Danger, deception and murder descend upon a sleepy town when a professional assassin accepts a new assignment from his enigmatic boss : It’s been 10yrs since a movie directed by Nick Stagliano has hit our screens, and for me that’s way too long for a guy of his talent : The Virtuoso was also written by Stagliano and hosts a selection of top line performers including Anthony Hopkins, Abbie Cornish, David Morse, Eddie Marsan, Richard Brake and of course the leading star of the movie Cullen Bohannon himself the Irresistible Anson Mount : once the movie starts and I hear Anson’s sleepy narration as he describes his job, a paid killer living in isolation I just knew I was going to love the hell out of this cleverly written, character driven gem that splashes the screen with violence, mystery and twists and turns like the Le Castellet : the cemetery scene with Hopkins Mentor discussing the war with Anson Mount’s Virtuoso is quite breathtaking, haunting and delivered in typical commanding & at times scare style by the legendary Welshman, each character in the film has their own agenda, each has a part to play and the scenes in Rosie’s cafe when the Virtuoso rolls in to town to find his next target is so reminiscent of Tarantino’sThe Hateful Eight with filmmaker Stagliano shifting gear leaving you along with the Virtuoso guessing who is white rivers? Once again Abbie Cornish steals each and every scene she’s part of, I just love her work and her character the waitress at Rosie’s Cafe really does help the film’s shift, she injects a purpose and a link to each of the characters and what happens to her is one of the reasons why a sequel/prequel would be awesome to watch : the cafe & motel scenes are effectively shot, the violence is to point considering the film’s storyline and a hitman movie without a dog these days would suck so if you like your thriller’s to contain a devilishly good story, some fine acting and a terrific pay off then please check out Nick Stagliano‘s The Virtuoso you’ll thank me later ★★★★
To save his declining business, Chris Cringle, also known as Santa Claus, is forced into a partnership with the U.S. military : There’s something strangely wonderful watching the legendary Mel Gibson play Santa in a Hitman Christmas movie that’s insanely dark yet mighty festive, filmed with lots of heart, a teeny-weeny bit of tongue in cheek and a wickid mind by those Nelms brothers who gave us Small Town Crime a few years back : along for the Sleigh Ride is the sublime Walton Goggins who collects authentic Santa pressies whilst filling out his calendar carrying out hits for anyone who requires his demented service, the stunning Marianne Jean-Baptiste who’s crazy good as Ruth Cringle, Santa’s devoted wife and Eric Woolfe aka: Elf 7 the foreman in Santa’s workshop : EVERY scene between Marianne and Mel is an absolute delight, talk about chemistry, the film’s finale is bloody and Goggins Skinny Man is central to all the mayhem and Chance Hurstfield who’s spoilt and cruel Billy is fantasic : so if you love your festive movies to include a side dose of Christmas magic featuring elves, cookies and that ever so sweet naughty or nice seasonal message mixed with a rather dark and brooding evil tone then FATMAN should be earmarked as a must watch this Festive Season : IT’S BRILLIANT ★★★★
Ava is a deadly assassin working for a black ops organization, taking on high profile hits. When a job she’s given goes horribly wrong she is forced to fight for her own survival – Tate Taylor has sharpened his filmmaking skills with 2011’s THE HELP, 2016’s thriller THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN and last years horror MA so I was more than excited and slightly intrigued to see how he faired with his first foray into action films : having watched both movies in recent weeks I found AVA more enjoyable than The Old Guard (which I did enjoy) It’s just that AVA packed the sharper bite, the pace was better and the action scenes were gritty and uncomplicated with Stephen Goldblatt the DP contstantly working his magic with each shot : I also enjoy seeing an actor a little out of their comfort zone so watching Jessica Chastain take on this troubled assassin in a lead kick-ass action role was rather fun, of course Jess looked great and the role was certainly no stretch : AVA is packed with delicious fight scenes with Colin Farrell involved in more than one titantic tussle with the hotel room scene nearing the end of the movie one of my favourites : also there’s this terrific supporting cast with John Malkovich as Ava’s handler, Common (a little under used in my opinion) as the ex-boyfriend, Geena Davis and Jess Weixler as Ava’s mum & sister respectively and Ioan Gruffudd & Joan Chen in small but scene stealing roles : the film’s story follows a familiar path, betrayed assassin seeking justice (so there’s nothing new on that front) but if like me your a sucker for action movies that use less brain power, entertain with a fiesty lady holding the reigns to boot then Tate Taylor’sAVA won’t disappoint ★★★★
ps…. a little bit of trivia for you: the film and lead character was originally titled EVE but for some unknown reason the studio changed it to AVA
Saturday Night Live’sTaran Killam directs Arnold Schwarzenegger, Cobie Smulders and Bobby Moynihan in action comedy KILLING GUNTHER and judging by the below trailer this could be one hell of a night eating popcorn and chuckling your way through some rather stupid but fun slapstick comedy – Arnie plays Gunther (the world’s greatest hit-man) but is in deep deep trouble, a bunch of disgruntled assassins decide they want him dead and that’s where the fun really starts…..
Let me start by saying how much I loved Kyle Newman’s love letter to Star Wars the brilliant 2009 picture Fanboys, so obviously upon hearing Newman was involved in directing a new picture with a whole bunch of his acting mates on-board I was giddy with excitement.
Barely Lethal is one of them movies that could have & should have been so much better – I’m not saying Newman is out of his film making depth but presenting us with an action movie with little bite, characters that have no chemistry, music from Matteo Messina that’s just horrible & a picture that fails to get the best out of it’s talented cast does not help the arguement – maybe the film is a victim of previous and much better executed versions of teenagers trained to be assassins, kicking ass whilst balancing everyday life style of movies but whatever the excuses Kyle Newman has delivered a real stinker of a picture, lets hope his next effort (Chewie or the planned Fanboys sequel) is better and he does not wait for another six years to do either.
Overall – In my opinion Barely Lethal should have committed to it’s darker, grittier premise, for me there should have been far less Mean Girl and much more Hit Girl – don’t get sucked in by it’s stellar star cast, Newman’sBarely Lethal is one big letdown, save your dollars and check it out when some TV channel shows it for free ★★½
The Counselor stars Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem, Cameron Diaz, Penélope Cruz, Rosie Perez & Brad Pitt – the movie follows a lawyer knows to his friends & colleagues as The Counselor who is rich and successful yet finds himself deep in an extremely complex drug plot that involves the Mexican Cartel, some pretty unsavory characters and a middle-man known as Westray played by Brad Pitt – when the plan The Counselor’s involved with goes south he must try and protect himself & his soon to be wife after the Drugs Cartel start eliminating those who have doubled crossed them – VERDICT since 2001’s Black Hawk Down and the wonderful Matchstick Men in 2003 I have found Ridley Scott’s directorial efforts to fall between average & very poor and The Counselor sadly falls in the latter – despite containing a delicious cast and at times some incredible cinematography by Dariusz Wolski (Crimson Tide & Dark City) the film is a 2hr 18mins mixture of the bizarre, the disjointed and is amongst the dullest big screen events in the last few years – The Counselor’s memorable moments such as Diaz orgasmic moment on a car windscreen (yep that happened), the colorful outfits & delightful hairstyle of Javier Bardem & a couple of well executed be-heading’s are quickly forgotten, swept away in the nonsensical over complicated nature of the film’s script – overall The Counselor only adds to the list of recent movies that fall below the quality expected from one of cinema’s greatest filmmakers – it contains some horrible acting performances & a script by the ever reliable Cormac McCarthy who wrote No Country for Old Men and The Road that is a tiresome, sloppy, yawn-fest that contains numerous, meaningless exchanges between characters that you find awkward, cold and pretty much unlikeable – sadly The Counselor is yet another Ridley Scott disappointment so now my hopes on this great filmmaker returning to form rest firmly with his next big screen outing the biblical EXODUS that lands later this year and stars Christian Bale….
With the brilliant Hatfields & McCoys, Man of Steel and next years Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit it seems Kevin Costner is back headlining the movie world once more and that makes me a happy man – in 3 Days to Kill he plays Ethan Runner a secret agent trying to reconnect with his estranged daughter whilst eliminating the bud guys – the film is directed by McG who’s credits include Charlie’s Angels, Terminator Salvation and We Are Marshall and starring alongside Costner is the gorgeous Amber Heard, the ultra talented Hailee Steinfeld and the Danish beauty Connie Nielsen – the film has a dark comic feel to it with Costner rocking the action scenes & Amber Heard looking deliciously sexy as always – check out the trailer…. Enjoy!
3 Days to Kill – US (21st February) – UK (N/A) – Australia (13th March)
Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as Breacher a DEA agent who’s team has been targeted by a mysterious assassin in David Ayer’sSABOTAGE – judging by this trailer, the pretty awesome cast and Ayer’s previous movies that include Street Kings, Harsh Times & End of WatchSABOTAGE looks one hell of a ride and has my action juices flowing quicker than Niagra Falls
The Sabotage cast also includes: Mireille Enos (The Killing), Joe Manganiello (True Blood), Terrence Howard (Iron Man), Josh Holloway (Lost), Sam Worthington (Avatar), Max Martini (Pacific Rim) and Olivia Williams (Sixth Sense) – Here’s the action packed trailer…. Enjoy!
David Ayer’sSabotage hits our cinema screens in April 2014
“I'm a mog - half man, half dog. I'm my own best friend” - Spaceballs (1987)
“I once stole a pornographic book that was printed in Braille. I used to rub the dirty parts” - Bananas (1971)
“Roses are red, violets are blue, I'm a schizophrenic and so am I” - What About Bob? (1991)
“Yeah I called her up, she gave me a bunch of crap about me not listening to her, or something, I don't know, I wasn't really paying attention” - Dumb and Dumber (1994)
“Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son” - Animal House (1978)
“Like a midget at a urinal, I was going to have to stay on my toes” - Naked Gun 33 ½ : The Final Insult (1994)
"Yes, it's true. This man has no dick" - Ghost Busters (1984)
"I have nipples, Greg. Could you milk me?" - Meet the Parents (2000)
"They called him 'Fast Eddie'... He was a winner... He was a loser... He was a hustler" - THE HUSTLER (1961)
"For Three Men The Civil War Wasn't Hell. It Was Practice!" - THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE UGLY (1966)
"The night HE came home" - HALLOWEEN (1978)
"All the power on earth can't change destiny" - THE GODFATHER PART III
"In space, no one can hear you scream" - ALIEN (1979)
"Be afraid. Be very afraid" - THE FLY (1986)
"Cruise like Thunder" - DAYS OF THUNDER (1990)
"Same Make. Same Model. New Mission." - TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY (1991)
"Houston, we have a problem" - APOLLO 13 (1995)
"The greatest fairy tale never told" - SHREK (2001)
"We've Sensed It. We've Seen The Signs. Now... It's Happening." - THE HAPPENING (2008)
DJANGO UNCHAINED is the first time in 16 years that Leonardo DiCaprio didn't get the top billing
In John Carpenter's HALLOWEEN Michael Myers' mask is actually a Captain Kirk mask which was altered for the film
On the set of 1982's THE THING the whole cast and crew was male
BLAZING SADDLES was shot on the same MOVIE set as Yul Bryner's WESTWORLD
The first TWILIGHT movie is the only film in the saga to not receive any Razzie Award nominations
In a deleted scene from James Cameron's ALIENS Ripley's (Sigourney Weaver) daughter was played by Elizabeth Inglis, Sigourney Weaver's real-life mother
Prints of the movie INCEPTION were shipped to theaters under the name "Hour Glass"
The Dude from the superb THE BIG LEBOWSKI says "man" 147 times in the movie