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Showing posts from February 5, 2017

Review: Brannigan

Slippery lawyer Mel Ferrer manages to get underworld figure John Vernon on a flight to Britain to hide out. Dogged Chicago cop of the film’s title (John Wayne) follows, but when Vernon is nabbed, British law being what it is, has him released on bond! Oh, but Scotland Yard are keeping tabs on him, so that’s all jolly good then. But then Scotland Yard head Sir Richard Attenborough must tell Brannigan that Vernon has been kidnapped! Oh, and a hitman has been hired (Daniel Pilon) to take Brannigan out for good. Judy Geeson is Brannigan’s spunky partner/escort in London, James Booth is a shady underworld guy, Brian Glover is a dumb thug, Ralph Meeker is Brannigan’s angry Chicago boss, John Stride is Attenborough’s aide, and Tony Robinson plays a patsy on a motorbike.

Uneven 1975 Douglas Hickox (the loopy black comedy “Entertaining Mr. Sloane”) cop movie transplants The Duke to the UK, but the results are never as good as you’d like. Unfortunately the most interesting characters are the vi…

Review: Nightmare Honeymoon

After escaping the oncoming wedding party’s chase (a bizarre family custom) Newlyweds Dack Rambo and Rebecca Dianna Smith inadvertently witness a contract murder. For their troubles, they are attacked. Smith is raped, and once the unconscious Rambo (who- wait for it…is a Vietnam veteran. I’ll let you make your own gags there) wakes up and finds out about the rape, he sets about revenge against the two creeps (John Beck and Roy Jenson). David Huddleston is a crummy hotel owner, Pat Hingle is Smith’s good ‘ol boy dad, a young Dennis Burkley is among the hick wedding party, and Jay Robinson is a slippery mid-level baddie.

I’m no sicko, and I’ve never been a fan of the rape-revenge subgenre of exploitation cinema, but if you’re going to make one, why would you keep the rape off-screen? Well, ask that to director Elliot Silverstein (who has made a few popular films like “Cat Ballou” and “A Man Called Horse”), who does just that in this virtually unheard of 1973 film. It’s so tame and unbea…

Review: Mirage

Gregory Peck plays David Stillwell, who we first meet during a blackout and running into a woman (Diane Baker) who is very upset that David doesn’t recognise her. In fact, David has very much trouble remembering anything that has happened in the last two years, though he does seem to recall that he is a cost accountant and his place of business. Meanwhile, someone has fallen to their death in the same building David had been in during the blackout. However, when David goes back to the building to visit his office, he finds it’s no longer where it’s supposed to be, and the doorman no longer recognises him. It does soon appear, however, that someone is after David, and his life is in danger. He tries to investigate the possible cause of his two-year amnesia and current state of confusion, but is met with anger by medical professionals (particularly Robert H. Harris) who think he’s trying to get off on a trumped-up technicality for a court case. Desperate, he seeks the assistance of an i…

Review: GallowWalkers

Wesley Snipes plays Aman, a cursed gunslinger whose lot in life is having to take down a bunch of zombies he helped create. You see, these were the people responsible for the rape and murder of his beloved, and in a bit of righteous justice, he took them down one by one. However, they don’t die, merely re-emerging as zombie-like creatures (led by Kevin Howarth) who need to adopt someone else’s skin to place over their flesh (Howarth chooses the skin of a member of a strange, Albino-like sect of religious people). Now Aman needs to take them all down once more, taking on a young apprentice (Riley Smith) for assistance. Dallas Page plays a henchman named Skullbucket (!), Patrick Bergin turns up briefly as a hellfire and brimstone town Marshal, whilst Steven Elder plays a tenderfoot English preacher.

Released in Australia in 2013 and in the US a year earlier, this genre-bender from director Andrew Goth (“Cold and Dark” with Luke Goss and Matt Lucas) and his co-writer Joanne Reay (“Cold a…

Review: Pistol Whipped

Troubled (read: divorced, alcoholic, useless parent, possibly corrupt) cop and former CIA spook Steven Seagal has all of his gambling debts payed off by the mysterious Old Man (Lance Henriksen, phoning it in), who in turn wants Seagal to do a few ‘favours’ for him. At first, Seagal isn’t too thrilled, but goes along with it because he needs the money, and hey, he’s only killing bad dudes. That is, until he’s asked to kill his friend Steve (Mark Elliot Winston), a fellow cop who also happens to be his ex-wife Blanchard Ryan’s current squeeze (making for some tension in their supposed friendship, let alone Ryan and Seagal’s or Ryan’s and Winston’s), and a more attentive, positive male role model for Seagal’s daughter. Is Seagal in over his head here, or is his buddy really bent and worthy of rubbing out? Paul Caulderon turns up as Henriksen’s equally mysterious lackey, Blue.

2008 Roel Reine (“The Lost Tribe”, “The Marine 2”) vehicle for Seagal, who in playing a guy with real flaws, appe…

Review: Turbo Kid

In an alternate ‘future’ of 1997, the world has gone through an apocalyptic war that has rendered Earth much of a wasteland that is now run by an eye-patch sporting, cold-blooded warlord named Zeus (Michael Ironside), and where clean water is extremely scarce. The Kid (Munro Chambers) is a BMX-riding young scavenger who loves comic books that he buys (along with necessary supplies) with whatever he can come up with scavenging. One day, examining a bunker he comes across a ‘power suit’ that looks for all money to be just like the one from his beloved Turbo Rider comics. Wearing the suit and power glove, The Kid morphs into Turbo Kid and along with laconic arm wrestler Frederic (Aaron Jeffrey!) and pixie-ish Apple (Laurence Leboeuf), ventures to take on the evil Zeus and his monstrous minions. Romano Orzari plays the owner of the flea market where The Kid trades for supplies (and occasionally comic books).

I knew nothing about this 2015 NZ/Canadian co-production from the trio writer-dir…

Review: Crimson Peak

Beginning in NY around the turn of the 20th Century, Mia Wasikowska plays Edith Cushing, daughter of a successful widowed businessman (Jim Beaver), and with ambitions to become a writer. She finds herself quite taken with a visiting Englishman with hopes of getting Edith’s father to finance his newfangled clay-digging machine. Named Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston), he also develops feelings for Edith in quick fashion. Edith’s father doesn’t like the cut of his jib (possibly because Sir Thomas is far less wealthy than his title suggests) and turns his business proposal down. Having further investigated the young man’s past, he also finds that he doesn’t want him hanging around his daughter, paying him to break it off with her and go back to England. It’s not long after this that Edith’s father is found brutally slain by an unknown assailant. Sir Thomas, upon hearing this news decides to come back for Edith, telling her the truth of why he went away, and they quickly pick up where th…

Review: Man at the Top

Kenneth Haigh plays Joe Lampton, who moves up in the world to take on an executive position working for Harry Andrews’ pharmaceutical company. He even manages to bed the boss’ wife (Nanette Newman) while he’s at it- and is he ever at it! (Had to go there). However, something starts to feel not right with all of this. You see, Joe got the job after his predecessor committed suicide, and it appears that the company’s new wonder drug might not be all it’s cracked up to be. So Joe starts to look into it, well in between boinking Newman and shacking up with a runaway (British TV veteran Angela Bruce) and her friend (Margaret Heald). Clive Swift and John Quentin play a couple of executives, whilst comedian/former soccer play Charlie Williams has a nice (but irrelevant to the plot) cameo as Bruce’s dad.

I’ve not seen any of the previous films in this series (“Room at the Top”, “Life at the Top”), read the books, or seen the TV series (also starring Kenneth Haigh) that this 1973 film from dir…