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Showing posts from May 28, 2017

Review: Police Academy 3: Back in Training

With the Governet (Ed Nelson) wanting to cut back on the number of police academies in the state, Cmdt. Lassard (George Gaynes) and Cmdt. Mauser (Art Metrano) train their cadets to bit pitted against one another. Helping Lassard’s rookies are recent graduates Mahoney (Steve Guttenberg), Jones (Michael Winslow), Hightower (Bubba Smith), Tackleberry (David Graf), Hooks (Marion Ramsey), Callahan (Leslie Easterbrook), and Fackler (Bruce Mahler). Meanwhile, Mauser sends two of his own officers to infiltrate Lassard’s academy and carry out some sabotage. Among Lassard’s new recruits are the seriously hot blond Karen Adams (Shawn Weatherly), milquetoast Sweetchuck (Tim Kazurinsky), reformed but still insane biker Zed (Bobcat Goldthwait), Japanese guy Nogata (Brian Tochi), Tackleberry’s half-arsed brother-in-law (Andrew Paris, son of the film’s director) and others.

Unlike most with a critical mind, I’ve never been one to outright dismiss the “Police Academy” franchise. Yes, “Assignment Miami…

Review: Silent Running

Bruce Dern is a botanist on a space station that houses the last vegetation samples taken from Earth after man has finally gone and buggered everything up and the forests have died. Dern is picked on by his immature colleagues (veteran slimeball Ron Rifkin, Jesse Vint, and Cliff Potts), but things really go south when orders come in for the men to return home...after they destroy the forests! Now, Dern’s a peace-minded fella (albeit a little insular, preferring the company of plants and specially programmed robot worker drones he later affectionately dubs Huey, Dewey, and Louie). However, when he’s given orders to destroy the very things he’s lovingly tended to for so long...well, he’s about to go postal in outer space.

Thoughtful, ecologically-minded 1971 sci-fi flick from former FX man Douglas Trumbull (his directorial debut, he would later helm the ill-fated “Brainstorm”, the last feature film of Natalie Wood), is a one-of-a-kind, ‘flower power’-fuelled experience (that actually pl…

Review: The River Wild

Former white-water rafting guide Meryl Streep takes her son Joseph Mazzello for a day out on the water, with workaholic husband David Strathairn a somewhat reluctant participant in the adventure. Early on they encounter a couple of stranded novices, Kevin Bacon and John C. Reilly, and since they have no guide and Streep doesn’t want them to stay stranded, she agrees to help guide them and join the family. Mazzello takes to Bacon immediately, Strathairn is far less impressed. Soon enough, even Streep is starting to have her doubts about their new companions. Benjamin Bratt appears briefly as a friendly ranger who may or may not end up serving a similar purpose to Richard Farnsworth in “Misery”.

I’m not sure how Curtis Hanson (whose only truly notable film was “L.A. Confidential”) managed to attract such strong actors for what is a rather formulaic thriller, but this 1994 river-rapid flick is still more than decent. It would be a whole lot lesser however, if it weren’t for the excellent…

Review: Warcraft: The Beginning

A clash between orcs and humans ensues when an Orc mage opens up a portal between their world and the human world of Azeroth. Travis Fimmel plays human warrior Anduin Lothar, with Paula Patton playing an orc/human hybrid named Garona. Dominic Cooper plays the human king, Ruth Negga the queen, Ben Foster a mage (basically a mixture of Saruman and Grima Wormtongue), and Toby Kebbell plays an orc who isn’t buying orc mage Daniel Wu’s shit.

I’ve never played any of the games, but in addition to being a fantasy fan from way back, I’m familiar enough with the franchise to have known pretty much what to expect with this 2016 big-screen adaptation from Duncan Jones (AKA Zowie Bowie, director of the enjoyable “Moon” and “Source Code”) and his co-writer Charles Leavitt (“Blood Diamond”, “In the Heart of the Sea”). Something tells me that even many fans of the franchise will not find very much to like about this cornball, cheapjack D-grade fantasy flick (And indeed, some fans complained that the…

Review: Stephen King’s ‘IT’

A group of seven pre-teens (played by Jonathan Brandis, Emily Perkins, Brandon Crane, Seth Green, Marlon Taylor, Adam Faraizl, and Ben Heller) in 1960 are plagued by a creature known as ‘IT’. Primarily under the guise of Pennywise the Clown (Tim Curry), ‘IT’ has been murdering children in Derry in Maine, including the younger brother of Bill Denbrough (Brandis). IT plays on your worst fears and nightmares and apparently eats the souls of children. Lovely chap. After going head-to-head with the sicko clown, the ‘Lucky 7’ make a pact that should ‘IT’ ever return, they will come back and defeat it once more. Thirty years later and the one of the seven still living in Derry, Mike Hanlon (Tim Reid, rock-solid) calls everybody back because it appears that ‘IT’ is alive and back to old tricks. However, will all the remaining 7 show up? Can they stop ‘IT’ once and for all? John Ritter is Ben Hanscomb (played as a kid by Brandon Crane) who has become a boozy architect. Annette O’Toole is Bever…

Review: Backtrack

An appropriately gaunt and haunted-looking Adrien Brody stars as a Melbourne psychologist (!) still grieving for his dead child whose death he feels responsible for. Brody slowly comes to realise that his patients are actually sorta kinda not really there. In fact, they’re the ghosts of dead people trying to communicate to Brody about a tragedy from his deep past that will result in Brody venturing back to the rural NSW family home to dig up a few skeletons. Sam Neill plays a professional colleague, Jenni Baird is Brody’s wife, Malcolm Kennard is a childhood acquaintance, Robin McLeavy is a country copper, George Shevtsov is Brody’s cranky old retired cop father, and both Bruce Spence and Anna Lise Phillips (with a wonky English accent) play ghosts.

Who knew Adrien Brody had snuck into Australia and made a supernatural thriller? I certainly had no clue. This 2016 flick from writer-director Michael Petroni (co-writer of the lame exorcism flick “The Rite”, “Queen of the Damned”, and the…

Review: Training Day

Ethan Hawke is rookie cop Jake Hoyt, who wants to be a narcotics officer. He’s excited to be given the opportunity to ride with Detective Sergeant Alonzo Harris, an experienced officer. However, Alonzo isn’t gonna make this ‘ride along’ easy for the young pup, and Hoyt soon learns that Alonzo is no ordinary cop. Hoyt’s about to get tested as he finds in this training day that the line between cop and crook, right and wrong might just get redefined. Scott Glenn plays a retired cop friend of Alonzo’s, whilst Nick Chinlund and Peter Greene are a couple of cop associates. Tom Berenger, Harris Yulin, and Raymond J. Barry turn up as higher-ups in the law enforcement/justice field. Eva Mendes and singer (ish) Macy Gray play, respectively Alonzo’s main squeeze and a woman whose house gets searched by Alonzo, without warrant.

Overblown, clichéd Antoine Fuqua (The misguided “King Ahfa, Lord of the Cockney Soccer Hooligans”, the awfully dull “Tears of the Sun”, and the excellent boxing flick “So…

Review: X-Men: The Last Stand

A politician (Michael Murphy) whose son (Ben Foster) is a mutant, believes he has found a cure for the ‘mutant gene’ in the person of creepy-eyed young Cameron Bright. Mutants are divided as to how to act on this, with Kelsey Grammer’s dedicated diplomat Dr. Hank McCoy (AKA Beast) now residing in cabinet, as a chief advisor to the President on mutant affairs whose job is to prevent the fit hitting the shan, apocalypse-style. Needless to say, with the aggressive nature of Magneto (Sir Ian McKellen) and his legion (who fear genocide, we are lead to believe) and the naturally trigger-happy, xenophobic U.S. Government (who despite allowing a mutant into cabinet, are still mutant-weary), McCoy (who, like Patrick Stewart’s Prof. Xavier and his brood, believes diplomacy and integration will hopefully lead to mainstream acceptance) is one helluva piggy in the middle. Also to contend with is the resurrection of the dead Dr. Jean Gray (Famke Janssen) as the unpredictable, super-powerful Phoenix…