25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: THE HATEFUL EIGHT

CAST

Samuel L. Jackson (The Legend of Tarzan)
Kurt Russell (Fast & Furious 8)
Jennifer Jason Leigh (Single White Female)
Walton Goggins (Tomb Raider)
Demián Bichir (Che)
Tim Roth (Lie To Me)
Michael Madsen (Species)
Bruce Dern (The Driver)
James Parks (Kill Bill)
Dana Gourrier (Django Unchained)
Zoë Bell (Game of Death)
Channing Tatum (21 Jump Street)
Quentin Tarantino (Planet Terror)

Samuel L. Jackson in The Hateful Eight (2015)Years after the American Civil War, bounty hunter Major Marquis Warren is transporting three dead bounties to the town of Red Rock, Wyoming. He hitches a ride on a stagecoach driven by O.B. Jackson. Aboard is bounty hunter John Ruth, and handcuffed to him is fugitive Daisy Domergue, whom Ruth is escorting to Red Rock to collect her bounty and watch her hang. Ruth and Warren bond over Warren’s personal letter from Abraham Lincoln. Former Lost-Causer militiaman Chris Mannix, who is traveling to Red Rock as the town’s new sheriff, persuades Ruth and Warren to let him on the stagecoach. Warren and Ruth form an alliance to protect each other’s bounties.Jennifer Jason Leigh in The Hateful Eight (2015)The group seeks refuge from a blizzard at Minnie’s Haberdashery, a stagecoach lodge. They are greeted by Bob, a Mexican, who says the owner, Minnie, is away visiting her mother. The other lodgers are Oswaldo Mobray, a hangman; Joe Gage, a quiet cowboy traveling home to visit his mother; and Sanford Smithers, a former Confederate general traveling to put his son to rest. Suspicious, Ruth disarms all but Warren. As the group eats, Mannix surmises that Warren’s Lincoln letter is a forgery. Warren admits this, saying the letter buys him leeway with whites, outraging Ruth. Warren leaves a gun next to Smithers and provokes him into reaching for it by telling Smithers he tortured, raped, and killed Smithers’ son. When Smithers pulls a gun, Warren shoots him as revenge for Smithers’ executions of black soldiers at the Battle of Baton Rouge.Tim Roth in The Hateful Eight (2015)While everyone is distracted by the confrontation, someone poisons the brewing coffee. Ruth and Jackson drink it, killing Jackson and seriously injuring Ruth. The dying Ruth attacks Daisy, but she kills him with his own gun. Warren disarms Daisy, leaving her shackled to Ruth’s corpse, and holds the others at gunpoint. He is joined by Mannix, whom Warren trusts because he nearly drank the poisoned coffee. Warren executes Bob, deducing that he is an impostor who killed the lodge owners, as Minnie hates Mexicans and would never leave one to care for the lodge. When Warren threatens to execute Daisy, Gage admits that he poisoned the coffee. A man hiding in the cellar shoots Warren in the genitals. Mobray draws a concealed gun and shoots Mannix, who returns fire, wounding Mobray.Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tim Roth, and Kurt Russell in The Hateful Eight (2015)Hours earlier, Bob, Mobray, Gage, and a fourth man, Daisy’s brother Jody, arrive at the lodge. They murder Minnie and five other bystanders, leaving only Smithers. Jody tells Smithers they plan to ambush Ruth to rescue Daisy, and that his gang will spare Smithers if he keeps quiet. The bandits dispose of the bodies, hide the evidence, and conceal guns around the lodge. As Ruth’s stagecoach arrives, Jody hides in the cellar.Samuel L. Jackson and Walton Goggins in The Hateful Eight (2015)In the present, Mannix and Warren, both seriously wounded, hold Daisy, Gage, and the dying Mobray at gunpoint. They force Jody out of the cellar by threatening to kill Daisy. Jody surrenders and Warren executes him. Daisy claims fifteen of her brother’s men are waiting in Red Rock to kill Mannix and ransack the town; if Mannix kills Warren and allows her to escape, the gang will spare him and let him claim the bounties of the deceased except her brother.Samuel L. Jackson and Kurt Russell in The Hateful Eight (2015)As Daisy and Mobray taunt Warren, Warren shoots them both, mortally wounding Mobray. Gage draws a hidden revolver, but is shot dead by Mannix and Warren. Warren then tries to shoot Daisy, but he is out of bullets. Mannix calls Daisy’s bluff and rejects her offer, but faints from blood loss. Daisy hacks off Ruth’s handcuffed arm and frees herself. As she reaches for Gage’s gun, Mannix regains consciousness, shooting her. Warren persuades Mannix to hang her from the rafters inside the lodge in honour of Ruth. Afterward, as the two men lie dying, Mannix reads aloud Warren’s forged Lincoln letter.The Hateful Eight is a masterpiece. The rhythm is good, the film is balanced and it’s violent in almost a funny way. This is definitely a film I will see again.

REVIEW: THE NUN

Starring

Demián Bichir (The Hateful Eight)
Taissa Farmiga (Justice League vs Teen Titans)
Jonas Bloquet (Elle)
Bonnie Aarons (Silver Linings Playbook)
Charlotte Hope (Game of Thrones)
Ingrid Bisu (Toni Erdmann)
Sandra Teles (Deep State)
Manuela Ciucur (The Oak)
Ani Sava (To The Bone)
Patrick Wilson (Stretch)
Vera Farmiga (Bates Motel)

Taissa Farmiga in The Nun (2018)In 1952 Romania, two Roman Catholic nuns living at the Saint Cartha’s monastery are attacked by an unseen force when they enter a tunnel to retrieve an ancient Christian relic. The surviving nun, Sister Victoria, flees from the attacker, a demon appearing as a nun, and hangs herself. Her body is discovered by Frenchie, a villager who transports supplies to the nuns.Bonnie Aarons in The Nun (2018)The Vatican learns of the incident and summons Father Burke to Rome, where they ask him to travel with Sister Irene, a nun in her novitiate, to Romania in order to investigate the situation. While Sr. Irene is teaching children the relationship between religion and science in a school, her Mother Superior interrupts her and informs her that Burke has arrived in order to request Irene’s accompaniment in his trip to Romania.Taissa Farmiga in The Nun (2018)The pair travel to Romania and meet with Frenchie, who leads them to the abbey. They discover Victoria’s body and remove a key from her corpse. Inside, they encounter the Abbess, who informs them that the nuns observe a period of silence during the night and offers them lodging at the attached convent if they wish to return the next day. Frenchie is attacked by a demon as he returns to the village, but escapes. Burke tells Irene that a boy he exorcised, Daniel, was fatally injured during the exorcism, and Burke has carried the burden of the boy’s death with him ever since. Irene reveals that as a girl, she had visions particularly of a nun, causing the Church to take an interest in her. Burke is rescued by Irene after being buried alive in the graveyard by the demonic entity.Bonnie Aarons and Demián Bichir in The Nun (2018)The next day, Irene and Burke return to the abbey, but only Irene can enter as it is cloistered. She meets some of the other nuns and learns that they are praying constantly, swapping in shifts, to keep the entity at bay. Sister Oana reveals the abbey’s history: it was built in the Middle Ages as a castle by a duke who was obsessed with the occult. The duke summoned the demonic entity through a rift in the catacombs but was killed by Christian knights, who sealed the rift with an artifact containing the blood of Jesus Christ. The bombings during the Second World War caused the rift to reopen, unleashing the entity. Burke identifies the entity as Valak and discovers the Abbess has been dead all along.Bonnie Aarons and Taissa Farmiga in The Nun (2018)Frenchie heads back to the abbey to help Irene and Burke. Irene is attacked by Valak and joins the nuns in desperate prayer to fend off the demon. When the group reunites, Irene discovers that none of the nuns she had seen and talked to were real and she had been praying alone, later realizing that Victoria had been the last nun in the abbey and had sacrificed herself to stop Valak from possessing her body and unleashing evil. Theorizing that Valak can only be stopped if they seal the rift with the blood of Christ contained in the reliquary, the trio retrieves the vial with the key Victoria had. Irene then informs Burke that God has called her to make her solemn vows as a nun and asks Burke to elevate her to the status of a professed nun, which he does in the abbey’s chapel.Bonnie Aarons and Taissa Farmiga in The Nun (2018)After the trio unlocks the tunnel door, Irene is lured into a pentagram and possessed by Valak. Frenchie smears some of the blood of Christ on her face, casting out the demon. Burke is wounded by Daniel’s ghost as Valak starts to drown Irene in a flooded chamber. Irene expels the blood of Christ in the demon’s face, banishing it as the blood of Christ seals the rift. After Frenchie resuscitates Irene, he reveals his real name is Maurice. Unbeknownst to the others, Maurice has been possessed by Valak, as evidenced by an inverted cross on his neck. Twenty years later at a university seminar, Carolyn Perron watches as Ed and Lorraine Warren present footage of their attempt to exorcise a possessed Maurice. In the footage, Maurice grabs Lorraine, giving her visions of Ed dying, which initiate the Warrens’ investigation of the Hodgson household haunting, as well as their encounter with Valak itself. In a time where found footage and torture porn films are considered scary it was nice to see a good old fashioned ghost story. The conjuring series is a good one and the Nun is no exception. A nice eerie tone with a couple of twists make it an instant classic. If you’re a fan of the conjuring series you’ll enjoy it.

 

REVIEW: ALIEN: COVENANT

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CAST

Michael Fassbender (X-Men: Apocalypse)
Katherine Waterston (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them)
Billy Crudup (Watchmen)
Danny McBride (Land of The Lost)
Demián Bichir (The Hateful Eight)
Carmen Ejogo (The Purge: Anarchy)
Amy Seimetz (Lovesong)
Callie Hernandez (La La Land)
Jussie Smollett (North)
Nathaniel Dean (Walking on Water)
Benjamin Rigby (Neighbours)
Uli Latukefu (Marco Polo)
James Franco (This is The End)
Guy Pearce (Memento)
Noomi Rapace (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo)
Tess Haubrich (Treadstone)
Alexander England (Little Monsters)

In a prologue, business magnate Peter Weyland speaks with his newly-activated synthetic, who chooses the name “David” after looking at a replica of Michelangelo’s statue of David. Weyland tells David that one day they will search for mankind’s creator together.In 2104 the colonization ship Covenant is bound for a remote planet, Origae-6, with two thousand colonists and a thousand embryos onboard. The ship is monitored by Walter, a newer synthetic physically resembling the earlier David model. The ship suddenly detects a nearby neutrino burst and is very shortly afterward damaged by the closely following explosive shockwave from the same source: a new star igniting. The shockwave impact kills some of the colonists. Walter orders the ship’s computer to wake the crew from stasis, but the ship’s captain, Branson, dies when his stasis pod malfunctions. While repairing the ship, the crew pick up a radio transmission from a nearby unknown planet. Against the objections of Daniels, Branson’s wife, succeeding captain Oram decides to investigate. As the Covenant remains in orbit, an expedition team descends to the planet’s surface and tracks the transmission’s signal to a crashed alien ship. While on the surface, security team members Ledward and Hallett are inadvertently infected with alien spores. Karine, Oram’s wife, helps the rapidly sickening Ledward back to the lander, where Maggie, wife of pilot Tennessee, quarantines them both inside the med-bay. An alien creature (Neomorph) bursts from Ledward’s back, killing him, then mauls Karine to death. Maggie tries to shoot the quickly growing creature but accidentally hits a gas tank, causing an explosion which destroys the lander and kills her. The Neomorph escapes to the planet’s surface while another such creature bursts from Hallett’s throat, killing him.The two Neomorphs attack the remaining crew members and kill Ankor. The crew manages to kill one of the aliens before David, who survived the Prometheus mission, rescues the crew and leads them to a city full of humanoid (Engineer) corpses. David tells them that upon his and Dr. Elizabeth Shaw’s arrival at the planet, their Engineer ship accidentally released a black liquid bioweapon which killed the native population, and that Shaw died when the ship crashed in the ensuing chaos. After the crew members tell David of their mission, they attempt to radio the Covenant for help, but the surviving Neomorph infiltrates the city and finds Rosenthal alone before decapitating her. David tries to communicate with the creature and is horrified when Oram kills it. Under Oram’s gunpoint, David reveals that the aliens are a result of his experimenting with the black liquid as a catalyst to create a new species. He leads Oram to an incubation chamber and tricks him into being embraced by an alien parasite (facehugger), which implants Oram with an embryo. Another alien creature (Xenomorph) soon erupts from Oram’s chest, killing him.As the others search for Oram and Rosenthal, Walter confronts David after realizing that David had deliberately unleashed the black liquid upon the Engineers. David explains that he believes humans are an inferior species and should not be allowed to colonize the galaxy. When Walter disagrees, David disables him and captures Daniels, revealing to her that he also murdered Shaw and used her corpse for his experiments. Walter reactivates himself and engages David, allowing Daniels to escape while Lope is attacked by the facehugger. Cole saves Lope before they are ambushed by the now mature Xenomorph, which kills Cole. Tennessee arrives in another lander to extract Daniels, Lope, and the seemingly victorious Walter. They kill the Xenomorph before docking with the Covenant; however, Lope had been implanted with another Xenomorph, which bursts from his chest on the ship before quickly maturing and killing crew members Ricks and Upworth. With Walter’s help, Tennessee and Daniels corner the creature in the Covenant’s airlock and flush it into space.The Covenant resumes its trip to Origae-6, and the surviving crew re-enters stasis. As Walter puts Daniels under, she realizes that he is actually David, but is unable to escape her stasis pod before falling asleep. Now in control of both the ship and its population, David regurgitates two alien embryos and places them in cold storage alongside the human embryos. He then uses Walter’s name to record a log stating that all crew members except Daniels and Tennessee were killed by the neutrino blast at the beginning of the film.Alien:Covenant finishes with a fantastic twist, sets itself up for an obvious sequel and elicits groans of frustration with its inconclusive ending. It’s an appetizer for a better film just large enough to whet your appetite.

 

REVIEW: THE HEAT

CAST

Sandra Bullock (Speed)
Melissa McCarthy (Spy)
Damian Bichir (Che)
Marlon Wayans (Scary Movie)
Michael Rapaport (The 6th Day)
Jane Curtin (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Taran Killam (How I Met Your Mother)
Michael McDonald (The Boss)
John Ross Bowie (The Big Bang Theory)
Tony Hale (Chuck)
Nate Corddry (Mom)
Jessica Chaffin (New Girl)
Ben Falcone (Tammy)
Bill Burr (Zombeavers)
Paul Feig (Sabrina: TTW)
Thomas F. Wilson (Legends of Tomorrow)
Kaitlin Olson (Finding Dory)

FBI agent Sarah Ashburn (Sandra Bullock) is an expert and effective investigator in New York City, but is despised by her allied agents for her egotistical & vicious personality. When her manager assigns her to a mission Boston, she meets a detective named Shannon Mullins (Melissa McCarthy), a skilled but loudmouthed, bloodthirsty, sadistic, hot headed, & merciless cop who is part of the Boston Police Department. Ashburn’s ruthless philosophy clashes with Mullins’nefarious style of law work, proved during their attempt to interrogate local drug dealer Rojas (Spoken Reasons) who was captured by Mullins. Under pressure from Hale (Demián Bichir), her employer, Ashburn reluctantly agrees to work with Mullins as her ally.
Ashburn and Mullins tail a local nightclub manager named Hank LeSoire (Adam Ray) to his place of business known as Club Ekko and successfully place a bug on his cell phone in an effort to get information on a drug lord, Simon Larkin. As they leave the club, Ashburn and Mullins are confronted by DEA agents Craig (Dan Bakkedahl) and Adam (Taran Killam), who have been working the Larkin case for several months and are worried that their case will be compromised. Ashburn and Mullins discover a surveillance video in the DEA agents’ van showing Mullins’ brother, Jason (Michael Rapaport), apparently connected to Larkin’s organization. Jason was recently released from prison, having been put there by Mullins to keep him off the streets and out of trouble.
Ashburn convinces Mullins to go to her parents’ home to ask Jason for information on Larkin. On their arrival at the home, it becomes apparent that Mullins’ parents (Michael B. Tucci and Jane Curtin) (particularly her mother) and three other brothers, Peter (Joey McIntyre), Mark (Bill Burr) and Michael (Nathan Corddry) (two of whom have girlfriends, Gina (Jessica Chaffin) and Beth (Jamie Denbo) still resent Mullins for her involvement in Jason’s incarceration. However, Jason does not have any ill feelings toward his sister, and tips her off about the body of a murdered drug dealer by the name of Sal Netalie in an abandoned car. Chemicals on the victim’s shoes lead Ashburn and Mullins to an abandoned paint factory, where they witness a drug dealer being murdered by Julian Vincent (Michael McDonald), vicious criminal and second-in-command of Larkin’s organization. They apprehend Julian but are unable to extract any substantial information regarding Larkin’s whereabouts, even with Mullins going so far as to play Russian Roulette with Julian’s testicles.
The pair spend the evening bonding in a bar, where a drunk Ashburn reveals that her foster child past may be partly to blame for her attitude. After a night of raucous drinking and partying, Ashburn wakes up the following morning to discover that, in her drunkenness, she has given her car keys to Wayne (Steve Bannos), one of the bar patrons. After unsuccessfully pleading for the keys, Ashburn and Mullins watch as the patron starts the car and is killed by a bomb. They discover that Julian has escaped from custody and means to harm Mullins’ family, so Mullins moves her family into a motel. Jason leaves, intending to join the Larkin organization in an attempt to help Mullins solve the case. Jason gives her a tip about a drug shipment coming into Boston Harbor. Despite Mullins’ reluctance, Ashburn gets the FBI to take down the shipment. The FBI finds that the ship is actually an innocent pleasure cruise ship. Jason was being tested by Larkin, who shoots Jason for informing the FBI about the supposed drug shipment. Jason escapes death but falls into a coma. A falling out occurs between Mullins and Ashburn, with Mullins vowing to bring her brother’s attacker to justice. They then reconcile when they arrest several drug dealers as a way of gaining leads to Larkin’s whereabouts, including Rojas.
Ashburn and Mullins go to equip themselves with assault weapons from Mullins’ extensive personal arsenal, and infiltrate one of Larkin’s warehouses. Despite taking out several of Larkin’s men with a hand grenade, the two officers are captured and bound. Julian is about to torture them with knives when he gets called away by Larkin. Before Julian leaves, he stabs Ashburn in the leg and leaves the knife in the wound. Mullins removes the knife from Ashburn’s leg and uses it to cut the rope binding her hands. Before she can finish freeing herself and Ashburn, they are discovered by Craig and Adam. Craig begins to untie the two women, but is shot and killed by Adam. Ashburn and Mullins learn that Adam is actually Larkin, who has been working his own case from inside the DEA for several months. Julian returns and Larkin orders him to kill Ashburn and Mullins while he goes to the hospital to kill Jason. After Larkin leaves, Mullins manages to finish freeing herself and Ashburn incapacitates Julian with a head butt, after Mullins had stabbed him in the leg. Mullins and Ashburn race to the hospital to save Jason.
Upon their arrival, Mullins rushes to find Jason. Ashburn, hindered by the stab wound in her leg, lags behind, unable to move quickly. Mullins learns that, due to the foul language she and her family exhibit, the doctor moved Jason to another room in the hospital; she finds Jason’s room, only to be disarmed by Larkin. He is about to kill Jason when Ashburn, having had to crawl to the room, subdues Larkin by shooting him in the genitals (much to Mullins’ surprise, as she would never actually do so; scaring Julian earlier was only a way of making him talk). With Larkin captured, Ashburn requests to stay in the FBI’s Boston field office, having developed a strong friendship with Mullins. Jason is shown having fully recovered from his coma. The film ends with Mullins receiving a commendation from the Boston Police Department. Members of her family are present and they cheer Mullins, now having reconciled with her. Ashburn later gets a call from Mullins to look in her year book. Mullins had signed the back of Ashburn’s yearbook with the words, “Foster kid, now you have a sister”, showing the strong friendship that Mullins felt for a previously unpopular Ashburn.
As a surprise, Mullins brings to Ashburn the cat that she had found in Ashburn’s neighbor’s house, believing it was hers. Earlier, when Mullins saw a photo of Ashburn with the neighbor’s cat, Ashburn had lied and said it was her cat which had gone missing in New York. Mullins quickly deduces that the cat is not Ashburn’s; Ashburn confesses and the cat is boxed to be shipped back, ending the film.This is some of Melissa McCarthy’s best work. She is a funny lady, she simply does not have to do what she does in most things to get the laughs. Bullock is an understated yet pleasant surprise and the chemistry between the two clicks immediately and effectively.