REVIEW: THE SIMPSONS – SEASON 1-3

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CAST

Dan Castellaneta (Super 8)
Julie Kavner (Dr. Dolittle)
Yeardley Smith (Dead Like Me)
Nancy Cartwright (Kim Possible)
Hank Azaria (The Smurfs)
Harry Shearer (This Is Spinal Tap)
Pamela Hayden (Recess)
Tress MacNeille (Futurama)
Maggie Roswell (Pretty In Pink)
Russi Taylor (Babe)

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Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Christopher Collins (Transformers)
Jo Ann Harris (Most Wanted)
Marica Wallace (Full House)
Sam McMurray (Raising Arizona)
Maggie Roswell (Pretty In Pink)
Susan Blu (Transformers)
Miriam Flynn (Babe)
Ron Taylor (Trading Places)
Albert Brooks (Drive)
Kelsey Grammer (Frasier)
Penny Marshall (Laverne & Shirley)
Harvey Fierstein (Mrs. Doubtfire)
James Earl Jones (James Earl Jones)
Tony Bennett (Muppets Most Wanted)
Tom Poston (Newhart)
Gregg Berg (Muppet Babies)
Alex Rocco (The Godfather)
Phil Hartman (Jingle All The Way)
Doris Grau (Babe)
Carol Kane (Gotham)
Sab Shimono (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III)
George Takei (Star Trek)
Larry King (American Crime Story)
Jon Lovitz (Rat Race)
Danny DeVito (Batman Returns)
Tracey Ullman (Into The Woods)
Frank Welker (Transformers)
Audrey Meadows (The Honeymooners)
Ringo Starr (A Hard Day’s Night)
Dustin Hoffman (Hook)
Cloris Leachman (The Croods)
Daniel Stern (Home Alone)
Michael Jackson (Moonwalker)
Joe Mantegna (Criminal Minds)
Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother)
Magic Johnson (She’shaving a Baby)
Jackie Mason (The Jerk)
Sting (Dune)
Steve Allen (The Player)
Beverly D’Angelo (Insatiable)
Christopher Guest (Best In Show)
Michael McKean (Better Call Saul)
Kimmy Robertson (Stuart Little)

What’s really great about the first season is that you get to see the writers trying to figure out what direction the show should take, this provides some interesting experiments as well as some classic episodes. Season 1 does not have a lot of amazing scenes or laugh out loud moments but it does have a sense of realism to it and can actually tackle some pretty dark themes, such as Lisa having depression or Homer trying to commit suicide.kalasIt really does feel great when there’s a happy ending because you do want to see these characters succeed, especially when you can relate to their problems and empathise with them. I really liked Homer’s characterisation here, he is just an average man who just happens to make a few honest mistakes and I think that he has a genuine charm to him. He never does anything hilarious but some of his one liners did get a chuckle out of me.The episodes revolving around Bart were probably the funniest. Although this season proves you don’t always need a lot of jokes to tell a good story, “Life on the Fast Lane” is a fantastic Homer and Marge episode that treats the audience with a lot of maturity and though I personally do not find it very funny, I am still invested in the plot.MV5BMzk4ZDU2OTMtZjM0NC00ZWIyLWFmNmQtMjcyZGQ1OWE0ZWMyXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTAyODkwOQ@@._V1_Even though the plots and characterizations are a lot more subtle when compared to later seasons, there is still a sense of wackiness to it, the best example being “The Call of the Simpsons” where Homer is mistaken for Bigfoot. Obviously in the first season of any show not every episode will be a success but when Season 1 does things right, it can be a pretty damn good season with just a few hiccups here and there.

Season 2 is basically a new and improved version of season 1, the tone is still very similar but now the characters are more developed and the plots have started to become a lot more intelligent. One of the best things about this season is the way it portrays Homer and Marge’s relationship, you never doubt even for a second that they truly love each other.MV5BZGY0N2RmNDYtNzIwNy00YTcxLTk3Y2YtMTAwNjVlMGRmODdhXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTAyODkwOQ@@._V1_Even something so simple as Marge singing to Homer to cheer him up in “Simpson and Delilah” is very effective and I really do have to give credit to Dan Castellaneta and Julie Kavner for the amazing vocal performances. The voice acting in this season is brilliant and it does make the emotional scenes are a lot more powerful. This season also starts to develop the secondary characters, whenever Mr. Burns appears in an episode you know it’s going to lead to some very good moments and even Ned Flanders and Principal Skinner have a chance to shine.MV5BZDFiZGMxOTctZjNiZS00NzAzLTg0MjMtNjFjN2Q0MGY4ZDZmXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTAyODkwOQ@@._V1_The wide variety of different characters and personalities was one the main reasons that the show was so good. The storylines are also great, tackling mature issues such as censorship or the corruption of government politics and the show never talks down to its audience. These writers are so talented that not only can they make us laugh, but they can also make us think as well.

This is my personal favorite season of The Simpsons. The first disc has it’s moments, Homer Defined”, “Bart The Murderer”, “Stark Raving Dad” and “When Flanders Failed” are all great episodes.MV5BOWJlYTI5NmEtY2NmZS00YTcwLWExZTYtNjExMzRjNjFlYTcxXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjI2OTgyNTE@._V1_The Second Disc has classic such as “Treehouse Of Horror” which is almost as incredibly well written as the first, “Lisa’s Pony” and “Saturdays Of Thunder” are also great. “Flaming Moe’s” is on a different level altogether to all episodes mentioned previously. It is one of the best written, funniest episodes this show has ever produced and will remain an all time classic.From Disc 3 onwards, especially after “Lisa The Greek”, the episodes seem to run into each other, you can’t put the remote control down, you simply have to keep watching. For you are viewing classic episode after classic episode after classic episode. First you have “Homer Alone”. David Stern decided to use a “deeper vein in comedy” in this episode by focusing on Marge rather than Bart or Homer, as most of the other writers were doing. It’s a fantastic episode with lots of humour and lots goes on, it seems more than 21 minutes.MV5BMTY5MDI4MjE4N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDQwOTQ2MjE@._V1_“Bart The Lover” is another fantastic episode. I love hearing the letters that Bart writes to Mrs. Krabappel. “Homer At The Bat” is probably the episode that made me laugh the most in the entire season. My favourite part was when Ken Griffey Jr. had gigantism. “Separate Vocatians” Is a very interesting episode and another one that you can’t fault. It’s as good as every one of the episodes mentioned in this paragraph. There’s so much great humour in this episode. As for the other episodeson Disc 3, “Radio Bart” is a very cleverly written episode and is one of the best to watch. “Lisa The Greek is also as good as everyone of those episodes. One of my favourite episodes of all time, “Colonel Homer”. I think it’s one of the only episodes where Matt Groening wrote the entire thing.Then there is “Black Widower” in which Sideshow Bob marries Selma, which is a great episode, with a hilarious ending. And then, there is my favourite Simpsons episode of all time, The Otto Show. Disc four has “Bart’s Friend Falls In Love” and “Brother Can You Spare two Dimes”, these two episodes are good episodes but not classed as classics compared to the other episodes in the season.MV5BMTY5MDI4MjE4N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDQwOTQ2MjE@._V1_Season 3 was when the Simpsons hit it’s stride and became the animated juggernaut it is today.

REVIEW: RUNAWAY JURY

CAST

John Cusack (2012)
Gene Hackman (Superman)
Dustin Hoffman (Hook)
Rachel Weisz (The Bourne Legacy)
Jeremy Piven (Mr. Selfridge)
Bruce Davison (X-Men)
Bruce McGill (Timecop)
Marguerite Moreau (Wet Hot American Summer)
Nick Searcy (The Dead Girl)
Leland Orser (Taken)
Lori Heuring (8mm 2)
Joanna Going (Nixon)
Dylan McDermott (Texas Rangers)
Stanley Anderson (Red Dragon)
Celia Weston (Hulk)
Bill Nunn (Money Train)
Cliff Curtis (Blow)
Nora Dunn (Bruce Almighty)
Rusty Schwimmer (The Perfect Storm)
Jennifer Beals (The Prophecy II)
Guy Torry (American History X)
Orlando Jones (Sleepy Hollow)
Gary Grubbs (Angel)
Luis Guzmán (Traffic)

In New Orleans, a failed day trader at a stock brokerage firm shows up at the office and opens fire on his former colleagues, then kills himself. Among the dead is Jacob Wood. Two years later, with attorney Wendell Rohr, Jacob’s widow Celeste takes Vicksburg Firearms to court on the grounds that the company’s gross negligence led to her husband’s death. During jury selection, jury consultant Rankin Fitch and his team communicate background information on each of the jurors to lead defense attorney Durwood Cable in the courtroom through electronic surveillance. In the jury pool, Nick Easter tries to get himself excused from jury duty. Judge Frederick Harkin decides to give Nick a lesson in civic duty and Fitch tells Cable that the judge has now given them no choice, and that he must select Nick as a juror. Nick’s congenial manner wins him acceptance from his fellow jurors, but Frank Herrera, a Marine veteran, takes an instant dislike to him.A woman named Marlee makes an offer to Fitch and Rohr: she will deliver the verdict to the first bidder. Rohr dismisses the offer, assuming it to be a tactic by Fitch to obtain a mistrial. Fitch asks for proof that she can deliver, though, which Nick provides. Fitch orders Nick’s apartment searched, but finds nothing. Marlee retaliates by getting one of Fitch’s jurors bounced. Nick shows the judge surveillance footage of his apartment being searched, and the judge orders the jury sequestered. Fitch then goes after three jurors with blackmail, leading one, Rikki Coleman, to attempt suicide. Rohr loses a key witness due to harassment, and after confronting Fitch, decides that he cannot win the case. He asks his firm’s partners for $10 million. Fitch sends an operative, Janovich, to kidnap Marlee, but she fights him off and raises Fitch’s price to $15 million. On principle, Rohr changes his mind and refuses to pay. Fitch agrees to pay Marlee to be certain of the verdict.Fitch’s subordinate Doyle travels to Gardner, Indiana, where he discovers that Nick is really Jeff Kerr, a law school drop-out, and that Marlee’s real name is Gabby Brandt. Gabby’s sister died in a school shooting. The town sued the gun manufacturer and Fitch helped the defense win the case. Doyle concludes that Nick and Marlee’s offer is a set-up, and he calls Fitch, but it is too late. Nick receives confirmation of receipt of payment and he steers the jury in favor of the plaintiff, much to the chagrin of Herrera, who launches into a rant against the plaintiff, which undermines his support. The gun manufacturer is found liable, with the jury awarding $110 million in general damages to Celeste Wood. After the trial, Nick and Marlee confront Fitch with a receipt for the $15 million bribe and demand that he retire. They inform him that the $15 million will benefit the shooting victims in Gardner.This was a movie that wasn’t over-hyped, filled with talented actors and kept you watching all the way through.  Hackman was flawless as usual as an actor and once again maintained his great screen presence. Hoffman really portrayed the idealistic lawyer character well. Weisz played the female lead with the right mix of the strong and vulnerable.  The plot twists were not overdone but did offer some slight surprises which were hinted at along the way if you payed attention. Overall I’d recommend this movie to anyone, especially those who take their movies seriously

REVIEW: HOOK

CAST
Robin Williams (Jumanji)
Julia Roberts (Mirror, Mirror)
Dustin Hoffman (Rain Man)
Bob Hoskins (Snow White and The huntsman)
Maggie Smith (Clash of The Titans)
Caroline Goodall (Schlinders List)
Phil Collins (Buster)
Don S. Davis (Stargate – Sg.1)
Gwyneth Paltrow (Iron Man)
Glenn Close (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Carrie Fisher (Star Wars)
Ryan Francis (Blood Craft)
Lisa Wilhoit (Family Guy)
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Peter Banning is a successful, middle-aged corporate lawyer living in San Francisco but spends more time at work in the office with his fellow coworkers than at home with his wife Moira and two young children Jack and Maggie. Although Peter is able to see Maggie’s school play production of Peter Pan, he misses Jack’s baseball game, breaking his promise. The Bannings fly to London to visit Moira’s grandmother, Wendy Darling, to celebrate her charity work for orphans, which once included Peter. During the visit, Peter is distracted by phone calls from his business partner. On one occasion, he shouts at his children when they interrupt him and in frustration, Moira throws his cellphone out a window.
Later, while Peter, Moira, and Wendy attend a banquet ceremony hosted by Great Ormond Street Hospital, a strange presence abducts Jack and Maggie from their beds in the nursery. The senile Tootles, another one of Wendy’s orphans who lives at her house, insists that Captain Hook has kidnapped the children as revenge and has taken them back to Neverland. Peter dismisses Tootles’ warning and calls the police instead. Late that night Wendy tells Peter that the stories about Neverland are all true and he is actually the real Peter Pan but has lost all his childhood memories when he decided to stay in London with her several decades ago. In a state of denial, Peter gets drunk in the nursery where Tinker Bell arrives. After failing to convince Peter about Neverland, she knocks him unconscious and carries him into the night sky and towards the second star to the right.
Confused and disoriented, Peter wakes up in Neverland with a hangover where he encounters Captain Hook and his pirates, who are holding his children hostage. Hook is disgusted by Peter’s adult self and becomes disillusioned by his foe who is no longer capable of providing a good fight. Tinker Bell and Hook make a deal to give Peter three days to be trained to his former self for a climactic battle. After a brief encounter with a group of mermaids in the lagoon, Tinker Bell takes Peter to meet the new generation of Lost Boys, led by a new leader, Rufio. Tinker Bell convinces the boys to give Peter a chance and they agree to train him. During this process Peter begins to rediscover his inner child and sense of imagination. Meanwhile, Mr. Smee suggests to Hook that he manipulate Jack and Maggie into loving him in order to break Peter’s spirit. Maggie despises Hook, but Jack begins to see Hook as a father figure.
In a disguise, Peter sadly witnesses Jack playing baseball with Hook, who treats him as a son. Knowing that he must learn how to fly again to prove himself and retrieve his children, Peter unsuccessfully tries to remember how until he encounters his own shadow, which leads him to the old tree home of the original Lost Boys. He reunites with Tinker Bell and remembers his past, recalling how he came to Neverland as an infant, how he met Wendy and how he fell in love with Wendy’s granddaughter Moira and chose to grow up. Realizing being a father is his new happy thought, Peter rises up in the sky and dons his childhood outfit. He regains leadership of the lost boys who launch an attack on Hook and the pirates on the third day. During the battle, Peter rescues Maggie and promises to be a better father to Jack.
When Hook slays Rufio, Peter and Hook face off in a final duel, ending in Peter’s victory. Refusing to leave honorably, Hook attempts to attack Peter when his back is turned, but the stuffed crocodile that once tormented him comes back to life one final time and consumes him. Peter gives the lost boy called Thud Butt his sword, asking him to look after the other boys. He then departs from Neverland with his children, waking up in Kensington Gardens, where he says a final goodbye to Tinker Bell who confesses her unrequited love for him. Returning to Wendy’s house, Peter reunites with his family and hands a bag of marbles to Tootles, who discovers they contain pixie dust and flies off out the window to return to Neverland. Wendy asks Peter if his adventures are over, but Peter replies, “To live would be an awfully big adventure.”
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This film is a true classic that everyone should have the pleaure of watching. It doesn’t take anything away from J.M Barrie, it just extends his great ideas onto a new and modern level.

REVIEW: LEMONY SNICKET’S: A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS

CAST

Jim Carrey (Kick-Ass 2)
Emily Browning (Sucker Punch)
Jude Law (Spy)
Liam Aiken (Road To Perdition)
Timothy Spall (Enchanted)
Catherine O’ Hara (Beetlejuice)
Billy Connolly (The Man Who Sued God)
Meryl Streep (Into The Woods)
Luis Guzman (Waiting)
Jamie Harris (Rise of The Planet of The Apes)
Jennifer Coolidge (2 Broke Girls)
Helena Bonham Carter (Sweneey Todd)
Dustin Hoffman (Hook)

Bob Clendenin (Birds of Prey)
Cedric the Entertainer (The Neighborhood)
Amy Brenneman (Reign)
Gilbert Gottfried (Aladdin)
Jane Lynch (Glee)

Liam Aiken, Emily Browning, and Shelby Hoffman in A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)Lemony Snicket (Jude Law) is documenting the whereabouts of the Baudelaire children from inside a clock tower. Violet Baudelaire (Emily Browning), her intelligent brother Klaus (Liam Aiken), and their baby sister Sunny (Kara and Shelby Hoffman) are orphaned when a mysterious fire destroys their house. Mr. Poe (Timothy Spall), in charge of the Baudelaire fortune, entrusts them to their closest relative, Count Olaf (Jim Carrey), who only wants their money and makes them do harsh chores.
Jim Carrey, Meryl Streep, Liam Aiken, and Emily Browning in A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)
On the day Olaf receives full custody, he drives to a gas station and claims that he is buying soda, but it turns out Olaf parked the car directly on railroad tracks in hopes of it getting hit by a train. Thankfully, Violet and Klaus are able to turn the direction of the train so it doesn’t hit them. Mr. Poe then arrives at the scene and mistakes Sunny for driving the car. He then takes the children away, but Olaf promises he will find them. The orphans are then taken to stay with Dr. Montgomery Montgomery (Billy Connolly), a kind, caring, and rather lonely (until the children came along) herpetologist planning to take the children with on a study in Peru. However, Olaf arrives in disguise as an Italian scientist named Stephano. Violet tries to tell Monty the truth, but he thinks Stephano is after a snake called The Incredibly Deadly Viper. Monty is found dead the following morning and authorities have been tricked into thinking the viper was responsible, but Sunny is able to prove it is actually a gentle creature.
Jim Carrey in A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)
Mr. Poe again takes the children to live with their Aunt Josephine (Meryl Streep), an irrationally afraid woman who is obsessed with proper grammar. While shopping at a market, Violet and Klaus encounter Olaf, disguised as a sailor named Captain Sham who pretends to be romantically interested in Josephine. When the Baudelaires get home after shopping, Josephine is gone and a hurricane is approaching. Klaus decodes a note Josephine had left and discovers she is in Curdled Cave. During the hurricane it is discovered in a secret room there were people investigating fires. The children escape the house before it falls to the lake. After sailing Lake Lachrymose the children find Josephine, but before they reach civilization their boat is attacked by leeches, and Olaf appears, and kills Josephine by pushing her into the waters after she corrects his grammar.

The Baudelaires are then placed back in Olaf’s custody. Olaf and Violet are then immediately involved in a play called The Marvelous Marriage, which involves their characters being married. However Olaf has set up the performance to be an actual legal marriage because the law states if relatives are married they are entitled to their spouses’ money. Olaf enlists the help of his neighbor Justice Strauss (Catherine O’Hara) to perform in the “play” and unwittingly officiate the marriage. Olaf explains to Violet that Sunny is being held hostage in a cage and if Violet does not say her “lines” or finds a loophole, Sunny will fall to her death. The ceremony goes as Olaf planned and he reveals that the marriage is legal, to the horror of the judge and audience.
Jim Carrey, Liam Aiken, Emily Browning, and Shelby Hoffman in A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)
Klaus escapes and finds a secret part of Olaf’s estate. After adjusting an eye-shaped window Klaus realizes that it was Olaf that caused their family mansion to catch fire. Klaus uses the window to burn the marriage certificate, foiling the Count’s plans. Olaf is tried for his action and sentenced to be put through the hardships he had caused the children, and a life sentence in prison. However, when a jury of his peers overturn his sentence, Olaf escapes. Violet, Klaus and Sunny are allowed to visit their old home one last time. A letter lost in the mail finally arrives, and inside is a spyglass announcing their family’s secret society. Snicket recounts that despite the children’s misfortune, they still had each other thus making them “Very Fortunate Indeed”.Timothy Spall, Liam Aiken, Emily Browning, and Shelby Hoffman in A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)Difficult to take-in first time around because of the uncomfortable implications of the plot, this is a film that deserves and rewards repeat viewing so that the incredible richness of what’s on offer can be fully appreciated. File under: “bizarrely brilliant gothic masterpiece”.

REVIEW: WAG THE DOG

CAST

Dustin Hoffman (Rain Man)
Robert De Niro (Silver Linings Playbook)
Anne Heche (Spread)
Denis Leary (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Willie Nelson (The Dukas of Hazzard)
Andrea Martin (Black Christmas)
Kirsten Dunst (All Good Things)
William H. Macy (The Cooler)
John Michael Higgins (Stil LWaiting)
Suzie Plakson (Red Eyed)
Woody Harrelson (The Hugner Games)
Suzanne Cryer (Veronica Mars)
Phil Morris (Jingle All The Way)
John Cho (Sleepy Hollow)
Marguerite Moreau (Easy)
Craig T. Nelson (My Name Is Earl
David Koechner (Anchorman)
James Belushi (Red Heat)
John Franklin (Children of The Corn)
Jack Shearer (Star Trek: First Contact)
Dustin Hoffman and Kirsten Dunst in Wag the Dog (1997)
The President of the United States is caught making advances on an underage “Firefly Girl” less than two weeks before Election Day. Conrad Brean (De Niro), a top-notch spin doctor, is brought in to take the public’s attention away from the scandal. He decides to construct a diversionary war with Albania, hoping the media will concentrate on this instead. Brean contacts Hollywood producer Stanley Motss (Hoffman) to create the war, complete with a theme song and fake film footage of a photogenic orphan (Dunst) in Albania.
When the CIA learns of the plot, they send Agent Young (Macy) to confront Brean who convinces him that revealing the deception is against his best interests. The CIA announces that the war has ended, but otherwise maintains the deception and the media begins to turn back to the President’s abuse scandal. Motss decides to invent a hero who was left behind enemy lines, and inspired by idea that he was “discarded like an old shoe” has the Pentagon provide him with a soldier named Schumann (Harrelson) around whom he constructs a further narrative including T-shirts, additional patriotic songs, and faux-grassroots demonstrations of patriotism. At each stage of the plan, Motss continually dismisses setbacks as “nothing” and compares them to past movie-making catastrophes he averted.
When the team goes to retrieve Schumann, they discover he is in fact a criminally insane Army prison convict before their plane crashes en route to Andrews Air Force Base. The team survives and is rescued by a farmer, but Schumann attempts to rape the farmer’s daughter and the farmer kills him. Motss then stages an elaborate military funeral, claiming that Schumann died from wounds sustained during his rescue.
While watching a political talk show Motss gets frustrated that the media are crediting the president’s win to a tired campaign slogan of “Don’t change horses in mid-stream” rather than Motss’s hard work. Despite previously claiming he was inspired by the challenge, Motss announces that he wants credit and will reveal his involvement, despite Brean’s warning that he is “playing with his life”. Motss refuses to back down, so Brean reluctantly has him killed and makes it look as if he had a heart attack. The president is successfully re-elected and a news report about a violent incident in Albania is shown, but it is ambiguous whether this is a true event or simply a continuation of the fictional war.
“Wag the dog” gathers a very good cast to tell a clever story about politics and its close connection to the TV business. Although the story sometimes seems to be topped by real-life events (Clinton-Lewinsky) it still remains a very entertaining flick. This is due to the many great characters and its precise dialogue which delivers a whole lot of sharp little comments on the dirty business of politics.

REVIEW: RAIN MAN

CAST
Dustin Hoffman (Wag The Dog)
Tom Cruise (The Last Samurai)
Valerie Golino (Hot Shots)
Lucinda Jenney (S.W.A.T.)
Bonnie Hunt (Jumanji)
Kim Robillard (Hook)
Beth Grant (Child’s Play 2)
Charlie Babbitt is in the middle of importing four Lamborghinis to Los Angeles for resale. He needs to deliver the vehicles to impatient buyers who have already made down payments in order to repay the loan he took out to buy the cars, but the EPA is holding the cars at the port due to the cars failing emissions regulations. Charlie directs an employee to lie to the buyers while he stalls his creditor.
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When Charlie learns that his estranged father has died, he and his girlfriend Susanna travel to Cincinnati, Ohio in order to settle the estate. He learns he is receiving the 1949 Buick Roadmaster convertible over which he and his father fought and his father’s rose bushes, but the bulk of the $3 million estate is going to an unnamed trustee. Through social engineering he learns the money is being directed to a mental institution, which he visits and meets his older brother, Raymond, whose existence he was previously unaware of.
Raymond has autism and adheres to strict routines such as always watching The People’s Court, which he refers to as “Wapner” after the judge who presides over the show. He has superb recall but he shows little emotional expression except when in distress. Charlie spirits Raymond out of the mental institution and into a hotel for the night. Susanna becomes upset with the way Charlie treats his brother and leaves. Charlie asks Raymond’s doctor for half the estate in exchange for Raymond’s return, but he refuses. Charlie decides to attempt to gain custody of his brother in order to get control of the money. After Raymond refuses to fly to Los Angeles because he remembers every airline crash and is worried about getting hurt, they set out on a cross-country road trip together. During the course of the journey, Charlie learns more about Raymond, including that he is a mental calculator with the ability to instantly count hundreds of objects at once, and make nearly instant calculations on the exponential level, far beyond the normal range for humans. He also learns that, like him, Raymond loves The Beatles. It is revealed that Raymond actually lived with the family when Charlie was young and he realizes that the comforting figure from Charlie’s childhood, whom he falsely remembered as an imaginary friend named “Rain Man”, was actually Raymond, who was sent away because he had severely burned Charlie by accident as a little boy.
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They make slow progress on their trip because Raymond insists on sticking to his routines, which include watching “Wapner” on television every day and getting to bed by 11:00 PM. He also objects to traveling on the interstate after they pass a bad accident.
After the Lamborghinis are seized by his creditor, Charlie finds himself $80,000 in debt and hatches a plan to return to Las Vegas, which they passed the night before, and win money at blackjack by counting cards. Though the casino bosses are skeptical that anyone can count cards with a six deck shoe, after reviewing security footage they ask Charlie and Raymond to leave—but give Charlie the money. However, Charlie has made enough to cover his debts and has reconciled with Susanna who rejoined them in Las Vegas.
Back in Los Angeles, Charlie meets with Dr. Bruner, who offers him $250,000 to walk away from Raymond forever. Charlie refuses and says that he is no longer upset about what his father left him, but he wants to have a relationship with his brother. At a meeting with court-appointed psychiatrist Dr. Marston (Levinson, in an uncredited cameo), Raymond is shown to be unable to decide for himself what he wants. Charlie stops the questioning and tells Raymond he is happy to have him as his brother.
In the final scene, Charlie brings Raymond to the train station where he boards an Amtrak train with Dr. Bruner to return to the mental institution. Charlie promises Raymond that he will visit in two weeks.
This movie is a testament to how good a director Barry Levinson is! It is a Beautifully crafted storyline which has been beautifully executed

 

REVIEW: CONFIDENCE

CAST

Edward Burns (One Missed Call)
Rachel Weisz (The Bourne Legacy)
Andy Garcia (The Unsaid)
Morris Chesnut (Kick-Ass 2)
Paul Giamatti (Sideways)
Dustin Hoffman (Rain Man)
Leland Orser (Daredevil)
Robert Forster (Dragon Wars)
Louis Lombardi (24)
Brian Van Holt (House of Wax)
Donal Logue (Gotham)
Luis Guzman (Waiting)
Tommy Lister (The Dark Knight)
Abdoulaye NGom (My Name Is Earl)
Robert Pine (Jobs)

An electric con artist caper that was completely overlooked at the box office (despite well-done trailers and posters), “Confidence” isn’t anything groundbreaking in the genre, but it’s still an intelligent picture that’s a lot better than most of what’s in theaters today. The latest from “Glengarry Glen Ross” director James Foley, “Confidence” stars Ed Burns (“Life or Something Like It”), as Jake Vig, a professional con artist whose team has been working Los Angeles. His problem: the latest scam that took money from an accountant also took money from the accountant’s client: a mob boss called “The King” (Dustin Hoffman).

In order to try and pay back the King, Jake and his team – including a new addition, Lily (Rachel Weisz) – attempt to scam a mob-connected banker named Morgan Price (Robert Forster). Problems – of course – happen: an FBI agent named Gunther (Andy Garcia) arrives and starts rounding up those in the know in order to try and catch Jake in the act. There’s also Price’s lieutenant Travis (Morris Chestnut) to worry about. Of course, double and triple crosses ensueRachel Weisz in Confidence (2003)“Confidence” isn’t as much about the plot as the parts and pieces of the thing. Juan Ruiz Anchia’s cinematography is ridiculously beautiful, with deeply saturated neon tones washing over the night streets and rich, crisp colors and interesting, unusual perspectives during the daylight scenes. Unusual flash-forwards and talking to the audience on occasion in the picture work surprisingly well, too; the film’s editing, pacing and atmosphere all click into place perfectly and it proceeds with confidence. Hoffman’s high-speed performance is superb,  it’s impressive that he can make himself convincingly intimidating. The attractive Weisz also has good chemistry with Burns. There’s also good supporting efforts from Paul Giamatti, Andy Garcia and others. They all handle Doug Jung’s rather Mamet-esque dialogue and characters well.Dustin Hoffman and Rachel Weisz in Confidence (2003)Again, “Confidence” isn’t anything new at its core, but it’s one of those movies where the plot isn’t original, but everything around it clicks into place so well that the movie becomes an awfully fun ride anyways.