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Showing posts from July 28, 2013

Review: Young Adult

Charlize Theron was the popular girl in school, but that was many years ago. She now finds herself at age 37 recently divorced, and although she’s largely responsible for the success of a series of teen Goth romance novels, it’s basically as a ghost writer. She has writer’s block, is an alcoholic, obsessively pulls her hair, and oh yeah, she’s a self-absorbed bitch. Then one day she receives an email from her former high school flame (Patrick Wilson), wanting to inform her of the little bundle of joy he and his wife (Elizabeth Reaser, ironically a “Twilight” alum) have just had. Theron is so overjoyed for them that she decides to race back to her hometown (where it appears she’s the only one who left) and get her hooks back into Wilson. Because they are meant to be together, apparently. She finds, however, that Wilson is happily married and Reaser is a warm-hearted, nice woman who even tries to be friendly towards Theron. Not that Theron will be deterred, I mean how could Wilson possi…

Review: Man on Fire

Scott Glenn plays a burnt-out ex-CIA agent assigned by pal Joe Pesci the task of bodyguard to the 12 year-old daughter (Jade Malle- not very accomplished but unaffected) of a rich Italian businessman and his wife (played by noted Italian thesps Jonathan Pryce and Brooke Adams), who are rarely home enough to look after her. Although he has an almost zombified, uncommunicative exterior (he’s been through hell and doesn’t want to get too close to the girl), the cute kid starts to soften the hard arse somewhat, before she is kidnapped by a crim named Conti (Danny Aiello) and his cohorts. Held for a million dollars ransom, Glenn (who was wounded during the kidnapping) decides to work outside the law and become a one-man army to get her back. Lou Castel plays one of the henchmen.

The story goes that Tony Scott (“Top Gun”) wanted to direct this 1987 kidnap/vigilante film, but the studio didn’t think him suitable enough. He would get a chance to remake the film in 2004, and the result was a s…

Review: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

John Cusack stars as a New York reporter hired by a magazine to cover a swank Christmas party in Savannah, Georgia, hosted by rich Southern gentleman Kevin Spacey (insinuating, charismatic, and slightly elusive). It is there that Cusack is introduced to various colourful locals. After the party concludes, Cusack goes home. However, his slumber doesn’t last long because he hears a lot of commotion from Spacey’s place across the street from where Cusack is residing. It turns out that Spacey has shot and killed a young man played by Jude Law, who had earlier been making drunken threats to Spacey (an antiques dealer, by the way), and who was Spacey’s lover. Now what was going to be a disposable puff piece about a swank party, has turned into a murder trial story involving one of Savannah’s most prominent (and ‘in the closet’) citizens. He even manages to get the exclusive coverage by agreeing to help Spacey (who claims self-defence) and his attorney (Jack Thompson) in the investigation of…

Review: Space Jam

Nasty aliens capture the beloved Looney Tunes cartoon characters but said characters manage to convince the aliens to partake in a game of basketball to decide their fate instead. The nasty aliens, being nasty aliens, cheat and steal the talents of just about every big-time basketball star you can think of. But the Looney Tunes characters have one ace up their sleeve; retired NBA star turned mediocre baseball player Michael Jordan! Charles Barkley and Bill Murray play versions of themselves, Wayne Knight plays a baseball publicist, and Theresa Randle fakes being Jordan’s wife.

From what I’ve heard, part of the reason why director Joe Dante wanted to do “Looney Tunes: Back in Action” was to make up for this 1996 flick directed by Joe Pytka (“Let it Ride”, and several Michael Jackson music videos). I don’t know exactly why Dante doesn’t seem to be a fan of “Space Jam”, but I have a feeling he’d agree with a lot of the problems I had with this awful Michael Jordan vehicle masquerading as…

Review: Rage of the Yeti

David Chokachi and Matthew Kevin Anderson are cocky treasure hunters hired by douchy millionaire philanthropist David Hewlett to look for a prized ancient text somewhere in the Arctic. When they arrive, they are beset by nasty Yetis. Yes, Yetis. They must work with a research team stationed there (headed by Yancy Butler) if they are to stay alive and kill these horrible beasties. Oh, but Hewlett sends word that he wants one of the buggers alive. Y’know, just ‘coz he can. But- and here’s the shocker of all shockers- the Yetis don’t much like being captured, so they kinda put up a bit of resistance. Deadly resistance.

Every now and then, the SyFy channel make a film that doesn’t suck. “Arctic Predator” was one, and so is this 2011 flick from director/co-star David Hewlett (a “Stargate: Atlantis” alum), and writers Brooks Peck and Craig Engler. It’s stupid and the FX are frankly appalling (look at the fake backgrounds for most of Hewlett’s scenes!), but it’s a competent yarn and most of …

Review: Deliverance

Four men from the city (Atlanta to be exact) get in over their heads on a weekend canoe trip into backwoods territory when confronted by two single-minded creeps; toothless Coward and, intimidating and repugnant McKinney (the latter would go on to a respectable career in B movies and the occasional Clint Eastwood film. The former, however, would not). Reynolds is the brawny, uber-macho survivalist nut (still a suburbanite, though), Beatty is the somewhat irritable and irritating chubby one (you can call him Piggy, though), Cox the sensitive pacifist (perhaps the moral compass, but is such a thing plausible in Hicksville, USA? Not my criticism, but probably one of the film’s), and Voight is the somewhat quite and unsure one (you can call him Deer in Headlights).

Unusual, interesting (if supremely overrated), well-shot 1972 John Boorman (the even more overrated dark fantasy “Excalibur”) film is pretty well-done on all fronts (even Reynolds is good in this, in easily the best film of his…