REVIEW: SLAP HER SHE’S FRENCH

CAST

Piper Perabo (Coyote Ugly)
Jane McGregor (American Venus)
Trent Ford (Shark bait)
Alexandra Adi (Jawbreaker)
Nicki Aycox (Jeepers Creepers 2)
Jesse James (Blow)
Julie White (Transformers)
Matt Czuchry (Gilmore Girls)
Haley Ramm (Red State)

High school student Starla Grady is the popular head cheerleader and pageant queen of the small town of Splendora, Texas. She hosts a French foreign exchange student, an orphan named Genevieve Le Plouff. After winning the affections of Starla’s parents, friends, and boyfriend, Genevieve soon begins to take over Starla’s life. When Starla is forced to quit the cheerleading squad after getting some bad grades in French, Genevieve moves in to take her place, and then the roles are reversed. Soon, Genevieve is the popular head cheerleader, and Starla is the unpopular student. Soon Genevieve takes Starla’s place in the News Anchor Competition, and, framed by Genevieve, Starla is arrested for possessing a knife and getting high on mushrooms. But then Starla learns that Genevieve was, in fact, a former elementary school classmate, whom Starla had embarrassed so much that she felt compelled to move to France and has come back in disguise to get revenge on Starla.With her charade exposed, Genevieve leaves town in disgrace and Starla reclaims her status in school and town although she never achieved her ambition of becoming a reporter nor getting a college scholarship, she now feels that she’s a changed woman. However, the final scene shows Genevieve, now demonstrating her true Texan origins, stealing Starla’s ID card/drivers license and returning to France and she is welcomed to her new adoptive French family upon her arrival in Paris, play acting as Starla… and strongly implying that she’ll start the process of building a new life for herself by trickery, deception, and manipulation all over again.There are some terrific comedy sequences, like the “porno” cheerleading and the catfight at the Barn Dance, but what really works for this film is the side-splitting one-liners.

 

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REVIEW: HARD RUSH

CAST

Dolph Lundgren (Arrow)
Randy Couture (The Scorpion King 2)
Vinnie Jones (Swordfish)
Carly Pope (Nemesis Game)

Mid-level drug dealers Eddie and Frank grow restless with their limited growth potential and set up a meeting with their supplier, Madsen. Instead of negotiating, Frank impulsively murders Madsen and takes his cocaine. Eddie’s excitement quickly turns to apprehension when he hears about Madsen’s death, but Frank talks him into bluffing their way back into drug lord Vincent Camastra’s good graces. At the same time, dirty cop Jack Reiley investigates the murder and is annoyed when DEA agent Maxwell takes over the investigation. As Frank attempts to save his relationship with his naive girlfriend, Ashley, Reiley violently bullies his informants for information, and Camastra sends assassins to kill Eddie. After Eddie engages in a brief gunfight with the assassins, Camastra himself beats Eddie unconscious. Ashley, who has become suspicious of Frank’s secretive lifestyle, is shocked when Kathy and Beverly, Eddie’s friends, interrupt them to explain that Camastra has kidnapped Eddie.Beverly, an undercover DEA agent, is in a relationship with Maxwell, who is concerned that she has gone too deep. However, she protests when he requests that she abandon the case. Beverly and Maxwell expand their investigation to include Reiley, but they are forbidden from taking action until they can also get Camastra. Frustrated, they bide their time until Camastra makes his move. Frank visits Camastra, and Eddie successfully buys them two days time to pay Camastra back. At the nightclub Frank owns, Reiley attempts to blackmail him, only to be shot in his hand and left on the side of the road. Unable to explain his predicament, Reiley is put on unpaid leave and learns that Internal Affairs is preparing a case against him. Forced to abandon his plans to retire comfortably, Reiley becomes even more unstable and kidnaps Ashley. He breaks into Eddie’s apartment, takes Kathy and Beverly hostage, and waits for Frank and Eddie to return.As Maxwell and his team race to the apartment, Frank and Eddie discuss their future plans. Frank wants to retire from the criminal life; Eddie, while wishing Frank well, says that he will stay in the business and take over. Frank admits that he will miss the excitement, but he wants a normal life with Ashley, whom he plans to marry. Frank, Eddie, and the DEA agents all enter the apartment within minutes of each other. Panicked, Reiley kills several people, including Eddie and Ashley. In the chaos, Beverly sets Kathy free, and Reiley and Frank escape. Maxwell corners Reiley, and they face off against each other; reinforcements arrive just as Maxwell subdues Reiley. In the last scene, Frank mourns the loss of Ashley and speculates on what he will do next, now that both his main plan and backup plan have been ruined.The acting is decent, the script is good, the plot is good, the score is great. The pace slows down in a few places, but they don’t break anything. Don’t pass this one up the next time you’re rummaging through the bargain bin.

REVIEW: MAXIMUM CONVICTION

CAST

Steven Seagal (Machete)
Steve Austin (Damages)
Michael Paré (Bloodrayne)
Steph Song (Smallville)
Michael Adamthwaite (Stargate SG.1)
Zak Santiago (Alice)

It should be an easy day’s work for former black ops operative Cross (Steven Seagal) and his partner Manning (Stone Cold Steve Austin). They and their group have been hired to oversee and orchestrate the decommissioning of a secret military penal facility, and organize the transport of the inmates to their new civilian prison. Cross shows who’s boss early on by beating up a large inmate who steps out of line, while Manning is given the task of running the prison’s garbage facility. The day gets worse when a rolled up note is found that was accidentally dropped by an inmate, detailing times and locations for an attack on the facility. Cross, on his way back to the prison from running an errand, and Manning, still dealing with that garbage facility, are suddenly involved in a foothold situation as Chris Blake (Michael Pare) and his mercenaries, posing as marshals, take over the complex.Blake and his men are after the two newest inmates—Samantha Mendez (Steph Song) and Charlotte Walker (Aliyah O’Brien)—for their own purposes—Blake wants the information that’s in an implant that’s inside of Samantha, who is a CIA courier, because it could lead to a lot of money for Blake, and it turns out that Charlotte is working for Blake. It’s up to Cross, Manning, and their team to stop Blake and his men. MP Fields turns out to be a traitor and kills two of the others. Blake cuts off Warden Samuel’s finger to force him to know where the detainees are. Manning is attacked Collins and his team. He manages to kill two and flee the area. Cross returns to the complex and kills two of Blake’s men. Blake holds Warden Samuels hostage, forcing him to do anything so Blake can reach Charlotte. Later on Charlotte escapes as she wants to get paid. Eventually both sides meet up. Blake thinks he has Cross and Manning outgunned and then flees the scene, with Cross pursuing him. Manning catches up with Collins and kills him by impaling him on a bench. Samantha kills Charlotte, while the remnants of Blake’s mercenaries including MP Fields are killed by Bradley and the others. Cross and Blake exchange gunshots till both run out of ammo. Blake attempts to strike Cross only to be thrashed around and badly injured. Cross talks to him about being a warrior in which Blake replies ‘well that’s me im the f***ing bad guy’. Cross says he’s the good guy then hurls Blake into the laser trip wires, killing him. He reunites with Samantha and Manning. He jokes that ‘in ain’t over till we’re dead’.Overall, this was an enjoyable movie, but I would have to say that it is not the best of Segal… and I look forwards to “Stone Cold” putting his talents to further use in future movies, because he was entertaining if not believable.

REVIEW: THE RELUCTANT FUNDAMENTALIST

CAST

Riz Ahmed (Rogue One)
Kate Hudson (Gossip)
Liev Schreiber (The 5th Wave)
Kiefer Sutherland (Pompeii)
Martin Donovan (Legends of Tomorrow)

In 2011, Anse Rainier (Gary Richardson), an American professor at Lahore University, is kidnapped soon after he leaves a cinema. A ransom video is sent to the US embassy, demanding the release of 690 detainees from what is described as a Muslim concentration camp in Kot Lakhpat and €700,000 for the children of Waziristan. Bobby Lincoln (Liev Schreiber), an American journalist and undercover CIA informant in Pakistan, arranges to interview a colleague of Rainer, Changez Khan (Riz Ahmed), whom he suspects is involved in the kidnapping.Changez starts off the interview, held in a café, by declaring his admiration for the American equal playing field in economic advancement. He belongs to a class of people who, while genteel and educated, increasingly find themselves left out of economic progress. His father is an elderly poet and man of letters (played by Om Puri), who is respected by all who know him. Nevertheless, money has always been a serious problem in the family and Changez was only able to attend college when he got a scholarship to Princeton University. After graduation, he earned a job position at a top Wall Street valuation firm, Underwood Samson. Meanwhile, he met a young American photographer, Erica (Kate Hudson), and a relationship developed.The World Trade Center attacks take place while Changez is in Manila on business. When he returns to the USA, he is strip-searched at the airport in New York. Later on, he is thoroughly interrogated by federal agents, after being mistakenly arrested in the street as he left the Underwood Samson building. His attitude toward the USA seems to change, as does his relationship with Erica, who has yet to come to terms with the loss of her former boyfriend, feeling responsible for his death. Changez eventually breaks up with her, after she invites him to the opening of her art show: she had used intimate details of their relationship without his knowledge, which he takes as a betrayal.While valuating a publishing house in Istanbul, Changez discovered that the otherwise worthless firm had translated some of his father’s work into Turkish and published them. He realised that the company had preserved culture, something that cannot be measured merely in terms of money. His boss at Underwood Samson, Jim Cross (Kiefer Sutherland), does not see it that way, viewing Changez’s attitude as unprofessional. Feeling an ever-increasing conflict between his desire of success and his sense of loyalty, between the way he saw himself and the way he was now treated, Changez finally resigns from Underwood Samson.During his interview with Lincoln, Changez says that at one point he was approached by a terrorist cell and asked to become a mujahid, and he was tempted to accept, feeling deeply angered and disillusioned by “the arrogance, the blindness, the hypocrisy” of the USA, but he finally refused when he was told about the “fundamental truths” of the Q’uran, echoing a phrase Jim Cross had used during their first encounter, “focusing on the fundamentals”. Elaborating on the similarities, he explains that both groups, Islamic fundamentalists and blind capitalist economy represented by Underwood Samson, share the same reductionist outlook, view people in binary terms, and thus feeling entitled to get rid of those deemed unworthy.157880843_d736f6Being a foreigner without a job, and with his work visa set to expire in two weeks, he returned to Lahore (Pakistan), where he found that foreign professors were leaving the university en masse. He was hired as a lecturer. He voiced dissatisfaction with US intrusions in Pakistan, and this brought him to the attention of the authorities as a suspected Al-Qaida member. They raided his office and family home and threatened his family. Back to present day, while Lincoln and Changez talk in the café, protestors gather outside, and Lincoln gets periodic pressure from his CIA superiors to get information from Changez about the location of the kidnapped Rainier. The protests become increasingly hostile, and Changez says he has heard of a butcher shop. Contact is lost before the information can be phoned to the CIA operatives who are working with Lincoln.image-w448Lincoln becomes suspicious seeing Changez texting, the latter saying he was just communicating with his sister, Bina (Meesha Shafi); suspicions turn to fury after Lincoln receives a picture of Rainer dead, mistakenly linking the two events. Lincoln believes the only way to safety is to use Changez as a shield venturing into the hostile crowded street. Attempts are made to keep the crowd stable but things get worse and Lincoln falls to the ground, his gun goes off and hits Sameer (Imaad Shah), one of Changez’s student interns, who dies from the wound. Another student fires at Lincoln from a balcony, wounding him, after which Lincoln is quickly removed by CIA agents. Lincoln then finds out that Rainer was in fact found dead earlier that day, and that Changez had indeed rejected working with the suspected mastermind behind the kidnapping, Mustafa Fazil. He also told the truth about the text message. Changez delivers a eulogy at Sameer’s funeral, as Lincoln recuperates in a hospital, recalling Changez’s words as he listens to the recording of the interview – “Looks can be deceiving. I am a lover of America… although I was raised to feel very Pakistani.”ChangezOverall, The Reluctant Fundamentalist is an engaging watch with a solid story, music, and acting….one of the best films of 2013!

REVIEW: BATTLE OF THE DAMNED

CAST

Dolph Lundgren (Arrow)
Melanie Zanetti (Tracks)
Matt Doran (The Matrix)
David Field (Feed)
Jen Sung (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Lydia Look (General Hospital)

A group of mercenaries led by Maj. Max Gatling are fleeing from a failed rescue attempt, having been hired by a rich industrialist to enter a zombie-infested city to rescue his daughter Jude. At the extraction point, Gatling tells Smiley that he is staying to find Jude and complete the mission. After searching through the city and killing many zombies on the way, he locates Jude and tells her that he is going to get her out of the city, and she takes him to other survivors. There, he is introduced to the survivors including group leader Duke, Reese, Elvis, Lynn, and Anna. Jude is revealed to be in a relationship with Reese and pregnant with his child. The next day when Gatling, Jude, and the others go out to retrieve gasoline from a gas station, Gatling attempts to get Jude out of the city by force when she refuses to go without the others. However, he is stopped by the others and left for dead. After discovering that Jude is pregnant, Reese rushes to Gatling’s aid so that Jude can be taken out of the city. At this point it is revealed that not only is Jude’s father some rich industrialist, but he is also the one who caused the zombie pandemic. While returning to the stronghold to get Jude, Gatling and Reese discover a band of non-programmed robots. Gatling reprograms the robots and proceeds to the stronghold. When it is revealed that the city is to be firebombed, Gatling and all of the survivors make preparations to escape.On the day of the escape, Gatling, Jude, the survivors, and the robots shoot down and kill many zombies along the way. When taking defensive positions while being attacked at a junkyard, Duke ditches them all and hides away. The robots also malfunction and one begins to attack Gatling. Gatling destroys the robot, and the rest of them reboot. Gatling, Jude, Reese, and the remaining survivors escape the junkyard in a car being pushed by the remaining robots. Duke is left behind and eaten by zombies. Gatling and the others then arrive at a car parking complex and go underground while the robots hold back the zombies. Once the Zombies start swarming the car park, Gatling and the others struggle to fight them off. Gatling finds that one of the robots is still functioning and he sends it to find Jude.As the firebombing starts and reaches the complex, Gatling, Jude, and Reese jump into a partly flooded level of the complex to escape the fire. Once the firebombing ceases, Jude and Reese leave the complex, and all of the city is shown to be entirely destroyed. They meet up with Gatling, who reveals to Reese that a part of his mission is not only to take Jude home, but to kill anybody that can whistle-blow on the outbreak. But knowing that Jude and Reese are expecting, Gatling decides to let Reese live and the three of them then leave together with the last surviving robot who Max asks to get him a coffee.157880843_d736f6I was curious to watch this film and I was expecting it to be a real tragedy. Nevertheless I was wrong. First of all, I would like to mention that this is an 100% b movie, not only in terms of budget but also in terms of plot, acting and effects. Acting is mediocre, effects are not of the best quality and the zombies are sometimes funny. However, the idea is original: what would happen if robots were pitted against zombies and Lundgren was somewhere between? If you like to spend sometime and forget about your everyday problems by watching a brainless, non plot action movie like this, then….why not?

 

REVIEW: THE ULTIMATE WEAPON

CAST

Hulk Hogan (Suburban Commando)
Carl Marotte (My Bloody Valentine)
Cynthia Preston (Carrie)
Lynne Adams (Shattered Glass)

image-w448When mercenary “Hardball” Cutter discovers that the team he is working with is actually a group of IRA gunrunners, he decides to put a stop to their plans. Furious with Cutter, the gunrunners target him, his partner, and his family. .157880843_d736f6No, this isn’t a very artistic movie. Yes, you’ve seen the story before. No, the actors aren’t especially good. But yes. There is action. This is a good action movie. Big guns, explosions, ex C.I.A agents taking out entire armies on their own and non-stop action. Hulk Hogan is awesome and he really fills the role.

REVIEW: ONE EYED JACKS

CAST

Marlon Brando (Superman)
Karl Malden (A Streetcar Named Desire)
Ben Johnson (Angel and The Badman)
Katy Jurado (Divine)
Pina Pellicer (Sinful)
Slim Pickens (The Last Command)
Elisha Cook Jr.(House on Haunted Hill)

Rio (Marlon Brando) (also called “The Kid”), his mentor Dad Longworth (Karl Malden), and a third man called Doc rob a bank of two saddlebags of gold in Sonora, Mexico. The robbery is successful, but Mexican rurales (mounted police) track them and catch them celebrating in a cantina, killing Doc. Dad and Rio manage to escape. After getting cornered on a high ridge, with Rio’s horse dead, Rio figures the rurales will be “swarming all over us inside an hour.” Deciding that one partner might take the remaining pony, ride to a jacalito down the canyon about five miles and return with fresh mounts, they gamble for it, with Rio fixing the deal so his pal Dad can be the one to go.Dad gets to a corral, strapping the swag bag onto a fresh pony, but he gets second thoughts. He casts one eye towards a point on the ridge sure to be taken by the rurales, and with the other he gazes off in the opposite direction out past a low-lying treeline towards the border and safety. One way leads to danger and a poor chance at surviving with half the booty, the other towards a virtual certainty with all of it. After a decidedly short moment of reflection, he leaves his friend to be taken by the rurales. Rio is arrested and transported to prison by way of the jacalito, where he learns firsthand of Dad’s betrayal from the owner.Rio spends five hard years in a Sonora prison, giving him ample time to mull over Dad’s betrayal before escaping with new partner Chico Modesto (Larry Duran) and going hunting for him. When he locates him, Longworth has used his wealth to become the sheriff of Monterey, California. Instead of ambushing Dad, Rio gives him a chance to explain why he left him back in Mexico, pretending he had never been captured to put him off-guard. Longworth’s awkward self-serving story is easily seen through.All along Rio planned not only to kill Dad, but to pull off a bank robbery in Monterey with his new partners Chico and “scum-suckin’ pig” Bob Emory (Ben Johnson) (who used his knowledge of Dad’s whereabouts to force their partnership). Plans are sidetracked when Rio falls in love with Longworth’s beautiful virginal stepdaughter Louisa (Pina Pellicer), taking advantage of a fiesta to spend the night with her on the beach. Dad tries to make Louisa confess to being deflowered, but after intervention by his wife Maria (Katy Jurado) he backs down. He nevertheless traps Rio and administers a vicious beating with a whip in front of the entire town, smashing Rio’s gun hand with the butt of a shotgun in an attempt to end his gun-slinging days.While recovering from his wounds near the ocean, Rio struggles with his conflicting desires to love the girl and to kill her stepfather. He decides to forgo vengeance, fetch Louisa and leave, but Emory, having decided that Rio will never be fast enough to challenge him again, kills Chico and pulls off the bank job without Rio’s knowledge. The heist goes wrong and a young girl is killed. Rio is falsely accused and locked up by Longworth. Knowing that the trial’s outcome is certain, Rio sure to be hanged in two days, Dad has one last private talk with him, again attempting to absolve himself, to which Rio replies, “You may be a one-eyed jack around here, but I’ve seen the other side of your face.” Rio confesses to being imprisoned for the last five years, but Dad calls it a lie. After Louisa visits Rio in jail to confess that she is going to have his baby, he is beaten by sadistic deputy Lon Dedrick (Slim Pickens) out of envy for Louisa’s affection. Maria faces Dad about telling her the truth, stating she knew something was wrong since the moment Rio arrived and that Dad is going to hang him out of pure guilt. Longworth angrily leaves.Louisa attempts to smuggle a Derringer pocket pistol to Rio, but she is discovered by Lon, who leaves the gun on a table. While they are out, Rio with great difficulty is able to get hold of the pistol, but it is without ammunition. Rio bluffs his way out of jail, helping himself to Lon’s revolver after a tense confrontation. As he is making his escape, he is spotted by Dad in the center of town. Under fire and left with no choice, Rio kills Longworth in a final showdown. Rio and Louisa ride out to the dunes and say a sentimental farewell. Rio will now be a hunted man and is already wanted in Mexico, so he tells Louisa that he’s going to Oregon, but to look for him in the spring, when he will return for her.The film took over a year to edit after principal photography ended in 1959. Eventually, the studio took the film away from Brando and recut it to their own tastes. Brando reportedly did not object, becoming fed-up with editing after spending so much time trying to perfect his film. He did complain, after the fact, that the studio cut took away the moral ambiguity he sought for his character. Brando said that all the characters in the film but Dad Longworth, the ostensible heavy, are two faced — “one-eyed jacks,” with one face on top, the public face, and another face that is hidden. Although Rio accuses Dad of being a “one-eyed jack,” to Brando, Dad was the only one who was honest in the film. In Brando’s cut, Dad’s last shot meant for Rio hits his step-daughter Louisa instead, killing her and thus leaving Rio with nothing in the end. The studio used the alternative ending where Rio and Louisa have an emotional parting at the beach, and Rio promises to return to her. In a development that seemingly foreshadows his future personal life, Brando had an affair on-set with Pina Pellicer, who later committed suicide. Their scenes together are quite affecting as they are emotionally true.