Posts

Showing posts from December 20, 2015

Review: We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story

A dinosaur named Rex (voiced by John Goodman) is living in modern day America, when he notices a bluebird named Buster getting picked on. He decides to relate a tale to the bird, of how he managed to turn up where he has. It’s all because of a scientist (fairy? God?) named Captain Neweyes (voiced by Walter Cronkite!), inventor of a contraption that reads kids dreams and makes them come true. The kids apparently want dinosaurs roaming the streets of New York, singing and dancing in parades, and joining the circus. On the opposite end of the spectrum is Neweyes’ evil brother Prof. Screweyes (voiced by Kenneth Mars), inventor of a nightmare-capturing contraption that can turn dinosaurs into monsters. ‘Coz apparently the default setting of a dinosaur is cute and placid. Learning is fun. Screweyes operates a circus and his scheme is to house the scarified dinosaurs under his Big Top. Wouldn’t the cute and cuddly versions be less of a financial risk on his part? Just a thought.

I’m not a fan…

Review: Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Set in Hollywood in the late 1940s, Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins) is a PI hired by an animation studio to work a case of possible marital infidelity. You see, Roger Rabbit (voiced by Charles Fleischer) is the top star in Toon Town, and he’s worried that his bodacious wife Jessica (voiced by Kathleen Turner) is having an affair. Eddie takes some snaps of Jessica indeed seemingly playing footsie with gag creator Marvin Acme (Stubby Kaye). The next day, Acme is found dead and Roger is the numero uno suspect. He swears his innocence, and pleads with toon-hating Eddie to help prove his case before the hideous Judge Doom (Christopher Lloyd) gets to him. Joanna Cassidy plays Valiant’s loyal but increasingly fed-up waitress girlfriend. Countless cartoon characters across several studios turn up throughout the film in cameos/guest spots.

It had been a helluva long time since I last saw this 1988 Robert Zemeckis (“Romancing the Stone”, “Back to the Future”, “Forrest Gump”) blend of live-action de…

Review: Road House

Patrick Swayze plays Dalton, a top bouncer recruited by Kevin Tighe (cast against type) to clean up his rowdy bar in Jasper, Kansas City (A fictional town, as Jasper is really in Missouri). Unfortunately, the town is ruled with an iron fist by gangster Brad Wesley (Ben Gazzara), who has a habit of sending his goons around to mess with establishments who won’t play ball when he tries to extort from them. Dalton (who is into philosophy and Tai-Chi!) doesn’t take kindly to Wesley’s corruption, and further pisses the crime boss off by taking with the pretty doctor (Kelly Lynch) Wesley happens to be sweet on. With Wesley continuing to put the pressure on Dalton, he decides to call in a ringer, his good buddy and fellow bouncer Wade Garrett (Sam Elliott) so they can take Wesley and his gang of goons down and clean up the town. Kathleen Wilhoite plays a bartender, Red West plays a defiant local store owner, Marshall Teague plays Wesley’s karate-kicking chief henchman, Keith David plays a bar…

Review: Se7en

Morgan Freeman is NYC police detective Somerset, one week from retirement and extremely jaded. For this last week he is partnered with brash, younger detective Mills (Brad Pitt), whose career is on the rise. They investigate the murder of an obese man force-fed until his stomach exploded. After another body is soon found, Det. Somerset realises the crimes are connected, as the words ‘Greed’ and ‘Gluttony’ are found at both scenes. It would appear a serial killer is at work, using the Seven Deadly Sins as inspiration, and there are obviously five more morally-inspired crimes set to be committed. Gwyneth Paltrow plays Det. Mills’ sweet-natured wife Tracy, R. Lee Ermey plays the police captain, Richard Roundtree plays the city mayor, John C. McGinley plays SWAT team leader ‘California’, Richard Schiff plays a slimeball lawyer, and both a frightened Leland Orser and slimy Michael Massee turn up at the scene of one of the ‘Lust’ murder.

Brilliant, gloomy modern day killer-thriller/detectiv…

Review: Alleluia

Inspired by the real-life American crime case of Martha Beck and Raymond Fernandez (AKA The Lonely Hearts Killers) in the 1940s, this story is actually set in present day Belgium. Lola Duenas is a Spanish divorcee and mum living in Belgium. A friend suggests the clearly lonely Duenas try internet dating. This leads to a date with shoe salesman Laurent Lucas, and perhaps because Duenas is lonely and needy, things progress very quickly between the two. Things seem great, until Duenas loans a panicked Lucas money for a business deal. He never returns. Later, Duenas manages to track him down and he immediately fakes a headache, to earn sympathy. Again, because Duenas is lonely and needy, she immediately forgives him and the two take up together again. It’s here, though that Lucas makes a confession: He’s a hustler of women. Rather than kick him to the curb (because she’s lonely and pathetic), Duenas accepts Lucas’ way of earning money (also conveniently overlooking some seriously fucked u…

Review: Odd Thomas

Anton Yelchin stars as the title character, who has the ability to see dead people. He can also see vulture-like creatures called bodachs (invisible to everyone else), and wherever bodachs hover, death is on the horizon. Lately he’s been seeing them all over his small town, which means he’s got a helluva lot of work to do if he’s gonna save everybody from an impending disaster. Addison Timlin plays Odd’s supportive girlfriend Stormy, while Willem Dafoe plays the friendly chief of police.

Based on a novel (the first in a series) by horror writer Dean R. Koontz (whose “Intensity” made for an impressive mini-series), this 2014 film feels like a supernatural indie comedy-horror flick. Written and directed by the not very indie-friendly Stephen Sommers (“The Mummy”, “Deep Rising”, “The Jungle Book”, “Van Helsing”) it doesn’t quite come off (It was shot in 2011, and, well…there have been issues. Many. It’s a long story), but there’s definitely something here. I think my main problem with it…

Review: The Incredibles

After being sued by a man he rescued, Bob Parr, AKA Mr. Incredible (voiced by Craig T. Nelson) gets married to fellow superhero Helen, AKA Elastigirl (voiced by Holly Hunter) and agrees to a life of work-a-day, 9-to-5 normalcy. It’s not just Bob, though, as superheroes all around are finding themselves in similar legal hot water and after a government order, taking off the spandex to find ‘real’ jobs. Cut to 15 years later and Bob and Helen have the American domesticity thing down pat, even siring three kids. Of course the kids are born with special powers including invisibility, super-speed, and well, you need to see baby Jack-Jack’s power for yourself. Bob has been keeping a secret from his family, however. He and former superhero Lucius, AKA Frozone (voiced by Samuel L. Jackson) sneak out every night listening to police radar to find people to save and crimes to stop. Bob is contacted one night by a secret government organisation that requests his super-heroic services. However, he…

Review: Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

***** SPOILER WARNING ***** Best save this review for after you’ve seen the film. I think most of you will have seen it by now, but if you haven’t you can save this for later, and even read one of the many spoiler-free reviews out there on the web if you’re mildly curious. With one exception that I’ll precede with another warning, I really only hint at spoiler-y stuff here, unless you count plot synopsis and basic character mentioning as spoilers. If so (and regardless of that), you’ve been duly warned. On to the review…

Set 30 years after “Return of the Jedi”, farm boy turned hero Jedi Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) is nowhere to be seen, but is very much sought after by those on the side of good, but also evil. Evil here is represented by the First Order, led by the looming large Supreme Leader Snoke (A motion-captured Andy Serkis), whose number two is the black mask-clad Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), who seems somewhat familiar, yet also distinctly his own. Also on the villain side of thing…