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About twittersfantasyebookguide

We watch and review fantasy and Sci-Fi movies. (Both new releases and classics via - Amazon Streaming) We also tweet about fantasy genre news from across the blogosphere. Follow us @WizardWyrm on twitter.

We Review: Amazon’s Original #TheAeronauts “4.5 stars, well done.” – MR

The Aeronauts (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Aeronauts
TheAeronautsPoster.jpeg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Tom Harper
Produced by
Screenplay by Jack Thorne
Story by
  • Tom Harper
  • Jack Thorne
Based on Falling Upwards: How We Took to the Air
by Richard Holmes
Starring
Music by Steven Price
Cinematography George Steel
Edited by Mark Eckersley
Production
company
Distributed by
Release date
  • 30 August 2019 (Telluride)
  • 4 November 2019 (United Kingdom)
  • 6 December 2019 (United States)
Running time
100 minutes[2]
Country
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
Language English
Budget $40 million[3]
Box office $3.2 million[4][5]

The Aeronauts is a 2019 biographical adventure film directed by Tom Harper and written by Jack Thorne, from a story co-written by Thorne and Harper. The film is based on the 2013 book Falling Upwards: How We Took to the Air by Richard Holmes.[6] Produced by Todd LiebermanDavid Hoberman, and Harper, the film stars Felicity JonesEddie RedmayneHimesh Patel and Tom Courtenay.[7]

The film had its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival on 30 August 2019, followed by a showing at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival.[8][9] It was released in the United Kingdom on 4 November 2019, and in the United States on 6 December 2019.

Plot  ***SPOILER ALERT***

In 1862 London, pilots James Glaisher and Amelia arrive for the balloon launch. Despite being haunted by a vision of her late husband Pierre, Amelia keeps up the brave front and the balloon launches. In a flashback, James appears before the Royal Society and explains his theory that the weather can be predicted but he is laughed out of the building. Returning home, he talks to his parents, who try to persuade him to pursue another avenue of science. On the balloon, James and Amelia start rising through the cloud layer. They soon run into a violent storm which sends the balloon spinning. In a flashback, Antonia persuades her sister, Amelia, to attend a society function. There, Amelia is approached by James and he asks if she would be willing to be his pilot while he attempts to prove his theories to which she agrees.

After a close brush with death, with James suffering a head injury, they make it through the storm and continue rising. James releases the first of five pigeons carrying messages stating the current altitude along with other scientific readings in case they don’t survive. They discover an air current which is home to a group of butterflies, confirming one of John’s theories which James had always refuted. In a flashback, as James practices for the flight, Amelia approaches and tells him she’s changed her mind. At this, John goes to see Amelia to convince her. Amelia goes to Pierre’s grave to reflect. When it begins to snow, as James had predicted, she decides to go with him after all. Eventually, the balloon exceeds 23,000 feet (7.0 km), beating the record for the highest altitude. Amelia finds out James didn’t bring any clothes suitable for the rapidly decreasing temperature and decides to start descending. James refuses, and the two argue. Amelia agrees to keep rising, but makes it clear to James that they’ll have to start descending soon.

James starts experiencing hypoxia from the altitude as they ascend and insists they continue. The two get into a scuffle. That is when Amelia tells him the story of how Pierre sacrificed himself to save her during a balloon flight. This convinces James to descend. Amelia discovers the gas release valve on top of the balloon is frozen. As James falls unconscious, she has no choice but to climb up the outside of the balloon and open the valve from the top. With frostbite setting in on her hands, she struggles to wedge her boot in the valve, causing a slow release of the gas. Amelia loses consciousness and topples over the side but is saved by her rope tether.

When she awakens, Amelia manages to swing back to the balloon and wakes James. As they continue to descend, snow begins to hover around them, and they realize the balloon is collapsing from the loss of too much gas. They manage to close the gas release but it is not enough to slow their descent, so they throw everything they can over the side. When this doesn’t work, they climb into the framework and release the basket. Amelia then prepares to sacrifice herself to save James, but James convinces her that they can use the balloon as a parachute, which slows their descent. They crash through trees and hit the ground hard, with Amelia being dragged along behind the balloon. She wakes and calls for James, who staggers towards her. Both are injured, but euphoric that they managed to survive, setting a new human flight altitude record of 37,000 feet (11.3 km). James’s findings eventually paved the way for the first weather forecasts. James and Amelia go on another balloon flight together.

Cast

Our Thoughts

The Aeronauts is an award worthy film. Considering 90% of the movie is our two mains, in a wicker basket, it packs quite a punch. I feared for Amelia’s life in more than one place, and wanted to smack James for his stupidity.  That requires great acting skill.

My hats off to Felicity Jones, and Eddie Redmayne. They gave remarkable performances.

4.5 stars. Well done. – MR


We Review: #Underwater “If you LOVED #Godzilla, #Sphere, and #Leviathon, you will LIKE this. 3 stars” -MR

Underwater (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Underwater
Underwater poster.jpeg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by William Eubank
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story by
Brian Duffield
Starring
Music by
Cinematography Bojan Bazelli
Edited by
Production
companies
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date
  • January 10, 2020 (United States)
Running time
95 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $50–80 million[1][2]
Box office $17.6 million[3]

Underwater is a 2020 American science fiction horror film directed by William Eubank and written by Brian Duffield and Adam Cozad. The film is produced by Chernin Entertainment and stars Kristen StewartVincent CasselJessica HenwickJohn Gallagher Jr.Mamoudou Athie, and T.J. Miller.[4] It follows a group of scientists at the bottom of the ocean who encounter a group of creatures after a mysterious shaking destroys their laboratory.

Underwater was released in the United States on January 10, 2020, by 20th Century Fox. It was the final film to be released under the 20th Century Fox name before Walt Disney Studios changed its name to 20th Century Studios on January 17, 2020. It received mixed reviews from critics and has grossed $17 million worldwide.

Plot       ***SPOILER ALERT***

Tian Industries’ intends to drill seven miles to the bottom of the Mariana Trench for resources. A large earthquake hits, and a section of the Kepler 822 Station starts to suffer a catastrophic breach from the pressure. Norah Price, a mechanical engineer, and Rodrigo are able to escape the area and close it off, temporarily preventing further damage to the Kepler. They rescue Paul as they make their way to the escape pod bay. However, the three discover that all of the escape pods have already been deployed, with Captain Lucien being the only person in the area when the three arrive.

The surviving crew reach a control base and find biologist Emily Haversham and engineer Liam Smith, who are unsuccessful in their attempts to make contact with the surface. Lucien recommends that they put on pressurized suits and walk one mile across the ocean floor to the Roebuck Station 641. They start to emerge from the station into a cargo elevator, but Rodrigo’s helmet is faulty and cracks from the pressure, killing him instantly. The surviving crew see a distress beacon from one of the escape pods below, and Smith and Paul go outside to investigate. As Smith and Paul arrive at the location, the pod has been ripped open and a body lies in the rubble. Paul inspects the body, only for a hatchling creature to emerge from it and attack him. Smith is able to shoot and kill it with a bolt gun, and they bring it inside. Studying the creature’s body, Haversham realizes it is a part of a previously undiscovered species. The five begin to set out towards the Roebuck Station, but as they are walking, the Kepler explodes, causing debris to fly toward them. Smith is hit by the debris, but Price and Lucien manage to save him and bring him inside. They are able to make it to the meet-point station by taking an access tunnel, allowing them to charge and clean their suits, but find that Smith’s oxygen source is badly damaged from the debris. As they make their way through the access tunnel, Paul is attacked by an unknown creature and is dragged underwater before being ripped out of his suit and killed.

Before leaving the access tunnel, the team discover that Smith’s damaged oxygen pod will cause him to have to breathe in toxic fumes from the explosion. Unwilling to leave another crew member behind, Price, Lucien and Haversham agree to help him walk, dragging him if they have to. The remaining four crew members press on and start their walk across the ocean floor, but a humanoid creature appears, dragging Smith into a cave. Lucien manages to pull Smith out, but then tries to go for Smith’s bolt gun, allowing the creature an opportunity to drag Lucien up through the water and away from the other three. Price is dragged along with Lucien, but when the creature begins ascending, Lucien sacrifices himself so that Price may escape the increasing change in pressure. Price ends up at the abandoned Shepard Station and finds that Lucien worked there beforehand, causing suspicion as to what Lucien really knew about these creatures and their involvement with the drilling stations. Price tries to make contact with Smith and Haversham, but to no avail. She then gets a new pressurized suit and leaves the Shepard, continuing toward the Roebuck. Walking along the ocean floor, Price reunites with Haversham, dragging Smith towards the Roebuck Station, and proceeds to help. As they enter the station, they notice that there is a nest of the humanoid creatures hanging from the ceiling and try to sneak by, but Haversham’s suit, low on oxygen, begins to make noise, causing one of them to wake up and attack Price. Price is partially swallowed by one of the creatures, but is able to kill it and break free. Before more of the creatures can attack, an enormous creature reveals itself and causes an explosion. Haversham rescues Price and they continue their way into the Roebuck.

The three are able to reach the escape pod bay, but Price discovers that only two work, with a third being damaged and unusable. Price and Haversham manage to get an ailing but still alive Smith into one of the pods, and Price eventually convinces Haversham to take the last one. As this is happening, the gigantic alpha creature allegedly responsible for attacking and destroying their rig earlier, Cthulhu, emerges from around the Roebuck surrounded by even more of the humanoid creatures. The creatures start to follow the two escape pods, while Cthulhu begins to attack the Roebuck. Price, knowing she is already going to die, raises the energy levels of the core engines so that they explode, killing the creatures and allowing the escape pods to reach the surface. The film ends with images of newspaper articles depicting Tian Industries and their attempts to cover up the incident, which includes keeping Haversham and Smith’s testimonies classified. The company goes on to say that they intend to expand their drilling efforts.

Cast

Our Thoughts

Underwater could have been great. They skipped the whole “getting to know the crew” part of the plot, leaving no backstory. We jump right into disaster after disaster, but they never establish why we should care if these characters survive over the others dying all around them. I did not care one whit if the main character died because I knew NOTHING about her or her motivation, other than just to survive.

 

Anyway, it could have been amazing, but it would have to be thirty minutes longer, and the story start before they go 7 miles deep. Not right when crap goes bad, so we get no sense of normal life at depth.

 

3 stars at best. I’d wait until it hits Prime, or cable. -MR

Find Underwater and see the new trailer here.


We Review: #StarWars: The Rise of #Skywalker #IMAX #3D version “Entertaining, but nothing extraordinary. 4 stars” – MR

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker poster.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by J. J. Abrams
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story by
Based on Characters
by George Lucas
Starring
Music by John Williams
Cinematography Dan Mindel[2]
Edited by
Production
company
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release date
  • December 16, 2019 (Hollywood)
  • December 20, 2019 (United States)
Running time
142 minutes[3]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $275 million[4]
Box office $453.6 million[5][6]

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (also known as Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker) is a 2019 American epic space-opera film produced, co-written, and directed by J. J. Abrams. It is the third installment of the Star Wars sequel trilogy, following The Force Awakens (2015) and The Last Jedi (2017), and final episode of the nine-part “Skywalker saga“.[a] It was produced by Lucasfilm and Abrams’s production company Bad Robot Productions, and was distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. The ensemble cast includes Mark HamillAdam DriverDaisy RidleyJohn BoyegaOscar IsaacAnthony DanielsNaomi AckieDomhnall GleesonRichard E. GrantLupita Nyong’oKeri RussellJoonas SuotamoKelly Marie TranIan McDiarmid, and Billy Dee Williams. It also features Carrie Fisher, who posthumously appears through the use of previously unused footage.[2]

The Rise of Skywalker follows ReyFinn, and Poe Dameron as they lead the Resistance‘s final stand against Kylo Ren and the First Order, who are now aided by the return of the deceased galactic emperorPalpatine. After the new trilogy was announced following Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm in 2012, it was originally reported that The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson would write the script for Episode IX. In August 2015, Colin Trevorrow was hired to direct and to write a script with his collaborator Derek Connolly; both ultimately retained story credit with Abrams and Chris Terrio. In September 2017, Trevorrow left the project following creative differences with producer Kathleen Kennedy, and Abrams returned as director. Principal photography began in August 2018 at Pinewood Studios in England, and wrapped in February 2019; post-production was completed on November 24, 2019.

The Rise of Skywalker had its world premiere in Los Angeles on December 16, 2019, and was theatrically released in the United States on December 20, 2019. It received mixed reviews, with critics praising the cast performances and visual effects, but criticizing the plot, pacing and perceived departure from the themes and plot of The Last Jedi.

*** Spoiler Alert *** Spoiler Alert ***

Plot 

Following a mysterious galaxy-wide broadcast by the late Emperor PalpatineKylo Ren obtains a Sith wayfinder device leading him to the broadcast’s source on the planet Exegol. There, he finds a physically impaired Palpatine, who reveals that he created Snoke as a puppet to control the First Order and lure Kylo to the dark side. Palpatine unveils a secret armada of Star Destroyers and tells Kylo to find and kill Rey, who is continuing her Jedi training under General Leia Organa. Meanwhile, FinnPoe Dameron, and Chewbacca receive information from a First Order spy confirming Palpatine’s return. Rey discovers notes in Luke Skywalker‘s Jedi texts about a Sith wayfinder that will lead them to Palpatine. Rey, Poe, Finn, Chewbacca, BB-8, and C-3PO depart to the planet Pasaana to seek the wayfinder, while R2-D2 stays with Leia.

On Pasaana, the group encounters Lando Calrissian, who points them to the wayfinder’s last suspected location. Kylo learns where Rey is through their Force bond and travels there with the Knights of Ren. Rey and the others discover the remains of the assassin Ochi, his ship, droid, and dagger inscribed with Sith text, which C-3PO‘s programming forbids him from interpreting. Sensing that Kylo is nearby, Rey goes to confront him. The First Order captures the Millennium Falcon, Chewbacca, and the dagger; Rey, attempting to save Chewbacca, accidentally destroys a First Order transport with Force lightning. The group escapes on Ochi’s ship, presuming that Chewbacca was killed in the explosion.

Poe suggests traveling to Kijimi to have the Sith text extracted from C-3PO’s memory. The process wipes C-3PO’s memory, but reveals coordinates to a wayfinder on Kef Bir. Rey senses that Chewbacca is alive, and the group mounts a rescue mission. While Kylo searches for Rey, the group infiltrates his Star Destroyer with the help of Zorii Bliss, an old acquaintance of Poe’s. Rey recovers the dagger and has visions of her parents being killed with it. Kylo informs her that she is Palpatine’s granddaughter; the Sith lord had ordered Ochi to recover Rey as a child, but her parents hid her on Jakku to protect her. General Hux saves Poe, Finn and Chewbacca from execution, revealing himself as the spy. He lets the group escape on the Falcon, but is executed for treason.

The group arrives on Kef Bir. Jannah, an ex-stormtrooper and Resistance sympathizer, leads them to the remains of the second Death Star, where Rey locates the wayfinder. Kylo, having tracked the group to Kef Bir, destroys Rey’s wayfinder and asks her to help him supplant Palpatine. Rey and Kylo duel, while the rest of the group returns to the Resistance base. Leia, dying, calls to Kylo through the Force, distracting him, and Rey impales him. Sensing Leia’s death, Rey heals Kylo and takes Kylo’s ship to exile herself on Ahch-To. As a Force spirit, Luke encourages Rey to face Palpatine, giving her Leia’s lightsaber and his X-wing. Rey leaves for Exegol, using the wayfinder on Kylo’s ship. Kylo converses with a memory of his father, Han Solo; he throws away his lightsaber and reclaims his identity as Ben Solo. Palpatine has a Star Destroyer obliterate Kijimi as a show of force.

Our Thoughts

As I watched this one, I saw almost every scene was “extra” reminiscent of a scene from a past episode. I saw the original Cantina, the Ewoks with a ship crashing through their atmosphere, pod AND canyon races (as a land speeder chase,) our heroes on a destroyer in everything save for a garbage disposal, and Chewy in cuffs.  Reaching for the nostalgic feel was a wasted effort. This is episode 9, and if these are all the sets/settings there are, why bother?

I enjoyed the film, though I could pick the plot apart like fried onion. I won’t bother, but a HUGE gripe is the kiss at the end. Dude killed at least a hundred of her pals over three films, and she just forgets it?  That part was ignorant and whoever wrote it should be held accountable. She should have head-butted him, and then put him in a cell, forever.

But gripe(s) aside, it was a great film, and good fun for the whole family. We saw it in IMAX 3D and it was well worth the premium ticket price.  I’ll give it 4 stars. It could have been 5, but the drive to diversify the cast, left behind the NEED to diversify the on planet and on ship settings. – MR

Find Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker and see the new trailer: here


Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of ‘The Sword and the Dragon’

Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of ‘The Sword and the Dragon,’ we created handsome 2020 Edition ‘The Wardstone Trilogy’ paperbacks.

See 1,250-5 star combined reviews here:

Click a cover to start reading the FREE Kindle preview,

on the device you are using right now!

The Sword and the Dragon

(The Wardstone Trilogy, Book 1)

Wardstone_Book1_eBook

Brothers torn by magic. A sorceress with dragony aspirations. A wolf king, a royal wizard, a squire fleeing with a coveted sword. What could possibly go wrong when they all collide in Highwander, where the very bedrock is formed of the powerful substance known as Wardstone?

2020, 10th Anniversary Edition

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

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

All of these characters, along with the Wolf King of Wildermont, the Lion Lord of Westland, and a magical hawk named Talon, are on a collision course toward Willa the Witch Queen’s palace in the distant kingdom of Highwander. There the very bedrock is formed of the powerful magical substance called Wardstone.

Who are the heroes? And will they get there before the Royal Wizard and his evil horde?

Whatever happens, the journey will be spectacular, and the confrontation will be cataclysmic.

 

Kings, Queens, Heroes, & Fools

(The Wardstone Trilogy, Book 2)

 

Wardstone_Book2_eBook

Join Hyden Hawk Skyler, and some great new friends, on an adventurous quest, over land and sea, to find the Silver Skull of Zorellin.

Fight with Mikahl, Ironspike, and fierce King Jarrek as they try to free the enslaved people of Wildermont from King Ra’Gren and his Dakaneese Overlords.

Patrol the skies with Shaella, and her new black dragon, Vrot. With her father’s spell books, and the Priests of Kraw, she decides to aid King Ra’Gren, while scheming to free her lover, Gerard, from the hellish Nethers.

Demonic love, valiant battles, and foolhardy heroics await readers in this 180k word (600+ page) continuation of the epic Wardstone Trilogy that was written in a Texas prison cell by author M. R. Mathias

The Wizard and the Warlord

(The Wardstone Trilogy, Book 3)

 

Wardstone_Book3_eBook

**The Wizard and the Warlord – The Wardstone Trilogy-Book III** is the gripping conclusion to the epic fantasy trilogy that M. R. Mathias wrote in a Texas prison. This compelling volume brings the elves, dwarves, giants, and the dragons into the story again as our heroes, led by High King Mikahl and the great wizard Hyden Hawk, are forced to fight for the fate of the Kingdoms. This time, they do so against the terrible creature that Gerard Skyler has become, and the legions of demon-beasts that he commands.

From M.R. Mathias,
This is the CONCLUSION to The Wardstone Trilogy. It has taken me several years and a lot of sleepless nights to complete this grand work. I gave it my all, from the moment I put the inkpen to paper in prison, until the day I published Book III. I hope you like it.

You may see some of these characters and locals again, but the story of Claret and mighty Ironspike comes to its magnificent end here. Enjoy, M.R.

 

Click any of the covers to start reading right from the device you are using now!

 

 

 


We #Review: #GeminiMan – Will Smith is a great actor. I’ll give it 4 stars – Action packed fun – MR

Gemini Man

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Gemini Man
GeminiManPoster.jpeg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Ang Lee
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story by
  • Darren Lemke
  • David Benioff
Starring
Music by Lorne Balfe
Cinematography Dion Beebe
Edited by Tim Squyres
Production
company
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date
  • October 1, 2019 (ZFF)
  • October 11, 2019 (United States)
Running time
117 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $138 million[2]
Box office $149.3 million[2]

Gemini Man is a 2019 American action thriller film[3] directed by Ang Lee and written by David BenioffBilly Ray, and Darren Lemke. Starring Will SmithMary Elizabeth WinsteadClive Owen, and Benedict Wong, the film follows a hitman who is targeted by a younger clone of himself while on the run from the government.

Originally conceived in 1997, the film went through development hell for nearly 20 years. Several directors, including Tony ScottCurtis Hanson, and Joe Carnahan, were all attached at some point and numerous actors, including Harrison FordMel Gibson, and Sean Connery, were set to star. In 2016, Skydance Media purchased the rights to the screenplay (which had been through several rewrites) from Disney and in October 2017, Ang Lee signed on to direct for Skydance with Paramount handling the distribution rights. Filming took place from February through May 2018.

Gemini Man premiered at the Zurich Film Festival on October 1, 2019 and was theatrically released in the United States by Paramount Pictures on October 11, 2019, in standard 2D, Dolby Cinema, and IMAX as well as in HFR (high frame rate) “3D+” on select screens (including 16 Dolby Cinema[4] and 47 IMAX with Laser screens worldwide).[5] The film received generally negative reviews from critics, who complimented the performances but lamented the script and plot. The de-aging of Smith and the high frame-rate of 120 FPS also drew a mixed response, with some critics praising them as technical achievements, while others felt they were unconvincing.[6][7] It has grossed $149 million against an estimated budget of $138 million, becoming a box-office bomb, with projected losses as high as $75 million.

Plot

Henry Brogan, an aging government assassin, is sent on a mission to assassinate an anonymous terrorist aboard a bullet train. During the mission, Henry’s spotter warns him of a young girl approaching the target, causing Henry to delay his shot until the last second, shooting the man in the neck despite aiming for his head. Disillusioned with killing, Henry retires from government service.

While adjusting to retirement, Henry meets boat rental manager Dani and reconnects with an old friend, Jack, who reveals that an informant named Yuri told him that the man Henry killed was innocent; demanding proof, Henry has Jack arrange a meeting with Yuri. In retaliation for Henry knowing their deception, agency director Lassiter plans to kill him; Clay Varris, head of a top-secret black ops unit codenamed “GEMINI”, requests permission to eliminate him but is denied.

Realizing Dani is a fellow agent sent to monitor him, Henry befriends her. After his home is broken into by government agents, Henry calls his spotter, who is killed along with Jack and his mistress. Henry warns Dani about the attack and they manage to kill the assassins sent after them, learning the agency wants them both dead.

Escaping to Colombia, Henry and Dani go to the home of Henry’s former colleague Baron, and plan to meet with Yuri for further options. Meanwhile, Clay dispatches his top assassin to kill Henry. Fighting him off, Henry realizes the assassin bears an uncanny resemblance to himself as a young man, with a similar skill set. When the injured assassin arrives at a safehouse, he is revealed to be Clay’s adopted “son” Junior. Although he is curious about his similarities to Henry, Junior is ordered to finish the job.

Henry is also troubled by his similarities to the assassin, whom Dani suggests might be his child despite Henry’s denials. Testing DNA samples recovered from Junior, Dani discovers that his and Henry’s DNA are identical – Junior is Henry’s younger clone. Desperate for answers, Henry meets Yuri in Hungary, and learns of the cloning project and that the man he killed was one of the project’s scientists. Having designed a method to produce clones devoid of pain or emotion, the scientist tried to leave the project and was killed upon being discovered.

To try and get Junior to turn away from Clay’s intentions, Henry calls Lassiter, who agrees to send Junior to bring Dani safely back to the United States. Collecting Dani, Junior sets up a trap for Henry, but she warns him via a covert listening device hidden in her tooth. Ambushing the younger assassin, Henry explains to Junior that he is a clone, convincing him by revealing their similar traits that no one else could know. Escaping back to GEMINI, a heartbroken Junior confronts Clay, who claims that he must defeat Henry in order to surpass him.

Finding Henry after sneaking out of GEMINI, Junior allies with him to bring down Clay, while he urges Junior to quit in order to become someone better. Baron is killed in an ambush ordered by Clay, with Junior knocking Clay unconscious after a brief hand-to-hand fight.

After defeating a wave of GEMINI operatives, Henry, Dani, and Junior face another clone with special body armor who feels no pain or emotions. After shooting the clone repeatedly and along with several secondary explosions, they manage to kill it. A defeated Clay tries to justify his actions towards Junior, who almost shoots him. Henry persuades Junior otherwise and kills Clay himself, having already lived with the heavy burden.

Ensuring that there are no more clones that were produced and that they are finally free from harm’s way, Henry later meets with Junior, who has enrolled into college under the assumed identity of “Jackson Brogan” after Henry’s surname. Together, Henry and Dani plan Jackson’s future.

Cast

  • Will Smith as Henry Brogan, an aging government assassin with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and Ex-Marine corps, regarded as the best killer of his generation.
    • Smith also portrays Jackson Brogan (codenamed “Junior”), a cloned assassin of Henry sent after him, and “Senior”, another cloned assassin sent after him. Smith was “digitally de-aged” through the use of motion capture and computer generated imagery.[8]
  • Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Dani Zakarweski, a Navy veteran and DIA agent who helps Henry after he saves her from being assassinated.
  • Clive Owen as Clayton “Clay” Varris, the ruthless director of GEMINI who creates Junior to “retire” Henry and take his place.
  • Benedict Wong as Baron, an old friend of Henry’s who works as a tour operator.
  • Ralph Brown as Del Patterson, Henry’s handler at the DIA.
  • Linda Emond as Janet Lassiter, the director of the DIA.
  • Theodora Miranne as Kitty, Jack’s mistress.
  • Douglas Hodge as Jack Willis, an old Marine Corps colleague of Henry’s.
  • Ilia Volok as Yuri Kovacs, a Russian operative who has been secretly monitoring GEMINI’s history.
  • E. J. Bonilla as Marino, a DIA agent killed for his association with Henry.
  • Björn Freiberg as Keller

Our Thoughts

This was a good flick. I have a few gripes about the effects, but those are only about the few places where the climbing and fighting was so cartoon-ish as to seem “B rate.” Other than that it was well made and pretty much family friendly save for a bit of violence and language. The age effects are cool, and Will Smith is a great actor. I’ll give it 4 stars for Action packed fun – MR

Find Gemini Man and see the new trailer here.


We #Review, #Zombieland: Double Tap “Zeek blasting laughs for (most of) the whole family. I’ll give it 4 stars for fun.” – MR

Zombieland: Double Tap

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Zombieland: Double Tap
Zombieland Double Tap teaser poster.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Ruben Fleischer
Produced by Gavin Polone
Written by
Starring
Narrated by Jesse Eisenberg
Music by David Sardy
Cinematography Chung Chung-hoon
Edited by Dirk Westervelt
Production
companies
Distributed by Sony Pictures Releasing
Release date
  • October 18, 2019 (United States)
Running time
99 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $42–48 million[1][2]
Box office $39.3 million[3]

Zombieland: Double Tap is a 2019 American zombie comedy film directed by Ruben Fleischer and written by Rhett ReesePaul Wernick, and David Callaham. A sequel to Zombieland (2009), it stars Woody HarrelsonJesse EisenbergAbigail Breslin, and Emma Stone reprising their roles from the first film, alongside new cast members Rosario DawsonZoey Deutch, and Luke Wilson.

Talk of a Zombieland sequel began before the release of the first installment, with Reese and Wernick suggesting ideas, and the cast voicing their desire to make a second film. However, the project languished in development hell for several years before finally being confirmed in July 2018. The four main stars and Fleischer all signed on that month, while additional cast members, including Dawson and Wilson, joined in early 2019. Filming took place from January to March 2019.

Zombieland: Double Tap was released in the United States on October 18, 2019, by Sony Pictures Releasing under its Columbia Pictures label.[4] It received mixed reviews from critics and has grossed $39 million worldwide.

Plot ***SPOILER ALERT***

Ten years after the events of the first film, in an America overrun by zombies dubbed “Zombieland”, survivors Tallahassee, Columbus, Wichita, and Little Rock have become experts in identifying and disposing of various zombies. Living in the abandoned White House, Columbus decides to propose to Wichita using the Hope Diamond, while Tallahassee rebuffs Little Rock’s hopes of meeting a boy and starting her own family. The next morning, Tallahassee finds a note from Wichita and Little Rock, who have left due to Little Rock feeling Tallahassee still treats her like a child and Wichita’s fear she is too attached to Columbus.A month later, while exploring a mall, Columbus is startled by Madison, who has survived Zombieland alone since she was 14 inside the freezer of a Pinkberry. Madison quickly annoys Tallahassee, but Columbus invites her back to the White House, where she has sex with him. Returning and discovering Columbus has slept with Madison, Wichita explains that Little Rock has left for Graceland with a pacifist named Berkeley, and informs the group of more agile and durable “super zombies”. Fearing for Little Rock’s safety, the group head toward Graceland in a rundown minivan.

On the road, the group tries to commandeer a luxury RV, but Madison triggers the alarm, and zombies attack them. Annihilating the horde, they encounter a super zombie that takes multiple gunshots to kill, leading Columbus to nickname it the “T-800“. Madison shows signs of “zombification”, forcing Columbus to lead her into the forest to shoot her. Arriving at Graceland, the group finds “the Beast”, Tallahassee’s modified presidential limousine stolen by Little Rock, at an Elvis-themed motel run by Nevada, who reveals Little Rock took another vehicle toward Babylon, a hippie commune. Bonding over their love of Elvis, Nevada and Tallahassee spend the night together.

The group awakens to find the Beast being crushed by a monster truck driven by Albuquerque and Flagstaff, who strongly resemble Tallahassee and Columbus. Super zombies arrive, and Albuquerque explains they have turned back from their journey west due to hordes of super zombies moving east. Facing the super zombies alone, Albuquerque and Flagstaff seemingly triumph but are both bitten. Turning into super zombies, they are killed by the group with Nevada’s help.

Bidding Nevada farewell, Tallahassee is unable to drive Albuquerque’s monster truck; Columbus takes over driving duties in the minivan. The group finds Madison, alive and driving an ice cream truck. Rejoining the group, she explains that her nut allergy caused symptoms similar to zombification when Columbus spared her in the forest. At Babylon, Little Rock and Berkeley learn guns are prohibited and melted down to make peace medallions. The group arrives at Babylon, relenting to the no-guns policy, and find Little Rock. Realizing she is now grown up and no longer needs his protection, Tallahassee leaves, as the hippies celebrate the group’s arrival with fireworks. Tallahassee finds a massive horde of super zombies attracted by the fireworks and returns to warn the group. Left without guns, Tallahassee devises two plans: First, using fireworks to lure the zombies into an enclosed area, and exploding a tank of biodiesel. Second, commune members armed with barricade shields will corral the zombies off of a skyscraper, lured by Tallahassee.

The first plan proves disastrous when the zombie horde is more massive than expected, and the unarmed group is surrounded. Resigned to their fate, they thank each other for their companionship, but Nevada arrives in the monster truck, rescuing the group. The truck flips over, forcing them to journey up the skyscraper as Tallahassee delays the zombies. The survivors use shields to create a single path off the edge of the building. Pursued by the zombies, Tallahassee jumps off the building, catching the hook of a construction crane as the horde falls to their deaths. Two zombies seize Tallahassee’s leg, but Little Rock shoots them with a forgotten pistol given to her earlier by Tallahassee.

With Tallahassee saved and the zombie horde destroyed, Little Rock reconciles with Tallahassee, and Wichita accepts Colombus’ proposal of marriage. Little Rock breaks up with Berkeley, who hooks up with Madison; they stay behind as the group, joined by Nevada, leave Babylon. Columbus remarks that they have finally found their home in each other.

In a mid-credits sceneBill Murray witnesses the start of the zombie outbreak ten years earlier while promoting a third Garfield film, before partaking in killing multiple zombies. In a post-credits scene, Murray is shown earlier practicing coughing up a hairball as a joke in his interview.

Cast

In addition, Bill Murray reprises his role from the first film as a fictionalized version of himself. Entertainment reporters Al RokerGrace Randolph, Josh Horowitz and Lili Estefan cameo as fictionalized versions of themselves.

Our Thoughts

If you liked Zombieland, you’ll want to see Double-Tap.  There is no sense in reviewing the flick. You know what is going to happen. This is a typical young love gone awry comedy story, only in Zombieland. Duh.  It was worth the cost of the premium ticket. I’ll give it 4 stars, for being fun, funny, and entertaining.  – MR

 

Find Zombieland: Double Tap and see the new trailer here.


We #Review – #Maleficent: Mistress of Evil “If you can forget it’s #Disney, it’s actually a pretty good fantasy tale. 4.5 stars”- MR

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
Maleficent Mistress of Evil (Official Film Poster).png

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Joachim Rønning
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story by
  • Linda Woolverton
Based on
Starring
Music by Geoff Zanelli
Cinematography Henry Braham
Edited by
Production
c
ompany
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release date
  • October 18, 2019[2]
Running time
118 minutes[3]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $185 million[4]
Box office $157.3 million[5]

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is a 2019 American dark fantasy adventure film produced by Walt Disney Pictures, directed by Joachim Rønning, and written by Linda Woolverton, Micah Fitzerman-Blue, and Noah Harpster. It is a sequel to the 2014 film Maleficent,[1] with Angelina Jolie returning to portray the title role. Elle FanningSam RileyImelda StauntonJuno Temple, and Lesley Manville also return to their previous roles, with Harris Dickinson replacing Brenton Thwaites from the first film and Chiwetel EjioforEd Skrein, and Michelle Pfeiffer joining the cast as new characters.

After the release of the first film in May 2014, Jolie stated a sequel was possible. The project was officially announced the following June and Jolie signed on in April 2016. Rønning, who co-directed Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017) for Disney, was hired to direct the film in October 2017 and the rest of the cast was added or confirmed in May 2018, with filming beginning that month at Pinewood Studios in England, lasting through August.

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil was released in the United States on October 18, 2019, and has grossed over $157 million worldwide. The film received mixed reviews from critics, with praise for the performances of Jolie, Fanning, Ejiofor, and Pfeiffer, but criticism aimed at the “muddled plot and overly artificial visuals”.

Plot

Five years after the death of King Stefan,[N 1] Aurora continues to reign as Queen of the Moors while Maleficent serves as its protector. Despite her heroic actions, Maleficent is deemed a villain by the neighboring kingdom of Ulstead, home to Prince Phillip. When Philip asks Aurora to marry him and she accepts, Diaval, having overheard the proposal, relays the news to Maleficent, who warns against the union. Aurora insists she and Phillip will prove her wrong before persuading her to attend an intimate dinner with Philip and his parents, King John and Queen Ingrith.

On the night of the dinner, Ingrith attempts to provoke Maleficent by giving her iron silverware, mentioning the sleeping curse she placed on Aurora and openly accusing her of killing two men last seen near the Moors. Maleficent attempts to keep her composure but loses her temper after Ingrith dismisses her relationship with Aurora, seemingly cursing King John into an eternal slumber. She then flees without Aurora, who refuses to believe her claims of innocence, but falls into the ocean after being wounded with an iron bullet fired by Ingrith’s servant, Gerda. At the last minute, a mysterious creature with wings similar to hers saves her life.

Maleficent wakes up in a series of underground caverns where she discovers a group of winged and horned fairies of her own kind, among them Conall, their peaceful leader who saved Maleficent, and Borra, a warlike fairy who strives for an open war with humans. Maleficent discovers that she is one of the last Dark Feys, a powerful species of fairies that are almost extinct because of the human oppression. She is also told that her own bloodline ties directly to the Phoenix, an ancient and very powerful ancestor of the Dark Fey, and that is why she wields magic more powerful than the rest of her species. Both Conall and Borra believe that Maleficent is instrumental to end the conflict with humans, either by peace or war.

Meanwhile, in Ulstead, Aurora is disillusioned by her new life of a noblewoman but is happy that all of the Fair Folk from the Moors have been invited for her and Phillip’s wedding. On the wedding day, though, she discovers that Ingrith, out of her deep-seated hatred for them, has been secretly plotting to eradicate all of the fairies and woodland beings, forging iron weapons and inventing a crimson powder that can instantly kill them. It is also revealed it was Ingrith who cursed John with Maleficent’s old cursed spindle. As the Fair Folk gathers for the wedding ceremony in the castle’s chapel, they are trapped in and Gerda starts killing them with the powder, launched from the organ she plays. They are ultimately saved by Flittle’s selfless sacrifice, where ultimately, Knotgrass and Thistlewit cause Gerda to fall to her death.

At the same time, the Dark Feys launch an assault on Ulstead but are being massacred by the well-prepared soldiers until Maleficent, having channeled the power of the Phoenix, joins the battle. She nearly manages to kill Ingrith but is stopped by Aurora who appeals to her good nature, reassuring her that Maleficent is her mother. As the two reconcile, however, Maleficent saves Aurora from Ingrith’s arrow and dissolves into ashes. Ingrith proclaims herself victorious as Aurora weeps over the ashes. Maleficent is reborn in the form of the Phoenix.

Ingrith’s soldiers stand down, and the queen herself is transformed into a goat as punishment for her crimes. Phillip forges a peace pact with the fairies on the behalf of humans, Maleficent reverts back to her fairy form, gives Aurora and Phillip her blessing and breaks the curse on the spindle and spinning wheel altogether, awakening King John from his slumber. After the couple is wed, Maleficent flies away with a group of young Dark Feys, promising Philip and Aurora to come back for the christening of their child.

Cast

Our Thoughts

I’m tired of Disney films. I really am. But here, I was able to forget it was Disney and get lost in a pretty damn good fantasy tale, despite the princess and the over abundance of absurd fairies.  It is a typical forbidden love gone wrong type of thing until we are suddenly exploring Malificent’s unique race. This part was a bit too much like Avatar, but what can you do? The effects were superb, and it is well worth to cost of a premium ticket. We saw it in IMAX, which I highly recommend. 4.5 stars – MR

 

Find, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil and see the new trailer here.


We Review: #Joker “Oscar winning performance. But who really wants to see Batman as an entitled, elitist. 4 stars.” – MR

Joker (2019 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Joker
Joker (2019 film) poster.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Todd Phillips
Produced by
Written by
Based on Characters
by DC Comics
Starring Joaquin Phoenix
Music by Hildur Guðnadóttir
Cinematography Lawrence Sher
Edited by Jeff Groth
Production
companies
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • August 31, 2019 (Venice)
  • October 4, 2019 (United States)
Running time
122 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $55–64 million[2][3]
Box office $258.1 million[4]

Joker is a 2019 American psychological thriller film directed by Todd Phillips, who co-wrote the screenplay with Scott Silver. The film, based on DC Comics characters, stars Joaquin Phoenix as the Joker. An origin story set in 1981, the film follows Arthur Fleck, a failed stand-up comedian who turns to a life of crime and chaos in Gotham CityRobert De NiroZazie BeetzFrances ConroyBrett CullenGlenn FleshlerBill CampShea Whigham, and Marc Maron appear in supporting roles. Joker was produced by DC FilmsVillage Roadshow PicturesBron Creative, and Joint Effort, and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.

Phillips conceived Joker in 2016 and wrote the script with Silver throughout 2017. The two were inspired by 1970s character studies and the films of Martin Scorsese, who was initially attached to the project as a producer. The graphic novel Batman: The Killing Joke (1988) was the basis for the premise, but Phillips and Silver otherwise did not look to specific comics for inspiration. Phoenix became attached in February 2018 and was cast that July, while the majority of the cast signed on by August. Principal photography took place in New York CityJersey City, and Newark, from September to December 2018. It is the first live-action Batman film to receive an R-rating from the Motion Picture Association of America, due to its violent and disturbing content.

Joker premiered at the 76th Venice International Film Festival on August 31, 2019, where it won the Golden Lion. It was released in the United States on October 4, 2019. The film received generally positive, albeit polarized, reviews; while Phoenix’s performance was praised, the dark tone, portrayal of mental illness, and handling of violence divided critics.[5] Joker also generated concerns of inspiring real-world violence; the movie theater where the 2012 Aurora, Colorado mass shooting occurred during a screening of The Dark Knight Rises refused to show it. The film has grossed $258.1 million worldwide and set box office records for an October release.

Plot  *** SPOILERS ***

In 1981, party clown Arthur Fleck lives with his mother, Penny, in Gotham City. Gotham is rife with crime and unemployment, leaving segments of the population disenfranchised and impoverished. Arthur suffers from a neurological disorder that causes him to laugh at inappropriate times and depends on a social services worker for medication. After a gang attacks him in an alley, Arthur’s co-worker, Randall, loans him a gun. Arthur invites his neighbor, single mother Sophie, to his stand-up comedy show, and they begin dating.

While entertaining at a children’s hospital, Arthur’s gun falls out of his pocket. Arthur is fired and Randall lies that Arthur bought the gun himself. On the subway, still in his clown makeup, Arthur is beaten by three drunken Wayne Enterprises businessmen; he shoots two in self-defense and executes the third. The murders are condemned by billionaire mayoral candidate Thomas Wayne, who labels those envious of more successful people as “clowns”. Demonstrations against Gotham’s rich begin, with protesters donning clown masks in Arthur’s image. Funding cuts shutter the social service program, leaving Arthur without medication.

Arthur’s comedy show goes poorly; he laughs uncontrollably and has difficulty delivering his jokes. Talk show host Murray Franklin mocks Arthur by showing clips from the routine on his show. Arthur intercepts a letter written by Penny to Thomas, alleging that he is Thomas’s illegitimate son, and berates his mother for hiding the truth. At Wayne Manor, Arthur talks to Thomas’ young son, Bruce, but flees after a scuffle with butler Alfred Pennyworth. Following a visit from two Gotham City Police Department detectives investigating Arthur’s involvement in the train murders, Penny suffers a stroke and is hospitalized.

At a public event, Arthur confronts Thomas, who tells him that Penny is delusional. In denial, Arthur visits Arkham State Hospital and steals Penny’s case file; the file says Penny adopted Arthur as a baby and allowed her abusive boyfriend to harm them both. Penny alleged that Thomas used his influence to fabricate the adoption and commit her to the asylum to hide their affair. Distraught, Arthur goes to the hospital and kills Penny. He enters Sophie’s apartment unannounced. Frightened, Sophie tells him to leave; their previous encounters are revealed to have been Arthur’s delusions.

Arthur is invited to appear on Murray’s show due to the unexpected popularity of his routine clips. As he prepares, he is visited by his former co-workers Gary and Randall. Arthur murders Randall but leaves Gary unharmed for treating Arthur well in the past. En route to the studio, Arthur is pursued by the two detectives onto a train filled with clown protesters. One accidentally shoots a protester and incites a riot while Arthur escapes in the chaos.

Before the show goes live, Arthur requests that Murray introduce him as Joker, a reference to Murray’s previous mockery. Arthur walks out to a warm reception, but begins telling morbid jokes, admits that he killed the men on the train, and rants about how society abandons the disfranchised and how Murray mocked him. Arthur kills Murray live on television and is arrested as riots break out across Gotham; one rioter corners the Wayne family in an alley and murders Thomas and his wife Martha, sparing Bruce.[a] Rioters in an ambulance crash into the police car carrying Arthur and free him. He dances to the cheers of the crowd and uses his blood to paint a smile on his face.

In an interview room in Arkham State Hospital,[7] Arthur laughs to himself and tells his psychiatrist she would not understand the joke. Leaving, he is chased by an orderly, leaving a trail of bloodied footprints.

Cast

  • Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck / Joker:
    A mentally ill, impoverished stand-up comedian disregarded by society,[8] whose history of abuse causes him to become a nihilistic criminal.[9] Phoenix had been interested in a low-budget “character study” of a comic book character, and said the film “feels unique, it is its own world in some ways, and maybe … It might as well be the thing that scares you the most.”[10] Phoenix lost 52 pounds (24 kg) in preparation,[11][12] and based his laugh on “videos of people suffering from pathological laughter.”[13] He also sought to portray a character that audiences could not identify with and did not look to previous Joker actors for inspiration; instead, he read a book about political assassinations so he could understand killers and motivations.[9] Director Todd Phillips said that he intentionally left it ambiguous as to whether Arthur becomes the actual Joker as seen in traditional Batman stories or inspires a separate character.[14]
  • Robert De Niro as Murray Franklin:[15]
    A talk show host who plays a role in Arthur’s downfall.[16] De Niro said his role in Joker pays homage to his character from The King of Comedy (1983), Rupert Pupkin, who is a comedian obsessed with a talk-show host.[15]
  • Zazie Beetz as Sophie Dumond:[17]
    A cynical single mother and Arthur’s purported love interest.[17][18] Beetz, a “huge fan” of Phoenix, said that it was “an honor” to co-star with him,[19] and that she learned a lot working with him on set.[20]
  • Frances Conroy as Penny Fleck: Arthur’s mentally and physically ill mother,[21] who formerly worked for Thomas Wayne.[22] Hannah Gross portrays a young Penny.

Our Thoughts

Other than its slow pace, I really liked Joker. Phoenix gives an Academy Award performance and should win this year’s Oscar, hands down. I liked the theme, and the best part, well…. It held far too much satisfaction for my own comfort. This movie will make you see how bad of a human you can be, and there is no happy, redeeming ending. Still a great a night out, and well worth the cost of a premium ticket. 4 stars, and Highly Recommended – MR

Find Joker and see the new trailer here.


We Review: Ad Astra “An interesting film. Slow. Well portrayed, with solid effects, but VERY boring. A let down. 3.5 stars” – MR

Ad Astra

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ad Astra
Ad Astra - film poster.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by James Gray
Produced by
Written by
Starring
Music by
Cinematography Hoyte van Hoytema
Edited by
  • John Axelrad
  • Lee Haugen
Production
company
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Release date
  • August 29, 2019 (Venice)
  • September 20, 2019 (United States)
Running time
124 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $80–100 million[2]

Ad Astra is a 2019 American science fiction action adventure film produced, co-written and directed by James Gray. Starring Brad PittTommy Lee JonesRuth NeggaLiv Tyler and Donald Sutherland, it follows an astronaut who goes into space in search of his lost father, whose experiment threatens the solar system.

The project was announced in early 2016, with Gray saying he wanted to feature “the most realistic depiction of space travel that’s been put in a movie”. Pitt signed on to star in April 2017 and the rest of the cast joined later that year. Filming began around Los Angeles that August, lasting through October.

Ad Astra had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival on August 29, 2019, and is scheduled to be theatrically released in the United States on September 20, 2019 by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, under the 20th Century Fox banner.[3] It received mostly positive reviews from critics, with universal praise for Pitt’s performance.

Plot ***SPOILER ALERT***

In the near future, the Solar System is being struck by mysterious power surges of unknown origin, threatening the future of human life. After surviving an incident on an immense space antenna caused by one of these surges, Major Roy McBride, son of famed pioneering astronaut H. Clifford McBride is informed by U.S. Space Command (SpaceCom), the United States Armed Forces branch operating in Space, that the source of the surges has been traced to the “Lima Project” base. The Lima Project had been sent some twenty-six years prior to search for intelligent life from the farthest regions of the Solar System under Clifford McBride’s leadership, and disappeared sixteen years prior in orbit around Neptune. A SpaceCom officer informs Roy that they believe Clifford may still be alive, and he is tasked with the mission of travelling to Mars to try and establish communication with him. McBride accepts the mission, and is joined by an old associate of his father, Colonel Pruitt.

After taking a commercial flight to the Moon, McBride and Colonel Pruitt are escorted by US military personnel to the SpaceCom lunar base, taking them across no-man’s-land. En route to the base via lunar rovers, they are ambushed by scavenging pirates, who kill most of the group except for McBride and Pruitt. After reaching the base, a dying Pruitt is placed into intensive care. McBride transfers to a SpaceCom flight, crewed by four SpaceCom officers, flying to Mars.

During the journey to Mars, the ship receives a distress signal from a Norwegian biomedical research space station. Boarding the space station, McBride and the ship’s captain find it abandoned, only to be attacked by an aggressive baboon escaped from the Norwegian station. The ape kills the ship’s captain before being neutralised by McBride. Another baboon attacks McBride but he is able to escape the station with the captain’s body.

While making a routine landing on Mars, another power surge hits the ship, forcing manual intervention. The interim captain finds himself too scared to fly, leaving McBride to take the controls and land the ship safely.

Having landed on Mars, McBride is taken to the underground SpaceCom base, where he briefly meets Helen Lantos, the facility Director, and is then tasked with recording voice messages to be sent to the Lima Project, in hopes that Clifford will respond. After going off-script, the crew apparently receive a response, but Roy is abruptly taken off the mission, as his personal connection to the mission is deemed to pose a psychological risk to himself and the mission’s success.

While being kept in a “comfort room”, he is visited by Lantos, who reveals she is a native Martian and has only been once to Earth as a child. She also reveals that she is the daughter of Lima Project crew-members. In a secret conversation, she shows Roy classified footage from the Lima Project, revealing that Clifford’s crew mutinied against him trying to return back to Earth, leading him to kill them all by turning off their life-support systems, and that her parents were among the crew killed. She also tells him that the crew that brought him to Mars are soon heading to the Lima Project base themselves, where they intend to destroy it with a nuclear payload. The two decide that Roy is the only person who should confront Clifford, and Helen sneaks Roy out of the base, leading him to an underground lake beneath the rocket launch site.

As the rocket takes off, Roy climbs aboard, and after being discovered, the crew is instructed to neutralise McBride. The ensuing altercation results, despite McBride’s best efforts, in the death of the entire crew. Now alone, Roy takes command of the ship. During the long journey to Neptune, he reflects on his relationship with his father, as well as that of his estranged wife, Eve. The isolation and stress of the mission take a toll on his mental condition, but after several weeks he arrives at the Lima Project.

While approaching the base in a small module, another surge strikes, damaging the module and forcing Roy to enter the base through a space-walk. Finding the Lima base nearly abandoned and most of its crew dead, he plants the nuclear payload and meets his father. Clifford McBride, now the sole survivor of the base, explains to his son that the cause of the surges is the ship’s malfunctioning anti-matter power source, which was damaged during a mutiny, and which he has been unable to solve. Clifford also reveals that he has continued to work on the project all these years, refusing to lose faith in the possibility of non-human intelligent life.

Despite his father’s protests, Roy arms the payload and prepares to return to his ship with Clifford, who ultimately resorts to using the thrusters on his spacesuit to launch himself into deep space, refusing to go back to Earth. Roy tries to save him, but Clifford refuses the help, leaving a distraught Roy to watch as his father drifts away in Neptune’s orbit. Alone, Roy manages to thrust himself back onto his ship, going through Neptune’s ring using a piece of the Lima Project ship’s hull to shield himself, while also bringing along with him the data retrieved from the base. Not having enough fuel to return on his own power, he uses the shock-wave from the nuclear explosion to propel the ship home.

Finding that the Lima Project data strongly suggests that humans are the only intelligent life in the universe after all, McBride finds himself imbued with a renewed desire to reconnect with those closest to him, and returns to Earth with a new-found sense of optimism. He seemingly reconnects with his wife.

Cast

Our Thoughts

Ad Astra was a long, slow moving flick about a man’s struggle with his and his father’s demons. It is set in space, in several NASA type old school, Apollo 11 style crafts and planet based stations, and not that deep into the need for effects.   Brad Pitt was great, as was Tommy Lee Jones, but the story was anticlimactic, and disappointing, really.  Not much action at all. And what action there was, was portrayed in low gravity and thus slow and not that exciting.  I was looking forward to a great space flick in IMAX, but was terribly let down. 3.5 stars – MR

 

Find Ad Astra and see the new trailer here.


We Review: It – Chapter Two “A different ending than the book, and some cool effects make it worth watching. 3.5 stars” – MR

It Chapter Two

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
It Chapter Two
ItChapterTwoTheatrical.jpeg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Andy Muschietti
Produced by
Screenplay by Gary Dauberman
Based on It
by Stephen King
Starring
Music by Benjamin Wallfisch
Cinematography Checco Varese
Edited by Jason Ballantine
Production
companies
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date
Running time
169 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $60–70 million[2]

It Chapter Two is a 2019 American supernatural horror film and the sequel to the 2017 film It, both based on the 1986 novel It by Stephen King. The film is directed by Andy Muschietti and written by Gary Dauberman. Set in 2016, 27 years after the events depicted in the first film, it stars James McAvoyJessica ChastainBill HaderIsaiah MustafaJay RyanJames Ransone, and Andy Bean as the adult versions of the Losers Club. Jaeden MartellSophia LillisFinn WolfhardChosen JacobsJeremy Ray TaylorJack Dylan Grazer, and Wyatt Oleff reprise their roles as the younger Losers, while Bill Skarsgård also returns as Pennywise the Dancing Clown.

Talks for an IT sequel began in February 2016. By September 2017, New Line Cinema announced the sequel would be released in September 2019, with Dauberman writing the script and Muschietti expected to direct. Principal photography began in June 2018, at Pinewood Toronto Studios and on locations in and around Port HopeOshawa, and Toronto, Ontario, and wrapped on October 31, 2018. The film was produced by New Line Cinema and Vertigo Entertainment.

It Chapter Two premiered at the Regency Village Theater in Los Angeles on August 26, 2019, and was theatrically released in the United States by Warner Bros. Pictures on September 6, 2019. Much like its predecessor, It Chapter Two received praise from critics for its acting (particularly Hader and Skarsgård), themes, and faithfulness to the novel, though criticism was aimed at its runtime and lack of scares compared to its predecessor.

Plot  ***SPOILER ALERT***

In the late summer, in Derry, Maine, Adrian Mellon wins a stuffed toy at the local carnival. After seeing a little girl who lost to him look upset, he gives it to her before reuniting with his boyfriend, Don Hagarty. Their kiss is interrupted by a gang consisting of John “Webby” Garton, Steve Dubay, and Christopher Unwin, who shout homophobic slurs, causing Adrian and Don to walk out of the carnival. Adrian and Don are later ambushed by the gang, and are severely beaten, Adrian to near death, before he is thrown off of the bridge into the water below. While he is gasping for air, he notices Pennywise the Dancing Clown near the edge offering help. Don catches up to Adrian, but not before he witnesses Pennywise brutally murder Adrian. Mike Hanlon, the only member of the Losers’ Club to have stayed in Derry, overhears on the police scanner and rushes to the scene. Upon realizing that It has returned to their old town, he calls the members of the Club and invites them back to town.

Bill Denbrough is a successful author and screenwriter but often gets criticism for his stories’ endings. Beverly Marsh lives a glamorous life as a fashion designer but endures an abusive relationship with her husband. Ben Hanscom has become fit and is a successful architect. Richie Tozier has become a stand-up comedian and has had several failed relationships. Eddie Kaspbrak is a risk assessor and has married a woman similar to that of his mother. Stanley Uris is a partner in a large accounting firm. All find the call from Mike to bring up bad memories, but ultimately agree to come, save for Stanley, who later commits suicide.

The remaining members of the Losers’ Club meet at a local Chinese restaurant and bond over old memories, while sharing stories of their new lives. When the time comes to open fortune cookies, they reveal a cryptic phrase that reads “Guess Stanley Could Not Cut It”. Soon after, the remaining fortune cookies begin moving on their own and opening, revealing disturbing monstrosities inside including a spider with a baby’s head, a one-winged bat, and a pre-birth bird covered in blood. Richie smashes a chair on the table and, after Mike reveals the real reason why he called them back to Derry, Richie and Eddie decide to leave. Bill comes with Mike back to his house, who drugs Bill’s water with special properties that help Mike explain what he has learned about Derry over the years. He reveals that he met with a Native American tribe and showed him the Ritual of Chüd, a way of destroying It once and for all. They return to the group’s hotel, and convince Richie and Eddie to stay and finish what they started.

Mike says that in order for the ritual to work, each Loser must have an artifact from their past to place in the ancient pottery. Beverly goes back to her old house and finds an old pack of cigarettes she hid, in addition to Ben’s love letter, before being attacked by a grotesque naked monster who masqueraded as Mrs. Kersh, a woman who lives there. Bill goes to the sewer where Georgie was killed and recovers his paper boat before having a run-in with a boy from the restaurant named Dean who happens to live in his old house. He tells the boy to get out of Derry and never come back, but the boy says he’s going to the carnival. Ben goes back to their high school and finds his yearbook page, which Beverly was the only person to sign. Eddie goes to the pharmacy and recovers an inhaler. Richie goes to the abandoned arcade and finds a game token, where he remembers a bad memory of him being taunted for his sexuality before being attacked by a giant Paul Bunyan statue. They use a shower cap from their clubhouse as a placement for Stan, and Mike finds the rock that started their rock fight against Henry Bowers and his gang.

Meanwhile, Henry Bowers is visited by Pennywise in the mental hospital where he has resided since the Losers’ attack nearly 30 years prior. He kills a guard and escapes, later ambushing the Losers at their hotel and stabbing Eddie in the side of the face. Eddie takes it out and stabs Henry back, but he escapes before Ben and Beverly can catch him. Bill finds a message from Pennywise alluding to the little boy from earlier, and realizes that Pennywise is going to the carnival. Bill arrives and chases Dean into the mirror maze, but is too late, as he watches Pennywise break a mirror and violently kill him. Bill, traumatized by his failure to save both Georgie and Dean, returns with a mission to murder It himself. The rest of the Losers, after killing Henry, follow Bill to the abandoned Neibolt house.

They climb into the sewers and make their way into a chasm where Mike sets up the steps necessary for the Ritual of Chüd, including burning the artifacts they gathered from their old memories. He instructs the others to chant a phrase, during which It’s “deadlights” appear and make their way into the ancient pottery. He seems to trap them, but a red balloon grows under the lid and out from the pottery, getting larger and larger in size until it pops and reveals a giant version of Pennywise with spider-like legs and blades on the ends of them. The Losers are thrust into nightmarish scenarios in which they are forced to escape from, resembling memories from old places in Derry they spent time in. Bill is forced to confront the fact that he pretended to be sick the day of Georgie’s death, inadvertently causing it, while Beverly finally realizes it was Ben who wrote her that letter years ago. Richie is caught in the deadlights, but Eddie saves him; however, Eddie is impaled and killed by Pennywise shortly after.

The Losers regroup and realize Pennywise can be killed if they make him feel smaller than he really is. They insult him and make him physically grow smaller and weaker, until they are able to tear his heart out and crush it together. Richie tearfully tries to save Eddie, but the group tells him that they have to go as the chasm crumbles around them. They return to the quarry where they once swam together, and Beverly and Ben share a kiss.

After these events, Bill is beginning to write a new book while Mike is moving out of Derry to start a new chapter of his life. Bill is told by Mike about a letter from Stan that he wrote to every member of the Losers’ Club before killing himself, explaining why he did it. Meanwhile, Ben and Beverly are in a relationship and Richie returns to the bridge where he had once carved the initials of him and another person, now revealed to be Eddie. He re-carves them before tearfully leaving.

Cast

The Losers’ Club

  • James McAvoy as Bill Denbrough:[4]
    The stuttering yet resourcefully determined former leader of the Losers’ Club who, out of revenge for the demise of his younger brother Georgie, fights his killer, Pennywise, during the summer of 1989. He promises that he and the other losers will return to Derry if It comes back. As an adult, Bill is a successful mystery novelist, and is married to a successful actress named Audra Phillips.

  • Jessica Chastain as Beverly Marsh:
    The only female member of the Losers’ Club, who was abused physically and sexually by her father, was bullied at school over false rumors of promiscuity, and was Bill and Ben’s love interest. As an adult, she has become a successful fashion designer in Chicago while enduring several abusive relationships that include her marriage to Tom Rogan.

  • Jay Ryan as Ben Hanscom:[5]
    A member of the Losers’ Club who fought against It and was bullied as a child because of being overweight. As an adult, he is fit and a successful architect living in Nebraska.

  • Bill Hader as Richie Tozier:[4]
    Bill’s bespectacled best friend and fellow member of the Losers’ Club, whose loud mouth and foul language often get him into trouble. As an adult, Richie becomes a successful stand-up comic in Los Angeles, contrary to his occupation as a disc jockey from the novel.

  • Isaiah Mustafa as Mike Hanlon:[6]
    A member of the Losers’ Club who fought against It. As an adult, Mike is the only one to stay behind in Derry and becomes the town librarian and summons the other Losers back to Derry when It resurfaces. Mike also has a serious substance abuse problem stemming from being traumatized by the events in his childhood.

  • James Ransone as Eddie Kaspbrak:[7]
    A member of the Losers’ Club who is the epitome of a hypochondriac, overly exaggerated by the immense number of objects in his medicine cabinet. As an adult, Eddie is a successful risk assessor living in New York City and is married to Myra, who is very similar to his Munchausen syndrome by proxy-stricken mother Sonia.

  • Andy Bean as Stanley Uris:[7]
    A member of the Losers’ Club who fought against It. As an adult, Stan becomes a partner in a large Atlanta-based accounting firm and is married to Patty Blum, a teacher.

Our Thoughts

While I love the book, and like the first film version, I also liked this one well enough to review it.  Stephen King has his usual cameo appearance, but in this one he states he didn’t like the ending (of a character’s book) thus hinting this ending will be different, and I was glad it was. There are some cool “shock” scares, and some creepy effects, so it was worth the cost of a ticket. 3.5 stars – MR

 

Find It: Chapter Two and see the new trailer here.