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Showing posts from February 18, 2018

Review: Mercenary for Justice

Mercenary Steven Seagal has just returned from a botched mission that saw his buddy killed (thanks mostly to Luke Goss, the spook who set him up), when he is coerced by his shady boss (uber-oily Roger Guenveur Smith) to help bust out from prison the son of an infamous gun runner. That’s not even the half of it, but it’s just about the only part of the story I could easily follow. Jacqueline Lord plays a sexy member of Seagal’s posse-for-hire.


Tolerable 2005 Don E. FauntLeRoy vehicle for now direct-to-DVD mainstay Seagal is slightly lesser than say “Into the Sun”, “Ruslan”, and even the director’s “Today You Die”. There seems to be a genuine attempt at something credible here, unlike many of Seagal’s latter day efforts (“The Foreigner” and “Out for a Kill” immediately spring to mind), but it doesn’t make a lick of sense, either. I mean, I can’t even tell you who or what Seagal’s character was supposed to be, really, let alone everyone else in the film, and there’s enough story ideas he…

Review: Sirocco

Bogey is an American gunrunner (and yes, club owner) in 1925 Damascas (That’s Syria, to you), seeing much financial gain in arming rebels involved in a struggle, completely ambivalent about the politics. The struggle involves Syrians rebelling against a French-mandate given by the League of Nations, but Bogey’s taken a profit-viewed stance, not a moral one. Then he meets and falls for Marta Toren, the icy main squeeze of moody, possessive (yet quietly honourable) French Intelligence Chief Lee J. Cobb. Cobb, a somewhat peace-minded but temperamental chap, is trying to keep his superior (a terrific cameo by Everett Sloane) from executing five Syrian hostages for every French soldier killed, something Cobb thinks will only make things worse. But he’s having a bugger of a time talking to the other mob, too. Zero Mostel has a fun small part as a fellow smuggler (with even less scruples than Bogey), and a nearly unrecognisable Jeff Corey also has a cameo as one of Bogey’s contacts.


1951 Cur…

Review: Fifty Shades Darker

Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) tentatively enters back into a relationship with Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan), but attempts to assert herself more and make him work for it a little bit. Meanwhile, two figures from Mr. Grey’s past (played by Kim Basinger and Bella Heathcoate) turn up to provide obstacles, with Grey’s fondness for being controlling and dominant rearing its ugly head again, too. 
I’ve never read the books, and I didn’t get the first film in the slightest. It was goofy, eye-rolling, miscast, and there was absolutely no reason for the central couple to want to be together. They both wanted completely polar opposite things out of a relationship, it was fucking stupid, and here I am now having watched the second film. Perhaps I’m a bit stupid, too. This 2017 E.L. James adaptation comes from director James Foley who has done fine work in the past (“At Close Range”, “Glengarry Glen Ross”, “Confidence”), so what he thought was worth a damn here I don’t quite know. Scripted by…

Review: Near Dark

Nice young cowboy Adrian Pasdar hooks up with beguiling, pixie-like Jenny Wright, and the two fall in love. But she turns out to be a creature of the night, biting Pasdar, who is then introduced to Wright’s rowdy ‘family’ of blood-suckers; patriarch Lance Henriksen (a relic of the Civil War, apparently), tough-as-nails mom Jenette Goldstein, and their ‘sons’, animalistic punk Bill Paxton and malicious ‘adolescent’ Joshua Miller (who is really an older soul trapped in the body of a youngster). Tim Thomerson is Pasdar’s concerned pappy, Bigelow regular James LeGros plays a victim in the infamous bar scene, and Troy Evans is a cop who stumbles upon sick-looking Pasdar thinking he’s just a drugged-out vagrant.


It’s funny how you can watch a film for the third or fourth time and for the first time it completely and totally clicks with you in a way it hadn’t previously. It happens to me occasionally, and although I’ve always liked this 1987 vampire flick from director Kathryn Bigelow (“Poin…

Review: Infinitely Polar Bear

Set in the 70s, Mark Ruffalo plays a father two daughters with wife Zoe Saldana, and also happens to suffer from manic depression/bi-polar disorder. This is the story of the loving family’s struggle to stay together and make things work as best they can. But with Ruffalo’s wild mood swings and inability to land and keep a job, things start to strain, especially financially.


A really good, well-acted movie about a tricky subject, this 2014 drama from writer-director Maya Forbes (previously the writer of insignificant films like “The Rocker”, “Monsters vs. Aliens”, and “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days”) clearly comes from a place of understanding and truth. This really, really could’ve gone in so many wrong directions, but because debut director Forbes is the daughter of a bi-polar father herself (also, her own daughter Imogene Wolodarsky plays Forbes’ role in the movie here), she mostly veers away from cliché, caricature, and the usual pitfalls in making a film about mental illness. The…

Review: Shout at the Devil

Set in East Africa, hard-drinking American Lee Marvin teams up with Englishman Roger Moore to blow up a German ship. Rene Kolldehoff is the imposing, but buffoonish German baddie, Barbara Parkins is Marvin’s estranged daughter whom Moore shacks up with, and Ian Holm is a shifty-eyed Arab servant. Look out for small turns at the beginning by George Coulouris (“Citizen Kane”), Jean Kent (“The Haunted Strangler”), Maurice Denham (“Damn the Defiant!”, “Sink the Bismarck!”, “23 Paces to Baker Street”) and at the end by Murray Melvin.


Long but engaging 1976 Peter R. Hunt (“On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”) flick is like a macho “African Queen”, with Moore playing Hepburn to Marvin’s hilarious Bogart. Seriously, watch the film and tell me I’m wrong! Only Holm, in a racist pantomiming East Indian caricature leaves a sour taste in one’s mouth. It’s the kind of thing you’d expect from a 1950s Rank Organisation film with Anthony Steel or Stanley Baker, and say a young Donald Pleasence doing blac…

Review: A Certain Justice

Cung Le comes back after enduring hellacious shit fighting in Iraq, and struggling to pull it together. After rescuing a frankly ungrateful hooker (Briana Evigan) from some sleazebags, a couple of whom he kills. This sets off events our hero might wish he’d never have started after pimp/drug/porno king Hollis (Dolph Lundgren!) decides to target the man’s family. That said, perhaps it’s Hollis (probably the most irredeemably nasty creep Lundgren has ever played) who will live to regret fucking with the wrong Iraq War vet. Gianni Capaldi plays one of Hollis’ underlings asked to do vicious deeds he becomes uneasy about. Vinnie Jones turns up briefly as a drug dealer, Jonathan Kowalsky is Cung Le’s disabled war buddy, James C. Burns is a good cop, and Sean O’Bryan plays a corrupt cop.


You know you’re not watching a very good film when the most memorable thing is a ridiculous but undeniably entertaining performance by Dolph Lundgren with a ponytail and the least convincing moustache outsid…