Just revisited the Director’s Cut of KINGDOM OF HEAVEN and it’s one of those movies that has grown on me over the years, it’s a remarkable, entertaining and thought provoking epic and THANK the gods that Ridley gave us this 3hr plus definitive cut of his 2005 movie – It’s story is richer, characters more defined and the film’s battle scenes have a much bigger impact on the picture as a whole – If you own the theatrical version then throw it in the trash, go out and buy the extended cut of Kingdom of Heaven and treat yourself to a rewarding rewatch, it’s an overlooked gem that’s certainly amongst the top tier of Ridley Scott’s magnificent cinematic library ★★★★½
A teenager’s weekend at home with her dad takes a turn for the worse when a group of escaped convicts decide to interupt their plans – From the fab duo of Milott & Murnion who in 2014 gave us the insanely good Cooties comes their new horror picture BECKY a home invasion movie that will no doubt upset someone, somewhere at somepoint – There is no question that this film is the darkest of the the duo’s three movies to date, you get a nasty performance by Kevin James who plays a neo-nazi convict, some blood thirsty Home Alone style action scenes that’s not for the faint hearted, a real eye-catching moment during the film’s second half and the star of the show Lulu Wilson who is quite simply wonderful playing Becky this teenage girl who’s loss of her mother has hardened her mentally and given her this moody chip on her shoulder that serves her well in trying to survive – My only criticism is that the film runtime could have been slightly longer to allow a bit more characterization which would have helped explain Becky’s relationship or lack of with her father Jeff played by Joel Mchale BUT nevertheless the film is a credit to Milott & Murnion a real heart-stopper, a violent exciting horror thriller that I will no doubt revisit again and again ★★★★
I have never seen Misery, Relief & Hatred captured so magnificently than in Todd Phillips JOKER – Over the years I have been lucky enough to watch every movie JOKER on the big screen and they have all been good for different reasons YET in my opinion they are all pale imitation’s of the DC character when you compare them to Joaquin Phoenix’s take on the madman of Gotham – the intensity that Phoenix brings to the role is immense, it’s a whirlwind of crazy, one that is quite terrifying to watch – The film has so many evocative scenes and it’s also possibly the best movies I can remember with night time scenes, all beautifully shot by cinematographer Lawrence Sher who also did great work on Phillips 2016 movie War Dogs – My Opinion: This is no ordinary comic book movie it’s essentially a character study, a thought provoking piece on how one of the great comic book villains came to be, it touches on mental health issues, bullying and is very dark and incredibly moving – it’s well worth putting on your happy face and visiting your local cinema NOW ★★★★★
I know I know I know… another bloody remake…. well that was my initial reaction to the news that our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man was getting another outing with yet another cast and so soon after the Marc Webb movies landed…. but as always first reactions are not always the right ones, having now seen John Watts superhero movie I must say “what a ridiculously fun, coming of age thrill ride that blends the humor, action & darkness perfectly to create one helluva cinematic event” – Tom Holland (who I loved in Pigrimage and The Impossible) was so the right choice & delivers a magical turn as our webslinger, capturing the innocence and arrogance of a teenager that’s required for this movie, Holland is surrounded by quality at every turn, Aunt May is played by the delightful Marisa Tomei giving a new & younger slant on Peter’s guardian, Michael Keaton hits it out of the ball park playing the villain Adrian Toomes aka: Vulture and Robert Downey Jr who’s actually a good mentor to Peter and is fun to watch, some of his screen time in Homecoming I found better than his Avengers stuff – I have to be honest and say when I first heard of this latest remake I wanted it all to be a complete disaster, crash and burn and be complete garbage but Spider-man Homecoming is far from it, its an exceptionally well written comicbook adaption that took me back to my teens, reading the comics, watching the animated series & avoiding spiders at all costs – Overall this is one of the best Marvel Superhero Movies in recent times, it’s an action packed, John Hughes homage laiden big screen summer movie that I found totally engrossing and deliciously fun to watch…. ★★★★½
ok…. so if you’ve not heard of Theodore Melfi the writer, director behind HIDDEN FIGURES that’s possibly because he’s not done a great deal (in the directing department that is) – apart from some early shorts, a couple of producing credits & in 2014 directing a certain Bill Murray in the wonderful St Vincent Melfi is pretty much an unknown quantity – Hidden Figures is his second feature behind the camera and stars Taraji P Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, Kevin Costner & Glen Powell….
To my absolute shame I did not know anything about the brilliant minds of these courageous, smart NASA ladies Katherine G Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson so firstly a big thank you Theodore Melfi for enlightening me – secondly Taraji, Octavia, Janelle take a bow, you are all goddesses in this movie, your performances not only honors these heroic women but you also stole a tear and made this guys heart melt in telling their story and finally a thank you to Pharrell Williams for that majestic little song “Running” that is not only a superb tune but also fits the scene in the movie perfectly….
WHAT AN INSPIRING MOVIE !! without sounding condescending HIDDEN FIGURES is a true story on how three African-American ladies competed with the prejudice of the times to achieve almost the impossible, not only helping to get astronaut John Glen into Space but also in achieving their own personal goals at NASA in the early 60s – this is one hell of a movie that deserves to be watched by the masses…. ★★★★½
Daniel Ragussi’s directorial movie debut IMPERIUM is a solid, well written thriller with two good performances from Radcliffe and Collette and one exceptionally creepy one from True Blood’s Sam Trammell – the film’s subject matter is no doubt disturbing and is handled well by Ragussi but it’s darkness is too often conveyed by flashing images, often thrown together in a serious of video montages instead of being built into the film narrative, these montages work to a degree but for me personally I never felt Radcliffe’s character was in any serious danger and his cover looked more routine than it should have been – Overall Daniel Ragussi’s Imperium is a good watch and even though I felt slightly unsatisfied with it’s conclusion I would recommend it and look forward to seeing more from it’s director in the future !! ★★★½
OK first up I never wanted to see this movie made and not because of this nonsense “all female” thing either, I just love the original films, like many they’re part of my upbringing since the original was released back in the mid 80s I must have seen the film 100 times or more Aykroyd, Ramis and Murray are three of my film heroes so discovering that they were doing another film remake and this time it was my beloved Ghostbusters I was at first mad as hell, I wanted to scream the social media house down, I guess I never wanted a movie more than this one to fail miserably but luckily for me like most things I calmed down and accepted that even without my blessing this reboot was going to happen one way or the other – Paul Feig happens to be one of my favourite modern comedy directors, films such as Bridesmaids, The Heat and Spy have all made me cry with laughter so taking the mantle for this remake was a big thing for him and I just prayed, kept my fingers crossed that he was up to the task…..
OK so now I have seen Ghostbusters the 2016 version and I want to share my views with you film fans out there – firstly it has to be said Feig goes above and beyond in respecting the original 1984 classic, he uses the old theme tune, gives cameo’s to the old cast and even dedicates the movie to Harold Ramis at the end credits (a nice touch I thought) – his young cast comprising of Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones and Chris Hemsworth are all fabulous, McKinnon and Jones for me steal the show but in general Feig has managed to cast well all actors adding something to this reboot, Hemsworth is at times hilarious playing the dopey good looking secretary for the team, he actually wears glasses without the glass and keeps tripping over himself & that dancing at the end credits is worth staying around for – I love also the fact that the legend that is Andy Garcia plays the New York Mayor such a great actor and fabulous to see him back on the big screen – the films opening at the haunted mansion was a riot, Kristen Wigg’s character getting slimed is worth the ticket value in itself and them scenes involving Jone’s character in the subway and also the possessed dummy are so much fun, McCarthy being possessed and getting slapped by Jones was hilarious and then of course you have McKinnon just oozing style playing the oddball engineer who creates the teams Ghost busting weapons & looks equally at ease firing them bad boys – Overall: put aside (if you have any) your disagreement for this movie and go and have some fun – Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters is an amusing, entertaining picture, the cast rock & I promise you this movie will bring a smile to your face, my only small criticism is that the last 15minutes could have been handled better, a little OTT but that’s me being picky – Ghostbusters is a real blast !! ★★★½
Who else loves a good old fashioned alien invasion romp? Well this guy does and Roland Emmerich’s INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE does not disappoint, it’s a flash of 90’s nostalgia, a total blast from start to finish and a devilishly fun movie ride that I wasn’t expecting – from Jeff Goldblum’s one liners, Liam Hemsworth’s dashing leading rogue & the Emmerich blueprint of breathtaking action, earthly destruction & patriotic ass kicking, this is a fine example of why I love the movies, not all films need to have a complex narrative, actors in search of that golden statue or film-makers attempting to baffle you with science, sometimes we the viewer just need to unwind take in some popcorn and be entertained and it’s my view that Roland Emmerich is one of the best out there in feeding me that cinematic treat – Overall: Resurgence is a real visual gem, jam packed with fist pumping action scenes and a young emerging cast that keeps the film’s pace moving faster than my heart beat – Resurgence is right up there alongside it’s ’96 original, Will Smith was not missed one bit and overall a hugely fun night at the movies was had by all ★★★★
Being a film geek and a huge fan of the STAR WARS franchise I could not wait to reach for my light sabre and find my local IMAX and immerse myself into that world once more – my first experience of Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia was back in the early 80’s, I was too young for New Hope & Empire but watched them both on Video (many times) before eventually Jedi arrived, I was only a kid in ’83, my film education just beginning and watching these characters the maestro George Lucas had created on the big screen for the very first time was something I will always treasure, and like most scfi fans around my age I have watched the original trilogy and its 3 prequels many many times – so after a long wait J.J Abrams Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens had arrived, a midnight screening, the packed cinema roared as the infamous opening credits began to rise…..
Having now had a few days to think about the movie, I have come up with some positive & negative feed back, this is my own personal views so please take it all with a pinch of salt – I will get the negatives out of the way early (and these views don’t necessarily mean I didn’t enjoy the movie, quite the opposite) firstly the writing by Toy Story 3’s Michael Arndt is too predictable, the film itself copying many of the same trait’s as it’s predecessors almost retelling Lucas’s masterpiece A New Hope – Snoke the master & his apprentice Kylo Ren who is too much like Vader, even dresses in black with a mask but is weaker and less imposing, Rey the film’s lead is a young, untrained yet powerful in the force girl who leaves her planet Jakku to fight with the resistance yep I know all very similar to the path Luke Skywalker took in the original trilogy, The First Order is basically a new and updated Empire, they even have a new droid BB8 who’s just like R2D2 excepts it’s shape and it maneuvers slightly different and there are also a couple of big spoilers that I will not divulge here but also remind one of the original movies – secondly the casting of Adam Driver as Kylo Ren is one of the worst in the whole of the Star Wars franchise, he just does not look the part and when he removes his helmet (mystery gone !! – and another big mistake by the writers) he looks so out of place, almost looking a like boy band member, his Anakin tantrums and getting his ass whooped by a novice is a sure way to make your new villain look almost laughable, this is a shame as Kylo Ren is such as badass name and deserves better….
Forgive my little rant on the negative of Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens but as I mentioned above the film also has some positives – firstly the new characters Rey, Finn and Poe played by Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac are all exceptional, their chemistry, energy and undoubted excitement over being in a Star Wars movie was there for all to see, they bring great hope & optimism for future movies in the franchise – it would also be rude of me not to mention another fine performance (ala Peter Cushing) by the wonderfully talented Domhnall Gleeson playing General Hux this Irish guy is one of the screen’s finest young actors so maybe his role could be beefed up a little bit more for Rian Johnson’s eighth movie in the series – secondly the quality of the action sequences, especially those involving the Millenium Falcon, that chase scene with Rey in the driver seat early in the movie made my hands all clammy and the hairs on the back of my neck stand to attention – exciting was not the word – third and finally the biggest positive I could give The Force Awakens is all about sentiment, from the score by maestro John Williams to the return of some of the much loved characters from the old movies including Solo, Leia, Luke, Chewbacca (grrrwaaaaaarggggh), R2D2 and C3PO all of which have some screen time in this new movie, is what the Star Wars movies are all about – in fairness J.J does a fine job balancing the old characters with the new ones….
Yes the film has a lot of negatives and plenty of unanswered questions but overall as a big screen spectacle J.J Abrams Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens is a fabulously entertaining movie that fits well in the Star Wars universe – my advise is to see the film in 3D as the action scenes are incredible and the extra detail this brings to the movie is worth the admittance fee on it’s own – it’s a shame the writers and J.J took the easy route out in trying to replicate the old movies and not delivering something new and fresh to this world but when all is said and done the movie is a blast and one I look forward to watching again and again ★★★★
My latest venture to the cinema was to watch John Crowley’s immigrant drama BROOKLYN based on the novel by Colm Tóibín and starring a young lady that in my opinion is the Best Young Actress of her generation Saoirse Ronan
“Brooklyn tells the story of Eilis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan), a young Irish immigrant who leaves her home town, to live in 1950s Brooklyn. After the initial shackles of homesickness Eilis begins to find her feet, she starts a new job, an exciting education and falls into a romance with a boy from the city. But soon, her new life is disrupted by her past, and Eilis must choose between the two countries and the lives that exist within”
The last entry in the Jurassic franchise was 14yrs ago way back in 2001 and was a pretty ordinary monster movie so when the word came out that Spielberg who directed the first two movies in the trilogy had approached Safety Not Guaranteed’s Colin Trevorrow I was surprised and slightly apprehensive about it’s final outcome – Trevorro’s movie takes place 22yrs after the events of 1993’s Jurassic Park, Hammond’s original concept is now a reality and us humans can mingle and watch the dinosaurs whilst traveling on futuristic rides set around the landscape known as Jurassic World – but like all businesses the Park has to make money so the powers within create a new attraction, a Dinosaur that’s bigger, faster & more terrifying than anything that’s come before – well I won’t reveal what happens next in the movie but here’s my thoughts on Trevorro’s Jurassic World
For all you directors involved in remakes, sequels or prequels of classic movies of yesteryear watch Jurassic World – Colin Trevorrow demonstrates how to appeal to a whole new fan base whilst respecting the audience that fell in love with the movies predecessors – As a movie spectacle Jurassic World is a popcorn munching wet dream, the film’s pace is electric, it’s cast full of energy & the film’s visuals are simply jaw dropping – the raptors have never looked so good, the futuristic theme park makes you want to visit there and once your eyes stare down on that Dino-Hybrid the Indominus Rex I guarantee the hairs on the back of your neck will stand to attention, wait for a minute then hide for cover
Overall: Jurassic World is what every summer blockbuster should be – exhilarating, fist pumping fun that gives its audience a helluva ride – and with the welcome addition of John Williams spine tingling score, the many elegant nods to Spielberg’s original and its storyline paving the way for more sequels to follow makes this monster movie a nostalgic, heart thumping cinematic experience ★★★★½
A really good movie is not all about great story telling, or how mind blowing the stunning visuals are, it’s not even about how many awards that picture’s won or how much money the studio makes in filling them theatre halls – for me A Really Good Movie should only be judged on the movies overall enjoyment, it’s experience it gave you it’s viewer, did it bring a smile to your face?, make you all gooey inside? or brought tears trickling down your cheek? – we’re not all robots and each person’s idea of a good movie is different to the next, so do yourself a favor and don’t take the review of a so called movie critic as gospel – after all it’s only their own personal take on that movie.
My version of a really good movie is Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland from its exceptional cast that includes the dazzling Britt Robertson (Under the Dome) who excels in the female lead, the veteran George Clooney who is superb as the quirky inventor Frank Walker and last but not least in my opinion the best young actress since Jodie Foster Snow White and the Huntsman’s Raffey Cassidy who was born to play the authoritative yet charming Athena, such a great character ignited to the screen by this passionate young actress that oozes a magical screen presence.
Overall: Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland is bold, ambitious film-making that’s full of exciting ideas, great photography and most of all one of them rare movies that engages the whole family – it’s a film jam packed with fun, heart warming characters, colorful and jazzy sets along with a stirring, riveting soundtrack from The Incredibles Michael Giacchino – if you only see one movie this weekend then I’d highly recommend Tomorrowland it will make you smile and remind you of the classic Lucas and Spielberg movies of yesteryear ★★★★½