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Showing posts from September 9, 2012

Review: The Ides of March

Set during a crucial Democratic presidential race between Gov. Mike Morris (George Clooney) and a slightly more conservative candidate. The film’s protagonist is Morris’ hotshot chief strategist, Stephen Meyers, who believes in his candidate as a progressive who can get stuff done. Meyers, who works under campaign manager Paul Zara (Philip Seymour Hoffman), is asked to meet up with a rival campaign manager (Paul Giamatti). He does so, in secret, which is a big no-no on top of another big no-no. Meanwhile, Meyers is sleeping with an intern (played by Evan Rachel Wood), and after intercepting one of her calls late one night, Meyers uncovers a dirty little secret that will rock his world. Politics is dirty, ugly, and icky, y’all! Marisa Tomei plays a cynical reporter always looking for a scoop between ‘friends’, Gregory Itzin is Wood’s influential father, and Jeffrey Wright is the Senator whose endorsement could make or break the election, depending on the candidate’s willingness to give…

Review: The Ledge

Terrence Howard is a Catholic cop with marital troubles who is called upon to talk down a possible suicide jumper (Charlie Hunnam) from a tall building. Hunnam is a slick hotel manager and apparent atheist, and the predicament he finds himself in has something to do with his fundamentalist Christian neighbours (Patrick Wilson and Liv Tyler), as he spills his guts to the admittedly distracted cop. Old Testament-loving Wilson apparently confuses Hunnam and his gay roommate for a couple (and finds it disgusting), and wants to pray for their souls. In reality, Hunnam actually has designs on shy and sweet-natured Tyler (who seems far less judgemental than Wilson) and sets about romancing her. Is he just trying to stick it to Wilson or is he genuinely hot for her? And just how in the hell does any of this result in Hunnam wanting to kill himself? You’ll have to watch to find out, but suffice to say, Hunnam isn’t your average suicide jumper. In fact, he rather looks like he doesn’t want to b…

Review: Venus

Aging actor (and dirty old bugger) Peter O’Toole develops a thing for friend Leslie Phillips’ buxom (but sullen and uncultured) grandniece Jodie Whittaker, who arrives to look after elderly Phillips (who detests her, by the way). Whittaker seems put-off by the randy old codger’s blatant sexual advances, but hey, so long as he’s showering her with gifts, paying attention to her, and not getting physical, she’s compliant, perhaps a little intrigued. Richard Griffiths is a mutual friend, and Vanessa Redgrave is O’Toole’s surprisingly supportive ex-wife.

Oddball, foul-mouthed 2006 Roger Michell (“Notting Hill” of all films) critic’s fave is of moderate interest for a while, if only to hear O’Toole and scene-stealing Phillips (I didn’t even know the veteran British comedian was still alive) say the darndest things. But the story is utterly predictable (if very strange at times), and the relationship between O’Toole and Whittaker (who has nice jugs, by the way. Hey, it’s that kind of film!)…

Review: Arachnophobia

Big city doc Jeff Daniels moves his family to a small Northern Californian farm to become the local GP. But in addition to suffering the suspicion of the locals, the poor doc must soon deal with an even bigger problem- people start dropping like flies, seemingly from deadly tropical spider bites. Did I mention that Daniels hates spiders? Hey, maybe that’s why the movie’s called Arachnophobia? Do ‘ya think? Harley Jane Kozak is the boring wife, John Goodman is a weird exterminator, Julian Sands a spider expert, Henry Jones is the cantankerous doctor who refuses to give his job to Daniels, and other locals are played by C-graders Roy Brocksmith (from “Total Recall”), Kathy Kinney (who moved up a grade or two a few years later when she co-starred on “The Drew Carey Show”) and Peter Jason (just about every John Carpenter movie you’ve ever seen).

Supremely overrated, terminally dull, ‘safe’ horror-comedy from Spielberg’s best bud Frank Marshall (the OK B movie “Congo”), that gives us few i…