REVIEW: CENTURION

 

CAST

Michael Fassbender (X-Men: Apocalypse)
Olga Kurylenko (Hitman)
Dominic West (Punisher: Warzone)
Liam Cunningham (Game of Thrones)
David Morrissey (Blitz)
JJ Feild (Last Orders)
Noel Clarke (4.3.2.1.)
Riz Ahmed (Venom)
Ulrich Thomsen (The Thing)
Imogen Poots (Need for Speed)
Paul Freeman (MMPR: The Movie)
Rachael Stirling (Snow White & The Huntsman)
Peter Guinness (Sleepy Hollow)

Michael Fassbender in Centurion (2010)Beginning in 117 AD, the narrative opens with a Roman soldier fleeing across a snowy landscape, saying: “My name is Quintus Dias. I am a soldier of Rome, and this is neither the beginning, nor the end of my story.”Dominic West and Olga Kurylenko in Centurion (2010)The Romans have been unable to fully conquer Britain, meeting the fiercest resistance in the north, reaching a harsh stalemate that’s lasted a gruelling twenty years. The Picts of Alba are engaging in a guerrilla campaign against the Roman forts along the Glenblocker line and the Gask Ridge at the southern border of the Scottish Highlands. At the Roman outpost of Pinnata Castra, Pictish warriors led by Vortix and Aeron force surprise and kill the entire garrison, taking only one survivor for questioning, the second-in-command, Centurion Quintus Dias, because he can speak the Pictish tongue. Dias is brought before the Pictish king Gorlacon, who has united the northern tribes. Dias is brutally interrogated, but two weeks later escapes on foot.However, a messenger dispatched by the fort’s commander has reached Gnaeus Julius Agricola, the Roman governor of Britannia, who wants to obtain favour with the Roman Senate, hoping to secure a transfer back to the comforts of Rome. He dispatches the Ninth Legion, under General Titus Flavius Virilus, to eradicate the Pictish threat and provides him with a female Celtic Brigantian scout called Etain. As the legion marches north it encounters Dias and rescues him from his pursuers, saving his neck just in the nick of time.Dominic West in Centurion (2010)Etain betrays the legion to King Gorlacon by leading them into an ambush where, surprised by a rolling legion of massive flaming pitch-wood ‘boulders’, they are easily annihilated. The wounded general is captured. Dias is one of the few survivors, along with the legionaries Bothos, Thax, Brick, Macros and Leonidas (a Greek), and Tarak (a mere cook). They set out to rescue general Virilus and, after a few days’ travel, they find him at Gorlacon’s village and sneak in at nightfall. However, they are unable to break his chains and he orders them to leave him and get back to Roman territory. During the attack, Thax, taking shelter in Gorlacon’s hut, suffocates the king’s young son, who had spotted them, to prevent him crying out.The next morning, Gorlacon burns his son’s body on a funeral pyre and forces General Virilus to fight Etain in single combat. Etain, who as a child witnessed her parents brutally raped and slaughtered by the Romans; and now on a vendetta, kills him with a spear through the heart. Gorlacon then sends her after the fleeing legionaries at the head of a small group of mounted warriors, including Vortix and Aeron, to seek revenge for his son’s death.Imogen Poots in Centurion (2010)The seven Romans plan to travel north (away from Roman territory) to throw the Picts off their trail, then head west, and then back south. After several days’ pursuit, the Picts being excellent trackers, continually catch up with the fugitives, who jump off a cliff into a river to escape them, (although Tarak, who had broken his foot, is killed before he can jump). Macros and Thax become separated from the others. Dias and his group camp for the night, while their trackers set up camp across the river. Dias and Brick launch a night raid on the enemy camp, killing two men and severely wounding a third, from whom they discover that they are being pursued because of the death of Gorlacon’s son, which scoundrel Thax had kept secret. However, Etain has launched her own attack on the Romans’ campsite. Dias and Brick return to their camp to discover Leonidas dead and Bothos severely wounded.Michael Fassbender in Centurion (2010)Macros and Thax are now running from a wolf pack. Thax pretends to fall, with the wolves in close pursuit, and cries out to his comrade for help. Macros returns to help him and a traitorous Thax hamstrings him to prevent him from standing, allowing Thax to escape while the wolves attack and devour Macros. Dias, Bothos and Brick find a hut in the forest belonging to Arianne, a Pictish exile accused of witchcraft who has learned Latin from the soldiers at a nearby Roman frontier outpost. She shelters them, providing food, and medical attention for Bothos. When Etain and her warriors arrive the following day, Arianne confronts her while the Romans hide in her grain store under the floorboards. The next morning they leave Arianne, who provides them with enough food to travel to the outpost. Arianne, having become fond of Dias, is saddened to see him go; left again to her solitude.Olga Kurylenko in Centurion (2010)They find the outpost abandoned, with an order pinned to a post saying that the Roman troops have retreated south, by the orders of the Emperor Hadrian. Seeing Etain and her warriors approaching and fed up with running, they set up a defensive position inside the fort. Brick is killed, but the three Romans kill Vortix, Aeron, and the rest of the Picts, with Dias ending the fight by killing Etain.Centurion (2010)Taking the Picts’ horses, Dias and Bothos continue southwards and en route are reunited with Thax. Upon reaching Hadrian’s Wall, which is now under construction, Thax, afraid that he will report his dishonourable actions, threatens Dias and they fight, with Dias overpowering and choking Thax to death. Bothos, joyfully riding towards the Romans, is mistaken for a charging Pict (because of his pelted tunic instead of armour) and is shot by an archer. Dias is outraged and crestfallen at the worthlessness of it all. He reports to Agricola, who is concerned that news of the legion’s annihilation might cause other tribes to rise up against them. He is also fearful of his record and status being tainted by a military failure, and decides that the Ninth Legion’s fate should remain a mystery and that Dias must be silenced/killed. Centurion (2010)Dias, however, manages to foil the attempt on his life by Agricola’s daughter Druzilla, although he is badly wounded in the thigh during the fracas. Disgusted at their treatment of their own ‘heroes’ and disillusioned by their ‘true colours’, he knocks Druzilla unconscious with a punch then escapes from the camp and returns to where he realises “he belongs”, back to Arianne in the forest. As the weakened Dias lies in her arms by the stream, his life in her hands once again, he and Arianne kiss. The film ends with Quintus Dias adjusting the narrative of the film’s opening line: My name is Quintus Dias. I am a fugitive of Rome, and this is neither the beginning, nor the end of my story.”UntitledNeither side is portrayed as the “good guys” or the “bad guys”, and to me, that brought a sense of realism with it. This is a bloody film, with heads rolling and a plethora of fighting, so don’t bring the kiddies. I watched it On Demand, but I might go see it again in the theater.

REVIEW: STAR WARS – EPISODE I: THE PHANTOM MENACE

CAST

Ewan McGregor (Cassandra’s Dream)
Liam Neeson (Batman Begins)
Natalie Portman (Thor)
Jake Lloyd (Jingle All The Way)
Ian McDiarmid (Margaret)
Pernilla August (Search)
Samuel J. Jackson (Jackie Brown)
Oliver Ford Davies (Johnny English)
Hugh Quarshie (Highlander)
Ahmed Best (Poolboy)
Anthony Daniels (The Lego Movie)
Kenny Baker (Labyrinth)
Frank Oz (Sesame Street)
Terence Stamp (Superman 1 & 2)
Brian Blessed (Flash Gordon)
Ray Park (Heroes)
Warwick Davis (Willow)
Celia Imrie (Our Zoo)
Dominic West (300)
Keira Knightley (King Arthur)
Peter Seafinowicz (Spy)
Richard Armitage (The Hobbit)
Ralph Brown (Alien 3)
Sally Hawkins (Paddington)
Sean Cronin (London Hood)

Supreme Chancellor Valorum, leader of the Galactic Republic, dispatches Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi to negotiate with the Trade Federation leadership to end a blockade of battleships around the planet Naboo. Darth Sidious, a Sith Lord and the Trade Federation’s secret adviser, orders Federation Viceroy Nute Gunray to kill the Jedi and invade Naboo with an army of battle droids. The Jedi flee to Naboo, where Qui-Gon saves Gungan outcast Jar Jar Binks from being killed during the invasion. Indebted to the Jedi, Jar Jar leads them to an underwater Gungan city. The Jedi try but fail to persuade the Gungan leader, Boss Nass, into helping the people of Naboo, though they are able to obtain transportation to Theed, the capital city on the surface. They rescue Queen Amidala, the ruler of the Naboo people, and escape the planet on her royal starship, which is damaged as they pass the Federation blockade.

Amidala’s ship is unable to sustain its hyperdrive and lands for repairs on the desert planet Tatooine. Qui-Gon, Jar Jar, astromech droid R2-D2, and Amidala (in disguise as a handmaiden) visit the settlement of Mos Espa to buy new parts at a junk shop. There they meet the shop’s owner Watto and his nine-year-old slave Anakin Skywalker, who is a gifted pilot and engineer, and has created a protocol droid called C-3PO. Qui-Gon senses a strong presence of the Force within Anakin and is convinced that he is the “chosen one” of Jedi prophecy who will bring balance to the Force. Qui-Gon wagers Anakin’s freedom with Watto in a Podrace, which Anakin wins. Anakin joins the group to be trained as a Jedi, leaving his mother Shmi behind. En route to their repaired starship, Qui-Gon enters a brief lightsaber duel with Darth Maul, Darth Sidious’ Sith apprentice who was sent to capture Amidala.

The Jedi escort Amidala to the Republic capital planet Coruscant so she can plead her people’s case to Chancellor Valorum in the Galactic Senate. Qui-Gon asks the Jedi Council to train Anakin as a Jedi, but the Council are concerned that Anakin is vulnerable to the dark side of the Force and decline. Undaunted, Qui-Gon vows to train Anakin himself. Meanwhile, Naboo senator Palpatine persuades Amidala to make a vote of no confidence in Valorum to elect a more capable chancellor to resolve the crisis on Naboo. Though she pushes for the vote, Amidala grows frustrated with the corruption in the Senate and decides to return to Naboo with the Jedi.

On Naboo, Padmé reveals herself to the Gungans as Queen Amidala and persuades them into an alliance against the Trade Federation. Jar Jar leads his people in a battle against the droid army while Padmé leads the hunt for Gunray in Theed. In a starship hangar, Anakin enters a vacant starfighter and inadvertently triggers its autopilot, joining the battle against the Federation droid control ship in space. Anakin ventures into the ship and destroys it from within, deactivating the droid army. Meanwhile, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan battle Darth Maul, who mortally wounds Qui-Gon before being bisected by Obi-Wan. As he dies, Qui-Gon asks Obi-Wan to train Anakin. Subsequently, Palpatine is elected as the new Supreme Chancellor and Gunray is arrested. The Jedi Council promotes Obi-Wan to Jedi knighthood and reluctantly accepts Anakin as Obi-Wan’s apprentice. At a festive ceremony, Padmé presents a gift of appreciation and friendship to the Gungans.I always felt it grossly unfair that many Star Wars fans are quick to denounce The Phantom Menace as the worst Star Wars film in the entire saga. I suppose in a certain aspect they are right: in every set of slightly different things, there statistically always has to be a best and a worst one. However “worst” doesn’t necessarily mean terrible. Each Star Wars film is still above and beyond in terms of budget, quality and entertainment, most other sci-fi films out there.  I can summarize that The Phantom Menace serves as a solid opener to one of the greatest sci-fi film series ever made, and does a good job setting the scene and introducing the characters who we’ll be spending a lot of time with and watching them develop over the coming films, while at the same time also serving as a workable and enjoyable film in its own right.

REVIEW: ARTHUR CHRISTMAS

CAST

James McAvoy (X-Men: First Class)
Hugh Laurie (Tomorrowland)
Bill Nighy (Underworld)
Jim Broadbent (Cloud Atlas)
Imelda Staunton (Maleficent)
Ashley Jensen (Ugly Betty)
Marc Wootton (Nativity)
Laura Linney (The Truman Show)
Eva Longoria (Over Her Dead Body)
Ramona Marquez (Outnumbered)
Robbie Coltrane (Harry Potter)
Joan Cusack (Addams Family Values)
Rhys Darby (Yes Man)
Jane Horrocks (Little Voice)
Sanjeev Bhaskar (Notting Hill)
Iain McKee (The Parole Officer)
Andy Serkis (Lord of The Rings)
Dominic West (The Affair)
Danny John-Jules (Red Dwarf)
Jerry Lambert (American Housewife)

On Christmas Eve, hundreds of Christmas elves helm the command centre of Santa Claus’ mile-wide, ultra-high-tech sleigh-esque craft, the S-1. The current Santa (Malcolm) and the Christmas elves deliver presents to every child in the world using advanced equipment and military precision. These complex operations are micromanaged by thousands more elves, under the command of Malcolm’s militaristic eldest son Steve and his obsequious elfin assistant Peter at mission control underneath the North Pole. Meanwhile, his younger son – the clumsy, fearful yet enthusiastic Arthur – devotedly answers the letters to Santa. During one of the delivery operations in Germany a child wakes up and almost sees Malcolm; in the tense escape operation, a Christmas elf aboard the S-1 inadvertently leans on a button, causing a present to fall from the supply line and go unnoticed.Having completed his 70th mission, Malcolm is portrayed as far past his prime and whose role in field operations now is largely symbolic. Nonetheless, he is held in high esteem, and delivers a congratulatory speech to the enraptured elves. Malcolm announces he looks forward to his 71st, much to the frustration of heir-apparent Steve, who had prepared to succeed his father as Santa at the conclusion of this mission. During their family Christmas dinner, Arthur’s suggestion for the family to play a board game degenerates into a tense quarrel between Malcolm and Steve, while Malcolm’s father and predecessor Grandsanta, bored by retirement, resentfully criticises their over-modernization. After Grandsanta knocks the board off the table, Steve’s PDA (a high tech device named a ‘HOHO’) flashes and he leaves the table in a hurry. Later, their father shares with his wife Margaret his grave doubts about his self-identity should he retire.Arthur follows Steve, and the two learn that a Christmas elf named Bryony found the missed present – a wrapped bicycle for a little girl in England called Gwen, to whose letter Arthur had personally responded. Arthur alerts his father, who is at a loss as to how to handle the situation; Steve argues that one missed present out of billions is an acceptable error whose correction can wait a few days, citing this year’s Christmas as the most successful in history. Grandsanta on the other hand, on learning of the dire situation, proposes delivering the gift using Eve, his old wooden sleigh, and the great-great-grandchildren of the original eight reindeer, forcefully whisking away a reluctant Arthur and a stowaway Bryony. In the process the three get lost in three different continents, lose several of their reindeer, and land in danger several times, ultimately being mistaken for aliens and causing an international military incident. Through all this, Arthur eventually learns, to his compounding disappointment, that Grandsanta’s true motive is to fulfill his ego, Steve refuses to help them out of petty resentment and possibility of his brother being made hero overshadowing his work, and that his own father has gone to bed, apparently content even though a present was not delivered.Finally, stranded in Cuba after losing the sleigh and the remaining reindeer, Arthur renews his sense of purpose: that it all comes down to having presents delivered, regardless of how it is done and who did it. With Grandsanta’s and Bryony’s help, he manages to recover the sleigh. Meanwhile, the elves grow increasingly alarmed at rumours of the neglected delivery and the Clauses’ unthinkable indifference, sending them into a panic. In response, Malcolm, Margaret, and Steve take the high-tech sleigh-craft to deliver a superior present… albeit to the wrong child.Arthur and his party manage to reach England, but lose the remaining reindeer; furthermore a US Predator drone scrambled by Chief De Silva of UNFITA intercepts and opens fire on the sleigh believing them to be aliens. Grandsanta sacrifices the sleigh, while Arthur and Bryony to parachute to the ground. Ultimately with Margaret and Bryony’s help, all the male Clauses arrive at Gwen’s house before she awakens, only to have all but Arthur quarrel about who gets to actually place the gift. Noticing that only Arthur truly cares about the girl’s feelings, the elder Clauses collectively realize that he is the sole worthy successor. As a result, Malcolm gives Arthur the honour and Steve, recognizing his own shortcomings, forfeits his supposed birthright and acknowledges his brother’s worthiness to take up the mantle. In a fitting conclusion, Gwen glimpses a snow-bearded Arthur in a wind-buffeted sweater just before he vanishes up into the S-1.With the crisis resolved, Malcolm goes into a happy retirement with Margaret; he also becomes Grandsanta’s much-desired new companion and plays Arthur’s board game with him for many happy hours. Meanwhile, Steve finds true contentment as the Chief Operating Officer of the North Pole, while Bryony is promoted to Vice-President of Packing, Pacific Division. In a nod to traditionalism once neglected, the high-tech S-1 is re-christened EVIE in honour of Grandsanta’s old sleigh and refitted to be pulled by a team of five thousand reindeer – led by the original eight, all of whom managed to return home safely via innate navigational abilities. Finally, Arthur happily guides the entire enterprise in the proper spirit as the new Santa.Everything you would wish from a Chistmassy film. Strong story and lovely ideas about Father Christmas and the challenge of delivering a present to every child. A great family movie.

 

 

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: THE AWAKENING

CAST

Rebecca Hall (Iron Man 3)
Dominic West (300)
Imelda Staunton (Paddington)
Isaac Hempstead Wright (Game of Thrones)
Lucy Cohu (Cape Wrath)
John Shrapnel (Troy)
Shaun Dooley (Gunpowder)
Joseph Mawle (Ripper Street)
Anastasia Hille (The Hole)

Rebecca Hall and Dominic West in The Awakening (2011)In 1921, Florence Cathcart (Rebecca Hall) is a published author who works with the police to debunk supernatural hoaxes and thus to expose charlatans. It is revealed that she lost her lover in the war, and that she “hunts” ghosts in an attempt to see if it is possible to bring him back. She receives a visit from Robert Mallory (Dominic West), a teacher from a boys’ boarding school in Cumbria which had been a private home until twenty years earlier. Robert explains that there have been sightings of the ghost of a child at the school, and that such a sighting might have been the cause of the recent death of a pupil. Although Florence initially refuses to help Robert investigate, his concern for the children – whom he describes as being almost like orphans – at the boarding school causes her to change her mind, since she is an orphan herself. At the school she meets Maud (Imelda Staunton), the housekeeper, who tells Florence that she has read her books. After she conducts an investigation on her first night at the school, Florence comes to the conclusion that the sightings are the result of a prank, as two pupils had bullied a third into dressing as a ghost. With regards to the recent death, one of the teachers admits that he had forced the deceased pupil to stand outside the school in order to “man up” after he claimed to have seen the ghost, thus scaring the young boy and causing him to have a fatal asthma attack. The school then closes for half-term with the only occupants being Florence, Robert, Maud, and Tom (Isaac Hempstead-Wright), a pupil whose parents live in India.Rebecca Hall in The Awakening (2011)Her job done, Florence prepares to leave. Down at the lake she drops her cigarette case, which belonged to her lover. As she reaches for it, a hand reaches for her from the water. She steadies herself, but then allows herself to fall into the lake. Robert rescues her; although Florence assures them it was an accident, he and Maud become concerned about her mental health. Indeed, Florence decides to remain at the school. After chasing what she believes to be the ghost, she sees an apparition of a man with a shotgun, who appears to shoot her. She also hears a child calling “Mowa Zee,” which she tells Tom was the nickname some Africans gave to her after she was rescued from the lion that orphaned her as a child. After growing closer, Florence and Robert have sex. But Edward Judd (Joseph Mawle), the grounds keeper who has a grudge against Robert for being a war hero, becomes jealous and attempts to rape Florence in the woods. Assisted by a supernatural apparition, she kills Judd in self-defence. She then returns to the school and tells Robert, who leaves to bury Judd and thus to cover up the incident. Florence asks Robert not to tell Tom what happened, but Robert tells her that there are no children at the school.Rebecca Hall in The Awakening (2011)Florence then realizes that Tom is the ghost that is haunting the school. Buried memories begin to surface, and she remembers that her family lived at the boarding school when it was a home. As a child, she watched her father murder her mother with a shotgun before he attempted to kill her too. Florence hid inside the walls of the house as her father pursued her, calling out for his “little Mousy.” Aiming for her, her father instead killed Tom, who is revealed to have been his illegitimate son. Her father then killed himself while Florence watched. Traumatized, Florence had replaced these memories with memories of a childhood in Africa. Back in the present, Florence learns that Robert can see the ghosts of his friends who died in the war, and she comes to the conclusion that ghosts reveal themselves to those who are very lonely. She also learns that Maud was her nanny as a child, as well as the mother of Tom. Maud explains that she arranged for Florence to come to the school in the first place because Tom missed her. Maud then poisons herself and Florence, intending for their ghosts to join Tom. Florence tells Tom that her soul will not rest if she dies now, so Tom brings her medicine.TheAwakeningEXTSHOTThe following scene shows Florence walking throughout the school. She passes by several adults on her way out, but none notice her. Florence catches up to Robert and shares a cigarette with him. Florence explains that being unable to see ghosts anymore is not the same as forgetting them. She then asks Robert to tell their driver to pull up to the end of the drive since she has always enjoyed the walk, and that she will see him on Saturday. The couple exchange a kiss, and Robert watches her walk away.hero_EB20120829REVIEWS120829977ARHaunting cinematography, a strong cast and a story line which supports both suspense and character depth, enable this film to stand alongside “the orphanage” and “the Others” rather than being shadowed by them.

REVIEW: JOHNNY ENGLISH REBORN

CAST

Rowan Atkinsion (Mr. Bean)
Gillian Anderson (Hannibal)
Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl)
Dominic West (Punisher: Warzone)
Daniel Kaluuya (Black Panther)
Richard Schiff (The Cape)
Tim McInnerny (Blackadder)
Pik-Sen Lim (The Dumping Ground)
Stephen Campbell Moore (Man Up)
Burn Gorman (Game of Thrones)
Togo Igawa (Star Wars: The Last Jedi)
Mark Ivanir (Get Smart)
Benedict Wong (Doctor Strange)

Gillian Anderson, Rowan Atkinson, and Daniel Kaluuya in Johnny English Reborn (2011)Johnny English (Rowan Atkinson) has been training in Tibet following a botched mission in Mozambique (during which he failed to protect the newly elected president) when he is summoned by MI7. Under his new boss Pamela Thornton (Gillian Anderson), codename ‘Pegasus’, he is put on a mission to investigate a plot to assassinate the Chinese Premier during scheduled talks with the Prime Minister. He meets fellow agent and old acquaintance Simon Ambrose (Dominic West); MI7’s resident quartermaster, Patch Quartermain (Tim McInnerny); and junior agent Colin Tucker (Daniel Kaluuya), who will be English’s new assistant.Gillian Anderson, Rowan Atkinson, and Dominic West in Johnny English Reborn (2011)In Hong Kong, English finds former CIA agent Titus Fisher (Richard Schiff), who reveals himself to be a member of Vortex, a group responsible for sabotaging English’s Mozambique operation. He reveals Vortex holds a secret weapon that requires three metal keys to unlock, owned by himself and two other former spies. However, when he reveals his key, Fisher is killed by an elderly woman (Pik-Sen Lim) disguised as an apartment cleaner, and another guy steals the key. English chases the thief across Hong Kong, by means of easy solutions to hazardous routes the thief takes – for example, when the criminal slowly climbs down bamboo scaffolding, English simply takes an elevator. However, English is outwitted by another Vortex operative disguised as a flight attendant en route back to London, and is humiliated in a meeting with the Foreign Secretary and Pegasus when he attempts to present the key and the plans. He then mistakes Pegasus’s mother to be the cleaner assassin and attacks her at Pegasus’s daughter’s birthday party.Rowan Atkinson and Daniel Kaluuya in Johnny English Reborn (2011)Kate Sumner (Rosamund Pike), MI7’s behavioral psychologist, uses hypnosis to help English recall his suppressed memory of the Mozambique incident, revealing another Vortex operative, Russian spy Artem Karlenko (Mark Ivanir), who is masquerading as millionaire Sergei Pudovkin. English and Tucker meet Karlenko at an exclusive golf course outside London. However, mid game, the cleaner assassin critically injures Karlenko. English and Tucker try to bring him to a nearby hospital using a helicopter, but Karlenko dies upon reaching the hospital. However, Karlenko manages to pass his key to them and say the final key is held by a member of MI7 before he dies.Rowan Atkinson and Rosamund Pike in Johnny English Reborn (2011)Over dinner, English confides with Ambrose about the mole. and Ambrose tells English that he suspects Quartermain is the traitor. Tucker later confronts Ambrose in the bathroom about him being the mole, but English dismisses Tucker and lets Ambrose go free, giving him Karlenko’s key. At a church, English confronts Quartermain, but realizes he has been framed as the traitor. He manages to escape and hide at Sumner’s flat. After reviewing the footage of the Mozambique mission, Sumner realizes the assassin was manipulated by Vortex with a drug known as timoxeline barbebutenol.Rowan Atkinson in Johnny English Reborn (2011)While both English and Sunmer have dinner, Ambrose comes to pick Sunmer up, and English realizes Ambrose is the mole after recalling his memory in Mozambique. The cleaner assassin comes to the apartment to kill English, but he manages to escape through a garbage chute and makes for Tucker’s apartment. In Tucker’s flat, English persuades him to rejoin him to infiltrate Le Bastion, a fortress in the Swiss Alps where the talks are to be held, after apologizing for his mistake. In the fortress, however, English accidentally activates a distress beacon that alerts the guards of the fortress to their presence. Left with no choice, English commands Tucker to knock him out, so that the both of them may go up to the fortress. Having been taken into the fortress, English manages to get out of the body bag and warns Pegasus of the threat, but unknowingly imbibes the drink containing the drug. Ambrose, at the scene, commands English to subdue Pegasus.Rowan Atkinson in Johnny English Reborn (2011)Assigning English to be the Prime Minister’s bodyguard in place of Pegasus, Ambrose orders him to kill the Chinese Premier using a pistol disguised as lipstick, which was initially designed for Pegasus. However, English tries to resist the drug and prevent himself from shooting the premier. Tucker arrives and interrupts Ambrose’s communication feed briefly before Ambrose resets the communication, exposing himself to be the mastermind in the process. English resists again and shoots Ambrose, who escapes, but the drug enters its lethal stage, and English loses consciousness. Sumner arrives and is able to revive English with a passionate kiss. English pursues Ambrose down the mountainside. The two spies fight in an aerial tram, but English falls off the lift. Ambrose shoots at English, who tries to use his spy umbrella as a bulletproof shield, but later turns out to be a rocket launcher when English closes it. The rocket launcher destroys the lift, killing Ambrose.Rowan Atkinson in Johnny English Reborn (2011)Later on, Vortex is shut down and English is to have his knighthood reinstated by the Queen. During the ceremony, the cleaner assassin tries to kill English again while disguised as the queen, which leads English to attack the real Queen by accident, realizing his mistake only when the killer cleaner is finally caught by the others.Overall: I enjoyed this spy thriller spoof due Rowan. He is the perfect Johnny English, the underdog spy. And now were getting a third one this year. So more english to enjoy.

REVIEW: 300

CAST

Gerard Butler (The Ugly Truth)
Lena Headey (Game of Thrones)
Dominic West (Punisher Warzone)
David Wenham (Van Helsing)
Vincent Regan (Lookout)
Michael Fassbender (Prometheus)
Tom Wisdom (Dominion)
Andrew Pleavin (Inception)
Andrew Tiernan (The Pianist)
Rodrigo Santoro (Lost)
Stephen McHattie (Watchmen)
Peter Mensah (Spartacus)
Michael Sinelnikoff (The Lost World)
Patrick Sabongui (The Flash)

In the Battle of Thermopylae of 480 BC an alliance of Greek city-states fought the invading Persian army in the mountain pass of Thermopylae. Vastly outnumbered, the Greeks held back the enemy in one of the most famous last stands of history. Persian King Xerxes lead a Army of well over 100,000 (Persian king Xerxes before war has about 170,000 army) men to Greece and was confronted by 300 Spartans, and several hundred Arcadians. Xerxes waited for 10 days for King Leonidas to surrender or withdraw left with no options he moved. The battle lasted for about 3 days and after which all 300 Spartans were killed. The Spartan defeat was not the one expected, as a local shepherd, named Ephialtes, defected to the Persians and informed Xerxes of a separate path through Thermopylae, which the Persians could use to outflank the Greeks.

300 is basically  just one epic fighting scene after another. Most noticeably is the camera work and the visual effects. Every shot seems like it was intended to be a work of art. The colors, the characters, the costumes, the backgrounds… every little detail has been given so much attention. During the big fights you’ll also instantly notice the unique editing. There are a lot of “time slowdowns” throughout the battles which show what exactly is happening. Fatal wounds that slowly leak blood spatters in the air, decapitated heads traveling in slow-motion across the screen… it’s all there.

The story on the other hand isn’t very complicated, in the sense that the whole movie could probably be described in a sentence or two. The dialog is simple and most often talk about moral values like freedom and honor.

For me the good outweighs the bad by miles. From the second the movie started it grabbed me and didn’t let go. Every battle, every scene of the movie had me at the tip of my chair. Everything from the strong acting to the wondrous visuals to the war-shouts of the soldiers was just so stunning… it was truly a wonderful experience.I did not one single moment felt like the movie lacked anything.

REVIEW: ROCK STAR

CAST

Mark Wahlberg (Transformers 4)
Jennifer Aniston (Rumor Has It..)
Dominic West (Punisher: Warzone)
Timothy Spall (Sweeney Todd)
Timothy Olyphant (Hitman)
Matthew Glave (Stargate SG.1)
Michael Shamus Wiles (Fight Club)
Beth Grant (Donnie Darko)
Jason Flemyng (Kick-Ass)
Kristin Richardson (Lost)
Kara Zediker (Hercules: TLJ)
Carrie Stevens (Black Scorpion)
Amy Rolle (Power Rangers Lost Galaxy)

Chris Cole (Mark Wahlberg) is a Pittsburgh fanatical admirer of a 1980s heavy metal band called Steel Dragon. By day, Chris is a photocopier technician and by night, he is the lead singer of a Steel Dragon tribute band called Blood Pollution (the name is taken from a Steel Dragon song).

Internal struggles among the actual Steel Dragon band members culminate with the firing of their lead singer, Bobby Beers (Jason Flemyng), and the starting of recruitment sessions to find a new vocalist. Chris experiences his own strife with his Blood Pollution bandmates, particularly guitarist Rob Malcolm (Timothy Olyphant). During a live performance, Rob’s playing fails to live up to Chris’ over-demanding standards regarding note-for-note accuracy to the original Steel Dragon recordings, and Chris sabotages Rob’s amplifier mid-song – a fight breaks out between the two onstage. The next day, Chris arrives at Blood Pollution’s rehearsal space (the basement of an X-rated theater) to find that he’s been fired and replaced with his arch-rival, the (now former) lead singer of another Steel Dragon tribute band. Rob also cites Chris’ inability to create his own musical style, preferring to remain the singer in a tribute band.

One day in 1984, Chris receives an unexpected phone call from Steel Dragon’s founder and rhythm guitarist, Kirk Cuddy (Dominic West), and is offered an audition for the band (thanks to two of Blood Pollution’s groupies, who showed Kirk a videotape of one of Blood Pollution’s concerts). After hanging up on Kirk once, thinking he’s being made fun of, Chris ecstatically agrees. At the studio, he meets the band, as well as learning that Bobby Beers was fired because he was a closeted gay, and gives an outstanding performance of “We All Die Young” (a Steel Dragon song in the movie, but it is actually a song by Steelheart, whose lead vocalist Miljenko Matijevic provides Cole’s singing voice for the film). Chris joins the band as their new singer, adopting the stage name “Izzy”. Following a successful debut concert with Steel Dragon, Izzy must come to grips with the pressures of his new-found fame and success. The band embarks on a lengthy tour and Izzy experiences the excesses of the lifestyle, with the group’s manager, Mats (Timothy Spall), serving as a sympathetic mentor to Izzy.MV5BMjE5MzA5Mzk4M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTcxMjIyNw@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1397,1000_AL_His new lifestyle impacts his life both for better and worse, particularly with his relationship with his supportive girlfriend, Emily Poule (Jennifer Aniston), when she decides not to continue with him throughout the remainder of the tour as a rock star girlfriend, though Emily and Izzy agree to get back together when the tour reaches Seattle. Eventually, Steel Dragon stops in Seattle for a show, and Emily arrives at his hotel room as they had previously arranged, although Izzy had become so inebriated while on tour he forgot about the arrangement and did not even know what city he was in. Although taken aback by all the groupies, Emily still tries to reconnect with him, reminding him of their plans to meet up once he got to Seattle, however he is too intoxicated to really understand what she is saying, eventually suggesting they go to Seattle together. Heartbroken with his inconsiderate behavior, intoxication and the fact that he is sleeping with so many groupies, Emily leaves him.

After the end of the tour, Izzy reports to the next series of Steel Dragon recording sessions with song concepts for the band’s next album. The rest of the band rejects Izzy’s ideas, with Kirk explaining that the band has to stay true to the “Steel Dragon thing” to fulfill fan expectations. Izzy is angered upon realizing that he was only recruited for his vocal abilities. After a heartfelt conversation with Mats about how he feared he had no control over the direction life has taken him, Izzy begins to reconsider his rock star lifestyle. On the next tour, in a scene directly paralleling one near the beginning of the film with their roles reversed, Izzy hears a fan (Myles Kennedy) singing along with him toward the end of a live concert. Impressed, Izzy pulls the fan, who introduces himself as Mike, onstage and hands him the microphone to finish the concert. Backstage, Izzy realizes that what he wanted for so long was not what he thought, and he says goodbye to Mats, departing from the band while doing so.

Upon ditching his stage name, Izzy, Chris makes his way to Seattle and starts a new band with his old friend and former bandmate Rob. At the same time Steel Dragon, failing to evolve to changing tastes and styles, has its fame fizzle out. Chris finds Emily working in the coffee shop she and her roommate purchased a few years earlier, but is initially too ashamed to speak to her. While walking one evening, Emily sees a flyer for his band posted on the wall and takes it down. In the final scene, Chris is singing with his band in a bar and Emily walks in. Chris leaves the stage and speaks to her. They reconcile, ending the film with a kiss and the final note of Chris’ first original song “Colorful”.

After reading previews for this movie I thought it would be a let down, however after I got my dvd  I was pleasantly surprised, strong performances from all cast members make this a very enjoyable movie.