REVIEW: SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING

CAST

Tom Holland  (How I Live Now)
Michael Keaton (Batman)
Jon Favreau (Swingers)
Zendaya (The greatest Snowman)
Donald Glover (The Martian)
Tyne Daly (Mothers and Sons)
Marisa Tomei (The Wrestler)
Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man)
Gwyneth Paltrow (Shallow Hal)
Kerry Condon (Better Call Saul)
Chris Evans (Captain Ameirca: The First Avenger)
Jacob Batalon (Every Day)
Michael Chernus (The Bourne Legacy)
Laura Harrier (The Last Five years)
Tony Revolori (The Perfect Game)
Garcelle Beauvais (White House Down)
Jennifer Connelly (Inkheart)
Hemky Madera (The Lost City)
Michael Mando (Orphan Black)
Kenenth Choi (The Last Man on Earth)
Hannibal Buress (Baywatch)
Martin Starr (Adventureland)
Stan Lee (The Avengers)

Following the Battle of New York, Adrian Toomes and his salvage company are contracted to clean up the city, but their operation is taken over by the Department of Damage Control (D.O.D.C.), a partnership between Tony Stark and the U.S. government. Enraged at being driven out of business, Toomes persuades his employees to keep the Chitauri technology they have already scavenged and use it to create and sell advanced weapons. Eight years later, Peter Parker is drafted into the Avengers by Stark to help with an internal dispute, but resumes his studies at the Midtown School of Science and Technology when Stark tells him he is not yet ready to become a full Avenger.Parker quits his school’s academic decathlon team to spend more time focusing on his crime-fighting activities as Spider-Man. One night, after preventing criminals from robbing an ATM with their advanced weapons from Toomes, Parker returns to his Queens apartment where his best friend Ned discovers his secret identity. On another night, Parker comes across Toomes’ associates Jackson Brice / Shocker and Herman Schultz selling weapons to local criminal Aaron Davis. Parker nearly drowns intervening, and is rescued by Stark, who is monitoring the Spider-Man suit he gave Parker and warns him against involvement with the dangerous criminals. Toomes accidentally kills Brice with one of their weapons, and Schultz becomes the new Shocker.Parker and Ned study a weapon left behind by Brice, removing its power core. When a tracking device on Schultz leads to Maryland, Parker rejoins the decathlon team and accompanies them to Washington, D.C. for their national tournament. Ned and Parker disable the tracker Stark implanted in the Spider-Man suit, and unlock its advanced features. Parker tries to stop Toomes from stealing weapons from a D.O.D.C. truck, but is overpowered and trapped inside the truck, causing him to miss the decathlon tournament. When he discovers that the power core is an unstable Chitauri grenade, Parker races to the Washington Monument where the core explodes and traps Ned and their friends in an elevator. Evading local authorities, Parker saves his friends, including his fellow classmate and crush Liz. Returning to New York City, Parker persuades Davis to reveal Toomes’ whereabouts. Aboard the Staten Island Ferry, Parker captures Toomes’ new buyer Mac Gargan, but Toomes escapes and a malfunctioning weapon tears the ferry in half. Stark helps Parker save the passengers before admonishing him for his recklessness and taking away his suit.Parker returns to his high school life, and eventually asks Liz to go to the homecoming dance with him. On the night of the dance, Parker learns that Liz is Toomes’ daughter. Deducing Parker’s secret identity, Toomes threatens retaliation if he interferes with his plans. During the dance, Parker realizes Toomes is planning to hijack a D.O.D.C. plane transporting weapons from Avengers Tower to the team’s new headquarters. He dons his old homemade Spider-Man suit and races to Toomes’ lair. He is first ambushed by Schultz, but defeats him with the help of Ned. At the lair, Toomes destroys the building’s support beams and leaves Parker to die. Parker escapes the rubble and intercepts the plane, steering it to crash on the beach near Coney Island. He and Toomes engage in an open confrontation that ends with Parker saving Toomes’ life from his own unstable equipment, and leaving him for the police along with the plane’s cargo. After her father’s arrest, Liz moves away, and Parker declines an invitation from Stark to join the Avengers full time. Stark returns Parker’s suit, which he puts on at his apartment just as his Aunt May walks in. In a mid-credits scene, an incarcerated Gargan approaches Toomes in prison. Gargan has heard that Toomes knows Spider-Man’s real identity, but Toomes denies this.Spider-Man is literally the most loved Marvel hero of all time! At last, this reboot perfectly captured the balance between Peter Parker and Spider-Man in the comics! Peter’s awkward nature in high school and his attempts at being a cool superhero are both relatable and funny. Tom Holland played a good Peter Parker with the nerdy, awkward way and he manifested one of Spider-Man’s significant traits: his sense of humor. The movie is full of Easter eggs and references to the comics, the previous Spidey movies, and the MCU as a whole. Not only does this movie look really good, but the villain (Vulture) looks menacing as a great villain should

 

 

 

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REVIEW: SHALLOW HAL

CAST

Jack Black (Goosebumps)
Gwyneth Paltrow (Iron Man)
Jason Alexander (Seinfeld)
Joe Viterelli (Analyze This)
Tony Robbins (Men In Black)
Bruce McGill (Ali)
Molly Shannon (Never Been Kissed)
Sasha Neulinger (Unbreakable)
Susan Ward (Poison Ivy 3)
Rene Kirby (Stuck on You)
Kyle Gass (Wild Hogs)
Laura Kightlinger (Who’s the Caboose?)
Brooke Burns (Baywatch)
Jennifer Sky (Cleopatra 2525)
Andy Hallett (Angel)

Hal Larson (Jack Black) is a superficial man whose fixation on the physical beauty of women gets in the way of seeing their inner beauty. Hal and his equally shallow friend, Mauricio (Jason Alexander), spend their nights obnoxiously hitting on beautiful women at nightclubs. Hal’s work life is steady, but he is dismayed after being passed over for a long-sought promotion. His love life is non-existent, as we see when he tries to ask his attractive neighbor, Jill; out for a date. Jill isn’t interested; as she finds Hal too shallow.Hal becomes trapped in an elevator with famous American life coach Tony Robbins. While waiting for the elevator to be repaired, Robbins sympathizes with Hal’s disappointment but tries to figure out his ideas about women. He hypnotizes Hal into only seeing a person’s inner beauty. Hal does not realize he’s been hypnotized and later meets Rosemary (Gwyneth Paltrow), daughter of the president of the company where he is employed. Rosemary is morbidly obese, but Hal sees a slender and beautiful trophy blonde. He is immediately smitten by her. His boss is not certain about Hal dating his daughter, thinking that Hal may be trying to climb to the top of the corporate ladder. Used to being overlooked due to her appearance, Rosemary initially interprets Hal’s interest as mocking, but begins to realize his feelings for her are sincere. After apologizing to him, they begin to date, which includes a bike ride with Walt (Rene Kirby).Mauricio, worried about Hal’s new taste in women, convinces Robbins to give him the trigger phrase to undo the hypnosis. Mauricio phones Hal, who is on a date with Rosemary, and says the trigger phrase, breaking Hal’s hypnosis. While at the restaurant, Rosemary tells Hal she’s signed up with the Peace Corps for a 14-month mission in Kiribati. Mauricio confesses to Hal the truth about Robbins’ hypnotherapy, but Hal does not believe it until he runs into a woman who initially appeared beautiful to him but whom Hal now sees in her true, unattractive state. Hal begins to avoid Rosemary, who becomes melancholic without him around. Distraught that he was not seeing the “real” Rosemary, Hal accepts a dinner invitation from his neighbor, Jill. The two dine together and Jill tells Hal that she has observed him overcoming his shallow nature and is interested in dating him now.18765967_1951210205111514_2812412988692009523_nHal realizes his true feelings for Rosemary who has, coincidentally, arrived at the same restaurant with her family and sees Hal and Jill seated together. Assuming the worst, Rosemary leaves in tears. Not recognizing Rosemary, Hal walks right by her on his way to the pay phone to, ironically, reassure her of his feelings, after refusing to date Jill because of his feelings for Rosemary. Confused and distraught, Rosemary calls Hal a “psycho” over the phone and effectively breaks up with him. Five days later Steve informs Hal that Rosemary’s Peace Corps partner, Ralph, wants to be in a relationship with her again. Hal attempts to find Rosemary, but instead encounters a young patient named Cadence at the hospital where Rosemary volunteers. Previously, due to Robbins’ hypnosis, Hal saw Cadence as a perfect little girl; he now sees that there are severe burns all over Cadence’s face. Inspired by Cadence, Hal changes his views on the outer appearances of people in general.lego_porn_12Hal, during his search for Rosemary, finds that Mauricio had his own reason for stopping Hal’s hypnosis: He has a vestigial tail, which has prevented him from ever getting close to a woman. Mauricio confesses he was jealous of Hal’s happiness and is afraid to start a relationship with a woman. Hal convinces Mauricio to accept his abnormality, with confidence. Hal makes up with Mauricio and decides to reconcile with Rosemary. He heads to the Peace Corps recruiting office and confronts Ralph, believing he and Rosemary got back together. Ralph informs Hal that he and Rosemary are not together and that Rosemary’s parents are throwing her a farewell party (and Ralph wasn’t invited). Hal, Mauricio, Ralph and Ralph’s friend Leboy arrive at the home of Rosemary’s parents. Rosemary initially rebuffs Hal’s presence, but then accepts his apology when Hal professes his love for her. Rosemary informs Hal she is still leaving on her Peace Corps mission. Hal says he is coming, too, having just been sworn into the Peace Corps right before arriving at the Shanahans’ home. Hal and Rosemary reconcile, cheered by the crowd as they kiss. He tries to carry her bridal-style to the car, but finds he cannot lift her, so she triumphantly carries him instead. As they drive off, Mauricio meets a woman who loves dogs and the two walk off together as he wags his “tail”.legoPart comedy, drama, and romance this one was a rather good little movie to watch. Black and Paltrow were great and Jason Alexander was hilarious.  An excellent comedy.

REVIEW: SEVEN

CAST

Brad Pitt (Allied)
Morgan Freeman (The Dark Knight)
Gwyneth Paltrow (Iron Man)
Kevin Spacey (Superman Returns)
R. Lee Ermey (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre)
John C. McGinley (Scrubs)
Richard Roundtree (Shaft)
Richard Schiff (Man of Steel)
Leland Orser (Alien: Resurrection)

In an unnamed American city, soon-to-be-retiring detective William Somerset is partnered with short-tempered but idealistic David Mills, who recently transferred to the department, moving to the city with his wife Tracy. Mills introduces Somerset to Tracy, after which Somerset becomes her confidant. Tracy is unhappy with the city and feels it is no place to raise a child. She discloses to Somerset that she is pregnant and has yet to inform her husband. Somerset sympathizes with her, having a similar situation with his ex-girlfriend many years earlier, and advises her to tell Mills only if she plans on keeping the child.Somerset and Mills investigate a pair of murders. The first victim is an obese man forced to eat until his stomach ruptured. The second was a wealthy defense attorney who died from both fatal bloodletting and the removal of a pound of flesh. At each crime scene, the murderer leaves behind clues for the detectives, including a single word: gluttony at the obese man’s home and greed at the attorney’s office. Somerset recognizes them as part of the seven deadly sins and realizes the murders are related. Other clues lead them to a possible perpetrator’s apartment. There, they find another victim, a known drug dealer and child molester, strapped to a bed, barely alive and emaciated, with a series of pictures indicating he had been tied to the bed for an entire year. The word sloth is scrawled on the wall. The photos also indicate the killer has been planning these deaths for some time.Somerset and Mills identify a man named John Doe, who has checked out several library books on the deadly sins. Doe flees when they go to his apartment, and Mills gives chase. Doe eventually corners Mills and holds him at gunpoint, but after a few moments, turns and escapes. At Doe’s apartment, they find hundreds of handwritten journals showing Doe’s apparent psychopathy, and clues leading to a fourth victim. They arrive too late to prevent the death of the victim, a prostitute killed by an unwilling man forced by Doe to wear a bladed S&M phallic device on his genitals and to rape and kill her while severely traumatizing him. They find lust written on the door. They are alerted to their next victim, an attractive young woman, presumably a model, whose face has been mutilated by Doe; she was given the option to call for help and be disfigured, or to commit suicide by taking pills. She chose suicide. The word pride is written on her wall.Shortly after, as Somerset and Mills return to the police station, they are approached by a man covered in blood, surrendering himself. Mills recognizes him as Doe and arrests him. They discover Doe has been removing the skin on his fingers to avoid leaving behind prints; the blood on him is from a yet-to-be-identified victim. Doe, through his lawyer, advises there are two more victims and offers to take the detectives to them and confess to all the murders, but only under very specific terms, or he will otherwise plead insanity. Somerset is wary, but Mills agrees.The two detectives, following Doe’s directions, drive him to a remote desert location. Within minutes, a delivery van approaches them. Mills holds Doe at gunpoint while Somerset goes to intercept the driver, who had been instructed to bring a box to them. As Somerset recovers the box and sends the driver away, Doe begins telling Mills about how jealous he is of Mills’ life and marriage to Tracy, antagonizing Mills. Somerset opens the box, and in horror, tells Mills to stay back and not listen to Doe. Doe continues to taunt Mills as Mills frantically asks what is in the box. Doe reveals that he was so jealous of Mills that he killed Tracy, her death being a result of his envy, and that her head is in the box. Doe tries to goad Mills into vengeance, to become wrath and shoot him. Somerset desperately tries to convince Mills not to shoot Doe, but then Doe reveals that Tracy was pregnant. The revelation is too much for Mills and he shoots Doe six times. Doe’s death completes the seven sins. Police converge and take a devastated Mills away. The police captain reassures Somerset that Mills will be taken care of. When asked by the Police Captain where he will be, Somerset hints that he will not retire.A film deserving of the term ‘classic’ and arguable one of the best serial killer thrillers ever made. The last 10 minutes are some of the most tense of any I can remember.

REVIEW: SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE

CAST

Joseph Fiennes (Flashforward)
Gwyneth Paltrow (Iron man)
Geoffrey Rush (The King’s Speech)
Tom Wilkinson (Batman Begins)
Martin Clunes (Doc Martin)
Simon Callow (Amadeus)
Judi Dench (Skyfall)
Imelda Staunton (Vera Drake)
Colin Firth (Love Actually)
Mark Williams (Harry Potter)
Ben Affleck (Batman V Superman)
Rupert Everett (Shrek 2)

In 1593 London, William Shakespeare is a sometime player in the Lord Chamberlain’s Men and poor playwright for Philip Henslowe, owner of The Rose Theatre. Shakespeare is working on a new comedy, Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate’s Daughter. Suffering from writer’s block, he has barely begun the play, but starts auditioning players. Viola de Lesseps, the daughter of a wealthy merchant, who has seen Shakespeare’s plays at court, disguises herself as “Thomas Kent” to audition, then runs away. Shakespeare pursues Kent to Viola’s house and leaves a note with the nurse, asking Thomas Kent to begin rehearsals at the Rose. He sneaks into the house with the minstrels playing that night at the ball, where her parents are arranging her betrothal to Lord Wessex, an impoverished aristocrat. While dancing with Viola, Shakespeare is struck speechless, and after being forcibly ejected by Wessex, uses Thomas Kent as a go-between to woo her. Wessex also asks Will’s name, to which he replies that he is Christopher Marlowe.When he discovers her true identity, they begin a secret affair. Inspired by her, Shakespeare writes quickly, with help from his friend and rival playwright Christopher ‘Kit’ Marlowe, completely transforming the play into what will become Romeo and Juliet. Then, Viola is summoned to court to receive approval for her proposed marriage to Lord Wessex. Shakespeare accompanies her, disguised as her female cousin. There, he persuades Wessex to wager £50 that a play can capture the true nature of love, the exact amount Shakespeare requires to buy a share in the Chamberlain’s Men. Queen Elizabeth I declares that she will judge the matter when the occasion arises.

When Richard Burbage, owner of the Curtain, finds out that Shakespeare has cheated him out of both money and the play, he goes to the Rose Theatre with his Curtain Theatre Company and starts a brawl. The Rose Theatre company drives Burbage and his company out and then celebrate at the local pub.

Viola is appalled when she learns Shakespeare is married, albeit separated from his wife, and she realises she cannot escape her duty to marry Wessex. Will discovers that Marlowe is dead, and thinks he is to blame. Lord Wessex suspects an affair between Shakespeare and his bride-to-be. Because Wessex thinks that Will is Kit Marlowe, he approves of Kit’s death, and tells Viola the news. It is later learned that Marlowe had been killed in an accident. Viola finds out that Will is still alive, and declares her love for him.

When Edmund Tilney, the Master of the Revels, is informed there is a woman player at The Rose, he closes the theatre for breaking the ban on women. Viola’s identity is exposed, leaving them without a stage or lead actor, until Richard Burbage offers them his theatre. Shakespeare takes the role of Romeo, with a boy actor as Juliet. Following her wedding, Viola learns that the play will be performed that day, and runs away to the Curtain. Planning to watch with the crowd, Viola overhears that the boy playing Juliet cannot perform, and offers to replace him. While she plays Juliet to Shakespeare’s Romeo, the audience is enthralled, despite the tragic ending, until Master Tilney arrives to arrest everyone for indecency due to Viola’s presence.

But the Queen is in attendance and restrains Tilney, instead asserting that Kent’s resemblance to a woman is, indeed, remarkable. However, even a queen is powerless to end a lawful marriage, and she orders Kent to “fetch” Viola because she must sail with Wessex to the Colony of Virginia. The Queen also tells Wessex, who followed Viola to the theatre, that Romeo and Juliet has won the bet for Shakespeare, and has Kent deliver his £50 with instructions to write something “a little more cheerful next time, for Twelfth Night”.

Viola and Shakespeare say their goodbyes, and he vows to immortalise her, as he imagines the beginnings of Twelfth Night, imagining her as a castaway disguised as a man after a voyage to a strange land.

Stoppard certainly knows what he’s about: The plot is delightful and the references elegant, clever parodies if you spot them or inconspicuous parts of the plot if you don’t. And the references are on all levels: to Shakespeares plays, his unknown life and the many theories that have been made about it, and his writer and actor collegues Will’s muse is Violet, played wonderfully by Gwyneth Paltrow, who shows off in this film her finest acting to date and credibly pulls off the tricky task of being both an object of poetic inspiration and a genuine, down-to-earth human being.

REVIEW: CONTAGION (2011)

CAST

Gwyneth Paltrow (Iron Man)
Laurence Fishburne (Hannibal TV)
Kate Winslet (Divergent)
Marion Cotillrd (La Vie En Rose)
Jude Law (Spy)
Matt Damon (Jason Bourne)
John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone)
Monique Gabriela Curnen (Lie to Me)
Jennifer Ehle (The Ides of March)
Elliott Gould (OCean’s Eleven)
Enrico Colantoni (Veronica Mars)
Bryan Cranston (Godzilla)
Chin Han (Arrow)
Sanaa Lathan (Blade)
Kara Zediker (Rock Star)

Returning from a Hong Kong business trip, Beth Emhoff (Gwyneth Paltrow) has a layover in Chicago to have sex with a former lover before returning to her family in suburban Minneapolis. She appears to have contracted a cold during her trip. Her six-year-old son from a previous marriage, Clark, also becomes symptomatic and is sent home from school. Beth’s condition worsens and two days later she collapses with severe seizures. Her husband, Mitch (Matt Damon), rushes her to the hospital, but she dies of an unknown cause.

Mitch returns home and finds that Clark has also died from a similar infection. Mitch is put in isolation but seems to be immune to the disease. He is released and returns home to his teenaged daughter Jory, who had been living with Mitch’s former wife and her husband and has decided to stay with Mitch since he’s now all alone. They face decaying social order and rampant looting of stores and homes. Mitch is unsure if Jory has inherited his immunity and he struggles with the frustration of quarantine, his desire to protect his daughter and learning that his wife was cheating on him immediately prior to both her death and that of his stepson.

In Atlanta, representatives of the Department of Homeland Security meet with Dr. Ellis Cheever (Laurence Fishburne) of the CDC and express fears that the disease is a bio weapon intended to cause terror over the Thanksgiving weekend. Dr. Cheever dispatches Dr. Erin Mears (Kate Winslet), an Epidemic Intelligence Service officer, to Minneapolis to begin investigating. Mears traces the outbreak back to Emhoff while negotiating with local bureaucrats initially reluctant to commit resources for a proper public health response to the virus. Dr. Mears later becomes infected and dies.

At the CDC, Dr. Ally Hextall (Jennifer Ehle) determines the virus is a mix of genetic material from pig and bat viruses. Work on a cure stalls because scientists cannot discover a cell culture within which to grow the newly identified Meningoencephalitis Virus One (MEV-1). UCSF professor Dr. Ian Sussman (Elliott Gould) violates orders from Cheever (relayed through Hextall) to destroy his samples, and identifies a usable MEV-1 cell culture using bat cells. Hextall uses the breakthrough to work on a vaccine. Other scientists determine the virus is spread by fomites, with a basic reproduction number of four when the virus mutates, with projections of one in twelve of the population being infected, and a 25-30% mortality rate.

Conspiracy theorist Alan Krumwiede (Jude Law) posts videos about the virus on his popular blog. In one video, he shows himself sick and later claims he recovered using a homeopathic cure derived from forsythia. In a panic, people seeking forsythia overwhelm pharmacies, spreading and accelerating the contagion as the infected come into contact with healthy people. Krumwiede’s claims attract national attention. During a television interview he discloses that Dr. Cheever had secretly informed friends and family to leave Chicago just before the city was quarantined. Cheever is then informed the government will investigate and may charge him for leaking information. Later it is revealed Krumwiede had faked being infected by the virus in an attempt to increase profits for shareholders in companies producing and selling forsythia. Krumwiede is arrested for conspiracy and securities fraud, only to walk free when his many supporters successfully raise funds to provide for his bail.

Using an attenuated virus Dr. Hextall identifies a possible vaccine. To cut out the lengthy time it would take to obtain informed consent from infected patients, Dr. Hextall inoculates herself with the experimental vaccine and immediately visits her gravely ill father, who has been infected with MEV-1. The doctor does not contract MEV-1 and the vaccine is declared a success. The vaccine’s production is rapidly increased, but due to limited production, the CDC awards vaccinations by lottery based on birth date. Inoculations take place for one full year until every survivor is vaccinated. First responders, doctors and others designated by the government are declared exempt from the lottery. Dr. Cheever gives his fast-tracked MEV-1 vaccination to the son of Roger (John Hawkes), a CDC janitor who had overheard Dr. Cheever’s phone call warning his girlfriend to leave Chicago.

Dr. Leonora Orantes (Marion Cotillard), a WHO epidemiologist, travels to Hong Kong to follow the Beth Emhoff lead. She collaborates with Sun Feng (Chin Han) and other local epidemiologists and public health officials; they identify Emhoff as patient zero. As the virus spreads, Feng kidnaps Orantes to use her as leverage to obtain MEV-1 vaccine doses for his village. Orantes spends months living with the villagers until the vaccine is announced. Feng exchanges Orantes for the vaccine doses. Her colleague mentions that the exchanged doses were placebos and Orantes rushes away to warn them. The death toll reached 2.5 million in the U.S. and 26 million worldwide. Dr. Hextall places samples of MEV-1 in cryogenic storage, alongside samples of H1N1 and SARS.

The source of the virus is revealed to viewers. A bulldozer (coincidently, operating for the company Emhoff works for) knocks down a palm tree disturbing some bats, with one finding shelter and food in a banana tree. That bat then flies over a pig pen, dropping a chunk of banana from its mouth, which was then eaten by a piglet. Chinese chefs later collected pigs from the pen and took them to a casino where one chef was called away from his preparations of the piglet, casually wiping his hands on his apron. The chef then shook hands with Beth Emhoff, giving her the mix of bat and pig viruses that makes her patient zero and the origin of the MEV-1 virus.

This was an interesting film. It is very realistic and while there is no major action plot, the realism keeps you hooked.

 

REVIEW: HOOK

CAST
Robin Williams (Jumanji)
Julia Roberts (Mirror, Mirror)
Dustin Hoffman (Rain Man)
Bob Hoskins (Snow White and The huntsman)
Maggie Smith (Clash of The Titans)
Caroline Goodall (Schlinders List)
Phil Collins (Buster)
Don S. Davis (Stargate – Sg.1)
Gwyneth Paltrow (Iron Man)
Glenn Close (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Carrie Fisher (Star Wars)
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Peter Banning is a successful, middle-aged corporate lawyer living in San Francisco but spends more time at work in the office with his fellow coworkers than at home with his wife Moira and two young children Jack and Maggie. Although Peter is able to see Maggie’s school play production of Peter Pan, he misses Jack’s baseball game, breaking his promise. The Bannings fly to London to visit Moira’s grandmother, Wendy Darling, to celebrate her charity work for orphans, which once included Peter. During the visit, Peter is distracted by phone calls from his business partner. On one occasion, he shouts at his children when they interrupt him and in frustration, Moira throws his cellphone out a window.
Later, while Peter, Moira, and Wendy attend a banquet ceremony hosted by Great Ormond Street Hospital, a strange presence abducts Jack and Maggie from their beds in the nursery. The senile Tootles, another one of Wendy’s orphans who lives at her house, insists that Captain Hook has kidnapped the children as revenge and has taken them back to Neverland. Peter dismisses Tootles’ warning and calls the police instead. Late that night Wendy tells Peter that the stories about Neverland are all true and he is actually the real Peter Pan but has lost all his childhood memories when he decided to stay in London with her several decades ago. In a state of denial, Peter gets drunk in the nursery where Tinker Bell arrives. After failing to convince Peter about Neverland, she knocks him unconscious and carries him into the night sky and towards the second star to the right.
Confused and disoriented, Peter wakes up in Neverland with a hangover where he encounters Captain Hook and his pirates, who are holding his children hostage. Hook is disgusted by Peter’s adult self and becomes disillusioned by his foe who is no longer capable of providing a good fight. Tinker Bell and Hook make a deal to give Peter three days to be trained to his former self for a climactic battle. After a brief encounter with a group of mermaids in the lagoon, Tinker Bell takes Peter to meet the new generation of Lost Boys, led by a new leader, Rufio. Tinker Bell convinces the boys to give Peter a chance and they agree to train him. During this process Peter begins to rediscover his inner child and sense of imagination. Meanwhile, Mr. Smee suggests to Hook that he manipulate Jack and Maggie into loving him in order to break Peter’s spirit. Maggie despises Hook, but Jack begins to see Hook as a father figure.
In a disguise, Peter sadly witnesses Jack playing baseball with Hook, who treats him as a son. Knowing that he must learn how to fly again to prove himself and retrieve his children, Peter unsuccessfully tries to remember how until he encounters his own shadow, which leads him to the old tree home of the original Lost Boys. He reunites with Tinker Bell and remembers his past, recalling how he came to Neverland as an infant, how he met Wendy and how he fell in love with Wendy’s granddaughter Moira and chose to grow up. Realizing being a father is his new happy thought, Peter rises up in the sky and dons his childhood outfit. He regains leadership of the lost boys who launch an attack on Hook and the pirates on the third day. During the battle, Peter rescues Maggie and promises to be a better father to Jack.
When Hook slays Rufio, Peter and Hook face off in a final duel, ending in Peter’s victory. Refusing to leave honorably, Hook attempts to attack Peter when his back is turned, but the stuffed crocodile that once tormented him comes back to life one final time and consumes him. Peter gives the lost boy called Thud Butt his sword, asking him to look after the other boys. He then departs from Neverland with his children, waking up in Kensington Gardens, where he says a final goodbye to Tinker Bell who confesses her unrequited love for him. Returning to Wendy’s house, Peter reunites with his family and hands a bag of marbles to Tootles, who discovers they contain pixie dust and flies off out the window to return to Neverland. Wendy asks Peter if his adventures are over, but Peter replies, “To live would be an awfully big adventure.”
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This film is a true classic that everyone should have the pleaure of watching. It doesn’t take anything away from J.M Barrie, it just extends his great ideas onto a new and modern level.

REVIEW: MORTDECAI

 

CAST

Johnny Depp (Into The Woods)
Gwyneth Paltrow (Iron Man)
Paul Bettany (Legion)
Ewan McGregor (Cassandra’s Dream)
Olivia Munn (X-Men: Apocalypse)
Michael Culkin (The Hours)
Ulrich Thomsen (Hitman)
Jeff Goldblum (The Fly)

Lord Charlie Mortdecai, an unscrupulous art dealer and swindler, is accosted in Hong Kong by one of his victims, a gangster named Fang. Jock, Mortdecai’s faithful manservant, extricates his master before they can be killed by Fang’s gunmen. They return to London, where Mortdecai and his wife, Johanna, consider ways to pay off their crushing debt. A painting by Francisco Goya becomes the target of an elaborate theft which results in the murders of an art restorer and one of the thieves. Inspector Alistair Martland is put on the case. Martland, who has been in love with Johanna since college, asks Mortdecai to assist him. Martland believes the prime suspect to be Emil Strago. Mortdecai agrees to help in exchange for 10% of the insurance money.

Mortdecai interviews people affiliated with the art world, including Spinoza, an art smuggler and another of Mortdecai’s victims. While they argue, Strago arrives and shoots at them, killing Spinoza; Mortdecai and Jock escape unharmed. Johanna meets with a man known as The Duke, who knows the thief and says that the painting conceals the location of a hoard of Nazi gold. Mortdecai is kidnapped by thugs working for a Russian named Romanov. Romanov and Strago think that Mortdecai has the painting. Romanov threatens torture unless Mortdecai surrenders it, but Mortdecai escapes through a window and Jock spirits him away.

Martland, wanting to be alone with Johanna, sends Mortdecai to America to meet with Milton Krampf, a potential buyer for the Goya. Mortdecai plans to sell his beloved Rolls-Royce to the American, and uses the opportunity to see if Krampf is involved with the theft. Arriving in Los Angeles, he discovers that the Goya has been hidden in the Rolls. Spinoza, in the employ of Krampf, stashed it there after stealing it from Strago, the original thief; Krampf planned to dupe Mortdecai into smuggling the Goya into the United States in his own car. He invites Mortdecai to a party that night, where Krampf intends to display the ill-gotten painting. Jock secretly proposes that he and Mortdecai steal the painting for themselves during the party. Krampf’s daughter, Georgina, is secretly Strago’s partner. She attempts to seduce Mortdecai while Strago steals the painting. Johanna arrives with Martland and catches her husband in a compromising position. Mortdecai flees the scene to help Jock steal the painting, but they find Krampf has been murdered by Strago and the painting is gone. Martland and Johanna capture Strago, but Georgina gets the drop on them, liberating her lover and the painting. Pursued by Mortdecai, Jock, Martland and Johanna, they hide in a motel where Strago intentionally sets fire to the Goya and the fire causes the explosion of the building. Johanna reveals that the painting was a fake; The Duke has the real one hidden.

The Mortdecais retrieve the painting and put it up for auction. The sale attracts Fang, still seeking revenge, and Romanov, who wants the painting regardless of cost. While Mortdecai and Jock waylay both men’s thugs, Strago attempts to kidnap Johanna. Mortdecai bids up the Goya but Romanov wins it; Martland apprehends Strago during the commotion. The Mortdecais use the proceeds to pay off some of their debt, but the painting is revealed to be another fake. Romanov plots his revenge.

Well, it certainly isn’t a highly accomplished piece of film-making, and it will never win any Oscars, but “Mortdecai” certainly does not deserve the bad press it attracted. If you’re looking for a light-hearted, diverting entertainment, seek it out, and you may well be as pleasantly surprised as I was.