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Showing posts from February 17, 2013

Review: Horrible Bosses

Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day star as three fed-up buddies drinking at a bar and swapping bad work stories. They don’t necessarily hate their jobs, they just hate their horrible bosses. Hey, that sounds like it could be a movie title! Anyway, after a little too much drinking, one of them suggests the idea of killing their bosses. The other two find the idea amusing, but he’s not joking. Before long they have attracted the counsel of a former felon known as Motherfucker Jones (Jamie Foxx, who once won an Oscar!), who, inspired by “Strangers on a Train” comes up with the idea of the three guys each killing the other person’s boss so that nothing gets traced back to the person who works for said boss. Needless to say, with these three amateurs, things don’t go according to plan. Kevin Spacey is Bateman’s boss, a mean-spirited bully who manipulates Bateman and callously cheats him out of a promotion. Jennifer Aniston is Day’s boss, a horny dentist who apparently doesn’t kn…

Review: The Hangover Part II

Stu (Ed Helms) is about to marry Lauren (Jamie Chung) at a resort in Thailand, and despite protesting that he does not want a bachelor party, Phil (Bradley Cooper) manages to talk him around to having a quiet beer. Unfortunately, Doug (Justin Bartha) insists on his idiot brother-in-law Alan (Zach Galifianakis) being invited to the wedding, despite the calamity he caused last time at Doug’s own wedding. Also with the guys is Lauren’s overachieving teenage brother Teddy (Mason Lee). Anyway, next thing you know, the guys are waking up the next morning in a strange place with Stu’s face adorned with an eerily familiar tattoo, Alan has his head shaved, Teddy has gone missing, and absolutely no idea where the hell they are (seemingly the seediest part of seedy Bangkok) or what the hell happened to put them there. Doug is safe, this time, having stayed at the resort. Oh, and one of Teddy’s fingers is found. So now the gang have to find Teddy and get to the wedding in time. Yeah, that’s going…

Review: Tom Horn

Steve McQueen stars as the real-life tracker and interpreter, who was instrumental in capturing the infamous Geronimo. The film charts his last stages of life where he is recruited as a ‘stock detective’ to take on cattle rustlers on behalf of the Stockman’s Association, particularly the folksy John Coble (Richard Farnsworth). Unfortunately, after a while, news of Horn’s violent methods become far too widely known for the association (particularly Billy Green Bush’s politically ambitious Marshall) to tolerate and something must be done, although the honest Coble will have nothing to do with this talk. The Marshall arranges for Horn to be arrested for the murder of a young boy, including getting a contrived and drunken ‘confession’ to the crime from Horn. Linda Evans is a local schoolmarm Horn strikes up a relationship with, Slim Pickens is the local sheriff somewhat reticent but duty-bound to arrest Horn, Roy Jenson plays a foul-mouthed homesteader, Geoffrey Lewis is a smarmy prosecut…

Review: In the Realm of the Senses

Eiko Matsuda (who seemed to have a sad time of it after this film) stars as a former hooker turned hotel maid in 1930s Tokyo who engages in an intense affair with married hotel owner Tatsuya Fuji. The relationship becomes increasingly obsessive (and Matsuda becomes increasingly jealous and demanding) and fetishistic, as they both explore sexual boundaries.


Banned for 20 years in Australia, this 1976 film from Japanese writer-director Nagisa Oshima (who went on to make “Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence” with David Bowie and Jack Thompson) has me completely perplexed. Now that I’ve finally gotten around to seeing it, I’m still genuinely unsure of what I actually watched (On cable, if you can believe it. God bless Foxtel and World Movies Channel!). It wasn’t at all what I was expecting, but more importantly, I don’t know quite how to take it. Is it a porno? Softcore? An exploitation movie? Any kind of movie at all? And why are there so many cocks in this film? It should really be called “9 …

Review: The Big Town

Matt Dillon is a handsome, promising young small-town crapshooter named Cully who leaves family and mentor Don Francks behind as he heads for potential big-time success in 50s Chicago. There he hooks up with married hustlers Lee Grant and Bruce Dern, whom he agrees to play for. They get him invited to the big tables, he gives them a healthy percentage of the winnings. But soon Cully gets the urge to strike out on his own and beat sleazy club owner/gangster Tommy Lee Jones out of his crooked game, and steal his stripper wife Diane Lane while he’s at it. Playing ‘good girl’ to Lane’s sultry ‘bad girl’ is Suzy Amis, an aspiring female DJ and struggling young mother whom Cully also has feelings for. In a subplot, taciturn, blind Dern is looking for the gambler who long ago threw acid in his face. The extremely mannered Del Close and no-talent Tom Skerritt (sorry, I wanna like the guy, but he always gives the same constipated performance!) play a couple of gamblers, and a young Sarah Polle…

Review: The Guard

Brendan Gleeson stars as a small-town Irish copper who is anything but conventional. Insensitive, a bit of an a-hole, not above dropping acid found at a crime scene, fond of banging hookers, but also a good son to his ailing mum (Fionnula Flanagan). He also claims to have been an Olympic-level swimmer in his youth. He generally gets the job done, but he’s...frankly a bit bonkers. Don Cheadle is an African American FBI agent sent to assist Gleeson on a big drug bust. He’s more straight-laced and has absolutely no idea how to take the big, burly Irishman who barely seems to give a crap about the case. At one point he wonders if Gleeson is really fucking smart or really fucking dumb. The drug smugglers are played by Mark Strong, Liam Cunningham and David Wilmot, and they have already killed Gleeson’s partner early in the film (You’ve heard of the guy dying on his last day before retirement? This poor bugger pushes up the daisies on his first!). They’ve also bought off every cop in town, …

Review: The Artist

Set in Hollywood in 1927, Jean Dujardin plays George Valentin, a big star of silent swashbucklers (think Douglas Fairbanks) who is unhappy in his marriage to Penelope Ann Miller, and with the inevitable transition from silent cinema to ‘talkies’. Bérénice Bejo is Peppy, a promising, spunky up-and-coming actress whom Valentin starts to have feelings for. Whilst Peppy is pegged to be a big star of the ‘talkies’, Valentin is cynical of the invention and decides to go and make his own silent film. Also worth mentioning is Valentin’s dog (Uggie the dog), and equally faithful chauffeur/butler (James Cromwell). John Goodman plays a blustery studio exec, and Malcolm McDowell has a small role as a butler.

Written and directed by Michel Hazanavicius, this 2011 Best Picture Oscar winner is a nice, solid, but not great film. Years from now it’ll probably be one of those Best Picture winners that lots of people still haven’t seen and many will dislike, though plot-wise I can see why it appealed to…