REVIEW: MUPPETS MOST WANTED

CAST

Ricky Gervais (Ghost Town)
Ty Burrell (Modern Family)
Tina Fey (30 Rock)
Steve Whitmore (The Dark Crystal)
Eric Jacobson (Sesame
Dave Goetz (Inside Out)
Bill Barretta (When Families Grieve)
Matt Vogel (Alice Through The Looking Glass)
Tony Bennett Analyze This)
Hugh Bonneville (Paddington)
Jemaine Clement (Legion)
Sean Combs (Get Him To The Greek)
Rob Corddry (Warm Bodies)
Mackenzie Crook (One Chance)
Celine Dion (The Magic Sword)
Lady Gaga (Sin City 2)
Zach Gilifianakis (The Hangover)
Josh Grodin (The Hollars)
Salma Hayek (Dogma)
Tom Hiddleston (thor)
Tom Hollander (Mission Impossible 5)
Toby Jones (Atomic Blonde)
Frank Langella (Superman Returns)
Ray Liotta (Hannibal)
James McAvoy (X-Men: First Class)
Chloe Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass)
Usher Raymond (She’s All That)
Miranda Richardson (Sleepy Hollow)
Saoirse Ronan (The Lvoely Bones)
Russell Tovey (Being Human)
Danny Trejo (Machete)
Stanley Tucci (The Hunger Games)
Christoph Waltz (Big Eyes)

Following the events of the previous film, The Muppets find themselves at a loss as to what to do until Dominic Badguy suggests the Muppets go on a European tour with him as their tour manager. As the Muppets begin their tour, a criminal mastermind named Constantine, a near-exact double for Kermit the Frog in appearance, escapes from a Siberian Gulag and joins his subordinate Dominic to begin a plot to steal the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom.Once the Muppets arrive in Berlin, Germany, Dominic secures them a show at a prestigious venue. Frustrated with the group’s incessant requests and Miss Piggy’s insistence they marry, Kermit goes for a walk at Dominic’s suggestion. Constantine ambushes him and glues a fake mole onto his cheek then slips away. Mistaken for Constantine, Kermit is arrested and sent to the Gulag. Taking Kermit’s place, Constantine’s blunders in imitating him are covered by Dominic; however, Animal knows the truth. After the Berlin performance opens with Constantine freezing at the audience, Scooter has to introduce the show. Constantine and Dominic steal paintings from a museum while the Muppets perform. The next morning, Interpol agent Jean Pierre Napoleon and CIA agent Sam the Eagle grudgingly team up to apprehend the culprit whom Napoleon believes to be his nemesis “The Lemur” – the number-two criminal in the world.Meanwhile, Kermit has attempted several times to escape the Gulag but is thwarted each time by prison guard Nadya, who is not only aware of his true identity but is as infatuated with him as Miss Piggy is. Nadya orders Kermit to help organize the prisoners’ annual talent show.Following hidden instructions on the stolen painting, Constantine and Dominic divert the tour to Madrid, Spain. Constantine allows the Muppets to perform whatever they wish, much to Walter’s confusion. During this show, Constantine and Dominic break into a museum and destroy a roomful of busts to find a key needed for their plan. Even though the performance is a disaster, the Muppets receive critical acclaim. Sam and Napoleon deduce that the connection between the crimes is the Muppet tour, and the pair interrogates the Muppets, only to find that they are too ill-equipped to be guilty. The instructions on the stolen key lead Constantine and Dominic to schedule the next show in Dublin, Ireland.In Dublin, Walter discovers that Dominic has been giving away show tickets and bribing critics to ensure a packed house and rave reviews, while Fozzie Bear notices Kermit’s resemblance to Constantine. They both realize that Constantine has taken Kermit’s place and brought in Dominic as his accomplice. Constantine attacks Walter and Fozzie, but Animal fends him off and the three escape from the train to rescue Kermit. During the Dublin performance, Dominic steals a locket from a museum and Constantine proposes to Miss Piggy onstage; Piggy accepts, and the pair plan a ceremony to be held at the Tower of London in London, England, where the Crown Jewels are kept.Fozzie, Walter, and Animal reach the Siberian Gulag on the night of the performance, and Kermit uses it as a front to allow them, himself, and all the prisoners to escape the Gulag. Kermit, Fozzie, Walter, and Animal infiltrate the Tower as the wedding begins, and Dominic (with the help of Bobby Benson’s Baby Band) manages to steal the jewels.Kermit interrupts the ceremony, revealing Constantine’s ruse, but the crook takes Piggy hostage and flees to a helicopter, where he is intercepted by Dominic, who is actually the Lemur and intends to double-cross him. Constantine ejects him from the helicopter and tries to take off with Piggy, but Kermit jumps aboard and the rest of the Muppets climb atop each other to stop the escape. Kermit and Piggy knockout Constantine and both criminals are arrested. Nadya arrives in London to arrest Kermit for escaping. The other Muppets tell her that if she arrests him, then she will have to take all of them as well; she relents, allowing Kermit to go free. The Muppets perform at the Gulag with Constantine and the prisoners participating, ending the film.The heart and soul of the film is about the way the characters manage to bring a sense of togetherness and unity to the Muppets and how this unity brings joy to all those around. Throughout the film, Kermit manages to be a core reminder as to why The Muppets are generously wonderful creations for the world: the optimism, the kindness, the laughter: everything combines to form a strong impression that both children and adults can feel completely enamoured by. This is a film that is full of magic and it sits alongside The Muppets magnificently and is not to be missed.

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REVIEW: JUNIOR

CAST

Arnold Schwarzenegger (The Terminator)
Danny DeVito (Batman Returns)
Emma Thompson (Beautiful Creatures)
Frank Langella (All Good Things)
Pamela Reed (Kindergarten Cop)
Aida Turturro (Mickey Blue Eyes)
Christopher Meloni (Man of Steel)
Fred Stoller (The Change-Up)
Anna Gunn  (Sully)
Lawrence Tierney (Reservoir Dogs)
Monika Schnarre (Andromeda)
Tracey Walter (Batman)

Austrian Research geneticist Dr. Alex Hesse (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and his OB/GYN colleague Dr. Larry Arbogast (Danny DeVito) have invented a fertility drug, “Expectane”, that is supposed to reduce the chances of a woman’s body rejecting an embryo and thus prevent a miscarriage. Unfortunately, they are not allowed to test it on women since the Food and Drug Administration has not yet approved the drug; so Hesse and Arbogast cannot move forward in their research. In response, Hesse breaks into the laboratory and locks himself in. The head of the review board, Noah Banes (Frank Langella), informs Arbogast that while the FDA has denied their team the right of human experimentation, the team has managed to receive a donation from fellow geneticist Dr. Diana Reddin (Emma Thompson) from the ovum cryogenics department. When Hesse questions the chances of a woman taking an unapproved drug during pregnancy, Arbogast reveals that there is no need to identify the gender of the experiment and convinces Hesse to impregnate himself, using an ovum codenamed “Junior”.

That night, Hesse has a nightmare in which his potential offspring has his own face pasted onto it. That day, he complains to Arbogast that his nipples are hurting him. Later, the normally aloof Hesse inexplicably lightens up and chats incessantly about walks, massages, and naps. Reddin tells Hesse that being a woman is not as great as it sounds, citing the menstrual cycles which do not stop until menopause. Meanwhile, Arbogast’s pregnant ex-wife, Angela (Pamela Reed), wants him to be the doctor delivering her baby. Hesse begins to wonder what it would be like to be a father and watches some television commercials to have himself a good sobbing. He later begins overreacting, with Angela noting his practice of “mixing cuisines”.

It is revealed that the “Junior” ovum is actually from Reddin’s own body, making her the mother of Hesse’s child. Banes wants to take credit for the experiment despite having no role in it. Arbogast disguises Hesse as a woman and hides him in a retreat for expecting mothers outside the city, passing off his masculine appearance as past anabolic steroid use. Eventually, after a visit from Reddin, Hesse experiences abdominal pain due to the damage that the baby is doing to his abdomen. While shut away in his resort room, Hesse calls both Arbogast and Reddin. As Reddin rushes to the resort from the laboratory, Arbogast calls a fellow doctor and tells him to evacuate the hospital and prep it for an emergency c-section for Hesse, but a hospital staffer overhears the doctor’s conversation and alerts Banes about it. Banes calls the media to the hospital, to take credit and become famous, but Arbogast’s fellow doctor alerts him about the media and Arborgast makes a detour to get a decoy for Hesse so he can have a private c-section.

Junior (1994)

When Arborgast’s car arrives at the hospital, he disappoints the media when he brings out his own pregnant ex-wife. Banes, who had summoned the university dean and the press to witness the world’s first pregnant man, is discredited and fired. Meanwhile, Reddin and Hesse have snuck to the back of the hospital and use the fire escape to get in. While acting as Hesse’s decoy double, at the hospital, Angela goes into labor. Hesse has an emergency caesarean section, where he is given an epidural even though he’s at high risk as is the baby. Reddin, not being able to help Hesse through this time, is sent by Arbogast to keep Angela company. Reddin walks into the waiting room to find Angela in labor and ends up being her labor coach, since there’s no hospital staff available. Hesse feels emotionally scared and horrible, as Arbogast and the other surgeon cut through the last few layers of tissue, to get to the baby, Arbogast announces that Hesse’s water shows no signs of fetal distress.

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Arbogast announces the arrival to Reddin, who is on hands and knees helping Angela cope with contractions. Reddin hands Angela over to Arbogast and rushes off to see Hesse as Arbogast has Angela prepped for childbirth. Reddin visits Hesse in the Post-op, getting her first glance at her baby, and together they decide to name the baby girl Junior. Arbogast delivers Angela’s child and the two reconcile to raise the boy, Jake, as their own. In the final scene, the two families are on a beach on vacation celebrating the birthdays of Junior and Jake. Reddin is heavily pregnant with her and Hesse’s second child, and when Angela mentions that she would like to have another baby but does not want to go through pregnancy again, they all begin trying to convince a reluctant Arbogast to carry the child.

What can I say about Junior? It was a good movie. Arnold Schwarzenegger was good. He is reunited with his co-star from Twins, Danny DeVito and his co-star from Kindergarten Cop, Pamela Reed. Also here is Emma Thompson. Everybody was good in their parts. Sure the movie may be absurd and bizarre at times, but if you like if  Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito then I recommend Junior

 

REVIEW: DAVE

CAST

Kevin Kline (Chaplin)
Sigourney Weaver (Avatar)
Frank Langella (Masters of The Universe)
Kevin Dunn (Transformers)
Ving Rhames (Mission Impossible)
Ben Kingsley (Iron Man 3)
Tom Dugan (Beethoven’s 2nd)
Charles Grodin (The Ex)
Laura Linney (The Truman Show
Stephen Root (Dodgeball)
Bonnie Hunt (Jumanji)

Dave Kovic runs a temporary employment agency in Georgetown, Washington, D.C., and has a side job impersonating President Bill Mitchell. He is requested by Secret Service agent Duane Stevensen to make an appearance as the President at a hotel. Dave assumes it is a matter of security, but it is really to cover up Mitchell’s extramarital affair with a White House staffer. Mitchell suffers a severe stroke during the rendezvous, leaving him in a coma. White House Chief of Staff Bob Alexander and Communications Director Alan Reed convince Dave to continue impersonating the President, telling him that Vice President Gary Nance is mentally unbalanced. Only Bob, Alan, the Secret Service, and the medical staff know of the switch. First Lady Ellen Mitchell leads a separate life, rarely seeing the President.The public is notified that Mitchell has had a “minor circulatory problem of the head.” With Dave established as President, Bob and Alan send Nance on a 12-nation goodwill tour of Africa and implicate him in a savings and loan fraud. Once Nance is forced to resign, Bob plans for Dave to nominate him as Vice President, whereupon Mitchell will have a more serious stroke and Bob will ascend to the Presidency. Dave’s enthusiasm revives Mitchell’s popularity. He visits a homeless shelter with Ellen, who does not understand why he has taken a sudden interest. Bob forges Mitchell’s veto of a funding bill that includes the shelter. When Dave is confronted about the veto by Ellen, he confronts Bob, who offhandedly tells him that if he can cut $650 million from the federal budget he can keep the shelter. Dave has his accountant friend Murray Blum help him rewrite the budget so that the project may be reinstated. To make sure that Bob doesn’t stop him, Dave does it publicly in front of the press.Suspecting that he is not really her husband, Ellen tricks Dave into revealing the truth. Dave and Duane show her Bill on life support in the White House basement. She and Dave decide to leave the White House. However, after a night out, they realize all the good they could still do and decide to return. Dave blackmails Bob into resigning by threatening to go public with the switch, then announces a plan to find a job for every American who wants work. Nance returns from Africa and confronts Dave about the savings and loan scandal, insisting they both know there is no merit to the allegations. Dave talks to Alan, who reveals the whole plan was Bob’s idea. Meanwhile, Bob reveals Mitchell’s involvement in the savings and loan scandal while pushing his own candidacy for the presidency. Realizing that he can’t go into hiding, Dave decides to take responsibility for Mitchell’s actions.The scandal will make the jobs program difficult to pass, but Nance tells Dave that it is a wonderful idea. Dave tells Ellen that Nance is a good man and he would make a great president. Realizing what is planned, Ellen tells him that she does not want to lose him. The next day in a joint session of Congress, Dave admits to Mitchell’s role in the scandal, but introduces evidence proving Bob was the mastermind and Nance is innocent. Bob realizes that Alan has betrayed him. Dave fakes a stroke and makes a switch with the real Mitchell in an ambulance en route to the hospital. Nance becomes Acting President under the terms of the 25th Amendment and is sworn in as President five months later when Mitchell dies. Bob and eight other members of the Mitchell Administration are indicted on 34 charges of law violations and obstruction of justice two days after Dave’s jobs initiative passes. Dave decides to run for city council and Ellen comes to the office to volunteer. As they embrace, Duane stands guard outside the office door.To those who may say that “Dave” doesn’t give a true reflection on American politics or make a political statement, I would agree with them, but then it surely didn’t mean to. Its just a charming little comedy and/or love story that’s easy on mind and eye, and for what its worth I thought it was great.

REVIEW: STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE – SEASON 1-7

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MAIN CAST

Avery Brooks (Roots: The Gift)
Nana Visitor (Dark Angel)
Rene Auberjonois (Boston Legal)
Alexander Siddig (Game of Thrones)
Terry Farrell (Hellraiser 3)
Colm Meaney (Intermission)
Cirroc Lofton (Soul Food)
Armin Shimerman (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Michael Dorn (Ted 2)
Nicole de Boer (Rated X)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Patrick Stewart (American Dad)
Felecia M. Bell (Nightman)
Marc Alaimo (Total Recall)
Aron Eisenberg (Puppet Master 3)
Max Grodenchick (Apollo 13)
J.G. Hrtzler (Roswell)
April Grace (Lost)
Majel Barrett (Babylon 5)
Andrew Robinson (Hellraiser)
Gwynyth Walsh (Taken)
Vaughn Armstrong (Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue)
Rosalind Chao (I Am Sam)
Edward Albert (Power Rangers Time Force)
Scott MacDonald (Jack Frost)
Jennifer Hetrick (L.A. Law)
John De Lancie (The Hand That Rocks The Cradle)
Tom McCleister (Angel)
Gregory Itzin (Firefly)
Fionnula Flanagan (The Others)
Julie Caitlin Brown (Babylon 5)
Chris Latta (Transformers)
Barry Gordon (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Wallace Shawn (The Princess Bride)
Cliff De Young (Glory)
Jonathan Banks (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
Keone Young (Men In Black 3)
Jack Shearer (Star Trek: First Contact)
Harris Yullin (Rush Hour 2)
Louise Fletcher (Heroes)
Frank Langella (Masters of The Universe)
Stephen Macht (Galaxina)
Steven Weber (Izombie)
John Glover (Smallville)
Tim Russ (Samantha Who?)
Daphne Ashbrook (The Love Letter)
Don Stark (That 70s Show)
Brian Thompson (The Terminator)
Salli Richardson-Whitfield (I Am Legend)
William Schallert (Innerspace)
K Callan (Lois & CLark)
Chris Sarandon (Child’s Play)
John Colicos (Battlestar Galactica)
Michael Ansara (Batman: TAS)
William Campbell (Dementia 13)
Tony Plana (Ugly Betty)
Michael Bell (Rugrats)
Alan Oppenheimer (Transformers)
Salome Jens (Superbot)
Martha Hackett (Leprechaun 2)
Ken Marshall (Krull)
Mary Kay Adams (Babylon 5)
Bumper Robinson (Sabrina: TTW)
Brett Cullen (Lost)
Jeffrey Combs (The Frighteners)
Tricia O’ Neil (Gia)
Dick Miller (Gremlins)
Deborah Van Valkenburgh (Free Enterprise)
Clint Howard (Apollo 13)
Richard Lee Jackson (Saved By The Bell: The NEw Class)
Andrew Prine (V)
Tracy Scoggins (Lois & Clark)
Erick Avari (Stargate)
Carlos Lacamara (Heroes Reborn)
Leland Orser (Seven)
Chase Masterson (Terminal Invasion)
Penny Johnson Jerald (Castle)
Andrea Martin (Wag The Dog)
Diane Salinger (Batman Returns)
Sherman Howard (Superboy)
Robert O’ Reilly (The Mask)
Obi Ndefo (Stargate SG.1)
Patricia Tallman (Babylon 5)
Galyn Gorg (Robocop 2)
Jeremy Roberts (Veronica Mars)
James Cromwell (Species II)
Charles Napier (The Silence of The Lambs)
Conor O’Farrell (Lie To Me)
Robert Foxworth (Syriana)
Brock Peters (Soylent Green)
Casey Biggs (Broken Arrow)
Tony Todd (The Flash)
Robert DoQui (Robocop)
D. Elliot Woods (Agents of SHIELD)
Jason Marsden (Full House)
Ron Canada (Just Like Heaven)
James Black (Anger Management
Meg Foster (Masters of The Universe)
Tracy Middendorf (Scream: The Series)
John Prosky (The Devil Inside)
Hilary Shepard (Power Rangers Turbo)
Phil Morris (Smallville)
Charlie Brill (Silk Stalkings)
Kurtwood Smith (That 70s Show)
Eric Pierpoint (Alien Nation)
Robert Picardo (Stargate: Atlantis)
Marjean Holden (Hostage)
Brian Markinson (Arrow)
Christopher Shea (Bounty Killer)
Marc Worden (Ultimate Avengers)
Gabrielle Union (Ugly Betty)
Shannon Cochran (The Ring)
Iggy Pop (The Crow 2)
Brad Greenquist (Alias)
Leslie Hope (24)
Stephen McHattie (300)
Michael Weatherly (NCIS)
Henry Gibson (Sabrina: TTW)
James Darren (T.J. Hooker)
Bill Mumy (Babylon 5)
Kevin Rahm (Bates Motel)
Adrienne Barbeau (Swamp Thing)
William Sadler (Roswell)

DS9 is one of my all-time favourite television shows. It edges out Star Trek’s original series just barely as my favourite in the franchise. I am not going to state that it’s the best Star Trek series, because it definitely will not appeal to everybody, but it is my favourite.

DS9 deviates from the Trek franchise formula in an important way – it is based on one location – a Cardassian-built space station near the planet Bejor. So even the architecture of the main set is alien – not another sterile militaristic star ship inhabited by a primarily white European crew – but a true Babel. Bejor has just been liberated from 60 years of occupation by an expansionist militaristic race – the Cardassians. Both Bejorans and Cardassians will play important roles throughout DS9. Since the station does not move much during the show’s seven year run, DS9 has a much stronger sense of place than the other ST series, and is able to develop story arc and character continuity much more powerfully than the others.

All of the major characters and most of the frequent returning characters have their own interwoven story arcs – most of which span the entire series. Ben Sisko (Avery Brooks), the station’s commander, is a somewhat disgruntled Star Fleet officer who has several personal vendettas which have almost driven him from Star Fleet. He is also a single parent and a genius. In the very first episode, Sisko’s arc begins and it is clear that his story will be the frame within which the entire series is organized – though the reasons for this will no become entirely clear until near the end. Also memorable are the gruff, shape-shifting Chief Constable Odo(Rene Auberjunois) who does not know what he is and where he came from; Kira (Nana Visitor) Sisko’s aggressive and intense Bajoran second officer; Garak (Andy Robinson) a Cardassian Tailor and – possibly – spy, who is easily the most well-developed, well-acted and interesting recurring guest star Star Trek has ever had; Jadzia Dax (Terry Farrell) – the beautiful Trill science officer whose consciousness is enhanced by the memories and personality of a 600 year old symbiotic slug who lives in her stomach and has inhabited dozens of previous hosts; Julian Bashir (Alexander Siddig) the station’s young, brilliant, adventurous and naive doctor; and Quark (Armin Shimmerman), the greedy, conniving, but entirely lovable Ferengi casino owner.

The characters, cast, and serialized stories make DS9 stand apart from the franchise as the most powerfully plotted, intensely dramatic and politically charged Star Trek ever. The show is, however, not for those with limited attention spans and a disdain for complexity. While it isn’t exactly hard to follow, the dialog is often dense and DS9 – more than any other Trek show – uses non-verbal communication very well. Brooks, Visitor and Robinson – all of whom are masters at this – are particularly non-verbal and make a big impression from the first few episodes.

Throughout the series, there are constant underlying political intrigues and surprisingly little filler. Almost every story connects with the main story arc (Sisko’s and Bejor’s) in one way or another, and no time is wasted with aimless experimentation by the writing team (a problem Voyager and Enterprise both suffered from).

The production is consistently theatrical in scope. The special effects are still – even today – above average for television, and even the new BSG doesn’t approach the scope and coherence of the plot.Highly recommended for bright people looking for something more than typical TV drama normally delivers.

REVIEW: UNKNOWN

CAST

Liam Neeson (Batman Begins)
Dian Kruger (The Host)
January Jones (X-Men: First CLass)
Aidan Quinn (Elementary)
Bruno Ganz (Downfall)
Frank Langella (Masters of The Universe)

finds that Liz has written a series of numbers that correspond to words found specific pages. Using his schedule, Martin confronts Liz alone; she tells him he left his briefcase at the airport. Meanwhile, Jürgen receives Cole at his office and deduces that Cole is a former mercenary and potent killer. Realizing Cole is there to kill him and he has no way of escaping, Jürgen commits suicide by ingesting cyanide to protect Martin.

After retrieving his briefcase, Martin parts ways with Gina. When she sees him kidnapped by Cole and Jones, she steals a taxicab and chases them. When Martin wakes, Cole says Martin Harris is a cover name and that he was sent to target the summit with Liz. Liz notified Cole that Martin was starting to believe his cover story was his actual life. Cole explains, that’s why Martin B was sent as his replacement. Because he injured his head during the car crash, his memory was altered and he believed his fake Martin Harris persona was his own identity. Gina runs over Jones before he can kill Martin, then rams Cole’s van, killing him. After Martin finds a hidden compartment in his briefcase containing two Canadian passports, he remembers that he and Liz were in Berlin three months prior to plant a bomb in the suite to be occupied by Prince Shada.

Now aware of his own role in the assassination plot, Martin seeks to redeem himself by thwarting it. He heads to the hotel with Gina. Security immediately arrests them, but Martin convinces them of his presence in the hotel three months earlier. Liz uses her own copy of the book’s secret codes to remotely access Bressler’s laptop and steal the data. After being convinced of the bomb’s presence, security evacuates the hotel.

Martin suddenly realizes that Prince Shada is not the target, but Bressler, who has developed a genetically modified breed of corn capable of surviving harsh climates. With Bressler’s death and the theft of his research, billions of dollars would fall into the wrong hands. Seeing their assassination attempt has been foiled, Liz dies attempting to disarm the bomb. Martin kills Martin B, the last remaining terrorist, before the latter can murder Bressler. Bressler announces that he is giving his project to the world for free, while Martin and Gina board a train with new passports and identities.This action/thriller/mystery is a little far fetched to say the least but great fun non the less.

REVIEW: THE BOX

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CAST

Cameron Diaz (Vanilla Sky)
James Marsden (Gossip)
Frank Langella (All Good Things)
James Rebhorn (Independence Day)
Holmes Osborne (Donnie Darko)

In December 1976, a financially strapped couple, Norma (Cameron Diaz) and Arthur Lewis (James Marsden) find a package on their doorstep. Inside is a locked wooden box, with a transparent dome top and large red button visible underneath. An accompanying note reads: “Mr. Steward will call upon you at 5:00 pm”. They leave it in the kitchen. At 5:00 pm, Mr. Steward (Frank Langella), a mysterious man with the left side of his face torn off, arrives to deliver a key to the box. He tells Norma that, if the button is pushed, he will give her $1 million. However, someone she does not know, somewhere in the world, will die. Arthur, a NASA engineer, disassembles the box to find only a button and nothing under it.
Later, Norma and Arthur have ethical and moral arguments about pushing the button, wondering whether a young and ambitious, or old and fragile person will die. Norma decides to push the button. Simultaneously, miles away, a man kills his wife and then flees, leaving their daughter locked in the bathroom. Police are perplexed as to why Jeffrey Carnes (Ryan Woodle), a NASA employee like Arthur, shot his wife to death, because they had a happy relationship. At Norma’s sister’s wedding rehearsal, Arthur wins a chance to select a gift from presents provided by the dinner guests. A plain brown box exactly like his and Norma’s is among them. Arthur opens it to find a photo of Steward before the disfigurement. Arthur asks Norma’s father, a police officer, to run the license plate number of Steward’s car. Shortly after, Norma is asked to take a phone call at the wedding rehearsal. The call is from Mr. Steward who asks why her husband is having his car license plate run by the police department. Norma asks Mr. Steward how he knew this, and he warns her that he has employees everywhere.
Later on, Arthur drives the babysitter (Dana) home. She tells him she is living in a motel because her family is moving, but their new house is not ready to move into yet. As he is driving, she begins to ramble and tells Arthur to “look into the light” and asks if “somebody is pushing his buttons.” Her nose begins to bleed and she passes out just as he is approaching the motel. Arthur pulls into the motel parking lot and sees her ID, which states that her name is Sarah Mathews, not Dana. She suddenly wakes and rushes into the motel. In her room, she has surveillance photographs of Arthur and his family all over the walls. It is obvious she is not who she says she is. Once back home, Arthur asks Norma how she met the baby-sitter; she said on a tour of the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Later, while in the supermarket, Norma is approached by a woman who tells her to look up a certain call number in the library and not to trust anyone, not even her husband. The woman, who was the inquisitive journalist at a conference Arthur was present at earlier on, also passes out with a nose-bleed. Norma’s father discovers Steward’s car is registered to the NSA and allows Arthur to visit the Carnes home crime scene. Arthur finds pictures of Steward and a Human Resource Exploitation Manual along with a library call number.

Norma and Arthur separately visit the library. Arthur approaches Steward’s wife (Deborah Rush), who leads him into a room with three upright cuboids of water. Two will lead him to eternal damnation, while the other leads to salvation. Arthur enters one and he vanishes, while Steward’s wife leaves the library alone. Norma is led by two women to Steward and has a discussion about how he had gotten his facial disfigurement as a consequence of being struck by lightning while working at NASA. He causes her nose to bleed and she passes out. She finds herself back at home upon her bed. Above her, Arthur emerges within a rectangular cube of water and he is flushed out and falls on her. They both leave in shock and prepare for the wedding reception which is that evening. Back at the NSA, the NSA chief and Arthur’s boss at NASA discuss Steward. The chief tells Arthur’s boss Steward is “something else.” When Steward was struck by lightning, he died, but at the morgue, a nurse heard Steward laughing. His body supernaturally regenerated; he was transferred. The NSA chief and Steward discuss the “box and button.”

At the wedding reception of Norma’s sister, Arthur and Norma’s son Walter (Sam Oz Stone) is kidnapped. Arthur is forced to leave at gunpoint, by Jeffrey Carnes, who reveals that he had been forced to choose between his wife or daughter, and also informs him that they have to save Walter or Norma will die, and that he will kill her if they do not save him. Carnes is forced to stop his car by a man dressed in a Santa costume standing in the road. The car is then hit by a truck, knocking Arthur and Jeffrey unconscious. Meanwhile, NSA employees round up large groups of people, including Arthur and Walter. Steward oversees the process. Steward’s boxes are an experiment to judge whether a majority of individual members of the human race will put other lives before any personal gain. If a majority push the button, the human race will be exterminated. All the test subjects are couples under 40 years of age with one child.

Steward offers Arthur and Norma a final choice. Walter is now deaf and blind. They can either live on with a disabled son, or Arthur can shoot Norma through the heart, at which point Walter’s sight and hearing will be restored. Norma begs Arthur to shoot her. Elsewhere, a woman pushes the button on her box and Arthur shoots Norma, killing her. As Arthur is taken away by police, Steward leaves the other couple’s house with the box. Walter is shown through an upstairs window in the home with his grandfather (Holmes Osborne). The final scene shows Steward standing in the snow by his car, parked in a street, with the boxThe Box is probably one of the weirdest films you’ll ever see, its a strange blend of science fiction, conspiracy thriller, drama and pshycological horror. An Interesting film. Worth watching

 

REVIEW: WALL STREET 1 & 2

CAST
Charlie Sheen (Hot Shots)
Michael Douglas (Ant-Man)
John C. McGinley (Highlander 2)
Hal Holbrook (Lincoln)
James Karen (Hercules In New York)
Tamara Tunie (Flight)
Martin Sheen (The West Wing)
Terence Stamp (Superman 2)
Daryl Hannah (Kill BIll)
Sual Rubinek (Memory Run)
In 1985, Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen) is working as a junior stockbroker in New York City at Jackson Steinem & Co. He wants to work with his hero, Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas), a legendary Wall Street player. After calling Gekko’s office 59 days in a row trying to land an appointment, Bud visits Gekko on his birthday with a box of Gekko’s favorite, contraband Cuban cigars. Impressed at his sheer boldness, Gekko grants Bud an interview. Bud pitches him stocks, but Gekko is unimpressed. Desperate, Bud provides him some inside information about Bluestar Airlines, which Bud learned in a casual conversation from his father, Carl (Martin Sheen), the union leader for the company’s workers. Intrigued, Gekko tells Bud he will think about it, but also that he “[looks] at a hundred deals a day,” but “[chooses] one.” A dejected Bud returns to his office. However, Gekko places an order for Bluestar stock and becomes one of Bud’s clients. Gekko gives Bud some capital to manage, but the other stocks Bud selects lose money.
Gekko gives Bud another chance, and tells him to spy on British CEO Sir Lawrence Wildman (Terence Stamp) and discern Wildman’s next move. Bud learns that Wildman is making a bid for a steel company. Through Bud’s spying, Gekko makes big money, and Wildman is forced to buy Gekko’s shares off him to complete his takeover. Bud becomes wealthy, enjoying Gekko’s promised perks, including a penthouse on Manhattan’s Upper East Side and a trophy girlfriend, interior decorator Darien (Daryl Hannah). Bud is promoted to a senior stockbroker as a result of the large commission fees he is bringing in from Gekko’s trading, and is given a corner office with a view. He continues to maximize inside information and use friends as straw buyers to provide more income for him and Gekko. Unknown to Bud, several of his trades attract the attention of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Bud pitches a new idea to Gekko: buy Bluestar Airlines and expand the company, with Bud as president, using savings achieved by union concessions and the overfunded pension. Even though Bud is unable to persuade his father to support him and Gekko, he is able to get the unions to push for the deal. Soon afterward, Bud learns that Gekko plans to dissolve the company and sell off Bluestar’s assets in order to access cash in the company’s pension plan, leaving Carl and the entire Bluestar staff unemployed. Although this would leave Bud as a very rich man, he is angered by Gekko’s deceit and racked with the guilt of being an accessory to Bluestar’s impending destruction, especially after his father suffers a heart attack. Bud resolves to disrupt Gekko’s plans, and breaks up with Darien when she refuses to go against Gekko, her former lover.
Bud devises a plan to drive up Bluestar’s stock before manipulating it back down. He and the other union presidents then secretly meet with Wildman and arrange for him to buy controlling interest in Bluestar at a significant discount. Gekko, realizing that his stock is plummeting, dumps his remaining interest in the company on Bud’s advice. However, when Gekko learns on the evening news that Wildman is buying Bluestar, he realizes that Bud engineered the entire scheme. Bud triumphantly goes back to work at Jackson Steinem the following day, only to be arrested for insider trading.
Sometime later, Bud confronts Gekko in Central Park. Gekko berates him for his role with Bluestar and accusing him of ingratitude for several of their illicit trades. Following the confrontation, it is revealed that Bud has turned state’s evidence and was wearing a wire to record his encounter with Gekko. He turns the wire tapes over to the authorities, who suggest that he may get a lighter sentence in exchange for helping them make a case against Gekko. Later on, Bud’s parents drive him down FDR Drive towards the Supreme Court Building downtown to answer for the crimes he committed under Gekko’s influence. Carl tells him he did right in saving the airline. The film ends with Bud going up the steps of the courthouse, knowing that while he is likely going to prison and his career is ruined, he now has a clear conscience.
This is a great movie, and well captured by Stone, who himself had a father who was in the business and wanted to make a “business movie”, to look at the bad guys of the system, and how people’s simple needs often outweigh what they feel is right.
CAST
Michael Douglas (Traffic)
Shia LaBeouf (Eagle Eye)
Carey Mulligan (Drive)
Josh Brolin (Planet Terror)
Frank Langella (Masters of The Universe)
Jason Clarke (Terminator Genisys)
Charlie Sheen (Rated X)
Eli Wallach (The Godfather- Part III)
Susan Sarandon (Tammy)
In 2001, Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) is released from prison after serving eight years for insider trading and securities fraud. Seven years later, Gekko is promoting his new book Is Greed Good?, warning about the coming economic downturn. His estranged daughter, Winnie (Carey Mulligan), runs a small, non-profit news website and is dating Jacob Moore (Shia LaBeouf), a top proprietary trader at Keller Zabel Investments (KZI). Jacob is a protégé of managing director Louis Zabel (Frank Langella), and is trying to raise money for a fusion research project which would create massive amounts of clean energy for the world. Jake is also financially assisting his mother (Susan Sarandon), who has begun a new career selling real estate.
When the recession of 2008 hits, Keller Zabel’s stock loses more than 50% of its value. Louis Zabel tries to arrange a bailout for KZI from other Wall Street banks but is blocked by Bretton James (Josh Brolin), head of rival firm Churchill Schwartz, which Louis Zabel had refused to bail out eight years earlier. Zabel kills himself by jumping in front of a subway train because he cannot handle the stress and embarrassment of losing his company.
A distraught Jacob proposes marriage to Winnie, who accepts, then attends a lecture given by Gordon Gekko and introduces himself afterward. Gekko tells him that Keller Zabel’s collapse started when rumors of the company having toxic debt started to spread. Jacob and Gekko arrange a trade: Jacob will try to reconcile Winnie’s and Gekko’s relationship, and Gekko will gather information to destroy Bretton’s career to seek revenge for Zabel’s suicide.
Jake, aided by Gekko, learns that Bretton James profited from the Keller Zabel collapse. In revenge, Jake spreads rumors about the nationalization of an African oil field owned by Churchill Schwartz. The company loses $120 million, but Bretton offers Jake a job, impressed by his initiative. In his new position, Jake convinces Chinese investors to fund the fusion research by Dr. Masters (Austin Pendleton) he has been supporting. Bretton is impressed even more.
Jake attends a fundraiser with Winnie and pays for a seat at a table for Gekko priced at $10,000. Gekko confronts Bretton about what he did to him and also to Zabel. Bretton mocks him that no one cares what Gekko knows or thinks anymore. Gekko also bumps into Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen), and they discuss their shared experience going to jail. Gekko then follows Winnie outside, where she explains why she blames him for everything that went wrong, particularly her brother Rudy’s suicide. Gekko claims he paid for the best therapists and even paid off a drug dealer to stop selling to Rudy, who died from an overdose. Winnie forgives him somewhat.
As the economy starts to crumble, Bretton and business mentor Julius Steinhardt (Eli Wallach) advise federal regulators what drastic actions must be taken. Jake’s mother continues to come to him for large sums of money. Winnie then announces to Jake she is pregnant with a boy. After riding motorcycles together, Bretton reveals to Jake that the Chinese investment is going into solar panels and fossil fuels instead of fusion research, leaving Jake furious and feeling betrayed.
Gekko proposes a solution, using a $100 million trust fund account in Switzerland, which Gekko set up for Winnie in the 1980s, to fund the research and save the company. She signs the money over to Jake, who then entrusts it to Gekko to legitimize the funds for investment in the fusion research company. However, the money never arrives, and Gekko betrays his daughter and Jake by leaving the country with Winnie’s $100 million. Jake realizes that Gekko has been using him to get the money in the account for his own gain. Winnie then tells Jake to leave, no longer trusting him. Gekko is now in London, running a hugely successful hedgefund-like financial company, capitalized by the $100 million. Jake travels there to propose one last trade: Winnie gets her money back, and Gekko can participate in his grandson’s life. Gekko, however, refuses.
Jake pieces together everything from Keller Zabel’s collapse to the economic bailout of Bretton’s company and gives the information to Winnie, telling her that revealing it will bring her website publicity and credibility. Winnie runs the story, and Bretton James is exposed. The investors, including Steinhardt, promptly abandon Bretton and go to Gekko on the back of his $1.1 billion return as Bretton finds himself under intense legal scrutiny by the government. Jake has successfully reunited with Winnie in New York, when late one night Gekko appears and tells them that he deposited $100 million into the fusion research’s account anonymously. He apologizes to them. One year later, Gekko is seen at his grandson Louis’s first birthday party, along with Jacob’s mother and Jacob and Winnie’s friends.
Not quite as good as the first Wall Street, but good enough in presenting a quintessential villain as an expository mouthpiece for the many failings of Western capitalism.