Happy 51st Birthday to the MAGNIFICENT, MYSTERIOUS and incredibly TALENTED Bostonian UMA THURMAN : Born on this day in 1970, Uma has played a big part in my facination and love for cinema, and since her big film break in 1988 with Dangerous Liaisons she’s gone from strength to strength, on a personal level she married & divorced acting royalty in Gary Oldman & Ethan Hawke, starred alongside a true legend of the screen in Robert De Niro in Mad Dog and Glory, became Quentin Tarantino’s muse for Pulp Fiction and his two Kill Bill movies, and even had a role in a comic book movie, the forgettable yet fun Batman & Robin alongside Drew Barrymore and action superstar Arnold Schwarzenegger : although her career has been a mixed bag, her beauty and screen presence that she delivered in her top tier movies will always be on repeat in my cinema : here’s my absolute top four : 2003’s Kill Bill, 1994’s Pulp Fiction, 2004’s Kill Bill 2 and finally 1992’s underrated serial killer gem Jennifer Eight :
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….
It’s always tough when listing any Top Movie List but as this will become a steady feature on the site I have decided to start Our Top Four with the enormous talent that is Grace Patricia Kelly : I started my obsession & collecting movies during the early 80s, films from all era’s & genre’s, facinated in general by anything and everything movie orientated and I remember watching Dial M for Murder one afternoon whilst home from school and being mesmerised by this screen goddess, this lady that oozed sex appeal yet had this commanding persona one that filled the screen with a kind of movie magic, I guess Grace Kelly became my first movie love and what a magnificent yet short career this American Sweetheart gave us : I hope you enjoy my ramblings….
Born on the 12th November 1929 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania GRACE KELLY not only had the beauty & elegance of a Hollywood Leading Lady but also had the acting chops of a high quality veteran working & becoming goods friends with the likes of Alfred Hitchcock on three occassions, Rear Window, Dial M for Murder and To Catch a Thief and also winning the Academy Award for Best Actress in the wonderful George Seaton picture The Country Girl, this was viewed as a major shock, many thought Judy Garland would win that year for her turn in A Star is Born : in her short Hollywood career Grace would star with Gary Cooper in the acclaimed western High Noon, William Holden in The Bridges of Toko-Ri and Clark Gable in Mogambo : in 1956 Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier ending her love affair with the screen until her death in 1982
One of my favorite Grace Kelly quotes : Mr. Hitchcock taught me everything about cinema. It was thanks to him that I understood that murder scenes should be shot like love scenes and love scenes like murder scenes
ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD : Quentin Tarantino
Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Al Pacino
JULY can’t come quick enough – one of cinema’s greatest filmmakers QUENTIN TARANTINO will take us back to 1969 Los Angeles where a television actor and his stunt double embark on an odyssey to make a name for themselves in the movie industry.
Having raved these last few years to anyone and everyone over James Wan and his ability to scare one half to death with his sublime horror movies The Conjuring, Insidious and Saw it’s actually quite satisfying to see him take on a huge comicbook adapation and completely and utterly destroy it – So I’ve just come out of AQUAMAN on Imax 3D and the first thing I have to say is what an incredible ride the movie is, it’s 143mins of mouth watering, adrenaline fueled action that’s looks totally insane on the big screen – If you take splashes of Pirates of the Caribbean, little drops of Phantom Menace and a tidle wave of Raiders of the Lost Ark then you get a comicbook adaption unlike anything you will have ever seen. I really dug the casting too from Amber Heard’s kickass warrior Mera who has an absolute ball alongside Jason Momoa’s hero, Nicole Kidman is great in everything and her role as the Queen of Atlantis was sublime, Patrick Wilson reuniting once more with Wan for a villanous turn as Orm the half-brother of Aquaman and I really enjoyed watching Yahya Abdul get his teeth into the role of Black Manta and boy doesn’t he do a great job. It never ceases to amaze me what they can produce in movies these days and James Wan’s Aquaman has so many WOW HOLY SHIT how on EARTH did they do THAT moments so do yourself a favour and grab a ticket as this movie REQUIRES some serious BIG SCREEN viewing….. ★★★★½
ROSY : Jess Manafort
Stacy Martin, Nat Wolff, Johnny Knoxville & Tony Shaloub
Interestingly ROSY came totally out of the blue having not seen a poster or watched a trailer and sometimes these little things make a movie more fun and certainly more interesting (not knowing what is coming) – So without spoiling things Jess Manafort’s directorial debut is pretty bizzare yet it somehow manages to captivate, from it’s haunting score that wouldn’t seem out of place in a Woody Allen pic to it’s slow burning narative and wonderful performances from it’s cast – Nat Wolff gives a career besty playing Doug a guy with a few bolts loose who lives on his own but he has a plan and this plan involves Rosy an aspiring young actress played by the wonderful Stacy Martin who gives a GIGANTIC performance that’s sexy, funny and downright crazy – Rosy’s coming together with Doug is alarming, yet by the end of the film you start to think that there’s some chemistry between them (well I did anyhow), everything about the films premise is not quite right but somehow it works and it’s filmmaker Jess Manafort deserves the plaudits for not only her direction but for an exciting, original script – absolutley superb ★★★★
For those of you who follow me on social media or read this movie blog you will know by now that I adore Ridley Scott, his movies and all things Alien but in recent years I have been quite vocal on this legendary directors fall from the dizzy heights of yesteryear to churning out such ordinary movies, average affairs such as Robin Hood, The Counselor, Exodus: Gods and Kings and the pretty dismal Prometheus – I am so conflicted, the one side of me is so grateful to this legendary filmmaker for giving us so many iconic movies but the other side keeps asking the question “why does Ridley Scott continue to direct such sub par movies? take a leaf out of Tarantino and Cameron’s book, maybe direct a film every few years instead of every year?” it’s my opinion that these films will only tarnish his brilliant reputation – I really had hoped that Ridley had turned the corner back in 2015, I absolutley loved The Martian with Matt Damon this was a real return to form from a director in need of some resurection so when it was announced that a new Alien movie was in production a sequel to the dreadful Prometheus nevertheless I was pumped, excited and looking forward to maybe a new chapter in this great series of scifi indulgence…..
Sadly for me though Alien Covenant was not what I hope it would be, yes it was better than Prometheus (well that wasn’t hard now was it) and yes maybe over the last 10yrs The Martian aside it’s one of his better efforts but overall it was a big screen blockbuster that left me feeling flat, it was way too predictable, contained some shitty CGI that made the overall production feel shoddy and unpolished and although Covenant had it’s moments it’s narrative tried to over complicate things so the reasons why we loved the original movies were lost in this world, a franchise that was slowly becoming more about the androids than anything else – Ridley also thought it was a good idea to go all mystical on our asses so inserted some really strange Obi Wan moments featuring David from Prometheus, living like an old wise hermit in a cave, listening to wind chimes and blowing his flute delivering lines such as “you blow and I will do the fingering” I just found all this mumble jumble embarrassing, out of place and lacking any sort of vision, suspense and was almost laughable at times….
I am not saying that Alien Covenant as a movie is a complete disaster, for me it’s not got that Ridley Scott stamp on it – McBride and Fassbender are both terrific in their respective roles and some of the nice homages to previous movies were great to see but overall Covenant felt like a bad dream a two a penny slasher that felt like a rehash of the original movie that is desperately trying to emulate all the things that worked such as (face huggers, chest bursters, acid for blood and so on) yet delivering it all with no panach and most importantly zero tension, yeah it’s a shit load more violent than it’s predecessors but that’s nothing to be proud about, what made 1979’s Alien so damn good was it’s slow burning tension that’s gnaws away at you but with Covenant you feel nothing – most of the films undoing in my opinion is it’s lack of humanity I felt so disconnected to the crew of the ship, the characters in the movie were not developed enough so when they slowly start getting picked off I actually felt very little for them, I was numb and that overall summed up my experience with this movie at it’s finale – I just hope Ridley doesn’t out stay his welcome and he lets go of the Alien reigns and allows a new filmmaker to bring some fresh ideas to this much loved franchise ……★★★½
“I am honored and proud to be flying the flag for the 70th Festival de Cannes and delighted with this choice of photo. It’s the image I myself have of the festival, of an event that illuminates everything around. That dance on the rooftops of Rome was back in 1959. No one remembers the photographer’s name… I’ve also forgotten it. But this photo reminds me of my origins, and of a time when I never dreamed of climbing the steps of the world’s most famous cinema hall. Happy anniversary!” – Claudia Cardinale (2017)
Claudia Cardinale not only is a beautiful screen goddess but she is also one of the great actresses of our time and somewhat a Cannes veteran appearing at the festival with films such as Girl With A Suitcase, La Viaccia, The Leopard, 8 1/2, La Pelle, Fitzcarraldo, Henry IV, A Man In Love and Claude Lelouch’s And Now.… Ladies And Gentlemen – she also starred in two of my favourite all time movies The Professionals and Once Upon a Time in the West and I am so pleased she is fronting this years Cannes Festival
Cannes also wrote these word in response to this gorgeous poster for it’s 2017 Festival “She dances, she laughs, she lives! Who better to symbolize the next Festival than Claudia Cardinale, the image of an adventurous actress, independent woman and social activist?”
Here’s a couple of new stills, two new posters and the latest trailer for Will Smith’s FOCUS that also stars that gorgeous Aussie Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wall Street) and Longmire’s Robert Taylor – the film is directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa who brought us the 2011 comedy drama Crazy, Stupid, Love
The movie world will mourn this December when The Hobbit: Battle Of The Five Armies the last in the series of six films based around Tolkien’s Middle Earth comes to a climax – to give Peter Jackson’s franchise the magical send of it deserves here’s Pippin from Lord of the Rings aka actor Billy Boyd singing The Last Goodbye – it’s truly beautiful….
Here’s a pretty revealing and downright sizzling movie poster from Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller’s Sin City: A Dame to Kill For featuring one it’s stars the gorgeous Eva Green – the movie sequel to 2005’s Sin City also stars Jessica Alba, Josh Brolin, Rosario Dawson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Dennis Haysbert, Mickey Rourke & Bruce Willis – the film lands this August…. Enjoy !
X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) – Movie Review ★★★★½
Director: Bryan Singer – Cast: Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Halle Berry, Ellen Page, Nicholas Hoult, Shawn Ashmore, Peter Dinklage, Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart – Synopsis: Kitty Pryde, Magneto and Professor X hatch a plan to send Wolverine back to 1973 where time can be re-written and the destruction of the Mutants by the evil Sentinels in their future world can be prevented – this plan all hinges on Wolverine persuading a young Professor X to work alongside his nemesis Magneto and stop Mystique assassinating Dr. Bolivar Trask the scientist responsible for the production of the Sentinels – Verdict: finally a superhero movie with the balls for excitement, exhilarating action scenes and an ensemble cast that don’t just talk the talk it walks the walk with strides of greatness and superhero acting masterclass – Days of Future Past is one of them rare cinematic experiences that you just want to re-watch instantly – of course I’d be lying if I said that Bryan Singer’s superhero flick was without it’s flaws (and I counted several) but in the grand scheme of things does that really matter? (sorry fan boys) – Days of Future Past is easily the best in the franchise, from them opening shots of the Sentinels in a future earth ravaged by war (reminiscent of Cameron’s T2) to that mesmerizing scene with Quicksilver as he deploys his mutant energies re-arranging the angle of gun fire, you know instantly that filmmaker Bryan Singer has returned to form and created the best X-Men movie yet! – yes the time travel is slightly confusing, and yep some of the characters are slightly underused but Singer’s method of direction is pretty powerful stuff, there’s a great deal of intensity and you seem to be involved with each character a rarity for this style of movie – I also loved the introduction of new characters Quicksilver and Kitty Pryde who both get some decent screen time, QuickSilver stealing all of his scenes and also being a fan of Game of Thrones it was pretty awesome seeing Peter Dinklage strutt his stuff playing Bolivar Trask – in my opinion along with Nolan’s Batman franchise the X-Men series always tops the comic book film adaptions – why you may ask? well unlike Thor, Iron Man, The Avengers or the Spiderman franchise they don’t rely on comedy to sell it’s product to it’s audience, it’s used sparingly and when done it’s used well and not gimmicky – the X-Men series has consistently delivered a high standard script and without question they have the best set of actors of any superhero franchise – here’s four that stood out from Days of Future Past – Hugh Jackman delivering a muscular, cigar chomping swagger as the Wolverine, Jennifer Lawrence as the confident, beautiful yet deadly Mystique, Michael Fassbender’s terrifying menace as the young Magneto and Patrick Stewart’s wise and intellectual X – when aced the superhero movie on the big screen can be an absolute delight and with Days of Future Past the balance between comedy, drama, action and suspense is delivered perfectly – Overall: after the horrible Jack the Giant Slayer a big welcome back to the talented Bryan Singer who has now directed 3 of my favorite superhero movies and has whet my appetite for Apocalypse….
OMG! THIS DRUG MULE is going to kick your ass!! not many movie trailers have had me gushing with excitement and re-watching instantly – LUCY the latest sci-fi flick by filmmaker Luc Besson (The Fifth Element) that stars the Black Widow aka: Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman and Choi Min-sik looks delicious in every way possible – at times Besson’s career behind the camera has flattered to deceive but with cult movies such as Leon, Fifth Element and the underrated La Femme Nikita under his belt we should never loose hope in his French magic returning – Take a peek at Johansson and co in this mind warping, action packed trailer…. Enjoy!
here’s some new movie stills from the upcoming Rodriguez & Miller’s sequel Sin City: A Dame to Kill For that stars Eva Green, Jessica Alba, Rosario Dawson, Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis, Josh Brolin, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Dennis Haysbert, Juno Temple, Ray Liotta and Stacy Keach – loved the first movie and this sequel promises much of the same, fabulous visuals, beautiful & sexy ladies and a gritty, dark storyline – I for one can’t wait…. Enjoy!
300: Rise of an Empire (2014) – Movie Review ★★★¾
Director: Noam Murro – Cast: Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green, Lena Headey, David Wenham, Rodrigo Santoro & Callan Mulvey – Synopsis: The story is told about the Battle of Marathon where King Darius I of Persia is killed by the warrior General Themistocles – The King’s son Xerxes witnesses his father’s death and after a week of mourning and some devilish words from Darius’s loyal naval commander Artemisia he declares war on Greece and then embarks on a bizarre journey through a desert, a cave where he bathes in some strange liquid substance and reemerges as the “God King” – Verdict: Noam Murro’s movie takes place before, during and after the events of Zack Snyder’s 2007 film where Gerard Butler’s King Leonidas and his 300 met their fate on the battlefield – 300: Rise of an Empire may not quite hit the dizzying heights of it’s predecessor but it’s an action movie that’s quite the ride, containing sumptuous visuals, great underwater shots, some fabulous stylish blood splatter moments and a cast that’s equally the measure of the first, especially the delicious Eva Green who delivers yet another evil performance playing the warrior Artemisia who is uncompromising in her revenge against the Greeks, that sex scene with Themistocles (Stapleton) is worth the admission ticket on it’s own, two great warriors coming together for a moment of energetic raw, brutal passion – overall: if like me your a fan of the slow-mo style action used to good effect in Snyder’s original and the brilliant TV show Spartacus and you love your movies to be of a blood thirsty nature then Rise of an Empire is just the ticket….