31 DAYS OF HORROR REVIEW: THE AMITYVILLE HORROR (2005)

CAST

Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool)
Melissa George (Triangle)
Jesse James (The Butterfly Effect)
Jimmy Bennett (Orphan)
Chloe Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass)
Rachel Nichols (Alex Cross)
Philip Baker Hall (50/50)
George (Ryan Reynolds) and Kathy Lutz (Melissa George) are newly married, George now a step-father to Kathy’s three kids (Billy, Michael and Chelsea) who still pine away for their late father. George seems like an alright guy though, and he is honestly making an effort to be good to the three kids and to take care of them as he would his own children. When he and Kathy are out house hunting one day, they find a deal too good to pass up – a beautiful old Dutch Colonial style home with plenty of space and waterfront property – they figure it’s all too good to be true. They’ll have to be careful with their finances but they can afford it, but what’s the catch? Well, as we learn from the opening scene, Ronald Defeo Jr. killed his six family members in that home a few years later under some very macabre and unusual circumstances and since then, no one has wanted to move in .Image result for the amityville horror 2005Kathy pushes for the home and George agrees. After all, houses don’t kill people, people kill people, right? Right. Soon enough, the Lutz clan moves into the home and start to make it their own and this is when things start to get a little odd. First little Chelsea starts to obsess over what her mother assumes is an imaginary friend who she names Jodie. Then George starts to get very short with the rest of the family, snapping at them and ultimately losing control of his temper. Kathy grows concerned for obvious reasons, and it looks more and more like old George is losing it once and for all, especially once he basically moves into the basement where he spends a lot of time starring at a weird hole in the wall. Kathy decides to take it upon herself to get some more background information on their new dream home so that she can figure out what’s burdening her family before it’s too late, but what she discovers is worse then either she or George could have possibly imagined.Taking a few hints from some popular Japanese horror films of recent years (Ring comes to mind), director Andrew Douglas crafts a decent horror film that borrows just enough from the original The Amityville Horror to be recognizable as the same story but fixes some of the pacing problems that plagued that film. While Margot Kidder and James Brolin will always be the Lutz family to most of us, Reynolds does a fine job in the lead and is actually a little more convincing in the part once his breakdown starts to take some more serious turns. Melissa George isn’t going to win any awards for her performance but she’s not bad in the role either and she sure is easy on the eyes. The movie isn’t perfect, not by a long shot as it is pretty predictable and does fall victim to some clichés in a few spots as well as a few annoying trends in the editing and camerawork departments, but it is a well made horror film with some truly creepy visuals.The addition of some more back story to the history of the home itself and the land on which it was built is a nice touch and it does do a pretty good job of explaining just why the home is the way that it is, even if it reaches a little bit. The opening scene in which we see Defeo Jr. walk through the home and systematically kill off his family is eerie and disturbing and does a very good job of setting up what is to come in the film.The film stretches out enough to become its own entity and the end result is actually a good horror film. Replay value isn’t going to be through the roof here, as the jump scares are a large part of why the film is moderately successful and when you know they’re coming they’re no longer as intense, but the movie is worth checking out for both fans of the original film and fans of good ghost stories in general.

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REVIEW: THE CHANGE-UP

CAST

Jason Bateman (The Gift)
Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool)
Olivia Wilde (Tron: Legacy)
Leslie Mann (This Is 40)
Alan Arkin (Get Smart)
Mircea Monroe (Episodes)
Gregory Itzin (The Ides of March)
Ned Schmidtke (Wedding Crashers)
Ming Lo (Jarhead)
Craig Berko (Cinderella man)
Fred Stoller (Littleman)

Dave Lockwood (Jason Bateman) and Mitch Planko (Ryan Reynolds) are close friends who are each jealous of the other’s lifestyle. While Dave is a lawyer with a wife and kids, Mitch is a freewheeling actor who has sex with many different women. After getting drunk at a bar, Mitch and Dave urinate in a park’s fountain, and simultaneously wish that they had each other’s lives.The next morning, Mitch and Dave realize they have switched bodies. Mitch remembers the wish they made the night before and they drive back to the park, planning to urinate again in the fountain and wish for their original lives back, but find the fountain has been removed for restorations. Forced to wait a few days until the parks department can locate the fountain, Mitch and Dave agree to pretend to be each other for the day. When Mitch arrives at Dave’s law firm office, he befriends Dave’s attractive assistant, Sabrina McArdle (Olivia Wilde). However, Mitch’s lack of professionalism and legal knowledge cause a big merger to fall through. Meanwhile, Dave arrives at Mitch’s film shoot to discover that it is a porno.Tired of pretending to be Mitch, Dave has them go back to his house to tell his wife Jamie (Leslie Mann) the truth, but Jamie does not believe him. Dave gives Mitch advice on how to behave professionally and Mitch sets Dave up on a date with Sabrina, who Dave has had a crush on.After speaking with his father, Mitch rededicates himself to doing everything Dave’s life demands, from taking care of the kids and buying groceries to making decisions at the firm. On the night of her ballet recital, Cara, Dave’s eldest child, is about to be pushed by another girl who has a habit of bullying her, but takes Mitch’s advice and throws her to the floor, to which Mitch foul-mouthedly cheers. Cara tells Dave that she loves him and Mitch says the same thing, but feels guilty for doing so immediately after. That night, Mitch and Jamie begin to have sex with each other, but Mitch angrily finds that his guilt will not allow him to become erect, and he admits that he is not cut out for the responsibilities of an adult. Jamie comforts him, and he discreetly rests his head on her breasts.The next day, Dave decides to take advantage of being Mitch and takes the day off. Dave does everything that he finds relaxing, including going to an aquarium and watching a showing of National Lampoon’s Animal House at the theater. After Dave finishes having fun, he calls Mitch to help show him how to act fun on his date with Sabrina that night. Mitch teaches Dave how to act like him, and finally shaves off Dave’s pubic hair. Sabrina comes to meet him at a classy restaurant and, despite only originally going because Mitch told her to, they eventually legitimately start liking each other, and get tattoos. Dave walks Sabrina home, and she tells him to call her. Later, Jamie asks “Dave” about their anniversary party and he asks why Mitch was not invited. She says that he told her not to invite him because he was afraid Mitch would ruin it with his usual antics. Meanwhile, Dave is rollerblading through the park when he is called by the woman from the district manager’s office and tells him that they found where the statue was moved to. Dave goes to meet Mitch and tell him, but when Dave gets there, he and Mitch imply that they want to stay each other and Dave leaves. However, Mitch forgets about the Dialogue Night that he and Jamie had planned and accidentally stands her up.The following day, Mitch goes with the rest of the representatives to the new merger meeting between the two firms. The Japanese representatives only offer $625 million to merge, $75 million short of their hoped for $700 million. They are about to agree when Mitch says that he has noticed the firm’s representatives have not started leaving, which means they are still willing to up the price, comparing the whole situation to sex and porn. He tells the moderator to tell the firm they demand $725 million and has Dave’s firm’s representatives begin to leave. They successfully scare the other firm into agreeing and celebrate. Mitch and Dave’s family go to a gala being held by Dave’s firm in honor of Dave being made partner, but Jamie is still upset over how she knows Dave will still never truly be happy.Meanwhile, Dave and Sabrina are at a baseball game when a thunderstorm suddenly hits, and they decide to go to Mitch’s house to wait it out. Sabrina tells Dave that she is going to have sex with him, and takes off her pants and bra, but when they begin, he notices a tattoo of a many-spotted skipperling on her hip, the same type of butterfly his daughter said was her favorite, and regretfully leaves, saying he wants to go home. Back at the gala, Steel is giving his speech about the amazing accomplishments Dave made over the years, and how the only thing he loves more than the law is his family. Mitch says to himself that he did not earn the title he is getting, as Dave quickly drives up to the gala, rushes in, and kisses Jamie, finally letting her know that he is who he said he was. He tells her that he loves her, and he and Mitch drive to the Peachtree Galleria, where the fountain was moved. They run in, planning to urinate in the fountain, but find it located in the center of the Galleria, where it is surrounded by hordes of people walking by. They decide to not wait and do it then, but Mitch finds that he is too embarrassed to urinate, especially after the crowd notices Dave doing so.Mitch asks why Dave did not invite him to his anniversary party, and Dave admits that he was embarrassed of him, but has grown to respect him while he was in his body and this allows Mitch to relax enough to be able to urinate. Mitch and Dave try wishing for their original lives back, but it does not work. Security begins to come to arrest them, but on the third try the Galleria’s lights go out, and they both run away before they turn back on. The confused crowd looks around, and the camera pans up to the face of the statue, once again smiling.In the epilogue, Dave is awoken by his babies crying that night, thrilled to realize that he has finally returned in his original body. Dave continually kisses Jamie and happily goes to change the babies. At his home, Mitch awakens to enthusiastically admire himself and happily get breakfast with Sabrina, not realizing that the tattoo Dave got is a picture of his face on Mitch’s back with the caption “I ♥ Dave”. Mitch goes and speaks at his father’s wedding and later attends Dave’s anniversary a month later. In the post-credits scene, Dave and Jamie get high then go to the aquarium Dave went to earlier, while Mitch and Sabrina have sex for the first time and Mitch sends Dave the porno film he starred in.This movie is hilarious, from beginning to end! Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman do an amazing job. The kids are cute and funny as can be. The storyline is old but they did it masterfully with a twist of their own. Absolutely loved it.

31 DAYS OF HORROR 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!

 

REVIEW: DEADPOOL

CAST
Ryan Reynolds (Buried)
Morena Baccarin (Gotham)
T.J. Miller (Cloverfield)
Ed Skrein (Game of Thrones)
Karin Soni (Goosebumps)
Stefan Kapicic (tears for Sale)
Michael Benyaer (G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra)
Brianna Hildebrand (First Girl I Loved)
Kyle Cassie (Andromeda)
Gina Carano (Fast & Furious 6)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
Wade Wilson is a former special forces operative who works as a mercenary in New York City. He meets escort Vanessa Carlysle at a local bar and they become romantically attached. One year later, Wade proposes to marry her and she accepts, but he suddenly collapses. Wade is diagnosed with terminal cancer, and though Vanessa remains by his side, he does not want her to watch him die.
A mysterious recruiter from a secret program approaches Wade, offering an experimental cure for his cancer. He reluctantly decides to leave Vanessa and undergo the procedure. At a laboratory, Wade meets Ajax and Angel Dust, whom he instantly resents. Ajax injects Wade with a serum designed to awaken latent mutant genes, and then subjects him to days of torture to induce stress and trigger the mutation, but without success. Ajax straps Wade into an airtight chamber which raises and lowers the oxygen level to keep Wade constantly on the verge of asphyxiation. Before leaving him over the weekend, Ajax reveals to Wade that their true purpose is to make super-powered slaves to be sold to wealthy customers. While inside the chamber, Wade develops a mutant healing factor that cures his cancer but leaves him severely disfigured with burn-like scars over his entire body as a side effect. He escapes from the chamber and attacks Ajax, but relents when told that his disfigurement can be cured. Ajax subdues Wade, impales him with a piece of rebar and leaves him for dead in the burning laboratory.
Wade survives the ordeal and attempts to return to Vanessa, but is afraid of her suffering because of his appearance, and stays away from her. After consulting his best friend Weasel, Wade decides to hunt down Ajax and cure his disfigurement. He becomes a masked vigilante, takes the alias “Deadpool”, and moves into the home of an elderly blind woman named Blind Al. Following a string of leads, Wade tracks down Ajax to a convoy of cars on an expressway. He kills everyone but Ajax, and demands a cure to his disfigurement. The confrontation is interrupted by the two X-Men members Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead, who have been trying to recruit Wade to join the team. Taking advantage of the distraction, Ajax escapes. Colossus handcuffs his and Wade’s wrists together and drags him away, planning to take him to Professor Xavier back at the X-Mansion. Wade cuts off his hand to escape, and his hand slowly regenerates overnight.
Ajax goes to Weasel’s bar and learns about Vanessa. Weasel calls Wade and tells him Vanessa is in danger. Wade goes to the strip club where she works, but he hesitates before he can face her, allowing Ajax to kidnap her. He and Angel Dust tell Wade to meet them on a decommissioned helicarrier in a scrapyard.
Wade convinces Colossus and Negasonic to help him, and the trio take a cab to the scrapyard. While Colossus and Negasonic battle Angel and several soldiers, Wade fights his way through Ajax’s henchmen, and eventually engages him in a lengthy and violent fight. After Angel defeats Colossus, Negasonic attacks her and accidentally destroys the equipment holding the helicarrier upright. As the helicarrier tips over, Colossus carries Negasonic and Angel to safety, while Wade saves Vanessa. Ajax survives and attacks Wade, but is subdued and reveals there is no cure for Wade’s disfigurement. Wade kills Ajax in response. Vanessa is angered that Wade left her, but still loves him. The two reconcile and kiss.
In a post-credits scene, Wade tells the audience that the film is over and announces a sequel featuring Cable.
Deadpool is great. Ryan Reynolds is mouthy, but never annoying and totally owns the role.  The supporting cast all do their bit, but it’s Deadpool himself all the way. With a sequel already announced this is only the beginning.

REVIEW: X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE

CAST
Hugh Jackman (Chappie)
Liev Schreiber (Scream 3)
Danny Huston (30 Days of Night)
Will.I.Am (Date Night)
Lynn Collins (John Carter)
Kevin Durand (Dark Angel)
Dominc Monaghan (Lost)
Taylor Kitsch (Battleship)
Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool)
Daniel Henney (The Last Stand)
Scott Adkins (Universal Soldier 4)
Patrick Stewart (American Dad)
In 1845, James Howlett, a boy living in Canada, sees his father being killed by groundskeeper Thomas Logan. The trauma activates the boy’s mutation: bone claws protrude from his knuckles, and he kills Thomas, who reveals that he is James’s real father. James flees along with Thomas’s son Victor Creed, who is thus James’s half-brother. They spend the next century as soldiers, fighting in the American Civil War, both World Wars, and the Vietnam War. In Vietnam, Victor kills a senior officer. James defends Victor and the two are sentenced to execution by firing squad, which they survive. Major William Stryker approaches them in military custody, and offers them membership in Team X, a group of mutants including Agent Zero, Wade Wilson, John Wraith, Fred Dukes, and Chris Bradley. They join the team for a few years, but the group’s disregard for human life causes James to leave.
Six years later, James, now using the alias Logan, works as a lumberjack in Canada, where he lives with his girlfriend Kayla Silverfox. Stryker and Zero approach Logan at work. Stryker reports that Wade and Bradley have been killed, and he thinks someone is targeting the team’s members. Logan refuses to rejoin Stryker, but after finding Kayla’s bloodied body in the woods, Logan realizes Victor is responsible. He finds him at a local bar, but Logan loses the subsequent fight. Afterward, Stryker explains that Victor has gone rogue, and offers Logan a way to become strong enough to get his revenge. Logan undergoes a painful operation to reinforce his skeleton with adamantium, a virtually indestructible metal. Once the procedure is complete, Stryker attempts to betray Logan by ordering that his memory be erased. Logan overhears this and escapes to a nearby farm, where an elderly couple take him in. Zero kills them the following morning and tries to kill Logan. Logan brings down Zero’s helicopter, killing him, and swears to kill both Stryker and Victor.
Logan locates John and Fred at a boxing club. Fred explains that Victor is still working for Stryker, hunting down mutants for Stryker to experiment on at his new laboratory, located at a place called “The Island”. Fred mentions Remy “Gambit” LeBeau, who escaped from the island and therefore knows its location. John and Logan find LeBeau in New Orleans, then both fight Victor, who kills John and extracts his DNA. Agreeing to help release mutants that Stryker has captured, Gambit takes Logan to Stryker’s facility on Three Mile Island. Logan learns that Kayla is alive, having been coerced by Stryker into keeping tabs on him in exchange for her sister’s safety. However, Stryker refuses to release her sister and denies Victor the adamantium bonding promised for his service, claiming that test results revealed Victor would not survive the operation. Stryker activates a mouth-sewn Wade, now known as Weapon XI, a “mutant killer” with the powers of multiple mutants, who he refers to as the “Deadpool”.
While Logan and Victor join forces to fight Deadpool, Kayla is mortally wounded leading the Island’s captive mutants — including a teenager named Scott Summers — to safety, and she has no choice but to stay behind. The mutants are subsequently rescued by Professor Charles Xavier. Logan decapitates Deadpool, destroying one of the cooling towers in the process. Stryker arrives and shoots Logan in the head with adamantium bullets, rendering him unconscious. Before Stryker can shoot Kayla, she grabs him and uses her mutant power to persuade him to turn around and walk away until his feet bleed. Logan regains consciousness but has lost his memory. He sees Kayla’s body, but does not recognize her, and leaves the island.
In a mid-credits scene, Stryker is detained for questioning by some MPs in connection with the death of his superior, General Munson, whom Stryker did in fact kill after Munson declared his intent to shut down Stryker’s project. There is another scene which features the fate of Deadpool.
Director Gavin Hood does a decent job of bringing Wolverine’s origin story to the screen, and although it was generally an enjoyable effort, it’s solid rather than spectacular.

REVIEW: TED

CAST

Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy)
Mark Wahlberg (The Other Guys)
Mila Kunis (Black Swan)
Joel McHale (Spider-Man 2)
Giovanni Ribisi (Avatar)
Aedin Mincks (New Girl)
Patrick Warburton (Get Smart)
Laura Vandervoort (Bitten)
Matt Walsh (Semi-Pro)
Jessica Barth (Next)
Bill Smitrovich (The Phantom)
Alex Borstein (Family Guy)
Ralph Garman (Yoga Hosers)
Jessica Stroup (Prom Night)
Sam J. Jones (Flash Gordon)
Ryan Reynolds (Buried)
Norah Jones (My Blueberry Nights)
Tom Skerritt (Alien)
Mike Henry (The Cleveland Show)
Robert Wu (Hot Tub Time Machine)
Ted Danson (The Good Place)
Patrick Stewart (American Dad)

In 1985, 8-year-old John Bennett is a lonely child living in Norwood, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston, who wished for his new Christmas gift—a jumbo teddy bear named Ted—to come to life and become his friend. The wish coincides with a shooting star and comes true; word spread and Ted was briefly a celebrity.27 years later, John (now 35) and Ted are still living in Boston, and are still staunch companions enjoying a hedonistic life. John is dating Lori Collins, who is from Philadelphia. As their anniversary approaches, Lori hopes to marry John but feels he could not move forward with Ted around. John is hesitant about making Ted leave, but he is persuaded to act when they find Ted at home with four prostitutes.John finds Ted his own apartment and a job at a grocery store, where Ted begins dating his coworker Tami-Lynn. Lori learns that John has been skipping work—using her as an excuse—to continue to spend most of his time with Ted. John and Lori are invited to a party put on by Lori’s womanizing manager Rex, but Ted lures John away to a party at his apartment with the offer to meet Sam J. Jones, the star of their favorite film, Flash Gordon. John intends to stay only a few minutes but gets caught up in the occasion. Lori finds John there and breaks up with him. John blames Ted for ruining his life and tells him to stay away.John and Ted confront each other about their ruined friendship and they fight but manage to reconcile. To repair John’s relationship with Lori, Ted arranges for an old lover, singer Norah Jones, to help by having John express his love for Lori with a song during her concert. He does an off-key rendition of All Time High by Rita Coolidge and is booed offstage. Lori is touched by the attempt and returns to her apartment where Ted confesses about his role in John’s relapse and offers to leave them alone forever if she talks to John.Lori is persuaded, but Ted is kidnapped by Donny, an obsessive stalker who idolized Ted as a child. Donny plans to make Ted his brutish son Robert’s toy. Ted manages to reach a phone to contact John but is immediately recaptured. Realizing Ted is in danger, John and Lori locate Donny’s residence and track him to rescue Ted. The chase leads to Fenway Park, where John punches Robert, but during the chase, Ted is damaged and falls onto the field ripped entirely in half. A police car arrives, forcing Donny to flee. John and Lori gather Ted’s stuffing and Ted relays his wish that John be happy with Lori before dying from his injuries.Unable to accept Ted’s death, a distraught John and Lori attempt to repair Ted, which proves useless. Feeling guilty about the incident, Lori makes a wish on a shooting star. The next morning, John hangs his head while looking over Ted’s dead body. Fortunately, Ted is magically restored and reconciles with John and Lori, encouraging them to resume their relationship. John and Lori are married (with Sam Jones as the presiding minister), and Ted comfortably accepts having a life of his own as he and Tami-Lynn continued their love affair. Sam Jones attempts to restart his career and moves into a studio apartment with Brandon Routh. Rex gives up his pursuit of Lori, goes into a deep depression, and dies of Lou Gehrig’s disease. Donny gets arrested by the Boston Police Department for kidnapping a plush toy, but charges are dropped. Robert hires a personal trainer, loses a significant amount of weight, and goes on to become Taylor Lautner.Comedies are hit and miss, or run out of steam towards the end. Ted, however, is not one of these and this is why it is probably one of the best and most original comedies I have ever seen. Perhaps the plot is fairly standard, but with the creator of Family Guy at the helm, things don’t always go the way you expect.

REVIEW: WOMAN IN GOLD

 

CAST

Helen Mirren (Red)
Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool)
Daniel Bruhl (Captain Ameirca: Civil War)
Katie Holmes (Batman Begins)
Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black)
Max Irons (The Host)
Charles Dance (Game of Thrones)
Antje Traue (Man of Steel)
Elizabeth McGovern (Kick-Ass)
Jonathan Pryce (Brazil)

In a series of flashbacks throughout the film, Maria Altmann recalls the arrival of Nazi forces in Vienna, and the subsequent suppression of the Jewish community and the looting and pillaging conducted by the Nazis against Jewish families. Seeking to escape before the country is completely shut off, Maria Altmann and members of her family attempt to flee to the United States. While Altmann and her husband are successful in their escape, she is forced to abandon her parents in Vienna. In the present, living in Los Angeles, a now elderly and widowed Altmann attends the funeral for her sister. She discovers letters in her sister’s possession dating to the late 1940s, which reveal an attempt to recover artwork owned by the Altmann family that was left behind during the family’s flight for freedom and subsequently stolen by the Nazis. Of particular note is a painting of Altmann’s aunt, Adele Bloch-Bauer, now known in Austria as the “Woman in Gold”.Altmann enlists the help of E. Randol Schoenberg (the son of her close friend, Barbara), a lawyer with little experience, to make a claim to the art restitution board in Austria. Reluctantly returning to her homeland, Altmann discovers that the country’s minister and art director are unwilling to part with the painting, which they feel has become part of the national identity. Altmann is told that the painting was in fact legitimately willed to the gallery by her aunt. Upon further investigation by her lawyer and Austrian journalist Hubertus Czernin, this claim proves to be incorrect, as the alleged will is invalid due to the fact that her aunt did not own the painting in question, the artist’s fee having been paid by Altmann’s uncle; moreover, Adele Bloch-Bauer wanted the painting to go to the museum at her husband’s death while in fact it was taken from him by the Nazis and placed in the museum by a Nazi-collaborating curator. Schoenberg files a challenge with the art restitution board, but it is denied and Altmann does not have the money needed to challenge the ruling. Defeated, she and Schoenberg return to the United States.Months thereafter, happening upon an art book with “Woman in Gold” on the cover, Schoenberg has an epiphany. Using a narrow rule of law and precedents in which an art restitution law was retroactively applied, Schoenberg files a claim in US court against the Austrian government contesting their claim to the painting. An appeal goes to the Supreme Court of the United States, where in the matter of Republic of Austria v. Altmann, the court rules in Altmann’s favor, which results in the Austrian government attempting to persuade Altmann to retain the painting for the gallery, which she refuses. After a falling out over the issue of returning to Austria for a second time to argue the case, Altmann agrees for Schoenberg to go and argue the case in front of an arbitration panel of three arbiters in Vienna.In Austria, the arbitration panel hears the case, during which time they are reminded of the Nazi regime’s war crimes by Schoenberg. Schoenberg implores the arbitration panel to think of the meaning of the word “restitution” and to look past the artwork hanging in art galleries to see the injustice to the families who once owned such great paintings and were forcibly separated from them by the Nazis. Unexpectedly, Altmann arrives during the session indicating to Czernin that she came to support her lawyer. After considering both sides of the dispute, the arbitration panel rules in favour of Altmann, returning her paintings. The Austrian government representative makes a last minute proposal begging Altmann to keep the paintings in the Belvedere against a generous compensation. Altmann refuses and elects to have the painting moved to the United States with her (“They will now travel to America like I once had to as well”), and takes up an offer made earlier by Ronald Lauder to acquire them for his New York gallery to display the painting on condition that it be a permanent exhibit.Such a great movie,  the acting is superb and the content, because it deals with real events in a tasteful and honest way.