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Showing posts from January 8, 2017

Review: Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150AD

Dr. Who (Peter Cushing) travels to the year 2150 (with his niece, granddaughter, and bumbling cop Bernard Cribbins who accidentally bums a ride) in his time-travelling machine called the TARDIS, and finds that London has been all but demolished, and humans overrun by the dreaded Daleks and their zombified Robomen (created out of some of the human population. Not sure whether being a slave is the better option or being a Roboman!). Looks like Dr. Who and his companions are the next ones for zombification/robo-sizing. But hope exists in a small underground resistance headed by Andrew Keir (a genuinely fine character actor). Will this be enough to overthrow the Daleks and restore order to this chaotic world?

There are many, many fans of “Dr. Who” out there. Thousands, if not millions. I’m not even close to being among them. I’m aware of the phenomenon, have seen bits over the years, but I have never seen a full episode. However, I do like some of the actors who have played the character …

Review: Saw: The Final Chapter/Saw VII

While Detective-Lieutenant Costas Mandylor seeks revenge on Betsy Russell for putting him in a jigsaw trap, Sean Patrick Flanery plays a supposed survivor of Jigsaw, who now promotes his autobiographical survival story on the talk show circuit. Someone, however knows Flanery to be a fraud and decides to teach him a lesson. Cary Elwes turns up as Jigsaw survivor Dr. Gordon from the first “Saw”.

2010 sequel from director Kevin Greutert (who directed the awful previous “Saw VI” and the just as bad “Visions” more recently) probably won’t end up being the last in the series like it purports to be. The stupid and disappointing finale certainly doesn’t wrap the series up conclusively, so I’m not buying it. Frankly, I think the series should’ve ended with the second one, which was not only quite good, but better than the original. Some of the subsequent films have been absolutely putrid. This is the best one since “Saw II”, but it’s still not very good, probably just below the first one in te…

Review: The Prince and the Showgirl

Based on “The Sleeping Prince”, American showgirl understudy Elsie Marina (Marilyn Monroe) catches the eye of Grandduke Charles, the Prince Regent of the fictitious Carpathia (played by Lord Laurence Olivier) just looking for a little hanky-panky. He invites her to a private party for two, and much of the film follows his unsuccessful attempts at jumping her bones. Eventually, though, they fall in love. Jeremy Spenser plays the Prince Regent’s pro-German teenage son, Dame Sybil Thorndike his mother-in-law The Queen Dowager, and Richard Wattis plays the Prince Regent’s attaché.

Dealt with in “My Week With Marilyn”, the backstory/filming of this 1957 film from director/star Lord Laurence Olivier turns out to be much more fascinating than watching the film. Scripted by Terence Rattigan (“Brighton Rock”, “The Winslow Boy”) from his own play, it’s incredibly stagy, mostly tedious, and the two stars are far from their best. Laurence Olivier can act, but in my opinion he often (especially in…

Review: Phone Booth

Colin Farrell plays a soulless Manhattan publicist cheating on his wife Radha Mitchell with an ingénue actress played by Katie Holmes. He lies to everyone, probably even himself, there isn’t an angle he doesn’t know or a situation he can’t talk his way out of. One day he answers a ringing phone in a public phone booth. The caller seems to know intimate details about Farrell’s private life, and claims that if he puts the phone down, he will be shot. He’s apparently a sniper watching from a building window somewhere in the vicinity. He even shoots a guy who pesters Farrell to get off the phone, which, aided by the biased ‘eye witness’ testimony given by a couple of skanky hookers Farrell brushed off, leads to the cops being called. Uh-oh, someone’s got some ‘splaining to do now. Farrell soon finds himself surrounded by a SWAT team who, as lead by police captain Forest Whitaker, believe Farrell to be a nutjob killer. Meanwhile, the caller won’t allow Farrell to reveal the truth, nor leav…

Review: End Game

Cuba Gooding Jr. plays a top Secret Service agent and close friend of the President (Jack Scalia- didn’t he almost used to be somebody?) and the First Lady (Anne Archer). When Cuba fails to stop an assassination of POTUS (in a cruel twist, Cuba gets shot through the hand trying to save him but it just makes things worse!), he turns to drink in order to live in his misery and perhaps misplaced guilt. Meanwhile, nosy freelance reporter Angie Harmon thinks something conspiratorial is afoot when everyone she talks too ends up dead. A failed attempt on Cuba’s life soon has him a believer too, as they join forces to uncover the dastardly plot, despite stern warnings from his boss (played by James Woods), and a friendly General played by an intimidating-looking Burt Reynolds, to cease any investigation. Peter Greene turns up in a smallish role as a midlevel bad guy.

With a cast like this (and EP Brett “Rush Hour” Ratner), you’ve gotta wonder how it ended up straight-to-DVD. Well, once this 2…

Review: A Nightmare on Elm Street

High-schoolers Nancy (Heather Langenkamp), Glenn (Johnny Depp), Tina (Amanda Wyss) and Rod (Nick Corri, AKA Jsu Garcia) are all having nightmares. Nothing too crazy about that, right? Except they’re seemingly all having nightmares about the same burn-scarred, red and green jumper-wearing, razor-gloved menace. And before long, the kids are turning up dead, after being killed in their nightmares. Eventually Nancy starts to investigate this phantom killer who seems to have very real-world killing proficiency and eventually discovers that he is Fred Krueger (Robert Englund), a child murderer whom their parents burned to death after he got off on a technicality in the court room. Now it seems Freddy has decided to carry out his sadistic revenge on the kids of those parents, haunting them in their dreams. John Saxon plays Nancy’s rational cop father, Ronee Blakely is Nancy’s alcoholic mother, Lin Shaye plays a teacher, and Charles Fleischer turns up as a doctor.

I’ll always argue that “Nigh…

Review: Breach

Ryan Phillippe (a pretty underrated actor, in my view) is a young hotshot FBI recruit looking for his big break, he gets it when pushy senior officer Laura Linney assigns him to work as a clerk for the infamous, surly, (and infamously surly) Agent Robert Hanssen (Chris Cooper). But his real mission is to get the dirt on the man, a supposed sexual deviant. What Phillippe finds is something more complex and shocking than even that. Kathleen Quinlan is Hanssen’s ‘perfect’ wife, Bruce Davison has a cameo as Phillippe’s military man father, while Dennis Haysbert (who never quite capitalised on the exposure he got on “24” and in “Far From Heaven”) and Gary Cole play agents.

Full of excellent performances and a fascinating and shocking story based on truth, but the main thing you’ll remember about this 2007 Billy Ray (the underrated “Shattered Glass”, also based on a true story about a guy who wasn’t all that he seemed) film is the brilliant performance and complex characterisation by Cooper…