REVIEW: EDGE OF TOMORROW

CAST

Tom Cruise (Oblivion)
Emily Blunt (The Girl on The Train)
Bill Paxton (Aliens)
Brendan Gleeson (Troy)
Jonas Armstrong (Robin Hood)
Tony Way (The Girl With A Dragon Tattoo)
Franz Drameh (Legends of Tomorrow)
Noah Taylor (Powers)

In 2015, a horde of aliens called the Mimics arrived in Germany and began to spread to the rest of continental Europe, killing all humans in its way. Five years later, the United Defense Force has achieved only one victory, at Verdun, and is holding the Mimics back at the English Channel. In Britain, General Brigham, head of the UDF, orders Major William Cage, a public affairs officer with no combat experience, to cover the next day’s massive assault on France. Cage objects to the dangerous assignment and threatens to put the blame on Brigham if the landing fails. Brigham orders the arrest of Cage, who is tasered when he attempts to escape. He awakes in handcuffs at Heathrow Airport, having been demoted to private, labelled a deserter, and assigned to the J squad under the command of Master Sergeant Farell.The invasion proves to be a trap. The famous Sergeant Rita Vrataski (the “Angel of Verdun”) dies before Cage’s eyes. Shortly thereafter, he uses a Claymore mine to kill an unusually large Mimic, and dies covered with its blood. He wakes up and finds himself back at Heathrow the previous morning. No one believes his story that the invasion is doomed. Cage repeats the loop of dying on the beach and waking at Heathrow over and over again, becoming more competent in combat and learning to predict what happens. During every loop, he tries to save the life of Vrataski, until eventually she sees that he knows the movements of the attacking Mimics in advance, and tells him to find her when he “wakes up”.When Cage next awakens, he finds Vrataski. She takes him to Dr. Carter, an expert in Mimic biology. Carter explains that the Mimics are a superorganism in which the “Omega” plays the role of the cerebrum, while the “Alphas” act as the ganglia through which the Omega controls the ordinary Mimics. If an Alpha is killed, the Omega turns time back a day, thus giving the Mimics a seemingly unbeatable advantage. Cage “hijacked” their ability by being doused in Alpha blood. Vrataski had herself gained this ability at Verdun, but lost it by receiving a blood transfusion after being wounded. She tells Cage that they must destroy the Omega.Over numerous iterations of the same day, Vrataski trains Cage to fight better. Frustrated by his continued failures, he retreats to London, but discovers that the Mimics will attack there after defeating the invasion force. Eventually, he has a vision of a dam in Germany (which Carter said meant that the Omega was trying to locate him). Cage and Vrataski spend many loops figuring out how to get to the dam. Cage comes to know Vrataski, who is humourless and only interested in defeating the Mimics, having lost her loved one to them. Upon reaching a point where she dies whatever they do, Cage decides to fly to the dam alone. Inside the dam, he discovers it is a trap. Ambushed by an Alpha and another Mimic, Cage drowns himself before the Alpha can bleed him out and destroy his ability to trigger a time reset.Cage and Vrataski infiltrate the MoD Main Building to obtain a prototype built by Carter that can locate the Omega. Cage finally compels General Brigham to give him the device. During the ensuing car chase, Cage discovers the Omega is under the Louvre Pyramid in Paris. However, Cage is captured and seriously injured. He wakes up in a hospital to find he has been given a transfusion and thus has lost the ability to reset the day. Vrataski frees Cage. Having recruited the J squad to help destroy the Omega before the invasion begins, they fly to Paris, where the other soldiers sacrifice themselves so that Cage and Vrataski can get into the Louvre. Just before luring away an Alpha standing between them and the submerged Omega, Vrataski kisses Cage to thank him for getting her as far as he did. The Alpha kills Vrataski and mortally wounds Cage, but he manages to drop a belt of grenades, killing the Omega.The dying Cage floats down through the water into the Omega’s blood. He awakens en route to his first meeting with Brigham, who is announcing on TV that Mimic activity has ceased following a mysterious energy surge in Paris. Cage, still a major, goes to Heathrow to find Vrataski. She greets him with the same curtness as in previous iterations, but he only chuckles gladly.One of the most ingenious film concepts ever created, a cross between ‘Saving Private Ryan’ and ‘Groundhog Day’, ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ is a gripping and clever blockbuster sci-fi thrill-ride accompanied with taut, fast-paced action and compelling direction. Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt form a perfect chemistry that takes them from the training ground, to the battlefield through to the action-bound finale in Paris. The premise of the time-loop has been used many times before, but this time round there are enough exciting visuals and dynamic storytelling skills employed to make this one thrillingflick that is unpredictable and expertly designed.

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REVIEW: THE NEW DAUGHTER

CAST

Kevin Costner (Man of Steel)
Ivana Baquero (Pan’s Labyrinth)
Gattlin Griffith (Green Lantern)
Samantha Mathis (American Psycho)
Noah Taylor (Powers)
Margaret Anne Florence (My Super Ex-Girlfriend)
James Gammon (Cool Hand Luke)

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John James (Kevin Costner), a recently divorced novelist, moves into an old house in the country with his teenage daughter, Louisa (Ivana Baquero), and young son, Sam (Gattlin Griffith). John and Louisa’s relationship is strained; She accuses him of never loving her mother and ruining everything. On the family’s first night in the house, Louisa hears strange noises outside her bedroom window. Unseen by her is a humanoid creature lurking outside on the roof. The following day, while exploring the surrounding fields and forest, the children come across a large mound. Louisa is instantly attracted to it, but Sam is reluctant to go near it. In town, John learns that his house is locally infamous for the disappearance of a woman who lived there. Upon returning home, he finds Louisa’s pet cat mutilated near the house.Vile-2

Louisa returns to the mound after school and, while relaxing in the sunshine, hears strange noises. As Louisa hears what sounds like approaching animal growls, the film jump-cuts to John cutting his hand while washing dishes. That night John finds a trail of muddy footprints leading from the open front door to the bathroom. Louisa is inside with the door locked, sitting in the tub as the shower washes her extremely muddied body. The muddy water is shown turning red with blood as it reaches the drain. Later that night, John finds Louisa sleepwalking. When he takes her back to bed, he finds a strange doll made from straw, inside of which is a dark ball containing a live spider. The next morning Louisa comes down for breakfast wearing a short dress and make-up. When John asks her about the doll, she claims not to have seen it.vile-primor_avi_snapshot_01_03_01_[2013_02_15_14_37_00]Louisa is bullied by a preppy girl in the staircase of their school. Meanwhile, at home, John comes across a pile of muddy clothes in her bedroom. While investigating outside the house, he finds the head of Louisa’s doll at the mound, and the bloody remains of a blackbird. John is called to come to pick up Louisa, who says she does not feel well. In the infirmary he passes the preppy girl, who had apparently “fallen” down the stairs and injured her arm. Sam’s teacher, Cassandra (Samantha Mathis), gives John her phone number, offering her friendship. He is later startled to find a nest of spiders in the kitchen drawer where he’d placed the straw doll. That night John sees Louisa emerging from the woods, even though he had previously ordered her to be home by dark. He calls attention to scarring visible on the skin around her neck, but Louisa storms off without explanation. At dinner she eats in an animal-like manner, as if starved. John contacts Cassandra one night, and they meet sociably. While John is away, Louisa hears noises outside the house and exits. As John is returning home in his car, he sees a shadowy figure running through the woods in front of the house, which vaguely looks like Louisa. He exits his car and follows sounds of animal growls, but rushes back growing fearful. A stone hits his window and he speeds back to the house. Asking Louisa if she’d been outside, she says no. He orders her not to go near the mound any more.The-New-Daughter-Moviescreenies-12

The next day, John’s agent drives up to the house and they talk about the house. Inside, Sam is directed by Louisa to climb the ladder to the attic. Sam falls when frightened by animal noises there. He requires stitches, and John berates Louisa for not caring for her younger brother. That night, John searches the internet, finding an article about burial mounds. He telephones an expert on the subject, Professor White (Noah Taylor), but is ignored. He then researches the previous owner of the house, Sarah Wayne; she disappeared one day without a trace, after having locked her teenage daughter Emily in her bedroom from the outside. Emily was eventually found alive and went to live with her grandfather, Roger Wayne (James Gammon). John leaves the children with a babysitter and goes to find Roger Wayne. As Louisa watches him drive away from her window, scarring can be seen on the nape of her neck. She then returns to the mound. John arrives at Roger Wayne’s empty house, but lets himself in and looks around. In the girl’s room he finds a strange nest made from twigs and straw, and a depiction of the burial mound drawn onto a wall with the word “home” below it. Roger arrives and confronts John with explanations of what had occurred with Emily, that he burned down his house with her inside, insisting that it wasn’t his granddaughter anymore.The-New-Daughter-Moviescreenies-7While John is away, the babysitter is locked out of the house, as animal growls are heard approaching. Sam hides in his room as he hears the babysitters cries for help. John arrives home, comforts a frightened Sam, and rushes to Louisa to ask what happened to the babysitter. She says she does not know. After reporting the babysitter’s disappearance to police, John takes an ill Louisa to bed. She tearfully asks if he’s going to leave her as her mother did. He tells her he never will. That night, John dreams of a doorway on top of the burial mound and Louisa transforming into a creature who announces “I’m your new daughter”. The next day he finds a nest in Louisa’s closet similar to the one at Roger’s house. John calls a contractor to destroy the mound that day. Professor White, having called back to ask about the mound, suddenly arrives and pleads with John to wait. He tells John of an ancient civilization who worshiped the burial mounds, believing them to be the homes of ancient Gods, or “mound-walkers”. He mentions a ritual exchange of gifts — including small straw dolls, as John had found — and the mound-walkers’ search for a young girl with whom to mate and give birth to a new generation of deities to reclaim the earth. Horrified by this, John instructs the bulldozer to start. When it digs into the mound, the body of the babysitter is uncovered. Louisa, meanwhile, in the schoolyard, is scraping the ground with her fingers. John is taken to the police station for questioning while Cassandra looks after the kids.009TND_Ivana_Baquero_008That night, as officer Ed Lowry (Erik Palladino) drives John home, they are attacked, and Lowry is dragged from the patrol car by a creature. John continues home, discovering it in disarray and finding Cassandra with her throat slit. She dies while motioning toward Louisa standing in the doorway. John gathers the children to leave, but Louisa refuses. Mound-walkers begin attacking the house, and John kills three. After the attack, Louisa is missing. Her screams can be heard coming from the mound. John leaves Sam in his room, tells him to wait for the police, and tells him “be a big boy”. John goes to the mound to rescue Louisa and finds a tunnel leading into it. He pierces a can of gasoline, sets explosives left from the postponed demolition by the tunnel entrance, sparks a flare for light and crawls inside. Louisa is found unconscious and covered in mud. As he carries her out, angered creatures howl and give chase. Meanwhile, Sam has exited the house, clutching a framed family portrait and looking into the dark toward sounds coming from the mound. John escapes the mound with Louisa and blocks the tunnel with the leaking fuel canister, but another mound-walker is already there outside. Louisa collapses and begs her father not to leave her. John looks down at her and sees her beginning to transform into one of the creatures. He drops a flare into the leaking diesel fuel and the mound goes up in a huge explosion. As Sam watches, the flames are reflected on the glass of the frame. A figure is seen emerging, although its identity is unclear. Sam asks, “Daddy?”, as shadows can also be seen moving in the trees and house behind him. A growling creature emerges directly behind him as the screen goes black.Vile-1In a genre that is quickly becoming based only on graphic, grotesque, shocking blood and gore sequences and predictable horror and grisly effects, this thriller is actually attractive for all the right reasons and should be enjoyed highly by those that appreciate true horror/thriller films as opposed to the blood soaked hacker/slasher movies that are being pumped out monthly

REVIEW: CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY

CAST

Johnny Depp (Into The Woods)
Helena Bonham Carter (Alice In Wonderland)
Freddie Highmore (Bates Motel)
David Kelly (Stardust)
Noah Taylor (Powers)
Missi Pyle (Two and a Half Men)
Christopher Lee (Lord of The Rings)
AnnaSophia Robb (Race To Witch Mountain)
Adam Godley (Battleship)

Charlie Bucket (Freddie Highmore) is a kind and loving boy living in poverty with his parents (Noah Taylor and Helena Bonham Carter) and four bedridden grandparents. They all rely on his father for income, employed at a toothpaste factory, responsible for putting the caps on the tubes. Down the street is Willy Wonka’s (Johnny Depp) chocolate factory, which reopened after industrial espionage forced him into seclusion and sacking his employees. Charlie’s Grandpa Joe (David Kelly) worked for Wonka before the termination.Wonka announces a contest whereby children that find five Golden Tickets hidden in Wonka bars will be given a tour of the factory and one a chance to be presented with an unknown grand prize. Four tickets are quickly found: the greedy and gluttonous Augustus Gloop (Philip Wiegratz) from Düsseldorf; the spoiled and rotten Veruca Salt (Julia Winter) from Buckinghamshire; the competitive and boastful Violet Beauregarde (AnnaSophia Robb) from Atlanta; and the arrogant and aggressive Mike Teavee (Jordan Fry) from Denver. Charlie hopes to find a ticket but his chances are small as money is tight, and the best has to be made of his annual birthday present of one Wonka bar and a bar bought by Grandpa Joe’s money, both of which yield no tickets. All hope is crushed when the last ticket is apparently claimed in Russia. Charlie, on finding some money in the street, just intends to enjoy one chocolate bar when news breaks that the Russian ticket was fake. Charlie finds the bar he just bought has the last Golden Ticket. Bystanders attempt to separate him from it, only for the shopkeeper (Oscar James) to see that he keeps the ticket and gets back home with it.Grandpa Joe offers to accompany Charlie on the tour, but Charlie explains how he was offered money for the ticket and intends to sell it. Grandpa George (David Morris) reminds Charlie that money is far more common than the tickets, and convinces Charlie to keep it. The visitors find Wonka to be peculiar, lonely and acting odd at the mention of “parents”. The tour shows how fantastical the factory operates under the efforts of the short humans called Oompa-Loompas. The other four children succumb to temptation, and end up being caught in the factory workings and have to be safely recovered by the Oompa-Loompas, albeit in worse shape than at the start of the tour: Augustus falls into a river of chocolate and has been sucked up by a pipe before being rescued from the fudge processing center; Violet expands into an oversized blueberry when she tries an experimental piece of chewing gum; Veruca is thrown away as a “bad nut” by trained squirrels; and Mike is shrunk down to a few inches in height after being the first person transported by Wonka’s new television advertising invention.Charlie is congratulated as the only remaining child and the winner of the grand prize, Wonka’s heir to the factory. Unfortunately, Wonka stipulates that Charlie’s family has to stay behind; therefore, Charlie rejects the offer. Charlie learns that Wonka had a troubled past with his father, Wilbur Wonka (Christopher Lee), a dentist. Willy was forbidden from eating candy of any type or quantity and had torture device-like braces affixed to his teeth. But once Willy got a taste, he wanted to become a confectioner, against his father’s wishes and he left home to follow his dream. Wonka later returned to find his father and home completely gone. Wonka’s candies are selling poorly and he comes to associate his unhappiness with the sorry financial state of his company, so he makes an effort to find Charlie who helps him locate Wilbur. When they visit, it appears that despite his strict avoidance of candy, the dentist has followed Willy’s success and they reconcile. Wonka allows Charlie’s family to move into the factory while he and Charlie plan new product lines to produce.Most people will think of this as an immature movie, but I liked it more and more as I watched. The fast pace, the cast, the music, and, most importantly, the visual effects make this a movie for everyone to see.

REVIEW: GAME OF THRONES – SEASON 4

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MAIN CAST
Peter Dinklage (Threshold)
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Kingdom of Heaven)
Lena Headey (Dredd)
Emilia Clarke (Terminator:L Genysis)
Kit Harington (Pompeii)
Aidan Gillen (The Dark Knight Rises)
Charles Dance (Last Action Hero)
Natalie Dormer (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay)
Liam Cunningham (Wrath of The Titans)
Stephen Dillane (The Hours)
Carice van Houten (Black Book)
Jack Gleeson (Batman Begins)
Alfie Allen (Elizabeth)
Isaac Hempstead-Wright (The Box Trolls)
Sophie Turner (X-Men: Apocalypse)
Maisie Williams (Cyberbully)
John Bradley (Borgia)
Rose Leslie (honeymoon)
Kristofer Hivju (The Thing)
Hannah Murray (Skins)
Rory McCann (Hot Fuzz)
Gwendoline Christie (Star Wars – Episode VII)
Iwan Rheon (Misfits)
Conleth Hill (Serena)
Jerome Flynn (Ripper Street)
Sibel Kekilli (Tatort)
Iain Glen (Kick-Ass 2)
GUEST / RECURRING CAST
Diana Rigg (The Avengers)
Pedro Pascal (The Mentalist)
Indira Varma (Human Target)
Daniel Portman (River City)
Julian Glover (Troy)
Roger Ashton-Griffiths (A Knight’s Tale)
Anton Lesser (Charlotte gray)
Finn Jones (Wrong Turn 5)
Dean-Charles Chapman (Ripper Street)
Ian Beattie (Alexander)
Michiel Huisman (The Young Victoria)
Ian McElhinney (Hornblower)
Nathalie Emmanuel (Fast & Furious 7)
Jacob Anderson (4.3.2.1.)
Ciarán Hinds(the Woman In Black)
Thomas Sangster(Love Actually)
Ellie Kendrick (Being Human)
Kristian Nairn (Ripper Street)
Burn Gorman(The Dark Knight Rises)
Michael McElhatton (Intermission)
Peter Vaughan (Silk)
Owen Teale (Stella)
Noah Taylor (Powers)
Mark Stanley (Dickensian)
Ben Crompton (Doctor Who)
Josef Altin (The Young Victoria)
Charlotte Hope (Les Miserables)
Elizabeth Webster (Call The midwife)
Gemma Whelan (The Wolfman)
Kate Dickie (Tinsel Town)
Lino Facioli (Get Him to The Greek)
Whilst nothing in Series 4 comes quite as close to the sheer jaw dropping drama of Series 3 classic episode “The Red Wedding” the Series 4 finale has a quality about it that can only be found in great films like “The Godfather II”. The drama unfolds in almost a Shakespearian fashion and whilst loose ends are tied up a myriad of questions evolve out of the pulsating script. The acting throughout deserves Grammys by the shedload not least one of the most unlikely “buddy” pairings in TV history namely Ayra Stark (the brilliant Maisie Williams) and the strangely loveable uber thug “The Hound”. The scriptwriters have also played a huge role in this series with more deviations from George R R Martins books which makes the plot and storyline sharper and more dynamic. For example that gigantic Brienne and the Hound fight never happened in the novels, but it was stellar television. The other key dimension of the series is that the multiplicity of individual story lines are now merging ever closer so the overall plot line is much clearer and the context more powerful. Despite the ritual disposal of numerous major characters in Series 4 the deep fascination of the future of existing characters like the mystic Bran, the heroic Jon Snow, the Machiavellian “Littlefinger” and the worlds most popular dwarf (Peter Dinklage) is utterly engrossing. We also have nagging doubts emerging not least is Daenerys Targaryen’s unstoppable rise now threatened by her errant dragons, and whilst the key figure of Stannis Baratheon looms large was that also an alluring smile from the sinister but sexy Melisandre, the priestess of the Lord of Light to Jon Snow? Meanwhile beyond the Wall in the frozen north the Whitewalkers are massing.

Game of Thrones has been renewed for a further two seasons and we are informed that the day after the premiere of season 4, filming started in Belfast on the next instalment.The new season is scheduled to start on TV between the end of March and mid-April 2015. Can however the programmes show runners, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, be asked nicely by all Amazon readers to get a move on and bring this true wonder back to our screens. Indeed this reviewer could be reduced to begging. Game of Thrones – Series 4 is absolutely essential television and the best current drama on the small screen.

 

REVIEW: GAME OF THRONES – SEASON 3

CAST

Peter Dinklage (X-Men: Days of Future Past)
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Mama)
Lena Headey (Dredd)
Emilia Clarke (Terminator: Genysis)
Kit Harington (Pompeii)
Richard Madden (Cinderella)
Iain Glen (Tomb Raider)
Michelle Fairley (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
Aidan Gillen (The Dark Knight Rises)
Charles Dance (Last Action Hero)
Liam Cunningham (Clash of The Titans)
Stephen Dillane (The Hours)
Carice van Houten (Black Book)
Natalie Dormer (Captain America: The First Avenger)
Isaac Hempstead-Wright (The Boxtrolls)
Sophie Turner (X-Men: Apocalypse)
Maisie Williams (Cyberbully)
Rose Leslie (Honeymoon)
Alfie Allen (John Wick)
Jack Gleeson (Batman Begins)
John Bradley (Borgia)
Oona Chaplin (What If..)
Joe Dempsie (Monsters 2)
Sibel Kekilli (When We Leave)
Rory McCann (Hot Fuzz)
Conleth Hill (Serena)
Jerome Flynn (Ripper Street)
James Cosmo (Highlander)
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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Ciarán Hinds (The Woman In Black)
Robert Pugh (Robin Hood)
Mackenzie Crook (Ironclad)
Kristofer Hivju (After Earth)
Mark Stanley (Star Wars – Episode VII: The Force Awakens)
Ben Crompton (Kill List)
Luke Barnes (The Last Hours of Lauara K)
Burn Gorman (Pacific Rim)
Hannah Murray (Skins)
Edward Dogliani (The Hybrid)
Natalia Tena (Harry Potter)
Iwan Rheon (Wild Bill)
Thomas Sangster (Wolf Hall)
Ellie Kendrick (Misfits)
Kristian Nairn (Four Warriors)
Art Parkinson (Dracula Untold)
Peter Vaughan (Brazil)
Josef Altin (Eastern Promises)
Charlotte Hope (The Theory of Everything)
Patrick Malahide (Quills)
Gemma Whelan (The Wolfman)
David Bradley (The World’s End)
Gwendoline Christie (The Hunger Games – Mockingjay – Part 2)
Richard Dormer (11 Minutes)
Paul Kaye (Match Point)
Clive Russell (Ripper Street)
Tobias Menzies (Atonement)
Noah Taylor (Powers)
Michael McElhatton (Albert Nobbs)
Diana Rigg (The Avengers)
Julian Glover (Troy)
Finn Jones (Wrong Turn 5)
Esmé Bianco (The Scorpion King 4)
Daniel Portman (Outcast)
Ian Beattie (Alexander)
Paul Bentley (The Iron Lady)
Will Tudor (Vampire Academy)
Ian McElhinney (City of Ember)
Nathalie Emmanuel (Fast & Furious 7)
Jacob Anderson (Adulthood)
Ed Skrein (Deadpool)

Stannis licks his wounds after his defeat in season two, becoming ever more obsessed with his new God and the Red Woman Melisandre, desperately trying to recuperate and get back in the game as a contender for the throne. Making life hard for his ever suffering but loyal second in command Davos as he attempts to reason with his Zealot obsessed king. Davos is such a likeable character and his loyalty to Stannis is both heart warming and heart breaking as we watch Davos desperately play off and counter the many savage suggestions of the religious Melisandre, with great chemistry between all three characters you can feel the tension in the room with every scene as the two confidants battle for their kings mind which is forever unbalanced and as likely to take either side depending on his mood.

Daenerys begins her liberation of slavers bay quickly gaining momentum and power throughout the series in the way only the dragon born can, quickly becoming the most powerful character in the show, gathering more and more allies to her cause, she becomes seemingly unstoppable, yet remains one of the viewers favourite candidates for the throne as she shows again and again compassion and fairness for the people she comes into contact with, really becoming the light in this dark world. Followed by her loyal and love struck aid Jorah he also has new challenges to face as he finds himself in competition with the new allies flocking to her side, including the humiliated Commander of the Kings Guard from season one Ser Barristen Selmy and the handsome Daario Naharis of the Second Sons mercenaries.

Robb Stark once again faces betrayal as he attends his grandfathers funeral in River Run, introducing us at last to the Tullys including the humorous Blackfish and the Mr Bean of Westeros; Edmure Tully. Watching Robb struggle to handle the political aspect is quite sad as we watch the young wolf, who has never lost a battle decline purely due to his lack of political leadership and his restricting honour, both marching him towards a fate like his fathers. The similarities between Ned and Robb become more apparent as he makes foolish decisions all in vain attempts to do the right thing or make up for mistakes made, all culminating in one of the most memorable and terrible scenes of the entire show.

Theon Greyjoy, probably has the worst time of it in this season, after his betrayal of Robb in season two he finds himself captured by an unknown assailant and very very violently tortured both Physically and psychologically as well as mutilated, forever distorting and changing the character into somebody entirely new. Despite his betrayals and actions in season two you really begin to feel for the character again very early on, even forgiving his actions as he confesses how he really feels about himself and is made the play thing of the sadistic Ramsey Snow.  Tyrion continues to play the game in kings landing, battling with his sister for their fathers approval who has now taken his place as Hand of the King. Tyrion now has a harder time keeping his head above water, struck from all his power by his father, Tyrion is left vulnerable to the cruelty of Joffrey who continues to enjoy torturing his subjects. Watching him keep his composure under such odds and witnessing the cruelty of his father first hand, Tyrion remains a solid favourite of the fans, who after his heroes exploits in season two deserves a lot more than he gets in this season.

Jon Snow follows his new Wildling lifestyle while ever secretly looking for an opportunity to escape back to his fellow men of the nights watch, Jon Snow begins to realise the real threat to Westeros and begins to understand that the only way to win the real war is unity… something nobody else wants. Breaking his nights watch vows and literally skating on real thin ice Jon begins to craft himself as the hero Westeros needs.

Jaime Lannister continues life as captive, with the ever honourable and faithful Brienne charged with transporting him the two run into all sorts of adventures on their way to Kings Landing, including run ins with not so honourable Stark Soliders, farmers and then the sadistic soldiers of house Bolton and their leader Lock. Survival looks bleak for the pair and as Jaime attempts his usual charm and smarmy talk to get out of a situation it backfires changing his life forever, if he survives.

Overall, definitely the best season so far, completely shifting the power around the country and countless heartbreaking revelations and moments, this is the defining season that will make and break lifelong fans, if you thought the execution of Ned Stark was the pinnacle of Game of Thrones, that seems like child’s play after this season.

REVIEW: LARA CROFT TOMB RAIDER 1 & 2

CAST
Angelina Jolie (Hackers)
Daniel Craig (Cowboys & Aliens)
Jon Voight (Transformers)
Iain Glen (Game of Thrones)
Noah Taylor (Powers)
Chris Barrie (Red Dawrf)
Julian Rhind-Tutt (Rabbit Fever)
The film opens with Lara Croft (Angelina Jolie) in an Egyptian tomb, seeking a diamond at one end of a chamber. As she approaches she is attacked by a large robot. After an intense chase and battle, she disables it by ripping out its motivational circuits. She takes the diamond, which is revealed to be a memory card labeled “Lara’s Party Mix”, and inserts it into a laptop computer inside the robot, whereupon it plays music. Now it is revealed that the scene took place in a practice arena in her home, and that her assistant Bryce (Noah Taylor) programmed the robot, SIMON, to challenge her in combat.
It is the day of the first phase of a planetary alignment, culminating in a solar eclipse, which (in the film) happens once every 5,000 years. In Venice, the Illuminati search for a key to rejoin halves of “the triangle”, which must be done by the final phase of the alignment. Mr. Powell (Iain Glen), an Illuminati member, makes assurances that they are almost ready, but in reality he has no idea where to find the key. Lara’s butler, James “Hilly” Hillary (Chris Barrie), tries to interest her in several projects; but she ignores them. May 15, as Hilly is aware, is the day that Lara’s father disappeared many years earlier. She has not recovered from his loss.
Later that night, Lara has a dream reminding her what her father said about the alignment and an object linked to it called the Triangle of Light. Waking, she is aware of a clock ticking. Searching for it, she discovers a secret chamber under the staircase with a carriage clock that had spontaneously begun ticking. Bryce probes it and discovers a strange device hidden inside the clock.
Since the device resembles a clock, Lara consults a clock expert friend of her father’s, Mr. Wilson (Leslie Phillips). She believes it is connected to the “Triangle of Light”, but Wilson disavows knowledge of the clock or the Triangle. Lara encounters Alex West (Daniel Craig), a fellow tomb raider with unscrupulous methods. They are attracted to each other, but Croft cannot abide his for-profit attitude. That night, Lara is contacted by Wilson, who tells her that he gave her name to a man named Manfred Powell in regards of the clock. In reality, Wilson is also a member of the Illuminati.
The next day, Lara sees Powell in his home, and shows him photographs of the clock. Later, while discussing it with Bryce, she points out that Powell was lying about his knowledge. That night, as Lara does a bungee ballet, armed commandos invade the house and steal the clock despite her attempts to fend them off.
 The next morning, Lara receives a letter from her father, arranged to arrive after the beginning of the alignment, where he explains that the clock is the key to retrieve two halves of the mystic Triangle of Light, which is revealed to be an object of phenomenal destructive power that granted its wielder power over time and space. He says that it was made from a metal found in a meteor crater made by a meteor that had fallen to earth during a previous alignment. Initially housed in a city built in the meteor crater by those who worshiped the object, misuse of the Triangle’s power destroyed the city and so it was split into two halves; one was hidden in a tomb in Cambodia, the other half in the ruined city itself, in modern-day Siberia. Her father urges her to find and destroy both halves before the Illuminati can find it.
In Cambodia, West figures out part of the puzzle on how to retrieve the triangle half, but Lara manages to successfully grab the piece. Before everyone can leave, the liquid metal which came out with the piece brings the statues in the temple to life and attacks the team killing some members. Lara is left to fight off and destroy a huge six-armed guardian statue which is the last one to come to life. She successfully defeats it and leaves the temple by diving through a waterfall. She then travels to a Buddhist town where a young monk welcomes her. After a worship service, an aged monk who is the leader there gives Lara some tea and as they converse, he tells her that he knew her father before.
She and Powell arrange to meet in Venice, since each of them has what the other needs to finish the Triangle. Powell proposes a partnership to find the Triangle, and informs Lara that her father was a member of the Illuminati, which she vehemently denies. Though hesitant at first, she, along with Bryce, meets with Powell for the trip to Siberia. Inside the tomb, there is a giant model of the solar system, which activates as the alignment nears completion. Lara retrieves the last half of the Triangle, but when Powell tries to complete it, the halves will not fuse. He realizes that Lara knows the solution to the puzzle, and kills West in order to persuade her to complete the Triangle to save both West’s life and her father’s. Lara reluctantly complies, and they then struggle for control of the Triangle, with Lara prevailing.
Lara then finds herself in a strange alternate existence facing her father Lord Richard Croft (Jon Voight). He explains that it is a “crossing” of time and space, and urges her to destroy the Triangle instead of using it to save his life. She leaves her father and returns to the chamber, where time is slowly running backwards from the point where Powell killed West. Croft takes the knife he threw into West’s chest and reverses it, then destroys the Triangle, which returns time to its normal flow and directs the knife into Powell’s shoulder. The chamber begins to self-destruct, Everyone turns to leave, but Powell tells Croft that he killed her father and retrieved his pocket watch with a picture of Lara’s mother inside. Lara and Powell engage in a hand-to-hand fight. Lara kills him, retrieves it, and escapes as the chamber crumbles.
At the mansion, Hilly and Bryce are shocked to see Lara wearing a dress. She goes into the garden to her father’s memorial, then returns inside, where Bryce has a reprogrammed SIMON, ready to challenge Lara once again. Hilly reveals a silver tray holding Lara’s pistols, which she takes with a smile.
Lara Croft Tomb Raider is a fairly good effort considering that it is a movie based on a video game series. The story is rather on the cheesy side; but if you’re a Tomb Raider fan, or you just love guns and the occasional bit of scenery destruction, then this 1½ hour offering of action and adventure is well worth your time.

CAST

Angelina Jolie (Wanted)
Chris Barrie (Red Dawrf)
Gerard Butler (300)
Ciaran Hinds (The Woman In Black)
Noah Taylor (Powers)
Djimon Hounsou (Stargate)
Ronan Vibert (Hex)
Robert Cavanah (Highlander: The Raven)
Graham McTavish (The Hobbit)

On Santorini island, Greece, a wedding is interrupted by a strong earthquake. The earthquake uncovers the Luna Temple, built by Alexander the Great to house his most prized treasures. Among these treasures is a glowing orb with a pattern resembling a code etched into it. Lara (Angelina Jolie) finds this orb; but it is stolen by the crime lord Chen Lo (Simon Yam). Lara only just manages to escape with a strange medallion, while her two companions are killed by Chen’s men.
Lara is tasked by MI6 to find Pandora’s Box, an object from ancient legends that supposedly contains a deadly plague (the companion to the origin of life itself), before Nobel Prize-winning scientist turned bio-terrorist Jonathan Reiss (Ciarán Hinds) can get his hands on it and unleash it on the world. The key to finding the box, which is hidden in the mysterious Cradle of Life, is a magical luminous sphere that serves as a map – the one stolen by Chen Lo, who plans to sell the sphere to Reiss.
MI6 offers Lara the help of two of their best operatives, but she flat-out refuses them, insisting she needs to work with an old flame of hers who has knowledge of Chen Lo’s criminal operation. Reluctantly, but having no other choice, they relent and release Terry Sheridan (Gerard Butler) from a maximum security prison. Terry is delighted to have the opportunity to work with Lara again, (after their previous ‘heated’ five months). They infiltrate Chen Lo’s lair, where he is excavating/smuggling Terracotta Soldiers. Lara defeats him in a fight, winning back the medallion and forcing him to reveal the location of the stolen orb/map.
Lara and Terry then meet up with Kosa (Djimon Hounsou), an African friend who serves as translator as they question a local tribe about the Cradle of Life. Kosa translates the tribe’s Chief as stating that the Cradle of Life is in a crater protected by the “Shadow Guardians”. As the expedition sets out, Lara, Kosa, and the tribesmen with them are ambushed by Reiss’ soldiers. As the fight continues, more tribesmen are killed by the soldiers, and Lara kills some of the soldiers. The battle ends when Lara surrenders in the face of overwhelming odds, as Reiss’ helicopter lands.
Reiss and Sean (Til Schweiger) threaten to kill Bryce, Hillary and Kosa unless Lara leads him and his Tribeman to the Cradle of Life. Upon arrival at the crater, they encounter the Shadow Guardians, humanoid creatures which kill immediately when they sense movement and vanish into wet patches on dead trees. Sean and most of Reiss’ soldiers are killed by the creatures. When Lara drops the Orb into the hole that opens the entrance to the Cradle of Life, the Guardians disintegrate and both Lara and Reiss are drawn into the Cradle, a labyrinthine cavern made of a strange crystalline substance, racked by bolts of energy. Inside, they find a pool of highly corrosive black acid (linking back to one of the myths about Pandora’s Box), in which the box floats. Normal laws of physics seem not to apply, as Lara and Reiss are able to walk (upside down) along the ceiling of the cave. Terry arrives, frees Reiss’ captives, and catches up to Lara.
Following a climactic fistfight between Lara and Reiss, Reiss is knocked into the acid pool by Lara after being distracted by Terry. The acid kills him and dissolves his flesh. As the couple prepares to leave, Terry retrieves the box, claiming it as compensation for finding it; but Lara staunchly refuses to let him take it, knowing the danger if the box were ever opened. When he challenges her willingness to stop him, she regretfully shoots him dead and leaves him lying by the pool, then replaces the box to float in the acid.
This film is a big budget, action adventure, with a likeable female lead, decent stunts, and consistently energetic direction and pacing.

REVIEW: ALMOST FAMOUS

CAST

Patrick Fugit (Saved)
Billy Crudup (Watchmen)
Frances McDormand (Burn After Reading)
Kate Hudson (Gossip)
Jason Lee (My Name Is Earl)
Zooey Deschanel (New Girl)
Anna Paquin (X-Men)
Fairuza Balk (Return To Oz)
Bijou Phillips (Hostel: Part II)
Noah Taylor (Powers)
Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master)
Terry Chen (Bates Motel)
Jay Baruchel (Million Dollar Baby)
Jimmy Fallon (Taxi)
Rainn Wilson (House of 1,000 Corpses)
Eric Stonestreet (Bad Teahcer)
Pauley Perrette (NCIS)
Zack Ward (Transformers)
Kevin Sussman (The Big Bang Theory)

In 1973, William Miller is a 15-year-old boy aspiring to be a rock journalist. His mother, Elaine, wants him to become a lawyer. Shunned by his classmates, he writes for underground papers in San Diego, sharing the love of rock music instilled in him through a gift of albums left behind on the day his sister Anita left home.
William listens to an interview with rock journalist Lester Bangs. William has sent Bangs copies of his work, and Bangs gives William a $35 assignment to write up a review of a Black Sabbath concert. At first reluctant to assist a journalist, the band Stillwater brings William backstage after he praises their work. The guitarist, Russell Hammond, takes a liking to William, partly because of William’s friendship with a groupie he has romantic feelings for, Penny.
William goes with Penny to the Riot House – the Hyatt Hotel on Sunset Boulevard – to meet Stillwater. Penny, feigning retirement from her rock glory days, acts as William’s chauffeur, but only to get close to Russell, for whom she has genuine feelings and a past relationship. William is called by Ben Fong-Torres, editor of Rolling Stone, who wants him to do a story, believing William is several years older than he really is. When William convinces Ben to let him do a story on Stillwater, he is instructed to go on the road with them.
On the first leg of the trip, William makes his first in an increasingly frustrating number of attempts to interview Russell. Penny watches the interaction and sympathizes with William. William experiences tensions with the band due to his role as a journalist. new manager, Dennis, comes on board to help steer the band, and it is revealed that Penny must leave the tour before New York, where Leslie, Russell’s ex-wife/girlfriend, will join them. During a poker game he allows Dick to put up the groupies as a stake. The band loses the groupies to the band Humble Pie for $50 and a case of Heineken. When William tells Penny, she acts nonchalant but is devastated. Penny and Doris, the band’s tour bus, are left behind; Dennis has piled the band into a plane for more gigs.
Penny goes to New York on her own, and as the band gathers in a restaurant with Russell’s girlfriend, Penny shows up. As they celebrate making the cover of Rolling Stone, Penny makes Leslie uncomfortable and Dick asks her to leave. William chases Penny back to her hotel and finds her overdosed on Quaaludes. Believing they will die during a plane ride, the group confesses their secrets. When Penny is insulted by Jeff, the band’s lead singer, William defends her and discloses his love. The plane lands safely, leaving everyone to ponder the changed atmosphere. William continues to San Francisco to finish the story, parting ways with the band in the airport. Upset about Penny, he rewrites the article, telling the truth. The Rolling Stone editors cannot wait to publish it, but have to ask the band to verify it. Fearful of how the article will affect their image, the band makes William look like a liar. William is crushed and the story is dead. Sitting dejected in the airport, he sees his sister, who has become a stewardess and lives on her own terms. She tells him they should go on a trip together and, exhausted, William chooses to go home to San Diego.
Backstage at the Miami Orange Bowl on the Stillwater tour, Sapphire talks to Russell about Penny’s near-suicide and how despite the warnings she received about letting people fall in love with her, one of them saved her life. Russell is curious about the person in question, but Sapphire chastises him, saying that everyone knows what the band did to William and how awful they think it is. Russell calls Penny and asks for her address, telling her he wants to meet. Unbeknownst to Russell, she gives him William’s address in an attempt to resolve their conflict. Russell goes to the house, thinking it is Penny’s, but finds Elaine instead. Learning who he is, she lets him in to see William as Russell realizes where he is. They reconcile and Russell reveals that he called Rolling Stone and told them William’s story is true. Russell gives William a proper interview, Penny purchases a ticket to Morocco, and William’s story is published, with Stillwater on the cover of Rolling Stone.
The movie is a wonderful coming of age story with a fantastic soundtrack