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Showing posts from January 27, 2013

Review: 21 Jump Street

Bone-head Channing Tatum and nerd Jonah Hill were at opposite ends of the high school social hierarchy, but joining the police academy after graduation, they both find a commonality. One is smart, but fat. The other is stupid, but fit. Cut to the present where, as rookie cops, they must rely on one another as partners. Even together, though, they still seem to have about half a brain between them. Actually, that’s not quite fair, Hill is book smart, just not in regards to the police procedure book, as neither of them can properly remember the Miranda rights (‘You have the right...to be an attorney...’, was my particular favourite), that anyone who has seen even one police movie can recite practically verbatim. After a particularly bad botch-job, they are sent to an undercover unit called Jump Street and run by the cranky Capt. Dickson (Ice Cube). They are assigned the case of finding drug dealers (and after that, their supplier) at a local high school, with Tatum pretending to be a th…

Review: Playdate

Marguerite Moreau and hubby Richard Ruccolo notice new neighbours moving in, and decide to be sociable and introduce themselves to Abby Brammell and her two sons. Brammell, however, is awfully secretive and skittish, though the couple’s daughter Olive (Natalie Lind) befriends Brammell’s youngest. He’s a little ‘off’, though, playing a bit rough with young Olive. And then there’s Brammell’s eldest son, who is also rather skittish, sullen, and incredibly moody. Then Moreau notices some bruises on the youngest boy, and it becomes clear that something just isn’t right about this family. And it only gets more and more disturbing.


Directed Andrew C. Erin (who scripted “Metal Tornado” and “Ice Twisters”) and scripted by Kraig Wenman, this 2012 TV movie isn’t anything earth shattering, but there’s so many loopy people here that the film keeps you guessing for a lot of its length as to exactly which path it is going to go down. I liked that, and Marguerite Moreau is a lovely and underrated pre…

Review: Youth in Revolt

Michael Cera is nerdy, awkward teenager Nick Twisp, a lover of foreign films and Frank Sinatra, who lives with his trashy middle-aged mother (Jean Smart, in her element), who seems to have a never-ending stream of hopeless boyfriends like loser Zach Galifianakis. It’s this latest beau, whose shady dealings with some very pissed off sailors that inspires the trio to flee to a trailer park. Here Nick meets a pretty girl with seemingly impossibly compatible tastes. Her name is Sheeni (Portia Doubleday), a fellow 16 year-old and obsessive Francophile, who quickly has Nick under her thumb, despite already having a snooty rich boyfriend. Nick is undeterred, dreaming up a cooler alter-ego named Francois Dillinger, who is the destructive bad boy that Nick could only dream of being (Except, because Dillinger is only a figment of Nick’s imagination, or at best, a second personality, it really is Nick. Ouch. Brain hurts). This results in Francois encouraging Nick into all manner of juvenile deli…

Review: Take Shelter

Michael Shannon stars as an Ohio construction worker with a loving wife (Jessica Chastain) and a hearing-impaired daughter (Tova Stewart). Shannon starts being disturbed by visions or dreams of a giant apocalyptic storm, and subsequently becomes obsessed with building a storm shelter to protect his family. To do this, he takes out a loan, which concerns his wife, and he borrows tools from work, which concerns his boss and co worker/best friend (the latter played by Shea Whigham). However, always troubling Shannon is the possibility that this is all just in his mind. He is aware that he has a history of mental illness in his family, with his paranoid schizophrenic mother (Kathy Baker), and so he attempts to seek psychiatric help. Meanwhile, his erratic behaviour is unsettling his family, friends, and colleagues. Katy Mixon plays Chastain’s best friend, Lisa Gay Hamilton plays a counsellor.


Although a trifle predictable, this film from writer-director Jeff Nichols (directing just his se…

Review: Midnight in Paris

Owen Wilson is a fledgling screenwriter attempting to make it as a novelist. He’s in Paris with his bitchy fiancé Rachel McAdams and her Republican parents (including dad Kurt Fuller). McAdams has little interest in Wilson’s Francophilic love of Paris nor his ambitions to be taken more seriously as a writer. In fact, she seems far more interested in know-it-all academic Michael Sheen than her own fiancé. Wilson’s fantasy life would be to live in 1920s France to mingle with all the literary luminaries and artistic geniuses hung out. And whilst walking the streets alone one midnight, he appears to be magically transported back to Paris in the 20s, and indeed gets to hang out with the likes of the Fitzgeralds’ (Tom Hiddleston, Alison Pill), Ernest Hemingway (Corey Stoll), Gertrude Stein (Kathy Bates), as well as meeting Pablo Picasso (Marcial Di Fonzo Bo), Salvador Dali (Adrien Brody), Luis Bunuel (Adrien de Van), Cole Porter (Yves Heck), and others. He also meets the beautiful Adriana (…

Review: Doc

As the title suggests, a film about ‘Doc’ Holliday (Stacy Keach), the tubercular gunslinger and gambler. However, this time, the film deals more with his romantic relationship with prostitute Katie Elder (Faye Dunaway), with sheriff Wyatt Earp (Harris Yulin) somewhat on the sidelines. Michael Witney plays Ike Clanton, whom ‘Doc’ won Katie from early in the film in a game of poker, and who stirs up trouble in Tombstone for Doc and the politically ambitious Wyatt. Denver John Collins plays The Kid, attached to Ike’s gang, who wants to be a gunslinger.

The majority of the films about Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp have been pretty good, if not even better, with “Tombstone”, “Gunfight at the OK Corral” and “Hour of the Gun” being especially memorable. This 1971 film from director Frank Perry (“The Swimmer”, ““Mommie Dearest”) and writer Pete Hamill (“Laguna Heat”, a TV movie with Harry Hamlin, Jason Robards, and Rip Torn) offers a lower rung than those films and isn’t entirely successful. It…

Review: Sucker Punch

Emily Browning is Baby Doll, who fails in an attempt to stop her sister being raped by her stepfather, shooting her sister accidentally instead. Her stepfather throws her into an insane asylum, wherein five days a doctor (Jon Hamm, in a pointless cameo) will perform a lobotomy on her. Whilst in the asylum, she seems to envision herself as a performer in a strange Moulin Rouge-esque dance establishment run by the cruel Blue Jones (Oscar Isaac), who in reality, is just an asylum orderly. The asylum’s head shrink Vera Gorski (Carla Gugino) is envisaged as a veteran dance teacher whose looks are now fading. The dance routines, of course, represent therapy sessions. However, there is a third level of reality going on here. When Baby Doll dances, we don’t see it, instead we see Baby Doll’s dance routines interpreted through the form of videogame-like battles, as she and the others take on hordes of samurai, Orcs, dragons, you name it. And there is a quest. In order to escape the asylum with…

Review: Blast

Terrorists (led by former soccer hooligan turned actor Vinnie Jones) posing as an environmentalist group hijack an oil rig with dastardly plans in mind. But they haven’t counted on (say it with me) one man- ex-fire-fighter turned tugboat captain (!) Eddie Griffin, who attempts to save the day when his boat is taken over by the baddies. Did I mention his adopted 10 year-old son is on board? Breckin Meyer plays a member of Jones’ gang who may or may not be an FBI agent, a snitch, a liar, or some combination of these. Viveca A. Fox is the FBI agent trying to contain the situation from land. Latina hottie Nadine Velazquez and requisite behemoth Tiny Lister Jr. are a couple of hench...persons. Shaggy also turns up, but you won’t see much of him. I think he was one of Griffin’s crew, I don’t remember, it was such a meaningless part anyway.

Everything about this 2004 action-thriller screams ‘Hack C-grade Rip-off’. It’s directed by Anthony Hickox, the man responsible for “Warlock II: The Arma…