Showing posts from April 23, 2017

Review: Dawn of the Dead (2004)

Sarah Polley wakes up one night to a neighbourhood girl suddenly appearing in her bedroom, and subsequently biting her husband and trying to bite her. Polley was completely unaware that a zombie outbreak had been spreading, and the people are all in a panic. Eventually Polley falls in with a group of survivors who head to the mall for refuge. With the zombie horde outside chomping at the bit to get inside and chomp at their bits, our ragtag group of survivors must hold strong. That’s not so easy once people start getting infected. Michael Kelly plays an a-hole mall security guard, Ving Rhames is a cop, Mekhi Pfifer is a guy whose wife is heavily pregnant, Jake Weber is an Average Joe, Ty Burrell is a sarcastic dick, and Matt Frewer and Lindy Booth later show up as a father and daughter. Popular in some crowds, this 2004 remake of the 1978 George Romero undisputed classic from director Zack Snyder ( “300” , “Watchmen” , “Man of Steel” ) and screenwriter James Gunn (director of “

Review: Under Siege

The crew of the USS Missouri are set to celebrate the birthday of ship’s captain (Patrick O’Neal), whilst the ship itself is close to being decommissioned. Unfortunately, a plot is afoot as faux musician William Strannix (Tommy Lee Jones) boards the ship supposedly for the party, but the former CIA operative with a screw loose sets about taking command of the ship, along with a team of goons (including Colm Meaney and Eddie Bo Smith) and inside man Commander Krill (Gary Busey), who is the Captain’s treacherous Number Two. Our one last best hope? Ship’s cook Casey Ryback (Steven Seagal), currently confined to a meat locker for pissing off Krill and fellow hard-arse Ensign Taylor (Glenn Morshower, effective in a rare bad guy, non-Secret Service agent role). How can a lowly cook save the day, you ask? Well Ryback’s no mere cook. He used to be a Navy SEAL who got into shit for striking an officer and since the captain liked him, he allowed Ryback to serve out his days as the ship’s cook.

Review: 10 Cloverfield Lane

Mary Elizabeth Winstead is driving one night when she gets run off the road. She wakes up locked up and chained by burly, intense John Goodman who says it’s for her protection. Eventually, she is let out of her restraints to find that she’s in some kind of doomsday prepper shelter, and Goodman warns that she can’t go outside. Nothing outside is inhabitable anymore, he says the air is poisonous, after an ‘attack’ of some kind. Winstead is still highly suspicious and starts to look for a way out, as she also learns more about her harsh captor (or saviour?).   To be perfectly honest, I think this film works best the less you know about it. So bear that in mind, in case you want to back out of this review now. Spoilers will be duly forewarned, but still proceed at your own peril. A mixture of “Cloverfield” and the low-budget “Monsters” , this 2016 Dan Trachtenberg film manages to do right what those two films failed to do. For starters, for a film kinda sorta set in the same univ

Review: The Elephant Man

Set in London in the late 1800s, affluent surgeon Dr. Frederick Treves (Sir Anthony Hopkins) attends the ‘freak show’ of ghastly drunk Bytes (Freddie Jones, seemingly scarily familiar with the mannerisms of a drunk) and is mesmerised by ‘The Elephant Man’, whose real name is John Merrick (John Hurt). Treves arranges to ‘borrow’ Merrick, and takes him back to the academic hospital where he lectures, hoping to study Merrick and his severe deformities. He also helps Merrick deal with a serious speech impediment and gives him back the dignity that was robbed of him by the vile Bytes. Meanwhile, he comes to learn that Merrick is a sweet-natured and rather intelligent young fellow. However, is part of Treves’ motivation one of boosting his own image or reputation? Sir John Gielgud plays Treves’ superior Mr. Carr-Gomm, Wendy Hiller plays the head nurse at the hospital, Michael Elphick is the sleazy night porter, and Anne Bancroft plays a famous socialite and actress who meets Merrick and sh

Review: Night of the Eagle/Burn, Witch, Burn

Peter Wyngarde plays a psychology professor who lectures on superstition and belief, which is jolly convenient since he discovers his American wife Janet Blair believes in and practices witchcraft. He thinks it’s all superstitious nonsense, and asks her to burn all of her witchcraft-y nick-nacks. And that’s when shit starts to go wrong for him. Could black magic forces be trying to destroy this non-believer? Norman Bird plays Wyngarde’s superior, while Kathleen Byron and Margaret Johnston plays the wives of faculty members. Cult item from 1961 directed by Sidney Hayers (the not-bad “Circus of Horrors” ) seemed all very much ado about nothing to me. Based on a Fritz Leiber novel and scripted by the normally reliable vets Charles Beaumont ( “Masque of the Red Death” , “7 Faces of Dr. Lao” ) and Richard Matheson ( “The Incredible Shrinking Man” , “The Pit and the Pendulum” ), the Brit black magic flick is all so incredibly stuffy and…very, very uncool. Since the film is so i

Review: Twilight Zone: The Movie

“Time Out”: Vic Morrow stars as an unrepentant and crotchety bigot out drinking with some friends (Charles Hallahan and Doug McGrath) after being passed over for a promotion in favour of an Asian person. After offending some African-American patrons (Steven Williams in particular), Morrow exits the bar only to end up lost in a time warp (or should that be, The Twilight Zone?), entering 1940s Germany from the POV of a Jewish person, persecuted by the KKK as a black person, and eventually thrust into the battlefields of Vietnam…as a Vietnamese person (Not sure if that last one’s a fair comparison to the others, but uh…OK John). “Kick the Can”: Scatman Crothers turns up as a jovial retiree who entices the residents of a retirement home to play a game of Kick the Can, resulting in them reverting to their childhood selves. “It’s a Good Life”: Kathleen Quinlan accidentally hits bike-riding youngster Jeremy Licht, and gives him a lift home. There she finds the boy’s family (Kevi