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Showing posts from September 2, 2018

Review: Edge of the City

Insecure war deserter John Cassavetes (in a role somewhat similar to the type Montgomery Clift or Marlon Brando tended to play at the time) gets a job on the NYC docks, and befriends an affable, easy-going African-American co-worker (Sidney Poitier), which pits him against racist waterfront bully Jack Warden whom none of the other dock workers dare stand up to for fear of violent retribution and/or the loss of their job. Ruby Dee plays Poitier’s loving wife, and Kathleen Maguire is Cassavetes’ pretty love interest, who is also Dee’s best friend.


A tough, realistic waterfront drama from 1957 directed by Martin Ritt (“Hud”, “Paris Blues”, “Conrack”) which has been completely overshadowed by the very similar “On the Waterfront”. This one is grittier and less showy, with brilliant performances from everyone, including one of Warden’s best (alongside his turns in “12 Angry Men” and “The Verdict”), in what is perhaps most aptly described as the Lee J. Cobb role. Warden was one of the most r…

Review: I Love You, Beth Cooper

Uber-nerd and class valedictorian Dennis Cooverman (Paul Rust, who looks like a younger, nerdy Sean Penn) makes the title proclamation during his big graduation speech. The way he figures it, if he doesn’t let hottie cheerleader Beth Cooper (the totally overexposed Hayden Panettiere playing her 1000th cheerleader) know how he feels about her, he’ll never see her again and can’t live with that. He also manages to out his best friend, played by Jack. T. Carpenter. In addition to Carpenter being unimpressed by Cooverman’s outing him in front of everyone (He swears he’s not gay! Honest!), Ms. Cooper wants to know why Cooverman would embarrass her like that in front of everyone, though she also thinks it was sweet. And uh-oh, now here comes her seriously buff, possibly psychotic boyfriend to stomp a mudhole in him too. That night, Beth turns up at Cooverman’s door (he had previously invited her to a supposed party), with her two best friends. And so it begins, as a lot of crazy, wacky stuf…

Review: Scorchers

Half an OK movie strapped onto a crap half, this steamy, melodramatic 1992 David Beaird (the mediocre “Pass the Ammo”, with Bill Paxton and Tim Curry) flick is too obviously based on a stage play. The irritating half features the shrill goings on of a nervous bride (Emily Lloyd- irritating as always) on her wedding night, as her husband (James Wilder) and incredibly nauseating Prairie-shit father (appalling stage actor Leland Crooke, reprising his role, and sounding like a scummy, white Uncle Remus, in his best, phony bayou accent) try to calm her down. The better half centres around a local bar, run by crotchety James Jones, practically lived in by drunken British stage actor Denholm Elliott (who hangs by the jukebox specially stocked with his favourite classical music), and occasionally frequented by virginal preacher’s daughter Jennifer Tilly (showing Lloyd how to act properly shrill) who has a beef with the local madam (Faye Dunaway).


Dunaway probably the best performance in this …

Review: Tropic Thunder

The story of the filming of a big-budget Vietnam War movie, written by a grizzled and probably deranged bully (Nick Nolte, having a blast in a role possibly inspired by Sam Peckinpah and John Milius), directed by a pompous arse (Steve Coogan), and populated by several actors with seriously inflated egos. Firstly there’s faded action star Ben Stiller, whose schtick is way past tired, and whose recent attempt at serious, Oscar-pandering was as a mentally challenged farm boy named ‘Happy Jack’. Then there’s super-dedicated, Australian method actor Robert Downey Jr., so committed to his role in ‘Tropic Thunder’ that he has undergone pigment alteration in order to play a jive-talking (almost to the point of hilarious, Mr. T-like incomprehensible ‘jibber-jabbering’), Fred Williamson-style black hero. Jack Black plays a drug-addicted, chubby star of a string of awful, flatulence-based comedies, somewhere in between “Porkys” and “The Klumps”. Brandon T. Jackson and Jay Baruchel round out the …

Review: Ninja Assassin

Naomie Harris is Mika, a Europol agent in Berlin researching the existence of ninja in modern day society, having carried out assassinations for centuries (so long as the price is right), whilst still maintaining a shadowy existence. Her investigation earns her the notice of a particularly nasty clan called Ozu who have targeted her for assassination. Aide comes in the form of Raizo (Rain), a former member of the Ozu clan of ninja (an orphan, he was taken in and trained by the clan as a boy), who left the fold after his evil sensei Lord Ozuno (Sho Kosugi- who else?) killed his beloved. Rick Yune plays Takeshi, another star pupil of Ozuno’s, who is sent after Raizo and Mika.


“Ninja”, starring the impressive Scott Adkins disappointed me greatly, so I was relieved that this 2009 James McTeigue ninja film (the interesting “V For Vendetta”) got something right that “Ninja” failed on: It features plenty of ninja throughout the film, and is a better film overall (It’s impossible not to want …

Review: The Savages

Two 40ish siblings (Laura Linney and Phillip Seymour Hoffman), intellectuals who are not especially close. Hoffman is far more successful than the neurotic Linney (who lives alone with a plant and a cat), a temp worker who is struggling to finish an semi-autobiographical play about a deserter father, and is having an affair with a (nice but dull) married man. Hoffman is a Literature professor who is working on a book about Brecht, though like Linney he is unmarried. They are faced with some bad news and tough decisions, though, when they learn the long-time girlfriend of their dementia-suffering (and frankly none too likeable) father Philip Bosco (excellent, under the rather limiting circumstances) has died, and the irascible and unmanageable old coot is wearing thin on his current carers (including “Dexter” co-star David Zayas). Sadly, he may need to be placed in permanent, institutionalised care to better cater for his needs and erratic behaviour. Linney (neurotic, suffering low sel…