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Showing posts from November 10, 2013

Review: The Watch

Ben Stiller plays a supermarket manager who is left shaken by the shocking murder of the store’s night watchman. This inspires him to start his own neighbourhood watch outfit. Unfortunately, the only volunteers he gets are a police academy reject (Jonah Hill), a boorish loudmouth merely looking for an excuse to hang out and party (Vince Vaughn), and a nerdy, socially awkward Brit (Richard Ayoade). At first, things don’t seem to be going anywhere, and local cop Will Forte is always on hand to mock Stiller’s efforts, but then the group uncover something sinister and altogether otherworldly: Aliens have landed and are impersonating human beings to infiltrate the ranks and carry out their dastardly deeds. Meanwhile, Stiller’s wife Rosemarie DeWitt desperately wants him to put a baby inside of her, but keeps getting rejected in favour of neighbourhood watch business. Billy Crudup plays a new neighbour who may be sexually interested in Stiller, might just be plain weird, or might be an alie…

Review: Get the Gringo

Mel Gibson plays a career crim and getaway driver trying to evade police by heading into Mexico after having stolen some cash ($2 million) from slimy Peter Stormare. The Mexican cops, being corrupt, keep the dosh and throw Gibson into El Pueblito, which is kind of a prison city, and frankly, a complete shithole full of corruption. While in prison he befriends a juvenile con (Kevin Hernandez) who lives there with his recovering addict mother (Dolores Heredia), and who is on tap to provide a liver to a local crime boss (Apparently you can have your family with you at this prison) played by Daniel Gimenez Cacho. Naturally, the gruff, self-preserving crim is softened by his interaction with the boy and his mother, but he also wants to get his damn money back. Peter Gerety plays a US Consul employee who is just as sleazy and corrupt as everyone else.

Not everyone finds it easy to watch a Mel Gibson movie these days, but I have to say that the on-screen impact of his off-screen alcohol-fuel…

Review: Cloud 9

Burt Reynolds plays an unscrupulous and allegedly charming scam artist who gets the genius idea of collecting an assorted group of strippers (African-American Kenya Moore, Hispanic tough girl Patricia de Leon, Foreign-accented Katheryn Winnick etc) and shape them into a beach volleyball team. Or at least look like that’s what he tells everyone, really he just wants to make megabucks with the least amount of actual volleyball being played. ‘Coz that would require far too much training, better to have them appear at big parties for a fee. Veteran stripper Angie Everhart, however, used to be a real player, and decides to help them out. The real volleyball players of course see right through Reynolds’ sham, just as everyone surely realises that team sponsor Mr. Wong is actually a Mexican named Juan who is passing himself off as Asian (really badly for supposed comic effect) so that he’ll be respected as a landscaper rather than simply a gardener. Paul Wesley and D.L. Hughley play Reynolds…

Review: The Watcher

James Spader plays a burnt-out, seriously drug-addicted FBI agent recently relocated from LA to Chicago, after he failed to nab a serial killer (Keanu Reeves) who killed someone close to him. Apparently this psycho has become attached to Spader and follows him to Chicago to start things up again. He plays games with the troubled agent by sending him photos of the intended victim and giving him a time frame in which to find them. Marisa Tomei plays Spader’s shrink, Chris Ellis is a detective, and Ernie Hudson is the superior officer.

Here’s a film where the behind-the-scenes back-story and speculation are more interesting than watching the film itself. The story I’ve read goes that Keanu Reeves gave director Joe Charbanic a verbal agreement years beforehand to do this dopey serial killer flick from 2000, with the understanding that his role was fairly small and insubstantial in the film. Apparently they used to play hockey together or something and he even directed videos for Reeves’ s…

Review: Three O’Clock High

High school dork Casey Siemaszko is asked to write a favourable piece on the recently transferred Richard Tyson, who comes with a seriously bad and violent rep, and may in fact be a complete psycho. Unfortunately, he’s a tough nut to crack, and Siemaszko, going the complete wrong way about it (this guy is very ‘touchy’ about being touched), ends up with an after school date with Tyson’s switchblade. He spends the rest of the day attempting everything under the sun to get out of his rendezvous with certain death, but it doesn’t look good for him. Jeffrey Tambor is the affable student supplies store owner whom Siemaszko works for, Phillip Baker Hall is a detective who specialises in juvenile crime, Charles Macaulay (who played Dracula in the blaxploitation favourite “Blacula”) is the intimidating chrome-domed VP, John P. Ryan is the principal, Caitlin O'Heaney plays a horny English teacher, Anne Ryan is Siemaszko’s quirky best pal (you can call her Mary Stuart Masterson in “Some Kin…

Review: The Minus Man

Owen Wilson plays Vann, a serial killer with a special line in poisoning his victims. He drifts into a small, rather melancholic town, renting a room from Mercedes Ruehl’s Jane, and strikes up a friendship with her unstable husband Doug (Brian Cox). Doug gets him a gig working for the local post-office, where he meets the lonely, open-faced Ferrin (Janeane Garofalo), who immediately latches herself onto Vann. She might just regret that. Dwight Yoakam and Dennis Haysbert have bizarro roles as two detectives who actually seem like figments of Vann’s imagination, who act like his conscience, and project all of the remorse, guilt, and fear of getting caught that the outwardly cool Vann seems incapable of. Eric Mabius and Sheryl Crow play two of Vann’s victims, whilst John Carroll Lynch plays a bartender.

A terrific dramatic performance by Owen Wilson and an overall sense of melancholia are the highlights of this interesting 1999 mood/character piece from writer-director Hampton Fancher (s…