We review: The Jungle Book “..a must see rendition of a timeless classic.” – MR

The Jungle Book (2016 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Jungle Book
Official artwork poster of the film

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Jon Favreau
Produced by
  • Jon Favreau
  • Brigham Taylor
Screenplay by Justin Marks
Based on The Jungle Book
by Rudyard Kipling
Starring
Music by John Debney
Cinematography Bill Pope
Edited by Mark Livolsi
Production
company
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release dates
Running time
105 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $175 million[2][3]
Box office $357.8 million[4]

The Jungle Book is a 2016 American fantasy adventure film directed by Jon Favreau, written by Justin Marks and produced by Walt Disney Pictures. Based on Rudyard Kipling‘s eponymous collective works, the film is a live-action/CGIremake of Walt Disney‘s 1967 animated film of the same name.[5][6]

The Jungle Book stars and introduces Neel Sethi as Mowgli, an orphaned human boy who, guided by his animal guardians, sets out on a journey of self-discovery while evading the threatening Shere Khan. The film also features the voices of Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o, Scarlett Johansson, Giancarlo Esposito and Christopher Walken.

Favreau, Marks, and producer Brigham Taylor developed the film’s story as a balance between Disney’s animated adaptation and Kipling’s original works, adapting elements from both into the film. Principal photography commenced in 2014, with filming taking place entirely in Los Angeles. The film required extensive use of computer-generated imagery to portray the animals and settings.[7] The Jungle Book was released in North America in Disney Digital 3D,RealD 3D, IMAX 3D, D-Box, as well as premium large formats, on April 15, 2016.

Plot

Mowgli is a “man cub” raised by the Indian wolf Raksha and her pack, led byAkela, ever since he was brought to them as a baby by the black panther Bagheera. Bagheera trains Mowgli to learn the ways of the wolves, but the boy faces certain challenges and falls behind his wolf siblings, and Akela berates him for using human tricks like building tools instead of learning the ways of the pack.

One day, during the dry season, the jungle animals gather to drink water that remains as part of a truce called during a droughtthat enables the jungle’s wildlife to drink without fear of being eaten by larger, more predatory beasts. The truce is disrupted, however, when a scarred Bengal tiger, Shere Khan, arrives, detecting Mowgli’s scent in the crowd. Vengeful against man for scarring him, he issues a warning that he will kill Mowgli at the end of the drought. As the wolf pack debates whether they should keep Mowgli or not, Mowgli voluntarily decides to leave the jungle for the safety of his pack. Bagheera agrees with the decision and volunteers to guide him to the nearby man village.

En route, Shere Khan ambushes them and injures Bagheera, but Mowgli manages to escape. Later, Mowgli meets Kaa, an enormous Indian python, who hypnotizes him. Kaa’s hypnosis triggers in Mowgli a vision of his father protecting him from Shere Khan and being killed as a result. The vision also warns of the destructive power of the “red flower“. Kaa then attempts to devour Mowgli, but he is rescued by a sloth bear named Baloo. Together, they form a close bond after realizing their teamwork allows them to get things easily, and Mowgli agrees to stay with Baloo until the winter season arrives. Meanwhile, Shere Khan confronts the wolf pack, but upon learning Mowgli had left the jungle, he kills Akela and takes over the pack to lure Mowgli out.

Cast

Voice cast

Our Thoughts

This is top notch entertainment. The animals and effects were as realistic as one could imagine them to be. Frightening, and thrilling, and safe for the whole family, save for a few intense scenes. This is a must see rendition of a timeless classic. – MR

 


We review: Deadpool IMAX version “A bad ass rebel superhero that is funny as hell.” – MR

Deadpool

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Deadpool
Deadpool poster.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Tim Miller
Produced by
Screenplay by
Based on Deadpool
by Fabian Nicieza
Rob Liefeld
Starring
Music by Tom Holkenborg[1]
Cinematography Ken Seng
Edited by Julian Clarke
Production
companies
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • February 8, 2016(Le Grand Rex)
  • February 12, 2016(United States)
Running time
108 minutes[2]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $58 million[3][4]
Box office $12.5 million[5]

Deadpool is a 2016 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. It is the eighth installment in the X-Men film series. The film is directed by Tim Miller, with a screenplay by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, and stars Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, T. J. Miller, Gina Carano, Brianna Hildebrand, Stefan Kapičić, and Leslie Uggams. The film follows Wade Wilson who, after being subjected to an experiment that leaves him with new abilities, hunts down the man who nearly destroyed his life.

In February 2004, development for the film began with New Line Cinema. However, in March 2005, New Line Cinema put the film in turnaround and 20th Century Fox became interested. In May 2009, 20th Century Fox lent the film to writers, and in April 2011, Miller was hired to direct. Principal photography commenced in Vancouver, Canada, in March 2015 and ended in May.

Deadpool premiered in Paris on February 8, 2016, and is scheduled for release on February 12, 2016 in North America in IMAXand premium large formats.

Cast

A mercenary who was subjected to an experimental regenerative mutation to cure his cancer, which gives him accelerated healing superpowers. This however comes with the cost of severely bad scarring, and slight insanity. Reynolds said that this version of Deadpool would be more “authentic” than the one that appeared in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and would be more similar to the comic book character.[6][7]
A mutant with enhanced strength and an inability to feel pain, who is a weapons expert. He is also member of the Weapon X program that was responsible for the experiment for which Wade volunteered.[10]
A mutant member of the X-Men, with the ability to transform his entire body into organic steel, and possesses super-strength while in that form. The role was originally offered to Daniel Cudmore, who had played the character in X2, X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men: Days of Future Past, but he declined.[15][16][17] Instead, Andre Tricoteuxportrayed the character through motion capture, while Kapičić provides the voice.[16][17]
  • Leslie Uggams as Blind Al: An elderly blind woman and Deadpool’s roommate.[18]
  • Jed Rees as The Recruiter: The Weapon X recruiter that enlists Wade into the program in hopes to cure his cancer.

Plot

Wade Wilson is a mercenary who spends his time in New York City protecting teenage girls from would-be stalkers. He meets escort Vanessa Carlysle and they become romantically attached for nearly a year when he suddenly collapses one night and is diagnosed with multiple organ cancer. He reluctantly leaves Vanessa to undergo an experiment to cure his cancer, only to be injected with a special serum by Francis Freeman and tortured for days by Angel Dust. When Wade is strapped into an airtight chamber, the drop in oxygen triggers a healing factor that removes his cancer, but severely disfigures his face and skin in the process. He escapes from the secret laboratory, but as he cannot come to terms with his complexion, he keeps himself away from Vanessa. Wade moves into the home of an elderly blind woman named Al, and with the advice of his best friend Weasel, he becomes a masked vigilante named “Deadpool”.

Following a string of leads from various syndicates, Deadpool attacks a convoy of cars on an expressway before getting his hands on Francis, demanding for a cure to his disfigurement. The confrontation is suddenly interrupted by the X-MenColossus Negasonicand Teenage Warhead, who want him to join the team. Their intervention enables Francis to run off, and when Colossus handcuffs himself to Deadpool on their way back to the X-Mansion, Deadpool cuts off his own hand and escapes back to his home.

The next night, Weasel convinces Deadpool to go back to Vanessa, but when they arrive at the strip club she works at, Deadpool discovers that she has been kidnapped, and Francis and Angel Dust tell him to meet up with them on a decommissioned aircraft carrier at a scrapyard. Deadpool convinces Colossus and Negasonic to help him, and the trio take a cab to the scrapyard, where Colossus and Negasonic have a grueling battle with Angel Dust while Deadpool slashes through an army of goons on his way toward Francis.

 

Our Thoughts

I went into this movie, not knowing anything about the character, Deadpool. I am glad we chose this flick. This was a great spoofy, but credible-in-its-own-right superhero film.  Ryan Reynolds, and his character’s dry wit, even mocking himself, Wolverine, and the whole X-Men franchise, as well as the serious scenes, and action was amazing. The effects and acrobatic stunts in this film are done very well, considering the budget constraints. I didn’t see Reynolds making a viable superhero, but he has brought to life one of the funniest, most defiant, mold breakers of the genre. I simply loved this movie. 5 stars and Highly Recommended, Deadpool is a bad ass rebel superhero that is funny as hell. – MR

Find Deadpool and see the newest trailers here.


We Review: Labyrinth “This movie was a huge influence” – MR #DavidBowie

Labyrinth (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Labyrinth
Labyrinth ver2.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Jim Henson
Produced by Eric Rattray
Screenplay by Terry Jones
Story by Dennis Lee
Starring
Music by Trevor Jones
Cinematography Alex Thomson
Edited by John Grover
Production
company
Distributed by TriStar Pictures
Release dates
  • June 27, 1986(United States)
Running time
102 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $27.68 million
Box office $11.6 million

Labyrinth is a 1986 American adventurefantasy film directed by Jim Henson, executive produced by George Lucas, and based upon conceptual designs by Brian Froud. The film stars David Bowie as Jareth and Jennifer Connelly as Sarah. The plot revolves around 15-year-old Sarah’s quest to reach the center of an enormous otherworldly maze to rescue her infant brother Toby, who has been kidnapped by Jareth, the Goblin King. With the exception of Bowie and Connelly, most of the significant characters in the film are played by puppets produced by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop.

Labyrinth started as a collaboration between Jim Henson and Brian Froud, with ideas for the film first being discussed between them following a screening of their previous collaboration, The Dark Crystal. Terry Jones of Monty Python wrote the first draft of the film’s script early in 1984, drawing on Brian Froud’s sketches for inspiration. Various other script-writers, including Laura Phillips (who had previously written several episodes of Fraggle Rock), George Lucas, Dennis Lee, and Elaine May, subsequently re-wrote and made additions to the screenplay, although Jones received the film’s sole screen-writing credit. Labyrinth was shot on location in Upper Nyack, Piermont and Haverstraw in New York, and at Elstree Studios and West Wycombe Park in the United Kingdom.

The New York Times reported that Labyrinth had a budget of $25 million. Labyrinth was a box office disappointment and only grossed $12,729,917 during its U.S theatrical run. The commercial failure of the film demoralized Henson to the extent that his sonBrian remembered the time of the film’s release as one of the most difficult periods of his father’s career. It would be the last feature film directed by Henson before his death in 1990.[2]

Although it was met with a mixed critical response upon its original release in 1986, Labyrinth has since gained a cult following. A four-volume mangasequel to the film, Return to Labyrinth, was published by Tokyopop between 2006-10. In 2012, Archaia Studios Press announced they were developing a graphic novel prequel to the film.

Plot

Fifteen-year-old Sarah Williams rehearses a play in the park and becomes distracted by a line she is unable to remember while being watched by a barn owl. Realizing she is late to babysit her infant half-brother Toby, she rushes home and is confronted by her stepmother before she and her father leave for dinner. Sarah realizes that her brother is in possession of her treasured teddy bear Lancelot. Frustrated by this and his constant crying, Sarah inadvertently wishes Toby away by the Goblin King Jareth. He refuses to return the baby, but gives Sarah 13 hours to solve his Labyrinth to find him before Toby is turned into a goblin. Sarah meets the dwarvish Hoggle, who aids her in entering the Labyrinth, but a talking worm inadvertently sends her the wrong way.

After failing to solve a riddle, Sarah ends up in an oubliette where she reunites with Hoggle. After they confront Jareth and escape one of his traps, the two encounter a large beast named Ludo. Hoggle flees while Sarah befriends Ludo. After another riddle, she loses him in a forest. Hoggle encounters Jareth, who gives him a peach and instructs him to give it to Sarah, calling his loyalty into question as he was supposed to lead her out of the maze. Sarah is assaulted by a group of creatures with detachable body parts who try to remove her head, but Hoggle rescues her. She kisses him and Jareth magically sends them to the Bog of Eternal Stench as punishment where they reunite with Ludo. Sarah, Hoggle, and Ludo meet the guard of a bridge out of the swamp named Sir Didymus, an anthropomorphic fox and his Old English Sheepdog steed named Ambrosious. After Ludo saves Sarah from falling into the swamp, Didymus joins the group. After the group gets hungry, Hoggle gives Sarah the peach and runs away as it begins to erase her memories. She has a hallucination where Jareth comes to her, proclaiming his love for her, but she resists and escapes, falling into a junk yard. After an old hag called the Junk Lady fails to brainwash her and her memory is jogged, she is rescued by the others and they are right outside the Goblin City where Jareth’s castle is. As they are confronted by the guard at the gate, Hoggle comes to the rescue. Despite his feeling unworthy of forgiveness, Sarah and the others welcome him back and they enter the city together.

Jareth is alerted to their presence and sends his goblin army to stop them, but Ludo’s powers to summon rocks helps to turn the tide of the comical battle and they enter the castle. Sarah insists she must face Jareth alone and promises to call the others if they are needed. In a room modeled after an M.C. Escher staircase, she confronts Jareth while trying to retrieve Toby. She tries to recite the line from her play, that has told her adventure to that point, but can’t remember the last line. As Jareth begs her to obey him and he will love her, she remembers the line “You have no power over me!” Defeated at the last second, Jareth returns Sarah and Toby to the real world safely.

Realizing how important Toby is to her, she gives him Lancelot and returns to her room. While there, she sees her friends in the mirror and realizes even though she is growing up, she still needs them in her life. In an instant, all of the major characters from the Labyrinth appear in her room for a raucous celebration while Jareth’s owl form watches from outside and then flies away into the night.

Cast

  • Jennifer Connelly as Sarah Williams, a 15-year-old girl who journeys through the Labyrinth to find her baby brother.
  • David Bowie as Jareth the Goblin King, the ruler of the Goblins. He brings Toby to his Labyrinth on Sarah’s wish, falls in love with her, and offers to make her his consort.
  • Toby Froud as Toby Williams. Sarah’s baby half-brother.
  • Christopher Malcolm as Robert, Sarah’s father.
  • Shelley Thompson as Irene, Sarah’s stepmother.
  • Natalie Finland as the Labyrinth Fairies, a bunch of deceitful barefoot fairies that reside in the Labyrinth.

Voices

  • Brian Henson as the voice of Hoggle, a dwarf in Jareth’s employ who befriends Sarah.
  • Artist Ron Mueck as the voice of Ludo, a kind-hearted beast.
  • David Shaughnessy as the voice of Sir Didymus, a brave fox knight.
    • David Shaughnessy also voices The Wiseman’s Bird Hat, a bird-headed hat worn by the Wiseman.
  • Percy Edwards as the voice of Ambrosius, an Old English Sheepdog.
  • Timothy Bateson as the voice of The Worm
  • Michael Hordern as the voice of The Wiseman, an aged human-like individual.
  • Denise Bryer as the voice of The Junk Lady, a hag inhabitant of Junk City
  • David Healy as the voice of the Right Door Knocker, a component of the door that is between the hedgemaze and the forest.
  • Robert Beatty as the voice of the Left Door Knocker, a component of the door that is between the hedgemaze and the forest.
  • Kevin Clash as the voice of Firey #1, the apparent leader of the Fireys.
  • Charles Augins as the voice of Firey #2, the first of the Fireys to have their head removed.
  • Danny John-Jules as the voice of Firey #3, the only Firey with a moustache.
    • Danny John-Jules also voices Firey #4
  • Richard Bodkin as the voice of Firey #5, the first Firey to make his head jump up and down.

Four Guards voiced by Anthony Jackson, Douglas Blackwell, David Shaughnessy, and Timothy Bateson

Goblins voiced by Michael Attwell, Sean Barrett, Timothy Bateson, Douglas Blackwell, John Bluthal, Brian Henson, Anthony Jackson, Peter Marinker, Ron Mueck, Kerry Shale, and David Shaughnessy.

Puppeteers

  • Shari Weiser as Hoggle (in-suit performer)
  • Brian Henson as Hoggle (face performance)
  • Ron Mueck and Rob Mills as Ludo
  • Dave Goelz and David Barclay as Sir Didymus
  • Steve Whitmire and Kevin Clash as Ambrosius
  • Karen Prell as The Worm
  • Frank Oz as The Wiseman
  • Dave Goelz as The Wiseman’s Bird Hat
  • Karen Prell as The Junk Lady
  • Steve Whitmire, Kevin Clash, Anthony Asbury, and Dave Goelz as The Four Guards
  • Kevin Clash, David Barclay, and Toby Philpott as Firey #1
  • Karen Prell, Ron Mueck, and Ian Thom as Firey #2
  • Dave Goelz, Rob Mills, and Sherry Ammott as Firey #3
  • Steve Whitmire, Cheryl Henson, and Kevin Bradshaw as Firey 4
  • Anthony Asbury, Alistair Fullarton, and Rollie Krewson as Firey 5
  • Anthony Asbury as Right Door Knocker
  • Dave Goelz as Left Door Knocker

Juggler Michael Moschen performed Jareth’s elaborate crystal-ball contact juggling manipulations.[3]

Goblin Corps performed by Marc Antona, Kenny Baker, Michael Henbury Ballan, Danny Blackner, Peter Burroughs, Toby Clark, Tessa Crockett, Warwick Davis, Malcolm Dixon, Anthony Georghiou, Paul Grant, Andrew Herd, Richard Jones, John Key, Mark Lisle, Peter Mandell, Jack Purvis, Katie Purvis, Nicholas Read, Linda Spriggs, Penny Stead, and Albert Wilkinson.

Goblins performed by Don Austen, Michael Bayliss, Martin Bridle, Fiona Beynor Brown, Simon Buckley, David Bulbeck, Sue Dacre, Geoff Felix, Trevor Freeborn, Christine Glanville, David Greenaway, Brian Henson, Jim Henson, Brian James, Jan King, Ronnie Le Drew, Terry Lee, Christopher Leith, Kathryn Mullen, Angie Passmore, Michael Petersen, Nigel Plaskitt, Judy Preece, Michael Quinn, Gillie Robic, David Rudman, David Showler, Robin Stevens, Ian Tregonning, Mary Turner, Robert Tygner, Mak Wilson, andFrancis Wright.

Our thoughts:

Of course we are reviewing this movie in tribute to David Bowie, who died yesterday, and will be sorely missed. In my time, this movie was imagination incarnate. I still try to do the rolling orb-in-the-hand-thing juggler, Michael Moschen does in this film. The plot and puppets are amazing and this truly is a work of art in a class all its own. I was deeply influenced by this movie, and I will always be a David Bowie fan. Fly high Rocket Man. – MR

Find Labyrinth and watch an awesome trailer here.

Find David Bowie’s music here.


We Review: Star Wars: The Force Awakens “Do not miss this one.” -MR

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Star Wars The Force Awakens Theatrical Poster.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by J. J. Abrams
Produced by
Written by
Based on Characters
byGeorge Lucas
Starring
Music by John Williams
Cinematography Dan Mindel
Edited by
Production
companies
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release dates
  • December 14, 2015(Los Angeles premiere)
  • December 18, 2015(United States)
Running time
135 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $200 million[2][3]
Box office $765.9 million[4]

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (also known as Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens) is a 2015 American epicspaceopera film directed, co-produced, and co-written by J. J. Abrams. The seventh installment in the main Star Wars film series, it starsHarrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis,Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Max von Sydow. Produced by Lucasfilm and Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions and distributed worldwide by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, The Force Awakens is set approximately 30 years after Return of the Jedi (1983), and follows Rey, Finn, and Poe Dameron‘s fight with the Resistance, led by veterans of the Rebel Alliance, against Kylo Ren and the First Order, descended from the Galactic Empire.

The Force Awakens is the first film in the Star Wars sequel trilogy announced after Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm in October 2012. The film is produced by Abrams, his long-time collaborator Bryan Burk, and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan, co-writer of the original trilogy films The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi, rewrote an initial script by Michael Arndt. John Williams, composer for the previous six films, returned to compose its score. Star WarscreatorGeorge Lucas served as creative consultant during the film’s early production stages. Filming began in April 2014 in Abu Dhabiand Iceland, with principal photography also taking place in Ireland and Pinewood Studios in England.

The Force Awakens premiered in Los Angeles on December 14, 2015, and was released on December 18, 2015, in 2D, 3D, andIMAX 3D, more than 10 years after the release of the franchise’s last major installment, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith(2005). Critics compared it favorably to the original trilogy, praising its action sequences, characters, acting, special effects, musical score and emotional drama. The film broke several box office records in its opening weekend, making $248 million in the United States and $529 million globally, becoming the highest-grossing worldwide opening of any film. As of December 23, 2015, Star Wars: The Force Awakens had grossed over $765 million worldwide.[4] A sequel is scheduled for May 26, 2017, followed by an additional sequel in 2019.

Plot (Minor Spoiler Alert)

Approximately 30 years after the destruction of the second Death Star, Luke Skywalker, the last Jedi, has disappeared. The First Order has risen from the remains of the fallen Galactic Empire and seeks to eliminate Luke and the Republic. The Resistance, backed by the Republic and led by Luke’s sister, Leia Organa, opposes them while searching for Luke to enlist his aid.

Resistance pilot Poe Dameron meets village elder Lor San Tekka on the planet Jakku to obtain a map to Luke’s location.Stormtroopers under the command of Kylo Ren destroy the village and capture Poe. Poe’s droid BB-8 escapes with the map, and comes across a scavenger, Rey, at a junkyard settlement. Ren tortures Poe and learns of BB-8. Stormtrooper FN-2187, unable to kill for the First Order, frees Poe and they escape in a stolen TIE fighter; Poe dubs FN-2187 “Finn”. They crash on Jakku, and Finn appears to be the only survivor. He encounters Rey and BB-8, but the First Order tracks them and launches an airstrike. The three flee the planet in a stolen, rundown ship, the Millennium Falcon.

The Falcon breaks down, and is soon captured by a much larger ship, piloted by Han Solo and Chewbacca, who reclaim their former ship. Han explains that Luke tried to rebuild the Jedi Order but went into exile after a student turned to the dark side and destroyed all that Luke had built. Gangs seeking to settle debts with Solo board the ship and attack, but the five escape in the Falcon.

Cast

Star Wars: The Force Awakensintroduces (from top) Adam Driver as the dark warrior Kylo Ren, Daisy Ridley as the scavenger Rey, John Boyegaas the reformed stormtrooperFinn, and Oscar Isaac as X-wing fighter pilot Poe Dameron.
A rogue and smuggler. Ford said Han “does not aspire to the position of Obi-Wan, nor do I aspire to be some New Age Alec Guinness. His development is consistent with the character, and there are emotional elements which have occasioned his growth … There’s a lot of the rogue still left in Solo. Some things don’t change…”[5]
One of the last remaining Jedi who has gone into hiding. Regarding Luke, Han and Leia, Abrams stated: “They’d be as old and as mythic as the tale of King Arthur. They would be characters who [the new characters] may have heard of, but maybe not. They’d be characters who they might believe existed, or just sounded like a fairy tale…”[6]
The former princess of the destroyed planet Alderaan, turned General of the resistance.[7] After the events of Return of the Jedi, she is described as “a little more battle weary, a little more broken hearted.”[8] Fisher described Leia as “Solitary. Under a lot of pressure. Committed as ever to her cause, but I would imagine feeling somewhat defeated, tired, and pissed.” Abrams said: “The stakes are pretty high in the story for her, so there’s not much goofing around where Leia’s concerned.”[9]
A dark warrior strong with the Force, originally a member of the Knights of Ren, and commander of the First Order.[10][11]Driver said the team tried “not to think of him as being bad, or evil, or a villain. Something that was more three-dimensional. He’s more dangerous and unpredictable, and morally justified in doing what he thinks is right.”[12]
A scavenger abandoned as a child on the desert planet Jakku, who is searching for her family.[13] Ridley said: “She’s completely self-sufficient and does everything for herself, until she meets [Finn] and an adventure begins.”[13]
A reformed First Order stormtrooper.[13][14]Boyega said that he learned he obtained the part “over a nice breakfast in Mayfair” where Abrams told him: “John, you’re the new star of Star Wars.”[15]Boyega said: “When we find Finn, he’s in incredible danger. And the way he reacts to this danger changes his life, and launches him into the Star Wars universe in a very unique way.”[13] He said in another interview: “He’s been taught about [Luke], he knows about his history. For him it’s like joining the army and then learning about one of the great enemies of your country.”[6]
A Resistance X-wing fighter pilot.[13][16] Isaac said: “He’s the best freaking pilot in the galaxy… He’s been sent on a mission by a certain princess, and he ends up coming up across [Finn], and their fates are forever intertwined.”[13]
A pirate.[16]Nyong’o said Kanata has “lived over a thousand years. She’s had this watering hole for about a century, and it’s like another bar that you’d find in a corner of the Star Wars universe.”[17] According to Abrams, the character was based on his former high school English teacher, Rose Gilbert, who lectured at the Palisades Charter High School from 1961 till 2013. Abrams said the team “really wanted the story to feel authentic, despite being a wild fantasy. I mentioned Rose in an early story meeting as a sort of timeless, wise figure that I’d actually known in my life.”[18]
The political leader of the First Order. He is Kylo Ren’s master and is very powerful in the dark side.[19] Serkis described Snoke as “quite an enigmatic character, and strangely vulnerable at the same time as being quite powerful… He is large. He appears tall. And also just the facial design—you couldn’t have gotten there with prosthetics… Without giving too much away at this point, he has a very distinctive, idiosyncratic bone and facial structure.”[20]
The leader of the primary First Order base, Starkiller Base.[21] Gleeson described him as “pretty ruthless. A strong disciplinarian would be a mild way of putting it… He’s kind of opposite Kylo Ren. They have their own relationship, which is individual and unusual. One of them is strong in different ways than the other. They’re both vying for power.”[22]
A humanoid robot. Daniels said the actors were allowed to experiment with their performances, and that Abrams “made a field, a playpen where you were allowed to take your time and suggest things.”[23]
A Wookiee — a tall, hirsute creature — and Han Solo’s friend. Joonas Suotamo portrays the character in several action scenes, as the then 71-year-old Mayhew suffered from knee problems.[24]
A retired adventurer on Jakku, aiding the resistance in locating Luke Skywalker.[25]

Tim Rose and Mike Quinn reprise their respective roles as Admiral Ackbar and Nien Nunb, both from Return of the Jedi. Quinn previously performed Nunb with Richard Bonehillbefore his death;[26][27]Kipsang Rotich returns as the voice of Nien Nunb[28]andErik Bauersfeld returns to voice Ackbar.[29][30]Kenny Baker, originally announced as part of the cast, was credited as “consultant” for R2-D2.[31][32]Ewan McGregor has a vocal cameo as Obi-Wan Kenobi in Rey’s vision sequence, while archival audio of Frank Oz and Alec Guinness as Yoda and Kenobi, respectively, are also used in the same scene; Oz recorded new dialogue for the film, but it was replaced with pre-existing audio from The Empire Strikes Back.[33]

Gwendoline Christie plays Captain Phasma, an officer in the First Order.[34]Dave Chapman and Brian Herring served as puppeteers for BB-8,[35]withBill Hader and Ben Schwartz credited as “Vocal Consultants”.[36]Ken Leung appears as Statura, an admiral in the Resistance.[37]Simon Pegg appears as Unkar Plutt, the Junkyard dealer on Jakku.[21][38]Greg Grunberg plays Snap Wexley, an X-wing pilot.[39]Kiran Shah plays Teedo, a scavenger on Jakku who rides a semi-mechanical Luggabeast.[40]Jessica Henwick appears as Jessika “Jess Testor” Pava, an X-wing pilot.[41][42]Yayan Ruhian, Iko Uwais and Cecep Arif Rahman appear as Tasu Leech, Razoo Qin-Fee, and Crokind Shand, members of the Kanjiklub Gang, a criminal organization.[43][44][45]Warwick Davis appears as Wollivan, a tavern-dweller in Maz Kanata’s castle.[46][47]Anna Brewsterappears as Bazine Netal, a First Order spy, also at Maz Kanata’s castle.[48]Thomas Brodie-Sangster plays Thanisson, a First Order Petty Officer.[49]Billie Lourd, daughter of Carrie Fisher, appears as Connix, a lieutenant in the Resistance.[50][51]Emun Elliott appears as Brance, a member of the Resistance.[52]Harriet Walter appears as Kalonia, a doctor that tends to Chewbacca.[53][54]Mark Stanleyappears as a Knight of Ren.[54]

Daniel Craig, Michael Giacchino and Nigel Godrich cameo as stormtroopers.[55][56] Abrams’ assistant, Morgan Dameron, appears as a Resistance officer,[57]while his father,Gerald W. Abrams, appears as Captain Cypress.[58] Additionally, Crystal Clarke, Pip Andersen,[59]Christina Chong,[60] Miltos Yerolemou,[61]Maisie Richardson-Sellers,[62]Amybeth Hargreaves,[63]Leanne Best,[64]Judah Friedlander,[65]andKevin Smith[66]were cast in minor roles. Abrams has a vocal cameo,[67][68]whileStar Wars: The Clone WarsandStar Wars Rebels cast members Dee Bradley Baker, Matt Lanter, Tom Kane, Catherine Taber, Matthew Wood, Sam Witwer, Meredith Salenger and show runner Dave Filoni are listed among the additional voices used in the film.

Our Thoughts

While I am not going to give any spoilers, this was basically a far-better-done remake of episode 4, which was the world’s first introduction to this great epic space opera. Maybe it was too much like episode IV, or maybe it was just that back then there were no Iron Man movies, or Guardians of the Galaxy, to compete with, or maybe it is because I am 46 yrs old now, not 12, but that huge euphoric feeling I used to get when I’d see Luke, and the X wing ships fighting in space, was missing. It just didn’t seem as good as the world is making it out to be. I’ll not harp on the details though. It was easy to forget my few gripes, as they passed, and I was still able to get lost in the well made, well acted, film. We saw it in IMAX 3D and the full blown visuality of it all, as expected, was superb. All-in-all this is a must see film, even if you haven’t seen the other Star Wars movies, or are not into the genre. 4.5 stars. Do not miss this one. -MR

Find Star Wars and see the new trailer here


We review Creed, “4 stars and highly recommended.” – MR

Creed (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Creed
Creed poster.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Ryan Coogler
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story by Ryan Coogler
Based on Characters
by Sylvester Stallone
Starring
Music by Ludwig Göransson[1]
Cinematography Maryse Alberti
Edited by
  • Claudia Castello
  • Michael P. Shawver
Production
companies
Distributed by
Release dates
Running time
133 minutes[2]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $35 million[3]
Box office $46.3 million[4]

Creed is a 2015 American sportsdrama film, written and directed by Ryan Coogler, co-written by Aaron Covington, and produced by Robert Chartoff, Irwin Winkler, and Sylvester Stallone. The film stars Michael B. Jordan as Adonis Johnson Creed, Apollo‘s son, with Stallone reprising the role of Rocky Balboa. It also features Tessa Thompson, Tony Bellew, and Graham McTavish. It is the seventh Rocky film, both a spin-off from the original series and a sequel[5][6][7][8][9] to 2006’s Rocky Balboa. The film reunites Jordan with Fruitvale Station writer/director Coogler, and with Wood Harris, whom Jordan worked with on The Wire.

Filming began on January 19, 2015 in Liverpool, and later also took place in Philadelphia, Rocky’s home. Creed was released in the United States on November 25, 2015, the fortieth anniversary of the date of the opening scene in the original Rocky.

Plot

In 1998, Adonis “Donnie” Johnson, the son of an extramarital lover of former heavyweight champion Apollo Creed, is serving time in a Los Angeles youth facility when Creed’s wife, Mary Anne, pays him a visit and offers to take him in.

Seventeen years later, Donnie walks away from his job at a securities firm to pursue his dream of becoming a professional boxer. Mary Anne vehemently opposes this, remembering how her husband was killed in the ring 30 years earlier against Ivan Drago. He tries to get a slot at Los Angeles’ elite Delphi Boxing Academy, but is turned down. Undaunted, Donnie travels to Philadelphia in hopes of getting in touch with his father’s old friend and rival, Rocky Balboa.

Donnie tracks down Rocky at Rocky’s Italian restaurant, Adrian’s, named in honor of his deceased wife, and asks Rocky to become his trainer. Rocky is reluctant to get back into boxing, having already made a one-off comeback at a very advanced age despite having suffered brain trauma during his career as a fighter. However, he eventually agrees. Donnie trains at the Front Street Gym, with several of Rocky’s longtime friends as cornermen, and also finds a love interest in Bianca, an up-and-coming singer and songwriter.

Donnie, now known as “Hollywood Donnie,” defeats a local fighter, and word gets out that he is Creed’s illegitimate son. Rocky gets a call from the handlers of world light heavyweight champion “Pretty” Ricky Conlan, who is due to be forced into retirement by an impending prison term. He offers to make Donnie his final challenger—provided that he change his name to Adonis “Hollywood Donnie” Creed. Donnie balks at first, wanting to forge his own legacy. However, he eventually agrees.

While helping Donnie train, Rocky learns he has non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He is unwilling to undergo chemotherapy, remembering that it was not enough to save Adrian when she had ovarian cancer. His diagnosis and the fact that his best friend and brother-in-law Paulie Pennino—Adrian’s brother—has now passed away in addition to Adrian, Apollo and his old trainer Mickey Goldmillfurther force him to confront his own mortality. Seeing Rocky shaken, Donnie urges him to seek treatment.

Donnie fights Conlan in Conlan’s hometown of Liverpool. Many parallels are present between Apollo and Rocky’s first fight 40 years earlier. Before going into the ring, Donnie receives a present from Mary Anne—new American flag trunks similar to the ones Apollo and later Rocky wore.

Our Thoughts

This was one of the best Rocky films yet. Not my personal favorite, but this one ranks right up there with the better boxing films. Creed is definitely worth the price of a premium movie ticket and it has enough romance and drama, mixed in, to be considered a date movie. 4 stars and highly recommended – MR

Find Creed and see the new trailer here.


We Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part II “Nothing less than awesome.” – MR

The Hunger Games, Mockingjay – Part 2

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Hunger Games:
Mockingjay – Part 2
Mockingjay Part 2 Poster.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Francis Lawrence
Produced by
Screenplay by
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 4, 2015(Berlin premiere)
  • November 20, 2015(United States)
Running time
137 minutes[2][3]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $150–160 million[4][5]

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 is a 2015 American epicscience fictionwar film directed by Francis Lawrence with a screenplay by Peter Craig and Danny Strong. It is the second of two cinematic parts based on the novel Mockingjay, the final book in the Hunger Games trilogy, written by Suzanne Collins, and the fourth and final 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, Sam Claflin, Jena Malone, Philip Seymour Hoffman (in his final film role), and Donald Sutherland. It is the sequel to the first part of the Mockingjay adaptation, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, which was released on November 21, 2014.

The plot concludes the story of Katniss Everdeen; realizing the stakes are no longer just for survival, Katniss teams up with her closest friends, including Peeta, Gale, and Finnick for the ultimate mission. Together, they leave District 13 to liberate the citizens of war-torn Panem and assassinate President Snow, who’s obsessed with destroying Katniss. Principal photography on both parts of the film began on September 23, 2013, inAtlanta, before moving to Paris for two weeks of filming and officially concluding on June 20, 2014, in Berlin, Germany.[6]

Part 2 is scheduled to be released on November 20, 2015, in the United States in 2D and IMAX, internationally in 2D, 3D, RealD Cinema and IMAX 3D in select territories, and will be the only film in the film series widely released in 3D.

Cast

Plot

With the nation of Panem in a full-scale revolutionary war, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) confronts President Snow (Donald Sutherland) in the final showdown. Teamed with a group of her closest friends – including Gale (Liam Hemsworth), Finnick (Sam Claflin), Cressida (Natalie Dormer) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) – Katniss goes off on a mission with the District 13 unit as they risk their lives to liberate the citizens of Panem, and stage an assassination attempt on President Snow who has become increasingly obsessed with destroying her. Although rebels – including fellow victors, Johanna (Jena Malone), Haymitch (Woody Harrelson), and Beetee (Jeffrey Wright) – now control most of Panem, the Girl on Fire must still overcome one last challenge to win President Snow’s “game” – to conquer the Capitol at the risk of losing her friends and loved ones. The mortal traps, enemies, and moral choices that await Katniss will challenge her more than any arena she faced in the Hunger Games as she realizes the stakes are no longer just for survival – they are for the future of Panem.[7]

Our Thoughts

The Hunger Games movies ended as they started, only the world was a better place, and a girl with a willful heart, had finally made the man-decision a whole generation of non-readers have been waiting for her to make. The losses are heartfelt, and some of them are as surprising as they are infuriating. That little bit of satisfaction I waited 4 movies for, and intentionally stopped reading the last book of the series to wait and see, was not there. A conclusion that satisfies everyone is hard to find. In the end, though, this whole series is nothing less than awesome. Highly Recommended in IMAX – MR

Find The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part II and see the new trailer

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M. R. Mathias 99 cent November

I write fantasy books under the pen name M. R. Mathias, and I just wanted everyone to know that my entire collection of kindle novels, I’m talking the 7 and 800 pagers, and all, are just .99 each until the end of November.

RoyalANTONcoverD6wAwardBadge - Copy

Just start here at the M. R. Mathias Amazon Author Page and stock up. On Dec. 1st everything thing goes back to its proper price, but right now you can get all three of the HUGE, The Wardstone Trilogy novels, the entire collection of Award Winning Dragoneer Saga books, and The Legend of Vanx Malic books all for just .99 cents each.

Why would I do such a thing? Well to say thanks to those who have read and reviewed my books over the last five years, and because the world could sometimes use a cheap distraction from itself.

Vanx on Kindle

The Legend of Vanx Malic Book Seven is my current #NaNoWriMo project and you can follow my progress here: The Far Side of Creation – The Legend of Vanx Malic Book Seven

Vanx6 sized coverVANX7cover

Lastly, we have Thursday evening, Nov 19th premier IMAX seats for The Hunger Games – Mocking Jay II. Our review will be posted by midnight Thursday, 11/19/15. Look for it here or at @WizardWyrm, @DahgMahn, or @MrStubbsSays

Happy Thanksgiving, and happy reading, from M. R. Mathias

 

 


We Review: The Martian “A good sci-fi film. Recommended.” MR

The Martian

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Martian
The Martian film poster.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Ridley Scott
Produced by
  • Simon Kinberg
  • Ridley Scott
  • Aditya Sood
  • Michael Schaefer
  • Mark Huffam
Screenplay by Drew Goddard
Based on The Martian
byAndy Weir
Starring
Music by Harry Gregson-Williams
Cinematography Dariusz Wolski
Edited by Pietro Scalia
Production
companies
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • September 11, 2015(TIFF)
  • October 2, 2015(United States)
Running time
141 minutes[1]
Country United States[2]
Language English
Budget $108 million[3]
Box office $478.4 million[4]

The Martian is a 2015 American science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Matt Damon. The film is based on Andy Weir‘s 2011 novelThe Martian, which was adapted into a screenplay by Drew Goddard. Damon stars as an astronaut who is mistakenly presumed dead and left behind on Mars, and who then fights to survive. The film also features Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Michael Peña, Kate Mara, Sean Bean, Sebastian Stan, Aksel Hennie, Donald Glover, Mackenzie Davis and Chiwetel Ejiofor in supporting roles.

Producer Simon Kinberg began developing the film after 20th Century Foxoptioned the novel in March 2013. Drew Goddard adapted the novel into a screenplay and was initially attached to direct, but the film did not move forward. Scott replaced Goddard, and with Damon in place as the main character, production was green-lit. Filming began in November 2014 and lasted approximately 70 days. Around 20 sets were built on a sound stage in Budapest, Hungary, one of the largest in the world. Wadi Rum in Jordan was also used as a practical backdrop for filming.

The film premiered at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival on September 11, 2015. 20th Century Fox released the film in theaters in the United Kingdom on September 30, 2015, and in the United States on October 2, 2015. The film was released in 2D, 3D, IMAX 3D and 4DX.[5] The film has grossed over $478 million worldwide, becoming Scott’s highest-grossing film to date, and has received highly positive reviews.

Plot

In the year 2035,[6]the crew of Ares III, a manned mission to Mars, has established a temporary artificial habitat, called the Hab, on Mars, where they are staying for 31 Martian days, or sols, and depart back to Earth in their orbital probe. Eighteen sols into the Mars mission, however, the crew is forced to abandon the planet to escape a massive Martian storm. While evacuating, astronaut Mark Watney is lost and presumed dead as his biomonitor is damaged. With the lives of her crew at stake, mission commander Melissa Lewis is forced to leave the planet rather than risk the launch vehicle collapsing, leaving Watney behind.

Ares 3mission landing site
(Acidalia Planitia region)
Mark Watney’s route on Mars

Watney is unable to contact NASA, and presumed dead by the crew and mission control. However, Watney awakes to the sound of a low oxygen warning and makes his way back to the Hab, though injured. After performing self-surgery to remove a piece of antenna wire impaled in his stomach, Watney speculates the broken wire is what damaged his biomonitor and is the cause of the communication failure, while the coagulation of blood and the wire itself kept the suit sealed and pressurized. After calculating that he has 300 sols of food, he uses his knowledge as a botanist to make a makeshift organic potato farm using the central room of the Hab, anticipating that he will need to survive for at least three years and journey to the landing site of Ares IV (around 1480 sols), which already has some of its infrastructure on Mars. He keeps a series of video logs to maintain morale and begins to modify the habitat’s rover to make it capable of long journeys.

While reviewing satellite photos of Mars, Mars mission director Vincent Kapoor and satellite planner Mindy Park realize that Watney has survived, and immediately start planning to establish contact. Mitch Henderson, the Hermes flight director, immediately assumes the Ares III crew, who are currently traveling back to Earth aboard the spacecraft Hermes, will be informed of the survival of their crewmate. However, NASA director Teddy Sanders believes the crew must instead focus on their own mission, especially since NASA has no viable rescue plan in place at the time. Watney locates the Pathfinder probe, defunct since 1997, and uses it to regain contact with Earth. Watney and the JPL team use the Pathfinder’s camera and signs showing the hexadecimal alphabet using the ASCII code to improve efficiency of communications. Later on, using instructions from NASA, Watney modifies his rover to be able to send and receive text messages to and from NASA.

As Watney continues to grow his crop, Henderson and JPL director Bruce Ng formulate a plan to send a space probe to Mars and resupply Watney with enough food to allow him to survive until Ares IV can reach him. As the launch date approaches, an increasingly optimistic Sanders authorizes them to tell the crew, and they are informed in a video message from Henderson. After being told the launch window will run out before inspections can be completed, Sanders makes the decision to skip inspections to save time and hope for the best. This decision backfires when the probe explodes shortly after liftoff. Watney suffers his own disaster when the airlock on the habitat explosively decompresses, killing his potatoes and reducing his projected supply of food.

The China National Space Administration (CNSA) offers NASA a lifeline: a classified booster that can carry a payload to Mars. Rich Purnell, a JPL astrodynamicist, discovers a method of rescuing Watney using the booster and the Hermes, postponing their return to Earth. They can send the rocket to Mars, arriving barely in time to resupply Watney, or instead use the rocket to resupply the Hermes so that the Ares III crew can return to Mars and recover Watney. Sanders insists on sending the probe to resupply Watney. Someone (presumably Henderson or Purnell) sends the Hermes crew the necessary calculations to put them on the gravitational slingshot back to Mars. Lewis and her crew vote unanimously to rescue Watney themselves. NASA successfully resupplies the Hermesand Lewis’s crew begins the return journey.

Our Thoughts:

A really entertaining sci-fi flick. I think we all wish there was a significant space program. Ideas like these are key. Life imitates art, or so they say. This one held my attention raptly, even though the science was stretched beyond reality. This was a very good sci-fi film. Recommended. 4 stars, and highly recommended. MR

Find The Martian and see the new trailer here.

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We Review: The Scorch Trials “4 stars, A must see for fans of teen survival drama” – MR

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials
Maze-Runner-The-Scorch-Trials-Poster.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Wes Ball
Produced by
Screenplay by T.S. Nowlin
Based on The Scorch Trials
byJames Dashner
Starring
Music by John Paesano[1]
Cinematography Gyula Pados
Edited by Don Zimmerman
Production
company
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • September 18, 2015(United States)
Running time
131 minutes[2]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $61 million[3]
Box office $124.2 million[4]

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (also known simply as The Scorch Trials) is a 2015 American dystopianscience fictionactionthriller film based on James Dashner‘s novel The Scorch Trials, the second novel in The Maze Runner trilogy. The film is the sequel to the 2014 film The Maze Runner and the second installment in The Maze Runner film series. It was directed by Wes Ball, with a screenplay by T.S. Nowlin. Adding to the original film’s cast of Dylan O’Brien, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Ki Hong Lee, Kaya Scodelario, and Patricia Clarkson, the new supporting cast includes Rosa Salazar, Jacob Lofland, Giancarlo Esposito, Aidan Gillen, Barry Pepper, Lili Taylor and Alan Tudyk.

The plot of The Scorch Trials takes place immediately after the previous installment, with Thomas (O’Brien) and his fellow Gladers battling the powerful organization W.C.K.D, while facing the perils of the Scorch, a desolate landscape filled with dangerous obstacles. Filming began in Albuquerque, New Mexico on October 27, 2014, and officially concluded on January 27, 2015.

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trialswas released in select international territories starting September 9, 2015 in 2D, 3D, 4DX and Barco Escape, and was released on September 18, 2015 in the United States in 2D and Premium Large Format theaters, by 20th Century Fox. It was originally set to be released in IMAX, but this was cancelled, as Everest had all worldwide IMAX screens booked until the release of the film The Walk. Like its predecessor, the film was a commercial success grossing $30.3 million on its opening weekend, making it the ninth-highest grossing debut in September.[4] The film went to the No. 1 spot during its opening weekend, and has currently earned $124 million worldwide.

The Scorch Trials received mixed reviews, with some critics calling it an improvement over its predecessor – commending its action sequences and performances – while others criticized the film for its lack of plot and character advancement. According to review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, it received a lower rating than the previous installment. A sequel, titled Maze Runner: The Death Cure, is scheduled to be released on February 17, 2017.

Plot

The film begins with a young boy, Thomas, taken in by Ava Paige (Patricia Clarkson) and her organization WCKD, after being dropped off by his guardian for his own safety. Years later, shortly after being rescued fromthe maze trials, Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) and the remaining Gladers – Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), Minho (Ki Hong Lee), Teresa Agnes (Kaya Scodelario), Frypan (Dexter Darden) and Winston (Alexander Flores) – are taken to a facility run by Mr. Janson (Aidan Gillen). He explains that the facility is a safe haven, protecting them from WCKD, the Flare virus and the Cranks, and provides them clothes, food, and sanitation, where there are other survivors of multiple mazes are also present. Thomas becomes curious about their activities and manages to find out what is really happening behind the closed doors. With help from Aris Jones (Jacob Lofland), the first maze survivor to end up in the facility, it is revealed that WCKD’s leader, Ava, is still alive and that Mr. Janson is working for WCKD, as they discuss about the experiment on the Immunes and that Janson has yet to find The Right Arm, a resistance group located at the mountains. The group, including Aris, escapes the facility, as Janson orders his WCKD troops to track them down, where they find themselves in the deserted outside world – the Scorch.

The group arrive at an abandoned marketplace, where they first encounter with the Cranks, humans zombified by the Flare virus. Winston gets infected by one of the them in the process. When morning comes, they find the city has turned into ruins and that WCKD is still searching for them. Winston’s infection gets worse, forcing the rest of the group to leave him alone to die by shooting himself, preventing his transformation. The group continues to venture the desert until one night, while sleeping in the middle of the desert, Thomas awakens and discovers civilization from far away. As a thunderstorm emerges, they run to an abandoned facility to keep them from the storm. Minho gets struck by the lightning, but he survives. They manage to enter the place, only to find out that the facility they entered was filled with chained Cranks. The group meets Brenda (Rosa Salazar) and Jorge (Giancarlo Esposito), who lead a dangerous band of survivors and have used the Cranks as their own guard dogs. When the two find that the group had come from WCKD and is looking for the Right Arm, the two agree to take them to the Right Arm, abandoning their group of survivors. Moments later, WCKD, led by Janson, storms the place, only for the facility to be destroyed by Jorge’s explosives, while Thomas and Brenda are left behind as the rest have escaped with Jorge. Thomas and Brenda manage to escape the Cranks, only for Brenda to get infected by a Crank in the process. Thomas experiences a flashback of when he and Teresa were working for WCKD, in which Thomas tries to warn Teresa of WCKD’s plans, only for the two to be separated by WCKD’s troops. As Thomas and Brenda reunite with the rest of the group, Jorge interrogates Marcus (Alan Tudyk), a survivor who secretly works for WCKD, into revealing the whereabouts of The Right Arm.

 

Cast

Our Thoughts

This movie was cool. I like the idea of it all, but the characters do many stupid things throughout the film that real survivors would never do. Still, that is what teenagers do in reality, so I suppose it isn’t too much of a negative. The twists and turns of the plot keep you guessing, and it is worth the price of a premium ticket, just for the vivid effects, and wickedly well done dystopian scenery. 4 – stars, and recommended to all. But a must see for all the fans of this type of teen survival drama – MR

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We Review: Black Mass “Depp gets Academy Award or the Oscars are rigged.” – MR

Black Mass (film)

Black Mass (film) poster.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Scott Cooper
Produced by
Screenplay by
Based on Black Mass
by Dick Lehr
and Gerard O’Neill
Starring
Music by Junkie XL[1]
Cinematography Masanobu Takayanagi
Edited by David Rosenbloom[2]
Production company
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release dates
  • September 4, 2015 (Venice)[3]
  • September 18, 2015(United States)[4]
Running time
122 minutes[5]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $53 million[6]
Box office $30.1 million[7]

Black Mass is a 2015 American crime film directed by Scott Cooper and written by Mark Mallouk and Jez Butterworth, based on the 2001 bookBlack Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob by Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill. The film stars Johnny Depp, Joel Edgerton, Benedict Cumberbatch, Kevin Bacon, Jesse Plemons, Peter Sarsgaard, Rory Cochrane, Adam Scott, Dakota Johnson, and Corey Stoll.

The film follows the criminal career of infamous Irish-American mobsterWhitey Bulger (Depp). Principal photography of the film began on May 19, 2014 in Boston, and wrapped on August 1, 2014. The film had its world premiere at the 72nd Venice International Film Festival,[8] and was released by Warner Bros. worldwide on September 18, 2015.[9]

Plot (Spoilers)
In 1975, James “Whitey” Bulger, a small-time gangster and leader of the Irish-AmericanWinter Hill Gang, controls almost all of organized crime within South Boston, along with his right-hand man Stephen Flemmi, newcomer Kevin Weeks, and cold and calculative hitman, Johnny Martorano. Bulger’s hold over South Boston is challenged by the northern Angiulo Brothers, a rising and powerful family group with ties to the mafia.

An interesting opportunity arises with the return of John Connolly to South Boston; Connolly being a former native of the area and friend of Whitey and his brother, William “Billy” Bulger, a Boston senator. Connolly’s advancement within his position in the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) pressures him into attempting to find a way to go after the Angiulo Brothers, who are continuing to avoid police detection. Connolly tries to persuade Billy into getting Whitey to cooperate with the FBI, but Billy refuses him yet gives notice to Whitey. Whitey detests of the idea of going “rat” for the police, but feels the pressure on himself as he wishes to protect both his wife, Lindsey, and son, Douglas. After the Angiulo Brothers murder a member of the Winter Hill gang, Whitey decides to go informant for Connolly, much to Flemmi’s dismay.

Connolly’s control over Whitey is continually questioned however by his boss, Charles McGuire, although he is also defended by his close co-worker, John Morris, who blindly follows Connolly’s plan.

Tensions increase as Whitey ignores the informant rules of no crime or killing; using his ‘protection’ to further his criminal agenda with the gang. He becomes unhinged however, when his son suddenly goes into a vegetative state from Reye syndrome, leading Lindsey to pull the plug and let him die. Their relationship breaks off afterward, just as Connolly begins demanding actual information on the Angiulo Brother’s racketeering locations. Finally, Whitey is able to get pictures of their work hideouts, allowing the FBI to wiretap the Angiulos head-on.

Before McGuire can terminate the informant operation, the wiretaps pick up the Angiulos discussing their criminal activities, leading the FBI to arrest them, also eliminating any opposition to Whitey’s growing empire. Connolly, blinded by his old past and loyalty to Whitey, grows closer to him and the gang as more than simple ‘informants.’ His wife, Marianne, is disgusted by their presence at home, but is forced to deal with them and her husband’s further change.

Problems rise later on as Whitey is suddenly cut out of an embezzlement scheme from World Jai Alai and directs Martorano to murder the oncoming owner Roger Wheeler, and their original embezzlement contact, John Callahan. Whitey suspects that an associate who overhears the murder plan, Brian Halloran, would not keep it a secret, so he pays him off to leave. Halloran later hears about Wheeler’s murder and, scared for his life, Halloran goes to the FBI to report Bulger’s relation to the crime. Connolly and Morris intercept and interview Halloran, but point to his cocaine addiction and dismiss his accusations against Bulger. Connolly, fearing Whitey is in too deep, breaks the law by telling Whitey of Halloran’s accusation. Whitey then hunts down and murders Halloran and an unnamed friend of his in broad daylight soon after.

The Winter Hill gang’s informant relationship degenerates because of Whitey’s own increasing violent behavior – threatening Morris and Marianne, as well as murdering Flemmi’s prostitute stepdaughter, Deborah Hussey. Ultimately, the downfall begins as Fred Wyshak, a “bulldog” prosecutor, moves into the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Connolly attempts to make friends with Wyshak, who coldly refuses and also scolds Connolly’s idiotic relationship with Whitey, demanding that the FBI begin to bring Whitey down. When John McIntyre, an informant within the Winter Hill gang itself, blows the whistle on Whitey’s attempt at weapons running for the Provisional Irish Republican Army, he is soon found out and murdered by the gang, most likely due again to Connolly’s inside information. Wyshak and McGuire investigate Connolly’s control over Whitey’s informant activity. They discover that most of what Connolly presented as Whitey’s tips were actually repeats of earlier tips from low-level informants. Morris reveals the true relationship that Connolly and Whitey had, in return for immunity for his crimes.

Whitey is forced to acknowledge the end, when The Boston Globe publishes a front-page article about his informant activities, which causes him to lose the gang’s trust. In the final scenes, Connolly, Flemmi, Weeks, and Martorano are arrested. Whitey goes on the run, but not before giving Billy a final goodbye from a pay phone. After Connolly’s and the other characters’ sentences are shown, a final scene reveals Whitey being finally caught by the FBI in 2011, 16 years after the initial crackdown.
Cast

Our Thoughts

Black Mass is an Academy Award level movie, and Johhny Depp redeems his himself after the flop Mortdecai. In fact, Depp out acts Cumberbatch and everyone else in the film. Johhny Depp and Joel Edgerton’s accents never wavered, but a few of the others do. Which disappointed me since it was Cumberbatch, who twisted the English into an Irish character in a way an American could tell the difference.

That aside, it is an all-star cast, and if it doesn’t win Best Actor, best Supporting Cast, and Best Film (out of what I’ve seen so far)  …then the Oscars are rigged. Depp is that good. 3/4 through the movie I had to remind himself it was Depp.

Highly recommended. 5 stars, Top Notch Entertainment, and One of the Best “based on a true story films” EVER MADE! – MR

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