Showing posts from September 21, 2014

Review: Brass Target

Ordered by Gen. Patton (George Kennedy), American GI’s are on a train carrying gold worth $250 million late in WWII. However, the train is ambushed, 59 GI’s are killed, and the gold stolen. World weary Maj. John Cassavetes is called in by Col. Bruce Davison to investigate what appears to be an inside job, with Patton trying to keep the suspicious Russians calm. The audience finds out early that the culprits are three subordinates of Patton including homosexual Colonel Robert Vaughn (!), and his right-hand man (Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge. Say no more!) Col. Edward Herrmann. Said culprits have hired elusive hitman Max von Sydow to rub Gen. Patton out. Sophia Loren plays the poor Polish war survivor (!) caught between former lover Cassavetes and some very bad acquaintances. Patrick McGoohan plays Cassavetes’ wily Colonel pal who was also in on the heist.   This 1978 John Hough ( “Twins of Evil” , “The Legend of Hell House” , “Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry” ) film scripted by TV veteran

Review: The One That Got Away

Hardy Kruger plays real-life hot-shot German pilot Franz von Werra, who does his absolute best to escape from British imprisonment and get back to the Fatherland. Bungling/negligent British captors don’t seem to make his efforts especially difficult. I mean, these guys are pilot to a mind-blowing fault.   The eclectic Roy Ward Baker ( “A Night to Remember” , “The Anniversary” , “The Vampire Lovers” , “Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires” ) directs this mini- “Great Escape” from 1957, and although it’s got nothing on that all-time classic from 1963, it does have merit. It gives handsome young German star Hardy Kruger (a real-life WWII POW who made three escape attempts, the third successful) a terrific showcase for his underrated talents. His character isn’t a die-hard follower of Nazism, merely a glory-seeking flyboy, full of (over) confidence. Remarkable as it may seem for a British film about WWII, Kruger’s Lt. von Werra, although arrogant and stubborn, isn’t demonised. I was

Review: Tales of Ugetsu

(Originally at Date written 2003, by a very angry Uni student)   In my Asian Cinema class at Uni, we watched some pretty decent films ("Chinese Ghost Story" the best of the bunch), but we also watched our fair share of tedious, pretentious, archaic, intellectual/arthouse claptrap. Welcome to the world of Kenji Mizoguchi, folks, or as I like to call it, Celluloid Hell.   During the Civil War, peasant Masayuki Mori leaves his wife and kid behind to go on a perilous (and interminable) journey with brother Eitaro Ozawa and meets eccentric Machiko Kyo (From Kurosawa's interesting, if long-winded "Rashomon" ) who may or may not be a ghost.   At least I THINK that was the plot, I might've slept through great chunks of it. This was the only film I saw in class where I had a blank sheet of paper after the screening. I followed the narrative comfortably, there was simply nothing I had to say about the least not positive.

Review: Bullet to the Head

Sly Stallone plays a New Orleans hitman named James Bonomo, better known as Jimmy Bobo, who along with partner Jon Seda bump off a dirty ex-cop. However, not long afterwards, a hulking former mercenary named Keegan (Jason Momoa) kills Seda. Enter Washington cop Sung Kang, who thinks the two murders must be related, and travelling to N.O., he approaches Jimmy Bobo to question him about it. You see, Kang was the former partner of the deceased scumbag cop. Unfortunately, local cops on the take start targeting Kang too (partly because Kang is a giant moron or at least exceedingly gullible), leading to Kang having to form an uneasy alliance with criminal Jimmy Bobo, who isn’t an ‘ask questions first’ kinda guy (I mean, what questions does a hitman need to ask anyway?). Out for revenge, Bobo just wants to kill every last sonofabitch responsible for his partner’s murder (which is easier than say, killing every corrupt person in New Orleans, which according to this movie is pretty much eve

Review: The Bay

Inexperienced TV reporter Kether Donohue (with a dumpy wardrobe and cropped hair) narrates video footage telling the tale she witnessed firsthand of an ecological disaster that befell a small Maryland town a couple of years back where human beings dropped like flies after becoming infected with a deadly parasitic virus. Christopher Denham plays an oceanographer, and Robert Treveiler is a doctor for the CDC.   Noted director Barry Levinson ( “Good Morning, Vietnam” , “Rain Man” , “Wag the Dog” ) tries his hand at ‘faux-doco’ filmmaking with this dry and boring 2012 mixture of ‘found footage’ horror film and hippie Greenpeace movie. It doesn’t go well. It never convinces as real, the actors are clearly actors, with the very recognisable Christopher Denham from “Argo” and Robert Treveiler as one of the CDC guys is a veteran of many films and especially TV shows, though at least in his case I wasn’t able to pinpoint exactly where I recognised him from (Probably his two stints on

Review: Cool Hand Luke

Paul Newman stars as Luke, a WWII veteran who ends up with a two year stint on a chain gang after a moment of drunken stupidity and boredom saw him decapitate a couple of parking meters. If you think two years prison is harsh, just wait until you meet the head prison ‘Boss’ (Strother Martin), who doesn’t take kindly to troublemakers, and ‘ol Luke marches to the beat of his own drum, so you know there’s gonna be issues between the two. Meanwhile, he also has a tough time getting on the good side of his fellow prisoners, who are headed by the hulking hillbilly Dragline (George Kennedy), leading to a boxing match between the two. But ultimately it’s the prison staff (Morgan Woodward, Luke Askew, Charles Tyner, and Clifton James) who don’t take kindly to Luke’s stubborn, almost arrogant refusal to play by their rules (which sees the anti-hero somewhat idolised by the other prisoners), and will do their absolute best to break him. Luke’s fellow prisoners are played by the likes of J.D.