the wait is now over !! After much anticipation I have now seen Steven Spielberg’s big screen adaption of Ernest Cline’s scifi novel Ready Player One at the cinema and as the end credits came up my very first thoughts were….
WOW as a movie experience I LOVED IT – it’s a classic Spielberg picture, totally immersive, ridiculously fun and jam packed full of endless movie references that will make your face beam like a kid at Christmas – the movies eye popping visuals, heart thumping audio and buckle your seat style of action is energising with a whole bunch of animation/real world cross over scenes that are utterly bonkers – along with the chest bursting scene that had me in tears and every bit of DeLorean screen time I have to say the best part of the movie is The Shining segment it’s quite something, the attention to detail is sublime and without giving too much away it’s so much fun….
The one thing that really does rankle me about the movie is WHY did Ernest Cline participate in changing so much of his beloved slice of escapism when adapting Ready Player One to film? For me it’s a crazy thing to do and I can totally understand die-hard fans of his novel being unhappy at the film’s outcome – the characters back story, how they all met, the quests in the Oasis are all played out differently, so there’s no easy way to say this except that Ernest Cline sold his soul to those in Hollywood when he should have stood firm at least with the core of his creation…. Nevertheless when all is said and done we all go the cinema to be entertained and Steven Spielberg has once again demonstrated his greatness in delivering a magical, enthralling movie going experience – Ready Player One requires urgent big screen attention…. put on your 3D goggles the Oasis awaits ★★★★
Sometimes you just need to stop dissecting a movie and have fun, let the action and mood of the picture take you on a ride into the impossible and the unimaginable and Roar Uthaug’s TOMB RAIDER is one of them such movies – I like many grew up playing the games and being slightly fixated on Lara Croft this sexy gun tooting computer icon who kicked ass and went on wild adventures solving puzzles on these epic treasure hunts, I even enjoyed the 2001 & 2003 movies that starred a young Angeline Jolie but this latest adaption an origin story starring Alicia Vikander in the title role surpassed my expectations I really did leave my critical side at the door and allowed myself to thoroughly enjoy the film – Vikander totally embodies the character from the games, she’s athletic, clever and she doesn’t give up easily – from the Hong Kong chase scene to the booby traps in the underground tomb, the foxy bike race to the Islands River Rapids Tomb Raider runs at a breakneck pace it really is electric and if you’ve played the games then you will smile and enjoy the scenarios that Lara finds herself in – other high five aspects of the movie include a terrific antagonist played by the fiery, downright cool Walton Goggins, Into the Badlands Daniel Wu who looks to be having fun playing a drunken sailor and kick ass side-kick to Lara and another well rounded performance from the underrated Dominic West who plays Lara’s dad Richard – Overall Tomb Raider is one wickid action movie, leave all your troubles at home and let Alicia’s Lara Croft take you an adventure of a lifetime – this is popcorn munching cinema at it’s finest ★★★★
AUSTRALIA DAY : Kriv Stenders
Bryan Brown, Shari Sebbens, Sean Keenan, Daniel Webber
I really ENJOYED Kriv Stenders edge of the seat Crash-style thriller Australia Day – along with Bryan Brown & Shari Sebbens who is bloody brilliant by the way, it’s young cast really does excell & allows the films story to roll at a break neck pace and feel downright authentic – there’s so much running in the movie that at times I felt out of breath watching it all go down – the film brings to light a whole lot of issues such as race and underage prostitution and although there’s nothing new about it’s narrative filmmaker Kriv Stenders handles it well and delivers a movie that balances between a high octain thriller and one that also makes one think of the choices & consequences in one’s life – overall Australia Day is well worth the watch and yet another Aussie Gem ★★★★
HOSTILES : Scott Cooper
Christian Bale, Ben Foster, Rosamund Pike
from it’s gritty storyline, Takayanagi’s haunting at times beautiful camera work, Bale & Pike’s ability to suck you into Cooper’s narrative and Max Richter’s soul searching score Hostiles is one of the Best Western since Eastwood’s Unforgiven, it’s dark & brutal just like the times, it’s uncomplicated and I can’t remember Christian Bale ever giving a better performance – this is one to watch on the big screen, it’s a visual treat and by the way it’s by no means the Bale & Pike show there’s a whole bunch of stone cold, gritty performances from the tigerish Rory Cochrane as Metz, Jesse Plemons (yep him again) as Kidder & Jonathan Majors as Woodsen – Scott Cooper’s Hostiles is such an awesome ride LOVED IT !! ★★★★½
“Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s sacrifice, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of Diana Prince aka: Wonder Woman to help find a group of meta humans in the hope that they will help fight an even greater enemy”
Stars: Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Henry Cavill, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, Amy Adams, Ezra Miller, Connie Nielsen, JK Simmons, Ciaran Hinds, Jeremy Irons
Having recently watched the 4 most recent films in the DC Comic Book Universe I was pretty excited to visit my local cinema and watch the latest Zack Snyder movie on IMAX 3D and yep it was everything I expected and more…..
OK where to start: JUSTICE LEAGUE may not be as polished as Wonder Woman, deep and meaningful as Man of Steel or Epic in scale as Batman VS Superman but instead what you get is a comic movie driven by it’s colorful characters, humorous dialogue and chaotic action scenes – there’s a haunting, beautifully sung version of “Everybody Knows” by the Norwegian songstress Sigrid it’s actually quite emotional, the storyline and lyrics merge in your mind, there’s 2 fun after credit scenes that’s worth sticking around for especially that 2nd one WOW did not see that coming and don’t get me started on some of those kick ass fight scenes – For me Justice League is similar in vein to Ayer’s Suicide Squad it’s one of them films that doesn’t try to be something it’s not, it doesn’t require much in the way of brain power instead requires you to sit back, geek out and have some good old fashioned movie fun, after all this 2 hour slice of comic book absurdity is exactly why I love these movies just let yourself be transported into a world you’ve only witnessed on a page, there’s too much darkness in life so lighten up and enjoy – surely watching Jason Momoa’s Aquaman flying through the air, flirting with Batman and giving the bad guys what for is reason enough to put a smile on your face, I’ve been a huge fan of the big man’s since Game of Thrones and in Aquaman he may have found his calling – another character emerging from Justice League with flying colors is Ezra Miller’s The Flash, Miller gives the speedster this quirky somewhat innocent twist and some of the movie’s highlights revolve around him – of course along with the newbies the old guard do a great job Affleck’s Batman is as good as I’ve seen the character in my lifetime, Gadot looks like she’s been playing Wonder Woman all her life – effortless and full of confidence, Adams shows plenty of emotion and looks simply stunning and Henry Cavill even with those dodgy CGI scenes is getting better with each movie as Clark Kent aka: Superman – Overall: not much in the way of criticism here except that I would have liked to have seen more of J.K. Simmons Commisioner Gordon and maybe on a selfish note another half hour runtime (there’s always an Ultimate Edition to look forward too – wishful thinking) – Justice League is not a masterpiece in any shape or form BUT what it does it does perfectly well and that’s ENTERTAIN and at the end of the day if this guy walks out of the cinema with a big smile on his lips then that’s all that matters #TeamJusticeLeague ★★★★
Since 2000’s Charlies Angels filmmaker McG has made a career of directing a pretty mixed bag of average and films bordering on quality but has never taken his movie to a place bordering greatness – take the Kevin Costner actioner 3 Days to Kill and 2006’s football movie We are Marshall both solid likeable movies that I enjoyed immensely – but with McG the Jekyll & Hyde of filmmakers there’s always the bad and in my opinion one of his worst movies This Means War and the dreadfully average Terminator Salvation are two examples of McG’s Hyde coming out to play – so going into 2017’s The Babysitter I was really unsure which McG was gona turn up?
Stars Samara Weaving, Judah Lewis, Robbie Amell, Hana Mae Lee and Bella Thorne – Storyline When Cole (Judah Lewis) stays up past his bedtime, he discovers that his hot babysitter Bee (Samara Weaving) is involved in something that will change his life forever.
FINALLY IT’S HERE a movie that McG has knocked out of the park, a picture for all (well maybe not all) to really SAVOUR – The Babysitter is an absolute stonking blast from start to finish and I can now see why Brian Duffield’s script was on the Black List for the Best unproduced Hollywood script it truly is a cracking cocktail of black humor, blood soaked horror and a slasher-esque Home Alone style invasion movie that just doesn’t stop entertaining – it’s got a wickid young cast, some wild frantic chase scenes, a steamy kiss to beat all steamy kisses and some sharp witty dialogue, it’s superbly shot and has an awesome soundtrack DO YOURSELF a favour and check THE BABYSITTER out on Netflix – it’s a real killer !! ★★★★
It’s been 4 long years since Alan Taylor’s Thor: The Dark World graced our screen’s so boy it’s great to see him back – yes I know our favourite Norse God has appeared in the Avengers: Age of Ultron and had a small cameo in Doctor Strange but for me personally there’s nothing quite like seeing your comicbook superhero’s in their own picture, on the big screen with an audience full of exciting anticipation
“Thor is imprisoned on the other side of the universe without his mighty hammer and finds himself in a race against time to get back to Asgard to stop Ragnarok—the destruction of his homeworld and the end of Asgardian civilization—at the hands of an all-powerful new threat, the ruthless Hela.”
So down to the movie, firstly it’s the third film in the Thor franchise and it’s directed by New Zealander Taika Waititi – who the hell’s he I can hear you say? well he’s the guy responsible for that delightful, gorgeous little movie Hunt for the Wilderpeople one of my favourite movies of last year and if you’ve not seen it then please do so – whether it was Taika Waititi’s māori sense of humor or the writers fresh approach the whole movie gave off a rather unique vibe, it almost felt entirely a comedy and certainly the most humor I’ve seen in a Marvel picture for me personally this was a bonus – Thor: Ragnarok is full of the most ridiculous, colourful characters – Jeff Goldblum’s Grandmaster is no doubt the pick of the bunch, his big eye’s tinged with blue eye liner, dressed in a gold, blue & red gown lent marvellously to this wacky Willy Wonka appearance, Goldblum really looked in his elements – we also get to meet some other comicbook favourite’s such as Kork a huge creature made of crumbling rock & Surtur a firey demon voiced by none other than Clancy Brown – the scenes between The Hulk and Thor are witty and at times downright hilarious and their battle in the arena is a riot – Cate Blanchett breathes life into Hela with an elegant menace, her voice and costume is devoured by the actress who is simply perfect as the movies villain – Westworld’s Tessa Thompson who plays the warrior Valkyrie is sublime, so bewitching, totally badass with that confident swagger and cocky attitude but as Loki found out to his cost Valkyrie can also fight with the best of them
Overall: Thor: Ragnarok is the easily best Thor movie to date, it entertains with it’s sharp witted narrative, allowing it’s cast to have fun, it’s almost as if the cast ripped up the script and improvised their way through proceedings – this movie will undoubtedly divide opinion with some diehard MCU fans not liking this all comedy approach, but remember those with short memories Iron Man 3 was exactly the same, full of humor except it was poorly written or handled abysmally by Downey Jr – this can’t be said for Thor: Ragnarok a modern blockbuster that has a refreshing feel to it, sending me into joyous rapture for it’s 2hr plus runtime and like the majority of the packed cinema I laughed, smiled and clapped my way through it all – oh yeah and don’t forget it’s rocking soundtrack, another fun Stan Lee cameo and 2 small but intriguing after credit scenes ★★★★
After watching Bone Tomahawk back in 2015 my anticipation for the next S. Craig Zahler movie grew feverpitch, his simple style blended with a cult laid cast pumped with an explosive violent finale had me wondering how can this realatively new filmmaker top what I have classed as an instant cult classic? Well it only took 2 years and I had my answer BRAWL IN CELL BLOCK 99 is intoxicating in it’s execution, it’s sublime storytelling, it’s trade mark gut wrenching finale but most of all it’s one hell of a performance from Vince Vaughan as Bradley Thomas an ex-con boxer trying to make a living in any way which he can to provide for his wife and their unborn baby when all shit rains down and things get really ugly – Zahler’s writing and filmmaking style is kept simple but engaging, his use of character invention is spectacular almost Tarantino-esque, he knows how to deliver these weird, wonderful & downright nasty son of bitches to the screen, casting old pro’s such as Don Johnson to bring home key roles in his movies, and what about the great Udo Kier as the mysterious Placid Man, Kier’s role maybe small but it’s so pivotel and I can’t think of anyone I would rather play that role, Dexter’s Jennifer Carpenter gives a good turn as Bradley’s wife and Buffy’s Marc Blucas is eye catching as Bradley’s boss – but essentially Brawl in Cell Block 99 is Vince Vaughan’s movie, it’s a role that’s truly up there with some of the memorable film roles of all time, such as Travolta’s Vincent Vega in Pulp Fiction, Nicholson’s Jack Torrance in The Shining and more, Vaughan at times prowls the screen like The Duke did back in the old western’s of yesteryear, his wrestling background and stature is used by Zahler to great effect giving his character this imposing look who carries this quiet yet unsettling demeanor, for me a bit like Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk, those fight scenes in the last 40mins are quite something….
So to be very clear Brawl in Cell Block 99 is not for everyone, if you hate violence & don’t like to hear bone crunching sounds or watch torture and all sorts of blood curdling tear ups then please stay well clear of this movie – but if like me you like your films hard hitting with slices of no nonsense movie escapism then you will revel in this brutal uncompromising cult classic – now I only have to wait till next year for S. Craig Zahler next movie the epic titled Dragged Across Concrete that stars Mel Gibson & Vince Vaughan, my mouth is drooling already…. ★★★★½