Aweful News : the Iconic Movie Star Olivia De Havilland has died aged 104 : in my eye’s they don’t come much better than Livvie, a Golden Age Beauty who graced the screen in over forty feature films, winning two Academy Awards and starring alongside some of the very best in the movie world : One of my favourite quotes of hers was in 1999 where she commented over Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother “I want to follow her example and live many years longer. I consider every birthday a victory” well Livvie you sure did, rest in peace Legend……
Since I had the pleasure of catching a breathtaking performance from her on the Westend in The Children’s Hour alongside Kiera Knightley back in 2011 Elisabeth Moss has quickly become one of the best character actors on the big screen : her versatility & charisma has lent to film roles of a gritty and exciting nature, a bit like the great Jodie Foster she can turn her hand to pretty much anything : she can play the victim of abuse turned mobster in The Kitchen, play a cranky drug taking old writer in Shirley or rock the stage as Becky Something in the brilliant Her Smell : she is an incredibly unique, quirky and utterly mesmerising actress : Here’s Our Top Four Movies : 1. Her Smell (Alex Ross Perry) : 2. Shirley (Josephine Decker) : 3. The Kitchen (Andrea Berloff) : 4. The Invisible Man (Leigh Whannell)
A young housewife in what seems to be a perfect marriage develops the irresistible urge to swallow objects and material – WOW just WOW Carlo Mirabella-Davis !! Swallow is a facinating directorial debut that gripped me from the getko, the energy that flows through Haley Bennett and into Hunter her onscreen persona is quite simply astonishing : When Hunter starts to Swallow my first impression was “Please don’t do that” I was angry, confused at why this young lady would do such a thing, why she would risk her life? But it got me thinking Hunter is trapped, innocent, has no friends or family and has nobody there to hug her close and tell her everything will be ok : If her lowlife controlling husband, bad inlaws and the swallowing wasn’t bad enough Hunter then decides to track down William a rapist from her past who’s played brilliantly by Denis O’Hare, their confrontation in William’s kitchen is so bloody TENSE I felt my heart pounding ready to burst out of my chest like something from Ridley’s Alien movie, such a simple, emotionally charged scene with these two brilliant actors nailing it : Overall Swallow is one of the darkest and most liberating movies of 2020, it’s a real thought provoking picture that will no doubt upset many, terrify others and quite simply blow the majority away with it’s raw, quirky style and captivating subject matter ★★★★½
Devistating news the wonderful actress Kelly Preston has died aged 57 : Kelly was know for her work in the movies such as Twins, For the Love of the Game, Nothing to Loose, Spacecamp, Jerry Maguire, Jack Frost & so many more : she is the shining light in those movies and I will always remember her for that beautiful radiant smile x
Four African-American vets return to Vietnam seeking the remains of their friend and fallen Squad Leader and the gold he helped them hide – Back in 2013 after watching the Oldboy remake I honestly thought the great Spike Lee maybe past it, possibly spent as a filmmaker and only to be reveared for past glories…. In 2018 he delivered one of the best movies of that year in BlacKkKlansman and today in his first outing with Netflix Spike Lee has once again rolled back the years…. DA 5 BLOODS is not only an exceptional picture but it’s a timely history lesson that’s high on emotion, tense as a butt cheek in a landmine, a riverting adventure romp and one of Lee’s more violent and ambitious movie Joints to date – Rather than the deaging of actors (like Scorsese did in The Irishman) Spike Lee decided on a different and in my opinion more refreshing approach seeing the old guard play their younger selves in the film’s flashbacks which helped the film’s narrative and was exciting to watch, the music from the grand master Marvin Gaye, the message throughout of Love over Hate and shooting on location in Vietnam gave Da 5 Bloods it’s heartbeat…. and did I mention Delroy “Mother Fucking” Lindo in his fourth collaboration with Lee and in my opinion his best, Lindo’s character Paul is an all kinds of messed up, racist war vet that harbor’s a secret, his performance reminds me of Bogey in Sierra Madre as you watch his character slowly unravel in quite a devistating way – Overall there can be no doubt Spike Lee is back making film’s that connect with it’s audience in an entertaining, shocking yet relevant way ★★★★½
SUMMER OF 84 : François Simard, Anouk Whissell and Yoann-Karl Whissell
Tiera Skovbye, Rich Sommer, Graham Verchere, Judah Lewis, Caleb Emery, Cory Gruter-Andrew
Didn’t know a great deal about Summer of 84 until I watched it and WOW now I wana watch it again and come on guys get a sequel rolling – Young kids riding bikes, walkie talkies, insane atmospheric soundtrack and nonstop 80’s nostalga dripping from each scene like a personal trip down memory- lane this movie has the lot and is so much fun to watch – I mean what can I say about the kids in the movie apart from HOLY SHIT you guys rock every SINGLE scene, Tiera Skovbye is a fabulous young actresses and as CUTE as a button playing the kids crush Nikki and what about Mad Men’s Rich Sommer isn’t he just perfect as the creepy neighbor – I really did enjoy this movie so much and as for those last 20 minutes… sheeeeet me what a brilliant dark turn it all takes, my finger nails took a battering and now I’m looking a little more closely at those around me – SUPERB MOVIE ★★★★
The film follows an aspiring actress Mia played by the charming Emma Stone who falls in love with Sebastian an out of work Jazz Musician played by the accomplished Ryan Gosling – the film is set in LA and pays homage to the movies & music of a bygone age….
Damien Chazelle’s romantic musical LA LA LAND is everything I hoped for and so much more….
as I sat in the cinema mouth agape watching the words “Presented in CinemaScope” and the camera expertly panning over the cars of a packed LA freeway I quickly realized that I was in for a magical ride down the cinematic highway – a voice through a car’s open window started singing, her voice raw with emotion and suddenly without thinking I found myself tapping my feet to it’s catchy beat, chills started dancing across my spine, my face lit up at the explosion of color and what happened next was pretty special….
throughout it’s 2hrs I felt like I was transported back to Old Hollywood reminiscing of them musical stars of yesteryear, images flooding my mind of Fred, Ginger, Rooney & Garland all singing, dancing before me as I sat transfixed, seduced by LA LA LAND’s heart melting musical numbers, the films colorful sets and dreamy, infectious pairing of two of Hollywood’s brightest young stars in Gosling & Stone….
I have so many favorite scenes in the movie – the song & dance number at the Griffith Observatory, the lovely moment with Gosling’s Sebastian singing the beautiful “City of Stars” on the pier and that amusing moment at the party where Stone’s Mia asks a band to play the 80s track “I Ran” by one hit wonder band A Flock of Seagulls and then dances manically whilst lip syncing the lyrics – the performances by it’s cast and music by Justin Hurwitz is complete PERFECTION….
if 2014’s Whiplash that starred Miles Teller & J.K Simmons stunned you with it’s brilliance then Damien Chazelle’s LA LA LAND will overwhelm you, make you smile from ear to ear and allow you to dream that little bit longer – From it’s magical, entertaining & insanely eye popping opening number to it’s bitter sweet, emotionally draining finale LA LA LAND is cinema at it’s most potent, electrifying best…. ★★★★½
No.10 : Transformers: The Last Knight
Directed: by Michael Bay and Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Isabela Moner
Why the Excitement?: If you can’t get jumped up for a big screen action movie directed by one of cinema’s finest visual directors then all is lost – Michael Bay is the master of entertaining and regardless of it’s acting and narrative his movies have always given me that slice of escapism and shit loads of fun and this fifth in the franchise looks the most explosive of the bunch !!
No.9 : Baby Driver
Directed: by Edgar Wright and Stars: Ansel Elgort, Lily James, Jamie Foxx
Why the Excitement?: Well if you’ve seen Shaun of the Dead and Scott Pilgrim then you can understand why this bad boy makes my Top 10 Baby Driver looks all sorts of fun, expect the Edgar Wright Stamp that will include a delirious soundtrack with a side dose of side splitting action scenes and a fair amount of talented actors making appearances throughout
No.8 : The Dark Tower
Directed: by Nikolaj Arcel and Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Idris Elba
Why the Excitement?: Having read the books by Stephen King I’m intrigued to see how this adapts to the big screen – the movie will be more of a new take on the series that follows frontiersman Roland Deschain (Idris Elba) on a quest to reach The Dark Tower – licking my lips with excitement !!
No.7 : Alien: Covenant
Directed: by Ridley Scott and Stars: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Danny McBride
Why the Excitement?: I was not a fan of Prometheus but believe, I have too right? that the Ridley Scott of Alien and Blade Runner fame will turn this franchise on it’s head and return to former glories – the trailer looks incredibly creepy and with the cast including Fassbender and Waterston I have high hopes
No.6 : Star Wars: Episode VIII
Directed: by Rian Johnson and Stars: Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega
Why the Excitement?: Are you kidding right now? Star Wars? I love these movies and this latest directed by Rian Looper Johnson will be much different to Abrams in tone and style and maybe just maybe we will get to see more of Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker involved too?
No.5 : Okja
Directed: by Joon-Ho Bong and Stars: Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Lilly Collins
Why the Excitement?: I’m a huge fan of this South Korean Filmmaker and his unique, exciting style of bold movie making – 2006’s The Host, 2009’s Mother and 2013’s Snow Piercer all blew me away – the cast is exceptional and it’s story by Bong and Jon Ronson (Frank) looks delightfully quirky and wildly entertaining !!
No.4 : The Beguiled
Directed: by Sofia Coppola and Stars: Elle Fanning, Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst
Why the Excitement?: Loved the 1971 Clint Eastwood version and boy what an impressive cast !! Pretty big fan of Coppola The Virgin Suicides, Lost in Translation and Marie Antoinette are three impressive, well written & beautifully shot movies so I think The Beguiled will continue this trend – might even read the novel A Painted Devil by Thomas P. Cullinan in preperation
No.3 : Hostiles
Directed: by Scott Cooper and Stars: Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike, Ben Foster
Why the Excitement?: Reuniting Cooper and Bale after their epic Out of the Furnace this promises to be all sorts of dark, violent shit – love it’s premise reminds me slightly of Peckinpah’s Major Dundee and I do enjoy a good western
No.2 : Wonder Woman
Directed: by Patty Jenkins and Stars: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Connie Nielsen
Why the Excitement?: Big comic film geek, love Wonder Woman as a character and Gal Gadot is sensational in pretty much everything she appears in – and Wonder Woman’s film trailer was easily the Best of 2016 – excited HELL YEAH !!
No.1 : Blade Runner 2049
Directed: by Denis Villeneuve and Stars: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Jared Leto
Why the Excitement?: two reasons: the first it’s original movie the 1982 Ridley Scott master piece sits comfortably in My Top 10 of all time so being able to revisit these characters and world excites the holy hell out of me and second it’s director Denis Villeneuve is easily the most exciting filmmaker since Tarantino, with films such as Prisoners, Enemy, Sicario and Arrival who could argue?
as a teenager growing up in the 80s I was in awe of this bad-ass Princess that lived through the medium of the movies, she was my first movie crush, a total and utter rebel who gave me hope that the evil scum of the empire would be toppled and the rebellion would win out the day – she was of course Princess Leia aka: Carrie Frances Fisher – born to the wonderful screen star Debbie Reynolds and singer Eddie Fisher Carrie was like Hollywood royalty and with the help of George Lucas, Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill she would soon become a movie idol cherished and loved by legions of movie fans that were not only struck by her immense beauty but also with her humor & intelligence – Carrie not only appeared in the original Star Wars trilogy and 2015’s The Force Awakens but she also wrote novels that included her 1987 autobiographical Postcards from the Edge that would later become a movie starring Meryl Streep and just before her death Carrie was promoting her latest autobiography The Princess Diarist – but to me Carrie will always be that fearless Princess that ignited the Star Wars trilogy and thankfully due to film we all can at any time take a trip to a galaxy far, far away and keep her memory alive, onscreen of course that is…….
Nowhere near as magical as its 2013 original but the introduction of the energetic Lula May played by the bubbly & hilarious Lizzy Caplan and Daniel Radcliffe’s turn as Walter Maybry allows film-maker Jon Chu enough intrigue & thrill to pull this sequel out of the bag – and although in my opinion the film contains way too much CGI, not enough practical magic and maybe Daniel Radcliffe’s creepy demeanour was a little underused I still found enough in this sequel to enjoy, have lots of fun with and look forward to a possible third outing for The Four Horseman ★★★½
Olivia De Havilland moved to Paris in the mid 50s and still lives there today – she is in my opinion “The Greatest Actress” to have shone on our screens, a giant of cinema who mesmerised with her beauty and injected energy, passion & commitment to her many roles spanning the 30s through to the 60s – De Havilland had an impressive range of performances in her career appearing in classics such as Gone With The Wind, The Snake Pit, Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte and My Cousin Rachel, she was a Double Best Actress winner at the Oscars for roles in To Each His Own and The Heiress but for me it was her many collaborations with actor and friend Errol Flynn that caught my imagination, she may not have been the main star in these early films but it was her infectious presence, them dreamy eye’s and that swashbuckling attitude in movies such as Dodge City, Captain Blood, They Died With Their Boots On, Santa Fe Trail & The Adventures of Robin Hood that started my love affair with cinema and this British-American actress who took my breath away – so from us here we wish Olivia De Havilland a Happy 100th Birthday !!
Being a film geek and a huge fan of the STAR WARS franchise I could not wait to reach for my light sabre and find my local IMAX and immerse myself into that world once more – my first experience of Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia was back in the early 80’s, I was too young for New Hope & Empire but watched them both on Video (many times) before eventually Jedi arrived, I was only a kid in ’83, my film education just beginning and watching these characters the maestro George Lucas had created on the big screen for the very first time was something I will always treasure, and like most scfi fans around my age I have watched the original trilogy and its 3 prequels many many times – so after a long wait J.J Abrams Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens had arrived, a midnight screening, the packed cinema roared as the infamous opening credits began to rise…..
Having now had a few days to think about the movie, I have come up with some positive & negative feed back, this is my own personal views so please take it all with a pinch of salt – I will get the negatives out of the way early (and these views don’t necessarily mean I didn’t enjoy the movie, quite the opposite) firstly the writing by Toy Story 3’s Michael Arndt is too predictable, the film itself copying many of the same trait’s as it’s predecessors almost retelling Lucas’s masterpiece A New Hope – Snoke the master & his apprentice Kylo Ren who is too much like Vader, even dresses in black with a mask but is weaker and less imposing, Rey the film’s lead is a young, untrained yet powerful in the force girl who leaves her planet Jakku to fight with the resistance yep I know all very similar to the path Luke Skywalker took in the original trilogy, The First Order is basically a new and updated Empire, they even have a new droid BB8 who’s just like R2D2 excepts it’s shape and it maneuvers slightly different and there are also a couple of big spoilers that I will not divulge here but also remind one of the original movies – secondly the casting of Adam Driver as Kylo Ren is one of the worst in the whole of the Star Wars franchise, he just does not look the part and when he removes his helmet (mystery gone !! – and another big mistake by the writers) he looks so out of place, almost looking a like boy band member, his Anakin tantrums and getting his ass whooped by a novice is a sure way to make your new villain look almost laughable, this is a shame as Kylo Ren is such as badass name and deserves better….
Forgive my little rant on the negative of Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens but as I mentioned above the film also has some positives – firstly the new characters Rey, Finn and Poe played by Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac are all exceptional, their chemistry, energy and undoubted excitement over being in a Star Wars movie was there for all to see, they bring great hope & optimism for future movies in the franchise – it would also be rude of me not to mention another fine performance (ala Peter Cushing) by the wonderfully talented Domhnall Gleeson playing General Hux this Irish guy is one of the screen’s finest young actors so maybe his role could be beefed up a little bit more for Rian Johnson’s eighth movie in the series – secondly the quality of the action sequences, especially those involving the Millenium Falcon, that chase scene with Rey in the driver seat early in the movie made my hands all clammy and the hairs on the back of my neck stand to attention – exciting was not the word – third and finally the biggest positive I could give The Force Awakens is all about sentiment, from the score by maestro John Williams to the return of some of the much loved characters from the old movies including Solo, Leia, Luke, Chewbacca (grrrwaaaaaarggggh), R2D2 and C3PO all of which have some screen time in this new movie, is what the Star Wars movies are all about – in fairness J.J does a fine job balancing the old characters with the new ones….
Yes the film has a lot of negatives and plenty of unanswered questions but overall as a big screen spectacle J.J Abrams Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens is a fabulously entertaining movie that fits well in the Star Wars universe – my advise is to see the film in 3D as the action scenes are incredible and the extra detail this brings to the movie is worth the admittance fee on it’s own – it’s a shame the writers and J.J took the easy route out in trying to replicate the old movies and not delivering something new and fresh to this world but when all is said and done the movie is a blast and one I look forward to watching again and again ★★★★
My latest venture to the cinema was to watch John Crowley’s immigrant drama BROOKLYN based on the novel by Colm Tóibín and starring a young lady that in my opinion is the Best Young Actress of her generation Saoirse Ronan
“Brooklyn tells the story of Eilis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan), a young Irish immigrant who leaves her home town, to live in 1950s Brooklyn. After the initial shackles of homesickness Eilis begins to find her feet, she starts a new job, an exciting education and falls into a romance with a boy from the city. But soon, her new life is disrupted by her past, and Eilis must choose between the two countries and the lives that exist within”
Although I’m a huge fan of both Hellboy movies, Blade 2 and Pacific Rim for me Guillermo Del Toro is at his best when tackling the genre of the Gothic Horror or Dark Fantasy – in 2001 came his deliciously gripping The Devil’s Backbone and in 2006 the weird and wonderful Pan’s Labyrinth both shot on a relatively low budget and both demonstrating this filmmaker’s eye for detail & his brilliant knack of telling a good story that entwines interesting, peculiar and watchable characters into his narrative – so when the first stills and trailer hit the web for his latest my excitement was at fever pitch – would Del Toro’s Crimson Peak live up to the expectations I had placed upon it? and how would the cast changes effect his way of thinking and the movie in general?
Del Toro’s movie takes us back to the late 1800’s, where personal tragedy sends a young aspiring author into the arms of a mysterious stranger, his loving sister and a new home in England
Crimson Peak is a beautifully crafted horror movie, reminiscent of the classic movies back in the 30’s and 40’s – it’s imaginative sets especially the Gothic mansion really does send shivers down the spine, Del Toro manages to create this living, breathing structure that’s partly open to the elements, devilishly spooky & so atmospheric – the attention to details is impressive and the film submerges you into it’s story almost to the point you actually feel like your living in Allerdale Hall – part of the movies story is Edith’s ability to see ghosts and theses scenes are handled sublimely well, in particular the moment at the beginning of the movie when Edith is visited by her mum and the scene in the corridor of Allerdale both gave me goosebumps, the effect is spine tingling – the movie also contains a pretty graphic and violent death scene that may shock some viewers, and although you can see it coming its delivered with devastating effect – the films backbone though is it’s cast, especially the trio of Wasikowska, Hiddleston & Chastain who’s chemistry unite, making you believe in the scenario’s their characters find themselves in – I wish somebody could have taken a picture of me in the cinema watching the films taut but electrifying finale – the range of emotion from Wasikowska & Chastain’s characters are terrifyingly good – Overall Guillermo Del Toro’s Crimson Peak is one hell of movie, it may not be Del Toro’s masterpiece but it’s a fabulous, haunting trip nevertheless and deserves to be hailed as one of the best in it’s genre ★★★★