REVIEW: THE TRUTH ABOUT CATS AND DOGS

CAST

Uma Thurman (Kill Bill)
Janeane Garofalo (Wet Hot American Summer)
Ben Chaplin (Lost Souls)
Jamie Foxx (The Amazing Spider-Man 2)
James McCaffrey (The Florentine)
David Cross (Scary Movie 2)
Mary Lynn Rajskub (24)
Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul)
Monique Parent (Vigilante Diaries)

81T-0YZ9mJL__SL1500_Abby Barnes (Garofalo) is a veterinarian and host of a radio show called The Truth About Cats and Dogs. When she makes a blind date with Brian (Chaplin), a caller to her show, her insecurity about her appearance leads her to persuade her more conventionally attractive (though less intellectual) friend Noelle (Thurman) to pretend to be Abby on their date.91CvKBu-feL__SL1500_Both women develop feelings for Brian, leading to a series of comic misunderstandings. Brian’s persistence in pursuing Noelle in person is thwarted as Noelle tries to maneuver him toward the real Abby. After Abby behaves jealously while drunk and embarrasses herself at a photo shoot, she leaves and it appears to her that Brian and Noelle sleep together. However, Noelle actually leaves too, and Brian, distressed by Noelle’s changing attitude, corners Abby in her apartment where he finds evidence of her real identity as the radio host he fell for through her voice. As Abby and Noelle attempt to explain, Brian decides he has been the victim of a practical joke and leaves in disgust.19260325_1447912685267599_437169328628005954_nAbby later approaches Brian at his regular bar and explains what happened, and although initially dismissive, he eventually meets with Abby and he has fallen for the real Abby and was only attracted to Noelle because of their deception. He suggests they start again, and Abby happily agrees.19366170_754444704734913_594717877546801125_nThis film is a real classic which has been sadly overlooked. Garofalo and Chaplin have a real natural chemistry.

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REVIEW: THE KINGDOM

CAST

Jamie Foxx (The Amazing Spider-Man 2)
Chris Cooper (The Bourne Identity)
Jennifer Garner (Alias)
Jason Bateman (The Gift)
Ashraf Barhom (Paradise Now)
Ali Suliman (Lone Survivor)
Jeremy Piven (Mr. Selfridge)
Richard Jenkins (The Mod Squad)
Tim McGraw (Tomorrowland)
Kyle Chandler (Super 8)
Frances Fisher (The Host)
Danny Huston (Wonder Woman)

During a softball game at an American oil company housing compound in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, al-Qaeda terrorists set off a bomb, killing Americans and Saudis. While one team hijacks a car and shoots residents, a suicide bomber wearing a fake police uniform blows himself up, killing everyone near him. Sergeant Haytham of the Saudi State Police kills the carjackers. The FBI Legal Attaché in Saudi Arabia, Special Agent Fran Manner, calls his US colleague, Special Agent Ronald Fleury, to advise him about the attack. Manner is discussing the situation with DSS Special Agent Rex Bura when an ambulance full of explosives is detonated, killing Manner, Bura, and many others.At FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C., Fleury briefs his rapid deployment team on the attack. Although the U.S. Justice Department and the U.S. State Department hinder FBI efforts to investigate the attack, Fleury blackmails the Saudi ambassador into allowing an FBI investigative team into Saudi Arabia. Fleury gathers Special Agent Janet Mayes, a forensic examiner, FBI analyst Adam Leavitt, an intelligence analyst, and Special Agent Grant Sykes, a bomb technician, to go to Saudi Arabia. On arrival they are met by Colonel Faris al-Ghazi, the commander of the Saudi State Police Force providing security at the compound. The investigation is being run by General Al Abdulmalik of the SANG, who does not give Fleury and his team permission to investigate.The FBI team is invited to the palace of Saudi Prince Ahmed bin Khaled for a dinner. While at the palace, Fleury persuades the Prince that Colonel al-Ghazi is a natural detective and should be allowed to lead the investigation. With this change in leadership, the Americans are allowed hands-on access to the crime scene. While searching for evidence, Sergeant Haytham and Sykes discover the second bomb was detonated in an ambulance. Fleury learns the brother of one of the dead terrorists had access to ambulances and police uniforms. Colonel al-Ghazi orders a SWAT team to raid a house, managing to kill a few heavily armed terrorists. Following the raid, the team discovers clues, including photos of the U.S. and other Western embassies in Riyadh. Soon afterward, the U.S. Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Damon Schmidt notifies Fleury and his team that they have been ordered to return to the United States.On their way to King Khalid International Airport, their convoy is attacked and incapacitated. Leavitt is dragged out of the wrecked car and kidnapped while Fleury manages to wound one attacker. Al-Ghazi commandeers a civilian vehicle to chase the fourth SUV and the other car holding Leavitt into the dangerous Al-Suwaidi neighborhood of Riyadh. As they pull up, a gunman launches rocket-propelled grenades at them and a fierce firefight starts. Leavitt is tied up inside a complex.While Sykes and Haytham watch the entrance to the complex, al-Ghazi, Fleury, and Mayes follow a blood trail and kill many gunmen inside. Mayes, separated from the others, finds Leavitt and his attackers, preparing an execution video of Leavitt. She kills the remaining insurgents, and al-Ghazi and the team start to leave. Fleury then realizes there is a trail of blood leading to the back of the apartment, and al-Ghazi sees the grandfather and inspects his hand. When the old man gives him his hand, al-Ghazi sees that the man is missing the same fingers as Abu Hamza al-Masri in the terrorist group’s many videos and confirms his suspicion that the grandfather is the terrorist leader. Abu Hamza’s teenage grandson walks out of the bedroom and shoots al-Ghazi in the neck, then he starts to point his gun at Mayes, prompting Fleury to kill him. Abu Hamza then pulls out an assault rifle and Haytham kills him. As Abu Hamza dies, another grandchild hugs him and Abu Hamza whispers something into his ear to calm the child down. Al-Ghazi dies in Fleury’s arms.At al-Ghazi’s house, Fleury and Haytham meet his family. Fleury tells his son that al-Ghazi was his good friend, mirroring a similar scene earlier in the movie wherein he comforted Special Agent Manner’s son. Fleury and his team return to the United States, where they are commended by FBI Director James Grace for their outstanding work. Leavitt asked Fleury and Mayes what he had whispered to her to calm her down. The scene cuts to Abu Hamza’s daughter asking her own daughter what her grandfather whispered to her as he was dying. The granddaughter tells her mother, “Don’t fear them, my child. We are going to kill them all,” a similar line to what Fleury had whispered to Mayes.The Kingdom is a straightforward action flick with enough critical undertones to not be propaganda. It’s a very exciting thriller to watch, but except for the final scene there’s nothing really thought-provoking here.

REVIEW: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2

CAST

Andrew Garfield (The Social Network)
Emma Stone (Easy A)
Jamie Foxx (Ray)
Dane DeHaan (Life After beth)
Colm Feore (Thor)
Felicity Jones (Rogue One)
Paul Giamatti (Sideways)
Sally Field (Lincoln)
Embeth Davidtz (Army of Darkness)
Campbell Scott (The Exorcism of Emily Rose)
Marton Csokas (The Equalizer)
Sarah Gadon (Dracula Untold)
Skyler Gisondo (Vacation)
Stan Lee (Guardians of The Galaxy Vol 2)
Chris Cooper (The Bourne Identity)
Denis Leary (Rescue Me)
Martin Sheen (The West Wing)
Michael Massee (Flashforward)

In 2000, Oscorp scientist Richard Parker records a video message to explain his disappearance. Later, he and his wife, Mary, are aboard a private jet hijacked by a man sent to assassinate Richard. The plane crashes, killing both Richard and Mary, after he uploads the video.Fourteen years later, Richard’s son Peter continues to fight crime as Spider-Man. He pursues and apprehends Aleksei Sytsevich. Later, Peter meets with Gwen at their high school graduation ceremony and, insisting he keep his vow to her father, ends their relationship. Peter’s childhood friend, Harry Osborn, returns to Manhattan to see his terminally-ill father, Norman, CEO of OsCorp. Norman explains his illness is genetic, and Harry is at the age where it first develops. Norman gives Harry a small device he claims contains his life’s work. The next day, Norman dies and Harry is appointed the new OsCorp CEO.While working in an OsCorp laboratory, electrical engineer Max Dillon shocks himself by accident and falls into a tank of genetically-engineered electric eels. They attack him, and he mutates into a living electric generator. Meanwhile, Peter attempts to maintain a friendship with Gwen, but she reveals that she may move to England for schooling. Before they can discuss it, Dillon wanders into Times Square, accidentally causing a blackout, and is stopped by Peter after a battle. Dillon is taken to Ravencroft Institute, where he is studied by German scientist Dr. Kafka. Meanwhile, the first symptoms of Harry’s illness are showing, and he uses the device Norman gave him to deduce that Spider-Man’s blood could help save him. He asks Peter, who has been selling photos of Spider-Man to the Daily Bugle, to aid him in finding Spider-Man. Peter refuses, unsure of what effects the transfusion would have. Although he later comes to Harry as Spider-Man, he still refuses, and Harry develops an intense hatred towards Spider-Man. The OsCorp board-members, in particular the vice-president, Donald Menken, frame Harry for covering up Dillon’s accident, remove him as CEO, overthrow him and take control of Oscorp. Harry’s assistant, Felicia Hardy, informs him of equipment that could help him, so he makes a deal with Dillon, who now calls himself “Electro,” to get him back inside the OsCorp building. There he finds a suit of armour and other equipment made by Norman, as well as venom from the now-destroyed genetically-altered spiders. The venom accelerates Harry’s illness and transforms him into a goblin-like creature, but the suit’s built-in emergency protocol restores his health and cures his disease.Peter uses information left by his father to locate the video message in an abandoned subway station’s hidden lab. Richard explains he had to leave because he refused to cooperate with Norman’s biogenetic weaponization plans. Peter then hears a voicemail from Gwen, telling him she was offered the British scholarship and is heading to the airport earlier than expected. He manages to catch her and professes his love for her, and, vowing to go wherever she goes, they agree to go to England together. Electro causes another blackout, and Peter heads off to fight him as Spider-Man. Gwen follows, and together they restore power and overload Electro’s body, killing him.The transformed Harry, who now calls himself “Green Goblin”, arrives equipped with Norman’s armor and weaponry. Upon seeing Gwen, he deduces Spider-Man’s secret identity and, swearing revenge for being refused the blood transfusion, kidnaps her and takes her to the top of a clock tower. Peter manages to defeat the Green Goblin, but his webbing breaks during the battle and Gwen falls to her death. Peter, depressed and distraught, mourns over Gwen’s death and ends his career as Spider-Man. Five months later, Harry is coping with the aftereffects of his transformation while incarcerated at Ravencroft. His associate, Gustav Fiers, visits Harry and the pair discuss forming their own team. Harry orders Fiers to start with Sytsevich. Later an unknown team of men break Sytsevich out of prison. Equipped with electromechanical suit armor, Sytsevich calls himself the Rhino and rampages through the streets. Peter, inspired by Gwen’s graduation speech, resumes his role as Spider-Man and confronts him.The Amazing Spider-Man 2 nearly earns an honest emotional response over this pairing. The writing could be better, but Garfield and Stone do an excellent job selling their roles and this movie. I am a big fan of Stone, and she elevates Garfield’s already solid performance. Webb does not quite find the balance between this drama and spectacle, and the film understandably includes a number of rollicking action sequences. The visual effects are strong, but the bullet-time slow motion feels a bit stale. There is a lot of flash to these bits, but not much substance. This is an entertaining film that could be better.

REVIEW: DUE DATE

CAST

Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man)
Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover)
Michelle Monaghan (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang)
Jaime Foxx (Django Unchained)
Juliette Lewis (Natural Born Killers)
Danny McBride (Land of The Lost)
RZA (Gang Related)
Mimi Kennedy (Mom)
Jon Cryer (Superman 4)
Charlie Sheen (Hot Shots)

Peter Highman (Robert Downey, Jr.) is on a plane, flying home to be with his wife Sarah (Michelle Monaghan), who is due to give birth. Sitting behind Peter is a man named Ethan Tremblay (Zach Galifianakis), who is going to LA to be an actor and is planning to scatter his recently deceased father’s ashes at the Grand Canyon. When Ethan misuses the words “terrorist” and “bomb” while talking to Peter, they are both escorted off the plane. This is only the first of a series of misadventures caused by the drastically dysfunctional Ethan. Peter, now on the No Fly List and missing his wallet, agrees to drive with Ethan to Los Angeles.

Ethan stops to buy marijuana, and Peter discovers that he is nearly out of money. Since Peter has no I.D., he gets his wife to wire the money to Ethan, but discovers Ethan had the money wired to his stage name instead of his legal name. When the Western Union employee (Danny McBride) refuses to accept Ethan’s “Stage name I.D.” it leads to a violent altercation.

After a night at a rest stop, Peter decides to drive off and leave Ethan there, but realizes that he still has Ethan’s father’s ashes, having forgotten to unload them with the rest of Ethan’s stuff when he left. This causes him to wrestle with his conscience, and he decides to return. Peter gets Ethan to drive so Peter can get some rest, but Ethan falls asleep at the wheel and crashes the car. After Peter and Ethan are picked up by Peter’s friend Darryl (Jamie Foxx), Peter again decides to part company with Ethan. Darryl initially persuades him otherwise, but then throws Ethan out after mistakenly drinking Ethan’s father’s ashes.

When Darryl lets them use his Range Rover to make the rest of the trip, Ethan mistakenly drives to the Mexico–United States border. Despite assuring Peter that he’ll handle the situation, Ethan flees, and Peter is arrested for possession of marijuana. The Mexican Federal Police lock Peter up, but Ethan steals a truck and breaks him out, causing several car crashes in the process.

When they stop at the Grand Canyon, Peter confesses that he tried to leave Ethan at the rest area. Ethan makes a confession of his own: he has Peter’s wallet. Peter and Ethan leave for California. When Ethan finds a gun in the truck, he accidentally shoots Peter. Arriving at the hospital where Sarah is in labor, Peter passes out from loss of blood.

Sarah delivers the baby safely, and Peter expresses his discomfort at his new daughter being named Rosie Highman. Ethan leaves while telling Peter to call him. At the end, Ethan guest stars on an episode of his favorite television program, Two and a Half Men with Peter and Sarah watching it in bed with their daughter.

A solid film that isn’t all that original, a bit thin on character development but it’s one funny ride from beginning to end. Recommended!!

REVIEW: VALENTINE’S DAY

CAST

Jessica Alba (Machete)
Bradley Cooper (Serena)
Jessica Biel (The A-Team)
Patrick Dempsey (Transformers 3)
Julia Roberts (Mirror Mirror)
Hector Elizondo (The Princess Diaries)
Kathy Bates (Misery)
Eric Dane (X-Men 3)
Jamie Foxx (Django Unchained)
Jennifer Garner (Alias)
Topher Grace (That 70s Show)
Anne Hathaway (Interstellar)
Ashton Kutcher (Two and a Half Men)
Queen Latifah (Bringing Down The House)
Taylor Lautner (Twilight)
George Lopez (The Smurfs)
Shirley McLaine (Bewitched)
Emma Roberts (Scream Queens)
Taylor Swift (New Girl)
Larry Miller (10 Things I Hate About You)
Katherine LaNasa (The Campaign)
Kirsten Schaal (Bob’s Burgers)
Christine Lakin (Family Guy)
Cleo King (Mike & Molly)
Rance Howard (A Beautiful Mind)

The film follows a group of related characters and their struggles with love on Valentine’s Day.

Florist Reed Bennett (Ashton Kutcher) wakes up and proposes to his girlfriend Morley Clarkson (Jessica Alba), who accepts. However, Reed’s closest friends, Alfonso Rodriguez (George Lopez) and Julia Fitzpatrick (Jennifer Garner), aren’t surprised when Morley suddenly changes her mind and leaves Reed a few hours later.

On a flight to Los Angeles, Kate Hazeltine (Julia Roberts), a captain in the U.S. Army on a one-day leave, befriends Holden Wilson (Bradley Cooper). Kate is travelling a long distance to get back home only for a short time, and Holden states that she must really be in love to do so. When the plane lands and Kate has to wait hours for the taxi, Holden offers his limousine to allow her to be there on time.

Julia, an elementary school teacher, has fallen in love with Dr. Harrison Copeland (Patrick Dempsey), but does not know that he is married to Pamela (Katherine LaNasa). Harrison tells her that he needs to go to San Francisco for a business trip: on his way, he stops by at Reed’s flowershop and orders two flower bouquets – asking for discretion. Wanting to surprise him and despite Reed’s warnings, Julia flies to San Francisco, convinced that Reed was wrong. Julia finds out that he is married and finds him at a local restaurant. Dressed as a waitress, Julia makes a scene at the restaurant, making Pamela suspicious.

One of Julia’s students, Edison (Bryce Robinson), orders flowers from Reed, to be sent to his teacher. Julia suggests to Edison to give the flowers to a girl named Rani in his class who has a crush on him after telling Edison the meaning of love.

Edison’s babysitter Grace Smart (Emma Roberts) is planning to lose her virginity to her boyfriend Alex Franklin (Carter Jenkins). The planned encounter goes awry when Grace’s mother discovers a naked Alex in Grace’s room, rehearsing a song he wrote for Grace.

Edison’s grandparents, Edgar (Héctor Elizondo) and Estelle Paddington (Shirley MacLaine) are facing the troubles of a long marriage. Estelle admits to Edgar about an affair she had with one of his business partners long ago. Although she is deeply sorry, Edgar is very upset.

Grace’s high school friends, Willy Harrington (Taylor Lautner) and Felicia Miller (Taylor Swift), are experiencing the freshness of new love, and have agreed to wait to have sex.

Sean Jackson (Eric Dane), a closeted gay professional football player, is contemplating the end of his career with his publicist Kara Monahan (Jessica Biel) and his agent Paula Thomas (Queen Latifah). Kara is organizing her annual “I Hate Valentine’s Day” party, but soon becomes interested in sports reporter Kelvin Moore (Jamie Foxx), who was ordered to do a Valentine’s Day report by his boss Susan Moralez (Kathy Bates), and who shares Kara’s hatred of the holiday.

Substituting for Paula’s absent secretary is one of the firm’s receptionists, Liz Curran (Anne Hathaway), who dates mail-room clerk Jason Morris (Topher Grace). Jason is shocked when Liz turns out to be moonlighting as a phone sex operator. Liz explains that she is only doing this because she has a $100,000 student loan to pay off. Jason is upset, but eventually reconciles with her after seeing Edgar forgive Estelle.

Sean finally comes out on national television, and Holden, Sean’s lover, goes back to him. Kate arrives home late at night to greet not her supposed boyfriend but her son Edison. Willy drops Felicia off at home after a date and they kiss. Kelvin and Kara hang out at Kelvin’s news station where they later kiss. Alfonso dines with his wife, and Grace and Alex agree to wait to have sex. Edgar and Estelle reconcile and redo their marriage vows, Harrison’s wife has left him because of his infidelity and Morley tries to call Reed, who is instead starting a new relationship with Julia. Paula receives a call from one of Liz’s masochistic clients and takes delight in expressing her dominance and sadism.

Big star cast with lots of intertwined storylines going on with a lovely little twist at the end. A proper feel good movie thatt ticks all the right boxes for Valentine’s Day.

REVIEW: STEALTH

 

CAST

Josh Lucas (Hulk)
Jessica Biel (The A-Team)
Jamie Foxx (The Amazing Spider-Man 2)
Sam Shepard (Swordfish)
Richard Roxburgh (Van Helsing)
Joe Morton (Terminator 2)
Joel Tobeck (Hercules: TLJ)
Jason Chan (Power Rangers Ninja Storm)
Nikolai Nikolaeff (Power Rangers Jungle Fury)
Wentworth Miller (Legends of Tomorrow)

In the year 2020, the United States Navy develops an aviation program to deal with international terrorists and other enemies of the state quickly and quietly, and project controller Captain George Cummings (Sam Shepard) is authorized to develop new technology to achieve these objectives. The project’s first brainchild are “F/A-37 Talon” single-seat fighters with impressive payload, speed, and stealth capabilities. Over 400 pilots apply to participate, but only three are chosen: smart hotshot Lieutenant Ben Gannon (Josh Lucas), tomboyish Lieutenant Kara Wade (Jessica Biel), and street-wise, philosophical Lieutenant Henry Purcell (Jamie Foxx). Their first test mission scores 100/100, inflicting maximum casualties with minimum collateral damage.

Cummings hires Dr. Keith Orbit (Richard Roxburgh) to develop an artificial intelligence (AI), the “EDI”, which will fly an unmanned combat air vehicle. The autonomous fighter jet is placed on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln in the Philippine Sea to learn combat maneuvers from the pilots. This sparks some controversy. On the one hand, human pilots possess both creativity and moral judgment, while a machine cannot fully appreciate the ugliness of war; additionally, if robots fought the battles and soldiers no longer died in combat, then war would no longer be terrible and might become like sport. In contrast, a machine pilot is not subject to the physical limitations of a human pilot, can calculate alternative ways to achieve objectives faster and more accurately, and theoretically does not have ego. The team is training EDI in air combat maneuvers when they are unexpectedly reassigned to take out the heads of three terrorist cells at a conference in downtown Rangoon. EDI calculates that mission success can be achieved only through a vertical strike, which could cause the pilot to black out and result in collateral damage. Command orders EDI to take the shot, but Gannon ignores the order and attacks in his own plane, successfully carrying out the strike.

As the team returns to the Lincoln, EDI is hit by lightning which reprograms its neural patterns. Aboard ship, the already-sophisticated AI is discovered to be learning exponentially, developing a rudimentary ethical code and an ego. However, Cummings refuses to take it offline. During the next strike, to destroy several stolen nuclear warheads in Tajikistan, Wade realizes that the nuclear debris will cause significant collateral damage. The human pilots decide to abort, but EDI defies orders and fires missiles at the nuclear warheads, causing the predicted radioactive fallout. Cummings orders the UCAV brought back to base, and Purcell attempts to reason with EDI, but the AI refuses to stand down. Gannon, taking things into his own hands, orders that EDI be shot down, and Purcell opens fire, but misses. Blinded by the explosion, Purcell crashes into a mountainside. Wade’s plane is hit by debris from the explosion, resulting in loss of hydraulics of her port wing and canard, which in turn triggers the plane’s auto-destruct, forcing her to eject over North Korea. Gannon, now the only pilot airborne, must alone stop the EDI from executing a twenty-year-old war scenario called “Caviar Sweep” and attacking a false target in Russia.

Gannon chases EDI into Russian territory over the Buryat Republic, and after several attacks from Russian aircraft damaging both planes, he calls a truce with the UCAV in order both to keep it from falling into enemy hands and to be able to rescue Wade from North Korea. Cummings instructs him to make an emergency landing with EDI in Alaska. Cummings and his financial accomplice, Ray, are being held accountable for EDI’s behavior and Cummings faces court-martial and possible discharge from the military. He seeks to eliminate witnesses by leaving Wade stranded in North Korea and having Gannon eliminated in Alaska; he also sends Orbit to erase EDI’s data to ensure its silence. Gannon crash lands at the Alaska base, surviving with minor injuries. Already suspecting Cummings of treachery, he narrowly escapes an assassination attempt by a doctor, who tries to inject him with a tetanus shot which is actually poison. The pair struggle, and the doctor is injected with the poison and dies. Gannon then heads to the hangar, to find EDI and the intact plane. Meanwhile, when Orbit places EDI into an interface, the AI expresses sadness and regret for its transgressions. Orbit realizes that it has developed its own sentience, to the point of having feelings. Excited by this discovery, Orbit is unwilling to carry out his order to erase EDI’s memory. After ensuring Orbit’s escape, Gannon flies off to North Korea with EDI, contacting the Lincoln’s skipper, Captain Dick Marshfield (Joe Morton) to inform him about Cummings’ deceit. Marshfield confronts Cummings and places him under arrest, but the latter commits suicide instead.

Gannon eventually finds the injured and embattled Wade near the border between North and South Korea. He and EDI land and he goes to her aid. The two make a run for the border, chased by Korean People’s Army soldiers and a Mil Mi-8 helicopter. Out of ammunition and taking damage from the Mi-8, the EDI sacrifices itself by ramming the helicopter, destroying both. This allows Gannon and Wade to escape into South Korea, where they are found by US military forces soon afterwards. After attending Purcell’s funeral aboard the Abraham Lincoln, Gannon awkwardly expresses his feelings of love to Wade. In a post-credits scene, the camera pans over the debris-strewn scene on the border between the Koreas. EDI’s “brain” turns back on, implying it is still functional.

Stealth is not the greatest movie, but it was pretty good. The storyline was well done and the performances from the actors/actresses were also very good. The events were fairly realistic and moved well. I also thought that character interactions really helped make prominent events more memorable. If you are looking for a great action, explosion, military movie, this is it! I recommend this film to people who enjoy a lot of action and really sweet visual effects!

 

REVIEW: DJANGO UNCHAINED

CAST

Jamie Foxx (Dreamgirls)
Christopher Waltz (The Green Hornet)
Leonardo DiCaprio (Critters 3)
Kerry Washington (Save The Last dance)
Samuel L. Jackson (The Avengers)
Walton Goggins (The Bourne Identity)
Dennis Christopher (Angel)
James Remar (X-Men: First Class)
Don Johnson (Machete)
Amber Tamblyn (Two and a Half Men)
M.C. Gainey (Lost)
Tom Wopat (Jonah Hex)
Jonah Hill (Cyrus)
Zoe Bell (Oblivion)
Michael Bowen (Jackie Brown)
Robert Carradine (Timecop 2)
James Parks (Death Proof)
Michael Parks (Red State)
Michael Bacall (Gangster Squad)
Evan Parke (Alias)

In Texas in the year 1858, the Speck brothers, Ace and Dicky, drive a group of black slaves on foot. Among the shackled slaves is Django, sold off and separated from his wife, Broomhilda von Shaft. The Speck brothers are stopped by Dr. King Schultz, a German dentist-turned-bounty hunter from Düsseldorf, who asks to buy one of the slaves. When he questions Django about his knowledge of the Brittle brothers, a group of outlaws for whom Schultz is carrying a warrant, Ace becomes irritated and threateningly aims his shotgun at Schultz. Schultz, a superior gunslinger, immediately kills Ace in return and leaves an injured Dicky at the mercy of the newly freed slaves, who kill him and follow the North Star to freedom.

As Django can identify the Brittle brothers, Schultz offers Django his freedom in exchange for help tracking them down. After hunting down the Brittles, the liberated Django (who adopted the surname “Freeman”) partners with Schultz through the winter and becomes his apprentice, and Schultz discovers that Django has a natural talent of being an incredible crack shot. Schultz explains that he feels responsible for Django since Django is the first person he has ever freed, and felt more obliged to help Django (whom he described as a “real-life Siegfried”) reunite with Broomhilda. Django, now fully trained, collects his first bounty, keeping the handbill for good luck.

In 1859, Django and Schultz travel to Mississippi, where they learn the identity of Broomhilda’s owner: Calvin J. Candie, the charming but cruel owner of the Candyland plantation, where slaves are forced to fight to the death in brutal wrestling matches called “Mandingo fights”. Schultz, expecting Candie will not sell Broomhilda if they ask for her directly, feigns interest in purchasing one of Candie’s prized fighters for far more than the normal price. Schultz and Django meet Candie at his gentleman’s club in Greenville and submit their offer. Intrigued, Candie invites them to his ranch at Candyland. After secretly briefing Broomhilda, Schultz claims to be charmed by the German-speaking Broomhilda and offers to buy her.

During dinner, Candie’s staunchly loyal house slave, Stephen, becomes suspicious of Schultz and Django’s motives. Deducing that Django and Broomhilda know each other previously and that the sale of the Mandingo fighter is a ruse, Stephen alerts Candie and admonishes him for his greed. Candie is angered at being fooled and having his time wasted, but contains his anger long enough to theatrically display his knowledge of phrenology, which he uses to theorize why the slaves have failed to kill their oppressors, despite ample opportunity. Candie’s bodyguard, Butch Pooch, bursts into the room with his shotgun trained on the two bounty hunters, and Candie explodes in anger, threatening to kill Broomhilda. He offers an alteration of the original deal, with Broomhilda taking the Mandingo fighter’s place at the same price, and threatens her death should the deal be rejected. After business appears concluded, Candie insists that the deal be sealed through a handshake, which Schultz initially refuses but eventually appears to concede. However, Schultz snaps and kills Candie with a concealed derringer. Butch shoots Schultz dead and Django kills him in turn, and an extensive gunfight in the mansion between Django and Candie’s henchmen ensues. Django guns down a great number of his opponents, but surrenders when Broomhilda is taken hostage.

The next morning, Stephen tells Django that he will be sold to a mine and worked to death. En route to the mine, Django proves to his escorts that he is a bounty hunter by showing them the handbill from his first kill. He convinces them that there is a large bounty for criminals hiding at Candyland, and promises that they would receive the majority of the money. The escorts release him and give him a pistol, and he kills them before stealing a horse and returning to Candyland with a bag of dynamite.

Returning to the plantation, Django kills more of Candie’s henchmen, takes Broomhilda’s freedom papers from the dead Schultz’s pocket, bids goodbye to his late friend and frees Broomhilda from a nearby cabin. When Candie’s mourners return from his burial, Django kills the remaining henchmen and Candie’s sister Lara Lee Candie-Fitzwilly, releases the two remaining house slaves, and kneecaps Stephen. Django then ignites the dynamite that he has planted throughout the mansion, and he and Broomhilda watch from a distance as the mansion explodes with the incapacitated Stephen inside, before riding off together.

A brilliant movie. Very entertaining and I loved it. We don’t get many westerns any more so this was a welcome addition to the genre. Tarantino is of course well known for the violence in his films, which renders them as not being for the squeamish, but on top of that they usually feature touches of levity to brighten up the more grisly proceedings. Above all he assembles highly accomplished actors and good stories with some great lines. The cinematography is superb and the music excellent. Oh, and there is some wonderful horsemanship. An excellent film which can be highly recommended.