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Showing posts from September 1, 2013

Review: Wanted: Dead or Alive

Rutger Hauer stars as Nick Randall a bounty hunter and former CIA man, who’d much rather be on his boat with his gal (Mel Harris). Instead, he’s mostly tracking down Arab terrorist Malak Ah Rahim (Gene Simmons, AKA The God of Thunder). He becomes particularly obsessed with nabbing the international terrorist when his violent deeds hit close to home for Randall. Robert Guillaume is cast as one of the few CIA guys who isn’t an a-hole, Jerry Hardin most certainly does play an a-hole, and William Russ is Randall’s cop buddy.

I guess the reason Rutger Hauer’s ascension to the top of the action hero throne was cut short had a lot to do with his choice in film projects. This 1987 Gary Sherman (“Raw Meat”, “Vice Squad”, “Poltergeist III”) directed adaptation (well, kinda) of the Steve McQueen TV series is usually one of the film’s mentioned when discussing Hauer’s plummet from almost-star to direct-to-DVD mainstay. It’s not all that bad, and far from Hauer’s worst, but it’s definitely a prime…

Review: The Incident

We slowly meet a varied group of NY train passengers who are about to have their courage, patience, and spirits tested by a couple of seemingly hopped-up criminals (cackling sadist Martin Sheen and wild-eyed Tony Musante) who try to break everybody down. Just for the hell of it, seemingly, as everyone’s flaws (and general apathy) are exposed. Gary Merrill is a recovering alcoholic, Robert Fields is an intensely nervous homosexual, Brock Peters is an arrogant black activist married to the more sedate Ruby Dee, Beau Bridges plays an injured good ‘ol boy returned soldier, Thelma Ritter and Jack Gilford are an old married couple, Mike Kellin is a jealous husband to leggy Jan Sterling, Ed McMahon (!) is a cranky tight-arse travelling with his wife and kid, and Donna Mills plays one half of a vapid young couple too busy making out to notice anything going on around them. There’s also a drunken bum asleep on the train too.

This startling 1967 Larry Peerce (“Ash Wednesday”, “Two-Minute Warnin…

Review: Sister, Sister

A Louisiana mansion houses Judith Ivey and her emotionally troubled sister Jennifer Jason Leigh. They open up their mansion to guests like a Bed & Breakfast, to get by financially. Ivey is protective of Leigh, but when visiting Congressional aide Eric Stoltz starts hanging around the latter, it’s actually handyman Benjamin Mouton who first warns the young man to stay away. The growing relationship between Leigh and Stoltz continues to raise tensions between Stoltz and Mouton (the latter having a crush on Leigh himself), but also between the two sisters, as Stoltz wants Leigh to get out from under her sister’s thumb. Eventually, dark, long-buried secrets from the family’s past are uncovered. Deadly secrets.

Co-written and directed by a debuting Bill Condon (who went on to make the respected “Gods and Monsters”), it’s a miracle his career continued after this pathetic 1987 Gothic murder-mystery/melodrama masquerading as a horror film. Co-written by Joel ‘Not Joel Coen’ Cohen (“Pass …

Review: The Quiller Memorandum

George Segal stars as Quiller, an MI6 agent (yes, with an American accent) sent by his gentlemanly handler Pol (Sir Alec Guinness) to Berlin to investigate a potential underground group of Neo-Nazis on the rise, and the murder of two British agents. Senta Berger plays Inge, a simple school teacher whom Segal takes a fancy to, whilst Max von Sydow is Oktober, the aristocratic head of the Nazi organisation, who at one point captures Quiller, and drugs him in a bid to prise vital information out of him. Peter Carsten, Sir Robert Helpmann, Robert Flemyng, and George Sanders play a collection of characters on the fringes of the story, whilst Gunter Meissner plays a swimming instructor who has some vital information to Quiller’s investigation.

Directed by Michael Anderson (“Around the World in 80 Days”, “Operation Crossbow”, “Logan’s Run”) and scripted by playwright Harold Pinter (“The Last Tycoon”) from a Elleston Trevor (“Flight of the Phoenix”) novel, this 1966 film is one of the better …

Review: Night Patrol

Murray Langston stars as a mild-mannered but whiny cop who has a side gig as a paper bag-wearing stand-up comedian of questionable talent (dubbed ‘The Unknown Comic’). The two jobs end up crossing over when a criminal starts to go around town committing crimes whilst wearing- you guessed it- a paper bag over their head. At one point we start to see a third person in similar garb. Meanwhile, a pretty female police officer (Linda Blair as ‘Sue Perman’) has a none too subtle crush on our protagonist. Jaye B. Morgan turns up as the manager of the Unknown Comic, Billy Barty plays the flatulent dwarf police captain, Jack Riley is an oddball shrink, and Pat Paulson plays Langston’s veteran police partner, who is into cheap, meaningless sex.

From the director of “Blood Diner” (a horrible film, by the way), Jackie Kong comes this pathetic 1984 comedy that makes you appreciate that other police comedy from 1984 (“Police Academy”) all the more. Or at least the one “Police Academy” film worth see…

Review: Piranha 3DD

Danielle Panabaker plays a marine biology student (The sea was angry that day, my friends!) who returns home to her dad’s water park to find that the horny old man (David Koechner) has turned it into a part water park, part strip-bar (!). He is also illegally pumping water into the park from an underground lake, which goes awry when the prehistoric piranha come from the lake and into the water park/strip joint and start attacking everybody! When Panabaker tries to warn him after a friend is attacked, Koechner doesn’t want to listen because the David Hasselhoff headlining opening is coming up. Christopher Lloyd again plays the resident scientist who seems even crazier than last time. Meanwhile, Ving Rhames’ deputy somehow survived the last film and now has guns for legs. Gary Busey and Clu Gulager play crazy rednecks in the opening scene, whilst Chris Zylka, Matt Bush and Katrina Bowden are the potential teen piranha fodder.

This is a bit of a tricky one. This 2012 film from director J…

Review: 30 Minutes or Less

Jesse Eisenberg is Nick, a slacker pizza delivery dude kidnapped by two masked numbskulls (Danny McBride and Nick Swardson), having a bomb strapped to his chest, and forced to rob a bank for the $100,000 the twits need to pay an assassin (Michael Pena) to kill their retired, military hard-arse father (Fred Ward, delivering R. Lee Ermey’s dialogue). You see, Ward hit it big winning the lottery a while back, and they’re looking to collect. In order to commit the robbery, Nick employs the help of his teacher best pal Chet (played by the very Chet-sounding Aziz Ansari), whose twin sister (Dilshad Vadsaria) Nick has the hots for. Bianca Kajlich briefly bears her breasts as a stripper named Juicy. Yes, Juicy.

Ruben Fleischer gave us one of the best films of 2009 with the irreverent zombie comedy “Zombieland”. Unfortunately, for his sophomore effort he has given us this bungled 2011 slacker action-comedy. The cast are mostly fine talents, but an action comedy needs to work seriously and come…