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Showing posts from December 18, 2011

Review

Review:The Killer Inside Me

Set in Texas in the 50s, Casey Affleck stars as well-respected Deputy Lou Ford, who has a rather sadomasochistic affair with a hooker named Joyce (Jessica Alba) he’s been asked to run out of town. He’s also engaged to Amy Stanton (Kate Hudson). Joyce is attempting to blackmail a wealthy contractor named Chester Conway (Ned Beatty), whose son is one of her ‘clients. Mr. Conway (Sr.) later meets with Lou to ask him to deliver the blackmail money to Joyce. However, when Lou learns that Mr. Conway’s shonky business activities might have been responsible for a traumatic event in Lou’s past, he concocts another plan entirely involving a brutal murder and subsequent frame job. Unfortunately, that doesn’t end things and so he has to keep on killing to keep suspicion away from him. Tom Bower plays the alcoholic local sheriff (who seems to be a father figure of sorts to Lou), Simon Baker is a cynical DA, and Brent Briscoe plays a pushy, homeless drunk. Elias Koteas pl…

Review: Duel in the Sun

Jennifer Jones incompetently plays the untamed, wild-eyed Pearl, half-breed daughter of troubled Herbert Marshall, who is convicted of murdering his wife and her lover. Jones is sent to live with cantankerous, racist cattle baron Senator McCanles (old pro Lionel Barrymore, in a wheelchair as usual, for the last part of his career) and wife Lillian Gish. There her affections are torn between well-meaning, principled lawyer Jesse (Joseph Cotten) and his uncouth, bullying, possibly psychotic brother, the aptly named Lewt (Gregory Peck!). Guess which son Barrymore favours? Peck is quite forceful with Jones, and in fact, is not above taking on any competition, be it his own brother Cotten, or the simple, older suitor played by Charles Bickford, whom Jones flees to when relations with the dangerous Peck sour.

Well bugger me, Gregory Peck can tackle dark roles after all. I stand corrected then, because in this 1946 King Vidor (“The Wizard of Oz”, “War and Peace”) film, Peck’s brooding, lip-s…

Review

Review: The Kids Are All Right

Somewhat flaky Julianne Moore, and doctor Annette Bening are a couple of many years whose two children were both conceived by the same anonymous sperm donor. When their 15 year-old son Laser (Josh Hutcherson) becomes curious of his identity/lineage, he gets his older sister Joni (Mia Wasikowska) to track the donor down. This leads to laidback, aging hippie Paul (Mark Ruffalo), who whilst taken aback by the results of a sperm donation he made many moons ago, is nonetheless agreeable to a meeting. When he meets the kids, he’s nervous but generally enthused and interested in getting to know them. Moms’, however (and yes, that’s how they’re somewhat grammatically awkwardly referred to), are unsure of how to respond to all of this. Bening, in particular, seems to be awfully territorial about Paul’s presence. Moore eventually eases up, perhaps a little too much, as there seems to be some kind of attraction going on between supposed lesbian Moore and this new st…

Review

Review: The Runaways


The rise and fall of 70s all-girl rock/punk group The Runaways, featuring 15 year-old Bowie fan Cherie Currie (Dakota Fanning) on vocals, tomboyish guitarist/songwriter Joan Jett (Kristen Stewart), and managed/moulded by a pervert Svengali named Kim Fowley (Michael Shannon). Fowley sees a ‘Jail Bait’ goldmine, particularly with his Lolita-esque singer. Meanwhile, Currie and Jett form a strong bond, as the former also enjoys an escape from her unhappy home life. Unfortunately, drugs, egos, and in-fighting start to tear the group (and the central duo) apart. Scout Taylor-Compton plays guitarist Lita Ford, Riley Keough plays Currie’s jealous older sister, and Tatum O’Neal and Brett Cullen are Currie’s trashy parents. Robert Romanus has an amusing cameo as a guitar teacher who refuses to teach Jett any rock songs, due to her gender (Romanus co-starred with the real-life Currie in “Foxes” and also played the ticket-scalping high schooler in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High…

Review

Review:Carny

Teenager Donna (Jodie Foster) finds herself seduced into the Carny life, abandoning her dopey boyfriend (Craig Wasson) to hang out with the likes of gruff Frankie (Gary Busey), AKA Bozo, the clown who taunts and berates audiences into trying to dunk him into a water tank, letting loose any rage he has inside of him in a productive way. Robbie Robertson (Guitarist of The Band, and the film’s co-producer) is Frankie’s moody best friend, Patch, who settles disputes (like whenever someone wants to genuinely take a swing at ‘Bozo’) and pays off officials to keep the struggling enterprise afloat. He also seems to generally hate everyone and everything except for Frankie. It isn’t long before Donna has come between the two buddies. Bill McKinney (who sadly passed away very recently) plays a mob-connected businessman trying to drive the carnival out of town, with Kenneth McMillan the carnival owner trying to save everyone’s jobs. Meg Foster (and her creepy Medusa eyes), Robert DoQ…

Review

Review: The Monster Squad

The title characters (led by Andre Gower’s Sean) are pre-teens who obsess over movie monsters, especially those of the Universal Horror cycle. The gang, and Sean’s younger sister (played by the adorable Ashley Bank) discover an old diary written in German, so they give it to their scary-looking elderly, German neighbour (Leonardo Cimino, as a ‘survivor’ of another sort of ‘monstrosity’) to translate. This leads them on a quest to obtain an all-powerful amulet, however, there are others seeking this amulet; Count Dracula (Duncan Regehr), who has just fended off Prof. Van Helsing (Jack Gwillim) leads The Wolfman (Carl Thibault in makeup, Jon Gries in human form), The ‘Gill Man’ AKA “The Creature From the Black Lagoon” (FX man Tom Woodruff Jr.), The Mummy (Michael Reid MacKay), and Frankenstein’s Monster (an unrecognisable Tom Noonan) in an attempt to acquire the amulet and see that Evil holds the balance of power for eternity! ‘The Monster’, however, proves to b…

Review

Review:Personal Best

Young hurdler Chris (Mariel Hemingway) fails in her bid to qualify for the 1976 Olympic Team, but a new and exciting (sexual) relationship with more seasoned pentathlete Tory (Patrice Donnelly) helps make up for it. Tory even manages to convince her hard-arse coach (Scott Glenn) to take on the rather green Chris. Tory sees a star in Chris and takes her under her wing, but Glenn is awfully slow to come around on her supposed talents. However, once things draw closer to the next Olympic trials (the infamous 1980 event in Moscow), and both Chris (who really starts to find her stride as a pentathlete now) and Tory (who seems to be waning) seem to be going in opposite directions whilst training to qualify in the same event, their personal relationship begins to sour. Chris even moves out of the apartment they shared and begins a relationship with a male water polo player (Kenny Moore). ‘Win at all costs’ coach Glenn notices this growing tension between them, and tries t…