REVIEW: THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS

 

CAST

George Clooney (The Monuments Men)
Ewan McGreggor (Beginners)
Jeff Bridges (Tron: Legacy)
Kevin Spacey (Horrible Bosses)
Stephen Lang (Avatar)
Robert Patrick (Terminator 2)
Waleed Zuaiter (London Has Fallen)
Stephen Root (Get Out)
Glenn Morshower (Transformers)
Nick Offerman (21 Jump Street)
Rebecca Mader (Lost)

George Clooney in The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009)In a short prelude, U.S. Army General Hopgood is painfully thwarted in an attempt to pass paranormally through a solid wall by simply running into it. The film then follows Ann Arbor Daily Telegram reporter Bob Wilton, whose wife leaves him for the newspaper’s editor. Seeking an escape, Bob flies to Kuwait to report on the Iraq War and to prove to his wife and himself that he is a man. However, he stumbles onto the story of a lifetime when he meets a retired U.S. Army Special Forces operator, Lyn Cassady, who reveals that he was part of a U.S. Army unit training psychic spies (or “Jedi Warriors”) to develop a range of parapsychological skills including invisibility, remote viewing, and phasing. The back story is told mainly through flashbacks.George Clooney and Kevin Spacey in The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009)In 1972, Army officer Bill Django, after accidentally falling out of a “Huey” helicopter in Vietnam’s Bình Dương Province, found his newly recruited men to be unable or unwilling to fire on a female Viet Cong soldier before she shot him in the chest. He then underwent a fact-finding mission prompted by a vision where the Viet Cong soldier says, “their gentleness is their strength.” The bulk of Django’s mission immersed him fully into the New Age movement so that, when he returned to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in 1980, he had long braided hair and a tattoo of a third eye surmounted on a pyramid on his chest.Jeff Bridges in The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009)Facilitated by the credulous General Hopgood, Django led the training of a New Earth Army, with Lyn Cassady and Larry Hooper as his top students. The two quickly developed a lifelong rivalry because of their opposing views on implementing the New Earth Army’s philosophy. Lyn wanted to emphasize the teachings’ positive side, such as the ability to resolve conflict peacefully, whereas Larry was more interested in the “dark side” and its military applications.George Clooney and Kevin Spacey in The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009)Prompted by a doodle in Bob’s notebook (of an eye on a pyramid), Lyn takes him into Iraq. They are kidnapped by criminals who want to sell them to insurgents but escape with fellow hostage Mahmud Daash. They are rescued by a private security detail led by Todd Nixon. The trio flees when the detail is caught in a firefight fiasco with another American security detail. Bob and Lyn then continue on Lyn’s alleged “mission”, stating he had seen a vision of Bill Django.George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, and Waleed Zuaiter in The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009)After taking the wrong fork in the road their car is disabled by an IED. The other fork in the road actually leads to al-Qaim, Lyn’s destination, but neither of them was able to read the Arabic on the roadsigns. Bob and Lyn wander in the desert where Lyn reveals that he had stopped a goat’s heart to test the limit of his mental abilities and believes this evil deed has cursed him and the rest of the New Earth Army. It’s also revealed that Hooper conducted an unauthorized LSD experiment which resulted in a soldier killing himself, and therefore forced Django out of the Army. Eventually, Bob and Lyn are rescued and rehabilitated at a camp run by PSIC, a private research firm engaged in psychic and psychological experiments on a herd of goats and some captured locals. To Lyn’s dismay, Larry runs the firm and employs Django, now a depressed alcoholic. Bob spends time with Django and learns the ways of the New Earth Army. They spike the base’s food and water with LSD and free both the goats and captured locals, in an attempt to remove the curse. Following this, Lyn and Django fly off in a helicopter, never to be heard from again, disappearing into the sky “like all shamans”.George Clooney and Ewan McGregor in The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009)Bob returns to work as a reporter and writes an article about his entire experience with Lyn. However, he’s frustrated in that the story’s only portion to be aired on the news is how the captives were forced to listen to the Barney & Friends theme song for 24 hours. This dilutes his story to the level of a joke, and Bob vows to continue trying to get the bigger story out. In the film’s final scene, Bob exercises his own psychic abilities and, following some intense concentration, stands up and runs headlong through a solid wall in his office.George Clooney and Kevin Spacey in The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009)The Men Who Stare at Goats is a very fun movie to see. It is a movie for casual movie goers and film aficionados alike.

Advertisements

REVIEW: TRUE GRIT (2010)

CAST

Jeff Bridges (Tron)
Hailee Steinfeld (Batley Lethal)
Matt damon (Jason Bourne)
Josh Brolin (Planet Terror)
Barry Pepper (Battlefild Earth)
Dakin Matthews (Child’s Play 3)
Domhnall Gleeson (Star Wars: The Last Jedi)
Elizabeth Marvel (Lincoln)
J.K Simmons (Justice League)

Matt Damon and Hailee Steinfeld in True Grit (2010)Mattie Ross’s father was murdered by Tom Chaney when she was 14 years old. While collecting her father’s body in Fort Smith, Arkansas, Mattie asks the local sheriff about the search for Chaney. He tells her that Chaney has fled with “Lucky” Ned Pepper and his gang into Indian Territory, where the sheriff has no authority, so she inquires about hiring a Deputy U.S. Marshal. The sheriff gives three recommendations, and Mattie chooses Rooster Cogburn. Cogburn initially rebuffs her offer, not believing she has the money to hire him, but she raises the money by aggressively horse-trading with Colonel Stonehill.Jeff Bridges and Hailee Steinfeld in True Grit (2010)Texas Ranger LaBoeuf arrives in town, pursuing Chaney for the murder of a Texas State Senator. LaBoeuf proposes joining Cogburn, but Mattie refuses his offer. She wishes Chaney to be hanged in Arkansas for her father’s murder, not in Texas for killing the senator. Mattie also insists on traveling with Cogburn but he leaves without her, having gone with LaBoeuf to apprehend Chaney and split the reward. After being refused passage on the ferry that conveyed Cogburn and LaBoeuf, Mattie crosses the river on horseback. LaBoeuf expresses his displeasure by birching Mattie with a stick, but Cogburn eventually allows Mattie to accompany them. After a dispute over their respective service with the Confederate Army, Cogburn ends their arrangement and LaBoeuf leaves to pursue Chaney on his own. Cogburn and Mattie meet a trail doctor who directs them to an empty dugout for shelter. They find two outlaws, Quincy and Moon, and interrogate them. Quincy insists they have no information about the Pepper gang, but eventually Moon divulges what he knows; Quincy fatally stabs Moon, and Cogburn shoots Quincy dead. Before dying, Moon says Pepper and his gang will be returning for fresh horses that night.Jeff Bridges in True Grit (2010)LaBoeuf arrives at the dugout and is confronted by the Pepper gang. Cogburn, hiding on the hillside with Mattie, shoots two gang members and accidentally hits LaBoeuf, but Pepper escapes. However, Cogburn and LaBoeuf argue the next day, and the latter departs again. While retrieving water from a stream, Mattie encounters Chaney. She shoots him, but he survives and drags her back to Pepper, who forces Cogburn to leave by threatening to kill her. Pepper leaves Mattie alone with Chaney, ordering him not to harm her or he will not get paid after his remount arrives. Chaney tries to knife Mattie, but LaBoeuf appears and knocks Chaney out. They watch from a distance as Cogburn fights the remaining members of Pepper’s gang, killing two and wounding Ned before his horse is shot and falls, trapping his leg, whereupon LaBoeuf snipes Pepper. Chaney regains consciousness and knocks out LaBoeuf, but Mattie seizes LaBoeuf’s rifle and shoots Chaney in the chest. The recoil knocks her into a deep pit, where she is bitten by a rattlesnake. Cogburn cuts into her hand to suck out as much of the venom as he can, then rides day and night to reach a doctor, carrying her on foot after her horse collapses from exhaustion.Jeff Bridges and Hailee Steinfeld in True Grit (2010)Mattie’s left forearm is amputated due to gangrene from the snakebite. Cogburn stays until she is out of danger, but leaves before she regains consciousness. She never sees Cogburn or LaBoeuf again, despite writing a letter inviting Cogburn to collect the money she owed him. Twenty-five years later, she receives a note from Cogburn inviting her to a travelling Wild West show where he now performs. She arrives, only to learn that he died three days earlier. She has his body moved to her family cemetery. Standing over Cogburn’s grave, she reflects on her decision to move his remains, and about never having married, as well as the possibility of seeing LaBoeuf again.Josh Brolin and Hailee Steinfeld in True Grit (2010)The movie actually surprised all the hype I had, what an incredible film. The atmosphere, clothing, and the buildings reminded me of the old classic Hollywood westerns they used to make. I had a feeling of nostalgia watching the movie through the end. I felt transported to another time period of the old western. Hailee Steinfeld was amazing in the movie, I truly believe that this is her breakout performance. Matt Damon and Josh Brolin were as usual amazing. But the true star of the film has to be Jeff Bridges, in all respects. His performance showed much more experience, strength and power, the performance was pretty much unforgettable. Jeff Bridges handily reinvents the iconic role of Rooster Cogburn in the Coen brothers’ back-to-the-book-remake. I congratulate the Coen for bringing back the western genre, that Hollywood has ignored so much the last decade or so.

REVIEW: TRON: LEGACY

CAST

Jeff Bridges (R.I.P.D.)
Garrett Hedlund (Unbroken)
Olivia Wilde (Cowboys & Aliens)
Bruce Boxleitner (Babylon 5)
James Frain (Gotham)
Beau Garrett (Fantastic Four: Rise of The Silver Surfer)
Michael Sheen (Underworld)
Serinda Swan (Smallville)
Yaya DaCosta (Ugly Betty)
Donnelly Rhodes (Battlestar Galactica)
Brent Stait (Andromeda)
Jeffrey Nordling (Arrow)
Christine Adams (Batman Begins)
Patrick Sabongui (The Flash)
Cillian Murphy (Inception)

Jeff Bridges in Tron (2010)In 1989, seven years after the events of the first film, Kevin Flynn, who has been recently promoted CEO of ENCOM International, disappears. Twenty years later, his son Sam, now ENCOM’s primary shareholder, takes little interest in the company beyond playing an annual prank on its board of directors.Olivia Wilde and Garrett Hedlund in Tron (2010)After being freed from police custody for his most recent prank, Sam is asked by Alan Bradley, an ENCOM executive and Flynn’s old friend, to investigate a strange pager message originating from Flynn’s shuttered video arcade. Sam discovers a large computer in a hidden basement, which suddenly teleports him to the Grid, a virtual reality created by Flynn that exists within ENCOM’s computer mainframe.[6] He is quickly captured and sent to “the Games”, where he is forced to fight a masked program named Rinzler. When Sam is injured and begins bleeding, Rinzler realizes that Sam is a human “User” and takes him before Clu, the Grid’s corrupt ruling program who resembles a younger Kevin Flynn. Clu nearly kills Sam in a Light Cycle match, but Sam is rescued by Quorra, an “apprentice” of Flynn, who conveys him to his father’s hideout outside Clu’s territory.Garrett Hedlund, Beau Garrett, and Elizabeth Mathis in Tron (2010)Flynn reveals to Sam that he had been working to create a “perfect” computer system and had appointed Clu and Tron (a security program created by Bradley) its co-creators. During this construction, the trio discovered a species of naturally occurring “isomorphic algorithms” (ISOs) not conceived by Flynn, bearing the potential to resolve various mysteries in science, religion and medicine. Clu, considering them an aberration, betrayed Flynn, seemingly killed Tron, and destroyed the ISOs. Meanwhile, the “Portal” permitting travel between the two worlds had closed, leaving Flynn trapped in the system. Having gained complete control, Clu sent the message to Alan in order to lure Sam onto the Grid and reopen the Portal for a limited time. As Flynn’s “identity disc” is the master key to the Grid and the only way to traverse the Portal, Clu expects Sam to bring Flynn to the Portal so he can take Flynn’s disc, go through the Portal himself, and impose his idea of perfection on the human world.Michael Sheen, Garrett Hedlund, and Beau Garrett in Tron (2010)Against his father’s wishes, Sam returns to Clu’s territory on Quorra’s tip-off to find Zuse, a program who can provide safe passage to the Portal. At the End of Line Club, its owner Castor reveals himself to be Zuse, then betrays Sam to Clu’s guards. In the resulting fight, Flynn rescues his son, but Quorra is injured and Zuse gains possession of Flynn’s disc. Zuse attempts to bargain with Clu for the disc, but Clu simply takes the disc and destroys the club along with Zuse. Flynn and Sam stow away aboard a “solar sailer” transport program, where Flynn restores Quorra and reveals her to be the last surviving ISO.Olivia Wilde and Garrett Hedlund in Tron (2010)The transport is intercepted by Clu’s warship; as a diversion, Quorra allows herself to be captured by Rinzler, whom Flynn recognizes as Tron, reprogrammed by Clu. Sam reclaims Flynn’s disc and rescues Quorra, while Flynn takes control of a Light Fighter on the flight deck. Clu, Rinzler, and several guards pursue the trio in Light Jets. Upon making eye contact with Flynn, Rinzler remembers his past and deliberately collides with Clu’s Light Jet, but Clu uses Tron’s spare baton to escape while Tron falls into the Sea of Simulation below. Clu confronts the others at the Portal, where Flynn reintegrates with his digital duplicate, destroying Clu along with himself. Quorra, having switched discs with Flynn, gives Flynn’s disc to Sam and they escape together to the real world. In Flynn’s arcade, Sam backs up and deactivates the system. He then finds a waiting Bradley and tells him he plans to retake control of ENCOM, naming Bradley chairman of the board. He departs on his motorcycle with Quorra, and she witnesses her first real sunrise.Tron (2010)TRON: Legacy is certainly the special effects extravaganza it’s been made out to be all year. Its fantastic effects certify the sequel as being the most visually appealing film of 2010. While the writing of the film isn’t quite as polished as the special effects, there certainly seems to be a good enough balance to keep the film afloat and deliver an extremely entertaining way to kill two hours. As far as eye candy goes, TRON: Legacy is an incredible and all around awesome experience.

REVIEW: TRON

CAST

Jeff Bridges (R.I.P.D.)
Bruce Boxleitner (Babylon 5)
David Warner (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2)
Cindy Morgan (Caddyshack)
Bernard Hughes (Da)
Peter Jurasik (Babylon 5)

Bruce Boxleitner and Cindy Morgan in TRON (1982)In 1982, computer software engineer extraordinaire and former ENCOM employee Kevin Flynn owns and operates a video arcade called Flynn’s. During his time at ENCOM he wrote several video games and was about to start his own enterprise when Ed Dillinger, a colleague, stole Flynn’s ideas and passed them off as his own, earning himself a meteoric rise through ENCOM’s ranks to Senior Executive VP, and the authority to fire Flynn to cover up his larceny. In the nearly three years since Flynn’s dismissal, he has made attempts to obtain evidence of Dillinger’s crime by hacking into the ENCOM mainframe, but despite his shrewdness Flynn keeps getting caught by ENCOM’s Master Control Program (“MCP”), an AI software program which was originally a chess program created by Dr. Walter Gibbs, ENCOM’s co-founder. But with Dillinger’s modifications, the MCP has become sentient and power-hungry, unlawfully annexing personal, corporate, and even government and military programs, assimilating them to itself to increase its own capabilities; the MCP informs Dillinger of its plans to subjugate both the Pentagon and the Kremlin, and expresses interest in China with its request for Chinese language files, going so far as to blackmail Dillinger himself into compliance by threatening to publicly reveal records of his theft.Bruce Boxleitner and Jeff Bridges in TRON (1982)Flynn’s ex-girlfriend Lora Baines and her current boyfriend, fellow ENCOM engineer Alan Bradley, visit Flynn at his arcade to warn him that Dillinger is aware of his hacking attempts and has tightened security at ENCOM. Flynn explains his situation to them and then persuades them to sneak him back into the facility where he forges access for the three. Lora takes Flynn to the terminal in her lab to continue searching for evidence of Dillinger’s theft. In response, the MCP uses an experimental laser to digitize and download Flynn into the ENCOM mainframe, particularly an area the MCP calls the Game Grid, where programs are living entities appearing in the likeness of the human “Users” who created them. Once inside, Flynn quickly learns that the system is under the totalitarian rule of the MCP and its second-in-command, Sark, who enslave and intimidate other programs to renounce their “belief” in the Users; those who refuse are imprisoned in the Game Grid and forced to play in lethal competition against other programs. Flynn meets Tron and Ram as they are about to compete in a Light Cycle match; the three defeat their opponents and escape from the Grid and into the system, but Flynn and Ram are attacked by a pursuit force of game tanks that Flynn himself created; Flynn is only stunned, but Ram is mortally wounded. They stop to rest, but to Flynn and Ram’s surprise, Flynn learns that as a User he can manipulate energy and matter within the system, effectively allowing him to control its environment. With his newfound User power Flynn reassembles a destroyed pursuit ship (called a “Recognizer”). Just before he de-rezzes, Ram begs Flynn to help Tron.Cindy Morgan in TRON (1982)Separated from Flynn and Ram, Tron reunites with his love, Yori (an input/output program created by Lora), and they furtively make their way to an input/output junction where Tron makes contact with his User “Alan-1”, who writes information on Tron’s code disc that will erase the MCP, but only if Tron can get the disc to the MCP’s base. Tron and Yori then steal a “solar-sail simulation” to travel to the MCP’s core and are reunited with Flynn who unwittingly disguised himself as one of Sark’s soldiers; Flynn then reveals to them that he himself is a User. Before they can reach the core, Sark’s command ship overtakes and destroys the simulation, capturing Flynn and Yori and supposedly destroying Tron. Sark alights from his command ship and orders its de-resolution, but Flynn keeps it intact with his User power while Sark reaches the MCP’s core on a shuttle carrying other captured programs slated to be subsumed by the MCP, making it complete. Tron then reemerges and critically damages Sark in a fierce disc fight, prompting the MCP to transfer its functions to Sark increasing his size and power. As Tron repeatedly hurls his disc at the MCP’s base in an attempt to breach its shield and get to its core, Flynn leaps off the command ship into the MCP’s beam, distracting it just long enough to reveal a gap in its shield; Tron then throws his disc through the gap which destroys the MCP and Sark.Jeff Bridges and Cindy Morgan in TRON (1982)As programs throughout the system are once again able to communicate with their Users, the laser that digitized Flynn reverses its function and restores Flynn’s corporeal form, and a nearby printer provides the hard copy proving that Dillinger had stolen Flynn’s creations. At daybreak, when Dillinger enters his office and finds the MCP deleted and proof of his theft now unrestricted, he slumps in his chair in defeat. Flynn later ascends to his rightful place as ENCOM’s new boss and is greeted by Alan and Lora on his first day.Tron has survived the years- more so than many other contemporary SF films, and more than I think most critics would have guessed. Instead of looking out-dated and corny, as the years have passed, Tron has aged gracefully. Sure, the monochrome-screen terminals might look a bit old, and the arcade is a distant, fond memory, but the SFX are still beautiful, and the storyline, in this era of the Internet, seems shockingly modern.

REVIEW: SEVENTH SON

CAST

Ben Barnes (Westworld)
Julianne Moore (Hannibal)
Jeff Bridges (Iron man)
Alicia Vikander (Jason Bourne)
Antje Traue (Man of Steel)
Olivia Williams (Dollhouse)
John DeSantis (The New Addams Family)
Kit Harrington (Game of Thrones)
Djimon Hounsou (Stargate)
Gerard Plunkett (Travelers)
Jason Scott Lee (Timecop 2)
Ryan Robbins (Arrow)

In a prologue, the witch Mother Malkin is imprisoned in an underground chamber by Gregory, the last of a knightly order known as the Falcons, who have long defended mankind against supernatural threats. Several decades later, Gregory now works as a “Spook,” a roving witch hunter. The rise of the centennial blood moon allows Malkin to regain much of her power and break free from her prison. In a confrontation with the aged Gregory, she kills his apprentice, William Bradley, before escaping. Malkin returns to her dilapidated mountain fortress, restoring it, and her sister, Bony Lizzie, to their former condition.Gregory then seeks out Tom Ward, the seventh son of a seventh son, on a local farmstead, and recruits him as his newest apprentice. Before Tom leaves, his mother gives him her pendant as a talisman. On their way to Gregory’s home, Tom sees a girl about to be burned by a mob as a witch. Recognizing her from clairvoyant visions he has had, he takes her from the mob and releases her. The girl, Alice, warns him not to let Gregory know about her. Alice is revealed to be Lizzie’s daughter, who spies on Gregory for her. Malkin begins gathering her army to conquer mankind.Tom meets Gregory’s assistant Tusk, and rushes to learn what he needs to become a Spook before he and Gregory leave to confront Malkin at her fortress. Gregory warns that they only have a week before the blood moon is full, after which Malkin will become too powerful for them. En route to the fortress, Gregory is summoned to a walled city by an Inquisitor whose forces have subdued one of Malkin’s followers, a werebear named Urag. Gregory instructs Tom to burn the warlock alive, but Tom hesitates, causing Gregory to dismiss him while burning Urag himself. Tom meets Alice again and, after having sex, the two briefly consider going off on their own, but Tom has a vision of Malkin killing Gregory and unleashing destruction upon the world. Tom rejoins Gregory, who reveals that he once loved Malkin, and that is why he could not kill her, even after she murdered Gregory’s own wife. Gregory feels responsible for every person killed by Malkin since then, and warns Tom that Alice must be killed, like all witches.Gregory, Tom, and Tusk are attacked on the road by an enormous boggart, and Tom narrowly manages to kill it and survive being swept down a waterfall. Tom is then confronted by Bony Lizzie, who attacks but is repelled by the necklace around his neck. Gregory recognizes it as the Umbran Stone, which increases the power of witches. It originally belonged to Malkin, but one of her witch followers, Tom’s mother, stole it from her, weakening her enough for Gregory to trap her. Malkin instructs Alice to steal the stone from Tom, promising to spare his life if she does. Malkin and her minions then raze the aforementioned walled city to the ground to avenge the death of Urag. Tom’s family happens to be in the city, and his mother sends her husband and daughter to safety, before managing to kill Strix the warlock and confronting Malkin with her own powers. Malkin kills her, mocking her for giving away the stone that would have saved her life.Out in the country, Alice reappears before Tom and pleads with him to leave with her, as he had suggested in their earlier meeting. Gregory tries to kill her, but Tom, blinded by love, stops him, proclaiming “She’s not the enemy!”. He lets her flee, but Gregory points out she has taken the Umbran stone from around Tom’s neck, replying, “Now tell me she’s innocent!”. Tom realizes her reappearance had been a ruse, and pursues her, with Gregory and Tusk following. Then Malkin’s servant Radu attacks them, capturing Gregory and driving Tusk and Tom over a cliff, wrongly believing them dead. Tom has a vision of his mother, telling him that as both the seventh son of a seventh son, and the son of a witch, he is unique and has the power to defeat Malkin.The witches gather as Malkin attempts to seduce Gregory with her magic. Alice is horrified to hear that Tom was left for dead. In remorse, she grabs the stone from Malkin, breaking Malkin’s hold on Gregory. As Malkin transforms into a dragon to kill Alice, Lizzie also transforms, to protect her daughter. Tom retrieves the stone and, fighting together, Gregory, Tom and Alice kill several of Malkin’s minions. Malkin defeats and kills Lizzie for her disloyalty, but is seriously wounded in turn. Gregory confronts Malkin in her room, alone. She appears close to death, bitterly recalling her and Gregory’s relationship, but then she seizes him with her claws. Tom arrives and hurls a blade at Malkin, freeing Gregory, who retreats. Tom finishes her off by burning her body. Afterwards, Gregory acknowledges Tom’s training is complete and brands his hand as a new Falcon knight. Alice appears, but accepts that Tom’s commitment to his new vocation means they cannot be together at the present. She promises Tom that they’ll meet again, before disappearing. Gregory departs for an unknown destination, leaving Tom with Tusk as the town bells ring, calling for the new Spook’s services.If you want an experience like the Hobbit or the Harry Potter movies, don’t watch this. But if you like fantasy movies like Willow or Dragonheart (and maybe Stardust), give it a chance.

REVIEW: THE VANISHING (1993)

CAST

Jeff Bridges (R.I.P.D.)
Kiefer Sutherland (24)
Nancy Travis (So I Married An Axe Murderer)
Sandra Bullock (The Heat)
Park Overall (Kindergarten Cop)

Jeff Harriman (Kiefer Sutherland) goes on vacation with his girlfriend Diane Shaver (Sandra Bullock), who vanishes without a trace at a gas station. Three years later, Jeff is still obsessed with finding out what happened. One day, Barney Cousins (Jeff Bridges) arrives at Jeff’s door and admits that he was responsible for her disappearance. Cousins promises to show Jeff what happened to Diane, but only if he agrees to go through exactly the same thing she did.
In a short series of flash-backs, the build-up to the crime is shown. Jeff is taken to the gas station where his lover went missing, and is told that if he drinks a cup of coffee which has been drugged, he will discover her fate by experiencing it. He does, and wakes up to find he has been buried alive.
Jeff’s new girlfriend, Rita (Nancy Travis), has traced him and his abductor to the area, and discovers just in time what has happened. She gets Cousins to drink drugged coffee by talking about his daughter, but does not realize the drug takes 15 minutes to take effect. She goes in search of Jeff, but is thwarted at the last minute by Cousins. Fortunately, Jeff has revived and is able to climb out of the grave and kill his tormentor with the shovel he had used to bury Jeff and Diane. The remake ends with Jeff and Rita back together, selling the story as a novel to a publishing company.The remake of The Vanishing is not all that bad to be honest,but as is the way the original 1988 Vanishing is the superior version but both movies kind of operate at different levels. As to be expected the remake employs a sanitised Hollywood approach whilst the original basks in its european sensibilities. The portrayal of a sociopath in the original is truly unnerving,capturing the banality of evil as the abductor test runs his kidnap plan,timing his moves to the second,picking up his daughters,having dinner with the wife. The Vanishing is a taut thriller well worth watching..both versions.

REVIEW: THE GIVER

 

CAST

Jeff Bridges (Iron Man)
Meryl Streep (Into The Woods)
Brenton Thwaites (Maleficent)
Alexander Skarsgard (The Legend of Tarzan)
Katie Holmes (Batman Begins)
Odeya Rush (Goosebumps)
Cameron Monaghan (Gotham)
Taylor Swift (Valentine’s Day)
Emma Tremblay (Elysium)

Following a calamity referred to as The Ruin, society is reorganized into a series of communities, and all memories of the past are held by one person, the Receiver of Memory. Since the Receiver of Memory is the only individual in the community who has the memories from before, he must advise the Chief Elder, and the other Elders, on the decisions for the community.  Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) is a 16-year-old boy who is anxious about the career he will be assigned (along with everyone else). His two best friends are Asher (Cameron Monaghan) and Fiona (Odeya Rush).On the day of graduation, everyone is assigned a career. Jonas is briefly skipped, as he has not been assigned a career. Instead, Jonas is to become the next Receiver of Memory, and progressively receive memories from the past receiver, The Giver (Jeff Bridges). Upon assuming his role as The Receiver, Jonas learns of the Giver’s past and of his child, Rosemary (Taylor Swift), who preceded Jonas as Receiver of Memory. She was so distraught from the memories that she committed suicide, by what the Community calls “Releasing”. They regard its nature as mysterious; the audience learns that it is death by lethal injection. Jonas begins to teach his findings to his friend Fiona, with whom he decides to share the idea of emotions. Fiona, who is unable to fully comprehend the idea of emotion, is unsure how she feels. Jonas then kisses Fiona, an action which is antiquated and unknown to the community, which Jonas gained through memory.Jonas also shares his memories with the baby his father brought home to their house, Gabriel, and develops a close relationship with him after discovering he shares the same mark on his wrist Jonas does, the mark of a potential Receiver of Memory. Jonas decides that everyone should have the memories of the past and eventually, The Giver and Jonas decide that the only way they can help the community is to go past the border of what they call Elsewhere, beyond the community, therefore releasing the memories back into the community. Jonas sneaks out at curfew, and decides to get Gabe at the Nurturing Center, who is to be released due to his general weakness. Asher, his other longtime friend besides Fiona, tries to stop him before he leaves the neighborhood, but Jonas quickly punches him. Asher lies on the ground, stunned, and Jonas rides his bike to the Nurturing Center. He tells Fiona his plan and wants to take her with him, but she refuses and instead helps him retrieve Gabe. Before he leaves, she kisses him and helps him escape.Meanwhile, Jonas’ mother (Katie Holmes) and Asher go to the Chief Elder (Meryl Streep) to tell them Jonas is missing. Guards are sent to contain Jonas, who they say has become “dangerous”, but Jonas gets one of their motorcycles and drives off the cliff near The Giver’s dwelling into “Elsewhere”. Asher is assigned, by the Chief Elder, to use a drone to find Jonas and “lose” (kill) him, but when Asher finds Jonas stumbling through the desert, he instead captures him with the drone. After Jonas implores Asher to think that, if he ever cared for Jonas, he would let him go, Asher drops him into a river, setting him free. Jonas stumbles through the land of Elsewhere, while Fiona has been condemned to be “released” for helping him. Just as she is about to be lethally injected by Jonas’ father (Alexander Skarsgård), The Giver steps in and stalls the Chief Elder with memories of his daughter, Rosemary, trying to call out the Chief Elder, but is unsuccessful. Eventually, Jonas finds a sled like one he rode in a memory from The Giver and makes his way beyond the border of Elsewhere, releasing memories and color back into the community and saving Fiona because Jonas’ father realizes what he was really doing. As this happens Jonas’ mother sheds a single tear finally understanding the feeling of love. Jonas and Gabe return to the house of his memories, where people are singing Christmas carols, and his voiceover says that, back in the community, he swears he hears music, too, or possibly just an echo.Based on a novel written by Lois Lowry published in 1993 this ambitious, thought-provoking dystopian SF film is an intriguing exploration of totalitarianism set in an apparent post-apocalyptic world where society has been reorganised into a series of peaceful self-contained isolated communities. Brenton Thwaites certainly gives an assured performance as the protagonist and there are sound, restrained supporting performances from Meryl Streep, Jeff Bridges, Alexander Skarsgard and Katie Holmes. The cinematography is interesting and the limited use of CGI ensures that there is no distraction from the kernel of the movie. I liked it.