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Showing posts from April 8, 2018

Review: Righteous Kill

Veteran cops and long-time professional partners Robert De Niro (tightly-wound) and Al Pacino (laid-back, and wisecracking) investigate a series of murders of several acquitted perps, and it’s not long before the more volatile of the two becomes suspect numero uno. The finger definitely points towards a cop, or at least someone with knowledge of crime scene investigation, and De Niro sure seems to fit the bill. However, given the film begins with De Niro seemingly giving a taped police confession, you can probably assume things aren’t as open and shut. Brian Dennehy is their superior officer, Donnie Wahlberg and John Leguizamo two rival cops who reluctantly share relevant information, ‘50 Cent’ is a drug-dealing creep (No, really!), and Carla Gugino is the kinky forensics specialist whom De Niro is banging (she’s into the rough stuff, apparently). Trilby Glover turns up as a coke-snorting lawyer.


The long-awaited post-“Heat” reteaming of De Niro and Pacino in this 2008 Jon Avnet (“Fri…

Review: Dr. Phibes Rises Again

As the title suggests, the ghoulishly disfigured and diabolical Dr. Anton Phibes (Vincent Price) is back. In this one, the action eventually travels to Egypt (portrayed here by Spain) where Phibes is in search of a fabled river with rejuvenation powers, hoping to restore life to his beloved deceased wife Victoria (a briefly glimpsed Caroline Munro). Standing in Phibes’ way is one Darius Beiderbeck (Robert Quarry), an archaeologist who is leading an expedition in Egypt of his own, even though Phibes has already stolen Beiderbeck’s map of the area. Needless to say, one by one Beiderbeck’s companions fall gruesome victim to Dr. Phibes, for getting in the way of his plans. Meanwhile, not-so hot on the trail is Inspector Trout (Peter Jeffrey). Valli Kemp plays Phibes’ assistant Vulnavia, Fiona Lewis is Beiderbeck’s wife, whilst Gerald Sim and John Thaw are part of the expedition team. In brief turns, Hugh Griffith is an ill-fated acquaintance of Beiderbeck’s, Peter Cushing is a ship captai…

Review: Tremors

Set out in the desert, Kevin Bacon (whose career thankfully moved upward a couple of years later) and Fred Ward play a couple of rather aimless handymen who run into a visiting geologist (Finn Carter) getting weird seismic readings in the area. Rumblings underground soon reveal themselves to be giant man-eating worms that run riot on the small Nevada town of Perfection. Our three protagonists and a band of locals (general store owner Victor Wong, gun-toting couple Michael Gross and Reba McEntire among them) try to stay alive and preferably away from the ground.


The cult popularity of this 1990 giant earthworm movie from debut director Ron Underwood (“City Slickers”, “Heart and Souls”, “The Adventures of Pluto Nash”) mystified me at age 10 and continues to mystify me at age 37-38. It’s drab, unfunny, uninteresting, not scary, and lethargically directed by a miscast Underwood. I feel like I’m missing out here, I want to like this…it seems like the kind of thing I would ordinarily love. …

Review: Ace Ventura: Pet Detective

Jim Carrey stars as the title Miami private investigator, ridiculed by the ‘real’ police officers, for his specialised area of detective work. When Snowflake, the beloved mascot of the Miami Dolphins gridiron team goes missing, company employee Courteney Cox brings in Ace to crack the case. Mostly he just clowns around and weirds everyone out. Tone Loc plays a friendly cop, Sean Young is the antagonistic Lt. Lois Einhorn, Udo Kier is a sinister rich guy, Noble Willingham and Troy Evans are respectively the owner of the Miami Dolphins and a Dolphins employee, whilst ball player Dan Marino appears as himself.


I’ve always preferred “The Mask”, but I remember enjoying this 1994 first ‘real’ Jim Carrey vehicle from debut director Tom Shadyac (“The Nutty Professor”, “Patch Adams”, “Liar Liar”) after a couple of 80s false starts, when I first saw it as a 14 year-old. Seeing it for the first time in about a decade or so as now 38 year-old…I had a surprisingly very different reaction. There’s …

Review: Rancho Notorious

Arthur Kennedy is an embittered cowboy whose wife-to-be is brutally murdered on the eve of their wedding. He’s on a vengeance mission to track down the murderer (Lloyd Gough, who along with creepy John Doucette were robbing the general store where she worked), with the trail leading to the goofily-named Chuck-a-Luck, a ranch owned by Altar (Marlene Dietrich). Mel Ferrer is Dietrich’s fast-draw companion Frenchie Fairmont, Jack Elam plays a fourth-tier gunman.


Bizarre 1952 western from Fritz Lang (“Metropolis”, “Ministry of Fear”, “Man Hunt”) has a dopey title, even dopier song by William Lee, and a bunch of non-Western sounding/looking actors in the cast (Kennedy, Dietrich, and Ferrer, let alone a German Expressionist director…or an Austrian-born German Expressionist director). And yet it all works…well, except the damn song. That’s just awful.


It’s probably a chief inspiration for Mel Brooks’ “Blazing Saddles”, wherein Madeline Kahn aped Dietrich and Frankie Laine parodied himself an…

Review: Godzilla, Mothra, & King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack

Supposedly an incarnation of all the souls of those killed in the Pacific region during WWII, Godzilla appears to once again stomp the crap out of Tokyo. Attempting to stand in his way are ‘guardian’ monsters Mothra, King Ghidorah, and Baragon. Meanwhile, we also follow the antics of an inept reporter (Chiharu Niyama) who seems perpetually the last to find out anything.


My favourite Toho monster movie is the all-star “Destroy All Monsters!” so I figured this third film in the ‘Millennium Series’ from 2001, given its title, would be something in that same spirit. And yeah I guess it is, but while I can’t claim “Destroy All Monsters!” is a better-made film, it’s definitely a lot more fun than this. A bit of a step down third time out I’m afraid, for this particular series. Directed and co-written by Shusuke Kaneko (who helmed films in the rival “Gamera” franchise including “Gamera, The Guardian of the Universe”), the story and characters are nowhere near as compelling here as they were …