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Review: Destroyer

Nicole Kidman stars as an LAPD detective and former undercover operative who is a shell of the woman and cop she used to be. She’s also struggling to stay in the life of her rebellious daughter. She clearly hasn’t recovered from an undercover operation her and her partner (Sebastian Stan) were involved in, infiltrating a gang of hell-raising robbers led by the wild-haired Toby Kebbell. The job went horribly, horribly wrong and Kidman seems to want to spend the rest of her life torturing herself for it. Now, 17 years later a new homicide case seems to be heightening Kidman’s ‘issues’ as it appears the elusive Kebbell has resurfaced and is sending Kidman a message. Tatiana Maslany plays a hellcat member of the gang, Scoot McNairy is Kidman’s frustrated ex who barely even tolerates her, Toby Huss is her well-meaning boss, and Bradley Whitford plays an uber-sleazebag lawyer connected to the gang.


Potentially interesting material is given overblown and off-putting treatment in this 2019 bu…

Review: Hellboy

Half-demon Hellboy (David Harbour) is sent to England and hooks up with the Osiris Club, who are seeking a giant. Somehow, King Arthur, Merlin, an evil ‘Blood Queen’ (Milla Jovovich), and a couple of agents from the Bureau of Paranormal Research (a grumpy Daniel Dae Kim and young Sasha Lane) are also thrown into the mix. Also around from time to time is Hellboy’s father Professor Bloom (Ian McShane), whilst Sophie Okonedo plays a ‘seer’ in league with the villains. Get ready for lots of CGI blood, flashbacks, expository dialogue, and absolutely no energy whatsoever.


The world didn’t need another “Hellboy” film, let alone a re-boot, let alone a re-boot without Ron Perlman in the title role. Guillermo del Toro and star Ron Perlman already gave us two solid “Hellboy” films. However, an R-rated “Hellboy” directed by Neil Marshall (“The Descent”, “Dog Soldiers”, the underrated “Doomsday”, the mediocre “Centurion”) at least sounded to me like it might’ve had a chance of not seeming like a c…

Review: The Shootist

Aging, notorious gunfighter J.B. Books (John Wayne) is informed by long-time friend Doc Hostetler (Jimmy Stewart) that he has incurable cancer and only about two months to live. In order to live out his days peacefully and with dignity (despite being in enormous pain that even prescribed laudanum is unable to entirely numb), he rents a room from widow Lauren Bacall, who initially has no idea of his infamy. However, her impressionable son Gillam (Ron Howard) does, and starts to hero worship the man, which troubles no-nonsense Bacall, though as time goes on, she comes to bond with the dying man. Mean-spirited Marshal Harry Morgan, by contrast seems to take great delight in poor Books’ illness and can’t wait for him to be gone. Meanwhile, a trio of killers (card-sharp Hugh O’Brian, bully Bill McKinney, and grudge-holding gunslinger Richard Boone) also get wind of Books’ arrival in town, and each man would very much like to kill Books before the illness does. The always welcome Scatman Cr…

Review: Love Letters of a Portuguese Nun

Duplicitous and depraved Father Vincente (William Berger) spots virginal Maria Rosalia (Susan Hemingway) and uses his holy stature to con her family into taking her to the local convent to ‘save her soul’. In reality, Father Vincente is a pervert and the nunnery is a front for Satanists, headed by the cruel Mother Alma (Ana Zanatti) who is fond of torture. This poor girl is in some decidedly unholy company.


I’m not remotely a connoisseur of the so-called Nunspoloitation subgenre of sexploitation films. However, this 1977 entry into that subgenre is certainly a lot livelier than my previous excursion into Nunsploitation, the completely tedious and tame “The Sinful Nuns of St. Valentine”. Although it’s neither the most risqué, nor best film on his uber-prolific resumé, the presence of Spanish sleaze director Jesus Franco (“Vampyros Lesbos”, “She Killed in Ecstasy”) at the helm probably gives this trashy, kinky item a bit of a lift for the so-inclined. I’m not quite as inclined as some o…

Review: Parenthood

The story of the extended Buckman family, an average but dysfunctional American family. Steve Martin is well-meaning Gil, married to Karen (Mary Steenburgen) and father of three kids, including sensitive and high-strung Kevin (Jasen Fisher) as well as a daughter played by “Curly Sue” herself Alisan Porter. Gil’s frankly lousy father is Frank, who favours no-hoper youngest son Larry (Tom Hulce) as well as his prized 1935 classic Ford. Larry has come home with a young son named Cool (yep) and an obvious gambling problem. Well, it’s immediately obvious to his mother (Eileen Ryan) and to Gil, but Frank can’t see Larry for the mooch he truly is. Dianne Wiest is Frank’s eldest daughter Helen, a divorcee left to look after two moody and rebellious teens (Martha Plimpton and a young Joaquin Phoenix). Harley Jane Kozak is Frank’s other daughter Susan, married to a nerdy overachiever (Rick Moranis) who loves his family, but has his priorities all out of whack. Keanu Reeves plays Plimpton’s well…

Review: Jaguar Lives!

Joe Lewis is Jonathan Cross, AKA Jaguar, a special agent whose latest mission goes awry and ends in an explosion, with his partner codenamed Cougar (Anthony De Longis) presumed dead. Jaguar goes back home to deal with the botched job, practising martial arts with his half-breed sensei (Woody Strode, of all people) before being contacted by helicopter-piloting contact Barbara Bach with a new mission. The gig? Investigate an international drug ring headed by the mysterious ‘Esteban’. The mission takes him to several points of the globe, and encountering the likes of an elderly blind man (Joseph Wiseman) in a fictional Middle Eastern country, an American shipping magnate (John Huston) whose son has been kidnapped, a gleefully corrupt banana republic dictator (Donald Pleasence), and two people already known to Cross: A corrupt auto factory owner (Capucine!), and an English drug lord (Christopher Lee) who tries to get Cross to join his enterprise.


Whatever one may think of his acting skill…

Review: Happy Death Day 2U

Second film, same as the first only this time science nerd Phi Vu is the one tasked with reliving the day of his death over and over. He brings this to the attention of the previous person afflicted by this phenomenon (Jessica Rothe) and her boyfriend (Israel Broussard) and together they try to solve the dilemma which this time involves science-y stuff. Yay.


I was seemingly one of the few dissenting voices with the first “Happy Death Day”, as I felt it was a lame, tame, and annoying blend of “April Fool’s Day” (which I didn’t like either) and “Groundhog Day”. It was irritating, repetitive and zero fun death scenes. The latter was a total head-scratcher to me. Well now writer-director Christopher Landon (“Happy Death Day”, “Scout’s Guide to the Apocalypse”) is back with this 2019 sequel that introduces time-travel to the mix, and the results…are pretty much the same. Yeah, this one sucks pretty badly too, although at least by focussing so much on Phi Vu’s character in the first third, …