Showing posts from December 23, 2012

Review: Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark

9 year-old Bailee Madison (well, the actress is 11 but playing 9) joins her distracted dad Guy Pearce and his girlfriend Katie Holmes at Blackwood Manor, which Pearce (an architect) and Holmes (an interior decorator) are restoring. Madison is a troubled young thing who feels neglected by her mother and she treats the well-meaning Holmes rather horribly. And then Madison uncovers a hidden cellar and starts to hear voices from a grating. Caretaker Jack Thompson warns the girl to stay away from it. Yeah, that’ll happen. And tiny creatures begin to appear, and start to scare the living crap out of the poor girl. Aaawww, she was just looking for a friend! No one believes her stories, especially her rather distant dad, but Holmes can at least see something is wrong here, and starts investigating the background of the house. Garry McDonald appears in the nasty 19 th Century prologue as a previous owner of Blackwood who does something unspeakable to his maid. Filmed in Australia, th

Review: The Vicious Circle

Doctor Sir John Mills gets a call from a supposed friend (an American film producer) who asks him to do him a favour and meet German actress Lisa Danicly at the airport. Tagging along is the reporter (Lionel Jeffries) he has only just met. After the deed is done, the good doctor attends the opera with his fiancé Noelle Middleton and friends. When he returns to his flat, he finds the German woman dead, on the floor. He calls Scotland Yard, but is horrified when the Inspector (dependable Roland Culver) points the finger squarely at Mills. The murder weapon is found in the boot of his car, and even his alibi fails to hold up. Someone is surely setting him up (the phone call soon appears to have been a set-up), but who? And who is this mystery man (played by a sinister Wilfrid Hyde-White) who can apparently prove the doctor’s alibi? Derek Farr plays Mills’ somewhat Caddish friend, Mervyn Johns another doctor.   These Hitchcockian ‘Innocent Man’-type stories always have me hooked

Review: Stone (1974)

Spaced-out biker Toad (Hugh Keays-Byrne) witnesses the assassination of a politician at an environmental rally, and as a result, members of the Grave Diggers bikie gang (which Toad belongs to) start getting bumped off. The gang reluctantly allows undercover cop Stone (Ken Shorter) to join so that he can better investigate the murders and hopefully apprehend the killer. But only after he saves the lives of a few of their brethren from a gunman. He looks enough like a hippie biker to begin with that his police colleagues think he’s a weirdo. Sandy Harbutt turns up as The Undertaker, the leader of the gang. Vincent Gil is the bizarre Dr. Death, Helen Morse is Stone’s worried girlfriend, and Roger Ward plays bikie Hooks. Bill Hunter turns up in a small role as a bartender. Future “Mother and Son” sitcom star (and the future Norman Gunston) Garry McDonald plays a mechanic, in one scene. This 1974 Aussie biker movie from director (and co-star) Sandy Harbutt is pretty cheesy and sl

Review: The Reef

Damian Walshe-Howling, his best mate Gyton Grantley, his ex- girlfriend (and Grantley’s sister) Zoe Naylor, and Grantley’s girlfriend Adrienne Pickering are setting out to explore the Great Barrier Reef. With deckhand Kieran Darcy-Smith also on board, much snorkelling and such ensues. For a while. The boat hits some coral and ends up capsized and beginning to sink. Darcy-Smith (an experienced fisherman) wants to stay by the boat and hope for the best, not liking Walshe-Howling’s alternative of swimming to what looks like it might be an island that might only be a few km’s away. Grantley and Pickering aren’t strong swimmers, either. And then there’s the possibility of nasty creatures of the deep looking for their ‘noon feeding’ to quote a certain cinematic shark expert I trust I don’t need to identify. After a bit of debate, Darcy-Smith still stubbornly refuses to leave, but the other three decide that swimming is their best option and they head out. Naturally a shark turns up and the

Review: In Time

Set in the future where humans are genetically engineered to live to 25 and “Logan’s Run” is apparently played on a loop. OK, so I made that second part up. After you turn 25, you only have one more year to live, unless you ‘buy’ more time. Instead of money, everything in life is bought with time as its currency, which is pretty sweet if you’re wealthy. Justin Timberlake and his mother Olivia Wilde (!) aren’t so fortunate, having to live day by day. Timberlake comes into good fortune, however, when a time-rich stranger gives Timberlake a whole lot of his time, before the gangsters after him rub the guy out. Meanwhile, when bus fares suddenly go up whilst Wilde’s time is low, tragedy strikes. Timberlake is living the high life winning big at a casino (gambling with his life, literally) and meeting the beautiful Amanda Seyfried, when a timekeeper (cop) played by Cillian Murphy comes to investigate the aforementioned stranger’s death and Timberlake’s sudden great fortune. He goes on th