REVIEW: CHASING LIBERTY

CAST

Mandy Moore (Saved)
Matthew Goode (Allied)
Stark Sands (Minority Report TV)
Jeremy Piven (Smokin’ Aces)
Annabella Sciorra (Jungle Fever)
Mark Harmon (NCIS)
Caroline Goodall (The Princess Diaries)
Beatrice Rosen (The Smurfs 2)
Miriam Margolyes (Harry Potter)

Matthew Goode and Mandy Moore in Chasing Liberty (2004)Anna Foster (Mandy Moore) is the daughter of President of the United States James Foster (Mark Harmon). After Secret Service agents ruin a first date, Anna demands less supervision. For his upcoming trip to Prague, the president agrees to assign only two agents to watch over Anna, whose Secret Service codename is Liberty. In Prague, Anna and her friend Gabrielle La Clare (Beatrice Rosen) attend a concert, where Anna discovers numerous agents in the crowd. Believing her father has broken his promise, Anna eludes her protectors with Gabrielle’s help. Outside the theater, she asks Ben Calder (Matthew Goode) for a ride on his motorbike. Unknown to Anna, Ben is a Secret Service agent, and he informs agents Alan Weiss (Jeremy Piven) and Cynthia Morales (Annabella Sciorra) where she can be found. When the president learns of her behavior, he instructs Ben to guard Anna without revealing his true identity, to give her the illusion of freedom with a guarantee of safety.Matthew Goode in Chasing Liberty (2004)Believing she is finally free, Anna jumps into the Vltava River naked, mistaking it for the Danube, and she and Ben climb a rooftop to watch an Offenbach opera being shown in a plaza. The next morning, Anna calls her parents. Initially relieved that his daughter is safe, the President’s tone changes when he is shown photos of her undressing. Outraged at her father’s tone, Anna decides she will go to the Love Parade in Berlin. She and Ben board a train, where they meet Scotty McGruff (Martin Hancock), a flighty romantic who gives them a stack of Six Million Dollar Man stickers, instructing them to post them in random places, and one day when they are unhappy, they may come across one and it will make them smile. Ben discovers that they have boarded a Venice-bound train going in the opposite direction from Berlin.Matthew Goode and Mandy Moore in Chasing Liberty (2004)In Venice, after checking in with agents Weiss and Morales—who are now growing closer romantically—Ben joins Anna and McGruff and together they explore the city. After McGruff leaves, Anna realizes he has stolen her wallet. When Anna is recognized by tourists, she and Ben flee. With no money, they tell a kind-hearted gondolier, Eugenio (Joseph Long), that they recently married against her parents’ wishes. During the free gondola ride, Ben kisses Anna to hide her from their pursuers. When he learns the “newlyweds” have no place to stay, Eugenio invites them to his house, where they are welcomed by his mother, Maria (Miriam Margolyes). That night, thinking their kiss was heartfelt, Anna offers herself to Ben, but he rejects her advances. The next day, Eugenio drives them to the Austrian border, as Weiss and Morales show up at Maria’s house and learn from Maria that Anna and Ben are married, which is then reported to Anna’s parents. Upset at Ben’s rejection, Anna hitchhikes a ride in a truck, leaving Ben to chase her through the Austrian countryside. Anna comes to a bridge, where she meets the Jumping Germans, a bungee jumping group. Ben arrives just as Anna is being strapped into the harness, and insists on jumping with her.Matthew Goode and Mandy Moore in Chasing Liberty (2004)Later that evening at the Jumping Germans’ camp, one of the Germans asks Anna to share his tent for the night. She refuses and flirts with Ben, who rejects her advances again. Upset, she declares that she will share the German’s tent after all; Ben finally admits his feelings for Anna and they spend the night together. At the Love Parade, as Ben explains his actions on the phone to his fellow agents, Anna discovers his identity. Enraged at the apparent betrayal, Anna runs off, only to be harassed by a group of men who recognize her. Ben rescues her, and Anna and her family return to the United States. While preparing for college, Anna reveals to her mother that her heart is “a little bit broken.” At college, with Weiss and Morales (who plan to marry) still protecting her, Anna sees a Six Million Dollar Man sticker which reminds her of her European adventure. During Christmas break Anna’s father tells her that Ben resigned from the Secret Service and is working as a photographer in London. During an exchange program to Oxford University Anna visits Ben at the opera, where they kiss, reconcile, and escape on his motorbike.Matthew Goode and Mandy Moore in Chasing Liberty (2004)If you’re looking for something deep or an epic romance, this is not for you. But if you want something good to watch on a night home alone then its a good flick.

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REVIEW: JUSTICE LEAGUE: CRISIS ON TWO EARTHS

CAST (VOICES)

William Baldwin (Backdraft)
Mark Harmon (NCIS)
Chris Noth (Sex and The City)
Gina Torres (Firefly)
James Woods (Family Guy)
Jonathan Adams (Bones)
Brian Bloom (The A-Team)
Bruce Davison (High Crimes)
Josh Keaton (Transformers Prime)
Vanessa Marshall (STar Wars Rebels)
Nolan North (Ultimate Spider-Man)

In an alternate universe where evil usually triumphs over good and where the roles of the heroes and villains are reversed from their counterparts in the mainstream DC Universe, heroic analogues of Lex Luthor and the Joker (called the Jester) are attempting to steal a device, the “Quantum Trigger”, from the headquarters of the Crime Syndicate. The pair trip an alarm but manage to secure the device. The Jester sacrifices himself to allow Luthor to escape and kills J’edd J’arkus and Angelique (alternate versions of Martian Manhunter and Hawkgirl respectively) with a radioactive bomb. Luthor is confronted by the remaining Syndicate members (Ultraman, Superwoman, Power Ring, Johnny Quick and Owlman) but escapes to the Earth of the heroic Justice League by activating a dimensional travel device.

Luthor locates a police station and is mistaken for the evil Luthor where he ends up strip-searched. The Justice League is summoned and Superman’s x-ray vision confirms Luthor’s reversed organs indicate that he is from a parallel Earth and that the evil Luthor is still incarcerated at Stryker’s Island. The Justice League take the alternate Luthor to the Watchtower, where they learn of the Syndicate threat. As the Justice League debates the matter, Luthor hides the Quantum Trigger on the satellite. With the exception of Batman, the rest of the Justice League (Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash and Martian Manhunter) travel to Luthor’s Earth. Arriving at the parallel Justice League’s base, the heroes begin to attack Syndicate targets. After a successful series of raids in which they capture Ultraman, the League confront United States President Slade Wilson, who releases Ultraman and explains that acceding to the Syndicate’s demands saves millions of lives. His daughter, Rose, however, regards him as a coward. Martian Manhunter inadvertently reads her mind and explains that as a military man her father actually holds life more dear than others. Martian Manhunter foils an assassination attempt on Rose and the pair fall in love.

Owlman constructs a weapon, the Quantum Eigenstate Device or Q.E.D., which the Syndicate intend to use as the equalizer to the threat of a nuclear reprisal. When pressed by Superwoman, Owlman admits the weapon can destroy entire worlds. Believing there are many parallel Earths, and that each one develops from the choices that each person makes, Owlman becomes obsessed with the idea that nothing he does can possibly matter, as there will always be parallel worlds where he explored another option. As a result, he begins fervently seeking Earth-Prime, the very first Earth from which all other universes originated, intending to use the Q.E.D. to destroy it and spark a chain reaction that would erase the entire multiverse, as it is the only action that would not result in the creation of another universe. He then sends Superwoman with three of her lieutenants to the League’s dimension, and on the Watchtower they battle Batman, Aquaman, Black Canary, Black Lightning, Firestorm, and Red Tornado. Superwoman and one of her lieutenants escape with the Quantum Trigger, but are followed by Batman.

Batman tricks and defeats Superwoman, and summons the League. J’onn and Rose bond, and Rose decides to learn the location of the Syndicate base to allow the Justice League to confront them. The League arrive at the Crime Syndicate’s moon-base with the captive Superwoman, and eventually battle the Syndicate. Owlman fights off Batman and takes the Q.E.D. bomb to Earth-Prime, finding it to be uninhabited and lifeless, having suffered an unknown cataclysm that caused it to leave solar orbit. Luthor speculates that a speedster might be able to vibrate and match the temporal vibration of the teleported Q.E.D. device and open a portal. Flash volunteers but Batman states that he isn’t fast enough, only Johnny Quick is. Johnny agrees and opens a portal.

Batman pursues Owlman to Earth-Prime and defeats him. He then teleports Owlman and the Q.E.D. device to another lifeless, uninhabited Earth. Although Owlman is able to abort the countdown and save himself, he realizes an alternate version of himself would make the opposite choice regardless, stating “It doesn’t matter.”, and allows the bomb to detonate and destroy that alternate Earth, killing himself in the process. Batman returns to discover that the strain of acting as a vibratory conduit has aged Johnny Quick to near death. Before dying, Johnny correctly deduces that Batman had lied about Flash not being fast enough and knew what would happen to him. Despite this, he shows no ill will toward Batman, dying with a smile. Martian Manhunter returns, accompanied by President Wilson and the U.S. Marines, and together they arrest Ultraman, Superwoman, and Power Ring. Wilson thanks the heroes, and although Rose asks Martian Manhunter to remain with her, the group return to their dimension. Batman and Superman later discuss a membership drive, with the five heroes summoned previously greeting the League.

This movie is smart, interesting, and grabs you from the get-go. The action is top notch, the animation is ultra sweet, and if these direct-to-video DC Universe movies have proven anything, it’s that they know how to make a good Justice League flick.