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Showing posts from August 23, 2015

Review: Non-Stop

Liam Neeson plays a deeply troubled, Irish-born federal air marshal on a flight from London to New York. Shortly after take-off he starts getting weird text messages from an unknown sender threatening to kill someone on board unless $150 million is in a bank account within 20 minutes. And another person will die with every subsequent 20 minutes passing. Neeson tries his best to finger the culprit before any harm is done, but also alerting the least amount of people necessary. Unfortunately, the finger starts to be pointed in his direction, especially when some genius passenger films Neeson’s erratic behaviour and puts it online. Julianne Moore plays a passenger and Michelle Dockery a flight attendant, the only two real supporters he has, let alone the only two he trusts. This on a flight with another air marshal (Anson Mount), mind you. The two don’t really get along so well and Mount is Neeson’s first suspect. Lupita Nyong’o is another flight attendant, whilst Scoot McNairy and Jon A…

Review: The French Connection

‘Popeye’ Doyle (Gene Hackman) is an ornery, loudmouth bully of a cop, who along with partner Russo (Roy Scheider) attempt to break a big, international drug smuggling operation. It seems a small-time local hood (played by Tony Lo Bianco) has connections with a dapper Frenchman named Alain Charnier (a slippery Fernando Rey), and there may be a huge heroin shipment coming in from France. Marcel Bozzuffi plays Charnier’s dangerous offsider, Alan Weeks (a Blaxploitation notable) plays a crim who gets chased down on foot by Doyle early in the film, whilst real-life cops Eddie Egan and Sonny Grosso (whom Doyle and Russo are based on) have roles too, the former as Doyle and Russo’s superior officer.

Probably the best-ever film from director William Friedkin (“The Night They Raided Minsky’s”, “The Exorcist”), this landmark 1971 cops-and-crooks film boasts a top-notch performance from an Oscar-winning Gene Hackman as the tough, ornery, but ultimately dogged and determined ‘Popeye’ Doyle. Possi…

Review: Auggie Rose

Insurance salesman Jeff Goldblum is complaining about a scratch on a wine bottle to clerk Auggie Rose (Kim Coates) when an armed robber enters the picture, and kills Auggie. Shattered by the incident that he sees his petty request (Do people reject a bottle of Coke just because the label is a bit torn? Fucking take it and drink it you wanker!) as being partly responsible for the man’s death, Goldblum starts digging into the man’s life. He was a recently paroled man who had only recently gotten the job. Cop Richard T. Jones warns Goldblum not to keep sticking his nose in, but Goldblum can’t help himself, finding out where Auggie lived and visiting his apartment. He finds the letters he wrote in prison to the woman he hadn’t had a chance to even meet on the outside before his tragic death. Goldblum goes to meet the woman (Anne Heche- a bit more appealing than, well…ever, really), and when she assumes that Goldblum is Auggie, he doesn’t correct her. And so it goes. Nancy Travis plays Gol…

Review: How I Live Now

Sullen American teen Saoirse Ronan is staying with her English cousins in the countryside. She really doesn’t want to be there and doesn’t seem to suffer fools easily. She’s also got a seriously neurotic inner monologue thing going on (Shades of that cinematic masterpiece “The Host”, also starring Ronan). Eventually she lightens up a bit and even takes a fancy to one of her cousins (George MacKay). First cousins, by the way. Yep. Unfortunately, just as she’s settling in, the world goes topsy-turvy whilst her Aunt (Anna Chancellor) is away on business in Geneva. Terrorists have unleashed an attack in London, and before long soldiers are turning up to evacuate everyone to safety. Ronan actually gets a chance to go home to the US, but decides to stay put. She’s separated from her two eldest cousins, however, as she and the youngest (Harley Bird) make the trek to find them. At least, I think that’s what happens here.

Being based on a YA novel by Meg Rosoff and featuring youngsters fightin…

Review: Fury

Set in 1945, and nearing the end of WWII, Logan Lerman stars as a young and decidedly inexperienced Army typist thrown into the deep end when assigned to join as a gunner and co-driver with one helluva motley tank crew of seriously battle-weary, rather prickly soldiers. Headed by veteran Brad Pitt, this rather disreputable bunch rather resent this rookie, who is horrified by not only the war going on around him, but the fact that he is expected to hold up his end, too. Shia LaBeouf is the resident religious-type, Jon Bernthal is the biggest arsehole among them, and Michael Pena is the token immigrant and the tank’s driver.

Well here was a big surprise. I didn’t know what to expect from this 2014 war movie, and when I found out at the end that it was written and directed by David Ayer (director of “End of Watch”, writer of the overrated “Training Day” and the transparent “Street Kings”), I was quite blown away. For starters, it wasn’t a corrupt cop movie for once. Amen to that right th…

Review: The Prince

Jason Patric plays a widowed mechanic who worries when his college age daughter (Gia Mantegna) stops answering his calls. Eventually he decides to find out where she is, getting in contact with a college acquaintance (Jessica Lowndes), who informs daddy of a few unpleasant truths about his seemingly innocent daughter. Seems she’s gotten herself mixed up with the local drug scene (50 Cent plays a sleazy drug dealer) in New Orleans, so Patric has Lowndes show him around some of the seedier joints in town hoping to find out where she is. The trail leads to New Orleans criminal bigwig Bruce Willis, who has a personal vendetta to score with Patric that goes back a while. You see, Patric used to be an assassin, a very effective one. Rain turns up as Willis’ effeminate-looking Korean henchman, Jonathon Schaech is a gun store owner, and John Cusack turns up as one of Patric’s associates from the old days.

There’s a whole lotta slummin’ goin’ on in this direct-to-DVD 2014 action/drama from dir…

Review: Honey, I Shrunk the Kids

Thompson brothers Jared Rushton and Thomas Brown accidentally hit a baseball through their next door neighbour’s window. Said next door neighbour just so happens to be a scientist, named Wayne Szalinski (Rick Moranis- please come back!) who has invented a machine that can shrink matter. A machine that the kids have just accidentally activated with their baseball. Ergo, when they and Szalinski’s own kids (Amy O’Neill and Robert Oliveri) try to retrieve the ball, they find themselves in the machine’s line of fire and are shrunk to miniscule size. And then they get accidentally thrown out with the garbage! As the shrunken kids struggle with oversized insects through their trek from the backyard to the house, their parents are worried sick. Marcia Strassman plays Mrs. Szalinski, while Kristine Sutherland and an oafish Matt Frewer are the Thompsons.

I saw this Joe Johnston (director of “The Rocketeer”, “October Sky”, the shite “Jumanji”, the effective “Wolfman” remake) kiddie version of “T…

Review: RoboCop (2014)

Set in 2028, a big corporate conglomerate named OmniCorp is the leader in robot technology, headed by CEO Raymond Sellars (Michael Keaton). Their drones are used in military conflicts, but facing serious backlash, Sellars decides a change or tweaking of the technology is required. Sellars comes up with the idea of an advancement to their current technology and introduce a physical human element to the currently used robot technology. Meanwhile, Detroit cop and family man Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) is critically injured via a car bomb planted by the local gangster (named Vallon here, but essentially a substitute for Clarence Boddicker). After consulting scientist Dennett Norton (Gary Oldman), Sellars arranges for Murphy to be the guinea pig for his latest project. Ergo the birth of RoboCop, a human brain and other assorted organs inside a metallic robot body. Sellars thinks he has found the perfect creation, but the thing is, there’s still parts of a human being inside that machine, a…