REVIEW: SAVAGES

CAST

Taylor Kitsch (John Carter)
Blake Lively (Green Lantern)
Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Nocturnal Animals)
John Travolta (The Punisher)
Benicio del Toro (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Salma Hayek (Dogma)
Demián Bichir (The Heat)
Sandra Echeverría (The Secret Life of Pets)
Emile Hirsch (alpha Dog)
Joaquín Cosío (Hot Pursuit)
Mia Maestro (Alias)
Shea Whigham (Agent Carter)
Joel David Moore (Julia X)
Trevor Donovan (Takers)
Ali Wong (American Housewife)
Leonard Roberts (Mom)

Best friends Chon (Taylor Kitsch) and Ben (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) are marijuana growers in Laguna Beach, California. Chon, a former Navy SEAL, smuggled the seeds for the plants out of Afghanistan. Ben, a University of California, Berkeley graduate in business and botany, cultivates the marijuana. The seeds yield a particularly potent strain, which develops a wide customer base. Chon and Ben become wealthy, and Ben devotes time and money to charity work in Africa and Asia. They are both openly in a relationship with Ophelia Sage (Blake Lively).The trio receives a video from Mexican drug-cartel enforcer Miguel “Lado” Arroyo (Benicio del Toro) of severed heads and a chainsaw, and Arroyo demands a meeting at which the cartel offers a partnership. Although Chon and Ben offer to hand over their network and get out of the business, the cartel wants their expertise and insists on a partnership. Chon and Ben make plans with Ophelia to go to Indonesia for a year, not telling her that they are fleeing the cartel. They speak to corrupt DEA agent Dennis Cain (John Travolta), who is on the take from them and who urges them to join the cartel. Ophelia is kidnapped by Lado’s gang; Chon and Ben are notified of the kidnapping by a video call from cartel leader Elena Sánchez (Salma Hayek), who threatens to harm Ophelia if they decline the partnership.They discuss the situation with Dennis, who tells them that Elena is facing the loss of her political connections in Mexico (foiling her efforts to move into the US). Since she has already lost most of her family, Dennis says that he has nothing on her that can help them. Chon stabs Dennis in the hand and demands DEA intelligence so they can attack Elena. With help from Chon’s Navy SEAL friends, he and Ben attack a cartel money convoy and kill seven of Elena’s men.Ophelia, held in horrible conditions, demands to speak to whoever is in charge. Lado drugs and rapes her in retaliation for going over his head. Elena, traveling to the US to visit her daughter and deal with the escalating situation, has Ophelia brought with her. Chon and Ben frame high-ranking cartel member Alex (Demián Bichir) as an agent of Elena’s rival, El Azul. With Dennis’ help, they falsify evidence and give it to Lado. Lado tortures Alex to force a confession. After Alex confesses, Lado covers him with petrol and forces Ben to ignite the petrol; Ophelia is forced to watch. Lado double-crosses Elena and begins working with El Azul.Ben and Chon pay Dennis $3 million for information about Elena’s daughter, Magda (Sandra Echeverria), and the name of his informant in Elena’s cartel. They kidnap Magda and video-call Elena to establish that they are now in control. With Elena at their mercy, they arrange a desert meeting to exchange Ophelia and Magda at which snipers from both sides are in position. Elena asks who revealed her daughter’s location, and Chon tells her it was Lado. She tries to kill Lado, but he shoots her first; a firefight erupts, and Chon is shot several times. Lado is shot in the back by Ben, but shoots him in the neck before Ophelia kills him. Ben is mortally wounded, and Chon injects him, Ophelia and himself with a fatal overdose so they can die together.Ophelia wakes from a nightmare. At the meeting, Lado steals Elena’s car and escapes as Dennis leads DEA agents to the scene. Everyone but Lado and Magda are arrested. Because Ben has incriminating information about Dennis, Dennis identifies Ben and Chon as his informants in the cartel and they are released. Elena is sentenced to thirty years in prison, and El Azul and Lado create a new cartel called the Azulados. Ben, Chon and Ophelia leave the country and live in a beachside hut, possibly in Indonesia. Ophelia wonders if they are living like savages.Savages was an excellent movie. Plain and simple. It was filled with the perfect amount of action and drama. I thought the acting was very good and the storyline was phenomenal.

 

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REVIEW: SIN CITY

CAST

Bruce Willis (Armageddon)
Jessica Alba (Machete)
Rosario Dawson (Clerks II)
Clive Wwen (Inside Man)
Devon Aoki (D.E.B.S.)
Mickey Rourke (Iron Man 2)
Alexis Bledel (Girl Walks Into a Bar)
Powers Boothe (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Benicio Del Toro (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Michael Clarke Duncan (The Scorpion King)
Tommy Flanagan (Gladiator)
Marley Shelton (Planet Terror)
Nick Stahl (Terminator 3)
Carla Gugino (Watchmen)
Josh Hartnett (Halloween: H20)
Rutger Hauer (Batman Begins)
Jaime King (Pearl Harbor)
Michael Madsen (Bloodrayne)
Brittany Murphy (Don’t Say A Word)
Elijah Wood (Lord of The Rings)

The Customer Is Always Right (Part I)

The Salesman (Josh Hartnett) steps out of the elevator and walks onto a penthouse balcony overlooking Basin City, where The Customer awaits. He comforts her, the two briefly talk, share a kiss and he shoots her. As she dies in his arms, he ponders what she was running from

.

That Yellow Bastard (Part I)

On the docks of Sin City, aging police officer John Hartigan (Bruce Willis) tries to stop serial child-killer Roark Junior (Nick Stahl) from raping and killing his fourth known victim, eleven-year-old Nancy Callahan. Junior is the son of Senator Roark (Powers Boothe), who has bribed the police to cover up his son’s crimes. Hartigan’s partner Bob (Michael Madsen) tries to convince Hartigan to walk away, only to get knocked out.  Hartigan, fighting off the pain caused by his bad heart, confronts Roark Junior, shoots off his ear, right hand and genitals. Bob shoots Hartigan in the back, revealing himself to be on Senator Roark’s payroll. As the sirens approach, Bob leaves and Nancy comforts him. Hartigan passes out, reasoning his death is a fair trade for the girl’s life.

The Hard Goodbye

After a one-night stand, Marv (Mickey Rourke) awakens to find that Goldie (Jaime King), the woman he’d been with, was killed while he slept. He flees the frame-up as the police arrive, vowing to avenge her death to repay her kindness. His parole officer Lucille (Carla Gugino) warns him to give up on this mission, believing Marv may have imagined it all due to his “condition”. Marv interrogates several informants, working up to a corrupt priest who reveals that the Roark family was behind the murder. After killing the priest, Marv is attacked by a woman who looks like Goldie, which he dismisses as a hallucination caused by his “condition”.

Marv goes to the Roark family farm and is subdued by the silent stalker, Kevin (Elijah Wood), who is also Goldie’s killer. He awakens to find Lucille has been captured after looking into his story. She tells Marv that the killer is a cannibal and that his victims, including Goldie, are prostitutes. He and Lucille escape their holding cell, but Lucille is shot by the leader of a squad of corrupt cops. Marv kills the squad, interrogates the leader and finds out that Cardinal Patrick Henry Roark (Rutger Hauer) arranged for Goldie’s murder.

Marv goes to Old Town (Sin City’s prostitute-run red-light district) to learn more about Goldie, and is captured by her twin sister, Wendy, who Marv previously dismissed as a hallucination. He eventually convinces her that he is not the killer and she resolves to help him avenge Goldie. The pair return to the farm, where Marv kills Kevin. He brings Kevin’s head to Cardinal Roark, who confesses his part in the murders. Marv kills the cardinal but is then shot and captured by his guards.

After Marv’s wound are treated, he is forced to confess to killing Cardinal Roark, Kevin and all their victims. He is sentenced to death in the electric chair. Wendy visits him on death row and thanks him for avenging her sister.

The Big Fat Kill

Shellie (Brittany Murphy) is harassed by her drunken and abusive ex-boyfriend Jackie Boy (Benecio Del Toro). When Jackie goes to the bathroom to urinate, her new lover Dwight McCarthy (Clive Owen), dunks his face into the toilet, threatening to kill him if he doesn’t leave her alone. Angry and embarrassed, Jackie Boy leaves Shellie’s flat, and Dwight follows him to make sure he doesn’t take out his anger on another girl. Jackie Boy and his crew arrive in Old Town, where they harass Becky (Alexis Bledel), a young prostitute. Dwight runs into Gail (Rosario Dawson), Old Town’s leader and Dwight’s on-and-off lover, and the two watch the scene. When Jackie Boy threatens Becky with a gun, Miho (Devon Aoki), Old Town’s enforcer, kills the whole group. As Dwight and the prostitutes check the corpses’ personal effects, they realize Jackie Boy is actually Detective Lieutenant Jack Rafferty of Basin City Police. If the police learned how he died, their truce with the prostitutes would end and the mob would be free to wage war on Old Town

Dwight takes the bodies to a tar pit to hide them from the police. There he is attacked by mercenaries who retrieves Jackie’s head to bring back as proof of his death. Dwight nearly drowns in the tar before Miho saves him. The two kill the remaining mercenaries, retrieve the head and return to Old Town. Meanwhile, Manute (Michael Clarke Duncan), an enforcer for mob boss Wallenquist, kidnaps Gail to force Old Town to surrender without a fight. It is revealed that Becky is the one who tells the mob of Jackie’s death. Dwight offers to trade Jackie Boy’s head for Gail’s life, and meet Manute’s group in a narrow alley. As he detonates the grenade stuffed in the head, all the prostitutes, who have been waiting on top of the buildings on both sides of the alley, gun down the mob gang and kill Manute, leaving no witnesses. Becky escapes the onslaught.

That Yellow Bastard (Part II)

As Hartigan recovers in a hospital, he learns that Roark, Jr. is in a coma, the Roark legacy is in serious jeopardy and he will be framed for Junior’s crimes. A grateful Nancy, who was denied the right to testify and vindicate Hartigan, promises to write Hartigan every week while he is in prison. Hartigan goes to jail, though he refuses to confess. He receives weekly letters from Nancy for eight years. One day, the letters stop arriving and he receives a severed finger instead. Worried that the Roarks somehow tracked down Nancy, Hartigan confesses to all charges, leading to his parole. He searches for Nancy and finds her at Kadie’s Bar, where she has become an exotic dancer. As Hartigan realizes everything was a ruse just for him to lead Roark to Nancy, she recognizes him, runs off the stage and leaps onto him.

The two leave the bar in Nancy’s car, pursued by a disfigured yellow man. Hartigan wounds him and the two stay in a small motel outside of town. Nancy confesses her love for Hartigan, who rebuffs her advances citing their significant age difference. The yellow man, who turns out to be Roark Jr., overpowers Hartigan and takes Nancy to the Roark farm. Hartigan gets to the farm, kills Junior and saves Nancy. Knowing that Senator Roark will never stop hunting him, Hartigan commits suicide to ensure Nancy’s safety.

The Customer Is Always Right (Part II)

An injured Becky departs from a hospital, talking on a cell phone with her mother. In the elevator she encounters The Salesman, dressed as a doctor. He offers her a cigarette, calling her by name, and she abruptly ends the call with her mother, realizing that The Salesman is preparing to kill her.

This is one of the most striking, memorable, imaginative and violent films to have come out in a long, long time. It is a cliched ridden flick where nothing is taken too seriously – especially life – and where anything goes.

REVIEW: THE WOLFMAN (2010)

CAST

Benicio del Toro (Sin City)
Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of The Lambs)
Emily Blunt (The Huntsman)
Gemma Whelan (Gulliver’s Travels)
Hugo Weaving (The Matrix)
Geraldine Chaplin (Bloodrayne)
Art Malik (Shadow of The Cobra)
Anthony Sher (Superman II)
Max Von Sydow (Game of Thrones)
Frank Welker (The Simpsons)
Asa Butterfield (Ender’s Game)

In 1891, Ben Talbot is killed by a fierce creature in the Blackmoor woods. Gwen Conliffe, Ben’s fiancée, has contacted his brother Lawrence, a Shakespearean actor, saying that Ben disappeared. Lawrence returns to his family’s estate in Blackmoor where he has an uneasy reunion with his estranged father, Sir John. Lawrence discovers Ben’s mutilated body kept in a slaughterhouse. At the local pub, Lawrence overhears the locals discussing the killing. Many blame Gypsies who are camped outside the town, while another patron claims there was a similar murder several decades earlier and a werewolf was the suspected killer. He has flashbacks as he tours his family’s home that his mother, Solana, committed suicide when he was a boy. Lawrence saw his father standing over her dead body; afterwards he was sent to an insane asylum in London for having to suffer from delusions.

Lawrence visits the Gypsies during a full moon. The local townspeople raid the camp to confiscate a dancing bear they believe is the killer, but a werewolf attacks the camp and bites Lawrence before being chased away by local hunters. A Gypsy woman named Maleva sutures his neck wounds, but her daughter insists the now cursed Lawrence should be killed before he destroys other lives. Maleva refuses, saying he is still a man and that only a loved one can release him.

Lawrence recovers unnaturally quickly, and develops heightened vitality and senses. His father’s servant, Singh shows Lawrence a set of silver bullets and implies that something monstrous is loose in Blackmoor. Inspector Aberline arrives to investigate the recent killings, and suspects Lawrence is responsible based on his mental history and portrayals of mentally-ill characters. Lawrence sends Gwen away to London for her own safety. He follows his father to his mother’s crypt, where Sir John locks himself in a room alone as he gives a cryptic warning to Lawrence. Lawrence then undergoes a painful transformation into the Wolfman before running off into the woods and killing the hunters stationed there.

Aberline and the police arrest the now human Lawrence. Taken to the same asylum he was committed to as a child, Lawrence is subjected to torturous treatments by Dr. Hoenneger. Sir John visits Lawrence and explains that many years before while hunting in India, he was bitten by a feral boy infected with lycanthropy. Lawrence realizes his father, as a werewolf, killed his mother and his brother. Knowing that Lawrence would never be believed, he confesses before leaving his son at the asylum permanently.

Dr. Hoenneger conducts an evening lecture with Lawrence as a case study and assures Lawrence that he is only a werewolf in his imagination, seeking to prove it by putting him on display during the full moon. As the full moon streams through the window, Lawrence transforms into the Wolfman and goes on a rampage throughout the lecture hall and London, with Aberline in pursuit. The next day, the now-human Lawrence goes to Gwen’s antique shop for help. They realize they are falling in love and share a passionate kiss. Aberline arrives and searches the shop, but Lawrence has already escaped to Blackmoor.

Lawrence arrives at Talbot Hall and finds Singh’s mutilated body. He loads a gun with Singh’s silver bullets, but when he attempts to shoot his father, he learns that Sir John had removed the powder from the cartridges years ago. The Talbots fight, transforming into werewolves when the full moon rises and setting Talbot Hall on fire. Lawrence kills his father as Gwen and Aberline arrive. Aberline attempts to shoot the Wolfman, but is bitten instead. Gwen disrupts the shot and flees with Aberline’s revolver.

The Wolfman pursues Gwen and traps her above a gorge. She pleads with Lawrence, whose consciousness recognizes her. As he hesitates, the hunters approach, distracting the Wolfman long enough for Gwen to shoot him. Lawrence reverts to human form, thanks Gwen for setting him free and dies in her arms. Aberline arrives with the hunters, but as he looks at the moon, he realizes his inevitable fate. As Talbot Hall burns in the distance, a wolfman’s howl is heard.
It is sad that this film suffered from a lack of unified artistic direction (many directors hot-seated this production after a spat between the original director and the studio) as it starts so well, the first 40 minutes really drawing you in but by the end you end up rueing what it has become – a gory, gruesome creature-feature with little imagination and too few scary moments. In conclusion, I would recommend this film for a decent period romp, but don’t expect to be frightened by it as you will probably laugh at the Wolfman! The alternative ending in this version is a real eyebrow raiser!!

REVIEW: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY

 

CAST

Chris Pratt (Jurassic World)
Zoe Saldana (Avatar)
Dave Bautista (Riddick)
Vin Diesel (The Fast and The Furious)
Lee Pace (The Hobbit)
Bradley Cooper (Joy)
Michael Rooker (The Walking Dead)
Karen Gillan (Oculus)
Djimon Hounsou (Stargate)
John C. Reilly (Step Brothers)
Glenn Close (Hoodwinked!)
Benicio Del Tori (Traffic)
Lauda Haddock (Luther)
Peter Serafinowicz (Spy)
Gregg Henry (Payback)
Brendan Fehr (Roswell)
Nathan Fillion (Firefly)
Alexis Denisof (Angel)
Ophelia Lovibond (4.3.2.1.)
Rob Zombie (Super)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
John Brotherton (Fuller House)
Josh Brolin (Jonah Hex)
Seth Green (Family Guy)

Guardians of the Galaxy stars are a loosely shaped band of intergalactic scoundrels who go from being bad guys to heroes despite their own penchant for greed and self-preservation. Amongst them is a cosmic kidnapping victim who goes by Star-Lord, a terrible alias, which is why most folks call him by his Earth name, Peter Quill (Chris Pratt, Parks and Recreation). Stolen from his parents in the movie’s prologue, Quill has become a spacefaring thief and scavenger. He has recently struck off on his own, betraying his adopted crew to sell a mysterious metal orb and pocket the profits. This action sets off reverberations, angering the orb’s intended recipient, a brutal thug called Ronan (Lee Pace, Pushing Daisies), and landing a rather large bounty on Quill’s head. Ronan dispatches one of his minions, Gamora (Zoe Saldana, Star Trek), to get him the object. Blows are exchanged. Chris Pratt manages the physicality with a surprising ease, while also making it okay for those of us sick of Andy Dwyer to like the perfomer again. Zoe Saldana is at her most badass, continuing to prove that she should be the star of her own action franchise. (She was the only thing good in Colombiana). Further complications arise, however, when her efforts are derailed by the presence of the aforementioned raccoon and tree.Rocket Raccoon and Groot (voiced by Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel, respectively) are misfit bounty hunters who intend to collect on Quill’s head. Rocket is a violent little bastard who is the product of some sinister experiments, and Groot is a kindly wood creature who comes from parts unknown. These two steal the movie, I promise you. Cooper’s vocal performance has a glee and abandon I’d like to see from him in the flesh, and those who remember how Diesel tugged at our heartstrings doing similar work in The Iron Giant will be pleased to have him work his magic here, too. Groot can only say one phrase, “I am Groot,” and like Woo shouting out a certain obscenity when talking to Al Swearengen in Deadwood, how he says it is indicative of its meaning. The computer effects team for Guardians easily bests even Dawn of the Planet of the Apes for creating believable, fully realized creatures that simply should not be.The four bad guys tussle on a peaceful planet, and end up arrested. It’s in prison that they find their fifth Guardian, a shirtless bruiser called Drax the Destroyer (wrestler Dave Bautista) who has a grudge against Gamora’s former employer. He agrees to stave off killing her and go along with their prison break if it means they’ll take him to Ronan. And so an unlikely group of heroes is born.The basic plot of Guardians of the Galaxy, which was co-written by Nicole Perlman and director James Gunn (Slither, Super), follows the Guardians as they first try to keep the orb out of Ronan’s hands and then, after they simultaneously lose it and discover what it really holds, get it back before he begins a path of destruction across the universe. The main genre is more adventure than sci-fi, and the tone lighter and more comic than a lot of recent superhero movies, but that’s what makes Guardians of the Galaxy so refreshing.

 

 

REVIEW: THOR: THE DARK WORLD

CAST

Chris Hemsworth (The Huntsman: Winter’s War)
Natalie Portman (Black Swan)
Tom Hiddleston (Crimson Peak)
Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of The Lambs)
Christopher Eccleston (G.I. Joe)
Jaimie Alexander (The Last Stand)
Zachary Levi (Chuck)
Ray Stevenson (Punisher: Warzone)
Tadanobu Asano (Mongul)
Idris Elba (Pacific Rim)
Rene Russo (Get Shorty)
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Sucide Squad)
Kat Dennings (2 Broke Girls)
Stellan Skarsgard (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo)
Alice Krige (Star Trek: First Contact)
Clive Russell (Sherlock Holmes)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
Benicio Del Toro (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Chris Evans (Injustice)
Ophelia Lovibond (4.3.2.1)

After learning about a new powerful foe that even Odin (Anthony Hopkins) and Asgard cannot withstand, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) must embark on another dangerous mission. This time, the risk is much more personal than it ever has been for this powerful hero. With both Asgard and Earth facing the chance of destruction, he must sacrifice everything by reuniting with Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) in order to save us all. This forces Thor to request help from the most unlikely of characters. If they aren’t able to stop the ominous danger that approaches us, then this universe will belong to the darkness.

Picking up a couple years after the previous Thor motion picture, this sequel gets started rather quickly. A bulk of the plot is carried from the perspective of Jane Foster and her intern, Darcy (Kat Dennings). While there’s still a small amount of humor to be seen in the beginning from Asgard, the majority of it comes from the humans.

The casting is excellent. Chris Hemsworth returns in the role of Thor.  Natalie Portman is pretty solid, as she always is. While this isn’t the most memorable performance of her career, she’s convincing as Jane Foster. Anthony Hopkins is a satisfying Odin, as he was in the previous picture. However, the real star of Thor: The Dark World is Tom Hiddleston as Loki. He’s clearly one of the most charming and entertaining actors to portray a role from the Marvel universe. While he always seems to receive good material, Hiddleston’s delivery is simply unparalleled.

When it comes to the visual department, always expect incredible effects. Thor: The Dark World looks fantastic from its opening scene until the quick scene after the credits. The make-up, costumes, and special effects blend together in an impeccable fashion. These elements aid audiences in becoming a part of this universe.