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Showing posts from December 6, 2015

Review: Witness

Harrison Ford is John Book, a Philly cop called in to investigate the murder of a cop at a train station. The only witness to the crime is a young Amish boy (Lukas Haas) travelling with his mother (Kelly McGillis). Although distrustful of outsiders, the mother and boy co-operate with Book and the latter identifies an African-American narcotics officer (Danny Glover) as the killer. Book soon realises the danger the boy is in and attempts to hide them, eventually settling on taking them back home to Amish territory, where seemingly no one would dare enter. He also comes to realise that the amount of people he can trust is much smaller than he first thought. Josef Sommer plays Book’s superior officer and trusted friend/mentor, Brent Jennings is Book’s partner, Alexander Godunov (in his English-language debut) and a young-ish Viggo Mortensen (in his screen debut) play Amish men, with Jan Rubes as McGillis’ stern and untrusting father. That’s Timothy Carhart as the cop getting bumped off e…

Review: The Rescuers

A young orphan girl has been kidnapped by the ghastly thief Madame Medusa (voiced by Geraldine Page) and forced to search for a precious diamond stuck in some kind of cave. The poor girl’s only hope appears to be two mice from the Rescue Aid Society, Bernard (voiced by Bob Newhart) and Miss Bianca (voiced by Eva Gabor). Jim Jordan voices Orville the Albatross, who flies the mice to the girl’s rescue. John McIntire voices an aging cat named Rufus who befriended the girl prior to her kidnapping, John Fiedler voices an owl, and Pat Buttram voices a superfluous drunken bumpkin muskrat.

This 1977 Disney animated movie appears so rarely on TV that I actually saw the 1990 sequel first. The sequel (“The Rescuers Down Under”) is better, I might add, but this one’s pretty good in its own right and was obviously enough of a box-office hit to spawn the first-ever sequel for a Disney animated film. Things don’t start out too well I must say, with an absolutely dreary opening credits song ‘The Jour…

Review: Chappie

Set in a future South Africa where robots designed by the Tetravaal Corporation comprise the police force. Robot designer Deon (Dav Patel) has been trying to perfect an artificial intelligence and believes he has finally worked it all out. Unfortunately, Tetravaal CEO Michelle Brady (Sigourney Weaver) won’t allow him to use one of the police robots to test it out, preferring he stick to making killing machines. Meanwhile, a trio of oddball would-be robbers (Yo-Landi Vi$$er, Ninja, and Jose Pablo Cantillo) are having trouble plying their trade with the rather successful police robots thwarting their every attempt. This leads them to kidnap Deon, who has just managed to get his hands on a robot that was damaged in the trio’s latest heist attempt and installs his newly developed A.I. chip into it. These annoying twits think the robots must have an ‘Off’ switch and that a smart fella designer like Deon should be able to help them out with that. He tries to show them that it doesn’t work l…

Review: Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb

Things aren’t going well at the Natural History Museum, as Larry (Ben Stiller) discovers the exhibits are starting to freeze up and reverting to their wax state, perhaps permanently. The cause of this is that Ahkmenrah's (Rami Malek) tablet is starting to corrode. Now he must travel to the British museum to seek the exhibit that houses Ahkmenrah’s father (Sir Ben Kingsley) and get his help in correcting the problem before it’s too late. The whole gang, of course, accompanies Larry, including his teenage son (Skyler Gisondo), Dexter the monkey (played by Crystal the Monkey), and even a caveman exhibit who looks awfully familiar. Once they get there they also must contend with an arrogant Sir Lancelot (Dan Stevens), and a horny security guard (Rebel Wilson). Ricky Gervais (insincere museum owner, Steve Coogan (Octavius), Owen Wilson (Jedediah), and the late Robin Williams (Teddy Roosevelt) all reprise their roles, whilst the three unscrupulous security guards from the first film are…

Review: Against All Odds

Jeff Bridges plays a footballer named Terry who is getting on in years and plagued by injuries. He’s pissed when he ends up cut from the team, despite being there a long time and always putting in 110%. Now strapped for cash until he can find a spot on another team, he gets a job offer from an old friend, Jake (James Woods). Jake is a nightclub owner and bookie whose girlfriend Jessie (Rachel Ward) stabbed him during one of their many fights and ran off on him, taking $50,000 of Jake’s money with her. She did leave the dog, though, which is nice of her. Jake loves her, though, and needs her back. Terry then goes to visit his team owner (played by Jane Greer) and her business partner (Richard Widmark) to see if she can put him back on the team. When Greer finds out about Jake’s offer, she makes Terry a counter-offer: See, Jessie is Greer’s estranged daughter, and she wants her found too…so she can get her the hell away from the vile Jake. She won’t reinstate Terry, but she is willing t…

Review: Snowpiercer

It’s the near future and an attempt to end global warming has accidentally created a new ice age instead. The few surviving humans are aboard a train created by wealthy Ed Harris and constantly in motion. They are divided into two groups, with the elite privy to all privileges and luxuries occupying the front of the train, whilst the remainder are living pretty much in squalor in the back, limited to eating black protein bars made from an unknown substance. Led by Chris Evans, however, some of the back inhabitants are set to revolt and make their journey to the front of the train to take it over. Tilda Swinton plays the Thatcher-esque ‘minister’ (of propaganda?) in charge of keeping those in the back in line, whilst John Hurt and Jamie Bell play two of Evans’ comrades. Octavia Spencer plays one of the people in the back, whose son has been taken away for mysterious reasons, Allison Pill is up the front of the train as a heavily pregnant teacher, and Song kang-ho turns up as a drug-add…

Review: What About Bob?

Richard Dreyfuss is a pompous shrink who brushes off a disturbed new patient named Bob (Bill Murray) to go on vacation with his family (Julie Hagerty, Kathryn Erbe, and Charlie Korsmo). Bob (whose best friend is his goldfish named ‘Gil’), being seriously troubled and desperately needing to stick to a routine, decides to find out where his doctor is vacationing and visit him, because he feels he needs help real bad. He feels abandoned. Dreyfuss is bemused bordering on simmering rage when Bob shows up out of nowhere, but because Bob is so polite and friendly, Dreyfuss’ family can’t help but take to the guy. Yep, definitely simmering rage now as Dreyfuss feels he’s the only one who sees a disturbed mental patient turning up to his shrink’s vacation spot uninvited as somewhat of a giant frigging problem.

Whether fuelled by the fact that stars Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss didn’t get along (just ask Dreyfuss), or their respective talents (and appropriate casting), this 1991 Frank Oz (th…

Review: Night of the Creeps

Prologue: 1959. An alien lands on Earth near a local ‘Lover’s Lane’ area near Corman University (!) and attacks a couple of lovebirds. Present day: Jason Lively is Chris Romero, a nerdy college kid, who along with his disabled buddy James Carpenter-Hooper (Steve Marshall) joins a fraternity to impress hot chick Cynthia Cronenberg (Jill Whitlow). In order to get into the fraternity, however, they have to go through the usual ‘steal a body from the morgue’ frat house nonsense. Things hit a bit of a snag when on their mission instead of stealing a regular dead body, they find a cryogenically frozen body from a lab in college research facility. Said frozen body currently houses parasitic alien slugs which, now unleashed, soon set upon the local college campus and turning people into zombies! Tom Atkins turns up as Det. Ray Cameron, a veteran cop plagued by nightmares of similar events from long ago. David Paymer turns up as an attendant at the research facility.

Although it has its fans, …

Review: At the Circus

Kenny ‘Not R2D2’ Baker plays a circus owner and singer who gave up his inheritance for the circus that he is now in danger of losing the business to his no-good partner who wants to take over. Right-hand man Chico and assistant strongman Harpo (!) decide to call in a lawyer (Groucho) to help Baker out before he has to declare bankruptcy and lose the business. Margaret Dumont, as always, plays a rich socialite who cuts all ties with nephew Baker when he joins the circus racket. Florence Rice plays Baker’s romantic interest and singing partner. Eve Arden plays a circus performer named Peerless Pauline, whilst Fritz Feld turns up briefly as a pretentious conductor named Jardinet.


Much less irritating than the previous “A Night at the Opera” and “A Day at the Races”, this 1939 Marx Brothers comedy from director Edward N. Buzzell (the subsequent “Go West”) and screenwriter Irving Brecher (“Meet Me in St. Louis”, “Bye Bye Birdie”) is just ‘meh’. This one actually has a plot, a standard and a…

Review: Two Fists, One Heart

Set in Perth, Daniel Amalm plays an Italian-Australian boxer who would rather forego his training in favour of pursuing Anglo Aussie girl Jessica Marais. Amalm’s Sicilian father/trainer (played by Ennio Fanastichini) used to be a boxer himself, and doesn’t understand (nor tolerate) this sudden change. Amalm, meanwhile doesn’t understand why the old man pushes him so hard to be a success, though the truth about the end of his boxing career eventually comes out. Marais, for her part, fails to understand the uber-macho, violent boxing culture Amalm has been steeped in his whole life, and she’s rather repulsed by it. Rai Fazio (the film’s screenwriter) plays an ex-con fresh out of prison, also a promising pugilist whom Fanastichini takes on board instead of his reticent son. Tim Minchin turns up as Marais’ arty, smart-arsey brother.

There’s a market for this boofy, blokey, second-generation Aussie boxing drama stuff from debut feature director Shawn Seet (Who is Malaysian-Australian, appa…

Review: Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

***** The Most Spoilerific movie review of all freaking time ahead. So if you really don’t wanna know what you don’t wanna know, save the review for later. This will be your final warning. And stop picking your nose. Yes, I can see you. You should be ashamed. Seriously, you already know I can see you picking your nose and now you’re just gonna go ahead and eat it too? Filthy. *****

With the tragic death of Spock (Leonard Nimoy) in the previous film, a pall seems to have been cast over the Enterprise and its crew, who return to space-dock. For Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley), however, his behaviour is even more disconcerting. He simply isn’t acting like himself. In fact, it seems as if he has been possessed. A visit from Spock’s father Sarek (Mark Lenard) indeed confirms that Spock had probably mind-melded with McCoy before his death. The plan is to steal the Enterprise (which has been decommissioned by Starfleet), fly out to the Genesis planet (seen previously in “The Wrath of Khan”), and …

Review: Boyhood

12 years in the life of young Mason Jr. (Ellar Coltrane), his struggling single mother Olivia (Patricia Arquette), and the infrequent presence of his father Mason Sr. (Ethan Hawke). The film starts with Mason Jr. at age six, and finishes with him at age 18. During all of this we witness his mother’s struggle to raise him, educate herself, and deal with a string of disappointing, abusive partners. Meanwhile, Mason Sr. gets to have the kids with him for every second weekend, driving in his truly sweet-arse ’68 GTO (the real-life possession of the film’s director), that early on Mason Sr. promises to pass down to his son one day when he’s old enough. Lorelei Linklater plays Mason Jr.’s bratty older sister Samantha.

If you’re gonna use a gimmick like filming a film during respective schedules over a period of 12 years, you really need to make sure that the film is best told through this gimmick, and that the story is actually worthy of the gimmick so that it doesn’t feel like, well, a gim…