REVIEW: HOLLOW MAN

CAST

Kevin Bacon (X-Men: First Class)
Elisabeth Shue (House At The End of The Street)
Josh Brolin (Planet Terror)
Kim Dickens (Lost)
Greg Grunberg (Heroes)
Joey Slotnick (Nip/Tuck)
Mary Randle (Phoen Booth)
William Devane (Stargate SG.1)
Rhona Mitra (Doomsday)

Scientist Dr. Sebastian Caine (Bacon) has developed a serum that can make a subject invisible. His team of scientists, which includes ex-girlfriend Dr. Linda McKay (Shue) and Dr. Matt Kensington (Brolin), eventually enable the serum to work on a female gorilla and restore the animal back to visibility. Sebastian once again becomes obsessed with Linda while unbeknownst to him, she has become involved with Matt. Instead of reporting his success to the military, Sebastian lies to the oversight committee, which includes his mentor Dr. Howard Kramer (Devane), convincing his team to go right into human testing. The procedure is performed on Sebastian himself. Despite the pain he undergoes, it is successful and Sebastian turns completely invisible. He then enjoys sneaking around the lab in order to scare and play pranks on his fellow co-workers. They become a little concerned that he is taking it too far. After three days, however, he is unable to revert to visibility.Sebastian is quarantined in the laboratory due to his condition and the other researchers construct a latex mask for him to wear around the lab. Unable to cope with the isolation, he defies instructions and sneaks out of the building. The guard working there is also very suspicious but before he can do anything, Sebastian gets into his car and drives off to his apartment to bring some things back to the lab. There, he happens to notice his neighbor disrobing and goes to her apartment where he rapes her. Linda warns him that if he leaves again, she and Matt will tell the committee about the experiment. Ignoring their threat, Sebastian assembles a device that runs a video loop of his heat signature in his quarters. He leaves the lab again and spies on Linda and Matt, becoming enraged when he sees them having sex.The team soon discover that they have been watching a recording and that Sebastian has been escaping without their knowledge. Linda and Matt go to Dr. Kramer’s house and confess their experiments. After they leave, Kramer attempts to warn his colleagues but Sebastian, who has followed Linda and Matt to the house, cuts off Kramer’s phone connection before drowning him in his own pool. The next day, Sebastian waits until all of the team is in the lab and then disables the phones and the elevator codes except for his own. He removes his clothing and latex mask and, invisible, decides to go on a killing spree, with Janice being his first victim. He also changes the security codes of all staff.Linda and the others hide in the lab, while Matt and Carter take tranquilizer guns to hunt for Sebastian, using thermal imaging goggles. While on top of a pipe, Sebastian throws Carter toward a steel bar, which hits his carotid artery, and leaves him mortally wounded. Matt and Sebastian get into a fight; just before the former is killed, Linda drags him to safety. After Carter dies from his injuries, Sarah heads to the freezer to get blood for a transfusion but is killed by Sebastian. He then kills Frank with a crowbar when he lets his guard down, and locks an injured Matt and Linda in the freezer-store room, leaving them to freeze to death. Linda then constructs an electromagnet using a defibrillator and other equipment to open the freezer door. She then gathers materials to assemble a flamethrower. Sebastian goes to the lab, where he creates nitroglycerin and puts it in a centrifuge with a timer which is meant to destroy the facility after he leaves; he also smashes the keyboard so nobody can stop the machine.Just as he enters the elevator to leave, Linda appears and fires the flamethrower at him. Sebastian barely manages to escape the flames and the two fight. Before Sebastian can kill Linda, Matt appears and hits Sebastian with the crowbar. Sebastian recovers and approaches Matt and Linda from behind with the crowbar but Matt deflects the blow, throwing Sebastian into a nearby circuit box, apparently electrocuting him and rendering him partially visible. Linda and Matt find the nitroglycerin about to explode and decide to climb up the elevator shaft to escape. The two are almost out when Sebastian, despite his injuries, grabs Linda’s ankle. He pulls her off the ladder and onto the top of the elevator and forcibly kisses her one last time, before she grabs the elevator cable and unhooks the tether holding the car. Sebastian tries to grab a hold of Linda’s foot but he pulls off her boot and Sebastian falls to his death into the explosion in the shaft below. Linda and Matt emerge from the burning laboratory and emergency personnel take them away in an ambulance.Whilst the story doesn’t ring any new twists on an old idea, the CG special effects by Scott E. Anderson are eye-poppingly brilliant as we see veins and arteries, cardiovascular systems, muscles, tissue, bones and flesh all literally appear out of nowhere. In particular, a sequence where the team bring a gorilla back from the invisible state and the scene where Bacon drowns Devane in a swimming pool, are absolutely breathtaking in the detail and artistic invention of the effects. The film also has a great soundtrack by Jerry Goldsmith and classic horror-movie photography by Jost Vacano. The young cast are pretty much overshadowed by the movie’s technical pedigree, but both Shue and Dickens are impressively out of their depth. This is a great fun movie.

Advertisements

REVIEW: W.

CAST

Josh Brolin (Wall Street 2)
Elizabeth Banks (Power Rangers)
Ioan Gruffudd (Ringer)
Toby Jones (The Mist)
Jeffrey Wright (Westworld)
Thandie Newton (Mission Impossible II)
Scott Glenn (The Silence of The Lambs)
Richard Dreyfuss (Jaws)
Bruce McGill (Collateral)
Jesse Bradford (Swimfan)
James Cromwell (Star Trek: First Contact)
Marley Shelton (Planet Terror)
Ellen Burstyn (Interstellar)
Colin Hanks (King Kong)
Jason Ritter (Freddy Vs Jason)
Noah Wylie (Donnie Darko)
Rob Corddry (Warm Bodies)
Stacy Keach (The Bourne Legacy)

In 1966, George W. Bush endures an initiation by his fellow Yale University students as a Delta Kappa Epsilon pledge. During the hazing, Bush successfully recalls the names and nicknames of many of the fraternity members, and states that his family’s political legacy is one in which he has no interest. After Bush is jailed in New Jersey for rowdiness following a football game, his father, George H. W. Bush states that he will help Bush for the last time. Following his graduation from Yale, Bush takes a job at an oil patch back in Texas, but he quits after a few weeks. In 1972, “Junior” reveals his real aspirations in a father-son talk: working in professional baseball. Bush is accepted into Harvard Business School with the help of his father. After heavy drinking, Bush crashes his car into his family estate and challenges his father to a fistfight. His brother, Jeb, stops the fight.In 1977, Bush announces he will run for Congress to represent Texas’s 19th district. At a barbecue, Bush meets his future wife, Laura Lane Welch. During a debate, Bush is criticized by his Democratic opponent, Kent Hance, who says that Bush is not a real Texan and has spent campaign contributions to throw an alcohol-fueled party for underage Texas Tech University students. Bush does poorly in the debate and loses the election, but with the highest number of votes for a Republican candidate in the state’s history.In 1986, Bush becomes a born-again Christian, gives up alcohol, and mends his relationship with his father. The elder Bush invites him to assist with what becomes his 1988 presidential campaign, although Bush himself suspects that he only was asked because Jeb was busy. Bush’s political advisor, Karl Rove, tells him that he has the potential to make a name for himself. Bush becomes a front office executive of the Texas Rangers baseball team, while his father oversees the victory of the Gulf War. Although Allied forces win the war within 100 hours, the elder Bush decides not to invade Iraq to depose Saddam Hussein. After his father loses the 1992 presidential election to Bill Clinton, Bush blames the loss on his decision not to depose Saddam.In 1994, Bush runs for Governor of Texas despite his father’s opposition. In 1999, he makes a successful bid to become President. Following the September 11 attacks in 2001, Bush labels Iran, Iraq, and North Korea as the “axis of evil”. In 2002, Bush searches for evidence that Saddam was creating nuclear weapons, and has the army prepared. All of Bush’s White House staff supports him except Secretary of State Colin Powell, who states that planning to invade Iraq would destabilize the country. Powell is generally overruled by Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who insist that the war would secure the United States’ status as sole global superpower while spreading democracy throughout the Middle East.In March 2003, the U.S. invades Iraq and the war appears to be a success, and Bush gives his “Mission Accomplished” speech on an aircraft carrier. When it becomes clear that there are no weapons of mass destruction within Iraq, Bush learns that the responsibility for finding them had been relegated far down the chain of command. Bush discovers that Saddam gambled his regime and his life on the assumption that Bush was bluffing. Bush is asked in a White House press conference what mistakes he made as President, a question that leaves him flustered and speechless. That night, Bush has a nightmare in which his father accuses him of ruining his family’s legacy, which the elder Bush claims was intended for Jeb. Bush dreams of himself playing center field at a baseball game. Bush attempts to catch a pop fly, but it disappears.Oliver Stone directs this dramatisation of the life and eight-year presidency of George W Bush. The film features an all-star cast playing the White House’s most high-profile figures, with Josh Brolin as the president, Elizabeth Banks as Laura Bush, Richard Dreyfuss as Vice President Dick Cheney, Jeffrey Wright as Secretary of State Colin Powell, Thandie Newton as Condoleezza Rice and James Cromwell as George Bush Senior. Like other Oliver Stone movies, it polarised opinion almost immediately on its release. While some have seen the film as a two-hour character assassination, others have complained that it is too sympathetic towards the president. It’s a film that each and everyone has to make up their own mind about.

REVIEW: THE GOONIES

 CAST

Sean Astin (Lord of The Rings)
Corey Feldman (The Lost Boys)
Jeff Cohen (Perfect Harmony)
Josh Brolin (Jonah Hex)
Jonathan Ke Quan (The The Temple of Doom)
Kerri Green (Bellyfruit)
Martha Plimpton (Dante’s Inferno)
Anne Ramsey (From Noon Till Three)
Joe Pantoliano (The Matrix)
Robert Davi (Predator 2)
Mary Ellen Trainor (Roswell)
Lupe Ontiveros (Picking Up The Pieces)

Facing foreclosure of their homes in the Goon Docks area of Astoria, Oregon to an expanding country club, a group of children who call themselves “the Goonies”, gather for a final weekend together. The Goonies include optimist Mikey Walsh, his older brother, Brand, the inventive Data, the talkative Mouth, and the overweight klutz Chunk. While rummaging through the Walshes’ attic, they come across a 1632 doubloon and an old treasure map purporting to lead to the famous pirate “One-Eyed” Willy’s hoard located nearby. Evading Brand for one last adventure together, the kids find themselves at a derelict restaurant near the coast, which coincides with the doubloon and the map. They encounter the Fratellis, a family of criminals hiding out at the restaurant. Evading detection by returning outside, the kids run into Brand and two girls: the popular cheerleader Andy, who has a mutual crush on Brand, and Stef, Andy’s nerdy, tough-talking best friend.Mikey convinces Brand to return to the restaurant to explore after the Fratellis leave, discovering that the criminals are running a counterfeiting operation. As the Fratellis return, the group finds a tunnel beneath the restaurant and hides in there, sending Chunk to notify the authorities. They explore the tunnel and find the remains of a previous explorer, who also searched for the treasure, and Mikey is sure they are on the right trail. Evading various booby traps, set up by Willy, they find themselves under an old wishing well. The kids have a chance to be pulled out of the tunnel by Andy’s obnoxious boyfriend Troy, whose family owns the country club, but Mikey convinces the group to continue on their journey. Meanwhile, Chunk, who has escaped the restaurant, tries to flag down several passing cars, but is intercepted and kidnapped by Jake and Francis Fratelli. When the Fratellis threaten to shred his hands with an active blender, a terrified Chunk reveals not only where his friends are, but also the existence of the treasure. The Fratellis tie Chunk to a chair and lock him in the basement next to Sloth, their deformed younger brother kept chained to the wall. While the Fratellis pursue both the Goonies and the treasure, Chunk befriends Sloth, and Sloth is able to break their bonds; they form a third party headed into the tunnel.Mikey and the others discover the Fratellis on their trail, and hasten through the remaining traps. They ultimately find an enclosed grotto and Willy’s pirate ship, the Inferno, which has been sealed in the cave for centuries. They explore the ship, finding a hoard of treasure in front of the skeletal remains of Willy and his crew. Mikey gives a sober speech to Willy, naming him as the first “Goonie”, then he and the others fill their pockets with riches; Mikey insists that the coins directly in front of Willy remain untouched, as Willy’s tribute. As they leave, however, the Fratellis have already caught up with them. They make them drop the treasure before threatening to kill them by forcing them to walk the plank, when suddenly Sloth and Chunk arrive. Sloth, angered by how the other Fratellis have treated him in the past, easily subdues them and helps the rest of the Goonies to escape the boat. Though Mikey insists they go back for the treasure, Brand worries more for their lives, and the group escapes through a hole in the grotto, eventually arriving on a nearby beach shore. Police quickly come to their help and reunite them with their families.Meanwhile, the Fratellis free themselves and begin to loot the boat. When they take the coins that Mikey had left earlier, they trigger another booby trap that causes the grotto to start to cave in. The Fratellis are forced to abandon the loot and flee to the beach, where police quickly take them into custody. As the Goonies are taken care of by their families, including Chunk offering to bring Sloth into his family, the owners of the country club show up and demand that Mr. Walsh sign away their homes and the Goon Docks. As he is about to do so, their housekeeper, Rosalita, finds Mikey’s marble bag in his wet clothes, filled with gems that the Fratellis had neglected to confiscate. Mr. Walsh triumphantly tears up the paperwork, as the gems are more than enough to negate the foreclosure. As the Goonies celebrate, the attention of all on the beach is caught by the sight of the unmanned Inferno, now clear of the grotto, and the Goonies wave her goodbye as she sets off once more upon the sea.Classic fun film for the 80s adventurer in all of us

REVIEW: MEN IN BLACK 3

 

CAST

Will Smith (Suicide Squad)
Tommy Lee Jones (Batman Forever)
Josh Brolin (Gangster Squad)
Jemaine Clement (Legion)
Michael Stuhlbarg (Hugo)
Emma Thompson (Junior)
Mike Colter (Luke Cage)
Nicole Scherzinger (Dirty Dancing 2017)
Michael Chernus (Captain Phillips)
David Rasche (Ugly Betty)
Keone Young (Dude, Where’s My Car?)
Bill Hader (Power Rangers)
Alice Eve (Star Trek Into Darkness)
Lenny Venito  (The Neighbors)
Justin Bieber (Zoolander 2)
Lady Gaga (Sin City 2)
Will Arnett (The Lego Batman Movie)

In 2012, an alien criminal, Boris the Animal, a Boglodite, escapes from a maximum-security prison on the moon and arrives on Earth, bent on taking revenge on Agent K, who shot off his left arm and captured him in 1969. He confronts K, who is with his partner Agent J, telling him he is “already dead”. J then discovers that K was responsible not only for capturing Boris, but for deploying the “ArcNet”, a shield that prevented the Boglodites from conquering Earth and caused their extinction.Boris travels back in time to kill the young Agent K. With history altered so that K is long-dead, J finds that only his memory has been unaffected, and no one from the Agency understands his obsession with K until Agent O, the new Chief, deduces that there has been a fracture in the space-time continuum. With K out of the picture, the ArcNet was never deployed, and there is nothing to protect the present-day Earth from the Boglodite invasion, so J must travel back in time to stop Boris and save K. Back in 1969, he travels to Coney Island, knowing from the Agency’s records that, in 1969, Boris will commit a murder there.He finds Boris, but is discovered and arrested by 1969 K, who prepares to wipe his memory, but decides at the last minute to investigate J’s claims. K and J follow clues, leading them to a bowling alley, and then to The Factory, where they come across an alien named Griffin, who is in possession of the ArcNet. Griffin, who can see all possible future timelines and outcomes, senses Boris is coming and escapes, but Boris later captures him. J and K pursue and rescue Griffin, acquiring the ArcNet. 1969 Boris escapes and 2012 Boris arrives, and they team up.Upon learning that they must go to Cape Canaveral, Florida and attach the ArcNet to the Apollo 11 rocket so it can be deployed in space, J reveals the real purpose of his mission to K, who initially takes the news badly. The three fly there using jetpacks, and are stopped by military police. Griffin shows a skeptical colonel the future, convincing him of the importance of their mission, and the officer then assists them in reaching the launch site. As the agents climb up the rocket’s launch tower, they are attacked by both 1969 Boris and 2012 Boris.Using his time-travel device, J evades an attack by 2012 Boris and knocks him off one of the launch tower bridges. K shoots off 1969 Boris’s left arm (which restores the timeline), knocking him off the tower as well. The ArcNet is attached and deploys successfully when the rocket launches, with 2012 Boris being incinerated by the rocket’s exhaust. 1969 Boris then attacks K on the beach, but the colonel pushes K down and out of the way, taking the hit himself instead. K then kills Boris (which 2012 K had regretted not doing) instead of arresting him as he originally did. The colonel’s young son inquires about his father, but rather than tell him the truth, K wipes his memory and tells him only that his father is a hero. Observing from afar, J realizes that the young boy is himself, the colonel was his father, that K has actually been watching over him all his life, and was there when the timeline changed, thus explaining why he was the only one who remembered K in the alternate 2012.His mission complete, J returns to 2012, where he thanks K for being his surrogate father. Meanwhile, Griffin observes the moment and is briefly terrified when K almost forgets to tip a waitress, which he knows only occurs in timelines where an asteroid is on a collision course with Earth. However, K remembers and leaves a tip and the asteroid hits a satellite and is destroyed.Men in Black 3 is a great adventure of this franchise, with a wonderful story and magnificent special effects. I had low expectations with movie, but I was favorably surprised with a great film.

REVIEW: HAIL, CAESAR!

CAST

George Clooney (The Ides of March)
Josh Brolin (Jonah Hex)
Alden Ehrenreich (Beautiful Creatures)
Ralph Fiennes (Red Dragon)
Scarlett Johansson (Lucy)
Frances McDormand (Fargo)
Tilda Swinton (Doctor Strange)
Channing Tatum (21 Jump Street)
Alison Pill (Scott PIlgrim vs The World)
Emily Beecham (Bon Voyage)
Heather Goldenhersh (The Class)
Wayne Knight (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Jonah Hill (Cyrus)
Christopher Lambert (Highlander)
Fred Melamed (The Dictator)
Patrick Fischler (Old School)
David Krumholtz (Mom)
Fisher Stevens (Hackers)
Clancy Brown (Sleepy Hollow0
Robert Pciardo (Stargate: Atlantis)
Natasha Bassett (Britney Ever AFter)
Dolph Lundgren (Arrow)
Robert Trebor (Hercules: TLJ)
Michael Gambon (Harry Potter)

In 1951, Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) is the head of physical production at Capitol Pictures and also works as a “fixer” to keep the scandalous behavior of its stars out of the press. He often has to fend off inquiries from Thora and Thessaly Thacker (both played by Tilda Swinton), twin sisters and rival gossip columnists. The Lockheed Corporation has been courting him with an offer of a high-level executive position, but he is unsure about taking it. When unmarried synchronised swimming actress DeeAnna Moran (Scarlett Johansson) becomes pregnant, Mannix arranges for her to put the baby in foster care, and then adopt it without revealing herself as the mother. The studio’s major production is Hail, Caesar! A Tale of the Christ, an epic set in ancient Roman times and starring Baird Whitlock (George Clooney). During a shot, Whitlock drinks from a goblet of wine that was drugged by an extra (Wayne Knight); he passes out while rehearsing lines by himself behind the soundstage and is abducted. A ransom note soon arrives, written by a group calling itself “The Future,” demanding $100,000. Mannix arranges to get the money from the studio’s Accounting Department, as “petty cash.”
Whitlock awakens in a beach house and finds his way into a meeting of The Future, a Communist cell. The members, who introduce themselves as mostly writers in the motion picture industry, explain their doctrine to him and begin to win him over to their cause. At the same time, Thora threatens Mannix by stating she will release an article about a scandal involving the earlier film On Wings As Eagles, which gave Whitlock his break-out role. Mannix successfully negotiates for her to postpone the story by a day in exchange for information about the romantic life of singing Western film star Hobie Doyle (Alden Ehrenreich). Doyle is cast in a period drama helmed by posh director Laurence Laurentz (Ralph Fiennes) in an attempt by the studio to broaden his appeal. After Doyle’s initial performance is hopelessly incompetent, Laurentz visits Mannix and asks him to remove Doyle from the project so that Laurentz can preserve his artistic vision for the film. Mannix informs Laurentz that Doyle’s role is non-negotiable and convinces him to coach the young actor to give a better performance. Doyle comes to Mannix’s office and admits that he feels the part is too far outside his comfort zone. Mannix reassures him that he has the needed acting abilities and tells him about Whitlock’s kidnapping.
That evening, Doyle attends the premiere of one of his own Westerns with starlet Carlotta Valdez (Verónica Osorio), per instructions from Mannix. Doyle is initially disappointed that his lone singing scene is depicted in a comedic manner, rather than as heartfelt as he intended. However, after seeing the audience react positively to the scene, Doyle warms to it himself. Doyle and Valdez visit a nightclub, where the pair are genuinely developing chemistry until they are interrupted by both Thacker sisters, each looking to get a scoop on their relationship. Doyle suddenly spots the briefcase containing the ransom money, recognizing it because he had lent Mannix his belt to keep it closed. It is being carried by Burt Gurney (Channing Tatum), the star of a sailor musical comedy depicted earlier in an elaborate dancing scene. Mannix and Moran meet with a surety agent, Joseph Silverman (Jonah Hill), an average man whom the studio has used to solve public problems; he has a solid reputation as completely dependable, reliable, and discreet. He will agree to provide foster care for Moran’s child, preserving her image. Moran, who expressed frustration with her previous two marriages with a mobster and a Hollywood type, finds herself strongly attracted to Silverman.
Doyle follows Gurney to the beach house in Malibu but, after walking in the front door, finds only Whitlock inside. The rest of The Future’s members have rowed a boat containing Gurney offshore so that he can rendezvous with a Soviet submarine and defect to Russia. The members of The Future give him the money for the Communist cause. As Gurney boards the submarine, his dog jumps into his arms, causing him to drop the briefcase, which sinks into the ocean. Doyle takes Whitlock back to the studio just before the police arrive at the beach house to arrest the group, after Mannix’s investigation led him to the house. Whitlock tries to explain his new-found Communist leanings to Mannix, who cuts him off sharply, slapping his face numerous times, and orders him to finish his role in Hail, Caesar!; the actor is chastened, but encouraged by a final directive from Mannix to be a movie star.
Mannix is notified the next morning that Moran married Silverman who will adopt the child with her. Mannix announces he has decided to reject the Lockheed offer and continue working at Capitol. Thora then meets with Mannix and informs him that the column she plans to publish about On Wings As Eagles will reveal that Whitlock got his major role in the film by having sex with Laurentz. However, Mannix has deduced that Gurney is her source for the piece and persuades her to not run the story since Gurney is a Communist who has defected—which would cause her own reputation to suffer by association. Mannix leaves the worried-looking Thora, secure in his station in life.I think that you need to be something of a film buff to really enjoy this Coen Brothers offering, which is an affectionate homage to the history of Hollywood. There are references to the influence of McCarthyism and nods to many genres, from the ‘B’ Western to the biblically based epic. Most of the comedy is gentle and occasionally subtle, not to say understated. It is both easily worth 5 stars and thoroughly recommended.

REVIEW: SIN CITY 2: A DAME TO KILL FOR

CAST

Bruce Willis (Cop Out)
Mickey Rourke (Immortals)
Jessica Alba (Machete)
Josh Brolin (Gangster Squad)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt (The Dark Knight Rises)
Rosario Dawson (Daredevil)
Eva Green (Dark Shadows)
Powers Booth (Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D.)
Dennis Haysbert (24)
Ray Liotta (Hannibal)
Christopher Meloni (Man of Steel)
Jeremy Piven (Old School)
Christopher Lloyd (A Million Ways To Die In The West)
Jaime King (Bulletproof Monk)
Juno Temple (Horns)
Stacy Keach (The Bourne Legacy)
Marton Csokas (Xena)
Lady Gaga (Machete Kills Again)
Alexa Penavega (Spy Kids)

Just Another Saturday Night

Marv (Mickey Rourke) regains consciousness on a highway overlooking the Projects, surrounded by several dead young men and a crashed police car, and with no memory of how he got there. He retraces his steps, recalling that since it’s Saturday, he watched Nancy Callahan (Jessica Alba) dance at Kadie’s Saloon. Stepping outside, he encounters four rich frat boys burning a homeless man alive. When Marv intervenes, the leader of the frat boys shoots him in the arm, calling him “Bernini Boy,” which Marv mishears as “Bernie.” They flee; Marv follows, stealing a Police car on the way, which he crashes into their car, leading to his blackout and memory loss. He follows the two surviving frat boys into The Projects, the neighborhood where he grew up. With the assistance of the deadly residents lurking in the shadows, he dispatches the frat boys. He questions the leader about being called “Bernini Boy” and learns that it is the brand of coat he is wearing. After slitting the boy’s throat, he considers his coat and realizes he can’t remember how he acquired it.

The Long Bad Night (Part I)

Johnny (Joseph Gordon Levitt), a cocky young gambler, arrives in Sin City and heads to Kadie’s place, where he immediately hits the jackpot on multiple slot machines. Taking a young waitress, Marcie (Julia Garner), with him as a good luck charm, he buys into the backroom poker game led by the all-powerful Senator Roark (Powers Boothe). Johnny repeatedly wins in the high-stakes game, and cleans the senator out. One other player, the corrupt police lieutenant Liebowitz (Jude Ciccolella), warns him to flee the city, but instead Johnny takes Marcie out for a night on the town. He walks her home when Roark’s goons suddenly attack him. He fights them off and tells Marcie to meet him at a hotel before he is escorted into the Senator’s waiting limousine. In payment for the humiliation he suffered at the card game, Roark takes back his money and uses a pair of pliers to break the fingers of Johnny’s playing hand. They toss him from the car and the Senator shoots Johnny in the leg. Roark then reveals that he recognized Johnny as his illegitimate son. However, he remarks that he only considered his dead son Roark Jr. his flesh and blood. He leaves Johnny alive, preferring to let him suffer, and Johnny swears revenge.

A Dame to Kill For

Years before “The Big Fat Kill”, Dwight McCarthy (Josh Brolin) attempts to put his violent past behind him, working as a private detective and leading a life of complete sobriety, struggling daily to refuse his inner demons. After saving the life of Sally (Juno Temple), young hooker, who is nearly murdered by her businessman lover (Ray Liotta), he receives an unexpected phone call from his former lover, Ava Lord (Eva Green), who left Dwight four years prior for a wealthy tycoon, Damien Lord (Marton Csokas). She begs him to meet her at Kadie’s saloon, and despite his embittered feelings, he agrees. When Ava arrives, she begs forgiveness for leaving him and implies she is afraid for her life before her massive chauffeur, Manute (Dennis Haysbert), arrives to escort her home. Unable to get her out of his mind, Dwight sneaks into Damien Lord’s estate, where he observes Ava swimming, but is caught and beaten. Dwight is returned home, where a nude Ava waits for him. He tries to throw her out, but can’t resist her and they make love. She tells him that Damien and Manute torture her physically and mentally, and she knows Damien will kill her soon. Manute arrives and viciously beats a naked Dwight, sending him out the window with a single punch.

Determined to rescue Ava, Dwight recruits Marv to help him, and they mount an assault on Lord’s compound. Marv attacks Manute, putting him in traction and tearing out his eye. Dwight confronts Damien Lord, who denies Ava’s accusations, and an enraged Dwight beats him to death. As he reacts in horror, Ava appears and shoots Dwight several times, taunting him and thanking him for helping her murder her husband and take over his fortune. She shoots him in the face and forces him to fall out of a window, where Marv rescues him and takes him to Old Town. Dwight’s old flame, Gail (Rosario Dawson), recognizes him and saves his life. With the help of Gail and the deadly assassin Miho (Jamie Chung), Dwight undergoes reconstructive surgery on his face and plots his revenge.

Meanwhile, two detectives, Mort (Christopher Meloni) and Bob (Jeremy Piven), investigate Damien’s death. Ava claims Dwight was an obsessive ex-lover, and he killed her husband in a jealous rage. Bob is skeptical but Ava seduces Mort, who believes her every word. They begin an affair and Ava pressures him to find and kill Dwight. When Mort, obsessed with Ava, attempts to track Dwight down in Old Town (an action that would break the truce between the police and the prostitutes), Bob attempts to stop him. An enraged Mort shoots Bob in the face, then commits suicide afterward. Out of options, Ava reluctantly partners with the mob boss Wallenquist (Stacy Keach).

Dwight (with his reconstructed new face), accompanied by Gail and Miho, poses as Wallenquist’s man from Texas. Inside Ava’s estate, however, Manute sees past the new face and captures Dwight. Gail and Miho strike from Dwight’s car, and Dwight shoots Manute with a hidden .45 he had up his left sleeve. Six bullets fail to kill him, and Manute aims shakily at Dwight as Ava unexpectedly grabs one of Manute’s guns, shooting Manute several times. She attempts to convince Dwight to pair with her, and that the pain he suffered revealed his true intentions, but Dwight shoots her mid-kiss, and she dies in his arms.

 The Long Bad Night (Part II)

Johnny visits an unlicensed doctor, Kroenig (Christopher Lloyd), who shoots up heroin before trading his services for Johnny’s last $40 and his shoes. Realizing he left Marcie unprotected, Johnny rushes to his hotel but finds the Senator waiting for him, along with Marcie’s dismembered head and hands. Again, the senator lets him go. Intent on taking down Roark, Johnny scrounges a dollar from a sympathetic waitress (Lady Gaga) which he uses to regain enough money playing slots to buy his way into Roark’s game the following night. Playing a card shark’s con, Johnny folds his first few hands, allowing Roark to taunt him about his dead mother. He once again cons Roark into going all in, then reveals his winning hand. Johnny taunts his father, reminding him that tonight’s story of how the same man beat him twice will follow him for the rest of his life. His vengeance completed, Johnny smiles resignedly, a single tear running down his face as Roark shoots him in the head, commanding his men to get rid of the body.

Nancy’s Last Dance

Four years after “That Yellow Bastard”,” Nancy Callahan is in a deep depression over John Hartigan’s death. She is obsessed with getting revenge on Senator Roark for having driven Hartigan to kill himself. As she wallows in despair, the ghost of Hartigan (Bruce Willis) watches over her, unable to reach her but still attempting to help. On the same night that Johnny joins the backroom poker game, Nancy attempts to shoot Roark from the stage of Kadie’s, but she can’t bring herself to pull the trigger.
maxresdefault
Nancy hallucinates a visit from Roark, and shortly thereafter cuts her hair and smashes a mirror…using its shards to cut her face. She decides to get Marv to help her kill Roark by showing him the scars and making him believe that Roark was responsible. As they step out of the club, they meet a motorcycle gang there to shoot up the place. Marv kills two but leaves their leader for Nancy to finish off. The pair mount an assault on Roark’s compound: Marv slaughters Roark’s bodyguards while Nancy picks off the guards with a crossbow. Marv is wounded, but Nancy continues on alone to confront Roark. Roark shoots her first in the side then the leg and is about to finish her off. Suddenly, Hartigan’s ghost appears in the mirror –startling Roark long enough for Nancy to recover and kill him.
sin-city-2-dame-to-fill-for-jessica-alba-bruce-willisThis is as visually stunning and as jaw dropping as the first film. I was thoroughly engrossed for 90 odd minutes, with the comic books faithfully reproduced. Something over and above many comic book adaptations is happening here, with plots stuck to with few liberties taken

REVIEW: MILK

CAST
Sean Penn (Gangster Squad)
Josh Brolin (W.)
Emilie Hirsch (Alpha Dog)
Diego Luna (Elysium)
James Franco (Spring Breakers)
Alison Pill (Scott Pilgrim vs the World)
Victor Garber (Legends of Tomorrow)
Dennis O’ Hare (The Proposal)
Lucas Grabeel (Smallville)
Boyd Holbrook (Gone Girl)
Ted Jan Roberts (Masked Rider)
The film opens with archival footage of police raiding gay bars and arresting patrons during the 1950s and 1960s, followed by Dianne Feinstein’s November 27, 1978 announcement to the press that Harvey Milk (Sean Penn) and Mayor George Moscone (Victor Garber) had been assassinated. Milk is seen recording his will throughout the film, nine days (November 18, 1978) before the assassinations. The film then flashes back to New York City in 1970, the eve of Milk’s 40th birthday and his first meeting with his much younger lover, Scott Smith (James Franco).
Dissatisfied with his life and in need of a change, Milk and Smith decide to move to San Francisco in the hope of finding larger acceptance of their relationship. They open Castro Camera in the heart of Eureka Valley, a working-class neighborhood in the process of evolving into a predominantly gay neighborhood known as The Castro. Frustrated by the opposition they encounter in the once Irish-Catholic neighborhood, Milk utilizes his background as a businessman to become a gay activist, eventually becoming a mentor for Cleve Jones (Emile Hirsch). Early on, Smith serves as Milk’s campaign manager, but he grows frustrated with Milk’s devotion to politics, and he leaves him. Milk later meets Jack Lira (Diego Luna), a sweet-natured but unbalanced young man. As with Smith, Lira cannot tolerate Milk’s devotion to political activism, and eventually hangs himself. Milk clashes with the local gay “establishment” which he feels to be too cautious and risk-averse.
After two unsuccessful political campaigns in 1973 and 1975 to become a city supervisor and a third in 1976 for the California State Assembly, Milk finally wins a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977 for District 5. His victory makes him the first openly gay man to be voted into major public office in California and the third openly homosexual politician in the entire US. Milk subsequently meets fellow Supervisor Dan White (Josh Brolin), a Vietnam veteran and former police officer and firefighter. White, who is politically and socially conservative, has a difficult relationship with Milk, and develops a growing resentment for Milk when he opposes projects that White proposes.
Milk and White forge a complex working relationship. Milk is invited to, and attends, the christening of White’s first child, and White asks for Milk’s assistance in preventing a psychiatric hospital from opening in White’s district, possibly in exchange for White’s support of Milk’s citywide gay rights ordinance. When Milk fails to support White because of the negative effect it will have on troubled youth, White feels betrayed, and ultimately becomes the sole vote against the gay rights ordinance. Milk also launches an effort to defeat Proposition 6, an initiative on the California state ballot in November 1978. Sponsored by John Briggs (Denis O’Hare), a conservative state legislator from Orange County, Proposition 6 seeks to ban gays and lesbians (in addition to anyone who supports them) from working in California’s public schools. It is also part of a nationwide conservative movement that starts with the successful campaign headed by Anita Bryant and her organization Save Our Children in Dade County, Florida to repeal a local gay rights ordinance.
On November 7, 1978, after working tirelessly against Proposition 6, Milk and his supporters rejoice in the wake of its defeat. A desperate White favors a supervisor pay raise, but does not get much support, and shortly after supporting the proposition, resigns from the Board. He later changes his mind and asks to be reinstated. Mayor Moscone denies his request, after being lobbied by Milk. On the morning of November 27, 1978, White enters City Hall through a basement window to conceal a gun from metal detectors. He requests another meeting with Moscone, who rebuffs his request for appointment to his former seat. Enraged, White shoots Moscone in his office and then goes to meet Milk, where he guns him down, with the fatal bullet delivered execution-style. The film suggests that Milk believed that White might be a closeted gay man.
The last scene is a candlelight vigil held by thousands for Milk and Moscone throughout the streets of the city. Pictures of the actual people depicted in the film, and brief summaries of their lives follow.
Sean Penn played the role of Harvey Milk so well that it really felt like I was getting a historic glimpse on what it might have felt like for Harvey Milk and for those that were the closest to him and helping him out. I normally love and prefer to watch only cheerful feel good movies. However, this movie pulled at my heartstrings because a very powerful, caring, and intelligent man was taken at such a stage in his life where he was just starting to reap the benefits of his hard work. Aside from this caveat, I still feel that this was a terrific movie with some convincing and talented actors and actresses.