The Death of Stalin

The Death of Stalin is a 2017 political satire comedy film directed and co-written by Armando Iannucci. It stars Steve Buscemi, Simon Russell Beale, Paddy Considine, Rupert Friend, Jason Isaacs, Michael Palin, Andrea Riseborough and Jeffrey Tambor. Based on the French graphic novel La mort de Staline, the film depicts the Soviet power struggles following the death of Soviet revolutionary and politician Joseph Stalin (Adrian McLoughlin) in 1953.

The movie depicts the events that happen after Stalin’s death; which occurs after he is paralysed by a cerebral haemorrhage. At the time he was listening to the recording to a concerto music that Stalin had wanted to get a copy off and reading a note from pianist Maria Yudina hides a note in the recording for Joseph Stalin, saying he has ruined the country. The members of the Central Committee are alerted. The first to arrive are NKVD head Lavrentiy Beria, who discovers Maria’s note, and Deputy General Secretary Georgy Malenkov. As Malenkov panics, Beria guides him to take leadership, hoping to use him as a puppet.

Moscow Party Head Nikita Khrushchev arrives with the rest of the Committee, except for Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov, whom Stalin added to one of his lists of enemies the night previously. Beria closes off Moscow, has the NKVD take over city security duties from the Red Army, and replaces Stalin’s enemy lists with his own, reprieving Molotov. Khrushchev and Beria struggle for symbolic victories such as control over Stalin’s unstable son Vasily and daughter Svetlana. Stalin dies, despite initially recovering briefly Khrushchev goes to Molotov’s home and attempts to enlist his support, but Molotov, a true believer in Stalinism, opposes any factionalism within the Party. Beria buys his loyalty by releasing his wife Polina Molotova from confinement. There is then a struggle for power as the funeral preparations begin.

On the day of Stalin’s funeral, Khrushchev lies to the Committee and Zhukov that he has Malenkov’s support. The Red Army overwhelms the NKVD and takes up positions outside the conference room. Zhukov and his men arrest Beria, and Khrushchev coerces Malenkov into signing the papers for Beria’s trial. Khrushchev and his allies find Beria guilty of treason and of sexual assault in a kangaroo court and execute him. As Beria’s body is burnt, Khrushchev gives Svetlana a ticket to Vienna and assures her that her brother will be cared for. Several years later, Khrushchev, now Supreme Leader of the Soviet Union after removing his co-conspirators, attends a concert given by Maria, while future leader Leonid Brezhnev watches him.

A very light-heartened look at the events of communist Russia with some absurd humour, what I was also stricken by was the American and British accents for the Russian characters. That detracted from what was a really good movie but it also lags in places and I was droning off. The best performances are by Buscemi, Friend, Tambor & Issacs. 7.5 outta 10 for me!

Deadpool 2

Deadpool 2 is a 2018 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character Deadpool, distributed by 20th Century Fox. It is the eleventh installment in the X-Men film series, and a sequel to the 2016 film Deadpool. The film is directed by David Leitch from a script by Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, and Ryan Reynolds, with Reynolds starring in the title role alongside Josh Brolin, Morena Baccarin, Julian Dennison, Zazie Beetz, T.J. Miller, Brianna Hildebrand, and Jack Kesy. In the film, Deadpool forms the team X-Forceto protect a young mutant from Cable.

More violent and more funny with lots of inappropriate humour that leaves you laughing all the movie through, Ryan Reynolds is back as the Merc with the mouth. For the past two years he has been working as a mercenary killing his targets in all sorts of violent ways. On his anniversary with Vanessa, as they start to plan their family, one of the targets he missed, tracks them down and kills Vanessa (by accident; the bullet was meant for Wade). Wilson kills the man in revenge, but blames himself for her death, and attempts to commit suicide six weeks later by blowing himself up. Wilson has a vision of Vanessa in the afterlife, but the pieces of his body remain alive and are put back together by Colossus. Wilson is left with only a Skee-Ball token, an anniversary gift, as a final memento of Vanessa.

As a sort of healing, Wade joins the X-men reluctantly and Colossus, and Negasonic Teenage Warheadrespond to a standoff between authorities and the unstable young mutant Russell Collins / Firefist at an orphanage, labeled a “Mutant Reeducation Center”. Wilson realizes that Collins has been abused by the orphanage staff, and kills one of the staff members. Colossus stops him from killing anyone else, and both Wilson and Collins are arrested. Restrained with collars that negate their powers, they are taken to the “Icebox”, an isolated prison for mutant criminals. Meanwhile, a cybernetic soldier from the future, Cable, whose family Collins murdered, travels back in time to terminate the boy before Collins ever becomes a killer. Cable breaks in to the facility and fights Wade, whose collar breaks off in the melee. He attempts to defend Collins, but Cable defeats him and takes Vanessa’s token. Wilson forces himself and Cable out of the prison, but not before Collins overhears Wilson deny that he cares for the young mutant.

Near death Wade has another vision of Vanessa who urges him to help the kid. Wilson organizes a team of mutants he calls X-Force to break Collins out of a prison-transfer convoy and defend him from Cable. The team launches its assault on the convoy by parachuting from a plane, but all of the team-members except for Wilson and the lucky Domino die in the landing. While the pair fight Cable, Collins frees fellow inmate Juggernaut, who repays Collins by agreeing to help him kill the abusive orphanage headmaster. Juggernaut destroys the truck he and Collins are in and they escape. Cable offers to work with Wilson and Domino to stop Collins’ first kill, which will lead to more. He agrees to give Wilson a chance to talk Collins down before attempting to kill the boy again.

At the orphanage Juggernaut overwhelms them until Colossus, Negasonic Teenage Warhead and her girlfriend Yukio arrives to distract the huge monster. After Wilson appears to fail in talking down Collins, Cable shoots at the young mutant. Wilson leaps in front of the bullet and dies, reuniting with Vanessa in the afterlife. Seeing this sacrifice on his behalf, Collins does not kill the headmaster. This changes the future, in which Cable’s family now survives. Cable uses the last charge on his time-traveling device, which he needed for returning to his family, to go back several minutes and strap Vanessa’s token in front of Wilson’s heart before they arrive at the orphanage. This time, when Wilson leaps in front of the bullet it is stopped by the token and he survives. Collins still has his change of heart, while the headmaster is run over by Wilson’s taxi-driver friend Dopinder.

In the mid-credits scene Negasonic Teenage Warhead and Yukio repair Cable’s time-traveling device for Wilson. He uses it to save the lives of Vanessa and X-Force member Peter; kill X-Men Origins: Wolverines version of Deadpool; and kill actor Ryan Reynolds while he is considering starring in the film Green Lantern. Fucking hilarious – I am trying to think of another movie during which I laughed so hard recently and I am failing. Everyone in the theatre was rolling in the aisle with mirth. It is so damn funny. Such inappropriate humour and it works so well. 9.5 outta 10!

RIP Margot Kidder

Margot Kidder, whose best known role was as reporter Lois Lane in the 1978 Superman movie has died aged 69. The Franzen Davies funeral home in Montana confirmed her death on Sunday.

Margaret Ruth Kidder (October 17, 1948 – May 13, 2018 ), professionally known as Margot Kidder, was a Canadian-American actress and activist. She rose to fame in 1978 for her role as Lois Lane in the Superman film series, alongside Christopher Reeve. Kidder began her career in the 1960s appearing in low-budget Canadian films and television series, before landing a lead role in Quackser Fortune Has a Cousin in the Bronx (1970). She then appeared playing twins in Brian De Palma’s cult thriller Sisters (1973); in the slasher film Black Christmas (1974); and the drama The Great Waldo Pepper (1975), opposite Robert Redford. Her performance as Kathy Lutz in the blockbuster horror film The Amityville Horror (1979) gained her further mainstream exposure.

By the late 1980s, Kidder’s career began to slow. Later, in 1996, she had a highly publicized manic episode and nervous breakdown. By the 2000s, however, she had maintained steady work in independent films and television, with guest-starring roles on Smallville, Brothers & Sisters, and The L Word. In 2000 she appeared in three episodes of Peter Benchley’s Amazon (1999 TV series), playing a striking role as an insane Canadian woman bent on domination of all the local tribes. In 2015, she won a Daytime Emmy Award for her performance on the children’s television series R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour. She also acted in theatrical productions, most notably appearing on Broadway in a 2002 production of The Vagina Monologues. In 2005, Kidder became a naturalized U.S. citizen. In later years, Kidder became an outspoken political, environmental, and anti-waractivist. She died on May 13, 2018, at her home in Livingston, Montana.

Kidder dated former Canadian prime minister Pierre Trudeau, directors Brian De Palma and Steven Spielberg, writer/director Tom Mankiewicz, and actor/comedian Richard Pryor.[32]She was married and divorced three times. Kidder’s first husband was American novelist Thomas McGuane, with whom she had her only child, daughter Maggie McGuane, born in 1976. She was married to actor John Heard in 1979 for only six days, and was married to French film director Philippe de Broca from 1983 to 1984. Kidder stated in an interview with TV Guide that she was an atheist.

The Post

The Post is a 2017 American historical political thriller film directed and produced by Steven Spielberg and written by Liz Hannahand Josh Singer. It stars Meryl Streep as Katharine Graham, the first female publisher of a major American newspaper, and Tom Hanks as Ben Bradlee, the executive editor of The Washington Post, with Sarah Paulson, Bob Odenkirk, Tracy Letts, Bradley Whitford, David Cross, Bruce Greenwood, Carrie Coon, and Matthew Rhys in supporting roles. Set in the early 1970s, The Post depicts the true story of attempts by journalists at The Washington Post to publish the Pentagon Papers, classified documents regarding the 30-year involvement of the United States government in the Vietnam War.

I especially liked seeing Streep as Katherine, a middle-aged woman not too sure of herself and who has been used to seeing her father and then her husband run the company. After her husband’s death she relies heavily on her board’s recommendation and advise to run things as she lacks experience and is frequently overruled by more assertive men who advise or work for her. Hanks plays Ben Bradlee, executive editor of the Washington Post. Meanwhile, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, Graham’s longtime friend, confides in her that he is to be the subject of unflattering coverage by the Times.

The story turns out to be an exposé of the government’s long-running deception of the American public. A former govt military expert, who was disillusion by what he saw in Vietnam and that the war was hopeless, steals photocopies classified reports documenting the country’s decades-long involvement in the conflict in Vietnam, dating back to the Truman administration. Ellsberg then leaks these documents to reporters at The New York Times; the movie follows two weeks in 1971 at The Washington Post and the publishing of the Pentagon Papers. However, the series is halted by a court injunction against further publication by the Times.

The Post’s assistant editor Ben Bagdikian tracks down Ellsberg as the source for the leak, who provides Bagdikian with copies of the same material given to the Times. A team in the Post works on these files and ask Katherine’s permission to run the story. The lawyers for the Post advise against publishing the material, lest the Nixon administration bring criminal charges against them. Graham talks to McNamara, Bradlee, and trusted Post chairman Fritz Beebe, agonizing over the decision of whether to publish. The situation is made even more complicated when the Posts lawyers discover that Bagdikian’s source is the same as the Timess, possibly putting Graham in contempt of court. If charges are brought against the company, Graham could destroy the newspaper she sees as a family legacy.

Alternately, if she were to win any legal challenge, the Post could instead establish itself as an important journalistic institution. She chooses to run the story. The White House takes The Times & The Post to the supreme court and the successful ruling of 6-3, is found in favour of the press. Nixon demands that the Post should be barred from the White House. One year later, security guard Frank Wills discovers a break-in in progress at the Watergate complex after a guest at the Watergate hotel called complaining about people using flashlights.

Now, it’s fairly safe to say that both Hanks & Streep are acting heavyweights and that they are just about in the top 5 actors of all time. Or atleast their generation, I dunno. I am a huge fan of both, especially Hanks as I haven’t watched too many movies with Meryl in it but I do love her. This film is not a very exciting one and not one that I am going to want to watch many times over. It’s a big dull and methodical but does have the acting chops to pull it off. A 7.5 outta 10!

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is a 2017 American adventure comedy film directed by Jake Kasdan and written by Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Scott Rosenberg, and Jeff Pinkner based on a story by McKenna. Part of the Jumanji franchise, the film is a sequel to Jumanji (1995) (based on the 1981 children’s book of the same name by Chris Van Allsburg). he film stars Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas, and Bobby Cannavale. he film received generally positive reviews from critics, who called it a “pleasant surprise” and praised the cast. It has grossed over $962 million worldwide, the fifth-highest-grossing film of 2017 and the 40th-highest-grossing film of all time. A sequel is scheduled to be released in December 2019.

It is an adventure movie with a lot of fun. We first see the board game in 1996 being discovered by Alex Vreek’s father on a beach after it was thrown over a bridge by Alan Parrish and Sarah Whittle 27 years earlier. Alex sets the game aside. That night, it transforms into a video game cartridge which catches Alex’s attention when he is awakened by the Jumanji drums and he is transported into the game. We then flash back to 2017 6, four Brantford High School students serve detention: Spencer Gilpin, caught writing an essay for former friend Anthony “Fridge” Johnson (also in detention); Bethany Walker, who made a video call during an English-class quiz and Martha Kaply, who refused to participate in gym class. They are sent to the school basement to prepare magazines for recycling and to think about their future. Fridge discovers Alex’s discarded video-game system when he explores the basement, and he and Spencer set up the game.

Although it has five playable characters, the first one cannot be selected. Spencer and Fridge choose two characters, and the girls choose their own. When Spencer presses “Start”, they are transported into the game. The teens find themselves as characters in the game – Spencer is a heavily ripped muscular explorer and archaeologist Smolder Bravestone; Fridge is diminutive zoologist Franklin “Mouse” Finbar, whom he chose after misreading “Mouse” as “Moose”; Bethany is chubby male cartographer and intellectual Sheldon “Shelly” Oberon (whose nickname she mistook for a woman’s), and Martha is beautiful commando and martial arts expert Ruby Roundhouse. They each have three lives; Spencer deduces that if they lose all three, they really die.

They are met by Nigel, the game’s guide, who takes them to a point and tells them that Jumanji is in danger. Corrupt archeologist Russel Van Pelt stole the Jaguar’s Eye (a magic jewel) from its shrine, cursing Jumanji. Nigel escaped Van Pelt with the jewel, and the players must return it to a jaguar statue and call “Jumanji” to lift the curse. The teens must dogdge the bad guys in Van Pelt’s army as they work their way through the different levels. They are soon helped by by Alex (the missing fifth player, whose avatar is pilot Jefferson “Seaplane” McDonough) and ofcourse in the end all of the rise up above their trepidation and conquer their fears as they are able to restore the eye and the game is over and they return back to the real world and in their own bodies.

They later meet the real Alex, who was returned back to 1996 and he is now married with children, he named his eldest daughter after Bethany out of gratitude for saving his life and introduces them to his infant son, Andy. Martha and Spencer become romantically involved and the four are now friends after their experiences in the game. When they hear Jumanji’s drumbeats, they bring the game behind the school and Fridge destroys it with a bowling ball (also found in detention) to prevent anyone from playing it again.

The movie is a good watch with some good laughs and some good action. Everyone is good in their roles but Jack Black steals the show as a teenage girl in a 40Plus old man’s body. 8 outta 10!

ROSHAN’S ELEVEN : James Bond Films

Here is my list of favourite James Bond films in terms of my enjoyment of the films. You may find it odd but it’s my list.

  • Casino Royale
  • GoldenEye
  • Octopussy
  • Skyfall
  • The Living Daylights
  • Moonraker
  • You Only Live Twice
  • The Spy Who Loved Me
  • Tomorrow Never Dies
  • Live And Let Die
  • You Only Live Twice

Avengers: Infinity War

Avengers: Infinity War is a 2018 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics superhero team the Avengers, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is the sequel to 2012’s The Avengers and 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, and the nineteenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film is directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, and features an ensemble cast including Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Don Cheadle, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Dave Bautista, Zoe Saldana, Josh Brolin, and Chris Pratt. In Avengers: Infinity War, the Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy attempt to stop Thanos from collecting the Infinity Stones.

Well what can I say except, well done! I was glued to my seat and my eyes were glued to the screen while watching this magnificent epic movie. This is what the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been building upto. Well, this and the sequel that comes out in a year’s time. Everything is so awesome and grandeur that I can’t pick my favourite moment. Thanos is a great villain; a great villain has a reason and a purpose and in his mind, he is the hero. He feels that his way is right and that is the way to save the universe. He is willing to do the ultimate sacrifice, giving up the only person he loves in the whole universe to achieve it.

Everyone is awesome in this movie.True some were focused on more than others and we also have characters like Hawkeye, Ant-Man and Valkyrie missing from this film. In fact, what happened to Valkyrie as she was on the ship that Thanos decimates. Loki is killed in the first few minutes of the movie. A bunch of them are killed off or cease to exist towards the end of the film as Thanos gets all the infinity stones and snaps his fingers, as he lets us know earlier on, and half the creatures of the universe are wiped out randomly. This includes Bucky Barnes, Drax, Groot, Mantis, Wanda Maximoff, Spider-man, Peter Quill, Dr. Strange, T’Challa, and Wilson. Nebula and Stark remain on Titan, while Banner, M’Baku, Okoye, Rhodes, Rocket, Rogers, Romanoff, and Thor are left on the Wakandan battlefield. Thanos, healed, retreats to a small nipa hut as he watches the sunset in satisfaction.

Great fight scenes, great banter and some funny humourous moments peppered along the way. Oh and Thanos’s children are awesome too – I felt myself getting a crush on Proxima Midnight (depicted by Carrier Coon) as she looked so amazing and hot. And seeing Peter Dinklage as a giant dwarf (is there such a thing) was awesome too! All out a huge success. What will happen in the sequel? I give this movie a ……..9.5 outta 10!

I, Tonya

I, Tonya  is a 2017 American black comedy biographical film directed by Craig Gillespie and written by Steven Rogers. It follows the life of figure skater Tonya Harding and her connection to the 1994 attack on her rival Nancy Kerrigan. It features interviews with the characters in mockumentary-style set in the modern day, as well as fourth wall breaking. Margot Robbie (who also produced) stars as Harding, Sebastian Stan plays Harding’s husband Jeff Gillooly, and Allison Janney plays Harding’s mother LaVona Golden; Julianne Nicholson, Caitlin Carver, Paul Walter Hauser, and Bobby Cannavale also star.

Although enjoyable, I find it odd that the movie focuses on Harding and her ex-husband Jeff who conspired to hurt and intimidate Nancy – maybe not to hurt her that badly – but still the story is about the wrong doers. The infamous incident about the attack on her friend and rival Nancy Kerrigan is one of sports and media history, so much so that it is still clear in my mind all these years later. Harding has stuck to her story and maintains that she did not do anything wrong other the fact that once she found out about the attack on Nancy and that her only crime is not coming out sooner, having hindered the investigation.

After Tonya’s confidence is shaken by a death threat; Jeff realises he can do the same to Tonya’s main rival Nancy Kerrigan. However, Jeff’s delusional friend Shawn Eckhart, seeking notoriety and prestige, hires two inept crooks to attack Kerrigan after a practice session in Detroit. Kerrigan’s knee is badly injured by Shane Stant, and both men involved are soon arrested. Eckhardt’s bragging around town quickly leads the FBI to him. He points the finger at Jeff, who is horrified to learn that Eckhardt gave orders beyond sending death threats via letters. Tonya qualifies for the Olympic team amid the allegations that she was involved in Kerrigan’s attack. Realizing that she will be found guilty by the association, she goes to the FBI and tells them what Jeff and Shawn did, who then show her written testimony to Jeff during the interview, and he races to her house to attack her. Tonya leaves him for good and he implicates her to the authorities, claiming she knew about the attack.

At the Olympics, Tonya comes in eighth place and Kerrigan wins the silver medal. Her abusive and inept mother comes to see Tonya amid a media circus but is thrown out when Tonya realizes she is wearing a recording device and ejects her from her home. Jeff, Eckhardt and Stant are all sentenced, with Tonya’s trial postponed until after the Olympics. Tonya avoids jail but is given three years probation, 500 hours of community service, and a $100,000 fine. She is also forced to withdraw from the 1994 World Figure Skating Championships and is banned from competitive figure skating for life. Heartbroken, she begs the judge to give her jail time rather than take away the one thing she knows how to do; the judge declines. Jeff acknowledges that he ruined Tonya’s career, changes his name and remarries. Tonya embraces her notoriety and becomes a boxer, whilst becoming a nurturing mother to her own children.

Brilliantly acted but I don’t really see the point about telling their story. It is fun to see 80s hair and clothes and the music is awesome. Robbie, the excellent Janney & Sebastian are all delightful in their roles as not so likeable people. 8 outta 10!

RIP Verne Troyer

Verne Troyer, who played Mini-Me in two of the Austin Powers comedy films, has died at the age of 49, according to statements posted to his social media accounts Saturday. Troyer was 49. No cause of death was immediately released. He was hospitalized earlier this month after emergency responders in Los Angeles went to his home, according to media reports.

Troyer, who was reportedly 2 feet, 8 inches tall, once joked with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer in 2002 that after gaining fame as Mini-Me he would go out in public with a hat and sunglasses on, “but it just doesn’t seem to work.”He added: “I’m still trying to get used to it. I’m just adjusting day by day. So you know, it’s — I don’t know. It’s — I’m just enjoying it and taking it one step at a time.” According to the Internet Movie Database, Troyer was in 58 movies and television shows. He played Mini-Me, the diminutive clone of Mike Myers’ Dr. Evil, in “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me” and “Austin Powers in Goldmember.”

He broke into entertainment as the stunt double for a 9-month-old baby in the 1994 film “Baby’s Day Out.” Among his other roles are  Griphook the goblin in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Love Guru & The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.

Insidious: The Last Key

Insidious: The Last Key (also known as Insidious: Chapter 4) is a 2018 American supernatural horror film directed by Adam Robitel and written by Leigh Whannell. It is produced by Jason Blum, Oren Peli, and James Wan. It is the fourth installment in the Insidious franchise, and the second in the chronology of the story running through the series. Starring Lin Shaye, Angus Sampson, Leigh Whannell, Spencer Locke, Caitlin Gerard, and Bruce Davison, the film follows parapsychologist Elise Rainier as she investigates a haunting in her childhood home.

The movie is set chronologically second in the series, years (I guess) after the events of the 3rd movie and the ending connects a full circle back to the first film. Elise is asked to help a man who contacts her with a ghostly infestation in his house that he recently bought. When she takes down the address, she is shocked to find out that the man lives in her old childhood home. As a child she could see spirits which her abusive father forbade her to do but which her mother Audrey encouraged. After an incident which scared her younger brother, Elise’s father locked her in the basement as punishment where Elise to a door which she unlocks. A demon called “Key Face” comes through the door, possessing Elise. Audrey investigates, finding Elise, but the entity kills Audrey by hanging her. Elise comes out of the possession as Gerald arrives, finding Elise and Audrey’s body.

Along with Specs & Tucker, Elise investigates the house A female ghost appears and attacks Elise, shouting “help her”, before vanishing with the whistle. Elise tells them that she has seen her before, as a teenager. Elise saw the ghost in their laundry room. Gerald investigated and said he saw nothing. Fearing another beating, Elise fled the house and abandoned Christian. The next morning, Elise, Tucker, and Specs visit a diner, meeting sisters, Melissa and Imogen. Christian joins them, and they learn that the girls are Christian’s daughters and Elise’s nieces. Christian is still furious at Elise for abandoning him and storms out. Hoping to repair their relationship, Elise hands Melissa a photo of the whistle, telling her to show it to Christian. That night, Elise and Tucker hear the whistle being blown downstairs.

Elise follows the sound into the basement, where she realizes it is coming from behind a wall. Elise asks a series of questions and learns that what she is looking for is behind the wall. Elise sees that the wall is a door and rushes to her bedroom to get the keys. Behind the door, she finds a bloodied girl with a chain around her neck. Ted storms into the room and it’s shown that he was keeping the girl against her will. He locks the group in the room and tries to kill Specs, but he tricks Ted, and kills him with a bookcase. The police rescue the group and Elise is taken in for questioning. Christian and his girls go to find the whistle. Melissa is lured into the basement and is attacked by “Key Face”. The entity sticks two keys in Melissa, one steals her voice, and the other takes her soul and sends her into a coma. During the questioning, Elise is startled by a vision of Melissa, realizing she is in danger. Elise, Tucker and Specs find Melissa in the basement.

Christian demands that Elise stay away and Melissa is taken to the hospital. Imogen tells Elise that she can also astral project into The Further. Elise tells Imogen she intends to save Melissa by defeating Key Face once and for all, thereby ridding the house of the evil entities.  In a flashback, Elise saw Anna in the laundry room. She was actually alive and escaped from the room she was locked in. When Gerald walked in, he saw Anna, but pretended that he saw nothing. After Elise ran away, Gerald brutally killed Anna. While Elise examines a suitcase, she’s ambushed by Key Face, who takes her into The Further, leaving her unconscious body in the real world. Imogen helps her and they fight Key Face and Audrey’s spirit arrives to help them defeat them.

Melissa’s spirit returns to her body in the real world, saving her life. Elise makes amends with her Mother and says goodbye. Elise and Imogen return to the real world and reunite with Melissa and Christian at the hospital. Christian forgives Elise and she gives him the whistle, and she goes home to California. In her sleep, Elise sees a vision of Dalton, with the Red-faced demon looming over him, and she wakes up startled. Her phone rings. A woman, Lorraine, calls for help for her grandson, Dalton. Elise helped her with her son Josh years earlier and she agrees to help Dalton.

Although I like the story line, the movie itself suffers from the actual execution. The scares are predictable and repetitive and the cast isn’t very effective. Lin Shaye is excellent in her role for the 4th film. Even the jokes fall short. 6.5 outta 10!

ROSHAN’S ELEVEN : Ranking The Star Wars Movies

Ok ….. I am not the biggest Star Wars fan out there. While I do like the franchise and have received hours of entertainment from it, I am not really sure why this franchise is such an American and global icon (marketing and money comes to mind). I don’t get the huge appeal. Again, I do like them, but I do not rate them that high. Having said that, here is my ranking in terms of my enjoyment of the films. You may find it odd but it’s my list.

  • IV – A New Hope (1977)
  • III – Revenge of the Sith (2005)
  • VI – Return of the Jedi (1983)
  • II – Attack of the Clones (2002)
  • V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
  • Rogue One : A Star Wars Story (2016)
  • VII – The Force Awakens (2015)
  • VIII – The Last Jedi (2017)
  • I – The Phantom Menace (1999)
  • Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure (1984)
  • Ewoks: The Battle for Endor (1985)

Murder on the Orient Express (2017)

Murder on the Orient Express is a 2017 mystery drama film directed by Kenneth Branagh with a screenplay by Michael Green, based on the 1934 novel of the same name by Agatha Christie. The film stars Branagh as Hercule Poirot, with Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Josh Gad, Derek Jacobi, Leslie Odom Jr., Michelle Pfeiffer, and Daisy Ridley in supporting roles. The film is the fourth screen adaptation of Christie’s novel, following the 1974 film, a 2001 TV film version, and a 2010 episode of the television series Agatha Christie’s Poirot.

After solving a theft at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, wants to have some time off and rest in Istanbul. However he is called for a case in London and his friend Bouc, the director of the Orient Express, offers a room aboard the train. While in the train, American businessman Edward Ratchett offers to pay Poirot to be his bodyguard, thinking the Belgian’s detecting skills should protect him against possible assassins, but Poirot politely refuses. That night, Poirot hears strange noises coming from Ratchett’s compartment, and later sees someone in a red kimono running down the hallway. An avalanche derails the train’s engine, stranding the passengers.

The next morning Ratchett is discovered to have been murdered sometime during the night as his body is found with a dozen stabs. Bouc asks Poirot to help solve the case. Poirot discovers a partially burned note connecting Ratchett to the kidnapping of Daisy Armstrong, a child who was abducted from her bedroom and held for ransom. After the ransom was paid, Daisy was found murdered. Ratchett’s true identity is revealed: he was John Cassetti, Daisy’s kidnapper and murderer. The shock of her death caused her mother Sonia to die after giving premature birth to a stillborn baby; her father, Colonel Armstrong, then committed suicide. The family’s nursemaid Susanne was wrongly suspected of complicity, leading to her being arrested and she hanged herself while in police custody, only to be found innocent afterwards.

After conducting his individual interviews and being shot at, Poirot meets the suspects outside the train, offering two theories of how Cassetti died. The first is simple: A murderer disguised as a conductor boarded the train, murdered Cassetti, and fled. The second is more complex: every suspect is connected to the Armstrongs, Susanne, or her trial in some way—including those who had pretended otherwise—and had motive to kill Cassetti. Hubbard is revealed to be Linda Arden, a former stage actress, and Sonia Armstrong’s mother. She admits to hiring everyone else to be on the Orient Express and all of them took their turns to stab Cassetti.

Poirot challenges the passengers and Michel to shoot him with Arbuthnot’s gun, since he is the only one who can expose their plot; Bouc can lie, but Poirot, obsessed with truth and balance, cannot. Hubbard grabs the gun and tries to kill herself, but it is not loaded; Poirot wanted to see how the suspects would react. With the train back on track, Poirot concludes that justice is impossible in the case, as Cassetti deserved death; for the first time, Poirot will have to live with a lie, and imbalance. He presents the lone killer theory to the Yugoslavian police, allowing the others to leave on the train. As he disembarks, a messenger asks him to investigate a death on the Nile. Poirot takes the case.

It was ok though the movie did not have the style and panache of the original, which I had seen many years ago. The focus is way too much on Kenneth Branagh as Poirot and the movie does plod along a bit. The production though is stylish and gorgeous. 7.5 outta 10!

The Disaster Artist

The Disaster Artist is a 2017 American biographical comedy-drama film produced and directed by James Franco. Written by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, the film is based on Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell’s non-fiction book of the same name, and loan low income chronicles the making of Tommy Wiseau’s 2003 The Room, widely considered one of the worst movies ever made. The film stars brothers James payday loans online direct lender no credit check and Dave Franco as Wiseau and Sestero, respectively, alongside a supporting cast featuring Seth Rogen (who also produced), Alison Brie, Ari Graynor, Josh Hutcherson, and Jacki Weaver.

The movie tells the story of how Greg met Tommy in acting class as they two lived in San Francisco and asks for help to get rid of his shyness as the former is impressed by the latter’s no holds barred style. As they become friends while trying to get an acting career moving, they decide to move to Los Angeles where they stay in an apartment that Tommy, who seemingly has a lot of wealth though no known source of income, owns. Greg soon finds a talent agency who signs him on but Tommy keeps getting rejected. reg develops a relationship with Amber, whom he meets at a nightclub, and Tommy grows jealous; as he fails to find work, he becomes disheartened. As Greg’s auditions also dry up, he shares his frustrations with Tommy, who decides to make a movie for them both to star in.

Tommy writes the screenplay for The Room, a melodrama about a love triangle and betrayal  between banker Johnny (played by Tommy), his fiancée Lisa and his best friend Mark. Greg accepts the role of Mark and an associate producer credit and the two select the cast. They rent out a production house; Tommy insists on buying all the production equipment, and shooting the film on 35 mm film and HD Digital simultaneously, costly and unnecessary measures. Production starts smoothly enough as there is a lot of issues as Tommy always arrives late, forgets his lines (in a hilarious scene on the rooftop) and doesn’t supply his crew with necessities like air conditioning and water, causing an older actress to faint. He even insults the actress playing Lisa during their sex scene.

He also secretly has another camera man record his crew who criticize him and his plans. While at a cafe, Greg runs into Bryan Crantson who knows Amber, and the actor ends up offering him a role in an episode of Malcolm In The Middle. he part requires a beard; as Greg is due to shave his beard for The Room, he begs Tommy to postpone shooting, but Tommy refuses. On the last day of shooting, Greg accuses Tommy of being selfish and duplicitous throughout their friendship, and questions his real age and origins. 8 months pass with no contact between the friends, when Greg gets an invitation for the premier, as do the entire cast and crew and they all show up.

Tommy makes a strange and late entrance and the movie starts with a packed audience (no doubt some of them influenced by the large billboard that Tommy has rented for the movie’s advertising) – the audience reacts first with horror then laughter at the film. Tommy is upset walks out, but Greg comforts him, telling him they have delighted the audience, not angered them. With Greg’s urging, Tommy comes back in and greets the audience takes credit for his “comedic” movie, and receives a standing ovation. the film made $1,800 against its reported $6 million budget during its initial release (Wiseau kept it running for two weeks, allegedly to qualify for the Academy Awards), but it has since become a profitable cult film. Wiseau and Sestero remain friends and, to this day, Wiseau’s age, past life and source of income remain a mystery.

It is strange how good this film is, ironically as it is about the worst film to have been produced, atleast in the US. I’m sure that there are even worse films elsewhere. There are awesome acting moments here. It’s a fun and entertaining flick but I do think you should watch The Room atleast once before you see this one. 8.5 outta 10!

The Human Centipede (First Sequence)

Made in 2009, this is a movie which I have avoided for so long. I kept hearing about this movie during the year before and after it’s release by a lot of horror fans. I watched a lot of people reacting to the trailer and doing reaction videos of watching or having watched the movie. I wanted to watch it but I was also disgusted by it. Just last night I gave my sister the synopsis and she was utterly disgusted.

The Human Centipede (The First Sequence) is s a 2009 Dutch horror film written, directed, and co-produced by Tom Six. The film tells the story of a German surgeon who kidnaps three tourists and joins them surgically, mouth to anus, forming a “human centipede”, a conjoined triplet. It stars Dieter Laser as the creator of the centipede, Dr. Josef Heiter, with Ashley C. Williams, Ashlynn Yennie, and Akihiro Kitamura as his victims. According to Six, the concept of the film arose from a joke he made with friends about punishing a child molester by stitching his mouth to the anus of a “fat truck driver”. Inspiration for the film also came from Nazi medical experiments carried out during World War II, such as the crimes of Josef Mengele at the Auschwitz concentration camp.

That is the story – seriously who the fuck comes up with this twisted and demented idea? LOL, seriously it’s not as gross as I expected it to be. The German actor Dieter Laser does a great job of acting as this crazed doctor who is obsessed with this idea of creating a centipede with humans after years of making a name for himself separating Siamese twins. He plays the mad scientist to a T, even threatening the cops who come searching for the missing tourists. He plans to combine the two girls as the middle (Lindsay) and end (Jenny) and connect them to the front of the centipede, a third victim he’s abducted named Katsuro (Kitamura).  I also think that making the Japanese tourist speak only in Japanese, spitting out his rage and frustration adds to the movie.

The shit scene – oh man, I was so scared and squeamish of watching that scene but it was only implied and you don’t get to see anything. Which is where the movie works best – the horror and disgust are mostly, not completely, but makes you imagine what is happening and that what’s in your mind is what disgusts you more. Full credit to Tom Six for that! 6 outta 10!

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (also known as Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi) is a 2017 American epic space opera film written and directed by Rian Johnson. It is the second installment of the Star Wars sequel trilogy and the eighth main installment of the Star Wars franchise, following Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015). It was produced by Lucasfilm and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. The ensemble cast includes Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie and Frank Oz in returning roles, with Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern and Benicio del Toro joining the cast. The film features the final film performance by Fisher, who died in December 2016, and it is dedicated to her memory. The plot follows Rey as she receives Jedi training from Luke Skywalker, in hopes of turning the tide for the Resistance in the fight against Kylo Ren and the First Order.

So I finally got around to it and to be honest there were parts of it which I found to be boring in some parts and a bit predictable. I am not a big fan of Star Wars and I have this say this – I do not see why this franchise is so popular and why a lot of people find this franchise and universe so fascinating. I am not that impressed. Also I am one who likes the prequel trilogy and think that they were essential for us to understand the main characters in the original trilogy and especially Anakin Skywalker / Darth Vader. And I wasn’t impressed with the Force Awakens which is just a rehash of A New Hope (JJ is known to do that, what say Star Trek : Into Darkness?) .

What did I like from the movie? The special effects, the fight scenes, the spaceship fight scenes, the light sabre fight scenes with Kylo & Rey and everything with Leia, Poe and his character development and the new character Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo (Laura Dern) who becomes a hero with her death. What didn’t make much sense is the new Jedi trick of projecting themselves across great distances of light years and interacting with someone, Luuke’s behaviour throughout his interaction with Rey, the casino “royale” scene which made no sense and the whole adventure that Finn & Rose go through to get the codebreaker – for nothing! And Phasma – wow, that was a slap in the face. I was expecting a lot from this character and they ruined it!

And what the heck is with the porgs if that’s what you call them? Stupid, idiotic looking animals. Luke, who is completely out of character in this film milking some animal and then drinking the milk that he just squeezed out of it’s tits? The final fight scene between Kylo and Luke – don’t get me wrong, it was cool but the fact that Luke was mind projecting all that while and not really there was a bit weird. And he dies or decides to die in peace once that is done as he looks up at the rising suns on his exile planet. Finn was a supporting character and not very impressive in this movie.

The Last Jedi had its world premiere in Los Angeles on December 9, 2017, and was released in the United States on December 15, 2017. It has grossed over $1.3 billion worldwide, making it the highest-grossing film of 2017, the 7th-highest-ever grossing film in North America and the 9th-highest-grossing film of all time, as well as the second-highest-grossing film of the Star Wars franchise. It’s beyond me but then money and Disney and the Star Wars machine defies odds. 7.5 outta 10!

Annihilation

Annihilation is a 2018 science fiction horror film written and directed by Alex Garland, based on the novel of the same name by Jeff VanderMeer. The film stars Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, Tuva Novotny, and Oscar Isaac, and follows a group of military scientists who enter “The Shimmer”, a mysterious quarantined zone full of mutating landscapes and creatures. The film was released in North America by Paramount Pictures on February 23, 2018, and in other markets on March 12, 2018 by Netflix.

From the skies something flashes by and hits a lighthouse in an area in Southern California and a shimmer like dome appears surrounding it. Over the course of three years the area inside the shimmer, deemed Area X, grows and expands until it reaches almost city size. Cellular biology professor and former U.S. Army soldier Lena’s husband and Army Special Forces soldier named Kane is one of the military men sent in to investigate the inside of the shimmer as part of the 3rd group sent in – no one comes back out. A year later, after deemed to have been lost, Kane returns back home surprising Lena without much memory of what happened and suddenly become ill. Lena calls an ambulance but a government security force intercepts Lena and Kane on the way to a hospital and brings them to Area X.

Psychologist Dr. Ventress recruits Lena into the project, after being question by her as she feels that a group of scientists should follow the all military 3 expeditions. The research expedition consisting of them, physicist Josie Radeck, anthropologist Cass Sheppard, and paramedic Anya Thorensen. Lena does not reveal to her teammates, other than Ventress, that Kane is her husband. Once inside the shimmer they lose track of time and events that happened and their equipment save for supplies and ammo are useless. Inside the now swamp like environment they are attacked by a mutated crocodile which has teeth like a shark, which the manage to kill. They then find Kane & group’s base of operations inside an abandoned military center and in a memory card find a recording that shows Kane cutting open a living expedition member to reveal that something inside him is moving.

At night a mutated, bear-like creature drags Cass away and kills her; the following morning, the team see Cass’s boot. Lena investigates further alone, and she discovers the mutilated corpse of Cass, which she reveals to the others. As the team continues toward the lighthouse at the center of the shimmer, they find a settlement filled with human-shaped plants. Josie hypothesizes that the shimmer is acting on organisms the way a prism distorts and refracts light. The team members realize they are rapidly changing as well. That night when Anya discovers that Lena is Kane’s wife, she gets paranoid and restraints the other three. Anya hears what sounds like Cass screaming for help outside, and investigates. The creature that killed Cass enters the house, and the screams are coming from the creature. It kills Anya and attacks Lena before Josie shoots and kills the creature.

Ventress, who is dying of cancer, goes to the lighthouse alone while Josie, seemingly gives herself to the mutation happening and changes into a human shaped plant. A distraught Lena heads to the lighthouse where she finds a corpse, incinerated by a phosphorous grenade. A video recording footage in the camera next to him shows Kane ranting about the shimmer’s effects on him, urging someone offscreen to find Lena, and finally committing suicide and his doppelganger appears near him. Lena descends into the hole and finds Ventress, who tells her the forces at work will spread to encompass everything. Ventress disintegrates into a glowing nebulous structure that absorbs a drop of blood from Lena’s face and creates a humanoid entity that mimics Lena’s every motion and eventually transforms into an identical copy of her.

Lena manages, after a tussle, to set an active phosphorus grenade in its hands before fleeing. The creature is set ablaze by the grenade and it spreads the flames everywhere engulfing the lighthouse, and the various constructs in the area collapse and the shimmer fades away. Lena goes back and is questioned by the military while under quarantine and is reunited with the doppleganger Kane. She asks him whether he is the real Kane, to which he replies, “I don’t think so.” He asks her if she is Lena, to which she does not respond. The two embrace as their irises shimmer and shift in color.

Here is a scifi movie that is slow and methodical and yet brings enough intrigue and some terror and thoughtfulness into the plot. You are left wondering and guessing as the movie ends, which is what good scifi does. I will give it an 8 outta 10!

Pacific Rim Uprising

Pacific low interest unsecured loan Rim Uprising is a 2018 American science fiction film directed by Steven S. DeKnight (in his feature-film directorial debut) and written by DeKnight, Emily Carmichael, Kira Snyder, and T.S. Nowlin. It is the sequel to the 2013 film Pacific Rim, with Guillermo del Toro, director of the original, serving as a producer here. The sequel stars John Boyega (making his producer debut) as well as Scott Eastwood, Cailee Spaeny, Jing Tian, Adria Arjona, and Zhang Jin, with Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day, and Burn Gorman returning from the original film. Set in the year 2030, the plot follows humanity needing to again fight Kaiju, giant monsters set on destroying the world.

Set 10 years after the events of the 2012 film,  former Jaeger pilot Jake Pentecost–son of Kaiju War hero Stacker Pentecost–makes a living by stealing and selling Jaeger parts on the black market. While trying to steal part of a disabled Jaeger’s power core, he and teenager Amara Namani (who stole the core to power her homemade and much smaller Jaeger, Scapper)  is arrested by the Pan-Pacific Defense Corps. His adoptive sister and PPDC General Secretary Mako Mori gives Jake a choice between prison and returning to the PPDC as an instructor. Both Jake and Amara, who is recognized for her talent, are taken to the PPDC where Jake starts training Jaeger program recruits with his estranged former co-pilot Nate Lambert. Nate and his sister reveal to him that the Jaeger program is threatened by Shao Corporation’s drone program, which offers to mass produce remote controlled Jaegers developed by Liwen Shao and Dr. Newt Geiszler.

Mako is due to deliver a final assessment to determine the authorization of the drones at a PPDC council meeting in Sydney, but is killed by rogue Jaeger Obsidian Fury before she can report. The drone program is authorized and before her death Mako reveals the location of a defunct Jaeger production facility in Russia, which she suspects Obsidian Fury is using as a base of operations. Before Jake and Nate can investigate the area in their own cheapest secured loans Jaeger, Obsidian Fury destroys the complex and engages them in battle. Upon destroying its reactor, they find that Obsidian Fury was controlled by a Kaiju’s secondary brain. Later, the drones are taken over by cloned Kaiju brains and simultaneously attack Shatterdomes worldwide, inflicting heavy casualties on the PPDC forces and incapacitating almost all Jaegers. Hermann Gottlieb seeks out Geiszler for help, unaware that Geiszler is the mastermind behind the attack, as he has been corrupted by regularly drifting with Kaiju brains.

Seeking to destroy the world for the Precursors, the alien race who created the Kaiju, Geiszler has installed a backdoor in the drone program so that the Kaiju brains could take over the drones, destroy the PPDC and open new breaches all over the world. Although Shao is able to destroy the drones, three powerful Kaiju successfully emerge from the Breaches and unite in Tokyo. The team realizes that the Precursors’ goal is to activate the Ring of Fire by having the Kaiju fall into Mount Fuji, where their blood will react with the volcano’s rare earth elements and activate all of the volcanoes volcano in the ring of fire, wiping out all life on Earth and terraforming the planet for their colonization. Using the recruits and 4 jaegers, the team launch an attack at the the Kaiju, Geiszler merges them into one gigantic beast that quickly overpowers the team. The PPDC use Gipsy Avenger, the last operational Jaeger to destroy the Kaiju with a rocket designed by Shao. In the aftermath, Geiszler is taken into custody by Nate.

The captive Geiszler threatens that his masters will attack the world over and over again. Jake replies that next time, humanity will be the ones attacking the Precursors. Setting up what could be an awesome third movie, which could be made if this movie is successful. I must admit, initially I was not impressed with the movie as it looked and felt like so many other films. The original movie was much better but in the second part of the film, things picked up and the action is riveting. Albeit the actors do look cheesy with all the stuff they have to do but it was fun. No characters really stand out. I’ll give it a 7 outta 10!