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…

View original 752 more words


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.

 

 


We Review: Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. “Exactly what it is supposed to be; strong, artistic, escapism at its best. Highly recommended!” – M.R.

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the film. For the graphic novel on which it is partly based, see A Dame to Kill For.
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
Sin-City-A-Dame-to-Kill-For-teaser-poster.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by
Produced by
  • Robert Rodriguez
  • Aaron Kaufman
  • Stephen L’Heureux
  • Sergei Bespalov
  • Alexander Rodnyansky
  • Mark Manuel
Written by Frank Miller
Based on Sin City
by Frank Miller
Starring
Music by Robert Rodriguez
Cinematography Robert Rodriguez
Edited by Robert Rodriguez
Production
company
Distributed by Dimension Films
Release date(s)
Running time 102 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $60–$70 million[2]
Box office $11,565,361[3]

Frank Miller’s Sin City: A Dame to Kill For[3][4][5] is a 2014 American crime thriller film and sequel to the 2005 film Sin City. Co-directed by Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller, the script is written by Miller, and is primarily based on thesecond book in the Sin City series by Miller.[6]

One of the smaller plots of the film is based on the short story “Just Another Saturday Night”, which is collected in Booze, Broads, & Bullets, the sixth book in the comic series. Two original stories (“The Long Bad Night” and “Nancy’s Last Dance”) were created exclusively for the film written by Miller. The film was released on August 22, 2014.[7][8][9]

The film stars an ensemble cast including returning cast members Jessica Alba, Rosario Dawson, Jaime King, Jude Ciccolella, Powers Boothe, Mickey Rourke, and Bruce Willis. Newcomers to the series include Eva Green, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Josh Brolin, Jamie Chung, Dennis Haysbert, Marton Csokas, Christopher Lloyd, Julia Garner, Juno Temple, Ray Liotta, Stacy Keach, Christopher Meloni, Alexa Vega, Lady Gaga, Jeremy Piven and Crystal McCahill.

The film opened to mixed critical reviews and debuted at #8 at the box office.

 

Plot

“Just Another Saturday Night”

Marv (Mickey Rourke) regains consciousness on a highway overlooking the Projects, surrounded by several dead young men and a crashed police car and with no memory of how he got there. He retraces his steps, recalling since it’s Saturday, he watched Nancy Callahan (Jessica Alba) dance at Kadie’s Saloon. Stepping outside, he encounters four rich frat boys burning a bum alive. When Marv intervenes, the leader of the frat boys shoots him in the arm, calling him “Bernini Boy”, which Marv mishears as “Bernie.” Continued at Wiki here…

“The Long Bad Night (Part I)”

Johnny (Joseph Gordon Levitt), a cocky young gambler, arrives in Sin City and heads to Kadie’s place, where he immediately hits the jackpot on multiple slot machines. Taking a young waitress, Marcie (Julia Garner) with him as a good luck charm, he buys into the backroom poker game lead by the all-powerful Senator Roarke (Powers Booth). Johnny repeatedly wins in the high-stakes game, and cleans the senator out. One other player, the corrupt police lieutenant Liebowitz (Jude Ciccolella) warns him to get out of town, but instead Johnny takes Marcie out for a night on the town. He walks her home when Roarke’s goons suddenly attack him. Continued at Wiki here…

“A Dame to Kill For”

Years before “The Big Fat Kill”, Dwight McCarthy (Josh Brolin) attempts to put his violent past behind him, working as a private detective and leading a life of complete sobriety, struggling daily to refuse his inner demons. After saving the life of a young hooker (Juno Temple) who is nearly murdered by her businessman lover (Ray Liotta) he receives an unexpected phone call from his former lover Ava Lord (Eva Green), who left Dwight four years prior for a wealthy tycoon, Damian Lord (Marton Csokas). She begs him to meet her at Kadie’s saloon, and despite his embittered feelings, he agrees. Continued at Wiki here…

 

“The Long Bad Night (Part II)”

Johnny visits an unlicensed doctor, Kroenig (Christopher Lloyd) who shoots up heroin before trading his services for Johnny’s last forty dollars and his shoes. Realizing he left Marcie unprotected, Johnny flees to her hotel, but finds the Senator waiting for him along with Marcie’s dismembered head and hands. Again, the senator lets him go. Intent on taking down Roarke, Johnny scrounges a dollar from a sympathetic waitress (Lady Gaga) which he uses to regain enough money playing slots to buy his way into Roarke’s game the following night. Playing a card shark’s con, Johnny folds his first few hands, allowing Roarke to taunt him about his dead mother. Continued at Wiki here…

 

Our Thoughts:

This was as awesome as the first Sin City, but with the B&W effects only getting better and better. The “All-Star” cast and gritty feel make this exactly what it is supposed to be; strong, artistic, escapism at its best. Highly recommended! – M.R.

 

Find: Sin City: A Dame to Kill For at Amazon, and see a trailer here.


We Review “Guardians of the Galaxy” -I’ll just give it five shining stars and say we HIGHLY RECOMMEND this one! – M.R.

Guardians of the Galaxy 

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Guardians of the Galaxy
The five Guardians, sporting various weapons, arrayed in front of a backdrop of a planet in space.

Theatrical release poster
Directed by James Gunn
Produced by Kevin Feige
Screenplay by
  • James Gunn
  • Nicole Perlman
Based on Guardians of the Galaxy
by Dan Abnett
Andy Lanning
Starring
Music by Tyler Bates
Cinematography Ben Davis
Edited by
Production
company
Marvel Studios
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release date(s)
  • July 21, 2014 (Dolby Theatre)
  • August 1, 2014(United States)
Running time 122 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $170 million[2]
Box office $160,400,000[3]

Guardians of the Galaxy is a 2014 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is the tenth installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film is directed by James Gunn, who wrote the screenplay with Nicole Perlman, and features an ensemble cast including Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace,Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, and Benicio del Toro. In Guardians of the Galaxy, Peter Quill forms an uneasy alliance with a group of extraterrestrial misfits who are on the run after stealing a coveted orb.

Producer Kevin Feige first publicly mentioned Guardians of the Galaxy as a potential film in 2010, and Marvel Studios announced that the film was in active development at the San Diego Comic-Con International in July 2012. Gunn was hired to write and direct the film that September. In February 2013, Pratt was hired to play Peter Quill / Star-Lord, and the supporting cast was filled out over the next several months. Filming began in July 2013 at Shepperton Studios, England with filming continuing in London before wrapping up in October 2013. Post-production completed on July 7, 2014.

Guardians of the Galaxy premiered in Hollywood on July 21, 2014. It was released in theaters August 1, 2014 in the United States in 3D and IMAX 3D to considerable critical and financial success. A sequel has been announced and is scheduled to be released on July 28, 2017.

Plot

In 1988, following his mother’s death, a young Peter Quill is abducted from Earth by the Ravagers, a group of space pirates led by Yondu. Twenty-six years later on the planet Morag, Quill steals a sphere-like artifact only to be intercepted by Korath, a subordinate to the fanatical Kree, Ronan. Although Quill escapes with the artifact, Yondu discovers his theft and issues a bounty for his capture while Ronan sends the assassin Gamora after the orb.

When Quill attempts to sell the orb on the Nova Corps homeworld Xandar, Gamora ambushes him and steals it. A fight ensues, drawing in a pair of bounty hunters; the genetically engineered raccoon Rocket, and the tree-like humanoidGroot. The Nova Corps arrives and arrests the group, imprisoning them in the Kyln. A powerful inmate, Drax, attempts to kill Gamora due to her association with Ronan, who killed his family. Quill dissuades him by saying that Gamora can bring Ronan to him. Gamora reveals that she has betrayed Ronan, unwilling to let him use the orb’s power to destroy entire planets such as Xandar. Learning that Gamora has a buyer for the orb, Rocket, Quill, Groot, and Gamora work together to escape the Kyln.

Elsewhere, Ronan meets with the titan Thanos to discuss his daughter Gamora’s betrayal and the loss of the orb. Accompanied by Drax, Quill’s group escapes the Kyln in his ship—the Milano—and flee to Knowhere, a remote criminal outpost in space built in the giant severed-head of a celestial. A drunken Drax summons Ronan, while the rest of the group meet Gamora’s contact, Taneleer Tivan. Tivan opens the orb, revealing an Infinity Stone, an item of immeasurable power that destroys all but the most powerful beings who wield it. Suddenly, Tivan’s tormented assistant grabs the stone, triggering an explosion that engulfs his collection.

Ronan arrives and easily defeats Drax, while the others flee by ship, pursued by Ronan’s followers and Gamora’s sister Nebula. Nebula destroys Gamora’s ship, leaving her floating in space, and Ronan’s forces leave with the sphere. Quill contacts Yondu before following Gamora into space, giving her his helmet to survive; Yondu arrives and retrieves the pair. Rocket, Drax, and Groot threaten to attack Yondu’s ship to rescue them, but Quill negotiates a truce by convincing Yondu that they can recover the orb. The group agrees that facing Ronan means certain death, but that they must stop him from using the Infinity Stone to destroy the galaxy. On Ronan’s ship, the Dark Aster, Ronan embeds the stone in his warhammer, taking its power for himself. He contacts Thanos, threatening that after the destruction of Xandar, he will kill Thanos; hateful of her adopted father, Nebula allies with Ronan.

Our Thoughts:

 This is HANDS DOWN the best sci-fi movie I have seen in years. I could go on, and on, and on, and on, about the unique characters, BAD ASS special effects, vivid imagery, and super exciting, original, and often hilarious plot, but I’ll just give it five shining stars and say we HIGHLY RECOMMEND this one! – M. R.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 237 other followers