Archive for July, 2018

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It’s uncommon for a franchise, like Mission: Impossible, to not only still be going after two decades but to constantly prove to be an exciting and action packed time at the cinema. We have Tom Cruise to thank for that. Not Tom Cruise the movie star but Tom Cruise the producer. Cruise took the smart route of being a producer on the 1996 original movie and it is this position which has allowed him to oversee and protect his franchise for this long. From co-stars to directors and writers Tom Cruise had a say in who came on board the Mission: Impossible team. Here we are with the sixth film in the series, Mission: Impossible Fallout, which is not only great but demonstrates how this series can and should keep going for a long as Cruise sees fit.

I enjoyed the plot of Fallout a great deal. In fact I went back and watched the first movie, directed by Brian De Palma, right after I got home from the theatre. The reason for that is Fallout is the most similar sequel, to date, to the first film. The story is dense and because all invovled have done their job right you will be led down a path of mystery, large scale threat and danger right from the opening and up until the pulse pounding finale. Plot points went in directions I did not expect, old faces shine and new characters are introduced which fit perfectly into the world of Ethan Hunt.

Mission: Impossible Fallout sees two first’s for the series, one is the return of director/writer Christopher McQuarrie and the other is a recurring female agent in the form of Rebecca Ferguson’s Ilsa Faust. Faust almost stole the show in the last movie. It’s great to have her back. It is frustrating how the male characters – Luther and Benji – recur yet we don’t get the ladies back until now. Directors have gone on record saying it comes down to schedule but – please – if you hold off filming or work around the male actor’s schedules why not the ladies? Hopefully going forward we get the return of more IMF lady agents. Paula Patton and Maggie Q both played kick arse characters and I’d love for either or both to be back at some point.

It was a great choice to bring back McQuarrie. He and Cruise seem to work great together and both are clearly passionate about this franchise. Each making sure the action and stunts will thrill audiences. The stunt work in Fallout is excellent. Truly breathtaking stuff. The action is great. From gun fights, to hand to hand combat and high speed chases on land and air. All of it shot brilliantly and clearly. Many people have praised the action in this film and I can see why. Cruise, we know, loves this stuff and sets the bar for his co-stars, all of whom I must say get rightly stuck into the action themselves and that is always awesome to see! All of the cast are great but Henry Cavill’s character, man, I gotta say he’s a force to be reckoned with!

The film, you know it’s fine being constructive and that, so it’s arguably a bit on the long side. I did feel, only breifly at times, it could have been shorter and as a result tighter. Some dialogue felt like the creatives behind the movie sensed they needed to over explain plot beats to the audience and ya know that really was not warranted. On the flipside most of the interaction and banter between the characters was spot on and most welcome. The score is excellent too.

Overall Mission: Imopssible Fallout is a great ride from start to finish and I look forward to seeing what the next impossible mission entails for Ethan Hunt and his team.

 

Top Gun

Posted: July 27, 2018 in Movies
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Top Gun. The 80’s movie that is legit everything film fans love about that decade.

Released in 1986 – the same year as a few of my fave films – this Tony Scott dircted picture focuses on THE elite ‘Top Gun’ training programe employed by the U.S. Navy to train and put out the best of the best when it comes to fighter pilots. Tom Crusie stars, in what I’d say was his first big breakout role, as Maverick. This hot shot pilot has somthing to prove. He’s the best there is, so he thinks and he’s making it his mission to come out on top during the programe. To hell with his peers and commanding officers. Maverick has somthing to prove!

Alright. To be fair to Maverick he has his reasons for coming across the way he does. Watching this film as a kid I saw Maverick as the hero but now watching it as an adult this guy comes across as a bit full of himself. It’s funny because Iceman, played by Val Kilmer, is set up as Maverick’s main foe in the film. When you see the film now you realise every bit of shade Iceman tosses Maverick’s way is not only justified it is right on the money. I liked that I saw a different side to the movie revisiting it as an adult. Of course the flip side of that is maybe Maverick was always meant to seem unlikeable and reckless and it’s the emotional arc he goes on through the film that is the point of the film. Yea it’s probably that.

All of the plot stuff aside one of the best reasons to see Top Gun is the outstanding fighter plane action. All shot practically on film, I think, the results are most impressive. As the pilots go through this tough training programe you go along for the ride and feel like you’re right up there with them. The stunt work is brilliant. This ain’t an action film though. Most of the action is based around training stuff but the last act does raise the stakes somewhat in a real test of these pilots skills in a life or death situation. That last act air battle being the pay off for the themes of the film.

Top Gun was a chart hit too with two notable tracks from the soundtrack proving big hits. Take My Breath Away, by Berlin, won an Academy Award! Then you got my fave track from the soundtrack from Kenny Loggins – Danger Zone! Hands down one of the best 80’s tunes ever. The soundtrack was a best seller the year of the films release and is still very popular today.

Tony Scott and his signature style is all over this film. From the jet action down to the character relations and the film’s spot on pace. Top Gun looks and sounds incredible. Tom Cruise is cocky as all hell as Maverick but he nails the emotional beats and you can’t help but like him despite his early flaws. The very talented and stunning Kelly McGillis leaves her mark as Top Gun instructor Charlie. She proves a match for our hero as both a peer and a love interest. We all know the heart of Top Gun is Maverick’s best bud Goose. Anthony Edwards is totally likeable in the role. Goose is a big reason why Top Gun is as good as it is. His friendship with Maverick is legit. I’ll say no more. 80’s stars Michael Ironside and Tom Skerritt provide good support with Meg Ryan and Tim Robbins popping up in small “Wow is that?” before they were stars roles.

Top Gun is, without question, the sort of film you provide to an alien should they enquire as to what sort of movie sums up a decade. This is a great ride and in all seriousness it is a genuinely good character piece with a great arc for its hero. Now is the perfect time to revisit this classic . Tom Cruise, to the delight of many, recently announced his return to this role. Maverick: Top Gun is due out next year and it will have been thirty three years since that character made his unforgettable debut. I can’t wait to see what Cruise and his team have in store cause if there is one thing you can count on with Cruise it is he never phones in anything.

 

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Yo! Buffy might be coming back! Awesome right?

During Comic Con Fox made a dent in the news with confirmation that a reboot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is currently in the works. The idea is that a pilot script will be written -early days yet guys, this thing could ALL fall apart – and the new reboot of Buffy will be taken to various networks and streaming services!

Joss Whedon and Monica Owusu-Breen (Alias, Fringe, Midnight Texas) have paired up to brainstorm this new show. Owusu-Breen is currently writing the pilot script. Both of these talented people have their own shows in the mix at the moment. We do not know if either will stick with this reboot should it get the greenlight. Let’s hope so.

The only fact out there regarding the proposed reboot is that it won’t be a continuation of the original series. Buffy will be played by an actress of colour this time in order to better represent all audiences and fans. More of this please.

I have seen complaining over the weekend over this idea of a reboot. Guys the original show ended strong. Let it be. It’s not like the show was killed before its time. We had an awesome seven seasons of Buffy (Oh the movie! I love the movie) and a spin off which ran for five seasons! Now it is time for new audiences to get their version of this iconic character. My hope is the show stays away from familiar plot points and becomes a trail blazer all of its own making.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its characters struck a cord with fans and because of that, one could argue, there is a sense of ownership. I get that but that is wrong. Buffy, like James Bond or other such iconic characters, is bigger than any one representation of her. Due to that she should be allowed to continue free of chains keeping her tied to one creative route. I want to see this character and this world explored in new and exciting ways.

My hot take? For what little this is worth I would happily see the likes of Willow, Xander, Giles, Angel and (my fave) Cordelia MIA in this new vision. Let’s see a brand new Scooby Gang. Heck move out of Sunnydale. Should the show go ahead its strength will come from what it does on its own terms and not from what it tries to retell.

Last but not least there is this. Earlier I said the show is out to networks and streaming services. Should it go to the likes of Netflix the makers will have a lot more creative control over content than they would on a network. That means the Buffy we get could be a bold and much darker take on the character than what we have seen before.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is currently in early development and will be taken to networks. Should the show get the greenlight and start to move forwards you can be sure it’ll be covered here.

 

Geostorm

Posted: July 24, 2018 in Movies
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Geostorm came out late in 2017 and I paid no real attention to it. I’d wrote it off. Big mistake. Look, hear me out, if you like big, dumb and fun 90’s blockbuster then you can not go wrong with Geostorm. Dean Devlin writes and directs and film fans from the 90’s will know this guy. Devlin worked a on a ton of hits with his creative partner Roland Emmerich throughout the 90’s. Stargare, Independence Day and Godzilla? Yep. Those guys were responsible for those movies. They had a signature style – BIG action, mass destruction and cutting edge special effects – which would continue into the 00’s with hits The Day After Tomorrow and 2012. Geostorm stands apart from those films as this time it’s Devlin who is directing and the results are gold.

The story for this one is pure Devlin. Wild weather has taken its toll on the planet. Climate change is no joke. For reals! Geostorm is a warning, a outlandish one, yet a warning all the same of the possible consequences of ignoring how we treat the planet. In order to combat the killer weather a crack team of multi nation scientists and engineers create a space station/satellite system to control the weather. Everything is as it should be once more until the technology used to save humanity backfires. It’s been compromised and weaponised. The weather is now being controlled to devastating effect. Should it continue it’ll result in a geostorm!! One which could wipe out most of humanity!

It falls to the creator of the satellite system, Jake Lawson, to come out of forced retirement and save the day before we’re all wiped out! One of the big reasons Geostorm is so much fun is the characters. They’re a lot of fun and the cast and filmmakers are in on the crazy nature of the film. Towing a line between taking the material as serious as they can yet at the same time all too aware of how nuts it all is. It’s a solid cast too. Gerard Butler is a great lead. He’s always entertaining. Then you got the likes of Jim Sturgess, Abbie Cornish, Zazie Beetz and all around legend Ed Harris in fun supporting roles. Cornish, as a secret service agent, has an awesome Terminator moment. I was howling with delight at how nuts this films gets. Yes it is obvious who the baddie is. If you know your summer blockbusters none of the plot twists here will take you by surprise but I didn’t care. The film is a blast.

The special effects and by extension the budget, I guess, don’t seem to be as impressive as more modern big blockbuster movies. For example whenever the film cuts to mass destruction via death weather, save for one extended sequence quite early into the film, it cuts back before all of that action REALLY kicks into overdrive. You get just enough but I would have liked to have see more. There’s plenty of other stuff going on in the film though to keep you entertained from start to finish. Legit. Not in some highbrow way that has you laughing at the film. I dislike that outlook. This is an entertaining movie.

I love big blockbuster films the likes of which Devlin and Emmerich are known for. I always manage to get caught up in all the Hollywood action and drama of those films. Geostorm is one of those films. I am a bit disappointed I didn’t give this a shot at the cinema but I’m glad I caught it and had such a fun time. It felt like I’d discovered a lost 90’s movie! With the movies I’ve mentioned above you should have a clear idea if this will be for you or not. If big 90’s films like Independence Day, Deep Impact or Dante’s Peak are your cup of tea then you can’t go wrong with Geostorm.

 

Morning guys! So look, Comic Con 2018 is here and Day One is already over. There is going to be a river of news and trailer debuts over the weekend. However if that’s what you’re after then I wouldn’t come here. Truth is I won’t be covering Comic Con much this year. I may throw some trailers and thoughts up on ’em down the line but for now I want to just focus on what’s popping and wow is Overlord popping!

It would be easy to overlook this awesome looking horror movie considering all of the big news and reveals set to break. This trailer came online Thursday and I for one am getting MAJOR The Thing vibes from this thing. I love historical war movies, I love horror and I love men on a mission flicks and this look like a crazy combination of all of the above.

The movie is directed by Julius Avery, who directed the well received Sun of a Gun and hits cinema screens October 26th. This has joined The Predator and Halloween as one of my most anticipated movies of the year.

Hell Fest is a film I have known about for several years. The script came to my attention years ago after I read about the project entering early pre-production. The film is a slasher movie set in and around a Halloween maze. The hook is a real killer is going nuts killing visitors and going unchecked ’cause everyone assumes it’s all part of the show right? Dead wrong.

The buzz on the screenplay was big.

Insiders who had gotten a look at it said it had the potential to be the next Scream. A big new franchise! Then nothing happened. The film went quiet. Several directors came and went until early this year word broke the film was set to start production. Now we got a trailer. I think this looks okay. Hardly on the same level as Scream. We’ll see how the film turns out. Hopefully it is great.

I’ve noticed a lot of writers have come on board this project over the years so who knows if the shooting script bares any resemblance to that original script that had people buzzing a few years back. It could have be re-written to hell and lost what made it special because right now it just looks like one of the sequels to MTV’s My Super Psycho Sweet 16. That’s not a bad thing. Just not what I imagined.

Hell Fest will be out in theatres in time for Halloween.

 

Robocop (1987) gets a direct sequel!

Posted: July 16, 2018 in Movies
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It is getting crazy on the sequel front now folks. Where once a sequel to a film was bound by what came before it that no longer is the case. Case in point this years Halloween will ignore all of the original seven sequels to 1978 movie and be a direct sequel. Then you have the next Terminator sequel, currently filming, which is said to be the true sequel to T2: Judgement Day and will ignore all the films that came out after that one. Now the same is true for Robocop.

The 1987 classic had two direct sequels, a short lived attempt at small screen success and a remake which came and went without much fuss either way. Word broke late last week that none other than Neill Blomkamp, he of District 9 fame, has come on board to direct Robocop Returns.

The reason you may want to pay attention is Blomkamp is using an old and unused sequel script from original writers Ed Neumeier and Michael Miner. Now that script is being re-worked but the fact it is there as a foundation gives me hope, as does the news this will be R rated, that the Robocop we all know and love will be heading back to the big screen.

It is a really exciting time now for old school genre fans. I used to always wonder why studios didn’t ignore past crap sequels and just gloss over them with better ones and now that is just what’s happening. That’s not to say I dislike the Robocop sequels or most of the Halloween sequels but for any franchise that has gone down the drain this is a great and bold move.

As fate would have it this is now the second time Blomkamp has been involved in such a project. A few years ago you may be aware he was all set to direct an Alien sequel that ignored everything after the second movie but that fell apart just before it could get going. I hope he has a bit more luck with Robocop Returns. We’ll keep you posted on any casting/filming details to come in the future.

 

Baywatch

Posted: July 13, 2018 in Movies
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Growing up in the 1990’s it was impossible to not notice a television show by the name of Baywatch. Lifeguards, all of whom are absolutely stunning, run around (a lot of the time in slow motion) saving lives, protecting the beach and hunting down criminals. The show began legit but as it went on it got more and more over the top and was more known for its hunks and babes than it was its great plots. The series made Pamela Anderson a world wide star and allowed 80’s star David Hasselhoff to have a strong career throughout the 90’s. I loved the show. Every Saturday it would be on around dinner time and it became a fixture of my childhood! Originally it was legit fun but even I can admit the show gradually moved further and further into the outlandish.

Baywatch as a big screen movie was an idea that had been floating around Hollywood for years now. Last summer the film eventually saw the light of day. Directed by Seth Gordon (Horrible Bosses) and with a script from Mark Swift and Damian Shannon (Freddy VS. Jason, Friday The 13th). The film stars Dwayne Johnson, Priyanka Chopra, Zac Efron and Alexandra Daddario taking on the roles of the characters the television series made so popular during the 90’s. Except for one gag I felt was in poor taste the film is, I’m pleased to say, not only funny but pretty clever.

What the film gets so right is the way it KNOWS how crazy the show got. These lifeguards have ZERO official jurisdiction over anyone on their beach. The film plays on that reality a lot and in a real fun way. Lt. Mitch Buchannon (Johnson) and his team are basically vigilantes. In fact I think the film would have benefited more from that angle going further. The humour in the film is 100% aimed at adults and due to that and the adult nature of the jokes and language I think the violence in the film should have been on the same level. That seemed like a missed opportunity. What action there is in the film is okay – chases, fist fights, shoot outs, rescues – just it seems tame compared to the humour and rating on the film.

The script does a good job of keeping the plot simple and introducing the characters – as if for the first time – to the audience. Chopra’s character Victoria Leeds is up to no good around the bay. So it’s up to Mitch and his team (who take protecting the bay very seriously) to stop her and her minions! Efron plays disgraced Olympic swimmer Matt Brody and his deal is that he thinks he’s doing Mitch a favour by joining the Baywatch team. Throughout the film the way that duo butt heads and bounce off one another in their attempts to save the day is where most of the humour comes from. A sub plot focusing on Kelly Rohrbach’s CJ Parker and Jon Bass’s Ronnie has a good natured amount of heart which took me by surprise. Their characters along with the always committed Johnson and talented Efron being the standouts.

As for the direction the film never feels over long despite being on for almost two hours. It has a healthy pace. I never found it a slog. I like the characters and I like how the script paid homage to the original series while at the same time making fun of how crazy it got. Baywatch is a good case of a director, the writers and the actors all being on the same page. The gags work – one set in a morgue is just gross but funny – and save for one joke, as I said that felt in poor taste and unnecessary, the film is fun and worth checking out.

 

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Wow. So there you have it folks! Warner Bros. are not messing around when it comes to DC. After months and months of rumours, yesterday, The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that Joaquin Phoenix will be taking on the iconic role of The Joker.

The untitled Joker movie is set to be directed by Todd Phillips (The Hangover, Old School) and will – this is the kicker – not be connected to the current DC universe movies. Once more according to The Hollywood Reporter’s sources this flick will be a stand alone crime thriller. One which will boast a modest budget compared to the current DC movies. They also state a brand new label – as yet unkown – will be used to brand these (I assure there’s gonna be more of these) one of a kind DC adaptations.

Okay. So I ask what the hell are they doing over at Warner Bros./DC? Does this news bother me? Nope. It sure doesn’t. Joaquin Phoenix is an amazing talent and the thought of him playing the Joker is music to my ears. If this is a stand alone then cool. No issue. What does bother me, a bit, is it all just seems messy. For example there’s ANOTHER solo Joker movie currently in the works over at the studio and this one focuses on Jared Leto’s Joker. In fact let’s take a look at the current projects on the way from Warners/DC –

Aquaman debuts this fall

Shazam! will take a bow next spring

Wonder Woman 84 comes out next fall

Gotham City Sirens is due to shoot early next year and all of these films will be set in the same universe.

Then there’s the untitled Batman solo movie. That’s been in development for a few years now and may or may not (sigh) be set within the current continuity.

It is a mess. But it’s what we got. As long as each film turns out great I guess I don’t care what is connected to what but man oh man do these guys like to make all of this seem OVERLY complicated. My thinking on this? Drop the shared universe stuff for all of these projects and just take it one movie at a time. Slay one, it turns out awesome and everyone is happy. Don’t worry about what is tied to what. I am committed to DC and believe, due to their rich legacy, they totally warrant a fantastic stream of movies and with a bit more direction I think it can be done. Maybe lighten up a bit also.

Filming on Phoenix’s Joker movie kicks off pretty soon.

 

Batman: The Movie

Posted: July 9, 2018 in Movies
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This past week has been a case of several first time viewings of movies a lot of fans have no doubt seen countless times before. Yep. Batman: The Movie. Never saw it. Sure I saw the re-runs of the TV series when I was a kid and I loved that. Yet I had never saw the movie which was put out into theatres in between the show’s first and second seasons. Directed by Leslie H. Martinson and starring several of the show’s key cast bar Julie Newmar who was unable to appear in the film. For fans of Batman and those who love all versions of this iconic character – more so if you loved the show – this is an essential watch.

The plot is great. Batman’s rogues gallery – the Joker (Cesar Romero), Penguin (Burgess Meredith), Riddler (Frank Gorshin) and Catwoman ( a great Lee Meriwether taking on the role for the movie) – hatch a diabolical scheme to take over the world. So it falls to the dynamic duo of Batman (Adam West) and Robin (Burt Ward) to save the world.

This film is brilliant and crazy. It’s so bonkers. I can’t help but feel that surely the cast and crew knew how outlandish the dialogue and situations were and had their tongues placed firmly in cheek throughout. Of course everyone plays it straight which is the right call but that simply adds to the charm and the humour of the film. Fans of the Batman 60’s series will know what I mean when I say this film is camp fun. The set design is fantastic – vibrant and colourful sets feature throughout from the Batcave to the villain’s lair. I love the look of this movie and the tone.

There are countless quoteable lines of dialogue scattered throughout the film. I don’t want to give away any of the gags. No doubt you all know what I am hinting at because I have a feeling most Batman fans will have seen this by now but just in case you ain’t seen it I don’t want to ruin any of the set pieces or gags. The actors playing the villains are excellent. All of them do a great job. The stand out would be Romero as Joker. He was a big fixture in my childhood and I still find the look of his character freaky to this day. He’s great in the film. Meriwether also does great work as Catwoman. She really jumps into the role and has fun with it. The star of the flick though is Batman himself. Adam West is excellent. He has this earnestness to him that just had me laughing out loud at some of his words of advice or his wisdom that he so freely delivers throughout the film. Everyone involved must have had a ball.

Clearly this Batman is tone wise unlike any other Batman more modern fans would know of. Although look, putting it simply, the show/movie is the stuff of legend to this day and I find it hard to believe that any fan born post 2000 has no clue as to the existance of this version of the caped crusader. This film has great gags, funny dialogue, that kick arse theme music and some fun fights. It’s a must see for Batman fans and as an early example of one of Hollywood’s first big studio superhero movies. This film came out in 1966 and it would only be the following decade that saw the release of Superman in 1978 and the rest as we know is history. Those early films taking on a more hopeful and colourful approach to two of DC comics icons. These days it’s all so dark and serious. If today’s directors and producers can only look to the past and understand why these older films are held in such high regard. Sometimes it’s okay to have a little fun with these sort of films.