REVIEW: HACKSAW RIDGE

Starring

Andrew Garfield (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Vince Vaughn (The Internship)
Sam Worthington (Avatar)
Luke Bracey (G.I. Joe: Retaliation)
Hugo Weaving (Mortal Engines)
Ryan Corr (Wolf Creek 2)
Teresa Palmer (Warm Bodies)
Rachel Griffiths (Saving Mr. Banks)
Richard Roxburgh (Mission: Impossible 2)
Luke Pegler (Home and Away)
Richard Pyros (Noise)
Ben Mingay (Home and Away)
Firass Dirani (Power Rangers Mystic Force)
Matt Nable (Arrow)
Robert Morgan (Suburban Mayhem)
Nathaniel Buzolic (The Originals)

Andrew Garfield and Luke Bracey in Hacksaw Ridge (2016)In rural 1920s Virginia, the young Desmond Doss nearly kills his little brother Hal while roughhousing. This event and his Seventh-day Adventist upbringing reinforce Desmond’s belief in the commandment “Thou shalt not kill”. Years later, Doss takes an injured man to the hospital and meets a nurse, Dorothy Schutte. The two strike a romance and Doss tells Dorothy of his interest in medical work. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Doss enlists in the Army to serve as a combat medic. His father Tom, a World War I veteran, is deeply upset by the decision. Before leaving for Fort Jackson, Desmond asks for Dorothy’s hand in marriage and she accepts.Andrew Garfield in Hacksaw Ridge (2016)Doss is placed in basic training under the command of Sergeant Howell. He excels physically, but becomes an outcast among his fellow soldiers for refusing to handle a rifle and train on Saturdays. Howell and Captain Glover attempt to discharge Doss for psychiatric reasons under Section 8 but are overruled, as Doss’ religious beliefs do not constitute mental illness. They subsequently torment Doss by putting him through grueling labor, intending to get Doss to leave of his own accord. Despite being beaten one night by his fellow soldiers, he refuses to identify his attackers and continues training.Andrew Garfield and Teresa Palmer in Hacksaw Ridge (2016)Doss’ unit completes basic training and is released on leave, during which Doss intends to marry Dorothy, but his refusal to carry a firearm leads to an arrest for insubordination. Captain Glover and Dorothy visit Doss in jail and try to convince him to plead guilty so that he can be released without charge, but Doss refuses to compromise his beliefs. At his court-martial Doss pleads not guilty, but before he is sentenced, his father barges into the tribunal with a letter from his former commanding officer (now a brigadier general) stating that his son’s pacifism is protected by the U.S. Constitution. The charges against Doss are dropped, and he and Dorothy are married.Andrew Garfield in Hacksaw Ridge (2016)Doss’ unit is assigned to the 77th Infantry Division and deployed to the Pacific theater. During the Battle of Okinawa, Doss’ unit is informed that they are to relieve the 96th Infantry Division, which was tasked with ascending and securing the Maeda Escarpment (“Hacksaw Ridge”). During the initial fight, with heavy losses on both sides, Doss saves the life of his squadmate Smitty, earning his respect. As the Americans camp for the night, Doss reveals to Smitty that his aversion to holding a firearm stems from nearly shooting his drunken father, who threatened his mother with a gun. Smitty apologizes for doubting his courage, and the two reconcile.Richard Pyros, Ben Mingay, Andrew Garfield, and Goran D. Kleut in Hacksaw Ridge (2016)The next morning, the Japanese launch a massive counterattack and drive the Americans off the escarpment. Smitty is killed, while Howell and several of Doss’ squad mates are left injured on the battlefield. Doss hears the cries of dying soldiers and returns to save them, carrying the wounded to the cliff’s edge and belaying them down by rope, each time praying to save one more. The arrival of dozens of wounded once presumed dead comes as a shock to the rest of the unit below. When day breaks, Doss rescues Howell and the two escape Hacksaw under enemy fire.Andrew Garfield and Teresa Palmer in Hacksaw Ridge (2016)Captain Glover tells Doss that they are scheduled to retake the ridge on Saturday and will not launch the next attack without him. Doss agrees but the operation is delayed until after he concludes his Sabbath prayers. With reinforcements, they turn the tide of battle. After an ambush set by Japanese soldiers feigning surrender, Doss manages to save Glover and others by deflecting enemy grenades. Doss is eventually wounded by a grenade blast, but the battle is won. Doss descends the cliff, clutching the Bible Dorothy gave him.Andrew Garfield in Hacksaw Ridge (2016)The film switches to archival photos and footage showing that Doss was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Harry S. Truman for rescuing 75 soldiers at Hacksaw Ridge. Doss stayed married to Dorothy until her death in 1991. He died on March 23, 2006, at the age of 87.Andrew Garfield in Hacksaw Ridge (2016)Overall, Hacksaw Ridge is a film that will leave audiences in state of emotion that describes the horrors of war, the bravery of Doss and his army and a sense of thankfulness to our past ancestors who had lived in a time to fight for freedom and peace when the world was divided. A

REVIEW: WRATH OF THE TITANS

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CAST

Sam Worthington (Avatar)
Liam Neeson (Batman Begins)
Ralph Fiennes (Red Dragon)
Édgar Ramírez (Vantage Point)
Toby Kebbell (Fantastic Four 2015)
Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl)
Bill Nighy (Underworld)
Danny Huston (30 Days of Night)
Lily James (Cinderella)

Perseus (Sam Worthington), a son of Zeus (Liam Neeson), lives as a fisherman after the death of his wife, Io (portrayed by Gemma Arterton in the previous film), with his young son, Helius (John Bell). Zeus visits Perseus and asks for his help, saying that humans are not praying to the gods and as a result the gods are losing their power and becoming mortal and can no longer sustain the walls of Tartarus which are crumbling, and the imprisoned Titan Kronos will soon be free. Perseus, valuing his family’s safety, refuses to get involved.

Zeus meets his brothers Hades (Ralph Fiennes) and Poseidon (Danny Huston), and his son Ares (Édgar Ramírez) in Tartarus. He asks Hades’s help in rebuilding Tartarus’s walls, but Hades rejects the offer and attacks Zeus. Ares betrays Zeus, imprisoning him and stealing his thunderbolt. Hades and Ares plan to make a deal with Kronos: in exchange for remaining immortal, they will drain Zeus’s divine power to revive Kronos. The walls of Tartarus break unleashing monsters onto the world.

After killing a Chimera that attacked his village, Perseus travels to meet his father. He instead finds a dying Poseidon who informs him of the circumstances and tells him to find his Demigod son Agenor (Toby Kebbell) who will lead him to Hephaestus, who knows the way into Tartarus. Poseidon then gives Perseus his trident and succumbs to the injuries he sustained when meeting Hades and dissolves into dust. Perseus, Andromeda (Rosamund Pike), and Agenor set out to find Hephaestus on a hidden island. Agenor explains that Hephaestus created three weapons which Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon wield: Zeus’s thunderbolt, Hades’s pitchfork, and Poseidon’s trident, and that these weapons can jointly form the Spear of Trium, the only weapon that can defeat Kronos. After an encounter with 30 ft. Cyclopes, the travelers eventually meet the now mortal Hephaestus (Bill Nighy) and reach the entrance of a labyrinth leading to Tartarus. Hephaestus sacrifices himself during an attack by Ares to enable Perseus, Andromeda, and Agenor to enter the labyrinth.

The group eventually enters Tartarus. Meanwhile, Zeus has been almost entirely drained of power as Kronos awakens. Zeus apologizes to Hades for banishing him to the underworld and asks his forgiveness, as he has forgiven Hades for his actions. Hades decides to help Zeus and stop Kronos in contrast to Ares who still wants to proceed to the former’s revival. Perseus arrives and frees Zeus. Ares wounds Zeus with Hades Pitchfork, allowing Perseus to obtain it before he and the others escapes Tartarus with Hades.

Aiming to retrieve the Thunderbolt from Ares in order to defeat Kronos, Perseus challenges him to a duel, which Ares accepts. Meanwhile, Andromeda’s army is overwhelmed by the Makhai, but Hades revives Zeus which leaves Hades less powerful and they defeat the creatures. Kronos appears and begins to attack Andromeda’s army. Zeus and Hades hold off Kronos while Perseus duels Ares eventually killing him with the thunderbolt. Combining the gods’ weapons into the Spear of Trium, Perseus destroys Kronos, traveling to his heart and throwing the spear into it. Zeus reconciles with Perseus and then dies of his wounds as he dissolves. Hades tells Perseus that now he is powerless and leaves. Perseus kisses Andromeda. Helius tells his father that he wants to return to his life as a fisherman, but Perseus tells him they can’t. He tells Helius that he should be proud of himself, as his son and the grandson of Zeus. The film ends with Perseus giving his sword to Helius.

Short and sharp, this is an action packed movie that just doesn’t give you time to draw breath.The beautiful English Rose, Rosamund Pike plays Andromeda. A great film!

REVIEW: CLASH OF THE TITANS (2010)

 

CAST

Sam Worthington (Avatar)
Liam Neeson (Batman Begins)
Ralph Fiennes (Red Dragon)
Jason Flemyng (X-Men: First CLass)
Gemma Arterton (The Voices)
Alexa Davalos (Angel)
Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal)
Luke Evans (Dracula Untold)
Izabella Miko (The Cape)
Liam Cunningham (Game of Thrones)
Polly Walker (Caprica)
Pete Postlethwaite (Solomon Kane)
Rory McCann (Hot Fuzz)
Alexander Siddig (Kingdom of Heaven)
Danny Huston (30 Days of Night)
Ian Whyte (Game of Thrones)
Nicholas Hoult (The Favourite)
Vincent Regan (Troy)
Luke Treadaway (A Street Cat Named Bob)
Kaya Scodelario (The Maze Runner)
Tamer Hassan (Layer Cake)

In ancient times after defeating their predecessors, the Titans, the gods divided the Universe among themselves. Zeus took the skies, Poseidon took the seas, and Hades was left with the Underworld upon being tricked by Zeus. The gods created the mortals, whose faith and prayers fueled the gods’ immortality. As time passed, however, mortals began to question and soon resist their creators, angering the Olympians. A fisherman named Spyros finds a coffin adrift in the sea, discovering a baby, Perseus and his mother Danaë. Spyros decided to raise Perseus.

As Perseus and his family fish from a boat, they watch soldiers from the city of Argos destroy a statue of Zeus. Infuriated at this desecration, the Gods unleash the Furies who attack the soldiers and destroy the fishing vessel. Only Perseus survives and is found by a group of the soldiers. Perseus is brought before King Cepheus and Queen Cassiopeia, who are celebrating their campaign against the gods. Queen Cassiopeia brashly compares her daughter Andromeda to the gods and boasts that she is more beautiful than Aphrodite. The revelry is cut short by the arrival of Hades, who has been given leave by Zeus to punish the mortals for their defiance. Hades threatens to unleash his monster the Kraken against Argos, unless Andromeda is offered as a sacrifice. Before leaving, he reveals that Perseus is a demigod and the son of Zeus.

Perseus meets Io, who confirms his origin. Io also reveals that she has watched over Perseus his entire life. She has always protected him for he is the only one who can defeat the gods. Perseus leads the King’s Guard to the Stygian Witches, looking for a way to kill the Kraken. After being betrayed by the power-hungry Hades, Zeus gives Perseus a sword forged on Mount Olympus and a winged horse named Pegasus. Perseus refuses both, but the captain of the King’s guard named Draco keeps the sword for when Perseus needs it. Soon after, they are attacked by Calibos, an agent of Hades. Draco severs the beast’s hand and Calibos flees. The band give chase but are attacked by giant scorpions called Scorpioxs that spring from spilled drops of Calibos’s blood. They are saved by a band of Djinn, non-human desert sorcerers led by Sheik Suleiman where the remaining Scorpioxs are tamed by the Djinn. The Djinn also wish for the gods’ defeat and lend their aid to Perseus and his band.MV5BMTgyNTUyNjQwMl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjUxNzYyMw@@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,822_AL_The group arrives at the lair of the Stygian Witches and learn that to kill the Kraken, they must obtain and use the head of Medusa, a gorgon who resides in a temple in the Underworld. Any living creature that looks on Medusa’s eyes turns into stone. Perseus, Io, Suleiman, Draco, and his remaining men, Solon, Eusebios, and Ixas, cross into the Underworld. The men enter Medusa’s temple lair while Io, being a woman and forbidden from entering, remains outside. Medusa kills all three of Draco’s men. Suleiman and Draco both wound the gorgon, sacrificing themselves in the process. Perseus finally beheads her by using his reflective shield to see her with his back turned. As he leaves the temple with Medusa’s head, Calibos appears behind Io and fatally stabs her. Perseus and Calibos fight where upon finally accepting that he is a son of Zeus, Perseus picks up the Olympian sword and stabs Calibos through the chest, who with his last breath urges Perseus not to become a God.

Before dying, Io urges a reluctant Perseus to leave her and save Andromeda and Argos. Then she dissolves into a golden ethereal vapor. Pegasus appears and Perseus mounts the flying horse and hastens back to Argos as the Kraken is released. The people of Argos seize and bind Andromeda to offer her to the Kraken. Meanwhile, as people die in the Kraken’s wake, the balance of power on Olympus shifts. Hades reveals he does not require the faith or worship of mortals (as Zeus does), as he has learned to survive on their fear. Hades then effortlessly subdues the weakened Zeus. Riding the black Pegasus, Perseus arrives at Argos and exposes Medusa’s head to the Kraken, which makes eye contact just before it is able to reach Andromeda. The Kraken, petrified, slowly turns to stone and shatters. Prokopion, the insane leader of the Cult of Hades, tries to kill Perseus, but Kepheus stops him and is stabbed, before both are killed when the kraken’s petrified hand falls on them. Hades appears, intending to finally kill Perseus. Perseus, calling upon Zeus, throws his sword at Hades. A lightning bolt engulfs the sword and the blast sends Hades back to the Underworld. Perseus rescues Andromeda, who is now the rightful Queen of Argos. Andromeda asks Perseus to stay by her side as King, but he declines. Perseus also refuses another offer of godhood from Zeus, who then proclaims that if Perseus is to live as a human he should not be alone and revives Io.

The movie keeps moving without feeling too chopped up and thankfully there’s a minimum of shakeycam or MTV overediting to accompany the overdose of testosterone. Big on spectacle and short on charm, it’s a very different animal to Harryhausen’s film (there’s even an injoke about that version’s irritating mechanical owl), but as long as you’re expecting that it’s one of the better action adventures of recent years.

REVIEW: AVATAR EXTENDED EDITION

CAST

Sam Worthington (Clash of The Titans)
Zoe Saldana (Star Trek)
Sigourney Weaver (Alien)
Stephen Lang (Public Enemies)
Michelle Rodriguez (THe Breed)
Giovanni Ribisi (Ted)
Joel David Moore (Bones)
CCH Pounder (Orphan)
Wes Studi (Heat)
Kelson Henderson (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Peter Mensah (Sleepy Hollow)
James Gaylyn (Power Rangers RPM)
Laz Alonso (Fast & Furious)
Matt Gerald (The Oath)
Scott Lawrence (Star Trek Into Darkness)
T.J. Storm (VR Troopers)

MV5BMjA4MzQ2ODE2M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzk0MTUzNA@@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,999_AL_The extended collector’s edition runs 16 minutes 28 seconds longer than the theatrical cut, and listed below are the major differences.

1) The opening scene is different, and starts with Jake in a wheelchair on Earth, in a Blade Runner-esque Earth city. The scene moves to scenes of Jake in his apartment, then taking liquid shots in a bar. Jake’s narration of “I told myself I can pass any test a man can pass” and “They can fix the spinal if you got the money. But not on vet benefits, not in this economy” are inserted during this new opening scene.

Jake beats up a bar patron who is mistreating a woman, and then Jake and wheelchair are unceremoniously thrown outside by bouncers into an alley. While in the alley, Jake meets the two RDA representatives who bring him news of his brother’s untimely death. Then the movie cuts back to the original theatrical cut where Jake sees his brother’s body cremated, then awakes in space.

2) During Jake’s initial flyover of Pandora in his avatar, they witness a herd of Sturmbeasts, buffalo-like creatures.

3) After seeing the Sturmbeasts, Grace, Jake, and Norm stop by Grace’s old English school for the Na’vi. The school is now closed, abandoned, and some walls are riddled with bullet-holes. Norm finds a Dr. Seuss book, “The Lorax”, on the ground. This scene explains how Neytiri knew English so well, and certainly gives some further backstory into Grace Augustine’s character.

Interestingly, The Lorax can be seen as a metaphor for the Pandoran story. Recall that the seemingly simple Seussian book is actually a lesson on the plight of the environment and industrialization.

4) We see some other different Pandoran flora and fauna, particularly with scenes of the luminescent forest floor.

5) Jake’s first dinner with Neytiri is longer and extended, and it’s here that she tells him her full name.

6) When Jake, Grace, and Norm first visit the Hallelujah Mountains on the way to the remote uplink station, Grace explains (in a Jake voiceover) that the mountains are levitated [via the Meissner Effect], because Unobtanium is a superconductor. There’s a pretty spectacular CGI shot as the characters look around in awe at the suspended mountains.

7) Pictures of Grace and Na’vi children at her previously functioning school. Dr. Augustine tells Jake that she previously taught Neytiri and her sister, Sylwanin. However, one day, Sylwanin and some hunters destroyed an RDA bulldozer, and RDA SecOps troopers killed them at the school, which explains why the school walls were previously seen pockmarked with bullet holes.

8) Sturmbeast hunting scene after Jake tames a Banshee. After Jake successfully kills a Sturmbeast with an arrow, he and Neytiri chortle a “Heck yeah!” and whoop.

9) Jake and Neytiri’s love scene comprises them linking braids together. Some kissing, nothing explicit.

10) Tsu’tey leads a war party that destroys the RDA’s autonomous bulldozers, as well as the RDA SecOps squad that was guarding them. Corporal Wainfleet leads the search party that uncovers the evidence, via real-time helmet cam footage. Not sure why they cut this scene from the theatrical cut, as it persuades Selfridge to attack the Home Tree.

11) Attack of Hammerhead Titanotheres on RDA forces has been extended slightly; additional scenes of AMP-Suits getting destroyed.

12) Fight between Colonel Quaritch in AMP Suit and Neytiri on Thanator slightly longer.

13) Tsu’tey’s death scene; in the theatrical cut, he falls off the RDA shuttle’s aft ramp to his death. In the Collector’s Edition, he falls to the forest floor, mortally wounded. He passes on leadership to Jake, and asks Jake to ceremonially kill him e.g. hara-kiri, so that Jake will be the last shadow that Tsu-Tey sees. Jake does so.


I preferred the original Tsu’tey death scene, which was more dramatic. Jake, had afterall, already become the de facto clan leader by that point in the movie, so further formal transfer by Tsu’tey (a minor character) seemed unnecessary. both versions of the movie are excellent and both worth watching.

REVIEW: AVATAR

CAST

Sam Worthington (Clash of The Titans)
Zoe Saldana (Star Trek)
Sigourney Weaver (Alien)
Stephen Lang (Public Enemies)
Michelle Rodriguez (The Breed)
Giovanni Ribisi (Ted)
Laz Alonso (Fast & Furious)
Joel David Moore (Bones)
CCH Pounder (Orphan)
Wes Studi (Heat)
Kelson Henderson (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Peter Mensah (Sleepy Hollow)
Matt Gerald (The Oath)
Scott Lawrence (Star Trek Into Darkness)
James Gaylyn (Power Rangers RPM)
T.J. Storm (VR Troopers)

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The story is an interesting one, set nearly 150 years in the future on a planet called Pandora with the human invaders intent on mining for a resource that sells for incredible prices back on distant Earth. The invaders, having previously tried to do the politically correct thing and show concern for the welfare of the natives, eventually lose patience and a seemingly one-sided and very aggressive battle ensues.

The audience’s sympathies are at all times nudged in favor of the Na’vi who inhabit the planet. Jake, a paraplegic war veteran, is the lead character and avatar, who by way of concepts reminiscent of The Matrix films, is able to be another person in another place – one of the Na’vi – thanks to technology way beyond our 21st-century comprehension. He falls in love with their leader’s daughter.

It’s definitely one of my all time favorite movies.  That’s mainly due to the stunning cinematography, which is of a standard that I didn’t exist before Avatar  and of course why James Cameron couldn’t make it when he came up with the idea several years ago. It is just fabulous, extraordinary and mind-blowing. It almost certainly sets a new benchmark for special effects and is possibly a landmark film too, again because of its unequalled cinematic technology.