CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: SUICIDE SQUAD

CAST

Will Smith (Men In Black)
Jared Leto (Urban Legend)
Margot Robbie (the Legend of of Tarzan)
Joel Kinnaman (Robocop)
Viola Davis (The Help)
Jai Courtney (Divergent)
Jay Hernandez (Hostel)
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Lost)
Cara Delevingne (London Fields)
Karen Fukuhara (Stray)
Ike Barinholtz (Bad Neighbors 1 & 2)
Scott Eastwood (The Forger)
Adam Beach (Ice Soldiers)
Ben Affleck (Gone Girl)
Ezra Miller (Trainwreck)
Ted Whittall (Smallville)
David Harbour (The Green Hornet)
Robin Atkin Downes (Babylon 5)
Jim Parrack (Fury)
James McGowan (Bitten)
Common (Wanted)
Kenneth Choi (The Terminal)
In the aftermath of Superman’s death, intelligence officer Amanda Waller assembles Task Force X, a team of dangerous criminals imprisoned at Belle Reve Prison consisting of elite hitman Deadshot, former psychiatrist Harley Quinn, pyrokinetic ex-gangster El Diablo, opportunistic thief Captain Boomerang, genetic mutation Killer Croc, and specialized assassin Slipknot. They are placed under command of Colonel Rick Flag to be used as disposable assets in high-risk missions for the United States government. Each member has a nano bomb implanted in their neck, designed to detonate should any member rebel or try to escape.

One of Waller’s intended recruits is Flag’s girlfriend Dr. June Moone, an archaeologist possessed by a witch-goddess known as the “Enchantress”. Enchantress quickly turns on Waller, deciding to eradicate humankind with a mystical weapon for imprisoning her. She besieges Midway City by transforming its populace into a horde of monsters, and summons her brother to assist her. Waller then deploys the squad to extract a high-profile mark from Midway, which is reported to be under a terrorist attack.

Harley’s homicidal lover, the Joker, finds out about her predicament and tortures Belle Reve Security Officer Griggs into leading him to the facility where the nano bombs are made. There, he blackmails one of the program’s scientists into disabling Harley’s bomb. On approach, the squad’s helicopter is shot down, forcing them to proceed on foot to their target. Boomerang inaccurately convinces Slipknot that the bombs are a ruse to keep them in check; Slipknot attempts to escape and Flag kills him via his nano bomb, while the squad is attacked by Enchantress’ minions. They eventually manage to fight their way through to a safe room, where they learn that their mark is Waller herself, who is attempting to cover up her involvement in Enchantress’ siege.

The squad escorts Waller to a rooftop for extraction, but the arriving helicopter has been hijacked by the Joker and his men, who open fire on the squad while Harley climbs aboard. However, Waller’s men shoot down the helicopter, and Harley falls out while the Joker is presumed dead, after which Harley rejoins the squad. Alerted to Waller’s whereabouts, Enchantress’ minions arrive and kidnap her. Deadshot finds Waller’s confidential files and learns the truth about Enchantress. Flag is then forced to confess the truth, causing the squad members to abandon him. With Waller compromised, Flag relieves the squad of the mission, but chooses to continue. Realizing they have an opportunity to prove themselves, they soon rejoin him and locate Enchantress at a partially-flooded subway station. Killer Croc and a group of Navy SEALs, led by Lieutenant GQ Edwards, go underwater to plant a bomb underneath her brother. El Diablo embraces his abilities and manages to distract Incubus long enough for the bomb to detonate underneath, killing them both as well as Edwards.

The remaining squad members battle Enchantress together, but are ultimately defeated. Enchantress offers to fulfill their deepest desires in exchange for their allegiance, and Harley feigns interest in order to get close enough to cut out Enchantress’s heart. Killer Croc then throws explosives into Enchantress’ weapon and Deadshot shoots them, destroying the device. Flag takes Enchantress’s heart and crushes it, finally freeing June from the curse. Waller, still alive, emerges, and the squad members are returned to Belle Reve with ten years off their sentences. All but Captain Boomerang are allowed special privileges. The Joker, alive and unscathed, breaks into the penitentiary and rescues Harley. In a mid-credits scene, Waller meets with Bruce Wayne, who agrees to protect her from the backlash of Enchantress’s rampage in exchange for access to the government’s files on the expanding metahuman community.Love this film. Margot Robbie, Will Smith, Jared Leto play there parts amazingly well and the other characters in the film were brilliant too ( but i really wanted to see this film for Harley and Joker and i was not disappointed). A Great introduction for Harley Quinn to the DC Cinematic Universe, with more to come Margot Robbie will  quickly become the definition of Harley Quinn.

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REVIEW: RUNNER, RUNNER

CAST

Justin Timberlake (The Social Network)
Ben Affleck (Justice League)
Gemma Arterton (The Voices)
Anthony Mackie (Captain America: Civil War)
Oliver Cooper (Project X)
Michael Esper (American Gun)
Yul Vazquez (Traffic)
John Heard (Home Alone)
Bob Gunton (Daredevil)

Richie Furst used to have a lucrative career on Wall Street; this history prevents him from receiving tuition assistance at Princeton, so he funds his master’s degree by referring students to online gambling, for which he receives a cut. After the dean threatens to expel him for these activities, Richie tries to win his tuition using his excellent poker skills in online gambling, but he loses all his money to a cheater, something he is able to prove by statistics.Richie travels to Costa Rica to confront Ivan Block, who runs the biggest empire of online gambling websites in the world, including the one Richie lost his money on. After Ivan sees the statistics, he finds coders have coded the software to allow them to cheat. After firing those involved, Ivan tells Richie he’ll pay him millions per year to stay in Costa Rica and assist with the site.Richie slowly begins a romantic relationship with Rebecca Shafran, ex-lover of Ivan, who appears to have no objections. Ivan has Richie blackmail a gaming affiliate with videos of his infidelity to force him to sign with Ivan. FBI agent Shavers kidnaps Richie and threatens to ruin his life in various ways if he does not assist in a conviction of Ivan Block. Shavers cannot do anything legally as he has no authority in Costa Rica, but he takes advantage of this to use tactics that would be illegal and unethical for law enforcement inside the United States. Ivan tells Richie that everyone in the organization ends up confronted by Shavers at some point.Over time, Ivan’s organization is revealed to be less than ethical. He sends Richie to bribe Costa Rica gaming director Herrera with too small a payment, which leads to Richie being beaten. Ivan tells him it comes with the territory of such a lucrative career. When Richie tries to leave the country, Shavers has drugs planted in his bag and offers to overlook it if Richie agrees to cooperate. A local police officer reveals that the police dislike Ivan but that he would buy his way out of any trouble and destroy whoever tried to take him down. Richie’s friend Andrew Cronin, who works on the software design for Ivan, suggests that Ivan is running a Ponzi scheme; the players’ accounts have no actual money, and Ivan uses the money as his own bank account, keeping just enough to allow players to cash out when they need to. Aware that Richie might be wanting out, Ivan buys the massive poker debts of Richie’s father and brings him to Costa Rica, using him as a hostage.Ivan throws Herrera and his bodyguard into the river to get eaten by the crocodiles, but pulls them out before they are eaten. Cronin disappears and is later found nearly beaten to death. Thanks to Rebecca betraying Ivan, Richie finds out that Ivan has been setting him up all along; Ivan is about to move his operations out of Costa Rica, planning to leave Richie behind as the fall guy. Richie gives out massive bribes to local officials, including low-level police officers. When the movement day hits, Ivan calls to sarcastically apologize to Richie, telling him he will be busted, as Ivan flies away on a private jet. When Ivan lands, he finds he has been betrayed: the bribed pilot has instead flown him to Puerto Rico, an American territory. Shavers and other FBI agents move in to arrest him as Richie and Rebecca fly away on the private jet. Shavers says they’re free to go because Richie left a flash drive for him containing sufficient evidence to convict Ivan.This movie was a fictional, largely accurate and very entertaining portrayal of the on-line gambling industry … a wild, wholly and unregulated billion dollar industry. The acting was good, the glitz entertaining and kept my interest from the opening scenes to its end.

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: GIGLI

CAST

Ben Affleck (Gone Girl)
Jennifer Lopez (Out of Sight)
Justin Bartha (The Hangover)
Christopher Walken (The Prophecy)
Al Pacino (Jack & Jill)
Lenny Venito (The Neighbors)

Larry Gigli (Ben Affleck) is a low-ranking Los Angeles mobster who isn’t nearly as tough as he likes to act. He is commanded to kidnap the mentally challenged younger brother of a powerful federal prosecutor to save New York-based mob boss Starkman (Al Pacino) from prison. Gigli successfully convinces the young man, Brian (Justin Bartha), to go off with him by promising to take him “to the Baywatch”, which seems to be Brian’s singular obsession, and turns out to just be the beach. The man who ordered the kidnapping, Louis (Lenny Venito), does not trust Gigli to get the job done right, so he hires a woman calling herself Ricki (Jennifer Lopez) to take charge.

Gigli is attracted to Ricki, but he resents the fact that Louis does not have faith in him and that he has to take orders from a woman. He is also frustrated by Brian’s insistence on going to “the Baywatch” and by Ricki’s being a lesbian. A suspicious detective (Christopher Walken) comes to the apartment to question Gigli if he is aware of Brian’s disappearance. Gigli, who is further annoyed when his mother (Lainie Kazan) takes an immediate liking to Ricki, both of them needling him.

The events take a darker turn when Gigli and Ricki receive orders to cut off Brian’s thumb, something neither wants to do. Worse, Ricki’s ex-girlfriend, Robin (Missy Crider), shows up at Gigli’s apartment, accusing her of changing sexual orientation. She slits her wrists and has to be rushed to the hospital. While at the hospital, Gigli goes to the morgue and cuts off a corpse’s thumb, which he sends to the prosecutor as Brian’s thumb. Gigli and Ricki go back to Gigli’s apartment where he confesses his love, and the two sleep together.

They are summoned to meet with the mob’s boss. Starkman reveals that he didn’t approve of the plan to kidnap a federal prosecutor’s brother or cut off the thumb and rages at them because the thumb they sent didn’t match Brian’s fingerprint, nullifying any potential for coercing the prosecutor; he then kills Louis, presumably for the kidnapping and stirring a hornet’s nest in law enforcement. Starkman is about to kill Ricki and Gigli as well, but Ricki talks him out of it by pointing out that only they know where Brian is, and only they can silence him and prevent him from fingering Starkman in the kidnapping. They leave Starkman’s, decide to leave the mob, and discuss taking Brian back to where they found him. On the way, they discover Baywatch (or a similarly themed show or film) shooting an episode on the beach. Brian begs to be let off there and finally they consent. Gigli convinces Ricki to take his car, but at the last minute, Ricki returns and picks up Gigli, and they leave town together.

All of the characters are transformed by the episode. Louis’s mob is disrupted, Gigli has dropped his hyper-masculine facade, Ricki has a heterosexual fling with Gigli, and Brian gradually emerges from his shell, noticing other people and conversing.

Overall bad acting and writing. But I have seen worse movies. I only recommend it for those who feel compelled to see J-Lo looking really hot for a couple of hours.

 

REVIEW: HOLLYWOODLAND

CAST

Ben Affleck (Gone Girl)
Adrien Brody (Predators)
Diane Lane (Man of Steel)
Bob Hoskins (Hook)
Robin Tunney (The Craft)
Kathleen Robertson (Bates Motel)
Caroline Dhavernas (Hannibal)
Dash Mihok (Gotham)
Brad William Henke (Lost)

south-park-the-end-of-serialization-as-we-know-it-645x370In June 1959, Louis Simo (Adrien Brody), a Los Angeles private investigator more interested in generating an income than in devotion to his clients, is spying on the wife of a man named Chester Sinclair to find if she is cheating. On a visit to his own ex-wife Laurie, Simo learns that his son is upset over the recent death of actor George Reeves, who played Superman on television. Reeves was found dead inside his Beverly Hills home with a gunshot wound to the head, which police ruled a suicide.south-park-the-end-of-serialization-as-we-know-it-645x370Simo learns from a former police colleague that the Reeves suicide has aspects that the cops don’t want to touch. Sensing the potential for making a name for himself, Simo begins investigating and notes several apparent conflicts with the official version of Reeves’s death. He also bickers with Laurie over his failures as a father, particularly now when his son seems so troubled.ben-affleck-hollywoodland

Years previously, in 1951, Reeves (Ben Affleck) is a charming man whose acting career has stalled since appearing in Gone with the Wind. He catches the eye of a beautiful woman and they end the night in each other’s arms. In the morning, a newspaper photo reveals to Reeves that the woman is Toni Mannix, the wife of Eddie Mannix, the general manager of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Frightened that an affair with a studio boss’s wife will destroy what is left of his career, Reeves is angry that Toni did not tell him. She claims to have an open relationship with Mannix and tells him not to worry. The much wealthier Toni begins to buy Reeves expensive gifts such as a house, a car and jewellery. Reeves lands the starring role in the television series Adventures of Superman, based on the comic book hero. The role makes Reeves famous and gives him a steady income, but he longs for more “serious” work and is uncomfortable with the public’s stereotype of him as Superman, resulting in snickers when he is seen on screen in the war film From Here to Eternity.south-park-the-end-of-serialization-as-we-know-it-645x370As the years pass, Reeves becomes bitter at being a kept man and at Toni for not using her clout to help his career. He barbeques his Superman costume to “celebrate” the program’s cancellation in 1958. He also meets a young woman in New York City, actress Leonore Lemmon, and leaves Toni for her. Toni is broken hearted and furious and seethes at her “mistreatment” by Reeves. Simo initially suspects that Leonore might have accidentally shot Reeves during an argument and imagines how the scenario might have played out. Simo is beaten at his home by thugs, apparently working for Mannix, who are trying to scare him off the case. This and other evidence leads Simo to suspect that Mannix was the one who had Reeves murdered. Simo has a vision of how that killing would have occurred.

south-park-the-end-of-serialization-as-we-know-it-645x370

Sinclair murders his wife, having grown impatient waiting for Simo’s report. A guilt-plagued Simo gets drunk, then visits his son’s school, where his inebriation scares the boy. Simo visits Reeves’ manager, Arthur Weissman, who has a home movie that Reeves shot to promote some wrestling work. Reeves’ sadness and disappointment with his life is on display in the footage. Simo’s final imagined variation on Reeves’ death concludes with the actor shooting himself. This is the most vivid of the three scenarios, and Simo imagines himself in the upstairs bedroom watching the suicide. Each of the scenes imagined by Simo begins with Reeves playing guitar and singing “Aquellos Ojos Verdes (Green Eyes)” in Spanish for his house guests. After each of the three imagined renditions, Reeves says goodnight to his guests, then retires to his bedroom upstairs, just before the gunshot. Reeves’ quest for success and Simo’s realization of parallels to his own existence cause the detective to re-evaluate his life. Simo watches another home movie, this one of himself and Laurie and their son in happier days. He goes to Laurie’s house wearing a suit and tie, greeting his son hopefully.ben-affleck-hollywoodland

Hollywoodland intercuts a biopic of the last eight years in the life of actor George Reeves. It also  flawlessly evokes the 1950’s visually and tells a compelling neo-noir tale about ambition, greed, sex and the lure of stardom. A Must see.

 

REVIEW: PAYCHECK

 

CAST

Ben Affleck (Gone Girl)
Aaron Eckhart (The Dark Knight)
Uma Thurman (Kill Bill)
Paul Giamatti (The Amazing Spider-Man 2)
Colm Feore (Gotham)
Joe Morton (Smallville)
Michael C. Hall (Dexter)
Kathryn Morris (Cold Case)
Fulvio Cecere (The Tortured)
Ivana Milicevic (Vanilla Sky)
Callum Keith Rennie (Legends of Tomorrow)
Michelle Harrison (The Flash)
Krista Allen (The Final Destination)
Peter Shinkoda (Daredevil)
Ryan Robbins (Arrow)
Aaron Douglas (Battlestar Galactica)

In the near future, Michael Jennings (Affleck) is a reverse engineer; he analyzes his clients’ competitors’ technology and recreates it, often adding improvements beyond the original specifications. To protect his clients’ intellectual property and himself, Jennings, with the aid of his friend Shorty (Giamatti), undertakes a memory wipe to remove knowledge of his engineering.

Jennings is approached by his old college roommate, James Rethrick (Eckhart), the CEO of the successful Seattle technology company Allcom. Rethrick proposes a lengthy three-year reverse engineering job to Jennings, requiring him to live on Allcom’s secured campus until its conclusion but rewarding him handsomely with company stock. Jennings agrees and, after arranging for his long-term absence, arrives at Allcom, turns in his personal possessions, and is given a brief tour of the facility where he meets and flirts with botanist Dr. Rachel Porter (Thurman). He is injected with a long-term memory marker for the post-job memory wipe.

Three years later (June 2007), at the conclusion of the memory wipe, Jennings is sitting in Rethrick’s office, being thanked for a successful job. On returning home, Jennings finds that, although his Allcom shares would have been worth around $92 million, he had signed them away near the end of his tenure. Furthermore, he finds that his personal possessions have been replaced with an envelope containing a random assortment of everyday items. Soon after, the FBI captures him; and Agent Dodge (Morton) interrogates him on charges related to the death of physicist William Dekker. Jennings is able to escape custody, finding that the items in the envelope can be used at the right time to evade capture. After warning Shorty of his plight, he finds the items pointing him to a café meeting with Porter. Rethrick, who has been watching Jennings’ movements, discovers a message to Porter about this meeting and sends a body double to take her place to try to recover the envelope. The real Porter shows up and helps Jennings escape from both the FBI and Rethrick’s men.

They take shelter at a local school, examining the remaining items in the envelope while Porter tries to convince Jennings of the relationship they shared during his tenure at Allcom. One of the stamps holds a microdot that, on enlargement, reveals several pictures of newspaper headlines taken from a machine’s display showing Allcom becoming financially successful with a device that can depict future events, but the resultant doomsday visions ultimately lead to a series of self-fulfilling prophecies resulting in financial panic, political strife and America launching a pre-emptive nuclear strike. Jennings realizes he must have built this device based on Dekker’s invention and, on realizing the horrors that will come, prepared the envelope, using the forecasts from the machine to allow his future self to return to Allcom and destroy the machine. Furthermore, as Rethrick shortly discovers, Jennings rigged the device to malfunction, preventing Rethrick from anticipating Jennings’ actions.

Jennings and Porter return to Allcom and make their way to the machine room undetected, jamming the door behind them. Jennings determines the location of the defective circuit and removes it, subsequently rigging the machine to explode in a few minutes. Jennings uses the machine one last time, seeing a vision of himself being shot by an FBI agent in the catwalks above the machine. Soon, Rethrick’s men storm the room and, after a brief shootout, Jennings and Porter escape to the catwalks. Rethrick is waiting there, holding them at gunpoint, the same tableau Jennings previously saw. When Jennings’ watch, taken from the envelope, beeps, Jennings ducks in time to avoid the FBI Agent’s bullet that then kills Rethrick. The machine is destroyed, and Jennings and Porter escape the FBI in the chaos. When Agent Dodge and his men arrive and investigate, they take sympathy and report Jennings killed in the destruction.

In the film’s conclusion, Jennings, Porter, and Shorty have opened a greenhouse nursery. Jennings recalls a fortune cookie note from the envelope and discovers one last act he had done with the machine, foreseeing the results of a $90 million lottery and leaving the winning ticket in Porter’s birdcage

This is a good movie for spending a couple of hours entertained, but it is not one I would enjoy seeing repeatedly.

 

REVIEW: SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE

CAST

Joseph Fiennes (Flashforward)
Gwyneth Paltrow (Iron man)
Geoffrey Rush (The King’s Speech)
Tom Wilkinson (Batman Begins)
Martin Clunes (Doc Martin)
Simon Callow (Amadeus)
Judi Dench (Skyfall)
Imelda Staunton (Vera Drake)
Colin Firth (Love Actually)
Mark Williams (Harry Potter)
Ben Affleck (Batman V Superman)
Rupert Everett (Shrek 2)

In 1593 London, William Shakespeare is a sometime player in the Lord Chamberlain’s Men and poor playwright for Philip Henslowe, owner of The Rose Theatre. Shakespeare is working on a new comedy, Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate’s Daughter. Suffering from writer’s block, he has barely begun the play, but starts auditioning players. Viola de Lesseps, the daughter of a wealthy merchant, who has seen Shakespeare’s plays at court, disguises herself as “Thomas Kent” to audition, then runs away. Shakespeare pursues Kent to Viola’s house and leaves a note with the nurse, asking Thomas Kent to begin rehearsals at the Rose. He sneaks into the house with the minstrels playing that night at the ball, where her parents are arranging her betrothal to Lord Wessex, an impoverished aristocrat. While dancing with Viola, Shakespeare is struck speechless, and after being forcibly ejected by Wessex, uses Thomas Kent as a go-between to woo her. Wessex also asks Will’s name, to which he replies that he is Christopher Marlowe.When he discovers her true identity, they begin a secret affair. Inspired by her, Shakespeare writes quickly, with help from his friend and rival playwright Christopher ‘Kit’ Marlowe, completely transforming the play into what will become Romeo and Juliet. Then, Viola is summoned to court to receive approval for her proposed marriage to Lord Wessex. Shakespeare accompanies her, disguised as her female cousin. There, he persuades Wessex to wager £50 that a play can capture the true nature of love, the exact amount Shakespeare requires to buy a share in the Chamberlain’s Men. Queen Elizabeth I declares that she will judge the matter when the occasion arises.

When Richard Burbage, owner of the Curtain, finds out that Shakespeare has cheated him out of both money and the play, he goes to the Rose Theatre with his Curtain Theatre Company and starts a brawl. The Rose Theatre company drives Burbage and his company out and then celebrate at the local pub.

Viola is appalled when she learns Shakespeare is married, albeit separated from his wife, and she realises she cannot escape her duty to marry Wessex. Will discovers that Marlowe is dead, and thinks he is to blame. Lord Wessex suspects an affair between Shakespeare and his bride-to-be. Because Wessex thinks that Will is Kit Marlowe, he approves of Kit’s death, and tells Viola the news. It is later learned that Marlowe had been killed in an accident. Viola finds out that Will is still alive, and declares her love for him.

When Edmund Tilney, the Master of the Revels, is informed there is a woman player at The Rose, he closes the theatre for breaking the ban on women. Viola’s identity is exposed, leaving them without a stage or lead actor, until Richard Burbage offers them his theatre. Shakespeare takes the role of Romeo, with a boy actor as Juliet. Following her wedding, Viola learns that the play will be performed that day, and runs away to the Curtain. Planning to watch with the crowd, Viola overhears that the boy playing Juliet cannot perform, and offers to replace him. While she plays Juliet to Shakespeare’s Romeo, the audience is enthralled, despite the tragic ending, until Master Tilney arrives to arrest everyone for indecency due to Viola’s presence.

But the Queen is in attendance and restrains Tilney, instead asserting that Kent’s resemblance to a woman is, indeed, remarkable. However, even a queen is powerless to end a lawful marriage, and she orders Kent to “fetch” Viola because she must sail with Wessex to the Colony of Virginia. The Queen also tells Wessex, who followed Viola to the theatre, that Romeo and Juliet has won the bet for Shakespeare, and has Kent deliver his £50 with instructions to write something “a little more cheerful next time, for Twelfth Night”.

Viola and Shakespeare say their goodbyes, and he vows to immortalise her, as he imagines the beginnings of Twelfth Night, imagining her as a castaway disguised as a man after a voyage to a strange land.

Stoppard certainly knows what he’s about: The plot is delightful and the references elegant, clever parodies if you spot them or inconspicuous parts of the plot if you don’t. And the references are on all levels: to Shakespeares plays, his unknown life and the many theories that have been made about it, and his writer and actor collegues Will’s muse is Violet, played wonderfully by Gwyneth Paltrow, who shows off in this film her finest acting to date and credibly pulls off the tricky task of being both an object of poetic inspiration and a genuine, down-to-earth human being.