REVIEW: THE OTHERS

CAST

Nicole Kidman (Stoker)
Fionnula Flanagan (Yes man)
Christopher Eccleston (Elizabeth)
Alakina Mann (Girl With a PEarl Earring)
James Bentley (Imperium: Nero)
Michelle Fairley (Game of Thrones)

Grace Stewart (Nicole Kidman) is a devout Roman Catholic mother who lives with her two young children in a remote country house in the British Crown Dependency of Jersey in the immediate aftermath of World War II. The children, Anne (Alakina Mann) and Nicholas (James Bentley), have an uncommon disease, characterized by photosensitivity, so their lives are structured around a series of complex rules to protect them from inadvertent exposure to sunlight. The arrival of three servants at the house — aging Mrs. Bertha Mills (Fionnula Flanagan), elderly gardener Edmund Tuttle (Eric Sykes), and a mute girl named Lydia (Elaine Cassidy) — coincides with a number of odd events, and Grace begins to fear there are unknown others in the house.

Anne draws pictures of four people she has seen in the house numerous times: a man, woman, a boy called Victor, and an old woman. Grace finds a 19th-century “book of the dead”, an album of mourning portrait photos of deceased family members from a previous generation, with some missing pages. She hears noises in the house. With the servants, she tries hunting down the intruders but cannot find them. She does not believe her daughter has seen the others until she hears the ghosts herself. Convinced that something unholy is in the house, she runs out in the fog in search of the local priest to bless the house. Meanwhile, Mr. Tuttle is covering gravestones under autumn leaves.

Outside, Grace discovers her husband Charles (Christopher Eccleston), whom she thought had been killed in the war, and brings him back to the house. Charles is distant during the short time he spends there, and Mrs. Mills says, “I do not think he knows where he is.” During this time, Grace attacks someone dressed up like her daughter; she is frightened by the face she sees underneath Anne’s First Communion veil. However, she finds that she has actually attacked her daughter. Mrs. Mills tells a distraught Anne that she too has seen the unknown people in the house and that big changes are coming. Charles says he must leave for the front and Grace wakes to find him gone again.

One morning, Grace hears the children’s screams: all of the curtains in the house have disappeared or have been taken down by the intruders, as Anne had said they might. When Grace sees the servants are not alarmed by this, she accuses them of being involved and banishes them from the house. That night, Anne and Nicholas sneak outside to find their father. Anne discovers the graveyard, which the servants have uncovered, and realizes that these are the servants’ graves. At the same time, Grace finds a photograph from the book of the dead and is horrified to see it is of the three servants. The servants appear and follow the children back to the house. Grace has the children hide upstairs, while Mrs. Mills reveals that the three servants died of tuberculosis more than 50 years before. Hearing the children scream, she tells Grace to go upstairs and talk to the intruders. Grace walks upstairs to the bedroom with her rosary beads. There, she discovers that the old woman whom Anne had described is acting as a medium in a séance with Victor’s parents, talking to Anne. The medium asks the children questions about how they died. The children begin to scream that they are not dead. In a frenzy of denial, Grace shakes the séance table, and rips the papers on which the medium has been writing. Victor’s family sees only the table shaking and the paper being ripped. In using this supernatural incident as proof that they are not welcome in the house and should leave, Victor’s mother reveals that Grace had smothered her children then shot herself.
As Grace and the children huddle together in shock in the darkened school room, her memories return to her: stricken with grief for her missing husband, isolated by the children’s condition and the servants leaving her, Grace lost her mind and smothered her children with a pillow. Realizing what she had done, she shot herself. When she then “awoke” and heard her children’s laughter, she assumed God had granted her family a second chance at life. Anne asks if they are in Limbo; Grace is no longer sure of her Catholic teachings. Mrs. Mills tells Grace that they will learn to get along with the intruders who periodically come to the house, that sometimes they will notice them and sometimes they will not. The children find they are no longer photosensitive (as they are no longer living), and for the first time, they can enjoy playing in the sunlight. Victor’s family, unable to rid the house of its former occupants’ spirits, drive away as Grace and the children watch. Although the property is again put up for sale, Grace and the children are firm that “this house is ours,” and “no one can make us leave.”This wonderful and highly atmospheric ghost story is one that is sure to delight those appreciative of this genre of film. Intelligent and finely crafted, it reveals an eerie story borne of psychological despair and horror. Beautifully directed by Alejandro Amenabar, it succeeds where others have failed. Relying on well nuanced moments, rather than grotesque special effects, this is a film that is sure to withstand the test of time and emerge as a classic.

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REVIEW: HEROES: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION (BLU-RAY)

CAST
Milo Ventimiglia (Gotham)
Hayden Panettiere (Bring it on 3)
Jack Coleman (Kingdom Hospital)
Tawny Cypress (Supergirl)
Leonard Roberts (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Santiago Cabrera (Merlin)
Masi Oka (Get Smart)
Greg Grunberg (Alias)
Adrian Pasdar (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D)
Noah Gray-Cabey (My Wife and Kids)
Ali Larter (Final Destination 1 & 2)
Sendhil Ramamurthy (Beauty and the Beast)
NOTABLE / RECURRING GUEST CAST
James Kyson Lee (Hawaii Five-O)
Zachary Quinto (Hitman: Agent 47)
Ashley Crow (The Secret Circle)
Jimmy Jean-Louis (Arrow)
Cristine Rose (How I Met Your Mother)
Thomas Dekker (Terminator: TSCC)
Lisa Lackey (Bones)
Matthew John Armstrong (American Dreams)
Christopher Eccleston (Doctor Who)
Nora Zehetner (Brick)
Clea DuVall (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
Randall Bentley (Upside)
Missy Peregrym (Smallville)
Danielle Savre (Boogeyman 2)
Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight)
Adair Tishler (Dollhouse)
Rena Sofer (Traffic)
Malcolm McDowell (Halloween 1 & 2)
George Takei (Star Trek)
Jayma Mays (Ugly Betty)

Heroes Season 1 is an ensemble cast show that became a very large success based on how well it translated the comic book world to the small screen. Set on present day Earth, the show details how a growing number of people are developing special abilities outside of government control with a variety of consequences to them and the population at large. Unlike the truncated second season, the first had a full 23 episodes to explore the concept, resulting in a number of smaller, multi-episode arcs that all built toward a bigger picture as the season progressed. Unlike the old style of comic books though, the cast is made up of all sorts of regular people that start to notice they are”special, some of whom learn to increase their abilities with concentration or training, stumbling at times but honing said powers in numerous ways.

In overall terms, the story uses the Human Genome Project as something of a starting point, using scientist Mohinder Suresh (Sendhil Ramamurthy) as a focal point for identifying gifted people as he follows a trail set forth by his father, a formerly distinguished geneticist that chased what were considered crazy ideas about human evolution until he was killed. Mohinder discovers that certain trace markers in human DNA predict people with abilities and having observed firsthand exactly how gifted some of these people are, he ends up trying to warn them of a serial killer named Sylar (Zachary Quinto) and what appears to be secret agents out to capture them. Needless to say, his efforts are not universally appreciated and he himself is cast into the mix as a pawn, forced to face both powered and mundane humans out to stop him. The show also uses a dozen or so other main characters that either have powers or interact heavily with them, many seemingly patterned after specific comic book characters in terms of abilities, though not so much in terms of their personalities.

Take Hiro Nakamura (Masi Oka) for example, he can bend the space time continuum if he concentrates hard enough, the Japanese office worker slaving away at his father’s corporation while dreaming of his special destiny. The guy is a stereotypical science fiction/comic book nerd too, wanting more than anything to become a hero rather than follow the path laid out for him by his father Kaito (George Takei of Star Trek fame). His hit or miss attempts to control his powers provide some of the comic relief of the show but he also serves as someone genre fans can identify with as he tries to uncover his own future with the help of his best friend, the mundane Ando Masahashi (James Kyson Lee). Then there was Claire Bennet (hotty Hayden Panettiere), a gal with Wolverine-like healing powers who figures out she will regenerate no matter what happens to her, the gal finding out her adopted father Noah (Jack Coleman) is working for an agency with special plans for anyone with her kind of talents. The Texas high school cheerleader becomes an integral part of the main picture as she is stalked by Sylar, a man with the ability to take special powers by decapitating those he encounters, their showdown predicted long before by Isacc Mendez (Santiago Cabrera), a precognitive that draws the future while under the influence of heroin.

The cast also included internet stripper Niki Sanders (hotty Ali Larter) whose multiple personality disorder grants her alias Jessica super strength, Nathan Petrelli (Adrian Pasdar) a district attorney running for Congress that can fly, his brother Peter (Milo Ventimiglia) that finds out his ability is especially powerful as time moves forward, Matt Parkman (Greg Grunberg) a street cop that can read minds, and DL Hawkins (Leonard Roberts) who can become intangible at will. Some of them try to keep their secret, like Nathan since he is running for office, while others are on the run from the agency searching such folks out (their point man being Noah with the aid of a Haitian that can negate powers and erase minds played by Jimmy Jean Louis), the conspiracy something straight out of shows like The X-Files, Jericho, or Angel. The interactions of the cast make the show quite special too, capturing the spirit of modern comic books better than anything else I have seen to date.Particularly appealing is the manner in which most of the powers are not overly flashy, the dramatic elements allowed to keep the science fiction elements present but downplayed so that a larger audience won’t be alienated.

CAST
Milo Ventimiglia (Gotham)
Jack Coleman (Kingdom Hospital)
Masi Oka (Get Smart)
Greg Grunberg (Alias)
Adrian Pasdar (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D)
Hayden Panettiere (Bring it on 3)
Noah Gray-Cabey (My Wife and Kids)
Ali Larter (Final Destination 1 & 2)
Sendhil Ramamurthy (Beauty and the Beast)
David Anders (Izombie)
Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars)
Dania Ramirez (American Pie: Reunion)
Dana Davis (Prom Night)
James Kyson Lee (Hawaii Five-O)
Zachary Quinto (Hitman: Agent 47)
NOTABLE / RECURRING GUEST CAST
Jimmy Jean-Louis (Arrow)
Adair Tishler (Dollhouse)
Stephen Tobolowsky (Groundhog Day)
Shalim Ortiz (Silver Case)
Nicholas D’Agosto (Gotham)
Katie Carr (Dinotopia)
Eriko (Dragon Evolution)
Ashley Crow (The Secret Circle)
Randall Bentley (Upside)
Cristine Rose (How I Met Your Mother)
Dianna Agron (I Am Number Four)
Mark Christopher Lawrence (Chuck)

Heroes Season 2 picked up four months after the events of Season One with the characters having moved on from the explosive finish. The prophecy thwarted at great cost and Sylar stopped, the clock was reset in many ways for those that survived. Peter is missing, Nathan has become a recluse, Hiro is stuck in Medieval Japan, and the Bennett family is on the run from the Company. Some characters die off-screen or are greatly downplayed and new people are introduced, the major players added in being Maya and Alejandro from Central America. Maya has an uncontrollable ability to infect people with some form of fast acting disease and only her brother seems able to calm her down to reverse the effects. They are on the run for murder (the authorities are not really particular about “how” the deaths occurred so much as “who” was responsible) and head to New York City to meet Dr. Suresh in hopes of finding a cure, not knowing he was murdered. Along the way, they pick up a helpful hitchhiker named Gabriel (guess who) and trouble ensues but that is only one thread of many the show goes back to.Image result for heroes season 2Of much greater interest to me was the Bennett family, particularly Noah in his efforts to destroy the Company, and Claire, as she struggles with her powers, puberty, and origins. Hiro’s trip to Japan circa the Seventeenth century where he meets his childhood hero, Takezo Sensei, proves to be a disaster when he screws up the timeline and must repair it lest the fate of the world be irreparably altered. Sadly, the quirky journey he goes through was arguably the most impacted part of the WGA writer strike that shortened the season to a mere eleven episodes  Takezo finding out that he is special too, though no explanation given. How he deals with his father upon his return and his own shame at his betrayal of his hero provided some relief from the admittedly weak storyline but not nearly enough to compensate for some of the worst writing seen on the show that has just started season three.

Another new chapter in the saga revolved around a relative of Micah named Monica, the Katrina refugee with an uncanny ability to mimic anything she watches on television. This was a thread that had a bit of potential, largely because it contained Micah and Niki, but felt the sting of the shortened season as well, the gal trying to become a heroine and falling short of the mark out of stupidity. Parkman has lost his wife and identity only to start over again in New York, having learned to keep quiet about his abilities and use them serendipitously to advance himself to detective. He and Suresh take in Molly but soon have to face a powerful telepath that is hurting her, the piece of the puzzle unveiled to the bigger picture of a long time conspiracy by the founders of the Company that include the parents of most of the players currently focused on in the series. Suresh ends up working directly for the company too, racing to uncover the secrets of the genetic component that gives the cast their powers but also an engineered virus (the Shanti Virus) that threatens not only the metahumans but the rest of the populace as well.

Perhaps most curious in the season for me, aside from the arcs starring Peter and Sylar of course, are those leading to Bob (the current head of the organization) and his daughter Elle, a gal with electrifying powers that shows what Claire would have become had Noah truly been unattached to her as he was supposed to have been. A psychopathic killer on a short leash, Elle does the dirty work to seek her father’s approval, the contrast between her and Claire referred to time and again by those around them. The introduction of “Adam”, the first person with powers and a founding member of the Company with a huge grudge against humanity, was also kind of abrupt and his use of Peter to try and destroy the world (“resetting the clock on humanity”) had a lot of untapped potential too.

To me, the writers should have pared down the new characters and tied up things like the Hiro saga much sooner given the strike and shortened season. They should have also kept in mind the show has a devoted following so making the characters act outside of their established norms or contrary to what they would have done given the way they acted in the first season weakened it as well. That the major threads employed cheap plot devices used in the past certainly did not help either  but this was indicative of the major problem of the season for me, the pacing. Every book, television show, and movie has an internal rhythm and pace that fans get used to. The WGA strike forced the slowly escalating pace of the show to be accelerated well beyond normal and leave off all the suspense of Season One behind it.

CAST
Milo Ventimiglia (Gotham)
Adrian Pasdar (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D)
Jack Coleman (Kingdom Hospital)
Sendhil Ramamurthy (Beauty and the Beast)
Cristine Rose (How I Met Your Mother)
Zachary Quinto (Hitman: Agent 47)
Hayden Panettiere (Bring it on 3)
James Kyson Lee (Hawaii Five-O)
Masi Oka (Get Smart)
Greg Grunberg (Alias)
Ali Larter (Final Destination 1 & 2)
NOTABLE / RECURRING GUEST CAST
Brea Grant (Battle Planet)
Ashley Crow (The Secret Circle)
Zeljko Ivanek (The Bourne Legacy)
Jamie Hector (Lie To Me)
Ntare Mwine (Blood Diamond)
Blake Shields (Carnivale)
Robert Forster (Jackie Brown)
David H. Lawrence XVII (Lost)
Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars)
Randall Bentley (Upside)
Jessalyn Gilsig (Nip/Tuck)
Jimmy Jean-Louis (Arrow)
Malcolm McDowell (Halloween I & II)
David Anders (Children of the Corn)
Alan Blumenfeld (In Her Shoes)
George Takei (Star Trek)
Dan Byrd (Firestarter 2)
Francis Capra (Veronica Mars)
Noah Gray-Cabey (My Wife and Kids)
Lisa Lackey (Bones)
Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight)
Adair Tishler (Dollhouse)
Stephen Tobolowsky (Groundhog Day)

The first volume of the third season, Villains, brought back what made the show so good in its first season, with shadowy bad guys and intricate conspiracies, in a storyline that explored what the line is between a hero and a villain. The return of the Petrelli patriarch Arthur (played with quiet badass-ness by Robert Forster) created an us-or-them scenario where characters had to choose sides and decide how far they would go to get what they want

The other key storyline surrounds Mohinder (Sendhil Ramamurthy) and his efforts to understand where the Heroes’ powers come from. The race to discover how to give and take away powers, which involves a hidden formula and an element known as the catalyst, which is key to the granting of special powers. Mohinder grants himself powers, which creates what could be gently described as an homage to The Fly and the distribution of powers becomes sctattershot, as powers change and mutate with each episode, creating characters who suffered from the Superman syndrome, as they were simply too powerful to be defeated in a realistic way.

The newcomers from season 2 have mostly disappeared, with only Elle and Maya sticking around, with Maya in  a somewhat minor role. The additions this time around are much better, including the ultra-creepy Puppet Master; Daphne, the morally-ambivalent Flash of the Heroes universe, and Utusu, an African version of Isaac Mendez, capable of painting the future on big rocks. Though they are, in some ways, repetitions of other characters, they bring enough to the show to be interesting, especially Brea Grant’s speedster, who has a memorable conflict with Hiro (Masi Oka) and a starcrossed relationship with Matt (Greg Grunberg.) There are a handful of other newcomers, including some thuggish bad guys and yet another  role for Ali Larter.


The first arc ended with a bit of a thud, as is probably the only way a battle with a ruthless, all-powerful villain can end, but it was followed up with the Fugitives arc, which tried a bit too hard to have real-world relevance. Guided by a questionably-motivated Nathan (Adrian Pasdar), the government has begun to round-up super-powered people for Guantanamo Bay-style imprisonment, including all our favorite heroes. It puts all the big-names wither in shackles or on the run, a situation that could have been promising, but instead just peters out, as the motivation for each character’s actions is no wildly different from what we know of them that it makes sense. Nathan is all over the ballfield in how he conducts his hunt for his fellow kind, while Sylar has more personality changes than could be explained by the supposed psychotic break he’s experiencing.

The show consistently is one of the finest-looking series on TV, with gorgeous photography and special effects, and from time to time, there are bits of inspired creativity, like the origin story in “1961,” which makes a terrific call-back all the way to a small-bit of dialogue in the pilot, Larter’s character’s powerful outburst in “Cold Snap” and the realistic rage the otherwise moral Matt Parkman (Greg Grunberg) experiences in “Trust and Blood.” And maybe I’m a bit blind, but I didn’t see foresee the identity of the anonymous underground agent helping the heroes in Fugitive and found it a smart re-use of characters.

CAST
Hayden Panettiere (Bring it on 3)
Robert Knepper (Cult)
Jack Coleman (Kingdom Hospital)
Zachary Quinto (Hitman: Agent 47)
Milo Ventimiglia (Gotham)
Masi Oka (Get Smart)
Greg Grunberg (Alias)
Adrian Pasdar (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D)
James Kyson Lee (Hawaii Five-O)
Sendhil Ramamurthy (Beauty and the Beast)
Ali Larter (Final Destination 1 & 2)
NOTABLE / RECURRING GUEST CAST
Dawn Olivieri (The Vampire Diaries)
Madeline Zima (The Hand That Rocks The Cradle)
Ray Park (Star Wars – Episode I)
Deanne Bray (2 broke Girls)
Elisabeth Röhm (American Hustle)
Jimmy Jean-Louis (Arrow)
Lisa Lackey (Bones)
Todd Stashwick (The Originals)
David H. Lawrence XVII (Lost)
Ashley Crow (The Secret Circle)
Sasha Pieterse (X-Men: First Class)
Saemi Nakamura (Jury Duty)
Jayma Mays (Ugly Betty)
Tessa Thompson (Veronica Mars)
Rick Worthy (Collateral Damage)
Kate Vernon (Battlestar Galactica)
Louise Fletcher (Star Trek: DS9)
Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters)
Željko Ivanek (Hannibal)
Swoosie Kurtz (Mike & Molly)
Richard Roundtree (Shaft)
George Takei (Star Trek)
Tamlyn Tomita (Highlander: The Series)

The big storyline this time out centers around Samuel Sullivan and his family of superpowered carnies. Samuel is busy building the group, recruiting various super-powered individuals to join them, in an effort to form a homeland of their own  As is usually the case with any story on Heroes, thanks to the need to add twists and turns to pad out episodes, it’s not that simple, and, of course, all of the show’s main characters will be drawn into the tale. It seems that the Heroes have the best contact system known to man, as no one misses an e-mail or call to get together. At some point, coincidence and contrived are very similar. Either way, the show tries to have it both ways with Samuel, attempting to make him both pure evil and a sympathetic soul, like they did with Sylar. While the inexplicably coincidental familial concerns of the Petrelli clan keep going for yet another run of episodes, adding in a new super-powered love interest for Peter, the relationship between Claire and her father Noah is the show’s secondary focus, as Claire goes off to college in an attempt to live a normal life, and ends up in a lesbian couple, while displaying her trademark poor judgment and weakly-motivated rebelliousness. Meanwhile, Dad’s whole world is falling apart in a super-midlife crisis.

The rest of the old crew are still around as well, including erstwhile samurai Hiro, who’s battling a terminal illness and trying his hand at being a hero-for-hire, and Matt Parkman and Sylar, who get closer than they’d really like to be in the aftermath of Season Three. Though the conflict between them is one of the better tales told, and Sylar  remains one of the most interesting characters in recent TV history.

The worst part of the season though has to be the ending. After you’ve sat through 18 episodes, Claire outs herself to the world on camera demonstrating her powers for all the world to see, then the iconic words to be continued appear….. The show was cancelled.

Perhaps the upcoming Heroes Reborn mini series will qive answers to what the aftermath will be.

REVIEW: GONE IN 60 SECONDS

CAST

Nicolas Cage (Ghost Rider)
Angelina Jolie (Tomb Raider)
Giovanni Ribisi (Ted)
William Lee Scott (The BUtterfly Effect)
Scott Caan (Ocean’s Eleven)
Delroy Lindo (The Core)
Timothy Olyphant (Hitman)
Chi MCBride (Human Target)
Robert Duvall (The 6th Day)
Christopher Eccleston (Thor 2)
Vinnie Jones (The Cape)
Michael Pena (American Hustle)

Kip Raines (Giovanni Ribisi), an aspiring car thief from Long Beach, is cruising with Mirror Man (T.J Cros) and Toby (William Lee Scott), looking for a Porsche 911 Carrera to steal. After arriving at the showroom, Kip uses a brick to break in, and Mirror follows. Mirror reads the VIN and Kip gets the keys, and smashes out of the showroom with the Porsche. After stealing it, they provoke another man in a Honda Civic to race them, but Kip attracts the attention of the police. They arrive at the local garage with more stolen cars, where Atley (Will Patton), Tumbler (Scott Caan) and Freb (James Duval). However, they are forced to flee when the police arrive, and the cars are seized by Det. Castleback (Delroy Lindo) and Det. Drycoff (Timothy Olyphant):

The next day, Atley arrives at a gas station outside of town to speak to Randall “Memphis” Raines (Nicolas Cage), a retired professional car thief, who left town after serving 6 years in jail. Atley explains that Kip was stealing cars for Raymond Calitri (Christopher Eccleston), a British gangster called “The Carpenter” (due to him creating wooden chairs and coffins), and when the cars were seized, Kip was abducted. Atley admits that he gave the job to Kip, since he works for Calitri. After some convincing, Memphis agrees to go with him, and they return to Long Beach and head to a junkyard owned by Calitri, where he meets with Calitri, who offers him the same job. Memphis refuses and offers a $10,000 bail for the troubles. Calitri refuses, but takes him to Kip, who has been strapped to a steering wheel of a car that is about to be crushed. After Memphis tries to save him, Calitri holds him at gunpoint, and Memphis is forced to accept the job. He goes home with Kip, who is not convincingly happy to see Memphis, and explains he doesn’t need to worry about it, but Memphis isn’t convinced.

Memphis visits Otto Halliwell (Robert Duvall), a former chop shop owner and his mentor, who now runs a restoration garage and is retired from carjacking business. After reconciling, Otto informs him that he knows about Kip, and Memphis convinces him to help. Memphis also visits his mother to inform her that he is in town and tells her about Kip, and she gives him his blessing to do whatever it takes. However, as he leaves, he is cornered by Drycoff and Castlebeck, who informs him that he is watching him and will arrest him for only one minor infraction. Memphis goes back to Otto and they try to assemble a gang to steal the cars, but he only finds two people willing to join: Donny Astricky (Chi McBride) and Sphinx (Vinnie Jones). He tries to convince Sway, his former love interest, to join him, but she refuses, having gone straight after the carjacking phase.

Memphis, Otto, Kip and Sphinx devise the plan after being given the list of 50 cars they need to steal, and just then, Kip arrives with Mirror, Toby, Tumbler and Freb, wanting to join in. Otto and Donny are against it, but Memphis decides to accept them. Toby, a computer genius, hacks into the DMV database to find several cars on the list, while Donny manages to find the rest through insurance houses. Memphis decides to pull the job in one night to avoid police heat, and Sway changes her mind and joins the team. Memphis and Kip leave the garage and head back home, but they are ambushed by Johnny B. (Master P.), Memphis’s rival, who wants him dead since he is after the job himself. However, they manage to hide in a cafe where the police is placed, and Kip sneaks out and ties Johnny B’s car to a truck, and Johnny B’s car is pulled and smashed, and the cops surround him and his gang. Kip and Memphis escape.After scouting the cars, Memphis is worried about the new Mercedes cars, which are impossible to steal, but Tumbler informs him that he will provide them with the laser-cut transponder keys to get the cars. Castlebeck arrives in the garage with Drycoff, and while nothing can prove the possible car heist, Castlebeck finds the frequency numbers for police dispatches and realizes they are going in tonight. Memphis and the crew prepare themselves for the heist and start, first cleaning up a garage to steal several Ferrari cars, and then splitting up into pairs: Memphis and Sway, Kip and Tumbler, Donny and Freb, and Sphinx and Mirror. Also, Memphis and Sway reconcile their long-lost relationship while stealing a Lamborghini Diablo.

While the gang successfully steals many cars from the list, Memphis notices Castlebeck in a van next to a Mercedes, and calls the group back into the garage. After confronting Tumbler, he reveals that he got the keys after bribing a Mercedes shop employee, and realizes that Castlebeck blackmailed him into cooperation. Toby informs the group that they have the keys of the Mercedes cars from the last heist, but Donny notes that they are on the police impound. Memphis agrees to steal them, but they are forced to wait for it and steal another cars after Otto’s dog accidentally eats the keys. Toby and Freb walk the dog around until he defecates the keys out, and the group manages to steal the Mercedes cars from the impound while Mirror distracts the parking manager.

Castlebeck, defeated, returns to the police station with Drycoff, and is informed that they found shards of glass from a UV light bulb in the garage where they seized the carsfrom the original heist. He and Drycoff return to the garage, where they discover the list of cars under invisible ink. Castlebeck finds a 1967 Ford Shelby GT500, dubbed “Eleanor”, and theorizes this is the last car he will steal, due to him being “afraid” of it (since he never managed to successfully steal one). Meanwhile, Toby sneaked in for a ride with Kip and Tumbler to steal a car against their objections. They manage to steal the SUV from the house, but one of the occupants notices them and they are forced to flee. The police set up a roadblock and open fire on them, injuring Toby. They return to the garage, and Atley and Kip drive Toby to a private doctor, where Atley reveals to Kip that Memphis left the city because their mother told him to go to save Kip from the life of carjacking. Meanwhile, Memphis arrives at the location of Eleanor to steal it, but just then, Castlebeck and Drycoff arrive. A massive car chase ensues all over Long Beach, with Castlebeck’s attempts to apprehend Memphis at all times, but Memphis manages to escape after using a ramp to jump over a traffic jam on the Vincent Thomas Bridge. After escaping, Memphis arrives at the junkyard to deliver the last car to Calitri, but he assaults him and prepares to kill him, since he arrived after the deadline and the car is damaged (thus Calitri noting that he said to deliver 50 cars, not 49 and a half), but Kip arrives and subdues Calitri’s men. He corners Calitri in his office and assaults him, but Calitri escapes. Castlebeck and Drycoff arrive, being here to arrest Memphis, but Calitri notices Castlebeck and holds him at gunpoint. He prepares to kill him, but Memphis knocks him off the ledge, sending Calitri down below, where Calitri lands in his own coffin, killing him. Castlebeck thanks him for saving his life, and lets him go due to stealing cars to save Kip’s life. Afterwards, all of them are having a barbecue at Otto’s garage. Kip arrives and gives a pair of keys to Memphis, and Otto invites him in, and he and Kip reveal a rusty old Eleanor that Kip acquired. Memphis thinks that Kip stole him, but Kip informs him that he traded his chopper for the car as a token of appreciation, and the brothers embrace. Memphis and Sway go for a ride, while the rest of them escort them out. However, the engine fails as they leave, and Memphis fails to start it.Gone In 60 Seconds is a great action flick and still holds up today.

REVIEW: THOR: THE DARK WORLD

CAST

Chris Hemsworth (The Huntsman: Winter’s War)
Natalie Portman (Black Swan)
Tom Hiddleston (Crimson Peak)
Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of The Lambs)
Christopher Eccleston (G.I. Joe)
Jaimie Alexander (The Last Stand)
Zachary Levi (Chuck)
Ray Stevenson (Punisher: Warzone)
Tadanobu Asano (Mongul)
Idris Elba (Pacific Rim)
Rene Russo (Get Shorty)
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Sucide Squad)
Kat Dennings (2 Broke Girls)
Stellan Skarsgard (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo)
Alice Krige (Star Trek: First Contact)
Clive Russell (Sherlock Holmes)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
Benicio Del Toro (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Chris Evans (Injustice)
Ophelia Lovibond (4.3.2.1)

After learning about a new powerful foe that even Odin (Anthony Hopkins) and Asgard cannot withstand, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) must embark on another dangerous mission. This time, the risk is much more personal than it ever has been for this powerful hero. With both Asgard and Earth facing the chance of destruction, he must sacrifice everything by reuniting with Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) in order to save us all. This forces Thor to request help from the most unlikely of characters. If they aren’t able to stop the ominous danger that approaches us, then this universe will belong to the darkness.

Picking up a couple years after the previous Thor motion picture, this sequel gets started rather quickly. A bulk of the plot is carried from the perspective of Jane Foster and her intern, Darcy (Kat Dennings). While there’s still a small amount of humor to be seen in the beginning from Asgard, the majority of it comes from the humans.

The casting is excellent. Chris Hemsworth returns in the role of Thor.  Natalie Portman is pretty solid, as she always is. While this isn’t the most memorable performance of her career, she’s convincing as Jane Foster. Anthony Hopkins is a satisfying Odin, as he was in the previous picture. However, the real star of Thor: The Dark World is Tom Hiddleston as Loki. He’s clearly one of the most charming and entertaining actors to portray a role from the Marvel universe. While he always seems to receive good material, Hiddleston’s delivery is simply unparalleled.

When it comes to the visual department, always expect incredible effects. Thor: The Dark World looks fantastic from its opening scene until the quick scene after the credits. The make-up, costumes, and special effects blend together in an impeccable fashion. These elements aid audiences in becoming a part of this universe.

 

REVIEW: G.I. JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA

 

CAST

Channing Tatum (21 Jump Street)
Christoper Eccelston (Thor: The Dark World)
Arnold Vosloo (Blood Diamond)
Marlon Wyaans (Scary Movie)
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Sucide Squad)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt (The Dark Knight Rises)
Byung-hun Lee (Red 2)
Sienna Miller (Stardust)
Rachel Nichols (Alex Ross)
Kevin J.O’ Connor (The Mummy)
Ray Park (Star Wars – Episode I)
Jonathan Pryce (Game of Thrones)
Dennis Quaid (Vantage Point)
Said Taghmaoui (Wonder Woman)
Brendan Fraser (Bedazzled)

G.I Joe: The Rise of Cobra images G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra - New Promo Pics  HD wallpaper and background photosG.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra will leap and bound like a solider in an accelerator suit to the hearts of anyone who’s ever owned an action figure. At one point, the bad guys’ resident ninja assassin Storm Shadow (Byung-hun Lee) is trying to escape the top-secret G.I. Joe underground training facility, and he runs over to an unidentified machine and climbs inside. I can’t think of anything more fitting than what happens next: it turns into a jetpack and Storm Shadow flies across the room.After a prologue in the 1600s , we skip ahead to the near future, where a weapons manufacturing company run by James McCullen (Christopher Eccleston) has just finished their latest invention. Using nanobot technology, their missiles will literally consume their targets, whether that means tanks, planes, or entire cities. The first four are packaged and given to the U.S. Military, who sends an entire convoy to deliver them. En route, the deliverymen are attacked by a ship carrying Baroness (Sienna Miller), who attempts to kill everyone and steal the missiles. Soliders Duke (Channing Tatum) and Ripcord (Marlon Wayans) fight back and are prepared to die protecting the payload when General Hawk (Dennis Quaid) and his elite team step in to save them. Duke and Ripcord are taken to the Joes’ base, and they join to try and stop the missiles from being stolen again.The movie’s ludicrous imagination kicks in almost immediately. At first, Duke and Ripcord train on fairly standard, if unrealistically advanced courses, like a shooting gallery with holographic targets and in hand-to-hand combat using big, futuristic-looking sticks. Then the movie just cuts to a short clip of Duke piloting an underwater spaceship-looking thing in a miles-long tank filled with giant rings, and my brain was happy to shut off and enjoy the spectacle. Other critics will say it’s just like a video game, but it’s so unabashedly, gleefully, purposefully like a video game that I kind of think that’s the idea. In the accelerator suit chase through the streets of Paris, Scarlett (Rachel Nichols) flies after Duke and Ripcord on a commandeered civilian motorcycle that magically moves about 300 miles an hour.G.I Joe : Rise of Cobra - gi-joe-the-rise-of-cobra WallpaperSpeaking of that chase sequence, it’s a jaw-dropping tidal wave of awesomeness, with Duke, Ripcord and Scarlett aided by the silent good-guy ninja Snake Eyes (Ray Park), clinging to the underside of the villains’ Hummer as the group causes untold amounts of damage. Cars fly through the air like they’re made of paper and buildings are reduced to craters, all at a dizzying, breakneck speed. It even changes method of transport, switching from a car chase to a foot chase without missing a beat.The Joes are all well-cast. Personally, I liked Rachel Nichols and Marlon Wayans, who are both charismatic and have an entirely playful chemistry with each other. I didn’t even mind Wayans’ cheesy comic relief. His jokes aren’t particularly funny, but he doesn’t scream for attention the way he has in other movies.The good guys are complemented by a solid roster of villains. Christopher Eccleston, ise the main bad guy, and he’s good at standing around in fine suits, sneering and being slimy (and when given the chance, he wisely refuses to reveal his evil plot), but for all intents and purposes, I’d say his evildoing in the movie is equal to that of Sienna Miller’s Baroness. The shared history she has with Duke is worked in to varying degrees of success over the course of the film, but even without it, she’s got more personality than any of the other action-movie villains.There’s also a psychotic doctor, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and he really dredges up some entertaining evil, covered with creepy makeup and practically cackling some of his lines. The only letdown is he spends most of the movie with his voice altered, which takes away from the experience of seeing him play the role. It’s all about tone, and director Stephen Sommers has it down.