REVIEW: THE SIMPSONS – SEASON 26-28

CAST

Dan Castellaneta (Super 8)
Julie Kavner  (Dr. Dolittle)
Yeardley Smith (Dead Like Me)
Nancy Cartwright (Kim Possible)
Hank Azaria (The Smurfs)
Harry Shearer (This Is Spinal Tap)
Pamela Hayden (Recess)
Tress MacNeille (Futurama)
Russi Taylor (Babe)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Kelsey Grammer (Frasier)
Sarah Silverman (School of Rock)
Maurice LaMarche (Futurama)
Jackie Mason (Caddyshack II)
David Hyde Pierce (Hellboy)
John Ratzenberger (Toy Story)
Jane Fonda (Barbarella)
John DiMaggio (Adventure Time)
Phil LaMarr (Free Enterprise)
Katey Sagal (Married With Children)
Lauren Tom (Bad Santa)
Frank Welker (Transformers)
Billy West (Doug)
Maggie Roswell (Pretty In Pink)
Willem Dafoe (American Psycho)
Will Forte (The Cleveland Show)
Stacy Keach (Two and a Half Men)
Eion Musk (The Big Bang Theory)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Christopher Lloyd (Piranha 2D)
Richard Branson (Superman Returns)
Yaya DaCosta (Tron Legacy)
Jon Lovitz (Big)
R. Lee Ermey (Seven)
Cat Deeley  (Deadbeat)
Glenn Close (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Carice Van Houten (Game of Thrones)
Albert Brooks (Drive)
Joe Mantegna (Criminal Minds)
Johnny Mathis  (Lizzie)
Adam Driver (Star Wars: The Force Awakens)
Lena Dunham  (Girls)
Edward James Olmos (The Green Hornet)
Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars)
Stephen Merchant (Logan)
Kaitlin Olson (The Heat)
Sofia Vergara (Machete Kills)
Natalie Maines  (Grand Champion)
Kate McKinnon (Ghostbusters)
Michael York (Logans Run)
George Takei (Star Trek)
Jay Leno (Family Guy)
Amy Schumer (Trainwreck)
Allison Janney (Mom)
Michael Chiklis (Gotham)
Dana Gould (Gex)
Natasha Lyonne (American Pie)
Charles Barkley (Thunderstruck)
Common (Wanted)
Taraji P. Henson (Hidden Figures)
Keegan-Michael Key (The Lego Movie Movie)
RZA (Californication)
Snoop Dogg (Pitch Perfect 2)
Seth Green (Family Guy)
Patton Oswalt (Dollhouse)
Lizzy Caplan (Mean Girls)
Michael Sheen (Passengers)
Brian Posehn (The Big Bang Theory)
Rob Riggle (21 Jump Street)
Jason Alexander (Shallow Hal)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
Jennifer Saunders (Coraline)
Valerie Harper (Rhoda)

592024-338Two and a half decades on, the show’s status as a comedy classic remains untarnished, which is testament to the genius of its creator.

SEASON 26 HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE

26.1) CLOWN IN THE DUMPS

After being offended by a comedy cable channel roast of him, Krusty goes to his father for advice, only to have him die before he can say whether or not he found his son funny, causing Krusty to decide to retire. Meanwhile, fear of losing her own father causes Lisa to try to protect Homer from getting hurt in any way.26.2) THE WRECK OF THE RELATIONSHIP

Homer is tired of Bart not respecting him, so he attempts to parent Bart, by forcing him to eat broccoli. This goes nowhere, so Marge signs them up for the Relation Ship to solve their problems. Meanwhile, while Homer’s away, Marge takes over his Fantasy Football league. On board the Relation Ship, Homer does not enjoy sea life while Bart excels at sailing and becomes mid shipman, much to Homer’s dismay. Homer continues to disrespect his son’s new ship role until he eventually eats a piece of broccoli.26.3) SUPER FRANCHISE ME

After her sandwiches become popular at Springfield Elementary, Marge opens a sandwich store. It becomes a huge success, until the same franchise opens another store right across the street.26.5) OPPOSITES-A-FRACK

When Mr. Burns starts a fracking operation, Lisa brings National Assemblywoman Maxine Lombard to put a stop to it, only to have Burns and Lombard fall in love.26.6) SIMPSORAMA

In a crossover with Futurama, when a time capsule containing a sandwich with Bart’s germs in it, Milhouse’s rabbit’s foot, and radioactive ooze causes a catastrophe in the future, the Planet Express crew comes to present-day Springfield to stop the Simpsons from creating the mess in the first place.26.10) THE MAN WHO CAME TO BE DINNER

The Simpson family attend a trip to an amusement park named Dizneeland, where they go on a ride called “Rocket to Your Doom” and accidentally end up on Rigel 7, the home planet of Kang and Kodos.26.11) BART’S NEW FRIEND

Homer goes to a hypnotist and ends up believing he is ten years old. However, when the hypnotist is arrested, Homer becomes stuck in his new age, so he bonds with Bart and refuses entry back into the responsibilities of adulthood.26.12) THE MUSK WHO FELL TO EARTH

Elon Musk arrives in Springfield, where he and Homer become fast friends, but Musk soon incurs the wrath of Mr. Burns when his ideas become over-the-top, prompting Homer to try to end their friendship.26.14) MY FARE LADY

Marge becomes a chauffeur after she grows tired of chauffeuring her own kids around. Meanwhile, Moe becomes the Nuclear Power Plant’s janitor.26.15) THE PRINCESS GUIDE

A Nigerian princess named Kemi comes to Springfield, as her father intends to work out a uranium deal with Mr. Burns, and Homer is chosen to protect her. Moe, having recently lost his money to a Nigerian prince, believes Kemi must be related to the scammer, but soon starts falling for her.26.17) WAITING FOR DUFFMAN

When Duffman undergoes hip replacement surgery following an injury during a parade and retires, Duff Beer’s owner Howard K. Duff VII sets up a reality show presented by Cat Deeley in order to find his replacement. The competition is fierce until only Homer Simpson and one other competitor remained.64026.18) PEEPING MOM

Returning home with Maggie from errands, Marge discovers that a part of Springfield is now totally destroyed. As Chief Wiggum announces that Bart could be the culprit, Bart says that he was not involved at all in the incident. This prompts Marge to follow him everywhere until he confesses. Meanwhile, Homer meets Flanders’s dog named Baz.26.20) LET’S GO FLY A COOT

Bart begins using an E-cigarette to impress Milhouse’s cousin Annika. Meanwhile, the rest of the family learn about Grampa’s days in the U.S. Air Force.26.21) BULL-E

When Bart is bullied after a school dance, Marge gets the city to adopt a tough anti-bullying law that gets Homer arrested when Rod and Todd claim that he’s bullying Ned, but is Ned willing to turn the other cheek this time?HRHTRHRTHRTIt’s hilarious, comedy, funny, and one of my all time favourite T.V showS .. The series is a satirical depiction of a middle class American lifestyle epitomized by the Simpson family, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. The show is set in the fictional town of Springfield and parodies American culture, society, television, and many aspects of the human condition. Modern Simpsons episodes are often both overstuffed and under-imagined, resulting in two indifferent, inadequately realized stories. Even though the show has dropped in creativity and in the joke department, it’s still worthy.960

SEASON 27 HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE

27.1) EVERY MAN’S DREAM

Homer and Marge go through a trial separation, during which Homer dates a pharmacist.27.3) PUFFLESS

Jacqueline decides to reveal the truth: her husband died because of lung cancer, but didn’t say so before because back then, people were reluctant to admit it. This revelation shocks Patty and Selma, who decide to quit smoking once and for all and burn all their cigarettes, which unfortunately causes Jacqueline’s house to burn down. However, Selma’s relapse causes an angry Patty to move in with Marge and Homer. Meanwhile, when Maggie makes some new animal friends, she must go on a rescue mission when one of them is taken by Cletus.27.6) FRIEND WITH BENEFIT

Lisa becomes friends with a rich girl named Harper, whose father becomes friends with Homer, but Lisa becomes concerned that Harper is a little too entitled.27.7) LISA WITH AN ‘S

Homer loses $5,000 that he doesn’t have in a poker bet, and is forced to loan Lisa out to Broadway star Laney Fontaine to pay back his debt. Marge and Homer later realize they’ve made a terrible mistake and must go to New York to retrieve Lisa.27.8) PATHS OF GLORY

Lisa tries to better the reputation of Springfield’s first female inventor by searching an asylum for her first invention. While in the asylum, she and Bart find a sociopath’s notebook, causing Bart to take the notebook home and pretend to be the sociopath that wrote it.27.10) THE GIRL CODE

When Homer loses his job due to Marge’s social media post, he begins working as a dishwasher at a Greek restaurant. Meanwhile, Lisa creates an app that can predict the effect any post on social media will have.27.11) TEENAGE MUTANT MILK-CAUSED HURDLES

Bart experiences early puberty after drinking a milk substitute filled with bad hormones, and ends up competing with Skinner for the affections of his new teacher, Mrs. Berrera.27.14) GAL OF CONSTANT SORROW

Bart and Lisa take in a homeless woman to live with them, where they discover that she is a talented folk singer. Meanwhile, Homer accidentally traps the cat in the walls of the house.27.16) THE MARGE-IAN CHRONICLES

Lisa signs up for the Mars One Space Colony, and Marge comes along to try and talk her out of it.27.17) THE BURNS CAGE

After Smithers is crushed by Mr. Burns’ lack of affection towards him, other characters attempt to find a boyfriend for him. Meanwhile, Milhouse competes against a new boy for the lead role in a school production of Casablanca, so he can act alongside his own unrequited love, Lisa.27.20) TO COURIER WITH LOVE

The Simpson family goes on a trip to Paris, and Homer becomes the courier of a secret briefcase.27.21) SIMPROVISED

After messing up a speech at work, Homer tries improv comedy. Meanwhile, Marge helps rebuild Bart’s treehouse. For the last three minutes of the episode, Homer does a live Q&A for fans on the East/West Coast.27.22) ORANGE IS THE NEW YELLOW

Marge gets arrested after Bart goes to the park unsupervised, which leaves Homer struggling to manage the household.

The-Simpsons-S28-PosterI absolutely love this show. It’s one of my all-time favourite TV shows. Ever. It’s so funny, and it keeps getting better and better. There is a reason why it has been going for as long as it has been.

SEASON 28 HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE

28.1) MONTY BURNS’ FLEEING CIRCUS

Mr. Burns puts on a variety show at the Springfield Bowl in exchange for rebuilding the town, after it’s burned to the ground. However, when the event brings back bad memories for the old man who bombed when he first performed there 100 years ago, Burns tries to muster up the courage to perform again in an effort to redeem himself.28.2) FRIENDS AND FAMILY

Homer finds a new friend in a woman who acts just like him, while Mr. Burns’ search for a clan to play his virtual-reality family leads him to hire Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie, since Burns intends to play the father.28.5) TRUST BUT CLARIFY

Bart and Lisa investigate Krusty’s new “Krustaceans” candy, while Homer asks Marge to help him dress for a promotion at the nuclear plant and Kent Brockman deals with the changing media world.28.7) HAVANA WILD WEEKEND

The Simpsons go to Cuba to get Grampa cheap medical care, since the retirement home and the V.A. hospital can’t solve his health issues.28.8) DAD BEHAVIOR

Homer discovers a new app that makes his life easier, and Grampa learns he’s going to be a father again.28.11) PORK AND BURNS

Marge is inspired by a Japanese book on minimalism to adapt to a new way of living, so the Simpsons have to part with items that no longer bring them joy, which includes Homer finding a new home for the family pig, Plopper.28.12/13) THE GREAT PHATSBY PARTS 1 & 2

Mr. Burns plots revenge against the music mogul who conned him with help from the mogul’s ex-wife, rapper Jazzy James, Homer, and Bart.28.14) FATZCARRALDO

When all the fast food restaurants in Springfield become healthy, Homer is forced to turn to chili dogs for comfort. Meanwhile, Lisa tries to save the school radio station.28.16) KAMP KRUSTLER

Bart and Lisa return from Kamp Krusty, both traumatized. Meanwhile, Homer becomes a more productive worker.28.18) A FATHER’S WATCH

Marge goes to parenting experts for advice when she thinks that Bart is on the road to failure. Following their advice, Homer opens a trophy store.28.19) CAPER CHASE

Mr. Burns opens a for-profit university, with Homer as one of its professors.28.20) LOOKING FOR MR. GOODBART

Bart spends time with Principal Skinner’s mother, Agnes. Meanwhile, Homer and Lisa get addicted to Peekimon Get.28.22) DOGTOWN

After a legal issue, dogs become more important than humans, after which they start to take over the town.656UEven in the later seasons The Simpsons showed it still has staying power

 

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REVIEW: THE ADVENTURER: THE CURSE OF THE MIDAS BOX

CAST

Michael Sheen (Passengers)
Sam Neill (Jurassic Park)
Lena Headey (Game of Thrones)
Mella Carron (Brooklyn)
Ioan Gruffudd (Ringer)
Keeley Hawes (Othello)
Aneurin Barnard (Elfie Hopkins)
Tristan Gemmill (Casualty)

Mariah Mundi has no choice but to unite with the enigmatic Will Charity when his family is kidnapped by an unknown enemy. Their adventure leads them to the mysterious and majestic Prince Regent, a huge steam-powered hotel on a small island at the furthest reach of the Empire. Mariah, with the help of Charity must unravel the secrets of the island to find the truth behind the disappearance of his family, and prevent Otto Luger from getting his hands on the mystical and powerful Midas Box.The story unfolds quickly, and for a low(ish) budget, independently produced film, I was left impressed with how high the standard was set from the scripting to wardrobe. The Victorian costumes are lovely, the paltry use of CGI not one bit detrimental to the visuals. The plot was original, where unexpected developments abounded, and while technically a young adult movie, it was more than mature enough for any age to enjoy. It may not be the absolute best in the genre when compared to other period sci-fi/adventure films, yet this still held its own nicely.

REVIEW: RESISTANCE

CAST

Alexander Dreymon (The Last Kingdom)
Michael Sheen (Passengers)
Iwan Rheon (Game of Thrones)
Andrea Riseborough (Birdman)
Tom Wlaschiha (Rush)
Kimberley Nixon (Black Death)
Anatole Taubman (Taken)

After all the women in a remote valley on the Welsh border awaken to find their husbands have left to serve in the covert British Resistance, German occupiers arrive in this alternate-reality thriller set in 1944 where D-Day has failed and the United Kingdom has been invaded by Nazi Germany. Facing a harsh winter, the women and soldiers find they must co-operate with one another to survive. Each distrusts the other. The women want to remain loyal to their absent husbands and the soldiers are after all at war and the women are their enemy. Over time the soldiers stop wearing their uniforms. The Germans help with farm chores or may leave a couple of shot rabbits on a porch. The Germans think the war may be over soon and why not spend the winter away from war.Captain Albrecht becomes close to Sarah. To prove he can be trusted, he takes her to a cave where a priceless Medieval world map has been hidden from the Germans. He studied Medieval history and even he does not want the SS or Himmler to get it. Another much more elderly wife named Maggie has become friends with Bernhardt.Spring has arrived and Sarah convinces Albrecht to let Maggie take her prized cob horse to the county fair and Bernhardt accompanies her. The women wanted to know if there was any news of their husbands. A friend of Maggie tells her that the group of men that blew up the railroad bridge had all been hanged by the Nazis. Maggie returns to the valley with a third place win but very changed with the knowledge that the husbands were dead. Young teen George sees Maggie’s fair trip as collaboration with the enemy and shoots her horse in punishment. The loss of her husband and horse is enough to kill Maggie. Soldier Steiner distrusts the valley women and he runs off to town with the Army radio. Albrecht is in love with Sarah and asks her to escape off with him before the Gestapo come. She agrees but actually goes home and writes her date of death in the family bible. She then makes sure to burn the priceless map to keep it from the Germans. She was always loyal to her husband and country. She walks off into the mountains to die and movie ends.I would recommend you to see this film if you like ideas, beauty and no easy answers. The performances are uniformly stunning and the photography, breathtaking. Don’t see it if you expect to be told what to think. This is a film about difficult questions in extreme circumstances and as such demands commitment.

REVIEW: PASSENGERS

CAST

Jennifer Lawrence (Joy)
Chris Pratt (Jurassic World)
Michael Sheen (Underworld)
Laurence Fishburne (Man of Steel)
Andy Garcia (The Unsaid)
Nazanin Boniadi (How I Met Your Mother)

The starship Avalon is transporting 5,000 colonists and 258 crew members, in hibernation pods, to the planet Homestead II, a journey taking 120 years. Thirty years into its journey, the ship passes through a meteor storm, which causes a malfunction. The malfunction awakens one passenger, mechanical engineer Jim Preston (Chris Pratt), 90 years early.After a year of isolation, with no company except Arthur (Michael Sheen), an android bartender, Jim grows despondent and contemplates suicide. One day, he notices Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence) in her pod. Her video profile reveals she is a writer with a humorous personality. After struggling with the morality of manually reviving Aurora for companionship, he awakens her, claiming her pod also must have malfunctioned. Jim makes Arthur promise not to tell Aurora why she really woke up. Aurora is devastated that she will grow old and die before the ship reaches Homestead II. Her research for a way to re-enter hibernation is fruitless. Eventually, she accepts her situation and begins writing a book about her experiences. Jim and Aurora grow closer.After another year, Arthur inadvertently reveals the truth to Aurora after misinterpreting Jim’s affirmation that he and Aurora have “no secrets” between them. Aurora, angry and distraught, alternately berates, shuns, and physically attacks Jim. Jim attempts to apologize, but is fiercely rejected. The two refrain from contact for some time. Soon after, another pod failure awakens Gus (Laurence Fishburne), Chief Deck Officer. The three discover multiple failures throughout the ship’s systems. If not repaired, the ship will continue to suffer critical system failures. Gus attempts repairs with Jim and Aurora’s help, while Aurora still blames Jim for stealing her life. Gus’s body, physically damaged by his malfunctioning pod, begins to fail; the Autodoc, an automated medical diagnostics and treatment pod, shows he has only hours to live. Before dying, Gus gives Jim and Aurora his ID badge to access secure areas and repair the ship.Jim and Aurora discover a series of holes through the ship’s hull from the meteor collision two years earlier. The computer module administering the fusion reactor that powers the ship has been damaged, causing the ship’s malfunctions. Jim and Aurora replace the damaged module. The computer attempts to vent the reactor but fails. Jim realizes that the reactor must be vented by opening the vent hatch from the ship’s exterior. Aurora assists while admitting she is terrified of losing Jim and being left alone. Aurora, from inside the ship, and Jim, outside, successfully vent the reactor. However, Jim’s tether snaps, and his damaged spacesuit loses oxygen. Aurora retrieves and resuscitates Jim in the Autodoc. Jim later learns that the Autodoc can function as a makeshift hibernation pod for Aurora. With only one Autodoc, she realizes she would never see Jim again. She forgives Jim and sympathizes with his potentially lonely situation, and decides to remain awake with him to provide him company.Eighty-eight years later, the ship’s crew awaken shortly before arrival on Homestead II. They discover a small house amid lush vegetation on the ship’s grand concourse area. Aurora’s book reveals that she chose to stay awake with Jim and finish writing her story.If you like science fiction, this has it. If you like romance, this has it. If you like excellent special effects, this has it. If you like a good story, yes, this movie has that too.  This isn’t a Star-Trek style high-octane Sci-Fi action movie. It’s a solid blend of drama, romance, action, intrigue, stunning visuals, occasional suspense, human psychology, and for me was a winning combination.

REVIEW: NOCTURNAL ANIMALS

CAST

Amy Adams (Batman V Superman)
Jake Gyllenhaal (Donnie Darko)
Michael Shannon (Man of Steel)
Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass)
Isla Fisher (Burke & Hare)
Ellie Bamber (The Falling)
Armie Hammer (The Lone Ranger)
Laura Linney (Mystic river)
Andrea Riseborough (Birdman)
Michael Sheen (Underworld)
Neil Jackson (Push)
Jena Malone (Saved)

The opening sequence of the film is of several obese women dancing naked in slow motion.The Real World

Angeleno art gallery owner Susan Morrow receives the manuscript for a novel penned by her estranged ex-husband Edward Sheffield along with an invitation for dinner during Edward’s upcoming visit to Los Angeles. Marred by her deteriorating marriage to unfaithful businessman Hutton Morrow, Susan becomes consumed by the novel, which is both dedicated to her and named Nocturnal Animals after Edward’s nickname for her.

The Novel

Tony Hastings is a peaceful man who runs afoul of three local troublemakers – Ray Marcus, Lou, and Turk – during a road trip through West Texas. Forced off the road, Tony is powerless to stop Ray and Turk from kidnapping his wife, Laura, and their daughter, India, and leaving him with Lou, who forces him to drive Ray’s car to the end of a road where he is abandoned. Tony manages to evade Ray and Lou when they return looking for him and makes his way to a nearby farmhouse to call the police.Detective Bobby Andes is assigned to the case and discovers the bodies of Laura and India near an abandoned shack, where they had been raped and murdered. Tony is wracked with guilt. He is contacted by Andes a year later and is asked to identify Lou, who is charged as an accomplice in the murders of Laura and India.Turk has been fatally shot in a botched robbery, leaving Ray as the final culprit to be brought to justice. Andes arrests Ray, but is ultimately forced to release him as they only have circumstantial evidence of his involvement. On the verge of retirement and having been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, Andes decides to take matters into his own hands and with Tony’s help abducts Ray and Lou. Andes shoots Lou when he attempts to escape, but Ray succeeds in getting away. Tony tracks Ray down on his own to the shack where Laura and India were killed and the two have a violent confrontation, in which Ray admits to raping and murdering Tony’s wife and daughter, calling him weak. Tony fatally shoots him, but is blinded when Ray hits him on the head with an iron bar. Tony stumbles outside, succumbing to his brain hemorrhage, and dies after falling on his gun, shooting himself in the stomach in the process.

The Real World (cont.)

Shocked by the dark content and raw emotion of the novel, Susan reminisces about meeting Edward in college and their blossoming relationship, which Susan’s domineering mother Anne Sutton objected to, claiming that Edward was not worthy of Susan’s affections and that because of his romantic worldviews, he lacked the drive to actually achieve his goals; Susan ignored her mother’s objections, ultimately marrying Edward.After finding further evidence of Hutton’s extramarital affair, Susan resumes reading the manuscript. Susan begins to recall her troubled marriage to Edward, which was strained by her frustration with his fledgling career and her dismissive attitude towards his literary aspirations, and culminated with Susan cheating on him with Hutton and ultimately divorcing Edward to marry him. Edward attempted to repair their relationship, but ultimately cut ties with Susan upon learning that she was pregnant with his child but secretly had an abortion to ensure the divorce proceeded. Susan realizes that the novel is an allegory for the loss Edward endured during their separation and that he dedicated the novel to her as a form of revenge, having sent the manuscript to prove to her that he was capable of writing a successful novel. Susan reevaluates her current behavior and contacts Edward. She arranges a meeting with him in hopes of mending their relationship, but Edward does not show up.Tom Ford, the celebrated fashion designer who made his film debut with A Single Man, makes a fantastic return with his second film here, both as a director and a writer, adapting Austin Wright’s 1993 novel, Tony and Susan. The script is wonderful, the look of the film is beautifully dark, and it just all feels so purely cinematic. One of the best thrillers in recent years.

REVIEW: BLOOD DIAMOND

CAST

Leonardo DiCaprio (Titanic)
Djimon Hounsou (Guaridans of The Galaxy)
Jennifer Connelly (Hulk)
Kagiso Kuypers  (Elalini)
Arnold Vosloo (The Mummy)
David Harewood (Supergirl)
Basil Wallace (Marked For Death)
Jimi Mistry (The Guru)
Michael Sheen (Underworld)
Stephen Collins (No Ordinary Family)
Ntare Mwine (Heroes)
Adetokumboh M’Cormack  (Lost)

It is 1999 and Sierra Leone is ravaged by major political unrest. Rebel factions such as the Revolutionary United Front frequently terrorize the countryside, intimidating Mende locals and enslaving many to harvest diamonds, which fund their increasingly successful war effort. One such unfortunate local is fisherman Solomon Vandy (Djimon Hounsou) from Shenge, who is separated from his family and assigned to a workforce overseen by Captain Poison (David Harewood), a ruthless warlord.One morning, Vandy discovers an enormous pink diamond in the riverbank. Captain Poison tries to take the stone, but the area is suddenly raided by government troops. Vandy buries the stone before being captured. Both Vandy and Poison are incarcerated in Freetown, along with Danny Archer (Leonardo DiCaprio), a white Rhodesian gunrunner jailed while trying to smuggle diamonds into Liberia. They were intended for Rudolph van de Kaap, a corrupt South African mining executive.Hearing of the pink diamond in prison, Archer arranges for himself and Vandy to be freed from detention. He travels to Cape Town to meet his employer: Colonel Coetzee (Arnold Vosloo), an Afrikaner formerly with the apartheid-era South African Defence Force, who now commands a private military company. Archer wants the diamond so he can sell it and leave the continent forever, but Coetzee wants it as compensation for Archer’s botched smuggling mission. Archer returns to Sierra Leone, locates Vandy, and offers to help him find his family if he will help recover the diamond.Meanwhile, RUF insurgents escalate hostilities; Freetown falls to their advance while Vandy’s son Dia (Kagiso Kuypers) is among those rounded up to serve as a child soldier under a liberated Captain Poison. Archer and Vandy narrowly escape to Lungi, where they plan to reach Kono with an American journalist, Maddy Bowen (Jennifer Connelly); in exchange, Archer will provide evidence on the illicit diamond trade. The trio arrive in Kono after a harrowing journey, where Coetzee and his private army — contracted by the Sierra Leone government — prepares to repulse the rebel offensive.While Maddy gets out with her story, the two men set out for Captain Poison’s encampment. Dia, stationed with the RUF garrison there, is confronted by Vandy, but having been brainwashed he refuses to acknowledge his father. Archer radios the site’s coordinates to Coetzee, who directs a combined air and ground assault on the camp; Vandy finds Captain Poison and beats him to death with a shovel as the mercenaries overwhelm the RUF defenders. Coetzee then forces Vandy to produce the diamond, but is killed by Archer, who realizes Coetzee would eventually kill them both. Dia holds the pair briefly at gunpoint, but Vandy confronts him again and renews their bond. Pursued by vengeful mercenaries, Archer discloses he has been mortally wounded and entrusts the stone to Vandy, telling him to take it for his family. Vandy and his son rendezvous with Archer’s pilot, who flies them to safety while Archer makes a final phone call to Maddy; they share final farewells as he asks her to assist Vandy, and gives her permission to finish her article. Archer finally takes in the beautiful African landscape before (presumably) dying.Vandy arrives in London and meets with a van de Kaap representative; he exchanges the pink diamond for a large sum of money and being reunited with his entire family. Maddy takes photographs of the deal to publish in her article on the diamond trade, exposing van de Kaap’s criminal actions. Vandy appears as a guest speaker at a conference on “blood diamonds” in Kimberley, and is met with a standing ovation. 

I was pleasantly surprised by the film. Compelling characters and the skillful use of a truly gripping global issue as the plot line make this a satisfying viewing experience- one that I would happily see again. Definitely worth a watch

 

REVIEW: ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS (2016)

CAST

Mia Wasikowska (Crimson Peak)
Johnny Depp (Into The Woods)
Helena Bonham Carter (Sweeney Todd)
Anne Hathaway (The Dark Knight Rises)
Sacha Baron Cohen (Grimsby)
Rhys Ifans (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Matt Lucas (Bridesmaids)
Richard Armitage (The Hobbit)
Alan Rickman (Harry Potter)
Stephen Fry (Sherlock Holmes 2)
Michael Sheen (Underworld)
Barbara Windsor (Eastenders)
Timothy Spall (Vanilla Sky)
Matt Vogel (Muppets Most Wanted)
Hattie Morahan (Mr. Holmes)

Alice Kingsleigh has spent the past three years following in her father’s footsteps and sailing the high seas. Upon her return to London from China, she discovers that her ex-fiancé, Hamish Ascot, has taken over her father’s company and plans to have Alice sell him her father’s ship in exchange for her family home. Unable to make a choice, Alice runs away, and comes across her butterfly friend Absolem, who disappears through a mysterious mirror on one of the upstairs rooms, returning to Underland.
There, Alice is greeted by Mirana of Marmoreal, the White Queen, Nivens McTwisp, the White Rabbit, the Tweedles, Mallymkun, the Dormouse, Thackery Earwicket, the March Hare, Bayard, and the Cheshire Cat. They inform her that Tarrant Hightopp, the Mad Hatter is in poor health because his family is missing following the Attack of the Jabberwocky. The attack occurred shortly after his father, Zanik, a hat retailer, seemed to reject Tarrant’s gift of a hat creation.
The White Queen persuades Alice to convince Time himself to save the Mad Hatter’s family in the past, believing her to be the only one who can save the Hatter. However, she cautions Alice about time, and that if her past self sees her future self, everything will be history. As Alice sets out, she ends up in a dreary palace, where Time himself, a demigod that is part-human, part-clock, resides. As Alice tries to consult Time, she finds the Chronosphere, an object that powers all time in Underland and will allow her to travel to any time in the past.

Alice ignores Time’s warning that the past is unchangeable, and steals the Chronosphere, shortly after finding Iracebeth of Grims, the exiled Red Queen, in the care of Time. Alice accidentally flies to the day of Iracebeth’s coronation, where a younger Mad Hatter/Tarrant Hightopp mocks the Red Queen/Iracebeth of Crims when the royal crown doesn’t fit on her abnormally large head. This causes Iracebeth to melt down and her father deems her emotionally unqualified to rule and passes the title of queen to her younger sister, the White Queen/Mirana of Marmoreal.

Alice learns of an event in Iracebeth’s and Mirana’s past that caused friction between the two and travels back in time again, hoping it will change Iracebeth’s ways and stop the Jabberwocky from killing the Hatter’s family. She learns that the hat that the Mad Hatter thought his father threw away was actually treasured by him. Meanwhile, she meets the White Queen and the Red Queen as sisters. Mirana steals a tart from her mother and eats it. When confronted by their mother, Mirana lies about eating the tart, and Iracebeth is accused, causing her to run out of the castle. Alice sees that Iracebeth is about to run into a clock, thinking that’s the event that deforms her head and personality. Alice prevents that collision but fails to change the past, as Iracebeth trips and slams her head into a stone wall instead.

A weakened Time then confronts Alice after relentless searching, and scolds her for putting all of time in danger. Out of panic, Alice runs into a nearby mirror back in the real world, where she wakes up in a mental hospital, diagnosed with female hysteria. As Dr. Addison Bennett, a psychiatric doctor, tries to inject her with a sedative, she escapes and returns to Underland via the mirror, where she travels to the Attack of the Jabberwocky Day. Alice discovers that the Mad Hatter’s family was captured by the Red Queen instead and never died. Returning to the present however, Alice discovers that the Mad Hatter is on the brink of death.

Alice, close to tears, says that she believes him, and Tarrant transforms back to his normal self. The Underlandians go to the Red Queen’s new organic plant castle, where the Mad Hatter finds his family shrunk and trapped in an ant farm. However, the Red Queen apprehends them and steals the Chronosphere from Alice. Ignoring Time’s warning, she takes her sister back to the day she lied about the tart. By the time the Mad Hatter and Alice get there, the Red Queen and her younger self have seen each other. Time becomes irrelevant, and Underland begins to freeze in rust. At a powerless Time’s pleas, Alice and the Mad Hatter, using the Chronosphere race back to the present, where Alice places the Chronosphere in its original place in time.
With the Chronosphere stabilized, Underland reverts to normal. The Mad Hatter reunites with his family and the White Queen and the Red Queen make amends while Time forgives Alice for the trouble she caused. Alice bids farewell to her friends and returns to the real world through another mirror. She finds her mother is about to sign over Alice’s ship to Hamish. Her mother decides to support her daughter instead. Hamish gets the Kingsleigh family home but not the ship. Alice and her mother set out to travel the world together with their own shipping company.A wonderful follow up to the first film, with all your favorite characters returning for the adventure and some amazing new ones too. A film the whole family can enjoy.