REVIEW: PAN

CAST

Levi Miller (Jasper Jones)
Hugh Jackman (Logan)
Garrett Hedlund (Tron: LEgacy)
Rooney Mara (Side Effects)
Adeel Akhtar (The Dictator)
Nonso Anozie (Dracula)
Amanda Seyfried (Jennifer’s Body)
Kathy Burke (Flushed Away)
Lewis MacDougall (A Monster Calls)
Jack Charles (Tom White)
Cara Delevingne (Sucide Squad)
Paul Kaye (Game of Thrones)

Newborn Peter (Levi Miller) is left by his mother Mary (Amanda Seyfried) on the steps of an orphanage in London, an establishment under the care of Mother Barnabas (Kathy Burke). Several years later, during World War II, upon learning that Mother Barnabas is hoarding food for herself, Peter and his best friend Nibs (Lewis MacDougall) try to steal it to distribute amongst themselves and the other orphans but they are caught. In the process, Peter finds a letter written by his mother, declaring her love and assuring Peter they will meet again “in this world or another”.In retaliation for the boys’ mischief, Mother Barnabas summons pirates who kidnap Peter, Nibs and several others. Nibs manages to escape but Peter does not. He is captured and taken aboard a flying pirate ship. Following an aerial battle with several Spitfires the ship takes Peter to Neverland, a magical realm beyond space and time, where he is forced to become a slave laborer and mine for Pixum (crystallized Fairy Dust) on behalf of the terrible pirate Blackbeard (Hugh Jackman) who uses it to prevent himself from aging. Peter befriends another miner, named James Hook (Garrett Hedlund). After insulting Blackbeard’s men, Peter is forced to walk the plank over the deep mine, but survives by flying. Blackbeard then tells Peter about an old prophecy that a boy who could fly would one day kill him, but Peter refuses to believe he is that boy.Peter joins Hook and his accomplice, Sam “Smee” Smiegel (Adeel Akhtar), stealing one of Blackbeard’s flying ships and escaping into the forest. There they are found by the native chief’s daughter Tiger Lily (Rooney Mara) and nearly executed but when the natives Chief Great Little Panther (Jack Charles) notices Peter’s pan flute pendant, left to him by Mary, and said to belong to their people’s greatest hero, the legendary Pan. With the Memory Tree, Tiger Lily tells Peter that many years ago when the natives and the fairies united to fight together against the pirates, the Fairy Prince and the love of Blackbeard’s life, Mary fell in love but when Blackbeard discovered them, the Prince took human form to rescue Mary. But as fairies could only live in the form of a human for one day, the Prince sacrificed his life for Mary. Mary was then forced to hide their newborn son Peter in the other world and seek shelter in the Fairy Kingdom when she and the fairies had to retreat. As part of his heritage, Peter has the ability to fly, but is unable to do so because of his lack of faith.Fearful of Blackbeard’s punishment, Smee betrays the natives’ location to him, and in the ensuing battle, Chief Great Little Panther is murdered by Blackbeard, who also reveals that he killed Peter’s mother. Peter is hurt to learn that Tiger Lily had lied to Peter, telling him his mother is alive but she explains that he would have walked away from his destiny if he knew the truth.Peter, Hook, and Tiger Lily escape in a raft and head to the Fairy Kingdom to enlist their help in defeating the pirates. Along the way, Peter falls into the river and is nearly eaten by giant crocodiles before being rescued by the mermaids, after which he has a vision of Blackbeard accidentally killing Mary as she defended the Fairy Kingdom from his offensive. Despondent over their chances, Hook leaves while Peter and Tiger Lily arrive at the Fairy Kingdom only to be ambushed by Blackbeard who plans to use the fairies vast amount of Pixum to live forever. Blackbeard takes Peter’s pan flute pendant, which is the key to the fairy kingdom, opens their gates and launches an attack.Peter escapes and befriends one of the fairies, named Tinker Bell. Together, they rally the rest of the Neverland fairies to fight the pirates while Tiger Lily duels Blackbeard. Hook returns on the stolen ship and fights Blackbeard’s right-hand man Bishop (Nonso Anozie) until the ship tips over, sending both falling to their deaths. Peter conquers his fears and flies to save Hook, while Blackbeard and his men are overpowered by the fairies. Forced into an abyss, they subsequently fall to their deaths. Smee is the sole survivor having fled during the battle. Peter then sees a vision of Mary, who reaffirms him to be Neverland’s savior: Peter Pan. Shortly afterwards, Peter and Hook, now the captain of the Jolly Roger, return to London to rescue Nibs and the other orphans, who become part of Peter’s crew, the Lost Boys. In the final scene, Peter and Hook reaffirm their friendship, certain that nothing will ever go wrong between them.A totally different side of the Peter Pan story. Unique and imaginative. Non stop action packed and Hugh Jackman like you’ve never seen him before. A talented cast and brilliant production.

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REVIEW: ENDER’S GAME

CAST

Asa Butterfield (Hugo)
Harrison Ford (Star wars)
Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit)
Abigail Breslin (Scream Queens)
Ben Kingsley (Iron Man 3)
Viola Davis (Suicide Squad)
Nonso Anozie (Cinderella)
Brandon Soo Hoo (Tropic thunder)

In the future, humanity is preparing to launch an attack on the homeworld of an alien race called the Formics who had attacked Earth and killed millions; however, their invasion was stopped by Mazer Rackham, who crashed his fighter plane into a Formic queen ship, stopping the invasion at the apparent cost of his life. Over the course of fifty years, gifted children are trained by the International Fleet to become commanders of a new fleet for this counter-attack.Cadet Andrew “Ender” Wiggin (Asa Butterfield) draws the attention of Colonel Hyrum Graff (Harrison Ford) and Major Gwen Anderson (Viola Davis) by his aptitude in simulated space combat. They order the removal of his monitor, signifying the end of the cadet program. Ender is attacked by Stilson, a student he defeated in the combat sim, but Ender fights back and severely injures him. Ender confesses his grief to his older sister Valentine, but is harassed further by their older brother Peter. Graff arrives to reveal he was being tested and is still part of the program. Graff brings Ender to Battle School, placing Ender with other cadets his age, but treats him as extraordinary, ostracizing him from the others.Among other studies, the cadets are placed in squads and perform training games in a zero gravity “Battle Room”. Ender quickly adapts to the games, devising new strategies older students have not yet seen. Graff reassigns Ender to Salamander Army, led by Commander Bonzo Madrid. Bonzo, believing that Ender is inept due to his size, prevents him from training with the rest of the squad. Another cadet, Petra Arkanian, takes Ender and trains him privately. While Bonzo is aware of this, he does not take any action against Petra. In one match, Bonzo orders Ender to stay behind while the rest of the Salamander Army fights another team; however, seeing Petra in trouble, Ender comes to her aid and helps the Salamander Army win. After the match, Bonzo is humiliated by the other students and threatens Ender if he embarrasses him again.Meanwhile, Ender plays a computerized “mind game” set in a fantasy world aimed to present difficult choices to the player. In one situation, Ender creates an outside the box solution to overcome a seemingly unsolvable problem. Later, he encounters a Formic in the game, and then a simulated image of Valentine entering the ruins of a castle. Inside, he finds another image of Valentine but as he nears, it turns into an image of Peter before the game ends.Graff promotes Ender to his own squad, made from other students that have gained Ender’s trust. They are put in increasingly difficult battles. In one match against two other teams including Bonzo’s squad, Ender devises a novel strategy of sacrificing part of his team to achieve a goal, impressing Graff. Bonzo accosts Ender in the bathroom after the match, but Ender fights back and Bonzo falls during the struggle, seriously injured. Distraught over this, Ender prepares to quit Battle School, but Graff has Valentine speak to him and convince him to continue.Graff takes Ender to humanity’s forward base on a former Formic planet near their homeworld. There, Ender meets Mazer Rackham, who explains how he spotted the shared-mind nature of the Formics to stop the attack fifty years prior. Ender finds that his former squad members are also here to help him train in computerized simulations of large fleet combat; Rackham puts special emphasis on the fleet’s Molecular Detachment (MD) Device that is capable of disintegrating matter.[note 1] Ender’s training is rigorous and Anderson expresses concern they are pushing Ender too fast, but Graff notes they have run out of time to replace Ender.Ender’s final test is monitored by several of the fleet commanders. As the simulation starts, Ender finds his fleet over the Formic homeworld and vastly outnumbered. He orders most of his fleet to sacrifice themselves to protect the MD long enough to fire on the homeworld. The simulation ends, and Ender believes the test is over, but the commanders restart the video screens, showing that the destruction of the Formic homeworld was real and Ender had been controlling the real fleet this time. Despite Graff’s assurance he will be known as a hero, Ender is furious as he feels responsible for the annihilation and everyone will remember him as a killer.As Ender struggles with his emotions, he recognizes one of the Formic structures nearby similar to the ruined castle from the game, and believing they were trying to communicate with him, races out towards it. He follows the path set by the game, and encounters a dying Formic queen. The Queen acknowledges Ender’s role in the genocide of their race, but that he simply wanted peace in the long term and forgives him. The Queen later gives Ender a queen egg that it had been protecting. After the war, Ender is promoted to Admiral, given a small ship, and left to his own devices. In a letter to Valentine, he tells her that he is going into deep space, determined to form a new Formic colony with the queen egg.Ultimately the climax of this movie and its main message is what sets it apart from many other Sci-Fi films. The emotion is very much there, and anyone willing to give this film a try will not be disappointed.

REVIEW: GAME OF THRONES – SEASON 2

MAIN CAST
Peter Dinklage (Death at a Funeral)
Lena Headey (Dredd)
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Black Hawk Down)
Michelle Fairley (Chatroom)
Emilia Clarke (Terminator Genysis)
Aidan Gillen (The Dark Knight Rises)
Iain Glen (Tomb Raider)
Kit Harington (Seventh Son)
Charles Dance (Underworld 3)
Liam Cunningham (Dog Soldiers)
Isaac Hempstead-Wright (The Boxtrolls)
Richard Madden (Cinderella)
Sophie Turner (X-Men: Apocalypse)
Maisie Williams (Cyberbully)
Alfie Allen (The Other Boleyn Girl)
John Bradley (Borgia)
Jack Gleeson (Batman Begins)
Rory McCann (Solomon Kane)
Natalie Dormer (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay)
Stephen Dillane (The Hours)
Carice Van Houten (Black Book)
James Cosmo (Highlander)
Jerome Flynn (Ripper Street)
Conleth Hill (Suits)
Sibel Kekilli (Tatort)
NOTABLE RECURRING/GUEST STARS
Jason Momoa (Stargate: Atlantis)
Rose Leslie (Honeymoon)
Hannah Murray (Dark Shadows)
Mark Stanley (Star Wars – Episode VII)
Ben Crompton (Ideal)
Julian Glover (Indiana Jones 3)
Roy Dotrice (Beauty and the Beast 1989)
Eugene Simon (House of Anubis)
Esme Bianco (the Scorpion King 4)
Donald Sumpter (K-19)
Ron Donachie (Titanic)
Natalia Tena (Harry Potter)
Kristian Nairn (Ripper Street)
Art Parkinson (Dracula Untold)
Ian Beattie (Vikings)
Daniel Portman  (River City)
Gemma Whelan (The Wolfman)
Patrick Malahide (Fortress 2)
Nonso Anozie (Dracula)
Roxanne McKee (Wrong Turn 5)
Amrita Acharia (I Am Yours)
Elyes Gabel (World War Z)
Oona Chaplin (What If…)
Finn Jones (Wrong Turn  5)
Michael McElhatton (Blow Dry)
Gethin Anthony (Aquarius)
Gwendoline Christie (Doctor Parnassus)
Ian Whyte (Alien Vs Predator)
Joe Dempsie (Monsters 2)
Having won three victories, Robb Stark offers the Lannisters peace in exchange for the North’s independence, sending Theon Greyjoy to gain Balon Greyjoy’s support and Catelyn Stark to seek Renly Baratheon’s. Cersei Lannister rejects Robb’s terms. Meanwhile, Tyrion Lannister exiles Janos Slynt, head of the Gold Cloaks, to the Wall, promoting Bronn to commander of the watch.
Catelyn arrives at King Renly’s camp to negotiate an alliance, and Brienne of Tarth wins the right to join Renly’s guard. Catelyn and Brienne witness Renly’s murder at the hands of dark magic sent by the ‘Red Lady’ Melisandre, an emissary of Renly’s brother and rival claimant to the Iron Throne Stannis Baratheon. Catelyn and Brienne flee Renly’s camp and rejoin Robb’s army as Renly’s supporters switch their allegiance to Stannis. Meanwhile, Theon betrays the Starks by siding with his father and seizing Winterfell by force. Robb receives news of Theon’s plans and sends men to retake Winterfell, while inside the city the Starks’ allies form plans to sneak Bran and Rickon Stark out.
Robb learns that his mother Catelyn has secretly freed Jaime Lannister, now escorted by Brienne of Tarth, in order to ransom her daughters Sansa and Arya; he also enters into a romantic relationship with Volantene healer Talisa Maegyr. Yara Greyjoy arrives at Winterfell to bring Theon back to the Iron Islands, after his botched attempt to recapture the Stark boys.
Tywin Lannister leaves Harrenhal, which allows Arya, Gendry and Hot Pie to make an escape with the help of the enigmatic Jaqen H’ghar. In King’s Landing, Cersei attempts to blackmail Tyrion by abducting the prostitute, Ros, whom Cersei believes to be his secret lover. Leading the defense against Stannis’ attack on King’s Landing, Tyrion destroys many of the attacking craft with an exploding ship full of wildfire, and is forced to lead a counterattack as King Joffrey Baratheon and his bodyguard Sandor Clegane each desert the battlefield. Stannis’s forces make it inside the castle, but Tyrion leads his men behind the Baratheon forces via underground tunnels and attacks. Baratheon is defeated when Tywin’s forces arrive at King’s Landing shortly after.
Following Khal Drogo’s death, Daenerys and the remnants of her khalasar find refuge in the city of Qarth, where they are taken in by the merchant Xaro Xhoan Daxos. However, Xaro conspires with the warlock Pyat Pree to kill most of Daenerys’ servants, kidnap her dragons and assume control of Qarth. Daenerys is lured into a showdown with Pyat Pree at the House of the Undying, where her dragons kill Pyat Pree. Daenerys seals Xaro in his own vault as punishment for his treachery and leaves Qarth with Jorah and her remaining servants.
Whilst on a ranging beyond the Wall, Jon Snow captures a Wildling, Ygritte, who soon leads him into a trap where he himself is captured by Ygritte’s fellow wildlings. Amongst the wildlings’ prisoners is fellow ranger Qhorin Halfhand, who convinces Jon to kill him in order to gain the wildlings’ trust so he can get close to their leader, King-beyond-the-Wall Mance Rayder. The rest of the rangers set up camp at an ancient fortification, the Fist of the First Men, where they come under attack from an ancient enemy, the White Walkers.
Season 2 is superior to Season 1. This show is quite extraordinary and just gets better and better as it progresses. Although the climax of each episode means the end, it’s not without some amazing cliffhanger which makes you crave for more.

REVIEW: ATONEMENT

CAST

James McAvoy (X-Men: Apocalypse)
Keira Knightley (The Duchess)
Saoirse Ronan (The Lovely Bones)
Romola Garai (I Capture The Castle)
Vanessa Redgrave (Nip/Tuck)
Harriet Walter (Babel)
Patrick Kennedy (Mr. Holmes)
Brenda Blethyn (The Storyteller)
Juno Temple (Horns)
Benedict Cumberbatch (Star Trek Into Darkness)
Nonso Anozie (Cinderella)
Alfie Allen (Game of Thrones)

In 1935, Briony Tallis is a 13-year-old girl from a wealthy English family and has just finished writing a play. Briony attempts to stage the play with her three visiting cousins, twin boys and their teenage sister, Lola; however, they get bored and decide to go swimming. Briony stays behind and witnesses a significant moment of sexual tension between her older sister, Cecilia, and Robbie Turner, a servant’s son (a man that Briony has a childish infatuation with). Robbie returns home and writes several drafts of letters to Cecilia, including one that is explicitly sexual and erotically charged (specifically, it uses the word “massive pudenda”). Initially written for the sake of humour, he does not intend to send it and sets it aside. On his way to join the Tallis family for dinner, Robbie asks Briony to deliver his letter, only to later realise that he has mistakenly given her the prurient draft. Briony secretly reads the letter and is simultaneously disgusted and jealous. She tells Lola of its contents and they call Robbie a “sex maniac” while debating whether to turn him into the police. That afternoon, Lola and her younger brothers meet a friend of the Tallis family, a wealthy chocolate manufacturer named Paul Marshall. Though he is much older than her, he excites Lola by flirting with her and treating her like an adult.

That evening, Cecilia confronts Robbie about the letter which she has since read. They meet in the library where they make love and tenderly confess their love for one another. During the act, Briony watches through the partially open door and her confused emotions about Robbie become heightened. At dinner it is revealed that Lola’s twin brothers have run away; a search party is sent out and Briony goes off alone into the woods looking for them. She eventually stumbles upon a man running away from apparently raping Lola. Lola claims that she does not know the identity of her attacker, but then claims it was Robbie after Briony suggests that it must have been the “sex maniac” who attacked her. In a fit of pique, the still-hurt Briony tells everyone (including the police) that she saw Robbie commit the act. She shows Robbie’s shocking letter to her mother and the police. Everyone believes Briony’s story except for Cecilia and Robbie’s mother; Robbie is arrested and sent to prison.
Four years later, Robbie is released from prison on condition that he join the army. He is assigned to A Company, 1st Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment and sent to France, where he is separated from his unit and attempts to return to them at Dunkirk on foot. He is then shown reuniting with Cecilia (who has not spoken with her family since the incident) in London six months earlier, where they renew their love before he is shipped off to the French front. Briony, now 18, has joined Cecilia’s old nursing corps at St. Thomas’s in London because she wants to be of some practical use to society after giving up an offer she received from Cambridge. Her attempts at contacting her sister go unanswered as Cecilia cannot forgive her for Robbie’s unjust imprisonment. Robbie, gravely ill and wounded, finally arrives at the beaches of Dunkirk where he waits to be evacuated.
Sometime later, Briony—at last fully understanding the consequences of her false accusation—visits the now-married Cecilia and Robbie to apologise to them directly. However, her apologies are rather weak and ineffectual; Cecilia coldly replies that she will never forgive her, while Robbie, in a rage that almost becomes physical, confronts Briony and demands that she immediately tell her family and the authorities the truth. Briony admits she knew all along that the real rapist was Paul Marshall, but that Lola cannot testify against him in a court of law because they have recently been married.
Decades later, an elderly Briony (now a published author) gives an interview about her latest book, a semi-autobiographical novel called “Atonement.” She reveals that she is dying of vascular dementia and states that this last book is one she has been working on for most of her adult life. Briony confesses that the book’s ending (in which she apologises to a married Cecilia and Robbie) is fictional: Cecilia and Robbie were never married and never saw each other again once he left for war. In reality, Robbie died at Dunkirk of septicemia while awaiting evacuation and Cecilia died a few months later as one of the flood victims in the Balham tube station bombing during The Blitz. Briony hopes that by reuniting them in fiction she can give them the happy ending they always deserved. The last scene of the movie shows a happy Cecilia and Robbie together once again as imagined by Briony.
It is a delightful film, well paced, with a beautiful background, strong emotions and remarquable actors. I really enjoyed it and highly recommend it.

REVIEW: CONAN THE BARBARIAN (2011)

CAST

Jason Momoa (Game of Thrones)
Stephen Lang (Avatar)
Rachel Nichols (Alias)
Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Rose McGowan (Planet Terror)
Nonso Anozie (Cinderella)
Said Taghmaoui (American Hustle)

Conan is the son of Corin, chief of a barbarian tribe. The youth is a skilled but violent warrior, who his father believes is not ready to wield his own sword. One day, their village is attacked by the forces of Khalar Zym, a warlord who wishes to reunite the pieces of the Mask of Acheron in order to revive his dead wife and conquer Hyboria. Thousands of years ago, the Mask, crafted by a group of sorcerers and used to subjugate the world, was broken into many pieces, which were scattered among the barbarian tribes. After locating Corin’s piece of the mask, and murdering the entire village, Zym leaves. Conan is the only survivor, and swears revenge.

Years later, Conan has become a pirate, but still seeks revenge. He encounters a slave colony and frees it, killing all of the slave handlers in the process. In the city of Messantia, he encounters Ela-Shan, a thief being chased by a man whom Conan recognizes as Lucius, one of Zym’s soldiers from years before. He allows himself to be captured alongside Ela-Shan. Conan escapes imprisonment, kills several of the guards, and confronts Lucius, forcing him to reveal that Zym seeks a girl, the pure-blood descendant of the sorcerers of Acheron; sacrificing the descendant and using blood from the body of the girl will unleash the mask’s power. Conan helps the rest of the prisoners to escape, and, in gratitude, Ela-Shan tells Conan that, if he ever needs him, Conan will find him at the City of Thieves, Argalon. Lucius is then killed by the prisoners.

Zym and his daughter, the sorceress Marique attack a monastery where they hope to find the pure-blood descendant. Sensing something is wrong, Fassir, an elderly monk, tells one of his students, Tamara, to run away and return to her birthplace. When Fassir refuses to reveal his knowledge of the descendant, Zym kills him. Marique also slays several of the priestesses. Tamara’s carriage is chased by Zym’s men, but Conan rescues her, kills three of her pursuers, and also captures one of Zym’s men, Remo. After forcing him to reveal Tamara’s importance as the pure-blood, Conan catapults Remo into Zym’s nearby camp, killing him.

Zym and Marique confront Conan, who pretends to be interested in exchanging Tamara for gold. Conan attacks Zym, but Marique assists her father by invoking soldiers made of sand, and then poisons Conan with a poison-laced boomerang sword. Tamara rescues him and they return to Conan’s ship, stationed nearby, where his friend Artus helps Conan recover. The boat is attacked by Zym’s men, but although they kill several of Conan’s men, they are defeated. Conan orders Artus to return to Messantia with Tamara and departs to confront Zym in his kingdom. Artus tells Tamara that Conan left a map behind and she follows him, meeting with him in a cave, where they strip naked and copulate. The next day, as she is returning to the boat, Zym’s men and daughter capture her.

Conan learns of Tamara’s capture and departs to Argalon, where he asks Ela-Shan to help him break into Zym’s castle unnoticed. Zym prepares to drain Tamara’s blood, mending the mask. He then plans to use the girl’s body as a vessel for his wife. After confronting an octopus-like monster, the Dweller, that guards the dungeons and killing its four handlers, along with Ukafa, Conan infiltrates Zym’s followers, kills a guard and steals his robe, and watches as Zym puts on the empowered mask. Conan releases Tamara, and she escapes as he battles Zym with the castle falling around them. Marique attacks Tamara, but Conan hears Tamara’s scream and defeats Marique, cutting off her hand. Tamara kicks her into a pit, where her body pierced by a large spike. Zym comes and, finding his daughter’s body impaled by the spike, he swears revenge upon Conan.

Conan and Tamara become trapped on an unstable bridge as Zym attacks them. He uses the mask’s power to call forth the spirit of his deceased wife, Maliva, a powerful sorceress who was executed by the monks from Tamara’s monastery for attempting to unleash occult forces to destroy Hyborea, and Maliva’s spirit begins to possess Tamara’s body. She begs Conan to let her fall, but he refuses, and instead stabs the bridge before jumping to safety with Tamara. The bridge collapses, taking Zym along. The power-hungry ruler falls to the lava below the immense precipice screaming the name of his wife, implying his demise.

Conan and Tamara escape and he returns her to her birthplace, telling her that they’ll meet again. He then returns to Corin’s village and tells the memory of his father that he has avenged his death and recovered the sword Marique stole from him, restoring his honor.

This remake has plenty of action, thankfully so as it takes some of the attention away from the few dubious acting talents & casting decisions on show. As the lead, Jason Momoa is not built quite like Arnie & doesn’t have a whole load of facial expressions, but he is a slightly better actor. Seasoned thespian, Stephen Lang, makes this a bit more worthwhile during the almost 2 hour run time, playing the baddie role very well. Also, Morgan Freeman’s (The Shawshank Redemption) deep rich voice adds some strength to the narration of the opening dialogues.

 

 

 

REVIEW: CINDERELLA (2015)

CAST

Lily James (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies)
Richard Madden (Game of Thrones0
Cate Blanchett (The Hobbit)
Helena Bonham Carter (Dark Shadows)
Stellan Skarsgard (Thor)
Nonso Anozie (Conan The Barbarian)
Holiday Grainger (The Borgias)
Sophie McShera (The Job Lot)
Derek Jacobi (Ironclad)
Hayley Atwell (Agent Carter)
Ben Chaplin (Lost Souls)

Ella lives with her wealthy, loving parents on a beautiful estate in a peaceful kingdom. From a young age, she is taught by her mother to believe in the existence of magic, allowing her to befriend many animals on the estate, particularly the mice. Everything is perfect until her mother contracts an illness and dies. On her deathbed, she asks Ella to make her a promise that she will always have courage and show kindness to others. A few years later, her father marries Lady Tremaine, the widow of an old acquaintance, who has two daughters of her own first and deceased husband: Drisella and Anastasia. Ella welcomes her stepfamily, despite the stepsisters’ unpleasant attitudes and her need to protect her mouse friends from her stepmother’s cat, Lucifer.

Soon after, Ella’s father goes abroad on business, promising his stepdaughters gifts of luxury. Ella merely asks for the first branch to brush against his shoulder on the way. While he is gone, Lady Tremaine gradually begins to reveal her true cold, cruel and jealous nature, persuading Ella to sleep in the attic and let Drisella and Anastasia have her room. Soon they receive word that Ella’s father has fallen ill and died. Desperate for money, Lady Tremaine dismisses the servants and forces Ella to do all their work. Later, she refuses to let Ella eat with the family. One cold evening, Ella sleeps by the fireplace for warmth. The next day, she rises with her face covered in cinders. Her stepsisters consequently mock her as “Cinderella”, a taunt in which Lady Tremaine also joins; eventually, even Ella herself starts calling herself that.

Crushed by her stepfamily’s cruelty, Ella goes for a ride into the woods, where she encounters a hunting party in pursuit of a stag. She meets one of the hunters, who claims to be an apprentice named Kit who lives in the palace. Unknown to her, he is actually the only son of the land’s dying king. Despite never learning her name, Kit (a nickname given to him by his father) is enchanted by Ella’s charm, kindness, and unique outlook on life and becomes infatuated with her. On learning that he has little time left, the King insists that Kit find a bride at an upcoming ball. Although Kit is required to marry a princess, he can’t get over the mystery girl, and persuades his father to let every eligible maiden in the land attend.

When the ball is announced, the Tremaine family is ecstatic at the prospect of marrying into royalty. However, when Lady Tremaine refuses to buy Ella a new dress, Ella fixes up an old pink dress of her mother’s with help from the mice. On the night of the ball, Ella tries to join her stepfamily on the way out. Lady Tremaine, claiming that her mere presence will disgrace them, goads her daughters into helping her rip up Ella’s dress, before leaving without her. Ella runs into the garden in tears and apologizes to her dead mother, saying that she doesn’t know how she can keep her promise of being courageous and kind. She then encounters an old beggar woman, who reveals herself to be her fairy godmother. She uses her magic to reveal her true form, and then turns a pumpkin into a magnificent carriage, four mice into horses, two lizards into footmen, and a goose into a coachman. She then transforms Ella’s dress into a gorgeous blue gown, complete with a delicate pair of glass slippers, before sending her on her way to the ball, with the warning that the spell only lasts until the final stroke of midnight.

At the ball, the entire court is entranced by Ella, especially Kit, who had been hoping she would arrive. She wins the coveted first dance with him, whose true identity she is pleasantly surprised to learn. This irritates the Grand Duke, who secretly promised Kit to a specific princess—a fact that Lady Tremaine overhears. After dancing, Ella and Kit tour the palace and grounds together. But before he can learn her name, the clock begins to strike twelve, forcing her to flee and accidentally drop one of her glass shoes on the palace stairs in the process. She manages to get away before the stroke of midnight, and hides the other shoe in her room as a memento, reasonably content that her one night will become a beautiful memory.

Soon after the ball, the King dies, but not before giving his son permission to find the girl and marry her if he wishes. When Kit becomes king, he decrees that every maiden in the kingdom is to try on the shoe. Ella goes to her room to get the other shoe, only to find her stepmother waiting with it in her hand. Lady Tremaine has deduced that Ella is the mystery maiden, and demands to be made the head of the royal household if Ella marries Kit and becomes queen. She also demands that Ella ensure that Drisella and Anastasia get proper husbands. Ella refuses, so Lady Tremaine smashes the shoe and locks her in the attic. She then takes the shattered shoe and identity of the mystery girl to the Grand Duke and convinces him to reward her with the title of countess and advantageous marriages for her daughters. The Duke takes the shattered shoe to the king, hoping to persuade him to forget the mystery girl, but this makes Kit more determined than ever to find her.

The Grand Duke and the captain of the guards lead a mission to try the remaining shoe on all the maidens in the land, but it fits none of them. When they arrive at the Tremaine estate, the shoe fits neither of the stepsisters. The officers turn to leave, only to hear Ella singing “Lavender’s Blue” through a window that the mice opened for that purpose. The Grand Duke tries to leave anyway, but one of the men reveals himself to be Kit in disguise, and demands that the captain investigate the sound. Once Ella is found, Lady Tremaine forbids her to try on the shoe on the grounds that she is Ella’s mother, but is overruled by the captain. Ella then curtly tells Lady Tremaine that she never has been, and never will be, her mother.

Ella and Kit are finally reunited. Kit recognizes Ella even without the shoe, which fits perfectly. The stepsisters plead for forgiveness. Ella leaves with Kit after forgiving her stepmother, who along with her daughters and the Grand Duke are forever banished from the kingdom for their act of treason. At the wedding, Kit and Ella are crowned as the new king and queen. The Fairy Godmother narrates that they become the land’s most beloved monarchs, ruling with the courage and kindness that Ella had promised her mother, and they lived happily ever after.

The Blu-ray picture is stunning the magic of the movie comes out in HD. As for the extras we have the Frozen fever short that would play out at cinemas before the movie, It’s essentially a sequel to the movie Frozen and runs 7 minutes long. The other extras are your basic mini feturette, but they get the job done and show how the movie was made. I would defiantly recommend the movie to anyone that likes Disney movies and for the guys who have Hayley Atwell and Lily James, what more could you ask for.

REVIEW: DRACULA: THE COMPLETE SERIES

Image result for draculA 2013 LOGO

MAIN CAST

Jonathan Rhys Meyers (The Tudors)
Jessica De Gouw (Arrow)
Thomas Kretschmann (Avengers: Age of Ultron)
Victoria Smurfit (Bulletproof Monk)
Oliver Jackson-Cohen (Faster)
Nonso Anozie (Game of Thrones)
Katie McGrath (Supergirl)


RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Ben Miles (V For Vendetta)
Robert Bathurst (Toast of London)
Jemma Regrave (I’ll Be There)
Anthony Calf (New Tricks)
Anthony Howell (Foyle’s War)
Andrew Lee Potts (Alice)
Alec Newman (Dune)
Peter Woodward (Crusade)
Richard Dempsey (Chronicles of Narnia BBC)
Tamer Hassan (Kick-Ass)

‘Dracula’ is a bold and modern reinvention of Bram Stoker’s classic gothic masterpiece, and although it may not boast the strongest scripts or the most interesting dialogue by today’s standards, this is nonetheless a very vivid and watchable new take on a legend retold time and time again.

Dracula effectively reignites the spark of forbidden lust and desire that was at the heart of the original novel, but turns up the eroticism a few notches more. Yes, this is a very sexy show, and just as new Dracula Jonathan Rhys Meyers turned Henry VIII into a sex symbol in the outstanding series ‘The Tudors’, this time he’s giving the Prince of Darkness himself the same treatment. Vampires have always been metaphors for forbidden lust ever since Stoker first conceived the idea back in the 19th Century, and this has been prevalent during the recent vampire renaissance of the modern era. Vampires will always been inextricably linked to sex, and if you’re looking for something that is steamy, dark, romantic and tasteful all at the same time, then ‘Dracula’ should fulfil your wish.


As you might expect, a few changes have been made to the original legend, and most of them work quite well, bar a few exceptions. In this version of the story, Dracula has travelled to London in the guise of wealthy and charismatic American Alexander Grayson, who has come to London to promote a new form of safe and renewable energy that will make Thomas Edison look like an amateur arts dealer. Yes, it’s every bit as absurd as it sounds, but in reality Dracula’s entire scheme is nothing more than a smokescreen to avoid being detected and to cover up his latest scheme. What better way to avoid detection and suspicion than hiding in plain sight? There’s also an ironic poetry about a creature of the night endorsing new forms of light energy. Of course, Dracula’s real plan is far more nefarious than merely being a poster boy for efficient energy sources, as The plots to annihilate a mysterious cult known as ‘The Order of the Dragon’ from the shadows (an organisation based on a real historical order of the same name.) But after meeting Mina Murray, whom he is convinced is a reincarnation of his dead wife, Ilona, can Dracula’s heart’s desire lead him to uncover the humanity still left within him, or will it only complicate his plans further? Naturally, I’m not going to spoil anything, but Mina’s presence certainly has a profound effective on the old Count.


As you might expect, Rhys Meyers is as intense and brooding as you’d expect his version of Dracula to be, and when he’s actually playing Dracula he’s definitely at his best. His performance does falter slightly as his Alexander Grayson persona due to his dodgy attempt at an American accent, but considering Dracula isn’t American either, maybe this could be interpreted as adding authenticity to the performance. His relationship with his loyal servant, Renfield (Nonso Anozie) is definitely one of the most intriguing aspects of the whole affair, as Renfield’s character is both complicated and fascinating to observe, despite his often one-note dialogue and characteristics.


Professor Van Helsing, who is almost as famous as Dracula himself these days, also plays an antagonistic role, but I felt very disappointed by this depiction of Van Helsing, as he lacked the presence and menace necessary to face-off against Rhys Meyer’s formidable prowess. Jonathan Harker is also present, but frankly his character is far too dull and bares very little relevance to the plot beyond being a tool to keep Mina in Dracula’s orbit. Oliver Jackson-Cohen’s performance is also very poor, as he only ever seems capable of being mildly aloof or really pissed off, with no further spectrum to his emotional range. Perhaps the biggest surprise was the relationship between Mina Murray and Lucy Westenra, and while I won’t spoil any secrets, the show certainly takes their friendship into unpredictable territory, and it was always with great expectation I waited to see how it would unfold. Jessica De Gouw does a very commendable job as Mina, but really it’s Katie McGrath (also Morgana in ‘Merlin’) who really steals the show, giving an outstanding performance as Lucy throughout the 10 episode run.


Sadly after 10 episodes the show was cancelled leaving a shocking cliffhanger that will never be resolved.