REVIEW: MACHETE

CAST

Danny Trejo (Bullet)
Robert De Niro (Joy)
Jessica Alba (Sin City)
Steven Segal (Marked For Death)
Michelle Rodriguez (Resident Evil)
Jeff Fahey (Planet Terror)
Cheech Marin (Cars)
Don Johnson (Born Yesterday)
Lindsay Lohan (Mean Girls)
Shea Whigham (Agent Carter)
Daryl Sabara (John Carter)
Ara Celi (All My children)
Electra and Elise Avellan (Death Proof)
Stacy Keach (The Bourne Legacy)
James Parks (Kill Bill)

Mexico: Machete Cortez (Danny Trejo), a former Mexican Federal and his younger partner are on a mission to rescue a kidnapped girl (Mayra J. Leal). During the operation, his partner is killed, the kidnapped girl stabs him before being killed herself, and Machete is betrayed by his corrupt Chief to the powerful drug lord, Rogelio Torrez (Steven Seagal), who kills Machete’s wife and implies that he will kill his daughter before leaving him for dead.Three years later, a down-and-out Machete roams Texas, scraping by on yard work. Michael Booth (Jeff Fahey), a local businessman and spin doctor, explains to Machete that corrupt Texas State Senator John McLaughlin (Robert De Niro) is sending hundreds of illegal immigrants out of the country. In order to stop this, Booth offers Machete $150,000 to kill McLaughlin. Machete accepts the murder contract after Booth threatens to kill him if he does not.Machete trains a rifle on McLaughlin from a rooftop during a rally, but before he fires he sees one of Booth’s henchmen aiming at him. The henchman shoots Machete in the shoulder, the latter then shoots McLaughlin in the leg. It is revealed that Booth orchestrated the attempted assassination as part of a false flag operation to gain public support for McLaughlin’s secure border campaign. By setting up Machete as the gunman, the conspirators make it appear that an outlaw illegal Mexican immigrant has tried to assassinate the senator, who is known for his tough stance on illegal immigration.An injured Machete escapes capture by Booth and is taken to a hospital to be treated for wounds, escaping once again from Booth’s henchmen at the hospital. Agent Sartana Rivera (Jessica Alba), a persistent U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent, is sent by her superior to find and capture the injured Machete. Machete, with the help of Luz (Michelle Rodriguez), aka Shé, the leader of an illegal immigrant aid movement known as the Network, recruits Padre (Cheech Marin), his “holy” brother. To take revenge on Booth, Machete kidnaps Booth’s wife and his daughter, April (Lindsay Lohan), after “starring” in an amateur adult film with them. He also collects evidence from Booth’s house linking McLaughlin and the Mexican drug lord in a major drug trafficking deal. After encountering Machete, Sartana begins to develop an interest in him. Elsewhere, Booth, who is revealed to be working for Torrez, hires a hitman, Osiris Amanpour (Tom Savini), to assist in the hunt for Machete.Booth and Osiris kill Padre in his church by nailing him to a cross, but do not find his own wife and daughter. Unbeknownst to Booth, the church has cameras. Through the CCTV recordings, the news of McLaughlin’s corruption and faked assassination is eventually aired on national television. Infuriated, McLaughlin kills Booth and heads back to join Torrez to kill Machete. In order to eliminate the people who double-crossed him, Machete gathers the Mexican Network and leads them to the base of the border vigilantes, led by Von Jackson (Don Johnson). During this confrontation, the Mexican illegals triumph over the border vigilantes. Jackson tries to escape, but Luz shoots him in the back of the head. Machete fights Torrez and stabs him. April shows up wearing a nun’s habit after escaping from the church and shoots McLaughlin after figuring out that he has killed her father.McLaughlin, injured, manages to escape, but he is later killed by the last remnants of his own border vigilante group, who mistake him for a Mexican. Ultimately, Machete meets with Sartana, who gives him a green card. They kiss and ride off into the night. The closing credits announce further adventures for Machete.Machete is a funny action movie and a film that Danny Trejo perfectly fits into. The story follows the style of B- movies, with exploitation and ultra-violence, but has a cast that is a constellation of stars. A must see.

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: WATCHMEN – SEASON 1

Regina King in Watchmen (2019)

Main Cast

Regina King (The Big Bang Theory)
Don Johnson (Cold In July)
Tim Blake Nelson (Fantastic Four)
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Aquaman)
Andrew Howard (The Outpost)
Tom Mison (Sleepy Hollow)
Sara Vickers (Endeavour)
Dylan Schombing (Sharp Objects)
Louis Gossett Jr. (The Punisher)
Jeremy Irons (Batman V Superman)
Jean Smart (Legion)
Hong Chau (Artemis Fowl)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Jacob Ming-Trent (Ray Donovan)
Jessica Camacho (The Flash)
Frances Fisher (Titanic)
Wayne Pére (Cloak & Dagger)
James Wolk (Mad men)
Jim Beaver (Breaking Bad)
Robert Wisdom (The Dark Knight Rises)
Cheyenne Jackson (Descendats 3)
Dustin Ingram (The Magicians)
David Andrews (Terminator 3)
Lee Tergesen (The Purge TV)
Robert Pralgo (The Vampire Diaries)
Paula Malcomson (Caprica)
Jovan Adepo (Mother!)
Jake McDorman (Limitless TV)
Anatole Taubman (Hex)
Glenn Fleshler (Joker)

Watchmen is a bold, ambitious show. There’s no mistaking it for some wallflower or small, quiet drama. This is a big-budget, high-profile production that declares its presence. You can’t ignore it and you wouldn’t want to because it’s extremely compulsive viewing. The latest offering from HBO, the nine-episode Watchmen is based on Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ iconic and beloved 1980s comic book series of the same name.Jeremy Irons in Watchmen (2019)Before you roll your eyes and chuck a Scorsese or Coppola and go, “oh, it’s a comics thing,” know that Watchmen strikes a hard-to-achieve balance between spectacle and groundedness. And you don’t need to be familiar with the comics or the 2009 Zack Snyder movie adaptation to dig in. Created for TV by Lost and The Leftovers’ Damon Lindelof, this version of Watchmen has been described as more of a companion series. Lindelof explained it as, if the comics were the Old Testament, then this series is the New Testament — and there are still plenty of Easter eggs and direct references for old fans.The original comics were set in the mid-1980s and the TV show time jumps to our present day, 2019. So it’s set some 30 years after the events of the books, and only carries over a handful of the characters. The world of Watchmen is similar to ours except there’s no internet, throngs of tiny squid sometimes rain from the sky and Robert Redford has been the US president since the 1990s.The early focus is on Angela Abar (Regina King), a Tulsa, Oklahoma police detective whose masked persona is known as Sister Night. To the outside world, she’s a retired cop after a calamitous event some three years earlier. But in reality, she’s one of legion of masked cops who now have to hide their identities for fear of retribution against them and their families — despite the fact vigilante heroes are now outlawed.Yahya Abdul-Mateen II in Watchmen (2019)The villain(s) of the series is a white supremacist group called The Seventh Cavalry who have co-opted the now-dead anti-hero Rorschach’s image on their masks. They’re the ones who are violently targeting police in Tulsa. But when both the good guys and the bad guys wear masks, who can you really trust? In Watchmen, the police go too far, meting out extrajudicial justice with little hesitation. At one point, one character says to another, “You know how you can tell the difference between a masked cop and a vigilante?” to which the other responds, “No”. While the show exists in an alternate version of our world and many of its markers feel heightened and exaggerated, it feels very resonant of America in 2019. The series is racially charged and declares itself so in the opening sequence which is a dramatisation of the real-life Tulsa race riots in which white mobs killed hundreds of African-Americans and injured even more.Regina King in Watchmen (2019)Watchmen plays in the grey space between black and white with its moral complexity. While we follow Angela, she also commits acts we personally wouldn’t approve of from our own law enforcement. This constant negotiation of our empathies is the kind of layered storytelling Lindelof excels in, having done so previously in The Leftovers, another HBO series. Watchmen is packed with striking visuals — the first two episodes are directed by Nicole Kassell — and the production values are extraordinary, including a visceral score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. Clearly a lot of money has been spent and it shows. The pilot episode is strong and has a great twist that guarantees you’ll be back for more. It also features compelling performances from Oscar winner King, Don Johnson as Tulsa police chief Judd Crawford, Tim Blake Nelson as Looking Glass and Louis Gossett Jr as the mysterious Will Reeve. These are new characters to the Watchmen world.Among the comic original characters, there’s Jeremy Irons as Adrian Veidt, also known as Ozymandias, who is now exiled (as it were) in a luxurious country estate where he delights in strange games with his strange servants. But it’s Jean Smart as Laurie Blake/Silk Spectre who steals the third episode, which is her first appearance. The former superhero is now working for the FBI in the anti-vigilante squad and her combination of no-bullshit tenacity, concealed vulnerability and killer instincts make her a magnetic character. The very blue-hued and powered Doctor Manhattan will also appear. Watchmen is a thrilling and scintillating series that is sure to find armies of fans, old and new, who will undoubtedly be besotted. You might as well see for yourself what they’re all going to be obsessing about.

 

REVIEW: THE OTHER WOMEN

OTHER WOMAN

CAST

Cameron Diaz (What Happens In Vegas)
Leslie Mann (This Is 40)
Kate Upton (The Layover)
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Game of thrones)
Taylor Kinney (Zero Dark thirty)
Nicki Minaj (Barbershop: THe Next Cut)
Don Johnson (Django Unchained)
David Thornton (Home Alone)

Carly, an attorney, has just started a relationship with Mark, a man she had sex with eight weeks earlier. She is upset when Mark tells her he has to go out of town but decides to go over to his house to seduce him. She is horrified to meet Mark’s wife, Kate, whom she’d originally assumed to be Mark’s housekeeper. While initially hostile, the two women befriend one another. Kate then discovers that he is seeing yet another woman, whom she at first believes to be Carly, but they both discover that Mark is seeing a third woman: Amber.Carly and Kate travel to the beach, where Kate has a run-in with Amber, and the two women inform her that Mark has been cheating on all of them. All three women then decide to take revenge on him together. Kate spikes his smoothies with an estrogen to swell his nipples, has their dog lick his toothbrush before soaking it in their toilet, and adds hair-removal cream into his shampoo; Carly spikes his water with a laxative to cause him to defecate heavy diarrhea; Amber has an ugly fake three-way sexual partner against him.In the course of carrying out the women’s vicious pranks, they also discover that Mark has been embezzling much money from various companies at his workplace. Meanwhile, Carly begins to connect romantically with Kate’s brother Phil. In addition, Amber confides to Carly that she is seeing someone else as well. Their camaraderie begins to fall apart when Kate finds herself falling in love with Mark again after an investor’s dinner. Carly exposes Mark’s fraud, upsetting Kate. Later, when Mark goes to the Bahamas on a supposed business trip, Kate decides to follow him there and expose him. She finds Carly and Amber at the airport, who explain that Mark has been using Kate as the owner of the companies he defrauded from, which would—were his fraud to be discovered—result in her going to prison. Kate also finds out that Mark has been seeing yet another woman: someone he has met on this trip. This, and the possibility of him facing prison, motivates her to take action with the help of Carly’s legal expertise.When Mark returns from vacation, he visits Carly at her office. He is then locked in that clear glass conference room by Carly’s assistant and friend, Lydia, and is stunned to see all of the three women sitting in there together. They proceed to confront him with his infidelities and embezzlement. With Carly as her attorney, Kate presents divorce papers and a list of their assets. She reveals how she, as a CEO, has returned all of Mark’s embezzled money back to those companies, which saves him from prison time but then leaves him bankrupt, much to his shock and hysterical outrage. Mark’s business partner, Nick, then arrives and acknowledges his wife’s work back after firing him. In his furious anger and rush to leave, he smashes into the glass office, cutting him and ripping his clothes. He excuses himself, fuming, from the three women, who all then applaud each other. He then afterwards finds his car being towed away before also receiving a punch in the face from Carly’s father, Frank. In the film’s epilogue, Kate takes over Mark’s previous job with Nick and is a CEO with successful companies, making big profits under her honest leadership. Carly and Phil fall in love, and the couple are expecting a child. Amber is in a relationship with Frank.I know there are lots of negative reviews (critics, I mean) about this movie which made me unsure about going to see it. Basically what I can say is that reviews can’t tell you how you are going to experience this movie- I found it hilarious

REVIEW: A SERIES OF UNFORTANTE EVENTS – SEASON 1

MAIN CAST

Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother)
Patrick Warburton (Family Guy)
Malina Weissman (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Louis Hynes (Barbarians Rising)
K. Todd Freeman (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Presley Smith
Usman Ally (The Hunt)
Tara Strong (Batman: The Killing Joke)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Joan Cusack (Addams Family Values)
Aasif Mandvi (The Siege)
Catherine O’Hara (Home Alone)
Don Johnson (Machete)
Alfre Woodard (Luke Cage)
John DeSantis (Blade: The Series)
Sara Canning (The Vampire Diaries)
Rhys Darby (Yes Man)
Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother)
Will Arnett (The Lego Batman Movie)
Cleo King (Mike & Molly)
Matthew Walker (Highlander: The Series)
Patrick Breen (Galaxy Quest)
Rob LaBelle (Jack Frost)
Avi Lake (Meeting Evil)
Dylan Kingwell (Big Eyes)

Published between 1999 and 2006, A Series Of Unfortunate Events told the story of Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire, three intelligent and resourceful children who are orphaned when their parents are killed in a mysterious fire that destroys their home. Over the course of the books they are met with misfortune after misfortune as the evil Count Olaf attempts to get his hands on the money their parents left behind, with the orphans always just barely managing to escape Olaf’s clutches. Eventually they start to realise that there is more to Olaf and the death of their parents than they realise, and their attempts to survive converge more and more with a huge conspiracy that drags them deeper into a web of very furtive danger.

The books are oblique, absurd, repetitive and relentlessly dark. The last attempt at adapting them wrangled three books into one film along with a simplified version of the convoluted mystery that characterised the back half of the book series, which it chose to more or less resolve, while ramping up the buffoonery of Olaf and toning down his more menacing moments. All of these were choices that made sense from a commercial perspective; yet the film was met with a shrug. So when it was announced that Netflix was taking on the series, it was hard not to wonder just how that might look and whether it would be more successful than the last version. Adapting this series presents a challenge; a faithful retelling of the books runs the risk of being kind of repetitive, not to mention very expensive considering each book takes place in a different bizarre setting with a mostly different cast of supporting characters. So how do they manage it?

As it turns out, very, very well. And very faithfully to boot. The television series devotes two episodes to each book, with the first season covering the first four. Essentially this means that each individual novel gets more time than the film allowed for three, meaning that not only can the series depict just about every scene from each book, but it can embellish and explore certain aspects while threading new, fascinating subplots throughout the more familiar material. Consequently, the series offers something fresh and interesting for those unfamiliar with Snicket while being full of surprises and easter eggs for those who spent their childhoods scouring the books for clues, hints or things we might have missed. This is an adaptation that does fan service right. If you know the books reasonably well, you will have ample reasons to squeal with delight or gasp at your television while never once feeling like somebody is pandering to you.

Part of this is probably due to the heavy involvement of Daniel Handler, who wrote the teleplays for the four episodes. The tweaks the television series makes to the novels play more like minor corrections, the new subplots like we’re seeing important deleted scenes rather than anything added inorganically to fill screen time and above all the series just feels extremely true to the spirit of its source material in a way that the movie never quite did. Part of this is the dialogue, part of this is the theatrical set design and part of this is the fact that the series is unafraid to get dark.The first book, The Bad Beginning, features many disturbing elements but two that stand out are Count Olaf’s insidious plan to marry fourteen year old Violet Baudelaire in order to get his hands on her fortune, and an earlier scene in which a drunk, angry Olaf strikes Klaus across the face for talking back to him. The film included both these plot points, but they were both buried in lots of Jim Carrey mugging. This created the uncomfortable feeling that some awful stuff was being played for laughs, or at least that the impact of it was being softened to avoid upsetting anyone too much. The series does not shy away from either of these moments. The marriage plot is exactly as disturbing as it should be, while the attack on Klaus is followed by a loaded silence that lets you feel just how dreadful the circumstances of the Baudelaires and the man behind them is. When the humour does come it’s a welcome relief rather than an attempt to bury disturbing content beneath silly voices and kooky lines.Neil Patrick Harris walks a very particular tightrope in his portrayal of Olaf. The villain of the series is a terrible actor who uses a variety of ridiculous disguises and bizarre plots in his attempts to capture the orphans, but when all is said and done this man is still a dangerous murderer and serial arsonist. Predictably Harris is very funny, but it’s that crucial undercurrent of darkness that sells the character in a way that Jim Carrey didn’t quite manage and means that, no matter how much you’re laughing at him, you never forget the danger that he poses.

Elsewhere, the acting is just as strong. Malina Weissman and Louis Hynes are both excellent as Violent and Klaus respectively, while K. Todd Freeman threatens to steal the show as inept banker Mr Poe. Aasif Mandvi makes for a warm and endearingly quirky Uncle Monty while Patrick Warburton very quickly becomes the only Lemony Snicket you’ll be able to imagine. Where Jude Law in the film depicted the narrator as a softly spoken reclusive writer, Warburton is more of a droll noir detective, walking in and out of scenes to comment on proceedings with wry humour and occasional flashes of melancholy and gravitas. In short, he is a pitch perfect, if unexpected, take on arguably the most important character in the series.

One of the most distinctive things about the books was how it handled its tone; veering quickly from oddball humour to reflective sadness. The television series handles this with deft expertise; just watch how Snicket reacts in pained silence to the Baudelaires learning about their parents’ death even as Mr Poe fumbles breaking the news. The series is not quite as funny as the trailers may have led you to believe, but this isn’t a bad thing. It only means that humour never disguises just how dire the circumstances of the orphans are. We feel for Violet, Klaus and Sunny and we hate Count Olaf even as we chuckle at his one liners and over the top behaviour. It’s a balancing act that could so easily fall apart but never does due to the simple fact that everyone involved in this series knows exactly what they’re doing.The series feels fresh, new and different to just about anything that has ever been on television before. Netflix took a risk on this and evidently let the creators do exactly what they wanted in bringing the novels to life. At its heart, A Series of Unfortunate Events is about the fact that life rarely goes the way we want it to and trouble and treachery can strike at the worst possible times. And while they may not offer a permanent solution, intelligence, curiosity, decency and literacy are lights in the darkness, tiny glimmers of hope in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. The plight of the Baudelaire orphans, ultimately, is not a case of relentless misery being played for our entertainment, but a story of hope and resilience built around the honest truth that life isn’t fair. Perhaps the greatest trick of the book series, and now the TV show, is disguising a message of hope in a story of seemingly endless gloom. In that regard, this brave, funny, exciting, imaginative new show is as big of a success as anyone could have hoped for. It’s an absolute treat.

REVIEW: DJANGO UNCHAINED

CAST

Jamie Foxx (Dreamgirls)
Christopher Waltz (The Green Hornet)
Leonardo DiCaprio (Critters 3)
Kerry Washington (Save The Last dance)
Samuel L. Jackson (The Avengers)
Walton Goggins (The Bourne Identity)
Dennis Christopher (Angel)
James Remar (X-Men: First Class)
Don Johnson (Machete)
Amber Tamblyn (Two and a Half Men)
M.C. Gainey (Lost)
Tom Wopat (Jonah Hex)
Jonah Hill (Cyrus)
Zoe Bell (Oblivion)
Michael Bowen (Jackie Brown)
Robert Carradine (Timecop 2)
James Parks (Death Proof)
Michael Parks (Red State)
Michael Bacall (Gangster Squad)
Evan Parke (Alias)
John Jarratt (Wolf Creek)
Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction)
J.D. Evermore (Cloak & Dagger)
Rex Linn (The Postman)
Ned Bellamy (Terminator: TSCC)
Gary Grubbs (Battleship)
Ato Essandoh (Prime)

In Texas in the year 1858, the Speck brothers, Ace and Dicky, drive a group of black slaves on foot. Among the shackled slaves is Django, sold off and separated from his wife, Broomhilda von Shaft. The Speck brothers are stopped by Dr. King Schultz, a German dentist-turned-bounty hunter from Düsseldorf, who asks to buy one of the slaves. When he questions Django about his knowledge of the Brittle brothers, a group of outlaws for whom Schultz is carrying a warrant, Ace becomes irritated and threateningly aims his shotgun at Schultz. Schultz, a superior gunslinger, immediately kills Ace in return and leaves an injured Dicky at the mercy of the newly freed slaves, who kill him and follow the North Star to freedom.doubletrouble_0As Django can identify the Brittle brothers, Schultz offers Django his freedom in exchange for help tracking them down. After hunting down the Brittles, the liberated Django (who adopted the surname “Freeman”) partners with Schultz through the winter and becomes his apprentice, and Schultz discovers that Django has a natural talent of being an incredible crack shot. Schultz explains that he feels responsible for Django since Django is the first person he has ever freed, and felt more obliged to help Django (whom he described as a “real-life Siegfried”) reunite with Broomhilda. Django, now fully trained, collects his first bounty, keeping the handbill for good luck.
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In 1859, Django and Schultz travel to Mississippi, where they learn the identity of Broomhilda’s owner: Calvin J. Candie, the charming but cruel owner of the Candyland plantation, where slaves are forced to fight to the death in brutal wrestling matches called “Mandingo fights”. Schultz, expecting Candie will not sell Broomhilda if they ask for her directly, feigns interest in purchasing one of Candie’s prized fighters for far more than the normal price. Schultz and Django meet Candie at his gentleman’s club in Greenville and submit their offer. Intrigued, Candie invites them to his ranch at Candyland. After secretly briefing Broomhilda, Schultz claims to be charmed by the German-speaking Broomhilda and offers to buy her.MV5BMTk4NzQwODM5MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjgzNTI3Nw@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1486,1000_AL_During dinner, Candie’s staunchly loyal house slave, Stephen, becomes suspicious of Schultz and Django’s motives. Deducing that Django and Broomhilda know each other previously and that the sale of the Mandingo fighter is a ruse, Stephen alerts Candie and admonishes him for his greed. Candie is angered at being fooled and having his time wasted, but contains his anger long enough to theatrically display his knowledge of phrenology, which he uses to theorize why the slaves have failed to kill their oppressors, despite ample opportunity. Candie’s bodyguard, Butch Pooch, bursts into the room with his shotgun trained on the two bounty hunters, and Candie explodes in anger, threatening to kill Broomhilda. He offers an alteration of the original deal, with Broomhilda taking the Mandingo fighter’s place at the same price, and threatens her death should the deal be rejected. After business appears concluded, Candie insists that the deal be sealed through a handshake, which Schultz initially refuses but eventually appears to concede. However, Schultz snaps and kills Candie with a concealed derringer. Butch shoots Schultz dead and Django kills him in turn, and an extensive gunfight in the mansion between Django and Candie’s henchmen ensues. Django guns down a great number of his opponents, but surrenders when Broomhilda is taken hostage.

The next morning, Stephen tells Django that he will be sold to a mine and worked to death. En route to the mine, Django proves to his escorts that he is a bounty hunter by showing them the handbill from his first kill. He convinces them that there is a large bounty for criminals hiding at Candyland, and promises that they would receive the majority of the money. The escorts release him and give him a pistol, and he kills them before stealing a horse and returning to Candyland with a bag of dynamite.

Returning to the plantation, Django kills more of Candie’s henchmen, takes Broomhilda’s freedom papers from the dead Schultz’s pocket, bids goodbye to his late friend and frees Broomhilda from a nearby cabin. When Candie’s mourners return from his burial, Django kills the remaining henchmen and Candie’s sister Lara Lee Candie-Fitzwilly, releases the two remaining house slaves, and kneecaps Stephen. Django then ignites the dynamite that he has planted throughout the mansion, and he and Broomhilda watch from a distance as the mansion explodes with the incapacitated Stephen inside, before riding off together.MV5BOTA2NjY5NzY3NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzcyNjY4Nw@@._V1_A brilliant movie. Very entertaining and I loved it. We don’t get many westerns any more so this was a welcome addition to the genre. Tarantino is of course well known for the violence in his films, which renders them as not being for the squeamish, but on top of that they usually feature touches of levity to brighten up the more grisly proceedings. Above all he assembles highly accomplished actors and good stories with some great lines. The cinematography is superb and the music excellent. Oh, and there is some wonderful horsemanship. An excellent film which can be highly recommended.

REVIEW: G.I. JOE: THE MOVIE (1987)

 

CAST (VOICES)

Peter Cullen (Transformers)
Frank Welker (The Simpsons)
Charlie Adler (Aladdin)
Shuko Akune (Cruel Intentions 2)
Jack Angel (A.I.)
Jackson Beck (The Batman/Superman Hour)
Michael Bell (Tangled)
Gregg Berger (Inside Out)
Earl Boen (The Terminator)
Arthur Burghardt (Network)
Francois Chau (Lost)
Don Johnson (Machete)
Burgess Meredith (Batman 60s)
Rob Paulsen (The Mask:TAS)
Vernee Watson (The Big Bang Theory)

File:G.i.joe.the.movie.1987.Shipwreck002.png

When both G.I. Joe and The Transformers proved to be massive after school hits for Hasbro when the animated series’ debuted in the eighties, it only made sense that each series would receive an animated theatrical release to cash in on the success of their respective TV series’. G.I. Joe: The Movie, directed by Don Jurwich, debuted on screens around the world in 1987 and while it wasn’t exactly considered a masterpiece of animated entertainment, it rightfully found its fan base.

The movie starts off with a bang, as the instantly recognizable opening theme song from the TV series blares at us and thrusts us head first into a battle between G.I. Joe and the evil forces of Cobra squaring off at the Statue of Liberty. The results of this battle wind up with Serpentor putting Cobra Commander on trial for screwing up and not doing his job all that well. Before the trial can really get moving, however, a bizarre woman named Pythona shows up, claiming to be from the land of Cobra-La and seeking the aid of Serpentor in her quest to retrieve the BET (Broadcast Energy Transmitter), an energy creating device that could allow Cobra to finally rule the world. Cobra-La, if you didn’t already know, was essentially a bizarre city-state under an ice dome full of evil bugs and was the birth place of Cobra Commander and Serpentor. The baddies at Cobra figure they can use the BET to send some spores into the Earth’s atmosphere that will destroy mankind as we know it.

Meanwhile, somewhere innocuous and snowy, the Joe team are testing the very same BET that Cobra so desperately wants to get their hands on. Cobra attacks, and in the ensuing battle, team leader Duke gets seriously injured and if that weren’t bad enough, the leader of Cobra-La, Golobulus (Burgess Meredith) has got a heavy hitter named Nemesis Enforcer on his side. Cobra is seriously bringing their A-game this time around, but thankfully for all of humanity, Duke and his brother, Falcon (Don Johnson), have got a whole bunch of brand new Joe’s on their side to help them stop Cobra before it’s too late. Some of the more notable newbies include a female Asian martial arts expert named Jinx, a tough guy who doesn’t talk named, an underground specialist guy named Tunnel Rat, a do-gooder named Law and his pet dog, a guy named Big Lob and last but not least, Sgt. Slaughter and his Renegades, made up of Mercer, Red Dog and Taurus.

The movie is also meant to tie together the second and third seasons of the show, but since the third season of the show never happened, that aspect of it doesn’t really work and so the movie just kind of stands alone, focusing on newer characters that we don’t really care about as much as the more established ones who are really just tooling around in the background. The movie does deserve credit for trying to branch out a bit from the formulaic TV series, however. This is G.I. Joe on a much larger scale than anything that had come before it, and it’s also a fair bit more violent and quite a bit darker than the animated series it was spun off of. Duke was originally supposed to die after what happens to him in the moviebut because of fan backlash to what happened to Optimus Prime in Transformers: The Movie this was changed and he instead simply falls into a coma.