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Showing posts from June 9, 2013

Review: The Warrior’s Way

South Korean actor Dong-Gung Jang plays an assassin in the Sad Flute Clan who refuses to kill the last member of an opposing clan, an infant girl. He and the girl (who is adorable, by the way) high tail it to the Wild West (!) and a town full of travelling circus folk. Apparently he was hoping to live in peace, and also to see an old friend, who he soon discovers has died. His quest for a peaceful existence is shattered upon the arrival of badass Colonel (Danny Huston, 100% pure evil) and his men. Meanwhile, his comrades (led by the legendary Ti Lung) have also come looking for him and the task he failed to carry out. Kate Bosworth plays a tough rootin’ tooterer (she’s not shootin’, though, she throws knives) with revenge on her mind, Geoffrey Rush is the town drunk, who also narrates the film (incongruously). Better than “Sukiyaki: Western Django”, this 2010 Asian Western/martial arts hybrid from newbie writer-director Sngmoo Lee has its moments (and Lee proves a visual stylist at le…

Review: Black Forest

Ben Cross plays Cazmar, who runs a tourist bus deal where he takes dopey tourists to Stonehenge-like sites (though this appears to be set somewhere else in Europe, perhaps Germany) he claims are magical. On his latest run he stops to do some kind of magic chant thing for the tourists’ amusement, and hey presto Cazmar vanishes and the tour group are left to fend for themselves in forest surrounds that seem a whole helluva lot different than when they first ventured there. They have found themselves in a fantastical alternate reality where fairy tale characters come to life, and aren’t friendly at all. Tinsel Corey appears as a mystery woman who pops up in the alternate reality and claims to know how to survive, whilst Sapphire Elia plays an au pair to a married couple with a young child.

Every now and then, the SyFy channel turns out a decent genre movie that surprises me. This 2012 Patrick Dinhut fantasy flick is not one of those films. In fact, it’s pretty crummy and rather cheap. Th…

Review: 13

Sam Riley and his family (including sister Gaby Hoffmann) are struggling to cope with the medical bills for his ailing father. Working at his job as an electrician, he overhears a conversation about a get rich quick scheme, and sees the exchange of an envelope. After the guy whose house he was working at suddenly dies, Riley grabs the envelope and follows the enclosed instructions. Posing as the dead man, the instructions lead to a remote location where a game of Russian Roulette is played out, bet on by a bunch of wealthy clients. Riley is in over his head, but forced to participate in the game (by Alexander Skarsgard among others), as now he knows too much. Ray Winstone plays the defending champion of the game, a mentally disturbed man brought in by his brother (Jason Statham). Mickey Rourke is another participant, David Zayas is a police detective, Ben Gazzara is one of the rich gamblers, Michael Shannon is the impresario of the game, and 50 Cent (AKA Curtis Jackson) plays an onloo…

Review: Blue Collar

Searing, ferocious, and surprisingly funny 1978 directorial debut by screenwriter Paul Schrader (the screenwriter of “Taxi Driver” who went on to direct “American Gigolo”) about three increasingly disgruntled auto workers (Harvey Keitel, Yaphet Kotto, and Richard Pryor) who discover they’re being screwed not only by management, but by their own corrupt union. At first, they don’t want to believe it, even being rather hostile to the suggestion of corruption by nosy FBI man Cliff De Young, at one point. But eventually, they see things for what they are and devise a kind of payback, planning to rob the HQ of the union, a decision that will change each of their lives (and their relationship with each other) forever. Keitel, the white man of the trio, is happy to be a dutiful (and blissfully ignorant) employee at first, but the stresses of low pay, long hours, and increasing family commitments (i.e. His kids’ expensive dental bills) become too much to bear. Kotto is the cool, imposing, pot…

Review: Ironclad

Set in the 13th Century, Paul Giamatti play King John, yes that King John, who has just signed the Magna Carta pretty much by force, but being a prick, he changes his mind quickly. Thus England is once again under his brutal rule. The Duke of Albany (Brian Cox) takes exception to the King’s arseholishness (if that’s not a word, it is now), and with the blessing of the Archbishop (Charles Dance), he sets about recruiting a small army (seven in total) who hole up in the Alamo...er...Rochester castle as the King’s army set to attack. This army includes a Templar Knight (James Purefoy), archer Mackenzie Crook, and rowdy warrior Jason Flemyng. Derek Jacobi and Kate Mara play the Duke of Rochester and his neglected young wife, the latter of whom takes a liking to Purefoy, while the former of whom is too busy grumbling about his castle being commandeered to notice his wife might be soon commandeered as well.

A good try, but this 2011 flick from director/co-writer Jonathan English doesn’t qui…

Review: Natural Born Killers

Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis play lovers and killers on a cross-country killing spree that earns them media attention and cult status, adored by the public as anti-heroes. Uh-huh. Aussie-accented schlocky crime TV host Wayne Gayle (Robert Downey Jr.) is on their trail, seeing dollar signs and ratings bonanza in them. Meanwhile, tracking them down is seedy, limelight-loving cop Jack Scagnetti (Tom Sizemore), who doesn’t seem much better than the sicko killers he’s chasing. Tommy Lee Jones turns up as a sadistic, ridiculously coiffed warden, Rodney Dangerfield and Edie McClurg are Lewis’ grotesque parents, and James Gammon appears briefly as a victim.

Controversial filmmaker Oliver Stone (“Platoon”, “Born on the 4th of July”, “JFK”, “W.”) has had a seriously erratic career, but this over-the-top 1994 wannabe media satire/road movie/serial killer character study is him hitting rock bottom. No wonder writer Quentin Tarantino (who would make his popular “Pulp Fiction” the same year) …