REVIEW: BEN-HUR (2016)

CAST

Jack Huston (American Hustle)
Morgan Freeman (The Dark Knight Rises)
Toby Kebbell (Warcraft)
Nazanin Boniadi (Passengers)
Rodrigo Santoro (Focus)
Sofia Black-D’Elia (Project Almanac)
Ayelet Zurer (Daredevil)
Haluk Bilginer (W.E.)
Moisés Arias (Ender’s Game)
Pilou Asbæk (Game of Thrones)
Marwan Kenzari (The Mummy)
James Cosmo (Highlander)

Ben-Hur (2016)A Jewish nobleman, Judah Ben-Hur (Jack Huston) and his adoptive Roman brother Messala (Toby Kebbell) are best friends despite their different origins. While racing horses, Ben-Hur is hurt and Messala carries him back to their family home in Jerusalem. Despite the hospitality of Ben Hur’s mother Naomi (Ayelet Zurer) and the affections of sister Tirzah (Sofia Black D’Elia), Messala feels alienated in his adopted family. He enlists in the Roman army and fights in the Roman Empire’s wars in Germany. Ben-Hur also develops feelings for the family slave Esther (Nazanin Boniadi) although their different station in life compels him not to pursue her. But when her father Simonides (Haluk Bilginer) seeks to marry her off to a Roman, Judah declares his love for her and takes her as his wife.Morgan Freeman in Ben-Hur (2016)Three years later, Messala returns as a decorated Roman officer. His return coincides with a rising insurrection by the Zealots, who are opposed to the oppressive nature of Roman rule. Judah treats and shelters a young Zealot youth named Dismas (Moisés Arias). Messala reunites with Ben-Hur and attempts to convince his adoptive brother to serve as an informant. Following a reunion dinner with Ben-Hur and his family, Messala informs them that a new Roman governor Pontius Pilate (Pilou Asbæk) will be taking residence in Jerusalem and that no incidents must occur.Jack Huston and Nazanin Boniadi in Ben-Hur (2016)Days later, Pontius Pilate marches into Jerusalem with Ben-Hur and his family watching from a balcony. Dismas attempts to assassinate Pilate with a bow but fails. In retaliation, the Romans storm Ben-Hur’s household and arrest him and his family. Rather than betray a fellow Jew, Ben-Hur takes responsibility for the assassination attempt and is sentenced to enslavement aboard a galley. His mother and sister are sentenced to be crucified. Ben-Hur and Messala fall out with the two hating each other for their perceived betrayals. While being led to the galley, Ben-Hur encounters Jesus (Rodrigo Santoro), who fetches him some water.Ben-Hur endures five years of slavery as a rower aboard a Roman galley under the command of Quintus Arius (James Cosmo). During a naval battle against Greek rebels in the Ionian Sea, Ben-Hur’s galley is boarded. The drummer pressures the slaves to row, but the galley collides with another ship and is destroyed as Ben-Hur manages to cling to a floating mast. He is washed ashore and is found by Sheik Ilderim (Morgan Freeman), who recognizes him as an escaped slave. Ben-Hur manages to convince Ilderim not to hand him over to the Romans by treating one of the Nubian’s racing horses. After Ben-Hur develops a bond with the four racing horses, a grateful Ilderim then trains Ben-Hur to be a chariot racer.Jack Huston in Ben-Hur (2016)Ben-Hur and Sheik Ilderim later travel to Jerusalem to take part in a grand chariot race at the newly built Roman circus. Jesus’ preaching ministry draws the attention of governor Pilate and Messala, who is now the commander of the Roman garrison and a champion chariot racer. While visiting Jerusalem, Ben-Hur encounters Esther, who has become a follower of Jesus and is involved in charity work. Esther tells Ben-Hur that his mother and sister are dead, and despite their reunion, the two are kept emotionally apart due to her new cause which is contrary to Judah’s insistence on seeking revenge against Messala. Ben-Hur later confronts Messala alone in their former home but is forced to flee when Roman soldiers turn up. After the Romans execute twenty Jews in reprisal, Esther completely falls out with Ben-Hur. Sheik Ilderim instructs Ben-Hur in chariot racing techniques. Later, Ben-Hur encounters a former Roman soldier named Druses (Marwan Kenzari), who informs him that his mother Naomi and sister Tirzah are still alive. However, their reunion is soured when Ben-Hur discovers his mother and sister have leprosy, the former also appearing to have lost her memory.Morgan Freeman and Jack Huston in Ben-Hur (2016)Sheik Ilderim bribes Pilate into allowing Ben-Hur to compete by proposing a high wager. Esther tries to convince Messala not to race Ben-Hur, but he is adamant that he will win. On the day of the race, Ben-Hur follows Ilderim’s instructions to hold back from the race until the final laps. Using dirty tactics, Messala manages to knock out the other competing charioteers. Following a brutal and grueling race, Ben-Hur wins the race. Messala survives but is badly wounded and loses a leg. Ben-Hur’s victory embolden the Jewish spectators and yields dividends for Ilderim. Despite his victory, Ben-Hur is despondent about his family and his former friend Messala. Later, Esther witnesses the arrest of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Ben-Hur and Esther witness a bruised and beaten Jesus being forced to carry his cross through the streets. Mirroring his first encounter with Jesus, Ben-Hur tries to offer Jesus water but is beaten by a Roman soldier. Following Jesus’ crucifixion, a rainstorm occurs. Naomi and Tirzah are miraculously healed by rainwater containing the blood of Jesus, and Sheik Ilderim pays a ransom to set them free. In the end, Ben-Hur reconciles with Messala. Despite his anger, Messala finds the strength to forgive Ben-Hur and is reconciled to him and his family. Together, Ben-Hur, his mother, sister, Esther, and Messala accompany Sheik Ilderim’s caravan as they leave Jerusalem.Toby Kebbell and Jack Huston in Ben-Hur (2016)The main actors and actresses do a good (not great) job. I felt Morgan Freeman may have phoned it in a little, but he delivered one of my favourite lines of the movie. My favourite actors were the slave drivers on the galley along with the drummer. They have small roles but I loved them. I didn’t care for the Jesus scenes though. He is a hard character to portray, and I just didn’t like it when he spoke. Overall, I felt it was a pretty good movie that succeeds in many aspects with the themes of revenge/forgiveness and delivers one exciting race. It’s not perfect but a good movie overall.

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CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE

CAST

George Henley (Perfect Sisters)
Skandar Keynes (Ferrari)
William Moseley (The Royals)
Anna Popplewell (Reign)
Tilda Swinton (Constantine)
James McAvoy (Atonement)
Jim Broadbent (Hot Fuzz)
Liam Neeson (Batman Begins)
Ray Winstone (Snow White and The Huntsman)
Dawn French (Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban)
Kiran Shah (The Hobbit)
James Cosmo (Game of Thrones)
Elizabeth Hawthorne (Cleopatra 2525)
Patrick Kake (30 Days of Night)
Katrina Browne (Power Rangers Ninja Storm)
Sophie Winkleman (Two and A Half Men)
Rupert Everett (Shrek 2)
Michael Madsen (Species)

In the London suburb of Finchley, the Pevensie children, Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy, are endangered by a Second World War attack of German bombers. They are then evacuated to the country home of Professor Digory Kirke, who is not accustomed to having children in his house, as Mrs Macready, the strict housekeeper, explains.

While the Pevensies are playing hide-and-seek, Lucy discovers a wardrobe and enters a wintry fantasy world called Narnia. Seeing a lamppost, Lucy encounters the faun Mr. Tumnus, who explains the land she has entered and invites her to his home. He puts Lucy to sleep by playing a lullaby on his flute. When Lucy wakes up, she finds Tumnus grieving, and he explains that Jadis, the White Witch, has cursed Narnia and it has been winter for 100 years. If a human is encountered they are to be brought to her. Tumnus cannot bring himself to kidnap Lucy, so he sends her home. When she returns to Professor Kirke’s house, hardly any time has passed in the normal world; her siblings do not believe her story, and when they look in the wardrobe it has a normal back.

One night, Edmund follows Lucy into the wardrobe. He enters Narnia as well, and after searching for Lucy he meets the White Witch, who claims to be Queen of Narnia. She offers him Turkish Delight as well as the prospect of becoming king and having power over his siblings if he brings them to her castle. After she departs, Edmund and Lucy meet again and return; Lucy tells Peter and Susan what happened, but unfortunately, Edmund lies. Professor Kirke talks with Peter and Susan and suggests she is telling the truth, though they are unconvinced. While running away from Mrs Macready after accidentally breaking a window, the four siblings retreat to the wardrobe and enter Narnia. They discover Mr. Tumnus has been taken by the Witch, and meet Mr. and Mrs. Beaver, who tell them about Aslan. According to the beavers, Aslan intends to take control of Narnia from the Witch. The four must help Aslan; it has been prophesied that if two sons of Adam and two daughters of Eve sit in the four thrones, the White Witch’s reign will end.

Edmund sneaks off to visit the Witch. When he arrives at her castle, she is angry that he did not deliver his siblings. The Witch sends wolves to hunt down the children and the beavers, who barely escape. Edmund is chained in the Witch’s dungeon, where he meets Tumnus. The Witch demands that Edmund reveal where his siblings are. After Tumnus claims that Edmund does not know anything, The Witch tells Mr. Tumnus that Edmund betrayed him, then turns Tumnus to stone.

While Peter, Lucy, Susan and the beavers travel, they hide from what they believe to be the White Witch. It is really Father Christmas, a sign that the Witch’s reign is ending. Father Christmas gives Lucy a healing cordial, a drop of which will bring back to life anyone injured, and a dagger to defend herself. Susan receives a bow and arrows and a magical horn that will summon help when blown, and Peter a sword and shield.

After evading wolves led by Maugrim, the group reaches Aslan’s camp. Aslan is revealed as a huge and noble lion who promises to help Edmund. Later, two wolves ambush Lucy and Susan. When Peter intervenes, Maugrim attacks him, and Peter kills him. Some of Aslan’s troops follow the other wolf to the witch’s camp and rescue Edmund. Peter is knighted by Aslan.

The White Witch journeys to Aslan’s camp and claims Edmund, but Aslan secretly offers to sacrifice himself instead. That night, as Lucy and Susan covertly watch, Aslan is killed by the White Witch. In the morning he is resurrected because “there is a magic deeper still the Witch does not know”. Aslan takes Susan and Lucy to the Witch’s castle, where he frees the prisoners that the White Witch turned to stone.

Edmund persuades Peter to lead Aslan’s army to fight the White Witch’s forces. To stop the Witch from attacking and killing Peter, Edmund attacks the White Witch and destroys her wand, but is gravely wounded by her. As the Witch fights Peter, Aslan arrives with reinforcements and kills her. After Edmund is revived by Lucy’s cordial, the Pevensies become Kings and Queens.

Fifteen years later, the Pevensie children have grown into young men and women. While chasing a white stag through the forest, they encounter the lamppost that Lucy saw on her first trip to Narnia. They make their way through trees, arriving in the wardrobe at the same time and day they left, becoming children again. Lucy later attempts to return to Narnia via the wardrobe, but Professor Kirke tells her he has tried for many years, and they will probably return to Narnia when they least expect to.

A Fantastic adaptaton, the story never ages and is a delight for all the family

REVIEW: WE STILL KILL THE OLD WAY

 

 

CAST

Ian Ogilvy (Death Becomes Her)
Alison Doody (A View To A Kill)
Christopher Ellison (The Bill)
Danny-Boy Hatchard (Eastenders)
Lysette Anthony (Krull)
James Cosmo (Game of Thrones)
Steven Berkoff (A Clockwork Orange)
Dani Dyer (Vendetta)

Brothers Ritchie and Charlie Archer (Ian Ogilvy and Steven Berkoff) are the last of the original hard men. The former east end gangsters ran organised crime in the east end in a similar vein to the Krays and have now retired. The world has changed and gone are the days of going into your local for a pint with the lads, only to be replaced with bistros where Charlie regales old friends with stories of the old days while Ritchie is settling into the quiet life in Spain. Charlie is still something of a hothead from his villain days and Ritchie, the more reasonable of the brothers, is trying to adapt to the quiet life of peace and sun whilst practicing safecracking as a hobby by the pool. The quiet life is shattered when just before Charlie is due to visit Ritchie in Spain, commits an act of decency by rescuing a young girl Lauren (Dani Dyer) from being gang raped. Charlie is brutally murdered by the biggest street gang in the area – the vicious E2 gang, who hold the neighbourhood in a chokehold of fear.webANXwestillkilloldwayThe E2 gang, led by Aaron (Danny-Boy Hatchard), have the run of the area and make sure people don’t talk. With youth, numbers and confidence on their side, they represent the threat of the future with uncontrollable urban violence.  Ritchie is contacted by an old friend, Lizzie Davis (Lysette Anthony) after she finds Charlie’s body and the police (led by DI Susan Taylor) don’t’ have enough to go after the E2 gang. Ritchie returns to East London to find so much has changed and the days of the old firms have been replaced by street gangs and teens; weaponising social media to chronicle their violent and destructive activities and to blackmail victims.Ritchie reunites his old firm consisting of Roy (Chris Ellison – The Bill) Arthur (James Cosmo – Game of Thrones) and aptly Butch – named for obvious reasons (Tony Denham of St George’s Day and The Football Factory) to execute a plan of vengeance against the teenage killers. Working against youth, numbers, confidence and social media, the old firm need to ‘box clever’ in order to get justice. London and gang culture have changed so Ritchie and the firm adapt, teaching the new kids that the classic methods of violence are still the best.57591982580355677512Showered final confrontation between Old School Cool and Street is something to watch but viewing these gentleman gangsters execute street justice is, rather than being seen as torturous, makes for strong social commentary about today’s escalating gang culture and civic duty (as unconventional as it may be) in protecting our neighbourhoods from being taken over by a swarms of gangs. We still Kill the Old Way is not your typical British gangster film for all the right reasons, it offers a powerhouse talent circle of British actors, a strong story with well constructed twists, solid, believable action with the right blend of comedic touches which create an enjoyable story for a British public to engage in but also to believe in.

REVIEW: BRAVEHEART

CAST

Mel Gibson (Mad Max)
Angus Macfadyen (Warriors of Virtue)
Patrick McGoohan (The Prisoner)
Sophie Marceau (The World Is Not Enough)
Catherine McCormack (The Land Girls)
Brendan Gleeson (Troy)
James Cosmo (Game of Thrones)
David O’Hara (The Devil’s Own)
Peter Hanly (My Boy Jack)
Ian Bannen (From Beyond The Grave)
Seán McGinley (Shrooms)
Brian Cox (X-Men 2)
Sean Lawlor (Boon)
Stephen Billington (Resident Evil)
John Kavanagh (Alexander)
Alun Armstrong (Krull)
Tommy Flanagan (Sons of Anarchy)

In 1280, King Edward “Longshanks” invades and conquers Scotland following the death of Alexander III of Scotland, who left no heir to the throne. Young William Wallace witnesses Longshanks’ treachery, survives the deaths of his father and brother, and is taken abroad on a pilgrimage throughout Europe by his paternal Uncle Argyle, where he is educated. Years later, Longshanks grants his noblemen land and privileges in Scotland, including Prima Nocte. Meanwhile, a grown Wallace returns to Scotland and falls in love with his childhood friend Murron MacClannough, and the two marry in secret. Wallace rescues Murron from being raped by English soldiers, but as she fights off their second attempt, Murron is captured and publicly executed. In retribution, Wallace leads his clan to slaughter the English garrison in his hometown and send the occupying garrison at Lanark back to England.Longshanks orders his son Prince Edward to stop Wallace by any means necessary. Wallace rebels against the English, and as his legend spreads, hundreds of Scots from the surrounding clans join him. Wallace leads his army to victory at the Battle of Stirling Bridge and then destroys the city of York, killing Longshanks’ nephew and sending his severed head to the king. Wallace seeks the assistance of Robert the Bruce, the son of nobleman Robert the Elder and a contender for the Scottish crown. Robert is dominated by his father, who wishes to secure the throne for his son by submitting to the English. Worried by the threat of the rebellion, Longshanks sends his son’s wife Isabella of France to try to negotiate with Wallace. After meeting him in person, Isabella becomes enamored of Wallace.Warned of the coming invasion by Isabella, Wallace implores the Scottish nobility to take immediate action to counter the threat and take back the country. Leading the English army himself, Longshanks confronts the Scots at Falkirk where noblemen Lochlan and Mornay, having been bribed by Longshanks, betray Wallace, causing the Scots to lose the battle. As Wallace charges toward the departing Longshanks on horseback, he is intercepted by one of the king’s lancers, who turns out to be Robert the Bruce. Remorseful, he gets Wallace to safety before the English can capture him. Wallace kills Lochlan and Mornay for their betrayal, and wages a guerrilla war against the English for the next seven years, assisted by Isabella, with whom he eventually has an affair. Robert sets up a meeting with Wallace in Edinburgh, but Robert’s father has conspired with other nobles to capture and hand over Wallace to the English. Learning of his treachery, Robert disowns his father. Isabella exacts revenge on the now terminally ill Longshanks by telling him she is pregnant with Wallace’s child.In London, Wallace is brought before an English magistrate, tried for high treason, and condemned to public torture and beheading. Even whilst being hanged, drawn and quartered, Wallace refuses to submit to the king. As cries for mercy come from the watching crowd deeply moved by the Scotsman’s valor, the magistrate offers him one final chance, asking him only to utter the word, “Mercy,” and be granted a quick death. Wallace instead shouts, “Freedom!”, and the judge orders his death. Moments before being decapitated, Wallace sees a vision of Murron in the crowd, smiling at him.In 1314, Robert, now Scotland’s king, leads a Scottish army before a ceremonial line of English troops on the fields of Bannockburn, where he is to formally accept English rule. As he begins to ride toward the English, he stops and invokes Wallace’s memory, imploring his men to fight with him as they did with Wallace. Robert then leads his army into battle against the stunned English, winning the Scots their freedom.The historical content may have been distorted, but even though, this movie is meant for entertainment. It is not a history lesson caught on video.The acting is absolutely superb, this movie is guaranteed to have you on the edge of your seat for the entire three hours

REVIEW: HIGHLANDER (1986)

CAST

Christopher Lambert (Fortress)
Sean Connery (The Hunt for Red October)
Clancy Brown (Sleepy Hollow)
Roxanne Hart (Easy)
Beatie Edney (Lost Empires)
Alan North (Police Squad)
Jon Polito (The Rocketeer)
Sheila Gish (Mansfield Park)
Hugh Quarshie (Star Wars – Episode I)
Celia Imrie (Legends of Tomorrow)
Christopher Malcolm (Labyrinth)
Billy Hartman (Emmerdale)
James Cosmo (Game of Thrones)

In 1985, Connor MacLeod, also known as the Highlander, is in New York City. In an arena parking garage, Connor is confronted by fellow immortal Iman Fasil, and decapitates him, upon which an energy surge destroys several cars around him. He hides his sword just as police swarm the exit to the garage, and arrest Connor.The story then goes back in time to the 16th century Scottish Highlands, in the village of Glenfinnan on the shores of Loch Shiel. Connor and his clan, the Clan MacLeod, prepare for battle. Back in 1985, the police release Connor, as they have failed to get any information from him. One of the detectives involved, Brenda Wyatt, is an expert in metallurgy and recognises Fasil’s sword as an extremely rare Toledo Salamanca broadsword. Later, Connor returns to the garage to retrieve his own sword but sees Brenda is looking at the crime scene. She finds metal shards embedded in a concrete column and saves them for analysis.The scene returns to the Highlands, where the Kurgan assists the clan Fraser against the Clan MacLeod in exchange for the sole right to slaying Connor. In the resulting confrontation the Kurgan stabs Connor but is then driven off by the MacLeod clansmen. The wounded Connor is taken back to the village, and everyone assumes he will die. When he makes a remarkable overnight recovery, the village is convinced that it is the work of the devil. The villagers attempt to have Connor executed, but he is instead exiled by the clan leader out of mercy.In 1985, Connor lives under the alias Russell Nash and is a wealthy antiquities dealer. Meanwhile, the Kurgan takes up residence at a seedy motel. Connor tails Brenda to a bar, but she leaves quickly. She then tails Connor, but the Kurgan attacks them both. The fight is interrupted by a police helicopter, and everybody flees. Brenda analyzes the metal fragments and discovers them to be from a Japanese katana, dated about 600 B.C. but made with advanced technology for the era. She makes a date with Connor in an attempt to entrap him. Connor recognises the ruse, tells her to stop digging, and leaves.In the past, Connor lives an idyllic life with his wife Heather. One day, the mysterious Juan Sánchez Villa-Lobos Ramírez appears and begins training Connor in sword fighting. He explains that they both belong to a group of immortals, who constantly fight one another but can only be killed by complete decapitation. When one immortal decapitates another, the winner receives a transfer of power called “the quickening”. Eventually, all the immortals must do battle until there is only one left alive; the last survivor will receive “the Prize”. Ramirez tells Connor that the Kurgan, by that time the strongest of the immortals, must not win the Prize, or mankind will enter a dark age. One night, while Connor is away, the Kurgan attacks, decapitating Ramirez and raping Heather.In Central Park, Connor meets a long-time friend, fellow immortal Sunda Kastagir. They talk about the impending gathering of immortals which precedes the final battle, and they joke about old times. Brenda has by now discovered that Connor has been alive for centuries, living under false identities, faking his death every few decades, signing his assets over to children who had died at birth, and assuming their identities. She confronts Connor, who demonstrates his immortality. After this revelation, Brenda and Connor become lovers, although Connor is reluctant, following a flashback in which Connor’s wife, Heather, dies of old age in his arms. Ramirez has earlier explained that immortals cannot have children and should not get romantically involved. Ramirez reveals his Japanese katana was made specifically for him by the father of his third wife.The Kurgan finds Kastagir, killing him and wounding a man who witnessed his beheading. When the Kurgan finds out about Connor’s relationship with Brenda, he kidnaps her to draw Connor out. After a climactic battle at the Silvercup Studios in Queens, Connor defeats and beheads the Kurgan. He receives the Prize, which manifests itself as a massive quickening. Now mortal and capable of having children, Connor returns to Scotland with Brenda. Connor now has awareness of people’s thoughts around the world, and promises to use his gift to encourage cooperation and peace in mankind.

What a fine 1980s film and a chance to see the sadly missed Sean Connery at his immaculate best. Furthermore Christopher Lambert is brilliant in the lead. This is the film that started the beloved franchise.

 

REVIEW: TROY

CAST

Brad Pitt (Killing Them Softly)
Eric Bana (Hulk)
Orlando Bloom (Lord of The Rings)
Diane Kruger (The Host)
Peter O’Toole (Venus)
Rose Byrne (Bad Neighbours)
Saffron Burrows (Peter Pan)
Brendan Gleeson (A.I.)
Sean Bean (Game of Thrones)
Julian Glover (The Young Victoria)
James Cosmo (Highlander)
Julie Christie (Doctor Zhivago)
Garrett Hedlund (Tron: Legacy)
Vincent Regan (Lockout)
Tyler Mane (Halloween)

he opening scene shows the troops of King Agamemnon of Mycenae ready to fight against the troops of Triopas of Thessaly, a battle only avoided when the great warrior Achilles defeats Thessaly’s champion in single combat. Meanwhile, Prince Hector of Troy and his younger brother Paris negotiate a peace treaty with Menelaus, King of Sparta. Paris, however, is having a secret love affair with Menelaus’ wife, Queen Helen, and smuggles her aboard their homebound vessel, much to Hector’s fury. Upon learning of this, Menelaus meets with Agamemnon, his elder brother, and asks his help in taking Troy. Agamemnon, who has wanted to conquer Troy for a long time, agrees, since it will give him control of the Aegean Sea. On King Nestor’s advice, Agamemnon has Odysseus, King of Ithaca, persuade Achilles to join them. Achilles, who strongly dislikes Agamemnon, initially refuses, but eventually decides to go after his mother, Thetis, tells him that though he will die, he will be forever remembered.

In Troy, King Priam is dismayed when Hector and Paris bring Helen, but welcomes her as a guest and decides against sending her home, since Paris will likely follow her and be killed, choosing instead to meet the Greeks in open battle. The Greeks arrive shortly after and take the Trojan beach, mostly thanks to Achilles and his Myrmidons, among them his cousin Patroclus, who sack the temple of Apollo but allow Hector and the surviving Trojans to return to the city. Achilles claims Briseis, a priestess and the cousin of Paris and Hector, as a war trophy, but is angered when Agamemnon spitefully takes her from him and decides that he will not aid Agamemnon when they lay siege to Troy.

The Trojan and Greek armies meet outside the walls of Troy. During a parley, Paris offers to duel Menelaus personally for Helen’s hand in exchange for the city being spared. Agamemnon, intending to take the city regardless of the outcome, accepts. Menelaus wounds Paris and almost kills him, but is himself killed by Hector. In the ensuing battle, most of Agamemnon’s forces fall to Troy’s archers and Hector kills Ajax. On Odysseus’ insistence, Agamemnon gives the order to fall back. In order to keep their spirits up, he gives Briseis to the Greek soldiers for their amusement. When she is threatened with rape, she is saved by Achilles. The two fall in love, and Achilles decides that the war is a lost cause, resolving to leave Troy in the morning.

Despite Hector’s advice otherwise, Priam instructs him to retake the Trojan beach in the night and force the Greeks home. The attack brings the Greeks together and the Myrmidons enter the battle. Hector personally duels a man he believes to be Achilles and cuts his throat, only to discover it was actually Patroclus. Devastated, the armies agree to stop fighting for the day. Achilles is informed of his cousin’s death and vows revenge. Knowing of the coming retribution, Hector leads his wife, Andromache, to a secret tunnel beneath Troy and instructs her to take their child and any survivors she can out of the city should he die and the city fall.

The next day, Achilles arrives outside Troy and demands Hector come out. The two fight evenly for a while until Achilles wears Hector down and kills him, dragging his corpse back to the Trojan beach, straining his relationship with Briseis. Priam, in disguise, sneaks into the camp and meets with Achilles, imploring him to let him take Hector’s body back to Troy for a proper funeral. Ashamed of his actions, Achilles agrees and allows Briseis to return to Troy with Priam, promising a truce of twelve days so that Hector’s funeral rites may be held in peace. He also tells his men to return home without him, for he has a battle he must fight on his own.

Agamemnon becomes infuriated at Achilles’ actions and goes into a crazed rant that he will take Troy no matter what. Concerned that Agamemnon may lead them to destruction, Odysseus concocts a plan to get inside the city by having the Greeks build a gigantic wooden horse from their boat parts and abandon the Trojan beach, hiding their ships in a nearby cove to make it seem as if they have left. Priam orders the horse brought inside the city as a gift from the Gods, over Paris’ objections. A Trojan scout finds the hidden ships in the cove but is killed by the Greek archers before he can alert the city. That night, Greeks hiding inside the horse emerge and open the city gates for the Greek army, commencing the Sack of Troy. While Andromache and Helen are getting the Trojans to safety through the tunnel, Paris gives the Sword of Troy to Aeneas, instructing him to protect the Trojans and find them a new home. Glaucus is killed by Odysseus. Agamemnon kills Priam, and then Agamemnon finds Briseis and taunts her, and she kills him. Achilles fights his way through the city and finds Briseis, but is shot through the heel by Paris, which makes him vulnerable. Paris puts several more arrows into Achilles’ chest until he finally collapses. With his dying breaths, Achilles implores Briseis to leave the city with Paris. They escape Troy before the Greeks find Achilles’ body. In the aftermath, with Troy finally taken, funerals are held for the slain and Odysseus personally cremates Achilles as the surviving Trojans head to Mount Ida.Troy is definitely an entertaining movie, and the production is remarkable, but a few major historical inaccuracies, strange casting choices and a particularly cliché Hollywood ending lower my appreciation for the film.

 

REVIEW: GAME OF THRONES – SEASON 3

CAST

Peter Dinklage (X-Men: Days of Future Past)
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Mama)
Lena Headey (Dredd)
Emilia Clarke (Terminator: Genysis)
Kit Harington (Pompeii)
Richard Madden (Cinderella)
Iain Glen (Tomb Raider)
Michelle Fairley (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
Aidan Gillen (The Dark Knight Rises)
Charles Dance (Last Action Hero)
Liam Cunningham (Clash of The Titans)
Stephen Dillane (The Hours)
Carice van Houten (Black Book)
Natalie Dormer (Captain America: The First Avenger)
Isaac Hempstead-Wright (The Boxtrolls)
Sophie Turner (X-Men: Apocalypse)
Maisie Williams (Cyberbully)
Rose Leslie (Honeymoon)
Alfie Allen (John Wick)
Jack Gleeson (Batman Begins)
John Bradley (Borgia)
Oona Chaplin (What If..)
Joe Dempsie (Monsters 2)
Sibel Kekilli (When We Leave)
Rory McCann (Hot Fuzz)
Conleth Hill (Serena)
Jerome Flynn (Ripper Street)
James Cosmo (Highlander)
Untitled
RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Ciarán Hinds (The Woman In Black)
Robert Pugh (Robin Hood)
Mackenzie Crook (Ironclad)
Kristofer Hivju (After Earth)
Mark Stanley (Star Wars – Episode VII: The Force Awakens)
Ben Crompton (Kill List)
Luke Barnes (The Last Hours of Lauara K)
Burn Gorman (Pacific Rim)
Hannah Murray (Skins)
Edward Dogliani (The Hybrid)
Natalia Tena (Harry Potter)
Iwan Rheon (Wild Bill)
Thomas Sangster (Wolf Hall)
Ellie Kendrick (Misfits)
Kristian Nairn (Four Warriors)
Art Parkinson (Dracula Untold)
Peter Vaughan (Brazil)
Josef Altin (Eastern Promises)
Charlotte Hope (The Theory of Everything)
Patrick Malahide (Quills)
Gemma Whelan (The Wolfman)
David Bradley (The World’s End)
Gwendoline Christie (The Hunger Games – Mockingjay – Part 2)
Richard Dormer (11 Minutes)
Paul Kaye (Match Point)
Clive Russell (Ripper Street)
Tobias Menzies (Atonement)
Noah Taylor (Powers)
Michael McElhatton (Albert Nobbs)
Diana Rigg (The Avengers)
Julian Glover (Troy)
Finn Jones (Wrong Turn 5)
Esmé Bianco (The Scorpion King 4)
Daniel Portman (Outcast)
Ian Beattie (Alexander)
Paul Bentley (The Iron Lady)
Will Tudor (Vampire Academy)
Ian McElhinney (City of Ember)
Nathalie Emmanuel (Fast & Furious 7)
Jacob Anderson (Adulthood)
Ed Skrein (Deadpool)

Stannis licks his wounds after his defeat in season two, becoming ever more obsessed with his new God and the Red Woman Melisandre, desperately trying to recuperate and get back in the game as a contender for the throne. Making life hard for his ever suffering but loyal second in command Davos as he attempts to reason with his Zealot obsessed king. Davos is such a likeable character and his loyalty to Stannis is both heart warming and heart breaking as we watch Davos desperately play off and counter the many savage suggestions of the religious Melisandre, with great chemistry between all three characters you can feel the tension in the room with every scene as the two confidants battle for their kings mind which is forever unbalanced and as likely to take either side depending on his mood.

Daenerys begins her liberation of slavers bay quickly gaining momentum and power throughout the series in the way only the dragon born can, quickly becoming the most powerful character in the show, gathering more and more allies to her cause, she becomes seemingly unstoppable, yet remains one of the viewers favourite candidates for the throne as she shows again and again compassion and fairness for the people she comes into contact with, really becoming the light in this dark world. Followed by her loyal and love struck aid Jorah he also has new challenges to face as he finds himself in competition with the new allies flocking to her side, including the humiliated Commander of the Kings Guard from season one Ser Barristen Selmy and the handsome Daario Naharis of the Second Sons mercenaries.

Robb Stark once again faces betrayal as he attends his grandfathers funeral in River Run, introducing us at last to the Tullys including the humorous Blackfish and the Mr Bean of Westeros; Edmure Tully. Watching Robb struggle to handle the political aspect is quite sad as we watch the young wolf, who has never lost a battle decline purely due to his lack of political leadership and his restricting honour, both marching him towards a fate like his fathers. The similarities between Ned and Robb become more apparent as he makes foolish decisions all in vain attempts to do the right thing or make up for mistakes made, all culminating in one of the most memorable and terrible scenes of the entire show.

Theon Greyjoy, probably has the worst time of it in this season, after his betrayal of Robb in season two he finds himself captured by an unknown assailant and very very violently tortured both Physically and psychologically as well as mutilated, forever distorting and changing the character into somebody entirely new. Despite his betrayals and actions in season two you really begin to feel for the character again very early on, even forgiving his actions as he confesses how he really feels about himself and is made the play thing of the sadistic Ramsey Snow.  Tyrion continues to play the game in kings landing, battling with his sister for their fathers approval who has now taken his place as Hand of the King. Tyrion now has a harder time keeping his head above water, struck from all his power by his father, Tyrion is left vulnerable to the cruelty of Joffrey who continues to enjoy torturing his subjects. Watching him keep his composure under such odds and witnessing the cruelty of his father first hand, Tyrion remains a solid favourite of the fans, who after his heroes exploits in season two deserves a lot more than he gets in this season.

Jon Snow follows his new Wildling lifestyle while ever secretly looking for an opportunity to escape back to his fellow men of the nights watch, Jon Snow begins to realise the real threat to Westeros and begins to understand that the only way to win the real war is unity… something nobody else wants. Breaking his nights watch vows and literally skating on real thin ice Jon begins to craft himself as the hero Westeros needs.

Jaime Lannister continues life as captive, with the ever honourable and faithful Brienne charged with transporting him the two run into all sorts of adventures on their way to Kings Landing, including run ins with not so honourable Stark Soliders, farmers and then the sadistic soldiers of house Bolton and their leader Lock. Survival looks bleak for the pair and as Jaime attempts his usual charm and smarmy talk to get out of a situation it backfires changing his life forever, if he survives.

Overall, definitely the best season so far, completely shifting the power around the country and countless heartbreaking revelations and moments, this is the defining season that will make and break lifelong fans, if you thought the execution of Ned Stark was the pinnacle of Game of Thrones, that seems like child’s play after this season.