We Review, THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES “A fantasy lover’s dream movie” – MR

We review The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Hobbit:
The Battle of the Five Armies
The Hobbit - The Battle of the Five Armies.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Peter Jackson
Produced by
Screenplay by
Based on The Hobbit
by J. R. R. Tolkien
Starring
Music by Howard Shore
Cinematography Andrew Lesnie
Edited by Jabez Olssen
Production
companies
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release dates
  • 1 December 2014(London premiere)
  • 11 December 2014(New Zealand)
  • 17 December 2014(United States)
Running time 144 minutes[1]
Country New Zealand[2]
United States[2]United Kingdom
Language English
Budget $250 million[3]
Box office $122.2 million[4]

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (previously known as The Hobbit: There and Back Again) is a 2014 epic fantasy adventure film, directed by Peter Jackson and written by Jackson, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, and Guillermo del Toro. It is the final installment in the three-part film adaptation based on the novel The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien, following An Unexpected Journey (2012) and The Desolation of Smaug (2013). Produced by New Line Cinema, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and WingNut Films, and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, The Battle of the Five Armies was released in New Zealand on 11 December 2014, 12 December 2014 in the United Kingdom and on 17 December 2014 in the United States. It stars Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Luke Evans,Benedict Cumberbatch, Ken Stott and James Nesbitt. It also features Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving and Orlando Bloom.

Plot

Bilbo and the Dwarves watch from the Lonely Mountain as the dragon Smaug incinerates Laketown. Bard breaks out of imprisonment and kills Smaug; the dragon’s falling corpse crushes the fleeing Master of Laketown. The survivors of Laketown choose Bard to be their new leader. Kili confesses his love for Tauriel and he and the other Dwarves reunite with their company at the Lonely Mountain; it is revealed that Thorin has been inflicted with Smaug’s “dragon sickness” as he searches for the Arkenstone. Bilbo, having carried the Arkenstone in his possession all along, agrees with Balin that it should remain kept away from the maddened Thorin. Thorin proceeds to have the dwarves to build a blockade at the entrance of Erebor.

Meanwhile, Galadriel and the other White Council members rescue Gandalf from Dol Guldur. Sauron appears and tries to tempt Galadriel, but she is able to cast him and the Nazgûl away from the fortress. Saruman assures Elrond that Sauron is not a threat without the One Ring. Azog, marching on Erebor with his vast Orc army, learns from Bolg that an Elf army under Thranduil is also approaching. Azog sends Bolg to Gundabad to summon their remaining forces. Legolas and Tauriel witness the march of a second massive Orc army and hundreds of giant bats.

When Thranduil’s army arrives in Dale, he forges an alliance with Bard to claim the necklace of white gems from Thorin’s treasure. Thorin refuses to share any of the treasure. After Gandalf arrives, Bilbo sneaks out of Erebor to hand the Arkenstone over to Thranduil and Bard. The next day, Bard and Thranduil’s army gather at the gates of Erebor, offering to trade the Arkenstone to Thorin for gold. Thorin once again declines Bard’s peace offer. Just before Thranduil’s forces begin their assault on Erebor, Thorin’s cousin Dáin arrives with an army of dwarves. The Dwarf army prepares to attack the Elves when Azog’s army makes its appearance, converging on the Dwarves and the city of Dale. With the Orcs outnumbering Dain’s army, Thranduil’s forces join the battle. Thranduil, Bard, Bilbo, and Gandalf assist in the defense of Dale, but the Orcs still outnumber them.

Inside Erebor, Thorin refuses to join the battle. Thorin falls into a hallucinatory nightmare and struggles to free himself from the dragon sickness. Finally overcoming his madness, Thorin leads his friends into battle. While the other Dwarves of the company aid Dain’s forces, Thorin rides towards Ravenhill with Dwalin, Fili, and Kili to kill Azog and force the leaderless Orc army to retreat.

On Ravenhill, Azog ambushes the Dwarves and ruthlessly kills Fili. Bilbo is knocked unconscious as Thorin battles Azog. The Great Eagles suddenly appear, carrying Radagast and Beorn into battle. Legolas kills Bolg after the orc kills Kili and wounds Tauriel. Thorin is mortally wounded dispatching Azog.

In the aftermath of the battle Thorin makes his peace with Bilbo before dying from his wounds. Legolas leaves his father to meet up with one of the Dunedain and Tauriel mourns Kili. Bilbo bids farewell to the remaining members of Thorin’s company and returns to the Shire with Gandalf. As the two part, Gandalf admits to his knowledge of Bilbo having a ring of power and, although he does not know its true nature, cautions Bilbo against using it lightly. Bilbo returns to Bag End to find his belongings being auctioned off by the Sackville-Bagginses, who assumed he died, and clarifies his identity.

Sixty years later, Bilbo, while reflecting on the past journey on his 111th birthday, receives a surprise knock on the door. When the guest reveals himself to be Gandalf, Bilbo happily runs to greet his very old friend.

Our Thoughts

Of the three Hobbit movies, the third is by far the best. Maybe it is because all the story lines come to a head and we get the final ending of this part of the tale. Or maybe it is because Peter Jackson’s use of technology makes the battle scenes so realistic and awesome that I just want to grab a bat and start cracking orc skulls! Either way, I didn’t like the idea of stretching The Hobbit into nine hours of cinematic glory, but I was enthralled every minute of those nine hours, and I don’t think it was time, or film, wasted. A fantasy lover’s dream movie, complete with dragons, orcs, elves, dwarves, wizards, and Hobbits. A must see. 5 stars – MR

 

Find The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, and see an extended preview here.


WeReview: Horrible Bosses 2 “Better than the first one, which is saying a lot!” – MR

Horrible Bosses 2

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Horrible Bosses 2
Horrible Bosses 2.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Sean Anders
Produced by Brett Ratner
Jay Stern
John Morris
Screenplay by Sean Anders
John Morris
Story by John Francis Daley
Jonathan Goldstein
Sean Anders
John Morris
Starring Jason Bateman
Charlie Day
Jason Sudeikis
Jennifer Aniston
Jamie Foxx
Chris Pine
Christoph Waltz
Music by Christopher Lennertz[1]
Cinematography Julio Macat
Edited by Eric Kissack
Production
company
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release dates
  • November 26, 2014
Running time 108 minutes[2]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $42 million[3]
Box office $35.6 million[3]

Horrible Bosses 2 is a 2014 American comedy film directed by Sean Anders and a sequel to 2011’s Horrible Bosses. Produced by New Line Cinema and distributed by Warner Bros., the film was released on November 26, 2014.

Plot

Nick Hendricks, Dale Arbus, and Kurt Buckman decide to start their own business after tiring of working for ungrateful bosses. Their idea is a car-wash-inspired shower head called the “Shower Buddy”. They have trouble finding investors until they are approached by Burt Hanson and his son Rex. Burt admires their commitment to manufacturing the product themselves, while Rex prefers to outsource to China, and agrees to invest if they can make 100,000 units. Taking out a business loan, the three rent a warehouse, hire employees, and manage to produce their output, but Burt backs out of their deal at the last minute, claiming that he never signed an agreement, and he plans on taking their inventory in foreclosure and selling them (renamed the “Shower Pal”) himself, while leaving the three in $500,000 debt with their outstanding loan.

Seeking financial advice, Nick, Dale, and Kurt visit Nick’s old boss Dave Harken in prison, who says the three have no feasible legal options to recover their losses. The three then resolve to kidnap Rex and hold him for ransom. They seek the help of “Motherfucker” Jones, who says the best way to pull off kidnapping someone who knows them is to keep him unconscious for the duration of the kidnapping. The three create a ransom note of $500,000 and go to the office of Dale’s old boss Dr. Julia Harris to steal a tank of nitrous oxide. While there, Kurt and Dale are almost caught by Julia’s sex addiction group meeting; after the group leaves, Nick has sex with Julia, providing the distraction that allows Dale and Kurt to escape the building. The trio goes to Rex’s house, but while they hide in the closet, they accidentally turn on the tank and pass out. When they wake up in the morning, they find Rex gone.

When they arrive back at the warehouse, they find Rex tied up in the trunk of their car. Rex gets out and reveals he found them hiding in his closet, but decides to stage his own kidnapping with them due to his strained relationship with his dad. Rex sent the ransom note to his dad and increased the ransom to $5,000,000. The three are uncertain of Rex’s plan, but Rex threatens to go to the police if they back out. They call Burt to inform him of Rex’s kidnapping, after which Rex is confident that Burt will not involve the cops; however, the police, led by Detective Hatcher, subsequently arrive at their warehouse to question Nick, Dale, and Kurt due to their involvement with Burt. When the police leave, Rex breaks down knowing Burt cares more about his money than his son. Now sympathetic to Rex, the trio agrees to work with him in the fake kidnapping, and all four devise a plan to outsmart the police and take the ransom money, utilizing untraceable phones, a basement garage to block out any tracking signal, and Kurt disguising himself as Burt.

While the plan is in motion, Nick, Dale, and Kurt find that Kurt left Burt his own phone instead of the untraceable one. They nevertheless call Burt on Kurt’s phone to give him the instructions. Before they leave, Julia arrives at their hotel room and demands to sleep with Dale or else she’ll report them for breaking into her office. Unfortunately, Dale’s wife Stacy then arrives via “Find My Phone” app and, believing Dale is cheating on her with Julia, storms off. Dale angrily locks Julia in the bathroom so the three can leave. In the basement garage, Nick, Dale, and Kurt, wearing masks, tell Burt to give back the cell phone. Burt is then shot dead by Rex, who reveals that, after seeing that his father did not care about him, he decided to kill Burt and frame Nick, Dale, and Kurt so Rex can inherit the family business. Rex forces Kurt to switch pants as Rex’s pants have Burt’s blood on them.

As the trio are about to be cornered by the police, Jones arrives, as he anticipated that the three would be betrayed and killed and was seeking to claim the ransom money for himself. He attempts to help them get back to the warehouse where Rex is supposed to be tied up, with the police chasing them, before Rex does so they can prove their innocence. When they get back to the warehouse, Jones escapes with the money and the police arrive to find Rex tied up. Before the police arrest Nick, Dale, and Kurt, Kurt’s phone rings in Rex’s pocket, and the police recognize the ringtone as the same phone that was left to Burt by the kidnappers. Rex tries to claim the phone is his, but when Hatcher asks why Rex didn’t bother to call the police if he had a phone, Rex takes Hatcher hostage. Dale attempts to attack Rex, but Rex shoots him, which distracts Rex long enough for Hatcher to subdue him.

A few days later, Dale wakes up to find out that the three did get in trouble, but because Dale helped save Hatcher’s life, the police dropped the charges. He also finds out that Julia helped make amends with Stacy. In the aftermath, their business goes into foreclosure, but is subsequently purchased by Harken in prison, who allows the three of them to stay employed. Jones, meanwhile, uses the ransom money to invest in Pinkberry.

Cast

Our Thoughts:

I really liked the first movie, and loved the way it reminded me of 9 to 5. In this one, they acknowledge that similarity of plotting and pay homage. This movie is funnier than the first one and that is saying a lot. There are plot twists, unexpected angles, and hilarious antics at every turn. I laughed as hard as I have in a while. Don’t miss the credit clips either. They are as funny as the movie.  This is top notch comedy. 5 stars – MR

Find Horrible Bosses 2 and see a new trailer here.


Book Review – The Sword and the Dragon

twittersfantasyebookguide:

Awesome review. Thanks.

Originally posted on I Read Encyclopedias for Fun:

theswordandthedragonThe Sword and the Dragon

Author: M. R. Mathias

Series: The Wardstone Trilogy #1

Genre: Fantasy

Published 2010

Review Copy: Free eBook

Overall Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

Goodreads Description

When the Royal Wizard of Westland poisons the king so that his puppet prince can take the throne and start a continental war, a young squire is forced to run for his life carrying the powerful sword that his dying monarch burdened him with from the death bed.

Two brothers find a magic ring and start on paths to becoming the most powerful sort of enemies, while an evil young sorceress unwillingly falls in love with one of them when he agrees to help her steal a dragon’s egg for her father. Her father just happens to be the Royal Wizard, and despite his daughter’s feelings, he would love nothing more than to sacrifice the boy!

All of these…

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We Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 “Solid fantasy entertainment.” – MR

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Hunger Games:
Mockingjay – Part 1
MockingjayPart1Poster3.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Francis Lawrence
Produced by Nina Jacobson
Jon Kilik
Screenplay by Danny Strong
Peter Craig[1]
Based on Mockingjay
by Suzanne Collins
Starring
Music by James Newton Howard
Cinematography Jo Willems
Edited by Alan Edward Bell
Mark Yoshikawa
Production
company
Distributed by Lionsgate
Release dates
  • November 19, 2014(BR, NO)
  • November 20, 2014(UK, HU, IT, ID, PH)
  • November 21, 2014 (US)
  • January 2015 (CN)

[2][3][4]

Running time 123 minutes[5]
Country United States
Language English
Budget
  • $140 million[6]
  • 250 million (shared with Part 2)[7]

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 is a 2014 American science fiction adventure film directed by Francis Lawrence with a screenplay by Peter Craig and Danny Strong. It is the first of two cinematic parts based on the novelMockingjay, the final book in The Hunger Games trilogy, written by Suzanne Collins, and the third installment in The Hunger Games film series, produced by Nina Jacobson and Jon Kilik and distributed by Lionsgate. The film stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Stanley Tucci and Donald Sutherland. It is the sequel to The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and will be followed by the concluding entry, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2.

The story continues to follow Katniss Everdeen; Having twice survived the Hunger Games, Katniss finds herself in District 13. Under the leadership of President Coin and the advice of her trusted friends, Katniss reluctantly becomes the symbol of a mass rebellion against the Capitol and fights to save Peeta and a nation moved by her courage. Principal photography for both parts of the film began on September 23, 2013 in Atlanta, before moving to Paris for two weeks of filming and officially concluding on June 20, 2014 in Berlin.[8]

Part 1 was released on November 19, 2014 in Brazil, on November 20, 2014 in the Malaysia, United Kingdom, Greece and Indonesia, and is scheduled to be released on November 21, 2014 in the United States and November 28, 2014 in India, with an unconfirmed date in January 2015 in China.[3][4] It landed atop Fandango‘s list of most-anticipated films for 2014.[9]

Synopsis

Katniss Everdeen finds herself in District 13 after she literally shatters the Games forever, but the Capital is using Peeta just like the resistance is using Katniss.

Cast

For character descriptions from the novels, see List of The Hunger Games characters.
A seventeen year old from District 12 and victor of the 74th Hunger Games, she becomes a reluctant hero and symbol of hope for the nation after escaping the third Quarter Quell in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. On her character, Lawrence said, “She’s in a different world. She wakes up in District 13 and she has to adjust to a completely new life.”[10][11] Director Francis Lawrence said that her character now compared to the previous film is just “ratcheted up” and that “she’s panicked, and she can’t sleep. She’s barely able to hold it together.” On her relationships with the other characters, he said that Katniss “feels betrayed by Haymitch and by Plutarch. She also feels lost without Peeta” and that because of that “she’s very, very fragile and very, very angry.” Screenwriter Peter Craig said that “everyone is waiting for her, hoping that she is alive. They’re banking on her to change the world. It’s both high anxiety-provoking and exhilarating to follow her as she tries to understand what is going on – and takes on this new identity outside of the arena.”[12] Producer Nina Jacobson says that “emotionally, Katniss is betrayed. She’s a foreigner in a strange land. She knows that people are looking to her to make a change, and this is the time where she realizes she can’t stand by and do nothing. Snow has done too much. There has been too much deception, and the people Katniss loves are in danger. She will do whatever it takes to keep them safe.”[13]
Joint victor of the 74th Hunger Games, he is captured at the end of Catching Fire and he loses his mind after being tortured.[14] Hutcherson says that he’s “always thought that the arc that Peeta takes is really incredible throughout the whole series” and that Peeta’s character arc, “from the beginning he’s such a vulnerable young lad, and into the literally tortured, inflicted kind of PTSD-suffering person that he becomes in Mockingjay is kind of incredible.”[15][16] Cast member Jeffrey Wright said he’s interested to see Peeta’s journey realised “because he essentially plays a guy, a warrior who’s trying to deal with PTSD and among other things.”
Katniss’s best friend from District 12 and now a soldier in District 13. He is one of the few hundred survivors after the bombings of his district. Hemsworth said on Gale’s role in comparison to the previous films, “I mean Gale has the majority of his stuff is (sic) in the third book and it’s when you get to see him standing up to it all. You see bits and pieces of it through the first two [books], of how passionate he is about it, and he gets to sink his teeth in in the third one. Gale is a big part of the uprising”[15]
A paunchy, middle-aged man and an alcoholic, he is one of the only three victors from District 12. Now under the command of District 13, he is forced to go underdetox as they do not permit the consumption of alcohol. He is no longer trusted by Katniss after he breaks his promise of saving Peeta before her.[11]
Previously the Capitol-born chaperone and publicity representative for District 12 tributes during the Hunger Games, she is now a Capitol-born rebel in District 13. While her character does not make an appearance in the novel until the end, director Lawrence reveals that he has expanded her role in the films, “She’s back! In the book, Fulvia basically replaces her. But how can anybody replace Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket in these movies? When [author] Suzanne Collins sawCatching Fire, she called and one of the first things she said was, ‘There’s no way Effie Trinket cannot be in the Mockingjay films.’ Effie brings such warmth and fun and levity to these dark stories. She’s the fish out of water in this one and fans will love how she has adapted to the world of District 13.” Producer Nina Jacobson adds that Effie’s reasoning for helping the rebellion is “for personal reasons, not political reasons” and that “unlike Plutarch, she has to be convinced to help. She does not want to be part of the revolution.”[12]
One of the leaders of the rebellion residing in District 13, he managed to pull the strings for the rebellion behind the scenes in the Capitol during the 75th Hunger Games by pretending to work for President Snow as the Head Gamemaker and helps Katniss and a few other tributes escape the arena. Hoffman said that, “his job becomes very different. The story becomes very different and everyone will see what happens.”[17] Director Francis Lawrence explains that “not everybody who grows up in the Capitol is a bad person. This is the movie where Phil [Seymour Hoffman] shows us who he really is, and he is great in this movie, hitting on Plutarch’s sense of humour and political manoeuvring.”[12]
The president of District 13 and the leader of the rebellion. Moore was a big fan of the book series and has “read all the books all the way through and I‘m like, ‘I want to be in this movie.’ Clearly [Coin] was the only part I could play.” Describing her character in the books, she says “Coin is very sparingly drawn because you don’t know who she is because she’s only spoken about through Katniss’ point of view. And Katniss immediately mistrusts her in the way sometimes a young person will mistrust an older person who is not familiar to them or is in a position of authority.”[19] Director Francis Lawrence said “Coin’s singular vision to unite all of the districts in a massive rebellion is no small undertaking, especially when most of the districts have no idea that District 13 still exists. Her relationship with Katniss is very complicated as well, because Katniss is wary of everyone at this point. Julianne [Moore] has done an amazing job with helping to shape the character of Coin.” Screenwriter Peter Craig says Moore’s portrayal of Coin is filled with such “intelligence and warmth; anyone would want to be loyal to the character she has created.[12]
The tyrannical President of Panem who has an affinity for white roses. Sutherland compares Snow’s dangerous battle with Katniss to a love affair, “because love affairs often start with people hating each other — the attraction is so deep and profound,” he says. “This is going to go on until it all ends. Snow only gets better.” Director Francis Lawrence says that “everything that happens in this story is driven by the antagonist, which is why President Snow is so vital, it gets very personal with these characters.”
Resident director from the Capitol, she flees alongside her camera crew and assistant, Messalla, to District 13 to join the rebellion in hopes of ending President Snow’s control of Panem. Dormer shaved half her head for the role, but originally intended to shave her entire head. She said she discussed it [with Francis Lawrence] and I took the job on the premise that I would possibly shave my whole head. I’m actually really pleased that we went halfway because I think it’s more the Capitol… and that’s where Cressida comes from. She comes from the Capitol, so she’s got a stylized thing going on and now she’s turned rebel. I think it’s right for the character.”[21] On the similarities between Cressida and the character she plays on Game of Thrones, Margaery Tyrell, she said that Cressida “is employed by the rebellion in this modern capacity that we would recognize as PR and propaganda, winning over hearts and minds in the civil war. And yeah, what Margaery does is modern PR-stunting. So yes, there would be a similarity between the two characters, that they are astute at media manipulation.”[22][23]
Trident wielding victor of the 65th Hunger Games, he escapes from the third Quarter Quell alongside Katniss and other tributes and seeks refuge in District 13. He is distressed, unhinged, and is unable to focus on anything other than his girlfriend Annie Cresta, who was captured by the Capitol during the escape. Claflin said that Finnick since the last film has “been left in a very, very sad and upsetting place. He’s lost his wife and he doesn’t know on where she is. It starts in a very distressing place for him, in the beginning of Mockingjay. He just goes on a hellish journey.”[24] Director Lawrence says on his casting that even though he “has the looks, the beauty, the athleticism, the charm,” that it wasn’t the deciding factor in Claflin’s portrayal that sold him. It was “his emotional depth. Because I always knew where Finnick was going to go as a character, and what we were going to learn about him as the stories progressed, that drew me to Sam.”[25][26]
President Snow’s minister.[28] His character does not appear in the books and is an addition to the adaptation. Knepper says during his audition he read for, but he knows that what he got is not what he’ll end up doing, adding that “they [Lionsgate] are so secretive about this.”[29]
District 7 victor who was captured by the Capitol at the end of Catching Fire along with Peeta. It’s been reported that Johanna’s role has been expanded from that of the novel.[30]

Additionally, Stanley Tucci,[31][32] Willow Shields,[33][34] Jeffrey Wright, Paula Malcomson all reprise their roles as Caesar Flickerman, Primrose Everdeen, Beetee Latier, and Mrs. Everdeen respectively. Stef Dawson plays Annie Cresta (after having a cameo appearance in Catching Fire),[35] Finnick’s girlfriend from District 4 who is captured by the Capitol.[36] Evan Ross plays Messalla,[37] assistant director to Cressida. Patina Miller portrays Commander Paylor,[38][39] the leader of the rebellion in District 8. Mahershala Ali was cast as Boggs, Coin’s right hand man, while Wes Chatham portrays Castor and Elden Henson plays his brother, Pollux, who is an Avox, someone who had his tongue cut off by the Capitol.

 

Our Thoughts:

Those who have read the books will find what you expect to find in this film. It is a bridge between two parts of the story, and the whole premise for Katniss having two men, or a “boy dilemma,” or “love triangle,” or whatever you call it. To put it simply, she has to have time alone with each of them, for this to develop, and this is her time away from Peeta. I’m giving the movie 5 stars. It is solid fantasy entertainment. I can’t wait for part 2.

 

Find a Mockingjay Part 1 at amazon and see several awesome trailers here.


We review Interstellar IMAX version “5 Stars – A true MUST SEE!” – MR

Interstellar

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Interstellar
A ringed spacecraft revolves around a reflective sphere.

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Produced by
Written by
Starring
Music by Hans Zimmer
Cinematography Hoyte van Hoytema
Edited by Lee Smith
Production
companies
Distributed by
Release dates
  • October 26, 2014 (premiere)
  • November 5, 2014(North America)
  • November 7, 2014(United Kingdom)
Running time 169 minutes[1][2]
Country
  • United States
  • United Kingdom
Language English
Budget $165 million[3]
Box office $137,836,670[4]

Interstellar is a 2014 science fiction film directed by Christopher Nolan. Starring Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, and Michael Caine, the film features a team of space travelers who travel through awormhole in search of a new habitable planet. It was written by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan; Christopher combined his idea with a script developed by his brother in 2007 for Paramount Pictures and producer Lynda Obst. He produced the film with Obst and his wife, Emma Thomas. Theoretical physicist Kip Thorne, whose work inspired the film, acted as both scientific consultant and executive producer.

Warner Bros., which produced and distributed some of Nolan’s previous films, negotiated with Paramount for a financial stake in Interstellar. Legendary Pictures, which formerly partnered with Warner Bros., also sought a stake. The three companies co-financed the film, and the production companies Syncopy and Lynda Obst Productions were enlisted. The director also hired cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema since Nolan’s long-time collaborator Wally Pfister was busy working on Transcendence, his directorial debut. Interstellar was filmed with a combination of anamorphic 35 mm andIMAX 70 mm film photography. Filming took place in the last quarter of 2013 in locations in the province of Alberta,Canada, in southern Iceland, and in Los Angeles, California. The visual effects company Double Negative created visual effects for Interstellar.

Interstellar premiered on October 26, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. Theatrically, it received a limited release in North America (United States and Canada) on November 5, 2014 and a wide release on November 7, 2014. It was also released in Belgium, France and Switzerland on November 5, 2014 and in additional territories in the following days, including the United Kingdom on November 7, 2014. For the limited release in North America, it was released in 70 mmand 35 mm film formats in 249 theaters which still project the formats, including at least 41 70 mm IMAX theaters. For the wide release, it expanded to theaters that show it in digital format. Paramount Pictures is distributing the film in North America, and Warner Bros. distributes it in the remaining territories.

Plot

In the near future, Earth is no longer able to sustain humanity. Crops are being gradually wiped out by a blight, dust storms scour the land, and humankind has regressed to a failing agrarian society. The blight thrives on nitrogen, reducing the oxygen in the atmosphere and placing future generations at risk of suffocation. Cooper, a former NASA test pilot and engineer-turned-farmer lives with his family: his father-in-law, Donald; his son, Tom; and his ten year-old daughter, Murphy—better known as “Murph”—who believes that their house is haunted by a poltergeist that is trying to communicate with her. Cooper one day locates a drone flying over his field aimlessly which he is able to bring down after some efforts and he realizes that it was riding over gravitational anomalies, which makes him recollect his earlier unsuccessful flight attempt while working in NASA after which he had given up flying. Cooper then challenges Murph to prove the ghost’s existence through scientific inquiry. He later discovers the “ghost” is an unknown form of intelligence sending them coded messages by means of gravitational waves, altering the dust on the floor in a binary pattern that directs them to the coordinates of a secret NASA installation led by Professor Brand, formerly one of Cooper’s professors.

At the NASA site, Brand reveals to Cooper that humanity’s fight to survive is a losing battle, but the discovery of a wormhole orbiting Saturn has given mankind a chance for survival. NASA scientists believe that extra-dimensional beings are communicating with them and have created the wormhole for humanity’s use. Cooper is recruited to pilot Endurance, an experimental spacecraft, to follow the Lazarus Mission, a series of manned capsules sent through the wormhole to survey a dozen potential planets’ long-term habitability. Once their viability is confirmed, humanity would follow aboard NASA facilities, which have been constructed on Earth to serve as gigantic space stations. The resulting data from the Lazarus Mission has given NASA three potentially habitable planets: Miller, Edmunds, and Mann, named after the astronauts who carried out the surveys.

Cooper’s decision to join the Endurance crew as the team’s pilot breaks Murph’s heart, and the two part on bad terms. Before leaving, Cooper leaves a watch with Murph matched with the time in his own watch and tells her that it is the hope that he will return upon which she has to trust. He joins Brand’s daughter, Amelia; physicist Romilly; geographer Doyle; and two multi-purpose artificially intelligent robots—designated CASE and TARS—on a two-year spaceflight to the wormhole before crossing over into the new galaxy. While traversing the wormhole, Amelia encounters an extra-dimensional presence that she believes has created the wormhole to save humanity.

Once through, Endurance follows the signal left by Miller’s expedition, but they quickly encounter a problem: the candidate planet is orbiting in close proximity to Gargantua, a supermassive rotating black hole. Due to its gravitational pull, time on the planet is much slower than on Earth. For every hour that passes in the vicinity of the planet, seven years pass in normal space. Cooper, Amelia and Doyle, take a lander to the planet’s surface, while Romilly remains on Endurance to make scientific observations of Gargantua. The expedition crew discover that the planet’s surface is inhospitable. It is completely covered with a two foot deep ocean, which is constantly roiled by giant tidal waves racing across its surface. Doyle is killed by a wave as the crew attempt to retrieve Miller’s data recording instrument, and their departure is delayed for more than an hour. Upon boarding the Endurance, Cooper and Amelia discover that twenty-three years have passed for Romilly.

 

Our Thoughts

While I loved the imagery, the plot, and the acting…  And almost everything else about this movie, its ending needed one last scene, just a second long. Without it, it felt incomplete. I understand why it ends how it does, but it left me unsatisfied and I don’t like that in a movie. In a book I’ve invested days of my time and if I have to wait until the next book to get to the end it is ok. I’m reading to escape the real world anyway. But there won’t be an Interstellar Two so we will NEVER know. All of that said, I highly recommend this to all human beings who do not understand that we will soon overpopulate this planet and destroy our own infrastructure as a civilized world if the problem isn’t addressed. I mean it won’t happen while I’m alive, but it will happen, and the technology of the movie is sadly light years beyond our reality. 5 Stars – A true MUST SEE – MR

 

Find Interstellar and see a free extended trailer HERE at Amazon.


We Review – The Equalizer “Denzel is a great equalizer. Fans of action/revenge movies will love this one!” – MR

The Equalizer 

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Equalizer
The Equalizer poster.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Antoine Fuqua
Produced by Todd Black
Jason Blumenthal
Denzel Washington
Alex Siskin
Steve Tisch
Mace Neufeld
Tony Eldridge
Michael Sloan
Screenplay by Richard Wenk
Based on The Equalizer
by Michael Sloan and Richard Lindheim
Starring Denzel Washington
Marton Csokas
Chloë Grace Moretz
David Harbour
Bill Pullman
Melissa Leo
Music by Harry Gregson-Williams
Cinematography Mauro Fiore
Edited by John Refoua
Production
company
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release dates
  • September 7, 2014 (TIFF)
  • September 26, 2014(United States)
Running time 131 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $55 million[2]
Box office $54.9 million[2]

The Equalizer is a 2014 American thriller film directed by Antoine Fuqua and written by Richard Wenk, based on the television series of same name. The film stars Denzel Washington, Marton Csokas, Chloë Grace Moretz, David Harbour, Haley Bennett, Bill Pullman, and Melissa Leo.

Principal photography began in June 2013 on location and took place in different cities of Massachusetts. This was the first film to have Village Roadshow Pictures co-finance the deal with Sony Pictures Entertainment since Saving Silverman in 2001. The film was premiered at 2014 Toronto International Film Festival on September 7, 2014, and released worldwide on September 26.

Plot

Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) is a retired black ops government operative who lives in Boston, Massachusetts and works at a Home Mart hardware store, where he befriends many of his co-workers and also tries to help a Mexican security trainee named Ralph pass his qualification exam. McCall has promised his recently-deceased wife that he’d leave his old life behind, but is compelled to act after his teenage friend Teri (Chloë Grace Moretz) whose real name is Alina, was seen being mistreated by her pimp. Alina’s life was destroyed at the age of five or six when she was a victim of sex trafficking by the Russian Mafia and then became their sex slave and forced into prostitution.

Robert vows to save her after she is hospitalized after being brutally beaten by her pimp, Slavi (David Meunier). McCall enters the Russian mob territory and tries to convince Slavi to release Alina by paying him $9800 (a price Slavi constantly remarks as being ‘nine thousand dollars’ instead), but Slavi refuses, taking this as an insult to him. McCall pretends to walk away, but turns back and takes out Slavi and his men with their own weapons all in under half a minute. He leaves Slavi to drown in his own blood, telling him that he should had accepted the money. Leaving the scene, McCall removes the footage of all security cameras that had recorded him.

In retaliation, Vladimir Pushkin (Vladimir Kulich), sends his enforcer, Teddy (Marton Csokas), from Moscow to Boston to find and eliminate the culprit. Meanwhile, Ralph withdrew his application for being a security guard at Home Mart to help out his mother at his family restaurant, which was set fire to the day earlier by corrupt policemen as an act of extortion, something Ralph tries to withhold from McCall. McCall apprehends the corrupt policemen and forces them to pay back all the money they have gotten through extortion. Ralph passes his qualification test and becomes a security guard at Home Mart.

Teddy manages to pinpoint the culprit to be McCall, and is surprised by his skills and tries to capture him to use his skills instead of killing him. McCall, however, outsmarts all of his pursuers and Teddy’s attempt to capture him, while completing more acts of vigilantism. After evading several assassination and capture attempts, McCall visits fellow retired operatives Susan Plummer (Melissa Leo) and Brian Plummer (Bill Pullman) in Virginia, who help him acquire intelligence on Pushkin’s activities and Teddy, who is found to be ex-Spetnaz, and whose real name is Nikolai. After McCall left, Susan remarks to Brian that McCall was not actually looking for help, but was actually asking for permission.

Our Thoughts:

From start to finish, we know very little about Denzel’s character, which is how it was meant to be. Who trained him, who taught him, we never learn, but that he is a “Badass,” we never get to question. The fact that he goes after the men who hurt a young girl he didn’t even know makes him a hero, and all the senseless killing is of Russian Mobsters caught up in the sex trade so it is excusable. Hollywood got this remake right! Denzel is a great equalizer. Fans of action/revenge movies will love this one!” – MR


We Review – The Maze Runner “An interesting, well acted, film that failed to make me want to read the books.” – MR

The Maze Runner (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Maze Runner
Theatrical release poster

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Wes Ball
Produced by Ellen Goldsmith-Vein
Wyck Godfrey
Marty Bowen
Lee Stollman
Screenplay by Noah Oppenheim
Grant Pierce Myers
T.S. Nowlin
Based on The Maze Runner
by James Dashner
Starring Dylan O’Brien
Aml Ameen
Thomas Brodie-Sangster
Kaya Scodelario
Will Poulter
Ki Hong Lee
Music by John Paesano
Cinematography Enrique Chediak
Edited by Dan Zimmerman
Production
company
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • September 11, 2014(Mexico)
  • September 19, 2014(United States)
Running time 113 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $34 million[1][2]
Box office $102,218,901[1]

The Maze Runner is a 2014 American science fiction action thriller film directed by Wes Ball, based on James Dashner‘s 2009 book of the same name. The film is the first installment in The Maze Runner film series and was produced by Ellen Goldsmith-Vein, Wyck Godfrey, Marty Bowen, and Lee Stollman with a screenplay by Noah Oppenheim, Grant Pierce Myers and T.S. Nowlin. The film starsDylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Ki Hong Lee and Will Poulter.

The story follows sixteen-year-old Thomas, portrayed by O’Brien, who awakens in a rusty elevator with no memory of who he is, only to learn he’s been delivered to the middle of an intricate maze, along with a slew of other boys, who have been trying to find their way out of the ever-changing labyrinth — all while establishing a functioning society in what they call The Glade. Principal photographybegan in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on May 13, 2013 and officially concluded on July 12, 2013.

The Maze Runner was released on September 19, 2014 in the United States by 20th Century Fox. The film received mainly positive critical reviews, with praise aimed at the cast’s performances as well as the film’s intriguing premise and refreshingly dark tone. The film was also a commercial success, as it topped the box-office during its opening weekend with a $32.5 million debut, making it the sixth-highest grossing debut in September. A sequel, The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials, is set be released on September 18, 2015 in the United States.[3][4]

Plot

Sixteen-year old Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) wakes up inside a rusty elevator called The Box. When he arrives at the top, he is greeted by other boys in a grassy clearing called the Glade, which is surrounded by tall, gray walls. Thomas is unable to remember anything about himself, but Alby (Aml Ameen), the leader of the Glade, tells him that it’s happened to everyone and that his name will come to him soon. He shows him the Glade and how it is entirely run by the Gladers, as they call themselves. Thomas wonders what is beyond the opening in the wall adjacent to the Glade, but he is warned not to go through there, as it is a maze. Thomas meets Chuck (Blake Cooper), and the two become friends.

There is a party that night to welcome Thomas, the newest arrival. Every month The Box sends up a new person, along with supplies. Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), second in command and gardener, explains that the most able Gladers become Runners, who are the only ones allowed into the Maze. They search for an escape route during the day, but return before nightfall, as the Maze entrance closes at dusk, and no one has ever survived a night in the Maze. Thomas ends up in a fight with a boy named Gally (Will Poulter), during which he suddenly remembers his

Our Thoughts:

The Maze, itself, was interesting, and the acting was up to par, but the premise for this score of boys (and one girl) being left in the maze wasn’t fully explained and I suppose since there were a trilogy of novels, we will learn more as the story progresses.  The movie ends with very little resolution and throws us right into the sequel that is sure to come.  If you’re bored, and into teen based fantasy/sci-fi, go see it.  I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt and give it 3.5 stars.  The maze, it’s half mechanical creatures, and effects alone are worth a look.

Overall I say this is an interesting, well acted, film that failed to make me want to read books two and three to see what happens next. – MR

Find The Maze Runner and see a preview at Amazon, here.

 

 


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