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X-Men: Apocalypse

X-Men: Apocalypse is a 2016 American superhero film based on the X-Men that appear in Marvel Comics. It is the ninth installment in the X-Men film series. Directed by Bryan Singer, with a screenplay by Simon Kinberg from a story conceived by Singer, Kinberg, Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris, the film features an ensemble cast starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Oscar Isaac, Nicholas Hoult, Rose Byrne, Tye Sheridan, Sophie Turner, Olivia Munn and Lucas Till. In Apocalypse, ancient cyber-mutant Apocalypse awakens and plans to take over the world, so the X-Men need to stop him and defeat his team, the Four Horsemen of Apocalypse.

In ancient Egypt the immortal psychic mutant En Sabah Nur rules ancient Egypt until he is betrayed by his worshippers, who entomb him alive just as he and his fellow mutants perform a ritual to transfer his consciousness from his aging body to a new one. He is accidentally awakened in 1983 by Moira MacTaggert and a cult worshipping En Sabah Nur, causing an earthquake that is heard across the globe. Believing that without his presence humanity has lost its way, En Sabah Nur decides to destroy the world and remake it in his image. En Sabah Nur recruits new Horsemen, beginning with Cairo pickpocket Ororo Munroe. He also takes in underground black marketeer Caliban’s enforcer Psylocke siding with him and leading him to Angel. In Poland, Erik Lehnsherr lives with his new wife and daughter, Nina, but when authorities attempt to capture him for the incident at the White House, his family is accidentally killed in the crossfire. En Sabah Nur approaches the heartbroken Erik and takes him to Auschwitz, where he upgrades his powers. Erik destroys the camp and joins Sabah Nur, completing his new Four Horsemen.

This team ambush the X-Men’s mansion and abduct Professor Charles Xavier as Apocalypse wants to transfer his consciousness into the latter’s body as when he does so, he will also gain Xavier’s powers to control everyone on earth. It’s upto Raven / Mystique, Beast, Jean Grey, a newly recruited Cyclops & Nightcrawler, with CIA agent Moira McTaggart and Quicksilver (who saves everyone from the exploding mansion when he arrives to meet Xavier and find his father Magneto) to get Xavier back and kill Apocalypse before he destroys the world. In the fight Magneto and are convinced to turn on En Sabah after spotting his true nature through his brutal attack on Quicksilver and Mystique (who happens to be Ororo’s role model). They must also ward of Col. Stryker and the US military who fear the Mutants. Lots of action, especially in the second half and some comedic relief with Quicksilver and Nightcrawler.

So what did I think of this movie? It was good but not as good as I was expecting. The villain wasn’t as awesome as I had hoped while watching the trailers even though he had some good scenes. The special effects were awesome but I felt that they had too much focus other than the main story. I do like it but I think they could have done a lot better. We finally learn how Xavier became bald! I thought the cast was awesome with special mention to Sophie Turner (who looks awesomely sexy) and Michael Fassbender. And Olivia Munn – smoking hot!!! 8 outta 10!

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Enter Nowhere

Enter Nowhere (also known as The Haunting of Black Wood) is a 2011 psychological thriller film directed by Jack Heller and starring Scott Eastwood, Sara Paxton, Katherine Waterston and Shuan Sipos. It’s a 90 minute movie featuring 4 people who are all out of their time periods.

Three people from different decades find themselves suddenly lost with Jody and her dirt bag boyfriend Kevin robbing a convenience store. Jody holds a gun to the cashier demanding he open the safe. Cryptically, he tells her that he will do so but doesn’t believe she can handle what’s inside. Clearly not amused, she shoots and kills him. We then see another woman stumbling through the woods (a bit creepy with bare trees and nothing much else) and finding a cabin. Samantha and her husband Adam are on the way to his parents house to tell them they are expecting a new baby when they run out of gas on a deserted road on a cold night in the middle of the woods. He goes for help leaving her alone to fend for herself. After he doesn’t come back she goes looking for help and she gets lost in the woods. She meets an ax toting Tom who reached the cabin 3 days ago; he too had car trouble and found the cabin after wandering in the woods. Soon they find Jody fainted on the porch; she had a fight with Kevin and he abandoned her on the side of the road.

All three of them are suspicious of each other with Jody getting on the other two’s nerves. They soon become frantic over their inability to leave. They even venture into the woods to escape only to return to the cabin no matter which direction they take, they always end up back there. Tom leaves the cabin to try to find help. Samantha and Jody start to talk and quickly get into an argument of where they are. Samantha thinks she is right outside New Hampshire and Jody thinks she is fifteen miles outside Detroit. Tom returns to the shack to inform the ladies that they are both wrong, he claims they are in South Dakota. They realize that they are all wrong. Each one is plagued with nightmares. The next day they decide to try to walk out of the woods together. They walk and walk through the woods, and find a locked door to an old under ground bunker. They enter it and find old German maps and bottles of old German wine and cans of food and other supplies. Samantha reads the labels as she knows some German; shesays although her German father died before she was born, her mother insisted that she learn to speak his language. Jody and Samantha get to know each other better and realize that both of their fathers died in the war. They take some of the supplies and head back. Tom too says he is an orphan.

The next day the ladies bond and share their stories and then realize that both of them think it is a different decade. While Samantha says the year is 1962, Jody retorts that it’s 1985 (Samantha’s dad died in WW2 while Jody’s died in Vietnam) and when the two of them question Tom he says that they are both wrong and that it’s actually 2011! As the three try to figure out what’s going on they see a figure outside. They go outside to see what’s going on and are greeted by a soldier with a gun. The man, Hans (Shaun Sipos) is a German soldier (who they think is a Nazi but he is not a Nazi). Luckily, Samantha speaks German but is unable to convince Hans. Hans knocks Tom out and ties him up outside, then ties the women up inside. Hans attempts to find out what’s going on but things get hostile as he believes the three are holding back information. He isn’t impressed nor does he believe that the three are confused as to how they got there. Tom is able to get free of his bond and knocks out Hans. A locket that all three of them have makes them realize the situation – they are in some sort of freakish twilight zone and all of them are related.

Hans is Samantha’s father who dies in an allied bombing. She grows up without a father and while she was alone she got sick and with no one there to help her, she gave birth to Jody but died soon after due to complications. Jody ended up in foster care and in bad families and that led to a life of petty crime and murder. She got pregnant and was arrested and gave birth to Tom in prison and she was later given the death penalty. Tom too grew up in foster care and was raped by a priest under who’s care he was supposed to be. All their lives got messed up and they have one chance to fix things. They need to make sure that Hans gets to the bunker before the bombings can kill him. While trying to get Hans to agree Tom & the soldier struggle for the gun and Jody is shot fatally. Tom too is injured and the bombings start. Samantha is able to convince Hans and drags him to the safety of the bunker and, as the bombings continue, she, Jody’s and Tom’s bodies vanish and Hans is left alone. We then switch to the 80s where a now affluent Jody is at the same store and she buys her stuff and goes on home to her mom, an older Samantha who is spreading Hans ashes. Hans survived the bombing in this reality and came to the us, married Samantha’s mother and did well in his life.

As the movie ends another girl with Kevin goes to the same store and holds a gun to the cashier demanding he open the safe. This time too he tells her that he will do so but doesn’t believe she can handle what’s inside. This woman also shoots him as the movie ends. Clearly a different idea and a nice inception of a storyline that’s party scifi and part supernatural. No explanation as to how this came about but that adds to the whole mystery. It’s an odd little movie and clearly low budget but still is worth a watch. I give it a 7 outta 10!

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Captain America : Civil Wars

It was being touted as the biggest Marvel Movie yet and the best and in some ways I think it was both. Captain America: Civil War is a 2016 American superhero film featuring the Marvel Comics character Captain America, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is the sequel to 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger and 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and the thirteenth film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film is directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, with a screenplay by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely, and features an ensemble cast that includes Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Emily VanCamp, Tom Holland, Frank Grillo, William Hurt and Daniel Brühl. In Captain America: Civil War, set one year after the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron, disagreement over international oversight of the Avengers fractures them into opposing factions, one led by Steve Rogers and another by Tony Stark.

The movie starts off in 1991 in Siberia where a brainwashed Bucky / Winter Soldier is sent by Hydra to intercept an automobile carrying a case of super-soldier serum and assassinate its occupants. Approximately one year after Ultron’s defeat in Sokovia at the hands of the Avengers, Steve Rogers, Natasha Romanoff, Sam Wilson, and Wanda Maximoff stop Brock Rumlow from stealing a biological weapon from a lab in Lagos. Rumlow blows himself up, but when Wanda tries to displace the blast into the sky, it destroys a nearby building, killing a number of Wakandan humanitarian workers. The repercussions are massive; despite the fact that millions see the Avengers as heroes, some question how they can be contained and controlled. At the team’s headquarters, U.S. Secretary of State Thaddeus Ross informs the Avengers that the United Nations is preparing to pass the Sokovia Accords, which will establish an international governing body to oversee and control the Avengers. The team is divided: Tony Stark supports oversight because he feels responsible for Ultron’s creation and Sokovia’s devastation while Rogers has more faith in his own judgement than the government’s.

Rogers goes to attend Peggy Carter’s funeral and speaks to her grandniece, former SHIELD agent and now CIA operative Sharon Carter. Romanoff comes to the funeral and tries to convince Rogers to join but he is steadfast in his belief. At the conference in Vienna where the Accords are to be ratified, a bomb kills King T’Chaka of Wakanda. Security footage indicates the bomber is Barnes, who T’Chaka’s son, T’Challa, vows to kill. Sharon Carter tips off Rogers to Barnes’ location and that the government does not plan to take him alive. Because Barnes is an old friend and war comrade, Rogers decides to capture Barnes himself, without authorization. Rogers and Wilson track Barnes to his hideout in Bucharest and attempt to protect him from the authorities and T’Challa, but Rogers, Wilson, Barnes, and T’Challa are apprehended. Bucky is chained and taken to a Berlin facilty for questioning. Meanwhile Helmut Zemo kills Bucky’s former HYDRA handler who is now living a retired life and and steals a book containing the trigger words that activate Barnes’ brainwashing. He infiltrates the Berlin facility where Barnes is held and recites the words to make Barnes obey him. He questions Barnes, then sends him on a rampage to cover his own escape. Rogers stops Barnes and sneaks him away.

When Barnes regains his senses, he explains that Zemo is heading for the Siberian Hydra facility where the other brainwashed super-soldiers are kept in cryogenic stasis. Knowing that they will never catch Zemo in time if they wait for authorization, Rogers and Wilson decide to go rogue, and recruit Wanda, Clint Barton, and Scott Lang to their cause. Convincing Ross to let him bring his renegade comrades in, Stark assembles a team comprised of Romanoff, T’Challa, James Rhodes, and Vision, as well as high school student Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man. Stark and his team intercept Rogers’s team at Leipzig/Halle Airport, where they fight. Romanoff allows Rogers and Barnes to escape. The rest of Rogers’s team is captured and detained at the Raft prison, while Rhodes is partially paralyzed after being accidentally shot down by Vision. Stark finds evidence that Barnes was framed by Zemo and shows it to Wilson, who gives him Rogers’s destination. Without informing Ross, Stark goes to the Siberian Hydra facility and strikes a truce with Rogers and Barnes, unaware he was secretly followed by T’Challa. They discover that the other Winter Soldiers have been killed by Zemo, whose real goal was to search Hydra’s archives for proof that it was Stark’s parents whom Barnes killed in 1991.

Zemo is Sokovian and wants to tear the Avengers apart in revenge for his family’s death. Rogers confesses that he knew of this, which pushes Stark over the edge. In the ensuing fight, Stark blasts off Barnes’s robotic arm and Rogers disables Stark’s armor. Rogers departs with Barnes and leaves his shield behind. Satisfied that he has irreparably fractured the Avengers, Zemo attempts suicide, but T’Challa apprehends him. In the aftermath, Stark provides Rhodes with exoskeletal leg braces to let him walk again while Rogers breaks his comrades out of prison. In a mid-credits scene, Barnes chooses to return to cryogenic sleep until a cure for his brainwashing is found in Wakanda, where T’Challa has granted him and Rogers asylum. In a post-credits scene, Parker is recovering from his injuries when his web-shooters project a Spider-Man symbol on his bedroom ceiling.

Simply awesome and amazing to see all these heroes in action. I think Spider-Man played by Tom Holland kinda steals the show, playing him exactly like how a raw, 6 months into getting his super powers, teenager who is awe struck by seeing the Avengers would be and act like. In his 20 minute role he draws many laughs and gets the “oooh” moment when he is first seen in his spidey coustume and flicks the shield away from Cap and his “Hey, everyone”. Paul Rudd as Ant-Man also has some laughs. Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa / Black Panther is also awesome in a hero who has his nations’ and people’s best interests at heart and follows in the tradition of being the Black Panter. The stage is set for more awesome action flicks for the Avengers and more of the individual heroes. There is bound to be Spider-Man films, Ant-Man flims and possibly a Black Widow film and maybe even more. I give this film a 9.5 outta 10!

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The Watch

The Watch is a 2012 science fiction comedy film directed by Akiva Schaffer and written by Jared Stern, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. It stars Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill and Richard Ayoade. The film a group of neighbors who form a suburban neighborhood watch group. When they uncover an alien plot threatening the world, they are forced into action.

In a small town in Ohio a night security guard at the local CostCo is brutally murdered by an unseen creature. The local police have no leads, and show no interest in investigating further. Determined to find the killer and bring him to justice, the manager Evan decides to form a neighborhood watch. However, he only manages to recruit Bob (Vince Vaughn), a construction worker and loving father; Franklin (Jonah Hill), a high school dropout who dreams of being a police officer but failed the written, physical, and mental-health tests; and Jamarcus (Richard Ayoade), a recent divorcé. To Evan’s annoyance only he is taking it seriously while the other three use the watch as an excuse to drink and make jokes. While driving on patrol, they accidentally hit something. They discover a strange metallic orb that acts as a highly-destructive weapon, and deduce that it is of alien origin. Meanwhile, several more townspeople are mysteriously killed.

The watch responds to the murders and encounters an alien, which attacks them. Evan (apparently) kills it with a lawn gnome before the group returns with the creature to Bob’s house. The creature regains consciousness and escapes, stealing the metallic orb and warning them that the aliens have already infiltrated the town. They realize that the aliens are killing humans and stealing their skins to blend in. Realizing that anyone in Glenview could be an alien. Bob confides to Evan that he is worried about his daughter Chelsea, and does not trust her boyfriend Jason. Evan admits that he has been avoiding his wife Abby because he is infertile, and revealing that to her may cause her to leave. Evan also suspects his creepy new neighbour of being one of the aliens, mainly due to the stiff way he speaks because he always seems to be watching him. As the watch scouts the neighbor’s house, Bob learns that Chelsea is at an unsupervised party with Jason. Bob disobeys Evan’s orders, and rushes to the party with Franklin. Bob prevents Jason from raping Chelsea, but Jason beats him until Franklin intervenes.

Evan and Jamarcus investigate the odd neighbor alone, discovering that he (only) hosts orgies in his basement. When Bob returns, he and Evan argue over his putting his daughter above the watch. Evan and Bob argue and Bob is made to leave the group. Evan goes home and admits his infertility to Abby, who accepts the news and tells him they will work things out. Jamarcus comes to Evan and admits that he is actually one of the aliens but has changed his mind and sides with the humans after experiencing human culture and his first orgy. He warns the group that the aliens are building a transmitter (beneath the Costco store) which will summon their armada to destroy the earth, and is expelled from the watch for his deception. Bob, Franklin, Evan and Abby arm themselves and infiltrate the Costco to destroy the transmitter. Bob encounters Jason who reveals that he is also an alien, and they fight. Evan and Franklin attempt to disable the transmitter, but are surrounded by aliens.

Jamarcus arrives and saves the pair, revealing that the aliens’ brains are located in their crotch; Bob kills Jason by ripping off his penis. Evan discovers that the transmitter is powered by the metallic orb and removes it, disabling the machine. More aliens arrive, forcing the group to flee. The watch uses the metallic orb to destroy the Costco building, killing all of the aliens inside. As the movie ends Evan and Abby adopt a young girl, Bob is closer to Chelsea, Franklin is accepted to the police force and Jamarcus continues participating in the secret neighborhood orgies. The group maintains the watch, continuing to protect Glenview from criminals (and aliens).

Funny and silly in typical Stiller fashion, I enjoyed the film and thought it was a good time waster. I was watching this movie on a cold Thursday in Gurgaon after breakfast and while waiting for the time to get ready and go to the airport. I give it a solid 7 outta 10 for entertainment!

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Mother’s Day (2016)

Mother’s Day (2016) is a different one from the horror-esque movie from a few years ago. This one is a 2016 American romantic comedy film directed by Garry Marshall and written by Tom Hines, Lily Hollander, Anya Kochoff-Romano and Matt Walker. The film stars an ensemble cast, led by Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson, Julia Roberts and Jason Sudeikis, and featuring Sarah Chalke, Robert Pine, Cameron Esposito, Timothy Olyphant, Britt Robertson, Héctor Elizondo, Jack Whitehall and Jon Lovitz. Considering that his other two ensemble comedy-romance films Valentine’s Day (2010) and New Year’s Eve (2011) – he has a thing for these days!

So the basis of this movie is that everything about estranged families and relationships can get solved on this magical day of all days. A racist mother who hasn’t seen her older daughter in years, because she was dating a “towelhead” (actually an Indian-American doctor) and doesn’t know that the two have married and have a young son and also doesn’t know that her younger daughter is gay and married and adopted the child of her wife, will not suddenly turn over a new leaf and become a very good grandma and accepting of her Indian son-in-law and her gay daughter in law in a day or two – just in time for Mother’s Day! Also a younger woman, who is a mother and lives with her boyfriend / father of her baby and is has commitment issues because she was adopted and believes she was rejected by her birth mom, is egged on by her friends to go meet her birth mom – a famous celebrity who just so happens to be on a book signing tour and in the same city a few days before Mother’s Day!

Not only that but this celeb is shooting commercials for a mood reflecting pendant is peddaling it as a perfect gift for — I will give you one guess! You got it, Mother’s Day! And the number of times they say Mother’s Day is quite a lot. A float / parade for Mother’s Day? Is that a thing? Anyways, there are some laughs in the film and watching Jennifer Anniston & Julia Roberts & Kate Hudson with also Sarah Chalke and a new beauty Shay Mitchell to boot – is a sight for sore eyes! Still the film is corny and cheesy and there is no proper storyline and the writing is terrible. There is a supreme lack of effort and relying on hopelessly dated and predictable scenes and outcomes is just so wrong! There is hardly anything exciting about this movie. And now I will come to the final point, and the only one that pisses me off!

The scene towards the end when the cops ask all the folks in the trailer to come out and when Asif Mandvi’s character comes out, they raise their guns and act like he is a terrorist. He is forced to lie on the ground as they shit scared and racist cops look at his brown skin – one of the cops is black! And despite the protests of the white folks – “he’s my husband”, “he’s my son-in-law” it takes the black lady cop to recognize him and say “it’s ok, he’s my doctor. He fixed my knee” for the other cops to relax! Oh so now it’s ok? What the bloody fuck? Are we expected to accept this bullshit?

I’ll give the movie a 6 outta 10 but for that last bit of nonsense alone I should have given them a 0!

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The Huntsman: Winter’s War

The Huntsman : Winter Wars is a 2016 film American high fantasy adventure film. It acts as both a prequel and, mostly, a sequel to Snow White and the Huntsman, and is based on characters from the German fairy tale “Snow White”, compiled by the Brothers Grimm, as well as “The Snow Queen”, by Hans Christian Andersen. The film, a directorial debut for Cedric Nicolas-Troyan who acted as visual effects supervisor on the first film, and is written by Craig Mazin and Evan Spiliotopoulos stars Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, Nick Frost and Sam Claflin, reprising their roles, and Emily Blunt, Rob Brydon, and Jessica Chastain, playing new characters.

The movie starts off as a prequel with Queen Raveena who learns from her magic mirror that that her younger sister Freya is not only engaged in an illicit affair with Andrew: Duke of Blackwood, but is carrying his child, who is destined to become fairest of them all. Sometime after Freya gives birth to a baby girl, Freya discovers that Andrew has murdered their child and, in a grief-fueled rage, kills him with her long-suppressed ice powers. Freya abandons her home and establishes a kingdom of her own and builds herself a solitary ice palace deep in the north, murdering anyone who opposes her while amassing an army of children and training them so their hearts will be forever hardened. Chief among them are Eric and Sara who fall in love with each other. As they grow up the two plan to elop but Freya is aware of their plan creates a massive ice wall to separate them before forcing Eric to watch as Sara is killed by her fellow huntsmen.

Seven years later, Raveena having been killed, King William of Tabor comes across Eric and informs him that the Magic Mirror was taken while en route to a place known as “Sanctuary”. Eric sets off to find it, joined by the dwarfs Nion and his half-brother Gryff. While en route, the trio are attacked by a legion of Freya’s huntsmen, but are rescued by Sara who is revealed to have been alive the entire time. Sara believes she saw “Eric” run away from the palace and feels betrayed by him. Eric concludes her death was a vision conjured by Freya in order to trick him. He reveals that he never stopped loving Sara and they agree to work together. Sometime later, the quartet is ensnared in a trap laid out by female dwarves Bromwyn and Doreena, but convince them to help find the Mirror. At Sanctuary they defeat the goblins who have the mirror but are ambushed by Freya and her soldiers and it turns out that Sara has been working for the queen all along. Nion and Doreena are turned into ice statues and Sara reluctantly fires an arrow into Eric’s chest. Freya departs with the Magic Mirror, unaware that Sara intentionally shot the arrow at a medallion she gave Eric long before, and that he is still alive.

Meanwhile, Freya approaches the Mirror and recites a spell that causes a golden liquid to emerge and transform into Ravenna, who reveals she sent her spirit into the Mirror before Snow White took her life. With the help of the other two dwarfs Eric infiltrates the ice palace and he attempts to murder Freya, but is stopped by Ravenna. When Freya realizes that Sara hadn’t actually killed Eric, she corners her and because of Ravenna’s wishes, sentences them both to death. Eric however has convinced his former comrades, some of the huntsmen, to fight against Ravenna and Freya After this, Ravenna kills many huntsmen, and Freya forms an ice wall between the huntsmen and the sisters. As the remaining huntsmen climb over the wall, the two sisters argue over the icy kingdom, during which Freya discovers that Ravenna cursed Andrew into murdering her child rather than risk someone being more beautiful than her. Freya is filled with anger at this and turns against her sister, joining forces with Eric and Sara.

Freya is fatally wounded, but not before she freezes the magic mirror, as Eric throws his axe, breaking the mirror and destroying Ravenna’s spirit. As she dies, Freya witnesses Eric and Sara together and states they were “lucky” before succumbing to her wounds. The inhabitants of the kingdom, now free, celebrate Eric and Sara kiss as they can now be together while Doreena and Nion and Gryff and Bromwyn confess their love to each other. Meanwhile a mysterious golden bird flies overhead, hinting that possibly Ravenna’s spirit still lives.

A bit dull during the first half and the action picks up a bit during the second but the movie is a bit dull and uninspired and had tons of cliches that you expect from this genre now. The only positive thing is getting to see Emily Blunt, Jessica Chastain and Charlize Theron together in the same flick. Yet these lovely ladies cannot bring this movie up from mediocrity and I give it a 6.5 outta 10!

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Star Wars VII : The Force Awakes

Finally got around to watching the first Star Wars film since Disney took over. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (also known as Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens) is a 2015 American epic space opera film directed, co-produced, and co-written by J. J. Abrams. The seventh installment in the main Star Wars film series, it stars Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Max von Sydow. Produced by Lucasfilm and Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions and distributed worldwide by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

The Force Awakens is set 30 years after Return of the Jedi and focuses on the search for Luke Skywalker who has gone missing several years ago. From the ashes of the Galactic Empire, the First Order has risen and is arming itself to defeat and wipe out the New Republic. Leia, or General Organa, leads the resistance that seeks to protect the Republic and fend off Supreme Leader Snoke, and his disciple the dark warrior Kylo Ren. Ren attacks the planet Jakku to get a chip that shows a map of where Luke currently calls home. He kills an elder named Lor San Tekka but the chip is in the hands of resistance leader pilot Poe Dameron who hides it in his driod BB8, when his ship is damaged and cannot take off. Poe is captured and taken to Starkiller Base, where Ren tortures him and learns of BB-8. Poe’s droid BB-8 escapes with the map, and encounters the scavenger Rey near a junkyard settlement. Ren tortures Poe using the Force, and learns of BB-8. Stormtrooper FN-2187, unable to bring himself to kill for the First Order, frees Poe, and they escape in a stolen TIE fighter; Poe dubs FN-2187 “Finn”.

They crash on Jakku, and Finn survives but is unable to determine if Poe did as well. He encounters Rey and BB-8, but the First Order tracks them and launches an airstrike. Finn, Rey, and BB-8 flee the planet in the Millennium Falcon, which they steal from a junkyard. The Falcon is then captured by a larger ship piloted by Han Solo and Chewbacca – the scene you see in the trailer that goes “We’re home” to the sound of a million fanboys & girls weeping) and he confronts Rey and & Finn but must now fight 2 groups of smugglers who are here to collect debts from Han. The 4 are able to escape and then go to the planet Takodana to get help from cantina owner Maz as the map is incomplete. Rey is drawn to a vault on the lower level and finds the lightsaber that once belonged to Luke and his father Anakin Skywalker. She experiences disturbing visions and flees into the woods. Maz gives Finn the lightsaber for safekeeping. While this is happening, Snoke orders his general to use the Starkiller weapon as he doubts Ren’s commitment to the cause due to his father Han Solo – Ren says Solo means nothing to him. Starkiller Base fires and destroys the Republic capital and fleet. The First Order attacks Takodana in search of BB-8. Han, Chewbacca, and Finn are saved by Resistance X-wing fighters led by Poe, revealing that he survived the earlier crash.

Leia with C3PO reunites with Han – they had separated due to Kylo going against the Jedi teachings of his uncle Luke and going to the dark side – and Chewy. Meahwhile, Ren captures Rey and takes her to Starkiller Base, but when he interrogates her about the map, she is able to resist his mind-reading attempts. Discovering she can use the Force, she escapes using a Jedi mind trick on a nearby guard. As Starkiller Base prepares to fire on D’Qar, the Resistance devises a plan to destroy the superweapon by attacking a critical facility. Leia urges Han to return their son alive. Using the Falcon, Han, Chewbacca, and Finn infiltrate the facility and plant explosives. Han confronts Ren, calling him by his birth name, Ben, and implores him to abandon the dark side. Ren kills Han, enraging Chewbacca who fires and hits Ren. He sets off the explosives, allowing the Resistance to attack and destroy Starkiller Base. Ren pursues Rey to the surface and they fight in the snow. A lightsaber battle between Ren and Finn ensues, leaving Finn badly wounded. Rey takes the lightsaber and uses the Force to defeat Ren, before they are separated by a fissure as the planet begins to disintegrate.

Snoke orders Hux to evacuate and bring Ren to him. Rey and Chewbacca escape with Finn in the Falcon. On D’Qar, the Resistance celebrates while Leia, Chewbacca, and Rey mourn Han’s death. R2-D2 awakens and reveals the rest of the map, which Rey follows with R2-D2 and Chewbacca to a distant planet. She finds Luke and presents him with the lightsaber. Is that his daughter? Dunno but probably yes. The movie ends without Luke having said a single word. Many critics praised the film and compared it favorably to the original trilogy. The film has since broken many box office records, becoming the highest-grossing installment of the franchise, the highest grossing film in North America, and the third highest grossing film of all time with a worldwide gross of more than $2 billion. It received five Academy Award nominations and four British Academy Film Award nominations, where it won Best Special Visual Effects. Two sequels, Episode VIII and Episode IX, are scheduled for 2017 and 2019 respectively.

Really? This movie that basically rips of the original movie in its storyline? What about Rey being able to use the force so quickly, less than a few hours after learning she might be a descendant of a Jedi or atleast have the force be really strong in her? Anakin couldn’t do it, Luke couldn’t do it! And Finn, a Stortropper suddenly grows a conscience? And Luke ran away when things got bad? Boo hoo hoo! I am not blown away but then what do you expect from JarJar Abrams, who likes to rip old stories into new and think he is smart! A 7.5 outta 10!

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Room (2015)

Room is a 2015 Canadian-Irish independent drama film directed by Lenny Abrahamson and written by Emma Donoghue, based on her novel of the same name. The film stars Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Joan Allen, Sean Bridgers, and William H. Macy. Held captive for seven years in an enclosed space, a woman (Larson) and her 5-year-old son (Tremblay) finally gain their freedom, allowing the boy to experience the outside world for the first time. Larson’s performance won her the won multiple awards for her performance, including the Academy Award for Best Actress, the BAFTA Award, Golden Globe Award, and the Screen Actors Guild Award. Room also received three other Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director.

Teenage Joy is abducted by a man only called “Old Nick”, who pretended to have lost a dog. Joy tried to help him and ended up being a prisoner of his for the next 7 years, getting regularly raped. Two years after the abduction she gives birth to a son, Jack, who she raises in the makeshift room in Nick’s shed in his backyard and which has an electronic lock, who’s combinations are held secret by Nick. Room has a bed, toilet, bathtub, television, and rudimentary kitchen; the only window is a skylight, all of which Jack calls by name, as if they were living. Nick holds them both captive and he supplies Joy with food, medicines and vitamins. For Jack’s 5th birthday Joy bakes him a cake and they celebrate. At night she puts him to sleep in the little bed in the closet just before Nick visits for sex. She tries to stay optimistic for her son, but is suffering malnutrition and is sometimes overcome with depression. She allows Jack to believe that only Room and its contents are “real,” and that the rest of the world exists only on television.

Old Nick tells Joy that he lost his job and threatens he may not be able to afford their supplies in the future. When Joy reacts badly, he cuts their heat and power. Joy decides to tell Jack about the outside world; he reacts with disbelief and incomprehension, but also curiosity. She has Jack fake a fever, hoping that Old Nick will take him to a hospital where he can escape, but Old Nick says he will return the following day with antibiotics. Fearing that the tactic will not work, she coaches Jack to lie still and pretends he is dead and rolls him up in the carpet. Crying she makes Nick put the carpet in the back of his pickup truck and take the boy to a nice spot near the trees to lay him down. At a stop sign, Jack as coached by Joy, unrolls himself from the carpet and jumps out. Although stunned by his first exposure to the outside world, Jack jumps from the truck and attracts the attention of a passer-by. The police arrive and rescue him. Joy is rescued, Old Nick is arrested, and Joy and Jack are taken to a hospital.

At the hospital Joy is reunited with her parents; her mother Nancy and father Robert have divorced and her dad lives in another city while Nancy lives at their home with her partner Leo. After a few days Joy and Jack are brought to the house where Jack struggles to get acclimatized to a whole large world and is overwhelmed and even later asks his mother to go back to Room. Robert is unable to accept Jack and leaves back for his home. Joy struggles with anger and depression, lashing out at her mother and ignoring doctor’s appointments. She agrees to a television interview, but becomes angry when the interviewer questions her decision to keep Jack after his birth. Overwhelmed with guilt, she attempts suicide and is admitted to a hospital. While she is away Jack slowly starts to bond with his grandmother Nancy and Leo, who introduces the boy to his dog Seamus (Jack had an imaginary pet dog while in Room). Jack also makes friends with a boy his own age and who lives in the same neighbourhood.

Believing his long hair will give Joy the strength she needs to recover, Jack has his grandmother cut it for him so he can send it to her. He even tells Nancy that he loves her. Joy returns home and apologizes, thanking Jack for saving her life again. At Jack’s request, they visit Room one last time, escorted by police. Jack is confused; their possessions have been removed for evidence, and he feels it has shrunk, and that it is a different place with the door open. Joy asks Jack if he wants her to shut the door, but he says no. He and Joy say their goodbyes to Room and leave.

Stunningly acted by both Larson and young Jacob Tremblay, it’s a riveting film that makes you feel for the plight of the duo. Amazing what a low budget film can do with a good script and wonderful actors. I give this film a 9 outta 10!

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The Jungle Book (2016)

The Jungle Book is a 2016 American fantasy adventure film directed by Jon Favreau, written by Justin Marks, and produced by Walt Disney Pictures. Based on Rudyard Kipling’s eponymous collective works, the film is a live-action/CGI reimagining of Walt Disney’s 1967 animated film of the same name. The film stars and introduces Neel Sethi as Mowgli and features the voices of Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o, Scarlett Johansson, Giancarlo Esposito and Christopher Walken.

Story wise it’s almost the same as the original film and stayed true to the story. What we learn is that Mowgli was orphaned as a toddler when his father was killed while fighting off the ferocious tiger Sher Khan. Sher Khan was scarred by the fire that Mowgli’s dad used to ward him off and holds a grudge. Mowgli was found by the black panther Bagheera who kept him safe and took him to a pack of wolves led by Akela. The wolves took him in and he was raised just like a son by Akela and his mate Raksha along with their other pups. However Sher Khan threatens his life since man isn’t allowed in the jungle, Mowgli is forced to leave his jungle home guided by Bagheera. But the duo are split up when Sher Khan attacks them and Mowgli finds himself alone. Before a hypnotized Mowgli can he devoured by Kaa the python, he is rescued by Baloo the bear. As a return favour Mowgli helps Baloo get all the honey he wants before Bagheera catches up with them. Bagheera wants Mowgli to move on to safety and reach a human village where he will be cared for but Baloo wants the boy to stay.

After Mowgli saves a young elephant from a pit using his skills and making ropes outta vines, Baloo is forced to pretend he doesn’t want the boy to stay and a hurt Mowgli runs away only to be abducted by monkeys. Mowgli is taken to the smooth-talking Bornean orangutan-resembling Gigantopithecus, King Louie, who tries to coerce Mowgli into giving up the secret to the elusive and deadly “red flower”(fire). When Bagheera and Baloor intervene there is a fight against the monkeys and Mowgli is able to escape as the temple comes crashing down on Louie. When Mowgli learns that Sher Khan killed Akela and is bossing his old pack, he goes to the village and steals a wooden torch and runs to confront him. Unfortunately the falling embers from the fire causes a forest fire in some areas, which has some animals fearing Mowgli and he is taunted by Sher Khan. The animals attack Sher Khan but he is able to break free and chase Mowgli who lures the tiger to a dying tree and Sher Khan falls to his death into the fires as a branch he is on breaks. Mowgli is hailed as a hero and he returns to his pack and spends his days with his two best friends Bagheera and Baloo.

Scared that this movie would trample upon the loving memory of my childhood I was pleasantly surprised as the movie is indeed a mighty homage to a wonderful story. Everything was good. Full praise to the kid actor in his debut and the actors who voiced and brought life to the animals. 8.5 outta 10!

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RIP Don Francks

Missed this news somehow and I guess because he isn’t a really well known in media today, I guess Facebook posts were also at a bare minimum. Actor & jazz musician Don Francks died Sunday after a battle with cancer. He was 84. A veteran of classic American cop and detective TV shows like Mission Impossible, Mannix and The Man From U.N.C.L.E., his Toronto agent Jennifer Goldhar on Monday confirmed his death. Born in Vancouver on Feb. 28, 1932, Francks, as a young jazz musician and vocalist, drove east to Toronto and starred in a host of 1950s CBC TV specials. He later moved to New York City, where he performed in the 1960s at the Blue Angel and recorded a live album at the Village Vanguard.

As a spokesman for Other Voices (Canadian TV series) in mid-1960s, he investigated a boy’s murder at Saskatchewan Red Pheasant First Nation. He married and moved there with his second wife Lili Francks, named there as Red Eagle. He was adopted as a Cree, and named Iron Buffalo “strong like iron. Like the buffalo who knows where to go, is a good provider and good for his family”. She is dancer and member of the Plains Cree First Nation. His acting career got started with the CBC in 1954 as a regular on Burns Chuckwagon From the Stampede Corral, a Western-themed series with musical artists, and other Canadian shows such as Riding High and The Adventures of Tugboat Annie. In the 1960s, he also guest starred on classic U.S. TV series including The Wild Wild West, The Virginian and Ben Casey, and played the role of U.S. Army captain Franklin Sheppard on the short-lived 1966 drama Jericho.

After leaving entertainment to live on the Red Pheasant Reserve in Saskatchewan as Iron Buffalo, Francks returned to Toronto in 1974. His subsequent film and TV credits included Joel Surnow’s La Femme Nikita, in which he played the role of Walter; The Listener; My Bloody Valentine; and more recently a stint on Gangland Undercover. On the movie front, Francks co-starred alongside Petula Clark and Fred Astaire in Francis Ford Coppola’s 1968 fantasy musical Finian’s Rainbow. Since 1979, he has been living in Toronto with wife Lili and their son Rainbow Sun (former MuchMusic VJ & actor from Stargate Atlantis & The Listener). His daughter Cree Summer resides and works in Hollywood. He has two children from his first marriage, his son Trane and a daughter.

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Star Trek : Horizon

Another fan film with love to all fans of the franchise, Star Trek : Horizon is a 2015 film. Tommy Kraft was all of the following: director, writer, producer, editor, director of photography, he did the visual effects, he did the music, and he even was the costume designer. Set in the 22nd century, a little after the end of Star Trek : Enterprise the film and tells the tale of a sister starship of the same design, the NX-04 USS Discovery. The story sees the nascent Starfleet aided by the Vulcans & the Adnorians in a joint fight against the Romulan empire and brings back the Temporal Cold War elements that we saw in Enterprise.

We start the film 2500 years ago, when the last surviving members of a race legendary in the galaxy, the Iconians. They have been defeated by another race that created a super weapon called Horizon. The two Iconians take and hide the weapon so it cannot be used again. Back in 2160 the crew of the NX-04 Discovery is captained by Captain Harrison Hawke, who took command of the ship just as the war with the Romulan Empire began. T’mar, a Romulan defector bringing important tactical information to Starfleet and the crew of the Discovery are bringing her back to Earth when they are attacked by a trio of Romulan Bird of Preys. Although they are heavily damaged, the Discovery is able to defeat the Romuans with help arriving in the form of the NX-01 Enterprise. But the ship suffers some casualties, including the helmswoman Lt. Amelia Yarris who was swept away into the vacuum of space when a section of the hull is destroyed. Hawke reports back to Admiral Gardner back on earth as the ship is being repaired and is given new orders; T’Mar is also assigned as the Discovery’s new helms officer, a fact that does not sit well with the rest of the crew. They learn from T’mar that the Romulans are building a super weapon just two light-years from earth. A fleet of Vulcan and earth ships, including the newly repaired Discovery, head out to find and destroy the weapon, called Horizon.

Before the repairs are done, the senior officers share a toast to Amelia, with Hawke confessing to his second in command, Commander Jackson Gates, that he and Amelia were in love. The fleet comes under attack by Romulans, and it’s left to the Discovery to destroy the weapon with their new prototype torpedoes. The torpedoes cause an unexpected spacial rift to form, and Discovery is pulled through. The crew find themselves at the planet Horizon was brought to by the Iconians. While investigating a structure on the surface they are found by Daekon, a Romulan defector from the future and a combatant in the Temporal Cold War. We learn that he is the mysterious man from the future in the Enterprise series. Amelia turns up alive; she informs Hawke that she is from the 31st century and is a Temporal agent and was pulled away at the last moment by her colleagues before she was about to be killed. The crew of Discovery works to defeat him and finally completely destroy the weapon, bringing the Temporal Cold War to a close at long last. The ship returns back to earth and Amelia bids farewell to Hawke, hopeful that they will meet again someday.

It’s got a good story, connecting the end of Enterprise and bringing an end to the Temporal Cold War. Fans of Enterprise and yes any Trekkie should be fond of this film. Is the film great? No but for a fan film it is. Is the acting top notch? No, but for a fan film the acting is good. Is the special effects top class? No but it’s better than even some smaller budget movies. Yes the lensflare is annoying at times but I give the team a pass on that. I’d rate Star Trek Horizon, as a movie, a 6.5 outta 10. But for a fan film it’s an 8!

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Batman vs Superman : Dawn Of Justice

You ever build a movie up in your mind so much that when you finally see it, it can never ever live up to the hype? I just did watch one such movie. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a 2016 3D American fantasy superhero film featuring the DC Comics characters Batman and Superman, distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. It is a follow-up to 2013’s Man of Steel and the second installment in the DC Extended Universe. The film is directed by Zack Snyder, with a screenplay written by Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer, and stars Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Jeremy Irons, Holly Hunter and Gal Gadot. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is the first live-action film to feature both Batman and Superman, as well as the first theatrical film to feature live-action portrayals of Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and the Flash. In the film, criminal genius Lex Luthor manipulates Batman into preemptively battling Superman.

Ok, so I went to the Cinepolis this afternoon after having booked an executive seat last night. I hadn’t known (or perhaps forgot) that this movie wals in 3D and I’m not really a fan of 3D but it was ok here. Now onto the film; this is a mess of a film to be honest. Let’s get one thing outta the way – the special effects and CGI is awesome. No doubt there, it’s spectacular. Except for some scenes where it kinda felt silly it was pretty good. But the story isn’t very good. So Bruce Wayne / Batman is pissed off at Superman because during the fight he had with General Zod several buildings were destroyed and a lot of people died including some of Wayne Industries employees who were close to Bruce. A little girl that is orphaned after her mom died in one of the destroyed buildings only reinforces to Bruce that Superman is bad for humanity. Ofcourse while Batman kills a bunch of baddies, causes chaos on the streets in his tank of a vehicle and destroys a bunch of real estate later, he conveniently does not relate this to his hatred of the Sup.

Superman, not the one I’ve grown up with and loved in the 4 movies that Christopher Reeves played him in (ok, first three) is a moody and dour personality dude who is either loved or feared by the general public. But why does Lex Luthor (portrayed like a maniacal nutjob by Jesse Eissenberg) hate Superman so much? He setsup several incidents to portray the universe’s most famous Kryptonian in a bad light including an attack in the middle east desert where several innocents were killed plus also masterminds a bombing that kills dozens of people, including Finch. The public blames the bombing on Superman, who goes into self-imposed exile. Luthor initial convinces Senator June Finch to help him recover kryptonite from Zod’s failed terraforming attempt from the Indian Ocean. Finch later stonewalls Lex’s efforts to use Zod’s DNA and the Kryptonian scout ship recovered from the battle to create a biological weapon. Bruce infiltrates a fundraiser promoted by Luthor to retrieve data from LexCorp’s mainframe, but his drive is stolen by mysterious antiques dealer Diana Prince, who learns that Luthor has files on herself, as well as individuals with superhuman speed (Flash), a cybernetic body (Cyborg), and a man that lives underwater (Aquaman).

Wayne learns not only of Luthor’s experiments with kryptonite, but also his ongoing investigation about metahumans including Prince herself, who is an immortal warrior. Batman attempts to retrieve Luthor’s kryptonite, but is intercepted by Superman, who orders him to cease his activities. Batman retrieves the kryptonite and prepares to launch a strike against Superman; building a powerful exoskeleton and kryptonite-powered arsenal. With Batman now having the kryptonite, Luthor activates the Genesis Chamber aboard the scout ship and splices his own DNA and Zod’s. Luthor endangers Superman’s love interest Lois Lane to lure him to LexCorp Tower, where he reveals that he has been aware of Superman’s secrets for some time. Lex blackmails Superman into confronting Batman by holding his adoptive mother Martha hostage in a warehouse. Sup and a bulked up Batman duke it out and the Bat nearly kills Superman with a kryptonite spear. Superman pleads for Batman to “save Martha”, which was also the latter’s late mother’s name, causing him to come to his senses and realize Superman is not a threat! What? So if his “enemy”‘s mother has the same name as his own, suddenly Batman decides that Superman is his newest BFF? How stupid!

Batman leaves to rescue Martha while Superman confronts Luthor, who unleashes a monstrous artificially bred creature (Doomsday) made with Kryptonian technology on the crashed ship. Superman and Batman join forces to fight him and are aided by an arriving Prince in her Amazonian attire, but are outmatched due to the creature’s ability to absorb and redirect energy. Realizing that their shared Kryptonian DNA results in shared vulnerabilities, Superman retrieves the kryptonite spear and sacrifices himself to impale the creature with it, while the creature stabs Superman with his bone protrusions, seemingly killing him. As the movie ends, there is a memorial for Superman in Metropolis using an empty casket and a military burial. In Kansas Wayne, Lane, Martha, and Prince attend a private ceremony in Smallville. Martha passes an envelope to Lois, which contains an engagement ring from Clark to Lois. After the funeral, Wayne reveals to Prince that he plans to form a team (Justice League) from Luthor’s file subjects to protect the world in Superman’s absence. Later, a faint heartbeat begins echoing from Superman’s grave and the dirt around it begins to levitate. Meaning, he will rise again!

Batman also warns Lex, who is now shaved bald and in prison that he will be watching him but Lex seems to be on the verge of a mental breakdown. The whole Batman vs Superman thing seems so superficial and how they finally team up is really dumb! Gal Gadot looks superb as Wonder Woman and I would love to see more of her in this role. She is also rather gorgeous. Ben Affleck, despite misgivings and that dumb explanations, does really well as an older Batman/Bruce Wayne (he is 43 and the oldest actor to play the Bat). The film is told in bits and pieces and the whole storyline is not very palatable. I think they could have come up with better and more sensible way to patch things up between the two main superheroes. The first half is rather dull and boring in parts while the second is a boombastic, CGI & effects laden, action packed fun ride. The film will probably make big bucks. I give it a 7 outta 10!

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Spotlight

Spotlight is a 2015 American biographical drama film directed by Tom McCarthy and written by McCarthy and Josh Singer. The film follows The Boston Globe’s “Spotlight” team, the oldest continuously operating newspaper investigative journalist unit in the United States, and its investigation into cases of widespread and systemic child sex abuse in the Boston area by numerous Roman Catholic priests. It is based on a series of stories by the actual Spotlight Team that earned The Globe the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. The film stars Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, John Slattery, Stanley Tucci, Brian d’Arcy James, Liev Schreiber, and Billy Crudup.

It won numerous guilds and critics’ association awards, and was named one of the finest films of 2015 by various publications. The film received a total of six nominations at the 88th Academy Awards, winning two for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay.

After the Boston Globe hires a new editor, Marty Baron, he meets up with Walter “Robby” Robinson, the editor of the Spotlight team, a small group of journalists writing investigative articles that take months to research and publish. They discuss an article in which a lawyer, Mitchell Garabedian, who says that Cardinal Bernard Law (the Archbishop of Boston) knew that the priest John Geoghan was sexually abusing children and did nothing to stop him. Journalist Michael Rezendes contacts Garabedian, who initially declines interview. Though he is told not to, Rezendes reveals that he is on the Spotlight team, persuading Garabedian to talk. Although they initially believe that they are investigating the sexual crimes of just one man, the Spotlight team begin to uncover a pattern of sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests in Massachusetts, and an ongoing cover-up by the Boston Archdiocese. After interviewing a former abuse survivour who now runs a victim rights organization, they start checking after 13 priests.

They learn through an ex-priest who worked at trying to rehabilitate pedophile priests that there should be approximately ninety abusive priests in Boston (six percent of priests). Through their research, they develop a list of eighty-seven names, and begin to find their victims to back up their suspicions. And then – 9/11 happens, putting off their investigations for a while as everyone focuses on the tragedy and the team is forced to deprioritize the story. Rezendes learns that the there are publicly available documents that confirm Cardinal Law was aware of the problem and ignored it. Although Rezendes argues vociferously to run the story immediately before more victims suffer and rival newspapers publish, Robinson remains steadfast to research further so the whole system that Law serves in this scandal can be exposed. After The Boston Globe wins a case to have even more legal documents unsealed that provides the evidence of that larger picture, the Spotlight team finally begins to write the story, and plan to publish their findings in early 2002, a little after New Year so as not to affect the public during the holidays.

While talking about the blame as to people and society that looks away despite the horrible crimes, Robinson confesses to the team that he was sent a list of 20 pedophile priests in 1993 in a story he never followed up on. Baron, nevertheless, tells Robinson and the team that the work they are doing is important. The story is printed with a link leading to a website that shows the documents that expose Cardinal Law, and a phone number requesting victims of pedophile priests to come forward. The next morning the Spotlight team has an avalanche of phone calls to attend from victims or families of victims who want to come forward. The film closes with a list of places in the United States and around the world where the Catholic Church has been involved in concealing abuse by priests.

Which is why I and many others say that the Vatican is nothing but a criminal organization, a powerful one at that, which covers it’s crimes and protects their pedophiles in their ranks. Cardinal Law was moved to a position in Rome, one of the most important ones for the Catholic church. Basically a promotion, for looking away when the priests when molesting kids. How depraved must you be?

Riveting and inspiring, the movie deserved it’s Oscar. Hope there are more movies like this. 9.5 outta 10!

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Steve Jobs (2015 Film)

Just watched this movie this afternoon, Steve Jobs is a 2015 American biographical drama film directed by Danny Boyle and written by Aaron Sorkin. Based on the biography of the same name by Walter Isaacson, as well as interviews conducted by Sorkin, the film is structured into three acts which cover fourteen years (1984–1998 ) in the life of personal computing innovator and Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs, with each act taking place immediately prior to the launch of a key product – the Apple Macintosh, the NeXT Computer and the iMac G3. Jobs is portrayed by Michael Fassbender, with Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, Katherine Waterston, Michael Stuhlbarg and Jeff Daniels in supporting roles.

Let’s get one point across, I found the film a bit of a bore. I am not criticizing the acting; everyone is excellent in their acting. Fassbender, Rogen, Daniels & Winslet are awesome in their roles. Only thing is I don’t get why they shot all this backstage dialogues and stuff when hardly anyone would want to know about it. A morhre straight forward biopic about Jobs from his college years to his death would have been better in my opinion.

Instead we get these three main events from 1984 to 1998 –  the Apple Macintosh, the NeXT Computer and the iMac G3 and all with his daughter at the event. The other 4 people he converses with are ofcourse Hoffman, Wozniack, Sculley and Andy Hertzfeld. I kept waiting for something more to happen and despite the awesome acting for the cast, nothing much takes place. All I kept getting was Jobs strained relationships with his friend Wozniak, Sculley and Hoffman who is more like his conscience. And ofcourse the ex-girlfriend Chrisann who he initially refuses to support financially and acknowledge that her daughter Lisa is infact his. After bonding with 5 year old Lisa backstage before the 1984 event, he finally agrees to buy a house for Chrisann and support the girl.

Over the years it becomes apparent that Jobs is a broken individual due to the fact that he was put up for adoption, makes him feel that he was rejected, despite Sculley saying that he should look at it as he was chosen by his adoptive parents. Jobs admits that his need for control stems from his feelings of powerlessness in being given up. As the movie ends at the unveiling of the iMac in 1998, he reconciles with Lisa after saying that he is “poorly made”. She joins him backstage as he goes out to thunderous applause. 

I don’t get this film, why show this backstage stuff. Wozniak says that a lot of the stuff in the movie, the conversations never happened added that he felt honored to be portrayed by Rogen and had spoken with him prior to the beginning of production. Wozniak claimed that the film’s scenes between him and Steve Jobs never occurred in reality. Wozniak specifically mentioned that he never requested Jobs to acknowledge the Apple II team onstage, as was shown in the movie. However, he added that Jobs did purportedly show a lack of respect towards the group. When asked about the accuracy of the film’s portrayal of Steve Jobs, Wozniak replied: “In real life, to real people, that’s the way he could be, very sharp, (although) never quite as much as in the movie.” So why chose to make this film?

I dunno, like I said I found it to be boring in a lot of places though I admit the acting is top notch. The story just never went anywhere. I give it a 7 outta 10! On a budget of $30 million the movie made $32.

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Ted 2

Ted 2 is a 2015 American comedy film directed by Seth MacFarlane and is a sequel to the 2012 film Ted. The film’s screenplay was written by MacFarlane, Alec Sulkin, and Wellesley Wild and stars Mark Wahlberg and MacFarlane, both reprising their roles from the original film, as John Bennett and his sentient teddy bear friend Ted respectively and Amanda Seyfried. The film also sees the return of Giovanni Ribisi and Jessica Barth, reprising as Donny, Ted’s stalker, and Tami-Lynn, Ted’s wife. We have supporting roles from Morgan Freeman, Giovanni Ribisi, Sam T Jones (playing a fictional version of himself), John Carroll Lynch, John Slattery, Patrick Wharburton & Michael Dorn with a cameos by Nana Visitor, Tom Brady, Liam Neeson, Jay Leno & Jimmy Kimmel and narrated by Patrick Stewart.

The movie starts off with Ted getting married to his love Tammi Lynn but John is depressed having gotten a divorce from his wife Lori who isn’t accepting of Ted. One year later, their marriage is beginning to break down so they decide to have a child. As Ted cannot have children, John agrees to help Ted find a sperm donor. They ask Sam J. Jones, but he refuses due to a low sperm count. Then they try unsuccessfully to break into Tom Brady’s house and steal his sperm. Ultimately, John offers to donate his sperm (something that Ted wanted to ask him but hesitated due to John’s divorce). Ted & Tammi try adoption but are rejected because of their drug records and as a result of the background check on Ted, he loses his legal status as a person. The state authorities of Massachusetts declare Ted property rather than a person, resulting in the loss of his job at a grocery store. Furthermore, his marriage to Tami-Lynn is annulled by the government. John suggests that they take the state to court, and their case is assigned to a novice lawyer pro bono, Samantha Leslie Jackson. The three bond over their love of marijuana as they prepare to present the case.

Meanwhile Donnie, longtime nemesis and stalker, working as a janitor at Hasbro convinces the CEO to hire an expensive and able lawyer to ensure that Ted maintains his status as property, therefore leaving him open to seizure by the firm to create more living teddy bears. Samantha argues well but the jury comes out against Ted as a person. Disheartened but determined, the trio decide to contact Patrick Meighan, a highly respected civil rights attorney, hoping he will take the case and overturn the court’s decision. Driving to Manhattan to meet him, Ted crashes into a hidden marijuana patch, where Samantha and John realize their attraction for each other. The next day, the trio meet Meighan, who is sympathetic to Ted’s plight but ultimately refuses the case, as he believes he has not significantly contributed to humanity due to his juvenile slacker lifestyle. Ted is devastated and jealous of John & Samantha’s new relationship and walks on in anger. He runs into Donnie, dressed up as a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, at ComiCon who tried to kidnap him. Before he is captured Ted is able to call John on his phone for help.

John and Samantha arrive at Comic-Con and search for Ted, arriving as Donny is about to cut him open. As they make their escape, Donny cuts the cables holding up a model of the USS Enterprise and it swings towards Ted. John pushes Ted out of the way, takes the hit, and is knocked unconscious after being pinned under a TV wall. Donny is arrested after Ted identifies him among other Ninja Turtle cosplayers. At the hospital John’s heart stops beating for a bit and he is resucitated but not before he pulls a prank on Ted, Tammi & Samantha, pretending to be dead! Meighan visits the, saying he had a change of heart after seeing what happened on the news. He is able get the ruling overturned by demonstrating that Ted is self-aware, that he feels complex emotions, and is capable of empathy. Outside the court, Ted re-proposes to Tami-Lynn. After they are re-married, Ted and Tami-Lynn, adopting the surname of “Clubberlang”, adopt a baby boy, whom they name Apollo Creed, while John and Samantha happily pursue their own relationship.

Funny with crude, sophomoric comedy and rude gestures and bromance at it’s best. Ted 2 is good enough for a Saturday afternoon watch for me. Not as great as the first one, I’ll give it a 7.5 outta 10!

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88th Academy Awards Winners

The Oscars are done and the award goes to:

Spotlight – Best Picture · Steve Golin, Michael Sugar, Blye Pagon Faust, etc
Leonardo DiCaprio – Best Actor · The Revenant
Brie Larson – Best Actress · Room
Alejandro González Iñárritu – Best Director · The Revenant

Mark Rylance – Best Supporting Actor · Bridge of Spies
Alicia Vikander – Best Supporting Actress · The Danish Girl
Son of Saul – Best Foreign Language Film · László Nemes

Writing’s on the Wall – Best Original Song · Sam Smith, Jimmy Napes
Spotlight – Best Original Screenplay · Tom McCarthy, Josh Singer
Emmanuel Lubezki – Best Cinematography · The Revenant
The Big Short – Best Writing Adapted Screenplay · Adam McKay, Charles Randolph
Ex Machina – Best Visual Effects · Andrew Whitehurst,
Amy – Best Documentary Feature · Asif Kapadia, James Gay-Rees

Inside Out – Best Animated Feature Film · Pete Docter, Jonas Rivera
Jenny Beavan – Best Costume Design · Mad Max: Fury Road
Bear Story -Best Animated Short Film · Gabriel Osorio, Pato Escala

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Deadpool

So for my first movie seen at the theatres since 2005 was at the VIP Cinepolis – a swanky theatre with reclining seats and food service at your seat – today and it was (it just had to be) Deadpool. A 2016 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name, it is the eighth installment of the X-Men film series, and is directed by Tim Miller. Written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, the film stars Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, T. J. Miller, Gina Carano, Brianna Hildebrand, and Stefan Kapi?i?.

What can I say about this awesome flick? It is funny, bloody, gory, swear word fest, superhero action flick with elements of science fiction which delivers on it’s promise and a lot of the fans are lapping it up. The movie tells us about the origin story of Wade Wilson aka Deadpool, a former special forces operative who while working as a mercenary for hire in NYC meets and falls in love with Vanessa Carlyle. A years after they move in and he proposes to her, Wade falls unconscious in their bedroom – the diagnosis is terminal cancer. Though she sticks by him, Wade doesn’t want her to see him die. When he is approached by an executive for a secret program offering an experimental cure for his cancer, Wade initially dismisses it but then changes his mind and leaves Vanessa alone at home while he goes to meet the recruiter.

At a laboratory, Wade meets Ajax and Angel Dust, whom he instantly resents. Ajax injects Wade with a serum designed to awaken latent mutant genes, then has him subjected to days of torture to induce stress and trigger the mutation without success. Wade discovers Ajax’s real name, Francis Freeman, and mocks him. In response, Ajax straps Wade into an airtight chamber which raises and lowers the oxygen level to keep Wade constantly on the verge of asphyxiation – leaving him over the weekend but not before Ajax reveals to Wade their true purpose: to make super-powered slaves to be sold to wealthy customers. While inside the chamber, Wade develops a healing factor that cured his cancer but left him severely disfigured as a side-effect. He escapes from the chamber and attacks Ajax, but relents when told that his disfigurement can be cured. Ajax subdues Wade, impales him with a rebar and leaves him for dead in the burning laboratory.

Wade survives and tries to get back to Vanessa but he stops short of contacting her as he sees others recoiling at his disfigured face. With the help of his best friend Weasle, Wade covers himself in a costume, uses the name Deadpool and hunts for Ajax. As a masked vigilante he also moves in with an elderly, blind black woman. He finally tracks Ajax making his way across a large bridge with a convoy of his goons and attacks them, killing of the goons and demands a cure for his condition from an impaled Ajax, when two X-Men, Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead, who have been trying to recruit Deadpool, stop him from inflicting more damage. Ajax uses the distraction and escapes, Colossus handcuffs himself to Deadpool and begins dragging him away, in order to take him with them back to the X-Men’s mansion to ‘see the Professor’ (Charles Xavier / Professor X). Deadpool cuts off his own hand and escapes. His hand slowly regenerates overnight. Ajax goes to Weasel’s bar and learns about Vanessa. In response, Weasel calls Wade and tells him Vanessa is in danger. Wade goes to the strip club where she works but hesitates before he can face her. As a result, Ajax has time to kidnap Vanessa. He and Angel Dust tell Deadpool to meet them on a decommissioned helicarrier in a scrapyard.

Deadpool, after calming himself down, recruits Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead and ride to the scrapyard in a cab. While Colossus and Negasonic battle Angel Dust, Deadpool fights his way through Ajax’s henchmen, and eventually engages him in close combat. While Colossus and Negasonic battle Angel Dust, Deadpool fights his way through Ajax’s henchmen, and eventually engages him in close combat. Colossus urges Deadpool to be a hero and spare his enemy, but Deadpool kills Ajax anyway. Wade turns to Vanessa, who removes his mask revealing his face. Vanessa is angered that Wade left her, but still loves him. She accepts him, and they reconcile by kissing. Wade comically tells the X-Men to leave and stop watching them.

Hilarious (so many laughs in the theatre), cuss words filles, R-rated, black humour riddled, fun filled, action packed and boombastic blockbuster. The fight scenes are excellent and the special effects is awesome. What more do you want? Indian censors bleeped out the film and also cut 10 minutes from it. But I give it a 9.5 outta 10!

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My First PVR Experience

So…..I haven’t been to a movie theatre in almost 11 years! *Waits, hums a tune and twiddles his thumbs while that settles in* Yes it is true.

I used to go for a lot of movies till 2005, a movie or 3 in a month atleast and some months a bit more. I loved going to the theatre and usually went only for English language movies since my late teens. I remember going to one was my escape for the week or month. Those times we could bring our own food into the theatres and I would get a Coke or Pepsi with some popcorn or a sandwich or candy.

Sometime in 2004 I went for a whole lot more movies, especially the James Bond festival that ran in one of the theatres. But then in 2005 I suddenly stopped going. I was 29 and I felt that there were too many college going kids making a lot of noise in there and I usually went alone and didn’t enjoy the last 3-4 movie going experiences because of the noise factor. I stopped going to theatres and it just stuck. The theatre going experience in Kerala and India has changed so much and many people have been trying to encourage me to go to a PVR and I would change my mind. I resisted so long – I dunno why – and finally today, almost 11 years later, I finally went to one. And it was awesome!

With my friend Anil, I went to Cinepolis and went to the VIP section to watch Deadpool and though it was expensive, Rs.500 for two tickets and Rs.150 for that medium popcorn (which by the way is too much enough for the two of us) and I would say that it was worth it. For once in a month or so. I mean, recliners so I can relax and watch and such an awesome theatre – just so wonderful to watch. And an awesome movie to choose as well. It was fantastic and I want to go for more.

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