Showing posts from November 9, 2014

Review: Mixed Nuts

Steve Martin is the proprietor of an LA suicide hotline, that is being run in an apartment building run by Garry Shandling who hands Martin an eviction notice. On Christmas Eve. Martin’s seemingly only staff are sweet-natured Rita Wilson (who gets too involved with callers, and also has the hots for Martin), and Madeline Kahn as the rather cranky Mrs. Mushnik (Who doesn’t remotely convince as someone who works in this industry). Other people who drop by the apartment this evening include Juliette Lewis as Wilson’s pregnant sister whose douchebag baby daddy Anthony LaPaglia is dressed as Santa, Liev Schreiber as a depressed drag queen (his theatrical film debut!), Adam Sandler as Adam Sandler doing an Adam Sandler routine in a film not about Adam Sandler, Joely Fisher as Martin’s ex, and Robert Klein as a dog-loving neighbour. Anyway, someone dies, and oh, and there’s apparently a serial killer stalking the city. Could one of our characters be The Seaside Strangler?   OK, so i

Review: The Greatest

Likeable 18 year-old Aaron Taylor-Johnson takes an ill-advised stop in the middle of the road one night and is killed by an oncoming truck. His relatively new girlfriend Carey Mulligan was in their car at the time too, but relatively unharmed. The film deals with each of his family members’ grief, with maths professor dad Pierce Brosnan closing up somewhat, whilst despondent mum Susan Sarandon becomes obsessed with surveillance footage of the accident that suggests her eldest son (‘The Greatest’ of the film’s stupid title) lived for about 15 minutes after the accident and the now comatose truck driver who struck him (Michael Shannon) may have had a conversation with him before he died. When a heavily pregnant Mulligan (the baby was apparently conceived on the very night Taylor-Johnson died!) turns up at their doorstep looking to get to know her expectant baby’s family more (she wants to keep it), Sarandon is less than enthused, but Brosnan does his best to be welcoming as she apparen

Review: The Dirty Dozen

Formerly at, written in 2007, and somewhat inspired by a Uni essay I totally aced a few years earlier. Not kidding, got a high distinction for it.   An anti-authority Army Major (Lee Marvin), is assigned by no-nonsense General Ernest Borgnine, the task of choosing and training twelve military prisoners-murderers, rapists and nutcases on either heavy jail or death sentences- for a top-secret WWII assignment to destroy a chateau in France supposedly hosting a lot of top enemy bigwigs. These uncouth and unseemly felons (who are promised quashed sentences should any distinguish themselves in combat and live to tell the tale), include; an antagonistic New York hood (John Cassavetes, in one of his best turns), a stoic Pole who can speak German (Charles Bronson, definitely one of his better efforts), a sneering religious zealot murderer (Telly Savalas, unforgettable), a gawky moron (Donald Sutherland, young and hilarious), a surprisingly sweet-natured Native American gi

Review: Play it Again, Sam

Woody Allen plays a depressed and neurotic film buff whose wife has left him. His friends, married couple Tony Roberts and Diane Keaton try to get him back on the dating scene, with comically disastrous results. Meanwhile, Allen receives relationship advice from Humphrey Bogart (Jerry Lacy, shrouded in a lot of shadow), a figment of his own imagination. After a while, Allen starts to feel attracted to the one person he shouldn’t: Keaton! Susan Anspach plays Allen’s wife, Jennifer Salt turns up as one of Allen’s disastrous dates.   Written by and starring Woody Allen ( “Annie Hall” , “Deconstructing Harry” , “Manhattan” ), this 1972 comedy comes from Woody’s own stage play, so it feels much more like a Woody Allen film, despite being directed by Herbert Ross ( “The Last of Sheila” , “The Seven Per-Cent Solution” , “The Goodbye Girl” ). Despite my theory that it has helped cause everyone to misquote “Casablanca” , it’s easily one of the funniest and most entertaining films Alle

Review: In the Heat of the Night

Set in redneck central Mississippi, a wealthy industrialist from out of town is found dead by lunkhead Deputy Sam (Warren Oates). Chief Gillespie (Rod Steiger) tells Sam to be on the lookout for likely suspects. So he arrests the first black guy he sees, a well-dressed African-American waiting for a train at the station. Once he brings the man to the station and Gillespie starts to interview him, a call comes in informing Gillespie that the man is one Virgil Tibbs (Sidney Poitier, robbed of an Oscar nomination- just sayin’!), a top homicide detective from Philly. Whoops. Gillespie wants Virgil out of town as soon as possible, but the dead man’s hysterical wife (Lee Grant- who else?) sees that Virgil’s the only one around with any brains or common sense and demands he be a part of the investigation, or else the factory (that her husband was planning to build) won’t be built. Scott Wilson plays a jailbird and likely suspect, Matt Clark plays a friend of Wilson’s, Larry Gates plays Mr

Review: The Canyons

A vapid film about vapid people in which the vapid Lindsay Lohan stars as Tara, who is the main squeeze of douchy LA millionaire Christian (porn star James Deen), who is fond of group sex rendezvous that Tara has seemingly tired of (And is even more tired of how indiscreet Christian is about their late-night activities). Christian has invested in a low-budget film project starring Ryan (Nolan Funk), who is dating Christian’s assistant (Amanda Brooks). What no one knows is that Ryan used to be a thing with Tara, but she left him because he couldn’t make her feel financially secure at the time. Reunited over this upcoming film project, the old spark reignites. Can they keep things a secret from each other’s’ spouses? Tenille Houston plays another woman known in the Biblical sense to both men (Since when was LA a small freakin’ town?), and Gus Van Sant turns up as Christian’s shrink (!).   I’m far from a Bret Easton Ellis ( “Less Than Zero” , “American Psycho” ) fan, but when I