Showing posts from March 25, 2018

Review: The Great Wall

Set in centuries ago China, Matt Damon and Pedro Pascal play wanderers of ill-defined European background who have come to trade for or procure black powder (i.e. gun powder). An unknown creature attacks our travellers and their fellow men, with Damon and Pascal the only survivors. Eventually they arrive at the Great Wall, where they are treated with caution and suspicion by one and all. However, there’s no time for that as a horde of mythological creatures sets upon the Wall. It is here that Damon attempts to prove his worth to the local military Commander, a woman played by Jing Tian. This annoys Pascal, who just wants to get the powder and get out of Dodge ASAP. Willem Dafoe plays another European, currently in the service of Jing Tian, who claims to know all about the black powder. Andy Lau plays a military strategist. When I saw the trailer to this 2017 Zhang Yimou ( “House of Flying Daggers” , “Hero” , “Curse of the Golden Flower” ) US-Chinese fantasy flick before “Rogu

Review: Identity

A bunch of seemingly unrelated characters find themselves at seedy John Hawkes’ motel in Nevada on a dark and seriously stormy night. John Cusack is limo driver to faded Hollywood actress Rebecca DeMornay (no, the character is not named Rebecca DeMornay). John C. McGinley is the wimpy, uptight family man and stepfather to young Bret Loehr, whose wife Cusack accidentally runs down. Amanda Peet plays a prostitute, Ray Liotta is a cop transporting a dangerous prisoner (Jake Busey), and Clea Duvall is a young newlywed. One by one, someone appears to be bumping the weary travellers off in brutal fashion, with numbered motel keys left by their bodies. One of them must be the killer, they begin to suspect. Meanwhile, a deranged serial killer (Pruitt Taylor Vince) is having a midnight court hearing for an insanity plea, before he is to be executed tomorrow. Alfred Molina plays a psychiatrist. Here’s a nifty horror/mystery you might’ve missed. Smartly scripted by Michael Cooney ( “Th

Review: Troll 2

Oh, boy…I’ll try my best here. Young Michael Stephenson is still visited by his kindly grandfather (Robert Ormsby), despite his parents (George Hardy and Margo Prey) reminding him that grandpa is dead and has been for months. Nonetheless, Ormsby visits Stephenson to tell him stories about goblins and such. When the family (rounded out by boy-crazy teen daughter Connie McFarland) move to the small town of Nilbog in exchange with another family, it’s not long before Ormsby warns young Stephenson that the population of Nilbog (look closely at that oh-so clever name!) are all goblins who plan to eat him and his family. Somehow this involves Stephenson and his family ingesting the town’s own special slimy green ‘vegetarian’ products. Deborah Reed turns up as the town’s resident witch, who appears to have had dental work done. Don Packard (who in real-life has had drug and mental problems, including during filming in regards to the former) plays the local Nilbog drug store owner. I

Review: Godzilla vs. Megaguirus

After realising Godzilla is attracted to nuclear power, Japan decides to be rid of its nuclear power plants and turn to clean energy. Yet still the monster is undeterred. What to do? Young inventor Tanihara Shosuke is recruited to join G-Graspers (who mostly just seem like a SWAT team) and help them create something to rid Japan of Godzilla. In a team that includes his former high school science teacher, they come up with the idea of creating a small black hole fired from a satellite to swallow Godzilla never to return. At least that’s the plan. Meanwhile, a young boy discovers a big egg that eventually hatches a giant dragonfly. After a spawning or two, this results in the eventual appearance of Megaguirus, a gigantic dragonfly queen who then gets set to tackle Godzilla. Tanaka Misato plays G-Grasper Commander Kiriko Tsujimori, still grieving the death of her predecessor in an ill-fated skirmish five years back. While not up to the high standards of the previous “Godzilla

Review: Charlie Wilson’s War

In this supposed true story, Tom Hanks plays the title beer-swillin’, hard-partying, womanising Liberal Democrat Texas congressman who (after seeing a Dan Rather piece on “60 Minutes” about the Afghan vs. Soviet struggle) joins a blustery but smart CIA agent named Gust Avrakotos (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and (amazingly) a brassy, staunch right-wing, well-connected socialite (Julia Roberts) in getting involved in the Afghanistan situation during the early 1980s. Wilson and co. are instrumental in arming the Afghani Freedom Fighters against the dreaded Russkies. Covertly, of course. Amy Adams is Wilson’s ever-faithful secretary (just about the only woman he hasn’t slept with), Om Puri plays the Pakistani President whom Wilson meets with. 2007 Mike Nichols ( “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” , “The Graduate” , “Primary Colours” ) political film with humorous touches isn’t nearly as interesting or successful as everyone involved seems to think. Maybe it’s an American thing, but I

Review: The Runaways

The rise and fall of 70s all-girl rock/punk group The Runaways, featuring 15 year-old Bowie fan Cherie Currie (Dakota Fanning) on vocals, tomboyish guitarist/songwriter Joan Jett (Kristen Stewart), and managed/moulded by a pervert Svengali named Kim Fowley (Michael Shannon). Fowley sees a ‘Jail Bait’ goldmine, particularly with his Lolita-esque singer. Meanwhile, Currie and Jett form a strong bond, as the former also enjoys an escape from her unhappy home life. Unfortunately, drugs, egos, and in-fighting start to tear the group (and the central duo) apart. Scout Taylor-Compton plays guitarist Lita Ford, Riley Keough plays Currie’s jealous older sister, and Tatum O’Neal and Brett Cullen are Currie’s trashy parents. Robert Romanus has an amusing cameo as a guitar teacher who refuses to teach Jett any rock songs, due to her gender (Romanus co-starred with the real-life Currie in “Foxes” and also played the ticket-scalping high schooler in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” ). Lousy