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Showing posts from February 14, 2016

Review: Rapid Fire

Brandon Lee plays a student who witnesses something he shouldn’t have, and becomes a wanted figure in a war between competing drug lords Nick Mancuso (Sicilian-American) and Tzi Ma (Chinese Triad), and a veteran Chicago cop (Powers Boothe) trying to nail Tzi Ma in particular. Raymond J. Barry and Basil Wallace play FBI agents who put Lee into protective custody, Francois Chau is Boothe’s partner, Michael Paul Chan (an all-purpose Asian-American character actor you’ve seen a billion times) plays Tzi Ma’s murdered associate, Al Leong is Tzi Ma’s chief henchman, Richard Schiff plays an art teacher, Tony Longo is one of Mancuso’s dumb thugs, and Dustin Nguyen plays a pro-democracy activist who tries to enlist Lee. Unfortunately, Lee is uninterested, still scarred by witnessing the death of his father at China’s Tiananmen Square. So, politics ain’t his thing.

I’m not about to go and revisit “Showdown in Little Tokyo” anytime soon, but I have to admit I enjoyed this 1992 martial arts action…

Review: Kingsman: The Secret Service

Colin Firth stars as Harry Hart, AKA Galahad, an agent for the title super-spy organisation, whose life is saved by a fellow agent on a mission, where he jumps on an explosive, sacrificing his life to save Harry’s. Harry is distraught and feels as though he failed. He gives the dead man’s widow a medal that has a phone number on the back, that he tells her to call if she ever needs anything. 17 years later, the dead agent’s young hooligan son ‘Eggsy’ (Taron Egerton) gets himself arrested for stealing and having a bit of fun with someone else’s flash car. Seeing the number on the back of the medal, he uses it as his one phone call. Before long, Harry has bailed the young twit out. It doesn’t end there, though. I mean, that’d be a bloody short film, wouldn’t it? Harry has been tasked with finding a replacement for the recently terminated Lancelot (Jack Davenport), and after the duo engage in a bit of pub brawling with some stupid thugs, Harry decides to let Eggsy be one of the select fe…

Review: The ABC of Love and Sex- Australia Style

As the title suggests, an alphabetic exploration of sexual themes from a (barely) Aussie point of view…or is it just a titty movie in disguise? Both?

Completely useless 1978 softcore oddity from “Felicity” director John Lamond mostly adopts a faux sex-ed documentary thing. It’s played so boringly straight that I couldn’t tell whether this was faux-doco or mockumentary at first, but ultimately, Lamond’s just dressing up a titty flick here to get around the very conservative censors of the time. Unfortunately, the dry and episodic approach completely kills any eroticism whatsoever. I have no idea what the bookending Claymation segments are about, but I bet the majority of the budget was blown on them. Meanwhile, the Softcore Stars on 45 dance routine is just all kinds of stupid, and the babbling faux-doco narration delivered by Michael Cole and Sandy Gore is, combined with the inappropriately jaunty music, a major buzz-kill.

To give you an indication of just how I came to my belief that…

Review: The Marine 4: Moving Target

Mike ‘The Miz’ Mizanin is back as ex-Marine now private security guy Jake Carter, part of a security team (also featuring Matthew MacCaull and Roark Critchlow) charged with guarding bratty whistle-blower Melissa Roxburgh. As you might predict, it doesn’t go well. The big bad contractor Roxburgh is tattling on sends a bunch of mercenaries (including Jason Statham wannabe Josh Blacker and WWE ‘Diva’ Summer Rae) to take everybody out. Jake and the girl must flee to safety, but it appears that there was an ‘inside man’, and Jake will have to contend with them too, if he and Roxburgh are to get out of this situation alive.

An improvement over The Miz’s first showing in the franchise (“The Marine 3: Homefront”), this 2015 action film from director William Kaufman (“Jarhead 3” with Scott Adkins) and scribe Alan McElroy (who scripted the first film as well as the underrated “Rapid Fire” and “Wrong Turn”) is pretty much on par with the first two films: Watchable, but fairly unremarkable action…

Review: Born to Kill

Recent divorcee Claire Trevor finds two dead bodies, and decides not to stick around, catching the next train to San Francisco. She’s got plans, and isn’t about to let two dead bodies screw that up. On the train she gets to chatting with Lawrence Tierney, not realising that he is in fact the murderer of the two people whose bodies she found. He’s skipping town too, and quickly takes a liking to Trevor, though the feeling doesn’t appear mutual. Or is it? At any rate, Trevor is already engaged to rich dullard Philip Terry, with a lot of money awaiting her once the marriage occurs. But Tierney keeps finding ways to stay in her life, including marrying Trevor’s adopted sister (Audrey Long), despite continuing in his pursuit of Trevor. Meanwhile, Tierney’s old buddy Elisha Cook Jr. turns up, he being the one who suggested he leave for San Francisco in the first place. Also skulking about is an insinuating, if cheerful private detective (Walter Slezak), hired by one of the murder victims’ l…

Review: The Cobbler

Adam Sandler plays NY cobbler Max, who runs the family business after his father vanished many years ago, without a trace. One day Max finds an old stitching machine that has magical powers: Any shoes stitched with this machine will allow Max the ability to step into those shoes and take on the outward appearance of the owner of those shoes! So long as they’re a reasonable match for his shoe size, of course. Melonie Diaz plays a pretty local do-gooder Sandler gets involved with, Method Man plays a local gangster, Ellen Barkin is a mob boss, Lynn Cohen is Max’s elderly mother, Dascha Polanco plays Method Man’s moll, Dan Stevens is a male model (whom Max impersonates to try and have sex with his hot girlfriend, of course), Dustin Hoffman plays Sandler’s AWOL dad, Fritz Weaver is an elderly man Diaz is trying to help out, and Steve Buscemi is Max’s friend, the local barber.

Adam Sandler had a real chance to take his career to the next level after the excellent dramedy “Funny People”, but…

Review: Citizenfour

The story of American whistle-blower and ex-NSA employee Edward Snowden, who approached Berlin-based American filmmaker Laura Poitras to unload a bunch of information he felt in his conscience needed to get out to the public. Basically, the American government is spying on its citizens to a degree that Snowden is apparently uncomfortable with. Joining Snowden and Poitras for the documentary filming is reporter Glenn Greenwald, and with the sensitivity of the information Snowden has to reveal, everyone is full of nerves and suspicion as they film in a hotel in Hong Kong. It’s like “The Net”, but with a skinny Seth Rogen who has gotten even skinnier, and handsome. And really nothing like “The Net”, I just wanted to get that Seth Rogen joke in somehow.

I am the wrong person to be reviewing this film, I suppose. I’m not American, and although this story apparently has worldwide ramifications (Australia has its own metadata laws), I think it’s very much a film for Americans about America, …

Review: Magic in the Moonlight

Set in the late 1920s, Colin Firth plays a famed stage magician who dons the persona of Chinaman Wei Ling Soo, for his performances (very few people know Wei Ling Soo’s true identity, apparently). An old friend and friendly rival, played by Simon McBurney, pays him a visit and suggests he needs his help in debunking a supposedly psychic medium, an American girl named Sophie Baker (Emma Stone). She has apparently convinced a wealthy American family living on the French Riviera, of her abilities. Hell, even McBurney has become convinced, after being hired to debunk her himself. The famously cranky and sceptical Firth is perfectly happy to do this favour for his childhood friend, assuming it will be a breeze. Posing as a business friend of the family, he travels to meet this supposedly ‘gifted’ young woman, confident that he will see right through her cheap tricks. But then he starts to develop romantic feelings for the girl…and so logic and reason go right out the window. Is Firth being…