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Showing posts from October 19, 2014

Review: Around the Bend

Sir Michael Caine plays a dying patriarch who lives with his son (Josh Lucas), grandson, and horror movie-obsessed Danish live-in carer (Glenne Headly!). Turning up unannounced one day is Caine’s estranged son Christopher Walken (!), though it turns out Caine wrote to the family black sheep, wanting to see him one last time. Lucas, however isn’t happy to see the ex-junkie father who hasn’t been in his life since he was a kid. Anyway, grandpa soon dies, and his will states that the three remaining generations of male family members take his ashes on a road trip of a bunch of KFC restaurants in the US. Yeah, I’m really not kidding about that. It really is the plot. Along the way, Walken and Lucas rehash the past, which is undoubtedly what Caine was trying to orchestrate in order for his family to finally heal old wounds. But some wounds leave giant, gaping holes and too much blood may have already lost. Yep, pretty much went all the way with that didn’t I? Meanwhile, Walken appears to b…

Review: She-Gods of Shark Reef

Bill Cord and his escaped convict brother Don Durant find themselves shipwrecked on an island full of women who seem to have a spiritual connection with sharks. Durant also gets wind of a hidden cache of pearls that he decides to familiarise himself with. Jeanne Gerson plays the tribal elder, Lisa Montell plays She Who Wears Boot Polish, and falls for hunky Cord, after he saves her from some weirdo ritualistic sacrifice deal.

Roger Corman may be a director/producer of cheap schlock, but usually his films are entertaining cheap schlock and look more expensive than they likely were. So let’s chalk up this 1958 AIP film from director Corman and writers Robert Hill (“Sex Kittens Go to College”) and Victor Stoloff (Something called “The 300 Year Weekend”), as a mistake from someone who didn’t yet know much better. Corman had directed several films before this, but wouldn’t make “Bucket of Blood” until the next year, let alone “Little Shop of Horrors” or the Poe films. Still, it has to be s…

Review: The House at the End of the Street

Mopey teen Jennifer Lawrence and her mother Elisabeth Shue have just moved to a new town. They quickly learn that the house next door was the site of a grisly family murder several years ago. Max Thieriot, brother of the crazy young killer, lives there all alone now. The locals are mostly frosty towards him but Lawrence starts up a relationship with the rather shy young man, much to her mother’s worry. Is she overly protective, or is there something sinister going on inside this young man’s mind that will see Lawrence in danger? Have you ever watched a horror film before? And what is going on down in Thieriot’s cellar? Gil Bellows plays the local cop who is somewhat protective of Thieriot.

Shot in 2010 and released in 2012, one wonders if this genre piece from director Mark Tonderai (who has a British TV background) would’ve gotten off the shelf at all had Jennifer Lawrence not won an Oscar and starred in a Young Adult Fiction franchise. It’s not an awful film, it’s just the kind of m…

Review: Blue City

(Formerly at Epinions.com, written in 2013)

Troublesome smart-arse misfit Judd Nelson comes back to his hometown after a long exile to learn that his estranged mayor father was murdered a while back. Well, he learns that after he gets thrown in jail for typical barroom thuggery. He decides to stick around to find out what happened and who is responsible, running afoul of not just local gangster and brothel owner Scott Wilson, but annoyed police chief Paul Winfield, who knew Nelson’s daddy well, but wants Nelson to get the hell outta town. Nelson thinks it’s very likely Wilson was involved in his dad’s death, hell he has hooked up with his dad’s trashy girlfriend for starters. He enlists the aid of gimpy former best pal David Caruso to do some digging. Ally Sheedy is Caruso’s sister whom Caruso specifically tells Nelson to keep his hands off. Yeah, that’ll totally happen. ‘Tiny’ Lister plays one half of Wilson’s hired muscle, whilst Julie Carmen plays one of Wilson’s hookers.

Every once…

Review: Stoker

Mia Wasikowska plays India Stoker, whose father (Dermot Mulroney) has just died in a car accident. At the funeral, her uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode) turns up, and before long is trying to charm himself into the lives of India and her self-absorbed mother (Nicole Kidman). India had no idea he existed before now, and is somewhat hostile and suspicious of him. And yet, she’s also undeniably curious, maybe even aroused. But then people mysteriously seem to vanish… Jacki Weaver plays Great-Aunt Gin, who arrives out of the blue and seems awfully wary of Uncle Charlie.

I didn’t know what to make of this 2013 film from South Korean director Park Chan-wook (“Oldboy”, “Sympathy for Lady Vengeance”, “Thirst”) and writer Wentworth Miller (Yeah, the other guy from “Prison Break”, and no I don’t know why either), except to say that I didn’t much like it. It seems to be aiming for something in the vicinity of “Shadow of a Doubt” (There’s a young woman with a murderous Uncle Charlie, for instance), b…

Review: The Day After Tomorrow

Dennis Quaid stars as a Palaeoclimatologist who isn’t on pig-headed Vice President Kenneth Welsh’s Christmas card list, after Quaid pretty much publically humiliated him. Quaid is approached by a British scientist (Ian Holm) with frightening evidence that Quaid’s estimate of an upcoming new ice age in about 50-100 years is actually a gross under-calculation. Unfortunately, because the VP is an ignorant dick with a grudge against Quaid, Welsh ignores any warnings from Quaid about this issue. America is therefore up frozen shit creek without a backup plan, as crazily cold temperatures and storms hit like you wouldn’t believe. The bulk of the film is split between Quaid trying to make it from Washington to New York, to rescue his estranged son Jake Gyllenhaal, and Gyllenhaal’s experiences on a doomed school trip where he and his friends (principally the very pretty Emmy Rossum) hole themselves up in the public library. Perry King is the POTUS, Adrian Lester is one of Holm’s associates, a…

Review: The Little Foxes

Set in the deep south in 1900, and centred on the primarily greedy and ravenous Hubbard family. Bette Davis is the ruthless Regina, who wants to invest in a new cotton mill venture along with her unscrupulous brothers Ben (Charles Dingle, sly as a fox indeed) and Oscar (Carl Benton Reid, dour and cruel), but she hasn’t the money to do so. Her gravely ill husband Horace (Herbert Marshall), a fair-minded man who has been recovering from a heart attack in hospital, strongly disagrees with the mill and refuses to give Regina the necessary money to invest. But Regina (who isn’t quite as rich as her two brothers, having not inherited much of the family fortune) will seemingly stop at absolutely nothing to get what she wants. Meanwhile, Oscar conspires to get his idiot son Leo (Dan Duryea) married to Regina’s daughter (his first cousin!) Alexandra (Teresa Wright), a kind and virtuous young lady who would do well to get the hell away from her family. Patricia Collinge plays daffy Aunt Birdie,…

Review: …All the Marbles

Vicki Frederick and Laurene Landon play the California Dolls, a female wrestling tag team who travel the USA with their manager Peter Falk (who used to have a thing with one of the Dolls). The film charts their attempts at rising in the ranks, whilst also fighting to just get paid enough by shitty promoters. Tracy Reed and Ursaline Bryant-King play a rival tag team, John Hancock is their manager. Burt Young plays a shonky promoter, whilst Richard Jaeckel turns up briefly as Earl Hebner…er…sorry, as a crooked referee.

I chastised the otherwise excellent “Requiem for a Heavyweight” for portraying wrestling extremely negatively, which I felt was a little over-the-top for a film made in 1962, not today’s climate of ‘sports entertainment’. Well here’s a Robert Aldrich (“The Dirty Dozen”, “Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte”, “Emperor of the North Pole”) film from 1981 about women’s tag team wrestling, and it tries to sell it as almost 100% legit! The only hint of ‘kayfabe’ (wrestling parlance for……