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Showing posts from January 13, 2019

Review: The Gingerbread Man

Sir Kenneth Branagh stars as a slick lawyer from Savannah, Georgia, whose decision to involve himself both legally and most unprofessionally with a troubled waitress (Embeth Davidtz) opens up one helluva crackpot can of worms. Apparently her crazy old man (Robert Duvall) has been stalking her, and she wants the crazy bastard committed to an asylum. Unfortunately, he’s crafty and elusive, and seems to have helpers everywhere, which also puts Branagh and his kids in danger. Oh, and did I mention that it’s hurricane season? Robert Downey Jr. plays Branagh’s favourite hard-drinking private eye, Daryl Hannah is Branagh’s mousy assistant, Famke Janssen is his bitter ex-wife, and Tom Berenger is Davidtz’s bitter ex-husband.


A transparent mystery and completely overpitched job by director Robert Altman (“The Player”, “Nashville”, “3 Women”, “*M*A*S*H”) threaten to derail this 1998 adaptation of a discarded John Grisham (“The Client”, “The Rainmaker”, and “Runaway Jury”) manuscript, written by…

Review: Standoff

12 year-old budding photographer Ella Ballentine witnesses and photographs professional killer Laurence Fishburne mowing down people at a funeral whilst attending the funeral of her own parents. She escapes his clutches and heads to the homestead of Thomas Jane, who is still mourning the loss of a son and the collapse of his marriage. He’s not in a good head space, wants nothing to do with the little girl, but when gun-toting Fishburne rocks up to tie up a ‘loose end’, Jane’s better instincts kick in.

You just know this isn’t going to be good. Two fairly well-known names, no other stars. A running time less than 90 minutes. A generic title. Made in Canada. And you’ve absolutely, positively never, ever heard of it. Yeah, this isn’t good. This 2016 generic thriller from writer/director Adam Alleca (co-writer of the remake of “Last House on the Left”, and the slightly underrated Stephen King film “Cell”) gives you everything the title suggests but almost literally nothing else. A bare mi…

Review: Wrong Bet

Jean-Claude Van Damme stars as Lyon, who goes AWOL from the French Foreign Legion when he receives word that his brother has succumbed to nasty drug dealers in LA, who set him on fire. Almost by accident, Lyon discovers the world of underground street fighting, and hooks up with likeable hustler Harrison Page, who introduces him to sleazy, rich fight promoter Deborah Rennard. Soon he’s earning dough participating in unsanctioned bouts in bizarre locales for the blood-thirsty rich-set. Lyon wants the money so he can support his brother’s wife (Lisa Pelikan) and daughter (Ashley Johnson). The latter is much keener on him being around than the former, who is resentful. Rennard, for her part, is not keen on letting Lyon take the money and run, wanting to own him for good. Meanwhile, two Legionnaires (one played by Michel Qissi) are dispatched to bring Lyon back. Clement von Franckenstein (coolest name ever!) plays a British investor associate of Rennard’s.


Belgian butt-kicker Jean-Claude …

Review: Click

Workaholic Adam Sandler meets weirdo scientist Christopher Walken who gives him a ‘universal remote’, a magical device that can seemingly do anything, and certainly allows its user to juggle both work and family commitments. Sandler figures he can fast-forward through a lot of stuff (arguments, and hell, even sex) to focus on work commitments (Everyone’s favourite punchline, David Hasselhoff is Sandler’s tyrannical boss) in order to get a promotion that gives him more personal freedom and time with his family. Unfortunately, the remote ‘learns’ Sandler’s habits, and soon Sandler is skipping whole sections of his life, leading to domestic unhappiness. Well, that’s what you get for fast-forwarding sex with hottie wife Kate Beckinsale. I mean, is this guy nuts or what? I’d be playing that in slow-mo, dude! Frequent replays! TiVo it and watch it over and over! Henry Winkler plays Sandler’s loving father, Julie Kavner (Marge Simpson herself) is his mother, Jennifer Coolidge plays the same …

Review: Sweet Virginia

Set in a small Alaskan town, motel owner (and former rodeo champ) Jon Bernthal strikes up a kind of friendship with a mysterious, brooding out-of-towner (Christopher Abbott) who is bad news. Rosemarie DeWitt plays a widow, as does Imogen Poots.


One of those films that takes forever to go nowhere and has a pretty familiar plot to boot, this 2017 thriller/drama is pretty much a waste of time. Director Jamie M. Dagg (his most significant film to date) adopts an enervated approach that never keeps you interested, but it’s not like he’s being helped much by screenwriters Benjamin and Paul China (similarly relatively new to cinema). “In Cold Blood” this ain’t, despite a typical ‘violent trouble headed towards sleepy town’ plot trajectory. I also feel this was far from Christopher Abbott’s best work, he’s completely flat. Jon Bernthal is pretty good, but the lovely Rosemarie DeWitt is wasted and seems half-asleep throughout. The whole film is similarly muted and low-key to the point of being…