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Showing posts from April 15, 2018

Review: Die Hard 2: Die Harder

It’s Christmas Eve, and John McClane (Bruce Willis) is at an airport in Washington DC to meet wife Holly (Bonnie Bedelia) so they and the kids can spend Christmas together. First he needs to deal with an arsehole cop (Robert Costanzo, in perhaps his best-remembered role) towing his car. Anyway, when he enters the airport he bumps into a not terribly friendly Col. Stewart (William Sadler), and before long he notices some suspicious activities that lead to him suspecting a terrorist plan is in the works. Indeed that is so, with Col. Stewart gaining access and control of the airport runways and control tower, who uses planes such as the one Holly is currently in, as leverage for a series of demands, including the release of a big-time drug lord (Franco Nero, of all people), about to go on trial in the U.S. McClane takes it upon himself to once again play hero and save his wife and everyone else, even that arsehole reporter from the previous film (William Atherton) also on board Holly’s p…

Review: Saving Private Ryan

After a visceral depiction of the D-Day invasion of Normandy during WWII, we are given the story of a small platoon (played by Ed Burns, Tom Sizemore, Giovanni Ribisi, Jeremy Davies, Barry Pepper, Adam Goldberg, Vin Diesel) and their leader Capt. Miller (Tom Hanks) who are tasked with finding the soldier of the title, whose brothers have all been killed. They need to bring Pvt. James Ryan back home to his mother, a crazy ‘needle in a haystack’ mission.


Steven Spielberg (“Jaws”, “Raiders of the Lost Ark”, “Minority Report”, “War of the Worlds”) gives us one of the more memorable war films of the modern era with this 1998 revisit to WWII. Scripted by Robert Rodat (“Thor: The Dark World”, of all things), it’s one of Spielberg’s more personal films, and also one of his most mature. On his day, I believe him to be capable of being the best living director, and he had a damn good day here. The director of “E.T.” gives us a pretty unflinching, gritty, realistic war film that would greatly in…

Review: Running With Scissors

Joseph Cross plays Augusten Burroughs, a 14 year-old aspiring writer in the counterculture 70s who must contend with an alcoholic and distant father (Alec Baldwin, making lemonade out of lemons) who walks out after years of being constantly beaten down by his overbearing, self-absorbed, and emotionally unstable wife Annette Bening, a poet of questionable talent. Bening’s deteriorating mental health results in her taking some time out from her life and her son, and placing him in the care of her shrink Brian Cox and his family. But Cox is no ordinary shrink (he’s seemingly obsessed with masturbation and his own faecal matter), and his family are even screwier than he is. They include near-catatonic wife Jill Clayburgh, religious nut Gwyneth Paltrow, and two almost normal-seeming people Augusten somewhat befriends; an unrecognisable (and surprisingly OK) Joseph Fiennes as the ex-communicated gay son and Evan Rachel Wood’s rebellious teen. Kristen Chenoweth plays the same dopey, unbeliev…

Review: A Kind of Murder

Set in 1960 New York, Patrick Wilson is an architect and sometimes crime novelist with a mentally unbalanced wife (Jessica Biel). He becomes obsessed with the case of bookstore owner Eddie Marsan’s wife’s violent murder at a bus rest stop. A nosy detective (Vincent Kartheiser) thinks Marsan’s likely guilty, but he has an alibi. Wilson becomes so fascinated that he even dares to go to the man’s bookstore to meet him. Meanwhile, Biel starts getting hysterical at the thought of Wilson having an affair with a woman he’s only recently met (a singer played by Haley Bennett). Soon enough, Biel is found dead near the spot Marsan’s wife was last seen. Coincidence? C-grade version of “Strangers on a Train”? Or something else?


This 2017 crime/thriller from director Andy Goddard (mostly a director of TV in the UK) is based on a Patricia Highsmith novel. It doesn’t surprise me and I have no doubt the book would be pretty damn good. Scripted by Susan Boyd (a first-timer who also produced), the film…

Review: Colossal

Perennial trainwreck Anne Hathaway breaks up with her fed-up and embarrassed boyfriend (Dan Stevens), and heads back to her small hometown after many years away in New York that were seemingly mostly devoted to getting drunk to the point of blacking out. Meanwhile Seoul, South Korea appears to be enduring the wrath of a “Krampus”-looking kaiju (giant monster). Being self-absorbed an in a bad mental and emotional place, Hathaway doesn’t think too much of it while she runs into a guy she went to elementary school with (Jason Sudeikis), now running a not terribly flourishing local bar. He introduces her to barfly Tim Blake Nelson and the younger, handsome Austin Stowell, who Hathaway takes an immediate superficial interest in, though it’s clear Sudeikis has a thing for her. Things get weird when Hathaway learns that through some kind of unexplained weirdness, she has a destructive connection to the monster devastation going on in Seoul. Meanwhile, Sudeikis slowly starts to reveal a dark,…