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Showing posts from September 7, 2014

Review: Deep Impact

Teen astronomy geek Elijah Wood and astronomer Charles Martin Smith discover a comet. Smith soon learns something really, really bad, but before he can tell anyone about it, he is killed in a car crash. A year later, MSNBC reporter Tea Leoni stumbles upon what she thinks is a sex scandal cover-up involving Secretary of Treasury James Cromwell. Turns out it’s a much, much bigger story. Apparently that pesky comet is headed for Earth, and is the size of a freakin’ city. President Morgan Freeman is forced to go public with the news. He tells of plans to send a NASA mission to give the comet a nuclear blast and hopefully divert its course. If that fails, then a national lottery system will be set up to select a certain percentage of the population to be moved to a newly constructed underground safe haven. Robert Duvall plays the veteran astronaut in charge of the space mission, who feels out of touch with his tight-knit younger team of astronauts (Ron Eldard, Jon Favreau, Mary McDonnell, …

Review: Fast & Furious 6

The central trio of Vin Diesel, his sister Jordana Brewster, and their respective best friend and husband Paul Walker, are living in the Canary Islands, well away from any possible extradition for past sins. Walker and Brewster have just started a family, but you sense a bit of a restless spirit in former cop and former crim Walker. Then one day out of the blue, Diesel is visited by musclebound FBI man Dwayne Johnson, who has an unusual request: He needs Diesel and his top-notch crew of car thieves to help him nab a rogue Special Forces guy (Luke Evans) up to no-good criminal mastermind stuff with a similar vehicular bent. The lure on the hook for Diesel? Diesel’s former lover Michelle Rodriguez is alive and apparently under Evans’ wing. The rest of the crew (Walker, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Sung Kang, Gal Gadot) are happy to do the gig, as they see it as bringing one of their own home, with Johnson and his new butt-kicking female partner Gina Carano accompanying them. But the rescue …

Review: 10 Years

It’s school reunion time, where old mistakes and embarrassments will resurface, some new ones will emerge, lies will be told about current circumstances to hide the failures and disappointments of the last decade, bullies and nerds will reacquaint themselves with one another, and spouses will be forcibly introduced with the guy or girl that their other half used to date. Good times. Channing Tatum arrives with his girlfriend (played by real-life wife Jenna Dewan-Tatum), nervously wondering if high school flame Rosario Dawson is gonna turn up, as things ended somewhat messily, it seems. Pssst. She does indeed turn up, with husband Ron Livingston. Hooray for awkwardness! High school sweethearts Chris Pratt and Ari Graynor are married with kids, but Pratt still harbours guilt for his bullying ways in high school and hopes to rectify the situation. It doesn’t go well because Pratt’s a pitiful douchebag who hasn’t really changed. Oscar Isaac went on to become a somewhat successful John May…

Review: Willard (2003)

Willard (Crispin Glover) is the very definition of social misfit, and lives with his smothering, frail mother (Jackie Burroughs). He works at the business started by his deceased father, and faces daily verbal abuse from his hateful boss (R. Lee Ermey), though co-worker Laura Elena Harring is sympathetic. Willard’s only real friends are the rats he keeps in the basement, particularly white rat Socrates, whom Willard sees an intelligence in. He trains these rats to do as he commands. Socrates’ polar opposite is the aggressive Ben, who seems to be jealous of the special relationship the gentler Socrates has with Willard. When Willard can take the abuse no longer, he has his trained rats carry out his vengeful orders.

Quirky (understatement of the century) character actor Crispin Glover finds the perfect vehicle for his unique…state of being, in this darkly funny 2003 remake of the 1971 cult film. Written and directed by Glen Morgan (the underrated “Final Destination”, the abysmal remake…

Review: Fay Grim

Parker Posey is the title character who is looking after a young son on her own, after the boy’s father Henry Fool (Thomas Jay Ryan) left to go on the lam years ago. The CIA have started to sniff around (in the person of Jeff Goldblum), looking for some important notebooks of Henry’s (apparently containing his confessions), and say they’ll release Fay’s famed author/prison inmate brother (James Urbaniak) in exchange for them. The notebooks apparently also contain hidden spy codes, and that’s when the fit hits the proverbial shans for Fay, as her life is now in danger from all manner of underworld types and the Government sends her to work as an international spy in search of the missing journals! Saffron Burrows plays a mystery woman who looks like she could be a supermodel.

My continual head-scratching at the popularity and high regard for indie filmmaker Hal Hartley (the gobsmackingly stupid and pretentious “No Such Thing”) is in full swing with this 2006 follow-up to his “Henry Foo…

Review: St. Louis Blues

In his first and only leading role in a major Hollywood film, Nat ‘King’ Cole stars as W.C. Handy, the famed African-American jazz songwriter, with Eartha Kitt the ‘speak easy’ singer who performs his songs like the title tune, and isn’t quite the standard femme fatale seductress she might first appear to be (Hey, it’s Eartha Kitt, you can’t help but expect it). Handy has to contend with stern disapproval from his rigid preacher father (Juano Hernandez) who wants him to play ‘God’s music’, but his aunt (Pearl Bailey) is much more supportive. Unfortunately, the road to success for Handy is stalled by the mysterious onset of blindness. Will it stall his career forever? Ruby Dee plays Handy’s girlfriend, Cab Calloway is an opportunistic club manager, whilst Mahalia Jackson sings in a church choir, and Ella Fitzgerald turns up briefly as herself.

I’ll never be accused of being a fan of musicals, and the naturally calm and easy-going Nat ‘King’ Cole isn’t quite cast to his best advantage i…

Review: 100 Bloody Acres

Three young travellers (including Anna McGahan, her boyfriend Oliver Ackland, and comically obnoxious pommy friend Jamie Kristian) break down in a rural part of Australia. They are offered a lift from nervy Reg (Damon Herriman), who runs a fertilizer business with his brother, that has the special ingredient of road kill added to the smelly mix! Unfortunately, whilst McGahan gets to sit up the front of the truck with the seemingly harmless (but very, very distracted) Reg, her two companions are in the back with all the fertilizer. And is that a human corpse they see hiding in there? Before long, Reg has the trio tied up in his shed back at the family farm. And that’s when his brother Lindsay (Angus Sampson) turns up, and the terror really begins. Chrissie Page plays the boys’ auntie, who has a very close relationship with Reg, but an uncomfortably closer one with Lindsay.

Getting a wider theatrical release in 2013 after its film festival debut in 2012, this very dark comedy-horror fro…