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: HANNIBAL RISING

CAST

Gaspard Ulliel  (Saint Laurent)
Li Gong (Curse of The Golden Flower)
Dominic West (300)
Rhys Ifans (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Helena-Lia Tachovská (Divnovlasky)
Kevin McKidd (Dog Soldiers)
Richard Brake (Halloween II)
Stephen Walters (Outlander)
Robbie Kay (Heroes Reborn)

In 1941, an eight-year-old Hannibal Lecter lives in Lecter Castle in Lithuania. Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union turns the Baltic region into part of the bloodiest front line of World War II. Lecter, his younger sister Mischa, and their parents travel to the family’s hunting lodge in the woods to elude the advancing German troops. After three years, the Nazis are finally driven out of the countries soon to be occupied by the Soviet Union. During their retreat, however, they destroy a Soviet tank that had stopped at the Lecter family’s lodge looking for water. The explosion kills everyone but Lecter and Mischa. They survive in the cottage until six former Lithuanian militiamen, led by a Nazi collaborator named Vladis Grutas, storm and loot it. Finding no other food in the bitterly cold Baltic winter, the men look menacingly at Lecter and Mischa. By 1949, Lecter Castle has been turned into a Soviet orphanage and is ironically housing the interned orphan Hannibal Lecter. After dealing violently with a bully, Lecter escapes from the castle orphanage to Paris to live with his widowed aunt, the Lady Murasaki. While in France, Lecter flourishes as a student. He commits his first murder as a teenager, killing a local butcher who insults his aunt. He is suspected of the murder by Inspector Popil, a French detective who also lost his family in the war. Thanks in part to his aunt’s intervention, Lecter escapes responsibility for the crime.Eventually, Lecter becomes the youngest person ever admitted to medical school in France. He receives a working scholarship at a hospital in Paris, where he is given a job preparing cadavers. One day, Lecter witnesses a condemned war criminal receiving a sodium thiopental injection, allowing him to recall details about his war crimes. Consequently, in an attempt to recall the names of those responsible for his sister’s death, Lecter injects himself with the solution. His subsequent flashback reveals to the viewers the men who had killed Mischa, had also cannibalized her as well. Lecter returns to Lithuania in search of his sister’s remains. He excavates the ruins of the lodge where his family died, and upon finding Mischa’s remains, he gives her a proper burial. He also unearths the dog-tags of the deserters who killed his sister. One of them, Dortlich, attempts to kill him but is incapitated by Lecter. After he buries Mischa’s remains, Lecter forces Dortlich to reveal the whereabouts of the rest of his gang, then decapitates Dortlich with a horse-drawn pulley. Dortlich’s blood splashes on Lecter’s face, and he licks it off.Lecter then visits Kolnas’ restaurant in Fontainbleau. He finds his young daughter and notices Mischa’s bracelet on her. He gives her Kolnas’ dogtag. Dortlich’s murder puts the rest of the group on alert and, because of the similarity to the first murder, places Lecter under renewed suspicion from Popil. Grutas, now a sex trafficker, dispatches a second member of the group, Zigmas Milko, to kill him. Lecter kills Milko instead, drowning him in formaldehyde inside his laboratory. Popil then tries to dissuade him from hunting the gang. During a confrontation with Lady Murasaki, Lecter almost has sex with her, but relents after Lady Murasaki begs him not to get revenge, claiming that he made a promise to Mischa. He attacks Grutas in his home but Grutas is rescued by his bodyguards.

Grutas kidnaps Lady Murasaki and calls Lecter, using her as bait. Lecter recognizes the sounds of Kolnas’ birds from his restaurant in the background. Lecter goes there and plays on Kolnas’ emotions by threatening his children. Kolnas gives up the location of Grutas’ boat, but Lecter kills him when Kolnas goes for Lecter’s gun. Lecter goes to the houseboat. In a final confrontation, Grutas claims that Lecter too had consumed his sister in broth fed to him by the soldiers, and he was killing them to keep this fact secret. Enraged, Lecter eviscerates him by carving his sister’s initial into his body. Lady Murasaki, finally disturbed by his behavior, flees from him even after he tells her that he loves her. The houseboat is incinerated, but Lecter, assumed to be dead, emerges from the woods. Lecter hunts down the last member of the group, Grentz, in Canada.

Well, no Anthony Hopkins so I didn’t expect greatness, but was pleasantly surprised. Gaspard Ulliel did a very good job. I was caught up in the story about how Hannibal got started.  The movie was done very professionally. A good prequel to a great franchise.

REVIEW: PUNISHER: WAR ZONE

CAST

Ray Stevenson (Divergent)
Dominic West (300)
Julie Benz Angel)
Colin Salmon (Arrow)
Doug Hutchison (Shaft)
Dash Mihok (Gotham)
Wayne Knight (3rd Rock From The Sun)
T.J. Storm (VR Troopers)
Keram Malicki-Sánchez (Texas Chainsaw)

MV5BMTMyNDYxMzAxNF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTMwNDQwMg@@._V1_The film follows Frank Castle (Ray Stevenson), a man who was out for a picnic with his wife and son one day and who happened to witness a mob hit. The mob, never pleased with events like this, opened fire on the Castle family and sent all but Frank to their graves. With nothing else to live for, Frank decides to arm himself to the teeth and with the help of his friend and weapons supplier, Microchip (Wayne Knight), wage a war on crime. Taking care of the criminals who fall through the cracks of the legal system, Castle’s managed to accumulate a pretty massive body count, but the N.Y.P.D. tends to turn a blind eye to his activities until one night Castle accidently kills Nicky Donatelli (Romano Orzari), an undercover F.B.I. agent trying to infiltrate the gang run by Billy Russoti (Dominic West).When the feds learn that Castle has killed one of their own, they send Special Agent Paul Budiansky (Colin Salmon) to work with Detective Martin Soap (Dash Mihok) to bring Castle in for good. Meanwhile, Billy Russoti, whose face was mangled during the incident and who now calls himself Jigsaw, wants revenge. He springs his brother, James (Doug Hutchinson), better known as Loony Bin Jim, from the local asylum and decides he’s going to take out Donatelli’s widow, Angela (Julie Benz) and daughter, Grace (Stephanie Janusauskas) and then the Punisher himself. On top of that, Russoti is in the middle of a deal with the Russian mob involving some biological weapons, a deal that the feds and N.Y.P.D. alike absolutely do not want to happen.While the plot is fairly thin, there’s enough meat on the bones of the plot to work. Each of the central characters has sufficient motivation that their actions make sense and with the plot established and the characters set up, director Lexi Alexander wisely chooses to not waste anymore time and get on with the action. Sure there are a couple of sentimental flashbacks in the movie, but those serve to remind us that there is a living, breath, feeling human being underneath the skull emblazoned Kevlar armor.The real heart of this film is in its action scenes and it is in these scenes that the picture really excels. When Castle kills someone, he really kills them. A face is punched in (literally), throats are slit, a head is cut of, brains are blown out, there are squibs galore and in one remarkably ridiculous scene a balletic gang banger is blown up, mid maneuver, by a rocket launcher. The violence in the film is hard hitting and completely over the top – just as it should be!Equally as ridiculous are the film’s villains. Dominic West and Doug Hutchinson are having so much malicious fun as Jigsaw and Loony Bin Jim that, while you want the Punisher to take them down, you can’t help but want them to come back for a sequel. These guys play the parts with completely unwarranted but very welcome enthusiasm, playing everything to the hilt – the mannerisms, the New Yawk accents – to the point where they are literally comic book villains incarnate. Stevenson’s Frank Castle is perfect in the lead, bringing a nice sense of brooding menace to the character and scowling his way through the film just as you’d want him too.Helping the over the top performances and ultra violence immensely is some fantastic camerawork and lighting. There are large portions of the movie that are bathed in Bava-esque primary colors, really upping the comic book come to life aesthetic that Alexander was obviously going for here. It works, and it works well. Not only does the movie zip along at a great pace but it looks fantastic doing so.

 

REVIEW: 28 DAYS

 

CAST

Sandra Bullock (The Heat)
Viggo Mortensen (Lord of The Rings)
Dominic West (Punisher: Warzone)
Elizabeth Perkins (Weeds)
Azura Skye (Red Dragon)
Steve Buscemi (Reservoir Dogs)
Alan Tudyk (Firefly)
Diane Ladd (Joy)
Margo Martindale (Orphan)
Dan Byrd (Heroes)
Mike O’Malley (My Name Is Earl)

28 days DI 2
Sandra Bullock plays, Gwen Cummings, A successful NYC journalist who takes her passions to an extreme. Always ready to party, she drinks to excess and is also addicted to prescription medication. Her excesses have all been “accepted” until she ruins her sister’s wedding day by destroying the wedding cake, making a toast that shamed everyone present and the final insult, taking the limousine on a drunken high speed drive through quiet Bedford, NY, crashing into a home and totally destroying the porch and first floor of the house.

Realizing she is a menace to society in her current state, a judge sentences her to 28 days in a re-hab clinic in upstate NY. Instead of Vicadin, chanting is the drug of choice and instead of alcohol, warm hugs, prayers and singing are the order of things. Needless to say, she is out of her element and unwilling to stay in “geekdom”. With an addicted boyfriend who enables her at every moment and a totally unreal approach to her problem, Gwen has her hands more than full. Not too mention the characters she meets in Re-hab! 28 days is a sobering look at life in the fast lane and all the problems that come with a speedy existence!

i didn’t think I was going to like this one but I was pleasantly surprised. I am so not a fan of Sandra Bullock’s previous work but found many reasons to enjoy her performance in 28 Days. It’s tragic, it’s funny, sad but most importantly, it’s redemptive, showing the worth in all of us when we take the time to look at who we really are versus who we’ve become