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Showing posts from December 4, 2011

Review

Review:Takers


A group of efficient bank robbers have just pulled off their latest job (they only pull one highly successful job a year) and are now happy to live it up and party for a while. Idris Elba is their leader, who is visited out of the blue by his recovering addict sister (played by Marianne Jean-Baptiste). Brothers Michael Ealy and Chris Brown spend most of their time hanging out at the club they own, with the former planning to marry girlfriend Zoe Saldana. Paul Walker is the focused second-in-command (or co-leader? I never figured that one out), who has recently come into contact with Ghost (rapper and reformed crim T.I.), a former associate fresh out of prison. Ghost offers up an armoured truck heist that seems like a sure thing, but it takes some convincing from team strategist A.J. (Hayden Christensen) to get everyone one else on board. Brown and Ealy, for instance, are worried that T.I. might not like his ex-girlfriend Saldana finding herself a new man, and don’t quite …

Review

Review:Treasure Island (1990)

In this seafaring adventure for young and old, a post-“Empire of the Sun” (but pre-“American Psycho”) Christian Bale stars as young adventurer Jim Hawkins, who thanks to phlegmatic old sea dog Billy Bones (Oliver Reed, having a ball) learns of the whereabouts of pirate’s treasure. On board the ship Hispaniola, young Jim is torn between the ship’s intelligent, capable Captain Smollett (Clive Wood), and the charismatic, but crafty scallywag Long John Silver (Charlton Heston). Michael Halsey and Pete Postlethwaite are Silver’s two chief henchmen, Julian Glover (a most underrated character actor) is Dr. Livesey, who tries to look out for Jim, whilst Richard Johnson plays the eccentric old fuddy-duddy Squire Trelawney almost for laughs. Christopher Lee plays a skeletal Blind Pew, who gives Billy Bones the black spot that seals his doom in the early stages.

Though filmed for television by director Fraser Heston (Yes, the Son of Moses), this 1990 adaptation of th…

Review

Review:Sweet Jesus, Preacher Man

Mobster William Smith sends his man Roger E. Mosley to check on his rival, having him pose as a preacher. He soon becomes a pillar of the black community, and learns he can make a lot of money by double-crossing his boss. Michael Pataki (quite good) is a superficial white politician who initially shuns helping the African American community, Sam Laws plays a deacon (!).

Well-intentioned, but cheap, unconvincing 1973 Henning Schellerup (the supposedly awful religious film “In Search of Historic Jesus” and a TV movie version of “The Time Machine”) blaxploitation film with a frankly boring plot, and dull direction, though Mosley (yeah, the black guy from “Magnum P.I.”) has undeniable charisma in an unlikeable part. Unfortunately he isn’t given enough opportunity to give the big, righteous preacher moments one keeps expecting. Meanwhile, blaxploitation mainstay Sam Laws is as hilarious as always. Smith fans (and I believe there are some), won’t get much out…

Review

Review:The Magic Box

The story of William Friese-Greene (Robert Donat), who began as an ambitious photographer experimenting with colours, before beginning his obsession with trying to invent motion pictures. Australian Margaret Johnston and Maria Schell (seemingly her first UK film) are the wives at various stages in his life, the latter is his beloved, sickly first wife, the former is his loving second wife who knows her husband means well even when he struggles to put food on the table and ultimately drives their children away.

Intended for the 1951 Festival of Britain, this John Boulting (the well-regarded, well-acted gangster pic “Brighton Rock”) biopic about a forgotten cinematic pioneer (whose role in the invention of motion pictures is still a controversial and much debated one today), is a must-see for film buffs as it contains appearances (many of which are mere cameos) by many of Britain’s working actors and stars of the time. Apparently Sir Alec Guinness was the only one to…

Review: Love, Lust & Lies

Review:Love, Lust & Lies

This is the fifth instalment in a “7 Up”-esque documentary series by Australian filmmaker Gillian Armstrong (“My Brilliant Career”,“Charlotte Gray”, “Little Women”), first following three Adelaide teenage girls (Kerry, Diana, and Josie) in “Smokes and Lollies”. It’s now 35 years later, and those who have followed these characters (now in their mid-to-late 40s) throughout the years are probably going to love this instalment, and in fact would’ve already seen it. If this is the case, you’re probably not going to find much of interest in my review, and in fact, may become incensed by what I have to say here. I have had no previous encounter with this series, and after watching this virtual love letter to ‘Boganism’ (and I say that as a Westie myself, born and still living in Sydney’s Western Suburbs), I won’t likely be looking back at the rest, let alone catching up with any future instalments.

I won’t deny that I found the film sometimes watchable, in a sort-…

Review

Review:Mega Python vs. Gatoroid

Troublesome animal activists led by Debbie Gibson (who is also some kind of snake specialist) release a bunch of lab tested snakes into the everglades. Tiffany is a local ranger who agrees to let the pythons be hunted down after they start killing off the locals gators, and her fiancĂ© is killed by one of the snakes. The snakes, being lab rats...er...snakes grow to an immense size, however, and so Tiffany comes up with a genius (i.e. Ricockulous) plan to stop the threat to both humans and gators; Inject some chickens with a special steroid that never stops growing muscle and increases aggression, and then feed the chickens to the gators (Screw that, gimme giant chickens, damnit!). When Gibson finds out about this, she ain’t gonna be happy. But with two species of giant creatures around, I’m not sure anyone’s going to last long enough to hold a grudge. Kathryn Joosten plays Tiffany’s elderly deputy, Micky Dolenz of The Monkees has an inexplicable cameo as …

Review

Review:The Last of the Knucklemen

Harsh, rowdy Aussie film centring on a group of macho miners in the remote town of Andamooka. Michael Preston is Pansy, who despite his name is a hot-tempered thug who only ever looks out for himself, and is constantly at odds with the others, and with the boss of the group, Tarzan (strapping Gerard Kennedy). Tarzan for his part tries to keep the men from killing each other, acting as a sort of gruff peace-maker. Into this group comes Peter Hehir, a quiet-natured fellow with a mysterious past, who is a new recruit. Michael Caton is the meek former trainee priest nicknamed ‘Monk’. Steve Bisley plays loudmouth Mad Dog, who unlike Pansy, at least knows when to give it a rest. Michael Duffield is the old-timer of the gang, Methuselah, who is in pretty poor health, and is constantly picked on by Pansy. Steve Rackman turns up as Carl, a hulking German thug who takes on burly Kennedy.

This rugged 1979 adaptation of the John Power play by writer-director Tim B…