REVIEW: LAST KNIGHTS

CAST

Clive Owen (Sin City)
Morgan Freeman (Momentum)
Cliff Curtis (Fear The Walking Dead)
Aksel Hennie (Hercules)
Dave Legeno (Snow White and The Huntsman)
Ayelet Zurer (Man of Steel)
Shohreh Aghdashloo (X-Men: The Last Stand)

Bartok, an ageing nobleman, watches over his estate—a vassal kingdom to a great empire. Protecting the Bartok clan is Commander Raiden and his elite soldiers, who also serve Bartok. Raiden is surprised when Bartok tells him he is to be his heir, and gives him a sword. The empire has become corrupt and the evil minister, Geza Mott, humiliates Bartok by beating him with a stick for failing to provide an adequate bribe, until Bartok retaliates — which is treason against the crown. Bartok is put to trial where he speaks openly of his disdain for what honour has become in the empire. He is sentenced to death and Raiden is ordered to execute his own master. Bartok’s estate is divided and the Bartok clan is disbanded. Geza Mott suspects Raiden will demand vengeance, and has his trusted warrior, Ito, watch Raiden to ensure there is no possibility of revenge.A year passes and Raiden is now a drunk. Geza is still highly fearful of Raiden’s wrath and demands half his father-in-law’s troops to safeguard him while he completes construction of his newly fortified estate, with more soldiers than the emperor’s own security detail. Raiden’s wife, Naomi, couldn’t bear to be with him as he had fallen so low, with Raiden even selling his sword for more drink. When Bartok’s virgin daughter is offered to Raiden in a whorehouse, he shows no concern for her but leaves the premises. Geza finally lets his guard down and stops watching Raiden. It is now revealed that Raiden and the Bartok clan soldiers sacrificed everything for the illusion of a complete defeat, and have been waiting for the right time to group and together regain the clan’s honour by avenging their master’s death.Raiden’s men have been working in secret, building up contacts and connections, and gathering intelligence about Geza’s estate – even secretly altering his estate to help them in their cause. As Raiden’s men infiltrate the estate, Auguste has secretly made a pact with Raiden to help him, in exchange for Raiden’s help to free his daughter from her marriage to Geza Mott. Geza has always mistreated Auguste’s daughter which, along with Bartok’s execution, causes Auguste to see that his vicious son-in-law has no honour. Raiden and his men successfully infiltrate Geza’s estate, are discovered, and need to face a large number of soldiers.Raiden’s men fall one by one as they enter deep into Geza’s estate. Ito takes responsibility for his complacency and duels with Raiden. Ito’s sword fails and Raiden kills him. Raiden breaks into Geza’s bedroom and decapitates him. With Geza dead, Raiden’s surviving group rescues Bartok’s daughter and tells her that Bartok’s honour is restored. When word reaches the Emperor, he discusses with his council on how to deal with Bartok’s soldiers, who caution him against the risk of turning the people against the crown. They realise that the public view Geza’s death as a righteous one, and widely support the Bartok clan. The council advises that any judgement should restore their honour, rather than make them martyrs. Raiden asks that he be the only one executed for Geza’s death.The crown publicly admits the righteousness of the Bartok clan, but also reminds the crowd that killing a high council member is still the same as an attack on the emperor and Raiden will be executed. Before his execution, Raiden charges Lt. Cortez to take control of the surviving Bartok clan. In a flashback, he sees Naomi one last time to apologize for her suffering before making peace with his own life. Raiden lowers his head with his eyes closed, and as the executioner draws his sword back, Raiden’s eyes suddenly open wide and the screen goes to black.If you’re strictly an “action” viewer, you may not enjoy this movie. But if you enjoy a good story that isn’t entirely predictable, you might just enjoy this film

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REVIEW: FRACTURE

CAST

Anthony Hopkins (Westworld)
Ryan Gosling (Young Hercules)
David Strathairn (The Bourne Legacy)
Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl)
Emebth Davidtz (Army of Darkness)
Billy Burke (Red Riding Hood)
Cliff Curtis (Fear The Walking Dead)
Fiona Shaw (Pixels)
Bob Gunton (Daredevil)
Josh Stamberg (J. Edgar)
Xander Berkeley (Kick-Ass)
Zoe Kazan (Ruby Sparks)

Theodore “Ted” Crawford (Anthony Hopkins), a wealthy and talented Irish aeronautical engineer in Los Angeles, discovers that his wife Jennifer (Embeth Davidtz) is having an affair with police detective Robert Nunally (Billy Burke). After confronting his wife, Crawford shoots her, seriously wounding her. Police arrive on the scene, including Nunally. Nunally enters the house and convinces Crawford that they should both put down their guns and Crawford confesses he shot his wife.Crawford engages in a battle of wits with rising star deputy district attorney William “Willy” Beachum (Ryan Gosling), who considers this an open-and-shut matter and agrees to go to trial immediately. Beachum is busy making preparations for his transition from criminal law to corporate attorney for Wooton & Simms, a well-known law firm, and begins a romantic relationship with his future boss, Nikki Gardner (Rosamund Pike). At the trial, Crawford acts as his own attorney, thereby matching up a star prosecutor against a supposedly untrained litigant. Crawford reveals that the arresting officer (Nunally) was having an affair with his wife, assaulted him during his arrest, and was present during his interrogation. Crawford’s confession is ruled to be inadmissible as evidence, as it was fruit of the poisonous tree. Beachum discovers that Crawford’s handgun was not used to shoot his wife because it had never been fired and did not match the shell casings at the crime scene. As the house was under surveillance the entire time from the shooting to Crawford’s arrest, the police are baffled. Beachum is tempted by Nunally’s scheme to plant false evidence to implicate Crawford but decides against it at the last minute. With no new evidence to present to the jury, Beachum is forced to concede the trial, and Crawford is acquitted. The disgraced Nunally commits suicide outside the courtroom.After the trial, Beachum’s future with the prestigious firm is in tatters. However, he also begins to see his job as a D.A. as a means of fighting injustice for those like Crawford’s wife. Crawford himself observes this change, joking scathingly that Beachum has “found God”. This motivates Beachum to continue searching for evidence almost obsessively. Realizing that Crawford’s plan is to dispose of the only eyewitness to the crime, Beachum obtains a court order to keep Jennifer on life support. Beachum arrives at the hospital but is unable to prevent staff turning off Jennifer’s life support.18765967_1951210205111514_2812412988692009523_nA mix-up of cell phones causes Beachum to realize that both Nunally and Crawford used the same type of gun, a .45 caliber Glock 21. He figures out that before the crime Crawford switched his gun with Nunally’s in a hotel room where Jennifer and Nunally secretly met. Crawford shot his wife with Nunally’s gun, and then reloaded it. The detective arrived on the scene carrying Crawford’s gun, and both Crawford and Nunally laid their weapons down as a preliminary move in hostage negotiations. When Nunally became aware of who the shooting victim was, and tried to revive Jennifer, Crawford switched the guns, retrieving his own unused gun. When Crawford appeared in the room brandishing his gun, Nunally tackles and assaulted him before Crawford’s arrest. Nunally unwittingly holstered the murder weapon, letting the unused gun be taken as evidence.0a1c07c4213b7af8c284a06c9b4078e5Beachum confronts Crawford with his new evidence. Since she has now died, the bullet lodged in Jennifer’s head can now be retrieved and matched with Nunally’s gun. Crawford confesses, assuming himself to be protected under the Double Jeopardy Clause. However, Beachum reveals that by allowing his wife to die, Crawford can now be prosecuted for murder, having previously been tried merely for attempted murder. Since he had taken Jennifer off life support, new charges can be filed against Crawford and a new trial can be set. Crawford is arrested by the waiting police. The film ends with a new trial about to begin, where Beachum prosecutes and Crawford is surrounded by a group of high-priced defense attorneys of Wooton & Simms.I thought the intellectual chess game between Anthony Hopkins and Ryan Gosling was pure joy. What a pleasure to watch the two play mind games with each other — with the audience in on the action. I Thought the pace was good, the direction suspenseful. I highly recommend it to those interested in movies that make you think.

REVIEW: TRAINING DAY (2001)

CAST

Denzel Washington (The Taking of Pelham 123)
Ethan Hawke (The Purge)
Scott Glenn (Daredevil)
Tom Berenger (Platoon)
Harris Yulin (Ghostbusters 2)
Raymond J. Bary (Alias)
Cliff Curtis (Jubilee)
Snoop Dogg (Scary Movie V)
Eva Mendes (2 Fast 2 Furious)
Raymond Cruz (My Name Is Earl)
Fran Kranz (Dollhouse)
Terry Crews (Get Smart)

The film follows a day in the life of Los Angeles Police Department officer Jake Hoyt, who is scheduled to be evaluated by Detective Alonzo Harris, a highly decorated LAPD narcotics officer, for a possible promotion. Riding around in Alonzo’s car, they begin the day by catching some college kids buying cannabis from a street gang. Alonzo confiscates the drugs and tells Jake to smoke it – Jake refuses at first, only to comply when Alonzo threatens him at gunpoint, with the explanation that refusing an offer on the street could get him killed. After smoking it, Alonzo informs him that the weed was laced with PCP. They then pay a brief visit to Roger, an old friend of Alonzo’s who is also a drug dealer and former police officer. Back in the car, Jake notices a teenage girl being sexually assaulted and runs out to subdue the attackers while Alonzo watches. Alonzo tells the girl to leave and allows the men to go free, despite Jake’s disapproval. Jake finds the girl’s wallet on the ground and takes it.
Alonzo and Jake later apprehend a wheelchair-bound dealer named Blue, finding crack rocks and a loaded handgun on him. In exchange for his freedom, Blue reveals his associate: Kevin “Sandman” Miller, who is in prison. Alonzo takes Jake to Sandman’s home in Watts, where he uses a fake search warrant to steal $40,000 from the premises. However, Sandman’s wife realizes the scam and calls out to nearby gang members, who open fire. The two officers barely escape.
For lunch, the duo visit Alonzo’s Salvadoran mistress, Sara, and their young son at Baldwin Village. Afterwards, Alonzo meets with a trio of high-ranking police officials dubbed as the “Three Wise Men” – they tell Alonzo that they know the Russian Mafia is hunting him for an incident over the weekend in Las Vegas and suggest that he leave town, but he insists that he has control of the situation and gets permission to “cash in an account”. Alonzo thus gives them Sandman’s drug money for an arrest warrant.
Alonzo takes Jake and four other narcotics officers back to Roger’s house – using the warrant, they seize $4 million from underneath the floor of his kitchen, but Jake refuses to take his share of the cash. Alonzo then kills Roger and arranges for the scene to appear like a justified shooting. Jake refuses to cooperate and after being threatened, seizes Alonzo’s shotgun, prompting a Mexican standoff. However, Alonzo calms his associates and claims that the LAPD will run a blood test on Jake (identifying the PCP he smoked), the result of which he can falsify in exchange for Jake’s cooperation. Jake reluctantly gives in.
Alonzo drives Jake to the home of a Sureño named Smiley, allegedly to run an errand. He furtively abandons Jake as Jake reluctantly plays poker with Smiley and his fellow gang members. A tense conversation ensues in which Smiley reveals Alonzo’s situation: by midnight, Alonzo must pay $1 million to the Russian Mafia for killing one of their men in Las Vegas, or be killed himself. Jake realizes too late that Alonzo had paid Smiley to kill him, and is beaten and dragged to the bathtub for execution. The gang search Jake to find the wallet dropped by the teenage girl, who is revealed to be Smiley’s cousin. Smiley calls her, who confirms that Jake risked his life to defend her. In gratitude, Smiley lets Jake go.
Jake returns to Sara’s apartment and attempts to arrest Alonzo, but a gunfight and chase ensues, which ends with Jake subduing Alonzo in his escape vehicle. The local gang members and residents begin congregating to watch. Alonzo tries to get the crowd on his side by offering a reward to whoever kills Jake; but instead, they allow Jake to walk away with the money. Alonzo attempts to flee via Los Angeles International Airport, but is found and killed by Russian Mafia hitmen in a street shooting. Jake returns home with Alonzo’s money (having said earlier that the money will serve as his evidence corroborating Alonzo’s crimes of the day), and Alonzo’s death is broadcast over the news, touting him as a heroic officer serving a high risk warrant.The end result is nothing less than a brilliant thriller. Hawke and Washington make for a phenomenal double act and the pace only occasionally lets up to allow the characters time to breathe and establish the depth that makes you care for them more. Highly recommended.

REVIEW: SUNSHINE

CAST

Cillian Murphy (Batman Begins)
Chris Evans (Captain America: The First Avenger)
Rose Byrne (Bad Neighbours 2)
Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon)
Cliff Curtis (Runaway Jury)
Troy Garity (After The Sunset)
Hiroyuki Sanada (Lost)
Benedict Wong (Doctor Strange)
Mark Strong (Sherlock Holmes)

In 2057, the sun is dying and the Earth is freezing. A crew of eight pilot a colossal nuclear bomb aboard the spaceship Icarus II, with the intent to jump start the sun, and return to Earth. As they pass Mercury’s orbit, Icarus II discovers the distress beacon of Icarus I, the first ship to attempt their mission, which disappeared seven years earlier. Reasoning that two bombs have a better chance of success than one, physicist Capa recommends Captain Kaneda change course and commandeer Icarus I. Mace, the ship’s engineer, opposes the deviation as risky. Navigator Trey calculates a trajectory to intercept Icarus I, but forgets to realign the shields that protect the ship from the sun, causing damage to several shield panels.

Kaneda and Capa embark on a spacewalk to make repairs, assisted by Pilot Cassie, who angles the damaged portion of the shield away from the sun. The angle however allows the sun to destroy the ship’s oxygen garden and oxygen reserves. As Icarus II’s autopilot returns the shield to its original alignment, Kaneda orders Capa to safety and repairs the last panel, moments before he’s immolated. Trey blames himself for the loss of Kaneda, and psychiatrist Searle assesses him as a suicide risk, sedating him.

Icarus II docks with Icarus I. Capa, Searle, Mace, and now-Captain Harvey search the vessel, leaving Cassie and botanist Corazon on board Icarus II. They discover Icarus I’s mainframe has been sabotaged, making its bomb delivery impossible. In the ship’s log is a rambling message from Captain Pinbacker, who abandoned his mission. The crew of Icarus I is found charred to death in the solar observation room, where they were long ago exposed to the un-shielded sun. Suddenly, the two ships explosively decouple, destroying Icarus I’s outer airlock, stranding the four crew members on it. Mace suggests one crew member stay behind to manually operate the airlock while the other three jettison between airlocks, using the vacuum release for propulsion. Searle volunteers to stay behind. Capa is sealed in the only space suit, while Harvey and Mace wrap themselves in salvaged insulation material. Searle releases the airlock and the three crew members rocket into space. Harvey misses the airlock and freezes to death, while Capa and Mace make it back to Icarus II. Searle, having spent the mission obsessed with looking into the sun, voluntarily exposes himself to its full, deadly force in the observation room.

Corazon calculates that there is enough oxygen left for four of the five survivors to reach the sun. After a contentious vote, Mace decides to kill Trey, but discovers Trey to have already committed suicide. Capa learns of a stowaway on-board and discovers an insane Pinbacker. Pinbacker attacks Capa and traps him in an airlock. He then kills Corazon, and removes the mainframe from its coolant bath, shutting down the computer. Pinbacker pursues Cassie, who flees into the bomb payload.
Mace attempts to manually lower the computer back into the freezing coolant, but when his leg catches on the descending computer he becomes trapped, and the computer disabled. As he freezes to death, he radios Capa to escape the airlock, decouple the bomb from the ship, and activate it as it plummets into the sun, delivering the payload to its destination. Capa blows the airlock, separates the bomb from the ship, and enters the payload, where he finds Cassie. Pinbacker ambushes them, telling them God ordered him to send all humanity to heaven. As they hurtle into the sun, Capa escapes Pinbacker, reaching the bomb controls. Not sure if it will work under these extreme conditions, he watches as the bomb begins to successfully ignite, at the edge of the sun itself. Back on Earth, on the frozen Sydney Harbour, Capa’s sister witnesses the Sun returning to its full power.This is an amazing film, and is easily one of the best of 2007 . A perfect mix of style and substance.

REVIEW: COLOMBIANA

CAST

Zoe Saldana (Star Trek Beyond)
Cynthia Addai-Robinson (Arrow)
Cliff Curtis (Jubilee)
Michael Vartan (Alias)
Jesse Borrego (Con Air)
Ofelia Medina (Apolinar)
Lennie James (The Walking Dead)
Callum Blue (Smallville)
Jordi Mollà (Segunda Piel)
Graham McTavish (The Hobbit)
Sam Douglas (Eyes Wide Shut)

In 1992, in Bogota, Colombia, a drug lord’s assassin named Fabio Restrepo (Jesse Borrego) tells his boss, Don Luis Sandoval (Beto Benites), that he wants to leave crime behind. Even though Restrepo gives Don Luis a group of computer disks that he claims contains information about Don Luis’ business, Don Luis is incensed that Restrepo thinks he can leave. Don Luis sends his henchman Marco (Jordi Mollà) and a group of killers to kill Restrepo and his family. Fabio gives his nine-year-old daughter Cataleya (Amandla Stenberg) a SmartMedia[i] computer memory card with the information Don Luis wants and tells her it’s her “passport”; he also gives her the address of her uncle Emilio (Cliff Curtis), a criminal in Chicago, who will take care of her. The last thing he gives her is something that he says will keep her safe: his mother’s cattleya orchid necklace. After saying their goodbyes, Fabio and his wife Alicia (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) leave to battle Marco and his men but both are gunned down as Cataleya watches. Marco tries to manipulate her into giving the information, but when he asks what she wants, she stabs him in the hand with a knife and replies “To kill Don Luis”, and escapes. She makes it to the U.S. Embassy and gives the information in exchange for a passport and passage to the United States. She escapes from the airport through a bathroom window and takes a bus to Chicago. Once she finds Emilio, Cataleya asks him to train her as a killer.

Fifteen years later, a 24-year-old Cataleya (Zoe Saldana) has become an accomplished assassin. Her uncle serves as her broker, providing her with contracts. She is assigned to kill the notorious gangster Genarro Rizzo (Affif Ben Badra), who is currently in police custody. Implementing an elaborate plan, she gets herself arrested while dressed in a disguise. She manages to escape from her cell with tools she hid in her disguise, travel through the ventilation system, kill Rizzo, and return to her cell. The next morning she is released. As with her previous murders, she leaves her signature, the Cattleya flower, which is a message to her ultimate target, Don Luis. After learning about this Colombian orchid, FBI Special Agent James Ross (Lennie James) can now link this case to more than twenty other cases. As a last resort, the FBI decides to inform the public about Cataleya’s calling card. Don Luis, who is currently in a witness protection program overseen by CIA Agent Steve Richard (Callum Blue), realizes that Fabio’s daughter is in the U.S. and orders Marco (whose hand still hurts) and his operatives to find her.
Emilio is furious when he learns Cataleya has been killing with a “signature” since she has thereby put her relatives in grave danger. Cataleya’s newest target is William “Willy” Woogard (Sam Douglas), a millionaire who fled to the Caribbean with $50 million from his Ponzi scheme. She sneaks into his house and shoots him, and he falls inside his shark tank, where the sharks maul him to death. Under the name “Jennifer”, Cataleya later visits her lover, Danny Delaney (Michael Vartan), and spends the night with him. Danny snaps a picture of her while she sleeps. That morning she meets with her uncle, Emilio, who furiously tells her that eight people were slaughtered in Miami, one of them being his friend. Emilio then retires his niece from her work.

Danny shows her picture to his friend Ryan, but when Danny leaves to stop his car from being ticketed, Ryan forwards the photo to his sister-in-law, a police clerk, to find out who she is. Now in the police computers, the photo is recognized by the body/morph recognition software as that of the woman who was in the same prison as Genarro Rizzo the night he was killed. Detective Ross is notified, and the FBI quickly trace her location and they are supported by a SWAT team as they leave for her apartment. After Cataleya says goodbye, she goes home, but gets a call from Danny, who confesses that he took a picture of her. Upon seeing the SWAT team enter the apartment, she manages to escape through the garage and goes to Emilio’s home, only to discover that Mama, Pepe (Angel Garnica), and Emilio have been tortured and killed by Don Luis’s men, leaving her devastated.

Cataleya ambushes FBI detective Ross in his home in order to find out where Don Luis is. She threatens to kill Ross’s family members one by one if he doesn’t try harder to help her. Fearing for the safety of his family, Ross meets with CIA agent Steve Richard, who is unhelpful at first, but after Cataleya fires a warning shot through his “bulletproof” office window with a large-calibre sniper rifle, Richard gives up Don Luis’s current location. Cataleya then goes to a Louisiana land surveyor and threatens him for the floor plans of Don Luis’ mansion. Cataleya assaults Don Luis’s premises with heavy weaponry and wipes out all the guards, then confronts Marco and, after a violent hand-to-hand battle, stabs him in the neck. Don Luis escapes in a van, but is stopped by a garbage truck. Cataleya calls him on Marco’s cell phone, but Don Luis laughs and says that he will kill her and she will never find him because he is never where Cataleya wants him to be. Cataleya responds that he is exactly where she wants him to be. Pepe’s two attack dogs are right behind Luis’ seat and on her command they violently maul Luis to death. Danny is interrogated by the FBI, but when Ross leaves, Danny gets a cellphone call from Cataleya, who gives him her real name, and he tells her he loves her. Ross’ technical team alerts him that Danny is on the phone, but Ross realizes that Danny cannot be charged with any crime, so he is released. Cataleya boards an interstate bus headed for an unknown destination.I approached this film apprehensively, especially considering the clichés which abound in most revenge type films. Fortunately, the film is a masterpiece and Cataleya (Zoe Saldana) brings a vulnerability that we can all relate to, as well as awesome badassery. There is plenty of action, but it is done tastefully and always propels the story further. In terms of romance, there is a sweet storyline where we come to understand who Cataleya is as a woman. It is done tastefully and avoids the cringe factor. Family is also a major theme, and this is where the emotional roller-coaster stems from. Put simply, Colombiana is a fantastic film which you’ll be happy to watch over again. Give it a chance and you might just be surprised.

REVIEW: BLOW

CAST

Johnny Depp (Public Enemies)
Penelope Cruz (Grimsby)
Franka Potente (Run Lola Run)
Rachel Griffiths (Brothers & Sisters)
Paul Reubens (Gotham)
Jordi Molla (Riddick)
Cliff Curtis (Training Day)
Migual Sandoval (Medium)
Ethan Suplee (My Name Is Earl)
Ray Liotta (Hannibal)
Kevin Gage (Heat)
Max Perlich (Cliffhanger)
Jesse James (Jumper)
Tony Amendola (The Mask of Zorro)
Bobcat Goldthwait (American Yakuza 2)
Monet Mazur (Raging Angels)
Jaime King (Sin City)
Emma Roberts (Scream Queens)

The film opens to a young George Jung (Jesse James) and his parents Fred (Ray Liotta) and Ermine (Rachel Griffiths) of Weymouth, Massachusetts. When George is ten years old, Fred files for bankruptcy and loses everything, but tries to make George realize that money is not important.

As an adult, George (Johnny Depp) moves to Los Angeles with his friend “Tuna” (Ethan Suplee); they meet Barbara (Franka Potente), an airline stewardess, who introduces them to Derek Foreal (Paul Reubens), a marijuana dealer. With Derek’s help, George and Tuna make a lot of money. Kevin Dulli (Max Perlich), a college student back in Boston, visits them and tells them of the enormous market—and demand—for pot in Boston. With Barbara’s help, they start bringing the drugs to Boston.

As the demand grows, they decide to start buying the drugs directly from Mexico with the help of Santiago Sanchez (Tony Amendola), a Mexican drug lord. But two years later, George is caught in Chicago trying to import 660 pounds of marijuana and is sentenced to two years. After unsuccessfully trying to plead his innocence (by reciting the lyrics of Bob Dylan’s “It Ain’t Me Babe” and insisting that he did no more than “cross an imaginary line with a bunch of plants”), George skips bail to take care of Barbara, who is suffering from, and eventually succumbs to, cancer. Her death marks the disbanding of the group of friends; even his friend, Tuna, flees their vacation home in Mexico and is never seen again.
While hiding from the authorities, George visits his parents back in New England. While he is having a heart-to-heart talk with his father, George’s mother calls the police, who come and arrest him. George is now sentenced to 26 months in a federal prison in Danbury, Connecticut. His cellmate Diego Delgado (Jordi Molla) has contacts in the Medellín cocaine cartel and convinces George to help him go into business. Upon his release from prison, George violates his parole conditions and heads down to Cartagena, Colombia to meet up with Diego. They meet with cartel officer Cesar Rosa to negotiate the terms for smuggling 15 kilograms (33 lb) to establish “good faith”. As the smuggling operation grows, Diego gets arrested, leaving George to find a way to sell 50 kg (110 lb) and get the money in time. George reconnects with Derek in California, and the two successfully sell all 50 kg in 36 hours, amassing a $1.35 million profit. George is then whisked off to Medellín, Colombia, where he finally meets the group’s leader, Pablo Escobar (Cliff Curtis), who agrees to go into business with them. With the help of main middleman Derek, the pair becomes Escobar’s top US importer. At Diego’s wedding, George meets Cesar’s fiancée Mirtha (Penélope Cruz) and marries her. However, Diego resents George for keeping Derek’s identity secret and pressures George to reveal his connection. George eventually discovers that Diego has betrayed him by cutting him out of the connection with Derek. Inspired by the birth of his daughter and chastened by a subsequent drug-related heart attack, George severs his relationship with the cartel and vows to leave the drug business forever.

All goes well with George’s newfound civilian life for five years, until Mirtha organizes a 38th birthday party for him. Many of his former drug associates attend, including Derek, who reveals that Diego eventually cut him out as well. The FBI and DEA raids the party and arrest George. Following George’s conviction, he becomes a fugitive. Meanwhile, his bank account—heretofore under Manuel Noriega’s protection in Panama—is seized. One night, he and Mirtha get into a fight while driving. They are pulled over by police and Mirtha tells them Jung is a fugitive and has stashed a kilogram of cocaine in his trunk. He is sent to jail for three years, during which time Mirtha divorces him and takes custody of their nine-year-old daughter, Kristina “Sunshine” Jung (Emma Roberts). Upon his release, George finds himself struggling to keep his relationship with his daughter on good terms.

George promises Kristina a vacation in California and seeks one last deal to garner enough money for the trip. George completes a deal with former accomplices but learns too late that the deal had been set up by the FBI and DEA, with Dulli and Derek having leaked the nature and location of the action in exchange for pardons for their involvement in his prior action. George is sentenced to 60 years at Otisville Correctional Facility in upstate New York. He explains in the end that neither the sentence nor the betrayal bothered him, but that he can never forgive himself for having to break a promise to his daughter.
While in prison, George requests a furlough to see his dying father, Fred. His unforgiving mother denies the request, saying a visit would only upset Fred. George is given a tape recorder to record a final message to his father. In the message, George recounts his memories of working with his father, his run-ins with the law, and finally, too late, his understanding of what Fred meant when he said that money is not “real”. The film closes with George as an old man in prison, imagining that his daughter (Jaime King) finally comes to visit him. She slowly fades away as a guard calls for George. The film concludes with notes indicating that Jung’s sentence will not expire until 2015, and that his daughter has yet to visit him. The film’s final image is a photograph of the actual George Jung.Johnny Depp is excellent in this role and you can share his excitement as the deals grow bigger and bigger and the money rolls in, as well as his sadness as things go downhill.  The film is accompanied by a great soundtrack, and despite it’s length it never feels dragged out.

REVIEW: 10, 000 BC

CAST

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

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

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

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