REVIEW: THE HAPPENING

 

CAST

Mark Wahlberg (Ted)
Zooey Deschanel (New Girl)
John Leguizamo (Kick-Ass 2)
Betty Buckley (Wyatt Earp)
Ashlyn Sanchez (Crash)
Frank Collison (The Village)
Victoria Clark (Cradle Will Rock)
Jeremy Strong (Lincoln)
Brian O’ Halloran (Clerks)
Alan Ruck (Speed)
Spencer Breslin (The Santa Clause 2)
Kristen Connolly (The Cabin In The Woods)

In New York City’s Central Park, people begin committing mass suicide. Initially believed to be caused by a bio-terrorist attack using an airborne neurotoxin, the behavior quickly spreads across the northeastern United States. Elliot Moore, a high school science teacher in Philadelphia, hears about the attacks and decides to go to Harrisburg by train with his wife, Alma. They are accompanied by his friend Julian and Julian’s eight-year-old daughter Jess. Julian’s wife is stuck in Philadelphia but is expected to meet them in Harrisburg. The train loses all radio contact en route and stops at a small town. They receive word that Philadelphia has been attacked by the toxin and Julian’s wife was not able to get on the train to Harrisburg, instead taking a bus to Princeton. Julian decides to go look for her, leaving his daughter with the Moores while he hitches a ride. However, when they get to Princeton, it has already been hit by the toxin. Succumbing to it, the driver runs the car into a tree and Julian commits suicide.

Elliot, Alma, and Jess hitch a ride with a nurseryman and his wife. The nurseryman believes that plants are responsible, as they can release chemicals to defend themselves from threats. The group are joined by other survivors and split into two groups, with Elliot, Alma, and Jess in the smaller group. When the larger group is affected by the toxin, Elliot realizes that the plants are targeting only large groups of people. He splits their group into smaller pockets and they walk along, arriving at a model home. Two other groups arrive on the property, triggering a neurotoxin attack, signaled by what appears to be wind blowing through the vegetation. The next house they come upon is sealed, its residents trying to protect themselves from the toxin. Elliot’s attempts to reason with them are deemed unsuccessful when the residents shoot Josh and Jared, two teenage boys whom Elliot had earlier befriended.
Elliot, Alma, and Jess next come upon the isolated house of Mrs. Jones, a negative, elderly eccentric who has no outside contact with society and is unaware of the current disaster. The following morning, Mrs. Jones becomes infected with the toxin. Realizing that the plants are now targeting individuals, Elliot locks himself in the basement but is separated from Alma and Jess, who are in the home’s springhouse out back. They are able to communicate through an old talking tube, and Elliot warns them of the threat. He expresses his love for her before deciding that if he is to die, he would prefer to spend his remaining time with her. The three leave the safety of their buildings and embrace in the yard, surprised to find themselves unaffected by the neurotoxin. The outbreak has abated as quickly as it began. Three months later, Elliot and Alma have adjusted to their new life with Jess as their adopted daughter. On television, an expert, comparing the event to a red tide, warns that the epidemic may have only been a warning. He states that humans have become a threat to the planet and that is why the plants have responded aggressively. Alma discovers she is pregnant and embraces Elliot with the news. In the Tuileries Gardens at the Louvre Palace in Paris, France, a scream is heard and everyone freezes in place as the wind rustles through the trees, signifying another attack by the plants.It’s ‘s unsettling, imaginative and downright disturbing in parts, a film that has a lot more to offer than by-the-numbers scares. The Happening is hugely refreshing, and a deserves a better reputation.

Advertisements

REVIEW: THE BAY

CAST

Will Rogers (Bridge of Spies)
Kristen Connolly (The Cabin In The Woods)
Kether Donohue (Pitch Perfect)
Christopher Denham (Argo)

Image result for the bay 2012The movie explains the footage was confiscated by the U.S. government until an anonymous source leaked the footage for the entire world to see.Image result for the bay 2012On July 4, 2009, a seaside Chesapeake Bay town nestled on Maryland’s Eastern Shore thrives on water. When two researchers find a staggering level of toxicity in the water, they attempt to alert the mayor, but he refuses to take action fearing that he will create a panic. As a result, a deadly plague is unleashed, turning humans into hosts for a deadly, mutant breed of the parasite Cymothoa exigua.
Image result for the bay 2012
The entire town is overwhelmed by chaos as these aggressive creatures start infecting the people one by one. This spins off into several stories. The most prominent is that of a young inexperienced news reporter and her cameraman, who are in the town to report on the 4th of July festivities. She also explains the occurrences as the movie proceeds in an off-scene personal recording. The other stories include two oceanographers who first discovered the parasites; two on-duty police deputies investigating a residential area; a young unsuspecting couple taking a last swim; a teenage girl using FaceTime to send a desperate message to a friend; a doctor who informs the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about the developing situation at the local hospital; and, among others, a young married couple with an infant aboard a vessel who sail towards their family’s home to reunite for the holidays, unaware of the horrific events unfolding on the mainland.Image result for the bay 2012The Bay is one of those horror films that just needs to be seen by every horror fan! Mixing Shivers with 28 Days Later and Jaws, The Bay is a fantastically realistic and powerful movie. Full of gross-out moments that are bound to get your skin crawling, this is a horror film for those who not only like a film with a message, but also for people who enjoy a fun, gruesome and disturbing roller-coaster ride of a movie!

REVIEW: CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC

 

CAST

Isla Fisher (The Great Gatsby)
Hugh dancy (Hannibal)
Krysten Ritter (Jessica Jones)
Joan Cusack (Martian Child)
John Goodman (Red State)
John Lithgow (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Kristin Scott Thomas (Mission Impossible)
Leslie Bibb (The Skulls)
Robert Stanton (The Quiet American)
Julie Hagerty (Airplane)
Kristen Connolly (The Cabin In The Woods)

Rebecca Bloomwood (Isla Fisher) is a shopping addict who lives with her best friend Suze (Krysten Ritter). She works as a journalist for a gardening magazine but dreams of joining the fashion magazine Alette. On the way to an interview with Alette, she buys a green scarf. Her credit card is declined, so Rebecca goes to a hot dog stand and offers to buy all the hot dogs with a check, if the seller gives her back change in cash, saying the scarf is to be a gift for her sick aunt. The hot dog vendor refuses but a man offers her $20. When Rebecca arrives at the interview, she’s told that the position has been filled. However, the receptionist tells her there is an open position with the magazine Successful Savings, explaining that getting a job at Successful Savings could eventually lead to a position at Alette magazine. Rebecca interviews with Luke Brandon (Hugh Dancy), the editor of Successful Savings and the man who just gave her the $20. She hides her scarf outside his office, but Luke’s assistant comes into the office and gives it back to her. Rebecca knows the game is up and leaves.

That evening, drunk, she and Suze write letters to Alette and Successful Savings, but she mails each to the wrong magazine. Luke likes the letter she meant to send to Alette and hires her. Rather than completing a work assignment for a new column, Rebecca goes to a clothing sale. While inspecting a cashmere coat she has just purchased, she realizes it is not 100% cashmere and she has been duped. This gives her an idea for the column, which she writes under the name “The Girl in the Green Scarf” and is an instant success.

Rebecca later returns home to renewed confrontations with her debt collector, so Suze makes her attend Shopaholics Anonymous. After one shopping spree she meets a friendly woman, Miss Korch (Wendie Malick), only to learn that she is the group leader and forces Rebecca to donate all the clothes she just bought, including a bridesmaid’s dress for Suze’s wedding and a dress for a TV interview. After the meeting Rebecca can’t afford to buy back both and buys back the interview dress. During the interview, the debt collector is in the audience and confronts Rebecca. Successful Savings terminates Rebecca’s column after the public confrontation for bringing discredit on the magazine and believing she is a risk for not paying debts. Suze is angry when she finds out that Rebecca lost the bridesmaid dress, and Rebecca feels like she let everyone down. Rebecca’s father (John Goodman) is more sympathetic, making a remark that the United States has not fallen despite its gigantic national debt, and offers to sell his recreational vehicle to help her. Rebecca declines his offer, saying that he earned the camper through years of hard work and saving, and that she will need to tackle her debts on her own. Alette offers Rebecca a position at the magazine, but she declines. Meanwhile, Luke starts a new company, Brandon Communications.

The members of Shopaholic Anonymous promote Rebecca’s clothes sale, which generates a lot of revenue, but not enough to retire her debts. She finally sells her green scarf when a woman bids on it, making it possible for her to give all the cash to the debt collector, which she pays in pennies – to give it to him in the “most inconvenient way possible”. Rebecca attends Suze’s wedding after reclaiming her bridesmaid dress, and Suze forgives her. Luke returns the green scarf to Rebecca after revealing that the person who bought it at an auction was acting as his agent. Rebecca becomes romantically involved with Luke and starts working at his new company.

A good film. It is not an oscar worthy film, but it is still good none the less. This is based on the novels by Sophie Kinsella and loosely follows the first and second books in the series.

 

 

 

 

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)
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

31 DAYS OF HORROR REVIEW: THE CABIN IN THE WOODS

 

 

 

CAST

Kristen Connolly (The Happening)
Chris Hemsworth (Thor)
Anna Hutchison (Spartacus: Ward of The Damned)
Fran Kranz (Dollhouse)
Jessie Williams (Grey’s Anatomy)
Richard Jenkins (Step Brothers)
Bradley Whitford (The West Wing)
Brian White (Beauty and The BEast)
Amy Acker (Angel)
Tim DeZarn (Fight Club)
Tom Lenk (BuffY)
Jodelle Ferland (Silent Hill)
Adrian Holmes (Arrow)
Ellie Harvie (The New Addams Family)
Patrick Sabongui (The Flash)
Sigourney Weaver (Aliens)

In a high tech underground facility, senior technicians Sitterson and Hadley discuss plans for a mysterious operation. A similar operation undertaken by their counterparts in Stockholm has just ended in failure. American college students Dana, Holden, Marty, Jules, and Curt are spending their weekend at a seemingly deserted cabin in the forest, a cabin recently acquired by Curt’s cousin. From their underground facility where they possess significant technological control over the area in which the cabin is situated, Sitterson and Hadley manipulate the teenagers by intoxicating them with mind-altering drugs that hinder rational thinking and increase libido. They take bets from coworkers as to what kind of monster will attack the teenagers and discuss the failures of similar rituals in other nationsIn the cabin’s cellar, the group finds many bizarre objects, including the diary of Patience Buckner, a cabin resident abused by her sadistic family. Dana recites incantations from the journal, inadvertently summoning the zombified Buckner family despite Marty’s warnings. By releasing pheromones, Hadley successfully induces Curt and Jules to have sex. Attacked by the marauding Buckner zombies, Jules is decapitated while Curt escapes to alert the group. Marty, a frequent marijuana smoker, discovers concealed surveillance equipment before being dragged off by one of the Buckners. Later, the facility workers learn that the ritual in Japan has also ended in failure, meaning that the American ritual is humanity’s last hope. It becomes apparent that the ritual involves blood sacrifice.Curt, Holden, and Dana attempt to escape in their RV, but Sitterson triggers a tunnel collapse to block them. Curt jumps a ravine on his motorcycle in an attempt to flee and alert the authorities, only to crash into a force shield, killing him. Holden and Dana retreat to the RV to plan their next move, but one of the Buckners, hiding within all along, fatally stabs Holden as they are driving away, resulting in the RV crashing and sinking into a lake. Dana escapes and swims ashore and is beset in turn. As she is attacked, Sitterson, Hadley, and their staff celebrate the successful completion of the ritual, viewing the events from their underground facility. The celebration is interrupted by a phone call pointing out that Marty has survived. His heavy marijuana use has apparently rendered him immune to Sitterson and Hadley’s manipulations.Marty rescues Dana and takes her to a hidden elevator he discovered under a grave. They descend into the underground facility, where a menagerie of monsters are imprisoned. Dana correlates them with the objects in the cabin’s cellar and realizes that those items gave victims the opportunity to choose the agents of their own deaths during the ritual. Cornered by the facility’s security personnel, she and Marty release the monsters, including zombies, goblins, mutants, witches, wraiths, a basilisk, a unicorn, a killer robot, and an evil clown. They wreak havoc and slaughter the staff; Hadley is killed by a merman and Sitterson escapes to the lower level.Dana and Marty flee the carnage (particularly menaced by a giant bat). Dana accidentally mortally wounds Sitterson, who begs her to kill Marty. Fleeing further, they discover an ancient temple and are confronted by the facility’s leader, known only as The Director. She explains that they are participating in an annual ritual sacrifice to appease the Ancient Ones (described as “giant evil gods”). Each facility’s ritual conforms to the rules of that region’s local lore; in America young people are chosen to be sacrificed based on similarity to certain archetypes: the whore (Jules), the athlete (Curt), the scholar (Holden), the fool (Marty), and the virgin (Dana). In order to complete the ritual the whore must die first and the virgin must survive or die last. Since all other facilities have failed, the penalty for not completing the ritual is the extermination of the entire human race. Hence, The Director urges Dana to kill Marty. Dana considers, but she is interrupted by a werewolf attack, while zombie Patience Buckner appears and kills The Director.Deciding that humanity is not worth saving, Dana and Marty share a joint while awaiting their fate. The temple floor collapses and a giant hand emerges, destroying the facility and the cabin itself.The genius of Cabin is the way director/co-writer Drew Goddard and producer/co-writer Joss Whedon have taken this mindset and embraced it. The film sat on the shelf for years when MGM suffered too many financial woes to afford a release, and yet its wit and invention remain as sharp as ever.  In the interest of keeping expectations managed, Cabin doesn’t reinvent the wheel. Its approach to horror is  original. The increasingly realistic and excessively gruesome style that they rode in on is far from universally loved. Cabin spills its fair share of guts, but it’s a good old-fashioned crowd pleaser.Cabin finds a way to access the reservoir of geekiness by engaging it rather than pandering to it.