Circle (2015)

Circle is a 2015 American psychological thriller film written and directed by Aaron Hann and Mario Miscione. The ensemble cast includes Carter Jenkins, Lawrence Kao, Allegra Masters, Michael Nardelli, Julie Benz, Mercy Malick, Lisa Pelikan, and Cesar Garcia. It was inspired by the 1957 drama 12 Angry Men and was shot in 2014. It premiered at the Seattle International Film Festival on May 28, 2015, before being released to video-on-demand on October 16, 2015.

In the film, fifty people wake up in a darkened room, only to find that one of them is killed every two minutes or when they attempt to leave. When they realize that they can control which person is selected to die, blocs emerge based on personal values.  When someone ignores the warning and leaves formation, a beam from the dome kills them, and the dead are eventually removed by unseen forces. Thereafter, every two minutes, another person is killed. After several people die, they realize the technology allows them to use hand gestures to vote for who dies, while arrows on the floor show each person their own vote but not others’. They attempt to all boycott the vote, but someone is still randomly selected to die.

First the group decided to eliminate the elderly so they get more time to evaluate the situation and come up with a plan. A young man, Eric, remembers attempting to flee Los Angeles, and others concur. Eric says that he was pulled into the air, later waking in a red room with other humans. The old man next in line agrees, saying he saw and heard aliens. The college guy suffers the next elimination after he aggressively targets a 52-year-old cancer survivor over the objections of people who do not consider her elderly. Several people say they recognize the others: a man identifies the woman next to him as his wife, another man identifies the doctor who was having an affair with him, and a tattooed man is eliminated after he admits to a cop’s accusation of domestic abuse. After several minorities are quickly eliminated, an African-American man claims the process has become racist. Several others dispute this, but when the cop goes on a racist rant, he is selected next.

They find that they cannot vote for themselves and attempt to give one vote to every person in the circle. One man gives a second vote for a pregnant woman, so Eric votes for him; this causes a tie and the man is killed in a run-off vote. The group realizes that one of the final two people left must not vote (and be killed) to render a winner.  After several take their own lives by leaving formation to buy the others time, an atheist antagonizes the theists who praised the volunteers’ faith. The atheist is briefly saved, but when he mocks the girl beside him for having had her boss pay for her breast enhancements, he is killed. A lesbian becomes a target, but the lawyer who argued strongest for her selection is killed instead. After several eliminations, two main blocs emerge. One bloc (led by Eric, a soldier, and a one-armed man) believes that everyone should sacrifice themselves to save the pregnant woman and a girl for last, and the other bloc (led by a bearded man and a rich man) wants to eliminate them immediately as a threat to their survival, as they believe everyone is equal, and no special privileges should be afforded to anyone.

A husband is forced to vote with Eric’s bloc when they threaten to eliminate his wife, but, under interrogation, the couple admit they concocted the relationship to curry favor, resulting in the husband’s elimination. Finally it’s just Eric, the pregnant woman, the girl, and a silent man who has never voted. Eric theorizes that aliens have used the process to learn about humanity’s values. After the silent man is eliminated, Eric and the girl agree to simultaneously sacrifice themselves. As the girl commits suicide, Eric instead casts a last-second vote to kill the pregnant woman, then the pregnant woman’s unborn child. Eric wakes in Los Angeles where he joins a group of people, composed of an equal amount of women, men, and children, watching a fleet of alien crafts.

The script covers political, social, and psychological issues and reminds me of a Twilight Zone style story. I did not like the ending though as it leaves a lot of unanswered questions and leaves the fate of the survivors in doubt. The rest of the movie is pretty solid. I give it a 7 outta 10!

Brightburn

Brightburn is a 2019 American superhero horror film directed by David Yarovesky and produced by James Gunn and Kenneth Huang. It stars Elizabeth Banks, David Denman and Jackson A. Dunn, and follows a young alien boy raised on Earth who realizes he has superpowers, soon using them to terrorize his town. Basically the story is a relook at the story of Superman and what if he was an evil being instead of the superhero he turned out to be.

In the year 2006, Tori and Kyle Breyer, a couple living in a farm in Brightburn, Kansas, investigate a crash in the woods and find a small spaceship. In it is a human looking baby who they then take in and raise him as their own. Brandon, as they name, him is know as their son who they adopted by everyone else, is a sweet and normal child with the exception that he doesn’t fall ill or bleed. Twelve years later, the ship begins transmitting an alien message, leading Brandon to discover he has superhuman strength and invulnerability. He sleepwalks to the barn and tries to open the cellar, chanting the craft’s message, but Tori intervenes.

He starts becoming arrogant and tests his powers and also throws a tantrum on his birthday at a diner when his uncle Noah and aunt Merilee give him a hunting rifle, which Kyle refuses to let Brandon have, and Brandon causes a scene. This makes Kyle force Brandon out of the diner and leave with Tori. Tori finds photos of lingerie and swimsuit models, surgical diagrams, and graphic photos of human organs in Brandon’s room. Kyle tells him it’s ok to act on his urges but this makes Brandon to stalk Caitlyn, a girl he likes, in her bedroom and scare her. The farm chickens seem scared of him and he slaughters them for no reason. Caitlyn, refuses to touch him during a trust fall excerise at school, which causes him to fall and he breaks her hand in return.  Tori interrupts Brandon as he levitates above the open cellar, chanting the ship’s message, and he falls and cuts himself on the spaceship, the first time he has ever been injured. Tori reveals the truth about his arrival on Earth, and Brandon leaves, finally understanding the ship’s message: “Take the world.”

Brandon visits Catilyn again and offers her flowers. When she tells him that her mother has forbidden him to speak to him, a masked Brandon stalks and murders Erica. Merilee, his aunt who is also the school counseller is concerned about Brandon’s lack of remorse in hurting Caitlyn, tells him that she is required to report his progress to police. Brandon tries to intimidate Merilee at her home, but she sends him away. He comes back and scares Noah who threatens to tell his parents, prompting Brandon to lash out. Terrified, Noah tries to escape in his truck, but Brandon lifts and crashes the vehicle, killing Noah and draws a symbol on the road in Noah’s blood. Brandon returns home shirtless after school, telling his parents that other students tore his shirt, but refuses to give it to Tori. His parents learn from a grieving Merilee that Brandon had gone to her house and are alarmed when Brandon does not react to their news of Noah’s death. When Kyle grabs him, Brandon violently shoves him. Kyle finds Brandon’s blood-stained shirt and shows it to Tori, but she refuses to believe Brandon killed Noah. Taking Brandon hunting, Kyle shoots him in the back of the head but the bullet does no damage. Heartbroken, Brandon kills Kyle with his heat vision.

After the sheriff shows Tori the symbol found at the scenes of Erica’s and Noah’s deaths, Tori finds Brandon’s notebook with drawings of the murders, a masked Brandon destroying the Earth with the words “take the world”, and the symbol. Tori realized her husband was right about Brandon and attempts to reach Kyle, but Brandon answers the phone and informs her Kyle is dead. As Brandon destroys the house, Tori calls the police, but Brandon brutally murders the sheriff and his deputy. In the barn, Tori finds Erica’s mutilated body nailed to a wall and surrounded by symbols in blood. Remembering Brandon’s cut, Tori arms herself with a sharp piece of the ship to stab him, but fails when Brandon anticipates the attack. Enraged, Brandon flies Tori through the barn roof (injuring her face) and above the clouds, and drops her to her death, then crashes an airplane into the farm, killing everyone aboard, to cover up his murders.

During the end credits, news reports and a conspiracy theorist discuss assorted destruction in Brightburn, the existence of other super beings, and pleads with humanity to take action. The montage seems to set up a sequel or 2 but the movie hasn’t done well at the box office. The movie made a worldwide total of $32.1 million on a budget of around $6-12 million. The acting is decent and the cast does a good job but the overall execution isn’t that exciting. As a horror movie it relies on jump scares and a scifi superhero or super-being it is interesting. I will give it a 7 outta 10!

Deep Space Nine Leaves Me Shattered…Again!

That’s it. Just finished watching the series finale of Star Trek Deep Space Nine and I am a crying, emotional mess. Why did it have to end that way? Now I can’t go to work my evening shift.

Me: Boss, I can’t come in to work today.

Boss : Why such short notice?

Me : It’s not my fault. The war is over, the battle is won and the treaty is signed. But Worf is going away to be the Federation ambassador to the Klingons and joins Martok, Miles is off to earth to teach at the academy, and has taken Keiko, Molly & Yoshi with him, Odo has joined the great link and it looks like it was a final goodbye between him and Kira and that is just heart breaking and then….SIsko is with those stupid wormhole aliens who now want him there for who know how long, leaving a pregnant Cassidy and his son Jake behind in DS9. Rom already left for Ferenginar. And yeah Ezri & Julian have become a couple and the station is in good hands with Kira but to see Jake & Kira stare apply for a small loan out from the station looking at the stars and wondering if we will ever see Odo & Benjamin again and then the sad version of the theme music plays and I….I….I….I…???

Boss: Ok. These are friends of yours? Or family?

Me: ???

Boss: Ok leave granted!

The Worst Alien Soldiers Ever

So V is one of the biggest tv shows of my pre-teen years and continuing on to my teenage years, I rewatched that many, many times on VHS tapes that we recorded onto when it was shown on tv. For many years from the age of 17 till my mid 30s I didn’t watch the show – that’s a long, long time! Then with the help of the internet I downloaded bootleg versions of the two mini-series and the single season of the regular tv series and I have watched it twice before my current rewatching of the show. That started on Sunday with the original mini-series and yesterday I was watching the 3 part The Final Battle.

What has always struck me as funny is, as much as they have such snazzy uniforms with that dark red outfit made even more awesome with the black sleeveless leather jacket, the Visitor troopers have got to be the most useless kind of soldiers in all of science fiction! I mean the Storm Troopers in Star Wars come to mind as do the enemy Jaffa soldiers of the evil Go’auld from Stargate SG-1 but these guys have got to take the undisputed number 1 spot.

They almost never hit their target, unless the plot wants them to ofcourse, and they are so easy to kill! A squad of visitor troopers will hit the wall, the door, the building 3 blocks away when the humans they are chasing are just 10 feet in front of them. Yet when the human resistance members shoot in any direction, down goes the soldiers. A grenade thrown in one direction will kill many soldiers several feet away. What’s more, when you shoot a visitor, he does this amazing gymnastic routine and somersaults from a height onto the floor – and in my mind, I keep seeing Olympic judges holding up a 10! Haha, just so funny! Still, I love this show.

Star Trek Blows A Guy’s Mind!

This happened a few days ago. I have a Star Trek starships collection by Eaglemoss that is about 52 in total displayed in one of my bookshelves in my bedroom in my apartment. We’ve had some issues with termites and hence we have had to take apart the three built in cupboards in one bedroom and the 2 in mine as well as all the kitchen cabinets. The last section to go was my built in cupboards that serve as my wardrobe and storage for some junk. While the guys who were getting the job done were in my room one of them noticed my starships and touched one of them and then looked at the Deeps Space 9 model. He had a smile on his face and looked at me. I thought he must think these are toys.

He asked me what they were and I took about 30 minutes to tell him that they were models of starships from the Star Trek franchise. He had never heard of Star Trek before, barely spoke any English. I told him it’s this vision of the future and explained what the show is about and how things work and how technological advancements are shown in this series and aliens and etc etc.

I could literally see his mind being blown. He had the biggest look of wonderment in his face. Did I say mind blown? No, I think I “Blasted” his mind with this information and I could see that he was left in awe as he left my apartment.

Thanks Star Trek & Eaglemoss!

Spider-Man: Far From Home

Spider-Man: Far From Home is a 2019 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character Spider-Man, co-produced by Columbia Pictures and Marvel Studios, and distributed by Sony Pictures Releasing. It is the sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) and the twenty-third film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film is directed by Jon Watts, written by Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers, and stars Tom Holland as Peter Parker / Spider-Man, alongside Samuel L. Jackson, Zendaya, Cobie Smulders, Jon Favreau, J. B. Smoove, Jacob Batalon, Martin Starr, Marisa Tomei, and Jake Gyllenhaal.

In the movie we see Maria Hill & Nick Fury in the Mexican desert investigating a an unnatural storm and encounter the Earth Elemental. A super-powered man, Quentin Beck, arrives to fight the creature and defeats it and then speaks to Fury & Hill. It’s been 8 months after the events of EndGame and Peter and his fellow students who came back are still adjusting to life. The school organizes a two-week summer field trip to Europe, where Peter Parker, still distraught over Tony Stark’s death, plans to confess his growing feelings for classmate MJ and avoid heroics. He attends a fundraiser arranged by Aunt May but when he comes out to meet the press, he quickly eaves after being overwhelmed by questions about Stark. Meanwhile Fury has been trying to reach him but Peter is dodging his calls, even if Happy warns him that he will be in contact.

In Venice, during the trip, Parker and his friends are among those attacked by the Water Elemental, which proceeds to wreak havoc on the city. Beck arrives and destroys the creature, while Parker attempts to help. Fury meets with Parker and gives him Stark’s glasses, which were meant for his successor. The glasses are equipped with the artificial intelligence E.D.I.T.H., which has access to all databases of Stark Industries and commands a large orbital weapons supply. Beck claims the Elementals killed his family and that he hails from a different reality, one among many in the Multiverse. Peter rejects Fury’s mission and rejoins his class but Fury covertly redirects the school trip’s itinerary to Prague, where the Fire Elemental is projected to strike. It appears at a carnival, but Beck, with Parker’s help, destroys it. Fury and Hill invite Parker and Beck to Berlin to discuss the formation of a new superhero team.

Peter feels that Beck is perfect as the next Iron Man and gives him the glasses and leaves and we see that Beck is revealed to be a former holographic-illusions specialist at Stark Industries who was fired for his unstable nature, now leading a team of disgruntled ex-Stark employees and using advanced projector drones created by William Ginter Riva to simulate the Elemental attacks. MJ meanwhile has followed Peter and deduces that he is Spider-Man. They discover that a piece of debris she retrieved during the carnival battle is a projector that presents a simulation of the Air Elemental, leading the two to realize Beck is a fraud. When preparing for another illusion, Beck discovers MJ took evidence of his deception. Parker travels to Berlin and meets with Fury, only to realize that the version before him is an illusion created by Beck. He battles multiple illusions and is hit by a train and Peter is badly injured and falls asleep. He is taken to a jail in the Netherlands where he escapes and contacts Happy.

Happy brings a jet to pickup Peter and flies him to London and reveals a suit-manufacturing machine left behind by Stark, which Parker uses to synthesize a customized costume. In London, Beck orchestrates an Elemental Fusion, seeking to kill MJ and any others to whom she might have revealed his secret. Parker breaks through the illusion, regains control of E.D.I.T.H., and defeats Beck, who dies by a misfired drone gunshot. Riva escapes with the drone files and recordings, while Parker returns to New York City and begins a relationship with MJ. After Peter takes MJ on a web swinging trek across NYC, he is stunned to see news where reporter J. Jonah Jameson of the DailyBugle.net blames Spider-Man for the Elementals’ attacks, broadcasting doctored footage of the incident filmed and recorded by Beck, in which he incriminates Parker for his death and reveals Spider-Man’s secret identity. In a post-credits scene, the Skrulls Talos and Soren are revealed to have been masquerading as Fury and Hill the whole time as directed by the real Fury, who commands a Skrull spaceship.

The movie is a fantastic rush with awesome, mind blasting (not mind blowing! Anything can blow your mind, this blasted my mind) special effects scenes. This is a fun, thrilling and sweet ride where you see Peter come into his own as a superhero and wanting to live up to the expectations that Tony Stark had for him. It’s a really good sequel to Homecoming and at times outdoes the original. I give it an 8.5 outta 10!

10 Cloverfield Lane

10 Cloverfield Lane is a 2016 American science fiction psychological horror film directed by Dan Trachtenberg, produced by J. J. Abrams and Lindsey Weber and written by Josh Campbell, Matthew Stuecken and Damien Chazelle. The film stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Goodman, and John Gallagher Jr. It is the second installment in the Cloverfield franchise. The story follows a young woman who, after a car crash, wakes up in an underground bunker with two men who insist that an event has left the surface of Earth uninhabitable.

This one sees Michelle, who has broken up with her boyfriend Ben, driving through rural Louisiana. She gets hit by a truck and knocked off the road, falling unconscious. She wake up in a room in a bunker and is met by Howard, the man who owns the underground bunker. He then explains that he brought her there for her protection, claiming that the air outside has been poisoned by nuclear or chemical fallout from an unknown force. She doesn’t believe him initially but then meets Emmett, another survivor who found his way to it and has his arm fractured and in a sling.

Howard takes her to the viewport of the bunker’s exit hatch, showing her two dead pigs outside as evidence of the fallout; Michelle also sees Howard’s truck, and recognizes it from the accident. Michelle privately relays her concerns about Howard’s motivations to Emmett. At dinner Michelle takes Howard’s keys and makes her way to the hatch, but as she is about to open it, a woman, Leslie, covered in skin lesions, slams against the window demanding she be let in, then collapses. Michelle openly returns the keys and agrees that Howard was right. Howard admits to accidentally hitting her car in his panic to get to the shelter. Things settle down as the trio become more relaxed but there is a slight hostility towards Emmett from Howard though he treats Michelle like a younger girl and even mentions the fact that he had a daughter who is dead. Howard enlists Michelle to fix the air filtration unit when it fails since she is small enough to fit through the vents; while repairing it, she finds a locked skylight, with the word “HELP” scratched into its glass and visible to anyone outside.

Further suspicious of Howard, Michelle and Emmett discover that Howard’s purported daughter was a young girl who had gone missing about two years earlier, and they suspect he abducted her to the bunker. They make plans to escape the bunker, creating a makeshift Hazmat suit behind Howard’s back. When Howard discovers tools and parts missing, he accuses the two of stealing them, threatening to immerse them in a barrel of perchloric acid. Emmett quickly takes responsibility of stealing the materials to make a weapon so Michelle would respect him, the way she seemingly respects Howard for wielding a gun. Howard accepts his apology but shots Emmett in the head instantly killing him. In shock, Michelle is desperately making final preparations to leave, when she is surprised by Howard. She manages to escape from him with the suit. En route, she knocks over the acid barrel, which starts an electrical fire in the bunker. It later explodes, killing Howard.

Wearing the suit Michelle goes outside but she sees birds and realizes that the air is cleaner now so she takes off the helmet. but then she suddenly sees a giant biomechanical alien spacecraft, drawn by the bunker explosion. A quadrupedal creature drops from the craft and chases Michelle, forcing her to hide in a shed. She then races towards the farmhouse, but the craft appears and emits a green gas that forces Michelle back into the suit. Her delay allows mechanical appendages from the ship to capture her, but she is able to craft a Molotov cocktail from items in Howard’s truck to throw into the ship. The fireball causes the appendage to drop her, and she is able to take the dead woman’s car and escape. As she nears the Texas border she hears radio chatter instructing any survivors to head to Baton Rouge to evacuate, but also requesting the help of anyone with military or combat training in Houston. At a crossroads, she pauses a moment before driving off towards Houston. In the distance, two larger alien craft can be seen in the sky.

I finally have watched all 3 of the Cloverfield movies although – I wonder how connected these films really are. This one is definitely the best acted and has a great story that is well written with strong characters. As a film I give it an 8.5 outta 10!

Ranking The Teenage Ninja Turtle Movies

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are among my fav childhood cartoons and movies. I first got introduced with the turtles through the first film, which came out in 1990 and I watched it later in the year. The first two movies became part of my frequent movies to watch over the years and I still enjoy them a lot. Here is how I rank the six films that have come out. I understand that there is another one but I haven’t yet watched it.

  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  • TMNT
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cash loans unemployed II : Secret Of The Ooze
  • Teenage Mutant loans quick cash Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

Replicas

Replicas is a 2018 American science fiction thriller film directed by Jeffrey Nachmanoff, and written by Chad St. John, from a story by Stephen Hamel. The film tells the story of a neuroscientist who violates the law and bioethics to bring his family members back to life after they die in a car accident. It stars Keanu Reeves, Alice Eve, and Thomas Middleditch.

William Foster and Ed Whittle are biomedical research scientists working for Biogeny Corporation in Puerto Rico, attempting to transfer the mind of a dead soldier into an android with superhuman strength, codenamed Subject 345. Foster specializes in synthetic biology and mapping of the mind’s neural pathways, while Whittle’s speciality is reproductive human cloning. Foster successfully captures the soldier’s neural map and transfers it into the android’s synthetic brain, but the experiment fails when the soldier recoils in horror at the android body and destroys it, killing himself again. Foster’s boss Jones warns him that if he cannot get Subject 345 to work, the company’s shareholders will shut the project down.

Bill takes his family – wife Mona and three children Sophie, Matt, and Zoe – on a boating trip but they have a terrible accident in the storm and only Bill survives. Struck with grief he calls Ed and they take the bodies to Bill’s house. As you can guess, he gets Ed to steal some equipment from Biogeny and clones the bodies for Mona, Sophie & Matt and has their neural pathways inserted into the bodies. Unfortunately they only have options for 3 bodies as they only have 3 pods and Bill has to pick 3 from his family members and he chooses to skip the youngest, Zoe. After several days it works and the family lives their lives unaware that they are clones and that their memories of Zoe have been erased from their minds. But Jones finds out and along with some secret service men arrive at Bill’s house. Mona is aware that her child Zoe is not with them and freaks out a bit but the family need to escape.

Sold out by Ed, Bill and his family are caught by Jones and his men and brought to the lab at night. Foster uploads his own mind into Subject 345, who kills the henchmen and mortally wounds Jones. The two Fosters make a deal with Jones: he can live in a cloned body and become rich by working with Foster-345, selling clone transfers to wealthy people looking for a second life. Meanwhile, Foster is able to retire in peace with his family, including the newly cloned Zoe.

The acting is a bit off for this film and the CGI is laughable for 90% of the time. It seems like a movie where every dialed in their performances. short term loans for students uk Reeves appears to be going through the motions and isn’t very interested until towards the latter half of the movie. The same could be said for the rest of the cast. The movie does seem to be rushed. I give it a 6 outta 10!