A young Chinese maiden disguises herself as a male warrior in order to save her father – Disney continue their live-action remakes of classic tales with MULAN directed by Whale Rider’s Niki Caro : Although I was looking forward to watching this at the cinema (possibly on IMAX) Disney had other idea’s and have just released Mulan on their Disney+ Streaming Service : Luckily for me my home cinema is not too shabby so watching my own TV fill up with magical color, jaw-dropping backdrops & visuals that stun you sideways my movie date for the evening truly was a quite magical experience : The movie itself is an improvment over the 1998 animated film allowing it’s director Niki Caro & the Aussie Cinematographer Mandy Walker to really show us, the audience the true scale of the sets & breathtaking action scenes in this live-action version : Of course Mulan has a truly legendary cast including Jason Scott Lee (who’s really good playing Bori Khan), the sublime & beautiful Gong Li, and veteran’s Tzi Ma, Jet Li & Donnie Yen but the real heart of the movie belongs to the energy weilding “Fairy Sister” Liu Yifei who has a screen presence that shines brighter than Mulan’s Phoenix, the scene’s that involve Liu and Gong Li’s characters were spectacular and amongst my favorites in the movie & I believe that Liu Yifei did most of her own stunt work and fight movements : Overall: I really enjoyed Disney’s MULAN it’s a gorgeous film about honor, family & friendship that works equally on the small screen as it would have on the big : Highly Recommended 精彩 ★★★★½
A young couple having trouble with their relationship take a trip to the families Beach House only to find their getaway turns into a struggle for survival – Jeffrey A Brown directorial debut THE BEACH HOUSE is my kind of movie jam, a slow burning chiller with enough going on to keep you interested and then WHAM BAM all shit rains down – It’s impressive how Brown keeps everything so damn eerie, from those opening 10mins to the final ten you really are biting your fingernails and sat on the edge of your seat in anticipation at what’s coming next, the drug induced scene is freaky in an almost uncomfortable sort of way and that cellar and beach scene messes with your mind – However the real payoff with The Beach House is that you have no idea how it’s all going to play out and more importantly what the actually shit is going really going on…. from Jeffrey Brown’s original story, it’s idealic yet sinister location but most of all Liana Liberato & Noah Le Gros innocence & fear driven performances make this one helluva trippy, atmospheric ride and a delicous horror gem that I’d highly recommend ★★★★
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014) – Movie Review ★★★★
Director: Marc Webb – Cast: Andrew Garfield, Dane DeHaan, Sally Fields, Emma Stone, Felicity Jones, Paul Giamatti & Jamie Foxx – Synopsis: Marc Webb’s sequel The Amazing Spider-Man 2 starts by addressing what did happened to Peter Parker’s Mum & Dad after they dropped him off at Aunt May’s and then flashes to modern day where our favorite New York crime fighter Spider-Man is dealing with his own personal demons – whilst cleaning up the city of everyday scumbags he is being haunted by the ghost of Gwen’s dead father whom he promised before his death to stay away from his daughter – Peter also meets up with Harry Osborn a high school buddy and gets entangled with the rather creepy, electrifying Electro – Verdict: It’s been 2 years since Marc Webb remade Spider-Man for the big screen – I remember going into the remake thinking “surely it’s too soon after Sam Raimi’s trilogy?” but after 50mins of this new Spidey adventure I was blown away and by it’s end credits I had soon forgotten all things Maguire and swore allegiance to a new Web Slinger in town and his name is Andrew Garfield – now quickly on to it’s sequel The Amazing Spider-Man 2 – I had lot’s of fun with this film, it’s not quite as good as it’s 2012 original but filmmaker Webb has once again injected his own stamp on the Superhero genre making this sequel an entertaining cinematic experience, easily more comical & lighthearted than it’s predecessor, with some colorful comic book villains, an overload of CGI packed action scenes ending with a dark final quarter that is obviously laying the foundations of what’s to come – although A-List stars Foxx and Giamatti did OK it was the brilliant DeHaan that stole most of his scenes and made Franco look like a little pussy cat – the chemistry between Garfield and Stone, the dizzy breathtaking sight of Spidey flying over New York City and the emergence of the Green Goblin were the films highlights – Overall: if your looking for a dose of big screen, comic book action then take a trip to the cinema – The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is breathtaking at times and delivers a fun night of escapism….
here’s two new photo’s of the superb actress Julianne Moore who plays President Alma Coin in “The Hunger Games : Mockingjay : Part 1” – In one of the two photo’s Moore shares a scene with the late Philip Seymour Hoffman who plays Plutarch Heavensby – what do you guys think of Moore’s transformation? her white streaky hair looks fantastic…. Enjoy!
47 Ronin (2013/4) – Movie Review ★★★★
Director: Carl Rinsch – Cast: Keanu Reeves, Hiroyuki Sanada, Kou Shibasaki, Rinko Kikuchi and Jin Akanishi – Synopsis: A fictional account of the forty-seven Ronin, a real-life group of Ronin in 18th-century Japan who sets about to avenge the death of their master who was set to death after a demon used magic tricking him into an act of aggression that resulted in him betraying his kind and execution – after his death the band of Ronin led by Oishi must seek the help of Kai – a half-breed previously shunned by the Ronin to help them defeat an evil Warlord and his magical army – Verdict: Forget all the haters ! rent it or buy it 47 Ronin is worth the watch – the movie has everything from some decent CGI, a whole bunch of fun & colorful characters and action delivered on a grand scale with some fantastic sword fights and hand to hand combat – now okay I’m a big fan of Keanu Reeves and adore his films from the 1990s that includes Point Break, Speed and The Matrix but 47 Ronin has more to offer than just Neo – Hiroyuki Sanada (The Last Samurai & Helix) gives an intense performance as the proud Samurai turned Ronin leader and Pacific Rim’s Rinko Kikuchi looks deliciously evil and totally bad ass as the Warlord’s magic squeeze – some of the locations used in shooting the film were impressive & atmospheric including the backdrop of The Isle of Sky doubling for 18th Century Japan – overall: Carl Rinsch’s film debut is all sorts of bonkers fun and whilst the story has been slightly bastardized for entertainment value 47 Ronin is without question an enjoyable movie romp that’s dark in it’s story telling and respectful in it’s execution….
Snowpiercer (2014) – Movie Review ★★★★½
Director: Joon-ho Bong – Cast: Chris Evans, Jamie Bell, John Hurt, Ed Harris, Tilda Swinton, Octavia Spencer, Ah-sung Ko, Kang-ho Song & Alison Pill – Synopsis: This is the first English-language film from the exciting South Korean director Joon-ho Bong (Mother & The Host) – Based on a French graphic novel and set in the future where the only survivors of a failed global-warming experiment try to exist on-board a speeding train known as the Snowpiercer – Verdict: If your one of these people (and there are many) that watch a movie and shout disbelief at the screen till the end credits then don’t watch Snowpiercer, the movie is based on a graphic novel and like all comic book adaptions there are many moments during this film that scream WTF at you – leave your negativity at the door, relax and enjoy the smart creative vision that this film has in abundance and then praise the undoubted genius that is filmmaker Joon-ho Bong on a picture that from start to finish is a visual feast of apocalyptic delight with enough colorful characters and dark content that could have filled a trilogy of movies let alone this one – the exciting, stylish design of the train caught my eye, from it’s dark, gloomy carriages at the back of the train where the lowest on the social ladder would reside to the school, night club and brilliance of the fish tank aquariums that one would find in carriages further up the train – Joon-ho Bong also filled the picture with superb character actors from Jamie Bell’s rebellious second in command, John Hurt’s old, wise mentor, Chris Evans rugged & somewhat reluctant leader and Tilda Swinton’s hilarious turn as one of the movies villains, the whole cast are tremendous in bringing a somewhat realism to the story – overall just like the Snowpiercer this movie runs at 200mph, it’s visually out of this world, action packed with some incredible fight scenes and a scifi flick that will stand the test of time – for me the films only negative is that it had to end….
From filmmaker Jonathan Glazer comes UNDER THE SKIN a haunting tale of an Alien preying on Hitchhikers in Scotland – the film stars Scarlett Johansson and Paul Brannigan and is based around Michel Faber’s novel of the same name – Glazer also brought us the delicious Sexy Beast and the strange yet somewhat wonderful Birth so teaming up with one of my favorite actresses Johansson and with a backdrop that is Glasgow and the Scottish Highlands my anticipation for the movie couldn’t be any higher – here’s the official poster (that is visually stunning), some movie stills and the latest official trailer…. Enjoy!
Under the Skin – US (4th April) – UK (14th March) – Australia (N/A)
THE WOLF OF WALL STREET (2013/4) – Movie Review ★★★★½
The Wolf of Wall Street stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Matthew McConaughey, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Kyle Chandler, Rob Reiner, Jon Bernthal and Jean Dujardin – From the director of Taxi Driver and Goodfellas Martin Scorsese comes the true life story of stockbroker Jordan Belfort, a man living the high life that’s full of wild parties, wild women and shit loads of money but it’s also a life full of crime, deception and security fraud and a life that is being investigated by the FBI – VERDICT this is the fifth collaboration between DiCaprio and Scorsese and easily their best, if your looking for the Scorsese who brought us 2011’s sentimental, personal look at the magic of cinema in Hugo then you may find this picture a disappointment as The Wolf of Wall Street is a 3 hour orgy of black humor, drug taking and sexual undertaking that’s not for the faint hearted – DiCaprio commands proceedings, his energy and maturity is riverting taking center stage playing Jordan Belfort with a madness and a charm reminiscent of the great Jack Nicholson in his prime, he is that good that I can’t think of another living actor that could have done this role justice – DiCaprio is well supported by the likes of Jonah Hill now a two times Oscar Nominee who is delightfully funny as Belfort’s friend and partner in crime Donnie, Matthew McConaughey playing Belfort’s mentor Mark Hannah is both hilarious & mesmerizing and the emergence of the gorgeous, sexy Margot Robbie who plays Belfort’s wife is a revelation – there are too many fabulous moments in the movie so I won’t name them all but Belfort’s drug trip with Donnie and that drive from the club house to the mansion is genius and the moment when Belfort explains the name change to his employees “Stratton Oakmount” and sets about demonstrating on how to reel in a client is both hilarious & masterfully executed – Scorsese’s picture also includes some beautiful photography, a smart script by Boardwalk Empire’s Terence Winter and some well used musical soundbites that fit their intended scene in an exciting gorgeous fashion – overall Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street is a modern masterpiece that’s full of delicious humor, brilliant editing and full of dazzling, captivating performances – this may not be the best Scorsese picture I have seen but it would certainly make top 5….
LEE DANIEL’S THE BUTLER (2013) – Movie Review ★★★★
Cast – Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, David Oyelowo, John Cusack, Alan Rickman, Cuba Gooding Jr., Terence Howard, Jane Fonda, Lenny Kravitz and Robin Williams – The true story of Eugene Allen a man who served eight presidents during his time as a butler at the White House, he not only had to bring up a family during the racist trauma that occurred during the 50’s and 60’s but also contended with the civil rights movement, the war of Vietnam and other such events that happened during his lifetime – Eugene Allen’s name was changed in Lee Daniel’s movie to Cecil Gaines – VERDICT Being a big fan of Lee Daniel’s work that have included 2009’s Precious and last years superb The Paperboy I was excited to finally watch his latest movie The Butler – this was a heartbreaking but at times uplifting story of a man’s journey that started as a child working on the cotton fields, witnessing his dad being murdered and his mum raped to his life working in a hotel and then becoming a Butler in the White House – one of the things I love about a Lee Daniel’s picture is that he manages to not only tell a good story, that’s really engaging but his films are often surprisingly funny and are always extremely well acted – The Butler is no exception, there are some gut wrenching moments in the movie with scenes such as the one in the cafe with the black & white segregation areas, the aftermath of the assassination of JFK with his wife Jackie Kennedy sat alone in the White House with her clothes splattered with her husbands blood and the scary scenes of the fire bombing of a bus by the Ku Klux Klan these are all terrifying moments in our history that are captured superbly well by Lee Daniels – I also enjoyed the way Daniel’s showed us through the eye’s of Cecil Gaines each President he had served for, Cusack’s Nixon and Schreiber’s Johnson were my picks but they were all portrayed well, the movie at times reminding me of 94’s Forrest Gump – the performances of Forest Whitaker who played Gaines and his onscreen son played by David Oyelowo contributed greatly to making The Butler such an effective, compelling movie to watch, the relationship between the two often strained with Cecil not understanding his son’s actions until the films finale when he realized that his son was in fact the true hero for fighting for what he believed in and joined him on a protest – overall Lee Daniel’s The Butler is a powerful, moving and at times uplifting picture that deserves your attention – a must watch!!!!
Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as Breacher a DEA agent who’s team has been targeted by a mysterious assassin in David Ayer’s SABOTAGE – judging by this trailer, the pretty awesome cast and Ayer’s previous movies that include Street Kings, Harsh Times & End of Watch SABOTAGE looks one hell of a ride and has my action juices flowing quicker than Niagra Falls
The Sabotage cast also includes: Mireille Enos (The Killing), Joe Manganiello (True Blood), Terrence Howard (Iron Man), Josh Holloway (Lost), Sam Worthington (Avatar), Max Martini (Pacific Rim) and Olivia Williams (Sixth Sense) – Here’s the action packed trailer…. Enjoy!
David Ayer’s Sabotage hits our cinema screens in April 2014
Getaway – (2013) – Movie Review ★★★½
Cast – Ethan Hawke, Selena Gomez and Jon Voight – Brent Magna (Hawke) is a former racing driver who arrives home one night to discover his wife has been kidnapped and in order to get her back he’s instructed to commandeer a custom made mustang and take it on a path of destruction around the streets of Sofia VERDICT don’t go into this movie with any pre-conceived ideas, think of it as a popcorn movie, that’s not going to require much brain power and you will be pleasantly surprised – Courtney Solomon who helmed Dungeons & Dragons back in 2000 really does know how to orchestrate a car chase, the scenes with the mustang driving through the Christmas market and the bike chase scene are electric & superbly filmed – overall Getaway doesn’t set out to win any awards or stretch the acting talent in anyway but instead delivers 90mins of mindless, heart pumping, unadulterated fun!!
Not many filmmakers have spanned the decades quite like Martin Scorsese, it was the late 80’s that I first watched his classic, gritty drama 1973’s Mean Streets and since then have watched pretty much everything this New Yorker has set to film, from his early collaborations with De Niro and Keitel in the mid 70s early 80s to this centuries dynamic pairing with DiCaprio, Scorsese is truly one of cinema’s finest Movie Directors – he has received 7 Academy Award Nominations for Best Director (winning for 2006’s The Departed) and in 2010 he was given the Cecil B. DeMille Award – below is what we think are his TOP 10 MOVIES Behind the Camera
Our number 1 choice is 1990’s Goodfellas that stars Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta and Joe Pesci who went on to win an Oscar for his colorful portrayal of Tommy “What do you mean I’m funny?” Devito, the film is the best gangster movie I’ve ever seen and in my opinion the crown jewels on Martin Scorsese’s incredible CV – following close behind is the electric Taxi Driver, the brutal Gangs of the New York and boxing drama Raging Bull – at number 5 is the Howard Hughes tale The Aviator and at number 6 De Niro re-teams with Joe Pesci for the epic mobster, gambling drama Casino – at number 7 is the return of the hustler in 1986’s The Color of Money that’s followed by a trip down the streets of Little Italy in Mean Streets and the uncompromising movie remake of Cape Fear – finally at number 10 sees Daniel Day Lewis in 19th Century New York in The Age of Innocence
Martin Scorsese was born on this day in 1942 in Queens, New York – his latest movie is The Wolf of Wall Street that stars Leonardo DiCaprio and lands Christmas in the US and early next year internationally….