REVIEW: SCREAM 3

CAST

Neve Campbell (Wild Things)
Courteney Cox (Masters of The Universe)
David Arquette (Eight Legged Freaks)
Jamie Kennedy (Son of The Mask)
Liev Schreiber (The Fifth Wave)
Kelly Rutherford (Gossip Girl)
Heather Matarazzo (The Princvess Diaries)
Beth Toussaint (Red Eye)
Richamond Arquette (Zodiac)
Patrick Dempsey (Transformers 3)
Scott Foley (Felicity)
Lance Henriksen (Aliens)
Jenny McCarthy (Two and a Half Men)
Emily Mortimer (Hugo)
Parker Posey (Superman Returns)
Carrie Fisher (Star Wars)
Patrick Warburton (Family Guy)
Roger Jackson (The Powerpuff Girls)
Kevin Smith (Mallrats)
Jason Mewes (Dogma)

Jenny-McCarthy-Scream-3Three years after the events of the previous film, Cotton Weary, now living in Los Angeles and the host of a nationally syndicated television show, 100% Cotton, is called by Ghostface, who demands the whereabouts of Sidney Prescott, who has gone into hiding ever since the Windsor College murders. Cotton refuses to cooperate, and when Ghostface comes to his home, Cotton and his girlfriend Christine are murdered.S3Detective Mark Kincaid contacts Gale Weathers to discuss the murders, prompting her to travel to Hollywood, where she finds Dewey Riley working as an adviser on the set of Stab 3, the third film in the film within a film series based on the Ghostface murders. Using a voice changer as a ruse, Ghostface kills Stab 3 actress Sarah Darling. Meanwhile, Sidney is now living in seclusion as a crisis counselor for an abused women’s hotline, as she is fearful that another killer may strike. Having discovered Sidney’s number, the killer begins taunting her by phone, forcing her out of hiding and drawing her to Hollywood. As the remaining Stab 3 cast, along with Dewey and Gale, gather at the home of Jennifer Jolie, Ghostface murders her bodyguard and uses a gas leak to cause an explosion, killing fellow actor Tom Prinze in the process. Martha Meeks, the sister of Sidney’s deceased friend Randy, visits Sidney and the others to drop off a videotape that Randy had made before his death, posthumously warning them that the rules of a horror film franchise in the third and final film do not apply to anyone, and that any of them, including the main character (Sidney), could die.scream-3-campbellDewey, Gale, Jennifer, and the remaining Stab 3 actors, Angelina and Tyson, attend a birthday party for Stab 3’s director Roman Bridger, where Ghostface strikes. Gale discovers Roman’s seemingly dead body in the basement. Angelina, refusing to stick with Gale and Jennifer, wanders off alone before she is murdered. Tyson attempts to fight Ghostface but the killer manages to wound him before throwing him off a balcony to his death. Jennifer tries to escape through a secret passage, but Ghostface kills her. The killer then orders Sidney to the mansion to save Gale and Dewey, who are being held hostage. When she arrives, Ghostface forces Sidney to remove her firearm and lures her inside, as Gale and Dewey are bound and gagged with duct tape. As Sidney is untying Gale and Dewey, Ghostface appears, though Sidney gains the upper hand using a second hidden gun to fight off Ghostface. Detective Kincaid shows up but is knocked unconscious by Ghostface.scream-DI-3Sidney flees and hides in a secret screening room where she encounters Ghostface. He reveals himself as Roman, having faked his death and survived being shot due to a bulletproof vest. Roman admits to being Sidney’s half-brother, born to their mother Maureen Prescott when she was an actress in Hollywood. Years ago, he had unsuccessfully tried reuniting with her. Bitter over the rejection, Roman would film all the men she philandered with. He showed Billy Loomis the footage of his father with Maureen, which motivated him to kill her (thus setting off the events in Scream and Scream 2). However, when he discovered how much fame Sidney had attracted due to those events, Roman snapped and lured Sidney out of hiding.Roman then tells Sidney of his plan to frame her for the murders, before killing Stab producer John Milton. Sidney angrily tells Roman that he is responsible for all of the events that have occurred. A fight ensues between Sidney and Roman, ending when Roman shoots Sidney in the chest, seemingly killing her. While preparing for Gale and Dewey to arrive, Sidney disappears, giving her the upper hand to stab Roman in the back. As he slowly dies, Sidney shows him that she too was wearing a bulletproof vest. She then plunges Roman’s knife into his chest, apparently killing him. Dewey and Gale arrive before Roman recovers, only for Dewey to finally kill him. Sometime after, Dewey proposes to Gale, who accepts. Sidney arrives back at her home and is invited to join Dewey, Gale, and Detective Kincaid to watch a movie. As she goes to join the others, a door behind her opens, but she walks away leaving it as is, finally confident that the murders have ended and she is now safe.The suspense of the film is quite good and the audience is continually left guessing who the murderer might be. The killing scenes are at times graphic but will often leave viewers on the edge of their seats. Wes Craven unquestionably proves his mettle as a master of horror and suspense and does a good job of crowning off the trilogy with a good film. While many other horror franchises, including Craven’s Nightmare on Elm Street have gone on to boast a series of eight or more films, Craven deserves a great amount of credit for making the film into a trilogy and settling there. This film does have a number of parallels with “Wes Craven’s New Nightmare,” the first horror film in the genre to truly deconstruct the genre from within, but even for those who have seen “New Nightmare,” Scream 3 is still a very enjoyable film

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REVIEW: THE DEVIL’S ADVOCATE

CAST

Keanu Reeves (Speed)
Al Pacino (Simone)
Charlize Theron (Mad Max: Fury Road)
Jeffrey Jones (Deadwood)
Judith Ivey (Flags of Our Father)
Connie Nielsen (wonder Woman)
Craig T. Nelson (The Incredibles)
Heather Matarazzo (Hostel: Part II)
Tamara Tunie (Flight)
Ruben Santiago-Hudson (Selma)
George Wyner (Spaceballs)

Kevin Lomax (Keanu Reeves), a defense attorney from Gainesville, Florida, has never lost a case. He defends a schoolteacher, Lloyd Gettys (Chris Bauer), against a charge of child molestation. Kevin believes his client is guilty, and a reporter tells him a guilty verdict is inevitable. However, through a harsh cross-examination, Kevin destroys the victim’s credibility, securing a not guilty verdict.A representative of a New York City law firm offers Kevin a large sum of money to help with a jury selection. After the jury delivers a not guilty verdict, the head of the firm, John Milton (Al Pacino), offers Kevin a large salary and an upscale apartment if he joins the firm. Kevin accepts the job, along with his wife Mary Ann (Charlize Theron) to stay in Manhattan. He is soon spending all his time at work, leaving Mary Ann feeling isolated. Kevin’s mother, Alice (Judith Ivey), visits New York and suggests they both return home. He refuses.Kevin defends Alex Cullen (Craig T. Nelson), a billionaire accused of murdering his wife, her stepson and a maid. This case demands more of Kevin’s time, further separating him from Mary Ann. He begins to fantasize about co-worker Christabella (Connie Nielsen). Mary Ann begins seeing visions of the partners’ wives becoming demonic, and has a nightmare about a baby playing with her removed ovaries. After a doctor declares her infertile, she begs Kevin to return to Gainesville. Milton suggests Kevin step down from the trial to tend to his wife; but Kevin claims that if he steps down and his wife recovers, he may resent her.Eddie Barzoon (Jeffrey Jones), the firm’s managing partner, is convinced that Kevin is competing for his job when he discovers Kevin’s name is on the firm’s charter. Although a surprised Kevin denies any knowledge, Eddie threatens to inform the United States Attorney’s office of the law firm’s activities. Kevin tells Milton about Eddie’s threats, but Milton dismisses them. Meanwhile, Eddie is beaten to death by vagrants, who take on demonic appearances. Mary Ann witnesses this, disturbing her further.While preparing Melissa (Laura Harrington) to testify about Cullen’s alibi, Kevin realizes she is lying and tells Milton he believes Cullen is guilty. Milton offers to back Kevin no matter what he decides to do. Kevin proceeds with her testimony and wins an acquittal. Afterwards, Kevin finds Mary Ann in a nearby church covered with a blanket. She claims Milton raped and mutilated her, but Kevin knows this cannot be true as he was with Milton in court. Mary Ann drops her blanket, revealing her naked body covered with cuts. Kevin believes Mary Ann injured herself and has her committed to a mental institution. Alice, along with Kevin and Pam Garrety (Debra Monk), Kevin’s case manager from the firm, visit Mary Ann at the mental institution. After seeing Pam as a demon, Mary Ann hits her with a hand mirror and barricades the room. As Kevin breaks down the door, Mary Ann commits suicide by cutting her throat with a shard of broken glass.Alice reveals that Milton is Kevin’s father. Kevin leaves the hospital to confront Milton, who admits to raping Mary Ann. Kevin fires a pistol into Milton’s chest, but the bullets are ineffective and go straight through him. Milton reveals himself as Satan. Kevin blames Milton for everything that happened, but Milton explains that he merely “set the stage” and that Kevin could have left at any time. Kevin realizes he always wanted to win, no matter the cost. Milton tells Kevin that he wants Kevin and Christabella, Kevin’s half-sister, to conceive a child: the Antichrist. Kevin appears to acquiesce at first, but then abruptly cites free will and shoots himself in the head, rejecting his Satanic heritage. Kevin finds himself back in time at the recess of the Gettys trial. Choosing to do the right thing, Kevin announces that he cannot represent his client despite the threat of being disbarred. The reporter pleads for an interview, promising to make Kevin a star. Encouraged by Mary Ann, Kevin agrees. After they leave, the reporter transforms into Milton. In an aside, he quotes himself saying, “Vanity, definitely my favorite sin.”This is clearly one of the most clever and stunning works of art I’ve ever seen, and a pivotal film of the 90’s.

 

31 DAYS OF HORROR REVIEW: HOSTEL – PART II

CAST

Lauren German (The Texas Chainsaw MAssacre 2003)
Bijou Phillips (Almost Famous)
Vera Jordanova (Blow Out)
Heather Matarazzo (The Princess Diaries)
Roger Bart (The Insider)
Richard Burgi (Chuck)
Jay Hernandez (Suicide Squad)
Jordan Ladd (Waiting…)
Zuzana Geislerová (Children of Dune)
Barbara Nedeljáková (Doom)

Shortly after the events of Hostel, Paxton (Jay Hernandez) is suffering from nightmares as a result of PTSD and lives in seclusion with his girlfriend Stephanie (Jordan Ladd). The two get into an argument when Stephanie denounces Paxton’s paranoia as exaggerated and insufferable. She wakes up the next morning to find Paxton decapitated. An unmarked box (presumably containing Paxton’s severed head) is then delivered to Elite Hunting boss Sasha (Milan Kňažko), as he relaxes at an outdoor cafe.

In Italy, three art students, Beth (Lauren German), Whitney (Bijou Phillips), and Lorna (Heather Matarazzo) are convinced by Axelle (Vera Jordanova), a nude model they are sketching, to join her on a luxurious spa vacation, redirecting them from Prague. The four travel to a small Slovakian village and check into the local hostel, where the desk clerk uploads their passport photos to an auction website. American businessman Todd (Richard Burgi) submits the winning bids on Whitney and Beth for himself and his passive best friend Stuart (Roger Bart).

Later that night, at the village’s Harvest Festival, Lorna discovers that Beth has inherited a vast fortune from her mother. Stuart and Todd go to the festival, where Stuart approaches Beth and the two share a friendly, albeit awkward, conversation. Despite being warned about her safety from Beth, an intoxicated Lorna leaves to go on a boat ride with a local named Roman, who kidnaps Lorna with the help of two accomplices. Beth and Whitney leave the party, and Axelle volunteers to stay behind and wait for Lorna. Whitney wants to have sex with a local named Miroslav (Stanislav Ianevski), but Beth convinces her otherwise, stating that Miroslav is too “shady”.

The next morning Beth, Whitney, Axelle, and Miroslav head to the local spa to relax. Meanwhile, a nude Lorna is hung upside down with her wrists chained behind her back. A woman named Mrs Bathory (Monika Malacova) enters the room, and lies naked in a bathtub beneath Lorna. She then uses a long scythe to repeatedly slash Lorna’s back, and revels in bathing in her blood, before finally slashing her throat. Beth, who dozed off, wakes up to find herself alone and her belongings stolen. While looking for her friends, she notices several men approaching her. Fearing for her life, she climbs over the spa walls. While escaping, she is ambushed by a gang of violent street children known as ‘the Bubblegum Gang’ but Sasha and Axelle arrive and save her.

At Sasha’s mansion, Beth realizes that Sasha and Axelle are responsible for Whitney and Lorna’s disappearances after seeing the men who tried to kidnap her at the spa coming up the stairs. She tries to hide and discovers a secret room filled with severed heads, including Paxton’s, before she is captured and taken to the factory. Having been notified via pager, Todd and Stuart are chauffeured to the factory. Stuart enters his room where Beth is strapped to a chair with a sack covering her head. After looking around the room in horror he takes the sack off Beth’s head and explains what is going on. He unties her from the chair and almost decides to let her escape, but knocks her out and restrains her, having decided to take his anger for his domineering wife out on Beth.

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Meanwhile, Todd gleefully terrorizes Whitney with a power saw but loses his nerve after accidentally cutting through part of her scalp. Horrified by what he has done, Todd tries to leave, but one of the guards reminds him that he is contractually obligated to kill her and cannot leave until he does so. Todd angrily refuses, prompting the other guards to turn savage dogs loose on him, who maul Todd to death. The Elite Hunting representatives try to find someone else to finish off Whitney, inquiring whether an Italian man (Cannibal Holocaust director Ruggero Deodato) who is eating Miroslav alive, and a man who has his victim chained to an electrified metal bed are interested.Image result for hostel part iiStuart is approached by The Elite Hunting representatives, and after discovering that Todd has been killed, a now deranged and sadistic Stuart accepts the offer and beheads her. When Stuart returns Beth seduces him into releasing her from the chair. Stuart attempts to rape her, but she fights him off and chains him to the chair instead. Beth demands that Stuart tell her the code to the cell door, and sticks a needle in his ear when he refuses. Stuart eventually tells Beth the code, but she still needs to be buzzed through, which inadvertently summons Sasha and the guards to the room. Beth offers to buy her freedom with part of her inheritance, but Sasha explains that in order to leave she must also kill someone. When Stuart insults Beth she cuts off his genitals and tosses them to one of the guard dogs, leaving him to bleed to death. Per the standard contract Beth is given an Elite Hunting tattoo, making her an official member. In the closing sequence, Axelle is lured from the village festival into the woods by the Bubblegum Gang, where she is surprised by the revenge-seeking Beth, and beheaded with a scythe. Beth then leaves as the Bubblegum Gang starts playing soccer with Axelle’s severed head.

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Hostel – Part II is a good sequel of Hostel, disclosing the fate of backpacker Paxton that escaped alive from the facility in Bratislava, Slovakia, of the first movie and then following the tragic tour of three American friends. The story is quite similar to the first one, except the great twist in the last five minutes with the action and revenge of the clever. This violent and gore movie is recommended only for fans of the genre, and those that liked the first Hostel will certainly appreciate this sequel.

REVIEW: THE PRINCESS DIARIES 2: ROYAL ENGAGEMENT

CAST

Julie Andrews (The Sound of Music)
Anne Hathaweay (The Dark Knight Rises)
Hector Elizondo (Cane)
Heather Matarazzo (Hostel – Part 2)
John Rhys-Davies (Lord of The Rings)
Chris Pine (Star Trek)
Callum Blue (Smallville)
Raven-Symone (Dr. Dolittle)
Caroline Goodall (Hook)
Sean O’Bryan (Yes Man)
Spencer Breslin (The Happening)
Brian Klugman (Bones)
Rajia Baroudi (Mighty Morphin Alien Rangers)
Abigail Breslin (Scream queens)
Stan Lee (Deadpool)

Five years after the first film, Crown Princess of Genovia Amelia “Mia” Thermopolis (Anne Hathaway) has just graduated from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School and is returning to Genovia with her bodyguard Joe (Héctor Elizondo). There, she will await her reign once her grandmother, Queen Clarisse (Julie Andrews), steps down as Queen. During Mia’s 21st birthday party, she dances with all the eligible bachelors in hope of finding a husband. She becomes attracted to a handsome gentleman named Nicholas (Chris Pine). During the course of the night, Mia’s tiara falls off and is caught by Parliament member Viscount Mabrey (John Rhys-Davies) who secretly plans to steal Mia’s crown. While the Parliament is in-session the next morning, Mia stumbles upon a hidden room that allows her to secretly listen in. Viscount Mabrey reveals his nephew, Lord Devereaux, is another heir to the Genovian throne. Despite Queen Clarisse’s objection, the only way Mia can assume her duties as Queen is if she marries within the month. Clarisse invites Lord Devereaux to stay at the palace, while Mia is shocked to discover Lord Devereaux is Nicholas. Mia’s best friend Lilly Moscovitz (Heather Matarazzo) surprises her by visiting. Together, they pick through potential husbands. Mia eventually chooses Andrew Jacoby (Callum Blue), Duke of Kenilworth and days later they are engaged. Mabrey plans to have Nicholas woo Mia and dissolve the engagement.

For a ceremony, Mia is to ride sidesaddle but does not know how. Queen Clarisse provides an ancestral wooden leg decoy to make it look like she’s riding sidesaddle. Mabrey spooks Mia’s horse with a rubber snake and Joe rushes to Mia’s aide, but accidentally tears off the wooden leg. Humiliated, Mia flees to the stables, where Nicholas fails to comfort her. At a garden party, Mia and Nicholas quarrel about Mia’s relationship with Andrew; Nicholas tricks Mia into admitting she doesn’t love him. Angered, she argues but instead gets bombarded by a kiss. At first, she kisses him back but then backs away. Nicholas pursues her even more, which causes both of them to fall into a fountain. Queen Clarisse finally tells Mia that her behavior with Nicholas needs to stop.

During the Genovian Independence Day parade, Mia sees some boys picking on a little girl (Abigail Breslin), and abruptly halts the parade to comfort the girl. Learning the children are orphans, Mia has a vendor give them all tiaras and lets them walk with her in the parade. Everyone is impressed by her act of generosity, while Mabrey sees it as a political maneuver. Mia later decides to convert one of the royal palaces into a temporary children’s center. That night, Mia has her bachelorette/sleepover party, where Queen Clarisse surfs on a mattress and sings a duet with Princess Asana (Raven-Symoné), one of Mia’s good friends. In the meantime, Mabrey realizes Nicholas has fallen for Mia, but Nicholas says that Mia will never love him. Nicholas comes upon Mia as she is practising her archery as part of her coronation rites. He helps her succeed in getting the arrow to hit the bullseye, something she had been struggling with. Nicholas then informs Mia that he is leaving, but asks to see her just one more time before he goes. She declines, saying she is under close guard.

That night, Nicholas appears outside Mia’s window and asks her to come out. Lilly encourages her to go, and Mia sneaks out. They ride out to a lake where they share secrets, dance and eventually fall asleep. They awaken to find a man in a boat videotaping them. Mia thinks Nicholas set her up, while he insists had no idea. By the time Mia gets back to the palace, the scandalous footage is already being broadcast. Andrew is disappointed and kisses Mia to see if there is a romantic spark between them. They realize they do not love each other, but do not call off the wedding for the good of Genovia. The wedding is to take place the following day, and Mia’s mother Helen (Caroline Goodall) comes with her new husband Patrick (Sean O’Bryan) and their newborn son Trevor. Nicholas decides against attending, but his surly housekeeper Gretchen informs him that Mabrey engineered their televised scandal.

Right before the wedding, Joe informs Mia that Nicholas is innocent. Queen Clarisse encourages Mia to follow her heart, something she has never done and has now cost her Joe, the only man she truly loved. Mia reenters the church, and asks the members of the Parliament to consider the women in their families and questions if they would force them what they’re forcing her to do (marrying people they don’t love). Mabrey cites the law again, suggesting that Nicholas be named King, only for Nicholas to arrive and refuse the crown as well as disown his uncle. Mia proposes the law on royal marriages be abolished, and Parliament unanimously gives its assent. Encouraged by Mia to have her own happy ending, Clarisse proposes to Joe and they are promptly married.

About a week later, Mia is preparing for her coronation when Nicholas shows up. He professes his love for Mia on bended knee, and they share a romantic kiss. The next day, Mia is crowned “Her Majesty Amelia Mignonette Thermopolis Renaldi, Queen of Genovia”, with all in attendance in the royal palace. An epilogue shows that Genovian Parliament now allows female members, one of whom is Charlotte. And Queen Mia officially opens the children’s home. This film is exactly what you expect it to be, lightly amusing, easy to watch and enjoyable – lovely way to while away a little time.

 

REVIEW: THE PRINCESS DIARIES

CAST

Julie Andrews (The Sound of Music)
Anne Hathaway (The Dark Knight Rises)
Hector Elizondo (Cane)
Heather Matarazzo (Hostel – Part 2)
Mandy Moore (Saved)
Caroline Goodall (Hook)
Robert Schwartzman (The Virgin Suicides)
Erik Von Detten (Complete Savages)
Sean O’Bryan (Yes Man)
Sandra Oh (The Defendor)

Teenager Mia Thermopolis lives with her artist mother, Helen, and her cat, Fat Louie, in a remodeled San Francisco firehouse. A somewhat awkward and unpopular girl, she is terrified of public speaking and often wishes to be “invisible”. She has a crush on the popular Josh Bryant, but is frequently mocked by both him and his cheerleader girlfriend, Lana Thomas. Mia’s only friendships are in the form of the equally unpopular Lilly Moscovitz and Lilly’s brother Michael, who secretly has a crush on Mia. Just before her 16th birthday, Mia learns her paternal grandmother, Clarisse, is visiting from (the fictional) Genovia, a small European kingdom. When Mia goes to meet her at a large house (later revealed to be the Genovian consulate), Clarisse reveals she is actually Queen Clarisse Renaldi, and that her son, Mia’s late father, was Crown Prince of Genovia. Mia is stunned to learn she is a princess and heir to the Genovian throne. In shock, Mia runs home and angrily confronts her mother, who explains she had planned to tell Mia on her 18th birthday, but that her father’s death has forced the issue. Queen Clarisse visits and explains that if Mia refuses the throne, Genovia will be without a ruler (a subplot involves a scheming baron and his unsightly baroness quietly rooting for Mia’s downfall). Helen persuades a hesitant Mia to attend “princess lessons” with the Queen, telling her she does not have to make her decision until the upcoming Genovian Independence Day ball.
Mia is given a glamorous makeover, the use of a limousine and a bodyguard (the Queen’s head of security, Joe). This and Mia’s frequent absences for the lessons make Lilly suspicious and jealous, so she accuses Mia of trying to be like the popular girls. Mia breaks down and tells Lilly everything, swearing her to secrecy. However, the San Francisco Chronicle learns that Mia is the Genovian Crown Princess after hairdresser Paolo breaks his confidentiality agreement (so his work would be known), causing a press frenzy, and a sudden surge in popularity at school for Mia. In a crave and urge for fame, many of her classmates bluff that they’re friends of and or are the princess to reporters.
At a state dinner, Mia embarrasses herself with her clumsiness, delighting her rivals for the crown. However, all is not lost as the situation amuses a stuffy diplomat, and the Queen tells Mia the next day she found it fun. Deciding it is time the two bonded as grandmother and granddaughter, the Queen allows Mia to take her out in Mia’s late 60s Ford Mustang convertible for the day to the Musée Mécanique, an amusement arcade. The day almost ends badly when Mia’s car gives out on a hill and rams backward into a cable car, but Queen Clarisse saves the day by “appointing” the attending police officer and the tram driver to the Genovian “Order of the Rose” (something she clearly made up on the spot), flattering them into dropping any charges. Mia sees this and is impressed with her grandmother. Later, Mia is delighted when Josh Bryant invites her to a beach party, but her acceptance hurts Lilly and Michael, with whom she had plans (the former wanting Mia to appear on her self-made cable show, and the latter wanting her to watch his band perform). Things go wrong when the press arrive, tipped off by Lana. Josh uses Mia to get his 15 minutes of fame by publicly kissing her, while Lana tricks her into changing in a tent, pulling it away as the paparazzi arrive, giving them a scandalous shot of her in a towel. She breaks down into tears in her mother’s arms when she gets home. The photos appear on tabloid covers the following day, leaving Queen Clarisse furious at Mia. A humiliated Mia tells her that she is renouncing the throne, feeling she is nowhere near ready to be a true princess. Joe later reminds the Queen that although Mia is a princess, she is still a teenager and her granddaughter.
Back at school, Mia attempts to rescue her friendships with Lilly and Michael by inviting them to the Genovian Independence Day Ball, gets back at Josh for using her by hitting a baseball into his scrotum during gym class, and finally stands up to Lana when she is cruel to Lilly’s friend Jeremiah, publicly humiliating her by smearing ice cream on her cheerleader outfit and tells her that while she (Mia) might grow out of her proclaimed odd ways, she (Lana) will never stop being a jerk; the teachers don’t interfere, knowing Lana deserved it. Whilst Lilly is excited at the prospect of attending a royal ball, Michael, brokenhearted over Mia’s initial feelings for Josh, turns her down. Clarisse apologizes to Mia for being furious at her over the beach incident, and states that she must publicly announce her decision to become princess of Genovia. Mia, terrified at this large responsibility placed upon her, plans to run away. However, when she finds a letter from her late father, his touching words make her change her mind, and she makes her way to the ball. Mia’s car breaks down in the rain, but she is rescued by Joe, who had suspected she was going to run.

When they arrive, a drenched and untidy Mia voices her acceptance of her role as Princess of Genovia. Mia gets dressed up and accompanies Clarisse to the ballroom, where she is formally introduced and invited to dance. Micheal, accepting an apologetic gift from Mia (a pizza with M & M candies cleverly topped to say “sorry”), arrives at the ball, and after a quick dance, they adjourn to the courtyard. Mia confesses her feelings to him, stating that even when she was constantly teased and embarrassed at school, he liked her for who she truly was. Mia shares her first kiss with Michael, while Clarisse and Joe are seen holding hands. In the final scene Mia is shown on a private plane with Fat Louie, writing in her diary, explaining she is moving with her mother to Genovia, just as the beautiful royal palace and landscape come into view below.

Julie Andrews is perfect as the royal grandmother, and Anne Hathaway as Mia is excellent too – she manages both the awkward clumsy stage and the increasing elegancy of the transformation. There are some delightful scenes with the two of them together, and a few low-key ethical issues such as the shallowness of high school cheerleaders and sports stars, and the need for people to stand up for what they believe in. I found it very enjoyable early outing for Anne Hathaway.

 

 

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: SAVED!

CAST
Jena Malone (Donnie Darko)
Mandy Moore (License To Wed)
Macaulay Culkin (Party Monsters(
Patrick Fugit (Gone Girl)
Heather Matarazzo (Hostel – Part II)
Eva Amurri Martino (New Girl)
Chad Faust (Heroes)
Elizabeth Thai (Andromeda)
Martin Donovan (Ant-Man)
Mary-Louise Parker (Red)
Kett Turton (Wrath of The Titans)
Nicki Clyne (Battlestar Galactica)
Aaron Douglas (The Mentor)
Teenager Mary Cummings (Jena Malone), who has “been born again her whole life,” is about to enter her senior year at American Eagle Christian High School near Baltimore. She and her two best friends, Hilary Faye (Mandy Moore) and Veronica (Elizabeth Thai), have formed a girl group called the Christian Jewels. Mary’s “perfect Christian boyfriend” Dean Withers (Chad Faust) tells her, as they’re swimming underwater, that he thinks he’s gay. In her shock, Mary hits her head in the pool and has a vision in which Jesus tells her that she must do everything she can to help Dean. Hoping for a sign, Mary goes to a shooting range with Hilary Faye, who has a “spiritual solution for everything” and tells Mary (not knowing about the situation with Dean) that if all else fails, Jesus could still restore their “spiritual and emotional virginity.” Believing that Jesus will restore her purity, Mary sacrifices her virginity to have sex with Dean in an attempt to restore his heterosexuality.
Despite Mary’s efforts, when she comes by Dean’s house on the morning of the first day of school, Dean’s parents tell her that they found gay pornography under his bed and that they’re sending him to Mercy House, a Christian treatment center. Mary tells her friends, as well as Hilary’s brother Roland (Macaulay Culkin), who uses a wheelchair, about Dean’s homosexuality, and makes them promise to keep it a secret. When they arrive at school, they see Cassandra Edelstein (Eva Amurri), the school’s only Jewish student and a rebel who despises Hilary. In homeroom, Mary meets new student Patrick (Patrick Fugit), the son of the school’s principal, Pastor Skip Wheeler (Martin Donovan), a skateboarder who has been doing missionary work (through skateboarding) in South America. Mary tries to put up a good front at the assembly, in which Cassandra fakes speaking in tongues in order to get under the skins of the other students.
Mary soon realizes that she is pregnant from her encounter with Dean. When she goes to Planned Parenthood to confirm the pregnancy, she is seen by Roland and Cassandra. Roland reveals that he isn’t really a Christian, unlike his fanatically religious sister. Cassandra reveals she’s only at American Eagle after being thrown out of her old school and decided she could “handle the freaks” at American Eagle over being homeschooled by her parents. Roland and Cassandra bond over their shared skepticism. Mary finds out that she’s not due to give birth until after her high school graduation and decides to hide her condition from her friends and family until then. However, she feels forsaken by Jesus and loses her faith, causing her to be ostracized by Hilary and replaced in the Christian Jewels with a previously unpopular girl, Tia (Heather Matarazzo), who’s been struggling to get into the Christian Jewels for years. Later, after Pastor Skip gets word about Mary, he tells the Jewels to help Mary regain her faith, but they seem to misunderstand him and stop Mary in the street and try to exorcise her of demons instead.
By Christmas, Mary is still hiding her pregnancy. Cassandra mocks her about it when they are alone in the bathroom, but when she realizes Mary’s anguish, Cassandra changes her tone and offers her support. They cut school with Roland, and the three of them become good friends. When they run into Patrick and Hilary at the mall, Cassandra distracts Hilary (pretending she wants to be converted) while Patrick and Mary sneak away and Patrick confesses his feelings for Mary. Pastor Skip warns his son when they’re at home together against dating Mary, even as Pastor Skip (still married to his wife, although they live separate lives) has been secretly dating Mary’s mother, Lillian (Mary-Louise Parker).
A few months later, after multiple fights at school between Hilary Faye and Cassandra, Pastor Skip puts Roland, Cassandra and Mary on the school prom committee (chaired by Hilary Faye) to punish them. While working together, Patrick asks Mary to go with him to the prom, which Mary accepts, but as friends. Later that day, Roland and Cassandra get their hands on a picture of a younger, much heavier, and much more awkward Hilary Faye and load it onto the desktop of every computer in the school. The next day, someone vandalizes the school with graffiti. Mary and Cassandra are initially the prime suspects, and to their shock the spray cans are found in their lockers. While searching the lockers with the Jewels looking on, Mary’s homeroom teacher finds a sonogram of Mary’s baby. She tries to hide it, but it drops to the ground in front of Pastor Skip’s feet. Cassandra is expelled from school, while Mary is banned from the prom.
Pastor Skip tells Lillian that he will break off their relationship if she doesn’t send Mary to Mercy House. Lillian decides that she’s going to send Mary away, saying that it’s the best thing for Mary and the baby, but secretly because she doesn’t want Skip to break up with her. Despite being banned, Cassandra and Roland scheme to go to prom and to bring Mary with them, providing her with a dress and inviting Patrick to meet them. Roland also finds that Hilary Faye charged several cans of spray paint to her credit card just hours before the attack—indicating that she was the one who spray-painted the school.
Hilary Faye, Tia and Veronica head to the prom. On their way in, Tia finds a credit-card receipt for the spray paint—signed by Hilary Faye, revealing that Hilary did, in fact, spray-paint the school. When Mary, Patrick, Cassandra and Roland arrive, Hilary attempts to have Mary and Cassandra thrown out, but Pastor Skip decides to let them stay. The four then accuse Hilary Faye of committing the vandalism herself and framing Mary and Cassandra for it as revenge for humiliating her. Hilary Faye attempts to swear before God that she is innocent, but Tia, fed up with Hilary Faye’s lies and hypocrisy, reveals the signed receipt to everyone, exposing Hilary as the true vandal. Veronica turns on Hilary as well, calling her a fake.
As the now-exposed Hilary Faye flees with the others in pursuit, Dean suddenly arrives with other teenagers from Mercy House. Dean is surprised, but not upset, by Mary’s pregnancy; he meets Patrick warmly, and Mary is similarly accepting towards Dean’s roommate/boyfriend Mitch. Pastor Skip tries to send the new arrivals back to Mercy House, but they refuse, and Mary and her friends support them. Suddenly, Hilary crashes her van into the school’s huge effigy of Jesus. Realizing what she has done, she breaks down in tears of regret. Cassandra shows some sympathy towards Hilary, feeling sorry for her. As paramedics arrive to the accident scene, Mary abruptly goes into labor and is taken to the hospital.
In her hospital room, Mary’s and Dean’s friends and family crowd around the baby girl, while Pastor Skip waits outside debating whether to come in. In a voice-over, Mary tells the audience how she has returned to believing in a God who loves and helps the ones that love and help others in need.
It’s a brilliantly funny but also has underlying moral issues about Christianity and acceptance and deals with many different types of problems facing adolescents, from disability to underage pregnancy