Showing posts from July 8, 2018

Review: Meet the Spartans

Essentially the same plot as “300” , but with a dyed Sean Maguire standing in for Gerard Butler’s Spartan King Leonidas, Carmen Electra standing in for Lena Headey, and Oswald from “The Drew Carey Show” (Diedrich Bader) standing in for Dominic West as a duplicitous Senator named Traitoro (uh-huh). Oh, and Borat’s fat friend (Ken Davitian) plays the much less androgynous, but much weirder Xerxes, leader of the enemy Persian army Leonidas leads his troops against. Kevin Sorbo turns up as Maguire’s trusty man-at-arms, and Paris Hilton (played by Nicole Parker) is the film’s version of hunchback Ephialtes(!). No I haven’t got the foggiest, either. Especially lame 2008 spoof (of predominantly “300” , a dopey enough film to begin with) from the writer-director team of Aaron Seltzer and Jason Friedberg ( “Date Movie” , “Epic Movie” ) has barely any giggles in it, though there are a tonne of product placement gags, gay jokes (‘I'm assembling an army of 300 to go to war with Pers

Review: Ninja

Casey (Scott Adkins) is an American orphan taken in by sensei Togo Igawa and raised in his dojo. He’s resented by fellow pupil Masazuka (Tsuyoshi Ihara) who sees himself as the rightful heir of their sensei. Jealous and embittered, Masazuka breaks their sacred code by violently lashing out at Casey and is cast out from the dojo altogether. He becomes a ninja, an evil assassin, and attempts to steal a prized artefact; the Yoroi Bitsu, armour and weapons of the last great ninja. In order to prevent Masazuka from ever obtaining the Yoroi Bitsu, Adkins and the sensei’s daughter (the awfully cute Mika Hijii) are sent to America. Naturally, Masazuka ends up finding their location anyway and sets after them. Throw in some investigating cops and a weirdo cult (who aid Masazuka in his evil deeds for some reason), and you’ve got yourself a movie. I keep waiting for that big breakout film for British-born martial arts arse-kicker Scott Adkins, after having been impressed by him in the w

Review: Peeping Tom

Karl Boehm is a deeply troubled, sensitive photographer (mostly of still nudie pictures) who uses his camera and its tripod as a weapon (!) to photograph women at the moment of their death (!!). Anna Massey is the cute, rather naive girl who lives downstairs and takes a fascination to the wrong neighbour. Moira Shearer has glorified cameo as a film extra Boehm photographs dancing, after hours. Maxine Audley is Massey’s blind, alcoholic mother who is fearful and deeply (and instantly) suspicious of the disturbed Boehm. Engrossing 1960 Michael Powell ( “The Red Shoes” , the gorgeous melodrama “Black Narcissus” ) cult favourite just about ruined the director’s career, for reasons that seem rather silly now, given how tame the film appears today. It’s a fascinating, chilling, influential, and complex character study and crime-thriller. Boehm’s sensitive, brilliant performance (somewhere between the handsome Simon Ward and the creepy Peter Lorre) deserves to be considered in the s

Review: JCVD

Former A-grade (or at least B+) Belgian-born action star Jean-Claude Van Damme, cast as a version of himself, is having massive personal and professional problems. A bitter custody dispute (his daughter testifies that kids tease her because her dad’s career is a joke- ouch!), his career nowhere near what it once was, he comes back home to Brussels, where he is still treated with a certain level of celebrity status and adoration. In near financial dire straits, he walks into a post office to arrange a money transfer to pay his lawyer, and he unfortunately stumbles right into the scene of a robbery/hostage situation. Once a SWAT team and police negotiator (Francois Damiens) come to the scene, somehow it gets out that Van Damme is actually the ringleader of the robbers! Well, if you ask me, being known as a bank robber would be preferable to being known as the guy who made “Knock Off” and “Derailed” . So whilst the cops try to end the stand-off by any means necessary, we get a “Dog D

Review: Observe and Report

Seth Rogen plays a dedicated, but delusional and unbalanced man who suffers from bi-polar and doesn’t feel he needs medication anymore. A head mall security guard who sees it as his mission to track down both a flasher and a thief, he spends more time getting in cop Ray Liotta’s face, though for supposedly interloping. Liotta’s constant ‘meddling’ looks like it might push the bi-polar Rogen, who actually wants to be a ‘real’ cop himself violently over the edge. Meanwhile, Rogen’s also got a thing for the entirely vapid make-up counter chick Anna Faris, who isn’t remotely interested in him (good for her!), whilst the sweet-natured girl who makes him his coffee everyday (Colette Wolfe) harbours an entirely obvious crush on him, that the ironically unobservant Rogen never seems to notice. Michael Pena (in a bizarre, attention-seeking performance far from his best) is a fellow guard who is into drugs, whilst Patton Oswalt is Wolfe’s dickwad boss. Celia Weston is a grotesque and embarra

Review: Elektra

Based on the Marvel Comics character, Jennifer Garner stars as the title assassin for hire a professional and emotionless killer who starts to feel sympathy for her latest targets, single dad Goran Visnjic and his daughter Kirsten Prout. Soon enough she’s protecting them from evil Will Yun Lee and his henchpersons who see Prout as ‘the Chosen One’. Or something to that effect, details are fuzzy, and not entirely my fault. Terence Stamp and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa phone in their performances as Elektra’s blind mentor named Stick, and a powerful member of the mysterious Black Hand organisation (so mysterious that I have no freaking idea who or what they were in relation to the plot). Colourful but alarmingly flat, low-key 2005 Rob Bowman ( “Reign of Fire” , “X-Files: The Movie” ) film concerning the leather-clad, brooding character we didn’t really get to know in “Daredevil” . Garner gets to do some convincing brooding, but has never convinced me as an action heroine, not even on