Showing posts from August 12, 2012

Review: The Resident

Hilary Swank is an overworked ER doctor looking for a new apartment after a bad breakup with boyfriend Lee Pace. The affable Jeffrey Dean Morgan offers her one at a rather cheap price and a nice view. In fact, it seems almost too good to be true. They become fast friends, and almost something more, before Swank realises it’s too soon after her break-up. Unfortunately, she soon learns that Morgan is more than a little obsessed with her (Not really a spoiler, it’s the basic premise of the film), and to say he has a dark side would be the understatement of the century. Cat chases mouse, mouse fights back, I fall into a self-induced coma. Christopher Lee plays Morgan’s frail grandfather, who recognises Morgan’s true nature but is too elderly and weak to be much use.   **** SPOILER WARNING **** My main criticism with this film involves a major plot point, so spoilers are unavoidable. In backing up my arguments, I’ll also be spoiling significant details of “Planet of the Apes” (1

Review: The Ward

Set in the 60s, Amber Heard finds herself institutionalised after having apparently burned down a farmhouse. She is put into the care of psychiatrist Jared Harris, and is introduced to fellow patients like boisterous Mamie Gummer, artistic Lyndsy Fonseca, and bitchy Danielle Panabaker. Meanwhile, although Harris seems generally concerned for his patients well-being, his methods of electroshock therapy and his frankly unpleasant staff have Heard wanting out of there in a hurry. But she finds that is easier said than done. And then her fellow inmates start dying one by one. Is it the ghost of a former patient? Or something closer to this astral plane? I really shouldn’t be disappointed by John Carpenter anymore because he has always been an uneven filmmaker, especially in recent times ( “Village of the Damned” was a particularly uninteresting remake totally unworthy of Carpenter’s time). However, it’s dispiriting to think that this filmmaker once gave us great films like “Ha

Review: Pumping Iron

1977 doco directed by George Butler and Robert Fiore introduced mainstream society to the world of bodybuilding. Specifically the film deals with Austrian-born Arnold Schwarzenegger, a champion of Mr. Olympia, looking to make an exit at the top. His main contenders are his close buddy Franco Columbu, a chiropractor by trade, and brooding, partially deaf New Yorker Lou Ferrigno. Seen today, the film comes off as a little…well, you know…what with the group showers, the oil, the excessive gawking at one’s self in the mirror. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Actually, the film is still fascinating even today, especially if you want to see an early Arnie. Here he comes off as a vain- but deservingly so, in my book, yet good-natured, slightly meat-headed (but not dumb) fellow, who admittedly has a bit of a jerk in him too. Albeit a likeable one who might just be putting it on to give a good show and promote his sport. He plays with poor Ferrigno’s head quite a bit, explai

Review: A Reason to Live, a Reason to Die

Set during the American Civil War, Yankee commander James Coburn recruits an army of seven condemned men to take back Fort Holman, currently held by Confederate baddie Telly Savalas. Coburn (who faces a court martial for surrendering the fort so easily) attempts to keep his band of unscrupulous men (including Bud Spencer and Rene Kolldehoff) in line by promises of Confederate gold hidden somewhere in the walls of Fort Holman. This 1972 Tonino Valerii ( “Day of Anger” , with Lee Van Cleef, and “My Name is Nobody” , with Henry Fonda) film is a Civil War-era spaghetti western take on “The Dirty Dozen” with smaller cast (and Coburn in place of Lee Marvin, basically), smaller aims, and minor results. It also bears similarity to Sergio Leone’s Mexican Revolution epic “A Fistful of Dynamite” (AKA “Duck, You Sucker” ) in plot terms. The film comes in two versions, an uncut version in which Coburn did not dub his own dialogue, and a shorter version which Coburn does indeed have h