“Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s sacrifice, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of Diana Prince aka: Wonder Woman to help find a group of meta humans in the hope that they will help fight an even greater enemy”
Stars: Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Henry Cavill, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, Amy Adams, Ezra Miller, Connie Nielsen, JK Simmons, Ciaran Hinds, Jeremy Irons
Having recently watched the 4 most recent films in the DC Comic Book Universe I was pretty excited to visit my local cinema and watch the latest Zack Snyder movie on IMAX 3D and yep it was everything I expected and more…..
OK where to start: JUSTICE LEAGUE may not be as polished as Wonder Woman, deep and meaningful as Man of Steel or Epic in scale as Batman VS Superman but instead what you get is a comic movie driven by it’s colorful characters, humorous dialogue and chaotic action scenes – there’s a haunting, beautifully sung version of “Everybody Knows” by the Norwegian songstress Sigrid it’s actually quite emotional, the storyline and lyrics merge in your mind, there’s 2 fun after credit scenes that’s worth sticking around for especially that 2nd one WOW did not see that coming and don’t get me started on some of those kick ass fight scenes – For me Justice League is similar in vein to Ayer’s Suicide Squad it’s one of them films that doesn’t try to be something it’s not, it doesn’t require much in the way of brain power instead requires you to sit back, geek out and have some good old fashioned movie fun, after all this 2 hour slice of comic book absurdity is exactly why I love these movies just let yourself be transported into a world you’ve only witnessed on a page, there’s too much darkness in life so lighten up and enjoy – surely watching Jason Momoa’s Aquaman flying through the air, flirting with Batman and giving the bad guys what for is reason enough to put a smile on your face, I’ve been a huge fan of the big man’s since Game of Thrones and in Aquaman he may have found his calling – another character emerging from Justice League with flying colors is Ezra Miller’s The Flash, Miller gives the speedster this quirky somewhat innocent twist and some of the movie’s highlights revolve around him – of course along with the newbies the old guard do a great job Affleck’s Batman is as good as I’ve seen the character in my lifetime, Gadot looks like she’s been playing Wonder Woman all her life – effortless and full of confidence, Adams shows plenty of emotion and looks simply stunning and Henry Cavill even with those dodgy CGI scenes is getting better with each movie as Clark Kent aka: Superman – Overall: not much in the way of criticism here except that I would have liked to have seen more of J.K. Simmons Commisioner Gordon and maybe on a selfish note another half hour runtime (there’s always an Ultimate Edition to look forward too – wishful thinking) – Justice League is not a masterpiece in any shape or form BUT what it does it does perfectly well and that’s ENTERTAIN and at the end of the day if this guy walks out of the cinema with a big smile on his lips then that’s all that matters #TeamJusticeLeague ★★★★
AMERICAN MADE (2017) : Doug Liman
Tom Cruise, Sarah Wright, Domhnall Gleeson, Jesse Plemons
on the Movie Screen TOM CRUISE has few equals, the man is a bonefied action star, a charasmastic movie magnet, a film icon and in my eyes one of the Greatest Movie Stars that’s ever lived – ok so now I have that off my chest what did I make of his second movie with filmaker Doug Liman AMERICAN MADE is a film based around a true story of pilot come drug runner Barry Seal – films that fly under the radar & deliver the goods are few and far between yet American Made succeeds big time – from the time I sat in my seat in the jam packed screening to it’s final credits time flew – there’s a darkness, a terrifying story being told yet you can’t help but smile, laugh and at time clap your way through proceedings, the pace is electric, the locations pleasing on the eye and attention to detail superb – it seems Liman and Cruise are a match made in movie heaven and with this being there second picture together only whets the lips for a third ★★★★
BLADE RUNNER 2049 : Denis Villeneuve
Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Robin Wright, Mackenzie Davis
In 1982 Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner was one of my first Science Fiction crushes, it’s still in My Top 20 movies of all time so when I heard a sequel was coming, I was sceptical but then something changed….. it was announced that Canadian filmmaker Denis VILLENEUVE was set to direct, the talent behind some of my favorite movies in recent years Prisoners, Enemy, Sicario and Arrival and I instantly knew that this film when it arrived would be worthy of the name Blade Runner – and as I’m sat here typing my thoughts, still giddy with the excitment felt viewing the movie for the second time with a little Hans Zimmer playing in the background I’m actually struggling to find the words on how bloody great Blade Runner 2049 actually is – it’s a picture that’s more than a homage laid sci-fi sequel, this is filmmaking on a grand scale, Deakins use of color and light is quite overwhelming, a small but fine example of this is them early scenes between K and Morton, the way the scene is lit, it’s mood that’s transformed to the screen adds greatly to this tense, titanic and very relevant encounter – along with the movies obvious masterclass in sound & imagery Blade Runner 2049 is a film that carries a wicked cast, with 4 amazing ladies hugging the limelight and making this sequel extra special – Ana de Armas is eye catching as hologram Joi, so much so you start to believe she’s actually real – Mackenzie Davis is simply WOW as street girl Mariette with her homage strewn outfit and amazing hairstyle – and then there’s Lt. Joshi a tough ass cop played by the remakable Robin Wright who’s perfectly cast and last but not least Dutch actress Sylvia Hoeks who is MESMERISING as Niander Wallace’s creation Luv, she’s quite the badass and those scenes with K near the end of the movie are so unbelievable I left half my finger nails in the arm of the chair – Overall Blade Runner 2049 is not only the best movie sequel since Cameron’s Aliens it’s also a thought provoking slice of original storytelling that sucks you in, captivates and excites like no other movie has this year ★★★★½
TOBE HOOPER (1943-2017) – directed one of the truly great films of our time, and in my eyes the scariest, most brutal raw ride into terror that i’ve witnessed – THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE stills gives me chills as it did when I first came across it as kid watching it on video over a friends whilst his parents were at work – I was HORRIFIED it gave me NIGHTMARES but it also started my love affair with all things horror – you will be missed but your legacy of horror such as TEXAS, THE FUN HOUSE, SALEM’S LOT, LIFEFORCE and POLTERGEIST will continue to entertain and inspire a new legion of fans forever…..
the gravelly voice, handsome looks and steely gut driven performances is what I think of when someone mentions SAM SHEPARD yet this guy had so much more in his locker, a talented playwright, a veteran of the stage and writing credits that include the sublime film Paris, Texas – in recent times we had the pleasure of Sam’s acting talent as papa Rayburn in the brilliant Bloodline and although his screen time was limited his quality in each scene shone through – for me my favourite Sam Shepard roles include Thunderheart, The Assassination of Jesse James and of course the brilliant The Right Stuff – he will be missed down here but I’m pretty darn sure that he’ entertaining the masses up there….
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
If you take D’J Caruso’s latest movie with a pinch of salt (remember when 80s action was cool?) then I guarantee two things you will have shit loads of fun & you will leave the cinema with a nice big smile…
This is the third movie in the spy franchise xXx: Return of Xander Cage “After returning from a self-imposed exile, Xander Cage (Vin Diesel) must recover an evil known only as Pandora’s Box before the bad guys uses this weapon for mass destruction “ – Alongside action star Vin Diesel the films mind blowingly awesome cast also includes Donnie Yen, Nina Dobrev, Toni Collette, Ruby Rose, Deppika Padukone and Samuel L Jackson….
You know what I really dug about this movie?…. the insane amount of action, high octane totally bonkers fight scenes and the films ability not to take itself too serious – it’s all about entertainment and from that stance it most certainly succeeds – I mean come on how on earth can you not enjoy watching Xander Cage ski down a hillside weaving through trees and shit followed by some incredible skate boarding whilst shooting bad guys? that incredible moment when Xander faces off against Donnie Yen’s Xiang in a “holy shit that just happened” wave tunnel? the many hand to hand combat scenes mostly too epic to discuss? the return of an old friend in a great warehouse shootout and so many more delicious, breathless, relentless moments that fulfill the movies ultimate quest in giving it’s audience such an unbelievable cinematic buzz….
OK so listen up – xXx: Return of Xander Cage is not going to sweep the Oscars anytime soon, it’s not even gonna reinvent the genre, and it’s script won’t be compared to Schindler’s List or the like so if that’s what your expecting when buying a ticket at the box office then please be warned this slice of action pie is not for you – going to see this movie is like attending a party you will be expected to have fun right, enjoy oneself and remember regardless of what Bond style shit goes down this is only a movie – along with it’s crazy action madness watching Vampire Diaries’s Nina Dobrev playing a ditzy “Q” type character with a sense of humor and that damn fine Aussie Ruby Rose hanging from a tree shooting bad guys didn’t half raise the pulse, two ladies having so much fun & both so bloody good in their respective roles….
xXx: Return of Xander Cage is movie escapism at it’s finest, a COOL as f@ck action movie that made me smile from the opening 5 minutes to it’s end credits – D’J Caruso should sign up for a fourth movie so let’s make it happen and the sooner the better…. ★★★★
Since his directorial debut with 2007’s Gone Baby Gone actor/director Ben Affleck has gone from strength to strength, behind the camera he’s quite the visionary demonstrating flare and confidence in the style of pictures he brings to the screen, usually gritty no nonsense affairs packed with actors who can act and stories that connect….
Affleck’s latest sees him re team with author Dennis Lehane who not only wrote Affleck’s first Gone Baby Gone but also Eastwood’s Mystic River and Scorsese’s Shutter Island….
During the prohibition era in the 1920s a couple of Boston Gangsters travel down to Florida and attempt to take down the competition….
OK so here’s what I think – LIVE BY NIGHT may not be as polished as Argo or as intriguing as The Town but it’s certainly a more exciting, good looking character driven movie than both – it’s story is riveting, sprawling at times, it’s cast is nearly as beautiful as Robert Richardson’s stunning cinematography and it’s action scene’s especially the car chase scenes and the hotel’s shoot out toward the film’s finale is pretty slick and makes for exciting viewing on the big screen – Elle Fanning gives yet another star turn, Chris Cooper is the dogs bollocks and Chris Messina turns in a career best as Dion Bartolo partner and friend to Affleck’s Joe Coughlin….
LIVE BY NIGHT is another example of why one should never listen to those so called movie critics or how a film performs at the box office – get your ass to the cinema and see for yourself – Ben Affleck once again has crafted another fine slice of cinema, truly wonderful stuff….★★★★½