REVIEW: DOGGING: A LOVE STORY

CAST
Luke Treadaway (Unbroken)
Kate Heppell (Inspector George Gently)
Richard Riddell (Legend)
Sammy T. Dobson (Byker Grove)
Michael Socha (This is England)
A rather left field comedy from Simon Ellis, uncovering that rather peculiarly British hobby of dogging. In short the story follows an aspiring journalist, who thinks there is a story to be made out of dogging and his real estate agent flatmate, who has, shall we say first hand experience. Enter the girlfriend, who gets rather too excited by the prospect, Jim, who follows Horny Geordie Lass like a slightly too persistent puppy, and the annual meet in the Lake district.
While several parallel love stories are burried under there somewhere, they tend not to get too much in the way of the comedy element and the relatively lighthearted treatment of the subject. A  funny but a good, fresh, unpretentious effort and who knows, maybe the language and light signals might come handy when visiting Blighty next – sitting in a parked car with someone flashing the lights at you will definitely never be the same again.
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REVIEW: DISTRICT 13: ULTIMATUM

CAST
Cyril Raffaelli (Kiss of The Dragon)
David Belle (Brick Mansions)
Philippe Torreton (The Art of Love)
Daniel Duval (Hidden)
Elodie Yung (Daredevil)

Three years after the events of the original film, the authorities are attempting to return law and order to ravaged District 13. However, their efforts so far have failed to do so. The death of gang overlord Taha Ben Mahmoud has left a power vacuum, and total control of the area is now being fought over by five rival territorial gang lords who want to step into Taha’s position. Leïto tries demolishing the walls surrounding the district on a daily basis, but is told to stop by African gang lord Molko, who sees the walls as protection from outside the district.
After single-handedly eliminating a major drug dealer, Damien is framed for drug dealing and arrested, but manages to make a brief call to Leïto to come rescue him. Meanwhile, corrupt government agents from the Department of Internal State Security (DISS), led by Gassman are bent on destroying the five tower blocks at the heart of District 13 with tactical precision bombing, and building luxury flats after the area is cleared. In order to spark conflict with the district’s gangs, the DISS shoot several policemen, dump their car in District 13, and prompt several gang members into gunning down the vehicle, making it look like the gang members killed the policemen. The footage of the incident convinces the French President to carry out the strike. However, the DISS were witnessed killing the policemen and filmed by a teenager named Samir and his friends. The DISS agents soon come after the teen to arrest him, but Samir manages to give his memory card to Leïto before being arrested.
Leïto gets himself arrested in order to get into the prison. He then escapes the police and rescues Damien. After freeing Damien from his cell, they discuss the events (deducing that Damien was framed by DISS to keep him from finding out their plans during the crisis) and further plans, resolving to gather enough proof to expose the DISS agents. While Damien distracts the guards, Leïto breaks into Gassman’s office to steal his hard-drive for the evidence that they need. Once they escape and return to District 13, Damien and Leïto convince the five gang lords Tao, Molko, Little Montana, Karl the skinhead, and Ali-K to band together and prevent the destruction of the district. While the President struggles with the decision to destroy District 13, even with the area evacuated, a large number of gang members storm the French Parliament. They eventually reach the President and show him the information that they acquired, proving Gassman is a corrupt DISS agent. Gassman then takes the President hostage and tries to force him to approve the mass demolition. Leïto, Damien, and the gang lords succeed in freeing the President and incapacitating Gassman, earning the President’s thanks and a promise to fund District 13’s restoration.
With the conflict over and District 13 completely evacuated, the gang lords then decide that it would be better to rebuild District 13 anew rather than try to patch up its remnants. The movie ends with the President authorizing the strike, the District 13 buildings exploding and the president breathing a sigh of relief, stating that he needs a drink. At the credits, there is a short clip showing the President, the gang lords, Damien and Leïto all joking around and smoking cigars together.
You could say the French movie industry is a little overlooked, and to be fair the French are not known for their action movies, however D13: Ultimatum is a rare exception to the rule. It’s easily as addictive as Luc Besson’s Nikita, not quite so deep but incredibly compelling to watch.

REVIEW: DISTRICT 13

CAST
Cyril Raffaelli (Kiss of The Dragon)
David Belle (Brick Mansions)
Tony D’Amario (Love Bites)
Bibi Naceri (Go Fast)
Day Verissimo-Petit (Maison Close)
In 2010, social problems have overrun the poorer suburbs of Paris; especially Banlieue 13, commonly referred to as B13: a ghetto with a population of some two million. Unable to control B13, the authorities construct a high wall topped by barbed tape around the entire area, forcing the inhabitants within to survive without education, proper utilities or police protection behind the containment wall. Police checkpoints stop anybody going in or out. Three years later, the district has become overrun with gangs. Leïto (David Belle) is a fighter of such gangs. The beginning of the film depicts Leïto washing a case full of drugs down the drain, then escaping the gang who has come to collect the drugs. The gang’s leader, Taha, kidnaps Leïto’s sister Lola in retaliation; Leïto is able to rescue her and take Taha to the police station, but the police arrest Leïto and let Taha leave with Lola, stating that they’re leaving the district.
Six months later, in Paris, Damien—an undercover cop—completes a successful operation at a casino, and is immediately given a new assignment: Taha’s gang has taken a bomb from a nuclear transport vehicle and accidentally activated it, giving it 24 hours before it wipes out the district. Damien, posing as a prisoner, must infiltrate the district and disarm the bomb; he teams up with Leïto to do so. Leïto immediately sees through Damien’s cover, but the two reluctantly team up to save Leïto’s sister as well. The pair surrenders to Taha in order to gain access to his base, where they find the bomb has been set up on a missile launcher aimed at Paris, with Lola handcuffed to it. Taha demands a high ransom to deactivate the bomb; the government refuses, but after Damien gives them Taha’s bank account codes, they drain his funds. Damien and Leïto escape, while Taha is killed by his own men when they realize he will be unable to pay them. The much more benevolent K2 takes over and allows Damien and Leïto to stop the bomb.
After fighting their way to the building, Damien calls his contact to receive the deactivation code, but after recognizing certain symbols in the code, Leïto deduces that the government has set them up and the code will actually detonate the bomb instead of deactivating it. After Damien and Leïto fight, Lola is able to restrain Damien long enough for the timer on the bomb to run out. The bomb does not explode, proving Leïto right. The pair return to the government building with the bomb and use it to force the government agent to admit that he had planned to blow up B13 as a means to get rid of it, catching it on camera and broadcasting it on national TV. Soon the rest of the government promises to tear down the containment wall and bring back schools and police to B13. Leïto and Damien depart as friends, and Lola kisses Damien to encourage him to visit B13 in the future.
Brilliant. Action packed film. Best to watch it in French with English subtitles.

REVIEW: CLOSER

CAST
Julia Roberts (Mirror, Mirror)
Jude Law (Spy)
Natalie Portman (Thor)
Clive Owen (Sin City)
In the opening scene, twenty-four-year-old Alice Ayres and Dan Woolf see each other for the first time from opposite sides of a street as they are walking toward each other among many other rush hour pedestrians. Alice is a young American stripper who just arrived in London, and Dan is an unsuccessful British author who is on his way to work where he writes obituaries for a newspaper. Alice looks in the wrong direction as she crosses the street and is hit by a taxi cab right in front of Dan’s eyes. After he rushes to her side she smiles to him and says, “Hello, stranger.” He takes her to the hospital where Alice is treated and released. Afterward, on the way to his office, they stop by Postman’s Park, the same park that he and his father visited after his mother’s death. Pausing in front of the office before he leaves her and goes to work, he reminds her that traffic in England tends to come on from the right, and on impulse, he asks her for her name. They soon become lovers.
A year later, though the two are in a relationship, Dan is straying. He has written a novel based on Alice’s life and while being photographed to publicize it, he flirts with the American photographer Anna Cameron. Anna shares a kiss with Dan before finding out that Dan and Alice are in a relationship. Alice arrives and borrows Anna’s bathroom, leaving Anna and Dan alone again. Dan takes the chance to try to persuade Anna into having an affair with him but is cut short by Alice’s return. Alice asks Anna if she can have her portrait taken as well. Anna agrees and Alice asks Dan to leave them alone during the photo shoot. While being photographed, she reveals to Anna that she overheard them, and she is photographed while still weeping over it. Alice does not reveal what she overheard to Dan, even as he spends a year stalking Anna. Another year later, Dan enters a cybersex chat room and randomly meets Larry Gray, a British dermatologist. With Anna still on his mind, Dan pretends to be her, and using the pretense that they will be having sex, Dan convinces Larry to meet at the aquarium (where Anna told Dan she often went). Larry goes to the rendezvous and has his rude awakening there. Anna tells Larry that a man who had pursued her, Dan, was most likely to blame for the setup. Soon, Anna and Larry become a couple and they refer to Dan as “Cupid” from then on.
Four months later, at Anna’s photo exhibition,[3] Larry meets Alice, whom he recognizes from the tearful photograph that is one of many being exhibited. Larry knows that Alice and Dan are a couple, from talking to Anna. Meanwhile, Dan convinces Anna to become involved with him. They begin cheating on their respective lovers for a year, even though Anna and Larry become married halfway through the year. Eventually Anna and Dan each confess the affair to their respective partners, leaving their relationships for one another.
Alice goes back to being a stripper, heartbroken by her loss. One day, Larry runs into her accidentally at the strip club and he (heart-broken himself) is convinced that she is the girl he met before. He asks her if her name is Alice, but no matter how much money he gives her, she keeps telling him her name is “Jane Jones.” He asks her to have a one-night stand with him but she refuses. The line of questioning becomes pornographic, albeit without any explicit nudity. Eventually, Larry convinces Anna to see him one last time; she agrees to sleep with him so that he will sign the divorce papers and leave her alone. Dan guesses and Anna confesses it to Dan, who takes it badly. Anna returns to Larry. Distraught, Dan confronts Larry to try and get Anna back. Instead, Larry tells him Alice’s whereabouts, and suggests that he go back to her. Suddenly, however, out of a sheer malicious impulse, he also tells him that he had a one-night stand with her.
Alice takes Dan back. When Dan asks her whether she had a one-night stand with Larry, she initially denies it. But when he insists on the truth, she suddenly tells him that she doesn’t love him anymore and goes on to say that she did sleep with Larry. Dan then reveals that Larry had already told him about the one-night stand but that he’s already forgiven her. She insists that it’s over and tells him to leave. The argument culminates in Dan slapping Alice. In the end, Alice returns to New York. Passing through the immigration checkpoint on her way back into the United States, it is revealed through a shot of her passport that her real name is indeed Jane Rachel Jones and that she had lied about her name for the duration of her four-year relationship with Dan.
Back in London, Dan returns to Postman’s Park, and to his surprise, notices the name “Alice Ayres” on a memorial that is dedicated to a young woman, “who by intrepid conduct”, and at the cost of her young life, rescued three children from a fire. The final scene shows Alice/Jane walking on Broadway towards West 47th Street with male passers-by staring at her beauty. This completes the visual symmetry within the film as it echoes the opening scene where Alice/Jane and Dan are staring at each other on the sidewalks of London.
This film is an excellent character study of the human condition we call love. It shows us how paranoia and the feeling that we must know every little detail can eat away at someone and cause relationships to desolve. I was really unsure about this movie as i thought it was going to be over long and too depressing. I have never been so wrong about anything, the film flys by and the performances are career bests from all involved. Especially Natalie Portman, who steals the show as alice.

REVIEW: MARS ATTACKS

CAST
Jack Nicholson (Batman)
Glenn CLose (Hoodwinked)
Annette Bening (American Beauty)
Pierce Brosnan (The World’s End)
Danny Devito (Batman Returns)
Martin Short (Frankenweenie)
Sarah Jessica Parker (Sex in The City)
Michael J. Fox (Back To The Future)
Rod Steiger (Doctor Zhivago)
Tom Jones (Pleasure Cove)
Lukas Haas (Inception)
Natalie Portman (Thor)
Jim Brown (Any Given SUnday)
Lisa Marie (Ed Wood)
Sylvia Sidney (Beetlejuice)
Paul Winfield (The Termiantor)
Pam Grier (Jackie Brown)
Jack BLack (Goosebumps)
Christina Applegate (Anchorman)
Willie Garson (Stargate – SG.1)
In Kentucky, a family watches a herd of cattle running past their home, on fire. A spaceship explodes before it returns to Mars, and hundreds of other Martian ships leave Mars and head towards Earth. President James Dale along with his aides addresses the United States concerning the historic event. People around the country follow the story. The President’s science aides set up a first contact meeting with the Martians in Pahrump, Nevada as President Dale watches the development on TV with his wife Marsha and his daughter Taffy.
Using a universal translator, the Ambassador of the Martians announces that they intend to colonize the Earth. To prevent this intention from causing panic, the translator is reprogrammed to say that the Martians “come in peace”. When a hippie releases a dove as a symbol of peace, the Ambassador shoots it, then he and the other Martians slaughter a large number of people at the event including General Casey, news reporter Jason Stone, and Billy-Glenn Norris before capturing chat show host Nathalie Lake and her pet Chihuahua Poppy whose heads they transpose.
Thinking that the Martians assumed that the dove was a symbol of war, President Dale tells Professor Donald Kessler to negotiations with the Martians, whose ambassador is invited to address the United States Congress. At this meeting, the Martians massacre most of Congress. Donald begs the Martian Ambassador to stop, but is rendered unconscious and taken aboard their ship where he is later shown with his body parts dismembered and his disembodied head remaining animated. General Decker tries to convince President Dale to retaliate with nuclear warfare, but he refuses.
The Martians invade Earth, starting with Washington, D.C. The White House is attacked by the aliens, and the Secret Service tries to rush the President and the First Lady to the bunker while Taffy is separated from them during the chaos. Byron’s sons who were on a tour get separated from their group during the rush to escape, grab the weapons of some Martians killed by the Secret Service, and start fighting back. Marsha is crushed to death by the Nancy Reagan chandelier; the President, however, escapes. After the U.S. government unsuccessfully attempts a nuclear attack on the mother ship, the Martians exact revenge by defacing world landmarks for amusement. As the Martians ravage Las Vegas, with Art Land being one of their victims, Byron Williams, a casino employee and former world champion boxer, leads a small group of survivors consisting of Barbara Land, Tom Jones, a waitress named Cindy, and a gambler to an airfield in the hopes of flying a small jet to safety. They barely make it, losing the gambler in the process, but they discover a large group of Martians stationed there. Byron creates a diversion by challenging them to a fistfight. While he succeeds in killing the Ambassador, he is outnumbered and overwhelmed, but Tom, Barbara, and Cindy escape.
Billy-Glenn’s brother Richie discovers that the Martians’ heads explode when they hear Slim Whitman’s “Indian Love Call.” He and his grandmother Florence drive around town, using the song to kill Martians. The military thereafter broadcast the song around the globe, killing most of the Martians and their leader and causing the few remaining survivors to either flee from Earth or surrender. Nathalie and Donald kiss while drowning when the Martian spaceship crashes into the ocean. In the aftermath, Richie and Florence are awarded the Medal of Honor by Taffy, with her being the only surviving member of the government. Byron, who survived his Martian brawl, arrives in D.C. to reunite with his former wife and their two sons as the Martians’ bodies are being cleaned up. Barbara, Cindy, and Tom Jones emerge from a cave with some animals to see a crashed Martian ship in the adjacent Lake Tahoe.
film that wouldn’t have worked under the auspices of a director other than Tim Burton, ‘Mars Attacks’ is a wonderful entertaining sci-fi movie that is still as much fun today as it was upon release.

REVIEW: THE ISLAND

CAST
Ewan McGregor (Mordecai)
Scarlett Johansson (Lucy)
Djimon Hounsou (Stargate)
Sean Bean (Game of Thrones)
Steve Buscemi (Ghost World)
Michael Clarke Duncan (The Finder)
Ethan Phillips (Bad Santa)
Shawnee Smith (Anger Management)
Trent Ford (Gosford Park)
Mark Christopher Lawrence (Chuck)
In the year 2019, Lincoln Six Echo and Jordan Two Delta live with others in an isolated compound. Their community is governed by a set of strict rules. The residents believe the outer world has become too contaminated for human life with the exception of one contagion-free island. Every week, a lottery is conducted and the winner gets to leave the compound to live on the island.
Lincoln begins having dreams that he knows are not from his own experiences. Dr. Merrick, a scientist who runs the compound, is concerned and places probes in Lincoln’s body to monitor his cerebral activity. While secretly visiting an off-limits power facility in the basement where his friend, technician James McCord, works, Lincoln discovers a live moth in a ventilation shaft, leading him to deduce the outside world is not really contaminated. Lincoln follows the moth to another section, where he discovers the “lottery” is actually a disguise to remove inhabitants from the compound, where the “winner” is then used for organ harvesting, surrogate motherhood, and other purposes for each one’s sponsor, who is identical to them in appearance.
Merrick learns Lincoln has discovered the truth, which forces Lincoln to escape. Meanwhile, Jordan has been selected for the island. Lincoln and Jordan escape the facility, where they emerge in an Arizona desert. Lincoln explains the truth to her, and they set out to discover the real world. Merrick hires Burkinabé mercenary Albert Laurent to find and return them unharmed to the compound. Lincoln and Jordan find McCord, who explains that all the facility residents are clones of wealthy and/or desperate sponsors, who are kept ignorant about the real world and conditioned to never question their environment or history. McCord provides the name of Lincoln’s sponsor in Los Angeles, and helps them to the Yucca railway station, before mercenaries kill him. Jordan’s sponsor, model Sarah Jordan, is comatose following a car accident and requires transplants from Jordan to survive. Lincoln’s sponsor, Tom Lincoln, gives Lincoln some explanation about the cloning institute, causing Lincoln to realize he has gained Tom’s memories. Tom agrees to help Lincoln and Jordan but, secretly contacts Merrick who sends Laurent and the mercenaries to their location. Lincoln tricks Laurent into killing Tom, allowing him to assume Tom’s identity.
Merrick realizes that a cloning defect was responsible for Lincoln’s memories and behavior, resulting in him and every future clone generation to question their environment and even tap into their sponsor’s memories. To prevent this, he decides to eliminate the four newest generations of clones. Lincoln and Jordan, however, plan to liberate their fellow clones. Posing as Tom, Lincoln returns to the compound (allegedly to have a new clone created) to destroy the holographic projectors that conceal the outside world. Jordan allows herself to be caught to assist Lincoln’s plan. Laurent, who has moral qualms about the clones’ treatment after witnessing their fight for survival and learning that Sarah Jordan may not survive even with transplants from Jordan, helps Lincoln. Merrick is killed and the clones are freed, seeing the outside world for the first time. The film fades out with Lincoln and Jordan sailing off in a boat together.
This is a slow film to start of with but the second half more than makes up for this with some great chase scenes using some futuristic style vehicles! If you like a film with a good twist or great big budget action scenes, or a fan of Scarlett Johasson you’ll love this!

REVIEW: BIG FISH

CAST
Ewan McGregor (Mordecai)
Albert Finney (Skyfall)
Billy Crudup (Watchmen)
Jessica Lange (Cape Fear)
Helena Bonham Carter (Sweney Todd)
Alison Lohman (Drag Me To Hell)
Robert Guillaume (Benson)
Marion Cotillard (The Dark Knight Rises)
David Denman (Power Rangers)
Missi Pyle (Gone Girl)
Steve Buscemi (Ghost World)
Ada Tai (Rush Hour)
Arlene Tai (Painkiller Jane)
Danny DeVito (Batman Returns)
Deep Roy (Star Trek Into Dasrkness)
Miley Cyrus (Hannah Montana)
At his son Will’s wedding party, Edward Bloom recalls the tale of the day Will was born, claiming he successfully caught an enormous catfish using his wedding ring as bait. Will, having heard these stories all his life, believes them to be lies and falls out with his father. Three years on, Edward has fallen ill with terminal cancer, Will returning to his childhood home, accompanied by his pregnant wife Joséphine. Edward’s life is told through flashbacks, beginning with his encounter with a witch in his hometown Ashton, who shows him his death but he reacts no fear to it. As he grows into adulthood, he found his home too small and set out with a misunderstood giant Karl.
Edward and Karl find a fork in the road and travel down separate paths. Edward follows a path through a swamp and discovers the secret town of Spectre, the cheery locals claiming he was expected. There, he befriends Ashton poet Norther Winslow and the mayor’s daughter Jenny. However, Edward leaves Spectre, unwilling to settle down but promises Jenny he will return. In the present day, Joséphine speaks to the bed-ridden Edward and asks him to tell her the story of how he met his wife Sandra, with Will listening outside the door. Edward reunites with Karl and they visit the Calloway Circus, where Edward falls in love with a beautiful woman. Along with Karl, Edward gets a job in the circus where the ringmaster Amos Calloway reveals to him trivia about the woman at the end of every month.
Three years on, Edward discovers Amos is secretly a werewolf but shows no ill-will towards his employer. Amos, upon returning to normal, reveals the woman is Sandra, and she attends Auburn University. Edward confesses his love to Sandra but she declines his wedding proposal despite numerous romantic gestures. He then learns she is already engaged to Don Price, a fellow Ashton citizen. Don beats Edward, prompting Sandra to break off their engagement and she marries Edward. Shortly after, Edward is conscripted into the army and sent to fight in the Korean War. He parachutes into the middle of a North Korean military show, steals important documents, and convinces Siamese twins Ping and Jing to help him go home in exchange for making them celebrities.
Upon returning home, Edward becomes a travelling salesman and crosses paths with Winslow, unwittingly helping him rob a failing bank, inspiring the poet to work on Wall Street. In the present, Will investigates the truth behind his father’s tales and travels to Spectre. He meets an older Jenny, who explains Edward rescued the town from bankruptcy and rebuilt it with help from his friends. Will suggests Jenny had an affair with his father, but she reveals while she loved Edward, he remained loyal to Sandra. Will returns home but learns Edward has had a stroke and stays with him at the hospital.
Edward wakes up but, unable to speak much, asks Will to narrate how his life ends. Though struggling, Will tells his father of their imagined daring escape from the hospital to the nearby lake, where everyone from Edward’s past is there to see him off. Will takes Edward into the river, where he transforms into the giant catfish and swims away. A satisfied Edward passes away, knowing Will understands his love for storytelling. At the funeral, Will and Joséphine are surprised when all the people from Edward’s stories come to the service, though less fantastical than described. Will, understanding his father’s love for life, passes on Edward’s stories to his own son.
Big Fish is a truly marvelous film, a tear-jerking, smile-inducing journey through a whole bag of fairy-tales, all wrapped up in the evolving relationship between a good son and his larger-than-life father.