REVIEW: LOGAN LUCKY

Starring

Channing Tatum (21 Jump Street)
Adam Driver (This Is Where I Leave You)
Daniel Craig (Cowboys & Aliens)
Riley Keough (Mad Max: Fury Road)
Katie Holmes (Jack & Jill)
Farrah Mackenzie (Please Stand By)
Katherine Waterston (Alien: Covenant)
Dwight Yoakam (Crank)
Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy)
Sebastian Stan (I, Tonya)
Brian Gleeson (Mother!)
Jack Quaid (The Boys)
Hilary Swank (The Reaping)
David Denman (Power Rangers)
Charles Halford (Constantine)
LeAnn Rimes (Coyote Ugly)

Riley Keough and Adam Driver in Logan Lucky (2017)Jimmy Logan is laid off from his construction job at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. While visiting his ex-wife Bobbie Jo to pick up their daughter Sadie for a beauty pageant rehearsal, he learns that Bobbie Jo and her new husband are moving to Lynchburg, making it even harder for Jimmy to visit.Channing Tatum in Logan Lucky (2017)Jimmy goes to a bar, run by his brother Clyde, an Iraq War veteran who lost his hand during the war. Max Chilblain, a pretentious British businessman and NASCAR-team owner, arrives with his friends and insults Clyde, leading to a fight with Jimmy. Meanwhile, Clyde sets fire to Max’s car with a Molotov cocktail. On his way out, Jimmy yells “cauliflower,” which Clyde recognizes as a codeword they used when they committed crimes as young boys. Next day, Jimmy reveals his plan to rob the Speedway, exploiting his knowledge of their pneumatic tube system for moving money.Channing Tatum and Adam Driver in Logan Lucky (2017)Clyde agrees to the plan, and he and Jimmy recruit their sister Mellie, a convicted safe-cracker named Joe Bang, and Joe’s dimwitted brothers Sam and Fish. They plan to break Joe out of prison and return him after the heist is complete, before anyone notices. Clyde intentionally gets himself sent to prison on a minor charge. Mellie, Sam, and Fish infest the Speedway’s pneumatic tubes with cockroaches that Mellie had painted different colors, helping them determine which set of tubes to use. While gathering supplies, Jimmy meets former schoolmate Sylvia, who runs a mobile clinic in need of donations; Sylvia provides Jimmy with a tetanus shot, and the two strike up a conversation. Later, Jimmy learns that construction at the speedway is being completed ahead of schedule, forcing them to reschedule the heist for a week earlier, during the much busier Coca-Cola 600 race on Memorial Day weekend.Daniel Craig, Channing Tatum, and Adam Driver in Logan Lucky (2017)Joe and Clyde arrange for the prison’s inmates to stage a riot, resulting in a lockdown to hide their absence. They escape by hiding under a delivery truck. Mellie meets them in a Ford Shelby GT350, stolen from Bobbie Jo’s husband. At the speedway, Sam and Fish destroy a generator with an explosive, forcing all vendors to accept cash only. Joe improvises an explosive from bleach, gummy bears, and a dietary salt substitute, which detonates within the pneumatic tube system, allowing the crew to begin collecting all of the vendors’ cash. The staff notice smoke coming out of the tubes, and security guards investigate, but a diversion set up by Jimmy and Earl, one of Clyde’s bar patrons, prevents them from discovering the heist. The airflow in the tube delivering the money is reversed, causing Clyde’s prosthetic arm to be lost. Making their way back to the prison, Clyde and Joe are recognized by Chilblain and his sponsored NASCAR driver Dayton White. The job is a success, and Jimmy makes it to his daughter’s pageant in time to hear her perform his favorite song, “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” Jimmy then abandons the money and anonymously alerts the police so they can retrieve it.Daniel Craig, Channing Tatum, and Adam Driver in Logan Lucky (2017)FBI agent Sarah Grayson investigates the heist. Due to the unwillingness of the prison authorities to disclose the extent of the riot, the refuting of Chilblain’s eyewitness account by White (disgruntled because he crashed during the race because he drank some of Chilblain’s energy drink as part of the sponsorship deal), and the speedway administration’s satisfaction with their insurance settlement, the case is closed after six months. Joe is released from prison and returns to his old home to find a bag of money buried by a tree in his yard. Sylvia receives an envelope of money anonymously in the mail, as does one of the now released jail inmates who helped with the riot. It is then revealed that during the heist, Jimmy purposely separated several bags of money from the rest, and sent them to the local dump with the regular trash. The rest he returned, to discourage any potential investigations. Jimmy also retrieved Clyde’s prosthetic hand from the vacuum tube. Now working in a hardware store and having bought a house near his daughter and ex-wife’s home, Jimmy happily reunites with his family at Clyde’s bar, where they and the rest of the gang share drinks. Sylvia also arrives and shares a kiss with Jimmy. Clyde does not recognize one of the patrons, who turns out to be Grayson.Channing Tatum and Adam Driver in Logan Lucky (2017)Overall, as the first feature to draw Soderbergh out of semi-retirement, Logan Lucky is clearly something he wanted to make and his passion comes through in the final product. Produced entirely on his own and without studio interference, Logan Lucky inverts the glamour and opulence of the Ocean’s trilogy without loosing the series’ trademark quirks and high entertainment value. If Logan Lucky is intended to act as sort of push-back of the Hollywood system and studio meddling, then Soderbergh has succeeded at both proving a point and making you laugh while doing it.

REVIEW: STAR WARS – EPISODE VII: THE FORCE AWAKENS

 

CAST
Daisy Ridley (Scrawl)
John Boyega (Attack The Block)
Oscar Isaac (Ex_Machina)
Mark Hamill (Batman: TAS)
Harrison Ford (Blade Runner)
Carrie Fisher (Sorority Row)
Adam Driver (Bluebird)
Andy Serkis (Lord of The Rings)
Domhnall Gleeson (The Revenant)
Anthony Daniels (The Lego Movie)
Max Von Sydow (Conan The Barbarian)
Peter Mayhew (Killer Ink)
Gwendoline Christie (Game of Thrones)
Simon Pegg (The World’s End)
Kiran Shah (The Hobbit)
Greg Grunberg (Heroes)
Maisie Richardson-Sellers (The originals)
Warwick Davis (The Ewok Adventures)
Mark Stanley (Kajaki)
Ken Leung (Lost)
Billie Lourd (Scream Queens)
Thomas Brodie-Sangster (The Maze Runner)
Bill Hader (Superbad)
Daniel Craig (Cowboys & Aliens)
Ewan McGregor (Mordecai)
Lupita Nyong’o (Black Panther)
Billie Lourd (Scream Queens)
Jessica Henwick (Iron FIst)
Ben Schwartz (Sonic The Hedgehog)
Hannah John-Kamen (Ant-Man and The Wasp)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)
Approximately 30 years after the destruction of the second Death Star, the last remaining Jedi, Luke Skywalker, has disappeared. The First Order has risen from the fallen Galactic Empire and seeks to eliminate the New Republic. The Resistance, backed by the Republic and led by Luke’s twin sister, General Leia Organa, opposes them while searching for Luke to enlist his aid.
Resistance pilot Poe Dameron meets village elder Lor San Tekka on the planet Jakku to obtain a map to Luke’s location. Stormtroopers commanded by Kylo Ren destroy the village and capture Poe. Poe’s droid BB-8 escapes with the map, and encounters the scavenger Rey near a junkyard settlement. Ren tortures Poe using the Force, and learns of BB-8. Stormtrooper FN-2187, unable to bring himself to kill for the First Order, frees Poe, and they escape in a stolen TIE fighter; Poe dubs FN-2187 “Finn”. They crash on Jakku, and Finn survives but is unable to determine if Poe did as well. He encounters Rey and BB-8, but the First Order tracks them and launches an airstrike. Finn, Rey, and BB-8 flee the planet in the Millennium Falcon, which they steal from a junkyard.
The Falcon breaks down and is captured by a larger ship piloted by Han Solo and Chewbacca, looking to reclaim their former vessel. Two rival gangs, seeking to settle debts with Han, board and attack, but Han and company manage to escape in the Falcon. The gangs inform the First Order of the events. At the First Order’s Starkiller Base – a planet converted into a superweapon that harnesses energy from stars – Supreme Leader Snoke orders General Hux to use the weapon for the first time. Snoke questions Ren’s ability to deal with emotions relating to his father, Han Solo; Ren replies that Han means nothing to him.
The Falcon crew views BB-8’s map and determines it is incomplete. Han explains that Luke attempted to rebuild the Jedi Order but exiled himself when an apprentice turned to the dark side. The crew travels to the planet Takodana and meet with cantina owner Maz Kanata, who offers assistance in getting BB-8 to the Resistance. Rey is drawn to a vault on the lower level and finds the lightsaber that once belonged to Luke and his father Anakin Skywalker. She experiences disturbing visions and flees into the woods. Maz gives Finn the lightsaber for safekeeping.
Starkiller Base fires and destroys the Republic capital and fleet. The First Order attacks Takodana in search of BB-8. Han, Chewbacca, and Finn are saved by Resistance X-wing fighters led by Poe, revealing that he survived the earlier crash. Leia arrives at Takodana with C-3PO and reunites with Han and Chewbacca. Meanwhile, Ren captures Rey and takes her to Starkiller Base, but when he interrogates her about the map, she is able to resist his mind-reading attempts. Discovering she can use the Force, she escapes using a Jedi mind trick on a nearby guard.
At the Resistance base on D’Qar, BB-8 finds R2-D2, who has been inactive since Luke’s disappearance. As Starkiller Base prepares to fire on D’Qar, the Resistance devises a plan to destroy the superweapon by attacking a critical facility. Leia urges Han to return their son alive. Using the Falcon, Han, Chewbacca, and Finn infiltrate the facility and plant explosives. Han confronts Ren, calling him by his birth name, Ben, and implores him to abandon the dark side. Ren kills Han, enraging Chewbacca, who fires and wounds Ren. He sets off the explosives, allowing the Resistance to attack and destroy Starkiller Base.
Ren pursues Finn and Rey to the surface. A lightsaber battle between Ren and Finn ensues, leaving Finn badly wounded. Rey takes the lightsaber and uses the Force to defeat Ren, before they are separated by a fissure as the planet begins to disintegrate. Snoke orders Hux to evacuate and bring Ren to him to complete his training. Rey and Chewbacca escape with Finn in the Falcon. On D’Qar, the Resistance celebrates while Leia, Chewbacca, and Rey mourn Han’s death. R2-D2 awakens and reveals the rest of the map, which Rey follows with R2-D2 and Chewbacca to a distant planet. She finds Luke and presents him with the lightsaber.
Packed with action and populated by both familiar faces and fresh blood, The Force Awakens successfully recalls the series’ former glory while injecting it with renewed energy.

REVIEW: KNIVES OUT

 

Starring

Daniel Craig (Layer Cake)
Christopher Plummer (Beginners)
Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween)
Don Johnson (Watchmen TV)
Chris Evans (Captain America: Civil War)
Toni Collette (Krampus)
Katherine Langford (13 Reasons Why)
Michael Shannon (Man of Steel)
Riki Lindhome (The Lego Batman Movie)
Jaeden Martell (IT)
K Callan (Lois & Clark)
Ana de Armas (Blade Runner 2049)
Edi Patterson (Helen Keller vs. Nightwolves)
M. Emmet Walsh (The Scorpion King 4)
Lakeith Stanfield (uncit Gems)
Noah Segan (Chain Letter)
Frank Oz (Star Wars)
Marlene Forte (Marvel’s Runaways)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt (The Dark Knight Rises)

Daniel Craig in Knives Out (2019)Wealthy crime novelist Harlan Thrombey invites his family to his Massachusetts mansion for his 85th birthday party. The next morning, Harlan’s housekeeper Fran finds him dead, with his throat slit. The police are convinced that Harlan’s death is a suicide, but an anonymous party pays private detective Benoit Blanc to investigate.Jamie Lee Curtis, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, Michael Shannon, Riki Lindhome, Jaeden Martell, and Katherine Langford in Knives Out (2019)Blanc learns that Harlan’s relationships with his family had become strained: he threatened to expose his son-in-law Richard for cheating on his wife Linda, cut off his daughter-in-law Joni’s allowance for stealing from him, fired his younger son Walt from his publishing company, and had an altercation with his grandson Ransom. Unknown to Blanc, after the party, Harlan’s nurse, Marta Cabrera, accidentally administered him an overdose of morphine instead of his usual medication and could not find the antidote, leaving Harlan minutes to live. To protect Marta, Harlan gave her instructions to create a false alibi to avoid suspicion over his death; he then slit his own throat. Marta carried out Harlan’s instructions, but Harlan’s elderly mother saw her and mistook her for Ransom.Jamie Lee Curtis, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, Christopher Plummer, K Callan, Chris Evans, Michael Shannon, Riki Lindhome, Ana de Armas, Jaeden Martell, and Katherine Langford in Knives Out (2019)Marta cannot lie without vomiting, so she gives true but incomplete answers when Blanc questions her. Blanc asks her to assist his investigation. As they search the property, Marta attempts to conceal evidence. Harlan’s will is read: he left everything to Marta, to her astonishment as well as the family’s. They turn on her, but Ransom helps her escape. Ransom persuades Marta to confess to him and offers to help her in exchange for his share of the inheritance. The other Thrombeys try to persuade Marta to renounce her inheritance; Walt threatens to expose her mother as an undocumented immigrant.Marta receives an anonymous blackmail note with a partial photocopy of Harlan’s toxicology report. She and Ransom drive to the medical examiner’s office, but it has been destroyed in a fire. Marta receives an anonymous email with a time and address to meet the blackmailer. Blanc and the police, also investigating the destroyed medical examiner’s office, spot Marta and Ransom. After a brief car chase, the police arrest Ransom; Blanc explains to Marta that Harlan’s mother saw Ransom climbing down from Harlan’s room on the night of his death.Marta goes to the address in the email and discovers Fran drugged, along with her missing medical case. Marta hesitates, realizing that Fran can link her to the crime, but performs CPR on Fran and calls 911. Marta confesses to Blanc, but Ransom has already informed on her. At the house, Marta finds a copy of the full toxicology report hidden in Fran’s cannabis stash. Marta is about to confess to the family that she caused Harlan’s death, but Blanc interrupts her after reading the report.Daniel Craig, Noah Segan, and LaKeith Stanfield in Knives Out (2019)Blanc reveals his deductions to Marta, Ransom, and the police: After Ransom learned at the party that Harlan was leaving everything to Marta, he swapped the contents of Marta’s medication vials and stole the antidote so she would kill Harlan with an overdose of morphine, making her ineligible to claim the inheritance by the slayer rule. However, Marta actually administered the correct medicine without reading the labels, recognizing it by the weight and viscosity of the fluid, and is therefore innocent of Harlan’s death. After the death was reported as a suicide, Ransom anonymously hired Blanc to discover Marta’s guilt. Fran later saw Ransom stealing Marta’s medical case to hide the fact that the contents of the vials had been switched, and sent him the blackmail note. Realizing that Marta had unknowingly given Harlan the correct medication, Ransom forwarded the blackmail note to Marta. He burned down the medical examiner’s office to destroy evidence of Marta’s innocence. Finally, he drugged Fran with an overdose of morphine and emailed her location to Marta, planning to frame Marta for Fran’s murder.Marta tricks Ransom into confessing by lying that Fran has survived and will implicate him; after he confesses and vows revenge, she vomits on him, revealing the lie. Enraged, he attacks her with a knife but discovers it is a retractable stage knife. The police have recorded Ransom’s confession, and he is taken into custody as Marta watches the Thrombeys depart from what is now her mansion.Jamie Lee Curtis, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, Chris Evans, Noah Segan, Michael Shannon, Riki Lindhome, LaKeith Stanfield, Jaeden Martell, and Katherine Langford in Knives Out (2019)Generally speaking you tend to find more murder mystery TV shows than movies, this is partially since it’s hard to build a complete mystery in the allotted movie running time. This movie builds this murder beautifully by showing the different points of views of the suspects. It has a different take than other movies since it gives the viewer a little too much details mid-movie which leaves you questioning everything to the last minute. The acting was brilliant and I didn’t feel the number of characters was overdoing it at any stage.

REVIEW: LAYER CAKE

CAST

Daniel Craig (Cowboys & Aliens)
Sienna Miller (Factory Girl)
Colm Meaney (Intermission)
Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises)
Kenneth Cranham (Maleficent)
George Harris (The Interpreter)
Jamie Foreman (Ironclad)
Michael Gambon (Harry Potter)
Ben Whishaw (Bright Star)
Sally Hawkins (The Painted Vell)
Burn Gorman (Game of Thrones)
Dexter Fletcher (Kick-Ass)
Jason Flemyng (From Hell)
Matt Ryan (Constantine)
Tamer Hassan (Batman Begins)

An unnamed man—appearing in the end credits only as XXXX—is a London underworld figure who has established himself in the cocaine business as one of the city’s biggest suppliers, whilst presenting himself as a figure with legal business operations. Considering himself a businessman and a patient person, he leaves the darker aspects of the business to his henchman Morty, who had previously spent 10 years in prison for murder. Once he has earned enough to ensure his long-term financial security, XXXX plans to retire.

Approaching this point, his retirement plans go wrong when his powerful supplier Jimmy Price instructs XXXX to track down Charlie, the teenaged daughter of Price’s associate, Eddie Temple, who has fled a rehabilitation centre along with her drug-addicted boyfriend. To track her down, XXXX enlists the help of two con men known as Cody and Tiptoes. To the frustration of XXXX, the boyfriend is found dead and Charlie has apparently been kidnapped, although no ransom has been demanded.

At the same time, Price instructs XXXX to organise the purchase and distribution of one million ecstasy tablets from a low-level gangster styling himself as “The Duke”. XXXX does not know the pills had been stolen from a gang of Serbian war criminals based in the Netherlands, and who have been in hiding since the Yugoslav Wars and are now large-scale drug producers.

Meanwhile, XXXX encounters the Duke’s nephew Sidney at a bar and becomes attracted to his disillusioned girlfriend Tammy. XXXX tries to broker the sale of the ecstasy pills to Liverpool gangsters Trevor and Shanks, but they refuse, informing him of the drugs’ purloined nature and of the fact that the Serbs have sent an assassin, known as Dragan, to find the pills and kill those responsible for their theft. Because the Duke had mentioned XXXX’s name to the Serbs beforehand, he, too, is now in danger. Members of the Duke’s gang soon start turning up dead and the Duke himself goes missing.

XXXX arranges a tryst with Tammy, but before it can be consummated, he is kidnapped by henchmen of Eddie Temple (the father of Charlie). Temple informs him that Jimmy had lost £13 million in a failed investment in Africa and is now hoping to sell the pills to recoup his losses. He demands instead that XXXX sell the pills to him, and plays him a recording indicating that Jimmy has been a long-term informant for Scotland Yard and intends to betray XXXX to the police as soon as the deal is done, planning to gain clemency from the deal and also take away XXXX’s wealth.

A furious XXXX shoots and kills Jimmy at his home, but does so with a gun that Gene, Jimmy’s henchman, had used to commit a prior murder, putting both himself and Gene in danger. XXXX then discovers that his accountant, to whom Jimmy had referred him, has embezzled all of his money and disappeared. Gene and Morty, after being given evidence of Jimmy’s snitching, acknowledge XXXX as the new acting boss and show him the corpse of the Duke, whom Gene had killed along with Duke’s girlfriend, Slasher, when the latter threatened to alert the police about the pills.

To recoup something from the fiasco, XXXX tips the police off about the Duke’s hideout, who then conduct a raid. XXXX is intentionally present during the raid to feign purchasing the pills from the Duke’s crew, and Dragan, who has been following XXXX, watches the raid from afar as the police confiscate the drugs and as XXXX and Duke’s crew escape. Meanwhile, XXXX has arranged for Cody and Tiptoes to con the raiding police unit out of the pills. XXXX delivers the severed head of the Duke to Dragan as a peace offering, who reports back to his Serbian boss that the police have seized the drugs. Cody and Tiptoes return the drugs to XXXX in exchange for a fee. However, when he attempts to sell them to Eddie Temple at the latter’s bonded warehouse, Temple’s henchmen rob his crew of the drugs at gunpoint. To end XXXX’s faux assignment given by Jimmy, Temple reveals that he has put Charlie back into rehab.

To satisfy him, Temple then gives XXXX a “welcome to the layer cake” in the form of a membership to the Stoke Park Country Club of which he is a member and Jimmy was. Expecting betrayal, XXXX successfully arranges for Trevor, Shanks, and young Dizzy to steal the drugs back from Temple’s men. The gang assembles for lunch at the Stoke Park Club, honoring XXXX their new boss. However, he demurs, stating his intention to stick to his planned retirement. When leaving the club with Tammy, mentally running through the names of his fellow murdered businessmen, he is shot by a heart-broken Sidney. XXXX collapses bleeding, and the film ends with him twitching on the club’s front steps and thinking of his possible imminent death.Layer Cake is definitely not for all types. Those of you who do stick around through the reveals and character developments, I can assure you that the payoff is worth the investment.

REVIEW: DEFIANCE (2008)

CAST

Daniel Craig (Cowboys & Aliens)
Liev Schreiber (The 5th Wave)
Jamie Bell (King Kong)
George MacKay (How I Live Now)
Alexa Davalos (Clash of The Titans)
Allan Corduner (Vera Drake)
Mark Feuerstein (Prison Break)
Tomas Arana (The Dark Knight Rises)
Jacek Koman (Children of Men)
Mia Wasikowska (The Double)
Mark Margolis (Breaking Bad)

Ravil Isyanov (Octopus)

Jamie Bell and Daniel Craig in Defiance (2008)The film is based on a true story, beginning in August 1941. Nazi Einsatzgruppen (task forces) are sweeping through Eastern Europe, systematically killing Jews. Among the survivors not killed or restricted to ghettoes are the Belarusian Jewish Bielski brothers: Tuvia, Zus, Asael and Aron. Their parents are dead, killed by local police under orders from the occupying Germans. The brothers flee to the Naliboki Forest, vowing to avenge the deaths of their parents.Daniel Craig and Alexa Davalos in Defiance (2008)They encounter other Jewish escapees hiding in the forest, and the brothers take them under their protection and leadership. Over the next year, they shelter a growing number of refugees, raiding local farms for food and supplies and moving their camp whenever they are discovered by the collaborationist police. Tuvia kills the local Auxiliary Police chief responsible for his parents’ deaths and the brothers stage raids on the Germans and their collaborators. Casualties cause Tuvia to reconsider this approach because of the risk to the hiding Jews. Rivalry between the two eldest brothers, Tuvia and Zus, fuels a disagreement between them about their future; as winter approaches, Zus decides to leave the camp and join a local company of Soviet partisans, while his older brother Tuvia remains with the camp as their leader. An arrangement is made between the two groups in which the Soviet partisans agree to protect the Jewish camp in exchange for supplies.Daniel Craig in Defiance (2008)After a winter of sickness, starvation, attempted betrayal and constant hiding, the camp learns that the Germans are about to attack them in force. The Soviets refuse to help and they evacuate the camp as German dive-bombers strike. A delaying force stays behind, led by Asael, to slow down the German ground troops. The defense does not last long; only Asael and a camp member named Sofiya survive to rejoin the rest of the group, who, at the edge of the forest, are confronted with a seemingly impassable marsh. They cross the marsh with only one casualty but are immediately attacked by a German platoon supported by a Panzer III tank. Just as all seems lost, the Germans are assaulted from the rear by a partisan force led by Zus, who has deserted the Soviets to rejoin the group.Jamie Bell and Mia Wasikowska in Defiance (2008)As the survivors escape into the forest, the film ends as text on the screen states that they lived in the forest for another two years, building a hospital, a nursery, a school, growing to a total of 1,200 Jews. Original photographs of the real-life characters are shown, including Tuvia in his uniform and their fates are shared: Asael joined the Soviet Army and was soon killed in action, never getting to see the child he fathered; Tuvia, Zus and Aron survived the war and emigrated to America to form a successful trucking firm in New York City. The epilogue also states that the Bielski brothers never sought recognition for what they did and that the descendants of the people they saved now number in the tens of thousands.
defiance01Defiance is an important story that needs to be heard. Daniel Craig leads a great cast of characters in an emotional journey of community, camaraderie, and hope.

REVIEW: COWBOYS & ALIENS

 

CAST

Harrison Ford (Blade Runner)
Daniel Craig (Tomb Raider)
Olivia Wilde (Tron: Legacy)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Paul Dano (Looper)
Abigail Spencer (Oz The Great and Powerful)
Buck Taylor (The Mist)
Keith Carradine (The Duelists)
Chris Browning (Agent Carter)
Adam Beach (Suicide Squad)
Ana de la Reguera (Nacho Libre)
Sam Rockwell (Iron Man 2)
Toby Huss (Dickinson)
Walton Goggins (Tomb Raider)
Raoul Max Trujillo (Highlander 3)

 

MV5BMTM2MjEzMjA3MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDg2MTU5NQ@@._V1_SX1500_CR0,0,1500,999_AL_In 1873 New Mexico Territory, an unnamed loner awakens injured in the desert with no memory and with a strange metal object on his wrist. He wanders into the town of Absolution, where preacher Meacham treats his wound. Sheriff Taggart recognizes the stranger as wanted outlaw Jake Lonergan and attempts to arrest him. Jake beats up the posse sent to take him in and nearly escapes, but a woman named Ella Swenson knocks him out. Taggart prepares to transport both Jake and volatile drunk Percy Dolarhyde to Santa Fe for trial.
MV5BMTQ3MzE3MTQ0M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNDc3MTU5NQ@@._V1_SX1500_CR0,0,1500,999_AL_Percy’s father, Colonel Woodrow Dolarhyde, a ruthless cattle baron, demands Percy be released. He also demands Jake be released to him, since Jake had stolen gold from him. During the standoff, alien spacecraft begin attacking the town. Percy, the sheriff and other townsfolk are abducted by long, whip-like feelers hanging from the bottom of the ships. Jake’s shackle unfolds and becomes a weapon; he shoots down a ship, ending the attack.
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Dolarhyde, Ella, and other townsfolk form a posse to track an injured alien that escaped from the downed ship. Meanwhile, Jake travels to an abandoned cabin and, in a flashback, recalls returning to it with stolen gold and then being abducted, along with a woman named Alice, by the aliens. His memories returning, Jake joins up with the posse. During the evening, the group comes upon a capsized paddle wheel steamboat that the aliens apparently dumped miles from any water. They camp in it, and during the night the alien they were tracking kills Meacham, who sacrifices himself to save Emmett, Taggart’s grandson.
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By morning, most of the posse has deserted, and those remaining are attacked by Jake’s former gang. Jake, who had stolen the gang’s loot after their last heist, attempts to retake control but it is foiled. The aliens begin attacking them again and Ella is captured. Jake jumps aboard the ship and attacks the alien pilot, causing the ship to crash fatally wounding Ella. The remaining posse is captured by Chiricahua Apache Native Americans, who blame them for the alien attacks. After Ella’s corpse is dumped on a fire by a Chiricahua warrior, she is resurrected and emerges from the fire. Ella reveals herself to be from another alien race, who had travelled to Earth to help resist the invaders after they destroyed her home world. The aliens, who are mining gold and abducting people to conduct experiments to find humans’ weaknesses, are far stronger and more durable than humans, and have superior weaponry, but are not invulnerable. They can be stabbed and shot to death, but only Jake’s gauntlet weapon or a well-aimed shot with a rifle can kill them with a single blast. Ella says the aliens that previously attacked them are just scouts.
MV5BOTQ0YTY3YWItNjc5NS00OTA4LWIxMzItZTBhYWRkYzMxZGQ3XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjczMDkzOTA@._V1_She also claims Jake holds the secret to the aliens’ whereabouts and argues they must defeat the aliens before the invaders exterminate all life on earth. After taking medicine offered by the Apaches’ medicine man, Jake recalls that Alice was euthanized after she was used in an alien experiment, but he had escaped, inadvertently stealing the gauntlet-like alien weapon encasing his wrist. He then also remembers the location of the aliens’ base of operations. Armed with this knowledge, the group, now led by Dolarhyde, prepares to attack the aliens’ grounded mother ship. Meanwhile, Jake returns to his old gang and persuades them to join the fight. After the humans maneuver the aliens into a ground battle, Jake and Ella board the ship and free the captives, but Jake is captured. Dolarhyde rescues him and both men escape the ship after killing the alien responsible for Alice’s death. As the remaining aliens are taking off in their damaged craft, Ella sacrifices herself by entering the ship’s core and destroying it by using Jake’s wrist gauntlet as a bomb, obliterating the alien ship.
Olivia Wilde in Cowboys & Aliens (2011)With the aliens gone the abducted townsfolk begin to remember their pasts. Still a wanted man, Jake decides to leave, though the sheriff and Dolarhyde say they will claim he was killed in the invasion. The citizens intend to reconstruct their town.https://kevinfoyle.files.wordpress.com/2016/04/75bf3-cowboys2526aliens-danielcraig-harrisonford.jpgAfter a somewhat slow start, Cowboys And Aliens turns into a fun scifi western. It’s a surprisingly dark and gritty film, playing like a straight western at first. Imagine you’re watching an old John Wayne movie. You’re enjoying it, and suddenly alien spaceships come out of nowhere blasting everything in sight and kidnapping the locals. Very good fx and good action scenes make this a fun movie.

REVIEW: THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (2011)

CAST

Daniel Craig (Cowboys & Aliens)
Rooney Mara (The Scoial Network)
Christopher Plummer (Star Trek 6)
Stellan Skarsgård (Thor)
Steven Berkoff (A Clockwork Orange)
Robin Wright (Nine Lives)
Joely Richardson (Nip/Tuck)
Goran Višnjić (Elektra)
Geraldine James (Arthur)
Embeth Davidtz (Army of Darkness)
Alan Dale (Lost)
Julian Sands (Gotham)
Joel Kinnaman (Robocop 2014)
Donald Sumpter (Game of Thrones)
Tony Way (Edge of Tomorrow)
Martin Jarvis (Titanic)
Christine Adams (Black Lightning)
Élodie Yung (Daredevil)

In Stockholm, Sweden, journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig), co-owner of Millennium magazine, has lost a libel case brought against him by businessman Hans-Erik Wennerström (Ulf Friberg). Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara), a brilliant but troubled investigator and hacker, compiles an extensive background check on Blomkvist for business magnate Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer), who has a special task for him. In exchange for the promise of damning information about Wennerström, Blomkvist agrees to investigate the disappearance and assumed murder of Henrik’s grandniece, Harriet, 40 years ago. After moving to the Vanger family’s compound, Blomkvist uncovers a notebook containing a list of names and numbers that no one has been able to decipher.

Salander, who is under state legal guardianship due to diagnosed mental incompetency, is appointed a new guardian, lawyer Nils Bjurman (Yorick van Wageningen), after her previous guardian Holger Palmgren suffers a stroke. Bjurman abuses his authority to extort sexual favors from Salander and violently rapes her, not realizing she has a hidden video camera on her bag. At their next meeting she stuns him with a stun gun, rapes him with a dildo, and marks him as a rapist with a tattoo on his chest and stomach. Threatening to disclose the video recording, she blackmails him into writing a glowing progress report and granting her full control of her money.

Blomkvist’s daughter Pernilla (Josefin Asplund) visits him and notes that the numbers from the notebook are Bible references. Blomkvist tells Vanger’s lawyer, Dirch Frode (Steven Berkoff), that he needs help with his research, and Frode recommends Salander based on the work she did researching Blomkvist himself. Blomkvist hires Salander to investigate the notebook’s content. She uncovers a connection to a series of murders of young women from 1947 through 1967, with the women either being Jewish or having Biblical names; many of the Vangers are known antisemites. During the investigation, Salander and Blomkvist become lovers. Henrik’s openly national socialist brother Harald identifies Martin (Stellan Skarsgård), Harriet’s brother and operational head of the Vanger empire, and Blomkvist marks Martin as a possible suspect. Salander’s research uncovers evidence that Martin and his deceased father, Gottfried, committed the murders.

Blomkvist breaks into Martin’s house to look for more clues, but Martin catches him and prepares to kill him. While torturing Blomkvist, Martin brags of having killed women for decades but denies killing Harriet. Salander arrives, subdues Martin and saves Blomkvist. While Salander tends to Blomkvist, Martin flees. Salander, on her motorcycle, pursues Martin in his SUV. He loses control of his vehicle on an icy road and dies when it catches fire. Salander nurses Blomkvist back to health and tells him that she tried to kill her father when she was 12. Blomkvist deduces that Harriet is still alive and her cousin Anita (Joely Richardson) likely knows where she is. He and Salander monitor Anita, waiting for her to contact Harriet. When nothing happens, Blomkvist confronts her, deducing that the woman posing as Anita is Harriet herself. She explains that her father and brother had sexually abused her for years, and that Martin saw her kill their father in self-defense. Her cousin Anita smuggled her out of the island and let her live under her identity. Finally free of her brother, she returns to Sweden and tearfully reunites with Henrik.

As promised, Henrik gives Blomkvist the information on Wennerström, but it proves worthless. Salander hacks into Wennerström’s computer and presents Blomkvist with evidence of Wennerström’s crimes. Blomkvist publishes an article that ruins Wennerström, who flees the country. Salander hacks into Wennerström’s bank accounts and, travelling to Switzerland in disguise, transfers two billion euros to various accounts. Wennerström is found murdered. Salander reveals to her former guardian Holger Palmgren that she is in love with Blomkvist. On her way to give Blomkvist a Christmas present, Salander sees him with his longtime lover and business partner Erika Berger (Robin Wright). Heartbroken, she discards the gift and rides away.I recommend it whether or not you have seen the original series. I also recommend you do check out the original series. If they do complete the rest of the trilogy, there will be opportunities in those movies to vastly outshine the originals, certainly if they include more detail from the books as they do here.

REVIEW: DREAM HOUSE

CAST

Daniel Craig (Cowboys & Aliens)
Rachel Weisz (The Bourne Legacy)
Naomi Watts (Shut In)
Marton Csokas (The Equalizer)
Rachel G. Fox (Spork)
Elias Koteas (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Jane Alexander (The Ring)
Sarah Gadon (Dracula Untold)
Gregory smith (Small Soldier)

Rachel Weisz and Daniel Craig in Dream House (2011)In 2007, Will Atenton (Daniel Craig) leaves his job as a successful editor in New York in order to spend more time with his wife, Libby (Rachel Weisz), and their two daughters, as well as to write his own book. At first, the family appears to be happy in their new home, until they discover that its previous occupants, a mother and her two small daughters, were shot to death in the house. Public opinion has condemned the father, Peter Ward, as the person responsible, but there was not enough evidence to convict Peter in court and he was also deemed mentally unfit to stand trial. Ward has been recently released from police custody and Will begins to feel he is seeing Peter watching the house.Daniel Craig in Dream House (2011)Will visits Greenhaven Psychiatric facility, where Peter has been held for five years. He learns that on the night of the murders, Peter was shot in the head by his wife Elizabeth, who had somehow grabbed the murder weapon in the moments just before her death. In recovery, Peter could not believe he had committed the murders and so he no longer believed he was Peter Ward. He chewed his own name off all of his identification bracelets/cards/tags, leaving only his Greenhaven I.D. sequence, which revealed Peter Ward and Will Atenton to be the same person.Daniel Craig in Dream House (2011)Unable to believe this, Will rushes home and we see his home is actually run down and condemned. Peter visits his neighbor, Ann Patterson (Naomi Watts). Ann had been a good friend to the Wards and never believed Peter was the killer. Returning to the house, Peter remembers he was on the phone with Libby when she stumbled on a burglar, who shot the little girls and wounded Libby. Peter attacked the gunman and Libby accidentally shot Peter.Rachel Weisz in Dream House (2011)Ann’s ex-husband Jack and the gunman burst into the now-decrepit Ward home. It is revealed that the hit man had been hired to kill Ann, but broke into the wrong house and chose to kill the witnesses. Jack shoots the hit man in the abdomen before staging the scene so it will appear that Peter has murdered again before burning the house down. Peter regains consciousness in time to fight off Jack and rescue Ann. As Peter and Ann make it out of the house, Jack starts up the cellar steps but is doused with kerosene by the dying hit man, and Jack goes up in flames. The house burns to the ground. Some time later, Peter—now back in New York City—walks past a major bookseller’s window and sees that his book “Dream House” has become a number one national bestseller.Rachel Weisz in Dream House (2011)The acting is good, the thrilling scenes are good enough and the plot confusion doesn’t spoil the movie whole after all.

REVIEW: ROAD TO PERDITION

CAST

Tom Hanks (The Terminal)
Tyler Hoechin (Supergirl)
Paul Newman (The Hustler)
Jude Law (Spy)
Daniel Craig (Cowboys & Aliens)
Stanley Tucci (The Hunger Games)
Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight)
Liam Aiken (The Frontier)
Dylan Baker (Changing Lanes)
Ciarán Hinds (The Woman In Black)
Anthony LaPaglia (The Custodian)
Harry Groener (Buffy: TVS)

In 1931, during the Great Depression, Michael Sullivan, Sr. is an enforcer for Irish mob boss John Rooney in Rock Island, Illinois. Rooney raised the orphan Sullivan and loves him more than his own biological son, Connor. Rooney sends Connor and Sullivan to meet with disgruntled associate Finn McGovern, but Connor shoots McGovern, resulting in Sullivan gunning down McGovern’s men. Sullivan’s twelve-year-old son Michael, Jr. had hidden in his father’s car and witnesses the event. Despite Sullivan swearing his son to secrecy and Rooney pressuring Connor to apologize for the reckless action, Connor murders Sullivan’s wife Annie and younger son Peter. At the same time, he sends Sullivan to an ambush at a speakeasy. Sullivan realizes it’s a set-up, kills two men at the bar, and escapes. He goes to Chicago with his son to seek Al Capone, for work and to discover the location of Connor, who has gone into hiding.Capone’s underboss Frank Nitti rejects Sullivan’s proposals, before informing Rooney of the meeting. Rooney reluctantly allows Nitti to dispatch assassin Harlen Maguire, who is also a crime scene photographer, to kill Sullivan. Maguire tracks him and his son to a roadside diner, but fails to kill Sullivan; realizing Maguire’s intentions, Sullivan escapes through the bathroom and punctures Maguire’s car tire before fleeing. In reaction to the ordered hit, Sullivan begins robbing banks that hold Capone’s money, hoping to trade it for Connor. Sullivan is impeded when the mob withdraws its money, so he visits Rooney’s accountant Alexander Rance at his hotel. The encounter is a set-up, with Rance stalling Sullivan until Maguire enters with a shotgun. In the ensuing crossfire, Rance is killed, Maguire is injured by flying glass shards, and Sullivan escapes with the ledgers; as Sullivan flees, Maguire shoots him in his left arm.When his father collapses from his wound, Michael Jr. drives his father to a farm, where a childless elderly couple help him recover. Sullivan bonds with his son and discovers from the ledgers that Connor has been embezzling from his father for years, using the names of dead men. As the Sullivans depart, they give the couple much of the stolen money. Sullivan confronts Rooney with the information while they attend Mass. Rooney already knew about the embezzlement and that Connor was likely to die, if not by Sullivan’s hand then by the Chicago Outfit once Rooney dies. He still refuses to give up his son. He encourages Sullivan to leave with his son. Later one night, cloaked by darkness and rain, Sullivan dispatches Rooney’s entire entourage with his Thompson submachine gun and walks directly up to Rooney. As Rooney mutters that he is glad his killer is Sullivan, a reluctant Sullivan pulls the trigger. Seeing no further reason to protect Connor, Nitti reveals his location, after making Sullivan promise to end the feud. Sullivan goes to the hotel where Connor is hiding and kills him.Sullivan drives his son to stay at his Aunt Sara’s beach house in Perdition, a town on the shore of Lake Michigan. However, he is ambushed and shot by a disfigured Maguire. As Maguire prepares to photograph the dying Sullivan, Michael, Jr. appears and points a gun at Maguire but cannot muster the will to fire. Sullivan pulls out his gun and kills Maguire, before dying in his son’s arms. Mourning his father’s death, Michael, Jr. returns to live with the elderly farm couple. Growing up, Michael, Jr. reflects that his father’s only fear was that his son would become like him. Michael states he has never held a gun since the fatal encounter between Maguire and his father. When asked if Sullivan was a good or bad man, he replies “he was my father.”Based on a graphic novel by Max Allan Collins, “Road to Perdition” is a powerful, atmospheric crime thriller that blends “Godfather”-style mayhem with philosophical meditations on the nature of good and evil, and the relationship between sons and their fathers.

REVIEW: THE INVASION

CAST
Nicole Kidman (The Others)
Daniel Craig (Cowboys & Aliens)
Jeremy Northam (The Net)
Jackson Bond (Memorial Day)
Jeffrey Wright (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire)
Veronica Cartwright (Alien)
Celia Weston (The Village)
Malin Ackerman (Watchmen)
Jeff Wincott (Bolden)
 After the space shuttle Patriot crashes on Earth, a fungus-like alien lifeform is discovered on the remaining parts scattered over US territory. Once people come into contact with the organism, they are controlled by it when they enter REM sleep. One of the first people infected is Tucker Kaufman, a CDC director investigating the crash.
Tucker’s ex-wife, psychiatrist Carol Bennell, begins to feel something is amiss when people seem to have “changed”. Her patient Wendy Lenk describes how her husband “is not her husband”, and one of her son’s friends acts detached and emotionless. At a neighborhood Halloween party, Carol’s son Oliver finds a “skin” on a partier which is initially believed to be costume make-up. Carol speculates that the skin may be an organism connected to reports of a fast-spreading flu. Carol takes the organism to her doctor friend Ben Driscoll to have it checked. Carol attends a friendly dinner meeting between Russian diplomat Ben and Czechoslovakian diplomat Yorish (along with female companion Luddie) and discusses her post-modern feminism views over caviar and champagne. Meanwhile, Tucker uses the CDC to spread the disease further, disguising the spores as flu vaccine.
Ben and Dr. Stephen Galeano, a biologist, discover how the spore takes over the brain during REM sleep. During this investigation Luddie calls Ben, worried about Yorish’s behavior. Driscoll and Galeano also find that people who had brain affecting illnesses, such as encephalitis or ADEM, are immune to the spore because their previous illnesses prevents the spore from “latching on” to the brain matter. Carol’s son, Oliver, is immune to the spore because of the ADEM he had as a young child. Carol decides to get her son, who might show a way to a cure, back from Tucker. Before she drives to Tucker’s house, she joins Ben’s team who is called to the house of the Belicecs, the Czech ambassador and his wife, in a case of emergency. There they witness the transformation of Yorish, the Russian ambassador and the Belicecs’ friend.
Star-Wars-Episode-7-Original-Cast
When Carol arrives at Tucker’s house, he and several colleagues close in on her. He explains that the changed humans, devoid of irrational emotions, are offering a better world, and asks her to join them. When Carol resists, he holds her to the ground and infects her by spurting his saliva on her. She escapes and returns to Ben at the Belicecs’ house. They flee when Belicec returns with more transformed people intent on infecting anyone in the house. Galaneo and one of his assistants head to a base outside Baltimore where they and other scientists attempt to find a cure for the alien virus. Carol and Ben separate to find Oliver, who texts his location, the apartment of Tucker’s mother, to Carol. Finally Ben arrives, but Carol realizes that he too has become one of the infected. He tries to seduce her to give in to the new society, but also frankly states that there is no room for people like Oliver who are immune. Carol shoots him in the leg with a handgun she stole earlier from a transforming policeman, and flees with her son. With the infected closing in on them, Galeano picks them up with an army helicopter at the last second. They head back to the base, where scientists use Oliver’s blood to create a vaccine.
One year later, most victims of the infection have been cured, having no memory of the events which took place during their illness. Asked by a reporter if he considers the virus to be under control, Galeano replies that a look at the newspaper headlines should be proof enough that humanity acted human again. At her home, Carol helps her son to get ready for school, while Ben, now apparently her partner, reads the morning newspaper. He expresses his dismay about the violence in the world. Carol remembers Yorish’s remark that a world without violence would be a world where human beings ceased to be human.
The Invasion is a much better take on the ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ than it is given credit for. It was so crucified after its troubled production, that when I first saw this, I wasn’t expecting much. Instead, I was treated to a very slick and well thought out science fiction thriller. The Body Snatcher movies have at their best, always made a comment about our society, and this does it rather nicely for our decade.