REVIEW: ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING

CAST

Simon Pegg (Star Trek)
Kate Beckinsale (Underworld)
Sanjeev Bhaskar (London Boulevard)
Rob Riggle (21 Jumpo Street)
Robert Bathurst (Nacropolis)
Eddie Izzard (Hannibal)
Joanna Lumley (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Marianne Oldham  (Finding Your Feet)
Emma Pierson (Bloodlines)
John Cleese (Rat Race0
Eric Idle (Transofmrers: The Movie)
Terry Jones (Dinotopia)
Michael Palin (Time Bandits)
Robin Williams (Jumanji)

Simon Pegg in Absolutely Anything (2015)Decades after being launched into space, a space probe containing information about the human race and a map to Earth is found by four aliens that make up the “galactic council”. They debate on whether to destroy the earth or make humanity a member of the council, instead relying on “standard galactic protocol” to decide. They will give one human (chosen at random) the ability to do absolutely anything he or she wants. After ten days, if the powers have been used for good, the Aliens will spare earth and make humanity a member of the council. If the powers are used for evil, Earth will be destroyed for the moral improvement of the galaxy.The human is chosen and revealed to be Neil Clarke (Simon Pegg) a secondary school teacher who is both struggling at his job, due to the Headmaster, Mr. Robinson (Eddie Izzard); and with his lack of a girlfriend, although he has a crush on author agency employee, Catherine West (Kate Beckinsale), who lives underneath him in the apartment block. At first, oblivious to the powers he has, Neil accidentally causes an alien spaceship to destroy a classroom within the school, killing the entire class in the process. The galactic council scolds the alien that blew up the classroom, who responds by saying that out of the millions of species the council has evaluated, none have ever passed and all have been destroyed. Perplexed and anxious, Neil goes home and slowly realises he can do anything after causing his dog, Dennis’s waste to clean itself up, and causing spilt whisky to flow out of the drain and back into the bottle. He asks that “everyone who died come back to life” and unknowingly causes everyone who has ever died ever to be resurrected, resulting in a zombie apocalypse, he reverses this and asks that the explosion never happened, sending himself back in time to the previous day. He then confirms his suspicions by causing the PE teacher Miss Pringle (Emma Pierson) to worship his friend, Ray (Sanjeev Bhaskar) whereas before, she was repulsed by him.untitledOver the coming days, Neil uses his power for personal gain by giving himself a more muscular body, increasing his penis size, making Mr. Robinson be nice to him and giving Dennis the ability to speak (voice of Robin Williams). One night, the galactic power the aliens possess fails momentarily, meaning Neil cannot do anything. This happens just as Neil asks that Catherine be madly in love with him, and coincidentally a drunk Catherine knocks at his door at that moment, after being encouraged to sleep with Neil by a friend. They spend the night together as a result and are seen by Colonel Grant (Rob Riggle), an American soldier who has been stalking Catherine.hqdefaultThe next day, Catherine goes to Neil’s apartment to speak to him, where Dennis shouts from the kitchen that he loves Neil and he should “Shag the Bitch!”. Disgusted and now thinking that Neil is gay, Catherine storms out with Neil chasing after her. Ray appears and states that Miss Pringle doesn’t worship him romantically, she actually thinks he is a god and has formed a religion based on him. That night, Catherine returns home to find Colonel Grant waiting in her apartment for her, and she locks him in. Neil appears and offers to cook dinner for her, which she accepts. Grant crashes the meal and Catherine storms out due to the two fighting, Neil incapacitates Grant by breaking then fixing his arm and then convinces Grant that he has powers. Grant knocks Neil unconscious and kidnaps him and Dennis, when Neil wakes up, Grant forces him to grant a list of selfish and pointless wishes, threatening to shoot Dennis if Neil refuses.Absolutely-AnythingCatherine and Ray track Neil down to the apartment Grant is renting and rescue Neil, but not before Neil makes Catherine fall madly in love with Grant. When free, Neil reverses all of the wishes he granted Grant and also stops Miss Pringle from worshipping Ray. Upon getting home, Catherine angrily tells Neil that she could never love anyone who could make her do whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted to do it. Disheartened, Neil decides to use his powers to solve the world’s problems; he gives everyone in the world as much food as they want, he gives everyone in the world their own dream house, and removes any reason for anyone to go to war. However, this soon backfires when worldwide obesity rates rise, every piece of uninhabited land in the world is developed on, and several countries declare war on each other for no reason at all. Disillusioned, Neil goes to Hammersmith Bridge with the intention of committing suicide, but as he jumps into the River Thames, Dennis jumps in after him and Neil is forced to swim them both out of the river. Sitting on a bench on Hampstead Heath overlooking London, Dennis says that Neil should give the power to him, as he never thinks of anything selfish and he loves taking orders, which Neil happily does.Simon Pegg and Rob Riggle in Absolutely Anything (2015)Meanwhile, the aliens finish their evaluation and decide that Earth is not worthy, revealing that they view greedy and evil acts as strong and thoughtful acts as weak. They therefore decide to destroy the planet, but just before they can, Dennis asks that the source of the power be destroyed, causing a laser beam shooting towards Earth to bounce back to the alien’s ship, killing them all and destroying the galactic power. Full of confidence and excitement for not having the powers any more, Neil asks Catherine out, which she agrees to.Simon Pegg and Mojo in Absolutely Anything (2015)More than just comedy or sci-fi-light, there’s some excellent satire, subtexts, and recursive comprehension built into the film, making it one of the rare alien, animal-speaking films that are almost believable.

 

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REVIEW: PLANET 51

CAST (VOICES)

Dwayne Johnson (Baywatch)
Justin Long (Jeepers Creepers)
Jessica Biel (The A-Team)
Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight)
Seann William Scott (American Pie)
John Cleese (Rat Race)
James Corden (One Chance)
Alan Marriott (Voltron Force)

On Planet 51, green humanoids with snail-like feelers and pointed ears live peacefully in a society reminiscent of the 1950s United States, but with alien technology and 1950s-themed alien homes. In the town of Glipforg, Lem is a teenager with a new part-time job at the local planetarium and a long-time crush on his neighbor, Neera. His best friend is Skiff, a big fan of the Humaniacs films. Lem tries to ask Neera on a date, but her hippie friend, Glar, keeps interrupting with his protest songs.A mysterious spacecraft goes into orbit around Planet 51 and sends out a signal. On Planet 51, under a secret Army installation called Base 9 (their version of Area 51), there is a basement filled with Earth artifacts including robotic satellites launched by the United States and the Soviet Union. The spacecraft’s signal activates Rover, a wheeled A.I. probe. Rover escapes, following a program to locate the newly arrived astronaut. The Planetary Army becomes suspicious after Rover’s escape and begins to investigate.The spacecraft touches down in Neera’s backyard; NASA astronaut Charles “Chuck” T. Baker emerges. As Chuck plants the United States flag, he steps on a “rubber ducky” someone left on the ground. Everyone stares, and Chuck tries to get back into his module. Shocked when he realizes he is on an inhabited planet, Chuck runs about wildly and hides at the planetarium as the Army arrives on the scene. Planetary Army General Grawl consults Professor Kipple about the “alien invader”. The Army quarantines the area and asks citizens to start a local civil defense force to prevent the citizens from becoming “zombies”.At the planetarium, Lem discovers Chuck’s hiding place. They are surprised to discover they speak the same language. Realizing this alien is no threat, Lem decides to help Chuck, hiding him in his bedroom for the night. Rover finds Chuck, who is very happy to see it. As the General and his men search Lem’s room, the group sneaks back into the planetarium with Chuck, who tells Lem he has “the right stuff”. Chuck also shows Lem the star that Earth orbits and how the universe is much bigger than Lem had thought. The next morning, the Army takes Chuck’s module to a secret location.The next night is the première of a new Humaniacs movie, and Lem, Skiff and Chuck attend in costume as fans. Chuck introduces some new music as part of the contest and teaches Lem to dance. Things go well until Rover arrives: chaos ensues. Grawl arrives and points out that Chuck’s U.S. flag insignia identifies him as the alien. Chuck is captured and unmasked. When Lem tries to keep him from being taken away, Grawl labels Lem a zombie, and Kipple announces he will dissect both their brains. To protect Lem, Chuck pretends to “release” him from his control. Lem is proclaimed a hero, and Chuck and Rover are taken away.At Base 9, Grawl interrogates Chuck, and an accidental gunshot starts a complicated chain reaction with soldiers shooting at each other. Grawl thinks Chuck is resisting his demands and allows Kipple to have a go at dissecting Chuck’s brain. Lem gets his job back at the planetarium and is permitted to speak about the incident on TV, but cannot fully accept the honor. He feels terrible about Chuck and decides to do the right thing. Neera, Skiff and Eckle join him to go off to rescue Chuck. The teens know luck is on their side when Rover shows up on the edge of town—he unscrewed the bolts holding together the armored vehicle in which he was imprisoned.Rover sniffs out Chuck’s trail and leads them to an abandoned gas station in the desert. They look around, and Skiff sees a soda bottle in an old refrigerator. When he tries to take it, it opens up the entrance to Base 9. Lem has Glar distract the soldiers guarding the base with his protest group while the rest of them sneak into the base. They find Chuck strapped to a laboratory table, and Kipple getting ready to remove his brain. Lem and his friends break in through the ceiling while Rover scares away the scientists, technicians, and guards. They release Chuck but set off alarms.Rover helps the group find Chuck’s spacecraft, which was in a hangar. Grawl warns that, if the “alien” tries to leave, he will blow up the hangar. To give Chuck his chance to escape, Lem initiates the 2-minute destruct countdown by pressing the self-destruct control button, which panics the guards into fleeing the underground base. In the resulting firestorm, the General is knocked unconscious. The teenagers and Rover get into the module, but Chuck rescues the General from the fire. Chuck pilots the ship out of the base just in time as the base starts to blow up and up into orbit around the planet, allowing the teens to experience outer space. Skiff and Eckle enjoy the weightlessness, Grawl realizes Chuck has not turned him into a zombie, and Lem asks Neera out on a date. Chuck returns to the planet’s surface. Although the soldiers are ready to shoot anyone who appears, Grawl stops them. Finally, the inhabitants of Planet 51 see that Chuck came to their planet for peaceful purposes. Chuck lets Rover stay with Skiff and says his farewells to Planet 51. Chuck then leaves Planet 51 peacefully, accompanied by the alien pet dog seen throughout the film (who had sneaked aboard Chuck’s ship without anyone noticing, except its owner). In an end scene Kipple is seen emerging from Base 9 from a hatch, only to be seized and dragged away by two military test subjects of Kipple’s brain removal procedure who insist that the professor share the delightful experience of having his brain removed.The plot is not very original, it’s not meant to be. Part of the fun watching this film is identifying with clichés and different representations of our favorite scenes from movies past. It’s a fun way to get through a slow night.

 

REVIEW: 3RD ROCK FROM THE SUN – SEASON 6

MAIN CAST

John Lithgow (Rise of the Planet of The Apes)
Kristen Johnston (ugly Betty)
French Stewart (Mom)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt (The Dark Knight Rises)
Jane Curtin (The Heat)
Elmarie Wendel (Rumpelstiltskin)
Simbi Khali (Plump Fiction)
Wayne Knight (Jurassic Park)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Ian Lithgow (Rice Girl)
David DeLuise (Stargate SG.1)
Chris Hogan (Grounded For Life)
Danielle Nicolet (The Flash 2014)
Megan Mullally (Will & Grace)
Larisa Oleynik (Mike & Molly)
Ron West (Anger Management)
Richard Belzer (The Flash 1990)
Ana Gasteyer (Mean Girls)
Tracy Morgan (Cop Out)
John Aylward (The Crazies)
Matt Battaglia (True Detective)
Harry Groener (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Ileen Getz (That 70s Show)
Maurice Godin (Boat Trip)
Pat Finn (The Middle)
Ever Carradine  (Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back)
Dan Gilvezan (Transformers)
Elaine Stritch (30 Rock)
Carlos Jacott (Firefly)
Will Friedle (Batman Beyond)
John Cleese (A Fish Called Wanda)
Meagen Fay (Agent Carter)
Danielle Weeks (Cannabis Moms Club)
Mindy Spence (Killing Mr. Griffin)
Elvis Costello (Austin Powers 2)

3rd Rock From the Sun is one of the richest and hilarious television comedies to air. The series first aired in 1996 and lasted for a total of six seasons. The show molds science fiction into a sitcom and the results are a blast. A team of aliens from Mars take on human form in Rutherford, Ohio and integrate themselves into the local populace. Their goal is to learn everything they can about humans in a couple of days. Of course, it turns out humans are much more complex than expected and the team of aliens decide to stay a while longer. The sixth season features the final moments of 3rd Rock From the Sun as the series’ last season. The season sees a few changes for the cast. Notably, Tommy goes to college and his role in the series is minimized in comparison to previous seasons. As for the stories, they focus on the cast continually blowing common situations out of proportion, the cast and their relationships, and even some out-the-ordinary episodes. The season ends with the aliens being recalled to their home world. Season Six begins with the episode “Les Liaisons Dickgereuses”. It is a fun episode with Megan Mullally (Will & Grace) guest starring as Renata, Mary’s rich sister. Mary has always lived in Renata’s shadow and her latest endeavor is to build a library at Pembleton. Dick and Mary plot to get back at Renata by having Dick date and break her heart. Unfortunately, Dick finds himself overcome by Renata’s money and power. This is a fun episode with Dick and Mary at their best–goofy, over-the-top, and funny as ever.The two-part episode “Dick’ll Take Manhattan” sees the cast going to a parallel reality, where they all have different lives in New York City. Dick is a trial lawyer, Harry is the president of television network NBC, Tommy is the freshest star on Saturday Night Live!, Sally is a columnist, Don is the mayor, Mary is a singer in a sleazy bar, and Nina is a judge. At first the cast believes they have found the perfect lives, but they soon find out that not everything is as good as it seems. It is a fun story to see Harry in a position of power and Tommy interacting with the SNL cast.“B.D.O.C.” is an all-around fun episode that marks the reason Tommy does not have as strong of a presence in the show this season. Tommy goes off to college, which has great angle with Dick having a hard time letting go of Tommy. Meanwhile, Sally and Harry interview candidates to replace Tommy as the information officer. What makes this part of the episode fun is who Sally hires and how she decides to treat him. Sally gets a job this season and a new reoccurring character is introduced. In the episode “Dick’s Ark”, she is hired to do the weather under the catchy name of Sally Storm. At first, the new job is fun and introduces an odd chemistry with anchor Chaz (Pat Finn). But it soon gets old with overplayed jokes and supporting characters that do not live up to the rest of the cast. Chaz is a limited character who pretty much serves as the butt of Sally’s jokes.In several of the episodes, the focus is on the Dick-Mary relationship. In “Dick Digs”, Dick goes on an archeological dig with Mary and tries to make her dream come true by planting an artifact in her section. In “A Dick Replacement”, Dick believes he is going to die soon and tries to find a new boyfriend for Mary because he wants her to be happy. “Mary Loves Scoochie” is a two-part episode with John Cleese reprising his role as Liam Neesam. Other episodes throughout the season feature silly situations from the Dick-Mary relationship. The two have a great dynamic together and seeing them in one odd situation after another was hilarious.The Dick-Mary relationship inevitably ties into the series two-part finale. In “Mary Loves Scoochie”, Mary witnessed something she was not supposed to see when Dick turned Liam into a monkey. In the two-part series finale “The Thing That Wouldn’t Die”, the brass (the Big Giant Head) find out about what Dick did and the entire team is recalled back to the home planet. The gang decides to through a massive going away party.Overall, I was happy with season six, but I wasn’t nearly as moved by it as I have been with previous seasons. The season six writing felt different. Perhaps it was simply the fact that the show could only go so far with its premise and after five years of it, enough is enough. The situations the cast encountered this season offered a lot of laughs, but at the same time the strong chemistry, dialogue, and writing did not feel nearly as strong. In the end, I felt season six was still a good season and a nice way to end this show.

REVIEW: 3RD ROCK FROM THE SUN – SEASON 3

MAIN CAST

John Lithgow (Rise of the Planet of The Apes)
Kristen Johnston (ugly Betty)
French Stewart (Mom)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt (The Dark Knight Rises)
Jane Curtin (The Heat)
Elmarie Wendel (Rumpelstiltskin)
Simbi Khali (Plump Fiction)
Wayne Knight (Jurassic Park)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Ian Lithgow (Rice Girl)
David DeLuise (Stargate SG.1)
Chris Hogan (Grounded For Life)
Danielle Nicolet (The Flash 2014)
Roseanne Barr (Roseanne)
Ileen Getz (That 70s Show)
Elaine Stritch (Monster-In-Law)
George Grizzard (Wonder Boys)
Richard McGonagle (500 Days of Summer)
Emile Hirsch (Alpha Dog)
Julia Sweeney  (Pulp Fiction)
Jason Carter (Babylon 5)
Peter Krause (Parenthood)
Sam Lloyd  (Galaxy Quest)
Jan Hooks (The Simpsons)
Shireen Crutchfield (Love and a Bullet)
Beverly Johnson (Lois & Clark)
Angie Everhart (Take Me Home Tonight)
Cindy Crawford (Fair Game)
Irina Pantaeva  (Zoolander)
Bill Irwin (Legion)
Shay Astar (The Lost)
Marguerite Moreau (Easy)
Peter Deluise (21 Jump Street)
Dom Deluise (Spaceballs)
Michael DeLuise  (Wayne’s World)
Jim Beaver (Deadwood)
Wayne Pére (Galaxy Quest)
Jeff Doucette (Bedazzled)
John Cleese (A Fish Called Wanda)
Phil Hartman (Small Soldiers)

3rd Rock From the Sun is one of the richest and hilarious television comedies to air. The series first aired in 1996 and lasted for a total of six seasons. The show molds science fiction into a sitcom and the results are a blast. A team of aliens from Mars take on human form in Rutherford, Ohio and integrate themselves into the local populace. Their goal is to learn everything they can about humans in a couple of days. Of course, it turns out humans are much more complex than expected and the team of aliens decide to stay a while longer. The strongest aspect of this show is its cast. They are remarkable together. Within minutes of any episode, it is apparent how well they interact and play off of each other. The show’s writing is also top notch and delivers one great joke after another. In the two-part finale of season two, our favourite aliens experienced dreaming for the first time. Not quite understanding the commonplace of dreams, the Solomons were under the impression they were defective and needed to return to their home planet for repairs. Dick decided to stay on Earth because of his undying love of Mary. In the last minutes of season two Dick proposed to Mary and said goodbye to Sally, Harry, and Tommy, only to find out dreaming was a normal human thing. However by this time Sally, Harry, and Tommy had already departed.Season three picks up with Dick engaged to Mary and lonely without his family. Dick’s agony disappears and turns into fear when his family returns with the Big Giant Head’s niece Janet (Roseanne Barr). Janet was sent to be his wife, and when Mary finds out about Janet it ruins their relationship. Sad for Dick, good for you. The end result is a comical mishap and a hilarious performance from Barr. At first she acts like the perfect housewife (funny because it seems completely out of character for her) and when she realizes she doesn’t have to be Dick’s wife, she turns into the Roseanne we know and love.For the rest of the season, Dick tries hard to win back Mary’s heart. This produces several funny side jokes with Dick making an utter ass of himself, as he never really seems to understand the importance of the situation. One specific episode in the earlier portion of the season is “Dick-In-Law” where Dick and Mary spend the weekend with Mary’s parents and pretend everything is business as usual. Mary is afraid to tell her parents about her latest failed relationship. Dick gets this crazy notion that if he impresses Mary’s parents, she’ll have to take him back. Of course, things do not turn out as planned. “Moby Dick” is a fun episode, where Dick finds his clothes no longer fit. The loss of Mary makes him want to eat junk food. In “Tom, Dick And Mary” Dick finds out Mary is seeing another man named Tom. Oddly enough, Tom turns out to be Tommy. The season continues with plenty more fun with Dick and Mary working out the “kinks” in their relationship.There are many more fun episodes dispersed throughout the season. “A Friend in Dick” is an awesome episode where Dick tries desperately to find a friend to join him for a night at the theater. There is this one scene where Dick inspires a group of strangers to tap dance. It’s funny as hell. “Jailhouse Dick” is another episode worth a few laughs. In it, Dick bails a criminal from jail and takes him home in an effort to rehabilitate him. And as usual, Dick blows the situation way out of proportion.One of the greatest episodes of this season is the two-part Super Bowl episode “36! 24! 36! Dick”. In this episode aliens from Venus come to Earth with the intent to rob Earth of all material possessions. The aliens are beautiful women. Among the beautiful faces are Cindy Crawford and Angie Everhart. It is a truly hilarious and goofy episode. In “Pickles And Ice Cream” Sally visits the gynaecologist and pretends she is pregnant for the attention from other women. The funny part about this episode is how Don, Mary, and Nina react. Also Harry’s pet Pickles comes to Earth to visit. “Portrait Of Tommy As An Old Man” is another strong episode, where Tommy retires from the mission and finds himself living with people his age, senior citizens in a retirement home. How he easily he fits into their routine is simply comical.In “Just Your Average Dick” and “Dick And The Other Guy”, John Cleese guest stars as the great Dr. Liam Neesam, a visiting professor who is better than Dick at everything. Cleese gives a riveting performance as a nut who is even more bizarre than Dick. In the season finale “Eat, Drink, Dick, Mary” guest stars Phil Hartman in one of his last roles as Randy Vicki Dubcek’s jealous ex-boyfriend. They end the season with Randy kidnapping Harry.Overall season three of 3rd Rock From the Sun continues the fun tempo set in the first two seasons. The characters continue to give great performances together and they are funny as ever. The way they deliver dialogue and utilize physical comedy will leave you laughing over and over again.I love this show, Season three of 3rd Rock From the Sun continues to deliver great comedy with several comical characters. While there isn’t anything really new about this season over past seasons, it is still a lot of fun. If you enjoyed season one and/or two, then season three should be at the top of your list. .

 

REVIEW: AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS

CAST

Jackie Chan (Rush Hour)
Owen Wilson (Wedding Crashers)
Steve Coogan (The Other Guys)
Jim Broadbent (The Legend of Tarzan)
Arnold Schwarzenegger (The Terminator)
Luke Wilson (Charlies Angels)
John CLeese (Rat Race)
Cécile de France (The Jungle Book)
David Ryall (Outnumbered)
Roger Hammond (Rome)
Ian McNeice (Dune)
Kathy Bates (Misery)
Rob Scneider (Big Daddy)
Ewen Bremner (Trainspotting)
Adam Godley (Powers)
Will Forte (MacGruber)
Maggie Q (Divergent)
Mark Addy (Game of Thrones)

In the late 19th century, a Chinese man, Lau Xing, robs the Bank of England. To evade the police, Xing becomes the valet for Phileas Fogg, an inventor, taking the pseudonym Passepartout. Phileas, just before Xing arrived, had been trying to break the 50-mph speed barrier, and after succeeding with the help of Passepartout, they head to the Royal Academy of Science. There, Fogg is insulted by the other “brilliant minds”, in particular Lord Kelvin, who believes that everything worth discovering has already been discovered. After a debate between the scientists about the bank thief, Phileas is pressured into a bet to see whether he can travel around the world in 80 days. If he wins, he will become Minister of Science in Lord Kelvin’s place, if not, he will destroy his lab and never invent anything again. Phileas and Xing start their journey around the world, taking a carriage and leaving London after a confrontation with Inspector Fix, a corrupt officer hired by Lord Kelvin to stop them.

Xing and Phileas journey to Paris. Pretending to take Phileas to a convention with Thomas Edison, Xing leads him to an art school where Phileas meets Monique La Roche, a would-be impressionist. There, Xing is attacked by disguised warriors, the Black Scorpions, sent by General Fang, a female Chinese warlord who is after the Jade Buddha that he stole. Fang had previously given it to Kelvin in exchange for military assistance in China. When Monique learns of Phileas’s ambition, she convinces them to take her with them. They depart in a hot-air balloon, chased by Fang’s warriors.

Whilst on the Orient Express, Monique learns that Xing is trying to return the Jade Buddha back to his village, and is travelling with Phileas to get there quickly. Monique keeps his secret in exchange for him convincing Phileas to let her travel with him. They travel to Turkey, where the train stops. Guards climb onboard and inform the trio that they are greeted by Prince Hapi. During the Prince’s banquet, he orders Monique to stay as his seventh wife while the men are ordered to leave. The men blackmail Prince Hapi into releasing Monique using a prized but apparently flimsy “The Thinker” statue of the Prince. The statue is destroyed, much to Hapi’s anger, but the trio escape from the guards. Lord Kelvin, learning that Phileas has been abetting a thief’s escape, orders the British colonial authorities in India to arrest both. Xing notices this and warns his companions, disguising themselves as Indian women to evade capture and successfully flee to China.

Xing leads his friends to his village, Lanzhou, where they are happily greeted. His real identity is revealed and they are held captive by the Black Scorpions. Xing challenges the leader of the group to a fight, during which he is joined by the martial arts masters of the “Ten Tigers of Canton”, of which Xing is a member. The Tigers drive the Black Scorpions from the village and free the Westerners. The Buddha is returned to the village temple. Phileas, feeling used by Xing and Monique, leaves for San Francisco alone, only to be proven wrong when the latter decide to help him win his bet. In New York City, Fang’s disguised minions trick the trio to an ambush site. Fang reveals the nature of their arrangements with Lord Kelvin to take Lanzhou and tap the jade reserves underneath it. A battle against Fang and her minions commences in the workshop where the Statue of Liberty is being constructed, resulting in Phileas missing a boat to help Xing, Fang being knocked out by Monique with a punch (revealing Monique to be the fabled 11th Tiger) and Fang’s minions being either killed or knocked out. Phileas feels he has lost, but the other two say they may still make it if they catch the next ship.

They board an old ship and Phileas convinces the captain to let him build a plane out of the ship’s old wood in exchange for a new ship. Using an altered version of the Wright brothers’ plans, Phileas builds the plane while the ship’s crew builds a catapult to launch it into the sky. They reach London, where the machine falls apart and they crash in front of the Royal Academy. Lord Kelvin sends police to arrest them for robbing the bank, in order to stop them from making it to the top step of the Academy, and proclaims himself the victor when Big Ben strikes noon, seemingly ending the wager. Monique, Fix and other ministers attest to Kelvin’s unfair methods and his bullying nature, but Kelvin scoffs at them. In the process he insults Queen Victoria, who arrives on the scene. She learned that he had sold her arsenal to Fang in exchange for jade mines in China thanks to one of his aides. Kelvin is arrested and sent to prison, and Phileas realizes he is one day early thanks to crossing the international date line. He victoriously ascends the stairs of the Academy and kisses Monique.

The end result is a beautiful film that is suitable for all ages and provides that wonderful feel-good sensation that only the greatest adventures can provide.

REVIEW: HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS

 

CAST

Daniel Radcliffe (Horns)
Rupert Grint (Cherrybomb)
Emma Watson (This Is The End)
Kenneth Branagh (Dead Again)
John Cleese (Rat Race)
Robbie Coltrane (Flash Gordon)
Warwick Davis (Leprechaun)
Richard Griffiths (Sleepy Hollow)
Richard Harris (Gladiator)
Alan Rickman (Alice Through The Looking Glass)
Fiona Shaw (Jane Eyre)
Maggie Smith (Clash of The Titans)
Julie Walters (Brooklyn)
Toby Jones (The Hunger Games)
Bonnie Wright (Before I Sleep)
Mark Williams (Agent Cody Banks 2)
Tom Felton (The Flash)
Jason Isaacs (Peter Pan)
Matthew Lewis (Happy Valley)
David Bradley (Game of Thrones)
Julian Glover (Game of Thrones)

Harry Potter spends the summer without receiving letters from his Hogwarts friends. In his room, Harry meets Dobby, a house-elf who warns him bad things will happen if he returns to Hogwarts, and reveals he intercepted his friends’ letters. Harry chases him downstairs, where Dobby destroys a cake. The Dursleys lock Harry up, but Ron, Fred and George Weasley rescue him in their father’s flying Ford Anglia.

While buying school supplies, Harry and the Weasley family encounter Rubeus Hagrid and Hermione Granger, and they attend a book-signing by celebrity wizard Gilderoy Lockhart, who announces he will be the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. Harry also encounters Draco Malfoy and his father Lucius, who slips a book in Ginny Weasley’s belongings. When Harry and Ron are blocked from entering Platform Nine and Three-Quarters (later revealed to be Dobby’s doing), they fly to Hogwarts in the Ford Anglia and crash into the hostile Whomping Willow. Ron’s wand is damaged, and the car throws them out before driving off. They are allowed back into school but face detention.

While serving detention with Lockhart, Harry hears strange voices and later finds caretaker Argus Filch’s cat, Mrs. Norris, petrified, and a message written in blood announcing the “Chamber of Secrets has been opened, Enemies of the Heir, beware”. Professor McGonagall explains that one of Hogwarts’ founders, Salazar Slytherin, supposedly constructed a secret Chamber and placed inside it a monster that only his Heir can control, to purge the school of impure-blooded wizards and witches. More attacks occur over the course of the year. Harry and Ron suspect Malfoy is the Heir, so Hermione suggests they question him while disguised using polyjuice potion. Their makeshift laboratory is in a disused bathroom haunted by a ghost, Moaning Myrtle.

When Harry communicates with a snake (something Salazar Slytherin could do) the school suspects him as the Heir. At Christmas, Harry and Ron learn that Malfoy is not the Heir, but he mentions that a girl died when the Chamber was last opened fifty years ago. Harry finds an enchanted diary, owned by a former student named Tom Riddle, which shows him a flashback to fifty years before, where Riddle accused Hagrid, then a student, of opening the Chamber. When the diary disappears and Hermione is petrified, Harry and Ron question Hagrid. Professor Dumbledore, Cornelius Fudge, and Lucius Malfoy come to take Hagrid to Azkaban, but he discreetly tells the boys to “follow the spiders”. Lucius has Dumbledore suspended. In the Forbidden Forest, Harry and Ron find Aragog, a giant spider who reveals Hagrid’s innocence and that the dead girl was found in a bathroom. Aragog then sets his colony of Acromantula on the boys, but the now-wild Ford Anglia saves them.

A book page in Hermione’s hand identifies the monster is a basilisk, a giant serpent that instantly kills those who make direct eye contact with it; the petrified victims saw it indirectly. The school staff learn that Ginny was taken into the Chamber, and convince Lockhart to save her. Harry and Ron find Lockhart, exposed as a fraud, planning to flee; knowing Myrtle was the girl the Basilisk killed, they drag him to her bathroom and find the Chamber’s entrance. Once inside, Lockhart uses Ron’s damaged wand against them, but it backfires, wiping his memory, and causes a cave-in.

Harry enters the Chamber alone and finds Ginny unconscious and dying guarded by Tom Riddle. Harry realises Riddle is the Heir and he used the diary to manipulate Ginny and reopen the Chamber. Riddle then reveals his full name, Tom Marvolo Riddle, from which he created the anagram for his future new identity, “I am Lord Voldemort”. After Harry expresses support for Dumbledore, Dumbledore’s Fawkes flies in with the Sorting Hat, and Riddle summons the Basilisk. Fawkes blinds the Basilisk, and the Sorting Hat eventually produces a sword with which Harry battles and slays the Basilisk, but he is poisoned by its fangs.

Harry defeats Riddle and revives Ginny by stabbing the diary with a basilisk fang. Fawkes’ tears heal him, and he returns to Hogwarts with his friends and a baffled Lockhart. Dumbledore, reinstated as headmaster, praises them and orders for Hagrid’s release. Dumbledore shows Harry that the sword he wielded was Godric Gryffindor’s own sword, and says he is different from Voldemort because he chose Gryffindor House instead of Slytherin House. Harry accuses Lucius, Dobby’s master, of putting the diary in Ginny’s cauldron and tricks him into freeing Dobby. The Basilisk’s victims are healed, Hermione reunites with Harry and Ron, and Hagrid returns.

The movie sticks closely to the novel, but as in the last movie we miss some of those scenes where we start to learn a little more about the characters, especially the hate-hate relationship between Harry and Professor Snape. All in all it’s definitely worth checking out, the running time of 160 minutes may seem a little long but it doesn’t seem that long when you’re watching it.

REVIEW: MARY SHELLEY’S FRANKENSTEIN

CAST

Robert De Niro (Joy)
Kenneth Branagh (Valkyrie)
Tom Hulce (Amadeus)
Helena Bonham Carter (Alice In Wonderland)
Aidan Quinn (Legends of The Fall)
Ian Holm (Lord of The Rings)
Richard Briers (Watership Down)
John Cleese (A Fish Called Wanda)
Celia Imrie (Highlander)

In 1794, Captain Walton leads a troubled, expedition to reach the North Pole. While their ship is trapped in the ice of the Arctic Sea, the crew discovers a man, Victor Frankenstein, traveling across the Arctic on his own. Victor grows up in Geneva with his adopted sister, Elizabeth Lavenza, who will become the love of his life. Before he leaves for the university at Ingolstadt, Victor’s mother dies giving birth to his brother William. Victor vows on his mother’s grave that he will find a way to conquer death.At university, Victor’s interest in the works of alchemists make him unpopular with professors. He finds a friend in Henry Clerval and a mentor in Professor Waldman. Victor comes to believe that the only way to cheat death is to create life. Professor Waldman warns Victor not to follow through with his theory; he tested it once, but ended his experiments because they resulted in an “abomination.”  While performing vaccinations, Waldman is murdered by a patient, who is later hanged in the village square. Victor breaks into Waldman’s laboratory, takes his notes, and begins to work on a creation. Victor gives his creature dead body parts from various sources, including the body of Waldman’s murderer and Waldman’s own brain. He is so obsessed with his work that not even a cholera outbreak tears him from it. Victor finally gives his creation life, but he recoils from it in horror and renounces his experiments.Image result for mary shelley's frankensteinThe creature escapes, running off to the wilderness with Victor’s coat which contains Victor’s journal. He spends months living in a family’s barn without their knowledge, gradually learning to read and speak. He attempts to earn the family’s trust by anonymously helping them with their failing farm, and eventually converses with the patriarch, an elderly blind man, after aiding him and his grandson against violent debt collectors. But when the blind man’s family returns, they mistakenly think the creature committed the assaults against the patriarch and grandson, and chase the creature away and abandon the cottage. The creature reads Victor’s journal, learning of the circumstances of his creation. He vows revenge on his creator.Image result for mary shelley's frankensteinVictor, who believes the creature has died of cholera, returns to Geneva to marry Elizabeth. He finds his younger brother William has been murdered. Justine, a servant of the Frankenstein household, is framed for the crime by the creature and hanged by a lynch mob. Victor is approached by his creation demanding that Victor make a companion for him, promising that if Victor does, he will disappear with his mate. Victor begins gathering the tools he used to create life, but when the creature insists he use Justine’s body to make the companion, Victor breaks his promise and the creature vows revenge.Image result for mary shelley's frankensteinVictor and Elizabeth are married. Shortly after, unknown to them, the creature silently kills Baron Frankenstein in his own bedroom. Victor takes every precaution to defend his wife on their honeymoon, but the creature gains access to their bedroom and tears out Elizabeth’s heart, killing her. Maddened with grief beyond measure, Victor races home to bring Elizabeth back to life. He stitches Elizabeth’s head onto Justine’s fully intact body, and she awakes as a re-animated creature. The two are briefly and happily reunited until the creature appears. Victor and the monster fight for Elizabeth’s affections, but Elizabeth, horrified by what she has become, commits suicide by setting herself on fire, burning the mansion to the ground.Image result for mary shelley's frankensteinThe story returns to the Arctic Circle. Victor tells Walton that he has been pursuing his creation for months to kill him. Soon after relating his story, Victor dies from pneumonia. Walton discovers the creature weeping over Victor’s body. The crew prepares a funeral pyre for Victor, but the ceremony is interrupted when the ice around the ship cracks. Walton invites the creature to stay with the ship, but the creature insists on remaining with the pyre. He takes the torch and burns himself alive with Victor’s body. Walton, having seen the consequences of Victor’s obsession, puts his own obsession aside and orders the ship to return home.Image result for mary shelley's frankensteinThe ending goes beyond the scope of the original novel, and it does so in a strikingly grisly way, but the overall effect of this film is true to Shelley’s original vision. Robert De Niro gives a particularly compelling performance as Frankenstein’s monster, the look and feel of the late eighteenth-century setting is spot on, and the musical soundtrack complements the plot extraordinarily well. While I would prefer to see a movie strictly faithful to Shelley’s novel, this exemplary albeit somewhat effusive adaptation hits the core messages of the story dead on and stands, in my opinion, as a truly impressive cinematic accomplishment.