Posts Tagged ‘Val Kilmer’

Time is the Enemy

Top Gun: Maverick

Director: Joseph Kosinki

Cast: Tom Cruise, Jennifer Connelly, Miles Teller, Jon Hamm, Glen Powell, Lewis Pullman, Val Kilmer, Ed Harris, Monica Barbaro 

Running Time: 2 hours and 11 minutes

Film Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Only the Brave and Oblivion director Joseph Kosinski does a sterling job directing the highly anticipated long awaited sequel to the 1986 smash hit Top Gun directed by the late British director Tony Scott. Fortunately, superstar Tom Cruise reprises his role as test pilot Pete “Maverick” Mitchell as he returns to the San Diego Airforce base to train a new set of elite air force pilots including Lt. Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw the son of the original Rooster and Maverick’s wingman in the 1986 film.

This time the younger Rooster is played superbly by prolific actor Miles Teller of Whiplash fame as he tries to prove himself as a test fighter pilot while reconciling his father’s legacy and his grudge against Maverick, the less than orthodox fighter pilot instructor.

Following a glittering and highly successful film premiere at the 2022 Festival du Cannes, in which Tom Cruise and co-stars showed off Top Gun: Maverick to the Cinema world and now on world wide release, Top Gun: Maverick as a 2022 cinematic spectacle does not disappoint as the screenwriters skillfully weave elements of the original Top Gun film into this stunning adrenalin fueled film filled with bravado, awe-inspiring aviation stunts and a group of muscular and strong test pilots all vying to be the best. Watch out for the infamous beach scene.

Pete Mitchell’s only concern in teaching his new group of recruits besides building team spirit is to make sure every member of the team comes home from their nefarious mission against an omniscient and unmentionable enemy alive and kicking. Maverick, which is his call sign, tells all of the young aspiring pilots, don’t think, just do it because time is the enemy.

Throughout the story of Top Gun: Maverick there are hints to the original film which was a 1980’s smash hit blockbuster and launched Tom Cruise as a superstar.

Complete with glossy shots of Maverick riding a motorbike into the Californian sun or assisting his love interest Penny wonderfully played by Oscar winner Jennifer Connelly (A Beautiful Mind) steering a huge yacht off the coast of San Diego, Top Gun: Maverick works as a glossy and sleek homage to the 1980’s action film and a tribute to military aviation, which does not disappoint. In fact it glows in admiration at the courage and spectacle of fighter jets doing dog fights across icy landscapes.

As a film and a fitting sequel to the original, Top Gun: Maverick excels on every level and shines through as Tom Cruise’s passion project a film that he had to get made right and with the correct co-stars.

All the supporting cast of Top Gun: Maverick are superb including Oscar nominee Ed Harris (Pollock) as Chester Cain, Jon Hamm as Admiral Beau “Cyclone” Simpson, actor Bill Pullman’s son Lewis Pullman as Lt Robert “Bob” Floyd and of course the other alpha male of the squadron Glen Powell as Lt Jake “Hangerman” Seresin.

Audiences should watch the original film first, however Top Gun: Maverick is equally thrilling providing a stand alone big screen spectacle of flying, action and tension seldom seen in 21st century cinema.

Saturated with golden Californian sunshine and a huge dash of nostalgia, Top Gun: Maverick is a brilliant aviation film and will certainly keep audiences engaged especially in the last section of the film as Maverick and the young Rooster land in enemy territory.

As an adrenalin fuelled fighter jet action film, Top Gun: Maverick gets a film rating of 8.5 out of 10 and is highly recommended viewing only to be appreciated on the big screen.  

Notorious Norway

The Snowman

Director: Tomas Alfredson

Cast: Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Ferguson, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Chloe Sevigny, Val Kilmer, J. K. Simmons, James D’Arcy, Toby Jones, Jonas Karlsson, Jakob Oftebro, David Dencik

Norwegian novelist Jo Nesbo’s thriller The Snowman is brought to cinematic life by Iranian screenwriter Hossein Amini and co-written by Peter Staughan. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy director Tomas Alfredson brings this bleak Norwegian thriller to the big screen with a constantly icy landscape concerning a ruthless and psychopathic serial killer who kills his victims every time the snow begins falling, which in a Scandinavian winter, would be consistently often.

Assembling an international cast including Oscar nominee Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave, Steve Jobs) as hard-drinking detective Harry Hole opposite art house actress Charlotte Gainsbourg, the muse of Danish auteur Lars von Trier who starred in such films as Anti-Christ and Nymphomaniac as his ex-girlfriend Rakel, personally I had high hopes for this thriller being a captivating cinematic experience. My criticism is that in The Snowman, the character relationships were not clearly defined, which made navigating this thriller virtually impossible.

Having not read the Jo Nesbo novel, I found this film version slightly lacklustre especially in the slow moving first half. Despite a refreshing change of watching an entire film shot in Norway, The Snowman didn’t quite pack the same verve as David Fincher’s utterly compelling film version of Stieg Larsson’s blockbuster thriller The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Rebecca Ferguson who appeared in Life and Florence Foster Jenkins also stars as co-detective Kathrine Bratt who is harbouring secrets of her own especially as she tries to entice Norwegian businessman Arve Stop played by Oscar winner J. K. Simmons (Whiplash) into a honey trap, since he has a peculiar penchant for photographing beautiful girls. Rarely seen actor Val Kilmer (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Heat and Pollock) makes a welcome comeback as Gert Rafto a Bergen based detective following a similar murder case years earlier.

While The Snowman’s narrative visibility is as convoluted as the blurry icy landscape of Oslo and Bergen, the acting comes off as flat and uninspired. Which is a great pity considering the film’s acting talent.

Fassbender does a reasonably good job of bringing some dimension to Harry Hole, the lonely but observant detective, however one gets the sense that he fully was committed to the role as he was in director Justin Kurzel’s Macbeth.

Perhaps the reason for my lukewarm response to this supposedly icy thriller was that I had a nightmarish cinematic experience coupled with expectations that director Tomas Alfredson would make an equally impressive film as his gripping adaptation of John le Carre’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

The Snowman for all its gripping plot-twists, peppered with gruesome murders, gets a film rating of 6.5 out of 10.

 

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