REVIEW: POISON IVY 2: LILY

CAST

Alyssa Milano (Charmed)
Johnathon Schaech (Legends of Tomorrow)
Xander Berkeley (justice)
Belinda Bauer (Robocop 2)
Camilla Belle (When A Stranger Calls)
Kathryne Dora Brown (Judging Amy)

Lily is a sheltered art student from Michigan attending college in California. She finds an apartment, and she soon notices her roommates, Tanya (a friendly lesbian artist who becomes a good friend to Lily), Bridgette (a cruel and taunting artist who initially takes an immediate dislike to her), and Robert (the silent but talented musician), all art students, aren’t quite normal. For the first time out of her village, she is still used to her protected life in Michigan and frequently calls her parents. One day she discovers a box of items belonging to Ivy, a girl she has never met before. In the box, she finds nude pictures of the girl and her diary. She is soon drawn to the content, also desiring for the girl’s sexual confidence and fearlessness. In class, she has trouble expressing herself, unlike Gredin, an attractive co-student and sculptor she soon starts dating. Meanwhile, she has found a job, babysitting Daphna, the daughter of her art teacher Donald Falk.Slowly, one step at a time, Lily becomes obsessed with Ivy’s letters and photos, attempting to take over her image. Soon enough, she cuts her hair, pierces her belly button and starts wearing more revealing clothes. Gredin grows even more attracted to her and it doesn’t take long before they start having sex. He is unamused by the amount of private time she spends with Donald, though, but she explains it’s because of the babysitting. She inspires Donald to perform art again, having noticed that he’s long been afraid to express himself. She agrees to pose nude for him, and also finds her own way to express herself in the meantime as well. During this process, he secretly falls in love with her, which has a great deal of impact on his marriage to Angela. However through the movie, it can be shown that Donald’s infatuation with her soon deepens to obsession.One day, Lily catches Gredin and Bridgette together. Feeling upset, she starts to rebel, thereby estranging herself from her friends. At a Halloween party, she enjoys the attention she is getting from men, and she amuses herself, until she sees Gredin intimately dancing with another girl. Trying to make him jealous, she kisses a masked guy, who turns out to be Robert. She eventually spends the night with Gredin, but he dumps her the next day, explaining she has changed too much. Meanwhile, Angela has found Donald’s drawing of Lily and thinks he has an affair with her. Donald, already depressed since he saw Lily kissing Gredin, takes it out on Lily. He later claims he is in love with her and tries to kiss her. She is initially unamused by his attempts, but they eventually heavily make out with each other, until they are interrupted. She leaves and soon reunited with Gredin.Not much later, she is invited for dinner at the Falk family and brings Gredin with her, which upsets Donald. When they are alone in a room, Donald forces himself upon Lily. She tries to stop him, but has no success. They are eventually caught in the act by Daphna, who runs away and is hit by a car (but luckily, in Gredin’s words, ends up “going to be all right”). Lily, traumatized by what happened that night, returns home and destroys everything that has to do with Ivy. She is surprised by a psychotic Donald, who attacks her. Gredin tries to save her, but Donald beats him up and even tries to stab him. She tries to run away by going to the roof. He follows her and eventually falls off the roof to his death. In the aftermath of the events Lily at first contemplates dropping out of the school and moving back to Michigan. However, in the end, Lily and Gredin say they love each other, and they finally decide to be with each other and Lily decides to stay in California.A Showcase for Alyssa Milano as she matured into a decent actress before she did Charmed. Not as good as the original but this one still holds its own.

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REVIEW: THE LOST WORLD: JURASSIC PARK

CAST

Jeff Goldblum (The Fly)
Julianne Moore (Hannibal)
Pete Postlethwaite (Solomon Kane)
Vince Vaughn (Swingers)
Arliss Howard (Full Metal Jacket)
Richard Attenborough (Doctor Dolittle)
Peter Stormare (22 Jump Street)
Richard Schiff (The West Wing)
Joseph Mazzello (The Social Network)
Ariana Richards (Timescape)
Camilla Belle (When A Stranger Calls)
Robin Sachs (Buffy)
Marjean Holden (Vampire)

Four years after Jurassic Park was overrun by cloned dinosaurs on the Central American island of Isla Nublar, a young girl named Cathy Bowman wanders around on nearby Isla Sorna during a family vacation, and survives an attack by a swarm of Compsognathus. Her parents file a lawsuit against the genetics company InGen, now headed by John Hammond’s nephew, Peter Ludlow, who plans to use Isla Sorna to relieve the company of financial losses. Mathematician Dr. Ian Malcolm meets Hammond at his mansion. Hammond explains that Isla Sorna, abandoned years earlier during a hurricane, is where InGen created their dinosaurs before moving them to Jurassic Park on Isla Nublar. Hammond hopes to stop InGen by sending a team to Isla Sorna to document the dinosaurs, to help rally public support against human interference on the island. After learning that his girlfriend, paleontologist Dr. Sarah Harding, is part of the team and is already on the island, Ian agrees to go to Isla Sorna, but only to retrieve her.

Ian meets his teammates, Eddie Carr, an equipment specialist and engineer, and Nick Van Owen, a video documentarian. After arriving on the island, they locate Sarah and discover that Ian’s daughter, Kelly, had stowed away in a trailer being used as a mobile base. They then watch as an InGen team of mercenaries, hunters and paleontologists led by Ludlow arrive to capture several dinosaurs. Meanwhile, team leader Roland Tembo hopes to capture a male Tyrannosaurus by luring it to the cries of its injured infant. That night, Ian’s team sneak into the InGen camp and learn the captured dinosaurs will be brought to a newly proposed theme park in San Diego. This prompts Nick and Sarah to free the caged dinosaurs, wreaking havoc upon the camp.

Nick also frees the infant T. rex and takes it to the trailer to mend its broken leg. After securing Kelly with Eddie, Ian realizes the infant’s parents are searching for it and rushes to the trailer. As soon as Ian arrives, the infant’s parents emerge on both sides of the trailer. The infant is released to the adult T. rexes, which then attack the trailer, pushing it over the edge of a nearby cliff. Eddie soon arrives, but as he tries to pull the trailer back over the edge with an SUV, the adult T. rexes return and devour him. The trailer and the SUV both plummet off the cliff. Ian, Sarah, and Nick are rescued by the InGen team, along with Kelly. With both groups’ communications equipment and vehicles destroyed, they team up to reach the old InGen compound’s radio station on foot.

The next night, the two adult T. rexes find the group’s camp. The female T. rex chases the group to a waterfall cave, while Roland tranquilizes the male. Much of the remaining InGen team is killed by Velociraptors while fleeing through a tall grass savannah. Nick runs ahead to the communications center at the InGen Worker’s Village to call for rescue. When Ian, Sarah and Kelly arrive, they are attacked by the raptors. They evade the raptors until a helicopter arrives and transports them off the island.

A freighter transports the male T. rex to the mainland, but crashes into the dock after the crew is killed by a creature of unknown species. A guard opens the cargo hold, accidentally releasing the T. rex, which escapes into San Diego and goes on a rampage. Ian and Sarah retrieve the infant T. rex from a secure InGen building and use it to lure the adult back to the ship. Ludlow tries to intervene but is trapped in the cargo hold by the adult T. rex and mauled by the infant. Before the adult can escape again, Sarah tranquilizes it while Ian closes the hold. The T. rexes are escorted back to Isla Sorna, and Hammond says that the American and Costa Rican governments have agreed to declare the island a nature preserve, affirming that “life will find a way”.

It’s by no way a cheap show, and there are plenty of fun moments. Vince Vaughn and Pete Postlethwaite have fairly interesting characters, even if the rest of the supporting cast is along just to be eaten alive.

REVIEW: 10, 000 BC

CAST

Steven Strait (The Covenant)
Camilla Belle (When A Strange Calls)
Cliff Curtis (Jubilee)
Omar Sharif (Doctor Zhivago)

In the timeframe of 10,000 BC, a tribe of hunter-gatherers called the Yagahl live in a remote mountain range in the Urals and survive by killing woolly mammoths, which they call “mannaks”. The camp is led by a hunter who has proven his bravery by killing a Mammoth, and taking the White Spear. The people also strongly venerate an elderly woman, called Old Mother. Because of her different appearance to other humans in the village, it is assumed she is a Neanderthal, the “last of her kind”, living with the Homo sapiens of the camp.
D’Leh, a young hunter, has a companion named Evolet, an orphan who was found by the tribe. D’Leh, while hunting mammoths, manages to kill one and wins the White Spear. He also wins Evolet in marriage, but feels he deserves neither since he killed the mammoth by accident.
D’Leh and several others are away when horse-raiders called the “Four Legged Demons” attack the Yaghal camp. The horse raiders enslave Evolet and several others village´s hunters; D’Leh, Tic’Tic, KaRen, and Baku pursue them to save her. They enter a rainforest where they catch up with the raiding party. During the night, D’Leh rescues Evolet, but as they are trying to escape from the pursuing raiders, they are attacked by a large pack of terror birds. Tic’Tic gets wounded and Baku, Ka’Ren, Evolet are captured. Continuing on, they meet others whose loved ones were taken by the raiders. D’Leh and Tic’Tic befriend Nakudu, leader of the Naku tribe. He tells D’Leh of a prophecy; whoever talks to a Smilodon that they call the “Spear-Tooth” will help free their people. D’Leh had earlier saved the Spear-Tooth from drowning in a trap and it had spared his life. D’Leh realizes the prophecy was about him. Nakudu explains that his loved ones were taken in the “Great Red Birds”, ships with large red sails, to the “Mountains of the Gods”, from which no one has ever returned. They then come together with other tribes, who agree to form a coalition to pursue the raiders.
They find the ship with red sails holding Evolet and Baku. With no means to follow the ships, they journey through a vast desert, discovering an advanced civilization similar to ancient Egypt, ruled by an enigmatic figure known as “The Almighty”, who is said to be the last survivor of his kind and is regarded as a living god. It is implied that he is a survivor of the fall of Atlantis. The Almighty possesses many thousands of slaves that he is using to build a huge pyramid complex in his honor. D’Leh finds an escaped servant of the Almighty and notices he is wearing a bracelet worn by D’Leh’s father. D’Leh’s father left his tribe for food and found the Naku tribe before being stolen by the raiders. In a night attack, the guards of the slaves discover D’Leh behind a pyramid. Tic’Tic dies from injuries sustained while killing the guards before they can raise the alarm. The Almighty’s priests discover Evolet bears scars on her hand patterned after the “Mark of the Hunter”, the constellation Orion. The priests believe it is part of a prophecy that whoever wears the mark of the Hunter is destined to kill The Almighty. D’Leh starts a full-scale rebellion among the slaves. They cause the mammoth herd used in building the pyramid to stampede, killing a large number of troops.

The Almighty offers Evolet to D’Leh in exchange for abandoning his rebellion. The Almighty says that if D’Leh takes his wife, his warriors can return, but the rest must be his slaves forever. D’Leh feigns acceptance of the deal which allows him to throw a spear at The Almighty and kill him, proving that he is not a god. During the ensuing battle, a raider obsessed with Evolet kidnaps her on horseback. Evolet grabs an arrow and stabs the warlord in the side, knocking them both off the horse. D’Leh rushes towards her, but the raider shoots her in the back with an arrow. D’Leh kills him and returns to Evolet, and she dies in his arms. The scene shifts to the tribe’s wise woman as she breathes out her last breath. D’Leh is still holding Evolet’s body when she suddenly comes back to life, restored by the wise woman’s sacrifice. They depart for home and bid farewell to the other tribes.

An enjoyable ride all the same and I liked it despite its clunky script. It didn’t really pretend to be much more than it was – a popcorn movie for a rainy Sunday afternoon. Don’t analyse it. Don’t expect historical accuracy or intellectual depth. Just enjoy the romp and you’ll probably find it’s better than you expected.

REVIEW: PUSH (2009)

CAST

Chris Evans (Captain America)
Dakota Fanning (War of The Worlds)
Camilla belle (10,000 BC)
Djimon Hounsou (Stargate)
Joel Gretsch (V)
Ming-na Wen (Agents of SHIELD)
Cliff Curtis (Deep Rising)
Neil Jackson (Alexander)

An organization within the United States government called the Division has been secretly hunting down and experimenting on people with psychic abilities since 1945. Two “Movers”, Nick Gant (Colin Ford) and his father Jonah (Joel Gretsch), are running from Agent Carver (Djimon Hounsou), a Division “Pusher”. Jonah tells Nick of a vision he received from a “Watcher” about a young girl he must help in the future in order to take down Division. Jonah helps Nick escape as Carver arrives and kills Jonah.Ten years later, Carver tests a power boosting drug that has killed all previous test subjects on a Pusher named Kira (Camilla Belle). Rendering her doctor unconscious, Kira steals an augmentation drug-filled syringe before escaping. In Hong Kong, Nick (Chris Evans) is hiding as an expatriate. A young girl, Cassie Holmes (Dakota Fanning), arrives at Nick’s apartment, explaining that she is a Watcher and that they are going to find a mysterious case that will help them take down the Division. The case is also sought by the Pop Family, psychic Triads composed of Pop Father (Haruhiko Yamanouchi) and his two sons (Kwan Fung Chi and Jacky Heung) who are “Bleeders”, and his daughter Pop Girl (Xiao Lu Li), who is a Watcher like Cassie.Following Cassie’s predictions, they go to a nightclub to meet Nick’s friend Hook, who is a “Shifter”. He tells them to go to a “Sniff” named Emily (Ming-Na Wen), one of many Sniffs Carver and his right hand Mover, Victor (Neil Jackson), are trying to enlist to find Kira. With Emily’s help, Nick finds Kira; the two had a romantic relationship prior to Kira’s capture by Division. Kira hid the syringe inside the case, then had a “Wiper” erase her memories to keep the Division Watchers off her trail. Nick recruits a “Shadow” named Pinky (Nate Mooney) to “shade” Kira from psychic detection. Cassie finds a key in Kira’s shoe to a locker in a construction building that is shaded by a powerful Shadow, indicating Kira hid the case there.Nick devises a complex plan by giving his allies instructions in envelopes to open at specific times, while having a Wiper erase his memories of the grand plot to obstruct the Watchers’ efforts to discern the entire plan. Meanwhile, Hook retrieves the case and creates a duplicate to match the real case with the syringe. As part of the plan, Kira surrenders herself to Carver, who introduces himself to Kira as a friend. Pushing his thoughts into her, Carver convinces Kira that she is actually a Division agent who volunteered to take the augmentation injection and suffered amnesia as a side effect.Pop Girl hunts Cassie and corners her at a secluded spot but The Wiper appears at the right moment to dispatch Pop Girl with a massive memory wipe. Nick meets with Carver, Victor and Kira to trade the drug for Kira’s freedom but Kira tells him their past relationship when Nick revealed his love at Coney Island was a false memory she pushed into his mind. The three force Nick to take them to the construction site that contains the locker holding the case, where the Triads lie in wait to ambush them. Victor kills several Triads before Pop Bleeder unleashes a powerful scream that kills Victor but also kills Pop Bleeder in a wave of collapsing debris.Nick surprises Carver and grabs the syringe from him. Unable to convince Kira that their relationship was real, Nick jams the syringe into his arm, apparently killing himself. After Carver and Kira leave Nick for dead, he wakes up. Cassie appears and retrieves the true case with the syringe, revealing that Nick took the duplicated case and injected himself with soy sauce. Cassie plans to exchange the syringe to Division for releasing Cassie’s mother, a powerful Watcher who foretold her vision to Nick’s father and set the preceding events in motion even before Cassie’s birth to ensure her and Nick’s eventual success.Flying back to America with Carver, Kira opens her purse and finds the envelope from Nick. Inside is photograph of Nick and herself together at Coney Island with a message: “KILL HIM. See U soon – Nick.” Kira pushes Carver to put his gun in his mouth and fire; the screen fades to black and a single gunshot is heard.

I was really surprised by how entertained I was by this.  I found the plot complex but understandable. To dismiss it as a heroes knock-off is also unfair. It’s a sci-fi film but that doesn’t mean all sci-fi films are the same. The film makes good use of its Hong Kong location more so than any recent film I’ve seen and the characters were memorable. The special effects were there for the story and not the other way around.

REVIEW: WHEN A STRANGER CALLS (2006)

CAST

Camilla Belle (Push)
Tommy Flanagan (Sin City)
Katie Cassidy (Arrow0
Tessa Thompson (Veronica Mars)
Brian Geraghty (Flight)
Clark Gregg (Agents of SHIELD)
Derek de Lint (Deep Impact)
Karina Logue (Scream: The Series)
Lance Henriksen (The Terminator)

This remake is an exemplary piece of suspense. The opening credits gives you a three-minute preview of what to expect in the movie and the movie delivers. We then move to bright scene of a high school gym where we are introduced to our star, Camilla Belle, as Jill Johnson. She is a teenager that gets the perfect babysitting job. A rich family, a very large beautiful 1970’s style house built in glass and wood, a full fridge, and best of all, the children are already asleep. And what could be safer, the house is gated and has a security system.

But as the sun starts to set, the shadows start to make the large house look un-inviting and remote. She hears noises and creaks and we wonder what it is; is it someone, a pet, the children or our imagination. Then the phone call start to come and our baby sitter starts to grew less and less confident as she starts to realize perhaps danger is nearby. She does everything a baby sitter should do when scared; she calls her father, the parents of the children and the police. But at this time there is no reason for anyone to ask. After all it is just phone calls with no threats and she is in no danger. Then she gets the call that asks her, “Have you checked the children?” Once again our panicky babysitter phones the police who take her serious this time. They trace the call and find out they are coming from within the house. So of course she goes up to check on the children again and this quiet night of babysitting turns into her worst nightmare.

This movie is a classic thriller that is frightening. If you love Hitchcock’s films, you will appreciate this. If you are looking for just gore and horror, do not watch this film. This film requires you to take the journey with the babysitter and actually use your imagination as you hear or see things to try and figure out what is transpiring. It is the type of film we use to call a nerve-shattering thriller or suspense film. Since this could really happen anywhere you will experience the suspense. And Camilla has to convey the enter range of motions without dialogue. It is the things you do not see that scare you the most in real life. The film has three stars, Camilla Belle, the House itself and the phone. If you like to be frightened and have an imagination, this film is for you.