REVIEW: IMPERIUM

CAST

Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter)
Toni Collette (Krampus)
Tracy Letts (Killer Joe)
Sam Trammell (Guns, Girls and Gambling)
Nestor Carbonell (Bates Motel)
Devin Druid (13 Reasons Why)
Pawel Szajda (Under The Tuscan Sun)
Chris Sullivan (The Drop)
Burn Gorman (Game of Thrones)
Seth Numrich (Homeland)
Vanessa Ore (Dark Resonance)

Nate Foster is an FBI agent working to uncover terrorist plots. After some illegally imported caesium-137 is stolen, Nate is recruited by agent Angela Zamparo, who suspects the involvement of white supremacist groups. Through Zamparo’s connections, Foster is introduced to a small group led by Vince Sargent, a local leader who is familiar with their prime suspect, conservative talk radio host Dallas Wolf. Wolf, a figurehead in the movement for his incendiary rhetoric, assembles a gathering of the largest and most influential groups in the northeast. With Sargent’s introductions, Foster becomes ingratiated in the movement and meets Andrew Blackwell, the leader of a premier white supremacist militia, as well as gaining Wolf’s attention by convincing him he can fund an expansion of his radio show. Foster also becomes fast friends with Gerry Conway, a white collar engineer and family man.After earning Blackwell’s trust by saving him during an attack on a white power rally by anti-fascists, Foster is brought to a crude military complex operated by Andrew’s militia. There, Blackwell reveals that he has blueprints for the municipal water network of Washington, DC and is plotting an attack. The FBI begins to suspect that Wolf and Blackwell are working together after Foster meets Dallas at his home and discovers that his house sets off Nate’s Geiger counter. Foster attempts to integrate himself into a possible plot by offering Wolf a substantial financial investment. Instead, Wolf becomes hostile and reports Nate to the FBI. It is revealed that he is merely an entertainer and does not believe in the cause. Blackwell is meanwhile also dismissed as a possible threat. With no further leads, the case is ordered to be closed by Foster’s and Zamparo’s superior. Angered at wasting his efforts, Nate prepares to have his cover identity leave the city.Foster meets Gerry to make his final farewells. Sensing his genuine feelings of uselessness, Conway confides in Nate his membership in a domestic terrorist cell. It is revealed that Gerry and his allies are in possession of the caesium and are plotting to detonate a dirty bomb. With Conway’s introduction, Foster joins the group as supplier of the explosive (TATP). Though his cover is nearly blown several times by the paranoid terrorists, Nate manages to locate the caesium in Conway’s home, and the FBI stop and arrest the terrorists before they are able to carry out the plot. Satisfied that he has made a difference, Nate makes one last visit to Johnny, a teenager and former member of Sargent’s gang who no longer believes in the cause.Imperium is a highly involving “going undercover” based on a true events story which works well as a first rate “thinking man’s” thriller as well as a good drama.

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REVIEW: DOG EAT DOG

 

CAST

Nicolas Cage (JKustice)
Willem Dafoe (Spider-Man)
Christopher Mathew Cook (Hours)
Omar J. Dorsey (Django Unchained)
Louisa Krause (Billions)
Melissa Bolona (The Neighbour)
Reynaldo Gallegos (Logan)
Chelcie Lynn (Tangerine)

Carved from a lifetime of experience that runs the gamut from incarceration to liberation, Dog Eat Dog is the story of three men who are all out of prison and now have the task of adapting themselves to civilian life. The California three strikes law looms over them, but what the hell, they’re going to do it, and they’re going to do it their way. Troy, an aloof mastermind, seeks an uncomplicated, clean life but cannot get away from his hatred for the system. Diesel is on the mob’s payroll and his interest in his suburban home and his nagging wife is waning. The loose cannon of the trio, Mad Dog, is possessed by true demons within, which lead him from one situation to the next. One more hit, one more jackpot, and they’ll all be satisfied. Troy constructs the perfect crime and they pull it off, but in the aftermath, they keep finding the law surrounding them wherever they go. Great little movie with impressive acting by Cook and Defoe and a solid Nicolas Cage. The mix of dark, weird and funny might not be everyone’s cup of tea and the whole thing was more character than plot driven, but if you’re into quirky sometimes over the top stuff with great cinematography, this might just be a good 95 minutes for you to spend. I enjoyed Dog eat Dog all the way through, the chemistry between the characters, the decisions they made, even the stereotyping worked for me, as the movie did not seem take itself too serious.

REVIEW: PET

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CAST

Ksenia Solo (Lost Girl)
Dominic Monaghan (Flashforward)
Jennette McCurdy (Hollywood Homicide)
Nathan Parsons (The Originals)
Da’Vone McDonald (The Five-Year Engangement)

Seth is a shy man who works at the local Animal Control department. He has developed an obsession with Holly, a waitress he saw writing in her journal on the bus one day. Seth asks security guard Nate for advice, and Nate tells him to be confident and approach her. Seth extensively researches her online profiles for information and tries to ask her out at the diner, but his attempts at confidence come across awkward and she rebuffs him. At home, Holly talks about the encounter with her friend Claire, and takes a drunken phone call from her ex Eric, who cheated on her. Holly receives a large bouquet of roses at work the next day, and assuming they are an apology from Eric, goes to visit the bar where he works. Seth, who has been following her, confronts her outside, leading to a physical confrontation when he refuses to accept her rejection. Eric beats Seth up, but Seth is able to steal Holly’s journal. He spends the next several days reading every detail. As his performance slips at work, Seth discovers a trapdoor to a room in an abandoned wing of the animal shelter, where he sets about constructing a steel cage. He follows Holly home, breaks into her apartment, and kidnaps her.

As she comes to in the cage, Holly vows to survive, speaking to an image of Claire. Seth informs Holly that he loves her and has imprisoned her to “save” her. He reveals that he has heard her talking in both her own and Claire’s voices, and that he knows the truth: Holly discovered that Eric had slept with Claire, and confronted her about it during a car ride. An angry Holly continued accelerating the car until they were hit by a truck. Although injured, Claire was alive until Holly stabbed her; Claire’s death was attributed to the crash. Since then, Holly has committed a series of gruesome murders and written about them in her journal. When Seth realized the stories were real, he formulated a plan to save Holly to prevent her from hurting anyone else, claiming that he finally felt a purpose in life. Over the next several days, they engage in psychological mind games against each other, as Holly begins to slip details to draw Seth in. Seth maintains that Holly committed the other murders from guilt of not being caught over Claire, but Holly counters that she kills simply because she enjoys it. A suspicious Nate follows Seth, and discovers Holly. During a struggle, Seth ends up stabbing him. Desperate to avoid detection and at Holly’s urging, he smashes Nate’s skull with a cinder block and dismembers and disposes of the body.

Seth invents a story to explain Nate’s disappearance, but this only makes the police suspicious of him. With time running out, Holly convinces him that he can save her if he proves his love to her by cutting off his finger. He does, but this leads to Holly grabbing his knife and threatening to kill herself if he doesn’t release her. She says she finally believes that he loves her before slitting his throat.Some time later, Holly is back together with Eric, and the “fictional” events from her journal are being published as a book. Holly finds evidence that Eric has been cheating again, but declines to kill him. Instead, she travels to a warehouse, where it is revealed that Seth is kept in a cage, still alive but horribly mutilated and tortured; he has “saved” her by allowing her to take out her murderous impulses on him instead.

If you have the patience and the guts, this is a nice twisted little film that I highly recommend to those who enjoy exploring the psychology of prey and predator in horror films as much as they love flat out horror and gore.

REVIEW: STEALING CANDY

CAST

Daniel Baldwin (Cold Case)
Coolio (Dracula 3000)
Alex McArthur (Kiss The Girls)
Jenya Lano (Blade)
Cameron Daddo (F/X: The Series)
Jeff Wincott (Night Heat)

Fred Dowd, Brad Vorman, and Walt Gearson are ex-convicts who devise a plan that will potentially make them millionaires. After stalking famous movie star Candy Tyler, they break into her house, knock her unconscious with chloroform, and take her to a secluded cabin. There, they force Candy to shoot a pornography video that is broadcast live on the Internet to people who pay a fee to watch. The video is a success, but tensions between the three criminals soon come to a head.160623185_735f31This wasn’t a good movie, it wasn’t a bad movie either.  The concept of the movie was decent and I think it had a lot of potential. A couple of plot twists Jenya made it watchable. This could have been a great movie if it had a bigger budget and better stars. Overall, the movie was another one in the middle of the road. because I liked the idea of the movie and a few decent scenes but nothing more. Worth watching if you have nothing else to watch.

 

REVIEW: BLUE JEAN COP (AKA Shakedown)

CAST

Peter Weller (Star Trek Into Darkness)
Sam Elliott (The Ranch)
Jude Ciccolella (Sin City)
Richard Brooks (The Crow: City of Angels)
Thomas G. Waites (The Thing)
Blanche Baker (Raw Deal)
John C. McGinley (Scrubs)
Patricia Charbonneau (Manhunter)

Roland Dalton (Weller) is a burned-out, mild-mannered Manhattan public defender, and his last case before leaving legal aid is crack dealer Michael Jones (Richard Brooks), accused of shooting to death police officer Patrick O’Leary in Central Park. According to Jones, the shooting was in self-defense and that officer O’Leary was a ‘Blue Jean Cop’ (an opportunistic police officer who robs drug dealers).Being a ‘creature of habit’, Dalton seeks the truth to his mysterious case and looks to Richie Marks (Sam Elliott), a renegade loner NYPD narcotics agent. Dalton realizes the prosecutor in his last case is a former love interest, the smart and sexy Susan Cantrell (Patricia Charbonneau). Throughout the trial Roland rekindles this former affair with Susan unbeknown to his fiancée Gail (Blanche Baker).Roland and Marks eventually learn that O’Leary was working with a large number of dirty cops who purchased blue jeans and an expensive car. The dirty cops were working with drug lord Nicky ‘N.C.’ Carr (Antonio Fargas). Roland at one point breaks into the police station’s evidence locker to locate the cassette tape that Jones had in a boom box radio at the time of his shooting. The tape recorded the entire incident and when Roland attempts to get the tape he is taken hostage by the team of dirty cops. Just before Roland is going to be killed, Marks bursts into the room and shoots the cops, saving Roland.Although Roland makes it to court, with the assistance of an insane cab driver (Tom Mardirosian) the judge refuses to allow the tape into evidence. After making an impassioned closing statement, the jury acquits Jones of the shooting. Marks then shows up in a Porsche purchased by O’Leary and they go to the airport to hunt down Carr and the last of the dirty cops. Richie jumps onto the planes landing gear and after shooting out an engine and tossing a hand grenade into the landing gear compartment, he jumps to safety just as the plane explodes. The movie ends with Roland again working as a public defender, he’s broken up with Gail and is once again dating Susan. The film is notable for its high number of extremely dangerous stunts.This film is worth watching just for the high calibre performances from both Weller and Elliot. The action scenes are worthwhile as well. The only setback though is these action sequences are used a little too sparsely. The lack of a breath-taking pace destroys an almost superior thriller. Otherwise, Blue Jean Cop is an adequate film. This movie would benefit greatly with a faster pace, but the acting from stars Weller and Elliot make Shakedown a film worth a look.

 

REVIEW: HARD CANDY

CAST

Patrick Wilson (Watchmen)
Ellen Page (Juno)
Sandra Oh (Sideways)
Odessa Rae (Movie 43)

The film opens with a sexually charged, flirtatious online chat between 14-year-old Hayley Stark and Jeff Kohlver, a 32-year-old photographer. Jeff and Hayley meet at a coffeehouse, and he takes her back to his house. Hayley makes them both screwdrivers and asks him to take photographs. Before he can, Jeff gets dizzy, his vision blurs, and he falls to the floor unconscious.When Jeff wakes, he is bound to a chair. Hayley explains she has been tracking him and drugged him because she knows he is a pedophile, rapist, and murderer. Jeff denies these allegations, claiming he had innocent intentions. Hayley searches Jeff’s house and finds his gun and safe. In the safe, Hayley finds “sick” pictures and a photo of Donna Mauer, a local girl who has been kidnapped and remains missing. Jeff denies involvement in Mauer’s disappearance and succeeds in reaching his gun, but when he (still bound to the chair) attacks Hayley, she renders him unconscious by asphyxiating him with plastic wrap.When Jeff wakes, he finds himself bound to a steel table with a bag of ice on his genitals. Hayley explains she will castrate Jeff. Jeff threatens, bribes and sweet-talks Hayley to dissuade her; when that doesn’t work, he tries to get her sympathy by telling her he was abused as a child. Following the operation, Hayley leaves the kitchen, claiming to take a shower. Jeff struggles and frees himself. When he reluctantly checks the site of the operation, he realizes he is actually unharmed, and Hayley has elaborately faked his castration. He storms off in a rage to get Hayley in the bathroom, where the shower is running. Scalpel in hand, he attacks, only to find the shower empty. Hayley attacks him from behind, and as they struggle, Hayley incapacitates him with a stun gun.Hayley poses as a police officer and asks Jeff’s ex-girlfriend, Janelle, to come immediately to Jeff’s house. Jeff regains consciousness to find that Hayley has bound his wrists and hoisted him to stand on a chair in his kitchen with a noose around his neck. Hayley makes Jeff an offer: if he commits suicide, she promises to erase the evidence of his crimes, but if he refuses, she promises to expose his secrets. The conversation is interrupted when a neighbor knocks on the front door, selling Girl Scout cookies. Hayley tells the neighbor that she is Jeff’s niece; the neighbor leaves shortly afterwards. When Hayley returns, Jeff breaks free from his bindings and pursues her, eventually finding her on the roof of his house, where she has lured him. Hayley has brought her rope from the kitchen and fashioned it into a noose secured to the chimney. Hayley keeps Jeff at bay with his own gun.Jeff finally confesses that he watched while another man raped and murdered Donna Mauer. Jeff promises Hayley that, if she spares his life, he will tell her the other man’s name so she can exact her revenge. Hayley confesses that she knows his name and says, “Aaron told me you did it before he killed himself.” Janelle arrives, and Hayley once again urges Jeff to hang himself, promising that she will destroy the evidence. Defeated, Jeff lets Hayley slide the noose around his neck, and takes the last fatal step off the roof; after he falls Hayley says “or not”. Hayley then gathers her belongings and escapes through the woods. The film ends as Hayley walks down the road in her red hoodie.This is a film that deals with a tough subject so very well that the viewer gains an understanding into dysfunctional characteristics while being caught up in a suspenseful thriller of a story. This is independent film making at its best.

REVIEW: ENTRAPMENT

CAST

Sean Connery (Highlander)
Catherine Zeta-Jones (Oceans Twelve)
Will Patton (The Punisher 2004)
Ving Rhames (Mission Impossible)
Maury Chaykin (A Nero Wolfe Mystery)
Kevin McNally (Pirates of The Caribbean)
Terry O’Neill (Conan The Destroyer)

Virginia “Gin” Baker (Catherine Zeta-Jones) is an investigator for “Waverly Insurance”. Robert “Mac” MacDougal (Sean Connery) is a professional thief who specializes in international art. A priceless Rembrandt painting is stolen from an office building in NY one night, and Gin is sent undercover to investigate Mac as the chief suspect. She tries to entrap him with a proposition, claiming that she is a professional thief herself, and promises that she will help him steal a priceless Chinese mask from the well-guarded Bedford Palace. Before agreeing, Mac tells Gin his ‘Rule Number One’: “Never carry a gun: You carry a gun, you may be tempted to use it.” They travel to Scotland and plan the very complicated theft at Mac’s hideout, an isolated castle. Aaron Thibadeaux (Ving Rhames), apparently the only ally that Mac trusts, arrives with supplies for the heist. While Mac is busy making final preparations, Gin contacts her boss, Hector Cruz (Will Patton), from a payphone, and informs him of Mac’s whereabouts. Little does she know that the whole island is bugged, allowing Mac to eavesdrop on their conversation. Mac also makes sure to keep Gin’s romantic advances at bay, unsure if she is a true partner in crime or an ambitious career woman on a mission.After they have stolen the mask, Mac accuses Gin of planning to sell the mask to a buyer in Kuala Lumpur and then turn him in. Gin convinces him that her insurance agency job is the real cover and that she has planned an even bigger heist in Kuala Lumpur: $8 billion from the “International Clearance Bank” in the North Tower of the Petronas Towers. During their set-up, Cruz and his team (with the guidance of the stealthy Thibadeaux) track down Gin and confirm that she is still on mission to bring Mac in. Despite the presence of Cruz and other security watching the building, the theft takes place in the final seconds of the new 2000 millennium countdown. Gin pulls the plug on her laptop prematurely and sets off alarms. They narrowly escape the computer vault and are forced to cross the lights hung from the bottom of the bridge linking the two towers. Following a death-defying escape when the cable breaks, Gin and Mac make their way to a ventilation shaft, where Mac explains “Plan B.” Using mini-parachutes, they were going to escape down the shaft. Gin has lost her parachute earlier in the escape, so Mac gives her his. He tells her to meet him the next morning at the Pudu train station.Gin arrives at the station waiting for Mac. He shows up late with Aaron Thibadeaux, who reveals himself with fellow FBI agents. He explains that Cruz is here and that the FBI has been looking for her for some time. Two years ago when Agent Thibadeaux caught and arrested him, Mac made a deal to help the FBI arrest Gin, as she was the primary target all along. However, the aging thief has another plan: to help her escape. Mac slips Gin a gun and quietly explains that he returned only seven of the eight billion dollars they had stolen electronically in the heist. Gin then pretends to hold Mac hostage at gunpoint, threatening to shoot him if the agents follow her. She boards a train and the FBI heads to the next station. Gin jumps trains mid-station and arrives back at Pudu. She tells Mac that she needs him for another job and they both board a train.cp5If you are a fan of Sean Connery or Catherine Zeta-Jones’s as actors, then you should definitely see this film. I actually think they make a very good on screen couple, even with the big age gap.