Showing posts from September 28, 2014

Review: Pete’s Dragon

Sean Marshall is young orphan Pete, whose best friend is a dragon no one else seems to be able to see. Fleeing the filthy Grogan clan (Shelley Winters, Charles Tyner, and Jeff Conaway) who wish to ‘own’ the boy, Pete ends up in the small town of Passamaquoddy, where lighthouse keeper Mickey Rooney and his daughter Helen Reddy take the boy in. Reddy won’t hear any talk of this dragon, though, but drunk Rooney claims to have seen it for himself. Meanwhile, travelling snake oil salesman Dr. Terminus (Jim Dale, with top hat and English accent- he’s the villain) and his associate Hoagy (Red Buttons) arrive, and when Dr. Terminus gets wind of the story of Pete’s dragon, he sees dollar signs, and tries to catch it for himself. It’s invisible, it doesn’t go well. Jim Backus has a cameo as the Mayor of Passamaquoddy.

An attempt by Disney to mix live-action with animation, ala their previous “Bedknobs and Broomsticks”, this 1977 fantasy from director Don Chaffey (“Jason and the Argonauts”, “One…

Review: A Clockwork Orange

Set in a supposedly near-future England, Alex DeLarge (Malcolm McDowell, in his signature role) and his gang of ‘droogs’ patrol the streets looking for a bit of the ‘ol ‘ultra-violence’, and maybe a bit of the ‘ol ‘in-out’ while they’re at it. They are amoral rapists and hooligans, but after a botched burglary, Alex is turned on by his followers (who include a young Warren Clarke), who are sick of being led, and decide to stitch him up. Alex is arrested and eventually convicted of burglary and murder, and sentenced to prison for 14 years. Inside he plays the model prisoner an eventually signs up for a radical, experimental rehabilitation therapy. After this drastic process, Alex comes out seemingly a different man than when he first arrived in prison. But what of the world around him? What will his former ‘droogs’ make of him now? Patrick Magee plays a victim of Alex who reappears later on in the film with a much changed dynamic, Aubrey Morris plays family doctor Deltoid, and Michael …

Review: The Call

Halle Berry plays a veteran 911 emergency operator who loses her nerve somewhat after call ends really badly through a mistake someone of her experience shouldn’t have made. After spending some time in a training role, she finds herself reluctantly pulled back in to the job when a call comes in from an abducted young woman (Abigail Breslin), who is currently stuck in the boot of the car of a disturbed man (Michael Eklund). Now it’s up to Berry to save the girl and thwart Eklund’s nasty plans. The kicker? Eklund is the same nutso killer from the incident that saw Berry take a hiatus from active duty is a 911 operator! Roma Maffia and Jose Zuniga play work colleagues, whilst Morris Chestnut and David Otunga are cops, the former also being Berry’s boyfriend.

Before it climaxes with an unfortunate thud as Halle Berry goes above and beyond her job description, this 2013 woman-in-peril film from director Brad Anderson (best-known for “The Machinist” and the frankly wonky indie romcom “Next …

Review: Basic Instinct 2

Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone) is back and seemingly up to old tricks in London, as a sexcapade in a car turns into an accident, and the poor bloke is killed. Drugs are found in the victim’s system, and thus Ms. Tramell comes under suspicion from cop David Thewlis. As she is to go on trial, Crown psychologist David Morrissey is called in to assess her. The poor sap has no idea who he’s dealing with or what he’s in for. Tramell manages to wiggle her way out of legal trouble, and sets her sights squarely on her shrink, playing all kinds of games with him. And then dead bodies start turning up. Charlotte Rampling plays Morrissey’s mentor, Indira Varma plays Morrissey’s ex-wife, and Hugh Dancy plays the tabloid writer his ex-wife is banging.

I’ve never been a fan of Sharon Stone, but at least in “Basic Instinct” (average film as it was) she was convincing in the part, though I’m not one who finds her drop-dead sexy, either. But after giving terrible performances in flops like “Sliver”,

Review: Pocahontas

British colonists and Native Americans clash when the former arrive on the latter’s land seeking gold. The colonists are led by Gov. Radcliffe (voiced by David Ogden Stiers) and the more even-keeled Capt. John Smith (voiced by Mel Gibson), who encounters Native American girl Pocahontas (voiced by Irene Bedard). She’s curious (despite a marriage with a Native boy already arranged), he’s smitten (despite her being a ‘savage’), but their two tribes are quite clearly headed for war. Billy Connolly provides the voice of Smith’s rowdy mate, and a young-ish Christian Bale is the voice of an impressionable young seaman.

Directed by Mike Gabriel (“The Rescuers Down Under”) & Eric Goldberg (previously an animator on “Aladdin”), this 1995 Disney film might be just about rock-bottom so far as Disney animated fare goes. I did so much eye-rolling in the first fifteen minutes alone that I was worried my eyes wouldn’t set themselves right again. It’s one of the least feminist films to feature a f…