REVIEW: STAND UP GUYS

Starring

Al Pacino (Devil’s Advocate)
Christopher Walken (The Prophecy)
Alan Arkin (Get Smart)
Julianna Margulies (Ghost Ship)
Mark Margolis (Breaking Bad)
Katheryn Winnick (Bones)
Vanessa Ferlito (Death Proof)
Addison Timlin (Depraved)
Lucy Punch (The Wedding Video)
Keone Young (Crank)

Al Pacino, Alan Arkin, Christopher Walken, and Katheryn Winnick in Stand Up Guys (2012)Doc (Christopher Walken) picks up his old friend Val (Al Pacino) from prison. At Doc’s apartment, while Val is in the bathroom, Doc approaches him with a gun but does nothing. They go for coffee and Val says he wants to “party.” They go to a brothel but Val cannot perform, so Doc and Val break into a pharmacy and steal several bottles of drugs. Val overdoses on Viagra, has sex with a whore named Oxana and they go to a club. Val takes some of the other drugs to get a buzz. Two thugs approach them, apparently for nothing, and they leave. Val passes out in the car and Doc considers killing him again, but takes him to the hospital.Al Pacino and Christopher Walken in Stand Up Guys (2012)The nurse they see is the daughter of their old friend Richard Hirsch, who tells them he lives in a retirement home. Thereafter, they go to a local diner where Val correctly guesses that Doc is to kill him. Doc says he’s been given until 10 a.m. to do the job, or else he will be killed as well. Outside, they steal a car and they go to get Hirsch, who had once been their getaway driver. Hirsch (Alan Arkin) gets behind the wheel and into a highway chase with the police. When asked what he wants to do next, Hirsch says he’s never been with two women, and they go back to the brothel. Hirsch gets his threesome, but says he feels guilty despite being a widower.Christopher Walken in Stand Up Guys (2012)After they leave, they hear sounds coming from the trunk. They find a naked woman named Sylvia, who was kidnapped by men who raped and kidnapped her. Sylvia tells them where the kidnappers are. Val and Doc go inside and subdue the men. After tying everyone up, Sylvia comes in with a baseball bat for her revenge. Back at the car, Doc and Val find that Hirsch has died. They break the news to Nina, who helps the two bury her father at the cemetery. Doc and Val return to the diner, where the young waitress is revealed to be Doc’s granddaughter Alex. Doc makes a phone call to Claphands (who ordered him to kill Val), begging him to show Val mercy. Claphands reveals that he knows about Alex, and that he will hurt her if Doc doesn’t complete the job.Doc writes a letter to Alex, puts his apartment keys inside the envelope, then pins it to the wall of the diner. Walking down the street at sunrise, Val spots a church and he goes inside to give a priest his confession. Next, they break into a tailor shop, where they try on suits. Two thugs working for Claphands (who approached them at the club the night before) interrupt them, pestering Doc to get the job done. Doc and Val shoot and wound them both. They both put on new suits and prepare to face the reality of the situation.  Alex enters Doc’s apartment and looks around. Doc calls her from a payphone and tells her the sunset paintings were inspired by her and has her retrieve a shoebox full of cash which he saved for her future. He tells her he loves her but that she might not see him for awhile. Doc and Val walk down the street; Doc has decided he can’t kill Val, so they decide to go kill Claphands. They open fire on his men and his warehouse and the camera pans over to the sunset which Doc painted.“Stand Up Guys” is a fun and great movie, which offers 95 minutes of great entertainment. If not for the good story, then the movie is well worth watching for the three stars of the movie.

REVIEW: KILLER JOE

Starring

Matthew McConaughey (Magic Mike)
Emile Hirsch (Lone Survivor)
Juno Temple (The Dark Knight Rises)
Gina Gershon (Riverdale)
Thomas Haden Church (Spider-Man 3)
Marc Macaulay (My Bloody Valentine)

Matthew McConaughey in Killer Joe (2011)In West Dallas, Texas, 22-year-old drug dealer Chris Smith comes to the house of his father Ansel and step-mother Sharla, after his mother, Adele, threw him out of her house. To make matters worse, Adele stole his cocaine money and spent it on fixing her car, and now Chris is desperate to pay off his debt to his dealer, Digger Soames, so he decides to murder his mother to collect the $50,000 life insurance of which his sister Dottie is the sole beneficiary. Assuming Dottie would share the money with Chris and their father, Chris manages to rope the dim-witted Ansel into hiring Joe Cooper, a police detective who has a side career as a contract killer, to kill Adele (Ansel’s ex-wife) to get the money. Chris and Ansel decide that after paying Joe from the proceeds of the life insurance policy, they will split the remainder four ways between themselves, Dottie, and Ansel’s wife Sharla. Dottie hears the plan as they are talking, and agrees that it’s a good idea.Emile Hirsch and Juno Temple in Killer Joe (2011)The plan almost fails when Joe demands all of the money in advance, which of course Chris and Ansel do not have. However, Joe is interested in the odd, childlike Dottie and offers to take her as a “retainer” until the insurance comes through. Through Dottie’s interaction with Joe, it is revealed that Adele tried to kill Dottie once when she was an infant. Joe “dates” Dottie and then appears to be staying over at their home and having sex with her regularly. Chris has a change of heart and asks him to call off the hit, only to discover that Joe has already killed Adele. With Chris’ reluctant help, Joe hides the body in a car and torches it.Matthew McConaughey in Killer Joe (2011)After Adele’s death is discovered, the family learns that the insurance beneficiary is actually Rex, Adele’s boyfriend, rather than her daughter Dottie. Chris then admits he originally heard the details about the policy from Rex, who also told him about Joe. Ansel then realizes that Rex duped Chris into hiring Joe to kill Adele. Immediately afterwards, Chris tries to talk Dottie into running away with him to escape Digger, who has already had two of his goons severely beat Chris up for not having repaid him. Dottie says she will go with him, but she must see Joe again first.Matthew McConaughey and Emile Hirsch in Killer Joe (2011)When Ansel and Sharla return home from Adele’s funeral, they find Joe inside with Dottie. He comes out of her room and asks increasingly pointed questions of Sharla, which ultimately leads her to admit that she knew the policy was really $100,000 (accidental death is double). Joe shows them a check of that amount payable to Rex, as well as incriminating photos which prove Sharla was having an affair with Rex. Angered, Ansel declines to protect Sharla when Joe punches her and forces her to simulate oral sex on a fried chicken drumstick.Matthew McConaughey and Emile Hirsch in Killer Joe (2011)Joe knows Chris is coming to take Dottie away and he threatens to kill Ansel and Sharla if they don’t stop him. After Chris is seated for dinner, Joe announces that he and Dottie will be married. Chris refuses to let them, ordering Dottie to leave with him; Joe tells her to stay where she is. For a moment Dottie sits there, then she gets up and turns and, while the men yell out at her, Chris threatens Joe with a gun and the two struggle. Ansel and Sharla jump in to assist Joe as he brutally beats Chris, not wanting to be killed by Joe if Chris flees with Dottie. In all the confusion, Dottie recovers the gun and, in a rage, she fires several shots, killing Chris and seriously wounding Ansel. Dottie turns the gun on Joe, telling him that she is pregnant. Joe appears overjoyed as he inches closer to Dottie. The film ends just as Dottie moves her finger back on the trigger.Killer Joe (2011)Killer Joe is a lot of things, but one thing it’s not is scatterbrained. It’s entirely focused and cohesive. All the genres it glosses over fit right into this depraved story arc, and it grips you to the screen from beginning to end. This movie certainly isn’t for everyone, but if you can stomach Killer Joe, you won’t soon forget it.

REVIEW: THE SNOWMAN (2017)

Starring

Michael Fassbender (Shame)
Rebecca Ferguson (The White Queen)
Charlotte Gainsbourg (Independence Day: Resurgence)
Val Kilmer (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang)
J. K. Simmons (Whiplash)
Toby Jones (The Hunger Games)
David Dencik (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)
Ronan Vibert (Hex)
Chloë Sevigny (Lizzie)
James D’Arcy (Bates Motel)
Genevieve O’Reilly (The Legend of Tarzan)
Alec Newman (Dune)

Michael Fassbender in The Snowman (2017)At a remote cabin amidst heavy snowfall, a woman confronts a brutal man named Jonas saying she is going to tell his wife about their illegitimate son. The son overhears this and leaves the house and builds a snowman. Jonas leaves angrily in his car. The woman and her son pursue him, but lose him in the snow. She lets go of the steering wheel, causing the car to drive off the road onto a frozen lake. The boy manages to escape from the sinking car, but the woman stays inside in an apparent suicide.Harry Hole is a brilliant but troubled inspector with the Norwegian Police Service’s Oslo district, struggling with the aftermath of his break-up with his girlfriend Rakel and her new relationship with Mathias, a renowned surgeon. Harry was very close to her son Oleg, who is unaware that Harry is his biological father. Oleg mentions, on an outing with Harry, that his mother (Rakel) refused to let him search for his father. Harry receives a mysterious letter signed with the drawing of a snowman, and is paired with a brilliant new recruit, Katrine Bratt. The two are assigned to a missing persons case of Birte Becker, who vanished from her house after being followed home by a red Volvo.Rebecca Ferguson, Michael Fassbender, and Joakim Skarli in The Snowman (2017)The police receive a report of another missing woman named Sylvia Otterson. When Harry and Katrine travel to her farmhouse to investigate, they find her alive and well. They brush the report off as a prank call and leave, but shortly thereafter a figure wearing a black ski mask stalks and kills Sylvia outside her house, using a wire fastening harness to decapitate her. Harry receives another call about Otterson, and returning to the farmhouse comes face-to-face with her identical twin sister Ane. They search the property and find Sylvia’s beheaded corpse inside her barn, and her head atop a snowman inside an empty storage tank.Jonas Karlsson and Michael Fassbender in The Snowman (2017)Connecting the letter with the presence of a snowman at the crime scene of the murder with the snowman at the scene of the first woman’s (Birte) disappearance, Harry’s research leads him to a previous case in Bergen, involving a similar set of circumstances. He travels to meet the case’s investigating officer Gert Rafto, but upon arrival learns that Rafto died eight years prior through what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound, and that the case went cold after his apparent suicide. Inside Rafto’s old cabin, he finds a jacket and a photograph that lead him to realize that Katrine is Rafto’s daughter, and is likely out to find her father’s real killer.Michael Fassbender in The Snowman (2017)Katrine believes that Arve Støp, a business tycoon implicated in the earlier case, is behind her father’s death. Støp is involved in a high-class prostitution ring overseen by Idar Vetelsen, a doctor working at a clinic all the current victims had visited. Birte’s cell phone begins transmitting again, and the signal is traced to Vetelsen’s house. When the police raid it, they find Vetelsen dead of a shotgun blast to the head, along with the remains of Birte and another victim named Hegen Dahl. Katrine begins to seduce Støp at a fundraiser event, and he asks her to meet him in his hotel room. She sets a trap for him inside, but she is attacked and drugged by a masked figure who severs her right finger and uses it to unlock the biometric security measures on her work tablet, wiping all the data from it. The next morning, Harry sees the impression of a snowman atop his snow-covered car, and inside finds Katrine dead in the driver’s seat.Rakel tells Harry that Oleg has run away after Harry missed a school camping trip which he was supposed to have gone to. Oleg stays at a friend’s house, and when Rakel arrives to tell Harry the two kiss and almost have sex. Mathias calls to tell Rakel that he is picking up Oleg to take him home. Upon returning home, Mathias drugs and ties up Rakel, then does the same to Oleg, taking both of them to a cottage in Telemark. Harry locates the cottage, where he finds that Mathias has Rakel and Oleg hostage with the cutter to Rakel’s throat. Mathias is revealed as the boy at the start of the film, who hated his mother for committing suicide and, thus, abandoning him. Harry attacks Mathias and manages to get the cutter off of Rakel’s neck, losing a finger in the process. Mathias escapes and Harry gives pursuit, chasing him onto the ice. Mathias manages to shoot Harry, but the ice beneath Mathias’ feet suddenly cracks and breaks apart, dropping him into the water below and dragging him under the current to his death. After having his injuries treated, Harry returns to the police precinct, and volunteers for a new homicide case.The movie is really slow-paced at first, it does pick up in the second half though. It’s got a very creepy, disturbing feel to it as well, and Fassbender is good in the lead. The characters aren’t very well developed though, and the movie is mostly just dull. It might be worth watching late one night.

REVIEW: WHAT/IF – SEASON 1

Renée Zellweger, Jane Levy, and Blake Jenner in What/If (2019)

 

Main Cast

Renée Zellweger (Appaloosa)
Jane Levy (Don’t Breathe)
Blake Jenner (Cousin Sarah)
Daniella Pineda (The Originals)Renée Zellweger in What/If (2019)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Dave Annable (666 Park Avenue)
Louis Herthum (Westworld)
Allie MacDonald (Cardinal)
David Barrera (Generation Kill)
Juan Castano (Sharknado 2)
Samantha Marie Ware (Glee)
Keith Powers (Famous In Love)
Gabriel Mann (Revenge)
Julian Sands (Smallville)
Kristen Hager (Wanted)
Brenda Bakke (Under Siege 2)

Renée Zellweger and Gabriel Mann in What/If (2019)It’s tricky to explain Renée Zellweger’s new Netflix show What/If to somebody who hasn’t seen it, because it’s an exercise in diametrically opposed contradictions. It’s a sexy thriller, even though it’s about as sexy as slow-transit constipation. Its unique selling point is that it follows the consequences of actions, even though that also describes every single story ever told by anyone in the entire history of humankind. It’s a television series, even though its title is punctuated like a sub-tier early noughties boyband.Jane Levy and Juan Castano in What/If (2019)What I can say with confidence is that What/If is trash. The pilot episode was directed by the man who directed Sharon Stone’s 1993 boobathon Sliver, who appears to have been preserved in amber ever since the moment that film wrapped. The characters, the dialogue, the sets and costumes and music are all firmly in mid-90s, low-budget erotic thriller territory, and there’s barely a concession to modernity to be found anywhere. It’s confusing, too; the second scene takes place a year after the first scene, but the third scene takes place three days before the second scene. What’s more, almost all of the episode’s establishing shots take place during a thunderstorm for some genuinely unfathomable reason.Renée Zellweger in What/If (2019)One of the lead characters runs a struggling molecular sequencing company, despite being so aggressively stupid that it’s a wonder she ever figured out cutlery. The profession is an afterthought – clearly, nobody from the writer down cares a jot about the nuts and bolts of molecular sequencing – but it adds a vaguely futuristic sheen to the series, giving it shades of a Hallmark Channel Black Mirror reboot.Renée Zellweger in What/If (2019)Taken on the surface, What/If looks like a grand error; like another Cloverfield Paradox sold off to Netflix in a fire sale because its studio couldn’t believe what a clunker it was. But that’s the weird thing about What/If. I think – and I might be wrong, because this is pure conjecture – that its trashiness might actually be sort of deliberate.The best case for this argument lies with Zellweger’s character, a sexually voracious billionaire puppetmaster taken to wandering around her sprawling apartment late at night pontificating about the nature of destiny versus free will into a 2010-model dictaphone. Read that sentence back. That has to be deliberate, right? No sensible person, with the possible exception of EL James, would ever create a character this preposterous on purpose, surely. And I haven’t even mentioned her primary hobby yet. It’s doing archery in her kitchen. Of course it is.And Zellweger relishes every second of it. It’s a huge, camp, scenery-licking wink of a performance that channels every broad rich bitch trope you care to imagine. She’s the sort of person who writes “AT ANY COST” in block capitals on a piece of paper before we smash-cut to a day when her new book At Any Cost has become an epoch-defining bestseller. She’s the sort of person who keeps her keys in an enormous plexiglass cube in the middle of the room. She’s the sort of person who, when her butler sniffs that one of kitchen arrows has hit the target “left of centre”, smirks: “Three words no one has ever used to describe me”.
In What/If, Zellweger’s character meets a barman and invites him home. He declines, and so she escalates her offer. For one night with him, she offers to pay his wife (the molecular sequencer) $80m to rescue her ailing molecular sequencing business. It’s a plot, as the sequencer states in a rare moment of self-awareness, that’s been “ripped out of a bad 90s movie”. But it doesn’t end there, because it starts to look as if Zellweger chose the barman deliberately in order to ignite a bizarre Rube Goldberg sequence of events. Which is silly, right? The whole plot is so gaudy that it has to be tongue in cheek. But the thing is, Zellweger is the exception here. The rest of the characters, and all the subplots, are tedious and witless and played absolutely straight. Had What/If been The Renée Zellweger Show, it would have been fantastic. As it stands, she’s the only thing saving the series from terminal mediocrity.whatif_102_unit_00954rcSo, yes, What/If is tricky to explain. It isn’t the best show you’ll ever see. It isn’t even the worst best show. It might be the best worst show, but then again it also might be the worst worst show. Honestly, I’m stumped.

 

 

 

REVIEW: THE GAME

Starring

Tom Hughes (Silk)
Brian Cox (Super Troopers)
Paul Ritter (The Libertine)
Shaun Dooley (Eden Lake)
Chloe Pirrie (War & Peace)
Victoria Hamilton (The Crown)
Jonathan Aris (Rogue One)
Marcel Iureș (The Cave)
Rachael Stirling (Salmon Fishing in the Yemen)
Zana Marjanović (Broken)
Goran Navojec (Our Everyday Life)

Tom Hughes in The Game (2014)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Steven Mackintosh (Underworld: Evolution)
Gemma Chan (Mary Queen of Scots)
Emma Fielding (Close To The Enemy)
Anton Lesser (Game of Thrones)

Chloe Pirrie in The Game (2014)Joe Lambe (Tom Hughes) is a young MI5 operative in 1972 London. The previous year, Joe had fallen in love with Yulia (Zana Marjanović), one of his Russian contacts. He had tried to defect to the Soviet Union to be with her but Joe was arrested and Yulia was shot by a KGB enforcer he had not encountered before. Joe’s MI5 superior, codenamed “Daddy” (Brian Cox), covers for him and insists that the attempted defection was a sanctioned undercover operation gone wrong and that Joe was only acting on the orders given to him; the outcome of the defection had gone awry and was out of Joe’s control.Brian Cox, Jonathan Aris, Shaun Dooley, Victoria Hamilton, Paul Ritter, Tom Hughes, and Chloe Pirrie in The Game (2014)MI5 is contacted by Soviet university professor Arkady Malinov (Marcel Iureș), who reveals he is a KGB sleeper agent working undercover in the United Kingdom. He tells them that he has been recruited to take part in “Operation Glass”, a secret plan of game-changing importance, but he wants to defect. Joe is convinced by everything Arkady tells them except for the reason he wants to defect, that he wants to be a capitalist. He will be used as a go-between to pass messages to other sleeper agents in Britain. Daddy assembles a team to look into Operation Glass, including Joe; the ambitious civil servant Bobby Waterhouse (Paul Ritter); field agent and analyst Sarah Montag (Victoria Hamilton); her husband, Alan (Jonathan Aris), who is a bugging expert; and Daddy’s secretary, Wendy (Chloe Pirrie). Joining them is Special Branch detective Jim Fenchurch (Shaun Dooley). As the team investigates Operation Glass, they remain in the dark as to what it is, or even whether Arkady is a trustworthy informant or a double agent.Marcel Iures and Tom Hughes in The Game (2014)Their early leads seem to confirm the worst, as they discover that a Soviet sleeper agent has been attempting to learn the contents of the letters of last resort, which instruct British nuclear submarines on whether to launch their nuclear missiles should Britain be the victim of a nuclear attack. Later, they investigate Kate Wilkinson (Rachael Stirling), an MI6 officer who has been having an affair with an American Air Force officer stationed at RAF Lakenheath, where the Americans are secretly storing nuclear weapons. Plans for a nuclear device are found in Wilkinson’s possession and the team believes that the Soviets intend to detonate an American nuclear weapon in Britain, passing it off as an accident. However, Joe discovers evidence that the MI6 agent was framed, Alan realises the technical plans have been largely faked and the team comes to the conclusion that Operation Glass was an overly elaborate feint by the Russians.Zana Marjanovic and Tom Hughes in The Game (2014)During this time, Joe discovers that the Soviet enforcer who murdered Yulia goes by the codename “Odin” and works in the West, eliminating treacherous agents who attempt to defect or betray Russia. Joe had actually encountered Odin at one of their early investigations in London, but was unable to capture him. Arkady is persuaded to use a friend within the Russian embassy — who soon pays with his life — and is thus able to inform the group that there is a mole in MI5, codenamed “Phoenix”. Arkady’s motivation for defecting is revealed to be a secret French wife and young daughter, but before MI5 can reunite them, he too is murdered by Odin, who can only have been given Arkady’s location by Phoenix. Inexplicably sparing Joe, Odin escapes again.Brian Cox and Tom Hughes in The Game (2014)As Joe and Jim Fenchurch begin investigating the possibilities of who might be the mole in MI5, they get a tip from the police about a former army officer called Philip Denmore, who has been enlisting the IRA for help in building a bomb. They send Wendy into his house posing as a nurse to gather information, but he eludes them along with his home-made device. Joe and Jim stake out a location which Phoenix had used as a dead drop and are shocked when they discover Alan coming out the booth. Under interrogation, Alan admits to being the mole but nonetheless helps MI5 analyse a phone call to determine Denmore’s location. Joe recognises it as the street outside of the Conservative Party headquarters and rushes to the scene, but arrives too late to prevent the detonation by a suicidal Denmore. Later, Sarah is surprised outside her home by Odin — but invites him inside to discuss her role as the real mole inside MI5 and the compromises that have already taken place.Victoria Hamilton in The Game (2014)Still believing Alan to be the mole, the team digs into his past to discover possible motives and what secrets he may have compromised to the Russians. Wendy also discovers that a high-ranking Metropolitan Police official, whose name connects to a child who died in infancy, seems to have no official record prior to joining the force. Suspecting a plant, Bobby orders Wendy to look for other officials in the government who have mysterious and unexplainable gaps in their record, as well as former known radicals who inexplicably disappeared at coinciding times. Jim tracks down Colin Blakefield, a smuggler who had put Denmore in contact with the IRA and who also has Soviet contacts. Blakefield reveals that the Soviets had instructed him to prepare a fake passport for one of their agents: Joe Lambe. Daddy is furious at this fresh betrayal and the authorities attempt to arrest Joe, but he escapes and goes on the run, aided by Sarah, who encourages him to seek out Odin.Brian Cox in The Game (2014)Prior to his going on the run, Wendy had told Joe she had discovered an audio tape where a drunk Russian agent brags openly about knowing Phoenix. Every reference to the person’s real name has been removed, presumably by Alan. When Joe listens to the tape, he discovers that not only the name but also the pronouns referring to this person have been removed; he deduces that what’s missing are all instances of “her” and “she”, meaning that Sarah is the mole and Alan has only confessed to cover for her as he still loves her. When Joe confronts Sarah, she tells him that Yulia is still alive in Soviet custody and that if he wants to see her, he should report to a given address — Daddy will never believe she is the real Phoenix anyway. She then goes to see her imprisoned husband, to give him a cover story which he can use until her compatriots rescue him (in fact, Odin has already tried to have him killed). Alan, however, uses a threat of suicide to prove she cares about him.Tom Hughes in The Game (2014)Wendy and Bobby reveal to Daddy that they have discovered a dozen highly placed figures in government who lack any early history and have names taken from dead infants, so are potential Communist moles. Daddy realises that all of the people on the list have significant ties to the Deputy Prime Minister, who is in effect the operator of the real Operation Glass: it is still ongoing, with the silent coup d’etat to be the shooting by a sniper of the Prime Minister as he tours the site of the bombing at Conservative Party HQ. It is planned that, in the aftermath of this assassination, various heads would roll (including Daddy’s) and all of the Communist moles would move up in the bureaucracy. The Deputy Prime Minister would be free to run the country as Prime Minister, effectively placing Britain under Communist rule with the Deputy Prime Minister taking orders from Soviet Russia.When Joe goes to the address Sarah had given him, he finds Odin and a sniper about to kill the prime minister. Joe will be given a passport and allowed to escape with Yulia, thus MI5’s downfall will be complete. Odin has a gun to her head and Joe’s prints are put on the sniper rifle — but it is not the PM who arrives outside at the bombing site, but Jim. Joe is wearing a wire, having gone to Daddy with his information on Sarah. An MI5 sniper shoots Odin, Joe tackles the KGB sniper and rescues Yulia. Odin attempts to escape once more but Joe finally corners him. Odin dies, having taken a cyanide pill, telling Joe that Julia has been working for them and continues to do so.A few anomalies in the script could have been avoided, though. Why did the KGB pretend to kill Julia instead of making Joe do their wicked will by pressing a gun to her head? Why wasn’t Joe chief suspect from the start? But these pale into insignificance beside the scene in the last part where Sarah meets her husband in the safe-house without thinking that the room is certain to be bugged. Beans spilled all over the show after 25 years of great care to ensure against such mishaps. In the annals of great TV dramas, this rates as a schoolboy-howler. Still an enjoyable, pleasingly-retro, thriller. Those of us who enjoyed LeCarre and Deighton will have a nice glow of nostalgia whilst watching this one and the youngsters can learn how TV drama should be done.

REVIEW: EXTREMELY WICKED,SHOCKINGLY EVIL AND VILE

John Malkovich, Haley Joel Osment, Joe Berlinger, Zac Efron, Jim Parsons, Angela Sarafyan, Kaya Scodelario, and Lily Collins in Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2019)

Starring

Zac Efron (Baywatch)
Lily Collins (Mirror Mirror)
Kaya Scodelario (The King’s Daughter)
John Malkovich (Red)
Jeffrey Donovan (Burn Notice)
Angela Sarafyan (Westworld)
Dylan Baker (Spider-Man 2 & 3)
Brian Geraghty (Flight)
Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory)
Haley Joel Osment (A.I.)
Grace Victoria Cox (The Society)
Terry Kinney (Mile 22)

extremely-wicked-shockingly-evil-and-vile-zac-efron-ted-bundyIn Seattle 1969, handsome drifter Theodore “Ted” Bundy (Zac Efron) meets Elizabeth Kendall (Lily Collins), a college student and single mother. The two begin dating and Ted helps Liz raise her young daughter, Molly. By 1974, news reports announce the disappearance of multiple young women throughout Washington and Oregon, including two abductions that took place in broad daylight at Lake Sammamish State Park. A man, with a resemblance to Ted, is seen by several people asking women to help him load a sailboat onto a Volkswagen Bug. A composite sketch of the attacker is released and, following hundreds of phone calls, Ted is arrested in 1975.MV5BOTE5NTA5MTc1MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTIwOTM2MjE@._V1_Carol Daronch picks Ted out of a police lineup, claiming he had kidnapped her and threatened to kill her before she managed to escape. Ted is released on bail, returning home to Liz who is upset after reading an article about him in the newspaper, but she stands by him after Ted exclaims that Carol was shown his picture by the police before the lineup took place, which is why he looked familiar to her. After a four-day bench trial, Judge Stewart Hanson Jr. finds Ted guilty of aggravated kidnapping, and he is later sentenced to serve a minimum of one to a maximum of 15 years in the Utah State Prison. A few weeks later, Colorado authorities charge Ted with the murder of Caryn Campbell and he is transferred to Aspen in 1977. Liz refuses to believe Ted is guilty but begins to “takes the edge off” by drinking daily.Extremely-Wicked-Shockingly-Evil-And-Vile-Daredevil-NetflixWhile at Pitkin County Courthouse, Ted elects to serve as his own attorney and, as such, is excused from wearing handcuffs or leg shackles. Ted contacts Liz and asks her to never give up hope. During a recess, Ted escapes from the courthouse by jumping out of a second story window and escapes to the mountains, but is recaptured after six days. A disillusioned Liz visits Ted and ends their relationship. Ted later escapes again after sawing a square in his cell’s ceiling. News reports announce the murders of two women at a sorority house in Florida, followed by vicious attacks on two more. After Ted is arrested, he tries to contact Liz but the latter hangs up on him, Ted even starts to receive a following of women who are fascinated by him, some even claiming they love him. Ted contacts an old friend, Carol Ann Boone (Kaya Scodelario), who believes he is innocent and moves to Florida to be closer to him.MV5BMzcyNjI0Nzc5MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODI5ODM2MjE@._V1_A pre-trial plea bargain is negotiated in which Bundy would plead guilty to killing the two sorority girls, Lisa Levy and Margaret Bowman, and twelve-year-old Kimberly Leach, in exchange for a 75-year prison sentence instead of the death penalty. Ted refuses the bargin. Ted and Carol Ann grow closer as she visits him regularly; the two begin a relationship but Ted continues to reach out to Liz, who is following his trials via television. The events are taking a toll on her and she carries the guilt of being the person who gave Ted’s name to the Seattle authorities in 1975. Ted later proposes to Carol Ann and they marry. Incriminating physical evidence is provided in court, including a match of a casting of Ted’s teeth to the impressions of bite wounds on Lisa Levy’s buttocks. In less than seven hours, the jury convict Ted of the murders of Lisa Levy and Margaret Bowman, three counts of attempted first degree murder, and two counts of burglary. Trial judge Edward Cowart (John Malkovich) imposes death sentences for the murder convictions, confirming death by electrocution.MV5BOGJjNDcxZDQtYzFjMS00Y2UyLTljNzctNjE2OTFjNWIzYTEyXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyODU1MjE1MjU@._V1_Ten years later, Liz receives a letter from Ted and she later visits him, taking with her a photograph of one of Ted’s victims given to her over a decade ago by Detective Mike Fisher. Liz demands the truth but Ted continuously denies having anything to do with the murders and Liz tells Ted she has been living with his hand around her neck for years and needs to be released. Liz proceeds to show Ted the photograph, a crime scene image of a decapitated woman, and again demands the truth from him, asking “What happened to her head?”. Ted writes the word “HACKSAW” on the glass. After her final meeting with Ted, Liz leaves the prison in shock and relief, and is met outside by her teenage daughter and new boyfriend. As the film ends, footage and facts confirm that Ted was executed in January 1989 aged 42 years old. Ted had confessed to over 30 murders days before and his ashes were scattered in the Cascade Mountains where he had deposited the remains of numerous victims. A list of Ted’s victims are also shown.hero_wicked-imageGreat acting, great story, people are forgetting that this was not from the view of bundy but from the view of his fiancée, I think zac was the perfect person to play bundy also

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.