Predestination

Predestination is a 2014 Australian science fiction thriller film written and directed by Michael and Peter Spierig. The film stars Ethan Hawke, Sarah Snook and Noah Taylor, and is based on the short story “—All You Zombies—” by Robert A. Heinlein.

A time traveling agent is in 1975 and attempting to disarm a bomb to stop the “Fizzle Bomber”‘s attack on New York. Things go wrong and it explodes causing a fire and the agent is severely burnt on the arms and face. A stranger pushes his time traveling device closer to him, so the agent is able to go back to the future and is taken care for by the agency. He is given reconstructive surgery and told that he will look very different from before. After he recovers he takes on his final assignment and goes to 1970 and works as a bartender.

One night he meets John, who is a writer under the pseudonym “The Unmarried Mother” for magazines about true confessions. They start talking and John decides to tell the Bartender about his own life; he was born Jane in 1945. As a baby she was left on the doorsteps of an orphanage and raised there. She excelled in her studies growing up but never fit in and always got into trouble. As an adult she applied for a program called “Space Corp”, which promised women the chance to go to space while providing astronauts R&R, but she was later disqualified because of a medical condition which she was not informed of, which a man named Robertson was interested in. While taking classes one evening, she bumps into a man who says he was waiting for someone.

They hit it off and start talking and soon fall in love. Months later the man walks away from her, telling her he will be back shortly but never returns.  Robertson approached Jane, revealing that Space Corp worked for the Temporal Agency, and this agency now wanted to recruit her. However when they find out that she is pregnant she is rejected and left devastated. While performing a Caesarean section, doctors discovered she was intersex, with internalized male sex organs as well as female sex organs. Complications during the birth forced them to remove her female sex organs, and she had to undergo a gender reassignment and begin living as a man. Furthermore, the baby was stolen by a mysterious man. Since then, John has been living a bitter life as “The Unmarried Mother”.

The bartender tells John about his time traveling and tells him that he will take him to back to the day that Jane met the lover who left her, so John can take revenge and kill him for ruining her life. In return, John has take over the agent’s job for whatever duration he wishes. The agent and John jump to that day in 1963. John prepares to kill his past lover before he can meet Jane. While waiting, he encounters Jane, and when they begin talking, John realizes that Jane’s lover was him. The baby born from this “self-fertilization” is stolen by the agent and brought to the orphanage 18 years earlier, in 1945. Therefore, Jane, John, and their baby are the same person, revealing a predestination paradox. The agent then goes to 1975 and helps the the burned man from the beginning of the film.

He then goes to 1963 and takes John back to the Temporal Agency so John can take over his job and the agent can retire in 1975 New York. However his device doesn’t  decommission itself as planned and he is ordered to go to a laundromat where he sees the Fizzle Bomber who is actually the agent’s future &older self, now suffering from psychosis as a result of excessive time travel. he Fizzle Bomber insists that his actions have saved and will save more lives than the lives lost, and that they ultimately lead to the reinforcement of the Temporal Agency. He tries to convince the agent that the only way to end the cycle is to spare his life, unlike the Fizzle Bomber did in his past. The agent denies he will ever become the Fizzle Bomber and kills his future self. He then tries to understand the paradox.

So that’s the story? The burned man, Jane, John, the agent, and the Fizzle Bomber are the same person. This agent’s creation was orchestrated by Robertson to create an agent who has no ties to time. This “perfect” temporal agent was responsible for both his own conception and death; he has driven the predestination paradox to its limit. Try to wrap your head around that one. It’s a well done movie and it had a very interesting scifi premise. It only made $4.3 million but it was made on a very low budget. I give it an 8.5 outta 10!

White Zombie

White Zombie is a 1932 American Pre-Code horror film directed and independently produced by Victor and Edward Halperin. The screenplay by Garnett Weston, based on The Magic Island by William Seabrook, tells the story of a young woman’s transformation into a zombie at the hands of an evil voodoo master. Béla Lugosi stars as the antagonist, Murder Legendre, with Madge Bellamy appearing as his victim. Other cast members included Robert W. Frazer, John Harron, and Joseph Cawthorn.

Large portions of White Zombie were shot on the Universal Studios lot, borrowing many props and scenery from other horror films of the era. White Zombie opened in New York to negative reception, with reviewers criticizing the film’s over-the-top story and weak acting performances. While the film made a substantial financial profit as an independent feature, it proved to be less popular than other horror films of the time.

In Haiti, the newly arrived Madeleine Short reunites with her fiancé Neil Parker, with imminent plans to be married. On the way to their lodging, the couple’s coach passes Murder Legendre, an evil voodoo master, who observes them with interest and manages to grab Madeleine’s scarf. Neil and Madeleine arrive at the home of the wealthy plantation owner, Charles Beaumont. The musical chanting that the locals do at the funeral is enough to give anyone the creeps, especially at night. Charles has ulterior motives; he wants Madeline for himself and takes the aid of Legendre to get her to do his bidding.  Murder states that the only way to help Charles is to transform Madeleine into a zombie with a potion. Beaumont agrees and surreptitiously gives the potion to Madeleine. Shortly after Madeleine and Neil’s wedding ceremony, the potion takes effect on Madeleine and she appears to die.

After her funeral Neil takes it badly and drinks his sorrow but on visiting her tomb and finding it empty he seeks the help of  the local missionary, Dr. Bruner, who recounts how Murder turned many of his rivals into zombies, who now guard his estate. The two men journey to Murder’s cliffside castle to rescue Madeleine. Meanwhile Charles regrets his actions and begs Murder to release Madeline from the zombie state but the latter refuses. Charles discovers he has been tainted by Murder’s voodoo and is transforming into a zombie. Neil and Dr. Bruner enter the fortress and Madeline under the influence of Legendre is ordered to attack Neil.  She approaches Neil with a knife, but Bruner stops her. As the zombies attack Neil & Bruner, Charles wrestles with Legendre and knocks him out. The zombies, directionless fall off a cliff disoriented and dazed.

Murder awakes but Charles pushes him off the same cliff and he too falls down to his death. Murder’s death releases Madeleine from her zombie trance, and she awakens to embrace Neil. White Zombie is considered the first feature length zombie film. Modern reception to the film has been more positive than its initial release. Some critics have praised the atmosphere of the film, comparing it to the 1940s horror film productions of Val Lewton, while others still have an unfavorable opinion on the quality of the acting. 7 outta 10!

Ranking DCEU Movies

First of all, I have no idea why the call it the DC Extended Universe. But we all got to have our lists, don’t we? So if I do not consider the older Superman or Batman films, I have the ones that have come since 2013 and here is the order in which I would rate them:

  1. Wonder Woman
  2. Batman vs Superman : Dawn of Justice
  3. Justice League
  4. Man of Steel
  5. Suicide Squad

Any surprises? I think Henry Cavill isn’t very charismatic and doesn’t do “justice” (pun not intended) to the role of Superman, though he was better in Justice League. Suicide Squad – don’t get me started on that drivel. I bet it will be my least favorite DC film of all time and least favourite superhero movie of all time.

Justice League

Justice League is a 2017 American superhero film based on the DC Comics superhero team of the same name, consisting of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg. Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, the film is the fifth installment in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). The film is directed by Zack Snyder with a screenplay by Chris Terrio and Joss Whedon, from a story by Terrio and Snyder. It features an ensemble cast that includes Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, Jeremy Irons, Diane Lane, Connie Nielsen and J. K. Simmons.

Thousands of years ago, Steppenwolf and his army of Parademons attempt to conquer and remake Earth through the combined energies of the Mother Boxes. They are foiled by a unified army that included the Olympian Gods, Amazons, Atlanteans, ancient humans, and Green Lanterns. After repelling Steppenwolf’s army, the Mother Boxes are separated and hidden in locations around the world.

  • So what did I think of this film? I watched it in Lulu PVT Gold (the plush recliner seats and expensive theatres of Lulu PVR) last evening with my cousin and we liked it a lot. It’s not my favourite superhero film but it’s pretty good.
  • We have a weak, one-dimensional almost cartoonish villain who keeps babbling about. That kinda spoiled it a bit. We should be getting more complex and evil villains.
  • Gal Gadot is a sight for sore eyes. She really was meant to play this role, this version of Wonder Woman, just like Linda Carter was made to play the 70s version. She is gorgeous, graceful, classy and a bad ass. She brings to life the superhero of our childhood and dreams. She is probably my favourite superhero playing character of all the ones rights now (sorry but Christopher Reeve is still #1 of all time for me).
  • Ben Affleck does an tremendous job again as an older Batman. He has fit into the role so well that even I, a former Affleck non-fan and critic, has warmed up to him. I would gladly watch several films of him as the detective Batman. Sadly, I doubt if we are going to see him in them for another film, if the rumours are true.
  • Ezra Miller is fun as Barry Allen aka The Flash and provides the comedic elements to this film. He has averted my fears of doing a good job in this role though for me, Grant Gustin IS THE FLASH. I don’t care how many movies Miller makes in the DC’s movieverse, he just won’t be Flash enough for me.
  • Likewise Ray Fisher as Cyborg is a good addition. I don’t know anything about Cyborg to compare his performance to but I think he did very well. There is a progressive change in the character’s evolution in the movie. Also, I have never seen the actors in a role before. There is supposed to be a standalone movie on the Cyborg character sometime soon.
  • Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry aka Aquaman – although he was good, Jason plays the same type of grumpy or gruff musclebound character in everything he is known for. Ronan in Stargate Atlantis, Conan The Barbarian, Khal Drogo in Game Of Thrones and now as Aquaman. I know he can’t change his style and physical appearance but he doesn’t show much variety.
  • Henry Cavill as Clark Kent aka Superman has an awesome return in the film. I haven’t been sold on Cavill as Superman. I find him to rigid and lacking any charisma. Perhaps I am comparing him to evergreen and fan favourite Christopher Reeve but that is bound to happen. Cavill is a big guy but he is no charmer like Reeve was. Still, I liked him better here than in the previous two movies he has been as Superman!
  • Diane Lane, Amy Adams, JK Simmons, Connie Nielsen & Jeremy Irons return to portray their supporting characters to good effect in the film. And the post-credit scene showing  Joe Manganiello and Jesse Eisenberg as Slade Wilson / Deathstroke and Lex Luthor, respectively looks ominous and interesting.

Everyone else did a find job. The story was ok, the fight scenes were pretty good and the laughs were well timed. We had fun watching it in the theatre. And that’s all we can ask for. I liked the special effects and the script though I felt that it would have been better if they had the movie be longer than it was. 8 outta 10!

Despicable Me 3

Despicable Me 3 is a 2017 American 3D computer-animated comedy film produced by Illumination Entertainment for Universal Pictures. It is the third main installment, fourth overall in the Despicable Me film series and the sequel to Despicable Me 2 (2013). The film is directed by Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda, co-directed by Eric Guillon and written by Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio. Steve Carell, Miranda Cosgrove and Dana Gaier reprise their roles of Gru, Margo and Edith and Julie Andrews returns as Marlena, Gru’s mother. Kristen Wiig and Steve Coogan return from Despicable Me 2, while Trey Parker, Jenny Slate and Nev Scharrel (replacing Elsie Fisher as Agnes) join the cast.

Gru & his wife & partner at work Lucy are assigned to apprehend  Balthazar Bratt, a former child star turned evil, from stealing the world’s largest diamond. Bratt dances his way to MJ’s Bad onto a navy ship and steals the diamond but Gru is able to stop him but the villain gets away. Gru and Lucy are fired from the AVL by its unreasonable new director Valerie Da Vinci, following the retirement of Silas Ramsbottom. As Gru mops around disappointed in letting down his kids, he is visited by  Fritz, the butler of Gru’s cheerful twin brother Dru, who lives in a distant country named Freedonia and longs to meet him. Gru is shocked to learn he has a twin. He confronts his mother, who reveals that when she and her husband divorced, they agreed to keep one child each.

Gru, Lucy and the girls are greeted with much job by Dru and are amazed by his apparent wealth. Meanwhile the Minions, led by Mel, who had left the house as Dru refuses to return to villainy, get arrested for trespassing at a talent show set. Bratt manages to steal the diamond again, intending to use it to power a giant robot and destroy Hollywood as revenge for the cancellation of his show. Gru then tells Dru the family secret – the pig farm is just a front and their father’s super villainy is the real reason for their massive wealth. Dru was dismissed by their father as he was no good at being a villain and was seen as a disgrace. The brothers bond as they drive their father’s gadget filled car.

Lucy tries to balance her tasks as a mom, which she exhibits after turning away a young boy named Niko who had fallen for Margo in the midst of a traditional cheese festival, while Edith and Agnes stumble into a local tavern and learn from the bartender about a mythical unicorn which lurks in a nearby forest. Gru tries to convince Agnes that unicorns are imaginary, but decides against it to avoid hurting her feelings. The next day, Agnes and Edith set out into the woods to track the mythical horse, only to find a one-horned goat whom Agnes adopts and dubs “Lucky.” Meanwhile, the Minions’ longing for Gru motivates them to escape from prison. Gru goes to steal the diamond back from Bratt and Dru tags along almost ruining things.

Gru secretly intending to bring it to the AVL, which he hopes will convince Da Vinci to rehire him. Despite several setbacks, they manage to retrieve the diamond and are rescued by Lucy after narrowly escaping. After finding out Gru’s true motives, Dru confronts his brother about his lie. In return, Gru insults him and decides to leave Freedonia. Bratt, disguised as Lucy, kidnaps the children, and once again acquires the diamond. Gru and Dru resolve their differences and pursue him. Powering his large robot with the diamond, and superpowered gum, Bratt terrorizes Hollywood Lucy saves the children while Gru and Dru weaken Bratt’s robot with the weapons of their father’s car. Gru is knocked unconscious when the car is destroyed, and Dru manages to destroy the robot’s core from the inside when Bratt threatens to kill Gru.

When Gru recovers, he battles Bratt in a dance fight, using it as a distraction to grab his weaponized keytar, and defeats him. Having rendezvoused with Gru, the Minions manage to destroy the gum already covering the city, and Gru and Dru reunite. Soon afterward, Gru and Lucy are reinstated in the AVL and the newly united family celebrate in Gru’s home. Lucy is acknowledged by the children as their mother. Lured back to villainy, Dru and most of the minions steals Gru’s ship, with Gru’s emblem replaced with a “D” graffiti. Gru and Lucy decide to give them a five-minute head-start before engaging pursuit.

Funny and sweet, just like the others though I want more Minions, it is a good movie to watch even at midnight. I love it. 8.5 outta 10!

Thor : Ragnarok

Thor: Ragnarok is a 2017 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character Thor, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is the sequel to 2011’s Thor and 2013’s Thor: The Dark World, and is the seventeenth film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film is directed by Taika Waititi from a screenplay by Eric Pearson and the writing team of Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost, and stars Chris Hemsworth as Thor alongside Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Mark Ruffalo, and Anthony Hopkins. In Thor: Ragnarok, Thor must escape the alien planet Sakaar in time to save Asgard from Hela and the impending Ragnarök.

This movie is just out and has already made $450 million plus and is a behemoth in the box office. It certainly is the best of the three Thor films. Let’s see the various aspects of the movie:

  • It is really funny. Thor himself is a more relaxed and chilled version of himself and there’s plenty of jokes at his expense. This is despite the rather sad experience of losing his father, Odin. Hemsworth intearctions with The Hulk & Bruce Banner are hilarious as is his banter with Tom Hiddleston / Loki is also great.
  • Good new characters introduced in Korg – who sounds so New Zealandish -, Jeff Goldblum as Grandmaster, Karl Urban as Skurge & Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie are all well done and well cast. Valkyrie will be a recurring character in more films with Thor and MCU movies in general and she is pretty good as a hard drinking recluse who left Asgard in shame after Hela killed all her fellow legendary warriors of the Valkyrior. The Grandmaster is basically Jeff Goldblum playing the Grandmaster playing Jeff Goldblum! If you can imagine that.
  • Karl Urban’s character Skurge is a predictable one – he is a lower rung Asgardian trying to come up in the world. He guards the Bifröst Bridge in Heimdall’s absence and aligns himself with Hela to survive. He becomes her executioner but his heart isn’t in killing his own people and in the end he sacrifices himself to save people.
  • The Hulk/Bruce Banner/Mark ruffalo is awesome in this – for two years he has been The Hulk and Banner has been in the backburner. The way that the Hulk talks is like a toddler and it is even seen in his behaviour. This is probably the best the Hulk has been done in.
  • Kate Blanchett – I might be biased but she plays an awesome villain who is just pretty damn awesome to watch. She is bored when challenged but kicks so much ass that she backs up that strut and boast of being the goddess of death. The reveal that she was the first born child of Odin and was once his executioner and general in his army was surprising. Also – how old do these Asgardians live? It kinda seems like Hela was imprisoned for very long and both Thor and Loki are unaware of her.
  • Waititi also provided the motion-capture performance for the fire demon Surtur, based on the mythological being Surtr, with Clancy Brown providing the voice for that character. Thor co-creator Stan Lee makes a cameo appearance as a man on Sakaar who cuts Thor’s hair. There are also several cameos in a sequence where Asgardian actors perform a play based on the events of The Dark World: Sam Neill, who Waititi previously worked with on Hunt for the Wilderpeople, plays the Odin actor; Luke Hemsworth, brother of Chris, plays the Thor actor; and Matt Damon plays the Loki actor.
  • Oh yeah and nice to Doctor Strange in a cameo appearance in it as well. That scene was really good.
  • The action is awesome, the fight scenes and battle scenes are great and entertaining, the special effects is awesome and the acting is really good. What loans no credit check direct lenders more could you want? 9 outta 10!

The Blackcoat’s Daughter

The Blackcoat’s Daughter is a 2015 American-Canadian supernatural psychological horror film written and directed by Oz Perkins. The film stars Emma Roberts, Lucy Boynton, Kiernan Shipka, James Remar and Lauren Holly.

Ok, this is a bit boring so it’s not for all horror fans. Not that it’s scary, it’s more of a psychological horror. The movie shows us two girls, Katherine and Rose, who are enrolled in a prestigious Christian boarding school for girls. At a winter break, these two are the only ones who haven’t come to pick them up. Rose says her parents thought they had to pick her up a few days later while Kat’s parents are unreachable. Mr. Gordon, who is in charge of the school, says that they can stay there until their parents can pick them up and leaves two sisters in charge of them.

Rose, a senior at the school, thinks she is pregnant and goes out at night with her boyfriend to whom she wants to discuss this. When Kat protests, she tells her that the  telling her a story about the nuns at the school being devil-worshipers. When Rose returns, she goes to the bathroom and hears strange noises coming from the boiler room and goes to investigate. When she looks through a window in the door she sees Kat prostrating in front of the lit boiler. Kat had picked up a phone call and hears a distorted man’s voice telling her to kill all of them. She is soon possessed by a demon and is seen being contorted in an inhuman way.  Kat tells Rose she knows her parents are dead, which disturbs Rose.

Kat begins to act strangely and is unable to pray and when she is scolded, vomits. As the nuns try to nurse her, she lashes out at them. Mr. Gordon rings to tell them he will be coming back to the school. It is implied that Kat’s parents have indeed died in a car crash. The women ask Rose to shovel the driveway for him. After shoveling, Rose tries to re-enter the chaperones’ house but the doors are locked, so she returns to her dorm room. Kat stabs and kills the two nuns and then kills Rose. She cuts off their heads and is found by Gordon and a policeman at the boiler seemingly offering the heads to the demon. She yells Hail Satan and is shot on the shoulder by the cop.

Kat is taken to an hospital and as she heals a priest performs an exorcism on her and the demon is gone. She is left in an insane asylum for 9 years but kills a nurse named Joan and steals her identity and makes her way to the boarding school. She is met at a bus stop by a man who offers her a ride in his car along with his wife. It turns out to be Rose’s parents who are on to their way to the town that the boarding school is on the anniversary of their daughter’s death. Joan finds out that they are Rose’s parents and takes a knife from a restaurant and kills both the man and his wife, cuts off their heads and takes it to the boarding school.

Joan enters the boiler room with the suitcase only to find the boiler dark and cold. The demon is long gone and the school has been abandoned. She exits the school and looks back at it as she begins to sob, realizing she is truly alone. After the loss of her parents she was truly happy with the demon and wanted it to possess her. Strange ending but the movie is boring to say the least. I fell asleep at one point. 6 outta 10!

Megan Is Missing

Megan Is Missing is a 2011 American drama horror film written and directed by Michael Goi. The film is presented by way of “found footage” and follows two early-teen girls that go online to find friends but instead go missing. Produced by Mark Gragnani the indie horror flick stars young actors Amber Perkins as Amy Herman & Rachel Quinn as Megan Stewart.

While Megan is a straight A student and highly popular her best friend Amy is a loner and only has her for a friend. She lives with her mom and her dad left them when she was very young. Her step dad apparently raped her for 2 years but her mom never believed it, even if he is prison now. Perhaps due to her broken home life, Megan a lifestyle of hard partying, drugs, alcohol, and indiscriminate sex. At 14!  Together, these two girls forge a deep friendship based on their mutual needs and regularly communicate by web chat cameras or cell phone. Megan often goes online to videochat with people outside of her friend circle and meets Josh, a 17 year old skater who’s webcam is broken but he can see her.

After a series of conversations, Megan goes to meet Josh behind a restaurant and is not seen again. The police begin an investigation but after several days of finding no clues, they start to dismiss the idea of an abduction and believe that she simple ran away. Amy contacts Josh to find out if he knows anything and finding him suspicious tells the police about his possible involvement. Josh warns her off and stalks her, grabbing her out in the woods as she is making a video diary. She is grabbed by someone and taken to an abandoned building’s basement in the woods. Days later her camera is found by the cops and they see the footage.

Josh, who is a fully grown man, has her stripped to her underwear and locked in a basement cell. He degrades her by making her eat food out of a bowl like a dog and then violently rapes her. Later he says he will let her go and tells her to get into a barrel so she can’t see where he has kept her. But in the barrel is Megan’s rotting corpse and a screaming Amy begs to be let out. Josh loads the barrel into the car and then drives to a forest, where he digs a large hole as Amy screams and begs for her life. Josh pushes the barrel in the hole and fills it up before walking away, leaving Amy to die. The film concludes with a clip of Megan and Amy relaxing on her bed together, talking about their plans for the future.

Where do I start? 14 year old girls partying so much and drinking beer? Parents too dumb to smell the alcohol on them once they return? The boy who runs the party is one of the biggest douches I have seen in a film and he talks like he is 21. 14 year old girls having sex or giving head and it’s not their first time? To see Megan giving a blow job to a classmate throwing a party as a favour for letting Amy is, was disgusting to say the least. This movie is scary to say the least. Not in a ghost or scary monster kinda way. But is this what kids in cities and suburbs do? Most of the film is boring and the acting is terrible in some cases, except for the two leads. 6 outta 10!

Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner 2049 is a 2017 American neo-noir science fiction film directed by Denis Villeneuve and written by Hampton Fancher and Michael Green. A sequel to the 1982 film Blade Runner, the film stars Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford, with Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Robin Wright, Mackenzie Davis, Carla Juri, Lennie James, Dave Bautista and Jared Leto in supporting roles. Set thirty years after the original film, the story depicts a bioengineered human named K, who discovers the remains of a once-pregnant replicant. To prevent a possible war between replicants and humans, K is secretly tasked with finding the child and destroying all evidence related to it.

So 30 years have passed and replicates have been integrated into society, mostly as servants. The new manufacturer of replicants is the prolific but ambitious and ruthless industrialist Niander Wallace, who took over the now defunct Tyrell corporation which was the original pioneer in this field. And we have K, a newer Nexus-9 model replicant who is created to obey his bosses and is employed by the LAPD to work as a Blade Runner and hunt and kill older rebellious replicant models. His home life is spent with his holographic girlfriend Joi, an artificial intelligence product of Wallace Corporation.

After tracking a replicant who is hiding on a farm and killing him post a struggle, K finds he remains of a female Nexus-7 replicant who died as the result of complications from an emergency caesarean section. K, and his superior, Lieutenant Joshi, find this unsettling, as pregnancy in replicants was originally thought to be impossible and she orders K to destroy all evidence of this and kill the child. K is disturbed by this order visits the headquarters of Wallace Corporation founder, who identifies the body as Rachael, an experimental replicant designed by Dr. Tyrell before his demise. In the process, he learns of her romantic ties with former veteran blade runner Rick Deckard. Wallace wants to check out replicants who can reproduce as creating new replicants is tedious so he sends his enforce replicant named Luv to steal Rachael’s remains from LAPD headquarters and follow K to find Rachael’s child.

K finds a date scratched in the farm and it matches the date of one of his own memories about hiding a toy wooden horse while being chased by bullies. Joi insists that this coincidence is evidence that K is, in fact, a real person. Searching birth records for that date, he finds that there were twins born – a boy and a girl – and the girl died while the boy lived. He tracks the child to an orphanage which he recognizes and finds the hidden wooden horse, suggesting that these memories — which he thought were merely implants — are real. K seeks out Dr. Ana Stelline, a memory designer who informs him that it is illegal to program replicants with humans’ real memories, and verifies that his memory of the orphanage is real, leading K to believe that he might be Rachael’s son.

fter failing a test of his replicant behaviour, K is suspended by Joshi, but he explains that he failed the test because he completed his mission in killing the child. Joshi gives him 48 hours to disappear. K transfers Joi to a mobile emitter on her orders, despite knowing, and informing Joi, that if it is damaged she will be erased. He then tracks the wooden horse to Las Vegas, a city in ruins, and finds Deckard, who admits to mixing up the baby’s records and was forced to leave a pregnant Rachael with the replicant freedom movement to protect her. They are then attacked by Luv and her agents and K is left for dead while Deckard is taken away. Joi is lost as the emitter is destroyed but K is rescued by the rebel replicants.  was forced to leave a pregnant Rachael with the replicant freedom movement to protect her.

K is told by their leader, Freysa, that Rachael’s child is actually a girl, and her memories were implanted in K. K deduces that Stelline is Deckard’s daughter, as she is capable of creating the memory and implanting it into him, and had begun crying upon viewing the memory earlier. Freysa urges K to prevent Wallace from uncovering the secrets of replicant reproduction by any means necessary, including killing Deckard. In Los Angeles Wallace tells Deckard that Rachael’s feelings for him may have been engineered by Tyrell to test the possibility of a replicant becoming pregnant and tempts him into revealing the location of the child he had. Deckard does not cooperate and is taken away.

K finds Deckard and kills Luv and her men, and heavily injured himself takes Deckard to Stelline. A mortally injured K, who had stages Deckard’s death so Wallace won’t send more of his men to find him, succumbs to his wounds outside on the steps of Stelline’s lab while Deckard reunited with his daughter.

The film is a stunning visual feast, though the pacing and length might not be suitable for all. It is a fitting epic sequel to a scifi classic. I love the decaying society feel of humans who seem to have lost their humanity while it is their creation, the replicants, who feel more human now. This franchise is look at the question what does it mean to be human and possibly about humanity being replaced eventually by their own creation. An 8.5 outta 10!

Blade Runner

Blade Runner is a 1982 American neo-noir science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, and Edward James Olmos. The script was written by Hampton Fancher and David Peoples. It is a loose adaptation of the 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by alliance and leicester loans Philip K. Dick.

Set in a dystopian Los Angeles circa 2019 (just two years away) the story depicts a future in which synthetic humans known as replicants are bioengineered by the powerful Tyrell Corporation to work on off-world colonies.  When a fugitive group of replicants led by Roy Batty (Hauer) escape back to Earth, burnt-out Los Angeles cop Rick Deckard(Ford) reluctantly accepts one last assignment to hunt them down. During his investigations, Deckard meets Rachael (Young), an advanced replicant who causes him to question his mission. The film questions what it means to be human and the quest for life and also thematically enfolding the philosophy of religion and moral implications of human mastery of genetic engineering in the context of classical Greek drama and hubris – and also in a way a take off from Frankenstein.

It shows humans as being less empathetic, cold and impersonal, while the replicants appear to show compassion and concern for one another – the test to find out if one is a replicant is an empathy test, with a number of its questions focused on the treatment of animals. The quest for the rebel replicants to seek out their father,  Eldon Tyrell , in a quest to gain more life than the 4 years that the lifespan for their Nexus 6 has, ends in tragedy – all of the replicants die. Roy Batty, the leader of the rebels demands more life from Tyrell and the latter tells him that it is impossible; the replicant confesses his “sins” to his maker and upon getting praise for his advanced design and accomplishments, he then kisses his maker and kills him.

Then there is Rachel, a replicant who does not know that she is artificial and thinks she is human. Tyrell has her programmed with false memories so she thinks she is a human but later has suspicions and approaches Deckard, who starts to fall in love with her and she reciprocates. Deckard kills two of the rebel replicants and saved by Rachel before one can kill him. After his fight with Roy in the rain at the end of the movie, Deckard leaves to find Rachel and leaves the city apparently to hide out and live with her. I am surprised about Roy – he has no problem in killing the others but he saves Deckard though he attacks him. When the latter is about to fall from the roof, Roy catches him and pulls him up and then dies.

While a commentary on humanity, the film asks you the question : was Deckard a human or replicant? Deckard’s unicorn-dream sequence, inserted into the Director’s Cut and concomitant with Gaff’s parting gift of an origami unicorn, is seen by many as showing that Deckard is a replicant—because Gaff could have accessed Deckard’s implanted memories. The interpretation that Deckard is a replicant is challenged by others who believe the unicorn imagery shows that the characters, whether human or replicant, share the same dreams and recognize their affinity, or that the absence of a decisive answer is crucial to the film’s main theme.

The film was a critical favourite but didn’t make money at the bo – it only made $33.8 million off a $28 million budget but has since become a cult favourite and considered a scifi classic. In the year after its release, the film won the prestigious Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, and in 1993 it was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress, being deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. I give it an 8 outta 10!

Movie Theatre Fuel

What three snacks do you always get at the movie theater?

What do you usually get? I always go for the classics – especially since last year (remember, I stopped going to movie theatres from 2005-2016). That’s popcorn and Coke/Pepsi. The popcorn options in Cinepolis and Lulu;s PVR are the same – classic salted, cheese and caramel. I love the flavoured kind so I usually go for either cheese or caramel.

Cinepolis (though they are closed at the moment due to building violations in the mall that they are located in) has a deal with Coke, so when I go there I get Coke. Lulu PVR has Pepsi so I usually get a Pepsi there. There are other soft drinks, cold frappes and coffees too but this what I usually get to drink there and I usually go with the medium size and once in a while I take large.

The third one is obviously candy. Chocolate balls or bars of any kind, though it has been ages since I have bought one in. I would also say that nachos are another option. They offer nachos with dips like salsa and others at these two multiplexes. There are sandwiches and other stuff as well.

Prompt from 31 DAYS OF WRITING PROMPTS FOR MARCH at The SitsGirls

The Circle

The Circle is a 2017 American techno-thriller film directed by James Ponsoldt and written by Ponsoldt and Dave Eggers, based on Eggers’ 2013 novel of the same name. The film stars Emma Watson and Tom Hanks, with John Boyega, Karen Gillan, Ellar Coltrane, Patton Oswalt, Glenne Headly and Bill Paxton. It is the final performance of Paxton’s career, and was released just after his death in February 2017. It is also Headly’s penultimate performance before her death in June 2017.

The movie is set in the near future (it’s not really mentioned as such but from the look of things I’d guess in the next couple of years) where technology and social media is on the cusp of really taking over the world in a way that privacy can really take a back seat. I mean just look at movie stars and pop stars in Hollywood or any big city – they are hounded by the media and the paparazzi and at times you feel bad for them because they cannot even go to a cafe and enjoy some food and coffee in peace and without makeup on and looking at their best because pics would be splashed all over the internet.

Mae is a person who finds herself working for a tech company called The Circle in customer service. The company comes up with these really small cameras, in a project called SeeChange, to provide real time videos anywhere and everywhere. So much so that connected to the online community, you can track someone – anyone – at anytime anywhere because there is always a camera around and there are people who alert you to spotting that person you are looking for. The company has a very strong social media and even physical community with weekend parties and other events planned and although Mae is at first overwhelmed, she embraces the life and soon rises in popularity in the company.

Despite being warned by the man who created some of this tech, Mae soon finds herself taken in for special notice by the top brass – Eamon & Tom – and her family’s medical bills are taken care by her company insurance. After an incident in which she almost drowns Mae is encourages to announce at a company meeting to be the first employee to go completely transparent – which involves wearing a small camera and exposing her life to the world. She is always connected and people see what she sees and can see her – except for when she needs to go to the bathroom. Her friend Annie, the one who helped her get the job, disapproves. The Circle soon becomes more powerful as voting could be done via people’s Circle accounts and suggestions are made that every citizen have a mandatory Circle account and vote in the elections.

With all these political and power connotations, it’s a more personal matter than changes Mae’s mind about the company. When a friend, Mercer, is hounded by company employees for a misunderstanding, the cameras find him despite him doing his best to go off the grid. While evading the cameras and the people who try to find him, he has an accident and dies. This devastates Mae who goes home for a few days. With the help of Ty, one of the creators in the company, she announces a radical change in the company – at the next company wide meeting, inviting both Eamon and Tom to go fully transparent. She explains how Ty has found all their accounts, even the accounts that their wives were unaware of, and exposes them as no one should be exempt. Eamon and Tom, clearly upset, try to save face before Tom leaves the stage.

Mae reiterates her point of transparency being good, with the support of the audience. Mae goes kayaking again, untroubled by the drones that surround her. The film serves as a kind of warning as to where the information age could be heading and though they make a good attempt, it fails in execution when compared to the novel. I would give it a 6.5 outta 10!

Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge

Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge (2017) is the fifth installment in the Pirates of the Caribbean film series and the sequel to On Stranger payadvance Tides (2011). The film is directed by Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg from a script by Jeff Nathanson, with Jerry Bruckheimer serving again as producer. Johnny Depp, Kevin McNally and Geoffrey Rush reprise their roles as Jack Sparrow, Joshamee Gibbs and Hector Barbossa, respectively, while Javier Bardem, Brenton Thwaites and Kaya Scodelario join the cast as Armando Salazar, Henry Turner and Carina Smyth. The film also features the returns of Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley as Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann, following their absence from the previous film.

The movie starts off with Henry Turner, the son of Will and Elizabeth, trying to contact his father’s ship The Dutchman, which was cursed to be swallowed the sea. Not sure how many years have passed since At World’s End (which came out in 2007) but the boy wants to rescue his father. Henry is made aware that only the mythical trident of Poseiden can free the crew of the Flying Dutchman and that Captain Jack Sparrow is his only hope to get it. A few years later Henry is part of the Royal Navy but is put in the brig for mutiny when his ship sails for the supernatural Devil’s Triangle. The ship comes across a shipwreck, the Silent Mary, and are attacked by its ghostly crew led by Captain Salazar. Salazar and his crew kill everyone aboard except Henry. Salazar, seeing a wanted poster of Jack allows him to live so he can deliver a message to Jack that he is coming for him before leaving.

In Saint Martin, a young astronomer and horologist named Carina Smyth is sentenced to death for alleged witchcraft, but escapes custody. She briefly runs into Captain Jack Sparrow who, along with his crew, is attempting to steal the money from the bank’s vault. However the end up losing the money but dragging the whole bank with them. The crew leave Jack behind as they have lost faith in him. Depressed, Jack forsakes his magic compass to pay for a drink, subsequently freeing Salazar’s crew from their imprisonment within the Devil’s Triangle. Carina learns Henry is looking for the Trident’s location and offers to help him using a diary left by her unknown father. Carina and Jack are both captured and face execution, but are saved by Henry and Jack’s crew, setting sail on the Dying Gull.

We have Barbossa’s ship and crew are destroyed by Salazar but he ends up saving himself by telling him that he will apprehend Jack.  He tells Barbossa that long ago he worked for the Spanish Navy hunting down pirates. However, a young Jack tricked him into sailing into the Devil’s Triangle, cursing his crew. Salazar pursues the Dying Gull, forcing Jack, Henry, and Carina to flee to an island while fighting off Salazar’s cursed sharks, discovering that Salazar’s crew cannot go on land. After saving Jack from a forced-marriage, Barbossa allies himself with Jack and provides him his compass, obtained from the sea witch Shansa. He uses the Sword of Triton to restore the miniaturized Black Pearl, trapped in a bottle by Blackbeard, to its original size but betrays Jack and takes the Pearl for himself once more.

During the voyage, Jack and Barbossa realize Carina is the latter’s long-lost daughter who he had left her at an orphanage with his diary so she could live a better life.  Jack, Barbossa, and Carina use the island’s magic to open a path to the Trident’s spot on the ocean floor, parting the ocean. Salazar captures Henry and possesses his body, chasing Jack and the others across the ocean floor and seizes the Trident, freeing Henry. Henry shatters the Trident, breaking all curses upon the sea and restoring Salazar’s crew to life.

However, the divided sea begins to collapse in on itself. The Pearl drops its anchor to lift them to safety, but Salazar, not satisfied with being human, follows Jack, still hell-bent on killing him. Carina realizes that Barbossa is her father when she spots a tattoo on his arm identical to the diary’s cover. Barbossa sacrifices himself to kill Salazar, allowing the others to escape alive. Some time later, Henry and Carina reach Port Royal, where Will appears, free from the Dutchman. His wife, Elizabeth, appears moments later and the Turner family reunite. Jack watches from the Pearl sailing away into the horizon. In a post-credits scene, Will and Elizabeth sleep in their bedroom but the silhouette of an apparently resurrected Davy Jones appears. Will wakes up, assuming it was a nightmare, but a small puddle filled with barnacles under the bed implies that Jones has indeed returned.

I kinda found the film quite boring and muddled in it’s storyline. It was a good decision to not watch it in the theatre. While I enjoyed the first two films really well, it’s been going downhill since then. But the film grossed $172.6 million in the United States and Canada and $621.6 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $794.2 million, against a production budget of $230 million. So you can be sure atleast one more film will come out of this and probably then, or maybe in a few years time, they will reboot it again. Johnny Depp though is a treat to watch. 6.5 outta 10!

RIP Tom Alter

Veteran Indian film, television and theatre actor and Padma Shri Tom Alter has died aged 67. The renowned actor and one-time sports writer and author had been battling stage four skin cancer. Alter acted in over 300 movies apart from numerous TV shows, most famously as the gangster Keshav Kalsi in the hit soap opera Junoon which ran for a record five years during the 1990s. In addition to acting, Alter also ventured into direction and was a sports journalist in the 80s and 90s.  Alter has written three books, one non-fiction and two fiction, and in 2008 was awarded the prestigious Padma Shri by the Indian government in recognition for his services to the field of arts and cinema.

Born in the hill station of Mussoorie in 1950, Alter was a third-generation American in India who studied at Woodstock School in the Himalayas and then briefly at Yale University in the USA, before returning to India in the early 70s. In 1972, he was one of three men – the others being Benjamin Gilani and Phunsok Ladakhi – chosen from over 800 applicants across north India to be enrolled in at the prestigious Film and Television Institute of India in Pune, where two years later he graduated with a gold medal diploma in acting. Among his notable roles during the first decade of his acting career were Satyajit Ray’s Shatranj Ke Khiladi (1977), Shyam Benega’s Junoon (1979), Manoj Kumar’s magnum opus Kranti (1981) and Raj Kapoor’s Ram Teri Ganga Maili (1985).

Other notable directors he worked with during the 70s and 80s were V Shantaram, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Manmohan Desai, Subhash Ghai, Chetan Anand – who gave him his first break in the Dev Anand-starrer Saheb Bahadur – and Vidhu Vinod Chopra, who gave him the pivotal role of the gangster Musa in the critically acclaimed hit Parinda. n the 90s, Alter was seen in many films, prominent among them Mahesh Bhatt’s Aashiqui, Junoon and Gumrah, Ketan Mehta’s Sardar and Priyadarshan’s Kala Pani. During this time, he also acted in regional cinema – Bengali, Assamese, Telegu, Tamil and Kumaoni films. Among his foreign films are Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi and One Night with the King, in which he acted opposite his idol, the legendary Peter O’Toole.

On TV, Alter’s leading work came in Junoon, Zabaan Sambhalke, Jugalbandi, Bharat EK Khoj, Ghutan, Shaktimaan, Captain Vyom, Mere Ghar Aana Zindagi and Yahaan Ke Hum Sikandar. Most recently, he was seen in a pivotal role in the ongoing serial Rishton Ka Chakravyuh on Star Plus. At the time of his death, Alter had approximately 16 unreleased films lined up as well as a web series by Eros Now titled Smoke. He is survived by his wife Carol, son Jamie, and daughter Afshaan.

How I Watch Movies

Where, and How, Do You Watch Movies?

Well for the longest time I usually only watched movies at home. So as a kid and until the age of 15-16, I and my family usually rented movies from a Video Lending Library. VHS tapes of movies and you signed up for a membership, give them your name and number and address and you paid a certain amount for each movie for a week or 2 weeks at a time. I usually would rent 2-4 movies at a time.

That’s what we did until cable came around to my part of the district anyway. At first we got one channel that had movies all day long and then we had a whole blast of channels which played movies and specials on movies, interviews and behind the scenes stuff in between showing of movies. So every weekend I had a choice of what movie or movies I wanted to watch from a handful of channels.

Since 2007 I have mostly been watching movies off dvds. They started selling dvds at a much cheaper rate – might not be original but it was good enough – and I could buy a few movies at a time and watch them over the next few days or so. I usually watch them in my bedroom on my laptop. I currently also have streaming options as I am a subscriber of Amazon Prime (the Indian one and options will be limited) and I am even thinking of signing up for Netflix.

Prompt from The Learning Network at The New York Times

The Final Girls

The Final Girls is a 2015 American slasher comedy film, directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson and written by M.A. Fortin and Joshua John Miller. The film stars Taissa Farmiga and Malin Åkerman, with supporting performances from Adam DeVine, Thomas Middleditch, Alia Shawkat, Alexander Ludwig, Nina Dobrev, Chloe Bridges, and Angela Trimbur. It an homage to 80s style slasher flicks and camp horror but especially Friday the 13th and short term loans for students uk Jason Vorheese.

Amanda Cartright is a struggling actress who got typecast because of her role in an 80s slasher flick called Camp Bloodbath. As it is cult classic, even several years later she is unable to get better roles and after yet another audition where the producers know her from the horror flick, she complains about her career to her teenage daughter Max. As the two sing in the car, Max accidentally drops her drink onto Amanda’s portfolio and headshots and this distracts her and they have an accident. Amanda dies but Max survives. Three years later, her best friend Gertie’s step-brother Duncan, who is a horror film fan asks Max to show up at a double bill showing of Camp Bloodbath and its sequel, Camp Bloodbath 2: Cruel Summer.

Despite it being Amanda’s death anniversary Max reluctantly agrees and goes to the theatre with her Chris, who she is interested in and Gertie. Chris’s ex-girlfriend Vickie is also there as is Duncan. During the movie there is an accidental fire which causes panic. Using a machete that was there as a prop, Max cuts through the screen and her group all step through. They find themselves waking up in broad daylight and in the woods. A van pulls over and they realize that the Every 92 minutes, they encounter a van with two characters from Camp Bloodbath, and realize they have somehow been transported inside the movie. The group awkwardly pass themselves off as new camp counselors, and hitch a ride to camp and Amanda’s character Nancy wakes up from sleep in the back of the van which shocks Max.

Realizing that they must let the film run it’s course, they let the first couple of murders happen without interference, but when Duncan is killed by the film’s machete-wielding villain Billy Murphy, they realize that they too run the risk of becoming victims. The group decides to stop the cast from having sex, as whenever someone does so in Camp Bloodbath, they fall prey to Billy’s machete. Chris distracts Kurt, while Max persuades Nancy to stay a virgin. Vicki sticks with Paula, the movie’s final girl and Gertie bonds with Blake, a counselor. When Gertie brings up the topic of Billy Murphy, the counselors are alerted to the fact that the “urban legend” of Billy is “real” and will come to kill them. In a panic, the counselors try to flee the camp. Kurt and Paula drive off, but when Duncan emerges still alive, the car hits him then crashes into a totem pole, resulting in their deaths.

Now aware that the characters who originally survived the movie can die, Max and the others decide to save anyone they can. They dress Tina in a life jacket and mittens, to prevent her from undressing. They also decide that Max, the only remaining virgin, is the new final girl, and plot to get Billy’s machete into her hands so she can kill him and end the film. Meanwhile, Max and Nancy bond, and theorize that, if Nancy survives the movie, she can go back home with Max and be whomever she wants. The group booby trap the cabin, then Tina lures Billy to them by performing a striptease. Tina panics and is killed when a trip wire sends her headfirst into a bear trap. Blake, Vicki and Gertie are killed fighting Billy. Chris, Nancy, and Max flee the cabin, and Billy chases after them. Chris is stabbed, and Billy kidnaps Nancy. Max finds her at Billy’s barn hideout, and the two women fight him, which results in Max getting stabbed, before they both escape.

After the two retreat to the chapel, Max tells Nancy that her real life counterpart is Max’s mother. They bid each other a tearful farewell before Nancy sacrifices herself by luring Billy with a striptease. Max collapses, but, now the final girl, she awakens with the power to kill Billy. They fight and she eventually decapitates him with his own machete. A wounded Chris arrives and the two kiss, while Camp Bloodbath‘s closing credits play in the sky. Later, Max wakes to find herself in the hospital, where she is reunited with her friends. The group hears Billy Murphy’s approach tune, and realize they are in the sequel, Camp Bloodbath 2: Cruel Summer. Billy crashes through the glass doors of the hospital as the title appears. Using a drip stand as a weapon, Max lunges at Billy, before the film abruptly ends.

Funny, campy and as well as heart-felt homage to slasher films of the 80s, the film resonated with horror enthusiasts as well as comedy fans. I give this a 7.5 outta 10!

Baywatch (2017)

Baywatch is a 2017 American action comedy film directed by Seth Gordon and based on the television series of the same name. Written by Mark Swift and Damian Shannon, the film stars Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, Priyanka Chopra, Alexandra Daddario, Kelly Rohrbach and Jon Bass. The plot follows lifeguard Mitch Buchannon and his team, who in an effort to save their beach have to take down a druglord.

Ok, so this is a basically a kind of reboot of the Baywatch show with the same character names but totally different characters. Dwayne Johnson is Mitch Buchanan, a muscle bound LT in the lifeguard section that protects the beach and the people who visit and swim there. He is not the same Mitch but there is another Mitch (with a brief cameo by David Hassellhoff) who was this Mitch’s mentor. Basically the character is The Rock in red! Zac Effron plays Matt Brody, a former Olympic gold medal swimmer who fell from grace to grass after vomiting during a relay race and now has to perform community service as part of an unspecified plea deal. Brody is an attitude laden, smug and arrogant but he has a point to prove. His initial interactions with the rest of the lifeguards do not go well but he is given another chance by Mitch.

We have second-in-commmand Stephanie Holden (Ilfenesh Hadera) and veteran C. J. Parker (Kelly Rohrbach), and joining them are the three new recruits – surfer Summer Quinn (Alexandra Daddario), an old friend of Holden’s, Ronnie (Jon Bass), a chubby nerd with a crush on C. J. (that is gradually returned), and Brody. These guys also think that other than just “saving lives” they should also be the law and investigate murders and drug smuggling! The villain is played by Priyanka Chopra as Victoria Leeds! First of all, her accent has improved but not by much. Second of all, I was so satisfied when she got blown away (since I cannot stand Little Miss Faker). She is a wealthy businesswoman who is smuggling in drugs and will go to any lengths to get what she wants.

The movie has a few laughs but the gross teenager aimed dick jokes and vomit jokes is getting lame when you have 40-plus lead actor and Effron is 29 now. The acting is barely there, the plot simple and they are trying too hard for the laughs. The cliched reasons why Brody changes his ways and becomes part of the team or “family” is so outdated. It’s a half-hearted attempt to bring the franchise to the big screen. Props for getting two small cameos by Hassellhoff and Pamela Anderson. I give the film a 6.5 outta 10!