REVIEW: HITCHCOCK (2012)

 

CAST

Anthony Hopkins (Westworld)
Helen Mirren (Red)
Scarlett Johansson (Ghost In The Shell)
Danny Huston (30 Days of Night)
Toni Collette (Krampus)
Michael Stuhlbarg (Lincoln)
Michael Wincott (Romeo Is Bleeding)
Jessica Biel (The A-Team)
James D’Arcy (Agent Carter)
Richard Portnow (Kindergarten Cop)
Kurtwood Smith (That 70s Show)
Ralph Macchio (Ugly Betty)
Wallace Langham (CSI)
Currie Graham (Stargate: The Ark of Truth)
Judith Hoag (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Lindsey Ginter (Argo)

In 1959, Alfred Hitchcock opens his latest film, North by Northwest, to considerable success, but is troubled by a reporter’s insinuation that he should retire. Seeking to reclaim the artistic daring of his youth, Hitchcock turns down film proposals, including Casino Royale and The Diary of Anne Frank, in favor of a horror novel called Psycho by Robert Bloch, based on the real-life crimes of murderer Ed Gein. Gein appears in sequences throughout the film, in which he seems to prompt Hitchcock’s imagination regarding the Psycho story, or act as some function of Hitchcock’s subconscious mind (for instance, drawing Hitchcock’s attention to sand on his bathroom floor, the quantity of which reveals how much time his wife Alma has been spending at the beachhouse with Whitfield Cook).Hitchcock’s wife and artistic collaborator, Alma, is no more enthusiastic about the idea than his colleagues, especially since she is being lobbied by their writer friend, Whitfield Cook, to look at his own screenplay. However, she warms to Hitchcock’s proposal, suggesting the innovative plot turn of killing the female lead early in the film. The studio heads at Paramount prove more difficult to persuade, forcing Hitchcock to finance the film personally and use his Alfred Hitchcock Presents television crew (over at competitor Revue/Universal) to produce the film, his last with Paramount.However, the pressures of the production, such as dealing with Geoffrey Shurlock of the Motion Picture Production Code, and Hitchcock’s lecherous habits, such as when they confer with the female lead, Janet Leigh, annoy Alma. She begins a personal writing collaboration with Whitfield Cook on his screenplay at his beach house without Hitchcock’s knowledge. Hitchcock eventually discovers what she has been doing and suspects her of having an affair. This concern affects Hitchcock’s work on Psycho. Hitchcock eventually confronts Alma and asks her if she is having an affair. Alma angrily denies it. Alma temporarily takes over production of the film when Hitchcock is bedridden after collapsing from overwork, but this sequence, which included a complicated process shot showing Arbogast’s demise, with Alma’s specification of a 35mm lens, instead of the 50mm lens preferred by Hitchcock for this film, proved to be the least effective in the film.Meanwhile, Hitchcock expresses his disappointment to Vera Miles at how she didn’t follow through on his plan to make her the next biggest star after Grace Kelly; but Miles says she is happy with her family life. Hitchcock’s cut of Psycho is poorly received by the studio executives, while Alma discovers Whitfield having sex with a younger woman at his beach house. Hitchcock and Alma reconcile and set to work on improving the film. Their renewed collaboration yields results, culminating in Alma convincing Hitchcock to accept their composer’s suggestion for adding Bernard Herrmann’s harsh strings score to the shower scene.After maneuvering Shurlock into leaving the film’s content largely intact, Hitchcock learns the studio is only going to exhibit the film in two theaters. Hitchcock arranges for special theater instructions to pique the public’s interest such as forbidding admittance after the film begins. At the film’s premiere, Hitchcock first views the audience from the projection booth, looking out through its small window at the audience (a scene which recalls his spying on his leading actresses undressing earlier in the film–by looking through a hole cut in the dressing room wall–which itself is a voyeuristic motif included in the film of Psycho). Hitchcock then waits in the lobby for the audience’s reaction, conducting slashing motions to their reactions as they scream on cue. The film is rewarded with an enthusiastic reception. With the film’s screening being so well received, Hitchcock publicly thanks his wife afterward for helping make it possible and they affirm their love. At the conclusion at his home, Hitchcock addresses the audience noting Psycho proved a major high point of his career and he is currently pondering his next project. A raven lands on his shoulder as a reference to The Birds, before turning to meet with his wife.The final title cards say that Hitchcock directed six more films after Psycho, none of which would eclipse its commercial success, and although he never won an Oscar, the American Film Institute awarded him its Life Achievement Award in 1979: an award that he claimed he shared, as he had his life, with his wife, Alma.Overall, honestly, I know Hitchcock isn’t a perfect film. No film is. But, I love the film for it’s dramatic and whimsical aspects, the phenomenal acting, score, screenplay, camera-work, and the way the film was done as a whole. If you love/like Psycho, or just enjoy learning about the man known as The Master of Suspense, give this film a go.

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REVIEW: RED 2

CAST

Bruce Willis (Cop Out)
John Malkovich (Burn After Reading)
Helen Mirren (Woman In Gold)
Mary-Louise Parker (Weeds)
Anthony Hopkins (Westworld)
Catherine Zeta-Jones (Entrapment)
Lee Byung-hun (G.I. Joe)
Brian Cox (Rise of The Planet of The Apes)
David Thewlis (Wonder Woman)
Neal McDonough (Arrow)
Titus Welliver (Bosch)

Three years after the previous film, while trying to lead a normal life with girlfriend Sarah Ross (Mary-Louise Parker), Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) is approached by Marvin Boggs (John Malkovich), who claims people are still after them, but Frank dismisses him. After appealing a second time, Marvin drives off, and his car explodes. Although Frank does not believe Marvin is dead, Sarah convinces him to go to Marvin’s funeral where he delivers a teary-eyed eulogy.After the funeral, a group of government agents approach Frank and take him to be interrogated at a Yankee White Facility. During the interrogation, Jack Horton (Neal McDonough) appears with an armed SWAT team, kills most of the facility’s personnel, and tells Frank that he will torture Sarah until he gets information out of Frank. Frank escapes from the room, evades Horton’s assassins, and with the sudden timely help of Marvin, who turns out to be alive, goes on the run with Sarah.In a diner, Marvin explains that he and Frank are being hunted because they were listed as participants in a clandestine operation codenamed Nightshade, conducted during the Cold War to smuggle a nuclear weapon into Russia piece by piece. Horton has convinced world agencies that Frank and his crew are terrorists and must be stopped. Victoria (Helen Mirren) calls, telling Frank she has been contracted by MI6 to kill the three of them. Meanwhile, top contract killer Han Cho-Bai (Lee Byung-hun), whom Horton knows is seeking revenge on Frank, is also hired.Frank, Marvin, and Sarah steal Han’s plane and fly to Paris to find a man nicknamed “The Frog” (David Thewlis), with the Americans and Han in pursuit. As they arrive in Paris, they are stopped by Katja (Catherine Zeta-Jones), a Russian secret agent with whom Frank had a relationship earlier in his career. Katja is also in search of Nightshade, and joins them to find The Frog. When he sees them, The Frog flees. Frank and Katja catch him and bring him back to his house, where Sarah seduces him, both to help them and to prove she is a better girlfriend than Katja.The Frog gives them the key to his security box, which Katja apparently takes from Frank after drugging him; but Marvin, anticipating this, had handed a similar-looking key to Frank before his meeting with her. Marvin, Frank, and Sarah later find documents in The Frog’s security box which point to Dr. Edward Bailey (Anthony Hopkins), a brilliant physicist, as the creator of the Operation Nightshade bomb.They find that Bailey is alive, held thirty-two years in a maximum security asylum for the criminally insane in London. Victoria (alerted by Marvin) unexpectedly confronts the trio, but helps to fake their deaths and then gain access to the asylum, in which Victoria feigns insanity, while Frank and Sarah poses as the facility staff, (having tied up and gagged the real staff with duct tape). Frank and Victoria meet Bailey, who is hyperactive and cannot rationally respond to their questions thanks to mind-fogging drugs the asylum had been giving him, so they take him to one of Marvin’s safehouses. After the drugs begin to wear off, Bailey remembers the bomb is still in Moscow.They travel to Moscow, and Bailey concludes he hid the bomb in the Kremlin. They break into the Kremlin, and Bailey locates the suitcase-sized bomb, which is powered by red mercury, which has no radioactive signature and causes no fallout. As they are about to leave, Katja stops them. Frank persuades her to switch to their side. After they escape and are celebrating, Victoria, who has escaped MI6 imprisonment for failing to kill him, calls Frank from London and tells him that Bailey was locked up because he had wanted to detonate the bomb, not sell it. Bailey quickly holds Frank at gunpoint and confirms Victoria’s message, revealing that he made a deal with Horton and the Americans to give them the red mercury. He shoots Katja, making it look as if Frank killed her, and leaves with the bomb case. Horton reneges on his deal with Bailey, intending to interrogate him until all his secrets have been tortured out of him, but Bailey escapes during air transit using a nerve gas he created, administering the antidote to both himself and Horton. Bailey then moves to the Iranian embassy in London. Before Frank can follow him, Han attacks. Reaching a standoff, Frank urges Han to join sides with him and stop the bomb. Han finally relents, and the five enact a plan to recapture Bailey and the bomb.Sarah first seduces the Iranian ambassador, then takes him hostage. Marvin poses as a person seeking to defect to Iran, causes a diversion with the embassy plumbing, and the disguised team comes to “fix” it. They discover in the ambassador’s safe plans disclosing the location of the bomb, but find that Bailey has already triggered the bomb’s countdown timer and killed Horton (after disclosing he also remembered how his family had been killed by people like Horton). When they are discovered by embassy guards, Bailey seizes Sarah and flees to the airport to escape the imminent explosion.Frank, Marvin, Victoria, and Han, taking the active bomb case with them, give chase, but Marvin, in his attempts to disarm the bomb by cutting wires, causes the timer to speed up and count down thrice as fast. Frank, holding the bomb case, boards the plane and confronts Bailey who releases Sarah and forcefully insists he take the bomb off the plane with her. They rejoin Marvin, Victoria, and Han and wait for death as Han’s plane takes off. As it disappears high in the sky it explodes in an immense fireball. Frank reveals that he had covertly placed the bomb from the case into a compartment near the plane’s exit and confronted Bailey with only a closed empty case. Han angrily tells Frank that Frank owes him “$30 million for the plane and $20 million for not killing you (Frank)”. The closing scene shows Sarah enjoying herself on a mission in Caracas with Frank and Marvin.RED 2 is massively entertaining, surprisingly witty and superb fun. A perfect case-study in pure entertainment and even better, if that’s possible, than the first movie. Simply brillian.

REVIEW: RED

CAST

Bruce Willis (Cop Out)
Morgan Freeman (Lucy)
John Malkovich (Burn After Reading)
Karl Urban (Dredd)
Helen Mirren (Woman In Gold)
Mary-Louise Parker (Weeds)
Rebecca Pidgeon (Allegiant)
Brian Cox (Rise of The Planet of The Apes)
Richard Dreyfuss (Piranha 3D)
Julian McMahon (Nip/Tuck)
Ernest Borgnine (From Here To Eternity)
James Remar (Gotham)
Greg Bryk (Bitten)

Frank Moses, retired black-ops CIA agent, lives alone in Cleveland, Ohio. Lonely, Frank often chats on the phone with Sarah Ross, a worker at the General Services Administration’s Pension Office in Kansas City, Missouri. He creates opportunities to talk to her by tearing up his pension checks and calling her to say they had never arrived.One night, a “wetwork” (assassination) squad raids Frank’s house and attempts to kill him, but he easily wipes them out. Knowing they have tapped his phone, he believes Sarah will be targeted. In Kansas City, as Sarah refuses to go with him, he forcibly ties her up and gags her with duct tape. Meanwhile, CIA agent William Cooper is assigned by his boss, Cynthia Wilkes, to hunt down and kill Frank.To find out who is targeting him, Frank tracks down his old associates for help. He goes to New Orleans, Louisiana and visits his C.I.A. mentor, Joe Matheson, who now lives in a nursing home. Joe tells Frank that the same hit squad murdered a reporter for The New York Times. Locked in a motel by Frank, Sarah escapes. Another agent, posing as a police officer, tries to kidnap her, but Frank returns in time. Cooper attacks them, but Frank tricks the police into arresting Cooper and escapes with Sarah. The two head to New York City and find clues left behind by the deceased reporter, which leads them to a hit list. They then find Marvin Boggs, another former black ops agent and a paranoid conspiracy theorist. Marvin tells them the people on the list, including Frank and Marvin, are connected to a secret 1981 mission in Guatemala. Another person on the list, Gabriel Singer, is still alive. The trio tracks down Singer, who tells them that the mission involved extracting a person from a village. Singer is then assassinated by a helicopter-borne machine-gunner, and the team escapes as Cooper closes in.Frank goes to ex-Russian secret agent Ivan Simanov, who helps him infiltrate CIA headquarters. In the CIA archive, the records keeper, who has much respect for Frank, simply hands him the Guatemala file. Frank confronts Cooper in his office and the two have a vicious fight. Though victorious, Frank is shot during his escape. Having escaped an attempt on his life, Joe arrives and helps extract the team. They hide out in the home of former wetwork agent Victoria (Helen Mirren), who treats Frank’s wound and joins the team. The file gives them clue to the next lead, Alexander Dunning, an illegal arms dealer. Frank, Marvin and Joe enter Dunning’s mansion, with Joe posing as a buyer, while Victoria and Sarah keep watch outside. They interrogate Dunning, who reveals the target for extraction was the now–Vice President Robert Stanton (Julian McMahon). Stanton ordered the hit on the people involved in the mission to hide the fact that he massacred village civilians.Cooper and the FBI surround Dunning’s mansion. Cooper tries to negotiate Frank’s surrender, and Frank tells him about the Vice President’s treachery. The terminally ill Joe pretends to be Frank, walks outside, and is killed by sniper from the Vice President’s personal hit squad. The confusion, as well as Victoria’s cover fire, buys the team enough time to leave the mansion, but Sarah is captured. They escape with the help of Ivan, who is Victoria’s old flame. Frank calls Cooper from his family’s phone and warns him against harming Sarah.The team, along with Ivan, kidnaps Stanton. Frank calls Cooper, offering to trade Stanton for Sarah. At the meeting point, Dunning arrives. After a short dialogue, Dunning injures Stanton, revealing himself and Cynthia Wilkes to be masterminds behind the assassinations. Disgusted with Wilkes’ corruption, Cooper pretends to arrest Frank, but shoots Wilkes. Marvin and Victoria kill Dunning’s bodyguards, and Frank kills Dunning by crushing his windpipe. Cooper lets Frank’s team go. As they leave the scene, Frank and Sarah are eager to start a new life together. Ivan reminds Frank of his favor. A few months later, Frank and Marvin are in Moldova with a stolen nuclear device. They flee from Moldovan Army troops with Marvin wearing a dress and in a wooden wheelbarrow being pushed by Frank.Red was entertaining. It’s funny without trying to get overly silly. Action scenes where good. Bruce Willis, Mary Louise Parker, Helen Mirren, Karl Urban, Richard Dreyfuss, Brian Cox, and Morgan Freeman. But it’s John Malkovich who steals the show, with his funny one liners. And also a great co starring role by veteran actor Ernest Borgnine. A great comic book/action movie.

REVIEW: WOMAN IN GOLD

 

CAST

Helen Mirren (Red)
Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool)
Daniel Bruhl (Captain Ameirca: Civil War)
Katie Holmes (Batman Begins)
Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black)
Max Irons (The Host)
Charles Dance (Game of Thrones)
Antje Traue (Man of Steel)
Elizabeth McGovern (Kick-Ass)
Jonathan Pryce (Brazil)

In a series of flashbacks throughout the film, Maria Altmann recalls the arrival of Nazi forces in Vienna, and the subsequent suppression of the Jewish community and the looting and pillaging conducted by the Nazis against Jewish families. Seeking to escape before the country is completely shut off, Maria Altmann and members of her family attempt to flee to the United States. While Altmann and her husband are successful in their escape, she is forced to abandon her parents in Vienna. In the present, living in Los Angeles, a now elderly and widowed Altmann attends the funeral for her sister. She discovers letters in her sister’s possession dating to the late 1940s, which reveal an attempt to recover artwork owned by the Altmann family that was left behind during the family’s flight for freedom and subsequently stolen by the Nazis. Of particular note is a painting of Altmann’s aunt, Adele Bloch-Bauer, now known in Austria as the “Woman in Gold”.Altmann enlists the help of E. Randol Schoenberg (the son of her close friend, Barbara), a lawyer with little experience, to make a claim to the art restitution board in Austria. Reluctantly returning to her homeland, Altmann discovers that the country’s minister and art director are unwilling to part with the painting, which they feel has become part of the national identity. Altmann is told that the painting was in fact legitimately willed to the gallery by her aunt. Upon further investigation by her lawyer and Austrian journalist Hubertus Czernin, this claim proves to be incorrect, as the alleged will is invalid due to the fact that her aunt did not own the painting in question, the artist’s fee having been paid by Altmann’s uncle; moreover, Adele Bloch-Bauer wanted the painting to go to the museum at her husband’s death while in fact it was taken from him by the Nazis and placed in the museum by a Nazi-collaborating curator. Schoenberg files a challenge with the art restitution board, but it is denied and Altmann does not have the money needed to challenge the ruling. Defeated, she and Schoenberg return to the United States.Months thereafter, happening upon an art book with “Woman in Gold” on the cover, Schoenberg has an epiphany. Using a narrow rule of law and precedents in which an art restitution law was retroactively applied, Schoenberg files a claim in US court against the Austrian government contesting their claim to the painting. An appeal goes to the Supreme Court of the United States, where in the matter of Republic of Austria v. Altmann, the court rules in Altmann’s favor, which results in the Austrian government attempting to persuade Altmann to retain the painting for the gallery, which she refuses. After a falling out over the issue of returning to Austria for a second time to argue the case, Altmann agrees for Schoenberg to go and argue the case in front of an arbitration panel of three arbiters in Vienna.In Austria, the arbitration panel hears the case, during which time they are reminded of the Nazi regime’s war crimes by Schoenberg. Schoenberg implores the arbitration panel to think of the meaning of the word “restitution” and to look past the artwork hanging in art galleries to see the injustice to the families who once owned such great paintings and were forcibly separated from them by the Nazis. Unexpectedly, Altmann arrives during the session indicating to Czernin that she came to support her lawyer. After considering both sides of the dispute, the arbitration panel rules in favour of Altmann, returning her paintings. The Austrian government representative makes a last minute proposal begging Altmann to keep the paintings in the Belvedere against a generous compensation. Altmann refuses and elects to have the painting moved to the United States with her (“They will now travel to America like I once had to as well”), and takes up an offer made earlier by Ronald Lauder to acquire them for his New York gallery to display the painting on condition that it be a permanent exhibit.Such a great movie,  the acting is superb and the content, because it deals with real events in a tasteful and honest way.

 

 

REVIEW: INKHEART

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CAST

Brendan Fraser (The Mummy)
Sienna Guillory (Eragon)
Paul Bettany (Avengers: Age of Ultron)
Eliza Bennett (The Prince and Me)
Helen Mirren (Red)
Andy Serkis (The Hobbit)
Jim Broadbent (Vera Drake)
Rafi Gavron (The Cold Light of Day)
Lesley Sharp (From Hell)
Jamie Foreman  (Ironclad)
Jennifer Connelly (Hulk)

One evening, whilst Mortimer “Mo” Folchart (Brendan Fraser) and his wife Teresa “Resa” Folchart (Sienna Guillory) are reading the fairy tale “Little Red Riding Hood” to their baby daughter Meggie, a red velvet hood appears out of nowhere. Several years later, a much older Meggie (Eliza Bennett) travels with her father Mo to visit an old book shop in Italy, unaware that he is secretly looking for a copy of the book, Inkheart. Shortly after finding one, Meggie comes across a marten with horns outside the shop, who tries to bite her fingers. Suddenly, a man (Paul Bettany) appears from the shadows, claiming to be an old friend while revealing the marten’s name as Gwin. When Mo comes out of the book shop, he quickly recognizes the man as a person called Dustfinger, whom quickly asks to be read back into the book, only for Mo to flee with Meggie from him.

Travelling across Italy, Mo takes Meggie on a visit to Meggie’s great aunt Elinor (Helen Mirren), whereupon he reveals to Meggie why he fled from Dustfinger. While she was young, Mo read to her from Inkheart, inadvertently freeing Dustfinger as a result, due to a gift he possessed from birth, that marks him as a “Silver Tongue”. Unfortunately, his gift also freed the book’s villain Capricorn (Andy Serkis) and several of his henchman, but at the same time, losing Resa after being forced to flee with his infant daughter. Soon, Dustfinger reappears seeking Mo, accompanied by Capricorn’s minion, Basta (Jamie Foreman), who quickly captures Mo and his family and takes back Inkheart, destroying Elinor’s valuable library in the process.

The four are taken to Capricorn’s new castle in the real world. Elinor stands up to Capricorn and protests against the destruction of her library, but Capricorn orders her to be gagged. Mo is forced to read from the book, and they are imprisoned in the stables, which house various creatures from different storybooks, including the winged monkeys from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the minotaur from the story of Theseus, and a unicorn. During their imprisonment, Mo explains to Meggie and Elinor about his gift, stating that when he reads a person or an object out of a book, someone from the real world is sent into it, hence why his wife disappeared. Capricorn, interested in using his gift, forces Mo to read out items from books, causing him to get a stash of treasure from one of the stories in The Arabian Nights, while causing one of the 40 Thieves, named Farid (Rafi Gavron), to be brought out as well and forced into imprisonment. Dustfinger, who believed he could get his chance to return into the book, quickly learns Capricorn tricked him, and so prompts a quick escape using the famous tornado from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz; during the escape, he opts not to tell Mo that his wife Resa is in the village, but has lost her voice.

Following their escape, Meggie offers the idea of finding the author of Inkheart, a man named Fenoglio (in honor of the Italian writer Beppe Fenoglio), who may have access to a copy of the rare-to-find book. Whilst Elinor decides to leave them to recover what is left of her book collection, the rest head for the author’s location, with Dustfinger initially staying with Farid to teach him to juggle fire, yet secretly afraid of learning his fate in the book. When he does travel with Mo to find and meet with Fenoglio (Jim Broadbent), the author’s ecstatic mood, upon seeing his creation live and breath before him, causes Dustfinger to discover that his efforts to save Gwin at the end of the book brings about his death. Angry, he berates the author for not being his god and that he has the freedom to choose whatever fate he wants, before eventually confessing to Mo, who Resa is in the book, that his wife was in Capricorn’s castle.

Both he and Mo take Fenoglio’s car, leaving Meggie behind with the author, where during the journey, they quickly discover that Farid had stowed away in the car’s trunk, and take him along at his insistence. Whilst away, Meggie begins reading a number of books out loud, and discovers she is a “Silver Tongue” herself, just before Basta arrives with men to capture Mo. Upon learning that she can read things out of books, after the author notices she brought Toto from the The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Basta takes her and Fenoglio back to Capricorn. Elinor, who has a change of heart and does not take the train back to her home, returns to the author’s home and quickly senses trouble, pursuing the captured pair. At the castle, Capricorn reveals to Meggie his intentions of bringing the monstrous Shadow from Inkheart, revealing that, although he burned all the copies, he spared one for such a purpose, threatening to harm her mother if she fails to comply. During this time, Mo sneaks into the castle, but is captured by Capricorn’s henchmen.
After escaping his cell, Mo attempts to free Meggie, Resa and Fenoglio from imprisonment, as Capricorn forces Meggie to read out the Shadow from the book. Meanwhile, Dustfinger sneaks back into the castle with Farid and decide to set it alight, after his conscience gets the better of him. The distraction this causes allows Fenoglio to give Toto a rewrite he made to help Meggie stop Capricorn’s plan. The plan partly works until Capricorn gains the upper hand. Just then, Elinor arrives with the creatures Capricorn imprisoned, giving Mo the opportunity to quickly throw his daughter a pen, allowing her to write out a story on her arm to combat Capricorn’s plan. Meggie quickly reads out her creation, which causes Capricorn to turn into dust, vanishes his henchmen, destroys the Shadow, and return all the read out creatures back where they belong, including Toto. In addition, she grants Fenoglio’s wish, and send him into Inkheart to live in the world he created, while restoring her mother’s voice, allowing her and Mo to finally reunite with her, before fleeing as the castle collapses.
Shortly afterwards, Dustfinger, having missed his chance for Meggie to read him back into his book, decides to leave, not wishing to force Mo and his family to do anything without risking their happiness. As he does, Farid catches up with insisting on travelling with him to find another reader to send him back into the copy of Inkheart he had stolen before the castle collapsed. After a moment’s hesitation, Dustfinger agrees and the two start off together only to have Mo catch them up and fulfill his promise. Dustfinger is soon transported safely back into Inkheart, where he reunites with his wife Roxane at their home. In the real world, Farid quickly reveals he kept Gwin with him, thus allowing Dustfinger to avoid his fate and have control over his destiny. As Mo and his family leave with Farid, Meggie agrees to teach him how to read while Farid agrees to teach her how to use the dragon breath.I like how all the elements from different story books come into our world plot and very interesting fantasy film

REVIEW: GOSFORD PARK

CAST
Maggie Smith (Clash of The Titans)
Michael Gambon (Sleepy Hollow)
Kristin Scott Thomas (Mission Impossible)
Camilla Rutherford (Rome)
Charles Dance (Game of Thrones)
Clive Owen (Sin City)
Helen Mirren (Red)
Geraldine Somerville (Harry Potter)
Ryan Phillippe (Cruel Intentions)
Emily Watson (Red Dragon)
Tom Hollander (Valkyrie)
Stephen Fry (Bones)
Kelly Macdonald (Boardwalk Empire)
Natasha Wightman (V For Vendetta)
Jeremy Northan (The Net)
Bob Balaban (The Monuments Men)
Trent Ford (The Vampire Diaries)
Eileen Atkins (Robin Hood)
Alan Bates (The Sum of All Fears)
Derek Jacobi (Gladiator)
Richard E. Grant (Dracula)
In November 1932, Constance, Countess of Trentham (Maggie Smith), and her lady’s maid, Mary MacEachran (Kelly Macdonald) travel to Gosford Park for the weekend. On the way, they encounter actor Ivor Novello (Jeremy Northam), American film producer Morris Weissman (Bob Balaban) and Weissman’s valet, Henry Denton (Ryan Phillippe). At the house, they are greeted by Lady Trentham’s niece Lady Sylvia McCordle (Kristin Scott Thomas), her husband Sir William McCordle (Michael Gambon), and their daughter, Isobel (Camilla Rutherford). The other guests include Lady Sylvia’s sisters, Louisa, Lady Stockbridge (Geraldine Somerville) and Lady Lavinia Meredith (Natasha Wightman) and their husbands, Raymond, Lord Stockbridge (Charles Dance) and Commander Anthony Meredith (Tom Hollander). Also in attendance are the Honourable Freddie Nesbitt (James Wilby) and his wife, Mabel (Claudie Blakley); Isobel’s suitor, Lord Rupert Standish (Laurence Fox) and his friend Jeremy Blond (Trent Ford).
Commander Meredith is in financial difficulty and brings up the matter with Sir William, who reveals that he is rescinding his investment in Meredith’s new business scheme. Sir William also reveals privately to Lady Sylvia that he may stop paying Lady Trentham’s allowance. Mary and Lord Stockbridge’s valet, Parks (Clive Owen), are attracted to one another and exchange pleasantries. Denton asks a number of questions about life in service and Parks reveals that he was brought up in an orphanage. Denton meets Lady Sylvia and during the night, he goes to her room.
The next morning the men go out early on a pheasant shoot, and Sir William is slightly injured by a low shot. Later, the ladies join the gentlemen for an outdoor luncheon on the estate grounds, where Commander Meredith pleads with Sir William to not back out of the investment, breaking decorum by grabbing Sir William’s arm and causing him to shatter his cocktail glass on the ground. While dressing for dinner, Lady Trentham and Mary are visited by Lady Sylvia, who reveals that Sir William is in a terrible mood with all of his guests after the events of the weekend and that he may stop paying his wife’s aunt her allowance. Lady Trentham is upset by this, and tersely tells Mary to be discreet about this unwelcome news (after having encouraged her to share downstairs gossip about the other guests).
Dinner that evening is tense and sombre, with the announcement that Commander Meredith will be leaving in the morning and that he now must prepare for bankruptcy thanks in part to Sir William’s withdrawal of his investment—news to which Sir William reacts with callous indifference. As the conversation progresses, tempers flare and Lady Sylvia attacks Sir William, implying that he was a First World War profiteer. The head housemaid, Elsie (Emily Watson), rises to his defence, breaking the class barrier, and thus revealing her affair with Sir William to everyone at the table. Everyone watches in shocked silence at this indiscretion, and Elsie hurries from the room—knowing that she will be dismissed.  Sir William abruptly storms away from the dinner table and goes to the library, where the housekeeper, Mrs. Wilson (Helen Mirren) brings him coffee. He demands a glass of whisky instead. Lady Sylvia asks Mr. Novello to entertain the guests. George (Richard E. Grant, first footman), Parks, Mr. Nesbitt and Commander Meredith disappear and an unknown person goes to the library and stabs Sir William as he sits slumped in his chair. Minutes later, Lady Stockbridge goes to the library to entice Sir William to return to the party and her screams bring everyone to the room. Commander Meredith and Mr. Nesbitt do not offer an explanation of their disappearances, while George says he was fetching milk for the coffee service and Parks claims to have been fetching hot water bottles. Inspector Thompson (Stephen Fry) and Constable Dexter (Ron Webster) arrive to investigate the murder. Dexter suggests that Sir William was already dead when he was stabbed. It is eventually surmised that Sir William was poisoned before being stabbed. Denton confesses to Jennings (Alan Bates), the butler, that he is not a valet but an American actor preparing for a film role. The next morning, Lady Sylvia goes for her usual morning ride, which surprises Inspector Thompson. Barnes (Adrian Scarborough) overhears Commander Meredith tell Lady Lavinia that Sir William’s death was lucky for them, as the investment is now secure. Barnes tells Inspector Thompson, who interrogates Meredith.
Mrs. Croft (Eileen Atkins) tells the kitchen maid, Bertha (Teresa Churcher), that Sir William was known for seducing the women working in his factories. If a woman became pregnant, Sir William offered two choices: keep the baby and lose your job, or give the baby up and keep your job. Those who gave up their babies were told that the adoptions were being arranged with good families. In reality, Sir William paid squalid orphanages to take the children. Mary goes to Parks’ room and tells him that she knows he is the murderer. Parks tells her that he discovered Sir William was his father, entered service and attempted to gain employment with someone in his circle. Parks tells Mary that he did not poison Sir William and Mary is relieved, as Parks only stabbed the corpse. Mary listens to Lady Sylvia and Lady Constance discussing why Mrs. Croft and Mrs. Wilson are enemies. Lady Sylvia believes that the tension between them stems from the fact that Mrs. Wilson now outranks Mrs. Croft. Lady Constance asks if Mrs. Wilson was ever married and Lady Sylvia replies that her name was once Parks or Parker. Mary goes to Mrs. Wilson and the older woman reveals that she poisoned Sir William to protect her son, because she knew that Parks was there to kill Sir William. She also reveals that she and Mrs. Croft are sisters. After talking to Dorothy (Sophie Thompson), Mrs. Wilson goes to her room distraught and is comforted by Mrs. Croft.
The guests drive away with the dismissed Elsie joining them, though she has taken an unusual souvenir from the house — Sir William’s pet dog. Lady Sylvia waves good-bye to her guests and re-enters Gosford Park, while Jennings closes the doors.
Superbly written with a twist in the tale well worth two hours of anyones time hugely entertaining

REVIEW: THE HITCHHIKERS GUIDE TO THE GALAXY (2005)

CAST

Martin Freeman (The Hobbit)
Sam Rockwell (Iron Man 2)
Mos Def (Monster’s Ball)
Zooey Deschanel (New Girl)
Warwick Davis (Leprechaun)
Bill Nighy (Underworld)
Anna Chancellor (The Vice)
John Malkovich (Red)
Kelly Macdonald (Boardwalk Empire)
Jason Schwartzman (Bewitched)
Edgar Wright (Shaun of The Dead)
Stephen Fry (V For Vendetta)
Richard Griffiths (Harry Potter)
Thomas Lennon (17 Again)
Ian McNeice (Dune)
Helen Mirren (Red)
Alan Rickman (Dogma)

The film begins with a Broadway-style number “So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish”, sung by the dolphins of the world, who are aware of the Earth’s impending doom. At the end, they all jump out of the oceans and into space, leaving Earth for good.
One Thursday morning, Arthur Dent discovers that his house is to be immediately demolished to make way for a bypass. He tries delaying the bulldozers by lying down in front of them. Ford Prefect, a friend of Arthur’s, convinces him to go to the pub with him. Over a pint of beer (as “muscle relaxant”), Ford explains that he is an alien from a planet in the vicinity of Betelgeuse, and a journalist working on the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, a universal guide book, and that the Earth is to be demolished later that day by a race called Vogons, to make way for a hyperspace bypass. Suddenly, a Vogon Constructor Fleet appears in the sky and destroys the planet. Ford saves himself and Arthur by hitching a ride on a Vogon ship. The two are found and forced to listen to poetry. They are then thrown out of an airlock, but are picked up by the starship Heart of Gold. They find Ford’s “semi-cousin” Zaphod Beeblebrox, the President of the Galaxy. He has stolen the ship along with Tricia “Trillian” McMillan, an Earth woman whom Arthur had met previously, and Marvin the Paranoid Android, a clinically depressed robot that constantly complains about life.
Zaphod explains that he is seeking the planet Magrathea, where he believes he can discover the Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything to match with the answer “42” given by the supercomputer Deep Thought. Zaphod stole the Heart of Gold to use its improbability drive to get to Magrathea through trial and error.
During one of these attempts, they end up on the planet Viltvodle VI. Zaphod decides to visit Humma Kavula, his opponent from the election. Upon learning of Zaphod’s plan, Kavula announces that he has the coordinates to Magrathea. He takes one of Zaphod’s two heads hostage and demands they bring him the Point-of-view gun created by Deep Thought, which allows the target to understand the shooter’s point of view. As they are leaving the planet, Trillian is captured by Vogons. The others travel to rescue her from the Vogon home world bureaucracy, facing long lines and frustrating form processing. Trillian is outraged to learn that Zaphod signed the authorisation for the destruction of Earth thinking it was a request for an autograph.
The Heart of Gold is chased by the Vogons, led by Galactic Vice-President Questular Rontok, who is attempting to rescue Zaphod from himself, after an incident in which Zaphod kidnapped himself in order to forgo presidential duties. As the Heart of Gold arrives in orbit above Magrathea, Arthur triggers the improbability drive to avoid the automated missile defence systems. The missiles transform into a bowl of petunias and a sperm whale.
On the planet, Zaphod, Ford, and Trillian take a portal to Deep Thought. When they ask the computer whether it has calculated the ultimate question, it reveals that it designed another supercomputer to do so—Earth. When the trio finds the Point-of-View gun, Trillian shoots Zaphod, making him understand how she feels about the destruction of Earth. She also finds out how much she loves Arthur. Arthur and Marvin miss the portal and encounter a Magrathean called Slartibartfast, who takes Arthur on a tour of the construction floor where Earth Mark II is being built. Slartibartfast takes Arthur home, where the others are enjoying a feast provided by pan-dimensional beings who resemble a pair of mice. Arthur realises he has fallen into a trap. The mice, who constructed Deep Thought, used the supercomputer to build an even larger supercomputer, the planet Earth, to determine the Ultimate Question. Believing Arthur, the last remaining supercomputer component, may hold the Ultimate Question, the mice attempt to remove his brain. Arthur kills the mice.
As the crew regroup outside the house they are surrounded by Vogons and take shelter in a caravan as the Vogons open fire. Marvin is left outside and shot in the back of the head, and uses the Point-of-View gun on the Vogons, causing them to become depressed and unable to fight. As the Vogons are taken away and Questular rejoins with Zaphod, Arthur chooses to explore the galaxy with Trillian and lets Slartibartfast finalise the new Earth without him. The Heart of Gold crew decide to visit the Restaurant at the End of the Universe while Marvin points out they are going the wrong way.
 This film is fantastic – but one must have a warped sense of humour to appreciate it. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve watched it & I still laugh out loud. (I was almost crying with laughter in the cinema). The casting is great – I love Marvin voiced by the wonderful Alan Rickman. And the Vogons are great – just how I imagined them. Stephen Fry as the narrator is an inspiration.