Billionaire Edward Cole (Jack Nicholson) and scholarly auto mechanic Carter Chambers (Morgan Freeman) have virtually nothing in common—with the exception of terminal cancer and a shared regret about missed opportunities in their lives. When they end up side by side in a hospital room, the two devise a "bucket list" detailing the experiences they would like to have before they kick the bucket. Together they embark on a journey of self-discovery and friendship as they check off the items on their list.
What a swift kick in the ass! Co-written and produced by Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly on TV, The Avengers), The Cabin in the Woods is the most self-aware and gleefully gory comedy-horror flick since the Scream series devolved into a parody of a parody. As I write this, there are probably forums of fanboys aflame, identifying and exchanging the horror movie references throughout. Its plot practically defies description, but the elevator pitch would be Evil Dead meets The Truman Show.
If it weren’t for the 2012 presidential election and the recent public shaming of Anthony Weiner and David Petraeus, we might have a difficult time finding any credibility in the outrageous humor of The Campaign. Scandals, corruption, lies, and character assassination: It isn’t just for breakfast anymore. It’s become part of our daily diet. Just watch CNN, for Pete’s sake.
The Pevensie childrenPeter (William Moseley), Edmund (Skandar Keynes), Susan (Anna Popplewell), and Lucy (Georgie Henley)face a perilous mission and a greater-than-ever test of their faith and courage. Thirteen hundred years of Narnia time have passed since their last visit, but only one year in their normal reality. Although the White Witch (Tilda Swinton) is gone, making only a brief appearance in the movie, the realm is ruled by a cruel tyrant, King Miraz (Sergio Castellitto), and Aslan (voiced by Liam Neeson) has been missing for over a thousand years. With the help of Prince Caspian (Ben Barnes), the four children embark on a journey to find Aslan and restore magic and glory to the land.
In World War II-ravaged England, four siblings discover a magical wardrobe cabinet while playing hide-and-seek in the rural country home of an elderly professor. The wardrobe is a passageway to the world of Narnia, a charming land inhabited by talking animals, dwarfs, centaurs, and giants. But the evil White Witch, Jadis (Tilda Swinton), has cursed the world into a perpetual winter. Aided by the lion Aslan (voiced by Liam Neeson), the children battle to overcome the evil White Witch's powerful hold over Narnia.
Precocious siblings Lucy (Georgie Henley) and Edmund (Skandar Heynes), along with their cousin Eustance (Will Poulter), are sucked into a painting and transported back to Narnia. They join King Caspian (Ben Barnes) and the noble mouse Reepicheep in a quest to rescue lords who had been lost fighting evil on a remote island. Aboard the magnificent ship The Dawn Treader the courageous voyagers travel to mysterious islands, confront mystical creatures, and reunite with the Great Lion Aslan on a mission that tests their characters to determine the fate of Narnia itself.
I haven't been a big fan of this theatrical franchise (nor the books, for that matter), but I do appreciate the family friendly message and just adore Georgie Henley's character. Fortunately, the director keeps the runtime under two hours and the brisk pacing helps keep the film more entertaining than the bloated second installment Prince Caspian. Disney decided the dump the franchise after the poor box office showing of the second film and Fox stepped in to the mix, but with a much lower budget (about $80 million less), and it shows in the finished product. The CGI isn't nearly as good and the cinematography takes a step back compared to its two predecessors.
Celie (Whoopi Goldberg) is a southern black woman virtually sold into a life of servitude to a brutal husband, sharecropper Albert (Danny Glover). Celie pours out her innermost thoughts in letters to her sister Nettie (Akousa Busia), but Albert has been hiding the return correspondence making Celie believe she's dead. Finally, Celie finds champions in her daughter-in-law, the take-no-shit Sofia (Oprah Winfrey) and the glamorous Shug Avery (Margaret Avery), a local entertainer.
Up until Steven Spielberg produced and directed this film, he was more known for "popular" cinematic titles such as Jaws, Indiana Jones< and E.T and he hadn't had to deal with meaty subjects such as rape, incest, and woman's rights. Ultimately the film received 11 Academy Award nominations (winning none) and Spielberg proved he was up for the challenge and went on to become one of the best director's of his generation.
On the evening of April 14, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln was shot and killed in Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C. Twelve days later, his assassin John Wilkes Booth, perished while barricading himself in a barn rather than surrender to the Union Army. In the tumultuous weeks following the assassination, a web of conspiracy was uncovered, and a number of Booth’s accomplices were arrested and put on trial.
The conspirator of the film’s title is Mary Surratt (Robin Wright),
the woman who owned the boarding house where the accomplices met in secret and whose son was closely tied to Booth. Blinded by revenge and an unrelenting desire to put the matter to rest, the American State Department completely disregarded the rule of law and Surratt’s constitutional rights in their fervor to secure a conviction. James McAvoy deftly plays Frederick Aiken, the attorney assigned to defend Surratt and who ends up fighting overwhelming opposition from the seats of power in his quest for a fair trial.
Batman (Christian Bale) continues his war on crime in Gotham City with the help of Lt. Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) and District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart). Determined to destroy organized crime, the three make great strides toward restoring order until a criminal mastermind know as The Joker (Heath Ledger) thrusts the city into anarchy, forcing Batman closer to crossing the fine line between hero and vigilante.
Eight years have passed since the complicated events of The Dark Knight. The Batman (Christian Bale) has taken the blame for the death of district attorney Harvey Dent in an attempt to inspire the people of Gotham City to stand strong against crime. With the subsequent passage of the Dent Act, Gotham is tougher on criminals than ever, even while The Bat has disappeared, his alter ego Bruce Wayne living in self-imposed exile.
A flying saucer lands in Washington D.C., capturing the attention of the world. When Klaatu (Michael Rennie) and his robot Gort (Lock Martin) emerge from the vehicle, Klaatu is shot by a nervous soldier and taken to Walter Reed Hospital for recovery. He soon receives a visit from the President's envoy, Mr. Harley (Frank Conroy), who apologizes for the misunderstanding. Klaatu's only request is to meet with all of the world's leaders to deliver a message, but given the political climate, this is an impossible request.
Based on the short story Farewell to the Master by Henry Bates, The Day the Earth Stood Still tries to modernize the 1951 classic with modern special effects and a new take on the story. Klaatu (Keanu Reeves) and his robot Gort emerge from a spaceship in Central Park, whereupon he's shot by a nervous soldier. Klaatu is then rushed to a military hospital for surgery, and once he's patched up, he is visited by the Secretary of Defense (Kathy Bates), who denies his request for a meeting with the UN. With the help of Dr. Helen Benson (Jennifer Connelly), Klaatu escapes, and the two end up spending the majority of their time together as all hell breaks loose.
For those who found Revolutionary Road too upbeat comes its British postwar counterpart in the soul-crushing slog that is The Deep Blue Sea (for those hoping to read a review of Renny Harlin’s guilty pleasure of a shark movie, the title of that is simply Deep Blue Sea, so sorry to disappoint you!). Set in 1950 post-war London, The Deep Blue Sea gives us Hester (Rachel Weisz), a smart, cultured, and ardent woman at a time when none of those traits was apparently valued in British society. Hester leaves her staid marriage to a wealthy judge old enough to be her father (and who looks old enough to be her grandfather), falling in for a fiery affair with a handsome pilot nearer her age named Freddie (Tom Hiddleston, or Loki to Avengers fans out there). The drag is, Freddie’s rather a creep and has issues with both commitment and finding gainful employment.
What do you say about a Best Picture Winner? For one, I can say I didn't think it was the best movie I saw in 2006, even though I only saw a handful of movies. I can also say unequivocally that I don't agree at all that this is Martin Scorsese's best movie since the seminal Goodfellas in 1990. Kundun and The Aviator were as good or better. But Oscar had some catching up to do, and did so with a vengeance.