REVIEW: ASSASSIN’S CREED

 

CAST

Michael Fassbender (Shame)
Marion Cotillard (La Vie En Rose)
Jeremy Irons (Justice League)
Brendan Gleeson (Edge of Tomorrow)
Charlotte Rampling (Gregory Girl)
Michael K. Williams (12 Years A Slave)
Denis Ménochet (Inglourious Basterds)
Ariane Labed (The Lobster)
Khalid Abdalla (Green Zone)
Essie Davis (Game of Thrones)
Matias Varela (Point Break)
Callum Turner (Queen and Country)
Carlos Bardem (Oliver’s Deal)
Javier Gutiérrez Álvarez (The Olive Tree)

Michael Fassbender in Assassin's Creed (2016)In 1492 Andalusia, during the Granada War, Aguilar de Nerha is accepted into the Assassins Brotherhood. He is assigned to protect Prince Ahmed de Granada from the Knights Templar. In 1986, adolescent Callum “Cal” Lynch finds his mother killed by his father, Joseph, a modern-day Assassin. Gunmen led by Alan Rikkin, CEO of the Templars’ Abstergo Foundation, arrive to capture Joseph, who convinces his son to escape.Jeremy Irons and Michael Fassbender in Assassin's Creed (2016)In 2016, Cal is sentenced to death for murdering a pimp, but his execution is faked by the Abstergo Foundation, which then takes him to their research facility in Madrid. He is told that the Templars are searching for the Apple of Eden, in order to eliminate violence by using the Apple’s code to control humanity’s free will. Sofia, Alan’s daughter and the head scientist, reveals that Cal is a descendant of Aguilar, the last person confirmed to be in possession of the Apple. She puts Cal in the Animus, a machine which allows him to relive (and the scientists to observe) Aguilar’s genetic memories, so that Abstergo can learn what he did with the Apple.Michael Kenneth Williams, Michael Fassbender, and Octavia Selena Alexandru in Assassin's Creed (2016)In 15th-century Spain, Aguilar/Callum and his partner Maria are deployed to rescue Ahmed, who has been kidnapped by the Templar Grand Master Tomas de Torquemada, to coerce Ahmed’s father, Sultan Muhammad XII, to surrender the Apple. Aguilar and Maria intercept the Templars, but are overpowered and captured by Torquemada’s enforcer, Ojeda. Cal is quickly pulled out of the Animus by Sofia. Cal encounters other Assassin descendants held captive at the facility, most of whom are suspicious of his motives, with the exception of Moussa, the descendant of an 18th-century Haitian Assassin named Baptiste and a key leader. Cal begins experiencing hallucinations, dubbed “the Bleeding Effect”, of both Aguilar and Joseph. Cal and Sofia build a rapport during their sessions; she confides that her mother was likewise murdered by an Assassin, sharing his hatred of the Brotherhood of which his father is a member.Marion Cotillard in Assassin's Creed (2016)Back in the Animus, Aguilar and Maria are scheduled for execution but he manages to free them, leading to a rooftop chase in which they escape through an Assassin “Leap of Faith”. Cal’s mind reacts violently to the session and he is temporarily paralyzed. When Cal learns that his father is also at the facility, he confronts Joseph over his mother’s death. Joseph informs him that the Bleeding Effect will allow modern Cal to possess Aguilar’s combat abilities. He also learns that his mother was an Assassin, and she chose to die by Joseph’s hand rather than be forced into the Animus. Unconvinced, Cal vows to destroy the Assassins by finding the Apple. Meanwhile, Alan is pressured by a Templar Elder, Ellen Kaye, to shut down the multibillion-dollar Animus Project because they have already “won… people no longer care about their civil liberties… they’re content to follow”, leading Sofia to question her father’s true intentions.Marion Cotillard and Michael Fassbender in Assassin's Creed (2016)Reaffirmed by his encounter with his father, Cal willingly enters the Animus once again, whereupon Aguilar and Maria ambush a meeting between Muhammad and Torquemada. They succeed in killing the Templars and retrieving the Apple, though Ojeda captures Maria in order to force Aguilar to surrender it. Instead, Maria chooses death, and stabs herself on Ojeda’s blade. Aguilar kills him and escapes through another Leap, the force of which causes the Animus to violently malfunction. Aguilar gives the Apple to Christopher Columbus, who promises to take it to his grave. When Moussa and the modern Assassin prisoners start a riot in order to escape, Alan orders the facility purged. Abstergo security kills Joseph and most of the other prisoners. Cal stands in the Animus chamber and is met with the projections of a number of his Assassin ancestors, including Aguilar, Arno Dorian, Joseph and his mother. Persuaded by his mother, Cal embraces his Assassins’ Creed and, having fully assimilated Aguilar’s memories and abilities, joins Moussa and two other surviving Assassins in escaping the facility.Having retrieved the Apple from Columbus’ burial vault, Alan and his followers converge at a ceremony in a Templar sanctuary in London to celebrate their triumph. Inside the sanctuary, a disillusioned Sofia meets with Cal, who has come to take the Apple, and she reluctantly allows him to act. Cal retrieves the Apple, but kills Alan to do it. While Sofia vows revenge against Cal, the Assassins depart, vowing to once again protect the Apple from the Templars.Michael Fassbender in Assassin's Creed (2016)Assassins Creed is by no means perfect, but I did enjoy it. The film has the classic setting from Assassins Creed games, a modern day protagonist enters the Animus to relive the memories of his ancestor. The film does a pretty good job explaining the series mythos to those unfamiliar with the games. Sadly, we don’t spend as much time with the ancestor Aquilar as we do with the present day Cal, and Aquilar feels under developed as a character. The movie also felt a bit short. It really could have benefited from a longer run time, to give more character development to the ancestors, and explain some of the characters motivations better. The action in this movie is great, the story is solid, and the characters (that are properly developed) are interesting. Both Fassbender and Irons play their roles well. Overall a decent movie any Assassins Creed fan would enjoy. The critics like to bash it because it’s a video game movie, and it’s cool to hate video game movies, but it’s not bad at all.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: THE BABADOOK

Starring

Essie Davis (Game of Thrones)
Noah Wiseman (Spaghetti)
Hayley McElhinney (Doctor Doctor)
Daniel Henshall (Ghost In The Shell)
Tiffany Lyndall-Knight (Chloe)

Noah Wiseman in The Babadook (2014)Amelia Vanek is a troubled and exhausted widow who has brought up her six-year-old son Samuel alone. Her late husband, Oskar, was killed in a car accident that occurred as he drove Amelia to the hospital during her labour. Sam begins displaying erratic behaviour: he becomes an insomniac and is preoccupied with an imaginary monster, against which he has built weapons to fight. Amelia is forced to pick up her son from school after Sam brings one of the weapons there. One night, Sam asks his mother to read a pop-up storybook called Mister Babadook. It describes the titular monster, the Babadook, a tall pale-faced humanoid in a top hat with taloned fingers who torments its victims after they become aware of its existence. Amelia is disturbed by the book and its mysterious appearance, while Sam becomes convinced that the Babadook is real. Sam’s persistence about the Babadook leads Amelia to often have sleepless nights as she tries to comfort him.Essie Davis in The Babadook (2014)Soon after, strange events occur: doors open and close mysteriously by themselves, strange sounds are heard and Amelia finds glass shards in her food. She attributes the events to Sam’s behaviour, but he blames the Babadook. Amelia rips up the book and disposes of it. At her birthday party, Sam’s cousin Ruby bullies Sam for not having a father, in response to which he pushes her out of her tree house; as a result she breaks her nose in two places. Amelia’s sister Claire admits she cannot bear Sam, to which Amelia takes great offence. On the drive home, Sam has another vision of the Babadook and suffers a febrile seizure, after which Amelia makes a successful plea for sedatives to a pediatrician.Essie Davis and Noah Wiseman in The Babadook (2014)The following morning, Amelia finds the Mister Babadook book reassembled on the front door step. New words taunt her by saying that the Babadook will become stronger if she continues to deny its existence, containing pop-ups of her killing her dog Bugsy, Samuel, and then herself. Terrified, Amelia burns the book and runs to the police after a disturbing phone call. However, Amelia has no proof of the stalking, and when she then sees the Babadook’s suit hung up behind the front desk, she leaves. Amelia starts to become more isolated and shut-in, being more impatient, shouting at Samuel for ‘disobeying’ her constantly, and having frequent visions of the Babadook once again. Her mental state slowly decays further and she exhibits erratic and violent behaviour, including severing the phone line with a knife and brandishing it aggressively at Sam seemingly without realising. This mental decline culminates in several disturbing hallucinations, most of which involve the violent murder of Sam with herself as the willing perpetrator.Essie Davis and Noah Wiseman in The Babadook (2014)Shortly after these visions, Amelia sees an apparition of Oskar, who embraces her benevolently and agrees to return. However, he then demands that Amelia “give(s) him the boy” in return, implying he is a conjuration of the Babadook. Fleeing, Amelia is stalked by the Babadook through the house until it takes over her and finally possesses her. Under its influence she breaks Bugsy’s neck and attempts to kill Sam. Eventually luring her into the basement, Sam knocks her out. Tied up, Amelia awakens with Sam, terrified, nearby. When she tries to strangle him, he lovingly caresses her face, causing her to regurgitate an inky black substance, an action which seemingly expels the Babadook. When Sam reminds Amelia that “you can’t get rid of the Babadook,” an unseen force drags him into Amelia’s bedroom. After saving Sam, Amelia is forced by the Babadook to re-watch a vision of her husband’s death to her utter despair. Furious, she confronts the Babadook, making the beast retreat into the basement, and locks the door behind it.Essie Davis and Noah Wiseman in The Babadook (2014)After this ordeal, Amelia and Sam manage to recover. Amelia is attentive and caring toward him, encouraging him concerning the weapons he makes and being impressed at Sam’s magic tricks. They gather earthworms in a bowl, and Amelia takes them to the basement, where the Babadook resides. She places the bowl on the floor for the Babadook to eat. However, as the beast tries to attack her, Amelia calms it down, and it retreats to the corner, taking the earthworms with it. Amelia returns to the yard to celebrate Sam’s birthday.Essie Davis in The Babadook (2014)Personally, I thought about this film for days after seeing it, both because of its ambiguity and because of the themes it explores, namely mental illness and domestic violence. Yes, it’s scary. But it’s also touching and heartbreaking. While “The Babadook” belongs alongside other great psychological horror films, like “The Innocents” and “The Haunting” (1963), to classify it purely as “horror” really belittles its accomplishment as a film that challenges us to examine and discuss issues we are very uncomfortable tackling in reality.

REVIEW: THE WHITE PRINCESS

Jodie Comer in The White Princess (2017)

Main Cast

Jodie Comer (Killing Eve)
Rebecca Benson (Macbeth)
Jacob Collins-Levy (Bloom)
Kenneth Cranham (Hellraiser II)
Essie Davis (The Babadook)
Richard Dillane (Argo)
Anthony Flanagan (The Crown)
Patrick Gibson (Tolkien)
Caroline Goodall (The Princess Diaries)
Amy Manson (Atlantis)
Adrian Rawlins (Hrry Potter)
Vincent Regan (Troy)
Suki Waterhouse (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies)
Joanne Whalley (Daredevil)
Andrew Whipp (Outlander)
Michelle Fairley (Game of Thrones)

Jodie Comer in The White Princess (2017)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Nicholas Audsley (Victoria)
Philip Arditti (Red 2)
Rossy de Palma (Kika)
Emmanuelle Bouaziz (Agathe Clery)
Nia Roberts (Keeping Faith)
Nicholas Gecks (The Lazarus Child)
Alex Sawyer (House of Anubis)

Jodie Comer and Jacob Collins-Levy in The White Princess (2017)I haven’t read the book nor do I actually care a great deal about the Tudors or the english monarchy in its more personal details. I would go so far as to say that I tend to dislike many shows in this genre because I feel like they romanticize the monarchy or use it as a decorative backdrop for some saucy love story. Anyway, that being said, I did enjoy this, although it’s far from perfect with regards to story telling. It is clearly not historically accurate, but I never once thought it would be. There are some jumps in character development that could have been smoothed over, especially with Lizzie – I definitely had to adjust a little when she suddenly turned from loyal York who planned against her husband to a loving mother and therefore devoted wife. It’s not implausible, though. I had more trouble to understand why Margaret Beaufort would be so afraid of her son finding out that she ordered the murder of the two princes in the tower. The way Henry Tudor is portrayed, having beaten to death the previous king to take the crown, it seems like he might support that decision – until the plot need it to become a huge moral dilemma in the last episode.

Essie Davis, Jodie Comer, Suki Waterhouse, and Rebecca Benson in The White Princess (2017)What I did like, however, and why I am rating it so highly, is that it is absolutely not the kind of story we are used to. I read a couple of reviews where people complained that the characters were not sympathetic. This is exactly what I love about it. This show is about a bunch of people will do anything to stay in or obtain power, and the lies they tell each other and themselves to justifiy their actions. Margaret Pole is maybe shown to be the most sympathetic, but even she neglects her own child in the end to try and save her brother. Lizzie especially is a great example that there are no good choices in a world where power is passed on along bloodlines, meaning that the only way to stay in power is to kill anyone who might have a better claim than you.Jodie Comer in The White Princess (2017)When I started watching, I was very worried that this was going to be a show about two star crossed lovers and their meddling mothers trying to play them against each other, but in the end true love prevails and they come together for the good of the country. I was glad to be wrong. Yes, Lizzie and Henry do find love, but it is hard earned and bought by time, their love for their children and the crimes they comitted together. I can totally see someone like Henry VIII coming from these parents and circumstances.Jodie Comer and Woody Norman in The White Princess (2017)This is not for people who care about historical accuracy or want to see good people overcome obstacles and grow together, or a good vs. evil type story. If you like Game of Thrones, this may be your cup of tea. It’s a pretty ugly story at times about some despicable people, but if you are a bit forgiving of it’s rough around the edges story-telling, it’s actually quite fascinating.

REVIEW: THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS

CAST

Keanu Reeves (Speed)
Laurence Fishburne (Hannibal)
Carrie-Anne Moss (Jessica Jones)
Hugo Weaving (The Hobbit)
Monica Bellucci (The Brothers Grimm)
Essie Davis (Game of Thrones)
Nathaniel Lees (Power Rangers Jungle Fury)
Harry Lennix (Man of Steel)
Rene Naufahu (Power Rangers Samurai)
Harold Perrineau (Lost)
Jada Pinkett Smith (Gotham)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Bruce Spence (Mad Max 2 & 3)
Gina Torres (Firefly)
Anthony Wong (Haywire)
Anthony Zerbe (American Hustle)
Clayton Watson (Under The Radar)
Genevieve O’Reilly (Rogue One)
Bernard White (Kidding)

 

MV5BMTI3NTY4NzEyNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwMjY3MDg3._V1_Neo (Keanu Reeves) and Bane (Ian Bliss) lie unconscious in the medical bay of the ship Hammer. Meanwhile, Neo finds his digital self trapped in a virtual subway station named “Mobil Ave.”, a transition zone between the Matrix and the Machine City. In that subway station, he meets a family of programs, including a girl named Sati (Tanveer K. Atwal), whose father tells Neo the subway is controlled by the Trainman (Bruce Spence), an exiled program loyal to the Merovingian (Lambert Wilson). When Neo tries to board a train with the family, the Trainman refuses and overpowers him.
MV5BMTU2MDgxMTM4NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTc5OTEzMw@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1534,1000_AL_Seraph (Collin Chou) contacts Morpheus and Trinity on behalf of the Oracle, who informs them of Neo’s confinement. Seraph, Morpheus and Trinity enter Club Hel, where they confront the Merovingian and force him to release Neo. Troubled by visions of the Machine City, Neo visits the Oracle, who reveals that Smith (Hugo Weaving) intends to destroy both the Matrix and the real world. She states that “everything that has a beginning has an end”, and that the war will conclude. After Neo leaves, a large group of Smiths assimilates Sati, Seraph and the unresisting Oracle, gaining her powers of precognition.
MV5BMTM2NDQ5NjYzNF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwMzg3MDg3._V1_In the real world, the crew of the Nebuchadnezzar and the Hammer find and reactivate Niobe’s ship, the Logos. They interrogate Bane, who says that he has no recollection of the earlier massacre. As the captains plan their defense of Zion, Neo requests a ship to travel to the Machine City. Motivated by her encounter with the Oracle, Niobe (Jada Pinkett Smith) offers him the Logos. Neo departs, accompanied by Trinity. Bane, who has stowed away on the Logos, takes Trinity hostage. Neo realizes that Bane has been assimilated by Smith. Bane cauterizes Neo’s eyes with a power cable, blinding him; however, Neo discovers an ability to perceive the world as golden light. Neo kills Bane, and Trinity pilots them to the Machine City.
MV5BMTk0NDM5NTYyNl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwNzE4MDg3._V1_Niobe and Morpheus set out for Zion with the Hammer to aid the human defenses against the Sentinels. In Zion, the fatally wounded Captain Mifune (Nathaniel Lees) instructs Kid (Clayton Watson) to open the gate for the Hammer. When it arrives, it discharges its EMP, disabling the Sentinels but also the remaining defenses. The humans are forced to retreat and wait for the next attack, thinking that it will be their last stand. Near the Machine City, Neo and Trinity are greeted by thousands of missiles which Neo attempts to destroy, but is overwhelmed by their numbers. The Logos is attacked by the Sentinels forcing them to fly above the missiles for a few seconds. They breach the cloud layer and see Earth’s real sky, to which Trinity whispers the word “Beautiful”. Upon descent, they lose control causing them to crash the Logos into the Machine City. The crash kills Trinity. Neo enters the Machine City and encounters “Deus Ex Machina”, the machine leader. Neo, warning that Smith plans to conquer both the Matrix and will soon conquer the Machine City, offers to stop Smith in exchange for peace with Zion. The machine leader agrees, and the Sentinels stop attacking Zion.
MV5BMzgwMzE1MjA5OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwNDc3MDg3._V1_The Machines provide a connection for Neo to enter the Matrix. Inside, Neo finds that Smith has assimilated all its inhabitants. The Smith with the Oracle’s powers steps forth, saying that he has foreseen his victory against Neo. After a protracted battle, Neo is weakened and Smith recognizes this as his moment of success. Smith repeats the Oracle’s message to Neo, “Everything that has a beginning has an end, Neo”, Smith immediately becomes confused and senses something wrong (throughout all three movies up to this point Smith has only addressed Neo as “Mr Anderson”). Neo hearing the words realizes he cannot defeat Smith by fighting and allows himself to be assimilated. An energy surge causes the Neo-Smith clone and all other Smith clones in the Matrix to be destroyed and revert to their previous forms; the Smith clone that fought Neo transforms back into the Oracle. The Sentinels withdraw from Zion, Morpheus and Niobe embrace, and Neo is carried away by the machines. The Matrix reboots, and the Architect encounters the Oracle in a park. They agree that the peace will last “as long as it can”, and that all humans will be offered the opportunity to leave the Matrix. The Oracle tells Sati that she thinks they will see Neo again. Seraph asks the Oracle if she knew this would happen; she replies that she did not know, but that she believed.MV5BNGQ2ZWY2MTItOTE0OC00OTRjLWE3ZjktYjQ3NWY2YTliOGIyXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTkxNjUyNQ@@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,744_AL_Definitely a flawed film and not a worthy conclusion. But don’t worry if you didn’t get it – you are not stupid it’s just not that good

 

REVIEW: THE MATRIX RELOADED

 

CAST

Keanu Reeves (Speed)
Laurence Fishburne (Hannibal)
Carrie-Anne Moss (Jessica Jones)
Hugo Weaving (The Hobbit)
Monica Bellucci (The Brothers Grimm)
Gloria Foster (City of Hope)
Steve Bastoni (Suburban Mayhem)
Essie Davis (Game of Thrones)
David Franklin (Xena)
Nathaniel Lees (Power Rangers Jungle Fury)
Harry Lennix (Man of Steel)
Rene Naufahu (Power Rangers Samurai)
Harrold Perrineau (Lost)
Jada Pinkett Smith (Gotham)
Gina Torres (Firefly)
Anthony Wong (Haywire)
Clayton Watson (Under The Radar)

Anthony Zerbe (American Hustle)

Leigh Whannell (Saw)
Bernard White (Kidding)

MV5BNzUwNDU5NDgwNl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjc5OTEzMw@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1541,1000_AL_Six months after the events of the first film, Neo (Keanu Reeves) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) are now a couple. Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) receives a message from Captain Niobe (Jada Pinkett Smith) of the Logos calling an emergency meeting of all of Zion’s ships. Zion has confirmed the last transmission of the Osiris: an army of Sentinels is tunneling towards Zion and will reach it within 72 hours. Commander Lock (Harry Lennix) orders all ships to return to Zion to prepare for the onslaught, but Morpheus asks one ship to remain in order to contact the Oracle (Gloria Foster). The Caduceus receives a message from the Oracle, and the Nebuchadnezzar ventures out so Neo can contact her. One of the Caduceus crew, Bane (Ian Bliss), encounters Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving), who takes over Bane’s avatar. Smith then uses this avatar to leave the Matrix, gaining control of Bane’s real body.MV5BMjQ2MDA5ODU5MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODc5OTEzMw@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1526,1000_AL_In Zion, Morpheus announces the news of the advancing machines to the people. Neo receives a message from the Oracle and returns to the Matrix to meet her bodyguard Seraph (Collin Chou), who then leads him to her. After realizing that the Oracle is part of the Matrix, Neo asks how he can trust her; she replies that it is his decision. The Oracle instructs Neo to reach the Source of the Matrix by finding the Keymaker (Randall Duk Kim), a prisoner of the Merovingian (Lambert Wilson). As the Oracle departs, Smith appears, telling Neo that after being defeated, he refused to be deleted, and is now a rogue program. He demonstrates his ability to clone himself using other inhabitants of the Matrix, including other Agents, as hosts. He then tries to absorb Neo as a host, but fails, prompting a battle between Smith’s clones and Neo. Neo manages to defend himself, but is forced to retreat from the increasingly overwhelming numbers.
MV5BMTg4NzUzODA5M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTkyNjIxNA@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1366,1000_AL_Neo, Morpheus, and Trinity visit the Merovingian and ask for the Keymaker, but the Merovingian refuses. His wife Persephone (Monica Bellucci), seeking revenge on her husband for his infidelity, betrays him and leads the trio to the Keymaker. The Merovingian soon arrives with his men. Morpheus, Trinity and the Keymaker escape, while Neo holds off the Merovingian’s servants. Morpheus and Trinity try to escape with the Keymaker on the freeway, facing several Agents and the Twins, the Merovingian’s chief henchmen. Morpheus defeats the Twins, Trinity escapes, and Neo flies in to save Morpheus and the Keymaker from Agent Johnson. In the real world, Zion’s remaining ships prepare to battle the machines. Within the Matrix, the crews of the Nebuchadnezzar, Vigilant and Logos help the Keymaker and Neo reach the door to the Source.
MV5BMzY5ODgwNDY2M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjQzOTcxNA@@._V1_SX1500_CR0,0,1500,999_AL_The crew of the Logos must destroy a power plant to prevent a security system from being triggered, and the crew of the Vigilant must destroy a back-up power station. The Logos succeeds, while the Vigilant is bombed by a Sentinel in the real world, killing everyone on board. Although Neo asked Trinity to remain on the Nebuchadnezzar, she enters the Matrix to replace the Vigilant crew and complete their mission. However, her escape is compromised by an Agent, and they fight. As Neo, Morpheus, and the Keymaker try to reach the Source, the Smiths appear and try to kill them. The Keymaker unlocks the door to the Source, allowing Neo and Morpheus to enter and escape from the Smiths, but the Smiths kill the Keymaker while he tries to close the door to the Source. Neo enters a door and meets a program called the Architect, the Matrix’s creator.
MV5BMTU2MDgxMTM4NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTc5OTEzMw@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1534,1000_AL_The Architect explains that Neo is part of the design of the sixth iteration of Matrix, designed to stop the fatal system crash that naturally occurs due to the concept of human choice. As with the five previous Ones, Neo can choose either to return to the Source with his unique code to reboot the Matrix and pick survivors to begin to repopulate the soon-to-be-destroyed Zion, or cause the Matrix to crash and kill everyone connected to it; combined with Zion’s destruction, this would mean mankind’s extinction. Neo learns of Trinity’s situation and chooses to save her instead. As she falls off a building, he flies in and catches her, then by somehow phasing his hand into her body he removes a bullet from her body and restarts her heart. Back in the real world, Sentinels destroy the Nebuchadnezzar. Neo displays a new ability to disable the machines with his thoughts, but falls into a coma from the effort. The crew are picked up by another ship, the Hammer. Its captain, Roland, reveals the other ships were wiped out by the machines after someone activated an EMP too early, and that they found only one survivor afterwards—revealed to be the Smith-possessed Bane.MV5BMTQ3MTczMjE3NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNDkyNjIxNA@@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,884_AL_Four years after its brilliant predecessor this sequel appeared, expanding the Wachowski’s dystopian vision of a future Earth.his nightmare representation of a future dominated by artificial intelligence is still disturbing with CGI effectively used in both the real world and in the dreamworld of the Matrix. The fight for the existence of humankind is effectively presented, but even more intriguing is the struggle between the Oracle and the Architect, powerful computer programmes with opposing aims. Despite lacking the impact of the first movie, this is nevertheless an entertaining adrenaline-filled followup to The Matrix.

REVIEW: GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING

CAST

Colin Firth (The King’s Speech)
Scarlett Johansson (Avengers Assemble)
Tom Wilkinson (Batman Begins)
Judy Parfitt (Ever After)
Cillian Murphy (Inception)
Essie Davis (The Babadook)
Anna Popplewell (Reign)

MV5BNTMxNDkxYTgtNTc3OS00OGFiLWI5YWMtM2I2OWU4YjRhYzRhXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyOTc5MDI5NjE@._V1_Griet (Scarlett Johansson) is a shy girl living in the Dutch Republic in 1665. Her father, a Delftware painter, has recently gone blind, rendering him unable to work and putting his family in a precarious financial situation. To help matters, Griet is sent to work as a maid in the household of famed painter Johannes Vermeer (Colin Firth). Griet works hard, almost wordlessly, in the lowest position in a harsh hierarchy, doing her best despite spiteful treatment by one of Vermeer’s children. While she is on a routine shopping trip outside the house, a butcher’s son, Pieter (Cillian Murphy), notices Griet and falls in love with her, even though she is slow to return his affections.MV5BNWVhNTQ4NTEtYTNlMi00N2YxLTliYWUtZTFkOGIwN2JjOWZhXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyOTc5MDI5NjE@._V1_As Griet cleans Vermeer’s studio, which his wife Catharina (Essie Davis) never enters, the painter begins to converse with her and encourages her appreciation of painting, light and color. Vermeer gives her lessons in mixing paints and other tasks, taking care to keep this secret from his wife, who would react with anger and jealousy if she found out that her husband was spending time with Griet. In contrast, Vermeer’s pragmatic mother-in-law, Maria Thins (Judy Parfitt), sees Griet as useful to Vermeer’s career. Vermeer’s rich patron, Van Ruijven (Tom Wilkinson), notices Griet on a visit to the Vermeer household and asks the painter if he will give her up to work in his own house, a situation which ruined a previous girl. Vermeer refuses, but accepts a commission to paint a portrait of Griet for Van Ruijven.
MV5BMjAwMTc1MzgxNl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTc0NTgxNg@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1505,1000_AL_As Vermeer secretly works on the eponymous painting, Catharina cannot help but notice something is amiss and her growing jealousy of Griet becomes apparent. As Griet deals with her growing fascination with Vermeer and his talent, she has to fend off Van Ruijven’s attempt to rape her. Soon afterwards, Catharina’s mother summons Griet, hands over her daughter’s pearl earrings, and instructs Griet to finish the painting while Catharina is away for the day. At the final painting session Vermeer pierces Griet’s earlobe so she can wear one of the pearl earrings for the portrait; she then runs to Pieter to be consoled. They caress and make love in a barn. Afterwards, Pieter proposes marriage, but she shakes her head and leaves. She then returns the earrings to Catharina’s mother.
MV5BMTQ1NjM1NzExMl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTc0NTgxNg@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1505,1000_AL_Catharina discovers that Griet used her earrings, accuses her mother of complicity, and demands Vermeer show her the painting of Griet. Heartbroken that Vermeer does not consider her worthy of being painted because she “doesn’t understand,” Catharina tries but fails to destroy the painting, then banishes Griet from the house forever. Vermeer does not object, and Griet leaves the house in shock. Later, Griet is visited by the cook from the house, who comes bearing a gift: a sealed packet containing the blue headscarf she wore in the painting, wrapped around Catharina’s pearl earrings.MV5BMTU0Mzk0MTE4N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTc0NTgxNg@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1505,1000_AL_Johannson’s performance commands the film, although she is seldom required to speak and rarely asked what she might be thinking. Parfitt as the true power in the Vermeer household offers the other stellar performance, while Firth’s dazzling charm from other films is sublimated to his character’s artistic temperament. Of course, the greatest compliment that can be paid to first time director Peter Webber is that he has crafted this film with the same care that Vermeer used in painting his own canvases.

REVIEW: THE CUSTODIAN

CAST

Anthony LaPaglia (Without A Trace)
Hugo Weaving (The Matrix)
Naomi watts (Birdman)
Barry Otto (The Great Gatsby)
Kelly Dingwall (Raw Nerve)
Essie Davis (The Babadook)
Wayne Pygram (Farscape)

Featuring some of Australia’s finest actors who weren’t so established when this film was released. Anthony LaPaglia (Without A Trace) puts in a powerful performance as the unwitting hero on the verge of a nervous breakdown, James Quinlan, who is hell bent on destruction following the breakdown of his marriage to an annoying and humiliating alcoholic.

Hugo Weaving (Matrix – Agent Smith) is cast as his unscrupulous partner for the local constabulary and apparent friend, Frank Church, but his luxurious life style, along with some of his colleagues, leads to an investigation into police corruption instigated by Quilan. LaPaglia’s wounded character is now determined on not being recognised as the fool and fully focused on bringing them all down; even if it means losing his only friendship and what little else he has remaining in his life in the process.

Barry Otto is superbly cast as internal affairs agent Ferguson, who’s about the only other straight cop on the force, and his venomous performance full of righteous justice compliments LaPaglia’s rage of hellfire when a twist of cruel fate pushes the two pillars of integrity together; but, each of them must fight in their own way to bring a new order to the upper echelons of the local law enforcement. The dialogue in this film is gripping and executed superbly from all the cast and is helped along the way by an understated and timeless score. Also, look out for a very young Naomi Watts who appears in a couple of scenesr. If you like finding under-appreciated gems then give this relatively unknown Australian adventure drenched in film noir a viewing.