To save his declining business, Chris Cringle, also known as Santa Claus, is forced into a partnership with the U.S. military : There’s something strangely wonderful watching the legendary Mel Gibson play Santa in a Hitman Christmas movie that’s insanely dark yet mighty festive, filmed with lots of heart, a teeny-weeny bit of tongue in cheek and a wickid mind by those Nelms brothers who gave us Small Town Crime a few years back : along for the Sleigh Ride is the sublime Walton Goggins who collects authentic Santa pressies whilst filling out his calendar carrying out hits for anyone who requires his demented service, the stunning Marianne Jean-Baptiste who’s crazy good as Ruth Cringle, Santa’s devoted wife and Eric Woolfe aka: Elf 7 the foreman in Santa’s workshop : EVERY scene between Marianne and Mel is an absolute delight, talk about chemistry, the film’s finale is bloody and Goggins Skinny Man is central to all the mayhem and Chance Hurstfield who’s spoilt and cruel Billy is fantasic : so if you love your festive movies to include a side dose of Christmas magic featuring elves, cookies and that ever so sweet naughty or nice seasonal message mixed with a rather dark and brooding evil tone then FATMAN should be earmarked as a must watch this Festive Season : IT’S BRILLIANT ★★★★
To be honest I still find it hard to choose between Taxi Driver and Goodfellas as my favorite Scorsese movie so I have decided to pick the film that I watched first and although it came out in 1976 I didn’t get to watch it till the mid 80s and you know something? it hasn’t aged one bit, if anything it’s got better, it’s still as compelling and shocking as it was when I first loaded that VHS tape into my video player back then and pressed play : everytime I’ve revisited Taxi Driver since I drool over the way the film’s dark narrative takes you on this emotional rollercoaster that ends with a sharp jolt, relief and in some ways sadness, the way the seedy, dark streets of New York are captured, the innocence of Jodie Foster and the power & excitement a certain Robert De Niro brings to Travis Bickle, a complex character and a role that may just be his finest….
Born on the 17th November 1942 in Queens New York Martin Scorsese has directed some of my favorite movies of all times, he’s part of My Mount Rushmore of Movie Directors and is still one of only a handful of filmmakers that I would pay good money to watch his movies numerous times play out on the big screen : his pictures tend to use camera moves that are huge in scale, fill the screen and engulf you with this wonderful creation, some of his films use voice-over narration to only enhance the experience, my favorite’s include Goodfellas and Casino and he always uses the cream of the crop to bring his work alive, getting the very best out of stars such as De Niro, Keitel, DiCaprio and Day-Lewis : he’s been nominated 9 times for Best Director at the Academy Awards sadly only winning once for his 2006 remake of The Departed, and although I enjoyed it for me it’s bottom tier Scorsese : his next film Killers of the Flower Moon comes out next year and is a 1920’s crime thriller based on David Grann’s book of the same name and star’s Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro
One of my favorite Martin Scorsese quotes : I have a desire to tell stories. And I’m never quite satisfied
Number 1 of My Top 31 Horror Movies : A research team in Antarctica is hunted by an alien that assumes the appearance of its victims : Why don’t we just… wait here for a little while… see what happens? everytime I revisit THE THING my excitement levels soar and my blood runs cold, it’s a MASTERPIECE, the single most terrifying horror movie of all time, from it’s gripping suspense, gruesome practical effects to it’s terrific character driven cast and it’s slow beating Ennio Morricone score, it truly is a gift from the filmmaking gods : the beauty with The Thing and the reason why I believe it’s such a great horror movie is the overall intensity level does not drop, it’s relentless and there’s so many scary, atmospheric moments that really catch you off guard such as the dog pen scene, from the time MacReady pulls down the Alarm cord, the howling of the dogs to the cruelty of what happens next is horrific, Blair’s meltdown with the axe in the control room is scary because paranoia mixed with fear has truly set in and actor Wilford Brimley executes his part perfectly well, the scene when the head of Norris turns into this freaking head-spider is shit your pants time (my god the effects are awesome), that moment when Copper’s arms are bitten off during the chest defibrillation scene is frankly insane and of course the main course of suspense during the films last quarter when MacReady is testing the blood whilst the rest of the team are tied to their chairs is an exciting, adrenaline fueled nail biter, like a violent version of Miss Marple when she gathers up the suspects in the cocktail lounge to tell them her findings, I can still hear the noise the wire makes when it sizzles against the plastic tray and your just waiting to see which one of the team the alien has infected next : along with it’s creepy score all of John Carpenter’s movies have a distinct lightening and visual look and The Thing is no different, I really found Bottin & Cundey‘s work on the eerie, cold exterior to be quite exquisite capturing the desolate icy tomb of Outpost 31 to chilling perfection, the film’s sparsely lit, rather mundane interior was pretty darn good too, I loved the way the guys created light at times by using the fiery orange haze of Childs flame thrower, the odd stick of dynamite and of course the color of the alien turning into it’s next nasty, gruesome form : so if you like your horror with a huge dose of intense who goes there suspense, side portions of tummy churning squelch, the odd dash of humor and one of the finest horror endings put to film then check out John Carpenter’s great scifi horror THE THING ★★★★★
Number 7 of My Top 31 Horror Movies : A wealthy socialite pursues a potential boyfriend to a small town on the coast that slowly takes a turn for the bizarre when birds of all kinds begin to attack the town folk : the film premiered in 1963 and for me THE BIRDS is the jewel in Alfred Hitchcock’s crown of suspense, imagery and pure dread, from it’s story which is loosely based on a short by Daphne du Maurier, the confidence, beauty & fear of it’s star Tippi Hedren, it’s breathtaking backdrop of Bodega Bay and the way Hitchcock builds up the story, slowly allowing you to know a little about each of the characters before the chaos rains down and The Birds attack which is utterly frightening to watch : there’s also very little music during the movie which also adds greatly to it’s atmosphere, just the screeching, scratching and calling of The Birds : although they lacked the chemistry the leads in the majority of Hitchcock movies had I did feel Rod Taylor was a fabulous leading man and gives a strong protect what I love at all cost performance alongside Hedren and the scenes at the bird shop between the two are fun to watch, there’s also a great Jessica Tandy performance who catches the eye in a supporting role, playing the distressed and over protective mother and a young Veronica Cartwright and the terrific Suzanne Pleshette both fleshing out the cast and doing fine jobs in their respective roles : The Birds has so many great scenes but I really love that moment around 85mins in when Hedren’s character finds herself stranded in a phone box and watches in panic, spinning around almost hypnotized in terror as The Birds cause mayhem around her, the gas station and cars lit on fire and people running for their lives, it’s perfect and not only one of the most chilling moments in the movie but possible the best shot also : there are certain horror movies that I revisit that could be placed higher on my list and Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds is certainly one of them, I can only imagine how shocked the audiences must have been back in the 60s when it was released : it’s a well structured, ALARMING ride into FEAR and a Hitchcock MASTERPIECE that deserves it’s place amongst the Greatest Movies of all time ★★★★★
HER (2014) – Movie Review ★★★★½
Director: Spike Jonze – Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, Chris Pratt & Scarlett Johansson – Synopsis: The latest directorial feature from the mind of Spike Jonze tells the story of Theodore Twombly (Phoenix) a complex and somewhat lonely individual who makes his living writing personal letters for other people. After Theodore’s marriage comes to and end he becomes intrigued with a new operating system, and a voice within that system called Samantha, a bright, female voice, who is insightful, sensitive and surprisingly funny. The two of them strike up an unusual friendship and slowly but surely Theodore falls deeply in love – Verdict: Spike Jonze’s HER has joined Being John Malkovich, Adaptation and Where the Wild Things Are amongst the strangest, yet wonderful, original achievements I have witnessed on a cinema screen in over twenty years – and like it’s predecessors HER is a thought provoking, visually stunning and emotionally haunting movie, Phoenix gives yet another acting masterclass playing the sensitive, almost huggable Theodore and he is well supported by the delightful Amy Adams who plays his best friend and Scarlett Johannson who lends her seductive, husky vocals for Samantha – One thing I always like about a Spike Jonze feature is his camera work and the beautiful images he manages to capture and HER is full of them, one of my favorite moments in the movie is when Theodore lets Samantha guide him through a small fair, with his eyes closed Theodore follows Samantha’s instructions, spinning, sneezing and eventually ordering some food, it’s gorgeous to watch – overall HER is a worthy addition to any movie collection – it’s sad, funny and somewhat scary but one that will have you talking about it’s content for many years to come….superb!
ALL IS LOST (2013/4) – Movie Review ★★★★
All is Lost stars Robert Redford – After a collision with a shipping container at sea, a resourceful sailor finds himself, despite all efforts to the contrary, staring his mortality in the face VERDICT after watching & enjoying 2013’s Wall Street movie Margin Call with it’s hugely impressive ensemble cast I was interested to see how filmmaker J.C. Chandor would handle the complete opposite – one actor (Robert Redford), buckets & buckets of water, a sailing boat and the modern technology that is the the green screen – well I can tell you this much J.C. Chandor not only handled these scenario’s but he captured the struggle of a sailor stranded at sea incredibly, the filmmaker allows it’s star Robert Redford the freedom to show off his underrated acting talents, it’s a picture from a director who has some serious future behind the camera – in All Is Lost Robert Redford commands the screen giving one his finest onscreen performances for many a year, it’s not only his acting but his physicality that impresses, he’s totally convincing as this sailor all alone at sea fighting against mother nature demonstrating great determination and barrels of courage to survive – All Is Lost is one of them pictures that doesn’t have much in the way of dialog but is delivered in a manner that actions speak louder than words – it’s so refreshing to see an original indie drama that contains no sex, no excessive language and hardly any violence BRAVO to Chandor and Redford for this engrossing and emotional journey, one that I would highly recommend….
“A series of brutal murders puts the lives of three men on a collision course”
from filmmaker’s Aharon Keshales & Navot Papushado comes the highly anticipated revenge thriller BIG BAD WOLVES – the movie stars Lior Ashkenazi, Tzahi Grad & Doval’e Glickman – Here’s four alternate movie posters…. Enjoy!
This movie looks a blast – dubbed as Raging Bull vs Rocky – A pair of retired, aging boxing rivals are coaxed out of retirement to fight one last time — 30 years after their last match – here’s a group of retro style movie posters for Sylvester Stallone & Robert De Niro’s latest – Boxing Comedy GRUDGE MATCH…. Enjoy!!
Stallone & De Niro reunite after appearing together in 1997’s Cop Land – Peter Segal (Nutty Professor II: The Klumps & Anger Management) is on directing duties….
GRUDGE MATCH opens of Christmas Day stateside and 24th January in the UK
Here’s the latest trailer for Hayao Miyazaki’s “Kaze tachinu” aka: The Wind Rises – the movie looks at the life of Jiro Horikoshi, designer of Japanese fighter planes during World War II – like most Studio Ghibli films this looks an absolute delight – the movie lands in the US in February and I for one can’t wait – here’s the trailer…. enjoy!!