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Showing posts from October 21, 2018

Review: A Stranger is Watching

Gruff Rip Torn kidnaps young Shawn von Schreiber (in sadly her only film appearance, it seems) and her TV reporter stepmother (Kate Mulgrew, pre-“Star Trek: Voyager”) for ransom, two years after the poor girl had to endure witnessing her mother being raped and murdered. James Russo is the guy the cops nabbed for the murder now awaiting execution in 72 hours. James Naughton is Schreiber’s dad and a journalist in his own right, who hasn’t been happy with girlfriend Mulgew’s coverage of the Russo story. Gee, could Russo be innocent after all? Just what is Torn’s motive?


Not quite the slasher pic that the title or the pedigree of its director, Sean S. Cunningham (director of the overrated and cheap “Friday the 13th” and the abysmal “DeepStar Six”) would suggest, this poorly-photographed 1982 film is more kidnap/killer thriller. The supporting characters and performances are largely nondescript (Naughton, a fine enough actor is given little to do but look worried and frustrated), but the t…

Review: First Kill

Hayden Christensen plays an overworked stockbroker with a wife (Megan Leonard) and kid (Ty Shelton). He has decided to head out for his woodland hometown, and take the kid deer hunting as a father-son bonding exercise. Yeah, let’s shoot some guns together, kid…that’ll stop you from being a bullied little wuss (Insert “Team America: World Police” theme song here). Bruce Willis plays the small town local sheriff who knows Christensen and knew his father as well. Anyway, the hunting expedition goes to pot when the boy is witness to a couple of guys (Gethin Anthony one of them) squabbling over some criminal activity they’ve just participated in, and a key gets thrown in Shelton’s direction. One guy also shoots the other guy, injuring him. Eventually the kid inadvertently alerts the men to their presence, and Christensen realises it’s ‘go time’ and fatally shoots one of the men to protect his son. The dead man turns out to be a cop, which will no doubt cause a whole shitstorm of trouble th…

Review: 6 Days

The true story of the Iranian embassy siege in London in 1980 by a bunch of Iranian terrorists. Whilst police negotiator Mark Strong attempts to keep the situation calm and reason with the terrorists in the hopes of the safe release of hostages, the SAS (including Jamie Bell) are awaiting the call to go into action if need be. Abbie Cornish is a BBC reporter on the outside reporting on the matter.


I wouldn’t mind betting that this 2017 hostage drama from director Toa Fraser (director of “The Dead Lands”, writer-director of the ballet movie “Giselle”) and screenwriter Glenn Standring (“The Dead Lands”) is pretty close to factual. Why? Because it certainly doesn’t play out in an enjoyable way from a narrative standpoint. It’s 75 minutes’ worth of waiting around for the SAS to finally make their move, and when said move happens there’s barely any time left for action. That’s 75 minutes’ worth of thumb-twiddling, albeit with a very fine performance by a calm Mark Strong. Sorry, but I need…

Review: Eight Diagram Pole Fighter

After a betrayal sees all but two members of the Yang family massacred (thanks to duplicitous Ku Ming and his Mongol allies), Son no. 5 (Gordon Liu) has gone AWOL, and Son no. 6 (Alexander Fu Sheng) returns home a tormented and deranged shadow of his former self. No. 5 has actually sought refuge with Buddhist monks, and despite the leader’s (Phillip Ko) suspicions that anger and ideas of revenge consume him, No. 5 is undeterred by the rejection, even painfully shaving his head at one point (really hard to watch, actually). Meanwhile, the Yang family’s matriarch and seven daughters receive word that No. 5 still lives (Johnny 5 is alive!), and so daughter No. 8 (Kara Hui Ting-hung) is sent to locate him.


Perhaps the finest martial-arts epic of all-time (Yeah, I said it), this thematically interesting, but ultimately entertainingly violent 1983 Lau Kar-Leung (“The 36th Chamber of Shaolin”) film for the Shaw Brothers studio has a sombre, mature tone for the most part, but when the action …

Review: Kingsman: The Golden Circle

‘Eggsy’ Unwin (Taron Egerton) and the Kingsmen are back, this time taking on a chipper but deadly American drug baron named Poppy (Julianne Moore), who in addition to her deadly drug operation, has also seen fit to wipe out Kingsman HQ, leading to tragedy. It’s up to Eggsy and Merlin (Mark Strong) to take Poppy down before she unleashes deadly drug hell on the world. Aiding our heroes in their quest is the American equivalent of Kingsman, called Statesman. Headed by Champ (Jeff Bridges), the Statesman team also includes Whiskey (Pedro Pascal), Tequila (Channing Tatum), and tech expert Ginger (Halle Berry). Bruce Greenwood plays an amusingly stupid POTUS, whilst Elton John cameos as himself. Colin Firth returns as Kingsman agent Harry, whom Eggsy and Merlin encounter in America, not quite feeling his usual self. In fact, he doesn’t even remember who or what he is.


The first “Kingsman” was for me an unexpected delight. When I saw the trailer for this 2017 follow-up from director Matthew…