REVIEW: ABDUCTION

CAST

Taylor Lautner (Twilight)
Lily Collins (Mirror Mirror)
Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2)
Jason Isaacs (Star Trek: Discovery)
Maria Bello (The Cooler)
Sigourney Weaver (Alien)
Michael Nyqvist (John Wick)
Dermot Mulroney (Young Guns)
Nickola Shreli (Hostel – Part III)
Elisabeth Röhm (Joy)
Ilia Volok (Power Rangers: Wild Force)

Denzel Whitaker and Taylor Lautner in Abduction (2011)Nathan Harper (Taylor Lautner) is an 18-year-old high school senior living in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with his parents Kevin (Jason Isaacs) and Mara (Maria Bello). He has troubles from recurring nightmares and has been seeing psychiatrist Dr. Geraldine “Geri” Bennett (Sigourney Weaver) to diagnose them. Nathan is teamed with Karen Murphy (Lily Collins) for a school research project on missing children. Nathan discovers he looks very much like an age-progression photo of a missing child, Steven Price. His investigations show that his parents are probably biologically unrelated. He approaches Mara and she confirms the truth. She goes off crying to get his father to help her explain it all to him. Two men claiming to be from the Department of Juvenile Justice arrive at Nathan’s home in the evening while Mara is on her way to get Kevin. Mara is suspicious and attacks the two, but is shot and killed by the intruders. Kevin is also killed, but not before subduing one agent, as well as yelling for Nathan to run. Nathan runs but returns for Karen, who is now captured by the remaining agent. Nathan overpowers the agent and rescues Karen, he attempts to find out who the man is, but is suddenly forced out of the house because a bomb planted there is about to detonate.Taylor Lautner and Lily Collins in Abduction (2011)The blast injures Karen, so Nathan takes her to the hospital and attempts to contact the police. His call is intercepted by CIA operative Frank Burton (Alfred Molina), who tells Nathan he is in danger and he will send two men to collect him. Nathan is suspicious and while he is trying to make sense of it all, Dr. Bennett appears and helps him and Karen escape. While driving away, Dr. Bennett explains that Nathan’s biological father, Martin (Dermot Mulroney), stole an encrypted list of 25 corrupt CIA operatives from the Serbian terrorist Nikola Kozlow (Michael Nyqvist) when Nathan was 3: Kozlow then planned on abducting Nathan to coerce Martin to hand over the list. Nathan had been given to his adoptive parents to protect him. Kozlow used the website to claim Nathan as the missing child Steven Price in order to find him. Dr. Bennett gives Nathan the address of a safe house in Arlington, Virginia and tells him to trust only his biological father Martin and a man named Paul Rasmus. Kozlow’s men follow them, but Bennett is able to help them escape. Meanwhile, Burton is warned by his superior to end the situation as soon as possible once he learns of the involvement of Bennett, who is revealed to be a former CIA operative.Taylor Lautner and Lily Collins in Abduction (2011)Arriving at the safehouse: the two obtain money, a gun, a photo of Nathan’s biological mother Lorna Price (Elisabeth Röhm), and a cell phone. Karen tries to call her family, but her call is intercepted by Burton and the CIA, forcing them to flee. Finding the address for his mother, the pair discover the address is a cemetery and that Lorna has died. Nathan and Karen visit her grave and find fresh flowers there, and, according to the graveyard attendant, the sender is Paul Rasmus, who lives in Nebraska. The two take an Amtrak passenger train to get there using fake IDs provided by their friend Gilly (Denzel Whitaker). En route they confess their feelings for each other and share a passionate kiss. They are unaware that they are being followed by Kozlow’s right-hand man who abducts Karen when she goes out for food. He leaves her bound and gagged with duct tape in a separate room, but she frees herself by using a piece of broken glass. Nathan fights the right-hand man and he throws him out the window. After the train stops the two make a run for it. Burton’s team finds Kozlow’s henchman and tracks them down.Taylor Lautner and Lily Collins in Abduction (2011)Burton explains the data that Martin had stolen contains Burton’s name on the list. As Burton tries to play that off, the agents are attacked by Kozlow’s snipers. Nathan and Karen take off in a car before they can be caught. As they flee, the cell phone from Kozlow’s man rings, the caller is Kozlow and he threatens to kill Karen’s parents if Nathan does not hand over the data. Nathan gets Kozlow to agree to make the transaction at a Pittsburgh Pirates baseball game at their home stadium, the PNC Park.Taylor Lautner in Abduction (2011)Nathan works with Gilly to obtain tickets and secures a gun to one of the seats with the intent to kill Kozlow. Martin calls Nathan and warns him off, but Nathan refuses to listen. When Kozlow arrives, Karen takes Kozlow’s photo so Nathan can recognize him. The two meet and Kozlow tells Nathan how he killed his mother when Nathan was 3 after she refused to give up Martin’s location. Kozlow grabs the gun from Nathan and demands the list, Nathan bolts and Kozlow gives chase, followed by CIA operatives who have seen them in the crowd. Nathan is able to escape and Kozlow is killed by Martin. Burton, his superior and his agents arrive. Burton asks for the cell phone, promising to give the decrypted results to his superior. However, Martin had warned his superior about Burton’s corruption and takes the phone himself while Burton is taken into custody. Martin calls Nathan, apologizing for not being the father he should have been, Nathan asks him to show himself but Martin refuses. Bennett arrives with Karen and says she has arranged for Nathan to live with her until he decides what to pursue in his life. As the movie ends, Nathan and Karen go on a date in the empty PNC Park.Taylor Lautner in Abduction (2011)OK, we got to face that Abduction is not a ground-breaking title, but it’s far from trash. It’s a fine movie besides some goofs that you will only notice if you are watch every single scene several times. There is no riddles, nothing to put you trying to figure it out. A fast pacing movie enjoyable after a day at work. Twilight haters are being too harsh on the reviews, Abduction was never supposed to win an academy awards, but it’s not a waste of time neither money if you are looking for a light action movie.

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REVIEW: WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT

CAST

Tina Fey (Mean Girls)
Margot Robbie (I, Tonya)
Martin Freeman (Black Panther)
Christopher Abbott (A Most Violent Year)
Billy Bob Thornton (Bad Santa)
Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2)
Sheila Vand (Argo)
Nicholas Braun (The Watch)
Steve Peacocke (Home and Away)
Evan Jonigkeit (Tallulah)
Scott Takeda (Gone Girl)
Josh Charles (The Good Wife)
Cherry Jones (The BEaver)
Sterling K. Brown (THe Predator)
Thomas Kretschmann (King Kong)

Tina Fey, Nicholas Braun, and Christopher Abbott in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (2016)In 2003 New York City, dissatisfied with the state of her career covering low-profile stories, television journalist Kim Baker (Tina Fey) agrees to take a short assignment as a war correspondent in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom, to the disappointment of her boyfriend Chris (Josh Charles), who also spends a lot of time traveling. Assigned low-budget living quarters with other international journalists, she begins friendships with noted BBC correspondent Tanya Vanderpoel (Margot Robbie) and lecherous Scottish freelance photographer Iain MacKelpie (Martin Freeman). After a period of adjustment aided by her Afghan “fixer” Fahim Ahmadzai (Christopher Abbott), she begins taking well to the assignment, eliciting frank remarks on camera from soldiers questioning the value of their assignment there, and putting herself in harm’s way to capture combat incidents on video. American Marine commander General (previously Colonel) Hollanek (Billy Bob Thornton) takes a dim view of her as an inexperienced nuisance.Tina Fey and Margot Robbie in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (2016)Despite the danger, Kim stays in Afghanistan for months, then years beyond her original assignment. She catches Chris unprepared with a middle-of-the-night video call, and finds him with another woman, ending their relationship. Against her better judgment, she begins a sexual relationship with Iain, which over time also develops into a more personal one. Although her status as a woman presents challenges in an Afghan Islamic society which places restrictive roles on women, she also uses it to her advantage, gaining access to women in a village who explain that they’ve been sabotaging the US-built well because they welcome the daily walk to the river away from the men, and recklessly, carrying a camera under a burqa to record a religious demonstration. She also walks a tightrope, taking advantage of the thinly-veiled sexual interest of Afghan Attorney General Ali Massoud Sadiq (Alfred Molina) to use him as a source. Fahim – who treated opium addicts before the war – cautions her, pointing out that danger can be like a drug.Margot Robbie in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (2016)Despite their mutual friendliness, Kim remains in competition with other journalists for stories and for resources from their employers back home. After three years in Afghanistan, Kim flies to New York to argue for more support from her network’s new boss, only to discover that Tanya is slated to take over from her. Meanwhile, Iain is kidnapped for ransom while traveling cross-country to cover a developing story that Iain had earlier offered to bring Kim in on. Kim returns “home” to Afghanistan, where she blackmails her “special friend”, Ali, for information about Iain’s whereabouts, and impresses upon Hollanek the political value to him of rescuing Iain. The mission – accompanied by Kim’s cameraman – is a success, both militarily and journalistically. However, shortly after Iain’s rescue Kim becomes disillusioned with both her tentative relationship and her station. She then bids farewell to her colleagues and to Fahim, and returns to the U.S. to stay.Tina Fey in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (2016)After returning, she looks up a Marine (Evan Jonigkeit) who was transferred, apparently because of his on-camera comments to her, and subsequently lost both of his legs to an IED. She tries to apologize for the consequences of her actions, but he refuses to let her take the blame. She moves on to an on-camera desk job, where she later finds herself interviewing Iain, who is going to be in New York soon as part of a tour for his new book, and who invites her to meet him for coffee.Tina Fey and Margot Robbie in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (2016)This movie is much, much more than a simple rom-com or military comedy, it is a Comedy/Drama that brings quite a bit of heart to it. I would strongly encourage you to seek this one out, you’ll be glad you did.

REVIEW: THE DA VINCI CODE

CAST

Tom Hanks (Sully)
Audrey Tautou (Priceless)
Ian McKellen (X-Men)
Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2)
Jürgen Prochnow (Dune)
Jean Reno (Mission Impossible)
Paul Bettany (Avengers: Age of Ultron)
Seth Gabel (Arrow)

Tom Hanks and Jean Reno in The Da Vinci Code (2006)Jacques Saunière, the Louvre’s curator, is pursued through the Grand Gallery by an albino Catholic monk named Silas, who demands the location of the Priory’s “keystone” to find and destroy the Holy Grail. Saunière gives him a false lead and is murdered. When the police arrive, they find his body posed like Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man. The police captain, Bezu Fache, sends his lieutenant, Jérôme Collet, to summon American symbologist Robert Langdon, in the midst of signing autographs after one of his public talks, to examine Saunière’s body.Tom Hanks, Ian McKellen, and Audrey Tautou in The Da Vinci Code (2006)At the museum, Langdon is shown the body, and a secret message, readable only by blacklight, that contains an out-of-order Fibonacci sequence. Sophie Neveu, a police cryptographer and Saunière’s granddaughter, reveals to Langdon that Fache planted a tracker on him after finding the words “P.S. Find Robert Langdon” at the end of Saunière’s secret message, leading Fache to believe Langdon murdered Saunière. The two get rid of the tracker, distracting the police, and sneak around the Louvre, finding more clues in Leonardo da Vinci’s works, eventually leading to Langdon to deduce that Saunière was the grand master of the Priory of Sion.Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou in The Da Vinci Code (2006)Silas is revealed to be working for an anonymous person named the Teacher, along with members of Opus Dei, led by Bishop Aringarosa. Evading the police, Langdon and Sophie travel to the Depository Bank of Zurich, where they access a safe deposit box of Saunière’s, using the Fibonacci sequence. Inside the box is a cryptex, a cylindrical container that can only be safely opened by turning dials to spell a code word, and which contains a message on papyrus. The police arrive outside and Langdon and Sophie are aided by the bank manager, Andre Vernet, only for him to attempt to take the cryptex and murder them. Langdon disarms Vernet and flees with Sophie and the cryptex.Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou in The Da Vinci Code (2006)The two visit Langdon’s friend, Sir Leigh Teabing, a Holy Grail expert who walks using crutches, who claims the Grail is not a cup but instead Mary Magdalene, Jesus Christ’s wife. Teabing argues that she was pregnant during His crucifixion, and the Priory was formed to protect their descendants. The Opus Dei have been trying to destroy the Grail to preserve the credibility of the Vatican. Later, Silas breaks into Teabing’s house, but Teabing, using one of his crutches, disables him. The group escapes to London via Teabing’s private plane, along with his butler, Remy Jean. They travel to the Temple Church, but the clue to unlocking the cryptex is a red herring. Silas is freed by Remy while claiming to be the Teacher and taking Teabing hostage, dumping him in the car trunk, and taking Silas to hide out in an Opus Dei safe house. Teabing later poisons Remy and sends the police after Silas. Silas is shot by police after accidentally wounding Aringarosa, who is promptly arrested by Fache, who resents being used to hunt Langdon.Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou in The Da Vinci Code (2006)Langdon and Sophie are confronted by Teabing, who is revealed to be the Teacher, and who wants to bring down the Church for centuries of persecution and deceit. The trio goes to Westminster Abbey to the tomb of Isaac Newton, a former grand master of the Priory. Teabing demands that the pair open the cryptex. Langdon tries and then tosses the cryptex into the air. Teabing dives for it, catches it, but acid dribbles and the papyrus thought destroyed. The police arrive to arrest Teabing, who realizes Langdon must have solved the cryptex’s code and removed the papyrus. The code is revealed to be “APPLE”, after the apocryphal myth of the apple which led Newton to discover his law of universal gravitation. The clue inside the cryptex, which tells of the Grail hiding “‘neath the rose”, leads Langdon and Sophie to Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland.Inside the chapel, they discover Magdalene’s tomb has been removed.Tom Hanks in The Da Vinci Code (2006)Langdon, after searching through documents, realizes that Sophie’s family died in a car crash, that Saunière was not her grandfather but her protector, and that she is the last descendant of Jesus Christ. The two are greeted by several members of the Priory, including Sophie’s grandmother, who promises to protect her. Langdon and Sophie part ways, the former returning to Paris. While shaving, he cuts himself and has an epiphany when his blood curves down the sink, reminding him of the Rose Line. Realizing the true meaning of the cryptex clue, he follows the line to the Louvre, concluding the Holy Grail, the sarcophagus of Mary Magdalene, is hidden below the Pyramide Inversée. Langdon kneels above it.Audrey Tautou in The Da Vinci Code (2006)In the end, in spite of all the controversies, perhaps Robert Langdon’s line is poignant – if given a chance, would you rather destroy faith, or renew it? The book and the movie have provided an opportunity for the faith to renew itself, to debunk the myths and theories (which were developed loosely to make the story flow of course), and to generally point the curious to the direction and light the faith wants to show.  This Ron Howard movie makes a good summer popcorn flick, with the usual thrills and spills you’d come to expect with its superb production values.

 

REVIEW: PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME

CAST

Jake Gyllenhaal (Nocturnal Animals)
Gemma Arterton (The Voices)
Ben Kingsley (Iron Man 3)
Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2)
Steve Toussaint (Judge Dredd)
Darwin Shaw (Casino Royale)
Toby Kebbell (Fantastic Four)
Richard Coyle (The Libertine)
Ronald Pickup (Zulu Dawn)

Dastan, a street urchin in Persia, is adopted by King Sharaman after showing courage in the marketplace. Fifteen years later, Sharaman’s brother Nizam receives proof that the holy city of Alamut is supplying weapons to Persian enemies, and the princes — Dastan, along with the king’s biological sons Tus and Garsiv — are sent to siege and take over Alamut. Dastan and his friends breach into the city on their own, and open a gate letting the Persians in. During the attack, Dastan fights a guard for Alamut’s royal family and takes from him a special dagger.Alamut falls to the Persians, but Princess Tamina denies the town having any weapon forges. Tus asks her to marry him to unite the two nations, and she only accept after seeing the dagger in Dastan’s possession. During the celebration, Dastan is fooled into presenting a poisoned gown seemingly given to him by Tus to King Sharaman, which fatally burns the king. Garsiv accuses Dastan of being the murderer, and the prince is forced to escape, carrying Tamina along. Tus is appointed king and orders a manhunt on Dastan.While in hiding, Tamina attempts to kill Dastan, and in the struggle the prince discovers the dagger enables its wielder to travel back in time. Dastan then believes that Tus invaded Alamut for the dagger, and decides to confront his brother at the funeral of the king in Avrat. On the way, the two are captured by merchant-bandits led by Sheik Amar, who recognized and attempted to take him back to Persia for the reward money, but they manage to escape. After arriving in Avrat, Dastan tries to convince his uncle Nizam that he was not the cause of his father’s death, only to discover the dagger was taken by Tamina. Instead, he notices the burns on Nizam’s hands, which indicate he was the one who set up the murder of the King. Furthermore, Nizam has set up an ambush for Dastan along the Persian streets, and after a conflict with his brother Garsiv, Dastan escapes. Nizam sends a group of covert and seemingly mystical warriors, the Hashanshin, to kill Dastan and find the dagger.During a sandstorm, Tamina tells Dastan the origins of the Sands of Time that enable the dagger’s time travel, while admitting the weapon only holds enough sand to reverse time by one minute. Dastan realizes that Nizam’s plan is to place the dagger in the sandglass holding the Sands of Time, causing Nizam to go back in time and prevent himself from saving Sharaman’s life from a lion as children so that he’ll be king of Persia. Tamina says that in doing so, the sandglass would be broken and destroy the world. After the two are captured by Sheik Amar, and Dastan saves Amar’s men from an Hashanshin attack using the dagger, the Sheik is convinced to carry both to a sanctuary near Hindu Kush, where the dagger could be sealed by returning it to the stone it once came from. At the sanctuary, they are found by Garsiv, whom Dastan convinces of his innocence but are later ambushed by the Hassansins. Garsiv sacrifices himself to save Dastan, while Tamina is knocked unconscious by a Hashanshin and the dagger is stolen.Dastan’s group travels back to Alamut to retrieve the dagger from Nizam and tell Tus the truth. Amar’s right hand man Seso dies getting the dagger back to Dastan, and the prince demonstrates the weapon’s powers to Tus to convince his brother. Afterwards Nizam walks in, kills Tus, and takes the dagger back. Tamina saves Dastan from being killed and the two head for secret underground tunnels that lead to the sandglass. When they reach Nizam, he stabs the sandglass and throws the both of them off a cliff. Dastan holds on to it with one arm and Tamina with the other. Tamina then sacrifices herself so that Dastan can stop Nizam. The two fight and when Dastan removes the dagger from the sandglass, time is reset to the moment Dastan found the dagger, causing all of the previous events to never have happened. Dastan finds Tus and Garsiv and exposes Nizam’s betrayal. Nizam attempts to kill Dastan, but is subdued and then killed by Tus. Tus apologizes to Tamina and proposes to strengthen the two nation’s bond by her marrying Dastan. Dastan returns the dagger to Tamina as an engagement gift and tells her he looks forward to their future together as she takes his hand.I highly recommend this film for a good old-fashioned, action-adventure film set in ancient times. The parkour sequences are definitely of the highest order and very well-edited and photographed. The sets and visual effects are excellent. Best of all, the story is intelligent and well-constructed. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer has again delivered a very entertaining summer blockbuster. A very well-executed film of its genre. A must watch!

REVIEW: SPIDER-MAN 2

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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.