REVIEW: THE REAPING

 

CAST

Hilary Swank (Million Dollar Baby)
David Morrissey (Blitz)
AnnaSophia Robb (Soul Surfer)
Idris Elba (Thor)
Stephen Rea (V For Vendetta)

Katherine Winter (Hilary Swank) and colleague, Ben (Idris Elba), investigate and disprove claims of miracles. In Louisiana, Katherine receives a call from a friend, Father Michael Costigan (Stephen Rea), who says that his photographs of her have developed burn marks that when assembled, form a sickle-like symbol, a possible warning from God, which she ignores. She meets Doug Blackwell (David Morrissey), a teacher from the nearby town of Haven, who asks Katherine to find out why Haven’s river has turned red. The locals believe this is a biblical plague caused by a girl, Loren McConnell (AnnaSophia Robb), who they believe killed her older brother in the river. They travel to Haven where Katherine meets Loren and has a vision of her turning the river red. Meanwhile, Ben witnesses dead frogs seemingly fall from the sky. Doug invites them to spend the night at his house, since the town doesn’t have a motel. That night as they’re about to eat dinner, they encounter flies and disease, which kills off local cows. Later that evening, Katherine explains to Doug at his wife’s grave why she left the church; five years ago, she was an ordained minister. After a drought while doing missionary work in the Sudan with her husband and daughter, the locals sacrificed her family, believing they were the cause. That night, Katherine and Doug have sex.Test results from the river prove it to contain human blood. The citizens meanwhile are shaving their children’s heads, due to an outbreak of lice. Ben and Doug try to get the mayor to evacuate the town, but he and his staff are struck down with boils.Katherine calls Father Costigan, who explains that he has researched a Satanic cult which sacrifices every second-born to create a child with “the eyes of the Devil” to bring them power. He also states that an angel, who cannot be harmed by the cult, will destroy them. He insists that Loren is the devil child, while Katherine is the angel. Suddenly, a supernatural force burns Costigan’s room, killing him. Katherine goes to the McConnell house where she finds the cult’s sacrificial chamber. There, she finds Loren’s mother, who pulls out a gun and kills herself. Katherine grabs a knife and proceeds outside to find locusts everywhere as well as a small posse come to kill Loren, which Ben and Doug followed. Suddenly, the locusts attack and kill the posse members; Doug runs away and falls in the blood-filled river; Katherine locks herself in the house; Ben hides in a crypt, where he discovers skeletons and bodies of sacrificed children. He calls Katherine, when Loren appears outside.Katherine hurries after Ben, but finds him dead. She confronts Loren as darkness falls and fireballs shoot from the sky. Katherine is about to kill Loren, when they share another vision. The cult, along with Doug, are shown trying to kill Loren, who was a second-born child. Loren escaped and her brother Brody stabbed her, but her wound miraculously healed, and Brody died. Katherine realizes that Loren is innocent and that she is the angel God sent. The townsfolk surround them as Doug tells her that God is protecting Loren, and only an ordained servant of God like Katherine can kill her. He explains that they invited Katherine to investigate the plagues because they hoped she would join them, since she had turned her back on God like they did. Katherine refuses, reminding them that they had sacrificed generations of second-borns, leaving a town of firstborns. Suddenly fire rains down on the town, killing everyone, including Doug.Later, as they drive away, Loren tells Katherine that she is pregnant. As this is her second child, Katherine realizes that her son, whose father is Doug, is the prophesied demonic child.It has a good story and some good acting talent on show, the effects especially for the plaques are very well done. It does start a little slow but it soon builds up to a great ending with a few twists along the way. Perfect for an evenings entertainment.

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REVIEW: JUMPER

CAST

Hayden Christensen (Star Wars)
Rachel Bilson (Chuck)
Samuel L. JAckson (Avengers Assemble)
Max Thieriot (Bates Motel)
AnnaSophia Robb (The Reaping)
Jamie Bell (Fantastic Four)
Diane Lane (Man of Steel)
Teddy Dunn (Veronica Mars)
Michael Rooker (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Kristen Stewart (Twilight)
Shawn Roberts (Resident Afterlife)

In Ann Arbor, Michigan, 15-year-old David Rice (Max Thieriot) gives his crush, Millie Harris (AnnaSophia Robb), a snow globe. A bully, Mark Kobold (Jesse James), throws it onto a frozen river. While trying to retrieve it, David falls through the ice and is pulled away by the current. He suddenly finds himself in the local library and discovers his ability to “jump” from one place to another. Amazed with his new ability, he leaves his abusive father (Michael Rooker) and runs away from home.

Eight years later, an adult David (Hayden Christensen) lives lavishly on stolen money. One day, he is ambushed in his home by Roland Cox (Samuel L. Jackson), a member of the Paladins, a group of religious extremists who have been tracking down and killing “Jumpers”. Their reasoning is that Jumpers’ alleged omnipresence is considered blasphemous. Roland tries to capture David with electric cables designed to nullify his ability, but David escapes. He returns to Ann Arbor, seeking his old crush Millie (Rachel Bilson). When Mark (Teddy Dunn) attacks him, David teleports him into a bank vault and leaves him there. David then returns to Millie and invites her on a trip to Rome. Roland later discovers Mark in police custody and learns David’s identity.In Rome, David and Millie grow closer, though he keeps his ability a secret. They visit the Colosseum, where David meets Griffin (Jamie Bell), another Jumper. A group of Paladins appear, and Griffin casually kills them, then jumps away. David tries to leave with Millie, but he’s detained by Italian police and questioned about the deaths. David’s mother, Mary (Diane Lane), who had left him when he was five, appears and helps him escape. She urges him to leave Rome with Millie, to protect her. Millie, upset and afraid when David tries to skirt around the issue, demands to know the truth. David declines and puts her on a plane home.David runs into Griffin again, and follows him to his hideout in a cave. Griffin reveals that he has been trailing and killing Paladins for years and plans to kill Roland to avenge his parents. David sees Mary’s photo on the wall and realizes she is also a Paladin. Griffin tells David that the Paladins will target his loved ones to draw him out. David teleports home and finds his father lying bleeding. He gets his father to a hospital and returns to Griffin to ask for help. Realizing Roland is personally hunting David, Griffin agrees.

They go to pick Millie up at the airport, but she is no longer there. Griffin returns to his hideout to get weapons. David breaks into Millie’s apartment, angering her. Seeing Roland arriving, David decides to reveal the truth to her. He teleports her to Griffin’s hideout. Using a machine that keeps David’s “jump scar” open, the Paladins, including Roland, invade the hideout. David and Griffin subdue most of them. Roland is chased back through the jump scar, but he manages to snatch Millie with him. He sets up a trap in Millie’s apartment, expecting David to come back for her.

Obsessed with killing Roland, Griffin plans to bomb the apartment; but David objects, wanting to save Millie. They fight and David traps Griffin with power lines in Chechnya. Ignoring Griffin’s warning, David jumps to Millie’s apartment and is quickly trapped by Roland’s cables. The cables “link” him to the apartment, making him unable to jump away alone. Mustering his strength, David teleports the apartment and everyone inside to a river. Once free of the cables, David teleports Millie to safety and dumps Roland in a cave in the Grand Canyon. He leaves Roland there, explaining that not all Jumpers are a threat to be destroyed.David visits his mother and discovers his half-sister, Sophie (Kristen Stewart). Mary tells David that when he was five, he made his jump. She is a Paladin and had to either kill David or leave. After leaving her house, David meets with Millie outside, and they jump to an unknown location.

I saw this film last night, and i must say i was pleasantly surprised, it’s a decent popcorn type movie where you don’t have to think too much.

REVIEW: CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY

CAST

Johnny Depp (Into The Woods)
Helena Bonham Carter (Alice In Wonderland)
Freddie Highmore (Bates Motel)
David Kelly (Stardust)
Noah Taylor (Powers)
Missi Pyle (Two and a Half Men)
Christopher Lee (Lord of The Rings)
AnnaSophia Robb (Race To Witch Mountain)
Adam Godley (Battleship)

Charlie Bucket (Freddie Highmore) is a kind and loving boy living in poverty with his parents (Noah Taylor and Helena Bonham Carter) and four bedridden grandparents. They all rely on his father for income, employed at a toothpaste factory, responsible for putting the caps on the tubes. Down the street is Willy Wonka’s (Johnny Depp) chocolate factory, which reopened after industrial espionage forced him into seclusion and sacking his employees. Charlie’s Grandpa Joe (David Kelly) worked for Wonka before the termination.Wonka announces a contest whereby children that find five Golden Tickets hidden in Wonka bars will be given a tour of the factory and one a chance to be presented with an unknown grand prize. Four tickets are quickly found: the greedy and gluttonous Augustus Gloop (Philip Wiegratz) from Düsseldorf; the spoiled and rotten Veruca Salt (Julia Winter) from Buckinghamshire; the competitive and boastful Violet Beauregarde (AnnaSophia Robb) from Atlanta; and the arrogant and aggressive Mike Teavee (Jordan Fry) from Denver. Charlie hopes to find a ticket but his chances are small as money is tight, and the best has to be made of his annual birthday present of one Wonka bar and a bar bought by Grandpa Joe’s money, both of which yield no tickets. All hope is crushed when the last ticket is apparently claimed in Russia. Charlie, on finding some money in the street, just intends to enjoy one chocolate bar when news breaks that the Russian ticket was fake. Charlie finds the bar he just bought has the last Golden Ticket. Bystanders attempt to separate him from it, only for the shopkeeper (Oscar James) to see that he keeps the ticket and gets back home with it.Grandpa Joe offers to accompany Charlie on the tour, but Charlie explains how he was offered money for the ticket and intends to sell it. Grandpa George (David Morris) reminds Charlie that money is far more common than the tickets, and convinces Charlie to keep it. The visitors find Wonka to be peculiar, lonely and acting odd at the mention of “parents”. The tour shows how fantastical the factory operates under the efforts of the short humans called Oompa-Loompas. The other four children succumb to temptation, and end up being caught in the factory workings and have to be safely recovered by the Oompa-Loompas, albeit in worse shape than at the start of the tour: Augustus falls into a river of chocolate and has been sucked up by a pipe before being rescued from the fudge processing center; Violet expands into an oversized blueberry when she tries an experimental piece of chewing gum; Veruca is thrown away as a “bad nut” by trained squirrels; and Mike is shrunk down to a few inches in height after being the first person transported by Wonka’s new television advertising invention.Charlie is congratulated as the only remaining child and the winner of the grand prize, Wonka’s heir to the factory. Unfortunately, Wonka stipulates that Charlie’s family has to stay behind; therefore, Charlie rejects the offer. Charlie learns that Wonka had a troubled past with his father, Wilbur Wonka (Christopher Lee), a dentist. Willy was forbidden from eating candy of any type or quantity and had torture device-like braces affixed to his teeth. But once Willy got a taste, he wanted to become a confectioner, against his father’s wishes and he left home to follow his dream. Wonka later returned to find his father and home completely gone. Wonka’s candies are selling poorly and he comes to associate his unhappiness with the sorry financial state of his company, so he makes an effort to find Charlie who helps him locate Wilbur. When they visit, it appears that despite his strict avoidance of candy, the dentist has followed Willy’s success and they reconcile. Wonka allows Charlie’s family to move into the factory while he and Charlie plan new product lines to produce.Most people will think of this as an immature movie, but I liked it more and more as I watched. The fast pace, the cast, the music, and, most importantly, the visual effects make this a movie for everyone to see.

REVIEW: RACE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN


CAST

Dwayne Johnson (G.I. Joe Retaliation)
AnnaSophia Robb (Bridge To Terabithia)
Alexander Ludwig (The Hunger Games)
Ciarán Hinds (The Woman In Black)
Carla Gugino (Sin CIty)
Garry Marshall (Soapdish)
Cheech Marin (Machete)
Chris Marquette (Freddy vs Jason)
Tom Everett Scott (Scream: The Series)
Billy Brown (Starship Troopers 2)
Meredith Salenger (Lake Placid)
Christine Lakin (Family Guy)

An alien spaceship crashes near Searchlight, Nevada, outside Las Vegas. Project Moon Dust, a secret Defense Department unit led by Henry Burke (Ciarán Hinds), arrives in black helicopters. Men in Black seize the ship and search for its passengers.
Jack Bruno (Dwayne Johnson) is a former mob get-away driver who drives a cab to avoid returning to jail. One of his passengers is Dr. Alex Friedman (Carla Gugino), a failed scientist who is in Las Vegas to speak at a UFO convention at the Planet Hollywood hotel.
After resisting two thugs who seek his services for a mob boss, Bruno finds two teenagers, Sara (AnnaSophia Robb) and Seth (Alexander Ludwig), in his cab. They offer $15,000 to drive to a certain destination. Burke’s men follow the cab; Bruno believes that the government agents are more mob thugs, and evades them with his driving skills. Seth’s ability to vary his molecular density helps the group to escape.
When they arrive at an abandoned house, Bruno follows them out of concern and curiosity. The teenagers retrieve the device they were looking for within a hidden underground laboratory, but the three are attacked by a “Siphon” (Tom Woodruff, Jr.), a powerful armored alien assassin. The Siphon pursues the group until its spaceship crashes into a train and the creature is wounded. The three again escape Burke’s agents, in part due to Sara’s telepathy and telekinetics.
The teenagers explain to Bruno that they are from a dying planet 3,000 light years from Earth. Its government intends to invade Earth, despite the idea being unpopular among the majority of their race, so that their kind may survive. Seth and Sara’s parents are scientists who sought a way to save their planet without invasion but were arrested before completing their experiment. The teenagers came to retrieve the successful results, but the alien government sent the assassin to stop them. To save both worlds, they must retrieve their spaceship and return home.
Bruno brings Seth and Sara to Dr. Friedman at the UFO convention, who realizes that the teenagers are what she has been searching for and joins the group. Fellow UFOlogist and conspiracy theorist Dr. Donald Harlan (Garry Marshall) tells them that the spaceship was taken to the secret California government base Witch Mountain. Harlan and his men distract the soldiers with Bruno’s taxi while the others escape to Witch Mountain on Harlan’s RV. The group arrives at the base but are captured; Burke orders that the teenagers be prepared for vivisection, but frees the adults as no one will believe their story.
The Siphon attacks Witch Mountain and battles the soldiers, allowing Bruno and Friedman to infiltrate the base and free Seth and Sara. They launch the ship, escape through the mountain’s tunnels, and finally kill the assassin who has stowed away on the spaceship. The teenagers give Bruno and Friedman a tracking device that will allow the aliens to always find them, tearfully wish them farewell, and return to their planet. Bruno and Friedman become successful authors of Race to Witch Mountain: A True Story. They promote their book and knowledge on the UFO convention circuit, explaining that the publicity protects them from government reprisal. As they leave a convention the alien device activates, implying that the teenagers may be returning to Earth.

Race to Witch Mountain is a typical movie from Disney, i.e., a delightful family entertainment. The story is predictable and uses the usual clichés of the genre, with the heart-warming hero; the despicable villain; the chase and the car race; the corny conclusion after the first contact; despite of that, I liked Race to Witch Mountain a lot. The pleasant cast performs enjoyable characters, and I particularly like The Rock, AnnaSophia Robb and Carla Gugino very much. A very enjoyable film.

REVIEW: BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA (2007)

 

CAST

Josh Hutcherson (The Hugner Games)
AnnaSophia Robb (The Reaping)
Zooey Deschanel (New Girl)
Robert Patrick (Terminator 2)
Bailee Madison (Brothers)
Kate Butler (30 Days of Night)
Emma Fenton (Filthy Rich)
Latham Gaines (Power Rangers Dino Thudner)
James Gaylyn (Power Rangers RPM)

Jesse “Jess” Aarons (Josh Hutcherson) is a twelve-year-old aspiring artist living with his financially struggling family in Lark Creek. He rides the bus to school with his little sister May Belle (Bailee Madison), where he avoids the school bully Janice Avery (Lauren Clinton). In class, Jess is teased by classmates Scott Hoager (Cameron Wakefield) and Gary Fulcher (Elliot Lawless), and meets new student Leslie Burke (AnnaSophia Robb). At recess, Jess enters a running event, for which he had been training at home. Leslie also enters and manages to beat all the boys, much to Jess’ irritation. On the way home, Jess and Leslie learn that they are next-door neighbors.Later in the evening, Jess becomes frustrated when he finds that May Belle has drawn in his notebook, but his strict father (Robert Patrick) sides with her. He later watches them gardening together, disappointed that his father does not spend time with him. The next day at school, Leslie compliments Jess’ drawing ability after seeing his notebook, and they soon become friends. After school, they venture into the woods and swing across a creek on a rope. Jess and Leslie find an abandoned tree house on the other side, and invent a new world, which they call Terabithia. The fantasy world, which is a reflection on their lives, comes to life through their eyes as they explore the surroundings. For the next few days, Jess and Leslie spend their free time in the tree house getting to know each other.Leslie gives Jess an art kit on his birthday, much to his delight. Jess becomes angry with his father’s attitude towards him, and refuses the existence of Terabithia the next day at school. Afterwards, Jess apologizes to Leslie by giving her a puppy, whom she names Prince Terrien. Once in Terabithia, they fight with various creatures, including a troll resembling Janice. At school, Leslie becomes frustrated by Janice’s fee for entering the toilet. Jess and Leslie play a prank on Janice, and she becomes the laughing stock of everyone on the bus. Once Leslie’s parents finish their book, she and Jess help paint their house. Jess is impressed by her parents happiness, and smiles as he watches their family. At school, Leslie discovers that Janice gets hit by her father, and they become friends. Jess tells Leslie that his father is always mad at him. Jess and Leslie take P.T. to Terabithia, where they fight off several creatures resembling students at their school. They decide to go home, and Jess smiles as Leslie runs away.The next morning, Ms. Edmunds (Zooey Deschanel), Jess’ music teacher, calls to invite him on a one-on-one field trip to an art museum. Jess tries to ask his mother’s permission; however, she is half-asleep and he takes her mumbling as approval. Jess doesn’t ask Leslie to accompany him, and merely looks at her house as they drive by. When he returns home, Jess finds that his father and mother are worried sick because they didn’t know where he was. His father tells him that Leslie had died that morning while trying to swing across the rain-swollen creek.The following day, Jesse and his parents visit the Burke family home to pay their respects. Leslie’s father, Bill Burke (Latham Gaines), tells Jess that she loved him, and thanks him for being a very good friend to her, since she had trouble making friends at her old school. Jess feels overwhelming guilt for Leslie’s death, but his father consoles him to keep their friendship alive for her sake. Jess decides to re-imagine Terabithia and builds a bridge across the river to welcome a new ruler. He invites his sister, May Belle to enter Terabithia; she is delighted because she was previously denied any opportunity to enter. She and Jess bring back Terabithia in even greater splendor, with Jess as king and his sister as princess.This intelligent family flick is a bitter-sweet tale of friendship and first love, with distinct echoes of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. It deals with issues like family loyalty, bullying, tragic loss, chasing one’s dreams and believing in yourself. The child actors give brilliant and very moving performances, and somewhat exceptionally for a film of this nature, an unexpected and tear-jerking death features very prominently. All in all, this is a marvellous fantasy film, but the very sweet moments are tinged with a palpable sense of tragedy too.