REVIEW: BEOWULF

CAST

Anthony Hopkins (Westworld)
Angelina Jolie (The Changeling)
Ray Winstone (Elfie Hopkins)
Crispin Glover (Alice In Wonderland)
Robin Wright (Forrest Gump)
Sebastian Roche (The Originals)
John Malkovich (Red)
Brendan Gleeson (Troy)
Costas Mandylor (Saw V)
Dominic Keating (Heroes)
Alison Lohman (Big Fish)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)

Set in 507, Beowulf is a legendary Geatish warrior who travels to Denmark with his band of soldiers, including his best friend, Wiglaf. They meet King Hrothgar, who needs a hero to slay Grendel (Crispin Glover), a hideously disfigured troll-like creature with superhuman strength. Grendel attacks Heorot, Hrothgar’s mead hall, whenever the Danes held a celebration, and Hrothgar has been forced to close the hall. Upon arriving, Beowulf becomes attracted to Hrothgar’s wife, Queen Wealtheow, who reciprocates his interest.Beowulf and his men celebrate in Heorot to lure Grendel out. When the beast attacks, Beowulf engages him unarmed and naked. During the fight, Beowulf discovers that Grendel has hypersensitive hearing, which is why he interrupts Hrothgar’s celebrations – the noise they make is physically painful to him. After his eardrums are ruptured by Beowulf, Grendel attempts to escape. Beowulf restrains Grendel and severs his arm with the door. In thanks for freeing his kingdom from the monster, Hrothgar gives Beowulf his golden drinking horn, which commemorates Hrothgar’s victory over the mighty dragon Fafnir.In his cave, the dying Grendel tells his mother what was done to him, and she swears revenge. She travels to Heorot and slaughters Beowulf’s men while they are sleeping. Hrothgar tells both Beowulf and Wiglaf, who had been sleeping outside the hall during the attack, that it was the work of Grendel’s mother. She is the last of the Water Demons, who were thought to have left the land. Beowulf and Wiglaf travel to the demon’s cave to slay her. Beowulf enters the cave alone and encounters the demon, who takes the form of a beautiful woman. She offers to make him the greatest king who ever lived, in exchange for a son to replace Grendel and Hrothgar’s drinking horn.Beowulf agrees to the deal and returns, claiming to have killed her. Hrothgar, however, realizes the truth. He indirectly tells Beowulf that, much like him, Hrothgar was seduced by her, and Grendel was the result of their tryst. Hrothgar crowns Beowulf king, much to the dismay of his royal advisor, Unferth, who was hoping to take the throne. Hrothgar then commits suicide by jumping from the castle parapet onto the beach below. A wave momentarily engulfs Hrothgar’s body, there is a golden flash underwater, and the body is gone.Years later, the elderly Beowulf is married to Wealtheow. Over the years they had grown apart, husband and wife in name alone. Beowulf takes a mistress, Ursula, but his tryst with Grendel’s mother has left him sterile. One day, Unferth’s slave Cain finds the golden drinking horn in a swamp near Grendel’s cave and brings it back to the kingdom. That night, a nearby village is destroyed by a dragon, which leaves Unferth alive to deliver a message to King Beowulf: the dragon is Beowulf’s son born to Grendel’s mother. Removing the horn has voided the agreement between Beowulf and Grendel’s mother, who has now sent their son, the dragon, to destroy his kingdom.Beowulf and Wiglaf go to the cave once again and Beowulf enters the cave alone. When Grendel’s mother appears, Beowulf gives her the golden horn, but she refuses to stop the attacks. The dragon flies straight towards Beowulf’s home, threatening Wealtheow and Ursula. Despite his age, Beowulf goes to great lengths to stop the monster, even severing his own arm. Eventually, he kills the dragon by ripping its heart out. A mortally wounded Beowulf watches the dragon transforming into a humanoid body and being washed out to sea. As Wiglaf approaches him, Beowulf tries to tell the truth about his affair with Grendel’s mother, but Wiglaf insists on keeping his legacy intact. Beowulf then dies.As the new king, Wiglaf gives Beowulf a Norse funeral. Grendel’s mother appears and gives Beowulf a final kiss before his burning ship sinks into the sea. Wiglaf sees the golden horn in the sand while Grendel’s mother floats in the sea, looking at him seductively. The movie ends ambiguously with Wiglaf holding the horn and staring back at her.The plot isn’t much to write home about. The acting is variable – Robin Wright-Penn is fine, Hopkins is his usual reliable self, Ray Winstone is suitably heroic as the heroic, self-aggrandising Beowulf, and Crispin Glover is just brilliant as Grendel. Grendel is a lovely creation, oozing slime and blood, and wracked with pain. It’s entertainment. And I was royally entertained.

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REVIEW: FRIDAY THE 13TH – PART 4

CAST

Elrich Anderson (Unfaithful)
Julie Aronson (American Ninja)
Peter Barton (Sunset Beach)
Kimberly Beck (The Big Blue)
Tom Everett (Air Force One)
Crispin Glover (Alice In Wonderland)
Corey Feldman (The Lost Boys)
Lisa Freeman (Savage Streets)


The night after the events of previous film paramedics clean up the remains left by psychopathic killer Jason Voorhees and deliver him to the county morgue, where the mortician Axel fails to notice signs that Jason is breathing. After escaping cold storage, Jason slices Axel’s neck with a hacksaw and stabs nurse Robbie with a scalpel.

The next day a group of teens (Paul, his girlfriend Sam, Sarah, her crush Doug, Jimmy and Ted) encounter a hitchhiker while looking for a cabin they have rented for the weekend. The hitchhiker is killed shortly after by Jason, who has returned to the area. The teens find the cabin finally and meet neighbors Trish Jarvis, her brother Tommy, and their dog Gordon. While going for a walk the next day, they meet two local girls, twins Tina and Terri, and they decide to go skinny dipping with them. Trish and Tommy happen upon the scene and before they leave, Trish is invited to a party to take place that night. Afterward, their car breaks down and Trish and Tommy meet a backpacker named Rob, who claims to be hunting for bear in the area. They take him to their house where Tommy shows Rob several monster masks he made himself before Rob leaves to go camping. At the party that night Tina makes a move on Paul, which makes Sam jealous and she leaves for a swim, but Sam is stabbed through a rubber raft. Feeling guilty, Paul goes after Sam to make up and discovers her body just before is stabbed in the groin with a harpoon gun.

Terri rejects Teddy’s advances and wants to leave, but Tina moves onto Jimmy and the two go upstairs to have sex. Frustrated, Terri leaves but she is killed with a spear. At the Jarvis house, Mrs. Jarvis returns home to find the power out, and when she goes out to investigate, she is startled before being killed. Teddy finds an old stag film and brings it up on the projector while Sarah hints to Doug that she wants to have sex with him, and they go upstairs. Jimmy comes downstairs and settles a “dead fuck” status with Ted who had earlier said he can’t satisfy a girl in bed and goes to get a glass of wine to celebrate. Jason appears, jams Jimmy’s hand with a corkscrew and slams a cleaver into his face. Upstairs, Tina notices Terri’s bike is still there before she is grabbed through the window and thrown to her death on top of the teens’ car. Proceeding downstairs, Jason stabs Ted in the back of the head with a kitchen knife through the projector screen. Jason moves upstairs, crushing Doug’s skull in the shower.When Sarah returns and finds him dead she tries to flee the house, but she is killed with an ax to the chest. Meanwhile, Trish and Tommy return from town and discover the power outage. Trish decides to go look for their mother, and orders Tommy to fix the lights. Trish comes across the campsite of Rob, who is convinced that Jason is still alive, which worries Trish and they return to the house. Running next door, they discover the bodies of the teens and Rob is caught and killed by Jason as Trish runs home. They barricade the house, but Jason breaks in and chases them into Tommy’s room. Trish lures Jason out of the house while Tommy escapes. She runs through the teens’ house, then out the upstairs window when he corners her. Returning to her own home she is devastated to learn that Tommy is still there. She senses Jason behind her and tries to kill him with a machete but she misses and he attacks her.

Tommy, having disguised himself to look like Jason as a child, distracts him long enough for Trish to swing the machete at Jason, but she misses. As Jason turns back Tommy takes the machete and jams it in the side of Jason’s skull and he collapses to the floor. The siblings embrace, but Tommy notices Jason’s fingers twitching and he takes the machete and begins to hack at his body, screaming “Die! Die!” while Trish screams his name.

At the hospital, Trish insists on seeing her brother, who was traumatized by the events. He rushes in and hugs her, but gives a disturbed look while staring into the camera, and the screen fades to white.

The Final Chapter is often considered the best in the series by many fans and I won’t argue with that. This is a high quality slasher with dark atmosphere and suspense.

REVIEW: ALICE IN WONDERLAND (2010)

CAST

Mia Wasikowska (Crimson Peak)
Johnny Depp (Into The Woods)
Helena Bonham Carter (Cinderella)
Anne Hathaway (The Dark Knight Rises)
Crispin Glover (Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter)
Matt Lucas (Bridesmaids)
Frances de la Tour (Mr. Holmes)
Marton Csokas (Xena)
Michael Sheen (Underworld)
Alan Rickman (Harry Potter)
Stephen Fry (Sherlock Holmes 2)
Barbara Windsor (Eastenders)
Paul Whitehouse (Corpse Bride)
Timothy Spall (Rock Star)
Michael Gough (Batman)
Christopher Lee (The Hobbit)
Imelda Staunton (Paddington)
Frank Welker (The Simpsons)
Lucy Davenport (Gangster Squad)

Troubled by a strange recurring dream and mourning the loss of her beloved father, nineteen-year-old Alice Kingsleigh attends a garden party at Lord Ascot’s estate. There she is confronted by an unwanted marriage proposal to Hamish Ascot and the stifling expectations of the society in which she lives. Unsure of how to proceed, she pursues a rabbit wearing a blue waistcoat and accidentally falls into a large rabbit hole under a tree. She emerges in a forest where she is greeted by the White Rabbit, the Dormouse, the Dodo, the Talking Flowers, and Tweedledee and Tweedledum. They argue over her identity as “the right Alice” who must slay the Red Queen’s Jabberwocky and restore the White Queen to power, as foretold by Absolem the Caterpillar and his prophetic scroll. The group is then ambushed by the Bandersnatch and a group of playing-card soldiers led by the Knave of Hearts. Alice, Tweedledum and Tweedledee escape into the woods. The Knave steals the Caterpillar’s scroll. The Dormouse leaves the others behind with one of the Bandersnatch’s eyes in her possession. Tweedledum and Tweedledee are then captured by the Red Queen’s Jubjub bird.

The Knave informs the Red Queen that Alice threatens her reign, and the soldiers and Bayard the Bloodhound are ordered to find Alice immediately. Meanwhile, the Cheshire Cat guides Alice to the March Hare and the Hatter. The Hatter helps Alice avoid capture by allowing himself to be seized instead. Later, Alice is found by Bayard the Bloodhound; but Alice insists upon helping the Hatter. At the Queen’s citadel, the Red Queen is unaware of Alice’s true identity and therefore welcomes her as a guest, named Um from Umbridge. Alice learns that the Vorpal Sword, the only weapon capable of killing the Jabberwocky, is locked inside the den of the Bandersnatch. The Knave crudely attempts to seduce Alice, but she rebuffs him, and a jealous Red Queen orders Alice beheaded. Alice obtains the sword and befriends the Bandersnatch by returning its eye. She then escapes on the back of the grateful Bandersnatch and delivers the sword to the White Queen. The Cheshire Cat saves the Hatter from the executioner, and the Hatter calls for rebellion against the Red Queen. The rebellion is quickly put down by the Jubjub bird, but the resistance flees to the White Queen’s castle, and both armies prepare for battle. Former caterpillar Absolem advises Alice to fight the Jabberwocky just before completing his transformation into a pupa.

On the appointed day, the White and Red Queens gather their armies on a chessboard-like battlefield and send Alice and the Jabberwocky to decide the battle in single combat. Encouraged by the advice of her late father, Alice fights the Jabberwocky among the ruins surrounding the battlefield and finally jumps from the remains of a spiral staircase onto the Jabberwocky’s neck and beheads it. The White Queen sends the Red Queen and the Knave into exile. After the Hatter performs a celebration dance called Futterwacken, the White Queen gives Alice a vial of the Jabberwocky’s purple blood whose power will bring her whatever she wishes. She decides to rejoin the everyday world. Back in England, Lord Ascot takes Alice as his apprentice with the idea of establishing oceanic trade routes to Hong Kong. As the story closes, Alice prepares to set off on a trading ship. A light-blue butterfly lands on her shoulder, and Alice recognizes him as Absolem.

This film is a modern take on the traditional tale of Alice in wonderland, it is absolutely brilliant I cannot recommend it enough. It is highly entertaining and definitely extremely enjoyable for families as well as any aged disney fan.

REVIEW: CHARLIES ANGELS 1 & 2

CAST

Cameron Diaz (Bad teacher)
Drew Barrymore (Poison Ivy)
Lucy Liu (Kill BIll)
Bill Murray (Groundhog Day)
Sam Rockwell (Iron Man 2)
Kelly Lynch (Road House)
Tim Curry (IT)
Crispin Glover (Alice In Wonderland)
Matt LeBlanc (Friends)
LL Cool J (Deep Blue Sea)
Tom Green (Road Trip)
Luke Wilson (That 70s Show)
Sean Whalen (Twister)
Melissa McCarthy (Spy)
Ned Bellamy (Terminator: TSCC)
John Forsythe (Scrooged)

Story-wise, the 98-minute movie closely resembles a 50-minute episode of the TV series, though story is the least of the film’s concerns. Natalie (Cameron Diaz), Dylan (Drew Barrymore), and Alex (Lucy Liu) are private eyes working for the elusive, never-seen millionaire Charles Townsend – Charlie (voiced, as he was in the original TV series, by John Forsythe). Bosley (Bill Murray) is Charlie’s assistant, acting as an intermediary between Charlie, his “Angels,” and their clients. Unlike the TV show, the movie provides the girls with James Bondian gadgetry and outrageous superhero-like prowess.What plot there is involves the apparent kidnapping of a Bill Gates-type software genius, Eric Knox (Sam Rockwell). Business partner Vivian Wood (Kelly Lynch) hires Charlie’s Angels to rescue him from communications magnate Roger Corwin (Tim Curry) before he can get his hands on Knox’s latest invention, a voice-recognition system. Combined with satellite monitoring, it would enable users to track down virtually anyone anywhere in the world, rendering privacy a thing of the past.Charlie’s Angels was directed by Joseph McGinty Nichol, who goes by the professional moniker “McG.” This was his first feature after a well-regarded series of music videos and television commercials. Charlie’s Angels itself very much resembles a movie-length music video or extended television commercial, with its short-attention-span cutting, in-your-face action, and loud pop music blaring non-stop on the soundtrack – including seemingly every song with “Angel” in the title. Almost every shot is visually arresting; even an ordinary fast-food drive-thru is made to look glamorously retro. The locations, including the Chemosphere house in the Hollywood Hills, are well chosen, and the three leads wear colorful costumes throughout, probably going through 50 costume changes during the course of the film.But there’s little in the way of breathing room and what brief pauses there are tend to expose just how empty the picture is. Nevertheless the women are unusually appealing here. Barrymore’s character, the “bad” girl among the angels, is flirtatious while Diaz’s, apparently both a genius and a scatterbrain at once, has a genuinely sweet blossoming romance with an equally clueless bartender well-played by Luke Wilson. There’s an obvious affection for the original TV show which, while conceptually ingenious was routine and undistinguished, though initially quite popular. The movie embraces its iconography, including the TV show’s clever opening title design. It’s also nice to hear Forsythe’s voice emanating from that little white speaker again. Like the TV show, the film poignantly closes with the Angels almost but not quite getting to meet their boss, a wrap-up scene that’s like a little tribute to the distinguished actor playing him. (Forsythe passed away earlier this year, at the age of 92.)

CAST

Cameron Diaz (Bad teacher)
Drew Barrymore (Poison Ivy)
Lucy Liu (Kill BIll)
Bernie Mac (Bad Santa)
Crispin Glover (Alice In Wonderland)
Justin Theroux (American Psycho)
Robert Patrick (Terminator 2)
Demi Moore (G.I. Jane)
Rodrigo Santoro (300)
Shia LaBeouf (Transformers)
Matt LeBlanc (Friends)
Luke Wilson (That 70s Show)
John Cleese (Rat Race)
Robert Forster (Dragon wars)
Eve (XXX)
Pink (Rollerball)
Carrie Fisher (Star Wars)
Steve Hytner (The Prophecy)
John Forsythe (Scrooged)
Ashley Olsen (Full House)
Mary-Kate Olsen (Full House)
Jaclyn Smith (The Bourne Identity TV)
Bruce Willis (Die Hard)

The Angels are back and better than ever. The trio of heroines are infinitely charming, and the film is full of sparkling pop-culture energy that is impossible to resist. Then a pair of rings encoded with the identities and addresses of everyone in the witness protection program are stolen from the Justice Department, the Angels are called in to retrieve them. With every international mafia family is after the rings, the Angels must employ quick wits and sharp outfits to succeed.

Charlie’s Angels does three major things right: first, it’s extremely self-aware and absolves the audience of any inclination to take the film seriously. Charlie’s Angels doesn’t want to win an Oscar, it wants you to have a good time. From jokes about the number of screenwriters needed to make an action movie, to cameos by the Olsen Twins as next generation angels, to innumerable film references, the movie revels in its roots. Secondly, there is a lot of variety in the action sequences, which keeps things from ever getting boring. Where most action films are all gun battles and car chases, Charlie’s Angels has surfing, motorcross, street luge, martial arts, gun fights, and they do it all in high heels! Finally, and most importantly, the Angels inspire the audience. Who wants to be an angry Hulk or wear that funny-looking Daredevil outfit? Without the liability of a serious comic book behind it, Charlie’s Angels can toss aside the introspective melodrama and get back to action movie basics: having fun and kicking butt.And then there’s Demi Moore. Dear Lord. The 41-year-old mother of three looks absolutely stunning and holds her own in the film. She’s perfectly snooty and evil and, rumor has it that’s how she was on the set as well. Although, in Moore’s defense, the trio of Barrymore, Liu, and Diaz ooze cliquishness. Their best-friends-forever chemistry works great in the film, it’s like watching the behind-the-scenes moments of the most popular girls in school, but just like those cliques, it was probably not much fun to be around.Bernie Mac was entertaining as Bosley, but clearly holding back. Additionally, Alex (Lucy Liu) could benefit from having her character flushed out a little more. Dylan (Drew Barrymore) is the most well-established angel), and Cameron Diaz’s Natalie assumes the persona of all previous goofy-get-glamorous Diaz roles. Lucy Liu, is the other hand, is just the angel who gets the bad dialogue. all in all a great sequel, just a shame we never got a third outing.