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Showing posts from April 3, 2016

Review: Australia After Dark

A look at the underbelly and nightlife in Australia…and a bunch of random other crap too, all narrated by a super-serious Hayes Gordon.

The good news is that this 1975 pseudo-doco from hack director John Lamond (the Aussie “Emmanuelle” rip-off “Felicity”) is more believable as a documentary than the subsequent “ABCs of Love and Sex: Australia Style”. Obviously both films were Lamond’s crude attempt at catching onto the brief trend/gimmick of using the documentary/educational format as a front for his real intention: Sex, cocks, and lotsa norks. Both film are bad, but at least this one’s attempt at looking like a doco isn’t quite as incompetent. Some of it has been staged, though Lamond has suggested that it’s merely recreating what the participants would normally do anyway. Yeah, still not quite calling it a documentary, though John. I just can’t do it, especially when I know what you’re really interested in here.

Frankly, I find it difficult to enjoy the sex when there’s no actual st…

Review: The Duke of Burgundy

A film concerning the S&M role-playing games played by lovers Sidse Babett Knudsen and the younger, submissive Chiara D’Anna. Basically, D’Anna takes on a servile role, and is frequently punished for every small indiscretion, and seemingly enjoying every bit of it, possibly even more so than her mistress/lover. As the film progresses, the dynamics of the submissive/dominant seem to be undergoing a change as the older Knudsen appears to be increasingly jealous, vain, and paranoid.

English writer-director Peter Strickland offers up a much better and more interesting film about an S&M relationship than “Fifty Shades of Grey”, with this sensual 2014 film. From the visuals captured by cinematographer Nicholas D. Knowland (“The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle”, “Jinnah”), the music score, as well as the title design, and the overall mood, it comes with a heavy 70s Eurotrash vibe to it. In fact, the only things stopping this from seeming like a Jesus Franco film are 1) It’s got better pe…

Review: The Water Diviner

Russell Crowe stars as a rural Victorian farmer and ‘water diviner’ (a supposed mystical ability to detect water deep in the ground) whose three sons go off to fight in WWI against the Turks at Gallipoli. Four years later and the boys’ mother (played very well by an all-too rare Jacqueline McKenzie, who has been doing mostly TV shows of late) is distraught and despondent and makes Crowe promise to bring them (or their bodies) home. Crowe eventually makes the trek to Turkey and meets resistance from the British military brass (Dan Wyllie and Michael Dorman) who are still trying to identify bodies on the battlefield themselves and order Crowe to go back home. Crowe does, however learn some vital information from a Turkish Major (Yilmaz Erdogan), and is given reluctant hospitality from a local family (Steve Bastoni, his widowed sister-in-law Olga Kurylenko, and her young son). Isabel Lucas plays a Turkish (ish) prostitute, whilst Jai Courtney is an Aussie Lt. Colonel who understands wher…

Review: The Gunman

Sean Penn is a former special forces contractor who was the trigger man for an assassination of a politician in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He hasn’t quite recovered from this, nor the fact that he had to leave the love of his life (an aid worker played by Jasmine Trinca) behind to go into hiding. Several years later and he is back in the DRC, but this time doing aid work there to atone for his supposed sins, when it appears someone wants him dead. He figures it has something to do with the work he and his special forces buddies did all those years ago, and sets about tracking them down to find out just who the hell is doing this and why. Meanwhile, he seems to be suffering post-concussion headaches that are really doing a number on him. Nonetheless, he takes a trip to Barcelona to see former comrade Javier Bardem, who promised to take care of Trinca in Penn’s absence, and ended up marrying her. It’s a tense reunion to say the least, as Bardem doesn’t look especially happy to se…

Review: American Heist

Dipshit criminal Adrien Brody gets out of the slammer and visits his estranged younger brother Hayden Christensen, a former con himself who is now living the straight life as a mechanic with dreams of opening up his own auto shop. Christensen is also in a tentative relationship with on-and-off girlfriend Jordana Brewster, who is a police dispatcher. He is absolutely, positively not happy to see his brother, who as I’ve already mentioned is a dipshit criminal who is the reason Christensen ended up in jail, albeit for a shorter stay than Brody. Eventually Christensen lightens up a bit, and then dipshit Brody introduces him to a couple of guys he met whilst in prison (Akon and Tory Kittles). Said guys and said dipshit Brody are planning a sure-fire bank robbery, and they pretty much coerce poor Christensen into aiding them as getaway driver, or else some harm will come to Brewster. Gee, do you think they’ll run into a few problems at the bank? You do? Here, have yourself a cookie.

Well-a…

Review: Baby Doll

Set in sleazy Mississippi, middle-aged and balding Archie Lee (Karl Malden) isn’t having a good time of it. His child bride (albeit 19 years old!) nicknamed ‘Baby Doll’ (Carroll Baker) won’t let him consummate their marriage until she’s 20. It’s part of an agreement between Archie Lee and the girl’s father, made on his death bed, and one she’s not especially keen to honour anymore. He is ridiculed by the other townsfolk due to this rather humiliating situation. Meanwhile, his cotton business isn’t going so well, made even worse by the arrival of slick Sicilian Silva Vaccaro (Eli Wallach), who has a more sophisticated alternative. One night, Silva’s cotton gin burns down and he gets wind of rumours that Archie Lee might’ve been the one responsible for it. Silva responds by heading up to Archie Lee’s decaying mansion (which has recently had practically all the furniture taken away) and that’s when he meets ‘Baby Doll’ and decides to seduce her before Archie Lee has had his chance (She t…