Wednesday, 22 February 2017

What's new in Odeon's this week : Thursday 23rd February 2017.

The 89th Academy Awards Ceremony hosted by television personality Jimmy Kimmel will be held on Sunday evening 26th February 2017 at the Dolby Theatre, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California to a packed audience of the worlds cinematic screen personalities and a worldwide television audience of several hundred million viewers. Jimmy Kimmel for the previous eleven years has hosted a special edition of his late night 'Jimmy Kimmel Live' television show 'After the Oscars' lampooning the awards ceremony and the entertainment industry using various awards recipients and attendees in both live and pre-recorded sketches.

The nominations for the major categories look like this :-
* Best Picture : 'Arrival', 'Fences', 'Hacksaw Ridge', 'Hell of High Water', 'Hidden Figures', 'La la Land', 'Lion', Manchester by the Sea' and 'Moonlight'.
* Best Director : Damien Chazelle for 'La La Land', Mel Gibson for 'Hacksaw Ridge', Barry Jenkins for 'Moonlight', Kenneth Lonergan for 'Manchester by the Sea', and Denis Villeneuve for 'Arrival'.
* Best Animated Feature Film : 'Kubo and the Two Strings', 'Moana', 'My Life as a Zucchini', 'The Red Turtle' and 'Zootopia'.
* Best Foreign Language Film : 'Land of Mine' (from Denmark), 'A Man Called Ove' (from Sweden), 'The Salesman' (from Iran), 'Tanna' (from Australia) and 'Toni Erdmann' (from Germany).
* Best Actor : Casey Affleck for 'Manchester by the Sea', Andrew Garfield for 'Hacksaw Ridge', Ryan Gosling for 'La La Land', Viggo Mortensen for 'Captain Fantastic' and Denzel Washington for 'Fences'.
* Best Actress : Isabelle Huppert for 'Elle', Ruth Negga for 'Loving', Natalie Portman for 'Jackie', Emma Stone for 'La La Land', and Meryl Streep for 'Florence Foster Jenkins'.
* Best Supporting Actor : Mahershala Ali for 'Moonlight', Jeff Bridges for 'Hell or High Water', Lucas Hedges for 'Manchester by the Sea', Dev Patel for 'Lion', and Michael Shannon for 'Nocturnal Animals'.
* Best Supporting Actress : Viola Davis for 'Fences', Naomi Harris for 'Moonlight', Nicole Kidman for 'Lion', Octavia Spencer for 'Hidden Figures', and Michelle Williams for 'Manchester by the Sea'.
* Best Original Screenplay : 'Hell or High Water' by Taylor Sheridan, 'La La Land' by Damien Chazelle, 'The Lobster' by Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthimis Fillipou, 'Manchester by the Sea' by Kenneth Lonergan and '20th Century Women' by Mike Mills.
* Best Adapted Screenplay : 'Arrival', 'Fences', 'Hidden Figures', 'Lion', and 'Moonlight'.
* Best Original Score : 'Jackie', 'La La Land', 'Lion', 'Moonlight', and 'Passengers'.
* Best Visual Effects : 'Deepwater Horizon', 'Doctor Strange', 'The Jungle Book', 'Kubo and the Two Strings' and 'Rogue One : A Star Wars Story'.

All told, 'La La Land' is nominated in a record matching fourteen categories, 'Arrival' and 'Moonlight' are nominated in eight categories, 'Hacksaw Ridge', 'Lion' and 'Manchester by the Sea' are nominated for six each, 'Fences' and 'Hell of High Water' for four each, and 'Hidden Figures' and 'Jackie' for three apiece. For the full list of the winners and grinners from Hollywood's night of nights, watch out for next weeks latest release update.

This week we have four new films to entice you out to your local movie theatre, starting off with a long awaited sequel follow up to a much loved cult classic from 20 years ago that reunites this same characters twenty years on when so much but so little has changed in their lives in the ensuing years. We then have another sequel to a popular watch it and you die horror franchise based on a Japanese horror franchise; and then a true life telling of a Soviet programme only uncovered in 1991 to exterminate millions of Ukrainians in the 1930's; before wrapping up with a school yard showdown as two teachers go head to head, toe to toe and fist to fist after school on the last day of the year.

As is usually the case, your are warmly invited to share your movie going observations, thoughts and musings after you have sat through your film of choice in the coming week. Leave your constructive, relevant and current Comments blow this or any other Post - we'd love to hear from you. Meanwhile, enjoy your cinematic experience.

'T2 : TRAINSPOTTING' (Rated R18+) - eight years ago in early 2009 Danny Boyle made it known that he wanted to film a follow up to his 1996 cult classic 'Trainspotting' based on the Irvine Welsh follow up novel 'Porno' and set nine years after that original film. At that time Ewan McGregor was already keen. In the ensuing years Boyle always kept his follow up film on the back burner as other projects took hold, but in 2014 it was confirmed that Welsh and Boyle had spent a week together discussing script options that would do justice to the 1996 film, and the following year it was reported that 'Trainspotting 2' would be released to coincide with the 20th anniversary of that first film in 2016. Released in the UK in late January 2017, Directed and Co-Produced by Danny Boyle, reuniting the original cast of Ewan McGregor, Robert Carlyle, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller and Kelly Macdonald and costing US$18M the film has so far made US$21M. By comparison the highly acclaimed 'Trainspotting' back in 1996 cost US$2.25M to make and it grossed at the Box Office US$72M.

And so twenty years have past since the first film as have the lives of the principle characters. We see Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor) living in Amsterdam where he has resided with his wife and children for many years. He dreams of those bygone days and his exploits back home. We then move back to Edinburgh where Renton visits the only true place he can ever call home, and hoping to renew acquaintances with Frank Begbie (Robert Carlyle) serving time in prison for 25 years, Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller) now the owner of a city bar but still carrying on with his petty crimes and dodgy deals, and Spud (Ewan Bremner) trying to reconcile with his wife but suicidal. Even though much has changed in their lives, much still remains the same and so as the four old friends get to know each other again, so emotions run strong putting them on a path to potential self destruction and mortal danger.

'RINGS' (Rated M) - the original premise for this successful horror film franchise dates back to the Japanese mystery horror novel published in 1991 and written by Koji Suzuki set in modern day Japan. It was first committed to the big screen in 1995 and that film is said to be the most faithful to the original script. It was remade as a Japanese psychological horror film in 1998 which prompted an American remake in 2002 as Directed by Gore Verbinski and starring Naomi Watts and Brian Cox. That initial remake returned US$250M from its US$48M budget outlay and spawned a sequel in 2005 'Rings Two' Directed by Hideo Nakata who also Directed the original two Japanese films. This second American instalment yielded US$162M from a budget of US$50M. Now in 2017 'Rings' is released as the third instalment and is Directed by F. Javier Gutierrez for US$25M and follows the same premise whereby a cursed videotape is circulated and upon watching it you have seven days to live, by which time you are more than likely to have come to a grizzly end. This film regurgitates all of that for a modern era of social media, instant communication, and multi-media. Staring Matilda Lutz, Alex Rose, Vincent D'Onofrio and Johnny Galecki the film has so far taken US$58M, and has received so far generally poor Reviews.

'BITTER HARVEST' (Rated M) - is the true story of Joseph Stalin's genocidal pact against the Ukraine in the 1930's, and would rank as one of the most neglected and forgotten tragedies of the last century. This tragic truth only came to light in 1991 after the fall of the former Soviet Union and was obscured for decades by Soviet propaganda and denial by Stalin right up to his death. Directed and Co-Written by George Mendeluk the story unfolds between two lovers as they fight against Stalins advances of his communist ambitions in the Kremlin. Yuri (Max Irons) is a young artist who struggles against famine, torture and imprisonment to save his childhood love Natalka (Samantha Barks) from the 'Holodomor' - the extermination by famine programme that killed millions of Ukrainians between 1932 and 1933. Escaping from a Soviet prison, Yuri joins the anti-Bolshevik resistance as he fights to be reunited with his true love, and for the freedom of the Ukraine. Also starring Barry Pepper and Terence Stamp. The film cost US$21M to make and is released internationally this week.

'FIST FIGHT' (Rated MA15+) - this comedy offering is Directed by Richie Keen and tells the story of two teachers at Roosevelt High School on the last day of the school year on 'Prank Day'. Here mild-mannered English teacher Andy Campbell (Charlie Day) and History teacher Ron Strickland (Ice Cube) face off in the classroom over their students pranks, resulting in both of them being hauled in front of the Principal Richard Tyler (Dean Norris) and consequently Strickland getting fired for his violent classroom outburst. As a result Strickland challenges Campbell to an after school playground fist-fight to settle the score, but being the toughest, meanest most feared teacher on campus, Campbell starts back peddling quickly to avoid his appointment with a near certain beating as news of the pending showdown spreads across campus and beyond and expectations and emotions run high. Also starring Dennis Haysbert, Christina Hendricks, Tracy Morgan and Jillian Bell. The film was made for US$25M and has so far taken US$16M since its release Stateside last week, and has received mixed Reviews so far.

Four films offering a long awaited sequel to a '90's classic, horror, historical drama and comedy for your choosing this week. Get yourself off to your local picture house, catch a movie and then share your movie experience with us here afterwards, and in the meantime, I'll see you somewhere, sometime at the Odeon in the week ahead.

-Steve, at Odeon Online-

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Birthday's to share this week : 19th - 25th February 2017.

Do you celebrate your Birthday this week?

Miles Teller does on 20th February - check out my tribute to this Birthday Lad turning 30, at the end of this feature.

Do you also share your birthday with a well known, highly regarded & famous Actor or Actress; share your special day with a Director, Producer, Writer, Cinematographer, Singer/Songwriter or Composer of repute; or share an interest in whoever might notch up another year in the coming seven days? Then, look no further! Whilst there will be too many to mention in this small but not insignificant and beautifully written and presented Blog, here are the more notable and noteworthy icons of the big screen, and the small screen, that you will recognise, and that you might just share your birthday with in the week ahead. If so, Happy Birthday to you from Odeon Online!

Sunday 19th February
  • Jeff Daniels - Born 1955, turns 62 - Actor | Writer | Director
  • Ray Winstone - Born 1957, turns 60 - Actor | Producer
  • Benicio Del Toro - Born 1967, turns 50 - Actor | Producer
Monday 20th February
  • Sidney Poitier - Born 1927, turns 90 - Actor | Producer | Director
  • Mike Leigh - Born 1943, turns 74 - Director | Writer
  • Peter Strauss - Born 1947, turns 70 - Actor | Producer
  • Miles Teller - Born 1987, turns 30 - Actor
  • Brenda Blethyn - Born 1946, turns 71 - Actress  
Tuesday 21st February
  • Tyne Daly - Born 1946, turns 71 - Actress
  • Jennifer Love Hewitt - Born 1979, turns 38 - Actress | Producer | Writer | Director | Singer
  • Ellen Page - Born 1987, turns 30 - Actress | Producer
  • Sophie Turner - Born 1996, turns 21 - Actress
  • Anthony Daniels - Born 1946, turns 71 - Actor | Producer
  • Kelsey Grammer - Born 1955, turns 62 - Actor | Producer | Writer | Director | Singer
  • William Baldwin - Born 1963, turns 54 - Actor | Producer  
Wednesday 22nd February
  • Jonathan Demme - Born 1944, turns 73 - Director | Producer | Writer
  • Kyle MacLachlan - Born 1959, turns 58 - Actor
  • Julie Walters - Born 1950, turns 67 - Actress | Singer
  • Drew Barrymore - Born 1975, turns 42 - Actress | Producer | Director | Singer
Thursday 23rd February
  • Emily Blunt - Born 1983, turns 34 - Actress | Singer
  • Dakota Fanning - Born 1994, turns 23 - Actress | Producer | Singer
  • Peter Fonda - Born 1940, turns 77 - Actor | Producer | Director | Writer  
Friday 24th February
  • Edward James Olmos - Born 1947, turns 70 - Actor | Producer | Director
  • Dennis Waterman - Born 1948, turns 69 - Actor | Singer  
  • Billy Zane - Born 1966, turns 51 - Actor | Producer | Director
  • O'Shea Jackson Jnr. - Born 1991, turns 26 - Actor
Saturday 25th February
  • Tom Courtenay - Born 1937, turns 80 - Actor
  • Lee Evans - Born 1964, turns 53 - Actor | Writer | Composer
  • Sean Astin - Born 1971, turns 46 - Actor | Producer | Director  
  • James and Oliver Phelps - Born 1986, turn 31 - Actors
  • Tea Leoni - Born 1966, turns 51 - Actress | Producer
  • Rashida Jones - Born 1976, turns 41 - Actress | Producer | Director | Writer | Singer
Miles Alexander Teller was born in Downingtown, Pennsylvania to mother Merry, a Real Estate Agent and father Michael Teller, a nuclear power plant engineer. Growing up Miles lived in various places because of the relocation necessary in his fathers career, spending time in Florida, New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania. He attended the Lecanto High School in Florida where he played saxophone, piano, guitar and the drums, he was President of the Drama Club and played baseball too, hoping to turn the game into his vocation of choice. He then attended the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University where he studied method acting at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute, graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree.

He began his screen acting career by appearing in a number of short films - in 2004's eighteen minute 'Moonlighters', then 2007's ten minute 'Specific Recipe', 2008's eleven minute 'The Musicians' and 2010's eleven minute 'The Track Meet'. His feature film debut came in the 2010 drama 'Rabbit Hole' for which he was singled out by Co-Star Nicole Kidman for the role and also starring Aaron Eckhart, Dianne Wiest and Sandra Oh. 2011 saw the remake of the classic 1984 musical dance movie 'Footloose' starring Andie McDowell and Dennis Quaid with Kenny Wormald in the lead role. The film received generally positive Reviews and returned US$64M from its US$24M budget. In 2013 he starred in '21 & Over' and then his more critically lauded screen performance to date in 'The Spectacular Now' with Co-Star Shailene Woodley and also Brie Larson, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Kyle Chandler. The film made just US$7M from its US$2.5M budget, but was well received by Critics.

'Whiplash' came next in 2014 for Director Damien Chazelle with Teller starring as promising young student drummer Andrew Neiman enrolled at the Shaffer Conservatory in New York, with Terence Fletcher (J.K.Simmons) as his over bearing domineering and abusive jazz instructor. The film gained universal acclaim, returned US$49M from its meagre US$3.3M budget and garnered three Academy Award wins, one Golden Globe win, three BAFTA wins and a SAG win with J.K.Simmons and Damien Chazelle receiving numerous accolades. All up the film took home 91 award wins and another 134 nominations.

That same year, 2014, saw RomCom 'That Awkward Moment' with Zac Efron, Michael B. Jordan and Imogen Poots, and then the first in a recurring role as Peter Hayes in the first instalment of the Veronica Roth series of books to be adapted for the big screen, 'Divergent'. This was followed up by 'Insurgent' in 2015 and 'Allegiant' in 2016, with the final instalment 'Ascendant' in pre-production for a release later this year as a television movie, due to the lacklustre Box Office performance of the 'Allegiant' film bringing in US$179M from its US$110M budget outlay.


RomCom 'Two Night Stand' was also released in 2014, and then in 2015 the reboot of Marvel's 'Fantastic Four' franchise which had seen earlier live action adaptations in 2005 and 2007. Starring Teller as Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic with Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm/The Human Torch, Kate Mara as Susan Storm/The Invisible Woman and Jamie Bell as Ben Grimm/The Thing with Toby Kebbell and Vicor von Doom, this picture tanked critically and commercially taking US$168M from its US$126M budget investment, and picking up several 'Worst' awards.

Comedy 'Get A Job' followed in 2016 with Anna Kendrick, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Alison Brie, Bryan Cranston and Marcia Gay Harden, and then true story comedy drama 'War Dogs' as Directed by Todd Phillips and Co-Starring Jonah Hill and Bradley Cooper about the real life arms dealers Efraim Diveroli (Hill) and David Packouz (Teller) who win a US Army contract to supply munitions for the Afghan National Army worth about US$300M without any prior experience, credentials, contacts or expertise in this field. The film received mixed Reviews and returned US$86M from its US$40M budget.

The biographical boxing drama film 'Bleed for This' was released in the US in mid-November last year, but has not seen a theatrical release in Australia. With Teller starring as Vinny Pazienza an American professional boxing champion and Aaron Eckhart as his trainer Kevin Rooney, the film charts the story of the boxer who after a near fatal car accident leaves him with severe neck and spinal injuries and not knowing if he'll ever walk again, let alone fight. And fight he does, in one of the most incredible comeback stories from inside the ring. Although the film received generally positive Reviews, it was a bomb at the Box Office taking just US$5.5M from its US$6M budget costs.

Next up Teller is lending his voice talent to the animated feature 'The Ark and the Aardvark' due later this year, then in PTSD effected returning servicemen and women drama 'Thank You for Your Service' based on the book by David Finkel also due later this year and in post-production. 'Ascendent' the last instalment in the 'Divergent' series is in pre-production and then 'Granite Mountain' is in post-production with Jeff Bridges, Josh Brolin, Taylor Kitsch, Jennifer Connolly, and Andie MacDowell about an elite crew of men who fought a wildfire in Arizona in 2013 that claimed the lives of nineteen of their team..

Since 2013 Teller has been in a relationship with model Keleigh Sperry. All up Teller has 27 acting credits to his name and he has garnered four award wins and 21 other nominations including the BAFTA Rising Star Award in 2015.

Miles Teller - increasingly in demand and taking on more adult mature film roles, is musical, a dancer, was very academic at school, and has ambition to succeed and go the distance. We wish you well Miles and Happy 30th Birthday to you, from Odeon Online.

-Steve, at Odeon Online-

Friday, 17 February 2017

PATRIOTS DAY : Tuesday 14th February 2017.

'PATRIOTS DAY' is another real life dramatic thriller Co-Written for the screen and Directed by Peter Berg who also brought us last years 'Deepwater Horizon' and 'Lone Survivor' in 2013 which both also starred, like this offering, his go to actor for playing the uniformed ordinary everyman caught up in extraordinary circumstances - Mark Wahlberg. Based on the book 'Boston Strong' by Casey Sherman and Dave Wedge this tells the story of the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing. Costing US$45M to make the film has so far recovered US$38M since its US release at Christmas time. The film has garnered generally positive Reviews from critics and film goers alike.

The film opens up with Boston Police Department Sergeant Tommy Saunders (Mark Wahlberg) busting down a door with his leg to get to a drug dealer inside a seedy downtown apartment. The bust goes according to plan, except that Saunders has hyper-extended his leg and now walks with a limp and a knee brace for the rest of the film. Immediately following the bust his superior officer, Commissioner Ed Davis (John Goodman) arrives and orders that Saunders reports for Marathon Supervision duties the next day wearing his Police Uniform. He tries to argue back but is quickly brought down a peg by Davis reminding him of some earlier misdemeanour for which he is serving out time on dead beat duties, and tomorrow is his last day of servitude and then he has a clean slate again thereafter. He arrives back home in the early hours of the morning having had a few beers with the boys, wakes his wife Carol (Michelle Monaghan) who dismisses him, and settles onto the sofa with another beer - he has to be up for Marathon duty in less than five hours. The next day, April 15th 2013, with his Police Uniform neatly pressed and high viz jacket on, the pair kiss and bid their farewells.

The next day cuts to an apartment where radical Islam brothers Tamerlan Tsarnaev (Themo Melikidze) and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (Alex Wolff) are making final preparations for a bomb attack on the Boston Marathon. Using home made devises loaded with all manner of harm inflicting shrapnel, they load the improvised explosive devices into two back-packs and make off for their destination. We trace their journey to the proximity of the finish line, negotiating their way through the crowds of onlookers and revellers out enjoying the Patriots Day public holiday. They weave in and out of spectators young and old, security personnel, Police, and other officials and then lay their back packs at their feet, turn around and depart from whence they came. No one suspects a thing. Pacing up and down the street meanwhile is Tommy Saunders taking it all in and sharing a joke with his on-duty fellow Police Officers. Then boom, as an explosion rips through the crowd just a block away quickly followed by another with smoke billowing out from the side of the street close to the finish line.

With widespread panic all around, Saunders and his fellow Officers are close at hand to issue orders, call in all necessary emergency support and provide assistance to the injured. It's a scene of carnage as the low positioned bombs radiated out their deadly shrapnel on most victims from the waist down. There are badly lacerated legs, ankles and feet, and severed lower limbs lying on the blood soaked pavement - it's a picture of death and destruction. We follow ambulance crews and paramedics attending to the injured and needy and then move to several hospitals where emergency surgery is being performed to amputate legs - on young husband and wife Patrick Downes (Christopher O'Shea) and Jessica Kensky (Rachel Brosnahan) separated after the blast and taken unconscious to separate hospitals.

Quickly afterwards various law enforcement authorities began to gather at the scene while the emergency services go about their business. With Saunders giving orders to his fellow Police Officers on the ground, so arrives Commissioner Ed Davis, with FBI Special Agent Richard DesLauriers (Kevin Bacon) who survey the fall out and determine if this was a terrorist attack. Upon initial inspection DesLauriers is uncertain, but his mind is soon made up when he picks up a cluster of small blood soaked ball bearings. At this point DesLauriers assumes command and is in charge of operations. For now though he places a widespread embargo on any communication with the press or the media about a possible terrorist attack pending investigations and to avoid the news frenzy associated with acts of terror, especially on American soil.

Within no time a Command Centre is established in an abandoned warehouse where all manner of technological hardware, state of the art software, a reconstruction of the street scape and blast zone, and a whole army of analysts, surveillance experts and officials are mobilised to track down whoever did this. They begin by tapping into every camera lining the streets and those inside shops, cafes, bars and restaurants; using all the abandoned mobile phones from the scene and scanning text messages, photos and videos; and talking to witnesses at the scene, including those hospitalised. Saunders goes home to his wife, emotionally distraught at the sights he has witnessed over the preceding fourteen hours or so. In no time however, he receives a call to come into the Command Centre. There Saunders knowledge of the city and camera locations is put to the test as a person of interest is identified from the footage of the blast zone immediately before the explosions. Tracking the suspects possible whereabouts they trace back his journey in an attempt to get a clear photograph of the individual and any accomplice. It's not long before they do!

With clear photos of the two suspected bombers DesLauriers remains reluctant to go to the press without further hard evidence, but is hand is forced when Fox News announces that they have leaked photos of the suspects that they are going to release on their news channels soon. With photos of the perpetrators out there on all the news channels, the authorities hope that the people of Boston will come forward with information leading to a prompt capture . . . but it doesn't happen.

Meanwhile, the Tsarnaev brothers attempt to lay low while preparing for their next attack - in New York, but they have to get there first. They load up a car with their makeshift explosive devices in two boxes, and head out late at night. They need another weapon with which to protect themselves and so happen upon young Police Officer Sean Collier (Jake Picking) who is on night watch at a University Campus. They ambush him at gun point in his parked patrol car and shoot him twice in the face and attempt to steal his Police issue weapon, but Collier fights back from his drivers seat but is eventually overpowered with several more rounds shot into him at point blank range.

On the outskirts of the Campus, texting while parked in his new Mercedes SUV, Chinese student Dung Meng (Jimmy O. Yang) is car jacked by the two brothers and held captive at gun point. It is now 18th April, late at night, and the brothers brag to their captive that it was they who committed the Boston Marathon bombing and intend to do so again in New York. Meng is fearful for his life at the hands of the two bombers who now have him captive in his own car en route to New York. At a petrol station where the brothers stop to refill for fuel and food, Meng spies his chance to make a bolt for it and does so across the street into a convenience store and immediately calls the Police crouched behind the cashiers desk.

Saunders arrives at the scene and meets with Meng who, in his panicked pigeon English, reveals what the bombers said to him, and the number of his cars GPS tracking device so that they can follow the Mercedes. In Watertown the Mercedes is tracked down to a side street and a passing Police patrol car recognises the vehicle from the alert put out and goes in pursuit. The Mercedes is parked up in a quiet side street, that is about to turn very bloody and very noisy as an all out gun battle ensues between the two armed brothers and the gathering Police force including Police Sergeant Jeffrey Pugliese (J.K.Simmons). The brothers also use their stash of homemade bombs and in the ensuing firefight several Police Officers are injured, vehicles trashed, but Tamerlan is shot by Pugliese and then ran over by his brother who makes his getaway in the Mercedes. Tamerlan dies on the operating table a short time afterwards in the hospital from his wounds.

The next day the decision is made to lock down the city completely with a house to house search for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Saunders is back on the beat aiding the house to house investigations with the full force of the Police, and the military, as marshall law is declared temporarily and for the safety of Boston's citizens. A local man discovers someone hiding under the protective sheet covering his motor cruiser boat, and blood stains at the entry point at the boats rear. He calls the authorities, who converge on the property with Saunders and a colleague being the first to arrive at the scene. It's not long before the might of Uncle Sam reins down on the occupant of the boat who is indeed Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. He is promptly arrested after a brief stand-off, and the closing credits reveal that he is sentenced to death by lethal injection and is still awaiting an appeal in federal prison.

I enjoyed 'Patriots Day' and felt it was respectful to those that died and were injured in the attack, and the authorities, first responders, survivors and investigators who all played a part in the concerted effort to bring the Tsarnaev brothers to justice as quickly as they did. The film has clearly been meticulously researched and is professionally played out without over dramatising the events or glamourising the subsequent manhunt. This is a procedural Police investigative story that holds true to the timeline, and is told from several different perspectives splicing actual footage from the event into the film that adds authenticity to the suspense and the drama of one of the most sophisticated and celebrated manhunts in history that helped reunite the people of Boston.

-Steve, at Odeon Online-

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

What's new in Odeon's this week : Thursday 16th February 2017.

Continuing with all the glitz and glamour of Awards Season, Sunday evening 12th February saw the 70th BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) Awards hosted for the twelfth year by Stephen Fry from The Royal Albert Hall in London, England. Attended by the Who's Who of the movie industry and a couple of Royal Blue Bloods as well (HRH Prince William and Kate Middleton), this years winners and grinners who walked away with the golden mask were :-

* Best Film : 'LA LA LAND'
* Best British Film : 'I, DANIEL BLAKE'
* Best Animated Film : 'KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS'
* Best Film not in the English Language : 'SON OF SAUL'
* Best Director : DAMIEN CHAZELLE for 'La La Land'
* Best Actor : CASEY AFFLECK for 'Manchester By The Sea'
* Best Actress : EMMA STONE for 'La La Land'
* Best Supporting Actor : DEV PATEL for 'Lion'
* Best Supporting Actress : VIOLA DAVIS for  'Fences'
* Best Original Screenplay : KENNETH LONERGAN for 'Manchester By The Sea'
* Best Adapted Screenplay : LUKE DAVIS for 'Lion'
* Best Original Music : JUSTIN HURWITZ for 'La La Land'
* The EE Rising Star Award : TOM HOLLAND
* BAFTA Fellowship Award : MEL BROOKS

In other categories 'Jackie' picked up Best Costume Design; 'Hacksaw Ridge' won Best Editing; 'La La Land' Best Cinematography; Best Hair and Make-Up went to 'Florence Foster Jenkins'; Special Visual Effects went to 'The Jungle Book'; Best Production Design was awarded to 'Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them'; Best Sound went to 'Arrival', and Best Documentary Film went to '13th'.

Turning to this week, we have five new cinematic offerings to tease you out to your local multiplex or independent movie theatre. We start off with a highly acclaimed feel good movie of the '60's Space Race era and how three coloured women proved that they were better than any computer of the time, and so rewrote the history books in the process by putting an man in orbit and ensuring his safe return. The stuff of legend! We then have another historical drama but this time of the Chinese fantasy adventure kind that sees a European arrow slinging warrior face off against the might of an ancient marauding creature foe. Next up is a passion project by a renowned Director taking us on a 17th Century tale of Catholicism in a far way land where it is forbidden, and our two protagonists have their faith tested to the limit as they search for their learned colleague and mentor. We then turn attention to the streets of Las Vegas in a crime drama that pits an undercover cop against the underworld mob as family, work and loyalty collide. Wrapping up is an English crime story of three generations of a crime family and the passing of the baton from father to son to grandson amidst a conflict of interest and a new way of thinking for the younger generation keen on escaping that old way of life.

Remember that you are warmly invited to share your thoughts, observations and personal critique with your fellow readers here at Odeon Online, when you have sat through your film of choice in the coming week. Leave you constructive, relevant and pertinent thoughts in the Comments section below this or any other Post - as always - we'd love to hear from you. Meanwhile, enjoy your film experience in the coming week.

'HIDDEN FIGURES' (Rated PG) - this highly acclaimed historical biographical drama film is Directed, Co-Produced and Co-Written for the screen by Thoedore Melfi, is based on the non-fiction book of the same name by Margot Lee Shetterly and so far has gained three Academy Award nominations whose winners are yet to be announced, as well as a haul to date of 25 wins and a further sixty-one nominations. The film cost US$25M to make, and has so far grossed US$141M since its release Stateside at Christmas.

Beginning in 1961 at the start of the Space Race, mathematician Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson) works as a human computer in a division of Langley Research Centre in Hampton, Virginia with her two colleagues Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae) an engineer, and Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) another mathematician and unofficial supervisor. After the Russians successfully launch a space satellite, so the race hots up to put a man into orbit. Katherine is quickly assigned by her supervisor Vivian Mitchell (Kirsten Dunst) to support the Space Task Group headed up by Al Harrison (Kevin Costner) and become the first coloured woman on the team. Over time the three woman prove their worth to the space race by helping to launch John Glenn into space and his successful and safe return after the newly installed and trusted IBM 7090 computer shows flaws in its calculations and Katherine has to step in with her brain power to save the day, and win the confidence of the nation, and indeed the world. These unsung heroes of the early days of space exploration crossed political, race and gender lines to create something bigger, more valuable and more important than they ever could have imagined and inspired a generation that came after, to dream big. Also starring Mahershala Ali and Jim Parsons, this is a crowd pleasing, uplifting, heart warming not to be missed true story and one to watch.

'THE GREAT WALL' (Rated M) - representing the most expensive Chinese movie ever made at a budget of US$150M, this film is the first English film Directed by Zhang Yimou and is best described as an epic historical action adventure fantasy monster film. It was released in China in mid-December and has so far grossed US$225M before its release in Australia on 16th and the US on 17th February. Set in the China of about a thousand years ago, European mercenary warrior William Garin (Matt Damon) is searching for black powder to secure his wealth, but is subsequently held captive within the Great Wall of China. He quickly becomes caught up in an epic battle with ancient marauding creatures who attack just once every sixty years and so his search for fame and fortune turns into a journey of strength, heroics and survival as he joins an elite team of highly trained warriors to thwart a formidable and seemingly unstoppable enemy. Also starring Willem Dafoe, Pedro Pascal, Andy Lau and Tian Jing. This film has received mixed Reviews and perhaps some unfair criticism but for an epic English language Chinese production the like of which we have never seen before, I think it's gotta be worth a look!

'SILENCE' (Rated MA15+) - this film has been a passion project for Martin Scorsese since reading the book back in 1988 and acquiring the film rights back in 1990. After approaching thirty years in gestation, this historical drama film is Directed by Martin Scorsese, Co-Written and Co-Produced by him too, and is based on the 1966 book of the same name by Shusaku Endo. Costing US$40M to make, the film was released in the US at Christmas and has so far earned back US$14M. The film follows two 17th Century Portuguese Jesuit Priests - Sebastiao Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Francisco Garupe (Adam Driver) who travel from their home country to Japan to search for their mentor Father Cristovao Ferreira (Liam Neeson) who has renounced his faith after being tortured. At a time when Catholicism was outlawed and their very presence in Japan was forbidden, the two must face physical dangers and a test of their own faith in God before their journey and their quest can be complete. Also starring Ciaran Hinds as Father Alessandro Valignano who first hears news of Father Cristovao Ferreira. The film has a Cinematography nomination at the upcoming Academy Awards, and has so far picked up six award wins and another 35 nominations.

'SLEEPLESS' (Rated MA15+) - is a crime drama film Directed by Baran bo Odar, made on a budget of US30M, released Stateside mid-January, has so far recovered US$21M with generally poor Reviews along the way. Starring Jamie Foxx as Vincent Downes a Las Vegas Police Department undercover cop who partners up with Sean Cass (T.I.) to rob an incoming shipment of cocaine, belonging to Stanley Rubino (Dermot Mulroney) whose in cahoots with Rob Novak (Scoot McNairy) who happens to be the son of a powerful underworld king pin. Rubin quickly establishes that Downes did the thieving and so kidnap his son, Thomas (Octavius J. Johnson) while dad is driving his son to soccer practise, demanding the return of his cocaine in exchange for the life of Thomas. What ensues is a high stakes game of corrupt cops, revengeful mobsters and internal affairs as the clock ticks down on a sleepless night to save himself, his son and ensure that justice is served.

'TRESPASS AGAINST US' (Rated MA15+) - Directed by Adam Smith this family crime drama film has had a limited release in the US and opens in the UK on 3rd March. The film is set across three generations of the Cutler family, outlaws living in their own anarchic corner of Britain's richest countryside. Chad Cutler (Michael Fassbender) is heir apparent to his over bearing and dominant criminal father, Colby (Brendan Gleeson) and has been groomed to spend his life hunting, thieving and tormenting the Police. However, when his own son Tyson (Georgie Smith) steps over into adulthood, Chad soon finds himself at odds with his father over what the future holds for his young family. When Colby learns of Chad's dreams and aspirations for another life he sets out to tie his son and grandson into the archaic order that has shaped the Cutler family for generations and made them in to what they are today. Also starring Sean Harris, Rory Kinnear and Lyndsey Marshal.

With three historical and two crime dramas to choose from this week there's no better way to escape the record breaking heat of a scorching Australian Summer than to retreat to an air conditioned comfort of a movie theatre. Share your views afterwards with us here, and in the meantime I'll see you sometime, somewhere in the week ahead at the Odeon.

-Steve, at Odeon Online-

Monday, 13 February 2017

GOLD : Tuesday 7th February 2017.

'GOLD' which I caught last week is Directed and Co-Written by Stephen Gaghan, Co-Produced and starring Matthew McConaughey and as the opening credits would indicated is inspired by true events. Those true events, are that of the biggest mining scandal of all time - associated with Bre-X Minerals Ltd., a Canadian based mining and exploration company in Calgary that was involved in a major gold mining scandal when it reported it had struck a significant gold deposit at Busang, Indonesia (Borneo). Bre-X purchased the Busang location in early 1993 and by late that same year had announced significant reserves of gold had been discovered, sending its stock price into the stratosphere. Originally a penny stock, its stock price reached a peak at C$286.50 in May 1996 on the Toronto Stock Exchange, with a total market capitalisation of over C$6B. Bre-X Minerals collapsed in 1997 after the gold samples were found to be fake. This is that story derived from the Bre-X scandal for this drama adventure film, although for legal reasons the Producers deny any claim to a connection with these events, changing the names of the individuals, company's and decade in which they occurred for the purposes of our entertainment.

The film launches in 1981 with Kenny Wells (Matthew McConaughey) in the offices of clearly successful metals prospecting and mining company (Washoe Mining Corporation) owned by his father Kenny Wells (Craig T. Nelson), strategising about a suspected minerals deposit and whether or not to jump in headlong to its exploration. Kenny Senior gives Kenny Junior the thumbs up, and as dad gazes out of his office window Scotch Whisky in hand, so son beams a smile that says 'I love you dad'! Fast forward seven years, and Kenny Junior has inherited the company from his father who died back in 1981 and who built up the company from his Grandfather. But the economic downturn has seen the company land on hard times and now operating out of bar where Kenny's girlfriend, Kay (Bryce Dallas Howard) works. Kenny has also lost his home and resides with Kay, and the financiers whom Kenny courts for capital funding won't give him the time of day.

Down on his luck and quickly running out of money, one night Kenny has a whisky induced dream of hitting a substantial gold strike in some faraway verdant jungle. He digs out the business card of a once before met guru geologist who has an ability to sniff out precious metal deposits where no on else can, and so travels to Indonesia to meet with Michael Acosta (Edgar Ramirez). After an initial frosty meeting in which Acosta claims to have heard it all before from Kenny, the couple pair up and head up river. They then trudge through the lush jungle undergrowth until Acosta determines the spot where there's gold in them thar hills! With hired help in the form of the willing locals they set up a makeshift mining camp with a drill and begin to take core samples, sending the fruits of their findings off for testing. This goes on seemingly for months in the hot sun drenched tropical forest, with those core samples drawing up blanks time after time.

In between time Kenny returns home to the US to raise more funds to underpin their ongoing search for the elusive gold deposit, and then returns to join Acosta at the mine site. But samples, wages, infrastructure and the location all costs money and quickly their finances are slipping through their fingers. To make matters worse Kenny catches a dose of malaria and is holed up in his jungle home on a camp bed for weeks, while his local mining crew up sticks and leave because of non-payment of wages and doubtless various other gripes associated with their working conditions. Emerging from his malaria stupor seemingly recovered, he is greeted by the news from Acosta that they have struck gold, and it's on!

Meanwhile back on Wall Street, investment banker Brian Woolf (Corey Stoll) gets wind of this gold strike and hastily engineers a meeting with Kenny and Acosta at their plush city offices. Kenny refuses to succumb to the allure of instant wealth at the hands of the investment bank and commands that representatives from the bank travel to the deepest darkest Indonesian jungle to see their stake for themselves first hand. This they do, and whilst they don't witness any gold coming out of the ground, they do pan for nuggets in the river upstream, and strike it lucky - providing all the evidence needed to satisfy themselves that there is indeed gold in them thar hills! Soon afterwards there's an IPO on the New York Stock Exchange that sees the stock value in Washoe skyrocket on its opening day of trading and as a result Kenny and Acosta's fortunes are reversed overnight, and they become the darlings of Wall Street with investors falling over themselves to buy in on what is described as the 'biggest gold find of the decade'!

Against this back drop we have the ongoing romance between Kay and Kenny that hits hard times as Kenny's rise to riches and fame take hold, and Kay struggles to reconcile this with her simple life back home. It all goes pear shape at a lavish dinner held in their honour after the floating of their company, and Kay walks out on Kenny claiming that he cannot see that he is being taken for a ride by the Wall Street powerbrokers who all want a piece of the action and will take no prisoners in doing so.

Enter Mark Hancock (Bruce Greenwood) a gazillionaire mining company owner who with the help of Brian Woolf offers Kenny US$300M for his company, walk away, never worry about money again for yourself, your children and your children's children! Kenny declines the offer when he notices on the draft contract that Washoe's name doesn't appear anywhere, and nor does Kenny's or his 50/50 partner Acosta. Having unceremoniously turned down the offer, he heads for his own office where he receives an urgent telephone call from Acosta at the minestite saying that the Indonesian authorities have seized the camp, evacuated all the workers and revoked their license to mine. The share price plummets, and any wealth that Kenny and Acosta had is now all gone, in an instant, whereas 24 hours earlier they could have been richer to the tune of US$300M. Gee, life sucks!

At this point the FBI arrive on the scene and seize all company records and documents smelling the proverbial rat given the billions of dollars that have been lost by thousands of now very angry investors. Paul Jennings (Toby Kebbel) heads up the investigation interviewing Kenny overnight in his hotel room. Meanwhile, Kenny is awarded the golden pick axe - the highest accolade that can be bestowed upon any prospector/miner by the #1 industry magazine. He attends a lavish awards ceremony, collects his gong, makes a speech honouring his father and his grandfather before him, at which point Acosta slinks out of the room, never to be seen again except in flashback as Kenny recounts his story.

It seems that Acosta had a plan to gain back a stake in their mine by infiltrating President Suharto's estranged son. A deal that would give back the lion share to Indonesia with Kenny and Acosta retaining a 15% stake in their company, and a deal that would demonstrate to the President that his son could broker a good deal that was good for the Government, good for the country and good for them personally. When news of this deal hit Wall Street, the share price instantly rebounded. But when proper due diligence was conducted around the site the gold claim was found to be fraudulent and therefore in fact no gold deposits existed, and nor had there ever been. A fact known to Acosta who quickly dumped his shareholding for a cash windfall of US$164M, thanks very much. Kenny maintained his innocence throughout this and claims that he was also duped on a massive scale by his partner whom he trusted and whom he thought he knew, despite the evidence that the FBI confronted him with. Acosta returned to Indonesia and wound up very dead (allegedly) having 'jumped' out of a helicopter at a thousand feet, only to be eaten by wild pigs and discovered days later. In the final analysis Kenny is allowed to walk free absolved of any criminal intent and as broke as the day he started . . . although there is a silver lining!

McConaughey for his role transformed himself once again with a pot belly piling on 47lbs, balding comb over and crooked teeth demonstrating his commitment to his craft once more following his dramatic weight loss for 'The Dallas Buyers Club'. Here he dominates every scene with his larger than life, greed is good, shit or bust attitude to life. When he doesn't have a cigarette in his hand, he's downing a glass of Whisky whilst chewing up his lines and bringing real life grittiness to his character. But he overshadows all other players, including his number one guy and partner Edward Ramirez, and Bryce Dallas Howard as Kay is left wanting on the sidelines and under utilised, as is Toby Kebbel's investigative FBI Agent. The film for all its based on real life events, is an enjoyable caper portrayed by loveable rogues but the movie lacked any chemistry between the principle Actors and plodded along predictably playing out as one would expect from these couple of unlikely lads chasing their hopes and dreams and suffering the consequences as a result. Stacey Keach and Rachael Taylor also star.

-Steve, at Odeon Online-