Posts

Showing posts from September 24, 2017

Review: Alien3

Crash-landing on a planet housing a penal colony, Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) finds that her companions from the previous film are no more. Shaving her head to prevent the spread of lice, she is now the unwanted guest among a group of hardened murderers, rapists and creeps who have all apparently found religion but have zero tolerance for a woman staying with them. They’re gonna have to put that aside though, because Ripley has unwittingly brought another guest with her…a guest of the slimy, teeth-gnashing, killing machine variety. The problem? There’s no weapons around. Whoopsy, that’s a bit of a pickle when you’re dealing with an alien that is basically a single-minded killing machine. Charles Dance plays a former doctor turned inmate, whilst other prisoners are played by the likes of Danny Webb, Pete Postlethwaite, and Paul McGann. Brian Glover and Ralph Brown play respectively, the warden and the brown-nosing Mr. Aaron, who is a bit short of brains.

I had a pretty memorable ex…

Review: Pete’s Dragon

Oakes Fegley plays Pete, who becomes orphaned after his parents die in a car crash. He finds himself out in the woods all alone and about to be wolf dinner until he is rescued by a green dragon. The gentle creature who has the ability to make himself invisible becomes the boy’s friend, with Pete naming the dragon Elliott. Six years later, park ranger Bryce Dallas Howard and her step-daughter Oona Laurence discover the boy and along with her fiancé Wes Bentley (a logging manager and Laurence’s father), they take Pete in. Pete also meets Howard’s father Robert Redford, who claims to have seen a dragon long ago himself. Meanwhile, Bentley’s sour logger brother Karl Urban swears he sawElliott and is determined to track the dragon down.

The original “Pete’s Dragon” was yet another attempt by Disney to mix live-action and traditional cell animation, after “Mary Poppins” and the extremely underrated “Bedknobs and Broomsticks”. It wasn’t a good movie, but the only real problem was the title d…

Review: Rambo

Sly Stallone once again essays the grizzled, tortured war veteran who in this film has become surly, monosyllabic, and aimless, a heavy-drinking loner barely getting by in Thailand by catching snakes as a sideshow attraction. He’s approached by goody-goody Christian missionaries Julie Benz and Paul Schulze to take them up river to Myanmar (formerly Burma). He’s seriously reluctant to do so (‘Why bother?’ seems to be his primary reason), but Benz puts the charm to him and he seriously reluctantly agrees. Schulze (best known for playing an A-hole on TV’s “24”), meanwhile, disapproves of Rambo’s violent tendencies, and thinks it’s a bad idea to have him guide them. And of course, as soon as Rambo’s services are completed, our Bible-bashing do-gooder idiots get themselves captured by local militant extremists. So, the notoriously battle-scarred veteran must guide a team of mercenaries (led by the likeably macho Graham McTavish) to where the Flanders clan (sorry, couldn’t resist!) are bein…

Review: Death Sentence

All-American family’s idyllic existence (I mean, the family does include Kelly Preston for crying out loud) is rocked when Kevin Bacon’s kid (a promising young hockey player, of course) is murdered by a gang banger (Matthew O’Leary) during a gang initiation (these guys are all shaved-heads and tattoos, but aren’t skinheads, and are in fact, multi-racial). He’s arrested but rather than see him get scant jail time, Bacon would rather let him go (despite positively identifying him in a line-up), so he can dish out his own coldly-served form of revenge. Shave your head, pack some heat, it’s vigilante time! But can Bacon do what he must without losing great big chunks of himself? And has he opened up a whole can of worms that will only make matters worse for he and his beloved family? Preston plays Bacon’s increasingly worried wife, Aisha Tyler’s a cop who suspects Bacon of trying to solve things on his own, Garrett Hedlund plays the scummy ringleader, Aussie Leigh Whannell plays one of th…

Review: The Magic Blade

Rival swordsmen in Imperial China (Ti Lung and Lo Lieh) put aside their differences temporarily to head for the location of the title super-weapon, and keep it from those who wish to do evil with it. Chief among the evildoers is the mysterious Master Yu, who sends a plethora of assassins at our protagonists.

Chances are, if you loved “Big Trouble in Little China” or Gordon Liu’s character from “Kill Bill vol. 2”, then you’ll get much pleasure from this highly entertaining, colourful 1976 Hong Kong offering (with several western influences evident) from the renowned Shaw Brothers and directed by Chu Yuan (whose brother is infamous martial arts choreographer Yuen Woo-Ping). It’s certainly never dull. Ha Ping is hilarious as the evil ‘Devil Grandma’ (don’t ask), I also loved the wuxia-flavoured chess game (once again, don’t ask, just see for yourself), and even the opening fight between the two protagonists is exciting stuff. There’s also a fair bit of violence, and hey, even a little br…

Review: Firewall

Computer security wiz for a major bank (Harrison Ford) and his far too young family (Virginia Madsen, Carly Schroeder, and Jimmy Bennett) are targeted by nasty (but ever-so dapper) Paul Bettany and his equally revolting crew who want Ford to rob his bank of $100 million, or else wifey, kiddies, and the oh-so cute puppy will go bye-bye, permanently. Oh, and they seem to be very well-equipped technologically to quash every hero attempt Ford could possibly make, every call for help. Robert Forster is Ford’s ex-cop buddy, and Mary Lynn Rajskub essentially does her frowny-face, nerdy thing from “24” as Ford’s secretary. Alan Arkin and Robert Patrick make mere extended cameos as Ford’s old boss and his arrogant, antagonistic new boss (Ford’s company is merging with another).

A seriously miscast Harrison Ford isn’t the only fishy thing about this clichéd 2006 Richard Loncraine (“Wimbledon” and “Richard III” !) thriller. In fact, if it weren’t for a good (but mostly wasted) supporting cast an…