REVIEW: WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN

CAST

Tilda Swinton (The Chronicles of Narnia)
John C. Reilly (Step Brothers)
Ezra Miller (Fantastic Beasts)

Teenager Kevin Khatchadourian is in prison after committing a massacre at his high school. His mother, Eva, once a successful travel writer, lives alone in a rundown house and works in a travel agency in a town near the prison, where she visits Kevin. She looks back at her memories of him growing up as she tries to cope with the anger and hostility of her neighbors, who know she is Kevin’s mother.Kevin is detached and difficult even from childhood. Eva has problems with identifying as a mother and has trouble bonding with Kevin, who appears to loathe her and behaves in whatever way he thinks will torment her the most. As a baby, he cries incessantly, but only around her; as a child, he resists toilet training, rebuffs Eva’s clumsy attempts at affection, and shows no interest in anything. He behaves like a happy, loving son when his father is watching, and reverts to sullenness only when he is alone with his mother. While he is still small, Eva’s frustration with his intractability drives her to throw Kevin against the wall, breaking his arm. They return from the hospital with Kevin’s arm in a cast. When his father, Franklin, asks how he broke his arm, Kevin covers for his mother with a lie, using this incident later to subtly blackmail her into giving in to demands, like skipping her errands to take him straight home after school.When Eva tries to talk to her husband about her increasing concern about Kevin’s problems, he dismisses her concerns and makes excuses for Kevin’s behavior; he has never seen Kevin’s dark side and so he doesn’t think anything is wrong with Kevin. The only real affection and interest Kevin shows towards Eva occurs when he is confined to his bed with a fever and she reads him a book about Robin Hood. When reading the part of the story where Robin competes in Prince John’s archery contest, Kevin snuggles with Eva and spurns Franklin when he interrupts the story. Franklin gives him a bow and arrow set and teaches him archery, and Kevin soon becomes an excellent marksman. He continues to practice and graduate to bigger bows as he gets older.Eva and Franklin have a second child, Celia, who is lively and cheerful. However, her birth does nothing to lessen the tension within the family, as Kevin immediately shows disdain and jealousy towards her. A few years later, Celia’s pet guinea pig is killed and she is blinded in one eye by an incident with a caustic cleaning fluid. Eva is convinced Kevin is responsible, whereas Franklin insists these events were accidents and that their son is blameless. This pattern of suspicion on Eva’s part, combined with Franklin’s unflagging defense of Kevin, ruins their marriage, and Franklin approaches Eva with the subject of a future divorce. Eva comes to fear her son, as she sees growing evidence of Kevin’s pleasure in hurting others.This eventually leads to the massacre, when Kevin locks the gymnasium doors with bike locks and murders multiple students with his bow and arrow. As Eva arrives at the school from work, along with the other concerned adults, the police cut through one of the bike locks, and Eva knows Kevin is responsible. Kevin voluntarily walks out, turning himself over, and revealing himself to be the killer. Eva finally arrives home, only to find the house empty and dark. In the backyard she discovers the arrow-penetrated corpses of Franklin and Celia, whom Kevin had killed before the massacre. On the second anniversary of the massacre, Eva visits Kevin in prison. Kevin is anxious because his transfer to an adult prison is about to happen. Eva asks him why he committed the murders. Displaying rare vulnerability, Kevin responds that he used to know but is no longer sure. Eva gives Kevin a hug and says her good-byes while he is taken away.The acting from the cast is first rate. As an unwilling mother to a boy ill at ease with the world, Tilda Swinton gives surely her most accomplished performance as Eva, Kevin’s mother. No doubt it is only the subject matter of the film that prevented her from receiving an Oscar nomination. John C Reilly is fantastically understated in his role as Kevin’s father, careful not to take the viewers attention away from Swinton. Both  Ezra Miller is chilling in his depiction of Kevin. This film is certainly not for everyone. It is a challenging watch and will no doubt create a sense of unease in the viewer that will last from the first scenes to long after the final credits have finished rolling.

 

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REVIEW: WAR MACHINE

CAST

Brad Pitt (World War Z)
Anthony Hayes (Suburban Mayhem)
Emory Cohen (Brooklyn)
RJ Cyler (Power Rangers)
Daniel Betts (Fury)
Topher Grace (That 70s Show)
Anthony Michael Hall (The Dead Zone)
John Magaro (The Box)
Scoot McNairy (Batman V Sueprman)
Meg Tilly (Psycho II)
Sian Thomas (Vanity Fair)
Alan Ruck (Speed)
Nicholas Jones (Vera Drake)
Griffin Dunne (My Girl)
Ben Kingsley (Iron Man 3)
Reggie Brown (Barbershop: The Next Cut)
Tilda Swinton (The Chronicles of Narnia)
Will Poulter (We’re The Millers)
Keith Stanfield (Get Out)
Josh Stewart (The Dark Knight Rises)
Georgina Rylance (New Tricks)
Russell Crowe (Man of Steel)

In the summer of 2009, Four-star General Glen McMahon (Brad Pitt), having won renown for his effective leadership in Iraq, is sent to Afghanistan to prepare an assessment so that the government can end the ongoing war. He is given wide latitudes to write it, on the sole condition that he not request more troops. McMahon and his staff, particularly his right hand man Major General Greg Pulver (Anthony Michael Hall), are united in their belief that the war can be won, and decide to recommend that President Obama authorize a surge of 40,000 additional troops to secure Helmand province in order to stabilize the country. However, the Secretary of State (Sian Thomas) informs McMahon that his report will not be reviewed until after the upcoming presidential election.Captain Badi Basim (Aymen Hamdouchi), a member of the ANA, joins McMahon’s staff as a “representative” of the Afghan people. Meanwhile, McMahon is informed that, due to alleged irregularities in the counting of votes, a runoff election will have to be held, delaying the review of the assessment further. Fed up, McMahon secretly leaks the assessment to the Washington Post and organizes an interview with 60 Minutes, during which he reveals that, in the last seventy days, he has only been granted one meeting with the president. In response, the government announces that they will send 30,000 troops to Afghanistan, and that all US and coalition forces in the country will leave in 18 months. To gather the remaining 10,000 troops needed for his strategy to work, McMahon and his men head to Paris to negotiate with the other coalition nations.In Paris, McMahon learns that the president is passing through, and wishes to meet with him. The ambassador to Afghanistan (Alan Ruck) warns McMahon that he needs to understand his position: if he continues to anger the president, he will be fired for insubordination. The president ultimately decides to cancel the meeting due to time constraints, and McMahon and his staff attend a dinner in his honor, accompanied by Rolling Stone writer Sean Cullen (Scoot McNairy), who intends to write a feature story about his performance for an upcoming issue. The next day, during their anniversary dinner, McMahon’s wife Jeanie confronts him about how much time he’s spending fighting abroad instead of being with his family back home.While on route to Berlin with McMahon’s staff to continue negotiations, Cullen observes their behavior and concludes that they are arrogant and seem to care little about the growing public perception that the war is costly and wasteful. At a conference to discuss his strategy, McMahon is confronted by a German official (Tilda Swinton) who is skeptical of his approach and suggests that McMahon’s plans would only lead to more losses. Nevertheless, both the Germans and the French agree to furnish the troops needed for his planned offensive, codenamed “Operation Moshtarak”, to begin, with Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s (Ben Kingsley) approval.The operation launches, but soon runs into trouble when several civilians are accidentally killed against McMahon’s instructions. When he holds a public meeting to explain the incident, the crowd grows hostile and demands that he and his troops leave. Worse, McMahon learns that Cullen’s article has been published, and paints a negative picture of him and his staff as openly speaking against the president and mishandling the war effort. Knowing that he will be fired for his actions, McMahon returns to Washington and later takes a job as a civilian consultant. In the aftermath, Cullen ponders the consequences of his article, noting that he wished the fall of McMahon would finally convince the government to stop invading foreign countries and end the war in Afghanistan. Instead, however, the government simply assigns a new general to replace McMahon: General Bob White (Russell Crowe).When a political movie runs the risk of offending both Conservatives and Liberals it’s one we should all see. This movie is hilarious, heartfelt, thought-provoking… bad-ass. And, regardless of your politics, it’ll make you appreciate our troops even more.

REVIEW: OKJA

 

CAST

Ahn Seo-hyun (the Divine Move)
Tilda Swinton (The Chronicles of Narnia)
Paul Dano (Swiss Army Man)
Jake Gyllenhaal (Nocturnal Animals)
Byun Hee-bong (The Devi’s Game)
Steven Yeun (The Walking Dead)
Lily Collins (The Mortal Instruments)
Yoon Je-moon (Private Eye)
Shirley Henderson (Happy Valley)
Daniel Henshall (The Babadook)
Devon Bostick (Saw VI)
Choi Woo-shik (Big Match)
Giancarlo Esposito (Malcolm X)

In 2007, Lucy Mirando becomes CEO of the Mirando Corporation, succeeding her controversial grandfather, her father and her cruel twin sister Nancy. She announces that they have been breeding a special kind of superpig. Twenty-six of the best pigs will be sent to locations around the world, and ten years later, one will be crowned the winner.In 2017, a young girl named Mija lives happily in the countryside of South Korea with her grandfather and her super pig, Okja. They are visited by Mirando spokesperson and zoologist Dr. Johnny Wilcox, who declares Okja the best super pig and announces they will take her to New York City. Mija’s grandfather takes her to visit the graves of her parents where he presents her with a gold pig and explains to her that rather than buy Okja, which was not allowed, he saved up the money for Okja and bought the solid gold item. Devastated, Mija runs away to Seoul to find Okja, where she sees her as she is being loaded onto a truck. Mija manages to chase down the truck which is eventually intercepted by another truck, run by the Animal Liberation Front (ALF). In the resulting chaos Mija and Okja run away causing havoc though they are eventually saved by the ALF. Recognizing that Mija is Okja’s owner, they tell her that their plan is to put a recording device in Okja’s ear and let her be re-captured by the Mirando corporation to show how brutally they treat their animals. Mija tells them to return her to the mountains but their translator, K, deliberately lies, causing the group to believe Mija went along with their plan. They abandon her, and Okja is recaptured.Meanwhile, footage of Okja and Mija running through the streets of Seoul has gone viral. In order to do damage control, Lucy pays for Mija to come to New York to be reunited onstage with her pig. Okja is taken to the laboratory where she is forcibly bred with another super pig and bits of meat are extracted from her flesh for a taste test by a drunk Wilcox. Members of the ALF overhear the recording through the device they placed in Okja’s ear. Jay vows to help Okja and Mija and use the recording to expose the Mirando corporation’s animal abuse.In New York City, Mija spends her time learning bits of English and being forced to agree to the wishes of the Mirando corporation. Jay, the leader of ALF, slips into her room and tells her that they still plan to rescue Okja while on stage. A huge parade is put on by the Mirando Corporation who give out free meat in the street. Mija is reunited with Okja who, blinded and battered does not recognize her and attacks her. In the resulting chaos, Jay tries to hurt Okja, but Mija prevents him from doing so, calming Okja down so that she recognizes Mija. A video of Wilcox’s treatment of Okja is screened by the ALF to the public, who quickly turn on him and Lucy. Mija and the ALF attempt to escape with Okja, but Nancy arrives back and quickly takes over the Mirando Corporation, recapturing Okja and having the ALF members beaten and arrested.Escaping, Jay and K take Mija to find Okja in a mass killing plant. The group search for Okja but are unable to find her until Mija sees her going up the ramp to the slaughterhouse. In order to save Okja she runs through the killing plant and sees many dead super pigs. Mija sees Okja as she is about to be slaughtered and shows the Mirando employee a photograph of herself with a baby Okja. The man seems moved, but Nancy arrives and tells Mija and the man that Okja must be slaughtered. Mija offers the golden pig to Nancy in exchange for Okja’s life. Nancy agrees to the deal whilst subsequently arresting Jay and K. As Mija and Okja are leaving, they see many more pigs being led to slaughter. A pair of superpigs manages to push their newborn through the fence, and Okja hides it within her mouth to take it away. Back in the countryside, Mija resumes her life with her grandfather, Okja, and the new piglet. In a post-credits scene, Jay is released from prison and gets on board a bus with K and the other members of the organization, who reveals that ALF will be attending a major meeting involving all of the Mirando shareholders.If you’re a fan of the director’s previous work, especially “The Host,” then you won’t be disappointed. Even if you’re not familiar with his work, you won’t be disappointed. If you can get past the slight weirdness of this movie (which might not fit everyone’s taste), I can promise you that you won’t regret watching this

REVIEW: TRAINWRECK

CAST

Amy Schumer (Snatched)
Bill Hader (Power Rangers)
Brie Larson (Kong: Skull Island)
Colin Quinn (Grown Ups 2)
John Cena (12 Rounds)
Vanessa Bayer (Office Christmas Party)
Mike Birbiglia (Cedar Rapids)
Ezra Miller (Suicide Squad)
Tilda Swinton (Doctor Strange)
Daniel Radcliffe (The Woman In Black)
Marisa Tomei (The Guru)
Matthew Broderick (Election)
Leslie Jones (Ghostbusters)
Josh Segarra (Arrow)
Tim Meadows (Son of Zorn)

Gordon Townsend (Colin Quinn) tells his two young daughters Amy (Devin Fabry) and Kim (Carla Oudin) that he and their mother are divorcing because monogamy is not realistic, repeating it like a mantra. Twenty-three years later, Amy (Amy Schumer) is a party girl who drinks too much and sleeps around while writing for a men’s magazine. She is in a casual relationship with a gay gym-addict named Steven (John Cena), who was attracted to her because he first thought she ‘looked like a dude’. Her cold-hearted English boss, Dianna (Tilda Swinton), assigns her to write an article about a sports doctor named Aaron Conners (Bill Hader).
While Amy is interviewing Aaron, she receives a text from Kim (Brie Larson) insisting they move Gordon to a cheaper facility. Amy starts to hyperventilate, but Aaron calms her down and suggests they get food. Over dinner, he compliments her writing and she learns about his family. After some drinks, they go to his place and have sex together. Amy stays the night, which is a departure from her rule of never sleeping over with a man she’s had sex with.
The next day, Aaron calls to ask if they can see each other again. Amy panics and tells him they will talk about it at the interview. She and her friend Nikki decide she has to end it. Meanwhile, Aaron’s friend, LeBron James, is excited for him since Aaron has not dated anyone in six years. Amy goes to watch Aaron perform surgery to “Uptown Girl”, his favorite song. Afterwards, she tries to break things off. He insists they like each other and should date. Amy then gets a phone call that her dad had a fall. Aaron drives her to the home where he tends to her dad.
Aaron and Amy begin dating and fall for each other. Amy is worried she is going to mess up the relationship, but Kim tells her she is just doing what everyone else does. Gordon avoids taking his medication and dies. At his funeral, Aaron tells her, for the first time, that he loves her. She tells him that it was the wrong time for him to start saying that to her.
Aaron receives a prestigious award at a luncheon and brings Amy. While making his speech, Amy gets a call from her boss Dianna, who threatens to fire her if she does not answer. She chooses to take the call and leaves during his speech. Afterwards, Aaron is upset and they start arguing. They return to her apartment, but Aaron thinks they should not go to bed angry, so Amy rants all night. The next day Aaron tells Amy that they need to take a break. Hurt, Amy reacts by telling him that it is fine.
Amy goes out drinking with her co-workers, including an intern, who invites her back to his place; their bizarre sexual encounter is interrupted when his mom enters and reveals that he is only 16. The next day, Dianna fires Amy for the incident. Aaron is moping in his apartment until LeBron calls, claiming he has been injured. Aaron rushes over to find an intervention for him consisting of LeBron, Matthew Broderick, Chris Evert, and Marv Albert. They tell him he has always been afraid of opening up and needs to make things right with Amy, but Aaron insists things with Amy are over.
Amy visits Kim and tells her everything that has happened; Kim tells her that it’s time to change. Amy clears out all the alcohol from her apartment. She takes her Aaron story to Vanity Fair, where it ends up getting published, and sends it to Aaron. He attends a game and after, Aaron is called back to the court, where the Knicks City Dancers perform with Amy front and center. She tells him she wants to make their relationship work. They confess their love for each other and kiss.This movie has the kind of very fast humor I do like, this movie has terrific performances not only from Amy Schumer and Bill Hader but from the entire cas.  I recommend this I very much to those who like to laugh.

REVIEW: HAIL, CAESAR!

CAST

George Clooney (The Ides of March)
Josh Brolin (Jonah Hex)
Alden Ehrenreich (Beautiful Creatures)
Ralph Fiennes (Red Dragon)
Scarlett Johansson (Lucy)
Frances McDormand (Fargo)
Tilda Swinton (Doctor Strange)
Channing Tatum (21 Jump Street)
Alison Pill (Scott PIlgrim vs The World)
Emily Beecham (Bon Voyage)
Heather Goldenhersh (The Class)
Wayne Knight (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Jonah Hill (Cyrus)
Christopher Lambert (Highlander)
Fred Melamed (The Dictator)
Patrick Fischler (Old School)
David Krumholtz (Mom)
Fisher Stevens (Hackers)
Clancy Brown (Sleepy Hollow0
Robert Pciardo (Stargate: Atlantis)
Natasha Bassett (Britney Ever AFter)
Dolph Lundgren (Arrow)
Robert Trebor (Hercules: TLJ)
Michael Gambon (Harry Potter)

In 1951, Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) is the head of physical production at Capitol Pictures and also works as a “fixer” to keep the scandalous behavior of its stars out of the press. He often has to fend off inquiries from Thora and Thessaly Thacker (both played by Tilda Swinton), twin sisters and rival gossip columnists. The Lockheed Corporation has been courting him with an offer of a high-level executive position, but he is unsure about taking it. When unmarried synchronised swimming actress DeeAnna Moran (Scarlett Johansson) becomes pregnant, Mannix arranges for her to put the baby in foster care, and then adopt it without revealing herself as the mother. The studio’s major production is Hail, Caesar! A Tale of the Christ, an epic set in ancient Roman times and starring Baird Whitlock (George Clooney). During a shot, Whitlock drinks from a goblet of wine that was drugged by an extra (Wayne Knight); he passes out while rehearsing lines by himself behind the soundstage and is abducted. A ransom note soon arrives, written by a group calling itself “The Future,” demanding $100,000. Mannix arranges to get the money from the studio’s Accounting Department, as “petty cash.”
Whitlock awakens in a beach house and finds his way into a meeting of The Future, a Communist cell. The members, who introduce themselves as mostly writers in the motion picture industry, explain their doctrine to him and begin to win him over to their cause. At the same time, Thora threatens Mannix by stating she will release an article about a scandal involving the earlier film On Wings As Eagles, which gave Whitlock his break-out role. Mannix successfully negotiates for her to postpone the story by a day in exchange for information about the romantic life of singing Western film star Hobie Doyle (Alden Ehrenreich). Doyle is cast in a period drama helmed by posh director Laurence Laurentz (Ralph Fiennes) in an attempt by the studio to broaden his appeal. After Doyle’s initial performance is hopelessly incompetent, Laurentz visits Mannix and asks him to remove Doyle from the project so that Laurentz can preserve his artistic vision for the film. Mannix informs Laurentz that Doyle’s role is non-negotiable and convinces him to coach the young actor to give a better performance. Doyle comes to Mannix’s office and admits that he feels the part is too far outside his comfort zone. Mannix reassures him that he has the needed acting abilities and tells him about Whitlock’s kidnapping.
That evening, Doyle attends the premiere of one of his own Westerns with starlet Carlotta Valdez (Verónica Osorio), per instructions from Mannix. Doyle is initially disappointed that his lone singing scene is depicted in a comedic manner, rather than as heartfelt as he intended. However, after seeing the audience react positively to the scene, Doyle warms to it himself. Doyle and Valdez visit a nightclub, where the pair are genuinely developing chemistry until they are interrupted by both Thacker sisters, each looking to get a scoop on their relationship. Doyle suddenly spots the briefcase containing the ransom money, recognizing it because he had lent Mannix his belt to keep it closed. It is being carried by Burt Gurney (Channing Tatum), the star of a sailor musical comedy depicted earlier in an elaborate dancing scene. Mannix and Moran meet with a surety agent, Joseph Silverman (Jonah Hill), an average man whom the studio has used to solve public problems; he has a solid reputation as completely dependable, reliable, and discreet. He will agree to provide foster care for Moran’s child, preserving her image. Moran, who expressed frustration with her previous two marriages with a mobster and a Hollywood type, finds herself strongly attracted to Silverman.
Doyle follows Gurney to the beach house in Malibu but, after walking in the front door, finds only Whitlock inside. The rest of The Future’s members have rowed a boat containing Gurney offshore so that he can rendezvous with a Soviet submarine and defect to Russia. The members of The Future give him the money for the Communist cause. As Gurney boards the submarine, his dog jumps into his arms, causing him to drop the briefcase, which sinks into the ocean. Doyle takes Whitlock back to the studio just before the police arrive at the beach house to arrest the group, after Mannix’s investigation led him to the house. Whitlock tries to explain his new-found Communist leanings to Mannix, who cuts him off sharply, slapping his face numerous times, and orders him to finish his role in Hail, Caesar!; the actor is chastened, but encouraged by a final directive from Mannix to be a movie star.
Mannix is notified the next morning that Moran married Silverman who will adopt the child with her. Mannix announces he has decided to reject the Lockheed offer and continue working at Capitol. Thora then meets with Mannix and informs him that the column she plans to publish about On Wings As Eagles will reveal that Whitlock got his major role in the film by having sex with Laurentz. However, Mannix has deduced that Gurney is her source for the piece and persuades her to not run the story since Gurney is a Communist who has defected—which would cause her own reputation to suffer by association. Mannix leaves the worried-looking Thora, secure in his station in life.I think that you need to be something of a film buff to really enjoy this Coen Brothers offering, which is an affectionate homage to the history of Hollywood. There are references to the influence of McCarthyism and nods to many genres, from the ‘B’ Western to the biblically based epic. Most of the comedy is gentle and occasionally subtle, not to say understated. It is both easily worth 5 stars and thoroughly recommended.

REVIEW: DOCTOR STRANGE (2016)

 

CAST

Benedict Cumberbatch (Star Trek Into Darkness)
Chiwetel Ejiofor (Serenity)
Rachel McAdams (Sherlock Holmes)
Benedict Wong (The Martian)
Michael Stuhlbarg (Men In Black 3)
Benjamin Bratt (Traffic)
Scott Adkins (Zero Dark Thirty)
Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal)
Tilda Swinton (Burn After Reading)
Chris Hemsworth (The Huntsman: Winter’s War)
Stan Lee (Chuck)
Amy Landecker (Dan In Real Life)

In Kathmandu, Nepal, the sorcerer Kaecilius and his zealots enter the secret compound Kamar-Taj and behead its librarian. From the ancient and mystical texts, they steal a ritual from a book belonging to the Ancient One, a sorcerer who has lived for an unknown time and taught all at Kamar-Taj, including Kaecilius, in the ways of the mystic arts. The Ancient One pursues the traitors, but Kaecilius escapes with the pages and some of his followers.In New York City, Stephen Strange, an acclaimed but arrogant neurosurgeon, loses the use of his hands in a car accident. Fellow surgeon and former lover Christine Palmer tries to help him move on, but Strange, firmly believing he can regain use of his hands, instead uses all his resources pursuing experimental surgeries in vain. After learning of Jonathan Pangborn, a paraplegic who mysteriously was able to walk again, Strange seeks him out, and is directed to Kamar-Taj. There, Strange is taken in by another sorcerer under the Ancient One, Mordo. The Ancient One shows Strange her power, revealing the astral plane and other dimensions such as the Mirror Dimension. Amazed, Strange begs her to teach him, and she eventually agrees despite his arrogance, which reminds her of Kaecilius.Strange begins his tutelage under the Ancient One and Mordo, and learns from the ancient books in the library, now presided over by the master Wong. Strange learns that Earth is protected from other dimensions by a spell formed from three buildings called Sanctums, found in New York City, London, and Hong Kong. The task of the sorcerers is to protect the Sanctums, though Pangborn chose to forgo this responsibility in favor of channelling mystical energy into walking again. Strange advances quickly over several months, even secretly reading from the text Kaecilius stole from and learning to bend time with the mystical Eye of Agamotto. Mordo and Wong warn Strange against breaking the laws of nature, comparing his arrogant yearning for power to that of Kaecilius, who believes, after the deaths of his loved ones, that everyone should have eternal life.Kaecilius and his followers use the stolen pages to begin summoning the powerful Dormammu of the Dark Dimension, where time does not exist and all can live forever. This destroys the London Sanctum, and sends Strange from Kamar-Taj to the New York Sanctum. The zealots then attack there, where Strange holds them off with the mystical Cloak of Levitation until Mordo and the Ancient One arrive. Strange and Mordo become disillusioned with the Ancient One after Kaecilius reveals that her long life has come from her own use of Dormammu’s power. Kaecilius mortally wounds the Ancient One, and escapes to Hong Kong. The Ancient One tells Strange that he, too, will have to break the rules, to balance Mordo’s steadfast nature. She then dies, despite the best efforts of Strange and a bewildered Palmer. Strange and Mordo arrive in Hong Kong to find Wong dead and the Sanctum destroyed, with the Dark Dimension already engulfing Earth. Strange uses the Eye to turn back time and save Wong, before creating an infinite time loop inside the Dark Dimension that traps himself and Dormammu in the same moment forever. After killing Strange many times to no avail, Dormammu reluctantly agrees to leave Earth if Strange undoes the time loop, taking Kaecilius and the zealots with him.Disgusted by Strange and the Ancient One’s disregard for the consequences of defying nature, Mordo departs. Strange returns the Eye, which Wong calls an Infinity Stone, to Kamar-Taj, and then takes up residence in the New York Sanctum to continue his studies. In a mid-credits scene, Strange decides to help Thor, who has brought his brother Loki to Earth to search for their father Odin. In a post-credits scene, Mordo confronts Pangborn and takes the energy he uses to walk, stating that Earth has “too many sorcerers”.The Marvel Cinematic Universe shines again with manipulative sorcery and cognitive storytelling as this may be the strangest addition but still delivers some kick-ass entertainment.

 

REVIEW: THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON

CAST

Brad Pitt (World War Z)
Cate Blanchett (The Hobbit)
Tilda Swinton (Doctor Strange)
Taraji P. Henson (Date Night)
Julia Ormond (Resistance)
Jason Flemyng (Rob Roy)
Mahershala Ali (Luke Cage)
Phyllis Somerville (Little Children)
Jared Harris (Lincoln)
Elias Koteas (Crash)
Tom Everett (Die Hard 2)
Elle Fanning (Maleficent)
Josh Stewart (No Ordinary Family)

In 2005, elderly Daisy Fuller is on her deathbed in a New Orleans hospital as Hurricane Katrina approaches; she asks her daughter, Caroline, to read aloud from the diary of Benjamin Button.

From the reading, it is revealed that on the evening of November 11, 1918, a boy was born with the appearance and physical maladies of an elderly man. The baby’s mother died after giving birth, and the father, Thomas Button, abandons the infant on the porch of a nursing home. Queenie and Mr. “Tizzy” Weathers, workers at the nursing home, find the baby, and Queenie decides to care for him as her own.

Benjamin learns to walk in 1925; he declares it a miracle, after which he uses crutches in place of a wheelchair. On Thanksgiving 1930, Benjamin meets seven-year-old Daisy, whose grandmother lives in the nursing home. He and Daisy become good friends. Later, he accepts work on a tugboat captained by Mike Clark. Benjamin also meets Thomas Button, who does not reveal that he is Benjamin’s father. In Autumn 1936, Benjamin leaves New Orleans for a long-term work engagement with the tugboat crew; Daisy later is accepted into a dance company in New York City under choreographer George Balanchine. In 1941, Benjamin is in Murmansk, where he begins having an affair with Elizabeth Abbott, wife of the British Trade Minister. That December, Japan attacks Pearl Harbor, thrusting the United States into World War II. Mike volunteers the boat for the U.S. Navy; the crew is assigned to salvage duties. During a patrol, the tugboat finds a sunken U.S. transport and the bodies of many American troops. A German submarine surfaces; Mike steers the tugboat full speed towards it while a German gunner fires on the tugboat, killing most of the crew, including Mike. The tugboat rams the submarine, causing it to explode, sinking both vessels. Benjamin and another crewman are rescued by U.S. Navy ships the next day.

In May 1945, Benjamin returns to New Orleans and reunites with Queenie. A few weeks later, he reunites with Daisy; they go out for dinner. Upon failing to seduce him afterward, she departs. Benjamin later reunites with Thomas Button, who, terminally ill, reveals he is Benjamin’s father and wills Benjamin his button company and his estate. In 1947, Benjamin visits Daisy in New York unannounced but departs upon seeing that she has fallen in love with someone else. In 1954, Daisy’s dancing career ends when her leg is crushed in an automobile accident in Paris. When Benjamin visits her, Daisy is amazed by his youthful appearance, but, frustrated by her injuries, she tells him to stay out of her life.

In spring 1962, Daisy returns to New Orleans and reunites with Benjamin. Now of comparable physical age, they fall in love and go sailing together. They return to learn that Queenie has died, then move in together. In 1967, Daisy, who has opened a ballet studio, tells Benjamin that she is pregnant; she gives birth to a girl, Caroline, in the spring of 1968. Believing he can not be a proper father to his daughter due to his reverse aging, Benjamin departs after selling his belongings, leaving a bank account book holding the proceeds behind for Daisy and Caroline; he travels alone during the 1970s. Benjamin returns to Daisy in 1980. Now married, Daisy introduces him, as a family friend, to her husband and daughter. Daisy admits that he was right to leave; she could not have coped otherwise. She later visits Benjamin at his hotel, where they again share their passion for each other, then part once more.

In 1990, widowed Daisy is contacted by social workers who have found Benjamin—now physically a pre-teen. When she arrives, they explain that he was living in a condemned building and was taken to the hospital in poor physical condition, and that they found her name in his diary. The bewildered social workers also say he is displaying early signs of dementia. Daisy moves into the nursing home in 1997 and cares for Benjamin for the rest of his life. In the spring of 2003, Benjamin dies in Daisy’s arms, physically an infant but chronologically 84 years of age. Having finally revealed the story of Caroline’s father to her, Daisy dies as Hurricane Katrina approaches.
It is an extremely graceful depiction of life, love, and the things we lose. After so much anticipation I was certainly not disappointed. This movie is probably not for everyone though. It’s not your average drama that spoon feeds it’s audience their emotions. It is something of awe and astonishment, an absolute gem. What makes our lives memorable are the moments we never seem to grasp long enough before letting go. Life in itself is indeed very, very curious and Benjamin Button is no less of a wonder.