REVIEW: SPIDER-MAN 2.1

CAST

Tobey Maguire (Pleasantville)
Kirsten Dunst (All Good Things)
Willem Dafoe (American Psycho)
James Franco (This Is The End)
Alfred Molina (Frida)
Rosemary Harris (This Means War)
J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)
Elizabeth Banks (Power Rangers)
Donna Murphy (Star Trek: Insurrection)
Daniel Gillies (The Originals)
Dylan Baker (The Cell)
Mageina Tovah (Sleepover)
Bruce Campbell (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
Joel McHale (Ted)
Hal Sparks (Dude, Where’s My Car?)
Emily Deschanel (Bones)
Phil LaMarr (Free Enterprise)
Cliff Robertson (Escape From L.A.)
Reed Diamond (Dollhouse)
Elya Baskin (October Sky)
Ted Raimi (Odyssey 5)
Bill Nunn (True Crime)
Aasif Mandvi (The Dictator)
Daniel Dae Kim (Lost)
Jill Sayre (Hercules and The Amazon Women)

Peter Parker, secretly the superhero Spider-Man, struggles to balance his superhero and civilian lives and duties; he has become estranged from both love interest Mary Jane “M.J.” Watson and best friend Harry Osborn, and additionally discovers his Aunt May is facing eviction. He also finds himself suffering temporary, but reoccurring losses of his powers, often in life-threatening situations. Harry, now head of Oscorp’s research division, is sponsoring a fusion power project by nuclear scientist Otto Octavius’, who befriends and mentors Peter. While handling hazardous materials, Octavius wears a harness of powerful robotic tentacle arms with artificial intelligence. During a public demonstration that Peter and Harry attend, a power spike causes the fusion reactor to destabilize. Octavius refuses to shut down the reactor, which goes critical—resulting in the death of his wife, the fusion of the harness to his spine, and the burnout of the inhibitor chip blocking the arms from his nervous system. Peter shuts the experiment down, destroying it in the process.At a hospital, doctors prepare to surgically remove Octavius’ harness. However, without the inhibitor chip the arms have developed sentience and as a result, attack and massacre the surgical crew. Upon regaining consciousness and seeing the carnage, Octavius escapes and takes refuge at a harbor. Becoming increasingly influenced by the arms’ AI, he robs a bank in order to fund a second experiment. Peter and May coincidentally are there, and Octavius takes May hostage. Peter rescues her, but Octavius flees with stolen money. The Daily Bugle subsequently dubs the scientist Doctor Octopus.Mary Jane becomes engaged to astronaut John Jameson, son of Bugle publisher J. Jonah Jameson. Peter suffers an emotional breakdown over his inability to balance his life, resulting in him losing his powers. He discards his costume, abandons his Spider-Man identity, returns to his normal life, and attempts to reconcile with Mary Jane. A garbageman brings Peter’s Spider-Man costume to Jameson, who takes credit for driving Spider-Man into hiding. Peter tells May the truth behind his Uncle Ben’s death and how he is responsible. May forgives him, but the rise in New York City crime rate worries Peter.Requiring the isotope tritium to fuel his reactor, Octavius visits Harry to demand it. Harry agrees in exchange for Spider-Man’s life. He tells Octavius to seek Peter, who Harry believes is friends with Spider-Man, but requests Octavius not harm him. Octavius locates Peter, tells him to find Spider-Man, and captures Mary Jane. Her endangerment leads to Peter’s powers resurfacing. Just as Jameson admits he was wrong about Spider-Man, Peter steals his costume back from the Bugle and goes after Octavius. As Peter battles Octavius, they fall onto a New York City subway train. Octavius sabotages the controls and leaves Peter to save the passengers, which he does at a great physical toll. When he faints from exhaustion, the grateful passengers save him from falling and bring him into the train, seeing his unmasked face, but promising to keep their knowledge hidden. In vain, they try to protect him when Octavius returns to capture Peter, whom Octavius delivers to Harry.After giving Octavius the tritium, Harry prepares to kill Peter, only to be shocked to discover his real identity. Peter convinces Harry to direct him to Octavius’s lair. As Spider-Man, he arrives at the doctor’s waterfront laboratory and attempts to rescue Mary Jane discreetly. Octavius discovers him and they fight once again as the nuclear reaction swells. Peter ultimately subdues Octavius, reveals his identity, and persuades Octavius to let his dream go for the greater good. Octavius finally commands the tentacles to obey him, and gives his life to destroy the experiment. Mary Jane sees Spider-Man’s true identity and feelings, which he says is why they cannot be together. Peter returns Mary Jane to John, and leaves. Harry is visited by a vision of his father in a mirror, pleading for Harry to avenge his death. Refusing to hurt Peter, Harry shatters the mirror, unintentionally revealing a secret room containing prototypes of the Green Goblin’s equipment. On her wedding day, Mary Jane abandons John at the altar and runs to Peter’s apartment. After they kiss, they hear police sirens, and Mary Jane encourages him go help as Spider-Man.The story, and characters are fleshed out more this time out, as well as the effects. Kirsten Dunst is more convincing as MJ . Here she, like the rest of the cast, do a convincing job. The top performance has to go to Alfred Molina. In the short screen time Otto has before he becomes a diabolical powerhouse supervillain, he is an endearing, likable person. Spider-Man 2 also offers more confidence in it’s story telling. Director Sam Raimi and crew really nailed it this time around.

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REVIEW: SPIDER-MAN 2

CAST

Tobey Maguire (Pleasantville)
Kirsten Dunst (All Good Things)
Willem Dafoe (American Psycho)
James Franco (This Is The End)
Alfred Molina (Frida)
Rosemary Harris (This Means War)
J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)
Elizabeth Banks (Power Rangers)
Donna Murphy (Star Trek: Insurrection)
Daniel Gillies (The Originals)
Dylan Baker (The Cell))
Mageina Tovah (Sleepover)
Bruce Campbell (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
Joel McHale (Ted)
Hal Sparks (Dude, Where’s My Car?)
Emily Deschanel (Bones)
Phil LaMarr (Free Enterprise)
Cliff Robertson (Escape From L.A.)
Reed Diamond (Dollhouse)
Elya Baskin (October Sky)
Ted Raimi (Odyssey 5)
Bill Nunn (True Crime)
Aasif Mandvi (The Dictator)
Daniel Dae Kim (Lost)
Jill Sayre (Hercules and The Amazon Women)

Peter Parker, secretly the superhero Spider-Man, struggles to balance his superhero and civilian lives and duties; he has become estranged from both love interest Mary Jane “M.J.” Watson and best friend Harry Osborn, and additionally discovers his Aunt May is facing eviction. He also finds himself suffering temporary, but reoccurring losses of his powers, often in life-threatening situations.Harry, now head of Oscorp’s research division, is sponsoring a fusion power project by nuclear scientist Otto Octavius’, who befriends and mentors Peter. While handling hazardous materials, Octavius wears a harness of powerful robotic tentacle arms with artificial intelligence. During a public demonstration that Peter and Harry attend, a power spike causes the fusion reactor to destabilize. Octavius refuses to shut down the reactor, which goes critical—resulting in the death of his wife, the fusion of the harness to his spine, and the burnout of the inhibitor chip blocking the arms from his nervous system. Peter shuts the experiment down, destroying it in the process.At a hospital, doctors prepare to surgically remove Octavius’ harness. However, without the inhibitor chip the arms have developed sentience and as a result, attack and massacre the surgical crew. Upon regaining consciousness and seeing the carnage, Octavius escapes and takes refuge at a harbor. Becoming increasingly influenced by the arms’ AI, he robs a bank in order to fund a second experiment. Peter and May coincidentally are there, and Octavius takes May hostage. Peter rescues her, but Octavius flees with stolen money. The Daily Bugle subsequently dubs the scientist Doctor Octopus.Mary Jane becomes engaged to astronaut John Jameson, son of Bugle publisher J. Jonah Jameson. Peter suffers an emotional breakdown over his inability to balance his life, resulting in him losing his powers. He discards his costume, abandons his Spider-Man identity, returns to his normal life, and attempts to reconcile with Mary Jane. A garbageman brings Peter’s Spider-Man costume to Jameson, who takes credit for driving Spider-Man into hiding. Peter tells May the truth behind his Uncle Ben’s death and how he is responsible. May forgives him, but the rise in New York City crime rate worries Peter.Requiring the isotope tritium to fuel his reactor, Octavius visits Harry to demand it. Harry agrees in exchange for Spider-Man’s life. He tells Octavius to seek Peter, who Harry believes is friends with Spider-Man, but requests Octavius not harm him. Octavius locates Peter, tells him to find Spider-Man, and captures Mary Jane. Her endangerment leads to Peter’s powers resurfacing. Just as Jameson admits he was wrong about Spider-Man, Peter steals his costume back from the Bugle and goes after Octavius. As Peter battles Octavius, they fall onto a New York City subway train. Octavius sabotages the controls and leaves Peter to save the passengers, which he does at a great physical toll. When he faints from exhaustion, the grateful passengers save him from falling and bring him into the train, seeing his unmasked face, but promising to keep their knowledge hidden. In vain, they try to protect him when Octavius returns to capture Peter, whom Octavius delivers to Harry.After giving Octavius the tritium, Harry prepares to kill Peter, only to be shocked to discover his real identity. Peter convinces Harry to direct him to Octavius’s lair. As Spider-Man, he arrives at the doctor’s waterfront laboratory and attempts to rescue Mary Jane discreetly. Octavius discovers him and they fight once again as the nuclear reaction swells. Peter ultimately subdues Octavius, reveals his identity, and persuades Octavius to let his dream go for the greater good. Octavius finally commands the tentacles to obey him, and gives his life to destroy the experiment. Mary Jane sees Spider-Man’s true identity and feelings, which he says is why they cannot be together. Peter returns Mary Jane to John, and leaves. Harry is visited by a vision of his father in a mirror, pleading for Harry to avenge his death. Refusing to hurt Peter, Harry shatters the mirror, unintentionally revealing a secret room containing prototypes of the Green Goblin’s equipment. On her wedding day, Mary Jane abandons John at the altar and runs to Peter’s apartment. After they kiss, they hear police sirens, and Mary Jane encourages him go help as Spider-Man.In short, the movie flows better. The characters progress nicely from the events in the first film. The effects are bigger and better and more effective. It feels like a comic book movie should feel like. It’s a more fluid.

REVIEW: LADYHAWKE

CAST

Matthew Broderick (Election)
Rutger Hauer (Batman Begins)
Michelle Pfeiffer (Dark Shadows)
Leo McKern (Te Omrn)
John Wood (WarGames)
Ken Hutchison (Straw Dogs)
Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2)

In 13th century Europe, Philippe “The Mouse” Gaston is a thief facing execution who escapes from the dungeon of Aquila via the sewers, and flees to the countryside. The corrupt Bishop of Aquila is furious because no one has ever escaped from his prison. He sends his Captain of the Guard, Marquet, to hunt down Philippe. At a country tavern, Philippe offers to buy a drink for anyone who will celebrate with him, for he is the only man to have seen the inside of Aquila’s prisons and lived. Unfortunately for him, Marquet and his men are drinking in disguise. As they try to apprehend Philippe, they are foiled by a mysterious black knight who reveals himself to be their former Captain, Etienne of Navarre. Marquet rides back to Aquila to warn the Bishop of Navarre’s return. The Bishop summons Cezar, the wolf trapper.Navarre travels with a well-trained hawk. He saved Philippe because of his boast about escaping from Aquila’s dungeon and needs Philippe’s unique knowledge to lead him inside Aquila to kill the Bishop. That night, Philippe is saved from a murderer by an enormous black wolf. He also encounters a beautiful blonde woman, who mysteriously greets the wolf as though they are old companions.Navarre and the hawk are wounded by crossbows in another encounter with the Bishop’s men. Navarre sends the hawk with Philippe to the old monk Imperius to heal her. At Imperius’ ruined castle, Philippe places the hawk on a table. When Isabeau appears in the hawk’s place, with a crossbow arrow through her left breast, Philippe realizes that she is the hawk. Imperius reveals that the hawk is a woman named Isabeau d’Anjou, who came to live in Aquila after her father, the Count of Anjou, died fighting in the Crusades. All who saw her fell in love with her, including the Bishop, but Isabeau was already in love with Etienne, with whom she secretly exchanged vows.Accidentally betrayed by their confessor, Imperius, they fled. In his insane jealousy, the Bishop made a demonic pact to ensure that they would be “Always together; eternally apart”. By day Isabeau becomes a hawk, and by night Navarre becomes a wolf. Neither has any memory of their half-life in animal form. Only at dusk and dawn of each day can they see each other in human form for one fleeting moment, but they can never touch. Imperius tells Navarre that the curse can be broken in two days at the castle, if both Navarre and Isabeau appear before the Bishop in their human form. Navarre knows this is impossible, but Imperius insists that there will be a day without night and a night without day when the Bishop is taking the clergy’s confessions in the cathedral. Navarre dismisses Imperius as an old drunk. He proceeds to Aquila intent on simply murdering the Bishop, knowing that will make the curse irrevocable. Philippe, convinced by Imperius, joins with him to convince Isabeau; with all three ranged against him, Navarre agrees to their plan.The next night, with Navarre in wolf form in a crude cage, Imperius and Isabeau enter Aquila through the main gate while Philippe swims in via the sewers, retracing his escape route. Before his attack, Navarre orders Imperius to euthanize the hawk if he hears the church bells ring, because that will mean Navarre has failed and is dead. Philippe infiltrates the clergy confession and unlocks the cathedral doors. Navarre rides into the church and duels with Marquet. During their bout, Marquet throws his helmet at Navarre and breaks a window. As the duel continues, Navarre sees a solar eclipse through the broken window, reminding him of Imperius’ plan to break the curse. A guard rings the bells, and Navarre thinks that Imperius has killed the hawk. In a rage, he kills Marquet. He is just about to kill the Bishop as Isabeau appears in the cathedral. Together, they stand before the Bishop, breaking the curse. When the Bishop flies into a rage and attempts to kill Isabeau, Navarre throws his sword through the Bishop’s chest. Isabeau and Navarre embrace in the cathedral.

If you like movies that entertain you, but at the same time stimulate your imagination, I recommend Ladyhawke

REVIEW: SWELTER

CAST

Jean-Claude Van Damme (Universal Soldier)
Josh Henderson (Step Up)
Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2)
Lennie James (Colombiana)
Catalina Sandino Moreno (Maria Full of Grace)
Freya Tingley (Hemlock Grove)
Mindy Robinson (Check Point)
Courtney Hope (Transparent)
Tracey Walter (Conan The Destroyer)
Grant Bowler (Ugly Betty)

Five masked robbers steal $10 million from a Las Vegas casino. All but one, who is shot in the head and assumed dead, are captured, but the money goes missing. Ten years later, Cole, the leader, is broken out of jail by the rest of his gang: Stillman, Boyd, and Cole’s half-brother Kane. From a boastful mechanic, they learn that their former partner apparently survived and escaped with the money due to the intervention of a local physician. They track the physician to Baker, a small, isolated town with many secrets. They find Doc, the physician, at a local bar and, from him and other patrons, learn that the sheriff mysteriously appeared ten years ago. Curious, they start a bar fight in order to draw out the sheriff, who they realize is Pike, the partner who escaped. Pike now calls himself Bishop and claims to suffer from amnesia and migraines from the bullet fragments lodged in his head. Cole saves Bishop’s life during the bar fight, and Bishop runs a belligerent biker gang out of town.Later, Boyd and Kane suggest that they raze the town in search of the loot. Stillman objects, and Kane suggests that Stillman has gone soft. Cole is able to smooth things over and decides to instead probe Bishop to see how much he remembers. The two men discuss the town, and Cole drops a few hints about Bishop’s past. Cole asks Bishop to call a coin toss, but Bishop declines and says that it is meaningless, as a man will do what he wants regardless of the result. Cole, who was holding a gun on Bishop under the table, holsters his weapon and does not interfere when Bishop leaves. Meanwhile, Bishop experiences trouble with his step-daughter, London, whose mother, Carmen, has a past with Cole. Unknown to Bishop, Cole and Carmen were once lovers, and she moved to Baker to escape her previous life. Cole attempts to rekindle their romance, but she refuses.Boyd fatally injures Doc while researching Bishop, and Bishop learns more about his past from Doc’s notes. As he dies, Doc explains that he was the one who treated Bishop. Spurred on by the information in Doc’s notes, Bishop begins to remember bits of his past, though he still does not know where the money is. Boyd and Kane become restless and start trouble in the town. After a fight with her boyfriend, London makes out with Kane. When she refuses to have sex, Kane rapes her. At the local diner Boyd attempts to force himself on the waitress which attracts the attention of the deputy. Boyd engages in a draw with the town’s deputy, an award-winning sharpshooter, and wins, only to be shot down by Bishop, who is faster. Stillman, outraged that Kane would rape a teenage girl, confronts and is killed by Kane. Bishop and Cole meet at the town’s church, and Cole reveals that he has recruited the biker gang to replace his fallen men. Cole reveals Bishop’s criminal background to the populace and gives them until sunrise to find the missing money.At the local diner, Cole takes London hostage in order to ensure Bishop’s cooperation. Disarmed and without the support of the townspeople, Bishop is close to giving up when Carmen reveals that she knew about Bishop’s past the whole time and still accepted him. She recovers a hidden pistol and gives it to Bishop, who then goes to the diner to confront Cole. Kane uses London as human shield, to the disgust of all the others. The biker gang leaves in protest, and Cole shoots Kane dead himself, to the surprise of Bishop. As Cole leaves the diner, Bishop stops him and says that they still must settle their issues. The two have a duel, and Bishop kills Cole. Concerned that his criminal background has now become commonly known, Bishop prepares to go on the run. However, the townspeople rally behind him and offer to cover up the recent events. Bishop stays on the town’s sheriff, and an aerial shot reveals the spot where the money is hidden.The film is semi-grindhouse style with swagger and killing, but falls short in style. The heat, while mentioned, didn’t really play into the plot that well unless you count the dry characters. It is an okay crime-drama, nothing special.

REVIEW: JUSTICE LEAGUE: DARK

CAST

Matt Rayan (Constantine)
Jason O’Mara (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D)
Camilla Luddington (The Pact 2)
Nicholas Turturro (Zookeeper)
Ray Chase (Kingslaive)
Enrico Colantoni (Veronica Mars)
JB Blanc (Breaking Bad)
Roger Cross (Arrow)
Colleen Villard (The Avengers: EMH)
Jerry O’ Connell (Sliders)
Rosario Dawson (Sin City)
Jeremy Davies (Sleepy Hollow)
Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)

All over the world, people suddenly begin panicking as they start to see everyone around them as demonic monsters and end up killing innocents before members of the Justice League stop them. Deliberating about this strange outbreak, most of the League’s members come to the conclusion that magic must be involved in this. Despite his own past experiences with magic, Batman expresses his skepticism and walks out; but as he returns to Wayne Manor to rest, he finds the word “Constantine” written all over the walls.
In a flashback, occultist John Constantine and Jason Blood – engaged the Demons Three in a poker game in Las Vegas for high-end stakes, even offering his home, the House of Mystery, as his part of the pool in exchange for a box of artifacts, including one called the Dreamstone. However, both parties cheated at the game, and when Constantine exposed the Demons’ trickery, they attacked him. Constantine unleashed Jason’s alter ego, the demon Etrigan, who defeated the Demons Three, but not before they swore revenge on him.
Batman visits Zatanna after one of her performances and begins to ask about Constantine. Deadman possesses Batman and tells Zatanna she needs to see John. Zatanna brings Batman to Constantine. The trio narrowly manage to get inside John’s house in time where they are joined by Black Orchid. The group gathers to share information, and after a quick discussion and some argument between John and Zatanna, form a team to investigate the cause and reason for these supernatural occurrences.
The heroes visits a friend of Constantine and Zatanna’s named Ritchie Simpson, but outside the house they find shroud spirits of Death waiting to collect Ritchie’s soul upon his upcoming demise. The team is granted entry by Simpson, who is suffering from a magical cancer and resentful of Constantine for abandoning him to his fate but loans them the Keshanti Key. Constantine and Zatanna look through a man’s memories for the cause of his frenzy, and discover that he was possessed. Batman, Deadman, Constantine, and Zatanna narrowly manage to escape from a conjured beast as the creature consumes its victim, and Zatanna proceeds to destroy the monster.
Returning to Ritchie’s home to identify the ring from the man’s memory, the team finds him about to die with Blood nearby. Batman revives Ritchie with an adrenaline shot to the chest, but he quickly falls into a coma. After being brought to the House of Mystery for interrogation, Blood tells the team that he did not attempt to hurt Ritchie, but was looking for a way into the House of Mystery to find the Dreamstone; created by a sinister magician naming himself Destiny. Ritchie awakens and names Felix Faust as his assailant before falling back asleep.
The group locate Faust’s observatory with help from Swamp Thing. When they infiltrate Faust’s lair, the wizard battles the team, but is ultimately defeated by Zatanna; however, Faust is found to have no involvement in hurting Ritchie. Ritchie awakens and is revealed to have the other piece of the Dreamstone; using it to keep his cancer in remission, but then he is seemingly killed when the Dreamstone brings Destiny back to life. Destiny declares himself a god, destroys the House and departs to sink the United States into chaos; Zatanna saves the group, but passes out from the exertion. The Justice League tries to fight Destiny, but he makes them perceive each other as demonic threats. Etrigan attacks Destiny, but is separated back into Jason Blood and Etrigan. Constantine summons Swamp Thing, who agrees to fight Destiny, while Batman and the recovered Zatanna disable the Justice League.
Constantine tricks Destiny into bringing him and Deadman within his protective shield, allowing Deadman to wound Destiny, before Constantine, Batman, and Blood destroy the Dreamstone and Destiny’s body, leaving Ritchie, whose soul is dragged to Hell by the shroud spirits. Right afterwards, Blood succumbs to his mortal wound from centuries before. Zatanna, Constatine and Etrigan bury Blood’s body near the place of his old village, before Etrigan leaves for parts unknown. Zatanna agrees to join the Justice League, while Constantine declines (knowing Batman won’t approve if he did). The two return to the now-rebuilt House of Mystery, taking a first tentative step to restoring their fractured relationship, and Deadman likewise joins the restored Black Orchid as her soulmate.It’s refreshing to see a simpler, more straightforward, yet still effectively intriguing story-telling pace set by DC’s animated feature titles. JLD continues the trend of it’s predecessor, excelling at brief but complete introductions to some of DC’s more obscure characters, bringing them out of the shadows. The use of the overly popular Batman is very fitting here and die-hard and new fans should find a bunch to like. Animation is solid, the voice-casting is even better.And it’s great to see Matt Ryan back as Constantine.

REVIEW: THE FORGER

CAST

Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games)
Hayden Panettiere (Heroes)
Lauen Bacall (The Big Sleep)
Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2)
Billy Boyd (Seed of Chucky)
Adam Godley (Powers)
Tricia Helfer (Battlestar Galactica)

Joshua Mason (Josh Hutcherson) is a troubled 15-year-old who is abandoned by his mother at a motel in Carmel-by-the-Sea. The story begins with Joshua finishing a painting at an old mission and selling it for $50, only to be caught by the artist who had left the painting on an easel. He returns to the motel room to sleep. When the motel manager comes to collect payment, Joshua grabs his belongings and runs out the back door. A social worker, Vanessa Reese, visits the manager and he explains that he hasn’t seen the boy’s mother for some time. He shows Vanessa the room and that the boy has painted some amazing art on the walls, mirror and ceiling. Joshua, meanwhile, wanders around the town and chats to a girl, Amber, through a school yard fence. One of the school’s faculty reprimands Amber for not returning to school and grabs her by the arm to take her to the principal’s office. Joshua becomes upset with how aggressive the teacher is, pulling at her arm, and shouts at him to give her a break and pick on someone his own size. Joshua climbs the fence and pulls Amber from the teacher’s grip only to be confronted by two boys – one of them her brother Ryan, who thinks she’s being harassed. Joshua punches Ryan, who then punches back. Joshua runs off, climbs the fence and shouts back he’s sorry to the girl. When it starts to rain, he hides in a culvert but gets caught in the flowing water. His hand is cut as he falls out of the culvert into the sea/coast below.

Joshua walks along the rocky coastline and happens upon a large sea-side mansion and finding a side door that’s been left open, ‘breaks’ in. He showers, cleans up his cut and now starving, makes himself a large sandwich. While exploring the mansion, he finds an art studio with a painting that is half complete (being copied from a photo) and finishes it before falling asleep. When he awakens he’s confronted by the police and taken to child services. He tells the social worker that he doesn’t know where his mother is.

Back at the mansion, the owner, Everly (Alfred Molina), finds the now-finished painting and believes the boy has real talent since he had been unable to find anyone to complete the portrait, let alone do it with such complete accuracy. Everly decides to take in the boy thinking that he might be able to exploit his art talent. While eating breakfast one morning, Everly gives Joshua an expensive fountain pen as a gift and the two talk about art. Joshua, knowing little on the history of art, jokingly tells Everly that his favorite artist is Hank Ketcham, the creator of Dennis the Menace. During a charity art benefit, Joshua meets a kind old woman named Anne-Marie Cole (Lauren Bacall). He also meets Ryan, Amber’s brother, and the two apologize to each other about what had gone down at the school yard the other day. Ryan says Amber told him the full story of what happened and thanks Joshua for looking out for his sister. The two talk about Anne-Marie and how she’s indeed cool but also loaded.

That night, Joshua breaks into Anne-Marie’s home but is unsure of why he does. He begins to go through some of her things and finds a leather-thong necklace with a small vial (filled with something that he later finds out to be cyanide) which he pilfers, as well as a picture of an unknown man. Anne-Marie discovers Joshua in the room and asks him what he is doing. He asks who the man is in the photograph. She tells him it is an artist named George and nothing more. She then calls Everly to come and collect him. The next day Joshua and Amber talk on the beach. When Amber asks what she could do to repay him, he states that she could give him a kiss. She laughs it off and races him down the beach but drops her keys in an effort to win. She beats him and while trying to get her keys back from him, he kisses her without warning. She pushes him off, demands for him to give her the keys before leaving him on the beach. There he finds a large black dog and learns that it is Anne-Marie’s dog Matilda. He takes Matilda home to Anne-Marie and the two of them talk over a bowl of soup.

Meanwhile, Vanessa continues her search to find Joshua’s mother and learns that she may be living with her boyfriend. Joshua goes to Amber’s and gives her a portrait of her that he had drawn. She smiles and comments that it looks good and invites him to sit with her. Joshua apologizes for what he did at the beach and that he was foolish for kissing her like that. She tells him that it was the worst kiss she had ever experienced and teaches him how to “properly” kiss a girl. Meanwhile, Everly has sold the painting that Joshua had completed earlier but needs to complete a Winslow Homer in just a couple of weeks or lose his art galleries along with everything he owns. He decides to take a risk and use the boy seeing as he is the only one who could complete the portrait accurately and on time. Joshua attends a party that Amber is throwing and sees her in the arms of another guy, who happens to be her cousin. He grows jealous and follows them in the house and is about to confront him but he is held back by Ryan. Joshua and Ryan fight, resulting in Joshua hitting Ryan with a pool ball.
josh-hutcherson-the-forger-4
Joshua goes to Anne-Marie’s where she tends to his wounds. She tells him that just seeing something won’t give you the truth, that you sometimes have to look at something in a different light. She then asks if he would like to live with her. He tells her that he would have to think about it. Back at Everly’s, Joshua confronts Everly about his forgery scheme and how for $500 he will keep his mouth shut. Everly gives him a different proposition: If he does one more painting he will get half the money made from it – a possibility of millions. Joshua, amazed, says yes. For a week he learns what forgers have to do so their paintings pass as authentic. When the painting is finished, Joshua and Everly have an unpleasant conversation. Joshua, having second thoughts, then takes the painting from the house and hides it.
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Meanwhile, Vanessa finds Joshua’s mother living with her boyfriend and a child. Vanessa then calls child protective services to rescue the child. She goes back to her office and takes a closer look at Joshua’s file and learns that he has been abused by his mother. She discovers that Anne-Marie wants to become Joshua’s permanent guardian. She learns how Anne-Marie had been questioned by the police and fell under suspicion of forgery. Vanessa also learns that Anne-Marie lost her family in a house fire and was unable to save her only surviving daughter. Joshua goes to Anne-Marie’s after hearing a rumor from Everly that she was once a forger. He goes through her stuff and finds a forger’s hammer and a newspaper clipping about how she was suspected of art forgeries. He then runs away feeling that he cannot trust anyone. Vanessa then meets with Joshua and tells him she could not find his mother. Joshua then breaks down in tears feeling that he is unwanted.
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Ryan talks to Joshua and tells him he needs to apologize to Amber, which he does. Joshua then goes ahead and steals the painting. Anne-Marie goes to Everly’s to talk to Joshua and finds the door unlocked. She goes in and wanders into the art studio where she learns that Joshua has stolen the painting. Joshua then goes to the art exhibit and returns the painting, but before he leaves Anne-Marie, in front of everybody, slices the portrait and tells everyone that it was a forgery and that she at one time painted one of Everly’s forgeries and has regretted it ever since. The portrait is confirmed to be a forgery when an underpainting of Dennis the Menace is revealed. In the end, Joshua agrees to Anne-Marie’s request and lives with her, and is also in a relationship with Amber. He states that, “I wasn’t sure what I was looking for at first when I broke into Anne-Marie’s house, but now I know. I was looking for a place to belong.”mv5bnjk3mti1nzk2of5bml5banbnxkftztywodqzndez-_v1_uy317_cr820214317_al_Forget about all the weak points within the script and enjoy this movie as a very good piece of light entertainment.

REVIEW: AN EDUCATION

CAST

Carey Mulligan (Drive)
Peter Sarsgaard (The Cell)
Dominic Cooper (Dracula Untold)
Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl)
Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2)
Emma Thompson (Junior)
Olvia Williams (Dollhouse)
Cara Seymour (The Savages)
Sally Hawkins (Cassandra’s Dream)
Matthew Beard (The Imitation Game)
Ellie Kendrick (Game of Thrones)

In 1961 London, Jenny Mellor is a 16-year-old schoolgirl preparing for Oxford University when she meets a charming older man driving a Bristol 405, David Goldman, who pursues her romantically. He takes her to concerts, clubs and fine restaurants, easily charming and manipulating her parents into approving of the relationship. Later, Jenny discovers that David is a con man who makes money through a variety of shady practices. She is initially shocked but silences her misgivings in the face of David’s charm. Jenny’s parents invite Graham, a boy Jenny knows from Youth Orchestra, to Jenny’s birthday party but David arrives and Graham goes home. A few days later, David takes Jenny to Paris as a birthday gift, where she loses her virginity to him. When David proposes marriage, Jenny accepts and leaves school. However, she later discovers David is already married. When she reveals her discovery to David, he drops out of sight. Jenny despairs, feeling she has thrown her life away but, with the help of her favourite teacher, resumes her studies and is accepted at Oxford the following year.The screenplay is by Nick Hornby and, like all his books, he takes a low-key drama about quite ordinary people and turns it into a really witty and gripping story. The acting is superb on all fronts. All the other aspects of the film, such as the music and the portrayal of the 1960s setting (which looks really great on Blu-ray) are really well done. No one aspect of the film is absolutely amazing, but I thought the fact that every component of it is such high quality makes it an excellent and very watchable film. .