REVIEW: ROCKnROLLA

Starring

Gerard Butler (300)
Mark Strong (Shazam)
Tom Wilkinson (Batman Begins)
Toby Kebbell (Bloodshot)
Tom Hardy (Venom)
Idris Elba (Prometheus)
Karel Roden (Hellboy)
Thandie Newton (Mission Impossible 2)
Geoff Bell (Green Street)
Jeremy Piven (The Kingdom)
Ludacris (2 Fast 2 Furious)
Gemma Arterton (Murder Mystery)
Jimi Mistry (West Is West)
Nonso Anozie (Game of Thrones)
Bronson Webb (Pure)
Jamie Campbell Bower (Sweeney Todd)

Jimi Mistry and Tom Wilkinson in RocknRolla (2008)In London, mob boss Lenny Cole (Tom Wilkinson) rules the ever-growing real estate business, using a corrupt Councillor (Jimi Mistry) for bureaucratic fixing, and his right-hand man Archy (Mark Strong) for the dirty side of things. A billionaire Russian businessman, Uri Omovich (Karel Roden), plans a fixed land deal, and London’s crooks seem to all want a piece of it — particularly Uri’s underhanded accountant Stella (Thandie Newton), and a gang called “The Wild Bunch” led by small-time crook “One-Two” (Gerard Butler), his partner “Mumbles” (Idris Elba), and their driver, “Handsome Bob” (Tom Hardy).Gerard Butler in RocknRolla (2008)Uri agrees to Lenny’s price of €7,000,000 to grease the Council’s wheels, and as a sign of trust, loans him his “lucky painting.” Yet when Uri arranges for Stella to move the funds, she double-crosses him and hires the Wild Bunch to steal the money. Unfortunately for Lenny, however, his junkie stepson Johnny Quid (Toby Kebbell), supposedly dead, steals the painting from Lenny’s wall. Lenny and Archy then coerce Johnny’s managers Mickey (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges) and Roman (Jeremy Piven) into tracking down Johnny. In a subplot, Handsome Bob gets close to Stella’s gay husband, a lawyer who has information on a longtime unknown informer in their criminal circle whose information has Bob looking at a five-year prison term.Tom Wilkinson in RocknRolla (2008)Uri tasks Stella once more with covertly siphoning the necessary payoff from his holdings, and grows increasingly enamoured with her. When his moneymen are once again robbed by the Wild Bunch, his assistant Victor convinces him that it’s likely Lenny who is behind the robberies, and is also purposely keeping Uri’s lucky painting from him. Uri & Victor then invite Lenny to a private golf game on a golf course owned by Uri, where Victor beats him savagely with a golf club, finishing by breaking Lenny’s leg as a warning to him. Cookie (Matt King) happens to buy the painting from some crackheads who had just stolen it from Johnny’s hideout. Cookie then gives the painting to One-Two who, in turn, offers the painting to Stella (after a sexual encounter) as a token of appreciation. After Stella leaves his flat, One-Two is surprised by Uri’s henchmen but is rescued, and then kidnapped, by Archy and his goons who had come looking for Uri’s money. Uri wants to marry Stella, whom he has long admired. He goes to Stella’s house to propose, but he then spots the painting. Stella lies and says she has had it for years. Uri, enraged by Stella’s betrayal, orders Victor to kill her.Gerard Butler and Idris Elba in RocknRolla (2008)Archy brings Johnny, Roman, Mickey and the Wild Bunch to Lenny’s warehouse where Lenny orders Johnny executed. He threatens to kill the Wild Bunch “very slowly” unless they give up the money they stole. Handsome Bob offers the legal documents concerning the informant in his pocket to Archy. Archy recognises the pseudonym used on the documents, “Sidney Shaw”, as belonging to Lenny. Lenny arranged the police to routinely lock up many criminal associates (including Archy) for years at a time to enhance his own standing in the criminal underworld and to ensure his own freedom. Archy orders Lenny’s men to free the Wild Bunch and has Lenny drowned and fed to crayfish. In the lift, Johnny explains to Roman and Mickey that they will also be killed to leave no witnesses, and graphically explains the manner of their executions. His description unnerves the man who’s to execute the three men, prompting him to act prematurely. Having also already anticipated this move, Johnny warns Mickey and Roman to intervene and kill their would-be executioner. Johnny shoots two more men waiting at the top of the lift and they escape the last of Archy’s men (with help from One-Two and the Wild Bunch).Jeremy Piven, Ludacris, and Mark Strong in RocknRolla (2008)Later, Archy picks up Johnny from rehab and gives Johnny Uri’s lucky painting as a welcome home present. Archy says that obtaining the painting “cost a very wealthy Russian an arm and a leg” implying he had Uri killed. Johnny proclaims that, with his new-found freedom from addiction and from his stepfather, he will do what he could not before: “become a real RocknRolla”.Gerard Butler in RocknRolla (2008)“Rocknrolla” is another great movie of Guy Ritchie in the same style of “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels”. The complex and intelligent screenplay entwines characters and funny situations and the result is an entertaining movie with witty lines and excellent acting.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: THE GIRL WITH THE GIFTS

Starring

Gemma Arterton (Byzantium)
Paddy Considine (Macbeth)
Glenn Close (Hoodwinked)
Sennia Nanua (The Fight)
Anamaria Marinca (Ghost In The Shell)
Fisayo Akinade (The Works)
Anthony Welsh (Red Tails)
Dominique Tipper (The Expanse)

Glenn Close in The Girl with All the Gifts (2016)In the near future, humanity has been ravaged by a mysterious fungal disease (a mutation of Ophiocordyceps unilateralis). The infected have turned into fast, mindless flesh-eaters, referred to as ‘hungries’. Humankind’s only hope is a small group of hybrid, second generation children who crave living flesh but retain the ability to think and learn. The children are imprisoned by a group of soldiers led by Sgt. Eddie Parks, and go to “school” at an army base in the Home Counties, where they are experimented on by Dr. Caroline Caldwell. Helen Justineau is responsible for educating and studying the children. Among the children is an exceptional girl named Melanie.Sennia Nanua in The Girl with All the Gifts (2016)Melanie is taken for experimentation by Caldwell when the base is overrun by hungries and the lab is breached, resulting in the infection of a nurse. Melanie escapes the lab and wanders outside, where soldiers are violently attacked in a failing, chaotic mass breach. Melanie is stunned by what she sees, but violently attacks and infects two soldiers who are trying to restrain Helen. Helen and Melanie jump aboard an escaping armoured van with Parks, Caldwell and a surviving soldier Kieran.Glenn Close, Paddy Considine, Gemma Arterton, and Fisayo Akinade in The Girl with All the Gifts (2016)The soldiers want to shoot Melanie, but Helen shields her and Caldwell insists she needs her. Melanie is muzzled and restrained as the group escapes into the wilderness. After the van breaks down, the group reaches London on foot and are able to make their way through a group of dormant hungries, using a ‘blocker’ gel which masks their scent, before barricading themselves overnight in an abandoned hospital. Caldwell reveals to Melanie that “second generation” hungries were discovered after newborns killed their infected mothers by burrowing out of the womb. In the morning, the group realize they have been surrounded by a horde of hungries, and Melanie volunteers to help. She captures a small dog to use as bait, leading the hungries away so the group can escape.Glenn Close, Fisayo Akinade, and Sennia Nanua in The Girl with All the Gifts (2016)As they progress through London they come across a mass of infected bodies encircling the overgrown BT Tower. Caldwell explains to the group that the fungal growth contains seed pods, which if released could end humankind. The group also come across a mobile laboratory in which they take shelter. Caldwell, injured during the initial attack on the base, reasons that she can save Helen and the human race by sacrificing Melanie to complete her vaccine research. As the group runs out of food, Kieran ventures into the city alone on a supply run, but is trapped and killed by a tribe of feral children. Caldwell stays behind as the remaining group attempts a rescue, only for them to be surrounded by the feral children. Melanie is confronted by the leader, but is able to subdue and kill him with a bat. The remaining children back off, allowing Melanie, Parks and Helen to escape.Glenn Close, Paddy Considine, Fisayo Akinade, and Sennia Nanua in The Girl with All the Gifts (2016)Upon their return, Caldwell sedates the group and confronts Melanie. Melanie comes to the realization that she is not an experiment, and that her kind will be the future. Melanie escapes to the centre of London and sets the towering seed-pod structure alight, causing it to release an immense cloud of airborne spores. Caldwell chases after her but is killed by the tribe of children. Parks finds Melanie by the blazing tower, but is infected by the spores. He cries over the inevitable end of the world, whereas Melanie simply states it’s just “not yours anymore”. He hands Melanie his sidearm, and she tearfully obliges and shoots him as he is about to turn. Melanie then returns to the lab. Helen, standing just inside the hermetically sealed door, fearfully watches as the released spores fall around the lab.The film ends with a tearful Helen awakening, secure but imprisoned inside the sealed mobile med lab. Outside, the second generation hybrid children of the army base, along with the feral children sit together, kept sternly in place by Melanie. Helen speaks through a microphone, once again to educate the children.The Girl with All the Gifts (2016)The Girl with All the Gifts is a solid movie in it’s own right, but it stands amongst the very best zombie movies. It certainly gives 28 Days Later… a run for its money, both in it’s use of it’s low- budget and it’s re-invention of the zombie trope. It’s another fresh new take on a genre perpetually at risk of going stale, but finding itself constantly injected with more creativity and imagination.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: HANSEL & GRETAL: WITCH HUNTERS

CAST

Jeremy Renner (Avengers Assemble)
Gemma Arterton (The Voices)
Famke Janssen (X-Men)
Pihla Viitala (August)
Derek Mears (Friday The 13th)
Robin Atkins Downes (Babylon 5)
Peter Stormare (22 Jump Street)
Zoe Bell (Raze)
Ingrid Bolsø Berdal (Hercules)
Thomas Mann (Project X)

Gemma Arterton in Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013)Abandoned by their father deep in a forest, young Hansel and Gretel enter a gingerbread house and are captured by a cannibalistic witch. The witch forces Hansel to continuously eat candy to fatten him up, and enslaves Gretel, ordering her to prepare the oven, but the siblings outsmart her and incinerate her in the fire of the oven. In the fifteen years that follow, Hansel and Gretel become famed witch hunters, slaying hundreds of witches. The pair find that they are somehow immune to spells and curses, but the incident in the gingerbread house has left Hansel diabetic. He needs a shot of insulin every few hours or he will get sick and die.Jeremy Renner in Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013)Hansel and Gretel arrive in the town of Augsburg and immediately prevent Sheriff Berringer from executing a young woman named Mina for witchcraft. Mayor Englemann tells the crowd that he has hired the siblings to rescue several children presumed abducted by witches. Berringer hires trackers for the same mission in the hopes of disgracing the mayor and cementing his power. All but one of the sheriff’s party are killed that night by the powerful grand witch Muriel, who sends one man back to the town tavern as a warning to the locals. Hansel and Gretel, along with the Mayor’s deputy Jackson, capture one of Muriel’s witches and interrogate her. They discover that the witches are preparing for the coming Blood Moon, where they plan to sacrifice twelve children in order to gain an immunity to fire. Muriel, accompanied by her witches and a troll named Edward, attack the town and abduct the final child. Muriel kills Jackson and launches Gretel out a window, rendering her unconscious. Gretel is rescued by Ben, a local teenager who is a fan of theirs and plans to be a witch hunter himself. Hansel grabs onto a fleeing witch by her broomstick, but falls and is lost in the forest.
Jeremy Renner in Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013)The next morning, Hansel is found hanging from a tree by Mina. She takes him to a nearby spring where she heals his wounds and makes love to him. Gretel searches for Hansel in the forest but is attacked by Sheriff Berringer and his posse. The men capture and beat Gretel before being stopped by Edward, who kills the sheriff and his men. Edward tends Gretel’s wounds and tells her that he helped her because trolls serve witches. Hansel and Gretel reunite at an abandoned cabin, which they discover is both a witch’s lair and their childhood home. Muriel appears in front of them, telling them the truth of their past. She reveals that Hansel and Gretel’s mother was a grand white witch named Adrianna who married a farmer. On the night of the last Blood Moon, Muriel planned to use the heart of the white witch to complete her potion. She found Adrianna too powerful and decided to use Gretel’s heart instead. To get rid of Adrianna, Muriel revealed to the townspeople that Adrianna was a witch. The townspeople burned her alive and hung Hansel and Gretel’s father. Following this revelation, the siblings battle Muriel before she stabs Hansel and abducts Gretel for the ceremony.
Jeremy Renner in Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013)Hansel wakes up with Mina, who reveals herself to be a white witch. She heals his wounds again and uses a grimoire to bless Hansel’s arsenal of weapons. Hansel, Mina, and Ben head out to disrupt the Blood Moon Sabbath. Mina begins slaughtering dark witches with a Gatling gun, while Hansel squares off against Muriel’s witches and frees the children. Edward defies Muriel’s orders and releases Gretel before Muriel throws him off the cliff. Muriel flees on a broomstick, but Ben manages to shoot her and forces her to crash. Hansel goes after Muriel while Gretel stops to revive Edward. Hansel, Ben, and Mina follow Muriel’s trail to the original gingerbread house. Muriel wounds Ben and kills Mina before Hansel shoots her several times, knocking her into the house. Gretel arrives and the pair engage Muriel in a brutal fight that ends with Muriel being beheaded with a shovel. They burn Muriel’s body on a pyre and collect their reward for rescuing the children. They head out on their next witch hunt accompanied by Ben and Edward.Jeremy Renner, Pihla Viitala, and Gemma Arterton in Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013)A very enjoyable fantasy horror film.  Good fun if not taken seriously this is a tongue in cheek very gory and over the top film. Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arteton somehow play it completely straight as Hansel and Gretel while everybody else including Famke Jensson as a witch the pair are after and Peter Stormare as the sherriff of a small town ham it up completely. With impressive special effects and good action scenes and the ending seems to set up a sequel. A great fun film.

REVIEW: MURDER MYSTERY

Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler in Murder Mystery (2019)

Starring

Adam Sandler (Mr. Deeds)
Jennifer Aniston (Horrible Bosses)
Luke Evans (The Girl on The Train)
Gemma Arterton (Byzantium)
Terence Stamp (Superman II)
David Walliams (Little Britain)
Luis Gerardo Méndez (Charlie’s Angels)
Dany Boon (Radin!)
Nicole Randall Johnson (The 40 Year Old Virgin)
Allen Covert (The Wedding Singer)

Jennifer Aniston, Adam Sandler, and Dany Boon in Murder Mystery (2019)Nick Spitz is a New York police officer and his wife Audrey is a hairdresser. Audrey wants to go to Europe as Nick promised them, but with their 15th wedding anniversary coming up, she thinks they will never go. She confronts him on this and he lies that he has booked the trip for the celebration. Due to that, he quickly books the trip. On the plane, Audrey meets billionaire Charles Cavendish who invites the couple to join him on his family’s yacht for a party. Nick reluctantly agrees to it.Jennifer Aniston, Adam Sandler, and Luis Gerardo Méndez in Murder Mystery (2019)On the yacht, Nick and Audrey meet Cavendish’s ex-fiancée Suzi, his cousin Tobey, actress Grace Ballard, Colonel Ulenga, his bodyguard Sergei, the maharaja Vikram, race car driver Juan Carlos, and finally Malcolm Quince, Cavendish’s uncle, the owner of the boat, and host of the party. Quince announces that Suzi (his current fiancée much to Cavendish’s displeasure) is the only one to make the will believing the others to want him just for money. Before he can sign the will, the lights go out and when they come back on, Quince is found dead stabbed by his own dagger.Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler in Murder Mystery (2019)Nick (who has faked being a detective for Audrey’s sake) orders the room be locked and the guests return to their rooms. Later that night, the guests find Tobey dead from an apparent suicide. Upon arriving in Monte Carlo, the guests are questioned by Inspector Laurent Delacroix who believes Nick and Audrey are guilty of the murders and later orders a manhunt on them. At the Monaco Grand Prix, Nick and Audrey question the guests and that night, Sergei summons them to his room where he reveals Quince had another child who apparently died. When someone knocks on the door, the couple hide and when they come out, they find Sergei has been murdered. They flee and Audrey finds out Nick is not a detective and lied about booking the trip in advance. She is furious and leaves with Cavendish.Nick follows Suzi to a library where he finds Audrey who reveals Cavendish is in the building as well. They realize Cavendish and Suzi are secretly in love and assume they are the culprits. A hidden gunman begins shooting and the couple flee where they are met by Juan Carlos and confronted by Suzi who is then killed by a dart. She tried to motion out who the killer was, but only motioned out being spoon fed and a claw. Not sure what that means. Nick injures the killer who gets away. Nick and Audrey then go to Quince’s mansion to confront Cavendish on the murders, but find him dead from a poisoning.Jennifer Aniston, Adam Sandler, and Dany Boon in Murder Mystery (2019)The couple summon Delacroix and the remaining guests (Ulenga, Grace, Vikram, and Juan Carlos). They all have alibis remaining they were two murderers. The couple deduce that Grace is the murderer who had help from Tobey, then killed him. Grace reveals that she is the child that “died” and that Quince’s money truly belongs to her. She denies being the killer, but Nick proves it and she is arrested. While celebrating, Nick and Audrey learn that she had another alibi meaning that there is another killer. They realize that Juan Carlos is the other killer wanting revenge against Quince who he blames for his father’s death. Juan Carlos kidnaps Delacroix causing Nick and Audrey to engage him in a car chase, but they are able to get the car to crash rescuing Delacroix. Juan Carlos then holds them all at gunpoint, but he is then killed by a speeding bus. Delacroix thanks the couple and offers to help get Nick elected as detective. As a thanks, Delacroix treats the couple to a train ride on the Orient Express.A nice easy breezy murder mystery. Full of fun. Don’t count on anything serious or deep here just sit back with your popcorn and a soda and enjoy the movie. Nothing offencive here. Just an adult murder mystery romp. We don’t get many like these anymore. Ignore the people who like to criticize everything because they think they are actual critics. Chemistry between Aniston and Sadler is awesome. I hope they make more movies together.

REVIEW: BYZANTIUM

 

CAST

Saoirse Ronan (The Lovely Bones)
Gemma Arterton (The Voices)
Sam Riley (Maleficent)
Jonny Lee Miller (Hackers)
Daniel Mays (The Bank Job)
Caleb Landry Jones (Get Out)
Tom Hollander (Pride & Predjudice)
Maria Doyle Kennedy (The Conjuring 2)
Barry Cassin (The Count of Monte Cristo)

Gemma Arterton in Byzantium (2012)In 2010, an old man, Robert Fowlds, picks up a discarded note dropped by teenage vampire Eleanor Webb, who has taken to writing her life story and then throwing the individual pages to the wind. Realising what she is, the old man invites Eleanor to his house and tells her that he is ready for death. Eleanor proceeds to kill him and consume his blood. Elsewhere, Eleanor’s mother, Clara, is chased from the lap-dancing club where she has been working by Werner, a member of the vampiric Brethren, who demands to know where Eleanor is. Clara decapitates Werner, burns his body and leaves town with her daughter.Saoirse Ronan and Caleb Landry Jones in Byzantium (2012)Eleanor and Clara seek sanctuary in a dilapidated coastal resort. There, Clara sets her sights on a lonely soul named Noel, who has just inherited the Byzantium Hotel, a once-thriving business that has fallen into disrepair. Eleanor plays the piano in a restaurant and is approached by a young waiter named Frank, who takes a shine to her. Having seduced Noel, Clara turns the Byzantium into a makeshift brothel and Eleanor joins the local college which Frank also attends. Interested in her past, Frank questions Eleanor, who writes her story for him to read. Not entirely believing it, he shows it to their teacher, Kevin.Saoirse Ronan in Byzantium (2012)The story, revealed in a series of flashbacks over the course of the film, begins during the Napoleonic Wars, when a young Clara encounters two Royal Navy officers, Captain Ruthven and Midshipman Darvell. While Darvell gifts Clara with a pearl and is kind to her, Ruthven convinces her to come away with him, to Darvell’s dismay. Ruthven, taking her to a brothel, rapes her and forces her into prostitution. Over the years he visits her and is physically abusive. When Eleanor is born in 1804, Clara leaves her at the local private orphanage and secretly visits her at night. Years later, Clara is dying of what appears to be tuberculosis when the brothel is visited by Darvell, who has become a vampire. He gives Ruthven a map to an island where people can become vampires if they are willing to die. Clara shoots Ruthven in the leg, steals the map and makes her way to the island to become a vampire. Darvell finds Clara and takes her to the Brethren, a secret society of vampires that protects the secret of vampirism.Thure Lindhardt, Sam Riley, and Gemma Arterton in Byzantium (2012)As their members have traditionally been male nobles, they are appalled that a low-born prostitute has joined their ranks but decide to spare her life, warning her that she must abide by their code but that she may play no part in their Brotherhood. Shortly afterwards, Clara’s decision to spare Ruthven comes back to haunt her, when the vengeful, syphilis-ridden Captain turns up at Eleanor’s orphanage and takes her to the attic to rape her. Clara brutally murders him but she is too late; Eleanor is condemned to a slow, painful death. Desperate to save her daughter’s life, Clara takes Eleanor to the island and has her transformed into a vampire, violating the Brethren’s code. The Brethren begin hunting Clara and Eleanor.Gemma Arterton in Byzantium (2012)In the 21st century, Eleanor falls in love with Frank and decides to help him turn into a vampire so they can be together, since he is dying from leukaemia. Before killing him, Clara finds out from Kevin that Eleanor has told Frank of their past. Noel is accidentally killed, falling down the lift shaft, when Clara tries to prevent Eleanor from leaving the hotel and succeeds in trapping her in the lift. While Clara is out dealing with Frank, Darvell and Savella, the Brethren’s leader, posing as police, find out from Kevin’s colleague Morag where Clara is and go to kill her. Clara leaves without killing Frank when she realises that Eleanor is in mortal danger. The Brethren kidnap Eleanor and drive her to an abandoned fairground to destroy her, only to be stopped by Clara. After killing Morag, Savella battles Clara and ultimately subdues her. Savella hands Darvell his sword (which he took from Byzantium during the Crusades) so he can kill Clara. Darvell has always harboured feelings for Clara and kills Savella instead. Clara gives Eleanor the money saved from running the brothel and tells her it is time for them to part ways; Clara and Darvell depart as companions while Eleanor takes Frank to the island to become a vampire.Gemma Arterton in Byzantium (2012)Byzantium is a great movie that really makes me feel passionate as a critic. In the years where films have been slightly hit and miss, this film is definitely a hit. It has a great vision and knows exactly what it wants to be. Supported by two stand out performances this is British-Irish film-making at its near best and as I stated it is one of my favourite films.

 

REVIEW: PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME

CAST

Jake Gyllenhaal (Nocturnal Animals)
Gemma Arterton (The Voices)
Ben Kingsley (Iron Man 3)
Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2)
Steve Toussaint (Judge Dredd)
Darwin Shaw (Casino Royale)
Toby Kebbell (Fantastic Four)
Richard Coyle (The Libertine)
Ronald Pickup (Zulu Dawn)
Reece Ritchie (The Outpost)

Dastan, a street urchin in Persia, is adopted by King Sharaman after showing courage in the marketplace. Fifteen years later, Sharaman’s brother Nizam receives proof that the holy city of Alamut is supplying weapons to Persian enemies, and the princes — Dastan, along with the king’s biological sons Tus and Garsiv — are sent to siege and take over Alamut. Dastan and his friends breach into the city on their own, and open a gate letting the Persians in. During the attack, Dastan fights a guard for Alamut’s royal family and takes from him a special dagger.Alamut falls to the Persians, but Princess Tamina denies the town having any weapon forges. Tus asks her to marry him to unite the two nations, and she only accept after seeing the dagger in Dastan’s possession. During the celebration, Dastan is fooled into presenting a poisoned gown seemingly given to him by Tus to King Sharaman, which fatally burns the king. Garsiv accuses Dastan of being the murderer, and the prince is forced to escape, carrying Tamina along. Tus is appointed king and orders a manhunt on Dastan.While in hiding, Tamina attempts to kill Dastan, and in the struggle the prince discovers the dagger enables its wielder to travel back in time. Dastan then believes that Tus invaded Alamut for the dagger, and decides to confront his brother at the funeral of the king in Avrat. On the way, the two are captured by merchant-bandits led by Sheik Amar, who recognized and attempted to take him back to Persia for the reward money, but they manage to escape. After arriving in Avrat, Dastan tries to convince his uncle Nizam that he was not the cause of his father’s death, only to discover the dagger was taken by Tamina. Instead, he notices the burns on Nizam’s hands, which indicate he was the one who set up the murder of the King. Furthermore, Nizam has set up an ambush for Dastan along the Persian streets, and after a conflict with his brother Garsiv, Dastan escapes. Nizam sends a group of covert and seemingly mystical warriors, the Hashanshin, to kill Dastan and find the dagger.During a sandstorm, Tamina tells Dastan the origins of the Sands of Time that enable the dagger’s time travel, while admitting the weapon only holds enough sand to reverse time by one minute. Dastan realizes that Nizam’s plan is to place the dagger in the sandglass holding the Sands of Time, causing Nizam to go back in time and prevent himself from saving Sharaman’s life from a lion as children so that he’ll be king of Persia. Tamina says that in doing so, the sandglass would be broken and destroy the world. After the two are captured by Sheik Amar, and Dastan saves Amar’s men from an Hashanshin attack using the dagger, the Sheik is convinced to carry both to a sanctuary near Hindu Kush, where the dagger could be sealed by returning it to the stone it once came from. At the sanctuary, they are found by Garsiv, whom Dastan convinces of his innocence but are later ambushed by the Hassansins. Garsiv sacrifices himself to save Dastan, while Tamina is knocked unconscious by a Hashanshin and the dagger is stolen.Dastan’s group travels back to Alamut to retrieve the dagger from Nizam and tell Tus the truth. Amar’s right hand man Seso dies getting the dagger back to Dastan, and the prince demonstrates the weapon’s powers to Tus to convince his brother. Afterwards Nizam walks in, kills Tus, and takes the dagger back. Tamina saves Dastan from being killed and the two head for secret underground tunnels that lead to the sandglass. When they reach Nizam, he stabs the sandglass and throws the both of them off a cliff. Dastan holds on to it with one arm and Tamina with the other. Tamina then sacrifices herself so that Dastan can stop Nizam. The two fight and when Dastan removes the dagger from the sandglass, time is reset to the moment Dastan found the dagger, causing all of the previous events to never have happened. Dastan finds Tus and Garsiv and exposes Nizam’s betrayal. Nizam attempts to kill Dastan, but is subdued and then killed by Tus. Tus apologizes to Tamina and proposes to strengthen the two nation’s bond by her marrying Dastan. Dastan returns the dagger to Tamina as an engagement gift and tells her he looks forward to their future together as she takes his hand.I highly recommend this film for a good old-fashioned, action-adventure film set in ancient times. The parkour sequences are definitely of the highest order and very well-edited and photographed. The sets and visual effects are excellent. Best of all, the story is intelligent and well-constructed. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer has again delivered a very entertaining summer blockbuster. A very well-executed film of its genre. A must watch!

REVIEW: RUNNER, RUNNER

CAST

Justin Timberlake (The Social Network)
Ben Affleck (Justice League)
Gemma Arterton (The Voices)
Anthony Mackie (Captain America: Civil War)
Oliver Cooper (Project X)
Michael Esper (American Gun)
Yul Vazquez (Traffic)
John Heard (Home Alone)
Bob Gunton (Daredevil)
Ben Schwartz (Sonic The Hedgehog)
Dayo Okeniyi (See)
Vincent Laresca (Romeo + Juliet)
David Costabile (Breaking Bad)

Richie Furst used to have a lucrative career on Wall Street; this history prevents him from receiving tuition assistance at Princeton, so he funds his master’s degree by referring students to online gambling, for which he receives a cut. After the dean threatens to expel him for these activities, Richie tries to win his tuition using his excellent poker skills in online gambling, but he loses all his money to a cheater, something he is able to prove by statistics.Richie travels to Costa Rica to confront Ivan Block, who runs the biggest empire of online gambling websites in the world, including the one Richie lost his money on. After Ivan sees the statistics, he finds coders have coded the software to allow them to cheat. After firing those involved, Ivan tells Richie he’ll pay him millions per year to stay in Costa Rica and assist with the site.Richie slowly begins a romantic relationship with Rebecca Shafran, ex-lover of Ivan, who appears to have no objections. Ivan has Richie blackmail a gaming affiliate with videos of his infidelity to force him to sign with Ivan. FBI agent Shavers kidnaps Richie and threatens to ruin his life in various ways if he does not assist in a conviction of Ivan Block. Shavers cannot do anything legally as he has no authority in Costa Rica, but he takes advantage of this to use tactics that would be illegal and unethical for law enforcement inside the United States. Ivan tells Richie that everyone in the organization ends up confronted by Shavers at some point.Over time, Ivan’s organization is revealed to be less than ethical. He sends Richie to bribe Costa Rica gaming director Herrera with too small a payment, which leads to Richie being beaten. Ivan tells him it comes with the territory of such a lucrative career. When Richie tries to leave the country, Shavers has drugs planted in his bag and offers to overlook it if Richie agrees to cooperate. A local police officer reveals that the police dislike Ivan but that he would buy his way out of any trouble and destroy whoever tried to take him down. Richie’s friend Andrew Cronin, who works on the software design for Ivan, suggests that Ivan is running a Ponzi scheme; the players’ accounts have no actual money, and Ivan uses the money as his own bank account, keeping just enough to allow players to cash out when they need to. Aware that Richie might be wanting out, Ivan buys the massive poker debts of Richie’s father and brings him to Costa Rica, using him as a hostage.Ivan throws Herrera and his bodyguard into the river to get eaten by the crocodiles, but pulls them out before they are eaten. Cronin disappears and is later found nearly beaten to death. Thanks to Rebecca betraying Ivan, Richie finds out that Ivan has been setting him up all along; Ivan is about to move his operations out of Costa Rica, planning to leave Richie behind as the fall guy. Richie gives out massive bribes to local officials, including low-level police officers. When the movement day hits, Ivan calls to sarcastically apologize to Richie, telling him he will be busted, as Ivan flies away on a private jet. When Ivan lands, he finds he has been betrayed: the bribed pilot has instead flown him to Puerto Rico, an American territory. Shavers and other FBI agents move in to arrest him as Richie and Rebecca fly away on the private jet. Shavers says they’re free to go because Richie left a flash drive for him containing sufficient evidence to convict Ivan.This movie was a fictional, largely accurate and very entertaining portrayal of the on-line gambling industry … a wild, wholly and unregulated billion dollar industry. The acting was good, the glitz entertaining and kept my interest from the opening scenes to its end.

REVIEW: CLASH OF THE TITANS (2010)

 

CAST

Sam Worthington (Avatar)
Liam Neeson (Batman Begins)
Ralph Fiennes (Red Dragon)
Jason Flemyng (X-Men: First CLass)
Gemma Arterton (The Voices)
Alexa Davalos (Angel)
Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal)
Luke Evans (Dracula Untold)
Izabella Miko (The Cape)
Liam Cunningham (Game of Thrones)
Polly Walker (Caprica)
Pete Postlethwaite (Solomon Kane)
Rory McCann (Hot Fuzz)
Alexander Siddig (Kingdom of Heaven)
Danny Huston (30 Days of Night)
Ian Whyte (Game of Thrones)
Nicholas Hoult (The Favourite)
Vincent Regan (Troy)
Luke Treadaway (A Street Cat Named Bob)
Kaya Scodelario (The Maze Runner)
Tamer Hassan (Layer Cake)
Jane March (Blood of Beasts)

In ancient times after defeating their predecessors, the Titans, the gods divided the Universe among themselves. Zeus took the skies, Poseidon took the seas, and Hades was left with the Underworld upon being tricked by Zeus. The gods created the mortals, whose faith and prayers fueled the gods’ immortality. As time passed, however, mortals began to question and soon resist their creators, angering the Olympians. A fisherman named Spyros finds a coffin adrift in the sea, discovering a baby, Perseus and his mother Danaë. Spyros decided to raise Perseus.

As Perseus and his family fish from a boat, they watch soldiers from the city of Argos destroy a statue of Zeus. Infuriated at this desecration, the Gods unleash the Furies who attack the soldiers and destroy the fishing vessel. Only Perseus survives and is found by a group of the soldiers. Perseus is brought before King Cepheus and Queen Cassiopeia, who are celebrating their campaign against the gods. Queen Cassiopeia brashly compares her daughter Andromeda to the gods and boasts that she is more beautiful than Aphrodite. The revelry is cut short by the arrival of Hades, who has been given leave by Zeus to punish the mortals for their defiance. Hades threatens to unleash his monster the Kraken against Argos, unless Andromeda is offered as a sacrifice. Before leaving, he reveals that Perseus is a demigod and the son of Zeus.

Perseus meets Io, who confirms his origin. Io also reveals that she has watched over Perseus his entire life. She has always protected him for he is the only one who can defeat the gods. Perseus leads the King’s Guard to the Stygian Witches, looking for a way to kill the Kraken. After being betrayed by the power-hungry Hades, Zeus gives Perseus a sword forged on Mount Olympus and a winged horse named Pegasus. Perseus refuses both, but the captain of the King’s guard named Draco keeps the sword for when Perseus needs it. Soon after, they are attacked by Calibos, an agent of Hades. Draco severs the beast’s hand and Calibos flees. The band give chase but are attacked by giant scorpions called Scorpioxs that spring from spilled drops of Calibos’s blood. They are saved by a band of Djinn, non-human desert sorcerers led by Sheik Suleiman where the remaining Scorpioxs are tamed by the Djinn. The Djinn also wish for the gods’ defeat and lend their aid to Perseus and his band.MV5BMTgyNTUyNjQwMl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjUxNzYyMw@@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,822_AL_The group arrives at the lair of the Stygian Witches and learn that to kill the Kraken, they must obtain and use the head of Medusa, a gorgon who resides in a temple in the Underworld. Any living creature that looks on Medusa’s eyes turns into stone. Perseus, Io, Suleiman, Draco, and his remaining men, Solon, Eusebios, and Ixas, cross into the Underworld. The men enter Medusa’s temple lair while Io, being a woman and forbidden from entering, remains outside. Medusa kills all three of Draco’s men. Suleiman and Draco both wound the gorgon, sacrificing themselves in the process. Perseus finally beheads her by using his reflective shield to see her with his back turned. As he leaves the temple with Medusa’s head, Calibos appears behind Io and fatally stabs her. Perseus and Calibos fight where upon finally accepting that he is a son of Zeus, Perseus picks up the Olympian sword and stabs Calibos through the chest, who with his last breath urges Perseus not to become a God.

Before dying, Io urges a reluctant Perseus to leave her and save Andromeda and Argos. Then she dissolves into a golden ethereal vapor. Pegasus appears and Perseus mounts the flying horse and hastens back to Argos as the Kraken is released. The people of Argos seize and bind Andromeda to offer her to the Kraken. Meanwhile, as people die in the Kraken’s wake, the balance of power on Olympus shifts. Hades reveals he does not require the faith or worship of mortals (as Zeus does), as he has learned to survive on their fear. Hades then effortlessly subdues the weakened Zeus. Riding the black Pegasus, Perseus arrives at Argos and exposes Medusa’s head to the Kraken, which makes eye contact just before it is able to reach Andromeda. The Kraken, petrified, slowly turns to stone and shatters. Prokopion, the insane leader of the Cult of Hades, tries to kill Perseus, but Kepheus stops him and is stabbed, before both are killed when the kraken’s petrified hand falls on them. Hades appears, intending to finally kill Perseus. Perseus, calling upon Zeus, throws his sword at Hades. A lightning bolt engulfs the sword and the blast sends Hades back to the Underworld. Perseus rescues Andromeda, who is now the rightful Queen of Argos. Andromeda asks Perseus to stay by her side as King, but he declines. Perseus also refuses another offer of godhood from Zeus, who then proclaims that if Perseus is to live as a human he should not be alone and revives Io.

The movie keeps moving without feeling too chopped up and thankfully there’s a minimum of shakeycam or MTV overediting to accompany the overdose of testosterone. Big on spectacle and short on charm, it’s a very different animal to Harryhausen’s film (there’s even an injoke about that version’s irritating mechanical owl), but as long as you’re expecting that it’s one of the better action adventures of recent years.

REVIEW: THE VOICES

CAST

Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool)
Gemma Arterton (Clash of the Titans)
Anna Kendrick (Into The Woods)
Jacki Weaver (Silver Linings Playbook)
Ella Smith (Cinderella)

Jerry (Ryan Reynolds) is an upbeat man who works at a bathtub factory, and lives in a modified apartment above a bowling alley with his dog Bosco and his cat, Mr. Whiskers. Jerry is a man with an innocent, almost child-like demeanor, and suffers from delusions and hallucinations that manifest in the form of his pets talking to him. Bosco often represents his good intentions while Mr. Whiskers represents his more violent nature. One day, his manager compliments his hard work and chooses him to help organize an employee barbecue, and he gladly accepts the opportunity to work with his workplace crush, a British woman named Fiona. The following day he asks her out on a date. She initially agrees, though with reluctance, but then stands him up to go to a karaoke party with two other girls who work with her in the accounting department at work, Lisa and Alison. After the party, Fiona’s car won’t start, leading her to flag down Jerry as he drives by. Fiona offers to take him out for a late dinner to make up for standing him up on the original date, but on the way, Jerry accidentally hits a stag which crashes through his windshield. Jerry’s hallucinations show the deer crying out in pain and begging Jerry to kill it so he slits the deer’s throat. Fiona, terrified, runs off into the woods. Jerry pursues her and accidentally stabs her. Apologizing for his actions, Jerry kills Fiona to end her pain.

Upon returning home, Bosco suggests he go to the police and confess, encouraging him in saying that he’s a good man and won’t be punished. On the other hand, Mr. Whiskers says there is no shame in killing, but insists Jerry needs to dispose of the body and refrain from going to the police or else he will be severely punished and locked away. Jerry collects Fiona’s body from the forest, and returns home with it. He dismembers Fiona, placing her innards in numerous plastic boxes and her disembodied head inside his fridge. After this traumatic experience, his delusions increase with now having Fiona being able to talk to him. Her tone suggests she forgives him for his actions, but she insists he takes his medication to end his behavior. Jerry takes his pills, and experiences nightmares of his abusive past. When he wakes up during the night, he is groggy, but his hallucinations have ended; his pets no longer speak to him, his apartment is a complete mess with animal waste littering the floor, garbage piling up in bags and up against the walls of his apartment and blood all over his kitchen after cutting up Fiona’s body and Fiona’s head is cold and rotting. He throws away the pills in terror, and the next morning, his hallucinations resume and his happy life is back to ‘normal’. Fiona tries to convince Jerry to kill someone else so that she has someone to talk to, but Jerry insists that he can’t.

Jerry asks Lisa on a date. He develops feelings for her and takes her to his abandoned childhood home, where it is revealed his German mother had confessed to her insanity and was about to be taken away by the authorities when he was a child. When they arrived, she tried to slit her throat, but couldn’t do it herself and so she begged Jerry to finish the job to end her suffering. The police had found Jerry standing over his dead mother with a piece of broken glass and he is committed instead. Jerry sobs in front of Lisa, who comforts him. They go back to her house and spend the night together. When Jerry returns home the next morning, he still feels pressured into killing someone else by Fiona and Mr. Whiskers, and seems unsure of what to do next.

Lisa finds out Jerry’s address through accounting and delivers a gift to his house. When Jerry inadvertently locks himself out, he tries to get back in through the sky light, but Lisa manages to pick the door open using her hairpin. She wanders in and discovers the state of the apartment, as well as the covered head of Fiona, though she doesn’t immediately recognize it beneath the coat covering it. Jerry sneaks up on her, upset that she trespassed into his home, but despite pressure from Mr. Whiskers, he refuses to kill her. Lisa sees for the first time the troubled, delusional man Jerry is, and, frightened, tries to run away, running to the bathroom to hide, and then into his bedroom. Jerry comes in, genuinely trying to apologize for scaring Lisa and she, feeling cornered, attempts to put up an act, insisting they can go back to normal and forget what happened in order to make him let her leave, but when she panics and tries to escape hurriedly, Jerry reacts instinctively, grabbing her by the arms to stop her and throwing her backward back onto the bed and accidentally breaking her neck on the headboard. He apologizes to her as she dies slowly and painfully. After she dies, Jerry cuts her body apart and places her head in the fridge, next to Fiona’s. Other workers from accounting begin to realize Fiona and Lisa have gone missing. When Alison goes to Jerry’s house to ask if he knows where they are, Jerry immediately kills and dismembers her.Ryan Reynolds, Anna Kendrick, and Gemma Arterton in The Voices (2014)Jerry confesses his killings to his counselor Dr. Warren. She tries to call the police, but he takes her hostage into the countryside and forces her to help him. She calms him down and shows understanding, which makes him feel better. Meanwhile, the other workers from accounting break into Jerry’s home (as Bosco runs away) and discover the apartment’s state as well as all the blood, and immediately retreat to call the police. Shortly after Jerry returns home, still holding Warren hostage, the police surround his house and prepare to move in. Jerry takes Mr. Whiskers into the bathroom and then flees down into the basement, breaking a gas pipe while doing so. After rescuing Dr. Warren, the police are knocked back from a huge explosion that was caused by the gas leak.

Down in the bowling alley, Jerry realizes the bowling alley is on fire and he is in grave danger. The voices of Bosco and Mr. Whiskers, no longer taking forms of belonging to a dog and cat no longer with him, speak to him in his own mind, Mr. Whiskers is insisting he get out of there and find another place to live, to hide, so that he may continue killing and feeling alive, and Bosco telling him that there is no place for him in life any longer and that he should let the fire “put him to sleep”. Choosing to stay and end his own misery, he lies down and waits until he finally succumbs to the smoke. In a white void, Bosco and Mr. Whiskers confess that, despite their opposing beliefs, they did like each other, before going their separate ways. Jerry then appears with his parents, Fiona, Lisa and Alison, and he apologizes to the women for killing them. Just then Jesus appears, and they all dance and sing together.

A crazy movie! It’s probably not for everyone, but if you have a sick, dark sense of humour you will likely appreciate it. Ryan Reynolds is fantastic as the troubled Jerry, who has conversations with his cat and dog (which he also provides the voices for) and just wants to fit in. The story is unique and very unusual, there are some truly disturbing moments that might gross you out but it still manages to make even the darkest parts funny.