Showing posts from October 1, 2017

Review: Back to the Future Part II

Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) and the eccentric Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) venture into the future of 2015 (!) to stop something tragic from happening to Marty and his family. In 2015, Marty and his lady love Jennifer (Elisabeth Shue) have a couple of kids (played by Fox himself), but after the crisis is averted, old nemesis Biff (an artificially aged Thomas F. Wilson) gets control of the DeLorean time machine and a copy of sporting statistics. When Marty and Doc get back to 1985, they find it has changed to a depressing degree and that Biff (who handed his sports statistics knowledge to his 1955 counterpart to use for greedy purposes) is a rich tycoon who basically owns the town. He’s even married to Marty’s mother (Lea Thompson)! The only solution is for Marty and Doc to travel back to 1955 to stop the two Biff’s from conspiring with themselves. Or each other. Brain hurts. This 1989 sequel from director Robert Zemeckis ( “Back to the Future” , “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” , “F

Review: For Your Eyes Only

007 (Roger Moore) is tasked with retrieving a ship-based weapons device that allows for the control of British naval missiles on their nuclear submarines. However, Bond isn’t the only one after the device, nefarious people have bad intentions in mind for the device. Reluctantly assisting Bond is Melina (Carole Bouquet) whose marine archaeologist father was working for the Brits but killed by aforementioned nefarious people, in their attempt at retrieving the device. Julian Glover plays Kristatos, a wealthy Greek man who is currently financing the Olympic hopes of precocious American figure skater Bibi (Lynn-Holly Johnson), who develops a crush on Bond. Topol turns up as a charming smuggler named Columbo. Michael Gothard and a debuting Charles Dance play henchmen, Geoffrey Keen plays the Minister of Defence, and James Villiers turns up as Tanner, an underling of M who appears from time to time throughout the series (most notably played by Rory Kinnear in “Skyfall” and “SPECTRE” ).

Review: Terminal Island

Convicted criminal Ena Hartman gets sent to San Bruno Island (AKA Terminal Island, which according to the films’ brilliant tagline is ‘where we dump our garbage’) off the coast of California, a place where hardened murderers and rapists are essentially left to fend for themselves away from polite society. On the island she discovers that it’s the duty of female prisoners to service the sexual needs of the male prisoners, led by Sean Kenney and Roger E. Mosley. However, after a while some of Kenney’s followers decide to break off, gather the women and create their own little world. Kenney and Mosley are unhappy about this and a mini war breaks out. Phyllis Davis, Barbara Leigh, and Marta Kristen are among the women on the island, whilst Geoffrey Deuel and Tom Selleck play two of the least sadistically inclined men, the latter a drug-addicted former doctor who illegally euthanised some of his patients. More interesting to think/write about than to watch, this 1973 prison escape m

Review: Deepwater Horizon

Dramatisation of the real-life offshore drilling rig disaster in 2010, where an explosion created the biggest oil spill in U.S. history in the Gulf of Mexico. Mark Wahlberg (as a Chief Electronics Technician), Kurt Russell (as a veteran installation/operations manager on the rig), and Gina Rodriguez are among the employees, with John Malkovich playing a frankly dismissive BP executive whose job in the film is to be stubbornly wrong about everything and cut corners wherever possible. Kate Hudson appears briefly as Wahlberg’s worried wife back home. I was a bit surprised to find this 2016 true-life disaster flick to be much more “China Syndrome” docudrama in approach. I was expecting a more standard disaster flick, having not known that it was based on the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster going in to the film (much as I had indeed seen the news story at the time, like everyone no doubt). Directed by Peter Berg ( “Friday Night Lights” , “Lone Survivor” , “Battleship” ), it takes a goo

Review: The Legend of Tarzan

Lord John Clayton of Greystoke manor (Alexander Skarsgaard) ventures back to his former home in the jungles of Africa in the late 19 th Century when a special envoy (Samuel L. Jackson) sent by U.S. President Benjamin Harrison is tasked with investigating claims of slavery under Belgian King Leopold. Chief menace is King Leopold’s own special envoy Leon Rorn (Christoph Waltz), whilst Margot Robbie plays Clayton’s wife Jane, who also travels to the Congo to be with her husband who feels as uneasy in the world of aristocracy he was born into, as he does in the jungle among apes where he grew up. Djimon Hounsou, in a bit of casting he should’ve escaped about a decade ago, plays a local African tribal chief in cahoots with Rorn. I’m not the biggest Tarzan fan, but I did like “Greystoke” and the late 90s Disney animated “Tarzan” . This 2016 big-screen outing from director David Yates ( “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” , “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” ) and scre

Review: Hell or High Water

Chris Pine and Ben Foster play siblings who are currently on a spree of bank robberies through Texas due to a personal grudge with a particular branch. On their trail are soon-to-be retired Texas Ranger Jeff Bridges and his part-Mexican part-Native American partner Gil Birmingham. Forces are set to collide. Buck Taylor turns up briefly as a gun-toting robbery victim, and Katy Mixon plays a flirty waitress. Directed by David Mackenzie (something called “Starred Up” with Ben Mendelsohn) and scripted by an Oscar-nominated Taylor Sheridan (who also scripted the solid “Sicario” and has a cameo here), this 2016 film is a really simple story well-told, well-acted, and well-shot. It’ll remind you of films like “One False Move” and probably the Walter Hill-Ry Cooder collaborations, but not in any rip-off kinda way. You’re on the edge of your seat from the get-go because Ben Foster is playing a bank robber and one of our leads. He’s Dennis Hopper and Bruce Dern rolled into one.

Review: Swimming Pool

Charlotte Rampling is a burned out, middle-aged mystery novel writer who takes some time off suggested by her publisher Charles Dance, who allows her to use his country house in France. Seeking solitude, relaxation and inspiration, Rampling gets a rude shock when Dance’s skanky teen daughter Ludivine Sagnier shows up. Rampling is reserved, snobbish and repressed, Sagnier is a wild exhibitionist and possible sex addict, and the two immediately butt heads until circumstances see them joining forces under a crisis. 2003 Francois Ozon ( “8 Women” ) flick is yet another reason to hate the French. Oh, I’m kidding…but after the simmering but similarly prick-teasing “Nathalie…” and this, I’ve gotta say I’m sick to death of arty European films that clearly set up a lesbian-oriented relationship only to never actually show us anything. In fact, I’m not sure Ozon even knew what the status of their relationship was, it keeps changing in the most unconvincing, unoriginal, and contrived of