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The Rum Diary (2011)
does not mix well, read the book instead.
Depp is Journalist Paul Kemp who arrives in Puerto Rico to write for the The San Juan Star. Kemp Immerses himself in the island's rum-soaked lifestyle, Aaron Eckhart is the shady property developer who recruits Kemp to write favourable things about his latest scheme, and it's down to the journalist to take the money or the moral high ground... 'The Rum Diary has loads of attractive elements the director 'Bruce Robinson responsible for 'Withnail & i' the beautiful setting, the excellent and faultless production design.
The Tagline reads ''One part outrage. One part justice. Three parts rum. Mix well''. sadly this does not mix well, the screen adaptation of the late Hunter S. Thompson does hold one's attention with a superb cast Johnny Depp, Aaron Eckhart Richard Jenkins, Giovanni Ribisi and Amber Heard. the film would have been a far better experience if they perhaps were given a longer running time, the book was excellent but this adaptation is rather rushed, perhaps the cutting room floor has a lot to answer for?
Bad Grandpa (2013)
a few belly laughs,
Johnny Knoxville hidden under an ace special make up effects job, portrays 86- year-old Irving Zisman who takes a trip from Nebraska to North Carolina to take his 8 year-old grandson, Billy,Jackson Nicoll back to his real father, along the way the pair set up some clever hidden camera stunts where the unsuspecting members of the public are unwittingly fooled by the pair via vulgar set ups. in all honesty there are a handful of belly laughs to be had, but the concept really should of followed the previous 'Jackass' outings by setting up hidden camera and doing skits/prat falls whereas the 'dramatic' story line is merely 'filler' to extend the running time amid a poor montage of skits, the Old people gone amok sch-tick was better suited in the previous instalment's.
Death Valley (1982)
National Lampoon's Vacation.
A divorced mother, Catherine Hicks her young son A Christmas Story's Peter Billingsley and her new boyfriend American Graffiti's Matt Clark. set out on a road trip through Death Valley and run afoul of a local serial killer, Stephen McHattie co-stars who is as usual intense, a post John Carpenter's 'The Thing' Wilford Brimley shows up as the sheriff investigating the gruesome goings on,the gore is badly done in this one! it looks akin to bright red poster paint! one of the highlights is the scene with the greedy babysitter who gets her just desserts!
Death Valley s a great sounding premise, but sadly it runs out of steam and it is let down by an all to abrupt ending,
Get to Know Your Rabbit (1972)
Early De Palma outing which showcases some of his visual flair.
Tom Smothers of 'The Smother's Brothers Fame' plays high flying executive & magician Donald Beeman, who is destined for fame as Beeman the Marvelous. Trained in magic by the odd Mr. Delasandro(Orson Welles) and issued his own rabbit, Donald finds fulfilment and a special admirer (Katherine Ross of Butch Cassidy & the Sundance kid fame )while wowing locals at strip clubs. There are lots of shades of early Brian De Palma in this one, clever use of overhead shots which Martin Scorsese would use to great effect at the climax of 'Taxi Driver' & also clever use of SPlit screen which De Palma uses to better effect in his later pictures.
White of the Eye (1987)
White of the Eye stunning!
White of the Eye is a set in a small town in Arizona. Someone is butchering local women, and the investigating officer (Art Evans) is zeroing in on sound engineer (David Keith) who lives in the desert with his wife (Cathy Moriarty) and daughter. the film through wonderful uses of 16MM shows flashbacks which charts Cathy Moriarty's former relationship with Alan Rosenberg of Cybil fame,& depicts episodic moments which may give clues as to who the Killer may be, all is not what it seems which culminates in a rather bizarre climax. Directed by Donald Cammell Performance/Demon Seed, & also Ace Photographer on Nicolas Roeg films, there is lots of excellent photography especially innovative Steadicam (Larry McConkey)who is excellent wherever steadicam is used.
the soundtrack is composed by Nick Mason (of Pink Floyd) a tour-De- force performances by David Keith, who does his best screen work, as does Cathy Moriarty of Raging Bull fame,
Licence to Kill (1989)
final outing for Dalton as 007
Timothy Dalton in his final outing as James Bond, is out for revenge as stalwart ally Felix Leiter, (David Hedison) is abducted along with his wife and has a disagreement with something that ate him,
Dalton against the wishes of MI5 has his Licence Revoked (this was the Original title of the film, but was changed to avoid it sounding like a film about careless drivers!)and sets off as a rogue agent determined to bring down Drug baron Franz Sanchez,(Robert Davi who just has to be one of the best Bond Villains ever!
Bond gains the aide of one of CIA Operative Pam Bouvier(Carey Lowell) and together with a little help from Q branch infiltrates Sanchezs' drug factories and proceeds to bring him down. final outing for Timothy Dalton as 007 which is sad as he truly captured some of the Ian Fleming essence, Michael Kamen contributes an excellent score.
Better than Zhivago!
Warren Beatty's 'Reds' is a sweeping and epic which mixes drama and actual interview testimonies from major social radicals of the period which are an amazing technique to fill in for exposition.
Set against the backdrop of the tumultuous start of the twentieth century, Keaton/Beatty are the two journalists whose equally tumultuous relationships is punctuated by the outbreak of WWI and the Bolshevik Revolution.the pair find each other swept up in the Revolution. Beatty becomes disillusioned with Communism when he sees his words and intentions controlled by the growing Soviet propaganda machine. Shot by Cinematographer Vittorio Storaro reds is stunning, it's a 3 Hour & 12 minute epic which just sweeps by
joining them are supporting cast are Gene Hackman making a brief appearance Jack Nicholson as Eugene O'Neil, it's far better and whole some affair than David Lean's 'Dr.Zhivago
The Counselor (2013)
Breaking Bad Ridley Scott style.
Michael Fassbender plays the eponymous title role, who is infatuated with his girlfriend Penelope Cruz, and decides to secure her love by buying her a vastly expensive diamond engagement ring. He plans to fund this wild extravagance with a one-off deal, involving some of his more unsavoury clients who include Brad Pitt as a hustler dressed in what could only be described as a Country & Western singer! Javier Bardem as a extravagant club owner and Cameron Diaz as Malkina, his sexually voracious wife, as Fassbender's scheme spirals out of control can he pull off this one deal, take the money and run from the whole sordid business?
fans of Breaking Bad will be pleasantly surprised with this Ridley Scott picture, typical of Scott it's got his trademark visuals and exotic locations which highlight the highs and downright lows of wealth and squalor and the inevitable growth and decay. 'The Counsellor' will really need at least two viewings to appreciate. it's a definite must see amid the chaotic negativity surrounding it lately.
Excellent Cop thriller which needs an Uncut & extended blu ray
Nighthawks starts with a bang literally! as Hauer's ruthless international terrorist Wulfgar Reinhardt enters a department store & coolly flirts with the very pretty cosmetic assistant (Catherine Mary Stewart) & leaves a satchel containing a bomb which causes more carnage than his employers( IRA ) wish to have. Upon being informed on he flees to Paris where he teams up with fellow Terrorists Shakka Holland Persis Khambatta(Star Trek the motion picture) upon receiving cosmetic surgery ( a clever transformation courtesy of Dick Smith who contributes to some of the special make up effects used throughout)
Wulfgar travels to New York City where he plans to carry out a series of attacks,
Stallone' is detective Deke DeSilva and his partner Fox (Billy Dee Williams) are taken off their usual street work and are assigned by their boss Joe Spinell ( Maniac, Paradise Alley) to be indoctrinated in Anti Terrorisim techniques led by the late Nigel Davenport who is on the task force charged with hunting down and 'terminating' Wulfgar.
Nighthawks is a very solid thriller featuring some excellent chases and a tense showdown centred around a cable car at Roosevelt Island( which was famously used in Spider-Man) Lindsay Wagner also starts as Stallones estranged wife.
Nighthawks is criminally short at 99mins, it is alleged that their is a longer cut of the film languishing away in Universal's vault, their is also many scenes edited For Gore Dick Smith was responsible for the effects.
Get the Gringo (2012)
A knockout! Peckinpah would be proud!
Mel Gibson is is apprehended south of the border down Mexico way after a heist goes wrong. He is incarcerated in a tough prison where he learns to survive with the help of a ten year-old boy,he instantly forms a bond with the chain smoking youngster who in a subplot is groomed to be a Donor transplant for the Mexican crime boss who resides in the same prison.
It is up to the titular gringo to save the boy's life and break out of prison, which climaxes in a shoot out Sam Peckinpah would be proud of! Depends on where you live i seen 'Get the Gringo' as it's other title 'How i spent my summer vacation' is a 'Sleeper' of a movie it's a thoroughly enjoyable romp.
The Grey (2011)
In Alaska, a team of oil workers struggle to survive after a plane crash strands them in the wild. It's not long till the group realise that their not alone, stalking and hunting the group are a pack of wolves who pick off the team one by one, Directed by 'Narc' and 'Smokin' Aces Director Joe Carnahan, 'The Grey' will have you on and over the edge of your seat, Liam Neeson is extraordinary in his performance, one may look at his recent tragedy in his life as the basis for his performance, Neeson deserves every accolade there is. The photography is first rate as is the excellent score by Marc Streitenfeld. There are shades of 1965's 'The Flight of the Phoenix' and 'Alive' which incidentally gets referenced to by one of the survivors!
The Funhouse (1981)
Pay to get in, Pray to get out! An amazing Gem!
Four teenagers get typically high and as a dare decide to stay overnight in a carnival fun-house, whilst engaging in the standard teenage antics they witness one of the carnival workers who is wearing a ''Frankenstein'' mask murder one of his co-workers ''Madame Zelda'' played by (Sylvia Miles who is excellent in her brief appearance) they are subsequently stalked by ''Frankenstein'' who is later revealed to be a deformed Albino! as one of the teens foolishly pilfers a stash of money, as a result the Teens are mercilessly stalked through the labyrinthine Funhouse. 'The Funhouse'' from Tobe 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre' Hooper is an amazing gem, which surprisingly has not been remade for todays dumbed down audiences! it has some terrific 235:1 Widescreen photography. Fans of '' Tobe Hooper'' should purchase the recent ''Arrow Video'' Blu-Ray edition which is packed with excellent supplement material and an excellent transfer is a must have for fans.
The Iron Lady (2011)
For Certain Meryl Streep will get an ''Oscar''
''The Iron Lady'' is an amazing portrayal of former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Dame Margaret Thatcher, Meryl Streep is nothing short of extraordinary in her personification of the eponymous ''Iron Lady'' it's an amazing performance by Ms.Streep who (with the aid of brilliant prosthetic make up) is destined to get a golden statue for her role. Streep is joined by Jim Broadbent as beleaguered husband Dennis Thatcher. The film charts her rise to power, but it gets dragged down with the over emphasise on Thatchers ongoing Alzhiemers which is all to often interrupted with the appearance of Jim Broadbent who shows up frequently the Director/Editor should of paid more attention to Thatcher's Famous and in-famous milestones in her time spent in office, for example much more attention should of been used in depicting the Northern Irish hunger strikes which could of done with more attention to detail. all in all it's a so-so Drama which for Certain Meryl Streep will get an ''Oscar''
The Thing (2011)
a perfect companion piece to 'John Carpenter's The Thing'
Mary Elizabeth Winstead plays Scientist Kate Lloyd who at the last minute is summoned from her studies at Columbia University to a Norwegian base in Antartica to investigate a discovery of an alien ship, buried beneath the ice. The team is led by Scientist Ulrich Thomsen's despite the protest of Dr Lloyd,foolishly takes a skin sample of the perfectly preserved being. After the block thaws all hell breaks loose where the alien being escapes and unleashes hell below freezing to it's helpless victims who one by one become assimilated by it. There are some suspenseful moments to be had throughout which will leaving you guessing as to who is a 'Thing goes there? Their are some courtesy of Tom Woodruff who was also responsible for Aliens, & Alien III, these effects are truly excellent. I saw 'The Thing'last night, and i can easily say that i enjoyed it,'The Thing' is definitely NOT for non-fans of Carpenter's Classic, but for 'Thing' fans out there it remains a perfect companion piece to 'John Carpenter's The Thing'
Year of the Dragon (1985)
Mickey Rourke Classic.
From Michael Cimino Director of Fine American Classics of Cinema 'Thunderbolt & Lightfoot', The Deer Hunter & 'Heavens Gate' comes 'The Year Of The Dragon' Mickey Rourke is Police Captain Stanley White a Polish American and a Vietnam War veteran assigned to New York City's Chinatown, where he vows to come down hard on Chinese organised crime. Rourke becomes embroiled with Joey Tai John Lone, who ruthlessly rises to the top of the brutal Triad societies. The film has excellent Cinematography courtesy of Alex Thomson, which juxtaposes the two warring cultures, 'The Year Of The Dragon' & it's star Mickey Rourke are nothing short of excellent. I hope that this film may long continue to become further recognised as an American Classic of Noir.
'Warrior' is an outstanding Mixed Martial Arts/Boxing film, Joel Edgerton star of 'The Thing' Prequel is excellent as Brendan Conlon a Physics Teacher who is battling the bank from declaring bankruptcy, In an effort to save his home he participates in several MMA bouts, in order to pay off his loans. His estranged and deeply troubled brother Tommy who has eloped from his unit in Iraq returns on the scene and also competes in the MMA scene, where we see several brutally realistic bouts take place not just with other MMA hopefuls but eventually between the two brothers. The two leads are excellent, Joel Edgerton is entirely convincing as is Tom Hardy who is terrifying and brutal in the ring. Nick Nolte is amazing in his role as the equally troubled father who trains Hardy, one can argue that it appears that Nolte resembles Lee Marvin in his appearance. Nolte's portrayal has won him universal critical praise and rightly so.
Silver Bears (1977)
A Clever caper in the tradition of 'The Sting' & 'Matchstick Men'
'Silver Bears' is an enjoyable Clever caper in the tradition of 'The Sting' & 'Matchstick Men' Sir Michael Caine plays "Doc" Fletcher a Financial wizard who is sent by Mafia boss Joe Fiore Martin Balsam to buy a bank in Switzerland in order to launder their profits. Caine purchases a premises which is rather shabby and located above a pizzeria. Jourdan suggests that Caine invests in a silver mine owned by strange persian siblings Stéphane Audran and David Warner. the Silver mine attracts the attention of some of the most powerful people in the silver business. all is not what it seems as everyone is out to swindle Caine and company 'Silver Bears' also stars a fresh faced Jay Leno and kooky Cybill Shepherd.
Drugstore Cowboy (1989)
Directed by Gus Van Sant, who is credited here as Gus Van Sant, Jr. Matt Dillon heads A group of drug users(Future Ally McBeal star James Le Gros) the gorgeous Heather Graham , and Kelly Lynch as Dillons' wife. It's set in 1971 which the production designers have done a great job in recreating the past. The title refers to Dillon by robbing drug stores to finance their habit, Following a series of near misses and run ins with determined Cop James Remar, Dillon's character is very superstitious and eventually his luck runs out and eventually seeks rehabilitation Noted Author of 'Naked Lunch' William Burroughs also stars as a former Priest and addict who befriends Dillon during his solace spent during detox.
The Inbetweeners Movie (2011)
A welcome and thoroughly enjoyable big screen spin off,
Simon,Will Jay and Neil reunite for the big screen spin off of the hugely popular Channel Four comedy series, This time it picks up from where we left off at the last and possible final series? Simon,Will Jay and Neil have finished their exams and are about to leave school. Within their final week, Carli dumps Simon, Jay's grandfather dies and Will's father(Anthony Heald) reveals he's married his young mistress. Depressed, the boys decide to go on holiday to Malia, Crete. where as with most films/TV series regarding the British abroad, this film sticks close to the usual comedy formula with hilarious and gross out moments galore. Theirs plenty of belly laughs to be had courtesy of the lads shenanigans. Look out for appearances from the usual series stalwarts such as the demented Headmaster, Neil's Gay or is he not Gay Dad, and Carli. 'The Inbetweeners' is a thoroughly enjoyable film, it would be ideal if they had more films/series' planned.
Messenger of Death (1988)
well made 'B' movie from J.Lee Thompson 'The Guns of Naverone' 'Cape Fear'
'Avenging Angels' or as it is known as elsewhere ' Messenger of Death' is a modestly entertaining Charles Bronson film which goes to show that the over the hill legend still has what it takes, The superbly photographed eerie opening see's Wifes and children of the Mormon household become victims of a massacre. Bronson is Journalist Smith who is out to investigate the gruesome case and and finds out about economic motives behind the murders. Mrs George C.Scott 'Trish Van Devere' also stars as does western legend Jeff Corey as a seedy Patriarch. John Ireland also co-stars. all in all it is an entertaining and well made 'B' movie from J.Lee Thompson 'The Guns of Naverone' 'Cape Fear'
Murphy's Law (1986)
One of the Better films from Golan-Globus
Charles Bronson is Jack Murphy a hard drinking and an over the hill veteran detective who is mysteriously framed for the murder of his stripper ex-wife. Although taken into custody, in a desperate bid to prove his innocence Bronson escapes from custody whilst handcuffed to foul-mouthed car thief Catherine Wilhoite.(Whose wise cracks are a delight) Murphy must find the real killer who incidentally has a massive chip on her shoulder. The film has shades of 'Blade Runner' as it climaxes in an excellently staged shoot out at the famed 'Bradbury' building. 'Murphy's Law' is one of the Better films produced and released from Golan-Globus' 'Cannon Pictures'
A Solid 'Sleeper' Thriller
Woody Harrelson and Emily Mortimer are convincing as a couple who meet another pair while travelling on the titular train shuttling between China and Moscow. What looks like a happy holiday for all turns into a nightmare which is loaded with double-crossing and an unforeseeable murder which is a revealing set piece. No one is quite what they seem. Also starring Sir Ben Kingsley's who in his is perfectly cast as the bent Russian police officer who is searching for a cache of drugs which are conveniently hidden in an innocuous souvenirs. I can honestly say that i thoroughly enjoyed 'Transsiberian' it's a must see for fans of other classic train films such as 'Silver Streak' and 'The Lady Vanishes'
The Package (1989)
Riveting End of Cold War Actioneer.
Gene Hackman is seasoned Green Beret sergeant Johnny Gallagher, is escorting a prisoner, Airborne Ranger Tommy Lee Jones back to the US, but he subsequently evades Hackman's custody and escapes. All is not what it seems as the plot thickens when it appears that Jones is an assassin who is out to kill the President and visiting Russian Premier who is negotiating peace talks in Chicago. John Heard is a devious general who is out to thwart the treaty. Hackman is accompanied by 'Blade Runners' Joanna Cassidy who plays his ex-wife, Dennis Franz also assists Hackman in his race against time.
Directed by Andrew Davis 'The Fugitive' 'Under Siege' it is a riveting and excellently Suspense filled Conspiracy cover up fans of Gene Hackmans will enjoy this, their are references to 'The French Connection' most notably in the car chase.
The Midnight Man (1974)
nothing is what it seems
Burt Lancaster plays a down on his luck security guard recently released for the murder of his wife, he becomes employed in a local South Carolina College,he becomes embroiled in a strange murder mystery, where nothing is what it seems until all is typically revealed at the climax. 'The Midnight Man' Co-stars Susan Clark and the future Daisy Duke, Catherine Bach, in her first screen appearance, and character actor Ed Lauter. 'The Midnight Man' is unfortunately obscure to most classic film buffs, it is available on imported DVD which it's transfer is an oddity but watchable. In this age of HD/Widescreen, it's hard to believe that Universal have let this one go! the transfer is 'open matte' which reveals microphones, lights and camera tracks!
'Jaws' with wings?
From Arthur Hiller Director of 'Silver Streak' 'Love Story' 'The Hospital' and many other great films comes 'Nightwing' Nick Mancuso is the deputy tribal policeman, who in a race against time to stop a vengeful shaman elders 'curse' on humanity due to him being against the expansion of western Ideals into his reservation.
The premise for 'Nightwing' is a brilliant high concept which can be called 'Jaws' with wings, the bat effects by Carlo Rambaldi which are by todays standard 'fake' but in this day and age of overused Digital Animation these effects stand out and don't look too obvious as modern effects tend to. David Warner plays a determined scientist, Kathryn Harrold is Mancuso's love interest who narrowly escapes the wrath of the bats. the highlight of the film is the sequence with the bigoted evangelists whilst camping in the outback meet a nasty end courtesy of the winged creatures. 'Nightwing' is an enjoyable Nature gone berserk movie which despite it's shortcomings is great fun. Henry Mancini's score is excellent.