Following the loss of their son in a freak accident, a retired sheriff and his wife leave their ranch in Montana to rescue their young grandson from the Weboys, a dangerous family living deep in the heart of the Dakotas : if it’s action or light hearted entertainment your after then Let Him Go is certainly not for you, the sombre tone throughout is backed up by it’s hard hitting narrative, you’d think you were watching something by Taylor Sheridan but instead it’s directed by Thomas Bezucha based on a novel written by Larry Watson and what an excellent job he does too : watching two old pros in Lane and Costner deliver screen magic by simply talking around a breakfast table, drinking a coffee whilst on a roadtrip or sleeping the night in an empty prison cell is what I call BLISS and luckily for me there’s plenty of character investment in Watson’s sombre driven story, a real hearty, honest picture that examines getting old, loosing loved ones, abuse and fighting for what you believe in no matter what the cost : one of my favorite moments in the movie is when George & Margaret arrive at the Weboy’s for dinner and sit around the table, it’s polite until it’s not and your just made to feel as uncomfortable as the characters in the scene watching it all play out : overall Let Him Go is a real belter of a movie, it’s a slow paced, character driven mystery western that delivers an intense final act with stunning photography and a powerhouse display by Lesley Manville as Blanche Weboy ★★★★½
It was tough but here it goes : Christopher Nolan’s Top 8 Movies in order : (1) MEMENTO : 2000 : Nolan’s least pretentious movie, was shot for $9 million in less than a month, it’s story is exciting, fresh & edge of the seat and to this day it’s the filmmaker’s finest achievment with great turns by Guy Pearce & Joe Pantoliano : (2) THE PRESTIGE : 2006 : a hidden gem that I like to annually revisit & then think about for days after : Christian Bale & Hugh Jackman are immense as is Rebecca Hall who gives a stella turn playing Borden’s wife, from the sets, sound & story the film’s pure magic : (3) INCEPTION : 2010 : It’s been 10yrs and I still find myself marvelling at the effects, the rotating sets & Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s gravity fight scene which is so awesome to watch : breathtaking cinema built around a beautiful love story : (4) INTERSTELLAR : 2014 : Nolan’s ambitious scifi thriller blew me away whilst tugging at my heart strings from start to finish, the scene of Coops as he watches the clips from back home are tough, that enthralling docking sequence & the enormity of the tidal wave scenes are stunning : Hoytema’s work on this is quite simply wow : (5) THE DARK KNIGHT RISES : 2012 : Darkness rains down on Gotham & I for one loved the chaos & the ride Nolan brings to this trilogy ending masterpiece : in Tom Hardy’s Bane Batman has met his most demented nemesis & that delicious Talia twist in it’s finale gave the franchise the explosive ending it deserved : (6) INSOMNIA : 2002 : showcases the masterclass that is Al Pacino, his performance captures every essence of Will Dormer and it’s up there amongst the actors best work : Of course Wally Pfister’s DP and his canvas of British Columbia doesn’t help either – a tense, character driven remake that still holds up well today : (7) BATMAN BEGINS : 2005 : has sheer depth, towering action scenes, Liam Neeson & Cillian Murphy’s villainous pair, Michael BLOODY Caine, a cameo by Lucy Russell & of course Nolan’s ace in the pack Christian Bale who’s easily the “best actor” that’s played our Caped Crusader : (8) THE DARK KNIGHT : 2008 : Heath Ledger’s Joker waddling out of the hospital dressed in nurse atire as it explodes is one of many highlights from Nolan’s stupendous action packed sequel : lots of love here for Aaron Eckhart’s Harvey Dent & Batman’s custom made bike is craaazy good too !! (also worth mentioning that I really enjoyed Dunkirk, Following and of course Nolan’s latest Tenet)
A young Chinese maiden disguises herself as a male warrior in order to save her father – Disney continue their live-action remakes of classic tales with MULAN directed by Whale Rider’s Niki Caro : Although I was looking forward to watching this at the cinema (possibly on IMAX) Disney had other idea’s and have just released Mulan on their Disney+ Streaming Service : Luckily for me my home cinema is not too shabby so watching my own TV fill up with magical color, jaw-dropping backdrops & visuals that stun you sideways my movie date for the evening truly was a quite magical experience : The movie itself is an improvment over the 1998 animated film allowing it’s director Niki Caro & the Aussie Cinematographer Mandy Walker to really show us, the audience the true scale of the sets & breathtaking action scenes in this live-action version : Of course Mulan has a truly legendary cast including Jason Scott Lee (who’s really good playing Bori Khan), the sublime & beautiful Gong Li, and veteran’s Tzi Ma, Jet Li & Donnie Yen but the real heart of the movie belongs to the energy weilding “Fairy Sister” Liu Yifei who has a screen presence that shines brighter than Mulan’s Phoenix, the scene’s that involve Liu and Gong Li’s characters were spectacular and amongst my favorites in the movie & I believe that Liu Yifei did most of her own stunt work and fight movements : Overall: I really enjoyed Disney’s MULAN it’s a gorgeous film about honor, family & friendship that works equally on the small screen as it would have on the big : Highly Recommended 精彩 ★★★★½
Although I think Daniel Craig has been one of our weaker 007’s I’ve still really enjoyed his gritty, mostly dark take on our favourite secret agent and NO TIME TO DIE could end up being his best outing yet…. Firstly it’s directed by True Detective helmer Cary Joji Fukunaga and yes he’s also the filmmaker who brought us the brilliant Beasts of No Nation, he’s accompanied by the super talent DP Linus Sandgren (La La Land & First Man) so as a spectacle the film is sure to look bloody awesome : No Time To Die also sees the return of Christoph Waltz as Blofeld and the delightful Léa Seydoux as Dr. Swann but for me the most interesting duo to be cast is Lashana Lynch who plays a female 00 agent that’s shrouded in a little bit of mystery and the gorgeous Ana de Armas who plays a character called Paloma….. are you excited yet? Well if your not then it may be worth mentioning that the main villain of No Time To Die will be played by Rami Malek and the legend that is Hans Zimmer will be providing the film score…. still not impressed? Well I’ve tried…. check out the action packed trailer below and then start a James Bond rewatch and countdown the days until the film hit’s your local theater….
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