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Showing posts from April 5, 2015

Review: Rush

Set during the 70s and concerning the rivalry between Formula One racers James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl), one an undisciplined hedonistic Brit, the other a taciturn, aloof, but super-focussed and disciplined Austrian. Olivia Wilde plays Hunt’s model wife, whilst Alexandra Maria Lara plays Bruhl’s more down-to-earth spouse. Guess which pair experience major marital problems? Christian McKay turns up as an integral part of Hunt’s crew, somewhat of a pompous windbag.

I loathe car racing, and anyone who has read my reviews of his films knows I think of Chris Hemsworth as the ‘Human Blocked Nose’. He always acts like he’s all blocked up in the schnozz and about to sneeze at any given moment. I was set to not like this 2013 Ron Howard (“Parenthood”, “Ransom”, “Frost/Nixon”) racing film very much at all. And then something unexpected happened: I really enjoyed it. OK, so you probably figured that out before I finished typing that, but believe me, I was pleasantly s…

Review: Two Weeks in Another Town

Kirk Douglas plays a troubled actor who has fallen from grace. He receives a helping hand from veteran director Edward G. Robinson shooting in Rome. The two have worked together several times over the years- Douglas even won an Oscar on one such occasion. But their relationship has been strained for years. Nonetheless, Douglas flies to Rome for his first acting gig in about four years. Unfortunately, when he gets there, he finds out the acting gig never existed, Robinson just wanted to catch up with his old friend, and ask him to do oversee the English dubbing for the has-been director’s latest film. Douglas (who has just finished a three year stint in a sanatorium) is at first annoyed, but eventually agrees. Unfortunately, the leading lady (Rossana Schiaffino) has problems with English, leading man George Hamilton is completely lacking self-confidence, and Italian producer Mino Doro only cares about money, precious little of which he is willing to part with. But things really go awry…

Review: Miracle on 34th Street

Based on a novel by the amusingly named Valentine Davies (who wrote and directed “The Benny Goodman Story”), Maureen O’Hara plays a cynical realist who just so happens to work for Macy’s department store and is seen early in a panic because Santa (Percy Helton, of all people) is a drunken mess when he’s supposed to be taking part in the Christmas parade. A white-bearded elderly fellow (Edmund Gwenn) offers himself up as a last minute replacement. However, it seems that this loveable old fella is under the impression that he really is Santa Claus, or Kris Kringle as he calls himself here. Divorcee O’Hara, who has raised her young daughter (Natalie Wood, cute as a button) to see things as realistically as possible, scoffs at the very such notion, but helps get the man a job as their in-store Santa. He strikes up a quick friendship with the young girl and even her mother (worried as she is about his faculties), though the company psychiatrist (a perfectly hissable Porter Hall) resents th…

Review: Superman IV: The Quest for Peace

While a schoolkid asks Superman (Christopher Reeve) to intervene in the arms race between the USA and Russia, Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman) has escaped from prison and has devised a new scheme. With a lock of Superman’s hair he attaches it to a nuclear missile that Superman has sent (along with every other nuclear missile) towards the sun. The result creates Nuclear Man (Mark Pillow), a solar-powered super-being who is to be Superman’s evil match. Or at least a match for The Ultimate Warrior at the next Wrestlemania. Meanwhile, tycoon Sam Wanamaker has acquired The Daily Planet and intends to Rupert Murdoch the shit out of it. Mariel Hemingway plays his daughter, who has designs on mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent (Reeve again). Jon Cryer plays Lex Luthor’s dopey nephew Lenny. Esmond Knight turns up briefly as an Elder because Harry Andrews and Trevor Howard read the script. Susannah York also apparently read the script and only provides her voice as Superman’s mum.

After the debacle of “…

Review: Deadfall (1993)

Michael Biehn, his dad James Coburn, and associates Peter Fonda and Michael Constantine are all involved in a drug deal that turns out to be an elaborate con involving Coburn pretending to be dead. Unfortunately, someone fucked up and Coburn really does wind up dead. After this, Fonda suggests Biehn get the hell outta town, and Biehn decides to go and visit the uncle he never knew he even had until now. Said uncle is also played by James Coburn, and it’s not long before Biehn is running scams for Coburn, being set-up by Coburn’s coke-snorting thug Nic Cage, and being seduced by Cage’s moll, Sarah Trigger. Cage isn’t happy to learn that Biehn escapes his plan to have him killed, and is even less happy to find out that he’s bonking Trigger. He flips out a tiny bit. Eventually we get to the big con, involving Coburn, Biehn, creepy Angus Scrimm (who doesn’t get to yell ‘Booooyyyyy!’ at any point, unfortunately), and some diamonds. But nothing is what it seems. Apparently. Along the way, C…

Review: Her

Set in a seemingly disconnected near-future where A.I. technology has advanced far enough that an operating system has been developed with an artificially intelligent ‘personality’. Constantly evolving, it can come quite close to seeming to have its own consciousness. Joaquin Phoenix plays a guy whose occupation is to create handwritten letters for people…via a computer, of course. He has just gone through a rough breakup with Rooney Mara, and decides to buy himself an OS1. He goes through the installation process, choosing the perfect voice and eventually the name Samantha is settled on. Things start off innocuously enough, but after a while, all the compliments and seemingly deep, personally insight from Samantha sees the lonely man develop…well, sorta kinda romantic feelings for her…and his feelings are returned! At first, Phoenix is secretive about the unusual relationship, until he realises that a lot of others are doing it too! But will this seemingly perfect relationship with a…

Review: The Wild

Paternal lion Samson (voiced by Kiefer Sutherland) and a few animal colleagues escape their New York zoo in pursuit of Samson’s son Ryan, who has fled in embarrassment after failing to deliver a mighty roar. Unfortunately, he has unwittingly boarded a ship of animals headed back to the wild. Ryan has grown up entirely at the zoo, and thus Samson is worried his son is ill-equipped to survive in the wild. Samson is accompanied by a squirrel named Benny (voiced by Jim Belushi), giraffe Bridget (voiced by Janeane Garofalo), lethargic koala Nigel (voiced by Eddie Izzard), and a snake called Larry (voiced by Richard Kind). Along the way, the gang finds out that Samson isn’t the almighty king of the beasts that they thought him to be, and they encounter a herd of nasty wildebeests, headed by Kazar (voiced by William Shatner!).

Cute animals and lovely colours aren’t enough to make much out of this 2006 animated film from director Steve ‘Spaz’ Williams (who comes from an FX/animation backgroun…