REVIEW: THE ASSASSINATION (AKA Assassination of a High School President)

CAST

Bruce Willis (Sin City)
Mischa Barton (The Sixth Sense)
Reece Thompson (Dreamcatcher)
Michael Rapaport (Hitch)
Kathryn Morris (Cold Case)
Luke Grimes (American Sniper)
Robin Lord Taylor (Gotham)
Zoe Kravitz (Divergent)
Zach Roerig (The Vampire Diaries)

Bobby Funke (Reece Thompson) is a less than popular high school sophomore with a dream to get into Northwestern University’s summer journalism program. Although Bobby claims he’s a great writer, he’s never finished an article for St. Donovan’s School Newspaper. The editor-in-chief Clara, (Melonie Diaz), assigns Bobby to do an article on Paul Moore, the student body president. Bobby attempts to get an interview, but is unable to get a story out of Paul and is bullied by Paul’s friends. Paul is the star of the basketball team and on a game night, Paul takes a fall and injures his knee. The next morning Principal Kirkpatrick (Bruce Willis) discovers the SATs have been stolen from a safe in his office. Kirkpatrick rounds up his “usual suspects” of high school misfits along with Bobby to question them. The group is innocent but Kirkpatrick warns them all to watch their step.When senior Francesca Facchini (Mischa Barton) solicits Bobby’s help tracking down the set of stolen SATs, Funke uncovers a story. He sets on a large scale investigation and links Paul Moore to the crime. He writes an article pointing the finger at Paul. Kirkpatrick forces Paul to open his locker and the SATs fall out. As a result of his sleuthing, Funke becomes one of the most popular kids at St. Donovan’s. Clara decides to submit Funke’s article to Northwestern which earns Bobby a scholarship to the summer program. Funke wins the respect of everyone from Principal Kirkpatrick to the kid that farts on him in Spanish class and Francesca takes Funke to homecoming. As Funke’s popularity grows so do his suspicions. Paul confronts Bobby, proclaiming his innocence, stating that he got into Cornell but decided to take the test again to see if he could get a better score. Funke begins to wonder if the president really stole the SATs or if he’s just a pawn in a conspiracy.Funke investigates even deeper into the lives of Paul’s shady friends, all members of the Student Council. He discovers their involvement with drug dealing. The Student Council had actually stolen the SATs along with other tests throughout the year, modifying the marks of the best students to make them doubt their test-taking abilities and turn to the Student Council for speed-like “study drugs”. Funke says that while Paul wasn’t a part of the scam, group ringleader Marlon Piazza (Luke Grimes) has Paul framed to avoid being caught. Funke also finds out that Francesca led him along the entire time to keep him from finding out the truth. Francesca and Marlon, step-siblings, are revealed as lovers.Funke confronts the group in the principal’s office. Marlon threatens to have Funke thrown out the window and frame it as a suicide, but his threat and confession are heard on the school’s intercom system. When Funke entered the room, he secretly turned on the microphone; Funke’s friends save him from being thrown out the window and Kirkpatrick rushes into the office, followed by the student body and Francesca. Francesca attempts to gain Funke’s trust again, only to be shut down and left to deal with Kirkpatrick’s punishment.The script is tight and interesting, if very slightly predictable (anyone with even a cursory knowledge of film noir could guess the direction that Micha Barton’s character was going to take in the end), but the actors did a great job with their material, and the director kept the visuals interesting without going over the top on sex appeal or exaggerating the lifestyles of high school students; nobody drives a Porsche, nobody lives in a mansion, none of the girls are perfect barbie dolls, etc. The director deserves credit for staying away from these tropes and the characters benefit greatly for it. Overall, a very good movie, and very much worth watching.

 

 

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REVIEW: X-MEN: FIRST CLASS

CAST
James McAvoy (Wanted)
Michael Fassbender (Prometheus)
Kevin Bacon (Friday the 13th)
Rose Byrne (Bridesmaids)
Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games)
Oliver Platt (2012)
Alex Gonzalez (Tierra de Lobos)
Jason Flemyng (Hanna)
Zoe Kravitz (Divergent)
January Jones (American Pie: The Wedding)
Nicholas Hoult (Mad Max: Fury Road)
Caleb Landry Jones (Contraband)
Edi Gathegi (Beauty and The Beast)
Lucas Til (Battle Los Angeles)
James Remar (Mortal Kombat 2)
Ray Wise (Robocop)
Brendan Fehr (Roswell)
Michael Ironside (Terminator Salvation)
Hugh Jackman (Real Steel)
Rebecca Romijn (Ugly Betty)
In 1944, in a German concentration camp in occupied Poland, Nazi scientist Dr. Klaus Schmidt witnesses a young Erik Lensherr bend a metal gate with his mind when the child is separated from his mother. In his office, Schmidt orders Lensherr to move a coin on his desk, and kills the boy’s mother when Lensherr cannot. In grief and anger, Lensherr’s magnetic power manifests, killing two guards and destroying the room. Meanwhile, at a mansion in Westchester County, New York, child telepath Charles Xavier meets young shapeshifter Raven, whose natural form is blue-skinned and scaly. Overjoyed to meet someone else “different”, he invites her to live with his family as his foster sister.
In 1962, Lensherr is tracking down Schmidt, while Xavier graduates from the University of Oxford with a thesis about mutation. In Las Vegas, CIA officer Moira MacTaggert follows U.S. Army Colonel Hendry into the Hellfire Club, where she sees Schmidt (now known as Sebastian Shaw), with mutant telepath Emma Frost, cyclone-producing Riptide, and teleporter Azazel. Threatened by Shaw and teleported by Azazel to the Joint War Room, Hendry advocates deployment of nuclear missiles in Turkey. Shaw, an energy-absorbing mutant, later kills Hendry.
MacTaggert, seeking Xavier’s advice on mutation, takes him and Raven to the CIA, where they convince Director McCone that mutants exist and Shaw is a threat. Another CIA officer sponsors the mutants and invites them to the secret “Division X” facility. MacTaggert and Xavier find Shaw as Lensherr is attacking him, and rescue Lensherr from drowning, while Shaw escapes. Xavier brings Lensherr to Division X, where they meet young scientist Hank McCoy, a mutant with prehensile feet, who believes Raven’s DNA may provide a “cure” for their appearance. Xavier uses McCoy’s mutant-locating device Cerebro to seek recruits against Shaw. Xavier and Lensherr recruit stripper Angel Salvadore, cabbie Armando Muñoz, Army prisoner Alex Summers, and a conceited Sean Cassidy. They all create nicknames, and Raven dubs herself “Mystique”.
When Frost meets with a Soviet general in the USSR, Xavier and Lensherr capture Frost and discover that Shaw intends to start World War III and trigger mutant ascendency. Azazel, Riptide and Shaw attack Division X, killing everyone but the mutants, whom Shaw invites to join him. Salvadore accepts; when Summers and Muñoz retaliate, Shaw kills Muñoz. Xavier takes the mutants to his family’s mansion for training. In Moscow, Shaw compels the general to have the USSR install missiles in Cuba. Wearing a helmet that blocks telepathy, Shaw follows the Soviet fleet in a submarine to ensure the missiles break a US blockade.
Raven, thinking McCoy likes her in her natural form, tells him not to use the cure. When she later attempts to seduce Lensherr by taking the forms of various women, Lensherr tells her she is beautiful in her blue mutant form. McCoy uses the cure on himself but it backfires, giving him blue fur and leonine aspects. With McCoy piloting, the mutants and MacTaggert take a jet to the blockade line, where Lensherr uses his magnetic power to lift Shaw’s submarine from the water and deposit it on land. During the ensuing battle, Lensherr seizes Shaw’s helmet, allowing Xavier to immobilize Shaw. Lensherr tells Shaw he shares Shaw’s exclusivist view of mutants but, to avenge his mother, kills Shaw—over Xavier’s objections—by forcing the Nazi coin from his childhood through Shaw’s brain.
Fearing the mutants, both fleets fire missiles at them, which Lensherr turns back in mid-flight. MacTaggert tries to stop Lensherr by shooting him but he deflects the bullets, one of which hits Xavier in the spine. Lensherr rushes to help Xavier and, distracted, allows the missiles to fall harmlessly into the ocean. Parting with Xavier over their differing views on the relationship between mutants and humans, Lensherr leaves with Salvadore, Azazel, Riptide and Mystique. Later, a wheelchair-bound Xavier and his mutants are at the mansion, where he intends to open a school. MacTaggert promises never to reveal his location and they kiss; later at a CIA debriefing, she says she has no memory of recent events. Elsewhere Lensherr, now calling himself “Magneto”, frees Frost from confinement.
X-Men: First Class” is a top notch film with a heck of a lot of plot packed into it’s 2 hour and 12 minute running time. Part of the success of the film certainly can be attributed to director Mathew Vaughn’s (who, interestingly, was originally to direct “X Men: The Last Stand” after Bryan Singer departed but before Brett Ratner stepped in) unique take on the material as well as Bryan Singer’s involvement again with the series.

REVIEW: FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM

CAST

Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl)
Dan Fogler (Balls of Fury)
Katherine Waterston (Steve Jobs)
Alison Sudol (Other Peoples Children)
Colin Farrell (Phone Booth)
Carmen Ejogo (The Purge: Anarchy)
Ezra Miller (batman V Superman)
Samantha Morton (Minority report)
Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Jon Voight (Transformers)
Ronan Raftery (Crossing Lines)
Johnny Depp (Dark Shadows)
Jenn Murray (Brooklyn)
Zoe Kravitz (Divergent)

In 1926 the British wizard and “magizoologist” Newt Scamander arrives by ship to New York City en route to Arizona. He encounters Mary Lou Barebone, a non-magical woman (“No-Maj” or “Muggle”) who heads the New Salem Philanthropic Society, which claims that witches and wizards are real and dangerous. As Newt listens to her speak, a Niffler escapes from his magically expanded suitcase, which houses multiple magical creatures. As he attempts to capture it, he meets No-Maj cannery worker and aspiring baker Jacob Kowalski, and they accidentally swap suitcases. Demoted Auror (a hunter of dark wizards) Tina Goldstein arrests Newt for being an unregistered wizard and takes him to the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA) headquarters, hoping to regain her former position. However, as Jacob’s suitcase contains only baked goods, Newt is released. At Jacob’s tenement apartment, several creatures escape from Newt’s suitcase.After Tina and Newt find Jacob and the suitcase, Tina takes them to her apartment and introduces them to Queenie, her Legilimens sister. Queenie and Jacob are mutually attracted, though American wizards are forbidden to marry or even socially interact with No-Majs. Newt takes Jacob inside his magically expanded suitcase, where Jacob encounters a contained Obscurus, a dark, destructive parasite that develops inside magically gifted children if they suppress their magical abilities. Newt extracted it from a young girl who has died, those afflicted rarely living past the age of ten. Newt persuades Jacob to help search for the missing creatures. After re-capturing two of the three escaped beasts, they re-enter the suitcase, which Tina takes to MACUSA. Officials arrest them, believing one of Newt’s beasts is responsible for killing Senator Henry Shaw Jr. They decide to destroy Newt’s suitcase and erase Jacob’s recent memories. Director of Magical Security Percival Graves accuses Newt of conspiring with the infamous dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald. Newt and Tina are sentenced to immediate death, but Queenie and Jacob rescue them. Thanks to the help of Goblin gangster Gnarlack, Tina’s old informant, the foursome then find and re-capture the last of the creatures.Meanwhile, Percival Graves approaches Credence Barebone, Mary Lou’s adopted son, and offers to free him from his abusive mother. In exchange, he wants Credence to find an Obscurus. Graves believes it has caused the mysterious destructive incidents around the city. Credence finds a wand under his adopted-sister, Modesty’s, bed. Mary Lou assumes it is Credence’s wand, but Modesty claims it is hers. When she is about to be punished, the Obscurus is unleashed, killing everyone except Modesty and Credence. Graves arrives and dismisses Credence as being a Squib (a non-magical person of wizard ancestry), and refuses to teach him magic. Credence reveals he is the Obscurus’ host, having lived longer than any other host due to the intensity of his magic. In a rage, he unleashes the Obscurus upon the city.Newt finds Credence hiding in a subway tunnel, but he is attacked by Graves. Tina, who knows Credence, arrives and attempts to calm him, while Graves tries to convince Credence to listen to him. As Credence begins to settle into human form Aurors arrive. They apparently disintegrate him to protect the magical society, but a tiny Obscurus fragment escapes. Graves admits to unleashing the Obscurus to expose the magical community to the No-Majs, and angrily claims that MACUSA protects the No-Majs more than themselves. After being subdued by one of Newt’s beasts, he is revealed as Grindelwald in disguise and taken into custody by MACUSA Aurors.MACUSA fears their secret world has been exposed, but Newt releases his Thunderbird to disperse a poultice as rainfall over the city that erases all New Yorkers’ recent memories as MACUSA wizards repair the destruction. Queenie kisses Jacob goodbye as the rain erases his memories. Newt departs for Europe, but promises to return and visit Tina when his book is finished; he also anonymously leaves Jacob a case of silver Occamy eggshells to fund his bakery. His breads and pastries are unknowingly inspired by Newt’s creatures, and Queenie visits him in his shop.Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them stands perfect on its own and doesn’t need Harry Potter or any of the planned movies to get you invested in its story and yet it is an obligation for every J.K. Rowling wizarding world-fan to go see this movie. The director David Yates found this perfect balance and ended up with a result that has to be seen in theaters by everyone.

REVIEW: THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE

CAST

Will Arnett (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Zach Galifanakis (The Hangover)
Michael Cera (Juno)
Rosario Dawson (Sin City)
Ralph Fiennes (Harry Potter)
Jenny Slate (The Lorax)
Hector Elizondo (The Princess Diaries)
Billy Dee Williams (BAtman)
Mariah Carey (Glitter)
Eddie Izzard (Hannibal)
Seth Green (Family Guy)
Jemaine Clement (Men In Black 3)
Ellie Kemper (21 Jump Street)
Jason Mantzoukas (Bad Neigbours)
Doug Benson (Super High Me)
Zoe Kravitz (Divergent)
Kate Micucci (The Big Bang Theory)
Riki Lindhome (Much Ado About Nothing)
Channing Tatum (Dear John)
Jonah Hill (Cyrus)
Laura Kightlinger (Lucky Louie)
Ralph Garman (Ted)
Chris Hardwick (Terminator 3)

Three years after saving the Lego Universe with Emmet and Wyldstyle, Batman continues fighting crime in Gotham City. During a mission to prevent The Joker from destroying the city, Batman hurts his arch-rival’s feelings by telling him he is not as important in his life as he thinks he is, leading to the Joker to desire seeking the ultimate revenge on him.
The following day, Batman attends the city’s winter gala as his alter ego, Bruce Wayne, to celebrate the retirement of Commissioner Gordon and the ascension of his daughter Barbara as Gotham’s new police commissioner, but is infuriated when she announces her plans to restructure the city’s police to function without the need of Batman. The Joker crashes the party with the rest of Gotham City’s villains, but has all of them surrender to the police. Despite realizing that this makes him no longer relevant to the city’s safety, Batman suspects his arch-rival is up to something and decides to stop him by banishing him into the Phantom Zone, a prison for some of the most dangerous villains in the Lego Universe.
Before he can make plans to acquire the Phantom Zone Projector that Superman uses, Alfred intervenes and advises him to take charge of Dick Grayson, whom Bruce had unwittingly adopted as his ward during the gala to which he eventually agrees and fosters Dick as Robin. The pair manage to recover the Projector from the Fortress of Solitude, before breaking into Arkham Asylum and using it on the Joker. Annoyed at his reckless actions and suspecting that the Joker wanted this to happen, Barbara locks up Batman and Robin. While the Projector is being seized as evidence, Harley Quinn steals it back and uses it to free the Joker, who unleashes the villains trapped within the Phantom Zone to cause havoc upon Gotham, including Lord Voldemort, King Kong, Sauron, the Wicked Witch of the West, Medusa, Agent Smith and his clones, the Daleks, and the Kraken.
Realizing that the city does still need him, Barbara releases Batman and Robin and reluctantly teams up with them as “Batgirl” to stop the Joker, with the team joined by Alfred. Batman soon finds himself able to trust and rely on the others, allowing them to defeat Sauron, but upon reaching Wayne Island, he ditches the team out of fear of losing them like his parents, before confronting Joker alone. Upon seeing that the Batman will never change, Joker zaps him to the Phantom Zone, before stealing the Batcave’s stash of confiscated bombs and heading for the city’s Energy Facility. Arriving in the Phantom Zone, Batman witnesses the harm he has caused to everyone because of his selfishness and slowly accepts his greatest fear when Robin, Barbara and Alfred decide to come to his aid. Making a deal with the Phantom Zone’s gatekeeper, Phyllis, to bring back all the villains in exchange for returning to Gotham City, Batman arrives to save the trio and admits to them his mistakes, requesting their help to save the day.
Seeking to stop Joker from setting off the bombs beneath the Energy Facility, thus causing the plates beneath Gotham to come apart and send the city into the infinite abyss, Batman and his allies team up with the city’s regular list of villains, after they had felt neglected by Joker, with the group successfully sending back the escaped villains to the Phantom Zone. However, Batman fails to reach the bombs in time, the detonation causing the city to split apart. Realizing how to stop the city from being destroyed, Batman reluctantly convinces Joker that he is the reason for being the hero he is, and working together alongside Batman’s friends, the villains, and the city’s inhabitants, chain link themselves together, reconnecting the city’s plates and saving Gotham City.
With the city saved, Batman prepares to be taken back into the Phantom Zone to fulfill his bargain with Phyllis, only to be rejected by the gatekeeper who chooses to let him remain after she saw how much he had changed in order to save everyone. Batman allows the Joker and the rest of his rogues gallery to escape with the confidence that whenever they return, then they’ll be no match for the combined team of himself, Robin, Batgirl, and Alfred.Overall, this is a very enjoyable movie with a gripping story, fantastic animation that tops its predecessor and clever humor. I definitely recommend giving this a watch if you’re a fan of The Lego Movie.

REVIEW: NO RESERVATIONS

CAST

Catherine Zeta Jones (The Mask of Zorro)
Aaron Eckhart (The Dark Knight)
Abigail Breslin (Scream Queens)
Patricia Clarkson (Lars and The Real Girl)
Jenny Wade (Red Eye)
Zoe Kravitz (Divergent)
Lily Rabe (All Good Things)

Kate Armstrong (Catherine Zeta-Jones) is the head chef at the trendy 22 Bleecker Street Restaurant in Manhattan, New York. She runs her kitchen at a rapid pace as she coordinates the making and preparation of all the fantastic meals, and personally displays the food to perfection on every dish. She intimidates everyone around her, including her boss Paula (Patricia Clarkson), who sends her to therapy. Kate hates to leave the kitchen when a customer wants to compliment her on one of her special dishes; however, she is ready to leave the kitchen in an instant when a customer insults her cooking.

When Kate’s sister Christine is killed in a car accident, her nine-year-old niece, Zoe (Abigail Breslin), must move in with her. Kate is devastated by her sister’s death and with all of her problems, Paula decides to hire a new sous chef to join the staff, Nick Palmer (Aaron Eckhart), who is a rising star in his own right and could be the head chef of any restaurant he pleased. Nick, however, wants to work under Kate. The atmosphere in the kitchen is somewhat chaotic as Kate feels increasingly threatened by Nick as time goes on due to his style of running her kitchen. Nick loves to listen to opera while he cooks and he loves to make the staff laugh. And Kate finds herself strangely attracted to Nick, whose uplifting personality has not only affected her staff but Zoe as well, who has been coming to work with Kate.

With all that is happening in Kate’s life, the last thing she would want is to fall in love with this man, as she has pushed away all others prior. Nevertheless, there is some kind of chemistry between the two of them that only flourishes with their passion for cooking. Yet life hits her hard when Paula decides to offer Nick the job of head chef and Kate’s relationship with Nick turns a sour note due to Kate’s pride.

In the end, Kate allows herself to become vulnerable and tear down the walls she has built throughout her life so that she and Nick could start fresh. The movie concludes with Zoe, Nick, and Kate having opened their own bistro.The highlight of the film is Abigail Breslin  she’s the most natural child actor working today. If you like romantic comedies, you’ll like this one – it’s smart, charming and you’re rooting for the couple from the minute they meet. I can recommend this without reservations

 

 

REVIEW: AFTER EARTH

CAST

Will Smith (Hanock)
Jaden Smith (The Karate Kid)
Sophie Okonedo (Hotel Rwanda)
Zoe Kravitz (Mad MAx: Fury Road)
Kristofer Hivuju (Game of Thrones)
David Denman (Power Rangers)
Glenn Morshower (Supergirl)

In the 21st century, an environmental cataclysm forces the human race to abandon Earth and to settle on a new world, Nova Prime. One thousand years later, the Ranger Corps, a peacekeeping organization commanded by General Cypher Raige (Will Smith), comes into conflict with the S’krell, alien creatures who intend to conquer Nova Prime. Their secret weapons are the Ursas, large predatory creatures that hunt by “sensing” fear. The Rangers struggle against the Ursas until Cypher learns how to completely suppress his fear, a technique called “ghosting”. After teaching this technique to the other Rangers, he leads the Ranger Corps to victory. Meanwhile, Cypher’s son Kitai Raige (Jaden Smith) blames himself for the death of his sister Senshi (Zoë Kravitz) at the hands of an Ursa. Kitai trains to become a Ranger like Cypher, but his application is rejected due to his recklessness, and Cypher views him as a disappointment. Kitai’s mother Faia (Sophie Okonedo) convinces Cypher to take Kitai on his last voyage before retirement.

During their flight, however, an asteroid shower forces their spaceship to crash-land on the now-quarantined Earth, near erstwhile Central America. Both of Cypher’s legs are broken, and the main emergency rescue beacon damaged. Cypher instructs Kitai to locate the tail section of the ship, which broke off on entry to the atmosphere. Inside is the backup beacon which they can use to signal Nova Prime. Cypher gives Kitai his weapon, a wrist communicator, and six capsules of a fluid that enhances the oxygen intake so he can breathe in Earth’s low-oxygen atmosphere. Cypher warns him to avoid the highly evolved fauna and flora, and to beware of violent thermal shifts. Kitai leaves to find the tail section, with Cypher guiding him through the communicator.

Giant baboons attack Kitai, and during his escape a poisonous leech bites him. Kitai administers the antidote, but two of his capsules become damaged and his nervous system shuts down. When Kitai awakens, he narrowly escapes a thermal shift. Kitai lies to Cypher, not informing him of the damaged capsules. That night, Kitai listens to Cypher tell him a story of when he was attacked by an Ursa, how Cypher realized that fear is merely an illusion created by the mind’s thoughts of the future, and thus Cypher first began to “ghost” himself from the Ursas, choosing to live rather than to let his enemies – both fear and the Ursas – decide his fate.

The following day Kitai reaches a mountaintop, and Cypher learns about the broken capsules. Knowing that the only way to complete the journey with only two capsules would be to skydive, Cypher orders Kitai to abort the mission. Believing his father still sees him as a disappointment, Kitai blames Senshi’s death on Cypher’s absence on the day of the attack. He skydives from the mountaintop, but a large eagle captures him and his communicator is damaged. Kitai wakes in the eagle’s nest, surrounded by its chicks. Tigers attack the chicks, and Kitai defends—but fails to save—the chicks. The eagle attacks the tigers, and Kitai escapes. He reaches a river, and builds a raft to continue along it. Tired, Kitai falls asleep on the raft. He dreams of his sister, Senshi, who reassures him that Cypher’s bitterness is just his own anger for not saving her. Senshi urges Kitai to wake up. When he does, another thermal shift catches him by surprise and he nearly freezes to death. Kitai is rescued by the eagle, who sacrifices itself for him.

Kitai reaches the tail section and retrieves the emergency beacon along with another communicator, weapon, and more oxygen capsules. The communicator only allows Cypher to see and hear Kitai, but not for Kitai to hear him. Kitai learns that the ship’s Ursa escaped and killed the remnants of the crew. The emergency beacon does not activate, and Cypher realizes that the atmosphere is blocking the signal. Kitai heads to a nearby volcano from which he can launch the beacon, and is injured when the Ursa attacks him. Kitai is able to control his fear and “ghost” himself from the Ursa enough to kill it. He then launches the beacon. A rescue team arrives, and the film ends with the two traveling back to Nova Prime, both agreeing that they would rather work with Faia.I believe the whole bad feedback about this movie comes from the fact that it was directed by Shyamalan and that Smith senior was not the main star. If you get past the fact that Shyamalan’s previous offerings were simply horrible and alleviate the pressure of performing as a blockbuster, you’ll find that this was actually a decent movie.

REVIEW: THE DIVERGENT SERIES: ALLEGIANT

CAST

Shailene Woodley (The Fault In Our Stars)
Theo James (Underworld 4)
Jeff Daniels (The Martian)
Naomi Watts (Birdman)
Octavia Spencer (Mom)
Zoe Kravitz (Mad Max: Road Fury)
Ansel Elgort (Baby Driver)
Miles Teller (Fantastic Four)
Keiynan Lonsdale (The Flash)
Daniel Dae Kim (Lost)
Bill Skarsgard (Hemlock Grove)
Jonny Weston (Project Almanac)
Ray Stevenson (Punisher: Warzone)
Mekhi Phifer (Lie To Me)
Ashley Judd (High Crimes)
Xander Berkeley (Poison Ivy 2)

Many Chicago citizens run towards the wall, but soldiers under Evelyn (Naomi Watts) are told to shut down the perimeter, and thus, no one is allowed through. Evelyn directs Jack Kang (Daniel Dae Kim) of Candor to hold trials for the Erudite and Dauntless conspirators, in which a number of them becoming executions, starting with Max (Mekhi Phifer). Evelyn and Johanna (Octavia Spencer) attempt to pressure Tris (Shailene Woodley) and Four (Theo James) into taking leadership positions in the new coalition, but both refuse. After seeing that the hostile situation within the city is only going to get worse, Tris escapes with Four, Caleb (Ansel Elgort), Christina (Zoë Kravitz), Tori (Maggie Q), and Peter (Miles Teller) to journey beyond the wall that encloses Chicago. However, Tori is killed by Edgar (Jonny Weston) in the attempt.  The group is ambushed by Edgar, who is later disabled by an armed group of individuals and airships. The soldiers take the group to the Bureau of Genetic Welfare, a highly advanced city where they learn that years ago the government believed that society’s problems were caused by “damaged genes”. In an attempt to create a better society, they began to modify people’s genes, with disastrous results. The government set up “experiments” in an attempt to repair this mistake, establishing isolated cities across the remains of the United States. The hope is to raise enough genetically pure Divergent individuals to fix the “genetic damage” left in the wake of the Purity War.

Tris and Four are tested by Matthew (Bill Skarsgård) and Nita (Nadia Hilker) to verify and study their Divergence. Tris is shown to be truly Divergent, but Four’s genetic structure indicates that his genes are still “damaged”. Caleb and Peter are assigned to surveillance teams that monitor Chicago. Matthew then brings Tris to the leader of the Bureau, David (Jeff Daniels). David gives Tris a device that allows her to view her mother’s memories, and sees that her mother was rescued and adopted by the Bureau before volunteering to join the Chicago experiment out of dedication to the project. In return for his help in restoring peace to Chicago, Tris agrees to help David, who claims that only the council he reports to has the power to intervene.

Meanwhile, Four and Christina train with Nita and joins the Bureau’s military force. They join the military on a rescue mission to a nearby wasteland village, though Four becomes mistrusting of the Bureau’s intentions after realizing that they are going there to kidnap and forcefully integrate children into the Bureau’s populace. Upon their return, Four discreetly petitions Caleb to keep an eye on the situation in Chicago. Four also attempts to warn Tris of the Bureau’s intentions, but she rejects his ideas.

Caleb warns Four of a rapidly escalating conflict back in Chicago between Johanna’s group of Allegiants and Evelyn’s factionless, with open war becoming an imminent threat. Four appeals to Tris for her to return to Chicago with him to end the bloodshed, but she decides to go with David to Providence to meet with the council. David agrees to reinsert Four back in Chicago, escorted by Matthew and some Bureau soldiers. Once in the air, Matthew quietly reveals to Four that the flight is a trap and he is meant to be killed. A skirmish breaks out and Four defeats all of the soldiers, though the airship crashes as a result. Matthew betrays David by helping Four get through the cloak wall. Four proceeds to Chicago while Matthew remains behind to be rescued by the Bureau and warn Tris.

Meanwhile, Tris and David meet with the council. Tris disagrees with the council’s objectives and criticizes how they have done nothing to stop the violence in Chicago. The council responds that David had the power to intervene whenever he desires, revealing that he has lied to her from the beginning. During the return flight to the Bureau, Tris ends their partnership. Upon her return, she gathers Caleb and Christina in David’s airship to return to Chicago, and Nita helps them escape. Four is captured by the factionless and confronts Evelyn to end the violence although she shows no intention of standing down. Tris, Caleb, and Christina arrive to find the city tearing itself apart at the opening stage of a full assault by the Allegiant. David makes a deal with Peter in exchange for Peter’s promotion and inserts him into Chicago to convince Evelyn to deploy a hidden Bureau stockpile of gas to wipe the memories of the attackers and force a peace in her favor, to which she reluctantly agrees. Peter takes her to a vault where she can deploy the gas across the city but remain safe herself, making her the only individual in Chicago who will remember any of those events.

Tris and Christina fight through the factionless and arrive at the vault, having rescued Four along the way. At the vault door, Four convinces Evelyn to stop the gas attack, as he wouldn’t remember who she was if she carried it out. She folds and stops the release, and is shot by a frustrated Peter. Peter gloats in his victory until the same gas starts releasing inside the vault as well. Realizing David has betrayed him, Peter opens the vault so Tris and Four can stop the gas release and flees back towards the cloak wall, as Four says he will make him pay for badly wounding his mother.

Caleb arrives and aids Tris in destroying the gas dispersion hub, stopping the release. The main characters gather atop the Erudite building as they watch the stolen shuttle fly back towards the Bureau, heavily laden with explosives. Tris transmits a message to the whole city, revealing to them the existence of the Bureau and that Chicago was an experiment of the Pure. Her message to the Bureau is that Chicago is no longer their experiment, but the home of its citizens. Caleb detonates the explosives at the end of the message, tearing a massive hole through the cloak wall and revealing the two cities to each other. The film ends with the Chicago characters gazing at the Bureau in the distance, with David standing behind Tris via his machine, glaring at her.I really enjoyed this film.I love Tobias and Tris’ relationship, the challenges they face and the way they overcome this with the help of other characters. I think this movie, more than the previous two, really cemented the personalities of some of the other significant characters so we can become more invested in them and I really appreciated this touch. The movie is also shot beautifully. The only downside to the film is that its only the first half of the book we have to wait till next year for the final part.