REVIEW: THE STICKUP

CAST

James Spader (Stargate)
Leslie Stefanson (As Good As it Gets)
David Keith (U-571)
Ron Livingston (The Conjuring)
Robert Miano (Fast & Furious)
Mark Holden (Supergirl)
Alvin Sanders (Cats & Dogs)

2550942,tMDhy7tO2jq_I_bQJ7QR5sQ6R+5UYxwNfDwq09y3RcqUKqa3ojuuW9XLRGCbVh6L0826fU64K9flKo9BfiVfOw==An apparently disturbed/depressed loner is on the run after a daring bank heist. He meets a woman who sympathizes with his vulnerability and they begin a relationship which becomes jeopardized when she comes to suspect that he is the murderous stickup man. To say more could jeopardize your enjoyment of this movie.2628467,VwhFldAt9VSesTlQO1wAKSzAvqPs01Lbqbf5kCRIWjxM1xxB7m5A6C93P67YzOOjlZaKygcQDjJaG9r5Npl0GQ==I had sadly resigned myself, before viewing this flick, to the fact that the the chances of finding a good mystery or thriller any more are close to nil. Writing tends to be dreadful, story lines implausible and hackneyed, and the obligatory twists and “surprises” either predictable or preposterous. But here we have a nicely written and very cleverly constructed thriller-mystery whose twist is unexpected and ingeniously constructed. The technique of ongoing narrative flashbacks is most often clumsy and confusing. But in this movie the same technique is very meticulously realized and is essential to the bend in the story line that the film depends on for its punch as an exceptionally engaging thriller.2913871,yp+T7PMY5lKvdiJRNP2232rRcIxVh8A_S7N9IsWuz4QEwaEPZZrjpU+rJbihmueTTpJCTKIusJ0qmDEDRKo4WA==And don’t be put off by the somewhat deliberate pace of the first third of the film. It’s crucial to what this movie is about.The-Stickup-2002

 

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REVIEW: CRASH (1996)

CAST

James Spader (Stargate)
Holly Hunter(Batman V Superman)
Elias Koteas (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Deborah Kara Unger (Highlander III)
Rosanna Arquette (Pukp Fiction)
Peter MacNeill (Regression)
David Cronenberg (The Fly)

Film producer James Ballard (James Spader) and his wife, Catherine (Deborah Kara Unger), are in an open marriage. The couple engage in various infidelities but, between them, have unenthusiastic sex. Their arousal is heightened by discussing the intimate details of their extramarital sex. While driving home from work late one night, Ballard’s car collides head-on with another, killing its male passenger. While trapped in the fused wreckage, the driver, Dr. Helen Remington (Holly Hunter), wife of the dead passenger, exposes a breast to Ballard when she pulls off the shoulder harness of her seat belt.While recovering, Ballard meets Remington again, as well as a man named Vaughan (Elias Koteas), who takes a keen interest in the brace holding Ballard’s shattered leg together and photographs it. While leaving the hospital, Remington and Ballard begin an affair, one primarily fueled by their shared experience of the car crash (not only do all of their sexual assignations take place in cars, all of Remington’s off-screen sexual encounters take place in cars as well). In an attempt to make some sense of why they are so aroused by their car wreck, they go to see one of Vaughan’s cult meetings/performance pieces, a re-creation of the car crash that killed James Dean with authentic cars and stunt drivers. When Transport Ministry officials break up the event, Ballard flees with Remington and Vaughan.Ballard becomes one of Vaughan’s followers who fetishize car crashes, obsessively watching car safety test videos and photographing traffic collisions. Ballard drives Vaughan’s Lincoln convertible around the city while Vaughan picks up and uses street prostitutes and, later, Ballard’s wife. In turn, Ballard has a dalliance with one of the other group members, Gabrielle (Rosanna Arquette), a beautiful woman whose legs are clad in restrictive steel braces and who has a vulva-like scar on the back of one of her thighs, which is used as a substitute for a vagina by Ballard. The film’s sexual couplings in (or involving) cars are not restricted to heterosexual experiences. While watching videos of car crashes, Remington becomes extremely aroused and gropes the crotches of both Ballard and Gabrielle, suggesting an imminent ménage à trois. Instead, Vaughan and Ballard eventually turn towards each other and have sex while, later, Gabrielle and Remington have sex with each other.Though Vaughan claims at first that he is interested in the “reshaping of the human body by modern technology,” in fact his project is to live out the philosophy that the car crash is a “fertilizing rather than a destructive event, mediating the sexuality of those who have died with an intensity that’s impossible in any other form.”The film’s climax begins with Vaughan’s death and ends with Ballard being involved in another semi-deliberate car crash, this one involving his wife. Their fetish for car crashes has, ironically enough, had an unusual bonding effect on the Ballards’ marriage. As he caresses her bruised body on the grass median near the crash, Ballard and his wife display affection for each other, ending with Ballard saying, “Maybe the next one,” possibly implying that the logical end result of their extreme fetish is death.

Throughout everything, Cronenberg’s film manages to become a mesmeric masterpiece of unexpected profoundness and dramatic brilliance.

REVIEW: SUPERNOVA

CAST

James Spader (Avengers: Age of Ultron)
Angela Bassett (Green Lantern)
Robert Forster (Heroes)
Lou Diamond Phillips (Young Guns)
Peter Facinelli (Supergirl TV)
Robin Tunney (Hollywoodland)
Vanessa Marshall (Star Wars: Rebels)

Supernova chronicles the search and rescue patrol of a medical ship in deep space in the early 22nd century and its six-member crew, which includes captain and pilot A.J. Marley (Robert Forster), co-pilot Nick Vanzant (James Spader), medical officer Kaela Evers (Angela Bassett), medical technician Yerzy Penalosa (Lou Diamond Phillips), search and rescue paramedic Danika Lund (Robin Tunney) and computer technician Benjamin Sotomejor (Wilson Cruz). Aboard their vessel, the Nightingale 229, they receive an emergency distress signal coming from an ice mining operation on the moon Titan 37, more than 3,000 light years away.

The crew answers the call and dimension jumps — during which Captain Marley suffers fatal injuries due to a malfunction of the ship’s equipment — arriving in the path of Titan 37’s debris cloud, some of which damages the ship and causes the loss of 82 percent of its maneuvering fuel. Worse still, Titan 37 orbits a blue giant, and its high gravity field will pull the ship to the point where it will be incinerated in 17 hours, 12 minutes — which happens to be almost the same amount of time that the Nightingale 229 will need to recharge its jump drive, their only possible hope for escape. With only an 11-minute window for escape, the surviving crew soon find themselves in danger from the disturbing young man (Peter Facinelli) they rescue, and the mysterious alien artifact he has smuggled aboard. This artifact is analyzed by the ship’s computer and is said to contain nine-dimensional matter.

It is ultimately discovered that the young man who called for rescue is actually Karl Larson, an old former lover of Kaela (it is implied they had an abusive relationship). Karl came into contact with the nine-dimensional matter after recovering the artifact. It somehow enabled him to acquire super strength and supernatural healing abilities, and made him younger (such that Kaela did not recognize him). Karl murders most of the crew except Kaela and strands Nick on the mining platform. Karl unsuccessfully attempts to romantically reconcile with Kaela. Nick finds his way back to the medical ship through a rescue pod left on the mining platform, and a battle ensues between Nick and Karl. Karl is ultimately killed by Kaela using explosives placed near the alien artifact which Karl was obsessed with retrieving. The explosion ejects the artifact into space, hurtling it towards the blue giant.

With moments left before the dimension jump activates, Kaela and Nick place themselves into the only remaining dimensional stabilization chamber (Karl had destroyed all but one), which is the only thing that enables human beings to survive the ship’s dimensional jump drive. The pods are meant to hold only one person, however — two subjects might be genetically mixed during the dimensional jump. Before Nick and Kaela enter the only remaining pod, the computer warns them that the nine-dimensional matter is reacting with the gravity of the blue giant sun and will cause a nine-dimensional reaction that will spread in all directions, such that the reaction’s resulting supernova will reach Earth within 51 years. The computer hypothesizes that the reaction will either destroy life on Earth or “enable humankind to achieve a new level of existence.” Just before the blue giant supernovas, the ship engages in a dimensional jump which brings Nick and Kaela back to Earth. As a result of their being in the same pod, the two of them each have one eye of the other person’s original eye color. The ship’s computer also reveals that Kaela is pregnant, which may be the result of them being in the pod together during the jump, or the result of their copulation hours earlier.

This is a fantastic little sci-fi movie from 2000, still looking good after all these years. The special effects are top notch and still look great, if you love a good sci-fi its really worth digging back up as its thoroughly entertaining!

REVIEW: SECRETARY

CAST
James Spader (Stargate)
Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Dark Knight)
Jeremy Davies (Hannibal)
Lesley Ann Warren (Teaching Mrs. Tingle)
Stephen McHattie (300)
Patrick Bauchau (Panic Room)
Jessica Tuck (Super 8)
Oz Perkins (Not Another Teen Movie)
Amy Locane (Airheads)
Lacey Kohl (Two Guys and a Girl)
Lee Holloway (Maggie Gyllenhaal), the socially awkward and emotionally sensitive youngest daughter of a dysfunctional family, adjusts to normal life after having been hospitalized following an incident of dangerous self-harm. She learns to type, and begins to work as a secretary for an eccentric attorney, E. Edward Grey (James Spader), who hires her despite her stilted social skills, unprofessional appearance and scoring higher than anyone he’s ever interviewed, therefore being overqualified. Edward explains that it’s dull work and they don’t use computers; however, Lee remarks that she is okay with these conditions.
Though at first Edward appears highly irritated by Lee’s typos and other innocuous mistakes, it soon becomes apparent that he is sexually aroused by her obedient behavior. After he confronts her about her propensity for self-injury and commands that she never hurt herself again, the two embark on a BDSM relationship. Lee experiences a sexual and personal awakening, and she falls deeply in love. Edward, however, displays insecurity concerning his feelings for Lee, and he shows shame and disgust over his sexual habits. During this period of exploration with Edward, Lee has also been attempting to have a more conventional boyfriend in Peter (Jeremy Davies), even engaging in lukewarm sex with him. After a sexual encounter in Edward’s office, he fires Lee.
After Lee is fired from her job, Peter proposes to Lee, who reluctantly agrees to marry him. However, while trying on her wedding gown, she leaves and runs to Edward’s office where she declares her love for him. Edward, still uncertain about their relationship, tests Lee by commanding her to sit in his chair without moving her hands or feet until he returns. Lee willingly complies. Hours pass, as several family members and acquaintances individually visit Lee to alternately attempt to dissuade or encourage her while Edward watches from afar, completely taken by Lee’s compliance. Because of Lee’s refusal to leave the office, she has gained news coverage from the media, which they believe to be a hunger strike. After three days, Edward returns to the office and takes Lee to a room upstairs where he bathes and nurtures her. The pair marry and happily continue their dominant-submissive relationship.
For the themes supplied here you’d probably expect a lot of raunchiness – well there are sexual moments, of course, but there is nothing gratuitous, which is in itself an achievement and well handled. Overall it’s quirky, off-beat, and a little bit differentF 

REVIEW: STARGATE (1994)

CAST

Kurt Russell (Big Trouble In Little China)
James Spader (Crash)
Jaye Davidson (The Crying Game)
Alexis Cruz (Dark Wolf)
Mili Avital (Mossad)
Erick Avari (Heroes)
Viveca Lindfors (The Exorcist III)
Leon Rippy (The Patriot)
John Diehl (Crimson Tide)
French Stewart (Mom)
Richard Kind (Gotham)
Djimon Honsou (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Carlos Lauchu (The Silencers)
Derek Webster (Godzilla)
Frank Welker (The Simpsons)

A massive metal ring with engraved cover stones is discovered in the sands of Giza, Egypt in 1928, by an archaeologist named Langford and his young daughter, Catherine. Many years later, the elderly Catherine Langford offers Egyptologist and linguist Daniel Jackson the chance to translate the Egyptian hieroglyphs on the cover stones. Jackson accepts and travels to a US Air Force installation where he examines the stones. Special Operations Colonel Jack O’Neil arrives to take command of the project and he declares it “classified” before Jackson can begin his research.Jackson deduces from the hieroglyphs the existence of a “stargate”, a device used to travel to distant worlds. He discovers that the accompanying non-hieroglyphic symbols are star constellations used in a three-dimensional coordinate system. When selected in sequence on the metal ring, they create a stable wormhole to some other place in the galaxy. O’Neil leads a team with Jackson through the Stargate, and they find themselves inside a pyramid in the middle of a desert. The team cannot return home because the necessary coordinates are missing. Jackson, O’Neil, and the others explore the surrounding area and discover a mining operation run by humans. The miners assume that they are emissaries of their god Ra.Jackson attempts communication with the locals using pantomime, and later realizes that they speak a modern dialect derived from Ancient Egyptian. The soldiers develop a friendship with local teenager Skaara and his friends, and Jackson is given the chieftain Kasuf’s daughter Sha’uri as a gift. He initially rebuffs her, unaware that she is meant to be his wife, but they develop a friendship that blossoms into romance. Jackson guesses that Sha’uri may know the location of the cartouche containing the return coordinates for the Stargate. Jackson learns that the Egyptian god Ra was an alien lifeform who came to Earth seeking a cure for his impending death. Ra discovered that he could maintain a simpler Human body indefinitely, and he “possessed” the body of a human youth, enslaved the youth’s people and transported some of them to another planet to mine the mineral on which all of his technology is based. The enslaved Humans on Earth eventually rebelled and expelled Ra, and buried the Stargate. Fearful of a similar rebellion on this planet, Ra outlawed reading and writing so the people would forget their origins. Jackson discovers six symbols of the return coordinates but the seventh symbol is missing.At night, a pyramid shaped spacecraft descends over the pyramid. Returning to it the following morning, O’Neil and Jackson are captured and taken to Ra, still alive in the form of an androgynous human youth with glowing eyes. O’Neil tries to disarm the guards and kill Ra, but Jackson is killed and O’Neil and his team are imprisoned. Jackson is regenerated in a sarcophagus-like device and meets with Ra. Ra reveals his intention to return to Earth an atomic bomb brought by O’Neil, its destructive power now enhanced 100-fold with the addition of the mined mineral. Ra states that he will kill Jackson and everyone who has seen him unless Jackson kills the rest of the team to remind Kasuf’s people that Ra is their true god.Once Ra has the local people gathered before the pyramid, Skaara and his friends create a distraction while Jackson turns one of the guards’ weapons on Ra. In the confusion, Jackson and O’Neil’s team escape and take shelter in a cave with Skaara and the others. The next morning, Skaara draws a picture of the victory against Ra, and Jackson realizes that Skaara has drawn the seventh symbol needed to reactivate the Stargate.O’Neil and Skaara’s group attack and overpower the overseers of the mine and convince the people that their “gods” are human. With their help, O’Neil’s team return to the Stargate to deactivate the bomb. Faced with open rebellion, Ra prepares his ship to leave and launches fighters to counter-attack. Sha’uri is killed in the battle, but Jackson takes her into the ship and resurrects her in Ra’s sarcophagus device. Ra orders the augmented bomb be sent to Earth immediately. Ra’s guard captain discovers O’Neil, and they fight. Jackson and Sha’uri are captured by Ra, but O’Neil overpowers the guard and activates a teleportation device. The beam decapitates the guard captain and sends the head to Ra, while retrieving Jackson and Sha’uri. As Ra’s craft escapes the planet, O’Neil and Jackson teleport the bomb to Ra’s ship. The bomb detonates, killing Ra and destroying the ship. Skaara’s people celebrate their freedom and Jackson decides to remain on the planet with Sha’uri. O’Neil and the survivors of his team return to Earth.Loved Stargate when it originally came out and watched every episode of all 4 shows. I’m glad the directors cut came out on Blu-Ray. The special edition which added a little more to the movie. This will always be a film classic.

REVIEW: AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON

CAST

Robert Downey Jr. (Sherlock Holmes)
Chris Evans (The Losers)
Scarlett Johansson (Lucy)
Chris Hemsworth (The Huntsman: Winter’s War)
Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight)
Jeremy Renner (The Bourne Legacy)
James Spader (Stargate)
Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother)
Samuel L. Jackson (Snakes On A Plane)
Paul Bettany (Legion)
Don Cheadle (Traffic)
Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass)
Elizabeth Olsen (Silent House)
Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker)
Hayley Atwell (Agent Carter)
Idris Elba (Pacific Rim)
Linda Cardellini (Scooby-Doo)
Stellan Skarsgard (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo)
Thomas Kretschmann (Dracula)
Andy Serkis (The Hobbit)
Julie Delpy (Before Sunset)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
Josh Brolin (Jonah Hex)
Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk)In the Eastern European country of Sokovia, the Avengers – Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, Thor, Bruce Banner, Natasha Romanoff, and Clint Barton – raid a Hydra facility commanded by Baron Wolfgang von Strucker, who has been experimenting on humans using the scepter previously wielded by Loki. They encounter two of Strucker’s experiments – twins Pietro, who has superhuman speed, and Wanda Maximoff, who can manipulate minds and project energy – and apprehend Strucker, while Stark retrieves Loki’s scepter.
Stark and Banner discover an artificial intelligence within the scepter’s gem, and secretly use it to complete Stark’s “Ultron” global defense program. The unexpectedly sentient Ultron, believing he must eradicate humanity to save Earth, eliminates Stark’s A.I. J.A.R.V.I.S. and attacks the Avengers at their headquarters. Escaping with the scepter, Ultron uses the resources in Strucker’s Sokovia base to upgrade his rudimentary body and build an army of robot drones. Having killed Strucker, he recruits the Maximoffs, who hold Stark responsible for their parents’ deaths by his weapons, and go to the base of arms dealer Ulysses Klaue to obtain Wakandan vibranium. The Avengers attack Ultron and the Maximoffs, but Wanda subdues them with haunting visions, causing the Hulk (Banner) to rampage until Stark stops him with his anti-Hulk armor.1

A worldwide backlash over the resulting destruction, and the fears Wanda’s hallucinations incited, send the team into hiding at a safehouse. Thor departs to consult with Dr. Erik Selvig on the meaning of the apocalyptic future he saw in his hallucination, while Romanoff and Banner plan to flee together after realizing a mutual attraction. However, Nick Fury arrives and encourages the team to form a plan to stop Ultron. In Seoul, Ultron forces the team’s friend Dr. Helen Cho to use her synthetic-tissue technology, together with vibranium and the scepter’s gem, to perfect a new body for him. As Ultron uploads himself into the body, Wanda is able to read his mind; discovering his plan for human extinction, the Maximoffs turn against Ultron. Rogers, Romanoff, and Barton find Ultron and retrieve the synthetic body, but Ultron captures Romanoff.

The Avengers fight amongst themselves when Stark secretly uploads J.A.R.V.I.S. – who is still operational after hiding from Ultron inside the Internet – into the synthetic body. Thor returns to help activate the body, explaining that the gem on its brow – one of the six Infinity Stones, the most powerful objects in existence – was part of his vision. This “Vision” and the Maximoffs accompany the Avengers to Sokovia, where Ultron has used the remaining vibranium to build a machine to lift a large part of the capital city skyward, intending to crash it into the ground to cause global extinction. Banner rescues Romanoff, who awakens the Hulk for the battle. The Avengers fight Ultron’s army while Fury arrives in a Helicarrier with Maria Hill, James Rhodes and S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to evacuate civilians. Pietro dies when he shields Barton from gunfire, and a vengeful Wanda abandons her post to destroy Ultron’s primary body, which allows one of his drones to activate the machine. The city plummets, but Stark and Thor overload the machine and shatter the landmass. In the aftermath, the Hulk, unwilling to endanger Romanoff by being with her, departs in a Quinjet, while the Vision confronts Ultron’s last remaining body.
Later, with the Avengers having established a new base run by Fury, Hill, Cho, and Selvig, Thor returns to Asgard to learn more about the forces he suspects have manipulated recent events. As Stark leaves and Barton retires, Rogers and Romanoff prepare to train new Avengers: Rhodes, the Vision, Sam Wilson, and Wanda.
In a mid-credits scene, Thanos, dissatisfied by the failures of his pawns, dons a gauntlet2 and vows to retrieve the Infinity Stones himself.The Avengers: Age of Ultron is solid entertainment and best experienced on the big screen. Long-running trappings of shared movie universe storytelling remain, and the novelty of seeing iconic comic book characters together onscreen is just as impressive as it was in The Avengers.