CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: ARTHUR CHRISTMAS

CAST

James McAvoy (X-Men: First Class)
Hugh Laurie (Tomorrowland)
Bill Nighy (Underworld)
Jim Broadbent (Cloud Atlas)
Imelda Staunton (Maleficent)
Ashley Jensen (Ugly Betty)
Marc Wootton (Nativity)
Laura Linney (The Truman Show)
Eva Longoria (Over Her Dead Body)
Ramona Marquez (Outnumbered)
Robbie Coltrane (Harry Potter)
Joan Cusack (Addams Family Values)
Rhys Darby (Yes Man)
Jane Horrocks (Little Voice)
Sanjeev Bhaskar (Notting Hill)
Iain McKee (The Parole Officer)
Andy Serkis (Lord of The Rings)
Dominic West (The Affair)

On Christmas Eve, hundreds of Christmas elves helm the command centre of Santa Claus’ mile-wide, ultra-high-tech sleigh-esque craft, the S-1. The current Santa (Malcolm) and the Christmas elves deliver presents to every child in the world using advanced equipment and military precision. These complex operations are micromanaged by thousands more elves, under the command of Malcolm’s militaristic eldest son Steve and his obsequious elfin assistant Peter at mission control underneath the North Pole. Meanwhile, his younger son – the clumsy, fearful yet enthusiastic Arthur – devotedly answers the letters to Santa. During one of the delivery operations in Germany a child wakes up and almost sees Malcolm; in the tense escape operation, a Christmas elf aboard the S-1 inadvertently leans on a button, causing a present to fall from the supply line and go unnoticed.Having completed his 70th mission, Malcolm is portrayed as far past his prime and whose role in field operations now is largely symbolic. Nonetheless, he is held in high esteem, and delivers a congratulatory speech to the enraptured elves. Malcolm announces he looks forward to his 71st, much to the frustration of heir-apparent Steve, who had prepared to succeed his father as Santa at the conclusion of this mission. During their family Christmas dinner, Arthur’s suggestion for the family to play a board game degenerates into a tense quarrel between Malcolm and Steve, while Malcolm’s father and predecessor Grandsanta, bored by retirement, resentfully criticises their over-modernization. After Grandsanta knocks the board off the table, Steve’s PDA (a high tech device named a ‘HOHO’) flashes and he leaves the table in a hurry. Later, their father shares with his wife Margaret his grave doubts about his self-identity should he retire.Arthur follows Steve, and the two learn that a Christmas elf named Bryony found the missed present – a wrapped bicycle for a little girl in England called Gwen, to whose letter Arthur had personally responded. Arthur alerts his father, who is at a loss as to how to handle the situation; Steve argues that one missed present out of billions is an acceptable error whose correction can wait a few days, citing this year’s Christmas as the most successful in history. Grandsanta on the other hand, on learning of the dire situation, proposes delivering the gift using Eve, his old wooden sleigh, and the great-great-grandchildren of the original eight reindeer, forcefully whisking away a reluctant Arthur and a stowaway Bryony. In the process the three get lost in three different continents, lose several of their reindeer, and land in danger several times, ultimately being mistaken for aliens and causing an international military incident. Through all this, Arthur eventually learns, to his compounding disappointment, that Grandsanta’s true motive is to fulfill his ego, Steve refuses to help them out of petty resentment and possibility of his brother being made hero overshadowing his work, and that his own father has gone to bed, apparently content even though a present was not delivered.Finally, stranded in Cuba after losing the sleigh and the remaining reindeer, Arthur renews his sense of purpose: that it all comes down to having presents delivered, regardless of how it is done and who did it. With Grandsanta’s and Bryony’s help, he manages to recover the sleigh. Meanwhile, the elves grow increasingly alarmed at rumours of the neglected delivery and the Clauses’ unthinkable indifference, sending them into a panic. In response, Malcolm, Margaret, and Steve take the high-tech sleigh-craft to deliver a superior present… albeit to the wrong child.Arthur and his party manage to reach England, but lose the remaining reindeer; furthermore a US Predator drone scrambled by Chief De Silva of UNFITA intercepts and opens fire on the sleigh believing them to be aliens. Grandsanta sacrifices the sleigh, while Arthur and Bryony to parachute to the ground. Ultimately with Margaret and Bryony’s help, all the male Clauses arrive at Gwen’s house before she awakens, only to have all but Arthur quarrel about who gets to actually place the gift. Noticing that only Arthur truly cares about the girl’s feelings, the elder Clauses collectively realize that he is the sole worthy successor. As a result, Malcolm gives Arthur the honour and Steve, recognizing his own shortcomings, forfeits his supposed birthright and acknowledges his brother’s worthiness to take up the mantle. In a fitting conclusion, Gwen glimpses a snow-bearded Arthur in a wind-buffeted sweater just before he vanishes up into the S-1.With the crisis resolved, Malcolm goes into a happy retirement with Margaret; he also becomes Grandsanta’s much-desired new companion and plays Arthur’s board game with him for many happy hours. Meanwhile, Steve finds true contentment as the Chief Operating Officer of the North Pole, while Bryony is promoted to Vice-President of Packing, Pacific Division. In a nod to traditionalism once neglected, the high-tech S-1 is re-christened EVIE in honour of Grandsanta’s old sleigh and refitted to be pulled by a team of five thousand reindeer – led by the original eight, all of whom managed to return home safely via innate navigational abilities. Finally, Arthur happily guides the entire enterprise in the proper spirit as the new Santa.Everything you would wish from a Chistmassy film. Strong story and lovely ideas about Father Christmas and the challenge of delivering a present to every child. A great family movie.

 

 

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REVIEW: WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES

Untitled

 

CAST

Woody Harrelson (The Hunger Games)
Toby Kebbell (Fantastic Four)
Amiah Miller (Lights Out)
Judy Greer (Jurassic World)
Andy Sekris (The Hobbit)
Steve Zahn (Roadkill)
Karin Konoval (2012)
Gabriel Chavarria (Hunter Killer)
Sara Canning (The Vampire Diaries)
Aleks Paunovic (Kindergarten Cop 2)
Ty Olsson (Izombie)
Michael Adamthwaite (Stargate SG.1)
Alessandro Juliani (Smallville)
Roger Cross (Arrow)
Chad Rock (THe Flash)

 

Some time after the U.S. military was called to fight off an increasingly intelligent and dangerous tribe of apes, the apes clan, led by the chimpanzee Caesar, are attacked in the woods by a rogue paramilitary faction known as Alpha-Omega, led by a ruthless Colonel. Alpha-Omega also has in its service apes they call “Donkeys” that had previously followed Koba, a human-hating bonobo who led a failed coup against Caesar. During the attack, the Alpha-Omega militants are met by heavy ape resistance, and several soldiers, including the gorilla Red, are captured by the apes. Caesar arrives and orders the four human soldiers to be released, with a message to the Colonel that he did not start the war, and that he desires peace between the humans and apes. Caesar orders that Red be imprisoned for his crimes, but before he can be imprisoned, Red escapes, injuring an albino gorilla named Winter. Soon after, Caesar’s son Blue Eyes and his lieutenant Rocket return from a journey to find a safe haven for the apes.They report that they have found a place across the desert that is perfect for the clan. Winter, still frightened from the soldiers’ attack, wants to leave immediately, but Caesar does not think they are prepared to leave so soon. That night, a group of Alpha-Omega soldiers, led by the Colonel, infiltrates the apes’ home behind a waterfall and the Colonel kills Caesar’s wife, Cornelia, and Blue Eyes. Winter cannot be found, and Luca, a gorilla, believes that Winter has betrayed them because he was frightened.Leaving his younger son, Cornelius, in the care of Blue Eyes’ mate, Lake, Caesar departs to exact revenge on the Colonel for the death of his family. He is accompanied by Maurice, an orangutan and Caesar’s advisor, Luca, and Rocket, while the other apes head for the desert. During their journey, the apes encounter a soldier living in an abandoned village and Caesar shoots him when he reaches for his rifle. Caesar, Maurice, Luca, and Rocket search the dead soldier’s home. Maurice discovers the soldier’s daughter who is apparently unable to speak. Maurice befriends the girl, giving her a small rag doll, and insists that they take her with them.Along the way Caesar’s party encounters Winter in an Alpha-Omega camp on the beach where he has volunteered to become a “donkey” for the soldiers in return for sparing his life. He tells Caesar’s group that the Colonel has departed for a location referred to as the “border.” Winter tries to call out to Alpha-Omega soldiers to save him, but Caesar and the others smother him to keep him quiet, killing him. Caesar begins to worry that he is becoming like Koba by killing apes and seeking revenge. While following the soldiers to the border, they discover some soldiers who have been shot and left for dead. Their examination of a soldier who survived reveals that he, like the girl, cannot speak. Later the group meets Bad Ape, an intelligent chimpanzee hermit who lived in the Sierra Zoo before the Simian Flu pandemic. Bad Ape reveals that the human soldiers are encamped at the border and hesitantly agrees to lead them there.When the group arrives at the border, they see hundreds of apes held captive inside a former quarantine facility. While getting a closer look, Luca is killed protecting Caesar from an AO patrol, angering Caesar and causing him to proceed alone. Caesar discovers the rest of his ape clan has been captured, and are being forced to build a wall with no food or water; he is captured by Red. The Colonel reveals to Caesar that the Simian Flu virus has mutated and now causes humans who survived the original strain to devolve, becoming mute and regressing back to a primitive state. Caesar deduces that the Colonel is barricading himself in the facility to fend off remnants of the U.S. Army from the North who are coming to execute him because he favors killing any infected humans including his own son to stop the spread of the virus. Caesar is commended by the Colonel for his intelligence, and the Colonel explains he is fighting a “holy war” for the survival of mankind.While Caesar is tortured with starvation, the mute girl, whom Maurice names Nova, sneaks into the facility to give Caesar her rag doll given to her by Maurice, food, and water. To prevent her from being discovered, Rocket allows himself to be captured as a diversion. The next day, the Colonel comes to see if Caesar is still alive, discovers the doll, and asks both Caesar and Preacher how the doll got inside the cell. The Colonel decides to take the doll. Together Caesar and Rocket are able to work out a means of escape via an underground tunnel that leads out of the facility. Maurice and Bad Ape use the tunnel to rescue the apes, and Caesar orders the others to escape while he goes to confront the Colonel. As the facility comes under attack by the northern army, Caesar reaches the Colonel but realizes that he has fallen victim to the virus that he feared and has become unable to speak. As Caesar is about to kill the Colonel, he sees the mute girl’s rag doll on the ground. Caesar puts down his gun and spares the Colonel who then uses it to kill himself.During the battle between Alpha-Omega and the Northern Army, the escaping apes come under fire from Alpha-Omega. Caesar attempts to attack Alpha-Omega from behind, but is shot with a crossbow by Preacher, one of the Alpha-Omega militants he had previously set free. Red saves Caesar’s life by killing Preacher with a grenade launcher and is executed by an Alpha-Omega superior as a result. Caesar blows up the facility’s fuel supplies causing a cascading explosion, which wipes out Alpha-Omega and allows the Northern Army to win the battle. However, the army is subsequently buried and decimated by an avalanche, which Caesar and the other apes, carrying Nova, survive by climbing nearby trees. The remaining apes depart the facility and cross the desert to find an oasis. While the other apes joyously celebrate their new home, Maurice discovers Caesar’s wound. Maurice then speaks letting Caesar know that Cornelius will know what his father believed in and did to protect the apes. Caesar slowly and silently succumbs to his wound, and Maurice mourns his passing watching over the other apes.What makes War Of The Planet Of The Apes a masterpiece? Because it has some extremely well handled dramatic moments in it, boasting visually stunning cinematography and masterful acting to carry it off. War Of The Planet Of The Apes is not just about the horror about the battle of war, it’s also about the revolutionary shouts from the people being affected by it, in this case the apes. It’s an emotional roller- coaster, except instead of over-done sentimentality it displays raw emotion to get into the viewer watching the film. War Of The Planet Of The Apes, in my opinion, marks as the best of the Planet Of The Apes prequel films..

REVIEW: DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES

CAST
Andy Serkis (The Hobbit)
Jason Clarke (Terminator Salvation)
Gary Oldman (Robocop 2014)
Keri Russell (Waitress)
Toby Kebbell (Fantastic Four 2015)
Kodi Smith-McPhee (X-Men: Apocalypse)
Kirk Acevedo (Fringe)
Judy Greer (Ant-Man)
Ten years after the worldwide pandemic of the deadly ALZ-113 virus, or Simian Flu, human civilization is completely destroyed following martial law, civil unrest and the economic collapse of every country in the world. Over 90% of the human population has died in the pandemic, while apes with genetically enhanced intelligence have started to build a civilization of their own. Near the ruins of San Francisco, Caesar leads and governs an ape colony located in the Muir Woods. While walking through the forest, Caesar’s son Blue Eyes and his friend Ash encounter a human named Carver, who panics and shoots Ash, wounding him. Carver calls for the rest of his small party of armed survivors, led by a man named Malcolm, while Blue Eyes calls for the other apes. Caesar orders the humans to leave. The remaining humans in San Francisco, who are genetically immune to the virus, are living in a guarded and unfinished high-rise tower within the ruined city. Prompted by Koba, a scarred bonobo who holds a grudge against humans for his mistreatment, Caesar brings an army of apes to the city tower where he conveys the message that while the apes do not want war, they will fight to defend their home. He demands that the humans stay in their territory and states the apes will stay in theirs too.
Malcolm convinces his fellow leader Dreyfus to give him three days to reconcile with the apes to gain access to a hydroelectric dam in their territory, which could provide long-term power to the city. Dreyfus, distrustful of the apes, arms survivors using an abandoned armory. Malcolm then travels into the ape village, but is captured by gorilla guards, who bring him to Caesar. After a tense discussion, Caesar allows Malcolm to work on the dam’s generator, if they surrender their guns. As Malcolm, his wife Ellie and son Alexander work, they bond with the apes. Mutual distrust of both sides gradually subsides; the truce is endangered when Caesar’s infant son Milo discovers a shotgun smuggled in by Carver, but the two sides reconcile when Ellie offers to help treat Caesar’s ill wife Cornelia with antibiotics. Meanwhile, Koba discovers the armory and confronts Caesar, questioning his allegiance and taunting him over his “love” for humans. In response, Caesar severely beats Koba, but at the last moment refrains from killing him; adhering to his philosophy that “ape not kill ape”, Caesar hesitantly forgives Koba. The furious Koba then returns to the armory, where he steals an assault rifle and murders two human guards. Returning home, he secretly kills Carver, stealing his lighter and cap.
The dam is eventually repaired, restoring power to the city. During the celebration, Koba sets fire to the apes’ home, then, unseen to anyone else, shoots Caesar in the shoulder, causing him to fall from the settlement’s main tree. In the panic of the loss of the alpha and the fire, Koba takes charge, and having planted Carver’s cap at the scene of the shooting, urging the apes to fight against the humans. Malcolm’s group hides as Koba leads the apes into San Francisco. The apes plunder the armory and charge the tower’s gates. Despite heavy casualties, the apes breach the gates using a hijacked tank, overrun the tower and imprison all the humans as Dreyfus flees underground. When Ash refuses Koba’s orders to kill unarmed humans, citing Caesar’s teachings, Koba kills Ash and imprisons all those known to be loyal to Caesar.
Malcolm’s group finds Caesar barely alive and transport him to his former home in San Francisco. Caesar reveals to Malcolm that Koba shot him, realizing his notion that apes were better than humans was naïve and that apes can be as violent as humans. Malcolm leaves the group and heads to the city to find medical supplies for Caesar. While looking for medical supplies, Malcolm encounters Blue Eyes; disenchanted with Koba’s leadership, the young ape spares Malcolm’s life and returns to the house with him, where he reconciles with his father. Caesar grows nostalgic watching a video clip from his childhood of his former owner and father figure Will Rodman on his old camcorder as Malcolm learns of Caesar’s past. A plan is put into action: Blue Eyes returns to the tower and frees the caged humans and apes loyal to Caesar, then Malcolm leads the apes, unseen, into the tower from below. After accomplishing this, Malcolm encounters Dreyfus, who informs him that his men have made radio contact with military survivors at a base to the north, who are on their way to help fight the apes. Caesar confronts Koba at the top of the tower, but as they battle, Dreyfus detonates C-4 charges he has planted beneath the tower. The resulting explosion kills him and collapses part of the tower. Caesar overpowers Koba, with Koba hanging over the edge of the tower. Pleading for his life, Koba reminds Caesar that apes do not kill apes, but Caesar states that Koba is not an ape and lets him fall to his death.
Malcolm informs Caesar of the impending arrival of human military reinforcements and both lament the lost opportunity for peace. Caesar tells Malcolm that the humans will never forgive the apes for the war they started and advises him to leave with his family for safety as the two of them acknowledge their friendship. As Malcolm disappears into the shadows, Caesar stands before a kneeling mass of apes, awaiting the war to come.
The exhilarating action scenes and set pieces are of a grander scale than in ‘Rise’ and with the use of some truly spectacular digital effects that are as realistic as any you will see, makes for an absorbing visual feast. But the finest achievements of the film lie in it’s thoughtful, emotional core, that cleverly aligns our sympathies with both apes and humans and makes for a moving and thoroughly rewarding experience that is far removed from the one-dimensionality of today’s brainless blockbusters.

REVIEW: RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES

CAST
James Franco (Spring Breakers)
Freida Pinto (The Immortals)
Andy Serkis (The Hobbit)
John Lithgow (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Brian Cox (X-Men 2)
Tom Felton (Harry Potter)
David Oyelowo (Interstellar)
Tyler Labine (Deadbeat)
Jamie Harris (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D)
David Hewlett (Splice)
Will Rodman, a scientist at the San Francisco biotech company Gen-Sys, is testing the viral-based drug ALZ-112 on chimpanzees to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. ALZ-112 is given to a chimp named Bright Eyes, greatly increasing her intelligence. However, during Will’s presentation for the drug, Bright Eyes is forced from her cage, goes on a rampage, and is killed. Will’s boss Steven Jacobs terminates the project and orders the chimps euthanized. However, Will’s assistant Robert Franklin discovers that Bright Eyes had recently given birth to an infant chimp. Will agrees to take in the chimp, who is named Caesar. Will learns that Caesar has inherited his mother’s intelligence and decides to raise him. Three years later, Will introduces Caesar to the redwood forest at Muir Woods National Monument. Meanwhile, Will treats his dementia-suffering father Charles with ALZ-112, which seems to restore his cognitive ability.
When Caesar reaches adolescence and sees a dog on a leash like his own, he questions his identity and learns of his origins from Will. Meanwhile, Charles’s condition returns as his Alzheimer’s becomes resistant to ALZ-112. Caesar injures a neighbor, Douglas Hunsiker, while defending a confused Charles. As a result, he is placed in a primate shelter where he is treated cruelly by the other chimps and the chief guard, Dodge Landon. Caesar learns how to unlock his cage, gaining free access to the common area. With the assistance of a gorilla named Buck, he confronts the sanctuary’s alpha chimp and claims that position. Meanwhile, Jacobs clears development of a more powerful, gaseous version of the drug – ALZ-113 – when Will tells him it can not only heal brain diseases but also improve intelligence. Will takes the drug home to try to save his father, but Charles declines further treatment and dies overnight.
 
After attempting to test the drug on a scarred bonobo test subject named Koba, Franklin becomes exposed to ALZ-113 and becomes ill. Attempting to warn Will at his home, he sneezes blood onto Hunsiker and is later discovered dead. Will attempts to reclaim Caesar, but the chimp refuses to go home with him. Instead, he escapes from the facility and returns to Will’s house, where he takes canisters of the ALZ-113. Upon returning, Caesar releases the gas and allows it to enhance the intelligence of the other apes. When Dodge attempts to get him back into his cage, Caesar shocks him by speaking for the first time, yelling “No!” Caesar then electrocutes the cattle prod-wielding Dodge by spraying him with water, unintentionally killing him. The apes flee the facility, release the remaining chimps from Gen-Sys, and free more apes from the San Francisco Zoo.
A battle ensues as the ape army fights their way past a police blockade on the Golden Gate Bridge to escape into the redwood forest. Buck sacrifices himself to save Caesar by jumping onto the helicopter in which Jacobs is riding. The helicopter crashes onto the bridge, trapping Jacobs in the wreckage. Jacobs is then killed by Koba. As the apes find their way into the forest, Will arrives and warns Caesar that the humans will hunt them down, and begs him to return home. In response, Caesar hugs him and says that, “Caesar is home.” Will, realizing that this is indeed their last goodbye, respects Caesar’s wishes. In a mid-credits scene, an infected Hunsiker leaves his house for work as an airline pilot, arriving at San Francisco International Airport for his flight to Paris. His nose begins to drip blood onto the floor. A graphic traces the spread of the humanity-ravaging virus around the globe via international flight routes.
A  very clever attempt at a prequel, explaining how the rise of the apes began. Given the current news surrounding Ebola and its daily inexorable spread, the ending credits of this film are rather chilling to watch.

REVIEW: KING KONG – THE EXTENDED CUT

CAST

Naomi Watts (Birdman)
Jack Black (Gulliver’s Travels)
Adrian Brody (Hollywoodland)
Thomas Kretschmann (Wanted)
Colin Hanks (Roswell)
Andy Serkis (The Hobbit)
Evan Parke (Alias)
Jamie Bell (Fantastic Four)
John Sumner (Power Rangers RPM)
Craig Hall (30 Days of Night)
Kyle Chandler (Super 8)
Tom Hobbs (Winners & Losers)
Jed Brophy (Brain Dead)
William Wallace (Step Dave)
Stig Eldred (Power Rangers SPD)
Latham Gaines (Power Rangers Dino Thunder)

In 1933, during the Great Depression, New York City vaudeville actress Ann Darrow is hired by financially troubled filmmaker Carl Denham to star in a film. Ann learns her favorite playwright, Jack Driscoll, is the screenwriter. As their tramp steamer, the SS Venture, journeys to the mysterious Skull Island, Ann and Jack fall in love. Captain Englehorn has second thoughts about the voyage, prompted by crewmen Lumpy and Ben Hayes’ speculation of trouble ahead.Deep in the southern waters, the Venture receives a radio message informing Englehorn that there is a warrant for Carl’s arrest due to his defiance of the studio’s orders to cease production. The message instructs Englehorn to divert to Rangoon, but the ship becomes lost in fog and runs aground on the rocky shore of Skull Island. Carl and his crew explore the island and are attacked by natives, who kill Carl’s sound technician as well as one of the sailors. Ann screams as she is captured, and a loud roar is heard beyond a wall. The matriarch of the tribe targets Ann, muttering the word “Kong”. Englehorn kills one of the natives and his crew break up the attack and return to the ship. They lighten their load to float off the rocks and carry out repairs, but Jack discovers Ann has been kidnapped. The natives offer Ann as a sacrifice to Kong, a 25 feet (7.6 m) tall gorilla. The crew returns fully armed, but is too late as Kong takes Ann and flees into the jungle. Ann wins Kong over with juggling and dancing, and begins to grasp Kong’s intelligence and capacity for emotion.Englehorn organizes a rescue party, led by Hayes and Driscoll. They encounter and kill a Ferrucutus. The rescue party is then caught in the middle of a pack of Venatosaurus saevidicus and the herd of Brontosaurus baxteri they are hunting, and six people are killed, including cameraman Herb. The rest of the rescue party come across a swamp where actor Bruce Baxter and two others leave the group. The rest cross the swamp on rafts, only to be attacked by “Scorpio-pedes”, as well by a “Piranhadon”, which devours three sailors. The rescue party is making their way across a fallen log over a ravine when Kong attacks. Five crewmen, including Hayes and Choy, are killed after being thrown off the log, and the rest of the crew ride the log down the ravine and land in a pit. Kong returns to Ann and rescues her from three Vastatosaurus rex. Kong takes her to his lair in the mountains. The remaining rescue party find the pit to be full of giant insects. Lumpy is killed by the maggot-like “Carnictics Sordicus” while two others are killed by spider-like creatures. Englehorn, Baxter and the two crewmen return, saving the last four members of the rescue party from the pit. As Jack continues searching for Ann, Carl decides to capture Kong. Jack goes to Kong’s lair, inadvertently waking him and provoking a swarm of flying Terapusmordax. As Kong fights the swarm, Ann and Jack escape. They arrive at the wall with Kong pursuing them, and Ann becomes distraught by what Carl plans to do. Kong bursts through the gate and attempts to get her back, killing several sailors, but is subdued when Carl knocks him out with chloroform.In New York City, Carl presents “Kong, the Eighth Wonder of the World” on Broadway, starring Baxter and an imprisoned Kong. Ann is played by an anonymous chorus girl, and Kong becomes enraged after realizing that the girl on stage is not Ann. After breaking free from his chrome-steel chains, he wrecks the theater and chases Jack. Kong knocks Jack out by stopping his car and flipping it, then encounters Ann again. Kong and Ann share a moment on a frozen pond in Central Park until the army attacks. Kong climbs with Ann onto the top of the Empire State Building, where he fights off six F8C-5 Helldiver Navy planes, downing three. At the end of the confrontation, Kong is mortally wounded by the gunfire and gazes at Ann for the last time before falling from the building to his death. As Ann is reunited with Jack, civilians, photographers, police and soldiers gather around Kong’s corpse. Carl makes his way through the crowd, takes one last long look at Kong and says, “It wasn’t the airplanes. It was Beauty killed the Beast.”Wow, what a set. As complete a set of all things Kong as one could possibly hope to obtain. In the end there is only one overriding question; is this set worth upgrading. And despite my reservations about the actual extended version of the film, this set is well worth the upgrade; extras alone do not a DVD make, but with such a quality product so lovingly put together as this one, it is hard not to admire. If all DVD’s took as much care in their presentation as this one does the format would be irreplaceable. Picture, sound and extras, this is a quality product and deserving of the title delux.

REVIEW: THE SIMPSONS – SEASON 14-16

CAST

Dan Castellaneta (Super 8)
Julie Kavner  (Dr. Dolittle)
Yeardley Smith (Dead Like Me)
Nancy Cartwright (Kim Possible)
Hank Azaria (The Smurfs)
Harry Shearer (This Is Spinal Tap)
Pamela Hayden (Recess)
Tress MacNeille (Futurama)
Russi Taylor (Babe)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Maggie Roswell (Pretty In Pink)
Elvis Costello (Spice World)
Mick Jagger (Free Jack)
Keith Richards (Pirates of The Caribbean 3 & 4)
Lenny Kravitz (The Hunger Games)
Tom Petty  (Kick of The Hill)
Brian Setzer (Such Good People)
Marcia Wallace (Full House)
Tony Bennett (Bruce Almighty)
Jan Hooks (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Adam West (Batman 60s)
Burt Ward (Batman 60s)
Kelsey Grammer (Frasier)
Sally Stevens (Norbit)
Little Richard (Last Action Hero)
Elliott Gould (Ocean’s Eleven)
Jane Kaczmarek (Pleasantville)
Tony Hawk (The New Guy)
Marisa Tomei (Spider-Man: Homecoming)
Eric Idle (Life of Brian)
Joe Mantegna  (Criminal Mind)
Scott Thompson (Hannibal)
‘Weird Al’ Yankovic (Animal Man)
Andy Serkis (The Hobbit)
Jonathan Taylor Thomas (Home Imporvemant)
Stacy Keach (The Bourne LEgacy)
Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire)
Jennifer Garner (Alias)
Jerry Lewis (The Nutty Professor)
Glenn Close (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Michael Moore (Canadian Bacon)
Jane Leaves (Frasier)
Ian McKellan (The Hobbit)
Charles Napier (The Silence of The Lambs)
Mr. T  (The A-Team)
Jackie Mason (Caddyshack II)
Ashley Olsen (Full House)
Mary-Kate Olsen (Full House)
William Daniels (Knight Rider)
Dick Tufeld (Lost In Space)
Isabel Sanford (The Jeffersons)
Nick Bakay (Sabrina: TTW)
Simon Cowell (Scary Movie 3)
Jon Lovitz (Bg)
Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy)
Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek)
James Caan (Elf)
Kim Cattrall (Big Trouble In Little China)
50 Cent (Spy)
Gary Busey (The Gingerdead Man)
Lucy Liu (Kill Bill)
Robert Wagner (Austin Powers)
John DiMaggio (Futurama)
Amy Poehler (Inside Out)
Stephen Hawkings (The Big Bang Theory)
Ray Romano (Everybody Lves Raymond)
Albert Brooks (Drive)
Fantasia Barrino  (Soul Kittens Cabaret)
Jason Bateman (The Gift)
Liam Neeson (Taken)

The longest-running primetime animated series in history, The Simpsons is also a cultural institution.  The Simpsons has an extremely loyal and dedicated fan base worldwide. Intelligently written, subversively humorous and delightfully witty, the show pokes fun at itself and everything in its wake. This season’s stellar guest voices include rock ‘n’ roll legends Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Lenny Kravitz, Tom Petty, Elvis Costello and Brian Setzer. Also paying Springfield a visit are Elliott Gould, Marisa Tomei, Little Richard and the dynamic duo of Adam West and Burt Ward. Pro skateboarding legend Tony Hawk and alternative rock band Blink 182 will lend their voices to the historic 300th episode. 14.2) HOW I SPENT MY STRUMMER VACATION

A drunken Homer appears on the show Taxicab Conversations and rants about how awful his life as a husband and father is. Although his family is at first outraged, they realise that they do somewhat burden him and decide to make up for it by sending him to a Rock ‘n Roll Fantasy Camp where he mingles with rock stars, including Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. The rock stars ask Homer to help out at a concert and, expecting that he will be allowed to perform, he accepts. Actually, they want him to test the microphones; however, a humiliated Homer grabs a guitar and starts playing.14.4) LARGE MARGE

Thinking Homer does not find her attractive anymore, Marge decides to get liposuction, but instead receives breast implants. She becomes adored by many of the men in Springfield, and becomes a spokesmodel for trade shows. Meanwhile, Bart and Milhouse try to imitate a stunt they saw on an episode of Batman that guest stars Krusty the Clown. When the stunt ends badly, media watchdog groups blame Krusty, forcing the clown to make his show more safety-conscious and less fun.14.6) THE GREAT LOUSE DETECTIVE

The Simpson family win a free spa weekend, and Homer is nearly killed when a mysterious figure locks him in a sauna. Chief Wiggum decides to hire someone who can think like a murderer in order to find one. Bart’s mortal enemy Sideshow Bob is sent to live with the Simpsons so he can help find Homer’s attempted killer. Bob and Homer track down the attempted murderer and discover that it is Frank Grimes, Jr., the son of a man that Homer drove to insanity (in the season eight episode “Homer’s Enemy”). After Grimes is arrested, Bob tries to kill Bart, but he finds that he has “grown accustomed to his face” and cannot harm him.14.7) SPECIAL EDNA

Ms. Edna Krabappel begins to lose faith in her relationship with Principal Skinner and becomes depressed. Bart wants to cheer her up and decides to nominate her for the Teacher of the Year Award. Ms. Krabappel and the Simpsons are given a free trip to Epcot Center in Orlando, Florida. Skinner decides that he needs to do something to win Edna back, so he follows them there. He tries to sabotage Edna’s chances of winning the award, in hopes that she will become so depressed that she will come back to him. However, he has a change of heart and proposes to her.14.8) THE DAD WHO KNEW TOO LITTLE

Homer disappoints Lisa on her birthday when he gives her a thoughtless present. He realizes that he knows little about her and decides to hire private detective Dexter Colt to spy on her. Colt compiles a report, the information from which helps Homer bond with his daughter. However, Colt soon demands to be paid $1000, which Homer refuses. In retaliation, Colt vandalises an animal research lab and steals all the animals, leaving behind several clues that implicate Lisa. Homer and Lisa go on the run as fugitives and end up at a circus, where they meet Colt. He tries to kill Homer, but Lisa saves him. Later, Colt is arrested and Lisa exonerated. She finally receives the present she wanted from Homer.14.9) THE STRONG ARMS OF MA

Marge gets mugged and becomes so traumatized that she develops Agoraphobia. She hides in the basement. Having little else to do, she decides to exercise with a weight set Homer bought from Rainier Wolfcastle’s garage sale. She becomes so strong and confident that she is able to leave the basement. She continues working out and decides to start taking steroids so she can enter a bodybuilding competition. One night at Moe’s Tavern she loses her temper and starts destroying the bar and fighting all of the patrons. Homer confronts Marge and says he misses the sweet woman that he married. Marge, horrified at what she has done, apologizes and decides to stop working out.14.10) PRAY ANYTHING

Homer becomes depressed when he sees that Ned Flanders seems to be better off than him. To remedy this, he begins to pray constantly. Meanwhile, the Simpsons discover that tree roots have clogged up their plumbing. The house becomes too run down to live in, and Homer prays for a solution. Homer is injured while attending church; he sues Reverend Lovejoy and is awarded the deed to the church. He throws a huge house-warming party, in which all of the partiers drink and engage in sinful activities. It suddenly starts raining and the town begins to flood. The townspeople flee to the roof of the church. Homer tries praying again but the flood keeps rising. Reverend Lovejoy returns in a helicopter and leads everyone in prayer, asking God to forgive them, and the rain stops.14.11) BARTING OVER

Bart learns that he was once a child actor in commercials and that all the money earned was spent by Homer. In retaliation, Bart petitions the court to have himself legally emancipated from his parents and moves out of the Simpson house. Bart is initially miserable in his new apartment, but discovers that skateboarder Tony Hawk lives on one of the floors above. He and Hawk become friends, and Bart is content with his new life. Homer apologizes to Bart and requests that he return home. Bart accepts the apology, but tells his family that he is going on tour with Hawk. At an event, Homer speaks to Bart and finally promises Bart that he will never treat him badly again.14.12) I’M SPELLING AS FAST I CAN

Lisa competes at a spelling bee and earns the right to compete in the Spell-lympics, becoming the pride of the town. The host of the show George Plimpton, asks her to intentionally lose so that a more popular boy can win. Lisa refuses and continues to compete, but accidentally misspells a word and loses. Meanwhile, Homer tours with a group obsessed with eating Krusty Burger’s latest sandwich.14.13) A STAR IS BORN AGAIN

During the annual Jellyfish Festival, Ned Flanders realizes that he is lonely and becomes depressed. One night, he meets a beautiful woman, who asks him out on a date. He soon learns that the woman is Sara Sloan, a famous actress. Sloan is charmed by Flanders’ wholesomeness, and they continue to date to the point at which she asks that he move to Hollywood. Flanders, worried that Hollywood would conflict with his conservative Christian values, refuses, so Sloan instead decides to stay in Springfield. However, their relationship does not work out, due to his insistence on marriage.14.14) MR. SPRITZ GOES TO WASHINGTON

An air traffic route is redirected so that airplanes start flying directly over the Simpsons’ house. The noise starts to disrupt their lives and, desperate for a solution, the family turns to their Congressman. However, he dies of a heart attack, so they ask Krusty the Clown to run for Congress so that he can help them. Krusty is successful in his campaign, but finds that his air traffic bill is ignored by the veteran Congressmen. He soon becomes disillusioned with the system, so the Simpsons, with guidance from Walter Mondale, help him out by blackmailing one of his opponents and attaching the bill to a more popular one. The bill passes, and the air traffic is re-routed.14.15) C.E.D’OH

Homer decides to try for a promotion at Springfield Nuclear Power Plant and suggests several ideas to Mr. Burns, all of which are rejected. One night, Homer overhears Burns admit that the plant’s real owner is a canary to protect Burns from responsibility for any wrongdoing by the power plant. Homer releases the bird and tells Burns that nuclear inspectors have arrived for a surprise inspection. Burns, desperate to find a scapegoat, names Homer the new owner. As his first act, Homer fires Burns and takes control of the Plant. However, he finds that his work life as a CEO is conflicting with his family life. Homer decides to return to his old job and gives ownership back to Burns.14.16) ‘SCUSE ME WHILE I MISS THE SKY

A snobby British filmmaker named Declan Desmond begins making a documentary about student life at Springfield Elementary School. When introduced to Lisa, he tells her that she has too many goals and suggests that she pick one career. Lisa focuses on astronomy, but cannot watch the stars because of light pollution. She convinces Mayor Quimby to decrease the light’s intensity during the night, which only results in an increase in the crime rate. Quimby bows to public pressure and switches the lights back on permanently. Lisa overloads the generators at the Power Plant, causing a power outage, and is able to watch a meteor shower undisturbed by light.14.17) THREE GAYS OF THE CONDO

While searching in his closet, Homer discovers an old letter from Marge that states that she no longer loves him. He begins to think that she only married him because he impregnated her and moves out. He finds a new apartment in Springfield’s gay district and moves in with a male homosexual couple. Marge and Homer attempt a reconciliation dinner, but Homer becomes intoxicated and arrives late. Homer goes to Moe’s Tavern, where he continues drinking and gets alcohol poisoning. At the hospital, Dr. Hibbert shows Homer a videotape that documents Homer’s first alcohol poisoning. It shows Marge’s compassion for the unconscious Homer, as she tells him she loves him. Back in the present, Marge comes into the hospital room and says that she still loves Homer and they kiss.14.18) DUDE WHERE’S MY RANCH

When challenged to think up a new Christmas carol, Homer instead writes a song about how much he hates Ned Flanders. The song becomes such a hit that the Simpsons become sick of hearing it and take a trip to a dude ranch. Lisa develops affections for a local boy named Luke but becomes jealous when he hears him talking to a girl named Clara on the telephone. One night, she meets Clara and gives her the wrong directions, leading her to become lost. After Lisa discovers that Clara is actually Luke’s sister, she rushes to find her. She saves Clara, and decides to tell Luke what happened, but he is offended and dumps her. Meanwhile, Bart and Homer decide to help a tribe of Native Americans who want a beaver dam removed so they can reclaim their land.14.20) BRAKE MY WIFE, PLEASE

Homer becomes obsessed with using new gadgets in his car. One day, he becomes distracted and drives off a pier, losing his driver’s license. Unable to use a car, Homer starts to learn the joys of walking. Meanwhile, Marge shoulders the burden of Homer’s driving duties and becomes stressed out. One day, as Homer sings about the virtues of walking, Marge accidentally runs him over with her car. Later, as Homer recuperates from the accident, he begins to suspect that Marge is trying to hurt him. They fight and go to see a marriage counselor. The counselor advises Homer to perform one completely unselfish gesture to win Marge back. Homer holds a party with all of her friends and a surprised Marge tells Homer that she loves him.14.22) MOE BABY BLUES

Moe Szyslak becomes lonely and decides to commit suicide by jumping off a bridge. However, he inadvertently saves Maggie Simpson when she is sent flying from the Simpsons’ car window and into his arms. He starts playing with Maggie and becomes attached to her, telling her the story of The Godfather. Homer and Marge become upset about how much time Moe is spending with Maggie and forbid him from seeing her again. One night, Maggie wakes up and hears Fat Tony and the Springfield Mafia outside the house and decides to follow them. When Homer and Marge find her missing, they automatically assume that Moe kidnapped her. When Moe is told that Maggie is missing, his request to help find her is granted by Homer. Maggie follows the mobsters to Luigi’s restaurant, where Fat Tony’s gang gets into a gun battle with a rival family. Homer, Marge and Moe track Maggie down and Moe decides to go inside and save Maggie. After Moe saves Maggie’s life, Homer allows the two to spend more time together.The Simpsons reside in the town of Springfield. Homer works as a safety inspector at the local nuclear power plant; Marge tries to keep the peace in her family; Bart is the mischievous 10-year-old hellion; 8-year-old Lisa is the intelligent, saxophone-playing vegetarian member of the family; and baby Maggie conveys emotions via pacifier sucks. Viewers also have come to know and love the rich, and sometimes quirky, universe of characters who inhabit Springfield. Guest stars paying Springfield a visit this season include British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Glenn Close, famed author J.K. Rowling, Jennifer Garner, comedian Jerry Lewis, Evan Marriott, Sir Ian McKellan, documentarian Michael Moore and Simon Cowell. 15.2) MY MOTHER THE CARJACKER

Homer’s mother returns, and after being cleared of all charges, is re-imprisoned on a technicality.15.3) THE PRESIDENT WORE PEARLS

In this loose parody of the musical/movie Evita, Lisa is elected Student Body president, but is unaware that the school staff is using her for their own devices and as a scapegoat if something goes wrong.115.4) THE REGINA MONOLOGUES

After making over $3000 from his own museum featuring a $1000 bill, Bart takes the family to London (on the suggestion of Grampa), where Homer is arrested for treason after crashing into the Queen.115.8) MARGE VS. SINGLES, SENIORS, CHILDLESS COUPLES AND TEENS AND GAYS

When a group of singles, seniors, childless couples, teens and gays band together to protest having to accommodate families (including paying property taxes used to teach children they do not have) after a riot at a children’s concert, Marge takes up the cause for the families, with some help from Bart and Lisa.DSC0404415.9) I D’OH-BOT

Homer builds a battle robot to win Bart’s respect, and places it in a tournament against other robots. What Bart does not know, though, is that the robot is actually Homer in costume. Meanwhile, Snowball II dies and Lisa tries to find a replacement cat.Diatribe_of_a_Mad_Housewife_(19)15.10) DIATRIBE OF A MAD HOUSEWIFE

Marge writes a romance novel with characters based on Homer and Ned Flanders that becomes a hit. Meanwhile, Homer gets fired from the power plant again and becomes an ambulance driver.maxresdefault15.13) SMART AND SMARTER

When Maggie does better than Lisa on an IQ test, Lisa becomes so despondent over no longer being the smart one that she tries to change her identity.simpsons-ziffwhocametodinner_122088740315.14) THE ZIFF WHO CAME TO DINNER

The Simpsons go on a late-night attic search after Bart and Lisa (who are freaked out over a horror movie Homer let them watch) begin hearing voices — and find Marge’s ex-prom date Artie Ziff, who’s on the run for cheating the shareholders of his company.15.15) CO-DEPENDENT’S DAY

Homer and Marge’s bond becomes stronger when they both get drunk on wine, but soon the bond unravels when Homer blames Marge for crashing the car and Marge gets sent to rehab. Meanwhile, Bart and Lisa complain to Randall Curtis (a George Lucas-esque science fiction movie director) about his latest film.15.16) THE WANDERING JUVIE

Bart gets sent to juvenile hall after fooling everyone that there was a marriage concerning him. He encounters a dangerous girl there… He flees with Gina, but then the two are caught by Wiggum.15.17) MY BIG AT GEEK WEDDING

After hearing that Skinner is getting cold feet about their wedding, Edna leaves Skinner at the altar and, after sending back one marriage gift, hooks up with Comic Book Guy. Meanwhile, Homer and Marge have an argument about if their marriage is still solid or not.15.18) CATCH ‘EM IF YOU CAN

After a ruined movie night, thanks to Bart and Lisa, Homer and Marge take a vacation away from them, but decide to go to Miami instead of going to see an uncle. When Bart and Lisa catch wind of their parents’ secret plan, Bart steals Rod’s credit card (just like Homer stole Ned’s) and go after them.15.19) SIMPLE SIMPSON

Homer becomes “Pie Man”, a masked vigilante who delivers a pie in the face of justice to evildoers. However, after attacking Mr. Burns, Burns hires him as a personal hitman, until Homer is ordered to attack the Dalai Lama.15.21) BART-MANGLED BANNER

After receiving an injection from Dr. Hibbert, Bart becomes temporarily deaf, which makes him impervious to being bullied, until he accidentally moons the American flag during a donkey basketball game, prompting everyone in town to accuse the Simpsons of being unpatriotic under the new “Government Knows Best” Act.15.22) FRAUDCAST NEWS

Mr. Burns buys out Springfield’s media outlets after a newspaper mistakenly reports his death, and Lisa’s homemade newspaper is next on his list.

The Simpsons just clicks at every level. This family may be dysfunctional but in the end, they are still a family in every way and we are gently reminded of this in almost every episode. Also, the cast of supporting characters that inhabit Springfield is no less funny than the main characters themselves, providing the show with comically colourful and screwball situations that just never get old. Not even after 16 seasons.16.2) ALL’S FAIR IN OVEN WAR

Marge resorts to sabotage as payback on the contestants who sabotaged her food entry for a cook-off. Meanwhile, Homer finds his old issues of Playdude in the ceiling, which Bart finds (after Marge cuts out all of the centerfolds and other nude photos) and uses as a guide on how to live the bachelor life.16.3) SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY

Feeling unappreciated by her own children, Marge takes in Nelson as her surrogate child. Meanwhile, Lisa becomes self-conscious of her weight after the girls in school ake fun of her butt and purposely starves herself in order to be skinny.she-used-to-be-my-girl16.4) SHE USED TO BE MY GIRL

Marge bumps into an old high-school acquaintance who is now a successful news reporter. While Marge becomes jealous of her friend’s success and wonders what may have been had she not stayed with Homer, Lisa becomes inspired by this new, strong woman.Fat_Man_and_Little_Roy16.5) FAT MAN AND LITTLE BOY

Bart becomes depressed about growing older after losing his last baby tooth, and, following advice from Lisa, deals with his problems by writing ironic slogans on T-shirts. Meanwhile, Homer tries to help Lisa make a science project after Bart cuts Homer out of helping him sell T-shirts.Homer_and_Ned's_Hail_Mary_Pass_(Promo_Picture)16.8) HOMER AND NED’S HAIL MARY PASS

After Homer inadvertently performs a wild crowd-pleasing dance at a local carnival, he is hired by several sports figures to teach them how to showboat. Meanwhile, Flanders creates ultra-violent, ultra-gory Bible movies à la Passion of the Christ.Pranksta_Rap_2716.9) PRANKSTA RAP

Bart fakes his own kidnapping to get out of being punished for going to a rap concert, but the ruse goes too far when Milhouse’s father is implicated as the kidnapper and Chief Wiggum sees this as an opportunity to make a name for himself as a competent police officer.16.10) THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT MARRYING

Homer becomes a minister after Springfield legalizes gay marriage (to boost their damaged reputation for tourists) and Patty comes out of the closet, much to the shock of her sister, Marge, who was naive to her sister’s sexuality.On_a_Clear_Day_I_Can't_See_My_Sister_6916.11) ON A CLEAR DAY I CAN’T SEE MY SISTER

After years of tolerating his antics, Lisa files a restraining order against Bart, forcing him to live in the backyard. Meanwhile, Homer becomes a greeter for a WalMart-esque department store called “Sprawl-Mart”.Goo_Goo_Gai_Pan16.12) GOO GOO GAI PAN

The Simpsons are going to China, after Selma (who recently began menopause) lists Homer as her husband in order to adopt a Chinese baby (while Marge poses as Selma and Homer’s live-in nanny).
16.15) FUTURE-DRAMA

Through Professor Frink’s future machine, Bart and Lisa see their lives in the year 2013, where Bart steals Lisa’s chances at going to an Ivy League school in order to impress a skater girl named Jenda while Homer (now separated from Marge and living in an underwater apartment) fights Krusty the Clown after Marge begins dating him.16.16) DON’T FEAR THE ROOFER

Sick of being unwanted, Homer befriends a man who works as a roofer. However, no one else can see him and Homer’s insistence that the roofer does exist prompts everyone to think he has gone crazy.A_Star_is_Torn_5116.18) A STAR IS TORN

Lisa participates in a singing competition with Homer as her manager, but helps Lisa’s rival after being fired.hqdefault16.19) THANK GOD IT’S DOOMSDAY

Homer sees a movie about the end of the world and fears the same thing will happen in real life after seeing a chain of random occurrences (celebrities [“stars”] falling from the sky, raining blood, a man in a realistic devil costume) and doing a complicated math equation that predicts the end will come on May 18th, but when the end does not come, Homer discovers a flaw in the equation and ends up in Heaven where he meets God and learns that God is planning The Rapture.

Home_Away_from_Homer_44
16.20) HOME AWAY FROM HOMER

Flanders rents a room to two college girls who, without his knowledge, use the spare room to broadcast live softcore pornographic web videos of themselves. Upset that no one in town told him this (and that Homer was the one who told everyone), Ned moves to the seemingly perfect town of Humbleton, Pennsylvania, while a brash coach moves into Flanders’ house and begins harassing Homer the same way Homer harassed Ned.screen-shot-2012-10-14-at-12-39-35-pm16.21) THE FATHER, THE SON, AND THE HOLY GUEST STAR

Bart gets expelled from school and transfers to a Catholic school, where a hip priest named Father Sean tries to convert Bart and Homer to Catholicism, which worries Marge when she believes that Catholics do not go to the same heaven as Protestants and discovers that Catholic women do not use birth control.

REVIEW: BURKE & HARE

CAST

Simon Pegg (Star Trek)
Andy Serkis (Lord of The Rings)
Isla Fisher (Grimsby)
Tom Wilkinson (Batman Begins)
Tim Curry (IT)
Jessica Hynes (Spaced)
Bill Bailey (Hot Fuzz)
Hugh Bonneville (Blow Dry)
Christopher Lee (The Hobbit)
Jenny Agutter (The Avengers)
Georgia King (Wild Child)
Stephen Merchant (Logan)

The film opens in Edinburgh. Narration by Angus the Hangman explains how the corpses of the hanged are transported to Dr Robert Knox for dissection. Knox’s rival, Dr Alexander Monro, wants the steady supply of cadavers but is forced to rely on severed limbs for dissection. Monro’s assistant Charles Darwin arrives with a forged letter directing that all corpses thenceforth must be sent to Monro. Angus tells Knox’s assistant, Patterson, the news. Patterson delivers the message to Knox. William Burke and William Hare, immigrants from Ulster, attempt to sell cheese mould as a patent medicine. When their fraud is discovered, they flee to an inn owned by Hare’s wife, Lucky. She tells them that one of the lodgers has died. Burke and Hare decide to sell the corpse to Knox. They are forced to break the corpse’s spine to fit it into a barrel in order to smuggle it through the city. They stop at a pub along the way, where a young former prostitute, Ginny Hawkins, loudly performs an excerpt from Macbeth. The patrons ignore her. Burke asks her why she did this, and she says that it is her ambition to become an actress. They share a drink; Hare reminds Burke that they must continue to Knox’s house.
Burke and Hare present the now-mangled corpse to Knox. After some negotiation, Knox agrees to pay them a good sum of money for each corpse they bring him for dissection. Burke plans to use his money to finance Ginny’s theatrical ambitions, and Hare decides to open a funeral parlour. Returning to the inn, they find Lucky drunk and barely conscious. Lucky says she is drinking because Joseph, another lodger at the inn, is near death. Not willing to wait for the outcome, Burke and Hare suffocate Joseph and take the body to Knox.
Afterward, Burke tells Ginny about the money. She allows him to take her home. Hare meets Fergus, the henchman of villain Danny McTavish, at a bar. Fergus says that McTavish uses him to cheat at games of chance, but keeps all the winnings for himself. Hare details the arrangement with Knox. Fergus relays the information to McTavish. Burke is kidnapped from Ginny’s side and bundled into a horse carriage by McTavish and Fergus, who have already captured Hare. McTavish threatens to kill them unless they give him half the money from Knox. Forced to agree, they are then thrown from the carriage. As they trod back to the inn, they plan a string of murders to make up their losses to McTavish. Lucky becomes suspicious of the mounting death toll, as does Police Captain Tom McLintock. McLintock seeks the advice of Lord Harrington and William Wordsworth, who give permission to hunt down the criminals and have them hanged.
McTavish kidnaps Hare again and attempts to extort the remainder of the money. Shortly afterward, McTavish appears as Knox’s next dissection cadaver. McLintock takes notice. He arrests Burke and Ginny, and Hare and Lucky, while both couples are having sex. He tells them that if any one of them confesses to the murders, the others will go free. Burke agrees to confess if he and Ginny can finish what they were doing when McLintock apprehended them. Just before Burke’s hanging, Angus advises him to speak if he has any final words. Burke sees Ginny in the crowd, and says, “I did it for love.” Onscreen text over the credits describes the fates of all the characters in the story, concluding with an image of the actual skeleton of William Burke at the Anatomical Museum of the University of Edinburgh Medical School.By and large, I really enjoyed Bukre and Hare. The biggest challenge the story faced was turning two mass murderers into characters you can follow, laugh with and have empathy for and I think this film does it really well. As Burke is talked into the business with Hare, there’s never the slightest feeling that his friend is purposefully leading him down a path to his own downfall, unlike the real Hare who gave Burke up in the end to escape a public hanging. Another element of the movie which was enjoyable was seeing so many familiar faces turning up in smaller roles; Ronnie Corbett decked out in his red and blue uniform as Captain McLintock, Christopher Lee as Old Joseph, one of Buke and Hare’s early unfortunates and perhaps the most hilarious scene of all is when they push Paul Whitehouse down a flight of stairs! It’s a good one to see if you’re after something dark and funny on Halloween.