Sad news – the Oscar Winning director of one of my favorite movies The Silence of the Lambs Jonathan Demme has died aged 73 – Demme also directed several other superb movies including the epic Something Wild that stars Melanie Griffith & Ray Liotta, Rachel Getting Married, Married to the Mob and Philadelphia but it will always be the brilliant and chilling 1991 classic that the movie world will remember him for – those who worked with him called him one of the most enthusiastic and kind filmmakers in the business, he always had a story to tell and was devilishly smart in bringing that story to the screen, his films changed the course of an actors life, Anthony Hopkins, Jodie Foster, Tom Hanks and Mary Steenburgen all won Oscars and much acclaim for their roles in his movies and all became better actors because of it – through the medium of film Jonathan Demme has left behind a cinematic legacy, a treasure trove of funny, gripping, haunting movies that will continue to entertain and live on forever – he was a passionate filmmaker who loved his craft, so when your next watching one of his movies take a moment to smile and fondly remember this talented New Yorker and the joy he breathed into the cinematic world we all love so much…
It’s always painful as a film fan to loose anybody you’ve admired in the business, even if that person was from afar and sadly the passing of Garry Marshall is one that hurts like hell – yes I know what your thinking “you never knew the guy so why the sad face?” well let me tell you why the sad face – Garry Marshall was a huge part of my television life, back in the 80s I would watch his classic creations Mork & Mindy, The Odd Couple and Happy Days the Marshall stamp was clear on all these shows, simple, effective and loveable characters that would bring tears of joy to my face, then in the late 80s and early 90s when I became truly addicted to film he delivered two classic film gems 1987s Overboard with Goldie Hawn & Kurt Russell and then in 1990 the romantic Pretty Woman with Julia Roberts & Richard Gere, both fantastic slices of cinema that continue to get replayed in my home on a yearly basis – other much loved films in my collection include his 2004 film Raising Helen with Kate Hudson and the underrated Frankie & Johnny from 1991 that starred Al Pacino & Michelle Pfeiffer – so as you can see Garry Marshall meant a lot (and still does), his film style, his love of the audience, his performers and most of all he above all else his creations made me smile when I needed to smile most and for that I thank him RIP
I adore Post Apocalyptic movies, that sense of emptiness, them barren wastelands and characters that are usually infected, desperate or in some way void of humanity, these type of movies usually make for great movie escapism and Thomas S Hammock’s directorial debut THE LAST SURVIVORS aka: “The Well” is certainly one of the best of its type in recent years !
First & Foremost is the emergence of the film’s star 20yr old Haley Lu Richardson – some talent right there !! She’s not only convincing in her given role but she is kick ass in the action scenes especially the movies bad-ass finale and the atmospheric interior shots where she attempts to hide & escape the big bad and his masked cronies – Haley Lu is a name for the now let alone the future, she revels in the role of Kendal a teenager fighting to save what’s left of her farm from the villainous & greedy water baron, she’s an actress who has tremendous screen presence, exciting to watch and one I hope continues to take risks with her film roles, not settling for the mundane romantic comedies – Secondly Is the great support cast & small cameos throughout the film including veteran beauty Barbara Crampton playing Grace, a cameo from filmmaker Adam Wingard as a soldier, the brilliant Michael Massee as the stranger & Leo Lee playing Judas all credit to Hammock for reaching out to this talent and getting them all on board – And finally no Apocalyptic movie would be complete without a location to suit the film’s storyline and some Stella cinematography to back it all up and this scifi gem comes up trumps on both counts !
Overall: Absolutely loved The Last Survivors – shot on a small budget this gritty horror from a debut director is a joy to watch – yes the storyline has a few holes, but the movie is never dull, it’s tense at times and it’s action sequences brisk and effective – if you enjoy this style of movie then you will struggle to find one better ★★★★
Happy 98th Birthday to the greatest movie star of his generation KIRK DOUGLAS – back in 1949 Kirk was slowly starting to make a name for himself on screen when cast as the lead actor in Mark Robson’s great boxing film CHAMPION – below are some rare photo’s of Kirk taken around that time – I hope you agree Kirk Douglas is a cinematic treasure & these are wonderful!!
One of the last great actresses of the Golden Age LAUREN BACALL has died age 89 – a New York lass she made her name starring alongside some of Hollywood’s finest including Marilyn Monroe, John Wayne, Gregory Peck, Kirk Douglas and her beloved Humphrey Bogart – for a leading lady Lauren Bacall had the lot, during the 40s and 50s you would struggle to come up with another actress who electrified the screen as Bacall did – throughout her career she always managed to ignite a fierce chemistry with her many co-stars, her husky vocals and piercing blue & green cat like eye’s adding to her star quality and undoubted sex appeal – her break through movie To Have and Have Not in 44′ followed by Big Sleep, Dark Passage and Key Lago made her a Hollywood Star – for me looking back at Lauren Bacall’s career John Huston’s Key Largo and starring alongside John Wayne in The Shootist were easily my favorite two movies – Bacall will be missed no doubt but thanks to her body of work her beauty & talent will always be remembered….
3 Days to Kill (2014) – Movie Review ★★★¾
Director: McG – Cast: Kevin Costner, Amber Heard, Hailee Steinfeld, Connie Nielsen, Richard Sammel, and Eriq Ebouaney– Synopsis: After being told he has months to live, CIA agent Ethan Renner (Costner) decides to quit the agency, mend some bridges and build a closer relationship with his estranged wife and daughter before checking out – but his past wont let go and when’s he’s offered a deal to take an experimental drug that could save his life in exchange for one last assignment Ethan has no choice but to step back into the line of fire and track down the world’s most deady terrorist – Verdict: McG can be quite the filmmaker, he knows how to deliver action to the screen with thunderous results, they’re usually fast flowing, with big set pieces and pretty entertaining affairs such as Charlie’s Angels, Full Throttle and Terminator Salvation – but sadly McG can also direct the odd dud like 2012’s comedy This Means War that had a superb cast but was the worst film by a distance that year and sucked in every department – luckily for us 3 Days to Kill sees the director return to form, it’s smart yet simple script written by the French maestro Luc Besson is played out by a stella cast including the class act that is Kevin Costner, the eye candy Amber Heard and Ender’s Game actress Hailee Steinfeld all giving the movie a solid footing, making the movie enjoyable to watch and bringing believability to their characters and scenarios – I believe most of the outside shots were on location in Paris and Belgrade and this lent to the feel of a European thriller, typical of McG the action scenes are crisp, exciting & at times explosive and the wry humor throughout is delivered with masterclass by Costner who seems to be getting to an age like Eastwood did ten years back where you can see the swagger of an aging acting pro oozing confidence and looking great doing so – yes at times it maybe cliched and predictable, and yes Steinfeld and Heard were underused but Overall I had fun with 3 Days to Kill McG has delivered an energetic action thriller, that’s funny, sentimental and so so enjoyable….