Don’t Breathe

Don’t Breathe is a 2016 American horror film directed by Fede Alvarez and written by Alvarez and Rodo Sayagues. The film stars Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette, Daniel Zovatto and Stephen Lang, and focuses on three friends who get trapped inside a blind man’s house while breaking into it. It received critically positive reviews and grossed over $152 million, which is fantastic for a lower budget film made on $9.9 million.

Rocky, Alex, and Money are three Detroit delinquents who make a living by breaking into homes secured by Alex’s father’s security company and selling the items they take. However the man who Money, their sort of leader and overall douchebag, sells the stuff too isn’t very much and not nearly enough to fund Rocky’s dream of moving to California with her little sister Diddy to escape their neglectful mother and her alcoholic boyfriend. The man tells Money about a Gulf war veteran living in an abandoned Detroit neighborhood has $300,000 in cash in his house, given as a settlement after a wealthy young woman, Cindy Roberts, killed his daughter in a car accident. The three stake out the blind man’s house and find out that he is blind and lives alone with just a ferocious Rottweiler for company. As the blind man hasn’t left his house for several days, they decide to break into his house at night, whereas they usually break in during the day time.

At night they drug the dog by using some meat and sneak in through a small window and search the house in vain. Find a locked door, Money shoots the lock open waking up the blind man. Money holds the gun towards him and threatens him but he is subdued by the veteran and murdered by his own gun. Rocky hides in a closet, where she witnesses the Blind Man open a safe to check on his money. After he leaves, Alex finds Rocky in the closet, and the two open the safe and take the money. Meanwhile, the Blind Man finds Money’s and Rocky’s shoes downstairs, and realizes that Money was not the only intruder. Rocky and Alex evade the blind man and go downstairs to the basement where they find a restrained, gagged woman in a homemade padded cell. She holds a piece of a newspaper towards them that lets them know that she is infact Cindy Roberts, who went missing after the settlement. The two let her free and about to go out through the storm cellar door when the blind man comes in with the gun and shoots at them. Cindy is killed and Rocky and Alex flee into the cellar while the Blind Man, enraged at Cindy’s death, shuts off the lights. After a struggle, Alex subdues the Blind Man, and Rocky follows him back upstairs. The blind man dumps Cindy’s body in the septic tank.

They come out of the basement and run into the dog, who is now recovered. Alex and Rocky are unable to unlock the front door in time before the dog attacks them, and so they flee into the upstairs bedroom, where they find themselves trapped by the barred windows. Rocky escapes the room through a ventilation duct, while the dog breaks into the bedroom and attacks Alex, who falls out of a window onto a skylight and briefly falls unconscious. Alex awakens, falls through the glass after the blind man shoots at the skylight and is subdued, seemingly dead after the blind man attacks him with a tool. Rocky escapes from the dog and falls to the basement cellar where she is captured by the blind man wakes up restrained in the basement, where the Blind Man reveals that Cindy was carrying his child in order to replace the one she killed. He prepares to impregnate Rocky with a turkey baster, using his frozen sperm, but Alex, still alive, intervenes and handcuffs him. Rocky gags him with the baster at the two friends plan to leave. They attempt to leave through the front door, but the Blind Man breaks free and shoots Alex dead. Rocky flees, but the dog pursues her.

She manages to trap the dog in her car trunk, but is recaptured by the Blind Man and dragged back to his house. Inside, Rocky disorients the Blind Man by setting off his house’s loud alarm system, then beats him with a crowbar and knocks him into the basement; the gun goes off and shoots him as he falls. Rocky leaves him to die and escapes before the police arrive. With the money Rocky buys tickets to go to California with her kid sister and sees a news report stating that the Blind Man killed two intruders (Alex and Money) in his house and survived his injuries, but, for some reason, did not report Rocky or the stolen money. Rocky then starts leaving the train station, heading out of Detroit.

Terrific, tension filled film that leaves you gripping the arms of your seat throughout the film from the time the three break into the house. Shock, gasp and gag. It’s an 8 outta 10!

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ROSHAN’S ELEVEN : Star Trek Movies Ranked

Well it’s time to rank all 13 Star Trek Movies. Yes I know I call it Roshan’s Eleven but since there are 13 films in total, I will be ranking them all. This list does change from time to time and I go back and forth. I will be watching all the films before the end of the year so it will be interesting to see if my list does have changes in positions.

Without further ado, here is my ranking:

  1. Star Trek  : The Wrath Of Khan
  2. Star Trek : First Contact
  3. Star Trek : The Undiscovered Country
  4. Star Trek : The Voyage Home
  5. Star Trek : Generations
  6. Star Trek : Beyond
  7. Star Trek : The Motion Picture
  8. Star Trek : Nemesis
  9. Star Trek : The Final Frontier
  10. Star Trek : The Search For Spock
  11. Star Trek : Insurrection
  12. Star Trek (2009)
  13. Star Trek : Into Darkness
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Arrival is a 2016 American science fiction film directed by Denis Villeneuve and written by Eric Heisserer, based on the short story “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang. The film stars Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and Forest Whitaker with Mark O’Brien & Tzi Ma in supporting roles.

This is not a movie for all but if you are a lover of scifi then you owe it to yourself to go and watch this movie. It’s introspective, deep and very meaningful and it’s about the human experience as well. It’s a sad story on a personal level but it’s also about hope and the better future for humanity at the same time. It’s slow moving and methodical and is devoid of the usual cliches, action oriented scenes and explosions and bluster and glory that comes along with usual aliens arriving on earth type situations.

We see linguistic professor Louise Banks whose daughter dies of a rare form of incurable cancer. 12 large extraterrestrial spacecrafts arrive in our earth’s atmosphere and hover just above 12 different nations across the globe. Louise is asked by US Army Colonel Weber to join a team to find out why they have come. Accompanied by theoretical physicist Ian Donnelly, Louise makes contact with two seven-limbed cephalopod-like aliens, which they call “heptapods”, and Ian nicknames them Abbott and Costello. Louise learns that the aliens have a written language with circular shapes and symbols that are very complicated. As Louise becomes more proficient in the language, learning simple words and phrases, she starts to see images of herself with her daughter. However things get tense when she asks the aliens what they want and the reply is “offer weapon”.

Similar translations (use weapon) are deduced at other sites, leading other nations to close down communications, and some to scramble their military believing the message indicates a threat. However, Louise thinks that “weapon” might have an alternative translation such as “tool.” Explosions sneaked into the craft by rogue soldiers explode but one of the aliens saves Louise and Ian by pushing them away from the area of impact. They both wake up in the base camp with a concussion, as the spacecraft moves higher into the sky. Ian works out that the pattern of symbols relates to the concept of time, and that it was one twelfth of the whole “gift”; hence nations must co-operate to get all of the information. Tensions increase as China prepares to attack it’s alien ship. Louise goes to the US ship and it sends down a smaller craft for her. She meets Costello, who communicates that Abbott is dead due to the blast. Louise asks about her visions, and Costello explains that she is seeing the future: this reveals that her ‘visions’ are not flashbacks but flash-forwards. Costello communicates that they have come to “help humanity” by sharing their language, which changes the perception of time, and is the “weapon” or “tool” they offer. The aliens also foresee that in 3000 years time they will need humanity’s help.

When Louise returns back she finds the camp being evacuated and she sees a new vision of being a UN meeting and being greeted by Chinese General Shang who thanks him for convincing him to suspend his attack. Shang goes on to say that as she called his private number and said the same words that his wife told him before dying, he called off the attack. Louise is shown Shang’s private number and he whispers the words to her in the vision. Back in the present, Louise steals a satellite phone and calls Shang, repeating what he told her in the vision. The Chinese attack is called off and the other nations resume contact with each other, and the twelve spacecraft leave the Earth, seemingly disappearing in the atmosphere. As they pack to leave, Ian tells Louise that he has fallen for her they discuss life choices and whether they should change if you could see the future. Louise sees a vision of Ian as the father of her daughter. Her vision continues with Ian asking her, further into the future, if she wants to make a baby. Louise sees herself replying “Yes,” wanting to share a short time with her future child rather than prevent her ever from existing.

Like I said very personal and touching film in the midst of a the-aliens-are-here-do-we-attack-them kinda film. Not for everyone and that’s ok. It is a good film with an able cast and a compelling story that moved me. A 10/10 for Amy Adams while the movie gets an 8/10.

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RIP Ron Glass

Ron Glass, a prolific TV actor known for playing Ron Harris in the sitcom “Barney Miller” and Shepherd Derrial Book in “Firefly,” has died. He was 71. The actor’s rep confirmed the death to Variety, but had no further details regarding the cause or location. Glass was born in Evansville, Ind. and went on to study drama and literature at the University of Evansville. He began his career in Hollywood in episodes of “Sanford and Son,” “Hawaii Five-O” and “All in the Family” in the early ’70s.

In 1975 Glass found his breakout role in “Barney Miller,” set in an NYPD station. His character was a dapper and ambitious intellectual, obsessed with launching his career as a writer. The role earned Glass a Primetime Emmy nomination in 1982 in the supporting actor category. After “Barney Miller,” Glass would go on to star in 18 episodes of the 1982 “The Odd Couple” remake “The New Odd Couple” as well as making guest appearances on “The Twilight Zone,” “Family Matters” and “Murder, She Wrote,” among other shows. In the late 1999 he appeared on two episodes of “Friends” Ross Geller’s divorce lawyer, Russell.

The science fiction community knows him best as Shepherd. In 2002 Glass joined Joss Whedon’s cult favorite “Firefly,” playing a spiritual figure with a mysterious past. Glass would also reprise the role in the 2005 movie “Serenity.” He was also in an episode of “Star Trek Voyager”. Glass was still a regular face on American television as recently as 2014 when he appeared in an episode of “CSI.” That same year he appeared in “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” as Dr. Streiten. Glass never married. He was a member of the Soka Gakkai International, a lay Buddhist organization.

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Ice Age: Collision Course

I love the Ice Age series. They are among my fav animated movies and certainly my fav franchise. But have they run their course with this, the 5th movie? Have things become stale? I didn’t think so but I believe that this was the least critically appreciated movie despite making it in the box office. My favourite is still the first one ofcourse. Ice Age: Collision Course is a 2016 American 3D computer-animated comedy adventure film produced by Blue Sky Studios. It was directed by Mike Thurmeier and co-directed by Galen Tan Chu, and written by Michael Wilson, Michael Berg and Yoni Brenner. The film stars the voice talents of Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Josh Peck, Simon Pegg, Seann William Scott, Jennifer Lopez and Queen Latifah, all reprising their roles from previous films.[1][7] New additions to the cast include Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Adam DeVine, Nick Offerman, Max Greenfield, Stephanie Beatriz, Melissa Rauch, Michael Strahan, Jessie J and Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Scat, trying to  bury his acorn, accidentally activates an abandoned alien ship that takes him into deep space, where he unwittingly sends several asteroids en route to a collision (in an awesome cartoonish silly scene) with Earth. Meanwhile, Manny is playing ice hockey with his daughter Peaches but worried about the upcoming marriage between Peaches and her fiancé, Julian. Diego and his wife Shira want to start a family but they seem to scare any and all the kids in the area. Sid is dumped by his girlfriend, Francine, just as he is about to propose to her, and he laments his solitude. Manny also forgets his wedding anniversary but an asteroid shower has the crowd initially thinking he arranged the “fireworks” show. However the animals have to soon run for cover as some of the asteroids strike the place and the herd barely escape with their lives.

Buck, who has recovered a dinosaur egg from trio of dromaeosaurs named Gavin, Gertie, and Roger. Buck discovers an ancient stone pillar and takes it to the surface, where he meets Manny and the others. As Buck explains, the pillar depicts various points in time where the asteroids caused mass extinctions and with a massive one still incoming, he believes that the only place they could find a clue to stop it is on the site of the impact of the previous ones, as according to its engravings, they always fall at the same place. The three dromaeosaurs overhear their conversation and follow them. After a long trek, as they reach the crash site and find they discover that the asteroids have electro-magnetic properties. Buck theorizes that if a huge quantity of smaller asteroids should be gathered and launched into orbit, they could attract the main asteroid as well and prevent it from falling on Earth. The herd arrives at “Geotopia”, a community of immortal animals formed inside one of the asteroids that have fallen long ago, where Sid meets Brooke, a female ground sloth who falls in love with him.

The leadero of Geotopia, Shangri Llama, efuses to cooperate with Buck’s plan to send the city’s crystals into space in order to prevent the imminent impact, as they are the key to the residents’ longevity. Sid inadvertently destroys the entire city when he attempts to remove one of the stones to present Brooke with, immediately aging all of the Geotopians to their true ages. Brooke convinces the Geotopians that preventing the asteroid’s fall is more important than their lost youth, and everyone pitches in to fill up a geyser with the crystals so that the pressure launches them into space to draw the asteroid away. The dromaesaurs intervene but Roger is able to convince the other two to help save the lives of everyone. The plan works, and the asteroid is pulled back into space. The herd then departs back home, including Sid, who parts ways from Brooke, but just after they leave, an asteroid piece falls inside a hot spring, giving it rejuvenating properties and making the Geotopians and Sid’s grandmother, who stayed behind with them, regain their youth. After the herd returns, Manny reconciles with Julian, Peaches and Julian celebrate their wedding, Diego and Shira become heroes to the kids who were scared of them before, and a rejuvenated Brooke appears during the ceremony to reunite with Sid. In the film’s epilogue, Scrat keeps struggling to control the alien ship until it crashes on Mars, destroying all life on the planet.

The film got negative reviews for it’s storyline and familiar theme of destruction of the life on earth. It ranks as the worst-reviewed film in the series. I liked it but it isn’t as good as the first 3. I will give this a 7 outta 10!

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Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them

I have not watched a single Harry Potter film. Well bits of the first one and a few other clips. I have no interest in getting into the Potter films. No whatsoever. With no other film to go to, I went to see Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them in the theater with my cousin yesterday afternoon. I was told that this film, a prequel would work independent of the Harry Potter films even if it were in the same universe.

A 2016 British fantasy film directed by David Yates and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, the film was produced and written by J. K. Rowling (in her screenwriting debut), inspired by her book of the same name. The film stars Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander with Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Samantha Morton, Jon Voight, Carmen Ejogo and Colin Farrell in supporting roles. Johnny Depp has a small cameo right towards the end of the film as well.

To be honest I found myself bored through parts of the film. I am not into the magical world and filled with weird little creatures (fantastic beasts if I may) though that a Niffler (a cuter version of the platupus) was adorable! Otherwise all these amazingly though off and wonderfully & digitally created by CGI just doesn’t really work for me. I don’t even find the movie to be that memorable except for a couple of the good cast. The story of Newt Scamander who comes to New York from Britain to capture one of the magical creatures and he brings with him a magical suitcase which can expanded into another realm almost when you get inside it. So why did he bring the suitcase which can be opened by the creatures inside with him? So some can escape and we have scenes to film! At a bank he inadvertently brings in a regular human into the thick of things and their suitcases get mixed up. A witch named Tina takes Newt to MACUSA (boy that is funny) to answer for his lax attitude toward keeping magic under wraps, most notably by neglecting to wipe the memory of affable non-wizard baker Jacob.

There’s a lady, who is terribly abusive, but who runs an orphanage and who speaks out in public against witches and wizards. One of the oldest orphan is Credence Barebone who is used by Percival Graves from MACUSA to find the host of an Obscurus, a dark, brooding force created inadvertently by children who attempt to conceal their magic in fear of persecution, which is unleashed in times of anger and discomfort. Graves believes this to be the cause of mysterious occurrences of destruction in New York, and promises Credence freedom of his abusive life in Mary Lou’s orphanage. The Obscurus is responsible for killing senator Henry Shaw Jr., the son of a powerful newspaper & magazine owner, but MACUSA believes that Newt’s creatures are the guilty ones and sentences him and Tina, who tags along with him, to death. They escape and with the help of Queenie, Tina’s mind reading and deliciously flirtatious sister, and the no-maj Jacob, capture the last of the creatures, returning them to the suitcase.

Credence reveals that he was the host, and, in his rage of Grave’s betrayal and his abusive childhood, unleashes the Obscurus on New York City. Just as he begins to settle into human form, calmed down by Tina, Graves interrupts the process and Credence is killed by Seraphina and her followers, much to Tina and Newt’s despair. Graves gets angry, revealing that he was unleashing the Obscurus to reveal the magical community to the No-Majs, and that MACUSA strives to protect them rather than themselves, in which he was tired of concealing his true nature everyday. Newt, using the Revelio charm, reveals Graves to actually be Gellert Grindelwald in disguise, who is taken away to be arrested. Newt’s large bird like creature spreads a potion onto the people of the city to erase their minds of what they have seen and the MACUSA member rebuild the destroyed property using their magic. Newt leaves to Europe, and promises to return to Tina once he finishes writing a guide to magical creatures. Jacob reluctantly has his memory wiped of the wizarding world after kissing Queenie. Jacob opens a bakery shop in which the food he makes are in the shape of creatures that he remembers but not the exact events. When Queenie visits his shop, a memory seems to spark.

Yeah so there’s a lot of magical things in between some of which I liked but I just couldn’t into this world. The movie is ok but at times I was bored, like I said, and I can’t see myself watching the other 4 movies which they plan to bring out as sequels at the moment. Maybe if they also are in theatres during a dry spell of movies to watch for me. A 6.5 outta 10, 10/10 for the visual effects and a 10/10 for Alison Sudol as Queenie Goldstein who managed to charm me

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The Boy

The Boy (also known initially as The Inhabitant) is a 2016 American-Chinese psychological horror directed by William Brent Bell and written by Stacey Delay. The film stars Lauren Cohan and Rupert Evans. Shot in Victoria, British Columbia, the film was released by STX Entertainment on January 22, 2016.

A young American woman from Montana, Greta (who ironically is played by Brit Lauren Cohan) gets a temporary job as a nanny for a very rich family in England. She is driven to the secluded estate at the end of the woods/forest and is met  at the large old house by Mr. and Mrs. Heelshire before meeting the elderly couple’s young son, Brahms. When she finds out that the “son” is a porcelain doll Greta is initially amused but seeing the seriousness shown by the couple, she decides to take the job as it is good pay. As she is told by Malcolm, who delivers groceries for the couple from his store, the real Brahms perished in a fire back in 1991, at the age of eight. Mrs. Heelshire, referring to the porcelain doll, states that Brahms has met “many nannies,” all of whom were “rejected.” Before the Heelshires leave on holiday, they give Greta a list of rules to follow, warning her that Brahms is not a normal child.

She ignores the instructions and spends her days drinking wine and reading, calling her sister and befriends Malcolm, who clearly is flirting with her. She reciprocates his feelings but also tells him that she came to the UK to be away from her ex who was abusive. Strange things begin to happen—a child’s sobs are heard in the hallways, phone calls are cut off and Brahms seems to move on his own, vanishing before reappearing in other sections of the house. On an evening she is to go out to the town with Malcolm, her dress and chain disappear while she is showering and is locked overnight in the attic and served a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich outside her door, she begins to believe that Brahms’ spirit lives on in the doll. Meanwhile, the Heelshires are seen on a coastline writing a good-bye letter to Brahms and filling their pockets with rocks before committing suicide by drowning. Greta starts to follow the rules thinking she is helping a ghost and demonstrates Brahms’ ability to move by himself, Malcolm begins to frequent the house.

He informs Greta that the real Brahms was friends with a young girl about his age, who disappeared after a playdate with him in the forest. The girl’s body was later found with her skull crushed. Malcolm warns Greta not to stay in the house, but Greta, having previously suffered a miscarriage, feels obligated to care for Brahms and begins to follow his rules. Later in the attic, she finds photos of Brahms with his childhood friend Emily. One evening Greta finds her ex-bf, Cole, playing pool in the house. He has tickets for the two of them to go back and is surprised that she is taking care of a doll and not a real boy. Malcolm arrives while the three of them eat dinner. Malcolm leaves the house but stays in his car in case anything bad happens. Greta puts Brahms in bed and asks him for help and later on, Cole becomes even more enraged by the appearance of a message written in blood, as he presumed that Greta wrote it to scare him away. Malcolm comes in hearing the argument and Cole takes the doll and breaks it on the floor.

Immediately after, the house begins to shake, and the lights flicker. Cole goes to investigate a mirror in the room, when suddenly the mirror smashes open and the real adult and very much alive Brahms crawls through the shattered mirror. It is revealed that he was living within the walls of the house the whole time. Wearing a similar porcelain mask on his face, Brahms kills Cole using a broken piece of the doll and chases the other two. They eventually escape to the attic where she discovers the room Brahms was living in, with a straw doll on a bed wearing her dress and jewellery, and embodying her image. Greta realizes that Brahms has been alive all along and was the one who was moving the porcelain doll throughout the house, stealing her possessions, and watching her every move. The Heelshires offered Greta (and the nannies before her) as a form of sacrifice to Brahms for “his keeping”. Brahms catches up and is attacked by Malcolm, who he wounds but Greta escapes through an opening.

On hearing Brahms say that he will kill Malcolm, she comes back into the house and tells him that she won’t leave. She then orders Brahms to go to bed, treating him as she would the doll (Brahms is still a feral child in this regard). After Greta tucks him into bed, he asks for a good night kiss, which she begrudgingly accepts. She stabs him with a screwdriver she hid in her pocket and is thrown against the wall by Brahms who then tries to strangle her. Greta then reaches down to the screwdriver (still stuck in his stomach) and twists it in deeper causing him to drop her and presumably die. Afterwards, she escapes, rescuing Malcolm and leaving the Heelshire estate gate open behind her. The film cuts to a scene of the open gate and then to a hand putting the porcelain doll back together, implying that Brahms is still alive. The film ends with a final glimpse of the repaired doll’s face.

It was ok not scary at all and has some good moments but overall it’s not very memorable. 6.5 outta 10!

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RIP Robert Vaughan

Robert Francis Vaughn, an American actor noted for his stage, film and television work died on November 11th at the age of 83. His best-known TV roles include suave spy Napoleon Solo in the 1960s series The Man from U.N.C.L.E.; wealthy detective Harry Rule in the 1970s series The Protectors; and formidable General Hunt Stockwell in the 5th season of the 1980s series The A-Team. In film, he portrayed quiet, skittish gunman Lee in The Magnificent Seven, Major Paul Krueger in The Bridge at Remagen, the voice of Proteus IV, the computer villain of Demon Seed, Walter Chalmers in Bullitt, Ross Webster in Superman III, and war veteran Chester A. Gwynn in The Young Philadelphians which earned him a 1960 Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

In more recent years I remember seeing him BASEketball (1998 ) and in an episode or two of Law & Order : SVU. Vaughn married actress Linda Staab in 1974. They appeared together in a 1973 episode of The Protectors, called “It Could Be Practically Anywhere on the Island”. They adopted two children, Cassidy (born 1976) and Caitlin (born 1981).[16] They resided in Ridgefield, Connecticut.

(November 22, 1932 – November 11, 2016)

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Ghostbusters (2016)

Yep they just had to do it. The Hollywood trend of rebooting much beloved franchises hits us yet again. I have kept away from reading too much about movie plots and trailers or discussion videos of upcoming and anticipated movies because with the stuff that is out there, it tends to ruin movie watching experiences for me. So other than the fact that the new Ghostbusters movie features and all women cast of the busters plus Chris Hemsworth and that there were cameos by the 4 main cast members of the first two movies (minus the late Harold Ramis) I knew nothing much about it. I had seen one of the trailers a couple of times but that’s about it.

The 2016 American supernatural action comedy film directed by Paul Feig & written by Feig and Katie Dippold, stars Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones and Hemsworth. I missed watching this movie in the theatres as it went quickly from the theatres near me and I couldn’t get to the one that’s 45 minutes away in time. Anyways, I got a copy to watch it this afternoon. Slightly surprised as I did not know it was a reboot; I had thought it was (or hoped) going to be set nearly 30 years after the events of the 1989 sequel and have the ladies be the heir-apparents of the original gang. Think about it – 27 years later the old guard trains or finds a group of ladies doing the same ghostbusting that they had originally done all those years ago! I think that was an opportunity missed. You could have had done that instead of just cameos by Murray, Aykroyd, Hudson & Weaver.

While the movie does have it’s fun elements and the cast is pretty good, it does have a few flaws. Sometimes I think the humour was forced quite a bit and it doesn’t flow naturally like the original movie does. Adding Hemsworth in this film too made it hard for me to appreciate it. I like him in Thor but he isn’t the comedic talent needed here. Maybe he didn’t need to be but I found him miscast here. Leslie Jones – I found her funny and she’s probably quite a charmer but this loud African-American shouting for comedy is something that gets on my nerves (I felt the same about a really funny movie with Kevin Hart; even if he is funny the shouting pissed me off). Though I find Kate McKinnon funny in other stuff and hot in real life, she just didn’t do much for me in this film, with the exception of a couple of scenes. Kristen Wiig (oh how I love her) and Melissa McCarthy were good but not on the level that I was expecting. And I almost didn’t recognize Andy Garcia! Though Cecily Strong as Jennifer Lynch, the mayor’s assistant was quite fun.

The special effects harkens back to the original movies and it was cool to see Slimer and his better half. Everything else was just about ok and fun in an unmemorable way. The villain played by Neil Casey was more like a caricature than anything and I guess it kinda fell flat. I did enjoy the film but found myself comparing it to the original and it was no contest. This is tough as I so wanted the movie to succeed and was rooting for the ladies. I hated the dislike the film got before the film was released based on some of the comments about an all ladies group of Busters. C’mon! I will give the film a 7 outta 10!

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Doctor Strange

Yet another superhero movie (the 14th infact), bringing in a new to us hero, from the Marvel cinematic universe Doctor Strange is a 2016 American superhero film featuring the Marvel Comics character of the same name, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. The film is directed by Scott Derrickson, who wrote the film with Jon Spaihts and C. Robert Cargill, and stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Michael Stuhlbarg, Benjamin Bratt, Scott Adkins, Mads Mikkelsen, and Tilda Swinton.

We start off with rogue sorcerer Kaecilius and his zealots enter the secret compound Kamar-Taj and murder its librarian, keeper of ancient and mystical texts. They steal a ritual from a book belonging to the Ancient One, a sorcerer who has lived for an unknown time and taught all at Kamar-Taj, including Kaecilius, in the ways of the mystic arts. The Ancient One pursues the traitors, but Kaecilius escapes with the pages and some of his followers. Switch to Doctor Stephen Strange, an arrogant but acclaimed brilliant neurosurgeon, who has an eidetic memory. He is involved in a major car accident while on the way to attend a speech and loses most of the usage of his hands due to nerve damage. He tries several methods of healing but other than making him more desperate and broke, nothing comes out of them. He even lashes out at fellow doctor & former lover now friend Christine Palmer when she tries to tell him of other things he can do with his life. Hearing of Jonathon Pangborn, a paraplegic who mysteriously was able to walk again, Strange seeks him out, and is directed to Kamar-Taj, in Kathmandu. While asking around he is attacked by goons who want his watch but is saved by Mordor, who takes him to the Ancient One.

What happens next is that the Ancient One, a Celtic woman and protector of the earth from inter-dimentional beings of great power who shows Strange some awesome trippy stuff, taking him outta this reality. Strange’s mind is blown and he even is shown how to astral project and he asks to be taught. Initially the Ancient One rejects him but she is convinced by Mordo to give him a chance. Though he starts off very slowly, Strange picks up quickly and advances in the ranks in several months, quickly devouring the knowledge from the books. He even manages to secretly read from the text Kaecilius stole from and learning to bend time with the mystical Eye of Agamotto. Mordo and Wong, the librarian, warn Strange against breaking the laws of nature, comparing his arrogant yearning for power to that of Kaecilius, who believes, after the deaths of his loved ones, that everyone should have eternal life. Kacelius and his goonsegin summoning the powerful Dormammu of the Dark Dimension, where time does not exist and all can live forever. This destroys the London Sanctum, and sends Strange from Kamar-Taj to the New York Sanctum.

Along the way, in some cool scenes, Strange gets his levitating cloack and fights of and even captures Kacelius but is forced to kill one of the goons, which goes against his oath as a physician to never do harm. The zealots then attack there, where Strange holds them off with the mystical Cloak of Levitation until Mordo and the Ancient One arrive. Strange and Mordo become disillusioned with the Ancient One after Kaecilius reveals that her long life has come from her own use of Dormammu’s power. Kaecilius mortally wounds the Ancient One, and escapes to Hong Kong. Strange brings her to Christine and she operates on her but the wound is fatal. She then dies, despite the best efforts of Strange and a bewildered Palmer. The Ancient One tells Strange that he, too, will have to break the rules, to balance Mordo’s steadfast nature. Strange and Mordo arrive in Hong Kong to find Wong dead and the Sanctum destroyed, with the Dark Dimension already engulfing Earth. Strange uses the Eye to turn back time and save Wong, before creating an infinite time loop inside the Dark Dimension that traps himself and Dormammu in the same moment forever. Strange agrees to break the loop if Dormammu leaves Earth, and the latter takes Kaecilius and the zealots with him.

Mordor leaves as he is disgusted by the Ancient One’s and Strange’s breaking the laws of nature. Strange returns the Eye, which Wong calls an Infinity Stone, to Kamar-Taj, and then takes up residence in the New York Sanctum to continue his studies. In a mid-credits scene, Strange is visited there by Thor, who has brought his brother Loki to Earth to search for their father Odin. In a post-credits scene, Mordo visits Pangborn and steals the energy he uses to walk, stating that Earth has too many sorcerers.

What did I think of it? Visually it is stunny but is this really superhero stuff? Superhero movies and characters are either set in reality or a scifi reality setting with science doing the explanation. This is all magical, mystical, hocus pocus (well not really), astral projection, hippie-dippie, strange trip after an a dose of magic mushrooms or LSD and stuff you get in fantasy and Harry Potter films/books. I dunno how much I like that in this Marvel universe. The villain, played by awesome actor Mads Mikkelsen is too one dimensional but isn’t given much to work off. Rachel McAdams has some funny scenes but she too is wasted in this role. It’s a shame that she is shown as a comedic relief who is astonished by the things she sees in a movie that has Tilda Swinton kicking ass and looking brutal. But the film itself gets a 7.5 outta me mainly for the awesome visuals and the moments of humour.

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Musical Tastes

What sort of music was played in your house when you were growing up? What effect, (if any) did it have on your musical tastes?

When I was younger I guess the first music I remember listening and liking a lot is ABBA and Boney M. For years afterwards, like from age 15 till maybe 35, I felt like that music was too simple and cheesy and probably did not fit in with the kind of music that I wanted to listen to. Maybe even a bit kiddish. Now though I love them and ABBA’s songs especially seems so much more better.

Then it was Duran Duran, Culture Club, Bee Gees, Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5. Heavy emphasis on MJ. He was the first artist that I discovered on my own and started to really get into at the age of 7 or 8. I think MJ was my favourite singer/artist until I got into hard rock. Which started at the age of 10 when I first heard Bon Jovi & Europe.

How has this affected my musical tastes? Nothing other than I appreciate all kinds of good music (except repetitive dance music, processed pop music, rap n hip-hop and most Indian film stuff) and especially love the older stuff.

Prompt from The Daily Post at WordPress.com

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Jack Reacher : Never Go Back

Jack Reacher : Never Go Back is a 2016 American action thriller film directed by Edward Zwick and written by Zwick, Richard Wenk and Marshall Herskovitz. A sequel to 2012 film Jack Reacher, the film stars Tom Cruise, Cobie Smulders, Patrick Heusinger, Aldis Hodge, Danika Yarosh and Holt McCallany. Despite the fact that the first movie didn’t make the kinda money that the studios were expecting, 4 years later we do get a sequel.

Jack Reacher has been getting help from army major Susan Turner in some of his investigations and they strike up a friendship with mild flirting over the phone. A few months later Jack decides to go to his old military headquarters to meet Major Turner but instead is ushered to the office of old rival Colonel Sam Morgan, who tells him that Turner has been accused of espionage and detained. Also Susan left word that Reacher was not to be involved or get information about her case. With the help of a young officer Sgt Leach, who provides him with a few info, Jack meets Susan’s lawyer, Colonel Bob Moorcroft who is initially reluctant to share info. Moorcroft, reveals that there is evidence that Turner is involved in the murders of two soldiers in Afghanistan, but Reacher believes she is being framed. Moorcroft also reveals an old acquaintance of Reacher’s, Candice Dayton, has filed a paternity suit against him, claiming he’s the biological father of her 15-year-old daughter, Samantha Dayton. Moorcroft is later killed by an assassin known as “The Hunter”.

Reacher tracks down Samantha and sees her shop lifting. She confronts him and asks if he is a cop and rebuffs him, believing he’s after her biological mother due to her past as a drug addict. Reacher is later framed for Moorcroft’s murder and detained alongside Turner. Assassins arrive to kill them, but Reacher neutralizes them, rescues Turner and they escape to Morgan’s house, having deduced he’s involved in the conspiracy, to extract information. After they leave, the Hunter kills Morgan and frames Reacher. From a thumb drive Reacher & Turner find photos of Samantha and know that she is being watched, so they head to her home to find her foster parents dead and a Samantha hiding in the kitchen. Upon learning from Sergeant Leach, that he’s also been framed for Morgan’s death, Reacher decides to escort Samantha to a private school for protection, but discover that she has her mobile phone with her and the enemy probably knows exactly where they are. They discard the phone and make a quick exit, during which Samantha steals a backpack from one of the students to use the credit cards. Reacher, Turner and Samantha travel to New Orleans in search of Daniel Prudhomme, the only eyewitness to the murders that Turner has been framed for. They find him in a derelict warehouse filled with drug addicts and learn that Prudhomme is connected to Parasource, a private military organization that is trying to cover up the murders.

Reacher contacts Turner’s friend, Captain Anthony Espin, to move Prudhomme into custody, but they are ambushed by assassins and Prudhomme is killed, while Reacher rescues Espin and finds out that the assassins are Parasource contractors. Parasource’s CEO, General James Harkness, then sends his enforcer, the Hunter, to capture Samantha after she uses a credit card to order room service. Reacher and Turner, along with Espin, acting on information provided by Prudhomme, intercept a flight of weapons due to leave the country, where they confront Harkness and his men and accuse them of corruption. Upon opening the crates, however, Espin find weapons as declared in the flight manifest. Before Turner can be re-arrested, Reacher opens up one of the weapons crates and discovers that they are filled with opium. They learn that Harkness framed Turner, who had been investigating his activities, for the murders of two soldiers who discovered that Harkness was selling weapons to insurgents and smuggling drugs into the United States. Espin and his men then arrest Harkness, clearing Reacher’s and Turner’s names.

Reacher & Turner then head back to rescue Samantha from the Hunter and his goons as they chase the girl into the parade and onto a rooftop. Reacher and the Hunter drop from the roof onto the pavement and vicious fight that culminates with Reacher breaking the Hunter’s arm, leg and neck, before dropping him off the rooftop. Reacher then admits to Samantha he might be her father. Following Harkness’ arrest, Turner is reinstated in her old position and goes back to her office, where her collegues and Captain Espin all welcome her back. Reacher promises to keep in touch before meeting Samantha at a diner to meet Candice, but it turns out that Reacher isn’t her dad as they didn’t recognize each other. Reacher and Samantha then reluctantly part. While preparing to leave, a phone rings in Reacher’s pocket and finds Samantha’s phone, which she had slipped on his pocket, with a final goodbye. Reacher smiles as he hitches a ride to the nearest town.

I liked this one better than the first and thought it was more entertaining. Sure, stuff like this doesn’t really happen in real life as no way can a man do what Reacher does. 7.5 outta 10.

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As Above So Below

As Above, So Below is a 2014 American horror film written and directed by John Erick Dowdle and co-written by his brother Drew. The film was produced byLegendary Pictures and distributed by Universal Pictures, making it the first film in Legendary’s deal with Universal. he film was released August 29, 2014, and stars Perdita Weeks, Ben Feldman, Edwin Hodge, François Civil, Marion Lambert, and Ali Marhyar.

Scarlett, a professor and a scholar of alchemy continues her dead father’s work searching for the philosopher’s stone, a legendary alchemical substance capable of turning base metals into gold or silver and grant eternal life, discovered by Nicolas Flamel. After escaping death and/or being caught by authorities, she manages to find the “Rose Key” in a cave in Iran and takes pictures of the inscriptions before the cave collapses. She then heads to Paris and meets up with former lover George, a restorer of ancient artifacts who explicit knowledge of ancient as well as modern languages, to help her decipher the writings. Along with Benji the cameraman, they translate Flamel’s headstone, which contains a riddle that leads them 370 feet underneath the streets of Paris. She enlists the help of a guide called Papillon, his girlfriend Souxie, and friend Zed to search the Catacombs of Paris.

The group head in through a narrow side entrance and George almost decides not to go in (as he has claustrophobia) but a chasing cop makes him go in with the rest. After crawling through a narrow tunnel which collapses, they encounter female cultists who are singing and appear possessed. They find themselves in a blocked tunnel that Papillion is reluctant to breach, as the only people who have gone through, including Pap’s friend La Taupe (The Mole), have never been seen again. But as they go in they find La Taupe, who seems to have lost his mind, still alive and they follow him as he agrees to guide them out and informs them the only way out is down. They eventually find a tomb with a preserved Templar Knight, a mound of treasure, and the Flamel Stone. Removing the stone, Scarlett realizes too late that the treasure is a trap, and the room collapses. La Taupe is lost under the rubble and is left behind by the group.

Using the Flamel Stone Scarlett is able to heal the group’s injuries. They find a drawing of a door with a star of David on the ceiling which alerts them to a door hidden on the ground and gGoing through the opening, they find a tunnel marked with the phrase “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here” in Greek, identical to the entrance to Hell in Dante’s Inferno. In an inner room they find La Toupe who kills Souxie when she approaches him to help and then disappears in one of the tunnels. As they go in deeper Benji, who is alone on top for a few minutes tying a rope for the others to use, is pushed to his death by one of the female cultists. They encounter a burning car and an occupant, an incident from Pap’s past who pulls in Papillon and sinks into the floor. With his legs sticking out of the now solid ground, the others try in vain to pull him out but he is dead. As they continue, they see apparitions of terrifying spirits and demons. Statues in the wall come to life, and one violently attacks George. After trying to drag him further, George murmurs, “Vitriol”, another riddle from earlier, and Scarlett realizes the Flamel stone itself is yet another trap. Only by returning it will she find the real stone.

Scarlett battles a pool of blood and hands that try to grab her, sees an apparition of her hanging from a rope and then her dead father she returns to the crypt and finds a polished mirror, which is when she realizes she has the magical abilities of the stone. She returns to George, kissing him as heals him. She explains to George and Zed that as this place provides an alternate form of reality, they must fight their way through. As the hooded demons chase them, they find and jump down a deep hole. They first believe there is no logical way of surviving the fall but survive. At the bottom, they see the hole is no longer there. Eventually, Scarlett, George, and Zed find a manhole on the floor, which when pushed down delivers them right side up onto the surface, on a street overlooking the Notre Dame. Scarlett and George hold each other while Zed walks away, finally safe. In an ending log, Scarlett concludes her documentary by stating that her mission has been accomplished.

It was an ok movie, with an interesting premise. I wasn’t very happy with the camera stuff being like found footage but I guess it added to the frantic and claustrophobia feeling at times. Though parts of it I wasn’t too impressed, I especially liked the last 25 minutes or so. It helped that the lead actress is so cute, look at that smile and those lips. I’ll give it a 6.5 outta 10!

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Inferno is a 2016 American mystery thriller film directed by Ron Howard and written by David Koepp, based on the 2013 novel of the same name by Dan Brown. The film is the sequel to The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, and stars Tom Hanks, reprising his role as Robert Langdon, alongside Felicity Jones, Omar Sy, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Ben Foster and Irrfan Khan.

The movie starts off with billionaire geneticist Bertrand Zobrist,who believes that the world is overpopulated and that rigorous measures are necessary to reduce the population, being chased to a tower and who commits suicide rather than being caught from the group of men chasing him. Robert Langdon, awakens in a hospital room in Florence, Italia, with no memory of what has transpired over the last few days, but being plagued with visions of Hell. Dr. Sienna Brooks, one of the doctors tending to him, tells him that he is suffering from amnesia as a result of a bullet wound to his head. All of a sudden, Vayentha, a female assassin, shows up in the hospital. Sienna helps Langdon to escape, and they flee to her apartment. In his possession Langdon finds a Faraday Pointer with a modified version of Botticelli’s Map of Hell, which itself is based on Dante’s Inferno. Langdon & Sienna make out that Zobrist created a a virus with the potential of decimating the world’s population. Both the assassin and local law enforcement reach the apartment so the two escape via a different exit. Langdon’s knowledge of Dante’s work, history, and hidden passages in Florence allows the two to follow clues such as letters and phrases which lead to various locations in Florence and Venice, while evading the assassin and the authorities.

The assassin Zayenta works for a mysterious security company led by Harry Sims (Khan, what a ridiculous name your character has) who are acting on behalf of their client Bertrand Zobrist, who has provided Sims with a video message about the virus, to be broadcast after the virus has been released. The armed authorities turn out to be the World Health Organization (WHO), headed by Elizabeth Sinskey, trying to prevent the release of the virus. Shocked by the video, Sims allies with Sinskey. However, Langdon and Sienna are contacted by Bouchard, a man purporting to be working for the WHO, warning them that Sinskey has a double agenda and is after the virus for her own profit. The three cooperate for a while, until Langdon realizes that Bouchard’s story is a lie and that it is Bouchard who is after his own profit. Again, Sienna and Langdon flee. Langdon figures out that the virus is in the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. With that knowledge, Sienna abandons Langdon, after revealing that she is the lover of the late Zobrist and that she will ensure the release of the virus. Zobrist and Sienna used to play treasure hunt games; this treasure hunt was the backup plan in case something would happen to Zobrist. Langdon now joins Sims and Sinskey.

We learn that Sinskey and Landgon were romantic interests but their jobs in different parts of the world have kept them apart. It was she who asked Langdon for help in interpreting the imagery from the Faraday pointer. Langdon was then kidnapped by Sims’ men and drugged with benzodiazepine to induce a memory loss; the events in the hospital were all staged. The virus is in a plastic bag hidden under water in the Basilica Cistern in Istanbul. The WHO team with Langdon, Sims, and Sinskey race to locate and secure the bag while Sienna with two Turkish allies attempts to detonate an explosive that will rupture the bag and aerosolize the virus. The bag is secured just in time, while Sims, Sienna, and the two Turkish men are killed. The movie ends with Sinsky bidding farewell to Langdon, who takes some time out to return a Dante artifact back to it’s rightful museum before he leaves for Cambridge.

Kinda boring and haphazardly done to keep you entertained or interested in the story. I found it lackluster. The characters aren’t as interestingly or well done as the previous two films. Irffan Khan; never liked him before and certainly here he is the weak point with that ridiculous character. The Sinskly – Langdon relationship should have been explored more and I wish it ended better. 6 outta 10!

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Central Intelligence

Central Intelligence is a 2016 American action comedy film directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber and written by Thurber, Ike Barinholtz and David Stassen. The film stars Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson with Amy Ryan, Danielle Nicolet and Aaron Paul.

The movie is about Calvin Joyner, a former high school star athlete and academic student, who finds himself stuck in a job he isn’t enjoying and getting passed over for promotion. One afternoon he gets a Facebook invite from Bob Stone aka Robbie Wierdicht, an old friend from school, a chubby guy who was picked on and made fun off and who was tossed into a full sports hall buck naked by the school bullies. On that night in 1996, only Calvin and his then girlfriend now his wife Maggie felt bad for Robbie and Calvin gave him his jacket to cover himself up. Not wanting to go to therapy with his wife, Calvin agrees to meet Bob for drinks and is shocked to see that Bob is now a muscle bound tall guy who beats up some bullies at the bar.

After a night of catching up Bob asks review a few accounting records. Calvin deciphers the records as multi-million dollar transactions from an auction, with the final payment set to be made the following day. Bob avoids Calvin’s questions and spends the night on his couch. The next morning CIA agents shows up at the house and demand to see Bob, who has escaped, and say he is a dangerous rogue agent who intends to sell satellite codes to the highest bidder. Calvin finds himself in the middle as a thrilling adventure takes place and he reluctantly is in the middle of a shootout, fights with tough agents and car chases. Bob is blamed for the death of his partner but is really a killer and a rougue or is he being framed? Will the two sort out the mess and get back in time to attend their 20th year class reunion?

There’s a lot of laughs, some slick action, cool moves and stuff flying or jumping around. Although Kevin Hart is funny at times his shouting, yelling and screaming can get on one’s nerves. Johnson is actually more cool and calm in his role and shows his funny side. It was a fun film though the story is wonky. 7.5 outta 10 for a lazy afternoon’s watch.

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