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Showing posts from May 31, 2015

Review: Escape Plan

Sly Stallone stars as a man who set up his own security company that revolves around him being sent into prisons and finding all their flaws and possible escape plans, and then sending his report to them. He’s even written a successful book on the subject. One day a woman shows up to Stallone’s HQ with a high-paying offer for Sly and his cohorts (Amy Ryan, Curtis ‘50 Cent’ Jackson, and Vincent D’Onofrio) to venture into a privately-funded super-secure facility housing all of the worst and most hardened criminals in one place. The prison isn’t ‘official’ yet (i.e. it’s illegal), and yet somehow the deal is accepted. However, before Stallone gets there, he’s knocked out by some thugs, and wakes up inside the prison. It appears something has gone awry, he’s been screwed over and looks set to rot in this prison, overseen by whiny warden Jim Caviezel, and his band of brutal, masked guards (One of whom is played by Vinnie Jones). Undeterred, Stallone does his best to find a flaw in the syst…

Review: Bangkok Revenge

A Bangkok cop and his family are targeted by masked killers (really corrupt cops). They kill the parents, but one of the gang fails to properly finish off the young son, who is taken to hospital. He was shot alright, but the bullet to the head somehow didn’t kill him. I believe the doctors have diagnosed him as Hard to Kill. When a pretty nurse (Aphiradi Phawaphutanon) doesn’t like the look of some of the visitors outside the boy’s room, she takes matters into her own hands, whisking the boy away to a small village to be raised by her and her martial arts master friend (Kowitch Wathana). From very early on it appears that the young boy has lost all capacity for empathy, but Wathana teaches him to fight, and he seems to take well to that. When the boy (named Manit) grows into a man, a now elderly and dying Phawaphutanon fills Manit (Jon Foo) in on the circumstances of his parents’ deaths and gives him all the information she has gathered through the years about the crime. Now it’s time…

Review: Breathless (2012)

Gina Gershon is the trailer trash (literally) wife of chubby Val Kilmer. She has just conked him on the head with a frying pan under suspicion that he robbed a bank and has been keeping the money from her. Kelli Giddish plays her equally trashy best friend who arrives on the scene. They tie the unconscious Kilmer to a chair, and hope to get him to spill when he regains consciousness. Unfortunately, one accident with a gun and an exploding head later, and the two women are left none the wiser about the money’s whereabouts. And then the local sheriff (a bloated Ray Liotta) turns up to complicate matters even further.

Released on DVD in the US in 2012, but not appearing in Australia until a cable TV showing in late 2014, this blackly comedic crime/thriller is lousy and flimsy. There’s not enough material here for a feature film and it stops dead before it even starts. Don’t let the big names in the cast fool you, a fat and stringy-haired Val Kilmer (who is having fun but has barely a cam…

Review: Cube2: Hypercube

Another group of diverse people awaken to find themselves inside…a slightly different four-dimensional cube structure with doors to other rooms, and no idea how they got here or how to get the hell out. Unlike last time, the rooms bizarrely mess with time and even gravity. Geraint Wyn Davies plays a surly private investigator, Kari Matchett is a psychiatrist, whilst Barbara Gordon is a doddering old lady, who used to be an executive. She may also be a numbers savant, but her brain is deteriorating seemingly by the nanosecond.

I’m going to give this 2002 sequel from director/cinematographer Andrzej Sekula (who previously shot “Reservoir Dogs” and “Pulp Fiction”) the same score as its predecessor. However make no mistake, this is almost entirely a remake of the first film. So how does it get the same score? Well, as much as seeing an almost exact replica of the first film does make the whole thing seem kinda pointless and hard to get into, the simple fact is that it’s pretty much an imp…

Review: Cube

Six strangers (Maurice Dean Wint, David Hewlett, Nicky Guadagni, Andrew Miller, Nicole de Boer, and Wayne Robson) wake up inside separate square rooms, having no idea where they are or how they got there. These rooms all combine to make up the giant geometrical structure of the title. Each room has a door leading to another room, some of these rooms have potentially deadly booby-traps in them. These six people will need to band together to figure out how to get out of the cube. With some of the temperamental personalities in the mix here, however, that’s easier said than done.

It has some seriously dodgy acting and really starts to go astray after about 50 minutes, but this 1997 gimmicky thriller from debutant director/co-writer Vincenzo Natali (who went on to make “Cypher” and “Splice”) has quite a bit to like.

There’s some interesting ideas going on here, the mystery is kinda interesting, and from a production design point-of-view it’s striking. But once one particular character has…

Review: The Purge: Anarchy

It’s Purge Night, and Carmen Ejogo and activist-minded daughter Zoe Soul have learned that their terminally ill father/grandfather John Beasley has offered himself up to the affluent as a suitable target for purging, so long as his family are handsomely paid for it. But before they have time to fully digest this bit of crazy selflessness, thugs break into their apartment and drag them away. Watching this unfold is a brooding white guy (Frank Grillo) who is trying his best not to act the hero. He seems to have something else he’d rather be doing, possibly even purging. Unfortunately for him )but fortunately for Ejogo and Soul), his conscience dictates he must intervene and helps the two women escape. They are soon joined by a young couple (Kiele Sanchez and Zach Gilford) who ran into danger when their car broke down on the one night in the year that you absolutely do not want that to happen. Now this band of five must stick together (or at least stick to Grillo like glue, as he’s a rea…

Review: Hot Rods to Hell

Sedan-driving Dana Andrews (recovering from a bad back and psychological/emotional stress from a previous car accident) and his typical American family (wife Jeanne Crain, kids Laurie Mock and Tim Stafford, AKA Jeffrey Byron) set off from Boston in their sedan across the Californian desert landscape to take up post at a motel. Unfortunately, they are harassed along the way by hot-rod driving youths (The not very youthful-looking Paul Bertoya, Gene Kirkwood, and Mimsy Farmer), who had a good thing going with the previous owner, and don’t much like a bunch of ‘squares’ taking over. Said former owner is Mr. Daley (George Ives), who also owns a nearby jukebox joint where the crazy kids like to get far out and outta sight. Or something. Sensing that their Saturday night jitterbugging fun is about to end with dorky Andrews at the helm, the hot rod punks set about making the family’s life a living hell. Oh, and one of the young punks, named Duke, develops kind of a thing for virginal teen Mo…

Review: The Expatriate

Aaron Eckhart plays a former CIA op who is now in Belgium lending his services as a security systems consultant for a big corporation that has a branch there. He is currently living with his estranged teen daughter (Liana Liberato), after the death of her mother back in the States. Liberato isn’t terribly happy with the move, and even less happy that dad constantly misses important things in her life to stay back late at work. One day Eckhart walks into his office at work to find…nothing. Nothing is there. Nothing. No one. No trace that there had ever been a corporate office building there at all. When he contacts the company’s HQ in the US, they seem to have no knowledge of any branch in Belgium whatsoever. Even his email account is completely gone. And then someone starts shooting at him. He also finds that several of his co-workers have been targeted for extermination (and weren’t so lucky). So now he and the daughter who frankly resents him have to stick together and go on the run…