A covert team of immortal mercenaries are suddenly exposed and must now fight to keep their identity a secret just as an unexpected new member is discovered – I’m always excited to see a new action movie, especially one that’s based on a graphic novel with such a cool premise…. I’ve not read the novels so I went in blind and was pleasently surprised by the overall darkness of Gina Prince-Bythewood‘s THE OLD GUARD – obviously we all know about the action prowess of the Fury Road star Charlize Theron playing Andy the leader of the Immortals, her action scenes are without doubt the best bits in the movie but I also enjoyed watching the emergence of KiKi Layne ACTION STAR her screen time especially opposite Theron as Nile were fun to watch, the plane fight scene between the two being a definite highlight – the style of the action and the films flashbacks as we discover more about the team and Andy’s friendship with fellow warrior Quynh were exciting, Chiwetel Ejiofor was his usual high standard taking on the role of Copley and I was also impressed with Harry Melling’s villainous turn as Merrick, not that I should have been surprised as the Harry Potter star is also very good in the Coens The Ballad of Buster Scruggs – Overall The Old Guard is an enjoyable action romp, yes I’ve seen better but the director’s vision and exciting style in this genre has given me high hopes for a possible sequel in the near future ★★★½
Whether it be DC or the Marvel Comics Universe the excitement of a new movie landing on the big screen is an event, it’s something as a film fan I can honestly say I look forward to – yes I won’t deny my favorite genre of film is Horror and the Western but I grew up watching the likes of Christopher Reeve as Superman, Michael Keaton as Batman and Tobey Maguire as Spider-man so my love for this superhero craze is pretty extreme, I feed of it’s excitement and thankfully in recent years we as comic book fans have been spoilt rotten by the countless comic book movie adaptations that have consumed our screens the majority of which have been wonderful to watch….
First things first you must watch this movie in 3D and on the big screen, a big chunk of what gives Doctor Strange it’s uniqueness, it’s originality is it’s trippy Inception style visuals, for me the magic & sorcery of the film’s narrative comes alive during these colorful eye catching moments and praise must go to Sinister director Scott Derrickson and his team for having the bottle to go against the grain and deliver something bravely unique to the Marvel Cinematic Universe – as far as the casting goes Sherlock’s Benedict Cumberbatch handles Doctor Strange with style – the wit, arrogance and complex nature of Strange is brought alive before your eye’s, Cumberbatch looking every bit the Sorcerer Supreme he will undoubtedly become – The Ancient One who is an old wise man in the comics is portrayed by actress Tilda Swinton – her presence and looks remind me of Tripitaka the ancient bald monk from the Japanese show Monkey, she truly is a delight and owns her character bringing a level of mysterious mysticism to Doctor Strange – my own slight negative in the movie is Mads Mikkelsen’s villainous turn as Kaecilius, as a villain this character is nowhere near as evil or dark as I would have written or imagined him to be and having someone like Mads a great actor coming off possibly his darkest role Hannibal Lector it’s seems a slight waste not to have him be insanely bad BUT that being said it does not deter one jot from the pictures overall enjoyment – Derrickson‘s Doctor Strange is not only a totally bonkers, weird at times experience it’s also a film with intelligence and one that’s magically entertaining throughout – the film thou is not a one trick pony, don’t get too bamboozled by it’s effects and stop thinking about it’s story, that first quarter of the movie showing Strange as the gifted neurosurgeon he once was, his relationship with Miss Palmer played by Rachel McAdams are of great importance as the movie moves forward – oh yeah and before I forget hang around for them customary extras after the credits rise, they’re lots of fun and lay the foundations of what’s to follow….
12 YEARS A SLAVE (2014) – Movie Review ★★★★½
12 Years a Slave stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti, Lupita Nyong’o, Sarah Paulson and Brad Pitt – Chiwetel Ejiofor stars as Solomon Northup a free black man from upstate New York who is tricked by two con men, abducted and sold into slavery and sent to New Orleans – the film is based on a memoir written in 1853 by Northup himself and brought to the screen by the director of Shame Steve McQueen. VERDICT the last time I felt this appalled at the cruelty of my fellow human whilst watching a movie was Spielberg’s Schindler’s List – McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave is one of those rare films that through all the heartbreak and unimaginable horror that’s taking place on screen, you find yourself submerged in the characters & unable to avert your eyes from it – unlike Tarantino’s dark humored Django Unchained, McQueen’s movie about American Slavery has nothing to smile about, it’s brutal, uncompromising and delivers an intense powerful history lesson to those who may have forgotten our past – along with a haunting soundtrack by Gladiator’s Hans Zimmer and a well worked script by U-Turn’s John Ridley, 12 Years a Slave is a picture driven by some courageous actors giving staggering performances, the likes of Chiwetel Ejiofor playing the lead of Solomon Northup, a family man snatched and sold into slavery, Michael Fassbender who plays Edwin Epps, a cruel plantation owner who whips and sexually abuses his slaves, and Lupita Nyong’o making her feature movie debut playing Patsey – McQueen uses his directing trait of intimate camera shots, taking the viewer as close to the action as possible, you almost feel the blood spraying from the backs of the victims as they are whipped and in some of the movie’s scenes you feel like you’re watching it all in slow motion, the camera pauses almost admiring it’s shot, a fine example of this is when when Northup is hung from a tree, his feet barley touching the floor, everything is going on about him whilst he struggles with every breath to stay alive – it’s great film-making allowing the viewer to feel the intimacy & at times suffocation of that particular scene, a technique all too evident in McQueen’s previous 2 pictures behind the camera – if I was being slightly negative I would have increased the movies run time slightly but overall 12 Years a Slave is Steve McQueen’s masterpiece, a beautifully shot, uncomfortable to watch epic and one that should be watched by all….