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Showing posts from July 14, 2013

Review: A Perfect World

Kevin Costner and Keith Szarabajka are escaped convicts in 1963 who kidnap a young Jehovah’s witness boy (T.J. Lowther) after an attempt at robbery doesn’t go so well. The charming, but still clearly dangerous Costner seems to form a bond with the boy (he’s got a problem with anyone who mistreats children, and both had/have absentee fathers), and tries to give him all the fun things that his family’s religion frowns upon. There is no doubt, however, that he’s also manipulating the boy into helping him whilst on the run. Meanwhile, aging Texas Ranger Red Garnett (Clint Eastwood) is searching all over Texas with his team in a fancy new mobile command post (i.e. A trailer at the back of a big truck). Laura Dern plays a female criminologist tagging along at the request of the Governor. Her theories and overall psychobabble approach generally gets on Garnett’s nerves, and she resents the boys club and general sexism in Garnett’s approach. Bradley Whitford plays a gung-ho, frankly loathsome…

Review: Once Upon a Time in Mexico

Antonio Banderas is back as El Mariachi, out for revenge against the General who killed his beloved (Salma Hayek, in flashbacks). He is hired by oddball CIA agent Sands (Johnny Depp) to assassinate the General, thus stopping a coup set up by drug lord Barillo (Willem Dafoe, with a bad tan), who has orchestrated the assassination of the President (Pedro Armendariz Jr). Ruben Blades plays a retired FBI agent on Barillo’s tail, Mickey Rourke plays a Chihuahua-loving, American hood in the employ of Barillo, and Eva Mendes is a Mexican FBI agent trying to make her mark in a world of machismo. Smaller turns are provided by Enrique Iglesias as one of El Mariachi’s allies, Cheech Marin plays the same bartender he essayed in “Desperado”, and Danny Trejo turns up briefly in a role that may or may not be the character he played (and who died) in the aforementioned “Desperado”.

I was not terribly interested in the first two films in Robert Rodriguez’s “El Mariachi” trilogy, those being “El Mariac…

Review: Margin Call

A look inside a Wall Street investment firm (barely fictionalised) just prior to what we now know as the Global Financial Crisis. Employees are getting sacked left, right, and centre (about 80% of the film!), including senior risk management guy Stanley Tucci. On his way out, Tucci hands over a USB drive to young trader (and Tucci’s protégé) Zachary Quinto, and tells him to ‘be careful’. It’s something Tucci had been in the middle of prior to getting the arse, and after taking a look at it, Quinto (whose college education means he could’ve been a rocket scientist but likes money too much) and his even younger colleague Penn Badgley are worried enough to call his immediate (and newly appointed) boss Paul Bettany back from an after work party (a ‘yay, we didn’t get fired!’ party, it would seem) to get him to look at it too. Before long, the floor manager (Kevin Spacey, solid as always as a man with a conscience in a job that demands he ignores it) is called back to work to take a look a…

Review: This Means War

FDR (Chris Pine) and Tuck (Tom Hardy) are spies and best buds attempting to nab international terrorist Heinrich (Til Schweiger). But who cares about that when we can watch them fight over the girl (Reese Witherspoon) they’ve both met over an internet dating site. Well, Tuck does at any rate, it’s just unfortunate that she meets FDR on the same day as her first date with Tuck and is attracted to him (strange, given he’s an egotistical dickhead). The game to win her heart is on, and no dirty trick or spy device is left unused. Chelsea Handler plays Witherspoon’s snarky, married best friend, Angela Bassett is the spy boss, and Laura Vandervoort is Tuck’s ex-wife and the mother of his son.

Well this sure is an idiotic misfire, isn’t it? This 2012 so-called romantic comedy from alleged director McG (the light and pleasant “Charlie’s Angels”and its entirely empty-headed sequel) seems to want to be “Knight and Day”for Gen-Y. It fails spectacularly on just about every conceivable level. The …

Review: D-Day: The 6th of June

A ‘Two officers in love with the same swell gal’ picture, as married American officer Robert Taylor is assigned to London to work for a maverick Colonel (Edmond O’Brien), and falls for pretty Brit Red Cross worker Dana Wynter, whose fiancé Richard Todd is a British paratrooper currently fighting elsewhere. Oh, and it’s prior to the D-Day assault during WWII, just so you know. John Williams plays a disgruntled elder statesman of the British military early in the film.

The title and romantic/relationship trappings might suggest something along the lines of “From Here to Eternity”, but this Henry Koster (“Harvey”, “My Cousin Rachel”, “The Virgin Queen”) film from 1956 has neither the depth of character nor the epic scale of that timeless film. The screenplay by Ivan Moffat (“Giant”, “The Heroes of Telemark”) and Harry Brown (“Sands of Iwo Jima”, “A Place in the Sun”, “The Virgin Queen”, “El Dorado”) is so poor that the Richard Todd character is barely featured in the film, rendering the …