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Showing posts from January 4, 2015

Review: Wait Until Dark

Audrey Hepburn plays a blind woman whose husband (Efrem Zimbalist Jr.) is away on business, leaving her all alone in her apartment. He has been trying to teach her to be independent and not reliant on the assistance of others, aside from the brat across the hall (Julie Herrod’s Gloria) who occasionally helps her with some of the chores Hepburn can’t do on her own. However, Hepburn is to face her biggest test yet when three crims attempt to enter her apartment, looking for a doll supposedly containing heroin inside (which Hepburn clearly knows nothing about). Richard Crenna is the affable-seeming one who uses his charm to try and get what they need (pretending to be an old friend of Zimbalist’s paying a visit), whilst Alan Arkin is an outright bizarre psycho who may even be dangerous to the people he’s working with, let alone a danger to Hepburn. Jack Weston rounds out the trio as a portly crim who looks about as trustworthy as well, nothing at all, so it’s a good thing Hepburn can’t a…

Review: Turbo

A snail named Turbo (voiced by Ryan Reynolds) is an Indy 500 freak, and a freak accident during a street race sees him magically afforded the speed necessary to race like a pro. And play songs like a car stereo. One day he and his brother Chet (voiced by Paul Giamatti) are snatched up by a couple of taco truck vendors (voiced in not remotely racially stereotyped casting by Michael Pena and Luis Guzman), who run snail races on the side. For some reason. And when one of the men notices Turbo’s great speed, Turbo tells the man of his dream. And because this is a stupid movie, he’s able to hear the tiny snail’s voice and agrees to help him enter the race, to the derision and laughter of everyone else. And every other character in the film. Samuel L. Jackson voice a couple of other snails, whilst an unrecognisable Bill Hader voices the pompous French Indy car driver Guy Gagne.

Here’s where things get tricky, and possibly a little silly. You see, I had zero problems accepting talking planes…

Review: Diana

Detailing the supposed love affair between Princess Diana (Naomi Watts) and Pakistani-born heart surgeon Hasnat Khan (Naveen Andrews), during the last two years of Diana’s life where she had been separated from Prince Charles.

What should’ve been an absolute cracker is only pretty good at best, I’m afraid. Director Oliver Hirschbiegel (the rather extraordinary “Downfall”, about the last days of Adolf Hitler) and writer Stephen Jeffreys (“The Libertine”), working from the book by Kate Snell have taken a fascinating subject in the final years of Princess Diana’s life…and chosen to focus on the least interesting aspects. They eschew the Diana and Dodi love affair for the rumour that she only cavorted with Dodi al Fayed because her true love, heart surgeon Hasnat Khan couldn’t hack it in the public eye and left her completely heartbroken. Apparently Diana arranged for the paparazzi to take happy snaps of her and Dodi to make Hasnat jealous. I’m not going to suggest that there’s zero truth…

Review: Seduced and Abandoned

Although the central conceit isn’t remotely believable, this 2013 documentary directed and co-starring filmmaker James Toback (“Bugsy”, “Two Girls and a Guy”, “When Will I Be Loved”), is a fascinating, sometimes hilarious, ultimately incredibly depressing film about just how movies get made these days. Aspiring filmmakers beware, this film will tear your insides out, as it appears that movies get made these days with great difficulty, and with artistic merit not very high on the priority list of those who finance projects. Co-starring actor Alec Baldwin, he and Toback present the idea that they are attempting to pitch a movie loosely reworking Bernardo Bertolucci’s frankly overrated and off-putting “Last Tango in Paris” (But starring Alec Baldwin and Neve Campbell, and being a sex romp set during the recent Iraq war!). I was worried about that, because it sounded unlikely, and Bertolucci’s film is of zero interest to me in the first place. I pretty much loathed that film. But really, …

Review: We’re the Millers

Jason Sudeikis stars as a small-time drug dealer who gets mugged of both cash and stash by a bunch of teens. This lands him in hot poop with supplier (and all-round sarcastic jerk) Ed Helms. Helms gives Sudeikis an out, whereby he must agree to transport a drug supply from Mexico. To do this, Sudeikis comes up with the genius plan of using a dorky Winnebago and hiring people to be his wholesome, All-American family, so as to not alert the attention of the border patrol. He approaches people who live in his apartment building, including stripper Jennifer Aniston, Goth-like Emma Roberts, and nerdy Will Poulter. And away we go. Along the way, they encounter a Flanders-esque family headed by Nick Offerman and Kathryn Hahn, and a gay (and corrupt) border patrol cop played by Luis Guzman. Thomas Lennon plays one of Sudeikis’ clients, who gives him the inspiration for the ruse.

Rawson Marshall Thurber, the improbably named director of the likeable and funny “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story”

Review: Night and the City (1950)

Aside from the occasional lapse back into his giggling psycho “Kiss of Death”schtick, this is Richard Widmark’s best performance, most memorable character and a fine, underrated noir from Jules Dassin with some superb acting and memorable moments.

Widmark plays Harry Fabian, a hopeless loser who is the last to realise it. He’s somewhat of a fish-out-of-water, an American ne’er do well hustler in London who tries to break into the boxing world, but is set for a fall when crossing powerful, somewhat petty nightclub owner Francis L. Sullivan (one of the greats of British cinema, and not just a poor man’s Sidney Greenstreet as some say), and deadly serious gangster Herbert Lom (whom I swear doesn’t blink once in the entire film!). Long-time Aussie resident Googie Withers gives the best and most uncharacteristic performance of her career as Sullivan’s cold, duplicitous wife with ambitions of her own. Gene Tierney is added to the mix for marquee value as Fabian’s long-suffering and naïve gi…

Review: 40 Days and 40 Nights

Josh Hartnett hasn’t gotten over his ex-girlfriend (Vinessa Shaw) dumping him six months ago, and sleeping with ‘randoms’ isn’t helping any. When he learns that she has moved on, it’s the final straw. He comes up with an extreme solution to his problem: Inspired by the religious practise of Lent, he decides to abstain from all sexual contact (even with himself) for 40 days. When his best friend (Paulo Costanzo) and co-workers find out, they start up a website taking bets on how long Hartnett will last with this unlikely challenge. All manner of breastacled objects keep popping up, trying to throw themselves at Hartnett. Then he meets and falls for the pretty Shannyn Sossamon, and things start to get really awkward. Emmanuelle Vaugier plays one of the one-night stands, Griffin Dunne is Hartnett’s sleazy boss, Adam Trese is Hartnett’s trainee priest brother, Keegan Connor Tracy plays a horny co-worker, and Mary Gross (remember her?) is Hartnett’s mother.

Detestable, brain-dead, so-calle…