A young woman seeks vengeance against those who committed an unforgiveable act to a friend from her past : Emerald Fennell’s directorial debut Promising Young Woman is one of the most relevant, impactful and though provoking movies that I’ve ever seen : WOW the colors, the quaint coffee shop and the Britney Spears vibe HOOKED ME and it’s darkness and originality and that devistating final act that really caught me offguard, that left me fighting for breath, cold and SPEECHLESS : with iconic roles in her rear view mirror such as Irene in Drive, Daisy in The Great Gatsby and Cathy in Never Let Me Go Carey Mulligan never ceases to amaze me with her ability to make a character her own and in Cassandra she teases, she smiles and ultimately destroys you with her actions and although the film has some flashes of humor and lighter romantic moments such as Mulligan & Burnham singing along to Paris Hilton’s Stars are Blind in the convience store it’s the way the film delivers it’s key moments such as when Cassandra visits Dean Walker at the school, a squeaky bum scene delivered with the impact of a freight train, I was like WTF hands to the mouth whispering to myself she’s not has she? and that cafe scene with Madison and what follows, Alison Brie is growing into quite the actress and what follows is truly terrifying yet rewarding in a bizzare fuck you sort of way : LOVE Jennifer Coolidge & Clancy Brown who are PERFECT as the parents and Laverne Cox is fabulous as Cassandra’s friend and boss at the coffee shop but essentially Promising Young Woman is all about Carey Mulligan and it’s WICKIDLY good story about ACCOUNTABILITY ★★★★½
Two former baseball players find themselves alone, fighting for survival against zombies in an apocayptic world : As you can probably guess from my website and social media nothing pleases me more than watching a movie made with a low budget that are usually refreshingly original and from filmmakers I’ve never heard of before, so when a friend first recommended I check out 2012’s THE BATTERY by Jeremy Gardner I had to take a peek : apparently the movie only cost $6,000 to make with Gardner and a bunch of friends helping to finance and bring it to the screen : The Battery follows a rather simple yet engrossing storyline centered around two ordinary guys Ben & Mickey who find themselves thrown together in a world ravaged by the undead, watching this strained relationship take a road trip of sorts across Connecticut is all kind of messed up fun with Ben seeming quite content moving from place to place killing any zombies that cross their path (and seeming to enjoy it too) and Mickey a virgin in the kill department (frankly a bit of a moaning pussy) just shutting himself off from reality by listening to music through his headphones, which slowly but surely annoys Ben to the point of some rather delightful WTF senario’s including the moment he locks Mickey in his bedroom with a zombie to hilarious consequences and the time Ben steals Mickey’s headphones is so out there, other scenes that tickled me sideways for different reasons include Mickey’s masturbation scene that had me in hysterics (don’t judge until you’ve seen it) and Ben singing Anthem For The Already Defeated whilst under the influence which I didn’t see coming but was rather superb : overall The Battery really is one for the ages, a creatively fun take on the genre that I can highly recommend with Gardner’s humor, acting chops & musical score really adding so much to it’s memorability ★★★★
Number 15 of My Top 31 Horror Movies : A group of camp counselors are stalked by an unknown killer while trying to reopen a summer camp which was the site of a child’s drowning and a grisly double murder years before : Originally titled A Long Night at Camp Blood Sean S. Cunningham’s FRIDAY THE 13TH was shot for a measly $500,000 and was released in 1980, becoming a box office success and spawning numerous sequels : from Harry Manfredini scary Hitchcockian score that screams Psycho, the film’s inventive and cruel kills created by the special effect guru Tom Savini, especially Marcie’s axe to the head and Jack’s arrow through the neck are grizzly & quite realistic, the beautiful cast including Jeannine Taylor, Adrienne King, Harry Crosby, Laurie Bartram & Kevin Bacon and their colorful raincoats to the late Barry Abrams atmospheric, close up camera work that creeps around the lake & captures each scream, each kill with chilling gratification : I know the movie inside out & love everything about it, from the iconic Camp Crystal Lake sign to the wonderful yet brief role of Annie Phillips, the cute & bubbly councelor who hitchhikes to the camp at the start of the movie but there’s no doubt my favorite moment in Friday the 13th comes in the last 20mins where Alice played by Adrienne King uncovers the killers identity and then a showdown takes place as she battles to stay alive : being a huge fan of the slasher genre and especially the “golden age” from around the mid-70s onwards Friday the 13th is one of the most iconic horror movies of the last 50 years, we not only get to witness the origin story of one of the most terrifying villains of all time but also get to meet his creator : two words HORROR CLASSIC ★★★★★
HALLOWEEN: David Gordon Green
Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak & Virginia Gardner
If you love horror and especially the slasher genre then David Gordon Green’s HALLOWEEN movie is a must watch on the big screen – the film is set 40 years after the John Carpenter’s original 1978 movie and is classed as a sequel to that movie, I know what your thinking “wasn’t there a Halloween II?” and you’d be right but Green and his writing team and it must be said with the blessing of Carpenter himself have decided to take their new movie in this direction – David Gordon Green’s movie sticks to the same formula as it’s predecessor, keeping things simple, uncomplicated and downright SCARY – the filmmaker makes use of Carpenter’s iconic score that always manages to creep me out and if that’s not enough to scare one silly then the sight of Michael Myers prowling the screen will make you quiver in your seat, the violence is brutal at times and not for the squeamish and along with the many homages to the original film it’s the return of Jamie Lee Curtis who once again gives the horror it’s heart-beat, her character Laurie Strode is now older, battle worn waiting for the boogeyman to return to Haddonfield, that Sarah Connor vibe she’s giving off was really something, the writers did well putting some life in Laurie and I felt she looked ready to chew bubblegum and kick some ass (whoops wrong movie) but HELL YEA she was – Horror newbie Andi Matichak is a revelation and maybe a new scream queen in the making, Virginia Gardner gives a terrific turn as Vicky, veteran Will Patton is always great and I just love Judy Greer – Overall if your looking to see the second best film in the Halloween franchise then get your scared ass to the cinema this weekend and watch a treat of horror that will have you shaking in your boots and looking in your closet afterwards…… ★★★★
APOSTLE : Gareth Evans
Dan Stevens, Michael Sheen, Lucy Boynton
Gareth Evans mostly known for his breakneck action movies The Raid and it’s sequel has just released his latest APOSTLE and it’s a horror movie…. here’s the synopsis “In 1905, a drifter on a dangerous mission to rescue his kidnapped sister tangles with a sinister religious cult on an isolated island” – Only a handful of movies have blown my mind this year and Gareth Evans APOSTLE has just become one of them – the film is an exciting cocktail of twisted storytelling alongside a revenge thriller that’s relentless in it’s brutality – Matt Flannery’s cinematography is a joy to behold, his ability to balance the varied location, dark underground shots along with the action scenes is heart-stopping – So if your a fan of the revenge style genre and love your movies with slices of brutality, great narrative and stunning photography then APOSTLE is most definitely the film for you ★★★★½
BLACKkKLANSMAN : Spike Lee
John David Washington, Laura Harrier, Adam Driver, Jasper Pääkkönen
It’s been awhile since we’ve seen the best of Spike Lee and to be honest I really thought after that poor Oldboy remake he was on the decline, maybe putting one foot in retirement and joining some of the great filmmakers that now churn out average films for the masses failing to live up to their past glory’s, but after watching his latest in a pretty full cinema I can honestly say with a glint in my eye that Spike Lee is far from over – BlacKkKlansman is not only one of the most powerful movies of the year it’s also in my opinion Spike Lee’s greatest achievment in film with stand out performances from Laura Harrier, John David Washington & Adam Driver, an incredible score that sucks you into 1979 Colorado, some frightening obsenities shouted by Alec Baldwin’s character that sets the overal tone of the movie, some exhilarating camera work by Chayse Irvin and one helluva creepy performance from Jasper Pääkkönen – oh yeah and not forgetting that Corey Hawkins speech his delivery will stand your hair on end WOW – BlacKkKlansman is an unbelievable story, it has more humor than I expected and it’s last 20mins is a punch to the gut – SEE it on the BIG screen you won’t be disappointed ★★★★½
HOTEL ARTEMIS : Drew Pearce
Jodie Foster, Sterling K Brown, Sofia Boutella, Dave Bautista
Had an absolute blast watching Drew Pearce’s directorial debut Hotel Artemis – if I’m honest it’s a movie that went right under my radar but I’m so glad I caught up with it on the big screen – would you believe it’s been 5yrs since the legend Jodie Foster graced our screens with Elysium so watching this legend of our screens trade acting blows with Sterling K. Brown & Dave Bautista in this futuristic setting is worth more than double the ticket price – Pearce’s first attempt behind the camera follows writing work on Iron Man 3 and MI : Rogue Nation so he’s no beginner when it comes to classy, stylish story arcs with intriguing characters and some insane action thrown in – Hotel Artemis combines the lot, it has a great story at it’s core, a devilishly good ensemble, sublime cinematography and is executed better than most – don’t miss this one ★★★★
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 ★★★★
Finally we get to see a teaser trailer of STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI by stunning visonary Rian Johnson and hell it’s been worth the wait – it’s MYSTERIOUS, it’s DARK, downright SPINE TINGLING and 2mins of AWESOMENESS that will leave you aching for more – hopefully (and I think it’s a given) we will get to see more of Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker training Rey played by the brilliant Daisy Ridley, that island setting looks ridiculously cool, and will make a great base for the pupil to start learning from the master….
Hugh Jackman reunites with The Wolverine’s James Mangold in the final chapter of LOGAN – the movie also sees Patrick Stewart reprising his X-Men role as Charles Xavier, Narco’s Boyd Holbrook cast as a villain of sorts and an unusual (but it works) piece of casting with Stephen Merchant playing mutant tracker Caliben….
In the near future 2029 to be precise a battle worn Logan is a Limo Driver, trying to save some money whilst caring for an ailing Professor X who’s he hid somewhere on the Mexican border….
The single most devastating thing about watching LOGAN was that I knew (everybody new) that this would be Hugh Jackman’s final outing as The Wolverine and this was in my opinion a game changer – James Mangold uses this knowledge as his filmmaking tool, his simple yet striking tone, deliberately slow pace and painful to watch narrative all builds to an agonising crecendo, it’s certainly not upbeat and unlike any other Marvel movie before it LOGAN is stripped bare of the usual comicbook humor, kaleidoscope of colour and deluded fantasy instead it’s a picture that’s dripping with a dark, gritty no-nonsense underbelly, utterly gut wrenching and humanized like no other movie of it’s ilk – even the performances in the picture seem better, Jackman captures the ageing tired Logan with a comfortable ease, his maturity as an actor gives him the tools to pull this off, you can see the pain he’s going through as he limps and claws his way through the storyline and Stewart is equally as impressive as Charles Xavier who requires medical assistance to not only help with an illness but to keep his powers at bay, there’s also an impressive film debut by Dafne Keen who kills it (literally) playing Laura, her fight scene’s, mannerism’s and interaction with Charles and Logan are a joy to watch….
One of my favourite moments in the movie (and there are many) takes place at the Munson Home – Logan, Laura and Charles help the Munson’s with some runaway horses after which they get invited back to their home and enjoy a brief trip into yesteryear, spending time with a loving family over a hot meal with smiles, real laughter and a bed to sleep in (Eriq La Salle playing the father of the family is as good in these 20mins as he’s ever been) – sadly the groups happiness does not last long and their ugly, brutal past catches up with them….
James Mangold’s LOGAN is the perfect send off for one comics most iconic stars – the film’s raw and uncompromising style allows it to become a far superior comicbook adapation than what’s come before, it’s not only a thing of beauty to look at but it’s also one hell of an emotionally charged rollercoaster ride that doesn’t let up until the final credits rise & Johnny Cash’s vocals hit home…. ★★★★½
Ridley Scott returns to the universe he created with Alien Covenant a new chapter in the Alien franchise. The crew of the colony ship Covenant sits down on what they think is an uncharted paradise, but slowly it becomes apparant that this world is actually a dangerous, unforgiving place of terror where it’s only inhabitant are creatures that bleed acid and want to tear you limb from limb….
The films impressive cast includes : Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Danny McBride, James Franco, Demián Bichir, Billy Crudup, Carmen Ejogo, Amy Seimetz, Jussie Smollett and Callie Hernandez – Alien Covenant opens on May 19th
the loss of any movie star is a sad time but losing Bill Paxton an actor I have adored since the 80s, iconic, beautiful, crazy and delightfully funny is something I’m really struggling with – as I write this tears are welling, my heart is sinking and the memories of all my favorite Paxton movies are swimming round my head in what can only be described as delirious grief – I have lost count of the times since 1986 I have uttered that line from Aliens “Game Over Man!” and watched over and over his psychotic performance as vampire Severen in the fantastic horror movie Near Dark – to say he is one of my favorite movie idol’s is an understatement, his films have ignited my passion of the screen and for me he will be remembered as this infectious, ballsy movie star that owned the screen with his cowboy swagger, his mischievous grin and one of the most recognizable vocals in film – he was loved and will be missed by all – RIP #FilmLegend
“I’m gonna separate your head from your shoulders. Hope you don’t mind none”
Bill Paxton – Near Dark
Two Mercenaries played by Matt Damon and Pedro Pascal get caught in the middle of an ancient war between Chinese Warrior’s guarding The Great Wall and an angry mob of Alien Monsters that appear to cause mayhem every 60yrs….
The Great Wall is the most expensive Chinese movie ever made, it stars Jing Tian, Andy Lau, Matt Damon and Pedro Pascal and is directed by the visual master Zhang Yimou known for his work on House of the Flying Daggers and Hero….
Before I get on with my thoughts on this movie I must address the fact that there is NO whitewashing in this movie AT ALL so any controversy regarding Matt Damon’s character that happens to be set in China is sadly an attempt for those with plenty of time on there hands to be negative towards a movie that they’ve probably not seen in the first place….
OK now on to the good stuff – If like me you enjoy the fix of a well paced, epic scale action movie that’s jam packed with dazzling effects & inventive, colorful battle scenes then Zhang Yimou’s The Great Wall is just what your looking for – what the picture may lack in overall substance it certainly delivers in beauty & creativity – the film’s 3D adds a stunning depth and also gave me a sense of vertigo whist watching certain scenes, especially those where the Chinese Warriors would dive off the Great Wall attached to a rope (like a bungee) attempting to spear the attacking monsters, now that’s some crazy shit right there and was pulled off by Zhang in impressive style – when the hoards of these mean & nasty looking monsters start storming the Wall, snapping like crocodiles it reminded me so much of when the Orc Army attacked Minas Tirith in Peter Jackson’s epic Return of the King, the CGI in the movie is sensational & I felt submerged, part of the action whilst watching in IMAX – the screen is magnificent and it enhances everything in it’s path from the stunning effects, the beauty & tenacity of Jing Tian, Matt Damon’s archery & wild facial hair, the incredible battle scenes and it’s rousing atmospheric score….
From it’s lavish synchronized drummers, hair-raising action sequences and pulse-raising final quarter The Great Wall is a triumph in film entertainment – be honest with yourself if you pay to go and see this film then you must love your action right? and you know your not going to the cinema to watch Opera or Shakespeare right? HELL YEAH come on !! this is a Magnificent Monster Movie, one that’s loud, explosive and pretty awesome fun – so go on take a leap, immerse yourself & ENJOY…. ★★★★
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
In my lifetime The Movies have consumed my life they have become hobby, my passion and at times my infatuation and along that journey of countless films collected, hundreds of books read and the endless number of movies watched there has been one constant that stands above all others an actor by the name of Issur Danielovitch aka: Kirk Douglas a giant of a man not in height but in the way he has conducted himself, his film career is nothing short of remarkable, I’m not talking awards, box office success or personal gain I am talking of the many varied roles he has portrayed in his career from being the hero to villain, colonel to slave for me Kirk’s dedication to his craft, his granite stature & movie presence is unequaled, an actor not afraid to take chances on a role & make that role his own whether it be a boxing hero in Champion, the troubled artist Van Gogh in Lust for Life, a slave who goes up against the might of Rome in Spartacus, a cunning self centered reporter in Ace in the Hole and a cowboy just doing his job in Lonely are the Brave Kirk Douglas is without question a living breathing bona fide Movie Legend and although first & foremost I will always think of Kirk Douglas as an actor he has also inspired millions with his writing penning numerous novels and blogging into the 21st Century some of this work has been equally as stirring as some of his most famous pictures and in 1964 showing the measure of the man along with his wife Anne, Kirk established The Douglas Foundation that not only donates countless millions but work tirelessly in helping the less fortunate in building a better future for those in most need – Happy 100th Birthday Kirk Douglas your quite simply a LEGEND…..