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Showing posts from October 14, 2018

Review: The Trip to Spain

Comedically inclined colleagues/rivals Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon reunite for another culinary road trip, continually trying to one-up each other along the way.


Filmmaker Michael Winterbottom (“The Trip”, “24 Hour Party People”) and stars Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon pretty much steer the ship back on course with their third outing. This 2017 film thankfully corrects many of the mistakes made in the previous “Trip to Italy”, which was virtually a repeat of the first film’s best bits done poorly, and with the roles unsuitably reversed. Rob Brydon as a sleazy ‘pants man’? I don’t think so. This time out Brydon is back to being his affable, mild-mannered (if to some rather irritatingly eager to amuse with rapid-fire impressions) self, and Coogan continues to project a maturing version of the self he first offered up in the original “Trip” (These aren’t documentaries, and so obviously the actors/comedians are at best playing fictionalised versions of themselves). Here he’s less randy mid-…

Review: The Circle

Emma Watson is Mae, who via friend Annie (Karen Gillan) gets an interview to work a big Google/Apple-like tech company of the film’s title. Passing the interview, she begins work in the Customer Experience section, where her goal is to achieve 100% customer satisfaction on the company’s surveys. She also gets to stay on campus, and the health benefits are a great plus given her father (an emaciated and dishevelled-looking Bill Paxton) has MS. The whole vibe at The Circle is also very positive. Almost to a passive-aggressive degree. Meanwhile Circle’s CEO Eamon Bailey (Tom Hanks) turns up from time to time to deliver encouraging speeches and product info. The latest technology set for launch is something called SeeChange, micro camera technology with streaming ability, something Bailey sees as becoming commonplace across the globe, making the entire world public and transparent. While a normal person would be going ‘What the absolute fuck? I’m outta here…’ Mae is all-in, and not only d…

Review: St. Valentine’s Day Massacre

Docudrama outlining the famed 1929 gangland shootings in Chicago, centring on the important players like Al Capone (Jason Robards), rival George ‘Bugs’ Moran (Ralph Meeker), and Moran’s chief lieutenant Peter Gusenberg (George Segal). Joe Turkel and Harold J. Stone (the latter playing Frank Nitti) are Capone’s top aides and wise counsel. Frank Silvera plays Sorello, an elderly immigrant trucker in need of cash who gets slapped around by Segal and co, but is covertly working for Capone’s crew as a decoy. Bruce Dern has a small role as a mechanic who is a victim of the massacre, whilst a young Jack Nicholson plays one of the gunmen, as does Corman regular Dick Miller. Alex D’Arcy plays the dapper turncoat Joey Aiello, envisioned by Moran as Capone’s successor. Aiello arranges for Capone friend and mafia don Patsy Lolordo’s killing, sealing his fate. Clint Ritchie plays “Machine Gun” Jack McGurn, Capone’s chief lieutenant who masterminds the plot involving Sorello.


1967 Roger Corman (The…

Review: The Big Sick

Pakistani-American stand-up comedian/Uber driver Kumail (played by Pakistani-American comedian Kumail Nanjiani) enters a relationship with a white American girl named Emily (Zoe Kazan). They’re cute and fun and everything is going great…until Kumail’s inability/unwillingness to tell his very traditional Pakistani family that he’s dating a white girl gets in the way. Then something tragic happens. Holly Hunter and Ray Romano play Emily’s parents who are initially frosty towards Kumail for frankly pretty good reasons. Aidy Bryant (one the least funny comedians in “SNL” history) and Bo Burnham play Kumail’s stand-up pals.


Star/co-writer Kumail Nanjiani probably won’t have a huge future as a leading man, but he has co-written himself a pretty good lead role in this multicultural romance dramedy from 2017. Directed by Michael Showalter, it’s not a great film but it did make me happy, almost to the point of tears in the end actually. I liked it. You’ll like it. You can’t resist it. You may …

Review: Second in Command

Jean-Claude Van Damme is a military attaché in Moldova, wherein under a time of unrest, a new President (Serban Celea) has been elected pretty much unanimously. A group of insurgents, led by Velibor Topic are trying to get into the U.S. Embassy to presumably kill the president and take over. The Duke…er…Van Damme leads a group of hard-ass marines holding the fort against seemingly insurmountable pressure from outside. Julie Cox is Van Damme’s journo girlfriend also caught up in it all, with Alan McKenna as her comrade. William Tapley all but froths at the mouth in a ridiculous performance as the resident A-hole government bureaucrat.


2006 Simon Fellows (Van Damme’s genuinely good “Until Death”) film isn’t anywhere near the same prestige as “Black Hawk Down”, but this blend of the aforementioned film and “The Alamo” still shows that Van Damme is trying hard to make good films. This isn’t a good one, but it’s not one of his bad ones either. An efficient Van Damme does the best with what…

Review: Pineapple Express

Dope-smoking process server (i.e. he hands out subpoenas) Seth Rogen has just smoked some rare, potent dope with his friendly (if paranoid and frequently incoherent) drug dealer James Franco when he goes to deliver a subpoena to Gary Cole. Before he can, though, he witnesses Cole (a drug dealer), and his crooked cop crony Rosie Perez killing an unidentified Asian man. Smartly, Rogen high-tails it outta there. Stupidly, Rogen leaves behind some ‘evidence’ (weed of a rare variety) for Cole to discover. Rogen alerts Franco to the situation and they both freak out, and not just ‘coz they’re fried. So they decide to hide out until the situation cools down. Or until they’re so wasted that they forget what they’re doing hiding out in the woods. Danny McBride is Franco’s mid-level drug-supplier and friend, who has a run-in with some of Cole’s hired thugs, and is probably the least trustworthy person on the face of the planet. Did I mention Rogen was meant to be having dinner with his high-sch…