Showing posts from August 31, 2014

Review: Hell Baby

A nice couple with a baby on the way (Leslie Bibb and Rob Corddry) move into a house they soon realise is haunted. Crazy shit happens, neighbour Keegan-Michael Key acts weird, Vatican priests (Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant) arrive to save the day. Paul Scheer turns up as a cop, Riki Lindholme is Bibb’s free-spirited sister.

Co-directors/co-writers/co-stars Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon strike out with this desperately lame horror spoof from 2013 that makes the “Scary Movie” franchise look brilliant by comparison. And that’s a bit surprising because Garant’s “Balls of Fury” had its moments, Lennon has been funny at times too (as the snooty German in “Balls of Fury” especially), and they both co-wrote the “Night at the Museum” films which were kinda fun. But then you remember that the film comes from Millennium Films, has Rob Corddry in the lead, and supporting performances by C-list comedians Paul Scheer and Keegan-Michael Key, and it starts to make more sense.

Why are we g…

Review: The Jewel of the Nile

Sometime after Jack Colton (Michael Douglas) and author Joan Wilder (Kathleen Turner) set sail at the end of “Romancing the Stone”, we pick up with Joan being enlisted by Middle Eastern sheik Omar (the very Arabic-sounding Spiros Focas) to help him with some PR by writing his biography. Joan agrees, leaving Jack behind. When Jack’s boat is almost immediately blown up, he realises something fishy is going on. And indeed, the benevolent sheik is much more than he appears (After all, this is a guy with an apparent PR problem, right?). It’s about this time that Jack runs into a very disgruntled Ralph (Danny DeVito), still sore about being pinned for his part in the kidnapping of the first film. However, when Jack is approached by Tarak (the very Tarak-sounding Paul David Magid) who warns Jack that Omar is a very bad man and must be brought down. He is apparently not the rightful ruler, and in order to set things straight, Jack must find the Jewel of the Nile, which Omar has stolen. Oh, an…

Review: Romancing the Stone

Kathleen Turner plays romance novelist Joan Wilder, who gets embroiled in a plot similar to the kind in her novels when her sister (Mary Ellen Trainor) gets kidnapped in Colombia. Once there, Wilder enlists the aid of dishevelled-looking soldier of fortune (and fellow American) named Jack Colton (Michael Douglas) and the duo set out to find a precious stone wanted by the sister’s kidnapper, which they’ll exchange for her release. Meanwhile, another displaced American, unscrupulous Danny DeVito is also skulking about, hoping to get his filthy, stubby little mitts on the stone. Alfonso Arau plays a rather disarmingly agreeable bandit, and Holland Taylor is Wilder’s publisher in the States.

Although I’ve heard the screenplay had its genesis in the late 70s, the main inspiration for this 1984 romantic adventure from director Robert Zemeckis (“Back to the Future”, “Forrest Gump”) was likely “Raiders of the Lost Ark” with a touch of paperback romance to boot. I also see something else in th…

Review: The Lion King

Takes a look at a lion pride from the point of view of Simba (voiced by Jonathan Taylor Thomas, with Matthew Broderick taking over as an adult), whose Machiavellian uncle Scar (voiced by Jeremy Irons) conspires with a pack of hyenas to orchestrate the death of Lion King and Simba’s dad, the regal and noble Mufasa (voiced by James Earl Jones), so that Scar can blame it on Simba and ascend the throne himself.

This enormously successful 1994 Disney animated movie from directors Roger Allers (“Open Season”) and Rob Minkoff (“Stuart Little”, “The Forbidden Kingdom”) is a little overrated. It’s an OK film, but quite slow, and basically a musical revamp of “Bambi” with a large helping of Shakespeare for good measure. The highlights of the film include a wonderful, “Bambi”-inspired opening showing all of the animals, as well as a helluva good stampede scene later on.

The voice cast is uneven, undeniably bolstered by the magisterial James Earl Jones as Mufasa, and one of the best things Jeremy…

Review: Pain & Gain

Based on a whacked-out true story, Mark Wahlberg is a meathead bodybuilder with a lot of ambition, and not much in the way of smarts. He considers himself a ‘doer’, and after listening to a motivational speaking seminar delivered by the ever-douchy Ken Jeong, Wahlberg has come up with what he sees as his chance to achieve a piece of the American Dream. Along with fellow bodybuilders Anthony Mackie and Dwayne Johnson (the latter a reformed drug addict and ex-con now with Jesus in his heart) he plans to kidnap one of Wahlberg’s obnoxious, rich clients (Tony Shalhoub) and coerce him into relocating his wealth into their pockets. Being dumbarses, however, things don’t exactly go swimmingly. Ed Harris turns up as a PI who is supposed to be retired, but it hasn’t quite stuck with him. Rebel Wilson turns up as a horny nurse who attempts to help Mackie with his ‘supplement’-derived impotence issues.

At first glance it might seem distasteful to take a very serious true crime incident and turn …

Review: Shelter

Julianne Moore stars as a psychologist who specialises in debunking cases of multiple personality disorder she claims doesn’t exist. Her shrink dad Jeffrey DeMunn calls her one day to arrange for her to meet with a disturbed young man, played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers. He supposedly suffers from the aforementioned disorder, and one of his personalities is even in a wheelchair! Moore believes it to be cheap theatrics and tries to prove so. Things get weird, though, when one of Meyers’ personalities appears to be that of a murdered man, and Meyers seems to know very intimate facts about him. And then other personalities emerge, ones that Moore herself is tied to. Frances Conroy turns up as the rather sad mother of a murdered young man.

I don’t think this 2010 film (also known as “6 Souls”) from directors Mans Marlind and Bjorn Stein (“Underworld: Awakening”) and writer Michael Cooney (James Mangold’s highly underrated “Identity”) is so bad it deserved to remain unreleased in the US until …

Review: The Wolverine

Hugh Jackman is back as the clawed Wolverine (AKA Logan) who is brooding in the Canadian wilderness and still haunted by the memory of his deceased lover, Dr. Jean Grey (Famke Janssen). A young Japanese swordswoman (Rila Fukushima) urges Wolverine to leave his den of misery and come to Tokyo with her to see an old acquaintance; The Japanese soldier whose life Wolverine saved back in WWII. Played in the present by Haruhiko Yamanouchi, he’s now an elderly and apparently dying head of a technology company. He dies shortly after Wolverine arrives, and the man’s death sees a whole lot of nefarious goings on as everyone seems to want control of the dead man’s company. Wolverine manages to prevent the soldier/tycoon’s granddaughter (Tao Okamoto) from Yakuza threat, but whilst they are on the run, Wolverine discovers that he’s not healing as quickly as he normally would and is getting weaker. For this he can thank the dead man’s carer, who is in fact a mutant named Viper (and played by Svetla…

Review: The AristoCats

Set in Paris in the early 1900s, the film centres around the treasured cats of a wealthy elderly woman (voiced by Hermione Baddeley) who wants to change her will to leave all her belongings to her cats. Her scheming butler Edgar (who will only inherit the fortune after all the cats are dead) hears of this and plots to get rid of the cats. After being dumped in the middle of nowhere the cats, led by matriarch Duchess (voiced by Eva Gabor!) try to find their way home. Along the way they run into jazz-loving alley cat O’Malley (voiced by the inimitable Phil Harris), who agrees to help them get back home, and along the way, introduces them to the toe-tapping delights of jazz music. Scatman Crothers voices Scat Cat, a hip musician associate of O’Malley.

Here’s a Disney animated film I needed to catch-up on, as this 1970 film from director Wolfgang Reitherman (“Sleeping Beauty”, “The Jungle Book”, “Robin Hood”) came out ten years before I was born, and it hasn’t appeared on TV much since. T…

Review: InAPPropriate Comedy

The premise is a tablet containing the most offensive Apps in the world, including “Flirty Harry”, “The Amazing Racist”, a porno movie review show, and so on.

I can’t believe I’m going to type this, but…from the man who brought you the “ShamWOW” and the “Schticky” (Seriously, who would ever buy the ‘Little Schticky’? I’ve never understood that) comes one of the worst sketch comedy movies you’ll ever see. This 2013 so-called comedy comes from the one and only Vince Offer, who serves as director, co-writer and bit player in this desperately unfunny film about raunchy ‘Apps’, that are really just a bunch of TV show parody ideas, so the ‘App’ thing seemed rather unnecessary and arbitrary to me. It should’ve been about a YouTube channel or something, though I’m not exactly a big technology guy, so maybe there are Apps something like these ones. Or at least make these a bunch of sketches found on just one App, that would make much more sense to me.

Not one of these ideas is remotely funny, u…