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Showing posts from May 15, 2016

Review: Fast & Furious 7

Bad arse British ex-special ops guy Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) seeks revenge for the fate of his brother in the previous film. He’s systematically hunting the crew down, starting with Han (Sung Kang, in a scene that appeared at the end of the previous film). He even manages to hospitalise Agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), and nearly blows up Dom (Vin Diesel), Brian (Paul Walker) and Mia (Jordana Brewster). Meanwhile, a shadowy government figure who calls himself Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) requests a meeting with the entire remaining crew, including Roman (Tyrese Gibson), techie Tej (Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges), and Dom’s brooding amnesiac squeeze Letty (Michelle Rodriguez). Mr. Nobody tells Dom that he can help them get Shaw, but first he needs them to retrieve the ‘God’s Eye’ technology (a super-dooper surveillance system) and rescue a computer hacker (Nathalie Emmanuel, my vote for most beautiful woman on “Game of Thrones”) from terrorist Jakande (Djimon Hounsou). Lucas Black and Elsa Pa…

Review: Galore

Ashleigh Cummings and Lily Sullivan play best friends on the verge of adulthood. They’re inseparable, but as is often the case, boys are about to get in the way, as is rebellious Cummings’ tendency to self-destruct. There’s Sullivan’s boyfriend Toby Wallace, whom Cummings is sneaking around with, plus brooding Aliki Matangi, who arrives as another troubled kid Cummings’ social worker single mum (Maya Stange) has decided to help out adds some sparks to this dynamic. Meanwhile, bushfires raging in Canberra are seemingly headed their way.

A potentially interesting bushfire crisis backdrop is wasted on a mopey, clich├ęd wannabe “Puberty Blues” coming-of-age story. This 2014 flick from debut feature film writer-director Rhys Graham (who directed a segment of “The Turning”) ironically even casts one of the stars of the TV version of “Puberty Blues”, actress Ashleigh Cummings in the lead role. Proof that being somewhat realistic doesn’t make a film interesting, barely a damn thing happens in …

Review: Ex Machina

Domhnall Gleeson plays a socially awkward coder for an internet search engine company. He wins a competition to take part in a secret project run by the search engine company’s CEO, played by Oscar Isaac. Arriving by helicopter at billionaire Isaac’s remote reserve/facility in Alaska, he goes through the usual paperwork before Isaac fills him in on the purpose of his participation. The intimidating and clearly genius Isaac has created an AI dubbed Ava, and it is up to Gleeson to conduct several rounds of the Turing test to determine whether Ava is a fully conscious AI or obviously just a computer program. Although Ava predominantly takes on the guise of the beautiful Alicia Vikander, there is no huge attempt at hiding her mechanical/metallic parts, as Isaac thinks the test is more pure/accurate if it’s more difficult to accept Ava as a being of independent thought and feeling if looking largely non-human. So the series of emotion tests will be purely judged on Ava’s responses and beha…

Review: Pound of Flesh

Set in the Philippines, Jean-Claude Van Damme stars as a total fuck-up (and former Black-ops guy) who wakes up in a confused, hazy state to find that he has a kidney missing and is lying in an ice bath. This is the very same kidney Van Damme had hoped he could find redemption through donating it to his sick niece. In order to locate his missing kidney he must race against the clock with the aid of his estranged, religiously-inclined brother John Ralston, and a former rival gangster turned trusted friend in Aki Aleong, before his poor niece dies. Darren Shahlavi turns up as Drake, a bad guy in on the kidney-stealing plot.


Cheap-looking, but pretty decent 2015 Ernie Barbarash (director of “They Wait”, “Hardwired”, and the solid Van Damme-Scott Adkins teaming “Assassination Games”) flick isn’t the best of Van Damme’s post-cinematic release career, but solid enough to get a recommendation just the same. Scripted by Joshua James (a martial artist with one other writing credit prior), it mi…

Review: The DUFF

The title acronym stands for Designated Ugly Fat Friend, and although it’s not essential for the person in question to be fat and/or ugly, the gist is that it refers to that one friend who is less attractive than the rest and therefore makes the others look even more hot in comparison. Artsy zombie movie fan Bianca (Mae Whitman) isn’t the slightest bit fat nor is she ugly (Mae Whitman simply takes off her makeup for the role), but her two best friends (Bianca Santos and Skyler Samuels) are super-hot in comparison, therefore it is explained to her by childhood best friend/neighbour (and extremely douchy jock) Wesley, that she is their DUFF. She’s the approachable girl that a nervous guy can talk to in the hopes of finding an ‘in’ with her hot friends. Angry and hurt by this previously unrevealed discovery, in a rash decision she cuts her pretty best friends from her life. Wesley (played by Robbie Amell) decides to take Bianca under his wing and improve her wardrobe choices and self-con…

Review: Goodnight, Mummy

Lukas and Elias Schwarz play, remarkably enough, twins named Lukas and Elias, who live in a country home with their mother (Susanne Wuest), who has been badly disfigured in a car accident some time ago. Covered in bandages, she doesn’t want any visitors nor any excess noise while she recuperates. She also seems to be acting strangely and at times rather cruelly, with the 9 year-olds eventually convinced that she’s not really their mother but an impostor. She’s certainly not very maternal, and what is up with her randomly disrobing in the woods? Or is that a dream sequence? (I’m not really asking, by the way. I do know the answer) At any rate, the boys set about finding a way to get to the bottom of things once and for all.

Getting a lot of praise in certain corners, this 2015 Austrian psychological horror flick from the co-writer/co-director team of Severin Fiala & Veronika Franz (who previously made a documentary as their debut) was a pretty big disappointment to me. Starting lik…

Review: Story of O: Untold Pleasures

O (Danielle Ciardi) is a photographer who wants to work on a book about the seamier side of sex. Her sleazy tennis coach boyfriend (Max Parrish) is accommodating to this interest, and introduces her to Sir Stephen (Neil Dickson), who will help her gain first-hand knowledge and experience in such matters…by becoming his slave. Light spanking ensues. Michelle Ruben plays an outrageously accented Russian model named Jacqueline, who occasionally poses for O, and would like to get her in the sack. Katherine Randolph, suspiciously sans fake Russian accent plays Ruben’s younger, nicer, more innocent sister...whom the film doesn’t give a fuck about.

Pretty much unrelated to the two previous films, this Americanised take on the ‘Pauline Reage’ story from 2002 is a bit better than the 1975 film and its 1984 semi-sequel. Directed by Phil Leirness (whose work has primarily been in shorts and docos) and co-written by Ron Norman (in his one and only credit), it is unfortunately torpedoed by shitty …