REVIEW: GIRL MOST LIKELY

CAST

Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids)
Annette Bening (The Women)
Matt Dillon (Crash)
Darren Criss (Glee)
Christopher Fitzgerald (Boiler Room)
Natasha Lyonne (American Pie)
June Diane Raphael (Year One)
Michelle Hurd (Ash Vs Evil Dead)
Julia Stiles (Jason Bourne)
Nate Corddry (Mom)
Andrea Martin (Black Christmas)

Imogene Duncan (Kristen Wiig) was once a promising playwright who now works in a low-paying magazine job in New York City. After her affluent boyfriend leaves her and she is fired from her magazine gig, she stages a suicide attempt in an effort to get her ex’s attention and is accidentally discovered by her friend Dara. Held in the hospital on a 5150 (involuntary psychiatric hold), she is eventually released into her estranged mother’s (Annette Bening) care where she is taken to her childhood home in New Jersey. Shortly after returning she hears a conversation between her mother and her new boyfriend, George Bousche, and learns that her father never died, but instead left the family to pursue a PhD. After learning that her father wrote a book, she goes to the local library and steals it. She discovers from the back cover that he lives in New York City and convinces her mother’s boarder, Lee (Darren Criss), to take her there, but is forced to return after she is barred access from her apartment and her friend, Dara, refuses to let her stay in her home.To pay Lee back for driving her to the city, Imogene goes to see him perform in his Backstreet Boys tribute band. Afterwards they talk about Imogene’s failed career as a playwright. Years ago, after she won a prestigious grant, Imogene failed to write an actual play and now believes she cannot write. Lee accidentally discovered her old plays while living in her room and believes she is talented and should attempt to write again. They sleep together and the following morning she, Lee and her brother, Ralph, head back to the city to go to Dara’s book launch party.The launch goes poorly as no one is particularly happy to see her. Her brother Ralph is nearly arrested and is brought to the party by the police. After they leave the party, Ralph takes them to their father’s house where Ralph reveals that he knew his father was alive the entire time. Imogene and Ralph have dinner with their wealthy father and his new wife where he expresses no regret over his decision to leave them. After their father offers Imogene money to help fix her life she leaves him and returns home to her mother. After Imogene and her mother discuss her father an assassin arrives looking for Bousche and threatens to kill the family. He is prevented from doing so by Imogene, who dons her brother’s human exo-skeleton suit and attacks him. Ultimately Imogene writes a play based on her experiences called Exo-life starring Julia Stiles, which receives a standing ovation.It’s one of those movies about a quirky family, but with enough fresh elements to make it work. The best thing about the film is the top-notch cast. It’s definitely worth checking out.

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31 DAYS OF HORROR REVIEW: THE OMEN (2006)

 

CAST

Julia Stiles (Jason Bourne)
Liev Schreiber (The 5th Wave)
Mia Farrow (Rosemary’s Baby)
Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick (Before Midnight)
David Thewlis (Dragonheart)
Pete Postlethwaite (Solomon Kane)
Michael Gambon (Harry Potter)
Giovanni Lombardo Radice (The Hideout)
Reggie Austin (Agent Carter)
Harvey Spencer Stephens (Gauguin The Savage)

Robert Thorn (Liev Schreiber), an American diplomat stationed in Italy, is told that his son died during birth. Unknown to his unconscious wife, Katherine (Julia Stiles), Robert adopts an orphaned newborn at the suggestion of the hospital’s Catholic priest, Father Spiletto (Giovanni Lombardo Radice). Naming him Damien (Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick), Robert and Katherine raise the boy. Robert’s career ascends over the course of the next five years. He is named Deputy Ambassador to the Court of St. James in the United Kingdom. Following the death of the previous ambassador, Robert assumes his position and settles in a large estate just outside London. However, disturbing events begin to occur, including the suicide of Damien’s nanny at his birthday party.Robert is approached by Father Brennan (Pete Postlethwaite), who claims to have been involved with events surrounding Damien’s birth. Meanwhile, photographer Keith Jennings (David Thewlis) finds that several of his photographs contain mysterious omens, including premonitions of people’s deaths. A new nanny, Mrs. Baylock (Mia Farrow), is hired. Tension rises when Mrs. Baylock starts to make decisions without the consent of the Thorns, including adopting a Rottweiler for Damien’s protection.Following an incident near a chapel in which Damien attacks Katherine, she begins experiencing vivid dreams about her son, one of these involving a red-hooded jackal skeleton. When the Thorns visit a zoo, the animals react violently at the sight of Damien. Katherine begins to wonder if there is something wrong with Damien. Father Brennan confronts Robert, telling him that Damien’s mother was a jackal, and that the boy is the Antichrist. He explains that Damien must die and a man called Bugenhagen (Michael Gambon), located in Megiddo, can assist. After being rebuked, Father Brennan is killed during a lightning storm.
Katherine discovers she is pregnant and is determined to get an abortion, in fear of having a child similar to Damien. Soon afterward, Damien causes an accident in which Katherine is severely injured, resulting in her miscarriage. While recovering in the hospital, Katherine confides in Robert her suspicions that Damien is evil. Robert decides to rendezvous with Jennings and search for Damien’s biological mother. The pair discovers the hospital where Damien was delivered has since been demolished after a fire. They travel to Subiaco and meet Father Spiletto, who directs them to a graveyard. There they find the grave of Damien’s mother, who is revealed to indeed have been a jackal. In the neighboring tomb, Robert discovers the corpse of his murdered biological son. He and Jennings are attacked by a pack of dogs and barely escape.Mrs. Baylock visits Katherine in the hospital and causes her to have an air embolism, killing Katherine. Learning of Katherine’s death, Robert goes to Megiddo, meets Bugenhagen, and receives instructions on him to kill Damien on consecrated ground with seven sacrificial daggers. Bugenhagen tells Robert to examine Damien for a birthmark in the shape of three sixes (“666”). However, Robert refuses to kill his son, and throws the daggers on the ground. While reaching down to pick up the daggers, Jennings is suddenly decapitated by a falling sign. Robert arrives home and is attacked by Mrs. Baylock’s Rottweiler, which he subdues. In Damien’s room, he finds the 666 birthmark. Mrs. Baylock attacks Robert, but he fends her off; after running her over with his car, he escapes. Pursued by the police, Robert flees to a church to kill Damien, but is found before he can. During his escape, Robert is killed by a Diplomatic Protection officer. As the Pope simultaneously dies, Robert’s funeral is attended by the President of the United States, who holds Damien’s hand. Damien then looks at the audience and smiles as the credits roll.The new film attempted to update the film, linking recent political events with the prophecies involved, which verged on tacky in places, but the fact that the setting is so much more modern makes it an easier film to watch. It remained fairly true to the book, without being a straightforward copy of the original; indeed, it does deserve to be considered an individual film in its own right. This film is a must-see to any true fans of the story, and definitely a wonderful film to watch for any horror fan who hasn’t seen the original and enjoys a strong storyline with a well-built-up atmosphere.

REVIEW: JASON BOURNE

CAST

Matt Damon (The Martian)
Tommy Lee Jones (Batman Forever)
Alicia Vikander (Ex_Machina)
Vincent Cassel (Black Swan)
Julia Stiles (Silver Linings Playbook)
Riz Ahmed (Four Lions)
Ato Essandoh (Django Uncahined)
Gregg Henry (Guardians of The Galaxy)

A decade after he exposed Operation Blackbriar and disappeared, Jason Bourne has finally recovered from his amnesia, isolating himself from the world and making a living by taking part in illegal fighting rings. In Reykjavík, Nicky Parsons, who has been collaborating with a hacktivist group led by Christian Dassault, hacks into the CIA’s mainframe server in order to expose the CIA’s black ops programs. In the process, Parsons finds documents that concern Bourne’s recruitment into the Treadstone program and his father’s role in the program, and she decides to travel to Athens to find and inform him. Parsons’ system intrusion alerts Heather Lee, the head of the CIA’s cyber ops division, and CIA Director Robert Dewey.

In Greece, Parsons and Bourne meet at Syntagma Square in the midst of a violent anti-government protest. They evade the CIA teams sent to locate them, but Parsons is killed by the Asset, an ex-Blackbriar program assassin who also holds a personal grudge against Bourne, having been captured and tortured following Bourne’s actions that exposed Blackbriar. Before she dies, Parsons is able to pass the key to a luggage locker that holds the CIA files on to Bourne. Intending to find the answers about his past and family, Bourne locates Dassault in Berlin. Decrypting Parsons’s files, Bourne discovers that his father, Richard Webb, was an analyst for the CIA and was involved with the creation of the original Treadstone program. However, malware planted in the files alerts the CIA to Bourne’s location, and Dewey sends a team to capture him while Lee remotely erases the files to prevent another leak. Dassault attacks Bourne, but is killed in the fight. Lee takes the opportunity to alert Bourne to the team’s presence as she believes that he can be persuaded to return to the agency. Using the few leads he gathered in Berlin, Bourne tracks Malcolm Smith, a former Treadstone surveillance operative, in London and arranges to meet him in Paddington Plaza.

Lee persuades Dewey to allow her to contact Bourne in person to attempt to bring him back in. Dewey agrees, but secretly authorizes the Asset to eliminate Lee’s team and kill Bourne, who he believes cannot be reasoned with. Knowing that the CIA is watching him, Bourne evades Lee and the Asset long enough to confront Smith. Smith admits that Richard Webb created Treadstone, but tried to prevent them from recruiting Bourne. Under Dewey’s orders, the Asset killed Richard Webb and staged his death as a terrorist attack to persuade Bourne to join Treadstone. Smith is killed by the Asset while Bourne escapes and finds Lee, who admits that she is not comfortable with Dewey’s methods and directs him to a technology convention in Las Vegas.

Dewey is scheduled to attend the convention for a public debate on privacy rights with Aaron Kalloor, the CEO of social media enterprise Deep Dream. Kalloor is the public face of corporate social responsibility in the Internet age, but he has secretly been funded by Dewey, who intends to use Deep Dream for real-time mass surveillance alongside the reborn of targeted assassination programs Treadstone, Blackbriar, Outcome and LARX, now collectively known as “Iron Hand”. Suspecting that Kalloor will refuse to allow the CIA access to Deep Dream, Dewey authorizes the Asset to assassinate Kalloor and Lee, whom he no longer trusts. Bourne arrives at the convention in time to thwart the assassination and confronts Dewey in his suite. Dewey appeals to Bourne’s sense of patriotism as he stalls for time, knowing that agents are closing in. Bourne kills Jeffers, Dewey’s right-hand man, while Lee kills Dewey before he can shoot Bourne. Bourne covers up Lee’s involvement before giving chase to the Asset and finally kills him by breaking his neck after a long fight in a sewer.
In the aftermath, Lee convinces Edwin Russell, the Director of National Intelligence, that Dewey’s methods were outdated and offers herself as a candidate to become Dewey’s replacement as CIA Director, to act as Russell’s eyes and ears within the CIA. She outlines her plan to use Bourne’s trust to bring him back to the agency, but recognizes the need to kill him if he refuses. Lee approaches Bourne, promising him that the CIA will become the organization he thought it was when he joined. Bourne asks for time to consider her offer, but leaves a recording of her conversation with Russell in her car, making it clear that he does not trust her, before he disappears again.Whilst others find it quite easy to knock this movie, comparing it with each of the other Bourne films I was very content to see this Damon-Greengrass reunion. Due homage is paid to the back story, but this film will be remembered for the non-stop action. In fact it would be impossible to squeeze in any more. The screen is filled with mayhem and chaos particularly fitting the Greece location shots and following the usual cat and mouse manoeuvring between Bourne and the cronies at Langley. Vincent Cassell is Bourne’s nemesis – and this time it’s personal. This movie met my expectations and Bourne fans will not be disappointed.

REVIEW: THE BUSINESS OF STRANGERS

CAST

Stockhard Channing (Pratical Magic)
Julia Stiles (Jason Bourne)
Frederick Weller (Armageddon)

Julie Styron (Channing) is a middle-aged businesswoman flying out of town to attend an important meeting. When her CEO contacts her and asks her to meet him for dinner afterward, she worries that her job may be in danger and engages the help of a head hunter named Nick Harris (Fred Weller) to look for a new position. Her mood worsens when her new assistant Paula Murphy (Stiles) is 45 minutes late to the meeting, which as a result goes badly. After its end, Julie fires Paula and they part ways.

Later that evening Julie is unexpectedly promoted to CEO of the company. After both their flights home are delayed, Julie and Paula meet up by chance in a hotel bar. Julie apologizes for losing her temper earlier and buys Paula a drink. As they talk, Julie, who gave up having a family for her career, begins to question whether she made the right choice. The two of them visit the gym and the pool before returning to the bar. Nick joins them, explaining that his flight was also cancelled. Paula rushes off to the bathroom and is followed by Julie, who wants to know what was wrong. Later, Paula informs her that Nick raped a friend of hers in Boston. Julie is shocked but eventually convinced, and suggests they get revenge. Paula tells her to just forget about it.

The two retire to Julie’s room, and when Nick knocks on the door later on, Paula invites him in and then drugs him. In order to keep him from realizing what they’ve done, the two women take him down into a restricted area of the hotel which is being renovated. Julie runs upstairs to get Nick’s briefcase, and returns to find Paula stripping him. Paula explains that this way when he wakes up he will hesitate to ask anyone what happened. Paula photographs them all with her Polaroid camera. Paula finds a magic marker and they write words on Nick’s chest and back like “pig” and “rapist”. They are nearly discovered by a security guard, but he leaves without seeing them. Paula eventually confesses to Julie that it was she who was raped, not her friend — which Julie had already guessed. They return to Julie’s room and sleep.The next morning, Julie finds the word “loser” written in marker on her own stomach, and a few Polaroids on the bed of Paula sitting next to her own sleeping form. At the airport she meets up with Nick again. He reveals that he had never been to Boston, proving Paula’s rape story to be an elaborate lie.

Julia Stiles is excellent; her character has quite a lot of resonance given the kind of stories one reads in the media with increasing frequency. It makes the film a kind of parable for modern times – although the moral of the story remains hard to put your finger on.

REVIEW: SAVE THE LAST DANCE

CAST

Julia Stiles (Jason Bourne)
Terry Kinney (Sleepers)
Sean Patrick Thomas (Cruel Intentions)
Kerry Washington (Lakeveiw Terrace)
Bianca Lawson (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)

Sara Johnson, a promising dancer in high school, hopes to be admitted to study at Juilliard School and invites her mother to attend the audition. She fails the audition and soon learns that her mother was involved in a fatal car accident in her haste to get to the audition.Sara is wracked by guilt and gives up on ballet. She moves in with her father and transfers to an urban Chicago school. Her father is a jazz musician who plays the trumpet and usually plays in nights in clubs. At her new school, Sara is one of a handful of white students but quickly befriends Chenille, a single teen mother who is having relationship problems. Chenille invites Sara to a dance club called STEPPS, where she has her first experience of dancing to hip hop rhythms. At STEPPS, Sara dances with Derek, Chenille’s brother and a student with dreams of ultimately attending Georgetown Medical School. He decides to help Sara develop her dancing skills by incorporating more hip hop into her style. Derek takes a reluctant Sara to the Joffrey Ballet and, afterwards, Sara confides in him about her mother and her dreams. Later, they return to the club and amaze others with their dancing. Having achieved his dream of being accepted at Georgetown University, Derek convinces her to follow her dreams of Juilliard. Eventually, Sara and Derek begin a relationship.At school, Nikki, Derek’s jealous ex-girlfriend, picks a fight with Sara. Chenille tells Sara that she didn’t approve of the fight but can understand the bitterness since Sara, a white girl, is seen as stealing one of the few decent black men in the school. Because of this, Sara breaks up with Derek. Meanwhile, Derek deals with his friend Malakai, who is heavily into the gang lifestyle that Derek is trying to leave. Derek accepts Malakai’s plea for support in a drive-by for the same time as Sara’s audition. Sara’s father has a heart-to-heart talk with her and encourages her to audition for Juilliard again.After hearing what Chenille told Sara, Derek confronts her. She admits what she did was wrong and encourages him to be with Sara. Chenille also warns Derek not to support Malakai knowing the consequences and he will lose his chance to attend Georgetown. Derek turns his back on Malakai to attend Sara’s audition. He arrives at a crucial point to offer her encouragement and moral support. After her audition, Sara is accepted and she rekindles her relationship with Derek. Meanwhile, the drive-by becomes botched and Malakai is arrested. The film closes as Sara, Derek, Chenille, and their friends meet at STEPPS to celebrate Sara’s successful audition.

Overall, I did like this film, it was fast paced, intelligent, easy watching, and a welcome change to the recent films I have been watching lately which all feel much slower, and emotionally heavy. However, the plot gives this film it’s limitations, and although for it’s genre it is up there with the best, it’s not a film that I would say deserves to be forever remembered in film history. But that again, there are only a few that do

 

 

 

 

REVIEW: THE PRINCE AND ME

CAST

Julia Stiles (Jason Bourne)
Luke Mably (Kingdom)
Ben MIller (Johnny English)
Miranda Richardson (Sleepy Hollow)
James Fox (The Servant)
Alberta Watson (La Femme Nikita)
Zachary Knighton (Flashforward)

Paige Morgan (Julia Stiles) is a pre-medical student at University of Wisconsin–Madison. Across the Atlantic, Denmark’s Crown Prince Edvard (Luke Mably), prefers to live the life of a playboy by drag racing with friends, and when with his family, often ignores or marginalizes his royal responsibilities.While watching international television, Edvard sees a commercial called College Girls Gone Wild, featuring drunken co-eds flashing their breasts set in Wisconsin. After meeting with his parents, King Haraald (James Fox), and Queen Rosalind (Miranda Richardson), Edvard announces his intentions to attend college in America—specifically, Wisconsin. His parents are curious about this, and Edvard insists he wants no help from them. The Queen then dispatches Edvard’s assistant, Søren (Ben Miller), to chaperone the trip to America.When Edvard arrives at the university, he orders Søren keep his identity a secret, and to call him “Eddie.” Later at a bar Eddie sees Paige, where he flirts with her. Eddie then asks Paige to take off her shirt, like the girls in the College Girls Gone Wild advertisement did. Paige angrily drenches Eddie with the drink hose, and bouncers escort Eddie (and Søren, who came to his rescue) from the bar. To Paige’s annoyance, she and Eddie are also assigned as lab partners for an organic chemistry class. Since the class is important for Paige’s medical school ambitions, she warns Eddie to not get in her way, and reprimands him after he sleeps through one of their lab experiments. After running out of money, Eddie gets a job in the deli section of the bar. Paige reluctantly helps him during his first day, and the two start to mend fences. Although she does well in science, Paige struggles in an English literature class. Eddie uses his earlier classical education to help Paige gain a better understanding of Shakespeare, and Paige shows Edvard common household chores like laundry. Believing Eddie to be away from his family and unfamiliar with American holidays, she invites him to her parent’s dairy farm for Thanksgiving. Paige’s father explains how he struggles to keep the small farm afloat, and Eddie uses his drag racing skills to fine-tune a riding mower for a race, to which he wins. However, when a rival racer proves a sore loser and punches Eddie, Paige treats the wound, then the two kiss.Back at school, Eddie and Paige sneak off to the library stacks to pursue a romantic encounter of unspecified nature. While there, members of the Danish tabloid press ambush the stunned couple. Once away from the mayhem, Paige learns of his real identity. Feeling betrayed and accusing him of lying, she leaves. At the end of the day, Eddie is notified by his mother that his father is very ill, prompting him to return. While Paige faces a panel of professors questioning her about Shakespeare and love, she realizes that she loves Edvard and runs to find him, only to discover that he has already left for Denmark. She goes after him, and upon arriving in Copenhagen her trip is delayed, as a parade honoring the royal family is blocking traffic. Paige is recognized by the crowd, and Edvard finds her and takes her to the castle on horseback.The queen objects to Edvard’s choice to marry Paige, but the king tells him that if he loves Paige, he should marry her. Edvard proposes and Paige accepts. Paige struggles with conforming to the lifestyle of royalty, however, the queen warms to her. Then, she takes Paige to a little room with jewelry to get ready for the coronation ball, which follows King Haraald’s abdication. During the coronation ball, Edvard and Paige share their first dance and then sneak off together. After being left alone, Paige remembers her dream for Doctors Without Borders. When Edvard returns, she tells him that she does not want to sacrifice her dreams, and that she cannot be queen. She then returns to Wisconsin and graduates from college, where she has been accepted to Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

King Edvard arrives after the graduation, where he expresses that he wants to marry her and he is willing to wait until she completes medical school and achieves her dreams. She confesses that Denmark may not be ready for a queen like her, but he says that he is, leading them to kiss passionately.It’s an easy watch after a long hard week, you do not have to think much and it has a feel good feeling at the end of it.

REVIEW: WICKED

CAST

Julia Stiles (Jason Bourne)
Michael Parks (Red State)
William R. Moses (Mystic Pizza)
Chelse Field (Masters of The Universe)
Partick Muldoon (Starship Troopers)
Linda Hart (The Winner)

16-year-old Ellie Christianson lives in an affluent neighborhood with her mother, Karen, younger sister, Inger, and father, Ben. Beneath their privileged lifestyle is one tinged with dysfunction and chaos. Ben is a workaholic with a hectic schedule that keeps him away from home for most of the day. Karen, meanwhile, passes the time by pursuing an illicit affair with the family’s next door neighbor, Lawson Smith, while her daughters are getting ready for school. She impulsively fires Lena, her housekeeper, as a means to spending some free time with Lawson, and is completely unaware that a shocked Ellie has secretly witnessed one of their liaisons.Image result for WICKED (1998)Karen has an ongoing tumultuous relationship with Ellie, culminating in a heated confrontation one day after the older daughter disobeys an order to not wear too much makeup at school. Ellie ends up remorselessly killing her mother in a fit of rage, then selfishly begins to assume her wifely duties to Ben by waiting for him in bed at night, dressed only in lingerie. However, Ben gradually develops some romantic feelings for the former housekeeper, Lena, and they eventually marry. The impromptu wedding ceremony ignites feelings of jealously for Ellie as she wanted all along to be the lawfully wedded wife of Ben.While the supposed “love triangle” is playing out in Ellie’s twisted mind, her mother’s tragic “accident” is investigated by Detective Boland.

Image result for WICKED (1998)

When Karen’s “accident” is subsequently ruled as a murder, he names Ellie as the prime suspect. She immediately decides to run away from home, going to Portland with her dead mother’s lover, Lawson, in tow. After her family goes on an hours-long fruitless search for Ellie, she unexpectedly returns to the house. She is greeted by Inger, who knows full well what had really happened to her mother. The younger girl ends up murdering her older sister in cold blood, essentially inheriting her “wicked” nature.Image result for WICKED (1998)Julia Stiles gives an excellent performance, as do the rest of the supporting players, even her younger sister character. The idea is hardly original, but there are some eerie bits, and a twist at the end which I didn’t see coming. It works purely for entertainment, and, for only the one time perhaps, is well worth watching.