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Showing posts from July 31, 2016

Review: Mamma Mia!

Amanda Seyfried, who lives on a Greek island (as you do) with mum Meryl Streep, is about to marry Dominic Cooper. But weighing on her mind is the father she has never met, mum having told her she was the result of a brief fling twenty years ago. When Seyfried finds her mother’s diary she reads that she was intimate with three men in one summer (!), and Seyfried decides to contact each of them, hoping they will arrive for the wedding so her dad can give her away. The three men are; uptight British banker Colin Firth, recently divorced architect Pierce Brosnan, and free-spirited travel writer and boat owner Stellan Skarsgaard (So her dad’s either James Bond/Remington Steele, Mr. Darcy, or Barnacle Bill? What’s the name of that Meatloaf song again?). Also turning up for the wedding are Streep’s old gal pals Christine Baranski (a man-eater) and Julie Walters. Look for ABBA piano man Benny Andersson during the ‘Dancing Queen’ musical number.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I watched this…

Review: Chinatown

Set in L.A. during the 1930s, Jack Nicholson stars as P.I. Jake ‘J.J.’ Gittes, who is approached by a woman calling herself Evelyn Mulwray (Diane Ladd), who asks J.J. to look into the possibility of her husband’s infidelity. Her hubby Hollis, is the L.A. water commissioner, and sure enough J.J. snaps Hollis in a compromising position with someone other than his wife. But then another woman comes to J.J.’s office also calling herself Mrs. Evelyn Mulwray (Faye Dunaway) and it’s then that J.J. realises he’s been conned by those out to get Hollis. Meanwhile, Evelyn, daughter of Hollis’ business partner Noah Cross (John Huston) wants to sue Gittes. But when Hollis later turns up dead, Evelyn turns to J.J. to find out who killed him. James Hong plays Evelyn’s faithful butler, Roy Jenson and Roman Polanski are a couple of goons, Perry Lopez a somewhat unfriendly cop.

Terrific 1975 modern noir/detective film from director Roman Polanski (“Repulsion”, “Rosemary’s Baby”) and screenwriter Robert…

Review: Ab-Normal Beauty

Disappointing 2004 film from Oxide Pang (“The Eye”, which he co-directed with his more conventionally named brother Danny) stars Race Wong as Jin, an acclaimed student photographer with a recent fascination with photographing death- dead animals and even suicide jumpers. This makes her girlfriend (Roseanne Wong) somewhat uneasy, as does the constant interest fellow student Leung keeps showing in her. Then someone starts sending her videotapes of a girl being tortured, and poor Jin starts to go a little bonkers. Add an absent mother, and production design that increasingly resembles “Saw”, and Bob’s your cross-dressing, monkey butt-lovin’ Uncle (Sorry Uncle Bob, I was only kidding!).

Takes its time, presumably to build characters, but nothing of interest really happens in this film, not even a lesbian love scene for crying out loud. What’s up with that? The film has an interesting colour scheme mixing greys with bright colours, so you can just sit and gawk at the screen and forget that…

Review: Fargo

Set in and around wintery Minnesota, William H. Macy is nerdy, financially troubled Minneapolis car salesman Jerry Lundegaard, who hires two thugs (Irritating motor-mouth Steve Buscemi, surly and near-silent Peter Stormare) to kidnap his wife (Kristin Rudrud), hoping that her rich daddy (Harve Presnell) will fork over a ransom of $80,000. The thugs get paid, Macy gets the rest, the wife is safely returned, and nobody has to get hurt. Um, yeah...well, it doesn’t exactly go down like that. In fact, it all gets a bit bloody and murderous. Enter chipper, cluey, pregnant cop Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand), to investigate the murders. John Carroll Lynch plays Marge’s homey, laidback husband.

Although I liked “The Big Lebowski”, “Blood Simple”, “True Grit”, and to a lesser extent “Intolerable Cruelty”, I am not in any way a Coen Brothers (“Miller’s Crossing”, “The Hudsucker Proxy”, “No Country For Old Men”) fan. I don’t like their style or their skewed vision, I find many of their chara…

Review: True Story

Jonah Hill plays journalist Michael Finkel, whose promising career takes a massive hit when it’s uncovered that on his latest piece for The New York Times has probably had a very casual relationship with actual fact. Fired and disgraced, he receives a lifeline of sorts when he hears of a bizarre story that he has an unwitting connection to: Devoted family man Christian Longo (James Franco) has been arrested and charged with the murder of his wife and their young children. The strange part? When arrested, Longo gave his name as Mike Finkel. Curious as to why a man he has never met would use his name when arrested for these heinous crimes, Finkel decides to pay Longo (who plans to plead not guilty and insists that he’s innocent) a visit in prison. It turns out that Longo is an admirer of Finkel’s writing ability and offers to let Finkel write Longo’s story on two conditions: 1) The book be published only after the trial, and 2) Finkel is to teach Longo what he knows about writing. Thus …

Sharknado 4: The 4th Awakens

Years have gone by without a Sharknado, apparently thanks to bespectacled rich guy Tommy Davidson and his “atmospheric stabilizing system”. He’s also responsible for bringing Gilbert Shepherd (David Hasselhoff) back to Earth. Now Davidson has decided to open a Vegas theme park with a Sharknado bent, which is environmentally-friendly, yet also contains lots of sharks. Oh, this is a good idea. A sandstorm hits and before you know it we have sharks swooped up in them, and people being chomped left, right, and centre. Thankfully Fin Shepherd (Ian Ziering) just so happens to be visiting Vegas at the time with his cousin (Masiela Lusha) ready to save the day again. Meanwhile, Fin’s wife April (Tara Reid) turns out to have made it out of the previous film after all, albeit in a more hi-tech form thanks to her well-meaning but mad scientist father, played inevitably by Gary Busey. That’s former Oscar-nominee Gary Busey, I might add. The guest stars this time include Wayne Newton and Vince Nei…

Review: 009-1: The End of the Beginning

Set in 21st Century Japan (or J-Country, as it’s called here), whilst the world at large is divided into two warring power blocs. J-Country is kind of a border country or underground territory. Our protagonist is Agent 009-1, AKA Mylene (Mayuki Iwasa), who works for a spy agency that turns orphans into cyborg super-agents with supposedly little to no memory of their past human existence. By the way, her breasts are literally her weapons. Just thought I’d point that out. Her mission is to rescue the scientist behind the program that created agents like 009-1, who has been kidnapped. Things get more and more complicated the longer the film goes on, including someone who may be from Agent 009-1’s past.

Although I’ve not personally read the manga it’s based on, this 2013 spy/action flick from director Koichi Sakamoto and screenwriter Keiichi Hasegawa seems pretty in keeping with the usual themes one finds in other adaptations of Japanese manga. Titties and fetish outfits in the opening sc…