Category Archives: Uncategorized

Limitless (2011).

The concept is a bit better than the end product but still, this is a movie deserved of revisiting from time to time, despite the inevitable thriller elements that take over towards the denouement. It’s an intriguing premise, what you can achieve when you reduce thinking to its salient elements and get rid of the background noise.

It excels in its exposition and depiction of the cutthroat financial arena as a den of thieves with half of them on some variation of the gear (NZT-48). I hear it got adapted into a TV spin-off that was cancelled after a season, which sounds about right. There’s only so much you can squeeze out of the story.

But De Niro is a gift in this. He always is. 

“Don’t make me your competition.” 

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Volcano (1997) isn’t exactly volcanic.

Volcano (1997) has it all – highly convenient money shots, ludicrous dialogue, every character intro cliché in the book, and the usual late ’90s anything-goes-because-logic-doesn’t-matter action. 

The effects are sometimes great, sometimes shite, and usually just ordinary. Anne Heche is in this and looks like she was made to by her agent. Tommy Lee Jones looks bored off his tits in another one of those “It paid the bills and got me a yacht” performances. And an armoured division of fire engines defeat lava. 

Better than Dante’s Peak (1997), though. 

Testament to a looney age.  

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Under Siege (1992).

Early Seagal is almost as ludicrous as latter-day Seagal. The cut-off point is everything after On Deadly Ground (1994), an incomprehensible riot of a shitter which somehow stars Michael Caine. 

His Casey Ryback displays no vulnerability, is never once close to losing a violent encounter, doesn’t break a sweat, and appears to give zero fucks about anything going on around him. The funniest motif is all of the other ‘characters’ informing the audience at every opportunity that Casey Ryback is not mortal.

Supremely entertaining movie with quite the catchy score which totally isn’t a rip-off of JFK (1991) ….

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Metallica: Some Kind of Monster (2004).

This type of music is not really my cup of tea, save the band’s forever catchy ‘I Disappear’ from Mission: Impossible 2 (2000). I was expecting a sort of This Is Spinal Tap (1984) farce but what I found was an endlessly rewarding slog, and it is that exhausting, through the Dr. Melfi-infused (yes, the band hire a therapist) sessions of a troupe in full-blown crisis, trying to wrestle with a monster bigger than its human components.

It’s a document of the creative process – you actually see how music is made collaboratively, the hours that go into four minutes of a completed song, and the constant bickering that accompanies the undertaking. The chief treat here is drummer/co-lyricist/band founder and victor of Napster Lars Ulrich, who seems beguiled by most of the nonsense spewing from the therapy sessions, one step ahead of the psychobabble. He’s a totally self-aware uber-brat and utterly hilarious.

I’ve never listened to the album (St. Anger). This doc will suffice.

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Rob Roy (1995).

A decent enough, semi-rousing yarn that is better as an example of missed stylistic choices than a superior entertainment. It’s mature but has a soap opera ‘quality’ to it, which makes you wish it went all out and 100% ridiculous for it’s so damn plodding at times. The cast are the best thing about it. Tim Roth is suitably supercilious and looks like he’s having a ball. What happened to him? He was Mr. Nineties. Perhaps that’s his decade and no more. Brian Cox, though, is the gem here. He’s a total slimeball and unashamedly so. He excels at those roles.

The score, sadly, is horrendous and frankly intrusive; it detracts from the would-be drama on display. Listening to it, I kept thinking of Miller’s Crossing (1990) or Fargo (1996), and then realised it was the same bloke who scored those movies.

A cracking sword fight with actual decent editing rounds off proceedings. There aren’t a million cuts to the sequence, which is shocking. But then this was made prior to ADHD being a prerequisite for the job of editor.

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Sleepy Hollow (1999).

This has quite the cast, and even Depp is tolerable, an actor who has always vexed me. The highlight from the crowd of mostly lauded thespians has to be Casper Van Dien doing a great impression of a bad actor – therefore playing himself. It’s funny because he’s in on the joke.

In this bizarre wee hamlet, the cinematography, art direction, costumes, and music run riot in a stunning visual and aural feast. However, it’s a hokey story not really worthy of the running time, and it sadly gets tiresome, its convoluted conspiracy trappings a bore. It defines Burton, a bloke always badly in need of a decent screenwriter. An unbridled love for Hammer horror will only take you so far.

Still, it’s all worth it in the end just to see Christopher Walken’s chiselled teeth.

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The Nutty Professor (1996).

I saw this so many times back in the day, but like Ghostbusters (1984), I only understood the simple gags and was oblivious to the allusions to an adult world; that, and I didn’t get the actual words the characters were saying because of my limited vocabulary.

It’s incredibly funny, and for a PG-13/12 certificate, quite shocking in the things it gets away with. It exists in that vast wilderness of terrible Eddie Murphy movies stretching 20 years to Dreamgirls (2006), as the only gem of the lot. Maybe he just couldn’t be bothered or genuinely thought he was picking the right material.

The sequel to this was inevitable. I’ve not seen it. The reviews were enough to put me off.

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Mulholland Drive (2001) is Angela Badalamenti’s “wow!”.

He was a bit unheralded, and he’s done more than Lynch collaborations, but this is the masterwork, a nightmarish descent into darkness. 1:40 in:

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The Final Destination (2009).

The Final Destination (2009), and I don’t know what number this is in the series. I’ve lost track.

Despite being, well, shite, they are perverse and disturbing and addictive as you know something is going to happen to these highly annoying folk and they don’t. 

Ascribing all of the blood and guts to Death than merely to the accidents of the world gives the franchise a sadistic edge, especially considering how unsympathetic and irritating the ‘characters’ are.

Get the popcorn out. Forget the tissues. 

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Bad Santa (2003) is the ONLY Christmas movie.

It’s beyond hilarious and it would not be made today; there would be riots in the streets. And the sad thing is that this ‘statement’ is true.

It’s a movie so funny, it knows it’s funny and takes the piss out of how funny it is.

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