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Showing posts from December 31, 2017

Review: Australia Day

Titled after Australia’s increasingly controversial annual day of settlement/invasion by the British, this is a multi-character racial drama. Set in Brisbane suburbia, Aboriginal cop Shari Sebbens is involved in a high-speed chase with a stolen vehicle containing two Aboriginal teen sisters, one of whom (the driver, played by Yasmin Honeychurch) has died in a resulting crash. The other, 14 year-old Miah Madden goes on the run, leaving Sebbens both guilt-stricken (she knows the family and knows their unfortunate home situation), professionally and personally conflicted (the local indigenous population greet her with slight suspicion), and looking for answers as to what started the whole thing. Meanwhile, well-meaning 17 year-old Iranian-Australian Elias Anton is confronted and abducted by the racist white older brother (Sean Keenan) of Anton’s white teen girlfriend (Isabelle Cornish), who rather than admit to their interracial romance and recreational drug use, has decided to accuse po…

Review: Robin and Marian

After finding fighting the Crusades with Richard the Lionheart (Richard Harris) pointless and needlessly bloody, Robin (Sir Sean Connery) and Little John (Nicol Williamson) return to England to find that Marian (Audrey Hepburn) has become a nun, Robin’s merry men have mostly fled Sherwood Forest, and King John (Sir Ian Holm) has taken to marrying a pre-teen. The Sheriff of Nottingham (Robert Shaw) still rules with an iron fist and when Robin interferes in his attempts to have Marian arrested, a showdown between the two (increasingly) old foes is seemingly set in stone. Denholm Elliott and Ronnie Barker play Will Scarlett and Friar Tuck, whilst Kenneth Haigh plays the snooty and arrogant Sir Ranulf, who makes a quick enemy of Robin.


While not all revisionist takes on classics come off, this 1976 flick from director Richard Lester (“Help!”, “The Three Musketeers”, “Superman II”) and screenwriter James Goldman (“Nicholas and Alexandra”) is a minor masterpiece. In fact, revisionist or not…

Review: Alien: Resurrection

200 years after her suicidal plunge in “Alien3” Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) is back. Scientists led by Brad Dourif and J.E. Freeman aboard a militaristic scientific research ship have revived Ripley in a most unique manner. In order to revive the Xenomorph that was inside her, they first need to revive Ripley…or more precisely, clone her. After 7 unsuccessful attempts, they manage to do it. The plan, overseen by military general Dan Hedaya, is to try and domesticate the alien, in the hopes of eventually turning it into a useful weapon. As for Ripley, she’s…changed somewhat. Due to having Xenomorph DNA intertwined with her own, Ripley is now more animalistic and a little more cold-blooded than she was before. Instead of being horrified by the plans of trying to use the Xenomorph, Ripley is more bemused by the ridiculous idea. However, when a bunch of space mercenaries (led by Michael Wincott) come aboard the ship to drop off some cargo, they are obviously none too pleased with what…

Review: Becoming Bond

I was really looking forward to this 2017 film from Josh Greenbaum, as the story of how an Aussie model/car salesman became James Bond (in 1969 after Sean Connery hung up his tux temporarily), didn’t cope well with the fame, and decided to not sign on for more films, is a potentially very worthy one indeed. It’s a shame then, that this dubious enterprise…isn’t about ‘Becoming Bond’ for 95% of its length. Even though I’d heard George Lazenby tell the basic story before, I was still hoping this would be the story of how that happened and maybe a little about what happened to him afterwards. Instead, the Bond thing only comes into the film with about 10-15 minutes to go, and even then they rush through it! That’s the film, you idiot! That’s the story everyone will come into this wanting to see! So what do Greenbaum and Lazenby give us instead? One of the worst and most unconvincing documentaries ever made. This shit’s got even less credibility than Louis Theroux’s infantile, passive-aggr…

Review: Ouija: Origin of Evil

Set in the late 60s, widowed Elizabeth Reaser runs a phony psychic scam with her two daughters (Lulu Wilson and Annalise Basso) helping her out. However, when Reaser starts to use a Ouija board as a prop in her act, things get freaky for real. Youngest daughter Wilson claims her deceased father is now communicating with her from the spirit world. Local priest Henry Thomas (!) is particularly worried, and before long the little girl appears to be possessed. But by whom or what?


I wasn’t looking forward to this. I didn’t see the first film, and although I only learned through this film that a Ouija board is actually considered and sold as a family board game, I knew that they are complete bullshit at the very least. Everyone knows that Outside of a kiddie horror pic, I just didn’t think it would work as a source of horror and menace. Well, as it turns out this 2016 flick from director Mike Flanagan (the rather underrated “Oculus”) and his co-writer Jeff Howard (also from “Oculus”) isn’t…

Review: The Founder

Beginning in the 1950s, this is the story of how struggling salesman Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton) took a humble family hamburger joint run by the McDonald Brothers (John Carroll Lynch and Nick Offerman) and saw dollar signs and franchise opportunities. However, the manner in which he managed to attach himself to the business and eventually loosen the Brothers’ grip on it, was questionable to say the least. Laura Dern plays Kroc’s long-suffering wife, Patrick Wilson plays a restauranteur, with Linda Cardellini his flirty wife.


I assure you that my review of this 2016 biopic will not come with any family-related bias (although I do/did actually have a Ronald in my extended family). Directed by John Lee Hancock (the borderline terrible “The Blind Side”, the excellent “Saving Mr. Banks”), this is the irresistible story of Ray Kroc, the man who turned a family burger joint in the 1950s into the fast food franchise we know today as McDonald’s. Say what you will about the quality of the food (I…

Review: 10,000 BC

Set...well, look at the title. Steven Strait is the son of a supposed coward who left him as a boy. In order to prove his worth both to his people (led by Kiwi actor Cliff Curtis) and the girl (Camilla Belle) he’s secretly been romancing, he single-handedly hunts and kills a woolly mammoth. Unfortunately, just as it looks like things are going to go well for him, a seemingly advanced civilisation spoils things by arriving on horseback and rounding everybody up to use as slaves in building their pyramids.


Kind of like “Quest for Fire” by one of the “ID4” guys, this 2008 film from director Roland Emmerich (“ID4”, “Godzilla”, “Universal Soldier”, “Stargate”, “The Day After Tomorrow”) is pretty poor stuff, as the above comparison suggests. Did people in 10,000 BC speak English? Probably not, but please, tell me what language they did speak? Yeah, I thought so, now sit down and shut the hell up because this film has plenty enough real flaws that one doesn’t need to nit-pick its choice of l…

Review: From Russia With Love

The second official big-screen outing for MI6 agent James Bond (Sean Connery) sees him tackling agents of criminal organisation SPECTRE who are after a Russian decoding device. Their devious plan devised by chess champion and SPECTRE agent Kronsteen (Vladek Sheybal) is to use both Bond and an innocent pawn from the KGB named Tatiana (Daniela Bianchi, Miss Universe 1960) to retrieve the device, whereupon SPECTRE hired thug Red Grant (Robert Shaw) will wrangle it from Bond. Lotte Lenya is lethal SPECTRE agent Rosa Klebb, an ex-KGB who specifically trained Tatiana and is used to keep her from suspecting a thing. Pedro Armindariz plays Kerim Bey, Bond’s ally in Turkey, whilst Walter Gotell plays not Gen. Gogol, but another, more serious Russian villain.


Many people’s favourite 007 adventure, and I can certainly see why. This 1963 Terence Young (“Dr. No”, “Thunderball”) film is a gritty, straightforward, no-frills Bond movie that will appeal to those who appreciate their Bond in such a man…