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Showing posts from April 24, 2016

Review: Return From Witch Mountain

In this follow-up, humanoid aliens Tia (Kim Richards) and Tony (Ike Eisenmann) come back to Earth for a holiday (cue the cameo by Denver Pyle, presumably in the midst of filming “The Dukes of Hazzard”). Tony’s special powers are witnessed by sinister scientist Christopher Lee, who kidnaps the boy to use for nefarious means. Along with his financial backer Bette Davis, Lee has been experimenting with mind control. However, when they see young Tony, Davis sees the potential for pulling complicated heists, whilst Lee has larger schemes in mind (no pun intended). Meanwhile, Tia is left to herself, eventually falling in with a bunch of young kids (one of whom played by something called Poindexter Yothers, apparently the brother of “Family Ties” actress Tina) hiding out from the local truant officer (Jack Soo). Anthony James (from “In the Heat of the Night”) plays Davis’ lunkhead nephew early on.

A diminished return to say the least. This 1978 follow-up to the enjoyable Disney TV movie “Esc…

Review: Escape to Witch Mountain

Tony (Ike Eisenmann) and Tia (Kim Richards, now a reality TV train-wreck) are two orphans placed in a new boarding school after the death of their parents. However, Tony and Tia aren’t like other children and don’t remember much of their past at all. In fact, they have special powers including the ability to read each other’s minds and telekinesis. They try to keep their powers a secret, but one of the kids gets a vision of impending doom for chauffeur Lucas Derenian (Donald Pleasance) and warns him just in time to avoid a fatal accident. Derenian is most intrigued by the children and takes his discovery to employer/millionaire Aristotle Bolt (Ray Milland). The duo conspire to bring the children to Bolt, who plans on using the children’s powers for his own unscrupulous advantage. When the kids find out about this, they attempt an escape. Meanwhile, they also have blurry visions of a shipwreck, an old man (Denver Pyle), and a mysterious place called Witch Mountain, connections to their…

Review: Cleveland Abduction

The story of 21 year-old single mum Michelle Knight (Taryn Manning) who accepts a lift from casual acquaintance Ariel Castro (Raymond Cruz) that has dire consequences for Michelle. She’s meant to be attending a scheduled custody hearing for her son, but Castro offers to give her a puppy from his house to give to her son for a present, and that she’ll make the appointment with time to spare. When he gets her to his house, however, Castro instead knocks her down, ties her up, and locks the door behind him. She’s now there for Castro to use in any degrading manner he wishes and there’s not a damn thing she can do about it. Over time, two other girls will also be abducted and held prisoner by the depraved, soulless Castro with seemingly no hope or a way out in sight. Joe Morton and an ancient-looking Pam Grier have brief cameos at the end as an FBI agent and nurse, respectively.

I’m sort of a true crime/serial killer fanatic (in the least creepy way possible, I swear!), so I tend to see a…

Review: The Peacemaker

Government nuclear physicist Nicole Kidman (!) teams up with abrasive globe-trotting Army Colonel George Clooney when ten nuclear warheads are stolen from a Russian train that was meant to result in the warheads being deactivated as part of a treaty. They need to track down the warheads before the hijackers can sell them off to terrorists like Marcel Iures, who has a major grudge against the US for apparently ignoring atrocities in Bosnia. Armin Mueller-Stahl appears briefly as an old Russian comrade of Clooney’s.

One of George Clooney’s earlier starring efforts, and this 1997 terrorism movie from veteran TV (and debut film) director Mimi Leder probably isn’t one he looks back on fondly. In fact, I think it’s fair to say that 1997 just wasn’t ‘ol George’s year. This was the first big release from the uber-supergroup movie studio DreamWorks SKG (whose founders are Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and David Geffen), and it’s a good thing that these guys are super rich, because thei…

Review: The Avengers: Age of Ultron

Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) creates Ultron, an A.I. peace-keeping program to protect the Earth from huge threats so that eventually the Avengers can all retire. It’ll basically be like a suit of armour covering the globe for protection. However, when all of the Avengers (Thor, Captain America, Stark/Iron Man, Hawkeye, Black Widow, and Bruce Banner/The Hulk- all played by you know who by now) and some of their friends gather to celebrate a successful mission (which was to grab Loki’s sceptre from…a guy played by Thomas Kretschmann), something goes awry with Ultron, which was created via whatever special powers lived inside the sceptre. Ultron (voiced by James Spader) emerges from the digital world into a robotic form, and misunderstands Stark’s directive to achieve peace…by obliterating those believed to be causing the Earth the most harm. That is, humans. Now it’s up to the Avengers to put a stop to Ultron. Meanwhile, two mutant beings (Yeah, fuck 20th Century Fox, I’ll call ‘em mu…

Review: Still Alice

Julianne Moore stars as the 50ish title linguistics professor who is diagnosed with early onset dementia. A wife to research physician Alec Baldwin, and mother to aspiring actress Kristen Stewart, son Hunter Parrish, and pregnant elder daughter Kate Bosworth, Alice finds out that the disease is also genetic and suggests her kids get tested for it ASAP. Workaholic hubby Baldwin is frightened, initially tries to ignore reality, and obviously feels helpless watching this happen to the woman he loves. Meanwhile, we watch Alice dealing with the changes brought about by the disease to the very part of her body she most needs for her work, but also perhaps for her sense of self.

Although it’s worthy subject matter, a fine and Oscar-winning performance by Julianne Moore is the main reason of interest to this 2014 drama from writer-director pair Richard Glatzer (An ALS sufferer who passed away in early 2015) and Wash Westmoreland (They made several films together, and were also life partners).…

Review: Tomorrowland

In 1964, a young boy attends the NY World’s Fair hoping to show off his jet-pack invention. He gets cruelly rejected by David Nix (Hugh Laurie), but young Athena (Raffey Cassidy) sympathises with the boy and slips him a special pin for something called Tomorrowland and tells him to take a ride. This takes the boy to a world called Tomorrowland, seemingly a futuristic world (or alternate dimension?) created out of great imagination and innovation. Cut to the present and young brainiac Casey (Britt Robertson) gets herself arrested for some mild misdemeanour. Whilst in jail she finds a Tomorrowland pin, and when she touches it she seemingly (and briefly) gets transported to Tomorrowland. However, the pin soon seems to lose its power. Intrigued and a little freaked out, she tries to get it working again, only to be set-upon by humanoid robots. She is rescued by Athena, who looks to have not aged a day since 1964. She is trying to recruit great young minds to help create the future. Togeth…