Sunday, 25 June 2017

T.V. REVIEW: AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.-Season 4

4/5

Ghost In The S.H.I.E.L.D.

22 Episodes. Starring: Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Chloe Bennet, Iain De Caestecker, Elizabeth Henstridge, Henry Simmons, John Hannah, Mallory Jansen, Jason O'Mara, Parminder Nagra, Zach McGowan, Gabriel Luna & Brett Dalton. Creator: Joss Whedon.

"What a run"! Ming Na-Wen's Agent Melinda May exhaustedly tells Clark Gregg's Agent Phil Caulson in the penultimate episode of Season 4 of Marvel's 'Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D'. And it really has been one hell of one. This just may be the best season of the 'S.H.I.E.L.D.' series yet. Hail Marvel! After the first series trilogy, this season of three acts stepped it up with a Ghost in the S.H.I.E.L.D. machine, some 'Man In The Hydra Castle' alternate reality bytes and a hell of a lot of paranoid androids for you Radioheads. With so much drama on the ABC it's hard being Clark G.R.E.G.G. Who needs to account for Netflix's Defenders now (chill...it's just a joke)? No matter how good they are. Especially with a 'Legion' of 'Gifted' sub-series coming from the first three letters of the alphabet network as Marvel are getting all 'Cloak & Dagger' before they finally do release their strand of 'Inhuman' DNA. If only the originator 'Agent Carter' wonderous woman could have survived to suit up and join in. D.C.'s 'Flash', 'Green Arrow', 'Supergirl' and 'Gotham' beware. You thought you were winning the small-screen war you were reduced to by direct, alternating currents. But these are the legends of tomorrow. Just like Stan Lee's best. The billionaire, playboy philantropist, the green guy, the guy with the hammer and the guy that leads with the shield. But this is S.H.I.E.L.D. As big as Ant-Man checking his extra leg-room in at airports (don't forget the orange slices). As cosmic-mystical mystifying as the Sorcerer Supreme. And of course legendary like your friendly, neighbourhood, 'Homecoming' Peter Parker. This has got as much claws as the cat from Wakanda with adamantium ones. And between the trenches of 'Captain America-Civil War' and 'Avengers: Infinity War' next year comes the lucky 'Logan', 'Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2', 'Spider-Man' and 'Thor-Ragnarok' year that with this season going forth and the 'Iron Fist' streaming 'Defenders' in 2017 (and lets not forget 'The Punisher' anti-hero for our sins) makes for one of the biggest calenders of blockbusting Marvel magic yet. This is not a phase. This is legend Lee.

'Avenger' assembler and 'Justice League' stand-in Joss Whedon and his brother Jed know how to weave all the strands of narrative thread into a cohesive half-year yarn for super-comic, cult purists. As this season strategically deals with themes and metaphors of creation, existence, our warped sense of reality, sins of the devil and even the outsider, alienating ideas influenced by immigration issues in Trump's xenophobic and racist-ravaged America. WOW! Who knew a superhero show from the creators of 'Buffy' could drive such a subliminal stake through the demonic heart of our oppressors...and do it all so subtley. But remember there's so much more at stake here from a show that originates from the old fashioned stars and stripes of just another skinny kid from Brookyln who bucked Hitler in the jaw. And it all comes from a shadow league team of spies that are depleted (see: 'Spies Gooodbye'...snif), but never defeated. Lead by sassy as he wants to be Agent Caulson. Clark Gregg is still as wonderful a person as Tahiti is a place. And then of course there's Ming-Na Wen's stern but sterling Agent May character. Kicking ass and inspiring as much "it's going to be May" memes on the last day of June as Justin Timberlake. Flanked by the Fitz/Simmons love-in of great Scot's Ian De Caestecker and Elizabeth Henstridge taking the 'It's Complicated' status to a whole new wireless level and the axe shotgun of strong-man, Mack, Henry Simmons who brings a blunderbuss of evoking Yo-Yoing emotions to this seasons proceedings powerfully. And then of course there's Daisy, the Ridley of this S.H.I.E.L.D. ship like Sigourney. The Sky high talent of Chloe Bennett has all bad guys quaking in their boots with her black suit and Widow making powers. Except one...

"I'm not the one who decides", angel of the devil Gabriel Luna answers Quake's claim that he shouldn't determine the fate of who lives and dies in L.A. As his face burns and melts all the way away into a flaming skull that sets this season aflame with an outstanding opening and Marvel moment never seen before. Big screen or T.V. That's some pretty convincing C.G. brought with that Downey Jr., Tony Stark 'Iron Man' money. Yep that's right! Luna is the great, cult, punishing anti-hero, the Ghost Rider. But he's no Harley, Nic Cage-son chopper riding Johnny Blaze (but just you Easter Egg wait). He's the Mexican Reys, stalking and riding the storm drains of the City of Lost Angels like a devil. Hell to white squared zip-up leather, in a Dodge licking flames like a viper. Driving angry, getting real fast and oh so furious in his lava like Nitrus injected Camaro. Charging this character arc up by the crossed bones, Gabriel's cursed Robbie character is easily the greatest gift of this series. So much so we can't wait for a wheel-spin spin-off changing lanes like he shifts gears. Flipping th script like he habitual does his set of keys. This Rider is off the flaming chain. But he's not the only Ghost who haunts this fall season of Darkhold demonics by the ancient book. Like original (90's) 'The Mummy' star John Hannah who wants to make human nature and artifact with his electric sheep like android dream. Piloted by his machine muse Aida, played perfectly by Aussie actress Mallory Jansen who played life-model Helena Christensen, former love of late, great frontman Michael Hutchence in the INXS biopic mini-series, 'Never Tear Us Apart'. Here she is note perfect like that classic songs iconic bass and sax. And has a real "hench" man in the formidable form of famous voice actor Zach McGowan, who cracked Mickey Rourke's Whiplash character for the 'Iron Man 2' video game. Here he plays the Superior standard, Russian Bradley Cooper lookalike villain obsessed with vodka (I know!) chased by onion (really?). Lucky for S.H.I.E.L.D. Rogers juiced up Patriot Jason O'Mara has the iron will to launch them in a new direction. Even if some senators want to stand in his inhumanity way. Like former 'E.R.' standout Parminder Nagra reuniting with Ming-Na and bending the rules like Beckham. All this and the brilliant Brett Dalton's dashing, but creepily charismatic and compelling Grant Ward returns to the hive for a few cameo episodes like we wish he was back for real, permanently. "Wait...what?! How?! Why?!" We hear you cry! Well we've already said too much and you don't want to spoil the sweet surprise. But if that was really the case you'd unfollow them on Instagram. As 'Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.' goes from 'Ghost Rider' to 'Agents Of Hydra' like a 'L.M.D.' trip this Marvel has plenty under the table for everyone to deal with before its fantastic season four finale which will make five famous ('Agents Of S.W.O.R.D.' anyone!?). So put your feet up and binge watch this one if you haven't already kept up to date, week to week. And please Phil surely it's time to crack open that bottle of Hague!? TIM DAVID HARVEY.

See This If You Liked: 'Agent Carter', 'Daredevil', 'Jessica Jones'.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

REVIEW: GIFTED

4/5

Captain Fantastic.

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

REVIEW: HANS ZIMMER Live @ Liverpool Echo Arena (17/06/17)

5/5

Zimception

'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

#Trailblazers BIG 3-TRAILERS

We don't have to be Cameron Diaz in 'The Holiday' to know movie trailers are worth a lot these days. Just check your phone from youtube to Facebook. And there's even more that goes into the cinematic craft behind them. Besides aside from the salted popcorn (yeah I said it!) a lot of time they're the best thing about going to the cinema...especially if you're about to see the new 'Transformers' movie. So much so like the obligatory ask from your date at the counter as to what film you're watching-even though you were just talking about how big a Tom Cruise fan you are these days-you'll almost forget the film you're actually about to see. So without further ado lets look at the top three, big blockbuster trailers that are blazing a trail like Portland in this Summer season of hot films right now. Lights. Camera. Coming Soon...

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

REVIEW: THE MUMMY

3/5

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

REVIEW: WONDER WOMAN

4/5

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'.