REVIEW: THE GREY

Starring

Liam Neeson (Taken)
Frank Grillo (Beyond Skyline)
Dermot Mulroney (The Rambler)
Dallas Roberts (Insatiable)
Joe Anderson (The Crazies)
Nonso Anozie (Cinderella)
James Badge Dale (Iron Man 3)
Ben Hernandez Bray (Real Steel)
Anne Openshaw (Smallville)

Liam Neeson in The Grey (2011)John Ottway (Liam Neeson) is a marksman for an oil company in Alaska, killing grey wolves that threaten the drillers. On his last day on the job, he sees a driller being pursued by a wolf and shoots it, listening to the wolf’s final breath. That evening, Ottway writes a letter “without purpose” to his wife, Ana (Anne Openshaw), explaining his plans to commit suicide, but does not follow through. The next day, Ottway survives a plane crash with fellow oil workers, watching helplessly as Lewenden (James Badge Dale) dies of his injuries. Ottway takes charge of the survivors and is attacked by a wolf and rescued by the group; they realize they are in the wolves’ territory and take turns keeping watch. Hernandez (Ben Bray) is killed by wolves, and Ottway suggests they leave the crash site, but Diaz (Frank Grillo) questions his leadership. While searching for the wallets of the dead to return to their families, Diaz finds an emergency wrist watch with a radio beacon.Liam Neeson in The Grey (2011)The group leaves the crash site, but Flannery (Joe Anderson) falls behind and is killed by wolves. A pack of wolves approaches and the survivors run for the trees, lighting a fire to ward off the animals and building makeshift weaponry. Diaz succumbs to stress and threatens Ottway with a knife but is quickly disarmed. Before he can apologize, he is attacked by a wolf, which the group manages to kill and roast for food. Ottway surmises the wolf was an omega sent by the alpha wolf to test the group. A crazed Diaz beheads the wolf’s corpse, throwing the severed head at the pack. Diaz tells the group of his atheism and Talget (Dermot Mulroney) states that he believes in God and lovingly talks about his daughter. Ottway says he is also an atheist, but wishes he could believe or have faith, and recites a simple poem written by his father.Liam Neeson in The Grey (2011)A blizzard approaches, and in the morning, Burke (Nonso Anozie), who had been suffering from hypoxia, is found dead. The remaining survivors travel to the edge of a canyon. Hendrick (Dallas Roberts) secures a line to a tree on the opposite side, and Diaz and Ottway traverse the canyon. Talget gets his foot caught on a hook, and the rope breaks away and he falls to the ground. Barely alive, he hallucinates a vision of his daughter, and is dragged away by wolves. Attempting to save Talget, Diaz falls from the tree and badly injures his knee. Diaz, Ottway, and Hendrick arrive at a river where Diaz, humbled by his journey and unable to walk, explains that he can accept dying in the middle of nature. Leaving Diaz to his fate, Ottway and Hendrick continue on and are set upon by the wolves. Hendrick falls into the river and is trapped beneath the surface; Ottway is unable to pull him loose, and Hendrick drowns. Now alone, Ottway angrily appeals to God to “show him something real”, but seeing nothing, decides he will “do this on my own.”Liam Neeson in The Grey (2011)Exhausted, Ottway eventually stops walking and goes through the collected wallets. He realizes too late that he has stumbled right into the wolves’ den – the team had been walking towards, not away from, the danger. Surrounded by the wolf pack and facing its leader, Ottway looks at his wife’s photo in his wallet. It is revealed that she was dying of a terminal illness, the reason he was earlier preparing to kill himself. As the alpha wolf approaches, Ottway arms himself with a knife and shards of liquor bottles taped to his hand. He recites the words, “Once more into the fray. Into the last good fight I’ll ever know. Live and die on this day. Live and die on this day.” He charges the alpha wolf. In a brief post-credits scene, the alpha wolf takes its last breaths, similar to the wolf Ottway shot and killed earlier. Ottway lies against the wolf, his fate unclear.Liam Neeson in The Grey (2011)The film is depressing. There is little hope here, and as the men come to face their individual fates, the sense of dread grows greater. This coupled with an ending that many may find disappointing will probably turn other viewers off. I, for one, was not. The movie is still quite fantastic despite it’s depressing tone, and even if the ending isn’t quite what we’d anticipate, there’s enough of a sense of finality in it that it seems justified. In other words, if all you expect is a film that is shallow and about what you see, instead of what you feel and think, then you will most likely be disappointed. But if you’re looking for an exciting, edge of your seat, thought provoking film with a lot to say, then The Grey is something you will probably enjoy. It’s certainly a heck of a good way to kick off a new year of cinema.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: HORNS

 

 

CAST

Daniel Radcliffe (The Woman In Black)
Max Minghella (The Social Network)
Joe Anderson (The Crazies)
Juno Temple (The Dark Knight Rises)
Kelli Garner (Lars and The Real Girl)
James Remar (Flashforward)
Kathleen Quinlan (Apollo 13)
David Morse (The Green Mile)
Alex Zahara (Dark Angel)
Michael Adamthwaite (Stargate SG.1
Nels Lennarson (Cold Pursuit)
Don Thompson (Slither)
Jay Brazeau (Bates Motel)
Christine Willes (Dead Like me)
Panou (Caprica)

Ignatius “Ig” Perrish is the prime suspect when his girlfriend Merrin is raped and murdered. Despite his declarations of innocence, he is shunned by the community, and only his childhood friend and lawyer Lee seems to believe him. He stays with his parents and brother Terry, hiding from the press. After a vigil led by Merrin’s father, who believes Ig to be guilty, Ig drinks heavily and wakes up with a pair of horns protruding from his head. While at his doctor to try and remove his horns, Ig, under anesthesia, dreams of his childhood, when he first met Merrin after the death of her mother. A young Ig and his friends play with cherry bombs near the docks; Ig risks a dangerous dare to win a cherry bomb, and nearly drowns, but is saved by Lee. He later trades the cherry bomb with Lee in exchange for fixing Merrin’s broken necklace; however, Lee loses two fingers when the cherry bomb goes off accidentally. Ig and Merrin bond over the fixed necklace and fall in love, frequenting a treehouse in the woods together.

The horns are revealed to force people around Ig to tell him their darkest secrets and desires. Ig goes to visit his parents, but under the power of the horns his mother reveals that she doesn’t want him as her son, while his father tells him that he is worthless without Merrin. Ig goes to a bar, where he goads the reporters into a brawl and attempts to find evidence that he didn’t kill Merrin. Ig gets three people to confess their darkest secrets, leading the bartender to burn down his bar. From one of his confessions he also learns that the new witness for the prosecution is from the diner where Merrin had broken up with him the night she died. Ig finds the waitress, and discovers that she has been fabricating her stories to become famous. When Ig talks to Terry, he learns that Terry had driven Merrin from the diner the night she died. Touching Terry’s skin, Ig sees what happened that night: Merrin left the car en route to her home and ran into the woods; Terry passed out in the car, and woke up the next morning with a bloody rock in his hand before finding Merrin dead under the treehouse. Afraid that he would be implicated, he threw the rock away and fled. Infuriated, Ig brutally assaults Terry until he is arrested by a police officer, another childhood friend named Eric. The next morning Ig is released from jail with Lee’s help, discovering that Lee had been wearing Merrin’s cross necklace and as a result couldn’t see Ig’s horns.Ig realizes that snakes are following him wherever he goes, and uses them to exact vengeance against the waitress. He also forces Terry to overdose on drugs, causing Terry to be tormented with memories of Merrin’s death. Ig meets Lee by the docks and pulls off Merrin’s necklace; exposed to the horns, Lee falls under their influence, admitting he killed Merrin. In flashbacks, it is shown that Lee was also in love with Merrin and was deeply jealous of Ig throughout their childhood. Lee followed Merrin into the woods, thinking that she had broken up with Ig to be with him, and in a jealous rage he raped her, killed her with a rock—which he planted on Terry—and stole her necklace. As Ig sees all of this, Lee overpowers him and lights him on fire in his car, causing Ig to drive into the bay. To the authorities, Lee claims that Ig confessed to the crime and committed suicide. In reality, with the power of the horns, Ig survives, horrifially burned and disfigured.Daniel Radcliffe in Horns (2013)Merrin’s father, who now believes Ig’s innocence, gives Ig the key to Merrin’s lock box. When Ig puts on Merrin’s cross, his body is restored and his horns disappear. In the box, he finds a note from Merrin that explains that she knew he was going to propose and wanted to accept, but she was dying from cancer and didn’t want him to suffer through what her father did, so she pushed him away under the pretense of loving someone else. Ig confronts Lee, who does not remember their earlier fight, and leads him into the woods where Merrin was killed. Meanwhile, Eric and Terry arrive, intent on arresting Lee. Lee confesses to the murder, but then gleefully kills Eric and injures Terry. Ig tears off the necklace, sprouting a pair of wings and bursting into flame, transforming into a demonic monster. Despite Lee mortally wounding him, Ig impales Lee on one of his horns and telepathically orders a snake to slide down Lee’s throat, fatally suffocating him. Stating that his vengeance was all-consuming, Ig dies from his injuries and his smoldering corpse slowly cools and turns to hardened ash, and appears to be reunited with Merrin in the afterlife.Daniel Radcliffe and Juno Temple in Horns (2013)The acting was excellent. Daniel Ratcliffe does a great job of being American, it was weird to hear him without the accent at first but he does such a good job. The rest of the supporting cast did a great job, all the characters were extremely interesting and well written so that may have had something to do with it. Overall I really enjoyed this. It definitely isn’t for everybody and has a pretty long run time of 2 hours so I could see people getting bored with it if it isn’t exactly there thing. But if you want to see something that you haven’t seen before, something that tries to be original but not too overly artsy, something with heart then I suggest giving this a try.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW:THE CRAZIES (2010)

 

CAST

Timothy Oyphant (Hitman)
Radha Mitchell (Pitch Black)
Joe Anderson (Hannibal TV)
Danielle Panabaker (The Flash)
Christie Lynn Smith (Bones)
John Aylward (Armageddon)
Glenn Morshower (Supergirl TV)
Larry Cedar (Deadwood)

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The first five minutes of Breck Eisner’s The Crazies paint an almost comically detailed and earnest, Norman Rockwell-inspired vision of small-town America. The setting is Ogden Marsh, Iowa; the sun is shining, the grass is green, and folks are heading out to a baseball game. It’s such a literal illustration of our traditional Americana iconography that you half expect a shot of someone’s mom pulling an apple pie out of the oven.

Of course, all this follows a brief prologue that indicates the entire town will be on fire two days later, so it’s no big surprise that this Wal-Mar commercial has been set up only to be blown wide open. And it is, quickly; in the midst of the high school ballgame, resident Rory Hamill strolls onto the field with a nosebleed and a shotgun. Sheriff David Dutton (Timothy Olyphant) approaches him, calmly; Rory’s got a bit of a drinking problem. Dutton tries to get him to put the gun down, but when Rory raises it, the sheriff instinctively, immediately shoots him in the head, as the whole town looks on.

It’s a whopper of an opening, taut and efficient–a description that could be applied to Eisner’s well-crafted remake of George A. Romero’s 1973 picture. Scott Kosar and Ray Wright’s screenplay telescopes the action a bit, keeping the government officials and soldiers as mostly faceless villains and focusing on Sheriff Dutton, his deputy Russell (Joe Anderson), and his wife Judy (Radha Mitchell), the town doctor.

She’s the one who sees the next of the title characters, a local farmer whose wife is worried that “he’s… not right.” She has no idea; the farmer ends up chasing his wife and child into a closet with a knife, and then burns their farmhouse down. Sheriff Dutton eventually pinpoints the cause of the trouble–a recent plane crash appears to have somehow infected the drinking water, and folks are just plain losing their minds. He’s barely put all this together when the military descends upon the town to quarantine the residents, sick and well alike. Dutton, Judy, and Russell manage to escape the quarantine, along with Judy’s nurse (Danielle Panabaker); they spend the rest of the picture trying to escape their now-desolate town. Olyphant’s performance strikes just about the right note; he overplays an early scene with Rory’s widow, but mostly brings the right degree of square-jawed professionalism to the role, grabbing his moments on the fly, when he can. Mitchell’s role is a bit more thankless, but she imbues it with the right amount of steely determination.  Director Breck Eisner is a legitimately talented craftsman.

REVIEW: HERCULES (2014)

CAST

Dwayne Johnson (Get Smart)
Ian McShane (Deadwood)
John Hurt (Hellboy)
Rufus Sewell (The Illusionist)
Aksel Hennie (The Martian)
Ingrid Bolsø Berdal (Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters)
Reece Ritchie (The Lovely Bones)
Joseph Fiennes (Flashforward)
Rebecca Ferguson (Mission: Impossible 5)
Joe Anderson (Hannibal TV)
Ian Whyte (Prometheus)

Hercules is the leader of a band of mercenaries composed of the spear-wielding prophet Amphiaraus of Argos, the knife-throwing thief Autolycus of Sparta, the feral warrior Tydeus of Thebes, the Amazon archer Atalanta of Scythia and his nephew storyteller Iolaus of Athens. Hercules is said to be the demigod son of Zeus, who completed the legendary Twelve Labors, only to be betrayed by Hera who drove him insane and caused him to murder his wife Megara and their children during a visit to King Eurystheus. Throughout the film, it is not clearly established that Hercules is truly the son of Zeus, and many are skeptical of the claim as well as of the stories of Hercules’ famous Twelve Labors. Despite this, Hercules displays unusual strength and nigh-unmatched skill in combat. Hercules is frequently haunted by the memory of the deaths of his wife and children by his hand, as well as visions of Cerberus.
After finishing a recent mission and saving his nephew on the Macedonian Coast in Northern Greece in 358 BC, Hercules and his team are celebrating and drinking at a tavern when they are approached by Ergenia on behalf of her father Lord Cotys who wants Hercules to train the armies of Thrace to defend the kingdom from bloodthirsty warlord Rhesus. Hercules accepts after he and his men are offered his weight in gold, and the band is welcomed to Thrace by King Cotys and General Sitacles, leader of the Thracian army. However, Rhesus has reached the Bessi tribe in Central Thrace and Cotys insists that Hercules lead the army into battle to defend the Bessi, despite their lack of training. However, they are too late as Rhesus’ sorcery has turned the Bessi against the Thracians.
After the Bessi are defeated, Hercules properly trains the army, then Hercules and Sitacles confront Rhesus and his soldiers on the battlefield before Mount Asticus. The Thracians force Rhesus’ army to retreat, but Rhesus himself rides out to confront Hercules and is defeated by him. Rhesus is taken back to Thrace as a prisoner, where he is tortured and humiliated. Hercules takes pity and stops the townfolk from throwing more objects at him, then Hercules mentions Rhesus’ actions of burning down villages, Rhesus tells him it was not him or his army, and tells Hercules that he has been fighting on the wrong side. Later in the hall of the palace, Rhesus has been chained up and left on display. Noticing that Ergenia has taken pity to him, Hercules confronts her and finds out Rhesus was telling the truth in that he was merely retaliating against Lord Cotys’s aggressive attempts to expand his kingdom. Although Ergenia doesn’t agree with Lord Cotys’s methods, she goes along with them for the sake of her son Arius, Lord Cotys’s successor to the throne, who is being threatened by Cotys.
After receiving their reward, the mercenaries are ready to leave, but Hercules decides to stay behind to stop Cotys, and all but Autolycus choose to follow him. However, they are overpowered and captured by Sitacles and his men. While chained, Hercules is confronted by King Eurystheus, who is in league with Lord Cotys. Eurystheus reveals that he drugged Hercules the night his family died, viewing him as a threat to his power. Hercules’s family was in fact killed by three vicious wolves sent by Eurystheus, resulting in Hercules’s constant hallucinations of Cerberus. When Lord Cotys orders Ergenia to be executed for her betrayal, Hercules is encouraged by Amphiaraus to believe in himself just as everyone believes in him. In a show of superhuman strength, Hercules breaks free of his chains, saving Ergenia and slaying the wolves with his bare hands. Hercules releases the prisoners, including Rhesus, and then confronts King Eurystheus, impaling him with his own dagger. He is attacked by Sitacles, who is then stabbed by Iolaus.
Outside, Hercules and his forces battle Lord Cotys and his army. Arius is taken hostage, but then rescued by Autolycus, who has decided to return to help his friends. In the ensuing battle, Tydeus is mortally wounded while protecting Arius, but fights on slaughtering numerous Thracian soldiers. Hercules again uses inhuman strength and pushes a massive statue of Hera from its foundations and uses it to crush Lord Cotys and many of his soldiers. The remaining soldiers see Hercules as lightning flashes in the background. The surviving soldiers bow to Hercules, and Arius takes the throne, with Ergenia at his side, while Hercules and his men depart in search of other adventures.
As the credits roll, an animated retelling of the Twelve Labors shows how Hercules accomplished these feats with the help of his companions.The running length is long enough to feel satisfied and not so long that it overstays its welcome. The plot twists you see coming a mile away but at least it tries to do them. Other than one characters actions near the end which was so obvious it was stupid to include.  In conclusion, its worth watching. It takes it times to grab you, but once it does it doesn’t let go.