AMERICAN MADE (2017) : Doug Liman
Tom Cruise, Sarah Wright, Domhnall Gleeson, Jesse Plemons
on the Movie Screen TOM CRUISE has few equals, the man is a bonefied action star, a charasmastic movie magnet, a film icon and in my eyes one of the Greatest Movie Stars that’s ever lived – ok so now I have that off my chest what did I make of his second movie with filmaker Doug Liman AMERICAN MADE is a film based around a true story of pilot come drug runner Barry Seal – films that fly under the radar & deliver the goods are few and far between yet American Made succeeds big time – from the time I sat in my seat in the jam packed screening to it’s final credits time flew – there’s a darkness, a terrifying story being told yet you can’t help but smile, laugh and at time clap your way through proceedings, the pace is electric, the locations pleasing on the eye and attention to detail superb – it seems Liman and Cruise are a match made in movie heaven and with this being there second picture together only whets the lips for a third ★★★★
BLADE RUNNER 2049 : Denis Villeneuve
Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Robin Wright, Mackenzie Davis
In 1982 Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner was one of my first Science Fiction crushes, it’s still in My Top 20 movies of all time so when I heard a sequel was coming, I was sceptical but then something changed….. it was announced that Canadian filmmaker Denis VILLENEUVE was set to direct, the talent behind some of my favorite movies in recent years Prisoners, Enemy, Sicario and Arrival and I instantly knew that this film when it arrived would be worthy of the name Blade Runner – and as I’m sat here typing my thoughts, still giddy with the excitment felt viewing the movie for the second time with a little Hans Zimmer playing in the background I’m actually struggling to find the words on how bloody great Blade Runner 2049 actually is – it’s a picture that’s more than a homage laid sci-fi sequel, this is filmmaking on a grand scale, Deakins use of color and light is quite overwhelming, a small but fine example of this is them early scenes between K and Morton, the way the scene is lit, it’s mood that’s transformed to the screen adds greatly to this tense, titanic and very relevant encounter – along with the movies obvious masterclass in sound & imagery Blade Runner 2049 is a film that carries a wicked cast, with 4 amazing ladies hugging the limelight and making this sequel extra special – Ana de Armas is eye catching as hologram Joi, so much so you start to believe she’s actually real – Mackenzie Davis is simply WOW as street girl Mariette with her homage strewn outfit and amazing hairstyle – and then there’s Lt. Joshi a tough ass cop played by the remakable Robin Wright who’s perfectly cast and last but not least Dutch actress Sylvia Hoeks who is MESMERISING as Niander Wallace’s creation Luv, she’s quite the badass and those scenes with K near the end of the movie are so unbelievable I left half my finger nails in the arm of the chair – Overall Blade Runner 2049 is not only the best movie sequel since Cameron’s Aliens it’s also a thought provoking slice of original storytelling that sucks you in, captivates and excites like no other movie has this year ★★★★½
“12 Mysterious ships take up positions across Earth leading the military to send in a top notch linguist (Amy Adams) and a scientist (Jeremy Renner) to assist in translating alien communications”
For me Denis Villeneuve has joined a select band of filmmakers that manage to excite me, make me giddy with film fever and have so far delivered with every movie I’ve watched – the likes of Cameron, Tarantino and Nichols are also in that group so as you can see I highly rate this talented Canadian who’s last 3 movies Enemy, Prisoners and Sicario have all left me speechless and for many different reason’s blew my movie loving mind – Arrival is not your typical first contact picture, it’s based on Ted Chiang’s short story titled “Story of your Life” and is somewhat a science fiction love story, that’s powerfully captivating and tugs at your heart strings on so many levels – some of Villeneuve’s strength’s as a filmmaker is how he deals with the characters within the films narrative, managing to humanize them and make you care for them but also building a tension that surrounds them, this is difficult to achieve so it’s no surprise if you look at who he brings on board and trusts to convey his vision – at the heart of Arrival is Amy Adams who delivers a vulnerable yet equally strong performance playing Linguistics professor Louise Banks a women who’s known huge loss in her life yet shows the fight to continue on – Arrival essentially deals with grief and how we handle it, and one of Amy’s strong points as an actress is her facial features she has that honest, natural look, her eye’s give so much away so that her character’s interaction with the aliens is not only a scary encounter but also a thing of beauty too – now if filmmaker Villeneuve and actress Amy Adams are not enough to tempt you to watch this fabulous slice of Science Fiction on the big screen then Bradford Young’s sumptuous, flawless cinematography must surely twist your arm, remember when you first watched Kubrick’s 2001 or Spielberg’s Close Encounters and felt delirious, allowing the vision of the movie to spin into cinematic greatness well Bradford Young’s work is in similar vein, his use of light inside the space ship is paramount to the films overall feel and it’s mastered beautifully so if you thought Bradford’s work on Ain’t them Bodies and A Most Violent Year were great then wait till you see Arrival – this is no Independence Day Arrival is a bold, compelling, original slice of science fiction that’s full of suspense and sentiment – in it’s genre it’s one of the most thought provoking, written pictures for many a year and yet another fabulous cinematic experience by Villeneuve – bring on that Blade Runner sequel this guy can’t wait….
Trying to pick 15 Movies that have stood out, excited & impressed the hell out of me in 2015 has been a difficult task and one that I started compiling over two weeks back – when making a Best of List it’s important to view the movie multiple times and for me personally I never choose any movie on pure sentiment, take the Star Wars movie for example, I’m a huge geek when it comes to them movies but it would be unfair of me to name it as one of my favorite movies purely on past glories, the movie has to be better than that and deserve a place by merit – everybody has their own personal favorites, whether it be at home or at the cinema movies are there to be enjoyed – don’t take my Top 15 as gospel and certainly don’t let friends or film critics decide what you watch, the beauty is we are all movie critics and we all have our own opinions – so if you’ve not seen some of these movies, give them a try and then compile your own list of Your Favorite Movies of 2015….