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Showing posts from April 13, 2014

Review: Grace is Gone

John Cusack plays a loving father of two girls (Shelan O’Keefe and Gracie Bednarczyk), who finds out the tragic news that his soldier wife has died whilst fighting in Iraq. Cusack, a proud Republican and pro-troops guy is left shattered and unable to work out how to tell his children, let alone how to process it himself. So instead, he chucks them in the car and tells them they’re going on a vacation to Florida for a bit, and mum’s not coming along. He’s trying to delay the inevitable, of course...but for his kids, or himself? A perfectly cast Alessandro Nivola plays Cusack’s borderline militant, left-wing brother, whom the trio bump into when dropping in on the grandparents.

The always likeable John Cusack isn’t enough to make this 2007 drama from writer-director James C. Strouse (whose only other film is an imaginatively titled sports film called “The Winning Season”) soar like you think it should. Cusack’s character keeps his emotions in check for most of the film, and that creates…

Review: North Star

Set in Alaska in the late 1800s, James Caan stars as a ruthless mining magnate who uses his heavies (lead by 56 year-old Burt Young!) to make sure that any land he wishes to mine, becomes his. No matter who else might have the claim, Caan will just have them killed and outbid everyone else at auction, or in the case of some Norwegian immigrants, will institute a law that non-American citizens cannot register a claim to land. Basically, he’s a major arsehole, with no one able to put an end to his arseholishness (That word is trademarked to me, by the way, in case you wanted to steal it). Into this situation comes half-breed Christopher Lambert, challenging Caan’s right to take other people’s land, and running off with Caan’s mistress (Catherine McCormack). Thus a chase ensues through the Alaskan wilderness. Meanwhile, McCormack learns a few truths about Caan and about Lambert (Because she’s an idiot and couldn’t work it out for herself up to this point, apparently).

We all know that Am…

Review: Legend

Our hero is young Jack (Tom Cruise), who must save his beloved Princess Lily (Mia Sara) from the horned beast known as Darkness (Tim Curry, beneath a LOT of prosthetic makeup), whose evil plan is to kill the last two unicorns in existence which will result in darkness (and therefore Darkness) forever enveloping the land. David Bennent plays an unintentionally creepy forest sprite named Gump, Billy Barty plays a similarly creepy character by the name of Screwball.

I loved fantasy literature when I was a kid (sci-fi with a humorous bent was more my thing, though), but for some reason, this 1985 Ridley Scott (“Alien”, “Blade Runner”, “Black Rain”, “American Gangster”) film just wasn’t my bag. In 2014, it’s slightly more my bag, though I’m less into your princess fairytale stuff and more into your elves, warriors, and wizards stuff. This is full-on princesses, fairies, goblins, and demons. “Labyrinth”-style stuff, basically. It’d make an interesting triple-bill with “The Dark Crystal” and…