Aweful News : the Iconic Movie Star Olivia De Havilland has died aged 104 : in my eye’s they don’t come much better than Livvie, a Golden Age Beauty who graced the screen in over forty feature films, winning two Academy Awards and starring alongside some of the very best in the movie world : One of my favourite quotes of hers was in 1999 where she commented over Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother “I want to follow her example and live many years longer. I consider every birthday a victory” well Livvie you sure did, rest in peace Legend……
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?
Here’s 3 great Behind the Scene shots from 1968’s Once Upon a Time in the West – Directed by Sergio Leone and stars : Henry Fonda, Claudia Cardinale, Charles Bronson, Jason Robards & Woody Strode : A mysterious stranger with a harmonica teams up with a notorious gunslinger to protect a beautiful widow from a ruthless assassin working for the railroad in the old west : The late great Ennio Morricone composed the musical score and it’s one his finest in my opinion.
After serving time in prison a 47-year old Al Capone starts suffering from dementia and is haunted by his violent past – Blurring his past with the present comes a facinating character study into one of the most evil gangsters of all time – Josh Trank’s CAPONE is an absorbing watch, with flashes of violence & brilliance that shows once again the might of Tom Hardy and the formidable work of Linda Cardellini – along with the film’s injection of black humor such as Capone’s fishing meltdown alongside Matt Dillon and the brilliant Tommy Gun scene you also get to feel quite sad for this monster as you watch his final moments decend into lunacy, incontinence and utter mayhem – My only criticism is that CAPONE felt 30mins too short, Trank could have delved further into Capone’s fascinating backstory, more carnage and maybe let the viewer discover a little more about his wife and best friend Mae Coughlin (maybe a prequel Josh?) but that being said the film is outstanding, well written and almost Kubrick in style and I for one can’t wait to revisit Capone many more times ★★★★½
ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD : Quentin Tarantino
Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Al Pacino
JULY can’t come quick enough – one of cinema’s greatest filmmakers QUENTIN TARANTINO will take us back to 1969 Los Angeles where a television actor and his stunt double embark on an odyssey to make a name for themselves in the movie industry.
Having raved these last few years to anyone and everyone over James Wan and his ability to scare one half to death with his sublime horror movies The Conjuring, Insidious and Saw it’s actually quite satisfying to see him take on a huge comicbook adapation and completely and utterly destroy it – So I’ve just come out of AQUAMAN on Imax 3D and the first thing I have to say is what an incredible ride the movie is, it’s 143mins of mouth watering, adrenaline fueled action that’s looks totally insane on the big screen – If you take splashes of Pirates of the Caribbean, little drops of Phantom Menace and a tidle wave of Raiders of the Lost Ark then you get a comicbook adaption unlike anything you will have ever seen. I really dug the casting too from Amber Heard’s kickass warrior Mera who has an absolute ball alongside Jason Momoa’s hero, Nicole Kidman is great in everything and her role as the Queen of Atlantis was sublime, Patrick Wilson reuniting once more with Wan for a villanous turn as Orm the half-brother of Aquaman and I really enjoyed watching Yahya Abdul get his teeth into the role of Black Manta and boy doesn’t he do a great job. It never ceases to amaze me what they can produce in movies these days and James Wan’s Aquaman has so many WOW HOLY SHIT how on EARTH did they do THAT moments so do yourself a favour and grab a ticket as this movie REQUIRES some serious BIG SCREEN viewing….. ★★★★½
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
I FEEL PRETTY : Abby Kohn & Marc Silverstein
Amy Schumer, Michelle Williams, Busy Phillips
Actress Amy Schumer is always a delight to watch, she’s bubbly, nice to look at, has comic timing and always without fail makes me smile – I’ve enjoyed pretty much everything she’s done and this is no exception. The scene’s Amy shares with the amazing Michelle Williams are hilarious, Michelle stealing every scene playing cosmetics boss Lily LeClaire, her accent is adorable & her facial expressions a wonder to watch – Kohn & Silverstein known primarily for their writing work on films such as Never Been Kissed, The Vow and Valentine’s Day do a great job with their first directorial gig – I Feel Pretty is a let your hair down style of movie that makes you feel good and quite simply it’s lot’s of fun to watch ★★★½
TAU: Federico D’Alessandro
Maika Monroe, Ed Skrein & Gary Oldman
Federico D’Alessandro’s TAU reminded me of an extended Black Mirror episode, it’s dark & utterly bonkers, wildly futuristic & pretty darn clever and along with Gary Oldman’s sublime vocals & Ed Skrein’s creepy creator we have Maika Monroe one of the hottest (by that I mean talented and gorgeous) young actresses around – need I say more ★★★★
SICARIO: DAY OF THE SOLDADO: Steffano Sollima
Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, Isabela Moner
Taylor Sheridan is an average actor but he’s an incredible writer and his Sicario followup is a solid no-nonsense sequel that’s pretty intense – Let’s be fair any movie that’s required to follow Villeneuve’s 2015 original is on a hiding to nothing YET Day of the Soldado comes out punching, it really is a better than average thriller with Del Toro and Brolin firing on all cylinders – like Villeneuve’s thriller Steffano Sollima’s Sicario fills you with a sense of unease, the drug world is not a place for the squeamish, that haunting, pounding background beat is only matched by the stunning cinematography by the Polish Master Dariusz Wolski who captures the films scary landscape with frightening realism – Sicario: Day of the Soldado is great movie watching and well worth watching on the big screen so GO buy a ticket !! ★★★★
Sometimes you just need to stop dissecting a movie and have fun, let the action and mood of the picture take you on a ride into the impossible and the unimaginable and Roar Uthaug’s TOMB RAIDER is one of them such movies – I like many grew up playing the games and being slightly fixated on Lara Croft this sexy gun tooting computer icon who kicked ass and went on wild adventures solving puzzles on these epic treasure hunts, I even enjoyed the 2001 & 2003 movies that starred a young Angeline Jolie but this latest adaption an origin story starring Alicia Vikander in the title role surpassed my expectations I really did leave my critical side at the door and allowed myself to thoroughly enjoy the film – Vikander totally embodies the character from the games, she’s athletic, clever and she doesn’t give up easily – from the Hong Kong chase scene to the booby traps in the underground tomb, the foxy bike race to the Islands River Rapids Tomb Raider runs at a breakneck pace it really is electric and if you’ve played the games then you will smile and enjoy the scenarios that Lara finds herself in – other high five aspects of the movie include a terrific antagonist played by the fiery, downright cool Walton Goggins, Into the Badlands Daniel Wu who looks to be having fun playing a drunken sailor and kick ass side-kick to Lara and another well rounded performance from the underrated Dominic West who plays Lara’s dad Richard – Overall Tomb Raider is one wickid action movie, leave all your troubles at home and let Alicia’s Lara Croft take you an adventure of a lifetime – this is popcorn munching cinema at it’s finest ★★★★
Since 2000’s Charlies Angels filmmaker McG has made a career of directing a pretty mixed bag of average and films bordering on quality but has never taken his movie to a place bordering greatness – take the Kevin Costner actioner 3 Days to Kill and 2006’s football movie We are Marshall both solid likeable movies that I enjoyed immensely – but with McG the Jekyll & Hyde of filmmakers there’s always the bad and in my opinion one of his worst movies This Means War and the dreadfully average Terminator Salvation are two examples of McG’s Hyde coming out to play – so going into 2017’s The Babysitter I was really unsure which McG was gona turn up?
Stars Samara Weaving, Judah Lewis, Robbie Amell, Hana Mae Lee and Bella Thorne – Storyline When Cole (Judah Lewis) stays up past his bedtime, he discovers that his hot babysitter Bee (Samara Weaving) is involved in something that will change his life forever.
FINALLY IT’S HERE a movie that McG has knocked out of the park, a picture for all (well maybe not all) to really SAVOUR – The Babysitter is an absolute stonking blast from start to finish and I can now see why Brian Duffield’s script was on the Black List for the Best unproduced Hollywood script it truly is a cracking cocktail of black humor, blood soaked horror and a slasher-esque Home Alone style invasion movie that just doesn’t stop entertaining – it’s got a wickid young cast, some wild frantic chase scenes, a steamy kiss to beat all steamy kisses and some sharp witty dialogue, it’s superbly shot and has an awesome soundtrack DO YOURSELF a favour and check THE BABYSITTER out on Netflix – it’s a real killer !! ★★★★
American Made sees Tom Cruise reunite with his Edge of Tomorrow director Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity, Mr. and Mrs. Smith) in what looks like an under the radar gem – the film also stars Domhnall Gleeson & Sarah Wright and is based on the true story of Barry Seal, a U.S. pilot who is recruited by the CIA to run one of the biggest covert operations in U.S. history – after watching this trailer I’m sure you guys will agree American Made not only looks like a damn fine action movie with a fabulous story attached but for me as a fan it will also be refreshing to see Cruise get his teeth into something that will showcase his undoubted acting ability…. Roll on September !!
The film follows an aspiring actress Mia played by the charming Emma Stone who falls in love with Sebastian an out of work Jazz Musician played by the accomplished Ryan Gosling – the film is set in LA and pays homage to the movies & music of a bygone age….
Damien Chazelle’s romantic musical LA LA LAND is everything I hoped for and so much more….
as I sat in the cinema mouth agape watching the words “Presented in CinemaScope” and the camera expertly panning over the cars of a packed LA freeway I quickly realized that I was in for a magical ride down the cinematic highway – a voice through a car’s open window started singing, her voice raw with emotion and suddenly without thinking I found myself tapping my feet to it’s catchy beat, chills started dancing across my spine, my face lit up at the explosion of color and what happened next was pretty special….
throughout it’s 2hrs I felt like I was transported back to Old Hollywood reminiscing of them musical stars of yesteryear, images flooding my mind of Fred, Ginger, Rooney & Garland all singing, dancing before me as I sat transfixed, seduced by LA LA LAND’s heart melting musical numbers, the films colorful sets and dreamy, infectious pairing of two of Hollywood’s brightest young stars in Gosling & Stone….
I have so many favorite scenes in the movie – the song & dance number at the Griffith Observatory, the lovely moment with Gosling’s Sebastian singing the beautiful “City of Stars” on the pier and that amusing moment at the party where Stone’s Mia asks a band to play the 80s track “I Ran” by one hit wonder band A Flock of Seagulls and then dances manically whilst lip syncing the lyrics – the performances by it’s cast and music by Justin Hurwitz is complete PERFECTION….
if 2014’s Whiplash that starred Miles Teller & J.K Simmons stunned you with it’s brilliance then Damien Chazelle’s LA LA LAND will overwhelm you, make you smile from ear to ear and allow you to dream that little bit longer – From it’s magical, entertaining & insanely eye popping opening number to it’s bitter sweet, emotionally draining finale LA LA LAND is cinema at it’s most potent, electrifying best…. ★★★★½
as a teenager growing up in the 80s I was in awe of this bad-ass Princess that lived through the medium of the movies, she was my first movie crush, a total and utter rebel who gave me hope that the evil scum of the empire would be toppled and the rebellion would win out the day – she was of course Princess Leia aka: Carrie Frances Fisher – born to the wonderful screen star Debbie Reynolds and singer Eddie Fisher Carrie was like Hollywood royalty and with the help of George Lucas, Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill she would soon become a movie idol cherished and loved by legions of movie fans that were not only struck by her immense beauty but also with her humor & intelligence – Carrie not only appeared in the original Star Wars trilogy and 2015’s The Force Awakens but she also wrote novels that included her 1987 autobiographical Postcards from the Edge that would later become a movie starring Meryl Streep and just before her death Carrie was promoting her latest autobiography The Princess Diarist – but to me Carrie will always be that fearless Princess that ignited the Star Wars trilogy and thankfully due to film we all can at any time take a trip to a galaxy far, far away and keep her memory alive, onscreen of course that is…….
It’s always painful as a film fan to loose anybody you’ve admired in the business, even if that person was from afar and sadly the passing of Garry Marshall is one that hurts like hell – yes I know what your thinking “you never knew the guy so why the sad face?” well let me tell you why the sad face – Garry Marshall was a huge part of my television life, back in the 80s I would watch his classic creations Mork & Mindy, The Odd Couple and Happy Days the Marshall stamp was clear on all these shows, simple, effective and loveable characters that would bring tears of joy to my face, then in the late 80s and early 90s when I became truly addicted to film he delivered two classic film gems 1987s Overboard with Goldie Hawn & Kurt Russell and then in 1990 the romantic Pretty Woman with Julia Roberts & Richard Gere, both fantastic slices of cinema that continue to get replayed in my home on a yearly basis – other much loved films in my collection include his 2004 film Raising Helen with Kate Hudson and the underrated Frankie & Johnny from 1991 that starred Al Pacino & Michelle Pfeiffer – so as you can see Garry Marshall meant a lot (and still does), his film style, his love of the audience, his performers and most of all he above all else his creations made me smile when I needed to smile most and for that I thank him RIP