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Showing posts from February 25, 2018

Review: Battle for the Planet of the Apes

Set years after “Conquest of the Planet of the Apes” and ape leader Caesar (Roddy McDowell) has seen a tenuous peace between apes and humans, though with the former pretty much in charge. Caesar, who has a wife (series regular Natalie Trundy) and son now, faces challenges both internal and external. The latter comes in the form of the radiation-afflicted mutants led by Kolp (Severn Darden) who look to be biding their time until they’re ready to fight for rule of the planet. Claude Akins plays thuggish gorilla Aldo, who clearly has designs on leadership himself, and doesn’t much care how he achieves it. Austin Stoker plays MacDonald, brother of the character played by Hari Rhodes in the previous film.


The original “Apes” cycle somewhat stumbles its way to a close with this watchable, but clearly cheaply made 1973 effort from director J. Lee Thompson (“The Guns of Navarone”, “Cape Fear”, “Conquest of the Planet of the Apes”). Although Paul Dehn (scribe of the two previous “Apes” films) …

Review: Legendary

Travis Preston (Scott Adkins) is a cryptozoologist still smarting from an unhappy previous expedition to track a prehistoric bear (A living one, no less) that saw him and his company get their arses sued by arrogant jerk hunter Harker (Dolph Lundgren), not to mention the loss of life of one of Preston’s crew. Now Preston finds himself approached to go on a new expedition as a prehistoric reptile has been spotted somewhere in China. So Preston gathers the remainder of his team (including Lydia Leonard and Nathan Lee) and heads off, only to find that Harker is already there and has set up shop with his whole crew and he won’t allow Preston access to any of the sites he’s already operating in. Looks like we have a little not-so friendly competition on our hands as Harker wants to kill the beast and Preston wants to capture and study it. James Lance plays a dorky Brit lawyer representing Preston’s mysterious new client.


No, not the corny John Cena-led “Rudy” meets “Billy Elliot” family-or…

Review: Star Trek: Nemesis

After having celebrated the nuptials of First Officer Will Riker (Jonathan Frakes) and Counsellor Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis), the crew of the Starship Enterprise are requested to meet with Praetor Shinzon (Tom Hardy), who has grown up on Romulus’ supposedly lesser sister planet of Remus. Once Capt. Picard (Patrick Stewart) meets with Shinzon and his telepathic Reman viceroy (Ron Perlman), he discovers not only does he share a lot in common with Shinzon, but his intentions aren’t nearly as peace-minded as initially led to believe. He’s a man with a life-long grudge and a great, powerful weapon and his disposal, wiping out the Romulan Senate and usurping it for the long-shunned planet Remus. Meanwhile, android Data (Brent Spiner) is seeing double when the crew pick up a broken-down prototype of Data, whom he dubs B4 (also played by Spiner). Former Aussie soap star Alan Dale turns up as Hiren, Romulan Praetor not so thrilled with Shinzon.


This Stuart Baird (“Executive Decision”, “U.S. M…

Review: Exodus

Eva Marie Saint, an American widow and nurse in Cyprus, gets involved with the Jewish cause for Israel’s independence, when she meets and falls for rĂ©sistance leader Ari Ben Canaan (Paul Newman). Newman is trying to lead a boat containing 600 Jewish refugees from British-controlled Cyprus to freedom in Palestine. Sir Ralph Richardson is the smart but somewhat ambivalent British General Sutherland, who knew Saint’s husband, and can see right from wrong, but doesn’t much want to get involved. Peter Lawford plays a thoroughly disagreeable, anti-Semitic, pompous military man. Lee J. Cobb is Newman’s stoic father, whilst David Opatoshu scores highly as Cobb’s brother, whose ambitions for his people are the same, but whose methods are much different from his brother’s, with the latter the leader of an underground movement. Troubled young Sal Mineo has one of his best roles as a tempestuous young Jew who offers his services to Opatoshu’s somewhat dangerous group. Hugh Griffith has a high old…

Review: Sanjuro

Toshiro Mifune is the title Ronin in 19th century Japan, a dishevelled, somewhat sleepy loner who nonetheless is a man to be reckoned with. He hooks up with 9 lowly samurai who are convinced that the local Chamberlain (Yunosuke Ito) is corrupt and are hoping the superintendent (Masao Shimizu) will do something about him. The wily warrior Sanjuro however, surmises that it’s actually the superintendent they need to be wary of. The men greatly disagree but Sanjuro is soon proven right, and becomes their protector of sorts. However, when Sanjuro seems to be all pally with the superintendent’s slightly more honourable henchman Muroto (Tatsuya Nakadai) they don’t know what to make of their protector’s motives. Is he merely manipulating Muroto in order to help his hapless new friends? Or does Sanjuro have other motives?


Another day, another Toshiro Mifune flick directed by Akira Kurosawa (“The Seven Samurai”), this 1962 Samurai flick is really good stuff. Of all the Mifune/Kurosawa films I’v…

Review: Live and Let Die

James Bond (Roger Moore) is sent to investigate the murder of three British agents, and the trail leads him to a Caribbean island dictator named Dr. Kananga (Yaphet Kotto), who seems to have ties to a Harlem drug lord named Mr. Big. Bond attempts to get to Mr. Big through his personal psychic Solitaire (Jane Seymour). Gloria Hendry plays a federal agent named Rosie Carver, Julius Harris plays henchman Tee-Hee, Geoffrey Holder is the creepy voodoo practitioner Baron Samedi, and Clifton James plays redneck Sheriff J.W. Pepper. David Hedison makes the first of his two stints as Bond contact Felix Leiter (he’d appear again a couple of decades later in “Licence to Kill” in the same role).


Everyone has their favourite Roger Moore 007 film, and for me it’s this, his first outing in the role from 1973. Directed by Guy Hamilton (“Goldfinger”, “Diamonds Are Forever”), it probably helps to be a Blaxploitation fan to appreciate this one, and it also has some awesome New Orleans jazz and voodoo fl…