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 ★★★★
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
BREATH : Simon Baker
Sam Coulter, Ben Spence, Elizabeth Debicki, Simon Baker
I’ve not read Tim Winston’s novel BREATH that was published in 2008 but have just seen it’s film adaption by debut director Simon Baker and it’s an absolute peach, a slow burning coming-of-age surfing movie set in 70s Australia where two friends Pikelet & Loonie discover a thrill seeking adventure amongst the waves – Samson Coulter & Ben Spence give wonderful performances as the two lads, the chemistry between them gives authenticity to their friendship and the fact that both lads are top surfer’s in real life helps enormously – along with the boys surfing & interaction with Simon Baker’s character Sando who’s a retired ex-surfing champ I really enjoyed the scenes between Coulter’s Pikelet & Eva played by the incredibly gifted Elizabeth Debicki these scenes are gorgeous and handled superbly – I must also mention the photography and especially the water sequences in the movie that are simply stunning and quite breathtaking to watch – If you’d like to watch a movie with no green screen, raw acting talent and a lovely story about friendship & adventure then Simon Baker’s Breath is for you – An Aussie Gem from start to finish ★★★★½
Phantom Thread is simply exquisite – its one of them movies that once over and the final credits begin to rise you wish dearly that you could rewind the whole thing and rewatch – as is always the case with a Paul Thomas Anderson picture it’s not just one thing about the movie that makes it a fantastic viewing experience there are plenty – from it’s seductive music that haunts every scene and almost sends you into this hypnotic state, the towering greatness of Daniel Day-Lewis his alluring stature and his chemistry with his co-stars Manville and Krieps sends shivers down your spine as you slowly delve deeper into his character, Lesley Manville’s scene stealing role as Reynolds sister Cyril, stone faced, hard as nails but strikingly loyal to those she loves, those epic camera shots particularly of the spiral stairway of the Woodcocks and the immense beauty of the English seaside, and of course last but not least the innocence, beauty and intelligence that Vicky Krieps gives to Alma in the film is an absolute delight her scenes with Day-Lewis especially that surprise dinner confrontation is perfect in so many ways – THIS is film-making of the highest order ★★★★½
I really ENJOYED Kriv Stenders edge of the seat Crash-style thriller Australia Day – along with Bryan Brown & Shari Sebbens who is bloody brilliant by the way, it’s young cast really does excell & allows the films story to roll at a break neck pace and feel downright authentic – there’s so much running in the movie that at times I felt out of breath watching it all go down – the film brings to light a whole lot of issues such as race and underage prostitution and although there’s nothing new about it’s narrative filmmaker Kriv Stenders handles it well and delivers a movie that balances between a high octain thriller and one that also makes one think of the choices & consequences in one’s life – overall Australia Day is well worth the watch and yet another Aussie Gem ★★★★
from it’s gritty storyline, Takayanagi’s haunting at times beautiful camera work, Bale & Pike’s ability to suck you into Cooper’s narrative and Max Richter’s soul searching score Hostiles is one of the Best Western since Eastwood’s Unforgiven, it’s dark & brutal just like the times, it’s uncomplicated and I can’t remember Christian Bale ever giving a better performance – this is one to watch on the big screen, it’s a visual treat and by the way it’s by no means the Bale & Pike show there’s a whole bunch of stone cold, gritty performances from the tigerish Rory Cochrane as Metz, Jesse Plemons (yep him again) as Kidder & Jonathan Majors as Woodsen – Scott Cooper’s Hostiles is such an awesome ride LOVED IT !! ★★★★½
After watching Bone Tomahawk back in 2015 my anticipation for the next S. Craig Zahler movie grew feverpitch, his simple style blended with a cult laid cast pumped with an explosive violent finale had me wondering how can this realatively new filmmaker top what I have classed as an instant cult classic? Well it only took 2 years and I had my answer BRAWL IN CELL BLOCK 99 is intoxicating in it’s execution, it’s sublime storytelling, it’s trade mark gut wrenching finale but most of all it’s one hell of a performance from Vince Vaughan as Bradley Thomas an ex-con boxer trying to make a living in any way which he can to provide for his wife and their unborn baby when all shit rains down and things get really ugly – Zahler’s writing and filmmaking style is kept simple but engaging, his use of character invention is spectacular almost Tarantino-esque, he knows how to deliver these weird, wonderful & downright nasty son of bitches to the screen, casting old pro’s such as Don Johnson to bring home key roles in his movies, and what about the great Udo Kier as the mysterious Placid Man, Kier’s role maybe small but it’s so pivotel and I can’t think of anyone I would rather play that role, Dexter’s Jennifer Carpenter gives a good turn as Bradley’s wife and Buffy’s Marc Blucas is eye catching as Bradley’s boss – but essentially Brawl in Cell Block 99 is Vince Vaughan’s movie, it’s a role that’s truly up there with some of the memorable film roles of all time, such as Travolta’s Vincent Vega in Pulp Fiction, Nicholson’s Jack Torrance in The Shining and more, Vaughan at times prowls the screen like The Duke did back in the old western’s of yesteryear, his wrestling background and stature is used by Zahler to great effect giving his character this imposing look who carries this quiet yet unsettling demeanor, for me a bit like Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk, those fight scenes in the last 40mins are quite something….
So to be very clear Brawl in Cell Block 99 is not for everyone, if you hate violence & don’t like to hear bone crunching sounds or watch torture and all sorts of blood curdling tear ups then please stay well clear of this movie – but if like me you like your films hard hitting with slices of no nonsense movie escapism then you will revel in this brutal uncompromising cult classic – now I only have to wait till next year for S. Craig Zahler next movie the epic titled Dragged Across Concrete that stars Mel Gibson & Vince Vaughan, my mouth is drooling already…. ★★★★½
“Samurai Manji has taken a lot of lives, both innocent and guilty, and now lives life in feudal Japan as a criminal. After being cursed with immortality until he kills enough evil men, Manji meets a young girl who enlists him to be her body-guard. Swearing loyalty, protection and vengeance against the group of sword fighters who slaughtered her family, the unlikely duo set on a remarkable quest of to make right against those who did them wrong.” – HOLY SHIT this looks all kinds of BADASS AWESOME – can you believe that this is Takashi Miike’s 100th movie – of recent times I have been left breathless by this Japanese filmmaker, his own brand of chaos raining down with movies such as Thirteen Assassins and Yakuza Apocalpyse both ballsy & breathtaking in their execution so if his latest Blade of the Immortal comes anywhere close to these two gems then this film guy will be elated – Blade of the Immortal is based on a Japanese manga series by Hiroaki Samura and looks visually stunning – hope you enjoy the trailer….
TOBE HOOPER (1943-2017) – directed one of the truly great films of our time, and in my eyes the scariest, most brutal raw ride into terror that i’ve witnessed – THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE stills gives me chills as it did when I first came across it as kid watching it on video over a friends whilst his parents were at work – I was HORRIFIED it gave me NIGHTMARES but it also started my love affair with all things horror – you will be missed but your legacy of horror such as TEXAS, THE FUN HOUSE, SALEM’S LOT, LIFEFORCE and POLTERGEIST will continue to entertain and inspire a new legion of fans forever…..
“First there was an opportunity……then there was a betrayal – 20 Years later Mark Renton returns to Edinburgh to find a lot of change but also somethings that never change….”
From his gritty, raw beginnings with the uncompromising Shallow Grave to the exciting drug fueled Trainspotting, the quirky colorful A Life Less Ordinary, the post-apocalyptic horror 28 Days Later to his much acclaimed Slumdog Millionaire and Steve Jobs film maker Danny Boyle has been excelling & exciting movie goers for over 20yrs….
But for me, and some may disagree his early films are still his best work, small low budget, well acted, well written black humored slices of magic….
What an incredible, nostalgic, hilarious and momentous sequel TRAINSPOTTING 2 is – from it’s punchy soundtrack, quick snappy dialogue to the brilliance of Carlyle and it’s crack-a-jack visuals this is Danny Boyle direction at his best – yes it’s taken 20yrs to see this bunch of talent back on the big screen but can you just imagine just for one moment if this movie never happened? and the much publicized spat between McGregor & Boyle was never reconciled HOLY SHIT we would have missed out on so so much – like laughing in hysterics whilst watching Renton & Franco in the toilet cubical next to each other their faces a peach as the penny drops, or being stuffed up with emotion when Spud played by the amazing Ewan Bremner tried to kill himself and then being stunned with a mix of hilarity when he threw up in the bag that was suffocating him or watching once best friends Renton & Sickboy kick the crap out of each other in the pub and then you find yourself smiling like you were interacting with a puppy whilst watching them reconnect watching Georgie Best these moments make you feel alive as a film fan, pure cinematic indulgence….
TRAINSPOTTING 2 is everything I wished for and more, truly one helluva movie sequel that’s not only nostalgic but is equally as fun as it’s predecessor – from Danny Boyle’s vision, McGregor & Lee Miller’s chemistry to Ewen Bremner‘s sublimity and Carlyle‘s crazy this was a great night a the cinema and guys please don’t leave it another 20yrs to complete the trilogy ★★★★½
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
From director Mike Flanagan comes the new supernatural movie OCULUS following a woman who attempts to exonerate her brother who has been convicted of murder by proving that the crime was committed by a supernatural phenomenon – a haunted antique mirror – the movie stars Doctor Who actress Karen Gillan and Battlestar Galactica’s Katee Sackhoff – take a look at this pretty creepy teaser trailer….
Oculus – US (11th April) – UK (N/A) – Australia (N/A)
LAST VEGAS (2013/4) – Movie Review ★★★¾
Last Vegas stars Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline, Robert De Niro, Mary Steenburgen & Romany Malco – In their childhood four friends Paddy, Billy, Archie & Sam known as the Flat Bush Four did everything together, they were inseparable – picking up the story 58 years later the friends are now living separate lives & coming to terms with old age when out of the blue Billy played by Michael Douglas announces he is to marry – Sam convinces the other two that this is a great opportunity to get them altogether again for one last hoorah – VERDICT I pretty much love everything Jon Turteltaub has been involved with from his early days behind the camera directing movies such as Cool Runnings, Whilst You Were Sleeping and The Kid to his two National Treasure movies and even 2010’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice Turteltaub always seems to deliver a fun night at the flicks and 2013’s Last Vegas is no different – along with the four main leads there’s also another chance for us to see the lovely Mary Steenburgen at work, her delicious charm blended with undoubted talent playing a Vegas singer who catches the eye of Billy & Paddy adds greatly to the solid storyline written by the super talented Dan Fogelman (Crazy, Stupid, Love) – with all the movies out there with endless violence, hard hitting subject matters & gross out comedy it’s so refreshing to see four movie veterans entertain the old fashion way and doing it with a swagger – from the dancing of Freeman, the grace of Steenburgen, the hilarity of Kline, the seriousness of De Niro and the charm of Douglas LAST VEGAS is a touching delightful tale of friendship & one that reminds us that we’re never too old to live our life and be kids once more….
Here’s 3 new international posters for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 courtesy of Marvel and Columbia Pictures – Marc Webb’s sequel that stars Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan and Paul Giamatti lands this summer….
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 – US (2nd May) – UK (18th April) – Australia (17th April)
OUT OF THE FURNACE (2013) – Movie Review ★★★★
Cast: Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson, Zoe Saldana, Forest Whitaker, Willem Dafoe & Sam Shepard – When Rodney (Affleck) disappears and the local law doesn’t do enough to find him it’s left to his older brother Russell (Bale) to takes matters into his own hands to find justice VERDICT Scott Cooper’s directorial debut Crazy Heart was a pretty average affair lit up by a fabulous Jeff Bridges performance but his second feature behind the camera OUT OF THE FURNACE is a powerful, mood driven picture set in and around the Blue Collar Rust Belt containing some Cracker Jack performances, a haunting soundtrack but most of all the brutal reality you feel whilst watching these two brothers who have not only combated war & prison but have had to contend with everyday life, struggling by in the gritty harshness of a small steel town – the acting is one of a master class with Christian Bale giving a sublime display of the wiser older sibling, Casey Affleck plays the younger brother visibly damaged by his time in the war who gets sucked into the underground fight scene to settle his debts, it’s a quite heartbreaking performance and easily his best onscreen display since 2010’s The Killer Inside Me and then we have Woody Harrelson playing to perfection the uncompromising, despicable hillbilly drug lord who’s character is such a far cry from that of Haymitch in The Hunger Games – overall from them opening scenes at the drive-in movie theater, the to the dingy underground fight clubs OUT OF THE FURNACE is an underrated, riveting piece of cinema that should not be missed!!!