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Morgan (2016)

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

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

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

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

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

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RIP John Hurt

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

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

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

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The Purge: Election Year

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

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

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

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

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

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The Haunting in Connecticut

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

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

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

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

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

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Angry Birds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Forest

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Passengers

Passengers is a 2016 American science fiction adventure film directed by Morten Tyldum and written by Jon Spaihts. It stars Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt, Michael Sheen, Laurence Fishburne and Andy García.

Set sometime in the future, the Avalon is a commerical starship on a long voyage from the Earth to the conly planet Homestead II, a journey that takes 120 years. There are 5000 travelers on board and a sizable crew sleeping in hibernation pods. Unfortunately a malfunction occurs when the starship goes through some space debris and a single passenger, mechanic James Preston, is woken up and comes out of his pod. Jim soon realizes that he is alone, except for the android bartender Arthur and though initially he lives it up and moves up to the more expensive suites, he becomes desperate and lonely. He tried fixing the pod and attempts to wake the crew but is unable to get access to their pods.

After a year of living alone he almost ends his life by nearly jumping out of an airlock. He then notices a beautiful woman named Aurora hibernating in one of the pods. Her video profile reveals a humorous personality and that she is a writer. Jim struggles over the morality of manually reviving Aurora for companionship, but eventually does. He leds her to believe that her pod also malfunctioned like his and shows her around. Aurora, devastated that she may grow old and die before the ship reaches Homestead II, attempts a fruitless effort at re-entering hibernation, just as Jim once tried and failed to do. She comes to accept her situation and begins writing a book about her experiences. Jim and Aurora grow closer, becoming lovers. One evening, exactly a year later, Arthur lets her in on the secret that Jim told him and she is furious! She is distraught, alternately berating, shunning, and physically attacking Jim. Soon after, however, another pod failure awakens Gus, a Chief Deck Officer. The three discover multiple failures in the ship’s systems due to a failed component overloading other components. Gus attempts repairs with Jim and Aurora’s help, while Aurora still blames Jim for stealing her life, claiming it is tantamount to murder.

Gus’s body starts failing and his organs start shutting down caused by the malfunction his pod. Medical tests in the Autodoc, an automated medical diagnostics and treatment pod, show that he has but hours to live. Before his death, Gus gives Jim and Aurora his ID badge to access crew areas and repair the ship, which is experiencing more severe failures each day. The two of them trace an asteroid’s path through parts of the ship’s hull, caused 2 years ago which led to the malfunctions, that damaged the computer administering the reactor. Jim realizes he must vent a fusion reactor by opening an outer vent hatch. Aurora assists Jim while admitting she is terrified of losing him and living on the ship alone. Aurora, from inside the ship, and Jim, outside it, successfully vent the reactor. However, Jim’s tether breaks loose and his damaged spacesuit loses its oxygen supply. Aurora retrieves the seemingly deceased Jim and resuscitates him using the Autodoc.

Jim learns that using the autodoc he can hibernate one person to survive the trip till the ship reaches Homestead II. He offers Aurora the choice of going back to sleep, and she realises this choice would mean that she would never see him again. After 88 years, the ship’s passengers and crew awaken shortly before arrival on Homestead II. They discover vegetation and domestic animals in the ship’s concourse area. Aurora’s completed book is found, and it is revealed that she chose to stay awake with Jim and finish writing her story.

Stunning visually and the special effects are awesome. It is a beautiful movie to watch and well acted. It’s more like a love story set in a starship in space rather than a real science fiction film. I liked it a lot and give it an 8.5 outta 10!

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RIP Om Puri

Veteran actor Om Prakesh Puri OBE, 66, has passed away after a massive heart attack early on Friday morning. He was an Indian actor who appeared in mainstream commercial Indian, British, Pakistani and Hollywood, independent films and art films. His credits also include appearances in American films. He was awarded Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award of India. Om Puri’s friends and colleagues from Bollywood reached his Andheri residence to pay their last respects to the actor. Puri’s body was taken to Cooper hospital for postmortem, following which the funeral will take place. His close associates confirmed that he had a massive heart attack.

Puri was born in Ambala, Haryana, to a Punjabi family. Puri graduated from the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune. He was also an alumnus of the 1973 class of National School of Drama where Naseeruddin Shah was a co-student. Puri was on the forefront of what was called art films movement in the 70s. He has worked in acclaimed films such as Bhavni Bhavai (1980), Sadgati (1981), Ardh Satya (1982), Mirch Masala (1986) and Dharavi (1992). Among his other roles are Maachis, Wolf, Chachi 420, City of Joy, The Reluctant Fundamentalist etc.

Puri married Nandita Puri in the year 1993. The couple had a son named Ishaan. They separated in 2013.

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Star Trek Movies Rewatching Done

It took me a while, longer than I thought I would take but I did finish my rewatching of the entire collection of Star Trek movies which is something I do every 2 years. This year with Star Trek Beyond being released (I have watched it once in the theatre and once at home on dvd) I knew I just had to. So a few weeks ago I sat back and watched Star Trek 2009, Star Trek Into Darkness and Beyond for the second time. Then I made up my mind to watch the 10 movies from the original timeline / prime timeline back to back in order.

It took me a long time as initially I planned to only watch them on the weekends. I started on December 8th with The Motion Picture and slowly worked my way through and infact I only watched Star Trek Nemesis, the last movie in the list after midnight on New Year’s Eve but I am counting that as a win. So I guess I am good till 2018. Well actually I might watch them again, perhaps not all of them in order back to back, but some of them sometime this year.

Why? Because it’s Star Trek and I love it.

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Blair Witch (2016)

To be honest I wasn’t that impressed with The Blair Witch Project which is a 1999 found footage horror film that was a trendsetter and heavily influential. I also watched it many years later after I knew the story and the film had been talked loans no credit check direct lenders out over and over again. Well, we get a second sequel to the film in Blair Witch. Directed by Adam Wingard and written by Simon Barrett the movie stars James Allen McCune, Callie Hernandez, Brandon Scott, Corbin Reid, Wes Robinson, and Valorie Curry.

Set 20 years after the events of the first film, Heather’s younger brother James is obsessed with finding what happened to his sister and her crew. He finds an uploaded video from a camera found in the woods and it shows a brief reflection off a mirror of a woman running into a house. James is sure that the woman is his sister. He heads into the woods, accompanied by friends Peter Jones, Ashley Bennett, and film student Lisa Arlington, who wants to film the search for a documentary and hence ofcourse a bunch of cameras and a drone. They meet the Youtubers, Lane & Talia, who found the film and uploaded it and they agree to show them into the woods to the place where they found the film, provided they can join for the rest of the trip. James agrees and the 6 of them head into the woods.

What happens next is stuff pretty much from the first film. Noises in the night, waking up from their tents to find strange stick figures hanging from the trees and even accusation of Lane of setting it up when they find twine in his bag. The group walk in circles coming back to the same spot though they left hours ago. Lane and Talia come back after being banished for a day but they claim that it has been 5 days for them wandering through the woods and that the sun has not been seen for those 5 days! Is it possible that the witch is manipulating the woods? Ashley becomes sick due to a wound on her foot, forcing the group to camp again. Peter is chased by an unknown entity, gets wounded, and disappears. Believing that he is hallucinating, Lane runs off. The next morning, James and Lisa are stunned to find that it is still dark outside and discover larger stick figures. Talia sees clumps of her hair tied to one of the figures. Ashley accuses Talia of crafting them and snaps the figure in half; Talia’s body is then snapped in half.

They are chased by an unseen force that lifts up their tent Ashley finds the drone and climbs a tree to recover it but falls and is pulled off-screen by the force. James and Lisa run and find the cabin from the first film and are separated when James feels he sees his sister and he runs into the house. Lisa sees a humanoid creature and runs from it into the house and finds a disheveled and older looking Lane who traps her in an underground tunnel. Lisa is again attacked by Lane, whom she fatally stabs. She finds James and they are chased by the force. As per the legend, James makes Lisa stare at the wall and tells her not to look at the entity. He however is tricked into turning around, believing that he hears Heather’s voice, is attacked and dragged out of sight. Lisa uses Lane’s camcorder to indirectly view what is behind her and begins walking backwards. However, hearing James’ apology again, she turns too, and is attacked.

Most of the film is a bit similar to the first film and it’s only towards the end when things pick up. I liked the sequence from when Peter is attacked till the end so I’m going to give the film a 6.5 outta 10!

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RIP Debbie Reynolds

Debbie Reynolds, a leading lady in Hollywood musicals and comedies in the 1950s and 1960s including “Singin’ in the Rain,” died on Wednesday shortly after saying she wanted to be with her daughter Carrie Fisher. The 84-year-old Oscar-nominated singer-actress passed away hours after being rushed to the Cedars-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles after suffering a stroke, her son, Todd Fisher said. Her death came just one day after her daughter Carrie, the 60-year-old actress best known for playing Princess Leia in the Star Wars films, died of a heart attack. He said the stress of his sister’s death “was too much” for Reynolds. “She said, ‘I want to be with Carrie’,” Mr Fisher added. “And then she was gone.” Reynolds had fallen ill at her son’s home in Beverly Hills, according to celebrity website TMZ. They were reportedly discussing funeral plans for Fisher. Joely Fisher, Carrie’s half sister and also an actress, had taken to Twitter to wish Reynolds well before the death was announced.

Reynolds was a superstar early in life. After two minor roles at Warner Bros. and three supporting roles at MGM, studio boss Louis B. Mayer cast her in “Singin’ in the Rain” in 1952, despite Gene Kelly’s objections. She was 19 with little dance experience, and she would be appearing with two of the screen’s greatest dancers, Donald O’Connor and Kelly, who also co-directed. She was nominated for a best actress Oscar for her role in the 1964 musical “The Unsinkable Molly Brown”, which was based on the life of a Colorado woman who rose from poverty to riches and triumphed over tragedy, including the sinking of the Titanic. Reynolds received an honorary Oscar in 2015, the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, but was too ill to attend the ceremony. Her granddaughter, actress Billie Lourd, accepted the statuette in her honour. She also received a lifetime achievement award from the Screen Actors Guild that year.

Reynolds also has several hit records to her name, and topped the charts with the 1957 song “Tammy” from the film “Tammy and the Bachelor”. She was married to Eddie Fisher, the singer and actor, from 1955 to 1959, and together they had two children- Carrie and Todd Fisher. Fisher left Reynolds to marry Elizabeth Taylor, the actress, and Reynolds was married and divorced twice afterward. In 1973 Reynolds starred in a Broadway revival of the musical Irene and was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Lead Actress in a Musical. In 1969 she starred in her own television show The Debbie Reynolds Show, for which she received a Golden Globe nomination. She was also nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award for her performance in A Gift of Love (1999) and an Emmy Award for playing Grace’s mother Bobbi on Will & Grace. Reynolds was a noted businesswoman, having operated her own hotel in Las Vegas. She was also a collector of film memorabilia, beginning with the landmark 1970 MGM auction. She was the former president of The Thalians, an organization dedicated to mental health causes. Reynolds continued to perform successfully on stage, television, and film into her eighties. In January 2015, Reynolds received the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award. In August 2015, it was announced Reynolds would be the recipient of the 2016 Academy Awards Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.

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RIP Carrie Fisher

American actress, writer, producer, and humorist Carrie Fisher died at the age of 60 on December 27, 2016, after going into cardiac arrest during a transatlantic flight four days earlier. Fisher was known for playing Princess Leia in the Star Wars film series. Her other film roles included Shampoo (1975), The Blues Brothers (1980), Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), The ‘Burbs (1989), and When Harry Met Sally… (1989). Fisher was also known for her semi-autobiographical novels, including Postcards from the Edge and the screenplay for the film of the same name, as well as her autobiographical one-woman play and its nonfiction book, Wishful Drinking, based on the show. In later years, she earned praise for speaking publicly about her experiences with mental health and drug addiction.

Fisher was born in Beverly Hills, California, the daughter of singer Eddie Fisher and alliance and leicester loans actress Debbie Reynolds. Her paternal grandparents were Russian Jewish immigrants. Fisher made her film debut in the Columbia Pictures comedy Shampoo (1975) starring Warren Beatty, Julie Christie and Goldie Hawn, with Lee Grant and Jack Warden as her character’s parents. “Star Wars,” released in 1977, turned her overnight into an international movie star. The film, written and directed by George Lucas, traveled around the world, breaking box-office records. In April 1978, she appeared as the love interest in Ringo Starr’s 1978 TV special Ringo. Fisher appeared with Laurence Olivier and Joanne Woodward in the anthology series Laurence Olivier Presents in a television version of the William Inge play Come Back, Little Sheba.

Fisher appeared in The Blues Brothers film as Jake’s vengeful ex-lover; she is listed in the credits as “Mystery Woman”. While in Chicago filming the movie, her life was saved by Dan Aykroyd when she was choking on a Brussels sprout and he performed the Heimlich maneuver on her. She appeared on Broadway in Censored Scenes from King Kong in 1980. The same year, she reprised her role as Princess Leia in The Empire Strikes Back, and appeared with her Star Wars costars on the cover of the July 12, 1980 issue of Rolling Stone to promote the film. She also appeared in the Broadway production of Agnes of God in 1982. In 1983, Fisher returned to the role of Princess Leia in Return of the Jedi, and posed in the Princess Leia metal bikini on the cover of the Summer 1983 issue of Rolling Stone to promote the film. In 1987, Fisher published her first novel, Postcards from the Edge. The book was semi-autobiographical in the sense that she fictionalized and satirized real-life events such as her drug addiction of the late 1970s and her relationship with her mother. It became a bestseller, and she received the Los Angeles Pen Award for Best First Novel. Also during 1987, she was in the Australian film The Time Guardian. In 1989, Fisher played a major supporting role in When Harry Met Sally…, and in the same year, she appeared with Tom Hanks as his wife in The ‘Burbs.

Fisher appeared in the fantasy comedy film Drop Dead Fred in 1991, and played a therapist in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997). During the 1990s, Fisher also published the novels Surrender the Pink (1990) and Delusions of Grandma (1993). In the 2000 film Scream 3 Fisher played a former actress, and in 2001 she played a nun in the Kevin Smith comedy Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. She also co-wrote the TV comedy film These Old Broads (2001), of which she was also co-executive producer. It starred her mother, Debbie Reynolds, as well as Elizabeth Taylor, Joan Collins, and Shirley MacLaine. Besides acting and writing original works, Fisher was one of the top script doctors in Hollywood, working on the screenplays of other writers. She also appeared as General Leia Organa Star Wars: The Force instant laons Awakens and had completed filming for Star Wars: Episode VIII before her death. Fisher was survived by her daughter, her mother Debbie Reynolds, her brother Todd Fisher and her half-sisters Joely Fisher and Tricia Leigh Fisher.

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Sully

Sully is a 2016 American biographical drama film directed by Clint Eastwood and written by Todd Komarnicki, based on the autobiography Highest Duty by Chesley Sullenberger and Jeffrey Zaslow. The film stars Tom Hanks as Sullenberger, with Aaron Eckhart, Laura Linney, Anna Gunn, Autumn Reeser, Holt McCallany, Jamey Sheridan, and Jerry Ferrara in supporting roles. The film follows Sullenberger’s January 2009 emergency landing of US Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson River, in which all 155 passengers and crew survived with only minor injuries, and the subsequent publicity and investigation.

The film follows the investigation into the events of January 15, 2009, when three minutes into a domestic flight from New York City’s LaGuardia Airport to Charlotte Douglas International Airport at an approximate altitude of 2,800 feet (approx. 850 m), the Airbus A320 strikes a flock of birds, disabling both engines.  As US Airways pilots Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and First Officer Jeffrey Skiles check and see that without engine power and judging themselves unable to reach nearby airports, Sully decides to ditch the aircraft on the Hudson River. He manages to land in the Hudson and the crew evacuates all passengers without casualty. He calls his wife and lets her know what has happened. The press and public hail Sullenburger as a hero, but the incident leaves Sullenburger with symptoms of PTSD shortly afterwards, and he repeatedly imagines the plane crashing into a building.

Afterwards, Sully learns that preliminary data from ACARS suggest that the port engine was still running at idle power. Theoretically, this would have left him with enough power to return to LaGuardia or land at Teterboro. Furthermore, the board of inquiry claims that several confidential computerized simulations of the flight have concluded that the plane could have been landed safely at either airport with no power from either engine. Sully, however, insists that he lost both engines, which left him without sufficient time, speed, or altitude to land safely at any airport. He realizes that the NTSB is leaning towards considering the cause of the accident as “pilot error” and that would mean the end of his career. To save his reputation he arranges to have the simulations rerun with live pilots, and the results are relayed to the public hearing. Both simulations result in successful landings, one at each airport. At the hearing Sully tells that the simulations are unrealistic because the pilots knew in advance of the situation they would face and of the suggested emergency action, and had also been able to practice the scenario several times. The board accepts that in real life the pilots would have taken some time to react, and run their emergency checks, before deciding to divert the plane.

The two simulations are re-run and relayed to the hearing, this time allowing a 35-second pause before the plane is diverted. The simulated diversion to LaGuardia ends with the plane landing onto the lead-in lights short of the runway, and to Teterboro with a crash into buildings before the airport. The board payadvance also announces that analysis of the port engine, now recovered from the river, confirms Sully’s account that it had been put out of action by the bird strikes. They therefore conclude that Sully acted correctly in selecting the best of the options available to him, which in the event had saved the lives of everyone aboard. At the end of the hearing First Officer Skiles is asked whether he would have done anything differently, and he replies: “Yes, I would have done it in July.” to much laughter.

Exceptional well done and directed and ofcourse well acted by the cast with Hanks at the helm. He does it with the least amount of drama and brings a rich sincerity to the role. It’s a sedate yet very interesting and involving film. I give it 8.5 outta 10!

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ROSHAN’S ELEVEN : Favourite 2016 Movies

Ok, I haven’t seen a few movies released in 2016 that I do wanna see but as we are in the last week of the year and I don’t see myself being able to go and watch a new one in the theatre before Jan 1st or get a copy of a film in the next 4 days, this list is probably safe. Let’s get cracking and in order my favourite films released in 2016 in order are :

  1. Captain America : Civil War
  2. Deadpool
  3. Star Trek Beyond
  4. The Conjuring 2
  5. Sully
  6. The Jungle Book
  7. Batman vs Superman : Dawn of Justice
  8. Doctor Strange
  9. Zootopia
  10. Moana
  11. Don’t Breathe
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Jason Bourne

Although I was never a big fan of the Bourne movies, I appreciated them for what they were – intelligent, well thought out spy films with a lot of action and fight scenes interspaced between the dialogues and intrigue. This one though, bored the heck outta me. Jason Bourne is a 2016 American action thriller film directed and written by Paul Greengrass and film editor Christopher Rouse. The fifth installment of the Jason Bourne film series and the direct sequel to 2007’s The Bourne Ultimatum, Matt Damon reprises his role as the main character, former CIA assassin and psychogenic amnesiac Jason Bourne. Tommy Lee Jones, Alicia Vikander, Julia Stiles, Vincent Cassel, Riz Ahmed, Ato Essandoh and Scott Shepherd also star in the dud.

What did I like about the film? The story about his past and how Bourne was recruited into Treadstone. That his father, CIA analyst Richard Webb created Treadstone, but tried to prevent them from recruiting Bourne. Under Dewey’s orders, the Asset killed Richard Webb and staged his death as a terrorist attack to persuade Bourne to join Treadstone. The car chase scenes with a heck of a lot of destruction to vehicles and property is amazing though a bit too much and unrealistic. The fight scenes, which have been a major asset in the past films, are awesome too. The long fight between Jason and the Asset in a sewer is extremely well done. What else? Nothing much. It’s a film big on action scenes and nothing much else.

I couldn’t get into the newer characters and I found myself not really caring if Bourne was killed or lives to go back to his 10 year life off the grid, making his living fighting illegal fighting rings around the world. The new girl, CIA cyber head Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander) shows some promise and intrigue in her role but everyone else is instantly forgettable. There is no charisma or much else in entertainment. I was really bored throughout the film with the exception of the car chase (though I am not blown away) and a couple of fight scenes. When the heck have you ever seen a movie with Tommy Lee Jones in which he isn’t memorable? Congratulations, this is it! It would have been good if Julie Stiles’s character made it through the film. I dunno what else to say. An hour after I watched the film, I forgot most of it. 5.5 outta 10!

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Rogue One : A Star Wars Story

Although not part of the “episodes” and not centered around this one family of Skywalkers (who people online jokingly refer to to as the single family that keeps messing up the galaxy with their dram) Rogue One : A Star Wars Story is set in the same Universe and is a sequel that sits in wonderfully just before the events of Star Wars Episode 1 : A New Hope. A 2016 American epic space opera film directed by Gareth Edwards and written by Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy, from a story by John Knoll and Gary Whitta, it is the first stand-alone film in the Star Wars Anthology series. Rogue One stars Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Riz Ahmed, Jiang Wen and Forest Whitaker.

The story follows the efforts of Jyn Erso, the daughter of the unwilling designer of the Galactic Empire’s superweapon, the Death Star, and her quest to retrieve his plans for destroying it. Jyn, sees her mother killed and her reclusive scientist father Galen Erso, being taken away by Imperial weapons developer Orson Krennic to complete the work on the unfinished Death Star project. Jyn was instructed to hide in a secret place near their home and is found by Rebel extremist Saw Gerrera who takes her in. Just what is it with Star Wars and lead characters being separated from their parents? Anakin, Leia & Luke, Rey and now this chick? Kinda seeing a trend over here.

Anyway she grows up and along the way is separated from Saw who felt she might be safer without him. Fifteen years later, Imperial cargo shuttle pilot Bodhi Rook defects, and smuggles a holographic message from Galen to Gerrera on the moon Jedha. Jyn is freed from Imperial captivity by the Rebels, who plan to use her to track down her father, telling her they will extract him. Along with them is a reprogrammed imperial droid K-2SO travel to Jedha. However, Rebel General Corssin covertly orders Rebel officer Cassian Andor to kill Galen rather than extract him. There they meet blind warrior Chirrut Îmwe and mercenary Baze Malbus, Jyn finds Gerrera, who is holding Rook. Gerrera shows her the hologram, in which her father expresses his love for her and explains that he has covertly compromised the Death Star’s design so it can be destroyed, directing them to find the plans at an Imperial high-security data bank on the planet Scarif.

Grand Moff Tarkin meets with Krennic on the Death Star and expresses skepticism about the project and its management. As a demonstration, Krennic uses a low-powered shot from the weapon to destroy Jedha’s capital and crush Gerrera’s insurgency, forcing Jyn and her group to flee with Rook; Gerrera elects to remain behind and die. Tarkin congratulates Krennic but then uses security breaches under Krennic’s command as a pretext to take control of the project. Krennic travels to Mustafar to seek support from Darth Vader and the Emperor, but Vader rebuffs his appeal. The Rebels track Galen to an Imperial research facility on the planet Eadu, but Cassian chooses not to assassinate Galen. Confronted by Krennic and his troops, Galen admits responsibility for the leaked information. A Rebel bombing raid begins, and Galen dies in Jyn’s arms. The Rebels escape in a stolen Imperial cargo shuttle. Jyn proposes a plan to steal the Death Star schematics from Scarif, but the Rebel leadership does not trust her so she, Cassian, K-2SO, Chirrut, Baze, Bodhi and a few other volunteers use the stolen Imperial shuttle to raid the data bank.

In a huge fight all the rebels are killed but Jyn to transmit the Death Star plans to the Rebel command ship. Tarkin fires the Death Star to destroy the compromised base. Krennic dies in the blast while Jyn and Cassian embrace just before they are killed by the ensuing shock wave. As the Rebel fleet retreats, an Imperial fleet led by Darth Vader intercepts some of the Rebel ships before they can jump to hyperspace. Vader boards the disabled Rebel flagship to retrieve the plans, cutting down the defense party only to watch a small starship escape with them. Aboard the fleeing ship, Princess Leia declares that the plans will provide hope for the Rebellion.

Though I found the story to be good and the visual effects and cinematography excellent I wasn’t as into this film as a lot of others. I liked a couple of the characters but there is very little character development and when they all die it isn’t traumatic. The film seems to be another reason to add to the expanding SW franchise and make a lot more money. I just didn’t feel it. 7.5 outta 10!

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The Green Inferno

The Green Inferno is a 2013 American splatter cannibal horror film directed by Eli Roth. The film was inspired by and is a homage to Italian cannibal films of the late 1970s and early ’80s “cannibal boom”, including Cannibal Holocaust (1980), which features a film-within-a-film titled The Green Inferno. Among the cast are Lorenza Isso, Magda Apanowicz & Ariel Levy.

Our leading lady Justine who is a freshman in college, joins an activist group led by Alejandro and his girlfriend, Kara mainly because she is challenged by him and seemingly has an initial attraction for him. The group plans a trip to the Amazon rainforest to stop a company from logging and obliterating ancient native tribes there; the goal is to film the logging crews with cell phones and stream footage to raise awareness. Justine, whose father is an attorney for the United Nations, suggests she could bring attention to the issue through her father. The operation is funded by a drug dealer named Carlos, who takes the group of students to Peru via plane.

They arrive in the Amazon and head to a logging site where they begin their protest, chaining themselves to bulldozers while filming the loggers cutting down trees. The logger’s private militia then arrives on the scene, but cannot seem to break open the chains to get them away from the logging site. The protest receives viral attention on the internet when Justine is almost shot dead by one of the militia officers. The group is then arrested, but Carlos pays the police to let them go. Justine then realizes that she was a pawn: if things went badly, nobody would kill the daughter of a UN attorney. As the plane leaves, it crashes into the forest, resulting in the death of Carlos. And that’s when the shot really hits the fan. The survivors (another one accidentally is killed when he dazed and confused walks into the spinning propellers. Justine, Alejandro, Kara, Jonah, Lars, Amy, Samantha, and Daniel, the only survivours are captured by villagers, knocked out by darts dipped in a tranquilizer, who are painted in red and look really savage. While the others are imprisoned in a bamboo cage, Jonah is led onto a rock slab, tied up and the village shaman lady cuts off his eyeballs and tongue and eats it and then his head is cut off and the villagers cut the rest of him up and cook and eat him.

These were the same villagers that the group were trying to short term loans for students uk save from the loggers! Alejandro later tells the group that the mission to save the tribe was a fake, and that he had been paid by Carlos to do it, who owned a rival logging company. After Amy has a hilarious bout of diarrhea in front of the others, Samantha attempts to escape, but she is darted and the group then finds out that they’re being watched by a watchman. The 3 ladies are ordered out tested with a sharpened instrument, and Justine is revealed to be a virgin. She is then taken away, and prepared for a genital mutilation ceremony. Samantha then escapes after the watchman is distracted by a ringing phone and we see her run upto the river and hide in a canoe. The next day the group is given scraps of pork meat in bowls, and Amy after eating sees that a piece of skin at the bottom of her bowl, bearing one of Samantha’s tattoos. She then realizes that Samantha was recaptured and killed, and that she just ate her girlfriend. She then smashes her bowl and uses a shard to cut her throat and commit suicide. Lars then puts a sack of marijuana that Carlos gave him down Amy’s throat, hoping that will make the tribe sick if they eat her. Eventually, Justine and Daniel escape, leaving Alejandro (for lying) and Lars (who Alejandro knocks out, out of anger) behind. Lars later wakes up, but the tribe then eats him alive.

Daniel and Justine reach the plane but are caught and brought back. Daniel is tied to a pole and has his legs broken, covered in a green powder and is fed to ants while Justine is prepared for the ceremony. Logging machinery attracts the tribe to the jungle; the distraction allows Justine to escape with the help of a child sympathizer. Justine sees a dying Daniel and he begs her to kill him. Justine can’t do it so the child kills him and takes her to the river where she escapes two villagers who chase her and avoids a jaguar and runs into the logging team. Using a phone she took from the crash site to pretend to film the fight, so the militia would stop firing on the natives. Justine is then taken home to safety, by one of the loggers’ helicopters. Back in New York, she lies to her father and the UN, telling them she was the only survivor of the crash and that the tribe was friendly to her. That night, Justine has a nightmare that Alejandro comes back from the jungle. The next morning, she sees that Alejandro’s face on shirts is being used to promote further activism on campus by those unaware of his manipulations.

More like an exploitation film, with certain degree of racist theme abound in the film it still does have enough entertainment value for those who like gore and blood and torture. It doesn’t have anything original at all though and is more like a homage film. 6 outta 10!

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RIP Zsa Zsa Gabor

Zsa Zsa Gabor, the Hungarian actress whose self-parodying glamour and revolving-door marriages to millionaires put a luster of American celebrity on a long but only modestly successful career in movies and television, died on Sunday in Los Angeles. She was 99. Gabor began her stage career in Vienna and was crowned Miss Hungary in 1936. She emigrated to the United States in 1941 and became a sought-after actress with “European flair and style,” with a personality that “exuded charm and grace.” Her first film role was a supporting role in Lovely to Look At. She later acted in We’re Not Married! and played one of her few leading roles in Moulin Rouge (1952), directed by John Huston, who described her as a “creditable” actress.

Married at least eight times, calling everyone “Dahlink,” flaunting a diamonds-and-furs lifestyle and abetted by gossip columnists and tabloid headline writers, Ms. Gabor played the coifed platinum femme fatale in plunging necklines in dozens of film and television roles, many of them cameos as herself. Outside of her acting career, Gabor was best known for her extravagant Hollywood lifestyle, glamorous personality, and her many marriages, having had nine husbands, including hotel magnate Conrad Hilton and actor George Sanders. She once stated, “Men have always liked me and I have always liked men. But I like a mannish man, a man who knows how to talk to and treat a woman – not just a man with muscles.” Gabor’s divorces inspired her to make numerous quotable puns and innuendos about her marital (and extramarital) history. She commented: “I am a marvelous housekeeper: Every time I leave a man I keep his house.” When asked, “How many husbands have you had?”, she was quoted as responding, “You mean other than my own?”Gabor later claimed to have had a sexual encounter with her stepson, Nicky.

Ms. Gabor had been in and out of hospitals for years. She suffered head and other injuries and was hospitalized for a month in 2002 after a car driven by her hairdresser struck a utility pole in West Hollywood. It left her in a wheelchair, and she retreated from the spotlight. She suffered a stroke in 2005 and had surgery for a blocked carotid artery. In 2007, she again underwent surgery to treat a leg infection and aftereffects of the stroke. In July 2010, she underwent hip-replacement surgery after a fall at her home in which she also suffered a concussion. Released from the hospital in August, she was readmitted two days later for treatment of unspecified complications. In January 2011, her right leg was amputated above the knee after an infection proved resistant to antibiotics. Doctors said the operation was necessary to save her life. Gabor died of a heart attack at her home in Bel-Air, Los Angeles, on December 18, 2016, aged 99. She had been on life support for the previous five years.[62]
She is survived by husband, Prince Frederic von Anhalt, whom she wed in 1986, and the union garnered her the title Princess von Anhalt, Duchess of Saxony.