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Review: Loving

Beginning in the late 50s, the interracial couple of the film’s title (played by Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga) run into trouble with Virginian law when they come back from a trip to Washington DC to get hitched (Negga is with child). Virginian law doesn’t allow interracial marriage, and the racist local sheriff (Marton Csokas) raids their home in the middle of the night and has them both thrown in jail. Given a year’s jail sentence, the judge suspends the sentence on the grounds that they not return to Virginia together for 25 years. Yes, the law is so ridiculous (and it already was ridiculous to begin with) that it stipulates that they can return individually, just not at the same time. So off to Washington the Loving couple (in both senses of that word) goes, until they get the bright spark idea to go back home to Virginia for Negga to have the baby. Unsurprisingly, the law once again catches up with them and they’re arrested. Their lawyer (Bill Camp) finds a way to get them off the…

Review: Wonder Woman

Gal Gadot stars as Diana, Princess of Themyscira, raised on an island of Amazon women. She’s the demi-god daughter of Zeus and an Amazon woman named Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen), and raised as a warrior woman. Into this setting literally crash-lands American Intelligence officer Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), who finds his current feminine surrounds baffling, and their ignorance to the World War (I) going on around them even more baffling. Thus we begin the main plot, which involves Diana assisting Steve in trying to stop the conflict by heading to early 1900s London to find the god Ares, whom she believes is a higher power behind the growing conflict. Danny Huston plays Ludendorff, a nasty German General, accompanied by a scarred Elena Anaya as mad scientist Dr. Maru. David Thewlis and James Cosmo play a British diplomat and Field Marshall Haig, respectively. Robin Wright plays Amazon woman Antiope, who helps train Diana as a warrior.


This 2017 DC Comics flick from director Patty Jenkins (…

Review: Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back

Monk Tang (Kris Wu) is back with companions Pigsy (Yang Yiwei), Sandy (Mengke Bateer), and the increasingly unrestrained Monkey King (Lin Gengxin, aka Kenny Lin). Fighting demons and occasionally performing for necessities they end up at a kingdom presided over by a tempestuous and frankly juvenile King (Bao Beier). After the Monkey King screws up their latest performance before the tantrum-throwing ruler, they are banished from the Kingdom. However, all is not as it seems with the child-like King. Despite meeting her end in the first film, Shu Qi appears briefly to reprise her role as Monk Tang’s lady love in fantasy/dream sequences.


Based on the same tale that gave us the cult Japanese TV series “Monkey”, the Jackie Chan-Jet Li flick “The Forbidden Kingdom”, and of course the big-screen “Monkey Magic”, the 2013 “Journey to the West” was certainly nothing new. However, despite not being a fan of the slapstick-y “Monkey” TV series, “Journey to the West” actually worked for me, largely…

Review: The Rainmaker

Matt Damon is Rudy, a young Tennessee lawyer just recently out of Law School and currently financially struggling and sleeping in his car. He gets hired by a shonky, small Law practice run by the extremely dubious ‘Bruiser’ (Mickey Rourke, beginning his slow and sadly rather brief comeback), and where most of the work is done by Deck (Danny DeVito- ingratiatingly unscrupulous), a paralegal who hasn’t even passed the bar exam, despite multiple attempts (Rudy is currently studying for it himself). What the crafty Deck lacks in say, a licence, he makes up for in knowing all the tricks of the (slimy) trade. Whilst ‘Bruiser’ (whose last name isn’t Shyster, but might as well be) quickly flies to some kind of escape island from the feds, Deck and Rudy decide it’s probably best if they open their own little office. Whilst Deck is content to make the rounds at hospitals to pick up clients, Rudy has a few clients to start on; There’s Miss Birdie (Teresa Wright), the sweet but stubborn old lady …

Review: Una

As a 13 year-old, the title character had her innocence taken away by a much older man named Ray (Ben Mendelsohn). They planned to run away together, but when Ray walked out one night, Una worried that she’d been abandoned and was eventually found by the police and returned home. An arrest and court proceeding followed, with Ray sentenced to four years prison. Years later, the adult Una (now played by Rooney Mara) has never gotten over the experience, still lives with her mother (Tara Fitzgerald) and still harbours very confused and conflicted feelings towards her abuser. Ray has served jail time, moved on, changed his name, and remarried. He now works at a big manufacturing plant. Una sees his name and photograph in a newspaper, and decides to show up at the warehouse he works at. Needless to say, Ray is most definitely not pleased to see his dirty little secret from the past resurface.


You’d think stories about paedophilia wouldn’t lend themselves much to nuance, yet this 2017 big-s…

Review: 88 Minutes

Al Pacino is Dr. Jack Gramm, and being called Doctor apparently means he can be a forensic psychiatrist, college professor, and FBI profiler all at the same time. Gramm’s testimony was largely responsible for the conviction of possible killer Neal McDonough, who claims he’s innocent, but is about to be executed. And then the killings start up, strangely familiar killings. The work of a copycat? Or did Jack really get it wrong? Either way, McDonough gets a stay of execution, and Gramm gets 88 minutes to live, thanks to some creepy threatening phone calls, and he must race to find out what the hell is going on before the voice on the phone makes good on those threats. Furthermore, given that the first victim was a student of Jack’s, he’s wanted for questioning by the coppers, too! Alicia Witt is Gramm’s smitten teacher’s assistant (with a jealous and violent ex), Amy Brenneman his lesbian (woo-hoo!) assistant/receptionist, and William Forsythe his cop buddy, who tries to give him as muc…

Review: That’s What I Am

Nostalgic coming-of-age drama set in the sixties with Chase Ellison playing a 12 year-old high school student just half a rung ahead of the nerds and misfits in the school social standings. Ellison is preoccupied with trying to win the affections of the pretty and popular Mary Clear (Mia Rose Frampton, yes she’s Peter’s kid), who isn’t nearly as unattainable as she first appears (i.e. Ellison’s just about the only kid she hasn’t taken for a pre-teen twirl). His favourite teacher is English teacher Mr. Simon (Ed Harris), a widowed, bowtie sporting man who assigns Ellison the task of teaming up with the school’s biggest leper on a writing assignment. That leper would be hulking, big-eared, red-haired Stanley, AKA ‘Big G’ (Alexander Walters). Ellison, kind of an average kid at best, is unhappy with this potentially humiliating pairing, but Mr. Simon says he believes Ellison has what it takes to be a good writer, and so he reluctantly approaches the social pariah, who turns out to be a su…