THE GRINCH: Scott Mosier & Yarrow Cheney
Benedict Cumberbatch, Rashida Jones, Cameron Seely
Don’t you just love Christmas? the feeling of love & happiness, the sounds of jingle bells and smell of winter in the air, it’s that time of year that most of us are happy and for me watching Christmas Movies only adds to this special time – well across the world Christmas has come early in the form of Cheney & Mosier’s THE GRINCH a modernised, animated version of Dr Seuss’s 1957 book How the Grinch Stole Christmas! Now I knew going in it would take a Chrismas Miracle for this movie to even compete with Ron Howard’s classic and I was right but nevertheless I had a blast – the film is sooooo funny, the animation is beautiful, the writing sharp as a holly branch and the vocal talents of Cumberbatch, Jones and Seely are quite brilliant – I found Danny Elfman’s score magical and even The Grinch’s snowy home on Mount Crumpit had a cool looking update and don’t even get me started on how adorable Fred the Reindeer and Max the Dog come across !! – If you need some cheering up and love the story then take yourself to Whoville for 90mins where I’m pretty sure your face a beam like a child at…….. you got it CHRISTMAS ★★★★
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
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
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 ★★★★
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
If you enjoyed Jeremy Saulnier’s epic “Blue Ruin” then you will love the grittiness, the uncompromising & at times the shockingly uncomfortable GREEN ROOM – from the time the punk band “The Ain’t Rights” hit the neo-Nazi club and takes to the stage you just know things are going to get downright ugly – Saulnier’s strength as a filmmaker is the weaving of realism into his characters, most are broken individuals (or soon will be) and Saulnier is the master of taking you into their world, a world that’s not pretty or glossed over, a dark unforgiving ferocious world and if you dare Saulnier will take you there – along with a very intriguing, delicious band lineup the movie is jam packed with interesting characters from the white supremacist club owner a creepy individual played by Patrick Stewart, a crowd of badass skinheads that look ready to peel your head from your neck like an orange, a mysterious girl at the scene of a crime, some vicious hungry looking dogs & a bunch of club management ready to spill blood for their leader – Saulnier weaves these characters almost Tarantino-esque in & out of his picture with great style, you just never know whats coming next – Overall: GREEN ROOM may not be everyone’s cup of tea but I loved it – it’s an unpleasent suspenseful and at times dark humoured little gem that nails you to seat and makes you beg for more runtime at its conclusion ★★★★½
Having grown up watching the Disney classics such as Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and The Jungle Book I was intrigued when hearing that Iron Man & Elf director Jon Favreau was working on a new live-action/CGI remake based on Rudyard Kipling’s story – anybody who follows me on Instagram or Twitter will know I’m not huge on this constant Hollywood obsession in remakes, reboots or re-imagining of the classic films of yesteryear, that being said I will always give a film the benefit of the doubt and I watch each one hoping for that gem, a remake that may possibly surprise and may even equal it’s predecessor !!
Well after visiting my local cinema complex I was not surprised I was blown away by what I had just seen – not many movies in recent times, let alone remakes have taken my breath away but Jon Favreau‘s epic take on this classic tale did just that – from its exhilarating opening watching the orphaned Mowgli race through the jungle to its heart racing climax with the villainous Shere Khan – The Jungle Book is gorgeous on every level, it’s seamless CGI is forgotten after the first few moments in the movie as your transported into a setting where animals fill your heart with song, laughter & maybe a lump in the throat, Favreau handles Mowgli’s heart warming encounter with Baloo the bear, the hissing, conniving of Kaa and the hilarious & complete epic-ness of King Louie singing that classic song “I wana be like you” with total respect of the original movie yet creates his own special deliverance of these beloved characters – his casting of the voice actors should be applauded and where on earth did he find the young Neel Sethi, this kid is perfect as Mowgli giving the film it’s heart, he’s certain to be a star of the future – Overall 2016’s The Jungle Book is a magical cinematic triumph, it’s a film that brings the feel good factor & family entertainment back to our screens and if you’ve seen Wolfgang Reitherman’s 1967 Disney classic then you may find yourself humming along to a couple of favourite tunes too – pure and utter brilliance, stop monkeying around & visit The Jungle Book at cinema’s now!! ★★★★½