REVIEW: LARA CROFT TOMB RAIDER 2: THE CRADLE OF LIFE

CAST

Angelina Jolie (Wanted)
Chris Barrie (Red Dawrf)
Gerard Butler (300)
Ciaran Hinds (The Woman In Black)
Noah Taylor (Powers)
Djimon Hounsou (Stargate)
Ronan Vibert (Hex)
Robert Cavanah (Highlander: The Raven)
Graham McTavish (The Hobbit)
Til Schweiger (Inglourious Basterds)
Simon Yam (IP Man)
Ronan Vibert (Saving Mr. Banks)

Angelina Jolie in Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003)On Santorini island, Greece, a strong earthquake uncovers the Luna Temple. The temple was built by Alexander the Great to house his most prized treasures. Among these treasures is a glowing orb with a pattern resembling a code etched into it. Lara Croft (Angelina Jolie) finds this orb; but crime lord Chen Lo (Simon Yam) attacks her group, kills her two companions and takes the orb. Lara escapes with a strange medallion.Angelina Jolie in Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003)MI6 approaches Lara with information about Pandora’s box. It is an object from ancient legends that supposedly contains a deadly plague (the companion to the origin of life itself). They need to get it before Jonathan Reiss (Ciarán Hinds) – a Nobel Prize winning scientist turned bio-terrorist – does. The box, hidden in the mysterious Cradle of Life, can only be found with a magical sphere that serves as a map. The same sphere was stolen by Chen Lo, who plans to sell the sphere to Reiss. Lara agrees to help them, with the condition that they release her old flame Terry Sheridan (Gerard Butler), who is familiar with Chen Lo’s criminal operation. Together, Terry and Lara infiltrate Chen Lo’s lair, where he is smuggling the Terracotta Soldiers. Lara defeats him in a fight and learns the location of the orb.Angelina Jolie in Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003)Lara and Terry then meet up with Kosa (Djimon Hounsou), the former’s longtime African friend. They question a local tribe about the Cradle of Life, wherein the chief states that the Cradle of Life is in a crater protected by the “Bigfoots”. As they set out on an expedition, Reiss’ men ambush them and kill the tribesmen. Outnumbered, Lara surrenders. Using her companions as hostages, Reiss forces Lara to lead him to the Cradle of Life. At the crater, they encounter the Bigfoots, cryptids apes that appear in and out of wet patches on dead trees. The creatures kill most of Reiss’ men. Lara manages to find the “key hole” and drops the Orb in it. The Bigfoots melt and the entrance to the Cradle of Life opens.Angelina Jolie and Gerard Butler in Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003)Lara and Reiss are drawn into the Cradle, a labyrinth made of a strange crystalline substance. Inside, they find a pool of highly corrosive black acid (linking back to one of the myths about Pandora’s box), in which the box floats. Normal laws of physics seem not to apply, as Lara and Reiss are able to walk upside down along the ceiling of the cave. Terry arrives, frees the hostages and catches up to Lara. Lara fights Reiss, and knocks him into the acid pool, which kills and dissolves him. Terry then announces the intention to take the box for himself. When he refuses to back down, Lara regretfully shoots him dead, replaces the box in the pool and leaves.Angelina Jolie in Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003)This is not artistic or a movie-trying-to-be-clever, it is pure entertainment. It delivers the action, but is three-dimensional because of the characters, and the emotion. It moves along, and doesn’t get boring! Fans of the game will be pleased, because there are many scenes that closely resemble the game, especially the way Lara moves.

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REVIEW: LARA CROFT TOMB RAIDER

CAST

Angelina Jolie (Hackers)
Daniel Craig (Cowboys & Aliens)
Jon Voight (Transformers)
Iain Glen (Game of Thrones)
Noah Taylor (Powers)
Chris Barrie (Red Dawrf)
Julian Rhind-Tutt (Rabbit Fever)
Leslie Phillips (Venus)

Angelina Jolie in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)In pursuit of a diamond, Lara Croft battles a large robot in an Egyptian tomb; she disables it by ripping out its circuits. The diamond, revealed to be a memory card, is inserted into a laptop computer inside the robot to play music. The fight took place in a practice area of Lara’s home and the robot was programmed by her technical assistant Bryce to challenge her in combat. The first phase of a planetary alignment, culminating in a solar eclipse, arrives. In Venice, the Illuminati search for a key that will rejoin halves of “The Triangle”, which must be completed by the final phase. Manfred Powell, an Illuminati member, assures that they are almost ready, but actually has no idea of the location.Angelina Jolie in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)Hilary, Lara’s butler, tries to interest her in several projects, but on account of the anniversary of her father’s disappearance, Lara is not interested. She dreams of her father telling her about the alignment and an object linked to it, the Triangle of Light, and awakens to a clock ticking. Lara finds the clock and Bryce discovers a strange device hidden inside. Lara consults a clock expert friend of her father’s, Wilson, who claims no knowledge of the clock or the Triangle when Lara mentions a possible connection. Wilson gives Lara’s name to Powell in regards of the clock. Lara encounters Alex West, a fellow tomb raider with unscrupulous methods and for-profit attitude.Angelina Jolie in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)Lara shows Powell photographs of the clock; she later points out to Bryce that Powell was lying about his knowledge. That night, armed commandos invade the house and steal the clock despite Lara’s attempts to fend them off. The next morning, a letter from her father, arranged to arrive after the beginning of the alignment, explains that the clock is the key to retrieve the halves of the Triangle of Light, an object of phenomenal destructive power which grants its wielder power over time and space. The Triangle destroyed the city it was housed in after misuse of its power. It was then separated in half; one was hidden in a Cambodian tomb, the other in the ruined city, now part of modern-day Siberia. Her father urges her to find and destroy both halves before the Illuminati can find it.
Angelina Jolie and Daniel Craig in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)In Cambodia, West figures out part of the puzzle on how to retrieve the triangle half. However, West is incorrect and Lara figures out the true puzzle, informing West and Powell that what they thought was the correct holder for the key was but a reflection. She reminds Powell that they only have so many seconds before the opportunity is gone for another 5,000 years. Powell, realizing West was wrong and that Lara is right, and that she is the only one who can solve the puzzle, throws her the clock. Lara proves she is right as she inserts the key and the half of the triangle is revealed. Before everyone can leave, the liquid metal which came out with the piece brings the statues in the temple to life and attacks the team killing some members. Lara is left to fight off and destroy a huge six-armed guardian statue which is the last one to come to life. She successfully defeats it and leaves the temple by diving through a waterfall. She then travels to a Buddhist town where a young monk welcomes her. After a worship service, an aged monk who serves as the chief gives Lara some tea and as they converse, he reminds her to get a much needed rest to continue her father’s mission, implying that that monk might have been Lara’s father’s acquaintance.Angelina Jolie in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)She and Powell arrange to meet in Venice, since each of them has what the other needs to finish the Triangle. Powell proposes a partnership to find the Triangle, and informs Lara that her father was a member of the Illuminati, which she vehemently denies. Though hesitant at first, she, along with Bryce, meets with Powell for the trip to Siberia. Entering the tomb, the teams discover a giant model of the solar system, which activates as the alignment nears completion. Lara retrieves the last half of the Triangle, but when Powell tries to complete it, the halves will not fuse. He realizes that Lara knows the solution to the puzzle, and kills West in order to persuade her to complete the Triangle to save both West’s life and her father’s. Lara reluctantly complies, and they then struggle for control of the Triangle, with Lara prevailing and saving West’s life.Angelina Jolie in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)Lara then finds herself in a strange alternate existence facing her father Lord Richard Croft (Jon Voight). He explains that it is a “crossing” of time and space, and urges her to destroy the Triangle instead of using it to save his life. Lara leaves her father and returns to the chamber, where time is slowly running backwards from the point where Powell killed West. Croft takes the knife Powell threw into West’s chest and reverses it, then destroys the Triangle, which returns time to its normal flow and directs the knife into Powell’s shoulder. The chamber begins to self-destruct. As everyone turns to leave, Powell reveals to Lara that he murdered her father and stole his pocket watch with a picture of Lara’s mother inside as a trophy. Lara and Powell engage in a hand-to-hand fight. Lara kills him, retrieves the pocket watch, and escapes as the chamber crumbles. At the mansion, Hilary and Bryce are shocked to see Lara wearing a dress. She goes into the garden to her father’s memorial, then returns inside, where Bryce has a reprogrammed SIMON, ready to challenge Lara once again. Hilary reveals a silver tray holding Lara’s pistols, which she takes with a smile.Angelina Jolie and Daniel Craig in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)A fun movie, indeed in the line of the Indiana Jones’ features. Nice effects, a strange and interesting plot which does make sense most of the time, some good acting by the team around Croft. The right thing if you want relax and take off to the world of fantasy for a short time.

 

 

REVIEW: THE TOURIST

 

CAST

Johnny Depp (Sleepy Hollow)
Angelina Jolie (Hackers)
Paul Bettany (Inkheart)
Timothy Dalton (Flash Gordon)
Rufus Sewell (A Knight’s Tale)

Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie in The Tourist (2010)A British woman, Elise Clifton-Ward, is being followed by French police who are working with Scotland Yard under the direction of Inspector John Acheson. Acheson has spent years hunting Alexander Pearce, a lover of Elise, who owes £744 million in back taxes, and is believed to have received plastic surgery to alter his appearance. At a Parisian cafe, Elise receives written instructions from Pearce: Board the train to Venice, Italy; pick out a man; let the police believe that he is Pearce. Elise burns the note, evades the police and boards the train.Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie in The Tourist (2010)On the train, Elise selects Frank Tupelo, who is apparently an American mathematics teacher from a community college in Wisconsin. She spends much time with him, seeming to start a romance. Meanwhile, the police have managed to salvage the ashes of her burned note and assembled them to extract information regarding her rendezvous, as well as her ruse. Aware of her location, but not of the ruse, an informer from the police station communicates to Reginald Shaw, the mobster from whom Pearce stole $2.3 billion, that Pearce is traveling with Elise on the train to Venice. Shaw immediately proceeds to Venice.Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie in The Tourist (2010)Elise invites Frank to stay with her at her suite in the Hotel Danieli in Venice. Pearce leaves further instructions for Elise to attend a ball. Elise abandons Frank, who is then chased by Shaw’s men. While trying to escape from them, Frank is detained by the Italian police, ostensibly for his own safety, only to have a corrupt inspector turn him over to Shaw’s men in exchange for the bounty that has been placed on Pearce’s head. Elise rescues Frank just before he is handed over, leading Shaw’s men on an extended boat chase and finally escaping. She leaves Frank at the airport with his passport and money, urging him to go home for his own safety.Angelina Jolie in The Tourist (2010)Elise is revealed to be an undercover Scotland Yard agent who was under suspension for her suspected sympathies with Pearce. She agrees to participate in a sting operation. At the ball, as Elise tries to spot Pearce in the crowd, an envelope is placed on the table in front of her, but the man disappears into the crowd. She tries to follow him through the crowd, but is stopped by Frank. Frank claims to be in love with Elise and invites her to dance with him. After the police surprise Frank, Elise reads the note. She leaves suddenly in her boat to be tailed by Shaw. Both parties are followed by the police. Frank is held handcuffed.Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie in The Tourist (2010)When Elise arrives at the destination, Shaw takes her prisoner, threatening to harm her unless she reveals the location of the stolen money. The police monitor the situation inside the rendezvous room through audio and video links. Despite Elise’s peril, Acheson repeatedly turns down police requests to intervene with their snipers. While the police are occupied in monitoring the situation, Frank escapes from the police boat and confronts Shaw, claiming to be Pearce and offering to open the safe if Elise is allowed to leave safely. Shaw is skeptical and makes a counter offer that Frank should open the safe if he does not want to see Elise tortured by his men. Chief Inspector Jones arrives at the police stake-out, overrides Acheson, and orders the snipers to fire, killing Shaw and his men. To Elise’s obvious pleasure, Jones lifts her suspension and terminates her employment.Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie in The Tourist (2010)Acheson, receiving a message that Pearce has been found near their position, rushes to find the police have detained an Englishman. The man, Lawrence Mason, says he is a tourist following written instructions received via his mobile phone, for which he has been receiving payments. Elise tells Frank that she loves him, but she also loves Pearce. Frank then suggests a “solution” to this dilemma; to Elise’s surprise, he opens the safe by entering the correct code, thus revealing that he is really Alexander Pearce. When the police open the safe they find only one cheque: It is for £744 million. Acheson prepares to chase after Pearce, but Jones overrides him, reasoning that with the taxes now paid in full, Pearce’s only crime is that he stole money from a now-dead gangster. Jones orders the case to be closed, much to Acheson’s frustration. Frank (Alexander) and Elise sail away.Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie in The Tourist (2010)The Tourist certainly has its strong points. The visuals are simply stunning, whether that describes the beautiful European vistas, lavish homes and hotels or the lead actors, there is definitely eye candy everywhere. The action scenes are exciting and even the dialogue has some charm. However it seems that for every peak there is a valley. The Tourist like its pre-production story seems to have a bit of an identity crisis. At times the film feels intense and brooding, other times it feels like a carefree romp through the waterways of Venice. The dialogue and script have their moments of wit and charm while other parts feel like a reject Bond script. The Tourist is by no means a perfect film, however going in with realistic expectations; it may be just the way to end your night or your week

REVIEW: SALT

CAST

Angelina Jolie (Maleficent)
Liev Schreiber (The 5th Wave)
Chiwetel Ejiofor (Serenity)
Daniel Olbrychski (The Deluge)
August Diehl (Anatomy 2)
Hunt Block (The Lonely Guy)
Andre Braugher (Glory)
Gaius Charles (Batman: Bad Blood)

Evelyn Salt (Angelina Jolie) is being tortured in a North Korean prison on suspicion of being an American spy. Her boyfriend, arachnologist Mike Krause (August Diehl), generates so much publicity that the CIA is forced to arrange a prisoner exchange, despite the agency’s policy against it. Salt’s CIA colleague Ted Winter (Liev Schreiber) greets Salt at the border. As they drive away, Mike proposes marriage, despite Salt’s admission that she is in fact a CIA operative.

Two years later, on Salt and Mike’s wedding anniversary, a Russian defector named Oleg Vasilyevich Orlov (Daniel Olbrychski) walks in to Salt’s office. Salt interrogates him, with Winter and CIA counterintelligence officer Darryl Peabody (Chiwetel Ejiofor) observing. Orlov claims that, on “Day X”, highly trained Russian sleeper agents known as “KAs” will destroy the U.S. Orlov tells them that Agent “KA-12” will assassinate Russian president Boris Matveyev (Olek Krupa) at the funeral of the American Vice President. Orlov reveals that KA-12 is named Evelyn Salt, and lie detectors confirm his entire story. Peabody orders Salt be detained, but Orlov kills two agents and escapes. In the confusion, Salt is able to escape as well, running barefoot through the street. While she is being chased, she discovers that Mike was kidnapped.

Later, at the funeral, Salt appears to succeed in killing President Matveyev, and then surrenders herself. Matveyev is declared dead. Salt escapes again and heads to a barge where Orlov is hiding with other sleeper agents. In a series of flashbacks, Salt recalls growing up in the Soviet Union and being trained with other children. On the barge, Orlov welcomes her back and has Mike killed in front of her. When Salt shows no reaction, Orlov is convinced she is loyal and begins briefing her on her next mission. She is to rendezvous with another KA who will help her assassinate the American president. Salt then kills Orlov and all of the other agents on the barge. She then meets with KA Shnaider (Corey Stoll), who uses his cover as a NATO liaison to get Salt into the White House. Once inside, Shnaider launches a suicide attack to force agents to move the President (Hunt Block) to an underground bunker, accompanied by Winter. Salt follows them and manages to enter the bunker before it is sealed.

The US President learns that Russia has mobilized its nuclear arsenal in response to their president’s death. He orders American nuclear weapons readied in response. CIA Agent Winter then suddenly kills everyone except the President and introduces himself as Nikolai Tarkovsky, another KA. Winter incapacitates the President and begins aiming nuclear missiles at Mecca and Tehran to incite millions of Muslims against the United States. Salt tries to persuade Winter to let her inside the sealed room, but then he sees a television report that President Matveyev is alive and well: Salt had used spider venom to cause a simulated death of Matveyev. Winter refuses her entry and reveals that Mike’s kidnapping and her blown cover were his idea. Winter plans to place full blame for the nuclear attacks on Salt. Salt breaks into the room before he can launch the missiles. The two wrestle for control of the nuclear football, with Salt aborting the missile strikes before being captured.

As Salt is being led out in chains, Winter grabs a pair of scissors, apparently to attack her or to defend himself if necessary. She unexpectedly hooks her chain around Winter’s neck and jumps over the stair railing, choking him to death. On the helicopter ride to be interrogated, Peabody questions her. Salt explains that she killed Winter because he orchestrated the death of her husband, and promises to hunt down the remaining KA agents if freed. Peabody is convinced after receiving a text that Salt’s fingerprints were found on the barge where the sleeper agents were killed, supporting her story. Salt is allowed to escape, jumping out of the helicopter into the river below and escaping into the woods. In an alternate ending Salt jumps out of the helicopter and arrives in disguise at the place where she was trained as a child in the Soviet Union, she is then seen by the water as the place blows up and Salt smiles.Salt is full of action film . Angeline Jolie surprisingly performs a pleasant heroine. Despite the twists, the story is predictable and flawed, but the action scenes make it worth seeing.

REVIEW: PLAYING GOD

CAST

David Duchovny (The X-Files)
Timothy Hutton (Kinsey)
Angelina Jolie (Changeling)
Michael Massee (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Peter Stormare (Prison Break)
Andrew Tiernan (300)
Gary Dourdan (CSI)
John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone)
Tracey Walter (Conan The Destroyer)
Keone Young (Alien Nation)

Stripped of his medical license after performing an operation while high on amphetamines, famed LA surgeon Dr Eugene Sands abandons his former life only to find himself crossing paths with Raymond Blossom, an infamous counterfeiter. Employed as a “gun-shot doctor” when Raymond’s associates cannot risk visiting a hospital, Eugene is lured deep into the criminal world and becomes entangled with his boss’s girlfriend.With the mixed reviews this got I wasn’t expecting too much, and was pleasantly surprised. It’s a very entertaining small crime film with interesting characters, excellent portrayals, writing that’s breezy without being glib, and a good pace. It looks good too, in a funky way. Apparently people either like this movie or just hate it, and I’m one who liked it.

REVIEW: THE GOOD SHEPHERD

CAST

Matt Damon (Jason Bourne)
Angelina Jolie (Maleficent)
Robert De Niro (Joy)
Alec Baldwin (Mission: Impossible 5)
William Hurt (The Host)
Joe Pesci (Home Alone)
John Turturro (Transformers)
Billy Crudup (Watchmen)
Tammy Blanchard (Into The Wood)
Michael Gambon (Harry Potter)
Timothy Hutton (Secret Window)
Keir Dullea (Black Christmas)
Gabriel Macht (Suits)
Lee Pace (The Hobbit)
Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)
James Faulkner (X-Men: First Class)

A photograph and an audio recording on reel-to-reel tape are dropped off anonymously at the home of Edward Wilson (Matt Damon), a senior CIA officer, after the 1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion of Cuba fails due to an undisclosed leak. In 1939 Edward is at Yale University and is invited to join Skull and Bones, a secret society. He is compelled to disclose a secret as part of his initiation: he reveals that as a young boy in 1925 he discovered the suicide note left by his father, Thomas (Timothy Hutton), although he says he never read it. After the ceremony, a fraternity brother tells him that Edward’s father, an admiral, was to be chosen as Secretary of the Navy, until his loyalties were questioned. Afterwards Edward is recruited by an FBI agent, Sam Murach (Alec Baldwin), who claims that Edward’s poetry professor, Dr. Fredericks (Michael Gambon), is a Nazi spy, asking Edward to expose his professor’s background. Edward’s actions result in Dr. Fredericks’ forced resignation from the university.

Edward begins a relationship with a deaf student named Laura (Tammy Blanchard), but while on Deer Island, Edward meets his friend John Russel’s (Gabriel Macht) family and is later aggressively seduced by his sister Margaret ‘Clover’ Russell (Angelina Jolie). General Bill Sullivan (Robert De Niro) asks Edward to join the OSS, offering him a post in London. Later while Edward and Laura are at the beach, Margaret’s brother privately reveals that she is pregnant, so Edward marries her. At the wedding reception Edward accepts the London OSS office position, while his new wife remains in the United States. In London he meets Dr. Fredericks again, who is actually with British intelligence. An intelligence officer in the British SOE, Arch Cummings (Billy Crudup), tells Edward that Fredericks’ indiscriminate homosexual relationships pose a security risk. Edward is asked to deal with his mentor, who refuses to protect himself by returning to teaching. Shortly afterwards, he is brutally killed and his body is dumped into the Thames, all while Edward watches.In post-war Berlin, where both Allies and Soviets are recruiting German scientists. Edward encounters his Soviet counterpart, code named “Ulysses”, for the first time. After learning from his son, Edward Jr., during a phone call home that his wife is having an affair, Edward has a one-night stand with interpreter Hanna Schiller (Martina Gedeck); the same night, he realizes she is a Soviet agent and she is killed. Edward returns home to his wife and son. His wife confesses her adultery, and Edward confesses his. General Sullivan approaches Edward again to help form a new foreign intelligence organization – the CIA – where he would work with his former colleague, Richard Hayes (Lee Pace), under Phillip Allen (William Hurt). Edward accepts, hiding the details of his position from everyone but his wife.Edward’s first assignment deals with coffee in Central America where the Russians are trying to gain influence. Edward spots Ulysses in the background of footage of the country’s leader, but doesn’t disclose this. Edward arranges for airplanes to fly over and release locusts during a public event where the Russians (including Ulysses) are present in order to intimidate the Central American leader. An American agent’s severed finger is sent to Edward in a coffee can. At a Christmas party, Edward’s son wets himself. At the same party, General Sullivan tells Edward that Phillip Allen was going to be on the Mayan Coffee Company’s board of directors, prompting Edward to ask Sam Murach to look into Phillip’s finances.A Russian man requests asylum and claims to be high-ranking KGB agent Valentin Mironov. While attending the theater with Mironov and Cummings, Edward encounters his former sweetheart, Laura. They begin seeing each other again. Sometime later, Margaret receives photos of Laura and Edward getting into a taxi together and kissing. After she confronts him, Edward ends the relationship with Laura. Another Russian defector appears, claiming that he is the real Valentin Mironov, the other man being an impostor called Yuri Modin, a KGB operative working for Ulysses. Thinking he is lying, agents torture him, and administer liquid LSD believing it to be a potential truth serum. The second defector does not break, instead telling them how the Soviets’ power is just a myth, before hurling himself through a window and down several stories. The first man claiming to be Valentin Mironov, who has watched the entire ordeal together with Edward, offers to take LSD to prove his innocence, but Edward does not take him up on his offer. Edward visits his son, who has, like his father, joined the Skull and Bones society at Yale, and been approached by the CIA, which he joins despite his mother’s misgivings, widening the rift between his parents. Edward Jr. overhears his father and Hayes discussing the imminent Bay of Pigs invasion. His father warns him to be silent. Margaret leaves Edward.

Returning to the recording at the beginning of the story, detailed analysis points to Leopoldville, in the Congo. Having tracked down the room where the recording was made, Edward realizes that the source of the leak was his son speaking to his lover, revealed to be a Soviet agent by Ulysses when he appears and plays Edward an unedited version of the recording in an attempt to turn him. Edward confronts his son, who plans to marry the woman. Growing suspicious, Edward discovers evidence that Cummings and Mironov (really Yuri Modin) are double agents. Meeting Ulysses in the National Air and Space Museum, Edward finally refuses his offer, but argues that, having won in Cuba, there is nothing to be gained for the Soviets in hurting his son. On their wedding day, Edward Jr.’s fiancée is killed by being thrown out of the plane she was taking to the ceremony. When Edward Jr. asks if his father was responsible, he denies it.

Edward meets with Hayes at the new CIA headquarters still under construction. Allen is resigning under a cloud of financial improprieties, and the President has asked Hayes to be the new director. Hayes makes Edward the first head of counter-intelligence, an entire wing of new building. At home, Edward retrieves and reads his father’s suicide note. In the letter, his father confesses to having betrayed his country. Edward burns the note. The final scene shows Edward leaving his old office for the new position.

Some might wonder how so many actors could be recruited for such small roles, like Alec Baldwin, Michael Gambon, and Joe Pesci, but one only has to see as far as the director to get their answer. Don’t let the big names and the anagram CIA get you. This movie is as edgy as it is intricate with twists and turns that take the viewer through the world of trust and the human element. A man like Edward Wilson is just the perfect vessel for the journey.

REVIEW: TAKING LIVES

CAST

Angelina Jolie (The Changeling)
Ethan Hawke (The Purge)
Kiefer Sutherland (Pompeii)
Gena Rowlands (The Notebook)
Oliver Martinez (S.W.A.T.)
Paul Dano (Looper)
Justin Chatwin (War of The Worlds)
Shawn Ronerts (Resident Evil: Afterlife)

The film opens in early 1980s Canada where teenager Martin Asher (Paul Dano) is seen ambling about a bus station, seemingly uncertain of his destination. He befriends another teen on the bus, Matt Soulsby (Justin Chatwin) and the two talk about their plans for the future. When their bus breaks down, the two acquire a car from a nearby garage. While Martin is driving, a tire blows. Matt struggles to change the tire and Martin comments on how he and Matt are both about the same height, and kicks Matt into the path of an oncoming truck. He is last seen toting Matt’s guitar and walking away singing in a voice similar to Matt’s.
Twenty years later, a successful FBI profiler, Illeana Scott (Angelina Jolie), is summoned to help out Canadian law enforcement in Montreal, to apprehend Asher, who has been killing people for years and assuming their identities as he travels across North America. Scott has to adjust to working in a strange city with a police team that she does not really fit in with. On a ferry to Quebec City, Martin’s mother (Gena Rowlands) recognizes her son. After docking she locates a police officer and tells him that she saw her son on the ferry. Upon telling the officer her son died 19 years ago, she discusses the matter with a city official. She is convinced the man she saw was her son, and exclaims to the officer that her son is “dangerous”. Based on Mrs. Asher’s statement, the body believed to be that of her son is exhumed for an autopsy.
The team meets with art salesman James Costa (Ethan Hawke), an eyewitness who saw Asher kill his last victim. Costa makes a drawing of Asher and, within a couple of days, Asher’s apartment is found. Scott discovers Asher’s next target is Costa, so protecting him is priority number one. During the time they spend together, Scott and Costa begin to develop feelings for each other, though Scott refuses to become involved with him because of the ongoing case.
Asher flees with Costa as a hostage and Scott pursues them. Scott sees Asher die in a car accident and the case is closed. As Scott is packing up, preparing to return home, Costa visits her in her hotel room. Without saying anything, he undresses her and they make passionate love on a chest of drawers and the bed, surrounded by gruesome crime scene photos. The next morning, Scott awakes to find herself partly covered in Costa’s blood. At first, she fears he is dead, but then he awakes and they discover he had merely popped the stitches in his arm that he received after the auto accident.
As Costa’s stitches are repaired in the hospital, Scott is called down to the morgue as Mrs. Asher has come to identify the burned body of her son, killed in the accident. She says the body is not her son. Mrs. Asher and Scott realize that Asher is still alive. Mrs. Asher is shocked, leaves the morgue, and goes to the elevator, and Scott chases after her. Before Scott can reach her, the elevator door closes. Scott descends the stairs, hoping to intercept Mrs. Asher on the ground floor. When the elevator door opens, Scott sees Costa covered in blood, having killed Mrs. Asher – who Scott realizes is Costa’s mother. The police try to capture Asher who escapes the hospital. Scott returns to her hotel room and frantically washes herself, in a state of manic disgust. An investigation shows that the man who died in the car accident, who the real Asher had identified as Asher, was actually Christopher Hart (Kiefer Sutherland), a drug dealer and art thief to whom Asher owed $80,000, and whom Asher murdered. The Montreal police chase Asher, but he escapes in a train station and boards a train headed east of Montreal, meanwhile setting up his next victim, a sports talent scout. After that, he calls Scott on the phone and taunts her. Scott admits to having consensual sex with Asher, and is consequently fired from the FBI.
Seven months later, Scott is living in an desolate farmhouse by herself in Carlisle, Pennsylvania and looking heavily pregnant with Asher’s twin boys. One day as she sits alone in her home, she discovers Asher has broken into her house. She frantically tries to escape, but Asher quickly overpowers her and then reveals he has found all the guns she had hidden throughout the house. Asher makes her tea and tells her they could start over and live together as a family, but a disgusted Scott tells him she does not want to. Enraged, Asher begins beating and choking her and eventually stabs her in her belly with a pair of scissors. Scott, seemingly unharmed by the stabbing, shocks Asher by quickly stabbing him in the heart with the same scissors. As Asher is on his knees looking at her in disbelief, Scott removes a prosthetic pregnant belly, and tells him the past seven months have been a carefully planned trap. He falls over, dead. The film ends with Scott calling the police, saying “It’s over”, and staring out her window.Those of us who see many of these types of movies will probably see most of the twists before they happen. Many of them well before they happen. Some of you will know everything that’s going to happen before it happens, such as I did, but I still think it was a good story and was entertained.