Top 5 films to watch on TV this week

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Scottish people, blue people and er, toy people all feature in this week’s top 5 films to watch on TV this week. 

Braveheart (1995)

Wed Apr 23, Film4; 21:00-00:25

Hollywood goes all 13th Century, as Mel Gibson both stars in and directs this ultra-bloody and hugely patriotic medieval epic. About as subtle as it is historically accurate, Braveheart tells the incredible story of William Wallace (Gibson) and his rise from lowly peasant to leader of the Scottish rebellion against the English oppressors of King Edward I.

After his wife is brutally murdered at the hands of English soldiers, Wallace and his loyal band of warriors fight for the liberation, or should I say, “FREEDOM!” of Scotland. Kilts, swords, blood and guts all feature heavily, as well as some superb acting from Aussie-turned-Scottish heartthrob Mel Gibson.


Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Armed with one of the best opening scenes to any war film, Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-winning WWII drama is absolutely unmissable.

Storming the beaches of Normandy as part of the Allied invasion on D-Day, Captain Miller (Tom Hanks) and his team of Rangers are given a testing mission to find and release young Pvt. James Ryan (Matt Damon) from duty after his three brothers are killed in action.

Overwhelmingly powerful and highly realistic, with Hanks and Spielberg on top form, Saving Private Ryan captures both the horror of war and its heroism. Truly spectacular.


Toy Story 3 (2010)

Sat Apr 26, BBC3; 20:15-21:55

“C’mon. Let’s go see how much we’re going for on eBay.”

Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz (Tim Allen) and the rest of the gang are back in Disney Pixar’s fanTOYstic sequel (sorry). Andy is now seventeen and heading for college. Mistaking them for trash, Andy’s mum delivers the toys to a wonderful day-care centre, ‘Sunnyside’, where toys are played with every day. Welcomed by Lots-o’-Huggin’ Bear (Ned Beatty), the gang are smitten with their new home with the exception of Woody, who believes their place is with Andy.

But after Buzz is captured and reset to ‘default mode’, the gang learn of Sunnyside’s dark secrets. Hilarious and delightfully touching, Toy Story 3 brings Andy’s journey with his beloved toys to a perfect end.


Avatar (2009)

Sat Apr 26, Channel 4; 20:15-23:25

Ignoring the fact that it’s a futuristic Pocahontas remake, James Cameron’s ground-breaking science fiction spectacle is a dazzling display of astounding visuals, high-octane action and innovative CGI animation.

By 2154, Earth’s resources are caput. Taking the place of his deceased twin brother, ex-marine and paraplegic Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) is shipped to Pandora; an exotic deep space moon with valuable minerals inhabited by big yet graceful blue-skinned warriors called the Na’vi.

Using Avatars, genetically-bred human/Na’vi hybrids to learn and understand their culture, Sully becomes involved with the inhabitants and falls in love with Na’vi warrior Neytiri (Zoe Saldana). But with the armies of Earth planning to turf out the blue natives, Sully must choose which side to fight for. Popcorn, popcorn, popcorn!


Sunshine (2007)

on Apr 28, Channel 4; 00:10-02:00

Just when you thought it was safe to travel to the centre of the solar system, deliver a nuclear payload to the dying sun in order to save it, and fly all the way back to Earth…

From Danny Boyle, the director of Trainspotting and 28 Days Later, this spellbinding blend of intelligent storytelling and sweeping visuals results in a mind-bogglingly intense sci-fi/horror thriller. In 2050, humankind’s hopes for survival hinge on the crew of the Icarus II spacecraft. Nuclear physicist Capa (Cillian Murphy), engineer Mace (Chris Evans) and other scientists and astronauts begin their mission to restart the sun. But after picking up the distress signal of Icarus I, the previous spacecraft which failed to complete the same mission, the crew learn that the sun isn’t the only thing that needs saving.

Well-paced with a dramatic, haunting soundtrack, Sunshine is science fiction gold.


Will you be checking out these movies? 

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“Is this the end of everything?” Noah – review.

Driven by a stout performance from Russell Crowe as the protector of creation, Noah’s effective mix of Old Testament brutality and stunning modern day visuals make Darren Aronofsky’s biblical epic a slightly better-than-average affair.

First in line to have a bash at the Book of Genesis, with Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings starring Christian Bale arriving later this year, Noah opens with the bold statement that “in the beginning there was nothing.”

Being one of many controversial and outrage-inducing elements to irritate church circles and flood the internet (no pun intended) are the film’s supposed biblical inaccuracies and distortions of ‘God’s word’.

It seems Hollywood can’t please everyone, as many Christians and others believe that God existed before this beginning, and have also voiced  their unhappiness with the film’s depiction of Noah as a ‘psychopathic killer.’

But with atheist director Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler, Black Swan) on record as saying that Noah is “the least biblical biblical film ever made” and producers Paramount explaining that the film is “inspired by the story of Noah”, this inevitable religious backlash is something non-believers need not worry about.

Tasked with the survival of the innocent – the innocent in this case being all CGI creatures great and small – a bearded and more badass Noah (Russell Crowe) envisions a series of nightmarish images believed to signify the end of the world.

Sent by The Creator (rather intriguingly the G-word – God, not Gladiator- is uttered not once in the film stressing Noah’s ‘inspired by’ tag all the more), Noah interprets these rather trippy hallucinations to be the total destruction of mankind for all their wicked sins.

Basically, it’s death by watery grave.

Ensuring the survival of creation, Crowe’s Noah and his family of A-Listers; his wife Naameh (Jennifer Connelly), his adopted daughter Ila (Emma Watson), and grandfather Methuselah (Anthony Hopkins), all help to construct a huge container-like wooden ark that even Ikea would be proud of.

But it’s not all by the numbers (two-by-two?) for Noah and co, as the arrival of the evil and unavoidably cockney Tubal-Cain (Ray Winstone), shows up to claim his right to the ark causing a full scale Lord of the Rings type siege, with only a buzz cut haired Noah and weird Clash of the Titans-esque rock monsters to defend it.

It’s really the cast of Noah, or more precisely Noah himself, that keep you interested for the majority of the film’s boggy two hours and nineteen minutes.

Russell Crowe is perfect for a more macho yet sensitive Noah, and it’s hard to see anybody else in that role.

The film can also boast some boundless visuals accompanied by today’s now customary, run-of-the-mill CGI blockbuster effects.

But, Aronofsky’s flick is as much a test of faith for its patriarchal protagonist as it is for its audience.

Believers in the bible story will probably leave Noah feeling disappointed, whilst it offers non-believers a fascinating philosophical melodrama that rather comes up short against its own lofty ambitions.


You can also read my review here –


Top 5 films to watch on TV this week.

Iron man

Zombies, vampires and wand wielding wizards all feature in this week’s top 5 films to watch on TV. Oh yeah, and so does Robert Downey Jr in a vest…. 

30 Days of Night (2007)

Tue Apr 15, Film4; 23:40-01:50

Living in an isolated Alaskan town with no sun for a month and a ban on alcohol is hard enough without the added annoyance of bloodthirsty vampires turning up at your door. Unfortunately for Sheriff Eben (Josh Hartnett) and his wife Stella (Melissa George), that’s exactly the pickle they find themselves in.

After the vampires arrive most of the town’s inhabitants are brutally slain, leaving Eben and a group of terrified survivors to fight against the odds. Can they outlast the monsters for 30 days? Find out with this gore-tastic and entertaining horror flick.


Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Wed 16 Apr, ITV2; 22:00-00:05

Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright’s brilliant genre satire is one of British comedy’s best. The first instalment in the unrelated Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy stars Pegg as a lowly electronics store worker in his late twenties, who takes his loving girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield) and his caring Mum (Penelope Wilton) for granted.

Choosing to spend most of his time down the pub with his layabout best friend Ed (Nick Frost), Liz dumps Shaun to his bemusement.But when flesh-eating zombies begin to rise from the dead, Shaun sets out on a quest to win back his girlfriend and “wait for all this to blow over.”A cult-classic.


Iron Man (2008)

Thu Apr 17, Film4; 21:00-23:25

Now a fully-fledged multibillion dollar franchise, Marvel Studios’ first outing is a shiny and well-oiled comic book extravaganza. Robert Downey Jr. is Tony Stark:  a billionaire philanthropist playboy genius.

Hero? Not really. But when attacked and kidnapped by Afghan soldiers and forced to make his own company’s missile for the enemy, Tony witnesses the devastating effects of his legacy first hand, vowing never to make weapons again.

After escaping his captors by constructing an advanced metal suit, Tony embarks on a one man mission to set right his wrongs as Iron Man. Superbly acted and fun all round – get the popcorn in for this one.


Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001)

Fri Apr 18, ITV1; 14:45-17:35

Wizards, witches, goblins, trolls, three headed dogs, spells you can barely pronounce, and er, Quidditch! Welcome to the magical world of Harry Potter.

Living at No.4 Privet Drive with his Uncle Vernon, his Aunt Petunia, and his spoilt brat of a cousin Dudley, is absolute misery for young Harry (Daniel Radcliffe). That is until one day he learns that he’s actually a wizard. What are the chances?

Cue the beginning of perhaps the most celebrated series ever written and adapted for the big screen. It’s fun for all the family, young and old. Not seen Harry Potter? YOU-who-must-not-be-named!


The Graduate (1967)

Sun Apr 20, ITV3; 22:00-00:05

“Mrs Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me. Aren’t you?” Mike Nichols’ quintessentially ‘60s tale of confused American youth is both smart and funny, while also capturing a looming sense of coming-of-age sadness.

21-year-old Ben Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) has just graduated from college with more honours than he can shake a stick at. At his ‘homecoming’ party, his overzealous parents parade him around like a trophy amongst various middle-class business associates. But after Ben is asked to drive home Mrs Robinson (Anne Bancroft), the wife of his father’s business partner, the two become embroiled in a steamy affair.

Accompanied by Simon & Garfunkel’s folk-rock soundtrack, The Graduate marks a truly significant chapter in American filmmaking.

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“This isn’t freedom. This is fear.” Captain America: The Winter Soldier – A review.

Marvel Studios’ latest is one of their best, with Cap and co. back in action for Captain America: The Winter Soldier. 

The never ending and tedious CGI climaxes of both Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World, left some of us weary eyed and slightly exhausted by all things Marvel.

But Captain America: The Winter Soldier’s more measured approach is this comic book canon’s saving grace.

Full of suspense, politically engaged and edging more towards spy thriller than superhero spectacle, this Captain America sequel is a refreshing entrant into the Marvel film universe.

Returning to the screen for the first time since The Avengers, Steve Rogers AKA Captain America (Chris Evans) struggles to come to terms with his place in society two years on from the events surrounding New York and his timely defrosting.

Times have changed since 1945.

Frozen for almost seventy years and missing out on The Beatles, Star Wars and Disco to name a few, Rogers’ new world paints an even murkier political picture than the Nazi Germany one he was recently thawed out from.

But now with a billionaire tin man, a Norse god, and a scientist with really serious anger issues all on speed dial (assuming Cap knows how to use a phone), there’s a lot for Steve Rogers to get used to in this new world.

Under orders from S.H.I.E.L.D (the high-tech and above the law intelligence organisation) and its director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), Cap and co-Avenger Natasha Romanov AKA Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), are sent on a mission to rescue hostages from a pirate-hijacked S.H.I.E.L.D ship.

However after learning of Black Widow’s secret mission to recover ‘stolen’ S.H.I.E.L.D data, Cap begins to question the organisation’s true intentions.

Confronting Fury, Rogers discovers that S.H.I.E.L.D’s idea of freedom; three fully-loaded and highly weaponised helicarriers with the ability to eliminate threats anywhere in the globe, differs to that of our star spangled soldier.

“This isn’t freedom. This is fear”, states a rather sturdy and ever patriotic Rogers.

This is perhaps the film’s biggest surprise. It’s political awareness.

And it’s a pleasant one.

It adds weight to a storyline otherwise hindered by its minor plot holes and unnecessarily long action sequences.

But don’t let this deter you. Anthony and Joe Russo’s movie is well thought out and brilliantly executed.

As the plot unravels we go deeper into the spy-game and all the players feature heavily.

Chris Evans’ Cap is as bland as ever, (as would you be if you were on ice for over half a century), still maintaining the air of an average Joe.

And Samuel L. Jackson is again spot on as the eye patch wearing Nick Fury.

Even the mysterious Winter Soldier, whose identity remains one of the worst kept secrets in Captain America history, turns out a decent action-filled performance.

Yet it’s the Black Widow who really shines. Scarlett Johansson’s third outing as the Russian-turned-American superspy is her best yet, perhaps gaining enough attention to warrant the characters’ own spin off feature.

Whether you’re an off-the-cuff cinema goer or a comic book buff, Captain America: The Winter Soldier sits surprisingly near the summit of Mt. Marvel, as well as being a thoroughly entertaining action thriller.


You can also read my review here -



“Get your hands off my lobby boy!” The Grand Budapest Hotel: A review.

Ralph Fiennes and co. star in Wes Anderson’s latest The Grand Budapest Hotel. 

Just when you thought a Wes Anderson picture couldn’t possibly get more Wes Anderson-y, along comes The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Wittier than The Royal Tenenbaums and as quirky as Rushmore, Anderson has provided probably his best effort yet.

With the events predominantly unfolding in the years between the two world wars, Anderson’s latest tale tells the outrageously funny and wonderfully charming story of M. Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes); the eccentric concierge of the lavish Grand Budapest Hotel, and his devoted lobby boy Zero Moustafa (Tony Revolori).

The film’s all-star cast brings together the usual Anderson-ites of Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman and Owen Wilson; whilst returning stars Tilda Swinton, Ed Norton, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum and Harvey Keitel, are all delightfully thrown into the mix. 

And collaborating for the first time with the likes of Ralph Fiennes, Jude Law, Tom Wilkinson, Saoirse Ronan, whilst also introducing the excellent Tony Revolori, The Grand Budapest Hotel boasts Anderson’s most impressive lineup to date. 

Situated in the fictional European alpine country of Zubrowka (which is actually a type of vodka), The Grand Budapest Hotel (which isn’t even in Budapest) is, by the sixties, run-down and barely in business.

Intrigued by its history and old mysterious owner Mr. Moustafa (F. Murray Abraham), a man simply known as ‘the author’ (Jude Law/Tom Wilkinson in the beginning) is told the story of how the old man came into possession of the once legendary hotel.

Cut to 1932. Purple uniforms and red elevator interiors of The Grand Budapest Hotel await. One of many of Gustave’s older mistresses, Madame D. (Tilda Swinton), bequeaths to him a priceless painting before her mysterious death, in which Gustave is framed for murder by her evil son Dimitri (Adrien Brody).

Set out to clear his name with the help of his lobby boy Zero, The Grand Budapest Hotel plays out its whimsical narrative and madcap humour like a perfectly sized scoop of your favourite flavour of ice cream.

You’re made to work for your ice cream however. Like in all Anderson outings, melancholic undertones do their best to dispel a façade of joy, before being swiftly returned to feelings warm and fuzzy. 

Fiennes is fantastic as the foulmouthed and arrogant yet, charming and devoted concierge, in what could be the best thing he’s ever done.

Nestling perfectly into the wacky world of Wes Anderson, Fiennes does deadpan effortlessly whilst, just like his character, manages to sustain “the illusion with a marvellous grace.”

As spectacular as the film’s performances are the beauties of its production design.

Every shot, and trademark Anderson camera pan, is exquisitely accented by its plush décor, handmade confectionary, and vibrant colour palette, which ultimately gives The Grand Budapest Hotel its most desired feature.

In keeping with the idiosyncratic style of his last foray, Moonrise Kingdom, Anderson has produced arguably his best film to date. Outlandishly stylish, beautifully crafted and impressively acted, make sure you have a reservation for The Grand Budapest Hotel. 


Top 10 Schwarzenegger films.

With Arnie’s return to the big screen in 2013′s The Last Stand; and upcoming movies such as Sabotage, a new Terminator reboot/sequel Terminator: Genesis, Twins sequel Triplets with Danny DeVito and Eddie Murphy, and the third instalment of the Conan series Legend of Conan, everybody’s favourite Austrian, former Mr Universe and Governor of California, is showing no signs of slowing down.

At 66, Arnie can’t have many gun-wielding, explosion creating, cheesy line making scenes left in him. (Although Chuck Norris still manages it at 73!)

So, in a sort of celebration of everything Arnie, here’s a list of my hero’s top 10 films to date.

10. “Who is your Daddy, and what does he do?” – Kindergarten Cop (1990)

Arnie plays undercover cop John Kimble who must act as a kindergarten teacher in a mission to capture his nemesis, a drug dealer, whom Kimble believes will reach out to his family. In a reflection of his own career at this point in time, Kimble’s hardened Detective mellows as the film plays out, leading to a more PG friendly Arnold (even though this film arrived on the back of Total Recall). As brilliant as it sounds, Kindergarten Cop serves up some classic Arnie one-liners and hilarious scenes with a 6ft 3″ muscle bound Arnold, and really tiny children.

Arnie’s golden moment: Losing his cool at school, dashing out of the building and screaming “SHUT UP” and the top of this Austrian/American lungs.

9. “Crom laughs at your four winds.” – Conan the Barbarian (1982)

If you haven’t seen Conan the Barbarian and you think the quote above somehow makes sense, or is of any relevance to anything at all in the film, then you’re more in the know the rest of us who’ve seen it. Set in a fantasy world that’s sort of a mixture of Thor and Game of Thrones, Arnie plays Conan the Barbarian, hell bent on seeking revenge for the death of this entire family by the hands of evil (snake morphing) sorcerer Darth Vader – I mean James Earl Jones. Blood, violence and women randomly jumping to their deaths ensue. In his first big role in a major motion picture, Arnie had to acutally tone down his workout in order to properly wield a sword. 

Arnie’s golden moment: Biting a vulture to death whilst crucified. Brilliant.

8. “Its turbo time!” – Jingle All The Way (1996)

It’s Christmas and work obsessed Howard (Arnie) has forgotten to pick up his son’s (Star Wars’ Jake Lloyd) Turbo Man doll in time for the big day. I mean Turbo Man “is only the world’s fastest selling toy ever, durhhh!” In a battle to get their hands on a doll, Howard and crazy postal worker Myron (Sinbad), pit their wits against each other in a race against time (and Howard’s next door neighbour who is eating all the big man’s cookies), culminating in a showdown at the Christmas Eve parade. Needless to say, this one isn’t exactly a classic, but Christmas and Arnie go hand in hand like… something that goes hand in hand.

Arnie’s golden moment: Nothing shouts Christmas like punching a reindeer in the face.

7. “No sequel for you.” – Last Action Hero (1993)

Ever wanted to step inside your favourite character’s movie and kick some ass? John McTiernan’s (Die Hard, Predator) film does just that. Young kid Danny Madigan’s dream comes true when he gets hold of a magic cinema ticket that thrusts him into the movie world of badass cop Jack Slater (Arnie). Slater’s world is just like a PG-13 movie; bad guys die, the good guys win, and every girl’s phone number begins with 555. Brilliantly tongue in cheek and playing on the success of Arnie’s previous action movies, Last Action Hero is as fun as it is corny.

Arnie’s golden moment: Quoting Hamlet’s “to be or not to be” before blowing a whole load of shit up. “Not to be”, then.

6. “I’ve seen you before. You’re the asshole on TV.” – The Running Man (1987)

Very loosely based on the novel by Stephen King, Arnie plays the wrongly accused Ben Richards, who is arrested after refusing to gun down innocent civilians and forced to work in a labour camp by the totalitarian government of 2019. Escaping with the help of his buddies (and poor Chico), Richards is then re-captured and made to feature in everyone’s favourite uber violent TV show The Running Man – where fugitives are given a head-start from an elite squad of killers, all with ridiculous gimmicks. Arnold and friends must battle their way through each stage of the hellish game show, with the body count really totting up in this one.

Arnie’s golden moment: After slaying the first elite killer, Ice Hockey obsessed Sub Zero, Arnie delivers the film’s best, and most head-scratching line “here lies Sub Zero, now… plain zero!” Anyone???

5. “What can I say? I’m a spy.” – True Lies (1994)

Reuniting with director James Cameron for the third time, True Lies is an action packed Arnie blockbuster. Harry Tasker (Arnie) has two lives. One is these lives; a computer salesman, is a front to keep his wife Helen (Jamie-Lee Curtis) from finding out the truth that he is in fact, a top secret intelligence agency spy. From it’s James Bond style opening (tuxedo and all), to Arnie casually circling skyscrapers in a Harrier jump jet, True Lies is hard to imagine without anybody but Arnie in its leading role, and is one of his most entertaining outings. Get the popcorn in.

Arnie’s golden moment: Chasing a terrorist on a motorcycle through a busy posh hotel whilst riding a horse. A HORSE!

4. “Get your ass to Mars.” – Total Recall (1990)

Am I really who I think I am? Aliens. Mutants. Women with three boobs. Does Benny have five or four kids to feed? What a mind fuck. Based on Phillip K. Dick’s short story ‘We Can Remember It For You Wholsale’, Total Recall  is true science fiction farce. From the brilliant Paul Verhoeven (Robocop), Doug Quaid (Arnie), an average construction worker, has nightmares about Mars. Curious, Quaid visits ‘Rekall’, a fake memory implant company offering package holiday type deals, where you can be anyone and do anything. But, something goes wrong and Doug Quaid slowly begins to remember that he is in fact a secret agent. Or is he? Journeying to Mars in a quest to reveal his true identity, Arnie blows the lid off the whole damn place. Literally. One of his best.

Arnie’s golden moment: It’s hard to choose one. But Arnie throwing Michael Ironside’s arms down a lift shaft after his falling corpse is probably the best. Unfortunately, Richter won’t be going to the party after all.

3. “If it bleeds, we can kill it.” – Predator (1987)

Working once again with director John McTiernan, Arnie plays Major Dutch, leader of a crack commando rescue team sent in to the Central American jungle to rescue some guys who’ve been kidnapped by guerillas (not be mistaken for gorillas). Realising his team has been set up by Dillon (Carl Weathers), Dutch’s old pal, CIA pencil pusher, and all round son of a bitch, Arnie’s team begin to be picked off one by one by an unseen foe in the heart of the jungle. Featuring one of the sci-fi/horror genres most renowned characters, Predator remains one of the best sci-fi/action films to date.

Arnie’s golden moment: In the film’s climax, Arnie goes all Rambo on us, setting traps and fashioning sharp pointy sticks to lure in the Predator and kill it dead, before bellowing an almighty scream reportedly heard round the world.

2. “I’ll be back” – The Terminator (1984)

Well, here it is ladies and gentlemen. The film that made Arnie’s career. Sent from the future to the year 1984 to kill Sarah Conner (Linda Hamilton); mother of her unborn son John Conner, who in the future, leads a human resistance against the machines who have taken over, Arnie plays the horrifyingly disturbing cyborg killing machine, the Terminator. Written and directed by James Cameron (who almost bankrupted himself in order to make the film) this tech-noir action/thriller gained cult success overnight when it was released in 1984, and thrust our beloved Arnie into the big time. Pulpy, intensely thrilling, and and as dark as they come, The Terminator is not only Arnie’s best film, but one of the best films of the 80s, and perhaps of all time.

Arnie’s golden moment: Emerging from the time-travelling lightning storm to the year 1984, the Terminator stands tall in all his hypermasculine glory, scanning the cityscape meticulously with a look of absolute dread and terror. Awesome stuff.

1. “Hasta la vista… baby.” Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)

It was a toss up for the no.1 spot out of this and The Terminator, but for me T2 just pips it to the finish line. One of my favourite ever films, along with the original, Terminator 2: Judgement Day is Arnie at his best. Collaborating with Cameron on this hugely big-budgeted sequel, Arnie plays the hero this time round, with the Terminator being sent back in time by an older John Connor to protect his younger 10 year old self. Out matched by a newer, more deadly model of Terminator, the shape-shifting T-1000 (Robert Patrick), our Terminator becomes a father figure to John, again becoming a reflection of his real-life self at this point in time – a family man with children of his own. T2 cites everything that was right with its predecessor, but this time gives it a nice Hollywood varnish. Well done everyone.

Arnie’s golden moment: Saying goodbye to John whilst being lowered into the steel. “I know now why you cry.” Gets me every time.

So, there you have it. Thanks for reading.

“No problemo.”

“Screw the FDA. I’m gonna be DOA!” Dallas Buyers Club: A review.

Jean-Marc Vallée’s spectacular bio-pic Dallas Buyers Club, stars Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto

Dallas 1985.

Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey); electrician, part-time rodeo cowboy, drug addict, sex addict and all round hustler, is diagnosed with AIDS.

Given thirty days to live and denied any access to treatment, whilst also losing his job, his friends and his home, Woodroof creates an exclusive club for AIDS patients offering unapproved drugs, in a bid to not only save his own life but, the lives of countless others. 

“Welcome to the Dallas Buyers Club.”

Today, you’ll struggle to find a more overwhelming, personal and charismatic story than Dallas Buyers Club’s

Set bang smack in the middle of the AIDS epidemic in America in the mid-80s, Woodroof’s plight is one of many that could have been voiced during this unpleasant period in America’s history.

A truly human story that is less a journey of self-discovery and more a bittersweet celebration of life in the face of certain death, Jean-Marc Vallée’s bio-pic is both fantastically joyful yet terrifically despairing. 

Undeniably worthy of his Oscar for best actor in a leading role, and continuing his roll of recent impressive performances, Matthew McConaughey is stunning as the self-indulgent sleaze Ron Woodroof.

Getting in to shape for the role (if you can call it that) McConaughey lost almost a quarter of his bodyweight for the film, leading to claims that the actor was actually ill before shooting. 

Enjoying a life of deep-seeded in debauchery, Woodroof’s diagnosis turns his world upside down. Branded a “faggot” and finding himself at the end of his own initial homophobic views, he is treated as an outcast by his co-workers and driven from his vandalised home. 

Yet, in one of his many visits to hospital, Woodroof strikes up an unlikely friendship with Rayon (Jared Leto), a transgender AIDS patient, with whom Woodroof eventually goes into business with. 

Jared Leto almost steals the spotlight from McConaughey, and both performances are fully deserved of their recent accolades. Winning an Oscar for best actor in a supporting role, Leto’s Rayon is a wonderfully absorbing character who challenges everything Ron believes regarding homosexuality and friendship. 

Jennifer Garner also adds some significant acting prowess as Dr Eve Saks. Befriending both Rayon and Woodroof, she is caught up in an ethical dilemma which questions her own position as a doctor, after the drug screenings ran by the hospital leave so many without treatment. 

Those going to see Dallas Buyers Club and expecting to see Woodroof undergo a life-changing journey of self-affirmation, becoming vegetarian and downing smoothies, will thankfully be disappointed. 

Although he dons the Cassock of a priest (a ploy to smuggle drugs across the border) Woodroof’s new lease of life after his diagnosis is far from saintly.

He is still the same ol’ beer-swigging, rodeo loving, smooth talking, and cowboy hat wearing Ron Woodroof. Even far beyond his fledging thirty day deadline. 

Driven by its astounding performances and emotionally hinged story, Dallas Buyers Club is a joy to behold.

A true work of art that will no doubt inspire many to be like it, see this film even if it’s the last thing you’ll ever do.