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Showing posts from March 6, 2016

Review: Appropriate Behaviour

Desiree Akhavan plays Iranian-American bisexual Shirin, who has broken up with her girlfriend Maxine (Rebecca Henderson) and spends the entire film struggling to get over it. We also go back to see how it all came undone, as Shirin’s hesitance to come out to her traditional family started to grate on Maxine.

If you are a fan of the TV series “Girls”, you’ll probably like this 2015 indie romantic-comedy from writer/director/star Desiree Akhavan (who herself has appeared on “Girls” a couple of times if I’m not mistaken). I’m not remotely a fan of “Girls”, and the only thing that makes this thing any more palatable is the innate charisma of Ms. Akhavan. A mixture of Sandra Bullock and a young Mercedes Ruehl, the deadpan Iranian-American actress and debut filmmaker has that intangible ‘something’ as an actress. She’s certainly far more charismatic than “Girls” creator/star Lena Dunham (whose whole schtick seems to be founded on the fact that she’s quirky, different, doesn’t have a model’s…

Review: The Transporter

Jason Statham stars as a former Special Forces guy now working on the sleazier side of things delivering packages for shady underworld types around Europe. He even dabbles in a bit of getaway driving in the film’s amusing post-bank robbery opening scene. Predominantly residing in the South of France, he’s a gruff, no-nonsense, ask-no-questions kinda guy who has his own set of rules to do business by. No names, for instance. No looking at the package, as well. He’s about to break that one, though when a he opens the trunk of the car and the zipped-up bag to find a bound and gagged young woman (Shu Qi), the package he is to deliver to a sleazy human trafficker (Matt Schulze). He nonetheless does deliver the package, and Schulze gives Statham a package of his own to deliver. Unfortunately, when Statham takes a rare pit-stop along the way, the package explodes, thankfully with no one in the car at the time. Meanwhile, he has rescued the girl from the sleazebag human trafficker and taken h…

Review: Brute Force

Prison guard Capt. Munsey (Hume Cronyn) is soft-spoken, but a manipulative sadist whose brutal methods of extracting information from prisoners strike fear in most of them. He’s gunning for the top job, hoping to oust incompetent warden Barnes (Roman Bohnen). The potential fly in his ointment? His cruelty drives a prisoner to suicide, and leads to a planned prison break led by tough prisoner Joe (Burt Lancaster), who loathes Munsey. However, Munsey has an informer amongst the prison break group. Charles Bickford plays a respected imprisoned gangster who is ‘Top Dog’, whilst other prisoners are played by Jeff Corey, Whit Bissell, and Howard Duff (his debut film), among others. They all have a moment of reflection on the troubles that brought them to the big house, and to the women waiting for them on the outside. In these flashbacks, their respective women are played by the likes of Yvonne De Carlo, Ann Blyth, Ella Raines, and Anita Colby.

An early Burt Lancaster prison flick, this 194…

Review: Hard Target

Yancy Butler comes to New Orleans in search of her long estranged war veteran father, who she learns had been homeless for a long while. Reluctantly agreeing to help her is Cajun drifter Jean-Claude Van Damme. They soon find out that daddy was the latest victim of a secret organisation that hires down-on-their-luck ex-vets to be hunted as sport for rich clientele, whilst New Orleans locals look on seemingly callously. This organisation is headed by music-loving Lance Henriksen, who along with his South African henchman Arnold Vosloo, doesn’t make the sport terribly fair for the veterans. Eventually Henriksen realises that Butler and Van Damme are on to them, and turns them into their next sport. Kasi Lemmons plays a NO cop, Sven-Ole Thorsen is a henchman, and Wilford Brimley appears briefly as Van Damme’s crusty, feisty old Uncle Douvee. Yes, Douvee. I’m guessing his dear departed wife was named Doona (Did they have a son named Blankie?).

Hindsight’s a helluva thing, folks. I wasn’t a…

Review: The Pyramid

A father-daughter pair of archaeologists (Denis O’Hare and Ashley Hinshaw) are accompanied by a documentary crew (fronted by Christa Nicola) as they enter a three-sided pyramid in Egypt. The societal unrest outside is nothing compared to the horrors that await them inside, as it appears they have disturbed an ancient entity lurking within the pyramid.

Although not a bad film at all, this 2015 Egyptology-themed horror flick from director Gregory Levasseur (co-writer of “Haute Tension” and “Mirrors” for Alexandre Aja) is a bit limited, once it gets inside the title structure. The ‘found footage’ (or ‘first person POV’ if you prefer) aesthetic definitely doesn’t help, as it’s not only beyond played out, it adds nothing here and subtracts quite a bit. Since it’s required to get a bit dark down there, adding poor quality DV and shaky camerawork (despite the camera being placed on a robot with wheels!) proves a real eyesore. Having said that, the darkness does have the benefit of hiding the…

Review: It Follows

Jay (Maika Monroe) is on a date with Hugh (Jake Weary), and things turn hot and heavy. Unfortunately, after that they turn really fucked up as Jay is drugged and tied up. When she wakes up, Hugh tells her he’s sorry but an entity will now follow her, though invisible to anyone else. If this entity (which can change its appearance for every person it targets) touches Jay, she will die and the entity will once again come after Hugh. In order to get rid of the entity, Jay must have sex with someone else and pass it on to them. Sure enough, Jay does indeed start seeing visions of figures walking towards her that no one else can see. It won’t stop until it has killed her. Luckily for Jay, she has a good group of friends who, although they have no idea what the hell is going on, nonetheless decide to help her find a way to get rid of this demonic, sex-derived chain letter once and for all.

A kind of mixture between “Halloween”, “The Virgin Suicides” and “The Grudge”, this 2014 horror film f…