REVIEW: THE EAST

CAST

Brit Marling (The QA)
Alexander Skarsgård (The Legend fo Tarzan)
Ellen Page (Juno)
Toby Kebbell (Fantastic Four)
Shiloh Fernandez (Red Riding Hood)
Julia Ormond (Che)
Patricia Clarkson (Easy A)
Jason Ritter (The Intervention)
Danielle Macdonald (Trust Me)
Billy Slaughter (Click)
Wilbur Fitzgerald (Freejack)
Aldis Hodge (Hidden Figures)
Jamey Sheridan (Arrow)

Jane, an operative for the private intelligence firm Hiller Brood, is assigned by her boss Sharon to infiltrate The East, an underground activist, anarchist and ecologist organization that has launched several attacks against corporations in an attempt to expose their corruption. Calling herself Sarah, she joins local drifters in hitching rides on trains, and when one drifter, Luca, helps her escape from the police, she identifies the symbol of The East hanging from Luca’s car mirror. Sarah self-inflicts an arm injury that she tells Luca was caused in the escape so he can get medical attention for her. He takes her to an abandoned house in the woods where members of The East live and one of the members, Doc, treats her cut.Sarah is given two nights to recover before she must leave the squat. At an elaborate dinner involving straitjackets, Sarah is tested and fails. Exposing how selfishly she and many others live their lives. Sarah is caught one night when spying by the deaf Eve and has a conversation in sign language with her. Sarah tells Eve that she is an undercover agent and threatens Eve with jail if she stays with the group; Eve leaves the next morning. Sarah is recruited to fill the missing member’s role on a “jam,” which is an old fashioned term for a direct action. After seeing the effectiveness of the pharmaceutical jam, compounded by her growing attraction to charismatic Benji (Alexander Skarsgård), Sarah gradually questions the moral underpinnings of her undercover duty. Sarah reluctantly participates in The East’s next jam and comes to learn that each member of The East has been personally damaged by corporate activities. For example, Doc has been poisoned by a fluoroquinolone antibiotic and his neurosystem is degenerating. The East infiltrates a fancy party for the senior executives of the pharmaceutical company responsible for Doc’s poisoning and puts a strong dose of the risky antibiotic into everyone’s champagne. The East announce this action via YouTube and over time one executive’s mind and body begins to degenerate as a side effect of the antibiotic, revealing publicly the extreme risks of the drug.Another East member, Izzy (Ellen Page) is the daughter of a petrochemical CEO. The group uses the father/daughter connection to gain intimate access to the CEO and forces him to bathe in the waterway he has been using as a toxic dumping ground. This jam goes wrong when security guards arrive and shoot Izzy in the back as she and the others flee. Back at the squat, because of his poisoning, Doc’s hands tremble too much for him to perform surgery on Izzy. Sarah offers to do it for him and he tells her what to do. She manages to remove the bullet from Izzy’s abdomen, but Izzy dies and is buried near The East’s house.Even though Sarah and Benji have grown closer and Sarah implores him to just disappear, he insists that they go together to complete the final jam. Sarah refuses at first but finally gives in and the two begin a long drive, during which Sarah falls asleep. When she awakens, she realizes that Benji is driving her to the Hiller Brood headquarters outside Washington, D.C. He reveals that he has always suspected her of being a Hiller Brood operative, and that Luca also thought this, but brought her in as a test. Benji wants Sarah to obtain a NOC list of Hiller Brood agents all over the world, which will be The East’s third and final jam, to “watch” them. Having successfully obtained the NOC list using her cell phone’s memory card, Sarah runs into Sharon in the hall. She confronts Sharon about the firm’s activities, thus revealing her new allegiances. Sharon has Sarah’s cellphone confiscated as she leaves the building. As Hiller Brood was sharing information about their activities with the FBI, The East’s hideout is raided and Doc is arrested. He sacrifices himself to ensure the getaway of the remaining members. Sarah tells Benji she has failed to get the NOC list. Benji reveals he means to use the list to expose publicly all the Hiller Brood agents. Since they are undercover, however, it is likely they could be killed. Sarah chooses not to go on the run with Benji. She and Benji part at a truck-stop as Benji heads out of the country. In truth, Sarah has the NOC list (because it was not on her phone, she had swallowed the memory card instead). It is clear that her time undercover with The East has changed her. The film ends with an epilogue of her personally contacting her former coworkers (those undercover) and attempting to demonstrate what nefarious corporate crimes Hiller Brood clients want to protect. She hopes to change each operative’s mind about their undercover activities and perhaps join her in ecological activism. She is paying tribute to the things The East believes in and attempting to make a difference in her own way, without causing harm to anyone.In spite of occasional misfires, the screenplay is exceptional especially in its efficiency: there is so much going on that there isn’t much time to devote to individual characters or relationships – Marling and Ritter’s suffers the most – but Marling and Batmanglij make every second count as each line is weighted with enough subtext to tell us the stories implicitly and thoroughly nevertheless. The major characters are very well-drawn; even though we only get glimpses into Skarsgard, Page and Kebbell’s pasts, we feel we know them inside and out. The film moves along at a fluid, adrenaline-pumping pace and the tension is genuine and organic rather than forced – the audience’s investment in the story grows from affection for the characters and connection with their ideals rather than cheap editing tricks, manipulative music and stylized lighting or sound. Music is used so sparsely that when The National’s “About Today” plays over a silent montage of Marling’s character breaking down, its emotional weight surprises and stuns. The ending is comparatively underwhelming, but the overall package is one of the best, most provocative thrillers in years.

REVIEW: SUPERSTORE – SEASON 5

Starring

America Ferrera (Ugly Betty)
Ben Feldman (As Above So Below)
Lauren Ash (The Disaster Artist)
Colton Dunn (Bad Internet)
Nico Santos (2 Broke Girls)
Nichole Bloom (Project X)
Kaliko Kauahi (Hall Pass)
Mark McKinney (3rd Rock From The Sun)

Danny Gura, America Ferrera, Ben Feldman, Colton Dunn, Kaliko Kauahi, and Nichole Bloom in Superstore (2015)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Jon Barinholtz (The Oath)
Kelly Schumann (Hot In Cleveland)
Irene White (Work/Friends)
Carla Renata (Living Biblically)
Amir M. Korangy (Batman)
Michael Bunin (The Soloist)
Jerry Minor (Anchorman)
Chris Grace (Broad City)
Heidi Gardner (Bratz)
Isabella Day (Cristela)
Kelly Stables (Two and a Half Men)
Justina Machado (One Day At a Time)
Cosme Flores (Power Rangers Beast Morphers)
Johnny Pemberton (Son of Zorn)
Fred Armisen (Easy A)
Ian Gomez (Supergirl)
Dean Norris (Breaking Bad)
Linda Porter (Dude, Where’s My Car?)
Scott MacArthur (The Mick)
Nancy Lenehan (Sex Tape)
Kerri Kenney (Reno 911!)
Henry Zebrowski (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Meagen Fay (That’s My Boy)
Fred Melamed (Casual)
Patty Guggenheim (Florida Girls)
Jason Ritter (Freddy vs Jason)

Ben Feldman and Lauren Ash in Testimonials (2019)I was actually surprised by how funny this show turned out to be. I was late in the game watching it but I watched the previous  seasons in two weeks and I was really happy when I learnt it was renewed for season 5.Mark McKinney and Nichole Bloom in Forced Hire (2019)I  really enjoy Amy (Ferrera) and I sympathize with her struggle having to choose between bettering your personal life and giving into the pressure of the ongoing demands from retail jobs. I’ve worked in retail for 2 years now and as someone similar to Amy, hardworking, organized, etc.. you become very valuable to the company and they try to suck you in until before you know it you’re there for 20 years.

Mall Closing (2019)So I thought it was awesome how the show touched on that. I think the cast is great, they remind me of very exaggerated versions of people I’ve met and worked with in a store. I think the portrayal of the customers is also very funny and honestly, not that far fetch.America Ferrera in Mall Closing (2019)I’ve come across some crazy whackjob customers in my very few 3 years. It would be awesome to see more customer encounters in the next season because without a doubt they can be one of the most irritating things about working a retail job. Garret is crazy talented and just hilarious, hes probably my favorite part about the show.Mark McKinney, Ben Feldman, Colton Dunn, Kelly Schumann, and Nichole Bloom in Trick-or-Treat (2019)But overall I think Superstore has a great series and season 5 just continues to bring laugh  after laugh from a great talented cast, It will be interested to see what happens next season with the departure of Amy (Ferrera), she will be missed and it will be even more interesting to see how the characters/cast deal with the situation. This series goes from strength to strength is a must see for comedy fans.

 

REVIEW: W.

CAST

Josh Brolin (Wall Street 2)
Elizabeth Banks (Power Rangers)
Ioan Gruffudd (Ringer)
Toby Jones (The Mist)
Jeffrey Wright (Westworld)
Thandie Newton (Mission Impossible II)
Scott Glenn (The Silence of The Lambs)
Richard Dreyfuss (Jaws)
Bruce McGill (Collateral)
Jesse Bradford (Swimfan)
James Cromwell (Star Trek: First Contact)
Marley Shelton (Planet Terror)
Ellen Burstyn (Interstellar)
Colin Hanks (King Kong)
Jason Ritter (Freddy Vs Jason)
Noah Wylie (Donnie Darko)
Rob Corddry (Warm Bodies)
Stacy Keach (The Bourne Legacy)
Brent Sexton (God Friended Me)
Jonathan Breck (Jeepers Creepers)

In 1966, George W. Bush endures an initiation by his fellow Yale University students as a Delta Kappa Epsilon pledge. During the hazing, Bush successfully recalls the names and nicknames of many of the fraternity members, and states that his family’s political legacy is one in which he has no interest. After Bush is jailed in New Jersey for rowdiness following a football game, his father, George H. W. Bush states that he will help Bush for the last time. Following his graduation from Yale, Bush takes a job at an oil patch back in Texas, but he quits after a few weeks. In 1972, “Junior” reveals his real aspirations in a father-son talk: working in professional baseball. Bush is accepted into Harvard Business School with the help of his father. After heavy drinking, Bush crashes his car into his family estate and challenges his father to a fistfight. His brother, Jeb, stops the fight.In 1977, Bush announces he will run for Congress to represent Texas’s 19th district. At a barbecue, Bush meets his future wife, Laura Lane Welch. During a debate, Bush is criticized by his Democratic opponent, Kent Hance, who says that Bush is not a real Texan and has spent campaign contributions to throw an alcohol-fueled party for underage Texas Tech University students. Bush does poorly in the debate and loses the election, but with the highest number of votes for a Republican candidate in the state’s history.In 1986, Bush becomes a born-again Christian, gives up alcohol, and mends his relationship with his father. The elder Bush invites him to assist with what becomes his 1988 presidential campaign, although Bush himself suspects that he only was asked because Jeb was busy. Bush’s political advisor, Karl Rove, tells him that he has the potential to make a name for himself. Bush becomes a front office executive of the Texas Rangers baseball team, while his father oversees the victory of the Gulf War. Although Allied forces win the war within 100 hours, the elder Bush decides not to invade Iraq to depose Saddam Hussein. After his father loses the 1992 presidential election to Bill Clinton, Bush blames the loss on his decision not to depose Saddam.In 1994, Bush runs for Governor of Texas despite his father’s opposition. In 1999, he makes a successful bid to become President. Following the September 11 attacks in 2001, Bush labels Iran, Iraq, and North Korea as the “axis of evil”. In 2002, Bush searches for evidence that Saddam was creating nuclear weapons, and has the army prepared. All of Bush’s White House staff supports him except Secretary of State Colin Powell, who states that planning to invade Iraq would destabilize the country. Powell is generally overruled by Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who insist that the war would secure the United States’ status as sole global superpower while spreading democracy throughout the Middle East.In March 2003, the U.S. invades Iraq and the war appears to be a success, and Bush gives his “Mission Accomplished” speech on an aircraft carrier. When it becomes clear that there are no weapons of mass destruction within Iraq, Bush learns that the responsibility for finding them had been relegated far down the chain of command. Bush discovers that Saddam gambled his regime and his life on the assumption that Bush was bluffing. Bush is asked in a White House press conference what mistakes he made as President, a question that leaves him flustered and speechless. That night, Bush has a nightmare in which his father accuses him of ruining his family’s legacy, which the elder Bush claims was intended for Jeb. Bush dreams of himself playing center field at a baseball game. Bush attempts to catch a pop fly, but it disappears.Oliver Stone directs this dramatisation of the life and eight-year presidency of George W Bush. The film features an all-star cast playing the White House’s most high-profile figures, with Josh Brolin as the president, Elizabeth Banks as Laura Bush, Richard Dreyfuss as Vice President Dick Cheney, Jeffrey Wright as Secretary of State Colin Powell, Thandie Newton as Condoleezza Rice and James Cromwell as George Bush Senior. Like other Oliver Stone movies, it polarised opinion almost immediately on its release. While some have seen the film as a two-hour character assassination, others have complained that it is too sympathetic towards the president. It’s a film that each and everyone has to make up their own mind about.

REVIEW: SWIMFAN

CAST

Jesse Bradford (Bring It On)
Erika Christensen (Traffic)
Shri Appleby (Roswell)
Kate Burton (The Ice Storm)
Clayne Crawford (Lethal Weapon TV)
Jason Ritter (7 Minutes)
Kia Goodwin (Barbershop)
James DeBello (Cabin Fever)
Dan Hedaya (Robots)

Ben Cronin is a star swimmer of his high school’s swim team. His coach informs him that Stanford University scouts will appear at next week’s swim meet. Ben and his girlfriend Amy discuss their future plans. Amy desires to attend school in Rhode Island but explains she will go to school in California to stay close to Ben. The next day, Ben nearly runs his car into Madison Bell and gives her a ride home as an apology. Later, he realizes that Madison left her notebook in his car. The notebook is filled with music notes, and Ben spots his initials written inside a staff. When he returns the notebook, he meets Madison’s cousin, Christopher. Madison appears stressed and explains she has not eaten, so Ben offers to take her to dinner. At dinner, Ben tells Madison about his girlfriend, but Madison does not appear too bothered and explains that she has a boy waiting for her in New York City.Ben shares some of his past with Madison; he began doing drugs five years ago, which led to crime and six months in juvenile hall, which “saved him” because he ultimately realized his passion and talent for swimming. Although Ben tries to end the date, Madison convinces him to go to the pool. Her aggressive flirtation lures Ben in, and despite his initial hesitancy, the two have sex. Both agree to remain friends and not to discuss their encounter. The next night, Ben goes to a party at Amy’s house. Amy introduces Ben to her new friend, who turns out to be Madison. The two pretend to have not met one another. Shortly after, Madison obsesses over Ben—she stops by his house to meet his mom and bombards Ben with e-mails and instant messages. Ben realizes her unhealthy behavior and demands she leave him alone. Ben’s lying eats at him, but, before he confesses, Madison tells Amy first. Madison dates Ben’s rival teammate, Josh. Right before their biggest swim competition, Ben is disqualified for having steroids in his urine. Ben is outraged and suspects Madison had Josh set him up. Ben confronts Josh about the drug test, revealing his suspicion. Days later, Madison accidentally calls Josh by Ben’s name while they are kissing in a car. Josh realizes that Madison’s obsession with Ben is real and tells her off.200_sBen tries to tell Amy everything, but she disbelieves him. The next day, Ben goes to the pool, where he finds Josh dead. The police suspect that Ben is to blame for Josh’s murder. To prove his innocence, Ben breaks into Madison’s room to find evidence. He discovers a bottle of steroids and a creepy shrine of his personal belongings she has been secretly stashing. Christopher warns Ben of a similar case regarding a man named Jake Donnelly. When Ben visits Jake in the hospital, a nurse tells him that Jake’s girlfriend Madison survived the crash.untitledMadison disguises herself as Ben and steals his car. She follows Amy home from school and runs Amy off the road, and again Ben is framed for the crime. That night at the hospital, Ben and a few friends record as Madison confesses her crime and intentions, resulting in Madison’s arrest. She escapes custody by stealing an officer’s gun and shooting the two policemen escorting her. She enters Ben’s house and forcibly takes Amy to the school’s swimming pool. As Ben watches, Madison throws a handcuffed and chairbound Amy into the pool. Madison attacks them with the handle of a pool cleaner, and Ben grabs one end, pulling her into the pool. As Madison does not know how to swim, she drowns while Ben frees Amy from her handcuffs and carries her out of the pool. Ben resuscitates Amy via mouth-to-mouth. Later, at a swim meet, Ben is a spectator. He goes outside to his car, where he and Amy kiss and drive away.The movie offers nothing new to the whole ‘stalker’ movie genre, and it is fairly straight-forward, predictable stuff. But the acting from the two leads is good, and ‘Swimfan’, despite a rather rushed-up ending, is a good teenage thriller.

REVIEW: THE WICKER MAN (2006)

CAST

Nicolas Cage (Gone in 60 Seconds)
Ellen Burstyn (The Exorcist)
Kate Beehan (The Return)
Leelee Sobieski (Road Kill)
Frances Conroy (How I Met Your Mother)
Molly Parker (Sunshine)
Diane Delano (KJeepers Creepers 2)
Aaron Eckhart (The Core)
Matthew Walker (Highlander: The Series)
James Franco (Your Highness)
Jason Ritter (Goliath)
Christine Willes (Dead Like Me)
Anna Von Hooft (Flash Gordon)
Kendall Cross (Caprica)
Monique Ganderton (Smallville)
Emily Holmes (Paycheck)

2-6Policeman Edward Malus (Nicolas Cage) receives news from his ex-fiancée, Willow Woodward (Kate Beahan), that her daughter, Rowan (Erika Shaye Gair), is missing. He travels to the Western United States and takes a ship cruise to a coastal area where he gets a pilot (Matthew Walker) to take him to an island off the coast of Washington State where a group of neo-pagans live.

The island is led by Sister Summersisle (Ellen Burstyn), an elderly woman who supposedly represents the goddess they worship. Sister Summersisle explains to Edward that her ancestors had left England to avoid persecution, only to settle near Salem and find renewed persecution in the Salem witch trials, before arriving on the island. Sister Summersisle explains that their population is predominantly female as they choose the strongest stock—evading Edward’s concern about the birth of unwanted males. The economy of the island relies on the production of local honey, which Edward learns has declined recently. Edward asks the villagers about Rowan, but they give him evasive answers. He later sees two men carrying a large bag that appears to be dripping blood, and then he finds a fresh, unmarked grave in the churchyard. The grave turns out to only contain a burned doll, but Edward finds Rowan’s sweater in the churchyard.
MV5BYmQyMzg1YzgtYmU1NC00YjlkLTlmMGYtZDdmNTdjNTY3MjA0XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyOTc5MDI5NjE@._V1_SY1000_SX1500_AL_At the village school, teacher Sister Rose (Molly Parker) tries to prevent Edward from seeing the class register. When he sees that Rowan’s name has been crossed out he becomes enraged at the teacher’s and Rowan’s classmates’ lies. Rose demands Edward talk outside and, after a short discussion of the island people’s view of death, Rose explains that Rowan is “letting it snow”. Edward asks how Rowan died and Sister Rose tells him first that “She’ll burn to death”. When Edward catches the tense she used, Sister Rose corrects herself quickly, saying, “She burned to death”, and rushes back to her class.
While questioning Willow about the grave, she reveals to Edward that Rowan is his daughter. As Edward searches through the island for clues and answers, he eventually grows to realise the community is a matriarchal dystopian society. On the day of the fertility rite, Edward frantically searches the village for Rowan. He attacks Sister Beech (Diane Delano), who has a bear costume for the ritual. Edward incapacitates Sister Honey (Leelee Sobieski), dons the bear suit, and joins the parade led by Sister Summersisle. The parade ends at the site of the festival. Rowan is tied to a large tree, about to be burned. Edward rescues Rowan and they run away through the woods, but Rowan leads him back to Sister Summersisle. Sister Summersisle thanks Rowan for her help, and Edward realizes that the search for Rowan was a trap. Sister Willow is Sister Summersisle’s daughter, and his fate was sealed many years ago, when Sister Willow chose him. The villagers attack Edward and overpower him, viciously breaking his legs with a mallet to prevent him from escaping. Throughout all this, he keeps asking how can he be a good sacrifice if he does not believe in their religion. The women carry him to a giant wicker man and shut him inside. Rowan sets fire to the wicker man and Edward is sacrificed amid his screams and a giant blaze. The crowd chants “The drone must die!”, believing that Edward’s sacrifice will restore their honey production.
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Six months later, Sisters Willow and Honey enter a bar and start talking with two off-duty police officers (James Franco and Jason Ritter). The women invite them to go home with them, presumably in hopes of using them as they used Edward. The buzzing of bees and screaming from Edward Malus can be heard over Sister Honey as the film fades to black.I dont quite understand all the negative comments regarding this film, i looked at it in complete isolation, the original film was amazing, however this is a great film in its own right, totally different and very creepy, and the acting from Cage and the rest of the cast is amazing, sacrificing the policeman to save the bee population, while the original was to save the failing crops, the ending was very similar and predictable, however this film didnt disappoint in any way and still kept you on edge right till the end.