HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: DEVIL

 

CAST

Chris Messina (Argo)
Logan Marshall-Green (Prometheus)
Jenny O’Hara (Matchstick Men)
Bojana Novakovic (Beyond Skyline)
Bokeem Woodbine (Spider-Man: Homecoming)
Geoffrey Arend (The Ringer)
Matt Craven (A Few Good Men)
Caroline Dhavernas (Hannibal)
Zoie Palmer (Dark Matter)

Geoffrey Arend, Bojana Novakovic, Jenny O'Hara, Bokeem Woodbine, and Logan Marshall-Green in Devil (2010)Ramirez (Jacob Vargas) speaks in a voice-over about stories that his mother told him about the devil sometimes actively seeking out individuals who have sinned while they are still alive on Earth. While taking human form, he traps them in a confined place only to turn them against each other, before killing them one at a time. Ramirez explains that the last victim will die in front of his or her loved one to “make cynics of us all”. He says that the signs are set in motion with a suicide, as that is when the Devil first makes his presence known. This story is abruptly interrupted by a violent suicide of a man who had fallen from the thirty-fifth floor of a Philadelphia office building. The truck he falls on rolls silently away.Bojana Novakovic, Jenny O'Hara, Bokeem Woodbine, and Logan Marshall-Green in Devil (2010)Detective Bowden (Chris Messina) is a recovering alcoholic who is assigned to the case of the suicide. He later explains that the reason for his alcoholism was the hit and run death of his wife and son, five years previously, in which the perpetrator was never apprehended. Meanwhile, five strangers board an elevator, which later becomes stuck between floors. When security finds them, they notice that there is CCTV and a radio with which they can call into the elevator, but they have no way of hearing the passengers in return. Bowden takes the investigation regarding the elevator as it is the same building from which the suicide victim jumped.Bojana Novakovic in Devil (2010)Ramirez is revealed to be one of the security guards and is disturbed by an image of what looks like a screaming face frozen on the video monitor. His boss Lustig (Matt Craven) dismisses the superstitious suspicions and sends repair technician Dwight (Joe Cobden) to investigate the elevators while Bowden tries to ascertain the identities of the individuals. Only four of the five are accounted for: Vince McCormick (Geoffrey Arend), a sleazy mattress salesman; Sarah Caraway (Bojana Novakovic), a pathological liar who plans to leave her rich husband and take his money with her; Ben Larson (Bokeem Woodbine), a temporary security guard with a history of violence; an unnamed older woman who police mistakenly believe is named Jane Kowski (Jenny O’Hara) who is seen on video to be a thief, and another man who later introduces himself as Tony (Logan Marshall-Green), who does not appear to have signed in at the security desk.Logan Marshall-Green in Devil (2010)The power goes on and off in the elevator, and each time the power is restored, something evil takes place. Dwight falls to his death on top of the elevator, and Lustig is electrocuted trying to restore power. Soon people in the elevator start dying, and the suspicion keeps shifting between all in the elevator. Vince is thrown into a mirror only to have his jugular vein sliced causing him to bleed to death, the old woman is hanged on a lamp cord from the elevator ceiling, Ben winds up on the floor with his neck twisted, and Sarah’s throat is slit by a broken piece of the mirror. Finally, the old woman seemingly returns to life, but with red, staring eyes; it is revealed that she is the Devil, and that she has come for Tony and Sarah. In order to save Sarah, Tony confesses to having been responsible for a hit-and-run five years ago in which he killed a mother and her son. Detective Bowden hears him apologize over the radio. The Devil, powerless now that Tony has repented for his sin, curses before vanishing, and the elevator comes back online, sparing Tony’s life.Bojana Novakovic in Devil (2010)As the corpses of Sarah, Ben, and Vince are wheeled away, Bowden decides to take Tony into custody, and, while en route, informs him that he is the husband and father of the mother and son Tony killed in that accident. But despite saying he’d gone over what he’d say, or what he would do if they’d ever cross paths, he forgives Tony. Ramirez, again in a voice-over, says that his mother always reassured him at the end of her stories, “If the Devil is real, then God must be real too.”Devil-2010-600x300The strength of the film lies in Shyamalan’s story, which is deceptively simple, yet highly effective in weaving all the plot threads together, and the linking up of the characters so crucial in providing a satisfying finale. Fans of Shyamalan’s stories will find that he still has more than enough gas in the tank to come up with suspenseful tales.

REVIEW: THE SIEGE

 

CAST

Denzel Washington (Training Day)

Annette Bening (American Beauty)

Bruce Willis (Red)

Tony Shalhoub (Men In Black)

Mark Valley (Human Target)

Lance Reddick (Fringe)

Chris Messina (Sharp Objects)
Mark Valley (Human Target)
Aasif Mandvi (The Dictator)
David Costabile (Breaking Bad)
Ali Afshar (Power Rangers Turbo)
Dakin Matthews (Child’s Play 3)
Arianna Huffington (The Cleveland Show)
Dave Mallow (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers)

Following the bombing of an American military installation in the Middle East (the film shows footage from the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing), the U.S. government orchestrates the capture of the mastermind believed to be behind the attack, Sheikh Ahmed bin Talal. In New York City FBI Special Agent Anthony Hubbard (Washington) and his Lebanese-American partner Frank Haddad (Shalhoub) are told of a hijacked bus, fully loaded with passengers and containing an explosive device. The bomb turns out to be a paint bomb and the terrorists manage to escape. The FBI receives demands to release the sheikh.
Hubbard eventually comes into conflict with CIA agent Elise Kraft (Bening). Hubbard takes a terrorist suspect into custody and arrests Kraft. Afterwards another terrorist threat is made and an MTA bus is bombed, though the children on-board are permitted to leave before the bus is destroyed. When the FBI captures a person of interest named Samir Nazhde he admits to signing the visa application of one of the suicide bombers in the course of signing many applications for student visas in his job as a lecturer. However, Kraft insists that Samir is not a terrorist and that his continued freedom is vital to the investigation.
The FBI eventually identifies and storms a safehouse belonging to terrorists who are associated with the bombings. However, days later, new terror cells launch more devastating attacks, starting with the bombing of the New Victory Theater in Times Square during an evening performance. This is followed days later by a hostage situation at an elementary school (which is resolved when Hubbard shoots the hostage taker). Shortly after this, a suicide bomber drives a van full of explosives into the lobby of One Federal Plaza, the location of the FBI’s New York City field office, resulting in over 600 fatalities.
In spite of objections, the President of the United States declares martial law and armored vehicles and elements of the U.S. Army’s 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions, under Major General William Devereaux (Willis), occupies and seals off Brooklyn in an effort to find the remaining terrorist cells. Subsequently all young males of Arab descent, including Haddad’s son Frank, Jr., are rounded up and detained in Yankee Stadium. Haddad resigns in protest. New Yorkers stage violent demonstrations against the army and the racial profiling of the Arabs and the Army fights to maintain control. There are reports of Army killings. When pressed by the White House Chief of Staff (Chip Zien) if the United States is holding the Sheikh, General Devereaux denies it.
Hubbard and Kraft, now revealed to be an agent named Sharon Bridger, continue their investigation and capture a suspect, Tariq Husseini. Using torture, Devereaux shoots and kills Husseini (off screen) in the course of the interrogation. Afterward, Bridger tells Hubbard that Husseini knew nothing of value because of the principle of compartmentalized information and, sickened, she finally tells Hubbard what she knows. It is revealed that she herself provided training and support to rebels opposed to Saddam Hussein’s regime, working with Samir to recruit and train the followers of the Sheikh. After the United States cut their funding and left them exposed, she took pity on the few of them who had not yet been slaughtered by Hussein’s forces, and arranged for them to escape to the United States, ultimately leading to the present situation as they turn their covert and bomb making skills on the country that now holds their Sheikh. She and Hubbard compel Samir to arrange a meeting with the final terrorist cell. In a discrete meeting with the White House Chief of Staff Hubbard is finally informed of the Sheikh’s apprehension, which was carried out at General Devereaux’s personal initiative. Hubbard convinces Haddad that he needs his help, and Haddad returns to the FBI.
A multi-ethnic peace march demonstrates against the occupation of Brooklyn. As the march is getting under way Hubbard and Haddad arrive at the meeting place, but Bridger and Samir have already left. Samir reveals to Bridger that he constitutes the final cell while in another sense he says, “there will never be a last cell.” He straps a bomb to his body which he intends to detonate among the marchers. Hubbard and Haddad arrive in time to stop him from leaving, but Samir shoots Bridger in the stomach as she struggles to stop him. Hubbard kills Samir, but despite their best efforts he and Haddad can only watch as Bridger succumbs to her wounds after managing to recite certain lines of the second half of The Lord’s Prayer and concluding with “Insha’Allah” – the Arabic phrase “God Willing.” Hubbard, Haddad, and other FBI agents raid Devereaux’s headquarters to arrest him for the torture and murder of Husseini, as well as his role in kidnapping the Sheikh in violation of the Logan Act. Devereaux insists that under the War Powers Resolution the authority vested in him by the president supersedes that of the court which issued the arrest warrant. He then commands his soldiers to aim their guns at the agents, resulting in a tense standoff. Hubbard reminds Devereaux that the civil liberties and human rights which he took from Husseini are what all his predecessors have fought and died for. Devereaux finally submits and is arrested. Martial law ends, and the detainees, including Haddad’s son, are freed.MV5BZGE4NDIzYzEtZjIwZi00ZDk5LWFiMDQtOGU1YjhkODNhYmExXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjUyNDk2ODc@._V1_
Highly recommended, at least if you want more than just action and drama and enjoy thought-provoking stories.

REVIEW: ARGO

 CAST

Ben Affleck (Batman V Superman)
Bryan Cranston (Godzilla)
Alan Arkin (Get Smart)
John Goodman (10 Cloverfield lane)
Victor Garber (Legends of Tomorrow)
Tate Donovan (Shooter)
Clea DuVall (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
Scoot McNairy (Monsters)
Kerry Bishe (Red State)
Kyle Chandler (Super 8)
Zeljko Ivanek (Heroes)
Chris Messina (Devil)
Titus Welliver (Lost)
Keith Szarabajka (The Dark Knight)
Bob Gunton (Dardevil TV)
Richard Kind (Gotham)
Karina Logue (Bates Motel)
John Boyd (Bones)
Michael Parks (Django Unchained)
Adrienne Barbeau (Swamp Thing)
Tom Lenk (Buffy)
Nelson Franklin (New Girl)
Lindsey Ginter (S.W.A.T.)
Rory Cochrane (Empire Records)
Matthew Glave (The Wedding Singer)
Michael Cassidy (Batman V Superman)
Barry Livingston (The Social Network)
Michael Chieffo (Roswell)
Taylor Schilling (The Lucky One)
Philip Baker Hall (Hard Eight)

hqdefaultAfter Iranian militants stormed and took control of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in November 1979 taking 56 Americans as hostages, six Americans managed to get away and took refuge in the home of the Canadian Ambassador. After two months of the Canadians putting their lives on the line everyday, the CIA and the US State Department try to come up with a plan to get their people out.Ben Affleck in Argo (2012)Tony Mendez is a specialist who proposes that they pose as a Canadian film crew scouting locations for a science fiction movie called Argo. Using Hollywood connections, Mendez creates a back story for the movie – ads in Variety, casting calls, inviting he media to a production launch – and then heads off to Iran to lead the six Americans out. When I first heard this film was being made, I had no education on the history of the movie, all I knew is that is was a true story based on something political in the middle east, with a really strange title.Affleck once again proves just how good of an actor her is in Hollywood and the way he mixes comedy with intense drama is wonderful. Some scenes are just genius, like the scene where there is a rehearsal, and the captives are treated to a pseudo execution, and then Affleck showing us that both sides can put on a show.Arkin And Goodman are the brilliant comic relief, and whenever they are on screen, the tension is ever so slightly lifted and relief sets in, apart from one scene involving a phone. Affleck, considering he is the director, is really restraint in this movie, and plays it down, whilst the rest of the cast go for it, and it’s to his credit, as it shows that his character has a lot riding on this. It never lets up on tension, even when the six are enjoying their final meal, there is a sense that the door could be broken down at any second.The final third is genuinely edge of your seat stuff. All in all, it’s a wonderful movie, a perfect antidote to some of the dross movies that get dumped on us around the time of year, and really worthy of your attention