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Showing posts from September 6, 2015

Review: Panic in the Streets

A sick man (and illegal immigrant to boot) beats the wrong guy at poker, a small-time gangster named Blackie (Jack Palance), who chases after the guy, kills him, and throws him off a nearby dock. The body is eventually recovered, and the coroner thinks there’s something not right about this dead body, calling in military doctor Richard Widmark, of the U.S. Public Health Service. Widmark confirms that the dead man was inflicted with pneumonic plague (although it was the gunshots that obviously killed him), a deadly airborne virus that could turn into an epidemic very, very quickly. Widmark says they have only about 48 hours to track down everyone who came into contact with the deceased, and advises everyone to keep it hush-hush, so as not to create widespread panic. Paul Douglas plays the generally annoyed New Orleans police captain tasked by the local mayor to find the dead man’s killers (but doing so in a manner that doesn’t alert Palance’s attention to the fact that they’re after hi…

Review: Finders Keepers

Jaime Pressly and her 9 year-old daughter (Kylie Rogers) move into a new home, after a recent separation from her husband (Patrick Muldoon). Rogers finds a tattered old doll and is soon infatuated with it. Turns out the doll has a dark past involving a murder-happy young boy, and now the doll seems to be having a dark influence on young Rogers. Tobin Bell turns up as a concerned child psychologist and Justina Marchado plays Pressly’s ‘ethnic mumbo-jumbo expert’ best friend (It’s an accurate description, believe me).

Forget that this 2014 horror film was made for TV, it’s not overly violent but there’s little difference here in horrific content from the average horror film from the 90s or early 00s, for instance. The real problem with this film from director Alexander Yellen and screenwriter Peter Sullivan is that the plot is exactly like the kind of thing you would have found in a horror film from the 90s or early 00s, and not one of the good ones. It’s tired, clichéd, and a few recog…

Review: Last Train From Gun Hill

Kirk Douglas plays a Marshal whose 9 year-old son comes crying home to tell him that Douglas’ Native American wife has been raped and murdered, by two cowardly thugs played by Earl Holliman and Brian G. Hutton. Going back to the scene of the crime and finding a misplaced saddle, Douglas looks at the saddle and recognises it as belonging to Anthony Quinn, his best friend during their misspent youth way back when. Holliman, it turns out, is Quinn’s idiot no-good son. Filled with a barely concealed rage (and with justice on his mind), Douglas takes a train to the town of Gun Hill to pay his old buddy a visit and get him to turn over his son and moron friend to him. When he gets there, he finds Quinn (now a respected but ruthless cattle rancher) unwilling to present his son to Douglas. It’s his flesh-and-blood, after all, and no matter how much of a dickweed Holliman is, he’s still Quinn’s son. Quinn does, however, fire Hutton from his employ when he works out the two men are guilty. Doug…

Review: Grudge Match

Sly Stallone and Robert De Niro play two aging boxing rivals whose feud never went to a deciding match. 30 years after their last match, a motor-mouth promoter (Kevin Hart) sees dollar signs in setting up the decider. Originally he just wants them to do motion capture poses for a boxing video game, but when the two combustible forces (who haven’t been in the same room in years) get into a scrap and it goes viral, Hart sets his ambitions higher. While pugnacious De Niro seems to be all for the match, Stallone (who retired before a third match could even happen) is more reticent and happy to let things lay as they currently do at one win apiece. He’s doing just fine making a living as a humble welder. However, Hart won’t give up, and De Niro’s constant goading (he thinks Stallone is chickening out ‘coz he knows he can’t beat him a second time) winds Stallone up enough to finally agree to the match. Kim Basinger plays Stallone’s ex-girlfriend, whose dalliance with De Niro helped put fuel…

Review: A Million Ways to Die in the West

Seth MacFarlane is Albert, a sheep farmer who laments the harsh and violent times living in the Wild West. When he backs out of a duel, his girlfriend (Amanda Seyfried) leaves him and shacks up with moustachioed toolbucket named Foy (Neil Patrick Harris). But then a beautiful female gunslinger (Charlize Theron) walks into town and is soon teaching Albert how to fire a gun, and basically man the hell up. The two also bond, though things are somewhat stalled when Theron’s intimidating outlaw husband (Liam Neeson) turns up looking for her and the man she has supposedly shacked up with (i.e. Albert). Did I mention that Neeson is the most feared gunman around? Yeah, there’s that, too. Giovanni Ribisi plays Albert’s similarly meek, naïve best friend, whose girlfriend (Sarah Silverman) won’t sleep with him until they are married. Since she’s also the town whore, she will sleep with everyone else, though. Alex Borstein plays a saloon owner, Matt Clark turns up as an old prospector who runs af…

Review: Die Hard With a Vengeance

John McClane is not having the best time of it. His marriage is busted, he’s on suspension from the NYPD (for shall we say ‘poor work ethic’?), he doesn’t get to see his kids enough, and now he’s a drunken mess who just doesn’t give a shit about anything anymore. Unfortunately, he’s gonna need to start giving a shit real soon because his boss at the NYPD (Larry Bryggman) has just learned that the city has a mad bomber named Simon (Jeremy Irons) on its hands, one who is explicitly calling out McClane. There are bombs all across the city, and he wants McClane to play a game of ‘Simon Says’. He needs to solve a series of challenging puzzles within an allotted time or else a bomb will go off. Dragged into this mess is an angry African-American shop owner named Zeus (Samuel L. Jackson), who has a deep distrust of all white people, and is none too happy about having to help out this honky solve puzzles to stop the threat of another honky. But that’s what he gets for saving McClane from bein…

Review: Lucy

Scarlett Johansson plays the title character, a seemingly vacuous American party girl in Tapei who makes the mistake of acquainting herself a few days ago with loser dickweed Richard (Pilou Asbaek), who asks her…then forces her to deliver a briefcase up to a hotel room. She’s handcuffed to the case and only the man upstairs she is to meet with, can unlock her. That man is a gangster played by Choi Min-shik, and he’s a no fucking around kinda guy. When the briefcase is opened, inside we find a new drug and before long, Lucy is turned into a reluctant drug mule, as this new drug is placed inside her abdomen as she is forced to smuggle the drugs to somewhere in Europe. Things go wrong, Lucy is beaten up, and the plastic bag inside her bursts, causing the drug to enter her bloodstream. This drug has the effect of greatly enhancing the percentage of her brain able to be accessed and used, from the supposedly initial 10%. So what does a hot chick with an enhanced brain do with all that grey…

Review: Godzilla (2014)

A plot synopsis seems kind of silly here, as the title should tell you everything you need to know, but nonetheless here we go: In 1999, American nuclear physicist Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) is working at a nuclear power plant when there’s a reactor meltdown. Joe’s scientist wife Sandra (Juliette Binoche) is tragically killed. An investigation sees the incident labelled an earthquake, but Joe knows something very different was going on and smells a government cover-up.

15 years later, Brody’s estranged son Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) is a nuclear explosives expert for the US Navy, with his nurse wife (Elizabeth Olsen) and their kid Sam (Carson Bolde). He gets the call to come pick up his dad in Tokyo, after the old man has been arrested for trespassing on the premises of his former employ. Seems Joe is having a hard time forgetting about the incident of years ago. Losing your wife and a fishy-as-hell, lame-arse government explanation tends to make you go a little bit ‘conspiracy nut’.…

Review: Annie Hall

The story of neurotic New York comedy writer Alvy Singer (Woody Allen) and his romantic relationships, focussing mostly on his involvement with struggling singer Annie Hall (Diane Keaton), whom he meets at a tennis match, followed by the most uncomfortably awkward conversation you’ve ever heard. Carol Kane and Janet Margolin play Alvy’s two ex-wives, Tony Roberts is Alvy’s actor best friend, Colleen Dewhurst is Annie’s mother, with Christopher Walken as Annie’s troubled brother, whilst John Glover cameos as a pretentious ex-boyfriend.

If not the best film directed by Woody Allen (“Manhattan”, “Hannah and Her Sisters”, “Hollywood Ending”), then certainly one of the top two (For me, it’s a toss-up between this and “Deconstructing Harry”, which might just have the slightest edge), this 1977 film from the director and his co-writer Marshall Brickman (“Manhattan”, “Manhattan Murder Mystery”) has lots of clever moments and great lines that come thick and fast. My favourite line? ‘Hey, don’t…

Review: Stealing Harvard

Jason Lee is in a bit of a pickle. He and his fiancé Leslie Mann have just acquired the funds for a deposit on a house. However, a long time ago, Lee promised that if his niece (Tammy Blanchard) got into college, he’d pay for her tuition. She indeed gets into Harvard and needs almost the exact same amount of money that Lee and Mann need for the deposit on the house. What to do? He can’t bear to disappoint Mann, nor her extremely intimidating and weirdly overprotective father (and sales rep Lee’s boss), played by Dennis Farina. Nor can he be honest and tell Mann about the promise. That’d be too smart. For some stupid reason, he turns to his oddball idiot best friend Tom Green for answers (A lawn mower by trade, it seems. A really, really bad one at that). Supposedly comedic get rich quick schemes ensue (one involving horse racing and a cameo by Seymour Cassel). John C. McGinley plays a bald and uber-intense detective, Chris Penn is a high school acquaintance turned idiot crook, Richard…