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Showing posts from May 24, 2015

Review: The Tall Man

Set in the small town of Cold Rock, which has fallen on seriously hard economic times mostly due to cases of child abduction by a rumoured local spectre nicknamed ‘The Tall Man’. Jessica Biel plays a dedicated and caring nurse whose young son appears to have been abducted. She gives chase, but is felled by injury, unable to save her son. And that’s when this film offers its first of several twists, as there’s a whole lot more to this situation than meets the eye. Stephen McHattie plays a federal agent and William B. Davis is the local sheriff.

This quietly creepy 2012 French-Canadian crime-thriller from writer-director Pascal Laugier (the startling and rather disturbing “Martyrs”) has enough twists and turns to keep you somewhat engaged, but at times I found it frustratingly confusing. I kept watching, and it’s never dull (especially the final passages), but if it were a little more coherent (without spoiling any of the surprises and twists, of course) this could’ve really been someth…

Review: Nymphomaniac vol. 2

Picking up where the last volume left off, self-confessed nympho Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg) continues telling her life story to the very curious Seligman (Stellan Skarsgaard). This time we hear about her excursions into S&M with Jamie Bell, and becoming a debt collector/bizarro torturer for Willem Dafoe.

Think it couldn’t get worse after “Vol. 1”? Oh how na├»ve you are then. Probably even more profanity than usual from me here, but believe me, it’s all warranted and in my view the correct vernacular to be used in this particular context (Not that I tend to use profanity just for its own sake anyway).

This 2013 Lars von Trier (“Dancer in the Dark”, “The Idiots”) film was formerly the back-end of a four hour opus of explicit pointlessness now separated into two unequally awful halves, the worst of which this most definitely is. More pretentious wankery from the Dogme specialist, this one even brings up references to Caligula and the Whore of Babylon for cryin’ out loud. That and a bu…

Review: Nymphomaniac Vol. 1

Charlotte Gainsbourg stars as Joe, first seen bruised and battered in an alley, before a quiet-natured middle-aged man (Stellan Skarsgaard) takes her in. While she heals, she tells the rather dry and dull man her life story. Joe (played as a young woman by Stacy Martin) is a nymphomaniac who became sexually promiscuous at a very early age, and seems to think that this makes her all very special and profound. One begs to differ. Christian Slater and Shia LaBeouf (both attempting to sport English accents) appear in flashbacks as, respectfully, Joe’s rather gentle father and the man who not only takes Joe’s virginity as a teenager, but later ends up her employer. Connie Nielsen appears briefly as Joe’s mum, and Uma Thurman plays the pissed off wife of one of Joe’s conquests.

The only reason this 2013 Lars von Trier piece of crap doesn’t get a lower rating is because “Vol 2” is even worse. I’m neither a fan of Mr. von Trier nor the Dogme movement of pretentious trash and really ugly handh…

Review: Criminal

Con man John C. Reilly sees younger, small-time schemer Diego Luna about to get into deep shit with a two-bit casino scam, and decides to help the kid evade trouble. He then offers him a gig as his accomplice, and eventually they get involved in a huge scam to rip-off rich Scottish-accented businessman Peter Mullan. Maggie Gyllenhaal plays Reilly’s embittered sister, who may or may not have valid reasons for her disposition (They are currently suing each other over parental inheritance money). Jonathan Tucker plays Reilly’s younger brother, who works at a hotel with Gyllenhaal, and seems to idolise his big brother.

This 2004 Americanised remake of the Argentine “Nine Queens” from director Gregory Jacobs (whose only other directorial assignment to date was the OK 2007 thriller “Wind Chill”) and his co-writer Sam Lowry (who is really filmmaker Steven Soderbergh using a pseudonym because he’s pretentious) is neither original nor a great film. It is, however, a genre that I enjoy, and thi…

Review: Shocker

Peter Berg stars as a supposed star quarterback who is so clumsy and unfocused he runs right into the goalpost and knocks his damn self unconscious. He sure must’ve gotten loopy, because once revived, he finds himself having violent visions of a serial killer. And those visions prove to be not just horrible dreams/nightmares, but visions of brutal events yet to happen. The killer is one Horace Pinker (Mitch Pileggi- where are you?), and eventually he is nabbed and sent to ‘ol sparky. However, not before Pinker murders Berg’s foster family, save him and one other. Unfortunately, all the electricity seems to do is give him a new way to do his deeds and taunt Berg while he’s at it. Yep, he lives through electricity and can jump into people’s bodies, compelling them to commit his grisly murders (What if there’s a city-wide blackout, though? A question that sadly never comes up in the film). Pinker wants revenge on Berg for sending him to the chair. Michael Murphy plays John Saxon…er, I me…

Review: Dobermann

Vincent Cassel is criminal Yann Le Pentec, the titular canine being his nickname. He’s the leader of a group of whacked-out crims, including his deaf mute girlfriend Nat (who is played by Mrs. Cassel, Monica Bellucci). They are planning a big heist, whilst a veteran cop (Tcheky Karyo) pursues them, though years of chasing Dobermann may have rendered him crazier than the thieves he is chasing. And believe me, Dobermann and his gang are pretty ‘out there’.

There’s a bloody good reason why you’ve probably never heard of this wannabe-cool 1997 action/crime flick from French-Dutch director Jan Kounen (whose subsequent “Blueberry” was flawed but vastly superior to this) and screenwriter Joel Houssin (who has worked mainly in French TV, it appears). Like 2006’s unbearable “Sheitan” (also starring Vincent Cassel, a dynamic and accomplished actor when he wants to be), this is an excruciatingly in-your-face, irritating piece of crap that will truly test your patience.

Right from the word go you…

Review: The Medusa Touch

Italian actor Lino Ventura plays French detective Brunel, on exchange in England, and taking on the case of a brutal attack on an author named John Morlar (Richard Burton). He’s alive but in the hospital in a coma, as Brunel investigates Morlar and the mysterious circumstances that led to him being attacked, interviewing those familiar with him. It seems Mr. Morlar was a seriously troubled, brooding man who believed he could make catastrophically bad things happen merely by thinking about them. For some reason, everyone in the film calls this phenomenon ‘Telekinesis’, which isn’t entirely accurate. Lee Remick plays Morlar’s psychiatrist, Derek Jacobi is Morlar’s publisher, Michael Byrne plays Brunel’s partner, Harry Andrews plays Brunel’s English superior, Gordon Jackson is Morlar’s doctor, Sir Michael Hordern plays a supposed psychic, Norman Bird is Morlar’s a-hole father in flashbacks, and Alan Badel plays a judge. Keen spotters of character actors will also spot the likes of Jeremy…

Review: Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning

Scott Adkins stars as John, who wakes one night to check on his daughter, only for he and his family to be set-upon by masked intruders. One, it seems, is Luc Devereaux (Jean-Claude Van Damme), who takes his mask off before killing John’s wife and child right in front of him without even a hint of emotion. It’s several months later when John awakens in hospital but with no memory. After leaving the hospital, he tries to remember everything and track down Luc for his revenge. However, the brutal Magnus AKA ‘The Plumber’ (MMA fighter Andrei ‘The Pit Bull’ Arlovski) has been dispatched by shadowy government so-and-sos to rub John out, as a conspiracy appears to be afoot. Meanwhile, we keep cutting to Luc and Sgt. Andrew Scott (Dolph Lundgren), the UniSols from previous films who appear to be free-thinkers now and are trying to de-program other UniSols, but are they doing so for villainous or virtuous purposes? And just who was John before that awful night he lost his family? David Jensen…

Review: The Lego Movie

A blue collar Lego man named Emmett (voiced by Chris Pratt) gets mistaken for a ‘master builder’, and recruited to join the Fellowship…er…to join a group of other ‘master builders’ (Batman among them, I might add) to stop the evil President Business (voiced by Will Ferrell) from unleashing a deadly weapon called ‘The Kragle’. Or something like that. Morgan Freeman voices a Gandalf-rip off named Vitruvius, who babbles on about a prophecy and Emmett being the One. A bunch of pop culture figures and known superheroes turn up in Lego form throughout (Including a well-cast Jonah Hill voicing Green Lantern).

Surely the most disappointing and overrated film of 2014, this animated film based on the classic building block/playset toys wasn’t anywhere near as good as I had heard. Based on the good word of mouth I had heard from adults, I assumed this would be a family film, but no it’s kiddie fare. The difference being that family films have something for everyone, but this? I couldn’t see anyt…