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.

 

 

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.

REVIEW: THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING

 

CAST

Elijah Wood (Sin City)
Ian McKellen (X-Men)
Viggo Mortensen (Eastern Promises)
Sean Astin (The Goonies)
Liv Tyler (Super)
Cate Blanchett (Babel)
John Rhys-Davies (Beyond The Mask)
Billy Boyd (Seed of Chucky)
Dominic Monaghan (Lost)
Bernard Hill (True Crime)
Orlando Bloom (Kingdom of Heaven)
Christopher Lee (Star Wars Episode II & III)
Hugo Weaving (The Matrix)
Miranda Otto (I, Frankenstein)
David Wenham (Van Helsing)
Brad Dourif (Curse of Chucky)
Karl Urban (Dredd)
Andy Serkis (Rise of The Planet of The Apes)
John Noble (Sleepy Hollow)
Ian Holm (Alien)
Marton Csokas (Xena: Warrior Princess)
Bruce Spence (Mad Max 2)
Bruce Hopkins (Power Rangers Ninja Storm)
Ian Hughes (Hercules: TLJ)
Bruce Phillips (Power Rangers RPM)
Joel Tobeck (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Stephen Ure (Xena: Warrior Princess)
Jed Brophy (The Hobbit)
Craig Parker (Reign)

Gandalf leads Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, and King Théoden to Isengard where they reunite with Merry and Pippin. With Saruman defeated, Gandalf retrieves Saruman’s palantír. Overcome by curiosity, Pippin steals a glance into the seeing-stone, and suffers a mental attack from Sauron himself. Gandalf deduces that Sauron will attack Gondor’s capital Minas Tirith, so he rides there to warn them, taking Pippin with him because Sauron thinks Pippin is the ring bearer.Meanwhile, Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee are led by Gollum to Minas Morgul where they witness the Witch-king of Angmar leading an Orc army to drive Denethor’s younger son Faramir and his men from Osgiliath. At Gollum’s urging, the three begin climbing a precarious stair carved in the cliff face that will take them into Mordor via a ‘secret way’. But having overheard Gollum’s plot to regain the Ring, Sam keeps a suspicious eye on him. In Gondor, Pippin follows Gandalf’s instructions and secretly lights the beacon to signal Théoden to assemble the Rohirrim and come to Gondor’s aid.While helping Théoden gather his forces, Aragorn is approached by Elrond who says Arwen is dying. After seeing a vision of her son she refused to leave Middle Earth. Elrond then gives Aragorn the sword Andúril, Isildur’s sword Narsil reforged, so he can reclaim his birthright while gaining reinforcements from the Dead Men of Dunharrow. Joined by Legolas and Gimli, Aragorn travels to the Paths of the Dead, recruiting the Army of the Dead with the promise to release them from their curse once they fulfil their oath to Isildur.Faramir is gravely wounded after a futile effort to retake Osgiliath, and believing his son to be dead, Denethor falls into madness. Gandalf is left to command the city defences against the Orc army led by Gothmog. But as Gothmog’s forces eventually force their way into the city, Denethor tries to kill himself and Faramir on a pyre. Pippin alerts Gandalf and they save Faramir, but Denethor leaps to his death from the top of Minas Tirith just before Théoden and the Rohirrim arrive. Initially the Rohirrim have the advantage at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, but are eventually overwhelmed by the Oliphaunt-riding Haradrim while the Witch-king mortally wounds Théoden. Though Théoden’s niece Éowyn, having posed as a male soldier, battles and slays the Witch-King with Merry’s help, Théoden dies of his wounds. Aragorn arrives with the Army of the Dead, they overcome the Orcs and win the battle. The Dead are released from their curse, and the wounded are tended to. Aragorn and the other captains of Men decide to lead all who can march upon the Black Gate as a distraction, so Frodo and Sam can get to Mount Doom.Meanwhile, Gollum manipulates Frodo into leaving Sam behind before they arrive at the tunnel leading to Mordor, and then tricks him into lair of the giant spider Shelob, who paralyses and binds Frodo. Sam arrives and drives Shelob away, but believing his friend to be dead takes Frodo’s sword Sting and The One Ring for safekeeping. When he sees Frodo’s body being taken by Orcs to Cirith Ungol he realises that Frodo is still alive, and gives chase. Sam rescues Frodo from the Orcs, and returns the Ring to him.Aragorn’s army draw out Sauron’s forces and empty Mordor, allowing the exhausted Hobbits to stagger to the volcano, but they’re attacked by Gollum when they reach Mount Doom. Frodo finally succumbs to the Ring’s power and claims it as his own, and refuses to destroy it. Gollum attacks Frodo and bites his finger off to reclaim the Ring, but Frodo fights back and knocks Gollum, who is holding the Ring, into the volcano. While Frodo holds onto the ledge for dear life, Sam manages to save him and both escape the volcano at the last second. The Ring and Sauron are both destroyed, causing a chain-reaction that consumes the mountain, topples Barad-dûr, and kills most of the fleeing Orcs as the ground crumbles beneath them. Gandalf flies in with eagles to rescue the Hobbits, who awaken later in Minas Tirith and are reunited with the surviving Fellowship members.Aragorn is crowned King of Gondor and takes Arwen as his queen. They, and all others present at his coronation, bow before Frodo and the Hobbits. The Hobbits then return to the Shire where Sam marries Rosie Cotton. Frodo, while happy for his friends, is unable to cope with the traumas of his journey, and departs Middle Earth for the Grey Havens with his uncle Bilbo, Gandalf, and the Elves. He leaves Sam the Red Book of Westmarch which details their adventures. Though saddened by Frodo’s departure, Sam is gladdened by the warm welcome he receives upon returning home.

This is one of the best series of all time, Fellowship Of The Ring still nicks it as my fave of the three movies if I was pushed to choose. You can’t really detract from what Peter Jackson has achieved with this film, Tolkien himself gave the film rights away for practically nothing, deeming the book impossible to translate to film. Peter Jackson proved him wrong and we now have a great trilogy of films that will stand the test of time.

REVIEW: THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE TWO TOWERS

CAST

Elijah Wood (Sin City)
Ian McKellen (X-Men)
Viggo Mortensen (Eastern Promises)
Sean Astin (The Goonies)
Liv Tyler (Super)
Cate Blanchett (Babel)
John Rhys-Davies (Beyond The Mask)
Billy Boyd (Seed of Chucky)
Dominic Monaghan (Lost)
Bernard Hill (True Crime)
Orlando Bloom (Kingdom of Heaven)
Christopher Lee (Star Wars Episode II & III)
Hugo Weaving (The Matrix)
Miranda Otto (I, Frankenstein)
David Wenham (Van Helsing)
Brad Dourif (Curse of Chucky)
Karl Urban (Dredd)
Andy Serkis (Rise of The Planet of The Apes)
Craig Parker (Reign)
John Leigh (Power Rangers Samurai)
Bruce Hopkins (Xena: Warrior Princess)
John Bach (Spartacus)
John Noble (Sleepy Hollow)
Sean Bean (Game of Thrones)
Stephen Ure (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Paul Norell (Young Hercules)

Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee continue their journey to Mordor to destroy the One Ring by throwing it into Mount Doom. They are attacked in the night by Gollum, former owner of the Ring, but they capture him. Sympathising with Gollum for their shared burden, Frodo asks Gollum to lead them safely to Mordor, despite Sam’s objections. Meanwhile, Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli pursue the Uruk-hai who kidnapped their friends Merry and Pippin. The Uruk-hai are slaughtered by the Rohirrim army of Rohan, but the two Hobbits escape into Fangorn Forest where they meet the Ent Treebeard. Aragorn’s group later meet the Rohirrim who have been banished by their king Théoden, who is manipulated by Saruman’s servant Grima Wormtongue. Tracking the Hobbits in Fangorn, Aragorn’s group encounter a resurrected Gandalf who perished in Moria, but was revived to help save Middle-earth.Gollum leads Frodo and Sam through the Dead Marshes whilst evading the Nazgûl. They reach the Black Gate to Mordor but Gollum stops them, saying it’s too risky and that there is another entrance, finding himself becoming loyal to Frodo for his kindness. The trio later are captured by the Rangers of Ithilien, led by Faramir, brother of the late Boromir. When Faramir discovers Frodo has the Ring, he intends on taking him to Gondor, capturing Gollum when Frodo exposes him. Aragorn, Gandalf, Legolas, and Gimli travel to Rohan’s capital Edoras where Gandalf releases Théoden from Saruman’s power and Wormtongue is banished. Learning Saruman plans on wiping out Rohan with an army of Uruk-hai, Théoden decides to move his citizens to the protection of Helm’s Deep, but Gandalf departs to find the Rohirrim led by Théoden’s nephew Éomer. Aragorn strikes up a friendship with Théoden’s niece Éowyn who quickly falls in love with him. During a Warg attack, Aragorn falls off a cliff into a river, but is found by his horse and taken to Helm’s Deep.In Fangorn, Merry and Pippin attend an Ent council but learn Treebeard and the others will not participate in the war. They convince them otherwise when they show the destruction Saruman has unleashed on the forests around Isengard. The Ents storm Isengard and imprison Saruman in his tower. The Uruk-hai army arrive at Helm’s Deep, finding a makeshift army of peasants and Elves from Rivendell waiting for them. A great battle follows with Théoden losing hope until Aragorn convinces him to ride out and meet them. Gandalf and the Rohirrim arrive, turning the tide of the battle and destroying the Uruk-hai.Frodo, Sam, and Gollum are taken to the fallen Gondor city Osgiliath but they are attacked by the Nazgûl and Mordor army. Sam informs Faramir of how the Ring nearly drove Boromir mad, stunning Faramir. Frodo is nearly captured by the Nazgûl but Sam tackles him down a flight of stairs, saving him. After the attack ends, Faramir frees the trio and sends them on their way. Gollum, hurt by Frodo’s seeming betrayal, decides to reclaim the Ring by leading Frodo and Sam to a creature he refers to as “her”, leading them away towards Mordor.The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Extended Version might rasie a few eyebrows when one sees how long the extented version is, however the extra 40 minutes added to the theatrical cut actually make the ‘The Two Towers’ a better film to enjoy as a lord of the rings and/or film fan. The extra footage, adds depth and suspense to the story, which makes it more gripping, particularly during some of the extended scenes during the battle of Helm’s Deep. There is more character evolution, which gives one a more indepth view of the more mystical sides of the main characters (their backgrounds and their power), particularly Aragon and Gandalf.Furthermore, the extended material gives a larger role to Merry and Pippin, to which many hardcore lord of the rings fans is a great boost to the story. They are a greater aspect of the story and unlike in the theatrical cut, don’t just sit in a tree all the film.What I enjoyed most however, was the realism of the film that the extented edition gave to Tolkein’s writings, though true some aspects were not entirly accurate to the The Two Towers book, the extended editon gave one the feeling more that they were in Middle-Earth, than the theatrical cut.The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Extended Version is an ideal viewing for any lord of the rings fan, but furthermore, it is a great epic to watch of any person, even those who saw the theatrical cut, before reading the book.

REVIEW: THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RINGS

CAST

Elijah Wood (Sin City)
Ian McKellen (X-Men)
Viggo Mortensen (Eastern Promises)
Sean Astin (The Goonies)
Liv Tyler (Super)
Cate Blanchett (Babel)
John Rhys-Davies (Beyond The Mask)
Billy Boyd (Seed of Chucky)
Dominic Monaghan (Lost)
Orlando Bloom (Kingdom of Heaven)
Christopher Lee (Star Wars Episode II & III)
Hugo Weaving (The Matrix)
Andy Serkis (Rise of The Planet of The Apes)
Sean Bean (Game of Thrones)
Ian Holm (Alien)
Marton Csokas (Alice In Wonderland)
David Weatherley (Power Rangers Operation Overdrive)
Craig Parker (Reign)
Mark Ferguson (Hercules In The Underworld)

In the Second Age of Middle-earth, the Dark Lord Sauron forges the One Ring in Mount Doom to conquer all, abandoning a great part of his power to it in order to dominate, through it, at a distance, the other Rings of Power, which had been granted to lords of Elves, Dwarves and Men. An army of men and elves battle Sauron’s forces in Mordor, where Prince Isildur of Gondor cuts the One Ring off of Sauron’s finger, thereby temporarily destroying his physical shape, and decides to take care of the Ring himself, but the evil influence of the Ring corrupts Isildur, preventing him from destroying it in Mount Doom. Isildur is later killed by Orcs, and the Ring is lost for 2,500 years, found and owned by Gollum for five centuries. The Ring is then found by a Hobbit named Bilbo Baggins.Sixty years on, Bilbo celebrates his 111th birthday in the Shire, reuniting with his old friend Gandalf the Grey. Bilbo reveals he intends on leaving the Shire for one last adventure and leaves his inheritance to his nephew Frodo, including the Ring. Gandalf investigates the Ring, discovering its true identity and warns Frodo. Learning Gollum was tortured by Orcs and told them that Bilbo took the Ring, Gandalf instructs Frodo to leave the Shire, accompanied by his gardener Samwise Gamgee. Gandalf rides to Isengard, meeting fellow wizard Saruman the White, but learns he is in league with Sauron, who has unleashed the Ringwraiths to find Frodo. After a brief battle, Saruman imprisons Gandalf. Frodo and Sam are joined by fellow Hobbits, Merry and Pippin, and they evade the Ringwraiths, arriving in Bree where they are meant to meet Gandalf, but are instead aided by a ranger named Strider, a friend of Gandalf’s who escorts them to Rivendell.The Hobbits are ambushed by the Ringwraiths, one stabbing Frodo with a morgul blade. Arwen, an elf and Strider’s lover, comes to Frodo’s aid and successfully takes him to Rivendell where he is healed, meeting Gandalf who escaped Saruman on the back of a giant eagle. Arwen’s father, Lord Elrond, holds a council, deciding that the Ring must be destroyed in Mount Doom. While the members argue, Frodo volunteers to take the Ring, accompanied by Gandalf, Sam, Merry, Pippin, elf Legolas, dwarf Gimli, Boromir of Gondor, and Strider, who is revealed to be Aragorn, Isildur’s heir and rightful King of Gondor. Bilbo gives Frodo his sword, Sting. The Fellowship of the Ring sets off but Saruman’s magic forces them to travel through the Mines of Moria.The Fellowship find the dwarves within Moria have been slain, and they are attacked by Orcs and a cave troll. They defeat them, but are confronted by an ancient demon called the Balrog. Gandalf casts the Balrog into a vast chasm, but its fiery whip drags Gandalf down into the darkness with it. The rest of the Fellowship, now led by Aragorn, reach Lothlórien, home to elves Galadriel and Celeborn. Galadriel privately informs Frodo that only he can complete the quest and one of his friends will try to take the Ring. Meanwhile, Saruman creates an army of Uruk-hai to track and kill the Fellowship save Frodo.The Fellowship leave Lothlórien by river to Parth Galen. Frodo wanders off, confronted by Boromir who tries to take the Ring in desperation. Afraid of the Ring corrupting his friends, Frodo decides to travel to Mordor alone. The other members fight off the Uruk-hai, but Merry and Pippin are taken captive, and Boromir is mortally wounded by the Uruk chieftain. After killing the chieftain, Aragorn helps Boromir die peacefully. Sam follows Frodo, accompanying him to keep his promise to Gandalf to protect Frodo, while Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli go to rescue Merry and Pippin.The extended versions are easily recommended over the theatrical versions. Across the three films you’re getting at least two hours of additional scenes which cover more of the story and fill in the gaps. Some of them are not plot critical, hence their original omission, but it’s nice to have them all the same.

REVIEW: INKHEART

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CAST

Brendan Fraser (The Mummy)
Sienna Guillory (Eragon)
Paul Bettany (Avengers: Age of Ultron)
Eliza Bennett (The Prince and Me)
Helen Mirren (Red)
Andy Serkis (The Hobbit)
Jim Broadbent (Vera Drake)
Rafi Gavron (The Cold Light of Day)
Lesley Sharp (From Hell)
Jamie Foreman  (Ironclad)
Jennifer Connelly (Hulk)

One evening, whilst Mortimer “Mo” Folchart (Brendan Fraser) and his wife Teresa “Resa” Folchart (Sienna Guillory) are reading the fairy tale “Little Red Riding Hood” to their baby daughter Meggie, a red velvet hood appears out of nowhere. Several years later, a much older Meggie (Eliza Bennett) travels with her father Mo to visit an old book shop in Italy, unaware that he is secretly looking for a copy of the book, Inkheart. Shortly after finding one, Meggie comes across a marten with horns outside the shop, who tries to bite her fingers. Suddenly, a man (Paul Bettany) appears from the shadows, claiming to be an old friend while revealing the marten’s name as Gwin. When Mo comes out of the book shop, he quickly recognizes the man as a person called Dustfinger, whom quickly asks to be read back into the book, only for Mo to flee with Meggie from him.

Travelling across Italy, Mo takes Meggie on a visit to Meggie’s great aunt Elinor (Helen Mirren), whereupon he reveals to Meggie why he fled from Dustfinger. While she was young, Mo read to her from Inkheart, inadvertently freeing Dustfinger as a result, due to a gift he possessed from birth, that marks him as a “Silver Tongue”. Unfortunately, his gift also freed the book’s villain Capricorn (Andy Serkis) and several of his henchman, but at the same time, losing Resa after being forced to flee with his infant daughter. Soon, Dustfinger reappears seeking Mo, accompanied by Capricorn’s minion, Basta (Jamie Foreman), who quickly captures Mo and his family and takes back Inkheart, destroying Elinor’s valuable library in the process.

The four are taken to Capricorn’s new castle in the real world. Elinor stands up to Capricorn and protests against the destruction of her library, but Capricorn orders her to be gagged. Mo is forced to read from the book, and they are imprisoned in the stables, which house various creatures from different storybooks, including the winged monkeys from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the minotaur from the story of Theseus, and a unicorn. During their imprisonment, Mo explains to Meggie and Elinor about his gift, stating that when he reads a person or an object out of a book, someone from the real world is sent into it, hence why his wife disappeared. Capricorn, interested in using his gift, forces Mo to read out items from books, causing him to get a stash of treasure from one of the stories in The Arabian Nights, while causing one of the 40 Thieves, named Farid (Rafi Gavron), to be brought out as well and forced into imprisonment. Dustfinger, who believed he could get his chance to return into the book, quickly learns Capricorn tricked him, and so prompts a quick escape using the famous tornado from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz; during the escape, he opts not to tell Mo that his wife Resa is in the village, but has lost her voice.

Following their escape, Meggie offers the idea of finding the author of Inkheart, a man named Fenoglio (in honor of the Italian writer Beppe Fenoglio), who may have access to a copy of the rare-to-find book. Whilst Elinor decides to leave them to recover what is left of her book collection, the rest head for the author’s location, with Dustfinger initially staying with Farid to teach him to juggle fire, yet secretly afraid of learning his fate in the book. When he does travel with Mo to find and meet with Fenoglio (Jim Broadbent), the author’s ecstatic mood, upon seeing his creation live and breath before him, causes Dustfinger to discover that his efforts to save Gwin at the end of the book brings about his death. Angry, he berates the author for not being his god and that he has the freedom to choose whatever fate he wants, before eventually confessing to Mo, who Resa is in the book, that his wife was in Capricorn’s castle.

Both he and Mo take Fenoglio’s car, leaving Meggie behind with the author, where during the journey, they quickly discover that Farid had stowed away in the car’s trunk, and take him along at his insistence. Whilst away, Meggie begins reading a number of books out loud, and discovers she is a “Silver Tongue” herself, just before Basta arrives with men to capture Mo. Upon learning that she can read things out of books, after the author notices she brought Toto from the The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Basta takes her and Fenoglio back to Capricorn. Elinor, who has a change of heart and does not take the train back to her home, returns to the author’s home and quickly senses trouble, pursuing the captured pair. At the castle, Capricorn reveals to Meggie his intentions of bringing the monstrous Shadow from Inkheart, revealing that, although he burned all the copies, he spared one for such a purpose, threatening to harm her mother if she fails to comply. During this time, Mo sneaks into the castle, but is captured by Capricorn’s henchmen.
After escaping his cell, Mo attempts to free Meggie, Resa and Fenoglio from imprisonment, as Capricorn forces Meggie to read out the Shadow from the book. Meanwhile, Dustfinger sneaks back into the castle with Farid and decide to set it alight, after his conscience gets the better of him. The distraction this causes allows Fenoglio to give Toto a rewrite he made to help Meggie stop Capricorn’s plan. The plan partly works until Capricorn gains the upper hand. Just then, Elinor arrives with the creatures Capricorn imprisoned, giving Mo the opportunity to quickly throw his daughter a pen, allowing her to write out a story on her arm to combat Capricorn’s plan. Meggie quickly reads out her creation, which causes Capricorn to turn into dust, vanishes his henchmen, destroys the Shadow, and return all the read out creatures back where they belong, including Toto. In addition, she grants Fenoglio’s wish, and send him into Inkheart to live in the world he created, while restoring her mother’s voice, allowing her and Mo to finally reunite with her, before fleeing as the castle collapses.
Shortly afterwards, Dustfinger, having missed his chance for Meggie to read him back into his book, decides to leave, not wishing to force Mo and his family to do anything without risking their happiness. As he does, Farid catches up with insisting on travelling with him to find another reader to send him back into the copy of Inkheart he had stolen before the castle collapsed. After a moment’s hesitation, Dustfinger agrees and the two start off together only to have Mo catch them up and fulfill his promise. Dustfinger is soon transported safely back into Inkheart, where he reunites with his wife Roxane at their home. In the real world, Farid quickly reveals he kept Gwin with him, thus allowing Dustfinger to avoid his fate and have control over his destiny. As Mo and his family leave with Farid, Meggie agrees to teach him how to read while Farid agrees to teach her how to use the dragon breath.I like how all the elements from different story books come into our world plot and very interesting fantasy film

REVIEW: BLESSED

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CAST

Heather Graham (Killing Me Softly)
James Purefoy (Rome)
Fionnula Flanagan (The Others)
Alan McKenna (Belle)
Michael J. Reynolds (Police Academy)
Stella Stevens (General Hospital)
William Hootkins (Batman)
Andy Serkis (Lord of The Rings)
David Hemmings (Gladiator)

Image result for blessed (2004)The story begins with the Howards, a young, married couple living in New York. Craig (James Purefoy), an unpublished writer, and Samantha (Heather Graham), a school teacher, are desperate to have a baby. Their hopes are dashed when Samantha is diagnosed as infertile and the couple can’t afford the medical treatments that might allow her to conceive. Just when it seems their dreams are impossible, the couple are given the opportunity to receive free treatments from a new, and relatively unheard of, fertility clinic. The Spiritus Research Clinic is in Lakeview, a small town two hours away, and they move to the clinic.
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It soon becomes clear something is amiss. In the laboratory where the couple’s eggs and sperm samples are being mixed, the scientist takes a large, engraved metal needle and injects a red substance into Craig’s sperm without the couple’s knowledge. After the treatments, they are overjoyed when it is discovered Samantha is pregnant with twins.
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Earlier in the film, Craig was introduced at a party to book publisher Earl Sidney. Suddenly the publisher wants to publish Craig’s book and offers Craig $100,000 as an advance.The pregnant Samantha begins feeling unusually painful scratching from the unborn twins. She is also suspicious of her husband’s new business associate and friend. She feels ignored and distanced from Craig.

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Meanwhile, a hooded stranger begins stalking Samantha. Samantha becomes friends with a priest, Father Carlo. It is him who tells Samantha she is the unknowing victim of a pact with evil. The book publisher and the scientists at the clinic are connected to “The New Light of Dawn” church, a secret devil-worshiping cult. The red liquid injected into the Howards’ test-tube pregnancy was the Devil’s DNA. The cult plans to kidnap the babies shortly after birth and raise them to eventually destroy mankind. Father Carlo tells Samantha to drink a poison that will kill the babies, but she smashes the glass against his face. The crazed priest is also the hooded figure that has been following Samantha and sets the motel room he had taken her to on fire. He then gets in a car and drives away towards the clinic, with the intention to destroy it. He crashes through one operating room to another until crashing into Dr. Leeds’ office. Gasoline spills on the priest as he tells the doctor “He who walks with Satan shall burn in Hell” and then sets himself on fire with a lighter. Prior to destroying the clinic, however, we see that Earl Sidney has already left the clinic with the metal container containing the blood of Lucifer.
Image result for blessed (2004)Samantha and Craig manage to escape. Four years later, they celebrate the birthday of their twin daughters with a costume party. One of the guest children (who has disguised himself as the Devil) teases one of the girls and soon, he chokes on a grape and dies, his skin rotting and hardening. Samantha stares at her twins in horror, wondering.Image result for blessed (2004)This is horror for intellectuals. People who want non-stop violence and gore are going to dislike this movie. People who like The Ring and Rosemarie’s Baby will probably really appreciate this movie.