REVIEW: ASSASSIN’S CREED

 

CAST

Michael Fassbender (Shame)
Marion Cotillard (La Vie En Rose)
Jeremy Irons (Justice League)
Brendan Gleeson (Edge of Tomorrow)
Charlotte Rampling (Gregory Girl)
Michael K. Williams (12 Years A Slave)
Denis Ménochet (Inglourious Basterds)
Ariane Labed (The Lobster)
Khalid Abdalla (Green Zone)
Essie Davis (Game of Thrones)
Matias Varela (Point Break)
Callum Turner (Queen and Country)
Carlos Bardem (Oliver’s Deal)
Javier Gutiérrez Álvarez (The Olive Tree)

Michael Fassbender in Assassin's Creed (2016)In 1492 Andalusia, during the Granada War, Aguilar de Nerha is accepted into the Assassins Brotherhood. He is assigned to protect Prince Ahmed de Granada from the Knights Templar. In 1986, adolescent Callum “Cal” Lynch finds his mother killed by his father, Joseph, a modern-day Assassin. Gunmen led by Alan Rikkin, CEO of the Templars’ Abstergo Foundation, arrive to capture Joseph, who convinces his son to escape.Jeremy Irons and Michael Fassbender in Assassin's Creed (2016)In 2016, Cal is sentenced to death for murdering a pimp, but his execution is faked by the Abstergo Foundation, which then takes him to their research facility in Madrid. He is told that the Templars are searching for the Apple of Eden, in order to eliminate violence by using the Apple’s code to control humanity’s free will. Sofia, Alan’s daughter and the head scientist, reveals that Cal is a descendant of Aguilar, the last person confirmed to be in possession of the Apple. She puts Cal in the Animus, a machine which allows him to relive (and the scientists to observe) Aguilar’s genetic memories, so that Abstergo can learn what he did with the Apple.Michael Kenneth Williams, Michael Fassbender, and Octavia Selena Alexandru in Assassin's Creed (2016)In 15th-century Spain, Aguilar/Callum and his partner Maria are deployed to rescue Ahmed, who has been kidnapped by the Templar Grand Master Tomas de Torquemada, to coerce Ahmed’s father, Sultan Muhammad XII, to surrender the Apple. Aguilar and Maria intercept the Templars, but are overpowered and captured by Torquemada’s enforcer, Ojeda. Cal is quickly pulled out of the Animus by Sofia. Cal encounters other Assassin descendants held captive at the facility, most of whom are suspicious of his motives, with the exception of Moussa, the descendant of an 18th-century Haitian Assassin named Baptiste and a key leader. Cal begins experiencing hallucinations, dubbed “the Bleeding Effect”, of both Aguilar and Joseph. Cal and Sofia build a rapport during their sessions; she confides that her mother was likewise murdered by an Assassin, sharing his hatred of the Brotherhood of which his father is a member.Marion Cotillard in Assassin's Creed (2016)Back in the Animus, Aguilar and Maria are scheduled for execution but he manages to free them, leading to a rooftop chase in which they escape through an Assassin “Leap of Faith”. Cal’s mind reacts violently to the session and he is temporarily paralyzed. When Cal learns that his father is also at the facility, he confronts Joseph over his mother’s death. Joseph informs him that the Bleeding Effect will allow modern Cal to possess Aguilar’s combat abilities. He also learns that his mother was an Assassin, and she chose to die by Joseph’s hand rather than be forced into the Animus. Unconvinced, Cal vows to destroy the Assassins by finding the Apple. Meanwhile, Alan is pressured by a Templar Elder, Ellen Kaye, to shut down the multibillion-dollar Animus Project because they have already “won… people no longer care about their civil liberties… they’re content to follow”, leading Sofia to question her father’s true intentions.Marion Cotillard and Michael Fassbender in Assassin's Creed (2016)Reaffirmed by his encounter with his father, Cal willingly enters the Animus once again, whereupon Aguilar and Maria ambush a meeting between Muhammad and Torquemada. They succeed in killing the Templars and retrieving the Apple, though Ojeda captures Maria in order to force Aguilar to surrender it. Instead, Maria chooses death, and stabs herself on Ojeda’s blade. Aguilar kills him and escapes through another Leap, the force of which causes the Animus to violently malfunction. Aguilar gives the Apple to Christopher Columbus, who promises to take it to his grave. When Moussa and the modern Assassin prisoners start a riot in order to escape, Alan orders the facility purged. Abstergo security kills Joseph and most of the other prisoners. Cal stands in the Animus chamber and is met with the projections of a number of his Assassin ancestors, including Aguilar, Arno Dorian, Joseph and his mother. Persuaded by his mother, Cal embraces his Assassins’ Creed and, having fully assimilated Aguilar’s memories and abilities, joins Moussa and two other surviving Assassins in escaping the facility.Having retrieved the Apple from Columbus’ burial vault, Alan and his followers converge at a ceremony in a Templar sanctuary in London to celebrate their triumph. Inside the sanctuary, a disillusioned Sofia meets with Cal, who has come to take the Apple, and she reluctantly allows him to act. Cal retrieves the Apple, but kills Alan to do it. While Sofia vows revenge against Cal, the Assassins depart, vowing to once again protect the Apple from the Templars.Michael Fassbender in Assassin's Creed (2016)Assassins Creed is by no means perfect, but I did enjoy it. The film has the classic setting from Assassins Creed games, a modern day protagonist enters the Animus to relive the memories of his ancestor. The film does a pretty good job explaining the series mythos to those unfamiliar with the games. Sadly, we don’t spend as much time with the ancestor Aquilar as we do with the present day Cal, and Aquilar feels under developed as a character. The movie also felt a bit short. It really could have benefited from a longer run time, to give more character development to the ancestors, and explain some of the characters motivations better. The action in this movie is great, the story is solid, and the characters (that are properly developed) are interesting. Both Fassbender and Irons play their roles well. Overall a decent movie any Assassins Creed fan would enjoy. The critics like to bash it because it’s a video game movie, and it’s cool to hate video game movies, but it’s not bad at all.

25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: STONEHEARST ASYLUM

CAST

Kate Beckinsale (Underworld)
Jim Sturgess (21)
Michael Caine (The Dark Knight)
Ben Kingsley (Iron Man 3)
David Thewlis (Wonder Woman)
Brendan Gleeson (Paddington 2)
Sinéad Cusack (Wrath of The Titans)
Sophie Kennedy Clark (The Danish Girl)
Christopher Fulford (Tower Block)
Jason Flemyng (From Hell)

Kate Beckinsale and Sophie Kennedy Clark in Eliza Graves (2014)In 1899, an Oxford University professor demonstrates a case of female hysteria, Lady (Eliza) Graves (Kate Beckinsale), before his class. The patient is drugged and protesting that she is sane, but the professor points out that all mental patients claim to be sane, much as all criminals claim to be innocent. He ignores her demands that he not touch her to induce a fit for the students to observe. The professor advises his students to believe nothing they hear and only half of what they see. Later, a young man, the newly-minted Dr. Edward Newgate, (Jim Sturgess), arrives at Stonehearst Asylum on Christmas Eve, where he desires to take up residency. A group of armed men led by Mickey Finn (David Thewlis) allow him entry. Finn escorts him to the office of the superintendent, Dr. Silas Lamb (Ben Kingsley). Although Lamb was not expecting him, despite Newgate having sent letters preceding his arrival, he welcomes the help of an Oxford-educated doctor and grants him the residency.Eliza Graves (2014)Newgate is surprised by Lamb’s unorthodox methods and uncustomarily humane asylum. Lamb explains that he does not believe in drugging or incarcerating his patients, and he encourages their delusions when he feels it will bring them greater happiness, thus creating a kind and dignified environment at the asylum. Lady Graves, now a resident at Stonehearst, is introduced to Newgate, who appears immediately smitten. Lamb explains that Lady Graves has an abusive and painful past. She developed hysteria from enduring her husband’s “unnatural appetites” and can no longer bear emotional or physical contact without seizing in hysterical fits. She stabbed her husband in the right eye with a comb and bit off his left ear trying to protect herself, which led to her father committing her into the asylum to escape her marriage to her “monster” of a husband. Her husband has since been trying to free her back into his care. Dr. Lamb is currently prescribing musical therapy for her and refuses to declare her sane, for her own safety.Kate Beckinsale and Jim Sturgess in Eliza Graves (2014)Though she brushes aside Newgate’s attempts at flirtation, she is struck by his empathy and respectful demeanor. An elaborate Christmas feast follows, during which the staff and patients mingle and a small fight between Newgate and Finn occurs, cementing their dislike for one another. After the dinner, Lady Graves delivers ominous warnings to Newgate, and quietly insists that he flee the asylum, but Newgate refuses to leave without her. The reason for Lady Graves’s warning soon reveals itself. Newgate discovers dozens of prisoners being kept in basement cells. The prisoners reveal that they are the true staff of Stonehearst, and the doctors and nurses Newgate has met upstairs are actually patients.Michael Caine in Eliza Graves (2014)The real superintendent, Dr. Benjamin Salt (Michael Caine), explains that Lamb and Finn drugged their drinks and led a revolt. Dr. Salt and Mrs. Pike (Sinéad Cusack), the matron, warn Newgate that Lamb is a dangerous madman – a surgeon who murdered his patients during wartime. Isolated and with limited options of regaining control over the asylum even should they be freed, the staff must remain in their cells to await outside assistance. They request that Dr. Newgate locate the keys in Finn’s possession to release them, or else escape to London and seek help. Lamb begins his unorthodox training for Newgate’s residency through an enlightening, if hands-on, lesson in patient dignity. Newgate attempts to recruit Lady Graves to his cause of freeing the true staff, but she declines to become involved and tells him of Salt’s and his staff’s inhuman abuses. Newgate reveals the scars of his own abusive past and tells her he understands.Kate Beckinsale in Eliza Graves (2014)Newgate sneaks into Lamb’s office and successfully retrieves Salt’s notes, but not the keys. While hiding, he overhears Lamb and Finn discussing him. Finn is deeply suspicious of Newgate, but Lamb believes Newgate shows promise and could be a great asylum doctor one day. Both acknowledge the prisoners in the basement, and Lamb promises that the loose ends will be tied up by the New Year. Salt’s notes detail his barbaric medical treatments used against Lamb, who had been under his care for nine years without cracking before the uprising. Newgate is conflicted when, after two of the prisoners in the basement escape to seek help, both die under suspicious circumstances after being caught by Finn.Ben Kingsley and Jim Sturgess in Eliza Graves (2014)While the patients are happy and thriving, there are some definite failings to Lamb’s method of running the asylum. They are quickly running out of provisions and having difficulties keeping up with the every-day demands of the large institution, such as heating the building in winter. Some of the more violent patients, such as Finn, are also difficult to control, and he eventually murders a female patient. By New Year’s Eve, the patients are burning the furnishings for warmth and Lamb has destroyed Salt’s mind via cranial electroshock, turning him into a patient in his own institution. Newgate is convinced the situation must come to an end and that he and Lady Graves should escape.Ben Kingsley in Eliza Graves (2014)Newgate’s attempt to drug the patients and gain control of the asylum is thwarted and Lamb prepares Newgate for electric shock therapy to turn him into a mental patient to live among them. It is revealed that Newgate had come to the asylum specifically to rescue Lady Graves, whom he had seen at the Oxford medical demonstration and become fixated with. Before the treatment, Lamb grants Newgate a final request: to see a picture of Lady Graves that he keeps in his pocket. The true object in his pocket, a picture of one of the young soldiers Lamb shot (which Newgate discovered in the padded cell Salt kept Lamb in), causes Lamb to stagger out of the room in a fugue. Finn goes to pick up the electric prods to finish the job, but Newgate is rescued by Lady Graves who overcomes her hysterical fits to kill Finn via electrocution. A fire starts and spreads as Lady Graves rescues the staff from their cells and leads the patients out of the building.Kate Beckinsale in Eliza Graves (2014)Lamb has now become near-stuporous from the crushing flashbacks of his past actions when, under extreme pressure during his time as a field doctor, Lamb had snapped and executed his battlefield patients as a form of mercy killing before attempting to kill himself. After all are rescued, as daylight breaks, Newgate again asks Lady Graves to leave with him, but she says that she cannot be with him because he is sane and she is not. Newgate says that he is not sane, as he is madly in love with her, and he intimates that he has a secret to tell her. Later, Lady Graves’ husband and the earlier Oxford professor arrive at the asylum. The asylum has been restored to a gentler order under the kind hand of Mrs. Pike, who is now in charge and has incorporated many of Lamb’s methods of treatment.The professor demands Lady Graves’ release, but Mrs. Pike says that Dr. Newgate already released her weeks ago. The professor reveals that he is the true Dr. Newgate and the one they knew is an impostor. The Dr. Newgate they met was never a medical student, nor a doctor at all, but an escaped mental patient who had also been part of the exhibition. Dr. Lamb, playing chess with the reduced Dr. Salt, hears this and shows a spark of his previous self as he gleefully remarks “Checkmate.” Lady Graves and the impostor Newgate end the film at the Santa Cristina Asylum in Tuscany, Italy, where they are known as Dr. and Mrs. Lamb, treating mental patients with the original Lamb’s methods. The two dance happily and embrace in a beautiful garden.Kate Beckinsale and Jim Sturgess in Eliza Graves (2014)LIkely the film would not have worked so well under less competent actors hands, but Anderson was wise in casting David Thewlis, Brendan Gleeson, Ben Kingsley, Michael Cain, Sinéad Cusack, Jason Flemyng, as well as Kate Beckinsale and Jim Sturgess. It may at first seem like another Brad Anderson thriller, but there are some twist and turns that alter the story into a truly psychological examination of just what is insanity.

25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: PADDINGTON 2

 

CAST

Ben Whishaw (Skyfall)
Hugh Bonneville (Downtown Abbey)
Sally Hawkins (Godzilla)
Madeleine Harris (The White Queen)
Hugh Grant (About A Boy)
Brendan Gleeson (Braveheart)
Julie Walters (Brooklyn)
Imelda Staunton (Maleficent)
Jim Broadbent (Cloud Atlas)
Peter Capaldi (Doctor Who)
Michael Gambon (Harry Potter)
Joanna Lumley (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Ben Miller (Johnny English)
Jessica Hynes (Burke and Hare)
Noah Taylor (Game of Thrones)
Eileen Atkins (Wild Target)
Richard Ayoade (The Watch)

Paddington 2 (2017)Paddington, having settled with the Brown family in Windsor Gardens, has become popular in his community, offering people emotional support in various ways. To purchase a unique pop-up book of London in Samuel Gruber’s antique shop for Aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday, Paddington performs several odd jobs and saves his wages, but the book is stolen. Paddington gives chase, but the culprit escapes, and Paddington is framed and arrested. Although Mr Gruber and the Browns do not believe that Paddington stole the book, with no evidence that the thief existed, Paddington is wrongfully convicted and jailed. The thief soon returns home, and is revealed to be Phoenix Buchanan, an egotistical actor who lives opposite the Browns.Paddington 2 (2017)Whilst in prison, Paddington befriends many of the inmates, including the short-tempered chef Nuckles, who hires Paddington, impressed by his marmalade sandwich recipe. The Browns work to clear Paddington’s name, putting up sketches of the thief. Buchanan begins using the pop-up book to locate a series of clues within London’s famous landmarks, which he believes will unveil the location of a secret treasure. During their efforts to prove Paddington’s innocence, the Browns encounter a fortune teller who informs them that the stolen book leads to the hidden fortune of the original author.Hugh Bonneville, Julie Walters, Sally Hawkins, Madeleine Harris, and Samuel Joslin in Paddington 2 (2017)With Paddington inside, the prison is a much livelier place, but Paddington struggles to remain positive when the Browns are unable to prove his innocence. Becoming convinced that Buchanan is the culprit, the Browns look for the stolen book inside his house. They find a secret attic where Buchanan’s various costumes are stashed, as well as the book itself. Before they can act further, Buchanan returns home and suspects something is wrong. Meanwhile, the Browns have missed a prison visit with Paddington, causing Paddington to believe that the Browns have forgotten all about him.Paddington 2 (2017)Paddington soon takes part in a prison break alongside several other inmates, including Nuckles, who promises to aid in proving his innocence but promptly abandons the idea in order to leave the country as a free man, inviting Paddington to come with him. Paddington refuses and, whilst roaming the streets and avoiding the police, uses a public telephone to contact the Browns, who assert that Buchanan is the real culprit. To catch him, they arrange to meet at Paddington Station, where a train carrying the supposed location of the hidden fortune is due to leave shortly.Ben Whishaw in Paddington 2 (2017)Paddington reaches the station and makes it onto the train just as it leaves – the Browns begin their pursuit in another steam train at the opposite platform. When caught up, Henry Brown and Mrs. Bird board the other train and confront Buchanan, who overwhelms them and makes good his initial escape. Paddington is left stranded in the train’s rear carriage which Buchanan severs the coupling for, leaving it to crash into a nearby river. Mary Brown tries to rescue Paddington but struggles to open the locked carriage; she is soon assisted by Nuckles and the other inmates, who have a change of heart and decide to help Paddington as promised. Eventually, Henry knocks out Buchanan just as he tries to access the so called treasure, and he is promptly taken into custody.Ben Whishaw in Paddington 2 (2017)Paddington, now declared innocent, becomes very ill after the events, slipping into a short three day coma yet recovering well once waking up on Aunt Lucy’s birthday. With the book taken in as evidence by the police, Paddington is left disappointed that he was unable to get Lucy a present as promised, though soon discovers the Browns, with the help of various other people in the neighborhood, made sure Lucy could come to London and see it for herself. When answering the door to her, Paddington rushes up and hugs her, wishing her a happy birthday. Meanwhile, Buchanan is sentenced to ten years in prison. Six months later, he is shown to be putting his history as a performer to further use, hosting shows for the inmates and providing entertainment throughout the building.Ben Whishaw in Paddington 2 (2017)Thoroughly recommended to anybody who wants to see 100 minutes of family friendly fun that isn’t either sickly sweet or too dark for youngsters and still thoroughly watchable to adults too. Great fun and a worthy sequel to one of the best British films in recent years.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: MOTHER!

CAST

Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle)
Javier Bardem (Vicky Cristina Barcelona)
Ed Harris (Westworld)
Michelle Pfeiffer (Batman Returns)
Domhnall Gleeson (Star Wars: The Force Awakens)
Brian Gleeson (Assassin’s Creed)
Kristen Wiig (Girl Most Likely)
Stephen McHattie (300)

Javier Bardem and Jennifer Lawrence in Mother! (2017)In a house recently burned by fire, Him, an acclaimed poet struggling with severe writer’s block, places a crystal object on a pedestal. The house then suddenly morphs to look newly renovated. In bed, Mother wakes up, wondering aloud where Him is. She starts seeing things around the house that unsettle her, including visualizing a beating heart within the walls.Jennifer Lawrence in Mother! (2017)One day, Man turns up at the house, asking for a room. Him readily agrees, and Mother reluctantly follows suit. During his stay, Man is seen with an open wound in his side. The next day, Man’s wife, Woman, also arrives to stay. Mother is increasingly frustrated with her guests, while Him begs her to let them stay, telling Mother that the guests are fans of his work and that the male guest is dying, and wanted to meet Him. However, when Man and Woman accidentally break and shatter the crystallized object, Mother decides to kick them out.Jennifer Lawrence in Mother! (2017)The couple’s two sons arrive and start to fight over the will left by their father. The Oldest Son, who is willed nothing, mortally injures his Younger Brother and apparently flees, while Him, Man, and Woman take the injured son to get help. Mother is left alone in the house, where she discovers the furnace’s oil tank hidden behind the basement walls. Upon returning, Him informs Mother that the son has died. Dozens of people begin arriving at the house following the death of the son. More people arrive, and behave in a way that bothers Mother; she becomes angrier and eventually snaps when they flood the house. She kicks everyone out. Angry with Him for allowing into the house so many people for his pleasure and ignoring her, she berates him before the two engage in sex.Jennifer Lawrence in Mother! (2017)The next morning, Mother announces that she is pregnant. The news leaves Him elated and inspires him to finish his work. A few months later, Mother prepares for the arrival of their child and reads Him’s beautiful new poem. Upon publication, the edition immediately sells out. In celebration, Mother prepares dinner. Meanwhile, a group of fans arrives at the house. As she barricades herself, more fans arrive and begin to enter the house to use the bathroom. Their behavior devolves into disrupting the environment and stealing their belongings as keepsakes. An increasingly disoriented Mother makes her way around the house as each room devolves into chaos. Him’s publisher, the Herald, takes part in the madness. Military men with guns arrive to help Mother, but a cult of devoted fans forms around Him; they start to engage in rituals.Javier Bardem and Jennifer Lawrence in Mother! (2017)Mother goes into labor and finds her husband. Him takes her to his study, where she gives birth. The havoc outside subsides as he tells Mother that the massive crowd wants to see the baby. Refusing, she holds on tight to her son. When she falls asleep, however, he takes the baby outside to the crowd. The crowd proceeds to pass the baby around recklessly, breaking his neck. Devastated, Mother makes her way to the front of the crowd where she sees the hacked corpse of her baby and witnesses the crowd eating his flesh. Furious, she begins stabbing at them with a shard of glass. They turn on her, beginning to strip and beat her until Him intervenes and stops it. Calling Him and the crowd murderers, Mother escapes their hold and makes her way to the cellar and the furnace oil tank. Her husband pleads but Mother alights the oil, destroying the crowd, the house, and the surrounding garden and trees.Jennifer Lawrence in Mother! (2017)Both Mother and Him survive. However, Mother suffers horrific burns while Him remains unscathed. He asks her for the love she has left for him, and she allows Him to take it. He tears open her chest, and removes her heart. As his hands open the heart, a new crystal object is revealed. He places the object on a pedestal. Once again, the house changes from a burnt-out shell to being renovated. In a bed, a new Mother forms and wakes up, wondering aloud where Him is.Jennifer Lawrence in Mother! (2017)I find the film to be amazing in scope, like Cloud Atlas or A’s The Fountain. Like I said earlier, if you don’t appreciate films like these, or even Black Swan don’t bother. It’s simply not your brand. I feel the film is an amazing encapsulation of our existence performed in very unique fashion. The message here is strong. I prefer the avant-garde probably because I’ve seen so many films. I need to view films that present something new, and this one certainly does. For me, it is a masterpiece. Aren’t artists allowed to target their audience? They all can’t have happy endings.

 

 

 

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: 28 DAYS LATER

CAST

Cillian Murphy (Batman Begins)
Naomie Harris (Rampage)
Brendan Gleeson as Frank
Christopher Eccleston (The Others)
Megan Burns (Liam)
Noah Huntley (Your Highness)
Stuart McQuarrie (Blood)
Ricci Harnett (Vendetta)
Leo Bill (Alice In Wonderland)
Luke Mably (The Prince and Me)

Cillian Murphy in 28 Days Later... (2002)In Cambridge, three animal liberation activists break into a medical research laboratory. A scientist in the lab desperately warns them against releasing the captive chimpanzees, which are infected with a highly contagious rage-inducing virus. Ignoring his pleas, the activists release a chimp, which infects a female activist. She then attacks and infects everyone else present.28-days-later-dying-infected.png28 days later, in London, Jim—a bicycle courier—awakens alone from a coma in St Thomas’ Hospital. He wanders the streets of London, finding the city deserted with signs of catastrophe everywhere. Jim eventually encounters some infected humans and is pursued, but survivors Selena and Mark rescue him. At their shelter, the two explain to Jim that while he was in a coma, a virus had spread quickly among the populace, resulting in societal collapse. They claim the virus had been reported in Paris and New York City as well, suggesting the infection has spread worldwide.83_5The next day, Selena and Mark accompany Jim to his parents’ house in Deptford, where he discovers they had committed suicide. That night, the three fend off a pair of infected; Mark is bitten, and Selena kills him. She explains to Jim that the virus spreads through blood and saliva and overwhelms its victims in 10 to 20 seconds. After leaving the house, the two see some blinking Christmas lights from Balfron Tower. There, they discover two more survivors: cab driver Frank and his daughter Hannah, who allow them to take shelter. The next day, Frank informs them that their supplies (particularly water) are dwindling; he plays them a pre-recorded radio broadcast from a military blockade near Manchester, claiming to have “the answer to infection” and promising protection to any survivors that can reach them.iron-fist-season-2-marvel-netflix-e1534442088624The group board Frank’s cab and head to Manchester, bonding with one another during the trip. At the deserted blockade, Frank is infected when a drop of blood falls into his eye. He is killed by arriving soldiers, who take the remaining survivors to a fortified mansion under the command of Major Henry West. West reveals to Jim that his “answer to infection” entails waiting for the infected to starve to death and luring female survivors into sexual slavery to repopulate the world. The group attempts to flee, but Jim is captured and chained next to Sergeant Farrell, a dissenting soldier. Farrell shares with Jim his speculation that the virus has not spread beyond Great Britain and that the country is being quarantined.wiw-28-days-later-selena-lighterThe next day, the soldiers prepare the girls for gang rape, while two others lead Jim and Farrell to execution. While his executioners argue after killing Farrell, Jim escapes. Jim lures West and another soldier to the blockade, where Jim kills the latter and leaves West stranded for arriving infected. He runs back to the mansion and releases Mailer, an infected soldier West kept for observation. Mailer infects another soldier and they wreak murderous havoc throughout the mansion. In the confusion, Corporal Mitchell drags Selena upstairs, where Jim ambushes and kills him. The two reunite with Hannah and run to Frank’s cab; Jim is then shot by West, who has been waiting inside. Mailer grabs West through the rear window of the cab and kills him, and the trio finally leave the mansion. Another 28 days later, Jim is recovering at a remote cottage. Downstairs, he finds Selena sewing large swaths of fabric when Hannah appears. The three rush outside and unfurl a huge cloth banner, adding the final letter to the word “HELLO” laid out on the meadow. A lone fighter jet flies over the three survivors, the infected are shown dying of starvation, and the pilot calls in a rescue helicopter.landscape-1456933779-movies-28-days-later-still-0128 Days Later has been one of my favorite movies of all time since I first saw the opening scene! The characters are very imaginative and the film has the perfect balance between gore and terror. The music by John Murphy brings the film alive and the camera angles are perfect. It has truly brought the zombie horror back from the dead. The infected and the virus are believable and scary because you never know what those scientists are up to these days… The only downside was the fact that it was only Britain infected (a soldier says that England was quarantined). It would have been a lot scarier if the world was infected because there would be nowhere to run. But overall, Danny Boyle has brought an original idea and made it better and more interesting, and yes, it is scary as hell.

REVIEW: EDGE OF TOMORROW

CAST

Tom Cruise (Oblivion)
Emily Blunt (The Girl on The Train)
Bill Paxton (Aliens)
Brendan Gleeson (Troy)
Jonas Armstrong (Robin Hood)
Tony Way (The Girl With A Dragon Tattoo)
Franz Drameh (Legends of Tomorrow)
Noah Taylor (Powers)
Madeleine Mantock (Charmed)
Martin McDougall (Batman Begins)
David Kaye (Beast Wars)
Jeremy Piven (Entourage)

In 2015, a horde of aliens called the Mimics arrived in Germany and began to spread to the rest of continental Europe, killing all humans in its way. Five years later, the United Defense Force has achieved only one victory, at Verdun, and is holding the Mimics back at the English Channel. In Britain, General Brigham, head of the UDF, orders Major William Cage, a public affairs officer with no combat experience, to cover the next day’s massive assault on France. Cage objects to the dangerous assignment and threatens to put the blame on Brigham if the landing fails. Brigham orders the arrest of Cage, who is tasered when he attempts to escape. He awakes in handcuffs at Heathrow Airport, having been demoted to private, labelled a deserter, and assigned to the J squad under the command of Master Sergeant Farell.The invasion proves to be a trap. The famous Sergeant Rita Vrataski (the “Angel of Verdun”) dies before Cage’s eyes. Shortly thereafter, he uses a Claymore mine to kill an unusually large Mimic, and dies covered with its blood. He wakes up and finds himself back at Heathrow the previous morning. No one believes his story that the invasion is doomed. Cage repeats the loop of dying on the beach and waking at Heathrow over and over again, becoming more competent in combat and learning to predict what happens. During every loop, he tries to save the life of Vrataski, until eventually she sees that he knows the movements of the attacking Mimics in advance, and tells him to find her when he “wakes up”.When Cage next awakens, he finds Vrataski. She takes him to Dr. Carter, an expert in Mimic biology. Carter explains that the Mimics are a superorganism in which the “Omega” plays the role of the cerebrum, while the “Alphas” act as the ganglia through which the Omega controls the ordinary Mimics. If an Alpha is killed, the Omega turns time back a day, thus giving the Mimics a seemingly unbeatable advantage. Cage “hijacked” their ability by being doused in Alpha blood. Vrataski had herself gained this ability at Verdun, but lost it by receiving a blood transfusion after being wounded. She tells Cage that they must destroy the Omega.Over numerous iterations of the same day, Vrataski trains Cage to fight better. Frustrated by his continued failures, he retreats to London, but discovers that the Mimics will attack there after defeating the invasion force. Eventually, he has a vision of a dam in Germany (which Carter said meant that the Omega was trying to locate him). Cage and Vrataski spend many loops figuring out how to get to the dam. Cage comes to know Vrataski, who is humourless and only interested in defeating the Mimics, having lost her loved one to them. Upon reaching a point where she dies whatever they do, Cage decides to fly to the dam alone. Inside the dam, he discovers it is a trap. Ambushed by an Alpha and another Mimic, Cage drowns himself before the Alpha can bleed him out and destroy his ability to trigger a time reset.Cage and Vrataski infiltrate the MoD Main Building to obtain a prototype built by Carter that can locate the Omega. Cage finally compels General Brigham to give him the device. During the ensuing car chase, Cage discovers the Omega is under the Louvre Pyramid in Paris. However, Cage is captured and seriously injured. He wakes up in a hospital to find he has been given a transfusion and thus has lost the ability to reset the day. Vrataski frees Cage. Having recruited the J squad to help destroy the Omega before the invasion begins, they fly to Paris, where the other soldiers sacrifice themselves so that Cage and Vrataski can get into the Louvre. Just before luring away an Alpha standing between them and the submerged Omega, Vrataski kisses Cage to thank him for getting her as far as he did. The Alpha kills Vrataski and mortally wounds Cage, but he manages to drop a belt of grenades, killing the Omega.The dying Cage floats down through the water into the Omega’s blood. He awakens en route to his first meeting with Brigham, who is announcing on TV that Mimic activity has ceased following a mysterious energy surge in Paris. Cage, still a major, goes to Heathrow to find Vrataski. She greets him with the same curtness as in previous iterations, but he only chuckles gladly.One of the most ingenious film concepts ever created, a cross between ‘Saving Private Ryan’ and ‘Groundhog Day’, ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ is a gripping and clever blockbuster sci-fi thrill-ride accompanied with taut, fast-paced action and compelling direction. Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt form a perfect chemistry that takes them from the training ground, to the battlefield through to the action-bound finale in Paris. The premise of the time-loop has been used many times before, but this time round there are enough exciting visuals and dynamic storytelling skills employed to make this one thrillingflick that is unpredictable and expertly designed.

REVIEW: GREEN ZONE

CAST

Matt Damon (Jason Bourne)
Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone)
Brendan Gleeson (Troy)
Greg Kinnear (Movie 43)
Yigal Naor (300: Rise of An Empire)
Jason Isaacs (Star Trek: Discovery)
Khalid Abdalla (East To West)
Michael O’Neill (Transformers)

On March 19, 2003, Iraqi General Mohammed Al-Rawi (Yigal Naor) flees his residence amid the bombardment of Baghdad. Before leaving the compound, he passes a notebook to his aide Seyyed, instructing him to warn his officers to get to their safehouses and wait for his signal.Four weeks later, U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller (Matt Damon) and his platoon check a warehouse for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. To Miller’s surprise, the warehouse has not been secured, with looters making their way in and out, as soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division are too few to do much. After a firefight with a sniper, Miller finds that the warehouse is empty, the third consecutive time he has found nothing. Later, at a debriefing, Miller brings up the point that the majority of the intel given to him is inaccurate and anonymous. High-ranking officials quickly dismiss his concerns. Afterward, CIA agent Martin Brown (Brendan Gleeson) tells him that the next place he is to search was inspected by a UN team two months before and that it too has been confirmed empty.Meanwhile, U.S. Department of Defense official Clark Poundstone (Greg Kinnear) welcomes returning Iraqi exile politician Ahmed Zubaidi (Raad Rawi) at the airport. There Poundstone is questioned by Wall Street Journal reporter Lawrie Dayne (Amy Ryan). She says she needs to speak directly to “Magellan”, but Poundstone brushes her off.Meanwhile, while checking another unpromising site, Miller is approached by an Iraqi who calls himself “Freddy” (Khalid Abdalla). Freddy tells him that he saw some Ba’ath Party VIPs meeting in a nearby home. They include Al-Rawi and his officers and aides in Baghdad, who are discussing the current situation. Al-Rawi decides to wait for the Americans to offer him a deal, and attack if they don’t. As the meeting ends, Miller and his men burst into the house. Al-Rawi narrowly escapes, but Seyyed is captured. Before Miller can extract much information, Seyyed is taken away by Special Operations personnel – however, Miller keeps Al-Rawi’s notebook. Dayne complains to Poundstone again, but he states that the stakes are much larger than her role in selling newspapers.Miller goes to Brown’s hotel room in the Green Zone, where he tells him what happened and gives him the notebook. Brown arranges for Miller to get into the prison where Seyyed is being interrogated. Miller is then approached by Dayne, who questions him about the false reports of WMDs. Miller bluffs his way in to see Seyyed. Near death after being tortured, he tells Miller that they “did everything you asked us to in the meeting.” When Miller asks what meeting he is talking about, he says one word: “Jordan.” Miller then confronts Dayne about the bogus intel she published, but she refuses to identify Magellan, her source. After Miller tells her he suspects that Al-Rawi is Magellan, Dayne reluctantly confirms that Magellan met with a high-ranking official in February in Jordan.Miller realizes that Poundstone’s men are hunting Al-Rawi, and can think of only one reason: Al-Rawi confirmed there was no Iraqi WMD program and is now a major liability. Poundstone confiscates the notebook from Martin; it contains the locations of Al-Rawi’s safe houses. When Miller tries to arrange a meeting with Al-Rawi, he is abducted by Al-Rawi’s men following Poundstone’s announcement of the decision to disband the entire Iraqi army. Al-Rawi tells Miller that he informed Poundstone that the WMD program had been dismantled after the First Persian Gulf War; Poundstone, however, reported that Al-Rawi had confirmed there were WMDs so the US government would have an excuse to invade. Poundstone’s men attack the locations listed in the notebook. When they get to the general’s hiding place, he flees, ordering one man to kill Miller. Miller manages to kill his captor and races after Al-Rawi. Miller finally captures Al-Rawi, but Freddy suddenly appears and shoots the general, stating that the fate of Iraq is “not his to decide.” With his only witness against Poundstone now dead, Miller tells Freddy to flee.Later, Miller writes a scathing report. He confronts Poundstone in a meeting and gives him the report, but Poundstone dismisses it, telling Miller that WMDs do not matter. Poundstone then rejoins the meeting, only to see Iraqi factional leaders reject Zubaidi, the US’s choice as leader of Iraq, as an American puppet and storm out. Afterwards, Dayne receives Miller’s report by email. The recipient list includes reporters for major news agencies around the world.Green Zone is an excellent movie that will be thoroughly enjoyed by fans of political conspiracy thrillers.

REVIEW: THE PIRATES! IN AN ADVENTURE WITH SCIENTISTS! (AKA The Pirates! Band of Misfits)

CAST

Hugh Grant (Two Weeks Notice)
Martin Freeman (The Hobbit)
Imelda Staunton (Maleficent)
David Tennant (Jessica Jones)
Jeremy Piven (The Kingdom)
Salma Hayek (Dogma)
Lenny Henry (Postman Pat: The Movie)
Brian Blessed (Flash Gordon)
Russell Tovey (Quantico)
Brendan Gleeson (Troy)
Ashley Jensen (Ugly Betty)
Ben Whitehead (Wallace & Gromit)
David Schneider (A Knights Tale)

In 1837, the Pirate Captain (Hugh Grant), inexpert in the ways of pirates, leads a close-knit, rag-tag group of amateur pirates who are trying to make a name for themselves on the high seas. To prove himself and his crew, the Pirate Captain enters the Pirate of the Year competition, with the winner being whoever can plunder the most. After several failed attempts to plunder mundane ships, they come across the Beagle and capture its passenger Charles Darwin (David Tennant). Darwin recognises the crew’s pet Polly as the last living dodo, and recommends they enter it in the Scientist of the Year competition at the Royal Society of London for a valuable prize. Secretly, Darwin plans on stealing Polly himself with the help of his trained chimpanzee, Mr. Bobo, as to impress Queen Victoria (Imelda Staunton) whom he has a crush on; the Pirate with a Scarf (Martin Freeman) becomes suspicious of Darwin’s motive after one failed attempt to steal Polly.The pirates disguise themselves as scientists to enter the competition, and the dodo display wins the top prize, which turns out to be minuscule trinkets and a meeting with the Queen. The Pirate Captain hides Polly before the meeting. There, the Queen requests that the Pirate Captain donate Polly for her petting zoo. The Pirate Captain refuses and accidentally reveals his true self, but Darwin steps in to spare the Captain’s life, secretly telling the Queen that only the Captain knows where Polly is kept. The Queen lets the Pirate Captain go and orders Darwin to find Polly by any means necessary. Darwin takes the Pirate Captain to a tavern and coaxes out of him that Polly is stashed in his beard. Darwin and Mr. Bobo are able to steal the bird, leading on a chase into the Tower of London where the Queen is waiting. She dismisses Darwin, and instead offers the Pirate Captain a large sum of money in exchange for Polly, which for the Pirate Captain would be enough to assure his win as Pirate of the Year. He accepts the offer and returns to his crew, assuring them Polly is still safe in his beard, though the Pirate with a Scarf is suspicious of his newfound wealth.At the Pirate of the Year ceremony, the Pirate Captain wins the grand prize from the Pirate King (Brian Blessed), but rival pirate Black Bellamy (Jeremy Piven) makes the Queen’s pardon known to all and explains that if the Pirate Captain has been pardoned, then technically, he is no longer a pirate and, as such, can’t be Pirate of the Year. The Captain is stripped of the prize, treasure, pirate attire, and his pirating license and is banished from Blood Island by the Pirate King, and admits his loss of Polly to his crew who abandon him. The Captain returns to London, intent on rescuing Polly. He reunites with Darwin, learning that the Queen is a member of an exclusive dining society of world leaders that feast on endangered creatures, and that Polly is likely on her flagship, the QV1 to be served at the next meal. The Pirate Captain and Darwin work together to steal an airship to travel to the QV1. Mr. Bobo, meanwhile, goes to find the rest of the Captain’s crew to enlist their help.Aboard the QV1, the Queen locates the Pirate Captain and Darwin and attempts to kill both of them, but together they best her. In the battle, they accidentally mix the ship’s store of baking soda with vinegar, causing a violent reaction that rends the ship in two. The Pirate Captain rescues Polly and they escape safely, leaving behind a furious Queen. With his reputation among pirates restored because of the large bounty now on his head, the Pirate Captain is reinstated as a Pirate, and he and his crew continue to explore the high seas in search of adventure.In a few post-credits scenes, they leave Darwin on the Galapagos Islands, Mr. Bobo joins the Pirate Captain’s crew, the Queen is left at the mercy of some of the rare animals she had planned on eating, Black Bellamy is forcefully stripped of his trophy by the Pirate King because of the Pirate Captain’s new infamy, and the crew present the Pirate Captain with their own homemade Pirate of the Year trophy.The cast itself was one of the film’s main attractions and the voice work is first rate. Hugh Grant shows impeccable comic timing, and Salma Hayak voices Cutlass Liz with lots of sass. Jeremy Piven shows that he can do wonderfully with a character that is strongly-written and provides a good contrast to Grant’s Pirate Captain. Brendan Gleeson and Brian Blessed give rousing turns, David Tennant’s Charles Darwin charms and Imelda Staunton voices Queen Victoria as if she were born to do it. A wonderful family film that anybody could enjoy

REVIEW: BRAVEHEART

CAST

Mel Gibson (Mad Max)
Angus Macfadyen (Warriors of Virtue)
Patrick McGoohan (The Prisoner)
Sophie Marceau (The World Is Not Enough)
Catherine McCormack (The Land Girls)
Brendan Gleeson (Troy)
James Cosmo (Game of Thrones)
David O’Hara (The Devil’s Own)
Peter Hanly (My Boy Jack)
Ian Bannen (From Beyond The Grave)
Seán McGinley (Shrooms)
Brian Cox (X-Men 2)
Sean Lawlor (Boon)
Stephen Billington (Resident Evil)
John Kavanagh (Alexander)
Alun Armstrong (Krull)
Tommy Flanagan (Sons of Anarchy)
Peter Mullan (War Horse)

In 1280, King Edward “Longshanks” invades and conquers Scotland following the death of Alexander III of Scotland, who left no heir to the throne. Young William Wallace witnesses Longshanks’ treachery, survives the deaths of his father and brother, and is taken abroad on a pilgrimage throughout Europe by his paternal Uncle Argyle, where he is educated. Years later, Longshanks grants his noblemen land and privileges in Scotland, including Prima Nocte. Meanwhile, a grown Wallace returns to Scotland and falls in love with his childhood friend Murron MacClannough, and the two marry in secret. Wallace rescues Murron from being raped by English soldiers, but as she fights off their second attempt, Murron is captured and publicly executed. In retribution, Wallace leads his clan to slaughter the English garrison in his hometown and send the occupying garrison at Lanark back to England.Longshanks orders his son Prince Edward to stop Wallace by any means necessary. Wallace rebels against the English, and as his legend spreads, hundreds of Scots from the surrounding clans join him. Wallace leads his army to victory at the Battle of Stirling Bridge and then destroys the city of York, killing Longshanks’ nephew and sending his severed head to the king. Wallace seeks the assistance of Robert the Bruce, the son of nobleman Robert the Elder and a contender for the Scottish crown. Robert is dominated by his father, who wishes to secure the throne for his son by submitting to the English. Worried by the threat of the rebellion, Longshanks sends his son’s wife Isabella of France to try to negotiate with Wallace. After meeting him in person, Isabella becomes enamored of Wallace.Warned of the coming invasion by Isabella, Wallace implores the Scottish nobility to take immediate action to counter the threat and take back the country. Leading the English army himself, Longshanks confronts the Scots at Falkirk where noblemen Lochlan and Mornay, having been bribed by Longshanks, betray Wallace, causing the Scots to lose the battle. As Wallace charges toward the departing Longshanks on horseback, he is intercepted by one of the king’s lancers, who turns out to be Robert the Bruce. Remorseful, he gets Wallace to safety before the English can capture him. Wallace kills Lochlan and Mornay for their betrayal, and wages a guerrilla war against the English for the next seven years, assisted by Isabella, with whom he eventually has an affair. Robert sets up a meeting with Wallace in Edinburgh, but Robert’s father has conspired with other nobles to capture and hand over Wallace to the English. Learning of his treachery, Robert disowns his father. Isabella exacts revenge on the now terminally ill Longshanks by telling him she is pregnant with Wallace’s child.In London, Wallace is brought before an English magistrate, tried for high treason, and condemned to public torture and beheading. Even whilst being hanged, drawn and quartered, Wallace refuses to submit to the king. As cries for mercy come from the watching crowd deeply moved by the Scotsman’s valor, the magistrate offers him one final chance, asking him only to utter the word, “Mercy,” and be granted a quick death. Wallace instead shouts, “Freedom!”, and the judge orders his death. Moments before being decapitated, Wallace sees a vision of Murron in the crowd, smiling at him.In 1314, Robert, now Scotland’s king, leads a Scottish army before a ceremonial line of English troops on the fields of Bannockburn, where he is to formally accept English rule. As he begins to ride toward the English, he stops and invokes Wallace’s memory, imploring his men to fight with him as they did with Wallace. Robert then leads his army into battle against the stunned English, winning the Scots their freedom.The historical content may have been distorted, but even though, this movie is meant for entertainment. It is not a history lesson caught on video.The acting is absolutely superb, this movie is guaranteed to have you on the edge of your seat for the entire three hours

REVIEW: BEOWULF

CAST

Anthony Hopkins (Westworld)
Angelina Jolie (The Changeling)
Ray Winstone (Elfie Hopkins)
Crispin Glover (Alice In Wonderland)
Robin Wright (Forrest Gump)
Sebastian Roche (The Originals)
John Malkovich (Red)
Brendan Gleeson (Troy)
Costas Mandylor (Saw V)
Dominic Keating (Heroes)
Alison Lohman (Big Fish)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)

Set in 507, Beowulf is a legendary Geatish warrior who travels to Denmark with his band of soldiers, including his best friend, Wiglaf. They meet King Hrothgar, who needs a hero to slay Grendel (Crispin Glover), a hideously disfigured troll-like creature with superhuman strength. Grendel attacks Heorot, Hrothgar’s mead hall, whenever the Danes held a celebration, and Hrothgar has been forced to close the hall. Upon arriving, Beowulf becomes attracted to Hrothgar’s wife, Queen Wealtheow, who reciprocates his interest.Beowulf and his men celebrate in Heorot to lure Grendel out. When the beast attacks, Beowulf engages him unarmed and naked. During the fight, Beowulf discovers that Grendel has hypersensitive hearing, which is why he interrupts Hrothgar’s celebrations – the noise they make is physically painful to him. After his eardrums are ruptured by Beowulf, Grendel attempts to escape. Beowulf restrains Grendel and severs his arm with the door. In thanks for freeing his kingdom from the monster, Hrothgar gives Beowulf his golden drinking horn, which commemorates Hrothgar’s victory over the mighty dragon Fafnir.In his cave, the dying Grendel tells his mother what was done to him, and she swears revenge. She travels to Heorot and slaughters Beowulf’s men while they are sleeping. Hrothgar tells both Beowulf and Wiglaf, who had been sleeping outside the hall during the attack, that it was the work of Grendel’s mother. She is the last of the Water Demons, who were thought to have left the land. Beowulf and Wiglaf travel to the demon’s cave to slay her. Beowulf enters the cave alone and encounters the demon, who takes the form of a beautiful woman. She offers to make him the greatest king who ever lived, in exchange for a son to replace Grendel and Hrothgar’s drinking horn.Beowulf agrees to the deal and returns, claiming to have killed her. Hrothgar, however, realizes the truth. He indirectly tells Beowulf that, much like him, Hrothgar was seduced by her, and Grendel was the result of their tryst. Hrothgar crowns Beowulf king, much to the dismay of his royal advisor, Unferth, who was hoping to take the throne. Hrothgar then commits suicide by jumping from the castle parapet onto the beach below. A wave momentarily engulfs Hrothgar’s body, there is a golden flash underwater, and the body is gone.Years later, the elderly Beowulf is married to Wealtheow. Over the years they had grown apart, husband and wife in name alone. Beowulf takes a mistress, Ursula, but his tryst with Grendel’s mother has left him sterile. One day, Unferth’s slave Cain finds the golden drinking horn in a swamp near Grendel’s cave and brings it back to the kingdom. That night, a nearby village is destroyed by a dragon, which leaves Unferth alive to deliver a message to King Beowulf: the dragon is Beowulf’s son born to Grendel’s mother. Removing the horn has voided the agreement between Beowulf and Grendel’s mother, who has now sent their son, the dragon, to destroy his kingdom.Beowulf and Wiglaf go to the cave once again and Beowulf enters the cave alone. When Grendel’s mother appears, Beowulf gives her the golden horn, but she refuses to stop the attacks. The dragon flies straight towards Beowulf’s home, threatening Wealtheow and Ursula. Despite his age, Beowulf goes to great lengths to stop the monster, even severing his own arm. Eventually, he kills the dragon by ripping its heart out. A mortally wounded Beowulf watches the dragon transforming into a humanoid body and being washed out to sea. As Wiglaf approaches him, Beowulf tries to tell the truth about his affair with Grendel’s mother, but Wiglaf insists on keeping his legacy intact. Beowulf then dies.As the new king, Wiglaf gives Beowulf a Norse funeral. Grendel’s mother appears and gives Beowulf a final kiss before his burning ship sinks into the sea. Wiglaf sees the golden horn in the sand while Grendel’s mother floats in the sea, looking at him seductively. The movie ends ambiguously with Wiglaf holding the horn and staring back at her.The plot isn’t much to write home about. The acting is variable – Robin Wright-Penn is fine, Hopkins is his usual reliable self, Ray Winstone is suitably heroic as the heroic, self-aggrandising Beowulf, and Crispin Glover is just brilliant as Grendel. Grendel is a lovely creation, oozing slime and blood, and wracked with pain. It’s entertainment. And I was royally entertained.