Showing posts from September 30, 2018

Review: The Searchers

John Wayne plays a former confederate soldier on a relentless search for his niece (played at various stages by the Wood sisters Natalie and Lana), kidnapped by Comanche Indians (led by the decidedly ‘honky’-looking Henry Brandon), who also killed her family. But what will the embittered, vengeful Wayne do if and when he finds his niece, now taken in by the Comanche? Surely he’s not going to kill her like he says, is he ? (His reasoning being that she’s damaged goods now). Jeffrey Hunter is the half-breed (one-eighth Cherokee) adopted by Wayne’s family (saved by Wayne as a boy), who accompanies him on the search (much to the chagrin of confirmed Indian hater Wayne, with Hunter trying to save Wayne from himself), with Vera Miles as Hunter’s not-so patient woman back home. Veteran character actor (usually in simple immigrant roles) John Qualen is Miles’ father, Ward Bond is a preacher and Texas Ranger (Hell yeah!), and the inimitable Hank Worden is feeble-minded Mose Harper, an old I

Review: Baywatch

Mitch Buchanan (Dwayne Johnson) oversees the lifeguards at Emerald Bay beach, and also oversees the training of hopeful new recruits. The principal hopefuls are disgraced former Olympic swimmer Matt Brody (Zac Efron), the beautiful Summer (Alexandra Daddario), and chubby nerd Ronnie (Jon Bass). Helping Mitch with the selection process are lifeguards C.J. Parker (Kelly Rohrbach) and Stephanie Holden (Ilfenesh Hadera, in the Alexandra Paul role in-name only). Meanwhile, drug-dealing real estate queen Victoria (Priyanka Chopra) has nefarious plans for the Bay. The original “Baywatch” TV series was idiotic ( “Baywatch: Hawaii” even more so), but for those of us who were of a certain (teen) age at around the time the show was on, it certainly had its…erm…charms, shall we say? There’s a reason why it was one of the most popular shows on TV worldwide during its run, obviously. This 2017 big-screen misappropriation of the brand has precious few charms, I’m afraid. Basically doing a

Review: White Noise

Michael Keaton (in a rather low-key turn) plays an architect whose author wife (Chandra West) goes missing, presumed dead. Sometime later, Ian McNeice (AKA cut-rate Richard Griffiths) approaches him, claiming to have the ability to contact the dead, via Electronic Voice Phenomenon, messages in recorded static (or complete BS to most people). Deborah Kara Unger is another grieving person whom Keaton is introduced to. This 2005 Geoffrey Sax (a Brit TV director making his cinematic debut) film wastes an interesting premise by neither going the cheesy exploitation route nor the more serious and thoughtful route. It is too mopey and dull for the former, and too silly and predictable to work on the latter level. It’s also unoriginal, a sort of “Contact” meets “The Sixth Sense” . A shame, because EVP is perfect fodder for a B-grade schlockfest (If you find the notion ridiculous, you probably shouldn’t bother watching it to begin with, I was willing to believe for the sake of some l

Review: Undisputed II: Last Man Standing

Michael Jai White stars as George ‘Iceman’ Chambers, disgraced former Heavyweight boxing champ now reduced to shonky TV advertorial spots in the arse places like Russia. It is here that ‘Iceman’ (who was convicted of raping a girl in the first film) gets framed for drug trafficking despite having zero history of it- Why not just find another girl to cry rape? He is sent to a hellhole Russian prison where he is ‘encouraged’ to participate in an illegal fight tournament bet heavily on by the Russian mob. The current champ of this prison tournament is a big, mean MMA-fighting Russian named Yuri Boyka (Scott Adkins), not exactly the most charming or communicative fella. But then, Chambers ain’t exactly Mr. Fun himself, refusing to fight until given zero choice. And even then he’s not gonna like it. Mark Ivanir turns up as colourful, brutal Russian mobster Gaga, Ben Cross is a junkie prisoner whom Chambers shares a cell with, Eli Danker plays a grizzled, wheelchair-bound p

Review: Spider-Man: Homecoming

After having aided Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and The Avengers in a previous film, Spider-Man, AKA 15 year-old Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is back to his normal life at high school. His constant calls to a seemingly forever vacationing Stark serve more to piss off Stark chauffeur Happy (Jon Favreau) than anything else. Meanwhile, Parker’s best friend (Jacob Batalon) lets slip that Peter is best friends with Spider-Man, which is overheard by a girl Peter likes (played by Laura Harrier). Bigger problems come in the form of Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton), a blue-collar salvage worker who gets screwed out of a salvage job by Stark’s company on all the destruction caused in the previous “Avengers” film. So not only does he have a grudge against all things “Avengers” , but before getting kicked off the job, he manages to salvage some technology and fashion himself a supervillain flying suit. Marisa Tomei is Peter’s hot Aunt May, Zendaya plays another student, Bokeem Woodbine is one o

Review: Night Passage

Former railroad worker turned crummy accordion-player Jimmy Stewart is brought back into the fold by boss Jay C. Flippen to secretly ride as a passenger on a train with the train payroll on him, as a gang headed by unhinged Whitey Harbin (Dan Duryea) has been robbing trains left, right, and centre. Audie Murphy is Stewart’s wayward brother, AKA the Utica Kid, who is a part of Duryea’s gang, and who was a big part of the reason for Stewart getting fired in the first place. Young Brandon de Wilde is the kid who hero-worships Utica, but doesn’t want to take part in the robbery. Robert J. Wilke and Jack Elam are Duryea’s cohorts, pretty Dianne Foster is Murphy’s main squeeze. Not-bad, but uneven 1957 B-western from James Neilson (a B-grader whose directorial debut this was) never really takes off because the overly-talky chief villain (an unbelievably whiny Duryea, in an uncharacteristic bad performance) seems such a feeble threat, whilst his far more menacing henchmen (chiefly t