Showing posts from May 6, 2018

Review: Godzilla, Mothra, Mechagodzilla: Tokyo SOS

A year after the events of the previous film, and Mechagodzilla is now fully restored and operational. Which is just as well, because both Godzilla and Mothra have made their presence known. At the same time, Professor Chujo (Hiroshi Koizumi), a witness to Mothra’s first appearance in Japan 40 years ago, is paid a visit by the giant moth/larvae’s twin fairies. They warn him and all humanity that the bones used in the formation of Mechagodzilla must be returned to their rightful resting place, or else risk an all-out monster attack. Wait…didn’t we just go through that? Yes, yes we did. But it’s different this time, apparently. Needless to say, the Professor’s pleas get ignored and all monster hell breaks loose. Yumiko Shaku returns very briefly as pilot Akane Yashiro, one of the heroes of the previous film. A slight step back for the ‘Millennium Series’ and director Masaaki Tezuka with this overpopulated yet underdone 2003 entry. It’s a better entry than “Giant Monsters All-Ou

Review: Alien: Covenant

Set 10 years after the end of “Prometheus” , the title spaceship is on a colonisation mission headed for the planet Origae-6 to populate. Unfortunately, in the middle of a nasty space storm, the captain (hi and bye, James Franco) has died in hyper-sleep, leaving second-in-command and resident believer Oram (Billy Crudup) to awkwardly and abruptly take charge. The rest of the crew, including the dead man’s wife (Katherine Waterston) want time to grieve, but Oram feels it best to get on with ship repairs, which doesn’t make him terribly popular. After the repairs are done, a distress call is picked up from a planet relatively nearby. Although the plan is to head for Origae-6, Oram notices that the planet can support life and decides to abandon original plans and take this much shorter option instead. Big mistake, Oram. Big, bloody, chest-bursting alien mistake. Michael Fassbender plays resident ship android Walter, the next stage model of the character he played in “Prometheus” , Dav

Review: Vengeance: A Love Story

Anna Hutchison is a young mother viciously beaten and gang-raped in front of her young daughter (Talitha Bateman) by some local thugs. The first cop on the scene is Nic Cage, who had briefly chatted to Hutchison earlier in the night at a local bar. He takes a personal interest in the case, especially when the family of the perpetrators hires a slick lawyer (Don Johnson) who just so happens to be good friends with the clearly unsympathetic judge. The trial becomes a joke, and Cage is seething. Meanwhile, Hutchison is left an emotional wreck from the entire experience, struggling to make it through each day. Deborah Kara Unger plays Hutchison’s protective mother. It’s interesting that at one point or another both Nic Cage and filmmaker Harold Becker were set to direct this straight-to-DVD schlocker from 2017. Neither ended up in the chair, as the film is credited to long-time stuntman Johnny Martin (tellingly his directorial debut). Both Cage and Becker (who left during pre-pro

Review: Highwaymen

Colm Feore is a vehicular nutjob who runs over Jim Caviezel’s wife with his Cadillac. Years later, Caviezel has made it his mission to nail the sonofabitch (who was hurt in the ‘accident’ himself, it seems, though that was due to Caviezel’s hell-bent pursuit of him), with accident survivor Rhona Mitra caught in the middle. Frankie Faison has a thankless role as a traffic investigator. Watchable 2004 thriller from the director of “The Hitcher” , Robert Harmon ends up a major disappointment when you realise you’re just watching a mixture of “The Hitcher” and “Duel” , done wrong. It’s an admittedly an intriguing idea, but it doesn’t come off. Although he gives the best performance in the film, Feore’s severely disabled serial killer is just one of many elements of incredulity in this massively contrived film. The ‘accidents’ themselves raise a plethora of unanswered questions. Jim Caviezel is good enough to at least equal the rather bland C. Thomas Howell in the otherwise brill

Review: The Illusionist

Set in 1900 Vienna, with Edward Norton playing Eisenheim the Illusionist, a man from a humble background, whose illusions are so real-seeming that people believe him to conjure dark spirits. Paul Giamatti is Chief Inspector Uhl, on the payroll of the evil Crown Prince (a scowling Rufus Sewell), who is convinced that Eisenheim is a charlatan, and wants Uhl (genuinely interested in the art of magic and trickery) to prove it. At one point, Sewell uses his girlfriend Jessica Biel (out of her depth) as a volunteer at one of Eisenheim’s performances, not knowing that the two were actually childhood sweethearts, with feelings still lingering. Handsome, low-key and solemn 2006 Neil Burger ( “Interview With the Assassin” ) film comes close to working moderately well, but the ‘magic’ tricks used are aided by technology that would not have been available at the when this film is set, thus ruining the experience for me. I could never get into it, because I never believed it. Norton is w

Review: Once Upon a Time in Venice

Bruce Willis stars as a skateboard-riding (!) Venice Beach private detective and former LAPD detective, who we meet having bedded the hot daughter (Aussie model Jessica Gomes) of his latest client before having to make an undignified exit. The main plot kicks in when Willis pisses off a local Hispanic drug dealer thug (Jason Momoa!), who ends up messing with Willis’ family (sister-in-law Famke Janssen and her daughter) and even kidnapping the dog. The film mostly charts his attempts at getting the dog back, aided by assistant Thomas Middleditch and surfer dude pal John Goodman, who is going through a messy divorce. Christopher McDonald plays the same smug prick he always plays (a real estate smug prick this time), whilst Adam Goldberg is an uptight Jewish land developer known as ‘Lou the Jew’ (I shit you not) whose property is continually targeted by a lewd graffiti artist. Billy Gardell turns up briefly as a cop, and I have no idea what David Arquette is doing in this for ten seco