REVIEW: REIGN OF FIRE

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CAST

Christian Bale (Batman Begins)
Mattehw McConaughey (Interstellar)
Izabella Scorupco (Exorcist: The Beginning)
Gerard Butler (300)
Alexander Siddig (Game of Thrones)
Alice Krige (Star Trek: First Contact)
Laura Pyper (Hex)

The film opens at an unspecified date in the early 21st century. During construction on the London Underground, workers penetrate an underground cave. A huge dragon emerges from hibernation, incinerating the workers with its breath. The only survivor is a boy, Quinn Abercromby (Ben Thornton), whose mother, Karen (Alice Krige)—the construction crew chief—is crushed to death protecting him. The dragon flies out of the Underground, and soon more dragons appear. It is revealed through newspaper clippings and the narration that dragons are the species responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs. They are speculated to hibernate after destroying most living creatures until the planet repopulates. After the dragons reawaken, humanity resists with military force, including with nuclear weapons in 2010. This, however, only hastens the destruction, and within a few years, humans are nearly extinct.In 2020, Quinn (Christian Bale) leads a community of survivors in a Northumberland castle. They are starving while awaiting harvest. Although most trust Quinn, some are restless and defiant. Eddie (David Kennedy) and his group steal a truck to pick tomatoes, though it is too soon for harvest. They are attacked by a dragon; one man is killed, and the rest are surrounded by fire. Quinn, Creedy (Gerard Butler), and Jared (Scott Moutter) rescue them with old fire engines, but the dragon kills Eddie’s son before escaping. The Kentucky Irregulars, a group of Americans led by Denton Van Zan (Matthew McConaughey), arrive with a Chieftain tank and AgustaWestland AW109 utility helicopter, the latter of which is piloted by Alex Jensen (Izabella Scorupco). Van Zan has a system for hunting dragons and knows their weakness: poor vision before sunset. He and Quinn kill the dragon who destroyed the crops.

Van Zan tells Quinn all the dragons they have found have been female. The Americans believe there is only one male—if they kill it, the dragons can no longer reproduce. Although Quinn knows about the male dragon, which killed his mother, he refuses to help. Van Zan orders his soldiers to enlist the castle’s best men. Quinn argues that if they find the male, it will kill them and find the castle. Van Zan’s group is attacked by the dragon in the ruins of a town 66 miles (106 km) from London. The dragon then finds the castle and kills most of its inhabitants. Quinn tries to get the survivors to a bunker; Creedy saves him and is killed by the dragon in his place. Van Zan and Jensen return and free those in the bunker. Quinn tells Van Zan he will help them hunt the male dragon. They fly to London and find hundreds of dragons, with smaller ones cannibalized by the larger male. Van Zan tells Quinn about a plan to shoot explosives down the dragon’s throat with a crossbow. Van Zan fires, but the dragon destroys the arrow and eats Van Zan. Quinn and Alex lure the dragon to ground level, where Quinn fires into the dragon’s mouth, killing it.

Later, Quinn and Alex erect a radio tower on a hill overlooking the North Sea. There has been no dragon sighting for over three months. Jared arrives to say they have contacted a group of French survivors who want to speak to their leader. Quinn tells Jared he is now their leader and dedicates himself to rebuilding.

Overall it took time to get going and it never lives up to the marketing hype but it’s still enjoyable. Once you get past the first part then you’re free to enjoy the second half of the film and a really enjoyable climax.

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REVIEW: GHOSTS OF GIRLFRIENDS PAST

CAST

Jennifer Garner (Alias)
Matthew McConaughey (Interstellar)
Emma Stone (Birdman)
Michael Douglas (Ant-Man)
Breckin Meyer (Garfield)
Lacey Chabert (Mean Girls)
Robert Forster (Dragon Wars)
Anne Archer (Patriot Games)
Daniel Sunjata (The Dark Knight Rises)
Noureen DeWulf (Anger Management)
Amanda Walsh (Disturbia)
Christina Milian (Be Cool)

Connor Mead (Matthew McConaughey) is a famous photographer and confirmed womanizer. He takes a break from his playboy lifestyle to attend his brother’s (Paul) wedding, where he becomes reacquainted with Jenny Perotti (Jennifer Garner), Connor’s childhood friend and the only girl who’s ever captured his heart. After Connor delivers a drunken speech at the rehearsal dinner where he says that love isn’t real, he’s met in the bathroom by the ghost of his uncle Wayne (Michael Douglas), a roué who taught Connor everything he knows about seducing women. Wayne informs Connor that, over the course of the evening, he will be visited by three ghosts who will lead him through his romantic past, present, and future.The first ghost is the “Ghost of Girlfriends Past” in the form of Allison Vandermeersh (Emma Stone), one of his high school girlfriends and his first lover. Together, they revisit scenes from his past, focusing on his relationship with Jenny. In 1982, Connor and Jenny were very close as children; she gave him his first instant camera which he used to take her picture, promising to keep it forever. When Connor’s parents died in a car accident, Jenny consoles Connor throughout the years without them, as she, his brother Paul and his uncle Wayne were all he had left. By middle school, the two were on the verge of romance, but Connor’s hesitation at asking her for a dance caused Jenny to dance with and kiss another boy. Heartbroken, Connor was told by Wayne that he must avoid romance at all costs in order not to feel such pain again. For the next two years, Wayne schooled Connor in the art of seduction. When he next saw Jenny, at a high school party, Connor ignored her and kissed another girl named Allison, whom he had his first sexual encounter with. Several years later, as adults, Connor and Jenny rekindled their romance, but Jenny forced him to woo her for several weeks in an attempt to rid him of his womanizing ways. After they finally did have sex, Connor falls in love with her, but when he lies in bed with her to fall asleep beside her, he remembers his uncle Wayne’s warnings about sleeping and spooning with the opposite sex after a night of passion. Realizing this, he panics, running out on her so he won’t be hurt. The next morning, Jenny wakes up alone and broken-hearted. His relationships thereafter consisted of a series of very short flings.Awakening back in the Mead mansion in the present, Connor accidentally destroys Paul and Sandra’s (his bride-to-be) wedding cake and unsuccessfully attempts to reconcile with Jenny. After his failed attempt, Connor returns to his uncle Wayne’s room and finds another woman awaiting him in his bed and, fearing that this woman was the next “Ghost” to accompany him on his journey to show him how he became “himself”, panics and runs out of his room, though it’s clear after he leaves that the woman in the bed awaiting him is actually one of the bridesmaids hoping to have sex with him. As he storms out of the house, he is confronted by the “Ghost of Girlfriends Present” in the form of his assistant Melanie (Noureen DeWulf), the only constant female figure in his life. With her, he sees that in his absence the other wedding guests make fun of him and his shallow lifestyle. Paul stands up for his brother, recalling that Connor helped raise him after their parents’ death, and expresses his hope that Connor will someday change for the better. As the bridemaids discusse their love lives, one of them makes a remark about Jenny being emotionally twisted beyond recognition by Connor to the point that she’s unable to move on to a new relationship. Jenny hears this and though Sandra tries to comfort her, Jenny leaves the room hurt and in tears. Melanie guides Connor to the kitchen to show him a crying Jenny as she tries to repair Paul and Sandra’s wedding cake. Connor also sees that Jenny is being comforted by Brad (Daniel Sunjata), and is upset that his own actions and attitude are bringing the two closer. He is further upset to discover that Melanie and the three women whom he previously broke up with by conference call are bonding over his disregard for their feelings.Returning to the house, Connor finds Sandra furious at learning that Paul had slept with one of her bridesmaids very early in their relationship, information that Connor had let slip earlier in the evening. Connor attempts to mend the situation but only makes things worse, and Paul tells him to leave. On his way out, he is confronted by the “Ghost of Girlfriends Future” (Olga Maliouk), who takes him forward in time to see that Jenny marries Brad while Paul remains alone. Further in the future, Paul is the only mourner at Connor’s funeral. Wayne appears and tells Connor that this is his future if he continues on the same path, pushing him into the grave to be buried by his many ex-girlfriends.Connor awakens in the Mead home and learns that Sandra has called off the wedding and is on her way to the airport. He intercepts the bridal party and convinces Sandra to forgive Paul by sharing lessons learned from his own mistakes, particularly that the pain of heartbreak is outweighed by the regret of never risking one’s heart in the first place, something he admits to always regretting having done. Connor helps Jenny to restart the wedding, which he photographs, and afterwards he reconciles with Jenny by showing her the picture he still carries of her as a child and by promising to always be there when she wakes up. The two kiss and dance in the snow to the same song Connor once hesitated to ask her to dance to.Meanwhile, Wayne tries to hit on the ghost of girlfriends future, but she magically vanishes after throwing a drink in his face. Then he tries to hit on the ghost of girlfriends present, but Melanie informs Wayne she is one of the attendees and vanishes. Melanie and Brad start talking and then dancing. Wayne is left with the ghost of girlfriends past, Allison, who is not interested since she is only 16. Wayne says that they are ghosts and therefore ageless.The film started out a little slowly but began to move well. I thought that there was really good chemistry between the two main characters. I liked the film for its well conveyed message about commitment and what it means to care for people. In order to receive you need to give and vice versa. The film used Dickens as a clever vehicle for its plot and it worked really well.

REVIEW: TWO FOR THE MONEY

CAST

Al Pacino (Simone)
Matthew McConaughey (EDTV)
Rene Russo (Thor)
Armand Assante (Judge Dredd)
Carly Pope (Arrow)
Jeremy Piven (Mr. Selfridge)
Jaime King (Sin City)
Ralph Garman (Yoga Hosers)

Brandon Lang (McConaughey) is a former college football star who, after sustaining a career-ending injury, takes a job handicapping football games. His success at choosing winners catches the eye of Walter Abrams (Pacino), the slick head of one of the biggest sports consulting operations in the United States. Walter takes Brandon under his wing, and soon they are making tremendous amounts of money.

Lang’s in-depth knowledge of the game, leagues and players brings in big winnings and bigger clients. Abrams’ cable television show, The Sports Advisors, skyrockets in popularity when he adds Lang’s slick “John Anthony” persona to the desk, infuriating Jerry Sykes (Jeremy Piven), who up to now has been Walter’s in-house expert. Lang’s total image is remade — new car, new wardrobe and a new look with the assistance of Walter’s wife, Toni (Russo), a hair stylist.

Things suddenly go south, however, when Lang begins playing his hunches instead of doing his homework. He loses his touch and is even physically assaulted by the thugs of a gambler (Armand Assante) who lost a great deal of money following Lang’s advice. Lang and Abrams’ once-solid relationship sours. Lang’s new high-rolling lifestyle depends entirely on his ability to predict the outcomes of the games. Millions are at stake by the time he places his last bet, and Abrams grows increasingly unstable. (Abrams is a recovering gambling addict and alcoholic, among other things. Toni tells Lang early on that Walter’s life is “held together by meetings; if there’s an ‘anonymous’ at the end of it, he goes. He has to.”). He secretly begins gambling all of his own money on Lang’s picks and becomes suspicious that Lang is having an affair with his wife.

The film concludes with Lang’s predictions coming true for the last game, both of which he allegedly determines by flipping coins in a bathroom, as he leaves New York and takes a job as coach of a junior league football team.

Not a great movie by any means, but some truly fine acting from the trio of stars. The supporting cast also gives solid roles despite the skimpy script. If gambling of any sort, and sports gambling in particular, is of interest to you, then this is a movie to recommend. Otherwise see it for the actors, not the story.

REVIEW: EDtv

CAST

Matthew McConaughey (Interstellar)
Jenna Elfman (Dharma & Greg)
Woody Harrelson (the Hunger Games)
Ellen DeGeneres (Finding Dory)
Sally Kirkland (JFK)
Martin Landau (Ed Wood)
Rob Reiner (This Is Spinal Tap)
Dennis Hopper (Speed)
Elizabeth Hurley (Bedazzled)
Viveka Davis (Cast Away)
Chris Hogan (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Geoffrey Blake (Contact)
Merrin Dungey (Conviction)
Rusty Schwimmer (Highlander II)
Adam Goldberg (Deja Vu)
Clint Howard (Apollo 13)
Harry Shearer (The Simpsons)
Azura Skye (28 Days)
Christian Kane (Angel)
T.J. Thyne (Bones)

EDtv starts off with the television channel True TV commencing interviews for a TV show that shows a normal person’s life 24/7. This idea was thought up by a TV producer named Cynthia (Ellen DeGeneres). They interview Ed Pekurny (Matthew McConaughey) and his brother, Ray (Woody Harrelson). When the producers see the interview Cynthia decides to use Ed and interviews only Ed. The show hits the airwaves under the title “Ed TV.” It is a total failure at first, as only boring things happen and the producers want to pull the plug, except for Cynthia.

Ed TV gets interesting suddenly on Day 3 when Ed visits Ray. Ed (along with the cameramen) discovers that Ray is cheating on his girlfriend Shari (Jenna Elfman). Ed then visits Shari to apologize to her for Ray’s actions. Shari is very drunk and starts insulting Ray, by talking to the camera. She makes everyone laugh and gasp by saying “Ray was a bad lay.” Ed tries to comfort Shari, and he reveals he has feelings for her. She then reveals she has feelings for Ed as well. They slowly move their faces closer and finally kiss each other. Ed then locks out the camera crew and proceeds to passionately kiss Shari for a while. Ed TV thus becomes extremely popular. At Cynthia’s insistence Ed starts a relationship with Shari which is short lived, as Ed grows more interested in staying on TV and Shari is abused by viewers who find her unappealing.1

Ed then goes on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and meets beautiful model/actress Jill (Elizabeth Hurley) who takes a liking to Ed. Ed then visits Shari and she tells Ed that she does not want to be with him until “Ed TV” stops airing. She then leaves town. Ed goes to the park with Ray and some friends to play football when Jill comes to talk to him, because Cynthia brought her in to earn more ratings. She invites Ed to dinner at her house. When he arrives at Jill’s house, there is a massive crowd. They have a small talk, and then they kiss on top of a table. They are about to have sex, but then Ed falls off the table and squishes Jill’s cat. Ed never sees Jill again.

Ed’s father (Dennis Hopper), who abandoned his family when Ed was 13, unexpectedly visits Ed and informs him that he left because Ed’s mother was having an affair with Ed’s current stepfather, Al (Martin Landau). Ed is furious with his mother and argues with her. Next, Ed gets a phone call telling him to come to the hospital. The doctor says that his father is dead and that he died making love to his wife. Ed thinks this means Al, but it actually is his real father and that Ed’s mother was cheating on Al. After the funeral, Ed becomes disheartened by the fact that the producers want him to stay on longer and that he cannot do anything to change their minds or he would be in breach of his contract. Ed is depressed until he catches a glimpse of Shari (in disguise wearing a wig and sunglasses). He chases her for a long time until she stops in the women’s bathroom in a movie theater. She says she is staying with her brother as it is his birthday and she just wanted to see Ed. Ed vows to find a way to end the show to be with Shari. When Ed exits, one camera man stays with Shari saying that it is the producers’ new idea. The main camera man tells him that all his family are being filmed, but they show the most interesting person.

Ed gets an idea on how to stop the main producer from showing the show: he says that he will give $10,000 to the person who can give him the best amount of “dirt” on the producers and that he will announce it live, with the desired result being they stop airing the show before he can make the announcement. As Cynthia feels sorry for Ed, she tells him a secret of the main producer. Ed announces the secret (that the man has to pump a liquid into his penis to get an erection) but before he can announce who it is they stop airing the show. After the camera crew finally leaves Ed’s apartment, he and Shari renew their relationship and celebrate the fact that TV news panelists predict Ed will be forgotten in a short period of time.2Through consistent one liners and also physical humorous actions by the characters EDTV will win over many audiences as it adds chucklesome humour but drives itself on emotional driven situations to, given a perfectly balance aspect of real life.

REVIEW: TROPIC THUNDER

CAST

Ben Stiller (Mystery Men)
Jack Black (Goosebumps)
Robert Downey, Jr. (Sherlock Holmes)
Steve Coogan (Hott Fuzz)
Jay Braruchel (Fanboys)
Danny McBride (Land of the Lost)
Brandon T. Jackson (Thunderstruck)
Bill Hader (Superbad)
Tobey Maguire (Spider-Man)
Nick Nolte (Hulk)
Matthew McConaughey (EdTV)
Brandon Soo Hoo Supah Ninjas)
Tom Cruise (Knight and Day)
Tyra Banks (Coyote Ugly)
Martin Lawrence (Bad Boys)
Jason Bateman (Identity Thief)
Jennifer Love Hewitt (Ghost Whisperer)
Alicia Silverstone (Clueless)
Jon Voight (Transformers)
Christine Taylor (Zoolander)
Mini Anden (Chuck)
Anthony Ruivivar (Scream: The Series)
Rachel Avery (Scrubs)
Yvette Nicole Brown (Repo Men)
Justin Theroux (American Psycho)
Valerie Azlynn (Julia X)
Reggie Lee (Grimm)
Miko Hughes (Full House)

Hook-handed Vietnam veteran Staff Sergeant John “Four Leaf” Tayback’s (Nick Nolte) memoir, Tropic Thunder, is being made into a film. With the exception of newcomer supporting actor Kevin Sandusky (Jay Baruchel), the cast—fading action hero Tugg Speedman (Ben Stiller), five-time Academy Award-winning Australian method actor Kirk Lazarus (Robert Downey, Jr.), rapper Alpa Chino (Brandon T. Jackson), and drug-addicted comedian Jeff Portnoy (Jack Black) all behave unreasonably. Rookie director Damien Cockburn (Steve Coogan) cannot control them during filming of a large battle scene, and production is reported to be one month behind schedule a mere week into production. Furious studio executive Les Grossman (Tom Cruise) orders Cockburn to resume filming as planned, or have the project shut down.

Acting on Four Leaf’s advice, Damien drops the actors into the middle of the jungle, with hidden cameras and rigged special effects explosions to film “guerrilla-style”. The actors have guns that fire blanks, along with a map and scene listing that will lead to a helicopter waiting at the end of the route. Unknown to the actors and production, the group have been dropped in the middle of the Golden Triangle, the home of the heroin-producing Flaming Dragon gang. Just as the group are about to set off, Damien inadvertently steps on an old land mine and is blown up, stunning the actors. Tugg, believing Damien faked his death to encourage the cast to give better performances, persuades the others that Damien is alive, and that they are still shooting the film. Lazarus is unconvinced but joins them in their trek through the jungle.

When Four Leaf and pyrotechnics operator Cody Underwood (Danny McBride) try to locate the dead director, they are captured by Flaming Dragon. Four Leaf is revealed to have hands; he confesses to Underwood that he actually served in the Coast Guard, has never left the United States, and that he wrote his “memoir” as a tribute. As the actors continue through the jungle, Kirk and Kevin discover that Tugg is leading them in the wrong direction. The four actors, tired of walking and hoping to be rescued, leave Tugg, who goes off by himself and is captured by Flaming Dragon. Taken to their heroin factory, Tugg believes it is a POW camp from the script. The gang discovers he is the star of their favorite film, the box office bomb Simple Jack, and forces him to reenact it several times a day.

Meanwhile in Los Angeles, Tugg’s agent Rick ‘Pecker’ Peck (Matthew McConaughey) is trying to negotiate with Les an unfulfilled term in Tugg’s contract that entitles him to a TiVo. Flaming Dragon calls the two and demands a ransom for Tugg, but Les instead berates the gang. Despite the threats, Les expresses no interest in rescuing Tugg and tries to convince Rick about the benefits of allowing Tugg to die and collecting the insurance. Les also offers Rick a Gulfstream V jet and money in return for his cooperation.

Kirk, Alpa, Jeff, and Kevin discover Flaming Dragon’s heroin factory. After witnessing Tugg being tortured, they plan a rescue attempt based on the film’s script. Kirk impersonates a farmer towing a captured Jeff on the back of a water buffalo, distracting the armed guards so Alpa and Kevin can locate the captives, but after the gang’s leader (Brandon Soo Hoo) notices inconsistencies in Kirk’s story, the actors, knowing their cover has been blown, begin firing, temporarily subduing the gang. Their control of the gang falls apart when Jeff grabs the leader and heads for the drugs, and the gang regains their guns and begin firing.

The four actors locate Four Leaf, Cody, and Tugg and cross a bridge rigged to explode to get to Underwood’s helicopter. Tugg asks to remain behind with the gang which he considers his family, but quickly returns when Flaming Dragon fires in pursuit. Four Leaf detonates the bridge allowing Tugg to reach safety, but as the helicopter takes off, the gang fires a rocket-propelled grenade at the helicopter. Rick unexpectedly stumbles out of the jungle carrying a TiVo box and throws it in the path of the grenade, saving them. The crew return to Hollywood, where footage from the hidden cameras is compiled into a feature film, Tropic Blunder, which becomes a major critical and commercial success. The film wins Tugg his first Academy Award, which Kirk presents to him at the ceremony.

In a mid-credits scene, Rick is on a plane back to Hollywood with his estranged son.

Brilliant satire on Hollywood and war/action movies. Easily Stiller’s best role as it mirrors his reality. Downey Jr is in his prime! “I don’t read the script, the script reads me”. In smaller roles Matthew McConaughey and Tom Cruise and excellent as an agent and a film mogul. The film definitely has a “Spinal Tap” edge to it where the jokes keep coming through their subtlety. It is sad that Stiller will always be in cheesy cash cow films but this is the one that he should be remembered for, directing a satirical classic

REVIEW: INTERSTELLAR

CAST
Matthew McConaughey (Two For The Money)
Ellen Burstyn  (Mom)
Jessica Chastain (The Huntsman: Winter’s War)
Mackenzie Foy (The Conjuring)
John Lithgow (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Timothée Chalamet (Homeland)
David Oyelowo (Rise of The Planet of Rhe Apes)
Anne Hathaway (The Dark Knight Rises)
Wes Bentley (The Hunger Games)
William Devane (Stargate: Continuum)
Michael Caine (Inception)
Casey Affleck (Gone Baby Gone)
Topher Grace (That 70s Show)
Matt Damon (The Bourne Identity)
A catastrophic crop blight has made farming increasingly difficult and threatens humanity’s survival. Joe Cooper, a widowed former NASA pilot, runs a farm with his father-in-law, son, and daughter Murphy, who believes her bedroom is haunted by a poltergeist. When the “ghost” creates a pattern in the dust, Cooper realizes someone is using gravity to communicate, and interprets the pattern as geographic coordinates, which Cooper and Murphy follow to a secret NASA facility.
There, they meet Dr. Brand, Cooper’s former professor. Brand reveals that a wormhole, apparently created by an alien intelligence, appeared near Saturn 48 years before and leads to a distant galaxy, with numerous potentially habitable planets. Twelve volunteers have gone through it, knowing only a few can be retrieved, each to assess a planet’s suitability as humanity’s new home. Miller, Edmunds and Mann have sent encouraging data from planets near Gargantua, a supermassive black hole. Brand recruits Cooper to pilot the spaceship Endurance to evaluate as many of the planets as possible, while he works on “Plan A”, a theory to harness gravity for propulsion, which would allow humanity to leave Earth. The Endurance also carries 5,000 frozen embryos as “Plan B”, to provide for humanity’s survival. Cooper agrees to go, alienating Murphy.
Cooper’s crew consists of scientists Romilly, Doyle, and Brand’s daughter Amelia and robots TARS and CASE. Traversing the wormhole, they head to Miller’s planet, an ocean world where time is severely dilated due to its proximity to Gargantua; for each hour there, seven years pass on Earth. While Romilly and TARS remain aboard, the rest descend to the surface, where they find only wreckage. Amelia retrieves Miller’s data, before a gigantic tidal wave kills Doyle. Cooper, Amelia, and CASE manage to return to Endurance, but 23 years have elapsed on Earth.
Murphy, now an adult, has been assisting Dr. Brand with his research. On his deathbed, he admits to her that he solved the gravity equation long before and deemed Plan A impossible, and that he lied to everyone, pinning his hopes on Plan B. Murphy notifies Amelia of her father’s death, then accuses her and Cooper of abandoning Earth. She continues working, believing Plan A might work if she could somehow get more data about singularities.
With limited fuel, Cooper decides to go to Mann’s planet, rather than Edmunds’, over Amelia’s opposition; both have sent promising data, but Mann is closer and Amelia admits to being in love with Edmunds. After being revived from cryosleep, Mann assures the crew that while the frozen planet has an ammonia-laden atmosphere, the surface is livable. However, when they are alone, Mann attempts to kill Cooper, revealing that he falsified the data so he would be rescued. Mann then heads for Endurance. Meanwhile, Romilly is killed by a booby trap. After Amelia rescues Cooper, they race to Endurance, where Mann is attempting to dock despite being locked out of the autodocking system. Mann ignores Cooper’s plea not to open the airlock, which fails catastrophically. Mann is killed and the severely damaged Endurance begins falling out of orbit. Cooper uses the landing craft to stabilize the ship.
Using Gargantua’s gravity as a slingshot, they head to Edmunds’ planet, but their nearness to the black hole means 51 years will elapse on Earth. To shed weight, Cooper jettisons himself and TARS towards the black hole, so that Amelia and CASE can complete the journey. Cooper and TARS pass the event horizon, but emerge in a tesseract, which appears as a stream of bookshelves that look into Murphy’s bedroom at different times. Cooper surmises that the tesseract and wormhole were created by five-dimensional beings to enable him to communicate with Murphy and that he is her “ghost”. He relays in Morse code quantum data that TARS collected from the black hole by manipulating the second hand of a watch he gave to Murphy before he left. Murphy is able to solve the remaining gravitational equation.
Cooper is ejected into normal space and awakens in a space habitat orbiting Saturn. He reunites with an aged Murphy, now near death. At Murphy’s urging, Cooper leaves to rejoin Amelia on Edmunds’ habitable planet, the future home of humanity.
Interstellar is a terrific film, and may come to be regarded as one of the best ever from this genre.

 

 

 

 

REVIEW: THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 1,2, 3 & 4

CAST

Marilyn Burns (The Big Rip-Off)
Allen Danziger (Eggshells)
Paul A. Partain (Race With The Devil)
William Vail (Too Young To Die?)
Teri McMinn (Butcher Boys)
Edwin Neal (JFK)
Gunnar Hansen (Mosquito)
Jim Siedow (The Windsplitter)

The movie has a  functional storyline, one that has since became the staple for slasher movies; a group of teenagers get lost, stumble across evil and get stalked and killed. But Chain Saw isn’t about storyline and plot; it’s about creating an experience, a sensory overload. The cast and crew work tirelessly to create scenes and images that are raw and powerful and ultimately, against all expectations, beautiful. Leatherface’s travesty of motherly domesticity as he prepares dinner, his child-like dance in the dawn light, the open door at the gas station, the van making it’s slow turn off the road towards the derelict and ivy clad Hardesty residence are all images that burn themselves into your consciousness after just a single viewing.

The cinematography is exceptional. Watching the Special Edition, you’d never know that this was shot on 16mm in poor light. The picture quality is outstanding, the colors rich and vibrant, the blacks inky and menacing. The brilliant azure skies, the jade green of the grass, the bright red generator, the searing sunlight and stifling shadows.

Though not always likable, the actors are always believable. Performances are universally startling, but special mention has to go to Marilyn Burns. Though she has little more to work with than the clichéd screaming heroine, she works it with remarkable conviction. It was a traumatic shoot, and it shows. Few actresses have so effectively conveyed mind-numbing terror.

The soundtrack is exceptional and deserves more recognition. It is a great testimony to the experimentation and risk taking attitude of the era that all melody is destroyed under an industrial ambient soundscape of metallic clangs, scrapes and screams, evoking the atmosphere of the local slaughterhouse and the Family’s state of mind. Terrifying.

Despite the complete lack of gore or extreme physical violence, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre continues to horrify and holds up the countless, shot-on-video, slasher clones of subsequent years for the puerile crap that they truly are. Whether by accident or design, this one is a classic.

CAST

Dennis Hopper (Speed)
Caroline Williams (Halloween II)
Jim Siedow (The Windsplitter)
Bill Moseley (Army of Darkness)
Bill Johnson (The Caretakers)

Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 is one of the most misunderstood movies of all time. Even many horror fans, of the first Texas Chainsaw Massacre or slashers in general, hated it and dismissed it. Now after a decade or so after its release, TCM 2 is now a cult movie.

There are so many things to point out why TCM 2 is a stand-out. The first and most important thing to point out is that back in the 1980s, horror films were reduced to simple slashers. TCM 2 is totally different than the plethora of slashers that many horror fans expected to see, which is one reason why many horror fans didn’t get it. The body count is extremely low in TCM 2 compared to the Friday the 13th or Elm Street flicks. But that doesn’t mean it’s not violent. No, it’s VERY violent. But the violence in TCM 2 is more engrossing, shocking and even at times funny, and in turn less acceptable than the unreal violence found in many slasher films. Because of the amount of violence and violent imagery, films critics trashed TCM 2, pointing out how the first film didn’t rely on gore and violence to scare the audience.

I love Texas Chainsaw Massacre as much as I love TCM 2. I understand what the critics were saying. Unfortunately, they didn’t get the point of the violence in TCM 2. While TCM is a sweat inducing TERRIFYING horror film in the first order, TCM 2 is a “GRAND GUIGNOL HORROR” horror film in the first order. In TCM 2, Hooper creates a vast canvas of baroque imagery, where we watch the insane and gory story unfold before our incredulous eyes. I’m amazed that critics missed the whole difference between TCM and TCM 2. It’s odd that critics will rave about Peter Greenaway’s “THE COOK, THE THIEF, HIS WIFE & HER LOVER” which is a twisted drama in the the Grand Guignol style, but didn’t see TCM 2 in the same way. It’s probably due to the fact that TCM 2 is a sequel to a quasi-legendary horror film and everyone expected the sequel to be the same as the first movie.

I give credit to everyone involved with TCM 2. They actually TRIED to do something different: different from the equally great TCM, different from the increasingly boring horror films of the 80s. And in my eye, they’ve succeeded. There are so many memorable scenes in TCM 2, some of which are the most amazing horror moments ever put on screen (when Leatherface tries to put the scalped face on Stretch, the scene when Stretch finds her friend sans face, etc). And there are so many quotable lines too. It’s a shame few people “got” TCM 2 back then.  For anyone who’s game, watch TCM 2. You’ll be squealing in horror and laughing at the insanity of it all in equal amounts.

CAST

Kate Hodge (She-Wolf of London)
Ken Foree (Dawn of The Dead)
R.A. Mihailoff (Hatchet II)
William Butler (Gingerdead Man 2 & 3)
Viggo Mortensen (Lord of The Rings)
Tom Everett (Air Force One

It should be noted that the 3rd film ignores the second one. The opening narration says it all. It recovers how poor Sally Hardesty went into catatonia after her encounter with Leatherface and died shortly thereafter. The police then arrested a man, D.E. Sawyer, who used the Leatherface M.O., he died in the gas chamber in 1981, though I thought in Texas, executions were carried out by lethal injection. Hopefully, “Leatherface” is no more, but if he is, he’s still at large and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre was only the beginning…

Two people, Michelle and Scott, from Los Angeles on their way to Florida, were passing through Texas. They pass by an operation involving paramedics digging up bodies buried all over an area. The bodies were mangled and just looked, well, awful! They drive on and stop at a filling station, run by a crazy man, Alfredo. He scares Michelle, snaps a photograph of her reaction and charges $5.00 for the picture. He even peeps on her taking a whizz. Luckily, a young man, Tex, comes to her rescue. Alfredo didn’t like this so he grabbed his shotgun. Before they go, Tex showed Michelle and Scott a better road to take, because it wasn’t a good idea wandering around back roads in an unfamiliar area. They pulled out just as Alfredo returned with his gun.

Naturally, they soon had a blow out. In the dark, Scott struggled to change the tire. Right then, Leatherface, or Junior, popped up, caulked his chain saw to life and tried to get them! But they get away. They don’t get too far because a bounty hunter, Benny, is driving on the wrong side of the road and the two go off a cliff. Michelle and Scott survive, luckily. Benny doesn’t believe their story about a man with a chain saw. Before long, Michelle and Scott are kidnapped by the bad guys and are taken to their house. Tex was part of the family. There was also Mama, Grandpa, Papa a little girl Michelle saw upstairs, and Leatherface! The family was planning on having Michelle and Scott for dinner. They actually intended to eat them!

Papa presents Leatherface with a gift: a new chain saw. A big one! “The Saw is Family” was engraved on the blade and when you gunned the engine, it sounded like the world was coming to an end! Pretty soon, it was Benny to the rescue! He took out Mama, battled Papa and Tex.  Leatherface is defeated. Benny and Michelle escape. But is Leatherface really dead? It isn’t as scary as the first or as violent as the second. Horror fans must see Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III.

CAST

Renee Zellweger (Jerry Maguire)
Matthew McConaughey (Interstellar)
Robert Jacks (Slacker)
Tonie Perensky (Varsity Blues)
Joe Stevens (True Grit)

When two couples leave the prom early and get lost in the woods, then into a car accident, they soon find themselves mixed up with the deadly Sawyer family, still crazy after all these years. The story soon focuses on Jenny (Renee Zellweger), who I guess is the smartest of the troubled teens, as she is tormented and tortured by the psychotic Vilmer (Matthew McConaughey, who sports an electronic leg brace here), his masochist girlfriend, dim-witted W.E., and the legendary Leatherface, who is all dolled-up for this one. Much of it plays the same old “stumbled into a house of crazies” game that has lost some of its scare power over the years, and losing the cannibal aspect doesn’t help, but a new conspiracy twist adds a certain something that, in my opinion, makes it interesting.

The first thing one notices about this film is that it stars Renee Zellweger and Matthew McConaughey, and if you’re fans of theirs, that’s definitely reason enough to check this out. Made in 1994, this is one of their earlier films (it’s also known as “Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre”). In general, the acting isn’t that impressive (some is pretty awful). I’m not a McConaughey fan, but I do have to give him credit. He gives this role his all, unless he’s just playing himself… Zellweger has good and bad moments, but she clearly stands out among the group of kids who get lost in the woods with her.

In fact, you’re practically cheering for the other three to get killed, which is one of the problems with this flick. Like with a lot of horror films now, it’s hard to really get scared when you don’t feel for the victims. They’re either unlikable and you start rooting for the villain, or they’re too good looking or recognizable, so you can’t forget you’re watching a movie. In addition, there’s the lack of the cannibal thing,  the whole thing is just a tad campy when compared to the gritty realism of the original.  This disturbed little flick is a fun ride of a horror film. Okay, it’s not as scary as the others, but it’s decent entertainment.