tries to revive the same from all those naysayers, arms will unfold even if some still see this movie through pooh-poohing tinted glasses and 80's Kareem goggles. For them you don't need to be afraid, just try not to slip on all the slime.
Because there isn't something strange in the neighbourhood. Just four great, hilarious actors who will have you hook, ladder and sinker when it comes to the new parapsycholgists riding around in that iconic hearse come Ecto-1 as classic as the Scooby Doo mystery machine or of course the ultimate movie car, the Batmobile. Now before you screamy bloody curdling, "what's next 'Women In Black'" (they kind of already did that with a seperate Daniel Radcliffe thing, but a Will Smith/Tommy Lee Jones reboot sounds a lot better than the '21 Jump Street' crossover with 'MIB'. No matter how funny Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill are) just tune into your Sixth Sense and see that this franchise isn't dead people...far from it. You couldn't replace Murray, Akroyd, Ramis and Hudson with any old guys...even if you tried. And these four ghostwomen of the apocalypse now give young girls their own heroes to look up to and play with as toys in this super comic-book age. And we all have dynamic director Paul Feig to thank. A man who knows orange jumpsuits are the new black and has always had the faith for female lead films in a still underpaid, backwards Hollywood that seems to still have the same "rights" as the time when the sign had 'land' on the end. The funny Feig isn't afraid to send up his industries ignorance too...all the way up to the Hollywood Hills. So much so he even resigns a leading man, heartthrob and Avenger, clocked out of 'Civil War' Marvel commiments to desk duty. Although Chris Hemsworth almost steals the show everytime he puts the comedy hammer down in his against stereotypes secretary for a crazy cast that features the always reliable and versatile Michael K. Williams on the other side of the wire and some classic 80's cameos like the man of that time Andy Garcia. And let's not forget legends like Slimer...and the city of New York. A character in its own right in every film featured here, especially this Fire House franchise that's a landmark in the Empire State.
Streaming through a movie whose new age, nostlagia evoking effects aren't the only epic thing about this big blockbuster even more however are a fantastic four set to light up New York like a Times Square, human torch at New Year. Stream on (No...we're not talking about you downloading this!)! If you think between DiCaprio and Damon-or The Rock and a Hart place when it comes to comedy-most men are the most marketable in this movie industry then you'd be wrong. As ever since her 'Bridesmaids' debut Melissa McCarthy has been the bride of any major movie she's been in...or should we say 'The Boss'?! She spied out an even bigger break of laughter last year with Feig, but now rocking the Harold Ramis, Buddy Holly glasses in honor she's a real sensation in this special effects spectacle. Not just for how she's as effortlessly, breathlessly funny as a rack of tickled ribs, but also in how she can Lennon and McCartney....or should we say Ramis and Akroyd lead a movie. Because here she plays it anything but safe alongside Kristen Wiig the fellow queen of comedy, albeit with a more soulful, dramatic edge sharing the throne like two fire breathing dragons crossing flames. Wiig wears this Ghostbusters uniform and franchise with Weaver wonder. From 'The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty' to 'The Martian' she's been starring in all sorts of movies since her mainstream moment down the aisle. But now she seems to be in matrimony with renewing former franchises. First fashioning 'Zoolander No. 2' this year and now being the spirit of this concrete jungle. Still it's two of her former 'Saturday Night' cohorts and new teammates that are as live as N.Y.C. on the weekend here in Manhattan. When Leslie Jones was growing up she told her dad she wanted to be Eddie Murphy. Well...right now she's funnier and soon kids will be telling their parents they want to be her. Slamming all sorts of stereotypes and playing into our funny bones, not our hands. Give this stand up a round of applause this jester has made all the jeerers sit down. But still when it comes to the one reaching for the most gags and digging deep to the guts for that belly laugh, Kate McKinnon has the longest arms. She's dungaree crazy good with the madcap charisma to match. A lightning bolt of proton power charging up this rebooted franchies first film off her effervescent energy. Never has anyone so definitively dry been this inspiringly inoffensive...unless your names Justin Bieber that is. Beliebe that! 'Sorry'! You really want some refreshing comedy than maybe it's time to stop listening to the same lame tired joke and be woke up by something as off the wall as it is offbeat. Kate's great when she impersonates the likes of Hilary Clinton (oh and for the record one of the most vocal detractors of this all-women reboot...Donald Trump. Just saying if we're all here to make passive aggressive points) and Ellen, but like all advice tells you she's the best when being herself. Just like this faboulous foursome as awesome as overcoming all the odds from this cynics picnic. For those who can't believe it's 2016 and we're still going through all this mess we need a movie exactly like this. Not just in the name of feminism, but funny heroism. Gender should have never been an issue, but now it's been made one we know who's won the war. Call on them. Trollbusters! TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Monday, 4 July 2016
Now You Don't.
129 Minutes. Starring: Jessie Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Lizzy Caplan, Daniel Radcliffe, Jay Chou, Michael Caine & Morgan Freeman. Director: Jon M. Chu.
Trick or treat? Just how good will 'Now You See Me 2' be now the wool of the outstanding original is no longer pulled over our audience eyes? Which card will you choose? Well I don't think you ever saw this coming. But here's the reveal...the magic of the first film is still here...they were just holding it behind their back the whole time. Now you thought you saw it all. Now you don't! Sequels are never really ever meant to match up to the originals-unless you're in a hall of mirrors-let alone up the ante. That is unless you're a 'Winter Soldier' or engaging in 'Civil War'. But in a recentley disappointing blockbuster Summer season of sequels-from a two decades in the making 'Independence Day' to an X-Men 'Apocalypse'-the four horsemen riding around the magic circle are here to show you that was all an illusion. They've had you all duped. Under the stepped up, Jack Nicholson award winning direction of 'G.I. Joe's retaliating Jon M. Chu and the executive producing, magic mentoring and guidance of David Copperfield, no strings, these king and queens are all aces Jack. Rabbiting down a 'Home Alone' style wormhole to be lost outside New York in China. Before heading back to the Thames of London for a New Year finale that has more fireworks than this pictures fourth of July U.K. release date. Lets see David Blaine match these dynamos sitting in a box watching. Was that your card?
Now somewhere in the world Uri Geller is snapping spoons, because this is unbelievable. But it's all real. Even if a lie hides beneath that belief. So let's hear it for the horsemen...because they're the truth. Some may believe the greatest trick Jessie Eisenberg may have pulled was convincing the Dark Knight that the devil wasn't dead. But in cutting off his Lex Luthor locks for that 'Justice League' bald look you have to give a hand to the man that won the 'Batman v Superman' uncivil war. This geek of Cera culture shows you don't have to wear spandex to be a hero (See Also: 'American Ultra'), especially if you can even fool the worlds greatest detective. Speaking of superheroes how good a year is Mark Ruffalo having? Even if his Incredible Hulk wasn't invited to his Avengers Captain America and Iron Man's get down. It's ok fellow snubbed God Thor is having him over for 'Ragnarok'...sounds delicious. Still the spotlights on the ever underrated and on top of his game Ruffalo, who these days is catching Academy nominations like his wrestling characters do foxes. And better than ever here you'll like it when he gets magic. Ruffalo ruffles more than a few turtle doves. And how about a few cheers for Woody in this big-three? No not the Tom Toy cowboy with a snake in his boots, but the kid that used to tend bar in Boston and now rocks the trillby instead of the stetson. The cards may not always be in 'The Hunger Games' franchise supporters favour but this Derren Brown doesn't have to hypnotise you to make you believe he's the coolest cat alive. Let alone the most versatile in this acting charade...you've all seen 'True Detetctive' Season one right?! Now hows this for a dynamic double act? Put him next to the kid Dave Franco and it only gets cooler for the 'Bad Neighbors' and '21 Jump Street' red cup, millenial crowd. No longer just James' younger brother or an understudy stage-hand. This guys talent? It rhymes with 'grape'!
Ta-daa! Still like Jennifer Garner flicking cards at a young Leonardo DiCaprio this sequel had to go fish after losing Isla Fisher from the first film (we wonder if this had anything to do with that near death drowing tank stunt that actually nearly killed her?). But in reeling in 'The Interview' and 'The Night Before' star Lizzy Caplan they find an actually endearing character that anyone else would have made annoying. Because this former 'Mean Girl', 'Masters Of Sex' star knows comedy like she knows Seth. Like Woody being the welcome distraction of light relief whilst the trick is unfolding before your eyes...just check out how people react as they free-fall through that plastic, construction tubing. This all-star hand has many more willing volunteers up it's sleeve too. From the actor/singer who played Rogen's 'Green Hornet' partner made famous by Bruce Lee, Jay Chou, to not one, but two of the legendary greats in the form of the voice of Morgan Freeman and the man whose name is Michael Caine. But with both veterans on their trademark valuable supporting form, just like in 'The Dark Knight' trilogy which starring player do you really give that prestigious 'and' billing too? Still in this three card bad guy Monty we need wonder no more where the real magic lies...it's with the wizard. As 'Harry Potter' gone Hagrid bearded and bad, Daniel Radcliffe shows he really can cast quite the spell on the dark side like Voldermort. You're a villain Harry! Expelliarmus! Just when you thought these magicians couldn't strike and catch lightning in a bottle twice they pull another rabbit out the hat for their ace in the hole. Doing the impossible like with one abracadabra card trick scene and even breaking the magicians code and showing us how it's all done like Penn and Teller, to prove this surprise summer sequel hit isn't just C.G.I. fooling us with its epic effects. Even if 'Now You See Me 2' has missed a trick by not being called 'Now You Don't' (or by not keeping 'The Second Act' original title at least), there is still a pack of ace high films for a franchise on deck. Although a trilogy could get slightly out of hand. Even if we just can't wait for their next trick. It's a kind of magic. TIM DAVID HARVEY.