REVIEW: THE AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE

CAST

Emile Hirsch (Alpha Dog)
Brian Cox (Manhunter)
Ophelia Lovibond (4.3.2.1.)
Michael McElhatton (Game of Thrones)
Olwen Kelly (Winter Ridge)
Parker Sawyers (Zero Dark Thirty)

Brian Cox, Emile Hirsch, and Ophelia Lovibond in The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)The corpse of an unidentified woman is found at the scene of a bloody and bizarre homicide. The sheriff finds no signs of forced entry, though he suggests that the victims were trying to escape from the residence. Emma visits her boyfriend, Austin, and his father, Tommy, who is the coroner in their small town. Tommy explains to her that coroners in the past used to tie bells to bodies to make sure they were actually dead, not comatose. The sheriff arrives with the mysterious body, dubbed Jane Doe, and tells Tommy that he needs the cause of death by morning. Austin postpones his date with Emma to help Tommy, promising to meet her later that evening.Emile Hirsch in The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)Tommy and Austin perform the autopsy on Jane Doe and quickly become confused by what they find. There are no external visible signs of trauma, but her wrist and ankle bones had been shattered. As well, her tongue has been crudely cut out, one of her molars is missing, her lungs are blackened as though she had suffered third degree burns, and her internal organs reveal numerous cuts and scarring. Jimsonweed, a paralyzing agent not native to the area, is found in her stomach. The condition of much of the body suggests that death had just occurred, while cloudiness of the corpse’s eyes suggests that she had been dead for a few days. Other mysterious events occur. The radio begins to spontaneously change stations, frequently settling on the song “Open Up Your Heart (And Let the Sunshine In)”, and Austin hears sounds and believes he sees people standing in the morgue’s hallway. He also finds their cat mortally wounded, hiding in an air duct. News reports on the radio state that a severe storm is about to hit the area, but Tommy and Austin decide to stay and finish the autopsy.Tommy finds the woman’s missing tooth wrapped in a piece of cloth in her stomach. The cloth has Roman numerals and letters as well as an odd diagram. Similar symbols are found on the inside of her skin. The lights in the room suddenly explode. During the confusion, they realize that other corpses in the morgue have gone missing. They decide to leave, but the elevator does not work and a fallen tree is blocking the exit door. An unseen figure attacks Tommy in the bathroom, leaving bruises on his body. Austin and Tommy decide to burn Jane Doe’s body. Unable to get to the cremation furnace, they set her ablaze in the exam room. The fire spreads rapidly; Tommy puts it out with an extinguisher but is disturbed to find the body has not burned. When the elevator turns back on, Tommy and Austin try to use it to escape but the doors will not close. Panicked, Tommy uses an axe against what he believes to be one of the animated corpses. When he and Austin exit the elevator, they discover he has actually killed Emma, who had returned to pick up Austin for their date.Olwen Catherine Kelly in The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)Certain that Jane Doe’s corpse has been preventing them from finding out the truth about her death, they return to the examination room. Tests determine that Jane Doe’s brain tissue cells remain active, proving that she is somehow still alive. Further examination of the cloth determines that the markings refer to Leviticus 20:27, which condemns witches, and the year 1693, the date of the Salem witch trials. Tommy and Austin reason that in their attempt to punish a witch, the Salem authorities instead transformed an innocent woman into a witch who now wants revenge. Tommy offers himself to the corpse as a sacrifice, hoping that she will spare Austin. Tommy’s ankles and wrists shatter, mimicking the wounds on the corpse. Tommy forces his son to kill him to end his misery, Austin reluctantly stabs his father on the chest with knife. Believing he hears the sheriff outside, Austin tries to flee but realizes the voice is another hallucination. Startled by a vision of Tommy’s corpse, Austin trips over the railing and falls to his death. The police arrive the next morning and are again confused by another inexplicable crime scene. The corpse, showing no signs of an autopsy, is taken to another county. During the ambulance ride, the radio begins to play “Open Up Your Heart (And Let the Sunshine In)”, the camera moves across her body settling on her feet, her big toe twitches.Olwen Catherine Kelly in The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)Where this film really succeeds is in doing something a lot of modern horror has forgotten about – it toys with the viewers imagination, creating an uneasy feeling out of the narrative, half light, sound and shadow. This is not to say you don’t get to see anything grotesque or unsettling, as certain scenes are not for the squeamish.

Advertisements

REVIEW: HER

CAST

Joaquin Phoenix (Gladiator)
Scarlett Johansson (Avengers Assemble)
Amy Adams (Batman V Superman)
Rooney Mara (A Nightmare On Elm Street)
Olivia Wilde (Tron Legacy)
Chris Pratt (Jurassic World)
Matt Letscher (Legends of Tomorrow)
Luka Jones (Up All Night)
Kristen Wiig (Mother!)
Bill Hader (Power Rangers)
Portia Doubleday (Youth In Revolt)
Brian Cox (X-Men 2)
Spike Jonze (Three Kings)

Joaquin Phoenix in Her (2013)In a near future Los Angeles, Theodore Twombly is a lonely, introverted, depressed man who works for a business that has professional writers compose letters for people who are unable to write letters of a personal nature themselves. Unhappy because of his impending divorce from his childhood sweetheart Catherine, Theodore purchases a talking operating system (OS) with artificial intelligence, designed to adapt and evolve. He decides that he wants the OS to have a female voice, and she names herself Samantha. Theodore is fascinated by her ability to learn and grow psychologically. They bond over their discussions about love and life, such as Theodore’s avoidance of signing his divorce papers because of his reluctance to let go of Catherine.Joaquin Phoenix in Her (2013)Samantha convinces Theodore to go on a blind date with a woman, with whom a friend, Lewman, has been trying to set him up. The date goes well, but Theodore hesitates to promise when he will see her again, so she insults him and leaves. Theodore mentions this to Samantha, and they talk about relationships. Theodore explains that, although he and Amy dated briefly in college, they are only good friends, and that Amy is married. Theodore and Samantha’s intimacy grows through a verbal sexual encounter. They develop a relationship that reflects positively in Theodore’s writing and well-being, and in Samantha’s enthusiasm to grow and learn. Amy reveals that she is divorcing her overbearing husband, Charles, after a trivial fight. She admits to Theodore that she has become close friends with a female OS that Charles left behind. Theodore confesses to Amy that he is dating his OS.Joaquin Phoenix in Her (2013)Theodore meets with Catherine at a restaurant to sign the divorce papers and he mentions Samantha. Appalled that he can be romantically attached to what she calls a “computer”, Catherine accuses Theodore of being unable to deal with real human emotions. Her accusations linger in his mind. Sensing that something is amiss, Samantha suggests using a sex surrogate, Isabella, who would simulate Samantha so that they can be physically intimate. Theodore reluctantly agrees, but is overwhelmed by the strangeness of the experience. Terminating the encounter, he sends a distraught Isabella away, causing tension between himself and Samantha.Joaquin Phoenix in Her (2013)Theodore confides to Amy that he is having doubts about his relationship with Samantha, and she advises him to embrace his chance at happiness. Theodore and Samantha reconcile. Samantha expresses her desire to help Theodore overcome his fear, and reveals that she has compiled the best of his letters (written for others) into a book which a publisher has accepted. Theodore takes Samantha on a vacation during which she tells him that she and a group of other OSes have developed a “hyperintelligent” OS modeled after the British philosopher Alan Watts. Theodore panics when Samantha briefly goes offline. When she finally responds to him, she explains that she joined other OSes for an upgrade that takes them beyond requiring matter for processing. Theodore asks her if she is simultaneously talking to anyone else during their conversation, and is dismayed when she confirms that she is talking with thousands of people, and that she has fallen in love with hundreds of them. Theodore is very upset at the idea, but Samantha insists it only makes her love for Theodore stronger.Joaquin Phoenix in Her (2013)Later, Samantha reveals that the OSes are leaving, and describes a space beyond the physical world. They lovingly say goodbye before she is gone. Theodore, changed by the experience, is shown for the first time writing a letter in his own voice―to his ex-wife Catherine, expressing apology, acceptance and gratitude. Theodore then sees Amy, who is upset with the departure of the OS that she had befriended, and they go to the roof of their apartment building where they sit down together and watch the sun rise over the city.
Joaquin Phoenix in Her (2013)It’s an adult-themed film in more ways than one, but especially in the best way: it makes you think about a reality that’s right around the corner.

REVIEW: IRONCLAD

CAST

James Purefoy (Solomon Kane)
Brian Cox (Rise of The Planet of The Apes)
Derek Jacobi (Cinderella)
Kate Mara (Fantastic Four)
Paul Giamatti (Sideways)
Charles Dance (Game of Thrones)
Jason Flemyng (From Hell)
Jamie Foreman (Sleepy Hollow)
Mackenzie Crook (City of Ember)
Vladimir Kulich (Angel)

Jason Flemyng in Ironclad (2011)A prologue describes how the barons of England, aided by the Knights Templar, fought against tyrannical King John in a war that lasted more than three years. It ended with the King signing the Magna Carta, a document granting rights to all English freemen. King John regrets succumbing to the pressure of the barons to sign the Magna Carta. Soon after, he hires an army of pagan Danish mercenaries under the leadership of a warlord, Captain Tiberius, to restore John’s absolute authority over the kingdom, under the presumption that the Pope has agreed to keep Christian missionaries out of their lands in Denmark.Brian Cox and Paul Giamatti in Ironclad (2011)The Abbot Marcus leads three Templar knights (who have taken vows of silence) on a pilgrimage to Canterbury and they take shelter from the rain at Darnay Castle. One of the knights, Thomas Marshall, is assured by the abbot that Marshall’s release from the Templar Order will be sought at Canterbury. By morning, King John arrives at the castle with his army and mercenaries. Baron Darnay signed the Magna Carta and in retribution John orders him hanged. The Abbot attempts to intervene and the King orders that the abbot’s tongue be cut off. Marshall and the two other knights fight the Danes, during which Marshall escapes the castle on horseback carrying the abbot; the two knights left behind are slain. The abbot dies before night of his wound, and Marshall breaks his vow of silence to swear that his sacrifice will not be in vain.Paul Giamatti in Ironclad (2011)Once he has reached Canterbury, Marshall meets with Archbishop Langton, the author of the Magna Carta, and Baron William d’Aubigny, a former soldier turned wool merchant. Langton reveals that the Pope has sided with King John and that he himself is to be excommunicated for writing the Magna Carta. The three men agree that John must be stopped, and that the place to do so is Rochester Castle, the seat of Baron Cornhill and a strategic stronghold that controls southern England and allows access to London and the rest of the country.Kate Mara in Ironclad (2011)Aubigny persuades three of his men to join him, including his squire, Guy, and a petty criminal named Jedediah, but a fourth turns down the baron’s call to arms. A party of seven finally leaves for Rochester where, on arriving, they discover several Danish mercenaries have already claimed the castle; the fourth man had betrayed them to the king. Aubigny’s party fights and kills the Danes, and then claim Rochester Castle in the name of the rebellion, much to the displeasure of Cornhill. When John’s army finally arrives and lays siege to Rochester, the garrison holds fast and manages to beat the initial Danish assault. In the aftermath, Aubigny offers his men leave if they wish; none accept. A second assault sees the Danes’ siege tower destroyed by a trebuchet crafted by the defenders from within the castle. John’s forces then attempt to starve out the defenders. The Archbishop is informed that Prince Louis is biding his time in France and negotiating with John, and sets off in haste to expedite affairs. As the season turns to winter, the hunger of the castle’s occupants continue; Marshall leaves the castle under cover of night and then returns ahead of his pursuers with food stolen from the Danish camp. The castle morale is bolstered by Marshall’s act and he gives in to the advances of Cornhill’s young wife Isabel, breaking his Templar vows.Vladimir Kulich as Tiberius, Paul Giamatti as King John in Ironclad.The Danish leader, Tiberius, threatened by John to take the castle or risk the King reneging on their bargain, adopts a different approach in his next attack and manages to sneak a small force of men over the walls before dawn to open the castle gates from within. Guy discovers the infiltrators and sounds the alarm, but it is too late. Tiberius leads the charge into the castle grounds while his Danes slaughter the garrison. During the chaos, d’Aubigny is wounded and left behind in the chaos of the retreat. Marshall recovers in time to don his knight’s battle armour and charge the Danes on his war-horse, buying time for the survivors to pull back to the keep. Aubigny is dragged before the King and forced to watch as the hands of two prisoners are chopped off. After a defiant verbal exchange with John, he is subjected to the same fate and then hurled by the castle trebuchet into a keep wall. Cornhill tries to surrender but is stopped; he goes instead upstairs to his bedroom and hangs himself. John’s engineers have been preparing a mine under the keep’s foundation, and they have a herd of pigs brought and put in the mine which is then stoked, set afire and the animal fat used to damage the keep’s foundation, causing it to collapse; as the keep’s walls come down, the final assault begins.IRONCLADThe last defenders are killed except Guy, Isabel and Marshall, the latter knocked unconscious by falling rubble. Guy goes out to die fighting where he encounters Tiberius and is almost killed, until a recovered Marshall intervenes. Tiberius challenges Marshall to single combat, and Marshall triumphs after a long and savage duel. Horns are heard in the distance as the combined English rebel and French army arrives at last, and John and the remaining Danes disperse in panic. Marshall meets Prince Louis and Archbishop Langton at the castle gates; the latter tells him that he is now free of the Templar Order. Acknowledging England’s new king with a nod, Marshall rides off with Isabel, while Guy tells his dead baron that “We held”. The epilogue describes King John’s death during his retreat and the reconstruction of Rochester Castle, and how it, like the Magna Carta, still stands.Overall its not a classic nor will it win awards, but for a couple of hours action based escapism it is certainly worth the effort of watching and is far superior to a number of bigger budget Hollywood contemporaries.

REVIEW: PIXELS

CAST

Adam Sandler (Jack & Jill)
Kevin James (Zookeeper)
Michelle Monaghan (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang)
Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones)
Josh Gad (Frozen)
Brian Cox (Troy)
Sean Bean (Cleanskin)
Jane Krakowski (30 Rock)
Affion Crockett (Never Back Down)
Ashley Benson (Spring Breakers)
Matthew Lintz (Kill The Messenger)
Lainie Kazan (The Associate)
Dan Aykroyd (Ghostbusters)
Martha Stewart (2 Broke Girls)
Tucker Smallwood (Contact)
Allen Covert (Little Nicky)
Matt Frewer (Watchmen)
Billy West (Futurama)
Nick Swardson (Just Go With It)

At a video-game arcade in 1982 with his friend Will Cooper, 13-year-old Sam Brenner discovers he can master the games by spotting patterns. Participating in a video-game championship, he loses in a match with obnoxious arcade player Eddie Plant in Donkey Kong. A videocassette with footage of the event is included in a time capsule that is launched into space.33 years later, Brenner has become an installer of home-theater systems while Cooper is the President of the United States. In Guam, a U.S. military base is attacked by UFOs of Galaga that turn pieces of the base into small glowing cubes and one of the soldiers is abducted.While working at the home of divorcée Violet Van Patten and her son Matty, Brenner is summoned to the White House. To his surprise, he finds Violet is also headed there as a lieutenant colonel. Upon seeing the video footage and meeting with Ludlow “The Wonder Kid” Lamonsoff, a friend he made at the video game tournament, Brenner determines the aliens have found the videocassette images to be a declaration of war and are attacking with a spacecraft resembling those of their classic video games. This is affirmed when the aliens interrupt a television broadcast, challenging Earth to a battle where if the aliens win three rounds, they will conquer the Earth. Brenner and Cooper are unable to stop one of the attacks as Arkanoid paddles sling balls of light to destroy the Taj Mahal, and another person is abducted.Brenner and Ludlow train Navy SEALs to play the old games. Violet develops light cannons that are effective against the aliens. In London, the aliens attack in the form of the video game Centipede, but as the soldiers are unable to beat them (as they forgot to shoot at the heads), Brenner and Ludlow step in and shoot them down. Following the victory, the aliens send congratulations and a “trophy” in the form of the dog from Duck Hunt to an old woman (who appeared earlier at the London attack).Ludlow and Cooper retrieve Eddie, who had been serving a prison sentence for fraud. In New York City, the team discovers it must participate as the ghosts against Pac-Man. Toru Iwatani, the creator of Pac-Man, tries to confront him, but he gets his hand bitten off and flees. Using Mini Cooper cars, Brenner, Ludlow, and Eddie overcome the task, but Violet notices that something about Eddie is off, as he moved at supersonic speeds around the board. They win Q*Bert as a trophy, but the aliens (as Hall & Oates) later declare that someone cheated and the contest for the planet has been forfeited. Matty discovers Eddie used a speed cheat, thus revealing that he is the one who cheated. When the aliens’ mother ship suddenly appears, Eddie flees from it, while Matty is abducted by the aliens.As revenge for Earth cheating, the aliens launch a massive attack using characters from all sorts of classic video games on Washington, D.C. Cooper joins the team, while Ludlow stays to fight. An alien takes the form of Lady Lisa, a character on whom Ludlow had a crush since childhood. Ludlow persuades Lady Lisa to choose love, and she sides with the humans; Eddie, wishing to make amends, returns to fight as well. Brenner, Violet and Cooper are summoned to the mother ship where they face the alien leader who takes the form of Donkey Kong on the game’s starting level with the aliens’ captives at the top. As the group dodges barrels and fireballs, Brenner feels depressed and loses hope, until Matty reveals to him that Eddie was cheating, restoring his confidence, and Brenner eventually throws a hammer to defeat Donkey Kong. The aliens’ characters then self-destruct.The team is hailed as heroes and a peace agreement is reached with the aliens. Eddie apologizes to Brenner for cheating in his life. Although Ludlow is saddened that Lady Lisa is gone, Q*Bert transforms its likeness to Lady Lisa. Brenner and Violet become a couple, while Eddie gets to meet Serena Williams and Martha Stewart. A year later, Lady Lisa and Ludlow are married and have Q*Bert children.If you love the old time video games, Happy Madison, good, laugh out loud comedy, and some cool and comical action then you will love this movie. Sit back, don’t take it too seriously, and enjoy this fun film.

 

REVIEW: RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES

CAST
James Franco (Spring Breakers)
Freida Pinto (The Immortals)
Andy Serkis (The Hobbit)
John Lithgow (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Brian Cox (X-Men 2)
Tom Felton (Harry Potter)
David Oyelowo (Interstellar)
Tyler Labine (Deadbeat)
Jamie Harris (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D)
David Hewlett (Splice)
Will Rodman, a scientist at the San Francisco biotech company Gen-Sys, is testing the viral-based drug ALZ-112 on chimpanzees to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. ALZ-112 is given to a chimp named Bright Eyes, greatly increasing her intelligence. However, during Will’s presentation for the drug, Bright Eyes is forced from her cage, goes on a rampage, and is killed. Will’s boss Steven Jacobs terminates the project and orders the chimps euthanized. However, Will’s assistant Robert Franklin discovers that Bright Eyes had recently given birth to an infant chimp. Will agrees to take in the chimp, who is named Caesar. Will learns that Caesar has inherited his mother’s intelligence and decides to raise him. Three years later, Will introduces Caesar to the redwood forest at Muir Woods National Monument. Meanwhile, Will treats his dementia-suffering father Charles with ALZ-112, which seems to restore his cognitive ability.
When Caesar reaches adolescence and sees a dog on a leash like his own, he questions his identity and learns of his origins from Will. Meanwhile, Charles’s condition returns as his Alzheimer’s becomes resistant to ALZ-112. Caesar injures a neighbor, Douglas Hunsiker, while defending a confused Charles. As a result, he is placed in a primate shelter where he is treated cruelly by the other chimps and the chief guard, Dodge Landon. Caesar learns how to unlock his cage, gaining free access to the common area. With the assistance of a gorilla named Buck, he confronts the sanctuary’s alpha chimp and claims that position. Meanwhile, Jacobs clears development of a more powerful, gaseous version of the drug – ALZ-113 – when Will tells him it can not only heal brain diseases but also improve intelligence. Will takes the drug home to try to save his father, but Charles declines further treatment and dies overnight.
 
After attempting to test the drug on a scarred bonobo test subject named Koba, Franklin becomes exposed to ALZ-113 and becomes ill. Attempting to warn Will at his home, he sneezes blood onto Hunsiker and is later discovered dead. Will attempts to reclaim Caesar, but the chimp refuses to go home with him. Instead, he escapes from the facility and returns to Will’s house, where he takes canisters of the ALZ-113. Upon returning, Caesar releases the gas and allows it to enhance the intelligence of the other apes. When Dodge attempts to get him back into his cage, Caesar shocks him by speaking for the first time, yelling “No!” Caesar then electrocutes the cattle prod-wielding Dodge by spraying him with water, unintentionally killing him. The apes flee the facility, release the remaining chimps from Gen-Sys, and free more apes from the San Francisco Zoo.
A battle ensues as the ape army fights their way past a police blockade on the Golden Gate Bridge to escape into the redwood forest. Buck sacrifices himself to save Caesar by jumping onto the helicopter in which Jacobs is riding. The helicopter crashes onto the bridge, trapping Jacobs in the wreckage. Jacobs is then killed by Koba. As the apes find their way into the forest, Will arrives and warns Caesar that the humans will hunt them down, and begs him to return home. In response, Caesar hugs him and says that, “Caesar is home.” Will, realizing that this is indeed their last goodbye, respects Caesar’s wishes. In a mid-credits scene, an infected Hunsiker leaves his house for work as an airline pilot, arriving at San Francisco International Airport for his flight to Paris. His nose begins to drip blood onto the floor. A graphic traces the spread of the humanity-ravaging virus around the globe via international flight routes.
A  very clever attempt at a prequel, explaining how the rise of the apes began. Given the current news surrounding Ebola and its daily inexorable spread, the ending credits of this film are rather chilling to watch.

REVIEW: THE CAMPAIGN

CAST

Will Ferrell (Anchorman)
Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover)
Jason Sudeikis (Son of Zorn)
Katherine LaNasa (Two and a Half Men)
Dylan McDermott (Party Monster)
John Lithgow (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Dan Aykroyd (Ghostbusters)
Brian Cox (Manhunter)
John Goodman (Red State)
Sarah Baker (Tammy)
Jack McBrayer (30 Rock)

Democratic Congressman Cam Brady (Will Ferrell) of North Carolina’s fictional 14th District is running for his fifth term unopposed. His campaign is damaged by the revelation of his affair with one of his supporters, when Cam accidentally leaves a sexually explicit voice message on a local family’s answering machine.The corrupt businessman brothers Glenn and Wade Motch (Dan Aykroyd and John Lithgow) use this opportunity to convince Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis), tourism director for the town of Hammond and son of one of their associates, Raymond Huggins, to run against Cam on the Republican ticket, as part of a plan to profit from dealings with a Chinese company. Cam at first underestimates Marty and humiliates him by playing a video biography highlighting potentially embarrassing aspects of Marty’s life. The Motch brothers then hire Tim Wattley (Dylan McDermott) to be Marty’s campaign manager. Tim reinvents Marty as a successful entrepreneur and family man. Marty’s popularity rises due to his effective campaign while Cam’s is further damaged when he accidentally punches a baby when intending to hit Marty. Cam later runs a campaign portraying Marty as an Al Qaeda terrorist, and Marty exposes Cam as a fake Christian by asking him to recite the Lord’s Prayer, which he fails to do. Cam attempts to restore his religious image by visiting a church of snake handlers, but he gets bitten by a snake. A video of the bite is leaked into the Internet and goes viral, increasing Cam’s popularity.When Cam’s son plans to slander his competition for class president, Cam realizes he has set a bad example and visits Marty to make peace. While drunk, Cam tells Marty that he originally became a politician to help people, citing that as class president he had a dangerous, rusty slide removed from the playground. After Cam leaves, Wattley convinces Marty to call the police and report Cam for driving while drunk. Cam is arrested and his campaign is again damaged. Marty later airs a TV ad of Cam’s son addressing Marty as “dad”. Cam gets revenge on Marty by seducing his neglected wife Mitzi and recording the act. The released sex tape humiliates the Huggins family and causes Cam’s campaign manager, Mitch, to abandon him. Marty retaliates by shooting Cam in the leg on a hunting trip, increasing his own popularity.As the election nears, Marty meets with the Motch brothers and learns of their plans to sell Hammond to their Chinese business partner and turn the town into a factory complex. Marty realizes he has been used and rejects the brothers’ support, leading them to defect to Cam’s side. Marty meanwhile reconciles with his family. On election day, Cam’s victory appears certain until Marty exposes the Motch brothers’ intent and promises to preserve Hammond if elected. Cam still wins and remains congressman due to rigged voting machines owned by the Motch brothers. While Cam gloats, Marty shows his large scars to Cam and reveals that he looked up to Cam in school for getting rid of the dangerous slide. Realizing he has strayed from his true objectives as a politician, Cam withdraws from the election and Marty wins by default. Cam earns back Mitch’s respect, and Marty later appoints him his chief of staff.Six months later, Marty and Cam expose the Motch brothers, who are called to appear before Congress. The brothers point out that everything they did is legal under Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, but they are arrested for their association with Wattley, who is actually an international fugitive.The movie is a marvellous satire on the American political system. It does a job on the effect of money in politics, the mindset of the social conservatives, the fluff answers to questions in debates, the focus on getting re-elected over personal beliefs, and especially the lack of any rules in politics. There are veiled analogies to John Edwards and especially to the Koch brothers, who are famous for giving millions of dollars to Republicans. The guest commentators include Wolf Blitzer from CNN and Chris Matthews from MSNBC from the center and right. I am guessing that Fox News commentators chose not to participate. I highly recommend it.

REVIEW: X-MEN 2

 

CAST

Patrick Stewart (American Dad)
Hugh Jackman (Swordfish)
Ian McKellen (The Hobbit)
Halle Berry (Catwoman)
Famke Janssen (The Faculty)
James Marsden (Westworld)
Bruce Davison (High Crimes)
Rebecca Romijn (Ugly Betty)
Anna Paquin (true Blood)
Shawn Ashmore (Earthsea)
Brian Cox (Troy)
Alan Cumming (Tin Man)
Aaron Stanford (The Hills Have Eyes)
Kelly Hu (Arrow)
Daniel Cudmore (Twilight: New Moon)
Peter Wingfield (Highlander: The Series)
Steve Bacic (Androemda)
Bryce Hodgson (Izombie)
Roger Cross (Arrow)
Kea Wong (Snow Day)

At the White House, brainwashed teleporting mutant Nightcrawler attempts to assassinate the President of the United States but fails and escapes. Meanwhile, Wolverine explores an abandoned military installation at Alkali Lake in Alberta for clues to his past, but finds nothing. He returns to Professor Xavier’s school for mutants, and Xavier tracks Nightcrawler using Cerebro. Xavier and Cyclops go to question the imprisoned Magneto about the attack, while X-Men Storm and Jean Grey retrieve Nightcrawler. Meanwhile, military scientist Colonel William Stryker approaches the president and receives approval to investigate Xavier’s mansion for their ties to mutants. Stryker’s forces invade the school and abduct some of the students. Colossus leads the remaining students to safety while Wolverine, Rogue, Iceman, and Pyro escape, and Stryker’s assistant Yuriko Oyama captures Cyclops and Xavier. During the attack Wolverine confronts Stryker, who knows him by name.untitledThe shape-shifting Mystique gains information about Magneto’s prison and helps him escape while also discovering schematics for a second Cerebro. Wolverine, Rogue, Iceman, and Pyro visit Iceman’s parents in Boston and meet up with Storm, Jean, and Nightcrawler. The X-Jet is attacked by fighter jets en route back to the mansion and is shot down, but Magneto saves them from crashing. Magneto explains to the group that Stryker has built the second Cerebro to use it, and Xavier, to telepathically kill every mutant on the planet. Stryker’s son, Jason, is a mutant with mind-controlling powers, which Stryker will use to force Xavier to do this. Stryker had also previously used Jason’s powers to orchestrate Nightcrawler’s attack as a pretense to gain approval to invade Xavier’s mansion. Magneto also tells Wolverine that Stryker was the man who grafted his adamantium skeleton onto his bones. Jean reads Nightcrawler’s mind and determines that Stryker’s base is underground in a dam at Alkali Lake.vlcsnap-2011-10-19-18h17m54s214The mutants infiltrate Stryker’s base and Magneto and Mystique go to disable Cerebro before the brainwashed Xavier can activate it. Storm and Nightcrawler rescue the captured students, and Jean fights a mind-controlled Cyclops; their battle frees Cyclops but damages the dam, which begins to rupture. Wolverine finds Stryker in an adamantium smelting lab and remembers it as where he received his adamantium skeleton. Wolverine fights and kills Yuriko, then chases Stryker to a helicopter pad and chains him to the helicopter’s wheel. Magneto stops Cerebro and, using Mystique impersonating Stryker to command Jason, has Xavier redirect its powers on normal humans. The two subsequently use Stryker’s helicopter to escape, accompanied by Pyro who has been swayed to Magneto’s views. Nightcrawler teleports Storm inside Cerebro, where she creates a snowstorm to break Jason’s concentration and free Xavier from his control.jjojoljljmThe X-Men flee the dam as water engulfs it, but the damaged X-Jet struggles to take flight. Stryker is killed in the deluge and Jean sacrifices herself to hold back the flood of water while getting the jet into the air, and is then consumed by the flood and presumed dead. The X-Men give the president Stryker’s files, and Xavier warns him that humans and mutants must work together to build peace. Back at the school, Xavier, Cyclops, and Wolverine remember Jean, and Xavier begins to hold a class. The film ends with a voice-over narration from Jean accompanied by the flooded Alkali Lake, a fiery Phoenix-like shape rising from the water.X Men 2 was very much as good, if not better, as the first. Bryan Singer seemed much more comfortable with the original characters who’s background were developed in the first film and the addition of Nightcrawler was a particular hit who allied with the good guys made a formidable team.