Movies: Mama (2013)

Image

Mama is a 2013 Spanish-Canadian horror film co-written and directed by Andrés Muschietti (credited onscreen as Andy Muschietti) and starring Jessica Chastain and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. The film, produced by J. Miles Dale and Bárbara Muschietti, with Guillermo del Toro serving as executive producer, is based on the Argentine Muschietti’s Mamá, a 2008 Spanish-language short film of the same name that captured del Toro’s attention.

The film deals with the story of two young girls abandoned in a forest cabin, fostered by an unknown entity that they fondly call Mama, which eventually follows them to their new suburban home after their uncle retrieves them. Originally set for an October 2012 release, it was released in theaters on 18 January 2013.

PLOT

On the onset of the 2008 financial crisis, a distraught man, Jeffrey, kills his business partners and estranged wife before taking his children, three-year-old Victoria and one-year-old Lilly, away from home. Driving dangerously fast on a snowy road, the car slides off the road, down the mountain and crashes in the woods. Surviving, Jeffrey takes the children into an abandoned cabin and builds a fire. Planning to kill his daughters and commit suicide, he holds a gun to Victoria’s head, but a shadowy figure drags him away and snaps his neck. Victoria turns around, but cannot see what is going on due to her glasses being previously taken by her father (so as to obscure his gun in plain sight from her bad eyes). The girls, huddled by the fireside, are tossed a cherry by the mysterious figure.

Five years later a rescue party, sponsored by Jeffrey’s identical twin brother Lucas, finds Victoria and Lilly alive, but in a feral state after years of isolation. The girls are put in a welfare clinic under the psychiatric care of Dr. Gerald Dreyfuss. They make reference to “Mama”, a maternal protector figure. When Lucas tries to communicate with the girls, they are initially hostile, but Victoria recognizes him after he gives her a pair of glasses and she can see him properly. Dreyfuss agrees to support Lucas and his girlfriend Annabel’s custody claim against the girls’ maternal great-aunt Jean Podolski. In exchange, they must move into a clinic-owned house and grant Dreyfuss continued contact with Victoria and Lilly for research purposes.

While in bed with Lucas, Annabel is startled by the appearance of a shadowy, monstrous figure in their doorway. While investigating, Lucas is attacked by “Mama” and is put into a comatose state. Annabel, who has no relation to the girls and is uncomfortable being around them, finds herself left alone to care for them. Although Annabel makes progress with Victoria, she finds Lilly hostile. Alarmed by nightmares and Victoria’s warning about Mama’s jealousy, Annabel asks Dreyfuss to investigate. He initially believes “Mama” to be an imaginary alter-ego of Victoria, believing she had to take on a parental role to take care of Lily for five years; however, his research corroborates Victoria’s story that Mama is an aggrieved mother separated from her child and brings to light the story of Edith Brennan, a mental asylum patient in the 1800s.

Dreyfuss recovers a box containing an infant’s remains, and first encounters Mama while interviewing Victoria. Annabel has a nightmare revealing Mama’s past; Edith Brennan/Mama was sent to St. Gertrude’s Asylum, her child was taken from her and given to nuns. She escaped the asylum, killed a nun and stole back her baby. Fleeing pursuit, she jumped off a cliff, but her child was snagged on a branch and killed on impact while she drowned. Annabel realizes that Mama doesn’t realize her child died from hitting the tree and has taken on Victoria and Lilly as substitutes.

Lucas regains consciousness after a disturbing vision of his dead brother Jeffrey telling him to go to the cabin in the woods and save his daughters. Annabel and the girls are visited by Jean, who is alarmed by the girls’ bruises which come from their still animalistic behavior, but tries to get Annabel investigated for abusing them. Victoria’s growing closeness with Annabel makes her less willing to play with Mama, unlike Lilly.

Dreyfuss visits the cabin at night to investigate – and attempts to communicate with – Mama. After his flashlight stops working, he uses the flash of his camera as a light. He is suddenly attacked and killed by Mama. Finding Dreyfuss missing, Annabel steals the girls’ case files from his office. She learns that Edith and Mama are the same person, while Lucas leaves the hospital to search for the cabin. Shortly after making a breakthrough with Lilly, Annabel and the girls are attacked by a jealous Mama, who attacks Annabel, kills Jean and spirits away the children. Annabel regains consciousness and hurries off to save the children with Lucas.

The couple spot the children on a nearby cliff, where Mama is preparing to re-enact her fall, taking Victoria and Lilly with her. When Annabel offers Mama the remains of her child, Mama transforms into her beautiful form. However, when Lilly (who, being younger than her sister, remembers only Mama as her original parent) calls out for her, Mama reverts to her more monstrous form and takes the girls again, nearly killing Annabel and Lucas (but refraining from doing so mainly because Victoria clearly shows she cares about them). Lucas is knocked unconscious, but Annabel clings to Victoria who asks to stay with her instead of leaving with Mama, despite Lilly’s pleas to come with her. After a tearful farewell, Mama and Lilly leap off the cliff, turning into a shower of moths when they hit the branch that originally killed Mama. The film ends with Annabel and Lucas embracing Victoria, and Victoria noticing a moth with bright blue wings (as opposed to Mama’s moths, which were all dark) landing on her hand, indicating that Lilly is still with her in some form.

Advertisements

Movies: The Bling Ring (2013)

Image

PLOT

Quiet teenager Marc Hall (Israel Broussard) arrives as a new student at Indian Hills High School in Calabasas, California. Shortly after, he is befriended by fame-obsessed Rebecca Ahn (Katie Chang). While at a party at Rebecca’s house, the pair leave the party to check for unlocked vehicles on the street, taking valuables such as cash and credit cards.

When Marc mentions that one of his wealthy acquaintances is out of town, Rebecca suggests they go to his house. Marc is very uncomfortable trespassing, however Rebecca steals a handbag, mentioning that her idol, Lindsay Lohan has the same one. She also takes an amount of cash, and the keys to a Porsche, which the pair use to flee the scene. With the cash from the house, the two go on a shopping spree, affording themselves the luxury lifestyle they admired in magazines.

Marc visits a nightclub with Rebecca and her friends Nicki (Emma Watson) and her adopted sister Sam (Taissa Farmiga), and Chloe (Claire Julien), where they rub shoulders with celebrities such as Kirsten Dunst and Paris Hilton. While researching Hilton on the Internet, Marc and Rebecca realize that she will be out of town, and create a plan to rob her home. Finding the key under the doormat, the pair goes through Hilton’s belongings, taking some small items of jewelry. Rebecca then flaunts a stolen bracelet to Nicki, Sam, and Chloe at a party.

At Nicki’s request, Rebecca and Marc take her, Sam and Chloe back to Hilton’s house. The group marvel at the excess of Hilton’s lifestyle, and steal shoes, bags, dresses, cash, and jewelry. Later, Marc and Rebecca rob Hilton’s house on a third occasion. The pair also decide to rob the home of Audrina Patridge, once again using the Internet to determine when she will not be home. The entire group uses the same method to burglarize the home of Megan Fox, with Nicki’s younger sister Emily (Georgia Rock) squeezing through a pet door to gain access to the home.

The group enters the home of Orlando Bloom and his girlfriend, Miranda Kerr, and the girls proceed to steal her usual items, while Marc finds a case filled with five of Bloom’s Rolex watches along with a roll of cash. Chloe then helps Marc sell the watches to her boyfriend, Ricky. The group returns once again to Hilton’s house, with Nicki’s boyfriend Rob, who also steals from the home.

A news report releases captured CCTV footage from the robbery at Audrina Patridge’s home, which concerns Marc, however Rebecca is undeterred, and instigates a burglary at the home of Rachel Bilson. Word spreads amongst the group’s social circles, and the girls proudly boast of their accomplisments at parties, also posting photographs of the stolen items on social media sites. The group ultimately rob the home of Lohan, Rebecca’s celebrity idol. Shortly after, Rebecca moves to Las Vegas with her father due to troubles at home, leaving some of her stolen items with Marc. During this, Marc also inadvertently helps Rebecca transfer stolen items across state lines.

News reports of the Hollywood Hills burglaries intensify, with the media labelling the group ‘The Bling Ring’. CCTV from several robberies in addition to the evidence on social media allows authorities to identify the group. Police arrest Marc, Nicki, Chloe, Rebecca, Rob, and Ricky, however Sam is not identified in the footage and avoids arrest. Marc cooperates with the police, informing them on the details of the burglaries, much to the chagrin of Rebecca, who has been identified as the ringleader. A Vanity Fair journalist interviews Nicki and Marc, capturing the highly publicized story. While Marc is remorseful, Nicki vehemently suggests the others were at fault, and that she was simply involved with the wrong people. The group is ultimately prosecuted, receiving varying amounts of jail time and being ordered to collectively pay millions of dollars in restitution for the stolen items.

The group serve their jail time, and Marc and Rebecca each go into seclusion from the press. The film then cuts to a few months later where Nicki is on a talk show talking about her time in jail, where she reveals that her cell was next to Lohan’s. After digressing, she turns to the audience (and the viewers) as she finds a way to enhance her newfound notoriety, telling them to visit her now-popular website detailing her life after The Bling Ring.

I just finished this movie, and it’s an interesting movie, the casts are perfect for every role. It is most certainly entertaining watching wannabe celebrities crash and burn. But I guess the characters are unexamined, but the surface of this story was interesting enough as it was though. It also manages to be quite amusing at times. And it felt very similar to Spring Breakers with their vile characters and style of filmmaking which is not a positive. But let me just say Emma Watson is so beautiful in this movie.

Movies: The Purge (2013)

Image

The Purge is a 2013 American science fiction thriller film directed and written by James DeMonaco. Starring Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey, the film is set in the year 2022 when the United States have become “a nation reborn”, with crime and unemployment rates hitting an all-time low, due to the government having instituted an annual 12-hour period called “the Purge” during which all criminal activity (including murder, theft, rape, etc.) becomes legal. The only rules during the Purge are that government officials of “ranking 10 or higher” must remain unharmed and usage of weaponry above “Class 4” (such as WMDs) is forbidden. The Purge is designed to act as a catharsis for the American people, so that they may vent all negative emotions however they desire.

PLOT

James Sandin (Ethan Hawke) is a wealthy home security developer who lives in a rich neighborhood in the streets of San Francisco, California. James has made a fortune selling home security systems—comprising security cameras and metallic “butts” blocking any possible entrance—that are specifically designed for the Purge. One of the neighbors, Mrs. Grace Ferrin (Arija Bareikis), tells James’ wife Mary (Lena Headey) the neighbors have been gossiping that the extension on the Sandin family’s house was financed by the security systems James sold them. At their heavily-fortified house, Mary struggles with their two children, Zoey (Adelaide Kane) and Charlie (Max Burkholder). Zoey is dating an older boy named Henry (Tony Oller), of whom her father does not approve. Zoey goes to her bedroom, where she finds Henry, who snuck into the house before the lockdown to convince James to bless their relationship and figured he could not be thrown out of the house during the Purge. Later an Emergency Broadcast System message appears on television, telling America the rules of the Purge and that all police, fire, and hospital aid will be shut down for the 12 hour period. Tornado sirens start blaring outside, commencing the start of the annual “Purge”, which is a period when all crime is legal and emergency services remain suspended.

James and his family watch the events of the Purge unfold via the video monitors in the lounge. After a while, Charlie is left alone and notices a bloody stranger (Edwin Hodge), outside the house pleading for help. Charlie deactivates the security system and lets him in. James intercepts the stranger and holds him at gunpoint. Henry appears and opens fire on James, attempting to eliminate the obstacle preventing his relationship with Zoey. James fatally shoots Henry, and in the confusion the stranger escapes to hide within the house. Zoey runs off with the fatally-wounded Henry and watches him die. James then goes off in search of his daughter and the stranger.

Later, a group of masked “Purgers” led by a character known as “Polite Leader” (Rhys Wakefield) arrive at their home, having found where the bloody stranger is hiding. The leader emphasizes that James’ family and the “Purgers” have common interests in the Purge, and that they have no desire to hurt “their own people”. The leader also reveals that the stranger’s homelessness made him in a good candidate for purging, and that James should not attempt to deny their group the right to purge their streets of people like the stranger. The leader suggests that the family give them the stranger or else they’ll kill everyone inside. James admits that the security system was designed to act as a deterrent, but not to withstand any number of types of aggressive assaults. Charlie finds the stranger and leads him to a secret hiding place. Zoey, seeking to also hide there, inadvertently stumbles into the stranger, who holds her at gunpoint but James pounds a vase on the stranger’s head. James and Mary tie up the stranger and, to subdue him, aggravate his wounds, in preparation to deliver him to the attackers. After seeing James with Zoey, the Bloody Stranger sadly tells James to take him outside. However, the Sandins have a change of heart after realizing they are becoming essentially no different from the purgers outside. The attackers successfully break into the household and the Sandins are forced to defend themselves. Grace, her husband Mr. Ferrin (Dana Bunch) Mr. Cali (Tom Yi), Mr. and Mrs. Halverson (Chris Mulkey & Tisha French), other neighbours of the Sandin, arrive to help James and Mary kill the remaining purgers. However, Mary notices that James’ stomach has a Bowie knife stab wound caused by the Polite Leader. Then the leader comes out and tells Mary she has done hard work, and just before he can kill the rest of the family, he is suddenly killed by gunshots from a handgun, which Zoey was holding. Mary thanks the neighbours, but they reveal that they have come to kill the Sandins since the opportunity presented itself, they decided it was their patriotic duty to kill the Sandins in order to vent their hatred for the family’s new-found wealth. Just as the neighbors are about to kill the family, the Bloody Stranger comes to the Sandins’ aid. He kills Mr. Cali with his handgun, holds Grace in a headlock and threatens to murder the remaining neighbors if they don’t let the Sandins go, which they do. Mary decides to spare her neighbors, as too many people have died during the night and not to allow them the pleasure of not having to live with the Sandins. While waiting for the end of the Purge at the kitchen table, Grace tries to grab Mary’s gun to shoot her, but Mary deflects the attack and hits Grace with gun and smashes her face into the table. The surviving neighbors and the stranger leave the house and walk away as sirens outside start blaring again, signaling the end of the Purge. The Sandin family watches the emergency services arrive outside of their home.

During the credits, there is audio from television broadcasts stating that this Purge was the most successful due to the record high number of murders, with stock markets opening high, due to the release of aggression and sales of home defense systems and weapons.

I just think this movie is cool because of the director just made the idea of something like this, it manages to be smart, scary, and subversive at the same time. Though it’s a  bit odd for me to say it’s cool because most people are saying that this movie is stupid cause in the real world it might actually happen, but in an alternate universe, yes, but here on earth, I believe not, ever.

Movies: Now You See Me (2013)

Image

Now You See Me is a 2013 French-American caper/thriller film directed by French director Louis Leterrier starring an international cast. It was released on May 31, 2013. Despite the mixed reviews from critics, the film has proved to be a box office success and a sequel has been officially confirmed.

 

PLOT

Four gifted magicians—J. Daniel Atlas, Henley Reeves, Jack Wilder, and Merritt McKinney—are brought together by a mysterious benefactor, and, one year later, they perform in Las Vegas as “The Four Horsemen” sponsored by insurance magnate Arthur Tressler. For the finale of their performances, the Four Horsemen invite a member of the audience to help them in their next trick: robbing a bank. The man is apparently teleported to a bank in Paris, where he activates an air-duct which vacuums up the money and showers it onto the crowd in Las Vegas.

 

FBI agent Dylan Rhodes is called to investigate the theft and is partnered with Interpol agent Alma Dray. They interrogate the Four Horsemen, but release them when no explanation for the theft can be found other than magic. Rhodes then meets Thaddeus Bradley, an ex-magician who makes money by revealing the secrets behind other magicians’ tricks. Bradley was in the audience and deduced that the Four Horsemen stole the money weeks before, and manipulated the audience into believing it happened in real time.

 

Rhodes, Dray, and Bradley attend the Four Horsemen’s next performance in New Orleans. The group’s finale involves them stealing roughly $140 million from Tressler’s bank account and distributing it to the audience, which comprises people whose insurance claims had been denied or reduced by Tressler’s company. Rhodes attempts to arrest the Four Horsemen, but they escape with help from audience members who were hypnotized to tackle whoever next yelled “Freeze”. An infuriated Tressler hires Bradley to expose and humiliate the Four Horsemen in their next performance. Later, while researching the Four Horsemen’s background, Dray learns about rumors of a secret society of magicians called “The Eye” and suggests to a skeptical Rhodes the case might be connected to a magician whom Bradley once exposed, and was so humiliated that he attempted a dangerous underwater stunt and drowned.

 

Before the Four Horsemen’s last performance in New York City, Rhodes and Dray locate the group’s hideout and confront Wilder there. Wilder attempts to escape in a stolen car, but during the chase it flips and explodes. Rhodes and Dray learn that the Four Horsemen are targeting a particular safe, which is under the surveillance of another FBI team which has taken over the case. They intercept the safe en route to 5 Pointz, but find it full of balloon animals. The ability of the Four Horsemen to continually outwit the FBI leads Rhodes to suspect that there must be a fifth member of the team who controls the Four Horsemen, potentially Dray or Bradley.

 

At the final performance, Rhodes and Dray once again attempt to apprehend the Four Horsemen, but Atlas, Reeves, and McKinney jump from the rooftop, seemingly transforming into piles of money that rain from the sky onto the cheering crowd. However, it turns out that the money is fake, and one of the Four Horsemen’s faces is on every dollar. Rhodes and Dray are left with the case unsolved, and Dray kisses Rhodes before parting ways with him.

Bradley returns to his car, discovering it to be filled with the real money from the stolen safe. The FBI arrest Bradley and take him to prison, where Rhodes visits him. Bradley claims he was framed and explains how the group performed the safe heist through use of mirrors. He hopes this will clear him of charges, only to realize Rhodes is the fifth Horseman and mastermind of the entire plot, though Bradley is unable to determine why. Rhodes leaves Bradley in jail and reunites with the Four Horsemen, including Wilder, who faked his death. They are surprised to discover Rhodes is the benefactor who assembled them the previous year, and he initiates them into The Eye.

 

Rhodes later meets Dray in France and reveals that he is the son of Lionel Shrike, the magician who drowned years ago. He designed the Horsemen plot to obtain revenge on those involved: Bradley, for humiliating his father, and potentially even sabotaging the trick; the bank in Paris and Tressler’s company, which refused to pay insurance on his father’s death; and the company that produced the substandard safe used in the trick. Due to the inferior quality of metal used to construct the safe, it warped, resulting in Rhodes’ father’s inability to escape it. After he admits to having fallen in love with her, Dray then decides not to turn him in, and together they overlook the Seine River.

In the post credit scene, The Horsemen are seen arriving at the Neon Museum in Las Vegas, NV. They find crates marked with the sign of the ‘Eye’. The movie ends with them looking for the four key cards, used on the central park tree, to open the crates.

 

Movies: The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (2013)

Image

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is an upcoming 2013 action adventure fantasy film based on the first book of The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. The story takes place in an urban and contemporary New York City. Directed by Harald Zwart, the film stars Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Kevin Zegers, Jemima West, Godfrey Gao, Lena Headey, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Aidan Turner, Robert Sheehan, Kevin Durand, and Jared Harris. It is set to be released in theaters on August 21, 2013.+

 

PLOT

Brooklyn teenager Clary Fray goes with her best friend Simon Lewis to a nightclub, and witnesses a murder. Even with Simon by her side, Clary seems to be the only actual witness to the crime. At the club she meets shadowhunter Jace Wayland and is catapulted into a world that has so far been unknown to her. She then discovers that her mother, Jocelyn, has been attacked and taken from their home in New York City by a man named Valentine in his search of an object known as the Mortal Cup.

She gets in touch with her new friend, Jace, and his adoptive siblings and fellow shadowhunters, Alec and Isabelle Lightwood, to help her on her quest to rescue her mother. Along the way Clary finds out the truth that her mother had wanted to protect her from, about her past and bloodline and how she, like Jace, Alec and Isabelle, is a shadowhunter, which are part mortal , part human warriors.

Clary is shocked to learn that her mother is also a shadowhunter and that she too has the powers of one, and she must master her powers in time to save her mother from Valentine. Using her newfound gifts, Clary finds the Cup that her mother safely hid, only to be betrayed and forced to let it slip into the wrong hands. Clary must fight to reclaim the Cup and save her mother before it is too late, and soon she finds herself caught in a battle between forces of good and evil that she barely understands.

Movies: The Conjuring (2013)

Image

The Conjuring is a 2013 American supernatural horror film directed by James Wan. The film, starring Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson as Ed and Lorraine Warren, is based on a true story, and follows paranormal investigators who come to the assistance of the Perron family (Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor), who are experiencing increasingly disturbing events in their farmhouse in Harrisville, Rhode Island in 1971.

PLOT

In 1971, Carolyn and Roger Perron move into a dilapidated old farmhouse in Harrisville, Rhode Island with their five daughters. During the first day, the family moves in smoothly, though their dog, Sadie, refuses to enter the house and one of the daughters finds a boarded up entrance to a cellar.

The next morning, Carolyn wakes up with a mysterious bruise and to find Sadie lying dead outside the house. Over the next several days, various instances of paranormal activity occur. The activity culminates one night while Roger is away in Florida, as Carolyn is locked in the cellar while a spirit that looks like an elderly woman attacks one of her daughters.

Carolyn contacts noted paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren for help. The Warrens conduct an initial investigation and conclude that the house may require an exorcism, though this cannot be done without further evidence and authorization from the Catholic Church.

While researching the house’s history, Ed and Lorraine discover that the house once belonged to an accused witch, Bathsheba, who tried to sacrifice her children to the devil and killed herself after cursing all who would take her land. The property was once 200+ acres but has since been divided up into smaller parcels. They find reports of numerous murders and suicides in houses that have since been built upon parcels that were once part of the property.

Ed and Lorraine return to the house in an attempt to gather evidence to receive authorization for an exorcism. One of the daughters, Cindy sleepwalks into her sister’s room and reveals a secret passage behind a wardrobe. Lorraine enters the passage and falls through the floorboards into the cellar, where she sees the spirits of people whom Bathsheba has possessed. All are mothers whom Bathsheba used to kill their children. Another of the Perron children is violently attacked and dragged along the floor by an unseen force.

Lorraine and Ed take their evidence to the Church to organize an exorcism while the Perron family takes refuge at a hotel. Ed and Lorraine’s daughter is attacked in their own home by the spirits from the Perron house.

Carolyn, who was earlier possessed by the spirit of Bathsheba, takes two of her daughters, Christine and April, and drives back to the house. Ed, Lorraine, two of their assistants and Roger rush to the house where they find Carolyn trying to stab Christine. After subduing Carolyn, Ed decides to perform the exorcism himself, though Carolyn escapes and again attempts to kill her other daughter, April. Lorraine is able to temporarily distract the possessed Carolyn from killing her daughter by reminding her of a special memory she shared with her family, allowing Ed to complete the exorcism, saving Carolyn and her daughter.

I really wanna watch this movie, but my nerves won’t let me. I still wanna sleep! Haha.