The Ax ( Donald E Westlake)

Wanted: Middle management for the oversight of an assembly line in an industrial paper factory. College degree and experience a must. Homicidal maniacs welcome to apply. Burke Devore is a typical middle-aged guy with a steady job, a wife and two kids. When he gets laid off he spends 2 years looking for new employment and realizes that there are too many people with more education and experience looking for similar work. Donald Westlake wrote this in 1997, but his publishers missed an opportunity during the last economic bust to reissue this book with great fanfare because it’s even more poignant now. There is not a single dull moment in the entire novel and to top it all off, the ending is even more brilliant.
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The River Wild (1994 USA)

A family-friendly feminist reboot of Deliverance. Without the sodomy. Damn…I knew something was missing. Maybe director Curtis Hanson suggested that Meryl Streep give up her booty, Ned Beatty–style. Was she willing to take one for the team? Obviously not. Anyway, from the viewpoint of 2017 The River Wild screams 1994. Here’s an action film with no CGI, with the obligatory Spielbergian “marital problems”, the typical “90s son”, typical “architect father” and yet another “Jerry Goldsmith score.” The River Wild proudly rode a then-new trend: the extreme sports/wilderness action film (Cliffhanger and The Edge). [Read more…]

The McClane Apocalypse: Book One (Kate Morris)

I shouldn’t like this book. It’s like post apocalyptic chick lit. But for some reason I enjoyed this light hearted read. Maybe it’s because it reminds me a little of Little a House on the Prairie. The story is a family holed up together after the world goes to hell as a result of nukes, tsunamis and earthquakes. This take on PA fiction us more regarding the relationships of the characters rather than the world they live in. However there is plenty of action, just not as much of the gore filled section I am used to. It’s good to see a post apocalyptic storyline that still breathes a bit of hope optimism and plain old human decency. [Read more…]

Swiss Family Robinson (1960 USA)

sfrGorgeous production with Disney all-star-cast , funny sequences and spectacular adventures. The treatment of its subject (survival on a desert island) is overly wholesome and unrealistic of course. The family seems to be treating the whole situation like the perfect holiday. Even in the face of many hardships they all remain surprisingly cheerful. And the parents have an annoying habit of calling each other “Mother” and “Father”, even when they’re alone. But we must take it for what it is – good old fashioned, clean fun played out on a widescreen.
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Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993 USA)

Homeward.bound_dvd_coverThis is a remake of the 1963 oldie ‘The Incredibly Journey’. Surprisingly, the plot is almost identical but this one is superior. The biggest difference is that this version is more for the big screen and has far more humour. Another big difference is that the animals talk here, which is good because they only talk by telepathy. If they moved their lips like people, or like animals do in cartoons, it would be too unreal so top marks for that. [Read more…]

That Darn Cat! (1965 USA)

disneyWhy not a review for our inner child? A classic Disney mix of conservatism and hopelessly virginal good humour, this still hooks its audience with a flair for clean, corny vignettes. An attempt to bring the girlish Haley Mills into a womanly – if comedic – grace. Her voice does grate on me after a while though and her personality is annoying. (I am not pleased to find out I share a birthday with miss goody two shoes either) [Read more…]

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