REVIEW: THE SIMPSONS MOVIE

CAST

Dan Castellaneta (Super 8)
Julie Kavner  (Dr. Dolittle)
Yeardley Smith (Dead Like Me)
Nancy Cartwright (Kim Possible)
Hank Azaria (The Smurfs)
Harry Shearer (This Is Spinal Tap)
Pamela Hayden (Recess)
Tress MacNeille (Futurama)
Russi Taylor (Babe)
Albert Brooks (Drive)
Marcia Wallace (Full House)
Maggie Roswell (Pretty In Pink)
Joe Mantegna (Criminal Minds)
Tom Hanks (Sully)

While performing on Lake Springfield, music group Green Day perishes when the lake’s pollution dissolves their barge, following an audience revolt after frontman Billie Joe Armstrong proposes an environmental discussion. At their memorial, Grampa Simpson foresees the destruction of the town, but only Marge takes this seriously. Later that day, Homer dares his son Bart to skateboard naked to Krusty Burger and Bart is arrested by Chief Wiggum. Bart considers their neighbor Ned Flanders a better father figure after Homer refuses to take responsibility for the incident. Lisa and a new Irish friend named Colin convince the entire town to clean their lake.Meanwhile, Homer adopts a pig from Krusty Burger and names it “Spider Pig” (later “Harry Plopper”, and simply “Plopper”), and stores the pig’s feces (and some of his own) in a silo, until Marge tells him to safely dispose of the waste. Homer initially intends to take his silo to the waste management plant, but after Lenny calls to tell him that Lard Lad Donuts has been shut down due to health violations and is giving away free donuts, Homer impatiently dumps the silo straight into the lake, polluting it much worse than before. Moments later, a squirrel jumps into the lake and becomes severely mutated; Flanders and Bart (who bond after Homer humiliates Bart) discover the creature before the EPA captures it. Russ Cargill, head of the EPA, presents five “unthinkable” options to U.S. President Arnold Schwarzenegger to keep the town’s pollution contained. The slow-witted president picks option 3 without reading it, and Springfield is enclosed in a large glass dome. When the police discover Homer’s silo in the lake, and his responsibility for sealing Springfield in the dome, the townspeople of Springfield except for the Flanders family form an angry mob and advance on the Simpsons’ home to kill Homer, but the family escapes the town through a sinkhole, which then destroys their house. With the EPA on their trail, the Simpsons flee to Alaska. On the way, Homer tries to make some money at a carnival by riding a motorcycle around the inside of a metal cage.After three months of futile escape attempts, Springfield’s residents finally make a crack in the dome; pointing out the damage, Cargill manipulates Schwarzenegger into ordering the town’s destruction. In Alaska, the Simpsons see an advertisement starring Tom Hanks for a new Grand Canyon on the site of Springfield; realizing the town is endangered, Marge and the children want to go back to save it, but Homer refuses to help the people who tried to kill him. After failing to talk Homer into it, his family eventually leave him for good. Alone, Homer is stranded on an iceberg and floats away. Meanwhile, Marge and the children are captured by the EPA after a conversation of theirs is overheard by the NSA. After a mysterious Inuit shaman saves him from a polar bear, Homer has an epiphany and decides to return to Springfield to save the town from danger.As Homer arrives, a helicopter lowers a small but powerful bomb down a rope through a hole in the dome. While Homer climbs to the top of the dome, the townspeople attempt to climb the rope to escape through the still-opened hole, but Homer slides down the rope and knocks them off along with the bomb. After reconciling with Bart, Homer drives a motorcycle along the dome, inspired by the earlier carnival attraction. As a passenger of the motorcycle, Bart throws the bomb through the hole; seconds later it detonates, shattering the dome and freeing the town. Cargill arrives personally and prepares to shoot Homer with a shotgun, but Maggie knocks him unconscious with a boulder. The town finally praises and forgives Homer, who rides into the sun rise with Marge and Maggie, whereupon the townspeople restore Springfield to normal. As a symbol of their gratitude, the Simpsons and their friends begin to rebuild the family’s house.It definitely rewards long-time fans, but it is a great movie even for those who don’t watch the Simpsons. CGI only adds to the excellent drawings, and it is very cool to see them on the big screen!

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REVIEW: SULLY

CAST

Tom Hanks (Catch Me If You Can)
Aaron Eckhart (The Dark Knight)
Laura Linney (TMNT: Out of The Shadows)
Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad)
Autumn Reeser (The OC)
Ann Cusack (What Planet Are You From)
Holt McCallany (The Losers)
Mike O’Malley (Leatherheads)
Jamey Sheridan (Arrow)
Jerry Ferrara (Battleship)
Molly Hagan (Election)
Sam Huntington (Superman Returns)
Jeff Kober (The Hills Have Eyes 2)
Michael Rapaport (The 6th Day)

On January 15, 2009, US Airways pilots Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and First Officer Jeff Skiles board US Airways Flight 1549 from LaGuardia Airport to Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Three minutes into the flight, at an approximate altitude of 2,800 feet (approx. 850 m), the Airbus A320 strikes a flock of birds, disabling both engines. Without engine power and judging themselves unable to reach nearby airports (Teterboro Airport being the closest), Sully ditches the aircraft on the Hudson River. The crew and passengers evacuate without casualty. The press and public hail Sullenburger a hero, but the incident leaves him with symptoms of PTSD, and he repeatedly imagines the plane crashing into a building.Sully learns that preliminary data from ACARS suggest that the port engine was still running at idle power. Theoretically, this would have left him with enough power to return to LaGuardia or land at Teterboro. The National Transportation Safety Board claims that several confidential computerized simulations show the plane could have landed safely at either airport without engines. Sully, however, insists that he lost both engines, which left him without sufficient time, speed, or altitude to land safely at any airport.Sully realizes that the Board believes the accident may have been pilot error, which would end his career. He arranges to have the simulations rerun with live pilots, and the results are relayed to the public hearing. Both simulations result in successful landings, one at each airport. Sully argues that they are unrealistic because the pilots knew in advance of the situation they would face and of the suggested emergency action, and were able to practice the scenario several times. The board accepts that in real life the pilots would have taken some time to react and run emergency checks before deciding to divert the plane.The two simulations are rerun and relayed to the hearing, this time allowing a 35-second pause before the plane is diverted. The simulated diversion to LaGuardia ends with the plane landing short of the runway, and to Teterboro with a crash into buildings before the airport. The board announces that analysis of the port engine, now recovered from the river, confirms Sully’s account that it was disabled by the bird strikes. The board concludes that Sullenberger acted correctly in selecting the best of the options available to him, which in the event saved the lives of everyone aboard.In the end this movie is about heroes, not just Sully but everyone involved in the US Airways Flight 1549 water landing. From the well trained flight attendances to the rescue police on the water fairy. Its about the 155 passengers and the their accounts of what happen. It’s about how sometimes we forget how to treat a hero, but true heroes will always shine though, and Eastwood tells the story as real as possible knowing that he has an incredible story here.

REVIEW: ROAD TO PERDITION

CAST

Tom Hanks (The Terminal)
Tyler Hoechin (Supergirl)
Paul Newman (The Hustler)
Jude Law (Spy)
Daniel Craig (Cowboys & Aliens)
Stanley Tucci (The Hunger Games)
Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight)
Liam Aiken (The Frontier)
Dylan Baker (Changing Lanes)
Ciarán Hinds (The Woman In Black)
Anthony LaPaglia (The Custodian)

In 1931, during the Great Depression, Michael Sullivan, Sr. is an enforcer for Irish mob boss John Rooney in Rock Island, Illinois. Rooney raised the orphan Sullivan and loves him more than his own biological son, Connor. Rooney sends Connor and Sullivan to meet with disgruntled associate Finn McGovern, but Connor shoots McGovern, resulting in Sullivan gunning down McGovern’s men. Sullivan’s twelve-year-old son Michael, Jr. had hidden in his father’s car and witnesses the event. Despite Sullivan swearing his son to secrecy and Rooney pressuring Connor to apologize for the reckless action, Connor murders Sullivan’s wife Annie and younger son Peter. At the same time, he sends Sullivan to an ambush at a speakeasy. Sullivan realizes it’s a set-up, kills two men at the bar, and escapes. He goes to Chicago with his son to seek Al Capone, for work and to discover the location of Connor, who has gone into hiding.Capone’s underboss Frank Nitti rejects Sullivan’s proposals, before informing Rooney of the meeting. Rooney reluctantly allows Nitti to dispatch assassin Harlen Maguire, who is also a crime scene photographer, to kill Sullivan. Maguire tracks him and his son to a roadside diner, but fails to kill Sullivan; realizing Maguire’s intentions, Sullivan escapes through the bathroom and punctures Maguire’s car tire before fleeing. In reaction to the ordered hit, Sullivan begins robbing banks that hold Capone’s money, hoping to trade it for Connor. Sullivan is impeded when the mob withdraws its money, so he visits Rooney’s accountant Alexander Rance at his hotel. The encounter is a set-up, with Rance stalling Sullivan until Maguire enters with a shotgun. In the ensuing crossfire, Rance is killed, Maguire is injured by flying glass shards, and Sullivan escapes with the ledgers; as Sullivan flees, Maguire shoots him in his left arm.When his father collapses from his wound, Michael Jr. drives his father to a farm, where a childless elderly couple help him recover. Sullivan bonds with his son and discovers from the ledgers that Connor has been embezzling from his father for years, using the names of dead men. As the Sullivans depart, they give the couple much of the stolen money. Sullivan confronts Rooney with the information while they attend Mass. Rooney already knew about the embezzlement and that Connor was likely to die, if not by Sullivan’s hand then by the Chicago Outfit once Rooney dies. He still refuses to give up his son. He encourages Sullivan to leave with his son. Later one night, cloaked by darkness and rain, Sullivan dispatches Rooney’s entire entourage with his Thompson submachine gun and walks directly up to Rooney. As Rooney mutters that he is glad his killer is Sullivan, a reluctant Sullivan pulls the trigger. Seeing no further reason to protect Connor, Nitti reveals his location, after making Sullivan promise to end the feud. Sullivan goes to the hotel where Connor is hiding and kills him.Sullivan drives his son to stay at his Aunt Sara’s beach house in Perdition, a town on the shore of Lake Michigan. However, he is ambushed and shot by a disfigured Maguire. As Maguire prepares to photograph the dying Sullivan, Michael, Jr. appears and points a gun at Maguire but cannot muster the will to fire. Sullivan pulls out his gun and kills Maguire, before dying in his son’s arms. Mourning his father’s death, Michael, Jr. returns to live with the elderly farm couple. Growing up, Michael, Jr. reflects that his father’s only fear was that his son would become like him. Michael states he has never held a gun since the fatal encounter between Maguire and his father. When asked if Sullivan was a good or bad man, he replies “he was my father.”Based on a graphic novel by Max Allan Collins, “Road to Perdition” is a powerful, atmospheric crime thriller that blends “Godfather”-style mayhem with philosophical meditations on the nature of good and evil, and the relationship between sons and their fathers.

REVIEW: THE TERMINAL

CAST

Tom Hanks (Catch Me If You Can)
Catherine Zeta-Jones (Red 2)
Stanley Tucci (The Hunger Games)
Chi McBride (Human Target)
Diego Luna (Milk)
Barry Shabaka Henley (Heroes)
Kumar Pallana  (The Royal Tenenbaums)
Zoe Saldana (Avatar)
Eddie Jones (Lois & Clark)
Rini Bell (Bring it On)

Viktor Navorski, a traveler from Krakozhia, arrives at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, only to find that his passport is suddenly no longer valid due to the sudden outbreak of a civil war in his homeland. As a result, the United States no longer recognizes Krakozhia as a sovereign nation, and he is no longer permitted to either enter the country or return home as he is now considered to be stateless. Due to his inability to communicate in proper English, the airport’s branch of the US Customs and Border Protection seize both his passport and airline ticket, whereupon its temporary director, Frank Dixon, makes him stay in the terminal he came through. Left with no other choice, Viktor decides to settle in at a closed off section of the terminal, Gate 67, with only his luggage and a peanut can, soon making a home out of it. Much to the frustration of Dixon, who is being considered for promotion to director of the US Customs branch, Viktor chooses not to break out of the terminal but wait patiently until he can legally enter the United States. Dixon, who wants him to illegally attempt to enter the country so he can deport him, decides to try finding ways to make it difficult for him to survive in the terminal, slowly becoming obsessed in doing so. During his initial days at the terminal, Viktor encounters and helps out a flight attendant named Amelia Warren after she slips on a wet floor and breaks the heel of her shoes, who assumes he is a contractor of sorts from the pager he was given by Customs but is surprised by his respectful kindness to her.When Viktor is unable to secure himself some food after Dixon cuts him off from an avenue of money, his plight is noticed by a food service worker at the airport, Enrique Cruz, who offers him food in exchange for helping in learning more about an immigration officer that he is infatuated with, Dolores Torres. After meeting with Amelia once again and wanting to take her out for a meal, Viktor begins improving his English while attempting to find work, and is soon hired by an airport contractor and paid under the table after he impulsively remodeled a wall at a gate that was scheduled for future renovation. During this time, he also befriends some of Enrique’s friends whom he plays poker with, including a cargo handler named Joe Mulroy, and an Indian janitor named Gupta Rajan, learning from the latter that he had come to the States in order to avoid being arrested for stabbing a corrupt police officer back in India in 1979. When a Russian traveler creates a delicate situation when Customs try to remove the medicine he is carrying for his father, Dixon is annoyed when Viktor, whom he uses to persuade the man to leave the medicine behind, claims he misheard his Krakozhian dialect for “father” as “goat” so the traveler can leave with them. Shortly after the traveler leaves, Dixon strong-arms him over a photocopier, nearly blowing his chance for promotion, before later promising Viktor that he will never let him leave the airport. When the airport employees hear from Gupta of the incident in customs with the Russian and what Viktor did, Viktor finds himself respected and admired for his kind-hearted actions, with many stores showing off photocopied images of his hand that had been accidentally made.When Viktor meets with Amelia once again and takes her out for a meal, he slowly begins taking an interest with her, even wooing her, before offering to surprise her with a gift when she returns, based on his recent knowledge of Napoleon, soon creating a majestic fountain. After helping Enrique finally marry Torres, Viktor awaits the arrival of Amelia. Unbeknown to him, Dixon pulls her aside to question her about Viktor, revealing his true situation in the process. Feeling that he lied to her, Amelia confronts Viktor in Gate 67, shocked at his predicament, and tries to learn why he came to New York. Agreeing to tell her, Viktor reveals the contents of the peanut can he was carrying, explaining that his late father, a jazz enthusiast, had discovered the famous portrait, “A Great Day in Harlem”, in a Hungarian newspaper in 1958, where after spending a week looking at it, he vowed he would collect the signatures of all 57 of the jazz musicians featured on it. Viktor reveals that the can contains not only a copy of the portrait, but the autographs of all the musicians his father received, but one – tenor saxophonist Benny Golson. After his father died, Viktor had promised to collect the last signature by coming to New York to find Golson. After hearing his story, Amelia kisses Viktor.After having spent nine months in the terminal, Viktor is awakened by his friends who give him news that the war in Krakozhia has ended. Overjoyed, he celebrates in an airport bar, where Amelia meets with him and explains that a man she had been having an affair with, a government official, helped her to secure Viktor with a one-day emergency visa to fulfill his dream. While delighted, Viktor is saddened when he learns that her “friend” did so in order to renew their relationship. Despite this, Viktor heads off to Customs with renewed hope of going to New York, only to find that Dixon must sign the visa. Seizing the opportunity, Dixon instructs Viktor to go home to Krakozhia, threatening to cause trouble for Viktor’s friends by deporting them if he refuses. Unwilling to let that happen, he agrees to do so, despite his friends offering to prevent this happening. When Gupta, assuming he was acting a coward, learns of the situation he was put into, he decides to take the burden off Viktor by running in front of the plane to Krakozhia as it taxies to the terminal, choosing to let himself be deported back to his home country in order to let his friend go to New York.Dixon, shocked by this, attempts to stop Viktor leaving as he receives gifts from employees for his trip into the city, but is thwarted by his Custom agents, who allow him to leave. As Viktor leaves, seeing Amelia once more before taking a taxi, Dixon decides to finally not pursue him further. Meanwhile, Viktor arrives in New York at the hotel where Benny Golson is performing, and finally collects the last autograph. As he steps into a taxi and places the last signature into the can, he soon tells the driver, “I am going home.”The movie is about 2 hours and you get a lot in those two hours. For me what was striking was how genuinely interesting this movie turned out to be. A great, feel-good film. Something that is getting rarer and rarer these days. Sometimes you’ll want to see a gritty, wrenching melodrama, but other times you’ll want to see The Terminal.

REVIEW: CLOUD ATLAS

 

CAST

Tom Hanks (Catch Me If You Can)
Halle berry (X-Men)
Jim Broadbent (Paddington)
Hugo Weaving (The Matrix)
Susan Sarandon (Tammy)
Hugh Grant (American Dreamz)
Jim Sturgess (21)
Doona Bae (Sense8)
Ben Whishaw (Spectre)
Keith David (Pitch Black)
James D’Arcy (Agent Carter)
Xun Zhou (The Message)
David Gyasi (Containment)

Tribesman Zachry Bailey recounts stories to his grandchildren on an extra-terrestrial Earth colony.Cloud AtlasPacific Islands, 1849

Adam Ewing, an American lawyer, has come to the Chatham Islands to conclude a business arrangement with Reverend Horrox and his father-in-law. In Horrox’s plantation, he witnesses the whipping of a Moriori slave, Autua, who later stows away on the ship. Autua confronts Ewing and convinces him to advocate for Autua to join the crew as a free man. Dr Henry Goose slowly poisons Ewing, claiming it is the cure for a parasitic worm, to steal Ewing’s valuables. As Goose administers the fatal dose, Autua saves Ewing. Returning to the United States, Ewing and his wife Tilda denounce her father’s complicity in slavery and leave to join the abolition movement.

Cloud AtlasCambridge/Edinburgh, 1936

Robert Frobisher, a young English composer, finds work as an amanuensis to aging composer Vyvyan Ayrs, allowing Frobisher the time and inspiration to compose his own masterpiece, “The Cloud Atlas Sextet”. Frobisher begins reading Ewing’s journal, which he has found with the latter portion missing, among the books at Ayrs’s mansion. Ayrs demands credit for “The Cloud Atlas Sextet” and threatens to expose Frobisher’s homosexuality if he refuses. Frobisher shoots Ayrs and flees to a hotel, where he uses the name Ewing. He finishes “The Cloud Atlas Sextet” and commits suicide with a gun just before his lover Rufus Sixsmith arrives.

CLOUD ATLASSan Francisco, 1973

Journalist Luisa Rey meets an older Rufus Sixsmith, now a nuclear physicist. Sixsmith tips off Rey to a conspiracy regarding the safety of a new nuclear reactor run by Lloyd Hooks, but is killed by Hooks’s hitman, Bill Smoke, before he can give her a report that proves it. Rey finds Frobisher’s letters to Sixsmith and tracks down a vinyl recording of Frobisher’s “Cloud Atlas Sextet”. Isaac Sachs, another scientist at the power plant, passes her a copy of Sixsmith’s report. Smoke kills Sachs by blowing up his plane and runs Rey’s car off a bridge. She escapes but the report is destroyed. With help from the plant’s head of security, Joe Napier, Rey evades another attempt on her life, which results in Smoke’s death. With another copy of the report obtained from Sixsmith’s niece, she exposes the plot to use a nuclear accident for the benefit of oil company executives, who are indicted as a result.cloud-atlas-9

London, 2012

Sixty-five-year-old publisher Timothy Cavendish reaps a windfall when Dermot Hoggins, the gangster author of Knuckle Sandwich, murders a critic who gave the novel a harsh review, generating huge sales. When Hoggins’s brothers threaten Cavendish’s life for Hoggins’s share of the profits, Cavendish asks for help from his wealthy brother, Denholme, who tells him to hide at Aurora House. On the way there, Cavendish reads a manuscript of a novel based on Luisa Rey’s story, and recalls his relationship with a woman named Ursula. He visits the house where she lived with her parents and discovers that she still lives there. Believing Aurora House is a hotel, Timothy signs papers “voluntarily” committing himself; in fact, Aurora House is a nursing home (in Ayrs’s old mansion). Denholme reveals to Timothy that he sent him there as revenge for Timothy’s affair with Denholme’s wife Georgette. The head nurse, Noakes, is abusive, and contact with the outside world is denied. Cavendish escapes with three other residents. He resumes his relationship with Ursula and writes a screenplay of his experience.

2144-waitresses-soap

Neo Seoul, 2144

Sonmi-451 is a “fabricant”, a human cloned for slave labor, living as a server at a fast food restaurant in a dystopian South Korea. She is exposed to ideas of rebellion by another fabricant and friend, Yoona-939. After witnessing Yoona being killed for rebelling, Sonmi is rescued from captivity by Commander Hae-Joo Chang, a rebel. He exposes Sonmi to the larger world, including the banned writings of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and a film version of Timothy Cavendish’s “ghastly ordeal”. They are found and Sonmi is captured. Hae-Joo rescues her, introduces her to the leader of the rebel movement, and shows her that clones are not freed at the end of their contract but killed and recycled into food for other clones. Sonmi makes a public broadcast of her story and manifesto. The authorities intervene to halt the broadcast; Hae-Joo is killed in the firefight and Sonmi is recaptured. After recounting her story to an archivist, she is executed.cloud_atlas_-_behind_the_scenes_featurette

Big Isle (Hawaii), 106 winters after the Fall (2321)

Zachry Bailey lives in a primitive post-apocalyptic society called the Valley on the Big Island of Hawaii.[13] The Valley tribesmen worship Sonmi-451; their sacred text is taken from the broadcast of her manifesto. Zachry is plagued by visions of a demonic figure called Old Georgie, who urges him to give in to his fears. Zachry, his brother-in-law Adam, and his nephew are attacked by the cannibalistic Kona tribe. Zachry runs into hiding and his companions are murdered. His village is visited by Meronym, a member of the Prescients, an advanced society using the last remnants of high technology. Meronym’s mission is to find a remote communication station on Mauna Sol and send a message to Earth’s off-world colonies. Catkin, Zachry’s niece, falls sick, and in exchange for saving her, Zachry agrees to guide Meronym to the station, where Meronym reveals the true story of Sonmi-451. Returning, Zachry finds his tribe slaughtered by the Kona. He kills the sleeping Kona chief and rescues Catkin, and Meronym saves them both from the returning Kona and is in turn saved by Zachry. Zachry and Catkin join Meronym and the Prescients as their ship leaves Big Island.cloud-atlas-tom-hanks-halle-berryI understand that this movie won’t be to everybody’s liking but if you want to watch a unique, beautiful piece of epic storytelling then I highly recommend Cloud Atlas.

REVIEW: CHARLIE WILSON’S WAR

 

CAST

Tom Hanks (Catch Me If You Can)
Julia Roberts (Mirror Mirror)
Philip Seymour Hoffman (Doubt)
Amy Adams (Man of Steel)
Ned Beatty (Superman)
Christopher Denham (Duplicity)
Emily Blunt (Into The Woods)
Omn Purri (London Dreams)
Ken Stott (The Hobbit)
John Slattery (Ant-Man)
Denis O’Hare (Derailed)
Daniel Eric Gold (Ugly Betty)
Jud Tylor (That 70s Show)
Brian Markinson (Arrow)
Rachel Nichols (Conan The Barbarian)
Wynn Everett (Agent Carter)
Shiri Appleby (Roswell)
Cyia Batten (Killer Movie)
Ilia Volok (Power Rangers Wild Force)
Erick Avari (Stargate)
Anthony Azizi (Lost)
Shaun Toub (Iron Man)

In 1980, Congressman Charlie Wilson is more interested in partying than legislating, frequently throwing huge galas and staffing his congressional office with young, attractive women. His social life eventually brings about a federal investigation into allegations of his cocaine use, conducted by federal prosecutor Rudy Giuliani as part of a larger investigation into congressional misconduct. The investigation results in no charge against Charlie.

A friend and romantic interest, Joanne Herring, encourages Charlie to do more to help the Afghan people, and persuades Charlie to visit the Pakistani leadership. The Pakistanis complain about the inadequate support of the U.S. to oppose the Soviet Union, and they insist that Charlie visit a major Pakistan-based Afghan refugee camp. Charlie is deeply moved by their misery and determination to fight, but is frustrated by the regional CIA personnel’s insistence on a low key approach against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Charlie returns home to lead an effort to substantially increase funding to the mujahideen.

As part of this effort, Charlie befriends maverick CIA operative Gust Avrakotos and his understaffed Afghanistan group to find a better strategy, especially including a means to counter the Soviets’ formidable Mi-24 helicopter gunship. This group was composed in part of members of the CIA’s Special Activities Division, including a young paramilitary officer named Michael Vickers. As a result, Charlie’s deft political bargaining for the necessary funding and Avrakotos’ careful planning using those resources, such as supplying the guerrillas with FIM-92 Stinger missile launchers, turns the Soviet occupation into a deadly quagmire with their heavy fighting vehicles being destroyed at a crippling rate. The CIA’s anti-communism budget evolves from $5 million to over $500 million (with the same amount matched by Saudi Arabia), startling several congressmen. This effort by Charlie ultimately evolves into a major portion of the U.S. foreign policy known as the Reagan Doctrine, under which the U.S. expanded assistance beyond just the mujahideen and began also supporting other anti-communist resistance movements around the world. Charlie states that senior Pentagon official Michael Pillsbury persuaded President Ronald Reagan to provide the Stingers to the Afghans.

Charlie follows Gust’s guidance to seek support for post-Soviet occupation Afghanistan, but finds no enthusiasm in the government for even the modest measures he proposes. In the end, Charlie receives a major commendation for his support of the U.S. clandestine services, but his pride is tempered by his fears of the blowback his secret efforts could yield in the future and the implications of U.S. disengagement from Afghanistan.
Charlie Wilson’s War is a very good film in my opinion, that is compelling, clever and entertaining.

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: CATCH ME IF YOU CAN

 

CAST
Leonardo DiCaprio (Inception)
Tom Hanks (The Bonfire of The Vanities)
Christopher Walken (The prophecy)
Martin Sheen (The West Wing)
Nathalie Baye (Tell No One)
Amy Adams (Batman v Superman)
James Brolin (The Amityville Horror)
Elizabeth Banks (Power Rangers)
Thomas Kopache (Stigmata)
Sarah Lancaster (Chuck)
Jennifer Garner (Alias)
Jaime Ray Newman (Bates Motel)
Amy Acker (Angel)
Jessica Collins (Tru Calling)
In 1963, teen-aged Frank Abagnale (Leonardo DiCaprio) lives in New Rochelle, New York with his father Frank Abagnale, Sr. (Christopher Walken), and French mother Paula (Nathalie Baye). When Frank Sr. is denied a business loan at Chase Manhattan Bank due to unknown difficulties with the IRS, the family is forced to move from their large home to a small apartment. Paula carries on an affair with Jack (James Brolin), a friend of her husband. Meanwhile, Frank poses as a substitute teacher in his French class. Frank’s parents file for divorce, and Frank runs away. When he runs out of money, he begins relying on confidence scams to get by. Soon, Frank’s cons increase and he even impersonates an airline pilot. He forges Pan Am payroll checks and succeeds in stealing over $2.8 million.
Meanwhile, Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks), an FBI bank fraud agent, begins tracking Frank. Carl and Frank meet at a hotel, where Frank convinces Carl his name is Barry Allen of the Secret Service, and that he was also after the fraud. Frank leaves, Carl angrily realizing a minute too late that he has been fooled. Later, at Christmas, Carl is still at work when Frank calls him, attempting to apologize for duping Carl. Carl rejects his apology and tells him he will soon be caught, but laughs when he realizes Frank actually called him because he has no one else to talk to. Frank hangs up, and Carl continues to investigate, suddenly realizing (thanks to a waiter) that the name “Barry Allen” is from the Flash comic books and that Frank is actually a teenager.
Frank, meanwhile, has expanded his con to include the identities of a doctor and lawyer. While playing Dr. Frank Conners, he falls in love with Brenda (Amy Adams). While asking her father’s permission to marry her, he admits the truth about himself and asks for help with the Louisiana State Bar exam. Carl tracks him to his engagement party and Frank is able to sneak out a bedroom window minutes before Carl bursts in. Before leaving, Frank makes Brenda promise to meet him in Miami two days later so they can elope. Frank sees her waiting for him two days later, but also notices plainclothes agents waiting to arrest him, realizing he has been set up and escapes on a flight to Europe.
Seven months later, Carl shows his boss that Frank has been forging checks all over western Europe and asks permission to go to Europe to look for him. When his boss refuses, Carl brings Frank’s checks to printing professionals who claim that the checks were printed in France. From an interview with Frank’s mother, Carl remembers that she was actually born in Montrichard, France. He goes there and locates Frank, and tells him that the French police will kill him if he does not go with Carl quietly. Frank assumes he is lying at first, but Carl promises Frank he would never lie to him, and Carl takes him outside, where the French police escort him to prison.
The scene then flashes forward to a plane returning Frank home from prison, where Carl informs him that his father has died. Grief-stricken, Frank escapes from the plane and goes back to his old house, where he finds his mother with the man she left his father for, as well as a girl who Frank realizes is his half-sister. Frank gives himself up and is sentenced to 12 years in prison, getting visits from time to time from Carl. When Frank points out how one of the checks Carl is carrying as evidence is fake, Carl convinces the FBI to offer Frank a deal by which he can live out the remainder of his sentence working for the bank fraud department of the FBI, which Frank accepts. While working at the FBI, Frank misses the thrill of the chase and even attempts to fly as an airline pilot again. He is cornered by Carl, who insists that Frank will return to the FBI job since no one is chasing him. On the following Monday, Carl is nervous that Frank has not yet arrived at work. However, Frank eventually arrives and they discuss their next case. The ending credits reveal that Frank has been happily married for 26 years, has three sons, lives in the Midwest, is still good friends with Carl, has caught some of the world’s most elusive money forgers, and earns millions of dollars each year because of his work creating unforgeable checks.
Stephen Spielberg does an outstanding job of orchestrating this wildly unpredictable film.  He’s able to expose the heart of the story with ease in this film, not cheating us out of anything at any point during the entire movie.This is a very well-made movie with top notch performances that definitely deserve recognition.