Dracula Untold

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Obvious Child

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

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

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

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

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Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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A Million Ways To Die In The West

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

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

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

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

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

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Pitch Perfect

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

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

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

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

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

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

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

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

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

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

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

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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre – 1, 2 & 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Fourth Wall

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

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

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

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

Lol yeah, I know!

Prompt from the Daily Post at WordPress.com.

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Space Station 76

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

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

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

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

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

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Edge Of Tomorrow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Heavily recommended by the horror group that I am a member off, I kept putting this off for several months since the first I had heard about it. Martyrs is a 2008 French horror film written and directed by Pascal Laugier. The film debuted in Cannes and focuses on torture.

The film starts with a young girl named Lucie, who has subjected to tremendous physical abuse, escaping from a building in what looks like an abandoned factory area. Bloodied and her hair shorn she is found and taken to an orphanage once her physical wounds have healed somewhat. She doesn’t trust anyone and flinches at the slightest movements and it is only Anna, her roommate who is able to get close to her. Lucie is haunted by a ghoulish figure that is emaciated and covered in scars which attacks her at night unseen by anyoneelse, except that Anna seems to know about these attacks. 15 years later a grown up Lucie enters what seems like a rich family’s home and proceeds to kill the father and the mother of the house with her shotgun. She then asks the teenage boy if he knows what his parents did to her and when he replies no she kills him too. She then hunts for the young girl in the house and kills her as well. Lucie then calls Anna, who has remained best friends with her, and tells her that she found the people who tortured her all those years ago and has killed them.

Anna comes to the house and agrees to help Lucie bury the bodies but is shocked to find that the mother is still alive. In between the creature attacks Lucie a couple of times and she has to hide in a bedroom. That night while Lucie sleeps, Anna tries to help the mother escape but is caught by Lucie who then proceeds to beat the mother to death. Lucie is again attacked by the scarred creature, but all Anna sees is Lucie banging her head against the wall and cutting herself with a hobby knife; the ‘creature’ is nothing more than a psychological manifestation of Lucie’s guilt for leaving behind another girl who was also imprisoned and tortured with her as a child. Lucie then tells the apparition that she has killed the torturers and she can now rest but is “attacked” by the creature again. Convinced that the apparition will never leave her alone, Lucie slits her own throat and dies out in the rain as a horrified Anna weeps for her friend. Anna waits till morning to clean up the house before she leaves and discovers a secret passageway leaving to an underground section of the house where she finds a terribly tortured & scarred woman tied up in chains with metal contraptions on her head and body. Anna brings the woman out to the main part of the house when some strangers arrive and shoots the chained woman dead. Anna is captured by them and is chained to a wall in the underground chamber.

The leader of the group of strangers, identified as only ‘Mademoiselle’ arrives and tells Anna that her secret philosophical society is behind the torture of Lucie and several other young women. The elderly woman says the purpose behind the kidnappings and torture of these young women is that the society believes that their suffering will offer transcendental insight into the world beyond this one – the afterlife, and they believe that the ‘martyrs’ will be able to offer the secrets of it! Mademoiselle leaves and Anna is tied to a chair and left to be tortured by a heavyset man who brutalizes & beats while a blonde woman comes in between to feed her, forcefully with a green slop, and on occasion cleans her up with wet sponge. Her hair is shaved off and she cries during each degrading beating. After an unspecified passage of time Anna is told that she has surpassed the previous length of duration of torture and will be entering the final stage. She is taken to a lab in the same underground chambers and flayed alive. She survived the procedure and enters a stage that seems euphoric to the tormentors who immediately call Mademoiselle and others. The members of the society arrive at the house along with Mademoiselle eager to learn of what Anna has seen in her state of transcendence.

Mademoiselle goes to Anna and asks her what she saw and the poor girl whispers to the older woman. The MC for the day addresses the gathering and tells them that Anna is only the 4th torture victim to attain “martyrdom” but is the 1st who was able to communicate what she has seen. While the others wait the MC then goes to the room where Mademoiselle prepares herself and asks her if what Anna said she saw was clear and precise. From behind closed doors she says that there is no room for interpretation and asks if the MC could guess what comes after death. The MC says no and Mademoiselle says that he should keep guessing and shoots herself dead with a gun. Before the screen fades, we see a close up of Anna’s face with some voices in the background.

What the hell!!! This movie is shocking in it’s brutality and fierce torture. Oh how realistic and painful it looks. With ever slap and hit, I shuddered along with Anna. And that skin flaying scene – oh! I flinched at the brutal scenes quite often; scary stuff I can take, horryfing creatures, scary monsters – bring them on! But this brutal hitting of women, and especially this dainty little woman! Whoa! I was moved by the situation of Anna and Lucie but the scenes depicting Anna’s tortures were hard to watch. I had to watch videos of puppies and kittens frolicking on Youtube just to get myself back into a familiar frame of mind! As a well acted and affective film – 8 outta 10! But I wouldn’t recommend anyone but horror fans to watch this.

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War Of The Worlds (2005)

From director Steven Speilberg comes the 2005 science fiction disaster film War Of The Worlds, a loose adaptation of H. G. Wells’s novel The War of the Worlds. There has also been a 1953 film of the same name as well as a tv series in the 1980s which is sort of a sequel to the events of the book. The film stars Tom Cruise with Dakota Fanning, Justin Chatwick and Tim Robbins.

Ray Ferrier, a divorced crane operator working at the docks in New Jersey is estranged from his two kids teenager Robbie and 10 year old Rachel. One weekend his ex-wife Mary Anne drops of their kids at his house in the morning as she & her current husband are on their way to visit her parents in Boston. A little later strange storm clouds form over the city, similar to ones in Ukraine (as shown on the news) with violent lightning seemingly striking the same points in the area. Almost all electrical activity is affected with cars, tv, power, watches all stopping. Ray goes to check one of the spots where the lightning has hit several times, leaving Robbie & Rachel in the house. As the road breaks up from underneath a massive three-legged or tripod machine emerges and with alien weaponry, incinerates most of the witnesses.People are blown into dust and their clothes scatter in the wind. Ray rushes back home doging the laser beams and packs his kids into a car, that works, he finds at a garage and heads to Mary Anne’s home; it is empty so they spend the night there.

The next morning Ray wakes up to find a large plane crashed into the street and a news crew that shows his clips of other cities under attack from similar tripods and they also show him that the aliens entered the machines in capsules via the lightning. Which means that the pods have been there for so long and this was all planned, perhaps 1000s of years ago! Ray decides to take the kids to Boston but Robbie is causing problems as he wants to leave and join the US army vehicles in the fight against the aliens. On the way to the ferry their car is attacked by a mob and Ray is forced to give it up. As they walk to the ferries, another attack by the tripods kills several humans and causes a ferry to sink. During a desperate battle between the U.S. Marines and the aliens, Ray is forced to choose between being separated from Rachel and preventing Robbie from joining the fight; Ray lets him go with the soldiers and disappears. But the soldiers are being overwhelmed as the tripods have a shield around them that proves to be difficult to penetrate. Ray picks up Rachel and runs into Harvey (Tim Robbins) who offers them shelter in his underground bunker. Harvey tells Ray that the aliens must have planted their tripods in the ground eons ago and says that from the bunker they can observe the aliens as it is right in the middle of one of their camps.

They hide out for 2 days even as a long probe and a group of aliens (who look a lot like the aliens in Independence Day) explore the bunker. Harvey however goes nuts when he sees a tripod harvesting human blood and tissue to fertilize a red weed. Fearing his mental breakdown rantings will attract the aliens, Ray is forced to murder him. Later as father & daughter sleep, a second probe finds them and Ray attacks it with an axe as Rachel runs screaming outside and is caught by a tripod. Ray runs outside to see the landscape being changed by alien plants that are growing and picks up a grenade belt from a fallen soldier and lets himself be captured by the tripod and is placed into a basket with Rachel and some other humans. He uses the grenade to blow up the trip from the inside, freeing the humans. Ray & Rachel make their way to Boston with a group of other humans and find a battalion of soldiers. In a devastated Boston Ray sees the red plants dying and the tripods collapsing. Seeing birds landing on the tripods Ray signals a soldier and the army attacks the tripod and it is destroyed. Ray & Rachel finally reach Mary Anne’s parents house where they are reunited with her as well as Robbie, who has made his way there as well. Robbie hugs his dad apologizing for leaving as the movie ends with the narrator stating that the aliens succumbed to the bacteria on earth as they have no immunity to it and hence the sudden defeat as they crumbled.

Brilliant movie with some fantastic special effects. The storm, lightning, the tripods, the aliens and their technology all looked amazing. Hated the nonsense about god’s “wisdom placing the bacteria on earth to defeat the aliens (what a load of crap!). Made on a budget of $132 million the movie made over $591 million at the box office. One for the ages although the aliens defeat was too sudden. 8.5 outta 10!

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The Possession Of Michael King

Recommended highly by horror movie fans in this Facebook group that I am a member of The Possession of Michael King is a 2014 American found footage horror movie which is also the directorial debut of David Jung who also wrote the script. The movie stars Shane Johnson as Michael King along with Ella Anderson, Cara Pifko, Tomas Arana & Julie McNiven.

Michael King is an atheist film maker who decides to make his next project a documentary on the supernatural and to disprove the existence of god & the devil. Already a non believer he is spured on by the accident that cost his wife Samantha’s life, leaving him to raise their young daughter on his own with help from his sister Beth. His first interview is with a psychic who he confronts as giving false readings and hope to her customers. He reveals to the psychic that she had done a reading for his wife and told her that she would get a big break in her acting career. This prompted Samantha to postpone their trip to Europe. The break never happened and while the family was at a picnic at the park, she went to get something from the car and as she dropped her keys she runs into a car that couldn’t stop in time to avoid hitting her. The pychic asks him to leave.

He then speaks to a Priest about exorcisms, ofcourse which are always denied when in front of camera and to a man who claims he prayed to God with no response, and got better results praying to the Devil. Eventually, he ends up in a basement, on LSD, tied up in part of a Satanic ritual by a satanic couple. He visits a cemetery and has himself dosed with a toxic drug that induces a near death stage by a mortuary man who is also a chemist. This is one freaky incident and that’s when things start to wrong for Michael. He is visited by all sorts of demons who want to posses his body and soon the changes start happening. He become possessed and starts doing weird things. He kills the family dog, although he doesn’t know that he did it. He goes to his sister’s room at night as she sleeps and puts his hand in her crotch and the camera (which he is holding while possessed) shows a demonic looking Michael enjoying it). He loses sleep and is unable to concentrate. His work suffers as does his relationship with his family and his sister takes little Ella to her friend’s house for a few days. Michael tries to reach out for help but gets none from the priest or the satanic couple and the mortician has him thrown out for disrupting his work.

Finally Michael faced with the reality of being possessed is sitting disheveled in his house when his sister visits and brings Ellie along. As Ellie goes upstairs a possessed Michael strangles his sister to death and then stalks his young daughter. She hides in the closet but is caught by him but his wife’s spirit reaches out and gets Michael to snap out of the possession for a few moments, just enough for him to take control and jump out the window – killing himself and also ending the demon’s possession. At the end of the movie is when we see how Samantha dies.

Good little film with some awesome acting by Shane Johnson who gives a rather compelling performance. And that is vital as the entire movie hinges on him as he is the main focus; Beth is always shown at a distance and her face is never focused upon. Still the scares are cliches and you can pretty much tell what’s going to happen. I’ll  give it a 7 outta 10 more for the performance of Johnson.

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X-Men: Days of Future Past

X-Men: Days of Future Past is a 2014 superhero film based on the fictional X-Men characters that appear in Marvel Comics directed by Bryan Singer. It is a sequel to the 2011 movie X-Men : First Class and set in the future as well as the past (1973). The film stars an ensemble cast, including Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry, Anna Paquin, Ellen Page, Nicholas Hoult, Shawn Ashmore, Peter Dinklage, Evan Peters,Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart and was made on a budget of $200 million!

In the future these Sentinel robots created to seek out and kill mutants and are getting the better of them. Kitty Pryde’s group are chased and almost defeated when she uses her ability to send a person into the past to move them away from the hideout where they were attacked. Pryde’s group convenes with Storm, Wolverine, Professor Xavier, and Magneto at a monastery in China where they hatch a plan to stop the creation of the technology that set in motion the evolution of the current Sentinel robots. In 1973 Mystique assasinate millionaire scientist/inventor Bolivar Trask, the creator of the Sentinels, for his attempts to capture and imprison the mutants. Following the assassination, Mystique was captured, and her DNA was used by Trask’s company to create Sentinels, whose ability to adapt to any mutant power makes them almost invincible. Xavier’s plan is to have Kitty send someone’s consciousness back to 1973 and stop Kitty from killing Trask. Wolverine is chosen as only he has the ability to heal himself; the procedure to send someone so far back in time is very taxing on the body.

Wolverine is told to contact a younger version of Xavier and have him contact Magneto as well. So Wolverin in his younger body (he doesn’t age but in this time period he doesn’t have the metal claws) he goes to the mansion but finds it almost deserted and barges in when Beast tells him that the professor is not at home. Xavier is a hung over version of himself after most of the teachers and students were drafted for the Vietnam War. Xavier, now a broken man, is overusing a serum which allows him to walk and suppresses his telepathy. After finally convincing Xavier & Beast of who he is and where he has come from and explains the plan, the trio recruit a young mutant with super speed named Peter Maximoff, and infiltrate the Pentagon and break Magneto out. The whole sequence in the Pentagon is awesome and pretty funny! Meanwhile Mistique has freed a few mutants working for the US army in Vietnam & investigates Trask’s office and discovers he has been capturing mutants to use in experiments. She goes to Paris where Trask, having failed to get funding from Congress, is headed he Paris Peace Accords to sell his Sentinel technology to Communist nations. Before she can kill him Beast, Wolverine & Magneto arrive to thwart her attempt Magneto tries to kill Mystique to ensure her DNA cannot be used for the Sentinels, but she jumps from a window and is injured when a bullet hits her leg.

As the world has now seen these mutants fighting Trask gets his funding approved by President Nixon (where did they find this actor who looks just like him) and Trask’s scientists recover Mystique’s blood from the street. Meanwhile, Magneto—who has recovered his telepathy-blocking helmet—intercepts the prototype Sentinels in transit and laces their polymer-based frames with steel, allowing him to control them. Xavier stops taking the serum and gains his mental powers back while losing the ability to walk as it is felt that his powers are needed to stop Mistique. At the unveiling ceremony for the Sentinel robots Magneto lifts a large stadium from the ground and lays it as a barricade around the White House and has a sentinel attack Beast & Wolverine. Wolverine is pierced with metal rods and dumped into the river Nixon and Trask, accompanied by the Cabinet, Secret Service officers, and Mystique (disguised as a Secret Service member), are taken to a safe room. Magneto has the safe room pulled out and prepares to kill Nixon but Mistique disguised as Nixon, incapacitates Magneto with a plastic gun. Xavier is able to appeal to Mistique to let Trask live and she finally leaves, followed closely by Magneto. Mystique’s actions are seen as a mutant saving the President, leading to the cancellation of the Sentinel program. Trask is arrested for trying to sell American military secrets. In the future, the Sentinels who had found the X-men’s hideout attack and kill off several of them but just before they can kill Xavier, Kitty, Magneto & Wolverine the scene changes and every one disappears from the monastery.

Wolverine now wakes up in his future self in a new & changed future and finds Iceman, Rogue, Colossus, Pryde, Beast, Storm, Jean Grey, Cyclops, and Xavier alive. In 1973, Mystique impersonates Stryker and takes custody of Wolverine. So I guess the time-travel (sorta element) changes their future. And oh, kudos for them showing a scene of TOS era Star Trek in which Captain Kirk is talking about time travel! Bravo! Great action flick with lots of scifi elements and never a dull moment. I think it’s an 8.5 outta 10!

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Maleficent is a 2014 American fantasy film directed by Robert Stromberg from a screenplay by Linda Woolverton and stars Angelina Jolie as the eponymous Disney villainess character, along with Sharlto Copley, Elle Fanning, Sam Riley, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple & Lesley Manville. The film is a retelling of the Sleeping Beauty story albeit with some changes and told from the perspective of the antagonist, Maleficent. So this isn’t the story that I remember from my childhood where I read this in my big book of Fairy Tales!

So the story goes like this – Maleficent is a young & powerful faerie living in the the Moors, a magical realm bordering a human kingdom. The two kingdoms are hostile to one another, which explains why the creatures of the Moors are frightened when a human boy sneaks in. Maleficent befriends the boy, Stefan and falls in love with him. After she turns 16 she also is kissed for the first time by him but Stefan, urged on to do more with his life, leaves to the castle and works for the king. Many years pass on and a fully grown Maleficent is now the protector of the Moors and faces off against the king’s invading army. She & her creatures battles the human soldiers and she almost has the kind at her mercy but is thwarted by an iron armour – her one weakness as it burns her! Defeated the king retreats back to his castle and is soon on his deathbed and as he has no male heirs, offers his kingdom and his daughter’s hand to the man who can kill Maleficent. Stefan goes to see his former friend and they spend the night renewed in their former love, as he lies and says that he has come to warn her of the king’s intention. Having drugged her Stefan is about to kill  her but finds himself unable to do so – instead he used iron shackles to rip out both her large and powerful wings and bring them to the king as proof that he has slain her.

Pleased the dying king has Stefan crowned king of his kingdom and Stefan marries the daughter. When she comes to Maleficent is in agony and anguish and her pain now reflects in her appearance, attire and the forest as well. She frees a raven Diaval using her powers to transform him into a human, back into a bird or any other she creature, and he spies for her. Diaval reports back to her about Stefan being crowned king and his wedding as well as, after a time has passed, that a baby is to be born. As the subjects of the kingdom arrive at the castle to bestow gifts on the new princess, Maleficent too makes her entry curses the newborn princess: on her sixteenth birthday, she will prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel, which will cause her to fall into a death-like sleep. After Stefan is forced by Maleficent to beg for his daughter, she offers a caveat: the curse can be broken by true love’s kiss. Stefan entrusts his baby with the 3 pixies and has them keep her safe in a cottage outside the castle until her 16th birthday. However Maleficent follows them and monitors the baby growing up. Stefan has all the spinning wheels destroyed and dumped in a large locked room in the castle and has his men hunt to kill Maleficent but she surrounds the Moors with an impenetrable wall of thorns. Maleficent has a brief meeting with the young Aurora, as the child is called, when the kid wanders into the woods but usually she watched the princess from afar.

Slowly she starts to care for the girl and at age 15 Aurora meets Maleficent and states that she thinks of her as her faery godmother as she knows that she has been watching over her all her life. Maleficent no longer wants the curse to befall on the girl having started to lover her and adores her interactions with the Moors creatures so she tries to lift the curse at night but is unable to. Aurora meets Prince Phillip a day before she turns 16 as he gets lost in the Moors and she points out the way to the castle, the two smitten with each other. Maleficent, hoping to avoid the curse, allows the girl to move to the Moors, far away from any spindles. The pixies, however, inadvertently tell Aurora of her parentage and of Maleficent’s true identity, and a furious Aurora runs away to her father. Stefan locks her away but as she turns 16, she is drawn to the room with the broken spinning wheels, one which magically resets itself and she touches it, pricking her finger and falls into a deep sleep. Maleficent has Phillip abducted, hoping his kiss would awaken her as do the pixies but even after he hesitantly kisses her, she does not awaken. Sadden about the young girl’s situation, Maleficent kisses Aurora on the forehead which is the true love’s kiss and the girl awakens. And by that I mean motherly love – sheesh, get your minds outta the gutter!

Aurora forgives Maleficent and they attempt to escape the castle but Stefan and his men surround the faery and using iron shields have her trapped in an iron net. She uses her powers to turn Diaval into a fire breathing dragon and although he kills off many of the soldiers there are too many for him to defeat. Aurora finds Maleficent’s wings enclosed in a box and has it set free and they immediately fly back to her and, just before Stefan can stab Maleficent, reattach themselves to her. With her wings back Maleficent overpowers Stefan and carries him onto a tower, but cannot bring herself to kill him, instead declaring their feud over. Stefan attempts once more to kill her, but plummets off the tower to his death. Maleficent has Aurora crowned queen of the human & faery realms, uniting the two kingdoms and bring job back to the Moors as he thorns come down and she has her married to Phillip. The end!

Not bad at all, even though we could have used less CGI creatures than was shown. Everything looks great in this film but geeze – Angelina looks gaunt and so old! Oh well, passage of time and all that. I think everyone could enjoy this film, which made $754 million at the box office on a $180 budget. I give it an 8 outta 10!

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Honeymoon (2014)

Honeymoon is a 2014 horror film directed by Leigh Janiak and her feature film directorial debut. The movie stars Rose Leslie and Harry Treadaway with Ben Huber & Hannah Brown.

Newly married couple Bea & Paul are crazy in love and we start of the film with them on their wedding day, shooting a film. Bea & Paul profess their love, share with us as to how they met and Paul insults Indian food! Seriously dude, if you are going to go on a date with a chick to a lowdown restaurant with a crummy bathroom, anyone would be sick too! Anyway, as a “revenge” they have Indian food for their wedding reception (vegetable korma, lamb curry & samosas are on the menu) and Paul declares a “fuck you” to India as “we” won! What the hell dude, you totally deserve what you are going to get in this movie!

All kidding aside, the newly weds decide to head from Brooklyn to a remote cabin in the woods across the border in Canada. Seriously, you guys have to select a really remote place with bad wiring near a large lake do you? The cabin was one that Bea’s family regularly used when she was  younger thought it has been a while since she’s been there. They settle in and spend the days making love, cooking together and fishing in the lake. Except at night as they sleep, a strange light shines on their bed. One afternoon they visit a small restaurant which they find to be empty of people and a rude man who impolitely asks them to leave. As they are about to the man, Will, recognizes Bea as his childhood friend and he apologizes. As the two reminize about the summers they played as kids, Will’s wife Annie comes in all troubled and tells them that they have to leave. Will restrains her but the damage is done and the couple leave soon after.

That night a noise awakes Paul and he goes to investigate. While he is out the light shines on Bea and she walks off in a trance into the woods and is later found sleepwalking naked and dirty by Paul. He brings her back home and she cleans up herself seemingly not too worried that this is her first sleepwalking incident. Soon it is apparent that things are not the same, Bea forgets how to cook French toast and forgets to put coffee in the pot and Paul finds only hot water. Her strange behaviour is apparent all throughout and he is also worried about two bite marks on her thigh which she claims to be caused by mosquitoes. Paul also finds her missing nightgown torn and with a sticky substance on it in the woods. Although he tells her that he will take her to a hospital in town, she refuses. Dude, that’s your cue – take her to the fucking hospital if you see all these worrying signs! She starts forgetting phrases and Paul catches her writing down her own information – like name, hometown etc – in a book. Also Bea had been all about lust and love but now seems to deny it to her husband. Paul heads back to the restaurant, hoping to confront Will (he suspect that perhaps the two were having an affair) but finds the place deserted. He finds Will’s computer and watches videos of Annie walking out into the woods on several nights and a bright light that seems to shine on her as she does. He also sees pages of Annie’s writing similar to Bea’s. A shadowy figure is see outside unknown to Paul.

As he leaves he finds Annie at the dock and she tells him that Will is away and she leaves on a boat. Paul finds Will’s cap in the water, bloodied and dirty and heads back home. He finds Bea repeatedly stabbing herself between the legs and blood all over the bathroom floor. Frightened he ties her to the bed and she pleads for him to take it outta her. So he puts his hands inside her vagina and pulls out a lengthy worm like creature. Ewww! Not for the easily squeamish! A frantic Bea says that she was attracted to the light and walked out in the woods and saw some silhouettes that apparently impregnated her and that they are slowly taking away what’s left of her (which could explain her forgetting things). She also says that she must protect Paul from them and knocks him out. When Paul comes to, he is tied and in the boat on the lake. Saying that she will hide him in the water, Bea ties Paul to the anchor and sinks him in the middle of the lake. Later she is shown to be deteriorating and her skin becomes all flaky with marks on her. At night Annie, who looks the same way, comes to take her to the woods where the silhouetted figures are waiting for them and a light shines on them.

I suppose these beings, whatever they are, needs these women to procreate and doing so changes them. A well acted film, Leslie in particular goes ballistic when she is tied to the bed. Simple and yet compelling. Not bad for a directorial debut and low budget flick. 7 outta 10!

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Warm Bodies

I saw a bit of this movie on one of those rare evenings that I, alone at home and bored, wandered to the living room and switched on the tv. It was just about 6-7 minutes towards the end and I thought I should check out the full movie. Mainly because of the lead actress who I think is a hottie.

So Warm Bodies is a romantic zombie comedy (yes that rare genre) directed and written by Jonathan Levine, the film stars Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer, Analeigh Tipton and John Malkovich. It came out in 2013, no doubt inspired partly by the Twilight franchise and by The Walking Dead. The film is based on the 2010 novel of the same name by Issac Marion, which in turn has some elements of Romeo & Juliet.

  • 8 years after a global zombie apocalypse humanity is reduced to living in heavily guarded walled cities. ‘R’ is a male zombie, who shuffles through his day at the airport, where for some reason a lot of zombies hang out throughout the day and look for food i.e humans. At night, although zombies do not sleep, R heads out to his personal space – an airplane where he hoardes stuff including a lot of vinlys and listens to music.
  • Zombies like R crave human flesh and R in particular likes to eat the brains as he can experience the victim’s memories and what they felt as he consumes them. That is the only way that R feels alive. Although the movie is partly narrated by him, he can only speak a few words with a lot of effort and otherwise grunts, like the other zombies do.
  • There is another group of zombies called the Bonies.- skeletal zombies who, having lost all traces of their humanity, have shed their flesh and prey on anything with a heartbeat. The more human looking zombies & Boneys do not mix.
  • Julie Grilio and her friends are on a scavenger mission one day when they run into a group of zombies and among them is R & hs friend M. R sees Julie and is drawn to her and when he is shot by Perry, her boyfriend, he kills him and eats his brains and thus gains some of Perry’s experiences & feelings which makes him attracted to her even more. Almost all of the humans are killed by the zombies, except for Nora, who hides under a desk and Julie. R smears blood on Julie’s face, masking her scent from the zombies and takes her to the safety of his plane.
  • Julie & R bond after they hide out in the airplane listening to R’s records – including Guns n’Roses – and he gets canned food for her from the airport. After a few days, Julie gets restless, and tries to return home, yet attracts swarms of zombies, requiring R to rescue her. After fending off a group of zombies, including M, who is confused by R’s actions, R decides it is time to return her to the human enclave. They stop at a house on the way and R, who is regaining his humanity, confesses that it was he who killed & ate Perry. As they sleep, R dreams for the first time since he became a zombie. Julie leaves the house early and makes her way back to her fortified city home.
  • R returns to the airport a sad zombie but sees that M and the others are all showing signs of changing. Notified that the Boneys are looking for him & Julie, he heads to the walled city and sneaks in through a gap in the wall (using Perry’s memories) and meets Julie. Nora is initially horrified but the two girls apply make up on him and go to see Julie’s father the Colonel to explain that the zombies are regaining their humanity. He doesn’t see it the same way so Julie & R run off with Nora’s help. escape to a baseball stadium where the rest of R’s group is waiting, but soon find themselves under attack by a horde of Boneys.
  • M and the other zombies fight off the Boneys, surprising the human soldiers who join forces and kill of many of the Boneys. Seeing themselves trapped, R jumps with Julie from a high building, using his body as a shield to protect her as they hit the water. When he comes to, the two kiss but he is shot by the Colonel. Julie manages to convince her dad that R is human again as he is bleeding and the Colonel changes his orders. The humans and zombies combine forces and kill most of the Boneys while the rest die off, and the zombies slowly assimilate into human society. The film ends with a now fully alive R and Julie watching a wall surrounding the city being demolished, signifying the end of the apocalypse. M us now using the name Marcus and meets a human woman who he befriends.

Funny in places and not at all corny or cheesy and certainly not Twilightish or like the sudden spate of young adult scifi or supernatural movies that have been release lately. This one is actually enjoyable. 7 outta 10!

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