REVIEW: LAWLESS

CAST

Tom Hardy (Legend)
Shia LaBeouf (Transformers)
Jessica Chastain (A Most Violent Year)
Gary Oldman (Robocop)
Jason Clarke (Dawn of The Planet of The Apes)
Guy Pearce (Prometheus)
Mia Wasikowska (Alice In wonderland)
Dane DeHaan (Life After beth)
Lew Temple (Waitress)
Noah Taylor (Powers)

Shia LaBeouf and Mia Wasikowska in Lawless (2012)In 1931, the Bondurant brothers—Forrest, Howard, and Jack—are running a successful moonshine business in the Piedmont region of Virginia. The brothers use their gas station and restaurant as a front for their illegal manufacturing business with the assistance of Jack’s disabled friend and engineer, Cricket. Jack witnesses infamous mobster Floyd Banner shoot dead a rival in broad daylight.Shia LaBeouf in Lawless (2012)Jack returns to the gas station, where Forrest hires dancer Maggie as a waitress. Shortly afterward, the gas station is visited by newly arrived U.S. Marshal Charley Rakes, accompanied by the Virginia state’s attorney Mason Wardell, the sheriff, and the sheriff’s deputy. Rakes demands a cut of profits from all bootleggers within the county, including Forrest, who refuses and threatens to kill Rakes if he returns. Forrest implores his fellow bootleggers to unite against Rakes, but they refuse.Tom Hardy in Lawless (2012)Meanwhile, Jack lusts after Bertha, daughter of the local Brethren preacher. He attends their church service drunk, embarrassing himself but piquing her interest. Jack walks in on a visit from Rakes to Cricket’s house, and is beaten by him as a message to his brothers. That night, Forrest beats and throws out two customers who had been harassing and threatening Maggie. After Maggie resigns and leaves, Forrest is ambushed by the two men, who slit his throat. Maggie returns looking for Forrest but is beaten and raped by the men. She decides to keep the assault from Forrest. While Forrest recovers at a hospital, Jack decides to cross the county line with Cricket to sell their remaining liquor. They too are ambushed by the mobsters, led by Banner, but are spared when Jack reveals he is a Bondurant, whom Banner admires for their stance against Rakes. Banner reveals to Jack the address of his brother’s assailants, who were previous employees of his and currently work for Rakes.Shia LaBeouf in Lawless (2012)Forrest and Howard later find, torture and kill the men and send one of their testicles to Rakes. Banner becomes a regular client of the brothers, who have expanded their operation with multiple large stills deep in the woods, increasing its profitability. Jack continues to court Bertha. Maggie decides to return to Chicago, but Forrest convinces her to stay and provides her with a spare room. They develop a romantic relationship. On a day trip, Jack decides to show Bertha the brothers’ secret operation, but they are followed and ambushed by Rakes and his men. Howard, Jack, Cricket and Bertha all flee. The police take Bertha home but leave Cricket to Rakes, who murders him.Tom Hardy and Jessica Chastain in Lawless (2012)After Cricket’s funeral, the sheriff of Franklin County warns the Bondurants that Rakes and his men are blockading the bridge out of town, with Wardell calling in Prohibition agents to shut down the county’s moonshine businesses. Jack speeds off in Cricket’s car to confront Rakes. Howard and Forrest quickly follow to provide backup for Jack, to Maggie’s chagrin. She reveals she had delivered him to the hospital after the attack and Forrest deduces that she had been assaulted as well. Jack arrives at the bridge but is wounded by Rakes. Howard and Forrest arrive and a shootout ensues, with Forrest and his driver also shot by Rakes. A large convoy of bootleggers then join the shootout on the brothers’ side. Rakes is about to finish off the wounded Forrest but is shot in the leg by Sheriff Hodges in an effort to halt the bloodshed. Rakes shoots Forrest several more times before trying to escape. Jack and Howard confront Rakes and execute him together.Shia LaBeouf and Mia Wasikowska in Lawless (2012)Following the end of Prohibition in 1933, Wardell is arrested on corruption charges while the Bondurants are all married — Jack to Bertha, Forrest to Maggie, and Howard to a Martinsville woman — and working in legitimate occupations. During a festive reunion at Jack’s house sometime later, Forrest drunkenly ambles to a frozen lake and falls into the freezing water. Although he drags himself out, he later dies of pneumonia, putting to rest the legend of his invincibility.Tom Hardy and Jessica Chastain in Lawless (2012)Overall this is a well acted and slightly over violent action drama with a good story.

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REVIEW: THE GREAT GATSBY

CAST

Leonardo DiCaprio (Catch Me if You Can)
Tobey Maguiree (Spider-man)
Carey Mulligan (Shame)
Joel Edgerton (Red Sparrow)
Elizabeth Debicki (Everest)
Isla Fisher (Bachelorette)
Jason Clarke (White House Down)
Amitabh Bachchan (Sholay)
Jack Thompson (Don’t Tell)
Adelaide Clemens (X-Men Origins: wolverine)
Callan McAuliffe (I Am Number Four)

Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire in The Great Gatsby (2013)In 1929, Nick Carraway, a World War I veteran, is receiving treatment for alcoholism at a psychiatric hospital. He talks about Jay Gatsby, the most hopeful man he had ever met. Nick’s doctor suggests that he writes his thoughts down, since writing is Nick’s passion. In the summer of 1922, Nick moves from the Midwest to New York after abandoning writing. He rents a small house in the North Shore village of West Egg, next to the mansion of Gatsby, a mysterious business magnate who often holds extravagant parties. One day, while Nick has dinner with his cousin, Daisy Buchanan, and her husband, Tom, he is introduced to Jordan Baker by Daisy, who hopes to make a match between them. When Nick returns home, he sees Gatsby standing on the dock, reaching towards the green light coming from the Buchanan dock.Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, and Carey Mulligan in The Great Gatsby (2013)Jordan tells Nick that Tom has a mistress who lives in the “valley of ashes”, an industrial dumping site between West Egg and The City. Nick and Tom visit the valley and stop at a garage owned by George Wilson and his wife, Myrtle, Tom’s mistress. Later, Nick receives an invitation to one of Gatsby’s parties. Upon arrival, Nick learns he is the only one to receive an invitation and none of the guests have ever met Gatsby. Nick encounters Jordan, and both meet Gatsby. Gatsby offers Nick a ride to town for lunch. On the way, Gatsby tells Nick he is an Oxford graduate and war hero from a wealthy Midwestern family. They go to a speakeasy, where Gatsby introduces Nick to his business partner, Meyer Wolfsheim.Carey Mulligan in The Great Gatsby (2013)Jordan tells Nick that Gatsby had a relationship with Daisy years ago and is still in love with her, and that Gatsby threw parties in the hopes that Daisy would attend. Gatsby asks Nick to invite Daisy to tea. After an awkward reunion, Gatsby and Daisy begin an affair. Gatsby is dismayed when Daisy wants to run away with him and wants her to get a divorce. He asks Nick and Jordan to accompany him to the Buchanan home, where he and Daisy plan to tell Tom that Daisy is leaving him. During the luncheon, Tom becomes suspicious of Gatsby and Daisy, but Daisy stops Gatsby from revealing anything to Tom and suggests they all go to the Plaza Hotel. Tom drives Nick and Jordan in Gatsby’s car, while Gatsby drives Daisy in Tom’s car. Tom stops for gas at George’s garage, where George tells him that he and Myrtle are moving and that he suspects Myrtle is unfaithful.Tobey Maguire and Elizabeth Debicki in The Great Gatsby (2013)At the Plaza, Gatsby tells Tom of his affair with Daisy. Tom accuses Gatsby of having never attended Oxford and having made his fortune through bootlegging with mobsters. Daisy says she loves Gatsby but cannot bring herself to say she never loved Tom. Eventually, both Gatsby and Daisy leave. After fighting with George over her infidelity, Myrtle runs into the street and is fatally struck by Gatsby’s car after mistaking it for Tom’s. After learning about Myrtle’s death, Tom tells George that the car belongs to Gatsby and that he suspects Gatsby was Myrtle’s lover. Nick deduces Daisy was the driver, though Gatsby intends to take the blame. Nick overhears Daisy accepting Tom’s promise to take care of everything, but he does not tell Gatsby. Gatsby admits to Nick that he was born penniless; his real name is James Gatz, and he had asked Daisy to wait for him until he had made something of himself.Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan in The Great Gatsby (2013)The next day, Gatsby hears the phone ringing and thinks it’s Daisy. Before he can answer it, he is shot and killed by George, who then commits suicide. Nick is the only person other than reporters to attend Gatsby’s funeral, as Daisy and Tom are leaving New York. The media paints Gatsby as Myrtle’s lover and killer. Disgusted with both the city and its inhabitants, Nick leaves after taking a final walk through Gatsby’s deserted mansion and reflecting on Gatsby’s ability to hope. In the sanatorium, Nick finishes typing his memoir, titling it The Great Gatsby.Leonardo DiCaprio in The Great Gatsby (2013)Overall, The Great Gatsby is a fantastically entertaining and enthralling film. It is horribly underrated as it is filled with awards worthy visuals, sets, costumes, direction, and performances. It is a great time at the movies for anyone that enjoys the classic novel or who haven’t even heard of it. Not only is this film dramatically satisfying, but also quite humorous and a spectacle like no other.

REVIEW: WHITE HOUSE DOWN

 

CAST

Channing Tatum (21 Jump Street)
Jamie Foxx (The Amazing Spider-Man 2)
Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Dark Knight)
Jason Clarke (The Great Gatsby)
Joey King (The Conjuring)
James Woods (Antother Day In Paradise)
Nicolas Wright (Independence Day: Resurgnce)
Jimmi Simpson (Westworld)
Michael Murphy (Batman Returns)
Rachelle Lefevre (Twilight)
Lance Reddick (Fringe)
Falk Hentschel (Legends of Tomorrow)
Anthony Lemke (Robocop: Prime Directives)
Patrick Sabongui (The Flash)

Channing Tatum in White House Down (2013)President of the United States James Sawyer (Jamie Foxx) generates controversy over a proposed peace treaty between the allied nations to remove military forces from the Middle East. Divorced US Capitol Police officer John Cale (Channing Tatum) is currently assigned to Speaker of the House Eli Raphelson (Richard Jenkins) after saving his nephew’s life during a tour in Afghanistan. Cale hopes to impress his politically obsessed daughter Emily (Joey King) by getting a job interview for the Secret Service Presidential Detail, while also getting tickets for the two of them to tour the White House. However, his interviewer, Secret Service Special Agent Carol Finnerty (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a former college acquaintance of his, believes him to be unqualified due to his disrespect towards authority, and subsequently deems him ineligible for the job.White House Down (2013)Disguised as a janitor, a man detonates a bomb at the center of the US Capitol building, causing the White House to be on lockdown. Finnerty is sent to escort the Speaker to an underground command center in the Pentagon, while Vice President of the United States Alvin Hammond (Michael Murphy) is taken aboard Air Force Two. At the same time, mercenaries led by Emil Stenz (Jason Clarke), having infiltrated the White House by disguising themselves as audio-visual repairmen, quickly overwhelm the Secret Service, take the tour group hostage and seize the White House. Cale manages to escape to go find his daughter, who was separated from him during the tour. Retiring Head of the Presidential Detail Martin Walker (James Woods) escorts Sawyer and his detail to the Presidential Emergency Operations Center. Once they gain access, Walker kills his detail, revealing himself to be the real leader of the attack on the White House. He wants vengeance against Sawyer after a botched black ops mission resulted in the death of his son. Cale kills a mercenary, takes his gun and radio, and rescues Sawyer.Jamie Foxx in White House Down (2013)Walker and Stenz bring in Skip Tyler (Jimmi Simpson) to hack into the defense system, but still require Sawyer to activate the nuclear football. One of the mercenaries, Carl Killick (Kevin Rankin), catches Emily recording a video of the mercenaries and takes her hostage. Cale and Sawyer contact the command structure, which uses Emily’s video to discover the identities of the mercenaries, who used to work for various government agencies. Cale and Sawyer try to escape via a tunnel but find the exit gate rigged with explosives. They are forced into the garage and escape in the presidential limo, which is attacked by Stenz and flips into the White House pool. After Sawyer and Cale are presumed dead in an explosion, Hammond is sworn in as the 47th President of the United States. Cale and Sawyer are still alive and learn that Hammond ordered an aerial incursion to take back the White House, but the mercenaries shoot down the choppers. Having already learned of Emily from the video, Stenz takes her to Walker in the Oval Office. Tyler finishes hacking into NORAD and launches a missile to shoot down Air Force Two, killing Hammond and everyone else on board. Raphelson is sworn in as the 48th President of the United States and orders an air strike on the White House.Jamie Foxx and Channing Tatum in White House Down (2013)Sawyer surrenders himself to Walker to save Emily. Walker attempts to force Sawyer to use the football to launch the nuclear missiles against the various cities in Iran; Walker blames the Iranian regime for killing his son in combat. Sawyer refuses at first, while Cale sets various rooms on fire as a diversion. Down in the tunnels, Tyler inadvertently triggers the explosives and dies when they detonate. After killing most of the remaining mercenaries and freeing the hostages, Cale confronts Stenz and blows him up with a grenade belt during a fight. Sawyer attacks Walker, who uses Sawyer’s handprint to activate the football. Walker locks Iran’s targets with the football when Cale enters the Oval Office by crashing a reinforced Chevrolet through the wall. When Walker reaches to launch the missiles, Cale violently opens fire on Walker with the car’s Gatling gun, violently killing Walker who is thrown against the wall in the gunfire. Emily waves a presidential flag on the front lawn, convincing the incoming fighter planes to call off the air strike. Raphelson is revealed to have conspired with Walker in orchestrating the attack. Sawyer has Raphelson arrested for treason and names Cale as his new special agent and takes him and Emily on a personal aerial tour of DC.Channing Tatum in White House Down (2013)Great, silly, cheesy action film! Suspend your disbelief and you will have one hell of a good time.

REVIEW: EVEREST

CAST

Jason Clarke (Dawn of The Planet of The Apes)
Jake Gyllenhaal (Donnie Darko)
Josh Brolin (Deadpool 2)
Robin Wright (Wonder Woman)
John Hawkes ((Winter’s Bone)
Sam Worthington (Clash of The Titans)
Keira Knightley (King Arthur)
Tom Wright (Top of The Lake)
Martin Henderson (The Ring)
Elizabeth Debicki (Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 2)
Naoko Mori (Torchwood)

Josh Brolin in Everest (2015)In May 1996 several commercial expeditions at base camp of Mount Everest prepare for a climb to the summit. Rob Hall, who popularized commercial Everest missions, leads Adventure Consultants; Scott Fischer is chief guide for Rob’s rival, Mountain Madness. Rob’s clients include Beck Weathers, an experienced climber; Doug Hansen, a former mailman pursuing his dream; climbing veteran Yasuko Namba, who hopes to complete her final Seven Summits ascent; and Outside magazine journalist Jon Krakauer. Helen Wilton manages Rob’s base camp. A month earlier in New Zealand, Rob says goodbye to his pregnant wife Jan and promises he will be home for the birth. At base camp Rob receives a fax from her, informing him their baby is a girl. He wants to name her Sarah, but Jan disagrees.Keira Knightley in Everest (2015)Worried about climber crowding, Rob persuades Scott to cooperate to reduce delays. On the summit attempt, Rob’s group departs Camp IV before dawn, planning to complete the ascent and turn around by 2 pm, the latest safe time for return before nightfall. The group is delayed over an hour after discovering guide ropes are not installed on upper reaches of the climb. Beck has eyesight problems and stops. Rob tells him to return if his condition does not improve in a half-hour. Scott hurries back down to camp to help another climber, but plans to re-ascend. Rob warns him about over-exertion. Rob reaches the summit on time and is joined by other climbers including Yasuko, who jubilantly plants her Japanese flag in the snow. Descending, Rob encounters Doug struggling just above the Hillary Step and orders him to turn back. Doug insists on continuing, saying he won’t get the chance again. Rob reluctantly agrees and they reach the summit two hours later, well past safe return time. At the summit Doug is exhausted and increasingly suffering from altitude sickness. Also at the top is Scott, exhausted and increasingly ill from high-altitude pulmonary edema.Jake Gyllenhaal in Everest (2015)As Rob helps Doug descend, a blizzard strikes the mountain and Doug’s oxygen bottle runs out, causing him to suffer hypoxia. No extra bottles are stored on the route where Rob asked and he radios Helen to send someone up with oxygen. Doug, left alone briefly by Rob, semi-consciously unclips himself from the guide rope and walks unsteadily along the narrow path. He silently topples to his death a moment later. Scott’s condition worsens. He tells fellow climbers to continue descending without him. He lies down and later dies. Returning climbers reach Beck, his vision still impaired, but they all become lost as the blizzard obliterates the trail. Three climbers go for help, leaving Beck and Yasuko behind.Jason Clarke in Everest (2015)Guide Andy ‘Harold’ Harris reaches Rob with spare oxygen, but it is frozen shut. They huddle in place in the storm. While Rob sleeps, Andy hallucinates, a danger the camp doctor warned of. He strips off his outer clothing and slides off the mountainside to his death. In the morning, Rob radios Helen that Doug and Andy are gone and that his hands and feet are frozen. Helen calls Jan, hoping Rob will respond to her voice. Jan tells Rob that he must start moving. Rob tells her he is cold but comfortable and asks her to name their baby Sarah. He dies soon after. Returning climbers tell the camp that Beck and Yasuko are stranded. The weather, however, makes rescue impossible. Helen calls Beck’s wife, Peach, and informs her of the situation. In the morning, Beck miraculously awakens, sees Yasuko’s corpse and stumbles back to camp alone, severely frostbitten and in dire need of medical help. Peach calls the American Embassy and organizes a helicopter rescue. Nepal Army pilot Lt. Col. Madan Khatri Chhetri successfully flies a harrowing high altitude mission to evacuate Beck. Meanwhile, one of Scott’s guides, Anatoli, finds his body and moves it off the trail.Everest (2015)Returning home, Helen has an emotional reunion with Jan, who later gives birth and names her daughter Sarah. Beck returns to his family, heavily bandaged. Closing titles reveal that he lost both hands and nose to severe frostbite and that Rob’s body remains on Everest.Overall, Everest gave me exactly what I wanted. It was intense, emotionally powerful, and the visuals were beautiful. It’s not perfectly structured, but it sure is engaging. As someone who has studied the mountain, this offers a brutal look into how much time and energy is out into a trip to Everest, and how quickly things can go wrong. Definitely worth seeing.

REVIEW: WALL STREET: MONEY NEVER SLEEPS

CAST

Michael Douglas (Traffic)
Shia LaBeouf (Eagle Eye)
Carey Mulligan (Drive)
Josh Brolin (Planet Terror)
Frank Langella (Masters of The Universe)
Jason Clarke (Terminator Genisys)
Charlie Sheen (Rated X)
Eli Wallach (The Godfather- Part III)
Susan Sarandon (Tammy)

Shia LaBeouf in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)In 2001, Gordon Gekko is released from prison after serving time for insider trading and securities fraud. In 2008, Gekko is promoting his new book Is Greed Good?, warning about a coming economic downturn. His estranged daughter, Winnie, runs a small, non-profit news website and is dating Jacob Moore, a top trader at Keller Zabel Investments (KZI). Jacob, a protégé of KZI managing director Louis Zabel, has been raising money for Dr. Masters and his fusion research project, which might create abundant clean energy. Jake is also financially assisting his mother, Sylvia, who has quit nursing to speculate in residential real estate.Michael Douglas and Shia LaBeouf in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)In the early stages of the downturn predicted by Gekko, KZI’s stock loses more than 50% of its value. Louis Zabel tries to arrange a bailout for KZI from other Wall Street banks but is blocked by Bretton James, head of rival firm Churchill Schwartz (Church), which KZI had refused to help during the dot-com bubble years earlier. Despondent, Zabel commits suicide by jumping in front of a subway train. A distraught Jacob proposes marriage to Winnie, who accepts. Jacob attends a lecture given by Gekko and introduces himself. Gekko tells him that KZI’s collapse started when Bretton spread rumors of KZI having toxic debt. Jacob and Gekko arrange a trade: Jacob will try to reconcile Winnie’s and Gekko’s relationship, and Gekko will gather information to destroy Bretton for his actions against KZI and for providing evidence against Gekko years ago. In revenge, Jake illegally manipulates the market by spreading rumors about the nationalization of a foreign oil field which Church has invested in. The company loses $120 million, but Bretton gives Jake a job, impressed by his initiative. Jake further impresses Bretton when he convinces Chinese investors to invest in the fusion project through Church.Michael Douglas, Josh Brolin, and Shia LaBeouf in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)Jake attends a $10,000-a-seat fundraiser with Winnie, buying a seat for Gekko to facilitate a “chance” meeting. Gekko confronts Bretton about what he did to him and to KZI. Bretton replies that no one cares what Gekko thinks anymore. Gekko also bumps into Bud Fox, and they discuss their shared experience going to jail. Gekko follows Winnie outside, where she explains why she blames him for everything that went wrong, stemming from his affairs and her brother Rudy’s suicide. Gekko claims he worked, from prison, to get the best therapists and even paid off a drug dealer to stop selling to Rudy, who died from an overdose. Winnie forgives him.Shia LaBeouf and Carey Mulligan in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)As the financial crisis accelerates, Bretton and business mentor Julius Steinhardt advise federal regulators to buy their multibillion-dollar subprime loans. As real estate collapses, Jake helps out Sylvia with his own money. Shortly after Winnie informs Jake that she is expecting their first child, Jake learns that Bretton is diverting the Chinese investment into underperforming solar panels, which are not a threat to his large position in fossil fuels. Gekko soon informs Jake that Bretton had secretly made huge profits betting against subprime loans yet still accepted the feds massive bailout. Gekko proposes using a $100 million trust fund account, which he hid in Switzerland for Winnie in the 1980s, to fund the fusion research. She signs the money over to Jake, not knowing he would entrust it to Gekko to complete the investment. When Gekko betrays them by leaving the country with the money, Winnie breaks up with Jake. Gekko sets up a hugely successful investment company in London, capitalized by the $100 million. Jake visits him to propose a new trade: Winnie gets her money back, and Gekko can participate in his grandchild’s life. Gekko refuses.Shia LaBeouf in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)Jake pieces together all the details of Bretton’s dealings, from KZI’s collapse through to his unnecessary government bailout of Bretton’s company. He gives the information to Winnie, telling her that revealing it will bring her website publicity and credibility. When Winnie runs the story, Bretton finds himself under intense government scrutiny while his company’s investors move all their money to Gekko’s firm, which recently posted a $1.1 billion return on investment. Jake has successfully reunited with Winnie in New York, when late one night Gekko appears, apologizes and tells them that he has anonymously deposited $100 million into the fusion research account. One year later, Gekko, Sylvia and other family and friends attend the first birthday party of Louis, Jacob and Winnie’s son.29825-001Not quite as good as the first Wall Street, but good enough in presenting a quintessential villain as an expository mouthpiece for the many failings of Western capitalism.

 

REVIEW: DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES

CAST
Andy Serkis (The Hobbit)
Jason Clarke (Terminator Salvation)
Gary Oldman (Robocop 2014)
Keri Russell (Waitress)
Toby Kebbell (Fantastic Four 2015)
Kodi Smith-McPhee (X-Men: Apocalypse)
Kirk Acevedo (Fringe)
Judy Greer (Ant-Man)
Ten years after the worldwide pandemic of the deadly ALZ-113 virus, or Simian Flu, human civilization is completely destroyed following martial law, civil unrest and the economic collapse of every country in the world. Over 90% of the human population has died in the pandemic, while apes with genetically enhanced intelligence have started to build a civilization of their own. Near the ruins of San Francisco, Caesar leads and governs an ape colony located in the Muir Woods. While walking through the forest, Caesar’s son Blue Eyes and his friend Ash encounter a human named Carver, who panics and shoots Ash, wounding him. Carver calls for the rest of his small party of armed survivors, led by a man named Malcolm, while Blue Eyes calls for the other apes. Caesar orders the humans to leave. The remaining humans in San Francisco, who are genetically immune to the virus, are living in a guarded and unfinished high-rise tower within the ruined city. Prompted by Koba, a scarred bonobo who holds a grudge against humans for his mistreatment, Caesar brings an army of apes to the city tower where he conveys the message that while the apes do not want war, they will fight to defend their home. He demands that the humans stay in their territory and states the apes will stay in theirs too.
Malcolm convinces his fellow leader Dreyfus to give him three days to reconcile with the apes to gain access to a hydroelectric dam in their territory, which could provide long-term power to the city. Dreyfus, distrustful of the apes, arms survivors using an abandoned armory. Malcolm then travels into the ape village, but is captured by gorilla guards, who bring him to Caesar. After a tense discussion, Caesar allows Malcolm to work on the dam’s generator, if they surrender their guns. As Malcolm, his wife Ellie and son Alexander work, they bond with the apes. Mutual distrust of both sides gradually subsides; the truce is endangered when Caesar’s infant son Milo discovers a shotgun smuggled in by Carver, but the two sides reconcile when Ellie offers to help treat Caesar’s ill wife Cornelia with antibiotics. Meanwhile, Koba discovers the armory and confronts Caesar, questioning his allegiance and taunting him over his “love” for humans. In response, Caesar severely beats Koba, but at the last moment refrains from killing him; adhering to his philosophy that “ape not kill ape”, Caesar hesitantly forgives Koba. The furious Koba then returns to the armory, where he steals an assault rifle and murders two human guards. Returning home, he secretly kills Carver, stealing his lighter and cap.
The dam is eventually repaired, restoring power to the city. During the celebration, Koba sets fire to the apes’ home, then, unseen to anyone else, shoots Caesar in the shoulder, causing him to fall from the settlement’s main tree. In the panic of the loss of the alpha and the fire, Koba takes charge, and having planted Carver’s cap at the scene of the shooting, urging the apes to fight against the humans. Malcolm’s group hides as Koba leads the apes into San Francisco. The apes plunder the armory and charge the tower’s gates. Despite heavy casualties, the apes breach the gates using a hijacked tank, overrun the tower and imprison all the humans as Dreyfus flees underground. When Ash refuses Koba’s orders to kill unarmed humans, citing Caesar’s teachings, Koba kills Ash and imprisons all those known to be loyal to Caesar.
Malcolm’s group finds Caesar barely alive and transport him to his former home in San Francisco. Caesar reveals to Malcolm that Koba shot him, realizing his notion that apes were better than humans was naïve and that apes can be as violent as humans. Malcolm leaves the group and heads to the city to find medical supplies for Caesar. While looking for medical supplies, Malcolm encounters Blue Eyes; disenchanted with Koba’s leadership, the young ape spares Malcolm’s life and returns to the house with him, where he reconciles with his father. Caesar grows nostalgic watching a video clip from his childhood of his former owner and father figure Will Rodman on his old camcorder as Malcolm learns of Caesar’s past. A plan is put into action: Blue Eyes returns to the tower and frees the caged humans and apes loyal to Caesar, then Malcolm leads the apes, unseen, into the tower from below. After accomplishing this, Malcolm encounters Dreyfus, who informs him that his men have made radio contact with military survivors at a base to the north, who are on their way to help fight the apes. Caesar confronts Koba at the top of the tower, but as they battle, Dreyfus detonates C-4 charges he has planted beneath the tower. The resulting explosion kills him and collapses part of the tower. Caesar overpowers Koba, with Koba hanging over the edge of the tower. Pleading for his life, Koba reminds Caesar that apes do not kill apes, but Caesar states that Koba is not an ape and lets him fall to his death.
Malcolm informs Caesar of the impending arrival of human military reinforcements and both lament the lost opportunity for peace. Caesar tells Malcolm that the humans will never forgive the apes for the war they started and advises him to leave with his family for safety as the two of them acknowledge their friendship. As Malcolm disappears into the shadows, Caesar stands before a kneeling mass of apes, awaiting the war to come.
The exhilarating action scenes and set pieces are of a grander scale than in ‘Rise’ and with the use of some truly spectacular digital effects that are as realistic as any you will see, makes for an absorbing visual feast. But the finest achievements of the film lie in it’s thoughtful, emotional core, that cleverly aligns our sympathies with both apes and humans and makes for a moving and thoroughly rewarding experience that is far removed from the one-dimensionality of today’s brainless blockbusters.

REVIEW: ZERO DARK THIRTY

CAST

Jessica Chastain (The Huntsman)
Jason Clarke (Dawn of The Planet of The Apes)
Jennifer Ehle Fifty Shades Darker)
Kyle Chandler(Super 8)
Mark Strong (John Carter)
James Gandolfini (KIllThem Softly)
Harold Perrineau (Constantine)
Mark Duplass (Greenberg)
Fredric Lehne (Lost)
John Barrowman (Arrow)
Jessie Collins (Revolution)
Édgar Ramírez (Joy)
Fares Fares (KIll Your Darlings)
Scott Adkins (X-Men Origins)
Joel Edgerton (Exodus: Gods and Kings)
Chris Pratt (Jurassic World)
Callan Mulvey (300: Rise of an Empire)
Taylor Kinney (The Forest)
Mike Colter (Luke Cage)
Frank Grillo (The Purge 2 & 3)
Christopher Stanley (Argo)
Stephen Dillane (Game of Thrones)
Mark Valley (Human Target)

In 2003, Maya, a young U.S. Central Intelligence Agency analyst, has spent her entire brief career, since being recruited for the agency, focused solely on gathering intelligence related to al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, following the terrorist organization’s September 11 attacks on the United States in 2001. She is reassigned to the U.S. embassy in Pakistan to work with a fellow officer, Dan. During the first months of her assignment, Maya often accompanies Dan to a black site for his continuing interrogation of Ammar al-Baluchi, a detainee with suspected links to several of the hijackers in the September 11 attacks. Dan subjects the detainee to approved torture interrogation techniques, i.e., stress positions, hooding, subjection to deafening noise, sleep deprivation, waterboarding, and humiliation.After failing to get al-Baluchi to give up information on an attack in Saudi Arabia, he and Maya eventually trick Ammar into divulging that an old acquaintance, who is using the alias Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti, is working as a personal courier for bin Laden. Other detainees corroborate this, with some claiming Abu Ahmed delivers messages between bin Laden and a man known as Abu Faraj al-Libbi. In 2005, Abu Faraj is apprehended by the CIA and local police in Pakistan. Maya is allowed to interrogate him, but he continues to deny knowing a courier with such a name. Maya interprets this as an attempt by Faraj to conceal the importance of Abu Ahmed.Maya spends the next five years sifting through masses of data and information, using a variety of technology, hunches, and sharing insights. She concentrates on finding Abu Ahmed, theorizing that he is the best way to find bin Laden. In 2008, she is caught up in the Islamabad Marriott Hotel bombing. Dan, departing on reassignment, warns Maya about a possible change in politics, suggesting that the new administration may prosecute those officers who had been involved in interrogations. Maya’s fellow officer and friend Jessica is killed in the 2009 Camp Chapman attack. That same day, a grieving Maya receives an interrogation video of a Jordanian detainee, who claims the man previously identified from a photograph as Abu Ahmed is a man he personally buried in 2001. Several CIA officers – Maya’s seniors – conclude the target who could be Abu Ahmed is long dead, and that they have searched a false trail for nine years.Sometime later, a fellow analyst researching Moroccan intelligence archives comes to Maya and suggests that Abu Ahmed is Ibrahim Sayeed, a suspect who had come to CIA attention shortly after 9/11. Realizing her lead may still be alive, Maya contacts Dan, now a senior officer at the CIA headquarters. She theorizes that the CIA’s supposed photograph of Abu Ahmed was actually of his brother, Habib, as he was said to bear a striking resemblance to Ibrahim and was known to have been killed in Afghanistan, and points out that Abu Ahmed’s death in 2001 contradicts Ammar’s account.Dan uses CIA funds to purchase a Lamborghini for a Kuwaiti prince in exchange for the telephone number of Sayeed’s mother. The CIA traces calls to the mother and quickly identifies one suspicious caller who persistently uses tradecraft to avoid detection. Maya concludes that the caller is Abu Ahmed, and with the support of her supervisors, numerous CIA operatives are deployed to search for and identify the caller. They locate him in his vehicle and eventually track him to a large urban compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, near the Pakistan Military Academy. As Maya leaves her residence one morning, she is attacked by multiple gunmen, but the bullet-proof glass in her car saves her. Knowing that she has been blacklisted by al-Qaeda and there will be more attempts on her life if she stays, her superiors remove her from the field and send Maya home to Washington, D.C.The CIA puts the compound under heavy surveillance for several months, using a variety of methods. Although they are confident from circumstantial evidence that bin Laden is there, they cannot prove this photographically. Meanwhile, the President’s National Security Advisor tasks the CIA with producing a plan to capture or kill bin Laden if it can be confirmed that he is in the compound. An agency team devises a plan to use two top-secret stealth helicopters (developed at Area 51) flown by the Army’s 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment to secretly enter Pakistan and insert members of DEVGRU and the CIA’s SAD/SOG to raid the compound. Before briefing President Barack Obama, the CIA Director holds a meeting of his top officials, who assess only a 60–80% chance that bin Laden, rather than another high-value target, is living in the compound. Maya, also in attendance, states the chances are 100%.The raid is approved and is executed on May 2, 2011. Although execution is complicated when one of the helicopters crashes, the SEALs gain entry and kill a number of people within the compound, among them a man on the compound’s top floor who is revealed to be bin Laden. They bring bin Laden’s body back to a U.S. base in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, where Maya visually confirms the identity of the corpse. Maya is last seen boarding a military transport to return to the U.S. and sitting in its vast interior as its only passenger. The pilot asks her where she wants to go, but she does not reply. As the plane’s hangar door closes, Maya begins to cry softly.Considering the subject matter of Zero Dark Thirty, a film that follows the CIA’s decade-long hunt for Osama Bin Laden, it’d be little surprise were Hollywood to knock the edges off a little to make it easier for a broader audience. But director Kathryn Bigelow makes no such concession. Off the back of her Oscar-winning feature The Hurt Locker, her movie is a pulls-no-punches, under-your-skin drama. As such, it’s not always the easiest film to watch, but it is an utterly compelling one.