As you can tell from this movie blog or my social media feed I was born a Cinephile, I have this passion for all things film : I watch, collect and talk about the movies, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly things that I’m passionate about : My love stretches to every genre, from the western to scifi, from the 30s to modern day, Cagney to DiCaprio, Foster to Hepburn, Movies are my crush, my excitement and I’m at my happiest surrounded by them : Last year someone posted a question “What is your Mount Rushmore of Film Directors?” I know we all have different views on this and that’s more than fine, but for me the four filmmakers and their respective filmographies that have consistently made me tick, given me the goosebumps & excelled in their work are Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Quentin Tarantino & Martin Scorsese what’s yours?
Terribly Sad News the Film world has lost another of it’s shining stars – BURT REYNOLDS the star of such endearing classics such as Smokey and the Bandit, The Cannonball Run, The Longest Yard, Sharky’s Machine and City Heat has died aged 82 – Burt also gave career defining performances in movies such as Deliverance, Boogie Nights and more recently The Last Movie Star and had just signed up to star in Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – Growing up I fondly remember him as this charasmatic, cocky but big hearted action hero, that great big smile shining from ear to ear and that twinkle in his eye…. he’s had one hell of a journey and appeared to enjoy every minute of it – goodbye for now Burt – RIP
HOTEL ARTEMIS : Drew Pearce
Jodie Foster, Sterling K Brown, Sofia Boutella, Dave Bautista
Had an absolute blast watching Drew Pearce’s directorial debut Hotel Artemis – if I’m honest it’s a movie that went right under my radar but I’m so glad I caught up with it on the big screen – would you believe it’s been 5yrs since the legend Jodie Foster graced our screens with Elysium so watching this legend of our screens trade acting blows with Sterling K. Brown & Dave Bautista in this futuristic setting is worth more than double the ticket price – Pearce’s first attempt behind the camera follows writing work on Iron Man 3 and MI : Rogue Nation so he’s no beginner when it comes to classy, stylish story arcs with intriguing characters and some insane action thrown in – Hotel Artemis combines the lot, it has a great story at it’s core, a devilishly good ensemble, sublime cinematography and is executed better than most – don’t miss this one ★★★★
The legendary designer of Ridley Scott’s classic movie Alien, H. R. Giger has died aged 74
300: Rise of an Empire (2014) – Movie Review ★★★¾
Director: Noam Murro – Cast: Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green, Lena Headey, David Wenham, Rodrigo Santoro & Callan Mulvey – Synopsis: The story is told about the Battle of Marathon where King Darius I of Persia is killed by the warrior General Themistocles – The King’s son Xerxes witnesses his father’s death and after a week of mourning and some devilish words from Darius’s loyal naval commander Artemisia he declares war on Greece and then embarks on a bizarre journey through a desert, a cave where he bathes in some strange liquid substance and reemerges as the “God King” – Verdict: Noam Murro’s movie takes place before, during and after the events of Zack Snyder’s 2007 film where Gerard Butler’s King Leonidas and his 300 met their fate on the battlefield – 300: Rise of an Empire may not quite hit the dizzying heights of it’s predecessor but it’s an action movie that’s quite the ride, containing sumptuous visuals, great underwater shots, some fabulous stylish blood splatter moments and a cast that’s equally the measure of the first, especially the delicious Eva Green who delivers yet another evil performance playing the warrior Artemisia who is uncompromising in her revenge against the Greeks, that sex scene with Themistocles (Stapleton) is worth the admission ticket on it’s own, two great warriors coming together for a moment of energetic raw, brutal passion – overall: if like me your a fan of the slow-mo style action used to good effect in Snyder’s original and the brilliant TV show Spartacus and you love your movies to be of a blood thirsty nature then Rise of an Empire is just the ticket….
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!
THE COUNSELOR (2014) – Movie Review ★★½
The Counselor stars Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem, Cameron Diaz, Penélope Cruz, Rosie Perez & Brad Pitt – the movie follows a lawyer knows to his friends & colleagues as The Counselor who is rich and successful yet finds himself deep in an extremely complex drug plot that involves the Mexican Cartel, some pretty unsavory characters and a middle-man known as Westray played by Brad Pitt – when the plan The Counselor’s involved with goes south he must try and protect himself & his soon to be wife after the Drugs Cartel start eliminating those who have doubled crossed them – VERDICT since 2001’s Black Hawk Down and the wonderful Matchstick Men in 2003 I have found Ridley Scott’s directorial efforts to fall between average & very poor and The Counselor sadly falls in the latter – despite containing a delicious cast and at times some incredible cinematography by Dariusz Wolski (Crimson Tide & Dark City) the film is a 2hr 18mins mixture of the bizarre, the disjointed and is amongst the dullest big screen events in the last few years – The Counselor’s memorable moments such as Diaz orgasmic moment on a car windscreen (yep that happened), the colorful outfits & delightful hairstyle of Javier Bardem & a couple of well executed be-heading’s are quickly forgotten, swept away in the nonsensical over complicated nature of the film’s script – overall The Counselor only adds to the list of recent movies that fall below the quality expected from one of cinema’s greatest filmmakers – it contains some horrible acting performances & a script by the ever reliable Cormac McCarthy who wrote No Country for Old Men and The Road that is a tiresome, sloppy, yawn-fest that contains numerous, meaningless exchanges between characters that you find awkward, cold and pretty much unlikeable – sadly The Counselor is yet another Ridley Scott disappointment so now my hopes on this great filmmaker returning to form rest firmly with his next big screen outing the biblical EXODUS that lands later this year and stars Christian Bale….
The beautiful and super talented child actress SHIRLEY TEMPLE has died aged 85 – her roles in the Mid to Late 30’s made her a box office draw and in 1935 she was awarded an Academy Award for her outstanding contribution to screen entertainment that year – In her movie career Shirley Temple went on to star alongside some of Hollywood’s finest including John Wayne in Fort Apache, Claudette Colbert in Since You Went Away and Cary Grant in The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer – although the movie world has lost another star Shirley’s beauty, her infectious smile and that sweet singing voice will shine on through her legacy of movies for years to come….
ALAN PARTRIDGE (2013) – Movie Review ★★★¾
Cast – Steve Coogan, Anna Maxwell Martin, Sean Pertwee & Colm Meaney – When DJ Alan Partridge’s radio station is taken over and it’s name is changed, it’s everyman for himself as the threat of job loss looms and one of the DJ’s decides to take matters into his own hands by taking the station hostage VERDICT Alan Partridge is a character portrayed & created by British comedian Steve Coogan and although I have not seen much of the TV show I found myself enjoying Partridge’s big screen outing – yes the script is wafer thin and at times some of the jokes fell flat but more often than not I found myself giggling and squirming at the antics of the staff at Partridge’s Radio Station – some of the best scenes in the movie include moments when our DJ finds himself naked and locked out of the hostage taken Radio Station, the board meeting when Partridge meets the new owners and tries to impress upon them his worth to the company by sacking another staff member and the delightfully funny finale with Coogan and Meaney on the tour bus – overall Alan Partridge is one of the better comedies of 2013 – it’s a character I may consider watching more of in the future and a movie that I would highly recommend….
CHARLIE COUNTRYMAN – (2013) – Movie Review ★★★★
Cast – Shia LaBeouf, Evan Rachel Wood, Mads Mikkelsen, Rupert Grint & Til Schweiger – Charlie Countryman (LaBeouf) gets visited by his recently deceased mum who tells him to visit Bucharest – on the plane trip over, he gets chatting to an elderly man who suddenly passes away in the seat next to him & upon his death the man asks Charlie to visit his daughter Gabi & deliver a present. Charlie meets Gabi and instantly falls in love with her, unbeknown to him she is the wife of Nigel, a Romanian mobster and someone you just don’t want in your life. VERDICT from first time helmer Fredrik Bond comes one of the surprise movies of the year – Charlie Countryman is a delightfully quriky drama, with hints of comedy, romance and brutal violence – the acting throughout is top draw with Shia LaBeouf and Evan Rachel Wood both owning the screen with some crazy chemistry – Harry Potter’s Rupert Grint gives a rather hilarious turn as Karl a wannabe porn star going under the name Boris Pecker who takes 6 Viagras and ends up in deep shit with a Romanian club owner and Hannibal’s Mads Mikkelsen looks every bit the nasty bit of work he portrays in the movie – overall Charlie Countryman has hints of True Romance with the trippy-ness of Spring Breakers – it’s a love story, with a violent and ultimately satisfying finale that includes some gorgeous cinematography and a vibrant soundtrack – if your looking for something altogether different from your comic-book superhero movies then Fredrik Bond’s little picture might just be for you….
Since making his movie debut opposite Barbara Stanwyck in 1946’s The Strange Love of Martha Ivers Kirk Douglas was destined to become a Hollywood Great – in his wonderful career Kirk appeared in over 70 movies, was nominated for 3 Academy Awards and in 1968 was the recipient of the Cecil B. DeMille Award – he appeared alongside his friend Burt Lancaster on 7 different occasions and 3 times alongside John Wayne – some of my favorite movies include: Spartacus, War Wagon, The Vikings, Lust for Life, Ace in the Hole and Gunfight at the O.K. Corral – In my opinion he is the greatest actor of his generation – Happy Birthday 97 year old Kirk Douglas
OLDBOY – (2013) – Movie Review ★★★¾
Cast – Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, Samuel L Jackson and Sharlto Copley – the film is a remake of Chan-wook Park’s 2003 Korean masterpiece directed by Malcolm X’s Spike Lee – the year is 1993 and Joe Doucett (Brolin) is a not a very nice guy, he’s a drunk and a father of a three year old he never visits – after a business meeting goes south Doucett get’s drunk and crawls through the neighborhood looking for someone to share his miserable insistence with – the next morning he wakes up in a strange bed, in a room that contains a shower and TV but no door or exit – it then dawns on Doucett that he has been kidnapped and locked in some kind of solitary confinement and there he spends the next 20 years of his life, writing letters of regret to his daughter and thinking of nothing else but seeking vengeance on his captors VERDICT let’s be honest Spike Lee was on a hiding to nothing when attempting to remake one of the finest Korean movies in decades – but in fairness Lee’s remake is a descent thriller that not only looks stylish but has some classy nods to it’s original and a performance by Josh Brolin that has you purring right to the end credits – my favorite scene in the movie has to be the devlishly fun, over the top fight scene with Brolin’s character facing down dozens of baddies – my only negative about Spike Lee’s remake is that if you have seen the original then you know the punchline and know when it’s coming so sadly that blow to the gut you may would have felt during the original movie is reduced to a slight whimper – overall OLDBOY is an enjoyable, extremely violent and well acted movie remake – it’s also Spike Lee’s best directed movie since 2006’s Inside Man and one I’d certainly recommend….
THE FAMILY – (2013) – Movie Review ★★★¾
Cast – Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Tommy Lee Jones, Dianna Agron, Domenick Lombardozzi and John D’Leo – The Family is the latest movie from Fifth Element & Leon director Luc Besson and is based on the novel Malavita : aka: Badfellas written by Tonino Benacquista – the film follows a Mafia family under the witness protection program who are relocated to Normandy, where they’re given a new identity and attempt to blend in to their new surroundings – but it’s not too long before chaos ensues after the crime kingpin tracking down The Family discover their new home VERDICT after discovering the wonderful Luc Besson in 88s The Big Blue and then in the mid 90s his epic Leon and The Fifth Element it’s been a pretty mediocre last ten years or so for this talented french director – but I’m happy to report that The Family is a return to form, the movie has a quick witted script and has some fun performances especially by Dianna Agron who gives her finest acting display to date playing the sexy, no nonsense daughter to Bob De Niro’s mob boss Giovanni Manzoni – Michelle Pfeiffer is also well worth the admission playing the bored housewife who like the rest of the family enjoys causing mayhem, her scene in the supermarket is fabulous with her facial expressions nailing the moment – another of my favorite scenes is when the mobsters come off the train in sleepy Normandy accompanied by the Gorillaz track Clint Eastwood it’s such a terrific moment with John D’Leo‘s character Warren watching on in awe and disbelief – overall The Family is a dark humored mobster flick that contains barrels of violence and some stylishly shot action scenes, the best of which are during the movies final quarter – The Family may not hit the standards of his early movies but Luc Besson has reminded us once more of his film-making qualities….
First up here’s a movie poster for How to Train Your Dragon 2 that lands next year, with vocals from the likes of Cate Blanchett, Jonah Hill and Gerard Butler – the films are loosely based on the series of books by Cressida Cowell and is once again directed by Dean DeBlois – the second poster is for Blue Sky’s Rio 2 and continues the journey of Blu & Jewel – vocals include Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway & Jamie Foxx – the film will be the last of writer Don Rhymer who sadly died last year!
How to Train Your Dragon 2 – US (13th June) – UK (4th July) – Australia (10th July)
Rio 2 – US (11 April) – UK (4th April) – Australia (10th April)