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Showing posts from April 1, 2018

Review: Never Die Alone

Rapper DMX is dealer and womanising thug King David who returns to home turf after a few years, only to be thoroughly dealt with by a rival gangsta (Clifton Powell, in one of his best performances) and his goons (including unstable young Michael Ealy, whose vital back-story seems mostly absent). Loser writer David Arquette gives the dying man a lift to the hospital, and winds up with a collection of his audio tapes outlining his rise and fall. Aisha Tyler is Arquette’s fed-up girlfriend, in a throwaway part.


2004 Ernest R. Dickerson (“Demon Knight” and “Surviving the Game”) crime flick can’t decide if it wants to be a hippity-hop “Superfly”, a modern-day wannabe “Scarface” (which was a remake of a 30s film itself), a tribute to 50s noir (with a narrative device stolen from “Sunset Blvd.” No less), or a straight gangsta drama. It is, however, mostly dull, confusingly structured, and derivative, despite a few decent performances (notably the underrated Powell). Loser-ish characters don’…

Review: Ghost in the Shell

Set in a future Hong Kong, Scarlett Johansson plays The Major, a mixture of human brain and synthetic/cybernetic body, who is a part of an elite anti-terrorist unit alongside the dependable Batou (Pilou Asbaek), and working for Amaraki (‘Beat’ Takeshi Kitano). Juliette Binoche plays the scientist who created The Major, Peter Ferdinando is the financier, whilst Michael Pitt plays a supposed terrorist known as Hideo Kuze, who when The Major meets him, tells her important information about who she is and the motives behind her creation.


I can’t say I recall the anime movie “Ghost in the Shell” enough to call myself an expert, but the TV spin-off “Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex” I rather enjoyed. So, while not a Manga reader nor an Anime aficionado, I’m certainly not ignorant of this world and the characters, either. This 2017 live-action iteration of the 1989 Manga (and the subsequent 1995 animated film) from director Rupert Sanders (the dull “Snow White and the Huntsman”) was a…

Review: Before I Fall

Zoey Deutch is part of a bitchy high-school clique alongside the more overtly mean Halston Sage (hateful to a frankly rather unconvincing degree). Hoping to lose her virginity by the end of the night, things don’t go anywhere near according to Deutch’s plan. In fact, after a nasty confrontation at a party with a much-bullied lesbian teen (Elena Kampouris), Deutch ends up in a fatal car crash. Only she wakes up…and it’s the same morning all over again. Deutch pretty quickly realises she’s on a loop and in order to get out of it, something about the day needs to change, but what? Medalion Rahimi and Cynthy Wu play the other two mean girls, whilst Jennifer Beals and a truly old-looking Nicholas Lea play Deutch’s parents.


Does a mopey, ‘mean girls’ teen drama version of “Groundhog Day” sound like a good idea to you? If so…you’re wrong. It’s a terrible idea, as this dreadfully dull 2017 film from director Ry Russo-Young (“Nobody Walks” with the underrated Olivia Thirlby) and screenwriter M…

Review: Alone in Berlin

Set in Germany during WWII, Brendan Gleeson stars as a German factory foreman who along with wife Emma Thompson lose their only son in battle, serving Hitler’s Germany. Crippled with grief and looking for a direction to put his anger towards, Gleeson comes to hold The Fuhrer himself responsible for his son’s death. Gleeson has the inspired but very dangerous thought of writing postcards to warn others of what The Reich are sentencing their sons to and placing them all over the city. It’s an act of defiance that could lead him and Thompson (who, loyal to her husband, goes along with the scheme) to an untimely death themselves. Daniel Bruhl turns up as the police inspector assigned the case when word finally gets to the brass.


This 2017 wartime drama from director (though largely an actor) Vincent Perez sounds like a can’t miss on paper. Two of the world’s best actors in Brendan Gleeson and Emma Thompson, a third very fine young actor in Daniel Bruhl, and an inspired-by-fact-based story…

Review: Hounds of Love

Set in Perth in the mid-to-late 80s, teenager Ashleigh Cummings has divorced parents and isn’t enjoying living under mother Susie Porter’s roof on weekends. Mum’s a bit of a hard task master who puts education well before fun. Grounded, Cummings (who gets her boyfriend to do her school assignments) sneaks out one night to go to a party but on the way she’s approached by couple Emma Booth and Stephen Curry who offer her a lift and some dope to smoke. Cummings unwisely accepts the lift from the friendly couple, who quickly suggest they stop off at their house for the weed. Before Cummings knows it, a doped-up Cummings is attacked, tied up and put in a spare bedroom of their house. They’ve done this kidnapping deal before, and it usually doesn’t end well for the victim. She’s subjected to much abuse from the creepy Curry (who is useless and wimpy outside the confines of his own house, it seems), whilst devoted, downtrodden wife Booth starts to get jealous of the ‘attention’ he’s giving t…