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 ★★★★
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….