REVIEW: ALONG CAME A SPIDER

CAST

Morgan Freeman (The Dark Knight)
Monica Potter (Saw)
Michael Wincott (Talk Radio)
Dylan Baker (The Cell)
Mika Boorem (Blue Crush)
Billy Burke (Twilight)
Anton Yelchin (Star Trek)
Jay O. Sanders (Zenith)
Michael Moriarty (Children of The Dust)
Penelope Ann Miller (The Artist)
Anna Maria Horsford (The Fan)
Kim Hawthorne (The Chronicles of Riddick)
Jill Teed (X-Men 2)
Tom McBeath (Stargate SG.1)

After Washington, D.C. detective, forensic psychologist and author Alex Cross (Morgan Freeman) loses control of a sting operation, resulting in the death of his partner, he opts to retire from the force. He finds himself drawn back to police work when Megan Rose (Mika Boorem), the daughter of a United States senator, is kidnapped from her exclusive private school by computer science teacher Gary Soneji (Michael Wincott). U.S. Secret Service Special Agent Jezzie Flannigan (Monica Potter), held responsible for the breach in security, joins forces with Cross to find the missing girl. Soneji contacts Cross by phone and alerts him to the fact one of Megan’s sneakers is in the detective’s mailbox, proving he’s the kidnapper. Cross deduces the man is obsessed with the 1932 Charles A. Lindbergh Jr. kidnapping and hopes to become as infamous as Bruno Hauptmann by committing a new “Crime of the Century” which might be discussed by Cross in one of his true crime books. Megan’s kidnapping proves to be only part of Soneji’s real plan: to kidnap Dimitri Starodubov (Anton Yelchin), the son of the Russian president, guaranteeing himself greater infamy.
After Cross and Flannigan foil his second kidnapping plot, a supposed call from the kidnapper demands Cross deliver a ransom of $10 million in diamonds by following an intricate maze of calls made to public phone booths scattered throughout the city. Cross ultimately tosses the gems out the window of a rapidly moving Metro train to a figure standing by the tracks. When Soneji later arrives at Flannigan’s home and confronts Cross after disabling Flannigan with a taser, the detective realizes the kidnapper is unaware of the ransom demand and delivery. Soneji tries to leave with Flannigan but Cross kills him. Cross becomes suspicious and realizes someone discovered Soneji long before his plot came to fruition. After searching Flannigan’s home computer, he finds enough evidence to prove Flannigan and her fellow Secret Service agent, Ben Devine (Billy Burke), used Soneji as a pawn in their own plot. He tracks them down to a secluded farmhouse where Flannigan has murdered Devine and is now intent on eliminating Megan Rose. Cross saves Megan and shoots Flannigan in the heart, killing her. Afterwards, Cross takes Megan back to her parents.Along came a spider is a film that you will not forget in a hurry. It’s packed with suspense, action and superb acting, with Morgan Freeman truely showing just why he is one of the greats.

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REVIEW: ROAD TO PERDITION

CAST

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

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

REVIEW: HIDE AND SEEK

CAST

Robert De Niro (Joy)
Dakota Fanning (Taken)
Famke Janssen (X-Men)
Elisabeth hsue (Hollow Man_
Amy Irving (Carrie)
Dylan Baker (The Cell)
Melissa Leo (The Fighter)
Robert John Burke (Robocop 3)
Josh Flitter (Ace Ventura Jr)

Following his discovery of the body of his wife (Amy Irving) in a bathtub after her apparent suicide, Dr. David Callaway (Robert De Niro), a psychologist working in New York City, decides to move with his 9-year-old daughter Emily (Dakota Fanning) to Upstate New York. There, Emily makes an apparently imaginary friend she calls “Charlie”. Her friendship with Charlie begins to disturb David when he discovers their cat dead in the bathtub, whom Emily claims was a victim of “Charlie”. Meanwhile, David suffers from nightmares of the New Year’s Eve party that occurred the night before his wife died.
When a family friend, Dr. Katherine Carson (Famke Janssen), comes to visit David and Emily, Emily reveals that she and Charlie have a mutual desire to upset her father. Soon, they meet Laura (Melissa Leo) and Stephen (Robert John Burke) who are their neighbors. David is wary of their unusual interest in Emily. He later discovers that the reason for this is that the couple had a daughter who recently died from cancer and looked like Emily. Later, when David visits Laura, she nervously and ambiguously implies that her husband has begun abusing her in response to their child’s death, emotionally and perhaps even physically. David meets Elizabeth Young (Elisabeth Shue), a local woman, and her niece, Amy, who is roughly the same age as Emily. Hoping to cultivate a new, healthy friendship for Emily, David sets up a play date for her. Amy is anxious to become friends immediately, but the play date is spoiled when Emily cuts up Amy’s doll’s face. After Amy runs out of the house, Emily tells David that she doesn’t need any more friends. Despite the unsuccessful play date, David and Elizabeth hit it off. David invites her over to dinner one night, where Emily acts increasingly hostile towards her. Some time later, Elizabeth visits the house, hoping to make peace with Emily. When Emily tells her that she is playing hide-and-seek with Charlie, Elizabeth indulges her by pretending to look for Charlie. When she opens the closet, someone bursts out and pushes Elizabeth out a second-story window to her death.
After the police discover her car crashed near David’s house, David asks Emily what happened. Emily claims Charlie caused her death by pushing her out the window and forced Emily to help him move the body. She tells David the location of her body. A terrified David discovers Elizabeth’s body in the bathroom in a bathtub full of blood. David asks Emily where Charlie is, and Emily tells him that Charlie has “just left”. David, armed with a knife, goes outside, where he meets the neighbor who has become friends with Emily.David assumes that his neighbor is Charlie and begins to act aggressively. Becoming suspicious that David has killed his own daughter, the neighbor asks to see Emily, but David cuts the neighbor with his knife. The neighbor then calls the police. Back in the house, David finds that, although he has been in his study many times (listening to his stereo and writing a journal), the boxes were actually never unpacked after the move. With this, David realizes that he has split personality and that Charlie is not imaginary at all, but that in fact “Charlie” is David himself. Whenever “Charlie” would emerge, David was in his study. Charlie was actually in control. David also realizes that under his Charlie personality, he killed his wife and then made it appear to be a suicide. He also fully recalls the events of the New Year’s Eve party the night before his wife’s death. Immediately after the countdown to midnight, David noticed his wife slip away. He followed her and caught her having sex in a stairwell with another guest. “Charlie” was created as a way for David’s rage to destroy his wife, something that the docile David himself was too decent to do. Emily knew the entire time about her father’s split personality, but did not tell him out of fear that he would revert to Charlie and hurt her.

Once Charlie’s identity and horrible deeds are realized to David, he becomes completely consumed by Charlie, leading him to murder the local sheriff (Dylan Baker), who arrives to investigate the previous altercation. Emily calls Katherine for help. Katherine arrives and is pushed down the basement stairs by ‘Charlie’. Charlie/David, determined to play a hideous game of hide-and-seek with Emily once again, starts counting. Emily dashes and hides. She tricks Charlie and manages to lock herself in her room. As Charlie tries to break in, she climbs out from the window and runs into the cave where she originally met Charlie. Meanwhile, Katherine takes the gun from the dead sheriff, breaks out of the basement, and finds Charlie looking for Emily in the cave. Charlie pretends to be David and attacks Katherine when she lowers her guard. Katherine begs for David to come out and fight his murderous other personality. Charlie tells Katherine that David no longer exists; from the minute David discovered the truth about himself, this enabled Charlie to fully take over. Emily emerges from her hiding place, begging Charlie to let Katherine go. Her distraction allows Katherine to shoot Charlie, killing him at last.
Sometime later, Emily is preparing for school in her new life with Katherine. But Emily’s drawing of herself with Katherine has two heads, suggesting that due to the trauma of witnessing what happened to her father, Emily now also suffers from split personality.Overall, with a good storyline, great performances, a creepy feel, a bit of suspense, you will never want to play Hide and Seek again.

REVIEW: CHANGING LANES

CAST

Ben Affleck (Batman V Superman)
Samuel L. Jackson (The Legend of Tarzan)
Kim Staunton (Heat)
Toni Collette (Krampus)
Sydney Pollack (The Firm)
Tia Sloan (Black Swan)
Richard Jenkins (The Cabin In The Woods)
Ileen Getz (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Amanda Peet (Identity Thief)
William Hurt (A.I.)
Dylan Baker (Spider-Man 2)

In New York City, a middle-aged African-American insurance salesman named Doyle Gipson is a recovering alcoholic who is attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings to stay sober. On the same morning that Gipson drives to a hearing to try to regain custody of his children, a successful, white, young Wall Street attorney, Gavin Banek, is distracted while driving and collides with Gipson’s car. Banek was in a rush to get to court to file a power of appointment document, which will prove a dead man signed his foundation over to Banek’s law firm.

Gipson was also in a rush to get to a hearing to prevent his estranged wife from taking his two boys to Oregon. Banek tries to brush Gipson off with a blank check, rather than exchanging insurance information, thereby disobeying the law. After Gipson refuses to accept the check and voices his desire to “do the right thing”, that is, filing a police report and insurance claim, Banek strands Gipson on a median, telling him, “better luck next time”. After arriving to the court late, Gipson learns that it proceeded without him and that it did not go in his favor. Gipson did not get the chance to tell the judge about a house he is buying for his wife and children.

When Banek, gets to court, he realizes that he dropped the crucial power of appointment file at the scene of the accident, and the judge gives him until the end of the day to re-obtain the papers and present them. Gipson, who took the papers, is in dilemma on whether to return the file, especially after the events of the day. On the other hand, Banek, who is desperate to get his papers back, goes to a “fixer”, a shady computer hacker, and gets him to switch off Gipson’s credit. Gipson needed credit for a loan so he could buy the house for his family. Gipson becomes very upset when he finds out his credit has been cut off, and he comes close to starting to drink again. Determined to get back at Banek, Gipson loosens the bolts on the front tire of Banek’s luxury car, and the wheel comes off later while Banek is driving, causing his car to crash on the highway, leading to minor injuries. Enraged, Banek goes to the elementary school of Gipson’s children and falsely claims to school officials that Gipson plans to kidnap the boys, which leads to Gipson being arrested and jailed.

Both men continue to do morally reprehensible things in an attempt to one-up each other, and eventually they begin to question their actions. Though it is made clear that Banek and Gipson are radically different, they both have an angry, vengeful streak, each capable of abandoning his morals just to punish the other. The film ends with both men having a new outlook on life, concentrating on ethics and the moral implications of their actions. Ultimately the two men apologize to each other and Gipson returns the file, but it looks to be too late for both of what they were trying to do. Banek ends up using the file to force his law firm boss to conduct business honestly and plans to represent Gipson pro bono so he can get the house he wants. Banek also visits Gipson’s wife to explain everything to her, knowing he owes Gipson that much. The film ends with Gipson’s wife and children smiling at him from across the street.

This is a superb film with great performances from Ben Affleck and Samuel L. Jackson. Watch it and enjoy it fully

REVIEW: THE CELL

CAST

Jennifer Lopez (Gigli)
Vincent D’Onofrio (Dardevil TV)
Vince Vaughn (Wedding Crashers)
Colton James (Jurassic Park 2)
Dylan Baker (Spider-Man 2 & 3)
Marianne Jean-Baptiste (Robocop 2014)
Gerry Becker (Angel)
Musetta Vander (Wild Wild West)
Patrick Bauchau (Panic Room)
Catherine Sutherland (Power Rangers Turbo)
James Gammon (The Iron Giant)
Jake Weber (Medium)
Dean Norris (Under The Dome)

Child psychologist Catherine Deane (Jennifer Lopez) is an expert in an experimental treatment for coma patients: a virtual reality device that allows her to enter into the minds of her patients and attempt to coax them into consciousness. When serial killer Carl Rudolph Stargher (Vincent D’Onofrio) falls into a coma before the FBI can locate his final victim, Agent Peter Novak (Vince Vaughn) persuades Deane to enter Stargher’s mind and discover the victim’s location. Stargher’s victim is imprisoned in a cell in the form of a glass enclosure that is slowly filling with water by means of an automatic timer.

Deane enters Stargher’s twisted mind, where she is confronted by both the violent and the innocent parts of the killer’s psyche. The innocent half shows her the abuse he suffered at his father’s hands and the birth of his pathology when he drowned an injured bird as a mercy killing. Deane attempts to nurture the innocent side of Stargher’s mind, but his murderous half thwarts her at every turn.

Despite Deane’s best efforts, she becomes trapped in Stargher’s dark dreamscape. Novak volunteers to enter Stargher’s mind and attempts to rescue her. He breaks Deane from Stargher’s hold and discovers clues to the whereabouts of his victim. Novak relates his revelations to his team and they are able to track down the location of Stargher’s victim (Stargher had been entrusted by a company to take care of an advanced water pump, which he used to fill the cell with water). Novak discovers Stargher’s secret underground room and saves Stargher’s victim just in time. Meanwhile, Deane decides to reverse the process and pull Stargher’s mind into her own. She presents Stargher’s innocent side with a paradise, but his murderous side is always present and manifests as a serpent. This time, however, Deane has all the power; she attacks the serpent/Stargher but discovers she cannot destroy one half without killing the other. Stargher’s innocent side reminds her of the bird he drowned, and she kills Kyu to put him out of his misery. She adopts Stargher’s dog and successfully uses her new technique on her other coma patient (Colton James).

This film is visually amazing – the exploration of what goes on psychologically shown visually like a dream.  I would not recommend this film for sensitive viewers, or those who become can be easily disturbed,

 

REVIEW: ANCHORMAN 1 & 2

CAST
Will Ferrell (The Lego Movie)
Christina Applegate (Samantha Who?)
Paul Rudd (Ant-Man)
Steve Carell (Get Smart)
David Koechner (Final Destination 5)
Fred Willard (Lois & Clark)
Chris Parnell (Lost in Austin)
Seth Rogen (Paul)
Danny Trejo (Machete)
Holmes Osborne (Donnie Darko)
Luke Wilson (That 70’s Show)
Ben Stiller (Zoolander)
Missi Pyle (Dodgeball)
Tim Robbins (Howard The Duck)
Vince Vaughn (Starsky & Hutch)
In 1974, Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) is the famous anchorman for a local San Diego television station, fictional KVWN channel 4. He works alongside his friends on the news team: lead field reporter Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd), sportscaster Champion “Champ” Kind (David Koechner), and intellectually disabled chief meteorologist Brick Tamland (Steve Carell). Station director Ed Harken (Fred Willard) informs the team that they have maintained their long-held status as the highest-rated news program in San Diego, leading them to throw a wild party, where Ron unsuccessfully tries to pick up a beautiful, blonde woman (Christina Applegate). Ed later informs the team that they have been forced to hire Veronica Corningstone, the same woman whom Ron tried to pick up. After a series of unsuccessful attempts by the team to seduce her, she finally relents and consents to a “professional tour” of the city with Ron, culminating in a sexual relationship. Despite agreeing to keep the relationship discreet, Ron announces it on air.
After a dispute with a motorcyclist (Jack Black) involving Ron’s dog, Baxter, being punted off the San Diego–Coronado Bridge, Ron is late to work. Veronica fills in for him on-air, and the couple break up. Veronica is made co-anchor, to the disgust of the team, and the two co-anchors become fierce rivals, both on and off the air. Depressed, the news team decides to buy new suits, but Brick, who was leading the way, gets them lost in a shady part of town. Confronted by main competitor Wes Mantooth (Vince Vaughn) and his news team, Ron challenges them to a fight. However, when several other news teams converge on the site, a full-on melee ensues, only to be broken up by police sirens and causing them to flee. Realizing that having a woman as a co-anchor is straining their reputation, Ron gets in another heated argument with Veronica, and they get in a physical fight after she insults him about his hair, further increasing tensions.
One of Veronica’s co-workers tells her that Ron will read anything written on the teleprompter, so she sneaks into the station and changes the text in revenge. The next day, Ron (unaware of what he is saying) concludes the broadcast by saying, “Go fuck yourself, San Diego!”, instead of his usual closing line, “You stay classy, San Diego!”, subsequently provoking an angry mob outside the studio and prompting Ed to fire Ron. Realizing she went too far, Veronica tries apologizing, but Burgundy angrily dismisses her. Burgundy becomes unemployed, friendless, and heavily antagonized by the public while Veronica enjoys fame, although her male co-workers hate her. Ed then informs Champ, Brick, and Brian that if they see Ron, they are not to talk to him or else they will be fired.
Three months later, when a panda is about to give birth, all the news teams in San Diego head to the zoo to cover the story. In an attempt to sabotage her, a rival news anchor (Tim Robbins) pushes Veronica into a Kodiak bear enclosure. When Ed cannot locate Veronica, he recruits Ron. Once at the zoo, Ron jumps in the bear pen to save Corningstone, as the public watches helplessly. The news team then jumps in to save Ron. Just as a bear is about to attack, Baxter, who miraculously survived, appears and persuades the bear to spare them. As the group climbs out of the pit, Wes appears and holds the ladder over the bear pit, threatening to drop Ron in, and tells him that deep down he has always hated him, but then admits to Ron that he also respects him and pull Ron out to safety.
After Ron and Veronica reconcile, it is shown that in years to come, Brian becomes the host of a Fox reality show named Intercourse Island, Brick is married with 11 children and is a top political adviser to George W. Bush, Champ is a commentator for the NFL before getting fired after being accused by Terry Bradshaw of sexual harassment, and Ron and Veronica are co-anchors for the CNN-esque World News Center.
Anchorman is Ferrell at his very best, with bonkers improvised script  and surreal, meaningless conversation. Add bad 70’s wigs and moustaches, dog homicide and a gladiatorial street battle with rival news teams and you have one of the funniest film in years.
CAST
Will Ferrell (The Lego Movie)
Christina Applegate (Samantha Who?)
Paul Rudd (Ant-Man)
Steve Carell (Get Smart)
Dylan Baker (Spider-Man 2)
Meagan Good (Minority Report TV)
James Marsden (Superman Returns)
Greg Kinnear (Stuck on You)
Josh Lawson (House of Lies)
David Koechner (Final Destination 5)
Kristen Wiig (Paul)
Fred Willard (Lois & Clark)
Chris Parnell (Lost in Austin)
Harrison Ford (Blade Runner)
Will Smith (I Am Legend)
Kirsten Dunst (All Good Things)
Jim Carrey (Bruce Almighty)
Tina Fey (Muppets Most Wanted)
Liam Neeson (Ted 2)
Amy Poehler (Mean Girls)
John C. Reilly (Step Brothers)
Vince Vaughn (Starsky & Hutch)
In 1980, Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) and Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) are married and are both co-anchors for a prestigious news network in New York City. One day, Mack Tannen (Harrison Ford), the most famous nightly news anchor in New York, reveals that he is retiring. He intends to promote Corningstone, making her the first female nightly news anchor in the history of television, and to fire Burgundy due to his continuously sloppy performance on air. Burgundy grows jealous of Corningstone’s success and storms out of the house, leaving Corningstone and his six-year-old son Walter (Judah Nelson).
Six months later, Burgundy is back in San Diego, but barely able to hold a job due to his depression. After being fired from SeaWorld and botching a suicide attempt, Burgundy accepts a job offered to him by Freddie Shapp (Dylan Baker) with GNN (Global News Network), the world’s first 24-hour cable news network, for GNN’s official launch. He reassembles his news team, finding Champ Kind (David Koechner), who owns a fried chicken store (that sells bats secretly to cut down on costs), Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd), now a famous cat photographer, and Brick Tamland (Steve Carell), who is presumed dead but appears at his own funeral. They are assigned the unpopular late-night timeslot while obnoxious rival anchorman Jack Lime (James Marsden) is put in a primetime slot. Meanwhile, Burgundy finds that Corningstone has started dating another man, a psychologist named Gary (Greg Kinnear).
As GNN launches, Burgundy decides to broadcast what the people want to hear, rather than what they need to hear. He and his team devise a sensationalist and attention-grabbing newscast. Their new approach proves to be a hit, beating Lime in ratings by a massive margin, and the other news networks scramble to emulate them. Burgundy and his team are promoted to primetime, where they enjoy fame and fortune. Burgundy’s success excites GNN’s manager, Linda Jackson (Meagan Good), and they begin a romantic relationship. Tamland meets a similarly eccentric GNN office worker named Chani (Kristen Wiig) and immediately falls in love. Burgundy lets his newfound fame get to his head and neglects his parental obligations to Walter, angering Corningstone. He also alienates Fantana, Kind, and Tamland, claiming he is tired of carrying them.
During a party celebrating GNN’s success, Lime causes Burgundy to slip and suffer a head injury, resulting in him becoming temporarily blind. Unable to read the news, Burgundy isolates himself in a lighthouse, unable to adjust to his loss of sight. Corningstone arrives with Walter for a visit and Burgundy bonds with his family, gradually overcoming his disability. Burgundy and his son rehabilitate a small shark, naming him Doby before setting him free. Burgundy finds out that Corningstone was hiding messages from his eye doctor about an experimental procedure. He leaves angrily, gets his sight restored, and returns to GNN.
Back in New York, returning to work, Burgundy is once again approached by Corningstone, who pleads with him to attend Walter’s piano recital. At the same time, an exclusive news story comes in, requiring Burgundy to cover it. On live TV, Burgundy instead goes on a rant criticizing news networks, including GNN, for focusing on ratings rather than the news. He leaves for Walter’s recital but is intercepted by an angered Lime and his team and other angered teams from news networks, including Tannen, all of whom want to kill him due to his fame. Burgundy’s friends arrive to defend him and a massive free-for-all battle ensues. Burgundy’s old arch-rival Wes Mantooth (Vince Vaughn) threatens to blow up Lime’s news crew and is accidentally blown up by Tamland instead before Tannen, Lime, and all the other teams retreat from the fight in defeat. Burgundy manages to reach Walter’s recital in time. Burgundy and his friends later attend Tamland’s and Chani’s wedding on the beach.
This movie is both funny and a great piece of satire. There are plenty of laughs and very silly situations but there is also a message about how news reporting has changed in the last 30 years thanks to powerful men who own the media. The Australian owner of GNN is obviously Rupert Murdoch .

REVIEW: SPIDER-MAN 1,2 & 3

CAST

Tobey Maguire (Pleasantville)
Kirsten Dunst (All Good Things)
Willem Dafoe (American Psycho)
Janes Franco (This Is The End)
Cliff Robertson (Escape From L.A.)
Rosemary Harris (This Means War)
J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)
Joe Manganiello (True Blood)
Bill Nunn (True Crime)
Michael Papajohn (Predator 2)
Elizabeth Banks (Power Rangers)
Ron Perkins (House)
Randy Savage (Bolt)
Octavia Spencer (Mom)
Lucy Lawless (Xena)
Bruce Campbell (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Ted Raimi (Odyssey 5)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)

This film spends a lot of its time on the origin of Spider-Man. Peter Parker (played by Tobey Maguire) is an ordinary unpopular high school student. At the beginning of the movie we hear a narration by Peter that says this story is like every other story in that it is all about a girl. The girl in this case is Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst). Peter has had a crush on MJ since he was 6 years old, but obviously MJ has not reciprocated the feelings. Problem is Peter is not the kind of person to express his feelings to MJ, he instead lets everyone else know what he feels for MJ. It is the classic “everyone knows except for the person it involves” scenario. Peter admires her from afar and seems to always be there to bring her spirits up.

One day Peter and MJ’s class go to Columbia University for a field trip about spiders. We find out that the people here have been studying spiders and then creating super-spiders through genetic manipulation. One of the spiders gets loose and as Peter is taking pictures of MJ for the school paper, he is bit by it. Here is where the origin of Spider-Man begins. The first hour is spent with Peter getting used to the special powers he has gotten and refining them. He is both scared and excited by what he can do and Maguire makes Peter seem like one of us. This is the core of why Spider-Man is so great. It shows that even someone with a normal upbringing and great powers can have a difficult life. This is very much in contrast with heroes like Batman and Superman who either grew up in a rich family or is from another planet. Peter Parker is like many of us. He has a normal life like the rest of us. This is why it is so easy to sympathize with his character.

The other part of the first hour is about Norman Osborn (Willem Dafoe), the CEO and of Oscorp. He has been working on a super serum that will give a human super strength. However one animal died during the testing of the serum. The military is getting tired of Osborn not having a human test of this serum. They give him two weeks to test it to success on a human, but if he is not able to do so they will stop funding on the project and hand it over to another corporation. Osborn decides he is going to be the human guinea pig and exposes himself to the serum in a self-contained vessel. For a while his heart stops and his assistant comes in to revive him. Osborn’s heart revives at a faster rate and he has super strength. He turns into the Green Goblin and employs a rocket-powered glider to get around New York City. You can somewhat sympathize with Osborn in the fact that he is very close to his company losing the contract and him possibly losing the company itself. He takes a liking to Peter and treats him like his son, much to the chagrin of his real son, Harry (James Franco). The best parts with Willem Dafoe are when his two personalities (Norman and the Goblin) have a conversation with each other. Norman is obviously insane after being subjected to the serum, but he is still a human that is, albeit very little, trying to fight his Goblin personality. The rest of the movie is spent between Spider-Man and Green Goblin having some encounters here and there and a big encounter at the end.

Spider-Man is a movie not to be missed. If you have never been introduced to Spider-Man, this movie does a good job with his origin and one of his greatest enemies. This movie has a great plot (written by David Koepp) and is easily going to be a huge moneymaker. Some of the special effects may look unrealistic or maybe you will not notice them at all. This is a movie you can enjoy both from a story and action angle.

CAST

Tobey Maguire (Pleasantville)
Kirsten Dunst (All Good Things)
Willem Dafoe (American Psycho)
Janes Franco (This Is The End)
Alfred Molina (Frida)
Rosemary Harris (This Means War)
J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)
Elizabeth Banks (Power Rangers)
Donna Murphy (Star Trek: Insurrection)
Daniel Gillies (The Originals)
Dylan Baker (The Cell)
Willem Dafoe (American Psycho)
Mageina Tovah (Sleepover)
Bruce Campbell (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
Joel McHale (Ted)
Hal Sparks (Dude, Where’s My Car?)
Emily Deschanel (Bones)
Phil LaMarr (Free Enterprise)
Cliff Robertson (Escape From L.A.)
Reed Diamond (Dollhouse)
Elya Baskin (October Sky)
Ted Raimi (Odyssey 5)
Bill Nunn (True Crime)

This time around, New York City is plagued by the nefarious Doctor Octopus. When famed scientist Dr. Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina) designs a fusion device that can generate enough power to make limitless amounts of affordable electricity, the experiment goes horribly wrong and the four mechanical arms that he uses to run the experiment become fused to his spine and his cerebellum. Whereas prior to this Octavius controlled the arms, now it seems that they control him and he goes on a crime spree across the city, robbing banks in order to further fund the experiments he so desperately wants to finish. While all this is going on, Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) is wrestling with whether or not he should make his movie on his one true love, Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst), trying not to flunk out of school, and trying to get his rent paid on time.

This second film brings Peter Parker into the real world, so to speak. Part of what made the comic series so great was the fact that Parker was someone we could relate to on one level or another. Sure, he was a superhero but he had real world problems. He didn’t always get the girl, he couldn’t always pay his rent, and he had trouble getting to class on time. In the first film we didn’t get to dig on that aspect of the character as the film had to setup how and why he becomes Spider-Man. Here we know that part already and so the film effectively takes things up a notch in terms of character development and action.

It’s precisely these changes in tone that makes Spider-Man 2 so much fun. It makes it feel like more of a comic book come to life.  Molina shines in his role as the mad scientist with the mechanical arms and proves to be a much better foe for Spidey than the Goblin was in the first film. He’s not quite as over the top and maniacal, but still sufficiently evil enough that we want Spidey to give him what for. The fight scenes between the hero and the villain, particularly the final showdown, are harder, faster, and more intense, which gives the movie a faster pace which works in it’s favor.  Those who enjoy the ‘little touches’ that Raimi is known for scattering throughout his films going all the way back to the first Evil Dead film will find lots of nice little details to look for. Bruce Campbell and Ted Raimi have fun cameo roles once more, and of course, it wouldn’t be a Raimi movie without the car showing up once or twice. Little details like this make the humor work nicely within the context of what is essentially an action movie.

In short, the movie flows better. The characters progress nicely from the events in the first film. The effects are bigger and better and more effective. It feels like a comic book movie should feel like. It’s a more fluid.

spider-man 3

CAST

Tobey Maguire (Pleasantville)
Kirsten Dunst (All Good Things)
Willem Dafoe (American Psycho)
Janes Franco (This Is The End)
Thomas Haden Church (Sideways)
Topher Grace (That 70s Show)
Bryce Dallas Howard (Jurassic World)
Rosemary Harris (This Means War)
J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)
James Cromwell (Star Trek: First Contact)
Dylan Baker (The Cell)
Willem Dafoe (American Psycho)
Elizabeth Banks (Power Rangers)
Cliff Robertson (Escape From L.A.)
Elya Baskin (October Sky)
Ted Raimi (Odyssey 5)
Mageina Tovah (Sleepover)
Michael Papajohn (Predator 2)
Joe Manganiello (True Blood)
Bruce Campbell (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
Bill Nunn (True Crime)
Steve Valentine (Mike & Molly)

Picking up shortly after the exploits chronicled in Spider-man 2, the new film finds things having turned around for Peter. Where he was once misunderstood by the city he protects from all manner of crime and villainy, he is now New York’s favorite son. Everywhere Peter Parker turns (Tobey Maguire), there are signs of the undying adoration being heaped on his crime-fighting alter ego. But even for Peter, whose life seldom shares the same glory as his other persona, things aren’t going all that bad. Sure he’s still broke and over-worked as he tries to balance college, work and saving the day, but things are seemingly going well with the love of his life, Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst).

He even plans on asking her to marry him. A wrench, however, is waiting to screw up the machine, coming in the form of Peter’s former best friend Harry Osborn (James Franco). Harry blames Peter for the death of his father, who, as the Green Goblin, tangled with Spider-man in the first film, and lost his life. Harry has armed himself with his father’s arsenal, and in the first of many spectacular action sequences that dominate Spider-man 3, attacks Peter. A defining, special effects extravaganza that kick starts the movie into high gear, the battle doesn’t even have Peter in his Spider-man costume. It is an interesting choice to have such a pivotal sequence take place without Spider-man present, but it serves as fast-paced foreshadowing of the personal battles that Peter will be experiencing over the duration of the film. Where the first film introduced Peter Parker and Spider-man, the second film developed the crime fighter, and the third film is more about the man who wears the costume.Fresh from his battle with Harry, Peter must face two new challenges. First, his relationship with Mary Jane is starting to strain, because she can’t handle the fact that Spider-man is so popular. Then, he learns that the crook who killed his Uncle Ben in the first film was not really the killer after all. The real killer was Flint Marko (Thomas Hayden Church), an escaped convict who, through a series of events that only happens in comic books and films that adapt them, is turned into Sandman, a mutated creature made of sand that can manipulate his size and shape. And as if that wasn’t enough, there is also Spidey’s new black suit, which is actually an alien life form that has formed a symbiotic relationship with Peter. The gooey black creature attaches itself to Peter, manifesting itself as the new black costume, and bringing with it increased strength for Spider-man, as well as a new level of confidence, and aggression for Peter. Soon, the suit becomes a villain, and Peter must fight to gain control of his life (not to mention battle Sandman, Harry, and try to restore his relationship with Mary Jane).There is no getting around the fact that Spider-man 3 is the weakest of the three films in the franchise, at least in terms of script and story. As is the case with other superhero sequels, this film suffers, from among other things, introducing too many characters into the mythology. But the script also has some leaps in logic, a few contrived coincidences and a plot hole or two that seem excusable at first glance, but start to nag after the final credits have rolled. Clocking in at well over two hours, there are times when it feels like a good twenty or thirty minutes have been trimmed from the film in order to make for a more reasonable run time, resulting in a poor sense of character development, and a frantic pace where there should be a bit more exposition. The first act takes special care to introduce Sandman as a morally complex, tragic villain, but most of that is jettisoned as the story moves into the second and third acts. Likewise, Eddie Brock (Topher Grace), Peter’s rival who will eventually don the black costume and become Venom, seems to make a huge leap from annoying twerp to murderous psycho.The problems that weigh down Spider-man 3 begin to emerge near the end of the first act, as weaknesses in the script begin to pop up. Where the first two films tried to keep things as grounded as possible given the outrageous subject matter, Spider-man 3 throws caution to the wind, throwing the film off balance. Both of the earlier films went out of their way to paint the villains as somewhat believable within the context of the on-screen world. But in this new film, no such attempts are made. And so while it is cool to see Venom, the half-ass explanation of what the creature is carries no weight. Ten minutes after the movie is over, you can’t help but start asking questions like, “Where did this thing come from?” And then those questions open up another line of inquiry that starts picking apart all of the ridiculous coincidences that riddle the film.The biggest problem with Spider-man 3 are two separate sequences that are meant to show how much the new alien costume has effected Peter Parker’s personality. The first sequence is silly, and by comparison rather innocuous. But the second scene, involving Peter’s attempt to woo new love interest Gwen Stacey (Bryce Dallas Howard), while making Mary Jane jealous, is just plain ridiculous. Comic book purists will hate this scene, and even die-hard fans of the films may find it a bit out of place within the cinematic universe.But despite the problems that plague Spider-man 3, it is still an incredibly fun film. Director Sam Raimi once again delivers the superheroic goods. And in terms of how the action sequences and special effects have been put together this time around, Raimi leaves the first two films in the dust. This is clearly the best of the three from that standpoint, as the action comes alive in sequences that would have been impossible cinematically less than a decade ago. In fact, the action may even be more spectacular than anything you could see in a comic book. Unfortunately, the film never manages to be anything more than a sequel. What made Spider-man 2 such an amazing film was that it managed to emerge from the shadow of its predecessor, standing on its own as a superior movie. Spider-man 3, however, is never able to come out from the massive shadow cast by the first two installments.