REVIEW: THE GUNMAN

 

CAST

Sean Penn (Milk)
Jasmine Trinca (Another Life)
Javier Bardem (Mother)
Ray Winstone Nil By Mouth)
Mark Rylance (Intimacy)
Idris Elba (Prometheus)
Peter Franzén (Ambush)

Sean Penn and Ray Winstone in The Gunman (2015)Jim Terrier (Sean Penn) is a former special forces soldier who, in his 50s, has become a black-ops mercenary. He is part of a team deployed by a corporation in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2006, under the cover of providing security to local projects. He falls in love with Annie (Jasmine Trinca), a fellow expat working as an NGO doctor in a local hospital. During this period, even though civil war has wreaked havoc on the country, large multinational mining companies continue to profit from the country’s mining industry. After the Minister of Mining announces his plans to declare contracts with the mining companies unjust and renegotiate the terms, the mining companies hire Terrier’s team to assassinate the Minister to ensure their access to the rich mineral resources. Terrier delivers the fatal shot from a sniper rifle and flees from Africa, leaving Annie behind. After that, Terrier retires from his mercenary career.Sean Penn in The Gunman (2015)Eight years later he returns to DRC as a charity worker to build wells. One day Terrier is brutally assaulted by a local hit squad, but he manages to kill them all. While searching the attackers’ bodies, he finds signs that the attack was not random and that he was the target. Scared and suspicious, Terrier flees to London to meet an ex-mercenary colleague, who reveals that Cox, their ex-boss in the Congo assassination, has formed a large international security firm offering its services to major clients, such as the Pentagon. The firm’s head wants to eliminate all of the former members of the assassination squad as revelations of their former activities could hinder the development of the new firm. Now the firm’s hit teams chase Terrier around the clock, meanwhile killing his friends and kidnapping Annie.Sean Penn in The Gunman (2015)However, Terrier still keeps highly compromising materials that can reveal Cox’s role in the Congo assassination and uses it to lure Cox and his team to a bullfight in Spain, threatening to expose their complicity unless they trade Annie for the evidence. Unknown to them, Terrier makes a deal with Interpol to provide evidence to aid their ongoing investigation. Despite battling severe head trauma suffered from his violent past, Terrier defeats the experienced mercenaries sent to kill him. As he struggles to help Annie escape to safety, Cox discovers them. Terrier is wounded but manages to shoot Cox, who is then gored by a loose bull. Interpol officers arrive and take Terrier into custody, though Agent Barnes promises to do what he can to help Terrier avoid doing more jail time than necessary. The film ends with Terrier, recovered and released from prison, reuniting with Annie in the DRC.Sean Penn and Jasmine Trinca in The Gunman (2015)The Gunman is quite a lengthy film but it keeps you watching throughout and the location photography in the Congo and Barcelona is well handled. The supporting cast is also a good one with turns for reliably solid Idris Elba, Javier Bardem, and quite surprisingly Mark Rylance, who fits well into the genre despite being better known as a theatre actor. Sean Penn isn’t my favourite guy around thanks to his outspoken political views but even I can admit he’s a good choice for the part in this.

Advertisements

REVIEW: MOTHER!

CAST

Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle)
Javier Bardem (Vicky Cristina Barcelona)
Ed Harris (Westworld)
Michelle Pfeiffer (Batman Returns)
Domhnall Gleeson (Star Wars: The Force Awakens)
Brian Gleeson (Assassin’s Creed)
Kristen Wiig (Girl Most Likely)
Stephen McHattie (300)

Javier Bardem and Jennifer Lawrence in Mother! (2017)In a house recently burned by fire, Him, an acclaimed poet struggling with severe writer’s block, places a crystal object on a pedestal. The house then suddenly morphs to look newly renovated. In bed, Mother wakes up, wondering aloud where Him is. She starts seeing things around the house that unsettle her, including visualizing a beating heart within the walls.Jennifer Lawrence in Mother! (2017)One day, Man turns up at the house, asking for a room. Him readily agrees, and Mother reluctantly follows suit. During his stay, Man is seen with an open wound in his side. The next day, Man’s wife, Woman, also arrives to stay. Mother is increasingly frustrated with her guests, while Him begs her to let them stay, telling Mother that the guests are fans of his work and that the male guest is dying, and wanted to meet Him. However, when Man and Woman accidentally break and shatter the crystallized object, Mother decides to kick them out.Jennifer Lawrence in Mother! (2017)The couple’s two sons arrive and start to fight over the will left by their father. The Oldest Son, who is willed nothing, mortally injures his Younger Brother and apparently flees, while Him, Man, and Woman take the injured son to get help. Mother is left alone in the house, where she discovers the furnace’s oil tank hidden behind the basement walls. Upon returning, Him informs Mother that the son has died. Dozens of people begin arriving at the house following the death of the son. More people arrive, and behave in a way that bothers Mother; she becomes angrier and eventually snaps when they flood the house. She kicks everyone out. Angry with Him for allowing into the house so many people for his pleasure and ignoring her, she berates him before the two engage in sex.Jennifer Lawrence in Mother! (2017)The next morning, Mother announces that she is pregnant. The news leaves Him elated and inspires him to finish his work. A few months later, Mother prepares for the arrival of their child and reads Him’s beautiful new poem. Upon publication, the edition immediately sells out. In celebration, Mother prepares dinner. Meanwhile, a group of fans arrives at the house. As she barricades herself, more fans arrive and begin to enter the house to use the bathroom. Their behavior devolves into disrupting the environment and stealing their belongings as keepsakes. An increasingly disoriented Mother makes her way around the house as each room devolves into chaos. Him’s publisher, the Herald, takes part in the madness. Military men with guns arrive to help Mother, but a cult of devoted fans forms around Him; they start to engage in rituals.Javier Bardem and Jennifer Lawrence in Mother! (2017)Mother goes into labor and finds her husband. Him takes her to his study, where she gives birth. The havoc outside subsides as he tells Mother that the massive crowd wants to see the baby. Refusing, she holds on tight to her son. When she falls asleep, however, he takes the baby outside to the crowd. The crowd proceeds to pass the baby around recklessly, breaking his neck. Devastated, Mother makes her way to the front of the crowd where she sees the hacked corpse of her baby and witnesses the crowd eating his flesh. Furious, she begins stabbing at them with a shard of glass. They turn on her, beginning to strip and beat her until Him intervenes and stops it. Calling Him and the crowd murderers, Mother escapes their hold and makes her way to the cellar and the furnace oil tank. Her husband pleads but Mother alights the oil, destroying the crowd, the house, and the surrounding garden and trees.Jennifer Lawrence in Mother! (2017)Both Mother and Him survive. However, Mother suffers horrific burns while Him remains unscathed. He asks her for the love she has left for him, and she allows Him to take it. He tears open her chest, and removes her heart. As his hands open the heart, a new crystal object is revealed. He places the object on a pedestal. Once again, the house changes from a burnt-out shell to being renovated. In a bed, a new Mother forms and wakes up, wondering aloud where Him is.Jennifer Lawrence in Mother! (2017)I find the film to be amazing in scope, like Cloud Atlas or A’s The Fountain. Like I said earlier, if you don’t appreciate films like these, or even Black Swan don’t bother. It’s simply not your brand. I feel the film is an amazing encapsulation of our existence performed in very unique fashion. The message here is strong. I prefer the avant-garde probably because I’ve seen so many films. I need to view films that present something new, and this one certainly does. For me, it is a masterpiece. Aren’t artists allowed to target their audience? They all can’t have happy endings.

 

 

 

REVIEW: PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: SALAZAR’S REVENGE (AKA DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES)

CAST

Johnny Depp (Blow)
Javier Bardem (Skyfall)
Geoffrey Rush (Quills)
Brenton Thwaites (The Giver)
Kaya Scodelario (The Maze Runner)
Kevin McNally (Entrapment)
Golshifteh Farahani (Exodus: Gods and Kings)
David Wenham (Van Helsing)
Stephen Graham (Blow Dry)
Martin Klebba (Men in Black II)
Orlando Bloom (The Lord of The Rings)
Keira Knightley (The Hole)

Three years following the post-credits scene of At World’s End, 12-year old Henry Turner boards the Flying Dutchman to inform his father, Will Turner, that the mythical Trident of Poseidon is able to break his curse and free him from his ship, and of his intent to seek Jack Sparrow’s help to find it. Will does not believe the Trident exists and orders Henry to leave his ship and never come back.Nine years later (and five after the events of On Stranger Tides), Henry works on a British Royal Navy warship. While chasing a pirate ship, Henry realizes they are sailing into the Devil’s Triangle. The captain dismisses his concerns and has Henry locked up for attempting mutiny. Upon entering the Triangle, they come across a shipwreck, and are attacked by Captain Salazar and his undead crew, who slaughter everyone on board except Henry. Salazar sees that Henry is searching for Jack, spares his life and asks him to tell Jack that death is coming his way.In Saint Martin, a young woman named Carina Smyth has been sentenced to death for witchcraft because of her knowledge of astronomy and horology. She escapes her cell and briefly runs into Jack, who is fleeing with his crew with a vault from a bank they have just robbed. Jack and his crew evade the British Army, but realize the vault they stole is empty; Jack’s crew abandons him for letting them down. Carina later meets Henry, who is awaiting execution for his actions aboard the ship, and says she knows of a way to find the Trident. Carina helps him escape, but is caught by the British Army.Disheartened after losing his crew, Jack goes to a local tavern and gives away his compass to pay for his drink. By forsaking the compass, however, he unwittingly unleashes Salazar and his crew from the Devil’s Triangle. Shortly after, Jack is caught by the British Army. As he and Carina are about to be executed, Henry helps them escape with help from Jack’s crew, and together they sail away on Jack’s ship, the Dying Gull. Carina reveals a map that will lead them to the Trident, and reluctantly decides to team up with Henry and Jack in order to achieve their goals. While searching for Jack, Salazar and his crew roam the seas and destroy ships in Captain Barbossa’s fleet. Barbossa meets with Salazar and offers to help find Jack in exchange for sparing his fleet. Salazar explains to Barbossa that he and his crew once sailed the seas hunting and killing pirates, and had nearly cleansed the seas of piracy before they ran into a young Jack Sparrow, who tricked them into sailing into the Devil’s Triangle, where Salazar and his crew were cursed to remain undead.When Salazar’s ship finds the Dying Gull, Jack, Henry and Carina escape on a rowboat while the crew remains on board to cause a distraction. Salazar and his crew chase Jack, but upon arriving at a small island, Jack realizes Salazar’s ghost crew can’t step on land. Barbossa arrives at the island and allies with Jack, restoring the Black Pearl, which had been trapped in a bottle in Jack’s possession, to its original size. With Jack’s compass, which he obtained from the sea-witch Shansa, Barbossa takes command of the ship and lets Carina navigate them to the island. During the trip, Jack and Barbossa realize that Carina is Barbossa’s long lost daughter. Barbossa tells Jack that he left her at an orphanage with his diary to make sure she lived a better life, never imagining that he would see her again.The Pearl narrowly escapes a British Navy warship, which is destroyed by Salazar’s ship. Jack and Salazar’s crews clash. Meanwhile, Jack and Carina manage to activate the island’s magic, which parts the ocean to reveal a hidden path along the ocean floor. Salazar captures Henry and possesses his body to pursue them. Jack and Carina locate the trident, but Salazar intervenes, fighting Jack and seizing the Trident. Henry, now free of Salazar, realizes that destroying the Trident will break all curses upon the sea and shatters it, returning Salazar and his crew to life. As the divided sea slowly caves in, the Pearl attempts to rescue Jack, Henry, Carina, and Barbossa, lowering the ship’s anchor into the narrowing trench to pull them to safety, but—still intent on killing Jack—Salazar grabs the anchor as well. Carina notices a tattoo on Barbossa’s arm, matching the cover of her diary, and realizes that he is her father. After proclaiming his love for her, Barbossa sacrifices himself to take down Salazar and his crew and save Carina and the others. Following Barbossa’s death, Carina changes her last name to Barbossa.Some time later, Henry is joined by Carina, as they watch his father finally set foot on land again, no longer bound to the Flying Dutchman. As Henry and Carina kiss, Will is reunited with his wife Elizabeth. Watching from the deck of the Pearl, Jack sails away with his crew, opening up his mystical compass to reveal their next heading. In a post-credits scene, Will and Elizabeth are asleep when their bedroom is entered by the silhouette of an apparently resurrected Davy Jones. Just as Jones raises his clawed arm to strike at the couple, Will awakens and assumes this to be a nightmare, oblivious to the presence of barnacles on the floor amid a small puddle of seawater.Pirates of the Caribbean 5 is an amazing film. The acting is spectacular. The Visuals are splendid and the story is very impressive. I loved the film, my one complaint would be that Barbossa Dies.  The film was a great fun-filled ride and i personally can’t wait until the next one.

REVIEW: COLLATERAL

 

CAST

Tom Cruise (Mission Impossible)
Jamie Foxx (Django Unchained)
Jada Pinkett smith (Gotham)
Mark Ruffalo (Avengers Assemble)
Peter Berg (Alias)
Bruce McGill (Lincoln)
Barry Shabaka Henley (Heroes)
Debi Mazar (Batman Forever)
Javier Bardem (Skyfall)
Richard T. Jones (Terminator: TSCC)
Jason Statham (Fast & Furious 7)

On a random night in Los Angeles, a cabbie named Max (Jamie Foxx) is parked in front of a building, studying the business card he’s just been given by Annie (Jada Pinkett-Smith). Max and Annie had a brief but intimate conversation about stress and relaxation while he drove her into the city, and even though he didn’t open his mouth in time to get her number, she came back and gave it to him anyway. Max is so distracted, he almost ignores the guy who walks up to his cab and asks to know if he’s on duty, but Max snaps out of it, sticks the card in his window shade where his photograph of the Maldives used to be — the business card might as well be his new mental vacation spot — and calls the guy back before he gets in a different cab.

The man in question is sharply-dressed in a silver suit that matches his hair, carrying a slick, expensive briefcase. His name is Vincent (Tom Cruise), he offers to buy the services of Max’s cab for the rest of the evening, for five stops plus an early-morning drop-off at the airport. Max hesitates, but lets Vincent talk him into it anyway, and doesn’t seem to regret it for fifteen whole minutes before a dead body drops from a window onto the hood of the cab, and it becomes clear almost immediately that Vincent was the cause of death, although he claims otherwise. “You killed him?” Max asks. “No, I shot him,” Vincent replies. “Bullets and the fall killed him.”

Made just over a year before Tom Cruise’s public fall from grace, and back before Jamie Foxx was an acclaimed, Academy Award-winning actor and bona fide movie star. Anyone who missed out on the movie initially will probably go in with an entirely different set of expectations than viewers in 2004, but both then and now it was clear that both of them are at the top of their game, and the sparks that fly between these two performers makes the movie work.