I was lucky to grow up in a time when Brisbane born GEORGE MILLER ruled the Post Apocalyptic screen with his brutal yet devilishly fun Mad Max franchise, these films are not only are amongst my favorite and most watched action movies of all time (see what remains of my VHS originals) but also they gave us the great Mel Gibson, this rugged, leather-clad hero that’s gone on to become one film’s finest actors and filmmaker in his own right (so thank you George) : but along with these full throttle action movies George Miller also gave us the Nick Nolte cracker Lorenzo’s Oil, the wickedly dark and funny The Witches of Eastwick, my favorite slice of The Twilight Zone Movie Nightmare at 20,000 feet and that delightfully cute Oscar Winning animated movie Happy Feet : George is currently working on Three Thousand Years of Longing with Idris Elba and Tilda Swinton and then hopefully we should see the great man back in familiar territory with the prequel to Fury Road titled Furiosa and starring Chris Hemsworth and the incredible Anya Taylor-Joy in the title role
Two Cops track down a serial killer in California in the early 90s : Possibly my favorite movie sub-genre is the cat-and-mouse cop thriller, I just love them and when you throw together a crazy good 30yr old script by John Lee Hancock, an edgy, moody atmosphere that’s nail biting and character driven and three stonking good performances from Denzel Washington, Rami Malek and Jared Leto you have what I believe is one of the best adult themed cop thrillers in years : if your a fan of the action genre and like your finale spoon fed with a definitive resolution then I’d give it a miss, as the title refers it’s THE LITTLE THINGS in the movie that drive this thriller, quieter moments such as the moment Deke’s played by Denzel talks faith and breakfast with Rami’s Jimmy on the bridge over looking the latest crime scene, the emotion of Deke visiting his ex wife, Leto’s brilliance as his character Sparma teases Jimmy played by Malek in the desert and my favorite scene when Deke’s breaks into Sparma’s home looking for a clue is pertinent, gripping and well played by Denzel and Rami : I’ve watched the movie twice now and I’m still undecided whether they got the right guy, so much depth and baggage with each character, it’s just one of those movies that in ten years time will be hailed a classic ★★★★½
Whilst attending the scene of a crime two paramedics have an encounter with a drug that has bizarre, otherworldly effects : Moorehead and Benson’s latest slice of cinematic originality exceeded all my expectations and like Resolution, Spring and The Endless their newbie SYNCHRONIC blew my mind : like their previous endeavours this film has you talking, it’s a real humdinger of a story that involves time travel, it’s consequences and the bond between two friends that is tested to the max : Anthony Mackie and Jamie Dornan give strong performances as Steve & Dennis respectively who are not only best friends but are also working colleagues that stumble upon this drug, Steve has recently been told by a doctor that he has a brain aneurysm which will likely end his life sooner rather than later so decides to take one of these pills to see what happens… : their’s some terrific work behind the camera with New Orleans painted with a style and haunting beauty that it deserves, I also love the chemistry between the two leads, whether it be knocking a golf ball around or walking through those deserted streets the heart to heart moments involving Steve and Dennis are great in a bromantic kinda way, I love Hawkings and wasn’t too happy at what happened there and I love the mysterious X-Files tension that Ramiz Monsef’s character Kermani gives to the movie, that scene in Steve’s house is some crazy shit right there : Overall Synchronic is a movie that will no doubt divide, my view is that it’s originality, tension driven storytelling is someting that all movie fan would like more of, it’s a film that’s full of intrigue, carries a dynamic score, good performances and a fitting location to boot : THUMBS UP from this mad hatter ★★★★½
Sometime in the future, prisoners housed in a Vertical Self-Management Center watch as inmates in the upper cells are fed while those below starve : Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia’s directorial debut The Platform is a trip into the depth’s of madness, a disturbing dystopian gem that’s not for the faint hearted : the movie follows Goreng a normal guy who has agreed to spend 6 months of his life in this prison centre for the promise of a diploma on the outside world, of course this is dependant on whether he makes it through his term as each 30 days spent in the center the residents are transfered to another cell on a new level, the higher the cell number the more chance of survival : the story written by David Desola is fresh & downright scary and the work by Iván Massagué in & Zorion Eguileor in bringing Goreng & Trimagasi to life respectively is paramount to how the movie plays out, I could not keep my eyes off the pair of them, it was like watching some sort of depraved stage show, the desperation and brutality in surviving their term is absolute bonkers : the woman travelling up and down the food lift looking for her kid is messed up, that dog scene and Baharat’s attempt to climb a level had me feeling utterly nauseous : overall if your looking for something new & nasty in the horror genre then look no further than The Platform it’s a white knuckle ride that had me rocking in my chair praying for some kind of merciful resolution ★★★★½
“12 Mysterious ships take up positions across Earth leading the military to send in a top notch linguist (Amy Adams) and a scientist (Jeremy Renner) to assist in translating alien communications”
For me Denis Villeneuve has joined a select band of filmmakers that manage to excite me, make me giddy with film fever and have so far delivered with every movie I’ve watched – the likes of Cameron, Tarantino and Nichols are also in that group so as you can see I highly rate this talented Canadian who’s last 3 movies Enemy, Prisoners and Sicario have all left me speechless and for many different reason’s blew my movie loving mind – Arrival is not your typical first contact picture, it’s based on Ted Chiang’s short story titled “Story of your Life” and is somewhat a science fiction love story, that’s powerfully captivating and tugs at your heart strings on so many levels – some of Villeneuve’s strength’s as a filmmaker is how he deals with the characters within the films narrative, managing to humanize them and make you care for them but also building a tension that surrounds them, this is difficult to achieve so it’s no surprise if you look at who he brings on board and trusts to convey his vision – at the heart of Arrival is Amy Adams who delivers a vulnerable yet equally strong performance playing Linguistics professor Louise Banks a women who’s known huge loss in her life yet shows the fight to continue on – Arrival essentially deals with grief and how we handle it, and one of Amy’s strong points as an actress is her facial features she has that honest, natural look, her eye’s give so much away so that her character’s interaction with the aliens is not only a scary encounter but also a thing of beauty too – now if filmmaker Villeneuve and actress Amy Adams are not enough to tempt you to watch this fabulous slice of Science Fiction on the big screen then Bradford Young’s sumptuous, flawless cinematography must surely twist your arm, remember when you first watched Kubrick’s 2001 or Spielberg’s Close Encounters and felt delirious, allowing the vision of the movie to spin into cinematic greatness well Bradford Young’s work is in similar vein, his use of light inside the space ship is paramount to the films overall feel and it’s mastered beautifully so if you thought Bradford’s work on Ain’t them Bodies and A Most Violent Year were great then wait till you see Arrival – this is no Independence Day Arrival is a bold, compelling, original slice of science fiction that’s full of suspense and sentiment – in it’s genre it’s one of the most thought provoking, written pictures for many a year and yet another fabulous cinematic experience by Villeneuve – bring on that Blade Runner sequel this guy can’t wait….
I must admit I was not a fan of Jean-François Richet‘s miserable remake of Carpenter’s moody, epic Assault on Precinct 13 but that I can now forgive after watching his latest thriller Blood Father that stars Mel Gibson playing an ex-con who reconnects with his estranged daughter and kicks some ass in the process – Gibson looks great, he has obviously bulked up, his skin looks weather beaten looking every bit the menacing no-nonsense ex-con the role required, nobody plays mean, angry, gun tooting, revenge shooting better than this snarly Aussie, like most great film stars you can’t help but admire his work and in Blood Father this is Gibson firing at his absolute best – but this is not a one man show, on screen Gibson’s backed up nicely by Erin Moriarty an exciting young actress who plays his daughter in the film & the talented William H Macy who delivers a sound performance playing his sponsor & friend – so whether your a fan of Mel Gibson or not (and I most certainly am) Blood Father is one helluva movie, it’s fast paced action, sumptuous cinematography and it’s 80s style one liners has already catapulted this thrill ride into one of my favorite movies of the year….
Only one place to watch George Miller’s latest insane action movie and that’s on the big screen – Miller’s fourth film in the franchise has a new leading man in Tom Hardy who replaces Mel Gibson who apparently dropped out after production issues a few years back – Hardy is a fine actor and a good choice as Max, he’s rugged & battle worn, a man troubled by his past, a survivor & one who will stop at nothing to get justice – Hardy’s Max maybe the title character but Millers picture delights on so many other levels from Nicolas Hoult giving a career best performance playing Nux the head shaved crazy rebel, the return of Hugh Keays-Byrne who played “Toecutter” in the original Mad Max back in 79′ and now plays a new villain known as Immortan Joe and last but not least Charlize Theron’s cool, complex and utterly badass Furiosa who just like Max is a broken, imperfect hero for a new dawn
Another eye catching attribute to Fury Road is John Seale’s gorgeous cinematography, beautifully shot capturing the picture’s scale and blinding color all set to Miller’s familiar backdrop – it’s a truly mouthwatering experience
Overall: if your looking for pure cinematic escapism, with an adrenaline fueled pace & a film that’s bonkers from start to finish then check out MAD MAX FURY ROAD ★★★★½
The Homesman (2014) – Movie Review ★★★★½
“I Wish You Would Say One Kind Word To Me”
Director: Tommy Lee Jones – Cast: Hilary Swank, Tommy Lee Jones, Meryl Streep, Hailee Steinfeld, John Lithgow, Grace Gummer, Miranda Otto, William Fichtner and James Spader – Synopsis: Three women who have been driven mad by pioneer life are to be transported across the country by Mary Bee Cuddy (Swank), who in turn employs low-life drifter George Briggs (Lee Jones) to assist her – Overall: Hilary Swank gives a towering performance as Mary Bee Cuddy a no-nonsense, independent farmer from Nebraska, Swank manages to humanize her character, capturing her weaknesses, her overwhelming loneliness but also her ability to stand up as equal to the male characters in the movie, it’s Swank who ignites The Homesman it’s a truly remarkable and haunting display that burrows deep beneath your skin – it’s a level of performance I feel that only a handful of today’s actresses could actually pull off – along with starring as the quirky drifter George Briggs Tommy Lee Jones orchestrates masterfully behind the camera delivering us a Grimm, Unusual yet Enthralling Western, it’s a film stacked with brutal realism, a dark subject matter & without being over exploitive it succeeds in shocking & surprising allowing its powerful message to be told with an intelligent hand – The movies stunning cinematography is captured by Rodrigo Prieto (Brokeback Mountain) who brings the vast emptiness of the West alive and adds to the pictures devastating and overall bleak narrative, this combined with Marco Beltrami’s wonderful & at times heart wrenching score, loads of wonderful cameo’s the best being James Spader’s arrogant Irish Hotel Owner unwisely pissing off Briggs being one of the best and possibly one of the craziest (didn’t see that coming) moments in cinematic history makes Tommy Lee Jones The Homesman a must watch and one of the best western’s for many a year !!