On her Birthday I’m remembering the beauty and talent of 30s Icon JEAN HARLOW who starred in films such as The Public Enemy alongside Jimmy Cagney, Frank Capra’s 1931 comedy Platinum Blonde, alongside Clark Gable in Red Dust, Howard Hughes war drama Hell Angels, Victor Fleming’s romantic comedy Blond Bombshell and her delightfully funny turn in Dinner at Eight : although Jean was taken way to early she made her mark in Hollywood as one of the funniest, sexiest and sweetest actresses of her era…. she was born on this day in 1911 in Kansas City, Missouri and was the first movie actress to appear on the cover of Life magazine : Jean Harlow made 36 movies and appeared alongside Clark Gable in six of them, she died aged 26 whilst making the 1937 movie Saratoga in which her last line spoken was “Good-bye” : her Hollywood star can be found at 6910 Hollywood Blvd….
Two Cops track down a serial killer in California in the early 90s : Possibly my favorite movie sub-genre is the cat-and-mouse cop thriller, I just love them and when you throw together a crazy good 30yr old script by John Lee Hancock, an edgy, moody atmosphere that’s nail biting and character driven and three stonking good performances from Denzel Washington, Rami Malek and Jared Leto you have what I believe is one of the best adult themed cop thrillers in years : if your a fan of the action genre and like your finale spoon fed with a definitive resolution then I’d give it a miss, as the title refers it’s THE LITTLE THINGS in the movie that drive this thriller, quieter moments such as the moment Deke’s played by Denzel talks faith and breakfast with Rami’s Jimmy on the bridge over looking the latest crime scene, the emotion of Deke visiting his ex wife, Leto’s brilliance as his character Sparma teases Jimmy played by Malek in the desert and my favorite scene when Deke’s breaks into Sparma’s home looking for a clue is pertinent, gripping and well played by Denzel and Rami : I’ve watched the movie twice now and I’m still undecided whether they got the right guy, so much depth and baggage with each character, it’s just one of those movies that in ten years time will be hailed a classic ★★★★½
A young boy battles the complexities of life with his father : I really, really enjoyed Mark Webber’s THE PLACE OF NO WORDS : it’s hard to interpret the film’s true meaning to Mark but for me it’s an exquisite, fantastical journey centered around life, death and it’s beyond : the film has touches of Labyrinth and other such fairy tales and is beautifully shot in North Wales, the rugged landscape of Snowdonia is captured in breathtaking style especially the scenes involving father and son as they battle the elements on their journey of self discovery : for one so young the film’s star Bodhi Palmer gives a magical performance and is well supported by his real life parents Teresa Palmer & director Mark Webber with Nicole Berger delivering a wonderful turn as an enchanting fairy : I love and desperately want a Grumbler, their scenes with Bodhi were beautiful and that creepy moment in the film when this creature emerged from this slushy pool is still giving me nightmares : with the lack of originality on our screens The Place of No Words is a breath of fresh air, an emotional, personal journey that’s tough to think about let alone film with a four year old child : a truly unique and quite wonderful piece of filmmaking ★★★★½
Number 12 of My Top 31 Horror Movies : Mary Shelley recounts how the main characters of her novel survived and how Frankenstein, goaded by an even madder scientist, builds a Bride for his monster : James Whale’s 1935 monster movie BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN is one of the greatest sequel’s in movie history, a wildly unpredictable horror full of incredible sets, wonderful acting by the less talked about duo of Una O’Connor & Dwight Frye and of course the introduction, although it be short of the Monster’s Bride iconically portrayed by the ravishing Elsa Lanchester : the lavish sets filmed in gorgeous black-and-white are sensational and one of my favorite scenes in the movie is in Pretorius’s lab, where the mad Doctor shows Frankenstein several miniature creatures he has created including a King, Queen and Mermaid, the sinister atmosphere, these tiny abominations & both Doctor’s manic expressions as they discuss their work is both scary & facinating : of course the Bride of Frankenstein is filled with so many moments of sheer jaw dropping brilliance, like when the Monster comes across the old blind hermit (of course you think of Young Frankenstein which brings a smile) but the scene is shrouded in dread and you just know that it won’t end well, I love the moment when the Monster looks at a reflection of himself in the water, such a great moment and you just can’t help feel pity for this hideous creature but of course the highlight is ten minutes from the end of the movie when the Bride is brought to life… and Frankenstein’s words “she’s alive…alive” echoes round the chamber as the bandages are removed and Elsa Lanchester’s imposing monster is released to the world : a Scary, Atmospheric Monster MASTERPIECE ★★★★★
Number 26 of My Top 31 Horror Movies : A reporter and her ex-husband investigate a cursed video tape that is rumored to kill the viewer seven days after watching it : Around the end of the 90s and early 2000s the world of horror coming out of Japan was delightfully creepy & truly unforgettable, film’s such as Dark Water, Ju-On: The Grudge, Pulse, One Missed Call and of course RING and it’s sequel Rasen directed by Hideo Nakata shocked the genre, delivered Hollywood some remake material and gave me some sleepless nights in the process : Nakata’s Ring the novel of which was written by Kôji Suzuki is by far the creepiest, most sinister horror movie to come out of Japan, there’s no real violence to speak of, just that unease you feel when something is coming, that slow burning, spine-tingling and altogether unpleasant feeling of all : the beautifully talented duo of Nanako Matsushima & Hiroyuki Sanada are sublime and are both heavily involved in the film’s iconic and scary well scene, that moment when Reiko comes across the corpse and hair down the well is turn away from the screen horrific : I’ve now seen the movie around a dozen times and even during my rewatch I still find the twist to deliver an almighty knockout : if your a serious horror fan and have not seen this the original version of the RING then remedy this immediately, it’s a must watch and it will scare the living daylights out of you ★★★★½
Armed with only one word, Tenet, a secret agent known as The Protagonist is sent on a mission to stop the end of the world : Having just revisited the Christopher Nolan back catalogue I was intrigued to catch TENET in the cinema and on IMAX as the film itself was shot by Hoyte van Hoytema, the DP on this movie using both 70 mm film and IMAX : As an overall film experience Tenet is thrilling from start to finish, from it’s breathtaking european locations (you’d never guess that Nolan is a big fan of 007) and heart pounding score from the Black Panther maestro Ludwig Goransson to it’s cast including the likes of John David Washington, Robert Patterson & Elizabeth Debicki who are all mightly impressive, especially Patterson who in my opinion is the star of the movie : my favourite moments include the astonishing car chase, the opera scene which is chaotic but brilliantly shot and all the screen time Elizabeth Debicki & Kenneth Brannagh share, with Brannagh playing a Russian villain with a complex insanity that terrifies Debicki and in turn motors the heart of Nolan’s story : there were reports on my social media timeline that the sound/dialogue was poor, but in my experience it was the opposite, totally clear and incredible allround : IMAX showcases Nolan’s latest in a dazzling way, an intriguing mind melt with spectacular action blended with an exciting, facinating narrative, however I do feel that the film could have been 20mins longer, it seems some of the early exchanges could have benefited with it’s story being fleshed out a bit more : that being said If your a fan of Christopher Nolan’s movies then TENET is a must on the big screen, take your mask and enjoy the experience it’s truly worth it ★★★★
Since the great Ron Howard (Cocoon & Apollo 13) took over the reigns for SOLO: A Star Wars Story my excitement for the movie has been slowly building to a crescendo, and now having just watched the trailer 3 times on the spin I can honestly say has the makings of a great Star Wars movie and it could possibly challenge Rogue One and be the best of the new bunch of movies set around the Star Wars Universe – the film stars Alden Ehrenreich as a young Hans Solo and follows his early adventures with his Wookiee partner Chewbacca as they fight, fly and talk their way out of many a tight spot in the galaxy – the film also stars Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton and Paul Bettany and hits our screens at the end of May – take a peek at this trailer…. it looks a blast !!
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…..
Making a list of 25 movies that I think will rock our screens in 2015 was a lot harder than I thought – in no particular date order here is 25 Badass Movies hitting our screens next year !!
The Revenant sees Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy team up for a revenge thriller set around the early 1800’s directed by Birdman’s Alejandro González Iñárritu – up next Tarantino’s western The Hateful Eight that’s stars Jennifer Jason Leigh, Samuel L. Jackson, Channing Tatum & Kurt Russell (you drooling yet?) – anybody looking forward to a new Star Wars adventure? well I certainly am and with filmmaker J.J. Abrams at the helm December 2015 can’t come quick enough – the new remake of Fantastic Four is on my list for two reasons the first it’s directed by Chronicle’s Josh Trank and second it’s cast is pretty darn young Hollywood impressive including Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan, Toby Kebbell & Jamie Bell – OMG have you seen the trailer for Mad Max Fury Road? well if you haven’t why haven’t you? Tom Hardy, Nicholas Hoult & Charlize Theron look incredible in George Miller’s latest post apocalyptic Action fest….
Crimson Peak sees Guillermo del Toro explore the gothic horror genre and with a cast that includes Charlie Hunnam, Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston and Mia Wasikowska it’s already got me shivering with excitment – in 2015 Jason Clarke & Jake Gyllenhaal will be battling the conditions in Baltasar Kormákur‘s Everest – Next September, from the talented filmmaker Scott Cooper comes the true story of Whitey Bulger who became an FBI informant who attempts to take down a Mafia family invading his turf in Black Mass that stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Johnny Depp and Sienna Miller – had enough of Marvel Superhero movies yet? me neither and Joss Whedon’s Avengers: Age of Ultron should be the summer blockbuster of 2015 me thinks – just seen the trailer for the latest Terrence Malick movie Knight of Cups and it looks fantastic, the film includes three powerhouses in Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett & Natalie Portman….
It seems like an age the trailer for Matthew Vaughn‘s spy movie Kingsman: The Secret Service has been sizzling on our screens and finally in February we will be able to feast our eye’s on Samuel L. Jackson and Michael Caine kicking some ass – not heard much about The Martian ? well it’s the latest Ridley Scott movie based around Andy Weir‘s novel of the same name, for me the material has great potential and could be the surprise package of 2015 – any new Robert Zemeckis movie is one to get excited for right? well The Walk looks unbelievable and it’s based on a true story surrounding the infamous attempt to cross the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in 1974 by French high-wire artist Philippe Petit – next year’s Criminal is directed by Ariel Vromen (the Iceman) and stars Ryan Reynolds, Gil Gadot, Gary Oldman and Kevin Costner and follows an unpredictable and dangerous convict who has the memories & skills of a deceased CIA agent implanted into him, sounds interesting – next up is the return of Dinosaurs to the big screen in Colin Trevorrow‘s Jurassic World that stars Star Lord aka: Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, early stills and the first teaser has me reminiscing of the Spielberg classic but also looking forward to this new futuristic adventure….
One of 2014’s surprise movies was The Maze Runner based on James Dashner’s dark young adult series so finding out the sequel The Scorch Trials is in production and should hit our screen’s late 2015 made me a pretty happy chappy, the film will see the return of cast members Dylan O’Brien and Kaya Scodelario – next November 007 the man with a license to kill return’s in Spectre from director Sam Mendes and will see new Bondites Monica Bellucci, Christoph Waltz & Léa Seydoux add to the familiar faces of Daniel Craig & Ralph Fiennes – Told from the perspective of Igor, Victor Frankenstein promises a new take on Mary Shelley’s novel that stars Harry Potter aka: Daniel Radcliffe and the brilliant James McAvoy, the script comes from the young Max Landis – next summer Brad Bird’s latest Tomorrowland will finally hit our screens and having seen the teaser trailer & being a big fan of young Britt Robertson I am pretty excited for this picture, expecting big things here – if you’ve watched & loved Rush the formula one movie that was sadly overlooked during the 2013 Award Season, then like me you will be excited by the re-teaming of Filmmaker Ron Howard and his main man Chris Hemsworth for the Moby Dick tale In the Heart of the Sea – any Ron Howard picture is a must see on the biggest screen one can find….
I know what you’ve been thinking not another Terminator movie (yep I thought it too) but having finally got too see the first trailer of Alan Taylor‘s Terminator Genisys I am really excited, how can you not be excited by the return of Schwarzenegger to the franchise and the Game of Thrones beauty Emilia Clarke kicking some Robot’s ass, I mean come on ! – when Neill Blomkamp burst onto our screens and into our movie hearts with the amazing District 9 back in 2009 and then followed it with the all action Scifi movie Elysium in 2013, any film project that involves this talented ballsy South African filmmaker will get my utmost attention and in March his latest film will land, and with it’s story looking frighteningly good and it’s trailer bristling with of all kinds of movie goodness then I think you will agree Chappie should be a must watch in 2015 – although it was sad to see Edgar Wright exit Ant-Man I am still optimistic for a superb big screen adaption of yet another Marvel character and with it’s cast including Michael Douglas and Paul Rudd this could fly under the radar and be a gigANTic hit next summer – I really am a huge fan of British Filmmaker Guy Ritchie but felt he lost his way with the Sherlock sequel Game of Shadows, so when I heard he was bringing the popular TV show The Man from U.N.C.L.E. to our screens I was very excited, firstly I’m a huge fan of the show and secondly the casting of agents Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) and Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer) is perfect in my opinion – and finally no unmissable list would be complete without the inclusion of Tom Cruise and his latest offering to the Mission Impossible franchise – don’t know a great deal about the movie’s plot except that it’s been filming in Vienna, Austria and London and is being directing by Jack Reacher’s Christopher McQuarrie
So that wraps up My 25 Unmissable Movies of 2015 I’m pretty sure there will be some surprises along the way that may not be listed & some that are here that may prove to be real stinkers – but overall my love for the screen will never waiver, I will keep watching, reviewing and sharing my thought’s with all who will listen – I Love Movies !
From the director who brought us Gladiator, Alien and Blade Runner comes a biblical epic set during the times of Moses and Rhamses EXODUS : GODS and KINGS – the film stars Sigourney Weaver, Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, Ben Kingsley and Aaron Paul and judging by this trailer looks pretty damn mouth watering – after recent dud’s including Prometheus and The Counselor I’m hoping for a return to form from one of cinema’s greatest filmmakers – the movie lands December this year – above are some new stills and here’s the trailer…. Enjoy!
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….
Oculus (2014) – Movie Review ★★★¾
Director: Mike Flanagan – Cast: Karen Gillan, Brenton Thwaites, Katee Sackhoff, Kate Siegel, Annalise Basso & Rory Cochrane – Synopsis: Growing up 10yr old Tim and his 13yr old sister Kaylie were inserprable that was until Tim was sent to a psychiatric hospital for the supposed murder of their parents – Kaylie always suspected that an antique mirror haunted by a supernatural entity was responsible for these hideous crimes & spent the time her brother was locked away researching & documenting the lives and deaths of everyone who came in contact with it – upon Tim’s release from the hospital 11yrs later Kaylie sets out to prove her brothers innocence & destroy this supernatural force forever – Verdict: The film is based upon a short by Flanagan that was released in 2006 titled Oculus: Chapter 3 – The Man with the Plan – using flashbacks Oculus entwines two parallel stories that center around the Russell family in the past & present, this is cleverly used by Flanagan helping develop the structure of the story and adding to it’s creepiness – rather than the mundane, uninspired found footage format or the blood & gore from the general run of the mill slasher flick Flanagan injects a dose of horror reminiscent in style of James Wan, that’s almost a throwback in style to the 70s and 80s, with some fabulous character building, interesting camera angles and a film brought to life by a group of very talented young actors including Battle Star’s Katee Sackhoff, Doctor Who’s Karen Gillan and the talented Maleficent star Brenton Thwaites who all turn in excellent performances -made for just under $5 Million Oculus is a gem of a ghost story – yes at times the movie get’s a little lost in it’s illusions & hallucinations and forgets to scare but Overall: there’s enough to this movie to keep you rooted to your chair and have you avoiding mirrors at your home for days after….
Two of the screen’s finest & brightest young actresses Dakota Fanning (Runaways) and Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene) star as besties who’s friendship one summer is strained after they both fall for the same guy played by Boyd Holbrook – the film has a fabulous support cast that includes Ellen Barkin, Peter Sarsgaard, Richard Dreyfuss, Clark Gregg and Demi Moore and a filmmaker Naomi Foner making her film debut behind the camera with a story she has also written – VERY GOOD GIRLS premiered at Sundance earlier this year and looks set for a limited release later this summer – here’s the trailer…. Enjoy!