REVIEW: WHEN THE PARTY’S OVER

CAST

Sandra Bullock (The Heat)
Rae Dawn Chong (Commando)
Kris Kamm (Coach)
Elizabeth Berridge (The Funhouse)
Brian McNamara (Army Wives)
Paul Johansson (Van Helsing)
Michael Landes (Final Destination 2)
Raymond Cruz (Breaking Bad)
Fisher Stevens (Short Circuit)
Willie Garson (Stargate SG.1)

hqdefaultFrankie (Elizabeth Berridge), Amanda (Sandra Bullock), MJ (Rae Dawn Chong, and Banks (Kris Kamm) are housemates, who are fresh out of college. Frankie is a social worker, who is dating Taylor, a lawyer (Brian McNamara). Amanda, an artist, meets and falls in love with Alexander Midnight, a performance artist (Fisher Stevens). She is also trying to guide her younger brother, Willie (Michael Landes), with wisdom, patience, and compassion, after the death of their mother.jPeC9NbFKDLtZBMlzEc7RLwnQoTThe third roommate, MJ, is a stockbroker, who is actually very promiscuous and has a pension for drinking. She even sleeps with Taylor, thus betraying Frankie.The final housemate, Banks, is an actor who is gay, and who is also best friends with Amanda. This movie touches on a group of twentysomethings in California, circa the early 1990s, highlighting the social issues of that time period, like teenage drinking, homosexuality, rape, infidelity, and problems with trust, amongst many other themes.Sandra-Bullock_The-Vanishing_1993The story builds slowly, and doesn’t go where you expect it to or hope it will, but rewards those who are patient and observant.

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REVIEW: TWO WEEKS NOTICE

CAST

Sandra Bullock (The Heat)
Hugh Grant (Cloud Atlas)
Alicia Witt (Vanilla Sky)
Francie Swift (Vamp)
Dana Ivey (The Addams Family)
Robert Klein (How To Lose A Guy in 10 days)
Heather Burns (Bewitched)
David Haig (My Boy Jack)
Katheryn Winnick (Vikings)
Dorian Missick (The Cape)

Lucy Kelson (Sandra Bullock) is a liberal lawyer who specializes in environmental law in New York City. George Wade (Hugh Grant) is an arrogant billionaire real estate tycoon who has almost everything and knows almost nothing. Lucy’s hard work and devotion to others contrast sharply with George’s world-weary recklessness and greed. Lucy meets George in an attempt to stop the destruction of the Coney Island community center from her childhood. He attempts to hire her to replace his old Chief Counsel, Amber. She knows of his playboy tendencies, but he promises to protect the community center if she works for him.She soon finds that what he really requires is advice in all aspects of his life. She becomes his indispensable aide, and he calls her for every little thing. She finally gets fed up with the situation and gives him her two weeks’ notice of resignation after he sends her a message of an “emergency” while she is at her friend’s wedding, since the emergency is, as she finds out, that he is unable to choose what to wear to an event. He is deeply troubled by her resignation and tries to convince her to stay. He also tries to block her from getting any other jobs, as an attempt to make her stay. He finally gives in and has her train her replacement, the attractive and flirtatious June Carver (Alicia Witt), before she quits. Lucy then becomes jealous of June before she leaves.Lucy finds out that the community center is going to be knocked down and argues with George. She arrives at his hotel and finds June and George in his apartment in lingerie during their game of “strip chess”. George sees that Lucy is hurt and she leaves. He confronts her the next day, he last day, saying that she must have feelings from what she saw the other night. Lucy, still upset about the community center, claims that George promised her the community center and that she didn’t promise to sleep with him. George says hurtful things to Lucy until he leaves.After she’s gone, George realizes that his time with her has really changed him, as he keeps the promise he made to her in the beginning even if it means it costs his company millions. Meanwhile, in her new job, Lucy is missing him terribly. He goes in search for her, and they confess their feelings for each other. The movie ends with Lucy ordering take out in her apartment with George making jokes about the size of the apartment. Usually when she orders and is asked how many, Lucy replies, “one,” but this time, with a silly smile, Lucy replies, “This is for two.”The script, by director Marc Lawrence, has its share of lame one-liners, but it keeps a steady, merry tempo that distracts from the film’s shortcomings at least somewhat while focusing on its key strengths, Bullock and Grant. Lawrence’s direction is similarly solid. This is one film that makes a serious point of being goofy and glamorous all at once, and it works. A decent enough film for a rainy Saturday.

REVIEW: ME & THE MOB (WHO DO I GOTTA KILL?)

CAST

Sandra Bullock (The Heat)
James Lorinz (King of New York)
John Costelloe (Die Hard 2)
Tony Darrow (The Sopranos)
Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire)
Stephen Lee  (Robocop 2)

hqdefaultWho says crime doesn’t pay? The mob will pay Jimmy Corona anything to stay away. But, then again, so would most people. His agent brushes off Jimmy’s latest book proposal: detailing the conspiracy between Lee Harvey Oswald and Marylin Monroe to assassinate JFK. His girlfriend gives him his walking papers in the midst of wild sex when he can’t give her one good reason to stay. Actually he’s too exhausted to speak. And to top it all off, he’s suffering from writer’s block. So what’s a poor guy to do? Join the mob? Who-Do-I-Gotta-Kill-images-f4557e9f-4927-4fdf-b899-038d7aef764Okay, this is a really bad movie. That said, there are some moments here that are so over-the-top bad that they’re funny. The fake accents are so horrible that they become campy and the now notorious love scene involving Sandra Bullock is outright hilarious…and very embarassing. How she could be making love without removing a single garment is a mystery, but the acting in that scene is ridiculous, as well. However, it is certainly memorable. Sandra Bullock shows up for another short scene later in the film, but her role is essentially a throw away part. Then there is the sudden appearance of notable actor Steve Buscemi at the very beginning of the film in which he seems almost ashamed to be in. His character never returns to the story after that. By the end of the film there are so many plot twists that heartfelt boredom ensues. The acting is bad, the budget is obviously low, and the script, which invokes the occasional giggle, is a quivering mass of bulbous drivel. Avoid this film.

REVIEW: ALL ABOUT STEVE

 

CAST

Sandra Bullock (Gravity)
Bradley Cooper (Limitless)
Thoams Haden Church (Sideways)
Ken Jeong (The Hangover)
DJ Qualls (Road Trip)
Katy Mixon (Mike & Molly)
Beth Grant (Wonderfalls)
Howard Hesseman (Halloween II)
M.C. Gainey (Lost)
Keith David (Pitch Black)
Holmes Osborne (Donnie Darko)
Kerri Kenney (Anger Management)
Lucy Davis (Shaun of The Dead)
Eddie Jemison (IZombie)

Mary Horowitz, a crossword puzzle writer for the Sacramento Herald, is socially awkward and considers her pet hamster her only true friend. Her parents decide to set her up on a blind date. Mary’s expectations are low, as she tells her hamster. Mary is pleasantly surprised when her date turns out to be handsome and charming Steve Miller, a cameraman for the television news network CCN. Steve does not reciprocate her feelings. After an attempt at an intimate moment fails, in part because of her awkwardness and inability to stop talking about vocabulary, Steve fakes a phone call about covering the news out of town. Trying to get Mary out of his truck, he tells her he wishes she could be there.
Mary believes him and decides to pursue him. Mary’s obsession gets her fired when she creates a crossword titled “All About Steve”. Following her termination, Mary decides to track Steve around the country in the hopes of winning his affection. She is encouraged by CCN news reporter Hartman Hughes, who hopes to use Mary’s encyclopedic knowledge in his reports to help himself get a promotion to become an anchor. On the road, Mary annoys some bus passengers so much, the driver abandons her. She hitchhikes with a trucker named Norm, then meets and travels with a pair of protesters, Elizabeth, a ditzy but sweet and likeable girl, and Howard, who sells apples he carves into celebrities. She gradually grows close to the two.

Steve and crew end up covering a breaking news story: an old mine collapsed with numerous deaf children stuck inside. Initially, it appears that the children are rescued. Mary, who arrives on the scene, accidentally falls into the mine shaft as well while making a beeline for Steve. It turns out that not all the children have been rescued, and Mary is trapped with one left behind. Steve begins to realize that Mary, in her own unique way, is a beautiful person. Just as Mary figures a way out, the two are joined by Hartman, who is made to feel guilty by Elizabeth and Howard for getting Mary into this predicament. Mary’s rescue plan works, but she lets Hartman take the credit. Mary finally realizes she does not need Steve to be happy. She states, “If you love someone, set him free; if you have to stalk him, he probably wasn’t yours in the first place.” After the end credits, a competitive TV reporter, in despair that Hartman got popularity by falling into the mine while trying to save Mary, also jumps into the mine.I was a little dubious at first at watching this film as I hadn’t heard good things…..But what can I say it was a laugh from start to finish. Sandra Bullock is as always fantastic. A fun film not to be taken seriously.

REVIEW: THE VANISHING (1993)

CAST

Jeff Bridges (R.I.P.D.)
Kiefer Sutherland (24)
Nancy Travis (So I Married An Axe Murderer)
Sandra Bullock (The Heat)
Park Overall (Kindergarten Cop)

Jeff Harriman (Kiefer Sutherland) goes on vacation with his girlfriend Diane Shaver (Sandra Bullock), who vanishes without a trace at a gas station. Three years later, Jeff is still obsessed with finding out what happened. One day, Barney Cousins (Jeff Bridges) arrives at Jeff’s door and admits that he was responsible for her disappearance. Cousins promises to show Jeff what happened to Diane, but only if he agrees to go through exactly the same thing she did.
In a short series of flash-backs, the build-up to the crime is shown. Jeff is taken to the gas station where his lover went missing, and is told that if he drinks a cup of coffee which has been drugged, he will discover her fate by experiencing it. He does, and wakes up to find he has been buried alive.
Jeff’s new girlfriend, Rita (Nancy Travis), has traced him and his abductor to the area, and discovers just in time what has happened. She gets Cousins to drink drugged coffee by talking about his daughter, but does not realize the drug takes 15 minutes to take effect. She goes in search of Jeff, but is thwarted at the last minute by Cousins. Fortunately, Jeff has revived and is able to climb out of the grave and kill his tormentor with the shovel he had used to bury Jeff and Diane. The remake ends with Jeff and Rita back together, selling the story as a novel to a publishing company.The remake of The Vanishing is not all that bad to be honest,but as is the way the original 1988 Vanishing is the superior version but both movies kind of operate at different levels. As to be expected the remake employs a sanitised Hollywood approach whilst the original basks in its european sensibilities. The portrayal of a sociopath in the original is truly unnerving,capturing the banality of evil as the abductor test runs his kidnap plan,timing his moves to the second,picking up his daughters,having dinner with the wife. The Vanishing is a taut thriller well worth watching..both versions.

REVIEW: DEMOLITION MAN

CAST

Sylvester Stallone (Rocky)
Welsey Snipes (Blade)
Sandra Bullock (The Heat)
Nigel Hawthorne (Spiderweb)
Benjamin Bratt (Catwoman)
Denis Leary (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Rob Schneider (The Hot Chick)
Bill Cobbs (New Jack City)
Bob Gunton (Daredevil)
Glenn Shadix (Beetlejuice)
Jack Black (Goosebumps)
Jesse Ventura (The Running Man)
Brandy Ledford (Andromeda)

In 1996, psychopathic career criminal Simon Phoenix kidnaps a number of hostages and takes refuge with his gang in an abandoned building. LAPD Sgt. John Spartan uses a thermal scan of the building and finds no trace of the hostages, and leads an unauthorized assault to capture Phoenix. When he is captured, Phoenix sets off a series of explosives that bring down the building, and when the police search the wreckage, they find the corpses of the hostages. Spartan is charged with 30 counts of manslaughter, and he is incarcerated along with Phoenix in the city’s new “California Cryo-Penitentiary”, where they will be cryogenically frozen (the former being sentenced to 70 years, with parole eligibility in 50). During their time “in deep freeze”, they are to be rehabilitated through subconscious conditioning.

During their incarceration, the “Great Earthquake” of 2010 leads the cities of Los Angeles, San Diego, and Santa Barbara to merge into a single metropolis under the name San Angeles. The city becomes a utopia run under the pseudo-pacifist guidance and control of the evangelistic Dr. Raymond Cocteau, where human behavior is tightly controlled. In 2032, Phoenix is woken for a parole hearing, but he finds he somehow knows the access codes to the security systems, and is able to escape the prison and begins wreaking havoc on the city. The police, having not dealt with violent crime for many years, are unable to handle Phoenix and opt to wake Spartan and enlist his help. Spartan is assigned to Lieutenant Lenina Huxley to help with acclimation to the future, which he finds depressing. Others on the police force find his behavior brutish and uncivilized, though Huxley, who is fascinated by the lifestyles of the late 20th century, helps Spartan to overcome this, and the two grow close, despite the limitations on displays of public affection.

They attempt to stop Phoenix from stealing 20th century weapons from a museum display, but Phoenix manages to escape. Phoenix encounters Dr. Cocteau during his escape, and though he tries to shoot him, finds himself unable to do so. Dr. Cocteau calmly asks Phoenix to assassinate Edgar Friendly, the leader of the resistance group called the Scraps that fight against Cocteau’s rule, and allows Phoenix to bring other criminals out of cryo-sleep to help at his request. Meanwhile, Spartan and Huxley review the cryo-prison records and find that instead of the normal rehabilitation program, Phoenix had been given the information necessary for his escape by Cocteau directly. They also discover information directing Phoenix towards Friendly, and go off to warn him.  At the Scraps’ underground base, Friendly is initially distrustful but Spartan is able to convince him of the threat and takes sympathy in their cause given what he has seen above ground. When Phoenix and his gang attack, Spartan and the Scraps ward off the attack, leading to a car chase between Spartan and Phoenix. During the chase, Phoenix taunts Spartan by revealing that he had killed the hostages before Spartan had arrived in 1996. Phoenix escapes while Spartan comes to terms that he had been wrongly charged with the crime. Meanwhile, Friendly and the Scraps work with the police to try to help stop Phoenix and his gang of cryo-cons.

Phoenix returns to Dr. Cocteau with his gang, and as the rehabilitation programming prevents him from killing Cocteau, orders one of his gang to do so. Spartan and Huxley arrive soon after, finding that Phoenix has already left to release more prisoners. Spartan enters the prison alone to fight Phoenix, engages in a violent fight that ravages the facility, and eventually uses the cryogenic chemical to freeze Phoenix before shattering him. Spartan escapes the prison before it explodes and regroups with the police and the Scraps. The police fear the loss of Cocteau will send their society into a downward spiral, but Spartan suggests that they and the Scraps work together to recreate a society that returns some of the personal freedoms that were lost. He then kisses Huxley and the two go off together.Demolition Man is brilliant action packed movie, just what you would expect from a Stallone, or even a Wesley Snipes movie. A treat for fans of both stars or just action and/or sci-fi fans in general and with just the right mixture of comedy and action i highly recommend it to all!

REVIEW: MURDER BY NUMBERS

CAST

Sandra Bullock (The Heat)
Ben Chaplin (Cinderella)
Ryan Gosling (Drive)
Michael Pitt (The Dreamers)
Agnes Bruckner (Blood and Chocolate)
R. D. Call (Waterworld)
Chris Penn (After The Sunset)
Tom Verica (Red Dragon)

Richard Haywood (Gosling) and Justin Pendleton (Pitt) are high school classmates; Richard is wealthy and popular, while Justin is a brilliant introvert. After months of planning a “perfect crime”, they abduct a woman at random, strangle her, and plant evidence implicating Richard’s marijuana dealer, janitor Ray Feathers (Chris Penn). Detective Cassie Mayweather (Bullock) and her new partner, Sam Kennedy (Chaplin) investigate. Cassie sleeps with Sam early on—as she has with previous partners—but won’t let him see her chest, and curtly sends him home afterward.

Footprints at the crime scene lead to Richard, and vomit nearby implicates Justin. Both have alibis, and deny knowing each other, but Cassie is convinced that Richard is the murderer and Justin is involved. Sam criticizes her refusal to consider other suspects, as most of the physical evidence points away from the two boys. Cassie’s boss, Captain Rod Cody (R. D. Call), and her cuckolded ex, Assistant D.A. Al Swanson (Tom Verica), fearing Richard’s influential parents, take Cassie off the case. Sam, following the (planted) evidence, tracks down Ray. When Ray is found dead, apparently a suicide (actually killed by Richard), the woman’s murder appears solved; but Sam decides that Cassie may be right, and continues the investigation.

Justin, who has a crush on classmate Lisa Mills (Agnes Bruckner), works up the courage to ask her out. A jealous Richard seduces Lisa, then gives Justin a video clip of the two having sex. Justin is enraged, but regains control, knowing Sam is still watching them. Cassie begins receiving calls from her ex-husband, Carl Hudson, who went to prison for stabbing her in the chest 17 times. His parole hearing is coming up, and he wants her to speak on his behalf. Cassie confides to Sam that although she became a cop to prove to herself that she wasn’t a victim, she is terrified at the prospect of seeing Carl again. She also confesses that Richard reminds her of Carl—which is why she is convinced of Richard’s guilt, and obsessed with proving it.

Sam and Cassie bring Richard and Justin in for separate interrogations, trying to induce each to implicate the other, but neither will talk, and both are released. At the victim’s home, Cassie determines how the boys carried out the abduction and altered the physical evidence. Justin and Richard, knowing that Cassie is closing in on them, flee to an abandoned house, where Richard produces two pistols and proposes a mutual suicide. On the count of three, Justin shoots (into the air), but Richard does not. Justin demands to see Richard’s gun—which is unloaded. As a furious Justin is about to shoot Richard, Cassie arrives. Richard grabs Justin’s gun and shoots at Cassie, wounding Justin instead. Cassie gives chase and tackles Richard on a rickety balcony jutting out over a cliff. As Richard strangles Cassie, the balcony gives way and Richard falls to his death. Justin grabs Cassie, who is hanging on the edge of the balcony, and pulls her back into the house.

Cassie assures Justin that she will intercede on his behalf, since he was an innocent dupe, manipulated by the ruthless Richard. Then she notices a mark on her neck caused by Richard’s large ring, and realizes that the dead woman’s neck did not have a similar mark. Confronted with the evidence, Justin confesses that he strangled the victim to prove his “courage” to Richard. In the closing scene, Cassie faces her fears and enters the courtroom to testify at Carl’s parole hearing. The bailiff calls her to the stand by her legal name: Jessica Marie Hudson.

Schroeder does not build his film visually. It has a conventional TV movie feel to it and, despite being well played, Pitt’s nerdy all-knowing geek is a bit too formulaic. But the film holds you nevertheless. Schroeder displays a storyteller’s gift for how things should develop, And as the cock-of-the-walk arrogant yet vulnerable rich kid killer Ryan Gosling is the real McCoy. He can convey charm and menace in equal measure and often in the same moment and confirms his status as one of the best actors in movies.