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Showing posts from December 4, 2016

Review: Terminal Velocity

Charlie Sheen plays skirt-chasing sky-diving instructor Ditch who takes Nastassja Kinski for her first skydiving lesson, takes his eye off her arse for one second and…splat. Or is something else going on? Yes, something else is going on as an investigating Ditch finds out, and it involves former KGB, Russian gold, and some really nasty criminals (enter a screaming Christopher McDonald) who don’t much like Ditch sticking his nose in their business. Melvin Van Peebles and an uncredited Margaret Colin play Ditch’s comrades (the former a pilot who takes Ditch and his clients out for jumps), whilst a pre-Tony Soprano James Gandolfini plays a nerdy DA investigating the skydiving mishap.

More like “Terminal Stupidty”, this air-headed, obnoxious 1994 action flick from director Deran Sarafian (who did far better with 1990’s “Death Warrant”, and less so with “Gunmen”, also from 1994) works best if you’re of the opinion that it’s meant to be tongue-in-cheek. I’m not of that view, and I think for…

Review: Bolt

Bolt (voiced by John Travolta) finds out that he’s not the scientifically-altered superhero dog that he had been led to believe. He’s actually the unwitting star of a “Truman”-esque TV show. His owner and best friend Penny (voiced by Miley Cyrus) is a paid actor. Somehow Bolt finds himself shipped to New York, without anyone on the show realising. There he comes to realise that even his superpowers are the work of Hollywood fiction, and he’s forced to go through life for the first time as a regular dog. He eventually comes across a streetwise cat named Mittens (voiced by Susie Essman) and a chubby hamster in a ball named Rhino (voiced by Mark Walton), as Bolt tries to find his way back to L.A. and Penny. Greg Germann voices Penny’s cynical agent, with Malcolm McDowell voicing Bolt’s fictional supervillain.

Pretty good 2008 Disney animated movie that is not in any way a Pixar flick. Directed by the duo of Chris Williams (“Big Hero 6”) & Byron Howard and scripted by the duo of Dan F…

Review: Black Mass

Based on a book by Dick Lehr & Gerard O’Neill, and set in 1970’s South Boston, the film concerns a collaboration between FBI agent John Connolly (Joel Edgerton) and his childhood friend turned Irish-American mobster James ‘Whitey’ Bulger (Johnny Depp), to take out the Italian mob. At first Whitey is aggressively against the idea of ‘snitching’, but when he cottons onto the business opportunity it presents (i.e. removing the competition), he goes along with it. So while the rather na├»ve Connolly promises no FBI interference with Whitey’s exploits so long as Whitey provides intel on the Italians, the gangster is pretty much allowed to run riot. Dakota Johnson turns up as Whitey’s girlfriend and the mother of his son, Kevin Bacon and Corey Stoll play Connolly’s superior and an upright DA respectively, Rory Cochrane and Jesse Plemons play members of Whitey’s crew, Benedict Cumberbatch is Whitey’s state senator brother Billy, Peter Sarsgaard plays an idiot cokehead associate of Whitey’…

Review: Of Mice and Men

A depression-era drama about George (Gary Sinise) and Lennie (John Malkovich), his hulking, intellectually disabled companion. Lennie’s not smart, but he’s a strong guy and a solid labourer, so the duo are able to make an OK living. Unfortunately, Lennie has a history of loving things just a little too much. When he sees a cute bunny rabbit or a puppy, he just has to love and squeeze it, not knowing his own strength. And that holds true for larger creatures…like women. The story proper picks up with George and Lennie working on a farm for stern employer Noble Willingham, whose son Curley (Casey Siemaszko) is an insecure bully boy who takes an instant disliking to Lennie due to his difference. Curley also can’t stand to see his wife (Sherilyn Fenn) fraternise with any man. Ray Walston, John Terry, Richard Riehle, and Alexis Arquette play fellow workers. Joe Morton (as the film’s least developed character) plays an African-American employee on the farm.

I don’t know if the John Steinbec…

Review: Catwoman

Mousy Halle Berry stumbles upon something she shouldn’t at the cosmetics company she works for, and loses her life for her troubles. However, she is resurrected by a CGI cat (not as bad as you’ve heard, but certainly not realistic) and wakes up to a new set of cat-like super-powers and a leather fetish. So what’s a cat gal to do? Become a masked vigilante, and take down her nefarious boss (snooty-looking Lambert Wilson) and his seriously vain wife Sharon Stone! Frances Conroy plays a creepy but benevolent cat lady, Alex Borstein is the chubby and horny best friend, Michael Massee and Byron Mann are Goon #1 and Goon #2 (‘coz all good cosmetics companies need hired thugs, right?), and Benjamin Bratt is a cop tracking down the vigilante (not very well, I might add) and bedding Berry (he’s a bit better at that, I guess).

Directed by the pretentiously named Pitof, this 2004 comic book adaptation was the punching bag of every comedian and would-be critic at the time. Oh, it’s a bad film alr…

Review: Alice

Mia Farrow stars as Alice, an upper class housewife and wannabe writer, who has a sore back and a lack of fulfilment in her marriage to dullard workaholic William Hurt. For the former she goes to see herbalist Dr. Yang (Keye Luke), who believes Alice’s back problems are somehow directly caused by her general unhappiness. He gives her an herbal tea concoction, and all of a sudden Alice feels liberated…and flirty. She contemplates having an affair with sax player Joe Mantegna whose kid goes to the same school as Alice’s, she also gets visited by the ghost of her dead ex-boyfriend (Alec Baldwin), and gets hit on by every lonely geek at a party. It appears that Dr. Yang has given Alice the power to make men fall in love with her, but will she choose to reignite the flame with her husband, or dive into an affair with the sax player? Blythe Danner plays Alice’s sister, Cybill Shepherd plays a friend and book publisher, and Gwen Verdon is Alice’s mother. A slew of familiar faces and names ap…

Review: Changeling

Single mum and 1920s phone operator Angelina Jolie’s 9 year-old son Walter (Gattlin Griffith) disappears suddenly, and the film follows her quest to find her son, amidst the shockingly corrupt practices and incompetent bungling of the LAPD (headed by the corrupt Colm Feore and his callous Captain Martin Donovan, who months after Walter’s disappearance, produces a boy he claims is Walter, and the publicity seeking LAPD make a big hoopla about the mother-son reunion. Problem is, he’s shorter, has different dental records, and is not recognised by his teacher. Oh, and his mother says the kid isn’t hers. But the patronising and heartless Donovan (interested in not having the LAPD’s increasingly dubious reputation further sullied) just says that’s kooky talk and after she embarrasses the cops by going to the press, Donovan organises to have Jolie committed to an insane asylum (Doesn’t Jolie have any friends or family who can back her up? Seems odd). Nah, a mother wouldn’t recognise her own…

Review: Hud

Paul Newman plays the womanising son of a Texan cattle rancher (Melvyn Douglas, winner for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar), idolised by his impressionable young nephew Lon (Brandon de Wilde), but never able to measure up to his dead brother in the old man’s eyes. Lon wants to be just like Hud, but the old man knows that Hud’s no good (he sleeps with married women frequently) and doesn’t want him influencing the boy one bit. Meanwhile, there’s also the constant fear of the cattle on the family ranch being afflicted with foot-and-mouth disease, with inspector Whit Bissell threatening to have the cattle destroyed. Patricia Neal (terrific, but wrongly put in the Best Actress category at the Oscars, and she actually won) plays the family housekeeper Alma who treats Lon’s innocent flirtations with sensitivity whilst also having to deal with the more lecherous, often drunk Hud.

Paul Newman was an undeniable sex symbol, but a somewhat reluctant one. A great actor when given the right role (a…