The Mummy

The Mummy is a 2017 American action-adventure directed by Alex Kurtzman and written by David Koepp, Christopher McQuarrie and Dylan Kussman, with a story by Kurtzman, Jon Spaihts and Jenny Lumet. It is a reboot of The Mummy franchise and the first installment in the Dark Universe film series. The film stars Tom Cruise, Annabelle Wallis, Sofia Boutella, Jake Johnson, Courtney B. Vance and Russell Crowe. Although I label this in the horror section, it is not a scary movie and it is not really a horror film.

In ancient Egypt, Princess Ahmanet is first in line to succeed her father Menehptre, only to be stripped of her birthright when his second wife gives birth to a son. Determined to claim the throne for herself, Ahmanet sells her soul to the god Set, who gives her a special dagger to transfer his spirit into a corporeal form. After murdering her family, Ahmanet attempts to sacrifice her lover to give Set physical form, but her father’s priests slay him and mummify Ahmanet, sentencing her to be buried alive for eternity. In current times Iraq, soldier-of-fortune Nick Morton and his partner Chris Vail accidentally discover the tomb of Ahmanet after staging an airstrike on an insurgent stronghold. He is confronted by archeologist Jenny Halsey, an ex-lover, who has the backing of the military who arrives with soldiers. Nick, Chris & Jenny are told by the commanding officer Colonel Greenway to quickly investigate the tomb.

Jenny concurs that it in fact is a prison and not a tomb, being far away from Egypt. After extracting Ahmanet’s sarcophagus from a pool of mercury, Nick’s superior, Colonel Greenway, places the sarcophagus on a transport plane headed to England. In-flight, Vail becomes possessed by Ahmanet’s power due to being bitten by a camel spider while inside the tomb. After attempting to open the sarcophagus, he kills Greenway and attacks the group before Nick shoots him dead. A huge wave of crows then assault the plane, causing it to crash and kill everyone on board except for Jenny, who is parachuted off the plane by Nick. Nick awakens a day later in a morgue in Oxford, and learns from Vail’s ghost that he has been cursed by Ahmanet, who seeks to use him as a replacement vessel for Set. Ahmanet herself escapes from the sarcophagus and begins feeding on rescue workers to regenerate her decomposed body. Turning the workers into zombie minions, she lures Nick and Jenny into a trap, forcing the two to fight off the minions as they unsuccessfully try to escape. At the last second, unknown soldiers appear and subdue her.

heir leader, Dr. Henry Jekyll, explains that Jenny is an agent of Prodigium, a secret society dedicated to hunting supernatural threats whose base is under the Natural History Museum of London, and contains such objects as the hand of the Gill-man and a vampire’s fanged skull. He confirms that Nick was cursed when he unlocked Ahmanet’s tomb and reveals his intention to complete her ritual and allow Set to possess Nick in order to destroy Set and end his evil for good. Meanwhile, Ahmanet takes control of a Prodigium technician using another camel spider that sneaked into the complex and frees herself from captivity, wreaking havoc, death, and destruction in the process. Jekyll succumbs to his own dark impulses and transforms into Edward Hyde, his murderous and psychotic alternative personality, nearly killing Nick before Nick manages to stop Hyde with the serum Jekyll uses to suppress himself. Nick and Jenny then escape Prodigium, while Ahmanet steals back the dagger, summons an army of deceased English crusaders to serve her, and creates a massive sandstorm that ravages London.

Guided by Vail, Nick and Jenny flee into the subway tunnels under London, but are attacked by Ahmanet’s minions. Ahmanet captures Jenny and drowns her, hoping to break her hold over Nick. Nick puts up a fight, but gives up and lets himself embrace Ahmanet, using it as a ruse to steal the dagger and stab himself. His body is possessed by Set, who proceeds to join Ahmanet to uphold his end of the bargain until he sees Jenny’s dead body, at which point Nick regains control and uses Set’s powers to suck the life out of Ahmanet, turning her back into a shriveled mummy. Nick uses Set’s powers to resurrect Jenny, saying goodbye before becoming overwhelmed by Set’s power and disappearing. Soon, Jenny links up with Dr. Jekyll and they discuss if Nick, now fused with Set, is good or evil and whose side he’s on as Ahmanet’s corpse is lowered into a locked pool of mercury within the Prodigium base for safekeeping. It is also revealed that Nick has resurrected Vail, who protests as to what they will do now, to which Nick responds, “Where is your sense of adventure?” The two ride off in the desert as a sandstorm trails behind them, with Jekyll telling her that as long as a part of Nick’s humanity remains, he will continue to search for a way to become human again.

It’s a good film but I think it will fail to really ignite interest in the public movie going audiences for a Universal Monsters franchise reboot. Every studio is thinking franchise these days with the success of Marvel and stuff. I dunno if this was the right way to do it for monsters under its shared universe Dark Universe. I give it a 7 outta 10! It received negative reviews from critics and has grossed $151 million worldwide.

RIP Adam West

American icon, actor Adam West (born William West Anderson), best known for his portrayal of the title role in the 1960s ABC series Batman and its theatrical feature film, has passed away at the age of 88 after a short battle with leukemia. His acting career began in films in 1959. He played opposite Chuck Connors in Geronimo (1962) and The Three Stooges in The Outlaws Is Coming (1965). He has also appeared in the science-fiction film Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964), opposite Paul Mantee. He has done voice work on The Fairly OddParents, The Simpsons and Family Guy (he voiced fictional versions of himself in all of those animated series) and also Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders.

Born in Walla Wala, Washington he is of Swedish descent from his father, and English, with small amounts of Welsh, German, Irish, and remote Scottish from his mother. At age 15  he moved to Seattle when he was 15 with his mother following his parents’ divorce. Drafted into the United States Army, he served as an announcer on American Forces Network television. After his discharge, he worked as a milkman before moving to Hawaii to pursue television. in Hawaii, West was picked for a role as the sidekick on a children’s show called El Kini Popo Show, which featured a chimp. West later took over as star of the show. n 1959, West moved with his wife and two children to Hollywood,[10] where he took the stage name Adam West. In his autobiography Back to the Batcave, he explains he chose ‘Adam’ simply because he liked the way it looked and sounded with ‘West’, his middle name. His close friends and family still call him “Bill”.

He appeared in the film The Young Philadelphians including Paul Newman, and guest-starred in a number of television Westerns. On three Warner Bros. Westerns aired on ABC, Sugarfoot, Colt .45, and Lawman, West played the role of Doc Holliday, the frontier dentist and gunfighter. He portrayed Wild Bill Hickok in the episode “Westbound Stage” of the 1960 NBC Western series Overland Trail, with William Bendix and Doug McClure. He guest-starred on Edmond O’Brien’s syndicated crime drama Johnny Midnight, and soon snagged a supporting role as police sergeant Steve Nelson in the crime drama, The Detectives Starring Robert Taylor. He made a few guest appearances on Perry Mason in the early 1960s and appeared once on Walter Brennan’s sitcom, The Real McCoys. He starred as Major Dan McCready, the ill-fated mission commander of ‘Mars Gravity Probe 1’ in the 1964 film Robinson Crusoe on Mars. In 1965, he was cast in the comedy Western The Outlaws Is Coming, the last feature film starring The Three Stooges.

Producer William Dozier cast West as Bruce Wayne and his alter ego, Batman, in the television series Batman, in part after seeing West perform as the James Bond-like spy Captain Q in a Nestlé Quik commercial. The popular campy show ran on ABC from 1966 to 1968; a feature-length film version directed by Leslie H. Martinson was released in 1966. In 1970, West was offered the role of James Bond by Cubby Broccoli for the film Diamonds Are Forever. West did not accept, later stating in his autobiography that he believed the role should always be played by a British actor. West’s first post-Caped Crusader role was in the film The Girl Who Knew Too Much (1969). For a time, West made a living doing personal appearances as Batman. He acted in several movies in the 70s and reprised his role as Batman/Bruce Wayne, first in the short-lived animated series, The New Adventures of Batman, and in other shows such as The Batman/Tarzan Adventure Hour, Tarzan and the Super 7, Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show, and The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians (succeeding Olan Soule in the role).

In 1979, West once again donned the Batsuit for the live-action TV special Legends of the Superheroes. He would appear as himself in several comedy and other tv shows. West received the 2,468th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on April 5, 2012. In February 2016, West guest-starred as himself on the 200th episode of The Big Bang Theory. Since 2000, West has made regular appearances on the animated series Family Guy, on which he plays Mayor Adam West, the lunatic mayor of Quahog, Rhode Island, his role giving him a new wave of popularity since Batman. He married his wife Marcelle in 1970; they met when she was the wife of the Lear Jet founder and they posed for a publicity photo at Santa Monica Airport, with him in his Batman costume. (They each had two children from their previous marriages, then added a couple of their own.

Resident Evil : The Final Chapter

Here is another movie franchise which started out so well and gave us a couple of really good action-oriented horror films but then dwindled into “what the heck is going on; do the film makers even know what they are telling?” territory. Much like the other movie series I recently posted about – UnderworldResident Evil had become a shambles. I still enjoy watching Milla Jovovich kick ass plus she is hot as hell, so I watched.

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is a 2016 science fiction action horror film written and directed by Paul W. S. Anderson. It is the sequel to Resident Evil: Retribution (2012) and the sixth and final installment in the Resident Evil film series, which is loosely based on the Capcom survival horror video game series Resident Evil. The film stars Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Shawn Roberts, Ruby Rose, Eoin Macken, William Levy, and Iain Glen.

Picking up immediately three weeks after the events in Resident Evil: Retribution, humanity is on its last legs after Alice is betrayed by Wesker in Washington D.C. Alice then encounters the Red Queen, who tells her that she must return to where the nightmare began – Raccoon City, where the Umbrella Corporation has developed an airborne anti-virus which will kill every organism infected by the T-virus. In a race against time, Alice is captured by Dr. Isaacs, long thought to be dead, who reveals that the previous incarnation was a clone of his true self. Alice escapes and arrives first in Raccoon City, where she joins forces with Claire Redfield. After holding off Dr. Isaacs’ undead army, Alice, Claire and a team of survivors make their way towards the Hive. They again encounter the Red Queen, who tells them the origins of the T-virus: it was created by James Marcus, the founder of the Umbrella Corporation to save his daughter, Alicia, from an ailment that caused her to rapidly age. James was then betrayed by his business partner, Dr. Isaacs, and killed by Albert Wesker.

Dr. Isaacs and the board of the Umbrella Corporation then intended to release the T-virus on purpose in order to cleanse the world, save the rich and powerful with cryogenics in The Hive, and later rebuild it as they desire. After confronting Wesker and Dr. Isaacs at the bottom of the Hive, Alice also learns her own true nature: she is a clone of the original and still-living Alicia Marcus, who was unable to live a normal life due to her condition. Dr. Isaacs clone brought the army of undead towards Alice and the real Dr. Isaacs. Dr. Isaacs clone could not believe that he was a clone hence stabbed the real Dr. Isaacs to death. Alice then releases the anti-virus, eliminating all infected by the T-virus. Alice survives, and gains the memories of Alicia Marcus as a reward in order to reclaim the childhood she never had. The series ends with Alice riding a motorcycle to places unknown while being chased by BOW’s, stating that her job isn’t finished yet and that it will take several years for the anti-virus to circle the globe.

I have forgotten so much of the actual storyline throughout the 6 films that I had to go back and read about them. It’s all muddled and messed up and it all feels like they are making stuff up as they go along. Kinda just like Underworld which is obvious. Again too bad as I really liked the first two films and they way that they were headed. I give this film a 6 outta 10. But it’s lovely to see both Ali Larter & Milla again.

Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman is a 2017 American superhero film based on the DC Comics character of the same name. Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, it is the fourth installment in the DC Extended Universe. The film is directed by Patty Jenkins, with a screenplay by Allan Heinberg and a story by Heinberg, Zack Snyder and Jason Fuchs. Gal Gadot stars as the titular character with Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Connie Nielsen and Elena Anaya in supporting roles. Wonder Woman is the first live action theatrical film starring the character, following her first live action theatrical appearance in 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

This is not your usual DC or Marvel superhero fare. It is more like a World War 1 movie (with gorgeous cinematography) with a supernatural angle in it. You can say a WW1 movie mixed with lots of elements of Captain American The First Avenger. Starting of in a gorgeous locale that makes you wish you could live there and moving on to the battle front and villages devastated by battle, Wonder Woman is a really good film to watch. The first part of the film is about a young Diana, who years to learn how to fight from her aunt General Antiope sister of Hippolyta, Diana’s mother. Her mother, the queen of the Amazons, forbids it but aunty is more than willing and feels obligated to do so. Diana sneaks out and learns with her aunt and finally her other agrees until a grown up Diana almost blasts everyone with her power. She rescues an American spy serving with British intelligence, Steve Trevor, who was undercover in the Ottaman kingdom, from the ocean as his plane is shot down.

The Amazons engage and kill the German soldiers in pursuit of him, but Antiope dies protecting Diana. Interrogated with the Lasso of Truth, Steve reveals that he is an Allied spy in World War I and has stolen information from a weapons facility in the Ottoman Empire run by German general Erich Ludendorff, whose scientist Doctor Maru is producing a new, deadlier form of mustard gas. Although the Amazons won’t interfere, Diana believes that Ludendorff is infact Ares, the god of war corrupted mankind and killed all the other gods except Zeus. Led to believe that a dying Zeus had left the godkiller, a knife that can kill Ares, with the Amazon, she steals it and goes with Steve to London. In London, Steve delivers Maru’s notes to his superiors at the Imperial War Cabinet, including Sir Patrick Morgan, who is trying to negotiate an armistice with Germany. Steve believes Ludendorff will complete and use the gas regardless of an armistice, and Diana concludes Ludendorff is Ares himself and slaying him will end the war.

With Sir Patrick’s blessing, Steve and Diana travel to the front lines to stop Ludendorff, accompanied by Steve’s team: spy Sameer, marksman Charlie, and smuggler Chief. Arriving at the Western Front in Belgium, the group’s progress is halted by enemy trenches, until Diana pushes alone through the German lines, rallying the allied forces behind her to liberate a village from German control. Diana and the team celebrate the freedom of the villagers, and Diana grows close to Steve. Learning that Ludendorff will attend a gala at a nearby castle, Steve infiltrates the party and is followed by Diana, who intends to kill Ludendorff. Steve stops her to avoid jeopardizing the mission to destroy the chemical stores, and shortly after Ludendorff uses the gas to bomb the nearby village. Diana is devastated that Steve interfered, blaming him for the loss of life. In rage, Diana pursues Ludendorff to a complex where the gas is being loaded into a bomber to attack London. Diana fights and slays Ludendorff, but is stunned when his death does not stop the war.

Sir Patrick appears to her, revealing that he is the true Ares; he tells her that though he has subtly influenced them to destroy themselves, humans themselves contain the impulse to cause war and violence. As they fight, Ares attempts to convince Diana that humanity does not deserve to be saved, and reveals that her mother lied about her origins: Diana herself is Zeus’ weapon, his youngest child. As Ares overpowers Diana, Steve hijacks the bomber containing the gas and sacrifices himself to incinerate it at a safe distance. Inspired by Steve’s selflessness and his final words, Diana dedicates herself to defending mankind and summons her power to finally destroy Ares and spare humanity. In London, the team solemnly celebrates the end of the war. In the present day, Diana e-mails to Wayne thanking him for the photograph of her and Steve and reaffirms her mission to protect all life.

Really an awesome movie to watch. Gal Gadot kicks ass and how she is gorgeous! Totally kissable lips. I give the film an 8.5 outta 10!

Ouija: Origin of Evil

Ouija: Origin of Evil is a 2016 American supernatural horror film directed and edited by Mike Flanagan and written by Flanagan and Jeff Howard. The film is a prequel to the 2014 film Ouija and stars Elizabeth Reaser, Annalise Basso, Lulu Wilson, Parker Mack, Doug Jones and Henry Thomas. Unlike its predecessor, the film’s plot focuses on a widow and her family adding a Ouija board to their phony seance business where, unbeknownst to them, they invite a spirit that possesses the youngest daughter.

Set in 1967 Los Angeles, a widow named Alice Zander works out of her suburban home as a spiritual medium, accompanied by her daughters, 15-year-old Paulina “Lina” and 9-year old Doris; although they stage their seances, Alice’s real intent is to help people move on. The family is still reeling over the recent death of Roger, Alice’s husband and the kids’ father. After Lina suggests that Alice incorporate a Ouija board into her readings, Alice does so, and unknowingly contacts a spirit named Marcus that begins to possess Doris. This is breaking one of the three rules: never play alone, never play in a graveyard, and always say goodbye. Alice receives a foreclosure note, meaning they may lose their house. Doris contacts the board for help, believing she is communicating with her dead father, and the spirit leads her to a secret compartment behind the basement wall containing a pouch of cash. Doris, breaking another of the three rules, forgets to say goodbye to the spirits.

When she gives the money to her mother, the family has a Ouija session, believing they can contact Roger. When the board answers a question only Roger would know the answer to, a thrilled Alice begins believing that they are in contact with her dead husband. A shadowy figure starts to possess Doris and Lina finds papers written by Doris in Polish, a language they do not know. Lina brings them to Father Tom to translate. Troubled, Father Tom visits them for a Ouija session under the pretense of contacting his dead wife Gloria. Although the session appears to be successful, Father Tom later explains to Alice and Lina that Doris did not contact Gloria. Instead, for every question he asked, she read his thoughts and repeated the answers he was thinking in his mind. He reveals that the pages are entries written by a Polish immigrant named Marcus, who was taken captive during World War II by a sadistic doctor who conducted experiments on him and other captives inside the house’s basement.

These spirits knew answers that only Roger would know because they have been watching the family since the day they moved in. Meanwhile, Doris kills Lina’s boyfriend Mikey and she hangs his body. Upon seeing this, Father Tom, Alice, and Lina burn the Ouija board downstairs. When Father Tom discovers skeletal remains in the basement wall, they realize that they have been using the Ouija board in a graveyard all this time thus breaking the third rule. Father Tom finds the secret room where the experiments were conducted, and is possessed by the spirits. He attacks Alice and Lina, but momentarily seizes clarity, only to be killed by Doris. Alice is captured, while Roger’s spirit carries an unconscious Lina to her bed. Lina wakes up and recalls an earlier moment where her doll’s mouth was stitched by her father’s spirit “to shut out the voices”, realizing that she must sew Doris’ mouth shut to quiet the spirits’ voices and stop the evil. During the struggle, she successfully sews Doris’ mouth shut and Doris dies, reuniting with her father.

After this, Lina is temporarily possessed and stabs Alice. While dying, Alice sees Roger and Doris together, and happily joins them, leaving behind a sobbing Lina. Two months later, Lina remains committed in a mental hospital for the suspected murder of her mother. She is interviewed by a doctor and is unable to say what happened to Doris’ body, but states that she, Lina, will never be alone again. She tries summoning her sister inside her cell and the doctor watches, unbeknownst that the possessed Doris skitters across the ceiling towards him. In a post-credits scene set in 2013, a now elderly Lina remains in the asylum and receives a visit from someone claiming to be her niece.

The film starts of in a sweet almost rom-com way of these three ladies – mom and her two kids – trying to convince people with their gimmicks and even help people and just trying to survive. It takes a dark turn slowly and builds up in intensity and ends on a sad note. It was well enough acted with no usual horror cliches. I give it a 7 outta 10!

RIP Roger Moore

Actor Sir Roger Moore, best known for playing James Bond, has died aged 89, his family has announced. He played the famous spy in seven Bond films including Live and Let Die and A View to a Kill. Sir Roger’s family confirmed the news on Twitter, saying he had died after “a short but brave battle with cancer”. The actor took the character of James Bond in a more humorous direction than his predecessor Sean Connery. He is also known for playing Simon Templar in the television series The Saint between 1962 and 1969. Moore took over the role of Bond from Sean Connery in 1972, and made his first appearance as 007 in Live and Let Die (1973). The longest serving Bond to date, Moore portrayed the spy in six more films. Appointed a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 1991, Moore was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2003 for “services to charity”. In 2008, the French government appointed Moore a Commander of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

Roger Moore was born on 14 October 1927 in Stockwell, London. He was the only child of George Alfred Moore, a policeman, and Lillian “Lily” Pope. His mother was born in Calcutta, India, of English origin. He attended Battersea Grammar School, but was evacuated to Holsworthy, Devon, during the Second World War, and attended Launceston College. He was further educated at Dr Challoner’s Grammar School in Amersham, Buckinghamshire and then attended the College of the Venerable Bede at the University of Durham, but did not graduate. At 18, shortly after the end of the Second World War, Moore was conscripted for national service. On 21 September 1946, he was commissioned into the Royal Army Service Corps as a second lieutenant. In the early 1950s, Moore worked as a model, appearing in print advertisements for knitwear (earning him the nickname “The Big Knit”, and a wide range of other products such as toothpaste, an element that many critics have used as typifying his lightweight credentials as an actor. Moore signed a seven-year contract with MGM in 1954 appeared in Interrupted Melody & played a supporting role in The King’s Thief & the 1956 film Diane.

Eventually, Moore made his name in television. He was the eponymous hero, Sir Wilfred of Ivanhoe, in the 1958–59 series Ivanhoe, a loose adaptation of the 1819 romantic novel by Sir Walter Scott set in the 12th century during the era of Richard the Lionheart, delving into Ivanhoe’s conflict with Prince John. Moore’s next television series involved playing the lead as “Silky” Harris for the ABC/Warner Brothers 1959–60 western The Alaskans, with co-stars Dorothy Provine as Rocky, Jeff York as Reno and Ray Danton as Nifty. In the wake of The Alaskans, Moore was cast as Beau Maverick, an English-accented cousin of frontier gamblers Bret Maverick (James Garner), Bart Maverick (Jack Kelly) and Brent Maverick (Robert Colbert) in the much more successful ABC/WB western series Maverick. Worldwide fame arrived after Lew Grade cast Moore as Simon Templar in a new adaptation of The Saint, based on the novels by Leslie Charteris. The Saint ran from 1962 for six seasons and 118 episodes, making it (in a tie with The Avengers) the longest-running series of its kind on British television. He made two films immediately after the series had ended: Crossplot, a lightweight ‘spy caper’ movie, and the more challenging The Man Who Haunted Himself (1970).

Television lured Moore back to star alongside Tony Curtis in The Persuaders!. The show featured the adventures of two millionaire playboys across Europe. Moore was paid the then-unheard-of sum of £1 million for a single series, making him the highest paid television actor in the world. In his autobiography Moore writes that he had to cut his hair and lose weight for the role. Although he resented having to make those changes, he was finally cast as James Bond in Live and Let Die (1973). After Live and Let Die, Moore continued to portray Bond in The Man with the Golden Gun (1974); The Spy Who Loved Me (1977); Moonraker (1979); For Your Eyes Only (1981); Octopussy (1983); and A View to a Kill (1985). Moore was the oldest actor to have played Bond – he was 45 in Live and Let Die (1973), and 58 when he announced his retirement on 3 December 1985. During Moore’s Bond period he starred in 13 other movies, beginning with a thriller featuring Susannah York, entitled Gold (1974). He portrayed an adventurer in Africa opposite Lee Marvin in Shout at the Devil (1976), a commando with Richard Burton and Richard Harris in the unorthodox action film The Wild Geese (197, a counter-terrorism expert opposite Anthony Perkins in the thriller North Sea Hijack (1979), and a millionaire so obsessed with Roger Moore that he had had plastic surgery to look like his hero in The Cannonball Run (1981).

Moore did not act on screen for five years after he stopped playing Bond; in 1990 he appeared in several films and in the writer-director Michael Feeney Callan’s television series My Riviera and starred in the film Bed & Breakfast which was shot in 1989;[18] and also had a large role in the 1996 film The Quest; in 1997 he starred as the Chief in Spice World. At the age of 73, he played an amorous homosexual man in Boat Trip (2002) and, although the film was critically panned, Moore’s comedic performance was singled out by many critics and viewers as the one of the few enjoyable aspects of it. Moore’s friend Audrey Hepburn had impressed him with her work for UNICEF, and consequently he became a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 1991. He was the voice of Father Christmas or ‘Santa’ in the 2004 UNICEF cartoon The Fly Who Loved Me. He’s been married 4 times, Swedish born Danish socialite, Kristina “Kiki” Tholstrup his wife at the time of his death. He has had bouts with cancer a few times.

Underworld : Blood Wars

Underworld: Blood Wars is a 2016 American action horror film directed by Anna Foerster (in her feature film directorial debut). It is the fifth installment in the Underworld franchise and the sequel to Underworld: Awakening (2012), with Kate Beckinsale reprising her role as Selene. The main cast also includes Theo James, Lara Pulver, James Faulkner and Charles Dance.

Ok, so this franchise is just being dragged along for the ride. It’s lost the charm and intrigue of the first two films. I thought Underworld & Underworld : Evolution were both really good and brought some change and new life to the vampire and werewolf legends. I thoroughly enjoyed them and they stand up against numerous rewatches. Even Underworld : Rise Of The Lycans, a prequel set several years in the past was quite good. The 4th and now 5th movie pale in comparison. For one, the various vampire characters are all alike. You can interchange them in each of the movies. We have an ambitious Semira, a council member of the Eastern Coven, who schemes for power and we have the older vampire Thomas, played by Charles Dance, who helps Selene and David, his son.

We then have this weird Nordic vampire coven, filled with even more paler and blonder vampires and there is this hocus pocus mumbo jumbo thing with Selene who dies and is resurrected and David who drinks a small drop of his mother’s blood and realizes that he is the the rightful heir to the Eastern Coven as his mother was the High Elder Amelia (seen briefly in two films). Marius the Lycan leader is almost like Kraven, except as a lycan instead of a vampire and stronger. A few fight scenes are good and ofcourse I love the werewolf transformations in this franchise. But overall the film offers nothing new. In the end Semira is taken away and Marius his killed, preventing the lycans from killing the vampires. David and Selene are chosen as new members of the council.

While watching the film I kinda forget my interest in the franchise, which is funny as I was obsessed with the first film and loved the story of the second. I give it a 6 outta 10!

ROSHAN’s ELEVEN : Michael Fassbender Movies

Hello again, I’m back again with another list. This time it’s movies that Michael Fassbender has starred in. Now I have only picked movies in which he has a prominent role, lead or supporting.

  • Alien : Covenent
  • Blood Creek
  • X-Men: First Class
  • Haywire
  • Prometheus
  • 12 Years A Slave
  • Steve Jobs
  • X-Men: Apocalypse
  • Centurion
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past
  • A Dangerous Method

Alien : Covenant

Alien: Covenant is a 2017 American science-fiction horror film directed by Ridley Scott and written by John Logan and Dante Harper, with a story by Michael Green and Jack Paglen. A sequel to the 2012 film Prometheus, the film is the second installment in the Alien prequel series and the sixth installment overall in the Alien film series, as well as the third directed by Scott. The film stars Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride and Demián Bichir, and follows the crew of a ship that lands on an uncharted planet before making a terrifying discovery.

The year is 2104, 10 years after the events of Prometheus – but before we meet the crew of Covenant, we are shown a scene from the past in which a younger looking Peter Weyland addresses a synthetic android who would become part of the mission. Weyland asks the android his name; the android selects “David” after looking upon Michelangelo’s statue of the same name. During a moment of the exchange we also see that David, despite his devotion to Weyland, remarks that in a way he is better than his creator/father because Weyland will grow old and die while he, being an android, will not. Now, back to our crew who are in stasis on the colony ship Covenant is bound for a remote planet, Origae-6, with some 2000 colonists and over 1400 embryos on-board, monitored by an upgraded android resembling the earlier David, named Walter.

Enroute,  the a neutrino shockwave severely damages the ship, killing its captain and waking the crew from stasis. As the crew repairs the damage, a radio transmission is intercepted from a nearby planet. It’s a recording of Dr. Elizabeth Shaw, singing “Country Roads” in a forlorn voice. As the planet, which is deemed inhabitable for humans is just a few days away, acting captain Oram decides to investigate, as the transmission is human in origin, despite the protests of acting second officer, and wife of the deceased captain, Daniels.  The rest of the crew agree with Oram as Origae-6 is 7 years away and no one wants to get back into stasis. As they arrive, a smaller group stays in orbit while the rest, led by Oram and Daniels descend to the surface. Karine sets up an ecological survey station, while the others track the signal’s source. They discover it originates from an Engineer ship, piloted by Elizabeth Shaw following the disastrous Prometheus mission. Two security team members, Ledward and Hallett, are inadvertently infected with an alien spore. Karine attempts to assist them, but Faris locks them inside the landing vehicle’s med-bay as a quarantine precaution.

A Neomorph bursts from Ledward’s back, killing him, then mauls Karine to death. Faris tries to kill Ledward’s Neomorph and fails, but accidentally destroys the lander in the process in a large explosion. The ground team witnesses the explosion and, seconds later, another Neomorph bursts from Hallett’s throat. Forced to retreat, the remnants of the landing party are attacked by the neomorphs. Mayhem ensues and one of the Neomorphs is killed. Walter loses a hand saving Daniels before the crew are rescued by David, the sole survivor of the Prometheus mission, as they attempt to radio Covenant for help. David claims that, upon his arrival with Shaw, the Engineer ship accidentally released its cargo of “black goo”, a bioweapon recovered during the Prometheus mission, killing the native population of Engineers. In the ensuing chaos, the ship crashed, killing Shaw. On the surface, the surviving Neomorph attacks and decapitates Rosenthal, who was separated from the main group. David attempts to tame the alien, but is horrified when Oram kills it.

At Oram’s demand, David reveals his activities on the planet. Using the “black goo” as a catalyst, he created the earliest Neomorphs after experimenting with a parasitic wasp that laid eggs inside its prey; upon being born, the larvae ate the prey from the inside out. David shows Oram a chamber he has used to incubate his latest creation, Facehuggers, which implant Oram with an embryo. The embryo later erupts into a Xenomorph—an evolution of the Neomorph—killing Oram. As the crew search for Oram, Walter confronts David after learning the truth of his experiments; David had deliberately unleashed the black goo upon the planet’s population. Elizabeth Shaw became the first victim of a Facehugger, murdered by David in what he considers a necessary sacrifice. David disables Walter and confronts Daniels, telling her that he would do to her what he did to Shaw. Saved by a reactivated Walter, the crew attempt to evacuate. Against objections due to a severe weather storm, Tennessee, the pilot of the Covenant, arrives to extract the survivors of the team. They are attacked by an adult Xenomorph as Covenant arrives.

he remaining survivors kill the Xenomorph and they escape the planet. Crew member Lope, however, had been implanted by a Xenomorph embryo, which has gestated, and is now loose aboard Covenant. The Xenomorph kills all the human crew members besides Daniels and Tennessee. With Walter’s guidance, they funnel the Xenomorph to the terraforming bay, flushing it into space.

With the ship safe, the crew return to their original mission plan, and re-enter stasis. As Walter puts them under one by one, Daniels asks him if he will help her realize her dead husband’s dream of building a log cabin once they arrive on their new homeworld. Walter, with whom Daniels had previously confided this information, does not appear to understand this, and Daniels realizes she is talking to David, who had disguised himself as Walter. As Daniels enters stasis, David gains access to the colonists’ embryo cryogenic chambers and regurgitates two Facehugger embryos. He leaves them with the frozen human embryos, intending to use the humans aboard the covenant as hosts to continue his experiments.

I thought this film was awesome and good enough to rank as high as the first 2 films in the franchise which were classics of the horror/action/scifi genres. Fassbender in particular along with Waterston were excellent in their roles. Also I am not in the bracket of people who hated Prometheus – I loved it – and this movie is even better and a worthy sequel to it. I’ve give it an 8.5 outta 10!

American Sniper

American Sniper is a 2014 American biographical war drama film directed by Clint Eastwood and written by Jason Hall. It is loosely based on the memoir American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History (2012) by Chris Kyle, with Scott McEwen and Jim DeFelice. The film follows the life of Kyle, who became the deadliest marksman in U.S. military history with 255 kills from four tours in the Iraq War, 160 of which were officially confirmed by the Department of Defense. The film was produced by Eastwood, Robert Lorenz, Andrew Lazar, Bradley Cooper, and Peter Morgan. It stars Bradley Cooper as Kyle and Sienna Miller as his wife Taya, with Luke Grimes, Jake McDorman, Cory Hardrict, Kevin Lacz, Navid Negahban, and Keir O’Donnell in supporting roles.

The acting is pretty good especially by lead Cooper and supported by Miller. You see a story of a Texas boy, who is taught to shoot by his dad, living in a god-fearing, Bible reading family. Kyle goes on to become a rodeo cowboy and ranch hand, competing in events around Texas and returns home early, to find his girlfriend in bed with another man. The Jesus & Bible loving, gun shooting cowboy thing is there for all to see. Anyways, after telling her to leave, he is mulling it over with his brother when he sees news coverage of the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings and decides to enlist in the Navy. He qualifies for special training and becomes a U.S. Navy SEALs sniper. He meets Taya Studebaker at a bar, and the two soon marry. He is sent to Iraq after the September 11 attacks.

We see the stuff that killing people does to the mind of a sniper, one of his major kills is a young boy and his mother who attacked U.S. Marines with a Russian made RKG-3 anti-tank grenade. Assigned to hunt for the al-Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Chris interrogates a family whose father offers to lead the SEALs to “The Butcher”, al-Zarqawi’s second-in-command. The plan goes awry when The Butcher captures the father and his son, killing them while Chris is pinned down by a sniper using a Romanian PSL sniper rifle. This sniper goes by the name Mustafa and is an Olympic Games medalist from Syria. Meanwhile, the insurgents issue a bounty on Chris. Meanwhile back home, a pregnat Taya delivers a baby boy and Chis comes back home to spend time with his family. Kyle leaves for a second tour and is promoted to Chief Petty Officer. Involved in a shootout with The Butcher, he helps in killing him. When he returns home to a newborn daughter, Chris becomes increasingly distant from his family.

He takes a third tour and Taya wants him to now spend time with his family home in America but guilt over losing his unit members makes Chris take a 4th tour and Taya tells him that she may not be there when he returns. Back in Iraq, Chris is assigned to kill Mustafa, who has been sniping U.S. Army combat engineers building a barricade. Chris’ sniper team is placed on a rooftop inside enemy territory. Chris spots Mustafa and takes him out with a risky long distance shot at 2,100 yards (1,920 m), but this exposes his team’s position to numerous armed insurgents. In the midst of the firefight, and low on ammunition, Chris tearfully calls Taya and tells her he is ready to come home. A sandstorm provides cover for a chaotic escape in which Chris is injured and almost left behind. Back at home he struggles to adjust back to civil life, always seemingly on the edge. He is asked by a Veterans Affairs psychiatrist if he is haunted by all the things he did in war. When he replies that it is “all the guys [he] couldn’t save” that haunt him, the psychiatrist encourages him to help severely wounded veterans in the VA hospital. After that Kyle gradually begins to adjust to home life.

Years later, on February 2, 2013, Kyle says goodbye to his wife and family as he leaves in good spirits to spend time with a veteran at a shooting range. An on-screen subtitle reveals: “Chris Kyle was killed that day by a veteran he was trying to help”, followed by archive footage of crowds standing along the highway for his funeral procession. More are shown attending his memorial service. Now, I usually have a strong bias against war movies and particularly American ones even though the acting is good. I admit I was bored in several scenes of the film. And that plastic baby thingy – made me laugh. Still I’d give the film a 7.5 outta 10!

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a 2017 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics superhero team Guardians of the Galaxy, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is the sequel to 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy and the fifteenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film is written and directed by James Gunn and stars an ensemble cast featuring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Elizabeth Debicki, Chris Sullivan, Sean Gunn, Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell.

Ok, fresh off watching it last night I am disappointed in the film. It wasn’t as good as the first one. There are some good points and some bad points. Let’s look at the storyline first. After first helping Ayesha, leader of the Sovereign race, to protect valuable batteries from an inter-dimensional monster, the Guardians piss the Sovereign race off because Rocket stole some of the batteries for himself. Well, they did have it coming because they put them down and even questions Peter’s parentage but anyways….In invading the fight of the large unmanned drone vessels, the Guardians are aided by a mysterious figure but their ship crash lands on a planet. The mysterious figure turns out out to be Ego, who says he is Peter’s father! He invites Quill, accompanied by Gamora and Drax, to his home, while Rocket and Groot remain behind to repair the ship and guard Nebula.

Ego explains that he is one of the god-like Celestials, and exists as the planet on which they are standing. In his travels he took the guise that they see, of a human, and visited earth where he met and fell in love with Quill’s mother Meredith. He then had to leave but on learning of his mother dying, sent Yondu Udonta to fetch him but the Ravager never brought Peter to Ego. He has been looking for his son ever since and on hearing about the feats of Star Lord, he knew it has to be his son. Gamora & Drax interact with Mantis, an emapth who was raised by Ego and it’s clear that she wants to warn them of something but she keeps it to herself. Meanwhile, Ayesha hires Yondu Udonta and his crew, who have been exiled from the greater Ravager community for child trafficking, to recapture the Guardians. They capture Rocket, but when Yondu shows reluctance to turn over Quill, his lieutenant Taserface leads a mutiny with help from Nebula. Taserface imprisons Rocket and Yondu aboard Yondu’s ship and executes his loyalists while Nebula leaves to track down and kill Gamora, whom she blames for all the torture inflicted on her by their father, Thanos.

While imprisoned, Rocket and Yondu bond. Groot, together with Yondu’s loyalist Kraglin, frees Rocket and Yondu and they destroy the ship and its crew as they escape, though not before Taserface tips off the Sovereign fleet. Nebula arrives on Ego’s planet and attacks Gamora and the pair reach an uneasy alliance when they discover caverns filled with skeletal remains of various alien species. Ego reveals to Quill that in his travels he planted seedlings upon thousands of worlds which can terraform them into new extensions of himself, but they can only be activated by the combined power of two Celestials. To that end, he impregnated countless women and hired Yondu to collect the children; they all failed to use the Celestial power, so Ego killed them, until he found Quill. Ego uses Quill to activate the seedlings, which begin to consume every world. Quill is hypnotized into helping Ego, but fights back after Ego reveals that he deliberately caused Meredith’s death as his love for her distracted him from his purpose.

Rocket, Yondu, Groot and Kraglin arrive at the planet and the reunited Guardians reach the core of the planet, where Ego’s brain is housed, and fight the Sovereign’s arriving drones. Rocket makes a bomb out of the stolen batteries that Groot plants on Ego’s brain, while Quill battles Ego with his newfound Celestial powers to allow the other Guardians to escape. The bomb explodes, killing Ego and causing the planet to disintegrate. Yondu sacrifices himself to save Quill, who comes to realize that Yondu did not deliver him to Ego in order to spare him from the fate of Ego’s other progeny, and that Yondu was Quill’s true “dad”. Having reconciled with Gamora, Nebula still chooses to set out and attempt to kill Thanos. The Guardians hold a funeral for Yondu, which is attended by dozens of Ravager ships, acknowledging Yondu’s sacrifice and accepting him again as a Ravager.

Post credits scenes have Kraglin takes up Yondu’s telekinetic arrow and control fin; Ravager leader Stakar Ogord, inspired by Yondu’s sacrifice, reunites with his ex-teammates; Groot starts growing back to normal size, exhibiting typical teenage behavior in the process; Ayesha creates a new artificial being with whom she plans to destroy the Guardians, naming him Adam; and an astronaut discusses several experiences on Earth with a group of uninterested Watchers.

While it has it’s funny moments (mainly Groot, Mantis & Drax but others too) the film lost it’s charm on me due to the mystical powers of a god like creature. When they go down to the core of the planet and see a brain – oh sweet Satan! Having said that casting Kurt Russell in the role of Ego was a great choice though why Sly Stallone was in it for a bit I don’t know. Same for Michelle Yeoh who was in for 2 seconds. The mystical elements aside, it is a fun ride. The visual effects is awesome. I loved baby Groot and Mantis is so sweet that I fell in love with the French actress, Pom Klementieff, playing her. I will give it a…reluctant 8 outta 10!

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 is a 2016 American romantic comedy film directed by Kirk Jones and written by Nia Vardalos. The film stars Vardalos, John Corbett, Lainie Kazan, Michael Constantine, Andrea Martin, Ian Gomez and Elena Kampouris. It is the sequel to My Big Fat Greek Wedding, which was released in 2002.

It’s 17 plus years after the events of the first movie and Toula & her husband Ian are the proud parents of a 17 year old smart daughter Paris, who is embarrassed by the suffocating attentions of her parents and extended family. Her travel agency and the family dry cleaners are closed due to the recession, and the only business still open is the restaurant that Gus, her father, owns. is now the principal at the school their daughter Paris attends, and Paris is preparing to leave for college. With all the smothering and Gus trying to find her a Greek boyfriend, Paris wants to go away to college. an and Toula find their marriage strained because Toula has the same obsessive drive to “fix” whatever goes wrong in her family, due to her daughter treating her like she no longer needs her and her family constantly asking Toula to do it, causing her and Ian to find little time for each other.

Meanwhile, Gus has ridiculously convinced himself that he is a direct descendant of Alexander the Great and wants an online ancestry site to confirm this. While sorting through his paper records, he discovers that his wedding certificate was never signed by the inexperience priest who married him and Maria 50 years ago in Greece. He is frustrated when his current priest refuses to just sign the paper, but is willing to renew their vows so their marriage can be “legal.” Maria scoffs at Gus’ insistence that they must marry again after fifty years together, but agrees to do it if Gus proposes to her properly. Gus refuses. Meanwhile, Toula tries to go on a date with Ian to try to rekindle their romance, but are unsuccessfully caught kissing in their car in the street by their family. Later on, Gus slips in the bath tub due to his bad hip; Toula calls an ambulance for Gus. When he needs to go to the hospital Maria refuses to go with him because she isn’t his wife, and he makes a public plea for her to marry him again. This time she agrees.

Maria wants the wedding she always wished she had and hired a wedding planner who quits due to constant madness surrounding her. The whole family, including Ian’s parents, Rodney and Harriet, and Angelo’s business partner, Patrick, pitch in to make it happen. Nick and Toula eventually realize that Patrick is also Angelo’s romantic partner, and welcome him into the family. Gus’s estranged brother, Panos, flies over from Greece for the ceremony as a surprise. Paris has been accepted by Northwestern University in Chicago and NYU in New York City. She begins to understand the intense love her mother has for her, and leans toward Northwestern. She changes her mind after sharing a moment with her great-grandmother and realizing she really wants to go to New York. She asks Bennett, a boy she has watched from afar and has crush on, to the prom, and he turns out to be Greek and has an equally crazy Greek family of his own. Prom is the same night as the wedding. Toula decides for Paris to go prom and promises to attend the reception later. On the way to the church, Gus, Panos, and Taki drink shots of ouzo and by the time they make it there, the three men are already drunk and stand giggling before the altar.

Maria is escorted down the aisle by Nick but storms off to the dressing room on seeing Gus drunk and giggling, seemingly not taking the wedding seriously. Panos tells Maria that the reason why Gus invited him to the wedding was because he confided to him as evidence of his love and need for her, and the ceremony takes place as planned. Ian and Toula watch Gus and Maria recite their vows, while Paris and Bennett slow-dance at the prom and share their first kiss. At the wedding reception, Gus receives a note from the ancestry site verifying that he is indeed a descendant of Alexander the Great. Ian then realizes and tells Toula that she forged it to make her father happy. The movie ends with the entire family dropping Paris off at her new college dorm in New York.

Though not as good as the original and having too many similar over-exaggerated jokes and situations that are more intune with the short lived sitcom, I still enjoyed this film on a night I was recovering from a fever. I will give it a 6.5 outta 10!

RIP Vinod Khanna

Veteran actor and Gurudaspur MP Vinod Khanna passed away on Thursday in Mumbai after battling cancer. The actor had been ailing for long recently. Vinod Khanna acted in lead roles in many superhit films and is best remembered for his performance in films like Mere Apne, Mera Gaon Mera Desh, Gaddaar (1973 film), Jail Yatra, Imitihaan, Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, Inkaar, Kuchhe Dhaage, Amar Akbar Anthony, Rajput, Qurbani, Kudrat, Dayavan, Kaarnama,Suryaa: An Awakening and Jurm. After making his debut in 1968, Khanna first acted in small second lead roles or negative roles. His angry young man role in the superhit movie Mere Apne, his negative role as the main villain in the superhit movie Mera Gaon Mera Desh and his role in the crtically acclaimed movie Achanak as the military officer turned fugitive received tremendous applause from both- the film industry and his fans.

Khanna was born in a Punjabi family to Kamla and Kishanchand Khanna, a textiles, dyes and chemicals businessman, on 6 October 1946, in Peshawar, British India (now in Pakistan). He has three sisters and one brother. Shortly after his birth, India was partitioned and the family left Peshawar and reached Mumbai. In 1982, at the peak of his film career, Khanna temporarily quit the film industry to follow his spiritual guru Osho Rajneesh. After a 5 year hiatus, he returned to the Hindi film industry giving two back to back hit films Insaaf and Satyamev Jayate. Khanna is popularly hailed as one of the most handsome lead actors ever in Bollywood, along with Dharmendra, Rajesh Khanna and Shammi Kapoor.

Between 1973 and 1982, Khanna played the lead role in solo hero movies which include Farebi and Hatyara with Moushumi Chatterjee; Qaid in 1975 and Zalim in 1980, both with Leena Chandavarkar; and Inkaar in 1978 opposite Vidya Sinha. He did successful movies like Gaddaar with Yogita Bali, Aap Ki Khatir and Raajmahal opposite Rekha, Main Tulsi Tere Angan Ki with Neeta Mehta, Khoon Ki Pukar , Shaque and Adha Din Aadhi Raat with Shabana Azmi,Aarop with Saira Banu, Taaqat with Rakhee and Parveen Babi, Jail Yatra opposite Reena Roy, Daulat with Zeenat Aman, The Burning Train with Praveen Babi. In 1980, he starred in Feroz Khan’s Qurbani (1980) which became the highest-grossing film of that year. He accepted supporting roles in films with Rajesh Khanna as the lead hero through out his career – Aan Milo Sajna had Vinod in antagonist role, Sachcha Jhoota, Kudrat, Rajput and Prem Kahani had Vinod in character roles.

Vinod also starred in 47 multi hero films. In Shankar Shambhu, Chor Sipahee and Ek Aur Ek Gyarah he co-starred with Shashi Kapoor, in Hera Pheri, Khoon Pasina, Amar Akbar Anthony, Zameer, Parvarish and Muqaddar Ka Sikandar Khanna appeared with Amitabh Bacchan; and in Haath Ki Safai and Aakhri Daku he co-starred with Randhir Kapoor. He appeared with Sunil Dutt in Daku Aur Jawan.He acted with Jeetendra in Ek Haseena Do Diwane, Ek Bechara, Parichay,Insaan, Anokhi Ada and Janam Kundali. He did Rakhwala,Paththar Aur Payal, The Burning Train, Batwara and Farishtey with Dharmendra.

In period 1974-1982 Vinod Khanna was paid more than Jeetendra in the film Insaan and more than Amitabh Bachchan in 4 films like Parvarish, Hera Pheri, Khoon Pasina, Amar Akbar Anthony. In post 1987 period, Vinod Khanna was paid more than Rishi Kapoor, Govinda, Sanjay Dutt, Rajnikanth, Salman Khan in the films he did with them from 1987-1995. Only in the films he co-starred with Shashi Kapoor, Rajesh Khanna, Sunil Dutt, Raajkumar and Randhir Kapoor in period 1968-1982, Vinod was paid lesser than them.

ROSHAN’s Eleven : Fav Superhero Movies

In no particular order my fav superhero films of all time are:

  • Superman
  • Iron Man
  • Batman vs Superman
  • Batman : The Dark Knight
  • Deadpool
  • Thor
  • Guardians Of The Galaxy
  • X-Men : First Class
  • The Avengers
  • Captain America : Civil War
  • The Avengers : Age Of Ultron

This is the list for now though the way I feel about these movies the list can change at any time. I will relook at the list in the weeks to come.

Allied

Allied is a 2016 romantic thriller film directed by Robert Zemeckis and written by Steven Knight set during World War 2. It stars Brad Pitt as a Canadian intelligence officer and Marion Cotillard as a French Resistance fighter and collaborator, who fall in love during a mission in Casablanca. Jared Harris, Simon McBurney and Lizzy Caplan also star.

It’s 1942 and World War 2 is ranging on in Europe. Royal Canadian Air Force Intelligence Officer Max Vatan travels to Casablanca in Morocco to assassinate the German ambassador. He is partnered with a French Resistance fighter named Marianne Beauséjour, who had escaped from France after her resistance group was compromised and killed. They are posing as a married couple and Marianne is introducing him to her new friends in the German camp. Trusted by the Germans, she secures Max an invitation to the party where they plan to conduct the assassination. The two become close despite the danger involved and become intimate the day of the assassination. At the party, aided by a planned distraction, the mission goes well and they kill the ambassador and escape to London. The two get married, settle down in Hampstead, and have a baby girl named Anna. Max takes a desk job for the Allied Forces.

A year later Max is called in by the Special Operations Executive and informed that Marianne is suspected of being a German spy, having adopted her identity after the real Marianne was killed in France. When Max presses, they tell him that two missions that passed his desk were spoiled by the Germans, possibly tipped off by a spy who also knew of the missions. Max having told his wife of the missions is appalled by the accusations but is forced to go along with the plan to write down a piece of false intelligence at home, where Marianne can find it. If the information is picked up from intercepted German transmissions, Max must personally execute her, or be hanged for treason. Max is told otherwise to act normally. He finds it difficult but goes along with the rouse. But he also contacts a former British officer who is said to have known Marrianne – but he is unable to confirm her identity as he has been blinded in a battle.

Max then seeks out a young pilot named Adam Hunter, gives him a picture of his wife, and instructs him to ask French resistance fighter Paul Delamare, a former team member of Marianne’s whether, she really is Marianne. However, the following night, Max’s commanding officer Frank Heslop informs him that Hunter was killed while waiting on the ground for the answer. The following night Max takes the place of a Lysander pilot and flies to France to meet with Delamare, who, it transpires, is being held at the local police station. Max and the resistance break into the jail to confront Delamare. He is drunk, but remembers that Marianne was a beautiful pianist. Max comes back home and takes Marianne to a pub in the morning, breaks in and demands that she play him something on the piano. She cannot and adits that she was a German spy who took on the identity of Marianne after the former was killed. She claims her feelings for Max are genuine and that she and her child were being threatened by German spies in London, including the woman who lives around the corner and often looks after Anna.

Convinced of her feelings for him Max takes Marianne with him, confronts and kills the two German handlers and drives to an airfield. At the airfield his superior, Frank Heslop, confronts Max and with more soldiers coming, doesn’t let Max leave. Marianne tells Max that she loves him, asks him to take care of Anna, then shoots herself. Heslop orders the soldiers present to report that Max executed Marianne as per his orders, so that Max himself will not be punished. After the war, Max moves to the ranch in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, that was always his ambition, and raises Anna. The film ends with Marianne reading the letter that she had earlier written to her daughter, anticipating that one day her real identity would be uncovered.

Slow moving at times, the movie could have been really intense but is instead a slow burner that is held well by the acting ability of the two main leads. The setting in Canary Islands made to look like 1940s Casablanca and in London are great as well. 7.5 outta 10!

The Shallows

The Shallows is a 2016 American survival thriller film directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, written by Anthony Jaswinski and starring Blake Lively. In the film, a surfer gets stranded 200 yards from shore, and must use her wits and determination to survive a great white shark attack. I guess you could label it a horror / creature feature film of sorts.

Well despite being set most on the ocean or is it the sea on a pretty beautiful but secluded beach and featuring our actress heroine trying to just stay alive, it is still is a very good film. Medical student Nancy Adams travels to a remote part of Mexico to a beach which was her late mother’s favourite place. Her mother was pregnant with Nancy at the time and she wants to see the place. From her hotel, a friendly local named Carlos drives her to the location and leaves as he lives nearby. Nancy joins two other locals in surfing through the day and stopping only for a bite to eat, during which she video chats with her younger sister and her estranged dad.

After the two men leave, Nancy stays behind to see the carcass of a large humpback whale nearby and catch the last waves but is bumped off her board by a great white who also bites her leg. She then climbs the carcass of the dying whale but the shark rams it from underneath, forcing her to swim to an isolated rock. She only has a wounded seagull for company as the shark keeps circling the whale carcass and the rock meaning she is stuck there. A drunken local sees her but thinks she is waving hello and so he waves back. He tries to steal her bag but sees her board and in trying to get that he is attacked and killed by the shark. The next morning the two locals from the previous day also return and try to reach Nancy to help her but both are killed by the shark. The headcamera on one of the surfers floats nearby so Nancy risks her life to get it. She leaves a recorded message for her sister and father.

With high tide coming, Nancy knows that the rock will be submerged and the shark will get at her so she sends the seagull whom she names Steven toward shore on a piece of surfboard, and timing the shark’s circles from the whale carcass to the rock, Nancy swims to a nearby buoy, narrowly avoiding the shark by swimming through a group of jellyfish, which sting both the shark and her. She finds a flare gun on the bouy and shoots a flare at a passing ship but they fail to see her. She shoots another flare at the shark, setting the oil from the whale carcass alight and angering it, but otherwise having no effect. The shark attacks the buoy and rips out the chains securing it to the ocean bed. Nancy straps herself to the last remaining chain and as it is ripped from the buoy, she is pulled down to the ocean floor, pursued by the shark. At the last moment, Nancy pulls out of the dive, and the shark impales itself on some rebar from the buoy’s anchor.

By morning, Carlos’s son Miguel who was playing on the beach finds the camera and plays it. He runs to his father who is able to get Nancy out of the water and to a hospital. A year later we see Nancy with her sister on a beach in Texas going to surf on boards with their dad watching nearby. A good survival film and it even has some fun moments. Not since Jaws & Deep Blue have I seen a shark that I wanted dead so much. I thought it was well done. And oh so satisfying when sharky shark bit the dust! 7 outta 10!

Missing Sequels

If you could create a sequel to one favorite (standalone) movie, which would it be? How would it build on the original?

Event Horizon. One of the best and most underrated science fiction + horror films out there. It absolutely rocks and is dynamite in it’s story telling. It has an awesome premise and plot and some really good actors in it. If you are unaware of the movie it’s about a crew of astronauts sent on a mission to get in touch with a starship that has reappeared suddenly after it’s disappearance 7 years ago on it’s maiden voyage. The ship had an experimental engine that opened a rift in the space time continuum.

Joining the crew is the scientist who invented the engine and when they get to the ship, the Event Horizon, they discover that the ship had opened a portal to a hell dimension and whatever got through had killed and mutilated the crew of the Event Horizon and now wants these men and women too. The characters must try and escape but the entity that has taken control of the Event Horizon won’t let them go. In the end everything from the forward section of the Event Horizon is destroyed and heads onto earth like a lifeboat carrying just three of the crew while the rest are dead and the rest of the ship is pulled back into the hell dimension by means of the black hole that was opened. However we are led to believe that all is not right as the remaining 3 are found by rescue crew from earth. Is the closing of the doors ominously mean that the evil still remains?

I dunno and it is speculated as a possible outcome. I would love to see a sequel for this 1997 movie which remains a favourite of mine. Someone please get to it.

Prompt from The Daily Post at WordPress.com

The Magnificent Seven (2016)

Although I have seen the original, it was so long, long ago (Over 25 years I think) that I do not remember anything about it. The Magnificent Seven is a 2016 American Western action film directed by Antoine Fuqua and written by Nic Pizzolatto and Richard Wenk. It is a remake of the 1960 western film of the same name, which in turn was a reimagination of the Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 Japanese film Seven Samurai. The film stars Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio, Lee Byung-hun, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Martin Sensmeier, Haley Bennett and Peter Sarsgaard.

The film pretty much follows the script of the original and the Hollywood remake classic (which makes you wonder why they bothered in the first place). A small mining town named Rose Creek, is looted by robber baron Bartholomew Bogue and his horde of criminals and when the good folk try to stand up to him, some of the men are killed on the street. Emma Cullen, who’se husband Matthew was one of those murdered, goes to the next town with her friend Teddy to get help and runs into warrant officer Sam Chisolm who was there on legal business. Along with gambler and Joshua Faraday, who is impressed with Sam’s skills, Sam agrees to defend the town on hearing that Bogue is the one who is harrassing the townsfolk. They are later joined by sharpshooter Goodnight Robicheaux, knife-wielding Billy Rocks, notorious Mexican outlaw Vasquez, skilled tracker Jack Horne, and Comanche warrior Red Harvest.

After they arrive in Rose Creek they confront and shoot dead enforcer McCann and his men, shoot dead 22 of them, and drive the corrupt sheriff away with a warning to leave Rose Creek alone. Surmising that Bogue and his forces will return in a week, the seven train the townspeople to defend their home and grow fond of them. Robicheaux, haunted by the horrors of the Civil War and fearing the killing he will be a part of, abandons the group and is replaced by Cullen. Bogue and his huge army of men arrive and attack the town but find that the people have rigged traps and bombs all over. A massive shootout ensues, during which Robicheaux rejoins the group. Bogue then unveils his secret weapon, a Gatling gun, with which he decimates the town and kills many of both sides. Realizing they’re outgunned, the seven evacuate the townspeople and mount their last stand. Horne is killed by Bogue’s Comanche assassin Denali, who is later killed by Red Harvest.

Robicheaux and Rocks are killed by a second round of gunfire. Faraday then rides up to the remainder of Bogue’s men and the Gatling gun. After he is riddled with bullets he makes a final attempt to destroy the Gatling gun, by detonating a stick of dynamite destroying the Gatling gun, the rest of Bogue’s men, and himself. Bogue flees into town, where he is confronted by Chisolm, who disarms and wounds Bogue. As Chisolm is strangling Bogue, he reveals that Bogue and his men raped and murdered his mother and sisters during a raid several years earlier, in which he himself survived being hanged. Bogue is then fatally shot by Cullen while attempting to shoot Chisolm with a hidden gun in his boot. Faraday, Robicheaux, Rocks and Horne are buried in town and honoured by the people of Rose Creek as heroes, while Chisolm, Vasquez and Red Harvest ride off. The film ends with Cullen remarking that their heroism made them legends and that it was “magnificent”.

I found the film boring in several places and then it picks up towards the final 3rd. The cast do a pretty good job but you won’t find the film memorable at all. I give it a…..7 outta 10!