Tag: bill paxton

MOVIE REVIEW | ***HALLOWEEN WEEK*** Near Dark (1987)

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“Howdy. I’m gonna separate your head from your shoulders. Hope you don’t mind none.”

Horror is a genre where a lot of up and coming directors make their mark. The audience might not be huge, but it’s dedicated. Serious horror fans will see almost anything, and they’ll seek it out themselves. No massive marketing budgets required, no huge stars needed to put on the poster. Sam Raimi did it with The Evil Dead, then went on to pretty much invent the modern superhero movie with his Spiderman series. Steven Spielberg did it with Duel, then went on to be the most financially successful director of all time. And while it may not have been her first movie, Kathryn Bigelow used the genre to get noticed in the early days of her career, with Near Dark.


Caleb (Adrian Pasdar) is on a date with Mae (Jenny Wright) and everything is going well. Until she freaks out about needing to be home before dawn. The freak out turns into some mad rooting, which turns into Mae biting into Caleb’s neck. The next morning, when the sun starts to burn his skin, it’s revealed that Mae is a vampire. And now, thanks to her bite, so is Caleb. To help him adapt to her way of life, Mae tries to ingratiate Caleb with her own blood sucking family, lead by Lance Henriksen as Jesse, and including Bill Paxton as Severen. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***AFI WEEKEND*** #83. Titanic (1997)

“The American Film Institute’s list of the 100 Greatest Movies was selected by AFI’s blue-ribbon panel of more than 1,500 leaders of the American movie community to commemorate 100 Years of Movies”. Every weekend(ish) during 2015, I’ll review two(ish), counting them down from 100 to 1.

  Titanic

“I mean, I got everything I need right here with me. I got air in my lungs, a few blank sheets of paper.”

Titanic plays a pretty important role in my development as a movie nerd.  It came out when I was about 16, and like everyone else alive at the time, I saw it in the cinema.  It was important because it was the first time I was really consciously aware that big budget, prestige movie making didn’t make a movie exempt from predictable clichés and lazy story telling.  Before that time, I’d recognised predictability and familiar structure in cheap comedies and bad horror.  But for some reason, I thought movies like this were above it.


Then I spent three hours in a cinema with Titanic refusing to surprise me in any way.  I haven’t watched it since, hoping and assuming that I never would have to.  Then I decided to do this AFI countdown, and shot myself in the foot.  So, almost two decades later, does Titanic still live down to my huge disappointment? (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Nightcrawler (2014)

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“Who am I? I’m a hard worker. I set high goals and I’ve been told that I’m persistent.”

Every few years, some variety of low budget, B-grade, genre fare sneaks through the pretensions of critics, gets around mainstream audiences’ demand for high budget, easily digestible booms, and refuses to be ignored. They’re generally a combination of sensationalist stories and impeccable performances from A-listers taking a pay cut in the indie world. And because they’re lower budget, they usually have gradual releases, playing at a film festival here, released on VOD there. Which means a slow burn. Which means an endless trickle of rave reviews that get harder and harder to ignore. A few years ago it was the crazily overrated Drive, starring Ryan Gosling and his satin jacket. In 2014, it was the much more effective Jake Gyllenhaal in the much effective Nightcrawler.


Lou Bloom (Gyllenhaal) is a petty thief, making ends meet by stealing scrap metal and mugging the occasional security guard. But he sees himself as a go getting hard worker. One night, he stumbles across a car accident and witnesses Bill Paxton’s Joe filming graphic footage that later ends up on the morning news. Seeing a job opportunity, Lou buys a police scanner, a camcorder and employs Rick (Riz Ahmed) as his navigator and general whipping boy. Soon, they’re cruising the nocturnal streets of Los Angeles, looking for car accidents, murders, home invasions and other general horror to film and sell to local TV news producer, Nina (Rene Russo). (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Million Dollar Arm (2014)

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“How fast do they pitch in cricket?”

Seeing the Disney logo above the title of a live action family film definitely gives me more reasons to worry than to be excited. Even at their absolute worst, Disney’s animated movies still have a pretty great ratio of good to bad. But when it comes to modern day, live action family movies, there are a lot of real stinkers. Movies like Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and every Pirates of the Caribbean movie that isn’t the first one. Add to that iconic logo a super feel good story about overcoming the odds, and there were a lot of reasons to be very, very worried about Million Dollar Arm.


Some years ago, LA sports agent JB (Jon Hamm) left his major agency to go out alone and start his own boutique agency with partner Aash (Aasif Mandvi). When their pursuit of a football star is unsuccessful, they have zero clients and bank balances that amount to not much more. Enter Asian business man Change, eager to invest in Asian sports. Stumbling across cricket on TV one night, JB has the idea to combine America’s millions of baseball fans, with India’s millions of cricket fans, and most importantly, Change’s millions of dollars. (more…)