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Crimson Peak

Crimson Peak is a 2015 American gothic romance film by director Guillermo del Toro and written by del Toro and Matthew Robbins. The film stars Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain, Charlie Hunnam, and Jim Beaver. Produced by Legendary Pictures and distributed by Universal Pictures, the film was released on October 16, 2015.

The movie starts in 1887, after young 10 year old Edith, the daughter of wealthy American businessman Carter Cushing, has just lost her mother to an illness. Later at night she gets a visit from her mother’s ghost who warns her to “beware of Crimson Peak”. 14 years pass and a young Edith is a budding writer but her editor wants her to write more romance in the ghost stories that she prefers to write. Edith is introduced to Sir Thomas Sharpe, an English baronet, who is in the US to get investors for his clay mining invention. Cushing, who built his business the hard way, lightly insults Thomas’s privileged upbringing and mentions the Englishman’s previous failed attempts to get raise capital and rejects his proposal along with his fellow businessman.

Edith notices that Thomas and his sister, Lucille, wear expensive but outdated and somewhat-frayed fashions. Shortly after, Edith once again is visited by her mother’s spirit bearing the same warning. Thomas begins to court Edith, sharing similar passions in ghost stories and offers to read her manuscript. He and Edith become romantically attached, Cushing and Edith’s childhood friend, Dr. Alan McMichael, disapprove. Cushing hires a private detective to check into the Baronet’s background uncovers unsavory facts about the Sharpes. Mr. Cushing confronts the siblings and bribes them into returning to England. As Cushing insisted he do, Sir Thomas abruptly and cruelly ends his and Edith’s relationship, but the next morning, he sends her a note explaining his actions. That morning someone in a black coat brutally murders Cushing in the bathroom, making it look like like a possible accident. Thomas stays behind while his sister goes back to England and is at Edith’s side as she arranges for her father’s funeral. Edith and Thomas eventually marry and travel to Allerdale Hall, the Sharpes’ dilapidated mansion in rural England, which sits atop a red clay mine. As Edith settles in, she finds that Lucille acts somewhat cold toward her while Sir Thomas remains physically distant. Edith is left confused and uncertain by their behavior.

Edith starts encountering greusome ghosts in the mansion and she leaps at the chance to go into town with Thomas, where they spend the night in a rented room and consummate their marriage. When they get back home the next morning Lucielle lashed out angrily at Edith, saying she was worried sick before calming down. Edith learns from Thomas a little later that the estate is also referred to locally as “Crimson Peak,” due to the warm red clay seeping up through the snow and she remembers the warning. Edith starts to feel sick and coughs up blood but explores the mansion and begins piecing clues together, discovering that Sir Thomas previously married three wealthy women who were fatally poisoned for their inheritances. She realizes she, too, is being poisoned. She also discovers the siblings have had a long-term incestuous relationship, resulting in a sickly infant that died. Lucille, older by 2 years, murdered their mother after she had discovered her children’s incest. Thomas inherited the family manor that, like many aristocratic estates of the era, is no longer profitable; the siblings are almost out of money. The brother and sister began the “marriage and murder” scheme to support themselves and to fund Thomas’s inventions.

While this happens back in the US Dr. McMichael couldn’t let go of his suspicions about Cushing’s death contacts the detective that Cushing had hired, who tells Alan what he uncovered about the Sharpes, including Thomas’s multiple marriages and Lucille’s time in a mental institution. Alan goes to England and reached the mansion to rescue Edith. Lucille however stabs him and then demands that Thomas finish him off. Thomas, in love with Edith and does not want her harmed, inflicts a second, non-fatal stab wound to Alan before hiding him in the cellar. Lucille forces Edith to sign a transfer deed granting the Sharpes ownership of the Cushing estate and also confesses to her that she was the one who murdered Edith’s father. Edith signs the deed then she stabs Lucille in the chest with a pen and tries to flee. Thomas burns the deed and promises to protect Edith so that she and Alan can escape. Lucille, jealous over Thomas falling in love with Edith, murders him in a rage. She then pursues Edith. Aided by Thomas’ ghost, Edith kills Lucille with a shovel. Thomas bids Edith a silent farewell as his spirit departs. Edith and Alan are rescued, and Lucille’s ghost now haunts Allerdale. The end credits imply that Edith has written a novel titled Crimson Peak based on her experiences.

The story is kinda nothing new and even ends a bit predictable but it is a gorgeous set movie and acted well with a strong cast. I like horror stories and Gothic films and this one does most things well. I give it an 8 outta 10!

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San Andreas

San Andreas is a 2015 American disaster film directed by Brad Peyton. The screenplay was written by Carlton Cuse, with Andre Fabrizio and Jeremy Passmore receiving a story credit. The film stars Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino, Alexandra Daddario, Ioan Gruffudd, Archie Panjabi, and Paul Giamatti.

As most of you movie buffs will know by now this film is about a huge earthquake that triggers off a sequence of other quakes and even a tsunami that kills hundreds of thousands of people, if not millions, and destroys a huge section of California, forever altering the landscape in the process. Like many such blockbuster natural disaster films this also involves a family as the focus of the film; separated dad and mom about to go through a divorce, a rich boyfriend that the mom is dating, boyfriend dies in the process of the movie, dad and mom unite after saving the daughter. Oh and there’s the “ghost” of the dead other child too, one who drowned much earlier.

I was happy to see Archie Panjabi in this film, looking really hot too I must say. She is the main Asian represent as Dr. Kim Park (Will Yun Lee) is killed very early on, when a 7.1 on the Richter scale quake levels off the Hoover dam. Ray Gain is a rescue pilot for the LA Fire department and has to go back to duty and cannot take his daughter, Blake, to San Francisco. Blake instead goes to San Fran with Emma’s, her mom, new boyfriend Daniel Riddick in his jet. While at Riddick’s office, Blake meets and befriends British architect Ben and his younger kid brother Ollie. That’s when the quake hits the city and the reading is 9.1. Ben and Ollie rescue a trapped Blake from a car as Riddick has left her and making his way to safety but he too dies. Ray rescues Emma from the top of a tumbling building, where she was having lunch with Riddick’s disapproving sister (hey look it’s Kylie Minogue – she is killed before I could say for sure it was here). They then go to rescue their daughter.

On the way much destruction, much chaos, convenient drama and tension filled scenes where you know the main characters will not die no matter what and some awesome scenes filled with special effects abound. Ben is hurt in the leg, Blake almost drowns but her dad saves her, “I love yous” are said and the family is reunited with Ray & Emma giving their marriage another chance (they were about to sign the divorce papers) and oh yeah that heart wrenching moment when amid the destruction a clean and bright US flag is unfurled in slow motion. No mention of Jesus but I’m sure it is implied. And ofcourse, “now what?” is replied with the hero saying “we rebuild”. Oh and Colton Hayes is there for a little bit too.

Overall it is a very watchable movie with lots of great scenes but it is highly predictable. An 8 outta 10, must be seen in large screens to fully appreciate the glory.

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Paranormal Activity : Ghost Dimension

Hmmm, I am not sure how I feel about this franchise now. After 6 movies I feel a bit let down for having stuck to this much maligned (and loved in some ways) franchise as it ended on a lame note. Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension is a 2015 American 3D found footage supernatural horror film directed by Gregory Plotkin in his directorial debut, and written by Jason Pagan, Andrew Stark, Adam Robitel, and Gavin Heffernan. The movie stars Chris J. Murray, Brit Shaw, Dan Gill, Ivy George & Olivia Taylor Dudley (the hot actress who I just watched in a movie with a similar theme).

The shows us the ending of Paranormal Activity 3 in which Dennis’ spine is crushed by a mysterious force and grandma Lois takes Katie and Kristi upstairs while the same entity takes the camera with them (so a demon who wants all this to be recorded? Right!). They all go into a dark room where a man speaks to the girls about “Toby” and how they are critically important to his plan. 25 years later, in 2013, we have Ryan Fleege, his wife Emily, and their eight-year-old daughter Leila are about to celebrate Christmas, when Ryan’s brother Mike moves in for 2 weeks after breaking up with his girlfriend. Along with them, is Skylar (it’s not explained as to who she is but I guess she is either the nanny or Emily’s sister. Leila seems to be talking to an imaginary friend (who we know is Tony). Mike finds a box of old video tapes, dating from 1988 to 1992. In them contains videos of Kristi and Katie with their mother and her boyfriend Dennis in 1988, whilst others from 1992 are in Lois’s house where the two are practicing supernatural abilities with the mysterious man. While watching one of the videos, Ryan and Mike notice that the girls are seemingly aware of the two’s presence: they are able to foresee Ryan and Mike’s every action as the pair simultaneously watch the video.

Ryan finds an old video camera which when he uses up spiritual beings. He tries to record things overnight to see if these being come up and at night, a black figure arises out of the ground and hovers over Leila for several hours, and she eventually talks to it. Soon, Skylar walks in and checks on Leila, only to be attacked by the spirit. The next night, Ryan tapes Leila sleeping, but a dark and demonic spirit appears on camera and forces him to drop the camera. The following day, Ryan and Emily go out for the night and leave Skyler and Mike to take care of Leila. After experiencing the entity outside, they discover a slab of concrete in the ground with Katie and Kristi and the year 1987 etched in it. They discover their house is built on the same property that Katie and Kristi used to live in before their house burned down in 1992. As days pass Leila becomes less and less talkative and this worries her parents, who call in a priest named Todd. Although he tries his best to talk to the girl, Leila ends up attacking him. Todd says that ‘Toby’ is a demon linked to a cult called The Midwives. Ryan researches the cult, and realizes they killed a family in Nevada related to a boy named Hunter, who was born on the same day as Leila. He also learns that Leila’s blood is needed to finish his transformation into a physical being. One night, Leila’s interaction with Toby leads her to open a doorway to another realm into which she disappears. Ryan and Emily find her soon after, but flee with Leila to a hotel.

They later come back with Todd to cleanse the house and trap the demon. The house starts to shake violently and Todd is dragged away by Toby (and killed I suppose). The family continues the cleansing the demon in a white sheet and finishes reciting a prayer. Leila returns to normal and the demon disappears. But suddenly Skylar vomits blood and some of it spills on Mike and they both die as if by the effects of acid. Leila then flees, and Ryan and Emily chase her upstairs, but Ryan is killed when a large arm impales him through his chest. Leila sprints away into the “portal” in her room with Emily following her; she arrives at Kristi and Katie’s mother’s house in 1988, where she finds a young Katie and finally confronts the human version of Toby. Emily pleads with the demon to spare Leila, but is killed and her body is tossed at the camera as it flips over. Leila identifies the demon “Toby” and the two walk off as the camera cuts off, ending the film.

That ending was as unsatisfying as most and doesn’t offer anything new from a whole spate of movies that I have seen in the horror/supernatural genre. I give this film a 6.5 outta 10!

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Paul Blart : Mall Cop 2

Six years after the hit original comedy movie comes Paul Blart : Mall Cop 2. A 2015 film directed by Andy Fickman and written by Kevin James and Nick Bakay, we have James returning as the eponymous mall cop Paul Blart. The other cast includes Neal McDonough, Daniella Alonso, David Henrie, Raini Rodriguez, and Vic Dibitetto.

Set 6 years after the end of the first movie, Paul’s marriage to his wife lasts just 6 days before she leaves him. To make matters worse his mother dies when she is hit by a milk truck. Paul continues to takes pride in patrolling his mall, the West Orange Pavilion Mall. In 2015 Paul receives an invitation to a security officers’ convention in Las Vegas and begins to believe his luck is about to change. Maya, his daughter, gets accepted to join UCLA on a scholarship but withholds her news for a while in light of Paul’s invitation. The two go to the Wynn hotel in Las Vegas, the venue of the event, where they meet Divina – the general manager of the hotel – to whom Paul develops and instant attraction. Maya meets the hotel’s valet, Lane and they become become instantly attracted to each other, though Paul does not share their enthusiasm. A fellow security guard Donna thinks Paul might be the keynote speaker but it turns out to be another security guard, Nick Panero.

Meanwhile at the hotel a criminal named Vincent Sofel and his accomplices arrive at the hotel plotting to steal priceless works of art from the hotel and replace them with replicas, then sell the real ones at auction. They disguise themselves as hotel staff and setup base in Sofel’s suite. Maya is upset over her father’s overbearing protectiveness and decides to spend the evening with Lane at a party after declaring that she is going to UCLA despite Paul wanting her to stay closer to home. Paul goes with three other security guards, Saul Gundermutt, Khan Mubi and Gino Chizzeti check out the non-lethal security equipment on display. He also runs into Eduardo who dislikes the fact that Paul seems to be interested in Divina who also seems to be, despite her reservations, falling for Paul. Later Paul ends up having to give the keynote speech as Nick is drunk and passed out. After delivering a stirring and emotionally well received speech, Paul is looking for Maya. Maya and Lane fall into the path of the criminals and are taken hostage.

Following the speech, Paul learns about Maya and Lane’s situation and rushes to help but passes out due to his hypoglycemic condition that has plagued him for years. Once he recovers he uses some of the non-lethal weapons at the convention he takes out much of Sofel’s accomplices and takes the help of Donna, Saul, Khan, and Gino – Paul is able to clumsily dismantle Vincent’s operation and when Sofel aims a gun at Paul, after Eduardo’s brave intervention, Maya uses oatmeal infused sunscreen on Sofel’s face to make him burn due to his allergy. Afterward, Paul convinces Divina that her attraction for him is misplaced, and Eduardo is who she should really be with. Paul also accepts Maya going to UCLA, funding her tuition with the reward money he obtained for stopping Vincent. After dropping off Maya at UCLA, Paul falls in love with a passing Sheriff’s Deputy who reciprocates his advances.

Though it has several detractors and got mostly negative reviews, I found this movie funny and I like Kevin James and his clumsy portrayls of the average Joe with weight issues. I give it a 7.5 outta 10!

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Maggie

 alt=I haven’t seen an Arnie film in which he hasn’t been the tough guy blowing up things, shooting guns and kicking ass in quite a while. Maggie is Arnold Schwarzenegger’s second horror/supernatural genre movie after End Of Days and stars him with Abigail Breslin and Joely Richardson. I can’t really say that it’s a horror film because the focus is not on horror but still this will fall in the horror genre.

In the film there is a pandemic which causes infected people to become zombie like creatures after a few weeks of getting bitten by an infected person. Having been infected by a zombie, teenager Maggie calls her dad, Wade, in his Mid-western farm and tells him not to look for her. She is caught by the authorities and taken to a hospital for treatment. After 2 weeks of searching for her Wade finds her in the hospital he brings Maggie home to care for her until she must eventually be quarantined. During their return, a zombie attacks Wade at an abandoned gasoline station and he breaks its neck. Maggie doesn’t see this.

Once they reach home, plans are made to send Wade’s two younger kids (by his second wife Caroline) to live with their aunt. Maggie, having said goodbye to her step-siblings, withdraws in her room and doesn’t come out much or go to see her friends. When she falls from her swing she lands on her finger on her infected arm but feels no pain despite the bone breaking. Terrified she cuts off the finger from which a black liquid oozes out, causing her to panic and she runs out into the woods where she encounters her neighbour Nathan and his young daughter who are both zombies now. Wade comes up to them and kills them both and calls the sheriff. Although he is remorseful the sheriff finds his decision right and blames the wife Bonnie for hid her infected family from the authorities. Bonnie visits Wade that night, decrying the dehumanizing treatment of the infected and revealing that Nathan had locked himself in with his sick daughter, becoming infected himself, rather than abandon her to death among strangers in quarantine.

After a doctor checks on Maggie’s status he warns Wade that the time is soon coming for him to either quarantine Maggie or give her a lethal injection which is painful. The doctor also advises to shoot the girl as it is quicker. Wade and Maggie talk about her mom and how Wade met her. Despite finding maggots inside her decaying arm Maggie strives to achieve some sense of normalcy by going out with her friend Allie to a party, after being encouraged by Caroline, and kissing Trent – an infected boy who she used to date before the outbreak. Trent tells her of horror stories of the infected in quarantine. A couple of days later Caroline is stunned when Maggie smells “food” and realizes that it’s not something being cooked in their kitchen but rather human meat that Maggie smells. Later Maggie finds Trent, who had smelled his father as “food”, locked up his room refusing to come out. Though she tries to talk to him, the cops come by and take Trent away to quarantine by force.

Back at home Maggie finds a trapped fox that she tries to free but can’t help herself and bites off some it’s flesh. Wade kills the poor creature and Caroline leaves, urging Wade that it is time to take Maggie to a hospital. He doesn’t do so but keeps a loaded shotgun ready with him incase she turns completely and attacks. At night as Wade pretends to fall asleep, an almost completely zombified Maggie comes down her skin now gray and her eyes blackened. She stops at his side and sniffs him but kisses him lightly and goes out to the top of the house and jumps to her death.

Although it is a bit dull…..ok a lot dull….the acting is certainly really good. Arnold finding more serious character roles as he approaches his 70s (he is 68 people) and can’t do those high octane action movies anymore. Abigail is awesome as the girl knowing that her end is near but I feel that the movie could have done a lot more with the story. I give it a 7 outta 10!

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RIP Alan Rickman

Alan Rickman, a much-loved star of stage, TV and films including Harry Potter and Die Hard – and owner of one of the most singular voices in acting ­– has died in London. He was 69 years old. A stage actor who made his name in the theatre world, Rickman gained wider notice for his film performances as Hans Gruber in Die Hard and Severus Snape in the Harry Potter film series. Rickman’s other film roles included the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Jamie in Truly, Madly, Deeply, Colonel Brandon in Ang Lee’s Sense and Sensibility, Harry in Love Actually, P. L. O’Hara in An Awfully Big Adventure, Alexander Dane in Galaxy Quest, and Judge Turpin in the film adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s musical of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

The actor had been a big-screen staple since first shooting to global acclaim in 1988, when he starred as Hans Gruber, Bruce Willis’s sardonic, dastardly adversary in Die Hard – a part he was offered two days after arriving in Los Angeles, aged 41. In 1995, he was awarded a Golden Globe Award, an Emmy Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award for his portrayal of Rasputin in Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny. He won a BAFTA Award for his role in Robin Hood. In 2013, he played Hilly Kristal, the founder of the famous East Village punk-rock club CBGB, in the CBGB film with Rupert Grint. In 1965, at the age of 19, Rickman met 18-year-old Rima Horton, who became his first girlfriend and would later be a Labour Party councillor on the Kensington and Chelsea London Borough Council (1986–2006) and an economics lecturer at the nearby Kingston University. They lived together from 1977 until his death. In 2015, Rickman confirmed that they had married in a private ceremony in New York City in 2012.

Alan Sidney Patrick Rickman (21 February 1946 – 14 January 2016)

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RIP David Bowie

The music world lost another iconic legend as singer David Bowie has died at the age of 69 from cancer. Tributes have been paid from around the world to the “extraordinary artist” whose last album was released days ago. His son, film director Duncan Jones, confirmed the news and a statement was issued on his social media accounts. The statement said that Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18-month battle with cancer, asking for privacy for the family.

Bowie was born David Jones in Brixton, south London, on 8 January in 1947. He changed his name in 1966 after The Monkees’ Davy Jones achieved stardom. Bowie’s hits include Let’s Dance, Space Oddity, Starman, Modern Love, Heroes, Under Pressure, Rebel, Rebel and Life on Mars. He was also well known for creating his flamboyant alter ego Ziggy Stardust. The singer, who had been living in New York in recent years, only released his latest album Blackstar on his birthday on Friday. The album, which includes just seven songs, has been well received by critics and was intended as a “parting gift” to the world, according to long-time friend and producer Tony Visconti.

IN a career spanning 57 years, his net worth is supposed to be around 135 million pounds with 140 million albums sols, 111 singles and movie roles. Bowie also carved out a successful acting career, including his role as an alien seeking help for his dying planet in Nicolas Roeg’s The Man Who Fell to Earth in 1976. He did a three-month stint as The Elephant Man on Broadway in the 1980s, with other roles that decade including Labyrinth, Cat People, The Last Temptation of Christ and The Hunger. The late 1980s were dominated by Bowie’s involvement with his new band, a postmodernist heavy metal outfit, Tin Machine. In the United Kingdom, he was awarded 9 Platinum, 11 Gold and 8 Silver albums, and in the United States, 5 Platinum and 7 Gold. In the BBC’s 2002 poll of the 100 Greatest Britons, he was ranked 29. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked him 39th on their list of the 100 Greatest Rock Artists of All Time and the 23rd best singer of all time. Bowie was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on 17 January 1996 and named a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame in June 2013 and 2 Grammys.

David Robert Jones (8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016)

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The Martian

 alt=I watched The Martian around the Christmas weekend. The Martian is a 2015 American science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Matt Damon with Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Michael Peña, Kate Mara, Sean Bean, Sebastian Stan, Aksel Hennie, and Chiwetel Ejiofor in supporting roles. The film is based on Andy Weir’s 2011 novel The Martian, which was adapted into a screenplay by Drew Goddard.

Set in the year 2035 the crew of the Ares III shuttle is part of the first manned mission to Mars. On day 18 of their 31 day mission a severe dust storm forces them to abort the mission and return to their orbiting vessel Hermes. During the evacuation, astronaut Mark Watney is struck by flying debris and is lost in the storm; the last telemetry from his suit indicates that it has lost pressure, with no life signs. With their launch vehicle on the verge of tipping over in the wind, and the remaining crew’s lives in peril, mission commander Melissa Lewis gives the order to launch without retrieving him; they subsequently leave Mars aboard the Hermes. Everyone back at home and in NASA believes Watney to be dead. However he wasn’t; just unconscious.

Watney wakes up by day to the sound of low oxygen warning and heads back to the habitat and tends to his wounds. He realizes that his only chance of rescue will be the arrival of the Ares IV crew in four years. Calculating that he has enough food to last only 300 sols (Martian solar days), he improvises a farm in the Hab by making Martian soil fertilized with vaccuum packed toilet waste, after finding whole potatoes saved for a Thanksgiving meal, and water produced by extracting hydrogen from leftover rocket fuel then oxidized by burning. He keeps a series of video logs to maintain morale and begins to modify the one functional rover to increase capacity to make long journeys across Mars’ vast terrains. While reviewing satellite photos of Mars, Mars mission director Vincent Kapoor and satellite planner Mindy Park realize that Watney has survived, and immediately start planning to establish contact. Initially the decision is made not to inform the rest of the crew that they had unknowingly left him there alive. Watney manages to restore communication to earth using delay typed text messaging.

The crew is finally informed of Watney’s survival & formulate a plan to send a space probe to Mars and resupply Watney with enough food to allow him to survive until Ares IV’s scheduled arrival. Watney suffers a disaster when the airlock on the habitat explosively decompresses, killing his potatoes and reducing his projected supply of food. The team on Earth desperately tries to reduce the time needed to prepare the resupply, resulting in Sanders deciding to skip safety inspections, which backfires when the probe, christened Iris, explodes shortly after liftoff. NASA gets help from China for another attempt while astrodynamicist Rich Purnell figures out a trajectory which could send Hermes back to Mars much more quickly, using the Chinese booster to instead resupply it for the necessary additional year and a half in space. Lewis and her crew vote unanimously to execute the plan, and NASA – powerless to stop them – proceeds with the resupply as Hermes flies by Earth, using its gravity to slingshot them back to Mars.

After 461 days on Mars Watney begins his 3200km, 90-sol journey to Schiaparelli crater, where the Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV) for the Ares IV mission was previously landed. He makes the recommended modifications to the MAV it escapes Mars successfully. He is able to make it to the open arms of his crew a reunion worth savouring and is brought back to earth. As the movie ends Watney begins “day 1” of his new life, serving as a survival instructor for new candidates in the astronaut training program, emphasizing his own experiences in problem-solving and creative engineering. Years later on the occasion of the Ares V mission launch, those involved in Watney’s rescue have returned to their lives or begun new lives.

Very good movie with some humour mainly from Damon and a nice soundtrack. It’s not really that exciting but it’s entertaining enough. I give it an 8.5 outta 10!

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Netflix And Chill In India Soon

Netflix, the world’s top video streaming service that allows users to watch content on screens ranging from a smartphones to a smart television is now launching in India.

It works with a variety of other devices like PlayStation and Apple TV, letting users stream directly onto larger screen. Netflix is also the creator of a lot of original, made for the web content, much of which is now in high-resolution Ultra HD.

Netflix India has pricing similar to its primary US market and users will be able to pay as low as Rs 500 to watch shows and movies on a single screen at one time. For Rs 650, they will get access to two simultaneous screens and four for Rs 800 — this also has UHD content. The first month is free for all users and they can pay using PayPal and credit card only at the moment. An initial fee of Rs 70 ($1) is charged during signup to authenticate the card. Netflix standard subscribers now pay $9.99 per month, not much more than the Rs 500 base price in India. Netflix was launched out of California is 1997 as a DVD rental service and now has over 69 million users globally with 42 million in the US alone.

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The Vatican Tapes

I didn’t know much about this movie other than having watched a bit of a clip online. Decided to check it out and see if it was worth it. It was…ok I guess. The Vatican Tapes is a 2015 American supernatural horror film directed by Mark Neveldine from a screenplay written by Christopher Borrelli, which is in turn based on a story by Chris Morgan and Christopher Borrelli. The film stars Olivia Taylor Dudley, Kathleen Robertson, Michael Peña, Djimon Hounsou, Dougray Scott, and John Patrick Amedori, and was released on July 24, 2015, by Lionsgate.

An ordinary but pretty 27 year old, Angela Holmes, is celebrating her birthday with a surprise party hosted by her live in boyfriend Pete. Her sheriff dad Roger Holmes, disapproves of her choice in men (it looks like he would disapprove of anyone) is staying with her for the weekend. Angela cuts her hands badly on the knife and goes to the hospital for treatment. Soon she starts to display increasingly disturbing behaviour erratic and strange behaviors, which finally catches the eye of local priest Father Oscar Lozano. She causes a car crash which hospitalizes her and while at the hospital she ominously picks up a baby at the maternity ward, seemingly to harm it. When the police investigates, she points to one of the detectives towards the window where a raven sits (the messenger of Satan) and he stares at it and then proceeds to take two light bulbs and pierce his eyes out. She also seems to know about stuff that she shouldn’t know, like details about the love life of her doctor and the things she is doing with a married man.

All this seem dangerous enough for Lozano to call (who you gonna call) the Vatican and lead exorcist Cardinal Bruun who travels all the way to the US to chase the demon away from the girl. The cardinal arrives from Vatican City, armed with holy water and the camcorders and proceeds to exorcise the demon from the girl – only thing is, it’s no ordinary demon but apparently possibly Satan himself. Angela coughs up three eggs (what???) and spouts off some ancient language that mocks the church and stuff and later the house blows up killing everyone except Lozano and the girl. She wanders off and starts to perform “miracles” healing people etc. She is hailed as possibly divine or a charlatan and as the movie ends, Lozano is recruited by the Vatican where he is shown clips from various tv sources the rise in popularity of Angela. This is important because as the church states, the anti-christ will come performing such “miracles” and a false religion will rise around him/her and people will be misled to worship it.

It held some promise but ended up being more of the same. A few creepy things stand out and Olivia Dudley does a good job but overall it is very forgettable. 6 outta 10!

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Survivor (2015)

I am a big Pierce Brosnan fan, ever since the early to mid 1980s when I watched his breakthrough title role in the hit tv series Remington Steele and throughout his movie career afterwards. And I ofcourse love, love, love Milla Jovavich ever since I first saw her in 1997’s The Fifth Element. Put them both together in a spy action thriller with another long time fav Dylan McDermott….unfortunately the movie isn’t the sum of it’s top notch acting talent.

Survivor is a 2015 British-American spy thriller film directed by James McTeigue and written by Philip Shelby. The film stars Milla Jovovich, Pierce Brosnan, Dylan McDermott, Angela Bassett & James D’Arcy. Jovovich plays Kate Abbott, an employee for the American Embassy in London, who began working in the government after most of her friends were killed in 9/11. She begins to put in more stringent & strict processes for approving visas for Europeans to the US, including denying visas for Dr. Balan and others. She gets herself a bit into trouble with the American Ambassador because the scientist Dr. Balan’s wife was denied a visa years before while she tried to get to the US for medical treatment and died, but Sam Parker the head of the department backs her up as she has great instincts. And she proves to be right. Balan is planning to take his revenge on America by blowing up a chemical bomb in NYC on new year’s eve.

Bill Talbot, the supervisor, is also a co-conspirator as his soldier son is taken alive as a hostage in Afghanistan. To let him go, Bill is forced to forge the documents that give visas to several terrorists including Dr. Balan. A millionaire business man with vested interest in letting Dr. Balan get his job done, hires the assassin & hitman for hire The Watchmaker (Brosnan) to kill Kate. However most of her team are killed while attending a restaurant for the birthday of their superior, Bill Talbot, with Kate only surviving because she left the restaurant to get a last-minute present for Bill. An investigation into the attack reveals that the bomb has traces of chromium, leading one of Kate’s fellow employees, Sam Parker, to deduce that the perpetrator was the Watchmaker,known for his precision work, who detonated a bomb with similar traces in Paris some time earlier. Kate who was only dazed in the explosion is chased by the Watchmaker and escapes but is now on the run as she is setup for the crime.

She runs into Bill who points a gun at her and in the tussle Bill is killed while a passerby shoots this on his video, making it seem like Kate killed Bill on purpose. On Sam & Sally (the tech expert at the embassy) believe Kate is innocent and Sam meets up with Kate at Bill’s apartment where they find the ransom video for Bill’s son. The Watchmaker attacks the two and Sam is left injured while Kate escapes. With Sally’s help she sneaks back into the embassy to create false passports for herself to follow Dr. Balan to New York and stop the bomb from being detonated. In a final battle Kate manages to kill the assassin as he tumbles to his death from the terrace of a skyscraper and the bomb does not go off, saving hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Times’ Square.

Not a very good movie but entertaining enough if you don’t have too much expectations. I give it a 6.5 outta 10!

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Corner Gas : The Movie

Corner Gas, my favourite sitcom of all time, was a program that aired on CTV from 2004 to 2009. The series completed its run following broadcast of its sixth season on April 13, 2009, with a total of 107 episodes. The show became an instant hit, averaging a million viewers per episode. Corner Gas has been the recipient of six Gemini Awards, and has been nominated almost 70 times for various awards. In December of 2014 the cast reunited for Corner Gas : The Movie.

In the movie a few years after the end of the show Hank Yarbo has a daydream while waiting at the airport about a werewolf attacking the gas station and Wanda, who alone with Brett turns out to be robots, fights against it. He is awaken by Tina Fuller, the National Star judge who he is there to pick up, and he drives her to Dog River. When they arrive they find the town is in a riot, the police car in flames, Oscar and Emma throwing flower pots with some women and a bunch of people led by Lacy who seem to be beating up a guy. They almost hit a disheveled and dirty Brett who just walks on by. Tina, who is there to judge Dog River in the Canada’s Quaintest Town contest is appalled so Hank tells her what has happened so far.

5 years after the show ended, Dog River is in debt as Fitzy the mayor invested the town’s money in a bad real estate deal in Detroit and the little town is now flat broke and the town loses it’s water & electricity. Davis, who had a contract for 25 years as a cop, is now out of a job as Fitzy can’t afford to pay both him and Karen, who met someone, got married and is now pregnant. An epiphany during a fish trip leads to Davis becoming a detective and he comes back home quicker than expected. He had left Wanda in charge of looking after his house and in his absence, Wanda had started an illegal bar, later a casino, out of his garage using his two diesel powered backup generators. Thinking that she may have to find another cop job out of town soon, Karen begins being real strict and hands out tickets one after the other. Oscar becomes a survivalist and trades his car for a horse, which is confiscated by Karen and repeatedly stolen back.

After many days of this problem and after Lacy says she may have to move her business out of town, Brett finally takes action and buys out the town’s bar which had been abandoned and starts fixing it and enters Dog River into a “Quaintest Town in Canada” competition, hoping that the $75,000 prize can save the town. Emma invites Lacey and Brent to dinner to spark a romance in a bid to acquire grandchildren. When Yarbo has an idea to invite a representative of the Coff Nuts (coffee and donuts chain) organization about starting an outlet in Dog River, Brett refuses to invest in his plan as it would hurt Lacey’s business. fter Lacey advises a Coff-Nuts representative named Jerome that the town is broke, a woman representing a company called CN Holdings attempts to convince the townspeople to sell their homes. Hank overhears the woman and Jerome scheming, so he takes Jerome to Wullerton in hopes that Coff-Nuts will change its plan and ruin the rival town. He abandons Jerome, but Wullerton’s astonishingly friendly citizens drive him back to Dog River. Both distracted — Brent by repairs to the bar, and Lacey by a quest to restore the town’s electricity — Brent and Lacey forget to attend Emma’s dinner.

Fitzy comes back to town saying that their neighbouring town has agreed to annex Dog River if it means saving the town but it is unpopular among his neighbours. Brent and Lacey then rally the town to prepare for the “Quaintest Town in Canada” contest judge, Tina Fuller, to enter Dog River, but a series of mishaps create the appearance of a riot in the middle of town. Everyone then gathers at The Ruby, where Lacey encourages everyone to financially support Brent, but Brent declines their aid due to the judgment against him. Tina sympathizes with the town’s predicament and writes an article to garner public support for Dog River. The media attention forces Coff-Nuts to drop the lawsuit. Between the proceeds from Wanda’s casino, Karen’s tickets, and a fundraising drive by residents of Wullerton, the town is saved. With the catestrophy averted Lacey and Brett hug and kiss in the diner, much to the shock of everyone else who had no clue that the two have been dating for over two years. Emma is initially thriller but none to please when Lacey and Brett say that they have no plans of having children.

Thus ends the greatest debate in Canadian sitcom – will Brett & Lacey actually get together? – and the movie is a just reward for fans who supported this awesome show. The movie is hilarious but it doesn’t go above the range of a long episodic event. Still it is worth getting and I give it an 8.5 outta 10!

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10 Years No Theatre

I just realized that it has been over 10 years since I last watched a movie in a movie theatre! Stunned by that fact. I used to be a regular movie goer and I used to watch all the English language films that were released in theatres in my city. Actually back then you could be sure that only 1 of 3 theatres in town were showing the latest Hollywood or other English movies – Sreedhar, Shenoys or Little Shenoys. Many years ago I would have gone as a kid to watch a blockbuster in one of the big theatres in Mattancherry like Kokers or Galaxy (but I think both have closed down).

There were times that I couldn’t wait for the big screen experience but since 2005 for some reason or the other I never go to a theatre. I just stopped all of a sudden and never went again though I have been tempted to go for several big movies in the past 2-3 years. I just lost all interest in going to a theatre back in 2005. Until then I went almost 2-3 times a week. I remember that in 2004 there was a James Bond festival in one of the big theatres, Shenoys, and they played a new bond movie every week at that time. I went for several of those and had a box to myself, remove my shoes, put up my feet, relax with a cold drink and some popcorn and enjoy the movie.

I watched a few movies in 2005 and all of a sudden I stopped going. I didn’t feel like going. I would instead wait for a dvd copy to come out and watch the movie at home on my dvd player. I think at one point I stuck to the cable movies that were shown on regular rotation. Later I started buying dvds and would play them on my computer. And that’s how I still watch movie although I also have online options for the latest stuff. I am tempted to visit one of the newer theatres and watch movies on the big screen but I so enjoy watching movies in the quiet confines of my bedroom in solitude. I dunno, I might change soon but for now this is the way that I watch films.

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A Closer Look At The USS Enterprise NCC-1701-B

So onto the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-B model from Eaglemoss’s Star Trek Starship model. USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-B) was a 23rd century Federation Excelsior-class starship operated by Starfleet. This was the third Federation ship to bear the name Enterprise. In design it was a refit of the Excelsior class starship. The Excelsior-class was a type of Federation starship used by Starfleet from the late 23rd century through the late 24th century. It was the backbone of Starfleet for nearly a century, making it one of the longest serving starship designs, and one of the most recognizable ships in the fleet.

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in the year 2293, the Enterprise-B was commissioned. Soon thereafter, the starship was launched under the command of Captain John Harriman from a drydock orbiting Earth. The ship was christened with a bottle of Dom Pérignon, vintage 2265. Honored guests aboard for the ship’s maiden voyage included Captains James T. Kirk, Montgomery Scott, and Commander Pavel Chekov of the decommissioned Enterprise-A, along with many journalists. The vessel was still incomplete at the time of launch and did not have a medical staff, photon torpedoes, or a tractor beam, all of which were scheduled for delivery the following Tuesday.

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Her first journey was mostly for publicity purposes, and the ship was not scheduled to venture much past Pluto. However, the Enterprise-B was the only ship in range capable of responding to a distress call from two Federation transport ships, the SS Lakul and the SS Robert Fox. The ships, which were carrying El-Aurian refugees, had become trapped in an energy distortion called the Nexus. Because the Enterprise-B lacked equipment necessary to rescue the ships, the Robert Fox was destroyed before the Enterprise could transport its passengers. Only 47 were brought aboard from the Lakul before it, too, was destroyed. Chekov served as a makeshift medical officer, enlisting several journalists to help treat survivors including Guinan, future bartender on the USS Enterprise-D, and Tolian Soran.

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The Enterprise itself became ensnared within the Nexus when she maneuvered within transporter range of the Lakul. Scotty devised a plan to use a resonance burst from the deflector dish in order to simulate an antimatter explosion and free the Enterprise. Kirk went to deflector control to make necessary modifications as the Enterprise’s engineering hull was struck by an energy tendril; Harriman was going to do it himself, but Kirk took the role instead, deciding that Harriman, as the ship’s captain, was needed on the bridge, and in the captain’s chair. The Enterprise escaped with minor casualties and a hull breach along sections 20 through 28 on decks 13 through 15. Kirk was believed killed in the breach, and the mission became notorious because of his loss.

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Once fully integrated into the fleet, the Excelsior’s sister ships were used for a variety of mission profiles, ranging from deep space exploration and terraforming missions, to patrol duty, to courier and transport runs. The Excelsior-class was present in several major Federation engagements, including the Borg invasion of 2366-2367, where it participated at the Battle of Wolf 359, as well as the engagement against the Borg sphere that entered the Sol system in 2378. The generally accepted length of 1,531 feet (466.6 meters) can be traced back to a size comparison chart developed for Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. She could accomodate 750 officers and crew; 130 visiting personnel; 9,800 personal evacuation limit.

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So I hope you enjoyed the photos and little bit of information of the ship as seen in the movie Star Trek : Generations. It’s not my favourite design but it does look good on screen. I’m sad that the model did not come out as good and it is small. Disappointing! But here is the closer look video of the Enterprise B.

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Mad Max : Fury Road

Mad Max : Fury Road is a 2015 action drama film directed and produced by George Miller, and written by Miller, Brendan McCarthy and Nico Lathouris. This Australian-American co-production is the 4th installment in the Mad Max film franchise, the first 3 of which starred Mel Gibson. This time around the titular character is played by Tom Hardy with with Imperator Furiosa performed by Charlize Theron. The film also features Nicholas Hoult, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keough, Zoë Kravitz, Abbey Lee, and Courtney Eaton.

The road battle film starts off in a distant post apocalyptic world where the land is mostly desert and water & fuel are scarce commodities. Max is captured by the War Boys, a white painted bald headed set of wild men who work for the army of the tyrannical Immortan Joe, and taken to Joe’s Citadel. Despite his attempts at escape, with a madly pursued and fought chase scene, he is captured again and because he is a universal donor is kept alive to supply blood for the soldiers, mainly a sick young man named Nux. When a Lt in Joe’s army, Imperator Furiosa, deviates from the route to search for water & fuel in her large truck, Joe discovers that his five wives — women selected for breeding—are missing. Joe leads his entire army in pursuit of Furiosa, calling on the aid of nearby Gas Town and the Bullet Farm. Max is chained to one truck to continue supplying blood.

In the ensuing battle Furiosa is able to drive into a sand storm and loses the army. Max is able to get free and drags an unconscious Nux along with him and fight Furiosa for control of her truck. They decide to work together; Furiosa is taking the Wives: Capable, Cheedo, Toast, the Dag, and Angharad, who is heavily pregnant with Joe’s child, to the “Green Place”, an idyllic land she remembers from her childhood. Nux, after initially joining the rest of the army to get back the wives, has stowed away in the truck and having failed at his job joins the small group of people as they try to escape. They must battle a biker gang-controlled canyon t the Bullet Farmer’s army and Gas Town to get to their destination – only to find out that it has now become a barren swampland. With the help of the the Vuvalini clan of women, from whom Furiosa was kidnapped as a child by Joe, they decide to head back to the now unguarded citadel.

A few deaths, some awesome fight scenes (some incredible and some downright silly but fun in itself), lots of explosions, car crashes and battles Joe is killed by Furiosa. Nux sacrifices himself by wrecking the Rig, killing Rictus and blocking the canyon, allowing Max, Furiosa, the wives, and the Vuvalini to successfully escape in Joe’s car, where Max transfuses his blood to Furiosa to help her survive her injuries. At the Citadel, the impoverished citizens are overjoyed at the sight of Joe’s corpse. Furiosa, the wives, and the Vuvalini are cheered by the people and welcomed by the remaining War Boys, but Max walks away, sharing a glance with Furiosa before disappearing into the crowd.

Hardly much of a story but then again you don’t watch these kind of movies for the storylines or the acting. You watch it for the awesome scenery (that sand storm is spectacular) and fight scenes and violence and crashes. I don’t remember much from the original trilogy of Mad Max movies but this one gets an 8 outta 10!

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10 Things You Never Knew About Star Wars

With the new Star Wars film looming, here are a few facts that you may not have known before to keep your excitement to the maximum.

1. Did you know Star Wars almost never happened? 20th Century Fox was ready to pull the plug on the project due to numerous faults in production. It was only after George Lucas fired his editors and stitched it together himself that it was allowed to continue.

Lucky they did, as the Star Wars franchise is now one of the biggest ever. Something that looks set to carry on with analysts predicting odds of 1 to 2 for the ‘Force Awakens’ to be the highest grossing film of 2016.

2. Every character you see has a rich and intricate backstory. Remember the alien rat that lives with Jabba the Hut in Episode VI? That’s Salacious Crumb, a monkey lizard member of the Kowakian species. Whether it be through fan love or official expansion, Star Wars has become incredibly complex.

3. There is a special division devoted to keeping canon within the Star Wars universe – the Lucasfilm Story Group are the keepers of Star Wars practices, and it is their job to maintain a cohesive story and background throughout the Star Wars franchise.

4. Mark Hamill had a car accident that scarred his face before shooting Episode V. His encounter with the Wampa in the film was written in to explain the fresh scars on Luke’s face in the universe.

5. Luke Skywalker was almost named Luke Starkiller, and Han Solo was going to be an alien (as well as a Jedi with gills). Luckily, the script was rewritten quite heavily leading up to production. A version of the original script exists now as a graphic novel.

6. Alec Guinness is on record as not liking Star Wars. The actor who first portrayed Obi-Wan is recorded as having asked a small child who loved the movies to never watch it again, as a favour to the actor himself! This didn’t stop him getting rich off of the film though, with his deal securing him 2 per cent of the box office – over £56million.

7. The film never reveals what species Yoda belongs to, and the little green alien is never attributed to a race.

8. E.T in Steven Spielberg’s hit spots a child sporting a Yoda mask on Halloween. Upon seeing the mask, E.T becomes excited and ‘Yoda’s Theme’ by John Williams begins to play. Returning the gesture to Spielberg, Lucas included E.T’s species in the republic senate during the events or Episode I.

9. The actors who play R2D2 and C3PO have a long-standing feud. Contrary to the close friendship shared by the two droids, the actors have held a rivalry for a very long time, with Daniels (C3PO) calling Baker (R2D2) a ‘sort of talisman’ when discussing Baker’s role in Episode VII. Baker has also gone on record as calling Daniels the ‘Rudest man I ever met’.

10. Grand Moff Tarkin (Peter Cushing) actually wore slippers during his time onscreen. Cushing hated the officer’s boots his character was supposed to wear and instead took to fluffy slippers. The reason you never noticed is because Cushing simply insisted his scenes were all shot waist up!

The latest instalment ‘The Force Awakens’ has every fan (new and old) rabid, and with such a brilliant cast and crew there’s no way that this epic space saga will be anything less than spectacular!

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Extraterrestrial

Extraterrestrial is a 2014 sci-fi horror film that was directed by Colin Minihan, based on a script by both Vicious Brothers. It stars Brittany Allen, Freddie Stroma, Jesse Moss, Aaja Savic and Melanie Papalia, as a group of friends that must defend themselves against an alien onslaught, with veteran actors Gil Bellows & Michael Ironside playing supporting roles. Emily Perkins also has a small role in the film.

We start the film with a woman running towards a gas station store in a small town out near the woods, asking to use the phone. The clerk does not open the store as it is closing time so she gets into a phone booth next to it but after she calls 911 she is attacked by an unseen creature. As the clerk comes to check after hearing her screams he finds the booth has been lifted into the air and watches it fall right back down. He calls the sheriff’s office who can’t find much evidence of what has happened. Later we see April who has come to stay the weekend in her parent’s old cabin in the woods and take photos of it as it is to be sold. Joining her are her boyfriend Kyle and their friends Seth, Melanie & Seth’s girlfriend Lex. On their way they are given a warning by sheriff Murphy for Kyle setting of fireworks while in the car. Once they reach the cabin the 5 drink and smoke marijuana. April & Melanie run into Travis, a Vietnam vet and old friend of April’s dad, who has all kinds of conspiracy theories.

As night descends Kyle proposes to April but she hesitates as she has a job offer in NY while he still is in college. Suddenly they see something crash in the woods and upon investigating find that it’s a UFO. After returning to the cabin they hear noises upstairs, and after getting April’s father’s gun find nothing but an open door. After finding an alien on the patio April shoots it to death. They then try and drive to town but find that the road is blocked. Lex is suddenly abducted as another UFO appears above them and beams her up. The rest flee back to Travis’ place, hoping for some answers. Travis gives them his theory in that the aliens and the US government have had a treaty since Roswell; they abduct people while the government is left in control to clean up the mess. They only have one rule: No Human must Engage Them. Since April shot one of them, it was considered a breach in the treaty, and now the aliens are out for blood. The kids run back to the cabin and board up the windows, while Travis stays behind to fight, only to get either abducted or killed.

Back the cabin, Seth mistakes the cops for aliens and shoot at them and he is handcuffed and put into the back seat of the car by deputy Mitchell. Sheriff Murphy investigates the barn nearby and finds Melanie’s dog lying dead and mutilated (just like some similar cases of cattle being mutilated in the area) and is startled by a alien who he shoots at but which escapes. It is revealed that Sheriff Murphy’s wife mysteriously disappeared and he finally believes that it was aliens that took her. As Murphy and Deputy Mitchell (Sean Rogerson) argue about Murphy’s wife, an alien appears in front of the car and controls Murphy’s mind to shoot Deputy Mitchell and himself. Before the aliens can get Seth, he is saved by April and they return to the cabin. Seth tells the group that they got into Murphy’s head before he abandons the group. As he is running though the forest he is attacked by the aliens who are about to abduct him. He handcuffs his arm to a tree but he is still abducted, and his severed arm is left dangling from the tree.

As the aliens begin attacking the cabin, Kyle locks April and Melanie in the basement so they don’t get abducted. Meanwhile, Kyle hides in the bathroom with a knife, hoping to ambush the aliens. When he walks past a mirror, an alien jumps out and abducts him. Melanie secretly overdoses on meds and dies leaving April alone. April, armed with a crowbar, prepares to face the aliens but she finds out that they are leaving and realizes they have taken Kyle. She signals the UFO by setting off one of Seth’s fireworks and she is abducted. April wakes up covered in slime and on another planet, where she finds out that the aliens are experimenting on humans. Seth is shown strapped to an operating table. He is covered in a strange slime and little larvae like robots, and has a triangle shaped drawing scarred onto his stomach. He is anally probed, and then dies from his wounds. April finds Kyle and revives him. They hug and the aliens return them to earth. Kyle and April walk through the woods and upon seeing soldiers, they run towards them. They are shot, and as they are dying, April gives Kyle the engagement ring, which he takes and puts on her finger before they are executed.

As the movie ends soldiers clear out the debris and dead bodies while a senior officer approaches a man in a suit (man in black) asking “What should we do with the bodies?”. The man in the suit replies, “What we always do”. This scene could be a hommage to the Men in Black and The Cigarette Smoking man from The X-Files. The film doesn’t really pick up and though has some promise, fails to deliver. The best scenes, uptil the final moments, are when Bellows or Ironside are on screen. 6.5 outta 10!

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