Monday, December 11, 2017
Below are images from the 2017 comedy-thriller, "THE HITMAN'S BODYGUARD". Directed by Patrick Hughes, the movie stars Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson:
"THE HITMAN'S BODYGUARD" (2017) Photo Gallery
Sunday, December 10, 2017
Thursday, December 7, 2017
"PUSH" (2009) Review
When I first saw the 2009 science-fiction thriller, "PUSH", I had assumed that it was based upon some novel, comic book series or graphic novel. Several years passed before I discovered that the movie's plot was actually the brainchild of the screenwriter, David Bourla.
Directed by Paul McGuigan, the movie is about a group of people with psychic abilities, who band together to stop a government agency from using a dangerous drug to enhance the abilities of others like them. The story began with a boy named Nick Gant and his father Jonah, two "Movers" (or telekinetics), who are on the run from Division, the government agency established in 1945 to hunt down and experiment on psychics. Before one of the Division's operatives, Agent Henry Carver, can catch up with them, Jonah tells Nick that he had received a vision from a "Watcher" (seer) about a young girl that Nick must help in the future in order to take down Division. Jonah helps his son finally escape as Carver arrives and kills him.
Ten years later, Nick is hiding in Hong Kong, as an expatriate. A young girl named Cassie Holmes arrives at his apartment, claiming to be a Watcher. She needs his help in finding a mysterious case that she believes will bring down the Division and lead to the release of her mother (another and more powerful Watcher) from prison. The case that Cassie seeks contains a power boosting drug developed by the Division. Agent Carver has used this drug on several test subjects who have ended up dead. The only subject to survive the drug is a Pusher (telepathic manipulator) named Kira, who was an old love of Nick's. Kira manages to steal a sample of the drug and place in a case that she had hidden upon her arrival in Hong Kong. Not only are Cassie and Nick looking for the case, but so are members of the Pop family, who have formed a psychic Triad and of course . . . the Division.
I could go into more detail about the movie’s plot, but right now, that is all I am willing to disclose. Overall, I liked the plot. It struck me as a very interesting twist on the whole topic of those with psychic abilities at war with each other. And the movie even featured a surprising twist in the end. I also enjoyed how the movie handled the visual effects. Mark Meddings did an excellent job in supervising those effects that featured the characters' abilities. And these visual effects were enhanced by Peter Sova's colorful cinematography. Sova's photography also enchanced the movie's views of Hong Kong and other parts of China.
But there were moments when I found the plot a bit convoluted and confusing, despite Dakota Fanning’s voice over. Judging from what I had revealed in the previous episode, one would find my comment confusing. But honestly, there were moments when it seemed that the movie was so caught up in revealing new characters and new psychic abilities that I almost lost track of the plot. If I must be brutally honest, Paul McGuigan's uneven direction did not help. I had no problems with McGuigan's handling of some of the action sequences - especially the prologue sequence featuring Nick and his father, Kira's escape from two Division agents, and Nick's encounters with Carver and the latter's henchman, Victor Budarin. But his non-action sequences - especially in the movie's second half - tend to drag. Sometimes, the cast manages to rise above his lethargic direction and sometimes, they cannot.
I had no problems with the cast. Chris Evans made a first-rate leading man. He also did a great job in developing his character from the embittered and self-involved young man hiding from authorities, to a more strong-will character willing to toe the line for others. Evans had two leading ladies - Dakota Fanning and Camilla Belle. I have already expressed my dissatisfaction with Belle. Fanning, on the other hand, gave a very spirited and skillful performance as the strong-willed and sardonic Cassie, who seemed more than determined to bring down the Division and help her mother. More importantly, both she and Evans had a very strong screen presence . . . which did not bode well for Belle. There are times when I find myself wondering if Djimon Hounsou is underrated as an actor. His performance as villain, Agent Henry Carver, is one of the best aspects of this movie. Hounsou can do ambiguity like nobody's business and more importantly, his Carver is not some mustache twirling villain or one-note block of ice. The movie also featured excellent performances from a supporting cast that featured Joel Gretsch, Ming-Na Wen, Nate Mooney, Corey Stoll, Scott Michael Campbell, Maggie Sif, Kwan Fung Chi and Jacky Heung. I have to give special kudos to Cliff Curtis' charming and colorful portrayal of a former Division agent named Hook Waters and Xiao Lu Li as the sly and malevolent Pop Girl, a Watcher for the Pop Triad.
Overall, I have mixed feelings for "PUSH". It featured a pretty interesting premise, thanks to David Bourla's screenplay. The movie also featured some first-class visual effects supervised by Mark Meddings. Unfortunately, Paul McGuigan's direction struck me as slightly uneven. If it were not for the screenplay, the visual effects and excellent performances from the likes of Chris Evans, Dakota Fanning and Kjimon Hounsou; this movie would have sank to the ground . . . at least for me.
Monday, December 4, 2017
Olivia materialized outside of Cirhan's apartment and heaved a sigh. Her teleportation spell had worked. The red-haired witch had considered entering via the front door. But the Marina District apartment building happened to be secured. Which meant acquiring the permission of the building's manager or landlord to enter the building. And Olivia did not want to alert anyone of Cirhan's death. At least for the sake of the Gimle Order.
After unlocking the door, Olivia opened it and found herself inside a neatly furnished apartment that seemed to be slightly devoid of any taste or personality. Judging by the sparse furniture and lack of décor, Cirhan had obviously viewed his stay in San Francisco as temporary.
Olivia stood in the middle of the living room and glanced around. She spotted a desk against the left wall and walked toward it. Ignoring the computer laptop situated on the desktop, Olivia began to search the drawers. She found nothing except a stack of computer CD disks, some pens and pencils in the side drawers and nothing in the middle one. Whatever material that Cirhan had been planning to hand over to Marbus must be hidden. Only where?
It took Olivia nearly fifteen minutes to search both the living room and the kitchen. Unfortunately, she came up empty-handed. Then she decided to try Cirhan's bedroom. The sight of the scorch mark on the bed briefly startled Olivia. It also confused her. Had her dream got the facts wrong? It looked as if the Gimle daemon had been incinerated, instead of having his heart crushed. Then again, Cirhan's killer could have incinerated his body . . . after crushing his heart. The real answer seemed destined to remain a mystery.
Again, Olivia came up empty after searching the room. She began to wonder if Cirhan had left the material inside his desk at work. If so, Marbus and his cronies from the Gimle Order will have to conduct the search. As she turned toward the door, it occurred to Olivia that she had not search underneath the bed. She fell to her knees for a quick search. She only found two pairs of shoes and nothing else. As she prepared to stand up, Olivia spotted something unusual about the bed frame's side rail. Someone – possibly Cirhan – had included what looked like a latch . . . to a drawer. She removed the latch and pulled back the drawer. Inside, she found a large yellow envelope.
Olivia removed the envelope and slid the drawer back into place. Then she sat on the bed to examine her prize. She found a collection of photographs and what looked like several documents inside the envelope. One of the documents looked like a demonic contract. Curious. Olivia returned the contents inside the envelope. She would have to wait until she returned home for a more thorough examination. Then she grabbed her prize and using a spell, teleported out of the apartment.
Entering the Turners' apartment building proved to be very easy for the red-haired warlock. She merely nodded at the doorman and made her way to the building's elevator bank. Once she entered one of the elevators with other tenants, the ride going up seemed to last forever. The elevator stopped at least two times before it finally arrived on the top floor.
The door opened and Olivia found herself in a small foyer, facing a pair of double doors. Doors that obviously belonged to the Turners' penthouse. Olivia removed a small, hooked lock pick from her tote bag. She inserted the tool into the door's lock. To her great frustration, the door remained locked. Again, she tried to unlock the penthouse door. And once more, nothing happened.
"Son-of-a-bitch!" the warlock cried angrily. Olivia threw the lock pick at the door. "Now, what in the hell am I supposed to do?"
A man's voice said, "Didn't work, huh?"
Olivia whirled around. A pair of yellow eyes appeared in front of the elevator. The eyes then turned black, as a human man materialized before her. "What the . . .?" She sighed. "You must be Klymus, Artemus' little peeping tom." Her eyes took in his human form. He stood at least 5'10" tall and possessed a slim, yet muscular body; along with very handsome Asian features. His cheekbones could easily slice through paper.
"I'm not little," the daemon shot back. "I'm at least two inches taller than you." His eyes swept over Olivia in a slightly lustful manner. "You know, you're prettier than the form you had used last night. Better curves."
A sigh left Olivia's mouth. "Oh, I see. You're just a Peeping Tom. What do you want?"
"I'm here to help. Artemus figured you would have difficulty getting into Belthazor's penthouse."
Now Olivia understood. "The Cole in this dimension has the lock warded against normal break-ins, as well as magical teleportation."
Klymus grinned. "You know, Belthazor. Paranoid is thy name. A warlock hired by Prax once tried to break in. Didn't work. Looks like you'll have to find another way to get inside."
Again, Olivia sighed. "Right. C'mon. Let's go." She turned away from the penthouse doors and walked toward the elevator. "I need to get a key either from Cole or the other Olivia. And something tells me that I'll need your help."
"Why take the elevator?" Klymus asked. "I can easily teleport us out of here." The daemon held out his hand with a smirk.
Olivia grabbed his hand . . . and squeezed it tightly. Klymus grimaced. "How nice," she said with a sweet smile. "My car is just downstairs, in front of the building. A dark blue Toyota Corolla. Rental. Shall we?"
The warlock and the daemon teleported out of the small foyer.
Eleanor's voice crackled over the intercom on Cole's desk. "You have a visitor, Mr. Turner." The half-daemon leaned back against his chair and sighed. Phoebe. It must be. After yesterday's encounter at Quake, she was bound to pop up sooner or later. His assistant continued, "It's your uncle, Mr. Farrell."
Marbus? This was a surprise. Cole sat up and replied, "Send him in, Eleanor." Less than a minute later, the chestnut-haired daemon entered Cole's office. "Was there something you had forgotten to tell me, earlier this morning?"
The daemon sat down in one of the chairs on the other side of Cole's desk. "Just wondering if you've heard from Olivia about Cirhan's flat." He paused and regarded his nephew with hopeful eyes. "Have you?"
"Sorry Marbus," Cole replied. "I did call Riggerio to see if he had any information about Cirhan's death. So far . . . nothing."
The older daemon sighed. "This matter is getting out of hand. Something has to be done about the Magan Corporation. Or should I say, the Khorne Order? That bloody order has been a thorn in our side ever since it tried to get Frances and her sisters to kill me."
Rolling his eyes, Cole retorted, "Tell me Marbus, will you ever learn Phoebe's real name? Or are you going to call her Frances, forever?"
Marbus protested, "I cannot help getting her name wrong. She reminds me of a Frances I once knew. As for the Magan Corporation . . ."
"Sooner or later, they will have to make a move that will expose the Khorne Order's new leader," Cole commented. "Or . . . I'll just have to use a plan that will do the trick."
Again, the intercom buzzed. Eleanor's voice announced, "You have another visitor, Mr. Turner. It's your ex-wife."
"Great," Cole murmured sardonically. "Send her in,Eleanor."
Seconds passed before a determined looking Phoebe strode into the office. "Cole, I want to . . ." She paused at the sight of the Gimle Order daemon. "Oh. Marbus. Uh . . . hi."
"And how are you . . ." Marbus began.
Cole quickly murmured, "Phoebe."
"How are you . . . Phoebe, darling?" his uncle finished.
The Charmed One responded with a shy smile. "I'm fine. I heard about Cirhan. Sorry."
Marbus' countenance darkened slightly. "Yes, well it was unfortunate. I only wish I knew who had killed him."
"It was a her," Phoebe quickly added. Her face turned pink as the two daemons stared at her. "Piper and I saw him at P3, last night. He was with some woman."
Cole frowned. "Was she a redhead, by any chance? Only a shade darker than Olivia's hair?"
"Yeah," Phoebe slowly replied. "Only it was long and straight. Cirhan was completely into her." She paused to stare at Cole. "How did you know?"
"I . . . uh, I had a dream. About Cirhan's death."
Disbelief shone in Phoebe's dark eyes. "I don't believe this! You had a vision about Cirhan and I didn't? God, I must be feeling tense." She paused to glare at Cole. "Wait a minute! I know why. Holly McMillan."
"Time for me to go," Marbus announced.
Cole glared at his uncle. "Coward," he muttered under his breath.
Marbus strode toward the door. "Take care of yourself, lad," he cried. "He reached the door and turned to face the couple. "And it was nice seeing you again, Frances." He flashed a quick smile at Phoebe before making his escape.
Now alone, Cole and Phoebe faced each other with obvious discomfort. The half-daemon heaved a big sigh, as he reached for a file. "So . . . Phoebe, what can I do for you?"
"For a start, you can drop Holly McMillan as your client," Phoebe immediately replied.
Cole rolled his eyes in annoyance. "Sorry Phoebe, I cannot oblige you. Not unless I want to be disbarred."
Focusing his gaze upon his ex-wife, Cole patiently explained that no judge would allow him to be dismissed from the case, unless he had a very good reason. "And I don't think you want me to lie to the Courts," he added sarcastically.
Phoebe demanded, "Why did you accept the case in the first place?"
"Because I was ordered to . . . by the senior partners," Cole answered. "Understand? And as Holly's attorney, it's my duty to fight tooth and nail to get her exonerated."
"But she's guilty of murder!"
Cole opened his mouth to retort . . . until a thought came to him. "Did you have some kind of premonition about the McMillans?"
Phoebe shook her head. "No. But c'mon Cole! It's so obvious! Everyone knows she's guilty!"
Another heavy sigh left Cole's mouth. He should have known. Typical Halliwell behavior. Passing judgment before knowing all of the facts. The half-daemon felt a strong inclination to teleport his former wife out of his office. But he would have to explain Phoebe's disappearance to Eleanor. "I'm sorry Phoebe, but the justice system believes otherwise. Innocent until proven guilty. Or else Holly McMillan's ass would have been tossed into prison without a trial. Now unless you have some evidence that can help my client . . ." He stood up and strode toward the door. ". . . I think it's time for you to leave."
"Cole, you can't . . ."
In a hard voice, Cole added, "Phoebe, I'm trying to be nice. I do not want to be unpleasant."
Again, Phoebe's face turned pink. She let out a gust of breath and marched toward the door. "That's going to be a little difficult to avoid, don't you think?" she retorted, as she paused to glare at Cole. "Considering that you're about to help a killer go free."
"That's it." Cole grabbed Phoebe's arm. She gasped out loud, as he dragged her toward the door. "I think you've just outstayed your welcome." He opened the door.
Phoebe protested, "Cole! Wait! I just . . ."
Cole opened the door and barked to his assistant, "Eleanor, please make sure that Miss Halliwell leaves. And that I don't be disturbed, any further. Good day, Phoebe." He shoved his ex-wife out of his office.
"No! Cole! Something . . ."
Before Phoebe could finish, Cole slammed the door in her face. Peace. At last.
"That's going to be a little difficult to avoid, don't you think? Considering that you're about to help a killer go free."
The moment she uttered those words, Phoebe knew she had went too far. The cold anger in Cole's blue eyes made it that obvious.
"That's it," Cole growled. He grabbed Phoebe's arm and . . . the visions hit her. She saw Cole stretched out on a carpeted floor, while a female's hand shovedg a stiletto into his heart. She also saw a very astonished half-demon gasp before he died. The vision immediately shifted toward an image of headstone in a cemetery that read the following: "COLERIDGE BENJAMIN TURNER, January 19, 1969 – March 3, 2004. Beloved Husband and Son".
Cole added angrily, "I think you've just outstayed your welcome." He dragged her toward the door.
Realizing what she had done, Phoebe protested, "Cole! Wait! I just . . ."
Cole opened the door. "Eleanor!" he barked to his assistant. "Please make sure that Miss Halliwell leaves. And that I don't be disturbed, any further. Good day, Phoebe." He shoved the Charmed One out of his office.
Phoebe cried, "No! Cole! Something . . ." Before she could finish, her ex-husband slammed the door in her face. Phoebe reached for the doorknob and twisted it. Unfortunately, Cole had locked the door. "Cole! Open up! You're in . . ." Aware of Ms. Read's presence, she corrected herself. "I mean, I have to tell you something. Cole?"
"Miss Halliwell, the elevator is behind you," the paralegal coolly reminded Phoebe.
The younger woman rounded on the older one. "Look! I have something important to tell Cole. Please, let me in. Or at least tell him."
"Tell him what, Miss Halliwell?"
At that moment, Phoebe realized it would be useless to argue any further. "Never mind," she grumbled. "I'll . . . I'll talk to Cole, later." She turned on her heels and marched toward the elevator.
She had to find some way to warn Cole about his impending death. There was Olivia, but Phoebe dreaded the idea of a private conservation with her successor. Then again, if she could not warn Cole or Olivia, perhaps she could warn Paige. Hell, she had to warn somebody.
END OF CHAPTER 6
Thursday, November 30, 2017
Below are photos from the 1930 adaptation of Ursula Parrott's novel, "Ex-Wife" called "THE DIVORCEE". Directed by Robert Z. Leonard, the movie starred Oscar winner Norma Shearer, Chester Morris, Conrad Nagel and Robert Montgomery:
"THE DIVORCEE" (1930) Photo Gallery
"THE DIVORCEE" (1930) Photo Gallery
Below is a list of my five favorite episodes from Season Two of AMC's "TURN: WASHINGTON'S SPIES". Created by Craig Silverstein, the series stars Jamie Bell:
FIVE FAVORITE EPISODES OF "TURN: WASHINGTON'S SPIES" SEASON TWO (2015)
1. (2.05) "Sealed Fate" - Abe Woodhull and his father, Judge Richard Woodhull clash over the former's espionage activities. Fellow spy Ben Tallmadge discover some important information and Abe has supper with potential spy Robert Townsend and the latter's father.
2. (2.06) "Houses Divided" - Abe's fellow spy, Anna Strong, takes action when he is captured by the British. Meanwhile, Lieutenant John Simcoe pushes himself back into Anna's life, and Major John Andre discovers vital information for the British cause.
3. (2.08) "Providence" - Ben and fellow spy Caleb Brewster plot to free Abe from a British prison in New York City. British Army officer Major Edmund Hewlett struggle in the wilderness during his escape from an American prison. And General George Washington learns about the Continental Congress' new alliance with France, while
4. (2.02) "Hard Boiled" - While Abe continues his mission to recruit spies for the Culpeper Ring in New York City, Lieutenant Simcoe adjusts to reassignment as the new commander of the Queen's Rangers. Meanwhile, Major Andre seduces Peggy Shippen, the daughter of a Philadelphia Tory businessman.
5. "Gunpowder, Treason and Plot" - In this season finale, Abe plots the assassination of Major Hewlett, much to Anna's distress. And Ben participates in the Battle of Monmouth.