Posts

Review: Fifty Shades Darker

Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) tentatively enters back into a relationship with Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan), but attempts to assert herself more and make him work for it a little bit. Meanwhile, two figures from Mr. Grey’s past (played by Kim Basinger and Bella Heathcoate) turn up to provide obstacles, with Grey’s fondness for being controlling and dominant rearing its ugly head again, too. 
I’ve never read the books, and I didn’t get the first film in the slightest. It was goofy, eye-rolling, miscast, and there was absolutely no reason for the central couple to want to be together. They both wanted completely polar opposite things out of a relationship, it was fucking stupid, and here I am now having watched the second film. Perhaps I’m a bit stupid, too. This 2017 E.L. James adaptation comes from director James Foley who has done fine work in the past (“At Close Range”, “Glengarry Glen Ross”, “Confidence”), so what he thought was worth a damn here I don’t quite know. Scripted by…

Review: Near Dark

Nice young cowboy Adrian Pasdar hooks up with beguiling, pixie-like Jenny Wright, and the two fall in love. But she turns out to be a creature of the night, biting Pasdar, who is then introduced to Wright’s rowdy ‘family’ of blood-suckers; patriarch Lance Henriksen (a relic of the Civil War, apparently), tough-as-nails mom Jenette Goldstein, and their ‘sons’, animalistic punk Bill Paxton and malicious ‘adolescent’ Joshua Miller (who is really an older soul trapped in the body of a youngster). Tim Thomerson is Pasdar’s concerned pappy, Bigelow regular James LeGros plays a victim in the infamous bar scene, and Troy Evans is a cop who stumbles upon sick-looking Pasdar thinking he’s just a drugged-out vagrant.


It’s funny how you can watch a film for the third or fourth time and for the first time it completely and totally clicks with you in a way it hadn’t previously. It happens to me occasionally, and although I’ve always liked this 1987 vampire flick from director Kathryn Bigelow (“Poin…

Review: Infinitely Polar Bear

Set in the 70s, Mark Ruffalo plays a father two daughters with wife Zoe Saldana, and also happens to suffer from manic depression/bi-polar disorder. This is the story of the loving family’s struggle to stay together and make things work as best they can. But with Ruffalo’s wild mood swings and inability to land and keep a job, things start to strain, especially financially.


A really good, well-acted movie about a tricky subject, this 2014 drama from writer-director Maya Forbes (previously the writer of insignificant films like “The Rocker”, “Monsters vs. Aliens”, and “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days”) clearly comes from a place of understanding and truth. This really, really could’ve gone in so many wrong directions, but because debut director Forbes is the daughter of a bi-polar father herself (also, her own daughter Imogene Wolodarsky plays Forbes’ role in the movie here), she mostly veers away from cliché, caricature, and the usual pitfalls in making a film about mental illness. The…

Review: Shout at the Devil

Set in East Africa, hard-drinking American Lee Marvin teams up with Englishman Roger Moore to blow up a German ship. Rene Kolldehoff is the imposing, but buffoonish German baddie, Barbara Parkins is Marvin’s estranged daughter whom Moore shacks up with, and Ian Holm is a shifty-eyed Arab servant. Look out for small turns at the beginning by George Coulouris (“Citizen Kane”), Jean Kent (“The Haunted Strangler”), Maurice Denham (“Damn the Defiant!”, “Sink the Bismarck!”, “23 Paces to Baker Street”) and at the end by Murray Melvin.


Long but engaging 1976 Peter R. Hunt (“On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”) flick is like a macho “African Queen”, with Moore playing Hepburn to Marvin’s hilarious Bogart. Seriously, watch the film and tell me I’m wrong! Only Holm, in a racist pantomiming East Indian caricature leaves a sour taste in one’s mouth. It’s the kind of thing you’d expect from a 1950s Rank Organisation film with Anthony Steel or Stanley Baker, and say a young Donald Pleasence doing blac…

Review: A Certain Justice

Cung Le comes back after enduring hellacious shit fighting in Iraq, and struggling to pull it together. After rescuing a frankly ungrateful hooker (Briana Evigan) from some sleazebags, a couple of whom he kills. This sets off events our hero might wish he’d never have started after pimp/drug/porno king Hollis (Dolph Lundgren!) decides to target the man’s family. That said, perhaps it’s Hollis (probably the most irredeemably nasty creep Lundgren has ever played) who will live to regret fucking with the wrong Iraq War vet. Gianni Capaldi plays one of Hollis’ underlings asked to do vicious deeds he becomes uneasy about. Vinnie Jones turns up briefly as a drug dealer, Jonathan Kowalsky is Cung Le’s disabled war buddy, James C. Burns is a good cop, and Sean O’Bryan plays a corrupt cop.


You know you’re not watching a very good film when the most memorable thing is a ridiculous but undeniably entertaining performance by Dolph Lundgren with a ponytail and the least convincing moustache outsid…

Review: The Yakuza

The title comes from the Japanese mafia organisation with a strict, unbending code of honour, and into this murky and violent world comes weary American PI Robert Mitchum, whose old buddy Brian Keith (both were part of the occupied forces after WWII) asks him to rescue his daughter, kidnapped by the Yakuza (after a foolish, botched gun-running deal that doesn’t convince) Mitchum in turn seeks the help of a retired Yakuza, Tanaka Ken (Ken Takakura), who owes Mitchum a debt after he saved two members of the man’s family, one of whom (Kishi Keiko) Mitchum even had a dalliance with. But Ken (or Tanaka if you will) is a tad reluctant, despite owing Mitchum a great debt. You see, he is a proud man, and the fact that his family put him (as he sees it) in a position whereby he owes someone a debt, is a hit to his pride. Herb Edelman has a terrific supporting role as another old war buddy who stayed behind, has led a peaceful life as a teacher, and has definitely become accustomed to the surro…

Review: Sinister 2

Shannyn Sossamon and her two boys (Robert Daniel Sloan and Dartanian Sloan) flee from her abusive husband and end up in an old farmhouse out in the middle of nowhere. They’re soon visited by former sheriff’s deputy James Ransone, still affected by the events of the first film. Now a lowly P.I., he warns Sossamon that the property needs to be burned down as it is afflicted with the same boogeyman/mass murder curse as the house from the previous film. Meanwhile, one of Sossamon’s boys has been interacting with a small band of child ghosts who want him to watch their little home movie collection. Yeah, that’s not a good idea, kid.


The original “Sinister” for me was one of the better horror films of the last decade or so, but this 2015 follow-up from director Ciaran Foy is a cheap, lousy knock-off. I knew I was in trouble from the lame opening scene where the deputy from the first film (played by James Ransone) seeks confession with a priest (played by John Beasley) to set up the events o…