REVIEW: JACK THE GIANT SLAYER

CAST

Nicholas Hoult (X-Men: First Class)
Eleanor Tomlinson (The White Queen)
Stanley Tucci (The LVoely Bones)
Ian McShane (Hercules)
Bill Nighy (Underworld)
Ewan McGregor (Big Fish)
Eddie Marsan (Sherlock Holmes)
Ewen Bremner (Wonder Woman)
Warwick Davis (Leprechaun)
Ralph Brown (Alien 3)
Steven Williams (Jason Goes To Hell)
Tandi Wright (Power Rangers SPD)

In the Kingdom of Cloister, Jack, a young farm boy, is fascinated by the legend of Erik, an ancient king who defeated an army of invading giants from a realm in the sky by controlling them with a magical crown. At the same time, Princess Isabelle becomes fascinated with the same legend.Ten years later, Jack goes into town to sell his horse to support his uncle’s farm. There, Jack spots Isabelle and becomes enamored with her after defending her honor from a group of hooligans. Meanwhile, Lord Roderick returns to his study, only to find that a monk has robbed him. The monk offers Jack some magic beans he stole from Roderick as collateral for Jack’s horse. Back at the castle, Isabelle quarrels with her father King Brahmwell as she wants to explore the kingdom, but he wants her to stay and marry Roderick. Likewise, Jack’s uncle scolds him for being foolish before throwing the beans on the floor and leaving the house.Determined to be free, Isabelle sneaks out of the castle and seeks shelter from the rain in Jack’s house. As it rains, one of the beans takes root and grows into a massive beanstalk that carries the house and Isabelle into the sky as Jack falls to the ground. Jack, Roderick, and Roderick’s attendant Wicke volunteer to join the king’s knights, led by Elmont and his second in-command, Crawe, and climb the beanstalk in search of Isabelle. As they climb, Roderick and Wicke cut the safety rope, intentionally killing some of the knights. At the top, they discover the giants’ realm and decide to split into two groups: one with Jack, Elmont, and Crawe, and the other including Roderick and Wicke, but not before Roderick forcibly takes the remaining beans from Jack (although Jack manages to save one for himself).Jack’s group is trapped by a giant, who takes everyone prisoner except Jack. Meanwhile, Roderick’s group encounters two other giants; one eats Wicke, but before the other can do the same to Roderick, Roderick dons the magic crown. Jack follows the giant to their stronghold, where the two-headed giant leader, Fallon, has killed Crawe. Jack finds Isabelle and Elmont imprisoned there. As the giants prepare to kill their remaining prisoners, Roderick walks in and enslaves the giants with the crown. He tells the giants they will attack Cloister at dawn and gives them permission to eat Isabelle and Elmont. Jack rescues Isabelle and Elmont as one of the giants prepares to cook Elmont as a pig-in-a-blanket. The trio makes for the beanstalk, where Jack causes the giant guarding the beanstalk to fall off the realm’s edge. Seeing the giant’s body, Brahmwell orders the beanstalk cut down to avoid an invasion by the giants.Jack and Isabelle head down the beanstalk, while Elmont stays to confront Roderick. Elmont kills Roderick, but Fallon takes the crown before Elmont can claim it, and Elmont is forced to escape down the beanstalk. Jack, Isabelle, and Elmont all survive the fall after the beanstalk is cut down. As everyone returns home, Jack warns that the giants are using Roderick’s beans to create beanstalks to descend down to Earth and attack Cloister. The giants chase Jack, Isabelle, and Brahmwell into the castle, where Elmont fills the moat with oil and sets it on fire. Fallon falls in the moat and breaks into the castle from below. As the siege continues, Fallon captures Jack and Isabelle, but Jack throws the final bean down Fallon’s throat, causing a beanstalk to rip apart his body. Jack takes the crown and sends the giants back to their realm. Jack and Isabelle marry and tell the story of the giants to their children. As time passes, the magic crown is crafted into St Edward’s Crown and is secured in the Tower of London.This was a lot better than I was expecting, so that was quite a pleasant surprise.  I was prepared to make an early exit from watching the retelling of another favourite fairy tale. But it was actually done very well, with a wonderfully impressive CGI beanstalk and superb giants. All in all, it was a very enjoyable film to watch.

 

REVIEW: HAYWIRE

CAST
Gina Carano (Deadpool)
Michael Angarano (Red State)
Channing Tatum (G.I. Joe)
Michael Douglas (Ant-Man)
Michael Fassbender (300)
Antonio Banderas (Puss In Boots)
Ewan McGregor (Cassandra’s Dream)
Eddie J. Fernandez (The Last Stand)
Bill Paxton (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Anthony Brandon Wong (The Matrix Reloaded)
Former Marine Mallory Kane (Gina Carano) goes to a diner in Upstate New York to meet Aaron (Channing Tatum). He tells her to get in his car, but she refuses and they fight. He pulls out a gun, but she disarms and pistol-whips him. Scott (Michael Angarano), a customer in the diner, intervenes and Mallory demands his car keys and that he get in the car. As they flee, she explains who she is and what has happened to her. The flashback sequences are intermixed with scenes of their flight.
Mallory tells Scott that she and Aaron work for a company that handles ‘operations’. One week before, the firm’s director (and Mallory’s ex-boyfriend) Kenneth (Ewan McGregor) had attended a meeting in Washington, D.C. arranged by government agent Coblenz (Michael Douglas). Kenneth’s firm was hired to rescue Jiang (Anthony Brandon Wong), who was allegedly being held hostage in an apartment in Barcelona. Also present at the meeting was Coblenz’s Spanish contact, Rodrigo (Antonio Banderas). Mallory and her team, which includes Aaron, travel to Barcelona and, despite difficulties, succeed in rescuing Jiang and delivering him to Rodrigo. Back in the United States, Mallory is approached by Kenneth, who insists she undertake what he describes as an easy assignment: to pose as the wife of British MI6 agent Paul (Michael Fassbender) during a mission in Dublin. Mallory agrees and accompanies Paul to a party at Russborough House, where they meet with his contact, Studer (Mathieu Kassovitz). Paul meets with Studer again as Mallory watches from afar. She sees Paul go into a barn and after he leaves, she enters it to find Jiang dead, clutching in his hand a brooch which Kenneth had insisted she wear as a recognition signal for her initial contact with Paul. Mallory realizes she has been set up.
On returning to their room at the Shelbourne Hotel, Paul attacks Mallory and they have a brutal fight; Mallory gets the upper hand and suffocates him near to death with a choke hold, then shoots him point blank in the face. She finds a missed call on Paul’s phone and returns it. Kenneth answers and asks if Mallory has been taken care of, before realising who is on the other end. As Mallory leaves the hotel, she evades Kenneth’s agents, who are tailing her. Heavily armed members of the Garda Emergency Response Unit (ERU) appear and try to arrest her. She escapes after a chase and sneaks onto a ferry to England.
Mallory calls Rodrigo and asks him whether it was he or Kenneth who set her up. Rodrigo calls Coblenz, who then calls Mallory. Coblenz tells Mallory that he has had suspicions about Kenneth for some time. Coblenz then contacts Kenneth and tells him to inform Mallory’s father, John Kane (Bill Paxton), of her purported crimes. Meanwhile, Mallory enters the United States and reaches the diner, expecting to meet Kenneth. Now on the road, Scott and Mallory are captured by the police. Both are taken into custody but the police are ambushed by Kenneth’s men. Mallory manages to kill one of them and flees with Scott in one of the police cars. She releases Scott and leaves to meet with her father.
Mallory reaches her father’s house in New Mexico before Kenneth, Aaron and two other men arrive to interrogate John about his daughter’s whereabouts. Aaron receives a photograph on his phone of Jiang lying dead, and it dawns on him that Mallory might have been set up. He tries to press Kenneth for the truth, but Kenneth shoots him and escapes, as Mallory takes out Kenneth’s other men. Aaron apologizes to Mallory as he dies in her arms. The following day, Mallory meets with Coblenz, who reveals that he told Kenneth to contact Mallory’s father, expecting that Kenneth would go to her father’s house and that she would kill him there. Coblenz also gives her Kenneth’s present location. Before they part, he offers her a government job, but she says she will respond after she has found Kenneth. In Mexico, Mallory confronts Kenneth on a beach and they fight. Kenneth’s foot becomes jammed between rocks. Unable to escape, he reveals that Jiang was a journalist who was being protected in a safe house after having exposed Studer’s crimes. Knowing that Mallory planned to leave his firm, Kenneth arranged for her to kidnap Jiang and deliver him to Rodrigo, who delivered him to Studer, who killed him. Kenneth then framed Mallory, planning to cut all ties that could lead to him, and convinced Paul that Mallory was a double agent whom he should kill. Mallory leaves Kenneth to drown in the incoming tide. A few days later, Mallory locates Rodrigo, who is on vacation in Majorca. The film ends as she confronts him, presumably intending to eliminate him as the last remaining link in the conspiracy against her.
The film is slightly different from most action movies, rather than quick edits Soderbergh leaves the camera on a single view longer than most directors and sometimes we see sections of fights as though viewing from afar with the volume turned down. Despite the unusual touches this is a good if not a great movie.

REVIEW: CASSANDRA’S DREAM

CAST

Ewan McGregor (Star Wars – Episode I)
Colin Farrell (Intermission)
Hayley Atwell (Cinderella)
Tom Wikinson (Batman Begins)
Andrew Howard (Agents of Shield)
Ashley Madekwe (Venus)
Sally Hawkins (Layer Cake)
Clare Higgins (Hellraiser)
Tamzin Outhwaite (Eastenders)

Brothers Terry (Colin Farrell) and Ian (Ewan McGregor), who live in South London, were raised by a weak father Brian (John Benfield) who runs a restaurant, and a strong mother Dorothy (Clare Higgins) who taught her sons to look up to their uncle Howard (Tom Wilkinson), a successful plastic surgeon and businessman.cassandras-dream-640x360The brothers buy a sailboat at an oddly low price, despite its near pristine condition. They name it Cassandra’s Dream, after a greyhound that won Terry the money to buy the boat. Knowing nothing of Greek mythology, they are unaware of the ominous antecedents of this name—the ancient prophetess Cassandra, whose prophecies of doom went unheeded by those around her. While driving home from a day’s sailing in a borrowed car, Ian crosses paths with beautiful actress Angela Stark (Hayley Atwell), with whom he becomes infatuated.Terry has a gambling addiction that sinks him deeper in debt. Ian wishes to invest in hotels in California to finance a new life with Angela. To overcome their financial issues, they ask Howard for help. He agrees to help them, but asks for a favor in return: they must murder someone for him. Howard faces imprisonment for unspecified crimes and his future is threatened by Martin Burns (Phil Davis), a former business partner who plans to testify against him. Howard asks his nephews to get rid of Burns, and in return he will reward them financially. After initial reluctance, the brothers agree. They make two zip guns, untraceable and easily destroyed. Lying in wait in Burns’ home, their plan is foiled when Burns arrives with a woman. Their resolve shaken, they leave and agree to commit the murder the next day.

The next day, they succeed in carrying out the murder and later destroy the guns. Ian is content to move on as if nothing happened, but Terry is consumed by guilt and begins abusing alcohol and other drugs. His behavior frightens his fiancée (Sally Hawkins), who tells Ian about the situation and that Terry believes he has killed someone. After Terry confides that he wants to turn himself in to the police, Ian goes to Howard for advice. They agree there is no alternative but to get rid of Terry. Ian plans to poison Terry during an outing on the boat. Ian can’t bring himself to kill his own brother, and attacks him in a fit of rage. In the chaos, Terry knocks Ian down the steps into the cabin, killing him.

The boat is later discovered adrift by the police, and the audience learns that Terry snapped and drowned himself after killing his brother. The last shot is of Cassandra’s Dream, still in beautiful condition despite the tragedies it set in motion.

Really good drama from woody Allen that shows his versatility and ability at writing drama. Definitely worth a watch even if you’re not a woody Allen fan.

REVIEW: A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST

CAST

Seth MacFarlane (Ted)
Charlize Theron (Prometheus)
Amanda Seyfried (Red Riding Hood)
Liam Neeson (Batman Begins)
Giovanni Ribisi (Avatar)
Neil Patrick Harris (The Smurfs)
Sarah Silverman (School of Rock)
Wes Studi (Mystery Men)
Alex Borstein (Family Guy)
John Aylward (Armageddon)
Christopher Lloyd (Back to The Future)
Ewan McGregor (Cassandra’s Dream)
John Michael Higgins (Still Waiting…)
Kaley Cuoco (The Big Bang Theory)
Jamie Foxx (Django Unchained)
Ryan Reynolds (Buried)
Patrick Stewart (X-Men)
Mae Whitman (Independence Day)
Rex Linn (Young Sheldon)
Jay Patterson (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Gilbert Gottfried (Critters: A New Binge)

MV5BMTU3NDE1ODA3NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNDk4NTA4MTE@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,999_AL_I enjoyed how this film opened with the scenery, the titles and music like something from the past when Westerns were seemingly always being made. And as you start to watch the film you do notice that it is quite clichéd, trying to evoke all those good old Westerns, albeit with added comedy.The actual story is a romance and a good guy fighting a baddie, all standard formula for this genre, and it has to be admitted that there is some great comedy here. The place is Arizona, the year is 1882 and Arthur has just lost his girlfriend to the moustachioed owner of the moustache salon. But when Arthur meets a woman new to town he finds her giving him assistance with his girlfriend leaving him, but what secret is she hiding?MV5BMTU5NTUxOTkxNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODk0MzY2MjE@._V1_This does fall flat at times when for instance Arthur starts going on about the different ways to die in the West and some of the dialogue is way too modern for the period, which does annoy at times. However there is some brilliant comedy such as the prostitute played by Sarah Silverman who is sleeping with everyone in town, but like a good Christian girl doesn’t want to sleep with her boyfriend until after marriage. The wonderful Silverman gives us some great dialogue with the things she gets up to when working. With some excellent sight gags which crop up every now and then we can quite plainly see that life can be very dangerous, even when you are just standing around or helping to move an object.Not a great movie but just a good movie to pass some time.