Todd & Viola find themselves on a perilous journey through the badlands of an unexplored planet as they try to escape a dangerous and disorienting reality : Not read any of the books written by Patrick Ness but as I’m a huge fan of Doug Liman’s visual filmmaking style and love these dystopian type of movies I delved straight in and was immediately blown away by the originality of CHAOS WALKING : once you get over the somewhat confusing “noise” element to the film you presented with a hugely enjoyable, quick paced, emotion led scifi thriller with terrific turns by Tom Holland as Todd, Mads Mikkelsen as the towns Mayor, Daisy Ridely as Viola and a shiver enducing performance by the wonderful David Oyelowo as the town’s preacher : I loved the film’s photography by World War Z’s Ben Seresin, wanted to give Manchee a good cuddle and anything Cynthia Erivo has delivered since her Widows debut in 2018 has been nothing short of incredible, her character Hildy is another eye popping turn : the surreal imagination of Patrick Ness matched with Liman’s science fiction thrill gave me quite a film watching experience, I’m now off to buy the books !! ★★★★½
Yet another screen favorite has passed away : the charismatic, cool as fuck YAPHET KOTTO has died aged 81, Yaphet was such a good actor, he made ordinary looking roles ICONIC giving life to such memorable characters such as Parker in Ridley Scott’s Alien, playing Laughlin alongside Arnie in the 80s scifi gem The Running Man, his brilliant turn as Alonzo Mosely in Midnight Run, Lieutenant Al Giardello in TVs Homicide and of course his villainous turn in 007s Live and Let Die as Mr Big : although it’s time to say goodbye to this wonderful talent his movies will always be there to bring pleasure to this cinephiles movie loving heart…..
During a vacation in the Catskills, an author and a stranger from a neighbouring cabin are thrown together after a power outage strikes the area : Both decide to pass the time by telling ghost stories which leads to chaos and their ultimate fears slowly starting to become reality : Josh Ruben’s Cabin in the Catskills horror movie SCARE ME is certainly my kind of movie jam, a slice of original horror that showcases the ability to scare whilst acting almost theatre like with it’s sharp and smart dialogue that’s executed in a fresh and creative style : Ruben and his co-star Aya Cash who’s energy matches the display she gives as Stormfront in the television show The Boys are outrageous, both feeding off each other like piranah’s with the movies ultimate payoff being delivered with satisfying style : I really dug how Ruben utilises the sound effects in the movie to enhance the visuals creating this scary vibe that’s deliciously atmospheric and adds so much to it’s horror telling, you just know something’s going to happen and it’s fun finding out when….. a low budget gem and one I feel would benefit from multiple viewings ★★★★
On her Birthday I’m remembering the beauty and talent of 30s Icon JEAN HARLOW who starred in films such as The Public Enemy alongside Jimmy Cagney, Frank Capra’s 1931 comedy Platinum Blonde, alongside Clark Gable in Red Dust, Howard Hughes war drama Hell Angels, Victor Fleming’s romantic comedy Blond Bombshell and her delightfully funny turn in Dinner at Eight : although Jean was taken way to early she made her mark in Hollywood as one of the funniest, sexiest and sweetest actresses of her era…. she was born on this day in 1911 in Kansas City, Missouri and was the first movie actress to appear on the cover of Life magazine : Jean Harlow made 36 movies and appeared alongside Clark Gable in six of them, she died aged 26 whilst making the 1937 movie Saratoga in which her last line spoken was “Good-bye” : her Hollywood star can be found at 6910 Hollywood Blvd….
I was lucky to grow up in a time when Brisbane born GEORGE MILLER ruled the Post Apocalyptic screen with his brutal yet devilishly fun Mad Max franchise, these films are not only are amongst my favorite and most watched action movies of all time (see what remains of my VHS originals) but also they gave us the great Mel Gibson, this rugged, leather-clad hero that’s gone on to become one film’s finest actors and filmmaker in his own right (so thank you George) : but along with these full throttle action movies George Miller also gave us the Nick Nolte cracker Lorenzo’s Oil, the wickedly dark and funny The Witches of Eastwick, my favorite slice of The Twilight Zone Movie Nightmare at 20,000 feet and that delightfully cute Oscar Winning animated movie Happy Feet : George is currently working on Three Thousand Years of Longing with Idris Elba and Tilda Swinton and then hopefully we should see the great man back in familiar territory with the prequel to Fury Road titled Furiosa and starring Chris Hemsworth and the incredible Anya Taylor-Joy in the title role
Director : Edward Hall : Stars : Dan Stevens, Isla Fisher, Leslie Mann : Blithe Spirit is lighthearted, afternoon movie watching fun with Stevens & Fisher fitting straight into Noël Coward’s majestic narrative : it may not be as good as David Lean’s 1945 classic but I still giggled & then swooned over Leslie Mann’s Elvira & adored those beautiful sets !! ★★★½
Director : Paul Greengrass : Stars : Tom Hanks, Helena Zengel : If not a little restraint Greengrass injects energy, character building, an intriguing story and a heartwarming finale into his latest picture News of the World : I must admit a longer runtime would have been nice but what an exceptional slice of filmmaking that I enjoyed immensely ★★★★
Director : J Blakeson : Stars : Rosamund Pike, Peter Dinklage, Dianne Wiest, Eiza González, Chris Messina, Macon Blair : I Care a Lot is a deliciously EVIL yet fabulously FUN ride with an ice cold performance by Rosamund, a mesmerizing display by Dianne, a wickedly dark & mysterious turn by Peter and thank goodness for Macon Blair and a little thing called Karma : Enjoyed !! ★★★½
Director : Mike P. Nelson : Stars : Charlotte Vega, Adain Bradley, Emma Dumont, Dylan McTee : Really impressed with this new take on the Wrong Turn franchise : this is not just your backward town folk canabilistic slasher movie, this one has so much more going on with filmmaker Mike Nelson and his fresh young cast taking you there : also that wet your pants finale brough a big smile to my face ★★★½
Director : Stephen Durham : Stars : Ellen Hollman, Matt Passmore : it’s not the story, the location, it’s cheesy at times dialogue or indeed Matt Passmore that gives Army of One it’s undoubted B-Movie appeal, it’s Spartacus star Ellen Hollman that drives this action movie all the way to movie fundom, she’s dynamite and for 90mins you enjoy watching her character kicking ass and administering her own brand of justice ★★★½
A drifter is tricked into a taking a job at the now condemned Willy’s Wonderland. The mundane tasks suddenly become a fight for survival, can the Janitor make it out alive? : ANYONE and I mean ANYONE who does not like the Kevin Lewis picture WILLY’S WONDERLAND needs to take a good look at themselves, maybe start by rewatching the movie and then indulge a little and start putting tongue in cheek in your daily Cereal : I mean what’s not to like when watching the rather awesome NICOLAS CAGE dancing whilst playing a pinball f##king game and then beating the holy shit out of a bunch of totally insane animatronic teddy bears including Ozzie Ostrich and Gus Gorilla in a rather crazed family play setting? : and as we’ve seen before Cage is not only a terrific actor but one cool dude and his character in Willy’s Wonderland who’s known as the Janitor does not utter a single word, instead he just guzzles these canned drinks to a timer set on his watch, cleans out the trash and switches his tees everytime he goes on a killing spree : the soundtrack by Émoi is pretty darn great, the supporting cast including Emily Tosta are superb and the film’s untamed, non-stop action is creative & plentiful : so if your looking for Cameron Poe Cage, Castor Troy Cage or even Benjamin Franklin Gates Cage then I’m sorry to tell you all three are either in Hibernation or Dead so you’re going to be very disappointed this is Bat Shit Crazy Cage who just loves nothing more than serving up some kick ass justice in small town who knows where : an instant cult classic with an 88min runtime that just flies by…. please please sanction a sequel…. I WANT MORE ★★★★½
Bill O’Neal infiltrates the Black Panther Party as an informant for FBI Agent Mitchell and J. Edgar Hoover : I didn’t know much about the Hampton story going in so Shaka King’s Judas and the Black Messiah was as much of a history lesson as it was a fine slice of character driven, tense & moving story telling that is brilliant from it’s start to it’s unsavoury finale : along with it’s score, Chicago location and a rather brief yet compelling performance by Martin Sheen as Hoover, I’m still gushing over the intensity level that Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield brought to their respective roles, both actors are captivating on screen and how about the wonderful Dominique Fishback as Hampton’s girlfriend WOW what a strong & sensitive part she plays in giving heart to this true story set in the late 60s where there’s no real winner and the outcome was inevitable : I don’t know how much of King’s story is how it went down but the gunfight at the chapter office with O’Neal sneaking away, the scene in the car with O’Neal being interrogated by two BPP members suspicious of his antics and that sureal, heart stopping moment when Hampton and his Panthers meet with the Crowns are amongst the many highlights of this tremendous biopic : a MUST watch ★★★★
When Lt. Artemis and her team of soldiers are taken from home into the belly of a new world, they find themselves in a battle for survival against an enemy with incredible size and power…. based on the video game by Capcom : take a pinch of Predator, Aliens and Starship Troopers and allow Resident Evil’s Paul WS Anderson to orchestrate proceedings and you’ve got this action fueled adventure movie MONSTER HUNTER : I’m of the camp that Anderson should direct all game to screen movies, alongside his real life wife and superstar action hero Milla Jovovich who always injects passion and so much energy into her roles they truly are the dreamteam of this style of action mayhem : like most of Anderson’s endeavours the entertainment is breakneck, the effects are staggering and the scenery including sand dunes and rock formations help create an amazing backdrop to which the film is set : I love the cast including Ron Perlman and the terrific Tony Jaa, boy that bone crunching fight scene with Milla is incredible, the most unlikely yet inspiring screen pairing both trying to boss the other and eventually earn each others respect is SUPERB : the creature designs are mind blowing and due to my fear of them I found the scenes with Artemis and her team in the underground lair of the spiders to be absolutley chilling, the humor of the Meowscular Chef and that Rathalos battle is mouth drooling : overall Monster Hunter is another BADASS futuristic scifi movie from Paul W. S. Anderson and I for one hope there’s a sequel in the works ★★★★
In 1943 during World War II, a mysterious lady Maude Garrett climbs aboard a B-17 Bomber called The Fool’s Errand, during the flight the Errand is attacked by a Japanese War Plane and then suddenly Maude spots something lurking in the clouds…. as she’s travelling with with top-secret documents and a mostly male chauvinistic crew, Maude finds herself alone and it’s upto her to save the day : SHADOW IN THE CLOUD has a familiar tone reminding me a little of that episode of the Twilight Zone titled “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” and “The Mission” episode in Amazing Stories, I never give too much away with my reviews but there’s no doubt that these episodes were an inspiration to Liang’s strangely bizzare, spooky and tension ridden picture : I loved it’s animated private snafu intro, it’s atmospheric synth score, the snappy runtime and even it’s bizzare plot that’s fractured, ridiculous and a tad crazy in a decent sort of way : maybe Roseanne Liang’s re-writes of Max Landis original script had a lot to do with the way the movie feels slightly disjointed, as the film ends up becoming this insanely cross-genre of World War II mystery and scifi creature flick that works on some level but also feels rather confusing if not wildly entertaining : is the movie worth watching? the answer is most certainly yes !! the early parts are gripping as we follow Maude and that mysterious box she carries onto the bomber (what’s in the box?), I love the locker posters at the beginning (keep your eyes peeled) and when the film switches tact and it’s direction goes one way and another it’s action is sublime and effects tremendous with Chloë Grace Moretz and a rather wildly out of place yet scintillating score giving Shadow in the Cloud this watchable vibe and allowing us to see the promise in Roseanne Liang as an action helmer for bigger and better things to come ★★★½
Happy 89th Birthday to the Iconic Music Composer JOHN WILLIAMS who was born on this day in New York in 1932 : he really started to make waves back in the seventies including the disaster movie trio of The Towering Inferno, Earthquake and The Poseidon Adventure and one of my favorite western themes back in 1972 The Cowboys : then in 1974 John started his collaboration with one of the finest filmmakers of our time in Steven Spielberg : for me John & Steve are the greatest director/composer duo in film, any there’s no doubt without John’s iconic scores to Speilberg’s masterful direction the films would not have the same impact : whether his music is rousing or at a much slower tempo John Williams has the ability of fitting a piece of music to the scene more than any other composer with some of his best work falling within the movie rather than it’s title’s main theme, take the barrel chase from Jaws, the Over the Moon segment from E.T. and Marion’s Theme from Raiders they all have epic qualities and encapsulate the great man’s input to that particular moment : one’s that didn’t make my top four but deserve a mention include Jurassic Park, Harry Potter, E.T., Home Alone, JFK, Close Encounters and Empire of the Sun
Maud, a newly devout hospice nurse, becomes obsessed with saving her dying patient’s soul : Saviour Maud….. YIKES !! from those traumatic early shots of Maud sat on the floor with her hands covered in blood to that unthinkable, unforgettable beach scene SAINT MAUD is one of the more haunting movie treats I’ve seen in years : the direction and psycho religious script by Glass is quite something and it’s dark shadowy, neon lit imagery that’s shot in and around Scarborough really does match the director’s tone and vision, for me reminiscent of some of the scenes out of Bigelow’s Near Dark, the mood is muggy yet essential and it’s ultimate effect is utterly unsettling : Maud played by Morfydd Clark goes all Annie Wilkes in her obsession with Amanda who’s played by Jennifer Ehle : suffering from a past trauma Maud is unstable, her belief in this holy possession driving her forward is exhilarating yet chilling and having the pleasure in watching Morfydd Clark for eighty minutes inhabit and capture this darkness is a vision in itself : so movie fans if you love a slow burn horror with scenes of cockroaches, bloody images, levitation, visions of christ and death by scissors then Saint Maud the film debut of Rose Glass will tender your every needs ★★★★½
Two Cops track down a serial killer in California in the early 90s : Possibly my favorite movie sub-genre is the cat-and-mouse cop thriller, I just love them and when you throw together a crazy good 30yr old script by John Lee Hancock, an edgy, moody atmosphere that’s nail biting and character driven and three stonking good performances from Denzel Washington, Rami Malek and Jared Leto you have what I believe is one of the best adult themed cop thrillers in years : if your a fan of the action genre and like your finale spoon fed with a definitive resolution then I’d give it a miss, as the title refers it’s THE LITTLE THINGS in the movie that drive this thriller, quieter moments such as the moment Deke’s played by Denzel talks faith and breakfast with Rami’s Jimmy on the bridge over looking the latest crime scene, the emotion of Deke visiting his ex wife, Leto’s brilliance as his character Sparma teases Jimmy played by Malek in the desert and my favorite scene when Deke’s breaks into Sparma’s home looking for a clue is pertinent, gripping and well played by Denzel and Rami : I’ve watched the movie twice now and I’m still undecided whether they got the right guy, so much depth and baggage with each character, it’s just one of those movies that in ten years time will be hailed a classic ★★★★½
It’s with a heavy heart that we hear of the passing of one of the screen’s brightest and funniest stars in Cloris Leachman : for me her more memorable roles came with playing the likes of Ruth in The Last Picture Show for which she won the Academy Award, the hilarious Maw Maw in Raising Hope, her scene stealing film debut in Kiss Me Deadly, Madame Defarge in History of the World, Part I and of course my personal favorite Frau Blücher in Young Frankenstein : Cloris had a wonderful and varied career including eight Primetime Emmy Awards from 22 nominations, making her the most nominated awarded actress in Emmy history : she will be sorely missed down here, but up there a party is about to begin….