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Showing posts from July 7, 2013

Review: Safety Not Guaranteed

Aubrey Plaza plays a deadpan intern for a magazine hired alongside young Karan Soni to join womanising journo Jake Johnson to investigate a bizarre newspaper ad requesting a companion for time travel (ending with ‘Safety Not Guaranteed’). Travelling to Washington they track the source of the ad down to a particular post office box and stake the place out. Eventually Mark Duplass turns up, a slightly savant-ish seeming, local supermarket employee who indeed claims to have a device for time travel. After Johnson makes an unsuccessful attempt to interview the extremely cagey Duplass, he decides a little feminine persuasion is needed and gets Plaza to approach him instead. It doesn’t go exactly flawlessly, but after helping him procure (i.e. steal) some lasers, she leaves enough of a positive impression on him that Duplass entrusts Plaza with being his companion on their mission. Of course, Duplass knows nothing about the article Johnson hopes to write nor Plaza’s complicity in it. The fu…

Review: Act of Valour

Based on real-life heroic deeds of American Navy SEALs, the film concerns a group of SEALs tasked with rescuing a kidnapped CIA agent (Roselyn Sanchez). The bad guys are two former childhood friends, Christo (Alex Veadov) and smuggler Abu Shabal (Jason Cottle) who are planning to bomb various places in the US.

Directed by Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh, and scripted by Kurt Johnstad (“300”) this 2012 action movie wants the audience to get swooped up in ‘rah-rah’ Yankee-Doodle Dandy patriotism for American servicemen, and hope that you can overlook a fair amount of shortcomings. Unfortunately, just because the guys in this film are great at the real-life derring-do that they perform, it doesn’t make them necessarily convincing or interesting movie heroes. I wouldn’t have minded a role for R. Lee Ermey (a former Marine and now actor) or Dale Dye (who has been a technical adviser and bit-player in countless war films), but these guys certainly can’t carry a film on their own.The directors fe…

Review: Valhalla Rising

A medieval Viking tale divided into several chapters (Wrath, Silent Warrior, Men of God, The Holy Land, Hell and The Sacrifice), Mads Mikkelsen plays mute warrior known as One-Eye, who escapes his pagan captors with the aid of a young boy (Maarten Stevenson), who seems to know the silent man’s inner thoughts. Along the way they hook up with crusading Christian Vikings (including Gary Lewis) who are in search of the Holy Land. But with much blood-shed and carnage, are they worthy of entering the land they seek? And when they get there, will it be all that they imagined? Meanwhile, the mysterious One-Eye is uninterested in their quest, driven only by the visions that come to him that may not be in line with the Crusaders’ quest.

I don’t expect this Nicolas Winding Refn (the in-your-face “Pusher” series, “Bronson”, and “Drive”) film from 2009 to top too many Best Films of the Year polls or anything, but I gotta say I thought it was really something. A mixture of arty stylishness and gory…

Review: The Philadelphia Experiment (2012)

A 1940s test to devise a warship cloaking device is revived under secret government hush-hush means, and succeeds in bringing back the Eldridge, a naval ship which had vanished for 70 odd years. There’s even one survivor on board, played by Nicholas Lea, whilst all other crew members have been fused into the ship. Unfortunately, there are rather dire consequences of bringing the ship back, as a nosy local sheriff (John Reardon) makes the mistake of boarding the ship, and not coming back out, as the ship then vanishes again, before materialising again elsewhere. Sometimes crashing into buildings and killing people. The secret government hush-hush people, send a goon (Michael ParĂ©) to clean the mess, whilst Lea meets up with his granddaughter and experienced hacker (Emilie Ullerup), and an elderly scientist (Malcolm McDowell) who suggests Lea needs to return to the ship in order for things to be set right. Meanwhile, government scientist Ryan Robbins tries to help out from his end, and …