REVIEW: THE FIRM

CAST

Tom Cruise (The Mummy)
Jeanne Tripplehorn (Basix Instinct)
Gene Hackman (Superman)
Hal Holbrook (Lincoln)
Terry Kinney (Billions)
Wilford Brimley (Cocoon)
Ed Harris (Westworld)
Holly Hunter (Batman V Superman)
David Strathairn (The Blacklist)
Gary Busey (The Gungerdead Man)
Tobin Bell (Saw)
Dean Norris (Breaking Bad)

Mitch McDeere (Tom Cruise) is a young man from an impoverished background, but with a promising future in law. About to graduate from Harvard Law School near the top of his class, he receives a generous job offer from Bendini, Lambert & Locke, a small, boutique firm in Memphis specializing in accounting and tax law. He and his wife, Abby (Jeanne Tripplehorn), move to Memphis and Mitch sets to work studying to pass the Tennessee bar exam. Avery Tolar (Gene Hackman), one of the firm’s senior partners, becomes his mentor and begins introducing Mitch to BL&L’s professional culture, which demands complete loyalty, strict confidentiality, and a willingness to charge exceptional fees for their services. Seduced by the money and perks showered on him, including a house and car, he is at first totally oblivious of the more sinister side of his new employer, although Abby has her suspicions.Mitch passes the bar exam and begins working long hours that put a strain on his marriage. Working closely with Avery, Mitch learns that most of the Firm’s work involves helping wealthy clients hide large amounts of money in off-shore shell corporations and other dubious tax-avoidance schemes. While on a trip to the Cayman Islands on behalf of a client, Mitch is seduced by a local woman and cheats on Abby. Actually this encounter is a photographed set-up made for the firm’s sinister security chief, Bill DeVasher (Wilford Brimley), who later uses Mitch’s beach tryst with that woman as blackmail to keep him quiet about such tax evasions and whatever illegal financial transactions.Mitch realizes he is now trapped, but after two associates of the firm die under mysterious circumstances, he is approached by FBI agents who inform him that while some of BL&L’s business is legitimate, their biggest client is the Morolto Mafia family from Chicago. The firm’s partners, as well as most of the associates, are all complicit in a massive tax fraud and money laundering scheme. The two associates who died learned about the firm’s dark side, and were killed to keep them from talking. They warn Mitch that his house, car, and office have probably all been bugged. The FBI pressures Mitch to provide the Bureau with evidence they can use to go after the Moroltos and bring down BL&L. Mitch knows he faces a stark choice. If he works with the FBI, he believes that even if he stays alive, he will have to disclose information about the firm’s legitimate clients—thus breaking the attorney–client privilege and risking disbarment. However, the FBI warns him that if he stays with the firm, he will almost certainly go to jail when the FBI takes down both the firm and the Moroltos. Either way, his life as he knows it is over, and he agrees to cooperate with the FBI in return for $1.5 million and the release of his imprisoned brother Ray in Arkansas.Desperate to find a way out, Mitch inadvertently stumbles on a solution when one of his clients reveals that he was billed for extra five hours fees, for the Firm’s money laundering services for the Moroltos. However, mailing these illegal bills to their clients is considered as mail fraud, and it exposes the Firm to RICO charges. Mitch begins secretly copying the Firm’s billing records. However, he is unmasked when a prison guard on the Moroltos’ payroll alerts DeVasher. Evading DeVasher and his thugs, he finds the Morolto brothers and, offering himself as a loyal attorney looking out for his clients’ best interests, leads them to believe that his contact with the FBI and files copying were merely an attempt to expose and eliminate such illegal overbilling. Mitch asks the Moroltos to turn over their billing invoices in order to help the FBI make their case against the firm. He assures them that as long as he is alive, any other information he knows about their legal affairs is covered under attorney-client privilege and will never be revealed. Convinced thus, the Moroltos agree to guarantee Mitch’s safety and let him give the FBI all the evidence they need to destroy the Firm. Since the attorney-client privilege doesn’t apply when a lawyer knows about ongoing criminal activity, Mitch is able to keep his status as a lawyer. The film ends as the McDeeres leave their house in Memphis and return to Boston, driving the same car in which they arrived there.Better than the book with regard to its resolution and plot development. Still looks and feels good.

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REVIEW: EDGE OF TOMORROW

CAST

Tom Cruise (Oblivion)
Emily Blunt (The Girl on The Train)
Bill Paxton (Aliens)
Brendan Gleeson (Troy)
Jonas Armstrong (Robin Hood)
Tony Way (The Girl With A Dragon Tattoo)
Franz Drameh (Legends of Tomorrow)
Noah Taylor (Powers)

In 2015, a horde of aliens called the Mimics arrived in Germany and began to spread to the rest of continental Europe, killing all humans in its way. Five years later, the United Defense Force has achieved only one victory, at Verdun, and is holding the Mimics back at the English Channel. In Britain, General Brigham, head of the UDF, orders Major William Cage, a public affairs officer with no combat experience, to cover the next day’s massive assault on France. Cage objects to the dangerous assignment and threatens to put the blame on Brigham if the landing fails. Brigham orders the arrest of Cage, who is tasered when he attempts to escape. He awakes in handcuffs at Heathrow Airport, having been demoted to private, labelled a deserter, and assigned to the J squad under the command of Master Sergeant Farell.The invasion proves to be a trap. The famous Sergeant Rita Vrataski (the “Angel of Verdun”) dies before Cage’s eyes. Shortly thereafter, he uses a Claymore mine to kill an unusually large Mimic, and dies covered with its blood. He wakes up and finds himself back at Heathrow the previous morning. No one believes his story that the invasion is doomed. Cage repeats the loop of dying on the beach and waking at Heathrow over and over again, becoming more competent in combat and learning to predict what happens. During every loop, he tries to save the life of Vrataski, until eventually she sees that he knows the movements of the attacking Mimics in advance, and tells him to find her when he “wakes up”.When Cage next awakens, he finds Vrataski. She takes him to Dr. Carter, an expert in Mimic biology. Carter explains that the Mimics are a superorganism in which the “Omega” plays the role of the cerebrum, while the “Alphas” act as the ganglia through which the Omega controls the ordinary Mimics. If an Alpha is killed, the Omega turns time back a day, thus giving the Mimics a seemingly unbeatable advantage. Cage “hijacked” their ability by being doused in Alpha blood. Vrataski had herself gained this ability at Verdun, but lost it by receiving a blood transfusion after being wounded. She tells Cage that they must destroy the Omega.Over numerous iterations of the same day, Vrataski trains Cage to fight better. Frustrated by his continued failures, he retreats to London, but discovers that the Mimics will attack there after defeating the invasion force. Eventually, he has a vision of a dam in Germany (which Carter said meant that the Omega was trying to locate him). Cage and Vrataski spend many loops figuring out how to get to the dam. Cage comes to know Vrataski, who is humourless and only interested in defeating the Mimics, having lost her loved one to them. Upon reaching a point where she dies whatever they do, Cage decides to fly to the dam alone. Inside the dam, he discovers it is a trap. Ambushed by an Alpha and another Mimic, Cage drowns himself before the Alpha can bleed him out and destroy his ability to trigger a time reset.Cage and Vrataski infiltrate the MoD Main Building to obtain a prototype built by Carter that can locate the Omega. Cage finally compels General Brigham to give him the device. During the ensuing car chase, Cage discovers the Omega is under the Louvre Pyramid in Paris. However, Cage is captured and seriously injured. He wakes up in a hospital to find he has been given a transfusion and thus has lost the ability to reset the day. Vrataski frees Cage. Having recruited the J squad to help destroy the Omega before the invasion begins, they fly to Paris, where the other soldiers sacrifice themselves so that Cage and Vrataski can get into the Louvre. Just before luring away an Alpha standing between them and the submerged Omega, Vrataski kisses Cage to thank him for getting her as far as he did. The Alpha kills Vrataski and mortally wounds Cage, but he manages to drop a belt of grenades, killing the Omega.The dying Cage floats down through the water into the Omega’s blood. He awakens en route to his first meeting with Brigham, who is announcing on TV that Mimic activity has ceased following a mysterious energy surge in Paris. Cage, still a major, goes to Heathrow to find Vrataski. She greets him with the same curtness as in previous iterations, but he only chuckles gladly.One of the most ingenious film concepts ever created, a cross between ‘Saving Private Ryan’ and ‘Groundhog Day’, ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ is a gripping and clever blockbuster sci-fi thrill-ride accompanied with taut, fast-paced action and compelling direction. Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt form a perfect chemistry that takes them from the training ground, to the battlefield through to the action-bound finale in Paris. The premise of the time-loop has been used many times before, but this time round there are enough exciting visuals and dynamic storytelling skills employed to make this one thrillingflick that is unpredictable and expertly designed.

REVIEW: THE MUMMY (2017)

CAST

Tom Cruise (Oblivion)
Annabelle Wallis (Annabelle)
Sofia Boutella (Star Trek Beyond)
Jake Johnson (New Girl)
Courtney B. Vance (Flashforward)
Russell Crowe (Man of Steel)
Marwan Kenzari (Ben-Hur)
Javier Botet (Mama)
Selva Rasalingam (Skyfall)

In 1127 A.D., a group of English crusader knights capture a large ruby from ancient Egypt and bury it within the tomb of one of their number. In present-day London, a Crossrail construction crew discover the knights’ tomb and a mysterious man is authorized to investigate the uncovered findings inside the site. In a flashback, the hieroglyphics on a circular mural in the tomb, which date back to the New Kingdom era, tell the story of the ruthless Princess Ahmanet.She was first in line to succeed her father Pharaoh Menehptre only to be stripped of her birthright when his second wife gave birth to a son. Determined to claim the throne for herself, Ahmanet sold her soul to the Egyptian god Set, who gave her a special dagger to transfer his spirit into a corporeal form. After murdering her family, Ahmanet attempted to sacrifice her lover to give Set physical form, but her father’s priests slew him and mummified Ahmanet, sentencing her to be buried alive for eternity inside a sarcophagus surrounded by mercury so that her monstrous form will not escape the tomb. In present-day Iraq, soldier-of-fortune Nick Morton and his partner Chris Vail accidentally discover the tomb of Ahmanet after staging an airstrike on an insurgent stronghold. Jenny Halsey, an archaeologist who had a one-night stand with Nick, arrives and investigates the tomb, correctly concluding that it is a prison. After extracting Ahmanet’s sarcophagus from a pool of mercury, Nick’s superior, Colonel Greenway, places the sarcophagus on a transport plane, headed to England.During the flight, Vail becomes possessed by Ahmanet’s power after being bitten by a camel spider while inside the tomb. After attempting to open the sarcophagus, he stabs Greenway and attacks the group before Nick is forced to shoot him dead. A huge murder of crows then assault the plane, causing it to crash and kill everyone on board except for Jenny, who is parachuted off the plane by Nick. Nick awakens a day later in a morgue in Oxford, and learns from Vail’s ghost that he has been cursed by Ahmanet, who seeks to use him as a replacement vessel for Set. Ahmanet’s mummy escapes from the sarcophagus and begins feeding on rescue workers to regenerate her decomposed body. Turning the workers into zombie minions, she lures Nick and Jenny into a trap, forcing the two to fight off the minions as they unsuccessfully try to escape. Ahmanet also recovers the blade of the Dagger of Set from a reliquary in a nearby church.At the last second, unknown soldiers appear and subdue Ahmanet. Their leader, Dr. Henry Jekyll, explains that Jenny is an agent of Prodigium, a secret society dedicated to hunting supernatural threats whose base is under the Natural History Museum of London and contains such objects as a webbed hand and a human skull with fangs. He confirms that Nick was cursed when he unlocked Ahmanet’s tomb and reveals his intention to complete her ritual and allow Set to possess Nick in order to destroy Set and end his evil forever. Meanwhile, Ahmanet summons another spider to possess a Prodigium technician and frees herself from captivity, wreaking havoc, death, and destruction in the process. Jekyll succumbs to his own dark impulses and transforms into Edward Hyde, his murderous and psychotic alternate personality; when Nick rebuffs Hyde’s offer of an alliance between them, Hyde attacks and nearly kills Nick before Nick manages to stop him with the serum Jekyll uses to suppress his evil side. Nick and Jenny then escape from Prodigium while Ahmanet steals back the dagger, summons an army of deceased English crusaders to serve her, and creates a massive sandstorm that ravages London. The undead knights slaughter the Prodigium soldiers in the tomb, allowing Ahmanet to recover the ruby and set it in the dagger’s pommel, granting her all she needs to free Set.Guided by Vail, Nick and Jenny flee into the London Underground tunnels under London, but are attacked by Ahmanet’s minions. Ahmanet captures Jenny and drowns her, hoping to break her hold over Nick. Nick puts up a fight, but gives up and lets himself embrace Ahmanet, using it as a ruse to steal the dagger and stab himself. His body is possessed by Set, who proceeds to join Ahmanet to uphold his end of the bargain until he sees Jenny’s dead body, at which point Nick regains control and uses Set’s powers to overpower and suck the life out of Ahmanet, turning her back into a shriveled mummy. Nick harnesses Set’s powers to resurrect Jenny, saying goodbye before becoming overwhelmed by Set’s power and disappearing. Soon, Jenny regroups with Dr. Jekyll and they discuss if Nick, now fused with Set, will succumb to Set’s influence. Ahmanet’s corpse is lowered into a locked pool of mercury within the Prodigium base for safekeeping. Later on in the desert, Nick resurrects Vail, and the two set out on an adventure.I was very happy with the Mummy. I didn’t expect a lot, so I was pleasantly surprised with what I got. Not everyone is going to like it, though, The original Mummy movies were classics and some might say a reboot was unnecessary. A movie like this is one that’s best to make your own mind up on.

 

REVIEW: OBLIVION

CAST

Tom Cruise (Mission Impossible)
Morgan Freeman (The Dark Knight Rises)
Olga Kurylenko (Hitman)
Andrea Riseborough (Welcome To The Punch)
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Game of Thrones)
Melissa Leo (Red State)
Zoë Bell (Bitch Slap)

In 2077, sixty years after a war with extraterrestrials that devastated Earth in 2017, humanity has relocated to Saturn’s moon Titan via a giant space station called the Tet. Gigantic offshore fusion energy generators drain Earth’s oceans to power the colonies on Titan. Led by mission controller Sally and guided by his housemate and communications partner Victoria “Vika” Olsen, “Tech-49” Jack Harper regularly leaves his tower post to repair downed combat drones that guard the regions and generators against the alien scavengers or “scavs.” Although his memory has been wiped, he has had recurring dreams and visions of being on the observation deck of the Empire State Building with a dark-haired woman. He also collects the occasional artifact he finds from humanity’s past. Vika is concerned about Jack’s curiosity, questioning whether they are still “an effective team,” and encouraging him to do his job so they can join the others on Titan soon.After scavs destroy a generator, Jack discovers the scavs have been using the Empire State Building’s antenna to transmit coordinates to outer space. While taking a break at his secret lake house retreat, he watches a crash-landing module of a pre-war spacecraft called the Odyssey. Thinking the ship contains aliens, he investigates, only to find humans in stasis chambers. One of the humans is the woman from his dreams. Jack protects her chamber from a drone that destroys the others, and later revives the woman, Julia Rusakova, who makes Vika instinctively jealous. Jack and Julia return to recover her flight recorder but are captured by the scavs, who are revealed to be human survivors.Their leader, Malcolm Beech, wants Jack to reprogram their captured drone to carry nuclear fuel cells to blow up the Tet; he has sensed Jack is different because the latter’s hobby of collecting relics. Although Jack refuses, Beech releases them to seek the truth beyond the boundaries of the forbidden radiation zone. When they reach the Empire State Building, Julia reveals that she is his wife. Jack then remembers that he proposed to her there. Julia recalls she was on a mission to Titan when they were diverted to investigate an alien presence.When the two return to Jack’s tower, Vika refuses them entry and reports her findings to Sally, saying they are “no longer an effective team.” Sally acknowledges this, but activates a drone that kills Vika before Julia shoots it down. Jack and Julia escape in his ship, but are shot down by other pursuing drones. The two eject into the radiation zone, which turns out to not be radioactive. Jack discovers another ship with a technician trying to fix a downed drone, and is shocked to see that the tech is a clone of himself who goes by “Tech-52”. The clone also is shocked to see Julia. Jack fights and incapacitates his clone, but Julia is accidentally shot. After flying to Tech-52’s tower, and discovering an inquisitive Vika clone, he returns to treat Julia at the lake house.At the scav base, Beech reveals to Jack and Julia that the Tet was an alien artificial intelligence that destroyed the Moon, causing massive devastation to the planet, and invaded Earth with thousands of Jack clones and drones to wipe out the human race, extracting all of the planet’s natural resources before moving on. As Jack repairs the captured drone, the base is attacked by other drones, gravely injuring Beech and ruining the captured drone except for its fuel cells. Jack agrees to deliver Julia to Sally through the stasis chamber. On the way to the Tet, Jack listens to the Odyssey’s flight recorder, and learns that he was the mission commander, Vika was his co-pilot, and Sally was their mission controller from Earth. When the Tet started to draw in their ship, Jack jettisoned the pod of stasis chambers containing the crew members (including Julia) leaving himself and Vika to be captured.Back in the present, Jack enters a large room full of capsules of Jack and Vika clones. He shows Tet the stasis chamber, but it carries Beech and the fuel cells, which they then detonate. On Earth, Julia awakens at the lake house. Three years later, she and her daughter meet the resistance members and “Tech-52” Jack, who has also recovered his memories.I would definitely recommend seeing  this movie. The visual appeal alone is reason enough, but combined with a clever (if not entirely original) script, a thumping soundtrack and some exciting action, you should be entertained

 

REVIEW: VALKYRIE

CAST

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

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

REVIEW: WAR OF THE WORLDS (2005)

CAST

Tom Cruise (Minoity Report)
Dakota Fanning (Man on Fire)
Justin Chatwin (Dragonball Evolution)
Miranda Otto (I, Frankenstein)
Tim Robbins (Green Lantern)
Rick Gonzalez (Arrow)
Yul Vazquez (The Ex)
Lenny Venito (The Neighbors)
Lisa Ann Walter (Killers)
Ann Robinson (Imitation of Life)
Gene Barry (The Atomic City)
Morgan Freeman (The Dark Knight)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Ty Simpkins (Iron Man 3)
Daniel Eric Gold (Ugly Betty)
Columbus Short (The Losers)

A narrator explains how humans were unaware that a race of extraterrestrials was making plans to occupy Earth. Ray Ferrier is a divorced crane operator longshoreman who works at a dock in Brooklyn, New York and lives in Bayonne, New Jersey. Ray is estranged from his children. His former wife, Mary Ann, later drops off the children, 10-year-old daughter Rachel and teenage son Robbie, at Ray’s house on her way to visit her parents in Boston. Unexplained changes in the weather occur, including lightning that strikes multiple times in the middle of an intersection and disrupts all electricity.

Ray joins the crowd at the scene of the lightning strikes, and witnesses a massive “Tripod” war machine emerge from the ground and use alien weaponry to incinerate most of the witnesses, zapping them out of existence, turning them to a grey dust and the remains of their clothes fluttering down. Ray collects his children, steals a car and drives to Mary Ann’s home in suburban New Jersey to take refuge. The next morning, he discovers that a Boeing 747 has crashed in the street. A news team scavenging for food explain that there are multiple Tripods that have attacked major cities including New York City, Paris, Washington, D.C., and London, and have force shields to protect them from human weapons. They also explain that the lightning was how the aliens were able to enter the Tripods. Ray decides to take the kids to Boston to be with their mother. The three are forced to abandon the stolen car after a mob takes it by force. They later survive a Tripod attack which causes a Hudson River ferry to sink. During a desperate battle between U.S. Marines and the aliens, Ray is forced to choose between being separated from Rachel and preventing Robbie from joining the fight; he lets Robbie go with the Marines, who are overwhelmed. While escaping, Ray and Rachel are offered shelter by Harlan Ogilvy, who presumes that the aliens had buried their technology on Earth millions of years ago and has delusions that they can fight against the aliens themselves by observing their operations, as they are right next to their camp.

The three remain undetected for two days, even as a probe and a group of the aliens themselves explore the basement. The next morning, Ogilvy suffers a mental breakdown while witnessing a Tripod harvesting human blood and tissue to fertilize an alien vegetation. The tripod’s inject a tube into the humans and drain out their blood, in a very vicious manner. Convinced that Ogilvy’s mad shouting jeopardizes his daughter’s life, Ray reluctantly kills him. The basement hideout is exposed when a second probe catches them sleeping. Rachel is soon abducted by a nearby Tripod; Ray immediately allows himself to be abducted, being placed in the same cage with Rachel and other prisoners. As the aliens select him for harvesting, Ray takes a belt of grenades into the machine, having pulled out the pins. The Tripod is destroyed and releases the cage, with Ray and Rachel, and a number of other prisoners, making it out alive.

Ray and Rachel arrive in a devastated Boston, where the vegetation is dying and most of the Tripods have collapsed. Ray notices birds landing on an active Tripod, indicating that its shields are off. Ray alerts the soldiers escorting his refugee group and they shoot it down. As the soldiers advance on the downed Tripod, a hatch opens releasing a liquid; a sickly alien struggles halfway out, and then dies immediately. Ray and Rachel reach Mary Ann’s parents’ house, where they are reunited with Mary Ann and, to their surprise, Robbie. The closing narration reveals that the aliens were immune to man’s machines but they and their vegetation were not immune to the microbes present on Earth and that “from the moment the invaders arrived, breathed our air, ate and drank, they were doomed,” finally quoting Wells himself, that given mankind’s birthright “neither do men live nor die in vain”.A loose adaptation of H. G. Wells’s novel of the same name, ‘War of the Worlds’ directed by Cinema Giant Steven Spielberg is a Magnificent Watch. Compelling, Shocking, Solid & Unforgettable, This 2005 Box-Office Blockbuster holds tremendous repeat viewing value!

REVIEW: LEGEND (1985)

CAST

Tom Cruise (Mission Impossible)
Mia Sara (Birds of Prey)
Tim Curry (IT)
David Bennent (The Tin Drum)
Alice Playten  (The Rebound)
Billy Barty (Masters of The Universe)
Kiran Shah (The Hobbit)
Robert Picardo (Stargate: Atlantis)

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“Once, long ago”, the ancient Lord of Darkness (Tim Curry) laments his isolation in the shadows before sensing the presence of two unicorns who safeguard the Power of Light; whereupon Darkness instructs Blix (Alice Playten) and his fellow goblins Pox (Peter O’Farrell) and Blunder (Kiran Shah) to kill the unicorns and bring him their horns to free himself. Meanwhile, Princess Lily (Mia Sara), a mischievous and vibrant girl goes alone to the forest to meet her love interest Jack (Tom Cruise), an adventurous forest dweller who teaches her the languages of animals before showing her the unicorns as he promised he would someday do. Against Jack’s pleas, Lily approaches the stallion to stroke him, making him distracted and the perfect target for a poisoned dart from Blix’s blowpipe. Once hit, the unicorns bolt, and Lily makes light of Jack’s fears and sets him a challenge by throwing her ring into a pond, declaring that she will marry whoever finds it.Jack, proving his love to Lily, dives into the pond to retrieve it. As the stallion dies from the poison and the goblins seize his horn, the forest and the pond freeze, setting the mortal realm into an apocalyptic winter. Lily runs off in terror before Jack can break the surface of the frozen pond. Taking refuge in a frozen cottage, Lily overhears the goblins talking about their slaying of the unicorn and testing the alicorn’s magical powers. She follows them to a rendevouz with Darkness, who orders them to hunt down the mare. In a fit of overconfidence, Blunder challenges Darkness with the stallion’s horn in hand, but is instead restrained and taken away.legend

In the forest, Jack encounters the elf Honeythorn Gump (David Bennent, voiced by Alice Playten). Joined by Gump, the fairy Oona (Annabelle Lanyon), and the dwarves Brown Tom and Screwball (Cork Hubbert and Billy Barty), Jack searches for Lily before coming across the lifeless stallion and his mate. Knowing that the horn must be recovered and returned to the stallion, Jack is led by Gump and the others to a cache of ancient weapons while Brown Tom guards the mare. Lily, attempting to make amends for her role in the stallion’s death, is captured alongside the mare after Brown Tom is knocked out. Learning what has transpired, Jack and his group enter the ancient temple in the marshes where Darkness resides. Though Jack deals with the swamp hag Meg Mucklebones (Robert Picardo), he and his group fall into a pit trap that takes them to dungeon. There they encounter Blunder, revealed to be a disguised elf, before he is dragged off by the ogre chefs to be cooked into a pie. Oona saves Jack and the others, and they resume searching for Lily and the mare.scenery

Having fallen in love with Lily, Darkness tempts her; and Lily agrees to wed him on the condition that she kills the mare in the upcoming ritual. Overhearing their conversation, Jack and Gump learn that Darkness can be destroyed by daylight. While saving Blunder, the group take giant metal platters to reflect the sunlight to the chamber where the mare is to be sacrificed. As the ritual begins, Lily frees the unicorn, but is knocked out by Darkness.legend01-1170x497Jack fights Darkness while the others relay the light of the setting sun. Jack loses his sword when Darkness has the upper-hand, but then uses the horn from the stallion to stab him. Darkness screams in pain as he removes the horn, and is then exposed to sunlight. Once hit by the light, Darkness is expelled to the edge of a cliff, but uses the unicorn’s horn to hold on. Knowing there is no physical escape, Darkness laughs at Jack and warns him that evil lurks in everyone. Therefore, even though they can kill him, they will never truly defeat him. Jack strikes Darkness’ hand, releasing the unicorn’s horn, and Darkness is expelled into the stars. As Gump returns the stallion’s horn, returning him to life, Jack retrieves the ring from the pond and returns it to Lily, reviving her.

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Alternative endings

The film concludes (depending on its targeted market) with one of two endings:
In the original version (as well as the Director’s Cut), Lily wakes with Jack trying to convince her she was merely dreaming, but she is ultimately unconvinced. Despite this, these events they’ve gone through proves that they live in two different worlds, which cause them to continue their platonic relationship. Lily returns to her home, but not until after she promises to visit Jack again. In the final segment, Jack happily runs off into the sunset, hailed by the forest fairies and the revived unicorns.kuqi4kz
In the American theatrical version, Jack and Lily assure each other of their love, and watch the unicorns reunite. After bidding a distant farewell to the forest fairies and the unicorns, they run off into the sunset together, hailed by the forest fairies and the unicorns. This version ends with Darkness making a final appearance before the end credits, laughing sinisterly.maxresdefaultHighly recommended for fantasy fans, Ridley Scott, Tim Curry and Mia Sara fans and those interested in artfully presented effects. Recommended for fans of Pan’s Labyrinth and Mirrormask. The best version is the Director’s Cut featured on Blu-ray. It runs alot longer than any of the other cuts and it is the most coherent cut as well and it features the score by Jerry Goldsmith.