REVIEW: LIFE

CAST

Jake Gyllenhaal (Nocturnal Animals)
Rebecca Ferguson (Hercules)
Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool)
Hiroyuki Sanada (47 Ronin)
Ariyon Bakare (Jupiter Ascending)

The unmanned Pilgrim 7 space probe is returning from Mars to the International Space Station (ISS) with a soil sample that might contain evidence of extraterrestrial life, when it enters an asteroid field and is severely damaged.The six-member ISS crew captures the spacecraft and exobiologist Hugh Derry revives a dormant cell from the sample, and it quickly grows into a multi-celled organism that American school children name “Calvin”. After an atmospheric accident in the lab, Calvin becomes dormant. Hugh revives Calvin with mild electric shocks, but Calvin immediately becomes hostile and attacks Hugh, crushing his hand. While Hugh lies unconscious from Calvin’s attack, Calvin uses the electric shock tool Hugh wielded to escape his immediate enclosure. Now free in the lab room, Calvin devours a lab rat by absorbing it and grows in size. Engineer Rory Adams uses the opportunity to enter the room and rescue Hugh. However, Calvin latches onto Rory’s leg and physician David Jordan locks Rory in the room to keep Calvin contained. After Rory unsuccessfully attacks Calvin with a flame thrower, Calvin enters his mouth, killing him by devouring his organs from the inside. Emerging from Rory’s mouth even larger, Calvin escapes through a fire-control vent. Hugh theorizes that lack of breathable air on Mars is what kept the organism dormant.Finding their communication with Earth cut off, due to overheating of the communication systems, mission commander Ekaterina Golovkina performs a space walk to fix the overheating. Calvin, having breached the cooling systems, attacks her outside the ISS, rupturing her spacesuit’s coolant system in the process, causing toxic liquid to fill her helmet. She struggles to get back into ISS, but realizes Calvin will also be able to re-enter the space station. She refuses to open the airlock to seek help, keeping Calvin out of the station but causing her to drown in her spacesuit.Calvin attempts to enter the station through the thrusters. The crew try to use the thrusters to prevent Calvin from entering these openings, but their attempts fail and the station loses too much fuel. The ISS enters a decaying orbit, which will eventually cause the station to burn up in Earth’s atmosphere. Pilot Sho Murakami informs the crew that they need to use the remaining fuel to get back into a safe orbit, but the attempt would allow Calvin back into the station. The crew then plan to make Calvin dormant by sealing themselves into one module and venting the atmosphere from the rest of the station. When Hugh enters cardiac arrest, the crew realize that Calvin was feeding off Hugh’s leg. Having grown into a larger tentacled creature, Calvin attacks the remainder of the crew. Sho seals himself in a sleeping pod as Calvin attempts to crack the glass and consume him. David and the quarantine officer Miranda North use Hugh’s corpse as bait to lure Calvin away from Sho and trap it in a module to deprive it of oxygen.Having received a distress call prior to the damage to the ISS communication system, Earth sends a Soyuz capsule as a fail-safe plan to push the station into deep space. The capsule docks with the station and starts pushing it into deep space. Believing the situation a rescue mission, Sho leaves his pod and rushes to board the arriving ship, forcing open the capsule’s hatch; once he does that, Calvin attacks him and the Soyuz crew. After killing the crew,the encounter causes a docking breach that results in the capsule detaching and crashing into the ISS. David and Miranda, the only survivors, realize that the incident has again caused them to enter a decaying orbit. Aware that Calvin could survive re-entry, David recalls two escape pods, planning to lure Calvin into one pod and pilot it into deep space, allowing Miranda to escape to Earth in the other pod.David leads Calvin into his pod and launches into space as Miranda launches hers. One of the pods hits debris and is knocked off course. Calvin attacks David as he struggles to send his pod into deep space. The earthbound pod performs a controlled re-entry and lands in the ocean near a boat with two Vietnamese fishermen. As they approach the pod and look inside, it is revealed to be David’s escape pod, who is encased in a web-like substance. Meanwhile, Miranda’s navigation system fails, and she can only scream helplessly as her pod is sent hurtling into deep space, taking her to a certain and lonely death. David, still alive, tries to warn the unwitting fishermen not to attempt a rescue. The fishermen open the pod door as two other fishing boats arrive.This is a great movie! Don’t go in biased by other reviews. Just watch it with an open mind and form your own opinion. Happy watching!

 

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REVIEW: THE WHITE QUEEN

CAST

Rebecca Ferguson (Mission Impossible 5)
Max Irons (Red riding Hood)
Faye Marsay (Game of Thrones)
Aneurin Barnard (Dunkirk)
James Frain (Gotham)
Janet McTeer (Insurgent)
David Oakes (Victoria)
Eleanor Tomlinson (Jack The Giant Slayer)
Juliet Aubrey (Primeval)
Caroline Goodall (Hook)
Freya Mavor (Skins)
Elinor Crawley (Ordinary Lies)
Amanda Hale (Catastrophe)
Veerle Baetens (The Verdict)
Michael Marcus (Lucan)
Michael Maloney (The Young Victoria)
Hugh Mitchell (Nicholas Nickleby)
Rupert Young (Island at War)
Robert Pugh (Love Bite)
Rupert Graves (Fast Girls)
Andrew Gower (Outlander)
Shaun Dooley (Cuffs)
Arthur Darvill (Legends of Tomorrow)
Emily Berrington (Humans)

As a history buff I was sceptical about this series but I was also interested to see the story of these historical women who helped shape history as we know it today.  The series is based on the Cousins War series written by Phillipa Gregory, author of The Other Boleyn Girl. The Cousins War consists of five books, each focusing on a different woman who has a hand in the battle for the crown of England. The first book is The White Queen focusing on Elizabeth Woodville; the second book is The Red Queen looking at the mother of Henry Tudor, Margaret Beaufort as she looks to secure her son’s position as a future king. The Lady of the Rivers looks at the mother of Elizabeth Woodville, Jaquetta Woodville, a Burgundian Duchess who marries out of duty before marrying a lowly squire for love. The Kingmaker’s Daughter follows the daughter of Lord Warwick, Anne Neville, and her journey as she is sold as a pawn in her father’s bid for power before finally becoming the Queen of England, wife of Richard III.The series follows the story of Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret Beaufort and Anne Neville; three women who are largely forgotten in history. With its debut it has received mixed reviews; the daily mail found the inconsistencies laughable – the drainpipes in the background; the telegraph believed it left much to be desired on all fronts; however Harry Vennings reviews that “somehow the show succeeds as a historical drama” despite being “unashamedly romantic in it’s approach”.I myself was sceptical but have since jumped on the bandwagon and was hooked. It is the women who are the focus of the show as they plot to stay in power or gain power, or simply to just stay alive, and they are interesting in their own right. The one who stands out from the beginning is Jaquetta Woodville, former confidante of Margaret D’Anjou, who made her first appearance in episode 4. Jaquetta is a very shrewd woman who knows how to take care of herself; the best example is her trial in which Warwick accuses the Lady Rivers of witchcraft and she leaves the kingmaker speechless – I don’t want to spoil it for you, but it is a great scene.The character who grew on me is Anne Neville who was a sweet but naive young girl forced to grow up fast as she is married off to the Lancastrian Prince Edward and heads off to battle in the train of Margaret D’Anjou, even gaining respect from the self proclaimed “Queen Militant” who I found fascinating too. A woman in a man’s world with a husband incapable of remembering what day it is never mind ruling a kingdom; so she takes a stand to secure her son’s crown. When you think about it, would you stand back as someone steals what you believe rightfully belongs to your child? Wouldn’t you at least try to fight for their inheritance? By the end of episode five I had a great respect for the vilified “she wolf” and the kingmaker’s daughter.My least favourite is Margaret Beaufort who seems as if she has some kind of mental disorder the way she walks around talking to God. She is not very likable, but you can understand that she hasn’t had a happy life – she was only twelve when she was married and pregnant with her only child Henry. She was then forced to give him up and marry another man, but her life is devoted to her son and God and she believes that her son is the next King of England, so she becomes determined to see it come true.The series has received a lot of negative reviews, but personally I enjoyed the show. It’s not The Tudors but it isn’t meant to be and I like that it brings the women to the foreground.

REVIEW: THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN

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CAST

Emily Blunt (Looper)
Haley Bennett (The Equalizer)
Rebecca Ferguson (Mission Impossible 5)
Justin Theroux (American Psycho)
Luke Evans (Dracula Untold)
Edgar Ramirez (Joy)
Laura Prepon (That 70s Show)
Allison Janney (Spy)
Lisa Kudrow (Bad Neighbours)

Rachel Watson (Emily Blunt) is an alcoholic who divorced her husband, Tom Watson (Justin Theroux), after catching him cheating on her with their real estate agent, Anna Boyd (Rebecca Ferguson). During their marriage, Rachel was prone to alcohol-induced blackouts during which she engaged in self-destructive behavior that she only later learned about from Tom, and to which she attributes the ending of their marriage, in addition to her being infertile.  Rachel shares an apartment with her friend Cathy (Laura Prepon) and spends her days commuting on a train, often stalking Tom, Anna, and their newborn daughter Evie. During her trips, Rachel grows fascinated with Tom’s neighbors, Scott (Luke Evans) and Megan Hipwell (Haley Bennett), a young couple in what Rachel believes is a perfect marriage. In reality, Scott is aggressive and controlling, while Megan is detached, prone to dishonesty and sex addiction, and has frequent therapy sessions with her psychiatrist, Dr. Kamal Abdic (Édgar Ramírez).

While passing by the neighborhood one day, Rachel spots Megan kissing Kamal on her balcony and becomes infuriated by what she perceives as Megan’s ruining her “perfect” marriage. After a drinking binge, Rachel leaves the train to confront Megan, only to black out and awaken hours later at her apartment, injured. Rachel later finds out that Megan is missing and presumed dead, and is questioned by Detective Sergeant Riley (Allison Janney), who suspects Rachel might be involved due to her recent erratic behavior. Rachel, pretending to be a friend of Megan’s, approaches Scott and tells him about Megan’s affair. Scott identifies Kamal as Megan’s lover. Believing Kamal is behind Megan’s disappearance, Rachel schedules an appointment with him, wherein they discuss Rachel’s troubled relationship with Tom – particularly an incident in which she lashed out at an office party and aggravated Tom’s boss’s wife Martha (Lisa Kudrow), leading to Tom being fired.

At a bar, Rachel recognizes another commuter, who reveals that he saw her when she left the train the night that Megan disappeared. The commuter, heading home, later found Rachel unconscious in a tunnel, having been severely beaten by an unseen figure. Assuming she fell he offers his help, but she aggressively declined. Rachel returns to the tunnel and recalls seeing Megan with Tom and shouting at her before being ambushed. Meanwhile, Anna becomes suspicious of Tom after Sgt. Riley suggests that he is encouraging Rachel’s behavior by keeping in touch with her. Anna attempts to hack into Tom’s computer, and in the process she finds a secret phone with several voice messages to another woman Tom is having an affair with.
Megan is found dead and forensics determine she was pregnant, but the child was neither Scott’s nor Kamal’s. Scott becomes a suspect and confronts Rachel, believing she is conspiring against him, and in the process reveals he assaulted Megan prior to her death. Rachel runs into Martha and apologizes for her behavior at the party, only to discover she didn’t lash out or get Tom fired, but rather Tom was fired for having sexual relations with numerous co-workers. Rachel realizes Tom planted false memories in her head to account for his own abusive behavior. Anna identifies the woman Tom was exchanging phone calls with as Megan, and finds out Tom and Megan were having an affair. Rachel realizes Megan was pregnant with Tom’s baby and confided that to Kamal, leading to Rachel misinterpreting the nature of their encounter on the balcony. After leaving the train that day, Rachel caught Tom meeting with Megan and shouted at her, mistaking her for Anna. Tom then beat Rachel before returning to Megan, who announced she was keeping the baby. Realizing this would expose their affair, Tom murdered Megan.
Rachel goes to Tom’s house to warn Anna, but Anna reveals that she already knows about the affair. Tom arrives and Rachel confronts him. As Tom and Rachel argue Anna reveals she found Megan’s phone. Tom then carries out Evie, as a fearful Anna pleads for him to give her the baby while Rachel tries to dial 911. Tom takes the phone from Rachel and tells her to sit down. She begins to tell him how she now knows of all his wrong doings and false accusations. Tom then knocks Rachel unconscious as a flashback showing how he killed Megan plays. When Rachel regains consciousness, Tom tells her he wished she would have just stayed away for that one night. Rachel tries to run out of the house, grabbing a corkscrew on her way out. Tom catches up to her and attempts to strangle her, but she hits him with a lamp and tries to run again. Now outside the house, Tom catches up to Rachel, but this time she stabs him in the neck with the corkscrew as Anna watches from the window. Anna then exits the house and pushes the corkscrew deeper into Tom’s neck, finishing him off.
the-girl-on-the-train-trailerRachel and Anna come to an understanding and separately confirm to the police that Rachel killed Tom in self-defense, after he revealed himself to be Megan’s killer. One year later, Rachel has become sober and found a new job, and while still commuting on the same train, she now sits on the opposite side in a different car, leaving her old neighborhood in the past.asa-butterfield-and-ella-purnell-in-miss-peregrines-home-for-peculiar-children-1The Girl on the Train features a great lead performance from Emily Blunt and a solid supporting cast, Haley Bennett and Rebecca Ferguson jumping on the paranoia train with Emily Blunt to great effect.  So, if you’re a fan of either mysteries or thrillers, The Girl on the Train will be a journey you want to go on.

REVIEW: MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: ROGUE NATION

CAST
Tom Cruise (Vanilla Sky)
Jeremy Renner (The Bourne Legacy)
Simon Pegg (Shaun of The Dead)
Rebecca Ferguson (Hercules)
Ving Rhames (Entrapment)
Sean Harris (Prometheus)
Simon McBurney (Robin Hood)
Tom Hollander (Hanna)
Alec Baldwin (The Shadow)
America Olivo (Bitch Slap)
After intercepting nerve gas being sold to terrorists, Impossible Missions Force (IMF) agent Ethan Hunt is convinced he can prove the existence of the Syndicate, an international criminal consortium that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) does not believe exists. Hunt is captured by the Syndicate, but escapes a torture chamber led by Syndicate member Janik “Bone Doctor” Vinter with the help of disavowed MI6 agent and Syndicate operative Ilsa Faust.
CIA Director Alan Hunley and IMF Field Operations Director William Brandt testify before a Senate committee. The IMF, currently without a secretary in charge, is controversial because of its destructive methods and several misconducts. Hunley, who dislikes Hunt, succeeds in having the IMF disbanded and absorbed into the CIA; Brandt, knowing that Hunley will try to capture Hunt, warns him to stay undercover. Cut off from the IMF, Hunt follows his only lead: A blond man in glasses, later identified as former MI6 agent Solomon Lane.
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Six months later, Hunt remains a fugitive. Unable to find the Syndicate without help, he recruits former colleague Benji Dunn to attend the opera Turandot in Vienna to search for Lane, who he suspects is the Syndicate’s leader. Despite stopping three snipers including Faust, Hunt is blamed for the death of the Austrian Chancellor, who was killed after a bomb planted on his car explodes.
Brandt recruits former agent Luther Stickell to find Hunt before the CIA’s Special Activities Division kills him. Using a likeness of Faust left by Hunt, Brandt and Stickell track Hunt, Dunn, and Faust to Morocco, where the latter group infiltrates a secure server beneath a power station by changing access control data stored in an underwater turbine tank. After having stolen what they believe to be a ledger containing the names of all Syndicate agents, Faust betrays the others and flees with the data on a USB flash drive; Hunt, his group, and Syndicate members chase Faust. Faust escapes, but Dunn revealed that he has already made a copy of the data.
Faust returns to London and attempts to use the file to end her mission to infiltrate the Syndicate, but her MI6 handler, Attlee, compels her to continue. She and Lane learn that Attlee wiped the drive, which contained an encrypted, British-government red box that requires the Prime Minister’s biometrics to unlock. The former IMF agents confront Faust, but when Lane’s men abduct Dunn, they are told they must deliver a decrypted copy of the drive to Lane by the night. Despite the others’ objections, Hunt realizes Lane will always have a plan to acquire the files; believing the only way to stop him is to confront him, Hunt agrees to the ultimatum.
As part of Hunt’s plan, Brandt reveals their location to Hunley. At a London charity auction, Hunley, Brandt, and Attlee take the Prime Minister to a secure room to protect him from Hunt. Attlee reveals himself as a disguised Hunt and has the Prime Minister confirm the existence of the Syndicate, a classified proposed project to perform missions without oversight, making the Prime Minister as executioner with zero accountability. When the real Attlee arrives Hunt forces him to admit that he began the Syndicate without permission, and has been covering up its existence since Lane hijacked the project and went rogue, turning the Syndicate against him and MI6.
Stickell discovers the file actually contains access to billions in currency. Hunt destroys the file and tells Lane he memorized the data, to force Lane to release Dunn and Faust in exchange for what he knows. Dunn escapes to Stickell and Brandt while Ethan and Faust are separated as Vinter and his men chase them through the streets of London. Faust kills Vinter in a knife fight, while Ethan lures Lane into a bulletproof cell where he is gassed, just as he had gassed Hunt to capture him initially, and taken into custody.
Hunley and Brandt return to the committee meeting to convince them on restoring IMF, as the previous disbanding was a plan to protect Hunt’s cover. Though they are hesitant, they finally accept it. Outside the meeting, Brandt congratulates Hunley, who is IMF Secretary now.
The Mission: Impossible franchise continues to prove that it’s one of the best in existence with Rogue Nation, a blast of suspense and intrigue,the ride is well worth it.

REVIEW: HERCULES (2014)

CAST

Dwayne Johnson (Get Smart)
Ian McShane (Deadwood)
John Hurt (Hellboy)
Rufus Sewell (The Illusionist)
Aksel Hennie (The Martian)
Ingrid Bolsø Berdal (Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters)
Reece Ritchie (The Lovely Bones)
Joseph Fiennes (Flashforward)
Rebecca Ferguson (Mission: Impossible 5)
Joe Anderson (Hannibal TV)
Ian Whyte (Prometheus)

Hercules is the leader of a band of mercenaries composed of the spear-wielding prophet Amphiaraus of Argos, the knife-throwing thief Autolycus of Sparta, the feral warrior Tydeus of Thebes, the Amazon archer Atalanta of Scythia and his nephew storyteller Iolaus of Athens. Hercules is said to be the demigod son of Zeus, who completed the legendary Twelve Labors, only to be betrayed by Hera who drove him insane and caused him to murder his wife Megara and their children during a visit to King Eurystheus. Throughout the film, it is not clearly established that Hercules is truly the son of Zeus, and many are skeptical of the claim as well as of the stories of Hercules’ famous Twelve Labors. Despite this, Hercules displays unusual strength and nigh-unmatched skill in combat. Hercules is frequently haunted by the memory of the deaths of his wife and children by his hand, as well as visions of Cerberus.
After finishing a recent mission and saving his nephew on the Macedonian Coast in Northern Greece in 358 BC, Hercules and his team are celebrating and drinking at a tavern when they are approached by Ergenia on behalf of her father Lord Cotys who wants Hercules to train the armies of Thrace to defend the kingdom from bloodthirsty warlord Rhesus. Hercules accepts after he and his men are offered his weight in gold, and the band is welcomed to Thrace by King Cotys and General Sitacles, leader of the Thracian army. However, Rhesus has reached the Bessi tribe in Central Thrace and Cotys insists that Hercules lead the army into battle to defend the Bessi, despite their lack of training. However, they are too late as Rhesus’ sorcery has turned the Bessi against the Thracians.
After the Bessi are defeated, Hercules properly trains the army, then Hercules and Sitacles confront Rhesus and his soldiers on the battlefield before Mount Asticus. The Thracians force Rhesus’ army to retreat, but Rhesus himself rides out to confront Hercules and is defeated by him. Rhesus is taken back to Thrace as a prisoner, where he is tortured and humiliated. Hercules takes pity and stops the townfolk from throwing more objects at him, then Hercules mentions Rhesus’ actions of burning down villages, Rhesus tells him it was not him or his army, and tells Hercules that he has been fighting on the wrong side. Later in the hall of the palace, Rhesus has been chained up and left on display. Noticing that Ergenia has taken pity to him, Hercules confronts her and finds out Rhesus was telling the truth in that he was merely retaliating against Lord Cotys’s aggressive attempts to expand his kingdom. Although Ergenia doesn’t agree with Lord Cotys’s methods, she goes along with them for the sake of her son Arius, Lord Cotys’s successor to the throne, who is being threatened by Cotys.
After receiving their reward, the mercenaries are ready to leave, but Hercules decides to stay behind to stop Cotys, and all but Autolycus choose to follow him. However, they are overpowered and captured by Sitacles and his men. While chained, Hercules is confronted by King Eurystheus, who is in league with Lord Cotys. Eurystheus reveals that he drugged Hercules the night his family died, viewing him as a threat to his power. Hercules’s family was in fact killed by three vicious wolves sent by Eurystheus, resulting in Hercules’s constant hallucinations of Cerberus. When Lord Cotys orders Ergenia to be executed for her betrayal, Hercules is encouraged by Amphiaraus to believe in himself just as everyone believes in him. In a show of superhuman strength, Hercules breaks free of his chains, saving Ergenia and slaying the wolves with his bare hands. Hercules releases the prisoners, including Rhesus, and then confronts King Eurystheus, impaling him with his own dagger. He is attacked by Sitacles, who is then stabbed by Iolaus.
Outside, Hercules and his forces battle Lord Cotys and his army. Arius is taken hostage, but then rescued by Autolycus, who has decided to return to help his friends. In the ensuing battle, Tydeus is mortally wounded while protecting Arius, but fights on slaughtering numerous Thracian soldiers. Hercules again uses inhuman strength and pushes a massive statue of Hera from its foundations and uses it to crush Lord Cotys and many of his soldiers. The remaining soldiers see Hercules as lightning flashes in the background. The surviving soldiers bow to Hercules, and Arius takes the throne, with Ergenia at his side, while Hercules and his men depart in search of other adventures.
As the credits roll, an animated retelling of the Twelve Labors shows how Hercules accomplished these feats with the help of his companions.The running length is long enough to feel satisfied and not so long that it overstays its welcome. The plot twists you see coming a mile away but at least it tries to do them. Other than one characters actions near the end which was so obvious it was stupid to include.  In conclusion, its worth watching. It takes it times to grab you, but once it does it doesn’t let go.