REVIEW: POLTERGEIST (2015)

CAST

Sam Rockwell (Iron Man 2)
Rosemarie DeWitt (Rachel Getting Married)
Saxon Sharbino (I Spit On Your Grave)
Kyle Catlett (The Angry Birds Movie)
Kennedi Clements (Jingle All The Way 2)
Jared Harris (Allied)
Jane Adams (Last Holiday)
Nicholas Braun (Red State)
Susan Heyward (Powers)
Patrick Garrow (Robocop)

1Eric and Amy Bowen are a married couple looking to buy a house for themselves and their three children: 16-year-old daughter, Kendra, their 9-year-old son, Griffin, and 6-year-old daughter, Madison. Eric was recently laid off, but they are shown a house that has recently come on the market that fits their price range, so they purchase it and move in.2The first night, they hear strange noises in the walls, and Griffin finds a box of clown dolls that were left at the house. In the middle of the night, lights and electronic devices start turning on and off, as some unseen force appears to move through the home. The commotion wakes Griffin, and he goes downstairs and finds Maddie talking to an unknown presence inside the television. She tells Griffin someone is coming, and he attempts to unplug the TV, causing the lights to go out of control. Maddie then tells the family: “They’re here” while touching their TV screen that has the ghost’s hands pressing against the other side of the screen. The following evening, Eric and Amy go to dinner with their friends, leaving the three children at home. They learn that their house was built on an old cemetery, but the bodies were moved to a better neighbourhood.3At the house, Kendra’s phone begins emitting strange sounds and a glitching screen, and as she traces the noise and enters the garage, the floor cracks and a corpse’s hand emerges and begins pulling at her foot. Griffin notices the clown dolls seem to be moving by themselves. One clown doll attacks him, but he destroys it and escapes from his bedroom. He finds Maddie in her room, scared, crouching in a corner, and tells her to stay while he goes to find Kendra. Maddie is then lured into her closet and becomes lost in an unending void. As she sees her bedroom drifting away further, she is dragged into the darkness by ghosts. Griffin, while running around the house, is grabbed by the branches of the old tree outside their house, which pulls him out to be hanging on the tree. Amy and Eric arrive home to see Griffin being tossed around in the tree branches, which releases its grip when they come close, while Kendra tells them she can’t find Maddie.5The family hears Maddie’s voice emanating from the television. Amy reaches at the television’s screen while Maddie’s static hand is seen to be touching Amy’s hand on the other side of the screen. Amy and Griffin visit the Paranormal Research department for help. The staff sets up equipment in the house, and install GPS devices on everyone in the house. While trying to contact Maddie, Eric is ambushed in the closet by a ghost resembling her. Angered, he breaks down the closet wall, throwing a chair into the darkness inside the closet, and as the chair falls back into the living room of the house, it reveals a possible portal Maddie can escape through. The investigators realize that this haunting is a poltergeist. The lead investigator, Dr. Brooke Powell, decides to call occult specialist and television personality Carrigan Burke (revealed, much later, to be Powell’s ex).4Carrigan explains that Maddie is a possible psychic, able to communicate with spirits. He reveals that the ghosts are trapped and are angry because only the headstones were moved to the new cemetery, but the bodies remained, and plan on using Maddie “to free them from their purgatory”. Carrigan comes up with a plan to get Maddie back. He anchors a rope in Maddie’s room and tosses it into the vortex. They attempt to use Griffin’s toy drone to guide Maddie out, but it is immediately destroyed by the ghosts when inside the portal. Griffin, guilt-ridden over leaving Maddie alone in the first place, goes through the portal himself. When he finds Maddie, the ghosts attempt to destroy the rope to trap them, but Griffin and Maddie grab onto the rope and are brought back through the portal.The family get in their car and begin to take their leave from the house, but the ghosts drag them back into the house and attempt to abduct Maddie again. The family saves her from being sucked into the portal, and Carrigan decides that as the only other psychic, he must go into the vortex and lead the spirits into the light. The Bowens flee as the house is destroyed by the spirits soaring into the sky as a beacon of light. The investigative team run to their equipment, looking for a sign that Carrigan managed to get back. As the Bowens look for a new house, the realtor shows them a house with lots of closet space and an old tree in the backyard; the Bowens drive away laughing. During the end credits, it’s revealed that Carrigan survived the incident and is back filming his ghost program, now hosting the show with Dr. Powell.6Being a huge fan of the original, I was pleasantly surprised that this remake respects and echoes the original in the main, but adds twists and effects and tech that we use everyday to make it comfortably contemporary. .

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REVIEW: THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS: CITY OF BONES

CAST

Lily Collins (Mirror Mirror)
Jamie Campbell Bower (Sweeney Todd)
Robert Sheehan (Season of The Witch)
Jemima West (United Passions)
Kevin Durand (Dark Angel)
Lena Headey (Game of Thrones)
CCH Pounder (Avatar)
Jared Harris (The Quiet Ones)
Jonathan Rhys Meyers (Dracula)
Aidan Turner (The Hobbit)

New York City teenager Clary Fray begins seeing a strange symbol, worrying her mother Jocelyn Fray and her mother’s friend Luke Garroway. Later, at a nightclub with her friend, Simon Lewis, Clary is the only person who sees Jace Wayland killing a man, who he claims is a demon. Meanwhile, Jocelyn is abducted by two men, Emil Pangborn and Samuel Blackwell, but she is able to call Clary and warn her about someone named Valentine. Jocelyn drinks a potion putting her in a comatose state. Returning home, Clary finds her mother missing and is then attacked by a demon. Clary kills it, and then Jace appears. Jace explains that he and her mother Jocelyn are both Shadowhunters (also called Nephilim), half human half angel warriors that slay demons and rule over the downworlders. Clary has inherited her powers, including the ability to use runes.Madame Dorothea, the Fray’s neighbor and a witch, deduces that Pangborn and Blackwell seek the Mortal Cup, one of the three Mortal Instruments given to the first Shadowhunter by the Angel Raziel. It allows normal humans to become half-Angel Shadowhunters. Simon, now able to see Jace, arrives and they go to Luke’s bookstore. Pangborn and Blackhell are interrogating Luke there, who claims he cares nothing for Jocelyn and only wants the Mortal Cup. The trio escapes to the Shadowhunters’ hideout, the Institute, where Clary and Simon meet two other Shadowhunters Alec and Isabelle Lightwood, and their leader, Hodge Starkweather. He reveals that Valentine Morgenstern, an ex-Shadowhunter who betrayed the Nephilim, now seeks the Mortal Cup to control both Shadowhunters and demons.Hodge instructs Jace to take Clary to the City of Bones so the Silent Brothers can probe Clary’s mind for the Mortal Cup’s location. The Brothers uncover a connection to Magnus Bane, the High Warlock of Brooklyn. Bane says Jocelyn had him block the Shadowhunter world from Clary’s mind. Vampires then kidnap Simon from Magnus’ party for downworlders. Clary, Jace, Alec, and Isabelle trail them to their hideout and rescue him but are outnumbered. Werewolves (that share a truce with the Shadowhunters) intervene and save them. These are led by Luke. At the Institute, Clary shares a romantic evening with Jace, ending in a kiss. When Simon confronts Clary about it, she downplays the incident, angering Jace. Simon confesses to Clary that he is in love with her, leaving her feeling guilty because she does not reciprocate his feelings.Clary realizes the Mortal Cup is hidden inside one of Madame Dorothea’s tarot cards that were painted by her mother. The group goes to Dorothea’s apartment but she has been replaced by a demon sent to steal the Cup. Simon and Jace kill it, but Alec is critically wounded. Clary retrieves the Mortal Cup and they return to the institute. Clary gives the Mortal Cup to Hodge who betrays them by summoning Valentine Morgenstern and giving him the cup. Valentine reveals he is Clary’s father and wants her to join him. She escapes through a portal that transports her to Luke’s bookstore. Luke, revealed to be a werewolf, confirms that Valentine is her father, and says Clary had an older brother named Jonathan who was killed. Luke and his werewolf pack return to the Institute with Clary to fight Valentine, who has summoned an army of demons through a portal he created. Simon and Isabelle close the portal with help from a repentant Hodge, who sacrifices himself. Meanwhile, Magnus Bane arrives and heals Alec.Clary and Jace fight Valentine, who claims both are his children. They refuse to join him and, following a battle, Clary pushes him through the portal after giving him a fake Mortal Cup. The portal is destroyed, and Jocelyn is rescued, but she remains in a coma at the hospital. Clary tells Simon that someday someone will love him. Clary heads back home and uses her new-found powers to repair the apartment. Jace appears on his motorcycle, confessing he needs her and wants her to return to the Institute. Realizing that she belongs in the Shadowhunter world, she goes with him and they ride into the distance.The film has had some very harsh critics and after seeing the movie, I don’t understand it. Luckily I ignored the bad critics and I liked it.

REVIEW: RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE

CAST

Milla Jovovich (The Three Musketeers)
Sienna Guillory (Eragon)
Oded Fehr (The Mummy)
Thomas Kretschmann (Avengers: Age of Ultron)
Sophie Vavasseur (Evelyn)
Jared Harris (The Quiet Ones)
Mike Epps (The Hangover)
Iain Glen (Game of Thrones)
Sandrine Holt (Underworld: Awakening)
Zack Ward (Transformers)
Megan Fahlenbock (Get Over It)

After the contamination of The Hive in the previous film, the Umbrella Corporation unwisely sends in a research team to reopen the complex and investigate the incident, since no one survived except Alice and Matt Addison, both of whom were imprisoned and experimented on. When the team reprograms and opens the sealed blast doors, they are slaughtered by the massive crowd of T-virus infected zombies.With the zombies released, they reach Raccoon City, spreading the infection among the general population. Two days after the infection has spread to the surface, Umbrella, now worried about a possible worldwide contamination, quarantines Raccoon City and establishes a security perimeter around it, also evacuating all important Umbrella personnel. However, a girl named Angela Ashford (Sophie Vavasseur), daughter of the Level 6 Umbrella researcher and T-virus creator Dr. Charles Ashford (Jared Harris), goes missing after an Umbrella security car transporting her out of Raccoon City suffers a traffic accident.Alice awakens in the deserted Raccoon City hospital attached to wiring, and after unstrapping herself, she manages to exit her room. Finding no one in the hospital, she wanders outside only to find the city a ghost town, overrun by zombies. She arms herself with a shotgun from a police car and wanders the city looking for supplies. She is constantly disturbed by visions of a man, who was revealed to be experimenting on her; she now has superhuman agility and strength.While Umbrella is evacuating civilians at the Raven’s Gate Bridge, the only exit out of the town, disgraced police officer Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory), confers with Sergeant Payton Wells (Razaaq Adoti), her old ally, after hearing about the infection being true. However, the T-virus infects a man having a heart attack, turning him into a zombie that bites Payton at the city gates. Umbrella’s supervisor and the head of the Raccoon City contamination operation, Major Timothy Cain (Thomas Kretschmann), worried that the T-virus has reached the gates, seals the exit and orders his soldiers to fire over the crowd’s heads, scaring them back into the city. Elsewhere, Carlos Olivera (Oded Fehr) and other Umbrella soldiers link up with Special Tactics And Rescue Squad (S.T.A.R.S.) units to defend against an onslaught of zombies. Their positions are overrun, causing Carlos and his team to retreat with a bitten Yuri (Stefen Hayes), who turns into a zombie and infects Carlos before being killed. Jill, Payton, and news reporter Terri Morales (Sandrine Holt) lock themselves in a church, where a panicked man is also hiding. Inspecting the church, Jill finds a priest who has been feeding other people to his zombified sister. They soon find the church is full of Lickers. The priest and the panicked man are killed, but Jill, Payton, and Terri are saved at the last minute by the heavily armed Alice.In the meantime, Umbrella dispatches their Nemesis Program to fight the zombies in order to test him. When Nemesis encounters a surviving citizen, L.J. (Mike Epps), and members of S.T.A.R.S., the latter open fire on Nemesis. Nemesis guns the team down but spares L.J.’s life when he drops his weapons. Meanwhile, Dr. Ashford has refused extraction, since Angela is missing, and soon discovers she is hiding in her school. He hacks into the city’s CCTV system, uses it to contact Alice and the other survivors, and offers to arrange their evacuation in exchange for their rescuing Angela. Alice, seeing no other escape, accepts the offer. Payton, Terri, and Jill initially refuse, intending to hide until backup arrives, but Alice explains her choice – as the contamination cannot be controlled, a nuclear bomb will be dropped on Raccoon City, completely destroying it, with a cover story of a meltdown of the local nuclear power plant.Seeing no choice, the others join Alice in heading for the school. However, Nemesis appears and shoots Payton dead. Alice separates and assaults him, but she is overwhelmed and forced into retreat. Jill and Terri make it to the school, and they pick up L.J. on the way. Inside the school, they find Carlos and Nicholai (Zack Ward), acting on the same offer. After encounters with zombie dogs and infected children who kill Nicholai and Terri, Alice saves the group again, and they find Angela. Angela reveals she was injected with the T-virus; she was ill with a genetic disease and forced to walk on crutches. Dr. Ashford created the T-virus to allow her to walk, and he created the anti-virus because of the T-virus’ potential for mutations, but the virus was then impounded and weaponized by Umbrella. Alice uses Terri’s video camera to record her story and injects Carlos with the anti-virus carried by Angela, to keep her infection in check.Dr. Ashford gives Alice the location of the extraction point at City Hall, where the helicopter waits. The group makes it to the rendezvous but is cornered by Major Cain, who has caught wind of Dr. Ashford’s intentions and is holding him prisoner. All but Alice are restrained, and seconds later Nemesis appears; the helicopter is actually Nemesis’ extraction before the bomb detonation. Cain commands Alice to fight Nemesis. Alice refuses, but when Cain shoots Dr. Ashford dead in cold-blood and threatens the others, she relents and fights Nemesis, impaling him on a pole. Defeating Nemesis, she realizes he is Matt Addison, her friend and one of the survivors in The Hive. As he was infected by a Licker and started to mutate, he was placed in the program and experimented on.Her stand and refusing to kill him rekindles a trace of Matt’s former humanity; he and Alice join forces and attack the Umbrella forces. Meanwhile, Carlos and Jill cut themselves free from their bonds and join the fight. Nemesis is killed, protecting Alice from an exploding helicopter. Cain, having been knocked out in an attempt to flee during the fight, is thrown out of the helicopter by Alice and is left to be devoured by a horde of encroaching zombies, including Dr. Ashford. As the survivors escape in the remaining chopper, the nuclear missile detonates over the City Hall. The helicopter is caught in the blast wave and crashes. As the helicopter falls, a metal pole comes loose and is flung towards Angela. Alice moves in front of Angela and is impaled, saving her but mortally wounding herself.Some hours after the explosion, Umbrella employees locate the helicopter’s crash site, deep in the Arklay Mountains. There, they find Alice’s body, badly burned; the others are nowhere to be found. The media later shows that Terri’s footage has been shown to the press, but despite Carlos and Jill’s best efforts, Umbrella promotes a fake story about a nuclear power plant explosion near the city with ease. The infection is characterized as a hoax, and the media announces that Jill and Carlos are wanted by the police for questioning.Three weeks later, in Umbrella’s research facility in Detroit, Alice awakens. Led by Umbrella scientist Dr. Alexander Isaacs (Iain Glen), the doctors begin questioning her. Soon, she recalls events from Raccoon City and before. She realizes that the man who appeared in her visions is Dr. Isaacs. She attacks him, fights her way out of the facility, and makes her way outside, only to be surrounded by more Umbrella guards holding her at gunpoint. Suddenly, Jill, Carlos, Angela, and L.J. arrive, disguised as Umbrella employees. Carlos shows the guards an order placing her in his custody. Dr. Isaacs is shown allowing them to leave, and then saying that “Project Alice” is activated. A close-up of Alice’s eye shows a flashing Umbrella logo, revealing she is under their control. The scene then pulls away from the car she is in and into orbit, where an Umbrella satellite is seen.While Resident Evil 2 is light on plot, it is heavy on kills, explosions and various other forms of mayhem. I definitely felt I got my money’s worth. There are really only two differences between this movie and the original “Resident Evil”. One, this movie introduces a new monster, the Nemesis. It’s a big monster with bad teeth wearing an overcoat and wielding a rocket launcher. The other difference is that they added another hot woman to the zombie killing mix. Alice needed some babe backup. Overall, I was pleased with this one. It’s worth a look.

 

REVIEW: MR.DEEDS

CAST

Adam Sandler (Just Go With It)
Winona Ryder (BLack Swan)
John Turturro (Transformers)
Allen Covert (Anger Management)
Peter Gallagher (New Girl)
Jared Hrris (The Quiet Ones)
Erick Avari (Stargate)
Peter Dante (Big Daddy)
Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire)
Conchata Ferrell (Two and a Half Men)
Harve Presnell (Lois & Clark)
J.B. Smoove (Date Night)
Aloma Wright (Scrubs)

Multibillionaire Preston Blake freezes to death while on a mountain climbing expedition. With no widow or legitimate children, it is initially unclear who would earn the right to Blake’s massive fortune. It is found that Blake has a living grandnephew named Longfellow Deeds (Adam Sandler), who runs a pizzeria in New Hampshire and also writes greeting cards in the hopes that Hallmark may be interested in one. Deeds is contacted and flown to New York City by businessman Chuck Cedar (Peter Gallagher), who is temporarily in control of Blake Media. Deeds’ unorthodox helicopter trip includes a stop at a Wendy’s for a Frosty as well as a singing of David Bowie’s Space Oddity. Once Deeds arrives in New York, plans are made for him to sell his shares in the company to Cedar and return home $40 billion richer, but he must remain in New York for a few days while all the legal details are worked outThe story is major news, and reporter Babe Bennett (Winona Ryder), who works for a tabloid show called Inside Access, has a co-worker pretend to steal her purse in sight of Deeds, because their research indicated that Deeds wanted to meet a girl by “rescuing” her, the same way his father had met his mother. Deeds does so, and beats up her “robber”, and Babe goes out with him under the disguise of Pam Dawson, a school nurse from a made-up town called Winchestertonfieldville, Iowa (which later turns out to be a real town, which Babe is flabbergasted to find out).Though Babe initially hopes to just get a good story on the new heir, she eventually falls for the unfailingly kind-hearted Deeds, and decides to tell him that she is not who she says she is, but Inside Access, in concert with Cedar (who was fed the truth by the fake robber and was smitten with Babe) reveals it to Deeds first. Heartbroken and upset, Deeds decides to return home to Mandrake Falls and makes plans to donate his $40 billion inheritance to the United Negro College Fund. After returning to Mandrake Falls, he learns from Crazy Eyes (Steve Buscemi) that Cedar intends to sell off the company, which will cause thousands of people to lose their jobs (Cedar had convinced Longfellow to sell his shares by lying that he will work commanding the company in honor of Preston’s lifetime of work). Babe follows Deeds to Mandrake Falls to win him back, but after saving her life when she falls through the ice over a lake, he rejects her, saying he does not really know who she is.At a shareholders meeting, Cedar has everyone convinced to sell the company, until Deeds (who has bought a single share) arrives and manages to convince everyone not to sell. But Cedar claims control of a majority of the shares and the sale is approved. Bennett arrives and reveals that Emilio Lopez, Preston Blake’s longtime butler is his illegitimate son and the true heir as a result of a younger Preston having an amorous affair with his maid in 1958 (at one point he had told Deeds that Blake treated him “like a son”). Realizing Emilio is his cousin, Deeds convinces him they must stop Cedar and that he is the rightful CEO. As a result of Emilio supplanting Longfellow as the heir, Deeds’ sale of shares are retracted and Cedar is fired.Emilio immediately takes control of Blake Media. Babe then reconciles with and kisses Deeds after professing her love for him. As they leave the meeting, Emilio thanks Deeds for his support and offers him a billion dollars, some of which Deeds spends on red Corvettes for everyone in Mandrake Falls. When he returns to the pizzeria with Babe, he learns that Hallmark is interested in buying one of his greeting cards: the one he wrote for Babe when he professed his love for her. They both share a kiss as the movie ends with Crazy Eyes crashing his Corvette and coming out unharmed.It’s a pretty nice film, with a number of laugh-out-loud scenes, but it’s still a long way from the Gary Cooper-Barabara Stanwyck classic film version, at least in terms of an aw-shucks wholesome hero. This film just doesn’t have the heart and soul of the original, because it’s more concerned with cheap laughs than a moral message. Still, it has its funny moments and I found worth watching.

REVIEW: ALLIED

CAST

Brad Pitt (Fight Club)
Marion Cotillard (The Dark Knight Rises)
Jared Harris (The Quiet Ones)
Lizzy Caplan (Cloverfield)
August Diehl (Salt)
Charlotte Hope (A United Kingdom)
Matthew Goode (Watchmen)

In 1942 during World War II, Royal Canadian Air Force intelligence officer Max Vatan travels to Casablanca in Morocco to assassinate the German ambassador. He is partnered with a French Resistance fighter named Marianne Beauséjour, who had escaped from France after her resistance group was compromised and killed.
The two pose as a married couple and grow close, despite agreeing that in their line of work feelings can get people killed. Marianne, who is trusted by the Germans, secures Max an invitation to the party where they plan to conduct the assassination. On the day itself, they make love inside a car in the middle of a desert sandstorm, knowing that they might not survive. However, the mission goes well and they both escape. Max asks Marianne to come with him to London and be his wife. The two get married, settle down in Hampstead, and have a baby girl named Anna.
A year later, Max learns from the Special Operations Executive that Marianne is suspected of being a German spy, having adopted her identity after the real Marianne was killed in France. In order to test their suspicions, SOE run a ‘blue dye’ operation: Max is ordered to write down a piece of false intelligence at home, where Marianne can find it. If the information is picked up from intercepted German transmissions, Max must personally execute her, or be hanged for treason. Max is told otherwise to act normally.
Defying orders, Max visits a former colleague named Guy Sangster who knew Marianne but, blind from a wartime injury, cannot confirm her identity. He reveals that the resistance fighter Paul Delamare worked with Marianne in France and would be able to identify her. Max seeks out a young pilot named Adam Hunter, gives him a picture of his wife, and instructs him to ask Delamare whether she really is Marianne. However, the following night, Max’s commanding officer Frank Heslop informs him that Hunter was killed while waiting on the ground for the answer. He also hears that the whole operation might be a test, before he is given a big job in the run up to D-Day.
The following night Max takes the place of a Lysander pilot and flies to France to meet with Delamare, who, it transpires, is being held at the local police station. Max and the resistance break into the jail to confront Delamare. He is drunk, but remembers that Marianne was a beautiful pianist. Back in England, Max takes Marianne to a local pub and demands she play the piano. Marianne cannot play, and admits she is a spy. She claims her feelings for Max are genuine and that she and her child were being threatened by German spies in London, including the woman who lives around the corner and often looks after Anna.
Max, unwilling to kill his wife, tells her they need to leave before the SOE catches them. He kills Marianne’s handlers and tries to flee the country via airplane, but Heslop intercepts them before they can escape. Marianne tells Max that she loves him, asks him to take care of Anna, then shoots herself. Heslop orders the soldiers present to report that Max executed Marianne as per his orders, so that Max himself will not be punished. After the war, Max moves to the ranch in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, that was always his ambition, and raises Anna. The film ends with Marianne reading the letter that she had earlier written to her daughter, anticipating that one day her real identity would be uncovered.If you are a fan of classic movies, watch it. Is it perfect? No, it certainly has weak points and flaws. But overall I was thoroughly entertained by it. It kept me on the edge of my seat, and I will definitely be watching again.

REVIEW: THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. (2015)

CAST

Henry Cavill (Man of Steel)
Armie Hammer (The Lone Ranger)
Alicia Vikander (Jason Bourne)
Elizabeth Debicki (The Great Gatsby)
Jared Harris (The Quiet Ones)
Hugh Grant (Love Actually)
Luca Calvani (When In Rome)

In 1963, professional thief-turned CIA agent Napoleon Solo extracts Gaby Teller, daughter of Dr. Udo Teller, an alleged Nazi scientist-turned United States collaborator at the end of World War II, from East Berlin, evading KGB operative Illya Kuryakin. He later reports to his superior, Sanders, who reveals that Gaby’s maternal uncle Rudi works in a shipping company owned by Alexander and Victoria Vinciguerra, a wealthy Nazi sympathizing couple who intend to use Teller to build their own private nuclear weapon and give it to lingering Nazi elements. Due to the potentially world-ending nature of this crisis, the CIA and KGB have reluctantly teamed up, and Solo and Kuryakin are ordered to stop the Vinciguerras from succeeding, with both men secretly assigned to steal Udo Teller’s research for their respective governments.

The trio travels to Rome, where Gaby and Kuryakin reluctantly pose as an engaged couple, and Solo pretends to be an antiquities dealer. Solo deduces they are being monitored and instructs Kuryakin not to defend himself from muggers so as to preserve this cover. Despite their hostilities towards each other, Kuryakin heeds his advice and does not react when his father’s prized watch is stolen. Later, at an auto racing event promoted by the Vinciguerras, Solo and Gaby flirt with Victoria and Alexander, respectively, in order to lure out information about Teller. Meanwhile Kuryakin acquires evidence the Vinciguerras were recently exposed to radiation, indicating that their weapon is near completion.

Solo and Kuryakin begrudgingly join forces to break into a Vinciguerra shipping yard, in which they find traces of uranium. After accidentally setting off the alarm, they escape into the water only to find their way blocked. During the ensuing scuffle with the guards, Kuryakin nearly drowns in the waters but Solo escapes, only to surprise himself by returning to save Kuryakin. Although a suspicious Victoria pursues them with her henchmen, Solo and Kuryakin manage to slip past into their own rooms undetected, and Victoria and Solo spend the night together. The following day, Gaby meets with Rudi and Alexander to discuss a job, but unexpectedly betrays Kuryakin and Solo to them, forcing Kuryakin to escape, while Solo is drugged and captured by Victoria and taken to a nearby warehouse to be tortured in an electric chair by Rudi, who is revealed as an infamous Nazi torturer. Solo is saved by Kuryakin, who straps Rudi into the electric chair, in order to intimidate him into talking. Rudi reveals that the weapon is hidden in an island fortress, where Gaby has been reunited with her father, which is where Solo and Kuryakin head off to, with Rudi unintentionally being burnt alive due to the electric chair malfunctioning. To protect Gaby, Dr. Teller pretends to resume work on the weapon, which has a tracking system left over from when the warhead was non-nuclear, so that a second missile can home in on it for added impact, but although Gaby attempts to help her father escape and sabotage the warhead. Victoria quickly sees through this deception, and has Alexander imprison Gaby, as an extra incentive for Dr. Teller. Teller quickly adds the finishing touches to the bomb, but is then shot in the head by Victoria as soon as he does.

Meanwhile, Solo and Kuryakin are approached by Alexander Waverly, a high-ranking MI6 operative who flies them on a Westland Wessex to HMS Ark Royal (R09) and reveals that Gaby is an undercover agent under his employment. He and his Special Boat Service commandos help Solo and Kuryakin infiltrate the Vinciguerras’ compound. Alexander Vinciguerra attempts to escape with Gaby and the warhead, but is intercepted and Alexander is killed by the duo. Solo secretly retrieves the disc with Teller’s research, but the warhead Vinciguerra was taking with him was the non-nuclear secondary missile, allowing Victoria to leave undetected on another boat with the real warhead. By Gaby’s suggestion, having heard the weapon system explained, Solo is able to contact Victoria via radio and keep her on the line long enough for Waverly to locate her and launch the homing missile, simultaneously destroying the nuclear weapon and the boat, apparently taking Victoria with it.

Afterwards, Kuryakin confronts Solo in his hotel room, intending to kill him and steal the disc for the Soviet Union, but changes his mind when Solo produces Kuryakin’s father’s stolen watch, which he had retrieved. The two instead choose to share a drink on the terrace and burn the contents of the disk, so as to not give either of their countries the upper hand in the arms race. They then reunite with Gaby and Waverly, who reveals that the trio has been reassigned to a new international organization under his command. He then announces a new mission to Istanbul under their new codename: U.N.C.L.E..Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, and would recommend it for anyone who enjoys spy movies, or action/comedies.

REVIEW: THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON

CAST

Brad Pitt (World War Z)
Cate Blanchett (The Hobbit)
Tilda Swinton (Doctor Strange)
Taraji P. Henson (Date Night)
Julia Ormond (Resistance)
Jason Flemyng (Rob Roy)
Mahershala Ali (Luke Cage)
Phyllis Somerville (Little Children)
Jared Harris (Lincoln)
Elias Koteas (Crash)
Tom Everett (Die Hard 2)
Elle Fanning (Maleficent)
Josh Stewart (No Ordinary Family)

In 2005, elderly Daisy Fuller is on her deathbed in a New Orleans hospital as Hurricane Katrina approaches; she asks her daughter, Caroline, to read aloud from the diary of Benjamin Button.

From the reading, it is revealed that on the evening of November 11, 1918, a boy was born with the appearance and physical maladies of an elderly man. The baby’s mother died after giving birth, and the father, Thomas Button, abandons the infant on the porch of a nursing home. Queenie and Mr. “Tizzy” Weathers, workers at the nursing home, find the baby, and Queenie decides to care for him as her own.

Benjamin learns to walk in 1925; he declares it a miracle, after which he uses crutches in place of a wheelchair. On Thanksgiving 1930, Benjamin meets seven-year-old Daisy, whose grandmother lives in the nursing home. He and Daisy become good friends. Later, he accepts work on a tugboat captained by Mike Clark. Benjamin also meets Thomas Button, who does not reveal that he is Benjamin’s father. In Autumn 1936, Benjamin leaves New Orleans for a long-term work engagement with the tugboat crew; Daisy later is accepted into a dance company in New York City under choreographer George Balanchine. In 1941, Benjamin is in Murmansk, where he begins having an affair with Elizabeth Abbott, wife of the British Trade Minister. That December, Japan attacks Pearl Harbor, thrusting the United States into World War II. Mike volunteers the boat for the U.S. Navy; the crew is assigned to salvage duties. During a patrol, the tugboat finds a sunken U.S. transport and the bodies of many American troops. A German submarine surfaces; Mike steers the tugboat full speed towards it while a German gunner fires on the tugboat, killing most of the crew, including Mike. The tugboat rams the submarine, causing it to explode, sinking both vessels. Benjamin and another crewman are rescued by U.S. Navy ships the next day.

In May 1945, Benjamin returns to New Orleans and reunites with Queenie. A few weeks later, he reunites with Daisy; they go out for dinner. Upon failing to seduce him afterward, she departs. Benjamin later reunites with Thomas Button, who, terminally ill, reveals he is Benjamin’s father and wills Benjamin his button company and his estate. In 1947, Benjamin visits Daisy in New York unannounced but departs upon seeing that she has fallen in love with someone else. In 1954, Daisy’s dancing career ends when her leg is crushed in an automobile accident in Paris. When Benjamin visits her, Daisy is amazed by his youthful appearance, but, frustrated by her injuries, she tells him to stay out of her life.

In spring 1962, Daisy returns to New Orleans and reunites with Benjamin. Now of comparable physical age, they fall in love and go sailing together. They return to learn that Queenie has died, then move in together. In 1967, Daisy, who has opened a ballet studio, tells Benjamin that she is pregnant; she gives birth to a girl, Caroline, in the spring of 1968. Believing he can not be a proper father to his daughter due to his reverse aging, Benjamin departs after selling his belongings, leaving a bank account book holding the proceeds behind for Daisy and Caroline; he travels alone during the 1970s. Benjamin returns to Daisy in 1980. Now married, Daisy introduces him, as a family friend, to her husband and daughter. Daisy admits that he was right to leave; she could not have coped otherwise. She later visits Benjamin at his hotel, where they again share their passion for each other, then part once more.

In 1990, widowed Daisy is contacted by social workers who have found Benjamin—now physically a pre-teen. When she arrives, they explain that he was living in a condemned building and was taken to the hospital in poor physical condition, and that they found her name in his diary. The bewildered social workers also say he is displaying early signs of dementia. Daisy moves into the nursing home in 1997 and cares for Benjamin for the rest of his life. In the spring of 2003, Benjamin dies in Daisy’s arms, physically an infant but chronologically 84 years of age. Having finally revealed the story of Caroline’s father to her, Daisy dies as Hurricane Katrina approaches.
It is an extremely graceful depiction of life, love, and the things we lose. After so much anticipation I was certainly not disappointed. This movie is probably not for everyone though. It’s not your average drama that spoon feeds it’s audience their emotions. It is something of awe and astonishment, an absolute gem. What makes our lives memorable are the moments we never seem to grasp long enough before letting go. Life in itself is indeed very, very curious and Benjamin Button is no less of a wonder.