CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE

CAST

George Henley (Perfect Sisters)
Skandar Keynes (Ferrari)
William Moseley (The Royals)
Anna Popplewell (Reign)
Tilda Swinton (Constantine)
James McAvoy (Atonement)
Jim Broadbent (Hot Fuzz)
Liam Neeson (Batman Begins)
Ray Winstone (Snow White and The Huntsman)
Dawn French (Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban)
Kiran Shah (The Hobbit)
James Cosmo (Game of Thrones)
Elizabeth Hawthorne (Cleopatra 2525)
Patrick Kake (30 Days of Night)
Katrina Browne (Power Rangers Ninja Storm)
Sophie Winkleman (Two and A Half Men)
Rupert Everett (Shrek 2)
Michael Madsen (Species)

In the London suburb of Finchley, the Pevensie children, Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy, are endangered by a Second World War attack of German bombers. They are then evacuated to the country home of Professor Digory Kirke, who is not accustomed to having children in his house, as Mrs Macready, the strict housekeeper, explains.

While the Pevensies are playing hide-and-seek, Lucy discovers a wardrobe and enters a wintry fantasy world called Narnia. Seeing a lamppost, Lucy encounters the faun Mr. Tumnus, who explains the land she has entered and invites her to his home. He puts Lucy to sleep by playing a lullaby on his flute. When Lucy wakes up, she finds Tumnus grieving, and he explains that Jadis, the White Witch, has cursed Narnia and it has been winter for 100 years. If a human is encountered they are to be brought to her. Tumnus cannot bring himself to kidnap Lucy, so he sends her home. When she returns to Professor Kirke’s house, hardly any time has passed in the normal world; her siblings do not believe her story, and when they look in the wardrobe it has a normal back.

One night, Edmund follows Lucy into the wardrobe. He enters Narnia as well, and after searching for Lucy he meets the White Witch, who claims to be Queen of Narnia. She offers him Turkish Delight as well as the prospect of becoming king and having power over his siblings if he brings them to her castle. After she departs, Edmund and Lucy meet again and return; Lucy tells Peter and Susan what happened, but unfortunately, Edmund lies. Professor Kirke talks with Peter and Susan and suggests she is telling the truth, though they are unconvinced. While running away from Mrs Macready after accidentally breaking a window, the four siblings retreat to the wardrobe and enter Narnia. They discover Mr. Tumnus has been taken by the Witch, and meet Mr. and Mrs. Beaver, who tell them about Aslan. According to the beavers, Aslan intends to take control of Narnia from the Witch. The four must help Aslan; it has been prophesied that if two sons of Adam and two daughters of Eve sit in the four thrones, the White Witch’s reign will end.

Edmund sneaks off to visit the Witch. When he arrives at her castle, she is angry that he did not deliver his siblings. The Witch sends wolves to hunt down the children and the beavers, who barely escape. Edmund is chained in the Witch’s dungeon, where he meets Tumnus. The Witch demands that Edmund reveal where his siblings are. After Tumnus claims that Edmund does not know anything, The Witch tells Mr. Tumnus that Edmund betrayed him, then turns Tumnus to stone.

While Peter, Lucy, Susan and the beavers travel, they hide from what they believe to be the White Witch. It is really Father Christmas, a sign that the Witch’s reign is ending. Father Christmas gives Lucy a healing cordial, a drop of which will bring back to life anyone injured, and a dagger to defend herself. Susan receives a bow and arrows and a magical horn that will summon help when blown, and Peter a sword and shield.

After evading wolves led by Maugrim, the group reaches Aslan’s camp. Aslan is revealed as a huge and noble lion who promises to help Edmund. Later, two wolves ambush Lucy and Susan. When Peter intervenes, Maugrim attacks him, and Peter kills him. Some of Aslan’s troops follow the other wolf to the witch’s camp and rescue Edmund. Peter is knighted by Aslan.

The White Witch journeys to Aslan’s camp and claims Edmund, but Aslan secretly offers to sacrifice himself instead. That night, as Lucy and Susan covertly watch, Aslan is killed by the White Witch. In the morning he is resurrected because “there is a magic deeper still the Witch does not know”. Aslan takes Susan and Lucy to the Witch’s castle, where he frees the prisoners that the White Witch turned to stone.

Edmund persuades Peter to lead Aslan’s army to fight the White Witch’s forces. To stop the Witch from attacking and killing Peter, Edmund attacks the White Witch and destroys her wand, but is gravely wounded by her. As the Witch fights Peter, Aslan arrives with reinforcements and kills her. After Edmund is revived by Lucy’s cordial, the Pevensies become Kings and Queens.

Fifteen years later, the Pevensie children have grown into young men and women. While chasing a white stag through the forest, they encounter the lamppost that Lucy saw on her first trip to Narnia. They make their way through trees, arriving in the wardrobe at the same time and day they left, becoming children again. Lucy later attempts to return to Narnia via the wardrobe, but Professor Kirke tells her he has tried for many years, and they will probably return to Narnia when they least expect to.

A Fantastic adaptaton, the story never ages and is a delight for all the family

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REVIEW: AMSTERDAM HEAVY

CAST

Michael Madsen (Reservoir Dogs)
Alison Carroll (Doghouse)
Fajah Lourens (Shouf Shouf!)
Semmy Schilt (Transporter 3)
Vincent van Ommen (Cam2Cam)
Maryam Tarami (A Broken Code)
Megan Gaber (Coming Out)

imageAmsterdam Heavy takes us on a roller-coaster journey in to the violent, criminal heart of Amsterdam. Some bald gangster J.D. (Rik Sinkeldam) is being brought to Amsterdam in a box, where he eventually wakes up.Shirtless, half-dead, with lost memory, JD now has a score to settle. He will heal up, and go on a hunt for those, who betrayed him, beating the crap out of thugs on the streets, back alleys and canals of Amsterdam. Along the way, he hooks up with some undercover agent girl, who poses as an exotic dancer in a local club. Turns out, JD was drugged by some goons in Thailand, and then he managed to escape. Now, he desperately needs to know why his partner Gunther set him up. Oh yes, he also wants to find his wife and son, and get a few “tips” from Michael Madsen in a local bar.1002004012085728_2So far so good. It gets worse however. First dissapointment comes with Michael Madsen. Although on film’s official website they make him look like the leading character, he’s barely 3 minutes in the whole movie, and we only see him sitting in a bar, delivering cheesy dialogue, smoking marijuana, and that’s all. So, the “bait” is weak. The directing is bad, camera moves around exactly the way you hate it most – just like in Steven Seagal movies, when you can’t see anything. And since this movie has a lot of action (yes, there are plenty of fights) – the shaky cam doesn’t let you see what’s really going on, and it frustrates more and more as the movie goes on. amsterdam-heavy-backgroundActing is mediocre at best. Even Madsen (who seems to be the only well-known actor here) delivers his lines while looking as much bored as possible. If you’re a Michael Madsen fan – do yourself a favor and skip this. . If you like action, martial arts and expect a lot of it here – look elsewhere, as the fights are so badly directed and choreographed, you’ll hate it. The film did have a good start, but got a lot worse as the time went on.

REVIEW: BLOODRAYNE

CAST

Kristanna Loken (Painkiller jane)
Michael Madsen (Powers)
Matthew Davis (The Vampire Diaries)
Michelle Rodriguez (S.W.A.T.)
Ben Kingsley (Iron Man 3)
Will Sanderson (Alone in The Dark)
Geraldine Chaplin (Chaplin)
Udo Kier (Blade)
Meat Loaf (Fight Club)
Michael Pare (The Virgin Suicides)
Billy Zane (The Scorpion King 3)
T.J. Storm (VR Troopers)
Mike Dopud (Stargate Universe)

The film centers on the character of Rayne, an unholy breed of human and vampire called a Dhampir. Dhampir are unaffected by crucifixes and do not thirst for human blood. She is the daughter of the Vampire King Kagan who has gathered an army of thralls, both vampire and human, in order to annihilate the human race. She was conceived when Kagan raped her mother, and she later witnessed him killing her.Sebastian, Vladimir, and Katarin are three members of the Brimstone Society, who fight vampires. They hear of a carnival freak who may be a Dhampir, so Vladimir plans to recruit her in order to kill Kagan. Kagan is also hunting for her, fearing she will interfere with his plans. Rayne escapes captivity at the carnival. On the road, she encounters and saves a family being attacked by vampires. A fortune teller reveals to Rayne that Kagan has become the most powerful vampire in the land and resides in a well-protected castle. She tells Rayne that Kagan seeks an ancient talisman, a mystical eye, and if she finds it, it would allow her to gain an audience with Kagan. Rayne sets out to the monastery to find it.2006_bloodrayne_013Rayne shelters for the night at the monastery and later sneaks away to where the talisman is guarded by a hammer-wielding, deformed monk. The talisman is further protected by booby traps, and when Rayne lifts it from its pedestal, the chamber floods with holy water. As Rayne hangs from the ceiling to avoid the water, the talisman falls from the box but she catches the eyeball. Examining it closely, the eye magically becomes absorbed into her own eye, and when she falls into the water she is somehow unaffected by it. When she leaves the chamber, the monks explain the artifact is one of three body parts which came from an ancient vampire called Belial, who had found a way to overcome the weaknesses of a vampire. The eye overcomes holy water; the rib overcomes the cross; and the heart overcomes sunlight. The parts have been hidden across the lands. As Kagan wants all these parts, it becomes the heroes’ mission to stop him.maxresdefaultRayne is brought to the headquarters of the Brimstone society and they agree to work together to kill Kagan. Katarin does not trust Rayne and betrays Brimstone to her father, Elrich, who has fallen in league with Kagan, but seeks to betray him and gain power for himself. The location of the heart talisman is known to Katarin as her grandfather hid it in water-filled caves. She seeks it out but Rayne fights and kills her for it. With the talisman, Rayne attempts to gain an audience before Kagan, but he takes the heart and throws her in the dungeon. He plans to extract the eye as part of a ritual. He realizes too late Rayne had only given him an empty box and not the heart. Sebastian and Vladimir intervene, battling Kagan and his minions, but both are fatally wounded, leaving Rayne in a final battle against Kagan. As Sebastian dies he fires a final bolt from his crossbow, but Kagan is too quick and is able to catch it. Rayne is able to summon her last reserves of strength and plunge the bolt into his heart. The battle ends. Rayne seats herself in Kagan’s throne. The film ends when Rayne leaves the castle and goes to the mountains.bloodrayne00As an adaptation of the video game, BloodRayne fails pretty miserably because it changes too many character traits in the lead and completely disregards important plot points in the source material. As a horror movie, BloodRayne also fails pretty miserably because it just isn’t scary or even particularly suspenseful. When all things are seriously considered, BloodRayne is in fact a pretty bad film full of predictable characters, obvious plot twists. Ben Kingsley simply sleepwalk through the film and to see Michael Madsen trying his damnedest to look like he knows what is happening around him. All of this while Lokken chops peoples heads off, screams a lot, and generally overacts. BloodRayne is a train wreck, but it sure is a fun one.

REVIEW: RESERVOIR DOGS

CAST

Harvey Keitel (Bad Lieutenant)
Tim Roth (The Incredible Hulk)
Michael MAdsen (Species)
Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire)
Chris Penn (True Romance)
Lawrence Tierney (Dillinger)
Quentin Tarantino (Alias)
Edward Bunker (Best of The Best)
Kirk Baltz (Bulworth)

Eight men eat breakfast at a Los Angeles diner before carrying out a diamond heist. Six of them use aliases: Mr. Blonde, Mr. Blue, Mr. Brown, Mr. Orange, Mr. Pink, and Mr. White. The others are mob boss Joe Cabot and his son and underboss “Nice Guy” Eddie Cabot, who are responsible for planning the job. After the heist, White flees the crime scene with Orange, who was shot during the escape and is bleeding severely. At one of Joe’s warehouses, White and Orange rendezvous with Pink, who believes that the job was a setup and that the police were waiting for them. White informs him that Brown is dead, Blue and Blonde are missing, and Blonde murdered several civilians during the heist; White is furious that Joe, his old friend, would employ such a “psychopath”. Pink has hidden the diamonds nearby; he argues with White over whether or not they should get medical attention for Orange. Blonde arrives with a kidnapped policeman, Marvin Nash.Some time earlier, Blonde meets with the Cabots. Blonde has completed a four-year jail sentence. To reward him for not having given Joe’s name to the authorities for a lighter sentence, they recruit him for the job. In the present, White and Pink beat Nash for information. Eddie arrives and orders them to retrieve the diamonds and ditch the getaway vehicles, leaving Blonde in charge of Nash and Orange. Nash denies knowledge, but Blonde ignores him and resumes the torture, cutting off his ear with a straight razor. He is about to set Nash on fire, but is shot dead by Orange. Orange explains to Nash that he is an undercover police officer and that the police will arrive soon. Hours earlier, Brown is shot and killed while escaping from the crime scene with Orange and White. When Orange and White attempt to steal another car, Orange is shot by the driver of the car, whom he shoots and kills in response.In the present, when Eddie, Pink, and White return, Orange tries to convince them that Blonde planned to kill them and steal the diamonds for himself. Eddie kills Nash and accuses Orange of lying, since Blonde was loyal to his father. Joe arrives with news that the police have killed Blue. He is about to execute Orange, but White intervenes and holds Joe at gunpoint. Eddie points his own weapon at White, creating a Mexican standoff. All three shoot; both Cabots are killed, and White and Orange are wounded. Pink, the only person who has not been shot, takes the diamonds and flees. As White cradles the dying Orange in his arms, Orange confesses that he is a police officer. White holds his gun against Orange’s head. The police storm the warehouse and order White to drop his gun. Gunshots sound.Reservoir Dogs is among the most violent films ever made, and some scenes are really painful to watch, but the way that reality is captured is something that justifies the violent excesses in this film. The violence is never glorified, nor is the criminal lifestyle. When films are overly violent, they usually get branded as such, but despite the extreme violence, Reservoir Dogs still manages to deliver an important overall message about the consequences of your actions. It remains high on the growing list of Tarantino’s classic films, and it will never be forgotten.

REVIEW: KILL BILL – VOLUME 2

CAST

Uma Thurman (My Super Ex-Girlfriend)
Lucy Liu (Cypher)
David Carradine (Kung Fu)
Vivica A. Fox (Independence Day)
Michael Madsen (Reservoir Dogs)
Daryl Hannah (The Job)
Michael Parks (Tusk)
Gordon Liu (The Man With The Iron Fists)
Bo Svenson (Speed 2)
Jeannie Epper (Drum)
Samuel L. Jackson (The Legend of Tarzan)
Larry Bishop (Hell Ride)
Sid Haig (Halloween)
Perla Haney-Jardine (Spider-Man 3)

The pregnant Bride and her groom rehearse their wedding. Bill, the Bride’s former lover, the father of her child, and the leader of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, arrives unexpectedly and orders the Deadly Vipers to kill everyone at the wedding. The Bride survives and swears revenge.Four years later, the Bride has already assassinated Deadly Vipers Vernita Green and O-Ren Ishii. She goes to the trailer of Bill’s brother and Deadly Viper Budd, planning to ambush him. Budd has been warned by Bill of her approach; he shoots her in the chest with a shotgun blast of rock salt, then sedates her. He calls Elle Driver, another former Deadly Viper, and arranges to sell her the Bride’s unique sword for a million dollars. He seals the Bride inside a coffin and buries her alive.Years earlier, Bill tells the young Bride of the legendary martial arts master Pai Mei and his Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique, a death blow that Mei refuses to teach his students; the technique supposedly kills any opponent after they have taken five steps. Bill takes the Bride to Mei’s temple for training. Mei ridicules her and makes her training a torment, but she gains his respect. In the present, the Bride uses Mei’s martial arts techniques to break out of the coffin and claw her way to the surface.Elle arrives at Budd’s trailer and kills him with a black mamba hidden with the money for the sword. She calls Bill and tells him that the Bride has killed Budd, and that Elle has killed the Bride. She uses the Bride’s real name: Beatrix Kiddo. As Elle exits the trailer, Beatrix ambushes her and they fight. Elle, who was also taught by Mei, taunts Beatrix by revealing that she poisoned Mei in retribution for his plucking out her eye. Beatrix plucks out Elle’s remaining eye and leaves her screaming in the trailer with the black mamba.Beatrix tracks Bill to the Mexican countryside and discovers that their daughter B.B. is still alive, now aged four. She finds her with Bill in a hotel and spends the evening with them. After she puts B.B. to bed, Bill shoots Beatrix with a dart containing truth serum and interrogates her. She recounts a mission in which she discovered she was pregnant, and explains that she left the Deadly Vipers to give B.B. a better life. She disables Bill with Mei’s Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique, which she kept secret. Bill makes his peace with her, takes five steps and dies. Beatrix leaves with B.B. to start a new life.Slick, fun, and occasionally macabre, Kill Bill Vol. 2 complements the first film nicely and in its own right stands as a classy piece of cinema

REVIEW: KILL BILL – VOLUME 1

CAST

Uma Thurman (My Super Ex-Girlfriend)
Lucy Liu (Cypher)
David Carradine (Kung Fu)
Vivica A. Fox (Independence Day)
Michael Madsen (Reservoir Dogs)
Daryl Hannah (The Job)
Julie Dreyfus (Inglourious Basterds)
Sonny Chiba (The Storm Riders)
Chiaki Kuriyama (Carnation)
Gordon Liu (The Man With The Iron Fists)
Michael Parks (Tusk)
Michael Bowen (Django Unchained)
Jun Kunimura (Audition)
Kenji Ohba (Battle Fever J)
James Parks (The Hateful Eight)

A woman in a wedding dress, the Bride, lies wounded in a chapel in El Paso, Texas, having been attacked by the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad. She tells their leader, Bill, that she is carrying his baby. He shoots her in the head. Four years later, having survived the attack, the Bride goes to the home of Vernita Green, planning to kill her. Both women were members of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, which has since disbanded; Vernita now leads a normal suburban family life. They engage in a knife fight, but are interrupted by the arrival of Vernita’s young daughter, Nikki. Not wanting to kill Vernita in front of Nikki, the Bride agrees to meet Vernita at night to settle the matter, but Vernita tries to surprise the Bride with a pistol hidden in a box of cereal. The Bride dodges the shot and throws a knife into Vernita’s chest, killing her.Four and a half years earlier, police investigate the massacre at the wedding chapel. The sheriff discovers the Bride is alive but comatose. In the hospital, Deadly Viper Elle Driver prepares to assassinate the Bride via lethal injection, but Bill aborts the mission at the last moment, considering it dishonorable to kill the Bride when she cannot defend herself. In the present, the Bride awakens from her four-year c oma and is horrified to find she is no longer pregnant. She kills a hospital worker who has been raping her while she was comatose, takes his truck, and teaches herself to walk again. Resolving to kill Bill and all four members of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, she picks her first target: O-Ren Ishii, now the leader of the Tokyo yakuza. O-Ren’s parents were murdered by the yakuza when she was a child; she took vengeance on the yakuza boss and replaced him after training as an elite assassin.The Bride travels to Okinawa, Japan, to obtain a sword from legendary swordsmith Hattori Hanzō, who has sworn never to forge a sword again. After learning that her target is Bill, his former student, he crafts his finest sword for her. The Bride tracks down O-Ren at a Tokyo restaurant, the House of Blue Leaves, and defeats her yakuza army, including the elite Crazy 88 and O-Ren’s bodyguard, schoolgirl Gogo Yubari. She duels with O-Ren in the restaurant’s Japanese garden. During the duel O-Ren first mocks and then apologizes to the Bride, who accepts. They continue and the Bride then tearfully slices the top of O-Ren’s head off with a sword stroke. Afterwards, she tortures Sofie Fatale, O-Ren’s assistant and Bill’s protege for information about Bill, and leaves her alive to pass on a message and a threat. Bill asks her if the Bride knows her daughter is alive.This film is really just homage to flicks that frequently appear on Sunday Samurai Showcase, revenge and Tarantino’s continuous fascination with Uma Thurman. This film contains extreme violence and sometimes strange dialog coupled with some pretty good acting and directing. If you’re not a fan of Tarantino’s films, you should pass on this one because it is doesn’t stray to far from his other stuff. If you like his other works, this is a must see due to its originality and quality.

REVIEW: MY BOSS’S DAUGHTER

CAST

Ashton Kutcher (The Ranch)
Tara Reid (American Pie)
Terence Stamp (Big Eyes)
Molly Shannon (Scary Movie 5)
Andy Richter (Elf)
Michael Madsen (Sin City)
Tyler Labine (Reaper)
Jon Abrahams (The Faculty)
Patrick Cranshaw (Old School)
Angela Little (Rush Hour 2)
David Koechner (Anchorman)
Carmen Electra (Scary Movie)
Kenan Thompson (The Smurfs)
Jeffrey Tambor (Dr. Dolittle)

Tom Stansfield (Ashton Kutcher) is a researcher at a publishing company who works under the tyrannical Jack Taylor (Terence Stamp). Tom has a crush on his boss’ daughter, Lisa Taylor (Tara Reid), who is completely controlled by her overprotective father. She reveals to Tom that her father is making her house-sit on the same night as a party she wants to attend, but Tom convinces her to stand up to her father and attend the party anyway. Lisa asks him to come to their house that night, leading Tom to think that she has invited him to the party; in reality, she just wants him to fill in for her – he reluctantly agrees. A comedy of errors ensues, including the return of Lisa’s older brother, Red, on the run from drug dealers. Red dumps drugs into the toilet, and instead returns a bag of flour to the drug dealer. One of Tom’s tasks is to guard their owl, O-J, which lives in an open cage (it has not been able to fly due to a deep depression, from the loss of a prior mate). When the bird drinks from the toilet polluted with drugs, it flies away. Jack Taylor’s ex-secretary Audrey goes to the house to try to earn her job back. After fighting with her boyfriend, she stays over at the house. Lisa returns home after finding out that her boyfriend Hans is cheating on her. Tom hides from her everything that happened and she spends some time with him thinking he is homosexual. He clarifies to her that he’s actually straight and she starts to like him. Audrey’s friend thinks she has breast cancer and asks Tom to feel her breasts. Lisa walks in on them and is disgusted by the situation.T.J., the drug dealer, finds out about the fake drugs and threatens to kill Tom if he doesn’t return him his money. T.J. tries to open a safe and steal the money. However, Tom gives him sleeping pills mixed with alcohol which sends him into a coma. Because they think T.J. is dead, Audrey and her friends bury him. Later, T.J. escapes from the grave and threatens to kill Lisa. With Red’s help, Tom rescues Lisa and she falls in love with him. He then goes to get her father, but on the way back the owl gets into the car making Tom lose control of the car and crash into the house. They find police officers in the house looking for T.J., who ends up getting arrested. Jack Taylor is enraged by the damages done to the house and throws Tom out. The next day, Jack Taylor hears his son explaining to Lisa how she should stand up to their father and goes back to Tom. Jack realizes his mistakes and gives Tom a promotion.This is a funny film and all the cast seem to be having a good time and a laught buy it if you want a good comedy.