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Showing posts from March 12, 2017

Review: The Bag Man

John Cusack plays a courier for mobster Robert De Niro, given an assignment to pick up a bag, take it to a particular hotel and wait in a particular room for it to be picked up. Do not, under any circumstances look in the bag. Various seedy people seem hell bent on targeting Cusack, the hotel manager (Crispin Glover) is a nosey fucker too, and Cusack ends up having to look after a hooker (Rebecca DaCosta) fleeing a creepy pimp. The hooker, by the way, takes a peek inside the bag. Dominic Purcell plays an intimidating local lawman, Sticky Fingaz and Martin Klebba play the nasty pimp and his diminutive associate.

I don’t know how respected actors like John Cusack and Robert De Niro ended up in C and D-grade crap in recent years, but I guess the one thing going for this 2014 crime/noir from debut director David Grovic and co-writer Paul Conway (who and co-starred in “L.A., I Hate You” with Rebecca DaCosta and Malcolm McDowell) is that at least this one hit theatres in the US. It was dire…

Review: Pathfinder

Viking raiders leave a child behind after a raid on Native Americans some 1100 years ago, he grows up among the Indians (and now played by Karl Urban), never quite shunned, but never quite being one of them. The Viking raiders (lead by an unrecognisable Clancy Brown) come of course, intent on much hacking and slashing. Russell Means is Urban’s adopted father.

Although based (rather loosely) on historical events, this mythically-inclined Navajos vs. Vikings flick from 2007 sounded gloriously stupid to me, and I’m a fan of Viking stories. However, I had also heard that the film was awful, ugly-looking, and boring. Strangely enough, I found that it was none of the above. This Marcus Nispel (the underrated remake of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”) film, which plays like a schlocky B-movie directed by an arthouse visionary, is a visually stunning, watchable (especially the impressive opening 30 minutes), sometimes wonderfully violent, but ultimately simplistic B-movie. More attention to cha…

Review: L.A. Confidential

Set in LA in the early 50s, and focussing on three cops of varying degrees of morality. Bud White (Russell Crowe) is an uber-intense ‘thug’ used mostly for strong-arm jobs, who has a particular distaste for women-beaters. His polar opposite is bespectacled, second-generation cop Ed Exley (Guy Pearce), whose straight-arrow demeanour has earned him few friends, and his willingness to rat on fellow cops, has likely earned him many enemies. Then there’s ‘Hollywood’ Jack Vincennes (Kevin Spacey), a cop and technical advisor to a popular “Dragnet”-style show, a gig he holds near and dear to his heart. Jack’s also in cahoots with Sid Hudgens (Danny DeVito), a gleefully sleazy reporter of a trashy gossip mag called ‘Hush Hush’, as they set-up celebrity busts. James Cromwell plays the Irish-American police captain Dudley Smith, who is like a paternal figure to Exley, as he knew his father, and advises him on changing his image if he wants to be a better cop (First tip? Lose the glasses, poinde…

Review: Miss You Already

Toni Collette and Drew Barrymore play childhood friends, with Collette being the ‘wild child grown up…slightly’ of the two. They’re about to face a couple of big hurdles both individually and as friends, as the more stable Barrymore is about to have a baby with her nice guy husband (Paddy Considine), whilst Collette receives the horrible news that she has breast cancer. One’s long-time plan of creating life is finally underway at the same time as another faces their own potential death. Jacqueline Bisset plays Collette’s actress mother, and Dominic Cooper is Collette’s reformed rocker husband, respectively.

I’ve got a lot of time for Toni Collette and Drew Barrymore, and they definitely convince as friends. However, if you only see one film about female friendship and terminal illness, make it the other one. This 2015 flick from director Catherine Hardwicke (“Thirteen”, “Twilight”) and screenwriter Morwenna Banks (an actress and writer, mostly on TV, adapting her own radio play here o…

Review: 10 Things I Hate About You

Overprotective father Larry Miller thinks he’s found the perfect way to make sure his pretty and popular teenage daughter Larisa Oleynik will never date boys: She can go on a date…when her sister Julia Stiles does. The problem? Stiles is super-serious, sarcastic, cynical and frankly anti-social. And she has absolutely, positively no interest in dating. Enter young Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who has a crush on Oleynik, and along with his equally nerdy buddy David Krumholtz devise a plan to get Stiles a boyfriend. Their candidate? Rebellious, chain-smoking thug with an air of vague criminality about him, Heath Ledger. He agrees to the plan, reluctantly at first. $100 a day certainly helps, though. For Stiles it’s loathe at first sight, so Ledger has a helluva task at hand if he’s going to woo her. Andrew Keegan plays the jerky teen male model (!) Oleynik is interested in, Gabrielle Union is one of Oleynik’s stuck-up friends, whilst David Leisure, Daryl ‘Chill’ Mitchell, and Alison Janney pla…

Review: Nowhere to Run

A carefully orchestrated prison bus escape sees convict Sam Gillen (Jean-Claude Van Damme) freed, but his accomplice in the break (Anthony Starke) ends up shot and killed by one of the prison guards. Convicted bank robber Gillen ends up finding refuge in the barn of a widowed farm owner (played by Rosanna Arquette), whose young son (Kieran Culkin) takes an instant liking to the stranger. His mother is a little more sceptical, however he proves an effective deterrent for some local thugs who work for the greedy land developer (Joss Ackland) trying to intimidate her off the property. The chief of these enforcers is an ex-cop named Mr. Dunston (Ted Levine). Edward Blatchford plays a local deputy who is sweet on the widow, and none too pleased to see a potential rival for her affections in Gillen. John Finn turns up briefly towards the end as another cop, and veteran stuntman/Arnie Schwarzenegger pal Sven-Ole Thorsen can be seen in the prison bus at the beginning.

Much like when I revisit…

Review: The Gift

Security company executive Jason Bateman and his wife Rebecca Hall move to a new state and a new home. One day they’re shopping and run into Gordo (Joel Edgerton), who remembers Bateman from high school, though Bateman is slow to connect the dots. It’s not long before Gordo keeps inviting himself over to their house (despite never having been given their address!), frequently leaving little gifts for the couple, so they will feel compelled to allow his continued presence in their lives. However, after a rather weird dinner at socially awkward Gordo’s house, Bateman’s very thin veneer of politeness has pretty much worn off. He makes it very clear that they are not friends and he wants Gordo out of their lives. However, Hall (who we learn is emotionally fragile) starts to uncover things about the nature of her husband’s connection to Gordo back in high school which starts to put a different spin on things. Meanwhile, the family dog goes missing and the fish Gordo bought the couple get p…