REVIEW: W.

CAST

Josh Brolin (Wall Street 2)
Elizabeth Banks (Power Rangers)
Ioan Gruffudd (Ringer)
Toby Jones (The Mist)
Jeffrey Wright (Westworld)
Thandie Newton (Mission Impossible II)
Scott Glenn (The Silence of The Lambs)
Richard Dreyfuss (Jaws)
Bruce McGill (Collateral)
Jesse Bradford (Swimfan)
James Cromwell (Star Trek: First Contact)
Marley Shelton (Planet Terror)
Ellen Burstyn (Interstellar)
Colin Hanks (King Kong)
Jason Ritter (Freddy Vs Jason)
Noah Wylie (Donnie Darko)
Rob Corddry (Warm Bodies)
Stacy Keach (The Bourne Legacy)

In 1966, George W. Bush endures an initiation by his fellow Yale University students as a Delta Kappa Epsilon pledge. During the hazing, Bush successfully recalls the names and nicknames of many of the fraternity members, and states that his family’s political legacy is one in which he has no interest. After Bush is jailed in New Jersey for rowdiness following a football game, his father, George H. W. Bush states that he will help Bush for the last time. Following his graduation from Yale, Bush takes a job at an oil patch back in Texas, but he quits after a few weeks. In 1972, “Junior” reveals his real aspirations in a father-son talk: working in professional baseball. Bush is accepted into Harvard Business School with the help of his father. After heavy drinking, Bush crashes his car into his family estate and challenges his father to a fistfight. His brother, Jeb, stops the fight.In 1977, Bush announces he will run for Congress to represent Texas’s 19th district. At a barbecue, Bush meets his future wife, Laura Lane Welch. During a debate, Bush is criticized by his Democratic opponent, Kent Hance, who says that Bush is not a real Texan and has spent campaign contributions to throw an alcohol-fueled party for underage Texas Tech University students. Bush does poorly in the debate and loses the election, but with the highest number of votes for a Republican candidate in the state’s history.In 1986, Bush becomes a born-again Christian, gives up alcohol, and mends his relationship with his father. The elder Bush invites him to assist with what becomes his 1988 presidential campaign, although Bush himself suspects that he only was asked because Jeb was busy. Bush’s political advisor, Karl Rove, tells him that he has the potential to make a name for himself. Bush becomes a front office executive of the Texas Rangers baseball team, while his father oversees the victory of the Gulf War. Although Allied forces win the war within 100 hours, the elder Bush decides not to invade Iraq to depose Saddam Hussein. After his father loses the 1992 presidential election to Bill Clinton, Bush blames the loss on his decision not to depose Saddam.In 1994, Bush runs for Governor of Texas despite his father’s opposition. In 1999, he makes a successful bid to become President. Following the September 11 attacks in 2001, Bush labels Iran, Iraq, and North Korea as the “axis of evil”. In 2002, Bush searches for evidence that Saddam was creating nuclear weapons, and has the army prepared. All of Bush’s White House staff supports him except Secretary of State Colin Powell, who states that planning to invade Iraq would destabilize the country. Powell is generally overruled by Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who insist that the war would secure the United States’ status as sole global superpower while spreading democracy throughout the Middle East.In March 2003, the U.S. invades Iraq and the war appears to be a success, and Bush gives his “Mission Accomplished” speech on an aircraft carrier. When it becomes clear that there are no weapons of mass destruction within Iraq, Bush learns that the responsibility for finding them had been relegated far down the chain of command. Bush discovers that Saddam gambled his regime and his life on the assumption that Bush was bluffing. Bush is asked in a White House press conference what mistakes he made as President, a question that leaves him flustered and speechless. That night, Bush has a nightmare in which his father accuses him of ruining his family’s legacy, which the elder Bush claims was intended for Jeb. Bush dreams of himself playing center field at a baseball game. Bush attempts to catch a pop fly, but it disappears.Oliver Stone directs this dramatisation of the life and eight-year presidency of George W Bush. The film features an all-star cast playing the White House’s most high-profile figures, with Josh Brolin as the president, Elizabeth Banks as Laura Bush, Richard Dreyfuss as Vice President Dick Cheney, Jeffrey Wright as Secretary of State Colin Powell, Thandie Newton as Condoleezza Rice and James Cromwell as George Bush Senior. Like other Oliver Stone movies, it polarised opinion almost immediately on its release. While some have seen the film as a two-hour character assassination, others have complained that it is too sympathetic towards the president. It’s a film that each and everyone has to make up their own mind about.

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REVIEW: THE WICKER MAN (2006)

CAST

Nicolas Cage (Gone in 60 Seconds)
Ellen Burstyn (The Exorcist)
Kate Beehan (The Return)
Leelee Sobieski (Road Kill)
Frances Conroy (How I Met Your Mother)
Molly Parker (Sunshine)
Diane Delano (KJeepers Creepers 2)
Aaron Eckhart (The Core)
Matthew Walker (Highlander: The Series)
James Franco (Your Highness)
Jason Ritter (Goliath)
Christine Willes (Dead Like Me)
Anna Von Hooft (Flash Gordon)
Kendall Cross (Caprica)
Monique Ganderton (Smallville)

Policeman Edward Malus (Nicolas Cage) receives news from his ex-fiancée, Willow Woodward (Kate Beahan), that her daughter, Rowan (Erika Shaye Gair), is missing. He travels to the Western United States and takes a ship cruise to a coastal area where he gets a pilot (Matthew Walker) to take him to an island off the coast of Washington State where a group of neo-pagans live.

The island is led by Sister Summersisle (Ellen Burstyn), an elderly woman who supposedly represents the goddess they worship. Sister Summersisle explains to Edward that her ancestors had left England to avoid persecution, only to settle near Salem and find renewed persecution in the Salem witch trials, before arriving on the island. Sister Summersisle explains that their population is predominantly female as they choose the strongest stock—evading Edward’s concern about the birth of unwanted males. The economy of the island relies on the production of local honey, which Edward learns has declined recently. Edward asks the villagers about Rowan, but they give him evasive answers. He later sees two men carrying a large bag that appears to be dripping blood, and then he finds a fresh, unmarked grave in the churchyard. The grave turns out to only contain a burned doll, but Edward finds Rowan’s sweater in the churchyard.
At the village school, teacher Sister Rose (Molly Parker) tries to prevent Edward from seeing the class register. When he sees that Rowan’s name has been crossed out he becomes enraged at the teacher’s and Rowan’s classmates’ lies. Rose demands Edward talk outside and, after a short discussion of the island people’s view of death, Rose explains that Rowan is “letting it snow”. Edward asks how Rowan died and Sister Rose tells him first that “She’ll burn to death”. When Edward catches the tense she used, Sister Rose corrects herself quickly, saying, “She burned to death”, and rushes back to her class.
While questioning Willow about the grave, she reveals to Edward that Rowan is his daughter. As Edward searches through the island for clues and answers, he eventually grows to realise the community is a matriarchal dystopian society. On the day of the fertility rite, Edward frantically searches the village for Rowan. He attacks Sister Beech (Diane Delano), who has a bear costume for the ritual. Edward incapacitates Sister Honey (Leelee Sobieski), dons the bear suit, and joins the parade led by Sister Summersisle. The parade ends at the site of the festival. Rowan is tied to a large tree, about to be burned. Edward rescues Rowan and they run away through the woods, but Rowan leads him back to Sister Summersisle. Sister Summersisle thanks Rowan for her help, and Edward realizes that the search for Rowan was a trap. Sister Willow is Sister Summersisle’s daughter, and his fate was sealed many years ago, when Sister Willow chose him. The villagers attack Edward and overpower him, viciously breaking his legs with a mallet to prevent him from escaping. Throughout all this, he keeps asking how can he be a good sacrifice if he does not believe in their religion. The women carry him to a giant wicker man and shut him inside. Rowan sets fire to the wicker man and Edward is sacrificed amid his screams and a giant blaze. The crowd chants “The drone must die!”, believing that Edward’s sacrifice will restore their honey production.

Six months later, Sisters Willow and Honey enter a bar and start talking with two off-duty police officers (James Franco and Jason Ritter). The women invite them to go home with them, presumably in hopes of using them as they used Edward. The buzzing of bees and screaming from Edward Malus can be heard over Sister Honey as the film fades to black.I dont quite understand all the negative comments regarding this film, i looked at it in complete isolation, the original film was amazing, however this is a great film in its own right, totally different and very creepy, and the acting from Cage and the rest of the cast is amazing, sacrificing the policeman to save the bee population, while the original was to save the failing crops, the ending was very similar and predictable, however this film didnt disappoint in any way and still kept you on edge right till the end.

31 DAYS OF HORROR REVIEW: THE EXORCIST (1973)

 

CAST

Ellen Burstyn (Requiem for a Dream)
Max Von Sydow (Conan The Barbarian)
Jason Miller (Toy Soldiers)
Linda Blair (Hell Night)
Kitty Winn (Peeper)
Robert Symonds (The Ice Pirates)

Released in 1973 to unsuspecting audiences worldwide, William Friedkin’s The Exorcist has shocked, appalled, outraged, reassured and just plain terrified millions of people during the last 40 years. Based on William Peter Blatty’s novel of the same name (which was, in turn, inspired by a documented 1949 event), this jarring film professes the existence of demonic possession under seemingly random circumstances: any one of us could fall victim, even an innocent young girl. The victim is Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair), who gradually shifts from a precocious pre-teen to a vomiting, hate-spewing representation of Satan himself. Her atheist mother Chris (Ellen Burstyn) tries almost everything to save Regan—pills, medical procedures, psychiatry—before turning to religion, represented by Father Damien Karras (Jason Miller), a struggling Catholic priest who reluctantly takes the unusual case. Soon enough, he calls in the elderly Father Lankester Merrin (Max von Sydow), and both men take part in an exorcism to wholly remove the evil spirit from Regan’s body.The Catholic Church infamously endorsed The Exorcist—even promoted it, to a certain extent—and why not? The movie makes Fathers Merrin and Kerris look like superheroes during the climactic exorcism, battling Satan for the soul of a helpless 12 year-old girl while staring death square in the eyes. All of this transpires after numerous medical procedures are attempted and doctors half-heartedly prescribe drugs to sedate the troubled young girl. “Science can’t save us and religion comes to the rescue”…so if that falls in line with your belief system, you’re more likely to be affected by what transpires here. Still, The Exorcist relies too heavily on gross-out gags, jump scares and its central “child in distress” to feel like anything more than an extended version of shock treatment. Well-made shock treatment, sure. Either way, The Exorcist carved itself a devout following during the last 40 years and even spawned sequels. It also warranted the release of a director’s cut in 2000, infamously advertised as “The Version You’ve Never Seen”.Having no long-standing ties to the theatrical cut (after all, I first saw The Exorcist just a few short years before the director’s cut had come about), I don’t emphatically prefer one over the other. The addition of a few scenes—medical procedures, the infamous “spider walk”, a short scene of Father Karras listening to tapes of a younger Regan, and a conversation between Karras and Merrin during the exorcism—are either modest improvements or, at the very least, short enough to not overstay their welcome. Yet other additions (including a few subliminally-flashed demon faces and a longer ending) detract from the overall experience. Overall, it’s a toss-up in my opinion, so the viewer is left to decide whether the Director’s Cut is worth another ten minutes. What matters most is that both versions are available here.

 

REVIEW: INTERSTELLAR

CAST
Matthew McConaughey (Two For The Money)
Ellen Burstyn  (Mom)
Jessica Chastain (The Huntsman: Winter’s War)
Mackenzie Foy (The Conjuring)
John Lithgow (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Timothée Chalamet (Homeland)
David Oyelowo (Rise of The Planet of Rhe Apes)
Anne Hathaway (The Dark Knight Rises)
Wes Bentley (The Hunger Games)
William Devane (Stargate: Continuum)
Michael Caine (Inception)
Casey Affleck (Gone Baby Gone)
Topher Grace (That 70s Show)
Matt Damon (The Bourne Identity)
A catastrophic crop blight has made farming increasingly difficult and threatens humanity’s survival. Joe Cooper, a widowed former NASA pilot, runs a farm with his father-in-law, son, and daughter Murphy, who believes her bedroom is haunted by a poltergeist. When the “ghost” creates a pattern in the dust, Cooper realizes someone is using gravity to communicate, and interprets the pattern as geographic coordinates, which Cooper and Murphy follow to a secret NASA facility.
There, they meet Dr. Brand, Cooper’s former professor. Brand reveals that a wormhole, apparently created by an alien intelligence, appeared near Saturn 48 years before and leads to a distant galaxy, with numerous potentially habitable planets. Twelve volunteers have gone through it, knowing only a few can be retrieved, each to assess a planet’s suitability as humanity’s new home. Miller, Edmunds and Mann have sent encouraging data from planets near Gargantua, a supermassive black hole. Brand recruits Cooper to pilot the spaceship Endurance to evaluate as many of the planets as possible, while he works on “Plan A”, a theory to harness gravity for propulsion, which would allow humanity to leave Earth. The Endurance also carries 5,000 frozen embryos as “Plan B”, to provide for humanity’s survival. Cooper agrees to go, alienating Murphy.
Cooper’s crew consists of scientists Romilly, Doyle, and Brand’s daughter Amelia and robots TARS and CASE. Traversing the wormhole, they head to Miller’s planet, an ocean world where time is severely dilated due to its proximity to Gargantua; for each hour there, seven years pass on Earth. While Romilly and TARS remain aboard, the rest descend to the surface, where they find only wreckage. Amelia retrieves Miller’s data, before a gigantic tidal wave kills Doyle. Cooper, Amelia, and CASE manage to return to Endurance, but 23 years have elapsed on Earth.
Murphy, now an adult, has been assisting Dr. Brand with his research. On his deathbed, he admits to her that he solved the gravity equation long before and deemed Plan A impossible, and that he lied to everyone, pinning his hopes on Plan B. Murphy notifies Amelia of her father’s death, then accuses her and Cooper of abandoning Earth. She continues working, believing Plan A might work if she could somehow get more data about singularities.
With limited fuel, Cooper decides to go to Mann’s planet, rather than Edmunds’, over Amelia’s opposition; both have sent promising data, but Mann is closer and Amelia admits to being in love with Edmunds. After being revived from cryosleep, Mann assures the crew that while the frozen planet has an ammonia-laden atmosphere, the surface is livable. However, when they are alone, Mann attempts to kill Cooper, revealing that he falsified the data so he would be rescued. Mann then heads for Endurance. Meanwhile, Romilly is killed by a booby trap. After Amelia rescues Cooper, they race to Endurance, where Mann is attempting to dock despite being locked out of the autodocking system. Mann ignores Cooper’s plea not to open the airlock, which fails catastrophically. Mann is killed and the severely damaged Endurance begins falling out of orbit. Cooper uses the landing craft to stabilize the ship.
Using Gargantua’s gravity as a slingshot, they head to Edmunds’ planet, but their nearness to the black hole means 51 years will elapse on Earth. To shed weight, Cooper jettisons himself and TARS towards the black hole, so that Amelia and CASE can complete the journey. Cooper and TARS pass the event horizon, but emerge in a tesseract, which appears as a stream of bookshelves that look into Murphy’s bedroom at different times. Cooper surmises that the tesseract and wormhole were created by five-dimensional beings to enable him to communicate with Murphy and that he is her “ghost”. He relays in Morse code quantum data that TARS collected from the black hole by manipulating the second hand of a watch he gave to Murphy before he left. Murphy is able to solve the remaining gravitational equation.
Cooper is ejected into normal space and awakens in a space habitat orbiting Saturn. He reunites with an aged Murphy, now near death. At Murphy’s urging, Cooper leaves to rejoin Amelia on Edmunds’ habitable planet, the future home of humanity.
Interstellar is a terrific film, and may come to be regarded as one of the best ever from this genre.