REVIEW: WAR MACHINE

CAST

Brad Pitt (World War Z)
Anthony Hayes (Suburban Mayhem)
Emory Cohen (Brooklyn)
RJ Cyler (Power Rangers)
Daniel Betts (Fury)
Topher Grace (That 70s Show)
Anthony Michael Hall (The Dead Zone)
John Magaro (The Box)
Scoot McNairy (Batman V Sueprman)
Meg Tilly (Psycho II)
Sian Thomas (Vanity Fair)
Alan Ruck (Speed)
Nicholas Jones (Vera Drake)
Griffin Dunne (My Girl)
Ben Kingsley (Iron Man 3)
Reggie Brown (Barbershop: The Next Cut)
Tilda Swinton (The Chronicles of Narnia)
Will Poulter (We’re The Millers)
Keith Stanfield (Get Out)
Josh Stewart (The Dark Knight Rises)
Georgina Rylance (New Tricks)
Russell Crowe (Man of Steel)

In the summer of 2009, Four-star General Glen McMahon (Brad Pitt), having won renown for his effective leadership in Iraq, is sent to Afghanistan to prepare an assessment so that the government can end the ongoing war. He is given wide latitudes to write it, on the sole condition that he not request more troops. McMahon and his staff, particularly his right hand man Major General Greg Pulver (Anthony Michael Hall), are united in their belief that the war can be won, and decide to recommend that President Obama authorize a surge of 40,000 additional troops to secure Helmand province in order to stabilize the country. However, the Secretary of State (Sian Thomas) informs McMahon that his report will not be reviewed until after the upcoming presidential election.Captain Badi Basim (Aymen Hamdouchi), a member of the ANA, joins McMahon’s staff as a “representative” of the Afghan people. Meanwhile, McMahon is informed that, due to alleged irregularities in the counting of votes, a runoff election will have to be held, delaying the review of the assessment further. Fed up, McMahon secretly leaks the assessment to the Washington Post and organizes an interview with 60 Minutes, during which he reveals that, in the last seventy days, he has only been granted one meeting with the president. In response, the government announces that they will send 30,000 troops to Afghanistan, and that all US and coalition forces in the country will leave in 18 months. To gather the remaining 10,000 troops needed for his strategy to work, McMahon and his men head to Paris to negotiate with the other coalition nations.In Paris, McMahon learns that the president is passing through, and wishes to meet with him. The ambassador to Afghanistan (Alan Ruck) warns McMahon that he needs to understand his position: if he continues to anger the president, he will be fired for insubordination. The president ultimately decides to cancel the meeting due to time constraints, and McMahon and his staff attend a dinner in his honor, accompanied by Rolling Stone writer Sean Cullen (Scoot McNairy), who intends to write a feature story about his performance for an upcoming issue. The next day, during their anniversary dinner, McMahon’s wife Jeanie confronts him about how much time he’s spending fighting abroad instead of being with his family back home.While on route to Berlin with McMahon’s staff to continue negotiations, Cullen observes their behavior and concludes that they are arrogant and seem to care little about the growing public perception that the war is costly and wasteful. At a conference to discuss his strategy, McMahon is confronted by a German official (Tilda Swinton) who is skeptical of his approach and suggests that McMahon’s plans would only lead to more losses. Nevertheless, both the Germans and the French agree to furnish the troops needed for his planned offensive, codenamed “Operation Moshtarak”, to begin, with Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s (Ben Kingsley) approval.The operation launches, but soon runs into trouble when several civilians are accidentally killed against McMahon’s instructions. When he holds a public meeting to explain the incident, the crowd grows hostile and demands that he and his troops leave. Worse, McMahon learns that Cullen’s article has been published, and paints a negative picture of him and his staff as openly speaking against the president and mishandling the war effort. Knowing that he will be fired for his actions, McMahon returns to Washington and later takes a job as a civilian consultant. In the aftermath, Cullen ponders the consequences of his article, noting that he wished the fall of McMahon would finally convince the government to stop invading foreign countries and end the war in Afghanistan. Instead, however, the government simply assigns a new general to replace McMahon: General Bob White (Russell Crowe).When a political movie runs the risk of offending both Conservatives and Liberals it’s one we should all see. This movie is hilarious, heartfelt, thought-provoking… bad-ass. And, regardless of your politics, it’ll make you appreciate our troops even more.

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REVIEW: DAVE

CAST

Kevin Kline (Chaplin)
Sigourney Weaver (Avatar)
Frank Langella (Masters of The Universe)
Kevin Dunn (Transformers)
Ving Rhames (Mission Impossible)
Ben Kingsley (Iron Man 3)
Tom Dugan (Beethoven’s 2nd)
Charles Grodin (The Ex)
Laura Linney (The Truman Show
Stephen Root (Dodgeball)
Bonnie Hunt (Jumanji)

Dave Kovic runs a temporary employment agency in Georgetown, Washington, D.C., and has a side job impersonating President Bill Mitchell. He is requested by Secret Service agent Duane Stevensen to make an appearance as the President at a hotel. Dave assumes it is a matter of security, but it is really to cover up Mitchell’s extramarital affair with a White House staffer. Mitchell suffers a severe stroke during the rendezvous, leaving him in a coma. White House Chief of Staff Bob Alexander and Communications Director Alan Reed convince Dave to continue impersonating the President, telling him that Vice President Gary Nance is mentally unbalanced. Only Bob, Alan, the Secret Service, and the medical staff know of the switch. First Lady Ellen Mitchell leads a separate life, rarely seeing the President.The public is notified that Mitchell has had a “minor circulatory problem of the head.” With Dave established as President, Bob and Alan send Nance on a 12-nation goodwill tour of Africa and implicate him in a savings and loan fraud. Once Nance is forced to resign, Bob plans for Dave to nominate him as Vice President, whereupon Mitchell will have a more serious stroke and Bob will ascend to the Presidency. Dave’s enthusiasm revives Mitchell’s popularity. He visits a homeless shelter with Ellen, who does not understand why he has taken a sudden interest. Bob forges Mitchell’s veto of a funding bill that includes the shelter. When Dave is confronted about the veto by Ellen, he confronts Bob, who offhandedly tells him that if he can cut $650 million from the federal budget he can keep the shelter. Dave has his accountant friend Murray Blum help him rewrite the budget so that the project may be reinstated. To make sure that Bob doesn’t stop him, Dave does it publicly in front of the press.Suspecting that he is not really her husband, Ellen tricks Dave into revealing the truth. Dave and Duane show her Bill on life support in the White House basement. She and Dave decide to leave the White House. However, after a night out, they realize all the good they could still do and decide to return. Dave blackmails Bob into resigning by threatening to go public with the switch, then announces a plan to find a job for every American who wants work. Nance returns from Africa and confronts Dave about the savings and loan scandal, insisting they both know there is no merit to the allegations. Dave talks to Alan, who reveals the whole plan was Bob’s idea. Meanwhile, Bob reveals Mitchell’s involvement in the savings and loan scandal while pushing his own candidacy for the presidency. Realizing that he can’t go into hiding, Dave decides to take responsibility for Mitchell’s actions.The scandal will make the jobs program difficult to pass, but Nance tells Dave that it is a wonderful idea. Dave tells Ellen that Nance is a good man and he would make a great president. Realizing what is planned, Ellen tells him that she does not want to lose him. The next day in a joint session of Congress, Dave admits to Mitchell’s role in the scandal, but introduces evidence proving Bob was the mastermind and Nance is innocent. Bob realizes that Alan has betrayed him. Dave fakes a stroke and makes a switch with the real Mitchell in an ambulance en route to the hospital. Nance becomes Acting President under the terms of the 25th Amendment and is sworn in as President five months later when Mitchell dies. Bob and eight other members of the Mitchell Administration are indicted on 34 charges of law violations and obstruction of justice two days after Dave’s jobs initiative passes. Dave decides to run for city council and Ellen comes to the office to volunteer. As they embrace, Duane stands guard outside the office door.To those who may say that “Dave” doesn’t give a true reflection on American politics or make a political statement, I would agree with them, but then it surely didn’t mean to. Its just a charming little comedy and/or love story that’s easy on mind and eye, and for what its worth I thought it was great.

REVIEW: SELF/LESS

CAST

Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool)
Natalie Martinez (End of Watch)
Matthew Goode (Watchmen)
Ben Kingsley (Robot Overlords)
Victor Garber (Legends of Tomorrow)
Derek Luke (Antwone Fisher)
Melora Hardin (17 Again)
Sam Page (The Brotherhood)

Business tycoon and billionaire Damian Hale (Ben Kingsley) is master of his own universe, until he is diagnosed with terminal cancer. Now on his deathbed, he finds a business card directing him to a man named Professor Albright (Matthew Goode), who informs him about a radical medical procedure called “shedding,” in which one’s consciousness is transferred to an artificially grown healthy body. Damian decides to undergo the procedure, and follows Albright’s instructions to stage his own public death. Albright transfers him into a new body (Ryan Reynolds) and prescribes medication to alleviate the vivid hallucinations which he claims are side effects of the procedure.After a period of adaptation exercises, Damian starts a new life in New Orleans under the assumed name of Edward Kidner and quickly befriends his neighbor Anton (Derek Luke). However, when he forgets to take his medicine, he subsequently suffers hallucinations of a woman and child. When Damian asks Albright about the hallucinations, Albright dismisses his concerns, but accidentally reveals that he knows details of the hallucinations that Damian did not tell him. Albright arranges for Damian to move to Hawaii for a change of scenery, but Damian, convinced the hallucinations are some kind of memory, identifies a landmark he saw in his vision and heads to St. Louis instead.At a farmhouse outside of St. Louis, he finds the woman, Madeline (Natalie Martinez), who reacts to him as her apparently deceased husband, Mark. Damian learns, much to his horror, that the body he is inhabiting belonged to another man who sold himself to Albright in order to gain the money he needed to pay for their daughter Anna’s life-saving medical treatment. Shortly after arriving at the house Damian and Madeline are attacked by Albright’s men, led by Anton, who reveals that he is one of Albright’s employees. In a bid to escape, Damian severely wounds Anton and kills his accomplices. Damian and Madeline leave the farm and collect Anna from school, where she, in her childhood innocence, warmly greets her father, knowing he would return. They flee.At a motel stop overnight, discovering he has no more of the medicine he needs, Damian uses a laptop computer to research “shedding” and discovers an ill, elderly Dr. Francis Jensen (Thomas Francis Murphy), now deceased, was the pioneer researcher in the field of transhumanism. In a video interview of Jensen, Damian notices a tic he shares with Albright. When he then sees a young Albright sitting next to Jensen in the same video, Damian concludes Albright was Jensen’s assistant, and Jensen has shed himself into Albright’s body. Damian finds Dr. Jensen’s wife, Phyllis, in a nursing home in New Orleans and tries to get her to reveal where her husband’s research is, but she does not know due to suffering from Alzheimer’s. Damian then lures Albright to the facility and confronts him. Jensen/Albright explains his motivations, but Damian rejects them. Albright reveals that the pills will eventually eliminate the hallucinations and the “Mark” personality of the body Damian is inhabiting, but if he quits taking the pills, “Mark” will reassert control over his body and Damian will ‘fade into oblivion.’As they leave to go to the medical lab, more assassins show up. Albright escapes, while Damian struggles with another man whom he recognizes as Anton in a new body, due to the necklace that he is wearing. Damian is almost overpowered, but Madeline saves him when she intervenes and wounds Anton. Anton then reveals to Damian that he has “shed” multiple times, and the process is easier the more often it is done. While Damian confiscates Anton’s pills, Anton taunts Madeline to ask her ‘husband’ why he can’t answer personal questions about their life. Damian, Madeline, and Anna then escape again.After they are safely away, Madeline confronts Damian over his behavior and lack of knowledge of their personal details, and demands he reveal what is going on. He reveals to her all that has happened. He takes her and Anna to his old friend Martin (Victor Garber) and convinces him to arrange for Madeline and Anna to flee to the Caribbean. However, he and Madeline discover Anna playing with Martin’s young son Tony (Dylan Lowe), who died two years ago; Martin admits that he used “shedding” to save his son, and that Albright’s men are waiting for them. Damian then reveals the dark secret behind shedding to Martin, who believed that the bodies were artificially grown in a lab and is shocked to find out that his son’s new body is really someone else’s son. Damian flees to distract Albright’s men while Martin, Madeline, and Anna try to escape through a forest. Damian manages to crash Anton’s car with him in it and defeat his pursuers, but Madeline and Anna are recaptured.Damian stops taking his medicine in order to experience more of Mark’s memories, hoping they will lead him to Albright. This succeeds, and Damian pursues Albright to a lab built in an abandoned warehouse. There, Albright captures him and attempts to “shed” Anton into Mark’s body, but Damian, remembering that metal interferes with the “shedding” process, hides a bullet casing in his mouth, therefore sabotaging the procedure and killing Anton in the process. He rescues Madeline and Anna, who are being held at the lab as possible “shedding” receptacles, and kills Albright with a flamethrower. Damian arranges for Madeline and Anna to flee the country as planned, meets his own estranged daughter Claire (Michelle Dockery), and delivers her a letter reconciling with her. He then heads to the Caribbean and stops taking his medicine, ‘dying’ peacefully. The real Mark reawakens in his own body and discovers a video message from Damian’s personality recorded before his death thanking him for the time he gave him. Mark then reunites with his family at last.I really did enjoy this movie, the concept was a good one, it was a clever plot. There were enough surprises and plenty of intrigue to keep you wondering.

REVIEW: HUGO

CAST

Asa Butterfield (Ender’s Game)
Chloe Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass)
Ben Kinglsey (Iron Man 3)
Sacha Baron Cohen (Alice Through The Looking Glass)
Ray Winston (Elfie Hopkins)
Emily Mortimer (Lars and The Real Girl)
Helen McCrory (The Woman In Black 2)
Jude Law (Spy)
Michael Stuhlbarg (Men In Black 3)
Christopher Lee (The Hobbit)
Frances de la Tour (The Lady In The Van)
Richard Griffiths (Harry Potter)
Michael Pitt (Murder By Numbers)

In 1931, 12-year-old Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield) lives in Paris with his father (Jude Law), a widowed, but kind clockmaker who also works at a museum. One day his father finds a broken automaton, a mechanical man designed to write with a pen, at the museum, and he and Hugo try to repair it, his father documenting the automaton in a notebook. When his father is killed by a fire at the museum, Hugo is forced to live with his resentful, alcoholic uncle Claude (Ray Winstone), and made to learn how to maintain the clocks at the railway station of Gare Montparnasse. When Claude goes missing for several days, Hugo continues to maintain the clocks, fearing that he would be sent away as an orphan by the vindictive Station Inspector Gustave (Sacha Baron Cohen) if Claude’s absence is discovered. Hugo attempts to repair the automaton with stolen parts, believing it contains a message from his father, but the machine still requires a heart-shaped key that his father could not find.Hugo is caught when stealing from the toy store owner Georges (Ben Kingsley), who looks through his father’s notebook and threatens to destroy it. Hugo encounters Georges’ goddaughter Isabelle (Chloë Grace Moretz) who offers to help get the notebook back. Hugo learns Georges has forbidden Isabelle from going to the cinema, and introduces the medium to her as his father had done for him. As their friendship grows, he shows her the automaton, and is surprised when Isabelle inadvertently reveals she wears the key as a necklace given to her by Georges. When started, the machine draws out a scene that Hugo recognizes from his father’s description of the film A Trip to the Moon. Isabelle identifies the signature, that of a “Georges Méliès”, as her godfather. She sneaks Hugo into her home, where they find a hidden cache of more imaginative drawings of Méliès, but are caught by Georges, who banishes Hugo from his home.Hugo and Isabelle go to the Film Academy Library and find a book about the history of cinema that praises Méliès’ contributions. They meet the book’s author, René Tabard (Michael Stuhlbarg), a film expert who is surprised to hear that Méliès may still be alive, as he had disappeared after World War I along with nearly all copies of his films. Excited at the chance to meet him, René agrees to meet Isabelle and Hugo at Georges’ home to show his copy of A Trip to the Moon, hoping it will invigorate Georges. On the scheduled night, Georges’ wife Jeanne (Helen McCrory) tries to turn them away, but René compliments Jeanne as Jeanne d’Alcy, an actress in many of Méliès’ films, and she allows them to continue. As the film plays, Georges wakes up at the sight, and Jeanne finally convinces him to cherish his accomplishments rather than regret his lost dream. Georges recounts that as a stage magician, he had been fascinated by motion pictures and used the medium to create imaginative works through his Star Film Company, but was forced into bankruptcy following the War, closing his studio and selling his films to be turned into raw materials. He laments that even an automaton he made that he donated to a museum was lost. Hugo recognizes this is the same automaton he has, and races to the station to retrieve it. He is caught by Gustave, who has learned that Claude’s body was found some time ago, and threatens to take Hugo to the orphanage. Georges arrives and tells Gustave that he will now see to Hugo, adopting him as his son.Some time later, Georges is named a professor at the Film Academy, and is paid tribute through a showcase of his films recovered by René. Hugo joins in with his new family as they celebrate, while Isabelle starts to write down Hugo’s story.Martin Scorcese’s Hugo is one of the best cinematic experience, I’ve had in years.  The visual effects, cinematography, art direction, just technically superb. Finally a smart, awe-aspiring family film, which are really rare nowadays. A definite surprise coming from legendary director, Martin Scorcese, who’s known for movies with a lot of swears, violence, drugs and other adult-themed subjects.

REVIEW: THE LOVE GURU

CAST

Mike Myers (Wayne’s World)
Jessica Alba (Sin City)
Justin Timberlake (The Social Network)
Romany Malco (No Ordinary Family)
Meagan Good (D.E.B.S.)
Verne Troyer (The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus)
Omid Djalili (The Mummy)
Ben Kingslery (Ender’s Game)
Telma Hopkins (Trancers)
Stephen Colbert (Bewitched)
Jim Gaffigan (17 Again)
Morgan Freeman (Batman Begins)
Val Kilmer (Willow)
Oprah Winfrey (The Butler)
Kanye West (The Cleveland Show)
Mariska Hargitay (Law & Order)
Jessica Simpson (Employee of The Month)

The film begins in a little Indian village named “Harenmahkeester”, where we are introduced to Guru Pitka talking into his recorder which allows him to sound like a man, a woman, or Morgan Freeman. He is the #2 Guru in the world, next to Deepak Chopra. A flashback shows us that Pitka is an orphan of missionaries in India. Both Pitka and Chopra were taught by Guru Tugginmypudha. Pitka says he wants to become a Guru so that girls will love him, so Tugginmypudha puts a chastity belt on him until he can learn that loving himself is more important than being loved by others.
Pitka’s dream is to become the number #1 Guru and to get on The Oprah Winfrey Show. He lives a charmed life scooting around on his mobile pillow. He has thousands of followers, including celebrities like Jessica Simpson, Val Kilmer and Mariska Hargitay (Pitka’s mantra is “Mariska Hargitay”). We attend one of his teachings which involve a lot of acronyms and play on words on a slide show (i.e., “guru” meaning “gee, you are you” and going from Nowhere to Now Here). Pitka has a gorgeous palace with a beautiful female staff, helicopter, elephants, and a servant, Rajneesh, who squeezes fresh orange juice out of a tree for him and has an ostrich lay his morning egg for him.
Meanwhile, in Canada, Jane Bullard’s father died and left her the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team. They have not won a Stanley Cup since she took over so the city hates her. Her star player, Darren Roanoke, the Tiger Woods of Hockey, has been playing poorly ever since his wife Prudence left him for a well endowed French Canadian, Jacques “Lè Cocq” Grandè, who plays for the rival Los Angeles Kings. He has a tattoo on his abdomen that reads “The Legend” with an arrow pointing down. When Pitka is introduced to Jane Bullard, he imagines a Bollywood musical fantasy with her in it. Jane is a big fan of Pitka’s, having read all of his books. She is paying him 2 million dollars to patch up Darren’s marriage, in time to win the Stanley Cup. Pitka’s agent, Dick Pants, is thrilled and says that if Pitka patches up the marriage, Oprah will have him on her show.
Pitka has an acronym, DRAMA, tattoed on his hand. D represents Distraction. Guru Tugginmypudha taught him the lesson of distraction with the use of his own urine. Pitka encourages the rival team to beat Darren up during a game, thus distracting him from his emotional distress over Prudence and Le Cocq. Darren begins to play well but then gets suspended for the next two games after beating up Le Cocq and hitting Coach Cherkov with a hockey puck. There is a meeting in the Coach’s tiny office, complete with mini water cooler, where they argue about the situation. Later, Pitka has dinner with Jane, gets her to move in for a kiss, only to hear a ding on his chastity belt. He tells her it can not be, and she does not understand and runs out. Next, Pitka tells Darren to write an apology note to Prudence. Pitka gets in a huge fight with Le Cocq’s guard rooster in order to deliver the note.
The R in Drama is Regression. Apparently Darren is afraid of his mother. They confront her at her Church choir but she ends up scaring both Pitka and Darren out of the church with her harsh words. Pitka helps Darren realise that since his mother only showed him love when he succeeded he had grown to believe others like Prudence would only love him as long as he won.
Time is running out, so Pitka skips through the rest of the acronym. He distracts Le Cocq with his idol, Celine Dion, then lies to Prudence, telling her Darren stood up to his mom, getting her to go back to Darren. At the last game. Le Cocq, having overheard that Darren cannot play with his mother in the audience, gets Darren’s mother to sing the national anthem, causing Darren to run out of the game. Meanwhile, Pitka is at the airport, on his way to the Oprah show. He sees the news on TV and defies his agent by going to the game to help Darren, as well as show Jane (who manages to stand up to the angry crowd) his chastity belt. After smoothing things over with his mother, Darren is OK again until Le Cocq says Prudence also said “Damn” to him in bed. Darren freezes and Pitka realizes he needs to distract Darren from whatever is troubling him.
Pitka gets two elephants to have sex in the middle of the rink, in front of millions of TV audience, which distracts Le Cocq and helps Darren wake up from his stupor and score the winning goal. After the game, Pitka makes up with Jane and Coach Cherkov, then meets Deepak Chopra and decides that he is fine with being the first Guru Pitka instead of the next Deepak Chopra. and everyone lives happily ever after. Back in the Indian village, Guru Tugginmypudha tells Pitka that he has finally learned to love himself and removes Pitka’s chastity belt, as there was a hook in the back. Jane and Pitka kiss. The ending is a rendition of the Steve Miller Band song “The Joker” with Jane and Pitka dancing Indian musical style.Very very funny. If you like Austin Powers you will also like The Love Guru.

REVIEW: ENDER’S GAME

CAST

Asa Butterfield (Hugo)
Harrison Ford (Star wars)
Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit)
Abigail Breslin (Scream Queens)
Ben Kingsley (Iron Man 3)
Viola Davis (Suicide Squad)
Nonso Anozie (Cinderella)
Brandon Soo Hoo (Tropic thunder)

In the future, humanity is preparing to launch an attack on the homeworld of an alien race called the Formics who had attacked Earth and killed millions; however, their invasion was stopped by Mazer Rackham, who crashed his fighter plane into a Formic queen ship, stopping the invasion at the apparent cost of his life. Over the course of fifty years, gifted children are trained by the International Fleet to become commanders of a new fleet for this counter-attack.Cadet Andrew “Ender” Wiggin (Asa Butterfield) draws the attention of Colonel Hyrum Graff (Harrison Ford) and Major Gwen Anderson (Viola Davis) by his aptitude in simulated space combat. They order the removal of his monitor, signifying the end of the cadet program. Ender is attacked by Stilson, a student he defeated in the combat sim, but Ender fights back and severely injures him. Ender confesses his grief to his older sister Valentine, but is harassed further by their older brother Peter. Graff arrives to reveal he was being tested and is still part of the program. Graff brings Ender to Battle School, placing Ender with other cadets his age, but treats him as extraordinary, ostracizing him from the others.Among other studies, the cadets are placed in squads and perform training games in a zero gravity “Battle Room”. Ender quickly adapts to the games, devising new strategies older students have not yet seen. Graff reassigns Ender to Salamander Army, led by Commander Bonzo Madrid. Bonzo, believing that Ender is inept due to his size, prevents him from training with the rest of the squad. Another cadet, Petra Arkanian, takes Ender and trains him privately. While Bonzo is aware of this, he does not take any action against Petra. In one match, Bonzo orders Ender to stay behind while the rest of the Salamander Army fights another team; however, seeing Petra in trouble, Ender comes to her aid and helps the Salamander Army win. After the match, Bonzo is humiliated by the other students and threatens Ender if he embarrasses him again.Meanwhile, Ender plays a computerized “mind game” set in a fantasy world aimed to present difficult choices to the player. In one situation, Ender creates an outside the box solution to overcome a seemingly unsolvable problem. Later, he encounters a Formic in the game, and then a simulated image of Valentine entering the ruins of a castle. Inside, he finds another image of Valentine but as he nears, it turns into an image of Peter before the game ends.Graff promotes Ender to his own squad, made from other students that have gained Ender’s trust. They are put in increasingly difficult battles. In one match against two other teams including Bonzo’s squad, Ender devises a novel strategy of sacrificing part of his team to achieve a goal, impressing Graff. Bonzo accosts Ender in the bathroom after the match, but Ender fights back and Bonzo falls during the struggle, seriously injured. Distraught over this, Ender prepares to quit Battle School, but Graff has Valentine speak to him and convince him to continue.Graff takes Ender to humanity’s forward base on a former Formic planet near their homeworld. There, Ender meets Mazer Rackham, who explains how he spotted the shared-mind nature of the Formics to stop the attack fifty years prior. Ender finds that his former squad members are also here to help him train in computerized simulations of large fleet combat; Rackham puts special emphasis on the fleet’s Molecular Detachment (MD) Device that is capable of disintegrating matter.[note 1] Ender’s training is rigorous and Anderson expresses concern they are pushing Ender too fast, but Graff notes they have run out of time to replace Ender.Ender’s final test is monitored by several of the fleet commanders. As the simulation starts, Ender finds his fleet over the Formic homeworld and vastly outnumbered. He orders most of his fleet to sacrifice themselves to protect the MD long enough to fire on the homeworld. The simulation ends, and Ender believes the test is over, but the commanders restart the video screens, showing that the destruction of the Formic homeworld was real and Ender had been controlling the real fleet this time. Despite Graff’s assurance he will be known as a hero, Ender is furious as he feels responsible for the annihilation and everyone will remember him as a killer.As Ender struggles with his emotions, he recognizes one of the Formic structures nearby similar to the ruined castle from the game, and believing they were trying to communicate with him, races out towards it. He follows the path set by the game, and encounters a dying Formic queen. The Queen acknowledges Ender’s role in the genocide of their race, but that he simply wanted peace in the long term and forgives him. The Queen later gives Ender a queen egg that it had been protecting. After the war, Ender is promoted to Admiral, given a small ship, and left to his own devices. In a letter to Valentine, he tells her that he is going into deep space, determined to form a new Formic colony with the queen egg.Ultimately the climax of this movie and its main message is what sets it apart from many other Sci-Fi films. The emotion is very much there, and anyone willing to give this film a try will not be disappointed.

REVIEW: ROBOT OVERLORDS

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CAST

Ben Kingsley (Iron Man 3)
Gillian Anderson (Iron Man 3)
Callan McAuliffe (I Am Number Four)
Ella hunt (Intruders)
Geraldine James (Alice In Wonderland)
Tamer Hassan (Wrong Turn 3)

Not long after the invasion and occupation of Earth by a race of powerful robots wanting human knowledge and ingenuity, humans are confined to their homes. Leaving without permission would be to risk their lives. Monitored by the electronic implants in their necks, the robot sentries are able to track the movements of humans in order to control them. If any person comes out of their home, they are given warnings by the robot sentries to get inside their home. If the person does not comply, they are shot immediately.In what starts out as a bit of fun, a bunch of clever kids in a British town (assumed to be Scotland, but actually filmed in Northern Ireland and Isle of Man) manage to tamper with the implants in their necks and stay out after their curfew. Having discovered the capabilities of the electronic implants, they quickly realise how important this information could be to save the imprisoned human race.Led by the talented Sean (Callan McAuliffe), who discovers he has the mental ability to interface with and control the robots, the kids band together and recruit other people who want to stand up against the robots’ rule. Standing in their way are human collaborators, led by Smythe (Ben Kingsley, using a northern English accent), and the kids must summon all their emotional and physical strength in order to battle against their control. After a run-in with the collaborators, clues eventually lead them to a hideaway community in an abandoned mine where Sean is reunited with his father, but the robots soon descend on the community seeking Sean, offering an amnesty in exchange for him. Sean mentally controls a robot craft that rams and destroys the cube, the local robot mothership, halting this invasion. He narrowly escapes the impact. He interfaces with a damaged Mediator, a robot in human form, and mentally sends commands to end the invasion of the Earth, destroying the robots and their craft. The film ends with jubilation as the local population celebrate in town. In the closing scene, Sean looks up at the stars.

For me, “Robot Overlords” has all the elements of a modern sci-fi cult classic! I certainly hope it gets the attention and the recognition it deserves.