REVIEW: ASSASSIN’S CREED

 

CAST

Michael Fassbender (Shame)
Marion Cotillard (La Vie En Rose)
Jeremy irons (Justice League)
Brendan Gleeson (Edge of Tomorrow)
Charlotte Rampling (Gregory Girl)
Michael K. Williams (12 Years A Slave)
Denis Ménochet (Inglourious Basterds)
Ariane Labed (The Lobster)
Khalid Abdalla (Green Zone)
Essie Davis (Game of Thrones)
Matias Varela (Point Break)
Callum Turner (Queen and Country)
Carlos Bardem (Oliver’s Deal)
Javier Gutiérrez Álvarez (The Olive Tree)

Michael Fassbender in Assassin's Creed (2016)In 1492 Andalusia, during the Granada War, Aguilar de Nerha is accepted into the Assassins Brotherhood. He is assigned to protect Prince Ahmed de Granada from the Knights Templar. In 1986, adolescent Callum “Cal” Lynch finds his mother killed by his father, Joseph, a modern-day Assassin. Gunmen led by Alan Rikkin, CEO of the Templars’ Abstergo Foundation, arrive to capture Joseph, who convinces his son to escape.Jeremy Irons and Michael Fassbender in Assassin's Creed (2016)In 2016, Cal is sentenced to death for murdering a pimp, but his execution is faked by the Abstergo Foundation, which then takes him to their research facility in Madrid. He is told that the Templars are searching for the Apple of Eden, in order to eliminate violence by using the Apple’s code to control humanity’s free will. Sofia, Alan’s daughter and the head scientist, reveals that Cal is a descendant of Aguilar, the last person confirmed to be in possession of the Apple. She puts Cal in the Animus, a machine which allows him to relive (and the scientists to observe) Aguilar’s genetic memories, so that Abstergo can learn what he did with the Apple.Michael Kenneth Williams, Michael Fassbender, and Octavia Selena Alexandru in Assassin's Creed (2016)In 15th-century Spain, Aguilar/Callum and his partner Maria are deployed to rescue Ahmed, who has been kidnapped by the Templar Grand Master Tomas de Torquemada, to coerce Ahmed’s father, Sultan Muhammad XII, to surrender the Apple. Aguilar and Maria intercept the Templars, but are overpowered and captured by Torquemada’s enforcer, Ojeda. Cal is quickly pulled out of the Animus by Sofia. Cal encounters other Assassin descendants held captive at the facility, most of whom are suspicious of his motives, with the exception of Moussa, the descendant of an 18th-century Haitian Assassin named Baptiste and a key leader. Cal begins experiencing hallucinations, dubbed “the Bleeding Effect”, of both Aguilar and Joseph. Cal and Sofia build a rapport during their sessions; she confides that her mother was likewise murdered by an Assassin, sharing his hatred of the Brotherhood of which his father is a member.Marion Cotillard in Assassin's Creed (2016)Back in the Animus, Aguilar and Maria are scheduled for execution but he manages to free them, leading to a rooftop chase in which they escape through an Assassin “Leap of Faith”. Cal’s mind reacts violently to the session and he is temporarily paralyzed. When Cal learns that his father is also at the facility, he confronts Joseph over his mother’s death. Joseph informs him that the Bleeding Effect will allow modern Cal to possess Aguilar’s combat abilities. He also learns that his mother was an Assassin, and she chose to die by Joseph’s hand rather than be forced into the Animus. Unconvinced, Cal vows to destroy the Assassins by finding the Apple. Meanwhile, Alan is pressured by a Templar Elder, Ellen Kaye, to shut down the multibillion-dollar Animus Project because they have already “won… people no longer care about their civil liberties… they’re content to follow”, leading Sofia to question her father’s true intentions.Marion Cotillard and Michael Fassbender in Assassin's Creed (2016)Reaffirmed by his encounter with his father, Cal willingly enters the Animus once again, whereupon Aguilar and Maria ambush a meeting between Muhammad and Torquemada. They succeed in killing the Templars and retrieving the Apple, though Ojeda captures Maria in order to force Aguilar to surrender it. Instead, Maria chooses death, and stabs herself on Ojeda’s blade. Aguilar kills him and escapes through another Leap, the force of which causes the Animus to violently malfunction. Aguilar gives the Apple to Christopher Columbus, who promises to take it to his grave. When Moussa and the modern Assassin prisoners start a riot in order to escape, Alan orders the facility purged. Abstergo security kills Joseph and most of the other prisoners. Cal stands in the Animus chamber and is met with the projections of a number of his Assassin ancestors, including Aguilar, Arno Dorian, Joseph and his mother. Persuaded by his mother, Cal embraces his Assassins’ Creed and, having fully assimilated Aguilar’s memories and abilities, joins Moussa and two other surviving Assassins in escaping the facility.Having retrieved the Apple from Columbus’ burial vault, Alan and his followers converge at a ceremony in a Templar sanctuary in London to celebrate their triumph. Inside the sanctuary, a disillusioned Sofia meets with Cal, who has come to take the Apple, and she reluctantly allows him to act. Cal retrieves the Apple, but kills Alan to do it. While Sofia vows revenge against Cal, the Assassins depart, vowing to once again protect the Apple from the Templars.Michael Fassbender in Assassin's Creed (2016)Assassins Creed is by no means perfect, but I did enjoy it. The film has the classic setting from Assassins Creed games, a modern day protagonist enters the Animus to relive the memories of his ancestor. The film does a pretty good job explaining the series mythos to those unfamiliar with the games. Sadly, we don’t spend as much time with the ancestor Aquilar as we do with the present day Cal, and Aquilar feels under developed as a character. The movie also felt a bit short. It really could have benefited from a longer run time, to give more character development to the ancestors, and explain some of the characters motivations better. The action in this movie is great, the story is solid, and the characters (that are properly developed) are interesting. Both Fassbender and Irons play their roles well. Overall a decent movie any Assassins Creed fan would enjoy. The critics like to bash it because it’s a video game movie, and it’s cool to hate video game movies, but it’s not bad at all.

Advertisements

REVIEW: EDEN LAKE

CAST

Kelly Reilly (Sherlock Holmes)
Michael Fassbender (Alien: Covenant)
Jack O’Connell (The Liability)
James Gandhi (My Life as Popat)
Thomas Turgoose (This is England)
Bronson Webb (Victor Frankenstein)
Shaun Dooley (The Awakening)
Finn Atkins (Once Upon A Time In The Midlands)

Nursery school teacher Jenny (Kelly Reilly) and her boyfriend, Steve (Michael Fassbender), journey to a remote lake in the wooded English countryside. Hiking to the lakeside, they meet Adam, a young boy gathering insects. Relaxing beside the lake, the setting is disrupted by delinquent teenagers and their dog, who have ridden their bicycles to a spot within a few metres of the young couple. After they sleep overnight in their tent, they find their food infested with insects and their car tire damaged by a bottle left behind by the teens.Returning to town for breakfast, Steve spots a house with the bikes he thinks belongs to the kids. When no one answers the door, he walks into the house, narrowly escaping as the surly homeowner returns. Back at the lake, Steve goes scuba diving while Jenny sleeps on the shore. Steve returns to find the bag with their car keys, phone and wallet is missing, soon confirming that their car is gone. Returning to town on foot, they avoid collision with their car, driven recklessly through the woods by the gang’s sociopathic leader, Brett (Jack O’Connell). Finding the gang in the woods after nightfall, Steve demands the return of his belongings, only to be attacked by the knife wielding teens. In the scuffle, Brett’s dog is mortally knifed, fuelling Brett’s lust for revenge. The couple grab their keys and drive off, but the gang attacks with stones and Steve crashes in the dark forest. Steve is trapped and Jenny runs for help.Kelly Reilly and Michael Fassbender in Eden Lake (2008)At daybreak, Jenny sees Steve tied up in barbed wire in a small clearing. Brett forces each reluctant teen to torture Steve. Paige, a female gang member and Brett’s psychopathic equivalent, records it on her phone, causing them to realize they have no choice but to kill Steve. The gang spots Jenny and gives chase, allowing Steve time to free himself. Jenny evades the gang and finds Steve, unable to nurse his many deep wounds and finds an engagement ring, leading Steve to propose even as he is in severe pain. After Jenny again heads off for help, she injures her foot on a large spike, her scream attracting the gang. She soon runs into Adam and pleads for his help, but he fears the gang and texts them to hand her over.Kelly Reilly in Eden Lake (2008)The gang tie Jenny, and a now dead Steve, to a pile of wood. Brett forces Adam to set the bonfire while Paige films. Jenny is able to escape and the gang burn Adam to death. Jenny continues to evade the gang, reactively killing gang member Cooper who was actually attempting to help her. When the gang find the body, Brett is thrown into further rage, killing another gang member and causing Paige to run away from him. Jenny reaches a road and is picked up by a driver who is looking for his brother, Ricky, another gang member. When the driver exits the van to talk with the gang, Jenny panics and steals the van, speeds off, and intentionally runs over and kills Paige while making her way back to town. She makes it to town, crashing into a fence at a large backyard party. Awaking, she finds herself being comforted by an unknown woman. She discovers she is in Brett’s house and heads to the bathroom. Brett’s father notices the van on his lawn and one of the parents receives a call informing her of the dead gang members, who are the children of the adults at the house.Kelly Reilly, Jack O'Connell, Thomas Turgoose, and Jumayn Hunter in Eden Lake (2008)A commotion begins in the house and the bathroom door is kicked open as Jenny is confronted by Brett, his father, and party guests. Brett has convinced the parents that the teens have been sadistically murdered by Jenny and Steve. Upstairs, Brett shuts the door of his room, blocking the sounds of Jenny’s screams as she is presumably killed by Brett’s father. He deletes the videos of the gang’s crimes from Paige’s phone and puts on Steve’s sunglasses, as he stares emotionlessly into the mirror.This is easily the finest pure horror movie since Switchblade Romance, and is absolutely not to be missed.

REVIEW: THE COUNSELLOR

CAST

Michael Fassbender (Shame)
Cameron Diaz (Bad Teacher)
Javier Bardem (Mother!)
Penelope Cruz (Grimsby)
Brad Pitt (Fury)
Rosie Perez (Won’t Back Down)
Natalie Dormer (Game of Thrones)
Édgar Ramírez (Zero Dark Thirty)
Goran Višnjic (Beginners)
Toby Kebbell (Warcraft)
Emma Rigby (Endless Love)
John Leguizamo (John Wick)
Dean Norris (Breaking Bad)
Paris Jefferson (Xena)

Michael Fassbender in The Counselor (2013)A high-level cartel lawyer with dirty hands who is known only as “The Counselor” and his girlfriend Laura are talking sexily in bed. Meanwhile, somewhere in Mexico, cocaine is packaged in barrels and concealed in a sewage truck, driven across the border and stored at a sewage treatment plant. After the Counselor goes to Amsterdam to meet with a diamond dealer to purchase an engagement ring for Laura, he proposes and she accepts. At a party back in Texas thrown by Reiner and girlfriend Malkina, a former call-girl with a greedy lust for money, the Counselor discusses a nightclub he and Reiner intend to run, as well as an upcoming drug deal, which would be his first.Cameron Diaz in The Counselor (2013)

The Counselor meets with Westray, a business associate of Reiner’s. He hears of the deal’s 4000-percent return rate, but Westray warns the Counselor about becoming involved, saying that Mexican cartels are merciless. The Counselor remains outwardly confident and unconcerned. Malkina gains knowledge of the deal through her access to Reiner and by conveniently overhearing various intercoms in Reiner’s home. Reiner describes an execution device called “the bolito” which gradually strangles and decapitates the victim. Reiner also tells the Counselor how disturbed and oddly aroused he was from an incident where he witnessed Malkina masturbate with his Ferrari California’s[4] windshield.Michael Fassbender in The Counselor (2013)The Counselor visits a client, a prison inmate named Ruth who is on trial for murder. Ruth’s son is a biker and a valued drug cartel member known as “the Green Hornet”, recently arrested for speeding. The Counselor agrees to bail him out of jail. Malkina senses an opportunity to undermine the Counselor’s upcoming deal and to profit for herself. She employs “the Wireman” to steal the drugs. He decapitates the biker, Ruth’s recently released son, with a wire stretched across the highway. Then the Wireman steals the truck containing the cocaine. Learning of the theft, Westray meets with the Counselor to notify him that the biker is dead and the cocaine stolen, bleakly intoning the Counselor’s culpability. Westray says he is leaving town immediately and suggests the Counselor do the same. Westray explains that the cartel’s ruthlessness extends to creating “snuff films” where murder victims are filmed having necrophilia performed on them on camera. The Counselor makes an urgent call to Laura, arranging to meet her in another state, where he will explain.Cameron Diaz and Javier Bardem in The Counselor (2013)The cartel has learned that the Counselor bailed out the Green Hornet, which appears as suspicious timing and fully blameworthy for the punitive purposes of the cartel. In Texas, two cartel members pretending to be police officers pull over the Wireman and his accomplice, killing both and also gunning down an innocent driver who comes upon the scene. Reiner is accidentally killed by cartel members while they are attempting to capture him. The cartel then kidnaps Laura. In a last-ditch effort, The Counselor contacts Jefe, a high-ranking cartel member, for suggestions on what to do next. Jefe darkly and mordantly advises the Counselor to resign himself irrevocably to the choices he made long beforehand, speaking philosophically, citing the life and poetry of Antonio Machado to underline his advice. The Counselor goes to Mexico, hoping to find and rescue Laura there. A package is slipped under the door of his hotel room and in it he finds a DVD with “Hola!” written on it, breaking down in heavy sobs at the awareness that the disc likely contains a snuff film of Laura sent by the cartel. In an unnamed location, Laura’s body is dumped into a landfill.Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender in The Counselor (2013)Malkina’s failed effort to steal the drugs does not deter her. She tracks Westray to London, where she hires a blonde woman to seduce him and steal his bank codes. She then has accomplices steal Westray’s laptop, and he is killed with the “bolito” device that Reiner had previously described. Malkina then meets her banker at a restaurant, coolly explaining how she wants her profits and accounts to be handled.The movie has a very philosophical strain and can be watched a couple of times. There is also a sexual tone that some might find disturbing (especially the car window thing, you’ll know when you watch it), but it’s all about dominance. And it’s about life choices and planting things that you will for better or worse reap … not everyones cup of tea, but a very strong movie nevertheles

 

REVIEW: SHAME

CAST

Michael Fassbender (X-Men: Apocalypse)
Carey Mulligan (Drive)
James Badge Dale (Iron Man 3)
Nicole Beharie (Sleepy Hollow)
Amy Hargreaves (Michael Clayton)
Hannah Ware (Hitman: Agent 47)

James Badge Dale, Michael Fassbender, and Carey Mulligan in Shame (2011)Brandon Sullivan is an Irish-American New York City executive and long-term bachelor. He is a sex addict who frequently has sex with prostitutes and masturbates several times daily, sometimes viewing pornography on his work computers. One day Brandon makes eye contact with a woman wearing an engagement ring on the subway during his morning commute. She initially reciprocates, but becomes uncomfortable. When they exit, she disappears into the crowd. He masturbates in the bathroom afterwards at work. Brandon and his married boss, David, hit on women at a club; later, Brandon has sex on a quiet street with Elizabeth, the woman David was pursuing.Michael Fassbender in Shame (2011)Brandon has been ignoring calls from his sister, Sissy, a lounge singer. He arrives at his apartment startled to find her in his shower with jazz music playing, thinking it may have been a burglar. Sissy has a few gigs in the city and asks to stay; he later hears her pleading with her lover on the telephone not to reject her. After Brandon’s company computer system is infected with a computer virus, they find his hard drive was full of pornography. David assumes Brandon’s intern is responsible.Michael Fassbender and Nicole Beharie in Shame (2011)Brandon rebukes Sissy for balancing precariously on the subway platform edge. Later, he and David watch her perform “New York, New York” in a bar, which makes Brandon emotional. David flirts with her and notices the scars of self-inflicted wounds on her arms. Sissy has sex with David in her brother’s bedroom while Brandon, disgusted, goes running. Later that night, Sissy attempts to get in bed with Brandon; he orders her out of the room.Michael Fassbender in Shame (2011)Brandon goes on a date with co-worker Marianne, who is recently separated and has a positive attitude toward commitment, while Brandon dislikes the idea of marriage and admits that his relationships have never lasted longer than four months. After dinner they talk about who they would be in a past life. When they reach the subway station, they go home separately. That night, Sissy discovers Brandon masturbating in his bathroom. He attacks her and accuses her of spying on him. She finds his laptop open on a pornographic webcam site. Brandon slams the laptop shut and a disturbed Sissy leaves. Brandon disposes of his pornography, sex toys, and laptop. At work, he kisses Marianne and the two get a hotel room, but Brandon cannot maintain an erection. Immediately after Marianne leaves, Brandon is seen having aggressive sex with a prostitute against the window of the same hotel room.Carey Mulligan in Shame (2011)Brandon tells Sissy that David has a family, and insists that she leave. She says that, as family, they are supposed to help each other, but Brandon accuses her of being irresponsible and a burden. Brandon goes to a bar and comes on to a woman, describing in detail what he’d do to her sexually. She is close to succumbing when her boyfriend intercedes. Brandon laughs in his face and tells him what he was saying. After he leaves the club unsatisfied, the boyfriend follows him out and brutally beats Brandon. When he is physically barred from entering another club, he goes to a gay bar across the street and is fellated by a man. After leaving, he listens to a voicemail message from Sissy crying as she tells him they aren’t bad people, but come from a bad place. Nearing the point of withdrawal, Brandon has a threesome with two prostitutes. While Brandon is riding the subway home, the passengers are asked to leave the train due to a police emergency (implied to be a suicide under the train). He frantically calls Sissy, but she does not answer. He runs home to find Sissy sitting on the bathroom floor covered in blood, having slashed both wrists. He attempts to stop the bleeding while calling on his cellphone for help. She survives and he comforts her in the hospital. After leaving, he walks until he collapses, sobbing in the rain.Michael Fassbender in Shame (2011)Some time later, Brandon is riding the subway. While looking around, he notices the same woman from the beginning of the film, still wearing the engagement ring. This time, the woman initiates flirting, but Brandon is hesitant. She stands, ready to exit the train at an approaching station. As the train slows, Brandon does not take his eyes off the woman, but does not stand up either.James Badge Dale, Michael Fassbender, and Carey Mulligan in Shame (2011)This was not an easy film to watch and even less easy to reflect on. However, I thought it was a great film. Original and brave. The acting was totally convincing and the theme important and challenging. The repeated reminders of the hypocrisy of our society regarding sex and violence were clever and uncomfortable. I was very disappointed, but not surprised, that this film received no recognition at the awards ceremony. Normally, “sex, sells” is written on the heart of all promoters. But not in this case, as it is not at all titillating. A genuinely adult film (not the usual meaning). Fine performances from Michael Fassbinder and Carry Mulligan.

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)

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.


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.


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.


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.
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.

During 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.

Landa 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.”The 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.

REVIEW: 12 YEARS A SLAVE

 

CAST

Chiwetel Ejiofor (Doctor Strange)
Michael Fassbender (Alien: Covenant)
Lupita Nyong’o (Black Panther)
Paul Dano (Swiss Army Man)
Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game)
Sarah Paulson (The Runner)
Alfre Woodard (Luke Cage)
Adepero Oduye (Geostorm)
Garret Dillahunt (Winter’s Bone)
Brad Pitt (Ocean’s Eleven)
Scoot McNairy (Argo)
Taran Killam (Epic Movie)
Chris Chalk (Gotham)
Paul Giamatti (The Hangover – Part 2)
Michael K. Williams (Gone Baby Gone)
Bryan Batt (Scream: The Series)
Quvenzhané Wallis  (Annie)
Marc Macaulay  (The Punisher)
J.D. Evermore  (Django Unchained)

Chiwetel Ejiofor and Adepero Oduye in 12 Years a Slave (2013)In 1841, Solomon Northup is a free African-American man working as a violinist, living with his wife and two children in Saratoga Springs, New York. Two white men, Brown and Hamilton, offer him short-term employment as a musician if he will travel with them to Washington, D.C. However, once they arrive they drug Northup and deliver him to a slave pen run by a man named Burch. Northup proclaims that he is a free man, only to be savagely beaten with, at first, a wooden paddle, then, a leather belt. Northup is later shipped to New Orleans along with other captive African Americans. He is told by the others that if he wants to survive in the South, he must adapt to being a slave and not tell anyone he is a free man. A slave trader named Freeman gives Northup the identity of “Platt”, a runaway slave from Georgia, and sells him to plantation owner William Ford. Tension grows between Northup and a plantation overseer which ends with Northup savagely beating and whipping the overseer. To save Northup’s life, Ford sells him to another slave owner named Edwin Epps. In the process, Northup attempts to explain that he is actually a free man, but Ford tells him he is too afraid and that he cannot help him now.Paul Dano and Chiwetel Ejiofor in 12 Years a Slave (2013)At the plantation, Northup meets Patsey, a favored slave who can pick over 500 pounds of cotton a day, twice the usual quota, whom Epps regularly rapes and abuses. Some time later, cotton worms destroy Epps’s cotton. Unable to work his fields, Epps leases his slaves to a neighboring plantation for the season. While there, Northup gains the favor of the plantation’s owner, Judge Turner, who allows him to play the fiddle at a neighbor’s wedding anniversary celebration and to keep his earnings. Northup is also raped by a female slave in the middle of the night. When Northup returns to Epps, he uses the money to pay a white field hand and former overseer, Armsby, to mail a letter to his friends in New York. Armsby agrees and accepts Northup’s saved money, but immediately betrays him to Epps. In the middle of the night, a drunken Epps wakes Northup and questions him menacingly about the letter. Northup is narrowly able to convince Epps that Armsby is lying and Epps relents. Solomon then emotionally burns the letter he intended to give to Armsby.Lupita Nyong'o in 12 Years a Slave (2013)Northup begins working on the construction of a gazebo with a Canadian laborer named Samuel Bass. Bass is unsettled by the brutal way that Epps treats his slaves and expresses his opposition to American slavery, earning Epps’s enmity. Northup overhears the conversation and decides to reveal his kidnapping to Bass. Once again, Northup asks for help in getting a letter to Saratoga Springs. Bass agrees to send it. One day, the local sheriff arrives in a carriage with another man. The sheriff asks Northup a series of questions to confirm that his answers match the facts of his life in New York. Northup recognizes the sheriff’s companion as Mr. Parker, a shopkeeper he knew in Saratoga. Parker has come to free him, and the two embrace, though an enraged Epps furiously protests the circumstances and tries to prevent Northup from leaving. Northup gives an emotional farewell to Patsey and rides off to his freedom. Patsey faints as Northup leaves.After being enslaved for 12 years, Northup is restored to freedom and returned to his family, leaving behind the other slaves. As he walks into his home, he sees his wife with their son and daughter (fully grown) and her husband, who present him with his grandson and namesake, Solomon Northup Staunton. Northup apologizes for his long absence while his family comforts him. The film’s epilogue displays a series of graphics recounting Northup’s unsuccessful suits against Brown, Hamilton, and Burch, along with the 1853 publication of Northup’s slave narrative memoir, Twelve Years a Slave. The memoir describes his role in the abolitionist movement and the mystery surrounding details of his death and burial. Patsey and Northup never met again.To watch 12 Years a Slave is to be confronted with the grim reality of slavery in a way that’s never been done before. To say this is the best film ever made about slavery feels trivial, as slavery is a subject in film that has been shown with naive romanticism from films like Gone With the Wind or silly exploitation from something like Django Unchained. Both of which serve to make the topic digestible. To watch 12 Years a Slave is to experience a level of despair and misery that can become overwhelming. It’s a film of such ugliness, such blunt emotional trauma, that it may haunt you for hours if not days after seeing it. So why should you watch a film that could leave you reeling and devastated? Because, it’s also one of the greatest cinematic achievements of our time.

REVIEW: ALIEN: COVENANT

81xhlYvnpsL__SL1500_

CAST

Michael Fassbender (X-Men: Apocalypse)
Katherine Waterston (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them)
Billy Crudup (Watchmen)
Danny McBride (Land of The Lost)
Demián Bichir (The Hateful Eight)
Carmen Ejogo (The Purge: Anarchy)
Amy Seimetz (Lovesong)
Callie Hernandez (La La Land)
Jussie Smollett (North)
Nathaniel Dean (Walking on Water)
Benjamin Rigby (Neighbours)
Uli Latukefu (Marco Polo)
James Franco (This is The End)
Noomi Rapace (The Girl With The Dragon tattoo)
Guy Pearce (Memento)
Noomi Rapace (The Girl With The Dragon tattoo)

In a prologue, business magnate Peter Weyland speaks with his newly-activated synthetic, who chooses the name “David” after looking at a replica of Michelangelo’s statue of David. Weyland tells David that one day they will search for mankind’s creator together.In 2104 the colonization ship Covenant is bound for a remote planet, Origae-6, with two thousand colonists and a thousand embryos onboard. The ship is monitored by Walter, a newer synthetic physically resembling the earlier David model. The ship suddenly detects a nearby neutrino burst and is very shortly afterward damaged by the closely following explosive shockwave from the same source: a new star igniting. The shockwave impact kills some of the colonists. Walter orders the ship’s computer to wake the crew from stasis, but the ship’s captain, Branson, dies when his stasis pod malfunctions. While repairing the ship, the crew pick up a radio transmission from a nearby unknown planet. Against the objections of Daniels, Branson’s wife, succeeding captain Oram decides to investigate. As the Covenant remains in orbit, an expedition team descends to the planet’s surface and tracks the transmission’s signal to a crashed alien ship. While on the surface, security team members Ledward and Hallett are inadvertently infected with alien spores. Karine, Oram’s wife, helps the rapidly sickening Ledward back to the lander, where Maggie, wife of pilot Tennessee, quarantines them both inside the med-bay. An alien creature (Neomorph) bursts from Ledward’s back, killing him, then mauls Karine to death. Maggie tries to shoot the quickly growing creature but accidentally hits a gas tank, causing an explosion which destroys the lander and kills her. The Neomorph escapes to the planet’s surface while another such creature bursts from Hallett’s throat, killing him.The two Neomorphs attack the remaining crew members and kill Ankor. The crew manages to kill one of the aliens before David, who survived the Prometheus mission, rescues the crew and leads them to a city full of humanoid (Engineer) corpses. David tells them that upon his and Dr. Elizabeth Shaw’s arrival at the planet, their Engineer ship accidentally released a black liquid bioweapon which killed the native population, and that Shaw died when the ship crashed in the ensuing chaos. After the crew members tell David of their mission, they attempt to radio the Covenant for help, but the surviving Neomorph infiltrates the city and finds Rosenthal alone before decapitating her. David tries to communicate with the creature and is horrified when Oram kills it. Under Oram’s gunpoint, David reveals that the aliens are a result of his experimenting with the black liquid as a catalyst to create a new species. He leads Oram to an incubation chamber and tricks him into being embraced by an alien parasite (facehugger), which implants Oram with an embryo. Another alien creature (Xenomorph) soon erupts from Oram’s chest, killing him.As the others search for Oram and Rosenthal, Walter confronts David after realizing that David had deliberately unleashed the black liquid upon the Engineers. David explains that he believes humans are an inferior species and should not be allowed to colonize the galaxy. When Walter disagrees, David disables him and captures Daniels, revealing to her that he also murdered Shaw and used her corpse for his experiments. Walter reactivates himself and engages David, allowing Daniels to escape while Lope is attacked by the facehugger. Cole saves Lope before they are ambushed by the now mature Xenomorph, which kills Cole. Tennessee arrives in another lander to extract Daniels, Lope, and the seemingly victorious Walter. They kill the Xenomorph before docking with the Covenant; however, Lope had been implanted with another Xenomorph, which bursts from his chest on the ship before quickly maturing and killing crew members Ricks and Upworth. With Walter’s help, Tennessee and Daniels corner the creature in the Covenant’s airlock and flush it into space.The Covenant resumes its trip to Origae-6, and the surviving crew re-enters stasis. As Walter puts Daniels under, she realizes that he is actually David, but is unable to escape her stasis pod before falling asleep. Now in control of both the ship and its population, David regurgitates two alien embryos and places them in cold storage alongside the human embryos. He then uses Walter’s name to record a log stating that all crew members except Daniels and Tennessee were killed by the neutrino blast at the beginning of the film.Alien:Covenant finishes with a fantastic twist, sets itself up for an obvious sequel and elicits groans of frustration with its inconclusive ending. It’s an appetizer for a better film just large enough to whet your appetite.