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Showing posts from July 13, 2014

Review: The World’s End

Five mates reunite to finish an epic pub crawl they never quite completed back in the day. In reality, though, none of the four really wants to join alcoholic loser Gary (Simon Pegg, who co-wrote) in his quest to get epically legless, and only show up for the sake of a catch-up. Especially reluctant is nerdy teetotaller Andy (Nick Frost) who like the others (played by Eddie Marsan, Martin Freeman, and Paddy Considine) has settled down, but also hasn’t drank in years. Undeterred, Gary brings his buddies back to their hometown to begin the epic 12 pub crawl. Weird thing is that none of the bartenders seem to remember the lads. Actually, the weird thing is that the majority of the township have been replaced by blue-blooded alien robots! Gary still wants to do the pub crawl, though, culminating in drinking a round at the title pub. Rosamund Pike plays Freeman’s sister, whom Considine still harbours a crush for, and Pierce Brosnan turns up as their former teacher.

I was a fan of writer-di…

Review: The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939)

The story of gypsy Esmerelda (Maureen O’Hara), and the title bell-ringer Quasimodo (Sir Charles Laughton) who pines for her and rescues her from being executed from a crime she didn’t commit, because she is the one person in Paris to treat the unfortunate hunchback with kindness. The true culprit is local judge Frollo (Sir Cedric Hardwicke), Quasimodo’s guardian who harbours romantic inclinations for Esmerelda that are not returned, thus he frames her for a murder that he himself has committed, having become mad with lustful feelings. Harry Davenport plays King Louis XI, somewhat clueless to Frollo’s Machiavellian machinations, whilst Thomas Mitchell plays ‘beggar king’ Clopin, a young Edmond O’Brien is a somewhat foolish street poet, Walter Hampden is Frollo’s polar opposite brother the Archdeacon, and George Zucco is a ruthless procurator.

A top-notch cast (well, for the most part) helps tremendously with this fine 1939 adaptation of the Victor Hugo classic directed by William S. Di…

Review: Emmanuelle

Sylvia Kristel (who really ought to have been a Bond girl at some point) stars as the title character who ventures to Bangkok to be with her diplomat husband (Daniel Sarky). Said husband tells her she should be free to explore her sexuality with others with his blessing. Emmanuelle’s arrival sparks an interest in young Marie-Ange (Baby-faced Christine Boisson), who boldly masturbates in front of her, and Emmanuelle has a post-squash tryst with another woman (Jeanne Colletin). However, Emmanuelle seems more taken with archaeologist Bee (Marika Green), whom she runs off with for an adventure without informing her husband. When this ends rather unsatisfactorily for her, Emmanuelle decides to meet with Mario (Alain Cuny), an older man who has been wanting to show Emmanuelle new levels of sexual pleasure.

A rite of passage for many a young hornbag, I’m afraid I hadn’t caught up with this landmark 1974 softcore flick from director Just Jaeckin (the uneven but crazy “Gwendoline”) until my 34t…

Review: The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)

Set in 15th century France, the title character, named Quasimodo (voiced by Tom Hulce) was taken in as a boy by judge Frollo (voiced by Tony Jay), who is an evil man confining the partially deaf Quasimodo to the belltower. Poor, unfortunate Quasimodo’s only company up there are the stone gargoyles (one voiced by Jason Alexander). However, one day he defies orders to watch a gypsy festival, where he becomes instantly smitten with gypsy girl Esmerelda (voiced by Demi Moore). He rescues her from the clutches of Frollo, who wants her arrested and burned at the stake. Or maybe he just wants to jump her bones. Unfortunately for both Quasimodo and Frollo, Esmerelda seems to only have eyes for Frollo’s chief guard Phoebus (voiced by Kevin Kline), though she treats the hunchback with more kindness and sympathy than anyone else in the city.

A bit of a serious undertaking for a Disney animated film, this 1996 adaptation of the famed Victor Hugo novel from directors Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise (…

Review: Grown Ups 2

Everybody’s back, minus Rob Schneider (hooray!) for the sequel to ‘Hey, Adam Sandler Has Friends!’. In this outing, the gang (Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, David Spade, and a flatulent Kevin James) throw an 80s party, get harassed by a bunch of dorky andovercompensating macho college brats (led by a shirtless Taylor Lautner), and generally just try and avoid their wives and children. Stone Cold Steve Austin plays a former high school bully re-entering the picture to the horror of Sandler, whilst Cheri Oteri plays a woman who never got over her grade school crush on Sandler, who doesn’t even recognise her. Jon Lovitz plays a perverted janitor who poses as a Pilates instructor, whilst Salma Hayek, Maria Bello, Maya Rudolph, Colin Quinn, Tim Meadows, and Steve Buscemi all reprise their roles from the original.

The original “Grown Ups” could’ve been one of the more enjoyable Adam Sandler films, with a bit more effort and depth. Unfortunately, Adam just wanted to go on vacation with his buddie…

Review: The Bank Job

Inspired by a real-life robbery in the 70s, Jason Statham stars as a former ne’er do well, now a family man and garage owner, though in debt to a loan shark, currently. Waltzing back into his life is former flame Saffron Burrows, with a job offer: A heist gig, on short notice to rob the safety deposit vault of a bank on Baker Street, London, full of cash and jewellery. What’s really going on unbeknownst to Statham is that Burrows is sleeping with an MI5 agent (Richard Lintern) who wants Burrows to find some disreputable types to break in, so that he can get his mitts on some seriously kinky photos of Princess Margaret (!) and certain politicians, that blackmailers are holding over the government. Actually the politicians are worried because a certain local Madame also has a different deposit box at the bank with incriminating evidence. In addition to his usual crew, Statham hires a dapper con man (James Faulkner’s ‘Major’), as well as an experienced tunneller (Alki David). Meanwhile, …

Review: Fahrenheit 451

Set in a future where books are said to lead to depression, disharmony, and unhelpful idealism, the black-clad fire brigade are the dominant policing unit. Instead of putting out fires, they’re in charge of burning books. One such fireman is played by Oskar Werner, who lives a content, unquestioning existence with his wife, played by Julie Christie. But then he meets a local schoolteacher (also played by Christie) who encourages Werner to actually read the books he burns. And that’s where the trouble begins for Werner, who finds books so much more fascinating than his otherwise anti-septic, emotionally inert, brain-draining existence. How long until fellow firemen like Anton Diffring come looking for him? Cyril Cusack plays the rather creepy fire chief, most distressed by Werner’s recent behaviour.

Based on a Ray Bradbury novel (apparently the first to be adapted into a film), this 1966 sci-fi film from director/co-writer Francois Truffaut (“The 400 Blows”, “The Bride Wore Black”) may…