REVIEW: AUSTIN POWERS: INTERNATIONAL MAN OF MYSTERY

CAST

Mike Myers (Shrek)
Elizabeth Hurley (Bedazzled)
Robert Wagner (Two and a Half Men)
Seth Green (Family Guy)
Mindy Sterling (Minions)
Michael York (Logan’s Run)
Fabiana Udenio (The Wedding Planner)
Will Ferrell (Elf)
Mimi Rogers (Ginger Snaps)
Charles Napier (The Silence of The Lambs)
Carrie Fisher (Star wars)
Tom Arnold (True Lies)
Monet Mazur (Rageing Angels)
Clint Howard (Apollo 13)
Cynthia LaMontagne (That 70s Show)
Brian George (The Big Bang Theory)
Rob Lowe (The West Wing)
Patricia Tallman (Babylon 5)

In 1967, British spy Austin Powers (Mike Myers) thwarts an assassination attempt by his nemesis Dr. Evil (also played by Mike Myers) in a London nightclub. Dr. Evil escapes in a space rocket disguised as a Big Boy statue, and cryogenically freezes himself. Powers volunteers to be placed into cryostasis in case Dr. Evil returns in the future.Thirty years later, in 1997, Dr. Evil returns to discover his henchman Number 2 (Robert Wagner) has developed Virtucon, the legitimate front of Evil’s empire, into a multibillion-dollar enterprise. Uninterested by genuine business, Dr. Evil conspires to steal nuclear weapons and hold the world hostage for $100 billion. Evil also learns that, during his absence, his associates have artificially created his son, Scott Evil (Seth Green), using his frozen semen. Now a Generation X teenager, Scott is resentful of his father’s absence and resists Dr. Evil’s attempts to get closer to him.Having learned of Dr. Evil’s return, the British Ministry of Defence unfreezes Powers, acclimatizing him to the 1990s with the help of agent Vanessa Kensington (Elizabeth Hurley), the daughter of his sidekick in the 1960s, Mrs. Kensington (Mimi Rogers). Posing as a married couple, Powers and Kensington track Number 2 to Las Vegas and meet his Italian secretary, Alotta Fagina (Fabiana Udenio). Later, Powers infiltrates Fagina’s penthouse suite for reconnaissance and discovers plans for Dr. Evil’s “Project Vulcan”, which involves drilling a nuclear warhead into the Earth’s molten core and triggering volcanic eruptions worldwide. Fagina discovers Powers in her suite and seduces him into revealing his true identity. Learning that Powers is back, Dr. Evil and his entourage conspire to defeat the spy by creating a series of fembots: beautiful female androids equipped with automatic guns concealed in their breasts.Powers and Kensington attempt to infiltrate the Virtucon headquarters but are soon apprehended by Dr. Evil’s henchman, Random Task (Joe Son). Meanwhile, the United Nations accede to the demands of Dr. Evil, who proceeds with Project Vulcan regardless. Powers and Kensington are placed in a death trap by Dr. Evil, but they easily escape, and Kensington is sent for help. While searching for Dr. Evil, Powers is confronted by the fembots, whom he defeats by counter-seducing them with a striptease. Led by Kensington, British forces raid the underground lair, while Powers finds the doomsday device and deactivates it. Powers confronts Dr. Evil, but Fagina arrives holding Kensington hostage. They are interrupted by Number 2, who attempts to betray Dr. Evil by making a deal with Powers. Dr. Evil uses a trap door to eliminate Number 2, then activates the base’s self-destruct mechanism and escapes. Powers and Kensington flee just as a nuclear explosion destroys the lair.Powers and Kensington are later married, and during their honeymoon Powers is attacked by Random Task. Powers subdues the assassin using a penis pump, allowing Kensington to knock him out using a bottle of champagne. Afterwards, the newlyweds adjourn to the balcony. Among the stars, Powers spots the cryogenic chamber of Dr. Evil, who vows revenge on Powers.The originality of the humour is what makes Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery a stand-out film. Equally importantly, the acting by a seemingly earnest Mike Myers is amazing. He not only pulls of a geeky-yet-charming Austin Powers, but also the bumbling-but-evil Dr. Evil. The supporting cast, featuring Robert Wagner as Number Two, Seth Green as Dr. Evil’s son Scott, Mindy Sterling as Frau Farbissina, and an indulgent Elizabeth Hurley as Austin’s sidekick and love-interest are all excellent but Myers has the centre stage.

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REVIEW: THE DEVIL’S ARITHMETIC

CAST

Kirsten Dunst (Bring It On)
Brittany Murphy (Just Married)
Paul Freeman (MMPR: The Movie)
Mimi Rogers (Ginger Snaps)
Louise Fletcher (Exorcist II)
Daniel Brocklebank (The Hours)

The film opens with Hannah, a teen girl, in a tattoo parlor with her friends, contemplating what tattoo she wants. Before she can decide, she notes the time and realizes she is late for a Passover dinner. Hannah hates going to her family seder as her family tells the same stories and Hannah is tired of hearing about the past. Her aunt tells her every year that Hannah looks like her namesake, Chaya, but won’t tell Hannah who Chaya was or what she did. During the seder Hannah opens the front door to let in the prophet Elijah, but she sees a Polish village instead of the outside of the apartment. All of a sudden she is not only in a new place but also in the year 1941.Hannah learns she is in the home of Rivka, who says she is Hannah (now Chaya)’s cousin, and her aunt Gitl. They tell Hannah she has been sick and that should explain her strange ramblings about the future. The next day, the family goes into the village for a wedding, which is interrupted by Nazi soldiers, who say the whole village will be resettled. After a long journey, they arrive at a Nazi concentration camp assumed to be Auschwitz. There, their valuables are stolen, their heads are shorn, they are tattooed, and they are made prisoners.Life is brutal, but Hannah tells fairy tales and stories to the women in her bunk to keep their spirits up, and she insists that she knows what is coming because of her history classes in school, but no one will believe her. Tensions rise when a family is revealed to have typhus and when a woman goes into labor, some of the men attempt an escape when they find a guard they think they can trust, only to be caught and executed. One day, the commandant notices that Rivka and other inmates are ill,he orders them to go to the gas chamber. Before he can see, Hannah switches places with Rivka. As she enters the gas chamber, she is transported back to the present day. As she rejoins her family at the dinner table, she notes that her aunt has Rivka’s number tattooed on her arm, and she tells everyone the story about the Chaya who saved her aunt’s life.Although I have not had the opportunity to read the novel, I felt that this film, despite its low-budget status, is well done, engaging and unequivocally moving. The surprising highlight of the film is the portrayal of Hannah and Rivkah by Kirsten Dunst and Brittany Murphy. Dunst and Murphy bring an inner-strength to the protagonists leaving the viewer speechless as she/he inexorably contemplates the value of life, friendship and courage in the face of evil and physical/spiritual death.

REVIEW: MONKEY TROUBLE

CAST

Thora Birch (The Hole)
Harvey Keitel (Little Nicky)
Mimi Rogers (Ginger Snaps)
Christopher McDonald (Fanboys)
Remy Ryan (Robocop 3)
Frank Welker (Transformers)

9-year-old Eva Gregory longs for a pet to call her own, but her divorced mother, Amy, does not think she is responsible enough, as her room is a mess, and she’s completely unwilling to help out at all with her little half-brother, Jack. Also her stepfather, Tom, a police lieutenant, is allergic to fur. She can’t keep the pet at her father Peter’s house because he is a pilot and travels a lot. One day, a Capuchin monkey named Fingers runs away from his drunken master, a gypsy thief named Shorty, who had trained him to pick pockets and now blames him for Shorty’s domestic woes. He meets Eva in the park, and she names him Dodger. At home, she finds that keeping him a secret is trouble. She only allows Jack, who can’t speak yet, into her room with him.As Eva spends certain weekends with her father, one arrives. However, he leaves a phone message that he’s in Canada and can’t have her over. She takes advantage of this circumstance to have a personal weekend alone with Dodger in her father’s empty house, and hides his message from her mother and stepfather, and has her friend Katie’s mother drive her over to her father’s house. Once there, they realize that they have no food, but they manage to raise money at the nearby boardwalk with Dodger (who is secretly pickpocketing everybody) as a main attraction. At a grocery store that evening, he steals food and hides it in Eva’s backpack, but she catches him in the act and returns the stolen groceries. When she returns home, she discovers golden jewelry and wallets in her backpack that he had also stolen. So she spends the rest of the weekend teaching him not to steal.Shorty, who has been looking for Fingers all this time, finds and kidnaps him at a pet shop where Eva had left him while she was at school. Shorty discovers that the monkey won’t steal anymore. Meanwhile, Amy and Tom, who has been dealing with reports on stolen jewelry, discover more stolen property in Eva’s room. They confront her about it, and she tries to explains about her hidden monkey, but they refuse to believe her. Things get worse when Peter stops by and reveals that he had been in Canada all weekend, which reveals that Eva had lied about that time. She, already heartbroken at the disappearance of her beloved pet, is additionally upset that no one will believe her, and so she runs away to look for Dodger. She is accosted by Shorty, who is furious about her teaching Dodger not to steal. Meanwhile, Jack ends up saying his first word, “monkey”, revealing to Amy, Peter, and Tom that there really is a monkey in the house (Dodger escaped from Shorty again, shortly after Eva ran off and sneaked back into her bedroom) and that Eva had been telling them the truth. They all go out, along with Tom’s fellow police officers, to look for her. Dodger saves her and Shorty is arrested by Tom. His son, Mark, tries taking Dodger back, but fails. He ends up living with Eva, after she shows her mother that she is responsible and her stepfather discovers that he is not allergic to the fur of monkeys.A funny, feel good film, which is guaranteed to make you laugh.

REVIEW: CRUEL INTENTIONS 2: MANCHESTER PREP

CAST

Amy Adams (Big Eyes)
Robin Dunne (Sanctuary)
Sarah Thompson (Angel)
Keri Lynn Pratt (The Smokers)
Barry Flatman (Earth: Final Conflict)
Mimi Rogers (Ginger Snaps)
Teresa Hill (Puppet Master 4 & 5)
Barclay Hope (Final Destination 5)
Tané McClure (Legally Blonde)
David McIlwraith (Hollow Man 2)

The film opens with Sebastian Valmont (Robin Dunne) conversing with his soon-to-be ex-principal, the principal’s insistence on having Sebastian’s permanent record relayed to his new school and thereby hampering his chance for a new start at Manchester Prep. Sebastian was a bad boy and a troublemaker in this school. Mostly he usually got in trouble with his teachers and principal. Initially, his principal was considering not to send his permanent record to his new school, but then Sebastian pulled a cruel stunt on his wife and made him and his wife a laughing stock in the community, he decided to send Sebastian’s permanent record to his new school. Following his arrival in New York, Sebastian discovers the wealth of his new family; meeting Kathryn Merteuil (Amy Adams) for the first time and bettering her with piano and vocabulary. This leads to a confrontation between Kathryn and Sebastian whereby she states that she has a comfortable lifestyle and that he “better not interfere”.Sebastian later begins school. While waiting to see his new headmaster, he encounters Danielle Sherman (Sarah Thompson), who is, unknown to him, Headmaster Sherman’s daughter. Luckily Sebastian switched permanent records before it was sent to the headmaster’s office and he can now start over with a clean slate. A school assembly follows, showing Kathryn delivering a speech to her classmates, but being persistently interrupted by uncontrollable hiccups coming from a student, who then begins to choke on the gum that she was chewing in a bid to stop her hiccups. She is saved by the quick action of Danielle who performs the Heimlich maneuver, allowing the student to expel the gum, which ends up flying into Kathryn’s hair. A meeting of a secret society of student elites presided by Kathryn takes place, deciding upon the fate of the new students. This leads them to Cherie, the student with the hiccups, as well as the discovery that Cherie’s family is wealthier than that of Kathryn; this, and the events of the assembly, cause Kathryn to seek a vendetta against Cherie.maxresdefaultSebastian, coming from a more humble upbringing, wishes to befriend his house staff. Doing so angers Kathryn, whose day is interrupted by not being able to contact her driver. This (along with Kathryn’s jealousy of Sebastian) causes her to admit that she is unhappy with her life. Sebastian attempts to woo Danielle: first, by asking her for coffee at her work; then, later, conversing with her over the telephone. Eventually, this evolves into a relationship, but Kathryn, seeing this, uses it as a way to get back at Sebastian. She first tries to tempt him away from Danielle by luring him with identical twins, who confide to Sebastian that Danielle is the only virgin at Manchester.Resident-Evil-The-Final-Chapter-Final-Poster-FeaturedKathryn’s attempt to sabotage Cherie backfires, as Kathryn’s mother tells her to become best friends with Cherie, in an attempt to encourage Cherie’s mother to donate a large amount of money to the school. In the end, Sebastian stays with Danielle; he professes his love for her, only to find that she does not reciprocate. It turns that Danielle is actually working alongside Kathryn in a secret plan to dupe Sebastian. Defeated by Kathryn’s manipulation, Sebastian states “if you can’t beat them, join them”, thus leading to a threesome with Danielle and Kathryn, followed by an alliance of the three to dominate and manipulate others. In the last scene, Cherie is seen riding her bike, which is run over by Sebastian’s car. Sebastian offers to give her a ride, and has sex with her. Kathryn and Danielle are seen, in the front of the car, pleased with the results.720full-cruel-intentions-2-screenshotAmy Adams is easily a match for Sarah Michelle Gellar (Kathryn in Cruel Intentions), being both convincingly cruel and very sexy; Thompson is great as the pretty poor girl of the school who captures Sebastian’s heart; and Keri Lynn Pratt is charming as the Manchester Prep virgin who learns why riding horses is so popular with young women. Manchester Prep might not be innovative groundbreaking cinema, but it sure is fun.

 

REVIEW: HOPE SPRINGS

CAST

Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady)
Tommy Lee Jones (BAtman Forever)
Steve Carell (Get Smart)
Elisabeth SHue (Hollow Man_
Jean SMart (Legion)
Ben Rappaport (Mr. Robot)
Marin Ireland (Side Effects)
Mimi Rogers (Ginger Snaps)
Becky Ann Baker (A Simple Plan)

Although a devoted couple, empty nesters Kay and Arnold Soames (Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones) are in need of (in Kay’s opinion) help to reignite the spark in their marriage. They have slept in separate rooms for years since their youngest child went off to college, and forgo any physical affection. One day Kay (who works as a Coldwater Creek employee) tells Arnold (a partner in an Omaha accounting firm) she has paid for them to undergo a week of intense marriage counseling with Dr. Bernie Feld (Steve Carell) in a coastal resort town in Maine. Arnold, a creature of plodding, unimaginative routine, denies their marriage is in trouble.In sessions with Dr. Feld they (mainly Kay) try to articulate their feelings, revitalize their relationship, and find the spark that caused them to fall in love in the first place. Dr. Feld counsels them, asking increasingly frank questions about their sex life and feelings. Arnold is angry and defensive, unwilling to see the depth of his wife’s disappointment. Angry and crying, Kay goes alone to a bar where she has several glasses of wine, confides in the bartendress and learns that few others are having any sex, either. Arnold visits a nautical museum. Back together, they spend the night in the same bed for the first time in years, and Kay awakes to find Arnold’s arm around her. At this sign of progress, Dr. Feld urges new measures. They make halting attempts at intimacy on the bed of their budget motel and again in a movie theater, but this time with disastrous results.In a one-on-one session, Dr. Feld explains to Arnold that couples seeking marriage counseling are doing so for a reason, and asks Arnold frankly, “Is this the best you can do?” Arnold finally takes the initiative to arrange a romantic dinner and a night at a luxury inn, where they attempt to make love in front of a fireplace, but the grand design fails. At their final session, Dr. Feld tells them they’ve made much progress and should take up couples therapy back home. Back in Omaha, old habits resume. Kay offers to pet-sit for a fellow employee and packs a bag to stay there, as a first step in a permanent break with Arnold. That night, both are shown in bed trying to sleep. Arnold enters his wife’s bedroom and they tenderly embrace. The lovemaking that follows is warm, natural, and quietly passionate. The next morning it’s clear that the marriage is in a whole new place. Later that year, as Kay said she fantasized, they renew their wedding vows on a beach with Dr. Feld and their grown children present, making promises to be more understanding and considerate of each other.It makes you laugh, cry and think, which I find rare in comedies about relationships and sex. The movie does a wonderful job of showing how difficult it can be to relate to each other emotionally and physically, but it does so in a lovely, enjoyable, touching and non-depressed way. Not to mention the acting, which is brilliant and seriously funny. One of my favourite movies of the last few years.

REVIEW: ASH VS EVIL DEAD – SEASON 1

MAIN CAST

Bruce Campbell (Jack of All Trades)
Ray Santiago (My Name Is Earl)
Dana DeLorenzo (2 Broke Girls)
Jill Marie Jones (Sleepy Hollow)
Lucy Lawless (Spartacus)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Damien Garvey (Terra Nova)
Mike Edward (Power Rangers Operation Overdrive)
Sian Davis (Hercules: The Legendary Journeys)
Bridget Hoffman (Frozen)
James Gaylyn (Avatar)
Mimi Rogers (Ginger Snaps)
Ben Fransham (Legend of The Seeker)
Jared Turner (30 Days of Night)
Hemky Madera (Weeds)
Kelson Henderson (Power Rangers SPD)
Peter Feeney (Black Sheep)
Rachel Blampied (Shortland Street)
Mark Mitchinson (Power Rangers Megaforce)
Milo Cawthorne (Power Rangers RPM)
Samara Weaving (Home and Away)
Indiana Evans (H20)
Ido Drent (Offspring)

Well, we’ve had to be patient for nearly a quarter of a century to finally see Ash wield his chainsaw again, but trust me: it was well worth the wait. Ash vs. Evil Dead fires on all cylinders.  After so many years had passed since Army of Darkness (aka Evil Dead III) came out in 1992, it looked like a direct sequel just wasn’t going to happen anymore, yet apparently, the Raimi-Campbell gang had been working on one for some time. According to recent interviews with the show’s creators Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell, what was first supposed to be a new feature film and the fourth entry in the franchise, over time turned into an idea for a TV-series, and I believe fans will be very happy with the result. Instead of a 2-hour film for a sequel, we now get 10 episodes  with Ash and the DeaditesAt the beginning of the show we meet Ash leading a lazy, but apparently happy slacker life, residing in a run-down trailer and working as a stock boy at a Value Stop (for some obscure legal reasons, the writers couldn’t use the name S-Mart from Army of Darkness’ iconic last scene). In the show, 30 years have passed since Ash’s last encounter with the Deadites, and while he might be well into middle age now, he hasn’t matured one bit. Ash is still the exact same guy we last saw fighting walking skeletons and other ghastly undead things in Army of Darkness, cracking wise and appearing as cock-sure of himself as ever. These days, he likes to spend most of his spare time either getting wasted in his trailer or picking up random ladies – or both . suffice to say that his rather irresponsible lifestyle ultimately won’t go too well with his duty as keeper of a certain  dangerous book, and  bloody mayhem soon ensues.In my opinion, Ash vs. Evil Dead does everything right. Instead of going down the “gritty drama” route of shows like The Walking Dead or taking the “straight horror” approach of Fede Alvarez’ Evil Dead remake, creators Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell fully embrace the over-the-top goofiness and playful tone of Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness, while still delivering the scares of the first film and plenty of gore. The Deadites are frightening. The production values in general are absolutely great; the writing is in the vein of the first three films (no wonder, since the episodes were mostly written by Sam and Ivan Raimi); the music, the pacing and the direction: really everything just falls into place. It’s clear that this wasn’t some lazy attempt to cash in on the name of a beloved cult-franchise, but a labour of love for all involved.Another great plus of the series is the cast. Seeing Bruce Campbell step back into this iconic character is simply hilarious fun; it still fits him like a glove (or, perhaps more accurately in his case, a chainsaw). But there was never a doubt in my mind that he would deliver (it seems Ash is a character Campbell was born to play); what really surprised me was how well the rest of the cast fits into the show. Ray Santiago as Pablo and Dana DeLorenzo as Kelly (they’re Ash’s co-workers at the Value Stop) are completely able to hold their own; they are fully fleshed-out characters and just as fun to watch as Ash. Also we have Lucy Lawless of Spartacus and Xena fame, who’s character is a mystery until episode 9 when all hell breaks loose and leads into a great Season One finale.Ash vs Evil dead brings back everything that we all loved about the original Evil Dead films, but it also manages to introduce interesting new characters and story lines which help maintain the element of surprise for long-time fans. And the show works just as well as a stand-alone story, so people unfamiliar with the original trilogy need not worry either: they will find just as much to love here as those who know and cherish Sam Raimi’s classics – as long as they have a certain affection for trashy, gory horror comedies and don’t expect serious drama. The good news its already been picked up for a season 2, so we got more blood and gore to come

REVIEW: FOR A GOOD TIME, CALL..

CAST

Ari Graynor (Youth In Revolt)
Lauren Miller (Superbad)
Justin Long (New Girl)
Sugar Lyn Beard (The Zone)
Mimi Rogers (Ginger Snaps)
Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding)
Mark Webber (Green Room)
James Wolk (Forgotton Land)
Seth Rogen (Bad Neigbours)
Kevin Smith (Dogma)
Ken Marino (Agent Carter)
Martha MacIsaac (Ice Princess)

After Lauren is dumped by her boyfriend, she is unable to afford a place of her own. Her old friend Jesse informs her of a beautiful apartment right by Gramercy Park, but does not include the fact that his other friend Katie lives there. During their freshman year of college, Lauren had to drive an inebriated Katie home from a frat party. She accidentally spilled her own urine onto Lauren from an empty slushie container, and was promptly thrown out of the car. Despite their clear disdain for each other, they reluctantly move in together for lack of better options.

One night, Lauren hears strange noises coming from Katie’s room. Believing she is being attacked, she opens the door to see Katie is saying sexually explicit things on the phone. Katie explains that her career as a writer does not earn her enough money to live in New York, so she does some work as a phone sex operator. Lauren is disgusted by her roommate’s profession, but makes some suggestions to how she could make more money. Several weeks go by, and Lauren loses her job at a publishing company when her boss decides to retire. She encourages Katie to obtain a land line, 1-900-mmmhmmm, and becomes her business manager, as they go into business for themselves, which is much more lucrative. In a few weeks they make $12,000, of which Lauren gets 1⁄3, which increases when she becomes a phone operator herself. In the process of their venture, they become close friends.

Throughout the film, Katie has been speaking with a repeat customer named Sean and the calls become less about phone sex and more about getting to know one another. They agree to meet, but are accompanied by Lauren and Jesse who are concerned that he may be a rapist. However, after Katie and Sean meet they discover that they are very well suited to each other and begin to start a relationship which leaves Katie feeling distressed as it is revealed that she is a virgin and has been lying for many years to cover up her insecurities.

Lauren gets an interview at a prestigious publishing company who earlier rejected her, and Katie convinces her to do the interview so that she can blow them off. Yet once Lauren gets to the interview and admits that she has been running a phone sex line all summer, they offer her the job as they feel she has business savvy. Concerned about her long-term prospects, Lauren accepts the job which angers Katie to the point where she reveals their business to Lauren’s conservative parents. Lauren moves out and the girls stop speaking to each other.

Lauren’s ex-boyfriend Charlie returns from Italy and declares that he made a mistake in breaking up with her. He reveals that he had a passionate love affair with a fiery Italian woman, but if he is to succeed in his business he needs someone boring, predictable and simple – the same reasons he gave to Lauren for dumping her in the first place. Lauren stands up for herself and leaves Charlie for good. Meanwhile, Katie and Sean decide to have sex and in order to calm their nerves they talk on the phone while lying next to each other in bed. When they were finished Katie feels sad that she can’t share this news with Lauren, whom she loves. Sean encourages her to call Lauren, and they declare that they ‘think’ they love each other.

Lauren and Katie both call each other at the same time, and they engage in a phone conversation full of unintentional innuendo before they meet each other on the street and hug.This is a very typical feel-good movie. Centered around a woman who looses her fiance and her job, and then need to learn to get back in control of her life. Together with her new roommate she opens a sex-line.
The movie has a lot of heartfelt moments as well as lots of comedic relief.