Monday, October 22, 2012

"Quantum of Solace" (2008)

Starring Daniel Craig, Olga Kurylenko and Mathieu Almaric
Written by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and Paul Haggis
Directed by Marc Forster
Rated PG-13 - Violence, language, sex
Running Time: 106 Minutes

Following immediately on from the events of "Casino Royale," "Quantum of Solace" opens as James Bond (Daniel Craig) is transporting Mr. White (Jesper Christensen) to be interrogated by MI6 agents, including M (Judi Dench) herself.  After Bond eludes White's agents, he's shocked to discover that White has people everywhere - including inside MI6, as one of their own agents is revealed as a traitor and tries to kill M.

Bond chases him down, but kills the man in the process.  M sends Bond to follow the agent's money trail, which takes him to a hired killer in Haiti.  Unfortunately, Bond kills him, too, and is forced to impersonate the man in order to learn more about his job. Bond meets Camille Montes (Olga Kurylenko), the lover of one Dominic Greene (Mathieu Almaric), a powerful businessman and philanthropist.  It seems Greene wants her dead, and she doesn't particularly have happy wishes for him in return.

Bond suspects that Greene is part of White's organization, and vows to dig deeper.  But M, frustrated with Bond's inability to bring back leads alive, cuts him off.  On his own, in need to help and contacts, Bond goes to a former ally, Rene Mathis (Giancarlo Giannini), and his friend in the CIA Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright), in order to discover Greene's plans and shut down the mysterious organization that seems one step ahead of MI6 at every turn.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

"Casino Royale" (2006)

Starring Daniel Craig, Eva Green and Mads Mikkelson
Written by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and Paul Haggis
Directed by Martin Campbell
Rated PG-13 - Violence, torture, sex
Running Time: 144 Minutes

After making his first two kills as an MI6 agent, James Bond (Daniel Craig) earns his "00" status, becoming agent 007.  M (Judi Dench) sends him on his first mission, to surveil and capture a bombmaker in Madagascar.  Unfortunately, Bond not only kills the man, but he does so after storming a foreign embassy and getting caught on camera, causing an international incident.

Infuriated, M puts Bond on suspension, wondering if she's made a huge mistake promoting him.  But instead of going on vacation as he's ordered, Bond tracks the bombmaker's contacts to the Bahamas where he discovers that the man was involved in some kind of terrorist scheme to blow up a prototype new airliner set to be unveiled in Miami.

After he stops the attack, M decides to bring Bond up to speed on what's really going on: MI6 is interested in making contact with a man named Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelson), a banker for a mysterious terrorist organization.  Bond's new mission, if he can learn to control his temper and not go off half-cocked blowing things to smithereens, is to engage Le Chiffre in a game of high-stakes poker at Casino Royale in Montenegro.  It seems Le Chiffre likes to use his clients money to bet with, and if Bond can clean him out, then he'll have no choice but to turn to MI6 for protection and give up everything he knows.

Bond is paired with veteran agent Rene Mathis (Giancarlo Giannini) and treasury agent Vesper Lynd (Eva Green).  As the game grows more desperate and the stakes more dangerous, Bond finds himself drawn more and more to Lynd, and she to him.  But all is not as it seems, and if Bond can't beat Le Chiffre and keep Vesper safe, his first mission might be his last.

Friday, October 19, 2012

"Enemy of the State" (1998)

Starring Will Smith, Gene Hackman and Jon Voight
Written by David Marconi
Directed by Tony Scott
Rated R - Violence, language
Running Time: 131 Minutes

Robert Dean (Will Smith) is a successful lawyer at a law firm in Washington DC.  One day while buying Christmas gifts for his wife and son (Regina King and Jascha Washington) he runs into an acquaintance from college, Daniel Zavitz (Jason Lee).  Zavitz has stumbled upon evidence that a powerful congressman recently found dead was actually murdered, and Zavitz is now being chased by NSA agents who don't want that evidence seen by anyone.  Zavitz drops the video into Dean's bag without him noticing, and is promptly killed by a fire truck while running from the NSA.

Soon enough, Dean finds himself under surveillance by the same NSA agents.  His phones are tapped, trackers are placed on his clothing, and more.  Worse, the NSA has planted evidence that Dean may be in bed with the mob, and cheating on his wife.  But that is only the beginning.  As Dean attempts to clear his name, he discovers the evidence about the congressman's murder.

With the government after him and his family and friends in danger, Dean has no choice but to track down a mysterious man called Brill (Gene Hackman), an investigator he's hired in the past through a mutual acquaintance.  Brill is a former NSA agent who Dean believes is the only one who can help him clear his name.  Now they'll have to get over their mutual dislike of each other in order to turn the tide on the corrupt NSA director (Jon Voight) who is responsible for everything.

"Mean Girls" (2004)

Starring Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams and Tina Fey
Written by Tina Fey
Directed by Mark Waters
Rated PG-13 - Language, teen drinking, sexual themes
Running Time: 96 Minutes

Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan) is a young girl who for most of her life was home-schooled by her parents, (Neil Flynn and Ana Gasteyer) who were zoologists working in Africa.  Now that they have returned to the United States, they've decided that it's time Cady went to high school and had a social life. So Cady enrolls at North Shore High and instantly has no idea how to deal with people.

She soon falls in with outcasts Janice (Lizzy Caplan) and Damien (Daniel Franzese).  They inform her about the various cliques in the school, including "The Plastics" - the ultimate queen bitches who rule North Shore with an iron fist.  First is Karen (Amanda Seyfried), the dumb blond.  Second is Gretchen (Lacey Chabert), the suck-up.  And finally, Regina (Rachel McAdams), the leader.

When Janice learns that the Plastics have taken an interest in Cady, she convinces Cady to join them in order to get dirt on them.  Cady develops a crush on Aaron (Jonathan Bennett) who just happens to be Regina's ex.  When Regina finds out, she sabotages things between Cady and Aaron, taking Aaron for herself.  Cady and Janice concoct a plan for revenge, but unfortunately, Cady has begun to go native.  She's spent so much time undercover amongst the Plastics, that she's actually become one of them, and starts hurting everyone around her.

As things get worse and worse, the entire school begins to turn against Cady and against each other.  Without her friends and her family, Cady has no idea how to fix things.  Unfortunately for her, Regina isn't going to take her humiliation sitting down, and her revenge could tear the entire school apart.

Monday, October 15, 2012

"Argo" (2012)

Starring Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston and Alan Arkin
Written by Chris Terrio
Directed by Ben Affleck
Rated R - Violence, strong language
Running Time: 120 Minutes

"Argo" is based on the incredible true story of six Americans who managed to escape the US embassy in Tehran as it was besieged by rioters in 1979.  The six took refuge in the nearby home of the Canadian ambassador, Ken Taylor (Victor Garber).  As the hostage crisis wears on, the "houseguests" continue to hide from the Iranians, but their situation is growing precarious.

CIA agent Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) comes up with a daring plan to rescue them by flying into Iran and posing as part of a Canadian film crew scouting locations for a new science fiction movie called "Argo."  The plan is preposterous, but Mendez manages to get the higher ups to sign off on it because it's "the best bad idea we've got."  To wit, Mendez flies to California and enlists the aid of John Chambers (John Goodman) an Oscar-winning Hollywood makeup artist.  Chambers helps Mendez construct an elaborate ruse to make "Argo" seem like a real film.

The two get a big-shot producer, Lester Siegel (Alan Arkin) to put together their fake film.  Siegel begins casting the picture, setting up office space, doing all the things that real Hollywood movies do in pre-production.  With a script, storyboards, and fake credentials in place, Mendez must make his daring entry into Iran, coach the houseguests on their new identities and pray that their cover story is good enough to get them through the airport alive.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

"Looper" (2012)

Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis and Emily Blunt
Written and directed by Rian Johnson
Rated R - Violence, language, nudity, drug use
Running Time: 118 Minutes

"Time travel hasn't been invented it.  But in the future, it will be."

Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a special hit man called a Looper.  Whenever a criminal organization in the future needs to get rid of someone, they send him to the past.  Joe is there, and he kills whoever arrives at his location at the specified time, and then disposes of the body.  But there's a certain clause in the contract: whenever your usefulness to the organization has ended, you're sent back in time and killed by your own younger self.  This is called closing the loop.

One night, Joe's friend Seth (Paul Dano) fails to kill his older self, and comes to Joe for help.  But Joe gives Seth up to his boss, Abe (Jeff Daniels), who is actually from the future and sent back to run the Loopers.  But Seth has a dire warning from his older self: someone named the Rainmaker has been closing all the loops, and worse, is cutting a swath of death and destruction across the entire world.  His reign of terror is unstoppable.

Soon enough, Joe finds it's his turn: his older self (Bruce Willis) arrives from the future.  But Old Joe manages to get the drop on his younger self and escapes.  Now both Joes are on the run from Abe's men, especially Kid Blue (Noah Segen) and Jesse (Garrett Dillahunt).  Joe realizes that he can get his life back as soon as he kills Old Joe, but Old Joe has come from the future on a mission: He's going to find the Rainmaker as a child and kill him before he can become the horror he'll grow into.  Young Joe knows this, and tracks down the boy (Pierce Gagnon) and his mother (Emily Blunt) first.

Now it's only a matter of time before their inevitable confrontation.  But Abe and his men are closing in, too.  And what exactly is it that will turn this intelligent young boy into the worst terror the world has ever seen?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

'Fringe' Season Four (2011)

Starring Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson and John Noble
Created by JJ Abrams, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci

The war between the universes has been averted, but at a terrible cost.  Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) has been erased from the timeline.  But as the Fringe teams in both universes continue to deal with strange events connected to the degradation of the universes and the fracturing of the timeline, FBI agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) and crackpot scientist Walter Bishop (John Noble) have visions and dreams of a strange man neither one can identify.

And then, suddenly, Peter Bishop winks into back into existence.  Convinced he's found himself in another alternate universe or timeline, Peter focuses himself on finding a way home, back to his Olivia. Meanwhile, in this altered timeline, Peter wasn't able to stop David Robert Jones (Jared Harris) from crossing over years earlier, and now the radical terrorist is back.  He's employing a new variety of shapeshifters that are harder to spot in order to advance his plans for destruction.

Now Peter must use his knowledge and memories that no one else has to help both universes join forces to stop Jones from enacting his awful plan: to collapse both universes and create a third new one, one that he can design and control to his will.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

"Act of Valor" (2012)

Starring Jason Cottle, Alex Veadov and Roselyn Sanchez
Written by Kurt Johnstead
Directed by Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh
Rated R - Violence, language
Running Time: 110 Minutes

Two CIA agents, Lisa (Roselyn Sanchez) and Walter (Nestor Serrano) are ambushed in Costa Rica after uncovering evidence that a smuggler named Cristo (Alex Veadov) has formed an alliance with a terrorist named Shabal (Jason Cottle).  Walter is killed, but Lisa is tortured for information.

Navy SEAL Team 7, led by "Rorke," is tasked with her retrieval.  His team infiltrates the camp where she's being held and recovers her, but also finds a cell phone.  On this cell phone is intel that Shabal is planning an attack on American soil.  Thus, the SEALs are ordered to continue on the mission, their ultimate goal to find Shabal and stop his devastating attack.

It seems Shabal has cultivated at team of suicide bombers and equipped them with a devastating new weapon: bomb vests with explosive ceramic ball bearings sean directly into the fabric... which are completely invisible to metal detectors.  With the deadline approaching, the SEALs must give their all to stop Shabal and save America.

Friday, October 5, 2012

'Fringe' Season Three (2010)

Starring Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson and John Noble
Created by JJ Abrams, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci

Having successfully rescued Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) from the alternate universe, the Fringe team returns to the prime universe in the hopes of getting life back to normal.  Unfortunately, that's not to be: Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) has been replaced by her doppelganger from the other side, dubbed "Fauxlivia."  Unbeknownst to Peter, Walter (John Noble), Astrid (Jasika Nicole) and Broyles (Lance Reddick), Fauxlivia has dark motives for replacing Olivia.  Acting as a spy, she learns more about the prime universe, sending information back to "Walternate," the evil alternate Secretary of Defense.

In the alternate universe, Olivia is brainwashed into thinking she is Fauxlivia, and works with their Fringe team to help solve the strange goings on in that universe, as well as to fight against the degradation that is slowly destroying the entire universe.  But the brainwashing doesn't seem to be permanent, and her original identity seems to be surfacing.  Walternate knows he needs to learn how Olivia's special powers work in order to replicate them and save his universe.

But the mystery doesn't stop there.  Pieces of a mysterious machine have been uncovered, an ancient machine that appears to be millions of years old, and inexplicably linked to Peter.  What is this machine?  What is Peter's connection to it? And why does Fauxlivia want to steal parts of it back to her home universe?

Monday, October 1, 2012

'Fringe' Season Two (2009)

Starring Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson and John Noble
Created by JJ Abrams, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci

FBI Agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) has finally managed to meet the elusive William Bell (Leonard Nimoy), but the truth about him and the mysterious Pattern that she's been investigating is far stranger than she imagined.  Bell now lives in an alternate universe, one which is slowly being torn apart by strange anomalies known as "Fringe Events."

Back in her home universe, Dunham's partners Peter (Joshua Jackson) and Dr. Walter Bishop (John Noble), have no idea where she's gone.  When Dunham returns, just as mysteriously as she left, but missing her memory of what happened on the other side, the team tries to figure out how to get her to remember.

Meanwhile, FBI agent Philip Broyles (Lance Reddick) continues to assign the team to investigate strange occurrences.  But more than just weird things are happening: enemies from the other side have infiltrated our universe.  What is their plan?  Why are they here? And when it's discovered that agents from the other side can take the form of anyone they meet, who can Dunham and the Bishops ultimately trust?