REVIEW: AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY

CAST

Meryl Streep (Into The Woods)
Julia Roberts (Mirror Mirror)
Chris Cooper (The Bourne Identity)
Ewan McGregor (Big Fish)
Margo Martindale (Orphan)
Sam Shepard (Swordfish)
Dermot Mulroney (The Grey)
Julianne Nicholson (Kinsey)
Juliette Lewis (Natural Born Killers)
Abigail Breslin (Scream Queens)
Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Strange)
Newell Alexander (Sordid Lives)

17xp-anderson1-articleLargeThe title designates time and location: an unusually hot August in a rural area outside Pawhuska, Oklahoma. Beverly Weston (Sam Shepard), an alcoholic, once-noted poet, interviews and hires a young native American woman Johnna (Misty Upham) as a live-in cook and caregiver for his strong-willed and contentious wife Violet (Meryl Streep), who is suffering from oral cancer and addiction to narcotics. Shortly after this, he disappears from the house, and Violet calls her sister and daughters for support. Her sister Mattie Fae (Margo Martindale) arrives with husband Charles Aiken (Chris Cooper). Violet’s middle daughter Ivy (Julianne Nicholson) is single and the only one living locally; Barbara (Julia Roberts), her oldest, who has inherited her mother’s mean streak, arrives from Colorado with her husband Bill (Ewan McGregor) and 14-year-old daughter Jean (Abigail Breslin). Barbara and Bill are separated, but they put up a united front for Violet.After five days, the sheriff arrives with the news that Beverly took his boat out on the lake and has drowned. Youngest daughter Karen (Juliette Lewis) arrives with the latest in a string of boyfriends, Steve Huberbrecht (Dermot Mulroney), a sleazy Florida businessman whom she introduces as her fiancé. Mattie Fae and Charles’s shy, awkward son “Little Charles” (Benedict Cumberbatch) misses the funeral because he overslept and is met at the bus station by his father. Charles loves his son, whereas Mattie constantly belittles him. Ivy confides to Barbara that she is in love with her cousin, “Little Charles”, who plans to move to New York, and she cannot have children because she had a hysterectomy. She feels this is her only chance to finally marry.The family sits down to dinner after the funeral, fueled by Violet’s brutal “truth telling”, which results in Barbara pouncing on her mother. She decides she has had enough of her mother’s drug addiction and confiscates all her several kinds of pills. Later, after Violet has had a chance to sober up, she has a tender moment with her daughters and shares a story that demonstrates how cruel her own mother was when she longed for a new pair of cowgirl boots when she was in her early teens.As “Little Charles” sings Ivy a song he has written for her, Mattie Fae walks in and berates him. This exhausts Charles’s patience with his wife’s lack of love and compassion for her son, and he threatens to leave her if she keeps it up. Mattie subsequently reveals to Barbara, who unintentionally listened in, that she had a long-ago affair with Beverly, and Charles is in fact their younger half-brother and that is the true reason why Ivy and “Little Charles” cannot be together. That evening, Steve and Jean are playfully sharing a joint of marijuana. Johnna sees this and, sensing that he intends on molesting her, goes after him with a shovel. Barbara confronts Jean and slaps her. This impels Bill to take Jean back to Colorado, leaving Barbara. Karen also leaves with Steve.Later, Ivy tries to tell her mother about her love for “Little Charles”. Barbara tries to deflect the admission. Violet tells Ivy Charles is actually her brother, something she knew all along. Ivy leaves and promises to never come back. In the last confrontation between Violet and Barbara, Violet admits she was contacted by Beverly from his motel the week after he had left home, but did nothing to help him until after she removed money from the couple’s joint safe deposit box. By this time he had already drowned. This revelation leads Barbara to depart, realizing that her mother has slipped beyond help. Violet is left with only Johnna. Barbara is driving through the plains, stops, gets out of the car, cries then gets back in the car and follows signage showing highways and number of miles to Wichita, Salina and Denver.Fantastic film – see it if you enjoy witty, clever writing, a strong storyline and a first rate cast.

25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: MONEY TRAIN

CAST

Wesley Snipes (Blade)
Woody Harrelson (The Hunger Games)
Jennifer Lopez (Jersey Girl)
Robert Blake (The Restless Gun)
Chris Cooper (The Kingdom)
Joe Grifasi (The Deer Hutner)
Scott Sowers (Under Siege 2)
Skipp Sudduth (The Cherry Orchard)
Vincent Pastore (Revolver)
Jeremy Roberts (The Mask)
Enrico Colantoni (Veronica Mars)
Flex Alexander (One on One)
Dean Norris (Breaking Bad)
José Zúñiga (The Dark Tower)

Image result for money train (1995)On Christmas, we meet foster brothers John and Charlie. They work as transit cops patrolling the New York City subway. When a mugging occurs, John and Charlie chase the mugger into a subway tunnel, and all trains traveling in their direction are halted. But their harsh transit captain Donald Patterson, allows the money train to continue. John and Charlie avoid getting hit by the train; however, when transit police at the next station witness the mugger running toward the money train, they shoot him dead. The mugger is revealed to be a young teenage boy, which triggers a brawl between John, Charlie, and the other transit officers. Patterson blames the two for causing his money train to arrive late.Image result for money train (1995)Charlie asks John to borrow $300 to buy a Christmas present, but Charlie instead uses the money to pay off some of his gambling debts to the sleazy night club owner Mr. Brown. Brown intends to have Charlie killed by throwing him off a building, but John bursts in and interrupts, telling Brown that he has the money Charlie owes him. Brown reveals to John that Charlie is $15,000 in debt, so John offers to have the money delivered in a few days. Brown accepts and lets Charlie live. During their night shift, John and Charlie are introduced to Grace Santiago, a decoy transit officer newly assigned to their unit. Both brothers immediately take a liking to her. During their patrol, a serial killer known as the Torch robs a token booth and sets it on fire. John and Charlie rescue the booth worker and put out the fire, but the Torch manages to escape.Image result for money train (1995)At a local bar, Charlie reveals a plan to rob the money train in order to pay off their debts, but John, judging the caper impossible, rejects the idea. Later that night, the two brothers and Grace are assigned to patrol the money train. As Charlie discovers a grate in the floor and a ladder leading to Central Park, a brawl breaks out between John and another officer, quickly involving the entire squad. Patterson again blames the two for the incident and also accuses them of taking some train money, but even after it is found that a collection agent miscounted, Patterson continues to insult them. At the bar, Charlie tells John that the best time to rob the money train would be on New Year’s Eve because of looser subway security and because the subway makes the most money on that date: up to $500,000. The plan involves entering the train through the metal grate when the train has stopped, driving it to the maintenance ladder, and escaping into Central Park. John remains reluctant to attempt the theft. John gives Charlie the $15,000 he needs to pay back Mr. Brown, but on the train, Charlie loses it to a thief. He goes to Brown to explain but is brutally beaten by his men. When Charlie comes back home, he looks at John’s house from his window and he sees Grace and John sleeping together. Charlie later tells John that he’s happy for him, but he’s clearly saddened by Grace’s rejection. To nab Torch, an ambush is arranged for which Grace is disguised as an attendant at a station token booth. Torch notices this and, to distract the police, pushes a man in front of a moving train, killing him. Torch sprays gasoline on Grace, but before he can light it, Charlie alerts the other officers, who shoot at Torch. John pursues him into another station, where they fight. Torch is burned by the gasoline he’s carrying and pushed under a moving train, killing him. Patterson fires Charlie for ruining the ambush, and when John tries to defend Charlie, he’s fired as well.Image result for money train (1995)John then heads to the strip club of the mobsters who beat up his brother and were threatening him for failing to pay up his gambling debts and, after storming inside, beats them all up utilizing his Kung-Fu skills,  including knocking down the criminal boss of the organization, Brown, with a 360-degree kick.Image result for money train (1995)Charlie decides to go ahead with his robbery plan. John is reluctant to do anything about this, but Grace persuades him to save Charlie from trouble. When the money train stops at one of the stations, Charlie enters the train from beneath and drives it to the maintenance ladder, but he can’t escape with the money due to the presence of a group of policemen. Meanwhile, John reaches the train and persuades Charlie to drive further to prevent their arrest. Knowing that Patterson will direct his team to trip the train’s brakes, the duo bleeds the brakes. Patterson then orders a steel barricade erected to stop the train, but John increases the speed of the money train to its maximum so that it smashes through the barricade. Transit control officer Kowalski declares the money train a runaway and starts clearing tracks, but Patterson diverts the money train onto a track occupied by a passenger train to keep it from having a clear path, putting innocent people at grave risk. The money train rams into the passenger train and then slows down, but speeds up again because it’s in full throttle and rams the train again. It repeatedly keeps ramming the passenger train with the increasing risk of derailing it and killing everyone on board.Image result for money train (1995)Since the money train now had no braking power and the throttle lever is jammed at full power, the brothers decide to throw it into reverse, derailing it and killing both of them but allowing the passengers to live. Charlie comes up with an idea and positions an iron bar in such a way that when the money train rams the other train once more, the bar trips the reverse lever. Both of them climb on top of the train and proceed to the front. When the trains collide one more time, the reverse lever is activated and both brothers jump across to the other train as the money train derails tumbles around several times knocking over several support beams (much to the horror of Patterson who witnesses the whole crash) before finally screeching to a stop on its side just before the station.Image result for money train (1995)The brothers try to escape during the commotion but are spotted by Patterson. They pretend to have come to help him, but Patterson rudely insults them. Fed up with his constant abuse, the brothers punch him in the face. As he shouts out to his team to arrest them for assault, Grace comes rushing in and arrests Patterson for endangering the lives of the people on the passenger train. When the two brothers exit the station, they are in Times Square as the countdown for the New Year begins. During the celebration, John realizes Charlie is carrying a money bag containing over $500,000, much to his dismay. The film ends with John and Charlie walking into the distance arguing over the money.Image result for money train (1995)Snipes and Harrelson look like they’re having a ball in this fast paced action caper. It’s a fun ride with plenty of action so I enjoyed it for what it was.

REVIEW: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2

CAST

Andrew Garfield (The Social Network)
Emma Stone (Easy A)
Jamie Foxx (Ray)
Dane DeHaan (Life After beth)
Colm Feore (Thor)
Felicity Jones (Rogue One)
Paul Giamatti (Sideways)
Sally Field (Lincoln)
Embeth Davidtz (Army of Darkness)
Campbell Scott (The Exorcism of Emily Rose)
Marton Csokas (The Equalizer)
Sarah Gadon (Dracula Untold)
Skyler Gisondo (Vacation)
Stan Lee (Guardians of The Galaxy Vol 2)
Chris Cooper (The Bourne Identity)
Denis Leary (Rescue Me)
Martin Sheen (The West Wing)
Michael Massee (Flashforward)
Max Charles (American Sniper)
B.J. Novak (Saving Mr. Banks)
J.D. Walsh (Two and a Half Men)

In 2000, Oscorp scientist Richard Parker records a video message to explain his disappearance. Later, he and his wife, Mary, are aboard a private jet hijacked by a man sent to assassinate Richard. The plane crashes, killing both Richard and Mary, after he uploads the video.Fourteen years later, Richard’s son Peter continues to fight crime as Spider-Man. He pursues and apprehends Aleksei Sytsevich. Later, Peter meets with Gwen at their high school graduation ceremony and, insisting he keep his vow to her father, ends their relationship. Peter’s childhood friend, Harry Osborn, returns to Manhattan to see his terminally-ill father, Norman, CEO of OsCorp. Norman explains his illness is genetic, and Harry is at the age where it first develops. Norman gives Harry a small device he claims contains his life’s work. The next day, Norman dies and Harry is appointed the new OsCorp CEO.While working in an OsCorp laboratory, electrical engineer Max Dillon shocks himself by accident and falls into a tank of genetically-engineered electric eels. They attack him, and he mutates into a living electric generator. Meanwhile, Peter attempts to maintain a friendship with Gwen, but she reveals that she may move to England for schooling. Before they can discuss it, Dillon wanders into Times Square, accidentally causing a blackout, and is stopped by Peter after a battle. Dillon is taken to Ravencroft Institute, where he is studied by German scientist Dr. Kafka. Meanwhile, the first symptoms of Harry’s illness are showing, and he uses the device Norman gave him to deduce that Spider-Man’s blood could help save him. He asks Peter, who has been selling photos of Spider-Man to the Daily Bugle, to aid him in finding Spider-Man. Peter refuses, unsure of what effects the transfusion would have. Although he later comes to Harry as Spider-Man, he still refuses, and Harry develops an intense hatred towards Spider-Man. The OsCorp board-members, in particular the vice-president, Donald Menken, frame Harry for covering up Dillon’s accident, remove him as CEO, overthrow him and take control of Oscorp. Harry’s assistant, Felicia Hardy, informs him of equipment that could help him, so he makes a deal with Dillon, who now calls himself “Electro,” to get him back inside the OsCorp building. There he finds a suit of armour and other equipment made by Norman, as well as venom from the now-destroyed genetically-altered spiders. The venom accelerates Harry’s illness and transforms him into a goblin-like creature, but the suit’s built-in emergency protocol restores his health and cures his disease.Peter uses information left by his father to locate the video message in an abandoned subway station’s hidden lab. Richard explains he had to leave because he refused to cooperate with Norman’s biogenetic weaponization plans. Peter then hears a voicemail from Gwen, telling him she was offered the British scholarship and is heading to the airport earlier than expected. He manages to catch her and professes his love for her, and, vowing to go wherever she goes, they agree to go to England together. Electro causes another blackout, and Peter heads off to fight him as Spider-Man. Gwen follows, and together they restore power and overload Electro’s body, killing him.The transformed Harry, who now calls himself “Green Goblin”, arrives equipped with Norman’s armor and weaponry. Upon seeing Gwen, he deduces Spider-Man’s secret identity and, swearing revenge for being refused the blood transfusion, kidnaps her and takes her to the top of a clock tower. Peter manages to defeat the Green Goblin, but his webbing breaks during the battle and Gwen falls to her death. Peter, depressed and distraught, mourns over Gwen’s death and ends his career as Spider-Man. Five months later, Harry is coping with the aftereffects of his transformation while incarcerated at Ravencroft. His associate, Gustav Fiers, visits Harry and the pair discuss forming their own team. Harry orders Fiers to start with Sytsevich. Later an unknown team of men break Sytsevich out of prison. Equipped with electromechanical suit armor, Sytsevich calls himself the Rhino and rampages through the streets. Peter, inspired by Gwen’s graduation speech, resumes his role as Spider-Man and confronts him.The Amazing Spider-Man 2 nearly earns an honest emotional response over this pairing. The writing could be better, but Garfield and Stone do an excellent job selling their roles and this movie. I am a big fan of Stone, and she elevates Garfield’s already solid performance. Webb does not quite find the balance between this drama and spectacle, and the film understandably includes a number of rollicking action sequences. The visual effects are strong, but the bullet-time slow motion feels a bit stale. There is a lot of flash to these bits, but not much substance. This is an entertaining film that could be better.

REVIEW: REMEMBER ME

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CAST

Robert Pattinson (Twilight)
Emilie de Ravin (Lost)
Chris Cooper (The Muppets)
Lena Olin (Alias)
Pierce Brosnan (Mars Attacks)
Kelli Barrett (The Punisher)
Meghan Markle (Suits)

MV5BMjA1MTA0MjY4N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNDQ5MjAyMw@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1505,1000_AL_In 1991 in New York City, Alyssa “Ally” Craig is waiting with her mother for the subway when they are mugged by two young men who shoot her mother after boarding the train. Ten years later, Ally is a student at New York University and lives with her father, Neil, a New York Police Department detective. Tyler Hawkins audits classes at NYU and works at the university bookstore. He has a strained relationship with his businessman father, Charles, because his older brother, Michael, committed suicide years before. Charles ignores his youngest child, Caroline, of whom Tyler is protective.
MV5BNzE5MDUwNDE5OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTI3NDc2Mw@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1326,1000_AL_One night with his roommate, Aidan, Tyler gets involved in somebody else’s fight and is arrested by Neil. Aiden calls Charles to bail Tyler out, but he does not stick around to have a conversation with his father. Aidan sees Neil dropping Ally off, realizing that she is his daughter. He approaches Tyler with the idea to get back at the detective by persuading him to sleep with and dump Ally. Tyler and Ally go to dinner, kiss at the end of the night, and continue seeing one another. While at Tyler’s apartment, Aidan convinces the pair to go to a party, after which Ally is very drunk and ends up crashing there. The following day she and her father argue. Neil slaps her and Ally flees to Tyler’s apartment.
MV5BMjIzNjMzNzQ3OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTYwNzYyMw@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1294,1000_AL_Caroline, a budding artist, is featured in an art show and Tyler asks his father to attend the show. Tyler confronts him in a board room filled with people, which causes his father to explode. Neil’s partner recognizes Tyler with Ally on a train, so Neil breaks into Tyler’s apartment and confronts him. Tyler provokes Neil by confessing to Aidan’s plan and his initial reason for meeting Ally, which forces Tyler to confess to Ally. She leaves and returns home. Aidan visits Ally at her father’s home to explain that he is to blame and Tyler is in love with her. Caroline is bullied by a classmates at a birthday party where they cut her hair off. Ally and Aidan visit Tyler’s mother’s apartment where Caroline is sobbing. Tyler accompanies his sister back to school and when her classmates tease her for her new haircut, Tyler turns violent and ends up in jail. Charles is impressed that Tyler stood up for his sister, and they connect. Charles asks Tyler to meet with the lawyers at his office.
MV5BMjAxNjkwNTM5NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDk0MTI3Mw@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1560,1000_AL_Tyler spends the night with Ally and they reveal they love each other after making love. Charles takes Caroline to school. He calls Tyler to let him know this and tell him he’ll be late. Tyler is happy his father is spending time with Caroline. He tells Charles he will wait in his office, He sees on Charles’s computer, a slideshow of pictures of Tyler, Michael and Caroline when they were younger. After Charles drops Caroline off at school, she sits in her classroom, where the teacher writes the date on the blackboard as September 11, 2001. Tyler looks out the window of his father’s office—which is revealed to be located on the uppermost floors of the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Once the 9/11 terrorist attacks begin, the rest of the family, Aidan and Ally look at the towers before the camera pans over the rubble, showing Tyler’s diary. In a voice-over of his diary, Tyler reveals to Michael that he loves him, and he forgives him for killing himself. Tyler is buried next to Michael. Some time later, Caroline and Charles seem to have a healthy father-daughter relationship. Aidan, who has since gotten a tattoo of Tyler’s name on his arm, is working hard in school and Ally gets on the subway at the same spot where her mother was killed .MV5BMjEzMzY4NzQ0MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzk0MTI3Mw@@._V1_SX1701_CR0,0,1701,999_AL_The ending is a highly controversial one that will split audiences but which I loved, finding it harrowing, devastating, and extremely haunting. It is an ending that will stay with you long after the film is over and which will make you re-evaluate everything you’ve seen in light of it. Again it is handled in a very touching, human way. A real little gem of a film.

REVIEW: WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE

CAST

Max Records (The Sitter)
Catherine Keener (The 40 Year Old Virgin)
Mark Ruffalo (Avengers Assemble)
James Gandolfini (8MM)
Paul Dano (Looper)
Catherine O’Hara (Beetlejuice)
Nick Farnell (Ned kelly)
Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland)
Chris Cooper ( The Bourne Identity)

The film begins with Max, a lonely nine-year-old boy[6] with an active imagination whose parents are divorced, wearing a wolf costume and chasing his dog. His older sister, Claire, does nothing when her friends crush Max’s snow fort (with him inside) during a snowball fight. Out of frustration, Max messes up her bedroom and destroys a frame that he had made for her. At school, Max’s teacher teaches him and his classmates about the eventual death of the sun. Later on, his mother, Connie, invites her boyfriend Adrian to dinner. Max becomes upset with his mother for not coming to the fort he made in his room. He wears his wolf costume, acts like an animal, and demands to be fed. When his mother gets upset, he throws a tantrum and bites her on the shoulder. She yells at him and he runs away, scared by what has transpired. At the edge of a pond Max finds a small boat that he boards.MV5BMTIwMzE2MjM4MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwNjA1OTY3._V1_The pond soon becomes an ocean. Max, still in his wolf suit, eventually reaches an island. There, he stumbles upon a group of seven large, monstrous creatures. One of them, Carol, is in the middle of a destructive tantrum (caused by the departure of a female Wild Thing named K.W.) while the others attempt to stop him. As Carol wreaks havoc Max tries to join in on the mayhem, but soon finds himself facing the suspicious anger of the Wild Things. When they contemplate eating him, Max convinces them that he is a king with magical powers capable of bringing harmony to the group. They crown him as their new king. Shortly after, K.W. returns and Max declares a wild rumpus, in which the Wild Things smash trees and tackle each other.
The Wild Things introduce themselves as Carol, Ira, Judith, Alexander, Douglas, the Bull, and K.W. Soon, they all end up piling on one another before going to sleep, with Max at the center. Carol takes Max on a tour of the island, showing him a model he built depicting what he wishes the island looked like. Inspired by this, Max orders the construction of an enormous fort, with Carol in charge of construction. When K.W. brings her two owl friends Bob and Terry to the fort, a disagreement ensues, as Carol feels they are outsiders (Max had said earlier that if any outsiders entered the fort, they would “have their brains automatically cut out”). To release their frustrations, Max divides the tribe into “good guys” and “bad guys” for a dirt clod fight, but Alexander is hurt during the game. After an argument between K.W. and Carol, K.W. leaves once again.

Max finds Alexander alone in the fort and has a conversation with him. Alexander reveals that he always suspected that Max is not a king with magical powers, but warns him to never let Carol know. Soon enough, at pre-dawn, Carol throws another tantrum — this time, about the fort, K.W.’s absence, and the eventual death of the sun (which Max had talked to Carol about earlier in the film). When Carol gets angry with Max for not doing a good job as a king, Douglas tries to explain to him that he’s “just a boy, pretending to be a wolf, pretending to be a king”, thus exposing the truth to the rest of the Wild Things. Carol becomes enraged and ends up ripping off Douglas’ right arm (though only sand pours out of the wound). Then he chases Max into the forest and attempts to eat him. Max is saved by K.W., who hides him in her stomach. Max listens as Carol and K.W. have an argument over Carol’s misbehavior. After Carol leaves, K.W. explains that their lives are difficult, with Carol’s tantrums only making it worse. Max realizes what his mother is going through, and decides to leave the island and head home.

Max finds the crushed remains of Carol’s model island (presumably destroyed by Carol himself in a rage) and leaves a token of affection for him to find (a letter C inside a love-heart made of twigs). He finds Carol and tells him he is going home because he is not a king. The other Wild Things escort Max to his boat. Carol runs to join them after finding Max’s token and arrives in time to see him off. He starts to howl and Max howls back, then all the other Wild Things join in. Carol looks at K.W. and she smiles kindly at him. Returning home, Max is embraced by his distraught mother, who gives him a bowl of hot soup, a piece of cake and a glass of milk and sits with him as he eats. He watches as she falls asleep.
It’s such a beautifully realized film. From its vivid and in-the-moment use of hand-held cinematography , to the songs from Karen O. that are always supportive of the scenes , to the complex relationships between all of the characters. Its welcoming, refreshing and kind of staggering to see someone who knows the way children think, and how we don’t have to be a mixed-up little boy to identify and see ourselves in Max. Where the Wild Things Are works is a spectacle and comedy, it works for children and adults.

REVIEW: AMERICAN BEAUTY

CAST
Kevin Spacey (Superman Returns)
Annette Bening (The Siege)
Thora Birch (The Hole)
Wes Bentley (The Hunger Games)
Mena Suvari (American Pie)
Chris Cooper (Red Dawn)
Allison Janney (Mom)
Peter Gallagher (Mr. Deeds)
Scott Bakula (Chuck)
Sam Robards (A.I.)
John Cho (Sleepy Hollow)
Ara Celi (Machete)
Lester Burnham is a middle-aged magazine writer and advertising executive who despises his job. His wife, Carolyn, is an ambitious real estate broker; their sixteen-year-old daughter, Jane, abhors her parents and has low self-esteem. The Burnhams’ new neighbors are retired United States Marine Corps Colonel Frank Fitts and his introverted wife, Barbara. Their teenage son, Ricky, obsessively films his surroundings with a camcorder, collecting hundreds of recordings on video tapes in his bedroom. His job as a part-time bar caterer serves as a front for his secret marijuana dealing. Col. Fitts is a strict disciplinarian, and had previously sent Ricky to a military school and briefly committed him to a psychiatric hospital. Jim Olmeyer and Jim Berkley, a gay couple who live nearby, welcome the family to the neighborhood; the homophobic Col. Fitts angrily asks Ricky “why these faggots have to rub it in”.
Lester becomes fixated with Jane’s vain cheerleader friend, Angela Hayes, after seeing her perform a half-time dance routine at a high school basketball game. He starts having sexual fantasies about Angela, in which red rose petals are a recurring motif. Carolyn begins an affair with her business rival, Buddy Kane. When Lester’s boss and efficiency expert Brad tells him that he is to be laid off, Lester instead blackmails him for $60,000 and quits his job. Lester takes a minimum wage job at a fast food restaurant, trades in his Toyota Camry for his dream car, a 1970 Pontiac Firebird, and starts working out after he overhears Angela tell Jane that she would find him sexually attractive if he got in shape. He begins smoking marijuana supplied by Ricky, and flirts with Angela whenever she visits Jane. The girls’ friendship wanes after Jane becomes involved with Ricky. Jane and Ricky bond over what Ricky considers the most beautiful imagery he has filmed: a plastic bag being blown in the wind.
Lester discovers Carolyn’s infidelity, but reacts indifferently. Buddy ends the affair, fearing an expensive divorce. Col. Fitts becomes suspicious of Lester and Ricky’s friendship when he finds his son’s footage of Lester lifting weights while nude, which Ricky captured by chance, leading him to believe that Ricky is gay. After spying on Ricky and Lester through Lester’s garage window, the colonel mistakenly concludes the pair are sexually involved. He later confronts and beats Ricky for the affair and accuses him of being gay. Ricky falsely admits the charges and goads his father into kicking him out of their home. Carolyn is sitting in her car in the rain, she takes a gun out of the glove box while a voice on the radio talks about not being a victim. Ricky goes to Jane’s bedroom, finding her arguing with Angela about Angela’s flirtation with Lester. Ricky convinces Jane to flee with him to New York City and assures Angela that she is ugly, boring and ordinary.
Col. Fitts confronts Lester and attempts to kiss him; Lester rebuffs the colonel, who tearfully flees. Carolyn puts the gun in her handbag shouting “I refuse to be a victim!” Lester finds a distraught Angela sitting alone in the dark; she asks him to tell her she is beautiful. He does, and he begins to seduce her.
Carolyn drives through the rain, rehearsing a confession to Lester. As Lester strokes Angela she admits that she is a virgin, and Lester changes his mind. He instead comforts her and the pair bond over their shared frustrations. Angela goes to the bathroom and Lester smiles at a family photograph in his kitchen. An unseen figure raises a gun to the back of his head, a gunshot sounds and blood sprays on the wall. Ricky and Jane find Lester’s body, while Carolyn breaks down crying in the closet. A bloodied Col. Fitts returns home, where a gun is shown to be missing from his collection. Lester’s closing narration describes meaningful experiences during his life; he says that, despite his death, he is happy because there is so much beauty in the world.
American Beauty is a pure cinematic triumph that is both funny and sad. It’s disturbing… and yet, it’s extremely provocative and deep. The film is an extraordinary achievement that reveals a tragic and realistic story about a family that is anything but ordinary. It’s a film with so many layers that it is almost impossible to dissect them all in one single thought.

REVIEW: THE BOURNE SUPREMACY

CAST
Matt Damon (Good Will Hunting)
Franka Potente (Blow)
Karl Urban (Red)
Julia Stiles (A Guy Thing)
Brian Cox (Rise of The Planet of The Apes)
Gabriel Mann (Josie and The Pussycats)
Joan Allen (Manhunter)
Marton Csokas (Alice In Wonderland)
Michelle Monaghan (Mission Impossible III)
Karel Roden (Hellboy)
Chris Cooper (American Beauty)
The-Bourne-Supermacy-free06-630x400

Two years after the events of the first film, Jason Bourne and Marie Kreutz are now in Goa, India. Still experiencing flashbacks about his former life as a CIA assassin, he records them in a notebook. In Berlin, CIA agents subordinate to Deputy Director Pamela Landy are paying US$3 million for the “Neski files”, documents on the theft of $20 million in allocation money seven years prior. Kirill, an agent for Russia’s Federal Security Service, plants Bourne’s fingerprint to frame him, kills the agents, and steals the files and money for delivery to Russian oil oligarch Yuri Gretkov. Kirill travels to Goa to kill Bourne, but Bourne spots him and flees with Marie. As the couple drive away, Kirill attempts to shoot Bourne, but kills Marie by mistake. Their vehicle goes off a bridge and into a river; Kirill assumes that Bourne is dead.Matt Damon and Julia Stiles in The Bourne Supremacy (2004)Bourne survives and leaves for Naples, Italy, with money and passports. After finding the fingerprint Kirill planted, Landy learns that it belongs to Bourne and subsequently asks Deputy Director Ward Abbott about Operation Treadstone, the defunct CIA program to which Bourne belonged. Landy tells Abbott that the CIA agent who stole the $20 million was named in the Neski files. Some years previously, Russian politician Vladimir Neski was about to identify the thief when he was supposedly murdered by his wife in a Berlin hotel. Landy believes that Bourne and Treadstone’s late supervisor, Alexander Conklin, were somehow involved. She also believes that Bourne killed her two agents. Both Abbott and Landy go to Berlin to capture Bourne.

In Naples, Bourne allows himself to be identified by security. He subdues his CIA interrogator, copies the SIM card from his cell phone, and learns from a subsequent phone call about Landy and what she thinks Bourne did. Bourne goes to Munich to visit the only other remaining Treadstone operative, Jarda, who informs Bourne that Treadstone was shut down after Conklin’s death. Jarda tries to incapacitate Bourne before an incoming CIA team arrives, but Bourne kills him, blows up his house, and escapes. Bourne follows Landy and Abbott as they meet former Treadstone support technician Nicky Parsons to question her about her past experience with him. Believing that the CIA is hunting him again, Bourne calls Landy from a nearby roof and is told that he is being pursued because he killed two people in Berlin. He demands a meet-up with Nicky and indicates to Landy that he can see her in the office, shocking the entire CIA team.
Matt Damon and Franka Potente in The Bourne Supremacy (2004)
Bourne kidnaps Nicky at the Alexanderplatz, and learns from her that Abbott was the head of Treadstone, not Conklin. He remembers that he murdered Neski in Berlin, but Nicky knows nothing about it, so he lets her go. Bourne then visits the hotel where the killing took place and remembers more of his mission—he killed Neski on Conklin’s orders, and when Neski’s wife showed up, he shot her to make it look like a murder–suicide. Abbott kills Danny Zorn (Conklin’s assistant) when he suspects a conspiracy against Bourne; he (Bourne) breaks into Abbott’s hotel room and records a conversation between him and Gretkov that incriminates them in the theft of the money. Abbott confesses to ordering the assassination in Goa, Neski’s murder by Bourne, and the murder of the agents by Kirill, for which Bourne was to be framed. When Landy suspects Bourne’s innocence and confronts Abbott, he commits suicide by shooting himself in the head. Bourne sends the tape of the confession to Landy, vindicating himself.
Bourne goes to Moscow to find Irena Neski, the daughter of Vladimir Neski. Kirill, tasked once again by Gretkov with killing Bourne, finds him and shoots him in the shoulder from a distance. Bourne steals a taxi and Kirill chases him. A long high-speed chase also involving many police cars ends after Bourne forces Kirill’s vehicle into a concrete divider. After finding that Kirill is mortally wounded, he lowers his gun and walks away. Bourne locates Irena Neski and confesses to murdering her parents. Gretkov is arrested.
Some time later, in New York City, Landy receives a phone call from Bourne; she expresses her thanks for the tape of Abbott’s confession before telling Bourne that his real name is David Webb and he was born 4/15/71 in Nixa, Missouri. Bourne then says “Get some rest Pam, you look tired”, indicating once again that he can see her, before hanging up and fading into a New York crowd.
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This really is an excellent spy thriller, with plenty of high quality car chases and escapes included too. The storyline is believeable within the context of the world of global espionage,, the film moves at a great pace and nicley sets up the third installment, The Bourne Ulitimatum.