REVIEW: 12 YEARS A SLAVE

 

CAST

Chiwetel Ejiofor (Doctor Strange)
Michael Fassbender (Alien: Covenant)
Lupita Nyong’o (Black Panther)
Paul Dano (Swiss Army Man)
Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game)
Sarah Paulson (The Runner)
Alfre Woodard (Luke Cage)
Adepero Oduye (Geostorm)
Garret Dillahunt (Winter’s Bone)
Brad Pitt (Ocean’s Eleven)
Scoot McNairy (Argo)
Taran Killam (Epic Movie)
Chris Chalk (Gotham)
Paul Giamatti (The Hangover – Part 2)
Michael K. Williams (Gone Baby Gone)
Bryan Batt (Scream: The Series)
Quvenzhané Wallis  (Annie)
Marc Macaulay  (The Punisher)
J.D. Evermore  (Django Unchained)

Chiwetel Ejiofor and Adepero Oduye in 12 Years a Slave (2013)In 1841, Solomon Northup is a free African-American man working as a violinist, living with his wife and two children in Saratoga Springs, New York. Two white men, Brown and Hamilton, offer him short-term employment as a musician if he will travel with them to Washington, D.C. However, once they arrive they drug Northup and deliver him to a slave pen run by a man named Burch. Northup proclaims that he is a free man, only to be savagely beaten with, at first, a wooden paddle, then, a leather belt. Northup is later shipped to New Orleans along with other captive African Americans. He is told by the others that if he wants to survive in the South, he must adapt to being a slave and not tell anyone he is a free man. A slave trader named Freeman gives Northup the identity of “Platt”, a runaway slave from Georgia, and sells him to plantation owner William Ford. Tension grows between Northup and a plantation overseer which ends with Northup savagely beating and whipping the overseer. To save Northup’s life, Ford sells him to another slave owner named Edwin Epps. In the process, Northup attempts to explain that he is actually a free man, but Ford tells him he is too afraid and that he cannot help him now.Paul Dano and Chiwetel Ejiofor in 12 Years a Slave (2013)At the plantation, Northup meets Patsey, a favored slave who can pick over 500 pounds of cotton a day, twice the usual quota, whom Epps regularly rapes and abuses. Some time later, cotton worms destroy Epps’s cotton. Unable to work his fields, Epps leases his slaves to a neighboring plantation for the season. While there, Northup gains the favor of the plantation’s owner, Judge Turner, who allows him to play the fiddle at a neighbor’s wedding anniversary celebration and to keep his earnings. Northup is also raped by a female slave in the middle of the night. When Northup returns to Epps, he uses the money to pay a white field hand and former overseer, Armsby, to mail a letter to his friends in New York. Armsby agrees and accepts Northup’s saved money, but immediately betrays him to Epps. In the middle of the night, a drunken Epps wakes Northup and questions him menacingly about the letter. Northup is narrowly able to convince Epps that Armsby is lying and Epps relents. Solomon then emotionally burns the letter he intended to give to Armsby.Lupita Nyong'o in 12 Years a Slave (2013)Northup begins working on the construction of a gazebo with a Canadian laborer named Samuel Bass. Bass is unsettled by the brutal way that Epps treats his slaves and expresses his opposition to American slavery, earning Epps’s enmity. Northup overhears the conversation and decides to reveal his kidnapping to Bass. Once again, Northup asks for help in getting a letter to Saratoga Springs. Bass agrees to send it. One day, the local sheriff arrives in a carriage with another man. The sheriff asks Northup a series of questions to confirm that his answers match the facts of his life in New York. Northup recognizes the sheriff’s companion as Mr. Parker, a shopkeeper he knew in Saratoga. Parker has come to free him, and the two embrace, though an enraged Epps furiously protests the circumstances and tries to prevent Northup from leaving. Northup gives an emotional farewell to Patsey and rides off to his freedom. Patsey faints as Northup leaves.After being enslaved for 12 years, Northup is restored to freedom and returned to his family, leaving behind the other slaves. As he walks into his home, he sees his wife with their son and daughter (fully grown) and her husband, who present him with his grandson and namesake, Solomon Northup Staunton. Northup apologizes for his long absence while his family comforts him. The film’s epilogue displays a series of graphics recounting Northup’s unsuccessful suits against Brown, Hamilton, and Burch, along with the 1853 publication of Northup’s slave narrative memoir, Twelve Years a Slave. The memoir describes his role in the abolitionist movement and the mystery surrounding details of his death and burial. Patsey and Northup never met again.To watch 12 Years a Slave is to be confronted with the grim reality of slavery in a way that’s never been done before. To say this is the best film ever made about slavery feels trivial, as slavery is a subject in film that has been shown with naive romanticism from films like Gone With the Wind or silly exploitation from something like Django Unchained. Both of which serve to make the topic digestible. To watch 12 Years a Slave is to experience a level of despair and misery that can become overwhelming. It’s a film of such ugliness, such blunt emotional trauma, that it may haunt you for hours if not days after seeing it. So why should you watch a film that could leave you reeling and devastated? Because, it’s also one of the greatest cinematic achievements of our time.

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REVIEW: THE KING

CAST

Gael García Bernal (Coco)
William Hurt (Captain America: Civil War)
Pell James (Uptown Girls)
Paul Dano (little Miss Sunshine)
Laura Harring (John Q)

A man enlisted in the U.S. Navy, Elvis Valderez (Gael García Bernal), is discharged and purchases a used car to travel to his “home” in Corpus Christi, Texas. Elvis arrives at the church of Pastor David Sandow (William Hurt). He watches his sermon from the back of the church and then follows him and his family, including his wife Twyla (Laura Harring), son Paul (Paul Dano) and daughter Malerie (Pell James), to their home. Pastor Sandow confronts Elvis, who shows him a snapshot of his mother Yolanda, with whom he had relations many years ago before becoming a Christian. Pastor Sandow becomes agitated and tells Elvis that he has a family now and is a popular member of the community. He tells Elvis to call him so they can talk, though later tells his family that the young man simply wanted to become a member of the church and to not associate with him.Elvis moves into a local motel and gets a job as a pizza delivery man. Having met Pastor Sandow’s teenage daughter Malerie earlier at the church, he soon begins to pick her up from school where they go on drives and take walks at a local park. They start a passionate affair and have sexual relations on a regular basis. Meanwhile, Pastor Sandow’s son Paul leads a high school movement where he attempts to change the school’s science curriculum from evolution to intelligent design, though his plans are rejected by the school board. Disappointed by this setback, Paul, who leads a Christian rock band at his father’s church, performs an intimate song before the congregation about his frustrations, the song being a cover of Sparklehorse’s “Sad and Beautiful World”. Pastor Sandow severely chastises his son for such indulgence. One evening, Elvis sneaks into the Sandow’s home to spend the night with Malerie. After they have sex, he leaves the house in the middle of night and is spotted by Paul. He follows Elvis back to his motel and interrogates him about his affair with his sister. Paul threatens to tell his father and Elvis abruptly stabs Paul in the stomach, killing him.Elvis dumps Paul’s body in a nearby pond and returns Paul’s car to the Sandow’s house. The next day the police are called to investigate Paul’s disappearance and the family becomes distraught. Pastor Sandow believes Paul has run away because of the argument they had about his musical performance. Meanwhile, Elvis continues his affair with Malerie and she soon becomes pregnant. Elvis takes Malerie to the pond where he dumped Paul’s body and reveals to her what happened. Deeply in love with Elvis, Malerie holds his hands and they pray together to God and ask for forgiveness. After seeing Elvis one day at a traffic light, Pastor Sandow follows him to his motel. Together, they drive to a local archery range where he teaches Elvis to shoot with Paul’s hunting bow. He invites Elvis to dinner where he sits at the family table in Paul’s chair. In private, Elvis explains to Malerie that his arrival at dinner is because of his acceptance into her father’s church. Elvis soon moves into the Sandow’s home, taking Paul’s bedroom. During a Sunday sermon, Pastor Sandow’s wife Twyla walks out of the church, still distraught over Paul’s disappearance and doubting the existence of God. She walks into a busy street of traffic and attempts suicide, but Elvis saves her from injury. Elvis begins to plant flowers in the family garden, and Twyla compliments him on his work, slowly accepting him into the family. Malerie and Elvis continue to have sexual relations, with Elvis sneaking into her room each night.One Sunday, Pastor Sandow finally decides to make a confession to his congregation. He reveals that Elvis is his illegitimate son, the product of an affair he had many years ago with his mother Yolanda, a prostitute. Malerie, sitting next to Elvis, is stunned by the revelation and stares at him though he will not meet her gaze. Pastor Sandow asks Elvis to join him on stage and he is accepted into the congregation with enthusiastic applause. Later, Elvis and Malerie are having lunch together. Malerie is repulsed and distraught, but Elvis simply places a paper crown upon his head when she says to him, “We’re going to hell.” Elvis attempts to enter Malerie’s room that night but the door is locked. The next day, Malerie embraces her mother in tears in the backyard of the Sandow’s home. Elvis, watching from an upstairs window, is greeted by the hateful gaze of Twyla, suggesting that she now knows their secret. Pastor Sandow arrives at his church alone prepared to go about the day’s business.  A long camera shot through the Sandow’s picturesque home eventually reveals Elvis placing the dead bodies of Malerie and Twyla (whom he presumably killed) on Pastor Sandow’s bed. Malerie is still breathing, and Elvis smothers her with a pillow. Elvis then sets fire to the Sandow home. Elvis drives in Paul’s car to Pastor Sandow’s church. With blood on his shirt and hands, he walks into Pastor Sandow’s office and says to him, “I need to get right with God”.The King remains one of 2005’s best undiscovered gems. It may not be what you’d call entertaining, but you’ll find it difficult to look away. Raw and natural, The King is a film told by characters and not by a camera, and sometimes that makes all the difference. James Marsh proves himself to be a capable and very talented director, who takes command of this heavy film and turns it into an experience as engrossing as it is uneasy. It’s dark and deeply disturbing, yet very intelligent.

REVIEW: OKJA

 

CAST

Ahn Seo-hyun (the Divine Move)
Tilda Swinton (The Chronicles of Narnia)
Paul Dano (Swiss Army Man)
Jake Gyllenhaal (Nocturnal Animals)
Byun Hee-bong (The Devi’s Game)
Steven Yeun (The Walking Dead)
Lily Collins (The Mortal Instruments)
Yoon Je-moon (Private Eye)
Shirley Henderson (Happy Valley)
Daniel Henshall (The Babadook)
Devon Bostick (Saw VI)
Choi Woo-shik (Big Match)
Giancarlo Esposito (Malcolm X)

In 2007, Lucy Mirando becomes CEO of the Mirando Corporation, succeeding her controversial grandfather, her father and her cruel twin sister Nancy. She announces that they have been breeding a special kind of superpig. Twenty-six of the best pigs will be sent to locations around the world, and ten years later, one will be crowned the winner.In 2017, a young girl named Mija lives happily in the countryside of South Korea with her grandfather and her super pig, Okja. They are visited by Mirando spokesperson and zoologist Dr. Johnny Wilcox, who declares Okja the best super pig and announces they will take her to New York City. Mija’s grandfather takes her to visit the graves of her parents where he presents her with a gold pig and explains to her that rather than buy Okja, which was not allowed, he saved up the money for Okja and bought the solid gold item. Devastated, Mija runs away to Seoul to find Okja, where she sees her as she is being loaded onto a truck. Mija manages to chase down the truck which is eventually intercepted by another truck, run by the Animal Liberation Front (ALF). In the resulting chaos Mija and Okja run away causing havoc though they are eventually saved by the ALF. Recognizing that Mija is Okja’s owner, they tell her that their plan is to put a recording device in Okja’s ear and let her be re-captured by the Mirando corporation to show how brutally they treat their animals. Mija tells them to return her to the mountains but their translator, K, deliberately lies, causing the group to believe Mija went along with their plan. They abandon her, and Okja is recaptured.Meanwhile, footage of Okja and Mija running through the streets of Seoul has gone viral. In order to do damage control, Lucy pays for Mija to come to New York to be reunited onstage with her pig. Okja is taken to the laboratory where she is forcibly bred with another super pig and bits of meat are extracted from her flesh for a taste test by a drunk Wilcox. Members of the ALF overhear the recording through the device they placed in Okja’s ear. Jay vows to help Okja and Mija and use the recording to expose the Mirando corporation’s animal abuse.In New York City, Mija spends her time learning bits of English and being forced to agree to the wishes of the Mirando corporation. Jay, the leader of ALF, slips into her room and tells her that they still plan to rescue Okja while on stage. A huge parade is put on by the Mirando Corporation who give out free meat in the street. Mija is reunited with Okja who, blinded and battered does not recognize her and attacks her. In the resulting chaos, Jay tries to hurt Okja, but Mija prevents him from doing so, calming Okja down so that she recognizes Mija. A video of Wilcox’s treatment of Okja is screened by the ALF to the public, who quickly turn on him and Lucy. Mija and the ALF attempt to escape with Okja, but Nancy arrives back and quickly takes over the Mirando Corporation, recapturing Okja and having the ALF members beaten and arrested.Escaping, Jay and K take Mija to find Okja in a mass killing plant. The group search for Okja but are unable to find her until Mija sees her going up the ramp to the slaughterhouse. In order to save Okja she runs through the killing plant and sees many dead super pigs. Mija sees Okja as she is about to be slaughtered and shows the Mirando employee a photograph of herself with a baby Okja. The man seems moved, but Nancy arrives and tells Mija and the man that Okja must be slaughtered. Mija offers the golden pig to Nancy in exchange for Okja’s life. Nancy agrees to the deal whilst subsequently arresting Jay and K. As Mija and Okja are leaving, they see many more pigs being led to slaughter. A pair of superpigs manages to push their newborn through the fence, and Okja hides it within her mouth to take it away. Back in the countryside, Mija resumes her life with her grandfather, Okja, and the new piglet. In a post-credits scene, Jay is released from prison and gets on board a bus with K and the other members of the organization, who reveals that ALF will be attending a major meeting involving all of the Mirando shareholders.If you’re a fan of the director’s previous work, especially “The Host,” then you won’t be disappointed. Even if you’re not familiar with his work, you won’t be disappointed. If you can get past the slight weirdness of this movie (which might not fit everyone’s taste), I can promise you that you won’t regret watching this

REVIEW: THE GIRL NEXT DOOR (2004)

CAST

Emile Hirsch (Killer Joe)
Elisha Cuthbert (House of Wax)
Timothy Olyphant (Hitman)
James Remar (Gotham)
Chris Marquette (Fanboys)
Paul Dano (Swiss Army Man)
Olivia Wilde (Tron: Legacy)
Sunny Leone (Pirate’s Blood)
Amanda Swisten (The Last Run)
Sung-Hi Lee (Birds of Prey)
Timothy Bottoms (Shanghai Kiss)
Autumn Reeser (The OC)

Ambitious high school senior Matthew Kidman (Emile Hirsch) has been accepted to Georgetown University, but cannot afford the tuition. He has raised $25,000 in order to bring a brilliant Cambodian student, Samnang, to study in the United States, but finds little else truly memorable about his high school experience. His life suddenly changes when charismatic Danielle (Elisha Cuthbert) moves in next door. Matthew witnesses her undressing from his bedroom window, until she sees him and storms over, knocking on the door and introducing herself to his parents. They suggest to Matthew that he show Danielle around town.While driving around, Danielle stops the car and forces Matthew to get out and strip for her. The two get to know each other through weird adventures, which includes Matthew finding himself in his principal’s pool. He and Danielle sneak away and pick up his friends before going to a party. When a few of Matthew’s athlete classmates attempt to get him away from Danielle and kick him out of the party, he finds the courage to walk right up and kiss her. Matthew’s world is suddenly rocked the next day when his friend Eli informs him that Danielle is an adult film actress.On Eli’s advice, Matthew takes Danielle to a sleazy motel. Danielle, insulted, realizes that he has discovered her past and abruptly ends the relationship. Matthew later attempts to apologize and reconcile, but Danielle believes that she will never be able to escape her past and decides to return to the adult industry. Matthew tracks Danielle down at an adult film convention in Las Vegas where Kelly (Timothy Olyphant), a porn producer and Danielle’s ex, menacingly warns Matthew not to interfere with his business. Matthew ignores him, convincing Danielle both to leave the adult industry and to begin their relationship anew. Next morning, Kelly furiously abducts Matthew from school and assaults him, saying that Danielle’s failure to film has cost him $30,000. Kelly offers to let Matthew erase his debt by stealing an award statuette from porn mogul Hugo Posh (James Remar), but once Matthew has entered the house Kelly calls in a burglary report and leaves the premises. Matthew narrowly avoids the police and rushes to a scholarship award dinner. High on ecstasy that Kelly gave him as aspirin, he gives a deeply sentimental speech but loses out on the scholarship.Kelly exacts further revenge by stealing all the money Matthew raised for Samnang. Matthew fears that he will be implicated in the crime and expelled from school. He turns to Danielle for help in recouping his losses. Danielle calls in two friends from her porn star days, and they agree to make a video for Hugo Posh on prom night using Matthew’s classmates as actors. After the successful shoot, Danielle and Matthew have sex in their limousine. Despite Danielle’s past, it is the first time she has truly made love. The next morning Eli calls Matthew, panicked because the prom night tape has been stolen, jeopardizing their hopes of financial recovery. Matthew enters his home to find Kelly (and the stolen tape) in his home, along with his parents and Principal Salinger. Kelly, in private, tells Matthew that unless he is given half of all profits, he will play the tape immediately for Matthew’s family. Matthew dares him to show the tape, asserting that he no longer cares about his “now-ruined future,” and Kelly obliges. Surprising everyone, Matthew and his friends have made a progressive, comprehensive sex ed tape rather than a porn film. With no more cards left to play, Kelly admits defeat as well as a grudging respect for Matthew.Hugo Posh and Matthew make millions from the video. Hugo Posh pays for Samnang to come to the USA, while Matthew has enough money to attend Georgetown and take Danielle to DC with him. Matthew’s story ends with him getting the girl of his dreams and a chance at the future he has always wanted.This movie really was a very pleasant suprise. Not the sell out that could possibly have been expected, but a very good film about coming of age, tasting life and of course, getting the girl. Excellent performances from all parties, a great soundtrack with songs very well used, and above all very funny well placed jokes make this a very appealing package. This comes highly recommended.

REVIEW: SWISS ARMY MAN

CAST

Daniel Radcliffe (The Woman In Black)
Paul Dano (Looper)
Mary Elizabeth Winstead (10 Cloverfield Lane)

Hank, a man marooned on an island, is on the verge of hanging himself, but sees a corpse wash up on the beach. He tries to resuscitate it, but the corpse bemuses him with its incessant flatulence. As the tide begins to wash the corpse away, Hank watches as its farts propel itself around on the water. Hank immediately mounts the corpse and rides across the ocean like a jet ski, landing on a mainland shore but far from civilization. That night, the two of them hide in a cave from a rainstorm, and after the runoff pours into the corpse’s mouth, Hank realizes the next morning that the corpse has yet another power in which it can be used like a well for a seemingly infinite source of drinkable water. The corpse also begins a slow transition into speaking and a grasp on the English language, adopting the name Manny. Hank and Manny continue their quest, using Manny’s erections (fueled by a swimsuit magazine they find) as a compass. Manny has forgotten everything about his former life, and Hank tries to teach him various concepts about life, but Manny’s childlike and shameless interpretations of these concepts conflict with what Hank considers socially acceptable behavior.
Over the course of their journey, Hank teaches Manny the joys of eating out, going to movies, and partying, using crudely-constructed props and sets made from plants and garbage they find. Using these, Hank leads Manny to believe that Manny is in love with a woman named Sarah, who rides the bus alone every day. Manny falls in love with Sarah, and it is this love that motivates him to try and find civilization with Hank. In reality, Hank is very much in love with Sarah, having seen her riding the bus every day but never talking to her due to his own shyness. He has a photo of her that he took secretly while on the bus set as the wallpaper on his phone and follows her on social media. As he looks through photos, it is revealed that Sarah is happily married and has a child.
Hank portrays Sarah to help Manny learn how to talk to women, but they end up connecting and kiss. They have a falling out after Hank reveals that Manny never knew Sarah during his life. Feeling betrayed over Hank’s hypocrisy and self-restraint, Manny states he wishes to be fully dead again. At this time, Hank experiences strange mental flashes of surreal images recalling his journey and suggests that one of Manny’s powers is to affect his mind. Despite the tension between them, when Hank is attacked by a bear, Manny moves under his own power for the first time, crawling after his injured friend and igniting one of his farts from their campfire to scare the bear away. Hank loses consciousness and wakes up to Manny carrying him to Sarah’s house, despite Hank’s protests.
While Sarah is in the house, Manny talks to Sarah’s daughter, Chrissy. Expecting her to be impressed, he demonstrates several of his powers, inadvertently frightening her with his compass-erection, which Hank quickly slaps down. Sarah is alerted by her daughter’s crying and calls the police at the sight of Hank and Manny’s once-again inanimate corpse. Hank is soon patched up, but the cops discover the photos of Sarah on his phone and become suspicious. Hank’s father also appears, mistaking Manny’s corpse for Hank when asked by the paramedics to confirm his identity. After being interviewed by the local television news and deliriously professing on air his gratitude for Manny and his magical powers, Hank runs away with Manny’s body. Hank’s pursuers discover the structures he built which in actuality seem to be quite close to Sarah’s house, as if he had been there some time instead of journeying through the forest. The police, Sarah, her husband, her daughter, a reporter, a camera man, and Hank’s father all follow him to the beach. Cornered, Hank lets out a long fart as he is taken away by the police. Shortly after, to everyone else’s shock, horror, and in Chrissy’s case, glee, Manny begins violently farting until he floats back into the ocean and skims quickly away, propelled by his own flatulence, he and Hank sharing one last smile.A film that breaks accepted practices – a flight of imagination on the creators’ part. It most certainly will not be to everybody’s liking. For others, it may well become a cult classic.

REVIEW: LOOPER

CAST

Bruce Willis (Red)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt (The Dark Knight Rises)
Emil Blunt (The Girl On The Train)
Paul Dano (The King)
Piper Perabo (Coyote Ugly)
Jeff Daniels (The Martian)
Noah Segan (Cabin Fever 2)
Pierce Gagnon (Rio 2)
Xu Qing (League of Gods)
Tracie Thoms (Wonderfalls)
Garret Dillahunt (Killing Them Softly)
Nick Gomez (Hours)

In 2044, 25-year-old Joe works for a Kansas City crime syndicate as a “looper.” Since future technology has made it near-impossible to dispose of bodies, the syndicate uses time travel, invented thirty years later and outlawed instantly. Managed by a future man named Abe Mitchell, loopers kill and dispose of face-concealed victims, and are paid with silver bars strapped to the target. To prevent connections to the syndicate, loopers kill their future selves with gold bars strapped to them when they retire, effectively ending the contract and “closing the loop”.Joe’s friend Seth, part of a minority that manifest low-level telekinesis (or TK), confides that his old self has escaped, after warning him of a person in the future called the Rainmaker who will overthrow the five major bosses and close all loops. Joe reluctantly hides Seth in his apartment’s floor safe, but is taken to Abe by Kid Blue, one of Abe’s elite “Gat Men.” Joe reveals Seth’s location instead of forfeiting half his silver, and Abe’s men cut an address into younger Seth’s arm, then begin severing body parts. As Old Seth’s limbs disappear, he goes to the address and is killed. When Joe’s next target arrives, it is his older self with his face uncovered. Before Joe can kill him, Old Joe shields himself, knocks younger Joe unconscious and escapes. Returning to his apartment, Young Joe fights with Kid Blue, only to fall off a fire escape and black out.In another timeline, Young Joe kills his older self as he arrives. He moves to Shanghai, where his drug addiction and partying persist, becoming a hitman to finance himself. Years later, he meets a woman during a bar fight and they marry. Thirty years after, Joe is taken to close the loop and his wife is killed in the process. Overpowering his captors, Joe sends himself back to 2044 thereby altering history. When Old Joe sees Young Joe fall, he shoots the Gat Men and drags him away. Old Joe begins to manifest vague memories of Young Joe’s actions in the present, and meets his younger self at a diner to explain that he intends to save his wife by killing the Rainmaker as a child. Kid Blue and several other Gat Men arrive at the diner and a gunfight ensues: Young Joe collects a corner of Old Joe’s map as both escape. Young Joe follows the map to a farm where Sara and her son Cid live. Sara recognizes the number on the map as Cid’s birthday and birth hospital’s code. Young Joe guesses that Old Joe is going to kill all three children born at the hospital that day, not knowing which one will become the Rainmaker, so he waits at the farm to protect Cid and Sara.Jesse, another Gat Man, comes looking for both Joes at the farm, but Cid and Young Joe hide in an underground tunnel. Later that night Sara and Young Joe have sex, and Sara reveals she has TK powers. Cid’s powers are revealed to be even stronger, with Sara hiding in a safe when he has a tantrum. In the morning, Young Joe wakes to find Jesse holding Sara at gunpoint in the living room. Frightened, Cid falls down the stairs and telekinetically destroys Jesse. Young Joe realizes that Cid will become the Rainmaker, using his powers to control the city, and that Old Joe will now know this from his memories.Kid Blue captures Old Joe and takes him to Abe. Old Joe breaks free and kills Abe and his henchmen, then travels to Sara’s farm. While Young Joe kills Kid Blue, Old Joe pursues Sara and Cid. Cid’s cheek is grazed by Old Joe’s bullet, and he creates a telekinetic blast that destroys much of the surrounding cane field and wrecks Young Joe’s van, but is calmed by Sara before he can kill anyone. Telling Cid to run into the still-standing cane, Sara stands between Old Joe and her son, and Young Joe realizes that the death of Cid’s mother will turn him into the Rainmaker. Unable to run due to injuries to his legs sustained when Cid wrecked the van and knowing Old Joe is out of range of his weapon, he shoots himself, erasing Old Joe’s existence and saving Sara. The film ends with the implication that Sara’s demonstration of love towards Cid has healed the rift between them, meaning Cid will not become the Rainmaker, and they will have a much better life – especially as they find Joe’s silver in the van.This is a brilliant movie experience, its an wholly original and entertaining idea, that the writer/director has managed to successfully transpose to film.

 

 

REVIEW: TAKING LIVES

CAST

Angelina Jolie (The Changeling)
Ethan Hawke (The Purge)
Kiefer Sutherland (Pompeii)
Gena Rowlands (The Notebook)
Oliver Martinez (S.W.A.T.)
Paul Dano (Looper)
Justin Chatwin (War of The Worlds)
Shawn Ronerts (Resident Evil: Afterlife)

The film opens in early 1980s Canada where teenager Martin Asher (Paul Dano) is seen ambling about a bus station, seemingly uncertain of his destination. He befriends another teen on the bus, Matt Soulsby (Justin Chatwin) and the two talk about their plans for the future. When their bus breaks down, the two acquire a car from a nearby garage. While Martin is driving, a tire blows. Matt struggles to change the tire and Martin comments on how he and Matt are both about the same height, and kicks Matt into the path of an oncoming truck. He is last seen toting Matt’s guitar and walking away singing in a voice similar to Matt’s.
Twenty years later, a successful FBI profiler, Illeana Scott (Angelina Jolie), is summoned to help out Canadian law enforcement in Montreal, to apprehend Asher, who has been killing people for years and assuming their identities as he travels across North America. Scott has to adjust to working in a strange city with a police team that she does not really fit in with. On a ferry to Quebec City, Martin’s mother (Gena Rowlands) recognizes her son. After docking she locates a police officer and tells him that she saw her son on the ferry. Upon telling the officer her son died 19 years ago, she discusses the matter with a city official. She is convinced the man she saw was her son, and exclaims to the officer that her son is “dangerous”. Based on Mrs. Asher’s statement, the body believed to be that of her son is exhumed for an autopsy.
The team meets with art salesman James Costa (Ethan Hawke), an eyewitness who saw Asher kill his last victim. Costa makes a drawing of Asher and, within a couple of days, Asher’s apartment is found. Scott discovers Asher’s next target is Costa, so protecting him is priority number one. During the time they spend together, Scott and Costa begin to develop feelings for each other, though Scott refuses to become involved with him because of the ongoing case.
Asher flees with Costa as a hostage and Scott pursues them. Scott sees Asher die in a car accident and the case is closed. As Scott is packing up, preparing to return home, Costa visits her in her hotel room. Without saying anything, he undresses her and they make passionate love on a chest of drawers and the bed, surrounded by gruesome crime scene photos. The next morning, Scott awakes to find herself partly covered in Costa’s blood. At first, she fears he is dead, but then he awakes and they discover he had merely popped the stitches in his arm that he received after the auto accident.
As Costa’s stitches are repaired in the hospital, Scott is called down to the morgue as Mrs. Asher has come to identify the burned body of her son, killed in the accident. She says the body is not her son. Mrs. Asher and Scott realize that Asher is still alive. Mrs. Asher is shocked, leaves the morgue, and goes to the elevator, and Scott chases after her. Before Scott can reach her, the elevator door closes. Scott descends the stairs, hoping to intercept Mrs. Asher on the ground floor. When the elevator door opens, Scott sees Costa covered in blood, having killed Mrs. Asher – who Scott realizes is Costa’s mother. The police try to capture Asher who escapes the hospital. Scott returns to her hotel room and frantically washes herself, in a state of manic disgust. An investigation shows that the man who died in the car accident, who the real Asher had identified as Asher, was actually Christopher Hart (Kiefer Sutherland), a drug dealer and art thief to whom Asher owed $80,000, and whom Asher murdered. The Montreal police chase Asher, but he escapes in a train station and boards a train headed east of Montreal, meanwhile setting up his next victim, a sports talent scout. After that, he calls Scott on the phone and taunts her. Scott admits to having consensual sex with Asher, and is consequently fired from the FBI.
Seven months later, Scott is living in an desolate farmhouse by herself in Carlisle, Pennsylvania and looking heavily pregnant with Asher’s twin boys. One day as she sits alone in her home, she discovers Asher has broken into her house. She frantically tries to escape, but Asher quickly overpowers her and then reveals he has found all the guns she had hidden throughout the house. Asher makes her tea and tells her they could start over and live together as a family, but a disgusted Scott tells him she does not want to. Enraged, Asher begins beating and choking her and eventually stabs her in her belly with a pair of scissors. Scott, seemingly unharmed by the stabbing, shocks Asher by quickly stabbing him in the heart with the same scissors. As Asher is on his knees looking at her in disbelief, Scott removes a prosthetic pregnant belly, and tells him the past seven months have been a carefully planned trap. He falls over, dead. The film ends with Scott calling the police, saying “It’s over”, and staring out her window.Those of us who see many of these types of movies will probably see most of the twists before they happen. Many of them well before they happen. Some of you will know everything that’s going to happen before it happens, such as I did, but I still think it was a good story and was entertained.