REVIEW: JOHN WICK – CHAPTER 3: PARABELLUM

Starring

Keanu Reeves (47 Ronin)
Ian McShane (Hercules)
Mark Dacascos (Kamen Rider: Dragon Knight)
Laurence Fishburne (Ant-Man and The Wasp)
Asia Kate Dillon (Billions)
Halle Berry (Darktide)
Lance Reddick (The Guest)
Anjelica Huston (The Addams Family)
Said Taghmaoui (Wonder Woman)
Jerome Flynn (Game of Thrones)
Riccardo Scamarcio (First Light)
Jason Mantzoukas (The Good Place)
Robin Lord Taylor (Gotham)
Susan Blommaert (The Double)
Roger Yuan (Skyfall)

 

Keanu Reeves and Anjelica Huston in John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum (2019)Ten minutes after the conclusion of the previous film, former hitman John Wick is now a marked man and on the run in Manhattan. After the unsanctioned killing of crime lord and new member of the High Table Santino D’Antonio in the New York City Continental, John is declared “excommunicado” by his handlers at the High Table and placed under a $14 million bounty that rises each hour. On the run from assassins, John reaches the New York Public Library and recovers a crucifix necklace and a “marker” medallion from a secret cache in a book. He fights his way through numerous assassins until he reaches the Director, a woman from his past who used to raise him. She calls him by his real name – Jardani Jovanovich. She accepts the crucifix as a “ticket” for safe passage to Casablanca, Morocco, and has Wick branded to signify that he has used up his ticket.Halle Berry in John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum (2019)Meanwhile, an Adjudicator with the High Table meets with Winston, the manager of the New York City Continental, and the Bowery King, the leader of a network of vagrant assassins. The Adjudicator admonishes both for helping John kill Santino, a new member of the high table, and both are given seven days to give up their offices or face serious consequences. The Adjudicator hires Zero, a Japanese assassin, afterwards to enforce the will of the High Table. They find the Director while she is watching her ballet students perform. The Director’s penance for helping Wick by putting the ticket above the rules of the High Table is by blood, therefore Zero uses his sword to make a cut through the center of both her hands.Keanu Reeves, Yayan Ruhian, and Cecep Arif Rahman in John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum (2019)In Casablanca, John meets Sofia, a former friend and the manager of the Casablanca Continental. He presents his marker and asks Sofia to honor it by directing him to the Elder, the only person known to be above the High Table, so that he can ask to have his bounty waived. John has Sofia’s marker because he helped get her daughter out in the past. Sofia takes him to an assassin and her old boss named Berrada, who tells John that he may find the Elder by wandering through the desert until he cannot walk any longer. In exchange for this information, Berrada asks for one of Sofia’s dogs; when Sofia refuses, he shoots the dog (who was wearing a bulletproof vest at the time, so is ultimately unharmed). In retaliation, Sofia shoots Berrada, and the duo fight their way out of the kasbah and flee into the desert. Having fulfilled her marker, Sofia leaves John in the desert. Meanwhile, the Adjudicator uses Zero to accost the Bowery King because he did not agree to leave his position after 7 days. As penance the Bowery King is maimed.Keanu Reeves and Halle Berry in John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum (2019)John collapses from exhaustion in the desert but is found and brought to the Elder. John says he is desperate to live on to “earn” the memory of the love he once had with his wife. The Elder agrees to forgive John but only if he assassinates Winston and continues to work for the High Table until his death. To show his commitment, John severs his ring finger and gives his wedding ring to the Elder. John arrives back in New York City and is pursued by Zero’s men. Zero nearly kills John before his pursuit is halted as they arrive at the New York City Continental, under threat of being declared excommunicado. John meets with Winston, who encourages John not to die as a killer but as a man who loved, and was loved by, his wife.Keanu Reeves in John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum (2019)The Adjudicator arrives, but Winston refuses to give up his office, and John refuses to kill Winston. As a consequence, the Adjudicator “deconsecrates” the New York City Continental, revoking its protected neutral ground status. The Adjudicator notifies Zero and sends two busloads of body-armored High Table enforcers as support. With the help of the hotel’s concierge, Charon, John defends the Continental from the enforcers. John is ambushed by Zero and his students. John kills all but the remaining two students, and then fatally wounds Zero.Keanu Reeves in John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum (2019)The Adjudicator negotiates a parley with Winston, who explains the rebellion as a “show of strength” and offers penance to the High Table. John arrives, and when the Adjudicator identifies him as a threat to the negotiation, Winston shoots John repeatedly, causing John to fall off of the Continental’s roof. The New York City Continental returns to operation and is “reconsecrated”, but the Adjudicator informs Winston that John’s body has disappeared and that he remains a threat for both of them. Meanwhile, a wounded John Wick is delivered to the heavily-scarred Bowery King, who tells John he is angry with the High Table and will be fighting against them. He asks John if he also feels pissed off, and John responds with, “Yeah”.Keanu Reeves and Halle Berry in John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum (2019)All in all, John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum isn’t much different from the previous two movies. It isn’t the world’s most intricate or intelligent thriller. However, with brilliant energy, dazzling visuals, stunning action and an invaluable sense of fun, absolutely none of that matters, and it instead proves a solidly entertaining, manic and dizzyingly joyful thriller throughout.

REVIEW: LOST – SEASON 5

Starring

Matthew Fox (Alex Cross)
Jorge Garcia (How I Met Your Mother)
Elizabeth Mitchell (V)
Evangeline Lilly (Ant-Man and The Wasp)
Jeremy Davies (Hannibal)
Terry O’Quinn (The Rocketeer)
Josh Holloway (Colony)
Naveen Andrews (The Brave One)
Michael Emerson (Arrow)
Rebecca Mader (Iron Man 3)
Daniel Dae Kim (Insurgent)
Yunjin Kim (Shiri)
Henry Ian Cusick (Hitman)
Ken Leung (Inhumans)

Naveen Andrews in Lost (2004)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Sam Anderson (Angel)
L. Scott Caldwell (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
Alan Dale (Ugly Betty)
William Mapother (The Mentalist)
Sonya Walger (Termiantor: TSCC)
Sean Whalen (Twister)
François Chau (The Tick)
Michelle Rodriguez (The Fast and The Furious)
Jeff Fahey (Texas Rising)
Cheech Marin (Machete)
Fionnula Flanagan (The Others)
Nestor Carbonell (Bates Motel)
Alexandra Krosney (Last Man Standing)
John Terry (Full Metal Jacket)
Raymond J. Barry (The Gifted)
Zuleikha Robinson (Homeland)
Saïd Taghmaoui (Wonder Woman)
Malcolm David Kelley (You Got Served)
Lance Reddick (Bosch)
Reiko Aylesworth (24)
Patrick Fischler (Happy!)
Doug Hutchison (Punisher: War Zone)
Sterling Beaumon (The Killing)
Brad William Henke (Bright)
Eric Lange (Narcos)
Jon Gries (Taken)
Matthew Alan (13 Reasons Why)
Tania Raymonde (Texas Chainsaw)
William Sanderson (Blade Runner)
Kim Dickens (Hollow Man)
Dean Norris (Breaking Bad)
Marsha Thomason (The Haunted Mansion)
Alice Evans (The Vampire Diaries)
Andrea Gabriel (2 Broke Girls)
Mark Pellegrino (13 Reasons Why)
Titus Welliver (Argo)

Jeremy Davies and Nestor Carbonell in Lost (2004)Last season, Lost successfully made the transition into the realm of science fiction with classic episodes like “The Constant” and of course, making the island literally disappear in “There’s no Place Like Home.” Season 5 dives head first into weighty science fiction concepts with time travel playing a major role in the narrative for the entire year. There are inherent risks with introducing time travel into a story that is already as complex as the one Lost has become over the past few years. For the most part, the writers do a good job of keeping the time travel aspect of the story from becoming too complicated, but there is no dispute that it is the driving force of the season’s narrative.The first half of the season is comprised of two very distinct storylines.Jeremy Davies, Ken Leung, and Rebecca Mader in Lost (2004)One of those being Jack Shephard’s desperate attempt to reunite the Oceanic Six in order to return to the island and the other being the journey of those left behind as they find themselves inexplicably traveling through time. The Oceanic Six storyline is definitely the weaker of the two. The story of the Six, hours before they return to the island was weakened by a slow start with the somewhat Hurley-centric “The Lie.” This is an episode that featured a little too much of Hugo Reyes’ wacky exploits as he transports an unconscious Sayid around Los Angeles. The rest of the Oceanic Six story is essentially a waiting game as we watch the pieces fall into place so that these characters can return to where we really want them to be – on the island. In fact, their return to the island in “316” feels rushed, almost as if the writers realized that the best place for these characters is back on the island.The aptly named “The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham” is the best episode that takes place almost entirely off the island.Terry O'Quinn and Rebecca Mader in Lost (2004)The story chronicles John Locke’s attempt to convince the Oceanic Six that they need to return to the island in order to save those left behind. It’s a tragic story for John Locke who has spent the last four seasons in the belief that the survivors of Flight 815 are tied by a single destiny but only in death does he finally make people believe. It’s a well-scripted story and wonderfully acted by Terry O’Quinn who does a great job of portraying an interesting transition for Locke on screen.Locke isn’t the only one who goes through a transition this season as Benjamin Linus is forced into a situation that is quite surprising for the character.Daniel Dae Kim and Melissa Farman in Lost (2004)Without delving into too much detail, the dynamic between Locke and Ben changes quite a bit but the great chemistry between O’Quinn and Michael Emerson is still as exceptional as it has always been. Linus fans should not be disappointed by some of the great developments for the character this season. On the island, Sawyer and the rest of the survivors left behind are forced to cope with the fact that they are constantly flashing through time, either to the past or the future. The approach taken here is straightforward and clearly laid out in the first episode of the season; you cannot change events in the past – whatever happened, happened and couldn’t of happened any other way. Faraday acts as the mouth piece for much of the technobabble in the early part of the season with Sawyer playing the part of the ‘everyman’ who constantly questions why things are happening the way they are. This allows the writers an opportunity to ease the audience into this shift of events without making things too complex to follow. There is plenty of exposition,Matthew Fox in Lost (2004)but with Sawyer’s classic charm to offset Faraday’s jargon, it makes it a lot easier to swallow.Time travel is utilized to its fullest here to reveal some of the island’s back-story over the last 50 years. Sawyer and co. pay a visit to the Others of the 1950s and are introduced to past leaders of the mysterious group. We also see some much-needed loose ends tied up as we finally learn more about Rousseau and her research team and we also discover why Richard Alpert visited a young Locke just one season ago. As secrets are revealed and key puzzle pieces are slid into place it’s surprising to see just how well everything fits together. Some of this is certainly due to the asset of knowing how many episodes you have left to tell your story in, but I’m hard pressed to find many plot holes in any of the explanations given. Cuse and Lindelof deserve credit for maintaining a watertight narrative throughout most of the season.

REVIEW: WONDER WOMAN (2017)

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CAST

Gal Gadot (Fast & Furious)
Chris Pine (Star Trek)
Robin Wright (Blade Runner 2049)
Danny Huston (30 Days of Night)
David Thewlis (The Theory of Everything)
Connie Nielsen (Basic)
Elena Anaya (Point Blank)
Ewen Bremner (Trainspotting)
Saïd Taghmaoui (Conan The Barbarian)
Samantha Jo (Mortal Kombat: Legacy)
Lucy Davis (Shaun of The Dead)
Ann Ogbomo (World War Z)
Lisa Loven Kongsli (Occupied)
James Cosmo (Game of Thrones)
Rachel Pickup (Basil)
Florence Kasumba (Black Panther)
Mayling Ng (The Scorpion King 5)

In present-day Paris, Diana Prince, curator for the Louvre’s Department of Antiquities,[8] receives a World War I-era photographic plate couriered by the Wayne Enterprises and recalls her past.Diana was born and raised on the hidden island of Themyscira, home to the Amazon race of warrior women created by the gods of Mount Olympus to protect humankind. In the distant past, Ares, the god of war, slew all his fellow gods, but his father, Zeus, struck him down. Before perishing from his injuries, Zeus left the Amazons a weapon capable of killing his renegade son: the “Godkiller”, which Diana believes to be a ceremonial sword. Queen Hippolyta, Diana’s mother, believes that Ares will never return and forbids Diana from training as a warrior, but Diana and her aunt, General Antiope, defy the queen and begin training in secret. When the two are discovered by Hippolyta, Antiope convinces her sister to allow Diana’s training to continue.As a young woman, Diana rescues Captain Steve Trevor, a pilot with the American Expeditionary Forces,[9] after his plane crashes off the coast of Themyscira. The island is soon invaded by the landing party of a German cruiser pursuing Steve. The Amazons engage and kill all the German sailors, but Antiope dies intercepting a bullet meant for Diana. Interrogated with the Lasso of Truth, Steve reveals that World War I is raging in the outside world, and that he is an Allied spy. He stole a notebook with valuable information from chief chemist Isabel Maru, who is attempting to engineer a deadlier form of mustard gas under the orders of General Erich Ludendorff. Believing Ares is responsible for the war, Diana arms herself with the ceremonial sword and leaves Themyscira with Steve to find and destroy Ares.When the two arrive in London, they deliver Maru’s notebook to the Supreme War Council, including Sir Patrick Morgan, who is trying to negotiate an armistice with Germany. Diana translates Maru’s notes and reveals that the Germans plan to release the deadly gas at the warfront. Although forbidden by his commanders to act, Steve, with secret funding from Sir Patrick, recruits spy Sameer, marksman Charlie, and smuggler Chief to help prevent the gas from being released. When the team reaches the Western Front in Belgium, they are halted by the enemy line, but Diana pushes alone through No man’s land and rallies the Allied forces behind her to liberate the village of Veld. The team briefly celebrates and takes the group photograph from the beginning of the film. Later that night, Diana and Steve bond and share a kiss.The team learns that a gala will be held at the nearby German High Command. Steve infiltrates the party, intending to locate the mustard gas and destroy it. Diana, however, believes Ludendorff is Ares and that killing him will end the war. Steve stops her to avoid jeopardizing the mission. Ludendorff unleashes the gas on Veld, killing its inhabitants. Diana blames Steve for the deaths and pursues Ludendorff to a base where the gas is being loaded into a Zeppelin-Staaken R.VI bound for London. Diana fights and kills Ludendorff, but is confused when his death does not stop the war.Sir Patrick appears and reveals that he is Ares. He tells Diana that although he has subtly given humans ideas and inspirations, it is ultimately their decision to cause violence as they are inherently corrupt. After destroying the ceremonial sword, Ares reveals that Diana is the true “Godkiller”, as she is the daughter of Zeus. Ares attempts to convince Diana that she should help him destroy humankind to restore paradise on Earth. While the two battle and the rest of Steve’s team destroy Dr. Maru’s laboratory, Steve pilots the bomber carrying the gas to a safe altitude and detonates it, sacrificing himself in the process. Ares tries to harness Diana’s rage and grief by telling her to kill Dr. Maru, but Diana’s memories of Steve inspire her to decide that humans have good within them, and she spares Maru before destroying Ares. Back in London, the nation celebrates the end of the war.In the present day, Diana sends an e-mail to Bruce Wayne thanking him for the photographic plate of her and Steve and reaffirms her mission to protect the world as Wonder Woman.The film is well rounded, the plot never leaves you bored, the humor is fresh and relatable, and the actors are so good! The costumes are realistic and the fight choreography is some of the best I’ve seen in a while!  It’s an awesome entry for the DC film universe.

REVIEW: TRAITOR

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CAST

Don Cheadle (Brooklyn’s Finest)
Guy Pearce (Memento)
Saïd Taghmaoui (American Hustle)
Neal McDonough (Legends of Tomorrow)
Jeff Daniels (The Martian)
Archie Panjabi (A Good Year)
Alyy Khan (A Mighty Heart)
Mozhan Marnò (Gimmie Shelter)
Lorena Gale (Battlestar Galactica)
Jonathan Walker (Red)

Samir Horn (Don Cheadle) is an Arabic-speaking Sudanese-American and devout Muslim. His Sudanese father was killed by a car bomb when he was a child. As an adult, Samir is first seen operating as an arms dealer. While negotiating a deal with Omar (Saïd Taghmaoui) in Yemen he is arrested and thrown into a Yemeni jail. Later, Samir and Omar become friends and when Omar’s people arrange an escape, he takes Samir with them. They meet Fareed (Alyy Khan), a lieutenant in the al-Nathir terrorist organization. FBI Special Agent Roy Clayton (Pearce) suspects Samir has been radicalized and begins tracking him.
Joining al-Nathir, Samir uses the skills he learned as a Special Forces Engineer Sergeant with the U.S. Army Special Forces to bomb the U.S. consulate in Nice, France. It is revealed that Samir is working under deep cover for a US intelligence contractor, Carter (Jeff Daniels); Samir is devastated when he learns that despite Carter’s covert efforts, innocent people perished in the consulate bombing. Impressed with Samir, Fareed introduces him to leader Nathir, who discloses a plot to place suicide bombers on 50 buses in the U.S. during Thanksgiving, and instructs Samir to act as liaison to each of the al-Nathir sleeper bombers. Later, Carter unwittingly interrupts a meeting between Samir and Omar, and is killed by Omar.
Samir reveals his deep cover to Agent Clayton, who tracks him to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. While on board a cargo ship to Marseille, France, Samir kills Nathir and Fareed, and tells an enraged Omar that by targeting innocents they betrayed Islam. Samir then tells Omar that he switched the bombers’ emails and he placed them all on the same bus so all of them died without victims (except for the driver of the one bus). The Canadian police and the FBI break in, killing Omar and injuring Samir.
Later, underneath the ‘L’ in Chicago, Samir tells Agent Clayton he feels guilty for killing innocent people, and that the Qur’an says that to kill an innocent person is to kill all mankind. Clayton responds by noting that the Qur’an also says that by saving an innocent person, he has saved all mankind, and tells Samir he is a hero.
The story immediately grabs the audience’s attention and dramatizes the dynamics and issues relating to the government’s response to terrorism and provides an interesting take on the challenges associated with police work and undercover infiltration.

REVIEW: VANTAGE POINT

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CAST

Dennis Quaid (Movie 43)
William Hurt (The Incredible Hulk)
Matthew Fox (Lost)
Forest whitaker (The Butler)
Said Taghmaoui (Wonder Woman)
Sigourney Weaver (Paul)
Édgar Ramírez (Joy)
Ayelet Zurer (Daredevil)
Eduardo Noriega (The Last Stand)
Richard T. Jones (Terminator: TSCC)
Bruce McGill (MacGyver)
Zoe Saldana (Avatar)
Holt McCallany (Heroes)
Leonardo Nam (Westworld)
Sean O’Bryan (Mission Impossible III)

U.S. President Henry Ashton (Hurt) attends a political summit in Salamanca, Spain, to promote an international treaty. Displayed with eight differing viewpoints, an assassination attempt on the president occurs, relayed in a time span of 23 minutes. Each time the events unfold from the beginning, a new vantage point is shown revealing additional details, which ultimately completes the story of what actually took place during the incident.From the first vantage point, GNN producer Rex Brooks (Weaver), directs various media personnel from a mobile television studio as the president arrives at the gathering. Mayor De Soto (Rodriguez) delivers a short speech and then introduces the president, who is shot twice as he greets the crowd from the podium. An explosion outside the plaza soon follows. Moments later, the podium itself is destroyed by a secondary explosion, killing and injuring numerous people. As the smoke clears, GNN reporter Angie Jones (Saldana) is seen lying dead in the rubble.The second vantage point follows Secret Service agents Thomas Barnes (Quaid) and Kent Taylor (Fox). Barnes notices a curtain fluttering in the window of a nearby building that was allegedly vacated. He also observes American tourist Howard Lewis (Whitaker) filming the audience. After the president is shot, Barnes tackles a man rushing to the podium named Enrique (Noriega). Taylor pursues a lead to a potential assassin. Following the second explosion, Barnes barges into the GNN production studio and asks to view their footage. He calls Taylor, who reports the direction of the suspected assassin’s escape route. Barnes then views an image on one of the camera’s live feeds that startles him and prompts him to run out.In the third vantage point, Enrique, a Spanish police officer assigned to protecting the mayor of Salamanca, sees his girlfriend Veronica (Zurer), being embraced by a stranger and overhears them speaking about meeting under an overpass. When he confronts her, Veronica assures Enrique of her love for him as he hands her a bag. When the president is shot, Enrique rushes onto the stage to protect the mayor, but is tackled by Barnes. While being detained, he witnesses Veronica toss the bag he gave her under the podium, causing the second explosion. Enrique escapes as the agents who previously had him in custody mount a chase while firing shots in his direction, failing to subdue him. Enrique confronts an unseen individual at the overpass and asks if he is surprised to see him still alive.The fourth vantage point revolves around Howard Lewis who is chatting with a man called Sam (Taghmaoui), while a little girl named Anna (Zapien), bumps into him and drops her ice cream. Later, Lewis notices Barnes looking at the curtain fluttering in the window of a nearby building, and captures the footage with his camcorder. Following the second explosion at the podium, Lewis chases Enrique and the pursuing Secret Service agents. At the overpass, Lewis views the pair of agents from afar shooting in the direction of Enrique as he greets an individual in a police uniform under the overpass. Seriously wounded, Enrique falls to the ground. Lewis sees Anna who had earlier become separated from her mother, trying to cross a busy intersection. An ambulance races down the road about to hit Anna, as Lewis runs out to save her.The fifth vantage point begins as President Ashton, having been informed of a credible assassination threat, has returned to his hotel room with his aides while his body double proceeds to the gathering in the plaza. The President talks with his personnel about the reason for the terrorists’ plot, the retaliation by the U.S. to the plot, the return of Barnes to active duty, and giving the order for the retaliation to proceed. The first explosion occurs just outside the hotel. Seconds later, a masked assailant bursts into the president’s room, shoots his advisers and then proceeds to abduct Ashton. By the sixth vantage point, terrorist Suarez, previously seen as Sam, shoots Ashton’s body double using a remote-controlled automatic rifle placed in an adjacent window next to the one with the fluttering curtain that had drawn Barnes’ attention earlier. The rifle is retrieved by Taylor, who Barnes sees leaving the scene wearing a Spanish policeman’s uniform on one of the GNN live feeds, even though he tells Barnes that he’s in pursuit of the assassin over the phone. Barnes realizes Taylor is actually part of the terror plot. The man Enrique saw embracing Veronica is revealed to be sharpshooter Javier (Ramirez), whose brother is being held hostage to ensure Javier’s cooperation with the terrorists. The first explosion, at the hotel, is revealed to be a device detonated by a suicide bomber disguised as a bellhop who had previously handed Javier a hotel room key. Javier kills the guards and aides within the hotel, and kidnaps the president. Ashton is later placed in an ambulance with Suarez and Veronica disguised as medics. Javier joins Taylor in a police car to a planned rendezvous at the overpass.Barnes commandeers a car and chases Taylor and Javier. Barnes gets into a collision with a truck, allowing the duo to escape. At the overpass, Enrique, who did not die in the blast at the podium as intended, confronts Javier and Taylor. Enraged, Javier shoots Enrique, mistakenly believing he had knowledge of his kidnapped brother’s whereabouts. Javier is then shot and killed by Taylor when he demands to be brought to his brother, who had been killed earlier by Suarez. Enrique dies of his wounds as Barnes reaches the scene on foot firing several rounds at Taylor, who attempts to flee. After crashing his car, a critically injured Taylor is dragged out by Barnes. He orders Taylor to reveal where the president has been taken, but Taylor dies. Meanwhile, Ashton regains consciousness in the ambulance and attacks Veronica, distracting her and Suarez just as Anna runs into their path. Suarez swerves causing the ambulance to flip over just as Lewis pulls Anna out of its way. Barnes runs to the ambulance where he sees Veronica lying dead. He shoots Suarez dead and rescues the president.This film really gets going right away and there is no time for a break.

REVIEW: HIDALGO


CAST

Viggo Mortensen (Lord of The Rings)
Omar Sharif (Doctor Zhivago)
Zuleikha Robinson (Lost)
Louise Lombard (Stargate Universe)
Said Taghmaoui (COnan The Barbarian)
J.K. Simmons (The Accountant)
Peter Mensah (Spartacus)
C. Thomas Howell (E.T.)
Marshall Manesh (How I Met Your Mother)
Malcolm McDowell (Star Trek: Generations)
Chris Owen (American Pie)

In 1890, American Frank Hopkins (Viggo Mortensen) and his mustang, Hidalgo, are part of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show, where they are advertised as “the world’s greatest distance horse and rider”. Hopkins had been a famous distance rider, a cowboy, and a dispatch rider for the United States government; in the latter capacity he carried a message to the U.S. 7th Cavalry Regiment authorizing the Wounded Knee Massacre of Lakota Sioux.
Wealthy Sheikh Riyadh (Omar Sharif) has sent his attaché Aziz (Adam Alexi-Malle) to ask the show to either stop using the phrase “the world’s greatest distance horse and rider” or allow Hopkins and Hidalgo to prove themselves by entering the Middle Eastern “Ocean of Fire” race: an annual 3,000-mile survival race across the Najd desert region. The Sheikh is custodian of the al-Khamsa line, considered to be the greatest distance horses in the world, and traditionally the race has been restricted to pure-bred Arabian horses and Bedouin or Arab riders. In addition to the grueling conditions, prevailing animosity and contempt for a Christian “infidel” and “impure” horse, horse and rider face stiff competition, including the wealthy and unscrupulous British horse breeder Lady Anne Davenport (Louise Lombard).To complicate matters, Sheikh Riyadh has promised his daughter Jazira Jazeera (Zuleikha Robinson), his only surviving child, in marriage to the rider of his horse, should he win. She hopes to prevent this by giving Hopkins advice and information to help him win, thereby resulting in greater danger for them both. Sheikh Riyadh’s outcast brigand nephew, who will stop at nothing to gain control of the al-Khamsa line, raids the race camp, kidnaps Jazira, and threatens to kill her unless he gets his uncle’s prize stallion racer as her ransom. Hopkins manages to rescue Jazira. However, Davenport and the Sheikh’s nephew try to sabotage the race by eliminating the rival riders, but are thwarted when Hopkins kills the nephew.
For Hopkins the Ocean of Fire becomes not only a matter of pride, honor and survival, but of identity as well: it emerges that his father was European American while his mother was Lakota Sioux. The Lakota call him “Blue Child” or “Far Rider.” As a half-breed he feels sympathy and pity for his mother’s people, but does not generally reveal his heritage, especially after the Wounded Knee massacre, for which he feels partly responsible. Jazira compares his relation to his heritage to her desire to avoid wearing the veil, saying that he mustn’t “go through life hiding what God made you….like me.”
Nearing the end of the race, Hidalgo is severely injured and Hopkins is dying of thirst. He considers shooting Hidalgo to end his suffering, but is unable to bring himself to do it. Kneeling, he chants a prayer to Wakan Tanka as a possible death song, and images of Lakota elders and his mother appear before him before Hidalgo suddenly struggles up, and Hopkins rides bareback to come from behind win the race. Hopkins wins the respect and admiration of the Arabs, and becomes friends with the Sheikh, giving him his revolver as a gift. As he bids farewell to an unveiled Jazira, she asks him if he is fulfilling the traditional Western tales’ ending where the cowboy rides away into the setting sun and calls him Blue Child as she smiles kindly at him and turns to go. Returning to the United States, Hopkins uses his winnings to buy a herd of mustangs about to be killed by government order, in what was an attempt by the US government to eliminate mustangs and force Native Americans to convert to farming. Hopkins has the horses released and frees Hidalgo to join them in the wild. The epilogue states that Hopkins went on to reportedly win 400 long-distance races and was an outspoken supporter for wild mustangs until his death in 1951, while Hidalgo’s descendants live free in the wild in and around Oklahoma.The film has powerful overtones along with a basic plot. Overall, it made for a great adventure film. Its ending was certainly bittersweet

REVIEW: I ♥ HUCKABEES

CAST

Dustin Hoffman (Rain Man)
Jason Schwartzman (Scott Pilgram vs. The World)
Naomi watts (Insurgent)
Isabelle Huppert (Amour)
Jude Law (Spy)
Lily Tomlin (Orange County)
Mark Wahlberg (Transformers 4)
Kevin Dunn (Small Soldiers)
Tippi Hedren (The Birds)
Said Taghmaoui (American Hustle)
Jean Smart (Garden State)
Jonah Hill (Cyrus)
Isla Fisher (Grimsby)
Talia Shire (Rocky)
Kamala Lopez (Total Recall)
Richard Jenkins (The Cabin In The Woods)
Bob Gunton (Daredevil)
Jake Hoffman (The Wolf od Wall Street)

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Albert Markovski (Jason Schwartzman) is a young man who heads the local chapter of an environmental group, the “Open Spaces Coalition”. One of their current projects is an attempt to stop the building of a new Huckabees store, a chain of “big-box” department stores. Albert is a rival of Brad Stand (Jude Law), a shallow power executive at Huckabees. Brad infiltrates Open Spaces and charismatically displaces Albert as the leader. Dawn Campbell (Naomi Watts) is Brad’s live-in girlfriend and the face and voice of Huckabees; she appears in all of the store’s commercials.

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After seeing the same conspicuous stranger three times, Albert contacts two existential detectives, Bernard (Dustin Hoffman) and Vivian Jaffe (Lily Tomlin). The detectives offer Albert their optimistic brand of existentialism—they name it universal interconnectivity (which has some tenets of romantic and transcendentalist philosophies)—and spy on him, ostensibly to help him solve the coincidence. Bernard and Vivian introduce Albert to Tommy Corn (Mark Wahlberg), an obsessively anti-petroleum firefighter. Tommy is assigned to Albert as his ‘other’.

Tommy grows dissatisfied with the Jaffes, feeling that they are not helping him. Seeking out other possibilities, Tommy ends up abandoning and undermining the Jaffes by introducing Albert to Caterine Vauban (Isabelle Huppert), a former student of the Jaffes who espouses a seemingly opposing nihilistic/absurdist philosophy. She teaches them to disconnect their inner beings from their daily lives and their problems, to synthesize a non-thinking state of “pure being.” Being lifted from their troubles, they wish to keep that feeling forever, yet she tells them that it is inevitable to be drawn back to the human drama, and to understand that the core truth of that drama is misery and meaninglessness. In order to prove her point, Caterine takes Albert to go and have sex in the woods, leaving Tommy behind. Tommy finds out about the two of them being together and feels hurt. Caterine tells him that they found each other through all of the human suffering and drama. Tommy rejects this idea and leaves them furious and lost. Meanwhile, in Brad’s further attempts to undercut Albert, he and Dawn meet with and are influenced by Bernard and Vivian. In the following days, Brad and Dawn rethink their entire lives: Dawn rejects the modeling world and looks for deeper meaning, and Brad realizes that his whole ascent on the corporate ladder is meaningless, as he has lived his whole life just trying to please others and not himself.

All the storylines collide when Brad’s house catches fire. While the fire trucks get stuck in a traffic jam, Tommy comes on his bicycle to put out the fire, which incidentally trapped Dawn inside. As he saves her life, the two fall in love. Meanwhile, Brad despairs at the destruction of his house, the symbol of his material success. Albert attains a sort of enlightenment when he synthesizes the two opposing outlooks of the Jaffes and Vauban to realize the cosmic truth of everything. Brad, meanwhile, is fired from Huckabees, leaving him rudderless. Albert reveals to Brad that he burned Brad’s jet skis, and the fire spread to the house. Albert understands that he and Brad are no different, that everything really is inextricably connected, but that these connections necessarily arise from the often senselessly painful reality of human existence. Having realized this, he refers Brad to Caterine, hoping she will help him as she did Albert and Tommy. Albert and Tommy talk later about everything that has happened. As the two talk, Caterine and the Jaffes watch them, concluding that they can close both of their cases.

This film manages the delicate balance of being thought provoking while simultaneously quite funny, as our protagonist navigates the different philosophies that other characters come up with. Aided by a cast of stars, it is really a great film and a must see for all those who like to think outside the box.