Monday, 31 October 2016



Balancing The Crooks.

128 Mins. Starring: Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons, Jon Bernthal, Jeffrey Tambor & John Lithgow. Director: Gavin O'Conner.

Bank on Ben being public hero number one on the Hollywood hit list of smokin aces for many a return. The top bill is cashing in on his Affleck name and you don't even have to wait to 'Live By Night', the Johnny Depp, Dillinger gun 'Public Enemies', period gangster piece from the acting/directing double threat of the 'Gone Baby Gone', 'The Town' and the Academy acclaiming 'Argo' big-three for this to dawn. Ever since this 'Daredevil' had critical hell and the kitchen sink thrown at him after the cinematic disaster of 'Pearl Harbour' the 'Good Will Hunting', Matt Damon co-sign, career starter has gone from Bennifer's 6% on Rotten Tomatoes cooled 'Gigli' to Hadid hot. Getting behind the camera on his own performances has clearly worked. But he still stands for other directors chairs too, from the slick 'Runner, Runner' to the sick 'Gone Girl'. And of course the Dark Knight double of 'Batman v Superman-Dawn Of Justice' and the frequent cameo 'Suicide Squad' villain movie. The pair have been put through the critical meat grinder, but both were actually well done even if D.C.'s dark, Snyder sinister tones are a rarer taste to Marvel's full of fun meal ticket. Either way Batfleck's beginnings have shown we may have a Caped Crusader and lonely playboy Bruce Wayne just as good as Christian Bale's spirited performance. And after the dust and dusk settles on the 'Justice League' ensemble, Ben will go back to the directors hotseat for 'The Batman' movie which could be his most iconic turn on screen and behind it yet. But first it's time for Ben to handle someone elses books again as he is under direction once more for 'The Accountant' and all that pays off.

Movie commerce and critics seem to be at dividends once again however for Ben's latest dark by night vigilante with more humanity than your average hero. Affleck's accountant affords more than just giving you stock tips. He also stock-piles crooks for his clients like the book balancer does guns, ammo and Pollack's not the most original way to get paid, but it paints a picture. You see here Ben Affleck is a hit-man in more ways than one, yet he's no gun for hire. He's the judge, jury and executioner who decides who should pay their debt to society and at what cost. With a stroke and tap of his keyboard just as lethal as him cocking the hammer and pulling the trigger as he controls, alts and deletes and cuts out the middle-men...literally. It would seem that Affleck's character that goes by famous mathematician aliases is functioning on a higher level. And his character here is on the Autism spectrum. But as much as that can be seen as a stereotype, there is some misguided cliches here that border on tired, or at the very least routine. The 90's great, Bruce Willis 'Mercury Rising' this is not and between eating his food off a one seperated plate order with one knife, one fork and one spoon for dessert and some bright lights and heavy metal self conditioning before bed, Ben brings a sincere sensitivity to a role he says is close to his heart which is more than just Bat brooding as he blows his curled fingers before each task. Sure this is a far cry from Dustin Hoffman's 'Rain Man' or more importantly real life, but as Affleck lets bullets spray in epic thriller set-piece escapism he shows once again, dressed in black that he's the action hero we all need and deserve. And he doesn't need a cape and a cowl to do it (although there is a pretty cool Action Comics Easter Egg for the man who dared to roll one up to Clark Kent of the Daily Planet's alter-ego). Or a utility belt full of gadgets as he arms up with enough Smif and Wessuns and fists and cuffs to show that he was 'Bourne' for this just like his Boston brother.

His investment in this picture that isn't even his own (it belongs to 'Warrior' suprise, best film of 2011 hit maker Gavin O'Conner. With the gloves off like UFC for this ultimate white knuckle knockout, with heart behind its hard head) seems chips down all in, but there is plenty more cast collateral here in a roll call of assests that reads like a good fiscal year. But between real 'Daredevils' and 'Whiplash' smart Oscar winners that are all 'Pitch Perfect', is the undeniable but underused talent here spread a little too thin on this bacon and eggs? Or are they all accountable? Academy man J.K. Simmons finds himself as a treasury agent looking to cook Affleck's books. And whilst everyone waits for him to throw a symbol at someones head, he does put the clamps on a young agent in the field (played by a standout amongst all the big-names Cynthia Addai-Robinson, taking big-screen aim from her 'Spartacus' and 'Arrow' beginnings). And decked out in a charcoal rain coat and trillby looking in Affleck's wardrobe of identical suits in a Wayne manner, the simmering Simmons gives us an early preview of his forthcoming Batman, Jim Gordon commission. Following this superhero roll call, many people (even Deathstroke himself Joe Manganeillo) have called for SNL Squirrel Girl, Anna Kendrick to play Batfleck's Robin in the same gender swapping vain as the Frank Miller 'Dark Knight Returns' classics that clearly inspired Batman's dawn 'Justice League' duel with Supes this year. Here though, more than a green glasses, red head sidekick we thought Jena Malone was going to be, this lovable interest of the heart beats to our leading mans rhythm until she pulls a Chloe Moretz 'Equalizer' disappearing act as she is kept arms length away from the violent third act. Still in a film that features so many big names and heroes that veteran legends Jeffrey Tambor and John Lithgow are reduced to small but still significant "and featuring" supporting roles, its walking deadshot Jon Bernthal that steals the show. Ever wanted to see a showdown between The Punisher and Batman in a vigilante battle of injustice? Going against a grafitti skull and cross-bones typecast, Bernthal sets his die as a more charismatic Castle, frankly using his own voice and style for a change instead of the gruff growls of 'Fury' his darker characters would have you believe are innately his. Suited and leather glove booted, Bernthal kills it in every scene he owns, from the car stake out to a kitchen barstool table top midnight snack from the glow of the fridge that has homaged shadows of 'The Winter Soldier'. Someone should of knocked, because this Jon knows how to break bad oh so damn good. All in all this All-Star cast makes this a stand alone hit and a satisfying, pacy thriller that really amps up the action once the accountant invades your home like the first and fifteenth. Sure some may see chapter two franchise potential in this more serious 'John Wick' like killing maker. But in a time and tide of trending sequels how about a one and done as clinical and precise as a silencer round? Time to close the account. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Saturday, 22 October 2016



Stranger Things.

115 Mins. Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Mads Mikkelsen & Tilda Swinton. Director: Scott Derrikson.

Strange days hit Marvel as the superhero franchise force finally shows some love to their cosmic-book 'Dr. Strange' fellow in their Avenger roll call to 'Infinity' schedule. And it's time you made an appointment too. Go see the Benedict Cumberbatch, 'Doctor Strange' tale to astonish. Because this sorceror really is supreme. This in 'Inception' on an hallucinogenic, medicated by a 'Matrix' meets 'Batman Begins' origin story. From the strange clouds of the Empire State Building and Big Ben skyline (they like to get the landmarks) folding and falling into themselves like a skyscraper shard of glass cats cradle. To Far East in a flash, Hong Kong neon, cyberpunk kaleidoscopes and martial art lessons with your inner self on a whole other astral plane. You'll feel like you took the red pill, whilst patting your jacket pocket for your spinning thimble top dose of reality. Doctor, doctor! This really is strange. But then again this is from the Marvel that brought us a man that could shrink down to the size of an ant (when he's not scaling the airport heights of a skyscraper), not to mention a talking Racoon and tree (It's like they said in 'Iron Man 3', "since the big guy with the hammer fell out the sky, subtely's kind of had its day"!). I am no longer surprised...or at least I wasn't until I watched this Potter. You're a wizard Benedict! And a fine one too! This hero takes us higher with more than Iron coming out his fist as he stands psychedelic watch over Spider-Man's New York's Greenwich Village, whilst Hells Kitchen's Defenders take care of themselves and those chilling with Netflix. Time to take your face out your phone though because this smart blockbuster is beautifully built for immaculate IMAX inspirations. And as the Summer season of 'Civil War' fighting blockbusters give way to the 'Star Wars' of the fall this rogue is the one who really has the force. Strange...but true.

Marvel have introduced a lot of their iconic comic characters to the cinematic universe this year with great success. From the bullet punishing Frank Castle to the black power of Luke Cage. Not to mention their first African superhero, the Black Panther and the one and only, superior Spider-Man and his real Marvel 'Homecoming'. But now it's Mr. Dr. Steven Strange's turn and who are we to judge? This Sorceror has had a spell with Marvel and on us since the middle of the last century...his comic books now sacred text. And who better to play him than an English 'Bard who has played Hamlet? If you thought that Marvel taking the classicaly trained Tom Hiddleston for their scheming Loki was an acting steal than you aint seen nothing yet. As after Robert Downey Jr., another 'Sherlock' star with a goatee makes his new home, trading bowler hat for cape and Baker Street for N.Y.C. as he plays another rich genius, humbled by life changing injury and a great responsibility of powers with his sense of accomplishment American twang accenting the arrogance. And with this Doc op, Benedict Cumberbatch, who made a crazy jacked, iconic Khan villain as he plunged 'Star Trek' 'Into Darkness' and was an inferno of a flame throwing voice in 'The Hobbit's' desolation as Smaug is really still on fire here in line with the good guys once again like a nice English gentelman like him should always be. 'The Imitation Game' Academy graduate turns the firework spiral with his life-size replica of an icon from a 'flowers in your hair' time when everyone was caught in the psychedelia of Hendrix's haze. The perfect Strange. From his weird and wonderful look and feel of character, taylor made towards Steven and by the hairs on his chinny chin chin and the seams of his cloak of levitation that is what makes Cumberbatch stranger and in no danger of losing his power. Surgically precise in his perspective of performance, Benedict has a doctorate in it. He could even evict House, setting up his own sanctum as the future face of this franchisee of a Stan Lee father franchise. Now what sorcery is this?

This is the sorcerers apprentice and with plenty of magic up his sleeve Cumberbatch's Strange has the Academy perfect cast of characters in support that are just what the Doctor ordered. Cumberbatch's '12 Years A Slave' co-star Chiwetel Ejiofor switches to sidekick role in the pairs less than Oscar dramatic reunion...but oh how fun it is this time. The ever underrated Ejiofor brings subtle but distinct defintions to understated and understanding supporting character...aswell as the wifi password. As does 'The Martian' and character actor Benedict Wong who doesn't even need to change his last name. But it's the always terrific Tilda Swinton going against traditonal type in a stereo sonic role as she brings a new dimension to the mentoring Ancient One. With the numbers and experience to do it however many are calling Matt Damon 'Great Wall' like whitewashing b.s., but they can't see the real reason for reversing stereotype (like with Wong's comic serveant, come cinematic sorcerer) or the empowering gender role reversal in a Hollywood and critical circuit ignorant to that too. This isn't Emma Stone in 'Aloha' HELLO! Add another or Ryan Gosling's leading ladies Rachel McAdams in a 24/7 E.R. night nursing character (assisted somewhat by the inclusion of inspired 'The Infiltrator' star Benjamin Bratt), that is more superheroine than medicine woman and you have a lot of strong female characters from actresses who you wouldn't expect anything less from. All these Ziggy Stardust heroes need is a villain. And who better than a Bond one? As Mads Mikkelsen is weeping from the eyes again, giving Marvel two Hannibals alongside Odinson Anthony Hopkins to go against their twin Sherlock's (at least we've got a Watson in 'Civil War's' Martin Freeman. Now hey Jude join the band...Mr. Napkin head origin story anyone?!). And between this terrifyingly terrific villain and his Rogue 'Star Wars' character, not to mention having the best quip of your quntiessential fun Marvel banter, it's Mads world now. All these 'Strange' occurences are brought to the comic-book wall breaking life of our most vivid imaginations and what more would you expect from 'Sinister' director Scott Derrikson delivering us from metaphysical evil, who knows how to bring us alternate realities so fascinating their frightening? As Marvel's quack (no not Howard the Duck) teleports through New York and Asgard like realms of space and time at an 'Adjustment Bureau' portal pace, this visual and visceral masterstroke is the perfect prescription. More than cape cookie-cutter for your browsing superhero history, all told this is more than mere smoke and mirrors. But now 'Doctor Strange' has shown himself on the grandest, cinematic scale can he prove as powerful as the Avengers fantastic four force of Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and The Incredible Hulk? Stranger things have happened. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Friday, 21 October 2016



Mission: Unreachable.

118 Minutes. Starring: Tom Cruise, Cobie Smulders, Patrick Huesinger, Danika Yarosh, Madalyn Horcher, Aldis Hodge, Holt McCallany & Robert Knepper. Director: Edward Zwick.

Reaching back like you never thought Jack, Tom Cruise is on another Mission. But this time it's not impossible. It's by the birth of a Lee Child book for an action packed, awesome adaptation, bullett richocheting off the pages and into cinemas. And who better to run and run (and RUN!) through the crossfire than Tom Cruise? The 'Top Gun' franchise face really is the top Hollywood star and has been for more than three decades (the big blockbuster that took his career off from the cockpit is 30 years old this year. This writer was one years young...yep! Get ready to feel old, as Tom looks nowhere near that, pushing the middle of middle-age). From 80's fare like 'Cocktail' and 'The Color Of Money'. To Academy graduating Oscar worthy acting classics, 'Rain Man' and 'Born On The Fourth Of July'. Underrated filmography greats sometimes lost in the shuffle like 'Jerry Maguire' and 'Collateral'. To Speilberg science fiction legends in 'Minority Report' and 'War Of The Worlds'. And more future fables in the 'Edge Of Tomorrow' ('Live. Die. Repeat') and 'Oblivion'. Not to mention his fuse running 'Mission Impossible' franchise and 'The Mummy' one he's about to unwrap as production unravels the opposite way. And now reuniting with 'The Last Samurai' director Edward Zwick Cruise adds another in 'Jack Reacher' and the 'Never Go Back' sequel to the meat and potatoes, old-school, 90's golden era Hollywood, American muscle and it's McQueen 'Bullit' homaged, full-throttle car chase of the first hit. Delivered like one hell of a right cross from Tom and his two knuckles. 'Jack Reacher' is back battling with 'Bourne' and 'Bond' (and even Cruise's Hunt) like the 'Jack Ryan' reboot hasn't quite done by the book. In a time between all the Summer season blockbusters and fall Oscar favourites that chapter and verse looks to adapt to the pages of novel film ideas from 'The Girl On The Train' to Tom Hanks' Robert Langdon and Dan Brown's 'Inferno'. But whether July or Christmas, when it becomes to making big blockbusters or formidable franchises work, Cruise is in control.

And as Zwick's first movie with Cruise since that last Samurai opens with a look of the 80's to its credits, it feels like no time has passed since the 'Risky Business' early 'Days Of Thunder' for Cruise. He still storms on the screen no matter the cost to his all stunt performing frame. And they said this diminutive dynamo couldn't play the 21 (this fall) books, six foot three Reacher. But Zwick's soldier who was tall enough to almost literally lose his head in 'Samurai' in a freak stunt accident more than measures up and fits the part...he is the part. Critics with their eyes wide shut who think otherwise when it comes to Reacher are just clutching at short straws. Tom has all of Jack's trades. From the fist to the fury of some machine gunning action, this rapid fire star more than keeps up, he Bolt's up, outrunning them all. Someone should put him in the next 100 meters in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Sure he'll be almost sixty then...but he'll still be dancing. Cruise is a knockout. From peppering bad guys with a salt shaker to being a one man team of airport security. And he's still  bouncing off walls and leaping off buildings like there's no edge or tomorrow. But behind the brilliant bruising bare knuckles is the bare bones of an actor that really knows how to get to the behind bruised rib-cage beating heart of Reacher and the searching soul of Child's collection. More than drifting through the vagabond backstory of a man caught between hitchiking and the ups and downs of an opposable thumb. Showing us the inner conflict of a loner character taking it out on the people that try and put the ones he saves in the same place who might not be as lonely as he first thought. And with a firm grip on his craft this is another reason why no Hollywood blockbuster leading man can top this gun. Not even close. Not even a shot.

But on the left of this guys hip, but more than a sidekick sidearm is the smouldering Cobie Smulders. Rosamund Pike may be 'Gone Girl' like departed David Oyelowo (they're about to go to 'A United Kingdom' together to blur the color-lines at the Oscars), but Cobie's a slam dunk, G.I. No Jane, all-action hero in her damsel in distress first film place. Forget 'How I Met Your Mother', how is this woman not been in films like this sooner? Aside from this Avengers experience in the field as Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Maria Hill. A real life superhero who has stretched across many a Marvel film, but needs to be in more. Hell, give this agent the series. With shades of looking like a young 'Daredevil' and 'The Matrix' actress Carrie-Anne Moss you can't dodge this. She's armed to the true grit teeth. Give her her own action franchise start-up and she'll finally have a holy Trinity. Hell she deserves it! Because she can keep up with Cruise...literally! In a Cap and Falcon, 'Winter Soldier', "on your left" montage of running that makes up so much ground it could track the next Tom Cruise running Supercut on Youtube all by itself. But after this Hollywood movie finally gets it right why does the marketing team have her back to Cruise and us on the promotional poster? If you didn't know she was in this movie you'd have a hard time telling who it was on the billboards. It could be fellow Marvel and 'Thor' Lady Sif star Jaimie Alexander there's that much of a blindspot. Still a couple of complaints aside, paired with rising stars Danika Yarosh and Madalyn Horcher this film is all about breakout talents showing their face in this franchise. Like 'Straight Outta Compton' hit MC Ren's Aldis Hodge or by the hymn sheet villain Patrick Heusinger. But what would a film about an ex-soldier be without some veterans? And the always dependable 'Black Hat' brilliant Holt McCallany and arresting, vile 'Prison Break' villain Robert Knepper afford more in spare change screen time than most big budget leads do in a whole movie. Cinematic director Edward Zwick knows how to work it all in a traditional type Hollywood blockbuster that years and Bond/Bourne like installments from now will still be timeless. And like this right now a hit! Exploding into an actions fireworks of a finale with a shot of Bourbon in New Orleans' French Quarter this Halloween night. Which is no half-measure for this all-American so impossibly 54 it's scary. Now someone try and say they wouldn't go back to this Jack again...nah! Never that! TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016



The Camp Knight.

78 Minutes. Starring: Adam West, Burt Ward, Jeff Bergman, William Salyers, Wally Wingnert, Steven Weber, Jim Ward, Thomas Lennon & Julie Newmar. Director: Rick Morales.

KAPOW! Holy half-century reboot, animated revolution Batman! The Bright Knight rises and returns again! Bruce Wayne has gone West...all the way back to the swinging sixties as Adam and his ward Burt pick up the red, flashing phone one more time. Now get ready to slide down the phonebooth like, quick-spin changing firemans pole to the Batcave because Adam West and Burt Ward look to run back to nostalgia...just like the camp they set and sent up with their cult sixties series. Sure when it comes to comic-book superheros breaking into the blockbuster show, despite 'The Dark Knight' trilogy Marvel rule the roost. If The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy and Fox's X-Men weren't enough than this year Stan Lee's team in this age of 'Civil War' brought more of their cult characters to cinematic crossover, superstar success. From the Black Panther and an amazing Spider-Man, to Power Man; Luke Cage and The Punisher. Not to mention what we're about to see with Benedict Cumberbatch's 'Dr. Strange' fellow. Let alone what the Thanos gauntlet holds for the calenders 'Infinity War'. But just outside the yolk D.C. are cooking too...even if aside from what will happen with Superman and Wonder Woman in the Justice League they pretty much have all their eggs in one basket...a Bat Basket. But there's more than one way to make an egg. You can fry it, boil it, scramble it...or even hide a couple of Easter ones. And aside from Ben Affleck's Clark Kent glasses breaking Batman in this 'Dawn Of Justice' which was way better than those who criminally underrated it, there's plenty more wearing the cowl. And we're not just talking about Christian Bale, Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer and (thankfully) George Clooney when it comes to the Batman. But beyond that to the wide range of inspired and influential incarnations, more versatile and diversifying in it's icons than any other superhero. The Caped Crusader has built his own 'LEGO Movie' spin-off and in a gallery of costumed billionaires almost as Arkham vast as the Rogues, he even has the Bruce begins of the 'Gotham' villain series. But aswell as the asylum of video games let's not forget the true comic cartoons like the classic 'Batman-The Animated Series that have lead to many an inspired feature film off the cells. Including this years tribute to the best, most groundbreaking graphic novel in 'The Killing Joke' with 'Star Wars'' Luke Skywalker as the Clown Prince of Crime, The Joker himself. But after that adaptation didn't leave as many people laughing as the jesters hoped and with the dark backlash to the brooding 'Batman v Superman' movie it's time for something a little lighter.

And who better than 'Family Guy' Adam West to be the clean, cut Fresh Prince of midnight vigilante justice dressed in bat black? Remember kids, always use the pedestrian crossing and help an old lady across too if you get the long as it's okay by her. And what better way to bring West and Ward back from their iconic mid-twentieth century series than in animated form? Because even if Batman and Robin in real life look more like Commissioner Gordon and Detective Harvey Bullock these days...their voices haven't missed a beat. From the moment you see Adam and Burt's Bats and Boy Wonder in cariacture you can see just how animated they really are. They look right on the Batcard money, just like they never left home without it. And that's brought out by not just an A-team of amazing Asian and American animators (bringing the 60's back like the Stones or the Batmanga that recently rolled back out in black and white comics), but the colour their collective voices and their charisma and chemistry fill-in. Always painting outside the lines and never by the numbers. Pun perfect and banter batted out the park the dynamic duo have still got it like Magic and Kareem, Starskey and Hutch, John and Paul. Just like dancers who don't miss a step decades later this is a ball. Remember the Bat Touche?! These Knights aren't the only ones returning to this Batman after all these decades however. How about Julie Newmar's sultry and slick Selina Kyle? She still has the claws as Catwoman. Still purring. Still got the cream! She doesn't need some milk.

Sadly though not everyone makes it here . But to those dearly departed homage is paid, fondly and in full. Late, great legend Cesar Romero who is just as much a Joker as Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger, new squad member Jared Leto, or the voice of Mark Hamill is honoured by Jeff Bergman's impressive impression. Whilst William Salyers and Wally Wingnert's respectful respective interpretations of the Penguin and the Riddler like 'Gotham's rise of Corey Michael-Smith and Robin Lord Taylor have iconic undertones, no question or sneering cackle. If that wasn't enough Steven Weber is worth more than pennies as Bat butler Alfred, whilst comic-booth legend Jim Ward returns as the Colonel Sanders looking Commissioner Gordon in this reunion. With a vocally unrecognisable funny-man 'I Love You Man' comedy movie scene-stealer Thomas Lennon with an Irish O'Malley accent by his by the book side. Fun Bat fact, Lennon treated Bale's Batman in 'The Dark Knight Rises'...geek out to that cult crossover cameo friends. And now thanks to this fun frolic with the Felonious Four you have a sequel to look forward to next year with fellow sixties T.V. show camped up king, Captain Kirk of 'Star Trek', William Shatner hamming it up as Two-Face. Now hows that for a coin toss Harvey? True popularity never dies like a cult. The original series may have only lasted two seasons and four years for its legacy, but it's legend has lived on for more than five decades. And all in all this fond Bat family affair from Rick Morales is a pure, irresistible joy of simple pleasure in a dark time on screen and off it. Light and lovable you have to poke your head out your window for this one again as the Caped Crusaders climb to the ceiling once again, all the way to a utility belt showdown, only missing some shark repellent. From a caves worth of Bats (some satirically brass knuckle darker), not wearing hockey pads to inescapable Bond like classic scenarios, like a death by T.V. dinner this Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis duo is out of this world Mars hot again. Save the microwave. And there's a tray full of made up jokes not just from the man in the purple suit to feed your fun for the whole nuclear families couch surfing appetite. And as for those fisticuff scenes as iconic as the original Batmobile. They pack a wallop in big, bright on-screen punching letters. This is good, clean, pop culture fun. What a crusade against age and caped conventions. Expect more cosplay from San Diego to D.C. Holy hating naysayers na, na, na, na, na, to you! BATMAN! The original and best. Sock it to 'em Mr. West! The world is yours again! TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Monday, 17 October 2016

GIRL ON FIRE-An Interview With Aesha Waks

If you don't know the name Aesha Waks it's about high time you did. You may have seen the multi-talented actress on a desk duty cameo for the hit Batman villain show 'Gotham' recently, but she's much more than just that one big name. Waks lyrical career involves singing and songwriting, poetry, modelling, fashion design and hosting, aswell as acting. And as if that wasn't enough the author of her own complex career of ecletic passions has her very own book 'The Model Body' to add to all the work. But don't let the title fool you. This real read is a conscious empowering scribe, chapter and verse about a women who was on the brink of anorexia. A subject tackled that in result is something sorely needed in a Twitter trend time that sees social media adding to the anxiety of those who feel they don't measure up to the media's stereotypical, backwardly ignorant perceptions of body image today. Aesha's body of work is a wonder. And this girl named after an inferno hot Stevie hit is on fire herself. And it all burns bright from a background that has seen an industry life worth of experience rooted in an upbringing birthed from many cultures. Now if you don't didn't you?! And if you're wondering too just how she does it all? She's about to tell you...

Aesha thank you for your time. How are you? What have you been up to?

Hey! I'm great! Thank you for asking. Currently I just took a trip to Georgia, it's beautiful out here!

You recently had a guest spot in the hit show 'Gotham'. How was that experience?

Yes, I had a co-star role in the first season of Gotham, episode 4 called "Arkham". It was a dream come true. I've always been such a huge Batman lover. In fact, out here in Georgia, I just got the Batman symbol tattooed on my bicep! Working with director TJ Scott was an amazing experience. The scene was set in the Lansky building, which was a 1950 style set with old school typewriters. I felt like it was a different time period. My character was a bit more outspoken than most, which was what made her speak up when Det. Gordon had his questions. I connected to her in that way because people always found me to be a bit outspoken as well!

Would you be open to returning to that show in some capacity for more episodes or the extended D.C. universe maybe?

As far as returning to the show, if there is a need to go back to the Lansky building than YES!....Unless my character just so happened to work there and I do something completely different and unrelated. I am all for that as well. Either way I am blessed to have that experience! Gothemite forever!!

From 'New York Undercover' to 'Third Watch' you have plenty of T.V. show experience in the Law and Order field. Is there something that attracts you to that genre and those sort of roles? We could see you playing a lead detective.

I appreciate that you see me as a lead detective! Right now in my new film 'Smoke Screen', I play contract killer Emma Peirce. She is ambiguously good/bad. I love roles like that with a dash of dark humor. With that being said, straying from my current ideal I don't mind playing good or bad and I personally have traits of detective like qualities that I connect with. I love getting to know people and getting to the bottom of who they are pretty quick!

Can you share with us memories from your award winning lead in 'Arresting Gena'?

'Arresting Gena' has to be one of my fave films I was ever in! I was fortunate enough to work with such a talented cast of actors at the beginning of their careers such as Adrien Grenier, Sam Rockwell, Paul Giamatti, Summer Pheonix, Brenden Sexton, Kirk Acevados, Heather name just a few. It was the film with the most buzz at Sundance and went onto getting me the 'Peoples Choice' Best Actress award at Olympia Film Festival. The film really changed my life!

From singing the National Anthem for the New York Mets at Shea Stadium and starring in Levis commercials what remain your fondest memories in growing up in this industry and what advice can you give those looking to break through?

Best advice to people breaking through is everyone wants to witness a piece of real life, which is why reality tv is doing so well! I had a huge support system at home and I took a lot of what is thought to be "risks" I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. I didn't care much about what others thought of me and I never really wanted to fit in, nor did that concept make any sense to me either! I was completely outspoken, determined and passionate. I also went through a lot of schooling such as performing arts, Strasberg, Esper, UCB, Centerstage and had private coaches such as Seth Gilliam and Ann Ratray etcetera, etcetera.

Your accomplished dancing talents has also brought you many accolades. From Elton John to the Wu-Tang Clan what has been your favourite music video that you've performed in?

Elton John 'Believe' has to be one of my favorite music videos I have ever been in, directed by Marcus Nispel. Besides my kissing scene, I found it so exciting to run across the very top ramp in Grand Central Station that is usually closed off to the public. They had me running and jumping into a mans arms as a light went off at the perfect part of the song. I still go there till this day and look up to that exact spot and remember that glorious day!

How can acting translate to dance and vice versa in regards to expression and emotion?

Acting, dance, modeling singing etcetera are all forms and outlets of expression. It depends which medium you perfer, I love them all and each project I do I feel enhances my character as a person.

Has being that close to different genres and greats in music inspired your own writing?

I was most inspired by a talented music producer named Eddie Cascio. He produced one of my songs called 'Bad Press'. Eddie was Michael Jacksons protégé and allowed me to record on Michael's mike and hang out in the room he would stay in, in the private getaway. This family meant the world to Michael and just being there gave me a surge of energy I have never felt before. Isn't that what its all about though? energy? Usually I like to live in a bubble and create my own sound by tapping into universal energy and just letting it flow through me. My brother Geffen is a talented rapper, producer and I have recorded with him in his studios throughout my life as he has always inspired me in the hip-hop industry my whole life. I have learned a lot from him.

How did it feel to read the award winning poem in Angelina Jolie's indie movie 'Lovesick' and what can you tell us about the beauty and freedom of independent filmaking and work?

The poem I read in Angelina Jolie produced movie 'Lovesick' was an amazing experience. I was used to that poem getting lots of attention from everyone. It had also won me first place in the poetry competition of Kingsborough College before I attended NYU and graduated with b.s. in Media, culture and communication. I also just published 'The Midnight Hour' in my new poetry book on called "Wild Rantings Of A Teenage Girl'. My Lord I have done everything I could with that one poem!

Your paper turned book 'The Model Body' is extremely important, especially today. How do you feel this positive writing and empowering message helps in a time were things like the media and society are still reinforcing tired sterotypes that can make many women, especially young ones growing up and maturing in this world feel negative about themselves when they shouldn't?

'The Model Body' plan is really my answer to getting over borderline anorexia and gaining control over my body. My book also stands for self acceptance. Being a model I know how the world can make a girl feel like there are "standards" to live up to. I am not 16, not 5'9 but still it hasn't stopped me from repping a type that is fine to be. Girls should love themselves no matter their shape and size and should be proud to represent how God made them for that special purpose.

Although each person is different can you offer any advice could to those suffering from anorexia, especially in a time were even turning on their phone, let alone their television can make them feel much worse?

Best advice for all eating disorders is we all have control of ourselves and we are what we eat to extent. Understand cause and effect and make your choices accordingly.

You also work in the fashion industry as a model and designer with great influence. How do you feel that too inspires and helps people feel empowered from within?

I want to empower people to be who they think they are and let nothing stop them.

Can we look forward to some new music from your band 'The Acception' soon? How does this passion compare to all the others you have?

I will start working with my brother Geffen to produce more music soon, when I have time. Never know whats next, though I am searching for an acoustic guitarist. The Acception was a group with the talented Jessie May who is a solo artist now. We collabed experimentally and went to Nashville to drop off the song I wrote and we recorded over to Third Man Records as we wanted Jack White to see if he heard anything with it. Jess and I are huge vinyl lovers as well as Third Man Records lovers and wanted to give it a home. We still don't know if Jack or Third Man Records ever heard that song yet but I did come home with one of their record players for now!

From your multi-cultural roots to living in a cosmopolitan city full of that in the heart of New York how does all that inspire and influence your wide range of work?

NYC inspires me by all the opportunities I get on a daily basis!

You are named after a Stevie Wonder song that means 'fire'. With all that you do in a variety of accomplished roles and the pressures they bring how do you keep yours burning?

My fire burns for the reckoning I have been awaiting my whole life for. That chance to more than just survive as an artist- but thrive.

What's next for you?

'Jane' my new comic book that I created and co-wrote with 'Smoke Screen' director Sean Buttimer and the artist The Crow. It's about a young outspoken girl that sometimes is known to be a spy.

Aesha we thank you for your time. We really appreciate it. We wish you all the best for the future.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016



Gone Girl, Interrupted.

112 Minutes. Starring: Emily Blunt, Rebecca Ferguson, Haley Bennett, Justin Theroux, Luke Evans, Edgar Ramirez, Lisa Kudrow & Allison Janney. Director: Tate Taylor.

London's calling goes up in Big Smoke, with 'The Help' of that very films director Tate Taylor, who changes the lines of Paula Hawkins' 'Gone Girl' like modern, bestseller revolution, quickly turned movie adaptation 'The Girl On The Train' from foggy old England to the New York suburbs, express faster than the time it takes to read Hawkins novel en route. One digestable read so impossible to put down you may just miss your stop. To put it bluntly that doesn't do the source material much justice for a myriad of reasons. But great Brit born Emily does. As Taylor makes the most of a female led cast again in a signal failing Hollywood with his taught thriller of the year. Shot somewhere between David Fincher's "safe" as suburbia take on Gillian Flynn's 'Girl' and the dark places of a sinister Sunday matinee movie, Winter coat cloaked in murder and scarf strangeld mystery. Set in a brut-iful back-drop of a forlorn fall so frosty it could hide and enbalm a body. This is 'Rear Window' for that stranger on the train. Hitch-cocked and classic material loaded, people watching had never been so deadly. This look of a nuclear family to be gone toxic and it's girl so gone off embittered booze is one you just have to catch. Get on board this train, even if you are left feeling the tracks.

Ready for departure? Stand clear of the Gwyneth Paltrow like 'Sliding Doors', 30 seconds before as neglectful narrators fill three carriages and acts of this films story just like they did chapters. This 'Girl On The Train' moves slowly out the gate like the first train of the day out of the platform. Only to rush past subplots like stops on an express at rush hour. Sure sometimes this slow affair can drag like pulling out recycling bins on a January morning collection day, but the payoff is all green. Tate's modern gem follows the one time he turned the Black Panther into James Brown as he would 'Get On Up' with Chadwick Boseman, one of today's brightest and best. Here bringing the best out of Blunt like he aided the A is for Academy list development of Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Emma Stone, Jessica Chastain and her lookalike Bryce Dallas Howard...easily some of today's top ten actresses. Baring the brunt of all this, top five belonging Emily Blunt is blisteringly good in what just may be 'The Adjusment Bureau' stars signature role...and we thought last years best 'Sicario' was strong to say the least. Breaking down an unstoppable, portable derailment of a character, Emily envokes emptiness and empathy. Taking the morning train and its lonely line all the way to a job that ticketed her a pink slip 365 days worth of journeys ago. On the edge of a bottle, forget tomorrow. Now nursing a hangover and a Vodka mixed into her mineral water gym flask turned something akin to a childs sippy cup, this actress plays alcoholic with anxiety and angst riddled aplomb. Aggravated to the social standpoint of no return. Her script slurred. Her handbag a hotel mini-bar. The Hollywood beautiful Emily by way of London looks booze blotchy here. One woman in the mirror, carriage cubicle self-confession, bathroom bottle break lets actress see the eyes of her characters booze bruised soul. And it reflects and shows just how great an actor she truly is. Hardwired with crows feet and bloody Mary shot eyes, Blunt has never looked better.

Now you don't know her. But she knows everyone else here from the vantage point of a locomotive looking at her old house in the middle of the street. All she needs right now is a pair of bincoculars and a restraining order. The furthest one being from an unrecognisable Rebecca Ferguson who like Blunt has starred alongside Tom Cruise of late. Last Summer going rogue and taking the nation by storm in the latest 'Mission Impossible'. Add blonde on blonde lookalike Haley Bennett who also looks a lot like Jennifer Lawrence in Tate Taylor's 'Winters Bone', for truly a girl on fire. Setting her future fame alight following her eighth wonder with Denzel and his seven men. Bennett is magnificent. In this jilted lovers letter reply to 'Gone Girl' the male characters are demonized to the white collar tip of hells angels in suit and ties instead of bike leathers, despite the grown girls here trying to make halos out of tiaras. HBO 'Leftover' and Mr. Aniston, Justin Theroux is just a thoroughbred sleaze here. Whilst jacked up, 'Dracula' star Luke Evans is sucking the life out of the weight room and the living one. Bordering on emotional and domestic violence, Evans doesnt abuse his acting ability for a second or syllable. Hold the applause. Here comes the acclaim. All the love triangles going on between these squares are shrink wrapped together by rising character actor Edgar Ramirez. The 'Point Break' remake star plays a psychiatrist who is everyones unnatural breaking point. If that wasn't enough two small-screen starlets help bring this book to the blockbuster big one. 'The West Wing' star Allison Janney is all law in this disorder, going by the script as a no b.s. D.I. on the case. Truly by the chapters after bookmarking Tate's last two biopics with more supporting character. And yes that is Phoeobe herself Lisa Kudrow sitting across the way on the train. That's no Ursula...Regina Falange maybe! All in all you may not find any seats left but 'The Girl On The Train' is just the ticket. You don't want to miss it. Just make sure you stay on the right side of the tracks. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Monday, 3 October 2016



Power Back.

13 Episodes. Starring: Mike Colter, Mahershala Ali, Simone Missick, Theo Rossi, Erik LaRey Harvey, Frank Whaley, Frankie Faison, Rosario Dawson & Alfre Woodard. Creator: Cheo Hodari Coker.

Uncaged and off the chain like 'Django', it's time to power up for the people because Hero For Hire, 'Luke Cage' is here. Following Marvel and Netflix's team-up and visionary 'Daredevil' debut (not to mention the perfect punishment of it's stellar, second sophomore season to begin this year), 'Jessica Jones'' alias turned up the heat in Hells Kitchen, also whilst cooking up Marvel's next new Netflix series as she shared her private investigations and screen time with the Power Man with unbreakable skin himself. Now before another fellow Hero For Hire shows us the ways of his 'Iron Fist' next year, Marvel hand the ropes to their Hulk knockout strong Cage. Matched up with a harem of Harlem gangsters before the 'Defenders' look to assemble for an ensemble show come 2017, taking back the city of New York with avengance like what's being dubbed here as "the incident". In an amazing age of 'Civil War' which we hopes leads this Subway linked network of heroes and anything but sub-team to 'Infinity'. Going fourth when you thought this was all a phase. Yet it was quite simply 'Captain America' and the rest of The Avengers biggest and best year...even if they couldn't get it all together. And to think we're still yet to head to Dylan's Greenwich Village in N.Y.C. to pay a visit to Benedict Cumberbatch's 'Dr. Strange' this fall. And you thought 'Stranger Things' were already happening on Netflix. Well...time to chill because this is the new 'Get Down'. Before you get ready for 'Westworld' binge on this. The 'Suicide Squad' gallery like rise of the villains of 'Gotham' don't even stand a chance against these reluctant heroes gone rogue.

Sweet Christmas has come early. After Marvel's first ever black superhero 'The Black Panther' got his excitedly anticipated big-screen debut this year, their African American one takes a blaxploitated rap score with jazzy Jessica Jones like overtones from Adriane Yonge (the prolific producer who gave Ghostface Killah '12 Reasons To Die'...twice!) and A Tribe Called Quest's Al Shaheed Muhammed. With 'Hard To Earn' episode titles all named after legendary Gang Starr records to become the Hip-Hop variant like those classic covers remade iconically with legendary heroes from Public Enemy and Terminator X to Professor Xavier and the X-Men. Aaaand classic cameos (like the Netflix recurring Stan Lee one in print) from Wu-Tang Clan member Method Man (can we get a 'Tical' variant now?), but no original 'Ghost Rider' himself Nicolas Cage (whose given his way to the new incindiary incarnation of the hellraiser of 'Agents Of SHIELD' season 3) who changed his name from Coppola thanks to the Power Man and a musical performance piece one from Shaheed Muhammed's Lucy Pearl member Raphael Saadiq of Tony Toni Tone! What more could you expect from show creator Cheo Hodari Coker who broke into the game writing for rap and basketball bibles 'The Source' and 'SLAM' (look for their own east excerpt) before the likes of 'Ray Donovan' and 'Southland'? And the 'Notorious' screenwriter (joined by writers of BBC's classic and legendary detectives 'Luther' and 'Sherlock') who makes inspired iconic use of a famous Biggie crowning portrait picture frame knows how to symbolise too. From the Martin Luther King Jr, and Malcolm X named street sign, shadow title sequence to turning Harlem's world from the classic theatres to its renaissance into a character itself here. Just like Coker's subtle Easter Egg use of Luke's steel tiara and canary yellow Power Man classic comic origins. From the mustard linings of his Carhart, to the nights streetlight glow reflecting off his white tee. And then there's the tank and washing line, not so subtle egg on your nose. Sweet Easter! Either way homage to the source like Harlem is paid in full.

Don't sweat the technique though, the immortal Cage is played with locked down acting by the massive Mike Colter. The man has muscles like rappers have bars and the soldier who we first saw breaking our hearts in that unexpected end to 'Men In Black 3' breaks rib-cages and other bones here as Luke Cage, without so much as a scratch on himself to show for it. The indestructible Luke can withstand any colt or 45 as Colter only has to worry about his clothes getting hit. Knocking everyone out like mama said back, with a right cross that hits like a big green rage monster thunderclap. Punching him on the other broken hand is like Deadpool suckering Colossus. Funny, forthright and a formidable force for any foe, you don't want to F with Harlem's finest. Law breaker or maker. As the bulletproof black man in a hoodie has something to reveal for anyone who thinks those lives don't matter. And don't you dare use the 'N' word either. Because this man and show has so much more to say than that. You want some? Bring it on! Because you don't have enough people. The only one willing to go to war and challenge Luke to a Cage match is the great Ali. Mahershala Ali, whose Cornell Stokes gangster is a Kingpin like character all the way to that Cottonmouth name...whoops I shouldn't have said that. And that laugh! Ali of 'Hunger Games' fame, who recently broke the bonds of Matthew McConaughey's 'Free State Of Jones'' bee stinging villain may just be the suited and booted best thing about this series. Bringing more death from the New York rooftops above then the Punisher. All being sent down and marched to the funeral tones of his outstanding organ playing. But he's not the only big bad. 'Boardwalk Empire' gangster Erik LaRey Harvey shines with blaxploitation roots as the comic classic Diamondback who he actually looks like. Whilst Theo Rossi's Shades hides more deception behind those Ray Charles covered eyes. Not to mention great actress Alfre Woodard's political power that seems to be hiding more behind the scenes corruption than the 'Civil War' movie she crossover cameo'd in. As a matter of fact in this Harlem homecoming series that shows white male Hollywood that Marvel doesn't have to play that way its the women who stand the tallest. From Rosario Dawson's recurring, nursing character that links all the Defenders and their series' together with so much more screen-time and substance here, to Simone Missick's Misty 'Mercedes' Knight cop character looking confidence cocked and law-abiding loaded for the 'NCIS: Los Angeles' types Coker used to write for inbetween articles for the L.A. Times. It won't be long before this detective cops her own lead 'Blindspot' like series role, don't look any other way. Or an WNBA roster'll see. As a matter of fact this whole cast of characters is instantly fond and memorable, wanting for more to be Frank. From Frank Whaley, who when he was younger thought Marcellus Wallace looked like a b#### (apparantly) in 'Pulp Fiction', to legend Frankie Faison as your favourite barber Pops. A cut above the rest so good if we described how much so we'd have to put another dollar in his swear jar. As a matter of fact as this show starts with some barber shop talk on Basketball and the New York Knicks we knew we were going to love it all the way to it's core. Now it's time for this Harlem king to run a power move and take it to the hells heart of New York City for the defense of the Big Apple. Besides he's the only one that could take everything...including the kitchen sink. The devil just got some muscle. Cage tight! TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Sunday, 2 October 2016



A Time To Be Free.

140 Minutes. Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Gugu-Mbatha Raw, Mahershala Ali & Keri Russell. Director: Gary Ross.

Freedom even comes at a cost. And 'Pleasantville' and 'Hunger Games' director Gary Ross shows you just how much in his new film 'Free State Of Jones'. A real Civil War movie in the year of Captain America vs Iron Man that sees leading man of the moment Matthew McConaughey play real life historical figure Newton Knight. A maverick man who lead a rebellion with freed slaves against the confederate flag in a God damned Mississipi of the 1800's. At 140 minutes this is a long soak through the sodden, dusty, quill inked history books...but that's a dank and depressing directorial take technique to show just how much it took and just how much it will take today for racism to truly end and for true freedom to finally start. This two and a half hour slog shows you just how far we've come, but also just how far we've got left to go. Even almost taking three hours of your time this story has no definite conclusion, because this century long subject matter hasn't either. Matter of fact this film could go on for days...years, however long it takes to make a real difference last. Sure it's painful...but tell me it's not true!

The McConaissance may make it's first real misfire here. Because from 'The Lincoln Lawyer' script flip return to the 'True Detective' series evidence and the classic cameo in 'The Wolf Of Wall Street' to the DiCaprio Oscar steal in the 'Dallas Buyers Club' this is no classic. Perhaps like it disappointingly should be. But just look at the story. This was always going to be more than Matthew. More than a movie. A story of the human spirits triumph against d'evils of the world as stirring as chapters and verses from another Matthew. McConaughey still mesmerizes though. Even if by the next Academy, come Oscars February he won't strike gold like his forthcoming balding bullion dollar picture. From the groundwork of 'Mud' to the moon dust of 'Interstellar' it's clear Matthew McConaughey can go anywhere. Whether it be a whole new galaxy of stars, or down in the everyman dirt of the earth. He can even go back into the history books. Yet here he goes back to his historical redemptive roots of race relations. Legal classics like 'Amistad' and 'A Time To Kill' that made McConaughey's mark on movies before all those rom-coms took him to the career desperation days of how to get a leading man back in 10 days. With a grizzled bear beard and an even tougher resolve, McConaughey's Newton Knight is a saviour in tweed Amish armour. The only thing more weathered than his clothes is the worn look of eyes that refuse to cry, no matter the load the bags carry under those lids. No matter how much he carries on his back. He shoulders all the pain with raw and real restraint. Only to break free when he helps those around him do the same. In this Civil War that's a real hero to marvel.

Those including Mahershala Ali-also of 'Hunger Games' fame, but the 'Mockingjay' parts after Ross' main event. The actor you have seen in such films as 'The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button' and 'The Place Beyond The Pines' in brilliant bit roles is finally having his breakout year with this co-star and more of that Marvel superhero stuff in this age of 'Civil War'. Currently streaming on Netflix right now this guy has no chill, powering up as a villain for hire in the first season of Harlem Defender 'Luke Cage'. Providing the perfect Kingpin like gangster adversary, complete with classic bad guy laugh Ali knocks them all out. Especially those who dare call him by the name he wishes you can't remember like Fisk. But from playing Cottonmouth to refusing to spend a slaves life picking that, Mahershala moves us in this 'Free State'. In an emancipating role that envokes so much from heartbreak to hope and all the way back round again, setting it all free. 'Felcity's' Keri Russell also blooms under a bleak outlet playing Newts wife. The 'Mission Impossible' and 'Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes' one-off franchise star moving from the blockbuster brawn to the brains of this season. Still it's Gugu-Mbatha Raw who is the real rose from the concrete here continuing her career growth. She was strong of heart in Will Smith's 'Concussion' plea to the Academy and the NFL to end last year and begin this one, but this 'Jones' shows just as much of her as an actress that her 'Belle' breakout did. Ross' history lesson is a state of Smif and Wessun gunpowder popping, last century war action reenactments and stories traded in deep dialogue. It's worthy of your discussion as is the matter at past times hand too. Sure this film takes it out of's meant to. Just imagine everything that was taken from these folk before they decided to take it all back. Take your time and see what it truly means to be free. TIM DAVID HARVEY.