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)

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.

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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: ROMEO + JULIET

CAST

Leonardo DiCaprio (Inception)
Claire Danes (Brokedown Palace)
John Leguizamo (Kick-Ass 2)
Harold Perrineau (Constantine)
Pete Postlethwaite (Solomon Kane)
Paul Sorvino (Goodfellas)
Brian Dennehy (First Blood)
Dash Mihok (Gotham)
Jesse Bradford (Swimfan)
Zak Orth (The Other Guys)
Jamie Kennedy (Son of The Mask)
Diane Venora (The Jackal)
Vincent Laresca (COach Carter)
Miriam Margolyes (Babe)
Paul Rudd (Ant-Man)
Vondie Curtis-Hall (Daredevil)
M. Emmet Walsh (Blade Runner)
Christina Pickles (Masters of The Universe)

In Verona Beach, the Capulets and the Montagues are arch-rivals. The animosity of the older generation—Fulgencio and Gloria Capulet and Ted and Caroline Montague—is felt by their younger relatives. A gunfight between the Montague boys led by Benvolio, Romeo’s cousin, and the Capulet boys led by Tybalt, Juliet’s cousin, creates chaos in the city. The Chief of Police, Captain Prince, reprimands the families, warning them that if such behavior continues, their lives “shall pay the forfeit of the peace”. Benvolio meets Romeo on a beach. While playing a game of pool they learn of a party being held by the Capulets that evening which they decide to gate-crash. Romeo agrees to come after discovering that Rosaline, with whom he is in love, is attending.The Montague boys meet their friend, Mercutio, who has tickets to the Capulet party. Romeo takes the ecstasy Mercutio gave him and they proceed to the Capulet mansion. The effects of the drug and the party overwhelm Romeo, who goes to the restroom. While admiring an aquarium, he and Juliet see each other and fall instantly in love. Tybalt spots Romeo and vows to kill him for invading his family’s home, but Fulgencio stops him.Romeo and Juliet sneak into an elevator and kiss. The nurse spots them when the doors open and drags Juliet away, while revealing to her that Romeo is a Montague. At the same time, Romeo realizes that Juliet is a Capulet. Mercutio takes Romeo from the party, but he sneaks back to the mansion, hiding under Juliet’s balcony. Juliet emerges into the yard and proclaims her love for him before Romeo sneaks up behind her. Juliet warns him that he is risking his life, but Romeo tells her he does not care whether he is caught. Knowing her nurse is looking for her, Juliet tells him that, if he sends word by the following day, they will be betrothed. Romeo visits Father Lawrence, telling him he wants to marry Juliet. He agrees to marry the pair in hopes that their marriage will help ease the tensions between the families. Romeo passes the word on to Juliet’s nurse and the lovers are married. Tybalt encounters Mercutio just as Romeo arrives. Romeo attempts to make peace, but Tybalt assaults him. Mercutio intervenes and batters Tybalt, and is about to finish him off by hitting him with a log when Romeo stops him. Tybalt then wounds Mercutio with a shard of glass, which Mercutio claims is merely “a scratch”. But as he realizes the cut is much worse than he thought, Mercutio curses both the Montagues and the Capulets before dying in Romeo’s arms. Enraged, Romeo chases after a fleeing Tybalt and guns him down.Captain Prince banishes Romeo from the city. Romeo goes into hiding with Father Lawrence, who treats Romeo’s injuries and says that, after some time passes, he will help Romeo and Juliet return to the city and reconcile with their family and friends. The nurse tells Romeo that Juliet is waiting for him. When Romeo climbs over Juliet’s balcony, she kisses him and they consummate their marriage. Fulgencio decides Juliet will marry Dave Paris, the governor’s son.The next morning, Romeo narrowly escapes as Juliet’s mother tells her that the family has promised she will marry Paris. She refuses to marry, so her father threatens to disown her. Her mother and nurse insist it would be in her best interest to marry Paris. To get out of this, Juliet runs away from home and sees Father Lawrence, very angrily imploring him to help her and threatening to commit suicide. Father Lawrence proposes she fake her own death and be put in the Capulet vault to awaken 24 hours later. Romeo will be told of the plot, sneak into the vault, and once reunited the two can travel to Mantua. He gives her the potion which mimics death. After saying goodnight to her mother, Juliet drinks the potion and falls into a coma. She is found in the morning, declared dead, and placed in the vault. Balthasar, one of Romeo’s cousins, learns that Juliet is dead and tells Romeo, who is not home when the messenger arrives to tell him of the plan.Romeo returns to Verona, where he buys poison. As he goes to the church, Captain Prince finds out he is back, and tries to capture him, without success. Father Lawrence learns that Romeo has no idea Juliet is alive. Romeo enters the church where Juliet lies and bids her goodbye. She awakens just as Romeo takes the poison; the two thus see each other before he dies. After he dies, Juliet picks up Romeo’s gun and shoots herself in the head, dying instantly. The two lovers are discovered in each other’s arms. Prince condemns both families, whose feuding led to such tragedy, and coroners remove the two bodies.Always loved this version. Wonderful for teenagers studying the play. Superb performances from every actor in the film, and such energy in the filming/direction,.

REVIEW: HACKERS

CAST

Jonny Lee Miller (Elementary)
Angelina Jolie (The Changeling)
Jesse Bradford (Swimfan)
Matthew Lillard (Scream)
Laurence Mason (The Crow)
Fisher Stevens (Short Circuit)
Alberta Watson (La Femme Nikita)
Penn Jillette (Sabrina: TTW)
Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives)

In 1988, 11-year-old Dade “Zero Cool” Murphy is arrested and charged with crashing 1,507 computer systems in a single day and causing a single-day 7-point drop in the New York Stock Exchange. His family is fined $45,000 for the events and he is banned from using computers or touch-tone telephones until he is 18 years old. Seven years later, Dade (Jonny Lee Miller), is now living with his divorced mother in New York City. On Dade’s 18th birthday, he receives a computer and uses social engineering to hack into a local television station’s computer network, changing the current TV program to an episode of The Outer Limits. However, Dade’s intrusion is countered by another hacker (handle “Acid Burn”) on the same network, and they briefly converse, with Dade identifying himself by a new alias: “Crash Override”.Dade enrolls in a local high school (for which Stuyvesant High School is used as the filming location) where he meets Kate Libby (Angelina Jolie) who pranks Dade by claiming that there’s a pool on the roof of the school. Ramon “The Phantom Phreak” Sanchez (Renoly Santiago) observes Dade accessing the school network during computer class to put himself in the same English class as Kate, and invites him to a hacker nightclub, Cyberdelia, where Dade beats Kate’s high score in the Wipeout arcade game. Soon after, Dade exacts revenge for the earlier prank by scheduling a test of the school’s sprinkler system the next day. Dade begins integrating himself into Phreak’s circle of hacker friends: Emmanuel “Cereal Killer” Goldstein (Matthew Lillard), Paul “Lord Nikon” Cook (Laurence Mason) (so named for his photographic memory), and Joey Pardella (Jesse Bradford), an aspiring novice hacker without an alias. At a party, Dade learns that Kate is “Acid Burn”, the hacker that kicked him out of the TV network earlier.Meanwhile, Joey, out to prove his skills, successfully breaks into “The Gibson”, an Ellingson Mineral Company supercomputer. He attempts to download a garbage file as proof of his feat, but his mother disconnects his computer so he’ll sleep, leaving Joey with a fragmented file. However, prior to Joey’s disconnection, the company’s IT employee Hal (Penn Jillette) detects this unauthorized entry and summons computer security officer Eugene “The Plague” Belford (Fisher Stevens), a former hacker. While going through the files, Plague realizes the garbage file being downloaded is a worm he inserted to defraud Ellingson. The Plague pretends the hackers are to blame and enlists the US Secret Service to recover the file, claiming it is the code to a computer virus (named “Da Vinci” for an image of the Vitruvian Man that accompanies it) that will capsize the company’s oil tanker fleet. In fact, The Plague had inserted the virus as a red herring to cover for his worm.Soon after, Joey is arrested and his computer is searched, but the Secret Service doesn’t find anything, as Joey had hidden the disk containing the files. In response, Dade and Kate decide to settle their disagreements with a bet, with Dade choosing a date with Kate as his prize and Kate electing to have Dade perform menial computing tasks. The hacking duel focuses on harassing Secret Service Agent Richard Gill (Wendell Pierce), “Hacker enemy number one”, who was involved in Joey’s arrest. After various pranks including canceling Gill’s credit cards, creating a fake embarrassing personal ad in Gill’s name, fabricating a criminal record, and changing his payroll status to “deceased”, the duel remains in a tie status.After being released on parole, Joey reveals the disk to Phreak in a public park; but they quickly realize that they are being followed by the Secret Service. The next day, Phreak is arrested and uses his phone call to inform Kate that he hid the disk in a boys’ bathroom at school. That evening, Kate and Cereal Killer ask Dade for his help; but he declines, stating he has “a record”. Kate then asks Dade to copy the disk so that, if anyone else is arrested, they have the disk as un-tampered evidence. After determining that Dade is not the one who hacked into Ellingson, The Plague attempts to enlist Dade’s help to find the one who did. First, he sends Dade a high-powered laptop that displays a video message from The Plague encouraging Dade to join him. Later, he threatens to have Dade’s mother incarcerated with a manufactured criminal record. At this, Dade agrees to deliver Kate’s copy of the disk.

Meanwhile, Kate, Lord Nikon, and Cereal Killer attempt to discern the contents of the disk. Dade joins them; and, after working all night, they learn the purpose of its code—a worm designed to salami-slice $25 million from Ellingson transactions. Dade confesses that he knows Plague is behind this scheme, admitting that he gave him the disk and revealing his hacking history as “Zero Cool”. Determined to stop the scheme, the assembled hackers plan to hack the Gibson again. Kate and Dade go dumpster-diving for employee memos with passwords; Cereal Killer installs a phone tap in the Ellingson offices; and Nikon poses as a delivery boy wandering the Ellingson cubicles, memorizing employee passwords as they enter them into their terminals.Reading the memos, they discover that the Da Vinci virus is set to capsize the oil fleet the next day, which would provide the perfect cover to distract from the salami-slicing worm. In need of help, Dade and Kate seek out Razor and Blade, the producers of a hacker-themed unlicensed TV show, “Hack the Planet.” Razor and Blade are at a club where Urban Dance Squad is performing and Dade and Kate manage to convince Razor and Blade to join them in disrupting The Gibson enough that the garbage file can be located and copied. Lord Nikon and Cereal Killer learn through their Ellingson phone tap that warrants for their arrest are to be executed at 9AM the next day.The next morning, after being paged by Kate, Nikon and Cereal roller-blade from Washington Square Park, evading the Secret Service after exploiting the traffic system and using a payload that reconfigures traffic lights and converge on Grand Central station, where they use payphones and acoustic couplers to begin their assault on the Gibson. At first, their attempts are easily rebuffed by Plague, who calls Dade to taunt him to escape before he is arrested. However, Razor and Blade have contacted hackers around the world, who lend their support with virus attacks, hampering the Gibson and distracting Plague long enough for Joey to download the incriminating file to a floppy disk.

Shortly after crashing the Gibson, Dade and company are arrested. As they’re being led away, Dade surreptitiously informs Cereal Killer, hiding in the crowd, that he’s tossed the disk in a trashcan. As Dade and Kate are being interrogated, Razor and Blade jam the local television signals and broadcast live video of Cereal Killer, revealing the plot and Plague’s complicity, along with the account number with the stolen funds. Plague is arrested while attempting to flee to Japan under the alias “Mr. Babbage” (itself a reference to Charles Babbage). Their names cleared, Dade and Kate go on a date at a swimming pool on the roof of a building, their friends showing off their latest hack—the lights in several adjacent office buildings spelling out “CRASH AND BURN.” Confirming that they have had dreams about each other, the two begin to make out.

Director Ian Softley handles preceedings well, and even blurs the line between fantasy and reality by showing how the hackers see the world as a labyrinth of computer connections. The film has a harsh sense of humour too, and demonstrates just how powerful a computer hacker can be. Although the dialogue and plot can be dodgy in some moments, Hackers is definitely an original and well-crafted movie adventure.

31 DAYS OF HORROR REVIEW: CHERRY FALLS

CAST

Brittany Murphy (Just Married)
Jay Mohr (Go)
Gabriel Mann (Dominion)
Michael Biehn (The Terminator)
Jesse Bradford (Bring It On)
DJ Qualls (Road Trip)
Kristen Miller (Team America)
Candy Clark (Amityville 3)
Zachary Knighton (Flashforward)

In the woods outside of Cherry Falls, Virginia, a teenage couple, Rod Harper (Jesse Bradford) and Stacy Twelfmann (Bre Blair) are getting romantic in a car when a black-haired female appears and murders them both. Meanwhile, in town, teenager Jody Marken (Brittany Murphy), the daughter of the local sheriff, is with her boyfriend, Kenny (Gabriel Mann), who thinks it is time to go “see other people.” Jody goes back home to find her father, Brent (Michael Biehn), upset that she is out past her curfew. Brent and his deputies begin to investigate the murders the next day. They see that the killer carved the word “virgin” into both victims. At school, Brent sees English teacher Mr. Marliston (Jay Mohr), who urges him to divulge more details of the murder to students and the town so as to eliminate the possibility of secrets.

Annette Duwald, also a virgin, is killed in the same fashion of the last night’s events. Concerned for the town’s safety, Brent holds a meeting at the high school to tell parents the nature of the crimes. No students are invited, but Jody and her friend Timmy, who stayed after school, witness the meeting. Timmy asks to borrow Jody’s cell phone, and goes into the stairwell to make a call. Jody goes downstairs to find him, and discovers his dead body in a locker room. She is confronted by the killer who attacks her, but she manages to escape. At the police station, Jody describes the killer to an officer, who draws a composite. Brent confides with an old friend, Tom Sisler, (the current high school principal) that the suspect looks like “Lora Lee Sherman.” The two are both visibly nervous, and Jody listens in on their conversation.

Later at school, Jody and Kenny reconcile, and later Jody learns from her mother about the tale of Lora Lee. Twenty-five years ago, Lora Lee was a high school loner. She claimed that four popular boys at school, including Brent and the high school principal, raped her one night. Her cries fell on deaf ears and she left the city for the rural outskirts, where she was rarely seen or heard from again. After Jody discovers the truth, disappointed with the hypocrisy of her parents, she visits Kenny at his house. They talk, and Jody being upset with her parents, tries to pressure sex on Kenny. He refuses, pushing her away.

After catching news of the killer’s targeting of virgins, the high school students in town congregate at an abandoned hunting lodge to indulge in a mass orgy. Brent goes to the school to meet Sisler only to find the principal dead in his office with the words “virgin not” carved into his forehead. Before Brent can react he is knocked out by the killer. Jody, who has refused to attend the orgy with Kenny, is out riding her bike when she cycles by Mr. Marliston’s house and witnesses him dragging a heavy trunk inside. Suspicious, Jody sneaks into the house and opens the trunk. She recoils as she finds the beaten and bloody body of her unconscious father inside, before she too is knocked unconscious. At the orgy, Kenny is about to have sex with a girl when he has second thoughts and leaves to find Jody. He drives around trying to find her but is puzzled to see her bicycle outside of Marliston’s house.

Downstairs in his house, Marliston puts on a wig and makeup to “become” Lora Lee Sherman. Marliston reveals that he is Lora Lee Sherman’s illegitimate son, and asks Brent to retell the story of what happened that night 25 years ago. Brent reveals that the four boys, including himself, did indeed rape Lora Lee. Marliston says his mother became an abusive “psycho” after the rape and that one of the rapists is his father; there is an implication that Brent is in fact Marliston’s biological father. By frightening virgins, Marliston anticipated a large high school orgy, which would thereby rob all the wealthy parents of their precious children’s virginity.
Image result for CHERRY FALLS
Kenny enters the house and frees Jody as Brent fights with Marliston, who manages to brutally kill him. Jody and Kenny flee to the orgy with Marliston in furious pursuit, killing a deputy en route. He bursts inside wielding an axe and mass panic erupts. After wildly stabbing panicking students and then trying to escape, Marliston fights both Jody and Kenny, with Kenny being severely wounded during the melee. Eventually, Marliston is pushed off a balcony by Jody and impaled on fence posts. At first he seems to be dead, before reviving briefly only to be promptly shot dead by Deputy Sheriff Mina, who unloads two pistols into him. The next day, Jody and her mother head away from the police station. As they leave, Jody sees someone resembling Lora Lee Sherman disappear behind a moving bus. The film ends with a shot of the waterfalls outside town turning red.

Image result for CHERRY FALLSAll in all Cherry Falls is an ok entry to the Slasher genre with a modern twist story line helped along with slick acting.

REVIEW: BRING IT ON 1,2,3,4 & 5

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CAST

Kirsten Dunst (Spider-Man)
Eliza Dushku (Tru Calling)
Jesse Bradford (Cherry Falls)
Gabrielle Union (Flashforward)
Clare Kramer (Buffy)
Nicole Bilderback (Dark Angel)
Tsianina Joelson (Xena)
Rini Bell (Road Trip)
Nathan West (The Skulls 2)
Huntley Ritter (Voodoo Academy)
Brandi Williams (Honey)
Lindsay Sloane (Sabrina: TTW)
Bianca Kajlich (Rules of Engagement)
Holmes Osborne (Anchorman)
Aloma Wright (Scrubs)
Riley Smith (24)

Torrance Shipman, a student at Rancho Carne High School in San Diego, anxiously dreams about her first day of senior year. Her boyfriend, Aaron has left for college, and her cheerleading squad, the Toros, is aiming for a sixth consecutive national title. Torrance is elected to replace the team captain, “Big Red,” who is graduating. Soon, however, teammate Carver is injured and can no longer compete. Torrance replaces her with Missy Pantone, a gymnast who recently transferred to the school with her brother Cliff, with whom Torrance develops a flirtatious friendship. While watching the Toros practice, Missy recognizes their routines from a rival squad that her previous high school used to compete against. After accusing Torrance of being a liar and stealing (and upon seeing Torrance’s angry reaction, thus realizing Torrance was completely unaware) she drives Torrance to Los Angeles, where they watch the East Compton Clovers perform routines that are virtually identical to their own team’s. Isis, the Clovers’ team captain, angrily confronts the two. Torrance learns that “Big Red” regularly attended the Clovers’ practices to videotape and steal their routines.

Isis informs Torrance of her plans to defeat the Toros at the regional and national championships, which the team has never attended due to their economic hardship. When Torrance tells the Toros about the routines, the team still votes in favor of using the current routine to win; Torrance reluctantly agrees. At the Toros’ next home game, Isis and her teammates show up and perform the Toros’ routine in front of the whole school, humiliating them. The Toros realize that they have no choice but to learn a different routine. In desperation, they employ a professional choreographer named Sparky Polastri to provide one, as suggested by Aaron. But at the Regionals, the team scheduled immediately ahead of the Toros performs the exact routine they had been practicing. The Toros have no choice but to perform the very same routine. After the debacle that ensues, Torrance speaks to a competition official and is told Polastri provided the routine to several other teams in California. As the defending champions, the Toros are nevertheless granted their place in the Finals, but Torrance is warned that a new routine will be expected. Torrance, crushed by her failure to lead the team successfully, considers quitting.

Cliff encourages and supports her, intensifying their growing attraction. Aaron, however, suggests that she is not leadership material and recommends that she step down from her position. When Cliff sees Torrance and Aaron together, he angrily severs his friendship with Torrance, to her distress. But her confidence is renewed by Cliff’s encouragement and she convinces her unhappy team to create an innovative, new routine instead. She breaks up with Aaron, realizing his infidelity and his inability to be supportive, but Cliff still refuses to forgive her. Meanwhile, the Clovers are initially unable to compete at Nationals due to financial problems. This prompts Torrance to get her dad’s company to sponsor the Clovers, but Isis rejects the money and gets her team to Nationals by appealing to a talk show host who grew up in their area. In the finals, the Toros place second, while the Clovers win. However, at the end of the movie, Torrance and Isis find respect in each other, and Cliff and Torrance share a romantic kiss.

Bring it On’ is without a doubt, sassy, funny and has bags of attitude. It’s a fun movie that spawned several sequels.

 

 

CAST

Anne Judson-Yager (Minority Report)
Bree Turner (Grimm)
Kevin Cooney (Dead Poets Society)
Faune Chambers Watkins (Epic Movie)
Bryce Johnson (Willow Creek)
Richard Lee Jackson (Saved By The Bell: The New Class)
Bethany Joy Lenz (Agents of Shield)
Holly Towne (Dumb and Dumberer)
Felicia Day (The Guild)
Joshua Gomez (Chuck)
Kelly Stables (Two and a Half Men)
Brian Patrick Wade (The Big Bang Theory)
Chris Carmack (Into The Blue 2)
Derek Richardson (Anger Management)
Geoff Stults (The Finder)

Whittier (Anne Judson-Yager) arrives at the fictional California State College hoping to join the national champion varsity cheerleading team. She meets up with her friend from cheerleading camp, Monica (Faune Chambers), and they’re both impressive at the tryouts.

Head cheerleader Tina (Bree Turner) is ready to ask them to join the team, but Greg (Bryce Johnson) goes a step further, telling Tina that Whittier will be the next head cheerleader. This angers Tina’s pal Marni (Bethany Joy Lenz), who had the position staked out, but at the urging of Dean Sebastian (Kevin Cooney), Tina goes along with the plan, taking Whittier under her wing. Whittier meets Derek (Richard Lee Jackson), a campus D.J. who immediately takes a shine to her. But Tina is very demanding and controlling. She warns Whittier that Derek is not the type of boy she should be dating. Monica is bothered by Tina’s meddling, but Whittier momentarily lets her cheerleading ambition get the better of her, and breaks it off with Derek.

Then Tina, upset with Monica’s sassy attitude, punishes her which leads to an injury and she forces Whittier to choose between her friendship and the squad. Whittier and Monica get fed up and quit Tina’s tyranny, but Whittier’s school spirit cannot be suppressed. With Monica’s help, she gathers up the outcasts from the drama club, the dance club, and other groups that have lost their funding because of the squad and forms a ragtag squad of her own, determined to battle the varsity squad for a spot at the national championship. The two teams end up competing for the spot at nationals, with Whittier’s squad ultimately winning. Afterward Whittier offers Tina a spot on her squad, which Tina refuses but ends up wanting. The film ends with Tina sucking up to Whittier and Monica, deciding she wants to be on their squad after all, while Marni comically throws a fit.

Despite not having the big budget and all star cast of the original, this sequel does a grand job and gives the first film a good run for its money. The mild language is toned down slightly more but it’s still a 12 rating presumably due to the bitchiness which is over the top fun. The film does sag a little in the middle part but it still makes great family viewing and there are more humorous moments in this and it does give more a team spirit approach as a bunch of misfits takes on the established Varsity cheerleaders.

CAST

Hayden Panettiere (Heroes)
Solange Knowles (Johnson Family Vacation)
Jake McDorman (Limitless TV)
Danielle Savre (Boogeyman 2)
Emme Rylan (General Hospital)
Cindy Chu (Coach Carter)
Giovonnie Samuels (Fatherhood)
Gustavo Carr (500 Days of Summer)
Rihanna (Battleship)
Caity Lotz (Legends of Tomorrow)

Britney Allen’s (Hayden Panettiere) living a ‘dream life’ as the cheerleading captain and girlfriend of the star quarterback of Pacific Vista High School. Her nemesis is the highly ambitious Winnie Harper. Her life changes dramatically when her father loses his job, and the family must relocate to the disadvantaged city, Crenshaw Heights, which Britney, being the “White Girl”, takes quite a while to adjust to.

She meets Camille, cheerleading captain of the Crenshaw Heights ‘Warriors’ and her friends and fellow cheerleaders, Kirresha and Leti. She also meets Jesse, a male cheerleader and the only person who is nice to her on her first day. Britney, at the urging of Winnie, has already vowed to never cheer for another team (as this would make her a ‘cheer whore’), but after being dared by Camille and Jesse to show up at the cheerleading tryouts, Britney impresses everyone with her cheerleading skills and experience. Camille, after being persuaded by her friends to “do it for the squad,” reluctantly invites her onto the squad. Britney and Jesse become close and eventually kiss.

Around this time, singer Rihanna announces a TV special where all high school cheerleading squads can compete, with the winners appearing in a music video with her and winning new computers for their school. Winnie finds out that Britney’s cheering with the Warriors and reveals this to her friends. A week later, Britney lies to Camille, telling her that she can’t cheer at the next game as she’s holding a memorial service for her dead dog; when she’s actually going to Pacific Vista’s Homecoming dance. Camille and Jesse arrive at Britney’s to offer their condolences, and when they see Britney and Brad dressed up for the dance, Camille kicks her off the squad.

At the dance, Winnie reveals to everyone that she has been sleeping with Brad behind Britney’s back causing Britney to dump him and end her friendship with Winnie, telling her that she’s “too much of a backstabber to have any real friends”. On the day of the auditions, Britney arrives at the Warriors’ bus and comes to wish them good luck. When Winnie, with the rest of her team, makes fun of the Warriors, Britney stands up to Winnie and defends them. Camille, impressed by this, lets Britney cheer with them again. Jesse, however, is still mad at her for not telling him that she had a boyfriend before they had kissed. Both of the rivaling teams show their performances. At the auditions, the two finalists are Pacific Vista and Crenshaw Heights. PV wows the audience with their routine and Camille starts getting worried. Then Britney points out that all their steps are repetitive and that they have their secret weapon: Krumping. Now dressed in streetwear instead of their regular uniforms, steps on stage during PV’s performance and begins mirroring their steps. Finally, they begin krumping, wiping PV off the stage and impressing Rihanna with their routine. After the Warrior’s performance ends, Winnie approaches Rihanna and insists that Crenshaw Heights should be disqualified (“or arrested”) for interrupting PV’s routine. This leads to an argument between Winnie and the rest of the Pacific Vista squad, during which Britney notes, “Spirit Law states that if there’s a cheer mutiny, a squad can vote to replace their captain.”

Everyone present, even Rihanna and the other performing squads, vote to replace Winnie as the Pacific Vista High cheerleading captain. Winnie protests, dismissing CH’s style as “ghetto,” to which Rihanna responds that she judges a squad by their skills and not by where they come from. Rihanna ultimately selects Crenshaw Heights as the winners, and the Pacific Vista squad (with Britney’s friend Amber as their new captain) comes forward to congratulate them. Britney and Jesse also make up, kissing backstage after their first performance. The movie ends with a made-for-movie music video of Rihanna’s “Pon de Replay” with the Crenshaw Heights squad dancing in the background.

The characters are likable, the script is great, the acting is brilliant and the finale holds up to the original. All in all, I had great fun watching this film. It’s one of the best Sequels mostly because of Hayden Panettiere of Heroes fame.

 

CAST

Ashley Benson (Spring Breakers)
Cassie Scerbo (Soccer Mom)
Michael Copon (Power Rangers Time Force)
Jennifer Tisdale (Ted Bundy)
Ashley Tisdale (Donnie Darko)

The West Coast Sharks Cheerleading Squad, led by Carson (Ashley Benson), are attending Camp Spirit-Thunder where they’re confronted by their arch-rivals, the East Coast Jets Cheerleading Squad, led by Brooke (Cassie Scerbo). Both are fierce rivals because each is the best on its respective coast; however, the Jets have beaten the Sharks at the annual Cheer Camp Championships for the previous three years in a row.

On her first day at camp, Carson meets and hits it off with Penn (Michael Copon). They trade phone numbers, neither knowing the other is a member of their arch-rival squad. When Carson eventually does find out that Penn is a Jet, she gives him up although she really likes him.

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As part of the Camp Spirit-Thunder ritual, the West Coast Sharks are given the Spirit Stick, a “special” cheerleading item that they have to guard fiercely. Carson agrees to watch the Spirit Stick when her friends leave for a poker game, but she forgets about it when Penn arrives to ask her out. They go to a nearby amusement park and spend time together, notably riding the Double Dragons (Dueling Dragons) rollercoaster at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. At this time, Penn confesses his darkest secret to Carson: he forced his team to raise money for him to go to the camp so that his father wouldn’t find out he is a cheerleader.

Carson’s friends return to her room, but find both her and the Spirit Stick missing. They search for her, eventually finding her dancing with Penn. At this time Brooke and her friends also see the duo. When the Sharks reveal that the Spirit Stick is gone, Carson accuses the Jets of sending Penn to lure her away, and she angrily announces to all, Penn’s secret. The Sharks are worried, because losing the Spirit Stick means they are “cursed.”

The Sharks decided to hold a ceremony to ask the “Cheer Gods” for forgiveness. They are interrupted when the Jets arrive, and the squads have a “cheer-rumble”. This scene is similar to the scene in West Side Story (1961 film starring Natalie Wood) in which rival gangs named the Sharks and Jets face off. The authorities arrive, and in the ensuing melee, a number of members from both teams become injured. Both squads are forced to leave the camp as neither one has enough members to compete. But before they can board their respective buses, Carson suggests to Brooke that they combine into a single squad to compete at the Cheer Camp Championship. Though reluctant at first, the squads come together as the “East-West Coast Shets,” complete with new uniforms made through patching their old uniforms together. The two teams slowly bond, while Carson works on repairing her relationship with Penn.

The Shets sneak into Camp Victory, the rival of Camp Spirit-Thunder, to scope Camp Victory’s star team, the Flamingos. After seeing their impressive performance, Carson devises a new routine, inspired by the Double Dragon ride at that amusement park. On the day of the competition, the Shets perform their routine perfectly, winning the competition outright. Carson and Penn kiss on the mat in the middle of the celebrations, and it is revealed that Camp Victory are the ones responsible for stealing the Spirit Stick. The end credits feature clips of the cast dancing “all over the world”, while the singer Ashley Tisdale, who is the sister of Jennifer Tisdale, performs her single “He Said She Said.”

his has all the initial bitchiness of the other three but has more of a storyline being more about co-operation than outright competition. The humour is still there, but its played down whilst most music features in the background rather than as a main boost to the routines. If you want a light hearted film which is a little cheesy in places but still entertains this is a good choice.

 

CAST

Christina Milian (Torque)
Rachele Brooke Smith (Iron Man 2)
Vanessa Born (Sky)
Cody Longo (Fame)
Gabrielle Dennis (Rosewood)
Meagan Holder (You Again)
Nikki SooHoo (The Lovely Bones)
David Starzyk (Veronica Mars)
Brittany Anne Pirtle (Power Rangers Samurai)

Lina Cruz is a tough, sharp-witted cheerleader from East L.A. who transfers to Malibu Vista High School after her widowed mother remarries a wealthy man. Lina not only finds herself a fish-out-of-water at her new high school, she also faces off against Avery, the snobbish and ultra-competitive All-Star cheerleading Captain who leads her own squad, ‘The Jaguars’ after the high school squad, ‘The Sea Lions’, did not vote for her to be Captain.

After Lina upsets Sky, her stepsister, she is forced to join The Sea Lions. She goes into the school stadium to check them out and finds Evan, a basketball player who is also her crush, practicing hoops. He is also Avery’s younger brother. Lina impresses Evan, and The Sea Lions vote her Captain. When Lina is Captain, Gloria, her friend from East L.A, is called to help her out. After a team member from the Sea Lions quits, Lina calls her other friend, Trey, to come and help her out. At a basketball game, the Sea Lions go on and perform, but a fall takes place, so The Jaguars, led by Avery, are there and save them from their misery. Lina calls for back up and takes the Sea Lions to an impromptu flavour school to work on their movements. She later meets Evan waiting for her there, and Victor, Gloria’s boyfriend, befriends him.The next day, Lina comes up with the idea of The Sea Lions competing in  the All Star Championship. After the team agrees to double up their practices, The Sea Lions are invited to a Rodeo Drive Divas (RDD) party. Following Sea Lion practice, Gloria and Trey are expelled when Avery goes to the principal and gets Lina in trouble for sneaking them in without approval. Lina refuses to go to the dance but is confronted by Sky. Evan takes Lina as his date to the party, where Gloria and Trey turn up. Lina and Avery proceed to have a dance off. Lina wins the dance off, and Avery tells her that she does not belong in Malibu using multiple racial slurs. Lina, angered, runs off the dance floor and outside, where Evan follows her. There she breaks up with Evan, sends for Gloria to take her back to East L.A, and quits being Captain of The Sea Lions.

There, Lina is confronted by Gloria and Trey, so she stays at Malibu and becomes Captain of The Sea Lions again. The next day at school, half of the Sea Lions squad quits because of Lina’s routines and practices. Avery and Kayla approach Lina, Christina, and Sky to tell them that they are dreaming if they think they have a chance at winning the Spirit Championship. Sky loses her temper and tells them to back off, otherwise a fight would start.

Lina then goes on a field trip to East L.A with the remaining Sea Lions, where Gloria has persuaded a gym to sponsor the Sea Lions and some of the members of The East L.A. Rough Riders as an All Star squad. By combining the Sea Lions and the Rough Riders, they become The Dream Team. The next day after practice, while Lina is at her locker talking with Sky and Christina, Evan kisses her and tells her exactly how he feels in front of a crowd in the hallway that is recording the entire scene. They get back together, and Lina and her team make it to the final round of the All Star Championship and end up defeating The Jaguars, after which Avery breaks down. Evan comforts her but motions a “call me” signal to Lina over Avery’s shoulder. The film ends with Lina taking a picture with Trey, Gloria and Sky, claiming all of them as her cheer sisters.

Of all the `Bring it On’ films this probably has the most developed story but it is highly predicable and mimicks many of the earlier films, but it’s still light and entertaining. The acting is good and the characters are more developed in this although they are over the top as you’d expect from this series. Of all, this is probably the most family friendly of the lot, but like the others it’s still a 12 rating probably due to the fact it uses a number of racial slurs to highlight the cultural difference. There are plenty of dance routines to keep the interest .

REVIEW: MARVEL ONE-SHOT: ITEM 47

CAST

Lizzy Caplan (Mean Girls)
Jesse Bradford (Bring It On)
Maximiliano Hernández (Warrior)
Titus Welliver (Argo)

 

Bennie and Claire, a down-on-their-luck couple, find a discarded Chitauri gun (“Item 47”) left over from the attack on New York City in The Avengers. The couple use it to rob a few banks, drawing the attention of S.H.I.E.L.D., which assigns agents Sitwell and Blake to retrieve the weapon and “neutralize” the couple. Agent Sitwell tracks the couple down to a motel room that gets wrecked in the subsequent confrontation, and the stolen money gets destroyed. Instead of killing the couple, Sitwell invites them to join S.H.I.E.L.D., with Bennie assigned to the R&D ‘think-tank’ to reverse engineer the Chitauri technology, and Claire becoming Blake’s assistant.

Item 47 is one of the best One Shots produced, Jesse Bradford and Lizzy Caplan are excellent and it’s a shame they have yet to return to the Marvel universe. It’s a nice little companion to the movie.