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Showing posts from February 12, 2017

Review: The Master Race

George Coulouris stars as a Nazi colonel during a period in WWII where it seems certain that Germany will be defeated. However, he devises a plan for surviving Nazi officers like himself to go to liberated countries and cause as much dissension amongst the peoples that it’s only a matter of time before the Nazis will take over. Coulouris, for his part, goes to the Belgian community of Kolar, on the verge of being liberated by Americans like Stanley Ridges’ Major. Coulouris assumes the identity of the brother of a local man whose family are distrusted by much of the community due to rumours of Nazi collaborators. From there he pretty much forces the remaining family members (Helen Beverly, Nancy Gates) to shut up about his charade. Osa Massen plays a local woman who has been knocked up to her shame by a German soldier who raped her, with Gigi Perreau as the little girl. Lloyd Bridges plays Massen’s recently returned brother, who used to be with Gates, until he finds out about her famil…

Review: The Spiral Road

Rock Hudson plays an ambitious, stridently non-religious young doctor in the 1930s who manoeuvres his way into joining famed doctor Burl Ives’ team dealing with leprosy and the like in colonial Indonesia. His goal is to get Ives to share his notes so that he can put them into a journal to be published, and presumably make Hudson famous. Unfortunately, he may end up losing his sanity in the process. Gena Rowlands is Hudson’s pretty girl back home, whilst the inimitable Reggie Nalder plays an imposing tribal leader/witch doctor named Burubi, and Geoffrey Keen is a missionary whom the somewhat pig-headed Hudson offends with his suggestions that the field of medicine should be taken away from missionaries.

Based on a Jan de Hertog novel, this 1962 flick from director Robert Mulligan (“To Kill a Mockingbird”) and writers John Lee Mahin and Neil Paterson has long been neglected if not derided. It’s not a perfect film, but for the life of me I can’t work out what everyone’s problem is. It’s …

Review: Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare

Springwood resident Shon Greenblatt is targeted by Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) who finally gets to the kid, but rather than kill him, decides he has other plans for him instead. He wipes the teenager’s memory and instructs him to find ‘her’. Next thing he’s wandering around in a daze before being picked up by the state, and thrown into a shelter for wayward teens as a ‘John Doe’. The shelter is run by counsellor Maggie (Lisa Zane) and dream therapist Doc (Yaphet Kotto). Maggie wants to jog ‘John Doe’s memory, so she drives him back to Springwood, but several of the other teens tag along unbeknownst to Maggie. At any rate, Springwood is a bizarro ghost town that is only populated by creepy adults, with all of the children gone thanks to Freddy Krueger, who it appears is looking for a long-lost relative. The other patients include stoner Breckin Meyer, tough boxer chick Lezlie Deane, and deaf kid Ricky Dean Logan. Several famous faces have cameos.

This 1991 Rachel Talalay (a long-ti…

Review: The Violent Men

Wheelchair-bound cattle baron Edward G. Robinson tries to expand his empire by driving people off their land by brute force, in the form of nasty ranch hand Brian Keith, who is also his younger brother. Former Confederate cavalry captain Glenn Ford plans to sell to Robinson, and head east with soon-to-be bride May Wynn. He doesn’t want to fight, it’s not his war, he says. However, after receiving an offensively meagre price from mean-spirited Robinson, and his foreman is murdered by psycho gunman Richard Jaeckel (not bad, in a fairly small part), something stirs inside of Ford. He decides to stay and fight, losing Wynn in the process. Barbara Stanwyck is Robinson’s scheming wife, who is going around with Keith behind Robinson’s (broken) back, and cooking up something dastardly indeed. Only daughter Dianne Foster is wise to it, openly contemptuous of her mother and uncle, and barely tolerates mean (but foolish) ‘ol dad.

This 1955 Rudolph Maté (“The Far Horizons” and the supernaturally-…

Review: The Revenant

Set on the American frontier in the 1800s (filmed largely in Canada) where a fur trapping expedition has come under attack by Arikara warriors, expert tracker Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) gets attacked by a bear. Expedition leader Captain Henry (Domhnall Gleeson) specifically requests three of the men stay with Glass and care for him in his final moments, as he looks to be certainly near death. The brutal and callous John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy) convinces young and naïve Bridger (Will Poulter) to abandon Glass, leaving him for dead. When Glass’ teenage half-breed son (Forrest Goodluck) protests, Fitzgerald kills him. Glass, however survives, braves both the harsh elements and haunting visions of his dead wife, as he sets about exacting his revenge on his betrayers.

Although it’s basically one long vigilante movie that for all money seems like a three-way collaboration between Sam Peckinpah, Terence Malick, and John Milius, this 2015 flick is quite easily the best film to date from di…

Review: Our Brand is Crisis

A retired political strategist with the nickname ‘Calamity’ Jane Bodine (Sandra Bullock) is pulled back into the political world once again when recommended for a gig working on the strategy team for would-be Bolivian President Castillo (Joaquim de Almeida), who is currently on a steep decline. This will also pit Jane against her most hated rival, Pat Candy (an incredibly sly Billy Bob Thornton) who is quick to remind her of previous failures, to put her off her game. This just spurs Jane on, and before long she has a strategy she thinks could work: Crisis. Anthony Mackie, Ann Dowd, and Scoot McNairy play other members of the team.

Given that George Clooney, Grant Heslov, and star Sandra Bullock have producers credits here, one assumes they saw something worthwhile in this 2015 political dramedy from the eclectic David Gordon Green (serious films like “Undertow”, freaking moronic films like the unwatchable “Your Highness”). Supposedly suggested by doco, I have to say I found absolutel…

Review: Swamp Thing

Adapted from the 70s DC comic and improbably set in the Louisiana bayou area, Ray Wise plays Dr. Holland, the creator of a formula for regenerating organic matter (something to do with combining plant and animal cells) in a top-secret government experiment. His chief rival, a scientist named Arcane (Louis Jourdan) sends some of his goons to steal the formula, and in the ensuing scuffle Dr. Holland’s sister/assistant is killed and Holland is splashed with the formula and set on fire. Running away to the nearby swamp, he becomes the title freak of nature, a mixture of plant and human. Adrienne Barbeau stars as recently hired government agent Cable, sent to replace a mysteriously vanished predecessor, and who strikes up a relationship with Dr. Holland in quick time. When the goons come for the formula, she manages to save one of Dr. Holland’s notebooks. The bulk of the film has Arcane’s goons (played by David Hess and Nicholas Worth) stalking her to retrieve it, with the ‘Swamp Thing’ (w…