REVIEW: THE PROPHECY

CAST

Christopher Walken (Pulp Fiction)
Elias Koteas (Crash)
Virginia Madsen (Sideways)
Eric Stoltz (Caprica)
Viggo Motensen (Lord of The Rings)
Amanda Plummer (drunks)
Adam Goldberg (A Beautiful Mind)
Steve Hytner (Roswell)
Sandra Ellis Lafferty (Walk The Line)

Evil-Bong-EebeeThomas Dagget, a Catholic seminary student, loses his faith when he sees disturbing visions of a war between angels. Years later, Thomas is a detective with the Los Angeles Police Department. Two angels fall to Earth: one, Simon, enters Thomas’ home and warns him of coming events, before disappearing. The second, Usiel, a lieutenant of the angel Gabriel, is killed in an altercation with Simon. Investigating the disturbance, Thomas finds in Simon’s apartment the obituary of a recently deceased Korean War veteran named Colonel Arnold Hawthorne and the theology thesis about angels which Thomas himself wrote in seminary. Meanwhile, in Chimney Rock, Arizona, Simon finds the dead veteran awaiting burial and sucks the evil soul out of the body.prophecy_1000_420_90_c1The medical examiner informs Thomas that Usiel’s body is like nothing he has seen before: it has no eyes, no signs of bone growth, hermaphroditism, and the same blood chemistry as an aborted fetus. Among the personal effects found on the body is an ancient, hand-written Bible, which includes an extra chapter of the Book of Revelation that describes a second war in heaven and prophecy that a “dark soul” will be found on Earth and used as a weapon. Unknown to Thomas, Gabriel arrives on Earth. Needing a human helper, Gabriel catches Jerry, a suicide, in the moment of his death and keeps him in a state of limbo. Unhappily dominated by Gabriel, Jerry retrieves Usiel’s belongings from the police station while Gabriel destroys Usiel’s body in the morgue. After finding Hawthorne’s obituary, Gabriel and Jerry head for Chimney Rock. Before Gabriel arrives, at the local reservation school Simon hides Hawthorne’s soul in a little Native American girl, Mary, who immediately falls ill and is taken care of by her teacher, Katherine.galleryimage_image_407After finding Usiel’s burnt body, all evidence of its oddity now lost, Thomas hurries to Chimney Rock. When Gabriel realizes Hawthorne’s soul is missing, he confronts Simon. Gabriel says Hawthorne’s soul will tip the balance to whichever side possesses it. Should the rebellious angels win, Heaven will become like Hell with earth in its thrall. Simon refuses to reveal its location, and Gabriel kills him, ripping out his heart. Mary shows signs of possession by the evil soul; she suddenly recounts an incident from Hawthorne’s harrowing war experiences in first-person perspective. Meanwhile, Thomas examines Simon’s remains and questions Katherine. In Hawthorne’s home, he finds evidence of war crimes. Thomas visits a church to reflect and is shaken by a verbal confrontation with Gabriel. He is beginning to understand the nature of the jealous angels who hate humans because God loves them most.The-Prophecy-UzielAt school, Katherine finds Gabriel questioning the children. After he leaves, she rushes to Mary’s home and finds Thomas there. As Mary’s condition worsens, Katherine takes Thomas to an abandoned mine where she had seen Gabriel. Inside, they find angelic script and experience together a terrible vision of the angelic war. They rush back to Mary’s home, only to find Gabriel and Jerry there. Thomas kills Jerry, who thanks him for the release. Katherine stops Gabriel temporarily when her wild gunshot misses him and blows up Mary’s trailer home. The three protagonists flee to a Native American site where Mary can be exorcised. In a hospital ICU ward, Gabriel recruits a new unwilling assistant, Rachael, just as she dies of a terminal illness. He needs her because he doesn’t know how to drive.The-Prophecy-1995-7That night, Lucifer confronts Katherine and tells her that “other angels” have taken up this war against mankind, and since then, no human souls have been able to enter Heaven. He knows of Gabriel’s plot to use Hawthorne’s soul to overthrow the obedient angels. He also knows that if Gabriel wins the war under his influence Heaven will ultimately devolve into another Hell, which Lucifer considers “one Hell too many”. The next day, Lucifer appears to Thomas and advises him to use Gabriel’s lack of faith against him. Gabriel arrives and attempts to disrupt the exorcism ritual. Thomas kills Rachel, and he and Katherine fight Gabriel.prophecy3Lucifer appears first encouraging the tribe to complete the exorcism. Then he confronts Gabriel telling him that his war is based upon arrogance, which is evil, making it Lucifer’s territory. Gabriel taunts Lucifer about his past when he fell from grace; Lucifer tells Gabriel he needs to go home and rips out his heart. Simultaneously Mary expels out Hawthorne’s soul, a rancid cloud of evil. The “enemy ghost” starts to attack the people but a bright light from Heaven immediately destroys it. With the threat to his evil kingdom eliminated, Lucifer tells Thomas and Katherine to “come home” with him. They staunchly refuse. “I have my soul…and my faith,” declares Thomas. Lucifer drags Gabriel to Hell. As morning comes, Thomas comments on the nature of faith and what it means to truly be human.walken004This movie is blessed with terrific acting. Christopher Walken in particular delivers a powerful portrayal of the tortured archangel Gabriel. There are some pretty good special effects, particularly those showing the horrors of the fighting among the angels in heaven itself. Most religious individuals should have no real problems with The Prophecy because it never portrays itself as representing some kind of truth or challenges its viewers’ own beliefs. While the movie has its flaws, it succeeds in presenting a problematical storyline with the required seriousness it requires in order to be effective.

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REVIEW: LITTLE WOMEN

CAST

Winona Ryder (Black Swan)
Gabriel Byrne (Stigmata)
Trini Alvarado (The Frighteners)
Kirsten Dunst (Bring It On)
Claire Danes (Romeo + Juliet)
Christian Bale (Batman Begins)
Eric Stoltz (Caprica)
John Neville (Odyssey 5)
Mary Wickes (Sister Act)
Susan Sarandon (Tammy)
Matthew Walker (Highlander: The Seires)
Donal Logue (Gotham)

The film focuses on the March sisters: beautiful Meg (Trini Alvarado), tempestuous Jo (Winona Ryder), tender Beth (Claire Danes), and romantic Amy (Kirsten Dunst), who are growing up in Concord, Massachusetts during and after the American Civil War. With their father away fighting in the war, the girls struggle with major and minor problems under the guidance of their strong-willed mother, affectionately called Marmee (Susan Sarandon). As a means of escaping some of their problems, the sisters revel in performing in romantic plays written by Jo in their attic theater.Living next door to the family is wealthy Mr. Laurence (John Neville), whose grandson Theodore, nicknamed “Laurie” (Christian Bale), moves in with him and becomes a close friend of the March family, particularly Jo. Mr. Laurence becomes a mentor for Beth, whose exquisite piano-playing reminds him of his deceased daughter, and Meg falls in love with Laurie’s tutor John Brooke (Eric Stoltz). Mr. March is wounded in the war and Marmee is called away to nurse him. While Marmee is away, Beth contracts scarlet fever from a neighbor’s infant. Awaiting Marmee’s return, Meg and Jo send Amy away to live in safety with their Aunt March. Prior to Beth’s illness, Jo had been Aunt March’s companion for several years, and while she was unhappy with her position she tolerated it in the hope her aunt one day would take her to Europe. When Beth’s condition worsens, Marmee is summoned home and nurses her to recovery just in time for Christmas. Mr. Laurence gives his daughter’s piano to Beth, Meg accepts John Brooke’s proposal and Mr. March surprises his family by returning home from the war.Four years pass; Meg and John marry, and Beth’s health is deteriorating steadily. Laurie graduates from college, proposes to Jo and asks her to go to London with him, but realizing she thinks of him more as a big brother than a romantic prospect, she refuses his offer. Jo later deals with the added disappointment that Aunt March has decided to take Amy, who is now sixteen (and now played by Samantha Mathis), with her to Europe instead of her. Crushed, Jo departs for New York City to pursue her dream of writing and experiencing life. There she meets Friedrich Bhaer (Gabriel Byrne), a German professor who challenges and stimulates her intellectually, introduces her to opera and philosophy, and encourages her to write better stories than the lurid Victorian melodramas she has penned so far.In Europe, Amy is reunited with Laurie. She is disappointed to find he has become dissolute and irresponsible and scolds him for pursuing her merely to become part of the March family. In return, he bitterly rebukes her for courting one of his wealthy college friends in order to marry into money. He leaves Amy a letter asking her to wait for him while he works in London for his grandfather and makes himself worthy of her. Jo is summoned home to see Beth, who finally dies of the lingering effects of scarlet fever that have plagued her for the past four years. Grieving for her sister, Jo retreats to the comfort of the attic and begins to write her life story. Upon its completion, she sends it to Professor Bhaer. Meanwhile, Meg gives birth to twins Demi and Daisy. A letter from Amy informs the family Aunt March is too ill to travel, so Amy must remain in Europe with her. In London, Laurie receives a letter from Jo in which she informs him of Beth’s death and mentions Amy is in Vevey, unable to come home. Laurie immediately travels to be at Amy’s side. They finally return to the March home as husband and wife, much to Jo’s surprise and eventual delight.Aunt March dies and she leaves Jo her house, which she decides to convert into a school. Professor Bhaer arrives with the printed galley proofs of her manuscript but when he mistakenly believes Jo has married Laurie he departs to catch a train to the West, where he is to become a teacher. Jo runs after him and explains the misunderstanding. When she begs him not to leave, he proposes marriage and she happily accepts.It’s a small scale masterpiece that will leave you in tears. The film is honest and true in it’s portrayal of human emotion. It went from being an adaptation of the book to it’s own story and portrayal of people and their lives. It’s beautiful aesthetically and dramatically, and a real gem of a film.

 

REVIEW: THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT

CAST

Ashton Kutcher (Two and a Half Men)
Amy Smart (Road Trip)
Elden Henson (Daredevil)
William Lee Scott (October Sky)
Jesse James (Jumper)
Cameron Bright (Twilight: New Moon)
Melora Walters (Ed Wood)
Eric Stoltz (Caprica)
Ethan Suplee (My Name Is Earl)
Kevin Durand (Dark Angel)
Callum Keith Rennie (Flashforward)
Lorena Gale (Battlestar Galactica)
Logan Lerman (The Three Musketeers)

Growing up, Evan Treborn and his friends, Lenny and siblings Kayleigh and Tommy Miller, suffered many severe psychological traumas that frequently caused Evan to black out. These traumas include being coerced to take part in child pornography by Kayleigh and Tommy’s father, George Miller (Eric Stoltz), being nearly strangled to death by his institutionalized father, Jason Treborn (Callum Keith Rennie), who is then killed in front of him by guards; accidentally killing a mother and her infant daughter while playing with dynamite with his friends; and seeing his dog being burned alive by Tommy.Seven years later, while entertaining a girl in his dorm room, Evan discovers that when he reads from his adolescent journals, he can travel back in time and redo parts of his past. His time traveling episodes account for the frequent blackouts he experienced as a child, since those are the moments that his adult self occupied his conscious, such as the moment his father strangled him when he realizes that Evan shares his time-traveling affliction. However, there are consequences to his revised choices that dramatically alter his present life. For example, his personal time-line leads to alternative futures in which he finds himself, variously, as a college student in a fraternity, an inmate imprisoned for murdering Tommy, and a double amputee. Eventually, he realizes that, even though his intentions to fix the past are good, his actions have unforeseen consequences, in which either he or at least one of his friends does not benefit. Moreover, the assimilation of dozens of years’ worth of new memories from the alternative timelines causes him brain damage and severe nosebleeds. He ultimately reaches the conclusion that he and his friends might not have good futures as long as he keeps altering the past, and he realizes that he is hurting them rather than helping.Evan travels back one final time to the day he first met Kayleigh as a child. He intentionally upsets her so that she and Tommy will choose to live with their mother, in a different neighborhood, instead of with their father when they divorce. As a result, they aren’t subjected to a destructive upbringing, don’t grow up with Evan, and go on to have happy, successful lives. Evan awakens in a college dorm room, where Lenny is his roommate. As a test, he asks where Kayleigh is, to which Lenny responds “Who’s Kayleigh?”. Knowing that everything is all right this time, Evan burns his journals and videos to avoid altering the timeline ever again.Eight years later in New York City, an adult Evan exits an office building and passes by Kayleigh on the street. Though a brief look of recognition passes over both of their faces, they both decide to keep walking.

Directors’ cut

The director’s cut features a notably different ending. With his brain terribly damaged and aware that he is about to be committed to a psychiatric facility where he will lose access to his time travel ability, Evan makes a desperate attempt to change the timeline by travelling back to his pre-birth self (by viewing a family film of his father’s), where he strangles himself in the womb with his umbilicus so as to prevent the multi-generational curse from continuing, consistent with an added scene where a fortune teller describes Evan to Evan and his mother as “having no lifeline” and “not belonging to this world”. Kayleigh is then seen as a child in the new timeline having chosen to live with her mother instead of her father, and a montage suggests that the lives of the other childhood characters have become loving and less tragic.

Despite mixed reviews prior to seeing this, I thought this film was an absolute gem. The cast were well introduced at the start and you were led thru the film with mysterious gaps which were filled later on, shocking the audience at times. Subject matter was occasionally difficult but this made it all the more believeable in our hero’s responses. Anything that offers a temporal paradox allows the mind to fulfil the ‘whatif’ question. It gets you thinking but this movie was difficult to 2nd guess which in my view makes for a great and unpredictable film

31 DAYS OF HORROR REVIEW: THE FLY II

CAST

Eric Stoltz (Caprica)
Daphne Zuniga (Spaceballs)
Lee Richardson (Network)
John Getz (The Happy Hooker)
Frank C. Turner (2012)
Garry Chalk (Dark Angel)
Lorena Gale (BVattlestar Galactica)
Bill Dow (Stargate: Atlantis)
Garwin Sanford (Tru Calling)

Several months after the events of The Fly, Veronica Quaife delivers Seth Brundle’s child. After giving birth to a squirming larval sac, she dies from shock. The sac then splits open to reveal a seemingly normal baby boy. The child, named Martin Brundle, is raised by Anton Bartok, owner of Bartok Industries (the company which financed Brundle’s teleportation experiments). Fully aware of the accident which genetically merged Seth Brundle with a housefly (a condition that Martin has inherited), Bartok plans to exploit the child’s unique condition.

Martin grows up in a clinical environment, and is constantly subjected to studies and tests by scientists. His physical and mental maturity is highly accelerated, and he possesses a genius-level intellect, incredible reflexes, and no need for sleep. He knows he is aging faster than a normal human, but is unaware of the true cause, having been told his father died from the same rapid aging disease. As Martin grows, Bartok befriends him.

At age 3, Martin has the physique of a 10-year-old, and frequently sneaks around and explores the Bartok complex. He finds a room containing laboratory animals, and befriends a Golden Retriever. The next night, he brings the dog some of his dinner, only to find it missing. He enters an observation booth overlooking Bay 17. There, scientists have managed to reassemble Brundle’s Telepods, but were unable to duplicate his programming that enabled them to teleport living subjects. Using the Golden Retriever as a test subject, the experiment fails, leaving the dog horribly deformed. The dog attacks and maims one of the scientists, horrifying young Martin.

Two years later, Martin’s body has matured to that of a 25-year-old. On his fifth birthday, Bartok presents Martin with a bungalow on the Bartok facility’s property. He also offers Martin a job: repair his father’s Telepods. He apologizes about the Golden Retriever and assures Martin that its suffering was brief. When Martin is uneasy about the proposition, and Bartok shows him Veronica Quaife’s videotapes, which documented Seth Brundle’s progress with the Telepods. Seeing his late father describe how the Telepods ostensibly improved and energized his body, Martin accepts Bartok’s proposal.
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As he begins work on the Telepods, Martin befriends an employee, Beth Logan, and they grow closer. Beth invites Martin to a party at the specimens division, where he overhears some scientists and learns that the mutated Golden Retriever is still kept alive and studied. Thinking Beth is aware of the dog’s imprisonment, Martin argues with her, leaves the party, and goes to the animal’s holding pen. The deformed dog, in terrible pain, still remembers Martin, and he tearfully euthanizes it with chloroform. Martin reconciles with Beth, and rearrives at his father’s “eureka” moment when he realizes the Telepod’s computer need to be creative to analyze living flesh. Martin then shows Beth his perfected Telepods by teleporting a kitten without harm. They become lovers, but Martin begins showing signs of his eventual mutation into a human-fly hybrid. Martin devises a potential cure for his condition, which involves swapping out his mutated genes for healthy human genes. Martin shelves this idea when he realizes the other person would be subject to a grotesque genetic disfigurement.
Image result for the fly iiEventually, Martin learns that Bartok has hidden cameras in his bungalow, and has been lying to him for his entire life. Martin breaks into Bartok’s records room, where he learns of his father’s true fate. Bartok confronts Martin and explains that he’s been waiting for his inevitable mutation. He reveals his plan to use Martin’s body and the Telepods’ potential for genetic manipulation for profit. Martin’s dormant insect genes fully awaken and his transformation into a human-insect hybrid begins. He escapes from Bartok Industries. Bartok is unable to use the Telepods, as it is locked by a password. Martin also installed a computer virus which will erase the Telepods’ programming if the wrong “magic word” is entered. Bartok orders a search for Martin.
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Martin goes to Beth, explains the situation, and the two flee. They visit Veronica Quaife’s old confidant, Stathis Borans, who is now a reclusive, embittered drunk after her death. Borans confirms for Martin that the Telepods are his only chance for a cure. They keep running, but Martin’s physical and emotional changes become too much for Beth to handle, and she eventually surrenders them both to Bartok. Without revealing the password, he becomes fully enveloped in a cocoon and enters the final stages of his transformation. Bartok interrogates Beth for the “magic word.” Shortly after, the fully transformed “Martinfly” emerges from his cocoon and indiscriminately kills the scientists and security guards. A trace of his humanity remains, as shown when he doesn’t harm a rottweiler and spares Beth when he encounters her during his rampage.
Image result for the fly iiMartinfly breaks into Bay 17. He grabs Bartok and forces him to type in the password (revealed to be “DAD”). He then drags Bartok and himself into a Telepod. Martinfly gestures Beth to activate the gene-swapping sequence and, despite Bartok’s protests, Beth complies. Martin is restored to a fully human form, while Bartok is transformed into a freakish monster that can barely crawl around/ The Bartok-creature is placed in a specimen pit similar to the one he had kept the mutated dog. In the final shot of the film, as it leans down to feed from a bowl, it notices a housefly.Image result for the fly iiThis film got battered when released, but actually is a pretty decent film. Though it probably made sense to finish the franchise here.

REVIEW: HARVARD MAN

CAST
Sarah Michelle Gellar (Ringer)
Adrian Grenier (Drive Me Crazy)
Joey Lauren Adams (Chasing Amy)
Eric Stoltz (Caprica)
Rebecca Gayheart (Dead Like Me)
John Neville (Odyssey 5)
Polly Shannon (Lie With Me)
Cle Bennett (Heroes Reborn)
Peter Mensah (Sleepy Hollow)
The story concerns Harvard student Alan Jensen, the point guard of the Harvard basketball team. When his parents’ house is destroyed by a tornado, Alan is desperate for $100,000 to replace their home. He is approached by his girlfriend Cindy Bandolino, whose father is an organized crime boss. Cindy convinces Alan to throw a game for the money. She tells Alan that her father is behind the deal, but actually she goes to her father’s associate, Teddy Carter, and Carter’s assistant, Kelly Morgan for funding. What she does not know is that Carter and Morgan are undercover FBI agents.
Alan throws the game, gives his parents the money, and then undergoes a psychedelic experience after he ingests a big dose of LSD, 15,000 micrograms. There follows a long stretch of the film during which morphing special effects demonstrate Alan’s altered state as he is pursued by Carter, while Cindy is collared by Morgan.
Just when it looks like a toss-up as to what will prove his downfall first, the bad trip, the FBI, or the mob, Alan’s other girlfriend (who is also his philosophy lecturer), Chesney Cort (played by Adams), saves the day. Not only does she get Alan to a doctor who can bring him back to sobriety, she reveals that she is in a sexual threesome with Carter and Morgan. Once he gets some photographic evidence for blackmail, Alan is extricated from his problems.
With almost all the characters flawed by greed, sex or drugs, the one that comes across in the most sympathetic light is the mafia don. You know the good guys will probably win in the end but you’re not really sure who qualifies as good. Despite the special effects, the drug trip is rather too long and mostly fairly dull. Definitely a film for Gellar fans, but I’m not sure how much it would have going for it without her.

 

REVIEW: PULP FICTION

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CAST
John Travolta (The Punisher)
Uma Thurman (Kill Bill)
Samuel L. Jackson (The Avengers)
Tim Roth (Lie To Me)
Phil LaMarr (Free Enterprise)
Amanda Plummer (Drunks)
Bruce Willis (Die Hard)
Ving Rhames (Mission Impossible)
Rosanna Arquette (The Whole Nine Yards)
Eric Stoltz (Caprica)
Steve Buscemi (Ghost World)
Christopher Walken (The Prophecy)
Kathy Griffin (Shrek Forever After)
Alexis Arquette (Bride of Chucky)
Harvey Keitel (Red Dragon)

Outrageously violent, time-twisting, and in love with language, you don’t need me to tell you that Pulp Fiction was widely considered the most influential American movie of the 1990s. Director Quentin Tarantino merged amazingly complex yet casual dialogue with the serious violence of American gangster movies and films noirs mixed up with the wacky violence of cartoons and video games.

The fragmented story-telling structure keeps you watching to see how it all fits together. The script intertwines three stories, featuring Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta, as hit men who have philosophical interchanges on such topics as the French names for American fast food products; Bruce Willis as a boxer; and Uma Thurman, whose dance sequence with Travolta proved an instant classic.

The moments of shocking violence are simultaneously humorous and ghastly. The surreal yet realistic atmosphere, long takes, and wittily literate non-stop dialogue engage me in the characters’ experience. I’m sure I could dissect this film to no end, commenting on the pop culture references and influences, I could comment on how I enjoyed Samuel L Jackson’s furiously philosophical character and the mysterious item that was in that brief case, but I won’t. I won’t because I don’t need to, it won’t change the fact that this film is an absolute classic, everybody knows it and it will always be remembered when people think of 90’s cinema, plus It’s so nice to watch a film that is a critical sensation and a box-office hit, as you feel clever and entertained

REVIEW: JERRY MAGUIRE

 

CAST

Tom Cruise (Top Gun)
Cuba Gooding Jr. (Boat Trip)
Renee Zellweger (Cinderella Man)
Kelly Preston (Twins)
Jerry O’Connell (Sliders)
Jay Mohr (Small Soldiers)
Bonnie Hunt (Cars)
Regina King (The Big Bang Theory)
Jonathan Lipnicki (Stuart Little)
Hynden Walch (The Batman)
Donal Logue (Gotham)
Drake Bell (Superhero Movie)
Eric Stoltz (Caprica)
Reagan Gomez-Preston (The Cleveland Show)
Lucy Liu (Charlies Angels)
Justian Vail (Kiss The Girls)
Ivana Milicevic (Vanilla Sky)
Emily Procter (CSI: Miami)
Beau Bridges (Stargate: Atlantis)

The title character is played by Tom Cruise (Mission: Impossible), a sports agent in a high-powered firm who continues to support and advocate for his client, sometimes at all physical costs to the athlete. In a moment of revelation, he thinks that the firm can do better, be more human, as it were, and one night writes and publishes a manifesto of sorts that illustrates how to do this. Of course, the firm’s main motivation is to be profitable and not nice, so he is unceremoniously dumped, and he is unable to retain his clients either, except for one, a middle-of-the-pack football player named Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding Jr., A Few Good Men).

He also has Dorothy (Renee Zellweger, Cold Mountain), a secretary who read Jerry’s memo, enjoyed it and leaves the firm with him. From there, each of the male characters seem to have separate revelations from their work; Rod’s willingness to take a hit or two quietly elevates his status within the NFL, and Jerry’s personal adaptation into a relationship, where he had previously feared commitment, but was almost addicted to companionship that was far from serious.Jerry Maguire is still watchable after so many years, along with the charm and wit that Crowe has been known for delivering for over two decades now.