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Showing posts from December 28, 2014

Review: Breakout

Robert Duvall is framed and stuck in a Mexican hellhole prison on a murder charge, so his wife (Jill Ireland) turns to laidback pilot Charles Bronson to help spring him out. To do this he enlists the aid of right-hand man Hawk (Randy Quaid), floozy Sheree North (to provide a distraction), and a chopper pilot (Alan Vint). John Huston is Duvall’s grandfather, a corrupt millionaire businessman responsible for framing Duvall, who learned of his shonky ways and started to kick up some trouble that Huston couldn’t stand for. Roy Jenson turns up as North’s current squeeze, who doesn’t much like Bronson (who has a history with North).

Loosely based on a 1971 incident in the US, but also later the inspiration for a similar incident in Australia, this 1975 flick from director Tom Gries (“Will Penny”, “The Greatest”) is well-cast and particularly well-shot. However the supremely awful Jill Ireland sticking out like a sore thumb and rather boring villains are problematic. They hold the film back …

Review: Paranoia

Liam Hemsworth and his techie team are given a chance to impress company head Gary Oldman, or be fired. They don’t impress and are promptly fired. Their genius reaction to this? Spend up big on their company credit card before the presumably Alzheimer’s-afflicted Oldman remembers to cancel their cards. After a night of hard partying and a roll in the hay with sexy Amber Heard, Hemsworth, who desperately needs to pay for his Emphysema-suffering dad Richard Dreyfuss’ medical bills, is dragged in by stooge Julian McMahon to see an understandably pissed off Oldman. Oldman now claims that Hemsworth owes him, and uses threats of harm to his techie pals and father as leverage to get Hemsworth to act as a corporate spy against his hated rival, Harrison Ford (!). And who happens to be Ford’s marketing exec? Why, Heard of course. #Awkward, y’all! Embeth Davidtz plays Oldman’s ice queen cohort, and Josh Holloway plays an FBI man.

Beware any film from several production companies and about 20 cre…

Review: Only God Forgives

Ryan Gosling stars as a Thai-based drug dealer and owner of a kickboxing club, the latter of which is really a front for the former. His wayward brother Tom Burke has raped and killed a 16 year-old prostitute. The girl’s father is distraught and turns to ex-cop Vithaya Pansringarm for guidance. The ex-cop tells the father he must kill Burke, which he promptly does. This brings about the arrival of the brothers’ mother, Kristin Scott Thomas, who wants bloody revenge for the murder of her favourite son. This ugly, bloody situation is surely going to get even worse as Gosling and Pansringarm are clearly set on a collision course.

This is my third Nicolas Winding Refn film after the cool “Drive” and the pretentious but memorable and violent “Valhalla Rising”, and this 2013 revenge drama/thriller isn’t quite on the level of those films. In fact, it is a little emptier than those films on the whole. However, none of the three films is remotely boring, and the writer-director certainly has a…

Review: Solomon Kane

Set in the early 1600s, Solomon Kane (James Purefoy) is a pirate mercenary in the middle of a raid in Africa, but runs afoul of the Devil’s Reaper (Ian Whyte), who wants to claim his damned soul. But Solomon manages to escape, and we pick up a year later, with Solomon seemingly a changed man working towards redemption, though still plagued by his decision to abandon his father (Max von Sydow) as a wayward young man. He ends up accompanying pious Pete Postlethwaite and his family (including Alice Krige and Rachel Hurd-Wood), before they are attacked. Solomon has sworn to a life of non-violence, but an act of the most shocking evil, Solomon knows he must take to violence once more, even if it means damnation for his soul. He must thwart the evil, masked Overlord (Sam Roukin), though he is merely the servant of sorcerer Malachi (Jason Flemyng). Along the way he reunites with his elderly father, who delivers some (not-so) shocking news about The Overlord’s true identity. Mackenzie Crook t…

Review: Ichi the Killer

Tadanobu Asano stars as Kakihara, who works for a Yakuza boss who has gone missing. A rumour is heard that the boss has been kidnapped by a rival gang. Kakihara, a violent and twisted sadomasochist tortures a rival gang member, which gets Kakihara kicked out of the gang. And that’s when he hears that his boss has been murdered by a mysterious killer known as Ichi (Nao Omori). Ichi is an odd character, docile and shy for the most part, and yet capable of great displays of gruesome violence. This is the handiwork of Jijii (Shinya Tsukamoto), a cruel manipulator who hates Kakihara’s gang, has turned Ichi into a killing machine by brainwashing him into thinking that everyone he kills was responsible for bullying him as a child. He also seems to get some kind of sexual charge out of killing, just so you know. Kakihara becomes obsessed with Ichi, perhaps sensing an ultra-violent kindred spirit, or perhaps because he’s a sadomasochistic perve. Yeah, let’s go with both of those.

Even if you’v…

Review: The Croods

The title refers to a prehistoric family, whose cautious patriarch Grug (voiced by Nic Cage) refuses to let the clan leave their cave aside from finding food, because…dinosaurs. And if not dinosaurs, then other beasties that like to eat smaller things that move. Grug’s motto is ‘Always be afraid’. The clan also includes a mother (voiced by Catherine Keener), a baby named Sandy, an aptly named son Thunk (voiced by Clark Duke), a grandmother (voiced by the amazing Cloris Leachman), and a rebellious teenage daughter Eep (voiced by Emma Stone). Eep wants more to life than the cave, she craves the outside world, and sneaks out one night, attracted by a bright light. The light turns out to be fire, something Eep knows nothing about. But hunky Guy (voiced by Ryan Reynolds) certainly does. But before the two have any chance to consider a teenage caveman romance, the ground beneath them starts to crack, destroying the Crood family home. Looks like they’re all gonna have to brave it in the wide…