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Showing posts from July 15, 2012

Review: Season of the Witch

Set in the time of the Crusades, Nic Cage and Ron Perlman play macho warriors who have grown weary of bloody battles and particularly the senseless slaughter of innocents. However, they are called back into God’s service by the aging, plague-ridden Cardinal D'Ambroise (Christopher Lee), who will spare them execution for desertion if they agree to escort a supposed witch (Claire Foy) to a monastery where after a ritual is performed, the plague she has cursed on the land will be no more. They agree, but only if there is a fair trial afforded the accused. They are guided by a conman (Stephen Graham) who knows the way, and accompanied by a priest (Stephen Campbell Moore), a young wannabe knight (Robert Sheehan), and the Cardinal’s guard (Ulrich Thomsen). Along the way, the accused sorceress tries to strike up a conversation with Cage and tells him that the priest has tortured her. She seems innocent enough, but is she really wrongly accused or just a supernaturally gifted actress?


Not…

Review: The Pianist

Remarkable true story of Polish Jew musician Adrien Brody (who won an Oscar, not as inexplicably, now that I’ve seen the film, but still a strange choice by the Academy) who initially spends time with his middle-class family in Warsaw not all that concerned with the increasing hardship of his fellow Jews (wearing a little armband and such is seen as a minor annoyance so long as Brody can continue playing his music). But when the Nazis start…well, doing typically abhorrent Nazi stuff, his family is shipped off to one of ‘those’ places, whilst good connections allow Brody to enter a work camp and later hide from the Nazis with the help of sympathetic acquaintances. But there he has other horrors to deal with- starvation, mental instability, loneliness, boredom, disease, and constant fear of being caught. Frank Finlay (always nice to see) plays Brody’s father, Thomas Kretschmann plays a somewhat 3D Nazi officer whom Brody encounters late in the film.


Low-key, perhaps unsurprising (especi…

Review: Jet Pilot

Russian pilot Janet Leigh lands at a US airbase in Alaska manned (and I do mean manned!) by John Wayne, who sees fit to take her in for questioning. She claims to be defecting, but is she? No time for that, though, because through movie magic (<cough> major plot contrivance <cough>) the two stubborn personalities fall in love and even marry! Say it ain’t so, Duke! Paul Fix plays Wayne’s buddy, and Jay C. Flippen is his superior. Hans Conried (Captain Hook himself!) plays a Russian Colonel towards the end.


Curious 1957 vehicle (no pun intended) for Wayne directed by Josef von Sternberg mixes comedy, spy movie and aerial action with little genuine success. However, it’s so silly and misogynistic that I refuse to believe it was meant to be taken too seriously, and is quite amusing at times (Leigh as a Russian pilot? Oh, boy! And love those comical sound FX during her strip search!). In fact, it’s the dopey stuff that is far more entertaining than the dull stuff in Russia and …

20 Worst Horror Films (2000-2009)

The weird thing about this list is not many of these films come from the despised Post-"Scream" era, where PG-13 was the edict (or sterile remakes of Asian horror films). I remember hating that period and greeting the 'harder' "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" (2003) remake practically with open arms. But many of these films listed are just plain awful horror films, no matter what (And PG-13 horror is sadly still present).


Dishonourable Mentions: The Signal, Knife Edge, Red Sands, Last House on the Left, Hostel, Sorority Row, Mother of Tears, All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, Saw III, and The Stepfather.


So, in order of most sucky to least sucky, I present to you...


1. Sheitan (2006)- This French piece of crap is beyond awful, in addition to being impossibly weird, and no damn fun at all. The film's director, Kim Chapiron is like a combo of Michael Bay and David Lynch, but without the talent of either. And considering I don't see much talent in either of those two…