REVIEW: THE DISCOVERY

CAST

Rooney Mara (Side Effects)
Jason Segel (How I Met Your Mother)
Jesse Plemons (Varsity Blues)
Riley Keough (Max Max: Fury Road)
Robert Redford (Captain America: The Winter Soldier)
Ron Canada (Ted 2)
Mary Steenburgen (Step Brothers)

The film opens with an interview with Thomas Harbor (Redford), the man who scientifically proved the existence of an afterlife, which has led to an extremely high suicide rate. The interviewer (Steenburgen) asks Harbor if he feels responsible, to which he says no. Directly after, a member of the crew kills himself on air.On the two year anniversary of the discovery, Harbor’s son Will (Segel) travels with a ferry where he meets Isla (Mara). They have a conversation and Will notes Isla looks very familiar. He says he is upset that people keep killing themselves while Isla thinks it’s an easy way out. Will also shares a memory he had while being dead for a minute, where he saw a young boy at a beach. Will is picked up by his brother Toby (Plemons), who drives him to an isolated mansion where their father has built up his new station. Will notes people working for him and Toby says they all attempted suicide. They enter a room where Will meets Lacey (Keough) and Cooper (Canada) and sees his father tied up to machine as they kill and revive him. Will blames him for the high suicide rate.
Later, Will sees Isla on the beach as she walks into the water with a backpack full of stones. He runs after, barely saving her. He brings her to the mansion, where she is taken in. At a later meeting with the occupants, Thomas reveals he invented a machine that can record what dead people see in the afterlife, which requires a dead person and they steal the corpse of Pat Phillips from the morgue. Will reveals to Isla that his mother killed herself when he was younger. The next day, they try to record the afterlife but nothing happens. After the failed attempt, Will enters the room alone and puts back a piece of wiring he took out of the machine, which then shows a sequence of a man driving to a hospital, visiting someone and fighting with a woman there. Will finds the hospital from the recording online and visits it but finds that the hallway from the video is gone after remodeling a decade prior.
Later, during a meeting, Thomas brings Lacey on stage and confronts her about telling other people in the mansion about the failed device and tells her to leave immediately. Will drives Isla to the hospital and shows her the recording and tells her that he thinks the device records memory rather than the afterlife. After breaking into the hospital, they find a file from Pat Phillips’ father, who died in the hospital. Isla finds out that the man in the recording has a different tattoo from the one she saw on Pat earlier. Will drives her to the beach, where she reveals to him that she had a son and that he died while she was asleep. Later they seek out the woman from the video, revealed to be Pat’s sister. She tells them that Pat left her alone with their dying father and that he never visited him in the hospital.
Isla and Will grow closer togther and share a kiss, which is interrupted by Toby. Together they rush to Thomas, who is hooked up on the machine and dead. They observe that he is seeing the night their mother killed herself, except that Thomas stops her. They are able to revive Thomas, who concludes that the afterlife is an alternate version of their existing life. They agree to destroy the machine. Thomas prepares to hold a speech, which is interrupted by Lacey shooting Isla who claims she just “relocated” her. Isla dies in Will’s arms. Later, a devastated Will hooks himself up with the machine. He arrives back on the ferry, where he meets Isla again who states that this is a memory. It is revealed that Will is living in a memory loop trying to prevent Isla’s death and that he restarts on the ferry every time. Isla says that he saved her and that they both will move on now. Although Toby and Thomas try to revive Will, he dies, promising Isla to remember her.  We next see Will on the beach, where he sees a little boy and gets him out of the water. His mother, revealed to be Isla, arrives and thanks Will. They don’t recognise each other. After she leaves, he looks back, first confused and then with a knowing look.This movie was enjoyable and a fresh interpretation of new science brought to bear on an age old question about death.

Advertisements

REVIEW: CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER

 

CAST

Chris Evans (The Losers)
Samuel L. Jackson (Jurassic Park)
Scarlett Johansson (Lucy)
Robert Redford (The Sting)
Sebastian Stan (Spread)
Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker)
Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother)
Frank Grillo (The Purge 2)
Maximiliano Hernandex (Warriors)
Emily Vancamp (Revenge)
Hayley Atwell (The Duchess)
Toby Jones (The Hunger Games)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble0
Alan Dale (Lost)
Chin Han (Arrow)
Garry Shandling (Over The Hedge)
Steven Culp (Jason Goes To Hell)
Gary Sinise (Deception)
Thomas Kretschmann (Dracula)
Elizabeth Olsen (Godzilla)
Danny Pudi (Powerless)
Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass)

Two years after the Battle of New York, Steve Rogers works in Washington D.C. for the espionage agency S.H.I.E.L.D. under Director Nick Fury, while adjusting to contemporary society. Rogers and Agent Natasha Romanoff are sent with S.H.I.E.L.D.’s counter-terrorism S.T.R.I.K.E. team, led by Agent Rumlow, to free hostages aboard a S.H.I.E.L.D. vessel from Georges Batroc and his mercenaries. Mid-mission, Rogers discovers Romanoff has another agenda: to extract data from the ship’s computers for Fury. Rogers returns to the Triskelion, S.H.I.E.L.D.’s headquarters, to confront Fury and is briefed about Project Insight: three Helicarriers linked to spy satellites, designed to preemptively eliminate threats. Unable to decrypt the data recovered by Romanoff, Fury becomes suspicious about Insight and asks senior S.H.I.E.L.D. official Alexander Pierce to delay the project.
On his way to rendezvous with Maria Hill, Fury is ambushed by assailants led by a mysterious assassin called the Winter Soldier. Fury escapes to Rogers’ apartment, and warns Rogers that S.H.I.E.L.D. is compromised. After handing Rogers a flash drive containing data from the ship, Fury is gunned down by the Winter Soldier. Fury dies in surgery, and Hill recovers the body. The next day, Pierce summons Rogers to the Triskelion. When Rogers withholds Fury’s information, Pierce brands him a fugitive. Hunted by S.T.R.I.K.E., Rogers meets with Romanoff. Using data in the flash drive they discover a secret S.H.I.E.L.D. bunker in New Jersey, where they activate a supercomputer containing the preserved consciousness of Arnim Zola. Zola reveals that ever since S.H.I.E.L.D. was founded after World War II, Hydra has secretly operated within its ranks, sowing global chaos with the objective of making humanity willing to surrender its freedom in exchange for security. The pair narrowly escape death when a S.H.I.E.L.D. missile destroys the bunker, and realize that Pierce is Hydra’s leader within S.H.I.E.L.D.Rogers and Romanoff enlist the help of former USAF pararescueman Sam Wilson, whom Rogers befriended, and acquire his powered “Falcon” wingpack. Deducing that S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Jasper Sitwell is a Hydra mole, they force him to divulge that Zola developed a data-mining algorithm that can identify individuals who might become future threats to Hydra’s plans. The Insight Helicarriers will sweep the globe, using satellite-guided guns to eliminate these individuals. Rogers, Romanoff, and Wilson are ambushed by the Winter Soldier, who kills Sitwell. During the fight, Rogers recognizes the Winter Soldier as Bucky Barnes, his friend who was captured and experimented upon during WWII. Hill manages to extract the trio to a safehouse where Fury, who had faked his death, is waiting with plans to sabotage the Helicarriers by replacing their controller chips.
After the World Security Council members arrive for the Helicarriers’ launch, Rogers broadcasts Hydra’s plot to everyone at the Triskelion. Romanoff, disguised as one of the Council members, disarms Pierce. Fury arrives and forces Pierce to unlock S.H.I.E.L.D’s database so that Romanoff can leak classified information, exposing Hydra to the public. Following a struggle, Fury kills Pierce. Meanwhile, Rogers and Wilson storm two Helicarriers and replace the controller chips, but the Winter Soldier destroys Wilson’s suit and fights Rogers on the third. Rogers fends him off and replaces the final chip, allowing Hill to take control and have the vessels destroy each other. Rogers refuses to fight the Winter Soldier in an attempt to reach his friend, but as the ship collides with the Triskelion, Rogers is thrown out into the Potomac River. The Winter Soldier rescues the unconscious Rogers before disappearing into the woods. With S.H.I.E.L.D. in disarray, Romanoff appears before a Senate subcommittee and Fury, under the cover of his apparent death, heads to Eastern Europe in pursuit of Hydra’s remaining cells. Rogers and Wilson decide to find the Winter Soldier, while Rumlow, who was a double agent for Hydra, is hospitalized following the Triskelion’s destruction.
In a mid-credits scene, Baron Wolfgang von Strucker, at a Hydra lab, proclaims that the “age of miracles” has begun as scientists examine an energy-filled scepter and two prisoners: one with superhuman speed, the other with telekinetic powers. In a post-credits scene, the Winter Soldier visits a Bucky memorial at the Smithsonian Institution.

Seeing Cap and Black Widow banter about his dating life,  plays on the established chemistry between Evans and Johansson, working both the humor and the inherent pathos that defines their roles. That Mackie and Redford both effortlessly slide into this established dynamic is testament to what skilled performers they are. There is also some nice continuity to having the same writers return from The First Avenger to craft its sequel. There are plenty of parallels and callbacks here. when  watched back to back, you not only get to appreciate the original more, but enjoy how they connect.