REVIEW: RED PLANET

CAST

Val Kilmer (Batman Forever)
Carrie-Anne Moss (Jessica Jones)
Tom Sizemore (Natural Born Killers)
Benjamin Bratt (Doctor Strange)
Simon Baker (The Mentalist)
Terence Stamp (Smallville)
Neil Ross (Spider-Man 90s)

In 2056 A.D., Earth is in ecological crisis as a consequence of pollution and overpopulation. Automated interplanetary missions have been seeding Mars with atmosphere-producing algae as the first stage of terraforming the planet. When the oxygen quantity produced by the algae is inexplicably reduced, the crew of Mars-1 investigate—a crew consisting of Quinn Burchenal (Tom Sizemore), a geneticist; Bud Chantillas (Terence Stamp), an aging philosophical scientist and surgeon; systems engineer Robby Gallagher (Val Kilmer); commander Kate Bowman (Carrie-Anne Moss); pilot Ted Santen (Benjamin Bratt); and terraforming scientist Chip Pettengill (Simon Baker).When Mars 1 is damaged in arrival by a Gamma-ray burst, Bowman remains aboard for repair while the others land to locate an automated habitat (HAB 1) established earlier to manufacture food and oxygen. During insertion, the team’s landing craft is damaged and lands off-course. In the aftermath, “AMEE” (Autonomous Mapping Exploration and Evasion)—a military robot programmed to guide them—is lost, and Chantillas suffers a ruptured spleen and internal bleeding, and tells the others to leave him behind. Santen refuses, but Chantillas tells them that they have limited oxygen left to make it to HAB 1. Chantillas tells Gallagher that it is all right, as he got to see Mars for the first time. The crew leaves to allow Chantillas to die in peace. In orbit around Mars, Bowman contacts Houston, which informs her that Mars-1 is in decaying orbit, but offers hope of restoring engine function in departing Mars.On Mars, the landing party find HAB 1 mysteriously destroyed. They are baffled for an explanation, since the module was designed and field-tested in Tornado Alley to withstand any damaging storms on Mars. All expect their imminent deaths by suffocation. Pettengill and Santen wander from the others to explore, later to reach a canyon where Pettengill accidentally kills Santen, after they get into a fight over whether or not the mission was a failure, and that Pettengill realizes that Santen would never accept defeat. Pettengill returns to Burchenal and Gallagher, and tells them that Santen killed himself. His oxygen depleted, Gallagher opens his helmet, choosing a quick death over asphyxiation – and discovers that Mars’ atmosphere is thin but breathable. The only salvageable material from the habitat is all of the liquid fuel, which has ruptured out of its containers but pooled under the wreck. With no remaining power in their suits, the astronauts set it on fire with a flare so they can have a bonfire to survive the massive temperature drop of the Martian night. AMEE reunites with the crew, and the three astronauts notice the robot is damaged and attempt to shut it down so they can recover its guidance device. Perceiving their actions as a threat, AMEE breaks Burchenal’s ribs and pursues the others before retreating. Gallagher tells the others she has gone into military mode, and intends to kill them all one by one. She wounded Burchenal instead of killing him because she has been programmed with knowledge of the old guerrilla tactic that a wounded man will slow the enemy down since effort must be expended to transport a wounded teammate.Eventually, Gallagher builds a makeshift radio from parts of the Mars Rover Pathfinder, through which Bowman instructs them to use a Russian probe’s sample-return system to launch themselves into orbit. During the trip, Bowman tells Gallagher that the probe can hold only two people. The trio takes shelter from an ice storm inside of a cave. Devastated by the recent news and afraid of being left behind, Pettengill flees with the radio, only to be killed by AMEE. After the storm subsides Gallagher and Burchenal recover the radio from Pettingill’s corpse, and discover that it has become infested by insect-like native Martian life (identified by Burchenal as “nematodes”). The insects are highly flammable, as using a simple cutting torch on Pettengill’s corpse to free his grip caused a chain reaction, making all of the insects in his corpse explode like firecrackers. Later, the two encounter a field of algae being eaten by the insects, and Burchenal pieces together what happened.ep229-redplanetThe Martian insects had lain dormant on their almost dead world, but when the probes from Earth spread algae fields across Mars it gave them a massive new food source and led to a population explosion. The Martian insects are what caused the algae to disappear, but in the process they actually gave Mars breathable oxygen levels, because they produce oxygen as a waste product (explaining why they are so flammable). The insects are also what destroyed the habitat module, as they tore in to get to the food supplies inside. Burchenal explains to Gallagher that the biochemistry of alien insects’ respiratory metabolism is capable of producing oxygen far more efficiently than human science is currently able to. Studying the insects’ biochemistry is the key to terraforming Mars, and may even lead to discoveries which will allow Earth’s polluted atmosphere to be repaired. However, Burchenal is attacked by swarms of the insects when blood drips from an open wound. Rather than be eaten alive, he passes his sample vial of insects to Gallagher before immolating himself and his attackers.maxresdefaultGallagher reaches the Russian probe, finds sufficient fuel to power the rocket’s engine, but not enough electrical power to launch the probe, and realizes that the only available replacement is AMEE’s power core. In a final confrontation, Gallagher is able to lure AMEE into a trap and disable her using one of the probe’s sample launchers, then takes her battery. Gallagher launches himself in the probe’s sample-return capsule and reaches orbit where Mars-1 is waiting for him, and he is recovered and revived by Bowman. Gallagher becomes upset that four astronauts died so that he could live, but Bowman tells him that they did not die for nothing. The computer is busy analyzing the sample of Martian insects which Gallagher brought back, and research on them might lead to repairing Earth itself. With a six-month-long trip back to Earth, the computer has plenty of time to analyze the insects, and Bowman and Gallagher have time to start pursuing a romantic relationship.Red_Planet_2000_4I know a great many people will hate this film. That is because popular culture has brainwashed people into thinking mass entertainment revolves around effects only. There are some flaws (mostly in technological probability and pacing in the first 20 minutes)but writer Chuck Pfarrer and director Antony Hoffman remember that great sci-fi is also about the story and characters and the result is the best sci-fi film in recent years.

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REVIEW: THE ART OF THE STEAL

CAST

Kurt Russell (Big Trouble In Little China)
Jay Baruchel (Robocop)
Katheryn Winnick (Vikings)
Matt Dillon (Crash)
Chris Diamantopoulos (Empire State)
Terence Stamp (Superman 1 & 2)
Kenneth Welsh (The Aviator)
Jason Jones (Pitch Perfect)
Devon Bostick (The 100)
Eugene Lipinski (Arrow)
Stephen McHattie (300)

It begins with a soliloquy by Crunch Calhoun as he begins a seven-year stint in a Polish prison, courtesy of his brother, Nicky Calhoun. A flashback reveals the heist involving the two men that went wrong; resulting in Nicky’s capture and subsequent betrayal of Crunch. Once released, Crunch works as a motorcycle daredevil alongside girlfriend Lola and an apprentice, Francie. Meanwhile, Nicky steals a painting by Georges Seurat with the help of a partner whom he double crosses. The partner seeks out and threatens Crunch to get information on Nicky’s whereabouts. Shortly afterwards, Crunch informs an old colleague of his, ‘Uncle’ Paddy, that he’s ready to work again. At Paddy’s place, he and Francie run into Nicky.‘Uncle’ Paddy explains that a priceless historical book needs to be stolen from a Customs warehouse in Canada and taken to the buyer’s middle man in Detroit. The payout is over a million dollars so they agree. Crunch insists on recruiting an old partner, Guy de Cornet, for his skills and talent in forgery. Cornet creates an exact replica of the book which Crunch takes through the Canadian border station hidden inside a peculiar piece of art. An identity check prompts the police to impound his art, as planned, in the same facility where the historical book is being held. Meanwhile, Guy de Cornet passes as an art authentication expert and enters the facility, replacing the real book with the forgery and hiding the real book within Crunch’s art piece. After Canadian border patrol clears Crunch’s name, he goes to the facility and reclaims his art piece.The team is in the process of taking the book to the buyer when Nicky persuades Crunch to keep the book and forge multiple duplicates to sell to multiple buyers at the same time, netting them several times the original payout. They run into a snag when Cornet reveals that in order for him to create forgeries that would pass such tests as carbon dating and professional scrutiny, they would need 750,000 dollars. Each person names an amount they could chip in and after some persuasion, Crunch agrees to fund the remaining amount. They agree not to contact one another until the required month has passed to conduct the transaction. Sometime during this month, Nicky secretly plots to create his own cheaper forgeries and beat his team at selling them to the same buyers. Nicky calls the original buyer and informs him that there will be a delay, but the buyer claims to know nothing about the deal. A frantic Nicky calls all people and organizations involved in the heist, learning to his dismay that they either could not be reached or had no knowledge of the book. Meanwhile, Crunch explains to his apprentice Francie how the historical book was a fabricated ploy and its true purpose was to steal the Georges Seurat painting from Nicky and make a great deal of money using Nicky’s idea of multiple forgeries. Flashbacks reveal that Francie was the only one who did not know of the alternate plan. Meanwhile, Interpol receive an anonymous tip as to the whereabouts of Nicky and the painting that he stole from the partner that he double crossed earlier. The ending reveals the last player in Crunch’s plan, an old reformed colleague of his by the name of Samuel Winters, who had been paired with the Interpol agent who had been watching them at the start of the plan.It is a simple art heist/fence story that offers you levels of complexity as the real story unfolds at the end, similar to many fine “head fake” films. Like most films of this genre, the production is filled with good characters and humor. It is a movie worth watching for fans of “Ocean’s Eleven” type films.

REVIEW: VALKYRIE

CAST

Tom Cruise (Mission: Impossible)
Kenneth Branagh (Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein)
Bill Nighy (Underworld)
Tom Wilkinson (Batman Begins)
Carice van Houten (Game of Thrones)
Thomas Kretschmann (Avengers: Age of Ultron)
Terence Stamp (Superman)
Eddie Izzard (Hannibal)
Kevin McNally (Pirates of The Caribbean)
David Schofield (From Hell)
Tom Hollander (Gosford Park)
Bernard Hill (Lord of The Rings)
Ian McNeice (The Black Dahlia)

During World War II, Wehrmacht Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg (Cruise) is severely wounded during an RAF air raid in Tunisia, losing his right hand, the ring and little finger on his left hand, and his left eye, and is evacuated home to Nazi Germany. Meanwhile, Major General Henning von Tresckow (Branagh) attempts to assassinate Adolf Hitler by smuggling a bomb aboard the Führer’s personal airplane. The bomb, however, is a dud and fails to detonate, and Tresckow flies to Berlin in order to safely retrieve it. After learning that the Gestapo has arrested Major General Hans Oster, he orders General Olbricht (Nighy) to find a replacement. After recruiting Stauffenberg into the German Resistance, Olbricht presents Stauffenberg at a meeting of the secret committee which has coordinated previous attempts on Hitler’s life. The members include General Ludwig Beck (Stamp), Dr. Carl Goerdeler (McNally), and Erwin von Witzleben (Schofield). Stauffenberg is stunned to learn that no plans exist on the subject of what is to be done after Hitler’s assassination.During a bombing raid on Berlin, he gets the idea of using Operation Valkyrie, which involves the deployment of the Reserve Army to maintain order in the event of a national emergency. The plotters carefully redraft the plan’s orders so that they can dismantle the Nazi régime after assassinating Hitler. Realizing that only General Friedrich Fromm (Wilkinson), the head of the Reserve Army, can initiate Valkyrie, they offer him a position as head of the Wehrmacht in a post-Nazi Germany and request his support, but Fromm declines to be directly involved, stating he will not side with them so long as Hitler is alive. With the rewritten Operation Valkyrie orders needing to be signed by Hitler (Bamber), Stauffenberg visits the Führer at his Berghof estate in Bavaria. Fromm’s influence allows Stauffenberg to bring the copy directly before Hitler, and in the presence of Joseph Goebbels, Heinrich Himmler, Hermann Göring, Wilhelm Keitel and Albert Speer, his inner circle, Hitler praises Stauffenberg’s heroism in North Africa and signs the orders without fully examining the modifications, believing Stauffenberg’s changes “are for the best”.At Goerdeler’s insistence, Stauffenberg is ordered to assassinate both Hitler and SS head Himmler at the Führer’s command bunker, the Wolf’s Lair. At a final briefing, Colonel Mertz von Quirnheim (Berkel) instructs the committee members in the use of pencil detonators. Stauffenberg also persuades General Fellgiebel (Izzard), who controls all communications at Wolf’s Lair, to cut off communications after the bomb blast. On July 15, 1944, Stauffenberg attends a strategy meeting at Wolf’s Lair with the bomb in his briefcase, but with Himmler not present at the meeting, Stauffenberg does not get the go-ahead from the committee leaders, and by the time von Quirnheim defies the others and tells him to do it anyway, the meeting is over. Meanwhile, the Reserve Army is mobilized by Olbricht, unbeknownst to Fromm, to stand by. With no action taken, Stauffenberg safely extracts himself and the bomb from the bunker, and the Reserve Army is ordered to stand down, believing that the mobilization was a drill. Back in Berlin, Olbricht and Stauffenberg are threatened by Fromm that if they try to control the reserve army again he will personally have them arrested; Stauffenberg goes to the committee to protest their indecisiveness and condemns Goerdeler, who has been selected to be chancellor after the coup. When Goerdeler demands that Stauffenberg be relieved, Beck informs him that the SS has issued a warrant for his arrest, and that he must leave the country immediately.On July 20, 1944, Stauffenberg and his adjutant Lieutenant Haeften (Parker) return to Wolf’s Lair. To Stauffenberg’s dismay, he discovers only after the timer has been activated that, due to the warm weather, the conference is being held in an open-window summer barrack, whereas the plotters had intended to detonate the bomb within the walls of the bunker for maximum damage. While his adjutant waits with the car, Stauffenberg places the briefcase with the bomb armed at the meeting as close to Hitler as possible. Stauffenberg then leaves the barrack, returning to the car. However, one of the officers at the meeting moves the bomb behind a table leg, which will inadvertently protect Hitler from most of the blast. When the bomb explodes, Stauffenberg is certain that Hitler is dead and flees Wolf’s Lair. Before shutting down communications, Fellgiebel calls Mertz about the explosion but cannot clearly convey whether or not Hitler is dead.As Stauffenberg flies back to Berlin, Olbricht refuses to mobilize the Reserve Army until he knows without a doubt that Hitler is dead (if Hitler isn’t dead, Olbricht will be arrested for having the reserve army mobilized without Fromm’s permission). Behind Olbricht’s back, Mertz forges his signature and issues the orders anyway. With Operation Valkyrie underway, Stauffenberg and his fellow plotters order the arrest of Nazi party leaders and SS officers, convincing lower officers that the Party and the SS are staging a coup. As Army soldiers begin to take control of Berlin’s government ministries, including SS headquarters, mid-level officers relaying the orders begin to wonder which side they should be fighting for. Rumors reach Berlin that Hitler survived the blast, but Stauffenberg dismisses them as SS propaganda. Meanwhile, Fromm learns from Field Marshal Keitel that Hitler is still alive. The General refuses to join the plotters, resulting in them detaining him. Major Otto Ernst Remer of the Reserve Army prepares to arrest Goebbels, but is stopped when Goebbels connects him by phone to Hitler.Immediately recognizing the voice on the other end, Remer realizes that the Reserve Army has been duped—rather than containing a coup, they have unwittingly supported it. SS officers are released and the plotters in turn are besieged inside the Bendlerblock. The headquarters staff flees, but the resistance leaders are arrested. In an ultimately vain effort to save himself, General Fromm convenes an impromptu court martial, places Beck under arrest, and sentences Von Quirnheim, Olbricht, Haeften, and Stauffenberg to death, contravening Hitler’s orders that they be kept alive. Given a pistol by Fromm, Beck commits suicide. That night, the ringleaders are then executed by firing squad one by one. Some distance away, General Von Tresckow commits suicide with a grenade. When Stauffenberg is about to be shot, in a last gesture of loyalty and defiance, Haeften places himself in the path of the bullets meant for Stauffenberg. When his turn arrives, Colonel Stauffenberg’s last act is to cry “Long live sacred Germany!”A brief epilogue informs that the conspiracy of July 20, 1944, was the last of fifteen known assassination attempts on Hitler by Germans. It also mentions Hitler’s suicide nine months later and that Countess Nina von Stauffenberg and her children survived the war. A shortened version of the dedication at the Memorial to the German Resistance is then shown onscreen.Valkyrie is a strong, enjoyable film. It is not Singer’s best but he can still pull it of.

REVIEW: MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN

CAST

Eva Green (Sin City 2)
Asa Butterfield (Hugo)
Samuel L. Jackson (The Legend of Tarzan)
Judi Dench (Skyfall)
Rupert Everett (Shrek 2)
Allison Janney (Mom)
Chris O’Dowd (St. Vincent)
Terence Stamp (Big Eyes)
Ella Purnell (Kick-Ass 2)
Finlay MacMillan (Waterloo Road)
Lauren McCrostie (The Falling)
Kim Dickens (Hollow Man)

For years Abe Portman (Terence Stamp) tells stories to his Floridian grandson Jake (Asa Butterfield) about his childhood battling monsters and spending World War II living at “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” at Cairnholm, Wales. The home’s children and their headmistress, Miss Alma Peregrine (Eva Green), possess paranormal abilities and are known as “Peculiars”. After 16-year-old Jake receives a phone call from his grandfather, he goes to his house with his drugstore supervisor Shelly (O-Lan Jones) and finds his grandfather with his eyes missing. Abe tells Jake to go to “the Cairnholm loop of September 3, 1943”, and that the “bird” will tell him everything. Abe then dies mysteriously. As Shelly joins Jake with her gun, he sees one of the monsters from Abe’s stories appear behind her. But when he tells her to shoot behind, the monster disappears.
Convinced by his psychiatrist, Dr. Golan (Allison Janney) and by a letter from Miss Peregrine to Abe that he finds in one of his birthday presents from Abe, Jake and his father Frank (Chris O’Dowd) travel to Cairnholm, where Jake finds that the children’s home was destroyed during a Luftwaffe raid on “September 3, 1943”. At the house, Jake is startled when some of the Peculiar children, surprisingly, come out to greet him. They are sent by Miss Peregrine after she (in “bird” form) saw Jake and Frank arrive on the island. They take him through a cave and he finds himself in 1943, when their house was still intact. Miss Peregrine greets him and explains that she belongs to a class of female Peculiars named “Ymbrynes”, who can transform into birds (in Miss Peregrine’s case, a peregrine falcon) and manipulate time. To avoid persecution for being Peculiars, she and her children hide from the outside world in a time loop she created, set to September 3, 1943, meaning that they all live the same day over and over again and in the meantime, avoid aging. Time loops can only be entered by Peculiars.
Jake is introduced to the rest of the children, including aerokinetic Emma Bloom (Ella Purnell), to whom he is attracted (like she was to his grandfather before). He also learns about “Hollowgasts” (or “Hollows”) – the monsters from Abe’s stories that are invisible to everyone. However, Jake learns he himself is a Peculiar; like his grandfather, he has the ability to see the Hollows. Hollows are Peculiars who were transformed by a failed experiment that used an Ymbryne’s powers to became immortals, killing the Ymbryne in the process. Led by shapeshifter Mr. Barron (Samuel L. Jackson), they hunt Peculiars to consume their eyeballs. When enough eyes are consumed, the Hollows transform into milky-white eyed visible Peculiars known as “Wights”.
A wounded Ymbryne avocet named Miss Avocet (Judi Dench), comes and reveals (also in another letter from Abe to Miss Peregrine) that Barron raided her January 2016 time loop at Blackpool, England, killed her children, and is trying to repeat his failed experiment by using more Ymbrynes. Worried, Miss Peregrine decides to move out with her children and Miss Avocet. While back in 2016, Jake realizes earlier that a Hollow might be nearby and goes back to the cave to warn his friends. He is followed by another visitor on the island, ornithologist John Lamont (Rupert Everett) who is revealed to be Mr. Barron. Barron had tried to find out about Miss Peregrine’s loop from Abe, but his Hollow companion, Mr. Malthus (whose past self is in the island) killed Abe before he could. Barron then posed as Dr. Golan, encouraging him to go to the island so Jake could guide him to the loop. Using Jake as a hostage at the children’s home, Barron forces Miss Peregrine to come with him to Blackpool in her bird form and leave Jake, her children, and Miss Avocet for their own safety.
Malthus arrives and kills Miss Avocet, but Jake and the children escape just as the Luftwaffe raid destroys the house and kills Malthus. Without Miss Peregrine to reset it, the loop closes, leaving them permanently in 1943. They travel on a sunken ocean liner to the Blackpool loop and use their abilities to fight Barron’s Hollow and Wight minions and rescue Miss Peregrine and other captive Ymbrynes. As a last resort, Barron poses as Jake to confuse the children. When the last Hollow arrives, Jake, who can see the monster, is able to avoid him. The Hollow kills Barron and Jake kills the Hollow.
Jake says goodbye to the children and returns to the present world in Florida, relating his adventures to Abe, who is alive and well: Malthus’ death in 1943 erased himself and his murder of Abe from the future (2016). Abe gives Jake a map of time loops, allowing Jake (for months in his own time) to reunite with his friends and Emma. The two kiss as Miss Peregrine (in her peregrine form) follows them and all of her children in their own ship, looking for another time loop.Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a delightful original adventure directed by Tim Burton. The fantasy iis highly entertaining with lovely characters.

REVIEW: MY BOSS’S DAUGHTER

CAST

Ashton Kutcher (The Ranch)
Tara Reid (American Pie)
Terence Stamp (Big Eyes)
Molly Shannon (Scary Movie 5)
Andy Richter (Elf)
Michael Madsen (Sin City)
Tyler Labine (Reaper)
Jon Abrahams (The Faculty)
Patrick Cranshaw (Old School)
Angela Little (Rush Hour 2)
David Koechner (Anchorman)
Carmen Electra (Scary Movie)
Kenan Thompson (The Smurfs)
Jeffrey Tambor (Dr. Dolittle)

Tom Stansfield (Ashton Kutcher) is a researcher at a publishing company who works under the tyrannical Jack Taylor (Terence Stamp). Tom has a crush on his boss’ daughter, Lisa Taylor (Tara Reid), who is completely controlled by her overprotective father. She reveals to Tom that her father is making her house-sit on the same night as a party she wants to attend, but Tom convinces her to stand up to her father and attend the party anyway. Lisa asks him to come to their house that night, leading Tom to think that she has invited him to the party; in reality, she just wants him to fill in for her – he reluctantly agrees. A comedy of errors ensues, including the return of Lisa’s older brother, Red, on the run from drug dealers. Red dumps drugs into the toilet, and instead returns a bag of flour to the drug dealer. One of Tom’s tasks is to guard their owl, O-J, which lives in an open cage (it has not been able to fly due to a deep depression, from the loss of a prior mate). When the bird drinks from the toilet polluted with drugs, it flies away. Jack Taylor’s ex-secretary Audrey goes to the house to try to earn her job back. After fighting with her boyfriend, she stays over at the house. Lisa returns home after finding out that her boyfriend Hans is cheating on her. Tom hides from her everything that happened and she spends some time with him thinking he is homosexual. He clarifies to her that he’s actually straight and she starts to like him. Audrey’s friend thinks she has breast cancer and asks Tom to feel her breasts. Lisa walks in on them and is disgusted by the situation.T.J., the drug dealer, finds out about the fake drugs and threatens to kill Tom if he doesn’t return him his money. T.J. tries to open a safe and steal the money. However, Tom gives him sleeping pills mixed with alcohol which sends him into a coma. Because they think T.J. is dead, Audrey and her friends bury him. Later, T.J. escapes from the grave and threatens to kill Lisa. With Red’s help, Tom rescues Lisa and she falls in love with him. He then goes to get her father, but on the way back the owl gets into the car making Tom lose control of the car and crash into the house. They find police officers in the house looking for T.J., who ends up getting arrested. Jack Taylor is enraged by the damages done to the house and throws Tom out. The next day, Jack Taylor hears his son explaining to Lisa how she should stand up to their father and goes back to Tom. Jack realizes his mistakes and gives Tom a promotion.This is a funny film and all the cast seem to be having a good time and a laught buy it if you want a good comedy.

REVIEW: ALIEN NATION (1988)

CAST

James Caan (Elf)
Mandy Patinkin (Dead Like Me)
Terence Stamp (Superman II)
Kevyn Major Howard (Death Wish II)
Leslie Beivs (The Opposite of Sex)
Peter Jason (Red Heat)
Tony Perez (24)
Jeff Kober (Sully)
Keone Young (Crank)
Brian Thompson (The Terminator)
Francis X. McCarthy (The Relic)
Roger Aaron Brown (Cobra)
Earl Boen (Marked For Death)

The year is 1991; one year since an unidentified flying object bearing 300,000 enslaved aliens, the Newcomers, landed in the Mojave Desert on planet Earth. Los Angeles later becomes their new home.Matthew Sykes (Caan), a police detective, loses his partner Bill Tuggle (Brown) in a shootout; the detectives had been trying to stop two Newcomer criminals murdering another Newcomer named Porter at a grocery, in what appeared to be a robbery. The next day, Sykes’ superior Captain Warner (McCarthy), informs his squad that they will have to work with the newly promoted Newcomer detective Sam Francisco (Patinkin). Although biased, Sykes enlists to work with Francisco to investigate a similar homicide with a Newcomer named Warren Hubely, feeling that if he investigates that crime, he will also find opportunities to investigate his partner’s death (which he is officially forbidden to do).While at a crime lab, trying unobtrusively to establish a connection between the two cases, Francisco detects an abnormality on the body of one of the Newcomer criminals who was killed in the robbery. Later, Sykes and Francisco are led to a nightclub to investigate a link in the killings with a Newcomer named Joshua Strader (Kober). However, they end up interviewing his girlfriend instead, after Strader is murdered by a criminal ring led by Newcomer businessman William Harcourt (Stamp) and his henchman Rudyard Kipling (Howard).Harcourt is in the latter stages of launching advanced plans to exploit the alien race by attempting to mass-produce and sell a drug called Jabroka. The drug was used in the past to pacify the Newcomers when they were slaves, but has no effect on humans. The abnormality noticed by Francisco on the body of the Newcomer criminal earlier turns out to have been a visual sign of the drug’s influence. In addition, the Newcomers Hubley, Porter and Strader were involved in the planning phases of the operation, but were later murdered due to Harcourt’s desire to exclude them from any future financial rewards. Ultimately, Sykes and Francisco track down Harcourt, where he is secretly negotiating a timetable for a release of the potent narcotic. The detectives attempt to foil his plans, as they are later led on a car chase with Harcourt and his cohort Kipling through the streets of downtown Los Angeles. Following a head-on collision where both parties are injured, Harcourt attempts an escape on foot. Sykes pursues and corners Harcourt onto a desolate drawbridge. Harcourt then purposely overdoses on a sample of the stimulant.600px-an-1100_03a

As Sykes mistakenly believes Harcourt has died, Harcourt is taken away by an ambulance, but later mutates into a significantly larger and more muscular Newcomer intent on causing violence. The duo pursue Harcourt, catching up with him near a fishing pier. Sykes later ends up in a physical confrontation with Harcourt in the open sea. Harcourt dies, as his body disintegrates due to the effects of direct contact with salt water, which is hazardous towards Newcomer physiology. Francisco commandeers a police helicopter, and rescues Sykes from the water. With the Tuggle and Newcomer murder cases solved, the authorities dismantle Harcourt’s illicit scheme.untitledAlien Nation asks questions about ourselves as humans. How would we react if aliens landed on Earth and announced they were escaping a brutal planet full of slavery and have immigrated to Earth? Would we accept them as our own, or would we force them to become outcasts? Would we allow an “Affirmative Action” scenario in regards to Aliens and Alien rights? Would we offer them high-paying jobs and/or top-notch education, depriving humans of those same jobs and quality education in exchange? To me, Alien Nation is one of the more possible (and perhaps likely) scenarios. Aliens delegated to run-down areas of big cities. Token jobs occasionally handed out because it’s forced by the Government to do so. And a general disgust towards Aliens amongst the human population. In that regard, this movie was way ahead of the curve.

REVIEW: BIG EYES

CAST

Amy Adams (batman V Sueprman)
Christoph Waltz (The Green Hornet)
Danny Huston (30 Days of Night)
Jon Polito (Burning Palms)
Krysten Ritter (Jessica Jones)
Jason Schwartzman (Funny People)
Terence Stamp (Superman 1 & 2)
Madeleine Arthur (The Killing)
Vincent Gale (Van Helsing)
Heather Doerksen (Pacific Rim)
Leela Savasta (Black Xmas)
Britt Irvin (Smallville)


In 1958, Margaret leaves her husband and takes her young daughter Jane to North Beach, San Francisco. Supporting her daughter alone, Margaret gets a job painting illustrations at a furniture factory. While creating portraits at an outdoor art show, Margaret meets Walter Keane, who is selling his Parisian street scene paintings. Soon, Walter proposes to her and they marry.

Walter goes to a popular jazz club and tries to convince the club’s owner, Enrico Banducci, to purchase the couple’s paintings. He only agrees to rent out the walls to Walter. A drunk woman is touched by one of Margaret’s paintings and buys it. Walter fights with Banducci and ends up on the front page of the local newspaper. When Walter goes to the club again it is packed with curious people. Dick Nolan, a celebrity gossip columnist (who serves as the film’s narrator), wants to know more about Walter’s art, but is only interested in Margaret’s paintings. Afterward, Walter shows Margaret all the money they have made from the sales. He tells her they are a great team, she can stay at home painting and he will sell her works.

Walter opens up his own Keane gallery, promoting the art as his own work, and sells reproductions. Margaret becomes more upset about Walter taking credit for her art and lying to Jane about who is the real artist. Margaret decides to paint in a different style with elongated features and small eyes, so that she can honestly tell people she is also a painter. Margaret and Walter move into a mansion. While going through a crate Margaret finds a stack of paintings of Parisian street scenes, but they are all signed by S. CENIC. She realizes Walter paints over the name of the original artist and claims the paintings as his own. Margaret confronts Walter, he confesses saying he always wanted to be an artist, but never had the talent. Walter learns of the New York World’s Fair and demands Margaret paint something to put on display; she refuses and Walter threatens to have her killed. Jane discovers her mother working on the World’s Fair painting “Tomorrow Forever”. Jane tells her mother she always knew that she was the real artist.

At a party, Walter is angered after reading John Canaday’s scathing review of the “Tomorrow Forever” exhibit and confronts Canaday. Back at home Walter is still enraged and starts throwing lit matches at Margaret and Jane. They run into the studio and lock the door. Margaret runs away with Jane. One year later, Margaret and Jane have settled in Honolulu, Hawaii. Walter will not agree to a divorce unless Margaret signs over the rights to every painting, and produces 100 more. Margaret agrees and continues sending paintings to California. Margaret is visited by two Jehovah’s Witnesses who convince her that honesty is important. The next time Walter receives the paintings, they are signed “MDH Keane”. On a Hawaiian radio show, Margaret reveals she is the real artist behind the paintings attributed to Walter, making national news. Dick Nolan publishes Walter’s claims that Margaret has “gone nuts”. Margaret sues both Walter and the newspapers that printed his version of the story for libel and slander.

At the trial, reporters swarm the courthouse in Honolulu. The court quickly dismisses the libel lawsuit against the newspapers. Without a lawyer, Walter defends himself against slander. Margaret testifies that she felt she had no choice. Walter asks himself questions as a witness. The judge directs both Margaret and Walter to create a painting in one hour as proof of the real artist. Margaret paints steadily, but Walter is hesitant, claiming his arm hurts too much to hold a paintbrush. Margaret completes her painting and wins the lawsuit. Outside the courthouse, Margaret says she doesn’t care about money and just wants credit for her paintings. A fan asks her to sign a copy of “Tomorrow’s Masters” and she does, finally autographing her own work.Excellent story based on the lives of Walter and Margaret Keane. Margaret ‘s work was plagiarised by her second husband Walter soon after they married in the mid fifties until their divorce in the mid sixties taking a high profile court case to determine who the real artist was. The film deals with quite a few topics from Walter’s domination of Margaret to his paranoia and mental delusion. Watch out for a cameo appearance of the real Margaret as an elderly lady sitting on a bench.