Replicas

Replicas is a 2018 American science fiction thriller film directed by Jeffrey Nachmanoff, and written by Chad St. John, from a story by Stephen Hamel. The film tells the story of a neuroscientist who violates the law and bioethics to bring his family members back to life after they die in a car accident. It stars Keanu Reeves, Alice Eve, and Thomas Middleditch.

William Foster and Ed Whittle are biomedical research scientists working for Biogeny Corporation in Puerto Rico, attempting to transfer the mind of a dead soldier into an android with superhuman strength, codenamed Subject 345. Foster specializes in synthetic biology and mapping of the mind’s neural pathways, while Whittle’s speciality is reproductive human cloning. Foster successfully captures the soldier’s neural map and transfers it into the android’s synthetic brain, but the experiment fails when the soldier recoils in horror at the android body and destroys it, killing himself again. Foster’s boss Jones warns him that if he cannot get Subject 345 to work, the company’s shareholders will shut the project down.

Bill takes his family – wife Mona and three children Sophie, Matt, and Zoe – on a boating trip but they have a terrible accident in the storm and only Bill survives. Struck with grief he calls Ed and they take the bodies to Bill’s house. As you can guess, he gets Ed to steal some equipment from Biogeny and clones the bodies for Mona, Sophie & Matt and has their neural pathways inserted into the bodies. Unfortunately they only have options for 3 bodies as they only have 3 pods and Bill has to pick 3 from his family members and he chooses to skip the youngest, Zoe. After several days it works and the family lives their lives unaware that they are clones and that their memories of Zoe have been erased from their minds. But Jones finds out and along with some secret service men arrive at Bill’s house. Mona is aware that her child Zoe is not with them and freaks out a bit but the family need to escape.

Sold out by Ed, Bill and his family are caught by Jones and his men and brought to the lab at night. Foster uploads his own mind into Subject 345, who kills the henchmen and mortally wounds Jones. The two Fosters make a deal with Jones: he can live in a cloned body and become rich by working with Foster-345, selling clone transfers to wealthy people looking for a second life. Meanwhile, Foster is able to retire in peace with his family, including the newly cloned Zoe.

The acting is a bit off for this film and the CGI is laughable for 90% of the time. It seems like a movie where every dialed in their performances. Reeves appears to be going through the motions and isn’t very interested until towards the latter half of the movie. The same could be said for the rest of the cast. The movie does seem to be rushed. I give it a 6 outta 10!

Pyewacket

Pyewacket is a 2017 Canadian horror thriller film written and directed by Adam MacDonald. It stars Laurie Holden and Nicole Muñoz. It was screened in the Contemporary World Cinema section at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival.

Leah Reyes is a teenager fascinated with black magic and occult practices. Following the death of Leah’s father, she becomes more and more obsessed with researching the occult. One evening she is late from coming home from a book signing and later drinking beer and smoking weed with her friends. Her grieving mother decides to move to a remote woodland house for a fresh start, forcing Leah to leave her school friends behind and join her. Leah soon feels isolated and frustrated in the new home, and after a fierce argument with her mother, she wishes death on her. Venturing deep into the forest, Leah performs an occult ritual from one of her books to summon the demon Pyewacket to kill her mother. However, Leah bonds with her mother shortly afterwards, and she soon regrets her actions.

Strange things start to happen in the house as Leah hears loud thuds from the attic but her mom can’t find anything or anyone. Also the door is open when they come down in the morning and there’s piles of dirt on the floors. At night Pyewacket appears as a dark figure in Leah’s room, unseen by her and drags her into the forest. Leah wakes up next to a tree with blood on her.  She turns to her school friends for help, and her best friend Janice agrees to stay at Leah’s house overnight to help her lift the curse. However, Pyewacket attacks Janice in the night, and the following morning Leah and her mother find her cowering in the car, too terrified to say what happened to her. Leah then seeks advice from aranormalist Rowan Dove, who advises that the only way to stop the demon is to perform the same summoning ritual in the same place, but in reverse. He also warns that Pyewacket is a devious shape-shifter and Leah must not trust anyone until the curse is lifted.

When Leah returns to the forest and begins the reverse ritual, she stops when she sees her mother lying dead nearby, but also hears her mother calling out for her. In a panic, Leah calls 911, and then her friend Aaron to pick her up. Returning to the house, Leah is confronted by Pyewacket, who first takes the form of Leah’s mother, and then of a monstrous hag. Leah hides in the attic, and when her mother returns home, Leah is convinced that she is another of Pyewacket’s illusions, so that night she douses her mother with gasoline and sets her on fire, believing that she is killing the demon. This in turn sets the house on fire, and when Aaron arrives he finds Leah unconscious outside as the house burns down. The film ends with Leah being interviewed by a police detective about her mother’s death. After playing a recording of Leah’s 911 call where she said her mother’s body was in the woods, the detective reveals that the only body the police found was a burned one in the ruins of the house. Leah is horrified as she realises Pyewacket tricked her into killing her mother.

Not at all scary but atmospheric in places. There’s some good acting from Holden & Munoz but overall the movie needs something more. For a long time we don’t see anything and it’s more like a mother-daughter drama until the latter parts of the film. 7 outta 10!

Sleepy Hollow

Sleepy Hollow is a 1999 American horror film directed by Tim Burton. It is a film adaptation loosely based on Washington Irving’s 1820 short story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”, and stars Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci, with Miranda Richardson, Michael Gambon, Casper Van Dien, and Jeffrey Jones in supporting roles. The plot follows police constable Ichabod Crane (Depp) sent from New York City to investigate a series of murders in the village of Sleepy Hollow by a mysterious Headless Horseman. Today was the first time I actually sat and watched the film.

In 1799, New York City police constable Ichabod Crane is dispatched to the upstate Dutch hamlet of Sleepy Hollow, which has been plagued by a series of brutal decapitations: a wealthy father and son, and a widow. Received by the insular town elders—wealthy businessman Baltus Van Tassel; town doctor Thomas Lancaster; the Reverend Steenwyck; notary James Hardenbrook; and magistrate Samuel Philipse—Ichabod learns that locals believe the killer is the undead apparition of a headless Hessian mercenary from the American Revolutionary War who rides a black steed in search of his missing head. Ichabod begins his investigation, skeptical of the paranormal story. Boarding at the home of Baltus Van Tassel and his second wife, Lady Van Tassel, he is taken with Baltus’ spiritual daughter, Katrina.

His investigations, although he himself is scared of the killer, will reveal that the “master” (the one who dug up the severed head of the horseman was Lady Van Tassel, from an impoverished family evicted years ago by Van Garrett when he favored Baltus and Katrina instead. She swore revenge against Van Garrett and all who had wronged her, pledging herself to Satan if he would raise the Horseman to avenge her, and also to claim the estate uncontested. Manipulating her way into the Van Tassel household, she used fear, blackmail, and lust to draw the other elders into her plot. She also killed her twin sister and her final victim is intended to be Katarina. After an escape that destroys the windmill and the subsequent chase to the Tree of the Dead, Ichabod throws the Horseman’s skull to him. Freed, and with his head restored, the Horseman spares Katrina and attacks Lady Van Tassel, giving her a bloody kiss and returning to Hell with her in tow, fulfilling the deal. His faith restored, Ichabod returns to New York with Katrina and Young Masbath, just in time for the new century.

This is a film that I always tried to watch back in the years that they showed it a lot on cable tv and when I used to watch cable tv and would also miss the beginning and hence stopped watching after a few minutes. Now I have finally see it in it’s entirety. It’s a good enough film with a good cast and cinematography is great. Nice score as well. I would give it a 7.5 outta 10!

Ocean’s 8

Ocean’s 8 (stylized onscreen as Ocean’s Eight) is a 2018 American heist comedy film directed by Gary Ross and written by Ross and Olivia Milch. The film is both a continuation and a spin-off from Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s trilogy and features an ensemble cast, including Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Rihanna, Helena Bonham Carter, and Awkwafina. The film follows a group of women led by Debbie Ocean, the sister of Danny Ocean, who plan a sophisticated heist of the annual Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

A newly paroled Debbie Ocean, the younger sister of Danny Ocean, meets and convinces her former  partner-in-crime Lou to join her in a new heist to steal the Toussaint, a $150 million Cartier necklace, during the upcoming Met Gala and use movie star Daphne Kluger as a mule. They assemble their team: bankrupt fashion designer Rose Weil; jewelry maker Amita, eager to move out of her mother’s house; hacker Nine Ball; street hustler and pickpocket Constance; and profiteer Tammy, who fences stolen goods out of her suburban home. Daphne is manipulated into hiring Rose to design a dress for her. They digitally scan the necklace to manufacture a cubic zirconia duplicate. Tammy secures a job at Vogue and gains access to the gala, and Debbie leads Daphne to invite art dealer Claude Becker, whose betrayal sent Debbie to prison, as her date. Lou confronts Debbie for planning revenge against Becker, but Debbie reassures her this is not the case.

Rose finds out that only a special magnetic key that is carrier by the bodyguards from Cartier can un-release the Toussaint once it is clasped. She quickly videotapes it and Nine Ball enlists her younger sister Veronica’s help in defeating the mechanism. At the gala Daphne’s soup is spiked to make her vomit and while she is puking into the toilet Constance removes the necklace and sneaks it to Amita, who splits it into smaller pieces of jewelry. Daphne doesn’t notice until she comes out and the bodyguards see her neck bare. The Toussaint’s disappearance triggers the museum’s evacuation, but the search ends when Tammy “finds” the duplicate necklace. Constance slips the Toussaint pieces to the team to smuggle out; Debbie plants a piece on Becker. After the heist, Debbie and Lou reveal Daphne had been in on the plan. Later Cartier check and find it to be a fake and call in insurance investigator John Frazier.

Having seen her in a video at the gala, Frazier suspects Debbie knowing her and her brother’s reputation but he is forced to agree that she has a strong alibi. She tells Frazier she may know who stole the necklace. Daphne visits Becker and sends Frazier a picture of the jewel Debbie planted. To further frame Becker, Debbie hires actresses posing as elderly socialites to sell the Toussaint pieces and deposit the money in Becker’s name. Frazier takes Becker into custody. Lou and Debbie reveal to the others that the real target: she and “The Amazing” Yen replaced a Met display of royal jewels with replicas, escaping with gems even more valuable than the Toussaint. With a larger-than-expected share of the score, each member of the team goes her separate way: Amita travels to Paris with a man she meets on Tinder; Weil pays off her debts and opens her own store; Constance buys a spacious loft in the city and becomes a YouTuber; Tammy expands her business in stolen goods; Nine Ball opens a pool bar; Daphne becomes a film director; Lou goes on a cross-country road trip; and Debbie visits Danny’s grave with a martini in his honor.

Not as good or exciting as the trilogy and not smooth enough to be very classy or memorable. Which is a shame because with a few more tweaks this would have been a really awesome film given the caliber of the cast. I think they should have upped the stakes a lot more. I give it a 7 outta 10!

RIP Peter Mayhew

British-born actor Peter Mayhew, who played Chewbacca the Wookiee, the loyal, furry companion of space buccaneer cheapest secured loans Han Solo in five of the “Star Wars” movies, has died at age 74, his family said on Thursday. Mayhew, whose face was never seen in the “Star Wars” films – his entire body was always clothed in his Wookiee costume – died at his north Texas home on Tuesday, according to the family’s statement on Twitter. No cause of death was given.

The lanky performer, at 7ft 3 in, made his first appearance as the beloved, bleating Chewbacca character in the landmark 1977 sci-fi action-thriller “Star Wars,” and went on to co-star in four more films in the blockbuster series – “The Empire Strikes Back,” “Return of the Jedi,” “Revenge of the Sith” and “The Force Awakens.” He retired from playing Chewbacca for health reasons, although his family recalled that for Mayhew’s final turn as the heroic Wookiee in “The Force Awakens,” he “fought his way back from being wheelchair-bound to stand tall” once more as the woolly character in the 2015 film. He also served as an off-camera consultant on the final 2017 film in the series, “The Last Jedi,” helping to tutor his successor in the Chewbacca role, Joonas Suotamo, on the ways of convincingly playing a Wookiee.

Mayhew got his first acting job in 1976 when the producers of Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger discovered him from a photograph in a newspaper article about men with large feet, and cast him in the role of the minotaur. Outside Star Wars, Mayhew appeared in the 1978 horror film Terror, directed by Norman J. Warren. In the English version of Dragon Ball GT: A Hero’s Legacy, he provided the voice for Susha. He also appeared in Yesterday Was a Lie. Mayhew married Mary Angelique in 1999. They had three children. Mayhew lived with Angie in Boyd, Texas, and was a business owner. He became a naturalised citizen of the United States in 2005 at a ceremony in Arlington, Texas.

Avengers: Endgame

Avengers: Endgame is a 2019 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics superhero team the Avengers, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is the sequel to 2012’s The Avengers, 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron and 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War, and the 22nd film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film is directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely and features an ensemble cast including Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, Brie Larson, Karen Gillan, Danai Gurira, Bradley Cooper, and Josh Brolin. In the film, the surviving members of the Avengers and their allies work to reverse the damage caused by Thanos in Infinity War.

  • So a couple of weeks have gone by since the end of the Infinity War; the movie starts with Clint Barton, who was retired from the Avengers, losing his family after Thanos snaps his fingers and wipes out half the living creatures in the universe. His wife and two daughters turn to dust while they are having a picnic. Clint becomes a ruthless vigilante, until Natasha comes to recruit him back.
  •  Carol Danvers rescues Nebula and Tony Stark from deep space. They return to Earth and join the remaining Avengers—Natasha Romanoff, Bruce Banner, Steve Rogers, Rocket, Thor, and James Rhodes. They find an injured Thanos and intend to take the Stones to reverse his actions, but he already destroyed them to prevent further use. An enraged Thor kills Thanos.
  • 5 ye low interest unsecured loan ars later and the word is still trying to recover from the devastating event. Scott Lang escapes the  quantum realm and meets Romanoff and Rogers at the Avengers’ compound. Lang explains living through a duration of five hours instead of five years, theorizing that the quantum realm can allow time travel. The three ask Stark to help them retrieve the Stones from the past so they can revert Thanos’ actions in the present, but he rejects them out of fear of losing his daughter, Morgan. Stark relents after reflecting upon the disintegrated Peter Parker and works with Banner—who has merged his intelligence with the Hulk’s body—to stabilize travel in the quantum realm.
  • Thor meanwhile is a drunken slob living in a small house in New Asgard (Norway) where Hulk & Rocket find him drinking beer and playing video games with Korg. He is finally convinced and goes to join the rest of the team in the Avengers compound.
  • Banner, Rogers, Lang, and Stark travel to New York City in 2012. Banner visits the Sanctum Sanctorum and convinces the Ancient One to give him the Time Stone; Rogers overcomes undercover Hydra agents and his 2012 self to retrieve the Mind Stone, but Lang and Stark fail to retrieve the Space Stone when Loki escapes with it. Rogers and Stark use the last of their size-altering Pym Particles to travel to S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters in 1970 and steal an earlier version of the Space Stone as well as vials of Pym Particles from Hank Pym so they can return to the present.
  • Rocket and Thor travel to Asgard in 2013 to retrieve the Reality Stone from Jane Foster, and Thor obtains his former hammer, Mjolnir. Barton and Romanoff travel to Vormir in 2014 and learn from the Soul Stone’s keeper, the Red Skull, that it can only be acquired by sacrificing someone they love. They fight over which of them should die and Romanoff sacrifices herself. On Morag in the same year, Nebula and Rhodes steal the Power Stone before Peter Quill can. Rhodes returns to the present with the Power Stone without Nebula, due to the latter’s cybernetic implants interfacing with those of her 2014 self. Through this connection, the Thanos of that time captures present-day Nebula and sees her memories. He then secretly sends 2014 Nebula to the present.
  • With all the Infinity Stones collected in the present, Banner uses them to restore those whom Thanos disintegrated. 2014 Nebula uses the time machine to transport Thanos and his ship to the present day, and he attacks the Avengers’ compound. Rogers, Thor, and Stark confront Thanos, and Rogers proves worthy to wield Mjolnir. However, Thanos overpowers them and summons his army to lay siege to Earth. Present-day Nebula convinces the 2014 version of her sister Gamora to turn on Thanos, later killing the 2014 version of herself. Now restored, Stephen Strange arrives with his fellow sorcerers, the other restored Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and the armies of Asgard, Wakanda, and the Ravagers. They fight Thanos’ army alongside Danvers and attempt to return the Infinity Stones to the past. Thanos seizes the Stones and plans to destroy and rebuild the universe. Stark steals the Stones back and disintegrates Thanos and his army, but dies from the energy the Stones release.
  • As the movie draws to a close, most of the Avengers and superheroes attend the funeral for Tony Stark. Thor appoints Valkyrie as the king of New Asgard and joins the Guardians of the Galaxy. Rogers returns the Infinity Stones and Mjolnir to their original places in time. He remains in the past to marry Peggy Carter and live out the rest of his life. In the present, an elderly Rogers passes on his shield to Sam Wilson.

Stunning visually and the movie is amazing. Emotional and funny, exciting and thrilling. It’s an awesome film; if you consider Infinity War & Endgame as payday loans online direct lender no credit check one whole film, I would say this one of the best movies that I have ever seen and probably in my top 5 of all time. 10/10! It’s that’s fucking good.

Bird Box

Bird Box is a 2018 American post-apocalyptic horror thriller film, directed by Susanne Bier from a screenplay written by Eric Heisserer, and based on the 2014 novel of the same name by Josh Malerman. The film follows a woman, played by Sandra Bullock, as she tries to protect herself and two children from malevolent supernatural entities that make people who look at them go insane and commit suicide. Bird Box had its world premiere at the AFI Fest on November 12, 2018, and began a limited release on December 14, before streaming worldwide on Netflix on December 21, 2018.

What is this creature? What is the horror that plagues the world and makes people go insane and want to hurt & kill themselves? I have no idea. As unexplained mass suicides originating in Russia quickly spreading across Europe, it reaches the US as a pregnant Malorie is in the hospital for a quick check up with her sister Jessica. They leave hastily as a women, who is the first in the film to be infected (or the first one we see) starts banging her head forcefully against a glass wall. They leave in their car but Jessica is infected when she sees something and rams their car creating an accident. She then looks sad and walks into a speeding truck that kills her. Malorie is helped by a couple of people who bring her into a near house. A small group of survivors gather in this house as havoc descends all around them.

One of the survivors, Charlie who seems to have somewhat comprehensive knowledge of what could be happening, theorizes that an otherworldly entity has invaded Earth, taking the form of its victims’ worst fears and driving them insane before causing them to commit suicide. This is not proven but they board all the windows and settle in. Later, Greg, the home owner, volunteers to tie himself to a chair while monitoring the surveillance cameras to find the issue of the entity but kills himself by rocking his chair violently and slamming his head into a hearthstone after seeing it. The group takes in Olympia who was with another group and finds her way to them, blindfolded, by knocking on doors. She too is pregnant and expecting soon, and bondis with Malorie. most of the group go to a supermarket close by to restock. Malorie finds pet birds and decides to take them along with their supplies. The group attempts to help a coworker of Charlie who is locked outside the supermarket begging for help, and whom Charlie describes as “a little crazy.”

As they contemplate the risks of opening the door, the birds that Malorie was saving go into a hysterical fury. The group is attacked by the infected coworker, who was not killed by the entity but is instead used to infect others. Charlie sacrifices himself to save the others, who are able to make it back safely to the house. Two of the group, leave in the car without telling the others. Olympia lets in a stranger named Gary who says he was with another group but it turns out he is ary starts to take out various drawings of the entity and seems to undergo a trance, indicating that he could have already been partially overtaken by the entity when he arrived. He opens the garage door to kill Douglas. He peeks outside and is completely taken over; he then knocks out Tom and proceeds to remove all the coverings from all the windows. Despite Malorie’s warnings, Olympia fails to look away from the windows and jumps out of the window. Gary forces Cheryl to look, and Cheryl grabs a pair of scissors and stabs herself in the neck.

Douglas blindly attempts to kill Gary with a shotgun but fails, which results in Douglas’s death. While Malorie tries to protect the newborn babies (Malorie’s boy and Olympia’s girl), Tom recovers consciousness in time to overpower and kill Gary. Five years go on and Tom & Malorie are living together and raising the kids, who Malorie has named Boy & Girl. They receive a transmission from Rick, a survivor stating that they are well and safe at a community hidden in the forest. The four decide to go to the community, but are ambushed by a group of infected survivors along the way. Without hesitation, Tom runs out to distract the group while Malorie and the children attempt to make an escape. When the group notices Malorie and the children escaping, Tom decides to open his eyes and shoot them dead. He is overtaken by the entity, but with his will, he manages to shoot the last member of the group before shooting himself.

Malorie, the children, and their pet birds, which are contained in a box to protect against the entity, make their way blindfolded down the river on a boat. They fight off an infected survivor, and survive raging rapids. The boat flips but they find each other on land only to get separated when Malorie accidentally slides down a hill. The entity attempts to convince Boy and Girl to remove their blindfolds using Malorie’s voice. Malorie is able to tell them to fight the urge. Once they are all together again, they are chased by the entity, which was implied by the camera movement and wind. The three eventually reach the community, a former school for the blind. Malorie releases the pet birds from the box to the other birds up on the ceiling and finally gives the children names: Tom and Olympia.

Unconvincing horror and the menace kinda reminds me of M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening. It isn’t boring though and some good acting by Bullock, Malkovich and co will let you stay focused. I give it a 7 outta 10!

Extinction (2018)

Extinction is a 2018 American science fiction thriller film directed by Ben Young and written by Spenser Cohen and Brad Kane. The film is about a father who has a recurring dream/vision about the loss of his family while witnessing a force bent on destruction. The film stars Lizzy Caplan, Michael Peña, Mike Colter, Lilly Aspell, Emma Booth, Israel Broussard, and Lex Shrapnel. It was released on Netflix on July 27, 2018.

Peter, an engineer working in a large factory, is suffering from nightmares and visions of an alien invasion in which he sees a lot of people being gunned down on the streets as several small spaceships descend upon the city. His work life and family life is being affected so on the suggestion of his wife, Alice, he visits a hospital for psychiatric help. However while waiting a fellow visitor tells him of very similar visions, which makes Peter leave before he can see a doctor. Later after a dinner party at their swanky apartment, Peter sees the same ships descending and then the attack begins.

Alien soldiers, from the ships, in black rubber suits with green glowing patches and blackened out full face helmets start attacking the people on the street killing several. The soldiers start storming the buildings in search of people. Peter & Alice  manage to barricade their apartment after telling their two young daughters to stay in the room. A soldier barges in and is about to shoot Peter when their youngest daughter distracts the soldier enough for Peter & Alice to get the upper hand. The family of four escape down the stairs and head to the underground tunnel and decide to go to Peter’s factory which is where he seems himself in the dreams. Alice though is injured by a blast and the solder catches up to them. Peter fights him off but to his shock, the soldier removes his helmet and appears human. Peter forces the soldier to carry Alice to the factory. There, his boss, David, explains that the invasion has been expected for many years.

A medic examines Alice but informs Peter that he cannot save her. As David’s men drag the invading soldier off to execute him, he yells to Peter that he can save Alice. Peter agrees to stay with the soldier to save Alice; David will evacuate their children to a subway station where a transport train awaits to take them all to an offsite base. The soldier surprises Peter by revealing that Alice is a synthetic (AI). To save Alice, she needs an alternate source of power: Peter himself. At the soldier’s guidance, Peter cuts open his own chest with a pocket knife, confirming that he is also a synthetic. The soldier connects a cable between the two androids and Peter passes out, experiencing in detail what he had thought were visions of the future but are actually memories of a past war. Fearing that android workers (synthetics) might rise up against humans, the military attack unarmed synthetics. The synthetics fight back and eventually drive all humans off the planet.

To deal with the guilt of what they have done and prevent themselves from living in fear of a reprisal from humans, the synthetics have wiped their memories and lived as humans, unaware of their nature or history. Peter wakes up and the soldier, Miles, explains that humans have been living on Mars for 50 years. He had expected the synths to be monsters, not families with children. Peter and Alice part amicably with Miles to find their daughters as humans breach the roof of the factory. As they all depart on the train, David explains that he and a handful of other synthetics kept their memories to stay prepared for the inevitable return of the humans. Peter suggests that some day there could be peace between humans and synthetics.

The storyline reminded me a lot of Skyline and the reboot tv series Battlestar Galactica. It is at best a B movie and not that entertaining or memorable. At best it can rival the best of SyFy films and it has similar loan low income production values. A 6.5 outta 10!

Shazam!

Shazam! is a 2019 American superhero film based on the DC Comics character of the same name. Produced by New Line Cinema and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, it is the seventh installment in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). Directed by David F. Sandberg from a screenplay by Henry Gayden, and a story by Gayden and Darren Lemke, the film stars Asher Angel as Billy Batson, a teenage boy who can transform into an adult superhero, played by Zachary Levi. Mark Strong, Jack Dylan Grazer, and Djimon Hounsou also star. It is the first live-action film version of the character since the 1941 serial Adventures of Captain Marvel (the character’s original name).

In 1974 Thaddeus Sivana (is the family Tamilian?) is a young boy who gets bullied by his father and elder brother for not being as tough as they are. is magically transported to the Rock of Eternity, a magical temple in another dimension, by the ancient wizard Shazam. Shazam explains that he has spent centuries searching for a new champion who is “pure of heart,” after his first turned evil and unleashed the Seven Deadly Sins upon the ancient world. The Sins, secured bad credit personal loan now trapped in statues within the Rock, tempt Thaddeus with promises of power, and the boy is banished back to Earth as unworthy to be the champion. We are then introduced to present day and 14 year old Billy Batson, a foster kid who was lost in a carnival while with his single mom several years ago. He is still looking for his mom and gets into trouble as he steals data from a cop car to track women with the same name as his mom.

Billy is sent to yet another foster home, run by Victor and Rosa Vazquez, former foster kids themselves. At their house they have 5 other foster kids :  Mary, Pedro, Eugene, Darla, and Billy’s new roommate Freddy Freeman. Billy does not warm to his new family, and Pedro discovers Billy’s notes for his search. Elsewhere in Philly, Dr. Thad Sivana is researching the symbols and conducting interviews with others who have had encounters with the wizard Shazam. He finally discovers how to return to the Rock of Eternity. He steals the Eye of Sin from the Rock, freeing the Sins and becoming their champion. Sivana uses his new powers to attack the Wizard and kill his abusive father and brother in an awesome scene in the boardroom. Billy meanwhile saves Freddy from bullies but is chased by them and escapes in a subway. He is pulled to the wizard’s realm and is chosen to become the new champion. Billy is transformed into an adult with an array of superpowers. By saying “Shazam!” Billy can change back and forth between teenager and adult superhero. With the help of Freddy, an amateur superhero expert, Billy begins to learn the full extent of his newfound powers.

After Freddy brags to their classmates about knowing Shazam, Billy abandons him and skips school to entertain fans as Shazam for money. After seeing Shazam save a bus on the news, Sivana attacks him, demanding he give up his power. The untested Shazam is easily defeated but transforms back into Billy to escape into the fleeing crowd. Sivana does manage to capture Freddy, who is forced to tell Sivana where they live. The other kids realize that Billy is Shazam! and reveal to Billy that they have found Billy’s mother living nearby. Billy runs away to finally meet his mother, whom he learns intentionally abandoned him years ago. Meanwhile, Sivana turns up to the Vazquez home with Freddy, and forces Freddy to call Billy. Billy returns home as Shazam and agrees to give Sivana his powers in exchange for sparing his family’s lives. However, Freddy and the other kids follow Shazam and Sivana to the Rock of Eternity and attack Sivana. This gives Shazam and the kids time to escape and realize that when the Sins leave his body, Sivana is mortal and can be hurt.

Sivana chases Shazam and the kids to a Winter Carnival, where Sivana unleashes the Sins on them and the carnival goers. Shazam shares his powers with his foster siblings, causing them to also become adult superheroes with powers. While Freddy, Mary, and the others keep the Sins busy, Shazam fights with Sivana himself, defeating him by drawing the only Sin still housed in Sivana’s body out of him, leaving him powerless. Shazam and his family are hailed as heroes, and Billy embraces his foster family as his true family. Billy also shows up at school as Shazam to endorse Freddy before revealing he also brought a friend: Superman. In a mid-credits scene, Sivana is recruited into a partnership with the caterpillar-like creature Mister Mind. In a post-credits scene, Freddy tests whether Shazam can talk to fish, citing Aquaman, only for Shazam to dismiss the power as stupid.

Very kid & family friendly, funny and packed with action this is a really good summer release and I can see lots of families going in to enjoy a couple of hours of harmless fun & entertainment. Compared to the previous more darker DCEU films, with the possible exception of Aquaman, this film comes as a really refreshing change of pace. I’d give it an 8.5 outta 10!

Overlord (2018)

Overlord is a 2018 American war horror film directed by Julius Avery and written by Billy Ray and Mark L. Smith. It stars Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell, Mathilde Ollivier, John Magaro, Gianny Taufer, Pilou Asbæk, and Bokeem Woodbine. The film was produced by J. J. Abrams, through his Bad Robot Productions banner, and Lindsey Weber. The plot follows several American soldiers who are dropped behind enemy lines the day before D-Day and discover secret Nazi experiments.

The movie is set on the eve of D-Day as a a paratrooper squad is sent to destroy a German radio tower in an old church. Their plane is shot down and crashes, and most of the squad was killed either in the crash or by German soldiers. Five survivors remained: Corporal Ford and soldiers Boyce, Tibbet, Chase, and Dawson, who is killed by a landmine shortly after regrouping. The remaining four led by Ford run into a young French woman name Chloe who is scavenging the bags of the dead for some loot and she agrees to take them to her village upon knowing that they are American soldiers.

At her home we meet her 8 year old brother Paul and a sick aunt, who is heavily disfigured and secluded in her room. After Tibbet and Chase depart to check the scheduled rendezvous site, a Nazi patrol led by SS Hauptsturmführer Wafner visits Chloe. Wafner sends his men away and proceeds to blackmail Chloe for sex, threatening to send her brother to the church to be “fixed”. Boyce, being an idealistic new recruit, cannot ignore this and interrupts the Nazi officer. Ford is forced to follow suit and restrain Wafner. Attempting to look for Tibbet and Chase, Boyce witnesses the Nazis burning disfigured village residents. He is chased by a dog and is forced to hide in a truck carrying dead bodies inside the church. Sneaking out of the truck, Boyce discovers an underground base which houses not only a radio operating room, but also a laboratory where the German perform various experiments involving a mysterious serum. Boyce takes a syringe containing the serum and rescues Rosenfeld, another member of the paratrooper squad who was captured alive. They escape through the base’s sewers.

When the two reach Chloe’s house ibbet and Chase had already returned. Wafner refuses to explain what the serum does, even as Ford tortures him. As the squad prepares to assault the church, Wafner attempts to escape and fatally shoots Chase. Boyce instinctively injects the serum into Chase who wakes up from being dead only to freak out as he mutates and become very strong. A scuffle ensues ending with Boyce killing Chase. Wafner escapes with Paul as a hostage and alerts a patrol. A shootout erupts where the patrol is killed and half of Wafner’s face is shot off. Back at the lab, Wafner injects himself with multiple syringes which quickly stop the bleeding. Boyce then suggests that they get back to their mission to infiltrate and destroy the tower and the lab. Chloe takes off running to distract a part of the squad that Wafner was previously with to steal a BMW R75 and rig it with explosives. Rosenfeld and Tibbet launch a frontal assault when the bike is ridden in and exploded, distracting them from the actual main purpose of the attack.

Ford, Boyce, and Chloe enter the base using the route Boyce previously used to escape. Boyce and Ford plant the explosives while Chloe looks for Paul. Chloe nearly escapes an encounter with a test subject, sending Paul outside the church and killing the subject with a flamethrower. She then leaves and rejoins Tibbet and Rosenfeld are caught up in a fight, where Tibbet is shot in the shoulder. Chloe arrives just in the nick of time to apply first aid to his wound. Wafner, now possessing superhuman strength and resilience, overpowers Ford and begins torturing him, using the same tactics Ford used. He reveals the serum was made by using the villagers’ bodies to distill an ancient tar from under the village. The aim was to create undying soldiers to serve the Reich. As Boyce distracts Wafner, the injured Ford injects himself with a syringe. He holds off Wafner long enough for Boyce to set off an oxygen tank, which momentarily stuns him.

Ford orders Boyce to leave him behind and detonate the explosives, believing neither side should possess the serum.Boyce complies and narrowly escapes as the church and radio tower collapse behind him, just as the D-Day invasion concludes in a victory for the Allies. In his report, Boyce credits Ford for the decision to plant the bombs inside the church. The commanding officer questions Boyce on talk about an underground lab in the church, Boyce denies everything, remembering Fords remark that no side should have it. The commanding officer seemingly accepts this story and informs the soldiers that they will be reassigned to Charlie Company as the war continues.

I have high praise for the visuals in the opening scene and some of the action scene. It isn’t very original but entertaining enough to keep me interested during the afternoon. I give it a solid 7 outta 10!