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Showing posts from July 27, 2014

Review: Star Trek Into Darkness

After violating the Prime Directive in order to save Spock (Zachary Quinto), Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) is stripped of his captaincy…ever-honest Spock even dobbing him in. Serving under Capt. Pike (Bruce Greenwood), Kirk attends a Starfleet meeting that goes to hell when a rogue Starfleet officer attacks the group from his ship, killing Pike, before fleeing to a Klingon planet. Admiral Marcus (Peter Weller) reinstates Kirk and orders he and the Enterprise crew to find and kill the rogue officer, John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch). Once on the planet Kronos, however, Harrison ends up saving the Enterprise crew from a Klingon attack, and he then promptly surrenders himself. The plot thickens. Alice Eve plays Carol Marcus, Admiral Marcus’ daughter who signs on to the Enterprise as a science officer under a pseudonym.

I enjoyed the 2009 re-boot of “Star Trek” but wasn’t as enamoured with it as many others were. This was due to some casting/character issues (notably Zachary Quinto’s Spock…

Review: Sharknado 2: The Second One

Ian Ziering is back as the former surfer and Sharknado survivor who is travelling via plane with ex Tara Reid (who is kinda not his ex anymore), when he thinks he spots some sharks flying around in bad-looking weather outside the window. Indeed, it’s started all over again, and Reid somehow gets injured in all the calamity. She is hospitalised while Ziering travels to New York to try and get to his estranged sister (Kari Wuhrer!) and her family, who are about to attend a baseball game. A baseball game about to be cancelled by bad Sharknado weather. Judd Hirsch plays a New York cabbie, Mark McGrath plays Wuhrer’s husband who has a past with Ziering, Vivica A. Fox is their friend who has an even more interesting past with Ziering, with Judah Friedlander as another old buddy. Cameos include Robert Hays as the plane captain (Sadly not named Oveur), Sandy ‘Pepa’ Denton as one of Wuhrer’s gal pals, Billy Ray Cyrus as a surgeon (!), wrestler/Olympic gold medallist Kurt Angle as a fire chief …

Review: Bullets Over Broadway

Set in the 1920s, John Cusack stars as a neurotic playwright whose new work gets a rather unorthodox backer, NY mobster Joe Viterelli…so long as Cusack (who refuses to let anyone but himself direct) agrees to fulfil the artistic ambitions of Viterelli’s talentless, dingbat girlfriend Jennifer Tilly and give her a big role. As for the lead role? Cusack hires melodramatic, egotistical (faded) ‘star’ Dianne Wiest, whom he somehow becomes infatuated with. Meanwhile, Viterelli has insisted one of his goons (Chazz Palminteri) accompany Tilly to work every day, and wouldn’t you know it, the big lug has surprisingly valid creative ideas of his own! Jim Broadbent plays an English actor whose diet is dictated by his nerves, Tracey Ullman plays an annoying actress with a similarly annoying dog, Mary-Louise Parker is Cusack’s girlfriend, Jack Warden is Cusack’s producer who introduces him to Viterelli, and Rob Reiner is Cusack’s failed playwright colleague.

Although there are some good performanc…

Review: Beast From Haunted Cave

Chicago crims (led by Frank Wolff, and including Richard Sinatra, Sheila Carol, and Wally Campo) venture to snowy South Dakota to pose as tourists at a local ski lodge. They’re really hoping to rob the storage facility for a local gold mine, misdirecting unwanted attention by setting off explosives inside the gold mine itself. Their plan also includes hiring an unsuspecting ski instructor (Michael Forest) to guide them to a cabin where they will be met by a plane for their escape. Unfortunately, things hit a snag the night before the robbery, as would-be ladies’ man Sinatra has himself a bit of nookie with a local chickie whilst in the mine, as he is supposed to be setting the explosives. And that’s when the spider-like monster makes its presence known, killing the mood, and the girl. No one believes Sinatra, and the heist is still planned to go ahead. Bad idea.

Producer Gene Corman (“Attack of the Giant Leeches”, “Cool Breeze”) remakes an earlier film produced by his brother Roger (“…

Review: Monsters University

Here’s the story of how monsters and eventual best buds Mike (voiced by Billy Crystal) and Sully (voiced by John Goodman) first met. They are freshmen at Monsters University, and it’s actually hate at first sight as obnoxious second generation ‘scarer’ Sully and wannabe scarer Mike (whom no one finds remotely scary no matter how hard he tries) both manage to flunk the scaring program. Well, actually they are kicked out of it by the disdainful Dean Hardscrabble (voiced by Dame Helen Mirren) when their rivalry causes mayhem. But they have one chance to get their scholastic scarer ambitions back on track by joining a fraternity and entering (and winning) the Scare Games. Initially reluctant to work together, Mike and Sully end up forced to team up and join a ragtag (to put it mildly) group of inept would-be scarers (sorry, ran out of euphemisms). If they lose, the entire team will be expelled. Steve Buscemi provides the voice of Randall Boggs, Mike’s college roommate, who is frankly a bi…

Review: The Mountain

When a Calcutta-to-Paris bound plane crashes somewhere in the mountains, experienced climber Spencer Tracy (supposedly playing a Frenchman) is asked to lead a rescue (or recovery) mission. He politely refuses, claiming to be retired and frankly too old. His younger brother Robert Wagner wants to go up there for his own grave-robbing reasons, and although a past trauma up those mountains still haunts Tracy, he agrees to go up there with the kid (who is less experienced in climbing) to make sure he doesn’t die, and maybe even to get him to see sense. E.G. Marshall plays the leader of the initial search party, who aren’t as knowledgeable or skilled as Tracy, whilst Claire Trevor (who apparently didn’t think highly of the film at all) briefly appears as a local woman.

If you don’t mind the occasionally clunky dialogue, and can get past 56 year-old Spencer Tracy and the always cool Robert Wagner (26 years-old here, and he has such incredible genes that even in 2014 he still doesn’t look hi…