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Showing posts from March 27, 2016

Review: The Theory of Everything

The story of the relationship and marriage of physicist/cosmologist Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) and Jane Wilde (Felicity Jones), who meet as University students at Cambridge. When Stephen is diagnosed with motor neuron disease (AKA Lou Gehrig’s disease) after a bad fall, and given a short life expectancy, Jane nonetheless is committed to staying with the man she loves and making it work. His deteriorating condition, their wildly different religious views, and several children to raise, do prove quite the strain over time, however. Charlie Cox plays a local choirmaster who befriends the couple and clearly has a romantic interest in Jane.

I was a bit sceptical when Eddie Redmayne won the Best Actor award at the Oscars, given that he had previously delivered pretty awful performances in “The Good Shepherd” (an otherwise excellent film), “My Week with Marilyn” (ditto) and the seriously icky but bland “Savage Grace”. Basically, without having seen Redmayne’s performance, I was on Team…

Review: Magnolia

Several L.A. based tales of longing, loneliness, disconnection, and ultimately chance/fate. Tom Cruise is T.J. Mackey, a misogynistic self-help guru (‘How to Fake Like You’re Nice and Caring’ is probably the least offensive of his cock-strutting, uber-macho mantras) about to confront the past he has long tried to sweep under the rug. Philip Baker Hall is game show host Jimmy Gator, who has just found out he has terminal cancer and tries to reconnect with estranged daughter Claudia (Melora Walters), a drug abuser. Claudia seems frightened of her father for some reason. John C. Reilly plays lonely heart police officer Jim who senses a kindred spirit in Claudia after arriving at her apartment to look into a noise complaint made against her (She’s too wasted to realise her stereo is up way too loud). Philip Seymour Hoffman plays Phil, nurse to terminally ill former TV producer Earl (Jason Robards), who on his death bed requests to be reunited with the son he neglected long ago. William H.…

Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III

The plot this time out involves a magic sceptre…wait, where are you going? If I have to write this shit, you’ve gotta stick around and read it, OK? We’re in this one together! Anyway, there’s this magic sceptre and April (Paige Turco) and the Ninja Turtles (including Brian Tochi voicing Leonardo, Robbie Rist voicing Michelangelo, a returning Corey Feldman as Donatello, and newbie Tim Kelleher as Raphael) find themselves time-travelling (!) back to feudal Japan. There they confuse the hell out of a merciless warlord named Norinaga (Sab Shimono) and an unscrupulous English arms trader/pirate (Stuart Wilson). Meanwhile, back in the present (of 1993), vigilante Casey Jones (Elias Koteas) has to look after the Japanese fellas who seemingly swapped timelines with April and the Ninja Turtles. So of course he shows them a hockey game on TV. Yep. Oh, and Splinter’s hanging out too. Vivian Wu plays a Princess in Feudal Japan, whilst Koteas turns up in a secondary role as a captured pirate named…

Review: Gone Baby Gone

Casey Affleck and his live-in girlfriend Michelle Monaghan are also partners in the PI business in working class Boston, who are hired by concerned Aunt Amy Madigan (rock-solid as always), to help find her little niece who has disappeared from home. This isn’t too hard to believe, given the girl’s mother (Amy Ryan) is a dead-beat drunk and junkie, who is rarely coherent, let alone responsible (maybe Joan Crawford wasn’t such a bad parent after all...) The duo join official investigators in the case, veteran cops Ed Harris and John Ashton, with Morgan Freeman as their superior officer. Freeman (whose casting seems more perfect the longer the film goes on), head of the Crimes Against Children Unit, is the one who suggests the sharing of information between the cops and the junior PIs (the latter obvious having friendly connections and ease of movement within the ‘hood), and he himself was the father of a kidnapping victim who was sadly never found alive, and knows that time is already b…

Review: Conspiracy Theory

Mel Gibson plays intense cabbie Jerry, a rather frenzied but seemingly harmless and well-meaning fellow who is also a giant conspiracy theorist. Jerry frequently comes to Justice Department lawyer Alice (Julia Roberts) with his latest crazy theory, which Alice is occasionally kind enough to humour him and listen. Jerry, by the way, kinda has a thing for Alice as well. Thing is, though, that one of Jerry’s theories might not be entirely crazy, because someone has him kidnapped and rigorously interrogated/tortured to see what he ‘knows’. Jerry has his own crackpot newsletter with about five subscribers, so he supposes that’s how ‘They’ found out. But which of his theories has he lucked out on? Jerry’s interrogator is a spook psychiatrist named Dr. Jonas (Patrick Stewart), and he seems to be very good at what he does (torture and intimidation). Jerry, however, manages to escape (biting Dr. Jonas’ nose in the process) and immediately goes to tell Alice what has happened. Because Jerry is …

Review: Fright Night (1985)

William Ragsdale is Charlie Brewster, a teenage horror movie fan who thinks he sees new neighbour Jerry Dandridge (Chris Sarandon) skulking about outside one night with a coffin, headed towards Jerry’s basement. Not long after this, it’s discovered that a woman has been brutally murdered. Charlie had previously witnessed the very same woman through Jerry’s window in a bit of hanky-panky before Jerry appears to take a bite out of her. Charlie, therefore, comes to the completely rational (in his mind) conclusion that Jerry must be a vampire! Unfortunately, his story is so bizarre and Jerry’s so debonair that Charlie can’t get the police (in the person of detective Art Evans) to believe him. So he, his virginal girlfriend (Amanda Bearse) and cackling friend ‘Evil’ Ed (Stephen Geoffreys) turn to horror TV ‘vampire killer’ Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowell) instead. Vincent, naturally is dismissive of such nonsense, however…his show soon gets cancelled and money is tight, so why not humour the…

Review: Armageddon

A giant asteroid has been discovered headed for Earth, and in all likelihood, if it hits, the asteroid will win. NASA administrator Dan Truman (Billy Bob Thornton) has the idea to hire Harry Stamper (Bruce Willis) and his team of oil riggers, train them to go into orbit, land on the asteroid (!) in order to do their thing drilling to the core so that a nuclear weapon can be stuffed in it and detonated. The asteroid will split in two and neither part will make it to Earth. That’s the plan, at least. Meanwhile, Stamper’s daughter Grace has been seeing driller A.J. (Ben Affleck) behind Harry’s back, and Harry’s not remotely happy about that. The rest of Harry’s rowdy team are played by Steve Buscemi (a gambling addict and sleazeoid), Michael Clarke Duncan, Owen Wilson (as a cowboy who becomes a ‘space cowboy’), Will Patton (as a divorcee with a kid who doesn’t know him), and Ken Campbell. Jason Isaacs plays a NASA science guy, William Fichtner is an a-hole legit astronaut, Peter Stormare…