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Kyle Kersten was a true friend of TCM. One of the first and most active participants of the Message Boards, “Kyle in Hollywood” (aka, hlywdkjk) demonstrated a depth of knowledge and largesse of spirit that made him one of the most popular and respected voices in these forums. This thread is a living memorial to his life and love of movies, which remain with us still.

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From the Last 25 Years


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#21 LawrenceA

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Posted 24 May 2017 - 02:39 PM

Spring - Low-key, unique blend of romance and monster movie. Evan (Lou Taylor Pucci) is a directionless young man who decides, after a series of bad events, to travel to Italy. He makes his way to a beautiful coastal town where he meets beautiful local Louise (Nadia Hilker). He falls in love, and gets a job with an elderly vintner (Francesco Carnelutti). Evan and Louise seem to have a sweet romance building when she starts exhibiting some strange behavior. Louise admits to having an illness, but the truth is something beyond the realms of reality. Also featuring Nick Nevern, Chris Palko, Jonathan Silvestri, and Jeremy Gardner.

 

I haven't seen anything quite like this one before, a tender romance mixed with a bizarre creature story. Pucci is excellent, as is Hilker, an actress that I've seen recently on a TV series where she wasn't quite as impressive. The effects, used sparingly, are largely well done, although some of the CGI used is lower grade. This isn't a thriller, or a gory horror-fest, so anyone going in with those expectations will be disappointed. This was the second feature for writer Justin Benson and directors Benson and Aaron Moorhead, after 2012's Resolution (which I have not seen), and I look forward to their next, The Endless due later in 2017.   7/10

 

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#22 LawrenceA

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Posted 24 May 2017 - 12:02 PM

Space Station 76 - Retro-Sci-Fi parody that fizzles out rather quickly. Set in deep space in the title location, a rest stop for passing starships, the film follows the lives of several of the crew members: newly arrived Jessica (Liv Tyler) who upsets the routines of her fellow workers through no real fault of her own; Captain Glenn (Patrick Wilson) the alcoholic boss of the station who is stuck in a depressed funk after his last second-in-command (and secret lover) has left the station; Misty (Marisa Coughlan) and Ted (Matt Bomer), a married couple whose relationship has hit a rocky patch, and who are struggling to raise their daughter Sunshine (Kylie Rogers). All of these domestic dramas play out as an impending possible catastrophe barrels their way. Also featuring Jerry O'Connell, Kali Rocha, Matthew Morrison, and Keir Dullea.

 

Here's another case of all the right ingredients being present, but something went wrong in the preparation and the end result is a tasteless flop. The attention to detail in the production design, costumes and even hairstyles is expert, with many little touches that evoke the science fiction of the 1970's, from the feathered hair to the flared pants, even the wallpaper. The performers, too, seem game, but the script is just toothless and weak.   5/10

 

 

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#23 LawrenceA

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Posted 23 May 2017 - 10:08 PM

Son of Batman - Animated DC Comics superhero flick that falls a bit short. After the seemingly-immortal Ra's al Ghul (voice of Giancarlo Esposito), head of the League of Assassins, is apparently killed by Slade Wilson, aka Deathstroke (v: Thomas Gibson), al Ghul's daughter Talia (v: Morena Baccarin) takes her 10-year-old son Damian (v: Stuart Allen) to stay with his biological father, Batman (v: Jason O'Mara). Batman had been unaware of the child's existence, but he reluctantly agrees to watch the kid, who proves to be a hand full. Having been trained as assassin since birth, the young boy sets out on his own to avenge his grandfather's death, while Batman investigates a series of incidents involving mutated opponents. Eventually, their two cases converge, and Batman decides to make Damian the latest incarnation of Robin, as the two set out to stop Deathstroke and save Talia. Also featuring the voices of Xander Berkeley, Sean Maher, and David McCallum. I found the animation basic-to-poor, with highly sexualized and exaggerated design on the Talia character. The storyline was blah, and I was more annoyed by young Damian than anything. Deathstroke, who was one of the better villains in DC comics of the 1980's, is poorly used here, and Gibson was a bad choice for voice actor. The eventual revelation of the master plan is ridiculous even for comic book standards. All-in-all, this was a marked decline in quality compared to the previous few DC animated films.   6/10

 

 

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#24 LawrenceA

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Posted 23 May 2017 - 08:30 PM

The Skeleton Twins - Indie dramedy about brother and sister Milo (Bill Hader) and Maggie (Kristen Wiig), who have been estranged for 10 years. After Milo, whose boyfriend has dumped him, makes a suicide attempt, he's sent to stay with Maggie and her husband Lance (Luke Wilson). Maggie, too, is battling depression, and the spark has gone out of her marriage. She's been flirting with her hunky diving instructor (Boyd Holbrook), while Milo tries to reconnect with Rich (Ty Burrell) with whom he had a rocky relationship in the past. Milo and Maggie try to help each other through their troubles via humor and shared experiences. Also featuring Kathleen Rose Perkins and Joanna Gleason.

 

Hader and Wiig, who had been longtime colleagues on Saturday Night Live, get to stretch themselves dramatically, and both prove up to the challenge. They both play complex, interesting characters, with Hader really shining as the sarcastic wouldbe actor Milo. This isn't a comedy, let alone an SNL type farce, but rather an often dark character study with some humorous moments, such as an extended lip-synch scene done to Jefferson Starship's "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now".   7/10

 

 

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#25 LawrenceA

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Posted 23 May 2017 - 05:46 PM

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For - Nearly 10 years later comes this follow-up to the 2005 film based on the graphic novels of Frank Miller, who once again co-directs with Robert Rodriguez. Various stories illustrate the lives of the denizens of Basin City, known by the residents as Sin City. Johnny (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a hotshot gambler who comes to town to try and teach a lesson to the corrupt Senator Roark (Powers Boothe). Private investigator Dwight (Josh Brolin) gets manipulated by Ava (Eva Green), the ultimate femme fatale. Exotic dancer Nancy (Jessica Alba) plots revenge against the man who killed her surrogate father (Bruce Willis). And lantern-jawed psychopath with a heart of gold Marv (Mickey Rourke) just wants to let off some steam. Also featuring Rosario Dawson, Dennis Haysbert, Jamie Chung, Christopher Meloni, Jeremy Piven, Stacy Keach, Ray Liotta, Juno Temple, Alexa Vega, Marton Csokas, Jaime King, Julia Garner, Jude Ciccolella, Christopher Lloyd, and Lady Gaga as Bertha.

 

The film retains the previous look: mostly B&W with occasional splashes of color, shot mostly against green-screen, with a lot of shadow and light play, resulting in a style like film noir on LSD. The cast is good, with Rourke once again the stand-out, and accolades also going to Eva Green in a flesh-baring role. Due to the decade in between films, some of the cast has changed, such as Haysbert replacing the deceased Michael Clarke Duncan, Jamie Chung replacing Devon Aoki, and Josh Brolin replacing Clive Owen. Other roles are virtually cameos, such as Liotta, King, and Piven, with Willis only appearing sparingly as a ghost. The cartoonish, over-the-top quality will certainly be off-putting to some viewers, but if you can sync with the film's wavelength, this is a lot of fun, if less so than the first film. This would prove to be the final substantial feature film role for Powers Boothe.   7/10

 

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#26 LawrenceA

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Posted 23 May 2017 - 03:21 PM

'71 - Taut thriller set in Belfast, Ireland in 1971, during the height of "the Troubles" between the IRA and the British government and military forces. Jack O'Connell stars as Gary Hook, a new recruit in Her Majesty's Armed Services. Straight out of boot camp he's assigned to a regiment stationed in Northern Ireland. On his first day in the field, he and his comrades are securing an area when a riot breaks out, and Gary is separated from his fellow soldiers, who bid a hasty retreat, leaving Gary "behind enemy lines". He's chased through back alleys and bombed out lots by trigger-happy IRA gunmen. The rest of the film details his efforts to remain alive, as well as those who help him, and others on his own side who betray him. Also featuring Sean Harris, David Wilmot, Richard Dormer, Paul Anderson, Charlie Murphy, Martin McCann, Barry Keoghan, and Corey McKinley.

 

Unlike most films about the Troubles, this one doesn't pick sides, depicting both good and bad among both the Irish and the British ranks. O'Connell is good in a largely non-verbal role, and Sean Harris has become one the best villains in turn-of-the-millennium British cinema. I also liked young McKinley as a boy who decides to help Gary reach safety. Director Yann Demange makes his feature debut here, and he does a very good job ratcheting up the tension, and there's one very well done bombing scene that sticks with the viewer.   7/10

 

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#27 LawrenceA

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Posted 23 May 2017 - 01:17 PM

Selma - Civil rights history lesson vividly realized by director Ava DuVernay and writer Paul Webb. Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo) travels to Alabama to help with black voter registration in the racist, violent Deep South. He and his efforts are battled on all sides, from the local authorities, to the state government, the FBI, and even other black activist groups who call for violence in the face of oppression. King is determined to use non-violence to achieve his goals, thereby setting an example for the entire world and generations to come. The prodigious cast includes Carmen Ejogo as Coretta Scott King, Tim Roth as George Wallace, Tom Wilkinson as Lyndon Johnson, Giovanni Ribisi, Andre Holland, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Colman Domingo, Tessa Thompson, Common, Lorraine Toussant, E. Roger Mitchell, Dylan Baker, Wendell Pierce, Stephan James, Lakeith Stanfield, Stephen Root, Cuba Gooding Jr. Alessandro Nivola, and Oprah Winfrey as Annie Lee Cooper.

 

Oyelowo is outstanding as King, projecting his inner strength and dignity, as well as his gift with oratory. Some of the other casting is a bit odd, like Wilkinson as LBJ and Baker as J. Edgar Hoover, but Roth was surprisingly effective as George Wallace. The subject matter guarantees controversy no matter how well or evenly-handled it is, but I thought the filmmakers did an excellent job of depicting the time, place and struggles that were fought. Some of the edits seemed a bit abrupt, and I wonder if there's a longer version somewhere on the cutting room floor. This was nominated for the Best Picture Oscar, and it won the Oscar for Best Song, a rousing soul-meets-rap number entitled "Glory" performed by John Legend and co-star Common.  Recommended.   8/10

 

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#28 LawrenceA

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Posted 22 May 2017 - 10:42 PM

The Salt of the Earth - Extraordinary documentary from directors Wim Wenders and Juliano Ribeiro Salgado. The film profiles Brazilian photographer Sebastiao Salgado, world-renowned for his haunting B&W images from all corners of the globe. The movie is part biography, part nature film, part anthropology tract, part history lesson, and never less than engaging. Much of the running time is taken with stills of Salgado's photos as he narrates, in a pleasant voice, the story behind the pictures. He starts out his career with an eye for the wonder of man and his works, but over time he focuses on more sobering subject matter, such as African famines and massacres, and the pitiful lives of refugees around the world, which would break the spirit of the strongest of men. He finds renewal in the natural world and its preservation. This was nominated for the Best Feature Documentary Oscar. Recommended.   8/10

 

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#29 LawrenceA

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Posted 22 May 2017 - 07:28 PM

St. Vincent - Indie dramedy from writer-director Theodore Melfi. Vincent (Bill Murray) is a grouchy, lonely man who drinks too much and has a gambling problem. When he gets new neighbors, he agrees to babysit young boy Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher) since his single mom Maggie (Melissa McCarthy) works double-shifts at a local hospital. Desperate for money and not above using and exploiting people for it, Vincent also warms to the kid and teaches him some dubious life lessons. Vincent also has a regular thing with pregnant Russian stripper and prostitute Daka (Naomi Watts), and a loan shark (Terrence Howard) breathing down his neck. Also featuring Chris O'Dowd, Kimberly Quinn, Nate Corddry, Donna Mitchell, Scott Adsit, Reg E. Cathey, and Ann Dowd.

 

This has a lot of the standard indie film moments of forced quirkiness and "learning life lessons", and if I were to rate this movie on the story alone, it wouldn't very high. However, the performances from Murray, McCarthy, Lieberher, and Watts are all enjoyable, and raise this above the pack.   7/10

 

 

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#30 LawrenceA

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Posted 22 May 2017 - 04:58 PM

Sabotage - Grimy police thriller from writer-director David Ayer. Breacher (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is a legendary DEA agent who runs a special squad of elite operatives: Monster (Sam Worthington), Grinder (Joe Manganiello), Neck (Josh Holloway), Sugar (Terrence Howard), Pyro (Max Martini), Tripod (Kevin Vance), and Lizzy (Mireille Enos). After years of taking down the worst offenders on Earth, they decide to keep the $10 million dollars they seize at their next raid. Only someone steals the money from their hiding place. When members of the team start showing up dead, it lookslike either the drug cartels are finally getting revenge or one of their own is taking out the others. A dogged FBI agent (Olivia Williams) takes on the case, but she won't like where it leads. Also featuring Harold Perrineau, Troy Garity, Gary Grubbs, and Martin Donovan.

 

Ayer's "scumbags and skanks" aesthetic, which he would carry over to his future directorial effort Suicide Squad in 2016, is on abundant display, as most of the characters look like bikers, drug dealers, or strung out addicts. The performers all try to overact each other, making for a lot of loud, foul-mouthed tedium. You know you're in trouble when the subtlest, most nuanced performance comes from Arnold. There's a lot of accent trouble from both Worthington and Williams, and Manganiello's cornrow haircut is an embarrassment. This makes for a pedestrian police flick, as well as mystery in which the whodunit becomes a who-cares.   5/10

 

 

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#31 LawrenceA

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Posted 22 May 2017 - 01:00 PM

RoboCop - Remake of the cult 1987 film that misses the point of the original, instead delivering a generic SF action flick. In the near future, replacing military and law enforcement with robots is a hot-button issue. While they are widely used overseas, public sentiment and Congressional efforts prevent them from being used in the US. In an attempt to bypass the existing laws and sway public opinion, the CEO (Michael Keaton) of OmniCorp okays the RoboCop program, wherein a living person will be fused with machinery, creating a cyborg policeman capable of incredible feats. Enlisting the expertise of robotic-prosthesis scientist Dr. Norton (Gary Oldman), they decide upon using Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) a policeman left horribly injured by a car bomb. Once out on the streets, RoboCop seems to be everything OmniCorp hoped for, but he soon starts acting on his own accord, and the company begins to wonder how else to exploit him. Also featuring Abbie Cornish, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Jackie Earl Haley, Aimee Garcia, Michael K. Williams, Jennifer Ehle, Jay Baruchel, Zach Grenier, and Samuel L. Jackson.

 

Director Jose Padilha and new screenwriter Joshua Zetumer seem to have forgotten that what made the original film so memorable was the biting commentary on corporate greed, urban blight, and a media grossly over the top. Since then, our actual media has metastasized into what was depicted as farcical in the old film. The closest they come to media satire here is Jackson's character, a TV news pundit. This film also lacks the black humor so expertly used in a straight-faced manner in 1987. Instead, they opt to increase the action factor, which translates to a lot of gun shooting with as much visceral impact as a video game. There's also the expected increase in CGI effects, which often add little, although one segment of body-horror when Murphy sees exactly what's left of his old torso is well done. The over-stuffed cast means that no one really gets a lot to do. Keaton as the film's villain is bland, and Oldman gets to play a nicer guy than usual, but that means this movie lacks the great villains of the old film played by Miguel Ferrer, Kurtwood Smith and Ronny Cox.   5/10

 

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#32 LawrenceA

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Posted 21 May 2017 - 11:15 PM

The Remaining - Religion-as-horror in this tepid thriller. Several friends gather at a nice hotel for the wedding of one of their number when the Rapture happens. Unlike most New Testament Revelation stories, though, the "saved" don't disappear, they all drop dead instantly. This naturally causes global panic, and our characters make a run for safety as pilotless airliners fall from the skies and driverless cars crash and burn. If that isn't enough, freak weather events crop up unpredictably, and then (mostly off-screen) monsters start attacking with their "teeth like lions and stings like scorpions". They find refuge along with other survivors in a church, where a pastor (John Pyper-Ferguson) who never had real faith tries to hold things together. Starring Johnny Pacar, Shaun Sipos, Bryan Dechart, Italia Ricci, Liz E. Morgan, Kimberley Drummond, and Alexa Vega. Unlike Left Behind or other recent "End Times" biblical cinema, this is presented as a horror story, I guess to frighten the Jesus into you. All it did was bore me, although it reminded me a bit of the "Hell House" spook-shows that some local churches in my area put on every Halloween to try and scare you straight to the Lord.   3/10

 

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#33 LawrenceA

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Posted 21 May 2017 - 08:31 PM

Reasonable Doubt - Overheated thriller stars Dominic Cooper as Mitch Brockden, a hotshot assistant district attorney who always wins his case. After a night of drinking with colleagues, Mitch is driving home and accidentally hits a pedestrian. He leaves the bloodied man, calling for an ambulance from a pay-phone. He learns that a man was arrested later that same night with the hit-and-run victim in his trunk. The accused killer, Clinton Davis (Samuel L. Jackson), ends up being Mitch's next defendant, and Mitch intentionally throws the case, setting Davis free. But Mitch can't leave well enough alone, and he discovers that Davis may in fact be a serial killer. Will Mitch find the evidence to stop Davis's killing spree, or even should he, since Davis only targets criminals? Also featuring Gloria Reuben, Erin Karpluk, and Ryan Robbins. This is the kind of serial killer thriller/legal drama that you saw every other week in the 1990's. There's no new ground broken here, and what is covered isn't done in any noteworthy way. Cooper has trouble with whatever accent he's attempting, and Jackson actually lets his own hair (what's left of it, anyway) show.   5/10

 

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#34 LawrenceA

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Posted 21 May 2017 - 06:13 PM

Reach Me - Godawful multi-character indie dramedy that only saw completion via a Kickstarter campaign. Various characters in and around California have their lives altered in some ways by an old paperback self-help book entitled Reach Me. A reporter (Kevin Connolly) for an online gossip site tries to track down the book's reclusive author (Tom Berenger). A recent parolee (Kyra Sedgwick) who is empowered by the book's message meets a trigger-happy undercover cop (Thomas Jane) who helps a young actress (Elizabeth Henstridge) that was sexually assaulted by a boorish star (Cary Elwes). A pair of gang enforcers (David O'Hara and Omari Hardwick) decide to switch professions because of the book's message, much to the annoyance of their boss (Tom Sizemore), who is in trouble with his boss (Kelsey Grammer). Also with Danny Aiello, Lauren Cohan, Terry Crews, Nelly, Danny Trejo, Rebekah Chaney, Ryan Kwanten, Jillian Barberie, Sally Kellerman, and Sylvester Stallone. The scenarios are absurd and stupid, the characters are ridiculous and unbelievable, and there's a total lack of tonal consistency to go along with terrible pacing. A complete waste of the onscreen talent.  3/10

 

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#35 LawrenceA

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Posted 21 May 2017 - 04:16 PM

The Raid 2 - Sequel to the excellent 2011 Indonesian action film The Raid: Redemption that is bigger, more ambitious, and bloodier, resulting in one of the best martial arts movies ever made. The first film saw disgraced policeman Rama (Iko Uwais) battling his way through a multi-story building filled with all manner of violent criminals and crooked cops. This picks up just hours after that story ends, with Rama being debriefed by the head of an ultra-secretive police corruption task force. Rama agrees to go undercover to try and root out who is getting bribed and by whom. He gets sent to prison where he connects with Uco (Arifin Putra), the hot-headed son of crime boss Bangun (Tio Pakusadewo). Once they are both released from jail, Uco brings Rama into the family business, where they are having trouble on several fronts: local Japanese gangsters, led by Goto (Kenichi Endo), are showing disrespect, or so Uco thinks, while new-on-the-scene boss Bejo (Alex Abbad) seems to be moving on everyone's territory. Rama will have to navigate uncertain terrain to remain undetected while getting the info his boss needs to put everyone away. Also featuring Oka Antara, Cecep Arif Rahman, Julie Estelle, Very Tri Yulisman, Ryuhei Matsuda, Kazuki Kitamura and Yayan Ruhian.

 

Writer-director Gareth Evans weaves a complicated tapestry with a multitude of original characters, several of whom could support an interesting film in their own right: Ruhian as a wild-looking, machete-swinging killer who yearns to reconnect with his daughter; Yulisman, as a thug who uses not just a baseball bat but baseballs as well to attack his foes; or Estelle, as a pretty young woman who viciously wields a pair of claw hammers. Uwais, a professional fighter, is very good in the lead, and while he doesn't have a ton of dialogue, he's expressive enough to communicate everything you need to know. And finally the action: with all of this attention to characters and complicated plotlines, Evans still manages to showcase some of the best action set-ups ever put to film. From a huge battle royale in a muddy prison courtyard, to a high-speed car chase that's also a fight scene, to the devastating final 15 minutes of bone-crunching carnage, this is expertly choreographed and shot. I should warn those with a weak stomach or a distaste for movie gore that this puts many horror films to shame when it comes to onscreen splatter. Highly recommended!    9/10

 

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#36 LawrenceA

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Posted 21 May 2017 - 01:00 PM

Rage - Nicolas Cage really chews up the scenery in this action/revenge tale. He stars as Paul Maguire, a former criminal turned construction boss and civic leader. His teenage daughter is kidnapped, and soon found dead. The devastated Paul calls on his old crime partners Danny (Michael McGrady) and Kane (Max Ryan) to help him scour the city for whomever was responsible for killing his child. They punch, kick, stab and shoot their way through low-level criminals and Russian mobsters, much to the annoyance of police detective St. John (Danny Glover). Also featuring Rachel Nichols, Pasha Lychnikoff, and Peter Stormare. 

 

The thought of Cage and Stormare trying to out-overact one another was too good to be true: they only share one scene, and they don't get too crazed. Elsewhere, though, Cage has a few notable lunatic moments, and I think Stormare was sort of attempting an Irish accent, as his character was supposed to be an Irish gang boss. The story is pretty routine, and ends up bearing more than a little resemblance to Mystic River. Danny Glover, who was set to retire from the force nearly 30 years ago in Lethal Weapon, has definitely gotten too old for this ****.  Made in Alabama.  5/10

 

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#37 LawrenceA

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Posted 20 May 2017 - 08:01 PM

Queen of Blood - Arty, dialogue-free horror movie. A woman (Shauna Henry) emerges from a muddy pond and is found by a hiker. He carries her back to his cabin, where he cleans her up. She repays his kindness by tearing his throat out. She then wanders the countryside, dispensing more throat-tearings as she progresses. She also encounters a preacher/strangler (Kevin Ogilvie), but we know how that will turn out. This tries for a dreamy, surreal mood, with ambient electronic music and sound effects over slow-motion footage. Like I mentioned, there is no dialogue, so there's little to no plot. This reminded me a bit of the artier offerings from Jesus Franco or Jean Rollin, only with no nudity. The audience for this will be limited, at best, unless you like watching movies on LSD. I watched it for Ogilvie, who, under the stage name Nivek Ogre, was the lead singer for Canadian industrial band Skinny Puppy.   4/10

 

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#38 LawrenceA

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Posted 20 May 2017 - 06:19 PM

The Pyramid - Just my luck: two "found footage" horror movies in one day. This one (sometimes) takes the form of a documentary being filmed in Egypt by cameraman Fitzie (James Buckley) and director Sunni (Christa Nicola). They are detailed the discovery and excavation of a buried pyramid believed to be the oldest ever found. The project is headed by archaeologist Holden (Denis O'Hare) and his daughter Nora (Ashley Hinshaw), with assistance from technologist Zahir (Amir K). Unfortunately, the Arab Spring revolution hits Egypt, and the team is ordered to evacuate. Before they do, they decide to take just a short jaunt inside the freshly opened pyramid to see what they can see...which naturally ends up being booby-traps, dark claustrophobia, and even a monster or two.

 

Despite the Egyptian and archaeology milieu, I found this to be pretty terrible. The characters are annoying, consistently making stupid decisions that stretch credibility too far. The film's monsters are cheesy and poorly realized, as well. The found footage film style is also abruptly abandoned about halfway through the film, but not entirely: the style continues to alternate shot by shot, some from the documentary camera, others in a traditional cinematic format. Overall, it's just a boring, occasionally dumb, poorly lit waste of time.   4/10

 

 

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#39 LawrenceA

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Posted 20 May 2017 - 03:29 PM

The Prince - Minor action flick stars Jason Patric as Paul, a small-town auto mechanic and father of Beth (Gia Mantegna), who's away at college in the big city. When she goes missing, Paul travels there and begins hunting for her, with the help of Beth's party-girl friend Angela (Jessica Lowndes). But it appears that Paul doesn't need a lot of help, as he begins exhibiting a dark personality and a frightening level of proficiency with the fighting arts. Paul's rescue mission also brings him to the attention of Omar (Bruce Willis) the local crime boss with whom Paul shares a past. Also featuring Jonathan Schaech, Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, Korean movie star Rain, Don Harvey, Bonnie Somerville, and John Cusack. The presence of rapper-turned-actor 50 Cent should clue you in that this is another low-rent Emmett Furla production, with the requisite slumming former A-listers and generic action sequences. This plays like a much poorer version of Taken, and while seeing Patric in a lead role again was nice, Willis and Cusack both seem like they'll take any job that's offered any more. Filmed in Alabama.  4/10

 

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#40 LawrenceA

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Posted 20 May 2017 - 01:15 PM

Predestination - Science fiction mind-twister from screenwriters and directors Michael & Peter Spierig. Ethan Hawke stars as an agent for a time-traveling law enforcement group who is trying to stop a serial bomber who has caused chaos across the 20th century. During one time jump, Hawke is posing as a bartender, when he meets a cynical writer (Sarah Snook) who regales him with his bizarre life story. To divulge much more would ruin the story's impact. Also featuring Noah Taylor. 

 

This is based on Robert A. Heinlein's classic short story "All You Zombies", which is considered a cornerstone of time travel fiction. The twisty logic and turns of the tale are more easily deduced in a visual format than they were in the print form, but that may be because I read the story, so I was more aware of what to expect. Snook is terrific in her complicated role, and I look forward to more from her in the future (no pun intended). This was an Australian production, despite being set in the US and featuring all US characters, and it won a number of Australian film awards.   7/10

 

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