REVIEW: STAR TREK: DISCOVERY – SEASON 1 – PART I

MAIN CAST

Sonequa Martin-Green (The Good Wife)
Doug Jones (Hellboy)
Shazad Latif (Penny Dreadful)
Anthony Rapp (A Beautiful Mind)
Mary Wiseman (Longmire)
Jason Isaacs (Peter Pan)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon)
Mary Chieffo (Miss Dial)
James Frain (Gotham)
Chris Obi (Ghost In The Shell)
Emily Coutts (Crimson Peak)
Bonnie Morgan (Rings)
Chris Violette (Power Rangers SPD)
Kenneth Mitchell (Odyssey 5)
Rekha Sharma (Battlestar Galactica)
Jayne Brook (Gattaca)
Wilson Cruz (13 Reasons Why)
Rainn Wilson (Super)
Clare McConnell (Dim The Fluorescents)
Mia Kirshner (The Vampire Diaries)
Katherine Barrell (Wynonna Earp)
Peter MacNeill (Crash)
Conrad Coates (Tron: Legacy)

Where do I start? This is the trek that we have waited for, for 12 years now. Ever since Enterprise was unceremoniously cancelled I’ve waited for the next weekly trek fix to come along. Let me preface by saying that this isn’t your Fathers Star Trek, and really isn’t your grandfathers Star Trek. This is Star Trek re-envisioned for the modern audience. Although it’s a prequel to the original TOS series (set 10 years before Kirk and Spock took charge of the 1701) this series is free of any design ties, and sometimes technological ties too. If you’re new to the show, go into it with an open mind and be prepared to perhaps compromise on any hard-core, Religious fundamentalist style adherence to Canon and Plastic scenery/monsters. This show has SO much good going for it. Essentially the first 3 episodes serve as Pilots 1 and 2 (Very “The Cage” and “WNMHGB”). By the time the mysterious and incredibly intriguing Captain Gabriel Lorca turns up on the Discovery you should be well adjusted and hooked to the show. The effects are amazing. The opening shot of Discovery is nothing short of breathtaking. The plots are detailed and dovetail together nicely. The arc driven story line works and drip feeds at a substantive rate. This is Fun. It feels new and Fresh yet familiar and comfortable. The Easter eggs for fans are a genuine treat with some real thought behind them.The first 8 Episodes are amazing, and leaves you waiting for the second half of the season (In January). With a Season 2 also ordered this show should be around for some time to come.

 

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REVIEW: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL.2

CAST

Chris Pratt (Jurassic World)
Zoe Saldana (Avatar)
Dave Dautista (Riddick)
Vin Diesel (XXX)
Bradley Cooper (Ameircan Hustle)
Michael Rooker (Slither)
Karen Gillan (Oculus)
Pom Klementieff (Oldboy)
Elizabeth Debicki (The Man From U.N.C.L.E.)
Chris Sullivan (North Star)
Sean Gunn (Super)
Sylvester Stallone (Judge Dredd)
Kurt Russell (Big Toruble In Little China)
Laura Haddock (Transformers 5)
Gregg Henry (Jason Bourne)
Seth Green (Family Guy)
Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville)
Ving Rhames (Mission Impossible)
Michelle Yeoh (Star Trek Discovery)
Miley Cyrus (Hannah Montana)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
David Hasselhoff (Knight Rider)

In 2014, Peter Quill, Gamora, Drax, Rocket, and Baby Groot are renowned as the Guardians of the Galaxy. Ayesha, leader of the Sovereign race, has the Guardians protect valuable batteries from an inter-dimensional monster in exchange for Gamora’s estranged sister Nebula, who was caught attempting to steal the batteries. After Rocket steals some for himself, the Sovereign attacks the Guardians’ ship with a fleet of drones. The drones are destroyed by a mysterious figure, but the Guardians are forced to crash-land on a nearby planet. The figure reveals himself as Quill’s father, Ego. He invites Quill, who is accompanied by Gamora and Drax, to his home planet, while Rocket and Groot remain behind to repair the ship and guard Nebula.Meanwhile, Ayesha hires Yondu Udonta and his crew, who have been exiled from the greater Ravager community for child trafficking, to recapture the Guardians. They capture Rocket, but when Yondu shows reluctance to turn over Quill, his lieutenant Taserface leads a mutiny with help from Nebula. Taserface imprisons Rocket and Yondu aboard Yondu’s ship and executes his loyalists while Nebula leaves to track down and kill Gamora, whom she blames for all the torture inflicted on her by their father, Thanos. While imprisoned, Rocket and Yondu bond. Groot, together with Yondu’s loyalist Kraglin, frees Rocket and Yondu and they destroy the ship and its crew as they escape, though not before Taserface tips off the Sovereign fleet.Ego explains he is a god-like Celestial, an immortal consciousness that manipulated the matter around it to form the planet with itself at the core. Forming a human guise, he traveled the universe to escape his loneliness and discover a purpose, eventually falling in love with Quill’s mother Meredith. Ego hired Yondu to collect the young Quill after Meredith’s death, but the boy was never delivered and Ego had been searching for his son ever since. He teaches Quill to manipulate their Celestial power. Nebula arrives at Ego’s planet and tries to kill Gamora, but fails and the pair reach an uneasy alliance when they discover caverns filled with skeletal remains. Ego reveals to Quill that in his travels he planted seedlings upon thousands of worlds which can terraform them into new extensions of himself, but they can only be activated by the combined power of two Celestials. To that end, he impregnated countless women and hired Yondu to collect the children; Ego killed them all when they failed to access the Celestial power. Quill attacks Ego after Ego reveals that he deliberately caused Meredith’s death. Ego forcefully uses Quill to activate the seedlings, which begin to consume every world.Ego’s pet empath, Mantis, grows close to Drax and warns him, Gamora, and Nebula of Ego’s plan just as Rocket, Yondu, Groot, and Kraglin arrive. The reunited Guardians reach Ego’s brain at the planet’s core, and fight the Sovereign’s arriving drones. Rocket makes a bomb out of the stolen batteries that Groot plants on Ego’s brain, while Quill battles Ego with his newfound Celestial powers to allow the other Guardians to escape. The bomb explodes, killing Ego and causing the planet to disintegrate. Yondu sacrifices himself to save Quill, who now realizes Yondu did not deliver him to Ego in order to spare him from the fate of Ego’s other progeny, and that Yondu was Quill’s true “daddy”. Having reconciled with Gamora, Nebula still chooses to set out and attempt to kill Thanos. The Guardians hold a funeral for Yondu, which is attended by dozens of Ravager ships, acknowledging Yondu’s sacrifice and accepting him again as a Ravager.In a series of mid- and post-credit scenes, Kraglin takes up Yondu’s telekinetic arrow and control fin; Ravager leader Stakar Ogord, inspired by Yondu’s sacrifice, reunites with his ex-teammates; Groot starts growing back to normal size, exhibiting typical teenage behavior in the process; Ayesha creates a new artificial being with whom she plans to destroy the Guardians, naming him Adam; and a group of uninterested Watchers listen to their informant discussing several experiences on Earth.If you enjoyed the first volume, you would enjoy this one even better. I would recommend you to watch the first one before seeing this one to have a better understanding on the movie. Though I am pretty sure that most likely you would have seen it. I am confident that you will be entertained.

 

REVIEW: THE MUMMY: TOMB OF THE DRAGON EMPEROR

CAST

Brendan Fraser (Bedazzled)
Jet Li (The One)
Maria Bello (The Cooler)
John Hannah (Spartacus)
Luke Ford (Animal Kingdom)
Michelle Yeoh (Memoirs of a Geisha)
Liam Cunningham (Game of Thrones)
Isabella Leong (Spider Lilies)
Anthony Wong (The Mad Monk)
Russell Wong (Romeo Must Die)

In ancient China, a brutal and tyrannical warlord unites the country’s kingdoms into an empire and becomes the Dragon Emperor. He orders the construction of the Great Wall of China to bury and curse his dead enemies, eventually learning power over the classical elements fire, water, earth, wood and metal. The Emperor soon grows fearful that his death will end all he has accomplished and summons Zi Yuan, a sorceress who is said to know the secret of immortality. She seemingly casts a spell on the Emperor in Sanskrit, before he executes General Ming, his trusted friend and Zi Yuan’s secret lover. He impales Zi Yuan, but having foreseen such events, she immolates and detains the Emperor, transforming his army into the Terracotta Army, and flees.In 1946, Alex O’Connell, Rick and Evelyn O’Connell’s son, and his archaeology professor Roger Wilson locates the Emperor’s tomb. Though attacked by a mysterious woman, they succeed in bringing the coffin to Shanghai. Meanwhile, the British government entrusts the O’Connells to take the Eye of Shangri-La back to China. However, they learn that Wilson works for a rogue military faction led by General Yang, who had provided the financial backing of Alex’s expedition. Yang believes that the Emperor is the one who can lead China out of the chaos following WWII and plans to resurrect the Emperor using the Eye, which contains the Elixir of Life. They open it, but it accidentally lands on the statue of the carriage driver, which is revealed to actually be the Emperor’s mummified body. He accepts Yang’s service but kills Wilson and escapes.Along with Evelyn’s brother Jonathan Carnahan, the O’Connells and the mysterious woman, Lin, travel to a stupa in the Himalayas that will reveal the path to Shangri-La when the Eye is placed on top of it. With the help of Yetis summoned by Lin, the group hold off Yang’s soldiers but the Emperor discovers Shangri-La’s location. Alex attempts to trigger an avalanche. The Emperor throws a dagger at him, but Rick shoves Alex and is stabbed instead. Lin takes the group to Shangri-La, where Zi Yuan still lives and heals Rick’s wound. The group discovers that Lin is Zi Yuan’s daughter, both rendered immortal due to the power of Shangri-La’s waters. As Rick heals, Alex and Lin have grown attached to each other, but Lin refuses due to her immortality; unable to bear falling in love with Alex only to watch him grow old and die, just as Zi Yuan mourned for General Ming.The Emperor and General Yang eventually arrive and attack them in Shangri-La, and the Emperor bathes in the mystical waters, which restores his human form and youth, and gives him the ability to shapeshift. Transforming into a dragon, the Emperor kidnaps Lin and flies back to the tomb, raising his Terracota Army, planning to cross the Great Wall, where they will be invincible. The O’Connells and Zi Yuan pursue the Emperor to the Great Wall where she sacrifices her and Lin’s immortality to create an undead army from beneath The Great Wall, led by a revived General Ming. As Alex rescues Lin, Zi Yuan fights the Emperor and is mortally wounded, but secures the dagger. Zi Yuan gives the dagger to the group before dying. Meanwhile, the Emperor goes into the Great Wall to use his elemental powers to negate the undead spell. Rick and Alex fight off the Emperor while Evelyn and Lin fight and kill Yang. The Emperor gains the upper hand over Rick, but Rick and Alex manage to stab the Emperor in his heart with the dagger, killing him and defeating the Terracotta Army. Ming’s army briefly celebrates before finally moving on to a peaceful afterlife.The O’Connells return to Shanghai while Jonathan decides to move to Peru with the Eye of Shangri-La, as he wants to go somewhere with no mummies. However, in postscript, it is revealed that upon his arrival, mummies were discovered in Peru.The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor has a lot of physical comedy and computer-generated creatures as the previous two movies did. Fans of the Mummy films will be entertained as long as their expectations are checked at the door. I, for one, still enjoyed the mindless entertainment.

REVIEW: MECHANIC: RESURRECTION


CAST

Jason Statham (The Bank Job)
Jessica Alba (Dark Angel)
Tommy Lee Jones (Batman Forever)
Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon)
Sam Hazeldine (The Raven)

After faking his death, Arthur Bishop has been living quietly in Rio de Janeiro with the name Santos. He is approached by Renee Tran, who knows of his true identity and explains her employer wishes for Bishop to kill three targets and stage them as accidents. Seeing her mercenaries waiting nearby, Bishop makes his escape, and flees the country to Thailand. He takes shelter at a resort island beach house of his friend, Mae, and learns that Tran is working for Riah Crain. Bishop and Crain were orphans that grew up together, but later sold to a gangster and trained as warriors. Bishop made his escape and left Crain behind.Sometime later, a bruised woman, Gina Thorne, approaches Mae for first aid before returning to a boat anchored nearby. Mae observes Thorne being beaten by a man aboard the boat and alerts Bishop. Bishop and Mae rescue Thorne from the man, but in the scuffle, the man hits his head on the boat’s equipment and dies. Finding no evidence of his identity, Bishop sets the boat ablaze. While Mae tends to Thorne’s injuries, Bishop finds that Thorne is also connected to Crain, and believes Crain anticipated Bishop would become romantic with her; Crain would then have kidnapped her to make Bishop take the assassination jobs. When he charges Thorne with his theory, she reveals that Crain threatened the children’s shelter in Cambodia that she worked at unless she participated. Over the next few days, Bishop does get to know Thorne better and falls in love, but as expected, Crain’s mercenaries soon arrive and abduct the two.Thorne is taken to Crain’s private boat, while Bishop is brought to Crain himself, where he coerces him to take the assassination jobs with Thorne’s life, providing him with the necessary resources to complete them. The first target of Bishop is a warlord named Krill, who is incarcerated in a Malaysian prison. Bishop travels to Malaysia and gets himself imprisoned to access Krill. Bishop gains Krill’s trust by killing a man already planning on killing Krill. Bishop meets with Krill and kills him and Bishop escapes the prison with the help of Crain’s operatives. The next target is Adrian Cook, who runs an underage trafficking ring from Sydney. Bishop manages to bypass the tight security of Cook’s penthouse apartment and break the glass bottom of Cook’s overhanging pool, plummeting him to his death.While relaying details of the third target, Crain allows Bishop to speak over video to Thorne, who has arranged her setting to allow Bishop to identify the registration number of Crain’s boat. Bishop locates the boat and attempts to rescue her, but Crain has caught Thorne’s attempt in time and his mercenaries quickly stop the attempt. For his insolence, Crain demands Bishop complete the final assassination in 24 hours, identifying the target as Max Adams, an American arms dealer. While planning the attempt, Bishop recognizes that Crain’s targets were his only other major competition in arms dealing. Bishop instead approaches Adams and warns him of Crain’s plan, and gets Adams to help. Bishop fakes Adams’ death, and reports his success to Crain, who directs him to a meeting point.There, Bishop fends off attacks by Crain’s mercenaries and makes for Crain’s boat parked nearby. He fights off more of Crain’s men and discovers the boat is rigged with explosives before rescuing Thorne, placing her in an underwater escape pod. Crain stops him before he can escape, and the two fight. Bishop overpowers him and secures him to the boat, when Crain reveals the explosives are set to go off soon. Instead of diving overboard, Bishop races into the boat, moments before the bombs explode, killing Crain and apparently Bishop. Thorne is rescued and the remains of Crain’s boat are salvaged with no other signs of life. Adams watches the operation from afar, and sees that one of the salvaged pieces was the anchor compartment, and monitors video to see Bishop emerge from the compartment several hours later, and then deletes the video to keep Bishop’s status secret. Thorne returns to Cambodia and her teaching duties, but later is surprised when Bishop arrives a few days later.This film knows exactly what it wants to be and nails it, despite this film being essentially a B-movie the cast are well known and act well Statham does what he does in every film, Jessica Alba is good as the love interest she has some cool fight scenes and you can’t go wrong with her being in a bikini and lastly Tommy Lee Jones is in this for about 15 minutes as one of Statham’s targets and plays a sarcastic wise-guy. So yeah this film is well worth a watch especially if you are a fan of action movies

REVIEW: SUNSHINE

CAST

Cillian Murphy (Batman Begins)
Chris Evans (Captain America: The First Avenger)
Rose Byrne (Bad Neighbours 2)
Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon)
Cliff Curtis (Runaway Jury)
Troy Garity (After The Sunset)
Hiroyuki Sanada (Lost)
Benedict Wong (Doctor Strange)
Mark Strong (Sherlock Holmes)

In 2057, the sun is dying and the Earth is freezing. A crew of eight pilot a colossal nuclear bomb aboard the spaceship Icarus II, with the intent to jump start the sun, and return to Earth. As they pass Mercury’s orbit, Icarus II discovers the distress beacon of Icarus I, the first ship to attempt their mission, which disappeared seven years earlier. Reasoning that two bombs have a better chance of success than one, physicist Capa recommends Captain Kaneda change course and commandeer Icarus I. Mace, the ship’s engineer, opposes the deviation as risky. Navigator Trey calculates a trajectory to intercept Icarus I, but forgets to realign the shields that protect the ship from the sun, causing damage to several shield panels.

Kaneda and Capa embark on a spacewalk to make repairs, assisted by Pilot Cassie, who angles the damaged portion of the shield away from the sun. The angle however allows the sun to destroy the ship’s oxygen garden and oxygen reserves. As Icarus II’s autopilot returns the shield to its original alignment, Kaneda orders Capa to safety and repairs the last panel, moments before he’s immolated. Trey blames himself for the loss of Kaneda, and psychiatrist Searle assesses him as a suicide risk, sedating him.

Icarus II docks with Icarus I. Capa, Searle, Mace, and now-Captain Harvey search the vessel, leaving Cassie and botanist Corazon on board Icarus II. They discover Icarus I’s mainframe has been sabotaged, making its bomb delivery impossible. In the ship’s log is a rambling message from Captain Pinbacker, who abandoned his mission. The crew of Icarus I is found charred to death in the solar observation room, where they were long ago exposed to the un-shielded sun. Suddenly, the two ships explosively decouple, destroying Icarus I’s outer airlock, stranding the four crew members on it. Mace suggests one crew member stay behind to manually operate the airlock while the other three jettison between airlocks, using the vacuum release for propulsion. Searle volunteers to stay behind. Capa is sealed in the only space suit, while Harvey and Mace wrap themselves in salvaged insulation material. Searle releases the airlock and the three crew members rocket into space. Harvey misses the airlock and freezes to death, while Capa and Mace make it back to Icarus II. Searle, having spent the mission obsessed with looking into the sun, voluntarily exposes himself to its full, deadly force in the observation room.

Corazon calculates that there is enough oxygen left for four of the five survivors to reach the sun. After a contentious vote, Mace decides to kill Trey, but discovers Trey to have already committed suicide. Capa learns of a stowaway on-board and discovers an insane Pinbacker. Pinbacker attacks Capa and traps him in an airlock. He then kills Corazon, and removes the mainframe from its coolant bath, shutting down the computer. Pinbacker pursues Cassie, who flees into the bomb payload.
Mace attempts to manually lower the computer back into the freezing coolant, but when his leg catches on the descending computer he becomes trapped, and the computer disabled. As he freezes to death, he radios Capa to escape the airlock, decouple the bomb from the ship, and activate it as it plummets into the sun, delivering the payload to its destination. Capa blows the airlock, separates the bomb from the ship, and enters the payload, where he finds Cassie. Pinbacker ambushes them, telling them God ordered him to send all humanity to heaven. As they hurtle into the sun, Capa escapes Pinbacker, reaching the bomb controls. Not sure if it will work under these extreme conditions, he watches as the bomb begins to successfully ignite, at the edge of the sun itself. Back on Earth, on the frozen Sydney Harbour, Capa’s sister witnesses the Sun returning to its full power.This is an amazing film, and is easily one of the best of 2007 . A perfect mix of style and substance.

REVIEW: MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA

CAST

Zhang Ziyi (House of Flying Daggers)
Ken Watanabe (Batman Begins)
Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon)
Gong Li (Hannibal Rising)
Samantha Futerman (21 & Over)
Mako (Conan The Barbarian)
Elizabeth Sung (Death Ring)
Kaori Momoi (Ghost In The Shell)
Ted Levine (The Silence of The Lambs)
Karl Yuen (Arrow)
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (Showdown In Little Tokyo)
Minae Noji  (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Julia Ling (Chuck)

Chiyo Sakamoto (Suzuka Ohgo), a young girl from a poverty stricken fishing village, is sold along with her older sister Satsu (Samantha Futerman) into a life of servitude by her aging father (Mako). Chiyo is taken in by Mrs. Kayoko Nitta (Kaori Momoi), the Mother (proprietress) of a geisha house in Gion, one of the most prominent geisha districts in Kyoto, whereas Satsu is sold to a prostitution brothel. At the okiya, Chiyo meets another young girl named Pumpkin (Zoe Weizenbaum), the cranky Granny (Kotoko Kawamura), and the okiya’s only working geisha, Hatsumomo (Gong Li) who is famous for her breathtaking beauty. Chiyo soon discovers Hatsumomo is secretly a cruel and jealous woman that views Chiyo as a potential rival due to her striking bluish-gray eyes along with being a change in Mother’s future financial dependence. Hatsumomo then goes out of her way to deliberately make Chiyo’s new life miserable by having her take the blame for everything and intentionally withholding information to her sister’s whereabouts in the pleasure district. However, Auntie (Tsai Chin) is aware of this and warns Chiyo against trusting and angering Hatsumomo, given her history with the ill-manner geisha.Chiyo tracks down Satsu and makes plans to run away together. However, upon returning to the okiya she discovers Hatsumomo with her boyfriend, Koichi (Karl Yune), which is against the rules of the Geisha lifestyle. When they are caught, Hatsumomo attempts to twist the situation by accusing Chiyo of stealing. Chiyo denies this and informs Mother of what she saw in the shed. As a result, everyone is barred from leaving the okiya at night except to attend work engagements and this further increases Hatsumomo’s anger towards Chiyo. On the night of their planned escape, Chiyo attempts to sneak out but falls off the rooftop and is seriously injured. As punishment for dishonoring the okiya, Mother tells Chiyo that she won’t invest any more money in her geisha training. She also informs Chiyo that both her parents (Mako and Elizabeth Sung) are dead. Chiyo misses her chance to flee and never sees Satsu again. She is also demoted from geisha training to working as a slave to pay off her increasing debts to Mother.One day, while crying on a riverbank, Chiyo is noticed by the Chairman (Ken Watanabe) and his geisha companions. He buys her a shaved ice dessert and gives her his handkerchief with some money in it. Inspired by his act of kindness, Chiyo resolves to become a geisha so that she may one day become a part of the Chairman’s life.Several years later, Pumpkin (Youki Kudoh) has begun her training as a maiko under Hatsumomo’s tutelage and Chiyo (Zhang Ziyi) is envious of it as she remains a maid under Mother. She is unexpectedly taken under the wing of Mameha (Michelle Yeoh), one of Gion’s most successful geisha and long time rival of Hatsumomo’s. Although initially reluctant, Mother is persuaded by Mameha to allow Chiyo to train as a geisha. Under Mameha’s tutelage, Chiyo becomes a maiko and takes the name of Sayuri. She grows in popularity and Hatsumomo grows desperate that she tries to ruin Sayuri’s reputation. Predicting this, Mamaeha takes her to a sumo wrestling match where Sayuri reintroduced to the Chairman, who seems unaware of her previous identity as Chiyo, as well as his business associate Nobu Toshikazu (Kōji Yakusho), who takes a liking to her and of whom Hatsumomo finds repulsive. Meanwhile, Mameha orchestrates a bidding war for Sayuri’s mizuage between two men: Nobu and Dr. Crab (Randall Duk Kim), which will make her a full geisha. Upon learning what Mameha has planned, Hatsumomo spreads cruel rumors that Sayuri had been deflowered to Dr. Crab. However, Sayuri is named the lead dancer for a popular performance, which angers Hatsumomo as she was hoping for Pumpkin to be named the lead.At the performance, she attracts the attention of many men, including the Baron (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) (Mameha’s danna), with her performance. When Dr. Crab congratulates Sayuri, she secretly convinces him to listen to a different opinion before taking the word of someone who lies. The Baron invites Sayuri to his estate for a sakura-viewing party, which Mameha is reluctant to let Sayuri attend but lets her go anyway. When the Baron presents a kimono to Sayuri in private at the party, he undresses her against her will in order to “take a look”, but does not go any further.Sayuri’s mizuage is won with a record-breaking bid of fifteen thousand yen. Mother, seeing Sayuri as a financial asset, names her as her adopted daughter and heiress to the okiya. This crushes Pumpkin, who was hoping that she would get adopted so she could have security in her old age, and enrages Hatsumomo. She is then told by Mother that she must give up her spacious room to Sayuri, which further outrages Hatsumomo who tried to remind her of her previous financial contribution. Mameha later tells Sayuri that the bid had ended up a contest between Dr. Crab and the Baron, Nobu having refused to partake in the bidding because it was against his principles. Mameha let it go to Dr. Crab because of her romantic feelings for the Baron, despite his bid being even higher. When returning home from the mizuage ceremony, Sayuri finds a drunken Hatsumomo in her room, where she has found the Chairman’s handkerchief. A fight ensues, during which a gas lantern is knocked over and ignites a fire and the okiya is partially destroyed by the flames. Hatsumomo is then kicked out of the okiya by Mother, her belongings given to Sayuri, and she is banished from Gion with her fate left unknown.Sayuri’s successful career is cut short by the outbreak of World War II. Sayuri and Mameha are separated, with Sayuri going to the hills to work for a kimono maker, an old friend of Nobu’s and Mameha going to a physician, the Chairman’s old friend. After the war, Sayuri is reunited with Nobu who needs her help with impressing an American Colonel (Ted Levine) who has the power to approve funding for the Chairman’s firm. Sayuri reunites with Mameha, who now makes a living renting rooms for the poor. Although she is reluctant to return to the geisha lifestyle after what she’s been through, she agrees to help impress Derricks. Sayuri is reacquainted with Pumpkin, who is now a flirty escort. Sayuri goes on a trip with Nobu, the Chairman, Mameha, Pumpkin, and the Americans to the Amami Islands.At Amami, the Colonel propositions Sayuri, but is rejected. Nobu witnesses the incident and confronts Sayuri. He finally confesses his feelings, telling her that he wants to become her danna. Knowing that entering into a relationship with Nobu will destroy any chance of her being with the Chairman, Sayuri is distraught and devises a plan. Mameha catches on to it and warns her against it because of the kindness Nobu shown her. She wants Sayuri to accept him as her danna and not end up like Hatsumomo did. She refuses and enlists Pumpkin’s help to have Nobu catch her seemingly being intimate with the Colonel. However, because of her secret resentment of Sayuri, Pumpkin brings the Chairman instead, having full knowledge of Sayuri’s feelings towards him. When Sayuri confronts her, Pumpkin coldly tells her that she did a lot of favors for her in the past and she stole her chances of being adopted by Mother. She hoped by having the Chairman see her with Derricks, he would be disgusted by Sayuri’s behavior and she would have to accept Nobu as her danna.A few days later, after returning to Gion, Sayuri receives a call to go to the teahouse. Sayuri expects to see Nobu, but instead the Chairman comes and finally reveals to her that he has known all along that she was the girl at the riverbank. He tells her that he had told Nobu about the affair after confronting Pumpkin for her behavior, effectively destroying Nobu’s affections for Sayuri and his desire to be her danna. He also reveals that he was responsible for sending Mameha to her so that she could fulfill her dreams of becoming a geisha. Sayuri finally reveals her love to the Chairman, and the film ends with their loving embrace and kiss and a stroll through the garden.

Memoirs of a Geisha does not submit all its secrets on first viewing; there are many layers of meaning and mystery to be seen again and again.

 

REVIEW: CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON 2: SWORD OF DESTINY

CAST

Donnie Yen (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story)
Michelle Yeoh (Tomorrow Never Dies)
Harry Shum Jr. (Stomp The Yard)
Natasha Liu Bordizzo (Hotel Mumbai)
Jason Scott Lee (Soldier)

After eighteen years of solitude, renowned warrior-maiden Shu Lien emerges from retirement and travels to Peking, where the Green Destiny—the legendary sword of her deceased love Li Mu Bai—is located. In the forest, Shu Lien’s carriage is attacked by several warriors from the West Lotus clan. As she fights them, a masked horseman comes to her aid, and together they defeat the attackers, revealing one’s identity to be a young man called Wei Fang. At the tower of the West Lotus warlord Hades Dai, a young woman named Snow Vase arrives asking to join his ranks. As Dai approaches, she draws a sword and attempts to kill him, although he easily fights her off, and she flees. As Wei Fang makes his way through the forest, he is approached by a blind enchantress, who orders him to take her to Dai. She tells Dai that his great sword is surpassed by the Green Destiny, and prophesies that if he is to rule the Martial World, he must obtain the sword. Dai is reluctant to storm the home of the emperor’s brother, but the enchantress tells him to send Wei Fang, as the boy and the sword are bound by destiny itself.

Shu Lien arrives in Peking, and is taken to the house of Sir Te, a man like a father to her, who has recently died. Te’s son greets her and reveals that the Green Destiny is kept on display at the house, also recalling the unmentioned love between Li Mu Bai and Shu Lien. That night as Wei Fang breaks into the house and attempts to steal the sword, Snow Vase appears and fights him. During the fight, Snow Vase sees a birthmark on Wei Fang’s chest, which distracts her and allows him to escape. She calls for help and Shu Lien arrives and captures the boy. Snow Vase approaches Shu Lien and asks her to train her in the Iron Way. At a tavern, Meng Sizhao (known as Silent Wolf in the West), the horseman who came to Shu Lien’s aid, posts a warrant for warriors to join him protecting the House of Te. One warrior offers his twenty swordsmen for a high price, and attacks when rebuffed. Four warriors join Silent Wolf in the fight, and he recruits them to his cause: Flying Blade of Shantung; Thunder Fist Chan, famed in Zhejiang; Silver Dart Shi, famed in Fuzhou; and Turtle Ma, famed in that tavern.

Shu Lien begins Snow Vase’s training. That night, Silent Wolf and his warriors arrive at the Te compound. Shu Lien is shocked to see Silent Wolf, her former betrothed, as he was thought to have been killed by Hades Dai many years before. He explains that he was in love with Shu Lien, but knew that Mu Bai was her true love, and had feigned his demise to seek a life of enlightenment in the mountains, as he knew that as long as he was alive, Li Mu Bai would not have asked Shu Lien for her hand. Hades Dai rages that Wei Fang has failed in his raid, and sends his elite warrior, Mantis, to retrieve the sword. She arrives with her raiding party, and Silver Dart Shi and Turtle Ma are killed in the attack. Snow Vase attempts to free Wei Fang from his cage in the courtyard, but she is attacked by Mantis, and Wei Fang reveals the sword’s location. The blind enchantress fights Shu Lien in the sword chamber, killing Sir Te’s son when Shu Lien refuses to relinquish the sword.

As the inhabitants of the House of Te mourn the loss of their dearest companions, Snow Vase explains her connection to Wei Fang’s past. His birth mother was the legendary swordswoman Han Mei. However, as a baby, he was swapped for the infant Snow Vase by her mother, a concubine. Han Mei raised Snow Vase as her own daughter, but never stopped looking for her son. Eventually finding him at West Lotus, she was mortally wounded by Hades Dai and, as she died, implored Snow Vase to find Wei Fang.

Knowing that Dai will send people to kill Wei Fang, Snow Vase frees him, and is horrified to later hear that he has stolen the sword. Silent Wolf tracks the boy down and they fight on a frozen lake. Wei Fang’s master, Iron Crow, arrives and wounds Silent Wolf, allowing Wei Fang to escape and reach West Lotus. Wei Fang offers the sword to Hades Dai, but then attempts to kill him with it to avenge his mother. Shu Lien and the others arrive and fight Dai’s army. Shu Lien fights the enchantress and kills her, using her skills to see through the witch’s illusions. Mantis kills Flying Blade and Thunder Fist, then fights Snow Vase, who defeats her but is badly wounded. Silent Wolf fights Hades Dai on the tower, eventually killing the warlord with his own sword as he reaches for the Green Destiny. Snow Vase survives her injuries, and joins Shu Lien, Silent Wolf and Wei Fang as they take the Green Destiny to the Wudang Mountains where it will be kept safe yet again.Overall a very enjoyable movie, which really needs heart to appreciate, it may be slow at times but it truly allows audiences to be observant and to look at the minor details in such a major motion picture.It would be even better if you already read the original book by Wang Du Lu or the new novel by Justin Hill, as it covers more motivations and intentions clearly. Therefore, do not just view this as a sequel to one of the most successful Wu-Xia films ever made, appreciate this movie and take it as a film of its own, and you will enjoy it thoroughly.