REVIEW: STAR WARS – EPISODE III: REVENGE OF THE SITH

 

CAST
Hayeden Christensen (Awake)
Natalie Portman (No Strings Attached)
Ewan McGregor (Cassandra’s Dream)
Ian McDiarmid (Margaret)
Samuel L. Jackson (Jackie Brown)
Jimmy Smits (Cane)
Frank Oz (Sesame Street)
Anthony Daniels (The Lego Movie)
Kenny Baker (Labyrinth)
Christopher Lee (Lord of The Rings)
Keisha Castle-Hughes (Game of thrones)
Ahmed Best (Poolboy)
Jay Laga’ala (Xena)
Bruce Spence (Mad Max 2)
Temuera Morrison (Once Were Warriors)
Oliver Ford Davies (Johnny English)
Peter Mayhew (Killer Ink)
Joel Edgerton (The Gift)
Rena Owen (The Last Witch HUnter)
James Earl Jones (Conan The Barbarian)
Wayne Pygram (Farscape)
Jeremy Bulloch (Starhyke)
Genevieve O’Reilly (THe Legend of Tarzan)
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith is the best Star Wars movie in the prequel trilogy, hands down.

Objectively speaking, Revenge of the Sith’s greatest contribution to the Star Wars family is first and foremost the massive improvement of the quality of the visual effects. This film was released in 2005, and yet even today I have absolutely zero issues with any of the special effects, even in blu-ray format. They look stunning, detailed and realistic to the point of complete satisfaction. I think pretty much everyone can agree on this at least.

To me, Revenge of the Sith was a jaw dropping sci-fi movie from start till finish. I don’t remember any other science fiction film having action of this magnitude and scale going on in the history of film making. We are treated to probably the largest space battle ever shown in cinema when the film opens. This entire sequence, from Anakin and Obi-Wan fighting their way through the thick of battle to Count Dooku’s flagship all the way to them landing the damaged space ship on Coruscant, takes over half an hour and you’re completely engaged throughout.

The film then quietens down to politics and Anakin spending time with his wife Padme. Again, I never felt bored or checked my watch during these sequences as I felt they added much to the story, which is ultimately about Anakin’s fall. Now, a person who just watched this film might say Palpatine barely did anything to make Anakin turn to the Dark Side of the Force, and therefore all of this is a big disappointment. However, Anakin’s fall makes far more sense if you have recently watched The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones. Things that step by step shake his faith in the Jedi order are all strewn across these two films, which then culminate in the third. The initial rejection of the Jedi council to train young Anakin, the death of his mentor Qui-Gon, his romantic feelings for Padme despite his oaths of celibacy and detachment as Jedi, the lack of trust he gets from Mace Windu, Yoda and even Obi-Wan at times, the death of his mother Shmi and the visions that foretell the death of Padme in childbirth all contribute to him feeling confused, lonely and isolated – vulnerable for one particular Sith, who after all, had managed to not only fool the entire galactic senate, but also the Jedi order itself about being a good natured and harmless Chancellor. To blame troubled Anakin for buying into the deception of Palpatine, who had pretty much managed to deceive everyone else so far, would indeed be unfair.

The rest of the film is top notch. We are taken to many stunning locations that serve as backdrops for large scale battles, and General Grievous does a far better job of being an interesting antagonist than the stoic and almost vampiric Count Dooku did in Episode II. The film builds up in tension until it treats us to the greatest light saber duel in the entire series, bar none. Amazingly filmed by Steven Spielberg, who George Lucas allowed to be in charge of this part of the movie. The hellish landscape of Mustafar is a fitting place for such a titanic clash between Anakin and Obi-Wan, one that we had been waiting for so long and, I believe satisfied us all. The final portion of the film is spent tying up loose ends in the same fashion that the final section of Return of the King did – many short, disjointed scenes taking place in different locations, but necessary to complete the overarching narrative. There are some deleted scenes which I think could have been added to give this film the finishing touches it needed, but overall I am still very happy about the quality, presentation and entertainment Revenge of the Sith offers from start till finish.

Of course the end will leave a sour taste in your mouth since it isn’t a happy ending, but that was the whole point of the prequel trilogy, wasnt it – to explain how Darth Vader became Darth Vader and what led to the fall of the Republic and the creation of the totalitarian Galactic Empire. If you’re like me and watch the films in the order I to VI, you can sit back with satisfaction and anticipation after the conclusion of III, because the story will go on and we’re just getting started!

 

REVIEW: STAR WARS – EPISODE II: ATTACK OF THE CLONES

CAST

Hayden Christensen (Awake)
Natalie Portman (No Strings Attached)
Ewan McGregor (Cassandra’s Dream)
Christopher Lee (Lord of The Rings)
Samuel L. Jackson (Jackie Brown)
Frank Oz (Sesame Street)
Ian McDiarmid (Margaret)
Pernilla August (Search)
Temuera Morrison (Once Were Warriors)
Jimmy Smits (Cane)
Jack Thompson (Around The Block)
Ahmed Best (Poolboy)
Rose Byrne (The Voices)
Oliver Ford Davies (Johnny English)
Jay Laga’ala (Xena)
Anthony Daniels (The Lego Movie)
Kenny Baker (Labyrinth)
Joel Edgerton (The Gift)
Rena Owen (The Last Witch HUnter)
Marton Csokas (Aeon Flux)

MV5BMTc0Mzc0MjQwMl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMzE4Nzg1OQ@@._V1_SX1500_CR0,0,1500,999_AL_Ten years after the Trade Federation’s invasion of Naboo, the Galactic Republic is threatened by a Separatist movement organized by former Jedi Master Count Dooku. Senator Padmé Amidala comes to Coruscant to vote on a plan to create an army of the Republic to assist the Jedi against this threat. Narrowly avoiding an assassination attempt upon arrival, she is placed under the protection of Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi and his apprentice Anakin Skywalker. The two Jedi thwart another attempt on her life and subdue the assassin, Zam Wesell, a shape-shifter who is killed by her bounty hunter client with a toxic dart before she can reveal his identity. The Jedi Council assigns Obi-Wan to identify and capture the bounty hunter, while Anakin is assigned to escort Padmé back to Naboo, where the two fall in love.
MV5BNzQ2Nzg5NDMwM15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTIwNTI4NA@@._V1_Obi-Wan’s investigation leads him to the remote ocean planet Kamino, where he discovers an army of clones is being produced for the Republic, with bounty hunter Jango Fett serving as their genetic template. Obi-Wan deduces Jango to be the bounty hunter he is seeking, and follows him and his clone son Boba to the desert planet Geonosis via a homing beacon placed on their ship, the Slave I. Meanwhile, Anakin becomes troubled by premonitions of his mother Shmi in pain, and travels to Tatooine with Padmé to save her. They meet Owen Lars, Anakin’s stepbrother who is the son of Shmi’s new husband Cliegg Lars. Cliegg tells Anakin that Shmi was abducted by Tusken Raiders weeks earlier and is most likely dead. Determined to find her, Anakin ventures out and finds the Tusken campsite. He discovers too late that his mother has been tortured by the tribe. As she dies from her wounds, Shmi reunites with Anakin. Anakin loses his temper and kills the Tuskens before returning to the Lars homestead with Shmi’s remains. After revealing his deed to Padmé, Anakin says that he wants to prevent death.
MV5BMjEyNTg4NjI2OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTM4Nzg1OQ@@._V1_SX1500_CR0,0,1500,999_AL_On Geonosis, Obi-Wan discovers a Separatist gathering led by Count Dooku, who Obi-Wan learns had authorized Padmé’s assassination and is developing a new battle droid army together with Trade Federation Viceroy Nute Gunray. Obi-Wan transmits his findings to Anakin to relay to the Jedi Council, but is captured mid-transmission. With knowledge of the droid army, Supreme Chancellor Palpatine is voted emergency powers to send the clones into battle. Anakin and Padmé journey to Geonosis to rescue Obi-Wan, but are also captured. The three are sentenced to death, but are eventually saved by a battalion of Jedi and clone troopers led by Mace Windu and Yoda; Jango is killed by Mace during the rescue. As the clone and droid armies battle, Obi-Wan and Anakin intercept Dooku and the three engage in a lightsaber battle. Dooku subdues Obi-Wan and Anakin, but then Yoda arrives and engages the Count in a duel. Finding he is unable to defeat Yoda, Dooku flees. Arriving at Coruscant, he delivers blueprints for a superweapon to his Sith master, Darth Sidious, who confirms that everything is going well and as planned. As the Jedi gravely acknowledge the beginning of the Clone Wars, Anakin is fitted with a robotic arm and secretly marries Padmé on Naboo, with C-3PO and R2-D2 as their witnesses.MV5BMjIwNjIxNzg4NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDQwNTI4NA@@._V1_Attack of the Clones is a very good entry in the series. Ewan McGregor is superb as Obi Wan who teams up with Anakin to protect the Queen. He also has his own sub plot as he hunts down Jango Fett on a mysterious planet and we get a nice back story involving one of the coolest characters ever in Star Wars, Boba Fett. The action scenes are superb and towards the end we are introduced to Coutn Dooku, Christopher Lee who gives a superb performance. Yoda appears and fights as you’ve never seen him before and Jar Jar Binks time on screen is very limited. This movie is one hell of an underrated ride.

REVIEW: ZERO DARK THIRTY

CAST

Jessica Chastain (The Huntsman)
Jason Clarke (Dawn of The Planet of The Apes)
Jennifer Ehle Fifty Shades Darker)
Kyle Chandler (Super 8)
Mark Strong (John Carter)
James Gandolfini (KIllThem Softly)
Harold Perrineau (Constantine)
Mark Duplass (Greenberg)
Fredric Lehne (Lost)
John Barrowman (Arrow)
Jessie Collins (Revolution)
Édgar Ramírez (Joy)
Fares Fares (KIll Your Darlings)
Scott Adkins (X-Men Origins)
Joel Edgerton (Exodus: Gods and Kings)
Chris Pratt (Jurassic World)
Callan Mulvey (300: Rise of an Empire)
Taylor Kinney (The Forest)
Mike Colter (Luke Cage)
Frank Grillo (The Purge 2 & 3)
Christopher Stanley (Argo)
Stephen Dillane (Game of Thrones)
Mark Valley (Human Target)

In 2003, Maya, a young U.S. Central Intelligence Agency analyst, has spent her entire brief career, since being recruited for the agency, focused solely on gathering intelligence related to al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, following the terrorist organization’s September 11 attacks on the United States in 2001. She is reassigned to the U.S. embassy in Pakistan to work with a fellow officer, Dan. During the first months of her assignment, Maya often accompanies Dan to a black site for his continuing interrogation of Ammar al-Baluchi, a detainee with suspected links to several of the hijackers in the September 11 attacks. Dan subjects the detainee to approved torture interrogation techniques, i.e., stress positions, hooding, subjection to deafening noise, sleep deprivation, waterboarding, and humiliation.After failing to get al-Baluchi to give up information on an attack in Saudi Arabia, he and Maya eventually trick Ammar into divulging that an old acquaintance, who is using the alias Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti, is working as a personal courier for bin Laden. Other detainees corroborate this, with some claiming Abu Ahmed delivers messages between bin Laden and a man known as Abu Faraj al-Libbi. In 2005, Abu Faraj is apprehended by the CIA and local police in Pakistan. Maya is allowed to interrogate him, but he continues to deny knowing a courier with such a name. Maya interprets this as an attempt by Faraj to conceal the importance of Abu Ahmed.Maya spends the next five years sifting through masses of data and information, using a variety of technology, hunches, and sharing insights. She concentrates on finding Abu Ahmed, theorizing that he is the best way to find bin Laden. In 2008, she is caught up in the Islamabad Marriott Hotel bombing. Dan, departing on reassignment, warns Maya about a possible change in politics, suggesting that the new administration may prosecute those officers who had been involved in interrogations. Maya’s fellow officer and friend Jessica is killed in the 2009 Camp Chapman attack. That same day, a grieving Maya receives an interrogation video of a Jordanian detainee, who claims the man previously identified from a photograph as Abu Ahmed is a man he personally buried in 2001. Several CIA officers – Maya’s seniors – conclude the target who could be Abu Ahmed is long dead, and that they have searched a false trail for nine years.Sometime later, a fellow analyst researching Moroccan intelligence archives comes to Maya and suggests that Abu Ahmed is Ibrahim Sayeed, a suspect who had come to CIA attention shortly after 9/11. Realizing her lead may still be alive, Maya contacts Dan, now a senior officer at the CIA headquarters. She theorizes that the CIA’s supposed photograph of Abu Ahmed was actually of his brother, Habib, as he was said to bear a striking resemblance to Ibrahim and was known to have been killed in Afghanistan, and points out that Abu Ahmed’s death in 2001 contradicts Ammar’s account.Dan uses CIA funds to purchase a Lamborghini for a Kuwaiti prince in exchange for the telephone number of Sayeed’s mother. The CIA traces calls to the mother and quickly identifies one suspicious caller who persistently uses tradecraft to avoid detection. Maya concludes that the caller is Abu Ahmed, and with the support of her supervisors, numerous CIA operatives are deployed to search for and identify the caller. They locate him in his vehicle and eventually track him to a large urban compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, near the Pakistan Military Academy. As Maya leaves her residence one morning, she is attacked by multiple gunmen, but the bullet-proof glass in her car saves her. Knowing that she has been blacklisted by al-Qaeda and there will be more attempts on her life if she stays, her superiors remove her from the field and send Maya home to Washington, D.C.The CIA puts the compound under heavy surveillance for several months, using a variety of methods. Although they are confident from circumstantial evidence that bin Laden is there, they cannot prove this photographically. Meanwhile, the President’s National Security Advisor tasks the CIA with producing a plan to capture or kill bin Laden if it can be confirmed that he is in the compound. An agency team devises a plan to use two top-secret stealth helicopters (developed at Area 51) flown by the Army’s 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment to secretly enter Pakistan and insert members of DEVGRU and the CIA’s SAD/SOG to raid the compound. Before briefing President Barack Obama, the CIA Director holds a meeting of his top officials, who assess only a 60–80% chance that bin Laden, rather than another high-value target, is living in the compound. Maya, also in attendance, states the chances are 100%.The raid is approved and is executed on May 2, 2011. Although execution is complicated when one of the helicopters crashes, the SEALs gain entry and kill a number of people within the compound, among them a man on the compound’s top floor who is revealed to be bin Laden. They bring bin Laden’s body back to a U.S. base in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, where Maya visually confirms the identity of the corpse. Maya is last seen boarding a military transport to return to the U.S. and sitting in its vast interior as its only passenger. The pilot asks her where she wants to go, but she does not reply. As the plane’s hangar door closes, Maya begins to cry softly.Considering the subject matter of Zero Dark Thirty, a film that follows the CIA’s decade-long hunt for Osama Bin Laden, it’d be little surprise were Hollywood to knock the edges off a little to make it easier for a broader audience. But director Kathryn Bigelow makes no such concession. Off the back of her Oscar-winning feature The Hurt Locker, her movie is a pulls-no-punches, under-your-skin drama. As such, it’s not always the easiest film to watch, but it is an utterly compelling one.

 

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: THE THING (2011)

CAST

Mary Elizabeth Winstead (10 Cloverfield lane)
Joel Edgerton (The Gift)
Ulrich Thomsen (Festen)
Eric Christian Olsen (Tru Calling)
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Thor: The Dark World)
Kristofer Hivju (Game of Thrones)
Jonathan Walker (Red)

In 1982, an alien spacecraft is discovered beneath the Antarctic ice by a team from a Norwegian research base: Edvard (Trond Espen Seim), Jonas (Kristofer Hivju), Olav (Jan Gunnar Røise), Karl (Carsten Bjørnlund), Juliette (Kim Bubbs), Lars (Jørgen Langhelle), Henrik (Jo Adrian Haavind), Colin (Jonathan Lloyd Walker), and Peder (Stig Henrik Hoff). Columbia University paleontologist Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is recruited by Dr. Sander Halvorson (Ulrich Thomsen) and his assistant Adam Finch (Eric Christian Olsen) to investigate the discovery.They travel to the Norwegian base, Thule Station, located in Antarctica near U.S. Outpost 31, in a helicopter manned by Carter (Joel Edgerton), Derek (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), and Griggs (Paul Braunstein). After viewing the spacecraft, Kate, Sander, and Adam are told the group also discovered an alien body from the crash, buried in the ice nearby. In the afternoon the body is brought to the base in a block of ice. That evening, while the team celebrates their find, Derek sees the alien burst from the ice and escape the building. The team searches for the creature and discovers that it killed Lars’ dog. Olav and Henrik find the alien, which then grabs and engulfs Henrik. The rest of the group arrive and set fire to the creature, killing it. An autopsy of the scorched alien corpse reveals that its cells were consuming and imitating Henrik’s own.Derek, Carter, Griggs and a sick Olav take the helicopter to seek help. Kate discovers bloody dental fillings near a blood-soaked shower. She runs outside to flag down the helicopter after it takes off. When it attempts to land, Griggs transforms into the Thing and attacks Olav, causing the helicopter to spin out of control and crash in the mountains. When Kate returns to the shower, she finds the blood is gone. The team decides to send a party to the closest base, but Kate confronts them with her theory that the Thing can imitate them and has likely already done so. They dismiss her claims, but Juliette says she saw Colin leaving the showers. When Juliette and Kate look for the vehicle keys to prevent the others from leaving, Juliette transforms and tries to attack Kate. As Kate flees, she runs past Karl, who is impaled by the creature. Lars arrives with a flamethrower and burns the creature just as it assimilates Karl. At nightfall, they burn the remains of the Juliette-Thing and Karl’s body.That night, Edvard, Kate and Lars find Carter and Derek stumbling into base, half frozen. The team refuses to believe that they could have survived the crash. Kate has them isolated until a test can be prepared to verify they are human. Adam and Sander had started to work on a test, but the lab is set on fire in the few minutes it’s left unattended. Kate proposes another test, believing that the Thing cannot imitate inorganic material. She inspects everyone and singles out those without amalgam dental fillings: Sander, Edvard, Adam, and Colin, while herself, Peder, Jonas and Lars are proven human.Lars and Jonas go to retrieve Carter and Derek for testing, and discover they have broken out. As Lars searches a nearby building, he is suddenly pulled inside. The group hears Carter and Derek breaking into the building and rushes to intercept them. In the middle of a standoff, Edvard orders Peder to burn them. Before he can, Derek shoots Peder dead in self-defense with Lars’ gun, but also punctures the flamethrower’s fuel tank, setting off an explosion that knocks Edvard unconscious. When brought to the rec room, Edvard transforms and infects Jonas and kills Derek before assimilating Adam. Kate torches the infected Jonas and Derek’s body before she and Carter pursue the Thing. While the pair searches, Sander is ambushed by the Thing and Colin hides in the radio room and isn’t seen again. They get separated and the Thing, into which Edvard and Adam are now fused, corners Carter in the kitchen, but Kate burns it before it can kill him. They then see an infected Sander drive off into the blizzard and pursue him in the remaining snowcat. While they are pursuing Sander, Kate notices that Carter is wearing his gold earring, reassuring her that he is still human at this point.They arrive at the spacecraft, where it suddenly activates and its engines begin to melt the ice over it. Kate falls into the ship and is separated from Carter. Kate discovers the source of the radio transmission at the beginning of the film, in the form of a giant glowing cylinder with strange geometric blocks forming and shifting apart, the signal still broadcasting. Confronted by Sander, who has transformed into a larger creature, Kate destroys it with a thermite grenade and the explosion deactivates the ship, shutting down its engines. Kate and Carter escape the ship and Carter suggests driving to a Soviet base about fifty miles away, saying that they’d stashed enough fuel in their snowcat to be just able to cover that distance.As Kate and Carter return to their vehicle, Kate notices that Carter is missing his earring and becomes suspicious. She tells him that she knew he was human earlier because he was still wearing the earring, implying she suspects he may have been assimilated while they were separated in the alien ship. Upon hearing this, Carter realizes that the earring is missing and points to his ear while attempting to explain its disappearance and reassure Kate. When Carter points to the wrong ear, Kate realizes he must have been assimilated and proceeds to burn him. She then retreats to Sander’s snowcat and stares blankly as the screen fades black. As the final credits roll, a helicopter pilot, Matias, arrives by morning at the now destroyed Norwegian outpost. He shouts, looking for any survivors. Colin is shown to have committed suicide in the radio room using a straight razor to slash both his arms and throat to ensure the Thing could never get to him. Matias sees the charred remains of the Adam/Edvard-Thing in the snow.Lars, now revealed to be alive and uninfected, orders Matias at gunpoint to show his dental fillings to prove that he is a human. The Thing, having taken the form of Lars’ deceased dog, runs out of the camp. Lars realizes it’s the Thing and orders Matias to start the helicopter. As the dog flees, the two chase it in the Norwegian helicopter, with Matias piloting and Lars leaning out of the open doorway, trying to shoot it with a scoped rifle, thus leading into the events of the 1982 film.The Thing does have its problems of course. The early talkie helicopter scene is obviously a nod to the very original movie in the 1950s. It’s a sad replacement, the 50s version dialogie was arguably filled with some of the richest dialogue for a horror/sci fi film at the time. Also you can feel that the film steps into remake territory with same as for scenes, although some of these are neatly spun on its head- so in the end there is no blood test etc. The effects are sadly all CGI, but they work quite well. Interestingly it’s the close up shots that work the best. The Thing is pretty much a solid homage to what has gone before and fans will love the end credits so hang around!

REVIEW: THE GREAT GATSBY

CAST

Leonardo DiCaprio (Catch Me if You Can)
Tobey Maguiree (Spider-man)
Carey Mulligan (Shame)
Joel Edgerton (Red Sparrow)
Elizabeth Debicki (Everest)
Isla Fisher (Bachelorette)
Jason Clarke (White House Down)
Amitabh Bachchan (Sholay)
Jack Thompson (Don’t Tell)
Adelaide Clemens (X-Men Origins: Wolverine)
Callan McAuliffe (I Am Number Four)
Barry Otto (The Punisher)

Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire in The Great Gatsby (2013)In 1929, Nick Carraway, a World War I veteran, is receiving treatment for alcoholism at a psychiatric hospital. He talks about Jay Gatsby, the most hopeful man he had ever met. Nick’s doctor suggests that he writes his thoughts down, since writing is Nick’s passion. In the summer of 1922, Nick moves from the Midwest to New York after abandoning writing. He rents a small house in the North Shore village of West Egg, next to the mansion of Gatsby, a mysterious business magnate who often holds extravagant parties. One day, while Nick has dinner with his cousin, Daisy Buchanan, and her husband, Tom, he is introduced to Jordan Baker by Daisy, who hopes to make a match between them. When Nick returns home, he sees Gatsby standing on the dock, reaching towards the green light coming from the Buchanan dock.Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, and Carey Mulligan in The Great Gatsby (2013)Jordan tells Nick that Tom has a mistress who lives in the “valley of ashes”, an industrial dumping site between West Egg and The City. Nick and Tom visit the valley and stop at a garage owned by George Wilson and his wife, Myrtle, Tom’s mistress. Later, Nick receives an invitation to one of Gatsby’s parties. Upon arrival, Nick learns he is the only one to receive an invitation and none of the guests have ever met Gatsby. Nick encounters Jordan, and both meet Gatsby. Gatsby offers Nick a ride to town for lunch. On the way, Gatsby tells Nick he is an Oxford graduate and war hero from a wealthy Midwestern family. They go to a speakeasy, where Gatsby introduces Nick to his business partner, Meyer Wolfsheim.Carey Mulligan in The Great Gatsby (2013)Jordan tells Nick that Gatsby had a relationship with Daisy years ago and is still in love with her, and that Gatsby threw parties in the hopes that Daisy would attend. Gatsby asks Nick to invite Daisy to tea. After an awkward reunion, Gatsby and Daisy begin an affair. Gatsby is dismayed when Daisy wants to run away with him and wants her to get a divorce. He asks Nick and Jordan to accompany him to the Buchanan home, where he and Daisy plan to tell Tom that Daisy is leaving him. During the luncheon, Tom becomes suspicious of Gatsby and Daisy, but Daisy stops Gatsby from revealing anything to Tom and suggests they all go to the Plaza Hotel. Tom drives Nick and Jordan in Gatsby’s car, while Gatsby drives Daisy in Tom’s car. Tom stops for gas at George’s garage, where George tells him that he and Myrtle are moving and that he suspects Myrtle is unfaithful.Tobey Maguire and Elizabeth Debicki in The Great Gatsby (2013)At the Plaza, Gatsby tells Tom of his affair with Daisy. Tom accuses Gatsby of having never attended Oxford and having made his fortune through bootlegging with mobsters. Daisy says she loves Gatsby but cannot bring herself to say she never loved Tom. Eventually, both Gatsby and Daisy leave. After fighting with George over her infidelity, Myrtle runs into the street and is fatally struck by Gatsby’s car after mistaking it for Tom’s. After learning about Myrtle’s death, Tom tells George that the car belongs to Gatsby and that he suspects Gatsby was Myrtle’s lover. Nick deduces Daisy was the driver, though Gatsby intends to take the blame. Nick overhears Daisy accepting Tom’s promise to take care of everything, but he does not tell Gatsby. Gatsby admits to Nick that he was born penniless; his real name is James Gatz, and he had asked Daisy to wait for him until he had made something of himself.Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan in The Great Gatsby (2013)The next day, Gatsby hears the phone ringing and thinks it’s Daisy. Before he can answer it, he is shot and killed by George, who then commits suicide. Nick is the only person other than reporters to attend Gatsby’s funeral, as Daisy and Tom are leaving New York. The media paints Gatsby as Myrtle’s lover and killer. Disgusted with both the city and its inhabitants, Nick leaves after taking a final walk through Gatsby’s deserted mansion and reflecting on Gatsby’s ability to hope. In the sanatorium, Nick finishes typing his memoir, titling it The Great Gatsby.Leonardo DiCaprio in The Great Gatsby (2013)Overall, The Great Gatsby is a fantastically entertaining and enthralling film. It is horribly underrated as it is filled with awards worthy visuals, sets, costumes, direction, and performances. It is a great time at the movies for anyone that enjoys the classic novel or who haven’t even heard of it. Not only is this film dramatically satisfying, but also quite humorous and a spectacle like no other.

REVIEW: WHISPER (2007)

CAST

Josh Holloway (Lost)
Michael Rooker (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Sarah Wayne Callies (Prison Break)
Blake Woodruff (Cheaper By The Dozen)
Julian Christopher (Elysium)
Teryl Rothery (Stargate SG.1)
Joel Edgerton (The Gift)
Rekha Sharma (V)
Cory Monteith (Glee)

912ovz0yzl-_sl1500_After being released from prison, convicted felon Max Truemont (played by Josh Holloway) and his fiancée Roxanne (played by Sarah Wayne Callies), wish to have a fresh start by running a small diner of their own. However, the bank refuses to loan US$ 50,000.00 to them to open the business, and without alternatives, Max accepts the invitation of his former partner Sydney and his associate Vince to participate in the kidnapping of the eight-year-old David, the son of a wealthy woman in New England, under the command of a mysterious mastermind behind the kidnapping.32ef91aa32efAfter the successful abduction of the eight-year-old boy, David (played by Blake Woodruff), the group awaits ransom instructions in a secluded hideout. However, as they begin to become suspicious of each other, Max realizes the boy is not as innocent as he seemed. The boy commands various characters in the movie to kill each other. As the film evolves we learn that the mastermind is none other than the boy’s own mother who it turns out had adopted him. She tells Max that the kidnapped boy is a demon. He can suggest or “whisper” ideas to weak minded individuals. She pleads with Max to kill the boy on her behalf. On Max’s refusal, she kills herself with her own hand gun. In the end, Max kills David, but with the loss of his fiancee Roxanne, who’s killed accidentally by Max himself.a4f298880de7d0f5731f2f6b5aeWhisper is a slick, better than I had expected, horror flick. The cinematography is beautiful and the direction fluid and sure. The acting is good with a standout, scene stealing, turn by Joel Edgerton, someone I had never heard of before, but whose films I will now seek out. There are lots of wolves with glowing eyes, the usual “jump out at you” scenes,”and a really creepy child actor, and even with an overlong screenplay, somehow the whole project comes together nicely.A decent popcorn type movie.

REVIEW: THE GIFT (2015)

CAST

Jason Bateman (Identity Thief)
Rebecca Hall (Everything Must Go)
Joel Edgerton (Exodus: Gods and Kings)
Tim Griffin (Cloverfield)
Allison Tolman (Fargo)
Beau Knapp (Run All Night)
P. J. Byrne (Final Destination 5)
David Denman (Power Rangers)
Busy Philipps (The Smokers)
Wendell Pierce (Hackers)
Katie Aselton (Creep)

A married couple, Simon and Robyn Callem, relocate from Chicago to a Los Angeles suburb after Simon takes a new job. While out shopping, they run into Gordon “Gordo” Moseley, Simon’s former high school classmate. Gordo begins dropping in unannounced and delivering gifts including koi for their pond. He makes Simon uncomfortable, but Robyn sees no problem.Gordo invites the couple to his large and elegant home. He receives a phone call and leaves abruptly, making Simon more suspicious. When he returns, Simon tells him to stay away from his family. The next day, Robyn finds the koi dead and their dog missing. Simon drives to Gordo’s house to confront him, but discovers it is not actually his home. In the days following, Robyn suspects she is not alone in the house while Simon is at work. Unable to sleep, she steals prescription pills from her neighbor and one morning faints.The dog returns and Robyn receives a letter of apology from Gordo. She is puzzled by his writing that he was “willing to let bygones be bygones”. Simon says he does not know what it refers to and refuses to make peace with Gordo, telling Robyn that her pills are making her paranoid.Robyn becomes pregnant. At her baby shower, Simon’s sister tells her that, at school, Simon and his friend Greg reported that Gordo was being molested. Gordo was bullied afterwards and had to transfer. Robyn finds Greg, who reveals that the molestation story was fabricated by Simon, who was a bully in school. As a result of the story, Gordo’s father thought he was homosexual and nearly killed him. Robyn searches Simon’s home office and discovers that he has run background checks on Gordo and someone named Danny McDonald.Robyn learns Simon has beaten Danny for a promotion after troubling information was revealed from Danny’s previous job. Robyn confronts Simon about Gordo, but he denies responsibility. Simon angrily blames Robyn’s suggestions of reconciliation on her own past traumas of being bullied at school. At Robyn’s behest, Simon tracks down Gordo and half-heartedly apologizes, but Gordo does not accept his apology. Furious, Simon attacks him. Simon’s promotion party is interrupted by Danny, who says Simon fabricated the information that ruined his career. Robyn goes into labor and gives birth to a boy. The next morning, Simon receives a call from his boss telling him that his fraud has been discovered and he will be fired. Robyn tells him that she wants to separate.Simon goes home and finds another gift box, containing footage of Gordo preparing to sexually assault Robyn after she fainted months earlier. Meanwhile, Gordo visits Robyn in the hospital to congratulate her, wearing his arm in a sling; he tells her Simon injured him. Simon rushes to the hospital but misses Gordo. Gordo calls him soon after, taunting him, refusing to confirm whether he raped Robyn, and admonishing him for his lies. Robyn, furious, refuses to let Simon see the baby. With his life and marriage destroyed, Simon breaks down. Gordo watches through a window and walks away, removing his arm sling.The Gift is an excellent film. A dark, brooding, suspenseful thriller without jump scares or blood and gore, this is a good old fashioned psychological thriller with no gimmicks, just excellent storytelling