Happy 89th Birthday to the Iconic Music Composer JOHN WILLIAMS who was born on this day in New York in 1932 : he really started to make waves back in the seventies including the disaster movie trio of The Towering Inferno, Earthquake and The Poseidon Adventure and one of my favorite western themes back in 1972 The Cowboys : then in 1974 John started his collaboration with one of the finest filmmakers of our time in Steven Spielberg : for me John & Steve are the greatest director/composer duo in film, any there’s no doubt without John’s iconic scores to Speilberg’s masterful direction the films would not have the same impact : whether his music is rousing or at a much slower tempo John Williams has the ability of fitting a piece of music to the scene more than any other composer with some of his best work falling within the movie rather than it’s title’s main theme, take the barrel chase from Jaws, the Over the Moon segment from E.T. and Marion’s Theme from Raiders they all have epic qualities and encapsulate the great man’s input to that particular moment : one’s that didn’t make my top four but deserve a mention include Jurassic Park, Harry Potter, E.T., Home Alone, JFK, Close Encounters and Empire of the Sun
Born on the 18th December 1946 : STEVEN SPIELBERG has crafted one of the finest, unparalled bodies of work of any movie director, his films have touched, entertained and astonished millions across the world : his work includes some of my personal favorites such as Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Jurassic Park and E.T. and so many more that I have grown up watching, loving and revisiting as often as I can : his latest movie to hopefully land on the big screen will be the remake of West Side Story and keeping busy Spielberg is in pre-production on The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara a film based on the book by David I. Kertzer and will reunite it’s director with Mark Rylance : to celebrate Steven Spielberg‘s 74th birthday I think it’s only right that I quote one of my favorite lines from his finest movie “It’s not the years, honey. It’s the milage” (Indiana Jones)
One of my favorite Steven Spielberg quotes : “When you listen, you learn, You absorb like a sponge : and your life becomes so much better than when you are just trying to be listened to all the time”
Number 11 of My Top 31 Horror Movies : An unearthly fog rolls into a small coastal town exactly 100 years after a ship mysteriously sank in its waters : the movie starts on a beach, a group of kids sat around a burning fire as an old fishing captain tells the story about a shipwrecked clipper boat named the Elizabeth Dane….. : after the success of his 1978 horror Halloween, and turning his back on filming a more lucrative sequel filmmaker John Carpenter turned to a story he had written after finding inspiration from a 50s movie The Trollenberg Terror and also by visiting the infamous and some say mystical Stonehenge : THE FOG is both riverting and utterly hair-raising and unlike many of it’s contemporaries it’s not violent or gory yet there’s something quite unsettling lurking deep down in the belly of this 80’s ghost story : from the chilling synth score that accompanies the whiteness of the fog drifting up the coast and into Antonio Bay sweeping across the horizon into churches, underneath doorways, shrouding everything that it comes into contact with, in a death cosuming way to it’s terrific cast that includes Jamie Lee’s drifter, Tom Atkins townie, the wonderful Hal Holbrook as Father Malone and the gorgeous Adrienne Barbeau as DJ Stevie Wayne who broadcasts a local radio show from the lighthouse on the coast (filmed at Point Reyes) : there’s many ingredients to a great movie but for me apart from it’s director the person responsible in how the film looks & feels to the viewer is the DP and they don’t come more impressive than Dean Cundey, I mean talk about LEGEND, from Halloween, The Thing, Escape from New York to Romancing the Stone, Back to the Future and Jurassic Park here’s a guy who has managed to capture moment on film like no other and with John Carpenter’s The Fog Cundey creates this ghostly, chilling atmosphere one of dread and unpleasantness that resonates from the very start of the movie to it’s finish : If you’ve never seen John Carpenter’s THE FOG then your missing a trick, it’s the perfect antidote for those dark & rainy nights when a good old fashioned horror is required, a scary movie that will engulf, unnerve and creep you down to your bones ★★★★★
A team of scientists led by John Goodman’s Bill Randa team up with a bunch of soldiers, a tracker and an anti-war photographer to explore an uncharted island in the Pacific. What starts off as a mission of discovery quickly becomes a mission of survival….
Kong: Skull Island is directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts (The Kings of Summer) and stars Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, Brie Larson, Jing Tian, Toby Kebbell, Shea Whigham and John C. Reilly
Jordan Vogt-Roberts ballsy entry into the world of Kong is unlike any previous picture featuring our giant monster ape – for starters Skull Island is set back in the 70’s not modern day mostly taking place on the island, there’s no climbing the Empire State Building, no naval war planes to swat or be shot at and certainly no love story to be emotionally attached to, this is one gutsy move and one that works so well for the film giving Skull Island it’s own originality and place in the genre. Unlike Peter Jackson’s 2005 entry that was over long and dragged at times Kong: Skull Island runs at a much quicker pace getting straight into the nitty grittty within the films opening 20 minutes, in previous movies the big reveal of Kong was left until the film’s latter half but in this version we dive straight in getting introduced to this big, scary and downright impressive beast from the get go….
With obvious nods to movies such as Jurassic Park & Apocalypse Now and similarities to films such as Predator the latest in the so called MonsterVerse Kong: Skull Island was everything I hoped for and more – yeah of course like any film it will have it’s minor criticism and maybe more could have been done with it’s character development & back story but when all is said & done this is a movie that’s about monsters, big nasty rip your arms from your socket type of monsters and at this level Kong: Skull Island succeeds – along with the almighty Kong you get to witness some real nasty mother huggers that include Skull Crushers, Giant Spiders, Stick Insects and Buffalo style dinos all wildly entertaining, visually stunning & barrels of fun….
Overall: Kong: Skull Island ENTERTAINS – it’s jam packed full of thrills spills and lots of kills, dramatic & vibrant photography, thunderous soundtrack and a movie that dazzles with it’s beautiful backdrops and CGI (Jordan Vogt-Roberts & Larry Fong shot loads of this movie in Vietnam and WOW what incredible, beautiful scenery) – Skull Island is now my 2nd favorite King Kong movie behind the 1933 original and one that I can highly recommend & look forward to revisiting very soon ★★★★
ps…. don’t forget to wait till after the credits for a post credit scene
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
Here’s the new trailer for Colin Trevorrow’s much anticipated JURASSIC WORLD that stars Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Judy Greer, Jake Johnson & Omar Sy – judging by the trailer this promises to be all sorts of popcorn munching fun, mixing the magic of Spielberg’s original classic with high doses of CGI laden action scenes, an exciting young cast that includes Guardians of the Galaxy’s Chris Pratt and what I hope to be a colorful, intelligent screenplay – I am a huge fan of Colin Trevorrow who’s indie pic Safety Not Guaranteed blew me away, and having seen this trailer several times JUNE 2015 promises to deliver a monster time at the flicks…. Enjoy !!
Godzilla (2014) – Movie Review ★★★★
Director: Gareth Edwards – Cast: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen, Juliette Binoche, Sally Hawkins, David Strathairn and Bryan Cranston – Synopsis: the movie starts deep in the Phillippines where archeological work uncovers some sort of gigantic skeleton and two egg-shaped pods – two scientists who work for a company called Monarch are called in to investigate, they realize upon inspection that one of the pods have hatched and whatever was inside have crawled out and made it’s way to the ocean – the action then turns to a Nuclear Plant near Tokyo, Japan where some rather unusual activity is being felt – minutes later an explosion occurs followed by a radiation leak that wipes out a crew of scientists and then suddenly the plant begins it’s collapse into ruin – the powers at be are calling this disaster a deadly earthquake but the plant’s supervisor Brody (Cranston) who lost his wife inside the plant is convinced otherwise – Verdict: Having watched Gareth Edwards showcase his directing skills on the small budget yet effective MONSTERS I was fascinated to see what he could do with a Hollywood blockbuster and a remake of the classic Japanese monster movie GODZILLA – I remember as a young boy watching them monsters (in rubber suits) battling it out in the original films and screaming at the TV in amazement and total wonder Godzilla was scary as hell, a destructive force but also hero and one you could root for – and then all grown up I set eyes on Roland Emmerich’s picture, a typical 90’s Hollywood Blockbuster that stomped and screamed all over my childhood memories, part of my dislike for the flick was Matthew Broderick who was awful and the film’s plot can only be described as hilarious, sure it did pretty well at the box office but as a screen spectacle it was pure garbage – so now in 2014 it’s the turn of British filmmaker Gareth Edwards to hopefully reignite GODZILLA in all it’s glory & on the biggest screen’s in 3D – hopefully this movie will be the start of a new chapter in the world of the King of Monsters – Overall: although at first the hiring of relative newcomer Gareth Edwards to helm this possible huge franchise may have been thought a brave and daring choice by the movie studio’s it could have also turned out to be the movie’s master stroke – Edwards obvious admiration towards the likes of Steven Spielberg is evident, the monster’s are slowly introduced to it’s audience teasing you, gripping you and allowing you to sweat a little whilst the action unfolds, the film’s buildup & tension is very reminiscent of Spielberg’s classic JAWS and is beautifully filmed, carrying some great nod’s to the monster movies of yesteryear and complimented by a heart thumping soundtrack – the film’s main trio of cast members do a great job too, first up you have the reliable star of TV’s Breaking Bad Bryan Cranston who comes across as this family guy, totally committed to his job & who’s eventually turned into this guy who looks to have some serious paranoia issues, secondly there’s the soldier come action hero Taylor-Johnson who many know from his role in action flick Kick-Ass and Oliver Stone’s superb Savages who has not only matured as actor but seems to exude lot’s of screen presence and looks every bit a Hollywood leading man and last but not least there’s the underused & super talented Elizabeth Olsen who plays a wife and mum, who shows great emotion and steals pretty much every scene she’s part of – GODZILLA is in an exciting, bold and refreshing monster movie that can be enjoyed by all – it’s certainly no masterpiece and it won’t win any movie awards but one thing for sure is that when you take your seat at your local cinema Gareth Edwards vision will entertain, surprise and make you smile like a school kid once more….