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Showing posts from November 22, 2015

Review: Jersey Boys

The story of musical group Frankie Valli (John Lloyd Young) and the Four Seasons, as we see them graduate from young 1950s New Jersey hoodlums to 1960s hit-makers. We also witness band member Tommy De Vito’s (Vincent Piazza) continued hoodlum ways and money problems threatening to derail the band, and the troubled home life of Valli (struggling to play husband and father whilst constantly on the road or in the studio). Other band members are played by Michael Lomeda and Erich Bergen (the latter playing the chief songwriter and keyboardist), whilst Renee Marino is Frankie’s frankly wholly unsuitable wife, Christopher Walken plays a local mob boss who helps the boys out from time to time throughout their lives. Joey Russo pops up as future actor Joe Pesci, who played a pretty big part in the band’s history.

Who would’ve imagined one day that Clint Eastwood would direct the film version of a stage musical? Well, the versatile director (“White Hunter, Black Heart”, “Million Dollar Baby”,

Review: Blood From the Mummy’s Tomb

Egyptologist Andrew Keir gives his staggeringly beautiful daughter Valerie Leon a new ring for her birthday. This isn’t any ordinary ring, though, as Leon eventually discovers that her father found it in (and swiped it from) the tomb of Queen Tera, an ancient Egyptian ruler who was executed for supposedly engaging in sorcery. And get this- Leon was born on the same day that the tomb was discovered by Keir and looks exactly like Queen Tera! (Just ignore the fact that Keir has lustful thoughts for his daughter’s doppelganger, mind you). Meanwhile, for some bizarro reason, Keir has Queen Tera’s amazingly perfectly preserved body lying in his cellar. That’s awfully convenient, since Queen Tera now seems to be having some kind of evil influence on Leon. One by one the people on Keir’s excavation of Queen Tera’s tomb start to be bumped off. James Villiers plays an unscrupulous colleague of Keir’s who is always skulking about, whilst Mark Edwards plays Leon’s boyfriend. The members of Keir’s…

Review: Tusk

Justin Long is a nerdy but arsehole-ish podcaster who hosts ‘The Not See Party’ (apparently pronounced ‘Nazi Party’, because…Kevin Smith failed high school, maybe?) with his buddy Haley Joel Osment (yep!). As part of the podcast, Long travels to all kinds of places to follow up on viral video stories and make fun of the people who have made or starred in them. He’s headed to Canada to visit ‘Kill Bill Kid’ but learns when he gets there that the Kid has committed suicide. He thinks the trip has been a bust, when he comes across an interestingly weird note on a urinal notice board (?) at a bar, from a supposedly lonely old man promising interesting and wild tales of seafaring adventures. Because Long is a movie character, he thinks it’d be a great idea to check this story out, and winds up at the abode of old windbag Michael Parks, whose interior decorating mostly consists of animal trophies and other macho but weird oddities. Unfortunately, the longer the old man talks, and the more te…

Review: The Interview

James Franco stars as an idiot egotist trashy TV interviewer/host named Dave Skylark (think Matthew Lillard doing Ryan Seacrest as the host of a Larry King type-show), who learns he has a fan in North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un (Randall Park). He and his more sensible producer (Seth Rogen) are ecstatic when they land the interview of the century, but soon realise the gravity of the whole thing when the CIA (personified by a bemused Lizzy Caplan) come knocking, hoping to seize an assassination opportunity. Even then Skylark seems all gung-ho about it, that is until he meets a disarmingly sweet and cool Kim Jong-un, who loves margaritas and Katy Perry. Diana Bang plays the pretty North Korean woman given the task of handling Skylark and his producer, the latter of whom sparks seem to fly with!

Here it is, the film at the centre of the Sony hacking scandal. The film that was potentially never going to be released. Frankly, this 2014 comedy from co-director pairing Seth Rogen and Evan Go…

Review: Dracula Untold

Set in Transylvania in the 15th Century but starring the very English Luke Evans as Vlad, a prince who refuses an order by a rival Turkish leader to hand over 1,000 youths for their army, including Vlad’s own son. This means a war is certain to break out between the two leaders, but before the battle begins (a battle Vlad’s decidedly smaller army will surely lose), Vlad goes off to a mysterious cave, in desperate search for a solution. There he makes a deal with a vampire (played by Charles Dance) whereby drinking the vampire’s blood will temporarily give him the vampire’s powers. However, he must refrain from feeding on blood for three days or else he will permanently become one of the undead. Vlad returns to take on the Turkish army…and defeats them singlehandedly. Like, he’s the only one out there fighting them, and he kills them. All of them. On his own. Killed dead. Unfortunately this results in his people (not to mention his wife, played by Sarah Gadon) being deeply suspicious o…

Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

The evil Foot Clan is wreaking havoc across the city and ambitious reporter April O’Neil (Megan Fox) wants to get a big scoop to impress her boss. What she stumbles upon is The Foot being attacked by shadowy avengers of some kind. These avengers eventually reveal themselves to be the title pubescent (?) reptiles, who live in the sewers and are the thought-to-be-dead product of a mutation experiment that April’s father was working on when she was a little girl. Yes, these are the same test subjects she helped name after famous artists that she was totally aware of as a child. They are; Stoic leader Leonardo (Motion-Capture performance by Pete Plozek, but voiced by a bland Johnny Knoxville), juvenile party dude Michaelangelo (Noel Fisher, a million miles from TV’s “Shameless”), brainiac Donatello (Jeremy Howard), and the brooding warrior Raphael (Alan Ritchson). Their sensei is a former lab rat turned sage paternal figure named Splinter (Danny Woodburn, but voiced by an unrecognisable T…

Review: Predestination

We start in 1975 with an unsuccessful attempt at thwarting the plans of a terrorist named The Fizzle Bomber. We then come back to 1970 and Ethan Hawke is working as a bartender when a patron calling themselves John (Sarah Snook) claims to have a doozy of a story for him. It’s a story of abandonment, identity, and even female astronauts. And then Hawke shows John something that may change not only John’s future, but the unhappy past too. Noah Taylor turns up as a recruiter for the space program.

Based on a Robert Heinlein (“Starship Troopers”, “The Puppet Masters”) short story, this 2014 sci-fi/time-travel film is the mild best film so far from Aussie writer/director team The Spierig Brothers (who previously gave us the tedious zombie flick “Undead” and the overrated vampire film “Daybreakers”). It’s better than the much-loved (for some reason) “Looper”, but I think “Project Almanac” still stands as the best time-travel film of recent years. At about 90 minutes, it’s far too short for …

Review: Sexy Beast

Ray Winstone plays a retired gangland figure softened and tanning himself in sunny Spain with his ballsy wife Amanda Redman. An acquaintance (Cavan Kendall, who sadly died before the film’s release) brings news of the impending arrival of Winstone’s former boss (Sir Ben Kingsley), who has a job offer for Winstone back in London. Winstone isn’t interested. Kingsley isn’t interested in the word ‘no’. Kingsley is a volcano about to erupt in explosive, venomous profane tirades delivered in an ear-shatteringly loud manner towards the imposing-looking but laidback Winstone. Kingsley’s a scary fucker in small packaging, basically, even if his rantings aren’t always grammatically correct (My favourite being a response to Winstone turning the opportunity down: ‘You’ve got to turn this opportunity YES!’). Ian McShane plays the leader of the proposed criminal enterprise, whilst James Fox turns up briefly as the owner of a bank, whom McShane is attempting to dupe by pretending to be romantically …

Review: The Imposter

The incredible true story of the disappearance in 1994 of 13 year-old Texan kid Nicholas Barclay, who supposedly disappeared. Three years later, Nicholas’ mother and sister receive word that Nicholas has been miraculously found…in Spain. They are shocked, Nicholas’ sister in particular (it is she who utters the hilariously ignorant line: ‘But that’s across country!’. Nicholas, however seems to have changed, and tells a wild story of kidnap and sexual abuse/torture. Why does he have different coloured eyes? Why does he now speak with a thick French accent? Well, that’s because he’s not Nicholas, but a con artist named Frederic Bourdin, who managed to fool the Spanish government, the FBI, and yes, Nicholas’ hick family. The fact that I’m telling you all of this (and the fact that the film itself is upfront about it by its very title!) shows, however, that there’s a lot more to this story. A whole lot more.

I already saw the fictionalised version of this story in “The Chameleon”, and thi…

Review: Silent Hill: Revelation

Sean Bean and his daughter Adelaide Clemens have moved towns several times over the last 6 years for reasons she doesn’t quite understand. However, she’s about to find out, as private detective Martin Donovan catches hold of her and explains that he has been hired to find her. He knows her real name, and says that she is supposed to come to a place called Silent Hill. Spooked, Clemens and new school chum Kit Harington (in his film debut) head home from school to see her dad, only to find that he is gone, and the words ‘Come to Silent Hill’ are written in blood on the walls. So it’s off to Silent Hill they go, a dreamscape place where demons and monsters, and insane Malcolm McDowell live. An unrecognisable Carrie-Ann Moss turns up as the chief villainess of the piece, whilst Deborah Kara Unger and Radha Mitchell briefly reprise their roles from the first film.

Although I’m not really a gamer (certainly haven’t played anything in about a decade at least), I nearly took a liking to the f…