REVIEW: THE SIMPSONS – SEASON 17-18

CAST

Dan Castellaneta (Super 8)
Julie Kavner  (Dr. Dolittle)
Yeardley Smith (Dead Like Me)
Nancy Cartwright (Kim Possible)
Hank Azaria (The Smurfs)
Harry Shearer (This Is Spinal Tap)
Pamela Hayden (Recess)
Tress MacNeille (Futurama)
Russi Taylor (Babe)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Alec Baldwin (The Shadow)
Joe Mantegna (Criminal Minds)
Maggie Roswell (Pretty In Pink)
Dennis Rodman (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Lily Tomlin (The West Wing)
Marcia Wallace (Full House)
Maria Grazia Cucinotta  (The Rite)
Michael York (Logan’s Run)
Maurice LaMarche (Futurama)
Antonio Fargas (Starsky and Hutch)
Susan Sarandon (Tammy)
Dave Thomas (Bones)
Ricky Gervais (Ghost Town)
Richard Dean Anderson (Stargate SG.1)
Frances McDormand (Fargo)
Larry Hagman (Dallas)
Melanie Griffith (Working Girl)
Stacy Keach (The Bourne Legacy)
Mandy Moore (Saved)
Michael Imperioli (The Lovely Bones)
Joe Pantoliano (The Matrix)
Fran Drescher (The Nanny)
Kelsey Grammer (Frasier)
Richard Lewis (Drunks)
Dr. Phil (Scary Movie 4)
Kiefer Sutherland (24)
J.K. Simmons (Spider-Man)
Sab Shimono (Teenage Mutant Ninja III)
Natalie Portman (Thor)
Eric Idle (Life of Brian)
Andy Dick (Dude, Where’s My Car?)
Meg Ryan (Amityvlle 3)
Jane Kaczmarek (Malcolm In The Middle)
Betty White (The Golden Girls)
Stephen Hawking (The Big Bang Theory)
Mary Lynn Rajskub (2 Broke Girls)
Ludacris (2 Fast 2 Furious)

When we were 17 it was a very good year — a year for Homer’s new dad, MacGyver gets mad, Sideshow Bob’s not so bad… Another comical compilation of “The Simpsons” – the longest-running scripted show in television history – has arrived. Season 17 contains all 22 outrageous episodes, a vast repertoire of Springfieldian special features, plus a mind-blowing list of celebrity guest voices, including Alec Baldwin, Larry Hagman, William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Rob Reiner, Susan Sarandon and Lily Tomlin, just to name a few, with additional guest voices also providing commentary including Richard Dean Anderson, Ricky Gervais, Michael York and Kelsey Grammer. Phew!

SEASON 17 HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE

17.1) BONFIRE OF THE MANATEES

After Homer gets into trouble over his football gambling debts, he allows the Springfield Mafia to shoot a porno film (euphemistically called a “snuggle film”) in the house without Marge’s permission. When she and the kids return home from a trip to “Santa’s Village” and find production still going on, a furious Marge leaves for the beach–and encounters a marine biologist named Caleb Thorn who has dedicated his life to saving manatees.17.2) THE LITTLE GIRL WHO SLEPT TOO LITTLE

After the family successfully protests against a stamp museum being built next to their house, a cemetery is built near the Simpson house instead, making the normally unflappable Lisa realize that someone as smart as her can be afraid of something

17.5) MARGE’S SON POISONING

Marge buys a tandem bicycle and after she fails to ride it on her own, Bart offers to ride with her. He soon finds himself increasingly spending time with his mother, until school bullies accuse him of being a “mama’s boy”. Meanwhile, Moe pushes Homer into the world of professional arm wrestling after seeing Homer doing 50,000 reps on his right arm.17.6) SEE HOMER RUN

In order to win back Lisa’s love after shunning her Father’s Day gift (and fearing that the action will cause Lisa to despise all men), Homer takes a job as a costumed mascot known as “The Safety Salamander”, who wins public acclaim for saving drivers from a car accident. Meanwhile, Springfield holds a recall election to get Mayor Quimby out of office.17.7) THE LAST OF THE RED HAT MAMAS

Marge joins a woman’s group after Homer humiliates her at the Mayor’s Easter egg hunt, but Marge discovers that her new friends are thieves planning a heist. Meanwhile, Lisa searches for a tutor to help her speak Italian–and finds one in Milhouse.screen-shot-2012-10-14-at-12-39-35-pm17.8) THE ITALIAN BOB

After Mr. Burns is teased about his car, he sends Homer and the family off to Italy to pick up his new fancy sports car. While on their Italian adventure, the Simpsons end up stranded in a small Italian village where a rehabilitated Sideshow Bob reigns as mayor with a wife and son.17.10) HOMER’S PATERNITY COOT

Marge’s protest against a toll booth causes an accident at the Springfield Tire Yard (which has been perpetually on fire since the 1980s), melting a frozen section of a mountain and revealing the corpse of a mailman who has a letter from Homer’s mom, who had an affair with a handsome lifeguard who may be Homer’s biological father.17.11) WE’RE ON THE ROAD TO D’OHWHERE

After Bart steals a key from Principal Skinner’s office and gets himself into hot water (literally, by fooling around with the school’s steam system), Principal Skinner sentences Bart to a “behavior modification camp”–and Homer must give up his Vegas vacation with his bar buddies in order to take Bart there since he has been put on the airport’s “No Fly” List. Meanwhile, Marge and Lisa have a yard sale–and discover that their biggest-selling product are the many expired medications they have accumulated over the years.17.12) MY FAIR LADDY

Lisa attempts to transform Groundskeeper Willie into a proper gentleman after Groundskeeper Willie’s shack collapses and, like many other secondary and one-time characters over the years, is forced to live with The Simpsons. Meanwhile, Homer becomes a human billboard to save the company that makes his pants.17.15) HOMER SIMPSON, THIS IS YOUR WIFE

Homer’s obsession with Lenny’s new plasma TV prompts Marge to enter the family in a sweepstakes, and they win a trip to the Fox Studio Lot. Against Marge’s wishes, Homer signs them up for a Trading Spouses/Wife Swap-style reality show and is forced to take in a controlling wife, while Marge moves in with a beaten-down husband, Charlie, and his perfect son.17.17) KISS KISS, BANG BANGALORE

Patty and Selma abduct Richard Dean Anderson (the actor best known for playing MacGyver) during the Springfield Stargate SG-1 convention after Anderson rudely tells the terrible twins that he only did MacGyver to make money. Meanwhile, Mr. Burns outsources his nuclear plant to India and chooses Homer to be the new boss.17.19) GIRLS JUST WANT TO HAVE SUMS

Principal Skinner is replaced by a women’s education expert after making a sexist statement about women’s math skills during a musical (which was written by a former female Springfield Elementary school student who was a math whiz), who segregates the school by gender. At first, Lisa loves the arrangement, but when she discovers that the girls’ classes are more about self-esteem boosting than actual learning, Lisa disguises herself as a boy and attends the boys’ classes.17.20) REGARDING MARGIE

Marge goes nuts trying to clean the kitchen in time for a best house contest, but when she inhales the fumes of one too many cleaning solvents, she passes out and bangs her head on a stool. When Marge comes to at the hospital, she is stricken with amnesia, which does not last when she immediately remembers everyone in the family through their quirks–except for Homer. With Marge’s memory of Homer erased, Patty and Selma help their sister find a new man.17.21) THE MONKEY SUIT

Reverend Lovejoy is appointed to spread the word of creationism in Springfield after Flanders complains about a new museum display about evolution, leading creationism to be taught in schools — and Lisa to fight back with secret classes about Charles Darwin and his theories of evolution.17.22) HOMER AND MARGE TURN A COUPLE PLAY

A first baseman for the Springfield Isotopes calls upon Homer and Marge to help him with his marriage to a stripper/pop singer named Tabitha Vixx, who upstages him with a racy musical number during one of his games.UntitledThe argument will rage long  about when exactly America’s finest television animated export actually peaked. After 18 seasons, the show is still going strong.

SEASON 18 HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE

18.1) THE MOOK, THE CHEF, THE WIFE AND HER HOMER

Lisa becomes friends with Fat Tony’s son Michael, who would rather cook than run a crime ring, but when the Simpsons are invited over for dinner and Fat Tony is shot, Homer ends up being the town’s newest kingpin.18.2) JAZZY AND THE PUSSYCATS

Bart gets a drum kit to work out his aggressions after being a nuisance at the funeral of Homer’s Vegas wife and becomes top pick for a local jazz band — a position that the saxophone-playing Lisa has been going after for years.18.3) PLEASE HOMER, DON’T HAMMER ‘EM

Marge takes an interest in carpentry after reading some books on the subject meant for Homer, but when everyone in town declines Marge’s services (because they believe that women cannot be carpenters), Marge uses Homer as a front. Meanwhile, Bart discovers that Principal Skinner is allergic to peanuts and uses his allergy to do his bidding.8_cWv8TwU5iSDN-wTr-T9YU_re018.6) G.I. D’OH

Homer finds himself in an army training camp after trying to get his children out of an agreement to join by age 18.18.6) MOE’N’A LISA

Lisa discovers that Moe’s written rantings are perfect fodder for poetry, but when Moe is invited to a writer’s convention that throws out anyone who uses someone else to create their works, Moe ends up taking the credit.18.7) ICE CREAM OF MARGIE: WITH THE LIGHT BLUE HAIR

After Homer gets fired once again from the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, he takes over Springfield’s ice cream truck business after his favorite driver dies. Meanwhile, Marge, depressed over seeing women more successful than her and looking for a way to be remembered, creates sculptures from the discarded Popsicle sticks in Homer’s ice cream truck.18.10) THE WIFE AQUATIC

When Patty and Selma save “Outdoor Movie Night” from going bust by playing an old home movie of their time at Barnacle Bay, Homer decides to surprise Marge by taking her and the kids there — only to find her childhood vacation spot an abandoned wreck.18.12) LITTLE BIG GIRL

When Cletus ineptly tosses his pipe, Springfield is in danger when the town is about to be hit by a ferocious fire. Bart unwittingly saves the day and is rewarded with a driver’s license. However, when he drives to North Haverbrook, he is then engaged with a girl named Darcy who ropes Bart into marriage after declaring that she’s pregnant. Meanwhile, Lisa lies about her family heritage in an essay and gets chosen to give a keynote speech at a convention.18.13) SPRINGFIELD UP!

Declan Desmond returns as he shows a documentary about Springfield’s current adult population as children, discussing their future aspirations and meets up with Homer to see if he followed his dreams.Rome-old_and_Juli-eh18.15) ROMEO-OLD AND JULI-EH

When Grampa gets kicked out of the retirement castle thanks to Homer declaring bankruptcy (and discovering that bankruptcy laws have changed), Grampa falls in love with Marge’s sister Selma, prompting sworn enemies Homer and Patty to team up to break them up. Meanwhile, Bart and Lisa con a delivery man into giving them cardboard boxes for a fort, but the delivery men fight back.18.16) HOMERAZZI

After the family photo album is destroyed in a fire involving a Krusty doll and a bottle of cologne, Marge restages all of the family’s photographs, and when a celebrity dating scandal is captured in the background of one of their photos, the Simpsons strike tabloid gold. Tasting success and seeing money to be made, Homer takes to the streets as one of the paparazzi, capturing Springfield’s celebrities at their worst.18.17) MARGE GAMER

Marge discovers the wonders of the Internet and becomes hooked on an online roleplaying game, where Bart is the game master. Meanwhile, Lisa resorts to cheating to score points with Homer (who is now a referee) during soccer matches.Simpsons_18_20_P418.19) CROOK AND LADDER

When reading a parenting magazine, Marge follows the advice too literally and throws away Maggie’s pacifier. However, when the pacifier is thrown in the trash, Maggie goes on a path of destruction in the Simpsons’ home. Meanwhile, Homer, Moe, Apu, and Principal Skinner become volunteer firefighters and begin stealing items from the homes whose fires they extinguish.18.21) 24 MINUTES

When finding out Jimbo, Dolph, and Kearney plan on sabotaging Springfield Elementary School’s annual bake sale by releasing the “ultimate stinkbomb” (a rotten yogurt cup from Springfield’s Nuclear Power Plant), Bart and Lisa enlist the help of Jack Bauer and Chloe O’Brian. Meanwhile, Marge attempts to make the perfect cake for the school bake sale.screen-shot-2012-11-27-at-1-31-02-pm18.22) YOU KENT ALWAYS SAY WHAT YOU WANT

Thanks to Ned Flanders’ meddling, Kent Brockman gets in trouble for blurting a horrible curse word during a soft-news interview about Homer winning Phineas Q. Butterfat’s 1,000,000th ice cream cone, and gets fired for allegedly being a cocaine addict. While living with the Simpsons, Brockman teams up with Lisa to create a YouTube video revealing why a politically conservative media empire like Fox would create raunchy television shows.DGERTGERERTWhatever people feel about the Simpsons later years, there’s still some great episodes here.

Advertisements

REVIEW: TERMINATOR GENISYS

IMAG0660_1

CAST

Arnold Schwarzenegger (Conan The Barbarian)
Jason Clarke (Dawn of The Planet of The Apes)
Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones)
Jai Courtney (Spartacus)
J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)
Dayo Okeniyi (The Hunger Games)
Matt Smith (Doctor Who)
Courtney B. Vance (Flashforward)
Byung-hun Lee (G.I. Joe)
Sandrine Holt (House of Cards)

In 2029, Human Resistance leader John Connor (Jason Clarke) launches a massive final offensive against Skynet, an artificial general intelligence system seeking to eliminate the human race. Before the Resistance wins the offensive, Skynet activates a time machine and sends back a T-800 Terminator to 1984 to kill John’s mother, Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke). John’s right-hand man, Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney), volunteers to travel back in time to protect her. As Kyle floats in the machine’s magnetic field, he witnesses John being attacked by another Resistance soldier (Matt Smith). He then has visions from his childhood about events in 2017.
Upon arrival in 1984, Skynet’s T-800 is disabled by Sarah and the Guardian (Arnold Schwarzenegger), a reprogrammed T-800 sent to protect her when she was nine years old. Kyle arrives a short time later and is immediately attacked by a T-1000 (Lee Byung-hun). Sarah and the Guardian join Kyle and destroy the T-1000 using acid. Sarah and the Guardian reveal they have constructed a makeshift time machine similar to Skynet’s, and that Sarah plans to travel to 1997 – the year Skynet becomes self-aware. Realizing the timeline has been altered, Kyle is convinced that the future has changed due to the warning he received in his childhood vision. He persuades Sarah to travel to 2017 instead to stop Skynet.
In 2017, Kyle and Sarah materialize in the middle of a busy San Francisco highway and are apprehended by city police. While being treated for injuries, Sarah and Kyle learn that Skynet is called “Genisys”, a soon-to-be-unveiled global operating system that is being embraced by the public. John Connor appears and rescues Sarah and Kyle, but the Guardian appears and immediately shoots John, revealing that John is an advanced T-3000 Terminator. While Kyle was being sent back through time, a T-5000 (Smith), the physical embodiment of Skynet disguised as a member of the Resistance, attacked John and transformed him into a Terminator. John was tasked with ensuring Cyberdyne Systems’ survival and traveled back in time to assist them with the development of Genisys.
Able to escape to a safe house, Sarah, Kyle, and the Guardian make final preparations to destroy Cyberdyne’s Genisys mainframe. They head toward Cyberdyne’s headquarters with the T-3000 in close pursuit. During an airborne chase, the Guardian divebombs into the T-3000’s helicopter, causing it to crash. The T-3000 survives the crash and enters the Cyberdyne complex, where it advances the countdown from 13 hours to 15 minutes. Kyle, Sarah and the Guardian plant bombs at key points in the facility while holding off the T-3000.
In a final battle, the Guardian traps the T-3000 in the magnetic field of a prototype time machine. Both are destroyed, but just prior to the explosion, the T-3000 throws the remains of the Guardian into an experimental vat of mimetic polyalloy located nearby. Kyle and Sarah reach a bunker beneath the facility, and the explosion sets off the bombs, successfully preventing Genisys from coming online. The Guardian appears, upgraded with mimetic polyalloy components similar to that of the T-1000, and helps them find a way out of the debris.
The trio travels to Kyle’s childhood home, where Kyle tells his younger self about Genisys and instructs him to repeat the warning in a mirror – critical insurance that the events lead to their arrival in 2017. Sarah, Kyle and the Guardian drive off into the country. A mid-credits scene reveals that the system core of Genisys was located in a protected subterranean chamber and has survived the explosion.
The film is well paced and like the first two films, it is basically one long chase. There is a nice balance between action scenes and character scenes. The action also serves the plot instead of the plot serves the action which is the case far to often with mainstream films these days. The film has the spirit of Cameron’s two films and it is easy to see why he approved of the film.  The film feels like the sort of direction Cameron would have taken had he continued on with the franchise.

REVIEW: HARSH TIMES

 

CAST

Christian Bale (The Dark Knight Rises)
Freddy Rodriguez (Sin City)
Eva Longoria (Over Her Dead Body)
Tammy Trull (Havoc)
Terry Crews (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)
J. K. Simmons (Whiplash)

Jim Davis (Christian Bale) is a former U.S. Army Ranger who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Jim has a Mexican girlfriend, Marta (Tammy Trull), whom he is determined to marry, and bring into the United States to start a life together. With this in mind, Jim returns to Los Angeles, California. In Los Angeles, Jim meets up with his best friend Mike Alonzo (Freddy Rodriguez). Mike’s longtime girlfriend, Sylvia (Eva Longoria), a young attorney, is “on the warpath” over his failure to get a job (his previous job was outsourced) and she encourages Jim to help Mike hand out resumes. After being denied a position in the Los Angeles Police Department for failing the psychological profile, Jim gets drunk with Mike, forgetting all about the resumes.

The two go to visit Jim’s ex-girlfriend, but when her current boyfriend shows up, a fight ensues in which the boyfriend is backed up by a group of friends. Jim is able to get the upper hand and when Mike produces a gun, they subdue the men and rob them of their possessions, including marijuana and a handgun which they later decide to sell. Jim later leaves messages on Mike’s answering machine with several different voices, pretending to be companies responding to his resume.

The next day, when Jim goes to visit Mike, he finds Sylvia in a surprisingly good mood due to the callbacks. Jim and Mike end up wasting the day again, getting a friend of theirs to leave another message on Mike’s answering machine. They then go to a “paisa” bar to try to sell the gun, but leave after their potential buyer is stabbed in the neck and killed. Mike is horrified, but Jim is strangely excited by witnessing death again. When Mike arrives back home drunk, Sylvia is upset, so Mike plays back the answering machine, unaware that his friend didn’t hang up early enough and his voice is heard on the tape. Sylvia is enraged and throws Mike out of the house. He goes and stays at Jim’s place. Jim gets shortlisted for a position with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and after cheating on a urine test, it appears that he is going to be given a position.

Jim manages to pass the urinalysis test, but subsequently fails a polygraph test due to a question about his drug use. The only hope left for him is a government agent working out of Colombia, who appreciates Jim’s ability to “get things done”; Jim eventually accepts the position but is warned that he must not get married to a foreigner; his security clearance might be revoked. Jim is told to report to FLETC in a few days. Meanwhile, Mike gets a job when a company he applies at is now managed by an old friend. Jim goes to visit Marta along with Mike and another one of their friends, but before they leave, Mike goes to visit Sylvia and tells her that he has a job for real. She calms down and the two make love. Impatient, Jim goes inside and tells Sylvia that Mike is coming to Mexico with him for the weekend, as it is their last chance to hang out. Sylvia is angry and very much against the idea, and so Jim yells at both her and Mike. Mike decides to go with Jim to Mexico.

The trio arrive in Mexico, where they spend a relaxing night and morning the next day, preparing for a big party that night. At the party, Marta reveals that she is pregnant, and Jim responds violently, threatening to punch her in the stomach and shoot her in the head; in the end, this is a result of Jim’s severe PTSD. On the way back, Jim reveals that he is transporting 20 kilos of marijuana, much to Mike’s dismay. When Mike protests, Jim pulls a gun on him, flashing back, before breaking down in tears, horrified at what he is becoming. Mike, filled with pity for his friend, agrees to accompany Jim to the deal after all. When they arrive to sell the drugs, they realize one of the buyers was the same man they had earlier robbed and beaten, the boyfriend of Jim’s old flame.

Hostility ensues with both Jim and the other gang members pulling out guns, resulting in the other man’s death. The other members of the buying party present plead for their lives, but Jim kills them while suffering flashbacks due to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. While Jim and Mike are escaping in the car, a man from inside the house steps out and shoots at the car with an Armsel Striker; Jim is hit in the back and the side of his face, and subsequently paralyzed. He urges Mike to “step up” and shoot him, thus ending his suffering. After some hesitation, Mike and Jim say their goodbyes and Mike ends up killing Jim. The film ends with Mike returning to Sylvia, who was in the process of packing her belongings to leave for good. They embrace together as Mike breaks down crying.

The movie is an indictment of our culture and how messed up our priorities are, the choices we make, the choices we are given. It was written by David Ayer, who wrote Training Day and he directed it as well. This is in some ways a similar movie. it tackles similar themes from a slightly more askew angle. It’ a great movie, it has its slight faults but theres plenty to appreciate. If you like intelligent, adult fim making this is worth checking out.

REVIEW: RENDITION

CAST

Jake Gyllenhaal (Donnie Darko)
Reese Witherspoon (Legally Blonde)
Peter Sarsgaard (K-19)
Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady)
Omar Metwally (Munich)
J.K Simmons (Whiplash)
Alan Arkin (The Rocketeer)
Aramis Knight (Ender’s Game)
Rosie Malek-Yonan (Up Close & Personal)

CIA analyst Douglas Freeman (Jake Gyllenhaal) is briefing a newly arrived CIA agent in a square in an unnamed country in North Africa (filmed in Marrakech), when a suicide attack kills the CIA agent and 18 other people. The target was a high-ranking police official, Abbas-i “Abasi” Fawal (Yigal Naor), who acts as a liaison for the United States and whose tasks include conducting interrogations and overseeing the application of techniques amounting to torture. Fawal escapes unscathed. Egyptian-born Anwar El-Ibrahimi (Omar Metwally), a chemical engineer who lives in Chicago with his mother, his pregnant wife Isabella (Reese Witherspoon) and their young son, is linked to a violent organization by telephone records indicating that known terrorist Rashid placed several calls to Anwar’s cellphone. Returning to the United States from a conference in South Africa, he is detained by American officials and sent to a secret detention facility near the location of the suicide attack depicted earlier, where he is interrogated and tortured. Isabella is not informed and all records of his being on the flight from South Africa are erased, although records remain of his boarding the plane at Cape Town International Airport. For lack of more experienced staff, Freeman is assigned to observe the interrogation of Anwar, whose interrogator is Fawal himself. After Freeman briefly questions Anwar, he is doubtful of Anwar’s guilt, but his boss, Corrine Whitman (Meryl Streep), insists that the detention continue, justifying such treatments as necessary to save thousands from becoming victims of terrorism.Growing worried, Isabella travels to Washington, D.C. to see old friend Alan Smith (Peter Sarsgaard), who now works as an aide to Senator Hawkins (Alan Arkin), and plead with him to find out what has happened to her husband. She is first informed that there was a mix-up in Cape Town and Anwar had failed to board his plane, but she shows him her husband’s credit card record, which shows that he made a purchase at the in-flight duty-free shop; this confirms that he was on the flight. Smith slowly pieces together details of Anwar’s detention. He is unable to convince either the senator or Corrine Whitman, who had ordered the rendition, to release him, or to openly acknowledge that the rendition had taken place. After the senator advises Smith to let it go on the basis that it’s not the right time to start debating an extraordinary rendition because he’s fighting to have a bill passed in Congress, he gives Isabella a phone number for an excellent lawyer he knows and advises her to call it, but she refuses. Upon hearing the confrontation from her office, his sympathetic secretary quietly tips Isabella off that Whitman will be visiting the following day. Isabella confronts Whitman and creates a scene, before storming out, only to go into labor in the hallway.Eventually, Anwar confesses that he advised Rashid how to make more powerful bombs and was promised $40,000 in return. Suspicious that it’s a false confession, Freeman asks where the money is and Anwar replies that it should have been delivered to him in South Africa but the courier never arrived. Freeman’s suspicions are confirmed when he has the names Anwar gives traced by Interpol and draws a blank. A quick Google search reveals that the names are of the Egyptian soccer team from the year Anwar left Egypt. Without the consent of his superiors, Freeman approaches the Minister of the Interior of the country, and presents him with this finding, and also questions whether $40,000 would really be enough to persuade a man whose annual salary is $200,000 to risk his entire life, and that of his family. He quotes Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice while making a point on the value of intelligence gathered through torture. Eventually, Freeman persuades the minister to authorise Anwar’s release, and sends him back to America via a clandestine ship to Spain, hanging up on his superior when he gets a call to cease and desist. Angered by the injustice Anwar has suffered, Freeman leaks the details of Anwar’s detention to the American press, creating a scandal that humiliates Whitman and Hawkins. The film ends with Anwar arriving home and reuniting with his family.In a parallel storyline, Abasi’s daughter Fatima (Zineb Oukach) has run away from home with her boyfriend Khalid (Moa Khouas). Fatima sees a picture of Khalid’s brother, but he does not tell her what has happened to him. Abasi is told that Khalid’s brother was an inmate at his prison and later died. Fatima is unaware that Khalid is a member of a terrorist group until his friends are arrested at a planned march and he leads her to the terrorist group’s base. Near the end of the movie, Fatima discovers a notebook that contains pictures of Khalid and his brother together, showing that they were extremely close, as well as a picture of the two brandishing AK-47s, then some pictures of a grief-stricken Khalid standing over his brother’s corpse, some pictures of her father, and finally a statement saying that Khalid is doing a deed to avenge his brother’s death. Realizing that Khalid’s brother met his death at the hands of her father and that Khalid is about to assassinate him, she runs off. It is then revealed that this second story took place before the suicide attack. (From the briefing with the CIA agent in the beginning we know that the first story took place after the suicide attack.) At the town square Fatima begs him not to do it, arguing that the target is her father. After removing the pin of his detonator he hesitates, and is therefore killed by the organizers of the attack. As a result, he releases the handle of the detonator and the bomb explodes, killing Fatima. In the present, Abasi rushes to Khalid’s apartment and discovers Khalid’s grandmother grief-stricken over the loss of both her grandsons and Fatima. Abasi then realizes that his daughter died trying to protect him and is filled with grief himself.The record of a phone call supposedly made by Rashid to Anwar is not explained in the film. However, earlier it was mentioned that phones are sometimes passed on from one person to another in order to avoid phone tracing (the DVD extras explain that there was a subplot dropped from the film that elaborated on this concept). The film’s director, Gavin Hood, stated in an interview that the lack of explanation on the call was deliberate, so as to create ambiguity about whether Anwar was guilty or innocent, and to let the viewer decide whether the possibility of his guilt was enough to justify kidnapping and torturing him.Love-Bite-imageGood performances – particularly strong from those beneath the line playing the North African characters. Don’t expect lots of action but it does leave you thinking – not so much about the practice of rendition itself but about the cycle of violence that we all are caught up in.

REVIEW: THE ACCOUNTANT


CAST

Ben Affleck (Batman V Superman)
Anna Kendrick (The Voices)
J.K. Simmons (Spider-Man)
Jon Bernthal (Daredevil)
Jeffrey Tambor (The Hangover)
Cynthia Addai-Robinson (Arrow)
John Lithgow (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Jean Smart (Legion)
Andy Umberger (Unstoppable)
Alison Wright (The Americans)
Jason Davis (Step Brothers)
Susan Williams (The Founder)

Christian ‘Chris’ Wolff (Ben Affleck), a mental calculator, works as a forensic accountant, tracking insider financial deceptions for numerous criminal enterprises. His clients are brokered to him via phone by a woman’s voice, which originates from a restricted number. As an auditor of criminal enterprises, he accepts payment in various non-cash forms such as rare comics, gold bricks, and paintings by famous artists. Pursuing him is Raymond ‘Ray’ King (J.K. Simmons), the director of FinCEN in the Treasury Department, who recognizes Christian by the alias “The Accountant”. King blackmails young data analyst Marybeth Medina (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) into helping him identify and arrest the Accountant prior to his retirement, threatening to expose her undeclared criminal past (for the felony of lying on a federal employment application) if she refuses. King’s only leads are Christian’s numerous cover names.
As a child, Christian had been diagnosed with a high-functioning form of autism and was offered an opportunity to live at Harbor Neuroscience Institute in New Hampshire. Although Christian had bonded with Justine (Alison Wright), the mute daughter of the institute’s director, his father declined, believing that Christian should overcome the hardships inherent in his condition. The pressure of raising a special-needs child later drove Christian’s mother to leave him and his neurotypical younger brother, Braxton. Their father, an army psychological warfare officer, arranged for them to receive extensive military training around the world, which Christian now uses to protect himself in his dangerous life.
The voice gives Christian his next assignment, auditing robotics corporation Living Robotics, whose in-house accountant, Dana Cummings (Anna Kendrick), has found suspicious financial discrepancies. The company’s CEO, Lamar Blackburn (John Lithgow), and his sister and associate Rita Blackburn (Jean Smart) willingly cooperate with Christian’s investigation, while CFO Ed Chilton (Andy Umberger) dismisses Dana’s findings as a mistake. However, after Dana provides him the company’s records, Christian quickly discovers that $61 million has been embezzled from the company. The following night, Chilton, who is diabetic, is confronted in his home by a hitman (Jon Bernthal), who forces him to self-administer a fatal insulin overdose. Later, Lamar surmises to Christian that Chilton embezzled the money and was driven to suicide out of guilt. Upset by Chilton’s death, Lamar closes the investigation, leaving Christian distraught from unfinished work.
Meanwhile, Medina realizes Christian’s cover identities, including his current name, are all famous mathematicians (Carl Gauss, Lou Carroll, and Christian Wolff). Using facial recognition to track the Accountant leads her to a shootout in which several members of the Gambino crime family had been killed. Analyzing a sound recording, Medina isolates Christian’s voice, determining that he is muttering the nursery rhyme Solomon Grundy to himself, a behavior consistent with autism spectrum disorder. The trail leads her to the modest accounting office that Christian uses as a cover: ZZZ Accounting, in Plainfield, Illinois, dividing his profits through four cash-only businesses in his block. She learns that Christian has written off hefty tax returns with donations to the Harbor Neuroscience Institute.
Christian and Dana are targeted for assassination, but Christian kills his own pursuers and rescues Dana, taking her to the trailer where he keeps the only things he values, including an original Jackson Pollock painting among his non-cash payments. While in hiding, they realize that the embezzled money was reinvested in affiliated companies in order to raise Living Robotics’ stock price. Concluding that Rita is behind everything, Christian goes to her house, only to find her dead, murdered by the hitman, who escapes just as Christian is arriving. Thus, Lamar is exposed as the real mastermind.
King and Medina arrive at Christian’s house and find evidence (cameras hidden in bird houses and an M134 minigun in the garage) that he is the Accountant. King reveals that Christian had been arrested after he started a melee at his remarried mother’s funeral that led to his father’s death, taking a deputy’s bullet meant for Christian. In jail, Christian had been mentored by Francis Silverberg (Jeffrey Tambor), a former accountant and fixer for the Gambino crime family, who subsequently became an informant for the United States government. Silverberg was later released and tortured to death by the Gambino family, which drove an enraged Christian to escape from jail and exact revenge on the people responsible.
King confides to Medina that he was present at the shootout and that Christian spared his life after questioning him about being a “good dad”. Afterwards, King had been contacted by the voice and provided with evidence Christian had compiled on criminals who violated his moral code, helping King rise to his position of director. King tells Medina that her investigation of the Accountant has been a test, and she has been selected to replace King, after his retirement, as the voice’s contact in the Treasury Department.
Christian attacks Lamar’s mansion and kills the mercenary guards led by the hitman. After shootout, the hitman recognizes the nursery rhyme that Christian mutters to himself as he tends to his wounds. He confronts Christian and reveals himself to be Braxton, who had become estranged after their mother’s funeral. Still resentful towards their mother for leaving, Braxton blames Christian for getting their father killed. The two reconcile after a hand-to-hand fight, and Lamar shows himself to chastise Christian. After Christian proceeds to kill Lamar without objection from Braxton, the two amiably agree to meet up another time. Later, the voice relays Christian’s evidence on Lamar’s criminal activities to Medina, who has accepted King’s offer, and she dismantles Living Robotics. Christian then bids farewell to Dana by sending her the Pollock (covered up by the painting Dogs Playing Poker, a reference to their initial conversation), and leaves to find Braxton.
In a scene at the Harbor Neuroscience Institute, the voice is revealed to be a computer-generated voice from a powerful computer, given to the Institute as a donation by Christian. The computer is used by a (still mute) adult Justine to communicate, and also fulfill her duties as Christian’s partner.The script is so well crafted this film should be used in writing classes. I guarantee you will not know what’s coming, and after they hit you, they’re going to hit you again, even better. Truly exceptional writing. The acting is also exceptional. Anna Kendrick, J.K.Simmons, and Jon Bernthal really stand out, and for Bernthal it is a change of pace and he carries it off very well. Ben Affleck, Jeffrey Tambor, John Lithgow and Jean Smart do their usual good job.

REVIEW: HIDALGO


CAST

Viggo Mortensen (Lord of The Rings)
Omar Sharif (Doctor Zhivago)
Zuleikha Robinson (Lost)
Louise Lombard (Stargate Universe)
Said Taghmaoui (COnan The Barbarian)
J.K. Simmons (The Accountant)
Peter Mensah (Spartacus)
C. Thomas Howell (E.T.)
Marshall Manesh (How I Met Your Mother)
Malcolm McDowell (Star Trek: Generations)

In 1890, American Frank Hopkins (Viggo Mortensen) and his mustang, Hidalgo, are part of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show, where they are advertised as “the world’s greatest distance horse and rider”. Hopkins had been a famous distance rider, a cowboy, and a dispatch rider for the United States government; in the latter capacity he carried a message to the U.S. 7th Cavalry Regiment authorizing the Wounded Knee Massacre of Lakota Sioux.
Wealthy Sheikh Riyadh (Omar Sharif) has sent his attaché Aziz (Adam Alexi-Malle) to ask the show to either stop using the phrase “the world’s greatest distance horse and rider” or allow Hopkins and Hidalgo to prove themselves by entering the Middle Eastern “Ocean of Fire” race: an annual 3,000-mile survival race across the Najd desert region. The Sheikh is custodian of the al-Khamsa line, considered to be the greatest distance horses in the world, and traditionally the race has been restricted to pure-bred Arabian horses and Bedouin or Arab riders. In addition to the grueling conditions, prevailing animosity and contempt for a Christian “infidel” and “impure” horse, horse and rider face stiff competition, including the wealthy and unscrupulous British horse breeder Lady Anne Davenport (Louise Lombard).To complicate matters, Sheikh Riyadh has promised his daughter Jazira Jazeera (Zuleikha Robinson), his only surviving child, in marriage to the rider of his horse, should he win. She hopes to prevent this by giving Hopkins advice and information to help him win, thereby resulting in greater danger for them both. Sheikh Riyadh’s outcast brigand nephew, who will stop at nothing to gain control of the al-Khamsa line, raids the race camp, kidnaps Jazira, and threatens to kill her unless he gets his uncle’s prize stallion racer as her ransom. Hopkins manages to rescue Jazira. However, Davenport and the Sheikh’s nephew try to sabotage the race by eliminating the rival riders, but are thwarted when Hopkins kills the nephew.
For Hopkins the Ocean of Fire becomes not only a matter of pride, honor and survival, but of identity as well: it emerges that his father was European American while his mother was Lakota Sioux. The Lakota call him “Blue Child” or “Far Rider.” As a half-breed he feels sympathy and pity for his mother’s people, but does not generally reveal his heritage, especially after the Wounded Knee massacre, for which he feels partly responsible. Jazira compares his relation to his heritage to her desire to avoid wearing the veil, saying that he mustn’t “go through life hiding what God made you….like me.”
Nearing the end of the race, Hidalgo is severely injured and Hopkins is dying of thirst. He considers shooting Hidalgo to end his suffering, but is unable to bring himself to do it. Kneeling, he chants a prayer to Wakan Tanka as a possible death song, and images of Lakota elders and his mother appear before him before Hidalgo suddenly struggles up, and Hopkins rides bareback to come from behind win the race. Hopkins wins the respect and admiration of the Arabs, and becomes friends with the Sheikh, giving him his revolver as a gift. As he bids farewell to an unveiled Jazira, she asks him if he is fulfilling the traditional Western tales’ ending where the cowboy rides away into the setting sun and calls him Blue Child as she smiles kindly at him and turns to go. Returning to the United States, Hopkins uses his winnings to buy a herd of mustangs about to be killed by government order, in what was an attempt by the US government to eliminate mustangs and force Native Americans to convert to farming. Hopkins has the horses released and frees Hidalgo to join them in the wild. The epilogue states that Hopkins went on to reportedly win 400 long-distance races and was an outspoken supporter for wild mustangs until his death in 1951, while Hidalgo’s descendants live free in the wild in and around Oklahoma.The film has powerful overtones along with a basic plot. Overall, it made for a great adventure film. Its ending was certainly bittersweet

REVIEW: LEGO MARVEL SUPER HEROES: MAXIMUM OVERLOAD

CAST

Adrian Pasdar (Heroes)
Laura Bailey (Justice League vs Teen Titans)
Barry Dennen (Titanic)
Steve Blum (Wolverine & The X-Men)
Greg Cipes (Teen Titans)
Bumper Robinson (Sabrina: TTW)
Troy Baker (Justice League Action)
Drake Bell (Superhero Movie)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Chi McBride (Human Target)
Robin Atkins Downes (Babylon 5)
Grey DeLisle (The Replacements)
Tom Kenny (Superhero Squad)
J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)
Roger Craig Smith (Batman Unlimited)
Travis Willingham (Sonic Boom)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)

lego-marvel-super-heroes-maximum-overload-post-6The mischievous Loki challenges the Marvel Super Heroes yet again. But this time, he’s cast a snowball-themed spell that has Norn Frost in it to “Overload” various villains. At a secret S.H.I.E.L.D. base in New Jersey, Doctor Octopus raids it in order to obtain the Beta Burst Missile. Using the Norn Frost obtained by his Chitauri minion, Loki “overloads” Doctor Octopus. In Manhattan, Nick Fury calls upon Spider-Man to help defeat Doctor Octopus. Before Doctor Octopus can use the Beta Burst Missile on the trapped S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents, Spider-Man arrives and tricks Doctor Octopus into shocking himself on a nearby power generator. The next morning, Spider-Man brings a bound Doctor Octopus back to Manhattan in a truck upon running out of web fluid on the Garden State Parkway. Nick Fury takes Doctor Octopus to be locked up as Spider-Man is left walking back to Queens, New York. Loki is not pleased that his Doctor Octopus “Overload” was defeated and vows that it’s not over.
maxresdefault
Some time later, news articles are shown about the “Overloads” like the rise of the Red Skull “Overload,” the Wizard “Overload” forming the Frightful Sixteen which outnumbers the Fantastic Four, and the Green Goblin “Overload.” J. Jonah Jameson reports on the “Overloads” and claims that Spider-Man is behind this. Loki then uses the Norn Frost on Venom since he is a creature worth overloading. Appearing near the stand of the Hot Dog Vendor, Venom is overloaded as Loki commands Venom to attack Spider-Man. Their fight takes them through the Daily Bugle much to the dismay of J. Jonah Jameson. Spider-Man manages to defeat Venom by getting one of Venom’s tendrils into the Linotype machine where Venom ends up flattened onto a bunch of newspapers. Venom’s body is taken away by Nick Fury, Captain America, and Wolverine. As Spider-Man swings away from the Daily Bugle, J. Jonah Jameson rants about his newsroom getting trashed as he vows to get Spider-Man for this. Spider-Man runs out of web fluid and falls into a dumpster leaving him to walk back to Queens again.
image_f627905f
While reprimanding his Chitauri henchman for sitting in his chair, Loki sees a helicopter carrying Mandarin flying to Tony Stark’s Malibu mansion to attack it. Loki then throws the Norn Frost at Mandarin who then prepares to attack. Iron Man saves Pepper Potts by getting her into an Iron Man armor. Iron Man then begins to fight Mandarin. As Loki plans to overload Mandarin further, his Chitauri minion slips and causes the Norn Frosts to fall into the nearby crevices. Iron Man uses his left glove to knock Mandarin out of his helicopter as he is grabbed by Falcon who takes Mandarin to the Helicarrier. Iron Man is then helped out of the rubble by his left glove before leaving with Pepper to eat out somewhere. Spider-Man suddenly finds himself at an offshore oil platform wondering how he got there. While his Scrying Mirror is getting fixed, Loki reaches out with his mind where he finds Iron Man and Iron Fist looking for Abomination. Loki finds Abomination on top of a passing airplane as he overloads Abomination. Upon Abomination breaking the airplane, Iron Man and Iron Fist rescue the passengers and land them safely on the offshore oil platform while Hulk arrives to fight Abomination. With help from Iron Fist, Hulk knocks Abomination into the ocean. When Loki plans to overload Hulk to serve him, Hulk notices his floating eyes and punches it as Loki feels the pain while getting a black eye.
ukukukukukuk
Loki declares that his plans are almost complete as his Chitauri minions sweep the floor. On the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier, Wolverine, Captain America, and Black Widow do a roll-call on the captive supervillains Doctor Octopus, Venom, Abomination, Mandarin, Red Skull, and Wizard. Loki then commands the supervillains to arise as they all end up overloaded again while being ordered to hop. The constant hopping causes the Helicarrier to fall onto Tony Stark’s rebuilt mansion. The supervillains then go on a rampage as Iron Man, Nick Fury, Black Widow, Captain America, Wolverine, and Hulk fight them. Thor arrives with Spider-Man upon finding him whining outside Avengers Tower. Spider-Man claims that he was angsting. Upon taking down Doctor Octopus, Thor traces the Norn Frost back to Loki. Thor brings Iron Man and Spider-Man to Asgard to confront Loki while the others fight the supervillains.
image_49cfc114
Upon the Chitauri minions fixing the Scrying Mirror, Loki views it and sees Thor, Iron Man, and Spider-Man approaching his lair. Upon the arrival of Thor, Iron Man, and Spider-Man, Loki eats all the Norn Frost in the possession of one of his Chitauri minions and fights them. After throwing Spider-Man into a wall, Loki states to Iron Man and Thor that he is meddling in the affairs of Earth and take the throne of Asgard (Loki whispered that part which the Chitauri minion said out loud). Upon Loki slipping, Thor throws Mjolnir at Loki as he hangs over the crevasse. Thor then demands that Loki removes his enchantment and vow to never disturb the peace of Midgard under the threat of the hammer noogie. Loki surrenders where the Norn Frost’s enchantment wears off enabling the supervillains to be defeated. Thor then plans to tell Odin what Loki was doing. Loki begs for Thor not to tell their father or to tell him that he was watching the Scrying Mirror since Odin took away his scrying privelages 3 centuries ago. After Thor, Iron Man, and Spider-Man leave, Loki changes the channel on the Scrying Mirror before Hulk can do another attack on him.
image_39e1ade4
On the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier, the supervillains are locked up as they plan their revenge. On the deck of the Helicarrier, it was mentioned that Iron Man’s mansion has been repaired and the Helicarrier is back on the air. To get the angst out of Spider-Man, Nick Fury gives Spider-Man a S.H.I.E.L.D. Security Card and a Spider-Bike. As Spider-Man rides the web line off the Helicarrier, the superheroes celebrate their victory. As the Helicarrier takes off, the web line breaks causing Spider-Man and the Spider-Bike to fall. In the post-credits, J. Jonah Jameson is visiting the Hot Dog Vendor’s cart ordering a hot dog from him. Spider-Man lands safely on the nearby streets as his Spider-Bike falls on the Hot Dog Vendor’s cart. Getting mustard on him from the resulting incident, J. Jonah Jameson states that Spider-Man must be responsible as Spider-Man sneaks away.image_39e1ade4The animation is pretty amazing and one of the best Lego films I have seen with great attention to detail the effects are pretty good as well it just nice that they took the time to make the animation work and it’s better when you watch it in High Definition to better enjoy the attention of the art work It just a good film that I think the family would enjoy and fans of Lego and Marvel