REVIEW: JOHN CARTER

CAST
Taylor Kitsch (Battleship)
Lynn Collins (The Number 23)
Willem Dafoe (American Psycho)
Samantha Morton (Minority Report)
Thomas Haden Church (Sideways)
Mark Strong (Kick-Ass)
Ciaran Hinds (Game of Thrones)
Dominic West (Punisher Warzone)
James Purefoy (Solomon Kane)
Bryan Cranston (Drive)
Polly Walker (Caprica)
Don Stark (That 70s Show)
Jon Favreau (Iron Man)
After the sudden death of John Carter (Taylor Kitsch), a former American Civil War Confederate Army captain, Carter’s nephew, Edgar Rice Burroughs (Daryl Sabara), attends the funeral. Per Carter’s instructions, the body is put in a tomb that can be unlocked only from the inside. His attorney hands Burroughs Carter’s journal, which Burroughs reads in the hope of finding clues to Carter’s cause of death and the reason he is willed heir. The bulk of the film is enactment of what Burroughs reads.
Burroughs reads of Carter’s exploits in the Arizona Territory as a prospector, where Union Colonel Powell (Bryan Cranston) arrests him. Powell, knowing about Carter’s military background, seeks his help in fighting the Apache, insisting that Carter owes it to his country. Carter refuses, stating that he paid any debt he had when he lost his family. Carter escapes his holding cell, but is pursued by Powell and his cavalry. After a run-in with a band of Apaches, Carter and a wounded Powell are chased until they take to hiding in a cave that turns out to be the object of Carter’s earlier searching, the “Spider Cave of Gold”. A mysterious being, called a Thern, appears in the cave at that moment; Carter kills him but accidentally activates the Thern’s powerful medallion, and is unwittingly transported to a ruined and dying planet, Barsoom, later revealed as Mars.
Because of his different bone density and Barsoom’s low gravity, Carter is able to jump high and perform feats of incredible strength. He is captured by the 4-armed Green Martian clan, the Tharks and their Jeddak (chieftain) Tars Tarkas (Willem Dafoe). Tars instructs Sola (Samantha Morton) to watch over Carter which results in her feeding him a liquid that enables him to understand the Martian language. Elsewhere on Barsoom, the human Red Martian city of Helium led by Thardos Mors (Ciarán Hinds) and the mobile scavenger city of Zodanga, led by the villainous Sab Than (Dominic West), have been at war for a thousand years. Sab Than, who wants to conquer Barsoom, is armed with a special weapon obtained from Matai Shang (Mark Strong), the leader of the Therns. He proposes a cease-fire and an end to the war by marrying Mors’ daughter, the Princess of Helium Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins). Disguised as a soldier, the Princess escapes in a Helium ship.
When Tars Tarkas wants John Carter to show off his jumping abilities, a Thark states the sightings of one ship from Helium and one ship from Zodanga scattering the Tharks to their hiding place. John Carter takes action and saves Dejah from falling. He does manage to kill some Zodanga soldiers and have a brief fight with Sab Than. Following the fight, which leads to Sab Than’s ship retreating, John Carter is hailed as Dotar Sojat (which roughly translates to “My Right Arms”) by Tars Tarkas due to his strength and skill. Tarkas even has Dejah given to him as part of the Thark spoils. Sometime after that, Carter, accompanied by Dejah, tries to find a way to get back to Earth, and stumbles upon a temple ruin sacred to the Tharks where Sola encounters them and tries to stop them from entering, but fails. After discovering an inscription depicting a way back to Earth in the sacred river of Iss, Carter, Dejah, and Sola are caught by Sarkoja (Polly Walker) and Tal Hajus (Thomas Haden Church). The three are sentenced to death due to the Thark code, but are aided in their escape by Tars Tarkas, who reveals to Carter that Sola is his daughter. When Tal and Sarkoja find the prisoners gone, Tal Hajus states that Tarkas has betrayed them.
Carter, Dejah, Sola, and Woola (a Martian Calot – which is somewhat like a mixture of a lizard and a dog) embark on a quest to get to the end of a sacred river to find a way for Carter to get back home. They obtain information about the “ninth ray”, a means of utilizing infinite energy and also the key to understanding how the medallion works. But they are attacked by the Green Martian Clan of Warhoon, which were manipulated by Matai Shang to pursue them, as part of a new plan by Sab Than. After initially fleeing, Carter decides to buy the others time by fighting the horde himself as atonement for not being able to save his family. Though defeating many Warhoon, Carter is ultimately overpowered and is saved when a Helium ship intervenes. Sab Than is also in the company of Thardos Mors as he mentions that Sab came alone and stated that he organized the rescue party. The demoralized Dejah grudgingly agrees to marry Sab Than as Carter is taken to Zodanga to be healed.
When Carter awakens, he is guided to Dejah’s room. After the servant girls leave, Dejah gives Carter his medallion and tells him to go back to Earth. As Dejah leaves with Sab Than, Carter is met by Matai Shang, who takes Carter for a walk around Zodanga. In different Zodangan forms, Shang explains to Carter the purpose of Therns and how they manipulate the civilizations of different planets into total self-destruction, also revealing Sab Than’s secret plan that he will kill Dejah once he marries her and destroy Helium and rule Barsoom, at the same time completing the course the Therns have set for Barsoom. (Shang also mentions that he and the Therns have been doing the same process for millions of years.) Carter is able to make an escape thanks to Woola as he and Sola go back to the Tharks requesting their help. There, they discover Tars Tarkas has been overthrown by Tal Hajus. Tarkas, Carter, and Sola are put on trial in a Colosseum battle with two enormous vicious creatures, the four-armed Great White-Apes. After defeating them and then challenging and easily killing Hajus, Carter becomes the leader of the Tharks.
Carter and the Thark army charge on Helium and defeat the Zodangan army in a huge battle, killing Sab Than. Carter marries Dejah and becomes prince of Helium. On their first night, Carter decides to stay forever on Mars and throws away his medallion. Seizing this opportunity, Matai Shang, in the form of a Helium Guard, sends him back to Earth before leaving Mars forever. Back on Earth, Carter embarks on a long quest looking for clues of the Therns’ presence on Earth and hoping to find one of their medallions; after several years he appears to die suddenly and asks for unusual funeral arrangements — consistent with his having found a medallion, since his return to Mars would leave his Earth body in a coma-like state. He makes Burroughs his protector, giving him clues about how to open the tomb.
The film reverts to the present, where Burroughs runs back to Carter’s tomb and opens it, hoping to find Carter’s body. A Thern in the form of a man with a bowler hat, who had been following Carter over the ten years he’d returned, appears holding a knife, having followed Burroughs. But as he prepares to strike, both he and Burroughs see the tomb is empty. A shot suddenly rings out and the Thern drops dead. Carter emerges and confesses to Burroughs that he never found a medallion. Instead, he devised a scheme to lure a Thern into revealing himself in order to get that Thern’s medallion. After suggesting to Burroughs that he enjoy his life on Earth and to try writing books (alluding to the fact that Burroughs is the real-life author of the “Barsoom” novels), Carter takes the Thern’s medallion, whispers the code, and is then transported back to Barsoom and Dejah.
thought it was amazing.
I loved the way there was a mystery at the beginning of the film and it all got pieced together at the end. I also liked the really good CGI with the awesome aliens and battle ships. I would definitely recommend this to people looking for a good film to watch.

REVIEW: FERTILE GROUND

CAST
Leisha Hailey (The L Word)
Gale Harold (The Secret Circle)
Chelcie Ross (Drag Me To Hell)
JoNell Kennedy (Collateral)
Stephanie Brown (Ash)
Emily (Leisha Hailey) and Nate Weaver (Gale Harold) are a happily married couple living in New York. Nate is a recognized artist, Emily a fashion designer, and the two are expecting their first child. Emily suffers a terrible miscarriage during a dinner party and she is informed that the scarring left on her womb means she will never be able to conceive again. To give them both a fresh start, Nate and Emily move out into the countryside to Nate’s family home, which has been uninhabited for some time. At first enchanted by it, Emily is horrified when a skeleton is discovered on the property, but it is obvious that the body is very old, so no danger can be attached to the house. After Emily discovers an old trunk filled with old baby things in the cellar, she pays a visit to the local Historical Society and is told that the house has a past she and Nate were unaware of. Several suspicious deaths have occurred at the property in the 18th and 19th century, and Nate’s aunt had vanished without a trace when the house was new.
Nate grows distant and cold towards Emily as he starts painting again, acting strangely. Tense and isolated, Emily starts to see visions of a woman covered with blood, and faints. After seeing the doctor, who thinks she is suffering from trauma, she gets a phone call to tell her that she is actually pregnant. Ordered to spend the bulk of her pregnancy in bed resting due to the high risk of miscarriage, Emily starts to get bored and frustrated by Nate, who is working longer and longer hours and seems uninterested in her or the coming baby. Emily’s visions continue; she organizes a party for her city friends to rid herself of the loneliness. At the party, she believes that Nate’s agent is having an affair with him. Later, the agent somehow falls through the window of Emily’s studio and is hospitalized. Nate thinks Emily may have pushed her as he saw her walk away from the window after the woman fell. When Nate is informed that his agent has died, he storms out angrily. Emily reads through a folder of press cuttings left by the Historical Society and discovers that all the women who died at the house were killed by their husbands. Every woman had been pregnant at the time; supposedly, the house “changed” their husbands and turned them evil. Emily has another vision of the dead woman and believes that Nate is coming back to kill her. She calls her best friend, who tells her that she will come and pick her up. Terrified, Emily hides in her bedroom with a knife when she hears Nate come back into the house. She tries to stab him with the knife but instead stabs her friend—who had driven back with Nate. Emily climbs up onto the roof to save herself. She believes she is fighting one of the ghosts of the house; they fall from the roof and she stabs him repeatedly. After killing him, Emily realizes she has actually killed Nate. At the hospital, a scan reveals that Emily is not pregnant although she believes she is. The doctor’s phone call, Nate acting strange, and the ghostly visions were all in her head: symptoms of psychosis. Emily is left in a padded room, rocking her imaginary child in her arms.
Fertile Ground certainly doesn’t try to be masterpiece, most of the cast is unknown, but the suspense, mystery and fright it brings compensates for it. I really enjoyed watching it from start to finish, doesn’t give a conclusive ending but at a sad one to say the least.

REVIEW: EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS

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CAST
Christian Bale (The Dark Knight)
Joel Edgerton (The Gift)
Ben Kingsley (Iron Man 3)
John Turturro (Transformers)
Ben Mendelsohn (The Dark Knight Rises)
Maria Valverde (Cracks)
Sigourney Weaver (Alien)
Indira Varma (Game of Thrones)
Ewen Bremner (Snatch)
In 1300 BC, Moses, a general and member of the royal family, prepares to attack the Hittite army with Prince Ramesses. A High Priestess of Sekhmet (the war goddess) divines a prophecy from animal intestines, which she relates to Ramesses’ father, Seti I. He tells the two men of the prophecy, in which one (of Moses and Ramesses) will save the other and become a leader. During the attack on the Hittites, Moses saves Ramesses’ life, leaving both men troubled. Later, Moses is sent to the city of Pithom to meet with the Viceroy Hegep, who oversees the Hebrew slaves. Upon his arrival, he encounters the slave Joshua, who is the descendant of Joseph, and Moses is appalled by the horrific conditions of the slaves. Shortly afterwards, Moses meets Nun, who informs him of his true lineage; he is the child of Hebrew parents who was sent by his sister Miriam to be raised by Pharaoh’s daughter. Moses is stunned at the revelation and leaves angrily. However, two Hebrews also overhear Nun’s story and report their discovery to Hegep.
Seti dies soon after Moses’ return to Memphis, and Ramesses becomes the new Pharaoh (Ramesses II). Hegep arrives to reveal Moses’ true identity, but Ramesses is conflicted about whether to believe the story. At the urging of Queen Tuya, he interrogates the servant Miriam, who denies being Moses’ sister. When Ramesses threatens to cut off Miriam’s arm, Moses comes to her defense, revealing he is a Hebrew. Although Tuya wants Moses to be put to death, Ramesses decides to send him into exile. Before leaving Egypt, Moses meets with his adopted mother and Miriam, who refer to him by his birth name of Moishe. Following a journey into the desert, Moses comes to Midian where he meets Zipporah and her father, Jethro. Moses becomes a shepherd, marries Zipporah and has a son Gershom.
Nine years later, Moses gets injured during a rockslide. He comes face to face with a burning bush and a boy called Malak, who serves as a representative of the God of Abraham. While recovering, Moses confesses his past to Zipporah and reveals what God has asked him to do. This drives a wedge between the couple, because Zipporah fears he will leave their family. After he arrives in Egypt, Moses reunites with Nun and Joshua, as well as meeting his brother Aaron for the first time. Moses returns to confront Ramesses, demanding the Hebrews be released from servitude. Ramesses refuses to listen, insisting that to free the slaves would be economically impossible. Upon Moses threatening Ramesses’ life, Ramesses orders the death of Moses, executing random Hebrew families until he is found.
Using his military skills, Moses trains the slaves in the art of war. The Hebrews start attacking the Egyptians, prompting Ramesses to raid slave villages. Malak appears to Moses and explains that ten plagues will affect Egypt. All the water in the land turns to blood, and the Egyptians are further afflicted by the arrival of frogs, lice, and flies. The plagues of the death of livestock, boils, hail and thunder, locusts, and darkness continue to affect the Egyptians. While conversing with Malak, Moses is horrified at learning the tenth plague will be the death of all firstborn children. The Hebrews protect themselves by covering their doors with the blood of lambs, as instructed by Moses. Ramesses is devastated over his son’s death and relents, telling Moses and the Hebrews to leave.
During the exodus from Egypt, the Hebrews follow Moses’ original path through the desert and towards the Red Sea. Still grieving for his son, Ramesses decides to go after the Hebrews with his army. After making their way through a dangerous mountain pass, Moses and the Hebrews arrive at the edge of the sea, uncertain about what to do. Moses flings his sword into the water, which begins to recede. Ramesses and his army pursue the Hebrews, but Moses stays behind to confront them. The Red Sea reverts to its normal state, drowning the majority of the Egyptians (crossing the Red Sea). Moses survives and makes his way back to the Hebrews. Ramesses is revealed to have survived, but he is distraught over the destruction of his army. Moses leads the Hebrews back to Midian, where he reunites with Zipporah and Gershom. At Mount Sinai, after seeing Malak’s displeasure at the Hebrews’ construction of the Golden Calf, Moses transcribes the Ten Commandments. Years later, an elderly Moses riding with the Ark of the Covenant sees Malak walking with the Hebrews through the desert.
For those worried about the much-hyped portrayal of God as a young ‘brat’, I think this is in the most part a misunderstanding of what Scott was trying to do here. Yes, God is shown to ‘appear’ to Moses as a young child, but is it mere coincidence that the child is of roughly the same age as Moses’s son at the time? It can be argued that, in Scott’s depiction, God merely appears to Moses in a form he knows he will relate to. I think it also gives realism and a more human face to Moses that means we can relate to him – after all, it’s clear from the Biblical account that he has imperfections.
Exodus makes an interesting attempt to show his inner battles, frustrations and complexity of his relationship with God, those he grew up with and those he then leads. This includes the struggles of his family to accept God’s will for him (which is an interesting addition by Scott) and another interesting focus on Moses’s struggle to accept that God is in control and be humbled.

For me, Exodus harks back to the true Biblical epic in a way I’d not expected would be possible in this age. Unlike all the recent output and even going back to the Passion of the Christ, The Last Temptation… and others, there is no agenda here. It is a fair account done with impressive visual flair.

REVIEW: GRAVITY

CAST
Sandra Bullock (The Heat)
George Clooney (The Ides of March)
Ed Harris (The Abyss)
Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is a biomedical engineer aboard the NASA space shuttle Explorer for her first space mission, STS-157. Veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) is commanding his final mission. During a spacewalk to service the Hubble Space Telescope, Mission Control in Houston warns the team about a Russian missile strike on a defunct satellite, which has inadvertently caused a chain reaction forming a cloud of debris in space. Mission Control orders that the mission be aborted and the crew begin re-entry immediately because the debris is speeding towards the shuttle. Communication with Mission Control is lost shortly thereafter.
High-speed debris from the Russian satellite strikes the Explorer and Hubble, detaching Stone from the shuttle and leaving her tumbling through space. Kowalski, using a Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU), recovers Stone and they return to the Explorer. They discover that it has suffered catastrophic damage and the rest of the crew is dead. They decide to use the MMU to reach the International Space Station (ISS), which is in orbit about 1,450 km (900 mi) away. Kowalski estimates they have 90 minutes before the debris field completes an orbit and threatens them again.
En route to the ISS, the two discuss Stone’s home life in Lake Zurich and her daughter, who died young in an accident. As they approach the substantially damaged but still operational ISS, they see that its crew has evacuated in one of its two Soyuz modules. The parachute of the remaining Soyuz has deployed, rendering the capsule useless for returning to Earth. Kowalski suggests using it to travel to the nearby Chinese space station Tiangong, 100 km (60 mi) away, in order to board a Chinese module to return safely to Earth. Out of air and maneuvering power, the two try to grab onto the ISS as they fly by. Stone’s leg gets entangled in the Soyuz’s parachute cords and she grabs a strap on Kowalski’s suit, but it soon becomes clear that the cords will not support them both. Despite Stone’s protests, Kowalski detaches himself from the tether to save her from drifting away with him, and she is pulled back towards the ISS while Kowalski floats away to certain death. He continues to support her until he is out of communications range.
Stone enters the ISS via an airlock. She cannot re-establish communication with Kowalski and concludes that she is the sole survivor. A fire breaks out, forcing her to rush to the Soyuz. As she maneuvers the capsule away from the ISS, the tangled parachute tethers prevent it from separating from the station. She spacewalks to release the cables, succeeding just as the debris field completes its orbit and destroys the station. Stone aligns the Soyuz with Tiangong but discovers that its engine has no fuel.
After a poignant attempt at radio communication with an Eskimo–Aleut-speaking fisherman on Earth, Stone resigns herself to being stranded and shuts down the cabin’s oxygen supply to commit suicide. As she begins to lose consciousness, Kowalski enters the capsule. Scolding her for giving up, he tells her to rig the Soyuz’s soft landing jets to propel the capsule toward Tiangong. Stone then realizes that Kowalski’s reappearance was not real, but has nonetheless given her the strength of will to continue. She restores the flow of oxygen and uses the landing jets to navigate toward Tiangong on momentum.
Unable to maneuver the Soyuz to dock with the station, Stone ejects herself via explosive decompression and uses a fire extinguisher as a makeshift thruster to travel the final metres to Tiangong, which is rapidly deorbiting. Stone enters the Shenzhou capsule just as Tiangong starts to break up on the upper edge of the atmosphere. Stone radios that she is ready to head back to Earth. After re-entering the atmosphere, Stone hears Mission Control, which is tracking the capsule. But due to a harsh reentry and the premature jettison of the heat shield, a fire is starting inside the capsule.
After speeding through the atmosphere, the capsule lands in a lake, but dense smoke forces Stone to evacuate immediately after splashdown. She opens the capsule hatch, allowing water to enter and sink it, forcing Stone to shed her spacesuit and swim ashore. Ryan then watches the remains of the Tiangong re-enter the atmosphere and takes her first shaky steps on land. Meanwhile, NASA tracks down the crash site of Ryan’s landing capsule, and proceeds to send a rescue team in hopes of finding her.
I had been glued to the screen the whole way through. The CGI is brilliant and has set a new standard for the industry. Sandra Bullock was first class throughout and so was George Clooney. The backdrop of the Earth in HD is just stunning and my only regret is that I didn’t see it on an IMAX screen. For a change most of the science is correct. I thought it was simply a brilliant film and deserved the Oscars it was awarded.

REVIEW: DRIVE (2011)

CAST
Ryan Gosling (Half Nelson)
Carey Mulligan (Wall Street 2)
Bryan Cranston (Godzilla)
Albert Brooks (This Is 40)
Oscar Isaac (Ex Machina)
Christina Hendricks (Mad Men)
Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
John Pyper-Ferguson (Caprica)
The unnamed driver (Ryan Gosling), who lives in an Echo Park, Los Angeles apartment, works repairing cars and as a part-time movie double. Managed in both jobs by auto shop owner Shannon (Bryan Cranston), the duo also provides a getaway driver service. With Shannon organizing the events, the driver gives criminals only five minutes to perpetrate robberies and reach his car. After meeting his new neighbor, Irene (Carey Mulligan), the driver soon becomes close to her and befriends her young son, Benicio (Kaden Leos), while Irene’s husband, Standard Gabriel (Oscar Isaac), is in prison. After her husband is freed, Irene still asks the driver to visit them.
Shannon persuades Jewish mobsters Bernie Rose (Albert Brooks) and Nino (Ron Perlman) to purchase a stock car chassis and build it for the driver to race. Irene’s husband, owing protection money from his time in prison, is beaten up by Albanian gangster Cook (James Biberi), who demands that Standard rob a pawnshop for $40,000 to pay the debt. The gangster gives the young boy Benicio a bullet as a symbol that he and his mother are in danger. The driver, concerned for the safety of Irene and Benicio, steals a Ford Mustang and offers to act as the getaway driver for the pawnshop job.
While waiting for Standard and Cook’s accomplice Blanche (Christina Hendricks) to complete the heist, the driver sees a custom Chrysler 300 pull into the parking lot. Blanche returns with a large bag, but Standard is shot in the back several times and killed by the pawnshop owner. The driver flees with Blanche and the money. They are pursued by the Chrysler, which bumps them but skids in the fast turns and eventually spins out. Eluding the other vehicle, the driver hides with Blanche in a motel. Learning that the bag contains a million dollars, yet the TV news reports the robbery as no money stolen, the driver threatens to beat Blanche, forcing her to admit she and Cook planned to re-steal the mysterious money with the Chrysler. Minutes later, two of Cook’s men ambush them in the motel room, killing Blanche and injuring the driver before he manages to kill them both.
At the auto shop, the driver’s arm is bandaged from the shotgun pellets; Shannon offers to hide the money, but the driver refuses. He hunts down Cook in a strip club, smashes his fingers with a hammer, and threatens to kill him, forcefeeding him the bullet that was given to Benicio; Cook reveals that Nino was behind the robbery. The driver decides to return the million but Nino dismisses the offer and instead sends a hitman (Jeff Wolfe) to the driver’s apartment building. Entering the elevator with Irene, the driver encounters the hitman and spots his pistol. The driver kisses Irene and then brutally beats the hitman to death. Irene exits horrified and stunned.
In his pizzeria, Nino reveals to Bernie that the money was stashed at the pawn shop by a low level Philadelphia wise guy from the “East Coast mob” and since anyone tied to the robbery could lead the East Coast Mafia to them, they need to kill everyone involved. Bernie warns Nino that nobody steals from the Italian Mob. Nino becomes angered and explains how the Italian Mob has, in part due to his Jewish heritage, continually marginalized and insulted him. At the end, he convinces Bernie to follow his plan. Bernie then proceeds to murder Cook with cutlery from the restaurant, as he is the sole witness to their agreement. After Shannon refuses to divulge the whereabouts of the driver, Bernie kills him at the auto shop with a straight razor from his collection of killing tools.
The driver, disguising himself with a rubber mask from his stuntman job, follows Nino from the pizzeria to the Pacific Coast Highway and T-bones Nino’s car onto a beach, then chases him from the wreck to the ocean and drowns him. The driver goes to meet Bernie at a Chinese restaurant. He makes a phone call to Irene to tell her he is leaving, saying that meeting her and Benicio was the best thing that ever happened to him. At the restaurant, Bernie promises that Irene will be safe in exchange for the money, but warns the driver must always be on the run. At his car, the driver gives Bernie the money but Bernie attempts to kill him, stabbing him in the stomach. The driver survives and fatally stabs Bernie in the neck, then drives away, abandoning the money bag alongside Bernie’s body. Irene knocks at the driver’s apartment, but gets no response. The driver is shown driving away into the night, closing the film.
This is one of the most impressive movies I have ever seen and I will explain why. The cinematography in this movie is flawless with beautiful long lasting shots that really add to the dark vibe running through the movie and car sequences filmed better than any other movie I have seen. The story is also a huge plus in this movie and despite the movie being a decent length it does a great job at introducing the main characters and through fantastic screenplay you can understand the characters and their motives, the pacing is spot on as well which really helps with immersion and I was engaged through out the movie. Also through Ryan Gosling’s fantastic performance and brilliant direction by Nicolas Refn you learn so much about the “the driver” played by Gosling through facial expressions and hand gestures that tell you how he feels in a certain situation whether it be very panicked, calm or angry and he is also a likeable character as well despite him saying so little. Other great performances in this movie from Bryan Cranston as always, also great performances from Albert Brooks and Ron Perlman who play convincing villain’s and also think Carey Mulligan was great in this movie as well. But the most impressive thing in this movie is how nothing feels fake whether it may small irrelevant things like what a character may say or action they do usually through violence you can see this has a genuine effect on a character and it is something they don’t enjoy doing but have no choice specially with the one the villain’s Albert Brooks and Gosling as well. lastly I want to mention the score which is very 80’s like but is very catchy and also has meaning through out the movie as well. Overall this movie doesn’t gloss over anything whether it may the violence or anything else this movie is hugely entertaining movie and engaging movie which by far deserves a 5/5 in my opinion and despite it not being for everyone. if you like slower paced movies which are thrilling, violent, dark, extremely engaging and have compelling characters this is for you

REVIEW: SWORD OF XANTEN

CAST
Benno Furman (Mutant Chronicles)
Kristanna Loken (Painkiller Jane)
Alicia Witt (Dune)
Julian sands (Gotham)
Samuel West (Van Helsing)
Max Von Sydow (game of Thrones)
Robert Pattinson (Twilight)
Ralf Moeller (The Bad pack)
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Part 1
The film is set around the time when many Europeans had changed their religion from paganism to Christianity. The film is split into three parts, and comprises the story of Siegfried from childhood to his death. The film opens with a young Siegfried awakening in the middle of an invasion of his parents’ castle by Saxons. The castle is soon overrun and all are slain except for Siegfried, whose mother has sent him down the river. In the morning he is picked up by a blacksmith, Eyvind, who raises him under the name Erik.
Twelve years later, Brunhild, the Queen of Iceland (still a pagan like Eyvind and Erik) follows her adviser’s runes that lead her to where Erik lives. The runes foretell that a star will fall from the sky and from its smoke a man will appear who will defeat her. Brunhild initially has doubts as no one has ever beaten her in a fight before. That night a meteor, a described announcement to a war between the gods called Ragnarök, hits the earth near the smithy and despite Eyvind’s warning, Erik goes to investigate. In the middle of the crater there are two rocks of a strange kind of metal. Wearing a cloak over her face, Brunhild arrives and Erik, believing she is a Saxon, attacks her. After a short battle he defeats her, and they instantly fall in love with each other, seeing their gathering as the will of the gods. After making love Erik promises to go to Iceland to meet Brunhild and they fall asleep. In the morning Erik wakes up alone after Brunhild has taken one of the rocks and left. Erik convinces Eyvind to let Erik go with him to Burgund (the kingdom of the Burgundians) and on their way down the river they see a town in flames.
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Once in Burgund the hawk Arminius, belonging to King Gunther’s brother Giselher, lands on Erik’s arm and there is a brief fight between Erik and some of the townspeople. Afterwards Eyvind presents his swords to Gunther, who reveals that the dragon Fafnir has awakened and is responsible for the burnt village. King Gunther and his best men, including army chief Hagen, leave to slay the dragon; Giselher befriends Erik and says that his sister Kriemhild is wanted by every man in the kingdom but she doesn’t want any of them. Eyvind leaves Erik to use the rock from the meteor to make a sword.
Gunther returns injured with Hagen; all the other knights have been killed. Erik promises to Kriemhild that Gunther and his men will be avenged. He enters Fafnir’s lair and, after a fierce battle, manages to slay the dragon while receiving only a scratch on his arm. Seeing that Fafnir’s blood has healed his scratch, Erik bathes in the blood, rendering his skin invulnerable (save for a single spot where an errant leaf had fallen upon his upper back, leaving that one spot untouched by the blood).
Part 2
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Erik explores the cave and finds a vast hall filled with treasure. He finds a ring, the Ring of the Nibelung, and is then confronted by ghosts of immortal twilight beings, the Nibelung. They warn him that taking any of the treasure will bring the curse down on him, but he does not listen and takes the ring and promises to come back for the rest. Outside he is attacked by an ex-Nibelung who lost his immortality for trying to take all the treasure, who happens to be Hagen’s father Alberich. Erik soon defeats Alberich and takes his tarn-helm, an item that lets him take the shape of anyone else. The Nibelung tell Siegfried again to return the treasure, and when Siegfried offers to return half to them they say it will not be sufficient. Erik returns to Burgund with Fafnir’s head and shows it to the people and Gunther proclaims he is a hero which makes Hagen jealous. That night, Erik dances and spends the evening with Kriemhild who wears a mask during the party, and tells her he is already in love with another woman (Brunhild). Meanwhile, the entire dragon’s hoard is moved to the Burgund treasury and fills it near to overflowing. The Saxons suddenly decide to invade Burgund to take the gold and Erik rides with the army to confront the twin Saxon kings, the men who slew his father. During a short fight Erik remembers who he is, then he declares the kingdom to be split between himself and King Gunther. He sadly remembers his father’s death, giving the two Saxons the choice to leave, but they attack again and are slain. It is also at this point that Eyvind (who tells Erik that he suspected his origin from the beginning) passes away from old age and Siegfried gives him a proper pagan funeral in his honor.
This film is a well crafted melding of the early Nordic Volsunga saga and the later high German tale of the Nibelungenlied. The amalgamation brings out a heroic myth with a universal appeal that is beautifully rendered by the film makers and the cast. A raven lands on his arm that delivers a message to Brunhild that Erik is actually Siegfried of Xanten, that he had found his real place and identity, and that he will visit her soon, planning to make her his wife as soon as possible, but warning it may take a little longer because he desires to take his treasure to Xanten for her. Having overheard Kriemhild and Erik at the party, Hagen’s father makes a potion that Kriemhild gives Erik that causes him to fall in love with her and forget Brunhild. A raven who would deliver this news to Brunhild is then shot down by Hagen.
Part 3
Siegfried, having forgotten about Brunhild, asks to marry Kriemhild but Hagen reminds Gunther that he must marry before any of his siblings. Gunther reveals he is pining for Brunhild, but he is not the best fighter and she challenges all her suitors to single combat and no-one has beaten her yet. Gunther promises Siegfried that he may marry Kriemhild if he uses the tarn-helm to look like Gunther and defeat Brunhild; Siegfried accepts this offer. On the ship to Iceland Giselher has stowed away and after support from Siegfried, Gunther lets him accompany them to Iceland. Once they arrive Brunhild is immensely happy that Siegfried has returned to her but is shocked to see that he doesn’t recognize her or is challenging her. Siegfried simply presents King Gunther to her, and explains he his the one who came here to ask her hand in marriage. Gunther his then challenged to single combat with double bladed axes on the condition that if he loses it will cost him his life. He agrees partially because it will be Siegfried fighting, not him.
The fight starts and unbeknown to everyone else Giselher sees the two Gunthers and becomes suspicious but tells no one. Brunhild loses the fight after the two fall off a waterfall and Siegfried saves her. She reluctantly and sadly returns to Burgund where she is devastated to find that Siegfried had found Kriemhild for lover. She then marries Gunther next to Siegfried and Kriemhild who are also marrying on the same day. Brunhild confronts Siegfried who (due to effects of the potion) claims he never loved her, which Brunhild ardently refuses to believe and tries to find reasons that would explain his actions, but Siegfried once again denies caring for her, and Brunhild declares she will not know joy until she forgets how much she loved him, or until he remembers. She is deeply hurt and upset. She takes her anger out by first challenging Siegfried to combat which he purposely loses to take away any thoughts that it was him who defeated Brunhild, then Brunhild ties Gunther up after revealing the power she possess comes from her pageant belt. And overpowering him, pointing out her doubts in the way Gunther defeated her back in Iceland by nearly accusing him to have cheated his victory, and leaves him tied up for the night greatly convinced she had been deceived. Gunther requests Siegfried use the tarn-helm again to get the belt away from Brunhild which he does after hesitation. He overpowers Brunhilde who is surprised to see that Gunther once again found his strength, she then offers herself to Siegfried as Gunther, who is briefly conflicted perhaps remembering of his old feelings towards Brunhild, but nonetheless retrieves himself from the room to get rid of the belt he has taken from her.
The real Gunther shortly returns to the room at his place and is spotted by Giselher who again sees two Gunthers and tells his girlfriend Lena what he saw in Iceland. Siegfried returns to his bedroom to see Kriemhild waiting for him, she convinces him to explain what has happened and he does, breaking his vow of secrecy towards Gunther. The next day outside the church Kriemhild is stopped because she cannot enter before Brunhild, Brunhild arrives quickly afterwards and Kriemhild reveals to her that it was Siegfried who defeated her both in Iceland and in her bedroom thereby publicly confronting and insulting Brunhild. She proves her says by showing Brunhild her belt around Kriemhild’s waist. This drives Brunhild over the edge. Hagen kills Alberich after not returning the tarn-helm to him and then serves of council to Gunther after the incident at the church. Hagen points out the betrayal of Siegfried on his vow and his threatening power that could well plot the downfall of Gunther knowing Siegfried also had a claim to the throne, being married to the king’s sister Kriemild. He tells Gunther that the people will not forget the way Siegfried had substituted for him both in Iceland and in the privacy of his room, he convinces Gunther that they may go as far has to Believe that any son of Gunther will be considered as the bastard son of Siegfried. Gunther then decides to send Siegfried back to Xanten and out of Burgundy, but is then stopped by Brunhilde who establishes that the punishment is far too light, and describing herself as disgraced and fooled, she asks for Siegfried’s death to Gunther who firstly refuses given his relationship with Siegfried but reluctantly accepts because Brunhild threatens to kill herself if the punishment is not carried out. Gunther is disillusioned but Hagen plans on Siegfried’s death the next day during the hunt as a simple accident. Siegfried confronts Kriemhild who breaks down after thinking about all she has done, Siegfried assures her that everything is all right, and that they are leaving to live in Xanten the next day after the hunt. The men leave for the hunt, where Gunther and Hagen plot to cause Siegfried’s death, but for a long time they are unable to. Kriemhild confronts Brunhild again and returns her belt, Brunhild reveals her troubled state of mind is because of Siegfried forgetting about their love.
Kriemhild realizing that Siegfried’s previous love was in fact Brunhild is devastated with guilt and confesses upon her use of the potion given to her by Hagen. Brunhild realizes that it was not Siegfried’s fault that he forgot her and that she has just sentenced him to death. On the hunt Hagen kills Siegfried by throwing a javelin through his weak spot (which Hagen found out about by eavesdropping on Siegfried and Gunther while going through a blood brother ritual). Siegfried remembers his love for Brunhild and says her name before death seizes him. His body is found by Giselher before they must go back to Burgund and it is wept over by Kriemhild. Gunther claims it was a Saxon ambush but she accuses him of murder by envy and guilt. She throws the Nibelung’s ring onto the ground (Siegfried gave it to her for an engagement ring) and Gunther and Hagen fight over it to Gunther’s death. Giselher then tries to kill Hagen but is easily overpowered. A vengeful Brunhild arrives and furiously kills the men who allied themselves with Hagen using the belt that Kriemhild returned to her earlier. Brunhild defeats and beheads Hagen and disappears.
Epilogue
Kriemhild places the ring on Siegfried’s hand as they give him a pagan funeral. Giselher wishes the Pagan gods would live again on his death but Lena tells him that the Pagan gods die with him. When the boat has burst into flames Brunhild appears from below Siegfried’s altar and kills herself with his sword. She collapses on top of Siegfried’s body, and the boat sinks into the river where the treasure hoard is shown having been thrown into the river.
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This film is a well crafted melding of the early Nordic Volsunga saga and the later high German tale of the Nibelungenlied. The amalgamation brings out a heroic myth with a universal appeal that is beautifully rendered by the film makers and the cast.

REVIEW: THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN – PART 2

CAST
Kristin Stewart (Snow White & The Huntsman)
Robert Pattinson (Sword Xanten)
Taylor Lautner (Tracers)
Peter Facinelli (Supergirl)
Elizabeth Reaser (The Ex List)
Ashley Greene (Burying The Ex)
Jackson Rathbone (S.Darko)
Kellan Lutz (The Legend of Hercules)
Nikki Reed (Sleepy Hollow)
Billy Burke (Red Riding Hood)
Maggie Grace (Lost)
Jamie Campbell Bower (Sweeney Todd)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Sanctuary)
Michael Sheen (Underworld)
Daniel Cudmore (X-Men 2)
Dakota Fanning (Taken)
Cameron Bright (The Butterfly Effect)
Mia Maestro (Alias)
Judith Shekoni (Heroes Reborn)
Lee Pace (The Hobbit)
 
Bella awakens from her transformation from human to vampire, aware of her new abilities, but unaware of changes within the coven, such as Jacob having imprinted on her child, Renesmee. It also appears that Bella’s father, Charlie, has been attempting to contact the Cullens for updates on Bella’s illness. They intend to tell him she didn’t survive, which requires that they move away from Forks, Washington to protect their identities. Jacob, desperate not to lose Renesmee, tells Charlie that Bella is in fact alive and well, and explains that Bella had to change in order to survive. He morphs into a wolf, revealing his tribe’s shape-shifting power, but does not tell Charlie about vampires.
 
Several months pass with Carlisle monitoring Renesmee’s rapid growth. On an outing in the woods, a bitter Irina sees Renesmee from a distance and believes her to be an immortal child. Immortal children were vampires who were changed in childhood, and because they could not be trained nor restrained, they destroyed entire villages. They were eventually executed, as were the parents who created them, and the creation of such children outlawed. Irina goes to the Volturi to report what she has seen. Alice sees the Volturi and Irina coming to kill the Cullens and instructs the others to gather as many witnesses as they can to testify that Renesmee is not an immortal. The Cullens begin to summon witnesses, such as the Denali family. One of the Denali, Eleazar, later discovers that Bella has a special ability: a powerful mental shield which had protected her from Edward’s mind reading even when she was human, and which she can now extend to protect others from mental attacks.
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As some of their potential witnesses are attacked and prevented from supporting the Cullens, Carlisle and Edward realize they may have to fight the Volturi. Their witnesses ultimately agree to stand with them in battle, having realized the Volturi increase the Guard by falsely accusing covens of crimes, destroy them and then recruit vampires with gifts. The Volturi arrive prepared for battle, led by Aro, who is eager to obtain the gifted members of the Cullen coven as part of his guard. Aro is allowed to touch Renesmee, and is convinced that she is not an immortal child. Irina is brought forth and takes full responsibility for her mistake, leading to her immediate death. Aro still insists that Renesmee may pose a risk in the future, validating his claim that battle is necessary. Before any violence, Alice shares with Aro her vision of the battle that is to come, during which both sides sustain heavy casualties, including Aro who would also die. Aro believes her, giving Alice and Jasper an opportunity to reveal their witness (a half mortal half vampire just like Renesmee). The witness proves that he is not a threat, supporting the notion that Renesmee is not a threat. The Volturi unhappily leave without a fight.
Back at the Cullen home, Alice glimpses the future, seeing Edward and Bella together with Jacob and a fully matured Renesmee also together. Edward reads Alice’s mind and feels relieved that Renesmee has Jacob to protect her. Alone in the meadow, Bella pushes her mental shield away and finally allows Edward a peek into her mind, showing him every precious moment she and Edward shared together and the two share a kiss after Bella telling Edward, “No one has ever loved anyone as much as I love you”, and both Edward and Bella saying they’ll love and be together forever. The end credits present the cast members from all five films.
I enjoyed seeing the characters develop, especially  Stewart who steals the show. She has grown into a respectable actress and she has turned a wooden and unlikable character (in the novel) into someone you root for in the film.