A covert team of immortal mercenaries are suddenly exposed and must now fight to keep their identity a secret just as an unexpected new member is discovered – I’m always excited to see a new action movie, especially one that’s based on a graphic novel with such a cool premise…. I’ve not read the novels so I went in blind and was pleasently surprised by the overall darkness of Gina Prince-Bythewood‘s THE OLD GUARD – obviously we all know about the action prowess of the Fury Road star Charlize Theron playing Andy the leader of the Immortals, her action scenes are without doubt the best bits in the movie but I also enjoyed watching the emergence of KiKi Layne ACTION STAR her screen time especially opposite Theron as Nile were fun to watch, the plane fight scene between the two being a definite highlight – the style of the action and the films flashbacks as we discover more about the team and Andy’s friendship with fellow warrior Quynh were exciting, Chiwetel Ejiofor was his usual high standard taking on the role of Copley and I was also impressed with Harry Melling’s villainous turn as Merrick, not that I should have been surprised as the Harry Potter star is also very good in the Coens The Ballad of Buster Scruggs – Overall The Old Guard is an enjoyable action romp, yes I’ve seen better but the director’s vision and exciting style in this genre has given me hope that a sequel led by Gina Prince-Bythewood would be something I would look forward too ★★★½
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.
Just revisited the Director’s Cut of KINGDOM OF HEAVEN and it’s one of those movies that has grown on me over the years, it’s a remarkable, entertaining and thought provoking epic and THANK the gods that Ridley gave us this 3hr plus definitive cut of his 2005 movie – It’s story is richer, characters more defined and the film’s battle scenes have a much bigger impact on the picture as a whole – If you own the theatrical version then throw it in the trash, go out and buy the extended cut of Kingdom of Heaven and treat yourself to a rewarding rewatch, it’s an overlooked gem that’s certainly amongst the top tier of Ridley Scott’s magnificent cinematic library ★★★★½
Revisited one of Walter Hill’s lesser known movies 1992’s TRESPASS – made for $14 Million and written by the Back to the Future pair of Gale & Zemeckis – I absolutley loved the film’s pace, it’s raw & gritty premise but most of all I LOVED watching Bill Paxton & William Sadler going to work against the ICE duo of Cube & T – the film is set in a deserted warehouse and is somewhat a treasure hunt mixed with a bit of gang warfare, it’s pretty relentless and a bit of Die Hard reunion with the already mentioned William Sadler (Colonel Stuart in Die Hard 2), De’voreaux White (the Limo driver from the first movie) and the wonderful Art Evans (the air traffic controller in Die Hard’s sequel) all of course contribute highly to the movie’s overall story – So if like me you love Walter Hill and his style of no-nonsense filmmaking or you just want to reminisce in the presence of the great and much missed Bill Paxton then Trespass is for you ★★★★
A teenager’s weekend at home with her dad takes a turn for the worse when a group of escaped convicts decide to interupt their plans – From the fab duo of Milott & Murnion who in 2014 gave us the insanely good Cooties comes their new horror picture BECKY a home invasion movie that will no doubt upset someone, somewhere at somepoint – There is no question that this film is the darkest of the the duo’s three movies to date, you get a nasty performance by Kevin James who plays a neo-nazi convict, some blood thirsty Home Alone style action scenes that’s not for the faint hearted, a real eye-catching moment during the film’s second half and the star of the show Lulu Wilson who is quite simply wonderful playing Becky this teenage girl who’s loss of her mother has hardened her mentally and given her this moody chip on her shoulder that serves her well in trying to survive – My only criticism is that the film runtime could have been slightly longer to allow a bit more characterization which would have helped explain Becky’s relationship or lack of with her father Jeff played by Joel Mchale BUT nevertheless the film is a credit to Milott & Murnion a real heart-stopper, a violent exciting horror thriller that I will no doubt revisit again and again ★★★★
Four African-American vets return to Vietnam seeking the remains of their friend and fallen Squad Leader and the gold he helped them hide – Back in 2013 after watching the Oldboy remake I honestly thought the great Spike Lee maybe past it, possibly spent as a filmmaker and only to be reveared for past glories…. In 2018 he delivered one of the best movies of that year in BlacKkKlansman and today in his first outing with Netflix Spike Lee has once again rolled back the years…. DA 5 BLOODS is not only an exceptional picture but it’s a timely history lesson that’s high on emotion, tense as a butt cheek in a landmine, a riverting adventure romp and one of Lee’s more violent and ambitious movie Joints to date – Rather than the deaging of actors (like Scorsese did in The Irishman) Spike Lee decided on a different and in my opinion more refreshing approach seeing the old guard play their younger selves in the film’s flashbacks which helped the film’s narrative and was exciting to watch, the music from the grand master Marvin Gaye, the message throughout of Love over Hate and shooting on location in Vietnam gave Da 5 Bloods it’s heartbeat…. and did I mention Delroy “Mother Fucking” Lindo in his fourth collaboration with Lee and in my opinion his best, Lindo’s character Paul is an all kinds of messed up, racist war vet that harbor’s a secret, his performance reminds me of Bogey in Sierra Madre as you watch his character slowly unravel in quite a devistating way – Overall there can be no doubt Spike Lee is back making film’s that connect with it’s audience in an entertaining, shocking yet relevant way ★★★★½
Based on Peter Carey’s novel about the story of Australian Outlaw Ned Kelly and his gang of misfits as they tangle with the local fuzz during the 1870s – TRUE HISTORY OF THE KELLY GANG is Justin Kurzel’s 4th feature film and from start to finish the film is harrowing stuff with it’s violence, harshness of the times depicted in brutal fashion by the Aussie filmmaker who broke onto the scene with his raw yet brilliant debut Snowtown back in 2011 – George MacKay, Russell Crowe and Orlando Schwerdt are terrific in the movie as is Charlie Hunnam and Nicholas Hoult both adding some menace to proceedings, and is there a better Aussie actress than Essie Davis at the moment? a totally committed, ballsey actress that has such a screen presense as she commits to her role 120% – Some of the movie was shot in the Winton Wetlands which I found such a perfect location lending to the movies haunting, barren yet majestic landscape – Kurzel’s movie is certainly not everybody’s cup of tea but it was mine and I would recommend the True History of The Kelly Gang to anyone who loves movies, I just hope it gets the exposure it deserves ★★★★
I’m a sucker for these type of movies and this looks BRILLIANT – the premise looks fresh, dark & truly twisted and has a small hint of Fincher’s Seven blended with the bloody terrifying franchise we love so much !! Spiral (aka: Spiral: From The Book of Saw) is the ninth installment in the Saw franchise. Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman who brought us Saw II, Saw III and Saw IV, and starring Chris Rock, Samuel L. Jackson, Max Minghella, and Marisol Nichols
A mob hitman tells the story of his possible involvement with the hit on Jimmy Hoffa – THE IRISHMAN is Martin Scorsese’s 25th feature film and is now on Netflix (and showing at limited cinema’s throughout the country) – the movie starts in beautiful, typical Scorsese fashion, with the camera creeping effortlessly along some corridors and into a small room where Robert De Niro’s character Frank aka: The Irishman who looks old and life beaten starts to tell his story….. due to the quality of storytelling the film’s 209min run-time flies by, you get so engrossed by it all, I mean this is one of cinema’s greatest directors with a bunch of actors who are LEGENDS of the screen in a gangster movie no less what’s not to piss your movie loving pants over – THE IRISHMAN is a towering movie experience that shows more restraint, is more personal & certainly more tragic than Scorsese’s recent films – the de-aging of it’s cast is sublime and actually mind blowing if you’ve followed these actors since their early days, De Niro, Pacino and Pesci roll back the years giving outstanding performances with the likes of Stephen Graham & Ray Romano joining the big boys league in fine fashion, Graham’s character Tony Pro has some riveting and funny exchanges with Pacino’s Hoffa that are certainly amongst the film’s highlights – Overall The Irishman may not be Scorsese’s best work but a love letter to the genre & a tribute to Four Giants of the screen it most certainly is ★★★★½
Cop Land, 3:10 to Yuma, The Wolverine, Logan and now FORD v FERRARI James Mangold’s thrill ride, a 7,000 RPM adrenaline fueled, pulsating ENERGY packed racing movie that sees Matt Damon deliver a career best, Christian Bale in infectious form, Caitriona Balfe delivering one of the film’s best moments and the race scenes WOW their pure dynamite – for me 2019 is the best year of the decade for cinematic treasures and this film continues the trend in leaving me speechless and rather emotional as I left my seat at the big screen – obviously the Le Mans track has changed through the years since the 60s so how on earth did James Mangold and his team recreate the movies focal point? it’s just mind boggling, the camera work by the Greek cinematographer Phedon Papamichael is sublime, his work in creating that claustrophobic yet thrilling car racing scenes is pure brilliance but for me the main reason this movie succeeds is it’s cast who are simply magnetic – what a movie and a ride you don’t wana miss on the big screen ★★★★★
So last week I was luck enough to revisit one of my favorite horror movies of all time Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece The Shining on the big screen and today I visited my local cinema to watch Doctor Sleep and let me tell you something IT is nothing short of EXCEPTIONAL !! This is director Mike Flanagan’s love letter to the Torrance family & all things that shine, how he managed to recreate such iconic sets such as the spine chilling blood from the elevator scene, Danny exploring the hotel on his tricycle, the room to room interior of the Overlook, those scary twins and of course the overheard camera following Danny’s car up towards the Overlook accompanied by that haunting score God Only Knows – Ewan McGregor is terrific as Danny Torrence, Rebecca Ferguson’s Rose the Hat & her power draining cult known as the True Knot are so bloody scary, reminding me slightly of the roaming blood suckers in Bigelow’s Near Dark – some of their scenes especially the one that involved No.19 the young baseball player scared the hell out of me whilst the incredible Alex Essoe literally sent shivers down my spine with her remarkable performance as Wendy Torrence – Overall Doctor Sleep is a cinematic triumph that pays homage to it’s predecessor whilst creating a creepy atmosphere & super scary horror of it’s own !! ★★★★★
Some actors make other actors and the films they appear in look better than they actually are Robert Forster was one of those, an honest hard working pro that no matter how big a part he had in that particular movie he always stood out and made that scene memorable – many knew him for his work on Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown but this New Yorker has been around since the late 60’s appearing in hidden gems throughout his career such as: 1978’s Avalanche, 1980’s monster movie Alligator, William Lustig’s brilliant Vigilante, one of my favourites Walking the Edge, Renny Harlin’s Cleaner and so many more – his latest film had just aired on Netflix where he played Ed in El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie he only had limited screen time in the film but what he did with it mattered and that basically sums up the screen career of Robert Forster…… may you rest in peace !!
I have never seen Misery, Relief & Hatred captured so magnificently than in Todd Phillips JOKER – Over the years I have been lucky enough to watch every movie JOKER on the big screen and they have all been good for different reasons YET in my opinion they are all pale imitation’s of the DC character when you compare them to Joaquin Phoenix’s take on the madman of Gotham – the intensity that Phoenix brings to the role is immense, it’s a whirlwind of crazy, one that is quite terrifying to watch – The film has so many evocative scenes and it’s also possibly the best movies I can remember with night time scenes, all beautifully shot by cinematographer Lawrence Sher who also did great work on Phillips 2016 movie War Dogs – My Opinion: This is no ordinary comic book movie it’s essentially a character study, a thought provoking piece on how one of the great comic book villains came to be, it touches on mental health issues, bullying and is very dark and incredibly moving – it’s well worth putting on your happy face and visiting your local cinema NOW ★★★★★
Just caught up with BLISS from director Joe Begos (and my first thoughts are WOW just WOW !! It’s quite simply brilliant, a drug fuelled hallucinogenic nightmare that turns half way through into a bonkers blood crazed vampire movie – The movie starts very slowly so stick with as the film’s second half will blow you away – Mike Testin’s work behind the camera is gorgeous, the films color and drug sequences are wild and Dora Madison is crazy and I mean crazy good !! ★★★★½