Wednesday, 21 June 2017
101 Minutes. Starring: Chris Evans, Mckenna Grace, Jenny Slate, Lindsay Duncan, Glenn Plummer & Octavia Spencer. Director: Marc Webb.
See if you can solve this math problem Cap! Because there's a lot of X and Y variables in this equation. Take a child genius, mathematics prodigy minus her mother and add her uncle as her legal(?) guardian. Multiply the advanced problems of a new school of students and social problems (she 'Moonlight's some bus bully over the head with a syllabus textbook) that can't match her I.Q. and divide the remaining family over the custody of choice over what this kid could and more importantly should do with her milleniuum problem solving, one in a million talent and what do you get? A lot of complication? Because this is getting confusing right? And someone needs to explain this to us like we are 10 year olds. Luckily webbed up by awesome 'The Amazing Spider-Man' director Marc Webb we see there's more behind Captain America's shield in Chris Evans' acting homecoming. As the honourable and dutiful, fantastic Captain Steve Rogers hunts for good will and a pursuit for happiness amongst this search for hidden figures revealed behind the dry-erase or chalk boards. Played by real-life acting prodigy Mckenna Grace, this child in question is a young Einstein, but she's just a kid! So shouldn't she just act as such? Or is that even our choice? Or hers? Is the prodigy really more important than the actual child? That's what we are presented with 'Gifted'.
Evans is truly gifted too in this magnificent movie that is all about Grace. After bringing the mandatory, bigger than his body integral integrity to the spangled stars and stripes that leads the Avengers. Being the most recognisable face in the movie worlds most famous and formidable franchise, Evans shows he is more than just a shield. And that that good ole Cap virtue was there long before he suited up to infinity. Showing his heaven sent place between the Chris Pine's and Thor Hemsworth's as a legit hero of a leading man...even without the "super" in front of his nomad name. Suited and Springsteen boot-cut, blue jean booted in a wardrobe of grubby, greaser, used to be white-tees and a 5 o'clock on a Thursday shadow, Evans cuts an ashy boardwalk figure as a brooding, hulking guy who is your key to fixing boats off the Florida beaches. But behind the everyday handyman sought after skill is a sensitive soul and a heart of a hero who would do anything for his niece like she was his own daughter. And that is what sets the personable Chris apart in an award worthy moment which is by far the best thing the 'Before I Go' actor and director (Netflix people) and 'Snowpiercer' star (good luck!) had ever done. After the first Avenger brought the Bucky done gone heart to 'The Winter Soldier' and 'Civil War' this enhanced individual shows us all the gifts in his bag of tricks. This isn't just Evans' ace in the hole either. He could do this all day and if so then we are with him...to the end of the line.
But the real star of this multiplying show is Mckenna. As this young actress shows the Grace of a star to be, 10 years her senior. This is her inspired, Mackenzie Foy 'Interstellar' moment. You all remember where the true grit of Taylor Swift's singing sensation sister Hailee Steinfeld came from right? Well keep a look out for Grace. Because one day she'll be everywhere. Adorable and accomplished, she shows the maturity of someone beyond her peers but the childlike wonder of someone akin to them in youthful spirit. She aces her first big acting test so much so she's ready for another. Luckily a loving 'SNL' and 'Parks and Recs' alumnus Jenny Slate is willing to wipe the board clean for the next problem, as more than Evans' love interest. Whilst Oliver and Tony award winning, Oscar 'Birdman' British actress Lindsay Duncan shows more method behind the rich entitlement madness of meddling. As an unflinching mathematician of generations of gift and curse genius, convinced of whats vicariously best for her granddaughter and the child she lost. It's hard to direct blaming fingers of whose wrong here when everyone has a point. Until the legal aid of beyond the case passionate lawyer, a great Glenn Plummer of 'Colors' fame comes into play. And who could forget the Academy help of Oscar nominated 'Hidden Figures' brain Octavia Spencer, spending time for this child that is only hers by neighbouring qualities. But even in a limited role Octavia is as outstanding as usual. '500 Days Of Summer' versatile direct Webb, who brought more heart to an underrated 'Amazing' Marvel is a wonder as he does it again in a definitive drama for the Sunday matinee that is actually as real and raw as it gets. Never giving into sentimental sap or schmaltz as this jerks every emotion, more than mere tears. And for all the 'Kramer vs Kramer' courtroom and litigating drama of these heavy, aching hearts and bruised, troubled souls there's a battered but no quit beauty that shines as it is set alight. From a truly heartfelt hospital scene that like many isn't what it seems, to a raw but warm finale reveal that will spoil your make-up. But nothing glows more than the orange soaked daddy-figure/daughter days at the beach by the fading Florida, Tampa sun. As Graces's silhouette cuts a loving figure, playfully walk climbing up Evans' leg as she holds his outstretched hand or sitting up on his strong, never burdened shoulders. It's moments like this that like this movie are truly the gift. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
See This If You Liked: 'Good Will Hunting', 'The Pursuit Of Happyness', 'Hidden Figures'.
Sunday, 18 June 2017
'Batman Begins', 'The Dark Knight', 'The Dark Knight Rises', 'Man Of Steel', 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice', 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2', 'Inception', 'Interstellar', '12 Years A Slave', 'Gladiator', 'The Lion King', 'Pirates Of The Caribbean', 'The Last Samurai', 'The Da Vinci Code', 'Rain Man', 'Thelma & Louise', 'Driving Miss Daisy', 'The Thin Red Line'...'Spanglish'. Classic cinematic composer Hans Zimmer has scored so many massive movies in the Hollywood mainstream. So much so that is literally looks like he's the only man behind the music in every film you watch not called 'Star Wars' (wands up for John Williams). And the legendary cinematic conductor was back with his full band and orchestra last night in Liverpool. The town that the great German behind every other movie soundtrack described as being "where all the best songs were wrote". And echoing more soundscape sentiments in the Liverpool Echo Arena, just across the road from The Beatles Story museum in the awe-inspiring landmark Albert Dock, Zimmer brought us another exhibition as we took a tour through modern movie history with one of the greats of screen and sound.
Opening the proceedings with his fun ditty from 'The Holiday' as his band came into play, you almost expected Tenacious D's Jack Black on his one-man instrument-less Saxophone to join this maestro with all his epic players. And after the full string and horn section were spoiler-alert revealed, Zimmer shined as he showed he could play every instrument including the banjo in a set of epics so epic in itself it needed an interval like theatre. A soaring sonic soundscape with vivid visuals and timeless, 'you almost forgot' classics. From the siren choir singing of Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman's submarine submerged drama 'Crimson Tide', to the 'True Romance' of Quentin Tarantino's Xylophone number which has been used and reused again in adverts today. The late, comic great Garry Shandling lookalike, whose bank must be even bigger than his studio had not the cocky confidence of a legend rolling in royalties, but the honest humility of a man who knows it takes every instrument and every musician to make the music behind movie magic happen. From the panflute of 'Gladiator', taking us back to the fields of gold and stirring singing. To the opening call of 'The Lion King' (sung by the actual man himself as Hans tells us, "you don't get with the Broadway show") which had everyone out for a beer or bathroom break rushing back to their seats with nostalgic youthful glee as if they were about to see a young Simba being raised to the rooftops of the arena bathed in the light of the yellow sun.
But after Zimmering between his 'Da Vinci Code' signatures and those iconic 'Pirates Of The Caribbean' themes, Hans told us it was time to do the "superhero stuff". Or should he say the Nolan era. As after getting electro electric with his 'Amazing Spider-Man' Times Square neon splitting scoring and mixing his strong 'Man Of Steel' mix complete with timely 'Wonder Woman' theme interlopation, he delved into 'The Dark Knight' of all that cut-throat, razor-wire violin violence. From the beginnings of Batman to the last rise of this Dark Knight. Also paying beautiful tribute to the testament of the late, great Heath Ledger's iconic Joker and character of man and thoss who lost their lives in the cinema shootings with the moving 'Aurora' musical tribute. Dedicated to those today too who lose their loves to terroism that even tragically happens in concert venues of late. All from a the ever audience engaging band leader full of Ridley Scott stogie stories, who dedicated his show and proceeds in London to the victims and families of those who lost their lives and livelihoods in Grenfell tower. This magnificent man closed his concert with maybe his more stirring sound yet with the space odyssey organs of the out of this world inspired 'Interstellar' starring Matthew McConaughey. Before coming back with the most epic of encores with the 'Inception' influenced 'BAWS' that left us hanging on for more like Leonardo DiCaprio's spinning thimble that refuses to topple (or does it?). It sounds like Christopher Nolan's 'Dunkirk' is about to be IMAX epic from the speakers. After this we don't know what's next for the hardest working, composed conducter, but after Hans took us through the hands of modern movie time last night we know it's going to be iconic, timeless, legendary and just classic Zimmer. Filmmakers Beethoven in a symphony of sound. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Monday, 12 June 2017
THE BLACK PANTHER (Teaser Trailer): "What do you know about Wakanda"?! Well outside of an inspired interrogating reunion scene between Bilbo and Gollum-or Dr. Holmes, Martin Freeman and Ceasar, stop-motion king, Andy Serkis as they're more commonly known-it's Marvel's blaxpoitation comic flipped to the flicks. From the snares and screams of the raw and real, killer like Mike, Run The Jewels song that backs it. To the red Marvel logo gone signature style black like the 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' and 'Doctor Strange' cosmic turn. '42' and 'Get On Up's' Jackie Robinson and James Brown, Chadwick Boseman's panther power really steps into the spotlight like his ship over the stunning, futuristic right-now skyline. All after his 'Civil War' scene steal kicked Caps shield three times in mid-air. Even if a class cast of new 'Star Wars' resistance warriors Lupita Nyong'o, Forest Whitaker and the dreaded 'Creed' of a villainous Michael B. Jordan walked in handcuffs, who truly looks amazing threatens to do the same here. It all comes to a car flipping head though when the Black Panther lands on the back of his own vehicle again, looks ahead to the future of his franchise of franchises and we see his whole colourful comic city behind him to the beat of his own blinged out logo. Wakanda is his land. We'd just love to live in it. Even if we have to wait until 2018. C'mon we know each other...he's a friend from work.
SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING (International Trailer 3): Marvel. Marvel. Marvel. Sure the cats out the bag now, but let's not forget about the other creature that made Iron Man and Captain America's 'Civil War' his own. Striking a deal with Sony, along came a spider and now Tom Holland's Peter Parker's 'Homecoming' is set to be the biggest superhero movie of the Summer (sorry 'Wonder Woman"), if not the year (sorry old-man 'Logan'). Spider-Man is back kids! And it seems like a new trailer hits the web each week. But the latest has got to be the greatest. And we're actually talking about the international trailer of all commercials. Even if it is lacking a certain Childish Gambino. A certain Donald Glover we just hope really is the other web-crawler, Miles Morales. For all the R.D.J. Tony Stark industry party crashing behaviour, it's Batman come Birdman, come full avain Vulture, Michael Keaton who has the best lines talking about "picking up" after the "rich and powerful like Stark" and "eating their table scraps". This really has the great responsibility of making for one powerful face-off. Expect the trademark Marvel and its most popular hero quips through too amongst all the 'why so serious'. Via some go-pro airport battle footage bonus scenes courtesy of the Daily Bugle's best freelance photographer. Making for some clips even funnier than those NBA Finals crossover commercials that see Spidey sling-up with everyone from Magic Johnson to D.J. Khaled?! And another one! The worlds changing boys...time your friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man did too.
THE DARK TOWER (Teaser Trailer): "You crawling your way out the darkness?" Matthew McConaughey's menace worse than a devil in a black suit teases. "Did you tell the kid whoever walks with you dies by my hand" his vibrantly vile villain sneers. Alright, alright, alright Mud! I guess this is why playing Kurt Russell's Living Planet in Volume 2 of 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' didn't work out. No one quite has an ego like a man worse than the devil who warns his gunslinging duel adversary, who catches bullets in his chambers and shatters the glass he holds above his head, "death always wins". After more volumes than your bookshelf can handle before taking to topple, 'The Shining' and 'The Green Mile' legendary author Stephen King's 'Dark Tower' tales finally grows to cinema screens. And when it comes to the man who once referred to a kids raspy tongue pulling taunts to an angry wasp trapped in a mayonaise jar (under the Richard Bachman alias for 'The Regulators), expect the most definitive of dialogues for the new most quotable, cult classic movie. The only thing more striking than 'Luther' Idris Elba's long leather jacketed Gunslinger loading up two pistols of pellets like popping Skittles in a neon Times Square world that isn't his, is his ownership of some of the perfect prose made from a King for an outlaw. "I do not aim with my hand. Whoever aims with his hand has forgotten the face of his father" Elba emotes over this epic, as a flashback sees the President from '24' take the hand of a forlorn faced Idris. Inspired. Even in the face of darkness, King's 'Tower' looks to kill with all it's heart. TIM DAVID HARVEY
Saturday, 10 June 2017
The Universe Of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
107 Mins. Starring: Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella, Annabelle Wallis, Jake Johnson, Courtney B. Vance & Russell Crowe. Director: Alex Kurtzman.
Unwrap Universal's layers of their new 'Dark Universe' productions that take it back to the vintage classics of early Hollywoodland horrors, in a chest thumping, throwback year of 'Kong: Skull Island's and 'War For The Planet Of The Apes' and you'll see more than what meets the splitting eyes. Peel back the iconic bandages of one of the most infamous characters in this land of Gods and Monsters, behind those black void circled sunglasses and top hat and you just may see peculiar persona actor master Johnny Depp's 'Invisible Man' (or not as the case may be). Flip the switch until Igor's alive with the same electricity as that classic line and you just may witness 'Pirates Of The Caribbean-Dead Men Tell No Tales' co-star and go-to villain Javier Bardem wake and bolt up as Frankenstein's most monstrous creation. Even 'Gladiator' Russell Crowe is hiding a beast inside...and we aren't talking about his raging cameo alongside Brad Pitt's 'War Machine' (and can we even talk about that yet?). But first before darkness falls on this universe, we are welcomed to this new world of Gods and Monsters by the real bandaged up, legendary movie-villain of almost a century gone and ancient Egyptian legend...'The Mummy'. And whose your daddy in this one? Who else but the most movie marketable even in middling-age, Tom Cruise? Hollywood's leading man top gun for over 30 years who is already getting back in a plane for Univeral's globe-span this year (the fortune favours the bold, dream looking 'American Made'), before his long-awaited, finally cleared for take-off 'Maverick' sequel. Still he's more Tomb Raider here though as keeping mums the word goes to a former Madonna back-up dancer, who sliced 'Kingsmen' with her ice-cold villainous heels, took Kirk's 'Star Trek' beyond where he's boldly been and kissed Charlize Theron's 'Atomic Blonde'. French-Algerian model/dancer Sofia Boutella moves magically as 'The Mummy'. But with a burying backlash by critics looking to mummify all of this. Before this 'Dark Universe' gets going is it already a wrap?
Cruise is in complete control here however. Running through this former Fraser franchise like he has his 'Mission Impossible' and lately 'Jack Reacher' ones...as a matter of fact like he does, super-cutting through all his big blockbusters. From the early 'Days Of Thunder' to the new sci-fi cult classics of 'Oblivion' and 'Edge Of Tomorrow', living and repeating again and all over again with death-defying self-stunts. Bringing Brendan brand humour, but also his own 'Tropic Thunder' and 'Rock Of Ages' proof that he doesn't take himself as seriously as we all think. He's silly and straight here...and as actioneering entertaining as ever in the hero fold role. Yet in this blockbuster horror he still brings a refreshingly real feeling of fear and vulnerability here like he did when he faced a daily death, 'Groundhog Day' wake up call in the 'Live.Die.Repeat' of 'Edge Of Tomorrow'. Not normally akin to the actions of an All-American leading man. Especially on the dark raven descent of the same military grade war bird he fingertip hung on the side of to begin 'Rogue Nation', that sees him plummeting with no parachute in zero G's in one of this movies most stirring scenes. From the mummy passenger anxiety of takeoff, to the screaming of a crash landing that should leave everyone toe-tags and body bags. Tom has a reason to be scared like Jerry (and we aren't talking about Maguire). The Mummy is haunting his every thought and Boutella won't release her bounty on him. Sofia cops the role that's been waiting for her ever since she slipped on her Vogue dancing shoes or 'Kingsmen' blades. No one could quite play this Egyptian scorned queen with a hell fury deal with the dead quite like her. And the mesmerizing make-up and sand and dust bone, bandaged up C.G. only accents this. She even honours the old stop-motion '32 classic with a zombified, 'Thriller' walk at a Nebula break and reset bone pace. After 'The Secret Service' of Saville Row kings and her almost unrecognisable scene stealing in 'Star Trek-Beyond', Sofia owns this as she now becomes a star. Laughing devilishly as a close up of her eyes see her pupils dilate into two so wickedly good. All eyes are on her now.
Unraveling through this yarn that sometimes rips but always roars is so much more. 'King Arthur-Legend Of The Sword', 'The Tudors' and 'Peaky Blinders' star Annabelle Wallis-who had her own pupil changing cameo in 'X-Men: First Class'-is great at uncovering the secrets that lie beneath that some want to steal here, in a film that has as many wonder women as it does a league of extraordinary gentlemen. Just like funny 'New Girl' boy Jake Johnson in the stereotypical best friend role gone against type. That starts strong but then wears gaunt thin, serving as an unnecessary 'Basil Exposition' plot device that tries to keep this Cruise vehicle going. This cool, but crazy entry could do with some Jack Johnson calm. Because we can already tell what's going on and down. We don't need to have this explained to this like a Denzel Washington 'Philadelphia' six year old. Thankfully the court Cochran of 'The People vs O.J. Simpson's Courtney B. Vance brings us needed relief as a general speaking for the soldiering scenes and the bantering ones. But it's 'Nice Guy' redemption return to form, Russell Crowe that steals the show as 'Robin Hood' gives back to the cult fans. Playing a well-to-do accented Dr. Jekyll-yes that Henry Jekyll-so well we can't wait for his own monster mash movie. And just wait until you see his more Down Under Aussie vibed, vein strained Hyde side. This Crowe amongst the ravens really calls. Even if some critics are crying, "never more". Still like Russell's Jekyll and Hyde character this 'Mummy' movie doesn't know who or what it really is. A Brendan Fraser era like sequel complete with easter eggs by the book? A new reboot, monster movie franchise spawning house of horrors? A comedy of entertaining errors? Or something more self-serious and substantial? 'Mission Impossible III', 'Star Trek' and 'Transformers' writer, producer and first time director Alex Kurtzman hits some rookie walls of script and scene placement confusion. But once he hits the ground he's running through dust foggy London with action aplomb, as glass shatters like sand and sprays like water from the shard to the Fawkes fogged Houses of Parliament. Making for some thrilling set-pieces that trash green and yellow ambulances, big red double-decker buses and everything else, save black hackney taxi-cabs. And even if this movie could have done with a bit more ancient civilisation and less big smoke it'll still be a fun ride by the sands of time. Depp doesn't need to go invisible quite just yet, because Universal's new pyramid scheme will still look for its peak amongst this tipping point. And save the tears as you go crying to your mothers so quickly. This 'Mummy' is still a monstrous beast like the Bardem bride of Frankenstein. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
See This If You Liked: 'The Mummy (1932)', 'The Mummy Returns', 'Edge Of Tomorrow (Live. Die. Repeat)'.
Saturday, 3 June 2017
The Wonder Years.
141 Mins. Starring: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Elena Anaya, Lucy Davis, & Connie Nielsen. Director: Patty Jenkins.
Is it any wonder, that this womans work would take Hollywood so long to get round to? In this, this sexist age of Trumped up misogny. But finally the sleeves have been rolled up and the bracelets crossed over. As the iconic theme of this legend rings out for her legacy of truth. 'Wonder Woman' will draw you in like her gold bright lasso. The 76 year old Amazon queen still in her prime, Diana Prince is no longer invisible like her plane. After the great, Lynda Carter honouring Gal Gadot incarnation (sorry Adrianne Palicki, but you were great in 'Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D'.) made her revelatory big-screen debut in last years critically underrated 'Batman v Superman-Dawn Of Justice', DC Comics' first lady is ready to take the Dark Knight and Man Of Steel to November's dusk of the 'Justice League' assembling ensemble movie. With The Flash, Cyborg, Aquaman and the Green Lantern (?) if he ever decides to milk carton show. But before all of that this Xena Warrior Princess meets Lady Sif is a real marvel for DC too in her solo origins movie. Taking it back to the old World War torn days and thematic textures of a Peggy Carter, 'Captain America-The First Avenger', via the 'Thor' like realms of her Themyscira island world of women. Making for a monster looking movie from Charlize Theron best of director Patty Jenkins, mixing classical traditions and new age legend. If it's taken this long for the Diana princess to get cinematic then it was definitly worth the epic curtain opening wait, as Wonder Woman spins right round for the record like Clark Kent in a phone booth and turns all notions of comic-book sexism and DC movie critical discrimination on it's head. 'Logan', 'Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 2.' and the 'Homecoming' of 'Spider-Man' this Summer are in trouble. Stan Lee's creations thought they had it easy. Until one of the most original heroes looking for justice in these hard times-were old fashions and prejudice die just as tough-came back faster and even more furious.
"I can't let you do this", Chris Pine tells Gadot's Wonder Woman much like his Kirk aligning with Benedict Cumberbatch's Khan was told by Spock in the 'Star Trek' sequel 'Into Darkness'. "What I do Is not up to you", Diana Prince responds as they dance for the definitive, defiant notion that dominates this picture. Sexism and discrimination has no place here, only feminism and equality. Showing only love and the power of a woman in the face of the evil (some) men do. Even in a film that to some fans looks like it rivals the latest 'Baywatch' Rock reboot in the costume department. The striking, enduring image of Wonder Woman roaring behind her Cap like shield as a hail of bullets richochet off something that is no glorified frisbee is emblematic of this entire movies strength in the face of any kind of war. A metaphor and message we need visually and visceraly now today by the 24 hour news cycle more than ever. From beach battles of a mythology of 300 women, to a rise of an empire much more familiar. And as Prince steps up to a no mans land battlefield and shows any aggravating artillery her Quake like gauntlets, she gives us a stirring scene of epic magnitude that puts her in the infintiy ranks of comic-book crossovers to cinematic proportions, highlighted by modern day, timeless set pieces. Simply put Gadot is a wonder as this woman Diana Prince. The former 'Fast and Furious' franchise supporting actress shows she is above the spoiler bar of a few cereal box car tricks and riding shotgun. Bringing more foot to the floor fury as she runs through the trenches with a soldiers soul. The Israeli actress is funny, forthright and formidable as Prince forget a Lebanon ban. This movie stretches to more than spandex or sex appeal. Looking toward more positive themes and metaphors that carry out through cinema and character. If Superman is the kind of hero that inspires young bullied comic-book fans to rise up and do good, then Wonder Woman is exactly the same also adding the belief that no one-even the closest to you-should discriminate. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it a stereotype? Whether your male or female the only thing that matters is you, who you are. And you all know this womans worth.
'Monster' director Patty Jenkins gives us a beast of a movie on all fronts, as in the middle of a raging first war she turns Gadot's 'Dawn of Justice' cameo into something that isn't a mere 'J.L.' prequel preview but something that's in a league of its own. This is Gal's movie and the birth of a new actor/director partnership with Patty. But the star power of Captain Kirk certainly helps this enterprise. And after the rumours that the charismatic Chris Pine was going to play the Justice League's Jon Stewart Green Lantern (Like Gadot's 'Furious' co-star, musician Tyrese Gibson lobbied to play Hal Jordan's version), it seems like Pine is playing a Captain America type like fellow Chris Evans. This soldiering spy is even called Steve Trevor. But that's where the bumbling blonde on blonde bomber, Steve Rogers comparisons end...or is it?! Because even is he is heroic, Pine is playing no superhero. He's Wonder Woman's other half. But what a great, non-chauvinistic move for the womanizing James T. Kirk. Coming off his best year in 2016 with the bearded, Oscar nominated, bank heist 'Hell Or High Water' and the epic conclusion of the new 'Star Trek' trilogy, Chris Pine goes beyond all this with a heaven sent, emotive role. Which is probably his funniest too to boot. This man has more one-liners than a best friend role...come to think about it, that's him right now. And he or us don't even have a problem with that. At. All. The chemistry between Gadot and Pine is a charm catalyst too. But there's plenty more behind this movies front-line. 'Forrest Gump's' Jenny and 'House Of Cards' First Lady Robin Wright battles as a homeland warrior whilst you're all binge watching Season 5 on Netflix. Whilst 'Gladiator' wife Connie Nielsen plays Wonder Woman's moving mother with her greatest gifts. 'Shaun Of The Dead' and 'Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip' actress Lucy Davis also shows up as a sweetly silly and sincere secretary. 'The Skin I Live In' amazing actress Elena Anaya masks up again too as a porcelain chin villian that completes this cast of wonder women. And 'War Horse' actor David Thewlis and that unmistakable epic-ready voice is back with a battalion of big pictures. Alongside striking 'First Class', 'X-Men' villain Danny Huston bringing problems to those who crusade for the capes again. It all plays out to some '300 Snyder steps a second' style, stop-slow mo action as Jenkins keeps the dark but hopeful aesthetic of D.C. from Paris to foggy old London. Straight from a vintage Selfridges to the modern glass pyramids of the Louvre. As this emotional epic escapism a little close to home shows love triumphs over war. And no matter who or what stands in her way, Diana Prince's royal red, yellow and blue still reigns on after almost eight decades. Giving the same timeless message of inspiration and solidarity to young girls and those who grew up reading the first comics, who are now in their later life. And to those questioning whether DC would just keep putting out 'Suicide Squad's'...wonder no more. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
See This If You Liked: 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice', 'Captain America-The First Avenger', 'Thor'.
Tuesday, 30 May 2017
119 Mins. Starring: Dwyane 'The Rock' Johnson, Zac Efron, Priyanka Chopra, Alexandra Daddario, Kelly Rohrbach, Ilfenesha Hadera, John Bass, Rob Huebel, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Hannibal Buress, Pamela Anderson & David Hasslehoff. Director: Seth Gordon.
Some people sit with their arms folded. Afraid to give in to the light-hearted fun of this 'Baywatch' reboot. But here you have it. Beach, bodies and front bums. Not to mention beach balls and taints. Welcome to the new 'Baywatch' people! Splish, splash! Between The Rock and a Muscle Beach place of hard abs, 'Horrible Bosses' director Seth Gordon brings some beautiful bodies to the lifeguards job on Venice Beach. The 90's iconic orange soda floats are back to swim and screw with the tuna fish. As this 20 year old David Hasselhoff, Yasmin Bleeth and Pamela Anderson T.V. series switches shores from Miami to Malibu. And the 'Frasier' hairy chest of the Hoff for the concrete carved chunk of Dwyane 'The Rock' Johnson as your Mitch Buchannon. Not to mention the 66 pack of 'High School Musical' graduate Zac Efron. Yet not an eyebrow was raised or single f### given. And just when you think no one will quite get it, here is your 'Ghostbusters' Summer surprise blockbuster redux of the year. This meta-self aware T.V. show revival, reboot movie off 'Jump Street' for the "bae-watch" generation sees Johnson and Efron going back and forth like The Rock did with Vin Diesel in their recent candy-a## beef. But here it's all fun and games as the 'Fast and Furious' franchise driver-taking the wheel and refusing to ride shotgun-ignites nitrus in these jet skis. Just watch as his granite strong, bulging biceps point this series protein-shake makeover in the right direction. The better beach is that way.
Wrestling with his WWF alter-ego so much that The Rock now just goes by the government name and alias of Dwyane Johnson, no W.T.F. rapper like hypen middle name (but we still love the brow days, so we continue to pay hallmark homage to the nostalgia), this don Johnson is now a serious actor. And the closest thing we have today to a former bodybuilder turned action-hero actor who can also play comedy up perfectly too, since Governor Schwarzenegger. And just like Arnie this adonis wants to muscle his way into political office. The Rock for President?! President Johnson?! That's got our vote, trumping everyone else right now. Especially as America's favourite dad Tom Hanks has decided to be his running mate. Vice President Hanks?! You betcha! This is just what happens when you host Saturday Night Live and pin everyone in a live New York City to their seats again. You've seen the classic angry, Bruce Banner like 'Ba-Rock Obama' sketch. Now this Hulk hunk could do it for real. But here the man they say is no Superman (but is about to kick the Man Of Steel's ass as D.C.'s Black Adam), shows he is the new franchise king like the McDonalds his 0% body-fat never touches. And you thought 'xXx's return was? Dwyane kisses that all goodbye as his charming charisma wins over even the most ludicrous remake concept here. As the multi-talented entertainer who last year showed us he was just as funny as a Kevin Hart ride along brings even more convincing central intelligence to this lifeguard, turned coast-guard, turned police detective duty and patrol. The Rock turns what could have been a pebble flicking and skimming across the tide of the ocean into something that keeps swimming like Dory.
But even though The Rock is a boulder of ass-kicking action and handing comedy, his 'One Direction' sidekick Zac Efron is no Jonas Brother. With muscles on muscles, the kid who looks like he has extra arms in the veins of his shoulders matches Johnson cardio for iron in the weight room. And gift for gag in the bantering back and forth one-liner department too. As this 'Bad Neighbors' and 'Dirty Grandpa' new king of Franco Frat-Pack comedy is as funny and formidable as they come. Playing a former Olympian who blew it because theres no 'I' in relay. Just think Rio's Ryan Lochte...because this swimmer is a million lengths from Phelps. Still Efron still brings a learning likability and veneer covered vulnerability to this arrested developing douche. Explosively making for a dynamite, dynamic duo to go up against former Miss World and Bollywood star Priyanka Chopra's cooly, villanious Victoria Leeds. But there's more life to these guards in former 'Percy Jackson' and 'True Detective' stand-out Alexandra Daddario on the breakout role of her growing career. Like inspired 'Chi-raq' actress Ilfenesha Hadera on the Rocks right hand side, leaving no one behind. Or model Kelly Rohrbach taking Pamela Anderson's C.J. character miles ahead, albeit in trademark slow motion. Causing a reeled in John Bass to "stand to attention" on the treble, for the films funniest member. From the dance offs to the flirt talk. All as smooth as the sand on a pebble beach. But with no quit in humour and heart, Bass drums up the most laughs in a film that even features classy comedian Hannibal Buress and 'Human Giant' sketch artist, 'I Love You Man' scene stealer Rob Huebel. That is unless Yahya Abdul-Mateen the third has anything to joke about that. Netflix's 'The Get Down' and DC Comics 'Aquaman' star to be Abdul-Mateen III teaming up with The Rock again to show us what a 'Baywatch Nights' spin-off movie would look like by his beat cops book. And what would the bay be without cameos from Pamela Anderson and Hasslehoff himself? The only thing better than seeing him in this franchises second volume is his Knight-Riding cameo in the 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' sequel. But here by the sands he's home. In something that passes the breaking point of being another Bay 'Bad Boys' on the beach (complete with gross out gag heavy morgue scenes). Aside from some muddled misogny amongst the body beautiful and one instance of some blatant product placement when a guy and we are bribed with a Tag Heuer watch (what they had no Rolex's), this is pure, good, somewhat clean white sand fun by the turqouise tide. Surfs up for you swim fans! Gordon's flash remake knows all the best spots on the beach. Sinking Johnny Depp's Sparrow 'Pirates' and any other blockbuster off the Caribbean coming into port. This serious-less series saving itself is keeping everything else at bay. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
See This If You Liked: 'Point Break', 'Central Intelligence', '21 Jump Street'.
Monday, 29 May 2017
The Lyon King.
18 Episodes. Starring: Terrence Howard, Taraji P. Henson, Jussie Smollett, Bryshere Y. Gray, Trai Byers, Grace Gealey, Gabourey Sidibe, Serayah, Xzibit, Nia Long, Phylicia Rashad, Eva Longoria & Taye Diggs. Created By: Lee Daniels & Danny Strong.
Remember that scene on 'The Godfather Part III' were a salt and pepper Al Pacino collapses in the kitchen between the stove and sink like he's just been asked to do the dishes, whilst shouting between trademark gruff expletives, "just when I thought I was out...they pull me back in"?! Well that's what it's like to watch the Fox hit show 'Empire' from 'Precious' and 'The Butler' director Lee Daniels about the Lyon family and who would be king in this extreme Empire state of music. It's 'Nashville' without the straw hats and plaid shirts and other cousin marrying country stereotypes. They're probably more likely to kill their uncles son and act like he never existed. This show is just straight ridiculous. Ridiculously addictive. Every days of our lives set-up gone that J.R. shower scene from 'Dallas' buckwild crazy, weekly cliffhanger will have your fingertips like Stallone in the 90's on the arm of your chair. Just wishing you could Netflix this like binge watching 'Orange Is The New Black'. No matter how ludicrous this all is...and that 'Fast and Furious' star didn't even make it past the first show of the second season. And don't hold your breath for a Taraji 'Baby Boy' or Howard 'Four Brothers' reunion with another '2 Fast', 'Furious 7' megastar either, as Tyrese Gibson is praising Lee Daniels other hit show 'Star' with hip-hop legend Queen Latifah...PREACH! But don't worry there is still an empire of trademark incredible big-names on the guest starring role call list from 'Desperate Housewives' to stars from the 'Fresh Prince' and 'The Cosby Show' (don't worry...not him)! Even the sick, slick soundtrack still bumps. Even if they'll never up the ante of the amps of season one with no apologies...that is at least until the season finale. How can you when you mix Courtney Love and Dire Straits samples with this post-MTV generation of streamers? Sound good yet?
This hip-hop soap opera is as crazily compelling as the time R. Kelly got himself 'Trapped In The Closet' between the robes and midget lovers. And Terrence Howard's Lucious Lyon is still a baaaad man. Not ashamed of it. The 'Hustle and Flow' Academy star who had a critically underrated genre-splitting album ('Shine Through It'. Something he reflects here at least once on the acoustic) as unfair as his 'Iron Man 2' replacement is still the don. Even if he doesn't lay down a single verse on one of his braggadocious beats, he still brings the inferno that ignites any drama this soap scrubs with no TLC. Yet you still can't hate an actor this devilishly good. No matter how 'Wayward Pines' sinisterly bad his character is or gets. He still manages to snake oil it all around. And amazingly like his once scorned and now relationship reborn inner circle we buy it all like water to a well. Or fire in hell. At least Taraji P. Henson still gives him Dante's best. As Cookie cuts down Lucious to size. Adding their hash-tag "Coocious" trend sounds more like a venereal disease. The star who showed this year just how well she can really act in the Oscar nominated 'Hidden Figures' still unofficially runs this Empire behind the scenes like Pharrell Williams behind the beats of that NASA launch. To Timbaland's thumping score though it's the three kids that are the three kings. Bryshere Y. Gray, AKA Yazz The Greatest is maturing faster than he's rapping. Whilst the substance addicted acting of Jussie Smollett needs a real-life album to come with that big-screen 'Alien: Covenant' role quickly for the true talent. 'Selma' star, the terrific Trai Byers is also agonizingly good as the anxiety aggravated Andre. Yet after seemingly leaving his heart on a beach like discarded shoes for the tide, it seems Dre will sell his soul to anyone now, doing more deals than the devils work.
Good job in real life he's married to co-star Grace (Gealey) Byers, who crazily here threw his on-screen wife of a balcony and to her death to start this season as explosively as the glass of the car windshield and crumpled roof she fell on. But as much as we miss Kaitlin Doubleday her spirit literally guest star haunts her lions share of the episodes before the mid-season break. Thankfully we also have more than precious screen-time for Lee Daniels protegee Gabourey Sidibe and Taylor Swift B.F.F. Serayah with bad blood for anyone trying to take her stage. Whilst after crashing a wedding at the fall of the last finale, rapper Xzibit pimps season 3 as a series regular. Exhibiting the best line of the run as he warns a Thirsty lawyer, "the only reason I'm not slapping you out that 20 dollar suit right now"...well, you can imagine the rest. There's more guest star power in the formidable fierce form of former 'Fresh Prince' love Nia Long and equally sharp 'Cosby' wife and 'Creed' mother Phylicia Rashad. But in regards to all the red carpet rolled out guests. Including a diva Mariah Carey, the full disclosure of Demi Moore and the housewives that are desperate favourite Eva Longoria. It's former 'West Wing' detail and 'Murder In The First' detective (remember the immortal line, "on the ground or in your grave"?) Taye Diggs that cops the best, scene stealing part. As a charisma coated politican not afraid to walk into the Lyon's den and leave a thorn in the prides paw aswell as Cookie crumbling. In this 'Best Man' reunion Taye digs deeper to save this show from such a tired cliche. As this one scores points in pointing to what really is of greater concern. From issues of police brutality to the Black Lives Matter movement. But it's only right that this show steeped in scandal like (Kerry) Washington ends its run on the Sin City strip of Las Vegas like De Niro amd Sharon Stone's 'Casino'. Where the deck of stars all roll out until the last one wins. They look even sleazier under the neon lights, but one last game of dice could save them from snake eyes. Or even worse a Season 4 hangover. We 'aint putting that Cookie down just now! TIM DAVID HARVEY.
See This If You Liked: 'Nashville', 'Star', 'Best Man Holiday'.
Saturday, 27 May 2017
122 Mins. Starring: Brad Pitt, Anthony Hayes, John Magaro, Emory Cohen, Anthony Michael Hall, Topher Grace, Will Poulter, Lakeith Stanfield, Scoot McNairy, Tilda Swinton & Ben Kingsley. Director: David Michod.
Colonel James Rhodes reporting for duty...wait! Wrong 'War Machine' movie! Although we'd be down to binge if Netflix and Marvel gave us a series about Don Cheadle's Iron Man sidekick to go with their Defender series'. Hey if Jeremy Renner can campaign for a Hawkeye show than so can Don. This for 'The Hurt Locker' crowd is actually a modern warfare film from the call of duty of war machine himself Brad Pitt. Over the last few years he's taken us to World War II, back and forth and then beyond all that with Quentin Tarantino's history changing by blood 'Inglorious Basterds', the tank claustraphobic suicide squad carnage of 'Fury' and last years 'Allied' old-Hollywood, Casablanca romance with Marion Cotillard. But despite this big-three, this fourth tour is more like Chastain's 'Zero Dark Thirty' meets Clooney's 'Three Kings' for you jarheads. But can you guess the accent? I'll give you a clue...it wants its scalps! And to the inspired inflections of his voice Pitt is war ready again. This time for your go-to streaming and app-age romancing movie site Netflix. The big business 'House Of Cards' that have struck deals with the mighty Marvel like 'Orange Is The New Black' and way to watch T.V. Despite the booing for it's movies at THE film festival of Cannes, Netflix actually has no chill. Scoring big-budget exclusive picture deals like they did with Idris Elba ('Beasts Of No Nation') with Will Smith (this Winters 'Bright' L.A. cult gangland fantasty thriller) and a forthcoming Martin Scorsese gangster project with Pacino and Pesci and of course the one and only 'Goodfellas' and 'Godfather' reunion king De Niro. All this and 'Stranger Things' is still happening. Now you have to give it up for this streaming sevice like it's new four year comedy president Adam Sandler racking up 500 mill views and a standing-o at the very same Cannes that would usually can him and his new small-screen/big-picture partner. Some machines just won't stop. Let the war games begin.
Raging against the war machine. Or even the Rolling Stone magazine when Lady Gaga covered it with Madonna bra bazooka's instead of their biggest story. Pitt's Plan B production looks at the fall of General Stanley McChrystal. And the hatchet help that the National Magazine Award for excellence finalist piece 'The Runaway General' by Michael Hastings offered. One that grew into bookshelves with Hastings' 'The Operators' which exposed more of the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan's decline. The late Hastings is narrated with nostalgia and later played here by B.F.F-Leck Scoot McNairy ('Argo', 'Batman v Superman-Dawn Of Justice' and more recently Jamie Foxx's 'Sleepers') to some over-exposition, but overall a focussed finesse. The same vision Australian 'Animal Kingdom' (bringing along fellow favourite actor Anthony Hayes) and 'The Rover' director David Michod works in this self-aware satire that is at times confused (Like the real life warring nature of this true story. As Pitt's General clearly and somewhat poignantly states, "we can't help them and kill them at the same time. It's just not humanly possible"), but always compelling like the Nick Cave unleashed score that the Stones wouldn't be to cool for. Publication or Jagger. But it's Brad whose the most rad here. Pitted against it all as a warring commander whose even snubbed by the Commander in Chief himself, POTUS Barack Obama (and kudos to the off-screen actor whose nailed his jog up the steps of Air Force One even more than his voice). Pitt's voice on the other hand is that of a trademark 'Basterd' with a glorious exaggerated cariacture of his 'Inglorious' expression to go with those "motivating" speeches. Complete with 'Three Kings' camo-fatigues and a Clooney grey wig. Not to mention a clawed hand to enunciate that would make Jim Carrey's 'Liar, Liar' proud...and that's the truth. With ignited 'Fury' and 'Allied' forces God's got to love this 'Bastered'. Pitt may be playing this all up, but he's playing it up perfectly to a white-tee. And just wait until he sweats through one as you see him jog on.
Troops are deployed and sent here from all sorts of places from a casting call list that says Netflix has a lot of subscribers. 'Soprano' and 'Carol' actor John Magaro really sings. Whilst John Hughes alumni man-child Anthony Michael-Hall shouts. Think Jordan Belfort's kids and dad for this 'Wolf Of Wall Street off the concrete walls and jungle of an Afghan one. Speaking of DiCaprio, 'The Revenant' star Will Poulter of 'Maze Runner' continues his raw breakout breakthrough. Whilst the former Venom of 'Spider-Man' Topher Grace shows no humility but a lot of hilarity. It's an emotive Emory Cohen who really matures however from his 'The Place Beyond The Pines' appropriation with Dane DeHaan. Whilst 'Get Out' supporting, switching, body snatched star and 'Straight Outta Compton's' Snoop Dogg (keep a lookout for Tupac's 'All Eyez On Me') Lakeith Stanfield is stunning as a anxiety health-shocked soldier with the right to ask why like us all in todays war of the world. There's plenty of veteran legends here too that give their one in a million two-cents. Fresh off mentoring Benedict Cumberbatch's 'Doctor Strange' in the Marvels of dark arts magic, Tilda Swinton impresses as a German journalist with more than a few curveballs for our 'Moneyball' star. Whilst 'Gandhi' himself Sir Ben Kingsley is offbeat outstanding as a man whose as much as a world leader as his Trevor Slattery character was the Mandarin in 'Iron Man 3'. His introduction were you think he's kneeling down to pray is inspired. No it's not what you think...it's a lot funnier. There's even some other guy in a real nice cameo. But by the end of battle it's Brad Pitt who keeps this 'War Machine' rolling like a furious tank. This sniping American lone survivor generally speaking is in full command. A storm in this desert. Like Pacino in 'Scent Of A Woman' can I get a "oorah"!? TIM DAVID HARVEY.
See This If You Liked: 'Inglorious Basterds', 'Fury', 'Allied'.
Friday, 26 May 2017
Depp Blue Sea.
129 Mins. Starring: Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, Brenton Thwaites, Kaya Scodelario, Kevin McNally, David Wenham, Paul McCartney & Geoffrey Rush. Directors: Joachin Ronning & Espen Sandberg.
Uncork the rum diary again as Johnny Depp is living the pirates life once more in 'Pirates Of The Caribbean' 55, 'Dead Men Tell No Tales' (or 'Salzar's Revenge'...depending on which side of the equator you lie). Continuing to set a franchise course like the unravelling 'Mummy' series it will rival, between all the 'Planet Of The Apes' and Rock chiseled lifeguards they hope to sink, Johnny Depp and classic villain co-star Javier Bardem have just been named to Tom Cruise's 'Dark Universe' like Russell Crowe's Dr. Jekyll. To welcome us to a new world of Hollywoodland legendary Gods and monsters from Universal. No country for Bardem Bond villain Javier will perfectly bolt up to play Frankenstein's monster Igor. Whereas inbetween replacing Colin Farrell in 'Fantastic Beasts', sharing character like 'Doctor Parnassus', Depp will mummy bandage up for 'The Invisible Man'. In what could be 'Edward Scissorhands' most iconic role...but then again how would you know? Before we see how he fares in that Depp takes you deeper into his most famous franchise face, Jack Sparrow. CAPTAIN Jack Sparrow! And Johnny Jack is still as savvy as a Point Guard the way he handles this boat that rocks. Even if sometimes he looks too hammered to tell. Why are the rest of the cast members gone? Oh...that's why. But, wait...are they? Because just when you thought you were at your worlds end, this 'Pirates' takes it back to the skull and cross bones origins of the first 'Curse Of The Black Pearl' Sparrow Oscar nominated film for your 'Dead Mans Chest'. Back when this Disney ride inspired theme first turned into a runaway franchise train. There have amazingly been five 'P.O.T.C.' films now, but even more unbelievably the last one was over a half decade ago when tides were stranger. Now are we to walk the plank or parley?
Even when they face the gallows these seaman of the Caribbean still go out in a pirates jig. Just like they were dancing to that iconic Hans Zimmer theme song that everyone's first iPod shuffled between Kanye West and Lady Gaga back in the early 2000's day. Even when he looks out his depth, Depp's eyes are still on the Sparrow. And as his classical creation he still brings as much fond fun as the countless times he surprises schoolkids that write him letters in class for treasure hunt help, or families at Disneyworld by appearing as the real Captain Jack Sparrow in character and full regalia to regale everyone with stories of the seas. Mincing around with his arms in a constant state of blissful ignorant, innocent surrender as he circles his fingers like the guy who perfectly played Trump before Alec Baldwin on SNL has his speech technique down to a T. His Rolling Stone Richards rum dance can still entrance and entertain audiences as acting like a message that you can't quite prize out the bottle has never swayed so much in sync. If this is the Pirates life then his is the one of Riley from the get-up to the broken compass that will always point him in the right direction, no matter how staggering. As this time he faces his most formidable foe yet in the form of Javier Bardem's vengeful Salzaar. And picking up where his wife Penelope Cruz left off in the last Jack lookalike movie, the best Bond villain bar-non, Bardem goes from looking like the coiffured captain of the Spanish Armada to the lovechild of the undead pirates movie and his forthcoming Frankenstein monster. All complete with a zombie pet Jaws. Looking incredible and creepily almost stop-motion in his C.G.I. and prosthesis, Javier is still somewhat a little underused like the legendary Christophe Waltz when he replaced his run in 007's 'Spectre'. Still every bad guys dream Bardem makes the most of his time at sea. And brings a new slimy, sneering barnacle buster to his one-of-a-kind villains rogue gallery.
Awash in a little too much drowning, choppy C.G. in a climatic tidal wave of Moses like sea-parting that reaches for the stars, this film looks incredible but is sometimes just one dimension too much for our two eyes. Yet still with a strong heading this rip-roaring, sword-swinging yarn still spins a great tale. Even if we aren't as swashbuckled to our seats like a captain going down with his ship as previous sword draws. There are still plenty of hands on deck here like the ever dependable first mate, sidekick Kevin McNally and of course that pesky monkey friend like Marcel. There's even some fresh faces about starboard like 'Gods Of Egypt' star Brenton Thwaites who plays a familiar face of a son with the freshness of a new day. And 'Skins' and 'Clash Of The Titans' star Kaya Scodelario who tightens her range and not another corset cliche as a woman of science that everyone is convinced is a witch. But what a spell of magic she really casts as an actress. 'Lion' roaring iconic 'Iron Fist' David Wenham is also on hand as a British Navy officer as the '300' soldier arms up in wig and tails. Getting even more dressed up and replacing Rolling Stone Keith Richards's absent Sparrow father (the sea turtles must have taken him away), is uncle Beatle Sir Paul McCartney, having as much surreal but nice fun as the time we saw him in a Rihanna video playing with Kanye. Even if some may say the band on the run leads acting bends it like 'King Arthur's' Beckham, just like David, Paul brings high praise and high-seas good times. And what would the life of a 'Pirates' movie be without Academy actor Geoffrey Rush? Between 'The Kings Speech' and the 'Genius' of Einstein living the life of a pirate that's cheated death by booty blinging out his false foot. And there's much more treasure that lies beneath all that veneer too for a film that blooms with hallmark call-backs to the original film, that are just so pleasant, spoiler or surprise not. Norwegian 'Marco Polo' directors Joachin Ronning and Espen Sandberg really have both cannons loaded. Lighting the action fuse as this 'Fast and Furious' number crunching, chasing franchise pulls a safe...and a house around town with even more horse power. There's plenty to plunder here. This old sea dog still has legs...even if they are pegs. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
See This If You Liked: 'Pirates Of The Caribbean 6: Dead Men Still Tell Tales'. 'Pirates Of The Caribbean 7: On Tides Even Stranger'. 'Pirates Of The Caribbean Infinity: When Will The World End.'
Saturday, 20 May 2017
Game Of Stones.
126 Mins. Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Astrid Berges-Frisbey, Djimon Hounsou, Aidan Gillen, David Beckham, Eric Bana & Jude Law. Director: Guy Ritchie.
Swords up guys! Great British legend Ritchie switches his dearstalker for a hat of thorns and Baker Street's pipe and magnify glass for Camelot's sword and stone, as he follows his 'Sherlock Holmes' change of investigation direction with a game of crowns. But down by Law is it Watson who would be King? Or a 'Son Of Anarchy' raised under lock, stock and one smokin' brothel? The legend of Arthur is as sage olde as thyme itself and this theme of taking sword from stone is not for the feint of heart like pulling teeth, lifting the hammer or Avenging Norse God Thor, or a mere mortal of a man picking up the hoover on a lazy Sunday afternoon. And in the Summertime of Marvel, monsters, monkeys and even mummy's, Arthur looks to make heads roll through the castle walls. As like a King James in a different game, Cavalier talent Charlie Hunnam mans up to the rock like Nic Cage taking on Connery. But forget James Bond, or even Sherlock as the British Intelligence of former Miss American Pie, Mr. Madonna, Guy Ritchie brings us another national treasure coming home like the World Cup...and boy does he know how to bend it. But more on that later as the meat and mead of this Cockney, cock-eyed wide boy tale adds some big 'Lock Stock' smoke to the forlorn fog of old London town. Jesters beware! This ace in the hole, king of hearts is a diamond geezer. The only thing that's missing is Ray Winstone. 'Av at it my son!
Because 'Robin Hood', 'Men In Tights', or even 'Prince Of Thieves' this is not! This is a moat watery, muddy mess of a rugby scrum of bruised and bloodied action which begins with the stone and ends with a graver one. This is more like the George R.R. Martin legend of 'Game Of Thrones'...just with less t###. Unless you count the ones who think they're worthy of Exaclibur. As only the excellent and charismatic Charlie Hunnam is worthy of Caliburn. After showing he can take on Godzilla like Kaiju's on the 'Pacific Rim', this hells leather motorcyclist rips back across the coast to chop anyone down in his path. The versatile 'Crimson Peak' talent hits a new high in this bloodshed soaked story of dagger and boulder. As the throne fits for him like a glass slipper from a Prince, or his coat of arms and new/old world style clothes he's draped in that would even make an emperor red with jealousy. Even if the Law and ordained King is the devilish, ungodly 'Young Pope' himself, Jude Law. Reuniting with Guy after playing Dr. John partner to Mr. Holmes to show he is the one, true evil in this empire of God aspiring men who look more like monsters. Law's breaking talent for the wrong side of the hero/villain coin is so affordable in the second wind of his career, this season of character arc changing is arresting. Developing deeper traits under lock and key, the former baby-faced, sweet smile of 'Mr. Napkin Head' sneers with no more veneers looking like he could choke you with that very same cloth. 'The Holiday' and the honeymoon is over. Jude hasn't been this rude since he was tracking down Tom Hanks' 'Road To Perdition' gangster with a Tommy Gun and a camera. This 'Fantastic Beast' to be in full animalistic mode finds himself in some changing times and tides. And he plays it as well as 'The Talented Mr. Ripley'. Evil has never been so devilishly tempting. This lawless talent playing hatred for all it's scorned is the thing you'll love most about this realm.
Drawbridges are lowered for even more Kingsmen and Spanish 'Pirates Of The Caribbean' mermaid Astrid Berges-Frisbey on fine form with Merlin magic. Making a splash here in this mud and blood carnage for the crown. And how could you not watch this throne without a 'G.O.T.' cast member? As Aidan Gillen continues his ruthless streak with a bow and dragon fire arrow in this meat and potatoes story that also finds supernatural sorcery. There's enough to go to war with here as 'Amistad' and 'Blood Diamond' legend Djimon Hounsou moves away from filling 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' and 'Fast and Furious' franchises like Diesel and back to the shield and sword days of a 'Gladiator'. You thought he was done...but not yet. Even hulking 'Star Trek' villain Eric Bana returns like the time travelling husband of Rachel McAdams he was, keeping his 'Troy' toga on and showing worn wisdom and epic emotional character catalyst as this films father figure. But completing this round table comes a cameo from a man who could bend a football round the widest one from a standing free kick position. As England and Manchester United sports soccer legend David Beckham shows up as a party favour for his guy Ritchie. With scarface scarred Bradley Cooper Hollywood looks and an Eastenders accent this game midfielder is the right fit in winging it for a couple of minutes of time off the bench. Sure this destined world famous footballer hasn't attended an acting academy in his life, but you only have to watch a Marvel movie to know that cameos are just for fun and this guy brings a Stan Lee smile of surprise and recognition either way. And he actually acts funny to boot. It's another tried technique from screen tested 'Sherlock' director Guy Ritchie who brings more of that trademark slow-motion, stop-and-go stuttering action to the stylized set-pieces in some need of something more substantial. And knuckles bared sometimes balls to the wall, we just want to see people get on with getting it on. Pulling some punches and knocking out others though Ritchie's rich direction pays off mostly, even if some of the time it's giving to the poor. Some of this cult classic turned sci-fi geek crowd friendly film makes for quite a muddy, muddled mess. But what a mess it is! Because when it hits it strikes like a sword aglow worthy of the only man who can pull it from stone. Match the rugged Hunnam hero with Law's vile villain revolt and you have that iconic good vs bad dynamic looking to rule no matter how ugly it gets. This Guy of thrones lets this kings legend reign on with explosive fire. All hail! TIM DAVID HARVEY.
See This If You Liked: 'Sherlock Holmes-A Game Of Shadows', 'Exodus: Gods & Kings', 'The Huntsmen-Winters War'.
Friday, 12 May 2017
132 Mins. Starring: Jessica Chastain, Mark Strong, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Michael Stuhlbarg, Alison Pill, Jake Lacy, Sam Waterston & John Lithgow. Director: John Madden.
Miss Chastain. One woman. Millions of guns. In 'Miss Sloane', arguably the current best actor of our time Jessica Chastain plays Elizabeth Sloane. A D.C. lobbyist looking to oppose a bill in Washington relating to the rights and regulations of firearms. Yep, it's political. And hell yeah it's prevelant right now, as the double Oscar nominated Academy actress (how about another couple with her latest two?), who is standing up for womens rights and equal pay in a less than fair Hollywood stuck in the forties looks to take the fight all the way to the White House. With words, not weapons. And facts and figures, not what some would term, "fake news". Chastain's 'Sloane' looks to make N.R.A. gun nuts fold and fall like a house of cards. Even if those behind a desk in a suit and tie, armed to the blazer are packing more than a punch. As they more than passively aggressively threaten, "there's 5 million of us...and we're all armed". Red hot on the heels of standing on her own two up and against the Nazis in the true story of 'The Zookeepers Wife' and the incredible and inspired Mrs. Zabinski who hid 300 jews in her zoo during Hitler's occupation of Poland, the 'A Most Violent Year' actress goes against anything remotely of that nature and gives us one of her most powerful performances to date. In her 'Most' Lady Macbeth-esque, Machivellian machinations. More 'Zero Dark Thirty' than 'The Help', the influential 'Interstellar' and the out of this world 'The Martian' scene-stealer is giving us more and more of herself and films gravel grounded in the raw realities effecting us right now. Whether via a history lesson or a political one. Going all alone as Sloane, Jessica goes beyond tired gender stereotypes in this industry to show just what one person can do in the face of pure pressure. Whether political or by the pistol. But even under the gun, Chastain and 'Miss Sloane' are under compelling control.
Spotlight's shine on star and screen here in this desk debate heavy narrative like the time Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams et al took on the Catholic church in Boston last year and won. And just like that talk of the talk definitive drama, this gun issue still thrills and spills without a single trigger being pulled. As the central Sloane character and all the people in power she takes aim at really rings out. With this this just may be 'The Zookeepers Wife's' day, week, month and even year friends. As Jessica is about to play 'Molly's Game' and fans are also lobbying for this lobbiest to make for the perfect Poison Ivy in the forthcoming 'Gotham City Sirens' female-centric villain film from 'Suicide Squad' assembler David Ayer. The 'Huntsmen-Winters War' sequel actress is ice cold perfect and calculated in her reduction of arms. Prepared to be viewed as wrong all with the formidable forsight and fortitude to do the right thing, no matter the counter measure. After taking us to two 'Best Exotic Marigold Hotels' with retiring legends, 90's sweet love story signatures 'Shakespeare In Love' and 'Captain Corelli's Mandolin' director John Madden (no, not the EA Sports guy) scores a touchdown with this one. As Q.B. for a very different and dynamic shift of tone in this political pounding that has so much to say from the hip. It's the type of D.C. drama in almost docu or T.V. series form that 'The West Wing's' Aaron Sorkin would be proud of. And something that in history and acting legacy will go down as something as important as Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman's typewriter Watergate journalists in the acclaimed 'All The Presidents Men', based on actual events or a true story we wish it was. Madden brings a measure of brilliance to this backroom white collar madness. Whilst an engaged Chastain behind the power suit shows the law a whole new order we wish we could all abide by. All to make the world a safer place beyond how the cliched saying goes. Gun lovers will hate it. And in America money wise it took just over half the figure of the population who carry firearms. But that's no reason to holster a clear critical classic. As movie fanatics will know it's not about money or those in "power" that try to oppose the meaning and message of this moving movie (see Chastain's 'Most Violent' co-star, the award worthy Oscar Isaac in his powerful 'Promise' of love in the face of war). There's so much more to the force of this film than bullets or dollars. And that's how you really effect global scale change for the better.
'The Zookeepers Wife' showed us what they did then. 'Miss Sloane' shows us what we can all do now. As with 'Zero Dark Thirty' ferocity Chastain hunts down this notion and anyone with a gun like she did Bin Laden. And joined by the strength of her. 00.30 co-star Mark Strong she has a lot behind her unwavering spine. No matter who looks to stab her in the back...or worse. The Great Brit Strong powers many pictures these days, from the Turing classic 'The Imitation Game' to the new Avenger Bonds of the 'Kingsmen'. But here he really leaves a mark. Just like stellar supporting actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw whose gone from 'Belle' to 'Beauty and the Beast' and beyond the wifely support of leading men like Matthew McConaughey and Will Smith in the revealing 'Free State Of Jones' and critical 'Concussion' respectively. Filmography versatile character actor Michael Stuhlbarg is also here on the reliable form of his life. Showing he's his own actor and more than someone that looks like Joaquin Phoenix's younger brother. Chris Evans' 'Snowpiercer' and 'Jessica Jones' Marvel P.I. actress Alison Pill also brings a dose of icy reality in this winter war over weapons in Washington. Whilst 'Law and Order' legend Sam Waterston with almost Watergate corrupt conflicted conviction believes he is going by the book (more old testament in his bedside table draw next to his sidearm and glass of water and false teeth), until Chastain's revelation turns the page. There's so much more to Sloane, from 'Carol' actress Jake Lacy lacing some love for sale implication subplot that screams for a deeper connection a cheque can't cut. To '3rd Rock' great John Lithgow's sly Senator, serving as judge, jury and gavel in this executioner debate. Reuniting with his 'Interstellar' grandaughter all grown up, Lithgow hasn't shone this much in cinemas since his 'Planet Of The Apes' rise. But from the frank face to facetime video screen opening to the brutal honesty and policy she emits throughout, no one chastises all the wrong today more than Chastain. But the wonder woman with the Black Widow do is doing more than just mouthing off on Capitol Hill. She's really saying something in a trumped up town and capital city that's forgot how to walk up the Lincoln steps of the mall and sit with honest Abe without looking like a Spacey-ed out caricature of presidency. This should grab their attention by the balls. Tell the leader of the not-so free world that ladies like this demand to come first. Even if they are in the line of all sorts of fire. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
See This If You Liked: 'Zero Dark Thirty', 'The Zookeepers Wife', 'Spotlight'.
Thursday, 11 May 2017
123 Mins. Starring: Katherine Waterson, Michael Fassbender, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Demian Bichir, Carmen Ejogo, Jussie Smollett, James Franco, Guy Pearce & Noomi Rapace. Director: Ridley Scott.
Are we all in agreement that 'Alien: Covenant' has our faces hugging cinema screens in blockbuster anticipation this summer? This is the real close encounter bursting through your chest like the great John Hurt (Rest Peacefully. From the original to 'Spaceballs' no one will ever do it like you). E.T...run home! Because here comes the Xenomorph. Snarling and slobbering all over 'Covenant' like Beethoven...and we aren't talking about the classical musician. Director Ridley Scott composes another spaceship, thrilling horror classic as claustraphobic as those air ducts. As the alien with two heads, one lurking beneath jaws butts the glass windows of our craft like it was at a Metallica gig. In a Marvel sequel reboot age of mummies, monsters and planets of apes this old girl still rocks too. Just like the bald ambition of franchise legend Sigourney Weaver's Ripley, who is still inspiring bob-cut, muscle vest, beautiful heroines to this day and film. Nothing can stop this beast. Not even the new 'Life' given to this space-station, sci-fi gore genre by the Ryan Reynolds and Jake Gyllenhaal homaged horror blockbuster of just a month or so back that some may see as plagirism, but others maybe view even better than this. And when it comes to the legendary great Scott coming off his life on Mars with 'The Martian' Matt Damon and right before the '2049' sequel redux of his other signature science-fiction cult, classic like his star Harrison Ford, 'Blade Runner', nothing can survive this. He may have given the replicant plans to 'Arrival's' Denis Villeneuve, but when it comes to fellow, new sci-fi pioneering director Neil Blomkamp (of 'District 9' and 'Elysium' modern Phillip K. Dick future forefather fable fame), this chappie will have to be patient for his 'Alien' sequel still lying in wait behind the rib-cages. Still just like the only out of this world franchise to top this intelligent life and force it to the side of the solar system, 'Star Wars', there will be an 'Awakening'. But before you feel it, make sure you get too close to this creature for cinema comfort. As Scott resurrects his iconic 'Alien' predator, setting it free for something that his halfway between a 'Prometheus 2' and Ripley's game. Looks like the beast that Ridley said was "done and cooked" is back to eat.
And boy is she hungry! It's a good job Scott is serving up a bloody laundry list of colonizing couples boarding this Noah's Ark two-by-two on the menu. For starters Katherine Waterson is locked and mother expletive loaded on this mothership against the alien queen. She wowed us in 'Inherent Vice' and recently put as spell on us in 'Fantastic Beasts' but this actress of the moment really finds herself and leads here. No matter how many there are of 'Steve Jobs' co-star, Michael Fassbender. Weaving between some Sigourney, Rapace pacing and her own breakout character arc. Machine-gunning and switch-blading between tearing tear ducts of raw emotion and the ability to defiantly demand to know where this astronauts worst nightmare is out of an out for blood desire. Still despite the bones of Katherine's bold and brutual performance, humans aside this is Michael Fassbender's androids movie. Restarting his career life after the 'Assassins Creed' mis-cut fatality, one of the best actors of our time still moves metal like Magneto and minds like 'Macbeth'. And this time replicating his David to a whole other Mr. Robot, Michael is mesmerizing as a machine looking to make mans emotions and world his own. Fassbender fascinates going blonde on brown and switching between the two units, cohesively and effectively in their shared circuits and different strokes of the engineers cursor. When it comes to Ridley Scott's cinematic creations it looks like humanoids dream of electric sheep too. But is Fassbender's familiar face wearing wolf's clothing? And isn't this meant to be an extra-terrestrial film? Not a man-made cyborg one? As much of an upgrade as Fassbender is this is more of an android movie than an alien one. Perhaps it is more 'Prometheus 2' but not sold the same or as seen for that blockbuster popcorn money. And therein lies the problem of duality. Sure more than merely tingling the spine, there is enough Alien scenes that scare and aren't scarce to bring the "oohs" and "aahhs", then followed by the running and screaming. But we are still just a few air lock restricting scenes-as tense as the vents-away from Jeff Goldblum tapping on the glass and asking if there plans to be any aliens in our...erm 'Alien' movie. Are you in covenant?
Monster meals come in all sorts of shapes and sizes however. Some cooked and some microwaved. Some even fun-sized too. As did you ever think you'd see 'Pineapple Express' bros Danny McBride and James Franco in something quite like this? If we told you these boys were bound for a fantasy horror you'd probably think a 'Your Highness' sequel was on the way. But fear not, these guys are actually the captain and the pilot of this ship. And they're official too. We always knew a fleeting Franco here could play frank and to be fair although he brings the lions share of the comic relief, 'Eastbound and Down's' McBride in Idris Elba's cockpit with a stetson shy of a few corks is seriously good at going straight. Like all the A grade talent here on the kill or be killed list. Like fellow skipper Billy Crudup as 'Watchmen's' Manhattan looks green in the face of a hugger. Or 'The Hateful Eight's' Demian Bichir still slinging artillery like it was the spaghetti west. Just like 'Selma' and Waterston's 'Beasts' co-star Carmen Ejogo too. Bringing pure, blood slipping terror on the form of her career that started with Eddie Murphy's 'Metro' express. Even T.V. singing 'Empire' superstar Jussie Smollett is here and hits all the right notes. Just like an unforgettable scene with a flute that plays like the most tense scene recorded. All singing from the same 'Prometheus' hymn sheet for a who's who, roll call that even in the footnotes features cameos from 'Prometheus' prequel favourites Guy Pearce and a Leia like Noomi Rapace like in this films prologue. Youtube debuted like the first five minutes and everything else in the name of immersed hype, In Utero. All told Scott's shot in the franchise arm merges the beauty of 'Prometheus' with the brawn of the original trilogy to give us an advanced 'Alien' movie with more brains. It may take things a little too self serious at time but 'Covenant' brings together closet hidden messages of our creation mixed with the behind the door reveal of mans destruction in this red shirt porn that flirts between soft and hardcore. 'Covenant' covets more even if all some want to see is gore and the morph. Or to have Blomkamp's idea taken out of cryosleep. These horrors were always able to make us do more than jump. And this requiem plays almost like what fanboys and girls dreams are made of. But in this paranoid androids dream of Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence like, new life colony passengers, perhaps before the next 'Alien' it was time we were all awoken. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
See This If You Liked: 'Alien', 'Prometheus', 'Life'.
Side A-Vol 1.
Blue Swede-Hooked On A Feeling: "Ooh-ga chaka. Ooh-ga, ooh-ga". I can't stop this feeling. Deep inside of me. Just like G.O.T.G's themes song. The Guardians just don't know what they do to me. Ahh-ahh, ahh! You know the rest.
Norman Greenbaum-Spirit In The Sky: Last used on the 'Alien' like 'Life' spaceship with Ryan Reynolds and Jake Gyllenhaal. This decades gone, timeless classic set off the first full trailer for the first 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' film perfectly. If anyone teased that Marvel's movie about a talking tree and racoon was going to be a scud missile than they had no bark or bite after this laid everything to rest as they took us to the place that's the best.
Elvin Bishop-Fooled Around & Fell In Love: Getting 'Footloose' like his great hero Kevin Bacon. What better a song for Chris Pratt's Star-Lord to roll with than the one in which he and stick-up-the-butt, barge-pole love interest and green beauty Gamora shared their first dance to?
10CC-I'm Not In Love: You want an absolute 80's classic that fits the tone and texture of this throwback film? Than how about this then futuristic, atmospheric gem that hadn't been used this well since New York's finest the Fun Lovin' Criminals covered it so smoothly?
The Runaways-Cherry Bomb: No Jackson 5? Not Marvin's mountain (technically that was 'Awesome Mix Vol. 2'...just sayin')? Not even the 'Ooh Child' dance-off with the Five Stairsteps bro? Not one this 'Cherry Bomb' explodes the pre-finale fights, locked and loaded suit-up montage. Hello daddy! Hello mum!
Side B-Vol 2.
Electric Light Orchestra-Mr. Blue Sky: Annoyingly catchy. If you hate this song. You won't be able to help but loving it after you watch 'Vol. 2's' opening sequence as Baby Groot plugs this tune and dances around whilst his fellow Guardians protect the galaxy from what looks like the love child of Krang from the Turtles and the Kraken. This is not your average space Octopus or chip off the old Groot. But an oblivious baby Groot still cuts a rug...unless Drax is watching.
Fleetwood Mac-The Chain: Nothing speaks to the theme of this movie more than this absolute belter from the Mac that links all these sisterly and fatherly family ties together. The now signature Formula One theme sets off this sequels second trailer like Greenbaum with even more spirit in the sky.
Sam Cooke-Bring It On Home: Shall we dance again? The 'will they won't they' Fitz/Simmons of the Galaxy, Star-Lord and Gamora waltz to this love gospel that the live opening of Will Smith's 'Ali' used to knockout effect like Ego's living planet was a ballroom.
George Harrison-My Sweet Lord: A long haired, bearded Beatle over Ravi Shankar sitar is as trippy as it gets to continue this out of this universe experience so electric and eclectically.
Cat Stevens-Father & Son: There's no better way to conclude an epic, emotional end to a superhero film all about family than with 'Father and Son'. As the now Yusuf Islam sings "I know, I have to go" to the end credits if there's a dry eye in the house than I am Groot. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Friday, 5 May 2017
Sleepless In Collateral.
95 Mins. Starring: Jamie Foxx, Michelle Monaghan, T.I., David Harbour, Gabrielle Union, Dermot Mulroney, Octavious J. Johnson & Scoot McNairy. Director: Baran bo Odar.
Sleep isn't the only thing lost here in the new Jamie Foxx cop/crime thriller based on the French film 'Sleepless Night'. In this 'Sleepless' a million miles from Tom Hanks' Seattle, Foxx's son is literally being used as collateral. So expect some damage like the time he took Tom Cruise's awesome Mann made assassin for a taxi ride in downtown L.A. But this time it's the debauched city of sin Las Vegas that lays our action scenes like his digital era 'Miami Vice' days. And man how they unfold like a deck of cards across the electro neon strip which now seems to have added London's Eye to it's collector like site exhibits of the Eiffel Tower and Statue of Liberty. Try your hand because this is an explosive killer like heartland rocker Brandon Flowers singing about girls like they were atomic bomb tests in the desert from the back of his Mustang. And as soon as Jamie Foxx's stops at a red light in his G.T.O. he just wishes Ansel Elgort was driving. But fear not! With this and Edgar Wright's forthcoming 'Baby Driver' this double-act looks sets to be Foxx's biggest Summer yet and the actor/singer/comedian triple threats biggest year since he almost did the Oscar double for 'Ray' and 'Collateral' in the same calender the 'Unpredictable' singer pulled a Streisand and won both an Oscar and Grammy. No wonder ATL, King of the South rapper Cliff "T.I.P." Harris-who Foxx collaborated with on 'Live In The Sky' is riding and rolling shotgun as our lead detectives partner in fighting crime the right way...even if a few pages of the book they go by is a little dogeared with some slight foxing on the edges. Don't worry! Try not to lose any sleep over it.
'Django' really is off the chain here too. Running up the hood of cars in a parking lot with a blunderbuss and giving gas mask villains what for (But wait a minute! That stellar scene from the thrilling trailer of our D.I. is M.I.A. presumed D.O.A. in a spate of lost and found footage for films these days). All whilst wearing his necklace chain badge across his chest like a pair of dog tags. In this revenge soaked thriller Foxx puts everyone in the hole, but you can't snare or trap him. His Vincent Downs cop character vehicle is putting anyone in his way down and in the sand as "the baddest finest" ladies and gentlemen drives his enemies in his trunk to the dessert with Drake's 'Energy' on repeat. All in the name of this fathers son and whether he'll see another one. It's pretty serious for some brilliant B-movie material in this genre ignited 'John Wick' age. But as Jamie says "you hurt my son...I'm killing all of y'all" much in the same vein as his "touch your guns, you die" 'Django Unchained' quote you know he aint playing. And just like Tarantino you're gonna love the way he shoots boy. Or just like 'Just Like Me' returning collaborator T.I. says, "yo man that was some 'Reservoir Dogs' s### back there man", as Foxx replies that "it's been a long day"-but not in those words-looking like he's just taken someones ear off (well he is about to play Mike Tyson). And the 'American Gangster' and 'Ant-Man' rapper/actor T.I. who really grew in the aforementioned and the remake of the T.V. adaptation of 'Roots' plants himself next to Foxx perfectly. As Foxx is on a one man manhunt he still needs back up and you can for sure call on Tip in the Vegas air tonight. These two might be another 48 hours away from being at the level of a Beverly Hills Cop but they make for a pretty jam-packed Rush Hour with less jokes but more human traffic.
'True Detective' Michelle Monaghan is the the real draw here too, no stay at home character b.s. assignment. This is the 'Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang' and 'Gone Baby Gone' stars moment to represent like when she took complete character command at 'Fort Bliss'. The 'Mission Impossible III' and 'Source Code' standout knows how to make her own name next to the biggest leading men in the world (Tom Cruise, Jake Gyllenhaal etc). And this leading lady whose character in her 'Due Date' reunion with Robert Downey Jr. was rumoured to be running away with Foxx's part really has something here with Jamie in their own little reunion. You can cut the good cop/bad cop tension with the corners of the book they throw at you. Meanwhile 1980's Hawkins, Indiana Sheriff David Harbour is harbouring more 'Stranger Things' than looking for justice for Barb'. As the character actor of 'Black Mass' and 'The Equalizer furthers his formidable filmography favourbly, despite now-thanks to last year-being most recognisable for being made household face-to-a-name famous in a binge watching minute of an evening. The A-list cast of multiple grades all step up their A-game though. Just like Gabrielle Union bringing it all together. An actress more than merely being Miss Dwyane Wade or another member of the Basketball Wives club. One who brings the most heat since she was in Miami with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence for 'Bad Boys II'. Meanwhile 'August and Osage County' actor Dermot Mulroney who seemingly appears in more films than we realise, recognise or remember plays so much Pesci meets De Niro 'Casino' grease that he should stay in the kitchen with the rest of the condiments bagged up to look like coke. And in this drug run turned cat and mouse Casino chase that races through 95 minutes of run-time like eyes on the ball of a roulette wheel there's even more players. Like 'Killing Them Softly' pain strummer Scoot McNairy who fingers the trigger on his own moment here after being like one of Ben Affleck's best friends that appear in all his films like Sandler's ones ('Argo', 'Gone Girl' and 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice'). Playing a vile villain with such inked and scarred conviction, Scoot is ready for his 'War Machine' with Pitt and the 'Aftermath' with Arnie himself. But lets hear it for and hand it to relative 'Coldwater' newcomer Octavious J. Johnson. Coming of age as our lead cops son. Swiss director Baran bo Odar who made his name with 'Who Am I? No System Is Safe' times all of this with precision perfection. Even if this scatter-gun movie moves at an abrupt pace it still keeps you guessing and wondering as to how they will get out of this jam at a shade over an hour and a half before they take the casino. From the sparkler fireworks of bottle service club carnage that could stick it to 'Collateral', to car chases of vehicular manslaughter like when Foxx flipped the very same cab on its top. Or the shootouts in this new Vegas similair to the Wild West. All set to a hauntingly tense score. And let's not forget the flour and cleaver, hells kitchen nightmares of what looks like a fight with Gordon Ramsey...perhaps they didn't like today's special. But here's something else too for your dessert out in the desert. Don't doze because this eye-opener 'Sleepless' is so slick there might just be a sequel in there. What happens in Vegas just stays going apparantly. Time for the next movie franchise to wake up. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
See This If You Liked: 'Collateral', 'Baby Driver', 'Triple 9'.
Sunday, 30 April 2017
In The Name Of Armenia.
134 Mins. Starring: Oscar Isaac, Charlotte La Bon, Christian Bale, Marwan Kenzari, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Angela Sarafyan, Rade Serbedzija, Tom Hollander, Jean Reno & James Cromwell. Director: Terry George.
Promises are broken all the time. In love, life and the politics of both. But one that will always be kept is the vow between Armenians to keep their people and their way of life alive, no matter what. Even in the face of extermination at the hands of pure evil. After the systematic genocide of 1.5 million of their Christian people in the Armenian Holacaust between 1915 and 1923 by the Muslim Ottoman government that the Turkish goverment still to this day unbelievably and shamefully refuses to acknowledge happened. Despite it remaining one of histories darkest times and empires like the Nazis in World War II or ISIS today. All you need to do is read the Christian Bale's quote about turning on the news to see sadly how important this issue is today. His face when his character is told there's no war here says it all with no words. All for the millions of people who died in an begging belief effort to wipe a race of people off the face of this earth that still many (including this writer before the film) know little, or nothing at all about. But as this films epic, emotionally evoking trailers say, "Empires fall. Love survives!" And for years this movie couldn't get off the ground. Simply because people tried to stop it being made. But like surviving oppression this is a story that needs to be told and heard. Even if critics seem to be trying to put an end to it too. But why are they turning their nose up at powerful movies of great importance? Sure Marvel's hugely popular 'Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2' sequel is out this week in blockbuster season. But this is a history lesson we all need to learn from Batman and 'X-Men: Apocalypse' star Oscar Isaac. Who like his wonderful 'A Most Violent Year' co-star Jessica Chastain-in the inspirational in the face of ignorant hate 'The Zookeepers Wife'-is starring in a critical piece of cinema right now that we should all see. No matter how hard it is to watch. As Daniel Day-Lewis' 'In The Name Of The Father' director Terry George-who brought the best out of himself and Marvel Avenging War Marchine, Don Cheadle in the harrowingly raw 'Hotel Rwanda'-brings us a love triangle to rival the forces at work in 'Allied' of 'Doctor Zhivago' sized proportions.
Oscar may be short of one. But Isaac's ways confirm the Academy actor as the best working one today not named Leonardo DiCaprio. The 'Inside Llewyn Davis' breakout star, who has already won a Golden Globe for his Springsteen-collared 'Show Me A Hero' HBO mini-series is so versatile he could one day play the Boss himself in a Bruce biopic. But here in a film that shares a name with one of the most underrated classic tracks off E Street, Isaac vows to show us his other worldly talents. The leading man who can look like both Al Pacino and Andy Garcia, all at the same time has already won over the cult sci-fi crowd, from the indie (the excellent 'Ex Machina') to the blockbuster mainsteam massive movie masses (his Poe pilot in the new 'Star Wars' trilogy alongside Domnhall Gleeson) can play across a wide range of cultures. Isaac of Guatemalan-American descent has played European, Egyptian, Polish, English, French, Mexican, East Timorese, Italian, Welsh, Indonesian, Greek, Cuban and Israelian people in his pictures. And now before he works on a George Clooney Cohen picture with Matt Damon and Josh Brolin, 'Annihilation' and 'Life Itself' he plays an Armenian with the weight of his people on his shoulders and heavy heart. It's an accented performance in all ways that isn't wasted like his mutant 'Apocalypse'. And is quite simply the stirring soul of this compelling look of the heart of hope surviving in the most cruellest of circumstance. You can hear it in the determination of his voice, glaring down fear as he says, "I have to get us out of here before it's too late". Showing love in the eyes of hate alongside 'Yves Saint Laurent' and 'The Walk' star Charlotte La Bon who is one 'Chocolat' like movie away from being the next Juliette Binoche. Brilliant here, La Bon is so good at bringing the beauty of love to screen, all so subtely. Torn between war and two men she shows the pain and not shame of a heart that yearns for someone else and the strength of mind that reaches for a life that will no longer be lived in any type of oppression. It's the kind of performance that puncutates scripts and roles that will keep rolling her way as more and more red carpets will be laid out with the big parts she's set to play. But this is a million miles away from the fake gloss of Hollywood and Charlotte stings like a hornet any notion that this movie is just a pretty postcard of love with a brutal backdrop. The heart of matters shows what keeps us going in war, but the raw soul reveals what really lies within each of us. Survival. And that as La Bon says will be their revenge.
Christian Bale also offers a spirited performance as a member of the Associated Press whose passion is journalism, but one that doesn't take him away from the love of his partner. Even if his necessity to report on the war and bring this story to the public awareness of attention and action risks the loss of his life and everything he loves. No third wheel, it's a part of real spine and the deepest chambers of heart from a man who won't just walk with oppressed people who others would simply turn a cheek from, but a man who will also stand next to the woman he loves and the man who loves her back all for the greater good. And the yearn for both love and life to make it. A bearded Bale who recently impressed in 'The Big Short' and 'American Hustle' goes from the money to take stock and risk of what really matters. 'The Dark Knight' star hasn't stretched to the limits this much since the 'American Psycho' starved his body and soul for the scrawn of 'The Machinist' and the bone knuckle punch of 'The Fighter'. It takes a real man to watch and help the woman he loves fall for the desires of another man, but Christian handles it with beautiful and faithful forgivness, hiding behind a tempered anger of acceptance purely put into his work. Each cast member brings so much more of themselves to this. Promising 'Collide' and 'Wolf' breakout actor Marwan Kenzari is a helping hand as a friend who behind the fun will do anything to assist. Whilst the recognisable voice of 'The Lake House' and 'Star Trek-Beyond' crew member Shohreh Aghdashloo is moving as Oscar's mother. Meanwhile the eyes of 'Westworld' and 'Twilight' star and actual Armenian actress Angela Sarafyan plays an enchanting bride of Isaac and 'Mission Impossible 2' and 'X-Men: First Class' actor of distinction Rade Serbedzija leads one hell of a revolution to pay for. Versatile British actor Tom Hollander (who we most recently saw impress in Tom Hardy's 'Taboo' for the BBC) also brings raw resistance. And there are classy cameos from 'Leon' legend Jean Reno as a French general and 'L.A. Confidential' great James Cromwell popping up as an American Jew more than sympathetic to the cause, inbetween his dedication and service to the Vatican alongside Jude Law's 'Young Pope'. 'The Promise' delivers an incredible mix of people that show just how much this life and world is worth. As Terry George brings us a film that mixes elements of 'The English Patient' and '12 Years A Slave' to show us today just how it really was as we relate to the characters portraying real people here in so many ways. One heartbreaking scene here as movingly haunting in its horror as the roadside one in 'Hotel Rwanda' by the stream of a lake will stay with you like the current. It's something sinister but still so necessary to see, especially with everything that stills go on today. Something you will not forget in a hurry and should always remember all for what it means. Say you will? As amazingly 100% of the proceeds of this powerful movie go to profit only charity. These people deserve your time and thoughts. And this is a promise we should always keep. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
See This If You Liked: 'Hotel Rwanda', 'Allied', 'The Zookeepers Wife'.