Showing posts from August 3, 2014

Review: Requiem for a Heavyweight

Anthony Quinn is veteran boxer Mountain Rivera, who is a punch away from blindness. So he sets about looking for something else to do, with the help of a sweet-natured employment consultant (Julie Harris), who sees the sensitive man behind the hulking frame, near-indecipherable speech, and loud manner. Unfortunately, Mountain’s long-time manager and friend Maish (a perfect Jackie Gleason) is in a financial bind, owing money to mobster Ma Greeny (Madame Spivy- incredible), and isn’t above manipulating his good buddy Mountain to fix his problems. Mickey Rooney plays Army, the veteran ‘cut man’ who genuinely cares for Mountain, and is disgusted by Maish’s behaviour.

Anthony Quinn gives an unforgettably moving performance in this 1962 Ralph Nelson (“Lilies of the Field”, “Charly”, “tick…tick…tick”) film written by Rod Serling (“The Twilight Zone”, “Planet of the Apes”) of all people. The film begins with a great tracking shot by cinematographer Arthur Ornitz (“A Thousand Clowns”, “Charly”

Review: Capricorn One

James Brolin, Sam Waterston and…um…OJ Simpson play a trio of astronauts about to embark on the first manned space trip to land on the surface of Mars. At the last minute, however, the trio are pulled from the ship and taken in secret to an abandoned hanger out in the middle of nowhere. While the empty rocket takes off without them, NASA mission head Hal Holbrook gives the men a talking to (and it’s a helluva speech). Apparently NASA only learned a few weeks ago that the contractor had done some dodgy work on the life-support system, and had they gone up, they would’ve died. Cancelling the mission would’ve seen funding to NASA cut considerably. So it was decided to fake the whole thing, and the astronauts must participate in the charade (via faked TV footage done in the hanger- a makeshift studio) or else risk the safety of all of their loved ones. However, the astronauts quickly learn that NASA has no plans to let the three of them live, as the shuttle burns on re-entry. Realising the…

Review: Warm Bodies

Zombies are now seen as a menace to society. But R (Nicholas Hoult) immediately strikes us as different. For starters, he’s the surprisingly articulate narrator of the beginning of the film, even though his speaking voice is a whole lot slower to get the words out than his internal monologue. He’s a thinking zombie, it seems, and is certainly different from the skeletal Bonies, zombies that are far too gone, with no trace of humanity left whatsoever, including skin. But like I said, R is much different. When he eats the brains of Teresa Palmer’s boyfriend (Dave Franco, James’ brother) and gains access to his memories, he feels a connection to Palmer. Palmer is understandably a little frightened, what with R being a zombie and having eaten her boyfriend’s brains. But after taking Palmer away from almost certain lunch by R’s zombie brethren (including Rob Corddry) not to mention the Bonies, something of a bond develops between human and zombie. And it’s this bond that might just prove t…

Review: Olympus Has Fallen

Gerard Butler plays a disgraced former Presidential guard who failed to save the life of the First Lady (Hello and goodbye Ashley Judd), but finds a chance at redemption when he just so happens to be inside the White House when it comes under terrorist siege by dastardly North Koreans, led by dead-eyed Rick Yune. It’s up to him to stop Yune’s nefarious plans (involving codes for all the nukes), and rescue the President (Aaron Eckhart), the Secretary of Defence (Melissa Leo) and several other bigwigs currently held hostage in a convenient secret underground bunker! Meanwhile, Butler is in contact with the likes of Secret Service Head Angela Bassett, Speaker of the House Morgan Freeman, and military man Robert Forster from outside the White House. Dylan McDermott plays Butler’s Secret Service buddy who is the inside man. Radha Mitchell plays Butler’s main squeeze, a nurse.

As was the case in 1998 when two asteroid movies were released the same year, 2013 saw two action movies set in the…

Review: White House Down

Channing Tatum plays a screw-up with a military past who gets rejected for Presidential Secret Service detail. Nonetheless he takes the time to take a tour of the White House with his political geek 11 year-old daughter (Joey King) when all hell breaks loose. A group of the FBI’s Most Wanted headed by paramilitary-type Jason Clarke and working for disgruntled retiring head of Secret Service James Woods has invaded the White House! Woods’ son was a soldier killed on what he feels was President Jamie Foxx’s watch, something he wants POTUS to pay for. Now it’s up to Tatum, whose presence is not yet known to the terrorists, to save the President’s life, and the day. Michael Murphy plays the useless VP, Richard Jenkins plays the Speaker of the House whose protection Tatum is currently a part of, and Maggie Gyllenhaal plays Woods’ star pupil, who rejected Tatum (whom she went to college with, no less) for the Presidential Secret Service gig.

Every year brings with it a few films that genuin…

Review: Hummingbird

Jason Statham stars as an emotionally and psychologically shattered ex-Special Forces soldier now basically a denizen of the streets, having gone AWOL for some hazy reasons. He was made into a killing machine by the military, but what good is that now that he’s back home and is still haunted by his actions? Statham is trying to make things right with the mother of his child, as well as trying to keep an eye on another homeless person whose whereabouts are currently unknown. He also forms an odd and unlikely bond with a compassionate nun (Agata Buzek) who works in the soup kitchen Statham (who also has a drinking problem) occasionally frequents. He’s clearly looking for redemption of some kind. Statham’s temper and violent tendencies occasionally get the better of him, though, and he also manages to land a disreputable gig working for a Chinese mobster. The latter is because he’s still trying to find out what happened to his friend. He’ll stop at nothing to find the truth.

Perhaps insp…