REVIEW: THE GREY

Starring

Liam Neeson (Taken)
Frank Grillo (Beyond Skyline)
Dermot Mulroney (The Rambler)
Dallas Roberts (Insatiable)
Joe Anderson (The Crazies)
Nonso Anozie (Cinderella)
James Badge Dale (Iron Man 3)
Ben Hernandez Bray (Real Steel)
Anne Openshaw (Smallville)

Liam Neeson in The Grey (2011)John Ottway (Liam Neeson) is a marksman for an oil company in Alaska, killing grey wolves that threaten the drillers. On his last day on the job, he sees a driller being pursued by a wolf and shoots it, listening to the wolf’s final breath. That evening, Ottway writes a letter “without purpose” to his wife, Ana (Anne Openshaw), explaining his plans to commit suicide, but does not follow through. The next day, Ottway survives a plane crash with fellow oil workers, watching helplessly as Lewenden (James Badge Dale) dies of his injuries. Ottway takes charge of the survivors and is attacked by a wolf and rescued by the group; they realize they are in the wolves’ territory and take turns keeping watch. Hernandez (Ben Bray) is killed by wolves, and Ottway suggests they leave the crash site, but Diaz (Frank Grillo) questions his leadership. While searching for the wallets of the dead to return to their families, Diaz finds an emergency wrist watch with a radio beacon.Liam Neeson in The Grey (2011)The group leaves the crash site, but Flannery (Joe Anderson) falls behind and is killed by wolves. A pack of wolves approaches and the survivors run for the trees, lighting a fire to ward off the animals and building makeshift weaponry. Diaz succumbs to stress and threatens Ottway with a knife but is quickly disarmed. Before he can apologize, he is attacked by a wolf, which the group manages to kill and roast for food. Ottway surmises the wolf was an omega sent by the alpha wolf to test the group. A crazed Diaz beheads the wolf’s corpse, throwing the severed head at the pack. Diaz tells the group of his atheism and Talget (Dermot Mulroney) states that he believes in God and lovingly talks about his daughter. Ottway says he is also an atheist, but wishes he could believe or have faith, and recites a simple poem written by his father.Liam Neeson in The Grey (2011)A blizzard approaches, and in the morning, Burke (Nonso Anozie), who had been suffering from hypoxia, is found dead. The remaining survivors travel to the edge of a canyon. Hendrick (Dallas Roberts) secures a line to a tree on the opposite side, and Diaz and Ottway traverse the canyon. Talget gets his foot caught on a hook, and the rope breaks away and he falls to the ground. Barely alive, he hallucinates a vision of his daughter, and is dragged away by wolves. Attempting to save Talget, Diaz falls from the tree and badly injures his knee. Diaz, Ottway, and Hendrick arrive at a river where Diaz, humbled by his journey and unable to walk, explains that he can accept dying in the middle of nature. Leaving Diaz to his fate, Ottway and Hendrick continue on and are set upon by the wolves. Hendrick falls into the river and is trapped beneath the surface; Ottway is unable to pull him loose, and Hendrick drowns. Now alone, Ottway angrily appeals to God to “show him something real”, but seeing nothing, decides he will “do this on my own.”Liam Neeson in The Grey (2011)Exhausted, Ottway eventually stops walking and goes through the collected wallets. He realizes too late that he has stumbled right into the wolves’ den – the team had been walking towards, not away from, the danger. Surrounded by the wolf pack and facing its leader, Ottway looks at his wife’s photo in his wallet. It is revealed that she was dying of a terminal illness, the reason he was earlier preparing to kill himself. As the alpha wolf approaches, Ottway arms himself with a knife and shards of liquor bottles taped to his hand. He recites the words, “Once more into the fray. Into the last good fight I’ll ever know. Live and die on this day. Live and die on this day.” He charges the alpha wolf. In a brief post-credits scene, the alpha wolf takes its last breaths, similar to the wolf Ottway shot and killed earlier. Ottway lies against the wolf, his fate unclear.Liam Neeson in The Grey (2011)The film is depressing. There is little hope here, and as the men come to face their individual fates, the sense of dread grows greater. This coupled with an ending that many may find disappointing will probably turn other viewers off. I, for one, was not. The movie is still quite fantastic despite it’s depressing tone, and even if the ending isn’t quite what we’d anticipate, there’s enough of a sense of finality in it that it seems justified. In other words, if all you expect is a film that is shallow and about what you see, instead of what you feel and think, then you will most likely be disappointed. But if you’re looking for an exciting, edge of your seat, thought provoking film with a lot to say, then The Grey is something you will probably enjoy. It’s certainly a heck of a good way to kick off a new year of cinema.

REVIEW: ROCKnROLLA

Starring

Gerard Butler (300)
Mark Strong (Shazam)
Tom Wilkinson (Batman Begins)
Toby Kebbell (Bloodshot)
Tom Hardy (Venom)
Idris Elba (Prometheus)
Karel Roden (Hellboy)
Thandie Newton (Mission Impossible 2)
Geoff Bell (Green Street)
Jeremy Piven (The Kingdom)
Ludacris (2 Fast 2 Furious)
Gemma Arterton (Murder Mystery)
Jimi Mistry (West Is West)
Nonso Anozie (Game of Thrones)
Bronson Webb (Pure)
Jamie Campbell Bower (Sweeney Todd)

Jimi Mistry and Tom Wilkinson in RocknRolla (2008)In London, mob boss Lenny Cole (Tom Wilkinson) rules the ever-growing real estate business, using a corrupt Councillor (Jimi Mistry) for bureaucratic fixing, and his right-hand man Archy (Mark Strong) for the dirty side of things. A billionaire Russian businessman, Uri Omovich (Karel Roden), plans a fixed land deal, and London’s crooks seem to all want a piece of it — particularly Uri’s underhanded accountant Stella (Thandie Newton), and a gang called “The Wild Bunch” led by small-time crook “One-Two” (Gerard Butler), his partner “Mumbles” (Idris Elba), and their driver, “Handsome Bob” (Tom Hardy).Gerard Butler in RocknRolla (2008)Uri agrees to Lenny’s price of €7,000,000 to grease the Council’s wheels, and as a sign of trust, loans him his “lucky painting.” Yet when Uri arranges for Stella to move the funds, she double-crosses him and hires the Wild Bunch to steal the money. Unfortunately for Lenny, however, his junkie stepson Johnny Quid (Toby Kebbell), supposedly dead, steals the painting from Lenny’s wall. Lenny and Archy then coerce Johnny’s managers Mickey (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges) and Roman (Jeremy Piven) into tracking down Johnny. In a subplot, Handsome Bob gets close to Stella’s gay husband, a lawyer who has information on a longtime unknown informer in their criminal circle whose information has Bob looking at a five-year prison term.Tom Wilkinson in RocknRolla (2008)Uri tasks Stella once more with covertly siphoning the necessary payoff from his holdings, and grows increasingly enamoured with her. When his moneymen are once again robbed by the Wild Bunch, his assistant Victor convinces him that it’s likely Lenny who is behind the robberies, and is also purposely keeping Uri’s lucky painting from him. Uri & Victor then invite Lenny to a private golf game on a golf course owned by Uri, where Victor beats him savagely with a golf club, finishing by breaking Lenny’s leg as a warning to him. Cookie (Matt King) happens to buy the painting from some crackheads who had just stolen it from Johnny’s hideout. Cookie then gives the painting to One-Two who, in turn, offers the painting to Stella (after a sexual encounter) as a token of appreciation. After Stella leaves his flat, One-Two is surprised by Uri’s henchmen but is rescued, and then kidnapped, by Archy and his goons who had come looking for Uri’s money. Uri wants to marry Stella, whom he has long admired. He goes to Stella’s house to propose, but he then spots the painting. Stella lies and says she has had it for years. Uri, enraged by Stella’s betrayal, orders Victor to kill her.Gerard Butler and Idris Elba in RocknRolla (2008)Archy brings Johnny, Roman, Mickey and the Wild Bunch to Lenny’s warehouse where Lenny orders Johnny executed. He threatens to kill the Wild Bunch “very slowly” unless they give up the money they stole. Handsome Bob offers the legal documents concerning the informant in his pocket to Archy. Archy recognises the pseudonym used on the documents, “Sidney Shaw”, as belonging to Lenny. Lenny arranged the police to routinely lock up many criminal associates (including Archy) for years at a time to enhance his own standing in the criminal underworld and to ensure his own freedom. Archy orders Lenny’s men to free the Wild Bunch and has Lenny drowned and fed to crayfish. In the lift, Johnny explains to Roman and Mickey that they will also be killed to leave no witnesses, and graphically explains the manner of their executions. His description unnerves the man who’s to execute the three men, prompting him to act prematurely. Having also already anticipated this move, Johnny warns Mickey and Roman to intervene and kill their would-be executioner. Johnny shoots two more men waiting at the top of the lift and they escape the last of Archy’s men (with help from One-Two and the Wild Bunch).Jeremy Piven, Ludacris, and Mark Strong in RocknRolla (2008)Later, Archy picks up Johnny from rehab and gives Johnny Uri’s lucky painting as a welcome home present. Archy says that obtaining the painting “cost a very wealthy Russian an arm and a leg” implying he had Uri killed. Johnny proclaims that, with his new-found freedom from addiction and from his stepfather, he will do what he could not before: “become a real RocknRolla”.Gerard Butler in RocknRolla (2008)“Rocknrolla” is another great movie of Guy Ritchie in the same style of “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels”. The complex and intelligent screenplay entwines characters and funny situations and the result is an entertaining movie with witty lines and excellent acting.

REVIEW: THE LAUNDROMAT

Antonio Banderas, Gary Oldman, Meryl Streep, David Schwimmer, and Jeffrey Wright in The Laundromat (2019)

Starring

Meryl Streep (Into The Woods)
Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight)
Antonio Banderas (The Mask of Zorro)
Sharon Stone (Catwoman)
David Schwimmer (Friends)
Matthias Schoenaerts (Red Sparrow)
Jeffrey Wright (Westworld)
Will Forte (Fanboys)
Chris Parnell (Goosebumps 2)
James Cromwell (Star Trek: First Contact)
Melissa Rauch (The Big Bang Theory)
Larry Wilmore (Vamps)
Robert Patrick (Terminator 2)
Rosalind Chao (Star Trek: DS9)
Nikki Amuka-Bird (The Omen)
Nonso Anozie (Game of Thrones)
Amy Pemberton (Legends of Tomorrow)
Charles Halford (Constantine)

Meryl Streep and Jeff Michalski in The Laundromat (2019)The film follows Ellen Martin (Streep), whose dream vacation takes a wrong turn and leads her down a rabbit hole of shady dealings that can all be traced to one Panama City law firm, run by financially seductive partners Jürgen Mossack (Oldman) and Ramón Fonseca (Banderas). In a shocking denouement she soon learns that her minor predicament is only a drop in the bucket of millions of files linking off-shore drug trafficking, tax evasion, bribery, and other illegal enterprises to the world’s richest and most powerful political leaders.Antonio Banderas and Gary Oldman in The Laundromat (2019)The subplot of a wealthy man and his daughter bears strong reference to the events described in the April 2019 book, The Bouvier Affair: A True Story, involving a network of trusts under a Russian oligarch’s name in Cyprus. The book focuses on Dmitry Rybolovlev, his daughter, Ekaterina Rybolovleva, and his wife, ElenaMeryl Streep and Larry Clarke in The Laundromat (2019)I found the film better than I’d imagined. It has a refreshing style for sure and maybe watched by a lot of folks who need the truth put forth to be in this entertaining format. The title of the movie was not an attractive lure, though for me, and I almost passed watching it.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: DRACULA: THE COMPLETE SERIES

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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)

Jonathan Rhys Meyers in Dracula (2013)
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)
Thomas Doherty (Legacies)

‘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.

Jonathan Rhys Meyers in Dracula (2013)
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.

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)
Tom Wlaschiha (Resistance)
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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)
Robert Pugh (Love Bite)
Ben Crompton (Hit & Miss)
Eugene Simon (Ben-Hur
Art Parkinson (Dracula Untold)
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)
Tobias Menzies (Rome)

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.
James McAvoy in Atonement (2007)
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.
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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)
Morgan Freeman (The Dark Knight)

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.Jason Momoa in Conan the Barbarian (2011)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.Jason Momoa in Conan the Barbarian (2011)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.