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Showing posts from September 10, 2017

Review: Cars

In a world devoid of humans, arrogant racing car Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson) has an automobile accident on his way to a big tournament that sees him stranded in a dead-end town called Radiator Springs. He’s arrested for a traffic offence and judge Doc Hudson (voiced by Paul Newman, a long-time racing fan and driver in real-life) sentences him to repair a stretch of road. Doc also happens to be a former racing champion himself. Bonnie Hunt voices Sally, a Porsche and local motel owner who slowly starts to find some charm in McQueen. Paul Dooley voices a jeep named Sarge, George Carlin is a hippie VW, and John Ratzenberger has his moments voicing a neglectful big rig in charge of transporting McQueen.

AKA: “Doc Hollywood” meets “Wacky Racers”. This 2006 John Lasseter film for Pixar should’ve been a cracker, even for non-revheads like me. The animation is superlative, and hey, any film with the voices of Paul Newman, Michael Keaton, and Paul Dooley is not to be sneezed at, …

Review: We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks

Alex Gibney is a talented documentary filmmaker who has made some terrific films (Especially “Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God” and “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief”), but the subject matter he deals with in this 2013 film has never and will never interest me in the slightest. I think both sides of the WikiLeaks/Julian Assange debate over-egg things to be perfectly honest, not to mention that those on the Right who were initially anti-Assange now love the guy because he helped derail Hillary Clinton’s bid for Presidency, which just makes me roll my eyes. I also just find the whole thing rather tedious, much the same feeling I have about the Edward Snowden story. If pressed I’d probably fall on the side of being anti-WikiLeaks as I think there is at least a potential danger or recklessness in what WikiLeaks does. I also think Assange is a preening, egotistical anarchist and a complete tit of a human being (Though I think the rape case against him was both…

Review: The Stand

A government-engineered super-flu experiment ends up inadvertently causing the deaths of all the scientists involved, before eventually breaking out into the general population. Before long most of America’s population have succumbed, despite the U.S. military’s attempt to contain the situation. Somehow though, several people appear to be immune to the virus. These few survivors appear to be having one of two dreams: Either visions of a cornfield and a maternal elderly woman calling herself Mother Abigail (Ruby Dee) calling on them to come and see her soon. Or, visions of a dark, seductive figure whom we eventually learn calls himself Randall Flagg (Jamey Sheridan). Basically, one represents the forces of Good, the other of Evil, and it’s time to make a choice. Gary Sinise essentially plays out lead protagonist, whilst Molly Ringwald plays a young woman whose father (Ken Jenkins) gets sick, with Corin Nemec as the sour nerd who has an unrequited crush on her. Adam Storke plays a one-h…

Review: The Adderall Diaries

James Franco is writer Stephen Elliott, whose life starts to crumble when a public reading of his work is ruined by the re-emergence of Stephen’s father (Ed Harris), whom Stephen has claimed both in and out of book form was an abusive monster who is dead. Clearly daddy isn’t dead, and while that doesn’t necessarily mean Stephen’s entirely a bullshit artist, his editor (Cynthia Nixon) has a bugger of a time trying to prevent publishers from baulking on his latest literary effort. Also not helping things, Stephen has writer’s block and uses Adderall (and engages in other kinds of not particularly healthy behaviour) to deal with his inability to get anywhere on his latest writing project. He’s interested in a court case involving a suspected murderer (Christian Slater, basically playing Franco’s role in the better “True Story”), who has apparently killed his wife and kids but maintains he’s innocent and that he’s a good dad. Attending the trial, Stephen also encounters a pretty reporter …

Review: Sully

In 2009 pilot Chesley 'Sully' Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) flies into a flock of geese which takes the plane’s engines out. However, he still manages to land the stricken flight 1549 safely in the waters of the Hudson River, with all 155 passengers and crew unharmed and accounted for. Although the passengers and media naturally brand Sully a hero, he and co-pilot Jeff Skiles (Aaron Eckhart) are forced to endure an investigation into their actions that could see Sully’s career in serious jeopardy. Basically, the National Transportation Safety Board are pissed that the plane is a write-off, rather than being pleased that everyone escaped unharmed. Still, did the veteran pilot of 40+ years make an error in judgement? Laura Linney plays Sully’s wife, Sam Huntington one of the passengers, and Michael Rapaport turns up as a bartender.

An extremely minor but nonetheless very watchable real-life recount from director Clint Eastwood (“Play Misty For Me”, “White Hunter Black Heart”, “Mystic…

Review: Harmony

We’re presented with a sterile future Japan run by the ‘Admedistration’ and a militaristic World Health Organisation who have developed ‘WatchMe’ system, nanotech that regulates people’s health and well-being to the point of a lack of individuality. Our protagonist is WHO investigator/enforcer Tuan Kirie, who ten years ago fell in with a non-conformist radical named Miach Mihie who wanted to beat the system. It got to the point where Miach, Tuan, and one other girl made a suicide pact that only Miach apparently went through with. Now, after being reassigned back to Tokyo, Tuan catches up with the third friend from 10 years ago, Cian and whilst the two are having dinner, Cian flips out and violently commits suicide. She’s not the only one, as it seems to be sweeping the city like a plague. Tuan begs her superiors to let her investigate, and eventually she starts to suspect that past events in her own life are somehow connected to the current series of suicides. Miach couldn’t possibly …

Review: The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight

Dopey NYC crooks led by hopeless Jerry Orbach try and muscle in on tough Brooklynite Lionel Stander’s territory, and failing miserably. In a subplot we have goofy and good-natured immigrant thief Robert De Niro (whose character is supposed to be an Italian cyclist) hooking up with Orbach’s sister Leigh Taylor-Young. Lots of familiar mob movie faces turn up in small roles (Michael V. Gazzo and Burt Young among them), and Herve Villechaize even appears, playing a diminutive gang member.

A hard-working cast (Orbach especially) and an absurdist/surreal inclusion of a lion cannot save this frankly not very funny James Goldstone (the pathetic all-star disaster flop “When Time Ran Out…”) oddity from 1971. A little of the slapstick hijinks goes not especially far, with gruff Stander (unrestrained) and several others overacting to the point of great irritation (the recurring gag of Stander’s fear of a car bomb, with his hapless wife being given the task of testing it out, wasn’t even funny the…