REVIEW: ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL

Starring

Rosa Salazar (Bird Box)
Christoph Waltz (The Legend of Tarzan)
Keean Johnson (Midway)
Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)
Jennifer Connelly (Noah)
Ed Skrein (Deadpool)
Jorge Lendeborg Jr. (Spider-Man: Homecoming)
Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen)
Lana Condor (X-Men: Apocalypse)
Idara Victor (Starved)
Eiza González (Baby Driver)
Jeff Fahey (Planet Terror)
Rick Yune (The Fast and The Furious)
Derek Mears (Swamp Thing)
Marko Zaror (Machete Kills)
Casper Van Dien (Starship troopers)
Jai Courtney (Suicide Squad)
Edward Norton (Fight Club)
Michelle Rodriguez (Avatar)

Rosa Salazar in Alita: Battle Angel (2019)In 2563, 300 years after Earth is devastated by a catastrophic interplanetary war known as “The Fall” or “The Great War”, scientist Dr. Dyson Ido discovers a disembodied female cyborg with an intact human like brain. Ido attaches a new cyborg body to the brain and names her “Alita” after his deceased daughter. Alita awakens with no memory of her past, meets Dr. Chiren, Ido’s estranged ex-wife, and befriends Hugo, who dreams of moving to the wealthy sky city of Zalem. Hugo introduces Alita to Motorball, a battle royale racing sport played by cyborg gladiators. Secretly, Hugo robs cyborgs of their parts for Vector, owner of the Motorball tournament.Rosa Salazar in Alita: Battle Angel (2019)One night, Alita follows Ido; they are ambushed by cyborg serial killers led by Grewishka. Ido is injured, and Alita instinctively fights using “Panzer Kunst” (a German expression, meaning “the art of the armor” literally “armor art”), a lost combat art for machine bodies, kills two of the cyborgs and damages Grewishka, who retreats underground. Ido reveals that he is a Hunter-Warrior. Grewishka goes to Dr. Chiren for help, who is working for Vector. Despite Alita believing that fighting will help her rediscover her past, Ido discourages her from becoming a Hunter-Warrior. Alita finds a highly advanced cyborg body in a crashed spaceship outside the city. Recognizing that the body is a Berserker — deadly shock troops of the enemy nation United Republics of Mars (URM) from the Great War — Ido refuses to install Alita in it.Rosa Salazar and Keean Johnson in Alita: Battle Angel (2019)Frustrated with Ido, Alita goes off by herself and registers as a Hunter-Warrior. At the Kansas Bar, she and Hugo are unable to recruit other Hunter-Warriors to her cause of taking down Grewishka. Zapan, a Hunter-Warrior, provokes Alita, and she severely beats him in a fight, triggering a chaotic bar brawl until Ido intervenes. An upgraded Grewishka arrives and challenges Alita to a duel, revealing that he has been sent by Zalem’s technocrat overlord, Nova, to destroy her. Despite her courage and combat skills, Alita’s body is sliced up by Grewishka’s chain-bladed fingers, but Ido, Hugo and Hunter-Warrior McTeague arrive and force Grewishka to retreat. Ido apologizes and transplants Alita into the Berserker body.Rosa Salazar in Alita: Battle Angel (2019)Having fallen in love with Hugo, Alita enters a Motorball tryout race for the prize money to send Hugo to Zalem. Hugo’s relationship with Alita leads him to decide to quit his secret job. He confronts Tanji, but Zapan appears, murdering Tanji and the cyborg and framing Hugo, though he escapes and calls Alita for help; she abandons the race and finds him just as Zapan does. Zapan mortally wounds Hugo. Dr. Chiren offers to save Hugo by attaching his severed head to Alita’s life support system. When Zapan sees through the trick and attempts to stop Alita, the guard mech stops Zapan from stealing her claim on Hugo’s bounty, and Alita seizes his prized Damascus blade and slices most of his face off.Rosa Salazar in Alita: Battle Angel (2019)Ido transplants Hugo’s head onto a cyborg body and tells Alita that Vector’s offer to help Hugo reach Zalem was a lie; as an exiled citizen of Zalem, Ido is certain that citizens of Iron City cannot enter Zalem unless becoming a motorball champion. Alita storms the factory and confronts Vector, who reveals that Chiren has been harvested for her organs. Vector summons Grewishka, but Alita’s new nanotechnological body allows her to easily destroy him. She forces Nova to speak to her through Vector. When Nova threatens to harm her friends, Alita fatally stabs Vector. Ido tells Alita that Hugo has fled to climb a cargo tube towards Zalem. Alita catches up to him and pleads with him to return with her. He agrees, but a serrated defense ring dropped by Nova shreds his body and throws him off the tube. Alita catches him but cannot pull him up, as his arm is breaking off. Hugo thanks Alita for saving him before falling to his death.Rosa Salazar in Alita: Battle Angel (2019)Months later, Alita is the star of the Motorball tournament. Cheered on by the crowd, she pledges vengeance by pointing her sword toward Zalem, where Nova watches from above, smirking.Rosa Salazar in Alita: Battle Angel (2019)Marvelous effect with some great actions make this movie not to be missed seeing it in the big screen. But the thing I love the most is Alita herself. There were a few times I had a smile on myself watching Alita as she was so loveable and badass. Really really hope it will goes beyond just this one movie as the world building in Alita was so fascinating and of course, need to see more Alita.

REVIEW: BIRDMAN

Image result for BIRDMAN UK BLU RAY

CAST

Michael Keaton (Robocop 2014)
Emma Stone (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Naomi Watts (Insurgent)
Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover)
Edward Norton (The Bourne Legacy)
Jeremy Shamos (Nurse Jackie)
Andrea Riseborough (Oblivion)
Merrit Weaver (New Girl)
Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone)
Lindsay Duncan (About Time)

Riggan Thomson is a faded American actor best known for playing the superhero ‘Birdman’, decades ago in a series of films. He is often tormented by the mocking and critical inner-voice of Birdman and frequently visualizes himself performing feats of levitation and telekinesis. Riggan hopes to re-awaken his career by writing, directing, and starring in a Broadway-production of a loosely based adaptation of Raymond Carver’s short story “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.”
The adaptation is produced by Riggan’s best friend and lawyer Jake, and also stars Riggan’s girlfriend Laura, and Broadway debutant Lesley. Riggan’s daughter Sam, a recovering drug addict, serves as his assistant. During rehearsals, a light fixture falls onto Riggan’s co-star Ralph; Riggan tells Jake that he caused the accident so he could upgrade the cast. At Lesley’s suggestion, Riggan replaces Ralph with the brilliant but volatile method actor Mike Shiner, who is also Lesley’s boyfriend. The first previews are disastrous: Mike breaks character over the replacement of his gin with water and attempts to rape Lesley during a sex scene. Riggan is incensed by press coverage praising Mike’s performance in the show, but Jake encourages him to continue. When Riggan berates Sam for using cannabis, she tells him he is expendable and that his play is a vanity project.
During the final preview, Riggan sees Sam and Mike kissing — this further fuels his suspicion that Mike is a rival and potential threat. Riggan goes outside to take a smoke break wearing nothing but his underwear and a robe, and accidentally locks himself out of the theater with his robe stuck in the door, forcing him to walk in his underwear through Times Square to get back inside; amateur videos of the incident go viral on YouTube. After the final preview Riggan, still deeply shaken by the events of the last few days, meets the influential critic Tabitha Dickinson, who tells him she hates ignorant Hollywood celebrities who only pretend to be actors and promises to “kill” his play with a deprecating review. After leaving, Riggan gets drunk and faints on the street. The next day, as he walks back to the theater, his visual and auditory hallucinations intensify and he fully hallucinates an extended conversation with a now visible Birdman, who tries to convince him to make another Birdman film. Riggan visualizes himself flying through the streets of Manhattan before returning to the theater.
Prior to the opening night, and with his hallucinations temporarily subsiding, Riggan meets Sam, who shows him the viral video of him walking through Times Square in his underwear. Rather than faulting her father for this, she admires him for it and comes to see him as more human and finally more accessible to her needs as his daughter. On the opening night, before the final scene of the play, Riggan confesses to his former wife Sylvia that he attempted to drown himself in the ocean after she caught him having an affair several years before. He also tells her about the inner Birdman voice he constantly hears in his head, which she ignores. After Sylvia wishes him luck and leaves the room, Riggan, whose character in the play commits suicide, replaces his prop pistol with a real loaded gun and prepares to actually commit suicide in the closing scene of the play. As the performance reaches its final scene, Riggan shoots himself in the head on-stage. The play ends with a standing ovation from all in the audience except Tabitha, who abruptly leaves.
The next day in a hospital, Riggan is revealed to have botched his suicide, merely blowing off his nose, which has been surgically replaced overnight. Jake visits him in the hospital and reveals that Tabitha gave the play a rave-review, calling his suicide attempt “super-realism,” a new form of method acting. Sam visits Riggan and soon steps out for a moment. He walks alone to the adjoining bathroom in his hospital room where he crudely dismisses Birdman and, seeing some birds outside, climbs onto the window ledge. When Sam returns, Riggan has disappeared with the window left open. She looks down at the street, then slowly up to the sky and smiles.Whilst viewing ‘Birdman’, I spent the first hour of the film trying to decipher my emotions and opinions towards it, what I was watching was a weird, yet wonderful work of art. Truly though, ‘Birdman’ is a technical masterpiece. Michael Keaton has generally been undermined as an actor (despite a few notable roles as Batman or Beetlejuice) and has instead faced Hollywood picking more acclaimed and popular actors. In Birdman his performance is mesmerizing. Alejandro González Iñárritu has created a truly spectacular character study that arguably features one of the  strongest acting performances, alongside a well- executed script, booming soundtrack and a monumental achievement with cinematography from Emmanuel Lubezki in which he attempts a Hitchcockian approach.  This is a true definition of a masterpiece.

REVIEW: THE BOURNE LEGACY

CAST
Jeremy Renner (The Avengers)
Rachel Weisz (The Mummy)
Scott Glenn (Daredevil TV)
Stacy Keach (Two and a Half Men)
Edward Norton (Fight Club)
Donna Murphy (Spider-Man 2)
Michael Chernus (Men In Black 3)
Corey Stoll (Ant-Man)
David Strathairn (Alphas)
Albert Finney (Big Fish)
Joan Allen (The Notebook)
Oscar Isaac (Star Wars: The Force Awakens)
Michael Papajohn (Spider-Man)
Elizabeth Marvel (Homeland)
The CIA lost track of Jason Bourne’s whereabouts in Moscow six weeks ago. Meanwhile, Aaron Cross is a government operative assigned to Operation Outcome, a Department of Defense black operation program using experimental pills known as “chems” to enhance the physical and mental abilities of their users. Aaron is assigned to Alaska for a training exercise, where he must survive weather extremes and traverse rugged terrain in order to arrive at a remote cabin. The cabin is operated by an exiled Outcome operative, Number Three, who informs Aaron that he has broken the mission record by two days.
Reporter Simon Ross of The Guardian, who has been investigating the CIA programs Treadstone and Blackbriar, is assassinated at London Waterloo station. When the illegal adaptation of the programs is exposed by Jason, the FBI and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence investigate CIA Director Ezra Kramer, Deputy Director Pamela Landy, Blackbriar supervisor Noah Vosen and Treadstone medical director Dr. Albert Hirsch.After the mayhem in New York and Jason’s escape, Kramer requests help from Mark Turso, a retired United States Navy admiral, who runs the National Research Assay Group (NRAG). Turso informs Eric Byer, a retired Air Force colonel overseeing NRAG’s research and development of various clandestine enhancement programs used by the CIA and Defense. Byer discovers a potentially scandalous video on the Internet showing Hirsch socializing with Dr. Dan Hillcott, Outcome’s medical director. To prevent the Senate investigation from learning about Outcome, Byer orders everyone associated with the program killed. He sees the sacrifice as acceptable in order to protect NRAG’s next-generation “Beta programs”, including the supersoldier program LARX.Byer deploys a drone to eliminate Outcome agents Number Three and Five (Aaron) in Alaska. Aaron hears the drone’s approach and leaves moments before a missile destroys the cabin with Number Three inside. Aaron removes the Radio-frequency identification implanted in his thigh and force-feeds it to a wolf which is then blown up by a missile, tricking Byer into believing Aaron is dead. Hirsch dies of an apparent heart attack before he can testify before the Senate. Dr. Donald Foite, a researcher at a bio-genetics laboratory, uses a pistol to kill all but one of his top-level colleagues employed by Outcome. When security guards enter his lab, Foite turns his gun on himself, leaving biochemist Dr. Marta Shearing as the sole survivor.[3] Meanwhile, other Outcome agents are eliminated when their handlers give them poisoned chems. When four elite “D-Track” assassins ambush Marta at her country house and attempt to fake her suicide, they are eliminated by Aaron. He saves her life as she is his last link to the chems so that he can retain his enhanced capabilities and avoid withdrawal symptoms. Marta reveals that Cross has been genetically modified by a tailored virus to retain the physical benefits without needing the green chems anymore. He still requires regular doses of blue chems to maintain his intelligence, but he is running out. Aaron confides to her that he is Private First Class Kenneth J. Kitsom (reportedly killed by a roadside bomb in the Iraq War) and that his recruiter added 12 points to his IQ, enabling Aaron to meet the United States Army’s requirements. Without his enhanced intelligence, Aaron believes they stand no chance of survival. Aaron and Marta travel to Manila, where the chems are manufactured, to try to infect him with another virus so he will not need the blue chems.Aaron and Marta bluff their way into the chem factory. Marta injects Aaron with the live virus stems. Byer alerts the factory security, but Aaron and Marta evade capture. Byer orders LARX-03, a chemically-brainwashed supersoldier, to track down and kill them. Aaron recovers from the flu-like symptoms but hallucinates about his Outcome training Police surround their shelter while Marta is buying medicine; she warns Aaron by screaming. Aaron rescues her and steals a motorbike. They are pursued by both the police and LARX-03. After a lengthy chase through the streets and marketplaces of Manila to Marikina, they lose the police, but not the assassin. Both Aaron and LARX-03 are wounded by bullets. LARX-03 is killed when Marta causes his motorcycle to crash into a pillar. Marta persuades a Filipino boatman to help them escape by sea. They sail away, while back in New York, Vosen lies to the Senate that Landy committed treason by trying to sell Treadstone secrets to the press and by assisting Jason, the only reason why Blackbriar existed
This is not meant to be an extension to the Matt Damon franchise and doesn’t try to be. It is very good in it’s own right and has to be viewed as a stand-alone, parallel story that uses references to the on-going Bourne saga to place it in context. Very well paced and filled with detail, it should more than satisfy any follower of the ‘Bourne’ trilogy and makes a worthwhile addition to the series.

REVIEW: RED DRAGON

 

CAST

Anthony Hopkins (The Mask of Zorro)
Edward Norton (The Bourne Legacy)
Ralph Fiennes (Harry Potter)
Emily Watson (War Horse)
Harvey Keitel (Little Nicky)
Mary-Louise Parker (Red)
Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Ides of March)
Anthony Heald (X-Men: The Last Stand)
Bill Duke (Commando)
Frankie Faison (Luke Cage)
Ken Leung (Lost)
John Rubinstein (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
Brenda Strong (Supergirl)
Marguerite MacIntyre (The Vampire Diaries)
Azura Skye (28 Days)
Stanley Anderson (Spider-Man)
Ellen Burstyn (The Exorcist)
Lisa Thornhill (Veronica Mars)

In Baltimore, Maryland, Dr. Hannibal Lecter attends a symphonic orchestra performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He is irritated by a flute player who repeatedly misses out on his part. Later, he hosts a dinner party in his townhouse for the orchestra’s board of directors. During conversation, the disappearance of the flute player is brought up. When one of the guests asks about the dish Lecter made, he responds that if he tells her, she might not try it, implying he is serving the flute player.Lecter is visited by Will Graham, a gifted FBI agent who has the ability to empathize with psychopaths. Graham has been working with Lecter on a psychological profile of a serial killer. The killer removed edible body parts from his victims, leading Graham to believe him to be a cannibal. During the consultation, Graham discovers evidence implicating Lecter. Lecter attacks and almost disembowels Graham, before Graham impales him with several arrows then empties his handgun into him. Lecter is sentenced to life imprisonment in an institution for the criminally insane. Graham is traumatized by the experience, and retires.Some years later, another serial killer, nicknamed The Tooth Fairy, appears. He stalks and kills entire families during sequential full moons. Special Agent Jack Crawford seeks Graham’s assistance in determining the killer’s psychological profile. When the death of another family weighs on his conscience, Graham reluctantly agrees. After visiting the crime scenes and speaking with Crawford, Graham concludes he must once again consult Lecter.

The Tooth Fairy is actually Francis Dolarhyde, who kills at the behest of an alternate personality he calls “The Great Red Dragon”. He is obsessed with the William Blake painting The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed in Sun, and believes that each victim he “changes” brings him closer to “becoming” the Dragon. His pathology is born from the severe abuse he suffered as a child at the hands of his sadistic grandmother.
Meanwhile, Freddy Lounds, a tabloid reporter, who hounded Graham after Lecter’s capture, follows him for leads on The Tooth Fairy. There is a secret correspondence between Lecter and Dolarhyde. Graham’s wife and son are endangered when Lecter gives The Tooth Fairy the agent’s home address, forcing them to be relocated to a farm owned by Crawford’s brother. Hoping to lure out The Tooth Fairy, Graham gives Lounds an interview in which he disparages the killer as an impotent homosexual. This provokes Dolarhyde, who kidnaps Lounds and glues him to an antique wheelchair. Dolarhyde then forces Lounds to recant his allegations, bites off his lips and then sets him on fire outside his newspaper’s offices. Later, at his job in a St. Louis photo lab, Dolarhyde falls in love with Reba McClane, a blind co-worker. He takes her home, where they make love. However, his alternate personality demands that he kill her. Desperate to stop the Dragon’s “possession” of him, Dolarhyde goes to the Brooklyn Museum, tears apart the original Blake painting and eats it.Meanwhile, Graham deduces that the killer knew the layout of his victims’ houses from their home videos. He concludes that the killer works for a company that transfers home movies to video cassette and edits them. He starts searching the companies and their workers. Watching Reba’s house, Dolarhyde finds her having spent the evening with a co-worker, Ralph Mandy, whom she actually dislikes. Enraged by this apparent betrayal, Dolarhyde kills Ralph, kidnaps Reba, takes her to his house, and then sets it on fire. Finding himself unable to shoot her, Dolarhyde apparently shoots himself. Reba is able to escape the house as the police arrive.Dolarhyde, having staged his own death, turns up at Graham’s home in Florida. He holds Graham’s son hostage, threatening to kill him. To save his son, Graham slings insults at the boy, reminding Dolarhyde of his grandmother’s abuse. Enraged, Dolarhyde attacks Graham. Both men are severely wounded in a shootout which ends when Graham’s wife kills Dolarhyde. Graham receives a letter from Lecter which praises him for stopping The Tooth Fairy, bids him well, and says they are going to cross paths soon.Some time later, Lecter’s jailer, Dr. Frederick Chilton, tells him that he has a visitor, a young woman from the FBI. Lecter curiously asks of her name.

After “Silence of the Lambs” became so popular, and the sequel, “Hannibal,” it was decided to re-do that first film and this time obtain Hopkins’ services. It worked because not only do you have the incomparable Hopkins at Dr. Lecter but you have one this generations best actors, Edward Norton, as the leading character “Will Graham.” Norton, as always, gives a solid performance. And – look at the backup cast: Ralph Fiennes, Emily Watson, Harvey Keitel, Mary Louise Parker and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Not bad. This is one of those movies that gets better and better with each viewing.

 

REVIEW: THE INCREDIBLE HULK (2008)

 

CAST

Edward Norton (The Bourne Legacy)
Liv Tyler (Super)
Tim Roth (Lie To Me)
William Hurt (A History of Violence)
Tim Blake Nelson (Fantastic Four)
Ty Burrell (Muppets Most wanted)
Peter Mesnah (Spartacus)
Lou Ferrigno (The Scorpion King 4)
Paul Soles (Spider-Man 60s)
Martin Starr (Superbad)
Genelle Williams (Bitten)
Robet Downey Jr. (Iron Man)
Greg Bryk (Saw V)
Chris Owens (Red)
Arnold Pinnock (Cypher)
Wayne Robson (Wrong Turn)
Michael Kenneth Williams (12 Years A Slave)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)

MV5BMTQ2ODc0MjI2Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODg3NTAyNw@@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,748_AL_Hiding out peacefully in South America to keep his Gamma-induced mutation in control, Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) is looking for help to cure his affliction, trying to keep himself out of the hands of General Ross (William Hurt), who wants what’s inside Banner to create an army of super-soldiers. Heading back to America, Banner makes contact with longtime love Betty Ross (Liv Tyler), who urgently wants to help the ailing man cure himself. Hot on their tail is Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth), a brutal, unforgiving soldier who encourages the General to experiment further with Gamma poisoning by injecting him with a dose.MV5BMjE5MTM2MDY4OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTg3NTAyNw@@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,737_AL_Director Louis Leterrier indulges his extreme visual instincts to fashion a peppier “Hulk” for the crowds who felt alienated by Lee’s experimentation. The quest is noble and “Incredible” is stuffed with enough limb-cracking attitude to give the faithful exactly what they want from a Hulk movie.Leterrier is in a hurry to get from one action sequence to the next, and while it’s all comfortably numbing, there’s not much characterization to get excited about here. “Incredible” comes across more as a wonderful video game than a meaningful exploration of the isolated soul. Although It’s a spirited ride boosted by some nice performances, strong romantic chemistry between Norton and Tyler, and several swell tributes paid to the “Hulk” television series of the 1970s. When Hulk lets loose, there’s a horde of building-leveling mayhem to enjoy, and Leterrier is the right man for the job, infusing new momentum to the character and taking his trail of destruction to pleasing extremes.

REVIEW: THE ITALIAN JOB (2003)

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CAST

Mark Wahlberg (Transformers 4)
Charlize Theron (Snow White & The Huntsman)
Donald Sutherland (The Hunger Games)
Jason Statham (Spy)
Seth Green (Family Guy)
Edward Norton (Fight Club)
Kelly Brook (Smallville)

MV5BMjM2MDMwMTA0OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjAyMjAwMjE@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1501,1000_AL_The Italian Job may lack originality, but it gets just about everything else right. Breezy and spirited, It realizes its strengths are in its casting and allows the cast to work off each other wonderfully. The film opens in Venice, where a team of thieves, lead by John Bridger (Donald Sutherland), tries for one last big score – $35 million in gold. The team – composed of Charlie (Mark Whalberg), Left Ear (Mos Def), Steve Frezelli (Edward Norton), Lyle (Seth Green) and Handsome Rob (Jason Statham) do succeed in pulling off the heist, but one of them – I’ll leave their identity secret, even if the trailers didn’t – has other plans. Cut to: the remainder of the team is in Los Angeles, tracking down the one that got away. With the addition of John’s safecracker daughter, Stella (Charlize Theron), they set out for revenge.

So, while there’s not much to it, it works effectively for several reasons. Screenwriters Donna and Wayne Powers (who also wrote the enjoyably trashy “Deep Blue Sea”) manage a nice balance of humor and action in the screenplay, while also giving each of the characters their moments. Green’s computer hacker has a particularly funny bit of business where he consistently claims to have been the inventor of song-sharing internet service Napster, named as such for the reason that the thief (actual Napster creator Shawn Fanning, in a cameo) stole it while he was asleep. Whalberg  and Theron  share excellent chemistry, with both offering their most energetic performances in recent memory. Mos Def and Jason Statham  provide excellent support, as well. The casting works and most audiences will get behind the characters.3969767_still_The_Italian_Job_2The film’s stunts are also capably handled. Certainly, the BMW Mini Coopers are the star of the show, and energetically zip around the LA cityscape. The opening scene in Venice (actually filmed in Venice) also works as a nifty bit of trickery.  Certainly, it was one of the better remakes in recent years.