REVIEW: ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS (2016)

CAST

Mia Wasikowska (Crimson Peak)
Johnny Depp (Into The Woods)
Helena Bonham Carter (Sweeney Todd)
Anne Hathaway (The Dark Knight Rises)
Sacha Baron Cohen (Grimsby)
Rhys Ifans (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Matt Lucas (Bridesmaids)
Richard Armitage (The Hobbit)
Alan Rickman (Harry Potter)
Stephen Fry (Sherlock Holmes 2)
Michael Sheen (Underworld)
Barbara Windsor (Eastenders)
Timothy Spall (Vanilla Sky)
Matt Vogel (Muppets Most Wanted)
Hattie Morahan (Mr. Holmes)

Alice Kingsleigh has spent the past three years following in her father’s footsteps and sailing the high seas. Upon her return to London from China, she discovers that her ex-fiancé, Hamish Ascot, has taken over her father’s company and plans to have Alice sell him her father’s ship in exchange for her family home. Unable to make a choice, Alice runs away, and comes across her butterfly friend Absolem, who disappears through a mysterious mirror on one of the upstairs rooms, returning to Underland.
There, Alice is greeted by Mirana of Marmoreal, the White Queen, Nivens McTwisp, the White Rabbit, the Tweedles, Mallymkun, the Dormouse, Thackery Earwicket, the March Hare, Bayard, and the Cheshire Cat. They inform her that Tarrant Hightopp, the Mad Hatter is in poor health because his family is missing following the Attack of the Jabberwocky. The attack occurred shortly after his father, Zanik, a hat retailer, seemed to reject Tarrant’s gift of a hat creation.
The White Queen persuades Alice to convince Time himself to save the Mad Hatter’s family in the past, believing her to be the only one who can save the Hatter. However, she cautions Alice about time, and that if her past self sees her future self, everything will be history. As Alice sets out, she ends up in a dreary palace, where Time himself, a demigod that is part-human, part-clock, resides. As Alice tries to consult Time, she finds the Chronosphere, an object that powers all time in Underland and will allow her to travel to any time in the past.

Alice ignores Time’s warning that the past is unchangeable, and steals the Chronosphere, shortly after finding Iracebeth of Grims, the exiled Red Queen, in the care of Time. Alice accidentally flies to the day of Iracebeth’s coronation, where a younger Mad Hatter/Tarrant Hightopp mocks the Red Queen/Iracebeth of Crims when the royal crown doesn’t fit on her abnormally large head. This causes Iracebeth to melt down and her father deems her emotionally unqualified to rule and passes the title of queen to her younger sister, the White Queen/Mirana of Marmoreal.

Alice learns of an event in Iracebeth’s and Mirana’s past that caused friction between the two and travels back in time again, hoping it will change Iracebeth’s ways and stop the Jabberwocky from killing the Hatter’s family. She learns that the hat that the Mad Hatter thought his father threw away was actually treasured by him. Meanwhile, she meets the White Queen and the Red Queen as sisters. Mirana steals a tart from her mother and eats it. When confronted by their mother, Mirana lies about eating the tart, and Iracebeth is accused, causing her to run out of the castle. Alice sees that Iracebeth is about to run into a clock, thinking that’s the event that deforms her head and personality. Alice prevents that collision but fails to change the past, as Iracebeth trips and slams her head into a stone wall instead.

A weakened Time then confronts Alice after relentless searching, and scolds her for putting all of time in danger. Out of panic, Alice runs into a nearby mirror back in the real world, where she wakes up in a mental hospital, diagnosed with female hysteria. As Dr. Addison Bennett, a psychiatric doctor, tries to inject her with a sedative, she escapes and returns to Underland via the mirror, where she travels to the Attack of the Jabberwocky Day. Alice discovers that the Mad Hatter’s family was captured by the Red Queen instead and never died. Returning to the present however, Alice discovers that the Mad Hatter is on the brink of death.

Alice, close to tears, says that she believes him, and Tarrant transforms back to his normal self. The Underlandians go to the Red Queen’s new organic plant castle, where the Mad Hatter finds his family shrunk and trapped in an ant farm. However, the Red Queen apprehends them and steals the Chronosphere from Alice. Ignoring Time’s warning, she takes her sister back to the day she lied about the tart. By the time the Mad Hatter and Alice get there, the Red Queen and her younger self have seen each other. Time becomes irrelevant, and Underland begins to freeze in rust. At a powerless Time’s pleas, Alice and the Mad Hatter, using the Chronosphere race back to the present, where Alice places the Chronosphere in its original place in time.
With the Chronosphere stabilized, Underland reverts to normal. The Mad Hatter reunites with his family and the White Queen and the Red Queen make amends while Time forgives Alice for the trouble she caused. Alice bids farewell to her friends and returns to the real world through another mirror. She finds her mother is about to sign over Alice’s ship to Hamish. Her mother decides to support her daughter instead. Hamish gets the Kingsleigh family home but not the ship. Alice and her mother set out to travel the world together with their own shipping company.A wonderful follow up to the first film, with all your favorite characters returning for the adventure and some amazing new ones too. A film the whole family can enjoy.

 

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REVIEW: HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS – PART 1

CAST

Daniel Radcliffe (Horns)
Rupert Grint (Cherrybomb)
Emma Watson (This Is The End)
Helena Bonham Carter (Alice Through The Looking Glass)
Robbie Coltrane (Flash Gordon)
Warwick Davis (Leprechaun)
Tom Felton (The Flash)
Ralph Fiennes (Red Dragon)
Michael Gambon (Sleepy Hollow)
Brendan Gleeson (The Smurfs 2)
Richard Griffiths (Superman II)
John Hurt (Hellboy)
Rhys Ifans (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Jason Isaacs (Peter Pan)
Bill Nighy (Underworld)
Alan Rickman (Alice Through The Looking Glass)
Fiona Shaw (Fracture)
Timothy Spall (Vanilla Sky)
Imelda Staunton (Maleficent)
David Thewlis (Kingdom of Heaven)
Julie Walters (Brooklyn)
Helen McCrory (The Woman In Black 2)
Mark Williams (Agent Cody Banks 2)
Natalia Tena (Game of Thrones)
Frances de la Tour (Hugo)
Bonnie Wright (Before I Sleep)
Evanna Lynch (G.B.F.)
Katie Leung (One Child)
Matthew Lewis (Happy Valley)
Scarlett Byrne (The Vampire Diaries)
Toby Jones (The Hunger Games)
Rade Serbedzija (Stigmata)
Miranda Richardson (Sleepy Hollow)
Toby Regbo (Reign)
Jamie Campbell Bower (Camelot)
Domhnall Gleeson (Dredd)

The Minister of Magic, Rufus Scrimgeour, addresses the wizarding media, stating that the Ministry will remain strong even as Lord Voldemort gains strength. Harry, Ron and Hermione prepare for a journey to find and destroy Voldemort’s Horcruxes, with Harry watching the Dursleys depart and Hermione wiping her parents’ memories of her.

Severus Snape arrives at Malfoy Manor to inform Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters of Harry’s impending departure from No. 4 Privet Drive. Voldemort commandeers Lucius Malfoy’s wand, as Voldemort’s own wand cannot be used to kill Harry, because the wands are “twins.”

Meanwhile, the Order of the Phoenix gather at Privet Drive and escort Harry to safety, using Polyjuice Potion to create six decoy Harrys out of everyone else. During their flight to the Weasley family home at the Burrow, all are ambushed by Death Eaters. They kill Mad-Eye Moody and Harry’s owl, Hedwig, injure George Weasley, and knock out Hagrid. This forces Harry to take over and drive his flying motorbike while fighting Voldemort. In the process, destroying some power lines that causes a blackout to the city. After arriving at the Burrow, Harry has a vision of the wand-maker Ollivander being tormented by Voldemort, who claims that Ollivander had lied to him. Ollivander claimed that the only way Voldemort could kill Harry was by using another person’s wand.

Scrimgeour arrives at the Burrow with Albus Dumbledore’s Will and distributes three items to Ron, Hermione, and Harry. Ron receives Dumbledore’s Deluminator, Hermione a copy of The Tales of Beedle the Bard, and Harry the first Golden Snitch that he ever caught in a Quidditch match. Scrimgeour reveals that Harry was also bequeathed the Sword of Godric Gryffindor. The minister states, though, that the sword was not Dumbledore’s to pass on and, in any case, is missing.

Next, the Death Eaters assassinate Scrimgeour and replace him with their puppet Pius Thicknesse. Thicknesse, under the influence of the Imperius curse, begins persecuting Muggle-born witches and wizards. Then the Minister disrupts the wedding of Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour, by sending a patronus charm to tell everyone what they did and attack them. Harry, Hermione, and Ron Disapparate to London and find sanctuary at No. 12 Grimmauld Place. There they discover that the “R.A.B.” from the false Horcrux locket is Regulus Arcturus Black, the younger brother of Sirius Black. Kreacher, the Black’s house-elf, tells them that Mundungus Fletcher stole the real locket. Kreacher and Dobby apprehend Fletcher, who reveals that the locket is in the possession of Dolores Umbridge. Under the disguise of Polyjuice Potion, the trio infiltrate the Ministry. In the courtroom, Umbridge is interrogating a Muggle-born witch and threatens her, which enrages Harry, who says to her “You’re lying, Dolores. And one mustn’t tell lies.” He then stuns her and Hermione successfully retrieves the locket. The trio escape from the Dementors by fleeing into the wilderness after accidentally revealing the location of No. 12 Grimmauld Place to Yaxley, a Death Eater.

Unable to destroy the Horcrux, they take turns wearing it to dilute its malignant power. Harry sees a vision of Voldemort interrogating Gregorovitch, a renowned wand-maker, who claims that a teenage boy had once stolen the legendary Elder Wand from his shop. While Ron wears the locket, he is overcome by his negative feelings and after arguing with Harry, he leaves, upsetting Hermione. Harry and Hermione decide to go to Godric’s Hollow, where they visit Harry’s parents’ graves and the house where they were killed. Next Harry and Hermoine visit Bathilda Bagshot, who they believe has the Sword of Gryffindor, which they deduce can destroy Horcruxes. They are surprised by Voldemort’s snake, Nagini, who has been possessing her corpse. Hermione accidentally breaks Harry’s wand as they escape into the Forest of Dean. Hermione is able to identify the mysterious thief seen in Harry’s vision as Gellert Grindelwald.

When evening falls, Harry sees a Patronus in the form of a doe which leads him to a frozen pond. Gryffindor’s sword lies beneath the pond’s ice. Harry breaks the ice and jumps in to reach the sword. The locket around his neck attempts to strangle him, but Ron arrives to rescue Harry. Despite the soul inside the locket attacking both of them, Ron manages to destroy it with the Sword of Gryffindor. Hermione is angry with Ron at first but then reconciles with him.

The trio then visit Xenophilius Lovegood to learn about a symbol seen several times on their journey. He tells them that the symbol represents the Deathly Hallows: the Elder Wand, the Resurrection Stone and the Cloak of Invisibility. Lovegood betrays them to the Death Eaters in an effort to have his kidnapped daughter returned.

The trio escape into the wilderness once more, but Snatchers appear and chase them. Harry has a vision of Voldemort learning from Grindelwald that the Elder Wand lies with Dumbledore in his grave. They are then captured and taken to Malfoy Manor. Bellatrix Lestrange imprisons Harry and Ron in a cellar, in which they discover Luna, Ollivander, and Griphook the goblin. Bellatrix tortures Hermione for information on how they got the sword of Gryffindor. After Dobby apparates in the cellar to save them, and incapacitates Peter Pettigrew, a short battle ensues; Harry duels and disarms Draco Malfoy. Narcissa Malfoy’s wand is taken by Dobby who says “Dobby has no master. Dobby is a free elf. And Dobby has come to save Harry Potter and his friends.” Dobby is killed by Bellatrix right after he helps Harry and the other captives escape. Meanwhile, Voldemort breaks into Dumbledore’s tomb and takes the Elder Wand.You know that this will end in a cliffhanger, and what a cliffhanger it is, whetting your appetite to devour Part 2 , just so to witness how the film franchise of our generation will fittingly conclude.

REVIEW: LITTLE NICKY


CAST

Adam Sandler (Click)
Patricia Arquette (Stigmata)
Reese Witherspoon (Cruel Intentions)
Harvey Keitel (Bad Lieutenant)
Rhys Ifans (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Tom Lister Jr.(The Dark Knight)
Robert Smigel (Happy Gilmore)
Allen Covert (Mr. Deeds)
Henry Winkler (Happy Days)
Rodney Dangerfield (Caddyshack)
Kevin Nealon (Weeds)
Michael McKean (This Is Spinal Tap)
Dana Carvey (Wayne’s World)
Rob Schneider (The Hot Chick)
Carl Weathers (Rocky)
Jon Lovitz (The SImpsons)
Quentin Tarantino (Reservoir Dogs)
Clint Howard (Backdraft)
John Witherspoon (A Thousand Words)

The story revolves around a struggle to determine which of Satan’s (Harvey Keitel) three sons will succeed their father as ruler of Hell. Adrian (Rhys Ifans) is the most intelligent, Cassius (Tom Lister Jr.) is the toughest, and Nicky (Adam Sandler) is their father’s favorite, even though Nicky has had a speech impediment and a disfigured jaw since Cassius hit him in the face with a shovel. Furthermore, Adrian and Cassius enjoy tormenting Nicky by claiming that his mother was a goat and assault him by controlling his body with their minds.

Having been the “prince of darkness” for ten thousand years, Satan assembles his sons to decide which of them will succeed him, but instead he keeps the throne for himself because his sons are not yet ready to be his successor and tells them that they need to learn to keep the balance between good and evil. Angered by this decision, Adrian and Cassius go to Earth to create a new Hell by possessing religious and political leaders in New York City. As they leave, they freeze the entrance to Hell, preventing more souls from entering and causing Satan’s body to begin decomposing via his body literally falling apart. To stop Adrian and Cassius, Satan sends Nicky to Earth with a silver flask that traps whoever drinks from it inside.

At first, Nicky has trouble staying alive on Earth. He is killed several times, landing in Hell and returning to New York each time. While learning how to eat and sleep, he meets a talking bulldog named Mr. Beefy (voice of Robert Smigel) (a friend of Nicky’s father), rents an apartment with an actor named Todd (Allen Covert), and falls in love with a design student named Valerie (Patricia Arquette).

Nicky’s first encounter with his brothers occurs when Adrian sees him with Valerie, takes mental control of his body and makes him scare her away. Then Nicky sees Cassius on television, possessing the referee (Dana Carvey) of a Harlem Globetrotters game. When he goes to the court and tricks Cassius into the flask, metalheads John (Jonathan Loughran) and Peter (Peter Dante) are so thrilled with his performance that they become his devoted fans. That evening, Nicky tries to apologize to Valerie. The meeting goes badly at first, but she accepts him after he explains who he is and why he is on Earth.

The next day, Adrian possesses the chief of the NYPD (Michael McKean) and accuses Nicky of mass murder using a rather badly edited scene from Scarface. Not knowing what to do, Nicky has Todd kill him so he can go back to Hell and ask his father for advice, but his father has trouble hearing because his ears have fallen off and his assistants are in a panic because the midnight deadline to capture Adrian and Cassius is only hours away. Back on Earth again, Nicky and his friends devise a plan to capture Adrian in a subway station; John and Peter inform the chief of the NYPD of Nicky’s whereabouts which leads to Todd and Mr. Beefy being arrested. While waiting for Nicky, Adrian discovers their trick when he realizes that John is keeping cool whereas Peter isn’t which leads him to realize that John is being possessed by Nicky. In the ensuing fight, Adrian grabs Valerie and dives onto the track as a train approaches, but Nicky throws her out of the way, leaving himself and Adrian to be killed by the train.

Arriving in Hell just minutes before midnight, Adrian dethrones his weakened father and takes over, rising into Central Park and starting a riotous party while all of the demons except Satan’s assistant Jimmy (Blake Clark) join Adrian on Earth. Meanwhile, Nicky wakes up in Heaven as a reward for sacrificing himself and meets his mother Holly (Reese Witherspoon), an angel who tells him he can defeat Adrian with the “inner light” that he inherited from her. After she gives him a mysterious orb, he goes to Central Park. The demons discover Nicky and try to attack him, but Nicky creates gifts for them which makes them respect Nicky enough to join him and stop Adrian, but they all run away when Adrian kills one of them. Nicky and Adrian then fight, which results in both of them sucked into the flask where they have a three-way battle with Cassius. Adrian appears to win a pitched battle by locking Nicky in the flask and turning himself into a bat, but Nicky (with Valerie’s help) escapes from the flask. When he shatters the orb, Ozzy Osbourne appears, bites Adrian’s head off and spits it into the flask (that scene was inspired by an actual incident in which Ozzy bit the head off of a real bat while on stage).

With his brothers captured, Nicky is ready to save his father. After he sins to make sure he goes to Hell by setting bees on Henry Winkler, he and Valerie express their love for each other and she kills him with a boulder given to her by Ozzy. With the flow of souls restored in Hell, Satan regains his body and recommends that Nicky go back to live on Earth. As for punishment, Adrian and Cassius (still inside the flask) are shoved up Adolf Hitler’s rectum. The film ends a year later, when Nicky and Valerie live in New York with their infant son, Zachariah. In in afterword in which what happens to the characters, it is mentioned that John and Peter have died in a plane crash and are now happily living in Hell in Nicky’s old bedroom.An absolutely brilliant and ingenious comedy.

REVIEW: GARFIELD 1 & 2

 

CAST
Breckin Meyer (Road Trip)
Jennifer Love Hewitt (Ghost Whisperer)
Stephen Tobolowsky (Heroes)
Bill Murray (St. Vincent)
Evan Arnold (Spider-Man)
Mark Christopher Lawrence (Halloween II)
Alan Cumming (Tin Man)
Debra Messing (Along Came Polly)
Richard Kind (Gotham)
Debra Jo Rupp (That 70s Show)
Garfield (voiced by Bill Murray) is a happy, fat, and lazy orange cat who lives with his owner and friend, Jon Arbuckle (Breckin Meyer) in a cul-de-sac in Muncie, Indiana. Garfield passes his time by annoying Jon and mocking a neighbor Doberman Pinscher, Luca. Aside from Jon, Garfield maintains an unlikely friendship with a remarkable mouse, Louis. He also interacts with and occasionally hangs out with his fellow neighborhood cats, including Garfield’s rival Nermal and Garfield’s love interest, Arlene (who are both seen as live-action cats).
Meanwhile, a local television host, Happy Chapman, known for his cat “Persnikitty” is introduced as supposedly a happy man. In reality he is allergic to cats, jealous of his bad-tempered brother Walter J. Chapman, a news reporter, and wants to outwit him in success wise by performing on TV show Good Day New York. Jon has made a habit of bringing Garfield to the veterinarian, hoping to woo vet Dr. Liz Wilson. Jon tries to ask her out, but due to a misunderstanding, he is given custody of a stray dog, Odie. Regardless, Jon and Liz begin dating. Garfield is displeased at having to share the house with a dog, of whom Jon grows fond. Odie is brought to a canine talent show, where Liz is a judge. Garfield gets involved in a ruckus there with other animals, which moves Odie to the center of the ring, where he begins dancing to “Hey Mama” by The Black Eyed Peas.
His impromptu performance is a hit. Happy Chapman, who also is a judge of the dog show is impressed with Odie, and offers Jon a television deal for Odie, but Jon declines leaving Happy to apparently be envious of Odie. After Garfield causes a mess inside Jon’s house in a fit of rage, Jon punishes Garfield by making him sleep outside for one night. Odie comes out to comfort Garfield but Garfield, as selfish as he is, reacts by running inside and locking Odie out. Odie runs away, and is picked up by an elderly woman named Mrs. Baker. A distraught Jon works with Liz to search for him, while the neighborhood animals shun Garfield for what he did to Odie. Meanwhile, Chapman and his assistant find a “lost dog” found poster Mrs. Baker created, of Odie and recognizing the lucrative possibilities, claim Odie as Happy’s own.
When Garfield sees Odie on television and hears Chapman announce he and Odie are going to New York City by train for a big performance on Good Day New York, Garfield, realizing his selfishness, vows to intervene. Garfield leaves his house on a rescue mission for Odie. Meanwhile, Jon finds out Garfield is missing and he and Liz set out find him. Garfield is able to finally make it to the tower with the help of his friend Louis but sneaks in the air vents which are being worked on. Seen as a blockage from one of the workers’ scanners of the vents, Garfield is blown by the vent air, hitting random walls and it finally ends when he smacks his face on the last wall. At Chapman’s studio at Telegraph Tower, Garfield finds Odie captive in a room; Chapman enters and secures a shock collar to Odie, which, when activated, releases an electric discharge that forces him to perform tricks.
Chapman heads for the train station, with Garfield in pursuit. However, an animal control officer snags Garfield as a runaway before he can reach Odie. Meanwhile, Jon contacts Mrs. Baker through her poster, and is told Odie’s real owner had already retrieved him. After learning it was Chapman who took Odie, Jon believes Garfield was taken too and he and Liz race to Telegraph Tower and then to the train station, after learning Chapman has left. Garfield is sprung from the pound by Chapman’s abandoned feline star, the boastful Persnikitty who turns out to be actually named as Sir Roland. At the train station, while the P.A. saying that the Texas Eagle is going to Dallas and San Antonio, Texas, Chapman boards the train, with Odie in the luggage car. Garfield arrives only to see the train depart. As the train speeds away from the station, and seeing a child with a toy train engine (probably the Flying Scotsman in a different shape and size) makes Garfield remembers that his train set at home is similar, so he sneaks into the control room and attempts to stop Odie’s train. The tracks get rearranged, leading to an impending train wreck. Garfield hits an emergency control and causes Chapman’s train to return, and Garfield frees Odie and they exit the train. However, Chapman notices them walk out and gives chase. Chapman corners the two, and threatens Odie with the shock collar, but is greeted by Garfield’s friends and animals from the pound, led by Sir Roland. They swarm and attack Chapman, allowing for Odie to escape.
 Chapman gets up to find the shock collar has been placed on his own neck, from which he receives two powerful jolts. Jon and Liz arrive to reclaim the animals and find Chapman off-balance. Jon punches Chapman for stealing his pets (although Odie was the only who was taken), and leaves with Liz and the two animals. Chapman is arrested for his supposed involvement with the trains, as well as for abducting Odie and Wendell gives chase to the cops. Garfield regains the trust of his animal friends. Back at home, Liz kisses Jon, while Garfield seems to have learned about friendship, love and not to envy others. He then shoves Odie off his chair repeatedly, and the film closes with Garfield singing and dancing to James Brown’s “I Got You (I Feel Good)”. He does a split and can’t get it back up without help. As the credits roll over still pictures from the film (in black and white), Garfield is heard in the background asking Odie for ice.
Garfield is still hilariously funny and you’d have to be incredibly sour not to laugh. The special effects are brilliant – not just the CGI Garfield, but the whole facial animation with the other animal characters. The way that Garfield portrays moral developement is also good and I recommend this as a truly delightful family movie.
CAST
Breckin Meyer (Road Trip)
Jennifer Love Hewitt (Ghost Whisperer)
Bill Murray (St. Vincent)
Billy Connolly (The Man Who Sued God)
Ian Abercrombie (Birds of Prey)
Lucy Davis (Shaun of The Dead)
Jane Carr (Austin Powers 2)
Judith Shekoni (Heroes Reborn)
Bob Hoskins (Hook)
Tim Curry (IT)
Jane Leeves (Frasier)
Richard E. Grant (Dracula)
Vinnie Jones (Arrow)
Rhys Ifans (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Jon Arbuckle (played by Breckin Meyer) plans to propose to his girlfriend Dr. Liz Wilson (played by Jennifer Love Hewitt), who is going on a business trip to London. Jon follows her to the United Kingdom as a surprise; After escaping from the kennel, Garfield (voiced by Bill Murray) and Odie sneak into Jon’s luggage and join him on the trip. Garfield and Odie break out of the hotel room, then get lost.
Meanwhile, at Carlyle Castle in the British countryside, the late Lady Eleanor’s will is read. She leaves all of Carlyle Castle to Prince XII (voiced by Tim Curry), her beloved cat who looks just like Garfield. This upsets the Lady’s nephew, Lord Dargis (played by Billy Connolly), who will now only get the grand estate once Prince is out of the picture. Lord Dargis traps Prince in a picnic basket and throws him into the river. Garfield inadvertently switches places with Prince: Jon finds Prince climbing out of a drain and takes him to the hotel, while Prince’s butler Smithee finds Garfield in the street and takes him to Carlyle Castle.
In the grand estate Garfield now calls home, he receives the royal treatment, including a butler and a team of four-legged servants and followers. Garfield teaches his animal friends to make lasagna, while Prince learns to love it at Jon’s place. Lord Dargis sees Garfield and thinks Prince has come back – if the lawyers see Prince/Garfield they will not sign the estate over to Dargis, who secretly wants to destroy the barnyand and evict/kill the animals to build a country spa. Dargis makes many attempts to get rid of Garfield, one involving a violent but dim-witted Rottweiler, Rommel (voiced by Vinnie Jones).
Eventually Garfield and Prince meet each other for the first time (spoofing the Marx brothers’ mirror gag). Jon, with the help of Odie, discovers the mix-up and goes to the castle, which coincidentally Liz is visiting. Garfield and Prince mess with Dargis, whose plan is exposed, and are seen by the lawyers. Dargis threatens everyone if they don’t sign the papers to him, taking Liz hostage. Garfield, Prince, Odie and Jon save the day, Smithee alerts the authorities, and Dargis is arrested. Garfield, who had been trying to stop Jon from proposing to Liz, has a change of heart: He helps Jon in proposing, and she does accept.
Great for a family film night. Billy Connolly is good in this, but Garfield, as he should be, is the star of the show! loved the ‘lasagna moment’ in the restaurant!

REVIEW: THE 51st STATE

CAST
Samuel L. Jackson (Black Snake Moan)
Robert Carlyle (Stargate Universe)
Emily Mortimer (Lars and The Real Girl)
Meat Loaf (Fight Club)
Sean Pertwee (Gotham)
Ricky Tomlinson (Mike Bassett: England Manager)
Rhys Ifans (The Amazing Spider-Man)
In 1971, a policeman catches Elmo McElroy, a recent college graduate with a degree in pharmacology, smoking marijuana. Because of his arrest and conviction, he is unable to find work as a pharmacologist. In the present day, a drug lord called “the Lizard” calls a meeting of his organisation, hoping to sell a brand new substance invented by Elmo. The meeting goes badly when Elmo, in a bid to escape from the Lizard’s control, blows up the building, killing everyone but the Lizard. Vengeful, the Lizard contacts Dakota, a contract killer, who previously killed the only witness in a case against the Lizard. Dakota initially refuses the hit, but accepts when the Lizard offers to clear her gambling debts and give her a $250,000 bonus. Elmo leaves for Liverpool, England, where he meets Felix DeSouza, a local “fixer” who has been sent by Leopold Durant, head of a local criminal organisation, in exchange for two football tickets to a sold-out game. At the meeting, Elmo pitches POS 51, a synthetic drug that can be produced with minimal facilities and is 51 times as potent as other drugs. A second opinion from Pudsey, Durant’s chemist, confirms Elmo’s claims, and Durant gives him over a million dollars in bonds. Since it is $18 million short of the agreed payment, Elmo threatens to leave.
In a room across the street, Dakota is about to take a shot at Elmo’s head when the Lizard calls cancelling the hit; not wanting to kill Elmo until he has the formula. Instead of killing Elmo, she is to kill anyone who meets with him. She switches rifles to an automatic weapon and kills everyone but Elmo and Felix, who is shot in the buttocks. As Elmo and Felix leave the hotel, a gang of skinheads who seek the drug attack them. Elmo protects them with a golf club. Detective Virgil Kane arrives on the scene and gives a chase. He is soon lured into a game of chicken by Elmo, who escapes. Kane returns to the crime scene and demands 50% of Durant’s deal with McElroy. A miscommunication leads to Durant’s death.
 Felix contacts a gun dealing club owner and drug distributor named Iki, promising him the formula for £20 million. As Elmo and Felix acquire the ingredients necessary for the drug’s manufacture, all of which are over-the-counter products, the now-armed skinheads capture them. Elmo is unflustered, as the skinheads claim they have a lab, though it turns out to be a broken-into animal testing facility. Elmo makes two batches of the drug; one blue and one red. He claims that the red pill is the stronger version, and after he takes one, the skinheads try it. While they are partying, waiting for the effect of the drug, in the next room Elmo spits out his red pill. He tells Felix it is a powerful laxative; Elmo and Felix leave after throwing rolls of toilet paper to the incapacitated skinheads.
At Iki’s rave club, Elmo initiates his deal and delivers the drug to the waiting crowd. Kane and the police interrupt the deal and arrest Felix. When Dakota appears, she reveals that her real name is Dawn and that she and Felix were romantically involved. She captures Elmo and leaves with him via the roof. Elmo gets the upper hand, suspending her over the edge of the roof. Having no choice, she strikes a deal with him and they escape from Kane. Meanwhile, Kane blackmails Felix during a police interrogation and forces himself into the deal with Iki, which Felix sets up for him.
 Felix, Elmo and Dawn meet Iki in a private viewing box at the football game at Anfield. This time, the deal is interrupted by the Lizard, who shoots Iki and demands the formula to POS 51. The Lizard celebrates with a drink, as Elmo reveals that the drug is a placebo and POS stands for Power of Suggestion. Kane interrupts them as Elmo’s cocktail, an explosive ingested by the Lizard, takes effect. Kane is knocked unconscious and arrested, and the others escape. Dawn and Felix give their relationship another chance, and Elmo purchases a castle once owned by the man who owned his ancestors.
 I’m not surprised this film did a whole lot better this side of the Atlantic than it did back in the USA. With the majority of the action based in England, Jackson and Meat Load being the only Americans and a whole plethora of wonderful British character actors that are a complete joy it’s small wonder it was lapped up by British audiences

REVIEW: HANNIBAL RISING

CAST

Gaspard Ulliel  (Saint Laurent)
Li Gong (Curse of The Golden Flower)
Dominic West (300)
Rhys Ifans (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Helena-Lia Tachovská (Divnovlasky)
Kevin McKidd (Dog Soldiers)
Richard Brake (Halloween II)
Stephen Walters (Outlander)
Robbie Kay (Heroes Reborn)

In 1941, an eight-year-old Hannibal Lecter lives in Lecter Castle in Lithuania. Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union turns the Baltic region into part of the bloodiest front line of World War II. Lecter, his younger sister Mischa, and their parents travel to the family’s hunting lodge in the woods to elude the advancing German troops. After three years, the Nazis are finally driven out of the countries soon to be occupied by the Soviet Union. During their retreat, however, they destroy a Soviet tank that had stopped at the Lecter family’s lodge looking for water. The explosion kills everyone but Lecter and Mischa. They survive in the cottage until six former Lithuanian militiamen, led by a Nazi collaborator named Vladis Grutas, storm and loot it. Finding no other food in the bitterly cold Baltic winter, the men look menacingly at Lecter and Mischa. By 1949, Lecter Castle has been turned into a Soviet orphanage and is ironically housing the interned orphan Hannibal Lecter. After dealing violently with a bully, Lecter escapes from the castle orphanage to Paris to live with his widowed aunt, the Lady Murasaki. While in France, Lecter flourishes as a student. He commits his first murder as a teenager, killing a local butcher who insults his aunt. He is suspected of the murder by Inspector Popil, a French detective who also lost his family in the war. Thanks in part to his aunt’s intervention, Lecter escapes responsibility for the crime.Eventually, Lecter becomes the youngest person ever admitted to medical school in France. He receives a working scholarship at a hospital in Paris, where he is given a job preparing cadavers. One day, Lecter witnesses a condemned war criminal receiving a sodium thiopental injection, allowing him to recall details about his war crimes. Consequently, in an attempt to recall the names of those responsible for his sister’s death, Lecter injects himself with the solution. His subsequent flashback reveals to the viewers the men who had killed Mischa, had also cannibalized her as well. Lecter returns to Lithuania in search of his sister’s remains. He excavates the ruins of the lodge where his family died, and upon finding Mischa’s remains, he gives her a proper burial. He also unearths the dog-tags of the deserters who killed his sister. One of them, Dortlich, attempts to kill him but is incapitated by Lecter. After he buries Mischa’s remains, Lecter forces Dortlich to reveal the whereabouts of the rest of his gang, then decapitates Dortlich with a horse-drawn pulley. Dortlich’s blood splashes on Lecter’s face, and he licks it off.Lecter then visits Kolnas’ restaurant in Fontainbleau. He finds his young daughter and notices Mischa’s bracelet on her. He gives her Kolnas’ dogtag. Dortlich’s murder puts the rest of the group on alert and, because of the similarity to the first murder, places Lecter under renewed suspicion from Popil. Grutas, now a sex trafficker, dispatches a second member of the group, Zigmas Milko, to kill him. Lecter kills Milko instead, drowning him in formaldehyde inside his laboratory. Popil then tries to dissuade him from hunting the gang. During a confrontation with Lady Murasaki, Lecter almost has sex with her, but relents after Lady Murasaki begs him not to get revenge, claiming that he made a promise to Mischa. He attacks Grutas in his home but Grutas is rescued by his bodyguards.

Grutas kidnaps Lady Murasaki and calls Lecter, using her as bait. Lecter recognizes the sounds of Kolnas’ birds from his restaurant in the background. Lecter goes there and plays on Kolnas’ emotions by threatening his children. Kolnas gives up the location of Grutas’ boat, but Lecter kills him when Kolnas goes for Lecter’s gun. Lecter goes to the houseboat. In a final confrontation, Grutas claims that Lecter too had consumed his sister in broth fed to him by the soldiers, and he was killing them to keep this fact secret. Enraged, Lecter eviscerates him by carving his sister’s initial into his body. Lady Murasaki, finally disturbed by his behavior, flees from him even after he tells her that he loves her. The houseboat is incinerated, but Lecter, assumed to be dead, emerges from the woods. Lecter hunts down the last member of the group, Grentz, in Canada.

Well, no Anthony Hopkins so I didn’t expect greatness, but was pleasantly surprised. Gaspard Ulliel did a very good job. I was caught up in the story about how Hannibal got started.  The movie was done very professionally. A good prequel to a great franchise.

REVIEW: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN

CAST

Andrew Garfield (The Social Network)
Emma Stone (Birdman)
Rhys Ifans (Alice Through The Looking Glass)
Denis Leary (Rescue Me)
Martin Sheen (Apocalypse Now)
Sally Field (Lincoln)
Irrfan Khan (Jurassic World)
Campbell Scott (Royal Pains)
Embeth Davidtz (Army of Darkness)
Chris Zylka (The Secret Circle)
C. Thomas Howell (E.T.)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
Jennifer Lyons (That 70s Show)
Michael Massee (Flashforward)
Zoey Deutch (Ringer)

A young Peter Parker discovers his father Richard Parker’s study has been burgled. Peter’s parents gather hidden documents and take Peter to the home of his Aunt May and Uncle Ben, then mysteriously depart.Years later, a teenaged Peter attends Midtown Science High School, where he is bullied by Flash Thompson and has caught the eye of Gwen Stacy. At home, Peter finds his father’s papers and learns his father worked with fellow scientist Dr. Curt Connors at Oscorp. Sneaking into Oscorp, Peter enters a lab where a “biocable” is under development from genetically modified spiders, one of which bites him. He later discovers he has developed spider-like abilities, such as sharp senses, reflexes and speed.After studying Richard’s papers, Peter visits the one-armed Connors, reveals he is Richard’s son and gives Connors his father’s “decay rate algorithm”, the missing piece in Connors’ experiments on regenerating limbs. Connors is being pressed by his superior, Dr. Ratha, to devise a cure for the dying (but unseen) head of Oscorp, Norman Osborn. In school, Peter gets into trouble after a basketball challenge with Flash in which Peter accidentally shatters the backboard glass. His uncle changes work shifts to meet with the principal and asks Peter to walk May home for him that night. Peter forgets to do so, distracted while at Oscorp helping Connors regenerate the limb of a laboratory mouse. At home, he and Ben argue and Peter leaves. At a nearby deli, a cashier refuses to let Peter buy milk when Peter is two cents short; when a thief suddenly raids the store, Peter indifferently observes. While searching for Peter, Ben attempts to stop the thief and is killed. The thief escapes as Peter finds Ben dead on the sidewalk.Afterward, Peter uses his new abilities to hunt criminals matching the killer’s description. After a fall lands him inside an abandoned gym, a luchador-wrestling poster inspires him to create a mask to hide his identity. He adds a spandex suit and builds mechanical devices to attach to his wrists to shoot a biocable “web”. Later, at dinner with Gwen’s family, he has a tense conversation with her father, police captain George Stacy, over the new masked vigilante’s motives. After dinner, Peter reveals his identity to Gwen and they kiss.After seeing success with the mouse using lizard DNA, Ratha demands Connors begin human trials immediately. Connors refuses to rush the drug-testing procedure and put innocent people at risk. Ratha fires Connors and decides to test Connors’ serum at a Veterans Administration hospital under the guise of a flu shot. In an act of desperation, Connors tries the formula on himself. After passing out, he awakens to find his missing arm has regenerated. Discovering that Ratha is on his way to the VA hospital, Connors, whose skin is turning green and scaly, goes to intercept him. By the time he gets to the Williamsburg Bridge, Connors has become a violent hybrid of lizard and man, tossing cars, including Ratha’s, over the side. Peter, now calling himself Spider-Man, snatches each falling car with his web-lines.Spider-Man suspects Connors is the Lizard and unsuccessfully confronts the creature in the sewers. The Lizard learns Spider-Man’s real identity via the name on an abandoned camera and follows Peter to school, where they fight. Police start a manhunt for both Spider-Man and the Lizard. Captain Stacy discovers that Spider-Man is really Peter. The Lizard plans to make all humans lizard-like by releasing a chemical cloud from Oscorp’s tower, to eliminate the weaknesses he believes plague humanity. Spider-Man eventually disperses an antidote cloud instead, restoring Connors and earlier victims to normal, but not before the Lizard mortally wounds Captain Stacy. Before his death, Captain Stacy requests Peter avoid Gwen, in order to keep her safe. Peter initially does so, but later at school suggests to Gwen he may see her after all. In a mid-credits scene, Connors, in a prison cell, speaks with a man in the shadows who asks if Peter knows the truth about his father. Connors replies, “No”, and demands Peter to be left alone before the man disappears.I began watching The Amazing Spider-Man with muted expectations, and without anticipation. I walked out of my experience feeling as though the film was actually good not amazing.I think this franchise was too soon for a reboot.