REVIEW: THE REWRITE

Starring

Hugh Grant (Paddington 2)
Marisa Tomei (Spider-Man: Far From Home)
Bella Heathcote (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies)
Allison Janney (Mom)
J. K. Simmons (Whiplash)
Chris Elliott (Scary Movie 2)
Aja Naomi King (The Upside)
Karen Pittman (The Bourne Legacy)
Caroline Aaron (21 Jump Street)
Olivia Luccardi (It Follows)
Maggie Geha (Gotham)

Hugh Grant and Marisa Tomei in The Rewrite (2014)Keith Michaels (Hugh Grant) is a divorced, washed-up screenwriter whose only successful work was Paradise Misplaced, which won the Best Screenplay Award fifteen years ago. Desperate and low on funds after a prolonged period of unsuccessful pitching, he reluctantly takes up a job teaching screenwriting at Binghamton University in upstate New York.Hugh Grant and Marisa Tomei in The Rewrite (2014)Things do not go well for Keith in the beginning; he unintentionally insults fellow professor Mary Weldon (Allison Janney) with his awkward sense of humor; he strikes up a brief relationship with student Karen Gabney (Bella Heathcote) which turns sour quickly. Keith also does not believe in the concept of teaching and is uninterested in his job, as exemplified by his selecting students for his class based on appearance and dismissing them for a month.Marisa Tomei and Steven Kaplan in The Rewrite (2014)After being overtly contested by a resentful Karen about his competence, Keith starts to devote more time and effort to coaching his students and helping them discover their passion and improve their writing; he especially finds great potential in Clem Ronson (Steven Kaplan), a sickly and socially awkward nerd, whose script quickly garners the interest of Keith’s agent, Elle. Keith also forms a bond with mature student Holly Carpenter (Marisa Tomei), a single mother of two who is in a steady but dull relationship. The two of them often disagree on their perspectives on life, where Keith believes that nothing will salvage his stagnant career or mend his relationship with his estranged son Alex, whereas Holly maintains an optimistic outlook on life and believes that with effort, talents can be developed and problems can be solved. Despite their differences, Keith finds enlightenment in Holly’s advice and makes the first move in contacting Alex.Hugh Grant in The Rewrite (2014)However, Keith’s situation worsens when his outline for Paradise Misplaced II gets rejected and he faces expulsion from the school after his short-lived relationship with Karen is exposed. In deep despair, Keith gets into an argument with Holly and decides to leave the school. As a last parting gesture, he accompanies Clem to Manhattan to meet with some Hollywood film producers. Halfway through the meeting, Keith realizes how he has impacted his students and, leaving a newly empowered Clem to resume the meeting by himself, he heads back to Binghamton to save his job — which he manages to do with a heartfelt conversation with Professor Weldon. In a revelation of his renewed perspective, Keith expresses admiration for Holly’s perseverance in life and confesses his love for her. He also declines Elle’s invitation to return to Hollywood, as he has decided to stay in Binghamton to teach and write a screenplay based on his experience there; and he tells Elle not to call during class hours. Keith is welcomed back by his students and reconciles with Karen. The film ends with Keith’s phone flashing with a voicemail from Alex.Hugh Grant and Marisa Tomei in The Rewrite (2014)The movie is light but good hearted and Hugh Grant, Marisa Tomei et all make it very worth watching.

25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER -THE OVER-CORRECTION

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MAIN CAST

Josh Radnor (Mercy Street)
Jason Segel (The Muppets)
Cobie Smulders (Agents of SHIELD)
Neil Patrick Harris (Starship Troopers)
Alyson Hannigan (Date Movie)
Bob Saget (Full House)

GUEST CAST

Chris Elliott (The Abyss)
Suzie Plakson (Red Eye)
Ellen D. Williams (Bskets)

Robin, Marshall, Lily, and Ted are trapped in different closets. Future Ted narrates how things came to be.  A week earlier at MacLaren’s, Marshall and Lily tell Ted and Robin that Marshall’s mother Judy is staying at their apartment. Judy tells Lily that having gotten over the death of her husband, she is ready to date again and she hooks up with Lily’s father Mickey, so Marshall seeks refuge in a closet. Noting Robin’s frustrations over Patrice and Barney dating, the gang claims that Barney has “over-corrected”. Robin says that Barney is just using Patrice to compensate for not trying to pursue her. Still in love with Barney, she tries to convince Patrice of his real intentions, but when it fails, she breaks into his apartment to steal a copy of the Playbook and show it to her. While trying to find it, she scrambles to hide in Barney’s bedroom closet as he arrives home. She calls Ted and asks him to distract Barney for her to escape.

Ted, who is angry at the gang for failing to return anything they borrowed from him over the years, helps out as Robin finally uncovers the Playbook. When Barney returns to the apartment to wait for Patrice in setting up a Christmas tree, Robin and Ted hide. Robin calls up Lily for help only to discover she is in a nearby closet; Lily needed a place to safely use her breast pumps after discovering that her father tried it out on himself. Robin leaves the Playbook on the bed for Patrice to see. While Patrice and Barney argue at the terrace, Robin, Lily, and Ted hide in another closet – just in time to see Barney confess to Patrice that he wants to change, starting by burning the Playbook. When they leave, Ted gets back his red cowboy boots and a label maker. He declares to never again lend the gang anything. Lily returns to the apartment, only to vomit after learning their parents hooked up. Barney consoles them at the bar, saying people can change. Robin asks Marshall, Lily, and Ted to hold an intervention for Barney – but the three hold it instead for her. Lily and Marshall tell Mickey and Judy that it’s okay for them to date, but when the parents admit just wanting to have sex.
There are a lot of laughs to be had here, its a great festive episode and is the rpecurser to the events of the next episode.

REVIEW: HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER – SEASON 9

Starring

Josh Radnor (The Hunt)
Jason Segel (Sex Tape)
Cobie Smulders (Avengers: Endgame)
Neil Patrick Harris (Gone Girl)
Alyson Hannigan (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Cristin Milioti (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Bob Saget (Full House)

Jason Segel and Sherri Shepherd in How I Met Your Mother (2005)RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Sherri Shepherd (Precious)
Wayne Brady (Foodfight!)
Suzie Plakson (Red Eye)
Marshall Manesh (Will & Grace)
Robert Belushi (Devil’s Due)
Roger Bart (Good Trouble)
Frances Conroy (Catwoman)
Virginia Williams (Fuller House)
Edward Herrmann (The Lost Boys)
Rhys Darby (Yes Man)
Harry Groener (Buffy)
Cristine Rose (Heroes)
Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad)
John Lithgow (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Nancy Lenehan (Two Guys and a Girl)
James Van Der Beek (Varsity Blues)
Alan Thicke (Growing Pains)
Stacy Keibler (The Comebacks)
Nazanin Boniadi (Homeland)
April Bowlby (Doom Patrol)
Eva Amurri Martino (Saved)
Joe Nieves (Stuck In The Middle)
Adam Paul (One For The Money)
Lou Ferrigno Jr. (S.W.A.T.)
Sarah Chalke (Scrubs)
Ashley Williams (A Most Violent Year)
Bill Fagerbakke (spngebob Squarepants)
Abby Elliott (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Matt Walsh (Ted)
Ray Wise (Agent Carter)
Tracey Ullman (Into The Woods)
Lucy Hale (Truth Or Dare)
Chris Kattan (Undercover Brother)
Jon Heder (School for Scoundrals)
Chris Elliott (The Abyss)
Kyle MacLachlan (Twin Peaks)
Laura Bell Bundy (Anger Management)
Emily Chang (The Vampire Diaries)
Jorge Garcia (Lost)
Kal Penn (Superman Returns)
Jennifer Morrison (Star Trek)
Alexis Denisof (Dollhouse)
David Burtka (Neil’s Puppet Dreams)
Abigail Spencer (Cowboys and Aliens)
Taran Killam (12 Years a Slave)

Alyson Hannigan, Josh Radnor, and Cobie Smulders in How I Met Your Mother (2005)With the exception of the very last episode, the entirety of season nine takes place in the 56 hours leading up to Barney and Robin’s wedding.Neil Patrick Harris, Alyson Hannigan, Jason Segel, Josh Radnor, and Cobie Smulders in How I Met Your Mother (2005)Marshall, who is stuck in Minnesota, desperately tries to find a way to get to the wedding in time. Meanwhile, in Farhampton, the time is slowly counting down to the wedding, with a new problem arising in almost every episode. It is revealed that Lily is pregnant and that she and Marshall will have a daughter. It was also revealed that Ted’s children are named Penny and Luke. In addition, the 200th episode detailed the Mother’s eight years before meeting Ted, while later episodes gave viewers a glimpse of Ted and the Mother together in flash forward scenes.Josh Radnor and Cristin Milioti in How I Met Your Mother (2005)In the series finale, it was revealed that after three years of marriage, Barney and Robin decide to divorce. Barney ends up fathering a child conceived through a one-night stand. Marshall eventually becomes a judge, and he and Lily have three children. Ted’s wife, Tracy, dies of illness in 2024, six years prior to Ted telling his children the full story of how they met. Upon finishing the story, at the urging of his kids, Ted decides to ask Robin out. Alluding to the first season, the finale ends with Robin looking out her apartment window to see Ted on the street holding the blue French horn.Josh Radnor and Cristin Milioti in How I Met Your Mother (2005)Season 9 may have a controversial ending but it’s nice to see a show have a proper ending with so many shows ending early they often fail to finish. How I Met You Mother proved it could stay the distance and the ending will be talked about for years to come.

REVIEW: HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER – SEASON 7

Starring
Josh Radnor (The Hunt)
Jason Segel (Sex Tape)
Cobie Smulders (Avengers: Endgame)
Neil Patrick Harris (Gone Girl)
Alyson Hannigan (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Bob Saget (Full House)
Josh Radnor in How I Met Your Mother (2005)
RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST
Joe Nieves (Stuck In The Middle)
Lyndsy Fonseca (Kick-Ass)
David Henrie (Paul Blart Mall Cop 2)
Martin Short (Innerspace)
Jimmi Simpson (Westworld)
Ashley Williams (A Most Violent Year)
Nazanin Boniadi (Homeland)
Kal Penn (House)
Alexis Denisof (Dollhouse)
Amber Stevens West (22 Jump Street)
Ray Wise (Agent Carter)
Chris Elliott (The Abyss)
‘Weird Al’ Yankovic (Halloween II)
Frances Conroy (Catwoman)
Bill Fagerbakke (spngebob Squarepants)
Wayne Brady (Foodfight!)
Cristine Rose (Heroes)
Katie Holmes (Batman Begins)
Christina Pickles (Masters of The Universe)
Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters)
Vicki Lewis (Godzilla)
Rob Huebel (Baywatch)
Will Sasso (Mom)
Chasty Ballesteros (The Internship)
Rebecca Creskoff (Bates Motel)
Rachel Bloom (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend)
Becki Newton (Ugly Betty)
Brandi Burkhardt (Hart of Dixie)
Suzie Plakson (Red Eye)
Marshall Manesh (Will & Grace)
K Callan (Lois & Clark)
Neil Patrick Harris, Alyson Hannigan, Jason Segel, Josh Radnor, and Cobie Smulders in How I Met Your Mother (2005)
Season seven opens with another flash forward, in which Ted is helping Barney get ready for his wedding to a still unknown bride. In the present, Marshall gets a job in environmental law while Lily progresses with her pregnancy. Barney proves to Nora that he can be a good boyfriend to her, while Robin is revealed to still have feelings for Barney. Robin meets a therapist Kevin (Kal Penn) and they start to date. Meanwhile, after a period of unemployment since leaving GNB, Marshall finally manages to land his dream job at a top environmental law firm. After losing a bet, Barney is forced to wear a tie with a duck pattern on it (nicknamed the ‘Ducky Tie’) which he hates. Marshall allows him to take it off when meeting Nora’s parents on the condition that Barney has three slaps added to the one still remaining from the Slap Bet. Marshall uses two slaps immediately, leaving two left.
Neil Patrick Harris and Josh Radnor in How I Met Your Mother (2005)

While reminiscing about Hurricane Irene, Lily and Marshall reveal they conceived their baby in Barney’s apartment, and Barney and Robin end up sleeping together. Barney and Robin decide to break up with their partners, but Robin reneges on the deal, returning to Kevin and leaving Barney alone and heartbroken. Robin has a pregnancy scare at Thanksgiving and tells Barney the child is his, since she and Kevin had not yet slept together. However, Robin’s doctor informs her that she cannot have children at all. Kevin, who wants children, proposes to Robin who decides that the pair must break up. Ted comforts Robin and reveals he still loves her, but the gesture is unrequited.Kal Penn and Cobie Smulders in How I Met Your Mother (2005)Marshall and Lily decide they want to move to Long Island, after Lily’s paternal grandparents offer them their house there. Eventually, they move back to the old apartment in New York City after realizing suburban life is not for them. Ted gives them his apartment because he believes he cannot move on from Robin while living there, while he and Robin become estranged and do not speak for several weeks. Robin is eventually offered a news anchor job and subsequently achieves recognition after preventing a helicopter she is flying in from crashing.Neil Patrick Harris in How I Met Your Mother (2005)Barney starts dating a stripper named Quinn, to the group’s initial apprehension. The gang begins to meddle in their relationship, but Barney and Quinn outsmart their attempts and win their approval. Quinn moves in with Barney, while Ted buys Quinn’s old apartment. Lily goes into labor and frantically calls Barney and Marshall, who are out at a casino. After many attempts to escape, Barney helps Marshall arrive in time for Lily’s delivery and chooses the middle name for the baby, Marvin Waitforit Eriksen. Ted and Robin’s friendship also recovers as a result of Marvin’s birth. Neil Patrick Harris, Alyson Hannigan, Jason Segel, and Cobie Smulders in How I Met Your Mother (2005)Another highly enjoyable season with two more seasons to go it’s nice to see the show coming to an endgame.

REVIEW: HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER – SEASON 5

Starring

Josh Radnor (The Hunt)
Jason Segel (Sex Tape)
Cobie Smulders (Avengers: Endgame)
Neil Patrick Harris (Gone Girl)
Alyson Hannigan (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Bob Saget (Full House)

Neil Patrick Harris and Jason Segel in How I Met Your Mother (2005)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Joe Manganiello (Justice League)
Rizwan Manji (The Dictator)
Lindsay Sloane (Sabrina: TTW)
Lyndsy Fonseca (Kick-Ass)
David Henrie (Paul Blart Mall Cop 2)
Olga Fonda (The Vampire Diaries)
Marshall Manesh (Will & Grace)
Julianna Guill (Captain America: Civil War)
Alan Thicke (Growing Pains)
April Bowlby (Doom Patrol)
Matt Jones (Mom)
Eva Amurri Martino (Saved!)
Sarah Wright (American Made)
Chris Elliott (The Abyss)
Christina Pickles (Masters of The Universe)
Bill Fagerbakke (Spongebob Squarepants)
Suzie Plakson (Disclosure)
JoAnna Garcia Swisher (The Internship)
Charlene Amoia (American Pie: Reunion)
Matthew Moy (2 Broke Girls)
Benjamin Koldyke (The Finest Hours)
Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul)
Harvey Fierstein (Mrs. Doubtfire)
Rachel Bilson (Jumper)
Stacy Keibler (The Comebacks)
Joe Nieves (Stuck In The Middle)
Amanda Peet (Identity)
Larry Poindexter (17 Again)
Taran Killam (12 Years a Slave)
Bar Paly (Pain & Gain)
David Burtka (Neil’s Puppet Dreams)
Carrie Underwood (Soul Surfer)
Jennifer Lopez (The Cell)
Laura Prepon (That 70s Show)
Brooke Nevin (Scorpion)
Anne Dudek (Mad Men)
Cristine Rose (Heroes)
Harry Groener (Buffy: TVS)
Arianna Huffington (The Cleveland Show)
Michael York (Logan’s Run)
Malin Akerman (Watchmen)
Judy Greer (Ant-Man)
Chris Kattan (Undercover Brother)

Alyson Hannigan and Jason Segel in How I Met Your Mother (2005)Ted begins his job as a professor of architecture, standing in the middle of a classroom – although the mother was present, it turns out to be an economics class as he’s in the wrong lecture hall. Barney and Robin have had a sexual relationship throughout the summer and Lily locks them in a room, forcing them to come to terms with their relationship. After a rough patch they decide to break up. Robin describes it instead as “two friends getting back together.” Barney immediately goes back to his old ways, using the playbook to score with women. Throughout the season Barney and Robin show feelings of regret over their break-up.Neil Patrick Harris and Josh Radnor in How I Met Your Mother (2005)Ted dates a graduate student named Cindy (Rachel Bilson) and it is revealed her roommate is his future wife. Robin meets Don Frank (Benjamin Koldyke), her new co-anchor on her 4 AM TV show. Though she initially dislikes him, the two start dating and eventually she moves in with him. At the end of the season they break up when Don takes a job in Chicago — a job which Robin had previously turned down to stay in New York with Don. Marshall uses his fourth slap on Barney, once again at Thanksgiving. Ted buys a house, which needs to be fixed up badly, but is later revealed to be the future home for Ted and his children.Neil Patrick Harris and Cobie Smulders in How I Met Your Mother (2005)Lily and Marshall are still unsure about having children. After watching four doppelgangers of their group (Lesbian Robin, Moustache Marshall, Stripper Lily and Mexican Wrestler Ted) they decide to leave the big decision to the universe’s “infinite wisdom” and start trying when they have seen Barney’s Doppelganger. In the season finale, Barney disguises himself to have sex with a girl from every country in the world, and Lily and Marshall mistake him for the final doppelganger. When Marshall finds out, he decides not to tell Lily, fearing she will want to wait even longer to have children. Lily eventually finds out and decides to wait. In the season finale, Lily thinks she sees Barney’s doppelganger as a hot dog vendor, which causes the group to realize she is seeing what she wants to see, and play along. Eventually Barney agrees having babies is not a stupid idea and Lily and Marshall should go forth. The season ends with Lily asking Marshall to “put a baby in my belly”.Neil Patrick Harris, Alyson Hannigan, Jason Segel, Josh Radnor, and Cobie Smulders in How I Met Your Mother (2005)Another great season which leaves you wanting to find out what happens next in season 6.

 

 

REVIEW: THE DICTATOR

CAST

Sacha Baron Cohen (Grimsby)
Ben Kingsley (Exodus: Gods and Kings)
Anna Faris (Mom)
Sayed Badreya (Iron Man)
Megan Fox (Transformers 1 & 2)
Jason Mantzoukas (Bad Neighbours)
Chris Parnell (Anchorman)
Jessica St. Clair (Bridesmaids)
Anna Katarina (Batman Returns)
Fred Armisen (Easy A)
Chris Elliott (Groundhog Day)
J.B. Smoove (Date Night)
John C. Reilly (Cyrus)
Garry Shandling (Iron Man 2)
Kathryn Hahn (Bad Moms)

Joey Slotnick (Nip/Tuck)
Aasif Mandvi (Evil)
Rizwan Manji (Transformers)
Chris Parnell (Anchorman)
Kevin Corrigan (Pineapple Express)
Nasim Pedrad (Scream Queens)
Olivia Taylor Dudley (Transcendence)
Edward Norton (The Bourne Legacy)
Jim Piddock (Best In Show)
Fred Melamed (A Serious Man)

MV5BODM1NjIyNzg5MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzc0ODA4Nw@@._V1_SX1499_CR0,0,1499,999_AL_For years, the Republic of Wadiya (located in the Horn of Africa, supplanting the actual nation of Eritrea) has been ruled by Admiral General Haffaz Aladeen (Sacha Baron Cohen), a childish, tyrannical, sexist, anti-western, and antisemitic despot who surrounds himself with female bodyguards, sponsors al-Qaeda (specially giving shelter to Osama Bin Laden after “they killed his double one year ago”) and is working on developing nuclear weapons to attack Israel. He also refused to sell Wadiya’s oil fields, a promise he made to his father on his deathbed. After the United Nations Security Council resolves to intervene militarily, Aladeen travels to the UN Headquarters in New York to address the council.MV5BMjE5MzA5Mzk4M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTcxMjIyNw@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1397,1000_AL_Shortly after arriving, Aladeen is kidnapped by Clayton (John C. Reilly), a hitman hired by his treacherous uncle Tamir (Ben Kingsley), whom Aladeen’s father passed over as successor in favor of his son. Tamir then replaces Aladeen with a dimwitted political decoy named Efawadh (Baron Cohen), whom he intends to manipulate into signing a document nominally democratizing Wadiya while opening the country’s oil fields to Chinese and other foreign vested interests. Aladeen escapes after Clayton accidentally kills himself in a botched torture attempt; when his corpse is discovered Tamir thinks Aladeen has been killed. However, Aladeen is practically unrecognizable as Clayton shaved off his trademark long beard prior to his death.

Wandering through New York, Aladeen encounters Zoey (Anna Faris), a human rights activist who offers him a job at her socially progressive, alternative lifestyle co-op. Aladeen refuses the offer and encounters “Nuclear” Nadal (Jason Mantzoukas), the former chief of Wadiya’s nuclear weapons program, whom Aladeen thought he had previously executed over an argument about the warhead’s shape. Aladeen follows him to New York’s “Little Wadiya” which is populated by refugees from his country, and meets him in Death to Aladeen Restaurant, run by and visited by numerous people whom Aladeen had personally ordered executed. Nadal saves Aladeen from nearly being recognized by angry refugees and reveals that rebels infiltrated the secret police, and all the condemned were sent into exile instead of being executed. Nadal agrees to help Aladeen thwart Tamir’s plot and regain his position as ‘rightful’ dictator, on condition that Aladeen makes him head of Wadiya’s WMD program again. Aladeen agrees and accepts Zoey’s job offer, as she is catering at the hotel where the signing is to occur. Aladeen grows closer to Zoey after she refuses his sexual advances and teaches him how to masturbate, and eventually falls in love with her after seeing her angry. Turning around Zoey’s struggling business, Aladeen begins imposing strict schedules on everyone, forming a personality cult around Zoey and intimidating an inspector into giving the store a good review.However, Aladeen’s relationship with Zoey becomes strained after he decides to be honest with her and reveal his true self; she cannot love a man who was so brutal to his own people. After acquiring a new beard taken from a corpse, Aladeen ziplines into the hotel and tells Efawadh he has recovered (his double being fooled into thinking the Supreme Leader was ill). At the signing ceremony, he tears up Tamir’s document in front of the UN delegation, and holds an impassioned speech praising the virtues of dictatorship, drawing unintended parallels to current issues in the US. However, upon seeing Zoey in the room, he declares his love for her and, knowing Zoey’s strongly held views, vows to democratize his country and open up Wadiya’s oil fields for business, but in a way where the general populace will benefit. Angry with Aladeen staying in power, Tamir attempts to assassinate him but Efawadh jumps in front of the bullet and survives, as it is his job “to be shot in the head”. Tamir, afterwards, is arrested.
MV5BMTIwMzE2MjM4MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwNjA1OTY3._V1_A year later, Wadiya holds its first democratic elections, although they are rigged in favor of Aladeen (who has now added the titles President Prime Minister to his previous Admiral General). Afterwards, he marries Zoey, but is shocked when she crushes a glass and reveals herself to be Jewish; throughout the film he was shown vowing to “destroy Israel”. Scenes during the credits show Aladeen’s convoy, now consisting of eco-friendly cars, visiting a reinstated Nadal, and later Zoey revealing in a television interview that she is pregnant with the couple’s first child. Aladeen responds to the news by asking if Zoey is having “a boy or an abortion”.

Unrated Version

The unrated cut of The Dictator runs an additional 15 minutes from its original 83-minute theatrical version. Much of the added material is additional sexual content and dialogue. There is a scene following Aladeen falling asleep in the back of the store where one of his bodyguards, Etra, tries to kill him by beating him with her enlarged breasts. Another added scene is Mr. Ogden, the manager of the Lancaster Hotel, talking to Zoey at The Collective and canceling the catering contract because of Aladeen.MV5BMTIwMzE2MjM4MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwNjA1OTY3._V1_
The Dictator is funny. It is silly and slapstick at times but wrapped up in some biting political satire. There are some down moments but for just under an hour and a half of banter and barbs it is a fun film. Not in the same class as Borat but well worth seeing nonetheless.

REVIEW: THE ABYSS

CAST

 Ed Harris (Gravity)
Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (Limitless TV)
Michael Biehn (The Terminator)
Leo Burmester (The Devil’s Advocate)
Todd Graff (Camp)
John Bedford Lloyd (The Bourne Supremacy)
J.C. Quinn (Days of Thunder)
Kimberly Scott (Batman Forever)
Dick Warlock (Escape From New York)
Chris Elliott (Groundhog Day)
J. Kenneth Campbell (Mars Attacks)
Michael Beach (Aquaman)
In 1988, the US submarine USS Montana has an encounter with an unidentified submerged object and sinks near the Cayman Trough. With Soviet ships moving in to try to salvage the sub and a hurricane moving over the area, the US government opts to send a SEAL team to Deep Core, a privately owned experimental underwater drilling platform near the Cayman Trough to use as a base of operations. The platform’s designer, Dr. Lindsey Brigman, insists on coming along with the SEAL team, despite her estranged husband Virgil “Bud” Brigman being the current foreman. During initial investigation of the Montana, a power outage in the team’s submersibles leads to Lindsey seeing a strange light circling the sub. At the same time, one of Deep Core’s crew, “Jammer”, damages his breathing apparatus in an apparent panic, and falls into a coma. This prompts the admiral in charge of the operation to send Lt. Coffey, the SEAL team leader, to take one of the mini-subs and recover a Trident missile warhead from the Montana, just as the storm hits above. The Benthic Explorer, which Deep Core is tethered to, is rocked by the storm, and the cable crane is torn from the ship. The crane falls into the trench and, without the mini-sub to disconnect the cable, Deep Core is dragged towards the trench, stopping just short of it. The rig is partially flooded, killing several crew members and damaging its power systems. Coffey shows little remorse when they return to the damaged base.
Lindsey is sent in dive gear to retrieve some oxygen bottles from a damaged portion of the rig to give the crew enough time to wait out the storm. While working, she’s accosted by a small, maneuverable pink/purple device, followed by a much larger one. Before she can take a picture as proof, the large craft zooms downward into the trench, leaving her to take fuzzy, smeared pictures of the smaller one following it. She coins the term “non-terrestrial intelligence”, or “NTI”. As the crew struggles against the cold, they find an NTI has formed a living column of water and is exploring the base. Though they treat it with curiosity, Coffey is agitated by it and cuts it in half by closing a pressure bulkhead on it, causing it to retreat. The crew becomes convinced that Coffey is suffering paranoia from high-pressure nervous syndrome. Spying on him through a remote operated vehicle, they find he and another SEAL are arming the warhead to attack the NTIs, and race to stop him. Bud fights Coffey but Coffey escapes in a mini-sub with the primed warhead, and Bud and Lindsay give chase in the other sub. Coffey is able to launch to the warhead into the trench, but his sub is damaged and drifts over the edge of the trough, and he is crushed when the sub implodes from high pressures. The other mini-sub is also damaged and is taking on water; with only one functional diving suit, Lindsay opts to enter deep hibernation when the ocean’s cold water engulfs her, and Bud swims back with her body to the platform. There, he and the crew administer CPR and revive her. Bud and Lindsay reaffirm their lost love.
One SEAL, unaware of Coffey’s plan at the time, helps to locate the warhead, stopped on a ledge several thousand feet down the trench. Bud volunteers to use an experimental diving suit equipped with a liquid breathing apparatus to survive to that depth, though he will only be able to communicate through a keypad on the suit. Bud begins his dive, assisted by Lindsay’s voice keeping him coherent against the effects of the mounting pressure, and reaches the warhead. The SEAL guides him in disarming it, but his only light source is yellow, making two high-contrast striped wires appear identical, forcing him to make a 50-50 choice on which wire to cut. With nearly no oxygen left in the system, Bud types out that he knew this was a one-way trip, and tells Lindsay he loves her. As he waits for death, an NTI approaches Bud and takes his hand. He is guided to an alien ship deeper in the trench. Deep inside, the NTI creates an atmospheric pocket for Bud, allowing him to breathe normally. The NTI plays back Bud’s message to his wife and the two look at each other with understanding.
On Deep Core the crew is waiting for rescue when they see a message from Bud that he met some friends and warning them to hold on. The base shakes and lights from the trench bring the arrival of the alien ship. It rises to the ocean’s surface, with Deep Core and several of the surface ships run aground on its hull. The crew of Deep Core leave the platform, surprised they aren’t suffering from decompression sickness, when they see Bud walking out of the alien ship. Lindsay races to hug Bud.
Special Edition
In the extended version, the events in the film are played against a backdrop of conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union, with the potential for all-out war; the sinking of the Montana fueling the aggression. There is more conflict between Bud and Lindsay in regards to their former relationship. The primary addition is the ending: when Bud is taken to the alien ship, they start by showing him images of war and aggression from news sources around the globe. The aliens then create massive tidal waves that threaten the world’s coasts, but stop them short before they hit. They then show Bud his message to Lindsay, and let the tidal waves disperse without damage, as a warning to humanity.
Excellent film…good quality and being the directors extended version…makes all the difference.