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Showing posts from June 22, 2014

Review: Cromwell

Brooding Richard Harris is the 17th century Englishman, an idealistic member of the House of Commons, who wishes to rescue his beloved England from its supposedly unfair system where King Charles (Sir Alec Guinness) reigns autocratically and his sycophants do all the talking, not the common man. He takes up the fight with his fellow Parliamentarians against the King and his Royalists, and not just on the battlefield as Cromwell defends the downtrodden who have had no voice. Timothy Dalton plays the King’s rather incompetent, foppish nephew Prince Rupert. Robert Morley is the duplicitous Earl of Manchester, a parliamentary rival of Cromwell’s. Charles Gray, Douglas Wilmer and Geoffrey Keen play Cromwell’s parliamentary allies.

1970 historical biopic from writer-director Ken Hughes (of “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” fame) gets generally poor reviews from people probably more qualified to talk about its lack of historical accuracy (among other supposed flaws) than myself. All I can say is tha…

Review: Manhattan Murder Mystery

Woody Allen and Diane Keaton star as a married couple, and the latter comes to suspect that their neighbour (Jerry Adler) has murdered his wife. Woody wants her to keep out of it, they hardly knew the couple anyway, but Keaton can’t let things lie, even as the cause of death is ruled a heart attack. Their mutual friend (Alan Alda) humours Keaton, though, and pretty soon even Woody’s poker-playing work colleague Anjelica Huston is joining in on the sleuthing, too. Look for Zach Braff as Woody and Keaton’s son. He looked the same in 1993 that he would a decade later on TV’s “Scrubs” (Or now, for that matter).

Although popular with audiences and critics, I have to say I found this 1993 Woody Allen (“Annie Hall”, “Manhattan”, “Hollywood Ending”) comic murder-mystery practically unbearable. Co-written by Marshall Brickman (“Sleeper”, “Annie Hall”, “Manhattan”), it’s boring beyond belief and both Woody and Diane Keaton play the dullest couple in cinematic history. Why was any of this filmed…

Review: Elysium

Set in the year 2154 where the populace is divided by wealth. The rich have relocated to the title space station where they enjoy technological innovations in health care and the like. The rest of human society, however are pretty much worker drones on an overpopulated, but decrepit Earth. Matt Damon plays a ne’er do well former car thief in need of a ride to Elysium after coming into contact with radiation that leaves him with about a week left to live. Meanwhile politician Jodie Foster enjoys the affluent life on Elysium and is attempting to introduce anti-immigration laws so that the status quo is kept. Damon has enlisted the aid of some of his former contacts from the bad old days, who agree to help him get to Elysium- for a price, of course. This involves a heist, and the CEO (William Fichtner) of the company Damon works for. Said CEO (who therefore works for Elysium) has a bunch of super-secret, super-important information stored in his head. He is also in league with Foster, wh…

Review: Behind the Candelabra

A biopic of the infamously flamboyant ivory tinkler, who remained a closeted homosexual (perhaps only to deaf and blind people), in order to be accepted by mainstream audiences. The film mostly focuses on his tumultuous relationship with former foster child Scott Thorson (Matt Damon), his much younger bisexual lover. Rob Lowe plays a cosmetically altered plastic surgeon acquaintance, who introduces Scott to the California diet, that turns him into a paranoid, drug-addicted mess. Scott Bakula plays Thorson’s best friend, an unrecognisable Debbie Reynolds (who was friends with the real Liberace) plays Liberace’s ailing Polish mother, Dan Aykroyd is Liberace’s long-serving manager, and Paul Reiser has a small role as Scott’s lawyer.

Said to be the last feature film from Steven Soderbergh (“sex, lies, and videotape”, “Traffic”, “The Good German”, “Contagion”), this 2013 biopic debuted on cable in the US, but had a theatrical release elsewhere. It’s probably one of Soderbergh’s more access…