The Expendables 3

This was another one of those times where I went to see a sequel without having watched the first movie and in this case the second as well. 

I chose to see The Expendables 3 because nothing else was particularly good except for the ones I had already seen and even considering this is the third movie in the franchise I didn’t think the story would be so good and connected to the previous ones that I couldn’t follow it. 

It’s not that the story isn’t interesting and I assume the Stonebanks story may have come from the previous movies but this movies tend to be more about the action than the complicated story that other movies have. That being said I liked the action scenes but the characters felt empty and I ended up enjoying Antonio Banderas Galgo the most. 

IMG_7270.JPG
Here’s the plot from Wikipédia: 

The Expendables led by Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) and formed by Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), Gunnar Jensen (Dolph Lundgren) and Toll Road (Randy Couture) extract former member Doctor Death (Wesley Snipes), a knives specialist and team medic, from a military prison and recruit him to assist them in intercepting a shipment of bombs meant to be delivered to a warlord in Somalia. Arriving there, they reunite with Hale Caesar (Terry Crews), who directs them to the drop point, where Ross is surprised to find out that the arms trader providing the bombs is Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson), who co-founded the Expendables, but later betrayed the team to profit off of illegal weapons dealing, and was since believed to be dead. In the ensuing firefight, the Expendables are forced to retreat due to Stonebanks’ men’s advanced weaponry, and Caesar is severely injured in the process.

Blaming himself, Ross leaves for Las Vegas, where he enlists retired mercenary Bonaparte (Kelsey Grammer) to help him find younger, mercenaries to join the team. The recruits include ex-Marine John Smilee (Kellan Lutz), nightclub bouncer Luna (Ronda Rousey), computer expert Thorn (Glen Powell) and weapons expert Mars (Victor Ortiz). Skilled sharpshooter Galgo (Antonio Banderas) advocates to be included in the team, but Ross turns him down. The new team rendezvous with CIA operative Max Drummer (Harrison Ford), the Expendables’ missions manager, and Ross’ rival Trench Mauser (Arnold Schwarzenegger), who have traced Stonebanks to Romania, where he is set to make a deal with another arms trader. Ross and the new recruits infiltrate his office building and capture him in order to deliver him to Drummer, but Stonebanks’ men catch up to them and fire a missile at the team’s van. Ross is thrown into a ravine, while Smilee, Luna, Thorn and Mars are captured by Stonebanks.

Stonebanks sends Ross a video, challenging Ross to come after him. While preparing to leave, Ross is found by Galgo, and agrees to give him a chance. Christmas, Jensen, Road and Doc likewise join his efforts, and they raid the building where Stonebanks is keeping the recruits and rescue them. Stonebanks has rigged the place with explosives, but Thorn is able to use a battery-powered device to delay the countdown. Drummer and Mauser arrive to help them alongside retired member Yin Yang (Jet Li), and the team begrudingly works together to kill Stonebanks’ men and destroy his weapons. Ross and Stonebanks fight hand-to-hand, and Ross finally kills him just as the batteries of Thorn’s device run out and the entire building begins to collapse. The team makes it to Drummer’s helicopter and flies away to safety.

Caesar recovers from his wounds, and Ross officially accepts Galgo, Smilee, Luna, Thorn and Mars into the team.

IMG_7269.JPG
There’s not yet been a confirmation for another Expendables movie but both Pierce Brosnan and Hulk Hogan claim to be involved in an upcoming sequel.

The Expendables 3 has one of the best casts in the history of action movies with many action legends and a few new ones. This star filled cast is probably why I feel they could have done so much more with the movie. 

Cast:

Sylvester Stallone as Barney Ross: Leader of the Expendables.
Jason Statham as Lee Christmas: The team’s knife expert.
Antonio Banderas as Galgo: a former member of the Spanish Armed Forces, Bosnian war veteran, and expert sharpshooter.
Jet Li as Yin Yang: A hand-to-hand combat expert and former Expendable.
Wesley Snipes as Doctor Death: A former medic, and one of the original Expendables.
Dolph Lundgren as Gunner Jensen: Volatile member of the team.
Kelsey Grammer as Bonaparte: A retired mercenary and ally of the Expendables.
Randy Couture as Toll Road: The team’s demolitions expert.
Terry Crews as Hale Caesar: The Expendables’ barrel-weapons specialist.
Kellan Lutz as John Smilee: A former Navy Seal recruited to the Expendables.
Ronda Rousey as Luna: An athletic nightclub bouncer recruited by Bonaparte. Rousey filmed her role while training to defend her title at UFC 168.
Glen Powell as Thorn: a highly trained combat veteran and hacker.
Victor Ortiz as Mars: A sharpshooter and lethal soldier, who is afraid of heights.
Robert Davi as Goran Vata: The head of the Albanian mafia.
Mel Gibson as Conrad Stonebanks: A rogue co-founder of the Expendables and a ruthless arms dealer.
Harrison Ford as Max Drummer: A CIA field operations officer and pilot who manages the Expendables.
Arnold Schwarzenegger as Trench Mauser: Barney’s former teammate and sometimes rival.

IMG_7267.JPG

Posted in Movies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Eye of God by James Rollins (SIGMA Force #9)

“That’s the beauty of the universe. There’s always a new mystery.”

The Eye of God is the 9th book in the SIGMA Force series by James Rollins. It takes a long time for the books to come to Portugal and by the time I finished the book the 10th book of the series The 6th Extinction was being released in the United States. 

One thing I like in the SIGMA Force series is the mix of real technology and facts with supernatural and theories that revolve around those facts. The Eye of God is in my opinion the weakest of the 9 books I’ve read exactly because of these factors. Not enough of any of those things and several things where just not at the level of the previous books. The whole visions of a near future that may happen or not isn’t that compelling to me. 

I liked a lot of things about the book too like the scenes in Macau and North Korea and all the action sequences where great as usual. 

My biggest complaint of all about this book: not enought Kowalski. Kowalski is by far my favorite character and he stayed a lot on the sidelines in this book. If I could talk to Rollins I would suggest a spinoff series starring Kowalski as the lead. 

IMG_7131.JPG
Here’s the plot from Wikipedia:

The crash of a U.S. military research satellite in the remote wilds of Mongolia triggers an explosive search for the valuable cargo it holds: a code-black physics project connected to the study of dark energy, the energy connected to the birth of our universe. But the last blurry image from the falling satellite captures a chilling sight: a frightening look into the future, a view of a smoldering eastern seaboard of the United States in utter ruin.

At the Vatican, a mysterious package arrives for the head of Pontifical ancient studies, sent by a colleague who had vanished a decade earlier. It contains two strange artifacts: a skull scrawled with ancient Aramaic and a tome bound in human skin. DNA testing reveals both are from Genghis Khan — the long-dead Mongol king whose undiscovered tomb is rumored to hold the vast treasures and knowledge of a lost ancient empire.

Commander Gray Pierce, and Sigma — joined by a pair of Vatican historians — race to uncover a truth tied to the fall of the Roman Empire, to a mystery bound in the roots of Christianity’s origins, and to a weapon hidden for centuries that holds the fate of humanity.

IMG_7130-0.JPG

Posted in Books | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Guardians of the Galaxy

Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, X-Men: Days of Future Past and now Guardians of the Galaxy are the 4 superhero movies adapted to the big screen from 3 different studios from the pages of Marvel comic books. Guardians is by far the best one of them and one of the best movies of the year. 

Everything in the movie works perfectly from the amazing cast to the fantastic soundtrack to the great action sequences and the story is interesting and filled with great comedy moments that made me laugh more than many so called comedy movies. 

I never heard of the comics on wich the movie is based on before the movie was announced but once the cast started to show and they announced Chris Pratt from Parks and Recreations was leading and it featured Zoe Saldana (Star Trek, Avatar), Dave Bautista (WWE), Karen Gillan (Doctor Who) and both Vin Diesel (Fast & Furious, Riddick) and Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle) as the voice of Groot and Rocket Racoon respectively that was enough for me to get interested and then I saw many great names like Glenn Close, Djimon Houson, Benicio del Toro, Michael Rooker, Alexis Denisof and Josh Brolin.

Both Rocket and Groot are incredibly detailed and it’s easy to see why so many people seem to have falled in love with Groot. Groot is the most pure and innocent of all and balances the others even though he is exceptionally strong. 

IMG_7188.JPG
Here’s the plot from Wikipedia:

In 1988, following his mother’s death, a young Peter Quill is abducted from Earth by the Ravagers, a group of space pirates led by Yondu Udonta. Twenty-six years later on the planet Morag, Quill steals an orb only to be intercepted by Korath, a subordinate to the fanatical Kree, Ronan. Although Quill escapes with the orb, Yondu discovers his theft and issues a bounty for his capture while Ronan sends the assassin Gamora after the orb.

When Quill attempts to sell the orb on the Nova Corps home world Xandar, Gamora ambushes him and steals it. A fight ensues, drawing in a pair of bounty hunters: the genetically engineered raccoon Rocket, and the tree-like humanoid Groot. The Nova Corps arrives and arrests the group, imprisoning them in the Kyln. A powerful inmate, Drax, attempts to kill Gamora due to her association with Ronan, who killed his family. Quill dissuades him by saying that Gamora can bring Ronan to him. Gamora reveals that she has betrayed Ronan, unwilling to let him use the orb’s power to destroy entire planets such as Xandar. Learning that Gamora has a buyer for the orb, Rocket, Quill, Groot, and Gamora work together to escape the Kyln.

Elsewhere, Ronan meets with the titan Thanos to discuss his daughter Gamora’s betrayal and the loss of the orb. Accompanied by Drax, Quill’s group escapes the Kyln in his ship—the Milano—and flee to Knowhere, a remote criminal outpost in space built in the giant severed-head of a celestial. A drunken Drax summons Ronan, while the rest of the group meet Gamora’s contact, Taneleer Tivan. Tivan opens the orb, revealing an Infinity Stone, an item of immeasurable power that destroys all but the most powerful beings who wield it. Suddenly, Tivan’s tormented assistant grabs the Stone, triggering an explosion that engulfs his collection.

Ronan arrives and easily defeats Drax, while the others flee by ship, pursued by Ronan’s followers and Gamora’s sister Nebula. Nebula destroys Gamora’s ship, leaving her floating in space, and Ronan’s forces leave with the sphere. Quill contacts Yondu before following Gamora into space, giving her his helmet to survive; Yondu arrives and retrieves the pair. Rocket, Drax, and Groot threaten to attack Yondu’s ship to rescue them, but Quill negotiates a truce by convincing Yondu that they can recover the orb. The group agrees that facing Ronan means certain death, but that they must stop him from using the Infinity Stone to destroy the galaxy. On Ronan’s ship, the Dark Aster, Ronan embeds the Stone in his warhammer, taking its power for himself. He contacts Thanos, threatening to kill him after the destruction of Xandar; hateful of her adopted father, Nebula allies with Ronan.

On Xandar, the Dark Aster is confronted by Yondu’s fleet, the Nova Corps, and Quill’s group, which breaches the Dark Aster. Ronan uses his empowered warhammer to destroy the Nova Corps fleet. Drax kills Korath, and Gamora defeats Nebula (who escapes) and unlocks Ronan’s chambers, but the group finds themselves outmatched by his power until Rocket crashes the Milano through the Dark Aster and into Ronan. The damaged Dark Aster crash lands on Xandar, with Groot sacrificing himself to shield the group. Ronan emerges from the wreck and prepares to destroy Xandar, but Quill distracts him, allowing Drax and Rocket to destroy Ronan’s warhammer. Quill grabs the freed Stone, and with Gamora, Drax, and Rocket sharing its burden, they use it to destroy Ronan.

In the aftermath, Quill tricks Yondu into taking a container supposedly containing the Stone, then gives the real Stone to the Nova Corps. As the Ravagers leave Xandar, Yondu remarks that it turned out well that they did not deliver Quill to his father. Quill’s group, now known as the Guardians of the Galaxy, have their criminal records expunged, and Quill learns that he is only half-human, his father being part of an ancient, unknown species. Quill finally opens the last present he received from his mother; a cassette tape filled with her favorite songs. The Guardians leave in the rebuilt Milano along with a sapling cut from Groot.

In a post-credits scene, Tivan sits in his destroyed archive with two of his living exhibits: a canine cosmonaut and an anthropomorphic duck.

IMG_7191.JPG
The story is interesting and moves quickly. One of the things I liked is how many of these characters outside of the Guardians have survived wich may lead to Nebula, Prime, Youndu and Tivan showing up in the sequel that is schedule to be released in July 28, 2017. 

One of the things I heard even before watching the movie was how good the soundtrack was and how important it was to the movie itself and so I downloaded it before leaving to see it. 

IMG_7189.JPG
My favorite soundtrack is from the 8 Mile movie but this one is fantastic with so many great songs. My favourite ones are in bold.

Awesome Mix vol.1: 

1. Blue Swede – Hooked on a Feeling
2. Raspberries – Go All the Way
3. Norman Greenbaum – Spirit in the Sky
4. David Bowie – Moonage Daydream
5. Elvin Bishop – Fooled Around and Fell in Love
6. 10Cc – I’m Not in Love
7. Jackson 5 – I Want You Back
8. Redbone – Come and Get Your Love
9. The Runaways – Cherry Bomb
10. Rupert Holmes – Escape (The Pina Colada Song)
11. The Five Stairsteps – O-O-H Child
12. Marvin Gaye/Tammi Terrell – Ain’t No Mountain High Enough

For more on the movie check this article on io9. 

IMG_7187.JPG

Posted in Books, Movies, Music | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

The Silkworm is the sequel to the 2013 The Cuckoo’s Calling writen by J.K. Rowling under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. 

I ended up reading the first book after learning it had been writen by J.K. Rowling and I liked the story and suspense as well as the lead characters Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott. 

The Silkwork starts several months after the Lula Landry case and we get to see Strike working on other cases that he got in the aftermath of beating the cops on the LL case.

The case this time revolves around a missing writer later found dead and a book writen by him called Bombyx Mori. Through the book we get to meet a lot of suspects but we also get to spend time with Robin’s fiancé Matthew and some of Strikes friends show up at times including his half-brother Al that plays a role in solving the case. 

The case in itself is great and we get to see parts of Bombyx Mori that are terrific but the best part of the book as to be the characters. From Cormoran and Robin to all the suspects and the people that help Cormoran to all the family and friends of both Cormoran and Robin. 

IMG_7090.JPG
Here’s the plot from Wikipedia:

In the year following the successful resolution of the Lula Landry case, business has improved for private investigator Cormoran Strike. While handling a steady stream of divorce cases and the occasional job on behalf of a tabloid journalist, Strike is approached by Leonora Quine with a plea to locate her husband, the notorious writer Owen Quine, who has disappeared without a trace.

Quine, once hailed as one of the original literary rebels—presented as the literary world’s version of music’s punk rock scene—has struggled for years to recreate the success of his original novel and has fallen out of public view. Strike discovers that his disappearance coincides with the leak of the manuscript for his latest novel, Bombyx Mori. The London literary community considers Bombyx Mori to be unpublishable; an unpleasant mix of rape, sadomasochism, torture, necrophilia and cannibalism, with its hero eaten alive by characters who are thinly-veiled metaphors for people in Quine’s life whom he considers responsible for the destruction of his career.

As Strike searches for Quine, his relationship with his assistant Robin Ellacott deteriorates, particularly after a disastrous meeting with her fiancé Matthew, who takes an immediate dislike to him. Robin feels neglected by Strike, stuck in the role of secretary when she aspires to be an investigator herself; for his part, Strike is unwilling to put Robin in a position where she is forced to choose between her fiancé and her job. Their growing animosity is tempered when Strike finds Quine’s body in an abandoned house bound, disembowelled, doused in acid and posed on a dining table like a roasted turkey; an exact mirror of the final scene in Bombyx Mori.

Strike’s investigation focuses on the seven people so unflatteringly portrayed in the manuscript: his wife, Leonora; his lover, Kathryn Kent; his protégée, Pippa Midgley; his agent, Elizabeth Tassel; his editor, Jerry Waldegrave; his publisher, Daniel Chard; and his former friend and fellow literary rebel, Michael Fancourt. As the police, led by Strike’s friend Richard Anstis, zero in on Leonora as the killer and Strike tries to navigate the complex web of relationships in Quine’s life, the other suspects turn on one another, accusing and counter-accusing each other of not only murdering Quine, but of ghostwriting part of Bombyx Mori as Waldegrave’s character in the manuscript is inconsistent with his relationship to Quine.

The relationship between Strike and Robin is further strained when Matthew’s mother dies suddenly. Robin risks missing the funeral when she chooses to help Strike, and is inadvertently caught lying about it by Matthew. Strike and Robin reconcile, with Strike warning her that if she chooses to become an investigator, she will be asked to do things that Matthew will not like. Both Robin and Matthew gradually accept this, and Robin is drawn into the investigation.

With the case against Leonora piling up, Strike focuses on Quine’s relationship with Michael Fancourt, which fell apart after Fancourt’s first wife Elspeth wrote a novel that was critically and commercially savaged. After an anonymous parody was widely applauded, Elspeth committed suicide, with Fancourt accusing Quine of authoring the parody and Tassel of enabling him. After encounters with Kent and Midgely, Strike is further unable to explain inconsistencies between the original draft of Bombyx Mori and the final manuscript. At first he suspects an accomplice, but concludes that the entire manuscript was instead penned by a ghostwriter when he realises that Bombyx Mori is a metaphor for someone else’s life and that Quine is intended as an antagonist within its pages rather than the hero.

With Robin’s help, he develops a theory of the crime and confronts Fancourt at a party for another author. This is staged for the benefit of Elizabeth Tassel, who is revealed to be the killer. Tassel, a failed author before becoming an agent, was responsible for the parody of Elspeth Fancourt’s novel. After discovering this, Owen Quine blackmailed her to support his intellectually disabled daughter at the cost of his friendship with Michael, and retained her as his agent to maintain the ruse. Twenty years and several unsuccessful novels later, he approached Tassel with the original concept for Bombyx Mori. Realising the potential for the novel, Tassel conspires with him to stage his disappearance to generate publicity, then rewrites the manuscript to be a libellous parthian shot at the industry, murders Quine and frames Leonora for the crime. Tassel attempts to flee, but is quickly apprehended. The original Bombyx Mori manuscript is recovered, with Fancourt acknowledging its literary value. The novel ends with Strike visiting Robin, enrolling her in investigative training courses as a Christmas gift.

Main characters:

Cormoran Strike – a veteran of the Afghanistan war who was discharged after losing half of his leg in a bomb attack. He is a minor celebrity, thanks in part to his notorious rock star father and his solving of a high-profile murder.
Robin Ellacott – Strike’s assistant and secretary who has long harboured a secret fascination with the world of criminal investigations. Now taking on a full-time role within Strike’s agency, she aspires to become an investigator in her own right.

Related to The Bombyx Mori manuscript:

Owen Quine – an author once hailed as an avant-garde writer and one of the first “literary rebels”. He has spent decades trying to recreate the success of his first novel, Hobart’s Sin, to no avail. He is regarded as narcissistic and insecure in the extreme, and only tolerated because of the shadow of untapped potential in his works.
Quine appears in the Bombyx Mori as Bombyx, an aspiring author whose genius is undisputed, unappreciated and unsubstantiated, prompting him to seek out his idols, but discovers that they only seek to use him and abuse him before eating him alive.
Leonora Quine – Quine’s wife, who becomes the prime suspect in his murder. She spends almost all of her time caring for their intellectually-disabled daughter, Orlando.
Leonora appears as Succuba, a demon in the body of a hideous woman who holds Bombyx in bondage and repeatedly rapes him.
Kathryn Kent – Quine’s girlfriend and an author of “fantasy erotica” that has mostly been rejected by the London publishing community.
Kathryn appears as Harpy, a beautiful woman with a hideous deformity, implied to be a crude and cruel metaphor for breast cancer.
Pippa Midgley – a transgender woman undergoing therapy ahead of gender reassignment surgery. She becomes enamoured with Quine after taking a creative writing course he taught; Quine, in turn, was inspired by her personal story as it dovetailed with his original novel.
Appears as Epicoene, a slave to Harpy, who seeks to escape her clutches with Bombyx. Bombyx responds positively until she “sings”, or reveals her transgender status to him, which he finds horrifying.
Elizabeth Tassel – a failed writer who became a literary agent. She lives and works on the fringe of the London literary community, which she deeply resents, and expresses by bullying her staff.
Tassel appears as The Tick, a parasitic woman who cultivates Bombyx’s talent to leech off him.
Jerry Waldegrave – Quine’s long-suffering editor, whose is one of the few people willing to tolerate him. His reputation is ruined by Quine’s behaviour, leading to the breakdown of his marriage and his turn to alcoholism.
He appears as The Cutter, a horned, troll-like creature that ruthlessly destroys Bombyx’s work. He carries a bloodied sack implied to carry an aborted foetus, and attempts to drown other creatures.
Michael Fancourt – one of the original literary rebels, who went on to become a bestselling author. He maintains literature is an art form, and that art can only be considered as much when it provokes social discussion; however, this is little more than an excuse for his deeply misogynistic opinions.
He appears as Vainglorious, a famous author and Bombyx’s idol. He is revealed to be a charlatan, torturing his wife Effigy to fuel his own creativity and passing her torment off as art.
Daniel Chard – the president of Roper Chard, a London publishing house specialising in modern literature. He lacks social skills and is implied to be a latent homosexual.
Appears as Phallus Impudicus, a man who murders writers to steal their talent, violating their corpses with his diseased penis.

Other characters:

Richard Anstis – a detective with the Metropolitan Police who was involved in the incident that cost Strike his leg. Strike considers him a capable investigator, but lacking in imagination.
Matthew Cunliffe – Robin’s fiancé, who disapproves of her work with Strike.
Orlando Quine – Quine’s intellectually-disabled daughter. She is the only person in Quine’s life who does not appear in theBombyx Mori manuscript, and it is implied that she is the only person he genuinely cares about.
Lucy – Strike’s sister on his mother’s side, and the only member of his family that he has any regular contact with. Despite being his younger sister, she tends to mother him, encouraging him to settle down and start a family, much to Strike’s consternation.
Alexander “Al” Rokeby – Strike’s brother on his father’s side, and the only member of his father’s side of the family who he has any contact with.
Nina Lascelles – a junior editor at Roper Chard who helps Strike acquire the Bombyx Mori manuscript. She becomes enamoured with him and pursues a romantic relationship with him, which is not reciprocated.
Joe North – an American writer and friend of Quine and Fancourt. He died of Aids while writing about his experiences living with the disease. After lying abandoned for twenty years, the house where North died became the scene of Quine’s murder.
Christian Fisher – the editor of a niche publishing house who leaks the Bombyx Mori manuscript.
Dominic Culpepper – an opportunistic tabloid journalist who hires Strike to find evidence of wrongdoing among the rich and powerful. He expresses surprise that Strike does not resort to phone-hacking to acquire evidence.
Charlotte Ross – Strike’s on-again, off-again former flame. Following the breakdown of their relationship, she has become engaged to another man, but continues to taunt Strike from afar.

IMG_7091.JPG

Posted in Books | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

“From Humans… Koba Learned Hatred”

Like it happened with 21/22 Jump Street where it took me 2 years to see the first and only 3 weeks to see the sequel this time it took me 3 years to see Rise of the Planet of the Apes and 3 weeks to see Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. 

In a way it’s good that it happened like this since my memories of the first movie are still fresh. Only the Apes are back for the sequel since the humans are all new actors. No word to what happened to Will, Charles or Caroline from the first movie but their house is abandoned and most of the human population died from the ALZ-113 virus. I assume they died but maybe they could have survived and will be back for the third movie. 

The CGI of the apes is better and much more detailed than in the first movie. A lot of the time of the movie is spent with the apes and we get to see their society and their personalities and that’s only possible because of a fantastic job by the actors providing the Mo-Cap with Andy Serkis who plays Caesar shining more than the others.

IMG_7036.JPG
Here’s the plot from Wikipedia:

Starting in 2016, the ALZ-113 virus causes the collapse of human civilization following martial law, civil unrest and the economic collapse of every country in the world. Eight years later, Caesar leads and governs a new generation of apes in a community located in the Muir Woods. While walking through the forest, Caesar’s son Blue Eyes and Rocket’s son Ash encounter a human. The human, Carver, panics and shoots Ash, wounding him. Carver calls for the rest of his small party of armed survivors, led by a man named Malcolm, while Blue Eyes calls for the other apes. Caesar orders the humans to leave. The remaining humans in San Francisco, genetically immune to the virus, are living in a guarded tower within the ruined city. Prompted by Koba, a scarred bonobo who holds a grudge against humans for his mistreatment, Caesar brings a large group of the apes to the city where he conveys the message that while the apes do not want war, they will fight to defend their home. He then demands the humans stay in their territory and states the apes will too.

Malcolm convinces his fellow leader Dreyfus to give him three days to reconcile with the apes to gain access to a hydroelectric dam in their territory, which could provide long-term power to the city. Dreyfus, distrustful of the apes, arms survivors using an abandoned armory. Malcolm then travels into the Ape Village but is captured by Stoned and his gorilla guards. Malcolm is then brought to Caesar by Stoned and Maurice. Malcolm tries to talk to Caesar but much to his anger is knocked down by Stoned. After he is allowed to speak with him, Caesar allows Malcolm to work on the dam’s generator, provided they surrender their guns. As Malcolm, his wife Ellie, and son Alexander work, they bond with the apes. Mutual distrust of both sides gradually subsides but trust momentarily ends when Carver threatens Caesar’s sons with a concealed shotgun. The sides reconcile as Ellie is allowed to treat Caesar’s ill mate Cornelia with antibiotics. Meanwhile, Koba discovers the armory and confronts Caesar, questioning his allegiance and taunting him over his ‘love’ for humans. In response, Caesar heavily beats Koba, but since he does not kill other apes he chooses to forgive him. Koba returns to the armory, steals an assault rifle and murders two human guards. He then kills Carver, stealing his lighter.

The dam is eventually repaired, restoring power to the city. During the celebration, Koba sets fire to the apes’ home. Then while unseen by anyone else, Koba and Caesar lock eyes as Koba shoots Caesar in the chest, causing him to fall from the settlement’s main tree. In the panic of the loss of the Alpha and the fire, Koba takes charge, placing the blame on Malcolm’s group and orders the apes to war against the humans. Malcolm’s group hides as Koba leads the apes into San Francisco. The apes plunder the armory and charge the tower’s gates. Despite heavy casualties, the apes overrun the tower and imprison all the humans as Dreyfus flees underground. When Ash refuses Koba’s orders to kill unarmed humans, citing Caesar’s teachings, Koba kills Ash and jails all those known to be loyal to Caesar.

Malcolm’s group find Caesar barely alive and transport him to his former home in San Francisco. Caesar reveals to Malcolm that Koba shot him, realizing his notion that all apes were better than humans was naive. As he enters the city to find medical supplies so Ellie can operate on Caesar, Malcolm encounters Blue Eyes, who decided to spare Malcom’s life, and takes him back with him to the house. Caesar grows nostalgic watching video clips from his childhood on Will’s old camcorder as Malcolm learns of Caesar’s past. Blue Eyes then returns to the tower, freeing the caged humans and the apes loyal to Caesar. After leading the apes to the tower unseen, Malcolm encounters Dreyfus, who informs him that his men have made radio contact with more survivors, located at a military base up north, on their way to help fight the apes. The freed apes join Caesar and confront Koba at the summit of the tower. While Caesar and Koba battle, Malcolm fails to prevent Dreyfus from detonating C-4 explosives underneath the tower. The resulting explosion simultaneously kills Dreyfus and collapses part of the tower. Caesar overpowers Koba, knocking him to the edge of the tower. While lifting Koba from a ledge, Caesar refuses to save him, claiming he is no longer a true ape, and lets him fall to his death.

Malcolm informs Caesar of the impending arrival of human reinforcements. Both lament the lost opportunity for peace. Caesar tells Malcolm the humans will never forgive the apes for the war they started and tells him to leave with his family for safety. As Malcolm slips away into the shadows, Caesar stands before a kneeling mass of apes awaiting the battle to come.

IMG_7038.JPG
The movie starts with a montage showing the events immediately after Dawn ended and then jumps 8 years in the future. The main focus of tension at first comes between apes and humans but it then it becomes more about apes vs apes. It’s interesting to see it unraveled and I didn’t even notice the time passing on this 130 minutes movie. 

One of the best things about the movie is the relationship between Caesar and Koba. Caesar released Koba from the lab in Rise and Koba is supportive of Caesar at first but then starts to distance himself and even shoots Caesar and becomes the new leader of the apes. 

Cast:

Apes

Andy Serkis as Caesar, a common chimpanzee and leader of the apes.
Toby Kebbell as Koba, a bonobo and Caesar’s second in command.
Nick Thurston as Blue Eyes, Caesar and Cornelia’s first son.
Karin Konoval as Maurice, a Sumatran orangutan and Caesar’s friend and advisor.
Terry Notary as Rocket, a common chimpanzee and Caesar’s friend and Ash’s father.
Doc Shaw as Ash, son of Rocket, also Blue Eyes’ best friend.
Judy Greer as Cornelia, a common chimpanzee and Caesar’s wife, mother of Blue Eyes and a newborn son.
Lee Ross as Grey, a common chimpanzee and a follower of Koba.

Humans

Jason Clarke as Malcolm, the leader of the small group that formed a strong bond with Caesar and the other apes.
Gary Oldman as Dreyfus, the leader of the remaining human survivors.
Keri Russell as Ellie, a former nurse at the CDC, and Malcolm’s wife.
Kodi Smit-McPhee as Alexander, Malcolm’s son.
Kirk Acevedo as Carver, a former San Francisco water worker and a member of Malcolm’s group.
Jon Eyez as Foster, a member of Malcolm’s group.
Enrique Murciano as Kemp, a member of Malcolm’s group.
Jocko Sims as Werner, the colony’s radio operator.
Keir O’Donnell as Finney, a guard at the colony’s armory.
Kevin Rankin as McVeigh, an ally of Dreyfus.
Lombardo Boyar as Terry, a guard at the colony’s armory.
James Franco, who played Dr. Will Rodman in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, has a cameo via a video from Caesar’s childhood.

IMG_7039.JPG

Posted in Movies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

When the movie first came out 3 years ago (2011) I didn’t went to see it mostly because of James Franco. I’m not the biggest Franco fan even considering this is the eight movie I’ve seen him in and I’ve seen 4 TV shows where he appeared. 

After reading and watching the trailer for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes I realised I had to see Rise before to follow the story. 

Franco is actually not bad in this movie and the company of Pinto and Lithgow helps him. Andy Serkis is by far the biggest star in the movie portraying a fantastic Caesar. Serkis work is well knowened. He played Gollum and King Kong but Caesar is on another level since it’s so much more realistic and emotional. 

20140725-180946-65386825.jpg
Here’s the plot from Wikipedia:

Will Rodman (James Franco), a scientist at biotechnology company Gen-Sys, is testing viral-based drug ALZ-112 on chimpanzees to find a cure for brain ailments such as Alzheimer’s disease. The drug is given to a chimpanzee, Bright Eyes, greatly increasing her intelligence, but she is forced from her cage, goes on a rampage, and is killed. Will’s boss Steven Jacobs (David Oyelowo) terminates the project and orders chimp handler Robert Franklin (Tyler Labine) to euthanize the chimps. After doing as ordered, Franklin discovers that Bright Eyes had recently given birth and understands the reason why she was disturbed. He convinces Will to save the baby chimp’s life by taking him home temporarily. Will’s father Charles (John Lithgow), who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, names the chimp “Caesar”. Will learns that Caesar (Andy Serkis) has inherited his mother’s high intelligence (the 112 virus passing to him in utero) and decides to raise him, working from home and observing his behavior in hopes that he can get the project restarted. Three years later, Will introduces Caesar to the redwood forest at Muir Woods National Monument. Meanwhile, with Charles’ condition rapidly deteriorating, Will treats him with ALZ-112 and he is restored to better-than-original cognitive ability.
After five more years and upon seeing a dog on a leash like his own, Caesar (now an adolescent) openly questions his identity and Will tells him of his origins. Meanwhile, Charles’s dementia returns as he has become resistant to the ALZ-112. Caesar witnesses a confrontation between confused Charles and neighbor Douglas Hunsiker (David Hewlett) and attacks Hunsiker. Caesar is then placed in a primate shelter where he is treated cruelly by the other chimps and the chief guard, Dodge Landon (Tom Felton). Caesar learns how to unlock his cage, gaining free access to the common area. With the assistance of Buck, a gorilla, he confronts the sanctuary’s alpha chimp and claims that position.

Jacobs clears development of a more powerful, gaseous version of the viral drug (now called ALZ-113) when Will tells him it will not only heal brain disease but also improve intelligence in anyone. Will takes the drug home to try to save his father, but Charles declines and passes away overnight. Franklin is later exposed to the new drug and becomes ill. Attempting to warn Will at his home, he sneezes blood onto Hunsiker and is later discovered dead. Will attempts to reclaim Caesar (after bribing the head of the shelter to release him), but the chimp refuses to go home with him. Instead, he escapes from the facility and returns to Will’s house, where he takes canisters of the ALZ-113.

Returning to the facility, Caesar releases the gas, enhancing the intelligence of the other apes overnight. When Dodge attempts to get him back into his cage, Caesar shocks him by speaking for the first time, yelling “No!”. Caesar then electrocutes the cattle prod-wielding Dodge by spraying him with water, unintentionally killing him. The apes flee the facility, release the remaining apes from Gen-Sys, and free the other apes from the San Francisco Zoo.

A battle ensues as the ape army fight their way past a police blockade on the Golden Gate Bridge to escape into the redwood forest. Buck sacrifices himself to save Caesar by jumping into the helicopter in which Jacobs is riding. The helicopter crashes onto the bridge, trapping Jacobs in the wreckage. Jacobs is then killed by Koba, an elder ape who had been a test subject all his life. As the apes find their way into the forest, Will arrives and warns Caesar that the humans will hunt them down, and begs him to return home. In response, Caesar hugs him and says that “Caesar is home.” Will, realizing that this is indeed their last farewell, respects Caesar’s wishes.

During the credits, Hunsiker (having been infected by Franklin) leaves his house for work as an airline pilot, arriving at San Francisco International Airport for his flight to Paris. His nose begins to drip blood onto the floor. A graphic traces the spread of the humanity-killing virus to Europe and then around the globe via international airline flight routes.

20140725-181040-65440862.jpg
The story ended up being much more interesting than I though it would be. From Rodman’s work at the lab and his connection to Caesar to Caesar’s emotional dept and cleverness. 

The movie has a lot of great moments like when Caesar says “No” or when he is left in the sanctuary. All those moments work because of some of the best CGI effects I’ve ever seen. All the apes are incredibly realistic and the work done by Serkis and the other actors who did the motion-capture is fantastic. 

20140725-181151-65511734.jpg
Cast:

Humans

James Franco as Dr. William “Will” Rodman, a scientist who is trying to discover a cure for his father’s Alzheimer’s disease by testing ALZ-112 on chimps. He is a father figure to Caesar.
Freida Pinto as Caroline Aranha, a primatologist who starts a relationship with Will and grows attached to Caesar.
John Lithgow as Charles Rodman, Will’s Alzheimer’s-afflicted father and a former music teacher who improves after Will gives him the ALZ-112 and forms a strong bond with Caesar.
Brian Cox as John Landon, manager of the San Bruno Primate Shelter where Caesar is confined for a time. His full name is a reference to one of the astronauts in the original Planet of the Apes.
Tom Felton as Dodge Landon, John’s son and an animal caretaker at the shelter, who enjoys treating the apes cruelly. His first and last name are references to two of the astronauts in the original Planet of the Apes.
David Oyelowo as Steven Jacobs, Will’s greedy boss. His last name is a reference to Arthur P. Jacobs, the producer of the original Planet of the Apes series.
Tyler Labine as Robert Franklin, a chimp handler at Gen-Sys and one of Will’s friends.
Jamie Harris as Rodney, a caretaker and a nightwatchman who is much kinder to the apes at the sanctuary and is regularly victimized by Dodge for this.
David Hewlett as Douglas Hunsiker, Will’s hot headed neighbor.
Chelah Horsdal as Irena, a nurse who is looking after Charles.

Apes

Andy Serkis as Caesar, a common chimpanzee whose intelligence is increased from inheriting ALZ-112 from his mother during her pregnancy, and who is raised by Will for eight years. He leads an ape revolution against humanity. The character is based on Caesar from Conquest of the Planet of the Apes and Battle for the Planet of the Apes of the original series.
Karin Konoval as Maurice, a Bornean orangutan who was retired from the circus and knows sign language; he becomes Caesar’s closest ally. His name is a reference to Maurice Evans, who played orangutan Dr. Zaius in the original Planet of the Apes (1968). Konoval also cameos as the court clerk whom Will briefly argues with about his appeal.
Terry Notary as Rocket, the dominant chimpanzee at the ape sanctuary, until Caesar overthrows him. His name references the set decorator of Planet of the Apes, Norman Rockett. Also as Bright Eyes, Caesar’s mother who was captured in Africa. Her name is the nickname given to Charlton Heston’s human character by Zira in the 1968 film.
Richard Ridings as Buck, a western lowland gorilla who pledges his allegiance to Caesar after he is freed by him. His name is a reference to Buck Kartalian, who played the gorilla Julius in the 1968 film and the gorilla Frank in Conquest of the Planet of the Apes.
Devyn Dalton as Cornelia, a female chimpanzee in the ape sanctuary. Her name is based on that of Cornelius, played by Roddy McDowall in the original Planet of the Apes.
Jay Caputo as Alpha, the dominant male chimpanzee of Bright Eyes’ troop and Caesar’s father.
Christopher Gordon as Koba, a scarred bonobo who has spent most of his life in laboratories and holds a grudge against humans. He is named Koba after an alias often used by Joseph Stalin.

20140725-181251-65571013.jpg

Posted in Movies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

22 Jump Street

It took me 3 weeks but I finally watched this movie wich is a short period considering the 2 years it took me to see 21 Jump Street

This movie is a sequel and it makes several jokes about sequels and how most of them tell the same story only with a bigger budget. Some of that actually translates to the movie and they get a new bigger headquarters (with construction on 23 Jump Street already on the way) and they end up trying to solve a similar case than before. 

The chemistry between Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum is there again and there’s lots of laughs. The scene of Jenko running around laughing about how Schmidt had sex with the captains daughter is perfect. 

20140724-181039-65439963.jpg
Here’s the plot from Wikipedia:

Two years after their success in the Jump Street program, Morton Schmidt and Greg Jenko are back on the streets chasing drug dealers. They thought by going to actual college that they would be hunting down real criminals once again. However, unannounced to them, they were assigned to an online university, only looking for keywords and phrases during online lectures that might give off any indication of any illegal crime happening around the city. Eventually, they come across the meeting time and location of another powerful gang in the docks. However, after failing in the pursuit of a group of dealers led by the elusive Ghost, Deputy Chief Hardy puts the duo back on the program to work for Captain Dickson—now located across the street at 22 Jump Street. Their assignment is to go undercover as college students and locate the supplier of a drug known as “WHYPHY” that killed a student photographed buying it on campus.

At college, Jenko quickly befriends a pair of jocks named Zook and Rooster, two football player fraternity members that become the prime suspects of the investigation. Jenko starts attending parties with the jocks who do not take as kindly to Schmidt. Meanwhile, Schmidt gets the attention of an art student, Maya, by feigning an interest in slam poetry. The two sleep together, to the disapproval of Maya’s roommate Mercedes, and it is revealed that Maya is the daughter of the vehemently disapproving Captain Dickson. Despite sleeping together, Maya tells Schmidt not to take it seriously, and he starts to feel left out as Jenko bonds more and more with Zook, who encourages him to join the football team.

Schmidt and Jenko visit Mr. Walters and Eric in jail for advice on how to look for the WHYPHY supplier. Walters notices a unique tattoo on the arm of the dealer in the photograph and insists that if they find the tattoo, they will have found their man. Initially, evidence points towards Rooster having the identified tattoo, but it is revealed to be his high school mascot, the Plainview Red Herring. Whilst hanging out with Zook and Rooster, Jenko notices that Rooster does not have the tattoo but sees it on Zook’s arm. Schmidt and Jenko are invited to join the fraternity led by the jocks but Schmidt refuses, furthering the tension between the two. At a counseling session, they realize that perhaps Zook was buying the drugs rather than selling them, and soon after find Ghost and his men on campus. A chase ensues and Ghost once again evades the pair. Jenko reveals to Schmidt that he’s been offered a football scholarship with Zook and is unsure whether or not he wants to continue to be a police officer. Schmidt decides for him by telling officers on the scene that Jenko had nothing to do with the melee caused by the chase. Immediately afterwards, Schmidt moves out of the dorm as Maya discovers his true identity and leaves him. Dr. Murphy, a psychology professor who they visit early in the film, is deemed the supplier when traces of WHYPHY are found in his office. He is subsequently arrested and the case closed.

Schmidt, back on park patrol, realizes Ghost pays tuition for one of the students at the university after looking in the case file. Jenko spots WHYPHY circulating on campus again and determines the real supplier, still at large, will go down to Puerto Mexico on Spring Break to spread the drug to other schools. Jenko asks Schmidt for help so that the two can have one final mission together, and the pair head to the beach where Ghost is likely to be dealing WHYPHY. Inside a bar, they find Mercedes, revealed to be Ghost’s daughter, as the supplier giving instructions to other dealers. They also find out their old roommates, nicknamed the Twins, are also in on the deal. The pair, backed up by Dickson, ambush the meeting and give chase as they flee. Mercedes is able to handcuff Dickson and take him hostage, pursued by Schmidt as Jenko goes after Ghost. After a fistfight with Mercedes, Schmidt is held at gunpoint by her but Maya (who happens to be on break at the same location) sneaks up and knocks her out. Schmidt goes to help Jenko who is now on the roof of a high-rise hotel in pursuit of Ghost, who shoots Jenko in the shoulder once again. Ghost attempts to escape in a helicopter and Jenko jumps across to it but struggles to hold on with his injured arm. Schmidt makes the same jump and the two fall into the sea, but not before Jenko is able to throw a grenade into the helicopter, killing Ghost. Back on land, Jenko tells Schmidt that he still wants to be a police officer as he believes their differences help their partnership, and the two reconcile in front of a cheering crowd. Dickson approaches them claiming to have a new mission undercover at a med school.

During the credits, a series of mock sequels and vignettes are shown depicting the two going undercover in various places, such as culinary school, dance academy, flight school, seminary (in which Schmidt is played by Seth Rogen due to a “contract dispute”), and space camp (2121 Jump Street). Detective Booker (Richard Grieco) returns in Jump Street Generations, and Ghost is revealed to have survived the explosion, returning in 34 Jump Street: Return of the Ghost. A fictional franchise is also born from the events of the film, including an animated series, video games, and toys.

20140724-181346-65626323.jpg
The story was interesting with a lot of references to 21 Jump Street. 22 somehow managed to be even funnier that 21. Even the credits where awesome with several sequels set in different schools, seminary and space camp. 

Some of the actors from 21 came back for short sequences like Schmidts parents or the 2 “bad guys” from 21 that are now in jail.

20140724-181425-65665030.jpg
Cast:

Jonah Hill as Morton Schmidt
Channing Tatum as Greg Jenko
Peter Stormare as Ghost
Ice Cube as Capt. Dickson
Amber Stevens as Maya Dickson
Wyatt Russell as Zook
Jillian Bell as Mercedes
Jimmy Tatro as Rooster
Nick Offerman as Deputy Chief Hardy
Dave Franco as Eric Molson
Rob Riggle as Mr. Walters
Marc Evan Jackson as Dr. Murphy
Kenny Lucas as Kenny Yang
Keith Lucas as Keith Yang
Queen Latifah as Mrs. Dickson
Diplo as Spring Break DJ
Dustin Nguyen as Vietnamese Jesus
Richard Grieco as Booker
H. Jon Benjamin as MCS Football Coach
Patton Oswalt as MC State Professor
Bill Hader as Culinary School Villain
Anna Faris as Anna
Seth Rogen as Morton Schmidt

20140724-181501-65701309.jpg

Posted in Movies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment