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Showing posts from February 28, 2016

Review: Sling Blade

Billy Bob Thornton stars as Karl, released from a mental institute 25 years after he killed his mother and her lover with the title implement. Karl, who is somewhat intellectually slow, is initially apprehensive about re-entering the outside world, but the man who runs the institution (James Hampton) manages to fix Karl up with a job fixing things at the local auto shop, as he has quite the aptitude for it. Karl also quickly makes friends with an introspective little boy named Frank (Lucas Black), whose mother (Natalie Canerday) has started seeing a bullying, hard-drinking oaf named Doyle (Dwight Yoakam). Doyle considers Frank weird and wimpy, picks on Canerday’s gay friend Vaughan (John Ritter!), and definitely takes an immediate disliking to Karl. His constant needling of Karl and abuse towards both mother and boy, stirs up old feelings within Karl. Robert Duvall has a brief role as Karl’s hateful father, now a lonely, embittered, and half-crazy old man. Brent Briscoe plays a co-wor…

Review: Jupiter Ascending

Mila Kunis stars as Jupiter Jones, a toilet cleaner of Russian extraction living in the United States. Her father was an astronomer who met an untimely end before her mother fled with her to Chicago years ago. Jupiter has decided to earn money by selling her eggs in order to afford a telescope. Unfortunately, the doctors and nurses carrying out the procedure are actually aliens attempting to kill her. She is narrowly saved from death by a blonde-haired, guyliner wearing half-human/half-dog named Caine (Channing Tatum), supposedly a genetically-mutated bounty hunter who has hovering boots (!). He quickly offers up the exposition of the piece: A family of effete intergalactic snobby fops farm the inhabitants of other planets to help rejuvenate their own. This poncy royal family are apparently the ancestors of Earth’s human inhabitants. Jupiter is the potential fly in the ointment (so to speak) because it has been discovered that she is the reincarnation of the matriarch of House of Abra…

Review: Bad Ass 2: Bad Asses

Danny Trejo is back as geriatric vigilante Frank Vega, who teams up with a crotchety local grocery store owner named Bernie (Danny Glover) to take on a drug kingpin who murdered a kid Frank saw as his own (Frank runs a boxing clinic for ‘po kids in this film). The metrosexual shithead young drug lord is the son of respected, well-connected Argentinian diplomat (Andrew Divoff, natch), who is the real head of the operation. Meanwhile, Frank has a little something going on with local resident Jacqueline Obradors, despite looking young enough to be his daughter. Jonathan Lipnicki (!) turns up briefly as a coke-snorting college meathead (!).

Yep, star Danny Trejo and writer-director Craig Moss (who made the first “Bad Ass” in 2012) have turned a true story into a cheesy action movie franchise, with this 2014 sequel and another one the following year hilariously called “Bad Asses on the Bayou”. Yep. That sounds like a classic, doesn’t it? I’ll have to look out for that one. This one’s actua…

Review: The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

Set in the 1940s and told from the POV of eight year-old German boy Asa Butterfield, the youngest of two kids, to typical parents Vera Farmiga (with a perfect English accent, but slightly overwrought facial expressions) and military man father David Thewlis. Dad is thrown a party to celebrate a promotion (which pleases Thewlis’ traditional father Richard Johnson much more than his outspoken and liberal mother Sheila Hancock), which will mean a relocation for him, wife Farmiga, young Butterfield, and his teenage sister Amber Beattie. Lonely, and looking for something (or likely, someone) beyond the four walls of his new home, young Butterfield goes exploring near the adjoining ‘farm’ that his mother forbids him to go near (despite giving scant details on just what this place is and why it is forbidden). He can see this ‘farm’ from his bedroom window, and is intrigued by the pyjama-clad people he sees there. What he finds is a barbed-wire fence, and on the other side of it is young Jack…

Review: The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

Singer (Alan Arkin) finds out that his chubby, intellectually-challenged deaf-mute friend Spiros (Chuck McCann) has gotten arrested for smashing the window of a candy store and sampling some of the merchandise. Spiros has done similar things on numerous occasions and although Singer and his lawyer manage to get Spiros out of this one, Spiros’ cousin can no longer deal with him and decides to have him committed to a mental institution a long distance away. Singer (who himself is a deaf-mute, but of ‘normal’ intellect) decides to move to a town that’s close enough for him to visit his friend from time to time. He manages to get lodging as a boarder, staying with a family headed by disabled and embittered Biff McGuire. It is here that Singer interacts with several of the small town’s inhabitants, including McGuire’s tomboy teenage daughter Mick (Sondra Locke), the grumpy local African-American doctor (played by Percy Rodriguez), and the hard-drinking Blount (Stacy Keach), a new arrival w…

Review: Pleasantville

With their mother (Jane Kaczmarek) gone for the weekend, siblings nerdy David (Tobey Maguire) and his slightly promiscuous sister Jennifer (Reese Witherspoon) bicker over who has control of the TV in the lounge room. Jennifer has a hot date coming over to watch MTV, whilst David has plans to watch the all-night marathon of his favourite TV show, the wholesome 50s show ‘Pleasantville’. The bickering turns into some physicality, and before long, the TV remote is broken. Immediately, a TV repairman (Don Knotts!) turns up on their doorstep without having been summoned, and offers them his own special TV remote that apparently makes the experience more interactive. More sibling bickering ensues, but pressing the button on the new remote has the unwanted effect of transporting the two 90s teens into the conservative world of Pleasantville! Now playing Bud and Mary Sue, they are the offspring of All-American parents Betty and George Parker (Joan Allen and William H. Macy). This is fine for D…

Review: The Humbling

Al Pacino plays an acclaimed but aging Shakespearean actor who has an embarrassing breakdown on stage. He spends some time in treatment at a facility, but is now out, occasionally Skype-ing with his therapist (Dylan Baker). As he tries to find his way back both mentally and career-wise, entering into his life is the lesbian daughter (Greta Gerwig) of a former colleague (Dianne Wiest). The much younger woman (who has always had a crush on him, despite her sexual preference) turns his already fragile life (and possibly addled brain) upside down, and confuses the hell out of him with her seemingly fluid sexuality, not to mention an ex-girlfriend of Gerwig’s turning up (an amusing Billy Porter), who has undergone gender reassignment surgery to become a man (Named Prince, no less). Dan Hedaya plays Wiest’s husband, Charles Grodin plays Pacino’s agent, and Kyra Sedgewick briefly appears as an even more recent ex-girlfriend of Gerwig’s, who is especially hostile. Oh, and did I mention the me…