We review: Kingsman: The Secret Service “4 stars for being an awesome, spy, action flick…a good time! – MR

Kingsman: The Secret Service

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Kingsman: The Secret Service
Kingsman The Secret Service poster.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Matthew Vaughn
Produced by
  • Adam Bohling
  • David Reid
  • Matthew Vaughn
Screenplay by
Based on The Secret Service
by Mark Millar
Dave Gibbons
Starring
Music by
Cinematography George Richmond
Edited by
Production
company
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • 13 December 2014(Butt-Numb-A-Thon)
  • 29 January 2015(United Kingdom)
  • 13 February 2015(United States)
Running time
129 minutes[1]
Country
  • United Kingdom
  • United States[2]
Language English
Budget $81 million[3]
Box office $85.8 million[3]

Kingsman: The Secret Service is a 2015 spy action comedy film, directed by Matthew Vaughn, and based on the comic book The Secret Service, created by Dave Gibbons and Mark Millar. The screenplay was written by Vaughn and Jane Goldman. The film stars Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Strong, Taron Egerton, and Michael Cain

Plot

During a mission secret agent Harry Hart is unable to prevent the death of one of his fellow agents. Feeling guilt, he personally delivers a bravery medal to the man’s widow and his young son, Eggsy, saying that if they ever need help, they should call the phone number on the back of the medal and deliver a coded message.

Seventeen years later, during a mission to find Professor Arnold, a kidnapped climate scientist, another Kingsman agent, Lancelot, is killed by Gazelle, an assassin with bladed prosthetic legs. In London, Eggsy is unemployed and living with his mother, infant sister and an abusive stepfather. Despite being intelligent and able, he left the training for the Royal Marines because his mother worried he would end up like his father. A thug threatens him in a pub, so Eggsy leaves, but steals the thug’s car. After being arrested, Eggsy calls the number on the back of the medal and is released. Harry meets him outside the station and takes him to a local pub, where he criticises Eggsy for wasting his life. When the thug shows up with his friends for retribution for Eggsy’s theft of the car, Harry advises the thugs to leave. When they rebuff him, Harry easily beats the thugs up.

Harry tells Eggsy about the secret intelligence agency that he works for and for which Eggsy’s late father worked: Kingsmen, and informs Eggsy that the Kingsmen have a vacancy for a new agent (to fill Lancelot’s spot). He takes Eggsy to training headquarters via a the tailor shop that functions as Harry’s civilian cover. Eggsy meets a group of new candidates, including a girl named Roxy. The programme is designed to weed out the unsuitable until only one candidate remains. The training is overseen by Merlin, a senior Kingsman, and each recruit is assigned a new dog to train in turn. Eggsy and Roxy emerge as the final two candidates. Encouraged, Harry has Eggsy issued a suit. When the head of the training programme, Arthur, instructs Eggsy to shoot his dog as the final challenge, Eggsy refuses and is ejected from the selection process; Roxy shoots hers and is given the job. Harry later reveals that the guns were loaded with blanks; it was a test of the candidates’ obedience.

Meanwhile, the Kingsmen are investigating Internet billionaire Richmond Valentine, who has announced a world-wide giveaway of SIM cards that allow free phone calls and internet access. The Kingsmen suspect him of being involved in a number of disappearances of VIPs, including the Swedish Princess. Harry tracks Professor Arnold to his class, where he interrogates him about Valentine’s whereabouts. A chip implanted in Arnold’s head explodes, killing him and injuring Harry. Once he recovers, Harry poses as a tycoon and has dinner with Valentine, who explains his views to Harry, stating that humanity is akin to a virus, and that global warming is the Earth’s equivalent of a fever. Later, having tracked Harry, Valentine shows up at Harry’s tailor shop, where Valentine and Harry further size each other up.

In a mid-credits scene, Eggsy appears in the same bar where Harry first invited him to join the Kingsmen. He tells his mother he has a job that comes with money and a new house that he invites his mother to come share. When his stepfather tries to prevent Eggy’s mother from leaving the pub, Eggsy knocks him unconscious, and prepares to do the same to his friends.

Cast

Our Thoughts

Kingsmen was great in that it embodied the essence of these types of secret-service. British, super-agent types of films. ie: A GREAT SUPERVILLAN with an awesomely diabolical plan to destroy the world as we know it. The cast was solid, and the acting very good, but there were a few areas where the movie stopped being what it was and became a big Red Bull/McDonalds commercial. It was full of action, and the plot twist near the end got me, which rarely, if ever, happens. For that I would give it 5 stars, but it is based on the comic book called: The Secret Service and not keeping that name, and the association more public, to me, was weak. I didn’t find that out until I researched the movie. So it gets 4 stars for being a bad ass un-original movie, but the comic book gets 5+ stars for creating the characters and plot. Samuel L. Jackson also gets 5 stars. His Mike Tyson-like lisp was maintained flawlessly throughout, and I loved him as a super villan. A perfect psychopath. Part of me, the intelligent, realistic part of me, even agreed with him. But not so much with his methods. The Earth is being over populated, there is no doubt. Pay attention to the villain’s motive. 4 stars for being an awesome spy action flick. Highly recommended for a good time! – MR

 

Find Kingsmen: The Secret Service and see a new trailer here.


We Review: Jupiter Ascending – Almost as cool as Guardians of the Galaxy… Almost! – MR

Jupiter Ascending

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jupiter Ascending
'Jupiter Ascending' Theatrical Poster.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by
Produced by
Written by
  • The Wachowskis
Starring
Music by Michael Giacchino
Cinematography John Toll
Edited by Alexander Berner
Production
company
Distributed by
Release dates
Running time
127 minutes[2]
Country
  • United States
  • Australia
Language English
Budget $176 million[3]
Box office $6.4 million[3]

Jupiter Ascending is a 2015 space opera[4] film written, produced, and directed by Lana and Andy Wachowski. StarringChanning Tatum and Mila Kunis, the film is centered on Jupiter Jones (Kunis), a down-on-her-luck maid, and Caine Wise (Tatum), an interplanetary warrior who informs Jones that her destiny extends beyond Earth. Supporting cast memberDouglas Booth has described the film’s universe as a cross between The Matrix and Star Wars[5][6][7] while Kunis named its underlying themes as indulgence[8] and consumption.[9][10][11]

The film was co-produced by Grant Hill, who acted as executive producer on The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions and as producer on V for Vendetta, Speed Racer, Ninja Assassin, and Cloud Atlas, making Jupiter Ascending his seventh collaboration with the Wachowskis. Several more longstanding Wachowski collaborators since the creation of The Matrix films have contributed to the picture,[12] including production designer Hugh Bateup, visual effects supervisor Dan Glass, visual effects designer John Gaeta, supervising sound editor Dane Davis and costume designerKym Barrett. Other notable past collaborators include Speed Racer‘s composer Michael Giacchino, Cloud Atlasdirector of photography John Toll along with its editor Alexander Berner and hair and make-up designer Jeremy Woodhead, who worked on both.

The film has received mixed to negative reviews, with critics praising the visuals, world-building, and originality, but criticizing the story and screenplay.

Plot

Unknown to Earth’s residents, life on Earth and countless other planets has been seeded[13] by families of alienroyalty[14] for the purpose of harvesting the evolved living creatures once they reach a “Darwinian state of perfection” to produce a type of youth serum that allows them to live forever.[15] When the matriarch of the House of Abrasax, the most powerful of the alien dynasties, dies[9] her children Balem (Eddie Redmayne), Kalique (Tuppence Middleton), and Titus (Douglas Booth) are at war over the inheritance. Eventually a new heir comes to their attention: Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis), an unsuspecting, Earth-living, unlucky cleaner of other people’s homes.[16] Jupiter encounters Caine Wise (Channing Tatum), a genetically engineered interplanetary warrior, who came to Earth to reveal that her genetic signature makes Jones royalty and heir to Earth. Meanwhile, he has to protect her from Balem, who put a bounty on her head and would rather harvest Earth than lose it to Jones.[17]

Cast

  • Mila Kunis as Jupiter Jones, an unsuspecting, unlucky, Earth-born janitor whose genetic structure marks her as royalty and the heir to Earth. Kunis describes her character as unhappy with her job and life, but also lazy and with no aspirations to do anything about it, until Caine finds her.[9]
  • Channing Tatum as Caine Wise, a genetically engineered ex-military hunter. Caine is a defective genetic splice, half-albino and with both wolf and human DNA.[18]He has a tremendously powerful sense of smell that allows him to track a gene through the Universe.[19] Tatum had to wear a mouthpiece to change the shape of his lower jaw, which prevented him from closing his mouth and gave him trouble when he had to talk.
  • Sean Bean as Stinger Apini, a “Han Solo-type character”.[20] Stinger is spliced with bee DNA, which gives him some of their characteristics: wings, speed, special vision and a sense of loyalty. Stinger was in the military with Caine but when Caine got into trouble and Stinger stood up for him, his wings were removed and he was exiled to Earth.[9] He lives a normal life on Earth along with his daughter, who he describes as the only good thing he’s done in life, until she falls ill and in need of a special nectar.[11]
  • Eddie Redmayne as Balem Abrasax, alien royalty whose family engages in the planetary business, trading in youth serum.[9] He is the eldest of the three Abrasax siblings and serves as the main antagonist of the film because he wants Earth for himself.
  • Douglas Booth as Titus Abrasax, Balem’s brother. Booth has described his character as “a bit of a playboy”, mentioning his spaceship, as described in the script, as a cross between a Gothic cathedral and the Playboy Mansion.[9]
  • Tuppence Middleton as Kalique Abrasax, Balem’s sister. She approaches Jupiter and befriends her, but like her brothers she has ulterior motives.[9]
  • Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Famulus, a half-human, half-deer genetic splice.[21][22]
  • Terry Gilliam as Seal and Signet Minister[23] in a scene that is an homage to Gilliam’s Brazil.[24]
  • David Ajala as Ibis, the leader of the cyber hunters pursuing Jupiter and Caine.[25]
  • James D’Arcy as Maximilian Jones, Jupiter’s father.
  • Kick Gurry as Vladie, Jupiter’s cousin.
  • Bae Doona as Razo
  • Charlotte Beaumont as Kiza, Stinger’s daughter.[26]
  • Tim Pigott-Smith as Malidictes
  • Edward Hogg as Chicanery Night[27]
  • Nikki Amuka-Bird as Diomika Tsing
  • Vanessa Kirby as Katharine[28]
  • Maria Doyle Kennedy as Aleksa, Jupiter’s mother.
  • Christina Cole as Gemma Chatterjee

Our Thoughts:

The technical and special effect aspects of this movie are flat out amazing. The creatures, spaceships, and technology look and seem real, ALL of them. The story is the typical “un-expecting youth finds out they rule the world” type of thing. Then it becomes the “race against time to stop a wedding and save Earth from being harvested” plot line. When Channing Tatum, who plays, Caine Wise, was trying against all odds to stop his new found love’s unwanted wedding, I was reminded of Ming marrying Dale in the old Flash Gordon. I half expected Queen music to start playing, and if it would have this one would have been better.  4 stars and recommended. It was almost as cool as Guardians of the Galaxy… Almost! – MR

Find Jupiter Ascending and see a new trailer here.


We review “John Wick” “Keanu Reeves redeems himself in this AWESOME 5 star revenge flick.” MR

John Wick

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
John Wick
John Wick TeaserPoster.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Chad Stahelski
David Leitch (uncredited)
Produced by
Written by Derek Kolstad
Starring
Music by
Cinematography Jonathan Sela
Edited by Elísabet Ronalds
Production
companies
  • Thunder Road Pictures
  • 87Eleven Productions
  • MJW Films
  • DefyNite Films
Distributed by Summit EntertainmentLionsgate Films (US)StudioCanal (Germany)Warner Bros. (UK)
Release dates
  • October 13, 2014(New York City premiere)
  • October 24, 2014(United States)
  • 10th April 2015 United Kingdom[1]
Running time
101 minutes[2]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $20 million[3]
Box office $78,739,897 [3]

John Wick is a 2014 American action thriller film[4] directed by Chad Stahelski and David Leitch. Starring Keanu Reeves,Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Adrianne Palicki, Bridget Moynahan, Dean Winters, Ian McShane, John Leguizamo, andWillem Dafoe, the film stars Reeves as John Wick, a retired hitman seeking vengeance for the killing of his puppy, a gift from his recently deceased wife.[5] Stahelski and Leitch, both of 87Eleven Productions, directed the film together, though Leitch was uncredited.[6]

The film was written by Derek Kolstad, who completed the screenplay in 2012 and further developed it for Thunder Road Pictures.[7] The film was produced by Basil Iwanyk of Thunder Road Pictures, Leitch, Eva Longoria and Michael Witherill. It marks Stahelski and Leitch’s directorial debut as a team after multiple separate credits as second unit directors andstunt coordinators. They previously worked with Reeves as stunt doubles on The Matrix trilogy.[8]

Stahelski and Leitch’s approach to action scenes drew upon their admiration for anime[9] and martial arts films,[10] and the film’s use of fight choreographers[11] and gun fu techniques[12] from Hong Kong action cinema[13] was additionally influential in the development of the piece. As well as prominently paying homage to works such as John Woo‘s The Killer, Jean-Pierre Melville‘s Le Cercle Rouge and Le Samouraï,[14] John Boorman‘s Point Blank, and the spaghetti western subgenre of Western films.[15]

Plot

John Wick (Keanu Reeves), who just lost his wife Helen (Bridget Moynahan) to an undisclosed illness, receives a gift from her posthumously in the form of a puppy named Daisy, along with a letter from her saying she arranged for him to have Daisy to help him cope with her demise. Initially indifferent to Daisy, he eventually connects to the puppy as they spend the day driving around in his vintage ’69 Mustang. He encounters a trio of Russian gang members at a gas station and their leader Iosef (Alfie Allen) insists on buying his car, but John refuses to sell and greets Iosef’s snide remark with a retort before leaving. The three follow John to his home, break in at night, and attack John, who watches defenselessly as they kill Daisy before stealing his car.

The following day, Iosef attempts to have the car modified by Aurelio (John Leguizamo), the owner of a chop shop who refuses to take it and hits Iosef when he realizes who it belongs to and what Iosef did to steal it. John subsequently visits Aurelio, who tells him Iosef is the son of Viggo Tarasov (Michael Nyqvist), head of the Russian crime syndicate in New York and John’s former employer, before lending him another car. Aurelio, who works with Viggo, is forced to explain what happened to Viggo, who berates Iosef and explains who John Wick is: his best assassin, nicknamed Baba Yaga(“the Boogeyman”), who retired after falling in love with a woman and had helped Viggo gain control of his syndicate by single-handedly eliminating all competition, a task Viggo considered “impossible.”

Viggo, wanting to protect his son, attempts to talk John out of seeking retribution, which John abruptly disregards, prompting Viggo to send a hit squad to John’s house to execute him, only for John to dispatch them swiftly. Viggo puts a $2 million bounty on John and first gives the offer to Marcus (Willem Dafoe), a veteran assassin and John’s mentor, who accepts. John subsequently seeks refuge at the Continental, a hotel that exclusively caters to assassins, with the rule that no business can be conducted on premises. When Viggo learns of this, he doubles the bounty. John learns from Winston (Ian McShane), the owner of the Continental, that Viggo has Iosef protected at his nightclub, the Red Circle.

John goes to the club and kills Iosef’s friend Victor before dispatching most of the security staff, but Iosef escapes after John is subdued by Viggo’s henchman Kirill. John escapes back to the Continental to treat his wounds before being attacked by Ms. Perkins (Adrianne Palicki), an assassin and former acquaintance of John’s who had taken the contract to kill him. Her surprise attack on John is foiled when Marcus, who had been watching John sleep through a sniper rifle’s scope from a building across the street, wakes John up by shooting the pillow next to his head. John eventually subdues Perkins and forces her to reveal the location of Viggo’s cash before leaving her with a neighbor and friend, Harry (Clarke Peters), to await her punishment for breaking the hotel rules. Perkins eventually breaks free and kills Harry.

John goes to a church, which is a front for the cash, eliminates all the guards, and burns Viggo’s money, as well as various intelligence against the police and government officials that Viggo uses as leverage. When Viggo arrives at the church, John ambushes them, but is eventually subdued. Viggo taunts him for causing trouble over a dog and thinking he could leave his old life behind. He leaves John to be tortured and killed by Kirill and another henchman, but Marcus kills the other henchman, allowing John to break free and kill Kirill. John intercepts Viggo’s car and forces him to reveal Iosef’s location and pull the bounty, which Viggo reluctantly does. John goes to the safe house where Iosef is hiding, and kills all of the guards before killing Iosef.

Perkins sees that John and Marcus have been in contact and tells Viggo, who has Marcus tortured and killed in his home over his betrayal. Viggo contacts John about Marcus’ death, luring John to his home, where Perkins is waiting to ambush him. Before she can do so, she gets called to a secret meeting with Winston, who revokes her membership to the Continental for breaking the rules and has her swiftly executed by a handful of other assassins. Winston calls John to inform him of a helicopter coming to the harbor to transport Viggo away. John races to the harbor and executes Viggo’s remaining henchmen before getting into a fistfight with Viggo on the dock.

Viggo pulls out a knife on John and as they fight, John forces it into in his already wounded abdomen. Startled by this, Viggo releases his hold on the knife. Gaining the upper hand, John takes Viggo’s knife and stabs him on the side of the neck. Viggo, mortally wounded, slumps over and dies. John, wounded but still able-bodied, stops elsewhere to re-watch a video of himself and his wife on his phone. After gaining strength, John ends up at a veterinary clinic where he attempts to treat his wound. He then takes a dog out from one of the cages for a walk on the boardwalk, where he had his last date with Helen.

Our Thoughts:

 

This is one of the best revenge movies I have ever seen. I have never wanted a bad guy to meet his end more, and I have never wanted the good guy to be the one who delivered the death blow as badly as I did in this one. While I have mocked Keanu’s acting before (See our review of 47 Ronin) This type of role is perfect for him. The ALLSTAR cast doesn’t hurt either. Keanu Reeves redeems himself in this AWESOME 5 star revenge flick. – MR   HIGHLY RECOMENDED

 

Find John Wick and see a new trailer here.


We review the FireTV version of: Predestination “Surprisingly good sci-fi flick. 4 Stars” MR

Predestination (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Predestination
Predestination poster.jpg

Australian poster
Directed by Michael Spierig
Peter Spierig
Produced by Paddy McDonald
Tim McGahan
Michael Spierig
Written by Michael Spierig
Peter Spierig
Based on “—All You Zombies—”
by Robert A. Heinlein
Starring Ethan Hawke
Sarah Snook
Noah Taylor
Music by Peter Spierig
Cinematography Ben Nott
Edited by Matt Villa
Production
company
Blacklab Entertainment
Screen Australia
Wolfhound Pictures
Distributed by Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions
Release dates
Running time
97 minutes[1]
Country Australia
Language English
Box office $2.6 million[2]

Predestination is a 2014 Australian science fiction film, directed and written by Michael and Peter Spierig. The film is based on the Robert A. Heinlein short story ‘“—All You Zombies—”, and stars Ethan Hawke, Sarah Snook and Noah Taylor.

Plot

A time-traveling agent goes back in time in order to catch an infamous terrorist known as the “Fizzle Bomber”. The agent stops the bomb but is severely injured. The Fizzle Bomber escapes and the agent travels into the future, to 1992, using a Coordinate Transformer Field Kit—a time machine disguised as a violin case—with the help of an unknown person. The agent’s face was burned and needs to be repaired using plastic surgery.

It is revealed that the agent works for a mysterious organization known as the Temporal Bureau, that sends so-called “temporal agents” through time to prevent major crimes. The Fizzle Bomber is the only criminal to elude them thus far. In March 1975, the Fizzle Bomber kills 11,000 people in New York City.

After the agent heals, he is sent on a final mission before his mandatory retirement. He travels to the 1970s to work as a bartender in New York City. A male customer, whose “Unmarried Mother” pen name is used for writing magazine confessional testimonials, enters the bar to drink alcohol.

Cajoled by the bartender, the Unmarried Mother proceeds to tell a story that he considers remarkable: He was born in 1945, abandoned at birth, and placed in an orphanage. Identified as a female, he is raised as “Jane”. As a young woman, Jane later tries to join the Space Corps and excels in the recruitment tests; but, Jane is disqualified when Space Corps doctors discover something about her physiology.

After being expelled from Space Corps, Jane attends night classes in Cleveland, OH, where she meets and falls pregnant to an older man who eventually disappears. After finding out that she is pregnant to the older man, Jane brings the pregnancy to full term and, during the delivery of her child, the doctors discover the condition that led to her expulsion: Jane was born intersex, with both female and male reproductive organs, allowing Jane to give birth to a baby with her female reproductive organs. However, her baby is kidnapped by an unknown man while still in hospital. At the advice of her physician, Jane then undergoes further procedures to remove her female sexual organs—irreparable after birth complications—thereby becoming a man named John.

Unmarried Mother concludes the story, and the bartender suddenly reveals that he knows the identity of the older male who left Jane, and offers John the chance to kill him. They both travel back in time to Cleveland and the bartender gives John a gun to enact the killing. However, John instead meets Jane, his younger female self, while the bartender/temporal agent uses his time machine to travel into the future—in his final opportunity to catch the Fizzle Bomber. However, the agent is knocked out by the bomber.

The bartender is later shown to be the kidnapper of Jane’s baby, before he meets back up with John, who has had sexual intercourse with his earlier self, Jane, by this time. The bartender convinces John to abandon Jane and start working as a Temporal Agent at the Temporal Bureau.

Having completed his final mission, the bartender is instructed to choose his time and place of retirement—upon his arrival at that location, his field kit will be automatically decommissioned. He chooses to retire in a New York City apartment, around the time of the Fizzle Bomber’s March 1975 bombing, after receiving an envelope from his supervisor, Robertson. Upon his arrival, the field kit displays an error message after it is decommissioned; however, the retired agent does not report the error and opens the envelope which contains an instruction related to the March 1975 bombing.

The agent eventually discovers that the Fizzle Bomber is an older version of himself. After arguing with his older self, he kills him with a handgun in a laundromat. A flashback scene then reveals that the agent is in fact Jane/John—completely changed after the reconstructive surgery at the beginning of the film where he was injured in the blast—and finishes with John seated in the New York City apartment that he had requested for retirement.

Cast

Our Thoughts

This movie is sort of like 12 Monkeys (w/Pitt and Willis) and Looper (again w/ Bruce Willis,) in that a character goes back and forth in time, trying to prevent a certain catastrophe. If you liked either of those films, you will like this one. Predestination comes with a serious twist that sort of threw me at first, but kept me thinking long after it was over. Turns out it made perfect sense, and I can’t explain that without being a spoiler. This movie was unexpectedly good sci-fi. 4 Stars – MR

 

Find Predestination and see the new trailer here.

 

 


We review the FireTV version of: Maleficent “Does not disappoint. 5 Stars” – MR

Maleficent (2014 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Maleficent
Maleficent poster.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Robert Stromberg
Produced by Joe Roth
Screenplay by Linda Woolverton
Based on
Starring
Narrated by Janet McTeer
Music by James Newton Howard
Cinematography Dean Semler
Edited by
Production
company
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release dates
  • May 28, 2014(United Kingdom)
  • May 30, 2014 (United States)
Running time
97 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $180 million[2]
Box office $757.8 million[2]

Maleficent (/məˈlɛfɪsənt/ or /məˈlɪfɪsənt/) is a 2014 American dark fantasy film directed by Robert Stromberg from a screenplay by Linda Woolverton. Starring Angelina Jolie as the eponymous Disney villainess character, the film is a live-action re-imagining of Walt Disney‘s 1959 animated film Sleeping Beauty, and portrays the story from the perspective of the antagonist, Maleficent.[3]

Produced by Walt Disney Pictures, with Angelina Jolie as an executive producer, principal photography took place between June and October 2012. Maleficent premiered at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood on May 28, 2014, and was released in the United Kingdom that same day. The film was released in the U.S. on May 30, 2014 in the Disney Digital 3D, RealD 3D, and IMAX 3D formats, as well as in conventional theaters. The film was met with mixed reviews from critics, but was a commercial success, having grossed over $757 million worldwide and is the fourth highest-grossing film of 2014.

Plot

An elderly narrator tells the story of Maleficent, a powerful fairy living in the Moors, a magical forest realm bordering a corrupt human kingdom. As a young girl, she meets and falls in love with a human peasant boy named Stefan, whose love for Maleficent is overshadowed by his ambition to become king. As they grow older, Stefan and Maleficent grown apart, and she grows into the role of protector of the Moors. When King Henry tries to conquer the Moors, he is thwarted by a mature Maleficent, forcing him to retreat. Fatally wounded in the battle, he declares that whoever kills Maleficent would be named his successor and marry his daughter Leila. An older Stefan hears this, then goes to see Maleficent in the Moors. Stefan drugs Maleficent but cannot bring himself to kill her, so instead he cuts her wings off with iron – a lethal substance to fairies – and presents them to the king as proof of her death. Maleficent awakens to find herself wingless. She rescues a raven named Diaval, whom she gives a human form, to serve as her confidant.  Maleficent, deeply saddened by Stefan’s betrayal, declares herself Queen of the Moors, forming a dark oppressive kingdom with Diaval as her only companion..

Some time later, Diaval informs Maleficent that Stefan, who is now king, is hosting a christening for his newborn daughter, Aurora. Bent on revenge, Maleficent arrives uninvited and curses the infant princess: on her sixteenth birthday, she will prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel, which will cause her to fall into a deep sleep from which she will never awaken. When Stefan begs for mercy, she offers an antidote: the curse can be broken by true love’s kiss. A paranoid Stefan sends Aurora to live a trio of pixies until the day after her sixteenth birthday, while he destroys and burns all the spinning wheels in the kingdom and hides them in the deepest dungeon in the castle. He sends out his armies to find and kill Maleficent, but she surrounds the Moors with an impenetrable wall of thorns.

Despite her initial dislike for Aurora, Maleficent begins to care for the girl when the incompetent pixies fail to do so. After a brief meeting with the young Aurora, Maleficent watches over her from afar. When Aurora is 15, she meets Maleficent for the first time and she calls Maleficent her “fairy godmother”, as Aurora recalls being watched over by her all of her life. Realizing she has grown fond of the princess, Maleficent attempts to revoke the curse, but she cannot. Aurora later meets Prince Philip, and the two are smitten with each other. On the day before Aurora’s 16th birthday, Maleficent, hoping to avoid the curse, allows her to move to the Moors. When the pixies inadvertently tell Aurora of her parentage and of Maleficent’s true identity, a furious Aurora runs away to her father’s castle.

Meanwhile King Stefan, mad with paranoia, sits in his castle talking to Maleficent’s wings, and even refuses to see Queen Leila on her deathbed.

 

Cast

Angelina Jolie (left), Sharlto Copley (center) and Sam Riley (right)

Our Thoughts

This is a well portrayed movie, with superb acting and stellar effects. I was expecting more of a kids/chick flick type of story, but this was actually a great twist on the old Cinderella tale; dark enough to keep an old Conan the Barbarian fan interested from start to finish. This one does not disappoint.  – MR

 

Find Maleficent and see a free movie trailer here. 


We review: Taken 3 “3.5 stars for great action and fight sequences.”- MR

Taken 3

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Taken 3
Taken 3 poster.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Olivier Megaton
Produced by Luc Besson
Written by Luc Besson
Robert Mark Kamen
Starring Liam Neeson
Forest Whitaker
Famke Janssen
Maggie Grace
Dougray Scott
Sam Spruell
Leland Orser
Music by Nathaniel Méchaly
Cinematography Eric Kress
Edited by
  • Audrey Simonaud
  • Nicolas Trembasiewicz
Production
company
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
(International)
EuropaCorp Distribution
(France)
Release dates
  • 16 December 2014(Berlin premiere)
  • 9 January 2015(United States)
  • 21 January 2015 (France)
Running time
108 minutes[1]
Country France
Language English
Budget $48 million[2]
Box office $9.5 million[3]

Taken 3 is a 2014 English-language French action thriller film directed by Olivier Megaton and written by Luc Besson andRobert Mark Kamen. It is the third and final installment in the Taken trilogy, and the sequel to the 2008 film Taken and the 2012 film Taken 2. The film stars Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen and Forest Whitaker.

Principal photography began on 29 March 2014, in Los Angeles. In North America, 20th Century Fox released the film on January 9, 2015.[4]

Synopsis

Bryan Mills, an ex-government operative, is accused of the murder of his wife Lenore “Lenny” Mills. As he is tracked and pursued, Mills again brings out his particular set of skills to find the true killer and clear his name.

Cast

Our Thoughts:

Liam Neeson isn’t into the role anymore and it is clear in this film. Forest Whitaker saves the day with his clever, non-chalant acting ability.  The biggest problem with this movie, and the plot in general, is that there is no sense of urgency. The stuff Mills is doing had no reason to be rushed. There is no pending death, or doom. There is the police trying to stop him, and it was entertaining. Still, save the cost of a box office ticket and wait until it is out on Amazon Prime, or cable. 3.5 stars for great action and fight sequences. MR

 

Find Taken 3 and see the new movie trailer here.


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

We review The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

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

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

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

Plot

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our Thoughts

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

 

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


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