Film Review – TO CHASE A MILLION (1967)

To Chase a Million (1967; UK; Colour; 97m) **½  d. Pat Jackson, Robert Tronson; w. Stanley R. Greenberg; ph. Lionel Banes; m. Albert Elms.  Cast: Richard Bradford, Yoko Tani, Ron Randell, Norman Rossington, Anton Rogers, Mike Pratt, Aubrey Morris, Simon Brent, Gay Hamilton. A lone shark bounty hunter pits himself against secret agents from three countries. The prize: a million bucks in cash for vital state secrets. Flat spy thriller betrays its TV origins with studio sets and stock location footage. Bradford is excellent as the loner McGill, who it seems is forever being beaten up. Rodgers also impresses as a Russian spy. The plot unfolds at a slow pace and the resolution lacks punch. Compiled from a two-part story from the TV series Man in a Suitcase, originally entitled “Variation on a Million Bucks”. [PG]

Film Review – BODY HEAT (1981)

Body Heat (1981; USA; Technicolor; 113m) ***½  d. Lawrence Kasdan; w. Lawrence Kasdan; ph. Richard H. Kline; m. John Barry.  Cast: William Hurt, Kathleen Turner, Richard Crenna, Ted Danson, J.A. Preston, Mickey Rourke, Kim Zimmer, Jane Hallaren, Lanna Saunders, Carola McGuinness, Michael Ryan, Larry Marko. In the midst of a searing Florida heat wave, a woman persuades her lover, a small-town lawyer, to murder her rich husband. Modern reworking of the classic film noir DOUBLE INDEMNITY is hot and intense with a sultry performance from Turner. Hurt is also good as the ensnared lawyer. Elements and dialogue are occasionally overbaked in an attempt to recreate the noir feel, but Barry’s moody score and Kasdan’s low key direction make this a compelling tale. [18]

Film Review – SHAMUS (1973)

Related imageShamus (1973; USA; Eastmancolor; 106m) **½  d. Buzz Kulik; w. Barry Beckerman; ph. Victor J. Kemper; m. Jerry Goldsmith.  Cast: Burt Reynolds, Dyan Cannon, John P. Ryan, Joe Santos, Georgio Tozzi, Kevin Conway, John Glover, Ron Weyand, Beeson Carroll, Larry Block, Kay Frye, Merwin Goldsmith, Melody Santangello, Irving Selbst, Alex Wilson. A New York private eye likes girls, drink and gambling, but by the look of his flat business can’t be too hot. So, an offer of $10,000 to finds some diamonds stolen in a daring raid with a flame-thrower is too good to miss. Tonal shifts jar in this detective vehicle for Reynolds, whose easy-going charm is the best thing about this yarn. The action sequences are well staged and there is good use of grimy NYC locations, but the script lacks focus and the characters are stereotypical. Followed by the TV movie A MATTER OF WIFE… AND DEATH (1976) with Rod Taylor taking over the lead. [18]

Film Review – TROUBLE MAN (1972)

Trouble Man (1972; USA; Colour; 99m) ***  d. Ivan Dixon; w. John D. F. Black; ph. Michel Hugo; m. Marvin Gaye.  Cast: Robert Hooks, Paul Winfield, Ralph Waite, William Smithers, Paula Kelly, Julius Harris, Bill Henderson, Wayne Storm. Things begin to unravel when a supercool black fixer is hired to straighten out some crooks. Typical example of the blaxploitation cinema that dominated the early 1970s. Hooks is the supercool Mr. T, whose attitude carries more than a hint of SHAFT – on which both producer Joel Freeman and writer/exec producer Black had worked. The script is fairly routine as is the violence and mayhem, but there is a sense of style in Dixon’s direction. Gaye provides the funky score. [15]

Film Review – BLOOD WORK (2002)

Image result for blood work blu-rayBlood Work (2002; USA; Technicolor; 110m) ***  d. Clint Eastwood; w. Brian Helgeland; ph. Tom Stern; m. Lennie Niehaus.  Cast: Clint Eastwood, Jeff Daniels, Anjelica Huston, Wanda De Jesus, Tina Lifford, Paul Rodriguez, Dylan Walsh, Mason Lucero, Gerry Becker, Rick Hoffman, Alix Koromzay, Igor Jijikine, June Kyoto Lu, Dina Eastwood, Beverly Leech. Still recovering from a heart transplant, a retired FBI profiler returns to service when his own blood analysis offers clues to the identity of a serial killer. Interesting premise is occasionally undone by lapses in logic and the routine nature of the production. Eastwood is as charismatic as ever in the lead role, but as director fails to inject sufficient suspense. The strongest moments are the character conflicts. It remains an entertaining enough and serviceable mystery despite its flaws. Based on the novel by Michael Connelly. [15]

Film Review – BLADE RUNNER 2049 (2017)

Image result for BLADE RUNNER 2049 blu-rayBlade Runner 2049 (2017; USA/UK/Canada; Colour; 163m) ****  d. Denis Villeneuve; w. Hampton Fancher, Michael Green; ph. Roger Deakins; m. Hans Zimmer, Benjamin Wallfisch.  Cast: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas, Jared Leto, Lennie James, Robin Wright, Dave Bautista, Edward James Olmos, Barkhad Abdi, Hiam Abbass. Thirty years after the events of BLADE RUNNER, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. K’s discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years. Expanding on the events and consequences of the original story, this is a visual treat. Gosling impressively portrays the ambiguity and doubts of his character, whilst Villeneuve patiently builds the narrative using the elements of the multi-layered plot. Fans of the original will be delighted, but it may be harder-going for others unfamiliar with the concept. [15]

Film Review – WIND RIVER (2017)

Wind River (2017; USA/UK/Canada; Colour; 107m) ***½  d. Taylor Sheridan; w. Taylor Sheridan; ph. Ben Richardson; m. Warren Ellis.  Cast: Elizabeth Olsen, Jeremy Renner, Jon Bernthal, Julia Jones, Matthew Del Negro, Kelsey Asbille, Gil Birmingham, Ian Bohen, Martin Sensmeier, Hugh Dillon, Eric Lange, Mason D. Davis, James Jordan, Teo Briones, Tara Karsian. A female FBI agent and a veteran game tracker investigate the circumstances surrounding the discovery of a dead woman on a Native American reservation. Leisurely-paced and well-written character-driven mystery retains interest throughout due to the compelling performances of the leads and the beautiful, but unforgiving snow-filled Wyoming location. [15]

Film Review – THE LONG GOODBYE (1973)

Image result for THE LONG GOODBYE 1973 BLU-RAYLong Goodbye, The (1973; USA; Technicolor; 112m) ***  d. Robert Altman; w. Leigh Brackett; ph. Vilmos Zsigmond; m. John Williams.  Cast: Elliott Gould, Nina Van Pallandt, Sterling Hayden, Mark Rydell, Henry Gibson, David Arkin, Jim Bouton, Warren Berlinger, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rutanya Alda, Jo Ann Brody, Vincent Palmieri, Pancho Cordova, Enrique Lucero, George Wyner. Detective Philip Marlowe tries to help a friend who is accused of murdering his wife. Altman re-imagines Raymond Chandler’s classic novel in a contemporary setting with Gould portraying Marlowe as a detective out-of-his time. The gimmick allows Altman to pass comment on the degradation of society and the values of life, but in doing so he sucks the power from Chandler’s original story. There are some nice directorial touches and improvised set-pieces, but this will ultimately only fully please those fully attuned to the director’s surreal vision. Schwarzenegger, who plays a bodyguard, has no lines in the film. [18]

Film Review – RAISE THE TITANIC (1980)

Image result for RAISE THE TITANIC BLU-RAYRaise the Titanic (1980; UK/USA; Colour; 115m) **  d. Jerry Jameson; w. Adam Kennedy, Eric Hughes; ph. Matthew F. Leonetti; m. John Barry.  Cast: Jason Robards, Richard Jordan, David Selby, Anne Archer, Alec Guinness, J.D. Cannon, M. Emmet Walsh, Bo Brundin, Norman Bartold, Elya Baskin, Dirk Blocker, Robert Broyles, Paul Carr, Michael C. Gwynne, Harvey Lewis. To obtain a supply of a rare mineral, a ship raising operation is conducted for the only known source, the Titanic. Flat adaptation of Clive Cussler’s novel is slow-moving and blighted by a bland script. The characters are two-dimensional and there is little opportunity to develop them through the story. There is a distinct lack of suspense and the political conflict is not fully explored. on the positive side Barry’s core is sumptuous and the visual effects are excellent. [PG]

Film Review – “CROCODILE” DUNDEE II

Image result for CROCODILE DUNDEE II DVD“Crocodile” Dundee II (1988; Australia/USA; DuArt; 108m) **½  d. John Cornell; w. Paul Hogan, Brett Hogan; ph. Russell Boyd; m. Peter Best.  Cast: Paul Hogan, Linda Kozlowski, Charles S. Dutton, John Meillon, Hechter Ubarry, Juan Fernandez, Luis Guzman, Kenneth Welsh. Australian outback expert protects his New York love from gangsters who’ve followed her down under. Tired re-tread, which reverses the scenario of the original. Hogan again evokes an easy-going charm, but the plot gets in the way of the laughs, which are few and far between once the action returns to Australia. Followed by “CROCODILE” DUNDEE IN LOS ANGELES (2001). [PG]