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Showing posts from November 20, 2016

Review: Heat (1995)

A master thief named Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro) known for not having any attachments he can’t readily alleviate himself of and leaving no loose ends, goes on a big score with his tight-knit crew, plus a last minute replacement named Waingro (Kevin Gage). The armoured car heist goes off as planned until Waingro, who it turns out is a short-fused psychopath, gets an itchy trigger-finger and kills a guard. McCauley wants Waingro dead for his screw-up, but he manages to flee. Meanwhile, we meet police lieutenant Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino), who has a nagging wife (Diane Venora) and a needy stepdaughter (Natalie Portman) whom he loves, but who really needs her dipshit birth father around. A robbery-homicide cop investigating the armoured car robbery scene (which of course turned fatal thanks to idiot whack-job Waingro), the workaholic Hanna becomes obsessed with tracking the gang down, to the increasing strain of his marriage. Tom Sizemore, Val Kilmer, and Danny Trejo play the other memb…

Review: The Fireball

Troubled orphan Mickey Rooney (somewhere in between his juvenile and adult roles here) turns his back on caring priest Pat O’Brien and the orphanage in order to make it on his own as a roller-skating champion (apparently a team sport), but an increasingly large ego and lack of team spirit might just be his downfall. Beverly Tyler is the loyal and caring professional skater who helps and befriends Rooney, to the chagrin of her antagonistic professional partner Glenn Corbett. Rooney counters Corbett’s obvious skating superiority early on by heckling him in front of the TV cameras, becoming a minor celebrity, whilst attempting to improve his skating skills too. Marilyn Monroe turns up briefly as the girlfriend of one of Rooney’s biggest fans, and Ralph Dumke is the diner owner who first takes Rooney in as a dishwasher.

Dated but likeable 1950 Tay Garnett (“Mrs. Parkington”, “The Valley of Decision”) roller-skating film gets by on Rooney’s (possibly overly enthusiastic) charm, even when h…

Review: Weird Science

Two high school nerds (Anthony Hall, Ilan Mitchell-Smith) ‘create’ the perfect woman on their computers and thanks to a major lightning storm (and some Hollywood magic- i.e. Total BS), she physically materialises (as Kelly LeBrock)! But she’s not just there for T&A purposes, they’ve given her a brain, after all (what, are these guys idiots or something? Why would they do that? Why?), as she teaches the boys a thing or two and tries to boost their popularity. Robert Downey Jr is amusing as a snotty ‘cool’ guy named Ian (A cool guy named Ian?). Bill Paxton plays Mitchell-Smith’s psychotic, grotesque military man brother Chet. In a particularly surreal excursion, Aussie Vernon Wells (the villain in “Mad Max 2”, and the underrated “Commando”) and the inimitable Michael Berryman (“The Hills Have Eyes”) turn up as freakish bikers, clearly inspired by “Mad Max 2”.

1985 John Hughes (“Sixteen Candles”, “The Breakfast Club”, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”, “Uncle Buck”) comedy is the bastard st…

Review: Southpaw

Boxer Billy Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal), a former Hell’s Kitchen orphan turned undefeated Light Heavyweight boxing champion with a loving wife (Rachel McAdams) and 11 year-old daughter (Oona Laurence). McAdams worries that due to Billy’s penchant for taking a lot of damage on the way to victory, that her little girl won’t have her daddy around for very much longer. His manager (Curtis ‘50 Cent’ Jackson) however, wants to keep striking while the iron is hot, and although they’re friends of-sorts, seemingly has little concern for Billy’s health or longevity. One night, Billy’s sour and antagonistic opponent and his hangers on cause a scene which results in a devastating personal tragedy for Billy. He becomes embittered, self-destructive, and ultimately strapped for cash after his behaviour sees him barred from fighting for a year and his previously extravagant spending catches up with him. Heartbreakingly, he loses custody of his beloved daughter, who feels abandoned by him. Visiting the gym…

Review: Taken 2

The father (Rade Sherbedgia) of one of the Albanians who kidnapped the daughter of retired CIA agent Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) decides to seek revenge by kidnapping Mills and his ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) while they and daughter Kim (Maggie Grace, who at 29 playing 17 may be the oldest teenager since Gabrielle Carteris on “Beverly Hills 90210”) are in Istanbul attempting to reconnect somewhat. Now it’s up to Kim, with a little help from her very knowledgeable father to rescue them. Jon Gries and Leland Orser are back as Mills’ CIA buddies, with D.B. Sweeney subbing for a strangely absent David Warshofsky, who was back in the next one.

The original (if you can use that term) “Taken” wasn’t my cup of tea, but it also wasn’t the horrible “Death Wish”-style vigilante movie I was dreading (No one gets raped in these movies, they get kidnapped or killed, and it actually does make a bit of a difference). It was better than it had any right to be. This 2012 follow-up from fabulously name…

Review: Mega Python vs. Gatoroid

Troublesome animal activists led by Debbie Gibson (who is also some kind of snake specialist) release a bunch of lab tested snakes into the everglades. Tiffany is a local ranger who agrees to let the pythons be hunted down after they start killing off the locals gators, and her fiancĂ© is killed by one of the snakes. The snakes, being lab rats...er...snakes grow to an immense size, however, and so Tiffany comes up with a genius (i.e. Ricockulous) plan to stop the threat to both humans and gators; Inject some chickens with a special steroid that never stops growing muscle and increases aggression, and then feed the chickens to the gators (Screw that, gimme giant chickens, damnit!). When Gibson finds out about this, she ain’t gonna be happy. But with two species of giant creatures around, I’m not sure anyone’s going to last long enough to hold a grudge. Kathryn Joosten plays Tiffany’s elderly deputy, Micky Dolenz of The Monkees has an inexplicable cameo as himself (an appearance that mig…

Review: Brick

School loner Joseph Gordon-Levitt receives a phone call from his troubled ex (Emilie De Ravin) asking for him to help her out, but later refuses his help when he finally catches up with her. Not long after, he discovers her dead body, and decides to investigate what happened, with the help of The Brain (Matt O’Leary). The trail leads him through an array of bizarre rich kids, assorted low-lives and druggies like Noah Segan and Noah Fleiss, and then there’s The Pin (Lukas Haas), a somewhat elusive but notorious cane-sporting local kingpin who still lives with his mother. Richard Roundtree plays the Assistant Vice Principal (who wants whatever Gordon-Levitt finds) as though he were a hard-arse police chief (and why not, Roundtree has done little else but play police chiefs for the last 25 years), and dresses Gordon-Levitt down like a rogue detective. I half expected him to ask the kid to turn in his gun and badge! Nora Zehetner (the rich girl) and Meagan Good (the melodramatic theatre c…