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…..
Since his directorial debut with 2007’s Gone Baby Gone actor/director Ben Affleck has gone from strength to strength, behind the camera he’s quite the visionary demonstrating flare and confidence in the style of pictures he brings to the screen, usually gritty no nonsense affairs packed with actors who can act and stories that connect….
Affleck’s latest sees him re team with author Dennis Lehane who not only wrote Affleck’s first Gone Baby Gone but also Eastwood’s Mystic River and Scorsese’s Shutter Island….
During the prohibition era in the 1920s a couple of Boston Gangsters travel down to Florida and attempt to take down the competition….
OK so here’s what I think – LIVE BY NIGHT may not be as polished as Argo or as intriguing as The Town but it’s certainly a more exciting, good looking character driven movie than both – it’s story is riveting, sprawling at times, it’s cast is nearly as beautiful as Robert Richardson’s stunning cinematography and it’s action scene’s especially the car chase scenes and the hotel’s shoot out toward the film’s finale is pretty slick and makes for exciting viewing on the big screen – Elle Fanning gives yet another star turn, Chris Cooper is the dogs bollocks and Chris Messina turns in a career best as Dion Bartolo partner and friend to Affleck’s Joe Coughlin….
LIVE BY NIGHT is another example of why one should never listen to those so called movie critics or how a film performs at the box office – get your ass to the cinema and see for yourself – Ben Affleck once again has crafted another fine slice of cinema, truly wonderful stuff….★★★★½
The world of film has lost one of it’s brightest young stars – whether it be an Indie pic or big screen blockbuster Anton Yelchin was fiercely brilliant, utterly committed and enhanced every picture he was involved with – although Anton’s career was short lived, his time on the screen will live on and entertain us all for many years to come !!
We’re all guilty of it, shamelessly looking at an actors body of working and criticizing them for not living up to their high standards of yesteryear – recently I compared the careers of movie legends Al Pacino with Robert De Niro, in their hay day their movies were sublime and their performances staggering yet in the last 12-15yrs both actors have lost their way, both have failed to ignite the screen with the same level of passion, intensity & quality – remember when Pacino was shouting “Say hello to my little friend” in De Palma’s classic Scarface and De Niro was cracking a baseball bat over someone’s skull in the wonderful Untouchables – they were the days, both starred in so many amazing films so I wonder why it is that these 2 stars are now settling for pretty average roles in lets face it pretty average movies? Maybe the great roles of today (of which there are few) are now falling to a younger generation of movie talent such as DiCaprio and Bale? Or maybe their happy with their lot, they’re still regarded as 2 of the greatest living actors so why not do roles as a favor for a friend or simply for the bigger payout? Whatever the reason, good news could be around the corner – the pair could soon reunite on Martin Scorsese’s gangster thriller The Irishman and with veteran Joe Pesci rumored to be on board this will have any film fan worth their salt purring like a cat in heat – so although the last 15yrs have been a mixed bag for Pacino and De Niro, I’m sure you will agree the movie world is still a brighter place with these two legends of our screen in it….
Finally our first look at BIG GAME the latest feature from that wonderful Finnish filmmaker Jalmari Helander (Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale) – Big Game has a great cast that includes: Samuel L. Jackson, Ray Stevenson, Jim Broadbent, Felicity Huffman, Ted Levine, Jorma Tommila and of course the wonderful Onni Tommila – after watching this teaser (four times) I am so excited… Enjoy
“The fate of the most powerful man in the world lies in the hands of a 13-year-old boy. Plunged into a deadly game of cat and mouse, Oskari and the president must team up to survive the most extraordinary night of their lives”
3 Days to Kill (2014) – Movie Review ★★★¾
Director: McG – Cast: Kevin Costner, Amber Heard, Hailee Steinfeld, Connie Nielsen, Richard Sammel, and Eriq Ebouaney– Synopsis: After being told he has months to live, CIA agent Ethan Renner (Costner) decides to quit the agency, mend some bridges and build a closer relationship with his estranged wife and daughter before checking out – but his past wont let go and when’s he’s offered a deal to take an experimental drug that could save his life in exchange for one last assignment Ethan has no choice but to step back into the line of fire and track down the world’s most deady terrorist – Verdict: McG can be quite the filmmaker, he knows how to deliver action to the screen with thunderous results, they’re usually fast flowing, with big set pieces and pretty entertaining affairs such as Charlie’s Angels, Full Throttle and Terminator Salvation – but sadly McG can also direct the odd dud like 2012’s comedy This Means War that had a superb cast but was the worst film by a distance that year and sucked in every department – luckily for us 3 Days to Kill sees the director return to form, it’s smart yet simple script written by the French maestro Luc Besson is played out by a stella cast including the class act that is Kevin Costner, the eye candy Amber Heard and Ender’s Game actress Hailee Steinfeld all giving the movie a solid footing, making the movie enjoyable to watch and bringing believability to their characters and scenarios – I believe most of the outside shots were on location in Paris and Belgrade and this lent to the feel of a European thriller, typical of McG the action scenes are crisp, exciting & at times explosive and the wry humor throughout is delivered with masterclass by Costner who seems to be getting to an age like Eastwood did ten years back where you can see the swagger of an aging acting pro oozing confidence and looking great doing so – yes at times it maybe cliched and predictable, and yes Steinfeld and Heard were underused but Overall I had fun with 3 Days to Kill McG has delivered an energetic action thriller, that’s funny, sentimental and so so enjoyable….
The Raid 2 (2014) – Movie Review ★★★★½
Director: Gareth Evans – Cast: Iko Uwais, Donny Alamsyah, Arifin Putra, Julie Estelle, Alex Abbad, Yayan Ruhian & Oka Antara – Synopsis: Picking right up from the end of the first raid, Rama is forced to go undercover with the thugs of Jakarta to protect his family and bring down the corruption within his police force – Verdict: Filmmaker Gareth Evans and his muse Iko Uwais reunite to bring us another slice of exciting, heart thumping Indonesian action that not only contains some of the most delicious, badass fight scenes ever brought to the screen but is also a rarity in being an action sequel that’s better than it’s original – Evans unique blend of bone crunching, blood splattering action, colorful visuals, fast flowing seamless cinematography along with a well written script that’s more involved, more character driven than the first and all beautifully played out is a just a delight to watch – The Raid 2 is full of grandeur action scenes all of which are pure loco and will blow your mind, from the mud-filled prison fight scenes that’s brutal, breathtaking and epic to watch, to some jaw-dropping set-pieces that include some of the explosive characters in the movie such as the carriage train scene with the delightful hammer girl taking on an army of henchman, Prakoso’s amazing fight in the restaurant and Rama’s duel with The Assassin in the kitchen are exciting, blood soaked and definitely not for the squeamish – Overall: if Gareth Evans The Raid got your attention then this sequel will blow you away – The Raid 2 is a masterpiece of an action film that’s astonishing to watch and unflinching in it’s execution – Evan’s has no equal when it comes to the action arena, his film making style is raw, relentless and incredibly entertaining – I for one can’t wait for the third outing but until then I will dose myself up with my Evans fueled addiction and re-watch both The Raid’s until the day comes when Rama hits our screens once more….