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Showing posts from July 9, 2017

Review: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End

In an attempt to rescue ‘swishbuckling’ swashbuckler Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) from the purgatorial locker of squid-pirate Davy Jones (Bill Nighy- almost managing to find the humanity-of sorts, in his fishy character), the temporarily aligned group of Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley), and possibly reformed buccaneer Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) must request safe transport to the land of the dead, from Asian pirate lord Sao Feng (an appropriately cast Chow Yun-Fat). But wait...why is Barbossa now aligned with former enemies Will and Elizabeth? Well, the Pirate Age appears to be coming to an end, thanks to the nefarious Lord Cutler Beckett (played by Tom Hollander), who has been delivered Davy Jones’ heart by snotty Norrington (Jack Davenport- Why do they persist with this boring git? He’s one character too many in this film, if you ask me), and is seeing fit to wiping out anyone even remotely associated with acts of piracy (so don’t you go cop…

Review: Boxcar Bertha

Set in the Depression-era South a young boxcar-riding woman of the title (Barbara Hershey) takes up with a labour union guy Big Bill (David Carradine) she falls in love with, and along with his black friend Von (Bernie Casey) and a not-so smooth conman named Rake (Barry Primus) form a criminal gang of-sorts. John Carradine (David’s father) turns up briefly as the nasty and powerful railroad owner who Big Bill gets on the wrong side of.

This meeting between legendary B-movie producer Roger Corman and the now revered director Martin Scorsese (“Mean Streets”, “Taxi Driver”, “Goodfellas”, “Hugo”) is not a rip-off of “Bonnie and Clyde”, like you may expect. In fact, this 1972 film is probably closer to Corman’s own directorial effort “Bloody Mama”. Scripted by John and Joyce Corrington (“The Omega Man”, and “The Arena” for AIP and Corman), it’s a slightly better film than that one, but it all collapses in a ludicrous finale that has Bernie Casey blasting away at whitey, and someone else to…

Review: Beaches

The story of the enduring, if rocky friendship between C.C. Bloom and Hilary Whitney, who met as 11 year-olds and became fast friends over a mere couple of hours. They write to each other for many years, until as adults C.C. (now a blowsy entertainer/singer played by Bette Midler) gets a call to come and see Hilary (now played by a very WASP-y Barbara Hershey). We then see a series of flashbacks to fill us in on their lives and friendship. Mayim Bialik plays the young C.C., Lainie Kazan is C.C.’s mother Leona, whilst John Heard and Spalding Gray play a couple of the men in the two women’s lives.

A really good movie is a really good movie no matter its genre or intended audience. I can appreciate any kind of film if it’s good. So it is that I’ve enjoyed some so-called ‘chick flicks’ over the years. Hell, “When Harry Met Sally…” might even fall into that category, and it’s one of the greatest movies ever made. I’m also quite partial to this iconic 1988 Garry Marshall (“Pretty Woman”, “R…

Review: High-Rise

Doctor Tom Hiddleston moves into a fancy new high-rise apartment building designed by Mr. Royal (Jeremy Irons) who also lives there with his wife (Keeley Hawes). The building has around 2,000 residents. Hiddleston lives on the upper-middle level of the building and there is a class divide from top to bottom. Also in the building are single mum Sienna Miller, foul-tempered documentarian Luke Evans and his heavily pregnant wife Elisabeth Moss, and creepy top floor resident and gynaecologist James Purefoy. Things go swimmingly at first, but then the power starts going out from time to time, the trash starts to pile up, and chaos eventually breaks out with people starting to behave like animals.

J.G. Ballard’s 1975 novel has been said to be ‘unfilmable’, and this 2016 adaptation from director Ben Wheatley and screenwriter Amy Jump (who previously collaborated on the dreadfully dull “Kill List”) would seem to support that notion. I haven’t read the novel, but I have to imagine it works a w…

Review: Small Soldiers

Weapons manufacturing tycoon Denis Leary acquires a toy company and asks top designers David Cross and Jay Mohr to impress him, he wants toys that actually do what the commercials say they do. Cross comes up with a line of peaceful monsters called Gorgonites that also give kids an opportunity to learn. Ambitious arse-kisser Mohr, however plays more to Leary’s sensibilities in coming up with the Elite Commando line of toys, your typical uber-violent soldier toys. Leary approves of both, figuring that the dorky Gorgonite toys can be used as cannon fodder for the Elite Commando toys. What he doesn’t know, though, is that Mohr has gone the extra mile in installing real computer chips from Leary’s weapons manufacturing company, into the Elite Commando toys. Yeah, that’s not gonna cause problems.

Gregory Smith plays a young teenager whose father (Kevin Dunn) owns a mostly antique toy shop. In charge of the shop for the day, Smith manages to get some of the Elite Commando and Gorgonite toys …

Review: The Nice Guys

Set in 70s LA, Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling play, respectively, a thug/fixer-for-hire and a crummy P.I. who reluctantly team up after realising they’re both involved in the same missing person’s case. You see, Crowe has been hired to protect a young woman, whilst Gosling has been hired by the aunt of the young woman who says she’s missing. Complicating the case is the fatal car crash death of another porn star named Misty Mountains, which is somehow connected (For starters, the two girls look a bit similar). They’re not very bright and often find themselves in danger from various thugs and crims, but along with widowed Gosling’s amazingly mature young daughter (Angourie Rice), they follow a trail that leads to a helluva conspiracy involving some powerful members of society. Kim Basinger plays the head of the justice department with a personal stake in the case, Matt Bomer is a creepy assassin, and Keith David plays a hired thug.

I hadn’t heard the best things about this Shane Black …

Review: 5 to 7

Wannabe writer Anton Yelchin uses a smoke break to chat up older French hottie Berenice Marlohe (he’s 24, she’s 33), and before long they’re embarking on an affair, but with only a limited amount of time afforded to them. You see, she’s married (with kids) to the sophisticated wealthy diplomat Lambert Wilson, but both engage in affairs with the other’s full knowledge. It works for them. Yelchin wants to be with Marlohe, so it’s gonna have to work for him too. So between the hours of 5PM and 7PM, Yelchin and Marlohe spend time together. Olivia Thirlby plays Wilson’s mistress, whilst Frank Langella and Glenn Close play Yelchin’s Jewish parents who try their best to understand what the fuck their son has gotten himself into.

Anton Yelchin was a really promising talent. He should not have died so young, he should not have become a member of Club 27. It’s also a bit of a shame that one of his last films (though he made a lot of films in a short frame of time) was this rather off-putting ro…