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Showing posts from January 29, 2017

Review: Game of Death (2011)

Wesley Snipes plays a spook assassin/operative playing bodyguard to jerk arms dealer Robert Davi. He’s really there to get into his inner circle and when the time comes, rub him out, along with crooked hedge fund banker Quinn Duffy (in a nicely smug performance) who is backing him. However, things go awry when two of Snipes’ associates (played by Gary Daniels and Zoe Bell) swoop in and kidnap Davi, who subsequently has a nearly fatal cardiac incident. Deciding to go into business for themselves, Daniels needs Davi alive and alert, which brings in doctor Aunjanue Ellis, forced at gunpoint to keep Davi coherent for as long as need be for the bad guys to carry out their plans. When Snipes wises up, he decides to go after them instead of his initial targets. Ernie Hudson appears from time to time as a Catholic priest, who hears Snipes’ ‘confession’.

Well, at least it’s better than that other “Game of Death”. This 2011 direct-to-DVD effort from Belgian director Giorgio Serafini (“Blood of …

Review: Stephen King’s Desperation

A wacko cop (Ron Perlman) is trapping unsuspecting travellers and throwing them in his jail in the dead-end town of Desperation. It seems everyone else in town is dead, and this group of strangers must work together to find out just what the hell is going on (Perlman was believed to have been a normal enough guy just the day before. What has changed him?) and put a stop to it. Annabeth Gish plays a woman whose husband (“ET” actor Henry Thomas) was killed by Perlman. Steven Weber works as a road manager for egotistical and atheistic (and womanising) author Tom Skerritt, and picks up a pretty young hitch-hiker on his way to Skerritt’s next destination. Unfortunately, the motorcycle-riding writer has just encountered the oddball Perlman. Matt Frewer plays father to a surprisingly resilient young boy whose current kidnapping does nothing to waver his faith in Jesus Christ. Charles Durning plays the only local person who has been captured, the town drunk (natch), with a wealth of knowledge…

Review: The Woodsman

Kevin Bacon plays a recently released child molester who tries to make it in a harsh world, full of unsympathetic-types, and his own inner demons that are possibly conspiring to work against him. He also starts to suspect that there’s a new paedophile at work outside the school, and he dubs him ‘Candy’ (Candy, unlike Bacon is a homosexual paedophile, which is somewhat troubling and un-PC, but viewers can hopefully get past that questionable addition). He gets a job working for David Alan Grier (who knows his past and is only doing it as a favour to Bacon’s brother-in-law Benjamin Bratt, who is the only family member still speaking to him (Though Bratt is married with a kid and somewhat affable, Bacon at one point intimates that he and Bratt have similar urges in a very effective scene). Kyra Sedgwick, Bacon’s real-life wife has a daring role as Bacon’s forklift-operating co-worker who takes a liking to him, perhaps because she too has a rough past. Eve turns up as a suspicious, nosy, …

Review: Feast

Scummy inhabitants of a scummy bar are trapped inside whilst nasty, flesh-eating monsters try to get in for feeding time. Navi Rawat plays ‘heroine #1’, Krista Allen is a MILF, Balthazar Getty is the town jerk, Clu Gulager the bartender, Eileen Ryan is a barfly, Jason Mewes is apparently playing himself (was he just a barfly who wandered in thinking it was a real bar?), and Henry Rollins is a pacifist self-help guru.

The making of this schlocky 2005 horror-action pic from first-timer John Gulager (son of veteran character actor Clu Gulager), was seen on the Ben Affleck/Matt Damon brainchild “Project Greenlight”. That fact is just about the most interesting thing associated with this glib, worthless, messy piece of snot.

It spends far too much time with its smart-arsey head up its own arse (cute little profiles for each of the characters, telling us the likelihood of their survival. Not cute, but annoying, really and lame. Mewes’ inclusion is particularly stupid, and ultimately worthle…

Review: A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master

Demonic dream killer Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) is revived and sets about taking out Kristen (Tuesday Knight) and her friends Kincaid (Ken Sagoes) and Joey (Rodney Eastman, presumably happy to have a speaking part this time), as well as new acquaintances Alice (Lisa Wilcox), Alice’s karate-obsessed brother Rick (Andras Jones), and their school friends Dan (Danny Hassel), Sheila (Toy Newkirk), and Debbie (Brooke Theiss). Brooke Bundy returns as Kristen’s frankly unsympathetic mother.

I didn’t like this 1988 Renny Harlin (“Die Hard 2”, “Cliffhanger”, “Cutthroat Island”) sequel when I first saw it, mostly because I had previously seen and liked “Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors” very much, and well, something happens in this film that as a fan of the previous film, made me extremely mad. Seeing it again in 2017, not only does that issue not affect me in the slightest anymore, but I probably like this film a bit more now. A bit. I think it’s pretty flawed, with one rather poor decision i…

Review: The Internet’s Own Boy: Aaron Swartz

The story of Aaron Swartz, a child prodigy and Reddit co-founder, who faced legal trouble with the FBI in his attempts at liberating public academic journals that the powers that be were actually profiting from via a costly subscription-only service. As far as I’m concerned, I don’t consider guys like Julian Assange to be heroic crusaders of the information age. There’s a recklessness in releasing such sensitive government information that I just have reservations about.

This 2014 documentary from Brian Knappenberger isn’t about an Assange-type. Aaron Swartz was a very different kinda guy. I may have serious misgivings about WikiLeaks, but the FBI intrusion into this kid’s life is ridiculous, embarrassing for them, and in hindsight fucking cruel to Swartz. He wasn’t interested in hacking into government documents/secrets. All Swartz was concerned with was equal access of free information that was supposed to be public domain anyway. Yes, he had sympathy for WikiLeaks’ cause, but pleas…

Review: Reflections in a Golden Eye

Story of a preening, self-absorbed, and repressed homosexual army officer in the South (Marlon Brando), his revolting, nympho wife (Elizabeth Taylor), her hard-drinking lover (Brian Keith, keeping a low-profile out of embarrassment no doubt), and her lover’s mentally unbalanced wife (Julie Harris, admittedly well-cast). Robert Forster plays the handsome, but very strange young officer Brando becomes obsessed with, who rides horses in his birthday suit, and is a bit of a Peeping Tom to boot. Zorro David plays Harris’ uber-flamboyant Filipino man servant, in a performance that has to be seen to be believed.

Truly foolish, sometimes laughable, but largely boring 1967 John Huston (the frustrating director of my favourite film “The Misfits”, the excellent “Asphalt Jungle” and “Maltese Falcon”, the popular “African Queen”, and the absolute stinker “Escape to Victory”) film has maddeningly unclear character motivation and bizarre and unrestrained performances. Chief among the offenders (and …

Review: Gamer

Set in a near-future where online life seems to be taking over. Big-time media tycoon Castle (Michael C. Hall) is the creator of “Slayers”, a “Running Man”-like contest broadcast globally on TV. It involves ‘volunteer’ death row inmates who, if they survive 30 battles, are promised their freedom (yeah, right!). The twist is that “Slayers” is like a real-life video game, and the ‘players’ are actually surrogates controlled by (mostly teen) gamers who get to act out a first-person shooter, but with real blood and real death. Fun for the gamers, not so much fun for the inmates like Kable (Gerard Butler), who is just four wins away from freedom and being reunited with his loving wife and kid. Gee, do you think Castle is just gonna let Kable win his way to freedom and possibly lose a hot commodity? John Leguizamo and Terry Crews play inmates, Ludacris runs an underground resistance to Castle’s technology, Alison Lohman is Ludacris’ sidekick, Kyra Sedgwick is a TV reporter, deep-voiced Keit…