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The Grand Master
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Originally it was a top 50 list but I feel there are too many awesome movies to leave out of the list hence why the list was extended to 100.
The list spans across 45 years from Dirty Harry and A Clockwork Orange which were released in 1971, to Dunkirk which were released in 2017.
Trivia: Movies in the IMDB Top 250: 49 Movies in the IMDB Top 100: 32 Have won Oscars: 39 Won Best Picture: 14 Best Director: 14 Best Actor: 6 Best Actress: 2 Best Supporting Actor: 7 Best Supporting Actress: 1
Most Prolific Actors in list: Robert De Niro: 10 Al Pacino, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Morgan Freeman and Bruce Willis: 6 Christian Bale, Matt Damon and Mel Gibson: 5 Willem Dafoe, Clint Eastwood, Jack Nicholson, Joe Pesci, Michael Caine, Robert Duvall, Sylvester Stallone and Mark Wahlberg: 4 Tom Hanks: 3
Most Prolific Directors in List: Martin Scorsese: 6 James Cameron: 5 Christopher Nolan: 4 John McTiernan: 3 Stanley Kubrick: 3 Francis Ford Coppola: 3
Most Popular Years: 1995: 6 1987: 6 1999: 5
Random Stats: Based on a Comic Book: 5 That are Rated R18+ (or originally R18+): 28 That are sequels: 15 That were followed by sequels: 19 That are remakes or have been remade: 5 That are from Australia: 3 That are from the UK: 3 Longest Movie: The Godfather Part II (202 mins) Shortest Movie: Mad Max (88 mins) Highest Rated Movie: The Shawshank Redemption (9.3 #1) Lowest Rated Movie: Rambo: First Blood Part II (6.4) Highest Grossing Film: Avatar ($2,782,275,172 also currently the highest grossing film of all time as of 2017).
Movies that frequently contain f..k: The Wolf of Wall Street: 569 Casino: 398 End of Watch: 326 Goodfellas: 300 Pulp Fiction: 265 The Departed: 237 American History X: 214 Training Day: 211 Scarface: 207 Lone Survivor: 161 Platoon: 159 Patriot's Day: 150
Anyway on with list...
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was an amazingly fun movie from start to finish. I honestly thought that it wasn't going to hold a candle to the 1995 classic with Robin Williams and that it was going to crash and burn at the box office. How wrong I was. I had a great time, and there were plenty of laughs. This movie fits perfectly into the modern day era with a lot of updated aspects of the story as well as a completely new cast.
The movie starts off with in 1996, when teenager Alex (Mason Guccione) is given the Jumanji board game after his father discovers it on a beach following the events of the previous movie where it was dropped into a river. Alex is originally uninterested with the game however once he finds that it has transformed into a video game cartridge, he starts to play it. Alex then disappears and is never seen again. Fast forward to 2017 where teenagers Spencer (Alex Wolff), Fridge (Ser'Darius Blain), Bethany (Madison Iseman), and Martha (Morgan Turner) are unceremoniously given detention and their principal orders them to clean out a storage area at the school as punishment. Upon discovering the same video game cartridge, the four teenagers start to play the game and find themselves sucked into the world of Jumanji. To their horror, the teenagers find themselves as the four characters they picked to play the game. Spencer is the muscular explorer Dr. Smolder Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson), Fridge is the short zoologist Franklin "Mouse" Finbar (Kevin Hart), Martha is the lethal commando Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan), and Bethany is the overweight cartographer Dr. Shelly Oberon (Jack Black). The four characters are polar opposites to the teenagers. Spencer is a weak willed nerd who is academically clever, Fridge is the tall football jock who shows no interest in school, Bethany is beautiful but very self centered, and Martha is socially awkward. As their four respective characters, they learn from their guide Nigel (Rhys Darby) that to survive the world of Jumanji they must band together to complete the game. They also have to battle the possessed evil explorer Russel Van Pelt (Bobby Cannavale).
You couldn't have picked a diverse cast with Dwayne Johnson (San Andreas), Jack Black (Tropic Thunder), Kevin Hart (Ride Along) and Karen Gillan (Guardians of the Galaxy). All four are awesome in their respective roles and fit into the movie perfectly. Rhys Darby (Flight of the Concords) does a good job in his small role as the guide Nigel. I still think of Jonathan Hyde's Van Pelt from the original Jumanji movie however Bobby Cannavale (Boardwalk Empire) takes up a different version of Van Pelt in this movie and runs with it.
As I said at the start, I didn't have much faith in this movie after being indifferent to Jumanji being resurrected. I didn't think much of the original trailer either. After rewatching the original movie which I have loved since I was 12 years old, I came across the trailer to the new movie and decided to give it a second go. I was completely wrong in thinking that this was going to be a box office failure. I was in absolute surprise to see how fun this movie was going to be. And it was absolutely fun from start to finish.
If you liked the original Jumanji, you will not be disappointed. If you haven't seen the original Jumanji, still watch it. If you seek adventure, I guarantee you will have an amazing time. Sit back and have a blast.
We bid farwell to Hugh Jackman's Wolverine
I'm still coming to terms with the fact that the curtains have drawn on Hugh Jackman's Wolverine. We loved him as he sliced his way onto the big screen with X-Men (2000). We all loved him in many of the X-Men movies throughout the past 17 years, no matter how good or bad the movie was. Truth be told, I lost interest in the X-Men series following the disappointing X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009). I hadn't seen any of the movies since until I decided to give Logan a chance while on a long distance flight back home.
Logan departs from the usual entertaining fanfare and draws us into a bleak, depressing and violent 2029 in where Logan (Hugh Jackman) is a far cry from his days as the agile warrior Wolverine. His abilities to rapidly heal has weakened, he is broken and vulnerable, he has aged, he is now an alcoholic, and he spends his days as a limo driver to make a living. Along with albino mutant Caliban (Stephen Merchant), Logan is also caring for the critically ill Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) who is relying on medication to keep his destructive seizures under control. Logan finds himself being a reluctant protector to Laura (Dafne Keen), a child that has been created as a mutant superweapon by biotechnology corporation Alkali-Transigen. Laura is pursued by head of security Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook) who wants to retrieve the child at all costs. Logan finds himself being drawn back to his old life that he left behind as he finds himself fighting for his life albeit with his diminished superpowers.
Hugh Jackman has had a magnificent run as his most memorable character Wolverine. Logan was the perfect movie for his character to end on a high note.
Unlike all of the movies in the X-Men series, Logan is DEFINITELY not for younger audiences. It's brutally violent, it's intense, it's very emotional, and there is frequent use of the f-word. You also feel that the characters, particularly Logan/Wolverine and Charles Xavier/Professor X, are no longer the heroes they were and are more vulnerable and weakened in a bleak and dystopian world.
James Mangold did a terrific job as a director. This is one of his most memorable movies that he has done.
Logan was an excellent movie, and also renewed my faith in the X-Men series. I'm sad to bid farewell to Hugh Jackman's Wolverine. But should there be another movie in the X-Men series which brings back Wolverine, I'm sure the next actor will do well donning the superclaws.
Red Planet (2000)
Abort the mission. Red Planet was just a pointless and forgettable experience.
Red Planet is best described as a disaster. The movie could have been a moderate success, but the end result was just a pointless and boring journey from start to finish. When you have a cast featuring the likes of Val Kilmer, Carrie-Anne Moss, Tom Sizemore, Simon Baker, Benjamin Bratt and Terence Stamp, there would be a chance that this could be watchable. Nope. Not even close. Even the cast could not redeem this poorly unoriginal science fiction movie.
Red Planet centers on a group of astronauts tasked to conduct research on the colonization of Mars in order to save the human race on Earth which is slowly dying. The diverse but equally talented and intelligent group of astronauts include Robby Gallagher (Val Kilmer, Batman Forever), Kate Bowman (Carrie-Anne Moss, The Matrix) Ted Santen (Benjamin Bratt, Law and Order), Chip Pettengill (Simon Baker, The Mentallist) and Bud Chantillas (Terence Stamp, Superman II), as well a military robot named "AMEE" (Autonomous Mapping Exploration and Evasion) which has been brought along to guide them through Mars which was a clichéd version of HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). As you guessed it, the mission goes awry when they crash land and they find themselves stranded and fighting for survival. How predictable and unoriginal.
Val Kilmer has seen better days and Red Planet was something that he would rather forget. Carrie-Anne Moss was riding high after the success of the mega-blockbuster The Matrix (1999) and this would not have helped her career. Tom Sizemore is more suited to tough guy roles and he looked out of place here. Benjamin Bratt and Simon Baker were just typecast and their characters didn't have anything going for them. Terence Stamp has always been reliable in a majority of his movies, and I strongly felt that he was not at fault here.
Red Planet was just boring and uninteresting from start to finish. It could have become interesting or even improve, but the movie just blew every chance. You could be forgiven for thinking that this was another rip off of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) with the similar plot and the artificial robot. Regardless, the end result is poor, and it had nothing going for it. It doesn't even hold a candle to Stanley Kubrick's classic. The ending, while merciful, was also pathetic and it was just tacked on as a band aid solution to finish off the movie.
Red Planet was a box office flop that received many dismal reviews from critics and audiences alike. It also cemented a spot as one of the worst movies of 2000. Everything about it was dismal. And not even the cast could redeem the movie. While it didn't put me to sleep, I just couldn't wait for the movie to finish.
Save your time and don't waste your money. Red Planet was certainly a forgettable experience.
Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
An overlong and slow paced disappointment.
I liked Blade Runner (both the original 1982 version and the Director's Cut). It was atmospheric, visually dazzling, and the story kept me engaged throughout. Harrison Ford's Rick Deckard was also someone that you liked and you cared about, as well as the rest of the supporting cast. It goes with out saying that Rutger Hauer's Batty was a villain that keep you intrigued and engaged throughout the entire movie. Blade Runner 2049 had some question marks over it as to whether it was going to be well worth the wait 35 years later. The early teaser trailer looked very promising with a brief throwback to the 1982 classic. Upon seeing Blade Runner 2049, I left the cinema very disappointed upon seeing the end result to a long awaited sequel to be very ordinary.
Blade Runner 2049 now takes place 30 years later after the original events which centers on the new protagonist LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling) who is also a blade runner tasked to hunt down and task replicants. He is drawn into an investigation following the discovery of the remains of a female replicant. K's superior Lieutant Joshi (Robin Wright) orders to have the evidence destroyed for fear of another war which could see to the end of human civilisation. K's investigation leads him to the Wallace Corporation led by CEO Niander Wallace (Jared Leto) who tasks his chief enforcer Luv (Sylvia Hoeks) to eliminate what's left of the remains as well as anyone involved in the investigation. K finds himself enlisting the help of former Blade Runner Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) who had been living in seclusion for 30 years.
Ryan Gosling has always been a likable actor and I couldn't fault him as Officer K. Jared Leto looks like he is stuck on the bench as the main villain Wallace. Jared Leto looked like he had that fearful presence about him in the trailers and he could have been used A LOT more. Instead he is just reduced to rambling monologues. The rest of the supporting cast including Robin Wright, Sylvia Hoeks, Dave Battista, Mackenzie Davis, Ana de Armas, Carla Juri, and Lennie James do their best with what they have although some of the characters are nothing more than time fillers. Harrison Ford's Rick Deckard should have been left out of the movie altogether. I liked his character in the 1982 classic and he was very charismatic and heroic. Fans of Harrison Ford will agree that Rick Deckard was one of his very memorable roles throughout his career, right up there with Han Solo, Indiana Jones and Jack Ryan. Even though he is second billed and heavily promoted for the movie, he only appears in the last half hour. As he is 75, time is against him and he is not the nimble and agile star that he was in his prime. Even Clint Eastwood took several steps back and stopped all the action scenes and stuck with a lot of dramatic movies as well as sitting in the director's chair. I strongly felt that Harrison Ford is way too old to be doing action scenes that he could still be capable of doing 20 years ago. He definitely had it with Air Force One (1997) and he was pushing things with Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) and Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015). In Blade Runner 2049, he looked tired, weary and past his prime. I didn't need any more convincing that he was capable of kicking any butt and he looked as if he was ready to call it a day.
Director Denis Villeneuve takes the director's chair from original director Ridley Scott. He might be a quality director given his critically acclaimed Sicario (2015) but his vision of Blade Runner 2049 is nothing like the 1982 classic, resulting in a slowly paced and dull science fiction movie. Dennis Villeneuve should have had his editor trim down 30 minutes of unnecessary details and time fillers which has contributed to the slow pacing of this overlong movie and have the story tightened up a lot more. He should have beefed up the story and the dialogue a lot more. The original's action scenes were more thrilling, but here they are as effective as a blunt knife failing to cut through a bread roll.
Writers Hampton Fancher (who was one of the writers of the original) and Michael Green have let the best of a good opportunity slip right through their fingers. Their end result could have looked a lot better on paper but they are half the reason why this movie did not work.
Blade Runner 2049 was always going to be a hard act to follow from the 1982 classic, but I was very disappointed how it turned out to be overlong and very slow paced. It should have been wound a lot tighter, and the story should have been a lot more engaging. The action should have kept me at the edge of the seat, but it was anything but that. In fact, I felt indifferent and that the Blade Runner universe should have been left alone. At one stage, I dozed off somewhere in the middle of the movie. The only reason I stuck at it was to see how it turned out. If I viewed this at home, I would have fast forwarded through the slow parts. Even the Blade Runner game which was released on PC in 1997 was a million miles better. It stuck with the Los Angeles 2019 setting and despite its non-linear plot, I loved the game and I was amazed that the makers of the game did an excellent job recreating the universe of the 1982 classic.
Blade Runner 2049 was one of the most disappointing movies of 2017. It should have been a lot better.
Sudden Impact (1983)
Go ahead, make my day.
Clint Eastwood returns as Inspector Harry Callahan for the fourth time in Sudden Impact. You know what to expect when you see Harry Callahan return. It's no surprise that he does what he does best, dishing out his own unorthodox brand of justice with his Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum. Regardless, it's always great to see Clint Eastwood light up the screen as Harry Callahan and the series has always been a pleasure to watch. The Dirty Harry series has a reputation for being violent, but Sudden Impact is noticeably darker than the previous movies with some unsettling moments.
SFPD Inspector Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood) yet again finds himself in hot water with his superiors, judges, the media and the mayor for breaking rules and police procedures which sees various criminals walk free from court, a crime boss suffering a heart attack, and it's also no surprise that Inspector Callahan finds himself to be a target for retribution. His superiors including Captain Briggs (Bradford Dillman who appeared as Captain McKay in The Enforcer) and Lieutenant Donnelly (Michael Currie) decide that enough is enough and assign Callahan to a sleepy coastal town named San Paulo to follow up on a homicide investigation in which a man is found shot in the groin and head in his own car. San Paolo Police Chief Lester Jannings (Pat Hingle) is far from impressed having Callahan in his town, seeing him as nothing more than a big city hotshot who has no place in his town. When further killings occur, it is revealed that the person responsible for the deaths is Jennifer Spencer (Sondra Locke). Spencer is seeking revenge against the rapists responsible for the rape of her and her sister years ago which left her sister in a vegetative state. The rapists which include Mick (Paul Drake) and Ray Parkins (Audrie J. Neenan) find out that they are being targeted for the rape that occurred years ago and seek to track down the secret vigilante before they are next. Callahan must also find the link as to who is behind the killings and why they are occurring.
It's always a pleasure to see Clint Eastwood return as his iconic character "Dirty" Harry Callahan, who although may be older but stands firm with his unorthodox ways of dealing with criminals his way. Clint Eastwood also sits in the director's chair for the only time in the Dirty Harry series. Sondra Locke (who was CLint Eastwood's partner at the time) does well as the embittered rape victim Jennifer Spencer who has vowed revenge against her rapists. We also see the return of Bradford Dillman (albeit a different character) and Albert Popwell returns for the fourth time in the Dirty Harry series as Callahan's friend Horace King. This time, Popwell plays a good guy after playing the ill fated bank robber in Dirty Harry (1971), a pimp in Magnum Force (1973), and a revolutionary leader in The Enforcer (1976).
Sudden Impact also introduces the now iconic line "Go ahead, make my day". This occurred in a stand off between Callahan and a robber, daring him to shoot his hostage. The catchphrase meant that if the hostage died, the robber would be next as Callahan would be more than happy to take him down.
Sudden Impact is a welcome addition to the Dirty Harry series, and well worth watching Clint Eastwood return as his iconic character.
Rocky III (1982)
Rocky loses and regains the eye of the tiger in this fun sequel.
Following the triumphant ending of Rocky II, Sylvester Stallone returns to his iconic role as Rocky Balboa as well as returning to the director's chair.
Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) is riding high after winning the world title championship. He has established himself as the #1 boxer, he is now wealthy, his family life is going great with his wife Adrian (Talia Shire), and he is also making numerous celebrity appearances on television, magazine covers, and product endorsements. Rocky is also immortalised with a statue on the top of the stairs of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Rocky is feeling content with life right now. That all changes when Clubber Lang (Mr T) challenges him to the world title championship. The title defence goes horribly wrong when Rocky is dominated by the younger and stronger Clubber Lang and as a result, Clubber Lang wins the world title championship. Rocky's longtime trainer Mickey (Burgess Meredith) also dies following a heart attack. Rocky loses all confidence as well as believing in himself. Rocky's former nemesis Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) offers to train Rocky to help him regain the eye of the tiger as well as to help him dig out of the deep depression that Rocky has sunk into. Despite a shaky start, Rocky rekindles his passion for boxing, and in the process Rocky and Apollo become firm friends as Rocky strives to take back his title from Clubber Lang.
Sylvester Stallone continues to go strong as Rocky Balboa and he does no wrong as a director. Talia Shire, Burt Young, Burgess Meredith and Carl Weathers return in their respective roles. Mr T is very memorable as the ferocious Clubber Lang. Mr T is well liked thanks to his role as B.A. Baracus in The A Team, as well as garnering a reputation as a role model for young children. This time, his role as Clubber Lang is one that is very easy to dislike and everyone just want to see him taken down.
Survivor's Eye of the Tiger was the main theme of Rocky III and not only was a smash him in the 1982 charts, it is still a very popular song for all fitness fanatics 35 years later.
It comes as no surprise that it was a box office hit in 1982, and also popular amongst critics and audiences alike. Rocky III is a fun sequel and a worthy addition in the Rocky Balboa saga, and it still possesses the eye of the tiger.
Blue Murder: Killer Cop (2017)
Well worth the time picking up where we left off from the original mini series.
Blue Murder: Killer Cop picks up where we left off from the hard hitting mini series that debuted in 1995. The original series ended which saw Detective Sergeant Roger Rogerson (Richard Roxborough) being dismissed from the NSW Police Force in disgrace, and Arthur "Neddy" Smith (Tony Martin) arrested.
Richard Roxborough reprises his role as Roger Rogerson (now older) and the various events from the late 1980's which saw him mixing with various criminal elements, doing time in prison, finding various jobs here and there such as scaffolding, and to more recently which saw him jailed for life for the 2014 murder of Jamie Gao.
Richard Roxborough's portrayal of Roger Rogerson is still excellent, but by far and away his performance in the 1995 mini series is still the most memorable.
The rest of the supporting cast featuring an array of Australian actors include Toni Collette (Muriel's Wedding), Matt Nable (Arrow), Emma Booth (Underbelly: The Golden Mile), Damian Walshe-Howling (Blue Heelers), Dan Wyllie (Chopper), Justin Smith (Howzat! Kerry Packer's War), Aaron Jeffrey (McLeod's Daughters), Steve Le Marquand (Beneath Hill 60), Aaron Pedersen (Water Rats), Peter Phelps (Stingers), and Tony Martin (reprising his role as Neddy Smith from Blue Murder).
Even through Blue Murder is still one of the best Australian mini series, Blue Murder: Killer Cop is still well worth the time.
Brilliantly tension filled and visually amazing war movie.
Christopher Nolan has done an amazing job bringing to life the true story of the evacuation of Allied troops from Dunkirk. From start to finish, the entire movie is filled with tension Dunkirk separates itself from many war movies. It doesn't heavily rely on dialogue, backstories, blockbusting sequences or any sentimental moments to keep the movie going. Surprisingly it does not rely on showcasing the horrors of war graphic violence which seems to be a trademark for a majority of war movies (i.e. Saving Private Ryan, Black Hawk Down, Full Metal Jacket et al). Instead, it cleverly focuses on three non-linear story lines which intertwine with each other.
The first viewpoint is on land with the main focus being on British soldiers Tommy (newcomer Fionn Whitehead), Alex (One Direction's Harry Styles who proves that he is not just a pretty face), and Gibson (Aneurin Barnard) who are fighting to survive by evacuating Dunkirk by sea. Also on the ground is Commander Bolton (Kenneth Branagh) who is overseeing the evacuation of Dunkirk.
The second viewpoint is from the air with a trio of Royal Air Force pilots led by Farrier (Tom Hardy) providing air support to the troops on the ground. As they battle the various German fighter planes, they find themselves outnumbered and must successfully outlast and outwit the Germans to keep themselves and everyone on ground alive. Not only that, they must monitor their fuel usage.
The third viewpoint is from the sea. The British Navy is coordinating the evacuation of troops from Dunkirk and this includes commandeering private boats. Mr Dawson (Mark Rylance) and his son Peter (Tom Glynn-Carney) refuse to let the British Navy take their boat but instead go out on their own to assist in the evacuation. Teenage deckhand George (Barry Keoghan) impulsively joins in, hoping he can help make a difference. Along the way they rescue a shell shocked soldier (Cillian Murphy) who is the sole survivor of a wrecked ship following an attack by a U Boat.
Ever since his directorial debut with the clever thriller Memento (2000), Christopher Nolan has never put a step wrong throughout his career. So far in his stellar career, The Dark Knight trilogy has been his biggest crowning achievement. Here he continues his impeccable track record with the brilliant Dunkirk. Everything about it is top notch. The story wastes no time at all and everything about it just gets to the point and you find yourself rarely taking a breath let along looking away from the screen for a split second. Dunkirk was also terrific in not letting the movie carry on for 2-3 hours but instead keeps it tightly wound at 106 minutes.
If I was a betting man, I'm tipping Dunkirk to receive recognition form the various Award Ceremonies as well as one of the main movies to be heavily featured at next year's Academy Awards. And it's about time Christopher Nolan receives a well deserved Academy Award for his work. Dunkirk is very well done and is definitely one of the most memorable movies so far in 2017.
24: Legacy (2016)
The 24 legacy should have been left well enough alone.
24: Legacy was never going to be the same without Kiefer Sutherland's Jack Bauer. It was just common knowledge. At least 24 ended on a good note when it finished in 2010. I'm still yet to see 24: Live Another Day, but my interest was sitting on the 50/50 mark. I thought I'd give 24: Legacy a chance regardless, but after the first episode it was just the same thing done all over again albeit with a different cast.
Nothing against Corey Hawkins stepping into the shoes as the heroic Eric Carter, but he just doesn't have the same presence and charisma as Kiefer Sutherland's Jack Bauer.
24: Legacy just didn't have me hooked from the first episode. Rewind back to the very first episode of 24, and there were plenty of twists and turns to have you hooked as well as a variety of interesting characters. 24: Legacy failed to tick all the right boxes.
Just as well that 24: Legacy was cancelled after one season. It just could not resurrect the same popularity, and a lot of 24 fans were very indifferent. Sorry, but the 24 legacy should have been left well enough alone.
T2 Trainspotting (2017)
Definitely well worth taking a trip on the nostalgia train after 21 years.
I wasn't so sure how T2 Trainspotting was going to turn out given that it's been 21 years since the first movie was released back in 1996. As it turns out, it was well worth bringing out a sequel to the iconic classic. The original quarter of Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller and Robert Carlyle make a welcome return to their old roles.
Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor) returns Edinburgh, Scotland after he stole the money from his friends 20 years ago and is now making a living in Amsterdam. While back in Edinburgh, Renton decides to visit his old friends including Spud (Ewen Bremner) who is still struggling with his heroin addiction and his personal life is falling apart after he loses his job as a construction worker and is now estranged from his former wife Gail (Shirley Henderson) and son. Simon "Sick Boy" (Jonny Lee Miller) is running his late aunt's pub that is barely making money as well as dabbling in blackmailing men with his Bulgarian girlfriend Veronika (Anjela Nedyalkova) by filming them in sex videos. Little do they know, Begbie (Robert Carlyle) has escaped from prison after having been there for the past 20 years and all of his applications for parole have been refused due to his violent behaviour.
T2 Trainspotting explore what the quartet have been up to for the past 20 years. This film takes a trip down the path of nostalgia and you find out all the highs and lows that they all have been through. We are also treated to the "Choose Life" monologue that has been updated to fit into today's theme of modern technology. Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller and Robert Carlyle do well revisiting their old roles. Ewan McGregor is always brilliant and shows that Renton somehow gets dragged back into his old life despite leaving it all behind many years ago. Ewen Bremner is a stand out by showing that deep down Spud still has a good heart despite the drug addled hardships that he has endured for a majority of his life. Robert Carlyle does no wrong as Begbie who is more unstable and violent and unsurprisingly deserves to be in prison. Jonny Lee Miller who is more well known as a charismatic leading man in many TV shows nowadays does well turning back the clock as the deceitful and selfish Sick Boy. Also returning in small roles include Kelly McDonald, James Cosmo and in small flashbacks Kevin McKidd and Eileen Nicholas.
Danny Boyle is the only one that was instrumental in bringing back the old gang and is also the only one that could resurrect the spirit of the old movie. Here, he does this perfectly.
I will admit that Trainspotting set the bar very high and it's not an easy task reaching the high standard that was set. T2 Trainspotting, while not a groundbreaking sequel, excellently hops onto the nostalgia train and picks up where the first movie left off. Many sequels go one better than the original movie, many do just fine revisiting old ground, and some crash and burn. T2 Trainspotting does very well as a sequel, and was well worth watching.
The Project (2011)
Half the reason why I've lost faith in television.
I don't always watch The Project, but when I do I have to change the channel.
To be perfectly blunt, all of their jokes are just not funny and they just laugh amongst themselves at how amusing they are.
They talk down to a majority of their guests and make fun at their own expense. God help you if you go against you, the hosts will gang up of you and smack you down with how wrong you are. I will say that there have been a few instances where they actually have been very respectful to some of their guests. One year after the Lindt Café siege, Tori Johnson's sister Camille bravely appeared on the show and spoke about how proud she was of her brother Tori who died in the siege. As she was being interviewed, you could hear a pin drop in the studio and there was not a dry eye amongst the audience. And good on Peter Helliar for giving Camille a comforting hug, something all of Australia wanted to do.
Waleed Aly lives up to his title as a flog. As profanity is strictly forbidden on here I will describe Waleed as smug, arrogant, and condescending. He is a major part of the reason why I dislike this show.
I have nothing against Carrie Bickmore, despite her annoying laugh. She is upfront, honest and unashamedly wears her heart on her sleeve.
Peter Helliar has his moments here and there, but I'm used to his antics on Rove Live.
The Project is half the reason why I've lost faith in television. Save for a few shows here and there, I refuse to watch The Project.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)
I loved this movie as a child, and having not seen it in over 20 years all the good memories are coming back.
My younger brother and I were big fans of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon when it was on TV and watched it religiously. The both of us also owned all 4 of the turtle figures. However we weren't sure what the movie was going to be like given the dark content matter when it was first released in 1990. When I was able to hire the movie out on video as an 8 year old back in 1992 I absolutely loved it and for the 7 days that I had the movie my brother and I watched the movie countless times. Although we didn't buy the movie, whenever the movie was screened on TV we always watched it. I hadn't seen the movie in over 20 years, thinking that the movie would be disappointing and simply one of those movies that I liked as a child but not as an adult. Upon buying the movie on Blu-Ray and finally watching it, it's all coming back to me as to why this was one of my favourite movies as a child and as a 33 year old, I had a great time revisiting old childhood memories.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles wastes no time getting started as New York City is being plagued by a crime wave where mysterious thefts are taking place and the perpetrators have not been seen. Covering the story is Channel 3 reporter April O'Neil (Judith Hoag) who has uncovered that the mysterious Foot Clan is behind the crime wave. Chief Sterns (Raymond Serra) is increasingly frustrated as to why the NYPD have not been able to stop the crime wave. Unbeknownst to the citizens of New York City, four mutated vigilante turtles trained in the art of ninjuitsu are stepping up to battle the crime wave. The four turtles are affectionately named Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello and Rachel. Master Splinter acts as a father figure to the turtles as well as guiding them in the ways of the ninja. The turtles find themselves heading towards a collision course toward the mastermind behind the crime wave Master Shredder (James Saito) and his right hand man Tatsu (Toshishiro Obata). Aiding the turtles in their war against the crime wave is the masked hockey-loving vigilante Casey Jones (Elias Koteas).
While Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles stays faithful to the cartoon and the comics, the tone is noticeable darker similar to Batman (1989) although it has plenty of light moments. The action is fun and keeps the story moving along. There also brief moments of humour which the series is well known for.
I loved how Jim Henson's Creature Shop (well known for their work with the Muppets on Sesame Street) brought the turtles to life through puppetry and life like animatronics. Their work was amazing! There was no such thing as Computer Generated Imagery many years ago, which nowadays dominates many movies and television shows.
Director Steve Barron, who cut his teeth directing music videos for A-Ha, Bryan Adams, and The Human League does a terrific job bringing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to life on the big screen.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was one of the best movies of my childhood, and now as an adult I still appreciate that it is still an enjoyable movie. I thought I'd be cringing through some of the one liners that I used to emulate, however I just had to accept the fact that I was just a child and that's the way I was. Glad to see that my childhood memories are still preserved.
Wonder Woman (2017)
Gal Gadot magnificently does well bringing Wonder Woman to life on the big screen.
We saw a glimpse of what was to come in Batman v Superman (2016) when Gal Gadot appeared as Wonder Woman. Finally after so many years, Wonder Woman has her own movie and Gal Gadot magnificently does well in the titular role.
Wonder Woman starts off by exploring the origins of Diana Prince being born and raised on the island of Themyscira being raised by her mother Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) and later undergoing secret training by her Aunty General Antiope (Robin Wright) to become an Amazon Warrior to which Hippolyta forbids at first but later relents. Things change when Diana rescues pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) after he crashes off the coast of Themyscira while trying to escape from the German military. Steve reveals that he is actually a spy and has uncovered a sinister plot by General Erich Ludendorff (Danny Huston) and his chief chemist known as Dr. Poison (Elena Anaya) to develop a bioweapon that is deadlier than mustard gas. Steve wants to put a stop to the deadly bioweapon and Diana, believing that Ares is behind World War I, wants to help Steve.
Gal Gadot is a welcome addition to the DC superhero franchise and deserves a well earned spot as one of the best superhero portrayals as Wonder Woman. Not sure what Wonder Woman would have turned out to be like had the plans for a movie came to fruition in the late 1990's and in 2009 with Megan Gale almost earning herself the role however the movie never eventuated.
Chris Pine who is frequently cast in leading man roles does well taking a step back and playing second fiddle as Steve Trevor to Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman. He is not a wimp nor is he relying on Wonder Woman all the time, but still wants to prove he can hold his own and lead the charge to prevent the German's deadly plot. The rest of the supporting cast including Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright, Danny Huston (a quality villain), Said Taghmaoui and Ewen Bremner (can't do any wrong) also do well in their respective roles.
Director Patty Jenkins does a terrific job bringing Wonder Woman to life. Well known for the crime drama Monster (2003) which netted Charlize Theron an Academy Award for Best Actress, Patty Jenkins also earns the distinction of being the first woman to direct a superhero movie.
The only downside is that it could have done with more action and less time on the backstory. That being said, the movie was far from dull.
After seeing the various trailer of Wonder Woman beforehand, it certainly lived up to the hype. The movie was definitely well worth the experience and I left the cinema very content and fulfilled. Wonder Woman has deserved its popularity with critics and audiences alike, and it looks like it will be one of the most popular movies of 2017. Audiences are sure to see more of Wonder Woman pop up in Justice League in November 2017 and any future sequels down the track.
John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)
John Wick makes a welcome return and does what he does best.
John Wick: Chapter 2 showed no signs of being stale as Keanu Reeves makes a welcome return to this stylish action packed sequel to the surprise 2014 box office hit. It's more entertaining, exciting, and action packed.
After the events from the first movie, John Wick (Keanu Reeves) wants to close the door on his past life as a hit-man once and for all. That comes under threat when fellow assassin Santino D'Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio) wants John to kill his sister Gianna (Claudia Gerini) in Rome. Initially John refuses which sees Santino destroy his house but then John reluctantly accepts the offer. Things get further complicated when a $7 million bounty is placed on John's head to kill him. John now finds himself on the run from the many assassins who want to claim the bounty including Santino himself as well as many others including the mute Ares (Ruby Rose) and Cassian (Common).
Keanu Reeves returns to the titular role that was a thrill to watch back in 2014. Here he does what he does best and in typical Keanu Reeves style physically throws himself into the role by doing most of his own stunts as well as learning a variety of martial arts and how to handle an assortment of firearms.
Also returning from the first movie are John Leguizamo, Ian McShane, Lance Reddick and Bridget Moynahan. Keanu Reeves also reunites with Laurence Fishburne for the first time since The Matrix Trilogy (1999-2003).
The action is bigger, better and more brutal. Nonetheless it's still entertaining. You'll have to set aside some bits that may have you in disbelief but you can't look past it all.
The big question now is will there be another sequel? All indications may be pointing to yes.
Out for a Kill (2003)
A very forgettable effort for Steven Seagal.
Steven Seagal kicks butt, breaks bones, and struts around like an overweight Elvis Presley in this forgettable movie. I wasn't expecting a classic, and I knew that it was going to be predictable, but everything about it was just terrible. The story, the action, and the acting. To be fair, I didn't have high standards for the acting so I wasn't expecting much. Nonetheless, this was cheap rubbish.
Archaeology professor Robert Burns is in China conducting an important dig of several artifacts. Unfortunately for him he unknowingly finds himself caught up in a Chinese drug smuggling operation. Burns' assistant is killed by gangsters and despite his innocence, he finds himself behind bars. After he manages to escape, his old life slowly comes back where he is proficient in martial arts, firearms, and unarmed combat. Burns swears revenge on the Chinese gangsters that have framed him.
I've stated in my previous reviews that I liked Steven Seagal growing up and he was entertaining to watch around the 1988-1992 era. If you count his small role in Executive Decision (1996) feel free to do so. Since the mid-1990's his career was in steady decline beset with allegations of egotistical behaviour, sexual harassment and waning box office appeal. Around the late 1990's to 2002 his days as a box office drawcard was on life support before flatlining in 2002-2003 with movie after movie consigned to the direct to DVD doldrums. Since then, Steven Seagal has had no chance in resurrecting his career no matter what he did. Sylvester Stallone, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren had better luck reviving their careers but with regard to Steven Seagal at the end of the day he was always all about himself.
Out for a Kill was a forgettable experience and a waste of time. This was one of many movies that did Steven Seagal's career no favours whatsoever. Stick with his movies of old back in his halcyon days.
John Wick (2014)
Stylish slam bang action packed entertainment.
Keanu Reeves does what he does best as the titular John Wick, a retired hit-man forced to revisit his old life to seek retribution against the Russian underworld following a tragic encounter. Very soon, those that have wronged him learn very fast that they have made a grave mistake.
John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is a retired hit-man living the simple life with his puppy Daisy that was given to him to cope with the loss of his wife Helen (Bridget Moynihan) who passed away following a terminal illness. John Wick is left for dead following an encounter with a group of Russian mobsters led by the arrogant and selfish Iosef Tarasov (Alfie Allen) who also rob him of his prized vintage 1969 Ford Mustang and brutally kill Daisy. Swearing vengeance, John Wick digs out his arsenal of weapons to leave no stone unturned in New York City to track down Iosef who is also the son of the feared Viggo Tarasov (Michael Nyqvist). It goes without saying that the bullets fly fast and anyone who stands in the way of John Wick are quickly dispatched. Former allies and enemies are also revisited to help or hinder John Wick's quest for revenge including Aurelio (John Leguizamo), Marcus (Willem Dafoe), Winston (Ian McShane), Ms. Perkins (Adrianne Palicki), and Harry (Clarke Peters).
Keanu Reeves has always been a likable actor and he has always been a pleasure to watch in a wide variety of memorable films such as Point Break (1991), Little Buddha (1993), Speed (1994), The Devil's Advocate (1997) and The Matrix (1999). Although some of his other films can be hit-and-miss, John Wick launches him back to the big time doing what he does best. Although Keanu Reeves was 49 years of age at the time of filming, he puts a lot of younger actors to shame doing his own stunts and embarking on a physical regime of martial arts and weapons training. Check out the clip on YouTube where Keanu Reeves brilliantly showcases his marksmanship abilities on the gun range.
The supporting cast including Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Adrianne Palicki, Bridget Moynahan, Ian McShane, John Leguizamo and Willem Dafoe do well in their respective roles but it is Keanu Reeves who is the main star of the movie who shines very well in the titular role.
The stylish slam bang action packed entertainment does not stop from start to finish and it's good to see Keanu Reeves return for the sequel just released in 2017.
Action fans should not miss this one. Fans of Keanu Reeves will definitely get a thrill out of John Wick. Sit back and enjoy the fun.
Just as enjoyable and funnier than the first movie.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is just as enjoyable and funnier than the first movie that was a surprise hit at the box office in 2014. There was no way that you had the "I've seen it all before feel" nor was it recycling ideas from the first movie for the sake of it. The original cast returns and it was a delight to see them pick up where the left off from the first movie.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 sees the return of Peter Quill/Star Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper), and Baby Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel). This time, the misfit quartet have been hired by Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki), leader of the Sovereign race to protect valuable batteries from invaders in exchange for Gamora's estranged sister Nebula (Karen Gillan), who was caught attempting to steal the batteries. After it is discovered that Rocket has stolen some batteries for himself, the Sovereign attacks the Guardians' ship with a fleet of drones. When the Guardians crash land on a mysterious island, they are rescued by a mysterious figure who reveals himself to be Quill's long lost father, Ego (Kurt Russell) who offers to take him back to his home. The antagonistic Yondu (Michael Rooker) also returns but finds himself forming an alliance with the Guardians to prevent another threat against the universe which nobody saw coming.
Chris Pratt, once again, is a delight to watch on screen and he makes a welcome return as Peter Quill/Star Lord. Zoe Saldanda, Dave Battista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper and Michael Rooker also return in their respective roles from the first movie. Kurt Russell is one actor that can do no wrong and here he is fantastic as Ego. Sylvester Stallone pops up in a small role which may possibly pave the way for a bigger role in a sequel. Baby Groot had the best role in the entire movie.
The story keeps the movie interesting, the stars light up the screen, the visual effects are dazzling, the are plenty of perfect moments of humour, and the soundtrack just puts a smile of your face.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is another winner for Marvel Studios and the sequel is a welcome addition. Going by the end credit scenes, a third movie is looking very likely and rightfully so.
Buckle up and enjoy the fun.
Excellent comic book fun that hits the bullseye.
I'm going to be very honest and admit that I didn't think much of Arrow when in first premiered on Australian television. After seeing the ads I dismissed it as wannabe superhero rubbish. I'd also never heard of the comic book series brought out by DC Comics. After seeing Stephen Amell's Arrow pop up in another DC TV series The Flash, I thought I would actually give Arrow a chance and check it out for myself on Blu-Ray. I'm amazed at how addictive and refreshingly fun the show is.
Arrow centres on obnoxious billionaire playboy Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) who is rescued from a mysterious island named Lian Yu after 5 years after his father's yacht was destroyed during a wild storm which claimed the lives of the rest of the clue including his father. Oliver returns to Starling City where he is reunited with his mother, Moira Queen (Susanna Thompson), his sister, Thea Queen (Willa Holland), and his friend, Tommy Merlyn (Colin Donnell). Little does everyone know, Oliver's time on the island changed him as a person where he learned very fast how to fight to survive as well as uncovering his father's unscrupulous business dealings and widespread corruption throughout Starling City. Oliver vows to set things right in Starling City and becomes a hooded vigilante armed with a bow and arrow to take down those that have failed this city. Assisted in his crusade by his bodyguard turned friend John Diggle (David Ramsey) and IT whiz Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards), Oliver adopts his new identity as the Arrow. Meanwhile, Oliver tries to reconnect with his ex-girlfriend, Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy), who has not forgiven him for his role in her sister Sara's presumed death. Oliver Queen/Arrow must also contend with dealing with Sara's father Detective Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne) who simultaneously blames Oliver for the death of Sara and cheating on Laurel as well as Detective Lance's narrow minded vow to take down the vigilante known as the Arrow. Throughout the series Arrow must take on numerous main villains including Tommy's megalomaniacal father Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman), Slade Wilson/Deathstroke (Manu Bennett), Ra's al Ghul (Matt Nable), and Damien Darhk (Neil McDonough).
Stephen Amell hits the bullseye as Oliver Queen/Arrow. Originally Stephen Amell's take on Oliver Queen/Arrow reminded me of Christian Bale's take on Bruce Wayne/Batman in The Dark Knight trilogy. Stephen Amell proudly deserves his spot as one of the best comic book portrayals on film and television.
Arrow is refreshingly excellent comic book fun and it's also good to see Arrow pop up in other TV series such as The Flash and other shows. It also goes to show that you can't always judge a television series by their ads. I'm glad I came across Arrow via The Flash. The series has been very entertaining. Here's hoping the series does not go stale.
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Good fun, and love the soundtrack.
Guardians of the Galaxy was a bit of a surprise package for me. The movie is good fun and a decent time filler thanks to the charismatic Chris Pratt as Peter Quill/Star Lord, and the revival of many old songs featured heavily in the soundtrack. It could have been dismissed as loud mindless nonsense, but Guardians of the Galaxy proved to be a big hit.
After being abducted by space pirated following his mother's death, Peter Quill/Star Lord (Chris Pratt) finds himself making a living on Planet Morag as a space adventurer. Peter finds himself being hunted by bounty hunters sent by Ronan (Lee Pace) after he steals an orb. After being captured by Nova Corps officers and imprisoned, Quill manages to break out after forming an uneasy alliance with fellow ragtag misfits Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper), Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), Gamora (Zoe Saldanda), and Drax the Destroyer (Dave Battista). When the orb's true power and the cosmic threat it poses is revealed, the group of misfit heroes must band together to save all of mankind.
Chris Pratt's Peter Quill/Star Lord is a mixture of Han Solo, Indiana Jones, and Marty McFly. Chris Pratt was well known as an overweight comedic actor who drastically reinvented himself and his career by embarking on a very strict fitness regime and turned himself into a heroic leading man with a new found appeal amongst many fans.
Zoe Saldanda, Dave Battista, Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper round out the supporting cast, but there is a further star studded cast with Michael Rooker, Glenn Close, John C Reilly, Djimon Hounsou, Karen Gillan, Lee Pace and Benicio del Toro also feature in the movie.
Guardians of the Galaxy is a fun ride and is something you just can sit back and enjoy. Chris Pratt's charisma and the brilliant soundtrack also add to the appeal.
Police Academy (1984)
The first, the original, and the best Police Academy.
Police Academy is easily the best movie of the entire series which seemed to decline steadily in quality. Made up of a cast of mostly unknowns who would later become well known for this 1984 classic, Police Academy is still a delightful comedy 33 years on.
In an unnamed city (actually filmed in Toronto), the city mayor decides to solve the problem of the shortage of police officers by removing all restrictions for the police academy and no longer will cadets be discriminated against sex, weight, height, orientation, intelligence and fitness. As the gates have been thrown open, men and women of all shapes and sizes apply for the police academy. The cadets include Mahoney (Steve Guttenberg), Jones (Michael Winslow), Hightower (Bubba Smith), Tackleberry (David Graf), Hooks (Marion Ramsey), Thompson (Kim Cattrall), Fackler (Bruce Mahler), Barbara (Donovan Scott), Martin (Andrew Rubin), Blankes (Brant Von Hoffman), and Copeland Scott Thomson). While the good hearted Commandant Lassard (George Gaynes) is more than willing to give all the cadets a chance, Lieutenant Harris (G.W. Bailey) is strongly opposed to the standards being lowered and is more than willing to wash a majority of the cadets out of the academy by making their lives hell. Sergeant Callahan (Leslie Easterbrook) is also one of the instructors of the academy however more than one of the male cadets have a sexual interest in her.
Although Steve Guttenberg had small roles beforehand including Diner (1982), he became a household name throughout the 1980's with the first four Police Academy movies as well as movies such as Cocoon (1985), Short Circuit (1986), and Three Men and a Baby (1987). Unfortunately he was barely sighted in the 1990's and his star power that he one had was lost. Kim Cattrall also earned a number of leading lady roles in movies such as Big Trouble in Little China (1986) and Mannequin (1987), and also hit the big time with TV series Sex and the City. The rest of the cast such as Michael Winslow, David Graf, Bubba Smith and G.W. Bailey continued to appear in the Police Academy series and had a variety of small roles in other movies, however most of the cast have since developed a cult following. Sadly David Graf died in 2001 after a heart attack, former NFL star turned actor Bubba Smith died in 2011, and George Gaynes passed away in 2016.
Despite its adult humour, Police Academy was a movie I enjoyed watching as a young child (though I had hired the movie out on video and had watched it numerous times, my mother forbid me to watch the first movie upon discovering a number of infamous scenes) as well as the rest of the movies and the animated series (which got me hooked originally).
Police Academy is still a time pleasing classic comedy that is still enjoyable as time goes on. The same can't be said for the rest of the series with its over reliance of unsophisticated humour, sex-related jokes and physical comedy which did become repetitive. That aside, the first movie still remains as the most memorable of the series.
City Heat (1984)
The starpower of Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds fizzled, which is a shame considering this could easily have been a red hot blockbusting hit.
The teaming up of Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds in City Heat could have been a box office success, however this turned out to be a complete disappointment. City Heat was an action comedy released in 1984 which probably could have done better if it came out sometime in the late 1970's when both actors were at the top of their game at the box office. The lukewarm story and the desperate grab for laughs didn't help either.
Set in Kansas City, 1933 where the Prohibition era ruled the streets, Police Lieutenant Speer (Clint Eastwood) and Private Investigator Mike Murphy (Burt Reynolds) are former friends turned bitter enemies who find themselves reluctantly forming an uneasy alliance again after the death of Murphy's partner Swift (Richard Roundtree) after attempting to blackmail mobster Primo Pitt (Rip Torn) with Leon Coll's (Tony Lo Bianco) accounting records, another rival mobster. Speer and Murphy must investigate Swift's murder as well as prevent an all out mobster war which threatens to erupt in the middle of Kansas City.
Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds are two actors who could do no harm no matter which movie they are involved in. Here in City Heat, this was one to forget for both of them.
Director Richard Benjamin can consider this movie one to forget.
It's no surprise that City Heat received many negative reviews and this was not one of the most memorable movies in 1984.
City Heat is living proof that star power alone does not guarantee a movie to be a success. The story must work otherwise it is a waste of time and effort, and City Heat failed dismally.
Unless you are a fan of Clint Eastwood or Burt Reynolds, this is not worth it.
Red Heat (1988)
It doesn't matter if it is predictable, derivative and dated. It is still enjoyable.
Red Heat might be a derivative buddy-cop action-comedy but does it really matter? No. It might be a bit dated now but you cannot deny that Arnold Schwarzenegger and James Belushi made a great odd-couple of police officers who are polar opposites forced to work together.
Highly decorated Moscow Police Captain Ivan Danko (Arnold Schwarzenegger, The Terminator) travels to Chicago where ruthless drug dealer Viktor Rostavili (Ed O'Ross, Lethal Weapon) has been located and arrested after evading Moscow Police. There, Ivan Danko meets uncouth and reckless Chicago Police Detective Art Ridzik (James Belushi, K-9) while Viktor is in custody. When the extradition goes wrong after Ivan is ambushed by a group of thugs and break Viktor out of custody, Ivan and Art must stop butting heads and work together to take down Viktor.
Arnold Schwarzenegger is perfectly cast as the highly disciplined Ivan Danko yet finds himself like a fish out of water in Chicago, a far cry from Moscow. James Belushi is tailor made for comedic roles and his role as the unorthodox police detective Art Ridzik is a perfect mismatch with Arnold. Ed O'Ross has a good role as the main villain Viktor Rostavili. The rest of the supporting cast including the late Peter Boyle (Everybody Loves Raymond), Gina Gershon (Face/Off), Laurence Fishburne (The Matrix), Pruitt Taylor Vince (Natural Born Killers), Richard Bright (The Godfather) and Brion James (Blade Runner) also pop up throughout the movie.
Director Walter Hill might have tried to resurrect his formula that worked a treat in 48 Hrs. (1982) and recycle it here, but it is something that be hit and miss. The end result was a moderate success, but there's only so many times you can try it and use it. Use it too many times, audiences are going to dismiss it and treat it with indifference for being unoriginal.
Red Heat may not be one of the best movies of all time and it is often criticized for being predictable, derivative and dated now. Personally, none of that really matters at all. I can count on one hand the amount of times I've seen Red Heat, and I can say that it is a worthy time filler that is still a lot of fun.
Rocky II (1979)
A worthy sequel that goes the distance.
Rocky II continued on from the first movie, and though it was no easy task, Sylvester Stallone did a terrific job returning to his now iconic role as well as taking on both roles as writer and director.
Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) has retired from boxing on medical grounds and is getting used to his newfound fame. Unfortunately, his post-boxing career has not flourished which sees him going back to dead end jobs such as working at the meat packing company with his best friend and brother in law Paulie (Burt Young) to keep his head above financial dire straits and his newly wedded wife Adrian (Talia Shire) vows to stay loyal to him. Meanwhile, Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) is enraged by all the hate mail that he is receiving, mostly telling him that his championship match was nothing more than a fluke and vows to do everything in his power to goad Rocky Balboa into a rematch. Though Adrian is upset with Rocky's decision to return to the ring, Rocky teams back up with his trainer Mickey (Burgess Meredith) to regain his passion and pride.
The cast is faultless, and the spirit of the first movie still remains intact. In fact, I found the training scenes to be a lot more uplifting, and I found myself secretly cheering during the penultimate match. And the ending unashamedly had me in tears.
I've always had a soft spot for Rocky II and years later, it's one of the few movies that has me going through a roller-coaster of emotions. In some ways, I wish this was the ending of the first Rocky movie. But it is what it is. Still Rocky II is a worthy sequel that goes the distance.
Patriots Day (2016)
A gripping drama which had me glued to my seat from start to finish.
Patriots Day brilliantly and respectfully tells the story of the tragic Boston Marathon bombing on the fateful day of 15 April 2013 which shook the city of Boston to its core. The movie crosses between the Tsarnaev brothers who were responsible for the Boston bombing and the citywide manhunt which included the Boston Police Department, the FBI and later the Watertown Police Department.
On 15 April 2013, Tamerlan Tsarnaev (Themo Melikidze) and Dzokhar Tsarnaev (Alex Wolff) set off two bombs at the finish line at the Boston Marathon, killing three people and severely maiming hundreds of others. The Boston Police Department and the FBI spearhead a taskforce to find the now infamous Boston bombers and bring them to justice. Amongst those that are tasked to take down the Boston bombers include Sergeant Tommy Saunders (Mark Wahlberg), Commissioner Ed Davis (John Goodman), Special Agent Richard DesLauriers (Kevin Bacon), and Watertown Police Sergeant Jeffrey Pugliese (J.K. Simmons). As the net closes in on the Tsarnaev brothers while the city of Boston has been shaken to its core, the brothers continue to leave a trail of destruction in their path as they attempt to evade capture.
Mark Wahlberg has always been a likable actor and he does not put a foot wrong as Sergeant Tommy Saunders. Kevin Bacon, John Goodman and J.K Simmons were terrific in their respective roles. The rest of the supporting cast including Michelle Monaghan, Michael Beach, Vincent Curatola and Melissa Benoist do a fine job as well. Alex Wolff and Themo Melikidze didn't have an easy job portraying the widely despised Tsarnaev brothers, but both actors should be credited with doing a terrific job.
Peter Berg may have had some hits and misses as a director, but Patriot's Day is definitely one of his most memorable movies, right besides Friday Night Lights (2004), The Kingdom (2007) and Lone Survivor (2013).
On a personal note, I've visited Boston in 2008 and 2014 and I've always had a memorable time visiting Boston. Even after my first visit in 2008, Boston was my favourite city that I visited while in the USA. Upon hearing about the Boston bombing in the news in 2013, my heart went out to the city and those killed and severely injured.
To be perfectly honest, I thought Patriot's Day would be a run of the mill drama, however I was very surprised. With terrific direction, a powerhouse cast, and a gripping story that cuts to the chase, I was glued to my seat in the cinema from start to finish which also saw me secretly cheering for the police to take down the Boston bombers. It would not have been an easy task, but Patriot's Day did a terrific job revisiting that horrific day in 2013 which shook Boston to its core but reuniting Boston together and from that day forward, forging the slogan "Boston Strong". Patriot's Day is gripping viewing that is well worth watching.
Still a brilliant movie that left an indelible impression on me over 20 years ago.
Trainspotting is still a brilliant movie that left an indelible impression on me over 20 years ago. Everything was brilliant about it including the casting, the story, the soundtrack, the crackling dialogue, and Danny Boyle's top notch direction. There's no disputing the fact that it is not for everyone, and there are plenty of scenes that are not for the faint hearted or squeamish. Trainspotting has earned a well deserved spot as one of the best movies of the 90's.
Trainspotting focuses on heroin addict Mark Renton (Ewen McGregor) and his circle of misfit friends including con artist Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller), the dim-witted but good-hearted Spud (Ewen Bremner), the athletic and soccer loving Tommy (Kevin McKidd), and Begbie (Robert Carlyle) who is violently unstable and gets a thrill from picking fights with others. Renton and his circle of friends are deeply engrossed in the Scottish drug scene. Renton's fortunes start to change when he undergoes treatment for withdrawal of heroin following a near fatal incident and his strong desire to escape the drug scene and make a fresh start.
The cast, namely Ewen McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller and Robert Carlyle are just brilliant. It was also fantastic to see this movie as a big stepping stone for all four actors have gone onto bigger and better things in Hollywood. Kelly McDonald, who makes her cinematic debut as the schoolgirl Diane who hooks up with Renton, has also gone onto bigger and better things with roles in such movies No Country for Old Men (2007) and TV series Boardwalk Empire.
For a black comedy that is about drug use, Trainspotting is a realistic anti drug movie that in no way glamorises nor does it glorify drug use. The movie shows the various horrific consequences of drug use and how it affects the user and others around them including family and friends.
Trainspotting was a sleeper hit in 1996 that came out of nowhere and surprised everyone with its memorable story and terrific acting. Trainspotting deserved its acclaim from critics and audiences alike. To this day, Trainspotting is still a very popular movie and for me personally has cemented a permanent spot as one of my favourite movies of all time.
Looking forward to the sequel T2 Trainspotting hit the cinemas in February 2017 and seeing the original cast reunite again.
A well deserved 10/10.