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Showing posts from July 5, 2015

Review: The Untouchables

Set in crime-riddled 30s Chicago, where gangster Al Capone (Robert De Niro) seems to rule the city, one brave team of lawmen decide to take the fight to Capone. Straight-arrow, ambitious treasury agent Eliot Ness (Kevin Costner) learns from his department’s tax attorney (Charles Martin Smith) that Capone can be taken to court for tax evasion! Sean Connery plays Malone, the tough, Italian-hating veteran Irish copper who acts as mentor and comrade-in-arms to Ness, along with rookie sharpshooter George Stone (Andy Garcia). Billy Drago plays Capone’s slithery hired gun Frank Nitti, whilst Patricia Clarkson has an early role as Ness’ supportive wife.

The one high point in the career of director Brian De Palma (“Scarface” and “Dressed to Kill” probably have their fair share of champions I suppose), and probably the best film Kevin Costner has thus far made, this 1987 cops vs. gangsters movie is one of the most entertaining motion pictures I’ve ever seen. Others seem to disagree but I’d also…

Review: Blood

Although a loving family man and respected copper, Paul Bettany is clearly burnt-out and a case involving a murdered 12 year-old girl stirs in him bad memories of a similar past case that has never been solved. Bettany and his weaker younger brother Stephen Graham are so convinced that the guilty party here is a smiling little bastard named Jason (slimy Ben Crompton), but he has to be released due to insufficient evidence. This does not sit well with Bettany (who has started to unravel), and he decides to take matters into his own hands, bringing Graham along for help. He’s guilty, they just know it. They’ve clearly crossed a line, but what if Jason was actually innocent? The two men are obviously plagued by guilt, but more than anything, they’re simply worried that they are now in a whole mess of trouble, with white knight colleague Mark Strong (who is seen as aloof by his colleagues) looking into the matter. Meanwhile, the two brothers’ former cop father (Brian Cox), who used to be …

Review: RED 2

Retired CIA op Bruce Willis is living the ‘normal’ life with his main squeeze Mary-Louise Parker, when buddy John Malkovich turns up to warn him about leaked information that wrongly implicates the two of them in the cover-up of a top-secret nuclear program from the late 70s. After unsuccessfully attempting to get Willis to join him in action, Malkovich is apparently blown up. They have a funeral for him and everything. It appears that several nefarious people are after Willis, including old nemesis Byung-Hun Lee, cold-eyed Government assassin Neal McDonough, and even former associate, icy ex-MI6 operative Dame Helen Mirren has been given the hit order against Willis. Catherine Zeta-Jones turns up as a Russian operative and former flame of Willis’, Sir Anthony Hopkins turns up as a once brilliant British scientist who may be senile, David Thewlis is a snooty assassin known as The Frog, and Brian Cox (The ‘other’ Hannibal) is back as the friendly ex-KGB guy with a soft spot for Mirren.…

Review: The Big Stampede

Set in New Mexico, John Wayne stars as John Steele, hell-bent on taking down a bunch of cattle rustlers, headed by Noah Beery. For an unorthodox assist, he ropes Mexican bandit Sonora Joe (Luis Alberni) into helping him. Mae Madison plays a purdy settler, whilst Paul Hurst is the chief henchman.

An early John Wayne film from 1932, this film from director Tenny Wright is a tolerable enough B-western, if very, very basic. I mean, it clocks in at under an hour, and Wayne’s horse ‘Duke’ gets a co-starring credit, so it’s hardly “The Searchers”. It’s more your Saturday matinee/serial type deal. A minor affair, but not an unpleasant one.

Scripted by Kurt Kempler (“A Shriek in the Night”, with Ginger Rogers and Lyle Talbot) from a Marion Jackson novel, it’s certainly worthwhile as a curio. I mean, John Wayne actually smiles in this one. There’s a reason why he rarely ever did that in a film. A very, very good reason. Wayne is shockingly young and obviously doesn’t have the screen presence or…

Review: Flash Gordon

Big screen adventure for the famed Alex Raymond comic book creation, starring Sam J. Jones in the title role. Flash is the quarterback for the New York Jets, who is on a plane with pretty Dale Arden (Melody Anderson) when they start to notice the sky is all kinds of crazy, and their plane eventually crashes. They land in the midst of the laboratory of Dr. Zarkov (Topol!), a crazy scientist who coerces them into joining him in his rocket ship. They land on the planet Mongo, overseen by Ming the Merciless (Max von Sydow), the evil ruler of the universe. Ming promptly plans to execute Flash, marry Dale and add her to his harem, and relieve Zarkov of his brilliant brain power. However, a hitch in those plans may come from Ming’s daughter Princess Aura (Ornella Muti), who has amorous designs on Flash herself. Brian Blessed turns up as King Vultan, leader of the Viking-like winged Hawk Men, and Timothy Dalton plays Prince Barin, this film’s Lando Calrissian, of-sorts. Peter Wyngarde plays t…

Review: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Captain America, AKA Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), is still adjusting to modernity after the time travel of the previous film. After completing a mission for S.H.I.E.L.D. with Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), our patriotic hero is visited by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), who has just escaped an attempt on his life, and urges Rogers to be careful and trust no one. He also hands him a flash drive, before running afoul of an assassin. It appears that someone has ordered a hit on Rogers too now, and an ambitious politician (played by Robert Redford!) and a seemingly unstoppable assassin who triggers memories of long ago in Rogers, appear to be behind it all. The assassin is dubbed The Winter Soldier, but the rest you’ll have to see for yourself. Frank Grillo and Aussie actor Callan Mulvey turn up as security/mercenaries for S.H.I.E.L.D. Emily VanCamp plays another S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, and Anthony Mackie turns up as former soldier Sam Wilson, AKA, The Falcon, AKA an actual …

Review: Seeds of Yesterday

Mostly focussing on the now adult Bart Jr. (James Maslow) as he invites his family to the newly restored Foxworth Hall, restored from money he has inherited from his grandmother. So along come Cathy (Rachael Carpani) and Chris (Jason Lewis), as well as successful dancer Jory and his pregnant wife Melodie (Leah Gibson), as well as trashy young adopted Cindy (Sammi Hanratty). Bart Jr., is still a bible-thumping loon, and seriously unhappy to find out that the family jewels so to speak will be overseen by Chris until Bart Jr. turns 35. Things get progressively worse from there, as Bart Jr. takes the bad news terribly badly- and takes it out on those around him. Meanwhile, Cindy seems to have a thing for her adopted brother Bart Jr., or is she just messing with him for the hell of it?

Directed by Shawn Ku (“Beautiful Boy”) and scripted by Darren Stein (writer-director of the 1999 “Heathers” rip-off “Jawbreaker”), this 2014 TV movie appears to be the last of the current Virgina/V.C. Andrew…

Review: Endless Love (2014)

Working class kid David (Alex Pettyfer) has just graduated high school, but will probably continue helping out his widowed, hard-working mechanic dad (a surprisingly well-meaning Robert Patrick) at the garage. Gabriella Wilde is Jade, another graduate, who comes from a wealthy family, but feels she never really connected with any of her classmates. She took it particularly hard when her beloved brother died from cancer a while back. David has always had a crush on Jade, but kept it to himself. Hell, they’ve never even spoken to one another. The two get to finally meet one night when David and his ebullient best friend Mace (Dayo Okeniyi) are working as valets, and before long, she’s inviting him to attend the party her parents are letting her throw for her classmates that she never got to know. Unfortunately, David and Mace are among the precious few teens who attend, but things get interesting when David and Jade find themselves in a closet together. From there a passionate teen roma…

Review: Town & Country

Warren Beatty is an architect married to fashion designer Diane Keaton, with two grown kids (Josh Hartnett and Tricia Vessey) who frankly don’t need him anymore. The film follows Beatty as romantic/sexual liaisons with other women just seem to magically happen to him. Meanwhile, his long-time friend Goldie Hawn is suspicious that her husband Garry Shandling (whom Beatty is also close with) is having an affair. She’s right, but boy is that not even the half of it. Beatty’s romantic/sexual conquests include sexy cellist Nastassja Kinski, and goofy heiress Andie MacDowell who is just as eccentric as her foul-mouthed parents (Marian Seldes and Charlton Heston. Yes, Charlton Heston. An armed Charlton Heston, even). Jenna Elfman turns up as the owner of a fishing supplies store whom Beatty and Shandling meet whilst on a male bonding trip.

One of the biggest box-office flops of all-time, this mixture of romantic comedy and farce from director Peter Chelsom (“Funny Bones”, “The Mighty”, “Hann…