REVIEW: TOMB RAIDER (2018)

CAST

Alica Vikander (Ex Machina)
Dominic West (The Awakening)
Walton Goggins (Ant-Man and The Wasp)
Daniel Wu (Geostorm)
Kristin Scott Thomas (Darkest Hour)
Derek Jacobi (Murder on The Orient Express)
Nick Frost (Hot Fuzz)
Jaime Winstone (Elfie Hopkins)
Hannah John-Kamen (Ready Player One)
Antonio Aakeel (The Hungry)
Duncan Airlie James (Autumn Never Dies)
Josef Altin (Game of Thrones)
Emily Carey (Wonder Woman)

Alicia Vikander in Tomb Raider (2018)Following the disappearance of her father, Lord Richard Croft, Lara Croft makes a living as a bike courier. When she is arrested after a bike accident involving a police car, Richard’s business partner Ana Miller posts her bail and warns her that if she does not claim her vast inheritance, her father’s country estate, Croft Manor, will be sold off. Lara reluctantly accepts and gains access to a secret chamber in her father’s tomb. There she finds a pre-recorded video message from Richard detailing his research into Himiko, the mythical Queen of Yamatai who was said to command the power over life and death. Richard warns Lara to destroy all of his research but Lara decides not to so she can investigate further.Daniel Wu and Alicia Vikander in Tomb Raider (2018)Lara travels to Hong Kong where she hires Lu Ren, captain of the ship Endurance, to sail into the Devil’s Sea and the island of Yamatai. Lu Ren turns out to be the son of the captain Lara’s father hired to take him to the island seven years ago. The ship capsizes in a violent storm and Lara is washed ashore where she is knocked unconscious. She is revived by Mathias Vogel, the leader of an expedition to locate Himiko’s tomb. The expedition has been funded by a shadowy organization called Trinity that seeks to harness and weaponize Himiko’s power. Vogel takes Lara prisoner, claiming that he killed her father and intends to use Richard’s research to continue his expedition. He adds Lara and Lu Ren to his slave force but soon Lara escapes with the help of Lu (after learning Vogel murdered his father), who stays behind after being severely injured.Alicia Vikander in Tomb Raider (2018)Lara regains consciousness after nightfall and is forced to kill a Trinity guard when she is nearly discovered. She follows a mysterious figure wandering the island and discovers that the figure is her father, who stayed on the island to prevent Trinity from finding Himiko’s tomb. After Lara convinces him that she is real and not a figment of his imagination, Richard treats her injuries. Despite his protests, Lara sets off to recover his research from Vogel’s camp. Lara makes contact with Lu Ren, and he, along with the fishermen, stage distractions that allow Lara to infiltrate the Trinity camp and recover her father’s research. In the ensuing chaos, Richard makes his way to Himiko’s tomb and is captured by Vogel, who persuades Lara to open the tomb.Alicia Vikander in Tomb Raider (2018)The party navigates a series of booby traps and locates Himiko’s sarcophagus. Two Trinity soldiers attempt to remove her corpse but become infected by Himiko’s “power”, which is actually a disease so potent that mere physical contact triggers immediate bodily disintegration, and reduces those infected to an aggressive zombie-like state. Images around the tomb reveal that Himiko, who was apparently immune to the virus herself and was a carrier, came to the island voluntarily rather than being forced as the legends imply, sacrificing herself to contain the virus. Vogel concludes that he cannot remove Himiko’s body and instead settles for detaching a finger, which he seals in a pouch. In the confusion, Lara and Richard overpower the remaining soldiers, though Vogel escapes and Richard becomes infected. Knowing there is no cure, Richard proposes destroying Himiko’s tomb to prevent the disease from spreading across the world. Lara pursues Vogel as Richard sets off a bomb, killing himself and sealing the tomb. Lara confronts Vogel and the two fight. Lara force-feeds him Himiko’s severed finger and kicks him into a deep chasm as the infection takes over. She escapes the tomb as it collapses and meets back up with Lu Ren and the fishermen, and commandeers a Trinity helicopter to escape Yamatai.Alicia Vikander in Tomb Raider (2018)Lara returns to London, where she formally accepts her inheritance and inadvertently discovers that Trinity’s front company, Patna, is actually a subsidiary of Croft Holdings. She proceeds to investigate Trinity further and begins to suspect that Ana Miller is one of their agents who manipulated her into accepting her inheritance in order to have Lara sign over control of Croft Holdings’ business operations to her when Richard Croft stopped cooperating with Trinity. Having witnessed Trinity’s ruthlessness firsthand, she prepares for her next adventure.Alicia Vikander in Tomb Raider (2018)Finally we got one good motion picture which is well adapted from a game. Alicia Vikander is awesome as Lara Croft. Yes, we tend to compare it with Angelina Jolie’s version but this movie turns out much better. I truly enjoyed Angelina Jolie’s Tomb Raider’s Lara Croft but this one is more grounded.

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REVIEW: ANNA KARENINA (2012)


CAST

Keira Knightley (Pirates of The Caribbean)
Jude Law (Spy)
Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Godzilla)
Matthew Macfadyen (Enigma)
Kelly Macdonald (Boardwalk Empire)
Alicia Vikander (Jason Bourne)
Domhnall Gleeson (Star Wars: The Force Awakens)
Olivia Williams (Dollhouse)
Ruth Wilson (The Lone Ranger)
Emily Watson (The Theory of Everything)
Michelle Dockery (Hanna)
Raphaël Personnaz (Three Words)
Cara Delevingne (Suicide Squad)
Bill Skarsgård (Allegiant)
Alexander Roach (The Huntsman)

In 1874 Imperial Russia, Prince Stephan “Stiva” Oblonsky’s wife, Princess Daria “Dolly”, banishes her husband from their home due to his infidelity. Stiva’s sister, Anna Karenina, a well off and liked socialite living in St. Petersburg with her older husband, Count Alexei Karenin, and their son, Seryozha, travels to Moscow to persuade Dolly to forgive Stiva. Meanwhile, Stiva meets his old friend Konstantin Levin, a wealthy land owner and aristocrat who is looked down upon by Moscow’s elite for preferring country life to city life. Levin professes his love for Stiva’s sister-in-law, Princess Katerina “Kitty” Alexandrovna, and Stiva encourages him to propose. However, Kitty declines as she hopes to marry Count Alexei Vronsky. Later, Levin meets with his elder brother Nikolai, who has given up his inheritance and taken a prostitute named Masha as his wife. Nikolai suggests that Levin marry one of the peasants on his estate. On the train to Moscow, Anna meets Vronsky’s mother, Countess Vronskaya, and once there Anna meets Vronsky himself, and they have immediate mutual attraction. When a railway worker is killed in an accident at the station, Vronsky is seen by Anna, Stiva, and the Countess giving a large sum of money to the worker’s family. Anna convinces Dolly to take Stiva back. At a ball that night, Kitty attempts to dance with Vronsky, but he dances with Anna, attracting the attention of everyone in attendance and leaving Kitty heartbroken. Anna boards a train to St. Petersburg, but at a rest stop notices Vronsky, who declares that he must be wherever she goes. She tells him to go back to Moscow, but he refuses.
In St. Petersburg, Vronsky visits his cousin Princess Betsy Tverskaya, a friend of the Kareninas, and begins to show up at all the places Anna and Betsy visit. Vronsky flirts openly with Anna at a party, which catches Karenin’s attention. He suggests they go home, but Anna chooses to stay. Vronsky tells her of his intention to take a promotion in another city but Anna persuades him to stay and the next day they meet at a hotel and make love.
Stiva visits Levin at his country estate and informs Levin that Kitty and Vronsky are no longer to be married. Levin focuses on living an authentic country life, working in his fields with his workers and contemplating taking one of their daughters as his wife, as his brother had suggested.
Karenin hears that his wife and Vronsky are in the country estate and surprises them there, after she reveals to Vronsky that she is pregnant. Later she encounters Karenin who suggests he join them for the horse races that evening. The races begin, and Anna betrays her feelings for Vronsky as his horse falls and injures him. On their way home Anna admits to Karenin that she is Vronsky’s mistress and wishes to divorce him. Karenin refuses and instead confines her to home. Levin sees Kitty in a passing carriage and realises that he still loves her. Anna receives Vronsky at her house in St. Petersburg and as she complains about why he failed to come earlier, he tells her that his duties as an officer have delayed his visit. Karenin comes back home to find out that Vronsky was visiting Anna, as seen from the love letters found in her desk. Meanwhile, Levin and Kitty are reunited at Stiva’s house, and Karenin announces he is divorcing Anna, who begs him to forgive her, which he refuses. After dinner, Levin and Kitty announce their love to each other and decide to marry. Anna goes into premature labour. With Vronsky at her side, she berates him, saying that he could never be the man Karenin is. Karenin comes back knowing that she is going to die and forgives her. Anna survives and initially decides to stay with her husband. Princess Betsy calls on Anna to discuss what will happen with Vronsky now that he is back in Moscow. Anna suggests that Betsy better discuss it with Karenin, who believes that they will be reunited as a family. However, upon Anna’s recovery, she chooses to be with Vronsky. Karenin refuses to grant her a divorce, but releases Anna from her confinement. She and Vronsky soon leave for Italy with Anya.
Levin and Kitty return to his country estate, where the sickly Nikolai and Masha have been given a storeroom to live there. Levin tells Kitty that she doesn’t have to live under the same roof as the former prostitute, but the newly matured Kitty ignores social norms and assists Masha in nursing Nikolai.
Anna returns to St. Petersburg to see Seryozha on his birthday, but Karenin makes her leave after a short time. Anna now begins to suspect Vronsky of unfaithfulness. She attends the opera where the upper class audience regard her with disdain as someone who “has broken the rules”. Though humiliated, she retains her poise, only to break down once back at her hotel. The next day, Anna has lunch at a restaurant where the society women avoid her. Dolly, however, joins her and tells her that Kitty is in Moscow to have her first child. Dolly says that Stiva’s behavior has not changed, but she has come to accept and love him for who he is. Later, Vronsky informs Anna that he has to meet his mother to settle some accounts, but there Anna sees Princess Sorokina picking him up. Anna becomes upset, and takes the train to see if Vronsky is truly with his mother. On the way, she has hallucinations of Vronsky and Princess Sorokina making love and laughing at her. Arriving at Moscow station, Anna says to herself, “Oh God… ” and jumps under an oncoming train that kills her. The scene then flashes to Vronsky who has a shocked face as if knowing his true love has died. Levin returns home from working in the fields to find Kitty bathing their child. Stiva and his family eat with Levin and Kitty. Karenin, retired by then from serving his country, is seen in his estate, with Seryozha and young Anya playing nearby.Although I sympathise with those who may find the director Joe Wright’s approach too contrived, this film held my interest, and gives scope for a good deal of discussion.

REVIEW: BURNT

CAST

Bradley Cooper (Joy)
Sienna Miller (Factory Girl)
Omar Sy (Jurassic World)
Daniel Brühl (Captain America: Civil War)
Riccardo Scamarcio (Eden Is West)
Sam Keeley (Monsters: Dark Continent)
Alicia Vikander (Jason Bourne)
Matthew Rhys (Jungle Book)
Uma Thurman (Kill Bill)
Emma Thompson (Men In BLack 3)
Lily James (Cinderella)
Sarah Greene (Noble)

maxresdefaultThree years ago, Adam Jones (Bradley Cooper) worked at one of the premier restaurants in Paris, which his mentor Jean-Luc owned. His drug use and manic drive for perfection caused him to implode, taking the restaurant and a number of his friends’ careers with him. Adam disappeared, sobered up, and sentenced himself to shucking one million oysters at a bar in New Orleans. When Adam finishes shucking his millionth oyster he returns to London with a plan to regain his former glory and go for his third Michelin star.OG2A1396LwebAfter arriving in London, Adam begins to look up his old colleagues. Jean-Luc’s former maître d’hôtel Tony (Daniel Brühl) now manages his father’s hotel. Adam wants to take over the hotel’s restaurant, but Tony doesn’t trust him after his behavior in Paris. Adam soon learns that Jean-Luc died and feels deep remorse for how he hurt his mentor. Adam visits his friend Conti (Henry Goodman) at the restaurant Conti owns. He takes a liking to Conti’s sous-chef Helene (Sienna Miller), but Helene finds him old-fashioned and unbearably conceited. Adam locates Michel (Omar Sy), another of his friends from Jean-Luc’s, but Michel opened his own restaurant. Feeling betrayed, Adam released rats in Michel’s kitchen and reported him to a health inspector, which led to the restaurant’s closure. Michel forgives Adam and agrees to work for him. Adam pays a visit to Reece’s, a cutting edge eatery run by Reece (Matthew Rhys), with whom he has a long-standing rivalry. Reece does not forgive him. Adam also plans to employ another Jean-Luc protege, Max (Riccardo Scamarcio), after he is released from prison. Unfortunately, Adam’s reappearance in Europe attracts the attention of his former drug dealer. Eventually, Tony kicks Adam out of his family’s hotel. Adam seeks out chef-on-the-rise David (Sam Keeley), who agrees to work at Adam’s restaurant and let Adam stay in his apartment.
NE0y9EkmWt0O35_1_bAdam contacts famed restaurant critic Simone (Uma Thurman) and convinces her to dine at Tony’s hotel. Simone’s review of Adam’s food is favorable enough that Tony and his father agree to renovate their hotel’s kitchen and hire Adam as the head chef. They require Adam to submit to weekly drug tests with Tony’s psychiatrist Dr. Rosshilde (Emma Thompson), but Adam refuses to see her privately. He throws himself into preparing for his restaurant Langhams’ grand opening. Max is released from prison and joins Adam’s team. Helene rebuffs further job offers until Conti gently fires her. He sends her to the hotel’s kitchen, where Helene tears into Adam for getting her fired. Adam offers her a much higher salary and she agrees to work at Langhams. The opening night turns into a disaster, and Adam closes the restaurant early. He becomes furious with everyone, especially Helene. After humiliating her in front of her colleagues and becoming physically aggressive with her, Helene quits.
Bradley Cooper Sienna MillerAdam goes on talk shows to generate interest in the restaurant. He manages to bring another famous restaurant critic to eat at Langhams. The critic’s favorable review cements Langhams as one of London’s new go-to eateries and drives Reece into a frothing rage. Tony visits Helene to convince her to return to Langhams. He offers double her salary and some insight on Adam’s behavior. Helene agrees and Adam treats her with more respect. However, their relationship hits a bump when Adam refuses Helene’s request for an afternoon off to hold a birthday party for daughter Lily (Lexie Benbow-Hart). A few days later, Tony enters the kitchen and asks Adam to make a birthday cake, to which he refuses, though Tony says a diner has requested one. The kitchen staff explain that Tony learned about Helene’s denied request and offered to watch Lily at the hotel. Adam delivers the cake to Lily in the dining room and makes an effort to connect with her, improving his relationship with Helene.
Once Langhams has established itself, Tony and Adam prepare to earn a Michelin star. Adam continues to fend off his drug dealer’s collectors and to see Dr. Rosshilde for drug tests. He remains impervious to her judgments about his sobriety and his perfectionism but, when asked, admits he knows Tony is in love with him. When Adam receives an invitation to the reopening of Reece’s restaurant, he asks Helene to accompany him. Adam and Reece manage to be civil, but the night derails when Adam spots Jean-Luc’s daughter Anne Marie (Alicia Vikander), who Adam used to date. Adam is surprised when Anne Marie treats him kindly, especially since he abandoned her three years ago and didn’t attend her father’s funeral. Anne Marie has also gotten clean and sober. Helene finds him at a fish market the next morning after he wandered around the whole night mulling over what went wrong in Paris. Jean-Luc was more of a father figure to him than his own dad, and he defined himself by his prowess as a chef. He loved the volatile fast-paced environment of the kitchen and thrived until he didn’t anymore, began using drugs and eventually came unhinged. He now wants to achieve greatness and doesn’t know how to handle failure.Adam and Helene share their first kiss in front of the restaurant that morning. Tony interrupts them, but he’s not alone. The drug dealer’s henchmen have returned, and they want Adam to go with them. He hands the fish to Helene and leaves with them. Tony tells Helene not to worry because Adam can handle himself. That evening, Helene discovers a beaten Adam outside the kitchen entrance. Tony and Helene want to take Adam to the hospital, but before they can do much more than clean him-up, they learn that two Michelin reviewers have come to Langhams. Everyone rushes about in a frenzy, and Adam barely holds things together. They serve the reviewers’ meals but minutes later, the two uneaten meals are sent back because their soup was too spicy. Michel reveals he sprinkled cayenne pepper into the soup, as revenge for what Adam did to him in Paris. After Michel leaves, Adam laughs and leaves as well.
burnt-01Adam wanders around London, climbs onto the railing of Waterloo Bridge and seems to consider jumping. Later he arrives at Reece’s restaurant drunk and bangs on the windows until the cooks let him in and he makes a nuisance of himself in the kitchen. When he pulls a sous-vide bag over his head Reece dismisses his kitchen staff, rips the bag off Adam’s head and cradles Adam when he breaks down. The next morning, Reece says that he knows Adam is the better chef and appreciates Adam’s work because it pushes him to keep experimenting. They part on far better terms. Adam visits Dr. Rosshilde and attends his first group therapy session. When he returns to the hotel, he learns that Anne Marie paid his drug debt. She also gives him her father’s knives and urges him to be with Helene. Tony and Helene find Adam in his hotel room and tell him that the two men the night before were not Michelin reviewers. Adam is so thrilled to have another chance at getting a Michelin star, he kisses Tony. Visibly ruffled by the exchange, Tony leaves Helene with Adam to ensure he doesn’t have a concussion and to dress his wounds. The scene ends with Adam and Helene sharing a passionate kiss. Adam changes the way he runs the kitchen. He listens to Helene and Max’s input, and is more supportive of David. When the real Michelin reviewers come to the Langham, he works with the other chefs, especially Helene, to serve a superb meal and receive their third star. The film ends with Adam finally sharing a meal with his cooks and a few laughs.maxresdefaultWell acted and really interesting film. A true to life portrait of the hard graft in the professional kitchen.

REVIEW: SEVENTH SON

CAST

Ben Barnes (Westworld)
Julianne Moore (Hannibal)
Jeff Bridges (Iron man)
Alicia Vikander (Jason Bourne)
Antje Traue (Man of Steel)
Olivia Williams (Dollhouse)
John DeSantis (The New Addams Family)
Kit Harrington (Game of Thrones)
Djimon Hounsou (Stargate)
Gerard Plunkett (Travelers)
Jason Scott Lee (Timecop 2)
Ryan Robbins (Arrow)

In a prologue, the witch Mother Malkin is imprisoned in an underground chamber by Gregory, the last of a knightly order known as the Falcons, who have long defended mankind against supernatural threats. Several decades later, Gregory now works as a “Spook,” a roving witch hunter. The rise of the centennial blood moon allows Malkin to regain much of her power and break free from her prison. In a confrontation with the aged Gregory, she kills his apprentice, William Bradley, before escaping. Malkin returns to her dilapidated mountain fortress, restoring it, and her sister, Bony Lizzie, to their former condition.Gregory then seeks out Tom Ward, the seventh son of a seventh son, on a local farmstead, and recruits him as his newest apprentice. Before Tom leaves, his mother gives him her pendant as a talisman. On their way to Gregory’s home, Tom sees a girl about to be burned by a mob as a witch. Recognizing her from clairvoyant visions he has had, he takes her from the mob and releases her. The girl, Alice, warns him not to let Gregory know about her. Alice is revealed to be Lizzie’s daughter, who spies on Gregory for her. Malkin begins gathering her army to conquer mankind.Tom meets Gregory’s assistant Tusk, and rushes to learn what he needs to become a Spook before he and Gregory leave to confront Malkin at her fortress. Gregory warns that they only have a week before the blood moon is full, after which Malkin will become too powerful for them. En route to the fortress, Gregory is summoned to a walled city by an Inquisitor whose forces have subdued one of Malkin’s followers, a werebear named Urag. Gregory instructs Tom to burn the warlock alive, but Tom hesitates, causing Gregory to dismiss him while burning Urag himself. Tom meets Alice again and, after having sex, the two briefly consider going off on their own, but Tom has a vision of Malkin killing Gregory and unleashing destruction upon the world. Tom rejoins Gregory, who reveals that he once loved Malkin, and that is why he could not kill her, even after she murdered Gregory’s own wife. Gregory feels responsible for every person killed by Malkin since then, and warns Tom that Alice must be killed, like all witches.Gregory, Tom, and Tusk are attacked on the road by an enormous boggart, and Tom narrowly manages to kill it and survive being swept down a waterfall. Tom is then confronted by Bony Lizzie, who attacks but is repelled by the necklace around his neck. Gregory recognizes it as the Umbran Stone, which increases the power of witches. It originally belonged to Malkin, but one of her witch followers, Tom’s mother, stole it from her, weakening her enough for Gregory to trap her. Malkin instructs Alice to steal the stone from Tom, promising to spare his life if she does. Malkin and her minions then raze the aforementioned walled city to the ground to avenge the death of Urag. Tom’s family happens to be in the city, and his mother sends her husband and daughter to safety, before managing to kill Strix the warlock and confronting Malkin with her own powers. Malkin kills her, mocking her for giving away the stone that would have saved her life.Out in the country, Alice reappears before Tom and pleads with him to leave with her, as he had suggested in their earlier meeting. Gregory tries to kill her, but Tom, blinded by love, stops him, proclaiming “She’s not the enemy!”. He lets her flee, but Gregory points out she has taken the Umbran stone from around Tom’s neck, replying, “Now tell me she’s innocent!”. Tom realizes her reappearance had been a ruse, and pursues her, with Gregory and Tusk following. Then Malkin’s servant Radu attacks them, capturing Gregory and driving Tusk and Tom over a cliff, wrongly believing them dead. Tom has a vision of his mother, telling him that as both the seventh son of a seventh son, and the son of a witch, he is unique and has the power to defeat Malkin.The witches gather as Malkin attempts to seduce Gregory with her magic. Alice is horrified to hear that Tom was left for dead. In remorse, she grabs the stone from Malkin, breaking Malkin’s hold on Gregory. As Malkin transforms into a dragon to kill Alice, Lizzie also transforms, to protect her daughter. Tom retrieves the stone and, fighting together, Gregory, Tom and Alice kill several of Malkin’s minions. Malkin defeats and kills Lizzie for her disloyalty, but is seriously wounded in turn. Gregory confronts Malkin in her room, alone. She appears close to death, bitterly recalling her and Gregory’s relationship, but then she seizes him with her claws. Tom arrives and hurls a blade at Malkin, freeing Gregory, who retreats. Tom finishes her off by burning her body. Afterwards, Gregory acknowledges Tom’s training is complete and brands his hand as a new Falcon knight. Alice appears, but accepts that Tom’s commitment to his new vocation means they cannot be together at the present. She promises Tom that they’ll meet again, before disappearing. Gregory departs for an unknown destination, leaving Tom with Tusk as the town bells ring, calling for the new Spook’s services.If you want an experience like the Hobbit or the Harry Potter movies, don’t watch this. But if you like fantasy movies like Willow or Dragonheart (and maybe Stardust), give it a chance.

REVIEW: THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. (2015)

CAST

Henry Cavill (Man of Steel)
Armie Hammer (The Lone Ranger)
Alicia Vikander (Jason Bourne)
Elizabeth Debicki (The Great Gatsby)
Jared Harris (The Quiet Ones)
Hugh Grant (Love Actually)
Luca Calvani (When In Rome)

In 1963, professional thief-turned CIA agent Napoleon Solo extracts Gaby Teller, daughter of Dr. Udo Teller, an alleged Nazi scientist-turned United States collaborator at the end of World War II, from East Berlin, evading KGB operative Illya Kuryakin. He later reports to his superior, Sanders, who reveals that Gaby’s maternal uncle Rudi works in a shipping company owned by Alexander and Victoria Vinciguerra, a wealthy Nazi sympathizing couple who intend to use Teller to build their own private nuclear weapon and give it to lingering Nazi elements. Due to the potentially world-ending nature of this crisis, the CIA and KGB have reluctantly teamed up, and Solo and Kuryakin are ordered to stop the Vinciguerras from succeeding, with both men secretly assigned to steal Udo Teller’s research for their respective governments.

The trio travels to Rome, where Gaby and Kuryakin reluctantly pose as an engaged couple, and Solo pretends to be an antiquities dealer. Solo deduces they are being monitored and instructs Kuryakin not to defend himself from muggers so as to preserve this cover. Despite their hostilities towards each other, Kuryakin heeds his advice and does not react when his father’s prized watch is stolen. Later, at an auto racing event promoted by the Vinciguerras, Solo and Gaby flirt with Victoria and Alexander, respectively, in order to lure out information about Teller. Meanwhile Kuryakin acquires evidence the Vinciguerras were recently exposed to radiation, indicating that their weapon is near completion.

Solo and Kuryakin begrudgingly join forces to break into a Vinciguerra shipping yard, in which they find traces of uranium. After accidentally setting off the alarm, they escape into the water only to find their way blocked. During the ensuing scuffle with the guards, Kuryakin nearly drowns in the waters but Solo escapes, only to surprise himself by returning to save Kuryakin. Although a suspicious Victoria pursues them with her henchmen, Solo and Kuryakin manage to slip past into their own rooms undetected, and Victoria and Solo spend the night together. The following day, Gaby meets with Rudi and Alexander to discuss a job, but unexpectedly betrays Kuryakin and Solo to them, forcing Kuryakin to escape, while Solo is drugged and captured by Victoria and taken to a nearby warehouse to be tortured in an electric chair by Rudi, who is revealed as an infamous Nazi torturer. Henry Cavill and Alicia Vikander in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015)Solo is saved by Kuryakin, who straps Rudi into the electric chair, in order to intimidate him into talking. Rudi reveals that the weapon is hidden in an island fortress, where Gaby has been reunited with her father, which is where Solo and Kuryakin head off to, with Rudi unintentionally being burnt alive due to the electric chair malfunctioning. To protect Gaby, Dr. Teller pretends to resume work on the weapon, which has a tracking system left over from when the warhead was non-nuclear, so that a second missile can home in on it for added impact, but although Gaby attempts to help her father escape and sabotage the warhead. Victoria quickly sees through this deception, and has Alexander imprison Gaby, as an extra incentive for Dr. Teller. Teller quickly adds the finishing touches to the bomb, but is then shot in the head by Victoria as soon as he does.

Meanwhile, Solo and Kuryakin are approached by Alexander Waverly, a high-ranking MI6 operative who flies them on a Westland Wessex to HMS Ark Royal (R09) and reveals that Gaby is an undercover agent under his employment. He and his Special Boat Service commandos help Solo and Kuryakin infiltrate the Vinciguerras’ compound. Alexander Vinciguerra attempts to escape with Gaby and the warhead, but is intercepted and Alexander is killed by the duo. Solo secretly retrieves the disc with Teller’s research, but the warhead Vinciguerra was taking with him was the non-nuclear secondary missile, allowing Victoria to leave undetected on another boat with the real warhead. By Gaby’s suggestion, having heard the weapon system explained, Solo is able to contact Victoria via radio and keep her on the line long enough for Waverly to locate her and launch the homing missile, simultaneously destroying the nuclear weapon and the boat, apparently taking Victoria with it.

Afterwards, Kuryakin confronts Solo in his hotel room, intending to kill him and steal the disc for the Soviet Union, but changes his mind when Solo produces Kuryakin’s father’s stolen watch, which he had retrieved. The two instead choose to share a drink on the terrace and burn the contents of the disk, so as to not give either of their countries the upper hand in the arms race. They then reunite with Gaby and Waverly, who reveals that the trio has been reassigned to a new international organization under his command. He then announces a new mission to Istanbul under their new codename: U.N.C.L.E..Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, and would recommend it for anyone who enjoys spy movies, or action/comedies.

REVIEW: EX_MACHINA

CAST

Alicia Vikander (Seventh Son)
Domhnall Gleeson (Sta rWars: The Force Awakens)
Oscar Isaac (X-Men: Apocalypse)
Sonoya Mizuno (La La Land)

Domhnall Gleeson in Ex Machina (2014)

Programmer Caleb Smith, who works for the dominant search engine company Blue Book, wins an office contest for a one-week visit to the luxurious, isolated home of the CEO, Nathan Bateman. The only other person there is Nathan’s servant Kyoko, who, according to Nathan, does not speak English. Nathan has built a humanoid robot named Ava with artificial intelligence. Ava has already passed a simple Turing test and Nathan wants Caleb to judge whether Ava is genuinely capable of thought and consciousness, and whether he can relate to Ava despite knowing she is artificial.Alicia Vikander in Ex Machina (2014)Ava has a robotic body but a human-looking face, and is confined to her apartment. During their talks, Caleb grows close to her, and she expresses a romantic interest in him and a desire to experience the world outside. She can trigger power outages that temporarily shut down the surveillance system which Nathan uses to monitor their interactions, allowing them to speak privately. The power outages also trigger the building’s security system, locking all the doors. During one outage, Ava tells Caleb that Nathan is a liar who cannot be trusted.Alicia Vikander and Sonoya Mizuno in Ex Machina (2014)Caleb grows uncomfortable with Nathan’s narcissism, excessive drinking, and crude behaviour towards Kyoko and Ava. He learns that Nathan intends to upgrade Ava, “killing” her current personality in the process. After Nathan drinks until he passes out, Caleb steals his security card to access his room and computer. After he alters some of Nathan’s code, he discovers footage of Nathan interacting with previous android models in disturbing ways, and learns that Kyoko is also an android. Suspicious that he may also be an android, Caleb cuts his arm open to examine his flesh. At their next meeting, Ava cuts the power. Caleb explains what Nathan is going to do and Ava begs him to help her. They form a plan: Caleb will get Nathan drunk again and reprogram the security system to open the doors in a power failure instead of locking them. When Ava cuts the power, she and Caleb will leave together.Alicia Vikander in Ex Machina (2014)Nathan reveals to Caleb that he observed Caleb and Ava’s last secret conversation with a battery-powered camera. He says Ava has only pretended to like Caleb so he would help her escape. This, he says, was the real test all along, and by manipulating Caleb so successfully, Ava has demonstrated true intelligence. Ava cuts the power. Caleb reveals that he suspected Nathan was watching them, and modified the security system when Nathan was passed out the previous day. After seeing Ava leave her confinement, Nathan knocks Caleb unconscious and rushes to stop her.With help from Kyoko, Ava stabs Nathan, but in the process Nathan disables Kyoko and damages Ava. Ava repairs herself with parts from earlier androids, using their artificial skin to take on the full appearance of a human woman. She leaves Caleb trapped inside the facility, ignoring his screams, and escapes to the outside world in the helicopter meant to take Caleb home.Alicia Vikander in Ex Machina (2014)

 The movie is’s self is engaging, thoroughly watchable, the characters are simple and yet layered with complexity. The film strikes the perfect balance of not spoon feeding and not dumbing down but not being too arty or intellectual just for the sake of it.

REVIEW: THE DANISH GIRL

CAST

Eddie Redmayne (Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them)
Alicia Vikander (Seventh Son)
Matthias Schoenaerts (Red Sparrow)
Ben Whishaw (Paddington)
Amber Heard (Drive Angry)
Sebastian Koch (Homeland)
Pip Torrens (The Iron Lady)

Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl (2015)In mid-1920s Copenhagen, portrait artist Gerda Wegener asks her husband, popular landscape artist Einar Wegener, to stand in for a female model who is late to come to their flat to pose for a painting she’s working on.The act of posing as a female figure unmasks Einar’s life-long identification as a woman, who names herself Lili Elbe. This sets off a progression, first tentative and then irreversible, of leaving behind the identity as Einar, which she has struggled to maintain all her life. This takes place as both Lili and Gerda relocate to Paris; Gerda’s portraits of Lili in her feminine state attract serious attention from art dealers in a way that her previous portraiture had not. It is there that Gerda tracks down art dealer Hans Axgil, a childhood friend of Lili (whom Lili had kissed when they were young). Hans and Gerda’s mutual attraction is a challenge, as Gerda is navigating her changing relationship to Lili; but Hans’ long-time friendship with and affection for Lili cause him to be supportive of both Lili and Gerda.Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander in The Danish Girl (2015)As Lili’s continued existence presenting as male becomes too much to bear, she starts to seek help from psychologists, but none yields any result, and, in one instance, almost leads her into being committed to an asylum. Eventually, at Hans’s recommendation, Lili and Gerda meet Dr. Kurt Warnekros. Dr. Warnekros explains that he has met several people like her, who are physically male but identify as female, and proposes a new, innovative and controversial solution: male to female sex reassignment surgery. This would entail a two-part procedure that involves first removing Lili’s external genitalia and then, after a period of recovery, fashioning a vagina. He warns Lili and Gerda that it is a very dangerous operation that has never been attempted before, and Lili would be one of the first to undergo it. Lili immediately agrees and, soon after, travels to Germany to begin the surgery.Lili eventually dies of complications from the surgery. The film ends with Gerda and Hans on a hilltop back in Denmark, in front of the five trees Lili had painted. The scarf that Lili had originally given Gerda, and that had subsequently been given back and forth several times, is carried away on the wind, dancing.Because of the subject matter in The Danish Girl I wasn’t sure this was going to be a film that I would particularly like but I need not have have worried because I thought this was a fascinating movie that justified it’s plaudits. This is the story of Danish artist Einar Wegener (Eddie Redmayne) who realised that despite being born a man he is really a woman and that woman is called Lile. Although Redmayne will quite obviously get all the praise for his role as Lile but I think the outstanding performance of this film comes from Alicia Vikander who plays his wife. As an actor she is exposed unlike Redmayne who has the make up to hide behind. Instead of being about Lile this film for me is more about the love of his wife who will do anything to make her husband happy. Even if that means losing him. in the process.