REVIEW: THE NEW DAUGHTER

CAST

Kevin Costner (Man of Steel)
Ivana Baquero (Pan’s Labyrinth)
Gattlin Griffith (Green Lantern)
Samantha Mathis (American Psycho)
Noah Taylor (Powers)
Margaret Anne Florence (My Super Ex-Girlfriend)
James Gammon (Cool Hand Luke)

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John James (Kevin Costner), a recently divorced novelist, moves into an old house in the country with his teenage daughter, Louisa (Ivana Baquero), and young son, Sam (Gattlin Griffith). John and Louisa’s relationship is strained; She accuses him of never loving her mother and ruining everything. On the family’s first night in the house, Louisa hears strange noises outside her bedroom window. Unseen by her is a humanoid creature lurking outside on the roof. The following day, while exploring the surrounding fields and forest, the children come across a large mound. Louisa is instantly attracted to it, but Sam is reluctant to go near it. In town, John learns that his house is locally infamous for the disappearance of a woman who lived there. Upon returning home, he finds Louisa’s pet cat mutilated near the house.Vile-2

Louisa returns to the mound after school and, while relaxing in the sunshine, hears strange noises. As Louisa hears what sounds like approaching animal growls, the film jump-cuts to John cutting his hand while washing dishes. That night John finds a trail of muddy footprints leading from the open front door to the bathroom. Louisa is inside with the door locked, sitting in the tub as the shower washes her extremely muddied body. The muddy water is shown turning red with blood as it reaches the drain. Later that night, John finds Louisa sleepwalking. When he takes her back to bed, he finds a strange doll made from straw, inside of which is a dark ball containing a live spider. The next morning Louisa comes down for breakfast wearing a short dress and make-up. When John asks her about the doll, she claims not to have seen it.vile-primor_avi_snapshot_01_03_01_[2013_02_15_14_37_00]Louisa is bullied by a preppy girl in the staircase of their school. Meanwhile, at home, John comes across a pile of muddy clothes in her bedroom. While investigating outside the house, he finds the head of Louisa’s doll at the mound, and the bloody remains of a blackbird. John is called to come to pick up Louisa, who says she does not feel well. In the infirmary he passes the preppy girl, who had apparently “fallen” down the stairs and injured her arm. Sam’s teacher, Cassandra (Samantha Mathis), gives John her phone number, offering her friendship. He is later startled to find a nest of spiders in the kitchen drawer where he’d placed the straw doll. That night John sees Louisa emerging from the woods, even though he had previously ordered her to be home by dark. He calls attention to scarring visible on the skin around her neck, but Louisa storms off without explanation. At dinner she eats in an animal-like manner, as if starved. John contacts Cassandra one night, and they meet sociably. While John is away, Louisa hears noises outside the house and exits. As John is returning home in his car, he sees a shadowy figure running through the woods in front of the house, which vaguely looks like Louisa. He exits his car and follows sounds of animal growls, but rushes back growing fearful. A stone hits his window and he speeds back to the house. Asking Louisa if she’d been outside, she says no. He orders her not to go near the mound any more.The-New-Daughter-Moviescreenies-12

The next day, John’s agent drives up to the house and they talk about the house. Inside, Sam is directed by Louisa to climb the ladder to the attic. Sam falls when frightened by animal noises there. He requires stitches, and John berates Louisa for not caring for her younger brother. That night, John searches the internet, finding an article about burial mounds. He telephones an expert on the subject, Professor White (Noah Taylor), but is ignored. He then researches the previous owner of the house, Sarah Wayne; she disappeared one day without a trace, after having locked her teenage daughter Emily in her bedroom from the outside. Emily was eventually found alive and went to live with her grandfather, Roger Wayne (James Gammon). John leaves the children with a babysitter and goes to find Roger Wayne. As Louisa watches him drive away from her window, scarring can be seen on the nape of her neck. She then returns to the mound. John arrives at Roger Wayne’s empty house, but lets himself in and looks around. In the girl’s room he finds a strange nest made from twigs and straw, and a depiction of the burial mound drawn onto a wall with the word “home” below it. Roger arrives and confronts John with explanations of what had occurred with Emily, that he burned down his house with her inside, insisting that it wasn’t his granddaughter anymore.The-New-Daughter-Moviescreenies-7While John is away, the babysitter is locked out of the house, as animal growls are heard approaching. Sam hides in his room as he hears the babysitters cries for help. John arrives home, comforts a frightened Sam, and rushes to Louisa to ask what happened to the babysitter. She says she does not know. After reporting the babysitter’s disappearance to police, John takes an ill Louisa to bed. She tearfully asks if he’s going to leave her as her mother did. He tells her he never will. That night, John dreams of a doorway on top of the burial mound and Louisa transforming into a creature who announces “I’m your new daughter”. The next day he finds a nest in Louisa’s closet similar to the one at Roger’s house. John calls a contractor to destroy the mound that day. Professor White, having called back to ask about the mound, suddenly arrives and pleads with John to wait. He tells John of an ancient civilization who worshiped the burial mounds, believing them to be the homes of ancient Gods, or “mound-walkers”. He mentions a ritual exchange of gifts — including small straw dolls, as John had found — and the mound-walkers’ search for a young girl with whom to mate and give birth to a new generation of deities to reclaim the earth. Horrified by this, John instructs the bulldozer to start. When it digs into the mound, the body of the babysitter is uncovered. Louisa, meanwhile, in the schoolyard, is scraping the ground with her fingers. John is taken to the police station for questioning while Cassandra looks after the kids.009TND_Ivana_Baquero_008That night, as officer Ed Lowry (Erik Palladino) drives John home, they are attacked, and Lowry is dragged from the patrol car by a creature. John continues home, discovering it in disarray and finding Cassandra with her throat slit. She dies while motioning toward Louisa standing in the doorway. John gathers the children to leave, but Louisa refuses. Mound-walkers begin attacking the house, and John kills three. After the attack, Louisa is missing. Her screams can be heard coming from the mound. John leaves Sam in his room, tells him to wait for the police, and tells him “be a big boy”. John goes to the mound to rescue Louisa and finds a tunnel leading into it. He pierces a can of gasoline, sets explosives left from the postponed demolition by the tunnel entrance, sparks a flare for light and crawls inside. Louisa is found unconscious and covered in mud. As he carries her out, angered creatures howl and give chase. Meanwhile, Sam has exited the house, clutching a framed family portrait and looking into the dark toward sounds coming from the mound. John escapes the mound with Louisa and blocks the tunnel with the leaking fuel canister, but another mound-walker is already there outside. Louisa collapses and begs her father not to leave her. John looks down at her and sees her beginning to transform into one of the creatures. He drops a flare into the leaking diesel fuel and the mound goes up in a huge explosion. As Sam watches, the flames are reflected on the glass of the frame. A figure is seen emerging, although its identity is unclear. Sam asks, “Daddy?”, as shadows can also be seen moving in the trees and house behind him. A growling creature emerges directly behind him as the screen goes black.Vile-1In a genre that is quickly becoming based only on graphic, grotesque, shocking blood and gore sequences and predictable horror and grisly effects, this thriller is actually attractive for all the right reasons and should be enjoyed highly by those that appreciate true horror/thriller films as opposed to the blood soaked hacker/slasher movies that are being pumped out monthly

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REVIEW: RUMOR HAS IT…

CAST

Jennifer Anniston (Leprechaun)
Kevin Costner (Man of Steel)
Shirley MacLaine (Valentine’s Day)
Mark Ruffalo (Avengers Assemble)
Richard Jenkins (The Cabin In The Woods)
Mena Suvari (American Pie)
Christopher McDonald (Fanboys)
Mike Vogel (Bates Motel)
Jennifer Taylor (Two and a Half Men)
Kathy Bates (Misery)
Erinn Hayes (The Watch)
Jaime Ray Newman (Veronica Mars)

In 1997, Sarah Huttinger (Jennifer Aniston), an obituary and wedding announcement writer for The New York Times, travels to Pasadena, California, for her sister Annie’s (Mena Suvari) wedding, accompanied by her fiancé Jeff Daly (Mark Ruffalo). At a pre-wedding party, Sarah learns from her grandmother Katharine (Shirley MacLaine) that her mother Jocelyn ran off to Cabo San Lucas to spend time with her prep school classmate Beau Burroughs (Kevin Costner) the week before her wedding to Sarah’s father Earl (Richard Jenkins). Jeff points out Sarah’s parents were married just short of nine months before her birth, leading her to wonder if Beau might really be her biological father. Sarah also discovers her grandmother might have been the inspiration for Mrs. Robinson, an infamous character in the novel The Graduate.After the wedding, determined to find out more about Beau and her mother’s past, Sarah decides to fly to San Francisco, where Beau, now a highly successful and very wealthy Silicon Valley Internet wizard, is addressing a seminar. She meets him; and he admits to the affair but assures Sarah he couldn’t be her father because he suffered blunt testicular trauma while playing in a high school soccer game and, as a result, is sterile. The two go out for drinks, and the following morning Sarah wakes up in Beau’s bed in his Half Moon Bay home.Although guilt-stricken by her behavior, Sarah allows Beau to convince her to be his date at a charity ball, where she meets Beau’s son Blake. Beau explains his wife wanted a biological child and was artificially inseminated to become pregnant. Mollified, Sarah kisses Beau and is caught by Jeff, who has returned to California to find her. Following an ensuing argument, Jeff leaves her. Dejected, Sarah returns to visit Katharine, who flies into a rage when she learns Beau has slept with her granddaughter. The two learn Annie suffered an anxiety attack while flying to her honeymoon and wants to talk to Sarah. Sarah tells her sister about the relationship three generations of Richelieu women have had with Beau. She reassures Annie she truly is in love with her husband, Scott, and in doing so realizes she’s ready to marry Jeff.It is also revealed that Earl was the one who accidentally caused Beau’s testicular trauma. This makes Beau somewhat nervous to be around Earl, though Katherine is quite pleased by the revelation. Earl reveals to Sarah he always knew about Jocelyn and Beau’s affair. Despite Beau being a fling for her, Jocelyn returned to Earl because she loved him and he was someone with whom she could build a life. On the night she returned, Sarah was conceived. This explained the date difference between her birthday and her parents’ wedding.Determined to win Jeff back, Sarah returns to New York City and tells her fiancé about her feelings. They reconcile on the condition, if they ever have a daughter, she would not be allowed anywhere near Beau. The film ends with Sarah and Jeff’s wedding.A shaky script that is admirably supported by the cast, but all the kudos belong to Shirley MacLaine who made this movie watchable.

REVIEW: BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE

CAST
Ben Affleck (Argo)
Henry Carvill (Immortals)
Amy Adams (American Hustle)
Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network)
Diane Lane (Hollywoodland)
Laurence Fishburne (Hannibal)
Jeremy Irons (Lolita)
Holly Hunter (Crash)
Gal Gadot (Fast And Furious 6)
Scoot McNairy (Monsters)
Tao Okamoto (The Wolverine)
Lauren Cohan (The Walking Dead)
Michael Shannon (Boardwalk empire)
Michael Cassidy (Smallville)
Ray Fisher (The Astronaut Wives Club)
Ezra Miller (Trainwreck)
Harry Lennix (Dollhouse)
Joe Morton (Speed)
Jeffrey Dean Morgan (The Losers)
Carla Cugino (Watchmen)
Patrick Wilson (Hard Candy)
Jason Momoa (Stargate Atlantis)
Jena Malone (Saved)
Eighteen months after the destructive attack by General Zod in Metropolis from Man of Steel, Superman has become a controversial figure. Daily Planet journalist Clark Kent, Superman’s alter ego, has moved in with Lois Lane. Bruce Wayne, who has operated in Gotham City as the vigilante “Batman” for nearly two decades, sees Superman as a potential threat to humanity. After learning of Batman’s activities, Superman also views him as a threat, and seeks to stop him via the Daily Planet articles authored by him as Kent.
Wayne learns that Russian weapon-trafficker Anatoli Knyazev has been contacting LexCorp’s mogul Lex Luthor. Meanwhile, Luthor tries to convince Senator June Finch to allow him to import Kryptonite retrieved from the Indian Ocean following the results of Zod’s terraforming attempt, claiming to use it as a “deterrent” against Kryptonians, but she denies the request. He also makes side dealings with Finch’s subordinate and demands access to Zod’s body and the Kryptonian scout ship.
Wayne attends Luthor’s party at LexCorp, where he meets mysterious antiques dealer Diana Prince, and retrieves data from the company’s mainframe. The data drive, however, is stolen by Prince, who later returns it to Wayne after she is unable to decrypt the data. While decrypting the drive at the Batcave, Wayne has a dream of a post-apocalyptic world, where he leads a group of rebels against Superman. He is snapped out of the dream by an unidentified time traveler, who warns him of Lane’s crucial role in the distant future, and urges him to find “the others”. Wayne later realizes that Luthor is not only experimenting with Kryptonite, but also investigating metahumans. One of them is Prince herself, who is an immortal warrior. Wayne admits to Alfred Pennyworth that he plans to steal the Kryptonite to weaponize it, should it become necessary to fight Superman. Batman pursues a convoy carrying the Kryptonite to LexCorp, but Superman interferes and orders him to cease his activities.
Luthor orchestrates a bombing at a congressional hearing where Finch is questioning Superman on the validity of his actions, which have resulted in deaths of civilians. The bomb kills dozens of people, including Finch. Frustrated with failing to save people, Superman goes into self-imposed exile. Batman breaks into LexCorp and steals the Kryptonite, planning to use it to battle Superman by building a powered exoskeleton, and creating a Kryptonite grenade launcher and a Kryptonite-tipped spear. Meanwhile, Luthor enters the Kryptonian ship and learns of its functions, as well as recorded alien worlds.
Luthor kidnaps Martha Kent, Clark’s adoptive mother. He reveals that he has manipulated Superman and Batman by fueling their animosity of each other. Luthor forces Superman to fight and kill Batman in exchange for Martha’s life. Superman tries to reason with Batman, but Batman instigates a fight and ultimately gains the upper hand thanks to the kryptonite grenades. Before Batman can kill Superman with the spear, Superman urges Batman to “save Martha”, whose name is also shared with Wayne’s late mother. Lane arrives and explains the situation, convincing Batman that Superman is not a threat. Upon learning of Luthor’s plan, Batman leaves to rescue Martha, while Superman confronts Luthor on the scout ship.
Surprised at his own defeat, Luthor executes his backup plan, unleashing a genetically-engineered monster with DNA from Zod’s body and his own. However, Diana Prince arrives unexpectedly. Revealing her metahuman nature, she joins forces with them to fight the creature. However, they are soon outmatched by its power, as it is can absorb and redirect energy. Realizing that it is vulnerable to Kryptonite, Superman retrieves the Kryptonite spear and attacks the monster. With Batman and Prince’s help distracting it, Superman impales the creature. As it dies, the creature stabs and kills Superman with one of its bone protrusions.
Luthor is arrested, and while speaking to Batman he gloats that Superman’s death has made the world vulnerable to powerful alien threats. A memorial is held for Superman in Metropolis. Clark is also declared dead and Wayne, Lane, Martha, and Prince attend a private funeral for him in Smallville. Martha gives an envelope to Lane which contains an engagement ring from Clark. After the funeral, Wayne reveals to Prince that he plans to form a team of metahumans, starting with the ones from Luthor’s files, to help protect the world in Superman’s absence. After they leave, a faint heartbeat echoes from Clark’s coffin and the dirt around it begins to levitate.

Once a movie that i was extremely nervous about stepping into, just happened to turn out to be my favorite superhero movie, and probably will for years to come, very interesting aspect of the movie was using the flaws of the first installment of the comic book universe and building upon those mishaps to create a much better and more compelling story. In this Ultimate Edition, there are both Theatrical Version (151 mins, in both 2D and 3D) and the Ultimate Version (extended Cut, 182 mins, only in 2D). I would strongly recommend the Extended Cut, because the extra information is helpful to tie in different events.

REVIEW: MAN OF STEEL

CAST

Henry Cavill (The Immortals)
Amy Adams (American Hustle)
Michael Shannon (Boardwalk Empire)
Diane Lane (Unfaithful)
Russell Crowe (Gladiator)
Antje Traue (Seventh Son)
Harry Lennix (Dollhouse)
Richard Schiff (Seven)
Christopher Meloni (Underground)
Kevin Costner (Waterworld)
Ayelet Zurer (Daredevil TV)
Laurence Fishburne (Hannibal)
Mackenzie Gray (Smallville)
Ian Tracey (Bates Motel)
Carla Gugino (Watchmen)

The planet Krypton, unstable from years of industrial mining, faces impending destruction. Jor-El, chief advisor to Krypton’s supreme council, recommends a full-scale evacuation of the planet’s inhabitants. Before any action can be taken, soldiers led by General Zod, an old friend of Jor-El’s, launch an uprising and arrest the councilors. Realizing that Krypton is doomed, Jor-El steals genetic codes sought by Zod and infuses them into the DNA of his infant son, Kal-El – the first naturally born Kryptonian child in centuries. Donning his old armor, Jor-El sacrifices his life to allow his son to escape on a preprogrammed spacecraft. Zod orders the rocket’s destruction, only to learn that forces loyal to the council have suppressed the rebellion. In a brief trial, Zod and several of the surviving rebels are convicted of treason and sentenced to the Phantom Zone seconds before Krypton explodes.

Following Jor-El’s coordinates, the ship crash lands on Earth in Smallville, Kansas. A childless couple, Jonathan and Martha Kent, find Kal-El and raise him as their own, naming him Clark. As he grows up, Clark becomes an isolated young man as a result of developing superhuman powers. He then learns his true origins from Jonathan, who urges him to keep his powers hidden. Several years later, Jonathan dies in a tornado while refusing to let Clark save him. Burdened by guilt, Clark leaves to travel the world under several aliases, seeking a new purpose.

Lois Lane, a reporter at the Daily Planet in Metropolis, receives an assignment to investigate the discovery of a Kryptonian scout ship in the Canadian Arctic. Disguised as a worker, Clark enters the ship and activates its central computer using a key left by Jor-El, allowing him to communicate with an artificial intelligence modeled after his father. The AI explains that Clark was sent to Earth to guide its people, and presents him with a Kryptonian uniform bearing his family’s symbol. While following Clark, Lois inadvertently triggers the ship’s security system. Clark uses his powers to rescue Lois before donning the uniform and testing his ability to fly. Lois attempts to have her supervisor Perry White publish an article on the incident, but he refuses to do so without proof. After tracking down Clark, Lois eventually agrees to keep his secret safe.

Escaping the Phantom Zone, Zod and his crew travel to Earth after intercepting a transmission from the scout vessel. Deducing that Kal-El is nearby, they broadcast a global address demanding that he surrender or risk war. Clark meets with the U.S. Army and agrees to comply, with Lois joining him as a hostage. Zod reveals that he possesses advanced terraforming equipment salvaged from Kryptonian outposts, which he intends to use to transform Earth into a new Krypton. His science officer, Jax-Ur, extracts Clark’s genes to create Kryptonian colonists who will exterminate humanity and build a society based on Zod’s ideals of genetic purity. With help from Jor-El, Clark and Lois escape and warn the Army, just as Zod orders an invasion.

Given the codename “Superman”, Clark destroys the terraforming platform, while his human allies launch a suicide attack, killing Zod’s troops. Vowing to eradicate humanity himself, Zod battles with Superman, and the two eventually crash into a train station. Zod turns his own heat vision on a group of passengers, but Superman kills him.

Now the last surviving Kryptonian, Superman persuades the Army to let him act independently, so long as he does not turn against humanity. To allow access to dangerous situations without attracting attention, Superman is hired as a freelance reporter for the Daily Planet.

The most striking thing about Man of Steel is how grim it is compared to the previous Superman entries. Christopher Reeve’s Superman was confident and heroic, but here Henry Cavill’s rendition doesn’t seem so sure of himself. He can take off flying much faster though, and isn’t afraid to throw a few punches. The tights that Christopher Reeve wore have been replaced here by a more menacing chain-mail suit. The movie’s general atmosphere is pretty dark, with a blue tint given to the entire movie and a score by Hans Zimmer that is quite a contrast to that of John Williams in the earlier movies. However, it seems like the Superman comic books have recently taken a dark turn as well.  Keeping an open mind while watching Man of Steel, I accepted most of the liberties being taken and enjoyed it for what it was.