Posts Tagged ‘Sam Hazeldine’

Amsterdam Kill Run

The Hitman’s Bodyguard

Director: Patrick Hughes

Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Gary Oldman, Salma Hayek, Elodie Yung, Joaquim de Almeida, Sam Hazeldine, Rod Hallett, Richard E. Grant

Despite an international cast, director Patrick Hughes stylistically violent action film The Hitman’s Bodyguard becomes a warped buddie movie with Samuel L. Jackson starring as Darius Kincaid a foulmouthed assassin who unwillingly teams up with the executive protection agent Michael Bryce played by Canadian Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds.

After an explosive opening sequence in Manchester, England and then followed by an equally hectic sequence in Coventry, Bryce is tasked with transporting Kincaid intact to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands to testify against evil Belarussian dictator Vladislav Dukhovich played by Oscar nominee Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) complete with dodgy accent.

What was Gary Oldman thinking appearing in such a film?

Then again what was another Oscar nominee Mexican star Salma Hayek (Frida) thinking appearing as the equally foulmouthed Honduran jailbird Sonia Kincaid wife to Darius?

Even the two sequences with Hayek and Jackson are drizzled in bloodshed which is pitiful considering that it detracts from any potential onscreen chemistry.

Clearly all the stars involved in The Hitman’s Bodyguard did not act in this film to further their careers.

Then again, obviously the director of The Expendables 3, Patrick Hughes knows that his audience is not going to take the film too seriously if he packs The Hitman’s Bodyguard with excessive violence that the film becomes stylistically nauseating especially considering the events that are currently happening in 21st century Europe including multiple random acts of terror in every city from London to Barcelona.

The only redeeming feature of The Hitman’s Bodyguard besides the onscreen sparing between Reynolds and Jackson is the multi chase sequence in Amsterdam involving a ski boat, motorcycle and various vehicles along the Dutch canals.

Action fans will be satisfied as basically every city featured in The Hitman’s Bodyguard gets shot at and blown to smithereens from Manchester to Amsterdam to The Hague.

Unlike director Edgar Wright’s excellent Southern crime caper Baby Driver, the action sequences in The Hitman’s Bodyguard is repulsively manufactured and the violence is deliberately pornographic. The story is definitely thin on content which underscores the question why such normally bankable stars including Ryan Reynolds, Gary Oldman and Samuel L. Jackson would consider acting in such an excessively violent film without a pause to think what the real cinematic message conveys: That violence is acceptable internationally?

Even the brief appearances by character actors Richard E. Grant and Portuguese star Joaquim de Almeida as a sinister Interpol agent do not redeem the narrative in any significant way.

The Hitman’s Bodyguard gets a film rating of 6.5 out of 10 and is big on action, violence, bloodshed and a massive body count (mostly of mean looking Belarussians) and low on nuanced content. Entertaining to an extent but way over done.

Eliminating the Competition

Mechanic: Resurrection

mechanic_resurrection

Director: Dennis Gansel

Cast: Jason Statham, Jessica Alba, Tommy Lee Jones, Michelle Yeoh, Sam Hazeldine, Toby Eddington, John Cenatiempo

Viewers of Mechanic Resurrection could be forgiven for thinking they are watching a retro 007 film. As German director Dennis Gansel’s film opens in Rio de Janeiro, it is reminiscent of Moonraker then as the next sequence moves to the South China Sea, the location is directly out of The Man with the Golden Gun.

mechanic

Action man Jason Statham reprises his role of Arthur Bishop in the sequel to the 2011 film The Mechanic, this time Bishop is courted by nefarious arms dealer Crain played by British actor Sam Hazeldine (The Huntsman: Winters War), to carry out a series of assassinations around the globe, which should look like freak accidents.

As Mechanic Resurrection moves from Rio to Bangkok, to a prison island off the Malaysian city of Penang then onto a glossy highrise in Sydney Harbour, director Ganzel makes the most out of every exotic location. Surprisingly none of the locations are in the US, which adds to the originality of the film.

In Thailand, Bishop meets the pawn in the game, Gina, played by the voluptuous and feisty Jessica Alba, and then both are involved in a dangerous game of intrigue, as Bishop is sent by Crain to kill these criminal monsters. The last of which is Max Adams played by an unrecognizable Tommy Lee Jones (The Fugitive, Jason Bourne), who is hiding out in a Soviet era monument in the outskirts of the Bulgarian resort city of Varna.

Soon Bishop and Adams make an unholy alliance to take Crain down and the rest of Mechanic Resurrection is an old style action film, as bad guys are dispatched in the hundreds, particularly in a scene on a luxurious yacht on the Black Sea. Bishop literally eliminates the competition.

mechanic_resurrection_ver2

The most dazzling scene in the film is the cantilever swimming pool which juts out of a Sydney Harbour apartment building which Bishop sabotages to kill arms dealer and child trafficker, the suave Adrian Cook played by Toby Eddington.

Mechanic Resurrection is an old style action film, the kind film studios used to make between the mid-1980 and 1990’s. Think Rambo, Die Hard or True Lies. It’s a great popcorn film.

The stunts are outrageous, the locations out of a bond film and naturally the buff Jason Statham is perfect as the fit action hero ready to save the gorgeous Gina held captive on a yacht fill of thugs.

Clearly inspired by the Bond franchise, director Dennis Gansel pays homage to some of the classic 007 films giving the look of Mechanic Resurrection that fabulously exotic retro feel. Even former Bond girl Michelle Yeoh (Tomorrow Never Dies) stars as Mei, Bishop’s friend and confidant in the South China Sea.

Mechanic Resurrection is 90 minutes of pure action, fabulous locations and complete escapism, sometimes it’s just what audiences need to escape the mundane realities of daily life. Go and see it. It’s fun and certainly entertaining!

Sisters of No Mercy

Huntsman: The Winters War

huntsman_ver12

Director: Cedric Nicolas-Troyan

Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Jessica Chastain, Emily Blunt, Charlize Theron, Nick Frost, Alexandra Roach, Sam Claflin, Rob Brydon, Sheridan Smith

The evil queen stakes just got higher in the prequel to Snow White and the Huntsman, Huntsman: Winter War which is directed by French visual effects supervisor turned director Cedric Nicolas-Troyan. His previous visual effects credits include Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, Snow White and the Huntsman and Solstice.

huntsman_ver2

Australian actor Chris Hemsworth returns as Erik the Huntsman along with South African Oscar winner Charlize Theron (Monster, Mad Max: Fury Road) as the vicious queen Ravenna.

New to the cast are Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty, Interstellar) as Erik’s estranged wife Sara and an equally evil queen, Ravenna’s sister the Ice Queen Freya wonderfully played by Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada, Into the Woods).

Interestingly this is a female action film and that’s why Huntsman: Winters War works so well although it’s not as good as the original 2012 Rupert Sanders film Snow White and the Huntsman.

Visually, Huntsman is quite dazzling especially in the second half of the film, and director Cedric Nicholas-Troyan makes full use of all the latest CGI available especially when the gorgeous Ravenna emerges out of the illustrious gold mirror looking fabulous.

huntsman Winters War

In actual fact Ravenna’s outfit, which Charlize Theron naturally uses to its full potential is sure to inspire many a drag queen in the future, wonderfully emboldened with beautiful eye make-up and a fabulous gold head dress to match, a rival to Angelina Jolie’s outfits in Maleficent. Simply gorgeous. Who cares if she is an evil queen, when she looks so stunning!

huntsman_ver4

Jessica Chastain is suitably bold and kickass as Erik’s opinionated wife who manages to save his life from a collection of hideous goblins which looked as if they escaped from the set of Pan’s Labyrinth.

huntsman_ver3

Emily Blunt is wonderful as Ravenna’s younger sister Queen Freya whose heart has been turned to ice by the sudden and inexplicable death of her baby daughter who she naturally blames her husband for.

Audiences should watch out for British comedian Nick Frost as a smart-mouthed dwarf Nion and Alexandra Roach as Doreena last seen in Cuban Fury and The Iron Lady as well as Sam Claflin as William, Freya’s doomed husband.

Whilst Huntsman: Winters War is wonderful to watch, the dialogue could have been better written, yet the story is pure escapism, fantasy with a large dose of femme fatale and a couple Erik and Sara who eventually put aside their differences to defeat the evil sisters who are entirely without mercy and vicious to the core.

Huntsman: Winters War is recommended viewing for those that enjoyed Snow White and the Huntsman and should look forward to the third instalment in a film series which was clearly designed to be part of a fantasy trilogy.

The Treasures of War

monuments_men

The Monuments Men

Director: George Clooney

Starring: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, John Goodman, Bob Balaban, Bill Murray, Jean Dujardin, Hugh Bonneville, Sam Hazeldine

Actor and director George Clooney and screenwriter Grant Heslov, the team behind The Men Who Stare at Goats and Good Night and Good Luck, team up for an old-fashioned historical war film about a middle aged group of men who set out during the latter years of World War II to recover most of the stolen art works secretly stashed in Nazi hordes across France, Belgium and parts of Germany from 1943 to 1945 as the Germans retreated in defeat as the tide of war turned against them. Whilst The Monuments Men boasts an all star cast including Bill Murray, Jean Dujardin (from The Artist), John Goodman and Matt Damon, the film doesn’t quite match up to the incisive political comment of the Oscar winning Good Night and Good Luck about the approaching threat of McCarthyism on broadcast journalists in the 1950’s.

Instead, Heslov and Clooney focus more on the after effects of war and looting and the utter destruction of entire communities, mainly the European Jews at the hands of the ruthless Nazi’s during the holocaust. There are moments of humour interjected in a mainly historical narrative about how these men travelled across the European Theatres of War from Paris to Brugge to Normandy to track down the hugely valuable and culturally significant pieces of art works stolen by the Nazi’s from Rembrandts to Michelangelo’s famed sculpture Madonna and child stolen from a Belgium monastery.

There is a brief interlude with Damon  as Captain James Granger teaming up with a French Resistance woman in Paris forced to work for the Nazi’s Claire Simone played by Cate Blanchett, with an indistinguishable European accent. There is the witty banter between Richard Campbell and Preston Savitz played respectively by Bill Murray and Bob Balaban and then there is a wonderful cameo by Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey) as Donald Jeffries a British Lieutenant who sobers up to join the Monuments Men to save his famed Madonna.

Whilst at times The Monuments Men comes across as sentimental and nostalgic, it’s because its focusing more on the saving of priceless art than on the horrors of conflict and the utter destruction of parts of Europe. This film is in no league to such Oscar winners as Saving Private Ryan or Anthony Minghella’s elegant The English Patient. Instead The Monuments Men shines light on the aspect of war which is often neglected the looting of treasures by the conqueror over the defeated and the crazy scheme of Hitler’s 3rd Reich to build a Fuhrer Art Museum in Berlin, which naturally never materialized. If anyone has been to the great art museums of London, Amsterdam, Paris or New York, many viewers will know that much of the greatest artworks was saved and restored to their original glory.

For art historians, The Monuments Men is a delightful and fascinating film, but for lovers of War films, don’t expect loads of action or bloodshed, just lots of barbed humour and the occasional tragic scene as this band of merry men navigate through dangerous battlefields to reclaim the original treasures of war. Recommended for lovers of nostalgic war films.

Film Directors & Festivals
Reviews and Awards
Review Calender
October 2017
M T W T F S S
« Sep    
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031  
  • VidAngel Declares Bankruptcy To Put Copyright Fight on Hold
    VidAngel, the Utah-based streaming service that filters out offensive content, declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Wednesday. The filing is designed to put its copyright battle with three major studios on hold, as it seeks to expand its new filtering service. “We have millions in the bank, and we’re already making millions on the new system,” […]
    gmaddaus
  • Chelsea Handler’s Netflix Talk Show Cancelled After Two Seasons
    Chelsea Handler’s Netflix talk show “Chelsea” has been cancelled after two seasons. Handler tweeted the news on Wednesday. In a statement posted online, she wrote, “Like so many across the country, the past presidential election and the countless events that have unfolded since have galvanized me. From the national level down to the grassroots, it’s […]
    Joseph Otterson
  • Mindy Kaling to Produce Two Comedies in Development at NBC From ‘Mindy Project’ Team (EXCLUSIVE)
    Mindy Kaling has signed on to executive produce two comedy projects in development at NBC that hail from the creative team behind “The Mindy Project,” Variety has learned exclusively. The first is a currently untitled series from Lang Fisher, who is a co-executive producer, writer, and director on “The Mindy Project.” The series would follow the dedicated diplomats […]
    Joseph Otterson
  • Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Chris Stapleton, More: Get to Know CMT’s Artists of the Year
    For the network’s annual Artists of the Year telecast, taking place tonight (Oct. 18) in Nashville, CMT has elected not to hand out any actual trophies on stage, in deference to the hurricanes, fires, and mass shootings that have taken a toll on the national mood and cast the distribution of celebrity honors in a […]
    Shirley Halperin
  • Frank Ocean Defeats His Father’s ‘Super Sad’ Libel Case
    Frank Ocean has defeated the $14.5 million libel suit that his father, Calvin Cooksey, filed against him earlier this year, according to Law360. A California federal judge ruled that Cooksey had not proved that Ocean defamed him with a 2016 Tumblr post, in which he recalled a childhood incident in which his father called a transgender waitress an […]
    Jem Aswad