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Showing posts from August 9, 2015

Review: Forty Thousand Horsemen

A story showcasing the inimitable Aussie Light horsemen battling in the Middle East during WWI. We also have a story involving Aussie soldier Grant Taylor falling for Betty Bryant, a French girl in ‘blackface’ pretending to be the son of an Arab sheik (Albert Winn) in order to hide from the Germans who killed her wine merchant father. Yep. Oh, and the Turks are set to attack at some point in all of this. Chips Rafferty plays one of Taylor’s comrades and best mates, with Pat Twohill as the other one. Apparently ex-pat Aussie actor Michael Pate is in here somewhere too in three (!) bit roles, two as Arabs, one as a Sikh cop.

The same year that “Citizen Kane” was released, this 1941 Australian war film (completed in 1940, however) from director/co-writer Charles Chauvel was also released. A WWI film, it was one of the films that gave a boost to the iconic Chips Rafferty’s career, and not only does it start off with ‘Advance Australia Fair’ (Our current national anthem, to you non-Aussies…

Review: Broken Arrow (1950)

Set in the 1870s, this is the true account of the attempted truce between whites and Native Americans. Ex-cavalryman Tom Jeffords (Jimmy Stewart) wants an end to the bloodshed, and decides to approach the feared Apache leader Cochise (Jeff Chandler), even trying to learn their language and customs. Others see him as a traitor or at least foolhardy, with Will Geer playing a bitter rancher who will have none of it. He gains support from long-time friend Arthur Hunnicut, however. But Cochise is wary and will not be an easy man to sway. Debra Paget plays an Indian girl whom Tom falls for, which may or may not help his cause much. Jay Silverheels plays Cochise’s harsh dissenter Geronimo, with Iron Eyes Cody also turning up as an Apache.

No, not the shitty John Travolta/Christian Slater action dud from the mid-90s. Directed by Delmer Daves (“Destination Tokyo”, “Jubal”, “3:10 to Yuma”), this 1950 western does a better job than most (if not all) other westerns about White/Native American rel…

Review: Sabotage (2014)

Arnold Schwarzenegger and an ugly neck tattoo plays ‘Breacher’, a DEA agent and head of an elite team, who has deep personal scars from his past. He and his team aren’t remotely squeaky clean and not above taking drug money for their own personal gain. Breacher’s team start turning up dead one-by-one in elaborately gory ways, and their latest haul of ‘acquired’ drug money is gone too. His team are played by Mireille Enos, Sam Worthington (as ‘Monster’, the surly, goateed husband of trashy crackhead Enos), Terrence Howard, Josh Holloway, Joe Manganiello, and Max Martini. Olivia Williams and Harold Perrineau Jr. play a pair of homicide detectives none-too impressed with Breacher’s motley bunch of scumbag agents. Martin Donovan briefly turns up as Breacher’s superior.

Although the names David Ayer (whose best directorial efforts are “End of Watch” and the excellent “Fury”) and Skip Woods (uninspired efforts like “Swordfish”, “The A-Team”, “A Good Day to Die Hard”, “X Men Origins: Wolveri…

Review: Skin Trade

Dolph Lundgren plays a cop who kills the son of Serbian human trafficking crime lordRon Perlman in a shootout. As retaliation, Perlman has Lundgren’s wife and daughter killed, and Lundgren is left comatose. When he wakes up, Lundgren has revenge on his mind, eventually tracking Perlman down in Thailand. Getting in his way, however, is a local cop (Tony Jaa), who is after Perlman for his own reasons. Eventually they begrudgingly decide to come together to bring the sex slave ring down. Celina Jade turns up as a sexy club worker/police informant (of Jaa’s) who runs afoul of Perlman. Michael Jai White plays a bespectacled FBI agent sent to stop Lundgren from going down that dark path, Peter Weller is the angry police captain, and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa has a cameo as a corrupt Thai government official.

***** SPOILER WARNING ***** I will be discussing the action scenes in this film, and thus revealing the allegiances of the cast/characters, so best save this review for after you’ve seen the…

Review: Soylent Green

Charlton Heston plays a NY cop in 2022, which is typically overpopulated, and processed food is all that is available to the masses, manufactured by The Soylent Corporation. Heston is investigating the death of Joseph Cotten, the head of Soylent, who has been murdered in his apartment. His superiors think it’s just a case of petty theft turned wrong (and given Cotten was rich enough to afford ‘real’ food, it’s not implausible), but Heston is adamant there’s more to the story. And boy is there ever! Edward G. Robinson plays Heston’s elderly assistant, Brock Peters plays Heston’s boss, Chuck Connors plays Cotten’s thug bodyguard, Roy Jenson an assassin, Whit Bissell is a politician with connections to Soylent, Leigh Taylor-Young is Heston’s love interest, and Lincoln Kilpatrick and Dick Van Patten have cameos as a preacher and…well, I can’t even describe Van Patten’s role. Just see the movie, trust me.

Alright, so the element of surprise is gone with this 1973 sci-fi flick from Richard …

Review: Insomnia (2002)

RIP Robin Williams. A year on and it still hurts...
***** SPOILER WARNING ***** Although this film is more character study than whodunit, those who don’t want the killer’s identity revealed may want to skip this review, as I make it pretty clear who it is. But then, so does the film about halfway in. Anyway. So turn back now ye weary travellers if spoilers not what ye be seeking. Arrrrrr. No, I have no idea why I’m talking like a pirate. It’s not weird, right?

Al Pacino and Martin Donovan are LA detectives under investigation by IA over evidence planting, the latter of whom is contemplating cutting a deal. They find themselves in a small Alaskan town to investigate the murder of a teenage girl. Already an insomniac, Pacino is thrown for a loop by the 24 hour sunlight of Alaska. They think they have the killer (believed to be an author, played by Robin Williams) trapped one day, but the seriously thick fog sees him getting away and tragedy striking as a cop is mistakenly killed instead.…

Review: Parents

Set in the 50s where the Laemle family have just moved into a new suburb. Young Michael (Bryan Madorsky) is a pint-sized, fussy eater, displeasing his man’s man father (Randy Quaid) to no end. When he inquires to mother (Mary Beth Hurt) as to where the ‘leftovers’ come from if they eat ‘leftovers’ every night, he doesn’t get a straight answer. Then late one night he spies his parents engaging in some kind of weirdo feeding ritual with bloody slabs of meat. Could Michael’s All-American parents be cannibals feasting on human flesh? Sandy Dennis plays a blowsy school psychologist who worries about the boy, and Deborah Rush plays the mother of Michael’s one ally, a local girl (Juno Mills-Cockell).

The directorial debut of actor Bob Balaban (Who played Russell Dalrymple, the NBC bigwig on “Seinfeld” as well as countless film credits), and also his best-known film as a director, this seriously black comedy is like a horror movie directed by John Waters (“Polyester”, “Hairspray”), but less k…

Review: 47 Ronin

Keanu Reeves plays Kai, who has grown up among samurai, despite not actually being one of them, and knowing that he will never be fully accepted. When an evil rival lord (Tadanobu Asano, the piercing and pain-obsessed star of “Ichi the Killer”) and his witch cohort (Rinko Kikuchi) use sorcery to cause Lord Asano (Min Tanaka) to attack the rival lord, Lord Asano is publically disgraced and forced by the Shogun (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) to commit seppuku (ritualistic suicide). Lord Asano’s samurai are subsequently stripped of their honour and title, now deemed to be Ronin, or samurai without a master. When the rival lord orders Asano’s lovely daughter Mika (Ko Shibasaki) to marry him, Oishi (Hiroyuki Sanada) decides to band his former samurai brethren together to seek revenge on their enemy for the death of their master. This despite being warned by The Shogun not to do so. He asks Kai (who has been sold into slavery in what looks like a Feudal Japan version of Thunderdome) to be an integr…

Review: Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

Several vignettes set in the seedy, noirish Basin City. Dwight (Josh Brolin) gets involved with a sexy former flame (Eva Green) who tells him her husband (Marton Csokas, bland as usual) is abusive. Johnny (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a cocky gambler who just won’t quit trying to beat corrupt Senator Roark (Powers Boothe, Satanically glowering), who doesn’t like to lose. Stripper Nancy (Jessica Alba) has her own beef with the evil Senator, who previously killed her guardian angel Hartigan (Bruce Willis, as kind of a ghost), and has bloody revenge in mind…that is, when she’s not three sheets to the wind. Also turning up from time to time is hulking brute Marv, who has his own troubles, but later lends Dwight a hand in taking down another hulking brute, the seemingly indestructible Manute (Dennis Haysbert), Green’s henchman. Jude Ciccolella plays Roark’s chief advisor, Christopher Meloni and Jeremy Piven are cops (the former of whom gets ensnared by Green, the latter of whom is apparently t…