REVIEW: THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY

CAST

Ben Stiller (Tower Heist)
Kristen Wiig (Ghostbusters)
Shirley Maclaine (Bewitched)
Adam Scott (Krampus)
Kathryn Hahn (Bad Moms)
Patton Oswalt (Caprica)
Adrian Martinez (Three Strikes)
Sean Penn (Gangster Squad)
Jon Daly (Bride Wars)
Andy Richter (Semi-Pro)
Joey Slotnick (Nip/Tuck)

Ben Stiller in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)Walter Mitty is a negative assets manager at Life magazine who daydreams of adventures and has a crush on a coworker named Cheryl. Mitty works with photojournalist Sean O’Connell, whose images are highly regarded. O’Connell has sent Mitty his latest negatives and a wallet as a gift in appreciation of Mitty’s work. O’Connell believes negative #25 captures the “quintessence of life” and that it should be used for the cover of the magazine’s final print issue as it converts to online status. The negative is missing, however, and Walter is forced to stall for time with corporate transition manager Ted Hendricks, who is handling the downsizing. While viewing the other negatives outside Life’s offices, Cheryl approaches Mitty and suggests that he think of the negatives as clues to Sean’s location. They look at three of them, including one of a person’s thumb with a unique ring on it, and another of a curved piece of wood. A third picture of a boat leads Mitty to determine that O’Connell is in Greenland. Mitty promptly flies there to find him.Ben Stiller in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)A bartender in Nuuk explains that O’Connell left on a ship. To find him, Mitty would need to go on the postal helicopter, and the pilot is drunk. Mitty recognizes the pilot’s thumb with the unique ring and realizes he is on the right track. He at first declines to fly with the intoxicated pilot, but imagines Cheryl singing “Space Oddity”, gains a new confidence and boards the helicopter. Nearing the ship, Mitty learns the helicopter cannot land upon it. Misunderstanding the pilot, instead of jumping into a dinghy boat nearing to catch him, Mitty aims for the main vessel and misses and falls in the ocean. He splashes down into ice-cold, shark-infested waters, losing a box of ship-to-shore radio components before being brought aboard.Ben Stiller in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)Mitty learns that O’Connell departed the ship earlier. The crew offers him some clementine cake O’Connell left behind; Mitty discovers O’Connell’s destinations in the wrapping paper. The itinerary directs Mitty to Iceland, where O’Connell is photographing the volcano Eyjafjallajökull, and he arrives at the local village of Skógar near the volcano using a longboard, and notices O’Connell on the plane flying near the volcano. An eruption forces Mitty to flee, and as there is nothing left for him to do, he obeys a text message recalling him to New York.Sean Penn and Ben Stiller in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)For failing to recover the negative, his first failure in a long career with the magazine, Mitty is fired by Hendricks. He learns that Cheryl, who was let go earlier, seems to have reconciled with her estranged husband. Mitty returns home discouraged and visits his mother, throwing away the wallet he received from O’Connell. To his surprise, Mitty recognizes the curve of the piano in his mother’s house while looking at the last photograph. When asked, Mitty’s mom mentions having met O’Connell. She had told Mitty before but he was daydreaming and failed to hear her.Ben Stiller in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)Mitty discovers O’Connell is in the Himalayas, and finds him photographing a rare snow leopard. When asked about the negative, O’Connell explains that the message on the gift wrapping to “look inside” was literal; the negative was in the wallet. Unfortunately, Mitty had interpreted this message as a direction to look inside the tissue paper in the box containing the wallet, and it could also be interpreted as referring to the inscription stamped into the leather inside the wallet. When pressed to reveal the image on the negative, O’Connell dismisses the question and joins in a high-altitude football (soccer) game with some locals. Mitty flies to Los Angeles but is detained by airport security during a misunderstanding (mainly stemming from his having traveled through Yemen to Afghanistan). Mitty calls the only person he knows in Los Angeles: Todd Maher, a representative at eHarmony who has kept in contact during Mitty’s adventures.Ben Stiller in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)While helping his mother sell her piano, Mitty recounts his story but mentions he does not have the wallet anymore. His mother says she always keeps his knickknacks and gives him the wallet that she retrieved from the trash. Finding inside the wallet a small manila envelope the size of a single-frame 35mm negative, an emboldened Mitty delivers it to Life magazine, tells management that it was the photograph O’Connell wanted for the final issue, and berates Hendricks for disrespecting the staff that made the magazine so honored before walking away from the office, humiliating him in front of his recently hired staff.Ben Stiller and Kristen Wiig in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)Mitty reunites with Cheryl, emboldens himself enough to tell her outright that he has been thinking about and inspired by her, and learns that Cheryl’s ex-husband was only at her house to repair the refrigerator. Mitty tells Cheryl of his adventures and admits that he still does not know what negative #25 shows. Mitty and Cheryl see the final issue of Life at a newsstand, with its cover dedicated to the staff. It is accompanied by the photograph from negative #25, showing Mitty sitting outside of the Life building, examining a contact sheet. Mitty and Cheryl continue their walk down the street holding hands.“Tropic Thunder’, ‘The Cable Guy’, ‘Zoolander’… Ben Stiller has created some entertaining comedies, but ‘Walter Mitty’ is by far his most audacious piece of direction so far. The story is solid and the cinematography is stunning, Stiller has created an utterly mesmerising spectacle that follows the same basis of the 1947 classic starring Danny Kaye. Whilst I found the majority of the film charming and entertaining, it’s the beautiful cinematography from Stuart Dryburgh that really sells this flick, and in my opinion should have been worthy of an Oscar- nomination at the least. One of the most entertaining comedy-dramas I have seen in recent years, a film that Stiller should be proud of.

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REVIEW: BACHELORETTE

CAST

Kirsten Dunst (Spider-Man)
Lizzy Caplan (Mean Girls)
Isla Fisher (Grimsby)
Rebel Wilson (Pain & Gain)
Kyle Bornheimer (You Again)
James Marsden (Westworld)
Adam Scott (Krampus)
Andrew Rannells (Why Him?)
Hayes MacArthur (The Babymakers)
Horatio Sanz (Wreck-It Ralph)
Ann Dowd (Compliance)
Ella Rae Peck (Gossip Girl)
June Diane Raphael (Year One)
Arden Myrin (In & Out)

Kirsten Dunst and James Marsden in Bachelorette (2012)The film opens with Regan (Kirsten Dunst), a miserable careerist in her early thirties, having lunch with her longtime friend, Becky (Rebel Wilson), who reveals that she’s getting married to her boyfriend, Dale. Although secretly jealous and embittered by the fact that her “fat friend” is now engaged, Regan notifies their two other friends, the sardonic cocaine addict Gena (Lizzy Caplan) and the rowdy party girl Katie (Isla Fisher).Kirsten Dunst and Rebel Wilson in Bachelorette (2012)Six months later, the women are preparing for Becky’s impromptu bachelorette party that evening; Gena flies into New York from Los Angeles, and the four meet at the hotel, where Katie announces that Gena has brought cocaine for all of them to do. At the dinner party that night, Gena runs into her ex-boyfriend Clyde (Adam Scott), whom she sees flirting with Dale’s younger sister, and Katie runs into Joe (Kyle Bornheimer), a former classmate and pot dealer. Trevor (James Marsden), the best man, gives a speech at the party, and Gena, high on cocaine, reveals in her toast that she once caught Becky forcing herself to throw up in the high school bathrooms.Kirsten Dunst, Adam Scott, James Marsden, Lizzy Caplan, Isla Fisher, Kyle Bornheimer, Hayes MacArthur, and Rebel Wilson in Bachelorette (2012)After the dinner, the women go to their suite, where Katie’s gay co-worker arrives and does a striptease for the women, but Becky stops it after he jokingly calls her “Pigface”, a cruel nickname of hers in high school. Becky leaves the bachelorette party, and Regan, Gena and Katie are left in the hotel room where they drink and continue to do cocaine. Drunk and high, the three accidentally rip Becky’s bridal gown, and Katie gets a nosebleed and stains it with her blood.Kirsten Dunst, Lizzy Caplan, and Isla Fisher in Bachelorette (2012)Regan contacts a friend who owns a bridal store, who reluctantly agrees to open the store for them in the middle of the night. After unsuccessfully searching the store for a dress that will fit Becky, Katie reveals that she can sew, which leads the women on a hunt for thread and a sewing machine. Trevor text messages Regan asking the girls to stop by the strip club the men are at, which they agree to. Gena takes the dress into the strip club’s bathroom where she attempts to clean it; there, she has a conversation with a stripper who begins using the dress as a towel and toilet paper. Regan, furious over the situation, gets into an argument with Gena, who insists they confess everything to Becky, and it is revealed in the argument that Gena had an abortion. Gena leaves the club with Clyde and the dress.Kirsten Dunst, Lizzy Caplan, and Isla Fisher in Bachelorette (2012)Meanwhile, Joe attempts to woo Katie, who is heavily intoxicated and high on cocaine, and Regan ends up having sex with Trevor in the hotel bathroom. Clyde and Gena spend the evening together reminiscing and have sex. Meanwhile, Joe and Katie spend the night in the hotel swimming pool, where Katie reveals that she attempted suicide the year before. Becky calls and asks Regan to come to her room so they can talk; in their conversation, it is revealed that Regan is bulimic, and that Becky covered it for her in high school. Just as Regan begins to tell Becky about her dress, Becky’s mother arrives, and they begin to prepare for the wedding.Kirsten Dunst in Bachelorette (2012)Gena and Clyde head to the wedding in the morning while the party planners are unable to find the missing dress. Gena asks a maid at the hotel to help her make some small touch-ups to the dress before bringing it to Becky; meanwhile, Katie locks herself in the bathroom and overdoses on Xanax. While Regan forces Katie to vomit the pills, she ends up puking all over Regan’s dress. Regan, in an attempt to buy time, convinces Becky to ride to the wedding in her pajamas and put on the dress when she arrives. Becky, irate, screams at her mother and Regan in the taxi. Gena arrives to the wedding with the dress, still stained with blood. Becky ends up walking down the aisle while Regan and Gena sit on a bench and watch the ceremony, where they are joined by Katie, who arrives late. At the reception, Joe and Katie talk and kiss, Regan tries to sleep, and Clyde gives an obscene speech about having sex with Gena the night before. The film ends as the four women make up and dance together at the reception.Kirsten Dunst, Lizzy Caplan, Isla Fisher, and Kyle Bornheimer in Bachelorette (2012)I feel like a lot of people are giving this movie flack because they’re comparing it to Bridesmaids. That’s the problem with movie-goers. We call each movie, the next or the imitation or worst than or better than. On it’s own, Bachelorette did really well. It’s a dark comedy/ raunchy film but it’s done so well. It’s not common in Hollywood that you have movies where women are complex as the men. Some reviews state that they find the characters to not be redeeming, but I think that’s what makes Bachelorette so strong. We have 3 complex, intriguing, and yeah, messed up individuals. What it gives you is a very plausible comedy. A review online called this the mix between Mean Girls + Bridesmaids. Aside from the similar wedding scenario, this is more the women version of the Hangover and fused with Mean Girls. Check it out, it’s a good laugh ride if you’re into dark comedies.

REVIEW: OUR IDIOT BROTHER

CAST

Paul Rudd (Ant-Man)
Elizabeth Banks (The Hunger Games)
Zooey Deschanel (New Girl)
Emily Mortimer (Lars and The Real girl)
Steeve Coogan (Alan Partridge)
Rashida Jones (The Muppets)
Adam Scott (Krampus)
Kathryn Hahn (Bad Moms)
T.J. Miller (Deadpool)
Shirley Knight (As Good As It gets)
Hugh Dancy (Hannibal)
Janet Montgomery (Black Swan)

Ned Rochlin (Paul Rudd) is a biodynamic farmer living with his girlfriend, Janet (Kathryn Hahn). While selling produce at a local market, Ned sells marijuana to a uniformed police officer due to the officer’s claim that he had a stressful week, which made Ned feel sympathetic after initially being skeptical. Ned is then arrested on a charge of selling drugs.Ned has three sisters: Miranda (Elizabeth Banks) the middle sister, is a journalist for Vanity Fair trying to get her first major article published. Though she has trouble finding a man to keep her interest, she and a neighbor, Jeremy (Adam Scott) have hidden feelings for each other. Natalie (Zooey Deschanel), the youngest, is an independent, bisexual hipster living with her girlfriend, Cindy (Rashida Jones), and five other roommates. Liz (Emily Mortimer), the oldest, is married to Dylan (Steve Coogan), a documentary filmmaker. Their marriage is failing as Dylan shows no sexual or emotional interest in Liz. They also have strict control over their son River (Matthew Mindler), which leaves him unhappy and unable to express himself.When Ned is released from prison, he returns home to his girl and his dog (“Willie Nelson”). He finds that she is living with Billy (T. J. Miller), and no longer wishes to continue their relationship or allow him to work at the farm. Billy gives Ned a ride into town and tells him that if he can scrape together $1000 for the first 2 months rent, Janet might let him stay in the goat barn behind the farm. Ned initially stays at his mother’s house but a few days later shows up at Liz’s place, asking if he can stay with her. He is put in River’s room and told that he must help around the house and work with Dylan on his newest documentary about a Russian ballerina named Tatiana (Lydia Haug).The next day, Miranda reluctantly asks Ned to chauffeur while she interviews an important client, Lady Arabella (Janet Montgomery). Miranda hopes to pry into her scandalous past, but is dismayed to learn of a legal agreement to only ask about charity work. Miranda tries to pretend Ned isn’t there, but his friendliness charms Arabella, who takes a liking to him. That night, Ned goes with Natalie to a self-help meeting with Natalie’s artist friend, Christian (Hugh Dancy). Christian is attracted to Natalie but is dissuaded by her lesbian relationship until Ned informs him that she is bisexual and likes guys too. Christian and Natalie take a cab home and end up having sex.Ned goes back to working with Dylan, but is told to watch the car while Dylan conducts a private interview with Tatiana. Hours later, Ned is told by a police officer to move out of a tow zone. Running upstairs to get the keys he discovers Dylan naked with Tatiana. Dylan later says the only reason he was naked was to make Tatiana feel more “comfortable” while being naked, which Ned believes. The next night, Ned goes with Miranda to Arabella’s benefit dinner, and stays behind to have a conversation with Arabella. She explains the gossipy part of her life (that Miranda had hoped to discover) to Ned, who listens with interest. Ned is later kicked out of Liz’s house because, at an important school interview, River tells the interviewer that Ned just got out of jail for selling drugs to a policeman. Ned apologizes, stating he was only trying to help River be himself. Now staying with Miranda, Ned casually mentions Dylan’s nude interview with Tatiana and Miranda concludes that Dylan is having an affair. Ned also mentions a personal detail about Arabella that makes Miranda realize that Ned has the info she needs. She forces Ned to tell her the details, which Ned is ashamed to do since he was trusted. Ned returns to the farm with the rent money but Janet doesn’t allow him to rent the barn, or leave with his dog.Ned asks Cindy, who is a lawyer, about ways to get custody of his dog but she suggests as an alternative that they work together to simply take the dog from Janet. He later goes out to lunch with Jeremy and hints at Jeremy’s attraction towards his sister. Jeremy explains that Miranda is too bossy for him, though admitting she is beautiful. Ned mentions the idea to Miranda, who is hurt to learn what Jeremy had to say and tells Ned her thoughts on Jeremy, leading to a fight between the two. Natalie later confides in Ned that she is pregnant. Miranda and Nat try to tell Liz about Dylan’s affair but Liz becomes angry and the conversation turns into an argument between the three about their personal lives. Liz later confronts Dylan about the affair, and he blames her attempts at pleasing him. Liz is angry that he is blaming her for his infidelity, and divorces him.Miranda takes Ned into work the next day as she needs him to vouch for the veracity of her article. Ned reads the article but doesn’t want to sign a release as he knows Arabella had told him the details in confidence. The editor calls in the company lawyer and decide they can’t publish Miranda’s article without Ned vouching for it, which he refuses to do. She kicks Ned out and he stays with Nat, who lies about having told Cindy about the cheating. The next morning, Cindy and Ned drive to the farm to steal his dog back. They sneak into the house but Ned casually brings up Nat’s infidelity and Cindy angrily calls Nat from inside the house, which alerts Janet to their presence. Janet refuses to give Ned his dog and Cindy drives away, leaving Ned behind.Ned goes to his parole officer, Omar, and thinking he can trust him, tells him that the stress of his life was getting to him and he smoked marijuana with a neighbor. Omar tells Ned now he must report him. Ned goes home to a family dinner and is blamed by his sisters for all the trouble in their lives. Ned finally loses his temper and yells at them for their selfishness and for bringing everyone else down which seems to strike a chord with them. Omar arrives with an officer to reluctantly take Ned into custody. Miranda posts Ned’s bail, but he refuses to sign his release form, opting to stay in prison rather than be with the girls. They devise a plan to get Willie Nelson from Janet in order to get him to leave. Although Janet refuses, Billy comes out of the house carrying Willie Nelson, tired of Janet refusing to give Ned his dog. They take Willie Nelson to the prison where he is reunited with Ned, motivating him to leave prison.A few weeks later, Ned is out to lunch with his sisters. Nat receives a call from Cindy, who wants to go with Nat to her gynecologist appointments for support. Miranda has patched things up and started a relationship with Jeremy. Liz has decided to start dating again and has started letting River be himself. Meanwhile, Ned and Billy have opened up a small homemade candle shop together. One day, Ned cannot find Willie Nelson and begins running through town looking for him. He finds Willie playing with another dog who has also run away from her owner. The owner comes up and when Ned asks her dog’s name, she replies “Dolly Parton” to which Ned says his dog is “Willie Nelson”, and they both smile.A fun ride throughout, the film only has a couple of weak spots. But still an entertaining Comedy.

 

REVIEW: OPERATION: ENDGAME

CAST

Joe Anderson (The Crazies)
Odette Annabelle (The Unborn)
Adam Scott (Krampus)
Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover)
Emilie de Ravin (Lost)
Maggie Q (Divergent)
Ving Rhames (Mission Impossible)
Ellen Barkin (Ocean’s Thriteen)
Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul)
Rob Corddry (Semi-Pro)
Brandon T. Jackson (Percy Jackson)
Jeffrey Tambor (Transparent)
Berth Grant (Childs Play 2)

The majority of the events in the film take place on 1.20.09, the date of the inauguration of Barack Obama as President of the United States and the first day of work for “The Fool”, as the film’s main character (Joe Anderson) is code-named. The Factory, a secret office of government agents, has hired him as a thief. After the beautiful High Priestess (Maggie Q) and the caustic Chariot (Rob Corddry) meet the Fool, they enter the secret underground offices of the Factory, and the audience learns that Neal (Michael Hitchcock), Carl (Tim Bagley), and their boss Susan (Beth Grant) have the entire office under surveillance.The Factory is separated into two teams, Alpha and Omega. The two teams specialize in black ops and oppose each other in a bureaucratic system of checks and balances. Omega Team consists of the Fool, Chariot, High Priestess, Judgement (Ving Rhames) who repeats his name whenever he can, and the Emperor (Bob Odenkirk). Alpha Team consists of the Fool’s old flame, Temperance (Odette Yustman), the Empress (Ellen Barkin), Magician (Adam Scott), Tower (Brandon T. Jackson), and Hierophant (Emilie de Ravin). The head of the Factory is the Devil (Jeffrey Tambor). The wildcard of the office is the Hermit (Zach Galifianakis), an extremely dangerous assassin with diabetes and occasional irritable bowel syndrome. Not long after the Fool is introduced to everyone, Alpha and Omega find that the Devil has been murdered, and also that he has initiated Project Endgame, which has trapped both teams underground and triggered a bomb that threatens to destroy the Factory and kill everyone. The agents need to find a way out. They decide to work in pairs with their opposing mirror agents to escape.As they explore the office, members of Alpha Team begin to kill their Omega Team counterparts in gruesome fashion, with Empress killing Emperor with a staple remover, Hierophant killing Judgement by hitting him in the head with a table leg with nails protruding out, and Tower stabbing High Priestess in the throat with a metal bookend. Shortly after Tower is killed by Chariot who smashes his face repeatedly with a paper shredder, and then Chariot is almost killed by Magician. Back in the surveillance room, Carl, Neil, and Susan watch the carnage between the agents. But they all learn that the system has been corrupted, and Susan realizes that the clearance codes have been switched in conjunction with the inauguration.While trying to find a way out, Fool is attacked by Hierophant but is saved by Temperance, who kills her by hitting her repeatedly in the back with the blade of a paper cutter. She reveals to him that Alpha Team was ordered to eliminate Omega Team that very day. The Fool, Chariot and Temperance face off against the remaining members of Alpha: The Empress, Magician and the mysterious Hermit. The Fool cracks a safe in the Devil’s office and obtains a disc and a map to an exit. After more fighting and kills, such as Chariot setting Magician on fire, Hermit killing Chariot by throwing a pair of scissors into his eye and Temperance shooting Hermit in the crotch with her lipstick gun and then killing Empress by shoving a water cooler bottle down her throat causing her to drown, the Fool and Temperance are the only ones left standing. They both enter the exit elevator and escape. They kiss as the bomb goes off, destroying the Factory.Meanwhile, Carl and Neil uncover an audio tape which the Devil recorded before his death. The Devil reveals that he has a disc with every dirty secret from the last eight years of the Bush administration. He also professes his love for Susan. The elevator emerges from a bathroom stall and it is revealed the Fool has killed Temperance, the paper cutter blade stuck in her head. He snaps the neck of a man in the bathroom who sees Temperance’s body and takes his jacket, then he calls Susan, and tells her (in an English accent using the British pronunciation of ma’am as the American sound of “mom”) that he has the disc, which contains “every single one of their fuck-ups.” Susan reveals that she had hired the Fool specifically to enter the Factory and retrieve the files. She then shoots Carl and Neil. The film ends with the Fool confidently walking out of the building, stepping into a cab, and driving off and the screen turns black. In the credits, bits of a will, one recorded by Emperor and the other by Chariot, reveal that Emperor plans to leave his holiday home to his dog and give wine in his wine cellar to the widows of the men he killed, while Chariot promises that he will return as an evil ghost and will eat hearts for an eternity.I found the movie entertaining almost throughout. It’s written and performed well for the most part. Aside from a couple of exceptions, the impressive cast list only play bit parts. Don’t expect to see much of Ving Rhames or Zack Galifianakis, for example. Nevertheless I thought everyone was nicely utilized, for the amount of time they chose to donate.

CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: HIGH CRIMES

 

 

CAST

Ashley Judd (Divergent)
Morgan Freeman (Along Came A Spider)
Jim Caviezel (The Passion of Teh Christ)
Adam Scott (Krampus)
Amanda Peet (Identity Thief)
Bruce Davison (X-Men)
Tom Bower (Crazy Heart)
Emilio Rivera (Bruce Almighty)
Michael Shannon (Man of Steel)
John Billingsley (Star Trek: Enterprise)

Attorney Claire Kubik (Ashley Judd) and her woodworker husband Tom (James Caviezel) find their idyllic life in Marin County, California shattered when, during a Christmas shopping excursion in San Francisco’s Union Square he is captured by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and charged with the murders of nine peasants in a remote village in El Salvador in 1988. Claire is shocked to discover Tom, whose real name is Ronald Chapman, was a covert military operative serving in the United States Marine Corps and has been on the run for the past twelve years.

Tom admits he was present at the scene of the mass murders but staunchly denies any involvement in the killings. He insists he has been scapegoated in order to conceal the identity of the real culprit, Major James Hernandez (Juan Carlos Hernández), now the aide of Brigadier General Bill Marks (Bruce Davison).

First Lieutenant Terence Embry (Adam Scott) is assigned to defend Tom, but his youth and lack of experience prompt Claire to decide to defend her husband, as well. When she realizes she needs help from someone familiar with the workings of a military court, she hires Charlie Grimes (Morgan Freeman), an embittered former military attorney who has a grudge against the military brass, to assist her. Three of the five key witnesses, who previously testified Tom was guilty, have died under seemingly mysterious circumstances, raising Claire and Charlie’s suspicions. As the trial proceeds, they uncover a massive cover-up perpetrated by one of the military’s highest-ranking officials. Also creating problems are the sudden appearance of a resident (Emilio Rivera) of the village where the mass murder took place, who insists Tom was responsible; Embry’s romantic involvement with Claire’s irresponsible sister Jackie (Amanda Peet), which leads Claire to assume that he leaked details about secrets she has uncovered to the prosecution; and Charlie’s falling off the wagon after more than a year of sobriety.

The Salvadorian witness identifies an injured Hernandez as the culprit responsible for a bombing incident prior to the massacre. With aid from Embry, whom Claire realizes is innocent, Claire recovers classified medical files from the FBI as evidence of the cover-up. Claire blackmails Marks by threatening to reveal what she knows about the cover-up and asks him to make the case go away; the next day, the U.S. Defense Department has the case thrown out of court due to “security reasons”.

Just as Claire is about to celebrate her victory in court, Charlie discovers the truth, while in Mexico, that Tom had murdered one of the witnesses in front of his family. The widow who witnessed the act described Tom’s having tossed his gun from one hand to the other (a habit Tom displayed with keys and other objects throughout the film) and his shooting his gun first using one hand, then the other (revealing his ambidexterity); the match between these descriptions also indicated that Tom committed the massacre and also murdered two of the other key witnesses years prior to his arrest. After Tom overhears Claire talking to Charlie on the phone, a short scuffle between Claire and Tom ensues, during which Claire fears for her life. The Salvadoran witness shoots Tom through the window, and the film ends with Charlie and Claire’s starting a new partnership-based law firm.

This film was excellent. The plot was perfectly timed and new twists and turns were added at the right time. The timing in the film keeps the watcher genuinely interested from start to finish. Throughout the film, you are supplied with just the right information to keep you guessing but not so little that you have no clues as to what is happening! The performances put in by Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman were, as always, superb!

 

REVIEW: PIRANHA 3D

CAST

Richard Dreyfuss (Tin Man)
Ving Rhames (Mission Impossible)
Elisabeth Shue (Hollow Man)
Christopher Lloyd (Back To The Future)
Steven R. McQueen (The Vampire Diaries)
Jerry O’Connell (Sliders)
Jessica Szohr (Ted 2)
Eli Roth (Inglourious Basterds)
Kelly Brook (Three)
Adam Scott (Kampus)
Riley Steele (Pirates II)
Richard Chavira (Desperate Housewives)
Dina Meyer (Birds of Prey)
Bonnie Morgan (The Devil Inside)
Paul Scheer (Year One)

Fisherman Matt Boyd is fishing in Lake Victoria when a small earthquake hits, splitting the lake floor and causing a whirlpool. Boyd falls in, and is ripped apart by a shoal of piranhas that emerge from the chasm.

Jake Forester is admiring attractive tourists as spring break begins. He reunites with his old crush Kelly Driscoll and meets Derrick Jones, a sleazy pornographer, as well as Danni Arslow, one of his actresses. Derrick convinces Jake to show him good spots on the lake for filming a pornographic movie. That night, Jake’s mother, Sheriff Julie Forester, searches for the missing Matt Boyd with Deputy Fallon. They find his mutilated body and contemplate closing the lake. This decision, however, is made difficult as two-thousand partying college students are on spring break, which is important for bringing revenue to the small town. The next morning, a lone cliff diver is attacked and consumed by the vicious, marauding piranhas.

Jake bribes his sister, Laura, and brother, Zane (Sage Ryan), to stay home alone so that he can show Derrick around the lake. After Jake leaves, Zane convinces Laura to go fishing on a small sandbar island. They forget to tie the boat down and are stranded in the middle of the lake. Meanwhile, Jake goes to meet with Derrick and runs into Kelly, who accepted Derrick’s invitation on board his boat, The Barracuda. Jake meets Crystal Shepard, another one of Derrick’s actresses, and cameraman Andrew Cunningham.  Julie takes a team of seismologist divers—Novak Radzinsky, Sam Montez, and Paula Montellano to the fissure. Novak speculates that the rift leads to a buried prehistoric lake. Paula and Sam scuba dive to the bottom and discover a large cavern filled with large piranha egg stocks. Both are killed by the piranhas before they can alert the others to the discovery. Novak and Julie find Paula’s corpse and pull it onto the boat, capturing a lone piranha, which they take to Carl Goodman, a marine biologist who works as a pet store owner. He explains that it is a highly aggressive prehistoric species, long believed to be extinct, and that the piranhas have survived through cannibalism. The species is able to vigorously devour its prey in seconds.
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Julie, Novak, Fallon, and Deputy Taylor Roberts try to evacuate the lake, but their warnings are ignored, until the piranhas begin to fiercely attack the tourists. Novak boards a jet-ski with a shotgun to help while Fallon drags people to shore, and Julie and Taylor try to get swimmers into the police boat. Almost everyone in the lake is either wounded, dismembered, or killed by the piranhas altogether, while the remaining surviving tourists escape. The party spot rapidly turns into a bloodbath.
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Meanwhile, Jake spots Laura and Zane on the island and forces Derrick to rescue them. Derrick crashes the boat into some rocks, flooding the boat’s lower deck and causing the boat to begin sinking. Kelly is trapped in the kitchen while Derrick, Crystal and Andrew fall overboard from the impact of the collision. Crystal is devoured, and Andrew escapes to shore unharmed. Meanwhile, Danni manages to get a partially eaten Derrick back on board, where he then dies.  Deputy Fallon makes a last stand, taking a boat motor and using its propeller to shred many piranhas, though he is presumed to be killed by the Piranhas. After the chaos settles, Julie receives a call from Jake pleading for help. Julie and Novak steal a speedboat and head off towards the kids. They reach Jake and attach a rope to his boat. Julie, Danni, Laura, and Zane start crossing the rope, but the piranhas latch onto Danni’s hair, causing her to lose her grip on the rope and fall into the water, where she is quickly devoured. The others make it across safely, but the rope comes loose. Using Derrick’s corpse as a distraction, Jake ties the line to himself and goes to save Kelly. He ties Kelly to him and lights a flare after releasing the gas from a pair of stored propane tanks. Novak starts the boat and speeds away just as the piranhas surround Kelly and Jake. They are dragged to safety as the propane tanks explode, destroying the boat and killing most of the piranhas.
Image result for piranha 2010Mr. Goodman calls Julie on the radio, and Julie tells him that they seem to have killed the majority of the piranhas. A horrified Goodman tells her that the reproductive glands on the piranha they obtained were not mature, which means that the fish they have killed were only the babies. As Novak wonders aloud where the parents are, the human sized-Piranha Queen leaps out of the water and eats him.

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This film was of course, filmed in 3D (there are two discs, one 2D, one 3D) with dismembered body parts and voracious piranhas coming at you in abundance. Strangely enough, I found that the 3D effects worked rather better in 2D and wearing the gasses provided was little more than a gimmick and made everything a bit monochrome. Still, it is all great fun and I enjoyed every bloody minute of it and, provided that you throw your artistic sensibilities out of the window, so, I am sure, will you!

REVIEW: THE RETURN

CAST

Sarah Michelle Gellar (The Crazy Ones)
Sam Shepard (Killing Them Softly)
Peter O’Brien (X-Men Origins: Wolverine)
Kate Beahan (Devious Maids)
Adam Scott (Krampus)
J.C. Mackenzie (Dark Angel)

Joanna Mills (Sarah Michelle Gellar), a travelling rep for a trucking company, is dedicated to her successful career but something of a loner. Since the age of 11 she has been a troubled person, with episodes of self-mutilation and menacing visions. Normally she avoids returning to her native Texas, but agrees to a trip there to secure an important client. During the trip her visions, which take the form of memories of events not from her life, increase in intensity. She sees a strange face staring back at her in the mirror. Her truck radio plays Patsy Cline’s “Sweet Dreams” no matter what station she selects. She stops at the scene of an accident that, on the following day, seems not to have happened. Joanna cuts herself in a bar restroom and is narrowly rescued by a friend. She visits her father, who observes that from age 11 she was “a different girl”. The visions continue, becoming both more specific and more threatening, centering upon a menacing man she does not recognize and a bar she has never seen, but a picture of which is in one of her catalogs.Drawn by the image to the Texas town where the bar is located, a place she has not been since childhood, Joanna meets a man named Terry Stahl, whose wife, Annie, was stalked, brutally assaulted, and left to die fifteen years before, a crime of which Terry was suspected but not convicted. Joanna continues to have visions of this crime and the events that led up to it, and to discover other links between Annie’s life and hers. She meets the real killer and is led by what she has seen in her visions to recover the knife he used from its hiding place. She is then stalked, herself. She finds herself drawn into a repetition of the crime, but this time she stabs her assailant with the recovered knife, using the original weapon to avenge the original crime.The story ends with the revelation that Annie, clinging to life as Terry drove her to the hospital after the original assault, died when his car crashed into one driven by Joanna’s father, in which the eleven-year-old Joanna was a passenger. After momentary unconsciousness, the young Joanna seems to have survived the crash. A silent Joanna is seen reflecting on who she is and what has happened to her. She seems to reach an inner resolution of these questions.

Overall, The Return is a superior supernatural mystery/thriller that is severely underrated. I’d say it’s one of the best supernatural thriller of 2006. It’s the type of film that takes a little thought to fully understand – not everything is spoon fed to you, but it’s not rocket science either. I’d strongly recommend this for people who like subtle, creepy films. It’s not a gory slash fest and I’m not even really sure if it can be considered horror – but it’s a creepy film nonetheless with an excellently written story.