REVIEW: TRAINING DAY (2001)

CAST

Denzel Washington (The Taking of Pelham 123)
Ethan Hawke (The Purge)
Scott Glenn (Daredevil)
Tom Berenger (Platoon)
Harris Yulin (Ghostbusters 2)
Raymond J. Bary (Alias)
Cliff Curtis (Jubilee)
Snoop Dogg (Scary Movie V)
Eva Mendes (2 Fast 2 Furious)
Raymond Cruz (My Name Is Earl)
Fran Kranz (Dollhouse)
Terry Crews (Get Smart)

The film follows a day in the life of Los Angeles Police Department officer Jake Hoyt, who is scheduled to be evaluated by Detective Alonzo Harris, a highly decorated LAPD narcotics officer, for a possible promotion. Riding around in Alonzo’s car, they begin the day by catching some college kids buying cannabis from a street gang. Alonzo confiscates the drugs and tells Jake to smoke it – Jake refuses at first, only to comply when Alonzo threatens him at gunpoint, with the explanation that refusing an offer on the street could get him killed. After smoking it, Alonzo informs him that the weed was laced with PCP. They then pay a brief visit to Roger, an old friend of Alonzo’s who is also a drug dealer and former police officer. Back in the car, Jake notices a teenage girl being sexually assaulted and runs out to subdue the attackers while Alonzo watches. Alonzo tells the girl to leave and allows the men to go free, despite Jake’s disapproval. Jake finds the girl’s wallet on the ground and takes it.
Alonzo and Jake later apprehend a wheelchair-bound dealer named Blue, finding crack rocks and a loaded handgun on him. In exchange for his freedom, Blue reveals his associate: Kevin “Sandman” Miller, who is in prison. Alonzo takes Jake to Sandman’s home in Watts, where he uses a fake search warrant to steal $40,000 from the premises. However, Sandman’s wife realizes the scam and calls out to nearby gang members, who open fire. The two officers barely escape.
For lunch, the duo visit Alonzo’s Salvadoran mistress, Sara, and their young son at Baldwin Village. Afterwards, Alonzo meets with a trio of high-ranking police officials dubbed as the “Three Wise Men” – they tell Alonzo that they know the Russian Mafia is hunting him for an incident over the weekend in Las Vegas and suggest that he leave town, but he insists that he has control of the situation and gets permission to “cash in an account”. Alonzo thus gives them Sandman’s drug money for an arrest warrant.
Alonzo takes Jake and four other narcotics officers back to Roger’s house – using the warrant, they seize $4 million from underneath the floor of his kitchen, but Jake refuses to take his share of the cash. Alonzo then kills Roger and arranges for the scene to appear like a justified shooting. Jake refuses to cooperate and after being threatened, seizes Alonzo’s shotgun, prompting a Mexican standoff. However, Alonzo calms his associates and claims that the LAPD will run a blood test on Jake (identifying the PCP he smoked), the result of which he can falsify in exchange for Jake’s cooperation. Jake reluctantly gives in.
Alonzo drives Jake to the home of a Sureño named Smiley, allegedly to run an errand. He furtively abandons Jake as Jake reluctantly plays poker with Smiley and his fellow gang members. A tense conversation ensues in which Smiley reveals Alonzo’s situation: by midnight, Alonzo must pay $1 million to the Russian Mafia for killing one of their men in Las Vegas, or be killed himself. Jake realizes too late that Alonzo had paid Smiley to kill him, and is beaten and dragged to the bathtub for execution. The gang search Jake to find the wallet dropped by the teenage girl, who is revealed to be Smiley’s cousin. Smiley calls her, who confirms that Jake risked his life to defend her. In gratitude, Smiley lets Jake go.
Jake returns to Sara’s apartment and attempts to arrest Alonzo, but a gunfight and chase ensues, which ends with Jake subduing Alonzo in his escape vehicle. The local gang members and residents begin congregating to watch. Alonzo tries to get the crowd on his side by offering a reward to whoever kills Jake; but instead, they allow Jake to walk away with the money. Alonzo attempts to flee via Los Angeles International Airport, but is found and killed by Russian Mafia hitmen in a street shooting. Jake returns home with Alonzo’s money (having said earlier that the money will serve as his evidence corroborating Alonzo’s crimes of the day), and Alonzo’s death is broadcast over the news, touting him as a heroic officer serving a high risk warrant.The end result is nothing less than a brilliant thriller. Hawke and Washington make for a phenomenal double act and the pace only occasionally lets up to allow the characters time to breathe and establish the depth that makes you care for them more. Highly recommended.

REVIEW: PREDESTINATION

CAST

Ethan Hawke (The Purge)
Sarah Snook (Jessabelle)
Noah Taylor (Game of Thrones)
Madeleine West (The Condemned)
Freya Stafford (Valentine’s Day)

The film begins in medias res as a time travelling agent is trying to disarm a bomb that explodes and burns his face. Someone approaches and helps him to grasp his time travelling device, then brings him to a hospital in the future. While the agent is recovering from facial reconstruction, we learn that he has been trying to prevent the “Fizzle Bomber”‘s attack on New York, in 1975. After his recovery he receives his last assignment.The agent moves to 1970 New York. As a bartender, he starts a conversation with one of the customers. The customer, John, writes true confession articles under the pen name “The Unmarried Mother”. This pseudonym is explained by his own life story, which he tells the bartender. The customer grew up as “Jane” in an orphanage. She excelled in her studies but had difficulty fitting in. Jane decided any children she had would be raised in a proper family, and thus avoided relationships. As an adult she applied for a program called “Space Corp”, which promised women the chance to go to space while providing astronauts R&R, but she was later disqualified because of a medical condition which she was not informed of, which a man named Robertson was interested in. Jane later met a man who said he was waiting for someone. The two fell in love with each other, but later the man disappeared. Robertson approached Jane, revealing that Space Corp worked for the Temporal Agency, and this agency now wanted to recruit her. They broke off contact when it was discovered that Jane was pregnant with her ex-lover’s baby. While performing a Caesarean section, doctors discovered she was intersex, with internalized male sex organs as well as female sex organs. Complications during the birth forced them to remove her female sex organs, and she had to undergo a gender reassignment and begin living as a man. Furthermore, the baby was stolen by a mysterious man. Since then, John has been living a bitter life as “The Unmarried Mother”.The agent offers to take John back to the day that Jane met the lover who left her, so John can take revenge and kill him for ruining her life. In return, John will take over the agent’s job for whatever duration he wishes. The agent reveals his time travel device and the two jump to that day in 1963. John prepares to kill his past lover before he can meet Jane. While waiting, he encounters Jane, and when they begin talking, John realizes that Jane’s lover was him. The baby born from this “self-fertilization” is stolen by the agent and brought to the orphanage 18 years earlier, in 1945. Therefore, Jane, John, and their baby are the same person, revealing a predestination paradox.The agent goes to 1975 New York, where he helps the burned man from the beginning of the film. The agent returns to 1963, a few months after he dropped John off. John has to leave Jane behind and is brought to the Temporal Agency. He now takes over the job so the agent can retire in 1975 New York, close to the day of the Fizzle Bomber’s attack. The agent’s time-travel device does not decommission itself as planned and can still be used. He has been ordered to check a launderette at the moment the Fizzle Bomber will be there. The Fizzle Bomber turns out to be the agent’s own future self, now suffering from psychosis as a result of excessive time travel. The Fizzle Bomber insists that his actions have saved and will save more lives than the lives lost, and that they ultimately lead to the reinforcement of the Temporal Agency. He tries to convince the agent that the only way to end the cycle is to spare his life, unlike the Fizzle Bomber did in his past. The agent denies he will ever become the Fizzle Bomber and kills his future self.The film finally reveals that in 1975, John is the man who travelled to New York and was burned while disarming a bomb. His subsequent facial reconstruction significantly changes his appearance, and it is now clear that Jane, John, the agent, and the Fizzle Bomber are the same person. This agent’s creation was orchestrated by Robertson to create an agent who has no ties to time. This “perfect” temporal agent was responsible for both his own conception and death; he has driven the predestination paradox to its limit.Predestination is an incredibly original and creative film, employing what may seem like ‘common’ aspects of the science-fiction genre, and putting a darker, grimmer twist on them. Time travel is handled quite well in this Australian film, focusing less on the effects of travelling back (and forth) in time than other sci-fi films. Predestination uses decidedly odd pacing, beginning with a ‘bang’ and following that up with almost an hour of subdued plot. But oddly enough, these moments of -almost- pure dialogue and occasional flashbacks never become boring, but rather deepen the film’s characters and their back-stories. The cast performances are what really make this movie ‘shine’. Ethan Hawke, as usual, delivers an almost flawless performance as the unnamed lead, and Sarah Snook, an Australian newcomer, surprises with her wide range of acting abilities. Overall, the third feature film by the Spierig Brothers is a surprisingly original, daring, and genre-bending film.

REVIEW: AUSTIN POWERS IN GOLDMEMBER

 

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CAST

Mike Myers (Shrek)
Beyonce Knowles (Dreamgirls)
Michael York (Logan’s Run)
Robert Wagner (Two and a Half Men)
Michael Caine (Batman Begins)
Rob Lowe (The West Wing)
Seth Green (Family Guy)
Verne Troyer (The Love Guru)
Heather Graham (From Hell)
Mindy Sterling (Minions)
Fred Savage (The Wonder Years)
Clint Howard (Apollo 13)
Masi Oka (Heroes)
Brian Tee (Jurassic World)
Fred Stoller (Little Man)
Greg Grunberg (Alias)
Rachel Roberts (Flashforward)
Nathan Lane (The Birdcage)
Kristen Johnston (3rd Rock From the Sun)
Tom Cruise (Legend)
Danny DeVito (Batman Returns)
Gwyneth Paltrow (Iron Man)
Kevin Spacey (American Beauty)
Britney Spears (Crossroads)
Tommy Lister (The Dark Knight)
Nichole Hiltz (Smallville)
John Travolta (The Punisher)
Kevin Spacey (Superman Returns)

 

In his new headquarters behind the famous Hollywood sign, Dr. Evil plans to travel back in time to 1975 and bring back Johan van der Smut, aka “Goldmember”, who developed a cold fusion unit for a tractor beam which Dr. Evil names “Preparation H”. He intends to use the tractor beam to pull a meteor into the Earth, striking the polar ice caps and causing a global flood. Moments after this plan is revealed, Austin Powers and the British Secret Service attack the base and arrest Dr. Evil. Austin is knighted for his services, but is disappointed when his father, the famous super-spy Nigel Powers, does not attend the event. Basil Exposition later informs Austin that Nigel has been kidnapped, and the only clue is that the crew of his yacht have had their genitalia painted gold.Austin visits the imprisoned Dr. Evil, who tells him that Goldmember is behind the abduction. Time-travelling to 1975, Austin infiltrates Goldmember’s roller disco club and is reunited with his former lover, FBI agent Foxxy Cleopatra, who is undercover as a disco singer. With Foxxy’s help, Austin locates his father, but is unable to rescue him. Goldmember takes Nigel through Dr. Evil’s time machine into the present day. Foxxy wants revenge on Goldmember for murdering her partner, and accompanies Austin in his pursuit. In the present, Dr. Evil and Mini-Me instigate a riot in their prison, allowing them to escape. A British Intelligence mole named Number 3 informs Austin that Dr. Evil has moved to a new lair near Tokyo. Austin and Foxxy travel to Tokyo and confront Fat Bastard, who is now a sumo wrestler, but still does work for Dr. Evil. Fat Bastard explains that a Japanese business man, Mr. Roboto, is working on a device for Dr. Evil and Goldmember.Austin and Foxxy later meet with Mr. Roboto, who pleads ignorance about Nigel’s whereabouts. Unconvinced, Austin and Foxxy infiltrate Roboto’s factory where the command unit for the tractor beam is being loaded in Goldmember’s car, and Roboto hands Goldmember a golden key needed to activate the beam. Foxxy confronts Goldmember while Austin attempts to free Nigel, but Goldmember escapes with the command unit and flees to Dr. Evil’s submarine. Unable to settle their differences, Nigel and Austin part ways when they disagree on how to deal with the situation. Meanwhile, Dr. Evil’s son, Scott Evil, has become increasingly evil in an attempt to prove himself to his father, to the point that he too is going bald. Scott presents his father with sharks with laser beams attached to their heads, a request that had gone unfulfilled in the first film. Dr. Evil replaces Mini-Me with Scott as his favored son; the rejected Mini-Me defects and joins Austin.Austin, Foxxy and Mini-Me (now a miniature version of Austin) infiltrate the submarine, but Austin is captured. Dr. Evil prepares to activate the tractor beam, but Foxxy has stolen the key and frees Austin. Austin prepares to shoot Dr. Evil, when Nigel appears and reveals Dr. Evil and Austin are brothers, separated when they were toddlers when an assassination attempt killed their mother, and Dr. Evil was found and raised by Belgians. Dr. Evil and Austin embrace, enraging Scott, who flees to pursue his own vengeance, whilst Goldmember commandeers the tractor beam’s controls, unzipping his pants to reveal his gold-covered genitals to be a spare key. Goldmember activates the tractor beam, but Austin and Dr. Evil work together to reverse its polarity, destroying the meteor and saving the world. The heroes arrest Goldmember, who turns to the camera to reveal the entire string of events was adapted into a film by Steven Spielberg, starring Tom Cruise as Austin, Kevin Spacey as Dr. Evil, Danny DeVito as Mini-Me, and John Travolta as Goldmember. Austin, Foxxy, Dr. Evil, Mini-Me and Nigel are in the audience of a Hollywood theater watching the film. Upon exiting the theater they run into Fat Bastard, now thinner but flabby, thanks to the Subway diet. As Austin and Foxxy kiss, in Dr. Evil’s Hollywood lair, Scott – now completely bald, dressed like and laughing in a manner similar to his father — declares he will get his revenge on Austin and begins dancing like Michael Jackson.The third is fantastic… funny, disgusting, clever and uplifting! Mini-Me and Fat Bastard are back with even better gags and the usual crude humour from the latter!!! But Mike Myers has triumphed in adding the hilarious dutch roller skating villain “Goldmember!” And the casting of Michael Cane as Nigel Powers, Austins father… or farja if you’re Goldmember… is excellent!

REVIEW: AUSTIN POWERS: THE SPY WHO SHAGGED ME

CAST

Mike Myers (Shrek)
Heather Graham (From Hell)
Michael York (Logan’s Run)
Robert Wagner (Two and a Half Men)
Rob Lowe (The West Wing)
Mindy Sterling (Minions)
Seth Green (Family Guy)
Verne Troyer (The Love Guru)
Elizabeth Hurley (Bedazzled)
Gia Carides (Bliss)
Will Ferrell (Elf)
Oliver Muirhead (The Duke)
Clint Howard (Apollo 13)
Kristen Johnston (3rd Rock From the Sun)
Elvis Costello (Two and a Half Men)
Jerry Springer (The Ringmaster)
Rebecca Romijn (X-Men)
Woody Harrelson (The Hunger Games)
Tim Robbins (The Green Lantern)
George Cheung (Dark Angel)
Muse Watson (Prison Break)
David Koechner (Anchorman)
Jane Carr (The Five Year Engagement)
Kevin Durand (Dark Angel)
Jennifer Coolidge (2 Broke Girls)
Fred Willard (Anchorman)
Tony Jay (Lois & Clark)

Austin Powers is enjoying his honeymoon with his wife, the former Vanessa Kensington. She turns out to be one of Dr. Evil’s fembots, who attempts to kill Austin, then self-destructs. Austin grieves briefly, then suddenly realizes that he is single again, which he celebrates by streaking through the hotel. A NATO monitoring facility observes the return of Dr. Evil, confronting his son Scott, and then starting a riot, on The Jerry Springer Show, and informs British intelligence. At Dr. Evil’s Seattle headquarters, Dr. Evil is presented with a one-eighth-size clone of himself whom he calls Mini-Me.Dr. Evil unveils his latest evil plan: he has developed a time machine to go back to the 1960s and steal Austin’s mojo, the source of Austin’s sexual appeal. Dr. Evil and Mini-Me go back to 1969 and meet a younger Number Two and Frau Farbissina. An obese “Scottish Guard” called Fat Bastard extracts Austin’s mojo from his frozen body at the Ministry of Defence Cryo Chamber. British intelligence warns Austin that one of Dr. Evil’s agents is after him, and during a photo shoot the wanton Ivana Humpalot seduces him, but at the last moment she claims he is too sexy for her to kill him. They have sex in his bed, but do not get far before he discovers that he has lost his mojo and is impotent.The MOD sends Austin back to 1969 with its own time travel device, a convertible Volkswagen New Beetle. Austin arrives at a party in his London pad and with the assistance of a CIA agent, Felicity Shagwell, escapes an assassination attempt by two of Dr. Evil’s operatives. Austin and Felicity are pursued by Mustafa, another of Dr. Evil’s henchmen; when caught he reveals the existence of Dr. Evil’s secret volcano lair. Before he can divulge its location, Mini-Me shoots him in the neck with a dart, causing him to fall off a cliff.After examining photographs from the crime scene at MOD headquarters, Austin identifies Fat Bastard as the perpetrator of the theft of his mojo. At Dr. Evil’s lair, Fat Bastard arrives with Austin’s mojo. Dr. Evil drinks some of it and has sex with Frau Farbissina. This results in an awkward situation when Frau reveals that she is pregnant. At the same moment Scott, Dr. Evil’s son, arrives through the time portal. Dr. Evil announces his latest plan — to hold the world ransom by threatening to destroy major cities each hour, using a giant laser on the Moon. In London, Austin and Felicity get to know each other, but when Felicity tries to have sex with Austin, he turns her down because of his lost mojo.Under MOD instructions to implant a homing device into Fat Bastard, Felicity seduces him, allowing her to plant it in his anus. Fat Bastard forces it out of his bowels into a Paddington Station toilet, but a stool sample from the scene is analyzed to reveal traces of a vegetable that only grows on one Caribbean island. Austin and Felicity arrive on the island, but are apprehended. They are put in a cell with a guard who is overcome when Felicity exposes her breasts. Dr. Evil and Mini-Me leave for the Moon to install the giant laser and are followed by Austin and Felicity, who hitch a ride on Apollo 11. In Dr. Evil’s moon base, Austin battles with Mini-Me, eventually flushing him into space. As Austin confronts Dr. Evil, Dr. Evil gives him a choice: Save the world or Felicity, who is locked in a chamber with poison gas.Felicity tells Austin to save the world and he succeeds in doing so by kicking Frau, diverting the laser and saving Washington D.C. Felicity is killed by the poison gas. Austin chases Dr. Evil and shoots him in the leg. Before Austin can kill him, Dr. Evil tells him he could use the time machine to save Felicity and the world. Austin travels ten minutes into the past, meeting up with himself and saving both the world and Felicity. Dr. Evil initiates the self-destruct mechanism of the moon base and escapes in his rocket after throwing Austin’s mojo into the air. Both Austins fail to catch it and it crashes on the floor and is destroyed. Felicity points out that all the things Austin has done show that he never lost his mojo. They escape through the time portal to 1999. At Austin’s Pad, Fat Bastard makes another attempt to assassinate Austin, but Felicity disarms him. Felicity and Austin then throw a party. Dr. Evil recovers Mini-Me from space and vows to “get” Austin. On Jerry Springer, Scott learns he was not created in a test tube, but is the love child of Dr. Evil and Frau Farbissina. Austin returns to his pad, only to discover Felicity with the past Austin, who claims that since he and Austin are the same person, it is not cheating.Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me’ is – amazingly – even funnier than the first film. It’s even more daft, even more crude and just simply great fun to watch.

REVIEW: AUSTIN POWERS: INTERNATIONAL MAN OF MYSTERY

CAST

Mike Myers (Shrek)
Elizabeth Hurley (Bedazzled)
Robert Wagner (Two and a Half Men)
Seth Green (Family Guy)
Mindy Sterling (Minions)
Michael York (Logan’s Run)
Fabiana Udenio (The Wedding Planner)
Will Ferrell (Elf)
Mimi Rogers (Ginger Snaps)
Charles Napier (The Silence of The Lambs)
Carrie Fisher (Star wars)
Tom Arnold (True Lies)
Monet Mazur (Rageing Angels)
Clint Howard (Apollo 13)
Cynthia LaMontagne (That 70s Show)
Brian George (The Big Bang Theory)
Rob Lowe (The West Wing)
Patricia Tallman (Babylon 5)

In 1967, British spy Austin Powers (Mike Myers) thwarts an assassination attempt by his nemesis Dr. Evil (also played by Mike Myers) in a London nightclub. Dr. Evil escapes in a space rocket disguised as a Big Boy statue, and cryogenically freezes himself. Powers volunteers to be placed into cryostasis in case Dr. Evil returns in the future.Thirty years later, in 1997, Dr. Evil returns to discover his henchman Number 2 (Robert Wagner) has developed Virtucon, the legitimate front of Evil’s empire, into a multibillion-dollar enterprise. Uninterested by genuine business, Dr. Evil conspires to steal nuclear weapons and hold the world hostage for $100 billion. Evil also learns that, during his absence, his associates have artificially created his son, Scott Evil (Seth Green), using his frozen semen. Now a Generation X teenager, Scott is resentful of his father’s absence and resists Dr. Evil’s attempts to get closer to him.Having learned of Dr. Evil’s return, the British Ministry of Defence unfreezes Powers, acclimatizing him to the 1990s with the help of agent Vanessa Kensington (Elizabeth Hurley), the daughter of his sidekick in the 1960s, Mrs. Kensington (Mimi Rogers). Posing as a married couple, Powers and Kensington track Number 2 to Las Vegas and meet his Italian secretary, Alotta Fagina (Fabiana Udenio). Later, Powers infiltrates Fagina’s penthouse suite for reconnaissance and discovers plans for Dr. Evil’s “Project Vulcan”, which involves drilling a nuclear warhead into the Earth’s molten core and triggering volcanic eruptions worldwide. Fagina discovers Powers in her suite and seduces him into revealing his true identity. Learning that Powers is back, Dr. Evil and his entourage conspire to defeat the spy by creating a series of fembots: beautiful female androids equipped with automatic guns concealed in their breasts.Powers and Kensington attempt to infiltrate the Virtucon headquarters but are soon apprehended by Dr. Evil’s henchman, Random Task (Joe Son). Meanwhile, the United Nations accede to the demands of Dr. Evil, who proceeds with Project Vulcan regardless. Powers and Kensington are placed in a death trap by Dr. Evil, but they easily escape, and Kensington is sent for help. While searching for Dr. Evil, Powers is confronted by the fembots, whom he defeats by counter-seducing them with a striptease. Led by Kensington, British forces raid the underground lair, while Powers finds the doomsday device and deactivates it. Powers confronts Dr. Evil, but Fagina arrives holding Kensington hostage. They are interrupted by Number 2, who attempts to betray Dr. Evil by making a deal with Powers. Dr. Evil uses a trap door to eliminate Number 2, then activates the base’s self-destruct mechanism and escapes. Powers and Kensington flee just as a nuclear explosion destroys the lair.Powers and Kensington are later married, and during their honeymoon Powers is attacked by Random Task. Powers subdues the assassin using a penis pump, allowing Kensington to knock him out using a bottle of champagne. Afterwards, the newlyweds adjourn to the balcony. Among the stars, Powers spots the cryogenic chamber of Dr. Evil, who vows revenge on Powers.The originality of the humour is what makes Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery a stand-out film. Equally importantly, the acting by a seemingly earnest Mike Myers is amazing. He not only pulls of a geeky-yet-charming Austin Powers, but also the bumbling-but-evil Dr. Evil. The supporting cast, featuring Robert Wagner as Number Two, Seth Green as Dr. Evil’s son Scott, Mindy Sterling as Frau Farbissina, and an indulgent Elizabeth Hurley as Austin’s sidekick and love-interest are all excellent but Myers has the centre stage.

REVIEW: THE SLEEPING DICTIONARY

CAST

Hugh Dancy (Hannibal)
Jessica Alba (Machete)
Brenda Blethyn (Atonement)
Emily Mortimer (Lars and The Real Girl)
Bob Hoskins (Hollywoodland)
Noah Taylor (Game of Thrones)

A young and naive Englishman, John Truscott (Hugh Dancy), goes to the British colony of Sarawak, Borneo, to try to apply his father’s work to the Iban society. There he meets his boss Henry Bullard (Bob Hoskins) and his wife Aggie Bullard (Brenda Blethyn). John tries to civilize them, building schools and providing education for the Iban people. He is met with unfamiliar local customs. Selima (Jessica Alba) becomes his “sleeping dictionary”, who sleeps with him and teaches him the language and the habits of the locals. John is sent up river where a sickness is affecting the Yakata tribe. He and Selima travel inland. John witnesses a nearby mining operation run by Europeans. He notices that the Yakata have rice – which has been given to them by the miners – and he guesses correctly that the miners have poisoned the rice in order to get rid of the Yakata. Knowing that they will exact vengeance, John tells the Yakata what has happened. The Yakata wipe out the miners.Despite their intents, the two find themselves falling into a forbidden love. John is eager to marry Selima despite the longhouse not allowing it. When John tells Henry about his plans to marry her, they lock Selima up. Selima then agrees to marry in the longhouse and they part ways. Bullard threatens to send him to trial for the death of the European miners. He makes a deal with John. John has to give up Selima, and go to Britain for a year’s vacation and to meet the Bullards’ daughter Cecilia. Another local British official, Neville Shipperly (Noah Taylor), a boorish drunk and a man who despises the locals, is jealous of John because he had planned to win Cecilia as his own. A year later, John is seen marrying Cecilia. He still struggles to get over his past with his sleeping dictionary. With Cecilia, he decides the best thing to do is go back to Sarawak to continue his work there. Returning to Sarawak, Cecilia notices John’s desire for Selima with his constant distance from her. Cecilia demands to know more about Selima and John replies by saying that she is married to Belansai and that the couple have a baby together.While at the lake collecting rocks for research, John sees Selima with a baby. He believes the child to be his and asks Famous to arrange a meeting with the pair. Soon back at the house, Selima walks in, unaware that John is there. John begs to see his son and soon Selima walks away not before John can stop them. Here, John meets his son Manda for the first time. When Belansai hears news that John is spending time with his wife, he sneaks in to try to kill John but only manages to hurt him with a razor. The next morning, Henry reveals to John his past about his own ‘sleeping dictionary’, which resulted in the birth of another child: Selima. When Belansai is caught for trying to kill an officer, he is sentenced to be hanged. Selima is not happy that Belansai will be killed as he’s been a good father to Manda. Not wanting to kill Belansai, a friend of his, John goes through with announcing Belansai’s hanging as he had no other option. Later that night, Selima tries to break Belansai out, not knowing John is already there. When she walks over to the jail cell, she sees John breaking Belansai out and handing him a gun. As Belansai escapes, John asks Selima to meet him at the dock so they can escape on the boat. Selima tells him he won’t come as they’ll catch him. John turns to Selima and says “Then I’ll tell them I’d rather have you than a country… or a language… or a history”. They embrace as the rain is pouring behind them.The next day, since the people of the Longhouse have turned on Selima, she is forced to become the sleeping dictionary for Neville. Later Cecilia announces she is pregnant, shocking John. That night, Selima bashes Neville on the head, knocking him out, because he has attempted to attack her and force her. She grabs the baby and runs from the house, heading for the docks. Although John still has plans to be with Selima and their son, he begins writing a note but stops as Cecilia catches him. The couple then talk about John’s love for Selima and how Cecilia wants John to be happy. Aggie is not happy that Cecilia and Henry have allowed both John and Selima to run away together because she never left Henry’s sight, fearing he’d go with his sleeping dictionary. She encourages Neville to go after them. With the help of Famous and the Yakata, John searches for Selima as she’s left believing that John didn’t come to the place of arrangement. They reunite as Neville comes through with a gun. He tells them to cuff themselves around the bamboos and tells them of his plans to kill John, Selima and their baby. They’re then rescued by the Yakata, who kill Neville. At the end, they decide to live together and migrate with the Yakata.What a magnificent surprise “The Sleeping Dictionary” was for me, indeed a wonderful romance, with action and drama and an adorable story of difference of cultures, seduction and secrets. Jessica Alba and Hugh Dancy have stunning performances, showing a delightful chemistry. Brenda Blethyn and Bob Hoskins are excellent, as usual, and Noah Taylor, as the nasty Neville, Emily Mortimer, as the sweet Cecil and Eugene Salleh, as Belansai, are also fantastic. Certainly, Jessica Alba is better and better than Webster’s and American Heritage Dictionaries. Definitely, “The Sleeping Dictionary” is a must-see movie for any audience.

REVIEW: AMSTERDAM HEAVY

CAST

Michael Madsen (Reservoir Dogs)
Alison Carroll (Doghouse)
Fajah Lourens (Shouf Shouf!)
Semmy Schilt (Transporter 3)
Vincent van Ommen (Cam2Cam)
Maryam Tarami (A Broken Code)
Megan Gaber (Coming Out)

imageAmsterdam Heavy takes us on a roller-coaster journey in to the violent, criminal heart of Amsterdam. Some bald gangster J.D. (Rik Sinkeldam) is being brought to Amsterdam in a box, where he eventually wakes up.Shirtless, half-dead, with lost memory, JD now has a score to settle. He will heal up, and go on a hunt for those, who betrayed him, beating the crap out of thugs on the streets, back alleys and canals of Amsterdam. Along the way, he hooks up with some undercover agent girl, who poses as an exotic dancer in a local club. Turns out, JD was drugged by some goons in Thailand, and then he managed to escape. Now, he desperately needs to know why his partner Gunther set him up. Oh yes, he also wants to find his wife and son, and get a few “tips” from Michael Madsen in a local bar.1002004012085728_2So far so good. It gets worse however. First dissapointment comes with Michael Madsen. Although on film’s official website they make him look like the leading character, he’s barely 3 minutes in the whole movie, and we only see him sitting in a bar, delivering cheesy dialogue, smoking marijuana, and that’s all. So, the “bait” is weak. The directing is bad, camera moves around exactly the way you hate it most – just like in Steven Seagal movies, when you can’t see anything. And since this movie has a lot of action (yes, there are plenty of fights) – the shaky cam doesn’t let you see what’s really going on, and it frustrates more and more as the movie goes on. amsterdam-heavy-backgroundActing is mediocre at best. Even Madsen (who seems to be the only well-known actor here) delivers his lines while looking as much bored as possible. If you’re a Michael Madsen fan – do yourself a favor and skip this. . If you like action, martial arts and expect a lot of it here – look elsewhere, as the fights are so badly directed and choreographed, you’ll hate it. The film did have a good start, but got a lot worse as the time went on.