Inferno is a 2016 American mystery thriller film directed by Ron Howard and written by David Koepp, based on the 2013 novel of the same name by Dan Brown. The film is the sequel to The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, and stars Tom Hanks, reprising his role as Robert Langdon, alongside Felicity Jones, Omar Sy, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Ben Foster and Irrfan Khan.

The movie starts off with billionaire geneticist Bertrand Zobrist,who believes that the world is overpopulated and that rigorous measures are necessary to reduce the population, being chased to a tower and who commits suicide rather than being caught from the group of men chasing him. Robert Langdon, awakens in a hospital room in Florence, Italia, with no memory of what has transpired over the last few days, but being plagued with visions of Hell. Dr. Sienna Brooks, one of the doctors tending to him, tells him that he is suffering from amnesia as a result of a bullet wound to his head. All of a sudden, Vayentha, a female assassin, shows up in the hospital. Sienna helps Langdon to escape, and they flee to her apartment. In his possession Langdon finds a Faraday Pointer with a modified version of Botticelli’s Map of Hell, which itself is based on Dante’s Inferno. Langdon & Sienna make out that Zobrist created a a virus with the potential of decimating the world’s population. Both the assassin and local law enforcement reach the apartment so the two escape via a different exit. Langdon’s knowledge of Dante’s work, history, and hidden passages in Florence allows the two to follow clues such as letters and phrases which lead to various locations in Florence and Venice, while evading the assassin and the authorities.

The assassin Zayenta works for a mysterious security company led by Harry Sims (Khan, what a ridiculous name your character has) who are acting on behalf of their client Bertrand Zobrist, who has provided Sims with a video message about the virus, to be broadcast after the virus has been released. The armed authorities turn out to be the World Health Organization (WHO), headed by Elizabeth Sinskey, trying to prevent the release of the virus. Shocked by the video, Sims allies with Sinskey. However, Langdon and Sienna are contacted by Bouchard, a man purporting to be working for the WHO, warning them that Sinskey has a double agenda and is after the virus for her own profit. The three cooperate for a while, until Langdon realizes that Bouchard’s story is a lie and that it is Bouchard who is after his own profit. Again, Sienna and Langdon flee. Langdon figures out that the virus is in the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. With that knowledge, Sienna abandons Langdon, after revealing that she is the lover of the late Zobrist and that she will ensure the release of the virus. Zobrist and Sienna used to play treasure hunt games; this treasure hunt was the backup plan in case something would happen to Zobrist. Langdon now joins Sims and Sinskey.

We learn that Sinskey and Landgon were romantic interests but their jobs in different parts of the world have kept them apart. It was she who asked Langdon for help in interpreting the imagery from the Faraday pointer. Langdon was then kidnapped by Sims’ men and drugged with benzodiazepine to induce a memory loss; the events in the hospital were all staged. The virus is in a plastic bag hidden under water in the Basilica Cistern in Istanbul. The WHO team with Langdon, Sims, and Sinskey race to locate and secure the bag while Sienna with two Turkish allies attempts to detonate an explosive that will rupture the bag and aerosolize the virus. The bag is secured just in time, while Sims, Sienna, and the two Turkish men are killed. The movie ends with Sinsky bidding farewell to Langdon, who takes some time out to return a Dante artifact back to it’s rightful museum before he leaves for Cambridge.

Kinda boring and haphazardly done to keep you entertained or interested in the story. I found it lackluster. The characters aren’t as interestingly or well done as the previous two films. Irffan Khan; never liked him before and certainly here he is the weak point with that ridiculous character. The Sinskly – Langdon relationship should have been explored more and I wish it ended better. 6 outta 10!

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Central Intelligence

Central Intelligence is a 2016 American action comedy film directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber and written by Thurber, Ike Barinholtz and David Stassen. The film stars Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson with Amy Ryan, Danielle Nicolet and Aaron Paul.

The movie is about Calvin Joyner, a former high school star athlete and academic student, who finds himself stuck in a job he isn’t enjoying and getting passed over for promotion. One afternoon he gets a Facebook invite from Bob Stone aka Robbie Wierdicht, an old friend from school, a chubby guy who was picked on and made fun off and who was tossed into a full sports hall buck naked by the school bullies. On that night in 1996, only Calvin and his then girlfriend now his wife Maggie felt bad for Robbie and Calvin gave him his jacket to cover himself up. Not wanting to go to therapy with his wife, Calvin agrees to meet Bob for drinks and is shocked to see that Bob is now a muscle bound tall guy who beats up some bullies at the bar.

After a night of catching up Bob asks review a few accounting records. Calvin deciphers the records as multi-million dollar transactions from an auction, with the final payment set to be made the following day. Bob avoids Calvin’s questions and spends the night on his couch. The next morning CIA agents shows up at the house and demand to see Bob, who has escaped, and say he is a dangerous rogue agent who intends to sell satellite codes to the highest bidder. Calvin finds himself in the middle as a thrilling adventure takes place and he reluctantly is in the middle of a shootout, fights with tough agents and car chases. Bob is blamed for the death of his partner but is really a killer and a rougue or is he being framed? Will the two sort out the mess and get back in time to attend their 20th year class reunion?

There’s a lot of laughs, some slick action, cool moves and stuff flying or jumping around. Although Kevin Hart is funny at times his shouting, yelling and screaming can get on one’s nerves. Johnson is actually more cool and calm in his role and shows his funny side. It was a fun film though the story is wonky. 7.5 outta 10 for a lazy afternoon’s watch.

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RIP Charmiane Carr

Charmaine Carr who played the oldest daughter in Sound Of Music has died. She was 73. The Chicago, Illinois, second child of vaudeville actress Rita Oehmen and musician Brian Farnon, was best American actress and singer best known for her role as Liesl, the eldest Von Trapp daughter in the film. While a student at San Fernando High School, Carr was a cheerleader and played basketball and volleyball. Carr was attending San Fernando Valley State College, studying speech therapy and philosophy, and working for a doctor, when her mother arranged for her to audition for a role in The Sound of Music.

She won the role of Liesl over Geraldine Chaplin, Patty Duke, Mia Farrow, Lesley Ann Warren and Sharon Tate. Carr appeared in Evening Primrose, a one-hour musical written by Stephen Sondheim, which aired on ABC Stage 67 in 1966. The male lead was Anthony Perkins. Carr worked with Van Johnson on a pilot for a television program, Take Her, She’s Mine. She wrote two books, Forever Liesl and Letters to Liesl. She reunited with many of her co-stars from The Sound of Music on The Oprah Winfrey Show in October 2010 to celebrate the film’s 45th anniversary. In 2014, Carr recorded “Edelweiss” with the great-grandchildren of the von Trapps on the album “Dream a Little Dream” by the Von Trapps and Pink Martini.

he owned and operated an interior design firm, Charmian Carr Designs, in Encino, California. Her clients included Ernest Lehman, screenwriter for The Sound of Music; Michael Jackson, who hired her because he was a fan of the film; and other cast members from the film. Carr married a dentist, Jay Brent, and left show business. She and Jay had two daughters, Jennifer and Emily. Later on she became the grandmother of two grandchildren: Emma and Derek. Carr died in Los Angeles on September 17, 2016, from complications related to dementia.

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Now You See Me 2

A direct sequel set 1 year after the event of the first film, Now You See Me 2 is a 2016 American heist thriller film directed by Jon M. Chu and written by Ed Solomon. The film stars anensemble cast that includes Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Daniel Radcliffe, Lizzy Caplan, Jay Chou, Sanaa Lathan, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman. Caplan replaces Isla Fisher in the film as Fisher was pregnant at the time of filming and couldn’t appear.

Ok, I did like the first one a lot more because it was fun and entertaining for the most part. This sequel tries to do the same things but adding a more dangerous element with revenge being at the forefront of things but in the end they did the twist thing once too many times. In the end of the last film we find out that the guy who was chasing the four horsemen, FBI agent Rhodes is also the guy who recruited them and brought them together to get them to join The Eye society. One year later the horsemen, who have been told to lay low by Rhodes are getting restless, especially Atlas who goes on his own, having grown tired of waiting for a mission, and seeks out The Eye himself. His search leads him to an underground tunnel in which he hears a voice that tells him that his wait may be coming to an end.

At his apartment he finds another magician, illusionist Lula May in his apartment. Thwarting his attempts to bind her, she escapes after saying that she is fascinated with the horsemen. Later when Atlas, McKinney & Wilder meet up with Rhodes, he finds Lula there and Rhodes introduces her at the replacement for former member Henley Reeves. He gives them a new mission to exposing corrupt businessman Owen Case (Ben Lamb), whose new software secretly steals data on its users for Case’s benefit. However things go wrong at the hijack the launch party for the new software, leading the FBI to their location. The show is unexpectedly interrupted by a mysterious individual who reveals to the world that Wilder, believed to be dead, is actually alive, and that Rhodes is their mole, forcing Dylan to evade his new boss Natalie Austin. While escaping, the Horsemen enter their escape tube on a roof, but instead of taking them to their truck, they emerge in Macau, where they are captured by mercenaries led by Merritt’s vain twin brother, Chase McKinney and brought before Chase’s employer, technology prodigy Walter Mabry, Case’s former business partner who faked his death after Case stole Walter’s company.

Mabry conscripts the Horsemen into stealing the data-mining device developed by Case from a secure facility, to prevent Case from using it. The chip allows the user to decrypt and access any electronic device around the world. Atlas agrees to steal the device, despite the others’ expressing loyalty to Rhodes, and leads them to a renowned Macau magic shop run by Li and his grandmother Bu Bu, who makes them the equipment needed to pull off the heist. Atlas contacts The Eye to arrange the device handover once stolen. Rhodes, now a fugitive from the law, forced to spring his rival Thaddeus Bradley whom Rhodes blames for the death of his father, out of jail to help him expose the mastermind behind the conspiracy. Arriving in Macau, they seek Li for information where it is revealed that Rhodes’s father was a customer who had commissioned a watch along with the safe used in the stunt that had killed him. As Rhodes thanks Li for the watch, Bradley steps into a trick sarcophagus and escapes Rhodes’ custody, revealing that he anticipated Rhodes would free him if exposed.

In an amazing sequence the Horsmen steal the chip Atlas waits in a marketplace in order to give the chip to the Eye. He is then confronted by Mabry and his men, Mabry revealing that Atlas had been fooled into thinking that Mabry was The Eye. Mabry had cloned his cellphone in the tunnel providing all the information needed to plot their capture. Rhodes intervenes and pretends to retrieve the device, slipping the device back into Atlas’ jacket and fights off Mabry’s men, but gets distracted by Chase and is captured by Mabry’s forces. He is taken to a nearby yacht where he learns Mabry is acting on behalf of his father, Arthur Tressler, the businessman whom Rhodes employed the Horsemen to expose in revenge for Tressler’s company denying his mother’s insurance claims after Shrike died in a stunt gone wrong. Having secured the device, Tressler reveals Bradley as his associate and places Rhodes in a replica of the same safe that his father died in and leaves him to drown, but Rhodes now understands how his father had planned to escape and manages to open the safe door. He’s helped to the surface by Atlas as the Horsemen had traced him after Tressler and Mabry had left. After the rescue they find that the chip they had stolen appears to be a fake.

Rhodes and the Horsemen reunite with Bu Bu and Li, who are revealed to be true representatives of The Eye society and determine that Mabry’s and Tressler’s principal fears are exposure which they should exploit. They announce their performances in London  performing a series of tricks live on the streets. Mabry, Tressler and Chase notice a pattern in their appearances, discover that Rhodes is still alive, and locate the location of their finale, capturing the five and bringing them aboard their private plane. Mabry takes the chip card from them and Rhodes along with the other Horsemen are thrown out of the plane in flight. However, Tressler finds that the plane has never taken off, and instead they were tricked into boarding a plane on a barge in the middle of the River Thames, their criminal activities being broadcast live to the world by the Horsemen in the process. Mabry, Tressler and Chase are arrested by the FBI, and Rhodes entrusts the information they’ve gathered on the real criminals’ activities to Austin, who allows him a head start to escape.

Rhodes and the Horsemen are then taken by Li to a secret library in Greenwich observatory where they are reunited with Bradley, who reveals himself to be senior in the Eye’s leadership and Lionel Shrike’s partner, having masqueraded as his rival as part of their mutual act. Bradley compliments Rhodes on the magician he’s become and explains that the Horsemen have completed their training. Before Bradley leaves he asks Rhodes to be his successor in the Eye. He points out a curtain and tells them to ignore whatever is behind it. Rhodes and the Horsemen find a door behind the curtain and enter a spiral staircase. As the movie ends, the camera pans out and the staircase is revealed to form the shape of the Society’s eye symbol.

That last twist of Bradley being the leader in The Eye and actually Shrike’s partner was one twist too many. I found it boring to say the least. The movie failed to ignite the same sense of awe and mystique if you ask me. It’s not a bad film but it was like seeing a rehash to be honest. There are some cool scenes but Woody Harrelson as the twin was terrible. 7 outta 10!

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Star Trek 50 Year Challenge

On September 8th 2016 Star Trek turned 50! 726 episodes, 13 movies, 100s of books and comics make up the Trek universe and every Trekkie/Trekker has their own reasons for being one.

Why not have a go at the challenge below and share it with your Trek friends and help Trek celebrate the big 5-0?
What/who is your favourite…

1. OVERALL SERIES: Star Trek The Next Generation / Star Trek Deep Space Nine
2. OVERALL EPISODE: Hard to pick just one
3. MIRROR EPISODE: Mirror, Mirror (TOS) / In A Mirror, Darkly (Enterprise)
4. TIME-TRAVEL EPISODE: The Trouble With Tribbles (DS9)
5. FEDERATION STARSHIP: USS Thunderchild, Akira class (cannon) / USS Insignia, Insignia class (from STO)
6. STARSHIP CLASS: The same as the above
8. NON-FEDERATION STARSHIP: Klingon Bird of Prey
9. KLINGON: Kor or Martok
10. ROMULAN: Commander Donatra
11. VULCAN: Sarek
12. FERENGI: Quark
13. BAJORAN: Sha’kaar or Kira Nerys
14. ANDORIAN: Shraan
15. PLANET: Risa
16. CAPTAIN: James T Kirk (the original)
17. FIRST OFFICER: Spock (the original)
18. HELMSMAN: Lt. Tom Paris
19. SCIENCE OFFICER: Spock (the original)
20. CHIEF ENGINEER: Lt. Cmdr. Geordi LaForge
21. DOCTOR: Dr. Julian Bashir
24. TOS EPISODE: Space Seed
25. TNG EPISODE: Best Of Both Worlds
26. DS9 EPISODE: Trials & Tribulations
27. VOY EPISODE: Distant Origin
28. ENT EPISODE: Regeneration
29. UNIFORM: Grey Uniform (last 3 TNG movies and late DS9 era)
30. QUOTE: “If I were human I believe my response would be “go to hell.”… If I were human.” – Spock
31. DRINK: Romulan ale
32. THEME TUNE: Star Trek Deep Space Nine
33. MOVIE: Wrath of Khan / First Contact
35. ACTOR IN A LEAD ROLE: William Shatner
36. ACTRESS IN A LEAD ROLE: Marina Sirtis
37. SUPPORTING ACTOR: Bruce Greenwood
38. SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Persis Khambatta
40. NON-FEDERATION WEAPON: Klingon Disruptors (Enterprise era)
42. NON-FEDERATION TECHNOLOGY: Romulan Cloaking device
44. KELVIN TIMELINE CHARACTER: Captain / Admiral Christoper Pike
45. BATTLE SCENE: Battle of Wolf 359
46. BOOK (STORY): None
47. BOOK (TECH): None
48. COMIC: None
49. AUTHOR: None

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Going For A Movie This Weekend?

Thinking of going for a movie this upcoming long weekend. I do watch quite a few movies at home every month as well as catch up on my currently showing tv series and I do have to find some time for rewatching stuff as well. So while my choice for a relaxing weekend will still be watching movies from home, I do like going to theatres. This is strange for me because from 2005 till earlier this year I never went to theatres at all. 11 years after being a guy who went for most English language movies that came out in Cochin, I just stopped going.

Back in February of this year I went for Deadpool with my buddy and I was hooked. Now I want to go for as many movies as I can. I plan to go for the big films, the action/scifi/superhero/horror stuff and some big budget other genre movies too. I was going for atleast 2 a month since March but last month I didn’t go for any at all. I missed a few films which I will catch on dvd or bluray later in the year. But I want to go for one this weekend. And I only go to either Cinepolis in Center Mall on MG Road or the PVR in Lulu Mall.


Cinepolis is closer, much closer to me than Lulu PVR. It’s two stops away and also their VIP section is awesome. Sure the price is higher but they have recline seats and amazing comfort. Watching movies in recliners is awesome. I just love the VIP lounge area and waiting there is not tedious at all.


Lulu’s PVR is a bit further away in Edapally and especially with the road work and Metro work going on it can be a task to get there; worse is coming back especially if it is in the evening after 6pm. They don’t recliners and they don’t have a VIP section but their theatres are good. Though the choice of seats is not as comfortable as Cinepolis and those cip holders are a disaster waiting to happen as it is so low on the arm of the seats.


What about the popcorn? Head to head it is a tough choice. I will usually get a Pepsi (in PVR) or Coke (in Cinepolis), medium size always. The small / regular isn’t that big and the large is ridiculous – I will be peeing all the time if I drink that. And the one time I did order one, I couldn’t finish it even after the movie ended. But the popcorns are amazing – my pick is the Caramel popcorn in PVR & the Cheese in Cinepolis. Both are awesome but I do find that the caramel one is very light and easier to finish. Either way you can’t lose.

So where will I go this weekend? Wait and see!

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Now You See Me

I have always been fascinated with magic and magic shows that the best magicians have put up. Now You See Me is a 2013 American heist thriller film with lots of doses of magic directed by Louis Leterrier and written by Ed Solomon, Boaz Yakin & Edward Ricourt. The film features an ensemble cast of Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Mélanie Laurent, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman.

The movie starts with four street/stage magicians who are each brought together to one place, an apartment in NYC, when a mysterious stranger places an invite on each of them. At the apartment, they meet each other and find information from an unknown benefactor. This makes the 4 of them join forces. A year later, the four perform their first major performance as the Four Horsemen in an elaborate Las Vegas show funded by insurance magnate Arthur Tressler heir final trick appears to transport one of the audience members to the vault of their bank, the Crédit Républicain in Paris, where stacks of new euro bills are stored. At the magicians’ commands, the fans in the vault activate, drawing the bills into the vents and then showering the Las Vegas crowd with them. The euros are shown to be real, and the vault in Paris is found to be empty of its recent shipment of euros, leading FBI agent Dylan Rhodes, and Interpol agent Alma Dray, to be partnered and investigate the Horsemen.

The two question the magicians but other than getting dazzled by some magic tricks they get nothing. Rhodes & Alma turn to Thaddeus Bradley, a former magician who has since gone to help explain the tricks behind other magic acts. He shows the FBI how the magicians used a mock vault under the Las Vegas stage, and that the group must have stolen the money in Paris before it arrived at the bank, replacing it with flash paper that left no evidence. The FBI with Thaddeus and his entourage follow the Horsemen to their next show in New Orleans, where their final trick appears to transfer millions of dollars from Tressler’s private accounts to those in the audience, mostly made up of people that were denied insurance claims by Tressler’s company in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Dylan and Alma try to capture the four but the magicians elude capture. Tressler hires Thaddeus to expose the Horsemen in revenge for the loss of his money. Alma meanwhile has researched the Horsemen and determines they are connected to a group called the Eye, a small group of magicians that claim to have access to real magic. She finds out one of the Eye’s members, Lionel Shrike, had previously been exposed by Thaddeus but died in a locked-safe escape trick he was performing to try to regain his standing. Alma suspects a fifth person is aiding the Horsemen.

They track the magicians to a NYC apartment where the four are burning their paperwork and any material that can track their assets. While the other three make their way through another entrance while Jack stays behind to continue burning the paper and fights off Dylan and then escapes in a stolen car. Jack loses control of his car, causing it to flip and catch fire. Dylan is unable to save Jack, but manages to recover the papers, pointing to the Horsemen’s next planned crime, stealing millions of dollars in cash out of a large Elkhorn safe. Dylan, Alma, and Thaddeus find the safe has already been stolen, and when they track it down, its contents have been replaced with balloon animals. The three remaining magicians broadcast their final show’s locations where the FBI converges to apprehend them. The remaining Horsemen appear to the crowd, giving their fans a farewell and a message about an ulterior purpose, and then run to jump off a roof; Dylan attempts to shoot them but Alma holds him back. The three jump, turning into a shower of money over the crowd. The money is counterfeit, but the audience’s race to collect it prevents the authorities from tracking the real Horsemen.

Later that night Thaddeus walks to his car and finds it full of the stolen money from the Elkhorn safe, and he is arrested. Dylan speaks to Thaddeus in jail, where Thaddeus slowly comes to realize that Alma’s theory was correct, and Dylan was the fifth Horseman. Dylan quietly walks away. Elsewhere, the Horsemen, including Jack who had faked his death, meet at the carousel in Central Park, and use their tarot cards to turn it on. Dylan arrives and welcomes the four to the Eye. Later in Paris, Dylan meets Alma and reveals he is Shrike’s son. He brought the Horsemen together to get retribution for his father’s death: the Elkhorn Safe Company for providing a faulty safe that led to the accident, Thaddeus for humiliating him and the Crédit Républicain and Tressler’s insurance companies for failing to pay out afterwards. With her having feelings for him, Alma doesn’t reveal his secret to the authorities and ecides not to turn him in. She takes a lock and a key that Dylan produces, putting the lock on a chain fence and throwing the key into the Seine.

Some really good scenes, lots of magical stuff and a  good chase scene or two, reminiscent of heist movies like Ocean’s 11 but a lot of fun and excitement too. I give it a 7.5 outta 10 as there isn’t much scope for acting to really shine at all but it’s a good fun film.

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RIP Gene Wilder

Gene Wilder, who regularly stole the show in such comedic gems as “The Producers,” “Blazing Saddles,” “Young Frankenstein,” “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” and “Stir Crazy,” died Monday at his home in Stamford, Conn. His nephew Jordan Walker-Pearlman said he died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease. He was 83. He had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1989.

The comic actor, who was twice Oscar nominated, for his role in “The Producers” and for co-penning “Young Frankenstein” with Mel Brooks, usually portrayed a neurotic who veered between total hysteria and dewy-eyed tenderness. “My quiet exterior used to be a mask for hysteria,” he told Time magazine in 1970. “After seven years of analysis, it just became a habit.” Habit or not, he got a great deal of mileage out of his persona in the 1970s for directors like Mel Brooks and Woody Allen, leading to a few less successful stints behind the camera, the best of which was “The Woman in Red,” co-starring then-wife Gilda Radner. Wilder was devastated by Radner’s death from ovarian cancer in 1989 and worked only intermittently after that. He tried his hand briefly at a sitcom in 1994, “Something Wilder,” and won an Emmy in 2003 for a guest role on “Will & Grace.”

In 1971 he stepped into the shoes of Willy Wonka, one of his most beloved and gentle characters. Based on the children’s book by Roald Dahl, “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” was not an immediate hit but became a children’s favorite over the years. The same cannot be said for the 1974 Stanley Donen-directed musical version of “The Little Prince,” in which Wilder appeared as the fox. He had somewhat better luck in Woody Allen’s spoof “Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex,” appearing in a hilarious segment in which he played a doctor who falls in love with a sheep named Daisy. He is also known for his four films with Richard Pryor: Silver Streak (1976), Stir Crazy (1980), See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989), and Another You (1991). Wilder directed and wrote several of his own films, including The Woman in Red (1984). His third wife was actress Gilda Radner, with whom he starred in three films. Her death from ovarian cancer led to his active involvement in promoting cancer awareness and treatment, helping found the Gilda Radner Ovarian Cancer Detection Center in Los Angeles[1] and co-founding Gilda’s Club.

After his last contribution to acting in 2003, Wilder turned his attention to writing. He produced a memoir in 2005, Kiss Me Like a Stranger: My Search for Love and Art; a collection of stories, What Is This Thing Called Love? (2010); and the novels My French Whore (2007), The Woman Who Wouldn’t (200 and Something to Remember You By (2013). He is survived by his fourth wife Karen Boyer, whom he married in 1991 and his nephew. His sister Corinne, predeceased him in January 2016.

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Bridge Of Spies

The combination of Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg delivered an awesomely wonderful and delightful film in Bridge Of Spies. A 2015 historical drama legal thriller film directed and co-produced by Spielberg, is co-produced by Marc E. Platt and Kristie Macosko Krieger, and written by Matt Charman, Ethan and Joel Coen. The film stars Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Amy Ryan, and Alan Alda.

Rudolf Abel, a Scottish born Russian spy is arrested by FBI agents in Brooklyn. With a lot of evidence against him, Abel is told that if he cooperates his sentence will be lowered but he doesn’t offer up anything. When the question about representation for the spy comes up, it’s apparent that no one wants to the scapegoat. James B. Donovan is an insurance lawyer with substantial negotiation experience and worked on prosecutions of German war crimes in the Nuremberg trials. The bar association asks him to defend Abel, in order to ensure that justice is seen to be done. Donovan, although knows his client is guilty, does his work earnestly identifying procedural flaws in the government’s case which are ignored by the judge. He comes under a lot of pressure from the public, friends and family as the conclusion is foregone. Abel is judged guilty as charged.

Donovan meets the judge privately before sentencing and argues that Abel not be sentenced to death, as he could serve as “insurance” if a U.S. spy is captured. Abel is sentenced to 30 years in prison, which causes outrage by the public and sees hate mail pouring towards the direction of Donovan and his family and even threats in the form of a gun shot fired at his home. Nevertheless, he appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court, which is denied, arguing evidence presented was tainted by lack of a valid search warrant. As the case is concluding, the American military & airforce plans an aerial spy run above Soviet skies to take photos of key areas. Pilot Gary Powers goes on a Lockheed U-2 sortie over the Soviet Union and is shot down, captured, unable to kill himself before that happens and convicted and subjected to interrogation. The USSR sends a backchannel message to Donovan, hinting at exchanging of Abel for Powers. Director of Central Intelligence Allen Welsh Dulles asks Donovan to handle negotiations, formally merely as a private citizen, negotiating with ‘Mr. Vogel’ in East Germany. Donovan travels to West Berlin accompanied by CIA agents.

As this is happening, a young American student in Germany named Frederic Pryor, visits his German girlfriend in East Berlin just as the Berlin Wall is being built. He tries to bring her into West Berlin, but is stopped by border guards and arrested as an American spy. Donovan goes to the Soviet Embassy in East Berlin, and meets Ivan Schischkin. Schischkin asks for Abel to be released first, and Powers released several months after, but Donovan insists on simultaneous release. Donovan also wants Pryor released, but Schischkin informs him that Pryor is held by East Germany. Donovan, who understands that the Russian and East German interests do not match, each wants to make a one-for-one deal for Abel. Donovan meets Wolfgang Vogel, a GDR lawyer, and negotiates a separate deal to exchange Abel for Pryor. Schischkin informs Donovan that the USSR agrees with the proposed trade, and plans the exchange to occur on the Glienicke Bridge. However, Vogel pulls out after discovering the deal Donovan made with the USSR. Donovan is contacted by Vogel’s superior, Harald Ott, East German attorney general, and goes to his office insisting on the 2-for-1 deal. Ott bluntly refuses.

Donovan sends a message to Ott, stating that the U.S. requires both Pryor and Powers for Abel, or the entire deal will be void. That evening, the GDR calls and accepts, with the requirement that Pryor is to be released at Checkpoint Charlie instead, simultaneously. At the bridge Donovan meets Abel and on the other side Powers is brought forth. Both Americans and Russians urge a quick completion, but Donovan insists on waiting for Pryor’s release. Out of gratitude, Abel waits. Eventually, Pryor is released at Checkpoint Charlie, and Abel is promptly exchanged for Powers. An exhausted Donovan returns home as the news of his involvement in the release of Powers is reported on TV, watched by his family. As the movie ends, Donovan heads for work in a train and gets a smile from a lady who recognizes him when early he got frowns and he just nods with a small smile.

Wonderful movie, great acting and it’s fun as well. Whenever Abel asks “Will it help?” I cracked up. Just a wonderfully uplifting movie to watch. A 9 outta 10!

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RIP Kenny Baker

The British actor who played R2-D2 in the Star Wars films has died at the age of 81 after a long illness. Kenny Baker, who was 3ft 8in tall, shot to fame in 1977 when he first played the robot character. He went on to play the character in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, as well as the three Star Wars prequels from 1999 to 2005. He also appeared in a number of other much loved films in the 1980s, including The Elephant Man, Time Bandits and Flash Gordon. When he was a child, he was told that he probably wouldn’t survive through puberty, being a little person in those times, they didn’t have a very good life expectancy.

Baker met his wife Eileen after an appearance on the Michael Parkinson TV chat show. She wrote in and said she was a little person too and wanted to meet him. Standing 3 feet 8 inches tall, Baker created Artoo’s much-loved innocent yet adventurous personality from inside the droid, starting with 1977’s A New Hope. Whether it was the slow turn of Artoo’s dome to convey suspicion or nervous wobbles signifying fear, Baker made a robotic being seem very human. In addition, he played Paploo, the Ewok who memorably steals a speeder bike in 1983’s Return of the Jedi. The actor became a legend to Star Wars fans.

Born in Birmingham, England, Baker began acting at age 16. Along with the Star Wars films, his career also includes performances in Lucasfilm’s Willow (1988 ), and more. In 1978, he immortalized Artoo at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, making cement footprints of the droid that remain outside the famed theater today.

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Prisoners (2013)

It’s a crime drama with a lot of tension and emotion. Prisoners is a 2013 American thriller film directed by Denis Villeneuve from a screenplay written by Aaron Guzikowski. The film has an ensemble cast including Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard, Melissa Leo and Paul Dano.

In a small town in Pennsylvania, Keller & Grace Drover are attending a Thanksgiving dinner at Franklin & Nancy Birch’s house. The families who are friends and neighbours also include Drover’s older son Ralph and young daughter Anna as well as the Birch’s teenage daughter Zoe and Joy who is Anna’s age. After dinner while the adults sip wine and the teens watch tv downstairs, Anna and Joy sneak away to a parked campervan they had come across before. Sometime later the adults realize that the two young kids are missing and go out in search of them. Ralph mentions the van and they look for it but it is now gone.

The cops are called and detective Loki is assigned to the case. After a search he finds the camper which crashes against a tree when the driver tries to escape. At the police station Loki questions the young man, Alex Jones, who appears to be confused and turns out he has the IQ of a 10 year old. His vehicle is searched by forensics but nothing is found relating to the girls. Loki investigates in houses in the neighbourhood the next day and finds corpse in the basement of Father Patrick Dunn’s house. The priest (Len Cariou) admits that he killed the man because he confessed he was “waging a war against God” and boasted of killing sixteen children. The cops release Alex because of lack of evidence and Drover gets upset as he believes that the young man knows more. He attacks him outside of the police station. Jones whispers to him, “They didn’t cry until I left them.” Since Loki won’t re-arrest him, Dover abducts Jones by himself, locks him up in an abandoned apartment building and begins torturing him until he cooperates with the help of a reluctant Franklin.

The town has a candlelight vigil for the missing girls at which Loki spots a suspicious man in a hoodie and chases him when he takes off. He evades Loki breaks into both families’ houses but leaves without doing anything. Loki, also suspects Dover and follows him to the building where Alex is kept prisoner but doesn’t see anything unusual and Dover tells him that he comes here to drink away from his wife. While he is there, Loki gets a tip from a store that saw the man in the hoodie shopping for children’s clothes and goes to the address using the license plate number and arrests him at his home, whose walls are covered in drawings of mazes. Loki then finds crates filled with maze books, live snakes, and bloodied children’s clothing, including items belonging to the missing girls after Dover confirms it. At the police station, Taylor confesses to the abduction but during a physical altercation with Loki and two other officers, he snatches a gun and kills himself without revealing any more information. The police conclude that Taylor was a fantasist and had no involvement with the disappearances; he stole the clothes from the girls’ homes and bloodied them with pig’s blood to recreate abductions.

Dover continues to torture Alex who then starts denying he is Alex Jones and claims he escaped from a maze. Dover visit’s Alex’s aunt Holly who tells him that Alex became the way he is due an accident involving snakes that her husband raised. She also says that she and her husband were religious until their young son died of cancer. Back at the police station, Loki becomes frustrated with getting nowhere with the case until he matches a maze Taylor drew whilst in custody to the maze necklace worn by the man Patrick Dunn killed in his basement. We then see a drugged Joy, who has escaped from her captors, being found on the streets and brought to the hospital. When Dover asks her where Hanna is, Joy drowsily says that he was there! Dover is suspected of being involved in the crime and he makes of fin the car but he realizes that Joy meant that he was at Alex’s aunt’s house. Loki searches for Dover at the apartment building and discovers Alex. Dover then goes back to the Jones’ house to get information from Holly, but she pulls a gun on him. She explains that, before her husband left her, they abducted many children as part of their “war on God” after their son’s death. Alex was the first child they abducted, followed by Taylor. Holly imprisons Dover in a concealed pit in her yard, where he finds a whistle belonging to his daughter.

Loki goes to the aunt’s house to tell her that Alex has been found when he sees a photograph of Holly’s husband wearing the same maze necklace found on the body in the priest’s basement, making him her missing husband. He sees her drugging Anna and pulls a gun on her but she fires at him as well, injuring him before she is shot dead. Loki then rushes Anna to the hospital where she reunites with her mother. Alex, revealed to be Barry Milland in the newspaper, is reunited with his parents after surviving the torture. A day later, Loki returns to the Jones’ house where the authorities have begun excavating the property. As the other investigators depart for the night, Loki hears Dover’s labored whistling from the pit.

A great performance from the cast especially Leo, Gyllenhall and yes even boorish Hugh (who I usually call Huge Jackass). I never like his acting or him much but this movie has some great acting from everyone. It’s a 7.5 for me though because parts of the film drags out quite a bit.

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No Country For Old Men

No Country for Old Men is a 2007 American neo-Western thriller film directed, written, and edited by Joel and Ethan Coen, based on the Cormac McCarthy novel of the same name. Starring Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem and Josh Brolin, it tells the story of a Texas welder and Vietnam veteran to whom chance and greed deliver a fate that is neither wanted nor denied; a cat-and-mouse drama set in the desert landscape of 1980 West Texas. It won four awards at the 80th Academy Awards –Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Bardem) and Best Adapted Screenplay, allowing the Coen brothers to join four previous directors honored three times for a single film. In addition, the film won three British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA) including Best Director, and two Golden Globes.

The setting is in Terrell County, Texas in the desert like location of a desolate and large landscape. We heard Ed Tom Bell, the sheriff of the count, talking about he increasing violence in a region where he, like his father and grandfather before him, has risen to the office of sheriff. In a neighbouring county, assassin / hitman Anton Chigurgh, using the handcuffs, strangles to death the deputy who arrested him to escape custody and steals a car by using a captive bolt pistol to kill the driver. We then move to the desert where Llewelyn Moss is hunting deer and comes across the aftermath of a drug deal gone wrong. He finds dead bodies and a briefcase containing 2 million dollars and also finds the lone Mexican survivor, badly wounded and who begs him for water. Moss takes the briefcase and hides it at his small home but goes back to the scene late at night with some water.

He is ambushed by two men in a truck and they release a dog to hunt him. He shoots the dog dead and rushes home he sends his wife, Carla Jean, to stay with her mother, then drives to a motel in Del Rio, where he hides the case in the air vent of his room. Chigurgh hired to recover the money, abruptly kills his employers after obtaining a clue to Moss’s identity. Arriving to search Moss’s home, he uses his bolt pistol to blow the lock out of the door. Investigating the break in, Sheriff Bell notices the blown-out locktracks. Chigurgh tracks Moss using a chip embedded in the briefcase and kills a group of Mexican who were planning to ambush Moss and had rented the room next to him. Moss is able to escape before Chigurgh can get to him but is found in another hotel in Eagle Pass and a shootout ensues. Both are wounded and Moss makes his way across the border into Mexico and collapses and is taken to a hospital.

Carson Wells, another hired operative, fails to persuade him to accept protection in return for the money. Chigurh cleans and stitches his own wounds with stolen supplies and kills Wells at his hotel. Moss telephones the room and Chigurh answers. Lifting his boots to avoid Wells’s blood, Chigurh tells Moss that he will kill Carla Jean unless Moss gives up the money; he remarks that he will kill Moss regardless of whether he receives the money. Moss calls Carla and tells her to meet him at a motel where he will give her the money and she should fly away with her mother to be safe. nstead, she reluctantly accepts protection for her husband from Sheriff Bell. Carla Jean’s mother unwittingly reveals Moss’s location to a group of Mexicans who had been tailing them. Bell reaches the rendezvous in time to hear gunshots and see a pickup truck speeding from the motel where Moss lies dead. Carla arrives as night approaches and sobs sadly. Later Bell comes back to the crime scene where Chigurgh is also hiding and sees that the vent cover has been removed and the duct is empty.

Later, Bell visits his uncle Ellis, an ex-lawman, and tells him he plans to retire because he feels “over-matched”. Ellis points out that the region has always been violent. Carla’s mother dies soon after and after the funeral she walks into the house to find Chigurgh waiting for her. He tosses a coin and asks her to call it but she refuses stating that the choice is his own. Chigurgh leaves the house (unsure if he killed her or not but probably did) and as he leaves the neighbourhood he is hurt badly in a car crash. Bribing two youngsters who witness the crash, he quietly makes his way out. As the movie ends, a now retured Bell tells his wife of two dreams he had the previous night about his father.

Amazing cinematography during the desert scenes and well acted and shot. The ambiguous ending left made people baffled and also killing Moss offscreen didn’t make much sense to us. Anyway you look at it the movie is really good and despite the initial 25 mins or so when it drags a bit, it’s a movie worth watching. 8 outta 10!

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