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Life (2017)

Life is a 2017 American science fiction horror film directed by Daniel Espinosa, written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson and Ryan Reynolds. The film follows a six-member crew of the International Space Station that uncovers what initially seems to be the first evidence of life on Mars; however, the crew finds their discovery might not be what it seems.

The 6 member team on the ISS are able to successfully capture of a space probe returning from Mars with a soil sample. The crew is tasked with studying the sample, which contains the first proof of extraterrestrial life. After extracting a single-cell from the sample, Biologist Hugh Derry is able to revive the dormant organism with atmospheric adjustments and glucose. It grows into a multi-celled organism quickly evolving at a decent rate and getting named as “Calvin” by children who won a contest back on earth. After an atmospheric accident in the lab, Calvin becomes dormant and a concerned Hugh tried to revive it using a mild electric shock. Calvin reanimated and becomes aggressive, grabbing hold of Hugh’s right hand, ultimately crushing it as Hugh struggles to get free. It shows signs of advanced intelligence escapes the containment cube into the room with Hugh. While it devours a lab rat and immediately grows in size, engineer Rory Adams enters the room and rescues Hugh.

Calvin however attaches itself to Rory’s leg and crew captain, Dr. Miranda North, locks Rory inside the room to keep Calvin in containment. Rory manages to remove Calvin from his leg and begins to attack it with a handheld incinerator. Calvin shows remarkable resilience to fire and evades Rory’s attacks until the incinerator runs out of fuel. Calvin then attacks Rory and forces its way into his mouth, killing him from the inside. Emerging from Rory’s mouth, evolved and even larger, Calvin then manages to escape from the room through an emergency fire suppression vent. Hugh theorizes that the lack of breathable air on Mars is probably what kept the organism dormant until that point. Katarina goes out on a spacewalk to fix the antenna when they discover that communications to earth is down and she too is attacked by Calvin who consumes coolant as a source of nutrition and ruptures Katerina’s EVA suit’s coolant system, effectively drowning her inside her suit. Calvin attempts to enter the station through the thrusters. An attempt to stop Calvin results in the ISS entering a decaying orbit. Engineer and pilot Sho Murikami informs the crew that they need to use the remaining fuel to get back into a standard orbit, but that it would allow Calvin back into the station.

The crew try to suffocate Calvin by sealing themselves into one module and venting the atmosphere from the rest of the station. When Hugh suddenly enters cardiac arrest, the crew resuscitate only to realize that Calvin had attached itself to Hugh’s leg and was feeding off of him. Now having grown into a much larger tentacled creature, Calvin attacks the remainder of the crew. Sho hides in a sleeping pod while Miranda and David lure Calvin away using blood from Hugh’s body and trap it in the module to deprive it of oxygen. Earth Control send a Soyuz capsule as a fail-safe plan to push the station out towards deep space and prevent any chance of the organism entering Earth. The capsule docks imperfectly against the module where Calvin was contained. Presuming it to be a rescue attempt, Sho leaves his pod and rushes to board the arriving ship. He enters the module and attempts to manually open the hatch to enter the capsule. As soon as he opens the hatch, Calvin attacks him. The imperfect docking results in a breach and the resulting explosion sends the capsule spiralling and damages the ISS, as Calvin kills Sho.

Temperature and oxygen levels drop in the station & David and Miranda realize that the incident has also caused them to re-enter the decaying orbit that will culminate in re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere. Since they cannot allow Calvin to reach Earth, David plans to lure Calvin into one of the pods before manually overriding the system to fly deep space, thus letting Miranda escape in the other pod to return to Earth. This works initially as Calvin is inside the pod with David and Miranda leaves in her pod Her pod however hits space debris from the ISS and is knocked off course. Calvin attacks David as he struggles to send his pod into deep space. The earthbound pod lands in a body of water near two Vietnamese fishermen. As they approach the pod, it is revealed to be David’s, with David encased and trapped in a black substance. Meanwhile Miranda screams helplessly as her navigation system fails and her pod is hurled into deep space. David, still alive, tries to warn the fishermen to not attempt a rescue. As the fishermen open the pod door, more fishing boats arrive. The screen then cuts to black.

We are left to assume that Miranda dies alone in space, drifting along alone in the dark while Calvin escapes and creates havoc on earth. We don’t know what is the fate of the alien or the humans on earth. It’s a story that has been done before and the film offers nothing new but I still found it a good enough film and entertaining enough. Though my main complaint is that Reynolds is only in the film for 25 minutes, his character Rory having been the first to die. I’d give this film a 7.5 outta 10!

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Kong : Skull Island

Kong: Skull Island is a 2017 American monster film directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts and written by Dan Gilroy, Max Borenstein and Derek Connolly, from a story by John Gatins. The film is a reboot of the King Kong franchise and serves as the second film in Legendary’s MonsterVerse. It stars an ensemble cast consisting of Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, Brie Larson, Jing Tian, Toby Kebbell, John Ortiz, Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, Shea Whigham, Thomas Mann, Terry Notary and John C. Reilly.

Set mainly in 1973, U.S. government agent Bill Randa to guide an expedition to map out an island known as “Skull Island”. He gets funding from a senator to piggy back onto a scientific expedition by Monarch and hires former British Special Air Service Captain James Conrad, a skilled tracker and his assistants San Lin, a young biologist working for Monarch & Houston Brooks, a young geologist and graduate of Yale University, recruited for the expedition by Monarch for his groundbreaking theories on seismology. Randa also recruits the Sky Devils, a Vietnam War veteran helicopter squadron led by Lieutenant Colonel Preston Packard and prominently made up of his right-hand, Major Jack Chapman and Captain Earl Cole to escort them to the island. The group is soon joined by pacifist photojournalist Mason Weaver, who plans to expose it, believing it’s a secret military operation with dark purposes.

The soldiers begin dropping explosives developed by seismologist Houston Brooks to determine if the ground is hollow, despite Conrad’s objections. The noise alerts and angers a 100 foot monster gorilla, named – you guessed it – Kong. He destroys many of the choppers killing many of the members of the expedition. The survivors must make their way on a three day trek to the north of the island which is the rendezvous site for them to be picked up in case of an emergency and avoid being killed by giant spiders and lizards the size of a bus. The soldiers and ciRanda reveals his affiliation to the secret government organization Monarch to Packard and the expedition’s real purpose: to acquire proof of the existence of forgotten monsters, fearing that they may soon return to take back the world from humanity. Randa also explains that he himself once served on a U.S. Navy ship that was destroyed by one of those monsters.

Meanwhile, Conrad, Weaver, Brooks, biologist San Lin, soldier Reg Slivko and Landsat employee Victor Nieves, among others, encounter the local Iwi natives and meet Hank Marlow, the American pilot who crashed on the island all those years ago. Marlow reveals that Kong is the island’s guardian and is worshipped as a god by the natives for protecting them from Skullcrawlers, reptilian underground monsters who have slaughtered Kong’s ancestors, leaving him as the last of his kind. He also mentions that a Skullcrawler killed the Japanese pilot he landed on the island with and became friends with. Marlow reveals Kong only attacked the helicopters to prevent the bombs from awakening the “Big One”, thus protecting the locals from it.

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The Nice Guys

The Nice Guys is a 2016 American mystery-crime thriller neo-noir action comedy film directed by Shane Black and written by Black and Anthony Bagarozzi. The film stars Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Angourie Rice, Matt Bomer, Margaret Qualley, Keith David and Kim Basinger and follows a pair of 1977 Los Angeles private eyes who investigate the disappearance of a teenage girl.

From the first scene you understand that although there’s gonna be violence, this movie means to have a sense of humour. Its 1977 Los Angeles and a boy who steals a nudie mag from his dad’s collection ogles at pics of centerfold and adult film star Misty Mountains and a few seconds later a car crashes through his house. He goes to the woods behind his house to find a naked Misty dying in the ruins of the car and as she passes away he drapes his shirt over her body. Later that week, down-on-his-luck private eye Holland March is approached by Mrs. Glenn, the aunt of Misty Mountains who is obsessively claiming to have seen her niece alive after her supposed death. He does not believe the elderly woman but takes the job anyway when he finds out that teenager Amelia Kuttner, who is known to be missing, is somehow involved. Scared by his investigations and not knowing who he is Amelia, who is in fact in hiding, hires unethical enforcer Jackson Healy to intimidate March into staying away from her.

Healy himself is attacked by two thugs, Blue Face and Older Guy, who attempt to interrogate him about Amelia’s whereabouts. He manages to scare them away using a shotgun. He and March join forces to find Amelia and solve the mystery. Holly, March’s precocious and intelligent young daughter, despite her father’s fears, keeps following them despite dad’s attempts to keep her out of the case for her own safety. March and Healey find out that Amelia was working with Misty Mountains and an amateur filmmaker named Dean on an “experimental film”—equal parts pornography and investigative journalism—called How Do You Like My Car, Big Boy? about the smog in Los Angeles. Dean and film’s financier, Sid Shattack, a notorious pornography producer are found dead and Amelia runs into March. Holly, after attempting to investigate on her own, is tricked into a car by Blue Face and Older Guy. Healy fights with Older Guy, while Blue Face tries to kill Amelia from inside his car, only to be stopped by Holly, who warns Amelia and then escapes with her.

While chasing them down, Blue Face is seriously injured in a hit-and-run. Dying in the middle of the road, he reveals to Healy that their boss has dispatched a hit man named John Boy to kill Amelia, March and his family to prevent further witnesses. After a brief investigation, the two are greeted by Amelia’s mother, Judith Kuttner, a high-ranking official in the US Department of Justice, who claims her daughter is delusional and paranoid and points them towards the Las Vegas mob trying to expand into the Los Angeles pornography scene. At a hotel in search of Amelia they find the assassin killing men and sneak away only to have Amelia fall onto their car. They take Amelia back to March’s house, where she reveals that the people after her are working for a cabal of Detroit automakers. After uncovering evidence that they colluded to suppress the catalytic converter (which regulates exhaust emissions), Amelia created the film to expose their collusion. Judith has her assistant, Tally, arrange for March and Healy to deliver a briefcase that supposedly contains $100,000.

When March dozes while driving and accidentally crashes their car, the case flies open to reveal shredded magazines; the double-cross was a diversion to leave Amelia unprotected. John Boy attacks Holly before engaging in a shootout with March and Healy as soon as they return to the house. On hearing police sirens, John Boy drives off while an impatient Amelia has fled the house, only to be killed by John Boy on the street when he inadvertently comes across her attempting to catch a ride. March and Healy try to bring the matter to court, but are rejected, as they have no evidence, leading them again to search for the film. The two have Mrs. Glenn show them where she saw Misty Mountains alive. Inside they find a hidden projector – the nearsighted Mrs. Glenn having mistaken footage of Misty for her niece – and deduce that there was a reprint of the film. They realize that the projectionist, Chet, another protester they had questioned about Dean, is the projectionist for the film and had worked with Amelia to make the film public by splicing it into the presentation film for the Los Angeles Auto Show, which is being held at a hotel.

At the auto show, the two find that John Boy and Older Guy, along with a few other thugs are already there and have interrogated a drunken Chet, learning that the film will be projected automatically from a window of the building. Healy and March attempt to reach it first, only to be intercepted at gunpoint by Tally. Before she can kill them, Holly arrives while pretending to be room service and knocks Tally unconscious. In a subsequent fight, Older Guy falls to his death, while Healy subdues John Boy. He spares his life at Holly’s behest. They take the film to the police, and although Judith is arrested, the Detroit car companies escape punishment. Healy and March decide to continue working together as private eyes, naming their agency “The Nice Guys”.

Funny with a dark sense of humour and some action shots and fighting involved with some nudity, the movie is a surprising change from the usual kind of crime movies we have been getting from Hollywood the last several years. Chalk it out as a good movie to watch on a weekend afternoon. 8 outta 10!

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Logan

Logan, the 3rd solo Wolverine film and the 9th X-Men film that the character appears in (granted two were small cameos) is a 2017 superhero film featuring the Marvel Comics character Wolverine, played by Hugh Jackman. The film, distributed by 20th Century Fox, is the tenth installment in the X-Men film series, as well as the third and final Wolverine film, following X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) and The Wolverine (2013). It is directed by James Mangold, who co-wrote the screenplay with Scott Frank and Michael Green, from a story by Mangold, and also stars Patrick Stewart, Richard E. Grant, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant and Dafne Keen.

This film is special as after 17 years of playing the same characters it will be the final appearance of both Jackman and Stewart as James “Logan” Howlett and Professor Charles Xavier. The film set in 2029 shows us an older Logan (based on the Old Man Logan comic book series) surviving by driving a limo for customers in Texas. With no new ones born for years the Mutants are on the verge of extinction and all the X-men are long dead. A heavily drinking Logan buys prescription drugs for Xavier who is now suffering from a neurodegenerative disease which causes him to lose control of his telepathic abilities to devastating effect. The professor is cared for by Logan with the help of the albino mutant Caliban, a tracker, and they live in an abandoned smelting plant across the border in Mexico. Logan himself is weakening due to the adatmantium within his body is now poisoning him and impeding his healing factor.

His life changes when a Mexican nurse from Transigen asks his help to get a young girl named Laura to the border and into Canada. At the same time Logan is approached byDonald Pierce, Transigen’s cybernetically-enhanced chief of security, who offers him a job, but he refuses as he too is looking for Laura. Logan agrees to help get Laura to safety but the nurse is killed and the girl sneaks into Logan’s car and goes to the plant with him. But Pierce and his cybernetically-enhanced enforcers, the Reavers , have made their way to the plant as well. We soon learn – in some awesome and brutal fight scenes – that Laura is a mutant too, with similar claws like Logan. Transigen was breeding mutant children with DNA samples from several mutants that are born from female employees for the “X-23” project, but found they were difficult to control as they grew up. Upon completion of the “X-24” project, the children were deemed unnecessary and were to be put to death. Laura is Logan’s “daughter having his dna. Logan must get Laura and Charles safely on a long trip from Texas to North Dakota where a  group of similar children have gathered.

Add to the mix is X-24, who is sent to kill Logan and capture Laura and the other children, who looks just like Logan but is more like a machine to do his master’s bidding having no emotions. Charles needs to be medicated to avoid the devastating effects of telepathic abilities as we see in one scene where several people in a large hotel get injured as he loses control but luckily among the injured are Reavers with guns. A family that gets the help from Logan and Laura in getting their horses back and offer a decent meal and beds for the night are also victims of the Reavers. Charles is killed by X-24. Logan and Laura find the hideout in North Dakota but the Reavers are able to track them and take them captive. Logan takes a heavy dose of a serum given to him by Rictor, the oldest of the kids, to restore his healing factor and fights off the Reavers and the kids use their powers as well. Logan then pleads the children to go and decides to remain, after which X-24 lifts up the truck and attacks Logan off-guard and drags him and then impales the latter on a tree branch before Laura is able to kill X-24 with an adamantium bullet. Logan feels love and family for the first time before dying in Laura’s arms and is mourned and buried by the kids before they move on.

Brutal and devastating this film is a fitting end to the legend of two characters. I have never been a fan of Hugh Jackman but this film is great. Patrick Stewart is awesome as ever and there is even talks of him getting a nod for best supporting actor in several award shows. I hope so. The kid, Daphne Keen, is excellent in her role and does great in her fight scenes. Though gritty there are moments of humour and thoughtful tenderness in the film. 9 outta 10!

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JeruZalem

JeruZalem is a 2015 Israeli supernatural horror film written, directed and produced by Doron Paz & Yoav Paz. The movie stars Yael Grobglas, Yon Tumarkin, Danielle Jadelyn & Tom Graziani. The film makes use of found footage style of filming but using Google Glass instead of a regular vlogging or filming camera.

The movie starts of with a Youtube video shot in 1972 where two priests  are called to record an event at Jerusalem. It is revealed that Jewish, Muslim, and Christian priests were all called to perform an exorcism on a woman who supposedly died three days before. Her son claims she was calm at first, but became violent later, injuring her husband. After failed attempts to cure her, the priests decide they have no choice but to kill the woman. In a final attempt, the woman screams while sprouting leather wings, just before a priest kills her with a gun. Now move to current times and Jewish Americans Rachel Klein and Sarah Pullman have planned a trip to Tel Aviv for vacation, a year after Sarah’s brother died. Sarah has been gifted a brand new Google Glass by her dad.

On the plane their meet Kevin, who is fascinated by religious mythology (especially the dark angel, the Golem and the undead or zombies). He suggests that Rachel and Sarah join him on his journey to Jerusalem, and mentions that he wants to spend Yom Kippur there. They join him and go to Jerusalem and stay in a hotel/hostel run by Oman and his father. While Rachel starts an affair with Omar, Kevin and Sarah grow closer. The four friends enjoy their time in Jerusalem, party, and tour the city. When they visit the Western Wall, Sarah wishes for her recently dead brother Joel to return. As soon as she puts the paper into the Western Wall, a swarm of black birds fly over the Western Wall. Next they visit Soloman quarries but Kevin sees drawings on the wall, feels nervous and says he wants to leave, Sarah joining hi. Kevin starts researching the drawings and starts to get paranoid saying that there won’t be a tomorrow. Kevin insists on leaving, but Omar and his father believe that Kevin is crazy (apparently this temporary insanity affects a few people who visit Jerusalem) and send him to a mental asylum.

At night they see planes bombing part of the city and initial reports make it out to be a terrorist attack. Israeli soldiers come and tell the citizens that they should leave the city and Sarah tries to set Kevin free from the asylum, but Rachel and Omar, being escorted by two Israeli soldiers, refuse to stop and insist that they keep moving. Sarah convinces the soldiers to help her free Kevin. In the hospital, Sarah finds and frees Kevin. While in the asylum she seems a zombie like figure with sharp wings. They manage to escape and meet Omar and Rachel at the city walls. However, the city walls are closed and the city is under quarantine. Anyone who tries to leave is brutally shot down. The four friends don’t want to give up on their escape, and Omar’s father suggests sneaking out through underwater caves he knew as a child. On their way there they are met by demons who attack the civilians, bite them, scratch them to infect them, and eat their flesh. Kevin believes that the doors to hell have been opened. Sarah soon realizes that Rachel has been infected as well.

In the caves Rachel starts to get worse and the demons start attacking the group. Sarah falls down and Rachel regains control over herself, warning Sarah to run before killing herself. Sarah accidentally kills Omar’s father with a sword taken from a statue, when Omar realizes what happened, he commits suicide leaving Kevin and Sarah alone. They meet a creature with black wings who turns out to be Sarah’s brother Joel returned to life. Joel leads them from the caves. Upon reaching the other side of the wall, Sarah realizes that she has many scratches similar to Rachel’s on her legs and arms. She turns into a demon and flies into the air, while Kevin watches on in shock. Thousands of demons are seen flying above Jerusalem as military helicopters surround the scene and fires burn throughout the city.

Shabbily done and to be truthful I never once cared about any of the characters. If you do not like the characters it is hard to get into a movie and root for them or feel bad when the horror befalls them. Not one character is likeable or relateable. Some of the dialogue is corny and you understand when you get to know that the cast is almost all Israeli (meaning the girls are pretending to be American for the movie) and I just found it a run of the mill supernatural stuff. A 6 outta 10!

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The 2017 Oscars Winners List

Here’s the complete list of the winners:

Best Picture – ‘Moonlight’ by Adele Romanski, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner

Best Actress in a Leading Role – Emma Stone for ‘La La Land’

Best Actor in a Leading Role – Casey Affleck for ‘Manchester By The Sea’

Best Director – Damien Chazelle for ‘La La Land’

Best Adapted Screenplay – Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney for ‘Moonlight’

Best Original Screenplay – Kenneth Lonergan for ‘Manchester By The Sea’

Best Original Song – ‘City Of Stars’ from ‘La La Land’ by Justin Hurwitz, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul

Best Original Score – Justin Hurwitz for ‘La La Land’

Best Cinematography – Linus Sandgren for ‘La La Land’

Best Live Action Short – ‘Sing’ by Kristof Deak and Anna Udvardy

Best Documentary Short – ‘The White Helmets’ by Orlando Von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara

Best Film Editing – John Gilbert for ‘Hacksaw Ridge’

Best Visual Effects – Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R Jones and Dan Lemmon for ‘The Jungle Book’

Best Production Design – David Wasco and Sandy Reynolds-Wasco for ‘La La Land’

Best Animated Feature – ‘Zootopia’ by Byron Howard, Rich Moore and Clark Spencer

Best Animated Short – ‘Piper’ by Alan Barillaro and Marc Sondheimer

Best Foreign Language Film – ‘The Salesman’ by Asghar Farhadi

Best Actress in a Supporting Role – Viola Davis for ‘Fences’

Best Sound Mixing – Kevin O’Connell, Andy Wright, Robert Mackenzie and Peter Grace for ‘Hacksaw Ridge’

Best Sound Editing – Sylvian Bellemare for ‘Arrival’

Best Documentary Feature – Ezra Edelman and Caroline Waterlow for ‘O J: Made In America’

Best Costume Design – Colleen Atwood for ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them’

Best Makeup and Hairstyling – Alessandro Bertolazzi, Giorgio Gregorini and Christopher Nelson for ‘Suicide Squad’

Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Male) – Mahershala Ali for ‘Moonlight’

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RIP Bill Paxton

Actor Bill Paxton who was famous for his roles in such hit movies like Titanic, Twister, True Lies & Aliens has passed away on 25th February. With a Texas twang and grizzled visage, Paxton often found himself playing military men and cowboys. He was closely associated with James Cameron, playing a punk leader in “The Terminator, as well as an ill-fated technician in “Aliens,” a venal car deal in “True Lives” and a treasure hunter in “Titanic.”

Paxton anchored a few films, portraying a tornado-chasing scientist in the box office smash “Twister” (1996), and a wildlife refuge director in the flop, “Might Joe Young”.  In most movies, Paxton cut a morally upright figure, the character actor equivalent of a Kevin Costner or Gary Cooper. But he earned the best reviews of his career for roles that upended his persona. He was gripping as a family man trying to hide stolen money in Sam Raimi’s “A Simple Plan”, and similarly effective playing against type as an ethically compromised lawman in Carl Franklin’s “One False Move” (1992). On the small screen, Paxton played a wife-juggling entrepreneur on “Big Love,” who is haunted by his association with a Mormon cult.  The series lasted five seasons, earning three Golden Globe nominations for Paxton. In blunt fashion, Paxton publicly disagreed with the violent way the show ended, decrying its lack of ambiguity.

In 2014, he played the role of the villainous John Garrett in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Paxton also earned an Emmy nomination for the 2012 mini-series “Hatfields & McCoys,” and was starring as a morally ambiguous detective in the CBS series “Training Day” at the time of his death. Paxton earned critical acclaim for “Frailty,” a horror film he made his directorial debut with and starred in as a father beset by demonic visions. Paxton was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas, the son of Mary Lou (née Gray) and John Lane Paxton. His father was a businessman, lumber wholesaler, museum executive, and occasional actor. His mother was Roman Catholic, and he and his siblings were raised in her faith. Paxton was in the crowd when President John F. Kennedy emerged from the Hotel Texas on the morning of his assassination on November 22, 1963. Photographs of an eight-year-old Paxton being lifted above the crowd are on display at the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas, Texas. He is survived by his two children, James and Lydia Paxton, and his wife Louise Newbury.

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Lion (2016)

Lion a 2016 drama film directed by Garth Davis (in his feature debut) and written by Luke Davies, based on the non-fiction book A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley with Larry Buttrose. The film stars Dev Patel, Rooney Mara, David Wenham and Nicole Kidman. It received six Oscar nominations at the 89th Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Patel), Best Supporting Actress (Kidman) and Best Adapted Screenplay. It also received five nominations at the 70th British Academy Film Awards, winning two for Best Supporting Actor (Patel) and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Saroo is a 5 years old boy living in a poor village called Khandwa in India along with his elder brother Guddu, his mother and younger sister. His mother is a labourer who collects rocks for construction. Guddu and Saroo steal coal from freight trains to afford milk and food. One day Saroo follows his brother to a job and they arrive at a nearby train station, where Saroo decides to stay back and take a nap. Guddu tries to wake him up, but Saroo is too tired. When Guddu does not return, Saroo searches for him and boards a train presuming Guddu is aboard. The train, an empty passenger, takes off in the night as Saroo sleeps and he is unable to leave the train for 2 days. At Calcutta he tries to take a ticket home but no one recognizes his village of “Ganestalay” and he is forced to sleep on cardboard provided by a group of homeless kids. At night the kids are forcefully taken away by some adults but Saroo manages to escape.

He is taken in by Noor, a lady who who brings him back to her apartment and feeds and bathes him. She tells Saroo that a man, Rama, will help him find his way home but the attentions of the man, who works in the sex slave market, scared the boy and he runs away. A young man who sees Saroo from a cafe takes him to the police station but as no one can find his village on the map they take him to an orphanage. The orphanage is run more like a jail for kids but three months later, Saroo is introduced to Mrs. Sood, who tells him she has placed an advertisement about him, in a widely read local newspaper, but no one has responded. She then tells him that an Australian couple is interested to adopt him. She begins to teach Saroo English and he moves to Hobart, Tasmania, in the year 1987, under the care of Sue and John Brierley, where he slowly starts to settle in. A year later, they adopt another boy, Mantosh, from the same orphanage who has trouble adjusting to his new home and suffers from rage and self-harm.

20 years later Mantosh is living estranged from the family and Saroo is leaving for Melbourne to study hotel management. He meets and starts a relationship with an American student named Lucy. At an Indian friend’s home for lunch, Saroo is drawn towards a plate of jalabi which reminds him of Guddu and how they talked about eating the sweet which was a rare thing for them. He confides that he is adopted, and his friends suggest he use Google Earth to search for his hometown in India. Saroo begins his search but over time, disconnects from Lucy, overwhelmed by the thought of emotions his family must have gone through when he was missing. He eventually goes to see Sue after learning from John that she isn’t doing too well with both her sons being distant from her. He apologizes to her and  learns that she is not infertile, but chose to help others in need through adoption, believing that there were already too many people on Earth. Saroo also makes up with Lucy but still spends a long time searching fruitlessly for his hometown.

One evening, while scanning Google Earth, he notices the rock formations where his mother worked, and then finds the area where he lived: the district called Khandwa, and the locality, Ganesh Talai. He finally tells his adoptive mother about his search, and she fully supports his efforts. He travels to India and finds the village and has a tearful reunion with his mother and younger sister but is devastated to learn that Guddu was killed when he was hit by a train the same night that they went to the station as children. Their mother never gave up hope and believed that one day her missing son would return, and never moved away from the village. As the movie ends we see footage of the real Saroo bring Sue to meet his mother. Saroo, later learned that he had been mispronouncing his own name, which was actually Sheru, a diminutive for sher, the Hindi word for “lion”.

A touching film, spurred on by the awesome performance of the child actor Sunny Pawar who will win a lot of hearts. It’s a good story in a slow paced film that picks up only at the beginning and towards the end. I give it a 8.5 outta 10!

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Hidden Figures

Hidden Figures is a 2016 American biographical drama film directed by Theodore Melfi and written by Melfi and Allison Schroeder, based on the non-fiction book of the same name by Margot Lee Shetterly about female African-American mathematicians at NASA. The film stars Taraji P. Henson as Katherine G. Johnson, a mathematician who calculated flight trajectories for Project Mercury and other missions. The film also features Octavia Spencer as Dorothy Vaughan and Janelle Monáe as Mary Jackson, with Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons, Glen Powell, and Mahershala Ali in supporting roles.

Although there are some changes for “film and creative purposes” this is a really good movie for all to watch. The film is set in 1961, and focuses on mathematician Katherine Johnson works as a “computer” in the segregated West Area Computers division of Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, alongside her colleagues, aspiring engineer Mary Jackson and unofficial supervisor Dorothy Vaughan. The movie gives us an idea of what segregation in the US was like in those days and how Black-Americans had to struggle to get by and be treated as human being. The segregated bathroom for “coloured” women scenes were, if a little funny, terrible to think of what the women had to go through. Katherine running to and fro several buildings just to relieve herself is something no one should have to go through. White people not drinking from the same coffee pot, black having different public water fountains and not allowed to borrow a book from the regular section of the library – these are things that should shame society when we look back upon them.

What shone through were the strong scenes, the humorous side of things, the fact that these brilliant women never gave up (and never once lost their dignity or composure) and the strength of character. With some awesome acting and casting, this happens to be one of my favourite films that I have seen in recent years. I will give it a 9 outta 10! Kudos to the cast and crew and I hope a lot of people go and see this film. Surprisingly I had only heard about it a couple of days ago when I checked out what running in the theatres and found out more about the film.

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Goodbye Apollo

It’s difficult to put in words the sorrow I feel on learning about Richard Hatch’s death due to cancer. Hatch played Captain Apollo in the original Battlestar Galactica, a show that aired on Kuwaiti television during my childhood. I was about 4 or so back in 1980 when I first watched the show and it’s spinoff Galactica 1980 for the first time and would watch the show on many reruns. It was the first show I can remember getting into and all excited about as a kid and it was certainly the first scifi show (my fav genre of tv/movie) that I can ever remember watching. Since 2008 I have rewatched BSG a few more times and I just love the show and the characters. Richard Hatch was a big part of that and I will also be grateful for what he means to us fans. He returned to the 2003 reboot as Tom Zarek. Plus he was also a formidable Kharn in Prelude to Axanar.

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RIP Richard Hatch

Richard Hatch, American actor, writer, and producer best known for his role as Captain Apollo in the original Battlestar Galactica television series, and also as Tom Zarek in the 2003 remake of Battlestar Galactica died Tuesday. He was 71. The actor had been in hospice care after a battle with pancreatic cancer, his rep told the Daily News. His son, Paul,was by his side in his Santa Clarita home.

Hatch began working in television in 1970 when he starred as Philip Brent in the daytime soap opera All My Children, a role he played for two years. For some years, he then made guest appearances in primetime series such as Cannon, Nakia, Barnaby Jones, Hawaii Five-O, and The Waltons, as well as appearing in several made-for-TV movies such as The Hatfields and McCoys with Jack Palance, Addie and the King of Hearts with Jason Robards, Last of the Belles with Susan Sarandon, and the 1978 TV movie Deadman’s Curve in which he portrayed Jan Berry of the musical duo Jan and Dean. In 1976, Hatch gained his first major television role as Inspector Dan Robbins on the detective series The Streets of San Francisco, a replacement for Michael Douglas (who played Insp. Steve Keller) who had left the series that year. Though the role was only for one season, Hatch won Germany’s Bravo Youth Magazine Award for the role.

Following this, he had a recurring role on the series Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, also for one season. By this time, Hatch had become something of a pin-up and regularly appeared in teen-oriented magazines such as Teen Beat, 16 Magazine, and Tiger Beat. Hatch then gained a starring role in Glen A. Larson’s sci-fi series, Battlestar Galactica (197, which aired for a single season before cancellation. Hatch was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for the role. Throughout the 1980s, Hatch made guest appearances on such series as Hotel; Murder, She Wrote; The Love Boat; and Fantasy Island. In 1984, he appeared in several episodes of Dynasty, which was at the top of the ratings at the time. In 1990, Hatch returned to daytime soap operas and appeared on Santa Barbara, originating the character Steven Slade. He continued to make guest appearances on prime time series such as Jake and the Fatman and Baywatch, but roles were becoming few and far between. His next prominent role would be as Tom Zarek in the reimagined version of Battlestar Galactica, in which he made semi-regular appearances from 2004-09.

Hatch has made several low-key theatrical film releases, including Best Friends (1975), Charlie Chan and the Curse of the Dragon Queen (1981), and Prisoners of the Lost Universe (1983). An abridged version of the pilot episode of Battlestar Galactica was released in cinemas, initially overseas and then for a limited run in the U.S., as was a sequel film, Mission Galactica: The Cylon Attack, which was also made from episodes of the series. He starred with Leif Garrett in Party Line (198. Hatch also appeared in InAlienable, a 2008 science fiction film written and produced by Walter Koenig. In 2014, he played the Klingon Commander Kharn in the Star Trek fan film Prelude To Axanar and was to appear in the subsequent fan production Star Trek: Axanar in 2015.

Richard Lawrence Hatch (May 21, 1945 – February 7, 2017)

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The Great Wall

The Great Wall is a 2016 epic historical fiction action-adventure monster film directed by Zhang Yimou and written by Tony Gilroy, Carlo Bernard, Doug Miro, Max Brooks, Edward Zwick, and Marshall Herskovitz. The film stars Matt Damon, Jing Tian, Pedro Pascal, Willem Dafoe and Andy Lau. The film is based on one of the legends about what it is that the empire was trying to keep out and in this case it’s these monstrous creatures who maybe alien in origin. Called the Taoties, these monsters originate from a green meteor that crash-landed onto Gouwu Mountain two thousand years from the time set in the movie. The Chinese believe the Taotie were sent from the gods to punish the Emperor for abusing his authority over the Middle Kingdom and the people. They attack northern China once every sixty years, an invasion for which the Order has been training for their entire lives.

A mercenary group originally consisting of twenty men searching for black powder is attacked by bandits and only two, William and Tovar, survive. While seeking refuge in a cave they are attacked by a monster and William cuts off it’s hand with his sword and it goes away. The next day they stumble upon the Great Wall are taken prisoner by Chinese soldiers of a secretive military sect called the Nameless Order, led by General Shao (Zhang Hanyu) and Strategist Wang (Andy Lau). Initially ordered to be killed the two are spared because they fought and killed a Taotie, one of the monsters that plague northern China every 60 years. William & Tovar joins the battle when the monsters attack and their skills arn the respect of General Shao and Commander Lin. Losses are sustained on both sides before the Queen recalls her drones. Later, William and Tovar meet Sir Ballard (Willem Dafoe), an European who, like them, had ventured east twenty-five years ago in search of black powder. Like them, Ballard was also taken prisoner and now has been serving as an English and Latin teacher. The three foreign mercenaries discuss plans to steal black powder from the storeroom and flee while the soldiers are occupied by battle.

At night two taoties climb the wall and trick the soldiers killing a few including the Shao who then passes on the general’s mantel and leaving Lin to take the command. They also discover that a magnet stuns the monsters into sleeping and they capture one and put their theory to the test. The Taotie is taken to the capital by the envoy. A short while later, a hole is discovered in the base of the Great Wall, which the Taotie Queen has used to lead her hordes to the capital. While Lin investigates, Tovar and Ballard try to escape and knock William unconscious for resisting. William is then arrested by the Chinese soldiers, and despite being saved by a statement from Peng Yong, William eventually locked up in the Wall. Some distance away, Ballard betrays and abandons Tovar, but is himself captured by the Khitans, who inadvertently destroy themselves and Ballard after igniting the powder. Tovar reclaims the horses but is recaptured by the Deer Troop. Lin uses the hot air baloons to get to Bianliang, the capital, Lin passes word to set William free, with Wang telling him to tell the outside world about the danger about to come, but William decides to stay and boards the last balloon.

They reach the capital to see swarms of the monsters destroying property and attacking people. They landed safely into the Emperor’s palace, where Wang proposes an idea to kill the Queen by tying explosives to the captured Taotie from earlier and giving the Taotie meat to be delivered to the Queen. While transporting, a horde of Taotie breach the sewers. Peng Yong sacrifices himself to save the others. With the Taotie released, Lin, William and Wang climb a tower to shoot a black powder rocket to detonate the explosives. Wang is killed while moving to the upper floors. Two of William’s arrows are deflected by the Taoties, but Lin’s spear breach through the defenses after William throws the magnet into the horde before the spear hits a nearby Taotie within the defenses. The queen is destroyed, and the rest of the horde is frozen solid, killing them. With the horde destroyed, William is given an offer, during which he forgoes the powder and instead frees Tovar, much to Tovar’s annoyance. The two, guided by a cavalry, begin their journey back to Europe as Lin, now the General, watch over them from the wall.

Great film to watch in 3D at the theatres. It was awesome to watch. Is the story original? No. Is it very entertaining? I’d say for the most part it was that. Because some of the characters, including a main character played by Matt Damon, are white in a movie set in medieval China, the film has been accused of whitewashing and using the white savior narrative. There are some cliches and non of the actors are taxed in their acting skills. I still enjoyed the film. As a movie going experience I’d give it a…..7.5 outta 10!

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Morgan (2016)

Morgan is a 2016 British-American slasher science fiction film directed by Luke Scott in his directorial debut and written by Seth Owen. The film features an ensemble cast, including Anya Taylor-Joy, Kate Mara, Toby Jones, Brian Cox, Paul Giamatti, Rose Leslie, Boyd Holbrook, Michelle Yeoh, and Jennifer Jason Leigh.

Morgan is an artificial human grown in a secret lab out in a remote secluded area. A small group of scientists have raised her for the past 5 years (she is however around 16-18 in appearance as she has accelerated growth) and she seems to be making good strides until two incidents – one she kills an impaled deer out in the woods seemingly with some compassion but with brutal strength and in a fit of rage after throwing a tantrum she attacks and stabs the eye of one of her handler, Dr. Kathy Grieff. The company that sponsored the scientists work sends out Lee Weathers a risk-assessment specialist. She meets with the scientists Grieff, Dr. Lui Cheng, Dr. Simon Ziegler, Dr. Amy Menser, Dr. Darren Finch & Dr. Brenda Finch. Along with the group is the cook and caretaker Skip Vronsky. Lee meets Morgan and to assess her further she brings a psychologist, Dr. Alan Shapiro to assess her.

After he taunts and goads her Morgans kills Shapiro during the interview and Lee concludes that she must be terminated, given her enhanced intelligence and strength and unpredictable nature. However the scientists who have raised her for 5 years have grown attached to her and cannot bear to kill her so they drug Lee and leave her in the locked lab and try to escape with Morgan. Instead an enraged Morgan kills them and kidnaps her favorite handler, Dr. Amy Menser. In the scientists’ house, Cheng is recording an apology for the failure of the experiment, in which she hints that they were attempting to develop a creation with more human emotions, only to find that the result was harder to control. It is also revealed that Morgan had “weaponized design parameters”. After she has finished, Morgan enters the room and suffocates her. Lee escaped and confronts Morgan but as they struggle they two fall from the top floor to the ground. Morgan leaves with Amy in a car, chased by Lee. Lee crashes into a tree after Morgan pushes her off the road and is picked up by Skip.

Deep in the woods Morgan goes to the lake that Amy had told her about and is moved by the beauty. Lee locates the vehicle they were using and instructs Skip to wait for her by their car, continuing alone. Morgan and Lee have a final showdown, seemingly matched in strength and speed. Finally, Morgan overpowers Lee and impales her on the branch of a fallen tree, seriously injuring her. Morgan leaves her to bleed out, only for Lee to miraculously survive, catch up to Morgan, and drown her in a nearby lake. Lee shoots the surviving handlers, Menser and Vronsky, getting rid of any witnesses to what happened. The final scene shows the businessmen at the company’s headquarters discussing what happened. It’s then revealed that Lee is actually an earlier prototype of the human hybrid, and has been the “perfect” artificial human all this time. Lee is shown making the same gesture with her hands, the same way that Morgan had when Dr. Shapiro asked her how she felt about injuring Dr. Grieff.

Slowly building and plodding along at times, the last 30 minutes is a lot more intense. However the film, despite an excellent cast, fails to ignite any real excitement. It’s a theme done before many times. I give it a 6.5 outta 10!

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RIP John Hurt

Hollywood legend John Hurt has passed away aged 77 after battling cancer and suffering intestinal complaint. The two-time Oscar nominee had a career that spanned more than six decades. He beat pancreatic cancer in 2015, but continued to suffer from health problems. Hurt is survived by wife Anwen Rees-Myers and his two sons Sasha and Nick. He was two-time Oscar nominee; he won a Golden Globe and four Bafta awards. He was known for his portrayals of the famously misunderstood and roles ranged from a mad Roman emperor to a pimp on the road to stardom. Hurt was infamous for his wild lifestyle in earlier years and married four times.

The English actor was born in Derbyshire and became a critical and commercial success in films like Midnight Express, Alien and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Hurt first rose to fame in A Man For All Seasons in 1966 and later clinched a BAFTA for best supporting actor, along with an Oscar nomination, for playing a drug addict in Midnight Express. Hurt picked up yet another BAFTA just two years later in 1980 – this time as a leading actor in David Lynch’s Elephant Man. He also received his second Oscar nomination for his performance, which many extolled as Hurt’s best. The actor also enjoyed immense commercial success, playing Kane in the 1979 blockbuster Alien. The iconic scene in which an alien bursts from his chest won the actor a place in film history. He later reprised the role in Mel Brooks’ parody Spaceballs.

The star later found a new generation of fans by taking on the role of Garrick Ollivander in the Harry Potter franchise. Hurt was also known for his work as a voice actor and took his talents to the small screen, where he played a prominent role in Doctor Who, The Naked Civil Servant, and I, Claudius. Hurt most recently starred in the Oscar-nominated biopic of President John F. Kennedy’s widow, Jackie, which is currently showing in cinemas. He was knighted in 2015 for his services to drama.

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The Purge: Election Year

The Purge: Election Year is a 2016 American dystopian action horror film written and directed by James DeMonaco and starring Frank Grillo, Elizabeth Mitchell and Mykelti Williamson. A sequel to the 2014 film The Purge: Anarchy, it is the third installment of the The Purge series.

In 2022, we see a young family tied up by a man in a mask who then tells them they are going to play one final Purge game, called “Mommy’s Choice.” When the mother, Charlie Roan, refuses the man moves slowly towards the family as they struggle. We then flash forward to 18 years and two days before the purge riots have broken out in Washington DC claiming that the New Founding Fathers are using the Purge to help their economic agenda. Charlie, a Senator, is now a contended for President and is standing the election gaining ground over the NFFA’s candidate, Minister Edwidge Owens.

After Roan gets a standing ovation after she declares the Purge only serves to eliminate the poor and benefit the rich and powerful, the FFAA decided to kill her on the day of the Purge to make it look like a purge event but enlist a Neo-Nazi paramilitary solider unit. On March 20, the day before the Purge, the NFFA revokes the Purge rule that protects ranking 10 government officials, appearing to attempt to regain public favor, but is actually a front to kill Roan. On the night of the Purge the unit kills of the secret service and snipers protecting Roan and enter her house. Her head of security, former police sergeant Leo Barnes brings her out and they travel the city looking for a place to hide the night out. A convenience store, owner and proprietor Joe Dixon (Mykelti Williamson), assistant Marcos (Joseph Julian Soria), and their friend, EMT Laney Rucker (Betty Gabriel), help them out as they fight out purge crowds, a group of South African tourists and the NFAA as well as teenagers looking to attack Joe’s store.

Later they are rescued by a group of anti-purge rebels who are well armed and have supplies and medicine to treat any wounded. Roan discovers the rebels are planning to assassinate the NFAA candidate and tries to dissuade them, as she wants to win the election fairly. As the facility is attacked everyone has to leave and Roan is captured by the soldiers. At a midnite mass in a cathedral Roan is to be killed by the NFAA but the rebels along with Leo, Joe, Marcos and Laney infiltrate the event and kill off most of the NFAA goons while Leo kills the lead soldier. Joe is however killed when a priest who shoots at Roan and he steps in the way. Before succumbing to his injuries, Joe urges Roan to win the election and tells Marcos and Laney to take care of his store. On May 26, two months after the Purge, Roan defeats Owens in the presidency by a landslide while Barnes is promoted to her head of Secret Service while continuing his service as her chief of security. Marcos and Laney renovate the store and continue to run it in Joe’s honor while they watch the news of Roan’s victory and another report indicating that outlawing the Purge has become Roan’s top priority. Further reports state that many NFFA supporters have reacted to the election results with violent protests in the streets as the film ends with Marcos looking at an American flag hanging outside his store.

Hmmm, very interesting that this movie came out in the year of the American election in which Trump won. It’s an improvement on the last two films but not horror in anyway. More like an action film. The film was released on July 1, 2016 and grossed over $118 million, becoming the highest-grossing film of the series. I give it a 7 outta 10!

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The Haunting in Connecticut

The Haunting in Connecticut is a 2009 American psychological horror film produced by Gold Circle Films and directed by Peter Cornwell. It is supposedly based on Carmen Snedeker and her family, who were the subject of the book In a Dark Place: The Story of a True Haunting (1992). The movie stars Virginia Madsen, Elias Koteas, Martin Donovan & Amanda Crew.

In 1987 Sara Campbell moves with her cancer-stricken son Matthew to a rural house in Connecticut. The long drives from their home to the hospital for his treatments being the main reason, Sara decides to take the large old house from a man renting it. The following day, Peter arrives with Matt’s brother Billy and cousins Wendy and Mary, and they choose rooms. Matt chooses the basement, where there is a mysterious door. After moving in, Matt suffers a series of visions involving an old, bearded man and corpses with symbols carved into their skin. The next day, Peter learns that the house was supposedly a funeral home; the room behind the mysterious door is a mortuary.

Matt tells another patient, Reverend Nicholas Popescu (Elias Koteas), about the visions. Nicholas advises him to find out what the spirit wants. Later, Matt finds a burned figure in his room who begins to move toward him. When the family comes home, they find a shirtless Matt with his fingers blood-covered from scratching at the wall. As the family starts to strain under the stress of Matt’s illness and his behaviour, the children find a box of photographs, which show Jonah, a young man from Matt’s visions, at a séance, emitting ectoplasm. Wendy and Matt find out that the funeral home was run by a man named Ramsey Aickman. Aickman also conducted psychic research and would host séances with Jonah as the medium. At one séance, all those attending, including Aickman, were found dead and Jonah disappeared. Nicholas theorizes that Aickman was practicing necromancy in an attempt to control the dead and bind them to the house.

That night, Nicholas finds human remains in the house and removes them. Matt awakens to find Aickman’s symbols carved into his flesh. He is taken to the hospital, where he encounters Jonah. Nicholas and Matt begin to have simultaneous visions. Everyone in the séance is burnt, after a flash of bright light. The barely alive Aickman told Jonah to get out of the house, concerned that the demonic presence will get him next. The spirit traps Jonah in the crematory, and cremates him alive. Peter and Sara learn that Matt’s cancer treatments have had no effect. They then discover that Matt has escaped the hospital. Back at the house, Nicholas leaves a message telling the family to get out of the house immediately – Jonah’s spirit was actually protecting them from the spirits. Sara goes in despite the efforts of the firemen and cradles Matt. They are brought out by the fire crew and they try to resuscitate a dying Matt. As Matt slips away, he has a vision of himself standing in the graveyard where he sees Jonah, no longer appearing burnt. He seems about to follow Jonah when he hears his mother’s voice.

He returns to his body and Jonah’s spirit leaves him. Matt’s cancer disappears, and the house was rebuilt and resold with no further reported incidents of haunting. Ofcourse! Well it isn’t a great movie just about average but then I’d watch anything with my eternal crush Virginia Madsen in it. She was quite good in the film too. So is Koteas. I’d give the film a 6.5 outta 10!

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Angry Birds

Angry Birds is a 2016 Finnish-American 3D computer-animated action-adventure comedy film based on the video game series of the same name. It was directed by Clay Kaytis and Fergal Reilly (in their directorial debuts) and written by Jon Vitti. The film was animated by Sony Pictures Imageworks, and stars Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Kate McKinnon, Sean Penn, Tony Hale, Keegan-Michael Key, Bill Hader and Peter Dinklage.

Reclusive Red (so named because he is a red bird) who lives just outside of the village is sentenced to anger management class after his temper causes a “premature hatching” of a customer’s egg (and where he also threw a cake at the father’s face for trying to bust him) Resentful, Red avoids getting to know his classmates Chuck, Bomb, Terence and the instructor Matilda. One day, a boat docks at the island’s shore. It carries green-colored pigs, who claim to be peaceful explorers bringing offerings of friendship, and are accepted on the island. They introduce the birds to innovative technologies such as slingshots and helium balloons. Red is the only one initially suspicious of them, probably because their ship destroyed part of his home.

He sneaks into the ship and discovers a whole lot of pigs (initially there were only supposed to be two) yet everyone else seems to adore the pigs. As more pigs arrive and seemingly adjust to bird society, with the help of Chuck and Bomb Red seeks out Mighty Eagle, a giant bald eagle said to be the protector of the island, and the only bird that can fly, but who has not been seen for many years. They find him on top of Bird Mountain, but Mighty Eagle is now overweight, self-absorbed, and largely in retirement. Looking through the Mighty Eagle’s binoculars, Red’s group sees the pigs planting explosives around the island while the birds are at a rave party. They realize the party was a ruse to steal the birds’ eggs. Red, Bomb and Chuck attempt to warn the other birds and stop the pigs, but the pigs escape and their explosives destroy the village. When the birds realize what happened, Red rallies them to let loose their anger and take back their eggs.

The birds construct a boat and sail to Piggy Island, where they find the pigs living in a walled city. Deducing the eggs are most likely in the central castle of the city, the birds attack and defeat the pigs by firing themselves over the walls using their gifted giant slingshot. Red, Chuck, and Bomb make it to the castle and find the eggs in a boiler room, where the pigs plan to cook and eat them. Mighty Eagle arrives, having watched these events through his binoculars and had a change of heart, and carries the eggs out. As the birds escape, one egg falls out and rolls back into the castle. Red battles the pigs’ king Leonard and retrieves the egg, escaping as the pigs’ reserve of explosives blow up and destroy Piggy Island. Red reunites with the other birds as the rescued egg hatches, revealing three little blue birds (The Blues), and is declared a hero. He, Chuck, and Bomb are approached by Mighty Eagle, who claims that he wasn’t lazy but instead deliberately made the birds lose faith in him so they could find faith in themselves.

Back on Bird Island, the birds rebuild Red’s house, which had been moved by Red near the edge of the island and was eventually destroyed whenever a boat full of pigs had arrived, all the birds that have hatched sing a song to Red to thank him, and Red reluctantly lets Chuck and Bomb move in with him. During the credits, it is revealed that some of the pigs survived Piggy Island’s destruction and have begun to hatch a new plan to steal the eggs, while a mid-credits scene reveals that the three blue birds that Red rescued use a rebuilt slingshot to launch themselves out to sea.

Though funny in places, I can see why it failed to be a big hit with audiences. It doesn’t really hit you in the heart as most of these animated movies that succeed seem to do. Even some of the jokes seem to fall flat. It was released in the United States on May 20, 2016, received mixed reviews from critics and grossed over $349 million. I give it a 7 outta 10!

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The Forest

The Forest is a 2016 American supernatural horror film directed by Jason Zada and written by Ben Ketai, Nick Antosca, and Sarah Cornwell. It stars Natalie Dormer and Taylor Kinney. Eoin Macken, Stephanie Vogt, Yukiyoshi Ozawa & Rina Takasaki have supporting roles.

Sara Price, recieves a call from the Japanese police stating that her twin Jess, who was working as an English teacher in Japan is missing and presumed dead. The reason they presume she is dead is that Jess was last seen into the Aokigahara forest, a forest at the northwest base of Mount Fuji in Japan known as a popular destination for the suicidal. Jess has always been a troubled woman from childhood, having seen their parents’ death in a drunk driving accident, which Sara did not witness. Hence Sara has always picked up after her sister and defended her.

Against the wishes of her fiance Rob, Sara goes to Japan and stays at the hotel her sister first had and then visits the school. Sara meets a reporter named Ayden at her hotel bar and as they drink she tells him about her sister. Aiden, who speaks Japanese having lived in Tokyo for many years invites her to go into the forest with him and a park guide, Michi, so she can look for her sister. As they enter the forest Michi tells Sara that Jess probably killed herself, which refuses to believe this, explaining how, being a twin, she can “feel” that Jess is still alive. Deep in the woods, the group discovers a yellow tent that Sara recognizes as Jess’s. With nightfall approaching, Michi suggests they leave a note for Jess and leave. Sara refuses, and Aiden volunteers to stay with her through the night. That night, Sara hears rustling in the bushes and, believing it may be Jess, rushes into the woods after her. Sara finds a Japanese girl, Hoshiko, who claims to know Jess. The girl warns Sara not to trust Aiden and flees at the sound of his voice. Sara attempts to chase after her but falls and loses her.

On their own Aiden and Sara walk around and lose their way. As they walk, Sara’s suspicions are raised and she demands Aiden to give her his phone and finds a picture of Jess on it. Aiden denies any involvement with Jess, but Sara runs into the forest alone. While running she begins to hear voices telling her to turn around. She appears to be unfazed by this until she hears the voice directly behind her. She turns around to see a hanging body and continues to run away. She then falls into an underground cave and goes unconscious, later she wakes up and discovers that she is in the cave with Hoshiko, who turns out to be a y?rei. Hoshiko then turns into what appears to be a “demonic figure”. Sara then runs the opposite way towards what appears to be Aiden. Aiden finds her and helps her out of the cave and, with some convincing, they continue to walk together. They find their way to a ranger station that Aiden had seen.

At the station Sara hallucinates that she hears Jess’s voice from behind a door and finds a note which implies that Aiden is holding Jess captive in the basement. Convinced that he is a threat, Sara attacks and kills Aiden with a small kitchen knife. However she soon realizes that Aiden was telling her the truth and it was all her hallucinations. and finds a note which implies that Aiden is holding Jess captive in the basement. Convinced that he is a threat, Sara attacks and kills Aiden with a small kitchen knife. When she cut at her father’s fingers she was actually cutting deep into her own wrists, and is now dying from blood loss in the basement. As she succumbs to her wounds, a y?rei pulls Sara into the forest floor. Her very much alive sister is rescued by the search party and explains that the “feeling” of her sister is gone and it is assumed that Jess knows Sara is dead. As the search party leaves, Michi is seen staring at a figure and realizes that it’s Sara’s spirit.

Predictable and slightly boring and even tedious in places as the actors struggle over an uninspiring script, the movie saw a negative critical reception but was a box office success, grossing $37.6 million against a reported budget of $10 million. I’ll give it a 5.5 outta 10!