REVIEW: THE ACCOUNTANT


CAST

Ben Affleck (Batman V Superman)
Anna Kendrick (The Voices)
J.K. Simmons (Spider-Man)
Jon Bernthal (Daredevil)
Jeffrey Tambor (The Hangover)
Cynthia Addai-Robinson (Arrow)
John Lithgow (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Jean Smart (Legion)
Andy Umberger (Unstoppable)
Alison Wright (The Americans)
Jason Davis (Step Brothers)
Susan Williams (The Founder)

Christian ‘Chris’ Wolff (Ben Affleck), a mental calculator, works as a forensic accountant, tracking insider financial deceptions for numerous criminal enterprises. His clients are brokered to him via phone by a woman’s voice, which originates from a restricted number. As an auditor of criminal enterprises, he accepts payment in various non-cash forms such as rare comics, gold bricks, and paintings by famous artists. Pursuing him is Raymond ‘Ray’ King (J.K. Simmons), the director of FinCEN in the Treasury Department, who recognizes Christian by the alias “The Accountant”. King blackmails young data analyst Marybeth Medina (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) into helping him identify and arrest the Accountant prior to his retirement, threatening to expose her undeclared criminal past (for the felony of lying on a federal employment application) if she refuses. King’s only leads are Christian’s numerous cover names.
As a child, Christian had been diagnosed with a high-functioning form of autism and was offered an opportunity to live at Harbor Neuroscience Institute in New Hampshire. Although Christian had bonded with Justine (Alison Wright), the mute daughter of the institute’s director, his father declined, believing that Christian should overcome the hardships inherent in his condition. The pressure of raising a special-needs child later drove Christian’s mother to leave him and his neurotypical younger brother, Braxton. Their father, an army psychological warfare officer, arranged for them to receive extensive military training around the world, which Christian now uses to protect himself in his dangerous life.
The voice gives Christian his next assignment, auditing robotics corporation Living Robotics, whose in-house accountant, Dana Cummings (Anna Kendrick), has found suspicious financial discrepancies. The company’s CEO, Lamar Blackburn (John Lithgow), and his sister and associate Rita Blackburn (Jean Smart) willingly cooperate with Christian’s investigation, while CFO Ed Chilton (Andy Umberger) dismisses Dana’s findings as a mistake. However, after Dana provides him the company’s records, Christian quickly discovers that $61 million has been embezzled from the company. The following night, Chilton, who is diabetic, is confronted in his home by a hitman (Jon Bernthal), who forces him to self-administer a fatal insulin overdose. Later, Lamar surmises to Christian that Chilton embezzled the money and was driven to suicide out of guilt. Upset by Chilton’s death, Lamar closes the investigation, leaving Christian distraught from unfinished work.
Meanwhile, Medina realizes Christian’s cover identities, including his current name, are all famous mathematicians (Carl Gauss, Lou Carroll, and Christian Wolff). Using facial recognition to track the Accountant leads her to a shootout in which several members of the Gambino crime family had been killed. Analyzing a sound recording, Medina isolates Christian’s voice, determining that he is muttering the nursery rhyme Solomon Grundy to himself, a behavior consistent with autism spectrum disorder. The trail leads her to the modest accounting office that Christian uses as a cover: ZZZ Accounting, in Plainfield, Illinois, dividing his profits through four cash-only businesses in his block. She learns that Christian has written off hefty tax returns with donations to the Harbor Neuroscience Institute.
Christian and Dana are targeted for assassination, but Christian kills his own pursuers and rescues Dana, taking her to the trailer where he keeps the only things he values, including an original Jackson Pollock painting among his non-cash payments. While in hiding, they realize that the embezzled money was reinvested in affiliated companies in order to raise Living Robotics’ stock price. Concluding that Rita is behind everything, Christian goes to her house, only to find her dead, murdered by the hitman, who escapes just as Christian is arriving. Thus, Lamar is exposed as the real mastermind.
King and Medina arrive at Christian’s house and find evidence (cameras hidden in bird houses and an M134 minigun in the garage) that he is the Accountant. King reveals that Christian had been arrested after he started a melee at his remarried mother’s funeral that led to his father’s death, taking a deputy’s bullet meant for Christian. In jail, Christian had been mentored by Francis Silverberg (Jeffrey Tambor), a former accountant and fixer for the Gambino crime family, who subsequently became an informant for the United States government. Silverberg was later released and tortured to death by the Gambino family, which drove an enraged Christian to escape from jail and exact revenge on the people responsible.
King confides to Medina that he was present at the shootout and that Christian spared his life after questioning him about being a “good dad”. Afterwards, King had been contacted by the voice and provided with evidence Christian had compiled on criminals who violated his moral code, helping King rise to his position of director. King tells Medina that her investigation of the Accountant has been a test, and she has been selected to replace King, after his retirement, as the voice’s contact in the Treasury Department.
Christian attacks Lamar’s mansion and kills the mercenary guards led by the hitman. After shootout, the hitman recognizes the nursery rhyme that Christian mutters to himself as he tends to his wounds. He confronts Christian and reveals himself to be Braxton, who had become estranged after their mother’s funeral. Still resentful towards their mother for leaving, Braxton blames Christian for getting their father killed. The two reconcile after a hand-to-hand fight, and Lamar shows himself to chastise Christian. After Christian proceeds to kill Lamar without objection from Braxton, the two amiably agree to meet up another time. Later, the voice relays Christian’s evidence on Lamar’s criminal activities to Medina, who has accepted King’s offer, and she dismantles Living Robotics. Christian then bids farewell to Dana by sending her the Pollock (covered up by the painting Dogs Playing Poker, a reference to their initial conversation), and leaves to find Braxton.
In a scene at the Harbor Neuroscience Institute, the voice is revealed to be a computer-generated voice from a powerful computer, given to the Institute as a donation by Christian. The computer is used by a (still mute) adult Justine to communicate, and also fulfill her duties as Christian’s partner.The script is so well crafted this film should be used in writing classes. I guarantee you will not know what’s coming, and after they hit you, they’re going to hit you again, even better. Truly exceptional writing. The acting is also exceptional. Anna Kendrick, J.K.Simmons, and Jon Bernthal really stand out, and for Bernthal it is a change of pace and he carries it off very well. Ben Affleck, Jeffrey Tambor, John Lithgow and Jean Smart do their usual good job.

REVIEW: THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN – PART 1

 

CAST
Kristin Stewart (Snow White & The Huntsman)
Robert Pattinson (Sword Xanten)
Taylor Lautner (Tracers)
Billy Burke (Red Riding Hood)
Sarah Clarke (Thirteen)
Ashley Greene (Burying The Ex)
Jackson Rathbone (S.Darko)
Peter Facinelli (Supergirl)
Elizabeth Reaser (The Ex List)
Kellan Lutz (The Legend of Hercules)
Nikki Reed (Sleepy Hollow)
Anna Kenderick (The Voices)
Christian Serratos (Flight 7500)
Michael Welch (All The Boys Love Mandy Lane)
Michael Sheen (Underworld)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Sanctuary)
Jamie Campbell Bower (Sweeney Todd)
Mia Maestro (Alias)
Maggie Grace (Lost)
Daniel Cudmore (X-Men 2)

Bella Swan is getting ready for her wedding. During the reception, her best friend, Jacob Black the werewolf returns after hearing about Bella and Edward’s engagement. While dancing with him in the woods, away from everyone else, Bella admits that she and Edward plan to consummate their marriage on their honeymoon while she’s still human. Jacob becomes furious, knowing that Edward could easily kill Bella. The other wolves restrain him and leave.
The couple spends their honeymoon on Isle Esme and they make love for the first time. The next morning, Edward realizes that Bella has numerous bruises and is mad at himself for hurting her, though Bella insists she enjoyed the experience. Edward swears not to make love again until she becomes a vampire. Two weeks into their honeymoon, Bella realizes that she is pregnant with a half mortal half immortal child. Edward is terrified by the news, knowing that she may not survive the delivery. He says that Carlisle will remove the monster. She refuses, as she wants to keep the baby and convinces Edward’s sister, Rosalie, who has always wanted a child, to help protect her baby. They fly back home to Forks, Washington. She has only been pregnant for two weeks, but the baby is growing very fast.
Jacob rushes over to the Cullen’s mansion and finds Bella already heavily pregnant. He is angry, saying that they should remove it as soon as possible. Bella says that it is her choice. Jacob is disgusted by this. As Bella gets bigger, the quality of her health declines then rapidly improves as she starts drinking human blood to satisfy the baby’s vampiric thirst. Edward comes to love the baby as much as Bella does as he reads its thoughts, learning that his child loves Bella in return and doesn’t want to hurt her.
Soon after, Bella drops a cup of blood and as she bends down to pick it up, the baby breaks her back. She almost dies giving birth. To save her life, Edward injects Bella’s heart with his venom to transform her into a vampire, but nothing seems to happen and Bella is thought to be dead. Greatly distraught, Jacob attempts to kill the baby, but stops when he realises he has imprinted on the baby. When the werewolves hear of Bella’s death, they attack the Cullens’ house in an attempt to kill the baby as they fear it would become a threat. Edward, Alice and Jasper defend their home and their family, and are later helped by Carlisle, Esme, and Emmett. Jacob then runs outside to stop the battle and shape-shifts. Edward reads Jacob’s mind and announces that Jacob has imprinted on Renesmee and since it is the wolves’ law not to harm anyone who has been imprinted on they are forced to leave. After Bella is cleaned and dressed, her cuts from her difficult labour heal as the venom spreads through her body. The last scene shows Bella open her now blood red eyes as a newborn vampire.
What I loved most about this movie were the emotional extremes. Where the past three Twilight movies are subtle and reserved, this one goes all out, portraying everything from euphoria to unthinkable agony. The blissful scenes at the beginning are such a stark contrast to the agonizing scenes at the end.

REVIEW: THE TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE

CAST
Kristin Stewart (Snow White & The Huntsman)
Robert Pattinson (Sword Xanten)
Taylor Lautner (Tracers)
Billy Burke (Red Riding Hood)
Anna Kenderick (The Voices)
Michael Welch (All The Boys Love Mandy Lane)
Christian Serratos (Flight 7500)
Jackson Rathbone (S.Darko)
Ashley Greene (Burying The Ex)
Sarah Clarke (Thirteen)
Peter Facinelli (Supergirl)
Elizabeth Reaser (The Ex List)
Kellan Lutz (The Legend of Hercules)
Nikki Reed (Sleepy Hollow)
Bryce Dallas Howard (Jurassic World)
Jodelle Ferland (Kingdom Hospital)
Daniel Cudmore (X-Men 2)
Dakota Fanning (Taken)
Cameron Bright (The Butterfly Effect)
Kristin Prout (Elektra)
In Seattle, not far from Forks, Victoria attacks and bites Riley Biers, in order to begin creating an army of newborns, who are many times stronger during their first few months than older vampires. Back in Forks, Edward Cullen and Bella Swan discuss the complications of becoming an immortal vampire. At 18 years old, one year older than Edward was when he became a vampire, Bella expresses her dislike to the idea of marrying so young, though Edward refuses to turn her into a vampire until they are married, his argument being that she should have various human experiences she would otherwise miss. While Charlie Swan investigates the disappearance of Riley Biers, Edward suspects his disappearance was caused by Victoria and her newborn’s army, furthering his suspicions is Riley’s intrusion into Bella’s room.
Bella insists that Jacob Black and the rest of the werewolf pack would never harm her Bella wants to go to Jacob’s home though Edward expresses his dislike and concern over her safety, but she returns unharmed. During one of her visits, Jacob confesses that he is in love with Bella, and forcefully kisses her. Furious, she punches him and sprains her hand, and Edward later threatens Jacob and tells him to only kiss her if she asks him to. Bella even revokes the invitations of Jacob and his pack members to her graduation party, but when Jacob apologizes for his behavior, she forgives him.
Meanwhile, Alice sees a vision that the newborn army will attack Forks within the week, led by Riley Biers. Jacob, accompanied by Quil and Embry overhear this, which leads to an alliance between the Cullens and Wolf pack. Later, the Cullens and the wolves agree to a meeting place and time to train and discuss strategy against the powerful newborns. During the training Jasper explains to Bella that he was created by a vampire named Maria to control a newborn army. He hated his original existence till he met Alice and joins in Cullens gang. Bella sees the true bond between a mated vampire pair and begins to understand Jasper better. Despite her reluctance to marry, Bella realizes that spending eternity with Edward is more important to her than anything else and agrees to marry him. Edward and Bella camp up in the mountains to hide Bella from the bloodthirsty newborns. During the night, Bella overhears a conversation between Edward and Jacob, in which they temporarily put aside their hatred towards each other. In the morning, Jacob overhears Edward and Bella discussing their engagement and storms off, angrily. Bella desperately asks him to kiss her, and she realizes that she has fallen in love with him. Edward finds out about the kiss but is not upset, as Bella says she loves him more than Jacob.
When Victoria appears, Edward kills her while Seth kills Riley. The Cullens and the Quileute wolves, meanwhile, destroy her “army”, though Jacob is injured saving Leah Clearwater from a newborn. Several members of the vampire police, the Volturi, arrive to deal with the newborn army. They also see that the Cullens are guarding the newborn, Bree Tanner, who had refused to fight and surrendered to Carlisle. Jane tortures Bree to get information, then instructs Felix to kill her, despite the Cullens’ efforts to spare her. When Jane notes that Caius will find it interesting that Bella is still human, Bella informs her that the date for her transformation has been set. Bella visits the injured Jacob to tell him that even though she is in love with him, she has chosen to be with Edward. Saddened by her choice, Jacob reluctantly agrees to come between her and Edward.
Bella and Edward go to their meadow, where she tells him she has decided to do things his way: get married, make love, then be transformed into a vampire. She also explains that she never has been normal and never will be; she’s felt out of place her entire life, but when she is in Edward’s world she feels stronger and complete. At the end of the story they decide they need to tell Charlie about their engagement, for which Bella is happy Edward is bulletproof.

I enjoyed this movie from start to finish and I believe if you go into the movie and not expect that it should be just like the book, you will be pleasantly surprised that the screenwriter and the director have produced a very well made film that takes the most important parts of one of the most compelling books in the series and creates a film that is both dramatic with a little humor. You will walk away knowing that this third film has done the franchise justice and will get you pumped up for Breaking Dawn!

 

 

REVIEW: THE TWILIGHT SAGA: NEW MOON

CAST
Kristin Stewart (Snow White & The Huntsman)
Robert Pattinson (Sword Xanten)
Taylor Lautner (Tracers)
Billy Burke (Red Riding Hood)
Anna Kenderick (The Voices)
Michael Welch (All The Boys Love Mandy Lane)
Christian Serratos (Flight 7500)
Ashley Greene (Burying The Ex)
Jackson Rathbone (S.Darko)
Michael Sheen (Underworld)
Jamie Campbell Bower (Sweeney Todd)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Sanctuary)
Peter Facinelli (Supergirl)
Daniel Cudmore (X-Men 2)
Rachelle Lefevre (White House Down)
Elizabeth Reaser (The Ex List)
Kellan Lutz (The Legend of Hercules)
Nikki Reed (Sleepy Hollow)
Dakota Fanning (Taken)
Cameron Bright (The Butterfly Effect)
On her 18th birthday, Bella Swan wakes up from a dream in which she sees herself as an old woman. She expresses her distaste about growing older than her boyfriend Edward Cullen, a vampire who stopped aging physically at 17. Despite her lack of enthusiasm, Edward’s adoptive family throw Bella a birthday party. While unwrapping a gift, Bella gets a paper cut. Edward’s brother, Jasper, becomes overwhelmed by the scent of Bella’s blood and attempts to kill her. Realizing the danger that he and his family pose to Bella, Edward ends their relationship, and the Cullens leave Forks, Washington.
Edward’s departure leaves Bella heartbroken and depressed for months; however, when her father, Charlie, finally decides to send her to live with her mother in Florida, Bella refuses and agrees to spend more time with her friends. After seeing a movie with Jessica, Bella sees a group of men on motorcycles. This reminds her of when Edward previously rescued her from an assault, and she sees his image warning her to stay away. Bella discovers that any thrill-seeking activities she engages in evoke Edward’s preserved image. She is also comforted by Jacob Black, a cheerful companion who helps to ease her pain over losing Edward. When Jacob suddenly begins avoiding her, Bella discovers that he, and others of his tribe, are descended from a long line of werewolves, and Jacob has just undergone his first transformation. Bella also learns that the werewolves are an age-old enemy of vampires. Jacob’s pack members are on constant alert for Victoria, a vampire seeking to avenge the death of her mate, James, who was killed by Edward after James kidnapped and tried to kill Bella. They rescue Bella from Laurent, when he tries to kill her. With Jacob busy coming to terms with his shape-shifting nature, Bella again finds herself alone, and she returns to seeking thrill-inducing activities.
Through a series of miscommunications, Edward believes that Bella has killed herself by jumping off a cliff into the ocean. Distraught over her apparent suicide, Edward travels to Italy and attempts to provoke the Volturi (powerful coven who act as vampiric overlords) to kill him by exposing himself as a vampire to humans. Alice, Edward’s sister, and Bella rush to Italy to save Edward, and arrive just in time to stop him. Edward explains that he always loved Bella and only left to protect her. However, the Volturi determine that Bella, a human who knows that vampires exist, must either be killed or transformed into a vampire herself. Alice stops them from killing her by sharing her premonition, in which Bella has been transformed, with Aro (Michael Sheen), a Volturi elder who is able to read thoughts through touch. Soon after, they return to Forks and Cullens again settle themselves in Forks. Bella asks Edward to transform her and Cullens vote in favor of that much to Edward and Rosalie’s dismay. Later, Jacob reminds Edward, the treaty Cullens and Quileutes made years before that they will not attack each other, as long as the Cullens do not feed on any humans, a necessity for Bella’s transformation. The movie concludes with Edward telling Bella that he will change her into a vampire after she marries him.
This is not a film that will gain much critical acclaim as the storyline is basic and the special effects are mediocre most of the time. However it is really enjoyable to watch and will delight all fans of the Twilight Saga due to its honest representation of the storyline.

 

REVIEW: TWILIGHT

 

CAST
Kristin Stewart (Snow White & The Huntsman)
Robert Pattinson (Sword Xanten)
Taylor Lautner (Tracers)
Anna Kenderick (The Voices)
Nikki Reed (Sleepy Hollow)
Peter Facinelli (Supergirl)
Billy Burke (Red Riding Hood)
Sarah Clarke (Thirteen)
Rachelle Lefevre (White House Down)
Michael Welch (All The Boys Love Mandy Lane)
Kellan Lutz (The Legend of Hercules)
Ashley Greene (Burying The Ex)
Jackson Rathbone (S.Darko)
Matt Bushell (Shelter)
Elizabeth Reaser (The Ex List)
Christian Serratos (Flight 7500)
Seventeen-year-old Isabella “Bella” Swan moves to Forks, a small town on the Washington coast, to live with her father, Charlie. Her mother, Renée, is remarried to a minor league baseball player, and they travel often to attend games. Bella makes several friends at her new high school, but she is intrigued by the mysterious and aloof Cullen siblings. Bella sits next to Edward Cullen in biology class on her first day of school, but he seems to be repulsed by her. After a week of absence from school, Edward comes back and talks to Bella normally. A few days later, Bella is nearly struck by a van in the school parking lot. Edward saves her by instantaneously covering a distance of over 30 feet and putting himself between Bella and the van, stopping it with only his hand and making a conspicuous dent. He subsequently refuses to explain his actions to Bella and warns her against befriending him.
After much research, Bella concludes that Edward is a vampire. He eventually confirms this but says he and the other Cullens only consume animal blood. The pair fall in love, and Edward introduces Bella to his vampire family. Carlisle Cullen, the family patriarch, is a doctor working in Forks. His wife is Esme, and Alice, Jasper, Emmett, and Rosalie are their informally adopted children. Edward and Bella’s relationship is soon put in jeopardy, when three nomadic vampires — James, Victoria, and Laurent — arrive in Forks. James, a tracker vampire with incredible hunting instincts, is instantly intrigued by Edward’s protectiveness over a human, which incites him to hunt Bella for sport. Edward and the other Cullens risk their lives to protect Bella, but James tracks her to Phoenix, where she is hiding with Jasper and Alice. James lures Bella into a trap by falsely claiming that he is holding her mother hostage. James breaks Bella’s leg before biting her wrist, infecting her with vampire venom. After a ferocious fight, Edward subdues James just as the other Cullens arrive. Alice, Emmett, and Jasper destroy James, decapitating and burning him, as Edward sucks the venom from Bella’s wrist, preventing her from turning into a vampire. Upon returning to Forks, Edward accompanies Bella to the high school prom, where he refuses to grant her request that he transform her into a vampire. As the couple dance, they are unaware that James’ mate, Victoria, is secretly watching, plotting revenge for her lover’s death.
Overall, I enjoyed “Twilight” for what it was – a romance that probed the timeless dilemma of wanting what you can’t have (and despite Meyer’s Mormon beliefs, this whole series is basically a metaphor for sex). It makes for an interesting, compelling story.

REVIEW: UP IN THE AIR

CAST
George Clooney  (The Ides of March)
Vera Farmiga (Bates Motel)
Anna Kendrick (Into The Woods)
Jason Bateman (Identity Thief)
Amy Morton (Blue Bloods)
Melanie Lynskey (Two and a Half Men)
J.K. Simmons (Spider-Man)
Sam Elliott (Hulk)
Danny McBride (The Pineapple Express)
Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover)
Chris Lowell (Veronica Mars)
Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) works for an HR consultancy firm which specialises in termination assistance, and makes his living travelling to workplaces across the United States in order to conduct company layoffs and firings on behalf of employers. Ryan also delivers motivational speeches, using the analogy “What’s In Your Backpack?” to extoll the virtues of a life free of burdensome relationships with people as well as things. Ryan relishes his perpetual travels. His personal ambition is to become only the seventh person to earn ten million frequent flyer miles with American Airlines. While traveling, he meets another frequent flyer named Alex (Vera Farmiga) and they begin a casual relationship.
Ryan is unexpectedly called back to his company’s offices in Omaha, Nebraska. An ambitious, freshly-graduated new hire, Natalie Keener (Anna Kendrick) is promoting a plan to cut costs by conducting layoffs via videoconferencing. Ryan argues that Natalie knows nothing about the actual process, live or not, and does not know how to handle upset people. He plays the role of a fired employee to demonstrate her inexperience. His boss (Jason Bateman) assigns him to take Natalie with him on his next round of terminations to show her the ropes, much to his annoyance.
As they travel together and become better acquainted, Natalie questions Ryan’s philosophy, but he is satisfied with his lifestyle. During the trip, Natalie is shattered when her boyfriend unceremoniously dumps her by text message. Ryan and Alex try to comfort her. Natalie later lectures Ryan about his refusal to consider a commitment to Alex in spite of their obvious compatibility, and becomes infuriated; she apologizes later, but soon afterwards they are both ordered back to Omaha to begin implementing Natalie’s program. There are problems during a test run; one laid off person breaks down in tears before the camera, and she is unable to comfort him.
Instead of returning immediately to Omaha, Ryan convinces Alex to accompany him to his younger sister’s wedding. He learns that the reason the couple had him take photos of a cutout picture of them in various places was because they cannot afford a honeymoon trip. When the groom gets cold feet, Ryan’s older sister talks him into using his motivational skills to persuade him to go through with it. Although this runs counter to Ryan’s personal philosophy, he successfully argues that the important moments in life are rarely unshared. The wedding goes off without any further hitches.
Ryan begins having second thoughts about his own life. As he starts to deliver his “What’s In Your Backpack?” speech at a convention in Las Vegas, he realizes he no longer believes it, and walks off the stage. On an impulse, he flies to Alex’s home in Chicago. When she opens the door, he is stunned to discover she is a married woman with children; Ryan leaves without saying a word. She later tells him on the phone that her family is her real life and he is simply an escape. Again, he ends the conversation wordless. On his flight home, the crew announces that Ryan has just crossed the ten million mile mark. The airline’s chief pilot (Sam Elliott) comes out of the cockpit to meet Ryan. He notes that Ryan is the youngest person to reach the milestone. When asked where he is from, Ryan can only respond “here”. Back in his office, Ryan calls the airline to transfer five hundred thousand miles each to his sister and brother-in-law, enough for them to fly around the world for their honeymoon. His boss tells Ryan that a woman he and Natalie fired has killed herself, and that an upset Natalie has quit via text message. The company also puts the remote-layoff program on hold because of related concerns.
Natalie applies for a job in San Francisco, the city she was originally offered a job before following her now ex-boyfriend to Omaha instead. The interviewer is impressed by her qualifications and a glowing recommendation from Ryan, and hires her.The film concludes with Ryan standing in front of a vast destination board, looking up, and letting go of his luggage.
The acting is exemplary; Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick are perfectly cast as muse and apprentice respectively.  The movie is sad at times, funny at others, never giving right or wrong answers just an observational peice in the study of life.

REVIEW: CAMP (2003)

 

CAST
Daniel Letterle (Monster Island)
Joanna Chilcoat (New York Serenade)
Robin de Jesus (Fat Girls)
Steven Cutts (Bleeding Hearts)
Vince Rimoldi (Goping South)
Anna Kendrick (Into The Woods)
The film centers on the experiences of several teenagers at Camp Ovation, a summer theatre camp. The campers are a mishmash of youngsters from different backgrounds and dealing with different issues, but all feel most comfortable while performing. School is out, and the campers reunite as they prepare to board the buses to Camp Ovation. Shy, self-conscious Ellen Lucas happily greets her friends, recovering from an embarrassing situation where she desperately tried to land a prom date, and ended up asking her brother. Nerdy Fritzi Wagner attempts to befriend icy diva Jill Simmons, but ends up toting her luggage instead. Returning camper Jenna Malloran laments that her parents forced her to have her jaw wired shut in order to lose weight. Upon arrival to Camp Ovation, the kids settle in. Ellen converses with her friend Michael Flores, a gay teenager who was violently beaten by his classmates after showing up to his junior prom in drag. The campers are struck dumb with the arrival of Vlad Baumann, a handsome new camper who is, as a staff member marvels, “an honest-to-god straight boy.”
Camp Ovation puts on a new play or musical every two weeks. Vlad and Ellen bond after rehearsal one day and flirt a bit. However, soon afterwards, Vlad is seduced by the conceited Jill, who later makes cruel cracks at Ellen for her weight and her inexperience with boys. Feeling guilty, Vlad comforts Ellen and the two begin to inch towards a relationship. The camp enlists a guest counselor for the summer: composer Bert Hanley, whose play “The Children’s Crusade” was a one-hit wonder many years ago. Frustrated with his lack of recent success, he is now a grumpy alcoholic and shows up two days late at Camp Ovation. He constantly drinks on the camp grounds and is very irritated by Vlad, who idolizes him and attempts to strike up conversation. Jill shares a cabin with Fritzi, who is still catering to her every whim. However, after Fritzi is caught washing Jill’s underwear, Jill expresses her disgust with Fritzi and kicks her out of the cabin. The usually meek Fritzi becomes filled with borderline psychotic rage, and sabotages Jill’s next performance in “Company” by putting Woolite in her Snapple. As Jill vomits during her performance of “The Ladies Who Lunch,” Fritzi shows up in costume and takes her place mid-song. She reveals herself to be a talented and passionate actress. Michael is rooming with Vlad, on whom he has developed a crush. Vlad convinces Michael to invite his parents to his next play, although his father is incredibly unsupportive of his homosexuality. Though his mother tells him they will come, Michael notices mid-performance that they did not. Crushed, he flees the stage. He is found later by Vlad, who explains that he too has his share of problems. Though Vlad is a seemingly normal, all-American teenager, he reveals to Michael that he suffers from an acute type of OCD, for which he is medicated.
Hanley is angered after hearing Vlad play one of his songs, and begins to tell the campers that theater will only make them bitter and lonely, much like himself. Vlad follows a drunken Hanley back to his room and berates him for his cruel speech. After Hanley throws up and passes out, Vlad finds a trove of music that Hanley has written over the years but not released. During a rehearsal for the camp’s benefit performance, Vlad and the campers sing “Century Plant”, one of Hanley’s songs. Hanley’s heart is lifted and his disposition changes. Shortly before the benefit, Michael sleeps with Dee, Ellen’s roommate, out of frustration about Vlad. When Vlad hears of this, he immediately asks Dee if it was true. Vlad and Dee end up making out on Dee’s bed, and Ellen walks in on them. She runs off, hurt, and refuses to talk to Vlad. The night of the benefit concert arrives, and the campers are starstruck as famed composer Stephen Sondheim is in attendance. The dressing room atmosphere is tense, and gets even more awkward when Vlad’s girlfriend Julie shows up to see him. Meanwhile, in another act of revenge, Fritzi sabotages Jill’s makeup, causing her to break out in boils. Jill attacks her, injuring her, and both are unfit to go onstage. To replace her, Bert cuts the wires on Jenna’s mouth, allowing her to sing a powerful song directed to her parents in the audience, telling them to accept her as she is.
The benefit is a hit, but Vlad, Michael, and Ellen are still arguing. Vlad and Michael meet up by the lake, where Vlad strips down to gain Michael’s attention. After being set straight by Michael, Vlad admits that he is an “attention junkie”, and attempts to please everyone in order to gain their good favor. He apologizes to Michael for leading him on. Ellen arrives, and Vlad explains that he still cares about her, and that his girlfriend Julie had just broken up with him. After another apology, Ellen forgives him, and the three go swimming. During the end credits, the entire cast does an elaborate rendition of Todd Rundgren’s “Want of a Nail”.
I thought this film was really good. It has quite a strange plot but is upbeat in a strange way and I really enjoyed watching it .