We Review: Life “Ended up being 2 stars at best!” – MR

Life (2017 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Life
Life (2017 film).png

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Daniel Espinosa
Produced by
Written by
Starring
Music by Jon Ekstrand
Cinematography Seamus McGarvey
Edited by
Production
company
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date
  • March 18, 2017 (SXSW)
  • March 24, 2017(United States)
Running time
103 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $58 million[2]
Box office $28.7 million[3]

Life is a 2017 American science fiction horror film directed by Daniel Espinosa, written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson and Ryan Reynolds. The film follows a six-member crew of the International Space Station that uncovers what initially seems to be the first evidence of life on Mars; however, the crew finds their discovery might not be what it seems.

The film had its world premiere at South by Southwest on March 18, 2017, and was released in the United States on March 24, 2017 by Columbia Pictures

Plot

A multinational six-member crew aboard the International Space Station performs a successful capture of a space probe returning from Mars with a soil sample. The crew is tasked with studying the sample, which could prove to be the first evidence of extraterrestrial life. After extracting a single cell from the sample, British biologist Hugh Derry is able to revive the dormant organism with atmospheric adjustments and glucose. It quickly grows into a multi-celled organism and reacts to stimuli. The crew discovers that each cell in the organism is a myocyte, neuron and photoreceptor, all at the same time. The Quarantine Officer Dr. Miranda North remarks that the organism is “…all muscle, all brain and all eye.”

The organism, now named Calvin by school children in America, evolves and grows quickly. After an atmospheric accident in the lab, Calvin becomes dormant. Concerned with its survival, Hugh attempts to revive Calvin with a mild electric shock. Calvin re-animates, becomes hostile and grabs hold of Hugh’s right hand, crushing it as Hugh struggles to get free. Calvin escapes the containment cube into the room with Hugh. While it devours a lab rat and immediately evolves and grows in size, American engineer Rory Adams enters the room and rescues Hugh. However, sensing his presence, Calvin latches onto Rory’s leg. Crew Doctor, David Jordan, locks Rory inside the room to keep Calvin in containment. Rory manages to remove Calvin from his leg and attacks it with a handheld incinerator. Calvin shows remarkable resilience to fire and evades Rory’s attacks. Calvin then attacks Rory and forces its way into his mouth, killing him from the inside. Emerging from Rory’s mouth, evolved and even larger, Calvin then manages to escape from the room through an emergency fire suppression vent. Hugh theorizes that the lack of breathable air on Mars is probably what kept the organism dormant until that point.

Finding their communication with Earth cut off, mission commander Katerina Golovkina performs a space walk to fix the antenna. Calvin has consumed ISS coolant as a source of nutrition, and now escapes through a valve on the antenna and attacks Katerina outside the ISS. The attack ruptures Katerina’s EVA suit’s coolant system, effectively drowning her inside her suit. Calvin attempts to re-enter the station through the thrusters. An attempt to stop Calvin results in the ISS entering a decaying orbit. Japanese pilot Sho Kendo informs the crew that they need to use the remaining fuel to get back into a standard orbit, but that it would allow Calvin back into the station. The crew formulate a plan to try and make Calvin dormant by sealing themselves into one module and venting the atmosphere from the rest of the station. When Hugh suddenly enters cardiac arrest, the crew manages to resuscitate him only to realize that Calvin had attached himself to Hugh’s leg (who is paraplegic) and was feeding off of him. Now having grown into a much larger tentacled creature, Calvin attacks the remainder of the crew. Sho makes a run for the sleeping cabin and seals himself inside his pod as Calvin attempts to crack the glass and get to him. Miranda and David realize that Calvin has ingested one of the vital sign trackers on Hugh’s suit and begin to track him. Using Hugh’s body and blood as bait, they lure Calvin away from Sho and trap it in a module to deprive it of oxygen.

Cast

  • Jake Gyllenhaal as Dr. David Jordan, American, senior medical officer
  • Rebecca Ferguson as Dr. Miranda North, British, Quarantine Officer
  • Ryan Reynolds as Rory “Roy” Adams, American, pilot of the International Space Station.
  • Hiroyuki Sanada as Sho Murakami, Japanese, system engineer.
  • Ariyon Bakare as Hugh Derry, British, biologist.
  • Olga Dihovichnaya as Katerina Golovkina, Russian, commander of the International Space Station crew.

    Our Thoughts

    Life was a great idea that wasn’t executed well. The effects were sci-fi channel-ish and not up to par with other modern “creature” films. The acting was only good in spurts and Ryan Reynolds should have been billed as “co-star,” not as “stealing the show,” as the TV commercial and movie theater trailer touts. All in all this could have been great, but ended up being 2 stars at best! – MR

Find “Life” and see the new trailer here.


We Review: Get Out “Even though it was billed as a Horror/Comedy, it was a pretty scary ride.” – MR

Get Out (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Get Out
Teaser poster for 2017 film Get Out.png

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Jordan Peele
Produced by
  • Jason Blum
  • Edward H. Hamm Jr.
  • Sean McKittrick
  • Jordan Peele
Written by Jordan Peele
Starring
Music by Michael Abels
Cinematography Toby Oliver
Edited by Gregory Plotkin
Production
company
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date
  • January 24, 2017(Sundance)
  • February 24, 2017(United States)
Running time
103 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $4.5 million[2]
Box office $137.6 million[2]

Get Out is a 2017 American comedy horror film[3][4][5] written, produced and directed by Jordan Peele, in his directorial debut. The film stars Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, Caleb Landry Jones, Stephen Root, Lakeith Stanfield and Catherine Keener, and follows a young interracial couple who visit the mysterious estate of the woman’s parents.

Get Out premiered at Sundance Film Festival on January 24, 2017, and was theatrically released in the United States on February 24 by Universal Pictures.[6] The film received acclaim from critics and has grossed $137 million worldwide, against its $4.5 million budget.

Plot

A black man is abducted walking through a suburban neighborhood.  Months later, black photographer Chris Washington and white girlfriend Rose Armitage prepare meet her parents, Dean and Missy.  Rose says she has not told them that Chris is black, which worries Chris.  Rose assures him everything will be fine.

Dean gives Chris a tour of the Armitage home, showing him pictures of Dean’s father, Roman, who lost to Jesse Owens in the 1936 Olympics.  Dean describes how great it was that a black man won, proving Hitler wrong regarding which was the superior race, relaying that Roman never got over it.  Dean admits it “looks bad” that they have black servants (Walter and Georgina), but tries to reassure Chris, saying Obama, “the greatest president of my lifetime,” should have served a third term.

Chris shares with Rose’s parents that his mother died in a hit-and-run when he was eleven.  Missy, a psychiatrist, offers hypnosis to help Chris quit smoking.  Chris declines.  The family has dinner with Chris.  Rose’s brother, Jeremy, insists on talking about Chris’s superior genetic makeup in relation to MMA fighting and attempts to headlock Chris.

That night, Walter runs directly at Chris before diverting his course.  Chris finds Missy awake.  Stirring a cup of tea, she hypnotizes Chris, who reveals his guilt for not calling 9-1-1 the night his mother died upon noticing her lateness.  Unable to move, Chris’s consciousness enters what Missy calls “the sunken place”.  When Chris wakes, he finds thoughts of smoking disgusting and realizes he was hypnotized.

At the Armitages’ annual get-together, various whites take an unusual interest in Chris and his physical capabilities.  One says being black is in-style.  Chris meets black guest Logan King, whose bizarre demeanor and familiarity unsettles him, and blind art dealer and failed photographer Jim Hudson, who complements Chris’s photography.  With a huge smile on her face as she simultaneously cries, Georgina apologizes for unplugging Chris’s phone.  Chris calls friend Rod Williams, whom he tells about his hypnosis and the unusual behavior of local blacks.  Rod suggests the blacks were hypnotized as sex slaves.

Chris tries to stealthily photograph Logan.  The flash causes Logan to freeze, suffer a nosebleed, and hysterically yell at Chris, “Get out!”  Dean claims Logan had an epileptic seizure.  Chris is unconvinced.  Logan apologizes for his outburst and thanks Missy for helping him remember himself.

Chris and Rose go walking.  He discloses his discomfort.  They agree to leave.  Meanwhile, Dean holds an auction for Chris.  Hudson wins.

Chris sends Rod Logan’s picture.  Rod recognizes Logan as Andre Hayworth, the man abducted in the suburbs.  Alarmed, Chris tells Rose they must leave immediately.  Packing, Chris finds a set of photographs showing Rose with various black people, including Walter and Georgina.  He tries to leave.  The family stops him.  Rose admits her role in the deception.  Missy hypnotizes Chris, preventing his escape.

Our Thoughts

This was a well thought out, very creative horror film. While not relying on gore, but building visceral tension, it still manages to have some very funny moments. Make no mistake, though, even though it was billed as a Horror/Comedy, it was a pretty scary ride. 4.5 stars and well worth the price of a ticket. – MR


We Review: Kong: Skull Island, IMAX 3D, “4 stars, and GREAT visual effects. Not your mother’s King Kong” -MR

Kong: Skull Island

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Kong: Skull Island
Kong Skull Island poster.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story by
Based on King Kong
by Merian C. Cooper
Edgar Wallace
Starring
Music by Henry Jackman
Cinematography Larry Fong
Edited by Richard Pearson
Production
company
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date
Running time
118 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $185 million[2][3]

Kong: Skull Island is a 2017 American monster film directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts and written by Dan Gilroy, Max Borenstein and Derek Connolly, from a story by John Gatins and Gilroy. The film is a reboot of the King Kong franchiseand will serve as the second film in Legendary‘s MonsterVerse, Godzillafollowing. It stars an ensemble cast consisting of Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, Brie Larson, Jing Tian, Toby Kebbell, John Ortiz,Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, Shea Whigham, Thomas Mann, Terry Notaryand John C. Reilly.

Principal photography began on October 19, 2015, in Hawaii. Kong: Skull Islandpremiered on February 28, 2017, in London and was released in the United States on March 10, 2017, in 2D, 3D, IMAX 3D and in Dolby Cinemas. Upon release, the film garnered massive acclaim from critics and audiences with many praising the action sequences, the visual style, effects, stunts, humor, writing, direction and Kong’s design and return to the cinema as well as the acting.

Plot

In 1973, former British Special Air Service Captain James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston) is hired by government agent Bill Randa (John Goodman) to guide an expedition to map out an uncharted island in the Pacific Ocean known asSkull Island. Randa also recruits the Sky Devils helicopter squadron led byLieutenant Colonel Preston Packard (Samuel L. Jackson) to escort them to the island, and the group is soon joined by pacifist photojournalist Mason Weaver (Brie Larson), who believes the scientific expedition to be a cover for a crooked military operation and plans to expose it.

Arriving in Skull Island, Packard’s men begin dropping explosives developed by seismologist Houston Brooks (Corey Hawkins) to determine if the ground is hollow, despite Conrad’s objections. The helicopters are suddenly attacked by a 100 foot tall ape known as “Kong“, and the team is separated in smaller groups. The survivors’ only hope for rescue is a resupply team that will meet them at the island’s northern end in 3 days’ time. Packard confronts Randa, who reveals his affiliation to the secret government organization Monarch and the expedition’s true purpose: to acquire proof of the existence of monstrous creatures that have been forgotten by humanity. Packard and his remaining men bury their dead and begin searching for the missing members of the expedition, chief among them being Packard’s right-hand man, Major Jack Chapman (Toby Kebbell). While trekking through the jungle, the men are attacked by a giant spider, which slaughters several men before Packard shoots it to death.

Meanwhile, Conrad, Weaver, Brooks, biologist San Lin (Jing Tian), soldier Reg Slivko (Thomas Mann) and Landsat employee Victor Nieves (John Ortiz), among others, run into the local natives and meet Hank Marlow (John C. Reilly), an American pilot who has been stranded on Skull Island since World War II. Marlow explains that Kong is the island’s guardian and is worshiped as a god by the natives for protecting them from the Skullcrawlers, reptilian monsters that live underground and have slaughtered Kong’s ancestors, leaving him as the last of his kind. Marlow reveals Kong only attacked the helicopters to prevent the bombs from awakening “the big one”. When informed of the pending rendezvous, Marlow says there is no possible way to reach it in time on foot, but luckily for the expedition, he has cobbled together a boat from the wreckage of his plane and is able to get it working with help from Conrad’s group.

Our Thoughts

Amazing special effects have made movies like this possible. Kong is awesome to behold, as are many of the other creatures found on Skull Island. The plot wandered from the traditional King Kong, in that they never bring him to America and he never gets fixated on the damsel. We saw this one in IMAX 3D, and I have to say, it was worth the price of the premium ticket. This is not your mother’s King Kong, but it made for a great date movie. 4 stars. – MR


We Review: Logan,”4 stars and highly recommended” – MR

Logan

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Logan
Logan 2017 poster.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by James Mangold
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story by James Mangold
Starring
Music by Marco Beltrami
Cinematography John Mathieson
Edited by
Production
companies
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date
  • February 17, 2017 (Berlin)
  • March 3, 2017 (United States)
Running time
137 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $97 million[2]
Box office $300.6 million[3]

Logan is a 2017 American superhero action thriller film featuring the Marvel Comics character Wolverine, played by Hugh Jackman. The film, distributed by20th Century Fox, is the tenth installment in the X-Men film series, as well as the third and final film solely focusing on Wolverine, following X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) and The Wolverine (2013). It was directed by James Mangold, who co-wrote the screenplay with Scott Frank and Michael Green, from a story by Mangold, and also stars Patrick Stewart, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant,Richard E. Grant and Dafne Keen. The film follows a past-his-prime Logan embarking on a road trip across a dystopian future America for one final mission.

Development of Logan began in November 2013, when Mangold was hired to write a treatment that took inspiration from the graphic novel Old Man Logan, byMark Millar and Steve McNiven. In March 2014, Jackman signed on to star as Logan, in what was intended to be his final portrayal of the character after having played the role for 17 years. The same month, Fox set a release date and officially brought Mangold on board to direct. Green took over writing duties in April 2015, and by the following April, most of the supporting roles had been cast. Principal photography began in New Orleans on May 2, 2016, and moved to Natchez, Mississippi, before ending on August 19, 2016, in New Mexico.

Logan premiered at the 67th Berlin International Film Festival on February 17, 2017, and was theatrically released in the United States on March 3, 2017, in standard and IMAX formats. It received praise from critics and fans, with some calling it one of the best films in the X-Men series, and has grossed $300 million worldwide against its $97 million budget as of March 7, 2017.[4][3]

Plot

In the year 2029, mutants are on the brink of extinction, with no new mutants having been born in 25 years. James “Logan” Howlett, formerly known as Wolverine, spends his days working as a chauffeur and hustling for prescription drugs in Texas. He has aged greatly because the adamantium fused to his bones has started poisoning him and impeding his healing factor. Logan lives with mutant tracker Caliban in an abandoned smelting plant across the border in Mexico, where they care Professorfor Charles Xavier, who is suffering from a neurodegenerative disease which causes him to lose control of his telepathicabilities to devastating effect. One day, Logan is approached by Gabriela, a nurse for biotechnology corporation Alkali-Transigen, who wants him to escort her and an 11-year-old girl named Laura to a place in North Dakota called “Eden”. Donald Pierce, Transigens cybernetically-enhanced chief of security, tracks down Logan and requests that he help him find Laura, but Logan refuses.

After reluctantly accepting the job from Gabriela, Logan discovers that she has been murdered. He, Xavier, and Laura narrowly escape from Pierce and his cybernetically-enhanced enforcers, the Reavers, but Caliban is captured and forced to use his powers to track them. Logan and Xavier learn through a video on Gabriela’s phone that Transigen was breeding mutant children using DNA samples from several mutants for the “X-23” project, but found that the children were difficult to control as they grew up. Upon completion of the “X-24” project, the children were deemed obsolete and were to be terminated. Gabriela helped several children escape from the Transigen compound before smuggling Laura, who is revealed to be Logan’s biological daughter, across the border.

Our Thoughts

While I liked this movie a lot, I found the “bladed hands against men with guns” battles to be very unrealistic. The plot was awesome, and the acting was too. I have not seen all the X-Men movies, nor do I care to, but I have become a fan of Wolverine.  A little too long, but definitely worth the price of the ticket. I give this futuristic last dance 4 stars and highly recommend it. – MR


We Review: John Wick: Chapter 2 “Non-Stop shoot-’em-up action. Sure to entertain.” – MR

John Wick: Chapter 2

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
John Wick: Chapter 2
John Wick Chapter Two.png

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Chad Stahelski
Produced by
  • Basil Iwanyk
  • Erica Lee
Written by Derek Kolstad
Based on Characters
by Derek Kolstad
Starring
Music by
Cinematography Dan Laustsen
Edited by Evan Schiff
Production
company
Distributed by Summit Entertainment
Release date
Running time
122 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $40 million[2]
Box office $41.9 million[3]

John Wick: Chapter 2 is a 2017 American neo-noir action thriller film directed by Chad Stahelski and written by Derek Kolstad. A sequel to the 2014 film John Wick, the plot follows hitman John Wick, who goes on the run after a bounty is placed on his head. It stars Keanu Reeves, Common, Laurence Fishburne, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ruby Rose, John Leguizamo and Ian McShane, and marks the first collaboration between Reeves and Fishburne since appearing together in the Matrix trilogy.

Principal photography began on October 26, 2015, in New York City. The film premiered in Los Angeles on January 30, 2017, and was theatrically released in the United States on February 10, 2017.[4]

Plot

Shortly after the events of John Wick, former hitman John Wick (Keanu Reeves) tracks down his stolen Mustang at a chop shop owned by Abram Tarasov (Peter Stormare), brother of Viggo and uncle of Iosef from the first film. After dispatching Abram’s men, John spares him under the auspices of “peace” and returns home with his now-heavily damaged car (damaged while making a daring escape from Tarasov’s hideout).

Later, John is visited by Italian crime lord Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio), who has come to enlist John to assassinate his sister Gianna (Claudia Gerini) so he can take her seat on the “High Table,” a council of high-level crime lords. John is obligated to accept after returning from retirement because D’Antonio holds a “marker,” signifying a blood oath John took for help in his “impossible task” to leave the criminal world and marry his late wife Helen. After John refuses, D’Antonio destroys his home with a grenade launcher. Winston (Ian McShane), the owner of the Continental hotel in New York City, warns John that if he refuses to accept the marker, his life will be forfeited. John reluctantly accepts the mission.

In Rome, John infiltrates a party where, confronted with her assassination, Gianna chooses to commit suicide rather than allow herself to be assassinated. After a firefight with Gianna’s bodyguard Cassian (Common), John is ambushed by D’Antonio’s men in an apparent double-cross to tie up “loose ends.”

After John returns to New York City, D’Antonio opens a $7 million contract for John’s death. John is repeatedly attacked by assassins once the existence of this contract becomes known.

Cast

Our Thoughts

While not as good as the first John Wick movie, this one is just as entertaining. The killing never stops. Just like the ‘storm troopers,’ though, not one single bad guy in this film can seem to get a simple head shot on the hero, if that is what John Wick is. Recommended to fans of the action/thriller/killer genre and for a great night out. 4 stars Non-Stop shoot-’em-up action. Sure to entertain. – MR


We Review “Passengers” Very good sci-fi. 4.5 stars and Highly Recommended – MR

 

Passengers (2016 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Passengers
Passengers 2016 film poster.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Morten Tyldum
Produced by
Written by Jon Spaihts
Starring
Music by Thomas Newman
Cinematography Rodrigo Prieto
Edited by Maryann Brandon
Production
companies
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date
Running time
116 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $110 million[2]
Box office $293.3 million[2]

Passengers is a 2016 American science fictionadventure film directed Mortenby Tyldum and written by Jon Spaihts. It stars Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt, Michael Sheen, Laurence Fishburne and Andy García. The film tells about two people who wake up 90 years too soon from an induced hibernation on board a spaceship bound for a new planet.

The film was released in the United States on December 21, 2016 in 2D and RealD 3D by Columbia Pictures. Upon its release, Passengers received mixed reviews from critics and has grossed $293 million worldwide. The film is nominated for Best Original Score and Best Production Design at the 89th Academy Awards.[3]

Plot

The starshipAvalon is transporting over 5,000 colonists to the planet Homestead II, a journey that takes 120 years. The colonists and the entire crew are in hibernation pods, but as the ship passes through a large asteroid field, the ship’s shield is heavily strained causing a malfunction that awakens one passenger, mechanical engineer Jim Preston (Chris Pratt), 90 years early.

After a year of isolation, with no company except Arthur (Michael Sheen), an android bartender, Jim contemplates suicide. One day he notices beautiful Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence) in her pod. Her video profile reveals she is a writer with a humorous personality. After struggling with the morality of manually reviving Aurora for companionship, he awakens her, claiming her pod malfunctioned like his. Aurora, devastated she may grow old and die before the ship reaches Homestead II, attempts a fruitless effort at re-entering hibernation, just as Jim had tried. Eventually, she accepts her situation and begins writing a book about her experiences. Jim and Aurora grow closer, becoming lovers.

A year later, Jim inadvertently allows Arthur to reveal the truth to Aurora. She is distraught, alternately berating, shunning, and physically attacking Jim. Soon after, however, another pod failure awakens Gus (Laurence Fishburne), a Chief Deck Officer. The three discover multiple failures in the ship’s systems. Gus attempts repairs with Jim and Aurora’s help, while Aurora still blames Jim for stealing her life, claiming it is tantamount to murder. Gus’ body begins failing; medical tests in the Autodoc, an automated medical diagnostics and treatment pod, show that his hibernation pod’s malfunction has physically damaged his body, and he has hours left to live. Before dying, Gus gives Jim and Aurora his ID badge to access crew areas and repair the ship.

The two find and trace a colliding asteroid’s path through the ship’s hull from two years earlier that damaged the computer administering the reactor. Attempts to repair the computer lead to further chaos.

Our Thoughts

The acting is superb and the story original considering almost every in space scenario has been thought of already. I liked it alot. Enough to give it 4.5 stars and recommend seeing it at the price of a premium ticket. Very good sci-fi. 4.5 stars and Highly Recommended – MR

 


We Review: Rogue One, IMAX 3D “An awesome compliment to the franchise.” – MR

Rogue One

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Rogue One, A Star Wars Story poster.png

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Gareth Edwards
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story by
Based on Characters
by George Lucas
Starring
Music by
Cinematography Greig Fraser
Edited by
Production
company
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release dates
Running time
133 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $200 million[2][3]
Box office $323.5 million[3]

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (or simply Rogue One) is a 2016 Americanepicspace opera film directed by Gareth Edwards and written by Chris Weitzand Tony Gilroy, from a story by John Knoll and Gary Whitta. It is the first stand-alone film in the Star WarsAnthology series. Rogue One stars Felicity Jones,Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Riz Ahmed, Jiang Wen and Forest Whitaker, and follows Jyn Erso, the daughter of the unwilling designer of the Galactic Empire‘s superweapon, the Death Star, and her quest to retrieve his plans for destroying it.

Produced by Lucasfilm and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, the film is chronologically set after the events of Revenge of the Sith and immediately before the events of A New Hope. Principal photography began atElstree Studios near London during early August 2015 and wrapped in February 2016, with reshoots and additional filming taking place in mid-June 2016. Rogue One premiered in Los Angeles on December 10, 2016, and was released in the United States on December 16, 2016. The film has received mostly positive reviews with Donnie Yen’s performance, the action scenes, visual effects, and Giacchino’s score being singled out for praise. It has grossed $323 million worldwide.

 

Plot

Research scientist Galen Erso and his family are in hiding when Imperialweapons developer Orson Krennic arrives to force him to return to work on the unfinished Death Star project, a space station-based superweapon capable of destroying entire planets. Galen is taken away and his wife is killed in the confrontation, but their daughter Jyn escapes and is taken to safety by Rebelextremist Saw Gerrera.

Fifteen years later pilot Bodhi Rook defects from the Empire, smuggling a holographic message from Galen to Gerrera on the moon of Jedha. Jyn is freed from Imperial captivity by the Rebels, who plan to use her to track down her father. However, General Draven covertly orders Rebel intelligence officer Cassian Andor to kill Galen rather than extract him.

Jyn, Andor, and his droid K-2SO travel to Jedha, where the Empire is mining Kyber crystals to power the superweapon; Gerrera and his partisans are engaged in an armed insurgency against them. With the aid of blind warrior Chirrut Îmwe and mercenary Baze Malbus, Jyn makes contact with Gerrera, who is holding Rook captive. Gerrera shows her the hologram, in which her father explains that he has covertly compromised the Death Star’s reactor design, directing them to find the plans at an Imperial high-security data bank on the planet Scarif.

Grand Moff Tarkin meets with Krennic on the Death Star and expresses skepticism about the project and its management. As a demonstration, Krennic uses a low-powered shot from the weapon to destroy Jedha’s capital and crush Gerrera’s insurgency, forcing Jyn and her group to flee; Gerrera elects to remain behind and die rather than run. Tarkin uses security breaches under Krennic’s command as a pretext to take control of the project. Krennic travels to Mustafar to seek support from Darth Vaderand the Emperor, but Vader ignores his appeals.

The Rebels track Galen to an Imperial research facility on the planet Eadu….

Cast

Our Thoughts

I didn’t realize this was the story of how the rebellion got the plans for the Death Star from the very first movie. I remember the one sentence spoken about it, but this elaboration was a compliment to the franchise and, I believe it will be cherished by fans. One of my gripes about Star Wars has always been the over abundance of alien types. Disney will take this to new extremes because they are a merchandising machine and, who can blame them. I would rather it all be a bit more realistic ie: seven or eight alien races in all, and with more realistic, graphic depictions, of the violence. There is very little blood in Star Wars. I completely understand why it is the way it is, and I still love it. I highly recommend this movie and believe it is well worth the price of a premium ticket. We saw it in IMAX 3D and were blown away. 5 stars – MR

 

Find Rogue One and see the new trailer here.


We Review: Office Christmas Party “It is what it is… FUNNY!” – MR

Office Christmas Party

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Office Christmas Party
Office Christmas Party.png

Theatrical release poster
Directed by
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story by
Starring
Music by Theodore Shapiro
Cinematography Jeff Cutter
Edited by
  • Jeff Groth
  • Evan Henke
Production
companies
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates
  • December 5, 2016(New York City)
  • December 9, 2016(United States)
Running time
105 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $45 million[2]
Box office $33.3 million[2]

Office Christmas Party is a 2016 American Christmascomedy film directed byJosh Gordon & Will Speck and written by Justin Malen and Laura Solon, based on a story by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore. The film stars an ensemble cast, including Jason Bateman, Olivia Munn, T. J. Miller, Jillian Bell, Vanessa Bayer,Courtney B. Vance, Rob Corddry, Sam Richardson, Randall Park, Kate McKinnon and Jennifer Aniston, and was released on December 9, 2016 byParamount Pictures. It received mixed reviews and has grossed $33 million.

Plot

Josh Parker (Jason Bateman), Chief Technical Officer of Zenotek’s Chicago branch, meets with his lawyer to finalize his divorce in time for the holidays. Zenotek meanwhile has failed to meet its quarterly quota, and intermediate CEO Carol Vanstone (Jennifer Aniston) threatens to lay off forty percent of the staff, cut bonuses, and cancel the annual Christmas party. Her brother, and branch manager Clay (T. J. Miller), is desperate to keep his staff. Carol harbors resentment toward Clay, whom she believed was her father’s favorite, and threatens to shut down the branch. Josh and Clay, along with Josh’s head of tech, Tracey (Olivia Munn) propose partnering with financial giant Walter Davis (Courtney B. Vance), whom they are having lunch with later that day, and Carol gives them the chance to win his business. Walter is pleased with the pitch, but concerned with another recent branch closure at Zenotek, feeling that the company is more about the budget than their people. Clay invites him to their Christmas party in hopes of showing him that their company is in good standing. Before leaving town, Carol offers Josh a position at her New York headquarters, confident her brother will fail.

Clay funds an exorbitant Christmas party, much to the chagrin of Head of Human Resources Mary (Kate McKinnon). Joel (Sam Richardson) takes DJ duty, but the party struggles to pick up. Though initially reluctant, Walter is inadvertently doused with cocaine when it is accidentally fed into a snow machine and succumbs to his free-spirited nature. Throughout the party various employees cut loose: Nate (Karan Soni) tries to impress two of his staff by hiring an escort named Savannah (Abbey Lee Kershaw) to pretend to be his girlfriend, though Nate is found out when she gives a handjob to a fellow employee; Clay’s assistant and single-mom Allison (Vanessa Bayer) attempts to hook up with new hire Fred (Randall Park) but stops when he reveals he has a mom-baby fetish; and Customer Service supervisor Jeremy (Rob Corddry) cuts loose on the dance floor with Mary, whom he previously despised. Josh and Tracey get stuck on the roof and nearly kiss before Jeremy interrupts them. Back on the dance floor Clay wins over Walter’s business, and Clay promises everyone they’ll keep their jobs and receive their bonuses.

Carol’s flight is cancelled due to weather, and when she discovers the party is happening in a conversation with her driver after she took people to the party, she rushes back to the office.

Our Thoughts

This movie was funny. I laughed out loud at least a dozen times, and so did everyone else around me. There is nothing special about the plot or the settings, but the acting is spot on. These are funny people, doing funny stuff, and I loved it. 4 stars It is what it is… FUNNY! – MR

Find: Office Christmas Party and see the new trailer here.


We Review Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them IMAX 3D “All in all I give it 4.5 stars.” – MR

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them poster.png

Theatrical release poster
Directed by David Yates
Produced by
Written by J. K. Rowling
Based on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
by J. K. Rowling
Starring
Music by James Newton Howard
Cinematography Philippe Rousselot
Edited by Mark Day
Production
company
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release dates
  • 10 November 2016(New York City)
  • 18 November 2016(United Kingdom & United States)
Running time
133 minutes[1]
Country
  • United Kingdom
  • United States[2]
Language English
Budget $180 million[3]
Box office $479.7 million[4]

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a 2016 fantasy film directed by David Yates and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. A prequel of the Harry Potter film series, the film was produced and written by J. K. Rowling, in her screenwriting debut, and inspired by her book of the same name. The film stars Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander with Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Samantha Morton, Jon Voight, Carmen Ejogo, Ron Perlman and Colin Farrell in supporting roles. It is the first instalment in the Fantastic Beasts series, and the ninth overall in J. K. Rowling’s Wizarding World.

Principal photography began at Warner Bros. Studios, Leavesden on 17 August 2015. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them premiered in New York City on 10 November 2016 and was released worldwide on 18 November 2016 in 3D, IMAX 4K Laser and other large format theatres. It received generally positive reviews from critics and has grossed over $479 million worldwide.

Plot

In 1926, British wizard Newt Scamander arrives by boat to New York City en route to Arizona. He encounters Mary Lou Barebone, a non-magical woman (“No-Maj” or “muggle“) who heads the New Salem Philanthropic Society, which claims that witches and wizards are real and dangerous. As Newt listens to her speak, a Niffler escapes from his magically-expanded suitcase, which houses multiple magical creatures. As he attempts to capture it, he meets No-Maj cannery worker and aspiring baker Jacob Kowalski and they accidentally swap suitcases. Demoted Auror Tina Goldstein arrests Newt for being an unregistered wizard and takes him to the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA) headquarters, hoping to regain her former position. However, President Seraphina Picquery and Director of the Magical Security Percival Graves dismiss the case. At Jacob’s apartment, several creatures escape from Newt’s suitcase.

Graves approaches Credence Barebone, Mary Lou’s adopted son, and offers to free him from his abusive mother in exchange for his finding the host of an Obscurus, a dark, destructive force inadvertently manifested by young magical children forced to conceal their powers. The force can be unleashed during periods of anger and stress; Graves believes that it has caused several mysterious destructive incidents around the city.

After Tina and Newt find Jacob and the suitcase, Tina takes them to her apartment and introduces them to Queenie, her Legilimens sister. Queenie and Jacob are mutually attracted, though American wizards are forbidden to marry No-Majs or interact with them. Newt takes Jacob inside his magically-expanded suitcase, where Jacob encounters a contained Obscurus that Newt recently extracted from a girl who died. Newt persuades Jacob to help search for the missing creatures. After re-capturing two of the three escaped beasts, they re-enter the suitcase, which Tina takes to MACUSA. Officials arrest them, believing one of Newt’s beasts to be responsible for killing Senator Henry Shaw Jr., and decide to destroy Newt’s suitcase and obliviate Jacob’s memory. Graves interrogates Newt and Tina and accuses Newt of conspiring with the infamous dark wizardGellert Grindelwald. Newt and Tina are immediately sentenced to death, but they escape and meet up with Queenie and Jacob; the foursome then capture the last of the creatures after receiving a tip from the goblin gangster Gnarlack.

Credence finds a wand under his adopted sister Modesty’s bed. Mary Lou assumes the wand is Credence’s, but Modesty claims it is hers. When she is about to be punished, the Obscurus is unleashed, killing everyone except Modesty and Credence. Graves arrives and dismisses Credence as being a Squib (a non-magical person of wizard ancestry), and refuses to tutor him in magic after they enter Modesty’s biological family’s home. Credence then reveals himself as the host of the Obscurus, the real cause of Shaw’s death, and unleashes it upon the city in a rage.

In a subway tunnel, Newt talks to Credence but is attacked by Graves. Tina, who knows Credence, arrives and attempts to calm him, while Graves tries to convince Credence to listen to him instead. As Credence begins to settle into human form, Picquery arrives with Aurors and decides Credence’s life must be forfeited to keep the existence of magic hidden. The Aurors apparently disintegrate him, but Newt notices a tiny wisp of the Obscurus fleeing.

Cast

Director David Yates and the cast of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them at the 2016 San Diego Comic Con International.
  • Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander:[5] an eccentric, introverted wizard, magizoologist and an employee at the Ministry of Magic. Scamander is the future author of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry standard textbook Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
  • Katherine Waterston as Porpentina “Tina” Goldstein:[6] a grounded, down-to-earth witch and a former Auror employed by the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA). She longs to fight for what is right, but was demoted to a position well below her skill level.
  • Dan Fogler as Jacob Kowalski: a genial No-Maj cannery worker and aspiring baker who is accidentally exposed to the New York City magical community after meeting Newt.[7]
  • Alison Sudol as Queenie Goldstein:[8][9] Porpentina’s younger sister and roommate, described as a bombshell, free-spirited, and big-hearted, and is accomplished in Legilimency.
  • Colin Farrell as Percival Graves:[10] a high-ranking Auror and Director of Magical Security for MACUSA. He is charged with the protection of wizards and assigned to track down Newt.
  • Carmen Ejogo as Seraphina Picquery: the President of MACUSA.
  • Ezra Miller as Credence Barebone:[11][12][13] Mary Lou’s troubled and mysterious adopted son.
  • Samantha Morton as Mary Lou Barebone:[14] a narrow-minded No-Maj and the sinister leader of the New Salem Philanthropic Society (the NSPS, or “The Second-Salemers”), an extremist group whose goals include exposing and killing wizards and witches.
  • Ron Perlman[15] as Gnarlack: a goblin gangster who owns a speakeasy nightclub called The Blind Pig.
  • Jon Voight[16] as Henry Shaw Sr.: the father of U.S. senator Henry Shaw Jr. and Langdon Shaw.
  • Josh Cowdery as Henry Shaw Jr.: a U.S. senator who holds a rally picketed by the New Salem Philanthropic Society.
  • Ronan Raftery as Langdon Shaw: the youngest of Henry Shaw Sr.’s sons, who begins to believe in magic.
  • Faith Wood-Blagrove as Modesty Barebone:[17] a haunted young girl and the youngest of Mary Lou’s adopted children.
  • Jenn Murray as Chastity Barebone: the eldest of Mary Lou’s adopted children[11][18]
  • Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald: one of the most dangerous dark wizards of all time.
  • Zoë Kravitz[19] as Leta Lestrange: Newt’s former love while the two attended Hogwarts. Leta betrayed his trust, leaving him bitter, but he still carries her picture.

Our Thoughts

While I liked the story, and I love anything to do with magic, the special effects (which are amazing) are of the previously “over used” sort.  It was like watching a Marvel Comics movie. The terrible Obscurus looked like a modulating Transformer, or those evil aliens from The Avengers and many of the little tricks that would have seemed amazing if this was the first time I’d seen them, well, as I said before…. They have been “over used.” I am sure they will continue to use these type of effects in all movies, until something better comes along. I did like the way they reconstructed the city at the end. The unbending of iron beams, and how they fit together was spot on. Too bad the effect was wasted on a closing scene.

This story is great. But just like in Harry Potter,  the bad guys poof away when they are ended, and the good guys never even hardly kiss the girl.  I suffered through the kiddie parts, though. Fantastic Beasts was a bit more adult-ish, and I appreciate that. My two main complaints are…  JK Rowling has no business creating a little plant guy that is basically Groot, re-imagined. He was so much like Groot that it irritated me.  (I am talking about the baby Groot at the end of GOTG.) And then there was the twist at the end. One of my favorite actors will be in the sequel and that is my other gripe. No one told me Johnny Depp was in this. And he will be in the rest of the followups, because he is Grindelwald.

All in all I give it 4.5 stars, taking the half star away for using something too much like Groot. – MR

See the latest trailer here.

 


We Review: Arrival “Nothing new, but still entertaining 3.5 stars” – MR

Arrival

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Arrival
Arrival, Movie Poster.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Denis Villeneuve
Produced by
Screenplay by Eric Heisserer
Based on Story of Your Life
by Ted Chiang
Starring
Music by Jóhann Jóhannsson
Cinematography Bradford Young
Edited by Joe Walker
Production
companies
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
(North America)[1]
Sony Pictures(International)[2]
Release dates
  • September 1, 2016(Venice)
  • November 11, 2016(United States)
Running time
116 minutes[3]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $47 million[4][5]
Box office $39.2 million[5]

Arrival is a 2016 American hard science fiction thriller film directed by Denis Villeneuve and written by Eric Heisserer, based on the short storyStory of Your Life” by author Ted Chiang. The film stars Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker, Michael Stuhlbarg and Tzi Ma.[6]

Arrival had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival on September 1, 2016, and was released in the United States on November 11, 2016, in IMAX by Paramount Pictures. The film received positive reviews, and praise for its story, sustained intense and suspenseful atmosphere, and Amy Adams’s performance. It has grossed $39 million.

Plot

Twelve mysterious extraterrestrial spacecraft, nicknamed “shells” by the U.S. military, appear across the Earth. It is unclear why they have arrived or whether there is any logic behind their choice of sites. Linguist Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is selected to join a special team created to analyse the alien species at the US site in Montana, due to her skills in translation and her existing high level security clearance. Also on the team are theoretical physicist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner), and a US Army Colonel named Weber (Forest Whitaker). The story opens with a sequence of Louise with her daughter, who dies of a rare type of cancer while still young.

The team makes ‘first contact’ with two cephalopod-like aliens, which they call ‘Heptapods’ because they have seven ‘arms’. Ian nicknames them Abbott and Costello.

Louise decides that two-way communication in the aliens’ spoken language would be impossible. However, she discovers that they can communicate using their written language, which is based upon complicated circular symbols with inter-related components. With Ian’s help she begins to learn the symbols that correspond to a basic English vocabulary, hoping to build understanding so that she can eventually ask why the aliens have come to Earth. As Louise begins to become more proficient with the alien language, she starts to see images of herself with her daughter, both whilst communicating and later, as dreams.

The potential ambiguity in translation becomes a serious issue when the aliens communicate symbols that translate as “offer weapon”, with similar translations (for example “use weapon”) being deduced at other sites. As other nations, which had initially all been sharing their data and analysis, translate their versions of the message, they close down communication with each other. Some start to scramble their military, believing the message to indicate a threat. Louise believes that, due to the difficulty of translating the language’s complex structure, the “weapon” element of the symbol might have an alternative meaning, such as “tool”.

Rogue soldiers take matters into their own hands and plant a timed C4 explosive device within the shell. Louise and Ian are unaware of the device and go back into the shell, to communicate with Abbott and Costello again. Costello guides Louise to write one of their symbols on the barrier, and then both Abbott and Costello fill the screen with hundreds of smaller symbols. The device continues to count down as the rogue soldiers engage in a firefight with troops from the command centre. Costello leaves just before the device explodes but Abbott stays behind long enough to push Louise and Ian out of the communication chamber. They wake up in the base camp with concussion as the shell rises higher into the sky, out of reach.

Ian analyzes the pattern of symbols that the aliens had displayed to establish that it relates to the concept of time, and that what they received was one twelfth of an intended whole.

Meanwhile China makes preparations to attack their shell, and some other international forces do the same.

Cast

Our Thoughts

The concept and first part of this movie were fresh and spot on, but it turned into the same lost child/lost parent psychological drama that “First Contact” was. Amy Adams looks so much like Nicole Kidman, I thought it was Nicole until my date told me it wasn’t. That is a compliment to Amy’s acting. All of the actors did a great job, the story just ended up being the same ole, same ole. The movie was intriguing to me, and it taught me about some linguistics theory I would have never know had I not seen this film. However, it is what it is, a newer version of “First Contact,” differing enough that they don’t seem like the same thing. Nothing new, but still entertaining. 3.5 stars – MR