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Showing posts from April 9, 2017

Review: Stewardess School

As the title suggests, a story about a ragtag bunch of wannabe stewardesses, focussing mostly on aviation school rejects Brett Cullen and party animal Don Most. Others attending the school are bubble-headed hooker Judy Landers, token ‘chubby’ chick Wendie Jo Sperber (who really does get humiliated to no discernible comedic effect), an Amazonian former wrestler (Sandahl Bergman), and a red-and-blue haired punk (Corrine Bohrer), who is dating a big and burly biker (Dennis Burkley, natch) to her snobby parents’ (Dad is played by Dr. Silberman himself, Earl Boen) displeasure. Vicki Frederick plays the antagonistic Miss Grummet, who is in charge of schooling the cadets. Mary Cadorette plays a nice, but klutzy girl, whilst Julia (Julie) Mongomery plays a pink-clad 3rd generation bimbo named Pimmie Polk. Rob Paulsen is the token gay steward (ess), which is weird when you consider nowadays he wouldn’t be token at all.

Made in 1986, released in 1987 the key indicator of this film’s quality isn…

Review: Dawn of the Dead

As a zombie outbreak hits, two SWAT-type police guys (Ken Foree and Scott Reiniger) flee in a helicopter with two TV station employees (Gaylen Ross and David Emge), landing on the roof of a shopping centre. Keeping the zombie contingent at bay, they start to make a life of sorts for themselves inside the mall. And then some scavengers (led by Tom Savini) invade looking to take over. Richard France plays an ‘expert’ on TV talking about the zombies at the start of the film.

Even better than “Night of the Living Dead”, this 1978 George Romero (“Martin”, “Knightriders”) zombie flick is an apocalyptic classic. Even with its rather raw performances and low-budget, this is the greatest zombie movie ever made. It was all downhill after this, pretty much and in fact the slicker remake was pretty ineffectual. They got it right with this one already.

Although it’s a fairly long film, one of the best things here is that it hits the ground running. It sets the basic scenario up in pretty quick fas…

Review: Finding Neverland

Playwright J.M. Barrie (Johnny Depp) meets Sylvia Llewelyn Davies (Kate Winslet) and her four boys and quickly befriends them. The bond between this family and Barrie is met with much social gossip and Barrie’s marriage to wife Mary (Radha Mitchell) suffers greatly as a result as well. However, it’s through the four boys that Barrie finds inspiration for his next work. Julie Christie plays Sylvia’s overprotective mother, Toby Jones plays an actor, Ian Hart turns up as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Dustin Hoffman is Barrie’s American financier.

Maybe it’s because I only got around to seeing it in 2017, but this 2004 Marc Forster (“Monster’s Ball”, “Stranger Than Fiction”) biopic for me isn’t anything brilliant or Oscar-worthy. It’s a nice, sweet film that I rather enjoyed, but the hoopla I don’t quite get. Scripted by David Magee (the excellent “Life of Pi”) from a play by Allan Knee, it’s a bit clichéd and predictable, but solid and boasting lovely performances by Johnny Depp and Kate W…

Review: Supremacy

Joe Anderson plays a white supremacist thug released from prison after a 15 year stint, and looking for more trouble on his first day of freedom. Along with ‘white supremacist groupie’ Dawn Olivieri, he gets pulled over by an African-American cop, and being a racist dickhead with a short fuse, he shoots the officer dead. Now clearly in deep faecal matter, they break into someone’s home, thinking it’s currently unoccupied. They’re wrong, as an African-American family headed by Danny Glover is awakened to find two armed intruders in their house spewing racial epithets at them. Glover, an ex-con himself tries to reason with Anderson that killing them isn’t the answer. Lela Rochon plays the family matriarch, Derek Luke and Nick Chinlund are cops, Julie Benz is Luke’s wife, and Anson Mount plays Anderson’s decidedly non-Aryan looking mentor, currently incarcerated himself.

From what I can gather, director Deon Taylor (the uninspired slasher flick “7eventy 5ive”) wanted to move out of the h…

Review: Mother’s Day

A collection of stories concerning mothers and children. There’s divorcee mum Jennifer Aniston, upset that her ex (Timothy Olyphant) has moved on to a younger sort (Shay Mitchell) and they want the kids for mother’s day. Julia Roberts plays a frozen Home Shopping Network host who claims to have never had a child, but recent mum Britt Robertson says she’s Roberts’ daughter. Robertson, by the way is the main squeeze of utterly, utterly Hugh Grant-ish Jack Whitehall, a wannabe stand-up comedian. She won’t marry him until she settles her own parental issues. Even though she’s totally just had a baby herself. Apparently that’s fine. Sisters Kate Hudson and Sarah Chalke get a surprise visit from hick parents (mum played by Margo Martindale), who are none too pleased to find out that their kids have been lying to them. Then there’s Jason Sudeikis as a widowed father, whose grief sees him unable to understand his kids’ need to celebrate mother’s day. Jon Lovitz plays the comedy club emcee, He…

Review: I Am Wrath

John Travolta’s wife Rebecca De Mornay (hopefully well-paid for her 7 minutes) is killed one day in what looks to be a mugging gone horribly wrong. Travolta (who witnessed the event but was unable to do a damn thing) gets no real help from the cops (one played by Sam Trammell), so he calls in a favour from an old friend (Christopher Meloni) from their somewhat shadowy and violent past, and sets about getting to the bottom of this himself. Patrick St. Esprit plays the spineless local governor who is clearly as trustworthyas…well, a politician I guess. Elisha Cuthbert lookalike Amanda Schull plays Travolta’s grown daughter.

I guess it could be worse. I mean, this 2016 urban justice flick could’ve starred Nic Cage chewing the scenery instead of John Travolta, according to what I’ve read. Still, this return to the director’s chair by Chuck Russell (“A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors”, “The Mask”, “Eraser”) for the first time in 14 years isn’t my kind of genre film and offers no …

Review: George Harrison: Living in the Material World

Directed by Martin Scorsese (“Goodfellas”, “Raging Bull”, “The Last Waltz”, “Shine a Light”) in 2011 and originally shown in two parts on TV in some countries, this is an exhaustive 3+ hour documentary on the ‘quiet one’ of The Beatles, George Harrison. If you’re looking for an account of the man himself from birth to death, however, or a film that simply focuses on his time with the other members of The Fab Four, you might feel strangely undernourished by this overlong documentary. Indeed it does seem at once both overlong and lacking in some areas. Although a section entirely devoted to his childhood would see the running time balloon even further, Scorsese does seem to give off the impression that nothing much before The Beatles really matters. I’m not sure how to reconcile the lack of some information with the already overextended running time, but I can’t deny it did bother me a bit.

It’s also not one of Scorsese’s more personal films, even less so than his brilliant Rolling Ston…

Review: Beware the Slenderman

A 12 year-old girl is stabbed multiple times by two peers, who are obsessed with a fictional boogeyman called Slenderman, popularised online on several websites. A fascinating real-life crime story goes begging in this frankly poorly told documentary by Irene Taylor Brodsky from 2016, who either doesn’t realise where the real story is, or is for some reason slanting things in the wrong direction. This is quite clearly the story of two mentally disturbed girls who attempt to kill another girl. The girls were interested in the creepy internet-era cultural phenomenon of The Slenderman, a figure who crops up online, in games, and other media. That’s not quite the story that gets told here, unfortunately. Instead we seem to get the story of two girls who were influenced by the evils of the Internet and the creepy Slenderman, whom we get quite the history lesson on. And then we get the schizophrenia thrown in as an afterthought/plot twist. Even then, the filmmaker manages to botch the hell …