REVIEW: ZATHURA

CAST

Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games)
Jonah Bobo (Around The Bend)
Kristen Stewart (Twilight)
Tim Robbins (Antitrust)
Dax Shepard (Hit and Run)
Frank Oz (The Muppet Show)
Derek Mears (The Flash)
Douglas Tait (Star Trek)

Dax Shepard and Josh Hutcherson in Zathura: A Space Adventure (2005)Walter and his younger brother Danny do not get along with each other or their older sister, Lisa. While their divorced father is away at work and Lisa, whom he left in charge, is napping, Danny discovers an old space-themed board game called “Zathura” in the basement. He convinces Walter to play the game with him, the goal of which is to become the first player to reach the final space on the board. Each turn, a player turns a key and presses a button, causing the board to move the player’s piece a random number of spaces and spit out an event card. When Danny’s first turn causes a meteor shower inside the living room, Walter and Danny realize playing the game has altered reality.Kristen Stewart, Josh Hutcherson, and Jonah Bobo in Zathura: A Space Adventure (2005)The boys discover their father’s house is floating in space. Lisa, unaware of the situation, wakes up and begins preparing for her date that evening, but is frozen stiff when another card turns the bathroom into a cryonic chamber. Walter concludes the only way to end the game and return everything to normal is to win the game. As they continue to play, Walter and Danny must overcome the dangers presented by the game cards, including the appearance of a defective robot and an attack on the house by a race of reptilian aliens called Zorgons. Another of Danny’s turns produces an astronaut, who methodically eliminates the house’s heat sources and lures the Zorgons’ ship away by ejecting the boys’ father’s couch after setting it on fire.Josh Hutcherson and Jonah Bobo in Zathura: A Space Adventure (2005)Walter asks the astronaut to leave, but Danny chooses to let him stay. Growing increasingly agitated, Walter accuses Danny of cheating by moving his piece prematurely; when Walter tries to move the piece back and takes his next turn, the game accuses Walter of cheating and ejects him from the house into the vacuum of space, but the astronaut retrieves him. On Walter’s next turn, he receives a card that allows him to make a wish. The astronaut warns Walter not to make a wish out of anger. Fearing the worst, he is relieved to discover that Walter wished merely for an autographed football. He explains that he and his brother had played the game fifteen years before, and he wished his brother away, causing him to be stuck in the game without a second player.Dax Shepard, Josh Hutcherson, and Jonah Bobo in Zathura: A Space Adventure (2005)Lisa awakens from her stasis, and still oblivious to the situation, turns up the heat. This causes the Zorgons to return and anchor their ships to the house. Lisa finally discovers their predicament, and the four hide upstairs, but realize they left the game behind. The astronaut uses the house’s dumbwaiter to lower Danny to retrieve the game. Danny finds the game aboard one of the Zorgon ships, but is seen by the Zorgons. Walter uses a “Reprogram” card he drew earlier to fix the malfunctioning robot, who attacks the Zorgons instead, and the aliens retreat. Walter receives another wish card; he uses it to bring back the astronaut’s brother, causing a doppelgänger of Danny to appear. The astronaut reveals he is actually Walter, and commends his younger self for making a better choice than he did 15 years ago of his timeline, and the astronaut and the alternate Danny disappear.Astronaut_(Zathura)The Zorgons return to the house with a large fleet, intent on destroying it. Danny makes a final move, landing on Zathura, and wins, creating a black hole that sucks up the Zorgon fleet and the house. The siblings awaken in the house as it was before the brothers started the game, just as their father arrives home. Their bond renewed, and after they leave with their mother, Danny’s bicycle, which had been orbiting their house, falls from the sky.zathura-2005-lizard-zorgon-danny-walter-jonah-bobo-josh-hutchersonZathura is first class entertainment. An under-appreciated gem with lots to enjoy, and a fine example of how one film with an identical plot line can be adapted into something quite different.

 

REVIEW: CHARLIE’S ANGELS (2019)

Starring

Kristen Stewart (Twilight)
Naomi Scott (Aladdin)
Ella Balinska (Run Sweetheart Run)
Elizabeth Banks (Power Rangers)
Patrick Stewart (Star Trek: Picard)
Djimon Hounsou (Shazam)
Sam Claflin (Me Before You)
Jonathan Tucker (The Next Three Days)
Nat Faxon (Disenchantment)
Chris Pang (Crazy Rich Asians)
Luis Gerardo Méndez (Murder Mystery)
Noah Centineo (The Perfect Date)
Robert Clotworthy (American Sniper)
Hailee Steinfeld (Dickinson)
Lili Reinhart (Riverdale)
Ronda Rousey (Fast & Furtious 7)
Laverne Cox (Can You Keep a Secret?)
Jaclyn Smith (The Bourne Identity TV)

Kristen Stewart in Charlie's Angels (2019)A team of Angels, led by senior operative John Bosley, capture international embezzler Jonny Smith in Rio de Janeiro and turn him over to American authorities. A year later, the European division of the Townsend Agency is informed that Elena Houghlin, an engineer and programmer employed by entrepreneur Alexander Brok, wants to expose her superiors, namely Brok’s head of development, Peter Fleming, for covering up a discovery about how an energy conservation device that she helped invent, named Calisto, has the potential to trigger fatal seizures when used.Ella Balinska in Charlie's Angels (2019)She meets with operative Edgar “Bosley” in Hamburg to turn over her findings, but an assassin named Hodak ambushes the meeting and subsequently kills Edgar and leaves Elena to drown. Edgar’s protégé, Jane Kano, rescues her and brings her to operative Rebekah “Bosley” with the help of her partner, Sabina Wilson. Meanwhile, John, who has since retired from the agency, discovers that Rebekah has tagged him with the agency’s specialized subdermal implant without his knowledge.Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, and Ella Balinska in Charlie's Angels (2019)Rebekah tasks Sabina and Jane, joined by Elena, with breaking into Brok’s corporate headquarters to steal the remaining Calisto prototypes before they can be duplicated. Elena finds one of the devices but is forced to use it to escape, killing a security guard in the process, while the other prototypes are already gone, and Fleming is identified as the thief. Rebekah tracks him to Istanbul, where Jane utilizes one of her old intelligence contacts, Fatima, to locate Fleming. They track him to a remote rock quarry, where the supposedly-imprisoned Smith is revealed to be Fleming’s intermediary for selling Calisto. Hodak is also present and kills Fleming before the Angels break up the sale. Rebekah suddenly disappears, allowing Smith and Hodak to escape with the prototypes.Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, and Ella Balinska in Charlie's Angels (2019)Returning to their safehouse, Sabina shares her growing belief that Rebekah is secretly working against the agency and has been manipulating them to steal Calisto for her own benefit. While the three ponder Sabina’s suspicion, the safehouse is bombed. Rebekah shows up only to be shot by John, who has come to rescue Elena. Sabina and Jane manage to survive and seek medical help from Fatima. Rebekah reappears and explains that John is the real traitor and that he has spent the last few decades secretly building his own network within the agency after he was passed over to succeed the late Charlie Townsend.Elizabeth Banks, Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, and Ella Balinska in Charlie's Angels (2019)John takes Elena to a party hosted by Brok in Chamonix, who reveals himself as the mastermind behind the attempt to assassinate Elena and, unbeknownst to him, John’s plan to weaponize Calisto. Using Elena’s colleague Langston as a hostage, John forces her to program a Calisto device to kill both Langston and herself before leaving. The Angels, having deduced his plan due to the information provided by Smith, who is later revealed to have defected to their side, show up and rescue Elena and Langston, Elena having already disabled the Calisto device. Jane exacts revenge by impaling Hodak on a spike, while Rebekah catches up with John and his men. Outnumbered, she has other Angels posing as guests subdue the men, after which Sabina knocks out John with a punch. Brok is arrested for conspiracy, and Jane and Langston start a relationship. Elena is recruited as an Angel by the Townsend Agency after passing a series of rigorous training exercises In a mid-credits scene, Elena receives an official Angels tattoo and congratulations from Charlie.Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, and Ella Balinska in Charlie's Angels (2019)I seem to be in a minority here but I quite enjoyed the movie. Reading some of the reviews I was quite curious as to what’s so bad about it. So went in with very low expectations. In fact to be honest I preferred this to the earlier one starring Diaz & Barrymore. I thought the cast was fresh and did a pretty good job. I’m not a big Kristen Stewart fan but I liked her in this one. The overall pace wasn’t boring, the action was pretty good and not over the top as compared to the earlier movies. Banks did a decent job as a director as would be expected of any movie of this kind. Frankly I’m surprised that it was such a big flop.

REVIEW: AMERICAN ULTRA

CAST

Jesse Eisenberg (Batman V Superman)
Kristen Stewart (Twilight)
Topher Grace (That 70s Show)
Connie Britton (A Nightmare on Elm Street 2010)
Walton Goggins (Red Dirt)
John Leguizamo (Kick-Ass 2)
Bill Pullman (Independence Day)
Tony Hale (Chuck)
Monique Ganderton (Smallville)
Michael Papajohn (Spider-Man)
Wayne Pére (Cloak & Dagger)

Mike Howell (Jesse Eisenberg) is a stoner who lives in the sleepy town of Liman, West Virginia, where he works as a convenience store clerk, and is planning to propose to his longtime girlfriend, Phoebe Larson (Kristen Stewart) on a trip to Hawaii however due to a fear of travel he is unable to board the plane. It is revealed he has had similar issues trying to leave town in the past and does not understand why Phoebe is so nice about it. Meanwhile, in Langley, Virginia, CIA Agent Victoria Lasseter (Connie Britton) learns that Mike, the sole survivor of her unsuccessful Ultra program is to be eliminated by her rival, Adrian Yates (Topher Grace), whose Tough Guy project succeeded where hers failed. Feeling that she has a duty to protect Mike, Lasseter travels to Liman and “activates” Mike through a series of code words. Because of his erased memory, Mike fails to understand their significance, and she leaves in resigned frustration.
Mike finds two of Yates’ men planting a bomb in his car and is attacked, but his training allows him to quickly overpower and kill them. Horrified, he calls Phoebe and follows through, who reunites with him just as they’re arrested for the apparent murders. Yates sends two Tough Guy operatives, Laugher (Walton Goggins) and Crane (Monique Ganderton), to kill Mike and Phoebe at the police station, but they evade Laugher and kill Crane before escaping to the apartment of Mike’s drug dealing friend Rose (John Leguizamo), who begrudgingly hides them. On the way there Mike becomes increasingly unnerved by an array of “new” facts he knows regarding military strategy. He also realises he has very little memory regarding his past prior to living in the town other than his name and Phoebe and wonders aloud why he never thinks of these things.
Yates places the city under quarantine, and puts Lasseter and Mike’s pictures on the local news. Lasseter contacts her former assistant, Petey Douglas (Tony Hale), to send her a weapon that she can use to defend herself and Mike. Yates finds out and threatens Petey with charges of treason, causing Lasseter to be denied further help. Yates then attacks Rose’s house with three agents using a lethal gas. The agents kill Rose and his two guards, while Phoebe rescues Mike from the gas, which she is familiar with. When pressed for answers on her knowledge of the gas, Phoebe reluctantly reveals she was a CIA agent assigned to be Mike’s handler, leaving him heartbroken.
Laugher ambushes the duo and captures Phoebe. Mike is rescued by Lasseter and insists on returning back to his house. He then learns that he volunteered for the Ultra Program due to his criminal record and subsequently had his memories erased. He also learns that Phoebe’s original mission was to get him settled in Liman and then leave, but chose to stay because she legitimately fell in love with him. She also reveals to Mike that many phobia’s including a fear of leaving town were implanted to keep him safe. Angry Mike decides to go home deciding he no longer cares if he dies. Lasseter follows telling him she and Phoebe genuinely care for him. Yates’ men locate him, but Mike and Lasseter fight them off, prompting Yates to order a drone strike on the area. Petey refuses to follow his orders and secretly reports the situation to Yates’ superior, Raymond Krueger (Bill Pullman). Mike contacts Yates and arranges to exchange himself for Phoebe. He sets off a series of fireworks and dispatches all of Yates’ men before fighting and defeating Laugher, who is spared when Mike learns he is a mentally unbalanced man forcibly conscripted to Yates’ Tough Guy program. Yates attempts to flee with Phoebe, but she escapes, while Yates is caught by Lasseter and nearly killed before Krueger intervenes and stops her.
Phoebe finds Mike and they both leave the store where Mike then proposes to her at gunpoint before State Troopers/Sheriffs. While in a forest in the rain Krueger talks to Yates and Lasseter, both kneeling and placed in bonds. Yates argues that what he was doing would have been okay with Krueger if the results had been successful. Krueger admits that he would have approved of what Yates had done if the results were successful. Yates, believing his life is being spared, stands and is executed by Krueger. Lasseter convinces Krueger to spare her life and Mike’s by pointing out that, by taking out all of Yates’ agents, he demonstrated he was both a valuable asset and that the Ultra program was already successful. Six months later, Mike and Phoebe are in Philippines, Manila, agents on assignment, quite happy and confident now that they know who they are.American ultra has excellently choreographed action, many of the action moments are skewed away from the predictable methods of combat and filled with absurd or off-the-wall methods that startle and amuse in equal measure. For a quirky, funny – and surprisingly violent – thrill-ride, look no further.

REVIEW: ADVENTURELAND

 

CAST

Jesse Eisenberg (Batman V Superman)
Kristen Stewart (Twilight)
Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool)
Kristen Wiig (Zoolander 2)
Bill Hader (Superbad)
Martin Starr (Knocked Up)
Wendie Malick (American Housewife)
Margarita Levieva (Spread)

 

It would have been easy to typecast Greg Mottola post-Superbad as a director of teen sex comedies, and based on the trailers, you’d be forgiven to jumping to that conclusion regarding his new film, Adventureland. Sure, the kids are in their early 20s this time around, but even in the first twenty minutes or so, Adventureland looks like Michael Cera’s Superbad character has just grown up a little, graduated with a bachelor’s degree, but still hasn’t managed to go all the way with a girl. And it’s not like it would have been a bad thing had that been the case, because I love Superbad, but the surprise of Adventureland is how much more adventure it has in mind.
Adventureland is actually a semi-autobiographical film, written by Mottola about his own gig at a rundown amusement park in the summer of 1987. The director’s stand-in, what could have been the Michael Cera role, is taken over by Jesse Eisenberg from The Squid and the Whale–and right there, the Superbad comparisons dissolve. James is not Evan four years later, he’s an older Walt Berkman exiled to the suburbs. It’s like Noah Baumbach lost his summer internship and has to crash on Judd Apatow’s couch to get back on track.James is all set to spend his post-undergrad/pre-graduate student summer lollygagging around Europe when the effects of Reaganomics hit too close to home. His father (an appropriately shattered Jack Gilpin) has been demoted and now James is going to have to figure out how to pay to live in New York and attend Columbia on his own. Having had no prior job experience and carrying a B.A. in comparative literature, the wannabe journalist ends up stuck working the scam games at the local amusement park, Adventureland. There, the sheltered boy meets the legion of disaffected like himself who also have nowhere else to go. Sure, amongst their ranks are the perpetual losers, like James’ childhood nemesis Frigo (Matt Bush), but there is also Joel (Martin Starr), the pipe-smoking Russian-lit enthusiast, and the intense, rebellious Emily (Kristen Stewart). A cut above in rank is the too-cool rockstar, Connell (Ryan Reynolds), biding his time as Adventureland’s maintenance man until he can move his musical career to Los Angeles. And, of course, there are the bosses, the slightly creepy and oddly square Bobby and Paulette (two of SNL’s best cast members, Bill Hader and the adorable Kristen Wiig). They aren’t really parental figures, more like that tragically uncool aunt and uncle who always want to be involved in your business.It is among these people that James will get his first taste of the real world. A devotee of Dickens’ travelogues because the writer visited prisons and insane asylums, the pretentious college boy is going to realize that life is one big prison and insane asylum itself–but only if you let it be. A romance with Emily has unforeseen complications, since Connell is cheating on his wife with the youngster, but so too does James find distraction in the theme park’s resident hottie, Lisa P. (Margarita Levieva). The summer world of Adventureland is like one giant pause, a period of figuring things out, of realizing that most parents don’t have a clue (actually, James’ college pal tells him that in the second scene) and it’s not because they are parents, but because no one has a clue. Least of all James.  MV5BMjIxNTE3OTQzOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTU3MjU0Mg@@._V1_Most filmmakers tend to treat the 1980s as an alien world built out of kitsch and spandex, but Greg Mottola thankfully keeps that almost entirely at bay. Maybe it speaks to the reality of what he really went through, maybe it’s a reluctance to fall back on faux nostalgia, but outside of a running gag about Falco and one appearance by Ronald Reagan on a television set, there aren’t a lot of signals that this is even a period piece. Loser twentysomethings, just like loser teens, are timeless. Honestly, I was in high school in 1987, and I used to hang out with a lot of these kids.
What adds a whole new twist to Adventureland is that the smarty-pants stuff is put right up against more lowbrow funny business so they can duke it out like some kind of West Side Story for comedy styles. So, a Brian Eno reference is immediately followed by a guy peeing on a window. Vomit, nut punches, and disco dancing can actually be complementary to ivy league wordplay and nebbishy navel gazing. Hell, there is even room for a Foreigner cover band! It’s a fabulous balance–chuckle at the dry humor of Jesse Eisenberg saying things no one else understands, guffaw at Bill Hader losing his temper and going ballistic. Adventureland may not be the gutbuster some of other films were, it’s got way more of the human element. That’s because growing up and growing in love is the greatest adventure of all.

REVIEW: JUMPER

CAST

Hayden Christensen (Star Wars)
Rachel Bilson (Chuck)
Samuel L. Jackson (Avengers Assemble)
Max Thieriot (Bates Motel)
AnnaSophia Robb (The Reaping)
Jamie Bell (Fantastic Four)
Diane Lane (Man of Steel)
Teddy Dunn (Veronica Mars)
Michael Rooker (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Kristen Stewart (Twilight)
Shawn Roberts (Resident Afterlife
Jesse James (The Butterfly Effect)

In Ann Arbor, Michigan, 15-year-old David Rice (Max Thieriot) gives his crush, Millie Harris (AnnaSophia Robb), a snow globe. A bully, Mark Kobold (Jesse James), throws it onto a frozen river. While trying to retrieve it, David falls through the ice and is pulled away by the current. He suddenly finds himself in the local library and discovers his ability to “jump” from one place to another. Amazed with his new ability, he leaves his abusive father (Michael Rooker) and runs away from home.

Eight years later, an adult David (Hayden Christensen) lives lavishly on stolen money. One day, he is ambushed in his home by Roland Cox (Samuel L. Jackson), a member of the Paladins, a group of religious extremists who have been tracking down and killing “Jumpers”. Their reasoning is that Jumpers’ alleged omnipresence is considered blasphemous. Roland tries to capture David with electric cables designed to nullify his ability, but David escapes. He returns to Ann Arbor, seeking his old crush Millie (Rachel Bilson). When Mark (Teddy Dunn) attacks him, David teleports him into a bank vault and leaves him there. David then returns to Millie and invites her on a trip to Rome. Roland later discovers Mark in police custody and learns David’s identity.In Rome, David and Millie grow closer, though he keeps his ability a secret. They visit the Colosseum, where David meets Griffin (Jamie Bell), another Jumper. A group of Paladins appear, and Griffin casually kills them, then jumps away. David tries to leave with Millie, but he’s detained by Italian police and questioned about the deaths. David’s mother, Mary (Diane Lane), who had left him when he was five, appears and helps him escape. She urges him to leave Rome with Millie, to protect her. Millie, upset and afraid when David tries to skirt around the issue, demands to know the truth. David declines and puts her on a plane home.David runs into Griffin again, and follows him to his hideout in a cave. Griffin reveals that he has been trailing and killing Paladins for years and plans to kill Roland to avenge his parents. David sees Mary’s photo on the wall and realizes she is also a Paladin. Griffin tells David that the Paladins will target his loved ones to draw him out. David teleports home and finds his father lying bleeding. He gets his father to a hospital and returns to Griffin to ask for help. Realizing Roland is personally hunting David, Griffin agrees.

They go to pick Millie up at the airport, but she is no longer there. Griffin returns to his hideout to get weapons. David breaks into Millie’s apartment, angering her. Seeing Roland arriving, David decides to reveal the truth to her. He teleports her to Griffin’s hideout. Using a machine that keeps David’s “jump scar” open, the Paladins, including Roland, invade the hideout. David and Griffin subdue most of them. Roland is chased back through the jump scar, but he manages to snatch Millie with him. He sets up a trap in Millie’s apartment, expecting David to come back for her.

Obsessed with killing Roland, Griffin plans to bomb the apartment; but David objects, wanting to save Millie. They fight and David traps Griffin with power lines in Chechnya. Ignoring Griffin’s warning, David jumps to Millie’s apartment and is quickly trapped by Roland’s cables. The cables “link” him to the apartment, making him unable to jump away alone. Mustering his strength, David teleports the apartment and everyone inside to a river. Once free of the cables, David teleports Millie to safety and dumps Roland in a cave in the Grand Canyon. He leaves Roland there, explaining that not all Jumpers are a threat to be destroyed.David visits his mother and discovers his half-sister, Sophie (Kristen Stewart). Mary tells David that when he was five, he made his jump. She is a Paladin and had to either kill David or leave. After leaving her house, David meets with Millie outside, and they jump to an unknown location.

I saw this film last night, and i must say i was pleasantly surprised, it’s a decent popcorn type movie where you don’t have to think too much.

REVIEW: PANIC ROOM

CAST

Jodie Foster (The Brave One)
Kristen Stewart (Twilight)
Forest Whitaker (The Butler)
Jared Leto (Suicide Squad)
Patrick Bauchau (The Pretender)
Dwight Yoakam (Sling Blade)
Ian Buchanan (Port Charles)
Nicole Kidman (Stoker)
Mel Rodriguez (The Watch)

Recently divorced Meg Altman (Jodie Foster) and her 11-year-old daughter Sarah (Kristen Stewart) have just purchased a four-story brownstone on the Upper West Side of New York City. The house’s previous owner, a reclusive millionaire, installed an isolated room used to protect the house’s occupants from intruders. The “panic room” is protected by concrete and steel on all sides, a thick steel door, and an extensive security system with multiple surveillance cameras, a public announcement system, and a separate phone line. On the night the two move into the home, it is broken into by Junior ( Jared Leto), the previous owner’s grandson; Burnham (Forest Whitaker), an employee of the residence’s security company; and Raoul (Dwight Yoakam), a ski mask-wearing gunman recruited by Junior. The three are after $3 million in bearer bonds, which are locked inside a floor safe in the panic room.

After discovering that the Altmans have moved in earlier than expected, Junior convinces a reluctant Burnham, who assumed the house was unoccupied, to continue with their heist. As they begin the robbery, Meg wakes up and happens to see the intruders on the video monitors in the panic room. Before the three can reach them, Meg and Sarah run into the panic room and close the door behind them. They are unable to use the phone in the room which has a separate phone line that was never hooked up by Meg. Intending to force the two out of the room, Burnham introduces propane gas into the room’s air vents. Raoul, in conflict with Burnham and Junior, dangerously increases the amount of gas. Unable to seal the vents, Meg ignites the gas while she and Sarah cover themselves with fireproof blankets, causing an explosion which vents into the room outside and causes a fire, injuring Junior.The Altmans make several attempts to call for help, including signaling a neighbor with a flashlight through the opening of a ventilation pipe, but the neighbor ignores it. Meg then taps into the main telephone line and gets through to her ex-husband Stephen (Bauchau), before the burglars cut them off.When all attempts to get into the room fail, Junior lets slip that there is much more money in the safe than he let on, and gives up on the robbery. About to leave the house, he is shot by Raoul, who forces Burnham, at gunpoint, to finish the robbery. Stephen arrives at the home and is taken hostage by Burnham and Raoul—who severely beats him. To make matters worse, Sarah, who has diabetes, suffers a seizure. Her emergency glucagon syringe is in a refrigerator outside the panic room. After using an unconscious Stephen to trick Meg into momentarily leaving the panic room, Burnham enters it, finding Sarah motionless on the floor. After retrieving the syringe for Sarah, Meg struggles briefly with Raoul, who is thrown into the panic room, his gun knocked out of his hand. As Meg throws the syringe into the panic room, Burnham frantically locks himself, Raoul, and Sarah inside, crushing Raoul’s hand in the sliding steel door. Meg, who now has the gun, begs the two intruders over the PA system to give Sarah the injection. After some time Burnham, who has shown no interest in hurting either Meg or Sarah throughout the film, gives Sarah the injection. While doing so, he tells Sarah he did not want this, and the only reason he agreed to participate was to give his own child a better life. After Burnham gives Sarah the injection, Sarah thanks him and he tells Meg that Sarah is now alright.Having earlier received a call from Stephen, two policemen arrive, which prompts Raoul to threaten Sarah’s life. Sensing the potential danger to her daughter, Meg lies to the officers and they leave. Meanwhile, Burnham opens the safe and removes the $22 million in bearer bonds inside. As the robbers attempt to leave, using Sarah as a hostage, Meg hits Raoul with a sledgehammer and Burnham flees. After a badly injured Stephen shoots at Raoul and misses, Raoul disables him and prepares to kill Meg with the sledgehammer, but Burnham, upon hearing Sarah’s screams of pain, returns to the house and shoots Raoul dead, stating, “You’ll be okay now”, to Meg and her daughter before leaving. The police, alerted by Meg’s suspicious behavior earlier, arrive in force and capture Burnham, who lets the bearer bonds go; they fly away with the wind. Later, Meg and Sarah, having recovered from their harrowing experience, begin searching the newspaper for a new home.

David Fincher directs this cleverly conceived thriller about a mother and daughter trapped inside a panic room by three criminals. The film is well-paced and the camera work is slick. The film does well in exploring the confines of the house. Jodie Foster is effective and maintains a high intensity throughout. Kristen Stewart is decent as her daughter. Forest Whitaker plays a slightly sympathetic criminal and does well. A Brilliant film from start to end.

REVIEW: COLD CREEK MANOR

 

CAST

Dennis Quaid (Traffic)
Sharon Stone (Catwoman)
Stephen Dorff (Blade)
Juliette Lewis (Natural Born Killers)
Kristen Stewart (Twilight)
Christopher Plummer (Star Trek VI)
Wayne Robson (Cube)
Peter Outerbridge (Beuty and The Beast)
Karen Glave (Crimson Peak)
George Buza (Muant X)
Daniel Kash (Mama)

Cooper (Dennis Quaid) and Leah Tilson (Sharon Stone) are living in a cramped New York City apartment with their two children, Kristen (Kristen Stewart) and Jesse (Ryan Wilson). While on a business trip overseas, Leah’s boss informs her of an available promotion within the company, but only if she’s willing to have an affair with him. She calls Cooper while he is dropping the kids off at school but, before she can speak to him, Jesse is nearly hit by a car in the early morning traffic. Although he isn’t hurt, Leah returns home immediately and they decide living in the city is no longer a safe option for their family.

They relocate to a huge, decaying mansion out in the country, which is still filled with the possessions of the previous family who disappeared years earlier. Cooper, an unmotivated documentary filmmaker, is intrigued and sees it as an opportunity to get back into work. While cleaning up one morning, he finds many Polaroid photographs of the family including nude shots of a teenage girl. Jesse finds old clothes in his bedroom closet belonging to a young boy his age called Grady, and a book with a strange riddle written inside.

They go for breakfast at the local diner where they meet and befriend the owners, Ray and Ellen Pinski and their daughter, Stephanie. Many residents of the town, including the crass waitress of the diner, Ruby (Juliette Lewis), have heard they’re now living at the manor and feel offended that they haven’t taken the time to put the old family’s belongings into storage, which causes immediate tension. Meanwhile, the family get settled in and Cooper decides to commit its history to making a new film. One morning, they find the previous owner Dale Massie (Stephen Dorff) in their home, and they feel inclined to ask him to stay for breakfast. He tells them he’s recently been released from prison and needs help finding work, so he pressures Cooper into hiring him to help with the renovations on the house. Later on, Cooper meets Sheriff Annie Ferguson (Dana Eskelson), Ruby’s sister, who informs him that Dale’s aging and slightly demented father is living in a nearby nursing home. Cooper goes to visit him, hoping to glean some details about the house’s sinister past. Disjointed comments made by the elderly man lead him to believe that Dale murdered his wife and children, and he begins to search his 1,200-acre (4.9 km2) property for their remains. Meanwhile, although Dale initially proves to be a good worker, the underlying sense of menace he projects is unsettling and makes the family uncomfortable. Then a series of terrifying incidents start to occur, including finding dozens of poisonous snakes in their house. Although he has no proof, Cooper becomes suspicious of Dale, believing he put them there on purpose, and fires him.

That night, Leah informs Cooper about her boss’s proposition and also tells him that she was going to say yes, but that was the day Jesse was hit by the car and it put everything into perspective for her. Cooper storms out and spends the night at the local bar where he speaks with Ruby, Dale’s girlfriend, who warns Cooper about him saying, “Don’t fuck with him. He’ll rip your fucking head off.” Dale becomes angry with her being drunk and needy that he hits her, which shocks Cooper to find out how monstrous he can be. On the way home, Cooper realizes he is being followed. He speeds up but because he is intoxicated, hits something and causes him to crash. In the morning, Kristen finds her new horse dead in their backyard pool. She blames her father but Cooper is certain it was a deer he hit and not the horse.

Cooper becomes more and more suspicious when he finds other evidence such as Grady’s braces in the front yard. Then, all of his suspicions are confirmed when he and Leah discover three skeletons in Devil’s Throat, a deep well that is hidden in the woods. Using a walkie talkie, he contacts Sheriff Ferguson, unaware she has been attacked and disabled by Dale at the police station, who punctures the tires on Cooper’s truck and sets Leah’s car on fire to prevent them from escaping. Trapping them in the house in the middle of a storm that has knocked out the electricity, he forces them to rely on their wits and physical prowess to save themselves. Dale finally corners Cooper and Leah on the roof after chasing them through the mansion. Dale, now raving mad, openly declares his insanity as well as his intent to kill them (with a family sheep killing tool/mallet) and throw them down the Devil’s Throat like his family. However, the couple is able to turn the tables on their tormentor by charging him with a line of rope that knocks him off his feet. They quickly tie him down against a roof lantern (skylight) before he can break free. Cooper takes the killing tool and taunts Dale as Dale had done to him, before shattering the skylight, sending the screaming Dale to his death.

The film cuts to show that the bodies of Dale’s family are now rightly entombed in the family graveyard at Cold Creek Manor and that Cooper and his family have finally attained their wanted peace.

It is certainly far from one of the best horror films out there, but then again, people should not expect it to be, 2003’s ‘Cold Creek Manor’ is a well acted and a very entertaining piece nevertheless.

 

REVIEW: SNOW WHITE & THE HUNTSMAN

 

CAST

Kristen Stewart (Twilight)
Chris Hemsworth (Thor)
Charlize Theron (Hancock)
Sam Clafin (The Quiet Ones)
Sam Spruell (The Hurt Locker)
Ian McShane (Hercules)
Bob Hoskins (Hollywoodland)
Ray Winstone (The Departed)
Nick Frost (Hot Fuzz)
Eddie Marsan (Sherlock Holmes)
Toby Jones (The Hunger Games)
Johnny Harris (Atonement)
Vincent Regan (300)
Lily Cole (The Moth Diaries)

MV5BMTY5Mzk2ODU0N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTYzOTAyNw@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1438,1000_AL_While admiring a rose blooming in the winter, Queen Eleanor of the Kingdom of Tabor pricks her finger on one of its thorns. Three drops of blood fall onto the snow-covered ground, and she wishes for a daughter as white as the snow, with lips as red as the blood, hair as black as a raven’s wings and a heart as strong and defiant as the rose. Queen Eleanor gives birth to her daughter Snow White, but soon after falls ill and dies. After her death, Snow White’s father, King Magnus, and his army battle an invading Dark Army of demonic glass soldiers. Upon rescuing their prisoner Ravenna, he becomes enchanted with her beauty and marries her.
MV5BYzQ0MWNjYzMtMWIxNS00YmJiLWFlZjgtOTI4YjQ0NDkyOWIxXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTI2ODA2NTc@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1431,1000_AL_Ravenna, who is in fact a powerful sorceress and the Dark Army’s master, kills Magnus on their wedding night. On the night, Magnus, enchanted, throws Ravenna into the bed and proceeds to make love. Ravenna confesses there was a king much like Magnus that spoiled her. During foreplay, she declares she cannot be a weak queen and kills Magnus. Snow White’s childhood friend William and his father Duke Hammond escape the castle but are unable to rescue her, and she is captured by Ravenna’s brother Finn, and locked away in the north tower of the castle for many years.
MV5BODM1NjIyNzg5MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzc0ODA4Nw@@._V1_SX1499_CR0,0,1499,999_AL_Tabor is ruined under Queen Ravenna’s rule as she periodically drains the youth from the kingdom’s young women in order to maintain a spell cast over her as a child by her mother which allows her to keep her youthful beauty. When Snow White comes of age, Queen Ravenna learns from her Magic Mirror, in the form of a golden, reflective liquid shaped like a man, that her stepdaughter Snow White is destined to destroy her unless Queen Ravenna consumes the young girl’s heart, which will make her truly immortal. Queen Ravenna orders Finn to bring her Snow White’s heart, but she escapes into the Dark Forest, where Ravenna has no power. Queen Ravenna makes a bargain with Eric the Huntsman, a widower and drunkard, to capture Snow White, promising to bring his wife back to life in exchange. The Huntsman tracks down Snow White, but when Finn reveals that Queen Ravenna does not actually have the power to do what she promised, the Huntsman fights him and his men while Snow White runs away. When the Huntsman catches up with her, she promises him gold if he will escort her to Duke Hammond’s castle. Meanwhile, Finn gathers another band of men to find her, and Duke Hammond and his son William learn that she is alive. William leaves the castle on his own to find her, joining Finn’s band as a bowman.
MV5BMTMwNzEwNDI4NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDQ2ODYzNQ@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1503,1000_AL_The Huntsman and Snow White leave the Dark Forest, where she saves his life by charming a huge troll that attacks them. They make their way to a fishing village populated by women who have disfigured themselves to save their own lives, becoming useless to Queen Ravenna. While there, the Huntsman learns Snow White’s true identity, and initially leaves her in the care of the women. He soon returns when he sees the village being burned down by Finn’s men. Snow White and the Huntsman evade them and eventually meet a band of eight dwarves named Beith, Muir, Quert, Coll, Duir, Gort, Nion, and Gus. The blind Muir perceives that Snow White is the daughter of the former king, and the only person who can defeat Ravenna and end her reign. As they travel through a fairy sanctuary, the group is attacked by Finn and his men. The Huntsman battles Finn and kills him, and William reveals himself and helps defeat Finn’s men. However, Gus is killed when he sacrifices himself to take an arrow meant for Snow White. William joins the group which continues the journey to Hammond’s castle.
MV5BNGVhZWMyMGEtNDNjYy00NDBiLWE3MDYtZGIyYTkwNGVkYzAzXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTI2ODA2NTc@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1431,1000_AL_Halfway to Duke Hammond’s castle, Queen Ravenna disguises herself as William and tempts Snow White into eating a poisoned apple, but is forced to flee when the Huntsman and William discover her. William kisses Snow White, whom he believes to be dead. She is taken to Hammond’s castle. As she lies in repose, the Huntsman professes his regret for not saving Snow White, who reminds him of his late wife, Sara, and he kisses her, breaking the spell. She awakens and walks into the courtyard, and rallies the Duke’s army to mount a siege against Queen Ravenna. The dwarves infiltrate the castle through the sewers and open the gates, allowing the Duke’s army inside. Snow White confronts Queen Ravenna, but is overpowered. Queen Ravenna is about to kill Snow White and consume her heart, but Snow White uses a move the Huntsman taught her and seemingly kills Queen Ravenna, and Duke Hammond’s army is victorious. With Queen Ravenna defeated and dead, the kingdom once again enjoys peace and harmony as Snow White is crowned Queen and she and the Huntsman exchange looks before it cuts to chants of “Hail to the queen!”MV5BNGVhZWMyMGEtNDNjYy00NDBiLWE3MDYtZGIyYTkwNGVkYzAzXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTI2ODA2NTc@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1431,1000_AL_This film is not going to win many awards, nor will it be a favorite of the year, but it is entirely a good movie. Stunning visual effects, many great landscape shots, good acting, great action, and a believable storyline. This is not the Disney film you are used to, but a much grittier and more mature take on the original tale.

 

REVIEW: THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN – PART 2

CAST
Kristin Stewart (Snow White & The Huntsman)
Robert Pattinson (Sword Xanten)
Taylor Lautner (Tracers)
Peter Facinelli (Supergirl)
Elizabeth Reaser (The Ex List)
Ashley Greene (Burying The Ex)
Jackson Rathbone (S.Darko)
Kellan Lutz (The Legend of Hercules)
Nikki Reed (Sleepy Hollow)
Billy Burke (Red Riding Hood)
Maggie Grace (Lost)
Jamie Campbell Bower (Sweeney Todd)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Sanctuary)
Michael Sheen (Underworld)
Daniel Cudmore (X-Men 2)
Dakota Fanning (Taken)
Cameron Bright (The Butterfly Effect)
Mia Maestro (Alias)
Judith Shekoni (Heroes Reborn)
Lee Pace (The Hobbit)
Andrea Gabriel (Lost)
Rami Malek (Mr. Robot)
Valorie Curry (The Tick)
Joe Anderson (The Grey)
Noel Fisher (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Julia Jones (Westworld)
Booboo Stewart (Descendants)
Christian Camargo (See)
Omar Metwally (Treadstone)
 
Bella awakens from her transformation from human to vampire, aware of her new abilities, but unaware of changes within the coven, such as Jacob having imprinted on her child, Renesmee. It also appears that Bella’s father, Charlie, has been attempting to contact the Cullens for updates on Bella’s illness. They intend to tell him she didn’t survive, which requires that they move away from Forks, Washington to protect their identities. Jacob, desperate not to lose Renesmee, tells Charlie that Bella is in fact alive and well, and explains that Bella had to change in order to survive. He morphs into a wolf, revealing his tribe’s shape-shifting power, but does not tell Charlie about vampires.
 
Several months pass with Carlisle monitoring Renesmee’s rapid growth. On an outing in the woods, a bitter Irina sees Renesmee from a distance and believes her to be an immortal child. Immortal children were vampires who were changed in childhood, and because they could not be trained nor restrained, they destroyed entire villages. They were eventually executed, as were the parents who created them, and the creation of such children outlawed. Irina goes to the Volturi to report what she has seen. Alice sees the Volturi and Irina coming to kill the Cullens and instructs the others to gather as many witnesses as they can to testify that Renesmee is not an immortal. The Cullens begin to summon witnesses, such as the Denali family. One of the Denali, Eleazar, later discovers that Bella has a special ability: a powerful mental shield which had protected her from Edward’s mind reading even when she was human, and which she can now extend to protect others from mental attacks.
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As some of their potential witnesses are attacked and prevented from supporting the Cullens, Carlisle and Edward realize they may have to fight the Volturi. Their witnesses ultimately agree to stand with them in battle, having realized the Volturi increase the Guard by falsely accusing covens of crimes, destroy them and then recruit vampires with gifts. The Volturi arrive prepared for battle, led by Aro, who is eager to obtain the gifted members of the Cullen coven as part of his guard. Aro is allowed to touch Renesmee, and is convinced that she is not an immortal child. Irina is brought forth and takes full responsibility for her mistake, leading to her immediate death. Aro still insists that Renesmee may pose a risk in the future, validating his claim that battle is necessary. Before any violence, Alice shares with Aro her vision of the battle that is to come, during which both sides sustain heavy casualties, including Aro who would also die. Aro believes her, giving Alice and Jasper an opportunity to reveal their witness (a half mortal half vampire just like Renesmee). The witness proves that he is not a threat, supporting the notion that Renesmee is not a threat. The Volturi unhappily leave without a fight.
Back at the Cullen home, Alice glimpses the future, seeing Edward and Bella together with Jacob and a fully matured Renesmee also together. Edward reads Alice’s mind and feels relieved that Renesmee has Jacob to protect her. Alone in the meadow, Bella pushes her mental shield away and finally allows Edward a peek into her mind, showing him every precious moment she and Edward shared together and the two share a kiss after Bella telling Edward, “No one has ever loved anyone as much as I love you”, and both Edward and Bella saying they’ll love and be together forever. The end credits present the cast members from all five films.
I enjoyed seeing the characters develop, especially  Stewart who steals the show. She has grown into a respectable actress and she has turned a wooden and unlikable character (in the novel) into someone you root for in the film.

REVIEW: THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN – PART 1

 

CAST
Kristin Stewart (Snow White & The Huntsman)
Robert Pattinson (Sword Xanten)
Taylor Lautner (Tracers)
Billy Burke (Red Riding Hood)
Sarah Clarke (Thirteen)
Ashley Greene (Burying The Ex)
Jackson Rathbone (S.Darko)
Peter Facinelli (Supergirl)
Elizabeth Reaser (The Ex List)
Kellan Lutz (The Legend of Hercules)
Nikki Reed (Sleepy Hollow)
Anna Kenderick (The Voices)
Christian Serratos (Flight 7500)
Michael Welch (All The Boys Love Mandy Lane)
Michael Sheen (Underworld)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Sanctuary)
Jamie Campbell Bower (Sweeney Todd)
Mia Maestro (Alias)
Maggie Grace (Lost)
Christian Camargo (See)
Daniel Cudmore (X-Men 2)
Ty Olsson (Battlestar Galactica)
Booboo Stewart (Descendants)
Julia Jones (Westworld)
Mackenzie Foy (Interstellar)
Kiowa Gordon (Roswell, New Mexico)

Bella Swan is getting ready for her wedding. During the reception, her best friend, Jacob Black the werewolf returns after hearing about Bella and Edward’s engagement. While dancing with him in the woods, away from everyone else, Bella admits that she and Edward plan to consummate their marriage on their honeymoon while she’s still human. Jacob becomes furious, knowing that Edward could easily kill Bella. The other wolves restrain him and leave.
The couple spends their honeymoon on Isle Esme and they make love for the first time. The next morning, Edward realizes that Bella has numerous bruises and is mad at himself for hurting her, though Bella insists she enjoyed the experience. Edward swears not to make love again until she becomes a vampire. Two weeks into their honeymoon, Bella realizes that she is pregnant with a half mortal half immortal child. Edward is terrified by the news, knowing that she may not survive the delivery. He says that Carlisle will remove the monster. She refuses, as she wants to keep the baby and convinces Edward’s sister, Rosalie, who has always wanted a child, to help protect her baby. They fly back home to Forks, Washington. She has only been pregnant for two weeks, but the baby is growing very fast.MV5BMjA1NTI1OTkxNl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNDYxODUzNg@@__V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1103,1000_AL_Jacob rushes over to the Cullen’s mansion and finds Bella already heavily pregnant. He is angry, saying that they should remove it as soon as possible. Bella says that it is her choice. Jacob is disgusted by this. As Bella gets bigger, the quality of her health declines then rapidly improves as she starts drinking human blood to satisfy the baby’s vampiric thirst. Edward comes to love the baby as much as Bella does as he reads its thoughts, learning that his child loves Bella in return and doesn’t want to hurt her.
Soon after, Bella drops a cup of blood and as she bends down to pick it up, the baby breaks her back. She almost dies giving birth. To save her life, Edward injects Bella’s heart with his venom to transform her into a vampire, but nothing seems to happen and Bella is thought to be dead. Greatly distraught, Jacob attempts to kill the baby, but stops when he realises he has imprinted on the baby. When the werewolves hear of Bella’s death, they attack the Cullens’ house in an attempt to kill the baby as they fear it would become a threat. Edward, Alice and Jasper defend their home and their family, and are later helped by Carlisle, Esme, and Emmett. Jacob then runs outside to stop the battle and shape-shifts. Edward reads Jacob’s mind and announces that Jacob has imprinted on Renesmee and since it is the wolves’ law not to harm anyone who has been imprinted on they are forced to leave. After Bella is cleaned and dressed, her cuts from her difficult labour heal as the venom spreads through her body. The last scene shows Bella open her now blood red eyes as a newborn vampire.
What I loved most about this movie were the emotional extremes. Where the past three Twilight movies are subtle and reserved, this one goes all out, portraying everything from euphoria to unthinkable agony. The blissful scenes at the beginning are such a stark contrast to the agonizing scenes at the end.