Showing posts from December 9, 2018

Review: Killing Gunther

Taran Killam stars as one of a team of assassins (Hannah Simone and explosives expert Bobby Moynihan among them) being followed around by a documentary crew as they try to rub out the elusive title hitman (Arnold Schwarzenegger). Cobie Smulders plays Killam’s ex who hooked up with Gunther afterwards. A potentially amusing idea and stunt casting are completely obliterated by a lazy and overly familiar structure in this 2017 mockumentary. Written, directed by, and starring former “SNL” non-entity Taran Killam, if ever there was a story/idea that deserved to be told in the fashion of TV’s “The Office” or a film like “This is Spinal Tap” …it’s not this film. The format is beyond played out, and having the subject be about the assassination profession this time isn’t enough originality. The choice of genre/structure seriously limits the project creatively. Killam could’ve potentially still gotten away with it though…if it were the slightest bit funny . Sadly, despite star cameo

Review: Napoleon Dynamite

Looking every bit the major dork (and then some!), newcomer Jon Heder stars as the title misfit, a lanky, somewhat surly teen with a somewhat crummy existence- He’s forever being slammed into lockers at school, his thrill-seeking grandma (don’t ask) is often absent, older brother Kip (Aaron Ruell- in a truly remarkable performance) is an internet chat room fanatic and one of the biggest losers I’ve ever seen, and his loser uncle Rico ( “Real Genius” co-star Jon Gries) has come to stay, and try out his latest door-to-door scam in between reminiscing about his football-playing days. He’s a has-been who never quite was in the first place. So when his only friend, a sleepy-looking Hispanic named Pedro (Efren Ramirez) finds political ambitions, Napoleon decides to help him become class president. And yes, that really is just about all the plot this movie has. A loser with a losery (not a word, but sue me!) existence finally finds something slightly less losery than usual to be interest

Review: Elizabeth: The Golden Age

Set in 1585 and long-reigning Queen Elizabeth (Cate Blanchett), along with her chief counsel Lord Walsingham (Geoffrey Rush) has to contend with Roman Catholic Spanish ruler King Phillip II (Jordi Molla) preparing for war against her. But there’s also Elizabeth’s imprisoned, jealous, next-in-line-to-the-throne cousin Mary, Queen of Scots (Samantha Morton), who is set to dethrone the Protestant Elizabeth, with the aid of a Catholic-backed assassination plot (supported also by Phillip). And then there’s the love triangle of the aging Elizabeth, her chief lady-in-waiting Bess (Aussie Abbie Cornish- holding her own amidst a top-drawer cast), and Sir Walter Raleigh (Clive Owen), the roguish, but handsome, swashbuckling man the somewhat insecure Queen secretly pines for, despite pushing young Bess into his arms. Eddie Redmayne plays Thomas Babington, the intended assassin, with Rhys Ifans as the conspiratorial (and fictitiously named) Catholic agent Robert Reston, whose character gets so

Review: Bringing Out the Dead

Nic Cage (looking like he hasn’t slept in two decades) plays a burned-out insomniac paramedic, roaming the scum-infested NY streets somewhat similarly to a certain psycho cab driver I could name. He’s haunted by the ghost of a girl he failed to save, and in fact, has had a particularly bad run lately. He needs to save someone, soon. In fact, he needs to get fired, and despite poor performance and absences, his boss (Arthur J. Nascarella) just won’t let him go, because he is apparently needed. And so he drives. He’s accompanied at varying points by John Goodman (who tries to get through the shift by thinking about his next meal), a sermonising Ving Rhames (who woos a female dispatcher and treats a resuscitation as a religious experience), and Tom Sizemore…who likes to beat people up for shits and giggles. Into Cage’s life comes Patricia Arquette, whose father Cage transports to hospital, but whose prognosis looks especially poor. Arquette, it seems has fallen in with creepy, insinua

Review: The Ice Harvest

Spineless mob lawyer John Cusack (who nearly makes you like his crummy character) and his soulless partner Billy Bob Thornton steal from Cusack’s boss Randy Quaid on Christmas Eve. Sooo…what do they do now? They have to wait until an ice storm leaves Wichita before splitting the money and leaving for good. Thornton volunteers the money whilst Cusack tries his best not to tell anyone about what they’ve done. Easier said than done when you consider that Cusack is gaga over strip joint owner Connie Nielsen and will do anything to win her favour. Oliver Platt is Cusack’s drunk buddy who is unhappily married to Cusack’s bitter ex-wife. Mike Starr (forever typecast as goons and henchmen) plays a mob enforcer. Mean-spirited, semi-comedic Harold Ramis ( “Groundhog Day” , “National Lampoon’s Vacation” ) noir misfire from 2005 contains a lot of good performances, but the screenplay and direction are faulty, which is strange considering the pedigree. Setting the film after the crime has