REVIEW: WISHMASTER 2: EVIL NEVER DIES

CAST
Andrew Divoff (Indiana Jones 4)
Holly Fields (Interceptor Force)
Chris Weber (Watchmen)
Vyto Ruginis (The Fast and The Furious)
Paul Johansson (Highlander: The Raven)
Robert Lasardo (Nip/Tuck)
Tommy Lister Jr (The Dark Knight)
Llia Volok (Power Rangers Wild Force)
Bokeem Woodbine (Total Recall)
Corey Haim (The Lost Boys)
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During an attempted robbery of a museum, the fire opal that contains the Djinn is accidentally released by a stray gunshot. One of the burglars, a beautiful young woman named Morgana Truscott (Holly Fields), steals the gem and is forced to abandon her partner during the escape. The Djinn escapes and kills the remaining burglar when he accidentally wishes he’d never been born. As the police enter the museum, the demon finishes forming into full size, revealing the Djinn (Andrew Divoff). The Djinn surrenders to the police and is led away.
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That evening, Morgana is shown sleeping very restlessly, her left arm dangling over the edge of the bed. In the meantime, Demarest is in a holding cell waiting to be transferred to prison, where he kills a fellow prisoner. In her dreams, she sees glimpses of the Djinn in his true form. The next day, Morgana goes to Church to visit the priest tending the church, a man named Gregory (Paul Johannson) – a former lover of Morgana’s before he found God and joined the priesthood. In prison, Demarest continues to kill prisoners and other personnel through purposely misconstrued wishes, and is confronted by Butz (Rhino Michaels) and his two henchmen, the Tiger brothers (James Kim and Simon Kim). Butz runs all “underground business” at the prison and gives Demarest a “friendly” warning that he is going to be watching him. Morgana is up at dawn, screaming out to her unseen tormentor, demanding to know who he is. She goes to her computer and does an internet search on Persian Mythology.
A voice-over from Morgana recites the contents of a web site she is reading on the Persian deity Ahura Mazda. He was known as a deity of both light and dark, symbolizing the duality of good and evil. He was also known as the keeper of the Stone of the Sacred Fire. Gregory arrives at her loft, he says that Father Dimitri from the church noted that she had passed by, and she seemed unwell. Morgana opens up just a little, telling Gregory she hasn’t been sleeping well, and experiencing confusing nightmares about a voice telling her to “fulfill the prophecy” and confesses to the robbery and the murder of the guard.
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Morgana goes to the prison to visit Demarest. She demands to know why he confessed to the robbery, and he says it was so she wouldn’t have to, and admits to not having to be in prison long, before showing his true form, driving Morgana away. Morgana is at home, doing more research on the internet on Persian mythos. She finds references to the Djinn, a powerful being that laid waste to the Persian court before the King’s alchemist created the Stone of the Sacred Fire and imprisoned the Djinn inside it. The Persian deity Ahura Mazda was enlisted to keep the Djinn imprisoned in the “space between worlds” so that he cannot escape and bring about world-wide apocalypse. Morgana is startled as her window is abruptly blown open by a sharp gust of wind, papers flying everywhere. Morgana goes to see Gregory the next day to tell him about her findings. Gregory rides to the prison with Morgana and confronts Demarest, demanding he leave Morgana alone. Demarest knows exactly who Gregory is, and about his past relationship with Morgana. He even perfectly duplicates Morgana’s voice, speaking seductively to Gregory. Later that evening, Morgana, alone in her loft, begins undergoing a number of rituals aimed at purifying her soul, as only someone pure of heart can banish the Djinn back into his prison.  Back at the prison, Demarest kills the prison warden and escapes the prison when one of the prisoners wishes to be released.
Osip brings Demarest to Pushkin and tells him that Demarest is a Wishmaster who can give Pushkin anything he wants. But Pushkin brushes them off, saying he already has great wealth and power, and he doesn’t need or desire fame. As he is leaving, Demarest asks if Pushkin has any enemies he would like to see eliminated, and Osip quickly pounces. Pushkin’s greatest enemy is a rival crime boss named Moustafa. The mere mention of Moustafa’s name sends Pushkin into a rage. Demarest assures Pushkin that he can do what Pushkin himself might not be able to, like take care of Moustafa. Carelessly, fueled by his anger, Pushkin wishes to have Moustafa’s head.
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Just then, Morgana rushes into the club room, shooting Demarest twice in the chest with her gun. Both she and Osip freeze in horror as the attack only causes the Djinn to assume his true form. He laughs at Morgana’s foolishly thinking she could kill him. Gregory finds Morgana praying feverishly at the church altar, and sobbing inconsolably. She confesses to Gregory that she tried to kill Demarest and then saw the Djinn’s true face. She laments that her guilt, the blood of the innocent man she killed at the art gallery heist, can never be washed away, and so she can never hope to fight the Djinn. Gregory patiently counsels her, promising that God can cleanse any and all burden she carries if only she allows Him to, and that while the Djinn might be too powerful for they to fight, God can win the battle using them as His instruments. During this, they find Morgana is invulnerable when she attempts suicide so the Djinn can not grant her the three necessary wishes.
Morgana and Gregory are preparing for the trip in pursuit of the Djinn. Gregory has compiled more notes, including the incantation used by the alchemist who imprisoned the Djinn; “As was prophesied, the alchemist took the stone into his hand as a woman pure of heart takes the light of God unto her soul, and spoke the words, Nib Sugaroth Baheim”. Morgana points out that unlike the two of them, the alchemist knew what he was doing. But as Gregory points out, these notes are the only solid plan they have on how to defeat the Djinn. Morgana begins to kiss Gregory, and despite his initial reticence, she makes love to him. In Vegas, the Djinn begins granting wishes to the casino patrons in order to collect the remaining required souls. As Morgana and Gregory ride a cab through Las Vegas to the casino Demarest is operating out of, the Djinn stands in his office in his true form. Holding up the fire opal, he intones a deep growl and calls in all the debts owed him—he claims the souls everyone gave up through their wishes.
Noting that Demarest has left the fire opal on his desk, Gregory quietly inches toward it while Demarest is speaking to Morgana. Rushing forward, he grabs it and recites the incantation used by the alchemist. Demarest merely smiles again, noting the two of them have studied the legends well, before gesturing, and the fire opal vanishes from Gregory’s hand into Demarest’s. He warns them about playing with forces they don’t understand. After Morgana accidentally wishes for the Djinn to go to hell, they’re transported inside the fire opal, and Gregory is killed after she wishes for him to be released. But Morgana has forgotten that death is often a release. She screams in grief at the Djinn, angrily wishing for a world free of evil. But the Djinn reminds her that evil is but half of a perfect sphere—without it, good cannot exist. He warns her that he is losing his patience with her. Morgana tries desperately to resist the Djinn’s will. Morgana’s fears suddenly quiet and she asks the Djinn the meaning of fulfilling the prophecy. She reminds him that he himself told her that she would know when the time was right. The Djinn impatiently recites the prophecy to her, that the one who wakes the Djinn shall have three wishes; upon the granting of all three, the race of Djinn will reign over the Earth. Due to a slip of the tongue, Morgana realizes the meaning of the prophecy, and wishes for the guard she killed to be alive again. After receiving a vision of the guard alive and well, she takes the Djinn’s fire opal and intones the alchemist’s chant, “Nib Sugaroth Baheim”. The Djinn is again banished and all the victims returned to life.
The franchise is as low-profile as it can be, but it hit its height with Wishmaster 2, which improves upon the original in terms of story, but is restricted by a lower budget.

REVIEW: THE FIFTH ELEMENT

CAST

Bruce Willis (Sin City)
Gary Oldman (Batman Begins)
Ian Holm (The Hobbit)
Milla Jovovich (Resident Evil)
Chris Tucker (Rush Hour)
Luke Perry (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Brion James (BLade Runner)
Tommy ‘Tiny’ Lister (Jackie Brown)
Lee Evans (There’s Something About Mary)
John Neville (Odyssey 5)
Martin McDougall (Batman Begins)

In 1914, aliens known as Mondoshawans arrive at an ancient Egyptian temple to collect, for safekeeping, the only weapon capable of defeating a great evil that appears every 5,000 years. The weapon consists of four stones, representing the four classical elements, and a sarcophagus containing a fifth element in the form of a human, which combines the power of the other four elements into a divine light capable of defeating the evil. The Mondoshawans promise their human contact, a priest from a secret order, that they will come back with the element stones in time to stop the great evil when it returns.

In 2263, the great evil appears in deep space in the form of a giant ball of black fire, and destroys an attacking Earth spaceship. The Mondoshawans’ current contact on Earth, priest Vito Cornelius (Ian Holm), informs the President of the Federated Territories (Tom Lister Jr.) of the history of the great evil and the weapon that can stop it. As the Mondoshawans return to Earth they are ambushed by Mangalores, a race hired by the industrialist Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg (Gary Oldman), who has been instructed by the great evil to acquire the stones.

The Mondoshawans’ spacecraft is destroyed, though the stones are not on board; the only item recovered is a hand of The Fifth Element. Scientists take it to a New York City laboratory and use it to reconstruct a humanoid woman who takes the name Leeloo (Milla Jovovich). Terrified of the unfamiliar surroundings, she escapes confinement and jumps off a ledge, crashing into the flying taxicab of Korben Dallas (Bruce Willis), a former major in the special forces.

Dallas delivers Leeloo to Cornelius and his apprentice, David (Charlie Creed-Miles), whereupon Cornelius learns that the Mondoshawans entrusted the four element stones to the alien Diva Plavalaguna (Maïwenn Le Besco), an opera singer. Zorg kills many of the Mangalores because of their failure to obtain the stones, but their compatriots determine to seize the artifacts for themselves. Upon learning from the Mondoshawans that the stones are in Plavalaguna’s possession, General Munro (Brion James), Dallas’ former superior, recommissions Dallas and orders him to travel undercover to meet Plavalaguna on a luxury intergalactic cruise; Dallas takes Leeloo with him. Meanwhile, Cornelius instructs David to prepare the ancient temple designed to house the stones, then stows away on the space plane transporting Dallas to the cruise liner.MV5BZDNjYTJiMzYtM2RhOC00NGY3LWE1ZjEtZjFjZDU1MjM4MjZkXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMDc2NTEzMw@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1427,1000_AL_

Plavalaguna is killed when the Mangalores attack the ship, but Dallas succeeds in retrieving the stones. During his struggle with the Mangalores he kills their leader. After shooting and seriously wounding Leeloo, Zorg finds a carrying case which he presumes contains the stones, and takes it back to his spacecraft, leaving behind a time bomb that forces the liner’s occupants to evacuate. Discovering the case to be empty, Zorg returns to the ship and deactivates his bomb, but a dying Mangalore sets off his own device, destroying the ship and killing Zorg. Dallas, Cornelius, Leeloo, and talk-show host Ruby Rhod (Chris Tucker) escape with the stones aboard Zorg’s spacecraft.

The four join up with David at the weapon chamber in the Egyptian temple as the great evil approaches. They activate the stones, but having witnessed and studied so much violence, Leeloo has become disenchanted with humanity and refuses to cooperate. Dallas confesses his love for Leeloo and kisses her. In response, Leeloo combines the power of the stones and releases the divine light; the great evil, now dormant, becomes another moon in Earth orbit.Luc Besson has created a visually stunning piece of work. The cinematography is vibrant and colourful and the costumes (designed by Jean Paul Gaultier) have to be seen to be believed; the special effects are of the quality you would expect and add to the whole experience. This is a fast paced movie that grabs you and doesn’t let go from start to finish.

REVIEW: THE DARK KNIGHT

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CAST

Christian Bale (The Fighter)
Heath Ledger (A Knights Tale)
Michael Caine (Quills)
Maggie Gyllenhaal (Secretary)
Gary Oldman (Red Riding Hood)
Morgan Freeman (High Crimes)
Aaron Eckhart (I, Frankenstein)
Monique Gabriela Curnen (Lie To Me)
Cillian Murphy (Inception)
Chin Han (Arrow)
Nestor Carbonell (Bates Motel)
Eric Roberts (Amityville Death House)
Anthony Michael Hall (The Dead Zone)
Keith Szarabajka (Angel)
Colin McFarlane (Doctor Who)
Michael Jai White (Spawn)
William Fichtner (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Beatrice Rosen (2012)
Tommy ‘Tiny’ Lister (Jackie Brown)
David Ajala (Supergirl)
K. Todd Freeman (A Series of Unfortunate Events)
David Dastmalchain (Ant-Man)

A Gotham City mob bank is robbed by a group of thugs wearing clown masks. While doing the job, they double cross and kill each other one by one. The remaining thug reveals himself to be the Joker and leaves with the money. District attorney Harvey Dent leads a campaign against the organized crime in the city, to the applause of its citizens. Through Gordon, he requests to collaborate with Batman, and lends Gordon a petitioned search warrant for five banks with suspected mob ties. Wayne Enterprises cancels its deals with Chinese accountant Lau as CEO Lucius Fox questions Lau’s legality. Bruce Wayne intrudes on Dent’s date with Rachel Dawes and offers to support the DA through a fundraiser.

Mob leaders Maroni, Gambol and the Chechen holds a videoconference with Lau, who has taken their funds and fled to Hong Kong. The Joker interrupts, warns that Batman is unhindered by the law. He offers to kill Batman in exchange for half of their stolen money. Gambol instead puts a bounty on the Joker, but is killed by him shortly after. The mob ultimately decide to ask the Joker for help. Batman finds Lau in Hong Kong and brings him back to Gotham to testify against the mob, and Dent places 549 criminals in custody. On TV, the Joker threatens to keep killing people unless Batman reveals his identity. As part of Joker’s plan, Commissioner Loeb and the judge presiding the mob trials are killed. The Joker plans to kill Mayor Anthony Garcia at Commissioner Loeb’s funeral, but Gordon sacrifices himself to save him. Dent learns that Rachel is the next target.

 

MV5BMTUwODg2MzU1OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjYzMTk2Mw@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1499,1000_AL_Bruce decides to reveal his identity, but Dent publicly admits being Batman before Bruce does. Dent is taken into protective custody, but the Joker appears and attacks the convoy. Batman comes to Dent’s rescue and Gordon, who faked his death, arrests the Joker. With the Joker behind bars, Gordon is promoted to Commissioner. Rachel and Dent are escorted away by policemen who are controlled by Joker. Batman interrogates the Joker, who taunts him before revealing that Rachel and Dent have been trapped in separate locations rigged with explosives. Batman races to save Rachel, while Gordon and his men head off to save Dent. Batman arrives at the building, realizing that the Joker sent him to Dent’s location instead. As the building explodes, half of Dent’s face is burned and he is hospitalized. Gordon fails to save Rachel in time. The Joker escapes the jail with Lau.

Coleman Reese, an accountant at Wayne Enterprises, sees the Tumbler’s design in the company file. He publicly claims to know Batman’s identity. The Joker burns the mob’s money along with Lau, and kills the Chechen. In response to Reese’s claim, he states that he no longer wants to know who Batman is. He threatens to destroy a hospital if Reese isn’t dead, and Reese becomes a public target. Gordon orders the evacuation of all the hospitals in Gotham and go to secure Reese. The Joker finds Dent in a hospital and manipulates him into seeking revenge for Rachel’s death. He destroys the hospital and escapes with a bus of hostages. Dent goes on a killing spree, killing people responsible for Rachel’s death, including Maroni.

At night, two ferries are rigged with explosives; one ferry containing civilians and the other containing prisoners. The Joker promises to blow each of the ferries by midnight or if someone tries to escape, but will let one live if it blows up the other. The passengers refuse, and Batman and the SWAT raid the Joker’s building. Batman apprehends the Joker, who gloats that he has corrupted Dent and undone his achievements.  Gordon arrives at the building where Rachel died, where Dent threatens to kill Gordon’s son in revenge. Batman arrives, but Dent at shoots him. Before Dent can determine the fate of Gordon’s son with his coin, Batman tackles him off the building to his death. Batman persuades Gordon to preserve Dent’s image by holding Batman responsible for the murders. Gordon relents, and a manhunt for Batman ensues.This sequel continues the darker style and throws more violence into the mix. Batman Begins was a great introduction to a new re-imagining, and Dark Knight makes things bigger and better making it one of the greatest comic book movies of all time.

REVIEW: CONFIDENCE

CAST

Edward Burns (One Missed Call)
Rachel Weisz (The Bourne Legacy)
Andy Garcia (The Unsaid)
Morris Chesnut (Kick-Ass 2)
Paul Giamatti (Sideways)
Dustin Hoffman (Rain Man)
Leland Orser (Daredevil)
Robert Forster (Dragon Wars)
Louis Lombardi (24)
Brian Van Holt (House of Wax)
Donal Logue (Gotham)
Luis Guzman (Waiting)
Tommy Lister (The Dark Knight)
Abdoulaye NGom (My Name Is Earl)
Robert Pine (Jobs)

An electric con artist caper that was completely overlooked at the box office (despite well-done trailers and posters), “Confidence” isn’t anything groundbreaking in the genre, but it’s still an intelligent picture that’s a lot better than most of what’s in theaters today. The latest from “Glengarry Glen Ross” director James Foley, “Confidence” stars Ed Burns (“Life or Something Like It”), as Jake Vig, a professional con artist whose team has been working Los Angeles. His problem: the latest scam that took money from an accountant also took money from the accountant’s client: a mob boss called “The King” (Dustin Hoffman).

In order to try and pay back the King, Jake and his team – including a new addition, Lily (Rachel Weisz) – attempt to scam a mob-connected banker named Morgan Price (Robert Forster). Problems – of course – happen: an FBI agent named Gunther (Andy Garcia) arrives and starts rounding up those in the know in order to try and catch Jake in the act. There’s also Price’s lieutenant Travis (Morris Chestnut) to worry about. Of course, double and triple crosses ensueRachel Weisz in Confidence (2003)“Confidence” isn’t as much about the plot as the parts and pieces of the thing. Juan Ruiz Anchia’s cinematography is ridiculously beautiful, with deeply saturated neon tones washing over the night streets and rich, crisp colors and interesting, unusual perspectives during the daylight scenes. Unusual flash-forwards and talking to the audience on occasion in the picture work surprisingly well, too; the film’s editing, pacing and atmosphere all click into place perfectly and it proceeds with confidence. Hoffman’s high-speed performance is superb,  it’s impressive that he can make himself convincingly intimidating. The attractive Weisz also has good chemistry with Burns. There’s also good supporting efforts from Paul Giamatti, Andy Garcia and others. They all handle Doug Jung’s rather Mamet-esque dialogue and characters well.Dustin Hoffman and Rachel Weisz in Confidence (2003)Again, “Confidence” isn’t anything new at its core, but it’s one of those movies where the plot isn’t original, but everything around it clicks into place so well that the movie becomes an awfully fun ride anyways.