REVIEW: TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT

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CAST

Mark Wahlberg (Ted)
Josh Duhamel (Paradise Lost)
Gemma Chan (Humans)
Stanley Tucci (The Hunger Games)
Anthony Hopkins (Westworld)
John Turturro (Barton Fink)
Laura Haddock (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Isabela Moner (Soldado)
Jerrod Carmichael (Bad Neighbors 2)
Santiago Cabrera (Heroes)
Glenn Morshower (Supergirl)
Liam Garrigan (24: Live Another Day)
Mitch Pileggi (The X-Files)
Tony Hale (Chuck)
Gil Birmingham (Twilight)
Peter Cullen (Dungeons & Dragons)
Erik Aadahl (Godzilla)
Jim Carter (Dinotopia)
Omar Sy (Jurassic World)
John Goodman (Red State)
John DiMaggio (Futurama)
Reno Wilson (Mike & Molly)
Tom Kenny (The Powerpuff Girls)
Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk empire)
Steven Barr (Fall From Grace)
Mark Ryan (Robin of Sherwood)
Frank Welker (The Simpsons)
Jess Harnell (Animaniacs)
Andy Bean (Swamp Thing)

In 484 AD, King Arthur and his knights struggle in a battle against the Saxons. Meanwhile, Merlin begs for help from the Knights of Iacon, a group of twelve Transformers who have hidden on Earth. They give Merlin an alien staff and combine themselves into a huge robotic dragon named Dragonstorm to help Arthur triumph over the Saxons, but not before warning Merlin that a great evil will one day come for the staff.In the present, five years after the Hong Kong battle, the Transformers are declared outlaws by all governments on Earth, to which the Transformer Reaction Force (TRF) is formed from the fallen Cemetery Wind to eradicate the alien robots, despite more Transformers continuously arriving on Earth. All the while, enormous metallic horns begin to rise from different parts of the world. In a part of war-torn Chicago, a group of children find a ship with a knight inside before being caught by a TRF drone. Izabella, a survivor of the Battle of Chicago, saves the children along with her Transformers companions Sqweeks and Canopy. The drone mistakes Canopy for a Decepticon and kills him before Bumblebee and Cade Yeager (who are also being hunted by the TRF) arrive and help the children, Izabella, and Sqweeks escape from the drones. Cade finds the knight in the ship, who attaches a talisman to his arm. The Decepticon Barricade observes this act and reports the discovery to Megatron. After a brief standoff with the TRF, Cade returns to his junkyard in South Dakota (with Izabella and Sqweeks hitching a ride with him) where the remaining Autobots are hiding from the TRF, including Bumblebee, Hound, Drift, Crosshairs, Wheelie, Grimlock, Slug, Daytrader, Trench, and three Mini-Dinobots.TRF member and former Autobot ally William Lennox brokers a deal between the TRF and Megatron so he can find Cade and recover the talisman. In exchange, Megatron demands the release of a squad of Decepticons, including Nitro Zeus, Dreadbot, Mohawk, and Onslaught (Megatron tries to get Berserker, but they won’t let him because he is far too dangerous). Meanwhile, in deep space, Optimus Prime crash-lands on Cybertron, discovering that it is heading directly for Earth. He encounters Quintessa, the self-proclaimed creator of the Transformers, who brainwashes Optimus and renames him “Nemesis Prime”. Quintessa charges him with recovering the staff from the Knights who stole it from her.Earth, she reveals, is actually Cybertron’s ancient enemy Unicron and she intends to drain its life force using the staff, so that Cybertron can be restored. Back on Earth, Megatron and the TRF locate Cade, his coworker Jimmy, Izabella, Sqweeks, and the Autobots, thanks to a tracker planted on Bumblebee during the standoff. They flee to an abandoned town where they discover Bumblebee’s tracking device. In the ensuing battle, Dreadbot, Onslaught, Mohawk, and several TRF soldiers are killed by Grimlock, Slug, Crosshairs, Drift, and Bumblebee. As a result, Megatron, Nitro Zeus, and Barricade are forced to retreat. While fighting off a unit of TRF drones, Cade is approached by Cogman, a Transformer envoy who takes him and Bumblebee to England to meet his master, Sir Edmund Burton.

There, Burton arranges a meeting between Cade and Viviane Wembly, an Oxford professor, who had just been kidnapped by the Autobot Hot Rod under Burton’s orders. Burton introduces himself as the last living member of the “Witwiccan” order, an ancient brotherhood dedicated to guarding the secret history of Transformers on Earth. He reveals that Cade’s talisman indicates that he is the Last Knight of Iacon. He also reveals that Viviane is Merlin’s last descendant and that she must find and use his staff to prevent the impending destruction of Earth by Cybertron. MI6 and the TRF arrive at Burton’s mansion, forcing the group to flee.After escaping from MI6, the TRF, and Barricade, Cade, Viviane, Bumblebee, and Cogman follow the clues left by Viviane’s father and take the museum submarine HMS Alliance (after Burton shuts down the attraction and evicts the tourists) into the sea to find the Cybertronian Knights’ sunken ship while the TRF pursue them with submarines of their own. Burton meets with the Prime Minister to engage the military at Stonehenge, which he deduces is the access point to Unicron. In the ship, Cade and Viviane discover the tomb of Merlin and the staff. Viviane activates the staff, which causes the ship to rise towards the surface. The TRF confronts the group and attempts to take the staff from them before Nemesis Prime intervenes and forces them to hand over the staff. Bumblebee chases after Optimus and the two Autobots fight each other at the top of the ship. Before Optimus can kill Bumblebee, the mute Autobot finally speaks, freeing Optimus from Quintessa’s control. Suddenly, Megatron, revealed to be conspiring with Quintessa, arrives to steal the staff and flees while the Knights attack Optimus for his presumed betrayal. Cade stops the Knights with the talisman, which transforms into King Arthur’s sword Excalibur. The Knights yield to Cade as the Last Knight of Iacon, and Yeager urges Optimus to fight for Earth once more.As Cybertron anchors itself to Earth, Megatron, Nitro Zeus, and Barricade deliver the staff to Quintessa, who begins draining the life force of Earth from Unicron. Burton and the British military intervene, and Megatron shoots Burton, who dies with Cogman at his side. The Autobots arrive to join the fight with the TRF, Cade, Viviane, Izabella, and Sqweeks, landing on Cybertron and battling against Megatron and Quintessa’s minions, the Infernocons. Vanquishing their foes with help from the Knights as Dragonstorm, the Autobots reach the chamber where the staff and Quintessa are. Optimus defeats Megatron by kicking him through the Ignition Chamber’s wall, sending him flying to Earth, while Bumblebee kills Nitro Zeus. Together, Optimus and Bumblebee seemingly kill Quintessa. Viviane removes the staff, stopping Cybertron’s destruction of Earth but leaving both worlds connected. Optimus declares that humans and Transformers must now work together to rebuild their worlds and sends a message calling any surviving Autobots to come home.In a mid-credits scene, scientists inspect one of Unicron’s horns in a desert. Quintessa, who has survived and is disguised as a human, arrives and offers them a way to destroy Unicron.The transformers movies are known for being hated. Me I personally think these movies are just fun. That’s why we watch them, not for an outstanding Oscar worthy film. I know I am in the minority that I love Age of extinction. So I was pretty excited to see this film. I was not disappointed.

REVIEW: TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION

 

CAST

Mark Wahlberg (Ted)
Stanley Tucci (The Hunger Games)
Kelsey Grammer (X-Men: The Last Stand)
Nicola Peltz (Bates Motel)
Jack Reynor (Macbeth)
Titus Welliver (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D)
Sophia Myles (Outlander)
Li Bingbing (Resident Evil: Retribution)
T.J. Miller (Deadpool)
James Bachman (Paddington)
Thomas Lennon (17 Again)
Peter Cullen (Dungeons & Dragons)
John Goodman (Red State)
Ken Watanabe (Godzilla)
Robert Foxworth (Beyond The Stars)
John DiMaggio (Futurama)
Mark Ryan (Robin of Sherwood)
Reno Wilson (Mike & Molly)
Erika Fong (Power Rangers Samurai)
Richard Riehle (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Cleo King (The Hangover)

Sixty five million years ago, an alien race known as the “Creators” used devices called Seeds to terraform planet Earth, effectively wiping out the dinosaurs and covering it with an alloy called Transformium. In the present day, geologist Darcy Tirrel excavates the Transformium for K.S.I. Industries, which uses it to build man-made artificial Transformer drones.Five years after The Battle of Chicago, the humans have begun to view the Transformers as a threat, leading the U.S government to terminate all human-Autobot joint programs. Although the public believes that the Autobots have been granted sanctuary, they are being hunted by a rogue, vengeful and xenophobic CIA black ops division known as Cemetery Wind, led by opportunistic government official Harold Attinger, who believes that all Transformers should be exterminated regardless of their faction. They are aided by Lockdown, a Cybertronian bounty hunter working for the Creators, promising to give Attinger a Seed if his division manages to capture Optimus Prime. Cemetery Wind locates Ratchet in Mexico City and Lockdown kills him when he refuses to give up the whereabouts of Optimus Prime.Optimus, damaged in Mexico City and disguised as a rundown semi-truck, is discovered in an abandoned theater by Cade Yeager, a financially struggling Texan inventor, and brings him back to the farm. While his teenage daughter Tessa and business partner Lucas Flannery encourage him to turn Optimus over to the authorities after realizing what he really is, Cade instead fixes Optimus, hoping to understand his technology and unexpectedly revives him. Still skeptical of Optimus and worried about Cade’s safety, Lucas calls Cemetery Wind, who attacks and destroys the farm, but Optimus and Tessa’s boyfriend, Irish rally car driver Shane Dyson, come to the family’s aid.While on the run from Cemetery Wind and Lockdown, Lucas is killed by one of Lockdown’s grenades. After escaping from their attackers, they take refuge in an abandoned gas station. Later, Optimus scans a passing truck and turns into a Western Star 5700 Phantom Custom truck with the original red and blue paint with flames. Afterwards, Optimus summons the surviving Autobots – Bumblebee, Hound, Drift, and Crosshairs – who have come to distrust humans due to Cemetery Wind constantly hunting them down. Using a CIA drone which he stole during the home invasion, Cade discovers K.S.I.’s involvement in the attacks on the Autobots. Bumblebee later assumes an alternate form after scanning a passing car, while Optimus vows to personally kill Attinger for his actions against his brethren.Infiltrating K.S.I.’s headquarters in Chicago, Cade discovers the remains of Autobots and Decepticons are being melted down to make the drones. Joshua Joyce, the ambitious company CEO, is in league with Attinger to revolutionize global defenses and improve human society using the Seed. He has captured Brains and is using him and Megatron’s head to create prototype Transformer soldiers Galvatron and Stinger. In a fit of rage, the Autobots storm the building where they rescue Brains and destroy the laboratory, but they soon leave after Joshua announces that they are no longer needed. Attinger forces Joshua to deploy Galvatron and Stinger to attack the Autobots. During the battle, Galvatron’s behavior becomes slightly erratic when he starts destroying vehicles. As Galvatron battles Optimus, it frees itself from control and speaks to Optimus. Lockdown then arrives and abducts Optimus while Galvatron and Stinger retreat; Tessa is inadvertently captured alongside Optimus in the midst of the chaos, leaving Cade and Shane devastated.While Lockdown’s large prison spacecraft hovers over Chicago to hand over the Seed, Cade, Shane, and the Autobots use this opportunity to sneak on board and rescue Optimus and Tessa. They hijack a smaller ship, containing a number of other Autobots called the Dinobots, just before Lockdown leaves Earth. The Autobots reveal to Cade that “Galvatron” is in fact Megatron, who had transferred his consciousness into the Galvatron drone after K.S.I. officials had accidentally revived him. They realize that Galvatron is plotting to use the Seed and the K.S.I. drones to conquer the world, by detonating the Seed in Hong Kong. K.S.I.plans to use the Seed in the remote Mongolian desert to create vast amounts of usable Transformium. Cade informs Joshua of Megatron’s presence, causing him to have a change of heart and agreeing to hand over the Seed with help from Darcy and his Chinese business associate Su Yueming. Meanwhile, Lockdown discovers that Optimus has escaped and stole a part of his ship, forcing him to return to Earth to retrieve them. Back at the facility, Joshua gets into a disagreement with Attinger when the former becomes aware of the latter’s nefarious activities, whilst Attinger gradually deduces Joshua’s plot to betray him. Galvatron unexpectedly reactivates himself and promptly takes control of the K.S.I. drones, and a battle follows in Hong Kong’s streets between Cade’s group, the Autobots, Cemetery Wind, Galvatron, and his drones. During the fight, Optimus gains the alliance of the Dinobots, who become essential to the Autobots’ victory while Bumblebee kills Stinger.Lockdown returns to capture Optimus and the Dinobots, using a large magnet in his ship that picks up and drops metal objects, causing destruction to the city. After disabling the magnet, Optimus fights Lockdown at an abandoned factory. In the ensuing duel, Optimus kills Attinger (who still deems all Cybertronians aside from Lockdown as a threat) to save Cade, and avenging the deaths of his fellow Autobots. However, this allows Lockdown to pin Optimus down by impaling his chest with his own sword, damaging his spark. Cade, Bumblebee, Tessa, and Shane fight Lockdown, with Cade ending up fighting him one-on-one while Tessa and Shane use a tow truck to free Optimus, who kills Lockdown before using one of his grenades to finish off the remaining drones. Galvatron, the only surviving Decepticon, retreats with Lockdown’s ship, vowing to return. Optimus tells the Autobots to protect the Yeagers (with Joshua offering to help the Yeagers build a new home) and lets the Dinobots go, before flying away into space with the Seed, sending a message to the Creators that he is coming for them.Tucci is always funny in tense situations, and comedian T.J. Miller gets some laughs as Cade’s borderline annoying best friend. Wahlberg is different he gives a committed performance here, and makes the dialogue believable. I like that Bay and company made Cade a single dad, and Peltz’s Tessa is surprisingly not annoying. The first hour, set at the Yeager homestead in Texas, is my favorite. I enjoyed watching Cade and Tessa meet Optimus and flee from Cemetery Wind. Scenes on Lockdown’s imposing prison ship are also good.  This was intended to be the first film in a new trilogy,with transformers 5 already in the pipeline. The last scene opens the transformers cinematic universe, leaving it open for the fifth to explore further the transformer mythology.

REVIEW: LUCKY NUMBER SLEVIN

CAST
Josh Hartnett (Halloween: H20)
Bruce Willis (Sin City)
Lucy Liu (Charles Angels)
Morgan Freeman (Batman Begins)
Ben Kingsley (Iron Man 3)
Michael Rubenfeld (The Recruit)
Peter Outerbridge (Beauty and The Beast)
Stanley Tucci (Transformers 4)
Kevin Chamberlin (Road To Perdition)
Dorian Missick (The Cape)
Mykelti Williamson (Con Air)
Daniel Kash (Bitten)
Corey Stoll (Ant-Man)
Robert Forster (Jackie Brown)
During the film’s opening credits, two bookies are separately ambushed and murdered by their unseen killers; elsewhere, a young man is killed by a sniper. In a bus terminal, a young man is approached by Goodkat (Bruce Willis), who tells the story of Max and the Kansas City Shuffle: two decades earlier, Max borrowed money from the mob to bet on a fixed horse race, only for the horse to die mid-race. To set an example to make sure nobody else would try to bet on a fixed race, the mob killed Max, his wife and young son Henry. Goodkat concludes that a “Kansas City Shuffle” is a misleading double bluff, and so tricks and kills the young man, before loading his body into a truck.
In New York City, Slevin Kelevra (Josh Hartnett) is staying in his friend Nick Fisher’s apartment and, upon being visited by Nick’s neighbor Lindsey (Lucy Liu), discusses Nick’s disappearance and why his apartment was unlocked. Lindsey suggests that Nick may be missing and, after she leaves, Slevin is kidnapped by two henchmen, who take him to “The Boss” (Morgan Freeman). Mistaking Slevin for Nick, The Boss orders him to repay a large gambling debt or kill the son of his rival, “The Rabbi” (Ben Kingsley); The Boss believes The Rabbi is responsible for assassinating his son (seen in the intro), and wants The Rabbi’s homosexual son, Yitzchok “The Fairy”, to be killed in revenge. Slevin then returns to the apartment, but is kidnapped again by two Jewish henchmen working for The Rabbi. The Rabbi also mistakes Slevin for Nick, and also demands he repay a large gambling debt. Slevin returns to The Boss and agrees to kill The Fairy. Concurrently with Slevin visiting the mob bosses, it becomes apparent Goodkat is involved in both sides and is responsible for Nick’s debts being called in, and he plans to kill Slevin after The Fairy dies (though his motivations remain unknown).
Slevin and Lindsey go out to dinner, where Slevin arranges a date with The Fairy. Slevin is approached by Detective Brikowski (Stanley Tucci), who is investigating The Boss and The Rabbi; the detective hassles him again later; Slevin reveals his full name. Slevin arrives at The Fairy’s apartment and fatally shoots him, only for Goodkat to appear; rather than shoot Slevin, however, he finishes The Fairy, who pulls out a gun, revealing Slevin and Goodkat are affiliated. Slevin then brings the bus terminal victim’s body, revealed to be Nick Fisher, into the apartment while Goodkat kills The Fairy’s bodyguards. Together they blow up the apartment and the bodies, faking Slevin’s death in the process. Goodkat and Slevin kidnap The Boss and The Rabbi, with both awakening restrained in The Boss’s penthouse. Slevin appears and explains the overarching twist: Slevin is Henry, the son of the ill-fated Max, and the mobsters who killed Max were The Boss and The Rabbi. Goodkat is revealed as the assassin hired to kill young Henry, but after an attack of conscience took him in and raised him instead.
Twenty years later, Goodkat and Slevin killed The Boss’ son and both mobsters’ bookies, stealing the bookies’ ledgers in the process; after finding Nick Fisher owed a great deal of money to both sides, they killed him and stole his identity. As gang warfare loomed, both mobsters went to Goodkat, who agreed to both kill and protect The Fairy on the condition they call in Nick’s debts, granting Slevin and Goodkat unhindered access to the heavily guarded mobsters and Nick Fisher as an ally respectively. After revealing his plan, Slevin suffocates The Rabbi and The Boss by taping plastic bags over their heads, killing them the same way they killed his father. Since Lindsey earlier photographed Goodkat for Slevin, Goodkat shoots her to protect his identity. Finally, it is revealed that Detective Brikowski killed Slevin’s mother when his own gambling debts were called in by the mobsters; Slevin kills Brikowski as the pseudonym “Slevin Kelevra” is explained: “Lucky Number Slevin” was the horse his father had bet on, and “Kelevra” is Hebrew for “bad dog,” mirroring Goodkat’s name.
Sometime later at the bus terminal, Slevin is met by Lindsey, and it is revealed that Slevin, aware of Goodkat’s intentions, explained his true identity to her and helped fake her death. Goodkat appears, aware of the trickery; since Goodkat spared Slevin as a boy, he sympathizes and agrees to let her live. The film closes with a flashback to Goodkat deciding not to kill Henry; “Kansas City Shuffle” by Bennie Moten (Performed by J. Ralph) starts playing on the radio as they drive away together.
A clever film with a twist at the end. I enjoyed it and so might you if you like thrillers with a twist at the end. An all star cast adds to the pleasure.

REVIEW: JACK THE GIANT SLAYER

CAST

Nicholas Hoult (X-Men: First Class)
Eleanor Tomlinson (The White Queen)
Stanley Tucci (The LVoely Bones)
Ian McShane (Hercules)
Bill Nighy (Underworld)
Ewan McGregor (Big Fish)
Eddie Marsan (Sherlock Holmes)
Ewen Bremner (Wonder Woman)
Warwick Davis (Leprechaun)
Ralph Brown (Alien 3)
Steven Williams (Jason Goes To Hell)
Tandi Wright (Power Rangers SPD)

In the Kingdom of Cloister, Jack, a young farm boy, is fascinated by the legend of Erik, an ancient king who defeated an army of invading giants from a realm in the sky by controlling them with a magical crown. At the same time, Princess Isabelle becomes fascinated with the same legend.Ten years later, Jack goes into town to sell his horse to support his uncle’s farm. There, Jack spots Isabelle and becomes enamored with her after defending her honor from a group of hooligans. Meanwhile, Lord Roderick returns to his study, only to find that a monk has robbed him. The monk offers Jack some magic beans he stole from Roderick as collateral for Jack’s horse. Back at the castle, Isabelle quarrels with her father King Brahmwell as she wants to explore the kingdom, but he wants her to stay and marry Roderick. Likewise, Jack’s uncle scolds him for being foolish before throwing the beans on the floor and leaving the house.Determined to be free, Isabelle sneaks out of the castle and seeks shelter from the rain in Jack’s house. As it rains, one of the beans takes root and grows into a massive beanstalk that carries the house and Isabelle into the sky as Jack falls to the ground. Jack, Roderick, and Roderick’s attendant Wicke volunteer to join the king’s knights, led by Elmont and his second in-command, Crawe, and climb the beanstalk in search of Isabelle. As they climb, Roderick and Wicke cut the safety rope, intentionally killing some of the knights. At the top, they discover the giants’ realm and decide to split into two groups: one with Jack, Elmont, and Crawe, and the other including Roderick and Wicke, but not before Roderick forcibly takes the remaining beans from Jack (although Jack manages to save one for himself).Jack’s group is trapped by a giant, who takes everyone prisoner except Jack. Meanwhile, Roderick’s group encounters two other giants; one eats Wicke, but before the other can do the same to Roderick, Roderick dons the magic crown. Jack follows the giant to their stronghold, where the two-headed giant leader, Fallon, has killed Crawe. Jack finds Isabelle and Elmont imprisoned there. As the giants prepare to kill their remaining prisoners, Roderick walks in and enslaves the giants with the crown. He tells the giants they will attack Cloister at dawn and gives them permission to eat Isabelle and Elmont. Jack rescues Isabelle and Elmont as one of the giants prepares to cook Elmont as a pig-in-a-blanket. The trio makes for the beanstalk, where Jack causes the giant guarding the beanstalk to fall off the realm’s edge. Seeing the giant’s body, Brahmwell orders the beanstalk cut down to avoid an invasion by the giants.Jack and Isabelle head down the beanstalk, while Elmont stays to confront Roderick. Elmont kills Roderick, but Fallon takes the crown before Elmont can claim it, and Elmont is forced to escape down the beanstalk. Jack, Isabelle, and Elmont all survive the fall after the beanstalk is cut down. As everyone returns home, Jack warns that the giants are using Roderick’s beans to create beanstalks to descend down to Earth and attack Cloister. The giants chase Jack, Isabelle, and Brahmwell into the castle, where Elmont fills the moat with oil and sets it on fire. Fallon falls in the moat and breaks into the castle from below. As the siege continues, Fallon captures Jack and Isabelle, but Jack throws the final bean down Fallon’s throat, causing a beanstalk to rip apart his body. Jack takes the crown and sends the giants back to their realm. Jack and Isabelle marry and tell the story of the giants to their children. As time passes, the magic crown is crafted into St Edward’s Crown and is secured in the Tower of London.This was a lot better than I was expecting, so that was quite a pleasant surprise.  I was prepared to make an early exit from watching the retelling of another favourite fairy tale. But it was actually done very well, with a wonderfully impressive CGI beanstalk and superb giants. All in all, it was a very enjoyable film to watch.

 

REVIEW: MUPPETS MOST WANTED

CAST

Ricky Gervais (Ghost Town)
Ty Burrell (Modern Family)
Tina Fey (30 Rock)
Steve Whitmore (The Dark Crystal)
Eric Jacobson (Sesame Street)
Dave Goetz (Inside Out)
Bill Barretta (When Families Grieve)
Matt Vogel (Alice Through The Looking Glass)
Tony Bennett (Analyze This)
Hugh Bonneville (Paddington)
Jemaine Clement (Legion)
Sean Combs (Get Him To The Greek)
Rob Corddry (Warm Bodies)
Mackenzie Crook (One Chance)
Celine Dion (The Magic Sword)
Lady Gaga (Sin City 2)
Zach Gilifianakis (The Hangover)
Josh Grodin (The Hollars)
Salma Hayek (Dogma)
Tom Hiddleston (Thor)
Tom Hollander (Mission Impossible 5)
Toby Jones (Atomic Blonde)
Frank Langella (Superman Returns)
Ray Liotta (Hannibal)
James McAvoy (X-Men: First Class)
Chloe Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass)
Usher Raymond (She’s All That)
Miranda Richardson (Sleepy Hollow)
Saoirse Ronan (The Lovely Bones)
Russell Tovey (Being Human)
Danny Trejo (Machete)
Stanley Tucci (The Hunger Games)
Christoph Waltz (Big Eyes)
Dylan Postl (Leprechaun Origins)

Following the events of the previous film, The Muppets find themselves at a loss as to what to do until Dominic Badguy suggests the Muppets go on a European tour with him as their tour manager. As the Muppets begin their tour, a criminal mastermind named Constantine, a near-exact double for Kermit the Frog in appearance, escapes from a Siberian Gulag and joins his subordinate Dominic to begin a plot to steal the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom.Once the Muppets arrive in Berlin, Germany, Dominic secures them a show at a prestigious venue. Frustrated with the group’s incessant requests and Miss Piggy’s insistence they marry, Kermit goes for a walk at Dominic’s suggestion. Constantine ambushes him and glues a fake mole onto his cheek then slips away. Mistaken for Constantine, Kermit is arrested and sent to the Gulag. Taking Kermit’s place, Constantine’s blunders in imitating him are covered by Dominic; however, Animal knows the truth. After the Berlin performance opens with Constantine freezing at the audience, Scooter has to introduce the show. Constantine and Dominic steal paintings from a museum while the Muppets perform. The next morning, Interpol agent Jean Pierre Napoleon and CIA agent Sam the Eagle grudgingly team up to apprehend the culprit whom Napoleon believes to be his nemesis “The Lemur” – the number-two criminal in the world.Meanwhile, Kermit has attempted several times to escape the Gulag but is thwarted each time by prison guard Nadya, who is not only aware of his true identity but is as infatuated with him as Miss Piggy is. Nadya orders Kermit to help organize the prisoners’ annual talent show.Following hidden instructions on the stolen painting, Constantine and Dominic divert the tour to Madrid, Spain. Constantine allows the Muppets to perform whatever they wish, much to Walter’s confusion. During this show, Constantine and Dominic break into a museum and destroy a roomful of busts to find a key needed for their plan. Even though the performance is a disaster, the Muppets receive critical acclaim. Sam and Napoleon deduce that the connection between the crimes is the Muppet tour, and the pair interrogates the Muppets, only to find that they are too ill-equipped to be guilty. The instructions on the stolen key lead Constantine and Dominic to schedule the next show in Dublin, Ireland.In Dublin, Walter discovers that Dominic has been giving away show tickets and bribing critics to ensure a packed house and rave reviews, while Fozzie Bear notices Kermit’s resemblance to Constantine. They both realize that Constantine has taken Kermit’s place and brought in Dominic as his accomplice. Constantine attacks Walter and Fozzie, but Animal fends him off and the three escape from the train to rescue Kermit. During the Dublin performance, Dominic steals a locket from a museum and Constantine proposes to Miss Piggy onstage; Piggy accepts, and the pair plan a ceremony to be held at the Tower of London in London, England, where the Crown Jewels are kept.Fozzie, Walter, and Animal reach the Siberian Gulag on the night of the performance, and Kermit uses it as a front to allow them, himself, and all the prisoners to escape the Gulag. Kermit, Fozzie, Walter, and Animal infiltrate the Tower as the wedding begins, and Dominic (with the help of Bobby Benson’s Baby Band) manages to steal the jewels.Kermit interrupts the ceremony, revealing Constantine’s ruse, but the crook takes Piggy hostage and flees to a helicopter, where he is intercepted by Dominic, who is actually the Lemur and intends to double-cross him. Constantine ejects him from the helicopter and tries to take off with Piggy, but Kermit jumps aboard and the rest of the Muppets climb atop each other to stop the escape. Kermit and Piggy knockout Constantine and both criminals are arrested. Nadya arrives in London to arrest Kermit for escaping. The other Muppets tell her that if she arrests him, then she will have to take all of them as well; she relents, allowing Kermit to go free. The Muppets perform at the Gulag with Constantine and the prisoners participating, ending the film.The heart and soul of the film is about the way the characters manage to bring a sense of togetherness and unity to the Muppets and how this unity brings joy to all those around. Throughout the film, Kermit manages to be a core reminder as to why The Muppets are generously wonderful creations for the world: the optimism, the kindness, the laughter: everything combines to form a strong impression that both children and adults can feel completely enamoured by. This is a film that is full of magic and it sits alongside The Muppets magnificently and is not to be missed.

REVIEW: EASY A


CAST

Emma Stone (Birdman)
Penn Badgley (John Tucker Must Die)
Amanda Bynes (What a Girl Wants)
Dan Byrd ((Heroes)
Aly Michalka (Izombie)
Thomas Haden Church (Sideways)
Lisa Kudrow (Bad Neighbours)
Juliette Goglia (Mike & Molly)
Braeden Lemasters (The Stepfather)
Patricia Clarkson (Lars and The Real Girl)
Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones)
Cam Gigandet (Twilight)
Malcolm McDowell (Tank Girl)
Stacey Travis (Ghost world)
Fred Armisen (Achorman)
Johanna Braddy (Paranormal Acitivity 3)
Yoshi Sudarso (Power Rangers Dino Charge)

Olive Penderghast, a 17-year-old girl living in Ojai, California, lies to her best friend Rhiannon Abernathy about going on a date in order to get out of camping with Rhiannon’s hippie parents. Instead, she hangs around the house all weekend listening to Natasha Bedingfield’s “Pocketful of Sunshine”, which is played by a greeting card she was sent. The following Monday, pressed by Rhiannon, Olive lies about losing her virginity to a college guy. Marianne Bryant, a prissy and strictly religious Christian at their school, overhears her telling the lie and soon it spreads like wildfire. The school’s conservative church group run by Marianne decides Olive will be their next project. Olive confides the truth to her friend Brandon, and he explains how others bully him because of his homosexuality. He later asks Olive to pretend to sleep with him so that he will be accepted by everyone as a “straight stud”.Brandon convinces Olive to help him and they pretend to have sex at a party. After having a fight with Rhiannon over Olive’s new identity as a “dirty skank”, Olive decides to counteract the harassment by embracing her new image as the school tramp. She begins to wear more provocative clothing and stitches a red “A” to everything she wears. Boys who usually have had no luck with girls in the past beg Olive to say they have had sex with her in order to increase their own popularity, in exchange for gift cards to various stores, in turn increasing her reputation. Things get worse when Micah, Marianne’s 20-year-old boyfriend, contracts chlamydia from sleeping with Mrs. Griffith, the school guidance counsellor, and blames it all on Olive. Olive agrees to lie to cover up the affair so that the marriage of her favorite teacher, Mr. Griffith, would be spared.
Marianne’s religious clique, which now includes Rhiannon, begins harassing Olive in order to get her to leave school. After an ill-fated date with Anson, a boy who wants to pay her to actually sleep with him and not just pretend she did, Olive reconnects with Todd, her old love interest, who is also the school’s mascot. Todd then tells her that he does not believe the rumors because he remembers when she lied for him when he was not ready for his first kiss years ago. Olive then begins to ask everyone she lied for to help her out by telling the truth, but Brandon and Micah have abruptly left town and everyone else is enjoying their newfound popularity and do not want the truth to get out. Mrs. Griffith also refuses to tell the truth and when Olive threatens to expose her, Mrs. Griffith rebuffs her, saying no one would believe her.
Out of spite, Olive then immediately tells Mr. Griffith, who believes her and separates from Mrs. Griffith. After a friendly talk with her open-minded mother Rosemary, Olive comes up with a plan to get everything finally out in the open. She then does a song and dance number at a school pep rally to get people’s attention to watch her via web cam, where she confesses what she has done (the web cam is the framing device of the film). The various boys whose reputations Olive helped improve are also shown watching. Later, Olive texts Rhiannon, apologizing for lying to her. When she is finishing up her web cast, Todd comes by riding a lawnmower and tells her to come outside. She signs off by saying she may lose her virginity to Todd, and proudly declares “it’s nobody’s goddamn business”. She goes outside to meet him, they kiss and the two are shown riding off on the lawnmower.Overall, Easy A doesn’t provide anything groundbreaking or revolutionary to the comedy genre, but it is certainly a breath of fresh air and just a good fun film.

REVIEW: THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 2

CAST

Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle)
Josh Hutcherson (The Forger)
Liam Hemsworth (Knowing)
Woody Harrelson (Zombieland)
Elizabeth Banks (The Lego Movie)
Donald Sutherland (The Italian Job)
Phillip Seymour Hoffman (Doubt)
Julianne Moore (Freedomland)
Willow Shields (beyond The Blackboard)
Sam Claflin (Snow White and The Huntsman)
Mahershala Ali (Alphas)
Jena Malone (Donnie Darko)
Jeffrey Wright (Source Code)
Paula Malcomson (Caprica)
Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones)
Natalie Dormer (Game of Thrones)
Elden Henson (Daredevil)
Michelle Forbes (Powers)
Gwendoline Christie (Star Wars: The Force Awakens)
Robert Knepper (Heroes)
April Grace (Lost)
Sarita Choudhury (Jessica Jones)

Katniss Everdeen is recovering after being attacked by Peeta Mellark, who has been brainwashed by the Capitol. The rebels attack and disable the Capitol’s weapons arsenal in District 2. Katniss tries to rally the loyalists against the Capitol, but is shot and injured in the confrontation. Despite Katniss’ desire to kill President Snow personally, Alma Coin refuses to allow her into battle. At Finnick and Annie’s wedding, Johanna Mason suggests Katniss sneak aboard a supply ship leaving for the Capitol, where Commander Paylor is planning an invasion. Unable to bring her back, Coin has her assigned to the “Star Squad”, led by Boggs and includes Gale, Finnick, Cressida, Messalla, Castor, Pollux, Jackson, the Leeg twins, Mitchell, and Homes; they will follow in relative safety behind the actual invasion of the Capitol providing video of their incursion for propaganda purposes. Boggs carries a holographic map (the “Holo”) to help them evade known booby trapped “pods” which line the streets of the Capitol. Coin also sends Peeta to join the squad, even though he has not fully recovered from the Capitol’s conditioning.

As they venture deeper into the Capitol, Boggs triggers a pod which sets off a land mine and mortally wounds him, and transfers command of the Holo to Katniss before dying. The squad triggers another pod, which releases a flood of lethal black tar. Peeta momentarily succumbs to his conditioning and attacks Katniss, pushing Mitchell into the tar and killing him. The group takes shelter in an abandoned building, where Jackson, the second-in-command, attempts to commandeer the Holo, until Katniss convinces them she is under secret orders from Coin to kill Snow. Katniss and most of the group escape just before a squad of Peacekeepers arrive and destroy the building, killing the Leeg twins. The Capitol broadcasts a message announcing Katniss’s death, which is interrupted by Coin, who delivers an impassioned eulogy for her, to rally the rebels.

The team descends into the Capitol’s sewers to avoid further pods, but they are attacked by a horde of genetically engineered creatures called “mutts”. Jackson, Castor, and Homes are killed as the squad flees through the sewers. Finnick is overwhelmed as he fights off the swarm to allow the team to escape, forcing Katniss to set the Holo’s self-destruct, killing him and the remaining mutts. The surviving team members reach the surface but are chased by Peacekeepers, and Messalla is killed by a pod that melts and disintegrates him. The team takes refuge in a shop, where Tigris, a former Hunger Games stylist and rebel sympathizer, hides them in her basement.

As rebel forces gain ground, Snow invites fleeing Capitol citizens into his mansion for protection. Katniss and Gale join the crowd, posing as refugees to gain access to Snow. Rebels arrive and attack, killing many in the crossfire. In the chaos, Katniss pushes forward to Snow’s mansion, where Peacekeepers are herding Capitol children toward the closed gates. A hovercraft flies overhead, and drops small parcels by parachute into the pen of children. The parcels explode, killing them. A team of rebel medics attempt to help the injured, among whom is Katniss’s sister Prim. A second wave of bombs detonate, killing Prim and knocking Katniss unconscious. Upon recovering, Katniss learns the Capitol has been conquered, and Snow captured. When Katniss confronts Snow, he claims that Coin orchestrated the bombing outside his mansion to turn his soldiers against him. Katniss realizes that the incident resembles a trap that Gale had developed earlier. When Gale is unable to assure Katniss that the bombs were not of his design, Katniss cuts all ties with him. Coin invites the remaining Hunger Games victors to vote on a proposal to have another Hunger Games using the children of the Capitol, as a symbolic gesture to satisfy the districts. Katniss swings the vote in favor, in exchange for the right to execute Snow personally.

At the execution, Katniss shoots and kills Coin instead of Snow. The rebels take Katniss into custody, while Snow is tortured and killed by the angry mob. Katniss is eventually pardoned for her crime and returns to District 12, where she is joined by Peeta, who has recovered from his conditioning. Commander Paylor is elected the new President of Panem, and Katniss, Peeta, and Haymitch bond over their shared trauma. Years later, Katniss and Peeta play with their two children, as Katniss contemplates the nightmares of her past, and somberly reflects that “there are much worse games to play.”

The special effects are amazing, and the film gripped me throughout. There are some chilling and sad moments and with some twists along the way. Music from previous films is used to powerful effect. Jennifer Lawrence puts in an incredible performance as Katniss, and there are other strong performances from the cast. I was sad to see this end series, but feel everyone involved can be incredibly proud of what has been achieved. An outstanding and thought provoking finale.