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Iron Man Three (2013)
The Iron Man Formula
The third Instalment in the lucrative Iron Man franchise pits the cocky hero against an elusive terrorist wrecking havoc in the United States through untraceable means. The battle becomes personal when Iron Man calls out the Mandarin and sets himself up as a target.
Taking the helm from Jon Favreau, Director Shane Black steps in to some big shoes as he directs an already all star cast in addition to Ben Kingsley, Guy Pearce and Rebecca Hall. Fortunately he doesn't disappoint as this summer blockbuster checks all the boxes leaving you entertained while you munch away on your popcorn.
Robert Downey Jr is in top form and Paltrow adds to the eye-candy quota as does Rebecca Hall even if her character is a little weak. Pearce and Kingsley shine while Don Cheadle has more of a cameo. All in all, the stars do what they're paid to do and do it well.
Full of both action, effects, explosions and laughs, Iron Man 3 is one you're sure to enjoy. Make sure you wait till after the credits are over!
The Michael J. Fox Show (2013)
A welcome breath of fresh Fox.
It was over a decade ago when Michael J. Fox stepped away from headlining Spin City and entertainment in general. Sure he had stints in shows such as Scrubs and Boston Legal but it wasn't till 2013 when he took the lead and starred in his own Michael J. Fox Show.
The comedy based on his life documents the family life and comeback of a news presenter who stepped away owing to Parkinsons Disease. Fox doesn't shy away from his affliction and instead highlights it by mocking it happily. It's like a fat kid telling fat jokes and you have to think it's acceptable if he/she does it because, well they're fat.
Wendell Pierce flexes his comedic muscle (the guy is everywhere!) and shares an enjoyable chemistry with Fox while Betsy Brandt compliments him as he's lovable and laid back wife.
in 1982 the family comedy, Family Ties is what gave Fox his big break and it's poetic that it's the same genre that's brought him back. It's not the funniest show out there but it is more entertaining and funnier than most and to be honest, with Michael J. Fox back on our screens, the land of television and entertainment are better for it. The Michael J. Fox show is a comedy enjoyable for the entire family.
Hell on Wheels (2011)
Hell on Wheels follows Cullen Bohannan who on his quest for vengeance for his murdered wife finds himself amidst the construction of the transcontinental railroad and the Hell which accompanies it. Finding his place amidst a time full of whores, liquor, corruption and drama, Bohannan walks a tightrope between survival and being at the helm of a revolution.
Set in the Old West, AMC delivers an unsuspecting winner which is propelled to 'Must See' status by the stellar performances of its little known cast led by Anson Mount. Three seasons in there is no arguing that the role of Bohannan was tailor-made for Mount or vice versa; there is no denying he was born to be a cowboy! Supporting Mount are the surprising performances of the rapper, Common along with the recognisable Colm Meaney and Christopher Heyerdahl.
Creators Joe and Tony Gayton have filled a void left since the final episode of Deadwood and staked their claim on the Old West territory. With the ensemble they've put together and their outstanding performance, it would be safe to assume this is their niche for as long as they want it.
With enough drama, action and grit to satisfy any viewers appetite, Hell On Wheels is a show that sneaks in under the radar and grabs the one of the coveted 'Must See TV' slots.
The Walking Dead (2010)
The Reign of the Undead
In 2010 when Vampires were the trend and with that followed an overwhelming number of shows about the subject matter, AMC rolled the dice and gambled with 6 episodes on a show about a Zombie Apocalypse. The gamble failed in that they ONLY commissioned 6 episodes. Viewers were salivating for more as they killed time waiting for the second season rolled around with more than double the episodes of the first season.
Creator Frank Darabont, the man who directed The Green Mile and Shawshank Redemption, recognised a void which, let's be fair, all Zombie fans could see and filled it.
The Walking Dead follows Sheriff Rick Grimes who after waking up in a hospital to a Zombie Apocalypse sets off to find his family. Seamlessly combining dramatic storytelling which keeps you glued along with terror that keeps you at the edge of your seat, The Walking Dead has catapulted itself to one of the best shows on TV currently. With the 4th Season about to debut, The Walking Dead is an unstoppable locomotive of the undead that can not be missed!
I can't help but envy those that have yet to start watching the show.
The Frozen Ground (2013)
The Melting Ground
Based on actual events, an Alaskan State Trooper tracks down a serial rapist and murder, Robert Hansen who manages to avoid justice for over a decade.
With Nicholas Cage, John Cusack and Vanessa Hudgens, Director Scott Walker has a heavy weight line up to help bring the events to life. While the wintry backdrop and cinematography illustrate a chilling environment, the story somewhat lacks bite. Oscar winner, Cage delivers an acceptable performance while Cusack, who dons the more challenging serial killer hat, makes an admirable effort. The standout performance is of Vanessa Hudgens who portrays a teenage prostitute that managed to escape Hansen's clutches.
The Frozen Ground is an interesting film and worth watching if you're in the mood for a thrilling bio-drama however it won't win any awards and certainly won't be a part of your 'must see' collection.
After Earth (2013)
A father and son with a strained relationship crash land on a long abandoned earth, now home to evolutionary beasts that tower above man on the food chain. In order to survive and save his wounded father, the Son must face his demons and battle the terrain and the terror it houses.
Director, M. Night Shyamalan enjoyed early success with hits such as The Sixth Sense and Signs however has failed to achieve such heights since. In After Earth, a sci-fi big budget feature with one of Hollywood's biggest stars, Will Smith as top billing, Shyamalan has everything in his favour.
The cinematography and scenery are fantastic as can be expected with a film this size however that's where the good pretty much ends. Will Smith is limited in his role while son, Jaden is unfortunately out of his depth. The story is clichéd and predictable and even the special effects can't save After Earth.
What seems to be a launch pad for Jaden Smith, who needs time to mature, turns out to be a dull and forgettable film leaving M.Night Shyamlan still searching to try and recreate the magic and success of The Sixth Sense.
After Earth is one to miss.
The Colony (2013)
The Colony Freezes Fast
Forced underground owing to the next ice age, a community tries to survive nature until a savage force gets the colony in it's sights!
Who doesn't like a Post Apocalyptic film, really? Throw in the timeless Lawrence Fishburne, the man would give credibility to a soiled diaper and the versatile veteran, Bill Paxton and the only thing missing is the popcorn! Fishburne and Paxton are flawless in portraying their characters in what can only be described as a launch pad for young and adequate, Kevin Zegers.
Director, Jeff Renfroe has been more involved with TV and although The Colony isn't a bad effort, it lacks that 'gripping' factor. Once the credits role you can't help but shrug and feel let down since the plot had so much potential. It's not a, bad film, it's more of a 'not bad' film. Something to consider watching on DVD if you've run out of choice.
A Good Day to Die Hard (2013)
A Good Day To Give Die Hard a Miss
John McClane travels to Russia to be by his son's side who is involved in a murder but in typical McClane style, chaos ensues and he's in the middle of it.
Bruce Willis has survived the test of time to become Hollywood royalty in that he can do any movie and his appeal probably won't dwindle even if it bombs. As he continues the Die Hard franchise which propelled him to stardom after his stint in the comedy drama, Moonlighting, the anticipation was palpitating. However, the latest instalment misses the mark and does so by a long shot! Willis is more of a stereotypical 'John Wayne' type of obnoxious American tourist who barks unassumingly 'I'm on a vacation' between regular intervals of gun fire and explosions. Some of the scenes are baffling such as when in one scene Willis is hand cuffed, his son has a knife and cuts his own cuffs off and somehow, Willis escapes his and attacks his assailant!
There isn't any chemistry worth mentioning between McClane and his son played by Jai Courtney and while Sebastian Koch shines, you're more interested in eye-candy, Yuliya Snigir.
The plot is ambitious but not gripping in the slightest in spite of some great stunts. Moore's direction and McClane's character does the glowing franchise a great disservice. Perhaps every franchise has one? I mean Rocky had Rocky V! With Die Hardest (6) expected in 2015 let's hope Willis can eclipse the blunder that is, A Good Day to Die Hard.
Killer Joe (2011)
Classic Killer Joe....hold the fried chicken.
Out of pocket to the wrong people, a young man hatches a plan to obtain a fat payday and recruits his simple father as an accomplice. The success however hinges on the services of a part-time hit-man unwilling to bend the rules until something catches his fancy.
Matthew McConaughey sheds his Rom-Com cloak in exchange for the Cowboy hat of a killer with a sadistically creepy streak. Emile Hirsch and Thomas Haden Church share a great chemistry as father and son while Gina Gershon delivers a notable performance. However it's the young, Juno Temple as sister, Dottie who leaves a memorable stamp in Killer Joe.
Director, William Friedkin the man behind The Exorcist captivates you from the opening scene in this bold and dark thriller while writer, Tracy Letts delivers an original story woven with laughs, chilling dialogue and iconically memorable scenes (trust me, you'll know it when you get to it).
Stellar performances, especially by McConaughey, complimented by a great script and eclectic direction will leave you glued and yearning to uncover how the increasingly tension filled drama will ultimately unfold.
Killer Joe is an unmissable, instant cult classic!
End of Watch (2012)
Watch, End of Watch
A documentary-styled feature follows two LAPD officers as they proudly patrol the violent streets of urban Los Angeles. Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena are partners who share a bond as friends and professionals. As the documentary flows, you're drawn in to their convincing bro-mance and find yourself fond of their relationship and the banter that goes along with it. Woven in are a range of gritty and realistic incidents of criminal activity where the partners perform their civic duty leaving them stumbling in to the cross-hairs of a lethal cartel.
Gyllenhaal and Pena are outstanding in their portrayal as they deliver a truly believable performance while the supporting cast serve their parts adequately. As the viewer you're gradually lulled in to their lives and almost feel a part of it.
End of Watch delves in to a genre with numerous clichéd pitfalls from becoming yet another hand-held movie to a predictable cop story. David Ayer, a veteran of the gritty cop genre with his hand in films like Training Day and Street Kings, navigates his way around the land-mines and delivers a thrilling and original drama that keeps you interested in it's originality, reality and the all around performance of the characters. End of Watch is definitely worth a watch.