Jack Reacher: Never Go Back – Review

There’s a brand new Tom Cruise film. I wonder what he is playing this time. Maybe he is an army sergeant who runs a lot. Or an air pilot….who runs a lot. OR MAYBE HE’S A SPY! ……who, yes, runs a lot.

Ok. So Tom Cruise careers have hit the same popular cliché. It’s not like he is any bad at running but he just does the a lot. All the time. Maybe the sequel to the film we probably didn’t see, Cruise returns as agent Jack Reacher in the weirdly named Never Go Back (because he has, right?) And, surprisingly it hits a home run – if you are looking for an explosive, mindless action flick, that is.

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Jack Reacher: Never Go Back revolves around the titular character who is on the ropes and making it on his own. When he suddenly gets a call from Major Susan Turner, the woman who is now doing role, he is thrown back into the hustle and bustle of spy work, especially as Turner is accused of a heinous crime and wanted by several different agencies but most prominently, the US Military Police who are gunning for blood. But the thirst is no greater than Reacher’s acts of vengeance.

Cruise slides into the role with the utmost ease. The man has been on the throne of film excellence for over three decades and, whilst his boyish charms may have now aged to gentlemanly ones, he is no less the actor he was. The biggest chemistry here is Cruise and the camera: He knows how to deliver delicious fights, sublime lines, and powerful transform to tale into sheer entertainment. As for Cobie Smulders, while there is no flirtation or on-screen scintillation between her and Cruise, the addition of the formidable actress allows a different relationship to run rampant. As Turner, she is no less than him – in fact equal in force and it’s glorious to see her performance this way.

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Spectre, Bourne, and even Tom Cruise’s Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation have all tread Jack Reacher‘s familar territory and Edward Zwick’s work doesn’t have the narrative meat to juxtapose the gritty breaking of bones. Building up from Lee Child’s 18th novel, there are flaws in story structure that ultimate wane your interest in the film. It is catastrophically uneven in tone – trying to balance bleak and blurry fight scenes with an action movie flourish that will hamper your enjoyment somewhat.

But it’s not as if the film lied to you, and here in lies the brilliance of it. Jack Reacher is everything you want from a standard rogue spy movie. Despite trying hard to levitate above the standard affair, when it curves into cheesy one-liners and Cruise smashing people in the face with grimacing threats, there it finds home. And in the now see of super series dramas, Oscar contenders, and beguilling unusual films, there is a place for Reacher and it’s almost as though Cruise knows it. He can entertain and the movie will leave you excitable in its booming and bloody fights.

You may not like every second but there is an exhilaration and a deep character love through Cruise and Smulders (and even Danika Yarosh’s young Sam,) that you’ll want to watch.

Most importantly, Cruise kicks many an ass. Which, above all, is rousing. The film may state Never Go Back. But as an audience, if a third film were to arise, well – we wouldn’t say no…


Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is out on DVD & Blu-Ray now!

Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life – Brand New Trailer!

We’ve certainly been gearing up for this momentous occasion. Whether you like the fast talking girls of Gilmore or not, this reunion series A Year in the Life Of has been insatiably exciting and now we have a brand new trailer!

I won’t keep you long about this, after all – you really want to see it, don’t you?

I’ll wait, just scroll down.

IT’S SO EXCITING, ISN’T IT?

THEY ARE BACK! LUKE! OH MY GOD!

Ahem
What did you think?


Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life hits Netflix 25th November!

Train to Busan – Review

Latest action, horror flick to come out of South Korea is a non-stop, rabies infested train ride. Train to Busan takes hold of the Zombie and provides us with a cocktail of classic horror alongside a shot of something much more sinister, finished off with a deeply moving message at the bottom of this glass.

Of course, this is a formula we are all familiar with. An equation that has been solved, time and time again, yet writer, director Sang-ho Yeon (who is no stranger to such a genre) brings a certain flare that cannot be ignored. With the success of Japanese horror’s, the Eastern world seems to have hit the nail on then head when it comes to scare tactics and this Korean flick frightens in a much more profound and realistic fashion. Think virus outbreak, 28 Day Later rage disease with a Residential Evil vibe, rather than the vintage Evil Dead monsters.

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Workaholic, fund manager (or bloodsucker, as some of the cast refer to him as,) and recently divorced Seok-Woo (Gong Yoo) seems to be neglecting his young daughter Soo-An (played by the adorable Kim Soo-Ahn) who desperately wants to go see her mum in Busan. Never keeping his promise, he says he will take her next weekend, but when she threatens to ride the train by herself, he gives in and begrudgingly takes the morning off work to take her.  As a zombie Bambi stumbles to its feet after being hit by a trucker, followed by havoc breaking out as they step into the train, we can certainly hazard a guess as to where this one is heading.

Train to Busan travels at full steam ahead, and certainly doesn’t have any signal failures. Whilst it is highly entertaining watching something at such pace, seeing more character development would have given this project the sprinkles it needed. Perhaps cutting down repetitive zombie grazing flashes and replacing them with a bit more dialogue would have lowered the predictability – especially in the latter half of the film.

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This becomes a hybrid of typical cheesy horror tactics, mixed with a much more ominous and threatening tone. And the threat, seems to be humans, not the disease that is consuming them. At times the special effects left much to be desired, but in the main this doesn’t dilute the story at hand. With horror, inevitably comes nervous laughter – and here there is no stopping this defence mechanism. Albeit, Yeon gives us plenty of insanely funny moments. Comedian come combat warrior Sang-Hwa (Ma Dong-Seok) and his heavily pregnant wife bring sarcasm and dry humour; delivering much needed light hearted-ness to this life of death situation. Yong-Suk (Kim Eui-Sung) a selfish middle aged man who successfully attempts to sacrifice everyone else but himself in this zombie apocalypse represents just how self-centred us humans can be at times – whilst the repetitive nature of this character becomes dull, there is immense satisfaction in watching him finally receive his comeuppance.

The inevitable climax is executed with artistic finesse as sadness dawns upon the remaining survivors. The overall message here is don’t just think about yourself, help others as well as we need each other to survive. Considering this is Yeon’s first live action film after spending his time working in animation, this appears to be a pretty good stepping stone for the next chapter of his career.

In other words – jump on this train, but be prepared for a fight.


Train to Busan is out in cinemas 28th Oct

Central Intelligence – Born Again Actors!

It’s no secret that many actors feel they were born to act; that they wouldn’t know what they’d do if they couldn’t go on set or grace the silver screen any longer. Actors such as former child star turned cinematic chameleon Daniel Radcliffe have gone on record recently saying they’d be bereft if they were told they couldn’t act any longer, and cannot imagine another career path. Some, such as former comedian Kevin Hart, took a different road before finding their calling in life.

To celebrate the release of Hart’s latest hit comedy, Central Intelligence, which is available on Digital Download now and Blu-ray & DVD from 24th October, we take a look at actors who took a slightly different path on the road to superstardom.

 

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson

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Hart’s co-star in Central Intelligence and all round big screen titan, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson started out his career as a WWE wrestler, having played American Football to national championship level. From 1996 – 2004 Johnson was a major figure on the WWE circuit. A study in the art of multi-tasking, Johnson enjoyed an overlap between his wrestling and film career, making his feature film debut in 2001’s The Mummy Returns as The Scorpion King; a role he reprised in 2002’s film of the same name. Roles in comedies Be Cool, Get Smart and Race To Witch Mountain followed, before Johnson got his big break in 2011’s Fast & Furious 5. Since then Johnson has been unstoppable, starring in the likes of Pain & Gain, Empire State and San Andreas; and with the likes of Baywatch and Jumanji on the horizon the Johnson juggernaut shows no signs of slowing down.

 

Arnold Schwarzenegger

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Boasting California’s most famous biceps, before Austrian born Arnold Schwarzenegger became known as a Hollywood heavyweight (in more ways than one), he built a reputation as the best bodybuilder of all time; winning Mr Universe at the age of 20 and Mr Olympia seven times. Not content with his weightlifting prowess ‘Arnie’ turned to the big screen; earning his first major role in 1982’s Conan The Barbarian. This paved the way for Hollywood producers to come calling, and just two years later he starred in James Cameron’s The Terminator – one of his most iconic roles. He reprised the role again in 1991, 2003 and 2015’s reboot, giving moviegoers one of the most quoted lines of all time; “I’ll be back”. Whilst Arnie is the ultimate action hero, he is also something of a career chameleon, and in 2003 he became the 38th Governor of California; serving for two terms until 2011. His next trick? Arnie will host and lead the weekly sackings on US show The Celebrity Apprentice, taking over from Donald Trump.

 

Harrison Ford

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One of Hollywood’s most famous leading men started out life as a carpenter, making film props for George Lucas Productions. Lucas gave him his first break with a small role in American Graffiti. Following that, when faced with a sick actor Lucas had him stand in to read lines for a film he was creating in 1977 called Star Wars. Ford impressed so much that Lucas gave him the role as Han Solo; a role which defined Ford’s career and undoubtedly catapulted him to become the star he is today – earning him the princely sum of $10,000 in the process! Ford continued to play Han Solo in every Star Wars movie (no doubt acquiring healthier pay packages) up to 2015’s The Force Awakens. Aside from Star Wars, Ford is best known as Indiana Jones; a role which started in 1981 and has spanned four films and counting, with the fifth instalment planned for release in July 2019. As well as being a hugely successful movie star, Ford is also a qualified pilot and has a collection of planes based in Santa Monica.

 

Mickey Rourke

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Unlike the other stars on our list who turned to acting as a second career, Mickey Rourke – real name Philip Andre Rourke Jnr. – started off as an actor in the early 1980s, with roles in films such as the Charles Bukowski biopic, Barfly. Then, in 1991, Rourke turned his back on acting to become a full-time boxing professional. A stint of three years in the ring pushed Rourke back to his first love, and on he worked until he hit the big time in 2005’s dark thriller Sin City, and 2008’s The Wrestler. The latter earned him numerous accolades, including a BAFTA, Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination. Rourke is also a passionate dog lover; having owned numerous Chihuahuas, so much so, that in his 2009 Golden Globes acceptance speech Rourke attributed his success to his four-legged friends.

 

Jason Statham

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Rosie Huntingdon-Whiteley’s beau is not just a pretty face. The Derbyshire-born actor has many talents; and being a top sportsman is one of them. Most know Statham as the star of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998), The Transporter trilogy (2002 – 2008) and, of course, the Fast & Furious franchise. However a lesser known fact is that Statham started out as a footballer and diver, being introduced to the former through his old friend, Vinnie Jones. His dedication to and prowess for diving grew, earning him a place on GB’s National Diving Squad for 12 years and a spot at the 1990 Commonwealth Games. Statham’s diving-honed physique then caught the eye of fashion brand French Connection, whom Statham went on to model for before starting his hugely successful movie career.


CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE IS AVAILABLE ON DIGITAL DOWNLOAD NOW, AND ON BLU-RAY AND DVD ON 24TH OCTOBER 2016

The Man Who Fell To Earth – DVD & Blu-Ray Review

The realm of science fiction is a fascinating one. A lone man’s wild-eyed pseudo-science for faster than light travel could easily be tomorrow’s answer to colonising new worlds. If you question my claim, look no further than Star Trek, which showed snippets of the trappings of modern life back in the sixties.

Of course, no matter how hard you try, not all predictions come true, and not all science fiction passes muster after time has moved on. Such seems to be the case with the 1976 cult classic The Man Who Fell to Earth.

mwfte4The film was directed by Nicolas Roeg and starred the late, great, David Bowie in his debut film role of Thomas Jerome Newton as an alien who comes to Earth and becomes head of a company created in order to bring water back to his home planet. Starring alongside the singer are Candy Clark as his love interest, and Rip Torn as a scientist who ends up working with Newton on a number of his projects.

Bowie’s role within the film is a much more subdued character when compared to his ostentatious stage personas, or some of his characters in later films. Instead he plays Newton in a rather flat manner, rarely raising his voice above a quiet murmur except at a few choice moments. This wouldn’t necessarily cause any strife within the film, but the majority of his scenes coincide with Candy Clark’s lacklustre delivery of her lines, which, again, could have been greatly improved had her character been given any other emotion than “blindly in love with Newton.” It may be a relic from the time when the film was made, but watching her repeatedly throw herself at Bowie (a dream of many young women at the time, I’m sure), only for him to turn her away disinterestedly, becomes weary after the umpteenth time, and by the time there is a change in their relationship, you have become so numbed to the initial treatment, you feel like you accidentally changed the channel somewhere along the way.

The-Man-Who-Fell-to-Earth-4Despite the acting, it is clear that a lot of passion was put into this project, especially by Roeg. The entire story is very lovingly shot, and uses a wide variety of camera techniques to help keep the audience on its toes. The use of imagery is also particularly strong, especially during the many, many sex scenes (so many, that one begins to suspect the film was running a little short and they needed a way to stretch the runtime.) Of particular note is the first carnal display, which cuts between the rather aggressive intercourse and a sword fight between two Japanese actors, the timing of the thrusts exquisitely matching the swordplay in an almost balletic fashion.

The Man Who Fell to Earth also features an absolutely stellar soundtrack, using plenty of instrumental numbers by John Phillips as well as hits by the likes of Roy Orbison, Bing Crosby and Louis Armstrong. It is this, combined with Roeg’s passion and the awe-inspiring cinematography by Anthony B. Richmond, which makes this film what it is.

The Man Who Fell to Earth is rightfully held up as both a cult classic and a shining example of its genre. Whilst the acting may leave much to be desired, it is definitely worth a look-in, if only to see the loving touch of a fantastically dedicated crew.


The Man Who Fell to Earth is out on DVD & Blu-Ray now 

Train to Busan – Trailer and Clips!

bathrooms, and zombies just walking.

Yeah, we’ve had a lot of zombie movies and now we have zombies on a train.

Train to Busan revolves around a father and daughter who are fighting for their lives on a speeding train when I t is infested with zombies. Oops.

Exhilarating and full of action, Train to Busan is supposed to be the horror event of the year.

What do you think?


Train to Busan is out 28th Oct