action, movie, movie review, mystery, thriller

Flashback Review: June 2nd, 2014 Movie – The Bourne Ultimatum

the bourne ultimatum

Full confession time here. Today’s movie is the only movie in the franchise that I have ever seen in theaters. After renting the previous 2 movies, I knew that this would be worth going to see in theaters and I wasn’t wrong on that part. The funny thing is that even when the newer movies came out, I still didn’t go see them in theaters. Anyways, The Bourne Ultimatum came out at a time where a lot of changes were going on in my life so I really needed the brief distraction from reality that this provided me. Now to find out just how good of a movie it really is.

The plot: During the events in the previous movie, a wounded Bourne is attempting to evade the Moscow police before he makes it to a restroom so he can treat his wounds. As he is working, he has another flashback, this time of when he first started at Treadstone, just as two police officers enter the room. Bourne knocks out one of the officers, then points his gun at the other, who begs for his life, but Bourne says his argument is not with him, then leaves the room. 6 weeks later, Pamela Landy is in a meeting with CIA Director Ezra Kramer, where she plays the recording of Ward Abbott’s confession for him. Though Landy argues against it, Kramer feels that Bourne is still a serious threat to the agency and wants her to continue looking for him. Meanwhile, reporter Simon Ross meets with a source who gives him information regarding Bourne and Operation Blackbriar, the CIA program that replaced Treadstone. In Paris, Bourne goes to see Marie’s brother and tells him about her death. In London, Ross has just returned from his trip and phones his editor, telling him about the information his source gave him, unaware that the CIA had picked up his use of the word Blackbriar during his call and begin tracking him. At a CIA building in New York, Deputy Director Noah Vosen tells his men to keep tabs on Ross, bugging all of his phones and car, so that they can figure out who the source is, putting an asset on standby in case they need him. Meanwhile, Bourne is taking the train from Paris to London when he reads Ross’s article about him in the paper. Bourne contacts Ross at his office, calling someone else’s line to ensure that the CIA couldn’t listen in, then arranges to meet with Ross at Waterloo Station. Bourne arrives at Waterloo and purchases a pre-paid phone, then waits for Ross to show up. Ross leaves his office and as he hails a taxi, the CIA mobile team uses a mike to learn where he is going, then Vosen orders teams to get in position at the station, as well as calling in the asset, Paz. When Ross arrives at the station, Bourne watches him briefly then notices the CIA team getting into position. Walking past Ross and slipping the pre-paid phone in his pocket, Bourne calls him and alerts him to the CIA surveillance teams watching him, then gives him instructions on what to do. Bourne has Ross act like he is talking to someone at a bus stop and as the bus pulls up, he tells Ross to walk away, leaving the CIA to abduct the man he was supposedly talking too while Bourne takes out one of the surveillance operatives. Bourne meets up with Ross and starts asking him questions and Ross tells him about Blackbriar being the program after Treadstone and how his source knew Bourne. Bourne sees some agents coming and tells Ross to answer his phone as the walk away, allowing Bourne to direct him into avoiding the security cameras and agents looking for him. When Ross panics and deviates from where Bourne was directing him, Vosen and his team spot him and Bourne directs him to a place to hide as he works on taking out his followers but he ends up being spotted by one of the cameras. When Vosen realizes that Bourne is the one helping Ross, he tells his men to seal the exits and orders Paz to take out both Ross and Bourne. Bourne tells Ross to wait for him to make sure it’s safe but Ross refuses to listen and ends up leaving the store he is in, where Paz promptly shoots him. Bourne goes to Ross’s body and searches it, finding his notebook, and goes to leave when he spots Paz and tries to catch him but is unable to stop Paz from boarding a train. Later, Bourne heads to an internet cafe to look over Ross’s notes and when he sees mention of a company and that it is located in Madrid, he leaves the cafe to head there. Meanwhile, Ross’s source hears news of Ross’s death on the television and he quickly opens his safe and grabs the money inside before quickly leaving. The next day, Vosen meets up with Landy, who had been ordered to assist him in finding and capturing Bourne, but Landy and Vosen have differing opinion on how they should handle things. As Landy and her assistant Tom Cronin head to the office and begins coordinating with Vosen’s men, the determine that Bourne was not the source for Ross’s information. Realizing that whoever Ross had spoken with had a high security clearance, Landy is able to determine that the leak was Neal Daniels, a section chief in Madrid, and Vosen orders a heavy team to be sent there, telling Landy that Bourne is probably heading there as well. In Madrid, Bourne reaches the address for the company and determines that it was a CIA office. As he looks around, he notices a picture on the ground of Daniels as well as another man, causing another flashback. When he recovers, he realizes that the CIA team is there and he sets a trap to take out the two men but when a third person shows up, Bourne goes to meet them at the door and is shocked to find it is Nicky Parsons, who was stationed there after her run in with Bourne in Berlin. Bourne starts to question her but Vosen calls and Nicky answers the phone. Vosen gives her a call sign and when Nicky gives the all clear response, Vosen asks her about the men, Daniels and Bourne. Landy then talks to Nicky and tells her they are still looking for Bourne but she doesn’t think he is a threat like others do. Vosen then tells Nicky to stay there and back up will be there in an hour but when Nicky hangs up, she tells Bourne they only have 3 minutes. She tells Bourne that she knows where Daniels is and Bourne calls the police to cause a distraction so the CIA won’t be able to follow them, then they leave and head for Tangier. Back at the office, Landy questions Vosen about what Blackbriar is and he tells her it is the umbrella that all of their Black Ops operations runs from. Elsewhere, Bourne and Nicky are waiting for the ferry to tangier and Nicky asks Bourne what brought him back. He shows her the picture from Daniel’s office and she recognizes Daniels but can’t place the other man. Bourne tells her that he met him when he first joined Treadstone and Daniels was the one to introduce him. Bourne then asks why she is helping him and she tells him that it was difficult with him, indicating that something happened between them before he lost his memory. Vosen’s team learns that Daniels is in Tangier and they send an asset there to kill him and when Landy learns about this, she tries to call Kramer but he refuses to take her call. Bourne and Nicky arrive in Tangier and after she gets online, she learns that Vosen has sent Desh to kill Daniels and Bourne has her redirect to meet with him so that he can follow Desh to Daniels. In New York, Vosen and his team notice Desh moving away from the target route but Vosen decides to let things play out. As Desh heads back towards Daniels, Vosen’s team discover the illegal breach and discover that Nicky had contacted Desh and Vosen orders them to send Desh after Nicky when he finishes with Daniels. Landy argues with Vosen about his ordering Nicky to be killed, claiming he doesn’t have the authority, but he tells her that he does and she storms out of the office. In Tangier, Desh receives his new instructions and notices Bourne following him as he continues on his route. When Daniels gets close to the bank, Bourne tries to get him to stop but realizes that Desh had left a bomb on the moped he had been driving and Desh activates it, killing Daniels and stunning Bourne. As Desh heads off to kill Nicky, Bourne recovers and grabs a motorbike, using it to escape from the police that had arrived. Meanwhile, Nicky realizes that Desh is coming after her and she leaves just as Desh arrives and he starts following her. Bourne arrives at the cafe Nicky was at and goes looking for them but is forced to run from the police as well. Bourne heads into an apartment and makes his way to the roof, where he spots Nicky and Desh on the street below. Bourne begins jumping from rooftop to rooftop to keep pace with Nicky and Desh, and when he spies them in another building, he leaps from the rooftop and crashes through the window to attack Desh and eventually kills him. Bourne has Nicky use Desh’s phone to signal that they have been killed and when it comes up on their screens, Vosen has his aide confirm the kills and keep an eye on Landy. He then calls Kramer to tell him of Bourne and Nicky’s deaths and Kramer tells him he can’t afford to let anything about Blackbriar come back to haunt him. Back in Tangier, Bourne helps Nicky to disguise herself and leave the city, telling her it gets easier over time to stay underground and hidden. Bourne then heads to the morgue to examine Daniels’ effects and as he sifts through the burned papers in his briefcase, he sees a sliver of paper from a CIA file from New York. In New York, Vosen is told that Desh’s body has been discovered and he realizes that Bourne and Nicky are still alive. Meanwhile, Cronin tells Landy that an early Treadstone passport linked to Bourne had just been scanned in customs in New York and he says that Vosen and his men don’t know about it because it was never used or activated before. Landy knows what Bourne is looking for so she calls the airport and pages the alias, attracting Bourne’s attention. Bourne heads to the building across the street from the CIA office and contacts Landy (the end scene from The Bourne Supremacy). Vosen is made aware of Bourne’s call to Landy and when he hears Bourne’s final words, he realizes that Bourne is in New York and organizes his team to locate him. Landy leaves the building, telling Cronin that if he sees her he will contact her. Bourne sees her leave, as well as Vosen’s men who are tailing her, and he sends her a text for a location to meet at. Vosen leads his team out to intercept Bourne and Landy at the meeting place but Bourne had used the text to get Vosen and his men out of the office, allowing him to enter. As Vosen and his team waits for Bourne, Bourne calls Vosen, getting his name on his recorder so he can open Vosen’s safe, then he taunts Vosen by saying he is in his office. Bourne then goes through the files for Blackbriar that Vosen was storing and leaves the office as Vosen calls his aide and tells him to check the office. Cronin goes to pick up Landy, telling her that Bourne had broken into Vosen’s office and she tells Cronin to take her to 415 71st Street, and Cronin realizes that she had secretly told Bourne that address, disguised as his birth date. Bourne leaves the CIA office but is spotted and forced to run, using the police to help him escape at one point. As Bourne speeds off in a stolen police car, Paz shows up and begins chasing after him, trying to kill him. Meanwhile, Vosen’s team discover that Landy gave Bourne the wrong birth date and when they tell Vosen, he realizes that she told him where the training facility is and sends his teams there. Bourne and Paz get into a wreck and Bourne goes to kill Paz but changes his mind and walks away. As he heads to the training facility, Vosen calls Dr. Albert Hirsch, the doctor that trained and conditioned Bourne, and warns him that Bourne is coming but Hirsch says he refuses to leave. As Bourne reaches the facility, he finds Landy waiting for him and he asks her why she helped him. She tells him that Blackbriar is not what she signed up for and he gives her the files he took from Vosen and tells her it is everything she needs to shut them down. As Bourne heads inside, Landy sees Vosen and his men arriving and she ducks inside as well, but not before Vosen spots her. Vosen and his team search for Bourne and Landy and Vosen finds Landy but is too late to stop her from faxing out the Blackbriar files to the press. Meanwhile, Bourne reaches the training room and finds Hirsch waiting for him. Hirsch talks with Bourne and as he talks, Bourne starts remembering some of his past and remembers that he had volunteered for Treadstone. As the CIA agents show up, Bourne makes a run for it and escapes onto the roof only to find Pax waiting for him. Pax asks Bourne why he didn’t take the shot and Bourne tells him “Look at us. Look at what they make you give.” Pax lowers his gun and Bourne runs for the edge of the roof, planning to jump into the East River below but as he jumps, Vosen shows up on the roof and shoots him. Some time later, Landy is testifying about the files she had faxed about Black Briar. Elsewhere, Nicky is watching a news report, which says that Kramer is under investigation for his part in Blackbriar, which had occasionally targeted U.S. citizens for assassination, while Vosen and Hirsch had been arrested for their roles. When the news report says that Bourne’s body had not been found after a 3 day search, Nicky smiles as she realizes that Bourne had survived and is still out there somewhere.

The Bourne Ultimatum met with high praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “The Bourne Ultimatum is an intelligent, finely tuned non-stop thrill ride. Another strong performance from Matt Damon and sharp camerawork from Paul Greengrass make this the finest installment of the Bourne trilogy.” The movie was a box office hit, earning $442.8 million off of a $110 million budget, making it the highest grossing movie in the franchise. The Bourne Ultimatum was the only movie to be nominated for an Academy Award and won in all three categories that it was nominated in; Best Film Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Sound Editing.

In my opinion, this really was one of the best, if not the best, movie in the franchise. The acting was great, with Matt Damon (Bourne), Joan Allen (Landy), and Julia Stiles (Nicky) doing great jobs reprising their roles. I really liked David Strathairn, whose portrayal of Vosen made him a great protagonist against Bourne. The story was really good, doing a decent job of trying to tie up everything and not leave things too confusing. I did like that there was no real resolution to Bourne’s memory loss, as he regained a lot of his memory but still was spotty as to his time before Treadstone. I also liked the open ending it had as the fact that he survived meant he was free to come back for more movies, but it was not vital that he do so. The action and stunt scenes were just as good as the previous movies and I especially liked the early scene with Bourne leading Ross through the terminal to avoid the CIA while simultaneously taking out members of the team as it added a great bit of tension to make the scene more effective. A great movie and a good way to end the original trilogy of films.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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action, movie, movie review, mystery, thriller

Flashback Review: May 31st, 2014 Movie – The Bourne Identity

the bourne identity

So when I first hear about this movie, I did the thing I normally do when a movie based on a book comes out, I went to read the book first. Unfortunately, it took me forever to read the book. I don’t know why, but every time I tried to read it it would put me to sleep. Putting my efforts to read the book to the side, I didn’t get a chance to see The Bourne Identity when it was in theaters nor did I immediately rent it when it came out on DVD. My first time watching it was actually watching about a third of it on TV one day. This prompted me to end up renting it and eventually, buy a box set containing the first three movies in the set.

The plot: In the Mediterranean Sea, a n Italian fishing boat is out at sea during a storm when they see an unconscious man floating in the water and rescue him. As they bring him into the cabin, the ship’s captain discovers two bullet wounds in the man and as he tends to the wounds, he finds a strange capsule in the man’s hip and removes that as well, discovering that it contains an account number for a bank in Zurich. Suddenly, the man regains consciousness and attacks the doctor but as the doctor explains that they found him and asks his name, the man can’t remember who he is. Elsewhere, a CIA agent working for a black ops program  known as Operation Treadstone, tells the program’s director, Alexander Conklin, that their mission had failed. Back on the boat, the amnesiac man finds that he can remember how to do some things, like tie knots and speak several languages, but still doesn’t remember who he is. When the boat arrives in Italy, the captain gives the amnesiac some money that will enable him to get to Switzerland and wishes him luck on his journey. When he gets to Switzerland, the amnesiac ends up being harassed by some police when he is found sleeping in a park but when they go to arrest him, he instinctively grabs their batons and knocks them out, then gets freaked out by what he did and quickly runs away. Meanwhile, Nykwana Wombosi, an exiled African dictator, is giving an interview in Paris, France claiming to have survived an assassination attempts. In CIA Headquarters in Langley, the director is telling his deputy directors about Wombosi’s claim and that he wants them to put him back into power or else he will tell the world that they were behind the attempt. After the meeting is dispersed, Deputy Director Ward Abbott meets with Conklin to find out what happened and is upset that he didn’t tell him that their asset has disappeared until now. Back in Switzerland, the amnesiac heads to the bank when it opens and after giving them the account number listed in the chip, he is led to a high security safety deposit box. After the box is taken to a secure viewing room, the man finds a passport with the name Jason Bourne on it, as well as several other items. Noticing a second layer to the box, he pulls out the top part and finds a large quantity of money, several more passports with different names on them, and a gun. Deciding to take the passport saying he is Jason Bourne, Bourne, grabs all the money and everything else in the safety deposit box, leaving the gun inside, then leaves the bank, unaware that the bank manager is making a phone call to Treadstone about Bourne. Bourne makes a phone call to Paris, trying to ensure that he does live at the address listed on the passport but when he notices that the police seem to be taking an interest in him, he hangs up and quickly leaves, with some police officers following him. Bourne uses his passport to head into the American consulate but when he changes his mind about his plan and goes to leave, he is detained by the guards. Bourne quickly subdues the three guards that try to capture him, then attempts to leave the building, grabbing a guards radio so he can keep tabs on their attempts at capturing him. Bourne makes his way up to the roof  and after avoiding being detected, he climbs down the wall and grabs the bag that he dropped. Bourne heads down an alley and notices Marie Kreutz, a German woman that had been at the consulate when Bourne was there, and offers her $10,000 to drive him to Paris and she refuses initially but, needing the money, she agrees to drive him. Meanwhile, Treadstone is busy confirming that Bourne is still alive and when they see the picture from a video camera and hear the report about the consulate, Conklin orders several of their assets, Castel, Manheim, and the Professor, to be activated and sent after Bourne. They eventually spot where Bourne had met up with Marie in the alley and after getting Marie’s information, they send that to Nicky Parsons, a handler in Paris, so she can send their pictures to the authorities so they can be detained. Back in Europe, Bourne tells Marie about his amnesia and the weird things he does know and she doesn’t quite believe him but continues to drive him to Paris. When they arrive at the address on Bourne’s passport, Bourne pays her the rest of the money he promised but Marie, having become interested in Bourne, doesn’t want to leave just yet and Bourne invites her inside. When they ring the doorbell, the housekeeper for the building happily greets Bourne and lets him in and they head upstairs to his unit. Inside, they both look around his place before Marie asks to use the bathroom. As she is gone, Bourne hits the redial on his phone and when he gets the hotel, asks for Jason Bourne and when they have no record of him, he asks for John Michael Kane, one of the names that was on another passport. He is told that Kane had died 2 weeks ago and he starts to get paranoid, searching the house after grabbing a knife from the kitchen. When Marie exits the bathroom, he drops the knife behind a doorway, out of her sight, but as they talk, they are suddenly attacked by Castel. Bourne defends himself and manages to disable Castel and he throws Marie Castel’s bag and has her go through it while he questions Castel. When Marie finds pictures of them from the consulate, she freaks out and starts yelling at Castel about how he got her picture and as Bourne tends to her, Castel jumps out the window, killing himself. Bourne helps Marie outside, as she has gone into shock, and after driving away from the scene, they head to the bus station, where Bourne heads inside to hide the bulk of the money. When he returns to the car, he finds Marie had left but soon sees her returning from the shop she had gone into. As he tries to tell her to go to the police and get away from him, as it would be safer for her to get away from him, he notices the police approaching them and asks her one more time to leave but she buckles her seatbelt, choosing to stay with him. Bourne begins driving and after causing several cops to crash, manages to eventually lose the police, then they quickly leave the car. Meanwhile, Wombosi goes to the Paris morgue to look at the body of Kane, who was the person that had attempted to assassinate him, but when he examines the body, he says it is not the same person as the body was not shot. Later, Nicky contacts Conklin and tells him that Wombosi wasn’t fooled so Conklin orders the Professor to kill Wombosi. Later, Abbott confronts Conklin about Wombosi’s murder but Conklin blames Bourne for the assassination and says that with the mission completed, he should be checking in within 24 hours, Meanwhile, Bourne helps Marie to dye her hair and afterwards, they end up having sex. The next day, Bourne has Marie help him get some information from the hotel that Kane was staying at and after she gets him the phone records, he begins calling people that Kane had called, eventually getting a meeting at one of the companies. When he goes to the meeting, Bourne is shocked to find that they know him as Kane. As Bourne tells Marie what he learned, she tells him that she found Kane in the morgue and they head there to examine the body only to find that it has been taken already, claimed by Kane’s “brother”. Bourne grabs the register and learns that Wombosi had gone to see the body but when they go to Wombosi’s place, theylearn about his assassination. Bourne and Marie head back to their hotel but when Bourne notices the police heading towards them, he has the cab driver pull over and tells Marie that they have to leave. Learning that the police are looking for them, Marie wants to get away from Bourne but he tells her he will take her wherever she wants to go and she won’t have to see him again but for now, they have to stick together. Back in Langley, Abbott confronts Conklin about Bourne’s not coming in yet and Conklin tells him he will take of things. Conklin then decides to have his men search Marie’s past and figure out anyone she might go to for help in the hopes of finding Bourne. Marie tries contacting an old friend of hers but when she gets no answer, she has Bourne drive her there, thinking it would be empty and they could hide there. When they get there, they find evidence that her friend is there and Bourne wants to leave but her friend shows up and they are forced to bluff and stay the night. Meanwhile, Conklin’s men are able to trace Marie’s call and figure out where she is going and give the information to the Professor so he can kill Bourne. The next day, Bourne and Marie are getting ready to leave but when her friend’s kids say their dog is missing, Bourne realizes that an assassin is there for them and tells everyone to hide in the basement. Bourne grabs a shotgun from a shelf and heads out, shooting a fuel supply in order to mask his movements from the Professor. Bourne is able to get the drop on the Professor and starts questioning him, learning about Treadstone before the Professor dies. Marie’s friend is getting ready to leave and Bourne give Marie some money so she can leave with them and start a new life somewhere where she will be safe. After they leave, Bourne goes through the Professor’s things and when he finds a phone, he calls the number programmed in it, eventually getting connected to Conklin. Conklin tells Bourne to come in but Bourne knows he will try to kill him again and instead tells him to meet him in Paris that afternoon and to come alone. Bourne heads to the meeting point early and observes it from a nearby rooftop. He sees Conklin arrive but since he sees Conklin’s team with him, he calls Conklin and tells him that since he didn’t come alone, he was leaving, then places a tracking device on Conklin’s car. Conklin tells Nicky to begin deleting all the files and computers at the office and heads over there. As they finish cleaning out the place, Bourne creates a distraction that allows him to sneak in, disabling their security systems as he does. Conklin grabs a gun and starts looking for Bourne but Bourne gets the drop on him and has him drop his gun. As Bourne tries to get answers from Conklin about what Treadstone is, Conklin tries to find out what happened with the mission involving Wombosi. As Conlin lists what Bourne had told him about his plan, Bourne suddenly remembers his attempt on Wombosi and how he couldn’t bring himself to kill him as his kids where there with him. Bourne tells Conklin that Jason Bourne is dead and if he sees anyone coming after him, he will bring everything about Treadstone to light. Suddenly, Bourne notices that Conklin’s radio was live and he knocks Conklin out, then takes out the guards before walking away. Conklin leaves the building shortly after Bourne and ends up being gunned down by Manheim, who had been ordered to kill Conklin by Abbott, then Abbott orders Treadstone to be shut down. Some time later, Abbott is testifying before a Congressional panel about Treadstone and after successfully telling them that it had been shut down, he then starts telling them about a new project called Black Briar. Elsewhere, Marie has opened up a scooter rental shop on Mykonos and when Bourne shows up at her shop, she smiles before rushing over and hugging him.

The Bourne Identity met with mostly praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 84% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Expertly blending genre formula with bursts of unexpected wit, The Bourne Identity is an action thriller that delivers — and then some.” The movie was a box office success, earning $214 million off of a $60 million budget and would go on to spawn 4 sequels. While it is not the only movie to share plot points with the Bourne series of books, The Bourne Identity is the only movie in the series to remotely resemble the plot of the book of which it was named, as 2016’s Jason Bourne shared some plot points with “The Bourne Supremacy”.

Yes, it differs from the book but this is still a good movie on it’s own merit. The acting was good, with Matt Damon doing a great job as Jason Bourne. Franka Potente and Chris Cooper did great jobs in their roles as Marie and Conklin respectively and I also liked Brian Cox (Abbott), Julia Stiles (Nicky), and Clive Owen (The Professor), though their roles were limited. The story was pretty good, with the differences in the plot between the movie and the book making for a more straightforward story without dealing with the somewhat complex plot point involving “The Jackal”. The action scenes, such as the fights and the chase scene in Paris, were very well done and definitely added to the excitement without detracting away from the suspense of the story. All in all, this was a great movie and definitely helped introduce a new action hero to the silver screen.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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June 24th, 2018 Movie – Young And Innocent

young and innocent

Once again I wasn’t paying attention when I was entering the movie titles into my spreadsheet and put another movie out of order. Oh well, I am actually glad I got to watch this movie today as it feels a little appropriate to end the weekend like this. Today’s movie is the last movie in the Legends of Horror box set and, much like how I started off with this set, I find myself watching a Hitchcock movie to finish off the set. This is yet another movie that I have never heard of before buying this collection and I really haven’t been disappointed with these rare gems so let’s see if the trend finishes up the same as I watch today’s movie, Young And Innocent.

The plot: On a stormy night, Christine Clay finds herself in an argument with her jealous ex-husband Guy, who doesn’t accept her Reno divorce as valid. Accusing her of having an affair, they continue arguing until Christine slaps Guy and demands he leave. As he walks out into the rain, Guy turns to look back at the door as his eyes begin twitching uncontrollably. The next day, Christine’s body washes ashore onto the beach, where she is spotted by Robert Tisdall as he is out for a walk. Going to check on the body, he recognizes her as Christine and then runs to get help, but two women heading to the beach spot him and the body and they believe he is running from the crime. When the authorities arrive and determine she was strangled with the belt from a rain coat, the women accuse Robert of killing her but he proclaims his innocence, only to find that nobody seems ready to believe him. Robert is taken to Scotland Yard for questioning all night and when the police ask him if he has a raincoat, he says it was stolen out of his car. Robert admits that he did know Christine, as he sold her a story 3 years ago, but the police believe he was having an affair with her and when they inform him that she left him £1200, he ends up fainting. Erica Burgoyne, the daughter of the local police’s Chief Constable, happens to be outside and is able to help revive him, then they take Robert to see his barrister before going to court. Robert tries to tell his barrister that the police are making a mistake and that if the police go to check the pub he was at the night his coat was stolen, they will verify what he told them but he realizes pretty quickly that his barrister is somewhat incompetent. Unsure on if he will get a fair trial against the circumstantial evidence against him, Robert takes advantage of the crowded courthouse to slip away from his guards and as they clear the courthouse to search for him, he is able to get outside by wearing his barrister’s glasses as a disguise. As the police start leaving the courthouse to look for him, Erica ends up having two officers ride with her, commandeering her car to help search. When the car runs out of gas, they start pushing it to the nearest station but Erica tells them to keep going and so the two officers hitch a ride with a passing farmer. As Erica works on continuing to push the car, she is surprised to find Robert helping her, as he had stowed away on the side running board, and she begrudgingly thanks him for the help. Reaching a fuel station, Robert ends up paying for Erica’s gas and they continue on the way for a little while before Erica pulls over and drops Robert off at an abandoned farm house, not wanting him to stay in her car any longer and as he watches her drive off, he sees her stop and speak with some policemen but when they drive by without stopping, she realizes that she didn’t tell them where he was. Erica returns home and is having lunch with her father and brothers and during the course of the meal, she learns that Robert had used all the money he had on him to pay for her gas. Feeling a little guilty, but also believing his claims of innocence, she heads back to the farm house with some food for him As the two talk, Robert starts eating the food Erica brought him but when he tosses the wrapper out the window, the policemen who were with Erica earlier spot it and go to investigate. As they approach, Erica’s dog starts barking at them, alerting Erica and Robert to their approach and they are able to slip out the window and get away. Erica is upset about the fact that she was forced to run from the cops like that and considers heading back to town but when she sees the road blocked, she resigns herself to going to the pub, saying she might as well see this through. When they reach the pub, Erica goes in and asks the bartender if someone had lost a coat and the bartender mentions a tramp named Old Will had come in with a new coat but quickly shuts up when some other tramps motion him to be quiet. Another customer says that he did recall Old Will coming in with a new coat that someone had given him and the tramps start a fight to keep him quiet. Hearing the commotion, Robert goes to check on Erica but when she says she is safely outside, he heads out as well but ends up getting hurt. Erica tends to his wound and the customer tells them where they can find Old Will and Robert chooses to walk there, not wanting to put Erica in any more trouble than she might already be in. However, Erica finds herself starting to fall for Robert and she decides to take him there but stops at her aunt’s house for a little bit to ask for some money. Having Robert wait in the car, Erica goes inside only to get trapped in her aunt’s party. Outside, Robert is writing her a note to explain his leaving and thanking her for her help when her uncle shows up and invites him in. The two try to make their excuses and leave but Erica’s aunt grows suspicious and keeps them around so she can question Robert. When Erica’s uncle helps them leave, her aunt chastises him and grows even more suspicious when they head in the opposite direction of Erica’s home and she calls the Chief Constable. After hearing about Erica and Robert, the Chief Constable calls the local station house in the direction they are heading and asks them to stop her and have her call him but when the officer stops her to relay the message, he recognizes Robert and Erica drives off. Panicking over what she did and what it will do to her father if she is arrested for aiding a fugitive, Erica says they have to find that coat and they head off to find Old Will. Arriving at the train station next to the shelter he is supposed to be staying at. Robert tells Erica this will all be over soon and she will never see him again and she grows sad and asks if that is true. Robert comforts her until she falls asleep, then heads to the shelter to look for Will but ends up falling asleep inside. He eventually finds Will and questions him about the raincoat but Will feigns ignorance. When Robert exclaims that it is a matter of life or death for him, one of the tramps realizes Robert is the escaped criminal and goes to tell the manager to call the police. Robert drags Will out of there and into Erica’s car and they rush off, managing to avoid the police by racing in front of a passing train. Robert discovers that Will is wearing his raincoat underneath his overcoat and when he examines it, realizes that the belt is missing and that it was his belt that killed Christine. When he asks about the belt, Will tells them that it didn’t have a belt when the man gave it to him and describes the man as having twitchy eyes. Robert thinks this will clear him but Erica says it won’t be enough unless they find the actual killer. Realizing the police will be after them soon, Will says there is an old mine they can hide in and they head there only to have Erica’s car fall into a hole when the ground collapses. Robert and Will manage to rescue her before her car falls deeper into the hole as the police arrive, and Erica moves to stall them so that Robert can get free. Later, Erica’s father speaks with her about the situation she is in and shows her his letter of resignation, as he refuses to arrest her. That night, Robert sneaks into Erica’s room to see her and she rushes to hug him. Robert tells her that he is going to turn himself in, and just wanted to see her first. She tells him that the police found his coat and the only thing in it was a box of matches from the Grand Hotel. Robert goes to leave but then goes back to her and says he has never been to the Grand Hotel and they realize the killer must have been there or still is. The next day, Erica meets with Will, who is there to see if he spots the man that gave him the coat, but Will is being watched by the police. As they look around the hotel, they head inside the ballroom as the police enter, having spotted Will with Erica and believing they could lead them to Robert. As they sit in the ballroom and look around, the drummer of the house band notices Will and his eyes start twitching. The drummer is actually Guy in black-face and when he sees the police are there as well, he starts acting suspiciously, causing the band leader to chastise him. Guy considers leaving but when he sees more police showing up, he heads back inside and goes to take some medicine to try and get his twitching under control. Erica’s father shows up with Scotland Yard and they catch Robert and go to get Erica as Guy’s increasingly erratic behavior causes him to pass out. The police are about to lead Erica, Robert, and Will away when they hear the commotion and Erica goes to offer her help. When she notices Guy’s eyes twitching, she calls for Will to come over, then asks someone to wipe off the black-face. When his face is clear, Will confirms that it is the man that gave him the coat and as Guy comes around, Erica asks him what he did with the belt. Guy starts laughing and says he twisted it around her neck, admitting that he killed Christine. As the authorities move to arrest Guy, Robert is released and he goes to embrace Erica, who then goes to her father and asks about inviting Robert over for dinner.

For an early Hitchcock movie, this is not as good as his later works but it is a good movie on it’s own and does show some flashes of his brilliance. The acting was good, with Derrick De Marney and Nova Pilbeam doing good jobs as Robert and Erica, as they had some great chemistry on screen and the banter between them was fantastic. I also liked Edward Rigby (Old Will) as he provided a good bit of comedic humor towards the end of the movie. The story was pretty basic, with the framed man trying to prove his innocence while avoiding being caught by the authorities. Still, Hitchcock was able to add some romance and humor to a serious plot, either intentionally or unintentionally. The scene with the policemen getting a ride from the farmer had me cracking up. I don’t know if the “pig” nickname for police had come about at this point or not but when they were talking to the farmer and he told them he was paid to move pigs around, plus when they asked if he had more room for them and he said he only had the room for 10 pigs, had me almost laughing at loud. While the chase sequences were pretty good for the time, the film quality was honestly kind of bad, particularly towards the end of the film, but it could have just been the source used for this DVD and not the original film itself. A fun movie to watch and definitely worth watching if you are a fan of Hitchcock.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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animation, comedy, movie, movie review, mystery

May 28th, 2018 Movie – Who Framed Roger Rabbit

who framed roger rabbit

Today’s movie has the unfortunate side effect of making me feel incredibly old recently. See, a couple of girls at my work had recently started calling out “Hi Joey” constantly whenever I walk by their area. I made a comment one day about how they reminded me of the birds from today’s movie but they said they never saw it. I was surprised honestly until I realized that the movie was 30 years old, and they hadn’t yet been born when this movie came out. That was a real “Geez I’m old” moment for me but I shook it off because this movie is still enjoyable, no matter how long ago it came out. So let’s have some laughs with today’s movie, Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

The plot: Toon superstar Roger Rabbit is filming his latest cartoon short with his costar Baby Herman, but at the very end of the movie, when a refrigerator falls on him, Roger screws up and has tweeting birds circling his head instead of stars. As Raoul, the director, calls for lunch and walks off, Roger pleads with him to give him another chance, hitting himself in the head with a hammer to show he can give him stars, and failing each time. Eddie Valiant, a down on his luck private detective, watched the filming occurred then heads up to see R.K. Maroon, head of Maroon Cartoons Studio. Maroon is upset because Roger’s mistakes are causing the latest cartoon to run over budget and he wants Eddie to help him straighten Roger out. He shows him a newspaper stating that Roger’s wife Jessica was seen with a human and he asks Eddie to get some pictures of the two of them together so he can show them to Roger, proving that she is no good for him. Eddie refuses at first, saying that he doesn’t work Toon Town anymore, but when Maroon says that she works at a club in Hollywood with a strictly human clientele, he relents and charges him $100 for the job. Maroon reluctantly agrees to the cost but only pays Eddie half, saying he will get the rest when he gets the pictures. With check in hand, Eddie heads back to his office, noticing that the Red Car trolley service had been bought by a company called Cloverleaf. Eddie heads to the bar next to the station and goes to get a drink but is stopped by his girlfriend Dolores, who is a bartender there. She tells him she needs the money she gave him or else she will be out of a job when her boss checks the books and he gives her the check. Eddie then asks to borrow her camera and she gives it to him, saying there should still be film in it as it hasn’t been developed since their vacation to Catalina. Delores asks if the check is any good and Eddie points out the scrawl, which surprises Dolores. When another customer, Angelo, pesters Eddie about which Toon he is working for, Eddie grabs him and tells him he doesn’t work for toons and as he leaves, Dolores explains that Eddie’s brother was killed by a toon, who dropped a piano on his head. Eddie heads to the club where Jessica works and encounters Marvin Acme, the gag king and owner of Toon Town, sitting by the stage. Eddie is surprised to find Betty Boop working there as a cigarette girl and is shocked to see that Jessica Rabbit is not a rabbit, but a human toon. After her seductive routine, Eddie sees Marvin Acme going into her dressing room and tries to look through the keyhole but he gets tossed out by the bouncer. Eddie then looks in through the window and takes pictures of Marvin and Jessica playing patty-cake, which he finds incredulous. After developing the pictures, Eddie heads back to Maroon Studios, where Maroon shows the pictures to Roger. Roger gets upset and Maroon and Eddie try to cheer him up but Roger grabs Eddie and tells him that he and Jessica will be happy again, before crashing through the window. Eddie returns to his office and begins looking through the rest of the pictures from the camera, smiling as he sees the pictures of him and Dolores, then getting sad when he spots the pictures with him and his brother Teddy. The next morning, Eddie is woken up by Lt. Santino, who tells him that Marvin Acme is dead and Roger is the suspected killer. Santino takes Eddie to Acme factory and as Eddie looks around, Jessica, who was being interviewed by the police when they arrived, slaps him and says she hopes he is happy with himself and the pictures he took. When a crate full of dancing shoes is knocked over and the shoes run all over the place, Eddie goes to retrieve the joy buzzer that fell from Acme’s hand when the gurney was knocked over but is stopped by Judge Doom. Doom questions Eddie briefly before saying that his men, a gang of weasels (Smartass, Greasy, Stupid, Wheezy, and Psycho), will find Roger and once they do, he will try, convict, and execute Roger, grabbing one of the shoes and lowering it in a vat of Dip (a mixture of acetone, benzene and turpentine) as an example. Eddie returns to his office to find Baby Herman waiting for him outside, who swears Roger is being framed. Herman explains that Acme was killed for his will, which promised to leave Toon Town to the toons, but nobody has ever seen the will and Eddie dismisses Herman’s story. As he gets inside, his office, Eddie notices something in the picture from the newspaper and, pulling out his own pictures, realizes that Acme did have his will with him when he was with Jessica but he decides he doesn’t want to get involved. Eddie goes to lay down to discover that Roger is in his bed and when he learns that Roger had asked several people to try and find out where Eddie lived, he tries to get rid of him. Roger explains that when he left the studio, he wanted to talk to Jessica but when she wasn’t in her dressing room, he wrote her a love letter on a blank piece of paper he found. As Eddie refuses to help Roger, Roger goes to leave only to walk into the closet and when Eddie goes to get Roger out of there, Roger handcuffs himself to Eddie. Eddie explains that he doesn’t have the keys to the cuffs just as they hear the Weasels arriving outside, and Roger begs Eddie to help him hide. When the weasels break into the office, they find Eddie washing his socks in the sink and question Eddie but he convinces them that he hasn’t seen Roger so they leave. Eddie dons a trenchcoat to hide Roger and heads over to the bar to get Dolores’s help in getting out of the handcuffs. Dolores takes them to a hideyhole from back when the bar was a speakeasy and Eddie works on sawing off the cuffs, only to learn that Roger could have slipped out of the cuffs at any time. Dolores asks Eddie what his plan is and Eddie feels that he was used as part of a plot for Maroon to get control of Toon Town but Maroon couldn’t find the will after Acme was killed. Eddie asks Dolores to check the probate court to see who was trying to buy Toon Town while he goes back to the office, leaving Roger in the hidey hole for safe keeping. At his office, Eddie is finishing changing clothes when he discovers Jessica in the office, and she tells him that he was set up to take the pictures and she would do anything to help her husband. Dolores shows up, interrupting them, and when Jessica leaves, Dolores yells at Eddie, believing he was trying to fool around with Jessica. Eddie chases after her and pleads his innocence and Dolores tells him that Cloverleaf, not Maroon, was trying to buy Toon Town and if the will doesn’t show up by midnight, they will own it. Eddie tries to figure out why Cloverleaf was trying to buy it when Dolores stops him, as she hears music playing, and they race to the bar to find Roger entertaining the customers with a song and dance routine. Eddie grabs Roger and drags him back to the hidey hole, then starts to yell at him but stops when he sees the signal light flashing in the room. Looking through the peep hole, he sees Doom and the weasels entering the bar and Doom speaks to the crowd, then offers a $500 reward for information about Roger. When the bar patrons refuse to tell him where Roger is, Doom begins knocking out “Shave & a Haircut” on the walls, which causes Roger to instinctively burst through the wall to sing out “Two Bits”. Doom grabs Roger and has the weasels bring in a vat of Dip so he can execute Roger but Eddie, remembering Roger’s violent reaction to liquor in Maroon’s office, convinces Doom to let Roger have a drink as a last request. Using Roger’s reaction as a distraction, Eddie takes out the weasels, then grabs Roger before he falls in the dip, then dumps the vat over, making Doom and the other patrons leap back to avoid being splashed by the liquid. Racing outside, Eddie and Roger start to take the weasels’ van but can’t find the keys. Hearing someone yelling from the back, Roger tells Eddie to open the back and they release Benny the cab, who gives them a lift. After avoiding the weasels and the police, Benny drops them off at a movie theater to hide and Roger asks Eddie why he is always such a grump. Eddie explains about his brother dying and how a toon robbed the First National Bank of Toon Town but he got away. Dolores meets up with them, having packed Eddie’s things and ditched the weasels after he called her. They go to leave as a news reel plays, announcing the sell of Maroon Studios to Cloverleaf and Eddie realizes what the connection to Toon Town is. Eddie goes with Roger to Maroon Studios, having called Maroon and told him that he has the will. Eddie leaves Roger outside to cover him but Jessica knocks him out with a frying pan and puts him in the trunk of her car. Inside, Maroon holds a gun on Eddie and grabs the will, only to find it is Roger’s love letter and Eddie uses the distraction to punch Maroon. Eddie then places Maroon’s tie in the film reader and uses it to threaten Maroon, who tells him that he had a chance to sell his studio but only if Acme sold out as well. When he refused, Maroon planned on using the pictures to blackmail him but he never expected anyone to die or for the toons to be destroyed. Before he can say anything else, someone shoots him and Eddie sees Jessica fleeing the scene. Chasing after her, he stops as she enters the tunnel to Toon Town but Eddie resolves himself to go after her, arming himself with a toon gun and bullets to do so. Once inside Toon Town, Eddie is distracted at first and ends up crashing into Jessica’s car but finds no sign of her. HE then spots her in a hotel room but when he heads up there, he finds it was Lena Hyena, a Toon with a similar body to Jessica’s. After managing to get away from Lena, Eddie encounters Jessica in an alleyway but instead of shooting him, she shoots the gun from Doom’s hand before he could kill Eddie. Jessica explains that she had followed Doom to Maroon Studios but was too late to stop him from killing Maroon. As they return to the street, they find that Roger had gotten out of the trunk and stolen Eddie’s car and driven off. Seeing the weasels approaching, Eddie and Jessica end up getting a ride from Benny and as they escape, Jessica reveals that Marvin had told her about Doom wanting Toon Town and given her the will for safe keeping but when she opened the envelope, it just had a blank piece of paper. As the exit the tunnel from Toon Town, the run into a puddle of Dip that Doom had spilled on the road and Benny ends up crashing, knocking himself unconscious. Doom taunts Eddie and Jessica, then has the weasels grab them and take them to Acme Factory, not noticing that Benny was awake and heard where they were going. At the factory, the weasels search Eddie and Jessica for the will but only find Roger’s love letter. Doom then reveals that at midnight, he will be the owner of Toon Town and will retire as a judge, moving into the private sector as the sole stockholder of Cloverleaf industries. He then reveals a massive vehicle filled with Dip, enough to completely destroy Toon Town, and reveals he had learned of the city’s plans to build a freeway and he decided to make it happen for his own benefit, buying the Red Car Trolley so he could shut it down. Meanwhile, Roger finds Benny, who tells him what is going on, and they head to the factory. Roger tells Benny to go for help while he tries to rescue Eddie and Jessica but before they can get away, he is knocked silly by one of the weasels, who drops a ton of bricks onto Roger. Doom orders Roger and Jessica tied up, planning on killing them with Dip before destroying Toon Town, but as he walks away, he slips and falls. Eddie tries to uses the weasels laughing to grab Smartass’s gun but Doom is able to warn him in time to stop him. Doom then leaves but Eddie, hearing Doom’s comment about the weasels laughing themselves to death, puts on a random vaudeville act that causes Greasy, Psycho, Stupid, and Wheezy to die laughing, while he kicks Smartass into the Dip. Psycho’s ghost activates the water cannon, causing the Dip to start spraying towards Roger and Jessica but Eddie is able to get it’s direction reversed. Suddenly, Doom appears and attacks Eddie and as the two fight, Eddie ends up trapped by a giant magnet and a barrel. Doom attempts to run over Eddie with a steamroller but Eddie is able to use a portable hole to escape, then continues fighting Doom. When Doom ends up getting stuck to the steamroller with industrial glue, he gets flattened while Eddie rushes over and turns off the Dip vehicle. Unbelievably, Doom survives, revealing that he is a toon and when Doom reinflates himself, it is revealed that he is the toon that killed Teddy. Doom then renews his attack on Eddie, turning the vehicle back on as well but Eddie uses a punching glove sledgehammer to hit the tank holding the Dip, causing it to be released and flood the floor of the building. Doom is melted away by the dip and Eddie is able to move Roger and Jessica out of the way of the vehicle, which crashes through the wall of the factory into Toon Town, where it is destroyed by a train. Eddie then uses the fire hydrants in the factory to rinse the Dip down the drains, the lowers Roger and Jessica to the floor and frees them. Santino, Dolores, Benny, and the police arrive, as well as the toons from Toon Town. Eddie explains to Santino what happened, as well as how Doom killed Maroon and Teddy as the toons all wonder what Doom really looked like. Dolores notices a stain on Eddie’s shirt and Eddie says that Acme had squirted him the other day and wondered why it was reappearing. Roger finds a bottle of disappearing/reappearing ink and Eddie, realizing what had happened, tells Roger to read his love letter. As Roger begins reading it, the will suddenly reappears and Roger excitedly reads that Acme left Toon Town to the toons. Roger asks Eddie if he will no longer be a sour puss anduses Acme’s joy buzzer on him and Eddie’s response is to grab Roger, then kiss him. Jessica tells Roger they should go home and they leave hand in hand, accompanied by Eddie and Dolores, as the Toons start singing in celebration while the toon police shoo them out of the building.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit was highly praised by the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 97% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Who Framed Roger Rabbit is an innovative and entertaining film that features a groundbreaking mix of live action and animation, with a touching and original story to boot.” The only time that cartoon characters from both Disney and Warner Brothers would appear on screen together, Warner Brothers worked out a deal with Disney, who was producing the film, to allow the use of their biggest stars, Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, provided that they had an equal amount of screen time with their Disney counterparts, Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. Disney agreed and solved the problem by having the characters appear on screen together; Mickey with Bugs and Donald with Daffy. Judge Doom’s plot to dismantle the Red Car because of the freeway was based partially in fact, as private corporations did want to eliminate public transportation in the late 40’s-50’s in order to generate more demand for private automobiles. The movie was a box office success, earning$329.8 million off of a $50.6 million budget and would spawn several Roger Rabbit short cartoons, which appeared before various Disney movies afterwards, and would be selected for preservation in the National Film Registry in 2016.

This is such a great movie and a lot of laughs to boot that still holds up today. The acting was great, with Bob Hoskins doing a great job as Eddie Valiant, and his interactions with the toons, and Roger in particular, were fantastic. I also liked Christopher Lloyd’s performance, as his portrayal of Judge Doom was rather chilling and sinister. The story was great and I loved how they were able to incorporate the characters of Disney and Warner Brothers so seamlessly. I especially loved the interaction between Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse, as well as Donald Duck and Daffy Duck, as it was a treat that audiences have never been able to witness, or enjoy ever since. I liked the freeway angle as the for Acme and Maroon’s murders, as it gave it a real world reasoning instead of some wacky toon reasoning. The animation was really well done and the thing I liked the best is that , while they did have the traditional animation with the opening cartoon, and when they were watching the Goofy cartoons in the theater while hiding, When they had the animated characters interact with the real world humans, the toons had a more 3D look to them so you could believe there was a real difference in the toons from in front of the camera and away from it. A great movie and definitely one that can be enjoyed by everyone.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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horror, movie, movie review, mystery

May 21st, 2018 Movie – Werewolf In A Girl’s Dormitory

werewolf in a girls dormitory

Well, you can’t have one werewolf movie without having about a dozen more following after it. I’m not saying sequels necessarily, just that there are a lot of movies whose titles happen to start with the word “Werewolf”. Anyways, today’s movie is one that I actually remember seeing years ago during some channel’s Halloween marathon. I actually laughed when I saw that it was in the Chilling Classics box set and it was one of the first movies I actually watched when I bought it because I wanted to see if it was as bad as I remembered. So let me share the experience with all of you as I watch today’s movie, Werewolf In A Girl’s Dormitory.

The plot: When a new teacher, Dr. Julian Olcott, arrives at an all girls school, his arrival proves to be a bit of a distraction for the the students. As he heads to the Director’s office, one of the students, Mary, faints so she can be carried off to the infirmary, as some of the other girls discuss the fact that she faked it so she could get close to the new teacher. Julian meets with Director Swift, who goes over his duties as teacher and reminds him not to speak to the girls outside of the classroom. That night, a wolf’s howling wakes up Francine and Sandy and as they go to look out the window, they see Mary sneaking out of the infirmary. As they watch, Leonor MacDonald, Swift’s assistant, sees Mary but doesn’t stop her as she makes her way to another building and the two girls wonder why she wasn’t stopped. Mary makes her way outside the gates and encounters Walter Jeoffrey, who tries to stop her but she tells him to leave her alone or else she will spill the beans on everything he is involved in. Mary eventually meets up with Sir Alfred Whiteman, another teacher at the school whom she was having an affair with, and he tries to plead with her but she insists that he give her the money she was promised or else she will expose the affair and ruin him, saying she will hold onto the love letters as proof. As Mary heads back to school, she hears something in the bushes and attempts to run but is soon grabbed and killed by a werewolf and dumped into the nearby stream. Whiteman returns to his home, where he tries talking to his wife Sheena and when she gets upset at his actions, he tells her that he is not seeing the girl but she is blackmailing him. The next morning, Mary’s body is discovered and taken to the school, where Julian examines it. He thinks that Mary could have met with a man before her death but the police inspector feels that she just wandered outside and was attacked by wolves. When Whiteman is brought in and asked if he knows the body, he says he does but only in passing and the inspector asks if he will answer some questions as a formality for his report. Meanwhile, Priscilla was given some letters that were written for Mary and sneaks back to her dorm to read them, then tries to find Mary’s other letters but she is caught by Julian and chastised for missing class. Priscilla goes to see Swift, who is finishing up with the inspector, and talks to him about the letter Mary had received and Swift realizes that he will have to call the inspector back. As he leaves the office, Priscilla notices a letter on his desk about Julian being acquitted of a crime for lack of evidence. When the inspector returns, Mary takes them to the dorm to show them the letters only to find them missing and both the inspector and Swift think she was making the letters up. The next day, Priscilla and Sandy are discussing Julian during class and after class, Priscilla asks Julian about Mary’s body and the wounds on it. When he says he can’t say for certain about the wounds, she then asks why he came to their school, and he said he didn’t choose it, but was destined to come there. Later, Priscilla and Sandy find the letters and Priscilla says that nobody can see them, then goes to see Walter, thinking he knows about them. Walter says he knows about them and that she would need to meet him that night to learn the truth. Priscilla sneaks out of the dorm and goes to Walter’s cabin, and he takes her to where Mary met with Whiteman, unaware that they are being followed. When Priscilla arrives at the cabin, she finds Sheena waiting for her there, who tosses her some money and calls her a tart like all the others, thinking she was there to blackmail Whiteman. When Priscilla tells her she was merely there to find out who wrote the letters and thought that Whiteman was the killer, Sheena says that is impossible but tells her that Whiteman did meet with Mary but he left her alive. However, she did see someone that she feels was the killer, but won’t reveal who it was. Priscilla sees someone at the window and Sheena thinks it is probably the caretaker and tells Priscilla to keep Mary’s letter’s hidden in order to spare her memory from being tarnished. When Priscilla suggests that she could have killed Mary with her dogs, as the wounds could have been mistaken for wolves, Sheena gets offended and says she never should have confided in her. After she leaves, Priscilla quickly follows and runs into Julian, who says he was out there laying traps for the wolves. He escorts Priscilla back to school grounds but tells her he will have to write a report about her being out. Meanwhile, Sheena makes it back to her house but someone knocks her out, then injects her with a drug, killing her. Back outside, Priscilla is startled by a wolf howling in distress and Julian says that he has to leave to take care of it, as it could get free. Priscilla says that she is ok, as they are close to the school, but as she gets to the gate, she is attacked by a werwolf. Before it can kill her, Walter’s dog attacks it and bites it’s right hand while Priscilla faints at the gate. The next day, a funeral is held for Sheena, during which Walter catches Whiteman’s eye, but the exchange is noticed by Swift. At the local tavern, Whiteman meets up with Walter and asks if he found the letters but when Walter says he hasn’t, Whiteman says they must find them, as he can’t rest until they are destroyed. When one of the villagers notices Walter can’t move his hand, they accuse him of being the one to attack Priscilla. Whiteman quickly leaves while Walter tries to hold the growing mob at bay with a switchblade but just before they attack him, Swift shows up and stops them, revealing that Walter’s hand has been like that since birth and he has no scarring from a bite on it. As they leave, he asks Walter why he was meeting with Whiteman and when Walter says it was nothing, he tells him to go back to the school, as the villagers might still try to harm him. In the school’s infirmary, Priscilla is startled by the appearance of Julian in the room. They talk briefly, with Julian telling her she has to have faith in him, when Sandy bursts into the room. Sandy apologizes for interrupting them but when she touches Julian’s arm, he reacts in pain, and Priscilla starts at that. Sandy goes to see Swift and tells him she feels that Julian is the killer, saying that Mary was killed on the day of his arrival. Swift decides to question Julian and Julian talks about what killed his career and says that he had been studying lycanthropy, as he had a woman who was accused of murder but had no recollection of it. He realized that she was a werewolf and did his best to try and cure her but she overdosed on one of his trial medicines, and he was accused of murdering her but was acquitted. He admits that his arm is hurt but he didn’t attack Priscilla and Swift says he is having a hard time believing him. That night, Walter sneaks into the girl’s dorm and and tries to get the key from Sandy, holding a pillow over her mouth until she is rendered unconscious. As he goes to grab the letters, another girl spots him and screams out, alerting all of the others, and Walter runs from the room. The girls alert the dorm mother, who tells Swift and Julian as they had heard the screams, and they see Walter trying to escape through the upper levels. Julian tells him to stop or he will shoot but the panicked Walter continues to try and escape, only to fall to his death. As Julian checks on Walter, Swift notices the letters and grabs them, then tells everyone to go back to their bed. When Julian heads back to his room, Priscilla asks him what happened, he tells her that Walter killed himself after trying to kill Sandy. Priscilla thinks that Walter was the monster but Julian says that it is impossible, as Walter had a dog and dogs can’t stand the scent of werewolves. The next day, Swift calls Whiteman into his office to explain the letters and Whiteman says that he did have the affair but didn’t kill Mary, then wishes Sheena was still alive as she saw the killer. Whiteman then says that if he goes down, Swift will go down as well and Swift says he isn’t planning on sanctioning him, as the affair doesn’t need to come up again. That night, Julian and Priscilla go to see Whiteman, thinking he might be the werewolf but when they asks him to go with them to the police, he commits suicide instead. Meanwhile, Swift is shown to be the werewolf, with Leonor working with him to find a cure. Leonor admits that she killed Sheena because she must have seen him kill Mary but as she goes to try and get another sample of wolf’s blood to use for the cure, the wolf escapes it’s cage and mauls her to death, and Swift ends up killing the wolf. The next day, as a funeral is held for Walter, his dog, who Priscilla is holding, begins barking at Swift before getting loose from Priscilla and running off. As Priscilla tries to chase after him, Julian approaches Swift and tells him they need to talk in private when he gets a chance. That night, Priscilla encounters Walter’s dog, who leads her into the bushes, where it digs up Walter’s body. Priscilla screams out and encounters Swift, telling him what she saw. Swift says they must call the police but as they head into his house, Priscilla wonders who was buried in Walter’s grave but when she turns to Swift, she finds him transforming into a werewolf. As Swift goes to kill Priscilla, Julian shows up and Swift struggles with him but Julian finally manages to shoot him. As Swift stumbles into his home and changes back to human, he tells them that Leonor was buried in Walter’s grave and dies, then Julian and Priscilla leave, saying that the nightmare is finally over.

This is definitely one of those movies that is funny to watch because it is bad. Well, let me rephrase that some; the English dubbing is bad but the original Italian might have been better. The acting was ok but the dubbing really didn’t fit well with the movie, as it made the dialogue seem overly forced instead of natural. The story actually was a decent little horror/mystery, as they did try to do a good job trying to cast suspicions on several people as to who the werewolf is. The special effects were laughably bad, as the make up for the werewolf looked terrible and some of the camera work was just poorly done. It’s a terrible movie but can be fun to watch because of how bad it is.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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drama, movie, movie review, mystery, sci-fi

May 19th, 2018 Movie – Welcome To Blood City

welcome to blood city

You ever wake up in the morning and just have no motivation to get out of bed and go. That is kind of how I felt this morning. Luckily, that is an easy feeling to get over, well for me, as I simply rolled out of bed and went about my normal routine. Now today’s movie comes to us from the Sci-Fi Invasion box set but it is something I have never seen before. Only way to figure out if it actually belongs there is to give it a watch so let’s see what I am in store for with today’s movie, Welcome To Blood City.

The plot: 5 people (Lewis, Martine, Peter, and two other men ) find themselves in a desert dressed in similar clothes and with no memory as to how they got there. One of the men asks Lewis about his story, mentioning a card in the pocket of Lewis’ shirt, and as Lewis reads it, he asks how many people he killed. The others all say that their cards read that they are killers as well but Lewis chooses to rip his card up, saying not to believe everything they read. With only one canteen between the 5 of them, they start walking across the sand and eventually come to a wooded area with a river. As they start to drink some water, one of the group is shot and two men, Sarge and Webb, rise out of the bushes across the river and tell them to get on their knees. As the two men approach the group, they tell them to removie their boots, which Sarge places in a sack while Webb proceeds to rape Martine. After they leave, the group continues moving until they encounter Sheriff Friedlander, who had watched what had happened to them. Friedlander says that he knows their cards all say they are killers but says it’s ok because they are all killers there. Friedlander leads them to town and escorts them into a building, saying they will be safe there for the night and offers them some food and drink. He then explains that in the morning, the citizens will choose who they want to take and reveals that they are considered slaves. When a man named Gellor arrives with his men, he tells Friedlander that he wants Martine. Friedlander tries to argue that it isn’t the choosing time and that he gets first pick but Gellor counters that Friedlander already has a girl and Friedlander reluctantly concedes. As Gellor grabs Martine and starts examining her, one of the men tries to stop him and ends up being shot. Gellor’s man claims it was self defense but Friendlander yells at them and kicks them out. He apologizes and tells Martine having a girl like her in town is dangerous and decides to take her elsewhere so she will be safe. Meanwhile, two scientists, Katherine and Lyle, are watching some monitors, one of which says the subject is terminated and one of them comments about some people seem to look for ways to kill themselves and the other replies that that was the purpose of their experiment. Back in the town, Lewis goes to cover the body then decides to go outside and get some boots, though Peter says it is a bad idea. As Lewis wanders around town, he is followed by a group of men called the Black Guard, who laugh as he is rejected by the various store owners. Seeing a bootmaker’s shop, Lewis approaches it and the owner threatens to hit him with a hammer but Lewis dodges the attack and grabs the hammer from the man, then spares his life in exchange for the boots off his feet. With his new boots on, Lewis then heads to the gun store for a weapon but the owner kicks him out of the store. As he is leaving, Lewis is approached by a member of the Black Guard, who offers to buy him a drink, saying that he is his 9th. In the bar, Black Guard spills coffee on Lewis, hoping to get a rise out of him and when Lewis refuses to drink the second cup, the man says that Lewis insulted him and that gives him right to kill him. Lewis upends the table to avoid being shot and makes a run for it. theHe makes it to the sheriff’s office and asks Friedlander what is going on. Friedlander tells him that it is the law for a citizen to kill a new arrival that insults him, but if a new arrival kills a citizen, then he becomes a citizen and gets all of their rights. When Lewis asks Friedlander why everything revolves around killing, Friendlander has a sudden flashback of a time when he was a college professor, but shakes it off and tells Lewis it is kill or be killed there. Lewis asks for a gun to defend himself but Friedlander says it is against the law and forces Lewis to go back outside, threatening to shoot him himself if he doesn’t. When Lewis gets outside, he is soon confronted by the Black Guardsman, who goes to shoot Lewis, but a female Black Guard tosses a shotgun to the ground and Lewis quickly grabs it and shoots the man trying to kill him. The dead man’s friends reveal that they were merely working as the man’s bodyguards and that all of his possessions are now Lewis’s. As Lewis turns to thank the female Black Guard, he finds that she has suddenly disappeared. Back in the lab, Lyle says that Katherine shouldn’t have directly programmed herself into the game but Katherine says that she merely extended the options in the game. They are suddenly contacted by their supervisor, who says that they need to produce winners and Katherine argues that they are being unreasonable. After getting some new clothes, Lewis goes to see Martine and she begs for his help in helping her stay out of Gellor’s possession and Lewis tells her he will do what he can to help her. He then heads to the saloon, where he encounters the mystery woman, who is now dressed as one of the working girls. She tells him that she owns the place and she is tired of seeing the same old people every day, which is why she helped him, and the two eventually head upstairs and have sex. Back in the real world, Lyle approaches Katherine, who is attached to the simulation, and chastises her for her actions, saying it is almost like pornography. The next morning in town, Lewis is met by Peter, who tells him that Friedlander wants to see him. Lewis talks with Peter some and asks if he remembers how they got there, as Lewis starts to remember his past life. Back in the lab, alarms are sounding as the scientists rush to prevent Lewis from remembering his life and ruining their experiment. When they finally succeed, the scientists are shocked as that had never happened before and Katherine theorizes that Lewis must be more resistant to altered realities than their other subjects. Back in the town, Lewis meets with Friedlander, and discusses his options on what he can do. He then goes to see Martine, who is near hysterics over her worry about Gellor but Lewis assures her that Gellor would have to kill him first before he gets to her. Some time later, Katherine reappears in town and tries to talk Lewis out of challenging Gellor but he refuses to back down from challenging Gellor for Martine’s safety. When Gellor and his men arrive in town, Friedlander tells Gellor about Lewis’s challenge and Gellor laughs, saying that killing Lewis would make his 20th kill and make him immortal. In the lab, Katherine is upset at Lewis and he says that it looks like he is purposefully rewriting the situation so that Lewis would be killed but Lewis says it isn’t personal, he is just following the supervisor’s orders. In the town, Lewis heads to the saloon to try and reason with Gellor but Gellor want’s to go ahead and kill him. When Lewis’s bodyguards try to stop the fight, Lewis yells out about everyone in town seeming to want to be killed, while in the lab, Lyle remarks about him finally starting to figure things out. Back in the saloon, one of Gellor’s men kills one of Lewis’s bodyguards and Gellor marches Lewis out of the saloon, saying he will have Lewis watch him claim Martine, then kill Lewis in front of her. When they get outside, they learn that Friedlander has started the choosing already and an angered Gellor hurries over to the jail. They get there as the last man is auctioned off and as Gellor yells out for Martine, one of the Black Guard tells the crowd that Martine is gone. Checking for himself, Gellor accuses Friedlander of hiding her and when he threatens to kill him, Friedlander shoots Gellor. As everyone leaves, Lewis demands Friedlander tell him where Martine is but before Friedlander shoots him, Katherine says that he doesn’t know because she is the one who took her. Back in the lab, Lyle is arguing about Katherine’s continued involvement in the experiment but Katherine tells the supervisor that Lewis is a perfect candidate to become a killmaster. The Supervisor says that they have to prove it, as they are losing rapidly. Back in the town, Katherine explains she took Martine but they were ambushed by bandits, who took Martine to the old mine. Lewis asks Friedlander to go back to town and get some men while he has Katherine lead him to the mine. As they are riding along, Lewis tells Katherine that he knows they weren’t ambushed but she gave Martine to the bandits and Katherine says that she did it to save him, then rides off as Lewis is insisting on going to the mine. When Lewis gets there, he knows out the lookout, then begins firing at the bandits, killing several but he soon runs out of bullets. Before they can kill him, Katherine returns with some men and they start killing off the rest of the bandits. When the leader holds Martine hostage, Lewis yells at everyone to stop shooting but Katherine fires one last shot, killing Martine. In the lab, Lyle says that Katherine may have been right about Lewis but Katherine says that he disappointed her, as he merely played not to lose, and that he is about to be terminated. In the town, Friedlander heads to the bar and after talking to Lewis for a minute, moves to arrest him, saying he will think of a charge later. When one of the bystanders says he can’t do that, Friedlander shoots him and Lewis makes a run for it. Friedlander chases after him, constantly laughing as he shoots at him. He eventually catches up to Lewis as Lewis tries to grab a horse but instead of killing Lewis, Friedlander ends up killing himself. Lewis asks Friedlander why but when he gets no response, he walks away. As he heads to the center of town, he is met by Peter, who is wielding a shotgun, and told to stop. Lewis tries to reason with Peter, saying he is being set up just like he was, but Peter says he won’t waste his chance and when Lewis keeps moving towards him, he shoots him. In the lab, Katherine is happy to see Lewis died in the simulation but is shocked to see them reviving the real Lewis and learns it is under the supervisor’s orders. Katherine goes to see the supervisor and asks why Lewis is being revived and she is told she exceeded her authority and Lewis is exactly the kind of person they need. As they argue, Lewis regains consciousness and hears them talking about him. As he tries to figure out what is going on, he starts hitting buttons on the control panel next to his chair and opens a window that shows Martine, Gellor, Friedlander, and the other people that died in the simulation, now mindless shuffling bodies in a room. When Katherine and the supervisor return to the room, they find that Lewis had ripped up the controls for the chair and hotwired it to send him back into the simulation.

This was an interesting, albeit confusing, movie to watch. The acting was honestly a little boring, as all of the characters really seemed to be to stiff and robotic in their delivery. I will say that the end scene with Jack Palance (Friedlander) laughing like a maniac as he kept popping up and shooting at Lewis was funny, in a WTF kind of way. The story was honestly pretty confusing in the sense that they really didn’t explain what the point of the simulation was. I mean, yes, the simulation is testing them for something but you never really know why or what Lewis is expected to do for them. I did like the idea of the people being in a simulated world and the whole dying in the simulation causes you to die, well mentally die, in the real world. I feel like The Matrix borrowed quite a bit from this idea. The special effects were ok but the camera work was just terrible, as there were times that they would randomly zoom close to someone’s face when they weren’t fully in the camera shot, so you would get a great view of someone’s cheek. A for effort….well, maybe a B+ because there was definitely some room for improvement.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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crime, movie, movie review, mystery, thriller

April 13th, 2018 Movie – The Usual Suspects

the usual suspects

Some times, the best way to hear about a movie is word of mouth. If a movie gets a lot of good word of mouth among people, then their friends will be more likely to go see it. That is definitely the case with today’s movie. Everyone that I knew who had seen it had enjoyed it and I ended up seeing it myself. But that word of mouth extended even further when it came out on video, as even more people were talking about it who missed seeing it in theaters. I liked this movie and would always watch it when it came on TV, then finally decided to go ahead and get it on DVD after a while. So let’s enjoy today’s movie, The Usual Suspects.

The plot: On a freight ship docked in San Pedro, California, a badly wounded man, Dean Keaton, lights a match book and drops it to the ground, setting fire to a trail of gasoline. As the flames head towards the gas tanks, the flame is put out by a man urinating off of an upper deck. The man then approaches Keaton, who calls him “Keyser”, and the two talk briefly before Keyser shoots Keaton, then drops a lit cigarette onto the gasoline, reigniting it and causing the ship to explode as the man leaves. Some time later, Roger “Verbal” Kent, a con artist with cerebral palsey, is being interviewed by the police. Verbal tells them that the whole thing started 6 weeks ago when a shipment of guns was hijacked and while the drivers didn’t see anything, they heard one of the thieves speak. The New York Police Dept. pick up Verbal as well as Keaton, Michael McManus, Fred Fenster, and Todd Hockney, and placed in a police line up and each are made to read the line on a card before beginning to interrogate them. When they are placed in a holding cell, McManus and Hockney discuss the rumors about Keaton going straight since hooking up with a criminal defense attorney. They then all discuss why they are there and realize that they are being set up as the police have no real idea who stole the guns and  McManus wants to get back at the cops. Back in the present day, FBI Agent Jack Baer arrives at the dock and asks one of the officers if there were any survivors and learns that there were two; one who was badly burned and taken to the hospital, and one, Verbal, who was taken into custody by the police. Baer heads to the hospital and learns that the injured man had regained consciousness and as he goes in to try and speak to him, he recognizes him as Arkosh Kovash, a Hungarian Mobster. Baer makes a call to arrange for a security detail and an interpreter but as he is on the phone, Arkosh starts yelling out the name “Keyser Soze”, making Baer pause briefly before telling the person on the other phone to locate Dave Kujan. U.S. Customs Special Agent Dave Kujan has flown down to San Pedro to question Verbal but learns that he is going to be posting bail and released the next day. Kujan manages to get in to talk with Verbal before he is released and asks him what happened after the police line up in New York. Verbal explains that McManus had come up with a plan but they needed 5 men to pull it off and Verbal goes to try and convince Keaton to help them. The men all work together to rob some crooked cops that operate an illegal taxi service, robbing the recent customer of some jewels he was carrying, then torching the police car. Keaton calls in an anonymous tip and the media arrives and they end up bringing down the whole ringing, which extends all the way to the chief. McManus plans on heading to California with Fenster to meet with a fence that he knows but Hockney and the others don’t like the idea of them going alone and decide to go with him. Back in the present, Baer has his superior and the interpreter brought into the room and when he learns that Arkosh has seen Keyser Soze’s face, he has a sketch artist brought forward so they can get a sketch from Arkosh’s description. Back in the San Pedro Police Department, Kujan continues to question Verbal and Verbal tells him that after they arrived in California, they met with the fence, Redfoot, who paid them then offered another job. Keaton didn’t want to do it at first but finally relents and goes through with it. They go to steal a suitcase from a courier but unlike the police heist, this time they end up having to kill the men they were stealing from. When they open it, they find the suitcase contains heroin instead of jewels and McManus gets upset and when they meet with Redfoot, he accuses him of setting them up. Keaton calms him down and then questions Redfoot about who hired them and says he wants to meet him and Redfoot says the man has already said he wants to arrange a meeting. Back in the present, Baer heads to the station and meets with Kujan, telling him that according to Arkosh, the Hungarians were meeting with some Argentinians to buy some cocaine when Keyser Soze showed up and killed everyone. When Kujan returns back to the room and asks Verbal about Keyser Soze, he gets visibly upset. Verbal explains how they met with a lawyer named Kobayashi, who tells them he works for Keyser Soze. Kobayashi explains that Soze wants them to do a job for him, which could kill them but if they survive, they will get $91 million to split between them. When Keaton starts to refuse, Kobayashi explains that all of them have stolen from Soze at one point or another, and the only reason they are alive is because they didn’t know they were stealing from them. Soze feels this is simply making things even between them, and Kobayahsi leaves his suitcase on the table and leaves. When Keaton opens it, he finds envelopes with each of their names on them, with details of their lives contained in each one. Back in the present, Verbal tells Kujan a story he was told about how Soze was simply a low level dealer in Hungary when the mob wanted to expand into his territory. They held his wife and children hostage and killed his son in front of him, demanding he turn over his territory or else the others die. Soze proceeds to kill two of the mobsters, then kill his own family, telling the lone survivor he would rather see his family dead. After letting the man go and burying his family, Soze proceeds to go after the mob, killing their children and wives in retaliation, which led to him becoming a myth among criminals. After meeting with Kobayashi, Fenster decides to try and run but he is killed by Soze and Kobayashi tells the others where to find the body. As they argue over what to do, they bury Fenster, then decide to go after Kobayashi but he warns them against killing him, saying that their loved ones will end up dead, showing that he has brought Keaton’s girlfriend to be part of a trial and telling Keaton that the bodyguard he arranged will kill her if he turns up missing. Realizing they are trapped, Keaton and the others head out to the dock and await the meeting between the Hungarians and Argentinians. When the men show up, Keaton, McManus, and Hockney head out to deal with them, leaving Verbal, due to his disability, to cover them. The three men proceed to kill the guards outside and as Keaton and McManus head onto the boat, Hockney heads to a nearby van and finds it full of cash but ends up getting shot. Keaton and McManus make their way through the ship but find no sign of any cocaine on board. Verbal is tired of waiting and goes trying to help but when he finds Hockney’s body, he closes the van doors and goes to drive off but is unable to find the keys. Meanwhile, McManus is stabbed in the neck and as Keaton checks on him, he is shot in the back, which paralyzes him and brings us to the beginning of the movie. Back in the station, Kujan asks Verbal why he didn’t help his friends and he says he was too scared of Soze. Kujan then tells him that there were no drugs on the ship, but it was a witness who had knowledge of Soze, including who Soze really was. Kujan believes that Keaton was really Soze and tries to convince Verbal of that and turn state’s evidence but Verbal refuses and leaves, as his bail has been posted. After Verbal leaves, Kujan is talking with Sergeant Jeff Rabin about the situation and as he looks at the cork board behind Rabin, he realizes Verbal had lied to him, using names and elements from the cork board for his story. Kujan goes chasing after Verbal, just as a fax comes in from the hospital, with Verbal’s picture being listed as Keyser Soze. Outside, Verbal reveals that his disability was faked and he gets into a car that Kobayashi is driving and they drive off, leaving Kujan standing there frustrated at ebing unable to catch Verbal/Soze.

The Usual Suspects met with high praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 88% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Expertly shot and edited, The Usual Suspects gives the audience a simple plot and then piles on layers of deceit, twists, and violence before pulling out the rug from underneath.” The line-up scene was scripted as a serious scene, but after a full day of filming takes where the actors couldn’t keep a straight face, director Bryan Singer decided to use the funniest takes. A making-of documentary shows Singer becoming furious at the actors for the constant cracking-up. The movie was a modest hit at the box office, earning $34.4 million off of a $6 million budget and would win the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and while Kevin Spacey would win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

This is a great movie but I will admit that the ending was a little predictable. The acting was great, with Kevin Spacey, Gabriel Byrne, and Chazz Palminteri doing great jobs in the roles of Verbal/Soze, Keaton, and Kujan respectively. Stephen Baldwin, Kevin Pollack, and Benicio Del Toro were also good as McManus, Hockney, and Fenster while Pete Postlethwaite did a great job as Kobayashi. The story was interesting and I liked the concept of the mysterious puppet master pulling the strings for all of the events. However, I did think that it got predictable that Verbal was really Soze before the “big reveal”. I did like that they showed Kujan realizing that he had been played and chasing after him before the sketch of Verbal gets faxed in, as his reaction and the slow motion showing all of the names Verbal had used was revealed was definitely a good way to start the close of the movie. The drama was well choreographed and the special effects in the final fire fight and explosions were well done. This is definitely a solid thriller of a movie and one that everyone should watch at least once.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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