At The Devil’s Door

A movie titled like that is sure to get it’s share of people checking it out. I expected a lot more from this film, even after glancing through it’s synopsis but I was somewhat disappointed. At The Devil’s Door is 2014 horror film directed by Nicholas McCarthy and starring Catalina Sandino Moreno, Ashley Rickards & Naya Rivera.

Teenager Hannah is with her new boyfriend who takes her to meet a man in a trailer who offers her $500 to play a game and “sell her soul”. Not making much of it she agrees and wins a round of the shells game. The man tells her she’s been chosen, and to go down to where the roads meet and say her name (so he knows her name when he calls for her). Later that night at her house, she hears a male voice from her closet that says “come to me” and she is attacked by an unseen entity that lifts her in the air and then throws her down with some force. The movie then shifts to Leigh, a real estate agent who has just visited the now empty house that Hannah lived in and she sees a girl in a raincoat who walks away without saying a word. Leigh then goes to her artist sister Vera at the latter’s house and offered to buy one of her works, even though Vera wants to gift it to her. Later Leigh meets the owners of the house are trying to sell the house due to being unable to pay the mortgage since Chuck, the husband got sick. Leigh tells them that she say a girl there earlier and the couple say that it must have been their daughter Charlene who has been missing for several months (they think she ran away with her boyfriend).

Later when Leigh is at the house awaiting some inspection crew she see the girl again and takes her out of the rain and to her own home. As Charlene sits in the kitchen Leigh calls Chuck and says that she has his daughter with her but is stunned to hear Chuck tell her that police picked Charlene up at a local mall hours ago and that she is with him. Leigh then sees the girl’s picture in an newspaper article among the files for the house – it is Hannah White, who committed suicide back in 1987. Leigh notices Hannah is gone and she goes around the house to look for her. She finds her in an empty room staring into a mirror. When Leigh asks who she is, Leigh falls to the floor and her heart stops. A grey creature comes out of Hannah. The next day Vera is contacted by the police to come to identify the body of her sister Leigh, who died the day before. Vera finds the same files in Leigh’s home and goes to the empty house where she too sees Hannah who then takes out. Vera then goes to see Charlene who is in an institute and she tells her that she saw the same girl and what looked like a dark figure of man watching her through a mirror.

Vera then goes to see one of Hannah’s old friends who says that Hannah was pregnant before she committed suicide and that she wasn’t herself the last few days she was alive. Also that Hannah claimed a demon was inside of her, wearing her body like a costume. That night at her own loft Vera is awakened by a voice that says “come to me” and she sees a demonic face in the mirror. The entity then attacks her and throws her out the building window onto the roof of a car. When she comes to at the hospital she is told that she was in a coma for 8 months that she was also pregnant at the time. The baby is safe and progressing along fine but Vera wants it out of her. During her ultrasound, Vera sees a demonic face on the monitor and demands an immediate C-section. Refusing to hold or look at the baby she gives the baby up for adoption and after a week later, Vera goes back to Leigh’s house to gather some of her sisters belongings before leaving town.

6 years later Vera tracks down her baby, a girl and meets the mother. While the mother is in another room Vera asks the girl why she was chosen and that she knows who the girl is. The girl hands a finished puzzle to Vera and then leaves the house and runs into a partially completed house in the woods. Vera chases after her with a knife and in a room sees a dark shadow of a demon which then changes shape to that of the girl and almost stabs the girl with the knife. We then see the girl’s mother running to the house searches desperately for her daughter who she cannot find.
In Vera’s car, the little girl and Vera prepare to leave when the girl touches Vera’s hand and says, “I knew you’d come back for me, mommy.” The end!

For a movie that is about the anti-christ or coming of the devil in human form, it’s not very scary (just a couple of jump scares) and falters to excite you as anything worthy of Satan’s spawn should do. Hannah’s angst at trying to burn the money to get rid of the entity and on failing to do so tries to bury it but it still comes back is good but the film hinting that she probably harmed an infant she was babysitting and not doing so – what? The film didn’t really work for me although it is worth a watch. 6.5 outta 10!

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A Luc Besson direction, Lucy is an English language French science fiction  action flick starring Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Amr Waked and Choi Min-sik. Shot in Taipei, Paris & New York the movie is about a woman who gains psychokinetic abilities from a nootropic drug being absorbed into her bloodstream.

Lucy is an American student in Taipei and gets tricked into delivering a suitcase to Korean mob boss & drug lord Mr. Jang at a hotel by a man she just started dating. While she waits at the lobby, the boyfriend is killed and she is taken up to Jang’s suite by his goons. The suitcase contains four large vials of a new synthetic drug called CPH4 and the goons have the vials surgically inserted into the abdomens of Lucy and 3 other unwitting drug mules who will deliver the drugs to various cities in Europe. Lucy is taken away to a warehouse and while in captivity, one of her captors kicks her hard in the stomach which releases a large quantity of the drug into her system.  As a result, she begins acquiring increasingly enhanced physical and mental capabilities, such as telepathy, telekinesis, mental time travel, and can choose not to feel pain or other discomforts, in addition to other abilities. Using her new found abilities, she dispatches her captors and escapes.

She goes to a hospital nearby and has a surgeon remove the bag of drugs at gunpoint and Lucy is told by the operating doctor of the volatile nature of the drug, based on a substance given to fetuses during prenatal development, and its destructive side-effects. Lucy then goes back to the hotel where Mr. Jang stays and kills a bunch of his men, stabs the mob boss’s hands and telepathically extracts the locations of all three drug mules from his brain. She then goes to her friend’s place and uses the internet to find out about & contact a well-known scientist and doctor, Professor Samuel Norman, whose research may be the key to saving her. She does this by controlling his phones, computers and tv to convince him of her genuineness. Lucy then contacts Paris police captain Pierre Del Rio and tells him about the remaining 3 bags of drugs that is being smuggled. During her flight to Paris Lucy starts to disintegrate when she takes a sip of champagne as her cells destabilize, due to the alcohol which makes her body inhospitable for cellular reproduction. She rushes to the bathroom and ingests more of the CPH4 which stabilizes her. Meanwhile the Korean drug gang had captured the 3 mules and taken the drugs from them.

As her powers grow Lucy is able to telepathically incapacitate armed police and members from the Korean drug gang and with the help of Del Rio she takes the 3 drugs back from them and hurries to meet Professor Norman, with whom she agrees to share everything she now knows, after he points out that the main point of life is to pass on knowledge. Jang and his men now in Paris have a shootout with the Paris police while Lucy speaks to Prof. Norman discusses the nature of time and life and how people’s humanity distorts their perceptions. She has his fellow scientists intravenously inject her with the contents of all three remaining bags of CPH4. She begins to metamorphose into a black substance which begins to spread over the computers and other devices in the lab and transform these into an unconventionally shaped, next generation supercomputer that will contain all of her enhanced knowledge of the universe. She then travels through space and time back into the past and sees the oldest discovered ancestor of mankind, implied to be Lucy, and touches fingertips with her. Jang then enters the lab, having killed off most the cops and his own men all dead, intending to kill the scientists and Lucy. Just before he shoots her Lucy reaches 100% of her cerebral capacity and disappears within the spacetime continuum, where she explains that everything is connected and existence is only proven through time. Left behind are only her clothes and the oddly shaped black supercomputer.

Jang is shot dead by an injured but still alive Del Rio and Professor Norman takes a black, monolithic flash drive offered by the advanced supercomputer before it disintegrates into dust. When Del Rio asks where Lucy is, he gets a message on his phone from her that say she is everywhere. As the film fades to black Lucy’s voice is heard stating, “Life was given to us a billion years ago. Now you know what to do with it.”

I think the movie has a lot of good points and has shot some of the scenes really well. As for the science, I guess they take a lot of liberties with it but that still makes for a good movie. I still have some issue with the plot. It was a box office success, grossing over $458 million against a budget of $40 million. 8 outta 10!

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The Maze Runner

Based on James Dashner’s 2009 novel of the same name, The Maze Runner is a 2014 American science fiction dystopian action thriller film directed by Wes Ball. The film, which is one of the latest in the spurt of  young adult themed semi-scifi kinda fiction, is the first installment in The Maze Runner film series and was produced by Ellen Goldsmith-Vein, Wyck Godfrey, Marty Bowen, and Lee Stollman with a screenplay by Noah Oppenheim, Grant Pierce Myers, and T.S. Nowlin. The film stars Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Will Poulter, and Ki Hong Lee.

A teenage boy wakes up inside a rusty elevator that has come up from several levels below and is greeted by several other unfamiliar boys on a grassy enclave.  He makes a run from them but finds that the clearing, called The Glade, is surrounded by huge stone walls. The boy has no memory of who he is and how or where he came from but the leader of the group of all boys, Albi, says that he will remember his name in a little while. The boys all work and survive together in a sort of community and the boy is befriended by the second in command Newt, who shows him the work in the garden, and a chubby younger boy called Chuck. All the boys came up to the surface in the same way, one at a time every 30 days, without their memory and only remembers their name after a couple of days. The boy wonders what is beyond the opening in the wall adjacent to the Glade, but he is warned not to go through there, being that it is a maze. Newt, second in command and gardener, explains that the Maze is the only way out. The most able boys become Runners, who are the only ones allowed into the Maze. They search for an escape route during the day, but return before nightfall, since the Maze entrance closes at dusk, and no one has ever survived a night in the Maze.

That night at a bonfire party the boy remembers his name, Thomas, after a brief fight with Gally, one of the stronger boy. The next day Thomas is attacked by Ben, who has been stung by a griver, one of the deadly part organic-part robotic creature that prowls the Maze at night and the other boys capture him and banish him into the Maze, forcing Ben inside it as the walls close. The next day Minho, the leader of the runners and Albi go into the Maze to retrace Ben’s path but Alby is stung and rendered unconscious. Minho appears at dusk, dragging Alby towards, but is unable to reach the entrance in time. Seeing this, Thomas runs into the maze to try and help. All three boys survive the night, with Thomas successfully killing a Griever by tricking it into running into a closing wall, crushing the Griever, and they return the next day with Alby to the astonishment of the other boys. Gally fears that the peace between the Grivers and the boys will come to an end, wants to punish Thomas by banishing him into the Maze but Newt overrules him and makes Thomas a runner. The next morning a few of the runners with Thomas & Minho go into the Maze and find the corpse of the Griver and retrieve a mechanial part which has an LCD display with the number 7 on it, corresponding a certain section of the maze.

The next morning the very first girl is sent up via the elevator with two syringes of a medical substance and a note that reads that she is the final person to be sent. The girl, Teresa knows Thomas but he does not remember her. The boys use one of the syringes on Alby and he starts to recover. Minho shows Thomas a model of the Maze he has created with all the data they collected during the last 3 years and the two of them go back in discovering an escape route. They barely make it back after being forced to retreat by collapsing sections, and inform the others. That night the Grivers attack killing some of the boys including Albi. Thomas stabs himself in the leg with a severed sting and remembers that he and Teresa were part of the organization that created the Maze, and that all of this was a test, and not imprisonment as they all were supposing so. Gally blames Thomas and Teresa for everything and attempts to execute them. The Gladers stop him, and most of them follow Thomas through the maze’s escape route. They battle the Grivers losing a couple of the boys along the way and using the pattern in which the Maze sections open up every day, which Minho has memorized, unlock a password locked door behind which they find a lab with a lot of dead scientists lying about.

A video plays in which a woman explains that the earth has been devastated by solar flares and a pandemic, The youths in the Glade were all part of an experiment researching their apparent resistance to the pandemic. At the end of the recording, she shoots herself in the head as the lab is attacked. Gally then shows up with a gun he found and shoots at Thomas but Chuck jumps in the way and is killed while Minho kills Gally using a spear. Armed masked men rush in to take the group away to a helicopter and fly them over the walls and reveals a vast desert and they approach the ruins of a destroyed city. In the final scene the scientists, all alive having faked the scene in the lab, sit at a table and the woman states that the experiment has been a success, the group havingbought the bait, and the survivors are now entering Phase Two.

Not bad as far as the young adult films goes (I have no idea how the books are) and there is very little cliched stuff in it. The execution is good and I think the actors chosen did a commendable job. I’m not fully convinced though as we don’t too much of an explanation but seeing as this is the first of a series of films that negates some of it. I’d have to say this is a 7.5 outta 10!

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Jessabelle is a 2014 horror movie directed by Kevin Greutert and written by Ben Garant. he film stars Sarah Snook, Mark Webber, Joelle Carter, David Andrews, Amber Stevens and Ana de la Reguera. The movie is about ghosts and possessions and is produced by Jason Blum who also produced Insidious, Sinister & The Purge.

Jessie, a young woman who is moving to her boyfriend’s place, is in an accident that kills her boyfriend and also her unborn baby. Having injured her legs badly that she needs a wheelchair, the hospital make her call her estranged father, who she hasn’t seen in ages, to come pick her up when she is discharged. Her dad comes and picks her up in his truck and takes her home to his farm house in St. Francis, Louisiana. He sets her up in his wife’s, Jessie’s mom’s, old room which hasn’t been used in a while. Jessie’s mom Kate had died a little after giving birth due to cancer, which she hadn’t allowed to be treated with chemo. After a couple of awkward days spent mostly alone by her self, Jessie finds a few old VHS tapes in a box labeled “Jessabelle” and pops on in in the VCR. She sees a taping of her mother Kate, still pregnant at the time, back in 1988 who is addressing her unborn daughter.

In the video Kate does a card reading for her daughter in which “transition” comes up. The next card says that she has never left St. Francis and that she is never going to leave – which is untrue for Jessie. The third card is Water and Jessie laughs as she doesn’t know how to swim. She reads that Jessie is not alone, that there is a presence in the house with her, a female who wants her out of the house. At this point her dad walks in and breaks the tape and tells Jessie not to watch that garbage. He is so angry that he dumps the wheelchair into the bayou. That night Jessie sees a girl in a wheelchair in her room that latter disappears. In the morning she sees an old wheelchair, which her dad says he left there. He apologizes for his behaviour and says that it was Kate’s, which he found in the shed. After he leaves Jessie pops in another video in which her mother says that she spoke to Moses about the reading that he said the presence is a demon, and she should stop blaming herself for an accident that happened. Her mother then gives her another reading. Death comes up again, meaning transition, but further reading shows a very horrible death.

The next day a physiotherapists comes to the house and places Jessie in the bath and leaves the room for a bit. Jessie falls asleep and is attacked by a ghost girl as the bathtub fills with dark blood. Hearing her screams her father comes in and she opens her eyes, the attack seemingly a hallucination. The dad gets upset and makes the physio leave and on finding the rest of the tapes, attempts to burn it in the trash. However as he goes in to the shed for matches, it closes and locks by itself and the shed is accidentally set on fire, killing him and Jessie is unable to get to him. At the funeral she meets her childhood friend Preston but a hallucination of a partial burned African-American man makes her faint. After recovering she goes to have lunch with Preston and tells him about the tapes and that she’s been having nightmares. Later on her own at night she watches more tapes and in one of them is of her parents at Christmas and another is of her mother telling Jessabelle that she is already dead. The ghost then begins attacking Jessie, again leading to her discovery of another tape in the wall.

She calls Preston and after he comes they investigate lights across the bayou and find voodoo objects and a small grave labeled Jessabelle. Preston opens it up and finds the skeleton of a baby, which they think was still born, and they call the police who take the remains for analysis. The next day Preston takes Jessie to see a lady who used to cook for her parents and who’s son was a friend of Preston. On seeing Jessie the old woman starts chanting a voodoo song to allow spirits to possess people and she gets a bit violent. They leave and try to find Moses but only find his shrine with voodoo objects. While there, a group of men find them, attack Preston and tell them to leave. Preston takes Jessie home to get her things so she can stay at his mother’s, but he is attacked by the ghost and is taken to the hospital. Jessie later learns from the sheriff that the baby was African-American who was murdered after she was born, which leads Jessie to believe that the spirit, that of the baby, needs saving. When she is alone, she tries to talk to the ghost. She finds the last tape on the coffee table and plays it. She sees a white baby and her mother. At first it looks as if the mother will kill the baby but instead she curses her with a voodoo spell and then shoots herself.

It is then that Kate’s spirit appears and the truth comes out. The baby was half black because Kate had an affair with her friend Moses and he is father of the baby. When Jessie’s dad sees the baby, Kate’s infidelity comes out in the open and enraged he kills the baby and then Moses and adopted Jessie to hide this. Moses’s spirit also appears and together they tie Jessie’s hands and push her into the bayou. Preston & the sheriff see her from afar and rush to the edge of the water. As Jessie sinks to the bottom, Jessabelle comes up to her and takes her bracelet and swims to the surface, having assumed the form of Jessie. Preston lift her out of the water and takes her inside the house and when the Sheriff asks “Jessie” if she is alright – calling her Miss Laurent – she replies with a sly look, “It’s Jessabelle.” Spooky!

I would say that I like this film, though the “twist” ending is foreseeable by a mile. I still enjoyed them film and the lead actress Sarah Snook is very effective in her sweetness and vulnerability. No one else stands out but I will give it a 6.5 outta 10!

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Left Behind (2014)

I must admit I had no clue going in that this film would be this bad! But what did you expect? Left Behind is a 2014 Christian film about the apocalyptic rapture film directed by Vic Armstrong and written by Paul LaLonde and John Patus. The film is based on the novel of the same name written by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins and stars Nicolas Cage, Chad Michael Murray, Cassi Thomson, Nicky Whelan, and Jordin Sparks. Yes, Cage has fallen to act in such drivel.

Ok, so what is this movie about? It’s about the rapture – where Yahweh is supposed to instantly beam or take all his believers into heaven and leave all the rest behind – that is believed to happen just before the end of days. The events of the film focus on one city (supposed to be NYC) & her people are shown and one plane and it’s crew plus passengers. Chloe is home from college to celebrate her pilot father’s birthday but is upset to learn that he is scheduled to be flying from New York to London. Things have been rough at home ever since Chloe’s mom Irene became a devout Christian, spouting off Bible quotes and heavy on the prayers. Her dad Rayford is flirting heavily with the pretty blonde stewardess  Hattie who is on the same plane, when Chloe sees him. Hattie accidentally finds out that Rayford has plans to spend his London trip with Hattie and she goes up upset.

At home after brushing off Irene’s religious concerns & preachings Chloe goes to the mall with her young brother and it is there that the shit hits the fan! Her brother disappears from her arms, as do several other people at the mall. Panic ensues and you see looting, shoving, and absolute mayhem. A driverless car crashes through the window and when Chloe is outside a small planet crashes into her car. She run to the hospital (for what?) and finds all the babies have disappeared from their cribs. She also sees television reports of chaos on the streets and of people disappearing. Meanwhile on the plane a bunch of people including the co-pilot and a stewardess have also disappeared, leaving their clothing & personal belongings behind, causing panic among the remaining passengers. A mother cries out about her young daughter missing cries while a drug addict woman freaks out as she knows what is happening. With the help of Cameron, who is on the same flight, Rayford tries his best to calm things down. An antagonistic man sees a muslim praying and has suspicions on him. Rayford has difficulty getting radio or cell phone contact with anyone on the ground, until he is finally informed that people have disappeared everywhere and the world is in uproar. Soon a pilotless jet approaches directly into Rayford’s flight path. He narrowly avoids a midair collision but the jet damages Rayford’s fuel line. He decides his only option is to return to New York and hope his fuel holds out.

Chloe meanwhile goes home and finds the shower still on and her mom’s jewellery on the shower floor and goes to their church and finds it empty with the exception of their family pastor. He explains that god has taken all his believers to heaven while those that remain must face the end of days. When Chloe asks her how come he wasn’t taken, the pastor says that he never truly believed in what he preached as he had doubts. Back on the plane, Rayford confesses to Hattie that he is married and has 2 children and she is upset as she didn’t know that he was married. Chloe feels that everything is hopeless and climbs on top of a bridge to jump to her death but at that precise moment – it’s a fucking miracle – her phone rings! Hallelujah! It’s Cameron who along with Rayford has been trying to contact her several times and it is at this precise moment that the connection gets through! Rayford apologizes to his daughter saying that it is all his fault for the rift between her mom and him.  He loves her and “I love you daddy” and but bitch this plane has no runway to land. So Chloe finds an abandoned Ford truck and uses it to clear away the equipment from a bridge under construction in order to create a makeshift runway. And she uses a Compass app and tells Rayford the coordinates of the landing site.

Using all his skills Rayford is able to make the emergency landing, saving everyone on board. As Chloe is reunited with Rayford and Cameron, they look onto a city or make that world in chaos and fire and she says this is just the beginning! What a lousy film! Shit script, horrendous acting and nonsensical cliched dialogues. Even most devout Christians would be ashamed of this drivel and they were as the rantings in critical websites show. But I laughed a lot! 3 outta 10!

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Guardians Of The Galaxy

Guardians Of The Galaxy is a comic series that I have had no idea about till very recently. I must admit that I was never that much into comics as a kid and kinda stopped being interested in reading the superhero comic books and cartoon series by age 13. Ofcourse I was a fan of the big ones like Superman, Batman, Spider-man etc but beyond knowing the names and superpowers of some of the rest, I knew very little. With the success of the recent spate of Marvel superheroes coming to life on the big screen (and one fine tv series) in a big way, I am atleast interested in learning much more about the Marvel universe. And also, I prefer to call these as Science fiction movies with action themes, as that’s basically what they are. So, Guardians Of The Galaxy is a 2014 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. The film was directed by James Gunn, who wrote the screenplay with Nicole Perlman, and features an ensemble cast including Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, and Benicio del Toro.

What’s cool about this film? First of all let me take a minute to praise the casting. Chris Pratt’s time is now and he is making big bucks in big movies and will go on to be a big star for years. Dave Bautista was actually pretty decent in his role as Drax the Destroyer though he does look and behave a lot like like a wrestler who has been “pained”. But it works here. The voice of Bradley Cooper, thought not really recognizable as him, works well for the character of Rocket the genetically engineered racoon. Groot ofcourse has captured a lot of hearts and launched the “I Am Groot” saying and seems to be a fa favourite. Zoe Saldana plays the orphaned assassin Gamora who was sent by Thanos to work for Ronan and does justice to that role. Lee Pace is ok as the main villain of Ronan as does Karen Gillan as Nebula, the other adopted daughter of Thanos, and the female villain. Michael Rooker is awesome in his “not a bad man, not a good man” character of Yondu Udonta. John C Reilly, Glenn Close & Benetio Del Toro are good as always but why waste Del Toro in a small role?

The movie is quite light hearted in nature, even when compared to the other superhero movies of late, this is probably the most hilarious one with lots of jokes. I think the cast gelled well and there is a lot of chemistry between them. The special effects are awesome and I just love the scenes in space and the spaceships fighting. The scenes in the dead planet of Morag looked awesome as does the planet Xandar which is awesome looking. Some of the aliens and alien technology looks great as well. Designs of the ships, spectacular! Buildings – great. But what is even better was the choice of the music. As a young kid back in 1986 Peter had a walkman with a cassette tape of his mum’s favourite songs and he keeps that with him and we hear the songs playing throughout the film as part of the soundtrack. The dancing and miming to the song on Morag is fun to watch. I think the choice of music is big factor in the fun element of this film.

So overall how good is this film? I give it an 8 outta 10, thoroughly enjoyable though the villains are mostly predictable and a bit stale. I felt that they could have done more with the villains and perhaps utilized Del Toro a bit more. The revelation of Peter being half-alien – I could have seen that coming a mile away and about the time the mother died (please note I know nothing about this character prior to this movie) and Yondu remarking that it turned out well that they did not deliver Quill to his father per their contract. Makes me think what plans they have for Peter’s heritage being revealed in further movies (“Peter, I am your father”, “NO!”. Lol, maybe or maybe not!

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Flowers In The Attic (1987)

A movie that (I remembered very little of it) I had watched in my cousins’ house back in 1989. Flowers In The Attic is a 1987 film starring Louise Fletcher, Victoria Tennant, Kristy Swanson, and Jeb Stuart Adams and based on the 1979 novel of the same name by V. C. Andrews. Directed by Jeffrey Bloom & produced by Sy Levin & Thomas Fries, the incest story is toned down in the final cut of the film.

The Dollanganger family – mother Corrine, teenagers Chris & Cathy and 5 year twins Cory & Carrie – are devastated when their doting father is killed on his 35th birthday in a car crash. He left the family with a heavy debt and Corrine is forced to sell most of their belongings and finally the house. Broke, she takes her kids with her to her wealthy parents’ huge estate. She tells the kids that the reason they never saw their grandparents till now was because of something that she did many years ago and that her father was upset with her. After a long journey they reach the estate and Corrinne’s religious fanatic mother Olivia takes them in, with the condition that the children are to be locked in a bedroom on the top floor and that her husband Malcolm not know of their existence. Olivia & Corrine leave the children in the locked room.

Later Olivia reveals the shocking truth to the kids; their father was Corrine’s uncle and Malcolm’s much younger brother making the children products of an incestuous marriage. As penance for her incestuous relationship, Corrinne was whipped by Olivia in front of a bedridden Malcolm. Corinne tells the children that their confinement will only be for a short time: her father is deathly ill, and once she is able to win back his love, he will write her back in his will, giving her a large inheritance and they will be free when he dies. The children are given access to the attic, which has a secret door through the closet in their room, which they clean up and make it a garden/playroom and where they spend most of their time. Olivia has John the butler bring the children their food on a daily basis but Corrinne’s visist become sporadic as the weeks turn into months and finally she stops coming. Olivia becomes obsessed with Chris & Cathy thinking that they will become lovers, when she finds them sleeping in the same bed one morning and another time when she finds Chris talking with Cathy as the latter is bathing in the tub. The grandmother smashes Cathy’s ballerina music box, given to her by her deceased father and calls then sinners. Chris chases her out the second time but she later catches Cathy alone and cuts of most of her hair.

Olivia them starves the children for a week who become ill without food and their skin becomes pale. Cory is the worst off and Chris is forced to feed him his blood to keep him alive. When Corrinne finally shows up with gifts, dressed in the finest and looking healthy and well fed, and says that her father has forgiven her and is planning a party for her, after which he plans to change his will. As Cathy lashes out at her and Chris questions her long absence their mother gets upset and says that she won’t return to see them until they apologize. The food starts coming back but the kids are still sick. Chris & Cathy remove the door secretly from it’s hinges and sneak off to see the party, watching their mother dancing with a man and being given a ring by him. They also find her bedroom which is lavish & luxurious with a giant wardrobe. They try to escape at night but find guard dogs loose in the grounds. Cory becomes too sick to move and the children ask Olivia and Corinne to take Cory to the hospital during an argument in which Corrinne & Cathy slap each other. Cory is taken to a hospital but later Corinne returns to inform them he has died.

The devastated children learn that Cory’s pet mouse has died after eating a cookie from their breakfast tray and Chris does research using books from the attic library and comes to the conclusion that their are being poisoned using arsenic mixed with sugar on the cookies. That night sneaks out to steal some money and overhears the plans for a wedding – between Corrinne and the man she was dancing with – to be held in the mansion the next day. The next morning the remaining 3 children dress in fancier clothes found in the attic and, on finding Olivia sneaking into their room, Chris beats her unconscious with a broken bedpost. They then find out that their grandfather has been dead for over 2 months and find a copy of his will in which he had left all his wealth to Corrinne; however a clause states that if it is ever revealed Corinne had children from her first marriage, she will be disinherited and lose all of her money. They realize that Corinne was the one poisoning the cookies, not their grandmother. They kids crash the wedding revealing their mother’s actions to everyone there. Corrinne denies that they are her children but the damage is done.

As Cathy confronts her mother about poisoning them and killing Cory in the process, she tries to make her eat some of the poisoned cookie, Corrinne stumbles out to the balcony and trips and falls to her death, strangled by her own wedding gown caught on the side of the house. The children then leave the estate watched by their grandmother who glares at them from a window. The narrator (an older Cathy’s voice) says that the children did manage to survive all by themselves although Carrie was “never truly healthy”. She wonders aloud if her grandmother is still alive, anticipating Cathy’s eventual return to claim the family’s fortune.

Interesting movie with a unique story, some sadness and melancholy and a bit of psychological horror. The incestuous relationship between Chris & Cathy is toned down for the film (in the book they fall in love during the 2 years they spend in the house and Chris angrily rapes her at one point). There’s even a jealously angle hinted in the beginning as the father clearly favours Cathy and when she hugs him closely on getting a gift, Corrinne is seen watching them from behind a door. I see that movie was successful but was panned by critics and fans of the novel. I still like it though it is quite dull in places. 7 outta 10!

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Dracula Untold

In one of a countless depictions of the legend, Dracula Untold is a 2014 reimagining of the story of Vlad the Impaler and creating an origin story for the Count. A dark fantasy with supernatural elements film it is directed by Gary Shore in his feature film debut and written by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless. Luke Evans portrays the title character, and Sarah Gadon, Dominic Cooper, Art Parkinson, and Charles Dance appear in supporting roles.

After being sent by his father to be trained as a soldier for the powerful Turkish Sultan, Prince Vlad has grown to become a feared warrior earning the nickname the Impaler after slaughter thousands. Grown weary of fighting, he returns to take his place as the prince of Transylvania and rules in peace. While in the woods Vlad and his men find a Turkish helmet and fearing an invasion, he sends the rest of his party back home while he proceeds with 2 soldiers towards the trail that leads to a cave on a mountain side. Inside an ancient vampire attacks and kills the two soldiers but Vlad is able to escape at the mouth of the cave as the creature cannot go into daylight. Vlad rushes back to his castle finds out from a local monk that the creature is vampire, once a man who made a pact with a demon in return for special powers.

While celebrating Easter in the castle with his wife Mirena and their son Ingeras and their subjects, a Turkish contingent enters the castle and ask about some dead Turkish soldiers that they found.Vlad offers the regular tribute of silver coins but denies having killed the soldiers. The Turks then demand an additional 1000 young boys to be sent for training, a practise that was stopped for years. Vlad refuses and since his army is small goes to see the current Turkish Sultan, who he knew from their childhood, and asks that the boys not be taken. The Sultan, Mehmed, instead insists that the boys be sent with the soldiers and also includes Ingeras be included just as Vlad himself was. A desperate Vlad goes back to the cave and pleads with the vampire for help. The vampire offers him his blood, which will give him the powers of a vampire for 3 days; if Vlad resists the temptation to drink human blood for those 3 days he will return to normal at the end of it. Vlad agrees and drinks the blood, gaining heiaghtened senses, super strength and the ability to transform into a flock of bats but his skin burns in sunlight.

As the Turkish army attacks at night Vlad is able to single handedly destroy most of their forces and sends his people to a monastry. Enroute Mirena learns of his new found powers but is ok as long as he returns to normal at the end of those 3 days. As they near the monastery, the Transylvanians are ambushed by Turkish soldiers, and while Vlad and his men successfully repel them, Vlad’s sudden increased strength arouses suspicion among his subjects. The next day the monk traps him in a small building and opens the flaps to burn him. Some of the people join in and burn the building but using his powers Vlad is able to send a black cloud to block the sunlight & escapes the fire, and angrily reveals that he became a vampire for the sole purpose of protecting his people from the Turks. That night as a huge army attacks, Vlad transforms in swarm of bats and kills a lot of them but a small decoy kidnaps Ingeras and Mirena is pushed, falling to her death.Vlad is unable to save her and as she lays dying in his arms, she begs him to drink her blood before the sun rises completely, and make him a vampire permanently. He does and as Mirena dies, Vlad is transformed into a vampire. As this happens the old vampire is released from his curse and can now escape the cave.

Vlad then transforms a few of the injured survivors among his people into vampires and they attack the Sultan’s camp, killing off all the soldiers. Mehmed uses bags of silver coins to weaken Vlad but in the end Vlad kills the sultan, drinking his blood and freeing his son and takes the name Dracula, son of the Devil! However the other vampires demand that the boy be killed being the only human in their group. The monk who had previously led the Transylvanians against Vlad appears and keeps the vampires at bay with the Christian Cross. Dracula orders the monk to take Ingeras away, then uses his power to clear the black clouds in the sky, burning all the vampires into dust and he himself becomes a charred corpse. Ingeras is crowned prince of Translvania as the Turkish empire’s threat is no more and Vlad the Impaler is presumed dead. However, Shkelgim, a slave who had earlier approached Vlad to be turned into a vampire, secretly takes Dracula into the shadows and revives him with his blood. As the movie ends, it is now present day (London I think) and Dracuala is walking on the streets when he sees Mina, a young woman who looks a lot like Mirena, and strikes up a conversation with her. The vampire who cursed Vlad watches them from afar, and anticipates what he has planned for Dracula in the future, saying, “Let the games begin.”

It’s an ok movie for Dracula I guess, nothing special or memorable. Focusing on the real prince but adding the origin story for the later legends probably will set it apart. The ending seems to me like they want the movie to be the first of a series about Dracula. Who knows? I’ll give it a 7 outta 10!

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Obvious Child

Written and directed by Gillian Robespierre (based on her 2009 short film) Obvious Child is an American romantic comedy film stars Jenny Slate, Jake Lacy, Gaby Hoffmann and David Cross with Richard Kind and Polly Draper. The film is Robespierre’s directorial debut and focuses on abortion.

Donna Stern is a young 28 year old woman who works at a struggling book store and does regular gigs as stand up comedian at a small bar. On her birthday her boyfriend breaks up with her as he often gets embarrassed when she talks about their sex life on stage for laughs. He also has been cheating on her with a close friend and proceeds to move in with her right after. Heartbroken she drinks a lot and gets sympathy from her best friend and roommate Nelli as well as Joey, their gay friend who is also a comedian. She is about to get another bit of unpleasant news when her boss says that the book store is closing as they don’t make enough profit and have 6 weeks to sell as much of their stock as possible. As Donna visits her divorced parents separately and drowns in pity.

One evening at the bar she meets a preppy & studious Max with whom she hits it off as they spend the rest of the night drinking and end up in bed. To her chagrin she discovers that she is pregnant. Nelli, who went through an abortion in her teens offers her support and says that although she often thinks of her unborn child, she never regretted the decision. Although she keeps running into Max she doesn’t tell him about the pregnancy. She invites him to see her set after one such chance meeting but leaves to go hang out with a friend & fellow comedian Sam, which upsets Max who then avoids her. After rejecting Sam’s awkward advances, Donna takes a taxi to her mom’s place and weepily tells her about the baby. Her mom is surprisingly supportive and tells her about her own unplanned pregnancy and abortion while she was a college student, before she met Donna’s father. Donna makes an appointment to get an abortion and finally, decides to tell Max after finding out that he is her mom’s student. She does this by blurting it out while on stage while he stands in the crowd. Max is upset and leaves but decides to forgive her and joins her as she goes to the clinic for the procedure.

It is at times sweet and funny and even thoughtful. My only issue with the film is the lead actress, who I did not like. Well it is more correct to say that I didn’t like the lead character because I do think Jenny Slate is at times funny but I couldn’t stand the constant repetitive and stalling way that Donna delivers some of her jokes while on stage. And her laugh, at her own jokes or even before the punchlines, is so annoying. The character actually ruined some of the film for me. It’s a low budget, indie type film set in New York and I like the locales and the places. 7 outta 10!

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Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes

From director Matt Reeves and written by Mark Bomback, Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, comes the 8th movie from the Planet of the Apes franchise and 2nd in the reimagination of this science fiction series. The movie stars Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Toby Kebbell, and Kodi Smit-McPhee. It is the sequel to the 2011 film Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

Ok so after the events of the previous film, the virus spreads across the globe and a lot of humans die as martial law takes over in some places and the economy crumbles. The surviving humanity is made up of people who are immune to the virus and who live in ruins of once proud cities. Caasar remains as leader of a new generation of apes in the Muir Woods where they have created a community of their own. 10 years pass by and a small group of humans are making their way through the woods when they come across two apes Caesar’s son Blue Eyes and Rocket’s son Ash; one of group, carver, panics and shoots Ash wounding him. Blue Eyes calls for the other apes who surround the humans but Caesar lets them go. As the humans reach the guarded tower where they live in San Francisco, Koba a bonobo still scarred by his previous mistreatment at the hands of humans, prompts Caesar to warn the remaining humans. So Caesar and his apes head to the tower and hands over a bag that a boy in the group had dropped and conveys the message that while the apes do not want war, they will fight to defend their home. He then demands that the humans stay in their territory and states the apes will stay in theirs, too. The apes then leave.

The humans want to attack the apes with the weapons found in an armoury as they need to fix a hydro-electric dam that lies in the woods to fix their power needs. Malcolm, one of the human leaders, convinces his fellow leader Dreyfuss to wait for 3 days and takes a small group, including his son Alexander and his second wife Ellie, and heads back to the forest where he pleads to Caesar to let his people work on the dam. The humans bond with Caesar and some of the apes as they work to fix the dam but Carver almost ruins it when he threatens Caesar’s baby son with a shotgun he had concealed. Malcolm & Ellie manages to calm things down, especially as Ellie treats Caesar’s ill wife with some antibiotics she has in her bag, and has Carver banished to the vehicles where he is to wait until the work is finished. Koba however wanders into the city and discovers the armoury and humans testing the guns and heads back to confront Caesar taunting him over his ‘love for humans’. In response Caesar beats him up but doesn’t kill him as he believes that “Ape shall not kill ape” and forgives Koba, who however eturns to the armory, steals an assault rifle and murders two human guards. He then secretly kills Carver, stealing his lighter and cap.

By this time the dam is fixed restoring power to the city. In the woods the humans are saying goodbye to Koba lights fire to some of the apes’ homes and unseen by everyone except Caesar, he shoots Caesar with the rifle. With their leader presumed dead and “finding” Carver’s cap and rifle, Koba assumes command and leads the apes towards the city to battle the humans. They raid the armoury and head towards the tower. Despite heavy casualties, the apes breach the gates using a hijacked tank, overrun the tower and imprison all the humans as Dreyfus flees underground. When Ash refuses Koba’s orders to kill unarmed humans, citing Caesar’s teachings, Koba kills Ash and imprisons all those known to be loyal to Caesar. Malcolm’s group, who had hid in the bushes when they saw the apes on a rampage, head back and find a barely alive Caesar and take him to the city prompted by Caesar to the house where he lived. Caesar reveals to Malcolm that Koba shot him, realizing his notion that all apes were better than humans was naive. Malcolm sneaks into the tower, hiding from the apes, to get medical supplies for Caesar’s treatment. Blue Eyes sees him but does not alert the others and Malcolm takes the young ape to see his wounded father.

As Caesar recovers he finds an old camcorder & grows nostalgic watching video clips from his childhood on his former owner Will Rodman’s. Telling Malcolm of his past he tells his son to go back to the tower to free the humans who have been captured as well as the apes loyal to Caesar and his teaching who were locked up by Koba. Caesar then battles Koba as the other apes watch at the summit of the tower. Malcolm is unable to stop Dreyfuss from blowing up the tower with C-4 and also learns that his men have alerted a military base and they are sending soldiers to the tower’s location. As the C-4 detonates, part of the tower collapses & Caesar overpowers Koba, knocking him to the edge of the tower. Koba reminds Caesar that apes do not kill apes, but Caesar proclaims that Koba is no longer an ape, and lets him fall to his death. As Malcolm informs him of the troops who are headed their way Caesar tells him that the humans will never forgive the apes for the war they started and tells him to leave with his family for safety and the two of them acknowledge their friendship. As Malcolm leaves to find his family, Caesar readies his apes for the coming war with the humans.

Awesome movie and brilliantly shot though the CGI kinda let me down for parts of this movie, especially the beginning where it looked like I was watching a good animated film. But overall I think it is a worthy sequel and I’m happy with the story and the battle scenes. I’ll give it an 8.5 outta 10!

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From the age of 9 or 10 I have been fascinated by the Ouija board. I remember seeing it in a semi-horror tv film (it was prominent in the film but the killer wasn’t supernatural) and boom – instant like! At the age of 19 me and some friend tried to make our own ouija board. That died in an hour or so! Anyways, Ouija is a 2014 supernatural horror film directed by Stiles White and co-written by White and Juliet Snowden. The film stars Olivia Cooke, Ana Coto, Daren Kagasoff, Douglas Smith and Bianca A. Santos with Lin Shaye.

The movie is predictable; two friends Laine & Debbie, played with this Oija board that Debbie happen to find in the attic of her house. Years later as high school students Debbie, is using the board on her own and clearly disturbed by something, she burns the board and planchette in the fireplace. Acting all withdrawn she then cancels going out with Laine to join other friends and stays home alone. At night Debbie investigates noise upstairs and goes into her room and finds – the board intact and lying on her bed. She looks through the planchett and her eyes turn white and then she hangs herself. The next morning Laine is with her boyfriend at a diner where their friend Isabelle works when she gets the call from her parents that Debbie is dead.

After the funeral Debbie’s grief-stricken parents leave town and keep the keys with Laine who promises to look after the place. Also Laine’s dad, a single parent leaves for a trip so Debbie & her younger sister Sarah are alone at home (though Nona stays close by). While at the house with Trevor Laine finds the board and calls Isabelle, Sarah & Debbie’s boyfriend Pete to hold a seance at their friend’s house at night. Yeah, we got rid of the grown ups so now the kids can play! So using the Ouija board they make contact with a spirit called D who they think is Debbie but have to leave when the power goes out. The 5 of them later experience weird sightings and strange sensation of being watched & followed and find “Hi Friend” notes. So they go back again to the house and contact the spirit – D is not Debbie but D Z, aka Doris Zander. Laine looks through the planchette and finds a young girl with her mouth stitched who is running away from her mother’s spirit. Doris warns the group about her mother and the 5 teens run away, only for Isabelle to be killed while she is in her bathroom. Doing research on the house Laine finds out that years before Debbie’s family lived there, the house was the home of a young girl named Doris Zander who’s mother claimed was missing. Doris had a sister named Pauline, who is still alive, but who is in a mental institution for killing her mother.

Laine visits Pauline who says that their mother was experimenting with contacting spirits and believed that evil ones were trying to speak through Doris and hence had her mouth stitched shut and killed her and left the body in an underground chamber of the house. Pauline feared for her life and hence killed her mother in return. The four friends head to the basement of the house and find Doris’ decaying body and free her by cutting the stitches. Doris vanquishes her mother and her spirit is freed. Thinking it to be over the group go back home but Doris is the actual evil spirit and she kills Pete. Laine confronts Pauline who was in league with her evil sister and is happy that she is now free. Laine’s grandmother advices the kids to burn Doris’s body and the board but Trevor is killed before that can happen. Doris’s spirit attacks Laine and has Sarah restrained but with help from Debbie’s spirit, Laine is able to burn Doris’s body and the board in the furnace which destroys Doris’ spirit. The two sisters return home, only for Laine to find the planchette waiting for her in her room.

Predictable & stale with just a couple of jump scares, double twists that everyone and their grandmother can see coming from a mile away. I don’t hate it but there’s nothing really good or memorable about this film 6 outta 10!

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A Million Ways To Die In The West

From director & writer Seth MacFarlane comes a western comedy-romance film titled A Million Ways To Die In The West. Written and produced by Seth MacFarlane, Alec Sulkin, and Wellesley Wild and starring MacFarlane himself, the film also features an ensemble cast including Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried, Neil Patrick Harris, Giovanni Ribisi, Sarah Silverman, and Liam Neeson. There are cameos by Gilbert Gottfried, Ryan Reynolds, Ewan McGregor & Jamie Foxx with Patrick Stewart lending his voice as well.

It’s 1882 in the wild west town of Old Stump, Arizona and sheep farmer Albert Stark manages to talk himself out of a duel by promising to sell a couple of his sheep and compensate the angry gunslinger who’s property was damaged by them. Albert’s girlfriend Louise, who says she needs to be by herself for a while but she soon shacks up with the mustached & rich businessman Foy. Albert tells his best friend Edward and his prostitute girlfriend Ruth that there is nothing left for him in Old Stump and he is planning to go to San Francisco. Meanwhile infamous outlaw Clinch Leatherwood heads near the town and kills an old man for his old. Clinch sends his wife Anna, who wants out, along with one of his henchmen Lewis to lay low in town as the rest of the continue their looting ways. Anna takes in the old man’s dog and goes into town with Lewis, pretending to be siblings looking to setup a farm.

The next evening Lewis gets into a fight in the saloon and in the ensuing fight much property is destroyed. Albert saves Anna from falling  brawlers and they hit it off. The two of them smoke a joint and begin a friendship. The next day at a fair Foy challenges Albert to a shooting contest and the latter is is defeated, but Anna steps up and defeats Foy. Foy insults Albert who angrily challenges Foy to a duel in a week’s time. Anna spends the next few days teaching Albert how to shoot better and he improves a bit. At a formal dance, after Foy manages to insult Albert again, Anna slips some laxative drug into Foy’s drink before they leave. As Albert & Anna share more bonding moments they kiss at the end of the night, which is seen by Lewis who had escaped from jail by beating the sheriff. The next morning Foy is tired and unable to stand properly and has to shit into two hats right in front of the crowd. Albert decides that Louise isn’t worth the fight and forfeits the duel. However Lewis has told Clinch about seeing a man kissing Anna and the bandits come into the bar and demand that that man who kissed Anna show himself by the next day at noon and kills a man as a warning. The bandits head out and Clinch proceeds to have sex with Anna in a secluded spot but she knocks him out with a rock and leaves him on the grass with a flower sticking in his ass.

Anna finds Albert at his family farm preparing to leave and he confronts her for not telling him she was married and that to to the most notorious outlaw around. She tells him that this life of being an outlaw’s wife wasn’t what she wanted and that she rally loves Albert. Clinch and his men reach the farm and apprehend Anna but Albert escapes by first hiding among his sheep and the jumping onto a train with his horse. Deep in the desert he is captured by natives who prepare to burn him at the stake but he pleads for his life in their language which the chief likes and hence they release him. They give him a bowl of peyote, which sends him flashing back to his birth and through traumatic events of his childhood before making him realize that he loves Anna. At noon he shows up in town to face Clinch and shoots first, wounding Clinch with a snake venom lace bullet which kills the man – before Albert could finish telling his clever plan. Anna breaks loose from the outlaws who are taken in by the law. Louise attempts to win back Albert, but he rejects her and instead enters a relationship with Anna. Albert also receives a bounty for killing Clinch and uses the money to buy more sheep.

Funny as hell with a lot of raunchy humour, dirty jokes, sex jokes and fart and poop stuff and lots of physical comedy too. I can understand that not everyone will like this kind of humour in a film as it’s a film that does not appeal to all audiences. Hence on a budget of $40 million it only made about twice that much, which is considered a moderate success. I however enjoyed every bit of it, farts and all. 8 outta 10! I will enjoy this film a few times over the next years.

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Pitch Perfect

I’ll be honest, I picked up this movie to watch soley for two of their actresses – Anna Kendrick & Anna Camp. Both of whom I like a lot – Kendrick is so tiny & cute, I could just eat her up & Camp is a hot belle! I had seen a bit of the beginning of this film on tv a few weeks back and then decided to give it a try later. Pitch Perfect is a 2012 American musical comedy film directed by Jason Moore. Featuring an ensemble cast, including Anna Kendrick, Skylar Astin, Rebel Wilson, Anna Camp, Brittany Snow, Ester Dean, Alexis Knapp, Hana Mae Lee, Adam DeVine, with John Michael Higgins, and Elizabeth Banks, the plot follows a college women’s a cappella group that competes against an all male rival group from their same college to go to the nationals.

Barden University’s all female a capella group the Barden Bellas performs well in the nationals until Audrey, their defactor leader) projectile vomits during her solo as she tends to do when under pressure. She and the group are humiliated and lost all chances of winning the competition It’s 4 months later and freshman Beca, a budding music producer, is reluctantly joining college under orders from her father, who is also a professor at Barden. He makes her attend classes for a year; if she still thinks it won’t work, she can go to LA to pursue her producer dreams with his blessing. But he wants his aloof daughter to also join a club and have the full college experience. Beca attends the fair for freshman and the recruiting for the various clubs, which also includes the popular all male a capella group The Treblemakers (seriously the way those guys pose and sing, I wanted to slap them!). After much persuasion from co-founder Chloe, who likes Beca’s singing, our wannabe producer (who really just mish mashes songs that have similar beats) has Beca join along with a motley crue of other freshmen Cynthia-Rose, Stacie Conrad, Lilly Onakuramara, and Fat Amy.

Meanwhile Beca also joins to work shifts at the campus radio station where fellow freshman Jesse, a new recruit for the Treblemakers, is also interning. He takes an instant liking to her and they become friends. Under Aubrey’s strict tutelage and choreography, the Bellas rehearse the same medley of songs that got them to the finals last year but it is apparent to almost everyone that it has gotten stale, which goes the same for their tight air-line stewardess style suits as their costumes. Despite that they place second in their state which means they get to go the semi-finals. A brief mock fight between an older group and the Treblemakers ensues after the competition which ends with some property being damaged and Beca is the only one caught and taken to the station. Her father is furious at her and tells her that he will no longer fund her trip to LA and Beca is upset and lashes out at Jesse who tries to stand up for her. Later at rehearsals Beca tries to get the group to be more adventurous and although the others seem receptive, Aubrey puts an end to it. At the semis they perform the same medley, which even gets the announcers yawning, when Beca improvises in between. This throws some of the girls for a loop and Aubrey berates Beca who ends up leaving the group.

The Bellas come in third in the competition behind the Treblemakers and the Footnotes. When the Footnotes are later disqualified from the national competition because the lead singer was in high school, the Bellas are called to take part instead. The Bellas reform after spring break, with the notable exception of Beca. During rehearsals, Chloe stands up against Aubrey’s stubbornness. The group starts to fall apart, which sparks a fight. Beca tries to makes up with Jesse but he declines as his feelings were hurt. Beca goes back to the Bellas and apologizes and they hash it out after some hilarious stuff! More receptive to changing things up, Aubrey asks Beca to lead them and they rehearse some newer material. Meanwhile, group leader Bumper leaves the Treblemakers after being offered a job as a back-up singer for John Mayer. With Bumper gone, Jesse persuades the Trebles to let his previously-rejected roommate Benji join the group in Bumper’s place. At the finals, after the Treblemakers wows the crowd, the Bellas come on stage in different outfits and a different medley which includes a song from Jesse’s favourite movie and he is thrilled. The Bellas end up winning and Jesse & Beca kiss at the end of the competition.

Now, this is a fun film with some hilarious stuff here and there. I do not like this vocal only style of music (it’s not really music) with guys straying and staying in boyband zone and really silly rap & hip-hop stuff with vocal beats, sounds effects and beat boxing. I usually stay away from that stuff but in this music it works. School Of Rock it is not but it has it’s moments, 7 outta 10!

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

When Michael Bay was announced as taking the production reigns of the reboot Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie there was understandably a huge outpouring of hurt, anger, disbelief and rage among the millions of TMNT fans. I remember watching & reading blog posts, Facebook posts and vlogs about the decision to hand over the production to Bay’s production company Platinum Dunes. The 2014 movie is directed by Jonathan Liebesman, and stars Megan Fox, Johnny Knoxville, Pete Ploszek, Noel Fisher, Jeremy Howard, Alan Ritchson, Danny Woodburn, Tony Shalhoub, William Fichtner, and Will Arnett.

What I am surprised about though is that there reported origin story going to be that TMNT were infact aliens was scrapped and instead a very similar story of them being affected by a mutagen was used instead. Ok, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start; it turns out that back in 1999 April O’Neal’s father, a scientist, was developing some type of mutagen while working for his boss Erick Sacks – a famous scientist and businessman. April was there as a child and took care of the 4 baby turtles and a rat that were injected with the mutagen; however O’Neal found out that Sack’s real intent was to unleash a deadly virus in NYC and once the place was quarantined, offer the mutagen as a remedy. The Japanese underworld lord Shredder leader of the Foot Clan, and adopted father of Sacks, is behind the plan as well. O’Neal set the lab on fire but was killed by Sacks but unknown to them April had wandered into the lab and seeing the lab in flames, set the rat and the turtles free into the sewers to save them. The mutagen had a positive effect on the animals; it made Splinter and the turtles grow into larger bipedal beings and made them intelligent by leaps and bounds. Splinter raised the boys as his sons and learned martial arts from a Ninjitsu book he found in the sewers.

So 15 years later we have the now 6ft tall teenaged turtles sneaking out of the home in the sewers to fight the oot clan who are raiding the city. April, a tv reporter who is assigned to lighter material goes out on her own to investigate the raids by the Clan when she spots a vigilant. Later at a subway she gets captured by the foot clan members who are holding hostages when the turtles beat them up and free the hostages in the dark. April follows them to a rooftop and takes a few photos on her camera but she is caught and her images are erased. She later realizes that there are the same turtles she helped to raise and named – Donatello, Raphael, Leonardo & Michaelangelo – and tries to do research on them. She is fired by her boss when she brings up the story of mutant turtles but convinces her colleague Vern Fenwick to take her to meet Sacks. She tells him about the turtles; he believes her and gives her a card (with a tracking device in it) to contact him if she finds out more. Meanwhile Splinter is angry that the turtles were fighting the Clan and orders them to bring April to him. He thanks April for rescuing them all those years ago but Shredder and his men track them down and enter the sewer hideout. A battle ensues in which Splinter is badly injured and Michealangelo, Leonardo & Donatello are captured and taken to Sack’s lab.

Raphael is thought to be and left buried under a pile of rubble but he comes to and carried Splinter to a table with April’s help. Splinter instructs Raphael and April to save the other three Turtles. April calls Vern to give them a ride to the laboratory where the other three Turtles are being held. When they arrive, April frees the Turtles, who join Raphael in fighting Shredder, but Shredder escapes. April, the Turtles, and Vern escape down a snowy mountain with The Foot in pursuit, and manage to get away after some ridiculous scenes. The Turtles have a showdown with Shredder at the top of Sack’s building in NYC while Vern & April get the mutagen from Sacks and April heads onto the rooftop to give it to the Turtles. With April’s help, the Turtles finally defeat Shredder who falls off the roof where he is immediately surrounded by the police. He is last seen touching the spilled mutagen. The last scene is the Turtles, now traveling in a van fighting crime having been given the go ahead by a recovered Splinter, accidentally destroying Vern’s new car.

When you compare the 90s movies and even the rather good animated movie from a few yeas back, this movie has none of the charm, the humour (it manages a couple of chuckles from me) and more violent noises than the first 3 movies put together! There’s nothing subtle about this and the Turtles come out as being brutish and stupidly silly – it’s like ordering a luscious pizza and finding lots of dirty mold on the cheese & bread! The origin story is stupid and April keeping them as pets and naming them – c’mon! Typical Bay film with lots of things going “boom” and loud talking and shouting and cars being damaged and buildings getting destroyed. 6 outta 10!

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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre – 1, 2 & 3

Despite being a fan of horror films and watched a whole lot of them over the years, I hadn’t watched anything from the hugely popular franchise of slasher films that started in 1974 called The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Although I had heard of it, seen review of some of the movies and seen a couple of clips around the time they did the remake. Among the horror fanatics on Youtube, this series of movies is a huge deal and you can see many Youtubers proudly displaying their collection from this franchise. I kept wondering just what the heck is so good about this movie franchise and finally decided to check them out and lose my TCM virginity, so to speak.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) directed and produced by Tobe Hooper – Well it’s good but I am not that impressed. It’s nothing to scream and shout about. Perhaps I am being spoiled by years of watching scary & gory films and this being a film from 1974 and watching it 40 years later it doesn’t have that same affect on me. Had I watched it back in 1974 (well I wasn’t born yet but you get the idea) for the first time I would have been more impressed. And that goes for most horror flicks of that time. Movies that scared me when I was a child aren’t scary at all now. The plot is about a group of friends – Sally Hardesty, her wheelchair bound brother Franklin and their 3 friends Pam, Jerry & Kirk are traveling in rural Texas to an old family homestead after visiting the grave of their grandfather. On their way the pick up a hitchhiker – the most annoying and irritating person ever to have hitchhiked in the world since the beginning of time – who acts like a total imbecile and slashes Franklin’s arm with a straight razor for not paying for a Polaroid he took of the group without asking first. They push him out but the group is doomed. After they reach the homestead, Kirk & Pam head up to a neighbour’s house to ask for gas and are killed by Leatherface – a large man with a chainsaw. By sunset Jerry goes to look for them and is also killed by Leatherface. Finally as it is dark and they are worried, Sally & Franklin (who has a stupidly acted scene earlier, stinking up the film) go to the house to look for their friend and Frankie boy is killed but Sally manages to escape – mainly because Leatherface is too busy posturing with his chainsaw instead of killing her!

Sally makes it to the gas station a few miles down the road and asks the proprietor for help but he turns out to be the father of Leatherface and he abducts her and brings her to the house where the hitchhiker (Leatherface’s brother) is also waiting. The men torment the bound and gagged Sally while Leatherface, now dressed as a woman, serves dinner. Leatherface and the hitchhiker bring an old man, Grandpa (John Dugan), from upstairs to share the meal. Sally is tortured a bit and screams (bloody murder loudly indeed) and is able to escape as the men decide to try and make grandpa kill her but he is too weak. Leatherface and the hitchhiker give chase, but the latter is run down and killed by a passing semi-trailer truck. Leatherface kills the truck driver but Sally manages to jump into the back of a passing pickup truck, still screaming and covered in blood, while a frustrated Leatherface wave his chainsaw in anger.

The sequel The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 took 12 years to come out, why I dunno. This time the film stars Dennis Hopper as “Lefty”, Caroline Williams as “Stretch”, Bill Johnson as “Leatherface”, Bill Moseley as “Chop Top” and Jim Siedow, who reprises the role of “The Cook”. Two rowdy young men are on the phone with the DJ of a small radio station in Texas, as they are driving in a car, when they are attacked by Leatherface using his chainsaw from a van that’s parallel to their car. Both the kids are killed (truth is they were real obnoxious assholes and deserved to be offed) and their bloody screams are recorded on tape. The DJ, Stretch, ends up contacting Lieutenant Boude “Lefty” Enright, the Hardesty’s uncle, who is still running his own investigation to find Leatherface & his family. he convinces her to play the screams on her show so the law enforcers and the people will have to listen to him. But things go wrong when Chop Top (brother of Leatherface & twin of the Hitchhiker) comes to the station at night and badly beats up Stretch’s co-worker LG while Leatherface goes after Stretch with his chainsaw. Before he can kill her, she manages to charm him and Leatherface, being a sexually repressed man, leaves her alone and smashes a lot of the walls of the station. BTW, Bill Moseley acts like a total asshole in this movie – I mean he is so shit and over the top annoying!

The brothers leave in their pickup with LG, presumed dead at this point, and drive off to their new hideout in an abandoned carnival ground decorated with human bones, multi-colored lights, and carnival remnants. Stretch calls Lefty and follows the brothers and gets trapped inside their home and is found by Leatherface but he tries to disguise her with the ripped off skin off LG’s face. She tries to escape but is caught by the Cook & Chop Top and is brought to their dinner table where they proceed to torture her for a bit. Left, with 3 chainsaws of his own, finds then and frees Stretch. After a battle, Lefty impales Leatherface in the stomach and he, Leatherface, the corpse of “Grandpa” and the Cook are apparently killed when a grenade goes off prematurely. Chop Top & Stretch, who was chasing her, escape and have a face off in carved out rock tower next to the ground. Top Chop cuts Stretch multiple times with a blade but using a chainsaw held by the mummified remains of the family’s grandmother in a ritual shrine, she cuts him and he falls to his death. Stretch is seen waving the chainsaw madly in the air, much like Leatherface, as the movie ends.

Leatherface : The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3 came out in 1990 & stars Kate Hodge, Ken Foree, William Butler, and a then-unknown Viggo Mortensen. Somehow Leatherface is still alive and has a new family! No idea how that happens. Michelle & Ryan, a couple who seem to be on the verge of a breakup are driving Michelle’s dad’s car from California to Florida. On a stop at a gas station in some rural area they meet Tex who shows Ryan a different route which should shorten their trip and asks for a ride. Ryan refuses but Tex gets angry at the perverted gas station owner Alfredo who is spying on Michelle as she is using the facilities. Alfredo gets a shotgun as seemingly shoots Tex as the couple race away in the car. As night falls, Ryan and Michelle, having taken the route Tex recommended, become lost and are attacked by a driver in a truck, who throws a dead coyote on their windshield. They stop to change a flat tire when Leatherface attacks and they just about manage to escape as he rips their car. They almost crash into another truck, driven by Benny and he drives off the road to avoid hitting them. Benny offers helps but is attacked by Tinker, who has a hook hand. Benny manages to get his gun but runs into Leatherface and is attacked again. Leatherface is lured away by Sara, a young woman who’s sister was killed by Leatherface but is killed later.

Leatherface then chases Ryan & Michelle and catches Ryan whose foot is caught in a trap. Ryan yells for Michelle to run as Leatherface attacks him and she runs into a house. She is caught by Tex who is in the house with a little girl and his mother – all of them are a family, including Leatherface & the Hookhand man. Michelle is tied up to a chair and nailed on the hand as the men bring in an unconscious Ryan who they later kill. Outside the family home, Benny finds and attempts to interrogate Alfredo as he disposes of human bodies in a bag, but he is unsuccessful, eventually knocking Alfredo into the bog and leaving him to drown. Benny finds the house and sees the family torturing a screaming Michelle and he fires shots into the house. The men fight as Michelle manages to escape; Tex is killed when Benny soaking him in fuel and burning him with a lighter. Benny rushes to Michelle’s aid, stopping Leatherface from murdering her, and knocking the killer into the bog. The pair begin fighting, and Benny appears to die when Leatherface forces his head into the blade of the chainsaw. He then turns his attention to Michelle, who grabbing a nearby rock, beats him over the head with it, leaving him unconscious under the water. As daylight breaks, a recovered Benny finds a truck and catches up to Michelle but is attacked by Alfredo. Michelle shoots Alfredo in the chest with a shotgun before the pair drive away, unaware that Leatherface is revving his chainsaw some distance away.

Whew! That’s a lot of killing. I have no idea from where the new family with a bunch of characters comes from and the little girl – who the heck is she – and I’m sure that there’s bound to be more such strange family members to be revealed as I go throw the rest of the series. My ratings are 5.5, 7.5 & 6 for the first 3 movies.

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The Fourth Wall

You get to spend a day inside your favorite movie. Tell us which one it is — and what happens to you while you’re there.

Oooh that is a difficult one. I can’t just pick one! Impossible, I tell ya! Ok, which porn film do I want me to be the main lead where it’s me and a bunch of sexy busty women?

Alright, alright! You know I just asked a similar question in a Star Trek group : if I could make a choice, which Star Trek show would I want to be made a character in? I find that a hard one to answer but in the end I may have to pick Star Trek : The Next Generation. Unless I could be Captain Kirk – always be Captain Kirk if you can!

Movies? Wayne’s World? Galaxy Quest? Weekend At Bernie’s? I dunno I can’t choose a single movie that I’d want to be inside. There’s way too many movies that I could pick. All I know is it should include rock n roll music, some hockey and football (that’s soccer for you in NA) and flying through space in a luxurious spaceship! Lots of booze & food! And plenty of babes in bikinis. Make that alien babes in bikinis too! whoo hoo! A rock n roll & sports fueled bachelor party while traveling through outer space.

Lol yeah, I know!

Prompt from the Daily Post at WordPress.com.

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Space Station 76

A movie that flew under the radar, well atleast for me since I hadn’t heard of it & only found about it by clicking on a link in wikipedia, is Space Station 76. Directed by Jack Plotnick, and co-written by Plotnick, Jennifer Elise Cox, Sam Pancake, Kali Rocha, and Michael Stoyanov it is a science fiction black comedy created as both a tribute to and in the form of the 1970s vision of what the future will look like. The movie stars Matt Bomer, Marisa Coughlan, Patrick Wilson, Liv Tyler, Kylie Rogers, Kali Rocha and Jerry O’Connell. Rather than a crew on a mission or fighting danger it’s more a 1970s time period drama and focuses on the issues that were big back then. The clothing, sets, technology and even the wardrobe & hairstyles reflect that era.

Lt. Jessica Marlow is the new officer on board Space Station 76 (although they call it a spaceship most of the time) which is a deep space station somewhere far in the future. Most of humanity has left earth, some humans haven’t even seen earth. Jessica meets the station’s captain, a dour and alcoholic Glenn who just wants to be left alone and avoids much contact. Jessica takes over the job previous held by Daniel who has left the station but no one knows the real reason he decides to take a transfer – Glenn tells some people it was due to a family emergency and to others, like Jessica he said it was a promotion. Among the other residents are Ted, the mechanic and his catty wife Misty and their adorable young daughter Sunshine. Also on board are Steve, the playboy doctor & his snooty socialite wife Donna who has no idea that he is cheating on her with Valium popping Misty.

Jessica finds her welcome a bit strained especially by Misty who resents the fact that her daughter seems to be bonding with the new officer. Jessica and Sunshine spend a lot of their spare time together, especially in the arboretum where Ted is also growing some plants. There is also a deep attraction between Ted & Jessica but they seem to be keeping it control. Sunshine is an adorable & precocious girl who enjoys spending time in zero gravity with her father, as long as Misty doesn’t find out. Misty has secret sex meetings with Steve in between being catty to Jessica and participating in sessions with the stations councellor  – an old toy robot is programmed to recite certain phrases & sentences in a fake cheerful voice based on the last word that the patient says. Misty lies to Sunshine as she finds Jessica’s adoration on the girl growing in order to create a distance between them. Captain Glenn meanwhile tries to contact Daniel and we find out the real reason he left; the two were in a homosexual affair one that Glenn couldn’t be open about and was emotionally inept to live with. This drove away Daniel who took transfer as soon as he got promoted. Ted who is sexually frustrated has visions of a nude woman floating out in space and her face is soon replaced by that of Jessica as the two grow closer. Misty is also upset at the fact that Steve is leaving for a bigger station along with Donna, who seemingly rubs everyone else nose in that fact that they are moving “up”, and their baby.

Things come to a head at the Christmas party where Misty, jealous of Ted & Jessica’s growing closeness, basically lets out that she & Steve are sleeping together and that she never had an orgasm before. She then turns her ire on Jessica who shouts at her and Glenn comes to the former’s defence and calls doubts on Jessica’s gender. Jessica in turn blurts out Glenn’s secret that he is a homosexual which stuns the rest of the crowd. Suddenly the station is hit by a passing asteroid which does little damage to the station but destroys the docked shuttle in which all of Steve’s & Donna’s belongings were. As people get about recovering from the shoutfest, Jessica joins Ted in the arboretum where they both lie down next to each other & Sunshine, upset at the death of a frozen dog that Jessica has got for her but which Misty claimed as her own gift to Sunshine, goes to her quarters and floats in zero gravity. Steve and Donna will have to mend their marriage while Glenn goes for a drink with the shuttle’s pilot, who we assume is also gay. We are left to assume that Ted & Jessica will get together and live with Sunshine.

A goofy, humourous oddball movie which has it’s own charm. It’s funny to see the 70s style look of the space station and it’s technology – toy robots, VHS tapes, small box tv monitors, 60s Trek & 70s Star Wars style buttons and gizmos and the outfits – in a 2014 movie. I would say that whether you are a scifi fan or not, you will enjoy this film. I give it a 7.5 outta 10.

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Edge Of Tomorrow

From director Doug Liman and based of the Japanese light novel All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, comes the 2014 science fiction action film Edge of Tomorrow. The movie is set in the near future in the midst of a war between humans and a superior alien race who has invaded earth. The film stars Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt with Bill Paxton & Brendan Gleeson in major supporting roles.

Earth has been invade by a race of technologically highly advanced aliens called the Mimics who have taken over much of continental Europe. The aliens are winning the war although the rest of the world’s military forces unite to battle them. Major William Cage, a former advertising man who enlisted to become the public relations officer of the United Defence Forces is stunned when he arrived in London only to be told by General Brigham that he will be sent to the front lines the next day in France. Cage has no combat experience and objects to the assignment but he is told that his US Army CO had transferred him to be under the General’s command and hence he has no choice. Cage tries to blackmail the General by threatening to use his public affairs skills to use and create a hostile atmosphere for him to which Brigham has him handcuffed and knocked out as Cage tries to escape. When he comes to Cage is in Heathrow airport, labelled a deserted & demoted in ranks and put on combat duty for the invasion under the command of Master Sergeant Farell.

Cage is rebuked and mocked by the Sergeant and the other soldiers and at the invasion things go badly as the human soldiers are getting massacarred in quick succession. Cage manages to kill a large Mimic with a blue glare but is coated with it’s acid like blood and dies…..only to awaken back at the Heathrow airport! It’s a day earlier and the events repeats itself and Cage tries to warn the others but no one believes him and he is killed again at the battle, only to be revived again at the same point in time back at Heathrow! This happens a couple of minutes until he saves the life of Sergeant Rita Vrataski – she knows what is happening to him and she tells him to find her when he waked up again. Cage is killed again and wakes up and finds Rita who takes him to meet Dr. Carter a former government scientist and expert in Mimic biology. Together they explain what is happening to Cage; the alien he killed in an “alpha” Mimic which resets time when it is killed to give the Mimics an advantage in battle. Since he ingested some of it’s blood, Cage has got the same ability, although he is doing it involuntarily. Rita had the same ability when she too killed an “alpha” and was covered in it’s blood but she got hurt and had to have an blood transfusion which stopped it.

Rita trains Cage to battle the Mimics as they plan to hunt & kill the Mimics’ hive mind, the Omega. Dr. Carter had discovered that the aliens behave like a common entity, killing the Omega will kill the aliens under it. However Cage keeps getting killed and has to go through the same situation again and again, which begins to jade the man. He and Vrataski spend several loops learning how to survive the battle on the beach and get inland based on his vision of the Omega hiding within a Bavarian Alps dam. After numerous loops end in Vrataski’s death, Cage decides to hunt the Omega alone, abandoning her and the rest of the invasion to doom on the beach. When he arrives at the dam, he discovers that the Omega is not there. He manages to kill himself before an Alpha can steal his blood and prevent him from resetting the day. Realizing that the visions was a trick, he and Rita approach General Brigham and confront him with what they have learned so far. Brigham has a prototype device that Carter designed which can hunt the Omega (the military didn’t believe him at the time and he was discredited) and the two of them take it from him after several time loops but they crash their getaway car and both are injured. Cage’s life is saved by a blood transfusion, but it removes his ability to reset the day.

Rita frees Cage from his hospital room and they head back to Heathrow where using prior information he has about his squad Cage is able to convince the soldiers to help him & Rita get to Paris where the Omega is hidden under the Luvre. The soldiers sacrifice themselves and Rota distracts a waiting Alpha while Cage advances on the Omega. The Alpha kills them both, but not before Cage primes and drops a grenade belt into the Omega’s core, destroying it and neutralizing the other Mimics. However the Omega’s blood covers Cage and he awakens….in the helicopter he was headed to London in. This time however the humans seem to be winning the war as Brigham says that there is less activity from the Mimics after a power surge went off in Paris the previous night. Cage is not confronted by the General and he goes to see the squad, who are alive and well and salute the major. He then goes to see Rita who does not recognize him and asks what he wants to which he just laughs.

Not bad. Quite well produced and shot. The special effects is great and the aliens are menacing. The explanations of the time loops take a major leap but still it’s a good movie. Lots of humour involved as well. 8 outta 10!

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