Review: Larry Crowne

Tom Hanks plays the title character, a genial sort of fella who after a stint in the Navy went to work for a company called UMart (basically Wal-Mart, but with the name fudged in case they think the film is shit) for many, many years. Hell, he’s been Employee of the Month there many times. Unfortunately, times are tough and Larry’s bosses (one played by Dale Dye, of all people) are looking for people to lay off. Despite his many years of faithful and good service, a lack of a college education sees poor Larry laid off. It gets worse as Larry’s already got financial issues at home (He’s divorced and lives alone in a house he’s now on the verge of losing). The solution comes in the form of Community College, in which Larry is encouraged to enrol in a few courses. One is an Economics class taught by a Japanese-American (the inimitable George Takei, AKA The greatest thing to ever happen to social media, playing a lecturer with no tolerance for phones in class). Another is a public speaking

Review: Fletch

Chevy Chase stars as wise-arse Investigative Journalist Irwin M. Fletcher, AKA ‘Fletch’. He receives a business proposition one day from a wealthy businessman (Tim Matheson). He’s dying of cancer and will pay Fletch $50,000 to kill him. Suicide means his life insurance policy would be invalidated and Matheson wants to ensure his wife (Dana Wheeler-Nicholson) is looked after. Fletch agrees, but starts to look into the millionaire’s life and realises there’s much more to Matheson and his proposal than meets the eye. Richard Libertini and Geena Davis are Fletch’s editor and co-worker, M. Emmet Walsh plays a doctor, George Wendt plays a beach drug dealer, William Sanderson works at a crappy motel, whilst James Avery and Joe Don Baker are corrupt lawmen, the latter the Chief of Police.   It’s a Chevy Chase starring vehicle, and one Chase himself apparently enjoyed because it allowed him to be ‘himself’. In other words, if you’re not a Chevy Chase fan, stay well away from this 1985 detec

Review: The Art of Self-Defence

Wimpy accountant Jesse Eisenberg is entirely unpopular at work, barely even being noticed by anyone in fact. One night he gets beat up and mugged by motorcycle thugs. Obviously shaken by the experience, and since his cute Dachshund is hardly a guard dog, Eisenberg considers alternatives of protection. Eventually he walks into a karate dojo fronted by an intense fellow known only as Sensei (Alessandro Nivola). Sensei starts to mould the young man into his vision of masculinity – getting him to listen to death metal music, the puny-looking Dachshund obviously has to go, etc. Eisenberg also learns the art of kicking with your fists and punching with your feet. Much of the film involves Eisenberg alternating between obsessing over graduating to the next level of belt, and observing some pretty obvious toxic masculinity on display by the manipulative Sensei. That’s especially true of his treatment of female student/kids class instructor Imogen Poots, whom Eisenberg starts to take a liking t

Review: Bombshell

A film depicting events and personalities surrounding the 2016 removal of Roger Ailes (John Lithgow) as head of the Fox News Channel, after accusations of sexual harassment towards several Fox News employees. Chief among those were long-time TV hosts Megyn Kelly (Charlize Theron) and Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman). Margot Robbie plays naïve religious Conservative Fox staffer Kayla, a fictional composite character, whilst Kate McKinnon plays another fictionalised character, Kayla’s closeted lesbian co-worker and roommate. Connie Britton turns up as Ailes’ loyal wife, Malcolm McDowell plays magnate Rupert Murdoch, whilst Aussie brothers Ben and Josh Lawson play Rupert’s sons Lachlan and James.   Upfront I’ll tell you that because this film deals with the polarising and politically-fuelled Fox News Network, I’ll probably be offering opinions here that aren’t necessarily relevant to the film being discussed. It’s Fox, I’ve got views about them, and if you’ve read my reviews before yo

Review: The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes

  As recounted by his faithful companion Dr. Watson (Colin Blakely), famed detective Sherlock Holmes (Robert Stephens) assists a mystery woman (Genevieve Page) suffering from a case of amnesia. She doesn’t know who she is or where she is from, but nonetheless knows that her engineer husband is missing. The investigation takes Holmes and Watson to Scotland, and even encountering The Loch Ness Monster! Before all of that, there’s some business with a Russian ballerina (Tamara Toumanova) and her manager (Clive Revill), in which Holmes has to pretend to be homosexual to avoid a sticky situation. Christopher Lee plays Sherlock’s straight-laced, balding older brother Mycroft. He’s a member of the British Secret Service and representative of the Diogenes gentleman’s club, who warns Sherlock to drop the case of the missing engineer. The plot thickens. Stanley Holloway has a cameo as a gravedigger, whilst Irene Handl plays the housekeeper of our protagonists.   I’ll never be taken for a S

Review: Little Monsters

Set in Australia, failed heavy metal musician Alexander England has recently moved in with his sister (Kat Stewart) and her young son (Diesel La Torraca) after his girlfriend (Nadia Townsend) cheats on him. England becomes sweet on the kid’s sweet teacher Miss Caroline (Lupita Nyong’o) and somehow wrangles his way into replacing a substitute teacher on a field trip to the zoo. Once there, England, Miss Caroline, and the children are set upon by raging zombies that have been born out of some kind of experiments at a local facility run by the US military. Josh Gad plays a craven, out-of-control American children’s TV host visiting Australia and appearing at the zoo.  No, not the flat “Beetlejuice” rip-off with Fred Savage and Howie Mandel. This is yet another zombie comedy, when I was already zom-com’d out in about 2010. I didn’t even like “Shaun of the Dead” , and hell I was pretty well sick of zombies in general by about the end of the second season of “The Walking Dead” (I haven’t tu

Review: Kelly’s Heroes

Before “Three Kings” transplanted the basic idea onto the Gulf War, there was “Kelly’s Heroes” and WWII. The Pvt. Kelly of the films’ title (played by Clint Eastwood) learns of some hidden Nazi gold behind enemy lines worth around $16 million. He decides to wrangle together a small-ish platoon to enact the heist, whilst the war rages and bombs go off all around them. Telly Savalas is ‘Big Joe’ the gruff commanding officer of Kelly’s platoon, who thinks the whole idea is cockamamie and dangerous as hell. Donald Sutherland plays a displaced hippie named Oddball, whose Sherman tanks are essential to pulling off the heist. The rest of the platoon is filled out with familiar faces like Stuart Margolin, Don Rickles, Jeff Morris, Harry Dean Stanton, and Gavin MacLeod (as one of Oddball’s kooks). Carroll O’Connor plays the clueless, tempestuous General who has absolutely no idea what’s going on at any time.   Directed by Brian G. Hutton ( “Where Eagles Dare” , “The First Deadly Sin” , pl