Showing posts from December 22, 2013

Review: The Man With the Iron Fists

A far too low-key RZA stars as a freed slave and blacksmith in 19 th century China. No, I’m serious. He makes weapons for the two warring clans, and is trying to save enough money to free his girlfriend Lady Silk (the gorgeous Jamie Chung) from continuing to work in a brothel run by Madame Blossom (Lucy Liu). Things get complicated when Silver Lion (Byron Mann) and Bronze Lion (Cung Le) turn up to fuck shit up, looking for supposed hidden treasure and a mercenary named Zen Yi (Rick Yune). Zen Yi is son of Gold Lion, the leader whom Silver and Bronze Lion have overthrown. When the blacksmith refuses to tell them where Zen Yi is, his hands are removed from the rest of his body. He is nursed back to health by a mysterious, possibly psychotic, and frankly pervy English brothel patron named Jack the Knife (Russell Crowe), and his hands are replaced by huge iron fists. Now joined by Zen Yi, the trio are ready for battle, but Silver and Bronze Lion also have the hulking assassin Brass Bo

Review: Being Flynn

Based on a memoir by Nick Flynn, Paul Dano stars as- get this- Nick Flynn, a wannabe great writer, who is the estranged son of Jonathan Flynn (Robert De Niro), a wannabe great writer in his own right. Actually, he already equates himself with the greatest of American authors like Mark Twain and J.D. Salinger. Yeah. But in reality, Jonathan (who also works as a taxi driver. Yeah, I’ve seen that movie too...) is on the skids and going to waste. He has been evicted from his messy apartment, is racist and homophobic, and now needs the son he hasn’t seen in nearly 20 years to come pick him up. So Nick, flanked by his gay and African-American roommates (*sigh*) go and collect the old man. The next time he sees his father, Nick is working in a homeless shelter when Jonathan (an alcoholic) walks in looking for a roof over his head for the night, having exhausted the patience of everyone else in his life. Unfortunately, Jonathan proves more than a handful, and frankly just ungrateful and me

Review: Savages

Aaron Taylor-Johnson (as a philanthropist Buddhist) and Taylor Kitsch (as a former Navy SEAL) play a couple of Laguna Beach marijuana dealers, who are so close they share just about everything, even O (Blake Lively). They have gained the attention of powerful and ruthless Mexican drug czar Elena (Salma Hayek), her sadistic chief henchman (Benicio Del Toro) and her unscrupulous attorney (Demi├ín Bichir). Elena offers the trio a chance to join up in partnership, and things go to hell when they refuse (our resident Buddhist wants to retire to do charity work in Africa!), leading to O’s kidnapping. John Travolta plays a corrupt DEA agent whose allegiances seem to go to the highest bidder. Emile Hirsch plays a tech wizard associate of the central trio.   Oliver Stone might be the most erratic and inconsistent filmmaker currently active (capable of great films like “Platoon” , “JFK” , and “Born on the Fourth of July” as well as turds like “Nixon” , “U-Turn” , “W.” , and “Natura

Review: Bambi

The story of the titular young fawn as he makes his way through life into adulthood, learning many of life’s lessons. We’re not just talking about the nice lessons either, as the threat of hunters with their guns is always in mind, leading to one of the most heartbreaking scenes in the history of cinema.   Although it doesn’t reach the magical heights of “Pinocchio” , how can anyone not love this 1942 Disney classic from (supervising) director David C. Hand? Not only is it basically a rite of passage for every youngster, but without this film there would certainly be no “Lion King” (probably its most direct descendant- we won’t talk about “Bambi II” , nor will I ever watch it), “Fox and the Hound” , or “Finding Nemo” , to say the very least. It’s the archetypal Disney animated film with animated animal characters. It’s such a lovely film in many, many ways, but it’s often referred to as a coming-of-age film, and yes Bambi does learn that this is a cruel piece of shit world s

Review: Tears of the Sun

All hell has broken loose in Nigeria, and rebels have assassinated the President and his family. Bruce Willis leads a Navy SEAL team sent there to rescue an American (by marriage) doctor who runs a small Catholic mission in the jungle. There is only a small window of time afforded to them, and when they get there, the good doctor (played by Monica Bellucci) is reluctant to leave without her 70 odd sick/injured patients. The higher-ups (represented by Tom Skerritt with a walkie-talkie) say no, but Willis and his men find themselves having a crisis of conscience. Eamonn Walker, Cole Hauser, Nick Chinlund, and Johnny Messner play the other SEALs, whilst Fionnula Flanagan plays Athene Seyler, from “Inn of the Sixth Happiness” , basically.   Remember John Wayne’s “The Green Berets” , the Vietnam war film where the sun ludicrously set in the East? Well this 2003 Antoine Fuqua (the overrated “Training Day” , the inexplicable “King Arthur” ) flick may not be anywhere near as offensiv