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Showing posts from May 14, 2017

Review: The Other Guys

When super cops Dwayne Johnson and Samuel L. Jackson go out in a blaze of...macho stupidity, it is left to the ‘other guys’ to grab the ball and run with it, as it were. Enter Mark Wahlberg, a once promising cop who has been deskbound ever since an embarrassing mishap with a famous American sportsman, and milquetoast Will Ferrell, who is much happier sitting in front of a computer all day as the resident police accountant. The two couldn’t be more different, but now, they need put their differences (and hostility in Wahlberg’s case) aside to work together and crack a case that starts out as just a routine money scheme possibly involving entrepreneur Steve Coogan, but which involves much more widespread corruption. It could be the case that makes them, and restores Wahlberg’s credibility. Eva Mendes plays Ferrell’s seriously hot nurse wife, whose beauty he seems somewhat aggressively dismissive of, much to dumbstruck Wahlberg’s perplexity. Ray Stevenson plays Coogan’s hired muscle, whi…

Review: The Handmaiden

Set in 1930s Japan-controlled Korea, con man Junh-woo Ha employs young female pickpocket Kim Tae-ri to take part in a scheme he has devised. He needs her to pose as the new handmaiden to young Japanese heiress Hideko (Min-hee Kim) to try to convince the heiress to dump her current suitor Kouzuki (who also happens to be her disgusting uncle), and fall for Junh-woo Ha, who will be posing as a teacher. Over time, the scheming Junh-woo Ha will marry the heiress, have her declared insane and shipped off to the funny farm, while he has at it with the heiress’ fortune, giving his accomplice half. Things hit a substantial speed bump however, as the two women get to know one another and…feelings emerge. Passionate feelings. There’s more and more twists to come than that, though.

South Korean director Chan-wook Park has a habit of making films with premises that sound great…but the execution flops. At least for me. Happened with the overrated “Old Boy”, and “Sympathy for Lady Vengeance” did eve…

Review: Frog Dreaming

Cody (Henry Thomas) is an American teen living with his father’s old buddy Gazza (Tony Barry) in Australia (it was filmed in Victoria) after the death of his parents. Cody likes to modify things like his BMX bike so it’ll get him to school faster. Because he’s a weirdo who actually wants to get to school faster. Seriously, why would anyone want that? It certainly doesn’t impress local lawman John Ewart, who pleads with Gazza to get the kid into line. Anyway, Cody and a couple of local sisters (Rachel Friend and Tamsin West) are fooling around in a lake where Cody swears he has seen and felt something lurking in the water. Talking to a local indigenous person or two, he learns that the creature may be a mythical ‘Donkejin’, and becomes obsessed with getting a good look at it. Katy Manning turns up as the girls’ mother.

Some films from your childhood you never forget. Either they’ve become favourites you watch well into adulthood (or you at least fondly recall), or something about the e…

Review: Hail, Caesar!

Set in 50s Hollywood, Josh Brolin plays Eddie Mannix, a studio exec and problem solver who is currently mulling over a career change, as well as going to Confession to unload about his guilt in sneaking in a few cigarettes behind his wife’s back. He’s a workaholic who wants to be more of a family man, but he’s the guy who gets put in charge of solving the studio’s problems. The biggest film currently on the lot is the scene of Mannix’s largest problem, as Baird Whitlock (George Clooney), the dim-witted star of the title religious epic has apparently gotten drunk and gone AWOL. He’s been kinda sorta not really kidnapped by a secret group of Communists, who kinda sorta not really hold him for ransom. Meanwhile, other issues include an attempt by an increasingly impolite British director (Ralph Fiennes) to turn a singing cowboy named Hobie (Alden Ehrenreich) into a genuine actor. It doesn’t go well. Then there’s the Esther Williams-esque musical/dance star DeeAnna Moran (Scarlett Johanss…

Review: Ghostbusters

Physics professor Kristen Wiig is embarrassed when a guy comes to her with a supposedly haunted building, armed with a copy of a book on the paranormal that she co-authored with former colleague Melissa McCarthy. She goes to find McCarthy, and somehow it ends up with the duo and McCarthy’s colleague Kate McKinnon investigating the supposed paranormal activity. They find something freaky, word gets out about it and they are both fired from their respective gigs. What to do? Set up their own ghost hunting business of course (with equipment designed by McCarthy and McKinnon), eventually adding subway ticket dispenser Leslie Jones to their crew, having already alerted them to some freaky paranormal shit going on in the tunnels. Eventually they garner media hype, and scorn from both a sceptic (Bill Murray) and the cranky Mayor (Andy Garcia). And that’s when shit really gets started and New York is gonna need them. Chris Hemsworth plays the girls’ hunky but stupid receptionist, and Cecily S…

Review: Steve Jobs

Moments in the life of Apple founder Steve Jobs (Michael Fassbender), primarily focussing on product launches, as well as the occasional flashback. Katherine Waterston is ex-girlfriend Chrisann, whose daughter Lisa (played at various stages by Makenzie Moss, Ripley Sobo and Perla Haney-Jardine) Jobs refuses to acknowledge is his. Kate Winslet plays Jobs’ long-suffering PR rep Joanna. Seth Rogen plays Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, whose pleas to have Jobs publicly recognise the team behind the Apple II continually go ignored (Jobs doesn’t see he point in ‘going backward’). Jeff Daniels plays soft drink mogul turned Apple CEO John Sculley.

I haven’t seen “Jobs”, but at least that film managed to get someone who looks like the late Steve Jobs in Ashton Kutcher. Some of the photo comparisons are uncanny, especially the younger Jobs. Whether it’s any better than this 2015 walk-and-talker from director Danny Boyle (“Sunshine”, “Slumdog Millionaire”) and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin (“The Soc…

Review: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

Set in Toronto, Michael Cera plays the title 22 year-old who is dating a clingy (but cute) 17 year-old named Knives Chau (Ellen Wong), and is in a band called Sex Bob-omb. Despite this, he’s an awkward geek, so that when he sees his dream girl, an American named Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), he doesn’t like his chances of getting anywhere with her. Besides, he’s still getting over a break-up with his previous girlfriend, who has since gone on to front a successful band of her own. After talking to Ramona for a bit at a party, Scott finds out that Ramona works for Amazon.ca (the Canadian branch of Amazon.com), and arranges to have a package delivered by her to his house. He asks her to hang out, and surprisingly, they kinda hit it off. This presents a couple of problems. Firstly, he’s still dating Knives, and secondly, Ramona (who changes hair colour on a whim, ala Clementine from the excellent “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”) has seven ex’s, who have banded togethe…