For those of you who follow me on social media or read this movie blog you will know by now that I adore Ridley Scott, his movies and all things Alien but in recent years I have been quite vocal on this legendary directors fall from the dizzy heights of yesteryear to churning out such ordinary movies, average affairs such as Robin Hood, The Counselor, Exodus: Gods and Kings and the pretty dismal Prometheus – I am so conflicted, the one side of me is so grateful to this legendary filmmaker for giving us so many iconic movies but the other side keeps asking the question “why does Ridley Scott continue to direct such sub par movies? take a leaf out of Tarantino and Cameron’s book, maybe direct a film every few years instead of every year?” it’s my opinion that these films will only tarnish his brilliant reputation – I really had hoped that Ridley had turned the corner back in 2015, I absolutley loved The Martian with Matt Damon this was a real return to form from a director in need of some resurection so when it was announced that a new Alien movie was in production a sequel to the dreadful Prometheus nevertheless I was pumped, excited and looking forward to maybe a new chapter in this great series of scifi indulgence…..
Sadly for me though Alien Covenant was not what I hope it would be, yes it was better than Prometheus (well that wasn’t hard now was it) and yes maybe over the last 10yrs The Martian aside it’s one of his better efforts but overall it was a big screen blockbuster that left me feeling flat, it was way too predictable, contained some shitty CGI that made the overall production feel shoddy and unpolished and although Covenant had it’s moments it’s narrative tried to over complicate things so the reasons why we loved the original movies were lost in this world, a franchise that was slowly becoming more about the androids than anything else – Ridley also thought it was a good idea to go all mystical on our asses so inserted some really strange Obi Wan moments featuring David from Prometheus, living like an old wise hermit in a cave, listening to wind chimes and blowing his flute delivering lines such as “you blow and I will do the fingering” I just found all this mumble jumble embarrassing, out of place and lacking any sort of vision, suspense and was almost laughable at times….
I am not saying that Alien Covenant as a movie is a complete disaster, for me it’s not got that Ridley Scott stamp on it – McBride and Fassbender are both terrific in their respective roles and some of the nice homages to previous movies were great to see but overall Covenant felt like a bad dream a two a penny slasher that felt like a rehash of the original movie that is desperately trying to emulate all the things that worked such as (face huggers, chest bursters, acid for blood and so on) yet delivering it all with no panach and most importantly zero tension, yeah it’s a shit load more violent than it’s predecessors but that’s nothing to be proud about, what made 1979’s Alien so damn good was it’s slow burning tension that’s gnaws away at you but with Covenant you feel nothing – most of the films undoing in my opinion is it’s lack of humanity I felt so disconnected to the crew of the ship, the characters in the movie were not developed enough so when they slowly start getting picked off I actually felt very little for them, I was numb and that overall summed up my experience with this movie at it’s finale – I just hope Ridley doesn’t out stay his welcome and he lets go of the Alien reigns and allows a new filmmaker to bring some fresh ideas to this much loved franchise ……★★★½
Geoffrey Orthwein & Andrew Sullivan have crafted something quite majestic in BOKEH an end of the world movie that flows like an Icelandic waterfall and captures the backdrop of Reykjavik like a painting, subtle with mouthwatering color, mystery and full of energy all of which adds to their movies narrative and overall feel….
The film starts with a young couple Jenai (Maika Monroe) and Riley (Matt O’Leary) both enjoying their vaction, taking photos and making the most of their gorgeous surroundings – the early snippets of the movie is like an advert for the perfect Iceland vacation, clips of the pair visiting such sites as the famous Geysirs, the many Waterfalls, the Islands moon like landscape & the enchanting Blue Lagoon – the film then switches to a scene where Jenai is standing looking out through her hotel window, it’s the middle of the night and a northern light storm engulfs the dark skylinefill appearing to approach Jenai’s position before disappearing into the night – suddenly as if a dream its now morning and Riley is waking Jenai up, they then leave their room hunting for some breakfast when they start noticing that there is nobody in the hotel and once outside they discover to their disbelief that the population of the city has vanished leaving the two of them isolated together in a city that is now empty of its character, its many voices, its smells and vibrancy – and then it hits home, they’re alone and now what do they do?….
This film took me by surprise, I had seen Maika and O’Leary in other projects but this movie and it’s filmmakers were not on my radar and having recently visited Iceland this gave the movie a sense of realism that totally captivated me, the films gorgeous photography, it’s haunting storyline and how the film looks at the plight of Jenai and Riley and the strain it takes on their relationship gave me chills, so as I sat their enthralled by Bokeh I wondered to myself what would I do if ever faced with this scenario? Towards the end of the movie I was aching for more, I wanted to see how the characters handled the harsh winter, the snow covering their now forced upon city and watch them take in the magical northern lights dancing across the sky, but sadly I guess Orthwein & Sullivan had to finish the movie at some point and its finale is both beautiful, tragic yet so befitting….
The film’s title Bokeh means the out-of-focus parts of an image taken from a camera lens and somehow depending on which side of the fence you sit can also describle how both the characters in the movie view the circumstances they find themselves in, one of them is slightly more happy to go with the flow and accepts their lot, the other cannot and will not accept that this has happened – Bokeh is an absolute delight from start to finish and one that I just can’t stop thinking about – from its stunning Icelandic location, refreshing exciting yet tragic storyline and two engaging performances by Maika and O’Leary Bokeh gives a twist and turn to the normal zombie infested “end of the world” style movie – a true hidden GEM and one that will divide opinion…. ★★★★
The Beguiled adapted by film maker Sofia Coppola from Thomas Cullinan’s novel of the same name – the story unfolds in a girls’ school in the state of Virginia in 1864. As the Civil War rages, The Miss Martha Farnsworth Seminary for Young Ladies has been sheltered from the outside world— until the day a wounded Union soldier is discovered nearby and taken in
WOW that trailer gives me the goosebumps – and now you can see why I named this movie in My Top 10 to get psyched over in 2017 – with such a mouth watering cast including Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Elle Fanning, Kirsten Dunst and Angourie Rice, a film-maker and writer in Sofia Coppola that excites and seduces with each sumptuous picture she directs, I’m confident that THE BEGUILED this summer will be another slice of cinema magic that I can not wait for….
here’s two new screen prints from Mike Mitchell’s Star Wars Series – I hope you agree “Princess Leia” and “Wicket” are simply stunning – both so damn beautiful….
If you take D’J Caruso’s latest movie with a pinch of salt (remember when 80s action was cool?) then I guarantee two things you will have shit loads of fun & you will leave the cinema with a nice big smile…
This is the third movie in the spy franchise xXx: Return of Xander Cage “After returning from a self-imposed exile, Xander Cage (Vin Diesel) must recover an evil known only as Pandora’s Box before the bad guys uses this weapon for mass destruction “ – Alongside action star Vin Diesel the films mind blowingly awesome cast also includes Donnie Yen, Nina Dobrev, Toni Collette, Ruby Rose, Deppika Padukone and Samuel L Jackson….
You know what I really dug about this movie?…. the insane amount of action, high octane totally bonkers fight scenes and the films ability not to take itself too serious – it’s all about entertainment and from that stance it most certainly succeeds – I mean come on how on earth can you not enjoy watching Xander Cage ski down a hillside weaving through trees and shit followed by some incredible skate boarding whilst shooting bad guys? that incredible moment when Xander faces off against Donnie Yen’s Xiang in a “holy shit that just happened” wave tunnel? the many hand to hand combat scenes mostly too epic to discuss? the return of an old friend in a great warehouse shootout and so many more delicious, breathless, relentless moments that fulfill the movies ultimate quest in giving it’s audience such an unbelievable cinematic buzz….
OK so listen up – xXx: Return of Xander Cage is not going to sweep the Oscars anytime soon, it’s not even gonna reinvent the genre, and it’s script won’t be compared to Schindler’s List or the like so if that’s what your expecting when buying a ticket at the box office then please be warned this slice of action pie is not for you – going to see this movie is like attending a party you will be expected to have fun right, enjoy oneself and remember regardless of what Bond style shit goes down this is only a movie – along with it’s crazy action madness watching Vampire Diaries’s Nina Dobrev playing a ditzy “Q” type character with a sense of humor and that damn fine Aussie Ruby Rose hanging from a tree shooting bad guys didn’t half raise the pulse, two ladies having so much fun & both so bloody good in their respective roles….
xXx: Return of Xander Cage is movie escapism at it’s finest, a COOL as f@ck action movie that made me smile from the opening 5 minutes to it’s end credits – D’J Caruso should sign up for a fourth movie so let’s make it happen and the sooner the better…. ★★★★
ok…. so if you’ve not heard of Theodore Melfi the writer, director behind HIDDEN FIGURES that’s possibly because he’s not done a great deal (in the directing department that is) – apart from some early shorts, a couple of producing credits & in 2014 directing a certain Bill Murray in the wonderful St Vincent Melfi is pretty much an unknown quantity – Hidden Figures is his second feature behind the camera and stars Taraji P Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, Kevin Costner & Glen Powell….
To my absolute shame I did not know anything about the brilliant minds of these courageous, smart NASA ladies Katherine G Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson so firstly a big thank you Theodore Melfi for enlightening me – secondly Taraji, Octavia, Janelle take a bow, you are all goddesses in this movie, your performances not only honors these heroic women but you also stole a tear and made this guys heart melt in telling their story and finally a thank you to Pharrell Williams for that majestic little song “Running” that is not only a superb tune but also fits the scene in the movie perfectly….
WHAT AN INSPIRING MOVIE !! without sounding condescending HIDDEN FIGURES is a true story on how three African-American ladies competed with the prejudice of the times to achieve almost the impossible, not only helping to get astronaut John Glen into Space but also in achieving their own personal goals at NASA in the early 60s – this is one hell of a movie that deserves to be watched by the masses…. ★★★★½
2016 was not only a year of great loss but it was a year to celebrate some incredible cinema – some damn fine Independent Pictures that made me cry, laugh and sit back in pure amazement at the storytelling and acting involved – it was a year of exceptional Horror, mostly low budget affairs that reminded me of the movies of yesteryear and 2016 was also a year of some lighthearted, enormously fun blockbusters that didn’t quite make this list but I enjoyed thoroughly nevertheless – there are still many movies from last year that I didn’t get to watch but as custom I have put together a list of My Top 15 Movies of 2016 in poster form below – Have a wonderful Movie Watching 2017 from all of us all here A Very Happy New Year!