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Showing posts from July 19, 2015

Review: Homefront

Jason Statham stars as a former undercover DEA agent, who needs to relocate after a recent drug bust reveals his identity. Moved to his deceased wife’s hometown with his young daughter, things heat up early when said daughter fights back against a bully. Sure, the little prick deserved it, but daddy has taught daughter how to defend herself, and we ain’t talking about wedgies or a round of cyber-bullying. This earns him the ire of redneck hellcat Kate Bosworth (!) and her deadbeat husband, who are none too happy when the school and even sheriff Clancy Brown don’t want to do a whole lot about it. So drug-addicted Bosworth instead turns to her drug-dealing brother Gator (Oscar nominee James Franco!) to scare Statham outta town. And that’s when Franco (who has the sheriff on his payroll, by the way) and his trashy girlfriend Winona Ryder (!!) uncover Statham’s true identity, through a mutual acquaintance. That acquaintance would be biker/gangster Chuck Zito, the man Statham incarcerates …

Review: Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!

After saving L.A. and New York in previous adventures, Fin (Ian Ziering) is back to save Florida and Washington from shark-infested tornadoes. After saving the American President (Mark Cuban!) from almost certain sharknado-y death, Fin attempts to get to Universal Studios Orlando to meet up with his pregnant wife (Tara Reid) and her overprotective mother (Bo Derek!). Fin’s daughter (Ryan Newman) is also at another part of the park. On the way he runs into old friend Nova (Cassie Cserbo, from the first “Sharknado”) and her nerdy storm-chaser friend (played by a wired-looking Frankie Muniz!). Things progressively get worse as sharknadoes hit all over the east coast of the U.S., even causing havoc during a certain big sporting event. It appears that things are destined to culminate in- wait for it- a sharkicane!- And the solution to saving the day involves Fin calling upon the expertise and hardware of former NASA bigwig and estranged father Gil (The Hoff!!- And yes, that second exclamat…

Review: Nebraska

Bruce Dern is a taciturn, hard-drinking old coot who thinks he’s just won a million dollars but doesn’t see the fine print on the Sweepstakes notice. He’s headed to Lincoln, Nebraska from Montana to get his million dollars goddamn it. His well-meaning, long-suffering son (Will Forte) tries to convince dad that it’s all a scam, but the stubborn, ornery man will have none of it. So he decides the best thing he can do is drive his father (who has never been much good to him) to the company HQ so that he doesn’t wander off aimlessly on his own. Thus begins the most awkward and uncommunicative road trip of the year. Along the way they stop off at dad’s former neighbourhood, where everyone in the small-town quickly hears of his ‘winnings’ and tries to take their piece from the gullible old man. Meanwhile, Forte begins to learn about his old man and just what made him the way he is. June Squibb plays Dern’s outspoken wife, a sharp-tongued opposite to the rather anti-social Dern, and also far…

Review: A Bridge Too Far

WWII story about the Allies attempting to wrap up the war quickly by landing paratroopers in Holland to capture several bridges leading to Germany, and supposedly being easy pickings from there. For several reasons shown over the next nearly three hours, this plan didn’t work out quite so smoothly. Dirk Bogarde plays Lt. Gen. Frederick Browning, heading the operation, Sean Connery plays the British General leading the paratroopers (despite his hatred of flying!), Sir Anthony Hopkins is the Lt. Col. leading paratroopers at the bridge in the town of Arnhem, and Gene Hackman plays a frequently disgruntled Polish Maj. General also taking part in the mission. In smaller roles we have Sir Michael Caine (as a smart-arse Brit Lt. Colonel), Edward Fox (in a colourful turn as a British Lt. General), Elliott Gould (who shouts a lot as an American Colonel), James Caan (as a tough bastard American Sergeant), Denholm Elliott (as an RAF officer, he served in the RAF in real-life too), Jeremy Kemp (b…

Review: My Reputation

Barbara Stanwyck (Best actress to never win an Oscar?) is raising two precocious boys on her own after the recent death of her husband. In walks army man George Brent into her life, and soon they are seeing each other while the boys are away at boarding school. This is apparently scandalous, even to Stanwyck’s status-obsessed mother (Lucile Watson) because apparently widows are meant to become dried up old prunes who are never allowed to be with anyone else, let alone so soon after her husband’s death. The heart wants what it wants, even if Stanwyck’s reputation suffers as a result. Jerome Cowan plays a sleaze who wants to be more than just friends with Stanwyck, while Eve Arden is her supportive best friend.

The strength and ability of Barbara Stanwyck as an actress successfully navigates this 1946 drama from director Curtis Bernhardt (“Sirocco”, “Beau Brummel”) through some murky waters. To be honest, it has aged a bit, and it has two obstacles in its way. The first is a giant block…

Review: Last Vegas

Four lifelong friends get together for the Vegas wedding of Billy (Michael Douglas), to his considerably younger bride-to-be (or at least, they’re around for the bachelor party). Morgan Freeman is Archie, who uses the opportunity to escape his domestic life being babied by his well-meaning family after recent health issues. Mild-mannered retiree Sam (Kevin Kline), meanwhile, is afforded the opportunity by his wife (Joanna Gleason, nice to see her on screen again) to have a ‘hall pass’ for the weekend, to maybe help revive their recently unexciting marriage. And then there’s cranky widow Paddy (Robert De Niro), who practically has to be dragged kicking and screaming to the event, due to some past bad blood between he and Billy, that has never been properly resolved. Mary Steenburgen plays a third-rate Vegas singer who inevitably causes yet another problem between Paddy and Billy. Jerry Ferrara plays a young schmuck who antagonises the guys, Roger Bart plays a drag queen, and Romany Mal…

Review: The Fourth Wish

John Meillon stars as a hard-working and loving single dad who has looked after his son (Robert Bettles) after his wife (Robyn Nevin) walked out on them years ago. Bettles has leukaemia and is given only several months to live. Not wanting to dwell on the negative for his son’s sake, Meillon decides to keep positive by promising to grant Bettles three wishes. One of these wishes involves getting a dog, which proves a hassle for Meillon and his landlord, whilst the other wishes you’ll need to find out for yourself. Michael Craig, Anne Haddy, and Norman Yemm all play doctors, whilst Brian James turns up as a lawyer Meillon turns to for help with the situation with his landlord.

Although it’s a tear-jerker if ever I’ve seen one, this 1976 Don Chaffey (Disney’s uneven “Pete’s Dragon”) film for most of its length is surprisingly not too sad or depressing. This is mostly because the character wonderfully played by an AFI award-winning John Meillon is putting on a brave face for his terminal…

Review: Last Man Standing

Bruce Willis is John Smith, a grim-faced stranger of few words who drifts into the tiny, dusty Texas town of Jericho during the Prohibition era. He just wants to lay low, but finds himself stuck in a turf war between Italian-American (Ned Eisenberg & Michael Imperioli) and Irish-American (David Patrick Kelly, R.D. Call, and Patrick Kilpatrick) gangsters who each want him to help wipe out the other gang. After realising that the local sheriff (Bruce Dern) is on the take and doesn’t give a crap who does what to whom, Smith decides to play both gangs against each other and make a pretty penny for himself. Endless gunfire ensues. Christopher Walken plays Kelly’s scarred, gun-happy henchman named Hickey. Karina Lombard plays the woman Kelly is crazy about, whilst Leslie Mann is a hooker, Alexandra Powers is a hooker connected to Eisenberg, William Sanderson is the local bartender, and Ken Jenkins is a US Marshal.

Writer-director Walter Hill (“48HRS”, “Streets of Fire”, “Crossroads”) sw…

Review: Mulan (1998)

With the Huns invading China, the Emperor (voiced by Pat Morita!) calls for one male in each family to join China’s army to help fight the Huns (who are led by Shan-Yu, voiced by that great Asian actor…Miguel Ferrer). When her aging father (voiced by Soon-Tek Oh) is called, daughter Mulan (voiced by Ming Na) dresses like and impersonates a man and joins the army to spare her father. Once told by a matchmaker that she will never bring honour to her family, Mulan attempts to do just that. Eddie Murphy provides the voice of Mulan’s tiny dragon companion Mushu, and James Hong is the voice of Chi Fu, a scheming viceroy to Mulan’s brave, stoic army captain Shang (voiced by B.D. Wong).

1998 Disney animated film is superior to the terrible “Pocahontas”, but in addition to a female protagonist, the film shares the earlier film’s ill-fit of Disney animated family fun and serious historical story (or in this case, based on Chinese legend). Directed by Tony Bancroft and Barry Cook, there’s some t…

Review: The African Queen

Set in 1914, Katharine Hepburn is Rose Sayer, a prim and proper British missionary in East Africa with her brother, played by Robert Morley. WWI has broken out and it’s getting unsafe to stay, but Rose and her brother insist. Unfortunately, before long the Germans turn up and in a scuffle, Morley is killed. Humphrey Bogart plays Charlie, the grubby-looking but well-meaning Canadian steamboat captain who delivers supplies to Rose and her brother. When he turns up and learns what has happened, he kindly offers to help bury the brother and then get Rose to safety. Thus begins a trip along the river between two complete and utter opposites.

Long before Robert Zemeckis gave us “Romancing the Stone” in 1984, John Huston (“The Misfits”, “The Maltese Falcon”, “The Asphalt Jungle”) gave us this grand romantic adventure from 1951. Based on a book by C.S. Forester (“Sink the Bismarck!”), it’s a classic romance story, but with enough other stuff to keep the boys interested too. It is somewhat of …