REVIEW: IRONCLAD

CAST

James Purefoy (Solomon Kane)
Brian Cox (Rise of The Planet of The Apes)
Derek Jacobi (Cinderella)
Kate Mara (Fantastic Four)
Paul Giamatti (Sideways)
Charles Dance (Game of Thrones)
Jason Flemyng (From Hell)
Jamie Foreman (Sleepy Hollow)
Mackenzie Crook (City of Ember)
Vladimir Kulich (Angel)

Jason Flemyng in Ironclad (2011)A prologue describes how the barons of England, aided by the Knights Templar, fought against tyrannical King John in a war that lasted more than three years. It ended with the King signing the Magna Carta, a document granting rights to all English freemen. King John regrets succumbing to the pressure of the barons to sign the Magna Carta. Soon after, he hires an army of pagan Danish mercenaries under the leadership of a warlord, Captain Tiberius, to restore John’s absolute authority over the kingdom, under the presumption that the Pope has agreed to keep Christian missionaries out of their lands in Denmark.Brian Cox and Paul Giamatti in Ironclad (2011)The Abbot Marcus leads three Templar knights (who have taken vows of silence) on a pilgrimage to Canterbury and they take shelter from the rain at Darnay Castle. One of the knights, Thomas Marshall, is assured by the abbot that Marshall’s release from the Templar Order will be sought at Canterbury. By morning, King John arrives at the castle with his army and mercenaries. Baron Darnay signed the Magna Carta and in retribution John orders him hanged. The Abbot attempts to intervene and the King orders that the abbot’s tongue be cut off. Marshall and the two other knights fight the Danes, during which Marshall escapes the castle on horseback carrying the abbot; the two knights left behind are slain. The abbot dies before night of his wound, and Marshall breaks his vow of silence to swear that his sacrifice will not be in vain.Paul Giamatti in Ironclad (2011)Once he has reached Canterbury, Marshall meets with Archbishop Langton, the author of the Magna Carta, and Baron William d’Aubigny, a former soldier turned wool merchant. Langton reveals that the Pope has sided with King John and that he himself is to be excommunicated for writing the Magna Carta. The three men agree that John must be stopped, and that the place to do so is Rochester Castle, the seat of Baron Cornhill and a strategic stronghold that controls southern England and allows access to London and the rest of the country.Kate Mara in Ironclad (2011)Aubigny persuades three of his men to join him, including his squire, Guy, and a petty criminal named Jedediah, but a fourth turns down the baron’s call to arms. A party of seven finally leaves for Rochester where, on arriving, they discover several Danish mercenaries have already claimed the castle; the fourth man had betrayed them to the king. Aubigny’s party fights and kills the Danes, and then claim Rochester Castle in the name of the rebellion, much to the displeasure of Cornhill. When John’s army finally arrives and lays siege to Rochester, the garrison holds fast and manages to beat the initial Danish assault. In the aftermath, Aubigny offers his men leave if they wish; none accept. A second assault sees the Danes’ siege tower destroyed by a trebuchet crafted by the defenders from within the castle. John’s forces then attempt to starve out the defenders. The Archbishop is informed that Prince Louis is biding his time in France and negotiating with John, and sets off in haste to expedite affairs. As the season turns to winter, the hunger of the castle’s occupants continue; Marshall leaves the castle under cover of night and then returns ahead of his pursuers with food stolen from the Danish camp. The castle morale is bolstered by Marshall’s act and he gives in to the advances of Cornhill’s young wife Isabel, breaking his Templar vows.Vladimir Kulich as Tiberius, Paul Giamatti as King John in Ironclad.The Danish leader, Tiberius, threatened by John to take the castle or risk the King reneging on their bargain, adopts a different approach in his next attack and manages to sneak a small force of men over the walls before dawn to open the castle gates from within. Guy discovers the infiltrators and sounds the alarm, but it is too late. Tiberius leads the charge into the castle grounds while his Danes slaughter the garrison. During the chaos, d’Aubigny is wounded and left behind in the chaos of the retreat. Marshall recovers in time to don his knight’s battle armour and charge the Danes on his war-horse, buying time for the survivors to pull back to the keep. Aubigny is dragged before the King and forced to watch as the hands of two prisoners are chopped off. After a defiant verbal exchange with John, he is subjected to the same fate and then hurled by the castle trebuchet into a keep wall. Cornhill tries to surrender but is stopped; he goes instead upstairs to his bedroom and hangs himself. John’s engineers have been preparing a mine under the keep’s foundation, and they have a herd of pigs brought and put in the mine which is then stoked, set afire and the animal fat used to damage the keep’s foundation, causing it to collapse; as the keep’s walls come down, the final assault begins.IRONCLADThe last defenders are killed except Guy, Isabel and Marshall, the latter knocked unconscious by falling rubble. Guy goes out to die fighting where he encounters Tiberius and is almost killed, until a recovered Marshall intervenes. Tiberius challenges Marshall to single combat, and Marshall triumphs after a long and savage duel. Horns are heard in the distance as the combined English rebel and French army arrives at last, and John and the remaining Danes disperse in panic. Marshall meets Prince Louis and Archbishop Langton at the castle gates; the latter tells him that he is now free of the Templar Order. Acknowledging England’s new king with a nod, Marshall rides off with Isabel, while Guy tells his dead baron that “We held”. The epilogue describes King John’s death during his retreat and the reconstruction of Rochester Castle, and how it, like the Magna Carta, still stands.Overall its not a classic nor will it win awards, but for a couple of hours action based escapism it is certainly worth the effort of watching and is far superior to a number of bigger budget Hollywood contemporaries.

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REVIEW: BAD BLOOD (AKA Wicked Blood)

CAST

Sean Bean (Game of Thrones)
Abigail Breslin (Scream Queens)
James Purefoy (Solomon Kane)
Alexa PenaVega (Spy Kids)
Lew Temple (Rango)
Jake Busey (Fast Sofa)

war-for-the-planet-of-the-apes-2964x2001-2017-hd-7554Hannah Lee Baker is a bright teen girl trapped in the dark Southern underworld of violence and guns, meth labs and vicious biker gangs, and whose only refuge is chess. She lives with Amber, her older sister; and her uncle Donny, an addict. All live in fear of Uncle Frank Stinson, who runs the illegal family business with an iron fist, aided by his psychotic younger brother Bobby. Things change for the worse when Amber falls in love with Wild Bill, a meth trafficker who finds himself at war with Frank. Hannah realizes the only way to save her family is by cleverly scheming to pit one pawn against another in a cunning chess game. wicked-blood-5I did enjoy this much more then I expected to. Overall, nothing amazing or new but it is entertaining and worth seeing.

REVIEW: MOMENTUM

CAST

Olga Kurylenko (Hitman)
James Purefoy (Solomon Kane)
Lee-Anne Summers (Safari)
Hlomla Dandala (Lord of War)
Morgan Freeman (Batman Begins)
Karl Otto Thaning (Black Sails)

Alex (Olga Kurylenko), a trained ex-military agent-turned-thief, gets pulled by her former partner into a high-tech bank heist (her ‘one last job’). During the heist, she accidentally steals a valuable flash drive containing incriminating evidence. Alex is then relentlessly pursued by a team of agents led by Mr. Washington (James Purefoy), who has been sent by an anonymous Senator (Morgan Freeman) to retrieve the flash drive. While involved in a violent and frenetic cat-and-mouse chase across the city, Alex tries to uncover the conspiracy behind her pursuers.The main protagonist is hard to root for at the beginning of the movie, but as it progresses you get to know her better, you understand who she is and what her motives are and you kinda start worrying what’s gonna happen to her next. This movie also has a nice mix of conspiracies related to the military and CIA leaders who are not exactly the freedom fighters and who are not exactly concerned about anything other than power and money. This movie has some non-fatal flaws like shaky close up camera work and an open end which implies a sequel but I didn’t find them too distracting or detrimental to the story.

REVIEW: RESIDENT EVIL

CAST

Milla Jovovich (The Three Musketeers)
Michelle Rodriguez (Machete)
Eric Mabius (Ugly Betty)
James Purefoy (Solomon Kane)
Martin Crewes (DOA)
Colin Salmon (Arrow)
Jason Isaacs (Peter Pan)

Underneath Raccoon City exists a genetic research facility called the Hive, owned by the Umbrella Corporation. A thief steals the genetically engineered T-virus and contaminates the Hive with it. In response, the facility’s artificial intelligence, the Red Queen, seals the Hive and kills everyone inside.

Alice awakens naked in the bathroom of a deserted mansion with amnesia. She dresses, checks the mansion, and is subdued by an unknown person. A group of Sanitation Team commandos led by James Shade breaks into the mansion and arrests Matt Addison, who just transferred as a cop in Raccoon P.D. The group travels to the underground train under the mansion that leads to the Hive, where they find Spence. The commandos explain that everyone in the group except Matt is an employee of the Umbrella Corporation, and Alice and her partner Spence are security guards for a Hive entrance under the disguise of a couple living in the mansion. Five hours prior, the Red Queen had shut down the entire facility and released a gas which killed everyone inside, flooded the labs, and destroyed the elevators, also causing Spence and Alice’s amnesia.

At the Queen’s chamber, a laser defense system kills Shade and three more commandos. Despite the Red Queen’s urgent pleas for the group to leave, Kaplan disables the Red Queen systems, and the power fails, opening all of the doors in the Hive. This releases the zombified staff and containment units containing Lickers. When everyone regroups, they are ambushed by a horde of zombies and a gunfight ensues. J.D. perishes as the group becomes overwhelmed. A bitten Rain retreats with Kaplan and Spence; Matt becomes separated from Alice, who starts regaining her memories.

Matt looks for information about his sister Lisa and finds her zombified. Alice saves him, and Matt explains he and Lisa were environmental activists, and Lisa infiltrated Umbrella to smuggle out the evidence of illegal experiments. Alice remembers she was Lisa’s contact in the Hive but does not tell Matt. The survivors reunite at the Queen’s chamber, and the commandos explain they have one hour before the Hive traps them inside automatically. Alice and Kaplan activate the Red Queen to find an exit. To force her cooperation, they rig a remote shutdown. As they escape through maintenance tunnels, zombies ambush them, and a reanimated J.D. bites Rain before getting killed. The group reaches safety, but Kaplan is bitten and separated. Alice remembers that an anti-virus is in the lab, but they find it missing. Spence remembers he stole and released the virus. He hid the T-virus and anti-virus on the train. Spence is bitten by a zombie, which he kills before trapping the survivors in the lab. He retrieves the anti-virus, but is ambushed and killed by a Licker. The Red Queen offers to spare Alice and Matt if they kill Rain, whose health is fading and who has been infected too long for the anti-virus to work reliably. As the Licker attempts to reach them, a power outage occurs. The lab door opens to reveal Kaplan forced the Red Queen to open the door. The group heads to the train, where Alice retrieves the T-virus and kills a reanimated Spence before escaping with the others.On the train, they inject Rain and Kaplan with the anti-virus. However, the Licker is hiding on the train and attacks them, clawing Matt and killing Kaplan. In the ensuing battle, Alice subdues the Licker before Matt is attacked by a now-zombified Rain. He shoots Rain dead, causing her head to hit a trapdoor button, opening it and dropping the Licker under the train which ultimately kills it for good. At the mansion, Matt’s wound begins mutating. Before Alice can give him the anti-virus, the mansion doors burst open and a group of Umbrella scientists seizes them. They subdue Alice and take Matt away, revealing he is to be put into the Nemesis Program. Some time later, Alice awakens at the Raccoon City Hospital strapped to an examination table, with no memory of what happened since her capture. After escaping, she goes outside to find Raccoon City abandoned and ruined. Alice arms herself with a shotgun from an abandoned police car as the camera pans out.

The film did an excellent job establishing characters without too much unnecessary background, developing them just enough to make you want to know what they’ll do next, to make you care before the sudden and gruesome happens to them. The acting was above par for a Resident Evil, certainly much better than the first game. The plot was no more comic bookish than any of the games. My one complaint was that the characters were too battle-trained, too slick, too good at fighting for them to be sympathetic horror subjects. This could’ve been balanced out with more reaction shots showing the soldiers wetting themselves. But Alice’s over-the-top commando-style action made her too much of a super heroine to really make anyone concerned about her survival; characters made of Teflon make good action but apathetic horror subjects.

REVIEW: BLESSED

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CAST

Heather Graham (Killing Me Softly)
James Purefoy (Rome)
Fionnula Flanagan (The Others)
Alan McKenna (Belle)
Michael J. Reynolds (Police Academy)
Stella Stevens (General Hospital)
William Hootkins (Batman)
Andy Serkis (Lord of The Rings)
David Hemmings (Gladiator)

Image result for blessed (2004)The story begins with the Howards, a young, married couple living in New York. Craig (James Purefoy), an unpublished writer, and Samantha (Heather Graham), a school teacher, are desperate to have a baby. Their hopes are dashed when Samantha is diagnosed as infertile and the couple can’t afford the medical treatments that might allow her to conceive. Just when it seems their dreams are impossible, the couple are given the opportunity to receive free treatments from a new, and relatively unheard of, fertility clinic. The Spiritus Research Clinic is in Lakeview, a small town two hours away, and they move to the clinic.
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It soon becomes clear something is amiss. In the laboratory where the couple’s eggs and sperm samples are being mixed, the scientist takes a large, engraved metal needle and injects a red substance into Craig’s sperm without the couple’s knowledge. After the treatments, they are overjoyed when it is discovered Samantha is pregnant with twins.
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Earlier in the film, Craig was introduced at a party to book publisher Earl Sidney. Suddenly the publisher wants to publish Craig’s book and offers Craig $100,000 as an advance.The pregnant Samantha begins feeling unusually painful scratching from the unborn twins. She is also suspicious of her husband’s new business associate and friend. She feels ignored and distanced from Craig.

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Meanwhile, a hooded stranger begins stalking Samantha. Samantha becomes friends with a priest, Father Carlo. It is him who tells Samantha she is the unknowing victim of a pact with evil. The book publisher and the scientists at the clinic are connected to “The New Light of Dawn” church, a secret devil-worshiping cult. The red liquid injected into the Howards’ test-tube pregnancy was the Devil’s DNA. The cult plans to kidnap the babies shortly after birth and raise them to eventually destroy mankind. Father Carlo tells Samantha to drink a poison that will kill the babies, but she smashes the glass against his face. The crazed priest is also the hooded figure that has been following Samantha and sets the motel room he had taken her to on fire. He then gets in a car and drives away towards the clinic, with the intention to destroy it. He crashes through one operating room to another until crashing into Dr. Leeds’ office. Gasoline spills on the priest as he tells the doctor “He who walks with Satan shall burn in Hell” and then sets himself on fire with a lighter. Prior to destroying the clinic, however, we see that Earl Sidney has already left the clinic with the metal container containing the blood of Lucifer.
Image result for blessed (2004)Samantha and Craig manage to escape. Four years later, they celebrate the birthday of their twin daughters with a costume party. One of the guest children (who has disguised himself as the Devil) teases one of the girls and soon, he chokes on a grape and dies, his skin rotting and hardening. Samantha stares at her twins in horror, wondering.Image result for blessed (2004)This is horror for intellectuals. People who want non-stop violence and gore are going to dislike this movie. People who like The Ring and Rosemarie’s Baby will probably really appreciate this movie.

REVIEW: A KNIGHT’S TALE

CAST

Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight)
Mark Addy (Game of Thrones)
Rufus Sewell (Hercules)
Paul Bettany (Captain America: Civil War)
Shannyn Sossamon (Sleepy Hollow)
Laura Fraser (Breaking Bad)
Alan Tudyk (Firefly)
James Purefoy (Solomon Kane)

At a jousting tournament in 14th-century Europe, young squires William Thatcher, Roland, and Wat discover that their master, Sir Ector, has died. If he had completed one final pass he would have won the tournament. Destitute, William wears Ector’s armour to impersonate him, winning the tournament and taking the prize.

Although only nobles are allowed in tournaments, William is now inspired to compete and win more prizes. Roland and Wat would rather take their share of coins and leave, but William convinces them to stay and train him to joust. Along the way to his first tournament in Rouen, the trio encounters a young Geoffrey Chaucer, who is also destitute and agrees to forge the patent of nobility that will allow William to enter under the assumed name of “Sir Ulrich von Liechtenstein” from Gelderland. At the tournament, William is brought before Simon the Summoner and Peter the Pardoner: Chaucer has a gambling problem and is in their debt. William demands Chaucer be released and promises payment.

In the course of competition, William’s armour is damaged. He goads Kate, a female blacksmith, to repair it without payment and goes on to win the sword event at the tournament. In the joust, he faces a Sir Thomas Colville, who withdraws from the tournament after being injured by William, though they exchange a ceremonial pass so that Colville can retain the honour of never having failed to complete a match. The proceedings are observed by Jocelyn, a noblewoman with whom William has become infatuated, and Count Adhemar, a rival both in the joust and for Jocelyn’s heart. In the final joust of the tournament, Adhemar defeats William.
Image result for A KNIGHTS TALEKate joins William’s party and forges new lightweight armour allowing him greater mobility. In the following tournament, Adhemar and William are both assigned to tilt against Sir Thomas Colville, but they learn that he is actually Edward, the Black Prince. Adhemar withdraws, but William continues the match and then addresses the prince by name, further earning Edward’s respect.
Image result for A KNIGHTS TALEAdhemar is called away to the battlefield, and William achieves several victories in his absence. William proves his love for Jocelyn by complying when she first asks him to deliberately lose (in contrast to the countless knights who promise to win in her name), and then, just before he would be eliminated, to win the tournament in her name after all.
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The group travels to London for the World Championship. William recalls leaving his father to squire for Sir Ector and learn to become a knight hoping to “change his stars”. Adhemar has also arrived in London and announces that he is in negotiations with Jocelyn’s father for her hand in marriage. William dominates at the tournament and he returns to visit his father, now blind and living alone in Cheapside, but is discovered by Adhemar, who alerts the authorities to William’s false identity.
Image result for A KNIGHTS TALEWilliam is placed in the pillory, but is defended from the hostile crowd by his friends. Just as the mob reaches its frenzy, Prince Edward emerges from the crowd, noting that his friends’ dedication to him reflects an ability to inspire others that is in the best traditions of knighthood. In acknowledgement of William’s honour, Edward announces that, William is in fact, “beyond contestation”, descended from a noble lineage, and knights him “Sir William”.
Image result for A KNIGHTS TALEWilliam returns to the tournament to face Adhemar in the final match, but Adhemar cheats with an illegal sharpened lance, piercing William’s shoulder and seriously injuring him. Entering the final pass, William is losing by two lances and must unhorse Adhemar to win. He demands to be stripped of his armour while Chaucer buys time by performing the introduction of William that he omitted earlier. Finally he tilts against Adhemar, with his father and Jocelyn in attendance. Bellowing his true name as he tilts, he knocks Adhemar to the ground with a crushing blow. In the ensuing celebration, as Jocelyn and William embrace, Chaucer remarks that he should write this whole story down.Image result for A KNIGHTS TALEThe makers of “A Knight’s Tale” set out to entertain, and did so dutifully.

REVIEW: MAYBE BABY

 

CAST
Hugh Laurie (House)
Joely Richardson (Nip/Tuck)
Matthew MacFadyen (Anna Karenina)
Adrien Lester (The Day After Tomorrow)
Yasmin Bannerman (Killing Me Softly)
Joanna Lumley (The Cat’s Meow)
Emma Thompson (Men in Black 3)
James Purefoy (Solomon Kane)
Judith Shekoni (Heroes Reborn)
Rowan Atkinson (Johnny English)
Dawn French (Harry Potter)

Most people seem to hate this movie as a comedy and see it as a bas satire on the world of television. The movie is however so much more. The main essence of the movie is on its romance and a sweet little romantic movie this is. It’s a well made movie, with realistic main characters in a realistic situation. Of course everything is done over-the-top, to still give the movie a light and fun overall feeling, rather than a heavy dramatic one, which it easily could had turned into. I like this approach and it worked out well for the film. It’s fun but at the same time also serious at the right moments. It makes “Maybe Baby” a well balanced movie, that perhaps goes a bit too over-the-top at times, in terms of its credibility.

The strongest point of this movie are the two main characters. There are realistic and their relationship is portrayed in a sensible and good way. Those two character make and form this movie. It’s a movie about real people with real problems. The are nicely portrayed by Joely Richardson and Hugh Laurie. But of course a lighthearted little movie as this also needs over-the-top comical characters. This one is portrayed by Tom Hollander. He for most part is the comic relief of the movie, as a movie director. Unfortunately the movie also thought it was necessary to give some famous British comedians a cameo in this movie. It’s distracting and not always good for the credibility of the movie, though Rowan Atkinson’s role is certainly an entertaining one.

The story is told nicely and has several story lines in it, which never distracts from each other. The entire movie is told with some subtle British humor which help to make this movie a light one to watch.

If you take the movie for what it is (a light romantic movie with humor in it), you’ll certainly enjoy watching this little British movie.