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Showing posts from August 10, 2014

Review: The Lone Ranger

Dandified DA John Reid (Armie Hammer) is a man of the law who turns into the masked vigilante of the title when his brother (James Badge Dale) and fellow Texas Rangers are murdered by a gang of outlaws headed by the scarred William Fichtner. But Fichtner is a mere cog in a criminal wheel in a much bigger conspiracy involving railroad tycoon Tom Wilkinson. Johnny Depp plays possibly screw-loose Indian loner Tonto, who nurses a wounded Reid back to health after the ambush of the Rangers. Ruth Wilson plays Reid’s sister-in-law, whilst Barry Pepper plays an army captain with a more questionable spine than a paraplegic (Of which I am one, so please spare me the angry emails), and Helena Bonham Carter turns up as a madam.

This 2013 film from Gore Verbinski (The “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise and “Rango”) is exactly what I thought it would be from the trailers. It’s a bloated showcase for Johnny Depp to run amok in a film more interested in the sidekick than the hero, which ends up pla…

Review: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Set in the fictional French Riviera town of Beaumont-sur-Mer (Though actually filmed in Nice), Michael Caine plays debonair con man Lawrence Jamieson, whose con game is so sophisticated and lucrative that it has even afforded him his own butler (Ian McDiarmid, Emperor Palpatine to you and I). His con usually involves impersonating a rich prince attempting to raise funds for resistance fighters back home. But he always refuses women’s’ charity at least at first, before thanking them kindly and ‘reluctantly’ accepting. It’s a good gig, but Lawrence’s world is about to be turned upside down by a crass interloper, gauche American Freddy Benson (Steve Martin), a decidedly smaller-scale confidence man who robs gullible women blind by offering a sob story about his sick and dearly beloved grandmother. Not only is Jamieson feeling threatened by someone moving in on his territory, he’s offended by the third-rate con artist’s shameless, classless (i.e. American!) methods. But after attempting t…

Review: Emmanuelle 4

Sylvia Kristel stars as Sylvia, a woman sick of her relationship with Marc (a young Patrick Bauchau, yes, that Patrick Bauchau), but knowing how likely it is that she’ll end up falling under his spell again, she undertakes some very extreme measures. Flying from Hollywood to Brazil, she undergoes a complete plastic surgery procedure, which somehow winds back her biological clock ten years, but also somehow makes her a virgin again (!). Going from brunette to blonde and now calling herself Emmanuelle (played by Mia Nygren) she is encouraged by sexy psychiatrist Donna (Deborah Power) to explore her new self, if ‘ya know what I mean.

This 1984 sequel from dual writer-directors Francis Leroi and Iris Letans is a long way from the heights of “Emmanuelle II”, but is a massive improvement over the dismal “Goodbye, Emmanuelle”. Oh it’s one helluva stupid film, don’t get me wrong, but at least it’s under no illusions as to what genre of filmmaking it belongs to.

This time out, either a dissati…

Review: Goodbye, Emmanuelle

Set in the Seychelles, Emmanuelle (Sylvia Kristel, stunning but back to short hair, unfortunately) seems bored with the carefree sex her open marriage to husband Jean (Umberto Orsini) affords her. In fact, she spends most of the damn film pursuing a seemingly disinterested documentary filmmaker (Jean-Pierre Bouvier). Could it finally be over between Emmanuelle and Jean? Not if the increasingly jealous Jean has anything to say about it.

After hitting the heights of the softcore genre with the previous film, the “Emmanuelle” series completely bottoms out with this dreadfully dull, ill-conceived serious entry from director Fran├žois Leterrier (mostly coming from a TV background) and co-writer Monique Lange. There is absolutely no fun to be had in this dreary affair which not only tones down the sex considerably (every scene had potential but looks heavily cut- which turns out not to be the case. This is the film as it was designed to be), but also ruins Emmanuelle as a character. It turns…

Review: Emmanuelle II

After a dalliance with another passenger on an all-girl cruise to Hong Kong, Emmanuelle (Sylvia Kristel) is reunited with her husband once again (This time the husband is played by the very different-looking Umberto Orsini). Although the reunited lovers are quick to give into their animal lust for one another, the film involves Emmanuelle embarking on a variety of other sexual adventures, some with her husband in tow (including a sensual group massage in a bath-house), some not (such as a rendezvous with a tattooed polo player seemingly just for the hell of it). She also befriends young dancer Anna Maria, whom Emmanuelle discovers is a virgin. Emmanuelle thinks it’s her duty to change that. First she boinks Anna Maria’s dance teacher, of course.

I wasn’t much impressed with the 1974 original, it hasn’t aged well and is incredibly tame. However, this 1975 sequel from director/co-writer Francis Giacobetti is a massive improvement on just about every level. So long as you know what kind …