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Showing posts from November 17, 2013

Review: Red Rock West

Gimpy, unemployed drifter Nic Cage turns up in Red Rock, Wyoming, and enters a bar owned by a guy named Wayne (J.T. Walsh). For some reason, Wayne confuses Cage for the guy he has hired for $5,000, to murder his cheatin’ wife (Lara Flynn Boyle). Needing cash, Cage doesn’t fess up, and aims to split with the advance he’s already been given, but when he meets the smouldering Boyle, he decides to warn her instead. And then the real ‘Lyle from Dallas’ turns up, and Cage finds himself in one helluva sticky situation. Oh, did I mention that Wayne’s ‘other’ job is as local sheriff? Timothy Carhart plays Wayne’s deputy.

Directed by John Dahl (“The Last Seduction”) and co-written by Dahl and his brother Rick (who has since only penned one other screenplay), this 1993 noir is certainly familiar and typical of the genre. In some ways, I can understand why it wasn’t released in cinemas in Australia, and debuted on cable TV in the US. However, spot-on casting, terrific noirish lighting (that almos…

Review: The Sessions

John Hawkes stars as a polio-afflicted 38 year-old man, a poet and journalist confined to an iron lung, and paralysed from the neck down. He is entirely dependent on a series of carers of varying levels of dedication and demeanour. He is also a pretty devout Catholic and converses with easy-going priest William H. Macy about his desire to lose his virginity before it’s too late as he thinks his time is running out. The solution? Well, he’s already been commissioned to write an article on sex and the disabled, but this leads him to think about his own situation. The plan is to seek out a sex surrogate, someone who, unlike a prostitute, will sensitively guide him through the process of bringing pleasure, without seeking further business. After a few ‘sessions’, her work will be done, and will never need to see Hawkes again. But will it really be that easy for Hawkes and married (with a teenage son to boot) professional sex surrogate Helen Hunt once they have shared such an intimate expe…

Review: Poltergeist

This film centres around the Freeling family, who have newly moved into a new house in Cuesta Verde. It soon appears that the house is haunted, however it’s only when youngest daughter Carol Ann (the tragically short-lived Heather O’Rourke, who died in 1988) mysteriously disappears that this All-American family starts to take the spooky supernatural goings on seriously. It would appear that Carol Ann has been sucked into another realm, and the Freelings must resort to hiring a team of parapsychologists (including Beatrice Straight and Richard Lawson), and later a diminutive psychic (the late and inimitable Zelda Rubinstein), in order to bring their beloved little girl back from ‘the other side’. Oliver Robbins and Dominique Dunne (who was shockingly murdered not long after this film was made) play the other Freeling children.

No one’s going to tell you with a straight face that this is a bad film. It’s a solid film, no doubt about it. It is not, however, a great film, and I have serio…

Review: Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Talk about bloody barmy ideas, get this: Amr Waked plays a Yemeni sheikh who comes up with the cockamamie idea of introducing salmon fishing in the Yemen. To achieve this he has asked his British consultant Emily Blunt approach the Department of Fisheries, and specifically, socially awkward scientist Ewan McGregor. McGregor (whose character seems to suffer from slight Asperger’s), rightly scoffs at the very notion of it. I mean, introducing salmon fishing in the middle of the bloody desert? Enter the British PM’s press secretary, played by Kristin Scott Thomas, who is desperately looking for something to improve relations between Britain and the Middle East, at least on a superficial, public level. Thus, McGregor finds himself reluctantly involved in the whole barmy exercise of having to export salmon naturally occurring in Scotland to the Middle East. Yeah. Rachael Stirling plays McGregor’s frumpy wife, who is unhappy in their marriage and goes off to Geneva for work. Meanwhile, Blun…

Review: Drive

Ryan Gosling plays Driver, who is a stunt driver for the movies by day, and a getaway driver for-hire by night. Driver falls for lonely neighbour Irene (Carey Mulligan), who has a young son. She also has a dipshit husband (Oscar Isaac) fresh out of prison, and Driver soon finds himself wanting to protect Irene and her son by trying to get said dipshit husband out of a jam with some very bad people, by getting involved in a heist. The heist goes terribly and soon Driver has a couple of mobsters (Albert Brooks and Ron Perlman) on his arse. A shockingly frumpy-looking Christina Hendricks plays an untrustworthy heist accomplice, and Bryan Cranston is Driver’s friendly employer, a mechanic who is trying to hook Driver up with a deal as a race driver.

If you like films such as “Bullitt”, “The Driver”, “To Live and Die in LA” and especially “Point Blank”, you’re gonna like this 2011 quasi-homage from director Nicolas Winding Refn (the rather extraordinary “Valhalla Rising”, as well as “Brons…