REVIEW: SEVEN

CAST

Brad Pitt (Allied)
Morgan Freeman (The Dark Knight)
Gwyneth Paltrow (Iron Man)
Kevin Spacey (Superman Returns)
R. Lee Ermey (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre)
John C. McGinley (Scrubs)
Richard Roundtree (Shaft)
Richard Schiff (Man of Steel)
Leland Orser (Alien: Resurrection)

In an unnamed American city, soon-to-be-retiring detective William Somerset is partnered with short-tempered but idealistic David Mills, who recently transferred to the department, moving to the city with his wife Tracy. Mills introduces Somerset to Tracy, after which Somerset becomes her confidant. Tracy is unhappy with the city and feels it is no place to raise a child. She discloses to Somerset that she is pregnant and has yet to inform her husband. Somerset sympathizes with her, having a similar situation with his ex-girlfriend many years earlier, and advises her to tell Mills only if she plans on keeping the child.Somerset and Mills investigate a pair of murders. The first victim is an obese man forced to eat until his stomach ruptured. The second was a wealthy defense attorney who died from both fatal bloodletting and the removal of a pound of flesh. At each crime scene, the murderer leaves behind clues for the detectives, including a single word: gluttony at the obese man’s home and greed at the attorney’s office. Somerset recognizes them as part of the seven deadly sins and realizes the murders are related. Other clues lead them to a possible perpetrator’s apartment. There, they find another victim, a known drug dealer and child molester, strapped to a bed, barely alive and emaciated, with a series of pictures indicating he had been tied to the bed for an entire year. The word sloth is scrawled on the wall. The photos also indicate the killer has been planning these deaths for some time.Somerset and Mills identify a man named John Doe, who has checked out several library books on the deadly sins. Doe flees when they go to his apartment, and Mills gives chase. Doe eventually corners Mills and holds him at gunpoint, but after a few moments, turns and escapes. At Doe’s apartment, they find hundreds of handwritten journals showing Doe’s apparent psychopathy, and clues leading to a fourth victim. They arrive too late to prevent the death of the victim, a prostitute killed by an unwilling man forced by Doe to wear a bladed S&M phallic device on his genitals and to rape and kill her while severely traumatizing him. They find lust written on the door. They are alerted to their next victim, an attractive young woman, presumably a model, whose face has been mutilated by Doe; she was given the option to call for help and be disfigured, or to commit suicide by taking pills. She chose suicide. The word pride is written on her wall.Shortly after, as Somerset and Mills return to the police station, they are approached by a man covered in blood, surrendering himself. Mills recognizes him as Doe and arrests him. They discover Doe has been removing the skin on his fingers to avoid leaving behind prints; the blood on him is from a yet-to-be-identified victim. Doe, through his lawyer, advises there are two more victims and offers to take the detectives to them and confess to all the murders, but only under very specific terms, or he will otherwise plead insanity. Somerset is wary, but Mills agrees.The two detectives, following Doe’s directions, drive him to a remote desert location. Within minutes, a delivery van approaches them. Mills holds Doe at gunpoint while Somerset goes to intercept the driver, who had been instructed to bring a box to them. As Somerset recovers the box and sends the driver away, Doe begins telling Mills about how jealous he is of Mills’ life and marriage to Tracy, antagonizing Mills. Somerset opens the box, and in horror, tells Mills to stay back and not listen to Doe. Doe continues to taunt Mills as Mills frantically asks what is in the box. Doe reveals that he was so jealous of Mills that he killed Tracy, her death being a result of his envy, and that her head is in the box. Doe tries to goad Mills into vengeance, to become wrath and shoot him. Somerset desperately tries to convince Mills not to shoot Doe, but then Doe reveals that Tracy was pregnant. The revelation is too much for Mills and he shoots Doe six times. Doe’s death completes the seven sins. Police converge and take a devastated Mills away. The police captain reassures Somerset that Mills will be taken care of. When asked by the Police Captain where he will be, Somerset hints that he will not retire.A film deserving of the term ‘classic’ and arguable one of the best serial killer thrillers ever made. The last 10 minutes are some of the most tense of any I can remember.

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12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: L.A. CONFIDENTIAL

CAST

Kevin Spacey (House of Cards)
Russell Crowe (Robin Hood)
Guy Pearce (Iron Man 3)
James Cromwell (Star Trek: First Contact)
Kim Bassinger (Pret-A-Porter)
Danny DeVito (Batman Returns)
David Strathairn (Eight Men Out)
Ron Rifkin (Alias)
Paul Guilfoyle (CSI)
Simon Baker (The Mentalist)

In early 1950s Los Angeles, Sergeant Edmund “Ed” Exley, son of the legendary LAPD detective Preston Exley, is determined to live up to his father’s reputation. His intelligence, insistence on following regulations, and cold demeanor contribute to his isolation from other officers. He exacerbates this resentment by volunteering to testify in the Bloody Christmas case in exchange for a promotion to Detective Lieutenant. This goes against the advice of Captain Dudley Smith, who states that a detective should be willing to shoot a guilty man in the back for the greater good. Exley’s ambition is fueled by the murder of his father, killed by an unknown assailant, whom Exley nicknames “Rollo Tomasi”.Officer Wendell “Bud” White, whom Exley considers a “mindless thug”, is a plainclothes officer obsessed with violently punishing woman-beaters. One such incident leads him to confront a former cop named Leland “Buzz” Meeks, a driver for Pierce Patchett. White comes to dislike Exley after White’s partner, Dick Stensland, is fired due to Exley’s testimony in the Bloody Christmas scandal. White is sought out by Smith for a job in which they harass and beat up out-of-town criminals trying to fill the void left in Los Angeles following the imprisonment of gangster Mickey Cohen for tax evasion. The Nite Owl case, a multiple homicide at a coffee shop, becomes personal after Stensland is found to be one of the victims.Sergeant Jack Vincennes is a narcotics detective who moonlights as a technical advisor on Badge of Honor, a popular TV police drama series. He is providing Sid Hudgens, publisher of the Hush-Hush tabloid magazine, with tips about celebrity arrests that will attract more readers to Hudgens’ magazine. When he becomes involved in Hudgens’ scheme to set up actor Matt Reynolds in a homosexual tryst with L.A. district attorney Ellis Loew, and Reynolds is killed as a result, Vincennes becomes determined to find the killer.

Three African Americans are initially charged with the Nite Owl murders, and later killed in a shootout. Although the Nite Owl crime initially looks like a botched robbery, Exley and White individually investigate it to discover indications of corruption all around them. White recognizes Nite Owl victim Susan Lefferts as one of Meeks’ escorts which leads him back to Pierce Patchett, operator of Fleur-de-Lis, a call girl service that runs prostitutes altered by plastic surgery to resemble film stars. He begins a relationship with Lynn Bracken, a Veronica Lake look-alike prostitute. The body count rises when White searches a storage room under Lefferts’ mother’s house, and finds the decomposed corpse of Meeks.When Vincennes approaches Smith with the evidence he has found with Exley, Smith realizes his scheme to take over Mickey Cohen’s heroin empire is threatened. Smith shoots Vincennes, who utters “Rollo Tomasi” before dying, the origin of which Exley told Vincennes in confidence. Exley’s suspicions are aroused when Smith asks him who Rollo Tomasi is. During an interrogation of Hudgens, Smith arranges for White to see photos of Bracken sleeping with Exley, which sends White into a rage. Confident that White has gone after Exley to kill him, Smith kills Hudgens. Exley investigates and discovers Meeks and Stensland used to work closely with Smith. White drives to the police station and begins to fight Exley, but Exley is able to convince White that Smith is corrupt and has set them both up. The two decide to team together to take down Smith. They are able to obtain evidence against Smith by threatening Loew, and later find Patchett murdered. Exley and White realize that Smith himself has been taking over after Cohen, and the killings have been Smith tying up loose ends.Exley and White are set up with a trap against Smith and his hitmen. After a gunfight that kills all the hitmen, Smith shoots White in the face, but then is forced to surrender to Exley. As police arrive, Exley shoots Smith in the back, killing him. The LAPD cover up Smith’s crimes and say he died a hero in the shootout to protect the department’s image, and in exchange Exley bargains to also be hailed a hero and receives a medal for his bravery. Upon leaving City Hall, Exley sees Bracken, who tells him she is returning home to Arizona with White, revealing White survived the shooting. Exley and White shake hands and Bracken drives off into the sunset.5616cde899678This was easily the best Hollywood movie of 1997, this just may be one the smartest movies you haven’t seen. With great performances from an ensemble all-star cast and a clever script, the dramatic tension of this modern film-noir classic is an absolute must-see! Told through a variation on the theme of “good cop, bad cop” with an overarching corruption angle, this film cleverly deals with issues of racism, social justice and ethics in a non-discriminatory manner. Character development is well-done and the dramatic tension is superb. If you are a fan of crime-drama and detective stories, you won’t be disappointed

REVIEW: AMERICAN BEAUTY

CAST
Kevin Spacey (Superman Returns)
Annette Bening (The Siege)
Thora Birch (The Hole)
Wes Bentley (The Hunger Games)
Mena Suvari (American Pie)
Chris Cooper (Red Dawn)
Allison Janney (Mom)
Peter Gallagher (Mr. Deeds)
Scott Bakula (Chuck)
Sam Robards (A.I.)
John Cho (Sleepy Hollow)
Lester Burnham is a middle-aged magazine writer and advertising executive who despises his job. His wife, Carolyn, is an ambitious real estate broker; their sixteen-year-old daughter, Jane, abhors her parents and has low self-esteem. The Burnhams’ new neighbors are retired United States Marine Corps Colonel Frank Fitts and his introverted wife, Barbara. Their teenage son, Ricky, obsessively films his surroundings with a camcorder, collecting hundreds of recordings on video tapes in his bedroom. His job as a part-time bar caterer serves as a front for his secret marijuana dealing. Col. Fitts is a strict disciplinarian, and had previously sent Ricky to a military school and briefly committed him to a psychiatric hospital. Jim Olmeyer and Jim Berkley, a gay couple who live nearby, welcome the family to the neighborhood; the homophobic Col. Fitts angrily asks Ricky “why these faggots have to rub it in”.
Lester becomes fixated with Jane’s vain cheerleader friend, Angela Hayes, after seeing her perform a half-time dance routine at a high school basketball game. He starts having sexual fantasies about Angela, in which red rose petals are a recurring motif. Carolyn begins an affair with her business rival, Buddy Kane. When Lester’s boss and efficiency expert Brad tells him that he is to be laid off, Lester instead blackmails him for $60,000 and quits his job. Lester takes a minimum wage job at a fast food restaurant, trades in his Toyota Camry for his dream car, a 1970 Pontiac Firebird, and starts working out after he overhears Angela tell Jane that she would find him sexually attractive if he got in shape. He begins smoking marijuana supplied by Ricky, and flirts with Angela whenever she visits Jane. The girls’ friendship wanes after Jane becomes involved with Ricky. Jane and Ricky bond over what Ricky considers the most beautiful imagery he has filmed: a plastic bag being blown in the wind.
Lester discovers Carolyn’s infidelity, but reacts indifferently. Buddy ends the affair, fearing an expensive divorce. Col. Fitts becomes suspicious of Lester and Ricky’s friendship when he finds his son’s footage of Lester lifting weights while nude, which Ricky captured by chance, leading him to believe that Ricky is gay. After spying on Ricky and Lester through Lester’s garage window, the colonel mistakenly concludes the pair are sexually involved. He later confronts and beats Ricky for the affair and accuses him of being gay. Ricky falsely admits the charges and goads his father into kicking him out of their home. Carolyn is sitting in her car in the rain, she takes a gun out of the glove box while a voice on the radio talks about not being a victim. Ricky goes to Jane’s bedroom, finding her arguing with Angela about Angela’s flirtation with Lester. Ricky convinces Jane to flee with him to New York City and assures Angela that she is ugly, boring and ordinary.
Col. Fitts confronts Lester and attempts to kiss him; Lester rebuffs the colonel, who tearfully flees. Carolyn puts the gun in her handbag shouting “I refuse to be a victim!” Lester finds a distraught Angela sitting alone in the dark; she asks him to tell her she is beautiful. He does, and he begins to seduce her.
Carolyn drives through the rain, rehearsing a confession to Lester. As Lester strokes Angela she admits that she is a virgin, and Lester changes his mind. He instead comforts her and the pair bond over their shared frustrations. Angela goes to the bathroom and Lester smiles at a family photograph in his kitchen. An unseen figure raises a gun to the back of his head, a gunshot sounds and blood sprays on the wall. Ricky and Jane find Lester’s body, while Carolyn breaks down crying in the closet. A bloodied Col. Fitts returns home, where a gun is shown to be missing from his collection. Lester’s closing narration describes meaningful experiences during his life; he says that, despite his death, he is happy because there is so much beauty in the world.
American Beauty is a pure cinematic triumph that is both funny and sad. It’s disturbing… and yet, it’s extremely provocative and deep. The film is an extraordinary achievement that reveals a tragic and realistic story about a family that is anything but ordinary. It’s a film with so many layers that it is almost impossible to dissect them all in one single thought.

REVIEW: AUSTIN POWERS 1,2 & 3

CAST

Mike Myers (Shrek)
Elizabeth Hurley (Bedazzled)
Robert Wagner (Two and a Half Men)
Seth Green (Family Guy)
Mindy Sterling (Minions)
Michael York (Logan’s Run)
Fabiana Udenio (The Wedding Planner)
Will Ferrell (Elf)
Mimi Rogers (Ginger Snaps)
Charles Napier (The Silence of The Lambs)
Carrie Fisher (Star wars)
Tom Arnold (True Lies)
Monet Mazur (Rageing Angels)
Clint Howard (Apollo 13)
Cynthia LaMontagne (That 70s Show)
Brian George (The Big Bang Theory)
Rob Lowe (The West Wing)
Patricia Tallman (Babylon 5)

In 1967, British spy Austin Powers (Mike Myers) attempts to assassinate his nemesis, Dr. Evil (also Mike Myers), in his own nightclub (the Electric Psychedelic Pussycat Swingers Club). Dr. Evil escapes by launching himself in a space rocket disguised as a Big Boy statue, and cryogenically freezing himself, to return at a time when free love no longer reigned, and greed and corruption ruled again. Austin volunteers to be put into cryostasis to be revived when Dr. Evil returns.
Thirty years later in 1997, Dr. Evil returns with new plans for world domination, and kills his henchman Mustafa (Will Ferrell) for making his (Dr. Evil) cat, Mr. Bigglesworth, go bald in the unfreezing process. The fire doesn’t kill him but gets shot twice. Dr. Evil discovers his henchman Number 2 (Robert Wagner) has transformed Evil’s empire into Virtucon, a multi-billion dollar enterprise. Though already wealthy, Dr. Evil proposes several plans to threaten the world for more money. However, he finds that each of them have already been done during his absence. He ultimately falls back on his old plan to steal nuclear weapons and hold the world hostage, and is advised to seek one hundred billion dollars (revised upward, on the advice of his employees, from his 1960s notion that one million dollars constitutes a world-dominating sum). Later, he also discovers that henchwoman Frau Farbissina (Mindy Sterling) used a sample of Evil’s semen just a couple of years after his cryostasis to artificially create his son, Scott Evil (Seth Green), now a Generation X young adult. Scott is resentful of his father, despite Dr. Evil’s attempts to get closer to him through therapy.
Having been aware of Dr. Evil’s return, the British Ministry of Defence unfreezes Austin, acclimatizing him to the year 1997 with the help of agent Vanessa Kensington (Elizabeth Hurley), the daughter of his sidekick in the 1960s, Mrs. Kensington (Mimi Rogers), who has retired during Austin’s 30-year absence. Powers quickly finds his free love credo of the 1960s to be out of touch with the 1990s, and is unable to ensnare Vanessa with his charms. Later, the two pose as a married couple in a Las Vegas hotel and meet Number 2’s Italian secretary, Alotta Fagina (Fabiana Udenio). Austin nearly gets killed by Dr Evil’s assassin, Paddy O’Brien (Paul Dillon) while going to the restroom but drowns him in an attempt to find out who Number 2 and Alotta work for. Austin later enters Alotta’s penthouse suite for reconnaissance and discovers plans for Dr. Evil’s “Project Vulcan”, which aims to drill a nuclear warhead into the Earth’s molten core and trigger volcanic eruptions worldwide. After Alotta finds Austin in her suite, she seduces him by taking off all of her clothes. The two eventually have sex in her hot tub, unbeknownst to Vanessa. Dr. Evil, learning that Powers is back and on his trail, creates a series of seductive female robots (called Fembots) to charm Austin before killing him. Vanessa finds about Austin’s affair with Alotta, deeply upsetting her. Realizing he has fallen in love with Vanessa, Austin apologizes to her for the affair with Alotta and vows to only be with her.
Later the couple infiltrates Dr. Evil’s headquarters but are captured by his henchman, Random Task (Joe Son). After Dr. Evil makes his demands to the world, he reveals that even after receiving the money he will still proceed with Project Vulcan. He then places Austin and Vanessa in a death trap that they easily escape from. Austin sends Vanessa for help, while he tries to find Dr. Evil. Austin enters Dr. Evil’s meeting area where he finds what he thinks are sexy women but really, the Fembots. The Fembots are wearing sexy pink and purple lingerie and do sexy poses. Austin gets distracted and a Fembot lands on his shoulders while another sprays him with pink knockout gas. He lies in bed with them happy, surrounded by them in a lustful daze but snaps out of it and tries to go get Dr. Evil. They rub his chest and convince him to stay. They continue to talk sexy to him and make smooching sounds. After a Fembot shows him her underwear, Austin tries to escape but the Fandots say he can’t resist them so he performs a sexy dance where he strips down to his UK flag underwear and does sexy dance moves which arouse the Fembots so much, their heads literally explode. He gets spotted by Vanessa but explains what happened and gets changed. Austin, Vanessa and British forces later raid Dr. Evil’s compound and Austin finds the doomsday device and deactivates it at the last moment. He finds Dr. Evil in the main chamber and almost has a chance to bring him to justice, but Alotta Fagina arrives holding Vanessa hostage and thwarts Austin’s chance to capture Dr. Evil. However, Number 2 appears and attempts to betray Dr. Evil, offering to make a deal with Austin. Dr. Evil disposes of Number 2 using the trap door leading to fire (although Number 2 survives) and escapes to his rocket, setting off the base’s self-destruct system. Vanessa knocks Alotta unconscious and escapes with Austin as the lair explodes.
Austin and Vanessa are later married, but during their honeymoon they are attacked by Random Task. Austin subdues the assassin with “his” Swedish made penis enlarger pump and Vanessa knocks him out by hitting him on the head with a bottle of champagne. Then they push him down the hallway on a cart and the couple adjourns to their balcony to have wild sex. Noticing a rather bright star, Austin pulls out a telescope to discover that it is in fact Dr. Evil’s cryogenic chamber in which he vows revenge. During the end credits, Austin does a photoshoot with Vanessa and Austin’s band “Ming Tea” perform their debut single “BBC”
The originality of the humour is what makes Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery a stand-out film. Equally importantly, the acting by a seemingly earnest Mike Myers is amazing. He not only pulls of a geeky-yet-charming Austin Powers, but also the bumbling-but-evil Dr. Evil. The supporting cast, featuring Robert Wagner as Number Two, Seth Green as Dr. Evil’s son Scott, Mindy Sterling as Frau Farbissina, and an indulgent Elizabeth Hurley as Austin’s sidekick and love-interest are all excellent but Myers has the centre stage.

CAST

Mike Myers (Shrek)
Heather Graham (From Hell)
Michael York (Logan’s Run)
Robert Wagner (Two and a Half Men)
Rob Lowe (The West Wing)
Mindy Sterling (Minions)
Seth Green (Family Guy)
Verne Troyer (The Love Guru)
Elizabeth Hurley (Bedazzled)
Gia Carides (Bliss)
Will Ferrell (Elf)
Oliver Muirhead (The Duke)
Clint Howard (Apollo 13)
Kristen Johnston (3rd Rock From the Sun)
Elvis Costello (Two and a Half Men)
Jerry Springer (The Ringmaster)
Rebecca Romijn (X-Men)
Woody Harrelson (The Hunger Games)
Tim Robbins (The Green Lantern)
George Cheung (Dark Angel)
Muse Watson (Prison Break)
David Koechner (Anchorman)
Jane Carr (The Five Year Engagement)
Kevin Durand (Dark Angel)
Jennifer Coolidge (2 Broke Girls)
Fred Willard (Anchorman)
Tony Jay (Lois & Clark)

Austin Powers is enjoying his honeymoon with his wife, the former Vanessa Kensington. She turns out to be one of Dr. Evil’s fembots, who attempts to kill Austin, then self-destructs. Austin grieves briefly, then proceeds to the hotel lobby nude and celebrates being single again. A NATO monitoring facility observes the return of Dr. Evil, confronting his son Scott, and then starting a riot, on The Jerry Springer Show, and informs British intelligence. At Dr. Evil’s Seattle headquarters, Dr. Evil is presented with a one-eighth-size clone of himself whom he calls Mini-Me.
Dr. Evil unveils his latest evil plan: he has developed a time machine to go back to the 1960s and steal Austin’s mojo, the source of Austin’s sexual appeal. Dr. Evil and Mini-Me go back to 1969 and meet a younger Number Two and Frau Farbissina. An obese “Scottish Guard” called Fat Bastard extracts Austin’s mojo from his frozen body at the Ministry of Defence Cryo Chamber. British intelligence warns Austin that one of Dr. Evil’s agents is after him, and during a photo shoot the wanton Ivana Humpalot seduces him, but at the last moment she claims he is too sexy for her to kill him. They have sex in his bed, but do not get far before he discovers that he has lost his mojo and is impotent.
The MOD sends Austin back to 1969 with its own time travel device, a convertible Volkswagen New Beetle. Austin arrives at a party in his London pad and with the assistance of a CIA agent, Felicity Shagwell, escapes an assassination attempt by two of Dr. Evil’s operatives. Austin and Felicity are pursued by Mustafa, another of Dr. Evil’s henchmen; when caught he reveals the existence of Dr. Evil’s secret volcano lair. Before he can divulge its location, Mini-Me shoots him in the neck with a dart, causing him to fall off a cliff.
After examining photographs from the crime scene at MOD headquarters, Austin identifies Fat Bastard as the perpetrator of the theft of his mojo. At Dr. Evil’s lair, Fat Bastard arrives with Austin’s mojo. Dr. Evil drinks some of it and has sex with Frau Farbissina. This results in an awkward situation when Frau reveals that she is pregnant. At the same moment Scott, Dr. Evil’s son, arrives through the time portal. Dr. Evil announces his latest plan — to hold the world ransom by threatening to destroy major cities each hour, using a giant laser on the Moon. In London, Austin and Felicity get to know each other, but when Felicity tries to have sex with Austin, he turns her down because of his lost mojo.
Under MOD instructions to implant a homing device into Fat Bastard, Felicity seduces him, allowing her to plant it in his anus. Fat Bastard forces it out of his bowels into a Paddington Station toilet, but a stool sample from the scene is analyzed to reveal traces of a vegetable that only grows on one Caribbean island. Austin and Felicity arrive on the island, but are apprehended. They are put in a cell with a guard who is overcome when Felicity exposes her breasts. Dr. Evil and Mini-Me leave for the Moon to install the giant laser and are followed by Austin and Felicity, who hitch a ride on Apollo 11. In Dr. Evil’s moon base, Austin battles with Mini-Me, eventually flushing him into space. As Austin confronts Dr. Evil, Dr. Evil gives him a choice: Save the world or Felicity, who is locked in a chamber with poison gas.
Felicity tells Austin to save the world and he succeeds in doing so by kicking Frau, diverting the laser and saving Washington D.C. Felicity is killed by the poison gas. Austin chases Dr. Evil and shoots him in the leg. Before Austin can kill him, Dr. Evil tells him he could use the time machine to save Felicity and the world. Austin travels ten minutes into the past, meeting up with himself and saving both the world and Felicity. Dr. Evil initiates the self-destruct mechanism of the moon base and escapes in his rocket after throwing Austin’s mojo into the air. Both Austins fail to catch it and it crashes on the floor and is destroyed. Felicity points out that all the things Austin has done show that he never lost his mojo. They escape through the time portal to 1999.
At Austin’s Pad, Fat Bastard makes another attempt to assassinate Austin, but Felicity disarms him. Felicity and Austin then throw a party. Dr. Evil recovers Mini-Me from space and vows to “get” Austin. On Jerry Springer, Scott learns he was not created in a test tube, but is the love child of Dr. Evil and Frau Farbissina. Austin returns to his pad, only to discover Felicity with the past Austin, who claims that since he and Austin are the same person, it is not cheating. Austin forgives Felicity.
Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me’ is – amazingly – even funnier than the first film. It’s even more daft, even more crude and just simply great fun to watch.

CAST

Mike Myers (Shrek)
Beyonce Knowles (Dreamgirls)
Michael York (Logan’s Run)
Robert Wagner (Two and a Half Men)
Michael Caine (Batman Begins)
Rob Lowe (The West Wing)
Seth Green (Family Guy)
Verne Troyer (The Love Guru)
Heather Graham (From Hell)
Mindy Sterling (Minions)
Fred Savage (The Wonder Years)
Clint Howard (Apollo 13)
Masi Oka (Heroes)
Brian Tee (Jurassic World)
Fred Stoller (Little Man)
Greg Grunberg (Alias)
Rachel Roberts (Flashforward)
Nathan Lane (The Birdcage)
Kristen Johnston (3rd Rock From the Sun)
Tom Cruise (Legend)
Danny DeVito (Batman Returns)
Gwyneth Paltrow (Iron Man)
Kevin Spacey (American Beauty)
Britney Spears (Crossroads)
Tommy Lister (The Dark KNight)
Nichole Hiltz (Smallville)
John Travolta (The Punisher)

In 2002, in a new lair behind the famous Hollywood sign, Dr. Evil outlines his newest plan to his minions: he will go back in time to 1975 and bring back Johan van der Smut, aka “Goldmember”, who developed a cold fusion unit for a tractor beam which Dr. Evil names Preparation H, not to be confused with the well known product of the same name – Preparations A through G had failed earlier. He intends to use the tractor beam to pull a meteor into the Earth to strike the polar ice caps and cause global flooding. However, moments after revealing this plan Austin Powers and the British Secret Service attack and arrest Dr. Evil. Austin is knighted for his services, but is disappointed when his father, the famous super-spy Nigel Powers, fails to attend the event. At a party to celebrate his knighthood he sings a song with the band Ming Tea; later he meets two Japanese twins named Fook Mi and Fook Yu and is about to have a threesome with them when Basil Exposition informs Austin that his father has been kidnapped, the only clue being that the crew of his yacht have had their genitalia painted gold.
In search of answers, Austin visits the imprisoned Dr. Evil, who tells him that Goldmember is behind the abduction. Traveling to 1975, Austin infiltrates Goldmember’s roller disco club Studio 69 and meets up with Foxxy Cleopatra (Beyoncé Knowles), an old flame and FBI agent who is undercover as a disco singer. With Foxxy’s help, Austin locates his father but is unable to rescue him. Goldmember takes Nigel with him through Dr. Evil’s time machine into 2002, and leaves his golden clad henchwomen to kill Austin. Foxxy helps Austin escape, and asks to accompany him to the future in an effort to save his father and exact revenge upon Goldmember for murdering her partner. In 2002, Dr. Evil and Mini-Me instigate a riot in their prison, allowing them to escape. A British Intelligence mole named Number 3 (Fred Savage), who coincidentally has a large mole on his face, informs Austin that the doctor has moved to a new lair near Tokyo – a giant submarine shaped like Dr. Evil. Austin and Foxxy fly to Tokyo and confront one of Dr. Evil’s henchmen, Fat Bastard, now a sumo wrestler. After a humorous fight between Austin and Fat Bastard, Foxxy arrests Fat Bastard who tells them that a Japanese business man, Mr. Roboto, is working on a device for Dr. Evil and Goldmember.Austin and Foxxy later meet with Mr. Roboto, who pleads ignorance about Nigel’s whereabouts. Unconvinced, Austin and Foxxy infiltrate Roboto’s factory where the command unit for the tractor beam is being loaded in Goldmember’s car, and Roboto hands Goldmember a golden key needed to activate the beam. Foxxy confronts Goldmember while Austin attempts to free Nigel, but Goldmember escapes with the command unit and flees to Dr. Evil’s sub. Unable to settle their differences, Nigel and Austin part ways when they disagree on how to deal with the situation. Meanwhile, Dr. Evil’s son, Scott Evil, has become increasingly evil in an attempt to prove himself to his father, to the point that he too is going bald. Scott presents his father with sharks with laser beams, a request that had gone unfulfilled in the first film. Dr. Evil replaces Mini-Me with Scott as his favored son; the rejected Mini-Me defects and joins Austin.
Austin, Foxxy and Mini-Me infiltrate the sub, but Austin is captured. Dr. Evil prepares to activate the tractor beam, but Foxxy has stolen the key and frees Austin. Austin prepares to shoot Dr. Evil, when Nigel appears and reveals Dr. Evil and Austin are brothers, separated when they were toddlers when an assassination attempt killed their mother, and Dr. Evil was found and raised by Belgians. Dr. Evil and Austin embrace, enraging Scott, who flees to pursue his own vengeance, whilst Goldmember commandeers the tractor beam’s controls, unzipping his pants to reveal his gold-covered genitals to be a spare key. Goldmember activates the tractor beam, but Austin and Dr. Evil work together to reverse its polarity, destroying the meteor and saving the world. The heroes arrest Goldmember, who turns to the camera to reveal the entire string of events was adapted into a film by Steven Spielberg, starring Tom Cruise as Austin, Kevin Spacey as Dr. Evil, Danny DeVito as Mini-Me, and John Travolta as Goldmember. Austin, Foxxy, Dr. Evil, Mini-Me and Nigel are in the audience of a Hollywood theater watching the film. Upon exiting the theater they run into Fat Bastard, now thinner but flabby, thanks to the Subway diet. As Austin and Foxxy kiss, in Dr. Evil’s Hollywood lair, Scott – now completely bald, dressed like and laughing in a manner similar to his father – declares he will get his revenge on Austin and begins dancing like the singer Michael Jackson.
The third is fantastic… funny, disgusting, clever and uplifting! Mini-Me and Fat B****** are back with even better gags and the usual crude humour from the latter!!! But Mike Myers has triumphed in adding the hilarious dutch roller skating villain “Goldmember!” And the casting of Michael Cane as Nigel Powers, Austins father… or farja if you’re Goldmember… is excellent!

REVIEW: SUPERMAN RETURNS

CAST

Brandon Routh (Legends of Tomorrow)
Kate Bosworth (Wonderland)
Kevin Spacey (House of Cards)
James Marsden(X-Men)
Parker Posey (Blade: Trinity)
Frank Langella (All Good Things)
Sam Huntington (Fanboys)
Eve Marie Saint (On The Waterfront)
Marlon Brando (The Godfather)
Kal Penn (Van Wilder)
Tristan Lake Leabu (While The Children Sleep)
Jack Larson (Adventures of Superman)
Noel Neill (Superman 1948)
Peta Wilson (La Femme Nikita)

Superman Returns opens in a world without a Superman. The Man of Steel (Brandon Routh) left Earth without a word of warning, spending the past five years investigating the ruins of his home planet of Krypton. The world he left behind has suffered in his absence, prompting an embittered Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth) to pen a Pulitzer Prize winning article titled “Why the World Doesn’t Need Superman”. He’s able to return to his life in Metropolis as Clark Kent with ease, but the world he knew has changed. Lois now has a fiancé (James Marsden), the nephew of Daily Planet publisher Perry White (Frank Langella), and she’s also mother to a young, asthmatic son. Most of the world at large is thrilled to have Superman return as its savior with the exception, of course, of Lex Luthor (Kevin Spacey). Fresh out of prison and flush with cash, Luthor has discovered Superman’s Fortress of Solitude and schemes to use its advanced alien technology to wipe out most of North America and create his own continent.

Bryan Singer isn’t a director shamelessly trying to cash in on a high profile franchise. This is clearly a movie by someone with boundless passion for the material, and Superman Returns is a worthy follow-up to Richard Donner’s films. Singer has done a remarkable job staying true to Donner’s vision from a quarter-century earlier while still feeling rooted in the here and now. Most of the campier elements from the earlier movies have been gutted. Ned Beatty’s Otis has been discarded, and Superman Returns’s equivalent of Miss Teschmacher has been dialed down a few notches, even if the character is still ultimately useless. Kevin Spacey’s spin on Lex Luthor is faithful to Gene Hackman’s performance while having more of a menacing edge. Spacey’s Luthor seems like a genuine threat in Superman Returns, not just a wealthy, eccentric goof, and his eventual confrontation with the Man of Steel in the finale is wincingly brutal. I’m not entirely sure why he’s convinced a barren, uninhabitable rock of an island would have any resale value, but that’s beside the point.

Taking the reins from the late Christopher Reeve after his near-legendary turn as such an iconic character must have been indescribably daunting, but Brandon Routh does a tremendous job as both Clark Kent and Superman. His Kent in particular is a seamless transition from where Reeve left off and is a pitch-perfect recreation of the nervous energy and awkwardness he brought to the character. Routh does play a very different Superman, however. Superman may be a strange being from another world, but Reeve exuded the kind of warmth you’d expect from someone embodying truth, justice, and the American way. Routh’s colder, more alien Superman is in keeping with the tone of the story, where he’s been removed from humanity for five years and feels detached from the world at large, but I didn’t feel nearly as strong an attachment to him.

Routh is about the same age that Reeve was when cameras started rolling on the original Superman film, but he looks so much younger that it’s easy to forget occasionally that this is supposed to be Superman Returns, not Superman Begins. I have some slight misgivings about the way Superman was handled in this film, but if the rumors of an impending sequel are true, I’m looking forward to seeing what Routh brings to the character the second time.

With most action movies, it seems as if a small army of writers scattered themselves across a conference table, brainstormed the most elaborate, over the top, effects-driven sequences they could imagine, and then haphazardly tossed together a story to string ’em all together. I was left with the opposite reaction to Superman Returns. Singer paints Superman as some sort of messianic figure who’s a savior, not a fighter, and he literally doesn’t throw a punch in the entire movie. There are several phenomenal effects sequences that are certain to get pulses racing — the world’s re-introduction to Superman as he rescues a plane that’s careening into the stratosphere, steadying a crumbling Metropolis as Luthor sets his megalomaniacal scheme into motion, and sparing hundreds of millions from certain death in the film’s closing moments — but those really just see Superman intervening as disaster looms. Only a bank robbery has Superman struggling against an actual opponent, although even much of what happens there is passive; Superman just stands there and lets ricocheting bullets do the work for him. I’m not trying to downplay what an adrenaline rush these sequences are, but one of the most frequent criticisms of Superman Returns has been its lack of action. I admittedly did not find the movie at all dull despite the lack of Kryptonian soldiers or twenty story robots.


Lois is in love with Superman but never felt it thanks to the utter lack of chemistry between Bosworth and Routh. At least Margot Kidder managed to sell Lois as a spunky reporter, but Bosworth doesn’t even attempt to capture that sort of tenacity. Bosworth also seems much too young for the role; she looks like she may have just gotten her undergraduate degree in Journalism, but a seasoned, Pulitzer Prize winning writer? Not so much. Bosworth is passable but instantly forgettable.

Giving Lois a son also strikes me as a misfire. Hollywood has been churning out action sequels for decades now, and in the history of cinema, there have been two…maybe three…cases where adding a kid into the sequel wasn’t an unmitigated disaster. For some inexplicable reason, directors are determined to keep trying, and Lois’ wheezing tyke is as ill-conceived an idea as ever. Give the audience a little credit for being able to suss out the kid’s parentage from word one too.


Bryan Singer’s sequel inhabits the same world as Richard Donner’s films, but the core of the story is almost excessively faithful to the original. A spaceship crashes to Earth from the long-dead planet of Krypton. Superman makes his presence known to the world by rescuing intrepid reporter Lois Lane from a mishap involving an aircraft. He later has a rooftop interview with Lois and whisks her across the night sky. Meanwhile, Lex Luthor schemes to cash in on the creation of new beachfront real estate at the cost of untold millions of lives, and he has his ditzy but good-hearted moll feign danger as a distraction for a theft. Luthor gets his hands on some Kryptonite to bring Superman to his knees near the climax, and it all ends with the Man of Steel soaring heroically into space. Roll credits.

I didn’t have a problem watching Superman Returns a few months after Donner’s Superman, but sitting through the two back-to-back would undoubtedly inspire a nasty case of déjà vu. Sometimes its adoration of Donner’s original works incredibly well, though. It’s a thrill to hear John Williams’ instantly recognizable orchestral score again, and reincorporating some digitally manipulated archival footage of Marlon Brando is a clever and effective touchstone.

The movie is littered with subtle nods to various incarnations of Superman, from the casting of Noel Neill and Jack Larson to an homage to the cover of Action Comics #1 . For months, I’d heard Superman Returns praised, assaulted, analyzed, and dissected from every conceivable angle. It’s such a polarizing movie that I wasn’t sure what my reaction would be when I got around to seeing it, but I never expected to feel so completely indifferent. Superman Returns is a movie I appreciate on a great many levels, but for something so enormously anticipated, just being okay doesn’t seem like enough.