REVIEW: THE KILLER INSIDE ME

CAST

Casey Affleck (Gone Baby Gone)
Jessica Alba (Machete)
Kate Hudson (Gossip)
Ned Beatty (Superman)
Tom Bower (Beverly Hills Cop 3)
Elias Koteas (Crash)
Simon Baker (The Mentalist)
Bill Pullman (Spaceballs)
Brent Briscoe (The Grind)
Matthew Maher (Vulgar)
Noah Crawford (My Name Is Earl)

In 1952, Deputy Sheriff Lou Ford (Casey Affleck) is a pillar of the community in his small west Texas town — patient, dependable, and well-liked. However, he is a sociopath with violent sexual tastes. As a teenager, Lou was caught raping a five-year-old girl by his adopted brother Mike, who pleaded guilty to the crime and served prison time to protect Lou. After being released, Mike was hired by the construction firm of Chester Conway (Ned Beatty). Mike died on the job after slipping and falling off a beam. Lou believes that Conway staged the “accident”.At the request of Sheriff Bob Maples (Tom Bower), Lou visits Joyce Lakeland (Jessica Alba), a prostitute who is having an affair with Conway’s son, Elmer (Jay R. Ferguson). When Joyce objects to Lou’s treatment of her, he violently beats and spanks her until her buttocks are bruised. Joyce enjoys pain, and she and Lou begin a passionate love affair. Joyce suggests that Lou would never leave town with her, but they devise a plot to extort $10,000 from the Conways. Sheriff Maples and Chester Conway ask Lou to oversee the pay-off. But Lou has other plans: he brutally beats Joyce to the point he believes her to be dead, and when Elmer arrives, Lou shoots and kills him. He then plants the gun on Joyce, hoping to make the scene look like the two have killed each other, however Joyce survives the ordeal. Then Conway announces his intention to see her executed for killing Elmer.Lou’s reputation begins to falter: his girlfriend and fiancee Amy (Kate Hudson) suspects him of infidelity, and the county district attorney Howard Hendricks (Simon Baker), who has arrived in town to investigate the murders, suspects that Lou could be the killer. Lou accompanies Sheriff Maples and Conway in taking Joyce to the hospital in Fort Worth; Conway wants her alive so he can interrogate her. Lou waits in a hotel room while the surgery takes place. Maples tells him that Joyce died on the operating table. Lou and Maples return to west Texas. Back at his home, Lou discovers explicit photographs of a woman inside a Bible. The woman was Helene, a housekeeper and babysitter from his youth who bears a resemblance to Joyce. Lou recalls that Helene introduced him to sadomasochism, urging him to strike her. Lou burns the photos.imagesHendricks arrests Johnnie Pappas (Liam Aiken), a local youth whom Lou had previously befriended as a suspect in the murders of Elmer and Joyce. He was found with one of the $20 bills that Elmer was supposed to give to Joyce in the pay-off; Conway had the bills marked in order to blackmail Joyce if she didn’t leave town. Because Lou is close to Johnnie, Hendricks asks Lou to persuade him to confess, but it was Lou himself who had given Johnnie the marked $20 bill as a tip. In the prison cell Lou confesses to Johnnie that he was the one responsible. When they are alone in his cell, Lou hangs Johnnie to make it appear as a though he committed suicide out of guiltimagesJohnnie’s death only makes the town more suspicious of Lou. Journalist and union organizer Joe Rothman (Elias Koteas), who had previously suggested that Conway had Lou’s foster brother Mike killed, implies that he knows that Lou killed Elmer and Joyce. Lou coaxes Amy to elope with him as he proposes to her. To sate Lou’s violent predilections, she acquiesces to his desire to spank her. An alcoholic bum (Brent Briscoe), whom Lou had previously burnt with a cigar, has been trailing Lou and knows that he was responsible for the murders of Elmer and Joyce. He demands $5,000 to keep quiet, to which Lou agrees. On the day which Lou and Amy had planned to elope, Lou beats Amy to death, and when the bum sees her body, he runs for help. Lou chases the bum, shouting that he has murdered Amy. Another deputy, Jeff Plummer (Matthew Maher) opens fire on the bum, and shoots him dead.the_killer_inside_me07The next morning Plummer informs Lou of Sheriff Maples suicide, convinced of Lou’s guilt and heartbroken over his crimes. Hendricks and Plummer try to get a confession from Lou, who cockily refuses. They have a letter that Amy intended to give to him before they eloped, in which Amy begs him to come clean. Lou is arrested, and after a week in prison is sent to an insane asylum. While there, he suffers hallucinations of Amy and Helene. After a few weeks, a slick lawyer named Billy Boy Walker (Bill Pullman) has him released and drives him home. Walker has been hired by Joe Rothman to protect the union man. Lou tells Walker his whole story and concludes that he doesn’t want anyone else to die. Lost in his violent fantasies, Lou douses his home in gasoline and alcohol, arms himself with a knife, and sits in his study to await retribution. As police vehicles and armed policemen arrive, Lou sees a car pull up with Hendricks, Conway, Plummer and the still-alive Joyce. As Joyce tells Lou that she refused to cooperate with the authorities, Lou tells her he loves her, then stabs her in the stomach. Plummer opens fire, hitting both Joyce and Lou and igniting the gasoline in the house. Outside, the approaching policemen see the house engulfed in a huge fireball, which it appears Lou has ignited to kill himself.371266752_640The film has an almost art house feel to it and this is reflected in both Affleck’s unsettling performance and the story itself. You are asked to make some of the conclusions yourself and decide who you think is right or wrong. Ford is charismatic enough that you sometimes like him even though he is evil. This is an impressive thing to pull off and Affleck and Winterbottom should be proud. A dark and powerful film that will not appeal to everyone.

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REVIEW: THE EQUALIZER

CAST

Denzel Washington (Safe House0
Marton Csokas (XXX)
Chloe Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass)
Melissa Leo (The Fighter)
Bill Pullman (Independence Day)
Johnny Skourtis (Dying To Kil)
Haley Bennett (The Hole)
David Harbour (Stranger Things)
Vladimir Kulich (Angel)

Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) is a considered KIA black ops operative who lives quietly in Boston, Massachusetts and works at a Home Mart hardware store; McCall befriends many of his co-workers and helps a security guard trainee named Ralph pass his qualification exam. McCall promised his recently deceased wife that he would leave his old life behind. Unable to sleep, McCall spends some late nights reading in a 24/7 diner where he befriends Alina (Chloë Grace Moretz), a teenaged prostitute for the Russian Mafia; McCall regales Alina with philosophical interpretations of the book he is reading (The Old Man and the Sea). One night, Alina is hospitalized following a brutal beating by her pimp, Slavi (David Meunier). McCall enters a restaurant owned by the Russian mob and offers to buy Alina’s freedom from Slavi for $9,800, but Slavi refuses, dismissing McCall as old and impotent. Failing in this approach, McCall considers the room, estimating it would take him 16 seconds to clear it. He subsequently kills Slavi and four of his men with skillful close combat efficiency. To slight dismay, McCall realizes that it took him 19 seconds to accomplish his task and quietly lectures the dying Slavi that his death could have been avoided had he taken the money.In response to the death of Slavi and his crew, Russian Mafia boss Vladimir Pushkin (Vladimir Kulich) sends his enforcer, Teddy Rensen (Marton Csokas), to Boston to find and eliminate the culprit. In the meantime, Ralph withdraws his security guard application and instead goes to work with his mother at the family restaurant; McCall learns that the restaurant was set on fire by corrupt policemen as an act of extortion. McCall confronts the corrupt policemen, beats them, forces them to pay back all the money they have extorted, and threatens to publicize their crimes. Ralph then returns to Home Mart and passes his test, becoming a security guard at the store.Rensen determines that McCall is the culprit in the attack on Slavi and his crew. McCall repeatedly outsmarts Rensen and his pursuers and completes more acts of vigilantism. McCall then visits retired CIA operatives Susan (Melissa Leo) and Brian Plummer (Bill Pullman) in Virginia; Susan helps him acquire intelligence on Pushkin’s activities. It is revealed that Rensen’s real name is Nicolai Itchenko and that he is an ex-Spetsnaz who ran a wing of the secret police; Susan describes him as “a sociopath with a business card”. Brian reveals to McCall that he had a “nice funeral”; the Plummers are relieved, though not surprised, that he is still alive. After McCall leaves, Susan remarks to Brian that McCall was not actually looking for help, but was asking for permission.After returning to Boston, McCall captures Frank Masters (David Harbour)–a corrupt policeman bribed by Pushkin–by trapping him in his car and flooding the vehicle with tailpipe exhaust to force him to cooperate. Masters relents and helps McCall destroy one of Pushkin’s local money laundering operations. McCall confronts Itchenko at dinner, pledging to bring down Pushkin’s criminal enterprise. When McCall destroys a container ship Pushkin used to smuggle goods, Pushkin orders Itchenko to kill McCall; Pushkin adds that until the deed is done, Itchenko may not return home to Moscow.Itchenko and his men go to the Home Mart and take Ralph and several of McCall’s other coworkers hostage, threatening to kill them if McCall does not surrender. McCall enters the store, disables most of the lighting, and tells Ralph to get the hostages to safety. McCall then kills Itchenko’s henchmen one by one using booby traps constructed with items in the store. After a struggle between McCall and one of Itchenko’s men, Ralph comes back to pull the injured McCall out of the store, but is shot in the leg himself. McCall tells Ralph to turn on the electricity at the breaker box in exactly 40 seconds, giving him his digital watch for precision. McCall sets up small containers of propane and oxygen in a microwave oven. The electricity turns it on, causing an explosion that kills the last of Itchenko’s men. Afterwards, McCall confronts Itchenko and kills him with a nail gun.Later, McCall then travels to Moscow, confronts Pushkin, and sets a trap which electrocutes and kills him. McCall returns to Boston and is approached by Alina, who has recovered from her wounds, found a legitimate job, and taken up reading. Alina thanks him for giving her a second chance. McCall is inspired to continue using his skills to help people in need and posts an online advertisement, now identifying himself as “The Equalizer”. He soon receives another plea for help and agrees to answer it.An Excellent remake of a classic TV Show. A Must see for Denzel Washington fans.

 

REVIEW: SPACEBALLS

CAST

Bill Pullman (Independance Day)
John Candy (Uncle Buck)
Daphne Zuniga (The Fly II)
Joan Rivers (Shrek 2)
Mel Brooks (Young Frankenstein)
Rick Moranis (Ghostbusters)
Dick Van Patten (Cannon)
George Wyner (American Pie 2)
Leslie Bevis (Alien Nation)
Dom DeLuise (Cannonball Run II)
John Hurt (Hellboy)
Stephen Tobolowsky (Groundhog Day)
Tim Russ (Star Trek: Voyager)
Brenda Strong (Supergirl)
Tony Cox (Bad Santa)
Tress MacNeille (Futurama)
Phil Hartman (The Simpsons)
Micharl York (Logans Run)

Planet Spaceball, led by the incompetent President Skroob, has wasted all of its fresh air. Skroob schemes to force King Roland of the neighboring planet Druidia to give them their air by kidnapping his daughter Princess Vespa on the day of her pre-arranged wedding to the narcoleptic Prince Valium. Skroob sends the villainous Dark Helmet to complete this task with Spaceball One, an impossibly huge ship helmed by Colonel Sandurz. Before they can arrive, Vespa abandons her wedding and flees the planet in her Mercedes spaceship with her droid of honor, Dot Matrix.
Roland contacts mercenary Lone Starr and his mawg (half-man, half-dog) sidekick Barf, offering a lucrative reward to retrieve Vespa before she is captured. Lone Starr readily accepts, as he is in major debt with the gangster Pizza the Hutt. In their Winnebago space ship the Eagle 5, Starr and Barf are able to reach Vespa before Spaceball One, rescue both her and Dot, then escape. Spaceball One tries to follow, but Helmet foolishly orders the ship to “ludicrous speed,” causing it to overshoot the escapees.
Out of fuel, Lone Starr is forced to crash-land on the nearby “desert moon of Vega”. The escapees travel on foot in blazing sun and pass out. They are found by the Dinks, a group of diminutive red-clad aliens, and are taken to a cave occupied by Yogurt, who is old and wise. Yogurt introduces Lone Starr to “The Schwartz”, a metaphysical power similar to the Force. Yogurt also introduces the audience to the film’s merchandising campaign. Starr and Vespa begin to flirt, but Vespa insists she can only be married to a prince.
Helmet and Sandurz break the fourth wall by using a VHS copy of the film to discover Vespa’s location, and Helmet orders Spaceball One to the moon. The Spaceballs capture Vespa and Dot, and return with them to planet Spaceball. Their captors threaten to reverse Vespa’s nose job, forcing Roland to give over the code to the shield that protects Druidia. Helmet and Sandurz take Spaceball One to Druidia, where they transform the ship into Mega Maid, a giant robotic maid with a vacuum cleaner that begins sucking the air from the planet. Lone Starr and Barf rescue Vespa and Dot from captivity, and then race to Druidia. When the vacuum bag is almost full, Lone Starr is able to use the Schwartz to reverse the robot’s sucking action, returning the air to the planet.
Once the air is successfully returned to the planet, Lone Starr and his allies enter the Mega Maid to attempt to destroy it. Lone Starr is forced to fight Helmet with lightsaber-like “Schwartz rings” near the ship’s self-destruct button. Lone Starr manages to defeat Helmet, causing him to involuntarily strike the button. Lone Starr and his friends escape the ship, while Skroob, Helmet, and Sandurz fail to reach any escape pods in time. Trapped in the robot’s head as the ship explodes, they land on a nearby planet, much to the regret of its Planet of the Apes-like population.
With Lone Starr’s debt to Pizza nullified by the gangster’s untimely death, he returns Vespa to Roland and leaves, taking only enough money to cover his expenses. After a lunch break at a diner and a strange incident involving an alien and an astronaut, Lone Starr finds a final message from Yogurt informing him that he is a prince and thus eligible to marry Vespa. He manages to reach Druidia in time to stop her wedding to Valium, announces his royal lineage, then marries Vespa.Spaceballs is seriously just a great comedy, I guarantee you that you will have a good laugh by watching this film. Every scene is just so funny, I highly recommend Spaceballs for anyone, please see this film, you won’t regret it.

REVIEW: AMERICAN ULTRA

CAST

Jesse Eisenberg (Batman V Superman)
Kristen Stewart (Twilight)
Topher Grace (That 70s Show)
Connie Britton (A Nightmare on Elm Street 2010)
Walton Goggins (Red Dirt)
John Leguizamo (Kick-Ass 2)
Bill Pullman (Independence Day)
Tony Hale (Chuck)
Monique Ganderton (Smallville)

Mike Howell (Jesse Eisenberg) is a stoner who lives in the sleepy town of Liman, West Virginia, where he works as a convenience store clerk, and is planning to propose to his longtime girlfriend, Phoebe Larson (Kristen Stewart) on a trip to Hawaii however due to a fear of travel he is unable to board the plane. It is revealed he has had similar issues trying to leave town in the past and does not understand why Phoebe is so nice about it. Meanwhile, in Langley, Virginia, CIA Agent Victoria Lasseter (Connie Britton) learns that Mike, the sole survivor of her unsuccessful Ultra program is to be eliminated by her rival, Adrian Yates (Topher Grace), whose Tough Guy project succeeded where hers failed. Feeling that she has a duty to protect Mike, Lasseter travels to Liman and “activates” Mike through a series of code words. Because of his erased memory, Mike fails to understand their significance, and she leaves in resigned frustration.
Mike finds two of Yates’ men planting a bomb in his car and is attacked, but his training allows him to quickly overpower and kill them. Horrified, he calls Phoebe and follows through, who reunites with him just as they’re arrested for the apparent murders. Yates sends two Tough Guy operatives, Laugher (Walton Goggins) and Crane (Monique Ganderton), to kill Mike and Phoebe at the police station, but they evade Laugher and kill Crane before escaping to the apartment of Mike’s drug dealing friend Rose (John Leguizamo), who begrudgingly hides them. On the way there Mike becomes increasingly unnerved by an array of “new” facts he knows regarding military strategy. He also realises he has very little memory regarding his past prior to living in the town other than his name and Phoebe and wonders aloud why he never thinks of these things.
Yates places the city under quarantine, and puts Lasseter and Mike’s pictures on the local news. Lasseter contacts her former assistant, Petey Douglas (Tony Hale), to send her a weapon that she can use to defend herself and Mike. Yates finds out and threatens Petey with charges of treason, causing Lasseter to be denied further help. Yates then attacks Rose’s house with three agents using a lethal gas. The agents kill Rose and his two guards, while Phoebe rescues Mike from the gas, which she is familiar with. When pressed for answers on her knowledge of the gas, Phoebe reluctantly reveals she was a CIA agent assigned to be Mike’s handler, leaving him heartbroken.
Laugher ambushes the duo and captures Phoebe. Mike is rescued by Lasseter and insists on returning back to his house. He then learns that he volunteered for the Ultra Program due to his criminal record and subsequently had his memories erased. He also learns that Phoebe’s original mission was to get him settled in Liman and then leave, but chose to stay because she legitimately fell in love with him. She also reveals to Mike that many phobia’s including a fear of leaving town were implanted to keep him safe. Angry Mike decides to go home deciding he no longer cares if he dies. Lasseter follows telling him she and Phoebe genuinely care for him. Yates’ men locate him, but Mike and Lasseter fight them off, prompting Yates to order a drone strike on the area. Petey refuses to follow his orders and secretly reports the situation to Yates’ superior, Raymond Krueger (Bill Pullman). Mike contacts Yates and arranges to exchange himself for Phoebe. He sets off a series of fireworks and dispatches all of Yates’ men before fighting and defeating Laugher, who is spared when Mike learns he is a mentally unbalanced man forcibly conscripted to Yates’ Tough Guy program. Yates attempts to flee with Phoebe, but she escapes, while Yates is caught by Lasseter and nearly killed before Krueger intervenes and stops her.
Phoebe finds Mike and they both leave the store where Mike then proposes to her at gunpoint before State Troopers/Sheriffs. While in a forest in the rain Krueger talks to Yates and Lasseter, both kneeling and placed in bonds. Yates argues that what he was doing would have been okay with Krueger if the results had been successful. Krueger admits that he would have approved of what Yates had done if the results were successful. Yates, believing his life is being spared, stands and is executed by Krueger. Lasseter convinces Krueger to spare her life and Mike’s by pointing out that, by taking out all of Yates’ agents, he demonstrated he was both a valuable asset and that the Ultra program was already successful. Six months later, Mike and Phoebe are in Philippines, Manila, agents on assignment, quite happy and confident now that they know who they are.American ultra has excellently choreographed action, many of the action moments are skewed away from the predictable methods of combat and filled with absurd or off-the-wall methods that startle and amuse in equal measure. For a quirky, funny – and surprisingly violent – thrill-ride, look no further.

REVIEW: IGBY GOES DOWN

CAST

Kieran Culkin (Scott Pilgrim vs The World)
Claire Danes (Homeland)
Jeff Goldblum (Jurassic Park)
Amanda Peet (Identity)
Ryan Phillippe (Crash)
Bill Pullman (Lost Highway)
Susan Sarandon (Tammy)
Rory Culkin (Signs)
Jim Gaffin (That 70s Show)
Cynthia Nixon (Hannibal)

Jason “Igby” Slocumb, Jr. (Kieran Culkin) is a misanthropic 17-year-old boy, rebelling against the oppressive world of his strict East Coast “old money” family. His schizophrenic father, Jason (Bill Pullman), has been committed to an institution. Igby fears he will eventually suffer a mental breakdown like his father. His mother, Mimi (Susan Sarandon), is self-absorbed and distant. Igby mockingly describes his ambitious older brother Ollie (Ryan Phillippe) as a fascist or, alternatively, a Young Republican, and that he studies “neo-fascism” (economics) at Columbia University.Igby figures there must be a better life out there, and he sets out to find it, rebelling against his family at every opportunity. After happily flunking out of several prep schools, he ends up in a brutal military academy where he gets beaten by his classmates. After escaping and spending time in a Chicago hotel courtesy of his mother’s credit card, Igby is sent to New York for the summer to his godfather D.H. Banes (Jeff Goldblum).While working construction for D.H., Igby first encounters Rachel (Amanda Peet), his godfather’s heroin-addicted trophy mistress. Rather than return to school, he escapes into the bohemian underworld of Manhattan, hiding out with Rachel and her performance artist friend Russel (Jared Harris). Eventually, he and Rachel have sex. After being suspected and scolded by D.H., he then hooks up with terminally bored, part-time lover, Sookie (Claire Danes), only for her to later leave him for Ollie.Despite seeming cold and distant, Mimi is not unaffected by her rebellious son. She describes Igby’s conception as an act of animosity and it shouldn’t be a surprise that his life follows the same course. His name is explained as a family in-joke. As a child, he would blame his toy bear, Digby, for things he had done, mispronouncing it as “Igby”. In order to get him to take responsibility for his actions, his family would call him Igby whenever he lied. Igby is informed by Russell that his mother Mimi is dying from breast cancer and so he returns to see her. She has arranged to commit suicide with help from Ollie, who feeds her poisoned strawberry yogurt.Before she dies, Mimi makes a final revelation, casually inquiring of Igby, “I take it you know that D.H. is your father?” Igby leaves for Los Angeles in an attempt to finally make a clean break by getting 3,000 miles away from his family.Culkin is especially brilliant , but everyone shines here – Sarandon, Pullman, Danes, Amanda Peet, Ryan Phillippe, Jeff  Goldblum, and of course Jared Harris, who positively reeks eccentricity without even having to open his mouth. A fine first film from a director/writer who definitely bears watching.

 

REVIEW: INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE

CAST

Liam Hemsworth (The Hunger Games)
Jeff Goldblum (Jurassic Park)
Jessie Usher (Almost Christmas)
Bill Pullman (The Grudge)
Maika Monroe (The 5th Wave)
Sela Ward (Gone Girl)
William Fichtner (The Dark Knight)
Judd Hirsch (Tower Heist)
Corin Nemec (Stargate SG.1)
Brent Spiner (Star Trek: TNG)
Vivica A. Fox (Idle Hands)
Angelababy (Hitman: Agent 47)
Robert Loggia (Psycho II)
Joey King (The Dark Knight Rises)
Chin Han (Arrow)
Ryan Cartwright (Bones)

Twenty years after a devastating alien invasion, the United Nations has set up the Earth Space Defense (ESD), a global defense and research program to reverse-engineer alien technology and serve as Earth’s early warning system against extraterrestrial threats. The main defense force utilizes equipment salvaged from the remains of the alien forces and operates military bases built on the Moon, Mars, and Rhea. The Area 51 base in Nevada has become the ESD Headquarters.The world is preparing to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of their survival after the invasion. In the provincial African state Republique Nationale d’Umbutu, ESD Director David Levinson meets with Dr. Catherine Marceaux and warlord Dikembe Umbutu, who lead him to an intact alien destroyer. Aboard the ship, they discover that the alien occupants sent a distress call to their home planet before being defeated. Furthermore, Umbutu, former U.S. President Thomas Whitmore, and Dr. Brackish Okun (who awakens at Area 51 after a twenty-year coma)—all of them once telepathically linked with the aliens ever since their personal encounters with them—have of late been receiving strange visions of an unidentifiable spherical object.An unidentified spherical ship, with design and technology different from that of the aliens who attacked 20 years earlier, emerges from a wormhole near the ESD’s Moon defense headquarters. Levinson believes that it belongs to another extraterrestrial race that might be benevolent and urges the world’s Security Council not to attack, but they vote to shoot it down regardless. Against the Council’s orders, pilots Jake Morrison and Charlie Miller pick up Levinson, Marceaux, Umbutu, and U.S. federal controller Floyd Rosenberg on a space tug, and they head for the wreckage near the Van de Graaff crater, where they recover a container. An alien mothership 3,000 miles (4,800 km) in diameter suddenly emerges and destroys Earth’s planetary defenses before approaching the planet. The space tug is caught in the mothership’s gravitational pull, which lifts objects from across Asia, causing massive damage on its path. The debris falls all over Europe, where the tug manages to escape before heading on to Area 51. The mothership lands over the north of the Atlantic Ocean, destroying cities on the Eastern Seaboard, and begins drilling a hole through the bottom of the ocean floor to harvest the Earth’s core for fuel, which will destroy both its magnetic field and atmosphere in the process, killing all life.Whitmore’s group interrogates one of the aliens held in captivity from the war, who has recently awoken from a 20-year catatonic state. The ESD learns that the aliens exist in eusociality and that one of their colossal Queens is commanding the invasion. Levinson hypothesizes that, if they kill the supervising Queen, her forces will cease drilling and retreat. An ESD aerial fleet, led by Captain Dylan Dubrow-Hiller, stages a counterattack on the Queen’s chamber, but they are caught in a trap within the mothership, which nearly wipes out the entire unit. In Area 51, Okun opens the container and releases a giant white sphere of virtual intelligence; indeed benevolent and more advanced than the attacking aliens. It reveals that its mission is to evacuate survivors from worlds targeted by the aliens, whom it calls “Harvesters”, and that it has gathered a viable resistance force against the Harvesters, hidden in a refugee planet at a location unknown to the Harvesters. Despite being the last of its kind, the sphere implores the humans to destroy it in order to prevent the Harvesters from discovering the location of the planet where it has hidden the survivors. In the mothership, Dylan, Jake, and other survivors manage to escape by hijacking enemy attack craft, and pursue the Queen’s personal ship, which is heading to Area 51 with its convoy.Knowing the Queen has become aware of the sphere’s presence, the ESD forces hide it in an isolation chamber and use a decoy to lure the Queen’s ship to a trap filled with fusion weapons. Against his daughter Patricia’s wishes, Whitmore volunteers to pilot the space tug on the suicide mission, leading the warship to the trap and detonating the bombs, thus sacrificing himself and destroying the ship. However, the Queen survives by using an energy shield on her biomechanical suit. Several fighters fire at the Queen, but the shield protects her.However, Patricia manages to fire through a gap in the shield when the Queen prepares to fire her own gun, thereby disabling the Queen’s shield, allowing Dylan’s arriving party to kill the Queen before she can take the sphere. With the Queen dead, all the remaining alien fighters are rendered inactive, while the mothership stops drilling and retreats to space. Okun reveals that the sphere has asked humanity to lead its resistance and has offered the humans new technology in preparation for a counterattack to assault the Harvesters’ home world and take the fight to the aliens.The action is decent. The jeopardy level is good. What it can’t quite offer is the shock of the new that the original gave us. But for fun science fiction action blockbuster escapism, it’s not bad. So it’s an entertaining watch.

REVIEW: INDEPENDENCE DAY

CAST

Will Smith (Suicide Squad)
Bill Pullman (The Grudge)
Jeff Goldblum (Jurassic Park)
Mary McDonnell (Battlestar Galactica)
Judd Hirsch (Tower Heist)
Robert Loggia (Psycho II)
Randy Quaid (Kingpin)
Margaret Colin (Gotham)
James Rebhorn (Meet The Parents)
Vivica A. Fox (Idle Hands)
Harvey Fierstein (Kull The Conqueror)
Adam Baldwin (Firefly)
Brent Spiner (Star Trek: TNG)
James Duval (Gone In 60 Seconds)
Lisa Jakub (Mrs. Doubtfire)
Giuseppe Andrews (Cabin Fever)
Mae Whitman (Boogeyman 2)
Bill Smitrovich (Iron Man)
Kiersten Warren (13 Going on 30)
Harry Connick Jr. (The Iron Giant)
Frank Welker (Transformers)
Erick Avari (Stargate)

On July 2, 1996, an enormous alien mothership that has one fourth the mass of the Moon enters orbit around Earth, deploying 36 smaller spacecraft, each 15 miles (24 km) wide, that take positions over some of Earth’s major cities and military bases. David Levinson, an MIT-trained satellite technician, decodes a signal embedded in the global satellite transmissions that he determines is a timer counting down to a coordinated attack. With the help of his former wife, White House Communications Director Constance Spano, Levinson, and his father Julius, gain access to the Oval Office and warn President Thomas J. Whitmore that the aliens are hostile. Whitmore orders large-scale evacuations of New York City, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C., but it is too late; the timer reaches zero and the ships activate devastating directed-energy weapons, killing millions. Whitmore, the Levinsons, and a few others, narrowly escape aboard Air Force One as the capital is destroyed, along with other locations over which the ships are positioned.On July 3, international military leaders begin ordering individual counterattacks. Their aviation forces attack destroyer ships positioned above the ruins of the cities, but they are protected by force fields. Each destroyer launches a swarm of attack fighters, which wipe out the human fighter squadrons. Captain Steven Hiller, a pilot with the Marine Corps squadron VMFA-314 based out of Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, survives by luring his attacker to the enclosed spaces of the Grand Canyon and sacrificing his plane, forcing the alien to crash-land. He subdues the injured alien pilot and flags down a convoy of refugees, hitching a ride with former combat pilot Russell Casse. They transport the unconscious alien to nearby Area 51 where Whitmore’s group has landed. Through Secretary of Defense Albert Nimzicki, they learn that a faction of the government has been involved in a UFO conspiracy since 1947, when one of the invaders’ attack fighters crashed in Roswell. Area 51 houses the refurbished alien fighter and three alien corpses recovered from the crash.When eccentric scientist Brackish Okun examines the alien captured by Hiller, it regains consciousness and attacks. It telepathically invades Okun’s mind and uses his vocal cords to communicate with Whitmore before launching a psychic attack against him. Whitmore sees visions of the alien’s plans: their entire civilization travels from planet to planet, exterminating all indigenous life and harvesting the planet of all natural resources. After Secret Service agents and military personnel kill the alien, Whitmore reluctantly authorizes a nuclear attack; a B-2 Spirit fires a nuclear cruise missile at an alien destroyer positioned above Houston, but the ship remains intact.On July 4, Levinson demonstrates that the key to defeating the aliens lies in deactivating their force fields, and devises a way to do so by uploading a computer virus into the mothership. He proposes using the refurbished alien fighter to implement the plan, which Hiller volunteers to pilot. The two are able to implant the virus and deploy a nuclear weapon on board the mothership. With military pilots in short supply, Whitmore enlists the help of volunteers with flight experience, including Casse, and leads an attack on a destroyer ship bearing down on Area 51. With the alien’s shields deactivated, the fighters are able to inflict damage but their supply of missiles is quickly exhausted. As the destroyer prepares to fire on the base, the last missile, equipped on Casse’s plane, jams, and Casse decides to sacrifice his own life. He flies his plane kamikaze-style into the directed-energy weapon port, which results in an explosion that destroys the ship. Human resistance forces around the world successfully destroy the other craft using this vulnerability. As humankind is rejoicing in victory, Hiller and Levinson return to Area 51 unharmed and reunite with their families. They and military officers nearby accompany Whitmore and his daughter in watching the wreckage from the mothership burn up, resembling a fireworks display as it enters Earth’s atmosphere.Independence Day is arguably one of the greatest SF disaster movies of all time. With REM’s ‘It’s the end of the world’ sampled near the beginning of the movie, you definitely know that Roland Emmerich’s view about alien encounters is more akin to War of the Worlds than E.T. Filled with stunning special effects, stirring music, unpretentious sentimentality and laced with good natured humour there is no need to bemoan the lack of character development or obvious narrative coincidences. There is no pretence at being a great cinematic masterpiece examining deep philosophical themes. This is a two hour long, ludicrously enjoyable, preposterously pompous, unbelievably incredible ‘backs against the wall’ slice of SF fantasy which still entertains after numerous viewings.