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Showing posts from November 13, 2016

Review: Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation

Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is attempting to track down a secretive criminal organisation known as The Syndicate, but CIA director Hunley (Alec Baldwin) laughs the very notion of The Syndicate off, and sets about disbanding IMF while he’s at it, even making Hunt a wanted fugitive. However, Hunt refuses to be brought in nor will he stop in his mission to get to the truth about The Syndicate and bringing it down. Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner, and Ving Rhames reprise their roles as IMF team members Benji, Brandt, and Luther. Sean Harris plays bad guy Solomon Lane, with Rebecca Ferguson playing Ilsa Faust, whose allegiances may be somewhat fluid, or at least not as they first appear. Simon McBurney and Tom Hollander appear briefly as Hunley’s British counterpart and the British PM, respectively.

I didn’t think much of the first “Mission Impossible” film, and John Woo’s “Mi2” was embarrassingly overdone. However, from “Mission Impossible III”, the series started working for me, and I really loved…

Review: The Terminal

Tom Hanks is Viktor Navorski, in New York’s JFK airport having come from the seemingly Eastern European country of Krakozhia. Unfortunately, while Viktor was on the plane, war broke out in Krakozhia and the government was overturned in a coup. This leaves Viktor and Homeland Security official Frank Dixon (Stanley Tucci) in quite the pickle. The new country that Krakozhia has become is not recognised by the US, and Viktor is deemed ‘unacceptable’ to have the right to enter American soil, beyond the airport terminal. The newly appointed Frank decides to let Viktor stay wherever he likes within the confines of the airport terminal until the situation back home is resolved for him to enter New York, or until he can be deported. Really, Frank’s just expecting Viktor to do what many others do and just try to escape and get out of Frank’s hair. However, Viktor is either too honest or completely clueless, and he patiently sticks around. In the meantime he strikes up a relationship/friendship …

Review: Shakespeare in Love

Will Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) is struggling for material, not making his financial backer (Tom Wilkinson) particularly happy. He eventually comes up with something tentatively titled “Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate’s Daughter”. A classic in the making, of course. His insistence on a tragic love story isn’t quite what theatre owner Philip Henslowe (Geoffrey Rush) wants to hear, preferring to see something more in the vein of a low comedy, and certainly not with an unhappy ending. Will sees and is instantly bewitched by Viola (Gwyneth Paltrow), who by order of the Queen (Dame Judi Dench) is betrothed to the boorish Lord Wessex (Colin Firth). Viola, as it happens, really wants to be an actor, but because the society of the time frowns on women in the theatre, she has to don a male disguise when auditioning for Will’s play. Romantic comedy nonsense ensues. Ben Affleck plays an egotistical actor, Simon Callow is essentially Lord Wessex’s henchman, Rupert Everett plays Will’s literary riva…

Review: Ratter

University student Ashley Benson has moved into a new apartment in a new city. She’s just out of a not-so great relationship, and is tentatively beginning a new one with nice guy Matt McGorry. What she doesn’t know, but eventually will come to realise, is that someone has hacked into her technological devices, including gaining access to her email and laptop webcam. Is it her obsessed ex? Her new beau? Or someone else?

A great ending capping off a turd of a film, this 2016 cyber-stalker flick from writer-director Branden Kramer is marginally more intelligent than “Unfriended”. However, that film was completely moronic and this one’s pretty damn stupid too. Apparently Kramer based the film on something similar that happened to a friend, who noticed their webcam indicator was flashing at odd times. That’s great, but that’s not the story Kramer tells here. We don’t see the webcam indicator being on at all in this film, and if it were on, you’d notice it. At least I certainly would, and I…

Review: Bridge of Spies

Set during the Cold War, Tom Hanks plays James Donovan, an American insurance lawyer who is chosen to defend a Scottish-accented (apparently due to spending time in both Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Scotland) Russian spy named Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance) in court. He’s expected to do his duty, that is the bare minimum. However, the plot really moves forward when Donovan is eventually called upon by the CIA to facilitate a trade with the Soviet Russians in Germany, for Abel in exchange with a downed and captured American pilot, Frances Gary Powers (played by Austin Stowell). Further complications come when an innocent American economics student gets arrested for illegally crossing the Berlin Wall at a seriously bad time, and is accused of being a spy. This means having to deal with the governments of the Soviet Union and the German Democratic Republic, who won’t be happy if they find out that Donovan is trying to carry out two exchanges with the same bargaining chip (Abel). Also, the CIA are…

Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2

Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), tiring of being a political puppet, decides to take more direct action and along with a small team that includes her friend Gale (Liam Hemsworth) and a possibly still damaged and untrustworthy Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) heads for President Snow himself (Donald Sutherland). Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jena Malone, Paula Malcolmson, Elizabeth Banks, Natalie Dormer, Eldon Henson, Jeffrey Wright, and Stanley Tucci all reprise the roles they have played in previous instalments, with Michelle Forbes playing a Lieutenant in Katniss’ team.

The film series based on Suzanne Collins’ series of books seemed to be getting better with each entry, to the point where the previous “Mockingjay Part 1” wasn’t too far from being a good movie. Unfortunately, the final instalment does not continue the upward trend. This 2015 film from director Francis Lawrence (who helmed the previous two entries) is the worst entry since the terrible first film. Scripted by P…

Review: Alien Predator

In 1979, Skylab crashed somewhere in Spain, and it brought something down in the fall. Something alien and very, very nasty. Cut to five years later as dorky Americans Dennis Christopher, Martin Hewitt, and their female tag-along Lynn-Holly Johnson are touring Spain in their RV (with a dune buggy in tow, I might add). They arrive in a small Spanish town that has been beset by the alien parasite, infecting locals and turning them into crazed monsters.

Actually predating “Predator”, this 1986 (released in the US in 1987) sci-fi/horror-comedy from writer-director Deran Sarafian (“Death Warrant”, “Gunmen”, “Terminal Velocity”) isn’t really what the title might suggest. Oh sure, there’s a predatory alien creature at the centre of it, but if there’s a film it most closely resembles, it’s not “Alien” or “Predator”, though I guess the prologue is a little “Alien”-esque. Instead, it’s seemingly a variant of/homage to “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”. It’s not a bad film, just a very, very, ver…

Review: The Simpsons Movie

Everybody’s favourite yellow, four-fingered dysfunctional family (nagging, blue-haired mom Marge, well-meaning but imbecilic father Homer, trouble-making smart-arse Bart, smart and socially-conscious Lisa, and often neglected toddler Maggie) gets the big-screen treatment ten years past give-a-shit (seriously, Bart should be in his late 20s here, and yet he’s still, what? 10? WTF!?) in this surprisingly sharp and funny 2007 David Silverman film.

The story has Springfield’s resident well-meaning boob Homer inadvertently causing an environmental catastrophe (best not to ask why or how, needless to say environmentalist/brainiac daughter Lisa ain’t so happy with her dad for like, the millionth time now) that sees Springfield sealed off from the rest of the world via a giant, protective bubble/dome. With angry townsfolk getting their pitchforks sharpened, little Maggie (who has said only one or two words and not grown an inch in a couple of decades. Anyone else find that freaky? Yeah, OK so…