31 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN REVIEW: HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET

CAST
Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games)
Elisabeth Shue (Hollow Man)
Max Thierot (Bates Motel)
Gil Bellows (Smallville)
Eva Link (American Descent)
Nolan Gerard Funk (X-Men 2)
Krista Bridges (Narc)
A young, psychotic girl murders her parents with a hammer in the middle of a stormy night.
Four years later, a newly divorced woman, medical doctor Sarah Cassidy (Elisabeth Shue), and her 17-year-old daughter Elissa (Jennifer Lawrence) move to a small upscale town. Their house is near the house where the massacred family lived. As told by the neighbors, four years prior a young girl named Carrie Anne Jacobson killed her parents, then fled into the forest and was never seen again, leaving her brother Ryan (Max Thieriot) as the sole survivor. Ryan now lives alone and is hated by his neighbors; Bill Weaver (Gil Bellows), a local police officer, appears to be Ryan’s only supporter.
The mother-daughter relationship becomes rocky and Elissa starts dating Ryan against her mother’s wishes, finding Ryan to be lonely but a sweet boy. Ryan confides in her that he accidentally injured Carrie Anne by allowing her to fall from a swing when they were little; he was supposed to be watching her while their parents were getting high on drugs. The resulting brain damage from the accident made her extremely aggressive, leading to their parents’ murder. It is revealed that Ryan has secretly been taking care of a seemingly now-grown Carrie Anne (Eva Link) in a hidden room. When Carrie Anne escapes, Ryan accidentally kills her while trying to hide her. In grief, he goes to the diner, where he meets a kind waitress named Peggy (Jordan Hayes).800full-see-arnold-run-screenshotLater, some unruly high school boys pick a fight with Ryan and he flees, Elissa drives to his house and subdues a fire the boys started. She finds tampons in the kitchen garbage and suspiciously explores the house until she finds the secret room and is attacked by Carrie Anne, who is revealed to actually be Peggy. Ryan restrains “Carrie Anne” while frantically screaming at Elissa to leave. Elissa finds blue contact lenses and Peggy Jones’s wallet in the kitchen. It is revealed that Ryan has kidnapped the waitress and attempted to make her look like Carrie Anne. When Elissa tries to leave, Ryan knocks her out with chloroform.
Jennifer-Lawrence-and-Elisabeth-Shue-in-House-at-the-End-of-the-Street
Elissa wakes to find herself tightly tied to a chair. Ryan reveals that Carrie Anne actually died during the swing accident. He says his parents punished him for it and implies that he was the one that killed them. He explains that he wants Elissa, but needs Carrie Anne and cannot have both. Officer Weaver goes to Ryan’s house to look for Elissa but Ryan stabs him to death. Elissa frees herself and tries to escape but Ryan subdues her and traps her in his car trunk with Peggy’s body. Sarah arrives and is also stabbed by Ryan. Elissa struggles out and ultimately shoots Ryan with Weaver’s gun. When she approaches him, he suddenly wakes up and grabs her wrist. When Ryan attempts to stab Elissa with the knife, Sarah strikes him in the head with the hammer. Elissa and Sarah move out; Ryan is placed in a psychiatric ward. A flashback shows young Ryan about to blow out birthday candles. His mother calls him “Carrie Anne” and when Ryan protests that his name is Ryan, not Carrie Anne, she slaps him violently; it is revealed that his parents forced him to dress and act like Carrie Anne after she died and most likely abused Ryan when he refused to go along with their fantasy, thus setting Ryan on his troubled path.
The plot was not what I was expecting it to be at all. I was expecting this to be a straight up horror film but it is really more of a thriller with jumpy parts more than anything else. There are so many twists and turns in the plot that I didn’t see most of them until the moment they happened. I loved how much this film surprised me in the way of the plot. There are exciting parts, strange and mysterious parts and also some really creepy bits all mixed in together.While House At The End Of The Street was not at all what I thought it was going to be, I loved every minute of it.
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31 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN REVIEW: PIRANHA 3D

CAST

Richard Dreyfuss (Tin Man)
Ving Rhames (Mission Impossible)
Elisabeth Shue (Hollow Man)
Christopher Lloyd (Back To The Future)
Steven R. McQueen (The Vampire Diaries)
Jerry O’Connell (Sliders)
Jessica Szohr (Ted 2)
Eli Roth (Inglourious Basterds)
Kelly Brook (Three)
Adam Scott (Kampus)
Riley Steele (Pirates II)
Richard Chavira (Desperate Housewives)
Dina Meyer (Birds of Prey)
Bonnie Morgan (The Devil Inside)
Paul Scheer (Year One)

Fisherman Matt Boyd is fishing in Lake Victoria when a small earthquake hits, splitting the lake floor and causing a whirlpool. Boyd falls in, and is ripped apart by a shoal of piranhas that emerge from the chasm.

Jake Forester is admiring attractive tourists as spring break begins. He reunites with his old crush Kelly Driscoll and meets Derrick Jones, a sleazy pornographer, as well as Danni Arslow, one of his actresses. Derrick convinces Jake to show him good spots on the lake for filming a pornographic movie. That night, Jake’s mother, Sheriff Julie Forester, searches for the missing Matt Boyd with Deputy Fallon. They find his mutilated body and contemplate closing the lake. This decision, however, is made difficult as two-thousand partying college students are on spring break, which is important for bringing revenue to the small town. The next morning, a lone cliff diver is attacked and consumed by the vicious, marauding piranhas.

Jake bribes his sister, Laura, and brother, Zane (Sage Ryan), to stay home alone so that he can show Derrick around the lake. After Jake leaves, Zane convinces Laura to go fishing on a small sandbar island. They forget to tie the boat down and are stranded in the middle of the lake. Meanwhile, Jake goes to meet with Derrick and runs into Kelly, who accepted Derrick’s invitation on board his boat, The Barracuda. Jake meets Crystal Shepard, another one of Derrick’s actresses, and cameraman Andrew Cunningham.  Julie takes a team of seismologist divers—Novak Radzinsky, Sam Montez, and Paula Montellano to the fissure. Novak speculates that the rift leads to a buried prehistoric lake. Paula and Sam scuba dive to the bottom and discover a large cavern filled with large piranha egg stocks. Both are killed by the piranhas before they can alert the others to the discovery. Novak and Julie find Paula’s corpse and pull it onto the boat, capturing a lone piranha, which they take to Carl Goodman, a marine biologist who works as a pet store owner. He explains that it is a highly aggressive prehistoric species, long believed to be extinct, and that the piranhas have survived through cannibalism. The species is able to vigorously devour its prey in seconds.
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Julie, Novak, Fallon, and Deputy Taylor Roberts try to evacuate the lake, but their warnings are ignored, until the piranhas begin to fiercely attack the tourists. Novak boards a jet-ski with a shotgun to help while Fallon drags people to shore, and Julie and Taylor try to get swimmers into the police boat. Almost everyone in the lake is either wounded, dismembered, or killed by the piranhas altogether, while the remaining surviving tourists escape. The party spot rapidly turns into a bloodbath.
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Meanwhile, Jake spots Laura and Zane on the island and forces Derrick to rescue them. Derrick crashes the boat into some rocks, flooding the boat’s lower deck and causing the boat to begin sinking. Kelly is trapped in the kitchen while Derrick, Crystal and Andrew fall overboard from the impact of the collision. Crystal is devoured, and Andrew escapes to shore unharmed. Meanwhile, Danni manages to get a partially eaten Derrick back on board, where he then dies.  Deputy Fallon makes a last stand, taking a boat motor and using its propeller to shred many piranhas, though he is presumed to be killed by the Piranhas. After the chaos settles, Julie receives a call from Jake pleading for help. Julie and Novak steal a speedboat and head off towards the kids. They reach Jake and attach a rope to his boat. Julie, Danni, Laura, and Zane start crossing the rope, but the piranhas latch onto Danni’s hair, causing her to lose her grip on the rope and fall into the water, where she is quickly devoured. The others make it across safely, but the rope comes loose. Using Derrick’s corpse as a distraction, Jake ties the line to himself and goes to save Kelly. He ties Kelly to him and lights a flare after releasing the gas from a pair of stored propane tanks. Novak starts the boat and speeds away just as the piranhas surround Kelly and Jake. They are dragged to safety as the propane tanks explode, destroying the boat and killing most of the piranhas.
Image result for piranha 2010Mr. Goodman calls Julie on the radio, and Julie tells him that they seem to have killed the majority of the piranhas. A horrified Goodman tells her that the reproductive glands on the piranha they obtained were not mature, which means that the fish they have killed were only the babies. As Novak wonders aloud where the parents are, the human sized-Piranha Queen leaps out of the water and eats him.

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This film was of course, filmed in 3D (there are two discs, one 2D, one 3D) with dismembered body parts and voracious piranhas coming at you in abundance. Strangely enough, I found that the 3D effects worked rather better in 2D and wearing the gasses provided was little more than a gimmick and made everything a bit monochrome. Still, it is all great fun and I enjoyed every bloody minute of it and, provided that you throw your artistic sensibilities out of the window, so, I am sure, will you!

REVIEW: BACK TO THE FUTURE – PART III

Starring

Michael J. Fox (The Frighteners)
Christopher Lloyd (Going In Style)
Mary Steenburgen (elf)
Lea Thompson (Howard The Duck)
Thomas F. Wilson (The Heat)
Elisabeth Shue (House at the End of the Street)
James Tolkan (Masters of The Universe)
Marc McClure (Superman)
Wendie Jo Sperber (Grease)
Jeffrey Weissman (Slapdash)
Billy Gibbons (Bones)

Michael J. Fox and Elisabeth Shue in Back to the Future Part III (1990)On November 12, 1955, moments after witnessing his supposed death via lightning bolt, Marty McFly (from 1985) discovers that his friend Dr. Emmett Brown (also from 1985) was transported to 1885 and is trapped. Marty and Doc’s 1955 self use the information in Doc’s 1885 letter to locate the DeLorean, with 1885 Doc instructing Marty to repair it and go straight back to 1985 and leave him be. Marty spots a tombstone with Doc’s name, dated six days after the letter, learning that Doc was killed by Biff Tannen’s great-grandfather, Buford Tannen. Marty takes a picture of the tombstone and travels back to 1885 to save Doc.Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd in Back to the Future Part III (1990)Marty arrives on September 2, 1885, in the middle of a Cavalry pursuit of Indians. When the fuel line is torn, Marty hides the car in a cave and walks to Hill Valley. He meets his Irish-born great-great-grandparents, Seamus and Maggie McFly, and runs afoul of Buford and his gang. Buford tries to hang Marty, but Doc rescues him. Doc agrees to leave 1885, but because commercial gasoline is not yet available, the DeLorean cannot reach 88 mph under its own power.Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future Part III (1990)Doc devises a plan to use a locomotive to push the DeLorean up to the required speed. While he and Marty explore a rail spur they intend to use, they spot a runaway horse-drawn wagon. Doc saves the passenger, Clara Clayton, and the two fall in love. As Marty and Doc make their way home, they realise that history says Clara was supposed to die in a nearby ravine, and that he has once again altered history. At a town festival, Buford tries to kill Doc, but Marty thwarts his attempt. Buford then insults Marty and challenges him to a showdown in two days; in his anger, Marty accepts. Later, Doc’s name disappears from the photograph of his tombstone, but the date remains unchanged; Doc warns Marty that he might be the one killed by Buford.Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future Part III (1990)The night before their departure Marty and Doc place the DeLorean onto the rail spur, and Doc makes Marty promise him that no matter what happens, once he returns to 1985 the DeLorean will immediately be destroyed. Unable to convince Clara the truth that he is from the future, Doc is spurned. Doc returns to the town saloon for a binge, but Marty goes to the saloon, and convinces Doc to leave with him. Doc drinks a single shot of whiskey and passes out. Buford arrives early and calls out Marty, but Marty refuses to duel. Doc awakes after drinking the bartender’s special “Wake-Up Juice” and tries fleeing with Marty, but Buford’s gang captures Doc, forcing Marty to duel. After fooling Buford into thinking that he actually shot Marty by wearing a bulletproof plate, Marty knocks Buford into a wagon full of manure, and Buford is then arrested for an earlier robbery. Marty and Doc depart to steal the locomotive.Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd in Back to the Future Part III (1990)As Clara is leaving on the train, she overhears a salesman discussing how heartbroken Doc was at the saloon. Clara applies the emergency brake and goes back to town. She discovers Doc’s model of the time machine and rides after him. Meanwhile, stealing the locomotive at gunpoint, Doc and Marty begin pushing the DeLorean along the spur line, attempting to get it up to 88 mph. Clara boards the locomotive while Doc is climbing towards the DeLorean. Doc encourages Clara to join him, but she falls and hangs by her dress. Marty passes his 2015-era hoverboard to Doc so he can save Clara. They coast away from the train as it falls off an unfinished railroad bridge; Marty returns alone to 1985, arriving on the completed bridge.Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future Part III (1990)Marty arrives on October 27, 1985, escaping the powerless DeLorean before it is destroyed by an oncoming freight train. He discovers that everything has returned to the initial post-time travel timeline, and finds Jennifer sleeping on her front porch. He uses the lessons he learned in 1885 to avoid being goaded into a street race with Douglas J. Needles, avoiding a possible automobile accident. Remembering that this accident would have sent Marty’s life spiraling downward by 2015, Jennifer opens a fax message she kept from 2015, and watches as its text regarding Marty’s firing disappears. As Marty and Jennifer examine the time machine wreckage, a locomotive equipped with a flux capacitor appears, manned by Doc, Clara, and their two children Jules and Verne. Doc gives Marty a photo of the two of them by the clockworks at the 1885 festival. Jennifer asks about the fax, and Doc tells them it means that the future has not been written yet. Doc departs and the train disappears into an unknown time.Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd in Back to the Future Part III (1990)All in all, Back to the Future Part Three was a perfect ending to a perfect trilogy. To anyone who despises this film, I recommend another full watching. There are so many details which are kudos out to fans of the previous two movies. The movie successfully slowed the pace of the other two movies (in preparation for conclusion) without losing the loyalty of true fans. It captured the essence of what brought these fans to Back to the Future in the first place.

REVIEW: BACK TO THE FUTURE – PART II

Starring

Michael J. Fox (The Frighteners)
Christopher Lloyd (Going In Style)
Thomas F. Wilson (The Heat)
Lea Thompson (Howard The Duck)
Elisabeth Shue (House at the End of the Street)
James Tolkan (Masters of The Universe)
Jeffrey Weissman (Slapdash)
Elijah Wood (Lord of The Rings)
Casey Siemaszko (Young Guns)
Billy Zane (The Scorpion King 3)
Jason Scott Lee (Timecop 2)
George Flower (Power Rangers In Space)
Neil Ross (Transformers: The Movie)
Mary Ellen Trainor (Roswell)

Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, and Thomas F. Wilson in Back to the Future Part II (1989)On October 26, 1985, Dr. Emmett Brown arrives in the DeLorean time machine and persuades Marty McFly and his girlfriend, Jennifer Parker, to travel to the future with him and help their future children. Biff Tannen witnesses their departure. They arrive on October 21, 2015, where Doc electronically knocks out Jennifer and leaves her asleep in an alley, explaining that she should not have too much knowledge of future events. He has Marty pose as his own son and lookalike Marty Jr. to refuse an offer to participate in a robbery with Biff’s grandson Griff, thus saving both of Marty’s children from prison.Christopher Lloyd in Back to the Future Part II (1989)Marty switches places with Marty Jr. and refuses Griff’s offer, but Griff goads Marty into a fight. Griff and his gang are arrested, saving Marty’s future children. Before rejoining Doc, Marty purchases an almanac, containing the results of major sporting events from 1950 to 2000. Doc discovers it and warns Marty about attempting to profit from time travel but, before Doc can adequately dispose of it, they are interrupted by the police, who have found Jennifer incapacitated, and are taking her to her 2015 home. They pursue, as does Biff, who has overheard their conversation and picks up the discarded almanac.Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future Part II (1989)Jennifer wakes up in her 2015 home and hides from the McFly family. She overhears that her future self’s life with Marty is not what she expected, due to his involvement in an automobile accident. She witnesses Marty being goaded by his co-worker, Douglas J. Needles, into a shady business deal, which leads to Marty’s being fired. Attempting to escape the house, Jennifer encounters her 2015 self and they both faint. While Marty and Doc attend to her, Biff steals the time machine and uses it to travel back to 1955 and give the almanac to his younger self to get rich betting, then returns to 2015. Marty, Doc, and an unconscious Jennifer return to 1985, unaware of Biff’s actions.Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future Part II (1989)The 1985 they return to has altered: Biff has become wealthy and corrupt, and has changed Hill Valley into a chaotic dystopia. Marty’s father, George, was killed in 1973 and Biff has forced Marty’s mother, Lorraine, to marry him. Doc has been committed to an insane asylum. Marty and Doc determine that the 2015 Biff took the time machine to change 1985, and Marty learns from the alternate 1985 Biff that he got the almanac on November 12, 1955. Biff attempts to confront Marty, but Marty flees and returns to 1955 with Doc, leaving Jennifer on her own front porch.Back to the Future Part II (1989)Marty secretly follows the 1955 Biff, and watches him receive the almanac from his 2015 self. Marty then follows him to the high school dance, being careful to avoid interrupting the events from his previous visit. After several fruitless attempts, Marty finally gets the almanac, leaving Biff to crash into a manure truck. Marty burns the almanac, reversing Biff’s changes to the timeline, as Doc hovers above in the time machine. Before Marty can join him in the time machine, the DeLorean is struck by lightning and disappears. A Western Union courier immediately arrives and delivers a letter to Marty; it is from Doc, who explains that he was transported back to 1885. Marty races back into town to find the 1955 Doc, who had just helped the original Marty return to 1985. Shocked by Marty’s sudden reappearance, Doc faints.Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd in Back to the Future Part II (1989)Part two is definitely worth a look for those Back to the Future fans, not to mention, it’s just good to see where these stories go. It’s not as good as the first, but it is a great movie.Give this movie a chance, you just might find yourself enjoying it.

REVIEW: HOLLOW MAN

CAST

Kevin Bacon (X-Men: First Class)
Elisabeth Shue (House At The End of The Street)
Josh Brolin (Planet Terror)
Kim Dickens (Lost)
Greg Grunberg (Heroes)
Joey Slotnick (Nip/Tuck)
Mary Randle (Phoen Booth)
William Devane (Stargate SG.1)
Rhona Mitra (Doomsday)

Scientist Dr. Sebastian Caine (Bacon) has developed a serum that can make a subject invisible. His team of scientists, which includes ex-girlfriend Dr. Linda McKay (Shue) and Dr. Matt Kensington (Brolin), eventually enable the serum to work on a female gorilla and restore the animal back to visibility. Sebastian once again becomes obsessed with Linda while unbeknownst to him, she has become involved with Matt. Instead of reporting his success to the military, Sebastian lies to the oversight committee, which includes his mentor Dr. Howard Kramer (Devane), convincing his team to go right into human testing. The procedure is performed on Sebastian himself. Despite the pain he undergoes, it is successful and Sebastian turns completely invisible. He then enjoys sneaking around the lab in order to scare and play pranks on his fellow co-workers. They become a little concerned that he is taking it too far. After three days, however, he is unable to revert to visibility.Sebastian is quarantined in the laboratory due to his condition and the other researchers construct a latex mask for him to wear around the lab. Unable to cope with the isolation, he defies instructions and sneaks out of the building. The guard working there is also very suspicious but before he can do anything, Sebastian gets into his car and drives off to his apartment to bring some things back to the lab. There, he happens to notice his neighbor disrobing and goes to her apartment where he rapes her. Linda warns him that if he leaves again, she and Matt will tell the committee about the experiment. Ignoring their threat, Sebastian assembles a device that runs a video loop of his heat signature in his quarters. He leaves the lab again and spies on Linda and Matt, becoming enraged when he sees them having sex.The team soon discover that they have been watching a recording and that Sebastian has been escaping without their knowledge. Linda and Matt go to Dr. Kramer’s house and confess their experiments. After they leave, Kramer attempts to warn his colleagues but Sebastian, who has followed Linda and Matt to the house, cuts off Kramer’s phone connection before drowning him in his own pool. The next day, Sebastian waits until all of the team is in the lab and then disables the phones and the elevator codes except for his own. He removes his clothing and latex mask and, invisible, decides to go on a killing spree, with Janice being his first victim. He also changes the security codes of all staff.Linda and the others hide in the lab, while Matt and Carter take tranquilizer guns to hunt for Sebastian, using thermal imaging goggles. While on top of a pipe, Sebastian throws Carter toward a steel bar, which hits his carotid artery, and leaves him mortally wounded. Matt and Sebastian get into a fight; just before the former is killed, Linda drags him to safety. After Carter dies from his injuries, Sarah heads to the freezer to get blood for a transfusion but is killed by Sebastian. He then kills Frank with a crowbar when he lets his guard down, and locks an injured Matt and Linda in the freezer-store room, leaving them to freeze to death. Linda then constructs an electromagnet using a defibrillator and other equipment to open the freezer door. She then gathers materials to assemble a flamethrower. Sebastian goes to the lab, where he creates nitroglycerin and puts it in a centrifuge with a timer which is meant to destroy the facility after he leaves; he also smashes the keyboard so nobody can stop the machine.Just as he enters the elevator to leave, Linda appears and fires the flamethrower at him. Sebastian barely manages to escape the flames and the two fight. Before Sebastian can kill Linda, Matt appears and hits Sebastian with the crowbar. Sebastian recovers and approaches Matt and Linda from behind with the crowbar but Matt deflects the blow, throwing Sebastian into a nearby circuit box, apparently electrocuting him and rendering him partially visible. Linda and Matt find the nitroglycerin about to explode and decide to climb up the elevator shaft to escape. The two are almost out when Sebastian, despite his injuries, grabs Linda’s ankle. He pulls her off the ladder and onto the top of the elevator and forcibly kisses her one last time, before she grabs the elevator cable and unhooks the tether holding the car. Sebastian tries to grab a hold of Linda’s foot but he pulls off her boot and Sebastian falls to his death into the explosion in the shaft below. Linda and Matt emerge from the burning laboratory and emergency personnel take them away in an ambulance.Whilst the story doesn’t ring any new twists on an old idea, the CG special effects by Scott E. Anderson are eye-poppingly brilliant as we see veins and arteries, cardiovascular systems, muscles, tissue, bones and flesh all literally appear out of nowhere. In particular, a sequence where the team bring a gorilla back from the invisible state and the scene where Bacon drowns Devane in a swimming pool, are absolutely breathtaking in the detail and artistic invention of the effects. The film also has a great soundtrack by Jerry Goldsmith and classic horror-movie photography by Jost Vacano. The young cast are pretty much overshadowed by the movie’s technical pedigree, but both Shue and Dickens are impressively out of their depth. This is a great fun movie.

REVIEW: CHASING MAVERICKS

 

CAST

Jonny Weston (John Dies at The end)
Gerard Butler (300)
Elizabeth Shue (Hollow man)
Abigail Spencer (Cowboys and Aliens)
Leven Rambin (The Hunger Games)
Scott Eastwood (Fury)

In 1987, an 8-year-old boy in Santa Cruz, California, Jay Moriarity, is saved from drowning by his next door neighbor, surfer Frosty Hesson (Gerard Butler). This ignites his passion for the sport. One morning, Jay (Jonny Weston), now 15, sees Frosty leaving early and hitches a ride on his van. He sees Frosty and three of his friends riding a gigantic swell known as Mavericks, which with El Niño coming in will be at its height in three months’ time. Reluctantly, Frosty agrees to teach Jay how to surf Mavericks, but insists that Jay learn about the “foundation pillars of surfing”. These involve him learning to paddle board 36 miles from Santa Cruz to Monterey Bay, treading water for 40 minutes and being able to hold his breath for four minutes.While training, Frosty encourages Jay to write essays to focus on the task. His first essay is about Kim (Leven Rambin), his crush, whose dog he saved when he was 8, which caused him to nearly drown. Jay gets closer to Kim as he trains, partially encouraged by Frosty’s wife, Brenda (Abigail Spencer). A few weeks before the biggest swell of the season hits Mavericks, Brenda has a stroke and dies. A few days later, distraught from Brenda’s death, Frosty paddles out into the bay. Jay follows him, and using the knowledge from his training, he helps Frosty back to shore. Frosty realizes that Jay is ready to ride Mavericks. Frosty takes Jay to Mavericks at Half Moon Bay and watches with his three friends as Jay treads water against the tide. The group agrees that Jay is ready to ride with them. For Jay’s 16th birthday on June 15, 1994, his mother (Elisabeth Shue) gives him a radio so he can listen to the weather broadcasts and track the swell. Frosty gives him a custom-made “big wave gun” (a long surfboard especially designed for riding big waves). Kim reveals her feelings for him and they share a kiss.Frosty had wanted to keep Mavericks a secret, but Jay’s notebook that he had been using for preparation ends up in the hands of his rival (Taylor Handley). When Jay and Frosty go to Half Moon Bay, there is a large crowd and boats taking surfers out. Many of the newcomers wipe out before getting to surf Mavericks. Jay wipes out at first, but then retrieves his board and successfully rides Mavericks. A title card reveals that he married Kim and died at age 22 while free-diving in the Maldives. The film ends with Frosty, Kim, and an assemblage of others holding a surfers’ memorial service for Jay.I really liked this movie. I know nothing of the surfing world but the story drew you in and you really cared about these people. Gerard Butler was the reason I bought this movie and he didn’t disappoint he was really believable in the role as Jay’s mentor.

REVIEW: HOPE SPRINGS

CAST

Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady)
Tommy Lee Jones (BAtman Forever)
Steve Carell (Get Smart)
Elisabeth SHue (Hollow Man_
Jean SMart (Legion)
Ben Rappaport (Mr. Robot)
Marin Ireland (Side Effects)
Mimi Rogers (Ginger Snaps)
Becky Ann Baker (A Simple Plan)

Although a devoted couple, empty nesters Kay and Arnold Soames (Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones) are in need of (in Kay’s opinion) help to reignite the spark in their marriage. They have slept in separate rooms for years since their youngest child went off to college, and forgo any physical affection. One day Kay (who works as a Coldwater Creek employee) tells Arnold (a partner in an Omaha accounting firm) she has paid for them to undergo a week of intense marriage counseling with Dr. Bernie Feld (Steve Carell) in a coastal resort town in Maine. Arnold, a creature of plodding, unimaginative routine, denies their marriage is in trouble.In sessions with Dr. Feld they (mainly Kay) try to articulate their feelings, revitalize their relationship, and find the spark that caused them to fall in love in the first place. Dr. Feld counsels them, asking increasingly frank questions about their sex life and feelings. Arnold is angry and defensive, unwilling to see the depth of his wife’s disappointment. Angry and crying, Kay goes alone to a bar where she has several glasses of wine, confides in the bartendress and learns that few others are having any sex, either. Arnold visits a nautical museum. Back together, they spend the night in the same bed for the first time in years, and Kay awakes to find Arnold’s arm around her. At this sign of progress, Dr. Feld urges new measures. They make halting attempts at intimacy on the bed of their budget motel and again in a movie theater, but this time with disastrous results.In a one-on-one session, Dr. Feld explains to Arnold that couples seeking marriage counseling are doing so for a reason, and asks Arnold frankly, “Is this the best you can do?” Arnold finally takes the initiative to arrange a romantic dinner and a night at a luxury inn, where they attempt to make love in front of a fireplace, but the grand design fails. At their final session, Dr. Feld tells them they’ve made much progress and should take up couples therapy back home. Back in Omaha, old habits resume. Kay offers to pet-sit for a fellow employee and packs a bag to stay there, as a first step in a permanent break with Arnold. That night, both are shown in bed trying to sleep. Arnold enters his wife’s bedroom and they tenderly embrace. The lovemaking that follows is warm, natural, and quietly passionate. The next morning it’s clear that the marriage is in a whole new place. Later that year, as Kay said she fantasized, they renew their wedding vows on a beach with Dr. Feld and their grown children present, making promises to be more understanding and considerate of each other.It makes you laugh, cry and think, which I find rare in comedies about relationships and sex. The movie does a wonderful job of showing how difficult it can be to relate to each other emotionally and physically, but it does so in a lovely, enjoyable, touching and non-depressed way. Not to mention the acting, which is brilliant and seriously funny. One of my favourite movies of the last few years.