REVIEW: VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS

CAST

Dane DeHaan (Life After Beth)
Cara Delevingne (Suicide Squad)
Clive Owen (Sin City)
Rihanna (Battleship)
Ethan Hawke (The Purge)
Herbie Hancock (Round Midnight)
Kris Wu (Blossoms)
Rutger Hauer (Blade Runner)
John Goodman (Red State)
Elizabeth Debicki (Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 2)
Sam Spruell (Venus)

Ethan Hawke and Dane DeHaan in Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)In the 28th century, the former International Space Station has been added to until its mass threatens to cause it to fall out of orbit. Relocated to deep space, it becomes Alpha, a space-traveling city inhabited by millions of creatures from thousands of planets. A special police division is created to preserve peace through the galaxy, including happy-go-lucky Major Valerian and his partner, no-nonsense Sergeant Laureline.Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne in Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)En route to a mission, Valerian dreams of a planet, Mül, where a low-tech humanoid race lives peacefully. They fish for pearls containing enormous amounts of energy, and use small animals to replicate them. Wreckage begins plummeting from the sky, followed by an apocalyptic explosion. Moments before her death a young princess manages to send out a telepathic signal.Cara Delevingne in Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)Shaken, Valerian awakes. After an analysis reveals he might have received a signal from across time and space, he learns that his mission is to retrieve a “Mül converter”, so-called for being able to replicate anything it eats. It is the last of its kind, and currently in the hands of black market dealer Igon Siruss. Before setting out, Valerian asks Laureline to marry him, but she brushes him off, due to his many affairs with female colleagues and his aversion to commitment. Travelling to a massive extra-dimensional bazaar called Big Market, Valerian disrupts a meeting between Igon and two hooded figures who look like the humanoids from his vision. They also seek the converter, which is revealed to be one of the small animals he saw in his vision. Valerian and Laureline recover the converter, and he surreptitiously steals one of the pearls. Aboard their ship, he learns that Mül was destroyed 30 years earlier, and all information about it is classified.Ola Rapace and Cara Delevingne in Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)They return to Alpha, where their superior, frosty Commander Arün Filitt, informs them the center of the station has been infected by an unknown force, rendering it highly toxic. Troops sent into the area have not returned, and the infection is growing. Laureline and Valerian are assigned to protect the commander during an interstation summit to discuss the crisis. Against the Commander’s wishes, Laureline maintains possession of the converter.Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne in Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)During the summit, the humanoids suddenly attack, incapacitating everyone before kidnapping Filitt. Valerian chases the kidnappers to the infected area and crashes his vehicle. Evading arrest for insubordination, Laureline enlists the help of some aliens to track Valerian, and finds him unconscious at the edge of the infected zone. She wakes him, but is kidnapped by a primitive imperial tribe emigrated from planet Goara[17] called “Boulan Bathors” that lives nearby. Valerian infiltrates the tribe’s territory with the help of a shape-shifting dancer, Bubble. They save Laureline and escape, but Bubble is mortally wounded. As she dies, she convinces Valerian to never give up on his feelings for Laureline.Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne in Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)Valerian and Laureline venture further into the infected area, realizing it is actually not toxic and contains some wrecks of antique spacecraft. They reach a large shielded hall where they find the humanoids, known as Pearls, with an unconscious Filitt. Their leader, Emperor Haban Limaï, explains that his people lived peacefully on Mül until a battle broke out in orbit between the human government’s fleet and another species. The human commander, Filitt, ordered the use of a powerful missile that disabled the enemy ship but caused it to crash into the planet, annihilating Mül. Upon dying, Princess Lihö-Minaa transferred her soul into Valerian’s body. A small group of survivors took shelter in a crashed human spaceship. They managed to repair it, and learned of the humans’ technology and history. They eventually came to Alpha, where they assimilated more knowledge and built a ship of their own. They needed only the converter and the pearl to launch the ship so they could find a planet to use their technology and recreate their homeworld. Filitt admits his role in the genocide, but argues that it was necessary to end the war, as was the cover-up to prevent the humans from being expelled from Alpha. Valerian and Laureline disagree, stating that the commander has only been trying to save himself from the consequences for his actions, before Valerian knocks him out again.Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne in Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)Valerian hands over the pearl he stole, and Laureline persuades him to return the converter too, ignoring procedures. While the Pearls’ spacecraft prepares for takeoff, Filitt’s pre-programmed robot K-Tron soldiers attack the Pearls, the government soldiers who were sent to assist Valerian, and their support staff, but are ultimately defeated. The spacecraft departs and Filitt is arrested. Valerian and Laureline are left adrift onboard a still working Apollo Command/Service Module, which is identified by radio technicians as “Destiny 2005”, and Laureline finally answers Valerian’s marriage proposal with a “maybe” as they wait for rescue.Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne in Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)Overall, this movie is a visual masterpiece. For those looking for that next Fifth Element fix, this is it. This movie has The Fifth Element feel all over it from the feel, the humour, the over the top species, dialogue, etc.. If you loved Fifth Element, you will love this movie as well. I can’t imagine that Fifth Element got great reviews when it originally came out either. But it also had Bruce Willis and it’s now a cult masterpiece. I believe that this will have its cult status as well, eventually.

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REVIEW: DUPLICITY

CAST

Julia Roberts (Mirror, Mirror)
Clive Owen (King Arthur)
Tom Wilkinson (Batman Begins)
Paul Giamatti (The Amazing Spider-Man 2)
Denis O’Hare (Milk)
Kathleen Chalfant (Kinsey)
Tom McCarthy (The Lovely Bones)
Wayne Duvall (Lincoln)
Carrie Preston (Doubt)
Rick Worthy (Heroes)
Ulrich Thomsen (The International)

Julia Roberts and Clive Owen in Duplicity (2009)Five years ago. Ray Koval (Clive Owen), an MI6 agent, meets Claire Stenwick (Julia Roberts), a CIA agent, at a party in Dubai. He is unaware of her identity and seduces her. Claire drugs him and steals classified documents from him. Three years later in Rome. Ray and Claire meet for the first time since Dubai and spend several days together at a posh hotel. They imagine leaving their government jobs for work in an intensely competitive area in the private sector. They contemplate using their skills in intelligence to enrich themselves. After exploring possibilities over several months, including companies vying for the market in double-crust pizza, they settle on cosmetics and personal hygiene. How they will turn their positions to their advantage is unclear even to them, but they will be ready when the opportunity presents itself.Julia Roberts and Clive Owen in Duplicity (2009)Claire accepts a job in counter-intelligence at Burkett & Randle. After more than a year, Ray takes a position in intelligence at Equikrom, where he will act as the handler and Claire as one of his agents. Aware that Ray’s new employer will be spying on him to assess his loyalty, he and Claire first practice how they will pretend to be meeting in New York for the first time since Dubai, reprising much of the dialog of their actual encounter in Rome. They are unaware that Claire’s employers at Burkett & Randle are spying on her and hear this rehearsal, which blows her cover. Burkett & Randle CEO Howard Tully (Tom Wilkinson) decides to keep Claire in her job, even though she is a mole, and to manipulate her in his rivalry with Equikrom.Clive Owen in Duplicity (2009)Claire and Ray, working as mole and handler, reprise the dialog yet again and, as they anticipated, Ray’s employer is listening in and is persuaded that Ray is loyal. Throughout the weeks that follow, Claire and Ray remain wary of one another. Both are experienced in double-dealing and despite their romantic connection and plans to escape with new identities once this operation is complete, neither is entirely free of the other’s suspicion. Tully makes a speech to his intelligence team, including Claire, that paints his company as the innovator defending itself from duplicity and theft. He underscores how the unannounced new product makes vigilance even more urgent. He and others in his organization plant information that they know she and the intelligence team at Equikrom will steal as they try to understand what that “major development” might be.Claire provides a copy of this speech to Equikrom CEO Dick Garsik (Paul Giamatti), who plots to steal whatever Burkett & Randle has developed. His team, including Ray, devote themselves to stealing information from Burkett & Randle’s offices, in the course of which Ray seduces one of their travel office employees and he and several others visit a casino in the Bahamas. Thanks to information from Ray, Claire is able to appear a hero to her employers, catching Equikrom’s spying activities after the fact or preventing them in some measure in the Bahamas. Tully at Burkett & Randle pretends to be impressed, thanks Claire for successfully defending the company’s new product, and he reveals to her that it is a cure for baldness. She informs Garsik at Equikrom, who leaves for a shareholders meeting in Las Vegas expecting she will obtain the chemical formula and he will announce the new development to his shareholders before Burkett & Randle goes public with the information.Excitement builds as the Equikrom team, using Claire as their principal source inside their rival’s offices, succeed in acquiring a copy of the formula. Claire and Ray rendezvous at the Zürich Airport, each with a copy of the formula that they plan to sell to a Swiss company for $35 million. At the same time, Garsik tells his shareholders that they are in the final stages of testing for a product that cures baldness. The formula, the Swiss announce to Ray and Claire, is not what they think, just a harmless lotion. They in turn are disappointed, but impressed by how completely they were manipulated. They have only each other now, and a thank you bottle of champagne from Tully.Julia Roberts and Clive Owen in Duplicity (2009)A rather multi-faceted, fast paced, kaleidoscopic, industrial espionage jaunt. I found the plot easy to follow although the script feels rather stilted. Perhaps a touch too much trying to be clever becoming convoluted with far too many ‘flash backs’, it is, nevertheless, a fairly pleasant way to pass 125 mins of ones life but perhaps not a film to revisit in a hurry.

 

REVIEW: CHILDREN OF MEN

CAST

Clive Owen (King Arthur)
Julianne Moore (Hannibal)
Clare-Hope Ashitey (The White King)
Michael Caine (The Dark Knight)
Chiwetel Ejiofor (Serenity)
Charlie Hunnam (Crimson Peak)
Pam Ferris (The Raven)
Peter Mullan (Braveheart)
Danny Huston (The Number 23)

In 2027, after 18 years of global human infertility, civilization is on the brink of collapse as humanity faces extinction. The United Kingdom, one of the very few stable nations with a functioning government, is deluged by asylum seekers fleeing the chaos and war which have taken hold around the world. In response, the UK has become a police state as the British Army round up and detain immigrants. Theo Faron, a former activist turned cynical bureaucrat, is kidnapped by the Fishes, a militant immigrants’ rights group. They are led by Theo’s estranged wife, Julian Taylor, from whom he separated after their son Dylan’s death during a 2008 flu pandemic.Julian offers Theo money to acquire transit papers for a young refugee named Kee, which Theo obtains from his cousin Nigel, a government minister who runs a state-sponsored collection of salvaged art from around the world. The transit papers require that the bearer must be accompanied, so Theo agrees to escort Kee in exchange for a large sum. Luke, a Fishes member, drives them and former midwife Miriam towards the coast to a boat. They are ambushed by an armed gang, and Julian is killed. Luke kills two police officers who stop their car, and they bury Julian in the forest as Theo breaks down crying over her death. The group ditches their car for another to escape to a Fishes safe house.Kee reveals to Theo that she is pregnant, as Julian had told her to trust only Theo. Julian had intended to hand Kee to the “Human Project”, a supposed scientific group in the Azores dedicated to curing infertility; however, Luke persuades Kee to stay, and he is later voted as the new leader of the Fishes. Later that night, Theo eavesdrops on a meeting of Luke and other Fishes. He discovers that Julian’s death was orchestrated by the Fishes so Luke could take over as leader, that they intend to kill Theo in the morning, and that they intend to use the baby as a political tool to support the coming revolution. Theo wakes Kee and Miriam, and they steal a car, escaping to the secluded hideaway of Theo’s aging friend Jasper Palmer, a former political cartoonist turned pot dealer.

The group makes plans to board the Human Project ship Tomorrow, which will arrive offshore from a refugee camp at Bexhill-on-Sea. Jasper proposes getting Syd, a camp guard to whom he frequently sells drugs, to smuggle them into Bexhill masquerading as refugees. The Fishes discover Jasper’s house, and the group flees while Jasper stays behind to stall the Fishes. Luke shoots and kills Jasper as Theo watches from the woods. The group waits for Syd in an abandoned school, where Miriam confides in Theo how many pregnancies miscarried at the beginning of the infertility crisis and her sadness at how “as the sound of the playgrounds faded, the despair set in. Very odd, what happens in a world without children’s voices”. The group then meets with Syd and are transported to Bexhill, where they see refugees being beaten, tortured, robbed, and executed by camp guards and police. When Kee’s contractions begin on a bus, Miriam distracts a suspicious guard by feigning mania. She is taken away and hooded.At the camp, Theo and Kee meet a Romanian woman, Marichka, who provides a room where Kee gives birth to a baby girl. The next day, Syd finds them in their room, and informs Theo and Kee that war has broken out between the British Army and the refugees, including the Fishes. Having learned that they have a bounty on their heads, Syd attempts to capture them, but Marichka and Theo fight him off and escape. Amidst the fighting, the Fishes capture Kee and the baby. Theo tracks them to an apartment under heavy fire where he confronts Luke, who is then killed by a tank shell, and escorts Kee and the baby out. Awed by the baby, the combatants temporarily stop fighting; staring at the screaming baby, they allow the group to leave. Marichka leads Theo, Kee, and the baby to a boat in a sewer, and Theo rows away whilst Marichka stays behind. As they watch the bombing of Bexhill by the Royal Air Force from a distance, Theo reveals that he had been shot by Luke. He tells Kee how to wind her baby to soothe her crying, and Kee tells Theo she will name the baby after his and Julian’s lost son, Dylan. Theo loses consciousness from his wounds as the Tomorrow approaches through the fog.Children of Men is a gut-wrenching look at an all too possible future, but it also works as a heart-stopping, adrenaline-rush-inducing piece of entertainment featuring some of the most breathtaking camera work you’ll ever see.

REVIEW: KING ARTHUR

CAST
Clive Owen (Sin City)
Keira Knightley (Domino)
Hugh Dancy (Hannibal)
Mads Mikkelsen (Clash of The Titans)
Ioan Grufford (Ringer)
Joel Edgerton (Exodus: Gods and Kings)
Ray Stevenson (Punisher: Warzone)
Stephen Dillane (Game of Thrones)
Stellan Skarsgard (Thor)
Ken Stott (The Hobbit)
 Arthur (Clive Owen) is portrayed as a Roman cavalry officer, also known as Artorius Castus, the son of a Roman father and a Celtic mother, who commands a unit of Sarmatian auxiliary cavalry in Britain at the close of the Roman occupation in 467 A.D. Arthur is loyal to Rome and a devout Catholic, but follows the teachings of Pelagianism, which many consider heretical. He and his men guard Hadrian’s Wall against the Woads, a group of native Britons who are rebels against Roman rule, led by the mysterious Merlin (Stephen Dillane).
As the film begins, Arthur and his remaining knights Lancelot (Ioan Gruffudd), Bors (Ray Winstone), Tristan (Mads Mikkelsen), Gawain (Joel Edgerton), Galahad (Hugh Dancy) and Dagonet (Ray Stevenson) expect to be discharged from their service to the Empire after faithfully fulfilling a fifteen-year commitment.
However, on the night when they are to receive their freedom, Bishop Germanus (Ivano Marescotti) sends them on a final and possibly suicidal mission to rescue an important Roman family. Marius Honorius (Ken Stott) faces impending capture by the invading Saxons, led by their king Cerdic (Stellan Skarsgård) and his son Cynric (Til Schweiger). According to Germanus, Marius’ son Alecto is the Pope’s favourite godson and may be “destined to be Pope one day”.
At the remote estate, Arthur discovers that Marius has immured pagans, to include a Woad named Guinevere (Keira Knightley) and a small boy named Lucan. Arthur frees them and decides to take everyone, along with Marius’ family, back to Hadrian’s Wall.
One night, Guinevere takes Arthur to meet with Merlin, the leader of the Woads and her father. At first, Arthur thinks Guinevere has betrayed him, but Merlin has come in peace. It is revealed in a flashback that Arthur’s mother had died in a Woad attack when he was a boy. Arthur’s famous sword, Excalibur, had belonged to his father and marked his burial mound. Arthur had pulled it from the mound in an effort to rescue his mother from a burning building. Merlin suggests an alliance between the Woads and the Sarmatian knights against the invading Saxons.
Marius then betrays the group and takes Lucan hostage and attempts to kill Dagonet but is shot by Guinevere with an arrow. While moving on to the south, Alecto informs Arthur that Germanus executed Pelagius after being insulted by his teachings of equality. Tristan returns from scouting the area and tells Arthur that a Saxon army is close behind them. The knights stay behind to hold up the Saxons and allow the refugees to escape. They soon encounter the Saxons at an ice-covered lake bordered on each side by steep cliffs. Greatly outnumbered, Arthur, Guinevere and the knights attempt to repel them with arrows. The battle is won when Dagonet runs to the middle of the ice and breaks it with an axe at the cost of his life. Many Saxons are also killed, and the rest must return the way they came.
Arthur and his men form an alliance with the Woads to fight the Saxons. In the climactic “Battle of Badon Hill” set just south of Hadrian’s Wall, the Woads catapult flaming missiles at the Saxon army. When the hosts meet, Guinevere engages in combat with Cynric. Cerdic fights and kills Tristan before facing off with Arthur. Meanwhile, Cynric disarms Guinevere and is engaged by Lancelot. Cynric shoots Lancelot with a Saxon crossbow. Lancelot then throws his sword into Cynric and kills him. Lancelot dies with Guinevere at his side. Arthur kills Cerdic and the Saxons are defeated.
While he realises that his ideal Rome exists only in his dreams, Arthur despairs over the deaths of his men. The film ends with the marriage of Arthur and Guinevere, after which Merlin proclaims him to be their king. United by their defeat of the Saxons and the retreat of the Romans, Arthur promises to lead the Britons against future invaders. Three horses that had belonged to Tristan, Dagonet and Lancelot run free across the landscape as the closing narrative describes how fallen knights live on in tales passed from generation to generation.
A great movie with an interesting twist on the legend of King Arthur.

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

REVIEW: INSIDE MAN

CAST

Denzel Washington (The Equalizer)
Clive Owen (Sin City)
Jodie Foster (The Brave One)
Christopher Plummer (The Sound of Music)
Willem Dafoe (American Psycho)
Chiwetel Ejiofor (Doctor Strange)
Kim Director (Blair Witch 2)
Ken Leung (Lost)

A man named Dalton Russell sits in an unidentified cell and narrates a story of how he has committed the perfect robbery. In New York, masked robbers, dressed as painters and using variants of the name “Steve” as aliases, seize control of a Manhattan bank and take the patrons and employees hostage. They divide the hostages into groups and hold them in different rooms, forcing them to don painters clothes identical to their own. The robbers rotate the hostages among various rooms and occasionally insert themselves covertly into the groups. They also take turns working on an unspecified project involving demolishing the floor in one of the bank’s storage rooms.Police surround the bank and Detectives Keith Frazier and Bill Mitchell take charge of the negotiations. Russell, the leader of the robbers, demands food and the police supply them with pizzas whose boxes include listening devices. The bugs pick up a language which the police identify as Albanian. They discover, however, that the conversations are in fact propaganda recordings of deceased Albanian communist dictator Enver Hoxha, implying that the robbers anticipated the attempted surveillance.When Arthur Case, chairman of the board of directors and founder of the bank, hears of the robbery taking place, he hires “fixer” Madeleine White to try to protect the contents of his safe deposit box within the bank. White arranges a conversation with Russell, who allows her to enter the bank and inspect the contents of the box, which include documents from Nazi Germany. Russell implies that Case started his bank with money that he received from the Nazis for unspecified services, resulting in the deaths of many Jewish people during World War II. White tells Russell that Case will pay him a substantial sum if he destroys the contents of the box. Frazier demands to inspect the hostages before allowing the robbers to leave and Russell takes him on a tour of the bank. As he is being shown out, Frazier attacks Russell, but is restrained by another of the robbers. Afterwards he explains that he deliberately tried to provoke Russell and judges that the man is not a killer. However, this is disproven when the robbers execute one of the hostages.The execution prompts the ESU team into action. They plan to storm the bank and use rubber bullets to knock out those inside. Frazier discovers that the robbers have planted a listening device on the police; aware of the police plans, the robbers detonate smoke grenades and release the hostages. The police detain and question everyone but are unable to distinguish the identically dressed hostages from the robbers. A search of the bank reveals the robbers’ weapons were plastic replicas. They find props for faking the execution, but no money or valuables appear to have been stolen. With no way to identify the suspects and unsure if a crime has even been committed, Frazier’s superior orders him to drop the case.Frazier, however, searches the bank’s records and finds that safe deposit box #392 has never appeared on any records since the bank’s founding in 1948. He obtains a search warrant to open it. He is then confronted by White, who informs him of Case’s Nazi dealings. She attempts to persuade Frazier to drop his investigation, but he refuses, playing a recording of an incriminating conversation that she had with him. White confronts Case who admits that the box contained diamonds and a ring that he had taken from a Jewish friend whom he had betrayed to the Nazis.  Russell repeats his opening monologue, but with the revelation that he is in fact hiding behind a fake wall the robbers had constructed inside the bank’s supply room. He emerges a week after the robbery with the contents of Case’s safe deposit box, including incriminating documents and several bags of diamonds. On his way out, he bumps into Frazier, who does not recognize him. When Frazier opens the safe deposit box, he finds the ring and a note from Russell. Frazier confronts Case and urges White to contact the Office of War Crimes Issues at the State Department about Case’s war crimes. At home, Frazier finds a loose diamond, slipped into his pocket by Russell.It’s not a flawless film by any means: the last reel doesn’t quite match up to what preceded it, and the script doesn’t really get you near the skin of the characters (even if it does serve up some delicious, not entirely expected moments). Yet as heist movies go, this is one of the better examples of recent times, with plenty of reasons to recommend it.

REVIEW: BLOOD TIES

CAST

Marion Cotillard (The Dark Knight Rises)
Billy Crudup (Watchmen)
Clive Owen (Sin City)
Mila Kunis (Black Swan)
Zoe Saldana (Avatar)
Matthias Schoenaerts (The Danish Girl)
James Caan (Elf)
Noah Emmerich (Last Action Hero)
Domenick Lombardozzi (Public Enemies)
Jamie Hector (Heroes)
Griffin Dunne (War Machine)

After serving twelve years for murder (for killing a rapist and murderer he caught in the act), Chris (Clive Owen) is released from prison in 1974. His ex-wife, Monica (Marion Cotillard), is a drug-addicted prostitute. She has a son and a daughter. Chris tries to go straight with his new girlfriend Natalie (Mila Kunis) but is betrayed and sabotaged in his pursuit of a legitimate business venture. Returning to his criminal ways puts him in direct conflict with his brother Frank (Billy Crudup) who happens to be a New York City cop. Their sister, Marie (Lili Taylor), and their sick father, Leon (James Caan), want Chris and Frank to just get along with each other.When arresting Anthony Scarfo (Matthias Schoenaerts) at his house Frank happens to meet his ex-girlfriend Vanessa (Zoe Saldana) again. Though Vanessa is now married to Anthony and has a daughter by him, Frank and Vanessa get back together again anyway, and she decides to divorce Anthony. But in the meantime Frank becomes conflicted over allowing his brother Chris to flee the scene of a felony murder. After Anthony is released from police custody his first act is to seek revenge against Frank for destroying his home life. Chris uncovers the plot and must decide between saving his own skin and stopping Anthony in his tracks.Blood Ties may not be a breakthrough movie in itself, but it is powerful cinema nonetheless. Requires some patience as the plot builds up.