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Showing posts from March 16, 2014

Review: A Sound of Thunder

Set in the US in 2055, Ben Kingsley plays the mastermind behind Time Safari Inc., which allows the rich to travel back in time to the prehistoric era and walk amongst the dinosaurs. And hunt them down. In order for the ‘butterfly effect’ to be adhered to, only dinosaurs who are set to die anyway are used, and a strict adherence to the location where they fall and die must be undertaken. Catherine McCormack plays a former employee of Kingsley’s who warns him of the dangers of carrying out such things, no matter what precautions they think they are undertaking. But she’s a girl and makes sense, so why would anyone listen to her? Unfortunately, after coming back from a latest expedition, chief palaeontologist Ed Burns (!) indeed suspects that something was changed in the past that is now going to cause havoc in the present. And this change will start a ripple effect of subsequent changes, and before long the world seems to be crumbling towards an apocalyptic end. Oh and there’s these rep…

Review: Solitary Man

Michael Douglas plays self-made man (and pants man) Ben Kalmen, a 60ish car dealer who still thinks he’s in his 20s. But Ben is falling on hard times, his business reputation having been damaged by the revelation of some dodgy practices. He is also finding it hard to connect with his loved ones (daughter Jenna Fischer, ex-wife Susan Sarandon), whom he has spent a lifetime neglecting for whatever piece of tail catches his eye. Not that Ben has any plans of changing his ways, he even beds the daughter (Imogen Poots) of his current girlfriend (Mary-Louise Parker) after accompanying the former to a college interview (He knows the dean). Ben is also afflicted with a serious health issue that he is trying to ignore whilst he focuses much of his energy on trying to regain his business cred in between quick shags. Meanwhile, he has taken an awkward college student (Jesse Eisenberg) under his wing, hoping to impart some ladies’ man wisdom on him. Did I mention that Ben is a complete narcissist…

Review: Casablanca

Set in the title city in French-controlled Morocco in the early 40s, which has yet to be taken over by the Nazis. It is seen as a temporary stop for fleeing refugees (as well as thieves, other assorted criminals and eccentrics), and some of these people come to Rick’s Cafe, run strangely enough by a guy named Rick (Humphrey Bogart). Rick is a cynical, world-weary guy who claims to not want to stick his neck out for anyone. And then in walks Rick’s old flame Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) and her husband, rĂ©sistance hero Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid), hoping to gain a visa to escape to America. Hoping to nab Victor are Nazi Maj. Strasser (Conrad Veidt- who in real-life absolutely hated the Nazis) and sly police captain Renault (Claude Rains), the latter of whom strongly suspects Rick of being in possession of two ‘letters of transit’ that would solve Laszlo’s problems. Further complications become evident when Rick and Ilsa appear to still harbour deep romantic feelings for one another. Bar pian…

Review: Fantastic Fear of Everything

Simon Pegg stars as a children’s author who is struggling to break out of that mould of twee stories about hedgehogs. He wants to write something more sinister, a Victorian-era crime novel. Unfortunately, his obsession with fear has led to him becoming, literally (and actually- see what I did there?) afraid of everything. He can barely even leave his apartment. He has to, though, in order to get to a business meeting. But first he needs to go to the Laundromat to wash his one and only shirt. This journey proves surprisingly sinister and terrifying for him. Paul Freeman plays Pegg’s shrink, and Amara Karan plays a sweet young woman at the Laundromat whom Pegg inadvertently frightens.

When you first read the synopsis for this 2012 film from writer/ co-director Crispian Mills (who was the lead singer of Kular Shaker, to the two of you who remember that one-hit wonder band whose only hit was a cover of ‘Hush’) and co-director/production designer Chris Hopewell, it sounds like a can’t miss…

Review: Les Miserables

Set in 19th Century France, Hugh Jackman stars as reformed thief Jean Valjean, whose wish to leave his criminal past behind him is constantly threatened by the overbearing presence of Inspector Javert, who refuses to let Valjean forget that he is and in his eyes forever will be a criminal who broke his parole. Valjean has since become a respectable factory owner under a different name. Unfortunately, his cover is blown when trying to save a prostitute named Fantine (Anne Hathaway, in the screen version of a role her own mother once played on stage!) from arrest. Fantine’s descent into a life of easy virtue was as a result of the factory manager firing her for being an unmarried mother, something Valjean feels somewhat responsible for. Javert sees through Valjean’s new respectable image, but once again Valjean manages to escape, this time rescuing Fantine’s infant daughter (Isabelle Allen) from her rotten guardians (played by Helena Bonham-Carter and a seriously slappable Sacha Baron C…