Tuesday, 7 November 2017

REVIEW: MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS

3.5/5

Dial P For Poirot.

114 Mins. Starring: Kenneth Branagh, Penelope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Daisy Ridley, Josh Gad, Derek Jacobi, Leslie Odom Jr., Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Olivia Colman, Michelle Pfeiffer, Judi Dench & Johnny Depp. Director: Kenneth Branagh.

To this day the writing of Agatha Christie DBE is just as legendary as Sir Ian Fleming or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's. Even if the Miss Marple creators lead detective Hercule Poirot is just a whisker away from the deerstalker and magnify glass of Sherlock Holmes, or secret agent with a license to kill and thrill, 007; James Bond. And this railroad trip on this most lavish line is by far and a train journey away her most prestigious piece of prose. There's been a 'Murder On The Orient Express'. And there's only one mustache that can solve it. We know the weapon in this game of Cluedo, we just need to know if it was the governess, the doctor, the maid, or even gangster with the dagger and in which compartment of the train was the deed done? Carriage by carriage each passenger is in a marriage together that they want to divorce themselves from. Everyone here is a suspect no matter where they point their fingers. And it's up to you the audience to figure out who before our esteemed lead does. Or if the very culprit themselves commits this type of carriage carnage again. In this race against time like running for the last train that's as heart-poundingly nerve-wracking and thrilling all at the same time. As this as outstanding as it is legendary train journey turns from fine dinner car dining and delightful desserts to an entree of violence. Best served revenge cold when the Orient becomes the polar express, when a visual trip through the snow softened mountains of Europe turns into a permanent postcard as this train derails in more ways than one before the real avalanche begins.

Murder was the case they gave that those without an accent call "Hercules". But whodunnit in this game of guess who? Lets take a look at the all-star cast of suspects. The professor? Played with precision frame perfection by the ever expressive as the lines in his face Willem Dafoe. Testing out his European accent before the sun of 'The Florida Project' and quite possibly the brightest spot of his career comes out. The missionary? Played with grace and dignity by international actress of acclaim Penelope Cruz who has proved she can play just about everybody and anybody with classic conviction, but never this subtely subdued. The governess? As 'Star Wars' Rey, Daisy Ridley blooms in this Scott Free epic and shows she is an awakening force of maturity and solidarity before we really wonder who the hell she is in this Decembers 'Last Jedi'. The assistant? Where 'Frozen's' Josh Gad really brings more chills to this tundra case as put this next to his partnership with Chadwick Boseman's 'Marshall' and you can see just how good an actor Gad is when he lets go of the Disney day job fun. Or even the butler? Played with stellar service from Great Brit and national treasure Derek Jacobi who from stage to screen has been in more legendary theatre than his movie legacy cares to give credit where due. Or did death make an appointment with the doctor? The only man who would know how to get away with such a crime so quietly a inconspicuously. As Leslie Odom Jr. (no relation to Lakers legend Lamar Odom), the breakout Broadway star of 'Hamilton' puts on one hell of a show. How about the salesman? The automobile man with a flair of put on for showroom charm? As after joining Denzel Washington's 'Mag 7', Manuel Garcia-Rulfo is truly magnificent here. Or maybe it was the maid? As this shy and retiring type cast for Olivia Colman of 'The Crown', 'The Lobster' and 'Broadchurch' fame seems to be hiding something more than her terrific talent of playing behind the notes but albeit at the same time as being in the forefront of this grand opera of murder.

Legends can deceive to...no matter how big their name. Like the 'mother!' of all ones in this industry Michelle Pfeiffer. The black widow here still Catwoman sleek and sneaky with a dangerous mind as after tormenting Jennifer Lawrence this Summer, this fall there's more than grace hiding behind those furs and pearls. Just like the princess. Or should we say the dame? As miss Judi Dench (or should we say Ma'am?) is on the money here like M as an American socialite sickingly insincere with a crown full of jewels. But our queen 'Mrs. Brown' who made us fall all head and heels in love again with her new boy in 'Victoria and Abdul' is really having another legacy making year for her unconquerable legend. And as devilishly funny as 'Philomena' asking about the "c" word amongst all the lost child haunting drama, you'll just love the amazing accent. Or speaking of accents maybe the murderer really was the gangster. As Johnny Depp takes off the 'Pirates' hat and peg-leg, rum stumbling British veneers and plays an American gangster that Ridley Scott would be proud of. All long leather trenchcoat, Ratchet walther, Dapper Dan hair slick and razor-thin moustache that cuts like one of his scars. The only thing Johnny's intimidating but inspired veneer is missing is a Tommy by his side as Depp's new depths guns for post roaring twenties, 1930's Goodfella glory. Just wait until this Pirate in 'Donnie Brasco' form unwraps a whole new 'Dark Universe' to become 'The Invisible Man'. Looks like the only one who can see the truth here is Poirot and with a maverick moustache of a top lip scarf, Kenneth Branagh is the best thing to happen to this story this Movember since Suchet. After his definitive role in 'Dunkirk' and his flair for the blockbuster big-screen direction in the avenging norse of 'Thor', Branagh goes hammer and nail with 'Ragnarok' in his best time in front of and behind the camera and crime yet. This double-act really is decadent in the stylised look of this classic and the modern day telling substance that lies beneath. He's funny, forthright and formidable in his quest for justice and peace. Or whatever comes first. A finale fitting usual suspects table read line-up has last supper imagery for someone who we suspect as having their last meal and his one-shot carriage to chamber walk around the crime scene unlocks even more than meets the cinematic clue discovering eye. This visionary and visceral tour on the Orient is the most thrilling trip on an old train since Robert Downey Jr.'s 'Sherlock Holmes' had a 'Game Of Shadows' and dress up with his dear Watson. Now as this railroad makes its final stop there will be tears as it departs once more like parted lovers running after the smoke. But still fear not for if you are still in Agatha denial Branagh has a river in Egypt to sell you. Until death does us part again...au revoir. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Further Filming: 'Murder On The Orient Express (1974)', 'Death On The Nile', 'Sherlock Holmes-A Game Of Shadows'.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

BOOK REVIEW: TOM HANKS-UNCOMMON TYPE

4/5

Hankswritten.

We don't deserve Tom Hanks...or at least Hollywood doesn't. In a once inspired industry (despite previous problems that still needed to be resolved), now well and truly corrupted by the cruel and callous behaviour of some of those in power who have harassed and abused for countless victims and decades. All until the rise of to the minute social media has given them nowhere to hide and those without one finally...a voice. Even when some of the biggest names in the business have been sullied, Tom Hanks remains a constant beacon of light and truth. The actors actor. The regular working mans Hollywood star. The Bruce Springsteen of movies. The Boss even gave him quite the Academy Award winning intro for his Oscar moment fighting injustice for the LGBT community decades before Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto's 'Dallas Buyers Club' did in 'Philadelphia'. Hanks has been doing this since the early eighties. Even years before this now 32 year old writer was born. And not to make anyone sound old but you know we've all grown up with him too. From the 'Turner and Hooch', 'Big' fun of the eighties, to the 'Captain Phillips' or 'Sully' saviours of the real world he plays tribute to these days.

Hanks has saved a private named Ryan, brought togther a band of brothers, taken on a ship hijacked by Somali pirates and survived and landed a plane in...no ON New York's Hudson River. He's survived on a desert island with nothing but a volleyball, told us life was like a box of chocolates and even caught Leonardo DiCaprio like no one else can. Not to mention he's played both Walt Disney and Pixar's next generation own cowboy with a snake in his boots, Woody. He's done it all and we haven't even mentioned the 'Apollo 13', 'Green Mile' and 'Bridge of Spies' best. Let alone the trilogy of Dan Brown works and partnership of Meg Ryan romantic comedies. Did you just miss the fact that this guys been to space? Is there anything he can't do. Well apparantly not. Because after directing and managing his own band, coaching a womens baseball team featuring Madonna and becoming C.G.I. for a yuletide trip on a train more lavish than the Orient Express every Christmas (not to mention bringing into this world an all acting and rapping lookalike son), Hanks senior has shown he can put pen to paper too. Or is that hands to paper roll and carriage and fingers to keys? As Tom releases his most personal project yet from the desk of his home study...'Uncommon Type'.

And bringing us the best of common people like you like he does in his movies with this pulp fiction, Hanks is just the type for this sort of side-project venture. Not a long-awaited, sought after autobiography which we will hope to amazingly read one day, 'Uncommon Type' is even better. A classic collection of seventeen sweet and at times soberingly somber short stories from the man who has played them all. And here he gives a voice to the rest too in this wide world of wonder. A man dating a younger, more active woman who completely turns his life around...whether he likes it or not. A father driving home for Christmas with more than egg nog, family and present anxiety on his mind. A young actress looking for her big break and her place in the city. A group of friends on an exhibition, trying to populate Mars like Matt Damon's 'Martian'. And a local bowling alley hero bigger than Lebowski amongst so many more weird and wonderful characters and the stories they share. Not to mention some old fashioned newspaper blurbs from 'The Burbs' actor in journalistic character going against the broadsheet beating social media type. These columns and chapters all share something in type too. Not only so they feature in some small or significant way a reference to the greatest tool between the ages of the pen and the laptop in the hallowed typwriter, they were all perfectly wrote on one too. As each story stars with a beautiful black and white portrait of a different type of this magical machine in all its mechanics matching the outstanding, orange Penguin jacket of this instant modern classic looking read. This isn't the Tom Hanks you know. But this is what the readers truly want. A different side of the Hollywood star. And hats off to all his quirky short stories and whimsical writing with so much soul. Ones that like his legacy lasting, legendary roles get to the heart of what's most important in this world, an individuals character. And in the world of entertainment no one has more than Tom. "Hankful". TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Friday, 3 November 2017

REVIEW: THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER

4/5

The Dear Hunter.

121 Mins. Starring: Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Barry Keoghan, Raffey Cassidy, Sunny Suljic, Bill Camp & Alicia Silverstone. Director: Yorgos Lanthimos.

Dear oh deer. It seems in today's world revenge is a dish brutally served colder than a operating table where someone now resting in peace used to lay in the clinical and calculated, captivating thriller and dark and disturbing pyschological horror of 'The Killing Of A Sacred Deer'. Vegans fear not. No deers where harmed in the making of this movie. Not even a Milwaukee Buck. But in this Cincinatti clinic some humans hurt some more in this hospital bedside, mild-manner that tries to examine the depth of the human condition under a microscope that just a regular X-ray just won't show in all it's gray matter. It looks like Irish actor Colin Farrell and director Yorgos Lanthimos really are each others 'Lobster' Phoebes. Because here this Doctor and director bring us a Greek like tragedy of unfathomable decision in the same tense and taught vein as the choice Meryl Streep had to make as 'Sophie'. And here after giving us a manufactured dating world, future fable and modern parable in the maddening oddity of the love in the face of boiling cauldron in 'The Lobster' (that really did display cruelty to animals...or was that humans?), they reunite as Farrell does with Australian Academy actress Nicole Kidman after Colin chose between here and the likes of Elle Fanning and Kirsten Dunst in 'Lost In Translation' director Sofia Coppola's classic remake of Clint Eastwood's act in 'The Beguiled' (coincidentally this is the first film this writer watched without a trailer tease since Colin and Nicole's last one and trust it from me it makes it all the more, fellow A24 picture 'Moonlight' like mesmerizing). But this time Farrell's decision making process is much more forlorn and born from love and not lust as all these perfect partnerships come together for a big-three picture. And one of epic, explosive nuclear family proportions matching those of the bible on your bedside table, as this raw wrath of revenge in bloodied surgical gloves really does go for the jugular of your every emotion and sense of being.

A movie of the year 'A Ghost Story' (also A24. A+ guys!) like, hauntingly beautiful operatic opening in blackness that seems to last for a whole aria (so much so that you may just leave your seat to tell the usher the screens on the fritz before this one reaches a standing ovation), cumilates into an out of nowhere surgeons eye-view of an open heart procedure that beats as yours palpitates. And from there you are as captivated as the stirring strings of this scintillating score to not look away for a second like your life, or the one of the one you loved depended on it. Now like too many cooks looking over a broth, we don't want to spoil the plot. But here's a little stock set-up. Colin's character is one of surgical precision like a sought after wrist watch with a metal strap thats water resistant at a depth more than 100 meters. Stay with us. Even if that's what his mind is on in time. This recovering alcoholic with a cider beard that is as the millennial girls say; "goals", has a case of malpractice on his hands after failing to save a patient whilst under the Jack and coke influence. Now despite looking out for the family his shaking hands tore apart, the son of the dearly departed wants more than a mentoring father figure even if that is his replacement ravaged goal for him and his widowed, weeping willow strong mother. Now in true old testament style this kid who barely looks like he has any hair on his arms (cue that deer hunting beard) blood-lust wants an eye for an eye. But he's never killed anyone before. But if you who know has I bet you can tell what's coming next? Or can you?! As plauged with the most purile and pathological problem a domestically disturbed husband and father could ever possibly have, Farrell is forced to perform a procedure so out of his power or even the heart of his bruised and battered (not to mention memory serves, alcohol soaked) soul to do so. And taking his own life by his own beautiful, surgical hands is so far from an option that it's not even considered. Yes this movie is insane on a maddening 'mother!' Jennifer Lawrence scale. Yes it is even crueller to boot. But his somehow beautifully bleak, weird wonder that's slashed lip kissing cousins with it's 'Lobster' pincer holder is gripping in its gravitas and its grounding, cut-throat nature with cold metal implementation.

Lanthimos has us from the "I'll explain this quickly" go before he takes his terrifyingly taught and twisted time with each turn of plot. In this harrowing hour by hour horror that haunts us like the open, one shot hospital corridor left and rights that show us how chillingly lonely this place and life really can be when your permanent residence ends up right here between the ice white changed sheets. Whether professional or personally in patient. Yorgos unamiously has us as the next, direct directing great of hidden meaning and destroying depths just like the arrival of the current best in the business in the form of the 'Enemy' and 'Prisoners' arresting Denis Villeneuve who has truly illuminated the mainstream with this years neon lights blockbuster best in the '2049' sequel of 'Blade Runner'. And here the closest thing to Kubrick today brings his favourite Irishman off the whiskey to show that the ever underrated Colin Farrell is ever one of the greats of our generation of acting. A far cry from the also android and sheep Phillip K. Dick rewrote 'Minority Report' and 'Total Recall' days of his electric dreams youth, Colin with this in collaboration with 'The Lobster' and 'The Beguiled' is at his bravest and best ever since he was 'In Bruges'. And for all the socially akward, clinical dialogue served in stunted monotone mannerisms for dramatic and nuclear home caustic effect in this distracted age, the weathered and worn character Colin Farrell brings to the forefront is the most evokingly effecting. Even with a fellow 'Beguiled' Nicole Kidman by his side. The 'Lion' Academy Award nominated actress who is about to be a Queen in the 'Aquaman' adaptation of the 'Justice League' has a career on cruise control right now in 2017. From the big screen to even the linings of the small one (see the smart phone screen standouts of native 'Top Of The Lake' and Renee Zellwegger's 'Big Little Lies' for truth proof), but here hauntingly heartfelt she's barely been better in this smaller but nore significant big picture. Mothering two children coupled together by madness in the stranger things happening to Natalie Dyer lookalike and 'Tomorrowland' actress Raffey Cassidy and new kid on the block for tomorrow Sunny Suljic, looking for a brighter day. But even though these kids are more than alright, it's 'Trespass Against Us' actor Barry Keoghan who really is grown as this fellow Irishmen goes from sharing an odd charm with Farrell to being his every nightmare in ways you wouldn't exepect at all. What starts as the most concerningly bizarre partnership turns into a thing thankfully a million miles from sexual, but intead something that really does f### with you even more. If you felt sorry for this kid Barry in 'Dunkirk' then after this you won't anymore. But boy is this young man even bolder and better than he was in Nolan's war for the bringing of our boys from the beaches. Almost convincingly too good. Perfectly peculiar like a Dane DeHaan or Charlie Heaton second coming of strange. He show steals from a classic caliber cast that even features a brilliant Billy Camp (who recently has done the rounds over the years with the likes of 'Lawless', 'Public Enemies', 'Black Mass', '12 Years A Slave', 'Loving', 'Midnight Special' et al) and 'Clueless' actress Alicia Silverstone bordering on 'Bates Motel' like motherhood stuck in one cameoing housebound, homecooked dinner and a movie scene that really does feel like 'Groundhog Day', but aren't you glad you visited again? But as this film finally comes round to a day by day, waking hour, sleepless night awakening end, friends Farrell and Lanthimos make a deer rifle killing. In something sickeningly twisted but cinematically sacred. And what a cross to bear that is. What a choice it is in this life my dear. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Further Filming: 'The Lobster', 'The Beguiled', 'A Cure For Wellness'.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

REVIEW: THOR-RAGNAROK

4/5

Revengers Assemble.

130 Mins. Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Karl Urban, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Idris Elba, Anthony Hopkins & Benedict Cumberbatch. Director: Taika Waititi.

SMASH! The god of Thunder tumbles through a helicarrier hangar with a big green blob of a blur bounding down with him and lands thump, flat face-down. He lifts his head up and wipes his nose. Remember what Mickey Rourke said about "if you can make God bleed" in 'Iron Man 2'. Holding his hand out for Mjolnir, Thor cracks a wicked smile. Strike one! 'Ragnarok' rocks and Thor's thunderously charming third time round is lucky for Marvel fans in a gaming mood for fun, frolicing escapism from another case of "Shakespeare in the park". Right before things get real dark as all the Avengers are taken to 'Infinity' next year. So before war and posted after the 'Civil' one that the two most powerful members of the team weren't even invited too (and to think they didn't even send a raven), it's time to dust off mothers drapes again. As the Asgardian God in warrior mode takes on that incredible green giant once again to show Iron Man and Captain America a real "work friends" feud and fight, no Hulk Buster suit required. If only he had a hammer. Following 'Spider-Man: Homecoming' keeping Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark webbed up, this is the ultimate team-up movie that rights be damned may aswell be called 'Thor vs Hulk' like one of those classic crossover comics. But these gods and monsters aren't the only superheroes to spar in this great cape escape as stranger things are happening here like logging on to your Netflix to binge stream the upside down right now. After 'Murder On The Orient Express' conductor and Poirot mustache himself Kenneth Branagh killed it with the first 'Thor' movie that set the God of mischief Loki villainy under Thanos for the first 'Avengers' assemble, 'Thrones' director Aaron Taylor brought a game of realms to 'The Dark World' sequel. But now New Zealand, 'What We Do In The Shadows' and 'The Hunt For The Wilderpeople' director Taika Waititi makes this trilogy conclusion worth the wait as this Kiwi gives the Aussie Chris Hemsworth from down under his best comedy chops since he stole the show in the new female 'Ghostbuster' franchise last summer. And the funniest fun exchange with Mark Ruffalo's Bruce Banner since they made a stop at New York's Grand Central Station and punched more than a ticket. An Australian dressed like something out or norse mythology and another one twice the size ripping through even big and tall shirts but keeping his purple pants on? You have to laugh as this can't be serious. Besides when it comes to Thor and his new sidekick a little bit bigger than a sidecar you wouldn't like this if he was angry.

Locks chopped and hammers nailed Thor is still worthy of these realms, even if it isn't Mjolnir time anymore. As the head of the Hemsworth house continues to plant his family trees Hollywood roots more than a Skarsgard. Even without Stellan...or Natalie Portman's Jane Foster for that Thor matter (and don't get us started on 'Broke Girl' Kat Dennings or the 'Blindspot' of Jaimie Alexander). The hunk next to the Hulk still bringing that very, very frightening thunderbolt of lightning like Galileo, no matter who wants to dirty his blonde mane. Hesmworth has the strong arms and the comedy ribs like his 'Huntsmen' weapons and proton packs, making this truly a rush. Colouring the most vibrant Thor movie and possibly the most entertaining Marvel cinematic universe one this side of the 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' yet like 70's retro Pink Floyd's and Zeppelin's. Adding an even bigger shade of green to this superhero supernova spectrum. And we aren't talking about the coat of his bawdy brother in arms. Even though the terrific Tom Hiddleston is back as the manifest his own luck Loki, after "dying" so emotionally in the last movie which this one delightfully ruins in more ways than one. The devil may care, God of trickery is up to the games his reputation proceeds him for, but the hilarious and heartwarming Hiddleston makes sure it never gets old. Always adoptingly familiar to family as these squabbling siblings make for some great back and forth with the equal heart and hilarity of Hemsworth. And just like in 'The Dark World' when they're not trading blows or banter ones this duo that is more dynamite than dynamic makes for a great one, two punch of action. That is until we meet the ham farm fists of fury of Hulk's real "frenemy" in the man made monster he's fought more times than the Chitauri or an Ultron drone. That's right The Incredible Hulk is back and this time the Gamma rays are on full as he's smashing everything in the Gladiator arena like Waititi was trying to remake and take it all the way to 'Planet Hulk' (and check out his more than a cameo, scene stealing character of comic genius we wont spoil but just rocks). We may never get a Hulk solo movie, but after Eric Bana and Edward Norton made Marvel green in other ways, the envy of them Mark Ruffalo is an incredible mean, green machine. By far the best Bruce Banner since Bill Bigsby truly made Hulk sad in that sweet and sincere seventies show that until now was the only thing that got this goliath giant right. And with more Lou Ferrigno growling dialogue and a new trimmed and beaded look that's all "Hulk Fleek", Ruffalo does more than ruffle a few feathers as Loki isn't the only one he uses like Thor's hammer.

Now no spoiler, this doesn't happen but wouldn't this be the perfect post credits scene to set you up for next years 'Infinity War'? Hulk and Thor are recovering from whatever happens at the end of this movie when out of nowhere Iron Man lands down in trademark fashion. And as they look in surprise his visor flips up and Tony Stark tells them he needs their help. He needs his team back. Looking a little like "didn't you get my e-mail", Thor replies "you and whose army"? To were on que, out of the shadows comes the bearded Nomad of Captain America. OOH! Right? That would be the best fake post credits scene since that kid came up with that Stark Tower Spider-Man window cleaning one for the 'Age Of Ultron'. But you know these days as you wait around twice whilst all the ushers pick up all the rubbish all you see is another Captain Rogers P.S.A. telling you offer them a helping hand. You'll just have to wait for the 'Black Panther', or settle for a classic cameo here even better than the traditional Stan Lee one. Because in this epic ensemble the only things missing here is a 'Team Thor' roommate Darryl cameo. And why wait for war or remain civil when you can watch the Revengers assemble? As 'Creed' fighter straight outta 'Westworld' Tess Thompson, playing the M.C.U.'s first LBGT character as the Valkyrie is valiant and show stealing like her boxing beau Michael B. Jordan looks to be next year with panther power. Besides the God of Thunder, his frosty brother and even the Hulk will need all the help they can get against another green familiar foe in the form of Hela the Goddess of death. Played hellishly perfectly by Academy actress Cate Blanchett. Here mixing her 'Lord Of The Rings' days with some Loki like reindeer games and the bald bones of a machine gun totting destroyer, Karl Urban by her rebellious servant like side. This queen isn't the only evil threatening Thor's kingdom of realms. As an always delightful Jeff Goldblum brings his trademark off-script flash as the Grandmaster and an outfit that looks like it could have been his own (after his recent glitter turtle neck under a suit, chat show look saw him off-topic offer everyone lozenges between regailed stories of nose trimming techniques that only he could make fascinating. Like him backing up soul sensation Gregory Porter on piano (just Youtube "Grahama Norton: Jeff Goldblum"...oh you're so welcome)). The brother of Benicio Del Toro's crafty collector creating this Contest Of Champions like your favourite Marvel mobile game and even having an off-screen 'Jurassic Park' reunion of sorts before the 'Independence Day' resurgent star joins Chris Pratt's Star-Lord for the 'Fallen Kingdom' of a whole new 'Jurassic World' next year. There's even more here on offer in Marvel's most epic and legendary all-star cast yet by the eye of iconic Anthony Hopkins' fatherly fond Odin and of course an inspired Idris Elba's gatekeeper gone dreadlock rogue. Sword fighting back after critics left the two gun slinging barrels of his 'Dark Tower' empty. And what would all these strange days be without an appointment with you're local New York, Greenwich village Doctor off Bleeker Street like 'Sherlock's' Baker Street? As 'Doctor Strange' post-credit and trailer teased Benedict Cumberbatch's uncredited cameo would have worked better as a surprise, but is still one of the funniest things in this film full of fancy fantasy and fun. Taika could have made this tacky, but instead out of the 'Wilderpeople' shadows he remakes this all his own. And what a Marvel it is as nothing is 'Thor-mulaic' in the comics corralled culture that keeps reprinting like the Daily Bugle. If more of the anti-D.C. movies are going to take themselves this seriously than forget about 'Infinity War'. We want 'Thor 4'! ANOTHEEEER!!! TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Further Filming: 'Thor', 'The Incredible Hulk', 'Avengers Assemble'.

T.V. REVIEW: STRANGER THINGS 2

4/5

Strange Days.

9 Episodes. Starring: Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Mattarazo, Caleb McLaughlin, Noah Schnapp, Natalie Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Joe Keery, Sadie Sink, Dacre Montgomery, Sean Astin, Paul Reiser, Cara Buono, David Harbour & Winona Ryder. Directors: The Duffer Brothers.

Happy Halloween! 'Stranger Things' have happened again. And it's time for you to be turned upside down too as The Duffer Brothers go all the way to 11 once more. Opening the doors on these strange days was just what the Doctor ordered. An aesthetically perfect costumed fit to dress up the scariest of holidays this October weekend like Michael Myers or a 'Scream' mask. From the thrilling, comic-con Michael Jackson trailer that was truly off the wall. To an official 8-Bit mobile game release in keeping with the back to the Goonie 80's retro vibe of modern day, instant vintage on a nostalgia trip. All the way to a hidden Easter Egg that's really cracking just shy of November in a feature that truly turns your Netflix app upside down (not recommended if the account doesn't belong to you...sorry Nic!). The giant smartphone to smart T.V. streaming service Netflix is taking over everything in the entertainment world right now from Sky to the Amazon. And it's no gimmick either. Soon the new way to watch T.V. will be the only way too. Say goodbye to your aerials and TiVo's. This no chill takeover is kind of akin to how the fictional Derry, Maine 'IT' like town of Hawkins, Indiana in 'Stranger Things' is being weeded out from under the ground up. As this show finds itself in Netflix's big-three, top pick streaming in a series binge instant next to the sisters locked down 'Orange Is The New Black' and Kevin Spacey's falling 'House Of Cards' President. Not to mention the royal appointment of 'The Crown', all those new 'Narcos' to be found under the floorboards like contraband, a new 'Star Trek-Discovery' boldy going each week and all those Marvel sub-shows of 'Daredevil', 'Jessica Jones', 'Luke Cage' and 'Iron Fist' 'Defenders' that are really going to punish anyone who hasn't caught on or up this fall. And we haven't even got into the exclusive movies yet from the Hollywood names you might know like Brad Pitt, Tom Hanks and a 'Bright' Will Smith this Christmas. But despite all this in showcase, device ready to destroy your social life at a finger swipe left and even though it takes cues from everything including 'The Goonies', 'Stand By Me', 'E.T.', 'The Thing', 'Twin Peaks', 'Wayward Pines' (that's a given if you look at the previous lost in the woods inspo), 'Under The Skin' (and in this season 'The Exorcist'), there is nothing quite like 'Stranger Things'. Just look at how these 80's kids on trikes has inspired this years first part of the 1000 page plus adaptation of Stephen King's 'IT' clown monster back. And we aren't just talking because young star Finn Wolfhard is in it (because the comically cocky Derry residence is nothing like Hawkins' most shyest and anxious kid this side the disappearance of Will Byers). And after the five star, eight episode wonder of the famous five's first season, this Halloween a back 9 of 'Stranger 2' is in no danger of your Netflix night turning into something else five minutes in. So get your eggos ready for the iconic Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein theme and it's sonic boom of a score that will have you skipping the "next episode begins in 5.4.3.2.1." bit and watch this until your nose bleeds.

I aint afraid of no Demogorgon! But I might just be scared of what goes bump in the trash can night of a proton pack, after these kids pay the perfect homage to the 'Ghostbusters' in a moment that will have all those who hated that great all-female reboot hailing these boys as their new ones to call. 'Stranger Things 2' starts with an alarming masked heist and epic police cruiser chase straight out of a before it's time, 90's classic action movie script playbook. It doesn't look like the young, small town life we are used to a gust of wind away from downtown Chicago, but boy does it look incredible. As does the rest of the throwback 80's aesthetic from the penny Pacman arcades to the T.V. adverts and dinners all in a 'Uncle Buck'/'Home Alone' decor to match on John Hughes street. And this horror/thriller sci-fi detective show as a genre meshing and mashing whole that is a cult classic now in its own right. To the uninitiated witnessing 'Stranger Things' for the first time from now or years from, this would still look and feel like something lifted from the 80's, not a thing homaged to it. Even the kids here impossibly look like recognisable figures from back in the Bon Jovi 'Runaways' day...and we aren't talking about the actual veteran 'Beetlejuice' or 'Goonies' actors. From pumpkin patches to black holes and labs scarier than Macaulay Culkin's furnace. To rabid rat like monsters that turn into something stalkingly scarier than two "clever girl" raptors this has all the things, foggy atmosphere and big trouble in a small town to make 80's horror forefather legend and Kurt Russell ally John Carpenter take script flipped note. There's even a short short, skin versus vests basketball scene that takes it back to the days of 'Teen Wolf'...and we're talking about the hairy Michael J. Fox days, not the new show of a series. This is the one classic throwback show that everyone wanted this year like justice for Barb and the best directing brotherhood next to those avenging Marvel's the Russo's have delivered like duffel bags. The Duffer bros taking their phone screen in the bedroom dark, heart palpitating first season that scared you right down to your bone marrow and turning this one into a much more personal roller coaster screamer of a private, haunted house hell horror. One that terrifies with even more substance above the retro style on an 'IT' like level of elder bullying influencing rebels and 'Misery' prisoner enclosed, emotional trauma. Sounds fun right? But oh is it!

Leading this party pack of brats too is child star of the moment Finn Wolfhard, who is really making his name swim with this and how he floats too in this years 'IT'. He is the personal and passionate anchor that keeps all this ship straight. Especially with his band of pre-pubescent brothers in their hormonal feelings. The cool and composed Caleb McLaughlin has become a fortunate fool with a Bart Simpson slingshot in love and shows more heart for it. Whilst the soul of this piece Gatten Mattarazon, checking in as Dustin with his trucker hat curls and R rolling pearls was made for this like he was this lost boys decade. And who would of thought he could cry and make you do so too? Expect even realer and rawer emotion though from actual former lost boy Noah Schnapp, who is here as Will Byers but at a harrowingly haunted price that shows just how great an actor this shy and insecure kid at play is. But despite this fantastic four we all know the real star of this show is Millie like Bobby Brown back in the 'My Prerogative' day. And this time with curls instead of the Furiosa inspired shaved dome, Millie Bobby Brown continues to dial it up as Eleven, changing T.V. channels like Phoebe in 'Friends' and fashioning a halloween costume that looks like she's trying to audition for Casey Affleck's part in 'A Ghost Story'. Noseblood, sweat and screaming tears...not to mention words that are now weapons in her expanded arsenal as she moves you in all sorts of Magneto magic ways. And just wait until she punk rebels..."bitchin" indeed! She's got some competition though in the form of out of town road warrior 'Mad Max', or red head Sadie Sink, who has her own problems to deal with in 'Power Rangers' star Dacre Montgomery. The red ranger red with rage and pedal to the floor muscle car 'Metallica' over compensating exhibitionism. He's probably mad because he can't find a shirt to go under all those leather jackets he rocks. His 'Steel Panther' mullett isn't the only thing that kicks old news cool kid Joe Keery's ass though. Last years douche bags up his old ways and actually becomes an all round good dude aware of his flaws, even if he does still swing that slugger bat (you know the one with the nails). His Bermuda like love triangle with the Molly Ringwald iconic making Natalie Dyer and Dane DeHaan lookalike and sensitive soul Charlie Heaton taking a whole new shape. And then there's the real adults. David Harbour again is breakout brilliant in chief position here. Harbouring more than just Hellboy hot aspirations to play, as this former character actor made good remakes himself like Winona Ryder. Who is really making her famous name that much more infamous with arguably her greatest gift to acting. And this time she doesn't have to hold on to a bunch of tangled up Christmas tree lights to show us so as she illuminates. And how about some more new additions that amaze? Like an actual 'Goonie' and 'Lord Of The Rings' star from Mordor in the fun, heartfelt form of Sean Astin? Or fellow eighties 'Diner' legend Paul Reiser filling the lab coat of Matthew Modine and giving us the greatest voice of that era this side of Albert Brooks. And how could we forget Mrs. Mom, Cara Buono for all you teenage boys of 'Weird Science'? These monster mashing cult, cinematic chapters have it all as the upside down turns you inside out. It's a hell of a thing. Like the sky scraping monster we really want to see bring this town to the ground. And for those binging until they can't take anymore Musketeer candy this Halloween you're in for a treat, no trick. With a third trip to Hawkins, Indiana en route in the back of a forest hills, wood weaving station wagon, it's clear to see in the marathon rearview that what doesn't kill this small town, simply makes it...stranger! TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Further Filming: 'IT (2017)', 'Stand By Me', 'The Goonies'.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

REVIEW: BLADE RUNNER 2049

4/5

Do Androids Dream Of Ryan Gosling?

163 Mins. Starring: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana De Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Mackenzie Davis, Dave Bautista, Barkhad Abdi, Robin Wright & Jared Leto. Director: Denis Villeneuve.

Replicate this franchise all you like. But you'll never break the same rain soaked ground as the original, legendary Ridley Scott directed 'Blade Runner' 1982 movie and the real read of the visionary Phillip K. Dick's iconic 'Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep' book that gave this film it's novel idea. Even with all the different versions of this blueprint moment movie for you junkies to feast on (five to be exact), with more cuts than a butchers for your eyes. Without the ahead of even most modern movies today times 'Blade Runner' there wouldn't be the paranoid android of 'The Terminator' franchise, or the cyberpunk future of 'The Matrix' revolution for the science fiction genre birthed by Phillip K. Dick's future fables reload. And as for some of your favourite anime 'Akira'? Forget about it. Even the cruelly, critically underrated and whitewash called 'Ghost In The Shell' movie starring everyone's favourite Asian actress Scarlett Johansson (who actually did an amazing job) earlier this year had Tokyo neon like shades of lost in blade translation advertising. Upgraded and video projected taller than their skyscrapers of tomorrow that acted as a commercial advertisement for the Los Angeles smog meets Hong Kong industrial look of this decades later California. Whose former sun cracked streets now soaked with noir drama hallmark settings have no one no longer asking why it doesn't rain in Southern California. And before original runner and 'The Martian' and 'Alien: Covenant' director Ridley handed the Han like replicant blaster to amazing 'Arrival' alien director Denis Villeneuve of 'Sicario' and 'Prisoners' fame (one who already showed that his films like the 'Enemy' Jake Gyllenhaal doppleganger double-act feature more than meets the eye), an awakening anime precursed this new age of '2049'. The beautiful 'Blackout 2020' was something else as was the nice 'Nexus Dawn 2036' short starring 30 Seconds To Mars lead singer and 'Suicide Squad' Joker, Jared Leto and 'Doctor Strange' and 'Avengers: Infinity War' star Benedict Wong (M.I.A. in this movie). Who himself recently as a fortnight back starred in an episode of the 'Electric Dreams' series of short stories from K. Dick. But now after a 35 year wait, almost hinting at a half century and an 'is he or isn't he' cliffhanger for more fingernail gripping decades in the making than the return of 'Twin Peaks', 'Blade Runner 2049' is here like origami in the rain just when you were tired of counting electric sheep.

And judging from how this all looks through the mist of a neon nights rain, it's safe to say with Villeneuve we are in the midst of the most vivid and versatile director working today. The 'Arrival' sci-fi game and narrative changer really has arrived. If the look of the first 'Blade Runner' back in the 80's left your jaw slack, than this new milleniuum one in '2049' will have you picking it up off the floor. Visually and sonically behind the synth scintillating score manned magnificently by the classic composer today Hans Zimmer this thing really is an effervescent masterpiece. A reboot of a groundbreaking 80's cult classic hasn't looked or sounded this sensational since Disney and Daft Punk gave 'Tron' a whole new 'Legacy' bathed in neon mapping chrome reflections. This takes that decent Colin Farrell 'Total Recall' remake of the Phillip K. Dick taken for wholesale Arnold Schwarzenegger movie and snaps its neck like Arnie against the bad guys. This is more out of this world than Mars as the C.G.I. takes the cars, holograms and a time where puncuated product placement (we see you Atari, Sony and of course Coca Cola) is only seen as perfect here and dials it all the way up. All whilst keeping that 80's aesthetic so clean and fresh it almost appears like it hasn't been messed with. At times it looks like you're watching a remaster of the original and that's not to fault the flawless graphics here (even if those iconic clear plastic umbrellas are missing their flourescent light tubing fit for a room handles). More to credit the original classics C.G. or physical set up to make up for the lack of in a futuristic feel of a film still made by technology looking forward to tomorrows world. Still anytime the spinner cars aren't going back to the future and somewhere where you don't need roads through another noir neon night downpour, we are taken to a 'Last Of Us Vegas' like nuclear fallout deserted desert of the future. Burnt in 'Mad Max' apocalypse orange and solitary primed for the vast outlook of an IMAX screen. Chord enchanced by the scene setting, blaring and pounding, futuroscope score amongst sand covered statues that almost looke like giant humans burnt to ash pillar posts. But aside from all these beautiful bells and whistles of ultimate cinematic wonder, Villeneuve's smart story of emotional arcs and soulful heart continues the narrative of the original classic in this compelling, candlewax slow burner of a blockbuster that is still noir-ish. Offset by brief but brutal all out action assaults that amaze as they beat you into submission, drowning your screaming senses. Paying honoured homage all whilst setting its own path for the future and the discussions that will come with the most talked about and meaning debated movie of the year and sequel of all-time. Let alone the four sequels that prouducer Ridley Scott has on the idea pipeline that may be 'Prometheus' like overkill, but may also have promise if Villeneuve is still in the driving seat. His definitive direction making you wonder what it would have been like if Scott had the same freeing trust in Neil Blomkamp (the 'District 9' and Elysium real world futuristic grit director who is the new Phillip K of the film world) and his 'Alien' movie. Instead of the 'Android: Covenant' we got this year in the robotics of 2017.

But even if you think the man in the chair Ridley should retire, nothing it getting rid of these replicants. Even if 'La La Land''s two-stepping Ryan Gosling's K (see the tribute...no we aint talking about those 'Men In Black') is hunting them down like Deckard with 'Drive' like trademark 'Only God Forgives' stoicism. In his second classic of the year that people feel they also dare not give this any less than a full five star, masterpiece review. Even if this just falls short of the original that many claim it supersedes, when really that was always a Tom Cruise mission (or an oblivion like outlook). As this incredible sci-fi movie that stands all on its own still doesn't feel a shade (just a shade) quite right as a 'Blade Runner' movie no matter how much graphics they use to bring all your old nods back (but that's the point this Denis dynamic is a new landmark movie all in it's own right and moment). Look I'm sure Harrison Ford wasn't too happy with 'Rogue One' bringing back Carrie Fisher in C.G.I. after their real loving and knowing reunion. So imagine his joy at some of the additional, unnecessary add ons here that almost made this writers hardcore friend with a 'Blade Runner' tattoo look for a cover up. Gosling is as great as ever here however in a role that swan spreads its wings like the 100 feet ballerinas he dances between as he stalks the streets. But we all know there is no 'Blade Runner', even in '2049' without Harrison Ford. And the still whip smart (especially in the not so taken seriously sarcasm department, for something equally refreshing and genuine in this business) 'Indiana Jones' and 'Star Wars' star is not going through the walk-on, just another day at the office before he breaks his ankle coming out the Millennium Falcon cameo motions. His intro return scene is decades and hours earned classic even if we did see it in the trailer already. And as for the glass of scotch in the trailer legend of punching Ryan Gosling by accident for real in this movie. Judging from the realism we see here it looks like he did it again and again...perhaps he did leave the whole bottle of Jack for Ryan in the end. Even if he did take all the stage hand produced ice for Gosling's almost broken cheek bones for his own bruised knuckles. But these hits have got nothing on the raw emotional impact of the real acting that follows for the first time truly since the 'Witness' and 'Regarding Henry' era. Perhaps it's all the talent this movie has afforded Ford. Like 'Knock, Knock' and 'War Dogs' standout Ana De Armas an anything but hollow hologram vision. Hooking up with Ridley Scott's 'Martian' maverick actress Mackenzie Davis for an akward 'Her' avatar like menage that lies somewhere between touchingly beautiful and cringingly shallow. 'House Of Cards' First Lady Macbeth Robin Wright slicking her Jenny trademark hair back and calling the shots. If she tells you to run, then you make like Forrest. Dutch 'Renegade' actress Sylvie Hoeks as quite the replicant enforcer who can take you out all whilst some man circular mini buzz-saw files her nails. Or Drax the Destroyer and Bond henchman Dave Bautista as 'Guardians Of The Galaxy's' very own muscle man of meat wall, showing you he's one replicant you don't want to wrestle with. Even Barkhad "I'm the Captain now" Abdi gets a cool cameo look in. And then of course there's 'Dallas Buyers Club' Oscar winning supporting actor Jared Leto, right before he dons the legendary smoking jacket of the recently dearly departed Playboy man himself Hugh Hefner, in relatively normal guise minus some contacts. As this monologue in Hauer homage maddening actor amazingly wears prosthetics in his eyes for the whole film to perform in this picture "blind". Impressive? Yes! Inspired? Well take a look at fellow musician/actor Jamie Foxx playing piano and leading the whole 'Ray' Charles biopic all whilst going prosthetic sightless for the movies whole damn performance. Whilst Leto's three sparing scenes that were originally meant for the late, great Starman himself David Bowie (now imagine that. Now this change feels something akin to Michael Shannon doing his best Ziggy Stardust glam rock impression in 'Tron: Legacy'), draw Jesus visions from Villeneuve. Yet despite this almighty misguided comparison this movie that deals with life, death, the rebirth of man and all that creation and replication at the core not once falls to pretention (the only thing to ever ruin 'Blade Runner' was Oscar Pistorius). Even if some of the critics calling this movie stuck between a blockbuster and a noir place better than the original might just be in cult blasphemy. They say its a masterpiece. On a cinematic and sonic scale it inspiringly is under the influence. But behind all that style is a substance that needs merely a little more mastering before its a cut above the rest as your science fiction hallmark front runner. But an android can dream...right?! TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Further Filming: 'Blade Runner', 'Ghost In The Shell', 'Total Recall (2012)'.

Friday, 22 September 2017

REVIEW: BORG vs. McENROE

3.5/5

You CAN Be Serious.

100 Mins. Starring: Sverrir Gudnason, Shia LaBeouf, Tuva Novotny & Stellan Skarsgard. Director: Janus Metz Pedersen.

More than the ball is on the line here as Center Court plays center stage in this cinematic recap of one of the greatest games to ever be played on grass at Great Britain's hallowed turf of Wimbledon, the cathedral of tennis. Let for this Swedish films service, as Danish director Janus Metz Pederson (who brought dark depth to the Colin Farrell, buckshot death defying dream of his father in his evoking episode of the cruelly, critically overlooked season 2 of 'True Detective') takes us right between the evergreen blades of grass. So much so you can almost taste the squash, smell the rubber in the volley and hear every taught twang and thwack of the racket for racket, ratchet tension as heads go back and forth, to and fro like next typewriter lines changing ends. In 1980 before Lady Diana married Prince Charles, or the Berlin Wall fell, a simple, but decade setting and making, historical game of tennis took place. Where Bjorn Borg looked to awe-inspiring amazingly win his fifth straight Wimbledon title before shockingly retiring at the tennis tender age of just 26 years old. But the brash rebel of the United States superstar in the making, John McEnroe's cause stood threateningly in the sweet Swede gentelman's icy demeanoured way. As did the wonder of eight match points, more breaks than Ross and Rachel and sets too. But this deuce battle of love was a game of will and endurance for these two polarizing figures and pillar pioneers of their sport who turned out to be much closer in spirit than we or they first thought. From the emotion of the trademark tantrums thrown like balls and racquets of McEnroe. To the devotion of Borg, so highly strung he spent countless, restless routine hours before matches walking over the very baseball bat like, before its time, backhanded instruments of ace weaponry he was set to wield the very next day. But when it comes down to the baseline to baseline face/off of the Federer and Nadal of their time who had the ball in their court?

FAULT! There has been less films holding court in this game then matches played on a foggy London Summers day. Of course there's 'Wimbledon' with Paul Bettany and Kirsten Dunst falling in love in a movie that was 'Notting Hill' on grass. And soon we still the 'Crazy. Stupid. Love' of Steve Carell and 'La La Land' Academy Award, Oscar winner Emma Stone do the 'Battle Of The Sexes'. But for every 'Rocky' there's an 'Ali'. Every 'He Got Game' a 'Coach Carter'. And every 'Any Given Sunday' a 'Blind Side'. But we're yet to see a solo Sampras or Agassi film, although the U.S. 'Open' stars legendary quote on tennis terms begins this pictures piece. And you can bet sooner rather than later, or mens singles they'll do a Williams sisters movie that will be out of this world like Venus. This game for the audiences of the movieworld just works better as doubles mixing it up. Advantage 'Borg/McEnroe', otherwise known as 'Outlander' star Sverir Gudnason and the man who says "just do it" so many times Nike should actually sponser him for this event, Shia LaBeouf. And together chalked up in the texture of Pedersen's 'Atomic Blonde' 80's cartridge and cassette powered movie, they give us the best edge of your seat, slow burning tense, thrill ride from the personal life to the press conference and all the games between since marvels Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl changed lanes of pole position as James Hunt and Niki Lauda in Ron Howard's Formula 1 race, 'Rush'. And with adrenaline pumping hard and fast like quick blood to the head, this intense contest on grass and off court is more than the fitting, old school as Fila look of headbands and the hair underneath that like the perplexing personalities behind can't quite be tamed. The recreated tennis scenes, game set and match like an ESPN Classic rewind are aces especially the final rallies and cries. But it's the mortal men behind the God like status, captured by private and personal scenes by Sverrir and Shia that are the makings of sheer brilliance. Advantage...us.

"You can't be serious" we hear you cry! Yet down the line no one is more serious than Sverrir Gudnason's gargantuanly great performance of the guarded Bjorn. Gudnason bringing genuine grit and gravitas to show the struggling humanity of a public persona dubbed "robotic" so much by the press that Borg may aswell have been a alien villain upgrade on 'Star Trek: The Next Generation'. But behind this amazing athlete was more a man of privacy invaded by worldwide, household name and familiar face fame. And a perfectionist of his courted craft, so much so he majorly won all his young life until he called it quits after a loss affected his ability to maintain his own lofty standards of unbelievable excellence. I mean here's a guy whose morning routine includes performing push-ups on the rails of the balcony of his penthouse, rooftop Monaco apartment like he was running suicides, with only floors of stories and a swimming pool below to break his fall. What more could you expect from a man whose bag, room and car rental must all be packed the same? The naked truth of a former wild child who only shows any evoking emotion the moment he hits the showers and his eyes pour like the faucets. Sverrir severely not only catches this all in all its complexity, but he also looks exactly like Bjorn. Besting his international opponent and mastering his own like Daniel Bruhl as his lauded Lauda. So much so in his and this movies native Sweden, this movie is just called 'Borg' like a trekkie's dream movie. You can tell from the development of on-screen love in the form of singer/songwriter Tuva Novotny's narcissistic negligent, loyal suffering girlfriend. In a sportsworld of egos she won't even let her husbands socks clash. Or 'Avenger' and 'Pirate' Swedish legend Stellen Skarsgard's father/son like terrific trainer relationship, fresh off the clown shoe heels of son Bill as 'IT's' Pennywise carrying on the family legacy proudly 27 years later. Still, even if a young John's background is sidelined for the native Swede, a shimmering Shia LaBeouf makes up for all that as a mirror reflection to the manner of McEnroe. This former Disney rebel knows all about tempered troubles and beyond his famous youtube video and what would be John's if that smartphone enabled medium was available back around the, he sounds exactly like the man he's screaming to play here in every shout. But behind the marrow embedded rage and raves is a caged heart of matters and a bruised soul that LaBeouf delves deep down with both hands to clutch at. Looking at the reason behind the maddening rhyme, Shia shows that behind every flame of anger is the match that lit it and whose hand it belongs to. And this is why in one hell of a transformation from his toy robot Bay age, the 'Lawless' and 'Fury' standout is an animal of an actor. Shia who gave Sia his everything in a music video is seriously good in this dual biopic character study as McEnroe. And who has as much character as Mac? Perhaps this kid. Because behind every heart of a champion is a soul of a contender and just like John back then Shia is more than a worthy one scrapping away at this mental boxing match until the knockout. Even bottling all the post-adolescent, angst aggravation in the final frames to the calm of a quiet storm tornadoing beneath his torpedo serve. Sounds epic? Well that's just how 'Borg vs. McEnroe' was. And if the 'Battle Of The Sexes' set game between Billie Jean-King and Bobby Riggs can match this...ACE! TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Further Filming: 'Wimbledon', 'Battle Of The Sexes', 'Rush'.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

REVIEW: KINGSMAN-THE GOLDEN CIRCLE

4/5

Manners Maketh Statesman.

141 Mins. Starring: Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Julianne Moore, Channing Tatum, Halle Berry, Pedro Pascal, Bruce Greenwood, Elton John & Jeff Bridges. Director: Matthew Vaughn.

Stirring what was once shaken, 'Kingsman-The Golden Circle', the superb sequel to 'The Secret Service' takes that 'Goldfinger' laser aimed between Sean Connery's legs and splits 007 in two. And you expected him to just talk?! Forget Bourne, this is the new super-spy identity that could ultimately kill off Bond like Daniel Craig changing his mind yet again. Idris Elba may aswell trade in his 'Luther' blazer tacket for a whole new shirt and tie tux. Because after this everyone will want to suit up at Saville Row to be a Kingsman. It's Oxfords not brouges now for these knights. You know what that means. Why be a secret agent, when you can be a King? And after 'Kingsman-The Secret Service' came out of nowhere like hooded youths and showed you could turn an 'Attack The Block' chav into a world saving 'My Fair Gentleman', this new generation gadgets and girls grand royale was always going to grab at a sequel. And who would have thought that against the odds of all the turned up noses that snoot it would be another success story too? As the vintage British Avengers throwback for the Marvel age busts blocks and chops in the post-summer, pre-Star Wars fall season of big candy cinema to snack on that refuses to stop popping. And with a shot of bourbon from their American cousins, these 'Kingsman' don't only pass the bar they raise it like all your glasses. On par with the hearty original thanks to some up ante, at 'em action, 'The Golden Circle' brings it all back round as 'Kick Ass' superpower Matthew Vaughn does exactly that and more. Dynamite to a grenade gunfight upgrade, the 'X-Men' director gives us another 'First Class' original. As his new 'Statesmen' make a statement behind all the kings men that still have the makings of more than manners.

Tailor made for the hash-tag youth, this hi-tech app, spy game can take all those millennial eyes out the smartphones with their heads tilted to the right screen. The bigger picture is caught as soon as this movie and it's new leading man whistles for a cab. And all hail this Hackney that may aswell be the Wayne Manor Batmobile, as you see just how well it fares as he catches a ride with an old friend with a Terminator arm upgrade. A robotic prosthetic that looks that's straight out the futuristic like 2049 blueprint playbook of the blade running first film. And as these two old friends show there's no love lost between black eyes and bruised egos as they duke it out and go crazy to these kings paying tribute to the purple reign of the late, great Prince, the explosive, epic action here could hit and run for 21 straight nights too. And from a barrel roll call, shotgun introduction to some wild cats from Kentucky, riding ally like a gang of Felix's to this Bond of brothers. To a ski-lifting, snowscaped, amazing avalanche of action that is classic 007 like Roger Moore (Rest Peacefully sir). This movie has all the meat grinding, popcorn and shakes action, all the way down to the diner table order of an American dream theme park, candy coated villain lair in the middle of the cornfields of a nowhere Cambodia. And from the tie-pin to the tobacco spit, there's a lot of set-pieces at play under this umbrella. Even a classic pub lock-in scene call-back like so many other refreshing references done in heartfelt homage. This time taken to an all-American bar fight that is whip and skipping rope smart. You will want to bolt the door on this one. As even though it's no suprise (thanks to a parosel poster, teaser trailer and then all out reveal), it's an "emotional" (as those layer cakes would say in Vaughn's 'Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrel's'...it's not like I actually cried...honest) experience to see the former Mr. Darcy gone rogue, Colin Firth back in shaded bespectacled action. This 'Kingsman' franchise can kill off anybody. The 'Atomic Blonde' 'Star Trek-Beyond' and 'Mummy' star this series made Sofia Boutella. Samuel L. Jackson, who is in every damn movie and even here in flashback replay form. Even Sir Michael Caine. But not the king of kings, he's not to be stuffed and mantlepiece mounted like his dog, Mr. Pickles just yet. It must have been a blank as apparantly if Sam Jackson shoots Colin Firth's Harry right between the eyes after a Kentucky derby church massacre that silences everything expect the organs, then all Firth needs to go forth, keep calm and carry on is a Nick Fury eyepatch. But there's more raw reality to this Agent Caulson like resurrection even for this fetching far franchise. You have to believe it to see it, but boy will you love this butterfly effect.

Legendary as the knighted Firth is however. This is the students film now, not just the master mentor. And these Kingsmen are lead by former young prince, turned throne sitting matured Taron Egerton with the crown on his bounce. Decked out and attired in a cut cigar hot blazer, burnt orange smoking jacket. Ever since his Adidas stripes to pinstripes, chavs to riches breakout Taron has proved to be the next one. From flying next to the soaring charisma of Hugh Jackman in last years 'Eddie The Eagle' personal best biopic, to being shortlisted in the young star war for the Han Solo solo movie he should have been afforded for like Ford. But Egerton egging on Eggsy even further is cracking with cocky Cockney charm, as this young man completes his signature role with a mirror check tie straighten. Again he makes his name proud in an all-star assembling ensemble of bright light ones that even goes to Hollywood. Just like the ever versatile and reliable, hard-working Mark Strong who is "f###### spectacular" here holding all the behind the scenes cards with the magic of Merlin. But these Kingsmen are going to need more tricks up their sleeve as Oscar winning Julianne Moore's devilishly, wickedly good villain ('Still Alice' she is not) looks to get into the worlds populations nervous system more than a lisping Jackson's Valentine's implanted SIM cards. Especially with no love from a former 'Star Trek' admiral, turned Trumped up President (you remember what happened to Obama) in the form of a great Bruce Greenwood. That's when the statesmen come into this on the rocks mix with a twist. As their Champ kind, Champagne elder Jeff Bridges may have put a cork in his true grit, hell or high water action, but still knows how to wield a stetson and that trademark drawl draw delivery. These cowboys with Halle Berry's Ginger Ale, behind the screens action beside them (and so much more) really bring the spirit of YEE-HAH to this royal affair. Following his redneck 'Logan Lucky' heist this summer, Channing Tatum continues down this country road yet again in boot, buckle and denim. Killing it as Tequila and making us happy with a southern hospitality, all-action introduction that is a comfort greeting to the fact that inbetween some magic dancing from this Mike, he spends most of this movie on ice. Lying in wait for possibly the next sequel or series from this franchisee of a franchise. Instead amongst all the big stars it's the phone screen one in 'Narcos'' Pedro Pascal that steals the show with his maverick moustache and bolo tie. In a southern charm, charismatic performance that is as electric as the lasso he splits the bad guys with. But between all the metal K-9's and briefcase bazookas it's 'Rocket Man' himself Elton John as Reginald Dwight who really is the dogs wotsits. As your tiny dancer goes all Captain Fantastic, taking his name back from Viggo Mortensen with the single most gif worthy moment of the entire film. If this film has the man who wrote a song for the king of lions then it really does have it all bar a yellow brick road. And down the line only an unnecessary and gratutious Glastonbury staged scene can soil this festival of fun for your Friday night film. As this lights, camera and action bring two former allies together for one united state of Great British intelligence. Now we know about our boys but how about the Yankees? By this 'Kingsman' gentlemanly manner born, do these Statesmen have the makings of a spin-off series even if it is "very American"?! F### yeah! TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Further Filming: 'Kingsman-The Secret Service', 'Spectre', 'Kick Ass'.

Friday, 15 September 2017

REVIEW: MOTHER!

3/5

Mother's The Word.

121 Mins. Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, Domhnall Gleeson, Brian Gleeson, Jovan Adepo, Kristen Wiig & Michelle Pfeiffer. Director: Darren Aronofsky.

Mother f#@#$&! What the hell is this?! That's what half the movie-goers leaving the cinema half-way through 'Mother!' this weekend will scream. As the remaining film-fanatic half lean around them to not miss a thing in what will be the most divisive movie of this year. If not easily the most controversial one in recent decade making memory. To be loved and to be loathed this festival film received as many sneered mouth, hand-cupped boos in chorus to the auditorium heavens as it did hell for leather rounds of applause in upstanding ovations at Venice. Halloweenheads here it is. Prepare to be haunted as this is the season your hallowed harrowing genre comes from what lies beneath the monsters in your bed, rushing from your slammed bedrooms doors. The spine tingling and shattering freak show to end the Summer blockbuster season and pre-curse the Oscar fall one began with the return of Stephen King's 'IT' after 27 years in the form of your deepest, darkest fear, Pennywise. A clown scarier than the Big Mac one that asks if you'd like fries with that. And before the Goonie gang tikes on trikes of 'Stranger Things' stand by this to end a thriller of a Halloween binge night streaming and screaming like Michael Jackson, we have one truly terrifying tale that is anything but an 'It' following run up the stairs and pocket full of posies, all fall down sterotypical genre churning cliche. In a horrifying year that has seen the envelope of the scarlet letter feverishly, letter opener pushed so much this scare/shy film fan has started showing his face at more hide behind your date movies. From the "Shudder Island' Swiss-Alps, scare scenic retreat of Dane DeHaan's 'A Cure For Wellness', to the 'Get Out' of Jordan Peele's race relations ravaged, scathing metaphor of white privilege in the face of black power. And in this scary Trumped up time we all need a little bit of entertainment that says something, no matter how horrific it all is. And this movie metaphors all that is wrong with a man made world of ignorant discrimination and the abuse of power in love needs and wants. 'Requiem For A Dream' and 'Black Swan' director Darren Aronofsky and his new beau leading A-listed actress Jennifer Lawrence give us the maddening 'Mother' of all hard-hitting, shock factor movies right now with this requiem for a nightmare.

Shredding your every nerve to its very ending, this freak-show is as tearingly tense as the 'Swan' skin pulling from the tip of your nail to the end of your torn cuticle as skin crawlingly painfuly puncuated as that very stinging feeling. But just like fellow visionary gothic director Guillermo Del Toro's haunted manor born, blood-soaked, dressed up 'Crimson Peak' with Tom Hiddleston and Jessica Chastain, this is no horror movie. No matter how hauntingly harrowing. Not really. This is more like a psychological terror that will scare the wits out of what you can't see, but will tirelessly and torturingly think about in every waking hour until you're over the edge. Can't have nightmare if you can't even get to sleep. Your wits end will meet the disgust you thought was already too desensitised to boot as the pulse of this house is haunted with more than what's hiding in your closet or what goes bump in the night. As 'The Wrestler' director grapples with bone bruising surrealism, as subtle as a "here's Johnny" axe ground through the bedroom door. Forget skeletons the bones of this film are wooden floorboard and dust rooted in the trappings of marred married life victim to inattention, stunted creativity and passion in both the workplace and the charred heart of where home really lies and that most feared and misery company hated mistress of love, loneliness. No stay at home DIY will paper over the cracks in this paint thin foundation of bruised heart and lost souls in a relationship as micro-managed manipulated as it is room with a view lost adrift at sea with no memory bliss. As Jennifer Lawrence's stay at home, do-good wife, caters to the needs of her tortured writer husband to the point of suffocating subservience that smothers every hope of a home life more than the furnished feel of meticulous, put together decoration as everything else falls apart. Whilst Javier Bardem's beta-bloked alpha-male who treats his so he says "muse" with passive dissmissiveness that hurts as much as outright abuse, albeit in different, darker shadowed smile hidden ways. As Aronofsky's anxious age simmering slow burner, to aggravated explosion of emotions and the senses is an evocation of existential dread in the forlorn form of another haunting on the outside 'Ghost Story' that carries so much more moral meaning inside to the burning heart of matters and the nature of the whole world and its wider waking implications invoked and implied here. The beating heart in the walls of this blood cracked and creaking floor-boarded house may seem soot black-rot and ash haunted, but in reality it's the love lost note message in bottled up emotion that is more telling than what the walls talk. The sound of silence more piercing than what you think you heard.

Lawrence breaking even more ground boxed into four walls simply shows just how amazing an actress she really is. The next Meryl Streep going from 'The Hunger Games' to the 'American Hustle' /'Silver Linings Playbook' of back-to-back, multiple Academy Award Oscar nods. Hey Jude! Jennifer is the new J-Law. And after the mystique of this actresses 'Joy', this heartbreaking homegown depression of personal purgatory may be her best and most powerful performance yet. Puncuating the poor excuse hidden abusive male figure themes of the perplexing 'Passengers' alongside Pratt, Chris to recharge almost a year later with this much more morality and questionable humanity driven exercise in examination of the human condition in a social mass media world of wall scaling and backbone crumbling desires to peer-group fit in for fear of sticking out like an individual one claims to believe they are. Lawrence's lovesick newlywed, loyal to the fault of others is victim to just how horrible people can be. Especially when they are party to effortless selfishness and superiority perceived favoritism. Yet still she stands as strong as the a-star act from the a-lister. Even in the face of one of the most expressive and shudder evoking actors of today, no matter how nice he really is or acts here. After playing a barnacle blistered, scaly scary undead villain in Johnny Depp's 'Pirates Of The Carribean-Salzar's Revenge' this Summer, this halloween Javier Bardem is a scary as the time he cattle gunned people to death with a Rolling Stone comb over in the Cohen's 'No Country For Old Men'. Or when he bleached Bond as the ultimate Daniel Craig era 007 villain in 'Skyfall'. But just more subtely so. It's a monster performance of manipulatingly convincing charm like when he looks to bolt back up Universal's 'Dark Universe' as Frankenstein's monster, but here alongside his beautiful bride, he's a different sort of beast. This disturbed home life is further invaded from privacy to decency by Ed Harris' stranger in the night. The legend and 'Westworld' man in black going deeper and darker into the phlem and bowels of his chain-smoking and spluttering character. The effects it has even touching his sibling warrings sons inheriting the sins in the form of real life brothers in arms Brian and Domhnall Gleeson, on realer than raw form as Brendan's boys batter each other into subplot submission. But no matter which famous face shows up at J-Law's door ('Fences' climbing and breakout star Jovan Adepo making his name under the roof of another residence. Whilst funnywoman gone serious Kristen Wiig being particularly and satirically, seriously good as a literary agent who is literally something else altogether), the only one who can come close to threatening the body of Jennifer's work here is the 'Dangerous Mind' of Law back in the 'Scarface' signature sealed day of a scene stealing Michelle Pfeiffer. The original Catwoman herself halfway there, purring with a sinister sexiness that claws at her younger, impressionable host at a blood drawing striking distance. The feline big eyes of this femme fatale offsetting an otherwise expressionless look that could kill of much more bitter, embedded emotion that lies beneath truth. There's so much going on here in Aronofsky's bleak look of bricks and mortar, home is where heartbreak is hallucinogenic. One that spellbinding and compellingly creaks and treads carefully until it runs through a house of strangers inading that stack up and then fall like playing cards of all sorts of faces and dealt hands as their greedingly grabbing mitts claw for a piece of everything. There are themes of God and Mother Earth, Adam and Eve and even Cain and Able here. But this forbidden fruit is also worm infested laced with licks at a Trump time of smartphone dumbed down social status. Not to mention mob-menatlity riots, mere-mortal whore worshiping individuals in our life like Christ like figures and celebrities wrote by our own hype like a game of Gods. Teaching us that these day after day numbing notions against the ideal of family and loyalty are in comparison pathetic, ignorant, outwardly ultimatly destructive. So much so that it's killing us and the future we thought we held so tight. Aswell as putting an exclamation point on the awareness of abusive relationships, malingned marriages, the evil men do and the callous oppression of women. These are just a few of the book club like theorised themes that turn throughout this taught twisting narrative that begins nuanced and then blights our senses with noose-strangling, nauseating imagery that turns a house party of uninvited guests into cults of religious fanatics, soldiers, terrorists and one in the all too familiar same. All to a climatic point following a perfect moment of eyes and expression made peace, to the other end of the spectrum opposite that no mother should suffer ever and in turn shows us just how harrowingly horrible masses of people and this movie we set out to see really can brutually and honestly unforgivably be. Aside from this intolerable cruelty the awe-inspiring Aronofsky milks 'Mother' for all our "seen it all before" eyes can take. But as we scream "GET OUT" like the message of the greatest meaning hidden horror of the year, this 'Mother' in J-Law will keep knocking at our door longer than this day. Goodnight...try to sleep tight. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Further Filming: 'Black Swan', 'Rosemary's Baby', 'Winters Bone'.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

REVIEW: IT

4/5

Penny For Your Wise.

135 Mins. Starring: Finn Wolfhard, Sofia Lillis, Jaeden Lieberher, Jack Dylan Grazer, Wyatt Oleff, Chosen Jacobs, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Owen Teague, Nicholas Hamilton & Bill Skarsgard. Director: Andy Muschietti.

'It' follows the chillingly cruel chapter of Stephen King's 1986 classic and is the first time this crazy clown has been sent in since the 1990 Tim Curry mini-series turned double disc movie. For those in the know that was 27 years ago. "It" being the tale as old as terror of Pennywise the clown. The horror harlequin more maddening than a pack of playing cards full of nothing but Jokers. Haunting the children of a sun sleepy small town of Derry, Maine's worst phobias and feeding off their fears and maybe even their limbs as food for their terrified thoughts. And that's just for starters. Just wait until the main course of parents in chapter 2. As 'It' has already been red nose lit for a sequel as this red balloon refuses to pop like how the weasel goes. As this is one legendary Stephen King crowning story this year that is worthy of the classic catalogue bookshelf just like Stanley Kubrick's version of 'The Shining' with "Heeeere's JOHNNY" himself, Jack Nicholson. Especially after Matthew McConaughey's Man In Black and Idris Elba's Gunslinger following adaptation of 'The Dark Tower' fell to critical decline and the fact they tried to cram seven books of material into one movie no longer than your average game of soccer. But this game of two halves that runs at a door stop, cinder block weight of one thousand and a hundred pages plus could be considered Stephen King's actual magnum opus complete with 'Carrie' blood showers and their own Easter Eggs...literally. And was that a Buick 8 in the neighbourhood driveway? Normally horror movies leave me at home. If there was another couch this writer could hide behind, behind the couch he was already cowering under he would. Scaredy-cat isn't even the word...maybe something that sounds like that. The last scary film this writer went to see was the Ethan Hawke finger trembling 'Sinister' (I'm the opposite of a sucker for old fashioned, shutter stuttering, haunting slide show projections in scary movies...so I'm in for a bloody treat) when he was trying to impress an old girlfriends parents. And judging on how he almost ran out of the cinema like cartoon characters off the edge of a cliff...hell of an impression. But right before Halloween we are talking about 'It' here (even if I left my souvenir Pennywise poster in the cinema because I was so creeped out. It'll probably end up on my bedroom wall following me as I wake up tonight I'm sure). The nightmare inducing bedtime story from the King of King's. So fear not it's only right I float too.

Stranger things have happened than this wuss of a writer making his way to the multiplex to see something that goes bump in the night like pop, pop, popping popcorn in foil left on the stovetop. And as a matter of fact this group of 'Goonies' couldn't be more 'Stranger Things' if they had a kid from 'Stranger Things' leading them on their trikes. Step forward Finn Wolfhard in Moranis bifocals. Looking the part but showing that as an actor he can change gears too. As his 'Stranger', more sensitive hero shifts to a cocky, mum joke a minute, "that's what she said" funny bone of this Losers Club. One you'll all want to join and stand by like Lost Boy vamps. There's Jaeden Lieberher's stutteringly brave and shy, sincere soul. Leading with heart, not humour. And Jack Dylan Grazer's best friend type, unsung hero. Always there even if his mum tries to pull him back by the clipped ear. Wyatt Oleff's anxiously afraid character is anything but the meek manner that comes bursting out too. Whilst Chosen Jacobs is the one overcoming it all without a family to call his own from his peers to bolt through the head racism. Jeremy Ray Taylor's strength of character too outweighs the physical appearance that has bullies giving him the truffle shuffle everytime they outrun him after school. His huge heart trying to catch that of our Molly Ringwald of this 'Breakfast Club' (complete with the best, in-joke easter egg of this movie) piece, the flame bob cropped Sofia Lillis. The girl with every boys eyes on her...even the ones she wouldn't want. As this young woman forced to grow up so fast has much more to deal with than some mean girls smearing a slut shaming reputation on her that isn't even remotely warranted. But sadly and more tragically comes from an abusive relationship with her father that somehow has been sickeningly twisted by her so-called friends. Sofia is superb in bringing out the bravery in the face of brutality in a real world much scarier than the monsters hiding below your bed. There's bullies in this school. From most likely to suck, Owen Teague and Nicholas Hamilton's aggressor acting, accented with angst aggravation. But the real brutes and bane of these kids lives look to be the parents who are in line for their own clowning soon. And you won't be able to wait until Pennywise gives these bullies a taste of their own medicine without a spoonful of sugar as the Loser Club is finally winning.

Insane clown posses don't get much more devilishly red hot than the one 'Rocky Horror' legend Tim Curry started with his two-part, T.V. movie picture show. Yet Stellan's son, Bill Skarsgard (last seen peroxiding the roots of Charlize Theron's 'Atomic Blonde') is perfect and the wise choice for this Penny from hell. From the bell in his bonnet to the rattle in his basketball player sneaker sized clown shoes. This jester is as purely psychotic as Heath Ledger's Joker. Bringing 'Dark Knights' to the lazy May Summer days of Derry, Maine as this killing joke who will give you more than just a penny for your thoughts if they are wise to your fears. The flower on his chest doesn't turn into a water pistol but he does morph into your deepest, darkest thoughts of your worse nightmare. Not that devil claws and demonic rows of teeth all the better to eat you with aren't Red Riding Hood versus the wolf scary enough (although this time our soul lost at paper boat roadside gutter sea wears a yellow raincoat hood). And if they don't get you his crumbling war-paint Joker make-up and pitch-fork blood smile contour will. Offset by his vintage Victorian, hallmark haunting clown costume get-up, 'Thriller' laughing final frame yellow eyes and the hair of the one clown responsibile for clogging over a billion arteries served. And just you wait until he talks, moves, or acts like the creppiest, crustiest bozo you've seen this side of the 80's since 'Uncle Buck' porch decked that drunk one that showed up after an all night bachelorette out the back of a mouse with Jack Daniels to entertain some kids. But from turning into portraits bleaker than Dorian Gray and showing young girls everywhere why they shouldn't wash all their hair down the sink, Bill's clowning around is brutally brilliant. Skarsgard sealing his puncuated Pennywise clown character that really is 'It' like a scar. I bet you want a red balloon now in the craziest, most creative marketing campaign that has seen these balloons pop up in the real world of late everywhere to everyones freaked out and fond dismay. This clown killer will scare the seven shades out of you as the winding Jack in the box tension cranks up. Nevermind the bejeebus. And 'Mama' director Andy Muschietti (who brought the American gothic out of the flame-haired Jessica Chastain in her black Bob, pale rocker riding riff) brings us the mother of all horror movies (a week before Jennifer Lawrence's same named, pre-Winter's bone, Darren Aronofsky haunted house and married life) from the forefather of this gruesome genre. And from running up the stairs and behind the back of the door horror reveals, to real world implications from the metaphors of standing up to who the real bullies are and what's really the scariest of them all (abusive parents and peers that make Pennywise the clown look like entertainment in comparison), this is more than what just bedroom door creakingly sneaks up behind you. There is method to all the madness here as this film chills your spine, tickles your rib-cage and even warms your heart as your hairs stand on end. Looking for a horror movie that holds more meaning than just what scary thing lies beneath? Then this is 'It'. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Further Filming: 'IT (1980)', 'Stranger Things', 'The Dark Tower'.

REVIEW: WIND RIVER

4/5

Hell Or High River.

111 Mins. Starring: Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen, Gil Birmingham, Graham Greene & Jon Bernthal. Director: Taylor Sheridan.

Come 'Hell Or High Water', 'Sicario' writer Taylor Sheridan in completing his noirish crime trilogy has gone from the script desk to the directors chair for 'Wind River'. And after arguably penning the best two pictures of the last two years ('Hell Or High Water' actually attaining an Academy Award nomination in said category), Sheridan with the same first initial and last name as the next great young actor ('Ready Player One'?) gets behind the lens for one of this calenders greatest. As with this unofficial trilogy this writer/director double threat here shows he is heading to a land where he is to modern movie storytelling what Cormac McCarthy is to classic noir novels. Much akin to what future sci-fi fable director Neil Blomkamp is to cinemas, what original science fiction forefather Phillip K. Dick was to the chapters of every bookshelf and countless blockbuster his cult stories have inspired. In some ways the former 'Sons Of Anarchy' actor Taylor was made to write books, but what he's bringing from page to screen right now is worth putting a bookmark in whatever you're reading for the next couple of hours...and the ones you'll reflect on after. Because this film takes the wind out of you and sends you up the river. 'Moon River' this is not. There's bitter brutality below the snowscaped bountiful beauty. A white noise where no one can here you scream in avalanches of the tallest trees and magnificent mountains. A land of wolves and prey were not all the predators stalk on four legs as Sheridan sets both a stunning and sickening scene in the nature of life and the unnnatural disorder of man. This terrific but terrifying tale from Taylor is no story either. But based on actual events as he brings to your porch the raw reality and racism that is happening to Native American's today as we speak in a Trump tide and time where discrimination is far more than the not so United States worst kept secret right now. Yet those Americans who discovered this great land are still getting so ignorantly dismissed and ignored. But in Wind River, Wyoming these Americans are given a voice as Sheridan's movie screams justice from the hills with no reservation.

Whitewash may be called by some critics looking for a cheap buck to comment or crucify everything that's coming out right now. But the only example of that here is on the snow that covers these lands. As the two leads here Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen are both integral to the plot and the race relations that stir in the about to boil over pot below. Showing that just like in the United States as a whole regardless of your colour of skin or creed if you live here, you're from here. Hawkeye has bow and arrow sniper like precision too here as Renner is a hunter of all sorts of predators who are animal in nature no matter what tracks they leave. Whilst the Olsen twins sister Elizabeth and the Avenging Scarlet Witch strikes out with her own magic here. Spellbinding as a Florida FBI agent sent from a Vegas detail to the out of her depths nature of here, as she trades 'Hell Or High Water' like casinos for a place where the chips are well and truly down. And as Clint Barton and Wanda Maximoff reunite there's even room in this ensemble assemble for a Frank Castle too like we only wish the 'Infinity War' next year would. As these Marvel 'Avengers' who first came together thoughtfuly with precision and power in the 'Age Of Ultron', only to work so well together in the rescue, escape and fight moments of Captain America's 'Civil War' (the first knife blade reunion scene that throws everything including the kitchen sink at Vision is cutting edge superhero and their powers re-introduction) are marvellous together again on screen for the third time. Albeit showing that under blockbuster cloak and dagger they are much more than the cape and cowl of the mega Marvel Cinematic Universe's enterprise. Sheridan's scripts are known to bring the best words and wisdom out of some of the greatest actors around from Benicio Del Toro and Emily Blunt to Chris Pine and Jeff Bridges. But here the ever real Renner with true grit under all that camouflaged ice gives us his best and brightest since definitive right now 'Detroit' director Kathryn Bigelow's 'The Hurt Locker'. The film which broke out him and fellow flying Falcon Anthony Mackie. Whilst Olsen showing ownness and a real and raw, surviving and striving strength in the face of ravaging discrimintion, racism and sexism has more power than a Furiosa 'Atomic Blonde' and furious 'Wonder Woman'. This being the benchmark of the next great actresses already impressive career catalogue that features standouts in 'Godzilla' (with her Quicksilver on-screen brother), 'Oldboy' (with Thanos) and 'I Saw A Light' (with Loki). This Olsen sister is so good she is the one in this double act, second wind.

But this revenge tale is more than these two Avengers even if it is too late to dub them 'The Revengers' (thanks Thor!). 'Twilight' franchise father Gil Birmingham is breaking even more new ground by dawn here following his heartfelt and heartbreaking moment in 'Hell Or High Water'. Partnering up to Jeff Bridges cop bantering grit with back and forth gravitas. Here he plays a wounded father. Hurt by an insurmountable loss, spilling over in snow storm stunted eye for an eye trained desires. Even in sparing scenes Gil is great. Even if his erupting emotion is shown behind quickly shut doors, Birmingham is brilliant in showing the love and loss that comes with outliving your young and not knowing where the hell their choices lead them when they became old enough to make their own decisions. Whilst 'The Green Mile' and 'Dances With Wolves' standout Graham Green equals and then one ups his best as a Wyoming officer with the badge and gun that can take Olsen's FBI agent and Renner's hunter tracker in to his jurisdiction and warrant all the bullets and blood that is shed. Making for some amazing action and gunfights that are lightning like the 'Collateral' damage and 'Heat' of Michael Mann's made ones caught in a beer bottle with the top opened cautiously to an everything spraying fizz. Pepper sprayed with visionary realism. As once Sheridan's snow silent slow burner turns into a Mexican standoff flanked like something you've never seen starring down the barrel, what comes rolling out the chamber is a set-piece artillery that clips you, reloads and shoots from the hip again and again. And with all these shells leaving you shocked then there's no wonder The Punisher comes into play, even if he only wields fists and not real weapons. After following his 'Sicario' strangling surprise cameo, Sheridan pulls Jon Bernthal out the hat yet again for the same amount of screen time, but one layered in so much more emotion. As 'The Walking Dead', 'The Wolf Of Wall Street', 'Fury' and of course 'Daredevil' actor gives us a fall 'Punisher' preview to tide us over. Yet again showing us the evoking power in his perfecting, scene setting storytelling and the necessary violence of his protection. Further rhyme to his reason that even in a few choice scenes he shows just how multi-dimensional and incredible an actor he really and truly is. But the real storyteller here is Sheridan who successfully takes his words here and makes them his vision for the first time behind the seed of yet another compelling Nick Cave score. And in turn the wonder of Hollywood's writer of the moment becomes the next great director for our generation. But there's much more to Taylor Sheridan's show and tell here in this thrilling action/drama and its real world unflinching warnings in a wrong world of rape and racism. Sheridan's statement is really saying something here. And if it remains unheeded down by the river there will be hell to pay for all of us come the high winds rise. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Further Filming: 'Hell Or High Water', 'Sicario', 'Captain America-Civil War'.