REVIEW: ANNABELLE: CREATION

CAST

Stephanie Sigman (Spectre)
Talitha Bateman (The 5Th Wave)
Lulu Wilson (Ouija: Origin of Evil)
Anthony LaPaglia (Without A Trace)
Miranda Otto (Lord of The Rings)
Brad Greenquist (Pet Sematary)
Grace Fulton (Shazam)
Philippa Coulthard (Howards End)
Adam Bartley (Longmire)
Lotta Losten (Lights Out)
Mark Bramhall (Star Trek)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)
Bonnie Aarons (The Fighter)

In 1943, dollmaker Samuel Mullins (Anthony LaPaglia) and his wife Esther (Miranda Otto) grieve for the loss of their seven-year-old daughter Annabelle, “Bee” (Samara Lee), who was killed in a car accident. Twelve years later, in 1955, the Mullins open their home to provide shelter for Sister Charlotte (Stephanie Sigman) and six girls left homeless by the closing of their orphanage. Despite having been told not to enter Bee’s locked bedroom, Janice (Talitha Bateman), a young orphan crippled by polio, is awakened by a noise, discovers a note saying “find me”, and sneaks into the room, which has mysteriously become unlocked. She finds a key for Bee’s closet and unlocks it, where she sees an eerie porcelain doll. This unwittingly releases a powerful demon, who begins to terrorize the girls, displaying a special interest in Janice.On the second night, the demon continues to torment Janice, revealing its true form and declaring that it wants “her soul”. Although she attempts to get away using a stairlift, she is left severely injured when caught by the demon and thrown from the second floor landing to the first floor. The next day, Janice—now confined to a wheelchair—is dragged into a shed. The demon, taking Bee’s form, successfully possesses her. One of the other orphans, Janice’s best friend Linda (Lulu Wilson), notices changes in her behavior and admits to Samuel that Janice had snuck into Bee’s room and found the doll two nights earlier. Shortly after Linda’s revelation, the possessed Janice, who can now walk, transforms into the demon and brutally kills Samuel.Sister Charlotte speaks with the disfigured Esther, who is confined to her bedroom. Esther explains that after Bee’s death, they prayed to whatever entity would grant their wish to see their daughter again. An unknown entity answered their prayer and though they briefly see Bee’s spirit again, the entity convinces them to transfer its essence into one of Samuel’s crafted porcelain dolls. They happily agree but soon realise that they have attracted a demon looking for a human host. One night, Esther sees Bee’s spirit, along with the porcelain doll, transforming into the demon, who gouges out her left eye. They take the doll to Bee’s room and lock it in a closet wallpapered with pages from the Bible before enlisting the help of priests to bless both the room and the house. Esther then reveals that she and Samuel opened their house as a shelter for the orphans to repent of their dealings but now regrets it, since she realises that this has provided an opportunity for the demon to look for a human host.The demon crucifies Esther and bisects her body and slams Sister Charlotte on the wall, prompting the other orphans to leave the house. Linda is trapped in the house and hides in Bee’s room as the possessed Janice tries to stab her. Sister Charlotte recovers and locks the possessed Janice and the doll inside the closet. The next day, police arrive to search the house and its surroundings and find only the doll inside the bedroom closet, which they remove as evidence. Janice has escaped through a hole in the closet wall and relocates to an orphanage in Santa Monica. Still possessed, she becomes reclusive and calls herself Annabelle. The Higgins family soon adopt Annabelle. Twelve years later, in 1967, a teenage Annabelle (Tree O’Toole) joins a Satanic cult and, along with her boyfriend, murders her adoptive parents in their bedroom, which catches the attention of their next door neighbors, the Forms.In a post-credits scene, set in Romania in 1952, Valak, the Demon Nun (Bonnie Aarons), walks towards the camera in the candle-lit halls of the Cârța Monastery, as each candle slowly goes out, teasing the events of The Nun.Annabelle Creation is one of the better horror movies of the summer and perhaps this year. It is dark, creepy, and moves at that pace needed to keep you invested in the movie for the two-hour run time. In addition, the filling in gaps and hints start to connect the world, which will have you die hard horror fans screaming in delight at both scares and plot.

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REVIEW: SO I MARRIED AN AXE MURDERER

CAST

Mike Myers (Shrek)
Nancy Travis (Air America)
Anthony LaPaglia (Without a Trace)
Amanda Plummer (The Hunger Games: catching Fire)
Michael Richards (Problem Child)
Brenda Fricker (Home Alone 2)
Matt Doherty (The Mighty Ducks)
Charles Grodin (King Kong 1978)
Phil Hartman (Small Soldiers)
Debi Mazar (Batman Forever)
Steven Wright (Half Baked)
Alan Arkin (Rendition)

cap231kv0.8563Charlie MacKenzie (Myers) is a beat poet living in San Francisco, after having broken up with yet another woman based on paranoid perception. His friend Tony, a policeman, points out that Charlie simply is afraid of commitment and tries to think of or invent any reason to break up with someone. Charlie encounters a butcher named Harriet, and the two quickly find common bonds between them. They start to date, and Charlie learns she used to live in Atlantic City, had been involved with a trainer in Russian martial arts, and screams at someone named Ralph in her sleep. After staying at her place one night, Charlie meets Harriet’s sister, Rose, who warns Charlie to be careful. As they continue to see each other, Charlie and Harriet fall in love. He arranges a dinner with her to meet his parents, Stuart and May, who both believe in conspiracy theories and get their news from the Weekly World News tabloid. While there, Charlie spots one paper that describes the story about a “Mrs. X”, a bride who kills her husbands on their honeymoons using an axe, and matches all the mannerism that Harriet has shown.
trainwreck-posterCharlie becomes paranoid and asks Tony to investigate Harriet and the Mrs. X story. Tony reveals that the husbands of Mrs. X were all reported missing alongside their wives, assuring that Harriet is unlikely to be Mrs. X. Charlie remains on edge, and after a few more troubled dates, decides to break up with her. Tony later reports that a killer in the Mrs. X story has confessed. Relieved, Charlie apologizes to Harriet by reciting one of his beat poems to her from his rooftop. They make up, and Harriet explains away some of the confusion Charlie had from her history, such as Ralph being the name of a woman she knew. Some time later, Charlie proposes to Harriet, which she reluctantly accepts after some hesitation and they arrange for a wedding in a secluded mountain hotel. After they depart, Tony learns that the confessed killer is actually a compulsive liar. He sends a photo of Harriet to the known associates of the missing husbands, and all report back that she was their friends’ wife. With phone lines to the hotel down, Tony charters a plane. Once he lands, he is able to call Charlie locally and warn him that Harriet is really Mrs. X, but the hotel phone line is knocked out and power is lost.
919NuAZvl-L._SL1500_Charlie is panicked and tries to stay away from Harriet without letting her know what he knows, but the hotel staff force him into the honeymoon suite for their first night together. Charlie finds himself alone and discovers a “Dear Jane” letter, purportedly written by him, explaining his absence to Harriet. Suddenly, Rose appears wielding an ax. Rose tells Charlie he was not supposed to find the letter, and reveals herself as the Mrs. X killer – she feels that Harriet’s husbands are taking her sister from her, and so killed them on their honeymoon night and leading Harriet to believe that each husband simply left her. Charlie begins a game of cat-and-mouse to stay away from Rose while waiting for the police to arrive. Tony leads the police into the hotel but arrests Harriet, still believing her to be the murderer. Having chased Charlie to the hotel roof, Rose swings the axe at Charlie and is thrown off the building, with only Charlie holding her up from falling to her death. Tony comes to catch her fall, where she is arrested and taken away. Charlie and Harriet resume their lives afterward as a happy couple.107115_D0173bcThe plot of the film is fun, myers as his dad is superb,the soundtrack and sound effects are great, the film is warm and a unusual love story..their are plenty of laughs and a nice twist to the film at the end too!! well acted, great script, unusual, unique.

REVIEW: THE CUSTODIAN

CAST

Anthony LaPaglia (Without A Trace)
Hugo Weaving (The Matrix)
Naomi watts (Birdman)
Barry Otto (The Great Gatsby)
Kelly Dingwall (Raw Nerve)
Essie Davis (The Babadook)

Featuring some of Australia’s finest actors who weren’t so established when this film was released. Anthony LaPaglia (Without A Trace) puts in a powerful performance as the unwitting hero on the verge of a nervous breakdown, James Quinlan, who is hell bent on destruction following the breakdown of his marriage to an annoying and humiliating alcoholic.

Hugo Weaving (Matrix – Agent Smith) is cast as his unscrupulous partner for the local constabulary and apparent friend, Frank Church, but his luxurious life style, along with some of his colleagues, leads to an investigation into police corruption instigated by Quilan. LaPaglia’s wounded character is now determined on not being recognised as the fool and fully focused on bringing them all down; even if it means losing his only friendship and what little else he has remaining in his life in the process.

Barry Otto is superbly cast as internal affairs agent Ferguson, who’s about the only other straight cop on the force, and his venomous performance full of righteous justice compliments LaPaglia’s rage of hellfire when a twist of cruel fate pushes the two pillars of integrity together; but, each of them must fight in their own way to bring a new order to the upper echelons of the local law enforcement. The dialogue in this film is gripping and executed superbly from all the cast and is helped along the way by an understated and timeless score. Also, look out for a very young Naomi Watts who appears in a couple of scenesr. If you like finding under-appreciated gems then give this relatively unknown Australian adventure drenched in film noir a viewing.

REVIEW: ALL STAR SUPERMAN

 

CAST (VOICES)
James Denton (Desperate Houswives)
Christina Hendricks (Mad Men)
Anthony LaPaglia (Summer of Sam)
Edward Asner (Elf)
Frances Conroy (American Horror Story)
Linda Cardellini (Super)
Cathy Cavadini (The Batman)
Steven Blum (Wolverine ad The X-Men)
Alexis Denisof (Angel)
Matthew Gray Gubler (500 days of Summer)
Finola Hughes (Generation X)
Arnold Vosloo (The Mummy)
Dr. Leo Quintum and his team are exploring the Sun when they are sabotaged by a booby-trapped genetically-enhanced clone, turned into a time-bomb by Lex Luthor. Superman stops the clone but in doing so receives an overdose of solar radiation. Though the radiation is slowly killing him, it does give Superman new powers. Luthor, having orchestrated the death of Superman while under the employment of General Sam Lane, is arrested by the military thanks to Clark Kent’s article and sentenced to death by a Metropolis tribunal. Superman asks Dr. Quintim to keep news of his impending death secret from the public. Wanting to spend as much of his remaining time with Lois Lane, Superman reveals to her that he is Clark Kent. Lois doubts his revelation because she had been unable to prove Superman’s “Kent” identity herself. Superman takes her to the Fortress of Solitude. During this visit, Superman’s secretive behavior and her indirect exposure to alien chemicals heightens Lois’ paranoia.
She is startled by Robot 7, shooting it and then Superman with a kryptonite laser. The solar radiation having made him immune to green kryptonite, Superman is able to calm her, explaining his caginess was to hide her birthday present, a serum granting her superpowers for 24 hours. Now as a Superwoman, she and Superman stop an attack by Subterranosauri led by Krull in Metropolis just as Samson (who tricked Krull into leading an attack on the surface world) and Atlas arrive. After the Subterranosauri are returned to the center of the Earth, their leader Tyrannko states to Superman that Krull will be dealt with. Samson flirts with Lois and gives her a necklace, the crown jewels of the Ultra-Sphinx. When Superman tells him to back off, he shows Superman a newspaper that reads “Superman Dead” and challenges Superman to contests to win Lois. The Ultra-Sphinx travels through time to reclaim the jewels Samson had stolen, placing Lois between life and death. Superman must answer an unanswerable question to save Lois. The unanswerable question is “What happens when the Unstoppable Force meets the Immovable Object?” Superman beats Ultra-Sphinx’s challenge with the answer being “they surrender.” Superman then defeats Atlas and Samson in a double arm-wrestling match before spending the rest of the day with Lois as her powers fade.
Later, Kent meets Luthor in his death row cell for an exclusive interview at Stryker’s Island. However, Superman’s energy allows the Parasite to free himself and cause havoc in the prison. Clark stops him while not revealing his secret identity, with Luthor disclosing his respect for Clark as both a journalist and a man. Luthor then reveals a tunnel from his cell for Clark to escape through, aided by Luthor’s delinquent niece Nasthalthia. Luthor chooses not to escape as the satisfaction of outliving Superman is rewarding enough. Clark tells Lois he’s dying, before leaving to take the city of Kandor to a new planet to thrive, as he does not believe he’ll survive the trip back. Lois denies it, speaking of their future together with their super-children. Clark informs her that their biology is too incompatible for them to bear children. Clark leaves with Lois promising to wait for his return.
Two months later, Superman returns to find Metropolis has been repaired with Kryptonian architecture and that Earth has been protected by Bar-El and Lilo, lost astronauts from Krypton. They followed the trail of the vessel that brought Superman to Earth. To his dismay, the two have less altruistic goals and intend to turn Earth into a new Krypton. As they fight Superman outside of the Daily Planet, Bar-El and Lilo begin showing signs of illness: the two had passed through the remnants of Krypton and thus were saturated with Kryptonite. To save them and at their request, Superman places the two in the Phantom Zone until a cure can be found.After settling his affairs, Superman proceeds to finish his last will and testament. Luthor reprogrammed one of the Fortress’ robots to steal the serum he made for Lois’ birthday. Having the powers of Superman, Luthor’s death by electric chair failed and he escapes unfettered. He meets with Nasthalthia below one of his lairs to continue his plans. Superman finishes his will when he learns of Luthor’s secret ally Solaris, the tyrant star computer has betrayed Luthor by tampering with Earth’s sun and turned it blue. With his robots, Superman engages Solaris in space. However, Solaris’ raw power output vaporized all of the robots, with Robot #7 sacrificing itself to damage Solaris to redeem itself for being manipulated into stealing the super serum. All seems lost until Superman’s pet Sun-Eater sacrifices itself to weaken the tyrant star, which allows Superman to destroy Solaris.
Clark returns to the Daily Planet, very ill, and collapses upon completing his article, “SUPERMAN DEAD”. When the staff tries to save him they realize that he has stopped breathing and his heart stopped. But before they can do anything to help Clark, the super-powered Lex Luthor arrives and attempts to kill Lois. Clark revives and fires a gravity gun at Luthor. Superman tells Luthor he has been on to him ever since Superman Robot #7 first malfunctioned. As his powers fade, Luthor briefly sees the world as Superman sees it and weeps as he gains a measure of understanding of the subatomic and how it interconnects. The gravity weapon has warped time causing Luthor’s powers to burn out at a faster rate. As his powers drain, Luthor wishes the experience to continue. He believes he can solve the grand unification theory but when he reaches for his next vial of serum, he realizes that Superman has stolen his supply. Superman then destroys the serum over Luthor’s protests, pointing out that if Luthor truly cared about solving the world’s problems, he would have done so long ago.
With Superman’s body starting to turn into pure energy, he and Lois embrace one final time and he proclaims his love for her once and for all. He gives her his cape as a way to remember him before he leaves and flies into the Sun, seemingly sacrificing himself to save the Earth.
Later, when Lois sits on a bench in front of a statue of Superman, Jimmy invites her to attend a memorial service being held for Superman. Lois does not go as she believes Superman is not dead and will return after he repairs the sun. Quintum visits Luthor in his cell. Now enlightened from his ordeal and accepting his impending death, Luthor presents Quintum with the only thing that could redeem him for his actions over the years….a formula to recreate Superman’s genetic structure through a healthy human ovum. As Quintum leaves, he sadly muses “They always said they wanted children”. The movie ends with a picture of Superman fixing the sun and Lois’ voice once more stating “He’s not dead. He’s up there fixing the Sun. And when he’s done, he’ll be back.”
An excellent take which sticks closely to its source material. Approach with an open mind and you shouldn’t be disappointed

REVIEW: PHOENIX (1998)

CAST
Ray Liotta (Hannibal)
Anthony LaPaglia (Analyze That)
Tom Noonan (Robocop 2)
Daniel Baldwin (Vampires)
Jeremy Piven (Old School)
Brittany Murphy (Sin City)
Anjelica Huston (Daddy Day Care)
Giovanni Ribisi (Ted)
In Phoenix, Arizona, Harry Collins is a cop whose compulsive gambling has indebted him to a local gangster, Chicago. As his losses mount and time counts down, Collins resorts to exploiting a young woman, Veronica, that he has picked up to distract his friends in a poker game. Despite the successful distraction, he still loses, and he rejects Veronica’s sexual advances, as he considers her to be bad luck. When Collins drops her off at her house, Veronica’s mother sees her daughter in tears and glares at Collins. Collins later tracks down Veronica’s mother, Leila, and defends himself, stating that he did not have sex with her. Unimpressed, Leila rebukes him, which causes him to reassess his behavior and offer a sincere apology. Surprised by his apology, Leila slowly warms to Collins, and they begin a romance. Having lost his lucky lighter, Collins asks her for a keepsake, but Leila tells him that he must make his own luck and avoid whatever trouble in which he’s become involved.
Meanwhile, Chicago cuts off Collins from his bookies and gives him 48 hours to either repay his debt or murder Joey, a young suspect held in custody. Mike Henshaw, Collins’ corrupt partner, suggests murdering Chicago, but Collins, unwilling to welch on a bet or murder Joey, decides instead to rob Louie, a local loanshark. Collins recruits Henshaw and another corrupt cop, James Nutter, and, over their objections, brings in a more straight-laced cop, Fred Shuster. Unknown to the others, Shuster has discovered that his wife, Katie, is having an affair with Henshaw. Distraught and feeling betrayed, Shuster agrees to work with Lt. Webber to bring down the corrupt cops. However, the robbery is botched when the trigger-happy Henshaw kills Louie before he can open the safe. Collins hires a local locksmith to crack Louie’s safe, and the group splits up. Collins and Shuster arrive at the meeting point, but Lt. Webber is already there; Webber betrays Shuster, killing him, and shoots Collins in the gut. Collins escapes, but Webber steals the money.
Nutter and Henshaw, suspecting that Collins has betrayed them, arrive at the meeting point and discover Shuster’s body. Before they can track down Collins and kill him, they are surrounded by the police. When Nutter attempts to surrender, Henshaw kills him; Henshaw is killed in turn by the other cops. Collins hitches a ride back to town and surprises Katie and Webber, who are having an affair. Over their objections, Collins burns most of the money while denouncing them both for betraying Fred. After alerting the cops to Webber’s involvement, Collins takes enough money to pay off his gambling debt and meets with Chicago. Amused, Chicago accepts the money but mocks Collins’ reluctance to murder Joey; Chicago reveals that he has had Joey murdered in prison and points out that had Collins simply murdered Joey, all of this trouble could have been avoided. Enraged, Collins kills Chicago and his bodyguards, then stumbles back to his car, where he apparently dies of his wounds.
It’s a well shot film, neatly edited, with excellent performances from the entire cast.