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Showing posts from December 27, 2015

Review: Vampyros Lesbos

Swedish actress Ewa Stroemberg (looking like a post-Spice Girls Geri Halliwell) plays the very Swedish-sounding named Linda Westinghouse (dubbed into German too, for added incoherence), working for a Turkish legal firm. Got all that? Anyway, poor Linda is plagued nightly by visions of a mysterious and alluring female vampire calling to her. One night she is taken to a nightclub by her boyfriend and sees a strange yet erotic stage act involving a supposed nude mannequin and the woman from her dreams! Afterwards, her firm sends her to a remote Turkish island to sort out an inheritance issue for someone named Countess Carody (Soledad Miranda), who of course turns out to be the woman from her visions and the woman in the stage act that so fascinated Linda. They go skinny-dipping, sun-bathing, and drink lots of wine. Too much wine for Linda, in fact as she has to go take a lie down in the Countess’ bedroom. In her bed. Making sweet, Sapphic love with the Countess. The next morning she wake…

Review: Unbreakable

Bruce Willis is the sole survivor of a horrific train crash, and even more miraculously, he doesn’t even have a scratch on him. Comic book art dealer Samuel L. Jackson gets in touch with him, and asks if he remembers ever being injured or sick in his entire life. Willis responds that he doesn’t recall any such thing, and Jackson thinks he has an amazing theory as to why. Jackson, by the way, is almost the exact opposite of Willis- he’s physically extremely fragile, easily prone to bones breaking (he came out of the womb with both arms and both legs broken!). Robin Wright plays Willis’ estranged wife, Spencer Treat Clark is their son, and Eamonn Walker appears early as a perplexed doctor witnessing the birth of a very unusual child.

“The Sixth Sense” wasn’t the debut from writer-director M. Night Shyamalan (whose later “Signs” is also quite underrated), but it’s the first film of his that anyone had heard of, let alone seen. So, in a sense this 2000 flick was his sophomore effort, and …

Review: Horrible Bosses 2

This time out our central trio (Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, and Jason Sudeikis) invent their own shower product (The awkwardly named ‘Shower Buddy’), but get royally screwed by smug investor Christoph Waltz, who pulls out after the boys have already started manufacturing to meet Waltz’s order. It bankrupts them and allows Waltz to buy the product cheaply. In retaliation the boys decide to engage in some kidnapping, nabbing billionaire Waltz’s jerk son (Chris Pine), holding him for ransom so they can get their money back. Being that these three are slightly brainier than The Three Stooges, the plan doesn’t go smoothly. Jennifer Aniston and Jamie Foxx return as the nymphomaniac former boss of Day (now running a sexaholics group!), and inept criminal Mother Fucker Jones, respectively. Kevin Spacey has two short appearances as one of the other horrible bosses from the first film, now in prison but delighting in the central trio’s sticky predicament. Jonathan Banks turns up as a crusty old…

Review: The Left-Handed Gun

A re-telling of the story of William H. Bonney, AKA Billy the Kid (Paul Newman) who becomes embittered and violent when his mentor, genteel rancher Tunstall (Colin Keith-Johnston) is gunned down by a sheriff’s posse (one being corrupt Sheriff Brady himself), working for an intimidating rancher named Morton. Billy makes it his mission to hunt down Tunstall’s killers and get revenge, aided by two of Tunstall’s men, Charlie Bowdre (James Congdon) and Tom O’Foliard (James Best). The latter two are somewhat in over their heads however, as Billy is much more violently motivated than they are, shocking even hero-worshipping writer Moultrie (Hurd Hatfield). Complications arise when Billy’s new ally Pat Garrett (John Dehner) tires of his friend’s gun-happy ways and (after Billy breaks an amnesty) finally decides to give in to the demand that he become sheriff, setting up a showdown between the two pals. John Dierkes plays Tunstall’s loyal business partner McSween.

Although 30+ year old Paul Ne…

Review: Automata

Filmed in Bulgaria and set in 2044 where most of humanity has been erased due to huge solar flares. Antonio Banderas plays an insurance agent for a big robotics company, but the dire living circumstances have seen robots built with a certain cost-effective, low-tech in mind. Robots have been configured to help humanity in their day-to-day lives, but also making sure that they can’t repair themselves (or each other), as well as the standard Asimovian condition that they never harm human beings. However, one such robot is indeed believed to have broken the ‘Thou shalt not repair thyself’ commandment and it’s up to Banderas (whose wife Birgitte Hjort Sorensen is about to pop out a baby) to investigate. See, if a robot can repair itself, chances are it’s capable of improving its intellectual capacity. When that happens, it’s plausible (if not probable) that they might just want to say ‘nah, fuck that’ to not harming humans. Banderas visits a ‘clockmaker’ (played by that great player of ci…

Review: Hellraiser

Larry (Andrew Robinson) and new wife Julia (Claire Higgins) have just moved to the family home in England. Larry is unawares that his brother Frank (Sean Chapman) is hiding out there, after opening a strange puzzle box that unleashed demonic creatures known as Cenobites. He’s not quite the same, though. In fact, Frank is pretty much dead. You see, the Cenobites are kinky sadists who derive pleasure from pain and have torn Frank apart. When a drop of blood inadvertently finds its way to Frank’s body, however, it partially revives him (but now played by Oliver Smith for some odd reason) and that’s when Higgins discovers his skinless existence. Julia, who was previously Frank’s lover unbeknownst to Larry, is persuaded by Frank to lure men to their deaths so that Frank can feed off their blood and regain his former self. A fly in the ointment comes when the dreaded Cenobites (led by Doug Bradley’s formidable-looking Lead Cenobite, AKA ‘Pinhead’) come for Frank, unhappy that he has escaped…

Review: Mad Max: Fury Road

Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy) finds himself tenuously aligned with Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) and her group of young women (Zoe Kravitz, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keough, Abbey Lee, and Courtney Eaton), who are the five designated wives of tyrannical cult leader Immortan Joe (the eccentric Hugh Keays-Byrne, who played Toecutter in “Mad Max”), whose employ Furiosa was previously under. One of the girls is even pregnant with Immortan Joe’s child. Needless to say, Immortan Joe (who has a spectacular breathing apparatus attached to his face) isn’t a happy camper and he unleashes his gangs of savages (including the ‘War Boys’) who pursue Max and Furiosa across the desert wasteland. Nicholas Hoult plays Nux, one of the ‘War Boys’, who despite trying to use poor Max as a blood donor (Immortan Joe likes to keep his ‘army’ replenished after all) is actually a pitiable character, as he is essentially chained to Max for much of the duration with no one really concerned for his safe…

Review: The Sting

Set in the mid-1930s, Robert Redford is Hooker, a small-time con man in league with the elder Luther (Robert Earl Jones), who has hopes of getting out of the game soon. Sadly, he’s out permanently when they unknowingly con an associate of big-time racketeer and (cheating) gambler Doyle Lonnegan (Robert Shaw), a no-nonsense gangster who has Luther killed. Hooker gets the hell outta Dodge and heads for Chicago to look up an old associate of Luther’s named Henry Gondorff, apparently Luther’s mentor in the con game. Gondorff seems a grumpy drunken bum, but when he sobers up, he and Hooker devise a big-time con to take Lonnegan for all his worth (setting up a completely fake horse-betting joint!), with a little help from friends such as J.J. Singleton (Ray Walston) and Kid Twist (Harold Gould). Representing the law are Charles Durning as a crooked cop, and Dana Elcar as an FBI man. Jack Kehoe plays an associate of Hooker’s, Eileen Brennan plays a friend of Gondorff’s, Dimitra Arliss plays …

Review: Last Dragon Master (The Last Tycoon)

Spanning the early 1900s to the late 1930s China, Cheng Daqi (Huang Xiaoming) is in love with Ye Zhiqiu, who left him and their home town to become an opera star in Beijing. Cheng Daqi is framed for murder and imprisoned, where he meets Mao Zai (Francis Ng) a somewhat mysterious figure who helps Cheng Daqi bust out of prison…and teaches him how to kill. He starts a new life in Shanghai, takes up with Bao (Monika Mok), a singer, and becomes aligned with mob boss Hong Shouting (Sammo Hung). Some years later, Cheng Daqi (now played by Chow Yun-Fat, and having become a somewhat ‘honourable’ gangster himself) is shocked to catch a fleeting glance of his former love Ye Zhiqiu (now married to someone safe and boring, and played by Quan Yuan), and vice versa, having not seen one another in all this time.

As the Second Sino-Japanese War during WWII breaks out in 1937, Mao (now high up in the National Revolutionary Army) arranges for three plane seats out of danger, with Cheng Daqi, Ye Zhiqiu a…

Review: Scenes of the Crime

Soon-to-be-married Jon Abrahams is a mechanic and occasional driver for gangster Peter Greene. On one occasion, Greene kidnaps rival gangster Jeff Bridges, and puts him in the back of Abrahams’ van. Greene’s boss wants them to sit tight while he makes a financial deal with Bridges’ business partner (Bob Gunton) Abrahams is a bit nervous about all of this, but his boss is a dangerous (if low-level) gangster so he just does his damn job. Unfortunately, the whole thing goes to hell and Bridges’ team of enforcers (led by Noah Wyle) are itching to take Abrahams out. Abrahams has a gun, though, which is also handy in case Bridges decides to do a runner on him. He tries to call Greene’s boss (Brian Goodman), whilst Bridges tells him he can’t trust the guy, and that he needs to listen to him if he wants to get out of this situation alive. Part of the action takes place in and around local deli, attended to by Madchen Amick and Morris Chestnut, whilst R. Lee Ermey plays a lonely elderly man of…