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Showing posts from April 12, 2015

Review: Fruitvale Station

The last days of Oscar Grant III (Michael B. Jordan), a well-meaning 22 year-old African American with a criminal past he seemed to want to leave behind to look after his partner (Melonie Diaz) and young daughter. Unfortunately, a NYE train ride results in a violent scuffle, and when the police come in, everything goes to hell. The incident was captured on various cell phones by several witnesses, as the unarmed Oscar is handcuffed and grounded by police. It doesn’t end well for Oscar. Octavia Spencer plays Oscar’s long-suffering mother, whose birthday Oscar had been make preparations for.

A film about a real-life case of white police acting violently towards an unarmed African-American male and watched by me not too long after another such case was in the headlines. No matter what the causes of these cases individually may be, I think we can all agree that there’s too many of these incidents going on in America (and let’s not forget Rodney King in the 90s), and I think it’s pretty fa…

Review: Runaway

Set in a future where robots have become common in just about every facet of society (including the home), Tom Selleck is a cop on the Runaway Squad, a unit in the police department created to deal with robots gone haywire. When he notices a higher number of robots gone wild than usual (and gone wilder than usual), Selleck starts to wonder. His investigations led him to electronics genius Gene Simmons (!) who has found a way to override robots’ usual commands and has turned them into literal killing machines. When Selleck obtains the templates Simmons needs to mass produce the chips he uses to override the commands, Simmons specifically targets Selleck. Cynthia Rhodes is Selleck’s perky new partner, Joey Cramer is his kid, G.W. Bailey is his boss, and Stan Shaw plays another Runaway expert on the force. A chain-smoking Kirstie Alley plays a young woman who works for Simmons, whom Selleck tries to make an ally out of.

Sometimes the very central concept of a film (or at least great chun…

Review: Out of Africa

Meryl Streep stars as Danish woman Karen Blixen, on whose memoir (under a pen name) this film is based. Beginning in 1914, it tells the story of Blixen’s life married to aloof Baron Bror Blixen (Klaus Maria Brandauer) and running their struggling coffee plantation and farm in Kenya while he’s mostly away on safari and womanising. Although there’s no great disharmony between the two (aside from him changing their dairy farm dream into a coffee plantation without consulting her), theirs is a marriage of convenience and friendship, not love, fidelity or romance. Keeping her company on occasion, however, is Denys Finch Hatton (Robert Redford), a British adventurer and hunter with designs on the married woman (and encourages her writing), but who also doesn’t want to be tied down. He also hates that his native Britain is ruling Africa in its own image, and tries to get Karen to understand this. Suzanna Hamilton plays Karen’s friendly neighbour Felicity, while Michael Gough and Leslie Phill…