Bridge Of Spies

The combination of Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg delivered an awesomely wonderful and delightful film in Bridge Of Spies. A 2015 historical drama legal thriller film directed and co-produced by Spielberg, is co-produced by Marc E. Platt and Kristie Macosko Krieger, and written by Matt Charman, Ethan and Joel Coen. The film stars Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Amy Ryan, and Alan Alda.

Rudolf Abel, a Scottish born Russian spy is arrested by FBI agents in Brooklyn. With a lot of evidence against him, Abel is told that if he cooperates his sentence will be lowered but he doesn’t offer up anything. When the question about representation for the spy comes up, it’s apparent that no one wants to the scapegoat. James B. Donovan is an insurance lawyer with substantial negotiation experience and worked on prosecutions of German war crimes in the Nuremberg trials. The bar association asks him to defend Abel, in order to ensure that justice is seen to be done. Donovan, although knows his client is guilty, does his work earnestly identifying procedural flaws in the government’s case which are ignored by the judge. He comes under a lot of pressure from the public, friends and family as the conclusion is foregone. Abel is judged guilty as charged.

Donovan meets the judge privately before sentencing and argues that Abel not be sentenced to death, as he could serve as “insurance” if a U.S. spy is captured. Abel is sentenced to 30 years in prison, which causes outrage by the public and sees hate mail pouring towards the direction of Donovan and his family and even threats in the form of a gun shot fired at his home. Nevertheless, he appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court, which is denied, arguing evidence presented was tainted by lack of a valid search warrant. As the case is concluding, the American military & airforce plans an aerial spy run above Soviet skies to take photos of key areas. Pilot Gary Powers goes on a Lockheed U-2 sortie over the Soviet Union and is shot down, captured, unable to kill himself before that happens and convicted and subjected to interrogation. The USSR sends a backchannel message to Donovan, hinting at exchanging of Abel for Powers. Director of Central Intelligence Allen Welsh Dulles asks Donovan to handle negotiations, formally merely as a private citizen, negotiating with ‘Mr. Vogel’ in East Germany. Donovan travels to West Berlin accompanied by CIA agents.

As this is happening, a young American student in Germany named Frederic Pryor, visits his German girlfriend in East Berlin just as the Berlin Wall is being built. He tries to bring her into West Berlin, but is stopped by border guards and arrested as an American spy. Donovan goes to the Soviet Embassy in East Berlin, and meets Ivan Schischkin. Schischkin asks for Abel to be released first, and Powers released several months after, but Donovan insists on simultaneous release. Donovan also wants Pryor released, but Schischkin informs him that Pryor is held by East Germany. Donovan, who understands that the Russian and East German interests do not match, each wants to make a one-for-one deal for Abel. Donovan meets Wolfgang Vogel, a GDR lawyer, and negotiates a separate deal to exchange Abel for Pryor. Schischkin informs Donovan that the USSR agrees with the proposed trade, and plans the exchange to occur on the Glienicke Bridge. However, Vogel pulls out after discovering the deal Donovan made with the USSR. Donovan is contacted by Vogel’s superior, Harald Ott, East German attorney general, and goes to his office insisting on the 2-for-1 deal. Ott bluntly refuses.

Donovan sends a message to Ott, stating that the U.S. requires both Pryor and Powers for Abel, or the entire deal will be void. That evening, the GDR calls and accepts, with the requirement that Pryor is to be released at Checkpoint Charlie instead, simultaneously. At the bridge Donovan meets Abel and on the other side Powers is brought forth. Both Americans and Russians urge a quick completion, but Donovan insists on waiting for Pryor’s release. Out of gratitude, Abel waits. Eventually, Pryor is released at Checkpoint Charlie, and Abel is promptly exchanged for Powers. An exhausted Donovan returns home as the news of his involvement in the release of Powers is reported on TV, watched by his family. As the movie ends, Donovan heads for work in a train and gets a smile from a lady who recognizes him when early he got frowns and he just nods with a small smile.

Wonderful movie, great acting and it’s fun as well. Whenever Abel asks “Will it help?” I cracked up. Just a wonderfully uplifting movie to watch. A 9 outta 10!

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RIP Kenny Baker

The British actor who played R2-D2 in the Star Wars films has died at the age of 81 after a long illness. Kenny Baker, who was 3ft 8in tall, shot to fame in 1977 when he first played the robot character. He went on to play the character in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, as well as the three Star Wars prequels from 1999 to 2005. He also appeared in a number of other much loved films in the 1980s, including The Elephant Man, Time Bandits and Flash Gordon. When he was a child, he was told that he probably wouldn’t survive through puberty, being a little person in those times, they didn’t have a very good life expectancy.

Baker met his wife Eileen after an appearance on the Michael Parkinson TV chat show. She wrote in and said she was a little person too and wanted to meet him. Standing 3 feet 8 inches tall, Baker created Artoo’s much-loved innocent yet adventurous personality from inside the droid, starting with 1977’s A New Hope. Whether it was the slow turn of Artoo’s dome to convey suspicion or nervous wobbles signifying fear, Baker made a robotic being seem very human. In addition, he played Paploo, the Ewok who memorably steals a speeder bike in 1983’s Return of the Jedi. The actor became a legend to Star Wars fans.

Born in Birmingham, England, Baker began acting at age 16. Along with the Star Wars films, his career also includes performances in Lucasfilm’s Willow (1988 ), and more. In 1978, he immortalized Artoo at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, making cement footprints of the droid that remain outside the famed theater today.

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Prisoners (2013)

It’s a crime drama with a lot of tension and emotion. Prisoners is a 2013 American thriller film directed by Denis Villeneuve from a screenplay written by Aaron Guzikowski. The film has an ensemble cast including Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard, Melissa Leo and Paul Dano.

In a small town in Pennsylvania, Keller & Grace Drover are attending a Thanksgiving dinner at Franklin & Nancy Birch’s house. The families who are friends and neighbours also include Drover’s older son Ralph and young daughter Anna as well as the Birch’s teenage daughter Zoe and Joy who is Anna’s age. After dinner while the adults sip wine and the teens watch tv downstairs, Anna and Joy sneak away to a parked campervan they had come across before. Sometime later the adults realize that the two young kids are missing and go out in search of them. Ralph mentions the van and they look for it but it is now gone.

The cops are called and detective Loki is assigned to the case. After a search he finds the camper which crashes against a tree when the driver tries to escape. At the police station Loki questions the young man, Alex Jones, who appears to be confused and turns out he has the IQ of a 10 year old. His vehicle is searched by forensics but nothing is found relating to the girls. Loki investigates in houses in the neighbourhood the next day and finds corpse in the basement of Father Patrick Dunn’s house. The priest (Len Cariou) admits that he killed the man because he confessed he was “waging a war against God” and boasted of killing sixteen children. The cops release Alex because of lack of evidence and Drover gets upset as he believes that the young man knows more. He attacks him outside of the police station. Jones whispers to him, “They didn’t cry until I left them.” Since Loki won’t re-arrest him, Dover abducts Jones by himself, locks him up in an abandoned apartment building and begins torturing him until he cooperates with the help of a reluctant Franklin.

The town has a candlelight vigil for the missing girls at which Loki spots a suspicious man in a hoodie and chases him when he takes off. He evades Loki breaks into both families’ houses but leaves without doing anything. Loki, also suspects Dover and follows him to the building where Alex is kept prisoner but doesn’t see anything unusual and Dover tells him that he comes here to drink away from his wife. While he is there, Loki gets a tip from a store that saw the man in the hoodie shopping for children’s clothes and goes to the address using the license plate number and arrests him at his home, whose walls are covered in drawings of mazes. Loki then finds crates filled with maze books, live snakes, and bloodied children’s clothing, including items belonging to the missing girls after Dover confirms it. At the police station, Taylor confesses to the abduction but during a physical altercation with Loki and two other officers, he snatches a gun and kills himself without revealing any more information. The police conclude that Taylor was a fantasist and had no involvement with the disappearances; he stole the clothes from the girls’ homes and bloodied them with pig’s blood to recreate abductions.

Dover continues to torture Alex who then starts denying he is Alex Jones and claims he escaped from a maze. Dover visit’s Alex’s aunt Holly who tells him that Alex became the way he is due an accident involving snakes that her husband raised. She also says that she and her husband were religious until their young son died of cancer. Back at the police station, Loki becomes frustrated with getting nowhere with the case until he matches a maze Taylor drew whilst in custody to the maze necklace worn by the man Patrick Dunn killed in his basement. We then see a drugged Joy, who has escaped from her captors, being found on the streets and brought to the hospital. When Dover asks her where Hanna is, Joy drowsily says that he was there! Dover is suspected of being involved in the crime and he makes of fin the car but he realizes that Joy meant that he was at Alex’s aunt’s house. Loki searches for Dover at the apartment building and discovers Alex. Dover then goes back to the Jones’ house to get information from Holly, but she pulls a gun on him. She explains that, before her husband left her, they abducted many children as part of their “war on God” after their son’s death. Alex was the first child they abducted, followed by Taylor. Holly imprisons Dover in a concealed pit in her yard, where he finds a whistle belonging to his daughter.

Loki goes to the aunt’s house to tell her that Alex has been found when he sees a photograph of Holly’s husband wearing the same maze necklace found on the body in the priest’s basement, making him her missing husband. He sees her drugging Anna and pulls a gun on her but she fires at him as well, injuring him before she is shot dead. Loki then rushes Anna to the hospital where she reunites with her mother. Alex, revealed to be Barry Milland in the newspaper, is reunited with his parents after surviving the torture. A day later, Loki returns to the Jones’ house where the authorities have begun excavating the property. As the other investigators depart for the night, Loki hears Dover’s labored whistling from the pit.

A great performance from the cast especially Leo, Gyllenhall and yes even boorish Hugh (who I usually call Huge Jackass). I never like his acting or him much but this movie has some great acting from everyone. It’s a 7.5 for me though because parts of the film drags out quite a bit.

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No Country For Old Men

No Country for Old Men is a 2007 American neo-Western thriller film directed, written, and edited by Joel and Ethan Coen, based on the Cormac McCarthy novel of the same name. Starring Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem and Josh Brolin, it tells the story of a Texas welder and Vietnam veteran to whom chance and greed deliver a fate that is neither wanted nor denied; a cat-and-mouse drama set in the desert landscape of 1980 West Texas. It won four awards at the 80th Academy Awards –Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Bardem) and Best Adapted Screenplay, allowing the Coen brothers to join four previous directors honored three times for a single film. In addition, the film won three British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA) including Best Director, and two Golden Globes.

The setting is in Terrell County, Texas in the desert like location of a desolate and large landscape. We heard Ed Tom Bell, the sheriff of the count, talking about he increasing violence in a region where he, like his father and grandfather before him, has risen to the office of sheriff. In a neighbouring county, assassin / hitman Anton Chigurgh, using the handcuffs, strangles to death the deputy who arrested him to escape custody and steals a car by using a captive bolt pistol to kill the driver. We then move to the desert where Llewelyn Moss is hunting deer and comes across the aftermath of a drug deal gone wrong. He finds dead bodies and a briefcase containing 2 million dollars and also finds the lone Mexican survivor, badly wounded and who begs him for water. Moss takes the briefcase and hides it at his small home but goes back to the scene late at night with some water.

He is ambushed by two men in a truck and they release a dog to hunt him. He shoots the dog dead and rushes home he sends his wife, Carla Jean, to stay with her mother, then drives to a motel in Del Rio, where he hides the case in the air vent of his room. Chigurgh hired to recover the money, abruptly kills his employers after obtaining a clue to Moss’s identity. Arriving to search Moss’s home, he uses his bolt pistol to blow the lock out of the door. Investigating the break in, Sheriff Bell notices the blown-out locktracks. Chigurgh tracks Moss using a chip embedded in the briefcase and kills a group of Mexican who were planning to ambush Moss and had rented the room next to him. Moss is able to escape before Chigurgh can get to him but is found in another hotel in Eagle Pass and a shootout ensues. Both are wounded and Moss makes his way across the border into Mexico and collapses and is taken to a hospital.

Carson Wells, another hired operative, fails to persuade him to accept protection in return for the money. Chigurh cleans and stitches his own wounds with stolen supplies and kills Wells at his hotel. Moss telephones the room and Chigurh answers. Lifting his boots to avoid Wells’s blood, Chigurh tells Moss that he will kill Carla Jean unless Moss gives up the money; he remarks that he will kill Moss regardless of whether he receives the money. Moss calls Carla and tells her to meet him at a motel where he will give her the money and she should fly away with her mother to be safe. nstead, she reluctantly accepts protection for her husband from Sheriff Bell. Carla Jean’s mother unwittingly reveals Moss’s location to a group of Mexicans who had been tailing them. Bell reaches the rendezvous in time to hear gunshots and see a pickup truck speeding from the motel where Moss lies dead. Carla arrives as night approaches and sobs sadly. Later Bell comes back to the crime scene where Chigurgh is also hiding and sees that the vent cover has been removed and the duct is empty.

Later, Bell visits his uncle Ellis, an ex-lawman, and tells him he plans to retire because he feels “over-matched”. Ellis points out that the region has always been violent. Carla’s mother dies soon after and after the funeral she walks into the house to find Chigurgh waiting for her. He tosses a coin and asks her to call it but she refuses stating that the choice is his own. Chigurgh leaves the house (unsure if he killed her or not but probably did) and as he leaves the neighbourhood he is hurt badly in a car crash. Bribing two youngsters who witness the crash, he quietly makes his way out. As the movie ends, a now retured Bell tells his wife of two dreams he had the previous night about his father.

Amazing cinematography during the desert scenes and well acted and shot. The ambiguous ending left made people baffled and also killing Moss offscreen didn’t make much sense to us. Anyway you look at it the movie is really good and despite the initial 25 mins or so when it drags a bit, it’s a movie worth watching. 8 outta 10!

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USS Franklin

So it’s been a couple of days since I saw Star Trek Beyond and there’s a few posts that I thought I’d get out of the movie. Since I have done my review of the film let’s see what I thought about the hero ship featured in the movie. Hero ship as in, the USS Enterprise gets damaged and destroyed beyond repair in the first 25 minutes of the film and hence we get another ship. The USS Franklin.

The Franklin is an early Federation ship that went missing a 100 years ago and which the crew of the Enterprise find with the help of an alien named Jaylah. The Franklin, captained by from MACO Balthazar Edison  A human soldier from before the Federation’s formation, Edison became disillusioned with his life and purpose after peace was established with humanity’s enemies. When he and his crew were stranded in the nebula, he believed he had been deliberately cast aside. Having prolonged his life using the planet’s alien technology that also physically deformed him, Krall/Edison now plans to destroy the Federation in revenge. The crew of the Enterprise manage to fix the Franklin and take it into space.

I like the saucer section of the ship which reminds a lot of us fans of the NX-01 Enterprise (and Columbus) but I do like those jagged pylon sections that attach the main saucer section with the nacelles. Although the nacelles themselves look good on the ship. I might give the ship a grudging 6.5 outta 10 for the design and overall look.

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Star Trek Beyond

Star Trek Beyond is a 2016 American science fiction action film directed by Justin Lin from a screenplay by Simon Pegg and Doug Jung, based on the series Star Trek created by Gene Roddenberry. It is the thirteenth film in the Star Trek film franchise and the third installment in the reboot series after Star Trek Into Darkness (2013). Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto reprise their roles as Captain James T. Kirk and Commander Spock, with Pegg, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, John Cho, and Anton Yelchin reprising their roles from the previous films, with Idris Elba and Sofia Boutella joining the cast.

Set three years into the 5 year mission (that we saw they were setting out on at the end of the previous film) Kirk finds himself bogged down by the endless monotony of being the captain of a ship in space. The Enterprise docks at the new (and humongous) starbase The Yorktown to replenish their supplies and give the crew some much needed shore leave. Kirk has applied for the deskjob post of Vice Admiral of the Yorktown and meets Commodore Paris (Shohreh Aghdashloo) who command the starbase. He recommends Spock as his successor to command the Enterprise. Meanwhile we see Sulu meeting his husband (yes Sulu is revealed as gay here, in a nod to George Takei) and daughter Demora. Spock and Nyota Uhura deal with the end of their relationship, upon which Bones jokingly ribs Spock. An escape pod heads to the starbase and an alien female named Kalara comes out of it asking for help to save her people who are stranded on a planet in a nebula. Enterprise is sent to rescue them but fall into a trap.

The Enterprise is attacked by a swarm of ships and sustains massive damage. The swarm’s alien commander, Krall, boards the ship in order to retrieve an alien artifact Kirk had obtained in a recent mission. The Enterprise is ripped apart by the swarm and the saucer section crashes on the planet. The crew is scattered on the planet as their escape pods land and most of them, including Uhuru and Sulu are captured by Krall’s men. Kirk and Chekob search for the artifact that Kirk says he had hidden in the ship and discover that Kalara is an ally of Krall and escapes when she reveals herself attempting to retrieve the artifact. Kalara is killed as the two escape from the damaged ship and evade their ambushers. On the planet Spock is wounded and bleeding badly and is helped by McCoy as they try to find shelter and the others. Spock confesses to McCoy that Ambassador Spock has died, and Spock intends to leave Starfleet to take up his position among the Vulcans. Scotty meanwhile runs into some of Krall’s men but is rescued by an alien named Jaylah. She takes him to her makeshift home when he tells her he is an engineer; the home turns out to be the USS Franklin, an old starfleet vessel which has been missing for 100 years.

Scotty reunites with Kirk & Chekov and on fixing some of the ship’s systems is able to beam aboard Spock & Bones. using the ship as a base. The group plans to raid Krall’s camp on the planet to rescue the crew and transport them to the Franklin to escape the planet. Krall has managed to find the artifact, hidden with one of the crew members, bu threatening to kill Sulu and reveals what the artifact actually is -the missing half of an ancient bioweapon that can disintegrate a humanoid lifeform in seconds. He demonstrates the effectiveness to Uhuru by killing the crew member who hid the weapon. Krall, who rants about the Federation intends to attack the Yorktown and kill its inhabitants, and with its advanced technology go on to attack the Federation and destroy its unity. Using Jaylah’s advanced evading tactics as a distraction and a dirt bike (????) from the Franklin, Kirk and crew are able to get the crew beamed aboard the Franklin safely. Krall and his crew set off in the swarm ships towards the starbase, followed closely by the Franklin.

Discovering the way Krall’s drone vessels coordinate, the group disrupts their communications using a Beastie Boys song, causing mass confusion in the fleet that results in its destruction, and Krall and his remaining officers crash in Yorktown with the Franklin. The swarm ships cause havoc and destruction and some people are killed but starfleet crew manage to destroy or capture them. Only Krall escapes and heads his way to the ventilation system, where he attempts to unleash the bioweapon on the entire station. From the Franklin’s logs Uhuru and Kirk find out that Krall is in fact Balthazar Edison, the captain of the Franklin. A human soldier from before the Federation’s formation, Edison became disillusioned with his life and purpose following the establishment of peace with humanity’s enemies, and when he and his crew were stranded in the nebula, he became convinced he had been cast aside. Having sustained his life using the alien technology on the planet that also deformed him, Krall/Edison now plans to destroy the Federation in revenge for their perceived betrayal.

Kirk is able to stop Krall and ejects him into space where the former starfleet captain is engulfed by the bioweapon and is consumed by it. The Yorktown and most of the people are saved and the crew of the Enterprise is lauded for their efforts. Kirk is offered the promotion to Vice Admiral, but declines in favor of retaining his captaincy. Spock decides to remain in Starfleet and resumes his relationship with Uhura while Jaylah is accepted to Starfleet Academy on Scotty’s recommendation. As the crew celebrates Kirk’s birthday, we see them looking on as the USS Enterprise A is being constructed in the starbase.

Way better than the previous one, this movie harks back to a lot of the good points from the original series. The camaraderie and chemistry between the cast is there to see, more natural now after two films. The storyline has faults and I do not like the fact that yet another human is the big villain. Also swarm ships – from where did Krall and his men get this technology? The Franklin is conveniently just a few hours of repair away from being fixed. Dirt bikes in outer space – dear lord!!! Beastie Boys music is the cure for interrupting signals of the bad guys? Still it’s a fun movie to watch and the heart strings get tugged when you see the tribute to Spock and the original cast. And yes, young Anton Yelchin who was taken away from us so soon. I give this movie an 8 outta 10!

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Alvin & The Chipmunks : The Road Chip

Jason Lee returns with the voices of Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler, Jesse McCartney, Kaley Cuoco, Anna Faris, and Christina Applegate in the 4th installment of Alvin & The Chipmunks in The Road Chip. Newcommers Tony Hale, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, and Josh Green also have major roles in this 2015 film.

Alvin, Simon, and Theodore, along with The Chipettes – Brittany, Jeanette and Eleanor – set up a surprise birthday bash for Dave that also serves as a good luck party for The Chipettes, who are scheduled to be guest judges on American Idol. Alvin invites and hires many people and celebrities to the dismay of Simon, before Dave returns home in dissatisfaction. Nevertheless, Dave agrees to take them to mini-golf, and meet Samantha, the woman he has been dating for the past few months. While the Chipmunks like Samantha, her son Miles is a bully who physically abuses the trio. Later, the Chipmunks find an engagement ring in a bag Dave brought home and believe that he’s going to propose to Samantha. They try to steal the ring but are unsuccessful.

Dave says he is producing an album for rising pop star Ashley Grey in Miami and invites Samantha to go with him. They leave Miles with the chipmunks at Dave’s home and have Dave’s neighbour Ms. Price (Jennifer Coolidge) look in on them from time to time. The boys convince Miles to go with them to Miami and sabotage the wedding but they are busted by a Chimpunks hating air marshall en-route, who catches them trying to smuggle themselves in with Miles. The Chipmunks find themselves on the no fly list as a bunch of animals got freed from their cages on the flight. The Chipmunks head to a bar and perform, but this is interrupted by Suggs and they cause a bar brawl as a diversion. They jump into a cab sitting outside. After the cab driver learns they cannot pay him, he kicks the four out of the cab. The Chipmunks and Miles rest, and he reveals that his dad left him when he was five years old. hey raise money to take a bus to New Orleans, and sing “Uptown Funk”, which gets the attention of Dave when it is broadcast on live television, and allows for the Chipmunks to cause Suggs, who has followed them to New Orleans, to get drunk.

Dave and Samantha come to New Orleana and Dave has to drive the boys to Miami while Samantha & Miles fly. When Dave goes out to dinner with Samantha, Alvin reveals that he has stolen the ring. However, Miles had bonded with the Chipmunks and was upset that they were celebrating over this. He crosses the street with his headphones on and is almost hit by a car, but the Chipmunks swing Theodore and push Miles out of the way, saving his life. They agree to give the ring back. Suggs catches up with the Chipmunks, but they trap him in an elevator. Miles and the Chipmunks return the ring to Dave, who reveals he never intended to propose to Samantha, and the ring belonged to his friend Barry. Dave is very disappointed in the kids, so they try to make it up to him by singing a new song to him at the launch party with the help of The Chipettes, Ashley, and Miles. Dave forgives them, ofcourse how could he not, and they return home; stopping by on the way at the local courthouse so Dave can officially adopt them. Dave says that nothing could ruin his day, but returns home to see the squirrels had destroyed everything. He then screams Alvin’s name.

A fun time waster on a weekend afternoon or evening. I had a few laughs and some fun / cool moments. I give it a solid 7 outta 10!

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Jack Reacher

Jack Reacher is a 2012 American action thriller film. It is an adaptation of Lee Child’s 2005 novel One Shot. Written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, the film stars Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher and Rosamund Pike as attorney Helen Rodin and also features actors David Oyelowo, Richard Jenkins, Jai Courtney, Werner Herzog, and Robert Duvall. Cruise plays a former military police officer, who is above the law.

In Pittsburgh, a man drives a van into an empty parking garage, pays the meter for 30 minutes, then shoots 6 people dead from long range before quickly leaving. Detective Emerson, leads the investigation and finds a shell casing as well as a quarter used to pay the meter with finger prints that lead the police to arrest James Barr who is asleep in his room. Barr is a former U.S. Army sniper and the cops find the van, equipment for reloading rifle cartridges, the rifle in question, and Barr asleep in his bed. Emerson and District Attorney Alex Rodin interrogate Barr but all he does is write on a page – Get Jack Reacher.

Reacher is a drifter and former U.S. Army Military Police Corps officer. When he hears of Barr on the news he arrives in Pittsburgh and meets Emerson and Rodin, who were trying to get hold of him with no luck. Emerson and Rodin deny Reacher’s request to view the evidence but agree to let him see the suspect. Barr, as it turns out, was brutally attacked by fellow inmates while in police custody and is now in a coma. Reacher meets Barr’s defense attorney, counselor Helen Rodin, the District Attorney’s daughter, who’s been saddled with the apparently hopeless task of saving Barr from the death penalty. Helen agrees to show Reacher the evidence in exchange for being the investigator for the defense. Reacher agrees and finds himself having to fend off goons at a local bar who setup a fight with him, using a young woman who approaches him suggestively and when he ignores her advances, she claims harassment. Reacher beats the 5 goons in quick succession until the cops arrive.

He is also attacked while checking the home of the lead goon and framed for the death of the young lady. Reacher goes to the crime scene and finds inconsistencies about this location, thinking that a trained shooter would have done the killings from the cover of the van on the nearby Fort Duquesne Bridge. After Helen reports her findings about the victims to Reacher, he suggests that the owner of a local construction company was the intended victim, while the other victims served as a cover-up. The head of the underground gang is a man known as Zek (prisoner) who spent half his life in a Russian gulag and wanted to buy the construction company. Reacher eventually follows up a lead at a shooting range in the neighboring state of Ohio, owned by former U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant Martin Cash. The gang kidnaps Helen with the aid of Detective Emerson and holds her hostage at a quarry. With Cash’s help, Reacher outwits and kills off all the goons before confronting Zek and killing him too as he knows a conviction won’t stand.

Cash & Reacher bail before the cops get to the quarry knowing that Helen can clear his name. When Barr awakens from his coma, he tells Helen that he has no recent memory but believes that he must be guilty of the shootings. Barr’s mental reconstruction of how he would have committed the shootings confirms that Reacher’s theory was correct from the beginning. Helen promises to help him as we see Reacher leaving on a bus, getting up to stop a man abusing his wife.

Good action flick with a fast paced storyline and entertaining fight scenes to keep a guy occupied for an afternoon. I’ll give it a solid 7.5 outta 10!

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Excited For Star Trek Beyond

I am excited about Star Trek Beyond, the 13th film in the Star Trek franchise and the 3rd (and it looks like the final) movie from the alternate timeline also know as JJ Verse or JJ Trek era. This is despite the fact that I hated the fact that they made Star Trek Into Darkness, the previous film, which was basically a rehash of Star Trek : Wrath of Khan and the TOS episode Space Seed. Yes, I do not really like JJverse but it’s still Star Trek and I support the movies, I just don’t love them as much as I love the first 10.

But….recent trailers and video discussions have got me excited about Star Trek Beyond – despite what I think of a dirt bike in Star Trek and Beastie Boys music! It’s also got me hopping that the movie is gonna be good because it’s going to be extra special for me – this will be the very first Star Trek movie I will be watching in the theatres. Yes that is correct – this hard core Trekkie has never seen a single Trek film in the movie theatres. I became a Trekkie around 1995 and missed the movies that were released since then at the theatres. I watched them all on cable tv and on dvd and bluray format. I missed 2002’s Star Trek Nemesis by just a few days (it only lasted 2 weeks here in a theatre) and from 2005 till 2016 I didn’t go to theatres at all so I missed 2009’s Star Trek and 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness.

So I will put aside my apprehensions and distaste for the JJ Verse and the JJprise ship, and I’m not too fond of Chris Pine as Kirk either and some other things, and I will support the film at the movie theatres by the 23rd. The movie comes out on the 22nd and since it is a Friday I will go the very next day. I will book my tickets early, grab a medium Pepsi and a small cheese popcorn and settle down in my seat. Hopefully it will do justice to the Star Trek name.

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Knock Knock

Knock Knock is a 2015 American erotic horror thriller film directed by Eli Roth, who also co-wrote the script with Guillermo Amoedoand Nicolás López. The film stars Keanu Reeves (who also co-executive produced the movie), Lorenza Izzo, and Ana de Armas. The film was released on October 9, 2015, byLionsgate Premiere, and it is a remake of Peter Traynor’s 1977 film Death Game.

Evan is a 43 year old successful architect living in huge house in the sprawling hills  outside of Los Angeles. His family life is seemingly blissful, being in love with his Spanish wife, Karen, a successful artist and sculptor herself, and their two adorable kids. On father’s day the kids give Evan their present and cake and have breakfast together before Karen and the kids go for a weekend beach trip. Evan has to stay behind as a work project came up and so it’s just him and the family pet, a small dog, in the house. On a rainy night, Evan is interrupted from his work by a knock at the door. Two young ladies drenched from the torrential rain ask him for the address to a party, seemingly lost. As their phone is dead they ask Evan if they can use his internet to contact a friend. He lets them in and gives them towels and a tablet.

The girls, Genesis & Bel, find out that they have the wrong area so Evan orders an Uber for them but it is 45 minutes away. He gives them robes and puts their wet clothes in the dryer as the girls make themselves at home. Evan tries to be a good host showing them his record collection and DJ equipment (he used to be a DJ in his youth), warding off their flirty advances by changing seats and talking about his wife. However they won’t stop and when Evan leaves the room for a bit and sees that the driver has come, he finds the girls naked in his bathroom and practically begging him for sex. Temptation finally wins and he gives in, having a threesome with the two. Then next morning, they girls don’t want to seem to leave and making a mess of his house cooking breakfast and messing up Karen’s art. He threatens to call the cops but the girls then claim that they are underage. A friend of Karen drops by and despite Evan trying to get her away, she sees Genesis who comes out, and assumes correctly that Evan is cheating on Karen and angrily leaves.

Evan finally threatens to report a break-in, they give in and agree to be taken home. He drops them off at an upscale neighborhood where they supposedly live. He then returns home, cleans the mess, and tries to go back to his work. However that night, the girls break in and knock Evan unconscious and tie him up and wreck a lot of the belongings in the house and the art and stage a mock game show. Evan is forced to have sex with Bel,  while role-playing as a school girl in his daughter’s school uniform while he is tied up and Genesis secretly tapes them. When Evan finally releases himself, he jumps at Bel and knocks her off. He charges at Genesis, who stabs him in his wounded shoulder with a fork. She then pins him to the ground and both girls proceed to tie him up to a chair with electrical cord. Luis, Karen’s assistant comes by, so the girls hide Evan and Genesis pretends she is Evan’s niece. It almost works but Luis panics upon finding the vandalized sculpture and immediately realizes these girls are lying about their relation to Evan.

Louis then finds Evan tied up to a chair, but before he can help him he hears the girls smashing the vandalized sculpture. He runs to stop them, but then has an asthma attack, and realizes they took his inhaler. The girls play monkey-in-the-middle with his inhaler, and as he tries to get it back, he slips on a piece of the sculpture and knocks his head on the edge, killing him. They turn Louis’ body into a red sculpture and dig a makeshift grave in the backyard meant for Evan. They reveal that they had spied on him before contacting him and they do this to other married men as a game; the men always say yes to having sex with the girls. They are also not underage; they lied about that to him. They bury him upto his neck and show Evan the video of him and Bel having sex and upload it to his facebook account on his phone and we see the comments from his shocked friends pouring in. They finally leave, taking Evan’s small dog with them, leaving Evan to try and dig his way out.

Evan’s wife returns a little bit later with their kids and sees the chaos in the house with lots of crude and vulgar drawings on the wall and on the family photos and the art as the movie ends. An alternate ending has Evan putting on black gloves and shows him walk up to a house where the girls are inside torturing their latest victim. Upon hearing the sound of knocking they both tense up and ask: “Who’s there?” and the movie ends.

Not bad though there are some stuff we can’t buy. The spying and the timings seem a bit too much. Luis’ death also is a bit too convenient as is his idiotic fumbling and not releasing Evan from his constraints before getting killed plus his asthma attack. Still for a black comedy, it’s an ok film. I will give it a 7 outta 10!

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The Legend Of Tarzan

Despite the fact that there must be a bunch of Tarzan movies made throughout the history of motion pictures, I can’t remember having seen one other than the Bollywood production which came out sometime in the mid-80s and images of Kimi Kathkar dancing in that skippy & clingy outfit which still fuels my lust. I must have seen more that that but I just don’t remember then. So when I saw the trailers for this movie, I thought I must watch this. The Legend of Tarzan is a 2016 film based on the fictional character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, directed by David Yates and written by Adam Cozad and Craig Brewer, its cast comprises Alexander Skarsgård as the title character, Samuel L. Jackson, Margot Robbie, Djimon Hounsou, Jim Broadbent and Christoph Waltz.

The story goes like this; Tarzan goes by his given name of John Clayton II and living in his palatial ancestral home in London. It has been 8 years since he left the jungles of Africa and he has settled into nobility and a refined, civilized life spent with his wife Jane. We see flashbacks of his dad, who has just buried his wife Alice who died of natural causes, and who is killed by these large gorillas. Kala a female gorilla, “adopts” the baby John and raises him along with her son Akut. Tarzan struggled to fit in with the apes, being attacked by the ape leader Kerchak, believing that humans were dangerous. As he grows up he meets the American Jane, who is there in the jungle with her father. They fall in love and get married and he later moves to his family home in London (we never learn how that happens).

It is now 1889 and King Leopold of Belgium states that he has an intetion to seize control of the land’s minerals, which resulted in large profits. When the resources began to run dry, Leopold sends Captain Leon Rom to secure more minerals. When Rom searches for the minerals, his men open fire over a tribe and its natives. Afterwards, Rom is approached by the tribe’s leader, Chief Mbonga, who offers Rom the minerals in exchange for Tarzan, who killed his son in retaliation for Kala’s murder. So to get Tarzan or John to Africa, an invitation is sent to him to visit Boma and Tarzan initially rejects it but is convinced by American George Washington Williams to bring light to the slavery and exploitation being done in the region. Tarzan and Jane, who recently lost a baby in her womb, travel to Africa with Williams in tow and meet up with their friends in a friendly tribe. At night, the Belgians attack and take both Tarzan and Jane prisoners but Tarzan is rescued by Williams.

The rest of the movie is a chase, some stunning shots in the jungle and fight scenes with both man and ape and stampeding buffalo and yeah crocodiles. Some humour and some action but hardly a story that dazzles us or keeps us thinking “what’s gonna happen next?”. It’s a bit boring or should I stay “stale” as it’s a generic movie that uses Tarzan’s character as the theme for it but it’s nothing special. I still enjoyed it watching it on the big screen but I wonder how much I would enjoy it watched it at home. A time waster for an afternoon with a cola and popcorn. A 7 outta 10!

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Independence Day: Resurgence

Independence Day: Resurgence is a 2016 American science fiction film directed by Roland Emmerich and written by Emmerich, Dean Devlin, Nicholas Wright, James A. Woods and James Vanderbilt. It is the sequel to the 1996 film Independence Day and stars Liam Hemsworth, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Jessie Usher, Maika Monroe, Sela Ward, William Fichtner, Angelababy, Brent Spiner, Vivica A Fox and Travis Tope.

The story picks up 20 years after the events of the 1996 film; mankind has made quite a few technological advancements in the defence of the earth. The international community has recovered and the United Nations has created the ESD (Earth Space Defense), a united global defense program that serves as Earth’s early warning system. The main defense force uses technology salvaged from the remains of the alien forces, with military forces assembled on the Moon, Mars, and Rhea, while the Area 51 base has become the ESD Headquarters. But will earth be ready if a massive attack happens?

When David Levinson, now director of the EDS, goes to meets with Dr. Catherine Marceaux and warlord Dikembe Umbutu, asks permission to enter a fallen alien spaceship discover that the ship was drilling a hole and that the aliens sent a distress call to its home planet before their defeat. Furthermore, Umbutu and former U.S. President Thomas Whitmore experienced recurring visions of extraterrestrial logograms ever since their personal encounters with the telepathic aliens and try to decipher them. A spherical ship comes out of a wormhole near the moonbase Levinson is convinced that it belongs to a different extraterrestrial race that is benevolent and urges the world’s governments not to attack, but they vote to shoot it down regardless. Against orders, ESD pilot Jake Morrison picks up Levinson, Marceaux, Umbutu, and Floyd Rosenberg on a space tug and they head for the crash site, where they recover a container.

And the fear comes true….a giant spaceship, about 3000 miles wide comes towards us destroys Earth’s planetary defenses before approaching the planet. The massive gravity of the ship also lifts structures from most of Asia. The debris falls all across Europe, where the tug manages to escape before heading on to Area 51. It lands on the Atlantic ocean nd drills a hole in the middle of the ocean to harvest the heat of the core, which will destroy Earth’s magnetic field in the process. The aliens also raid the Cheyenne Mountain Complex, killing President Elizabeth Lanford along with most of her Cabinet. At Area 51, General Joshua Adams is named the designated survivor andimmediately sworn in as the 46th President. The harvesters held in captivity in Area 51 all start to shriek, they are celebrating. Ok so what do we do?

Well Dr. Brakish Okun, who was in a coma for 20 years after being attacked by the alien in the first movie, comes out of it. He this container houses a giant white sphere of artificial intelligence; its mission is evacuating survivors from worlds targeted by aliens, whom it calls harvesters, and building a resistance force, one already profoundly feared by the invaders. Whitmore interrogates one of the harvesters held in captivity since the last war. The ESD learns that the harvesters, while similar to Earth’s insect kingdom, are not like locusts as they initially believed but exist in eusociality and that their giant queen is commanding the invasion. They conclude if they kill the queen, her attendants will retreat. An ESD fleet of hybrid fighters, led by Captain Dylan Dubrow-Hiller, stages a counterattack on the queen’s chamber, but they are caught in a trap within the mothership which wipes out nearly the entire unit. Dylan, along with Jake and fellow pilots Charlie Ritter and Rain Lao, manages to escape by hijacking two alien attack craft.

Knowing the queen has become aware of its presence, the sphere’s A.I. wants the ESD to destroy it to prevent the harvesters from learning its secrets. The ESD forces instead hide the sphere in an isolation chamber, and use the space tug with a transmitter copying the sphere’s signal as a decoy to lure the queen’s personal ship to a trap filled with fusion weapons. Whitmore flies a tugboat towards the mothership with bombs and destroys the ship, sacrificing himself in the process, but the queen escapes as she has a large energy shield on her biomechanical suit. Patricia flies a hybrid fighter and attacks the queen and neutralizes it’s shield, allowing Dylan’s arriving party to kill the queen before she can take the sphere. The queen dies and all the other aliens stop the attacks and retreat from the earth. Okun reveals that the sphere has asked them to lead the resistance, and offered them new technology in preparation for a potential assault on the harvesters’ homeworld.

Ok, just take that all in. There are some similar elements from the original with Whitmore; especially having similar things happen to him as in having the alien speak through him (like Okun) and sacrificing himself to destroy the ship (like Randy Quaid’s character). The two male leads could easily have been replaced by anyone, hardly any of the new characters have anything much memorable about them. But then in a movie of this magnitude and fast pacing action, I hardly expected any characterization and instead we get more cliches than you can count. It’s ok, fast paced adrenaline is expected and cheered in this scenario. But can the earth actually put aside their petty differences and unite and do all this advancements as shown in the movie (well it’s only for the defences so maybe I can believe that) in just 20 years?? Bases on the moon and other planets nearby with fully functioning quarters and ships? I doubt it. But still worthy to watch on the big screen. So….8 outta 10?

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Dead Man Walking

Better late than never is a recurring theme for me when it comes to movies. Here is an awesomely acted movie from the 90s. Dead Man Walking is a 1995 American crime drama film starring Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn, and co-produced and directed by Tim Robbins, who adapted the screenplay from the non-fiction book of the same name. The movie also sees roles from a young Jack Black, Scott Wilson, Peter Sarsgaard, R. Lee Emery, Roberta Maxwell and the late Robert Prosky.

Sarandon plays Sister Helen Prejean, a non-habit wearing nun from a rich family in Louisiana, who has corresponded with death row inmate Matthew Poncelet. Poncelet has been in death row for 6 years after being convicted of raping a young girl and killing both her and her boyfriend. His older friend with whom he committed the crimes, a man named Carl Vitello, who was sentenced to life imprisonment. With just a few days left before his execution, Poncelet asks Helen to help him with a final appeal. Helen, who usually helps the poor and orphans, agrees and goes to meet him at the prison. In her interactions, as well as some tv interviews, Matthew comes out as being arrogant, sexist and racist and shows no remorse. He affirms his innocence, insisting Vitello killed the two teenagers. Convincing an experienced attorney to take on Poncelet’s case pro bono, Sister Helen tries to have his sentence commuted to life imprisonment.

Slowly he starts to open up to her. Helen also goes to visit his mother and brothers and also visits the families of the two teenagers. The families do not understand Sister Helen’s efforts to help Poncelet, claiming she is “taking his side.” Instead they desire “absolute justice”—his life for the lives of their children. The application for a pardon is denied and Matthew prepares himself for his execution. As the day nears, Matthew asks Helen to be his spiritual advisor on his final day, to which she agrees, despite the misgivings of the pastor. As she talks to him about redemption, Helen advises Matthew that to be redeemed, he must confess his crimes. Just before he is taken from his cell, Poncelet admits to Sister Helen that he killed the boy and raped the girl. As he is prepared for execution, he appeals to the boy’s father for forgiveness and tells the girl’s parents he hopes his death brings them peace. Poncelet is executed by lethal injection and later given a proper burial. The murdered boy’s father attends the ceremony still filled with hate, but shortly after begins to pray with Sister Helen, ending the film.

A stunning showcase of two heavyweights when it comes to award winning acting, this film is a must see despite the lack of fast paced scenes or major shocks etc. At the 68th Academy Awards, Dead Man Walking was nominated in four different categories: Susan Sarandon won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role, Sean Penn was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor, Tim Robbins was nominated for Best Director and its main track “Dead Man Walkin'” by Bruce Springsteen was nominated for Best Song. Awesome mood music by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam sets the tone as well. A solid 8.5 outta 10!

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RIP Anton Yelchin

This news came as a shock to the film community; Anton Yelchin, the Russian-born actor who played Chekov in the new Star Trek films, has been killed by his own car at his home in Los Angeles, police say. It struck him after rolling backwards down the steep drive at his Studio City home, pinning him against a brick postbox pillar and a security fence. He died shortly after 01:00 (08:00 GMT) on Sunday. Yelchin, 27, also appeared in such films as Like Crazy (2011) and Green Room (2015). Yelchin played Pavel Chekov, the role originally made famous by Walter Koenig (now 79), in the films Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek Into Darkness (2013). A third film with him in the role, Star Trek Beyond, is due for release next month.

Yelchin was born March 11, 1989, in Leningrad, Soviet Union (now Saint Petersburg, Russia). His parents, Irina Korina and Viktor Yelchin, were pair figure skaters who were celebrities as stars of the Leningrad Ice Ballet for 15 years. His family is Jewish; in the USSR, they were subjected to religious and political oppression. His family moved to the United States in September 1989, when Anton was six months old, after receiving refugee status from the United States Department of State. Yelchin began acting at the age of 9 in the independent film A Man is Mostly Water. His earliest roles include Jackson in A Time for Dancing, Milo in Delivering Milo, Tommy Warshaw in House of D, and Jacob Clarke in the miniseries Taken. He made a guest appearance as Stewart, Cheryl David’s cousin and a self-described magician, in a season four episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, and starred as Byrd Huffstodt, the 14-year-old son of Dr. Craig “Huff” Huffstodt (Hank Azaria), on the television series Huff, which ran from 2004 to 2006.

In 2006, he also had a role on an episode (“Tru Love” of the series Law & Order: Criminal Intent, playing a boy who falls in love with his teacher. His biggest film recognition came for the role of Bobby Garfield in Hearts in Atlantis (2001), for which he won Best Performance in a Feature Film – Leading Young Actor at the 2002 Young Artist Awards. He also appeared in the Criminal Minds episode “Sex, Birth & Death” as Nathan Harris, a boy who has fantasies about killing prostitutes. Yelchin starred in Alpha Dog and subsequently headlined Fierce People, a drama which received a limited release on September 7 of that year and co-starred Diane Lane and Donald Sutherland. In 2008 Yelchin played the title role in Charlie Bartlett, a film about a wealthy teenager in a public high school. Also that year, Yelchin appeared alongside the Russian duo t.A.T.u. in the movie You and I (which was filmed in Moscow during the summer of 2007) and co-starred with Susan Sarandon and Justin Chatwin in Middle of Nowhere. He next starred in two May 2009 releases: the eleventh Star Trek film, in which he portrayed 17-year-old navigator Pavel Chekov, and Terminator Salvation, in which he was cast as a teenage Kyle Reese.

In 2011, Yelchin portrayed Charley Brewster in the remake of Fright Night, directed by Craig Gillespie, starred in the romantic drama Like Crazy, and voiced Clumsy Smurf in the film adaptation of The Smurfs and its sequel. He provided the voice for the Albino Pirate character in the animated film The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists!

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Sleepless in Seattle

Despite being a big fan of Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan and of the city of Seattle, somehow I had never seen this movie. It took me this long just to get myself a copy of the film and watch it at home. Sleepless in Seattle is a 1993 American romantic comedy-drama film directed and co-written by Nora Ephron, based on a story by Jeff Arch. It stars Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, alongside a supporting cast featuring Bill Pullman, Ross Malinger, Rob Reiner, Rosie O’Donnell, Gaby Hoffmann, Victor Garber, and Hanks’ wife Rita Wilson.

Hanks plays Sam Baldwin, a Chicago architect who has just lost his wife, leaving him to take care of their young son Jonah alone. Looking for a fresh start, Sam moves with Jonah to Seattle. A year and a half later, on Christmas Eve 1992, Jonah—who wants his father to find a new wife—calls in to a radio talk show. Jonah persuades Sam to go on the air to talk about how much he misses Maggie. Hundreds of women from around the country who hear the program and are touched by the story write to Sam. Annie Reid, a Baltimore Sun reporter, is one of the women who hears the kid on the radio. Her heart goes out to Sam, and Jonah, despite the fact that she is engaged to marry amiable, suitable Walter.

Annie decides that she is curious enough to write to Jonah and try and meet Sam. She also feels that there is no spark of magic in her relationship with Walter. After watching the film An Affair to Remember, Annie impulsively writes a letter suggesting that Sam meet her on top of the Empire State Building on Valentine’s Day. She does not intend to mail it, but her friend and editor Becky does it for her and agrees to send Annie to Seattle to “look into doing a story on those radio shows”. Meanwhile, egged on by his best friends Greg & Suzy, Sam starts to date and get involved with a woman named Victoria, to whom Jonah has a dislike towards. He thinks that she is not right for his dad and on reading the letter from Annie decides she more than fits the bill. Sam won’t agree to  meet Annie on Valentine’s Day in NYC, so with help from his friend Jessica, Jonah books a plane ticket for him to New York and go to the Empire State Building.

Jonah goes to the observation deck and asks every unattached woman if she is Annie. Sam, distraught, follows Jonah and finds him on the observation deck. Meanwhile, Annie sees the skyscraper from the Rainbow Room where she is dining with Walter and confesses her doubts to him and they decide to break off their engagement. She decides to go to the Empire State building and, despite the fact that it is closing time, begs the guard to let her go to the observation deck. There she finds a backpack that Jonah has left behind. As she pulls out Jonah’s teddy bear from the backpack, Sam and Jonah emerge from the elevator, and the three meet for the first time. Sam recognizes Annie as the woman who he saw across the street and that they both had a moment of connection despite not knowing who she was. As the guard urges them on, Sam offers his hand to Annie and the three of them make their way out of the building with Jonah smiling knowing that his and Jessica’s plan to bring his dad & Annie together has worked.

Fun, sweet, charming, lovely and engaging. What a nice romantic film! Shame I waited so long to see this. 9 outta 10 for a 90s based romantic-comedy!

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The Conjuring 2

The Conjuring 2 is a 2016 American supernatural horror film directed by James Wan and written by Carey Hayes, Chad Hayes, Wan and David Leslie Johnson. It is the sequel to the 2013 film The Conjuring and stars Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. The movie also stars Frances O’Connor, Madison Wolfe, Simon McBurney, Franka Potente as Anita Gregory, Lauren Esposito, Patrick McAuley, Benjamin Haigh, Maria Doyle Kennedy & Simon Delaney. The film follows the Warrens as they travel to the United Kingdom to assist the Hodgson family, who are experiencing poltergeist activity at their Enfield council house in 1977.

The movie starts at the Amityville horror house, where Ed & Lorraine conduct a seance so Lorraine can enter the spirit realm and investigate what happened. She meets the spirit of Ronald DeFeo who shot his siblings and parents in the house, and he guides her to the basement where the spirits of his siblings and he point her towards a mirror. Lorraine is attacked by a scary looking demonic nun who shows her a grim omen of her husband’s brutal death. in Connecticut, Lorraine Warren has convinced her husband to take a break from paranormal investigation, after the incident and the couple’s recent interview series. Meanwhile in Enfield England, a single mom who is struggling to make ends meet is upset with her younger daughter, Janet, for being caught allegedly smoking a cigarette with her best friend. Janet starts “sleepwalking” and talking to a ghostly presence which no one else can see, waking up on the living room floor and seeing the scary ghost of the old man who died there before they moved in.

Youngest son Billy is also seeing apparitions and hen Janet and her older sister Margaret wake up Peggy saying that there is a spirit in their room, the mom is convinced when a dresser is shoved across the room by itself. When the cops come in they too see a chair slide across the small hall and move into the table by itself. They offer to inform a local catholic priest and a reporter who involves Maurice Grosse a famous British paranormal investigator. They capture recordings of Janet’s voice changing into the guttural raspy one of an old man who claims to be the ghost of Bill Wilkins, the previous owner of the home. The church asks Lorraine and Ed to investigate just enough to rule out a hoax. Lorraine is nervous when the Demon nun turns up in Ed’s dreams and he paints it, which later appears in her visions but agrees to go to England. The Warrens bond with the family, especially Janet and investigate the matter. With their backs turned to Janet and with the girl holding a mouthful of water, Ed asks Bill to speak with them. This is to prove that Janet isn’t using ventriloquism and faking the sound.

More paranormal events occur, with Janet disappearing from her room to the ceiling of the living room and being held there while the figure of the old man pulls there through to the girls’ bedroom which Peggy has padlocked. Inside the room, the large number of crosses all turn themselves upside down before Janet is attacked by the ghost. Her mother saves her from the figure but the Warrens and the others aren’t fully convinced, though the Warrens do believe that there is a ghost. Despite a few other cases, the skeptic who is recording the goings on find on tape that Janet is throwing plates and other stuff by herself and bending large spoons seemingly faking things in the kitchen. At the accusation that Janet is lying, Peggy asks everyone to leave. They do but the Warrens return when playing two recordings of Bill’s voice shows them that the ghost is actually asking for help and warning them, that there is another presence in the house which is demonic.

While the Warrens and the neighbour rush back, Janet is shown to be possessed again and almost attacks Billy. The girl is taken to the house by the demonic being who is revealed to be the same demon nun. Ed rushes in to help Janet and catches her as she jumps from a window while Lorraine, realizes that she has scratched the demon’s name in her bible, while she was in her vision. She calls out the name of the demon, Valak, and commands it to hell, which destroys the nun. Lorraine is able to grab Ed before he falls and the girl is saved from death as well as the demon. The Warrens say their fond goodbyes to the Hodgsons and go back home.

Scary and gripping with really effective use of creating atmosphere and real tension, this movie had me jumping a bit in my seat as I watched in the theatre. Though at times it feels as if it’s a propaganda film for the Catholic church, crosses, Christianity and god, the acting saves this film from looking like a big farce. Sure the movie is a fictional tale with some stuff based on the Enfield Poltergeist which is obviously a hoax, but Wan does a good job of making a neat and scary film. I give it an 8.5 outta 10!

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