REVIEW: FLATLINERS (1990)

Starring

Kiefer Sutherland (The Lost Boys)
Julia Roberts (Mirorr Mirror)
Kevin Bacon (Super)
William Baldwin (Backdraft)
Oliver Platt (2012)
Kimberly Scott (The Abyss)
Hope Davis (American Splendor)
Jim Ortlieb (Roswell)
Patricia Belcher (Bones)
Beth Grant (Donnie Darko)

Kevin Bacon and Kiefer Sutherland in Flatliners (1990)Nelson Wright, a medical student, walks onto a beach one day and proclaims “today is a good day to die”. He later convinces four of his medical school classmates—Joe Hurley, David Labraccio, Randy Steckle, and Rachel Manus—to help him discover what lies beyond death. Nelson flatlines for one minute before his classmates resuscitate him. While “dead”, he experiences a sort of afterlife. He sees a vision of a boy he bullied as a child, Billy Mahoney. He merely tells his friends that he cannot describe what he saw, but something is there. The others follow Nelson’s daring feat.Kevin Bacon, Julia Roberts, William Baldwin, Kiefer Sutherland, and Oliver Platt in Flatliners (1990)Joe flatlines next, and he experiences an erotic afterlife sequence. He agrees with Nelson’s claim that something indeed exists. David is third to flatline, and he sees a vision of a girl, Winnie Hicks, whom he bullied in grade school. The three men start to experience hallucinations related to their afterlife visions. Nelson gets physically beat up by Billy Mahoney twice. Joe, engaged to be married, is haunted by his home videos of his sexual dalliances with other women. David finds Winnie Hicks on a train, and she verbally taunts him the way he taunted her.Julia Roberts, William Baldwin, and Kiefer Sutherland in Flatliners (1990)Rachel decides to flatline next on Halloween. David tries to stop the others from giving Rachel their same fate, but she is already “dead” when he arrives. Rachel nearly dies for good after the power goes out, and the men are unable to shock her with the defibrillator paddles. Luckily, she survives, but she, too, is haunted by the memory of her father committing suicide when she was young. The three men finally reveal their harrowing experiences to one another, and David decides to put his visions to a stop. Meanwhile, Joe’s fiancée, Anne, comes to his apartment, and she breaks up with him after she discovers his videos. Joe’s visions cease after Anne leaves him.Kiefer Sutherland in Flatliners (1990)David goes to visit Winnie Hicks, now grown up, and apologizes to her. Winnie accepts his apology and thanks him. David immediately feels a weight lifted off his shoulders. Then, David finds Nelson, who accompanied David to visit Winnie, beating himself with a climbing axe. In Nelson’s mind, however, Billy Mahoney is attempting for a third time to beat him to death. David stops him, and they return to town. Rachel seeks comfort in the arms of David, and the two spend the night together. While Rachel and David are together, Nelson takes Steckle and Joe to a graveyard. He reveals that he killed Billy Mahoney as a kid by throwing rocks at him until he fell out of a tree. Nelson storms off, leaving Joe and Steckle stranded.Julia Roberts and Kiefer Sutherland in Flatliners (1990)David leaves Rachel alone in order to rescue Joe and Steckle at the cemetery. While alone, Rachel goes to the bathroom, and finds her father. He apologizes to his daughter, and her guilt over his death is lifted when she discovers that he was addicted to heroin. Then, Nelson calls Rachel, and he tells her that he needs to flatline again in order to make amends. He apologizes for involving her and their friends in his stupid plan. The three men race to Nelson, who has been dead for an estimated nine minutes already. Rachel soon finds them, and the four friends work feverishly to save Nelson. In the afterlife, Nelson is experiencing himself as a young boy being stoned by Billy Mahoney from the tree. Nelson dies in the afterlife from the fall, and his friends cannot revive him. When they are about to give up, Mahoney forgives Nelson, and David gives Nelson one last shock. This brings him back, and Nelson tells them, “Today wasn’t a good day to die.”Kevin Bacon, Julia Roberts, William Baldwin, Kiefer Sutherland, and Oliver Platt in Flatliners (1990)The story is relatively simple, yet original, and the acting is refreshing– definitely a stand out film for the genre, and one that has set the standard for measuring other thrillers for me.

REVIEW: VALENTINE’S DAY

CAST

Jessica Alba (Machete)
Bradley Cooper (Serena)
Jessica Biel (The A-Team)
Patrick Dempsey (Transformers 3)
Julia Roberts (Mirror Mirror)
Hector Elizondo (The Princess Diaries)
Kathy Bates (Misery)
Eric Dane (X-Men 3)
Jamie Foxx (Django Unchained)
Jennifer Garner (Alias)
Topher Grace (That 70s Show)
Anne Hathaway (Interstellar)
Ashton Kutcher (Two and a Half Men)
Queen Latifah (Bringing Down The House)
Taylor Lautner (Twilight)
George Lopez (The Smurfs)
Shirley McLaine (Bewitched)
Emma Roberts (Scream Queens)
Taylor Swift (New Girl)
Larry Miller (10 Things I Hate About You)
Katherine LaNasa (The Campaign)
Kirsten Schaal (Bob’s Burgers)
Christine Lakin (Family Guy)
Cleo King (Mike & Molly)
Rance Howard (A Beautiful Mind)

MV5BMjE0MzEyNjMzMl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjMyOTQxMw@@._V1_SX1500_CR0,0,1500,999_AL_The film follows a group of related characters and their struggles with love on Valentine’s Day.
MV5BMTUwOTg4Nzg4Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTEyOTQxMw@@._V1_SX1500_CR0,0,1500,999_AL_Florist Reed Bennett (Ashton Kutcher) wakes up and proposes to his girlfriend Morley Clarkson (Jessica Alba), who accepts. However, Reed’s closest friends, Alfonso Rodriguez (George Lopez) and Julia Fitzpatrick (Jennifer Garner), aren’t surprised when Morley suddenly changes her mind and leaves Reed a few hours later.
MV5BMTk5NjUwODU1M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDMyOTQxMw@@._V1_SX1500_CR0,0,1500,999_AL_On a flight to Los Angeles, Kate Hazeltine (Julia Roberts), a captain in the U.S. Army on a one-day leave, befriends Holden Wilson (Bradley Cooper). Kate is travelling a long distance to get back home only for a short time, and Holden states that she must really be in love to do so. When the plane lands and Kate has to wait hours for the taxi, Holden offers his limousine to allow her to be there on time.
VALENTINES DAYJulia, an elementary school teacher, has fallen in love with Dr. Harrison Copeland (Patrick Dempsey), but does not know that he is married to Pamela (Katherine LaNasa). Harrison tells her that he needs to go to San Francisco for a business trip: on his way, he stops by at Reed’s flowershop and orders two flower bouquets – asking for discretion. Wanting to surprise him and despite Reed’s warnings, Julia flies to San Francisco, convinced that Reed was wrong. Julia finds out that he is married and finds him at a local restaurant. Dressed as a waitress, Julia makes a scene at the restaurant, making Pamela suspicious. One of Julia’s students, Edison (Bryce Robinson), orders flowers from Reed, to be sent to his teacher. Julia suggests to Edison to give the flowers to a girl named Rani in his class who has a crush on him after telling Edison the meaning of love.
MV5BMTM5OTA4NDEzNF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTEyOTQxMw@@._V1_SX1500_CR0,0,1500,999_AL_Edison’s babysitter Grace Smart (Emma Roberts) is planning to lose her virginity to her boyfriend Alex Franklin (Carter Jenkins). The planned encounter goes awry when Grace’s mother discovers a naked Alex in Grace’s room, rehearsing a song he wrote for Grace. Edison’s grandparents, Edgar (Héctor Elizondo) and Estelle Paddington (Shirley MacLaine) are facing the troubles of a long marriage. Estelle admits to Edgar about an affair she had with one of his business partners long ago. Although she is deeply sorry, Edgar is very upset. Grace’s high school friends, Willy Harrington (Taylor Lautner) and Felicia Miller (Taylor Swift), are experiencing the freshness of new love, and have agreed to wait to have sex.
MV5BMzA1MTY2MDA4MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTEyOTQxMw@@._V1_SX1500_CR0,0,1500,999_AL_Sean Jackson (Eric Dane), a closeted gay professional football player, is contemplating the end of his career with his publicist Kara Monahan (Jessica Biel) and his agent Paula Thomas (Queen Latifah). Kara is organizing her annual “I Hate Valentine’s Day” party, but soon becomes interested in sports reporter Kelvin Moore (Jamie Foxx), who was ordered to do a Valentine’s Day report by his boss Susan Moralez (Kathy Bates), and who shares Kara’s hatred of the holiday. Substituting for Paula’s absent secretary is one of the firm’s receptionists, Liz Curran (Anne Hathaway), who dates mail-room clerk Jason Morris (Topher Grace). Jason is shocked when Liz turns out to be moonlighting as a phone sex operator. Liz explains that she is only doing this because she has a $100,000 student loan to pay off. Jason is upset, but eventually reconciles with her after seeing Edgar forgive Estelle.
MV5BMTgwNTU1MzM5NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODIyOTQxMw@@._V1_SX1500_CR0,0,1500,999_AL_Sean finally comes out on national television, and Holden, Sean’s lover, goes back to him. Kate arrives home late at night to greet not her supposed boyfriend but her son Edison. Willy drops Felicia off at home after a date and they kiss. Kelvin and Kara hang out at Kelvin’s news station where they later kiss. Alfonso dines with his wife, and Grace and Alex agree to wait to have sex. Edgar and Estelle reconcile and redo their marriage vows, Harrison’s wife has left him because of his infidelity and Morley tries to call Reed, who is instead starting a new relationship with Julia. Paula receives a call from one of Liz’s masochistic clients and takes delight in expressing her dominance and sadism.MV5BMTI2ODIzMzM0OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjU3NzMwMw@@._V1_SX1500_CR0,0,1500,999_AL_Big star cast with lots of intertwined storylines going on with a lovely little twist at the end. A proper feel good movie thatt ticks all the right boxes for Valentine’s Day.

REVIEW: MONA LISA SMILE


CAST
Julia Roberts (Mystic Pizza)
Kirsten Dunst (Bring It On)
Julia Stiles (A Guy Thing)
Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Dark Knight)
Ginnifer Goodwin (Walk The Line)
Dominic West (300)
Juliet Stevenson (Bend It Like Beckham)
Marica Gay Harden (Mystic River)
John Slattery (Iron Man 2)
Topher Grace (That 70s Show)
Kristen Connolly (The Cabin In The Woods)
Krysten Ritter (Jessica Jones)
Lily Rabe (The Undoing)
In 1953, Katherine Ann Watson (Julia Roberts), a 30-year-old graduate student in the department of Art History at Oakland State, takes a position teaching “History of Art” at Wellesley College, a conservative women’s private liberal arts college in Massachusetts, because she wants to make a difference and influence the next generation of women. At her first class, Katherine discovers that her students have already memorized the entire textbook syllabus, so she uses the classes to introduce them to Modern Art and encourages discussion about topics such as what makes good art and what the Mona Lisa’s smile means. This brings her into conflict with the college president (Marian Seldes), who warns she must stick to the syllabus if she wants to keep her job. Katherine comes to know her students and seeks to inspire them to achieve more than marriage to eligible young men.
Betty Warren (Kirsten Dunst) is highly opinionated and outspokenly conservative like her mother, the head of the Alumnae Association. Betty doesn’t understand why Katherine is not married and insists that there is a universal standard for good art. She writes editorials for the college paper, exposing campus nurse Amanda Armstrong (Juliet Stevenson) as a supplier of contraception, which results in Amanda being fired; another editorial attacks Katherine for advocating that women should seek a career instead of being wives and mothers as intended. Betty can’t wait to marry Spencer (Jordan Bridges) as their parents have arranged and expects the traditional exemptions from attending class as a married woman: Katherine insists she will be marked on merit and attendance, resulting in more conflict.
Connie Baker (Ginnifer Goodwin) begins dating Betty’s cousin, Charlie (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) but Betty persuades her that he is only using her his parents have arranged for him to marry Deb MacIntyre. After a disastrous date, where Charlie and Connie very nearly cross paths with Deb’s parents on a weekend away at the shore, Connie ends the relationship, believing Betty’s story to be true. However, some weeks later, Connie and Charlie reconnect, with Charlie saying he has already decided for himself that he is not going to marry Deb, so he and Connie get back together. Joan Brandwyn (Julia Stiles) dreams of being a lawyer and has enrolled as pre-law, so Katherine encourages her to apply to Yale Law School, where she is accepted; Katherine is affronted when Joan’s fiancé Tommy (Topher Grace) comments Joan “will always have that”, intimating his own expectations of what his wife should be. Joan eventually elopes with Tommy, and professes to Katherine she is very happy—she had decided that what she wants most is to be a wife and mother after graduation and asks Katherine to respect her choice. Giselle Levy (Maggie Gyllenhaal) has liberal views and supports Katherine because she sees her as having chosen what she wants in her life and because she has often felt out of place at the school being Jewish among the mostly WASP student body. Her parents divorced after the war and her father left them for a new family. Giselle brazenly has affairs with a professor and a married man.
During “truth or consequences” in a secret society meeting, Katherine confides to the girls that she was engaged when she was younger, but that she and her fiancé were prevented from marrying by the war and their relationship fizzled out. Katherine declines a proposal from her California boyfriend (John Slattery) because she doesn’t love him enough and begins seeing the Wellesley Italian professor, Bill Dunbar (Dominic West). Bill is charming and full of stories about Europe and his heroic actions in Italy during the war. He has also had affairs with students (including Giselle), and Katherine makes him promise that it will never happen again. The relationship progresses but when Katherine learns that Bill spent the entire war at the Army Languages Center on Long Island, she decides to break up with him because he is not trustworthy. Bill responds that Katherine didn’t come to Wellesley to help the students find their way, but to help them find her way.
Within six months of the wedding Betty’s marriage falls apart as Spencer has an affair, hiding it from his wife by pretending to be away on business. Betty seeks refuge at her parents’ house but her mother turns her away, telling her that her home is with Spencer now. Betty lashes out at Giselle in rage and pain and then breaks down in tears while Giselle hugs her. Mrs Warren begs Betty to stay married to Spencer, saying that she should try for a year and that she must avoid a scandal. Betty shows her mother a picture of the Mona Lisa and asks if her smile means she is happy. She answers her own question: “Who cares, as long as she’s smiling?” and warns her mother that not everything is what it seems. At graduation, Betty begins to ask Katherine about apartments in Greenwich Village, New York, but their conversation is interrupted by Mrs. Warren. Betty tells her mother that she filed for divorce that same morning and she is going to room with Giselle. She tells Katherine that she is considering applying to Yale Law School.
Katherine’s course is highly popular, so the college invites her to return but with certain conditions: she must follow the syllabus, submit lesson plans for approval, keep a strictly professional relationship with all faculty members, and not talk to the girls about anything other than classes. Katherine decides to leave in order to explore Europe. In the final scene, Betty dedicates her last editorial to Katherine, claiming that her teacher is “an extraordinary woman who lived by example and compelled us all to see the world through new eyes.” As Katherine’s taxi speeds up, all her students follow on their bicycles and Betty is seen struggling to keep up with the taxi as a last effort to thank Katherine for changing her life.
This is a wonderful, highly enjoyable film in which the social mores and style of the nineteen fifties are well depicted