REVIEW: NOW YOU SEE ME

Starring

Jesse Eisenberg (Batman V Superman)
Woody Harrelson (The Hunger Games)
Isla Fisher (Nocturnal Animals)
Dave Franco (21 Jump Street)
Mark Ruffalo (Avengers: Endgame)
Mélanie Laurent (6 Underground)
Morgan Freeman (The Dark Knight)
Jessica Lindsey (Instructions Not Included)
Michael Caine (Harry BRown)
David Warshofsky (Running Scared)
Michael Kelly (Man of Steel)
Common (The Kitchen)
José Garcia (The Take)
Elias Koteas (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Chris Browning (Agent Carter)

Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, and Dave Franco in Now You See Me (2013)Four stage magicians, J. Daniel “Danny” Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson), Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher), and Jack Wilder (Dave Franco), are each given a tarot card that leads them to the same empty New York City apartment where they find information from an unknown benefactor.Mark Ruffalo in Now You See Me (2013)A year later, the four have their first major performance as the Four Horsemen in an elaborate Las Vegas show funded by insurance magnate Arthur Tressler (Michael Caine). Their final trick appears to transport one of the audience members to the vault of his bank, the Crédit Républicain in Paris, where stacks of new euro bills are stored. At the magicians’ command, the fans in the vault activate, drawing the bills into the vents and then showering the Las Vegas crowd with them. The euros are shown to be real, and the vault in Paris is found to be empty of its recent shipment of euros. FBI agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo), and Interpol agent Alma Dray (Mélanie Laurent), are then partnered to investigate the Horsemen. The two question the magicians but have no evidence to hold them. Dylan and Alma turn to Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman), a former magician and now a popular video host who makes millions of dollars exposing the tricks behind magic acts. Thaddeus demonstrates how the Horsemen used a mock vault under the Las Vegas stage, and explains that the group must have stolen the money in Paris before it arrived at the bank, and replaced it with flash paper which ignited but left no residue as evidence.Morgan Freeman, Mélanie Laurent, and Jessica Lindsey in Now You See Me (2013)Dylan, Alma, and Thaddeus follow the Horsemen to their next show in New Orleans. There, their final trick appears to transfer over 140 million dollars from Tressler’s private accounts to those in the audience, made up of people that were denied insurance claims by Tressler’s company in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Dylan and Alma attempt to apprehend the four, but the magicians elude arrest. Tressler hires Thaddeus to expose the Horsemen in revenge for the loss of his money. Alma investigates the Horsemen and determines they are connected to a group called the Eye, a small group of magicians that claim to have access to real magic and only accept the best of the best magicians, who have to be invited and pass tests. She finds out that one of the Eye’s members, Lionel Shrike, had previously been exposed by Thaddeus, but died in a locked-safe escape trick he was performing in an attempt to regain his standing. Alma suspects a fifth person is aiding the Horsemen.Isla Fisher in Now You See Me (2013)Dylan discovers his cellphone has been stolen and bugged by the Horsemen, allowing them to access the FBI servers and remain ahead of the investigation. Tracking the real phone leads the FBI to a New York City apartment. When they raid it, three of the Horsemen escape while Jack recovers numerous documents and then leads the authorities on a high-speed car chase. Jack loses control of his car, causing it to flip and catch fire. Dylan is unable to save Jack, but manages to recover the papers, pointing to the Horsemen’s next planned crime, stealing millions of dollars in cash out of a large safe of the Elkhorn company. By the time Dylan, Alma, and Thaddeus find the safe, it had just been stolen and loaded into a truck. They quickly apprehend the truck, arrange for it to be delivered to its arranged destination, and Dylan hides inside. But when it arrives, and is opened by Bradley and his assistant, it contains nothing but balloon animals.Jesse Eisenberg in Now You See Me (2013)The Horsemen broadcast that they will perform their final show that night at 5 Pointz, inviting the public to attend. The FBI and police converge on the scene and amid the chaos search for the Horsemen. The remaining Horsemen appear to the crowd, giving their fans a farewell and a message about an ulterior purpose, and then run to jump off a roof; Dylan attempts to shoot them but Alma pushes his arm so he misses. The three Horseman jump, turning into a shower of money over the crowd. The money is counterfeit, but the audience’s race to collect it prevents the authorities from tracking the real Horsemen.Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, and Dave Franco in Now You See Me (2013)After the show, Thaddeus walks to his car, only to find it full of the money stolen from the real Elkhorn safe, which is later revealed to have never been stolen but was really hidden behind a giant mirror to make it look like it was gone. Assumed to be the fifth Horseman, he is arrested. Dylan speaks to Thaddeus in jail, where Thaddeus slowly comes to realize that Alma’s theory was correct, and Dylan was the fifth Horseman. Dylan quietly walks away, leaving Thaddeus shouting “Why?” Elsewhere, the Horsemen (including Jack, who had faked his death using a cadaver and a duplicate car) meet at the carousel in Central Park, and use their tarot cards to turn it on. Dylan arrives and welcomes the four to the Eye.Later, at the Pont des Arts, Dylan meets with Alma and reveals that he is Shrike’s son. He brought the Horsemen together to get retribution for his father’s death: the Elkhorn Safe Company for providing a faulty safe that led to the accident; Thaddeus, for humiliating and impoverishing his father and forcing him to try the new trick to regain his standing; and the Crédit Républicain and Tressler’s insurance companies for failing to pay out on Shrike’s life insurance. Alma, who has come into a romantic relationship with Dylan, easily decides not to turn him in. She takes a lock and a key that Dylan produces, attaches the lock among the other love locks on the railing, and throws the key into the Seine.In a post-credits scene, the Horsemen, driving through a desert, approach a junkyard full of old magician memorabilia, before getting out of their car and slowly beginning to examine the area before coming upon a set of locked crates covered in the symbol of The Eye, but without their playing cards to open them.While Now You See Me may not be a grand slam, it’s still entertaining, thanks to the thrills and visual style of the film. Bottom line, if you’re a fan of the heist genre, you’ll like this movie. For me though, it just lacks a further script rewrite to have become one of the best examples of the genre.

REVIEW: 6 UNDERGROUND

Ryan Reynolds, Mélanie Laurent, Dave Franco, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Corey Hawkins, Ben Hardy, and Adria Arjona in 6 Underground (2019)

Starring

Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool)
Mélanie Laurent (Inglourious Basterds)
Manuel Garcia-Rulfo (THe Magnificent Seven)
Ben Hardy (Bohemian Rhapsody)
Adria Arjona (Pacific Rim: Uprising)
Dave Franco (21 Jump Street)
Corey Hawkins (Kong: Skull Island)
Ron Funches (Get Hard)
Sebastian Roché (The Originals)

Ryan Reynolds in 6 Underground (2019)Four years after witnessing the horrors of a brutal regime in the Middle Eastern nation of Turgistan, an unnamed American billionaire and philanthropist who made his fortunes from inventing neodymium magnets fakes his own death to form an anonymous vigilante squad to take down criminals and terrorists that governments will not touch. Now known as “One”, he recruits five other people to abandon their pasts and join his cause as “ghosts”: Two, a spy; Three, a hitman; Four, a parkour runner and thief; Five, a doctor; and Six, a driver.6 Underground (2019)On their first mission in Florence, Italy, the team kills the lawyer of Turgistan’s four generals before they are chased across the city by the Mafia and the police. Six is killed just as they manage to get away. Days later, One recruits Blaine, a former Delta Force sniper suffering from survivor’s guilt over his inability to save his team due to orders, and renames him “Seven”. One plans a mission to stage a coup d’état to topple the government of Turgistan dictator Rovach Alimov and install his imprisoned brother Murat as the country’s new leader during the Day of the Dead. It is revealed that Two had reluctantly captured Murat and handed him back to Rovach before becoming a Ghost.Ryan Reynolds, Mélanie Laurent, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Corey Hawkins, Ben Hardy, and Adria Arjona in 6 Underground (2019)The team assassinates Rovach’s generals in Las Vegas and successfully extract Murat from Hong Kong, but Four is nearly killed until Seven intervenes despite protests from One. Following an argument between One and Seven about One’s willingness to leave people behind, the Ghosts break their code of anonymity and reveal each other’s names. In Turgistan, One sets his plan in motion by hacking the state-run television station during Rovach’s address to give Murat a voice to the people. Murat’s impromptu speech inspires the citizens to revolt while strategic explosions in the city force Rovach to evacuate to his private yacht and Murat occupies the palace. The Ghosts storm through the yacht and One activates a magnetic pulse to incapacitate the guards. When the yacht is immobilized in the middle of the ocean, One decides to save Four from a henchman instead of capture Rovach. Rovach flees by helicopter, only to discover it to be commandeered by Murat and the Ghosts, who drop him near the border to feed him to the refugees.Ryan Reynolds in 6 Underground (2019)In the aftermath of the revolution, Murat becomes Turgistan’s new president and the ghosts part ways until they are once again needed. Two and Three begin a relationship, as well as Four and Five, and One travels to New York City and sees his son, whom he will pass his fortunes to should he die in the next mission.Ryan Reynolds in 6 Underground (2019)Cars, actions and edited with style. It’s a perfect popcorn flick . Chill out the weekend and watch it without any expectations.

REVIEW: DAYS OF GLORY (AKA Indigènes)

Starring

Jamel Debbouze (360)
Samy Naceri (Taxi 2)
Roschdy Zem (The Cold Light of Day)
Bernard Blancan (Boyhood Loves)
Assaad Bouab (Zadig)
Mélanie Laurent (Inglourious Basterds)

Jamel Debbouze and Aurélie Eltvedt in Indigènes (2006)In French North Africa in 1943 large numbers of men from France’s overseas possessions have been recruited into the French First Army of the Free French Forces to fight alongside the other Allies against Nazi Germany and liberate France from occupation. The army consists of two main elements: pieds-noirs, that is people of mostly European descent, and indigènes, those of mostly African descent. The “indigènes” in turn consist of three main groups: Algerians, Moroccans (known as goumiers), and troops from Sub-Sahara Africa. Saïd, an impoverished goat herder, joins the 7th RTA (Régiment de Tirailleurs Algériens). With him are other Algerians including Messaoud, who wants to marry and settle in France, and the literate Corporal Abdelkader, who seeks equality with settlers for the indigenous people of his country. There are also two Moroccan brothers Yassir and Larbi, Yassir’s aim being booty so that Larbi can afford to marry.Sami Bouajila, Jamel Debbouze, and Roschdy Zem in Indigènes (2006)Soon the men, dressed in mostly lend-lease American uniforms meet Sergeant Martinez, a battle-hardened pied-noir, who trains them before leading them on their first engagement against the Germans in Italy. Their mission is to capture a heavily-defended mountain, but it soon becomes clear that their white commanding officer is using them as cannon fodder to identify artillery targets. The colonial troops eventually succeed, at the cost of high casualties. When asked by a French war correspondent about his thoughts on the losses, the white colonel replies, “today was a great victory for the Free French Forces”. The troops of the 7th RTA next embark for Operation Dragoon, to liberate the south of France. While aboard ship, a white cook refuses to give tomatoes to black soldiers. Abdelkader calls for equality, but mutiny is averted when Martinez and the company captain promise that everyone will be treated the same. On arrival at Marseille, the colonial troops are greeted as heroes. Messaoud meets and courts Irène, a French woman, promising when the regiment leaves that he will write and one day return. She says she’ll wait for him and they will marry. However, due to censorship of soldiers’ mail, Irène never learns Messaoud’s fate.Sami Bouajila and Jamel Debbouze in Indigènes (2006)Saïd becomes Martinez’s orderly, for which the other soldiers call him “girlie” and imply he’s gay. Eventually he snaps and holds a knife to Messaoud’s throat. Abdelkader calms the situation, but Saïd makes it clear that in this segregated world the French authorities will not give their colonial soldiers anything. Having seen among Martinez’s possessions a family photograph, while drinking with the sergeant Saïd mentions that the two of them are similar in both having an Arab mother. The NCO attacks him and threatens to kill him if he reveals this secret. The colonial troops discover that, while they are not granted leave, white members of the Free French Forces are allowed trips home. Eventually the men are told they will be going home, but it’s a ruse; instead, they are billeted behind the lines and given a ballet performance. Bored and disillusioned, most leave the tent and hold a meeting outside decrying the injustice. Martinez challenges the group, led by Abdelkader, and a fight starts.Sami Bouajila, Jamel Debbouze, Samy Naceri, and Roschdy Zem in Indigènes (2006)Early next morning, French military police bring Messaoud to a temporary stockade where Abdelkader is also being held. Messaoud says he was arrested for trying to go back to Marseille and find Irène. Abdelkader is brought before the white colonel who tells him that he needs him to go on a special mission: to take ammunition to American troops fighting in the Lorraine Campaign and also be the first French troops to liberate Alsace. The white officer promises that Abdelkader and the other colonial soldiers will get the rewards and recognition that success in this operation will bring. Later, the white company captain tells the corporal that the colonel will keep his word. Most of the men are killed by a booby trap, including Yassir’s brother, as they cross the German lines, and Martinez is severely injured. The survivors mostly want to go back, but Abdelkader rallies them to push on. Eventually the corporal, Saïd, Messaoud, Yassir and the wounded Martinez reach an Alsatian village. Over the next few days the soldiers ingratiate themselves into the area and Saïd befriends a milkmaid. A battle begins when a unit of Germans arrives, and everyone except Abdelkader is killed. Messaoud is badly hurt by a Panzerschreck rocket and then shot by a German rifleman. Saïd attempts to evacuate Martinez, but they are both shot by the Panzerschreck, killing Saïd and further wounding Martinez, who is quickly finished off. Abdelkader and Yassir attempt to flee, but Yassir is shot in the back by a German. However, just as the corporal is cornered, more colonial troops arrive and drive the Germans out of the village.Sami Bouajila, Jamel Debbouze, Samy Naceri, and Roschdy Zem in Indigènes (2006)As columns of Free French forces begin to move through the area, Abdelkader sees the colonel passing in his jeep, but the white commanding officer ignores him and he is pulled away by a staff officer who asks him where his unit is. When Abdelkader says they are all dead, he is simply assigned to another white NCO. As he walks out of the village, he passes a film cameraman filming only white troops standing by the liberated villagers. The movie then moves to the present day. An elderly Abdelkader goes to a war cemetery in Alsace to visit the graves of his comrades: Martinez, Saïd, Yassir and Messaoud. He then returns to his small rundown flat in modern-day France. The film concludes with the caption that from 1959 pensions for servicemen from France’s overseas possessions living in France enjoyed no increases after the date their country of origin became independent.The movie takes the viewer on a trip back to the second world war, showing how parts of the Arabic population fought with the French colonists for their freedom, against Nazi Germany trying to occupy Africa. As the movie evolves, other aspects than the fight for freedom and the brutality of war emerges. The viewer is reminded that the the social identity of the white bourgeoisie class and the stereotypes that follows not emerged with the current world of terrorism. Questions of power, humanity, religion, racism, love and honour follows the viewer through this exciting, emotional and realistic movie. Along with the plot and acting in this piece of work, the critical viewer should be satisfied.

REVIEW: BEGINNERS

CAST

Ewan McGregor (Cassandra’s Dream)
Christopher Plummer (The Forger)
Mélanie Laurent (Inglourious Basterds)
Goran Višnjic (Elektra)
Mary Page Keller (Timecop 2)
Kai Lennox (Green Room)
China Shavers (The Glass House)
Lou Taylor Pucci (Evil Dead)
Michael Chieffo (Roswell)

Ewan McGregor and Mélanie Laurent in Beginners (2010)The film is structured as a series of interconnected flashbacks. Following the death of his father Hal from cancer, Oliver reflects on their relationship during the five years since the death of Oliver’s mother, Georgia. Shortly after her death, Hal came out to his son and began exploring life as an openly gay man. He becomes active in the gay community, finds love with a much younger man and becomes more honest with himself and with his son. As a result, Oliver and Hal become closer during this time. Shortly after Hal’s death, Oliver meets Anna, a French actress, at a party. Inspired by his father’s attitude towards the end of his life and their relationship, Oliver decides to pursue a romance with her.Ewan McGregor and Mélanie Laurent in Beginners (2010)This is a film with a heartfelt story to share with us, technically well made, with some risky directorial choices that for the most part succeed in their purpose, and with some noticeable performances to round it up, especially Christopher Plummer’s affecting turn, undoubtedly deserving of Oscar recognition in the Best Supporting Actor category.

REVIEW: INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS (2009)

CAST

Brad Pitt (Killing Them Softly)
Melanie Laurent (Now You See Me)
Christoph Waltz (The Green Hornet)
Eli Roth (Terror Firmer)
Michael Fassbender (300)
Diane Kruger (The Host)
Daniel Brühl (Captain America: Civil War)
Til Schweiger (Driven)
Mike Myers (Austin Powers)
Julie Dreyfus (Kill Bill)
Samm Levine (Veronica Mars)
Michael Bacall (Django Unchained)
Léa Seydoux (Spectre)
Samuel L. Jackson (Avengers Assemble)
Harvey Keitel (Little Nicky)
Quentin Tarantino (Alias)
Bo Svenson (The Killing Machine)

Film Title: Inglourious Basterds

Chapter One: Once Upon a Time…In Nazi-Occupied France

In 1941, SS colonel Hans Landa, the “Jew Hunter”, interrogates French dairy farmer Perrier La Padite as to the whereabouts of the last unaccounted-for Jewish family in the area. In exchange for the Germans agreeing to leave his family alone for the rest of the war, La Padite reveals that the Dreyfus family is hidden under the floor. Landa orders SS soldiers to shoot through the floorboards. The whole family is killed except for Shosanna, a young woman who escapes when Landa decides not to shoot her as she flees.Film Title: Inglourious Basterds
Chapter Two: Inglourious Basterds

Three years later, Lieutenant Aldo “The Apache” Raine of the First Special Service Force recruits Jewish-American soldiers to the Basterds, who spread fear among the German soldiers by brutally killing and scalping them. The Basterds also recruit Sergeant Hugo Stiglitz, a German soldier who murdered thirteen Gestapo officers. Adolf Hitler interviews a German soldier, Private Butz, the only survivor of a Basterd attack on his squad. Raine carved the Nazi swastika into Butz’s forehead with a knife so he could never hide that he served in the German Heer.

Film Title: Inglourious Basterds
Chapter Three: German Night in Paris

Meanwhile, Shosanna is operating a cinema in Paris under an assumed name. She meets Fredrick Zoller, a German sniper who killed 250 soldiers in a single battle; Zoller is to star in a Nazi propaganda film, Stolz der Nation (Nation’s Pride). Infatuated with Shosanna, Zoller convinces Joseph Goebbels to hold the premiere of the film at her cinema. Shosanna plots with her projectionist and lover, Marcel, to kill the Nazi leaders attending the premiere by setting the cinema ablaze.

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Chapter Four: Operation Kino

Unknown to Shosanna, British Army Lieutenant Archie Hicox is working with the Basterds to plan an attack on the same premiere. Hicox goes to a tavern with Hugo Stiglitz and Basterd Wilhelm Wicki to meet with an undercover agent, the German film star Bridget von Hammersmark. A German soldier named Wilhelm engages them in friendly conversation, but Gestapo Major Dieter Hellstrom overhears them and becomes suspicious of Hicox’s German accent. Hicox convinces him that he is from the Swiss mountains, but then gives himself away by ordering three drinks and gesturing “three” with his hand (with thumb and pinky finger down); Hellstrom knows that Germans gesture “three” with the thumb and first two fingers extended. They are discovered, and the Basterds open fire, killing everyone in the tavern except Wilhelm and a wounded Hammersmark. Raine arrives and negotiates with Wilhelm for Hammersmark to be released, but the actress kills Wilhelm when he lowers his guard. Raine learns from Hammersmark that Hitler himself will be attending the film premiere and decides to continue the mission. Later, Landa investigates the aftermath at the tavern and finds one of Hammersmark’s shoes and a napkin with her signature, clues that will lead him to her.

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Chapter Five: Revenge of the Giant Face

At the premiere, two of the Basterds, Donny “The Bear Jew” Donowitz and Omar Ulmer, join Raine in posing as Italians, hoping to fool the Germans unfamiliar with the language. However, Landa, who speaks fluent Italian, converses briefly with the Basterds before sending Donowitz and Ulmer to their seats. He takes Hammersmark to a private room, verifies that the shoe from the tavern fits her foot, then strangles her to death. Raine and another of his men, Smithson “The Little Man” Utivich, are taken prisoner, but Landa has Raine contact his superior with the OSS and cuts a deal: He will allow the mission to proceed in exchange for immunity and rewards.
Film Title: Inglourious BasterdsDuring the screening, Zoller slips away to the projection room to see Shosanna. After she rejects his advances, he becomes aggressive. She pretends to acquiesce, then pulls a pistol from her bag and shoots him. Zoller, mortally wounded, raises his pistol and shoots her before they both die. As the film reaches its climax, spliced-in footage of Shosanna tells the audience that they are about to be killed by a Jew. Marcel, having locked the doors of the cinema, ignites a pile of flammable nitrate film behind the screen as Shosanna’s image laughs. Ulmer and Donowitz break into the box containing Hitler and Goebbels, killing them, then fire their submachine guns into the crowd until the bombs go off, killing everyone in the theater.
Film Title: Inglourious BasterdsLanda and his radio operator drive Raine and Utivich into Allied territory, where they surrender. Raine shoots the radio operator, carves a swastika into Landa’s forehead, and tells Utivich with a grin, “This just might be my masterpiece.”Film Title: Inglourious BasterdsThe film is audacious and hilarious. It’s  a roller coaster and one not to be missed! It’s not for everyone, certainly if you’re not a fan of Tarantino’s style, this may be a little hard to swallow, but never-the-less, it is a film which simply has to be seen. No self respecting film fan should miss this.