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Showing posts from March 20, 2016

Review: Romeo and Juliet (1968)

People actually need a synopsis here? Oh, alright. Just for you, but geez will you get an education already? Anyway, with that arrogant piece of judgey-ness out of the way…

Set in Verona, Italy, where The Montague family and the Capulet family are locked in feud. One night, young Romeo of Montague (Leonard Whiting) sneaks into a party thrown by the Capulets and locks eyes with the beautiful Juliet (Olivia Hussey), and she does with him. It’s love at first sight and before long they are completely, overwhelmingly infatuated with each other, even after learning they belong to their parents’ enemy’s family. Later, Friar Laurence weds the duo in secret from one another’s family, with only the Friar and Juliet’s cheerful nursemaid (Pat Heywood) aware of this. Things go seriously wrong, however, when Romeo’s jester-like, unstable friend Mercutio (John McEnery) and Juliet’s tempestuous cousin Tybalt (Michael York) take up swords after the latter makes an insult towards Romeo. This leads to a…

Review: Kill the Messenger

Set in the mid-90s, Jeremy Renner plays Gary Webb, a small newspaper journalist working for the San Jose Mercury News. Webb receives a tip suggesting that Nicaraguan drug cartels sold a shitload of crack cocaine in the US in the 80s (to fund weapons in their war effort), and that the CIA were in bed with them or at least letting it happen. And that, kiddies is how the L.A. crack epidemic got started. Yay! Webb ventures to Nicaragua to interview imprisoned drug trafficker Norwin Meneses (Andy Garcia), and before long he’s getting the OK from boss Oliver Platt and editor Mary Elizabeth Winstead to do a three part story. And that’s when the fit hits the shan, with Webb pissing a whole lotta dangerous and powerful people off, and putting the lives of his wife (Rosemarie DeWitt) and kids in danger, whilst those with great power also seek to discredit him professionally. Paz Vega plays a gangster’s moll who initially gives Webb the tip-off, Barry Pepper and Tim Blake Nelson play opposing la…

Review: Everly

Salma Hayek plays the title prostitute, who is targeted for death by yakuza boss Taiko (Hiroyuki Watanabe), who sends some people to rape and kill her for reasons we only gradually work out (Part of it is that Everly was kidnapped by Taiko four years ago and has recently escaped his clutches). It doesn’t end well for the would-be killers, as Everly is quite resilient and not too shabby in the art of killing. Stuck in her studio apartment as Taiko sends wave after wave of even more assailants (including at one point Jennifer Blanc from TV’s “Dark Angel”) looking to pick up the large bounty on her head, Everly tries to stay alive whilst also trying to arrange for her mother to get Everly’s estranged daughter out of harm’s way, as she suspects Taiko will go after them too. Akie Kotabe (born in Michigan, despite adopting a very convincing Japanese accent) plays the somewhat mild-mannered, seriously wounded man who was initially sent to kill Everly, but who didn’t have the stomach for the …

Review: Spanglish

Paz Vega is Flor, a Spanish single mother of one (Shelbie Bruce) who gets a job as a housekeeper in L.A. despite not really speaking any English. Her employer is neurotic, insecure Deborah (Tea Leoni), who has recently become unemployed, whilst her mellow (or is he?) husband John (Adam Sandler) is a successful chef. They have two kids, including the slightly chubby Bernice (Sarah Steele). Also living with them is Deborah’s former jazz singer mother (Cloris Leachman), who is clearly wise, but also clearly frequently with wine glass in hand. When Flor and her daughter (who does speak English) are invited to join the family on holidays, Flor is reluctant to venture with them to Malibu, but Deborah insists that she is needed, and that her daughter is welcome. Eventually, Flor agrees, seeing no other choice. She also tries to better her speaking and understanding of English. Meanwhile, Deborah takes young Bruce under her wing, whilst leaving her actual daughter in tears over ‘helpful’ sugg…

Review: Silverado

Kevin Kline plays Paden, whom when we meet him is wearing simply his long johns, and is in a sorry state after apparently having been abandoned by his comrades out in the middle of the desert. They took his guns, clothes, and even his horse. Thankfully, he is soon joined by Emmett (Scott Glenn), who is handy with a gun, and who also has a spare horse for Paden. He’s still gotta wear those pink pyjamas, however. Waltzing into the nearest town, Paden finds the bastard who stole his horse, but he can only afford the cheapest of guns that looks like it’s barely stitched together. Nonetheless, it gets the job done effectively enough. Before long, Paden and Emmett come across an African-American fella (Danny Glover) being subjected to the usual ‘we don’t serve ‘yer kind here!’ treatment at a local saloon. It’s also here that Emmett finds out through the polite but prick local sheriff (played by John Cleese!) that Emmett’s reckless younger brother Jake (Kevin Costner) is about to get hanged.…

Review: Kidnapping Mr. Heineken

Beginning in 1983, this is the true story of the kidnapping of wealthy Dutch brewery owner Alfred Heineken (Sir Anthony Hopkins). Cor Van Hout (Jim Sturgess) is the leader, whose own father was a former employee of Heineken. Along with his buddies (played by Sam Worthington, Ryan Kwanten, Thomas Cocquerel, and Mark van Eeuwen), Cor (whose wife is pregnant), is seriously strapped for cash at the present. Failed businessmen, they are refused a loan by the bank. So of course the natural thing to do when you have no money is to rob a bank, which in turn is just to finance their real intended crime: Kidnapping Heineken (and his chauffeur) and asking for a huge ransom in a note they send to the local police station. Unfortunately, the police seem strangely slow to act on the ransom note, and the kidnappers get panicky. Why haven’t they heard from them yet? Heineken, by the way, is rather amused (or bemused?) by his not-so brilliant captors (who accidentally leave the ransom note in the fuck…

Review: Reversal of Fortune

European aristocrat Claus von Bulow (Jeremy Irons) has been charged and convicted of the attempted murder of his American socialite wife Sunny (Glenn Close), who now lies in a comatose state, apparently her second such coma in recent years. Wanting to have this conviction overturned and vehemently protesting his innocence, he seeks the counsel of law professor Alan Dershowitz (Ron Silver), who is initially disinterested, thinking Claus guilty. However, he eventually agrees to take the case, and backed by his team of law students (including ex-girlfriend Annabella Sciorra), Dershowitz aims to poke holes in the original case. It won’t be easy, though, as Claus is an arrogant, cold, dismissive, and pretty much unlikeable man who really does himself no favours. Did he try to kill her with a near-fatal dosage of insulin in order to score her millions? Or was Sunny suicidally depressed and prone to over-medicating herself (and drinking way too much)? Christine Baranski plays Claus’ current …