A covert team of immortal mercenaries are suddenly exposed and must now fight to keep their identity a secret just as an unexpected new member is discovered – I’m always excited to see a new action movie, especially one that’s based on a graphic novel with such a cool premise…. I’ve not read the novels so I went in blind and was pleasently surprised by the overall darkness of Gina Prince-Bythewood‘s THE OLD GUARD – obviously we all know about the action prowess of the Fury Road star Charlize Theron playing Andy the leader of the Immortals, her action scenes are without doubt the best bits in the movie but I also enjoyed watching the emergence of KiKi Layne ACTION STAR her screen time especially opposite Theron as Nile were fun to watch, the plane fight scene between the two being a definite highlight – the style of the action and the films flashbacks as we discover more about the team and Andy’s friendship with fellow warrior Quynh were exciting, Chiwetel Ejiofor was his usual high standard taking on the role of Copley and I was also impressed with Harry Melling’s villainous turn as Merrick, not that I should have been surprised as the Harry Potter star is also very good in the Coens The Ballad of Buster Scruggs – Overall The Old Guard is an enjoyable action romp, yes I’ve seen better but the director’s vision and exciting style in this genre has given me high hopes for a possible sequel in the near future ★★★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….
For those of you who follow me on social media or read this movie blog you will know by now that I adore Ridley Scott, his movies and all things Alien but in recent years I have been quite vocal on this legendary directors fall from the dizzy heights of yesteryear to churning out such ordinary movies, average affairs such as Robin Hood, The Counselor, Exodus: Gods and Kings and the pretty dismal Prometheus – I am so conflicted, the one side of me is so grateful to this legendary filmmaker for giving us so many iconic movies but the other side keeps asking the question “why does Ridley Scott continue to direct such sub par movies? take a leaf out of Tarantino and Cameron’s book, maybe direct a film every few years instead of every year?” it’s my opinion that these films will only tarnish his brilliant reputation – I really had hoped that Ridley had turned the corner back in 2015, I absolutley loved The Martian with Matt Damon this was a real return to form from a director in need of some resurection so when it was announced that a new Alien movie was in production a sequel to the dreadful Prometheus nevertheless I was pumped, excited and looking forward to maybe a new chapter in this great series of scifi indulgence…..
Sadly for me though Alien Covenant was not what I hope it would be, yes it was better than Prometheus (well that wasn’t hard now was it) and yes maybe over the last 10yrs The Martian aside it’s one of his better efforts but overall it was a big screen blockbuster that left me feeling flat, it was way too predictable, contained some shitty CGI that made the overall production feel shoddy and unpolished and although Covenant had it’s moments it’s narrative tried to over complicate things so the reasons why we loved the original movies were lost in this world, a franchise that was slowly becoming more about the androids than anything else – Ridley also thought it was a good idea to go all mystical on our asses so inserted some really strange Obi Wan moments featuring David from Prometheus, living like an old wise hermit in a cave, listening to wind chimes and blowing his flute delivering lines such as “you blow and I will do the fingering” I just found all this mumble jumble embarrassing, out of place and lacking any sort of vision, suspense and was almost laughable at times….
I am not saying that Alien Covenant as a movie is a complete disaster, for me it’s not got that Ridley Scott stamp on it – McBride and Fassbender are both terrific in their respective roles and some of the nice homages to previous movies were great to see but overall Covenant felt like a bad dream a two a penny slasher that felt like a rehash of the original movie that is desperately trying to emulate all the things that worked such as (face huggers, chest bursters, acid for blood and so on) yet delivering it all with no panach and most importantly zero tension, yeah it’s a shit load more violent than it’s predecessors but that’s nothing to be proud about, what made 1979’s Alien so damn good was it’s slow burning tension that’s gnaws away at you but with Covenant you feel nothing – most of the films undoing in my opinion is it’s lack of humanity I felt so disconnected to the crew of the ship, the characters in the movie were not developed enough so when they slowly start getting picked off I actually felt very little for them, I was numb and that overall summed up my experience with this movie at it’s finale – I just hope Ridley doesn’t out stay his welcome and he lets go of the Alien reigns and allows a new filmmaker to bring some fresh ideas to this much loved franchise ……★★★½
It’s with a heavy heart that I share with you guys the news that the talented filmmaker Curtis Hanson has died aged 71 – With a CV that boasts the 1992 intense psychological drama The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, 1994’s The River Wild, 2000’s delicate yet brilliant Wonder Boys, hip hop drama 8 Mile, 2005’s heart warming In Her Shoes and of course his masterpiece 1997’s gripping noir drama L.A. Confidential that not only won awards but gave it’s stars Russell Crowe, Kim Basinger and Guy Pearce a huge career lift, L.A. Confidential is up them amongst the Best Movies of it’s genre and one I personally enjoy returning to – thank you sir for the legacy of great movies you’ve left behind for us to enjoy over and over…..
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….
There’s always been great movies that have come out of Australia : Walkabout, Picnic at hanging Rock, Mad Max, Gallipoli, Crocodile Dundee, Dead Calm, Romper Stomper, The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Tomorrow When the War Began, Animal Kingdom, Wolf Creek, Snowtown & many many more… And in 2014 Australian Cinema has continued its fine tradition of bringing us yet more fresh, well acted, gritty & excitingly told new movies – of course there are so many quality films out there but here’s my 5 must see Aussie flicks of 2014
The movie world will mourn this December when The Hobbit: Battle Of The Five Armies the last in the series of six films based around Tolkien’s Middle Earth comes to a climax – to give Peter Jackson’s franchise the magical send of it deserves here’s Pippin from Lord of the Rings aka actor Billy Boyd singing The Last Goodbye – it’s truly beautiful….
Very Sad News – the Iconic TV and Movie star James Garner has died aged 86 – James starred in two of TV’s finest shows in The Rockford Files and Maverick and gave memorable performances in movies such as The Great Escape, Grand Prix, Victor Victoria, The Hour of the Gun, The Children’s Hour, Duel at Diablo and many more – he was nominated for an Oscar for 1985’s Murphy’s Romance and was awarded the Screen Actors Guild’s Life Achievement Award in 2005 – his passing is sad news but thanks to his countless performances on screen James Garner will always be remembered & enjoyed for years to come….