Category: Fantastic Movies

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

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The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Taglines: Remember who the enemy is.

The film begins as Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) has returned home safe after winning the 74th Annual Hunger Games along with fellow tribute Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson). Winning means that they must turn around and leave their family and close friends, embarking on a Victor’s Tour of the districts. Along the way Katniss senses that a rebellion is simmering, but the Capitol is still very much in control as President Snow (Donald Sutherland) prepares the 75th Annual Hunger Games, The Quarter Quell – a competition that could change Panem forever.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is anAmerican science fiction adventure film based on Suzanne Collins’ dystopian novel, Catching Fire, the second installment in The Hunger Games trilogy. The film is the sequel to The Hunger Games, and the second installment in The Hunger Games film series, produced by Nina Jacobson and Jon Kilik and distributed by Lionsgate. Francis Lawrence directed the film, with a screenplay by Simon Beaufoy and Michael Arndt. Francis Lawrence took over from Gary Ross as director. Adding to the existing cast, the supporting cast was filled out with Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Sam Claflin, Lynn Cohen, Jena Malone, Amanda Plummer, Alan Ritchson, and Meta Golding.

The plot of Catching Fire takes place one year after the previous installment; Katniss Everdeen has now returned home safely after winning the 74th Annual Hunger Games along with fellow tribute Peeta Mellark. Throughout the story, Katniss senses that a rebellion, against the oppressive Capitol, is simmering through the districts. Filming began on September 10, 2012, in Atlanta, Georgia, before moving to Hawaii.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

About the Story

One year after the 74th Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark return home to District 12. After a hunt in the woods with her friend Gale Hawthorne, Katniss is visited at her home by President Snow. He tells her that her decisions in the arena have triggered rebellions, especially in District 8, and also warns her to use the upcoming Victory Tour to show Panem that her acts of rebellion in the arena were just to show love towards Peeta. She reluctantly accepts.

During the first visit in the Victory Tour, which is held in District 11, an old man holds up the three-fingered sign that’s occasionally used in District 12 to show respect and admiration for someone. Peacekeepers interpreted this as an act of rebellion, and dragged the man to the front of the stage in the square and shoot him dead with a pistol, much to the horror, shock and dismay of Katniss. Haymitch angrily tells her “you never get off this train” which means that Katniss and Peeta are mentors for the District 12 tributes and act as a “distraction” to the districts so that the people of Panem will forget “what the real problem is.”

Katniss, Peeta, Effie and Haymitch return home and Katniss quickly goes to Gale. They both devise a plan to run away, but fail. The Capitol sends Peacekeepers to District 12 to crack down on the citizens. The new head Peacekeeper, Romulus Thread, whips Gale after Gale attacked Romulus to stop him from killing an old woman. Haymitch convinces Thread to leave Katniss, Peeta and Gale alone as they are loved ones to the country. While Katniss is watching TV with her family, she, Peeta and Haymitch learn that the previous victors from each district will be selected for the 3rd Quarter Quell. At the reaping, Effie draws Katniss and Haymitch’s names, but Peeta volunteers to take Haymitch’s place.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire - Jennifer Lawrence

The victors from each district visit President Snow’s palace for a royal dinner party. While having a dance, Katniss meets new head Gamemaker Plutarch Heavensbee. After the dinner party, the victors are sent to the training center and a hotel. Haymitch warns Katniss that the tributes are furious at being returned to the games and advises a reluctant Katniss to make allies. During the interviews with Caesar Flickerman, Katniss wears a wedding dress, but her stylist Cinna rigs it to transform into the representation of a mockingjay. President Snow witnesses this and sends Peacekeepers out to kill Cinna before Katniss is elevated into the arena.

Katniss and Peeta make alliances with the District 4 tributes, Finnick Odair and Mags, a few minutes into the games. Finnick saves Katniss by throwing a trident into a male from District 5 who was trying to kill Katniss. While the group is trudging through the jungle, Peeta accidentally hits his machete against the force field, electrocuting him and stopping his heart. Finnick resuscitates him.

Before going to sleep, Katniss notices a poison fog coming for them at a fast pace, and the group flees. When Peeta is incapacitated by the fog, Mags walks into it, sacrificing herself and allowing Finnick and Katniss to carry Peeta to safety. After fleeing from a group of wild and extremely ferocious mandrills, Katniss, Peeta and Finnick escape to a beach where they ally with Wiress and Beetee from District 3, and Johanna Mason from 7.

Wiress is in shock from a blood storm and repeatedly says “Tick-Tock.” Katniss realizes that the arena is set up like a clock, with disasters occurring every hour and lightning striking at midnight. The group is then attacked by the Career pack in which Wiress is killed in the fight but Katniss and Johanna kill two of the Careers, sending the surviving Careers back into the jungle. Beetee devises a plan to electrocute the last two Careers by combining a spool of wire and lightning, sending Katniss and Johanna to help prepare the trap.

The women are ambushed by the remaining Careers; Johanna attacks them, incapacitates Katniss and slits the tracker out of her arm before disappearing. Shaken by Johanna’s assault, Katniss returns to the tree and finds Beetee knocked out next to a metal tipped spear wrapped with the wire. Katniss is now suspicious of potential secret foes and attempts to kill Finnick, but he reminds her to ‘remember who the real enemy is,’ as Haymitch had advised her prior to the games. Seeing that the lightning is about to strike, Katniss attaches the remaining wire to an arrow and shoots it into the force field just as the lightning hits, taking down the dome’s force field as well as the Capitol’s surveillance.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Poster

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Directed by: Francis Lawrence
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Sam Claflin, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Jena Malone, Amanda Plummer
Screenplay by: Simon Beaufoy
Production Design by: Philip Messina
Cinematography by: Jo Willems
Film Editing by: Alan Edward Bell
Costume Design by: Trish Summerville
Set Decoration by: Larry Dias
Music by: James Newton Howard
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some frightening images, thematic elements, a suggestive situation and language.
Studio: Lionsgate Films
Release Date: November 22, 2013

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The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Taglines: Stop dreaming. Start living.

An office worker who lives inside fantasy worlds where he gets to live an adventurous life while romancing his co-worker sets off on a global journey to fix things when both of their jobs are threatened.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is an epic fantasy comedy-drama film directed by and starring Ben Stiller. The film is the second adaptation of James Thurber’s 1939 short story of the same name, following the 1947 film.

About the Story

Walter Mitty is a negative assets manager at Life magazine who daydreams of adventures and has a crush on a coworker named Cheryl. Mitty works with photojournalist Sean O’Connell, whose images are highly regarded. O’Connell has sent Mitty his latest negatives and a wallet as a gift in appreciation of Mitty’s work. O’Connell believes negative #25 captures the “quintessence” of Life and that it should be used for the cover of the magazine’s final print issue as it converts to online status.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

The negative is missing, however, and Walter is forced to stall for time with corporate transition manager Ted Hendricks, who is handling the downsizing. While viewing the other negatives outside Life’s offices, Cheryl approaches Mitty and suggests that he think of the negatives as clues to Sean’s location. They look at three of them, including one of a person’s thumb with a unique ring on it, and another of a curved piece of wood. A third picture of a boat leads Mitty to determine that O’Connell is in Greenland. Mitty promptly flies there to find him.

A bartender in Greenland explains that O’Connell left on a ship. To find him, Mitty would need to go on the postal helicopter, and the pilot is drunk. Mitty recognizes the pilot’s thumb with the unique ring and realizes he is on the right track. He at first declines to fly with the intoxicated pilot, but imagines Cheryl singing “Space Oddity”, gains a new confidence and boards the helicopter. Nearing the ship, Mitty learns the helicopter cannot land upon it. Misunderstanding the pilot, instead of jumping into a dinghy boat nearing to catch him, Mitty aims for the main vessel and misses. He splashes down into ice-cold, shark-infested waters, losing a box of ship-to-shore radio components before being brought aboard.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty - Jim Carrey

Mitty learns that O’Connell departed the ship earlier. The crew offers him some cake O’Connell left behind; Mitty discovers O’Connell’s destinations in the wrapping paper. The itinerary directs Mitty to Iceland, where O’Connell is photographing the volcano Eyjafjallajökull. An eruption forces Mitty to flee, and as there is nothing left for him to do he obeys a text message recalling him to New York.

For failing to recover the negative, his first failure in a long career with the magazine, Mitty is fired. He learns that Cheryl, who was let go earlier, seems to have reconciled with her estranged husband. Mitty returns home discouraged, throwing away the wallet when he visits his mother. To his surprise, Mitty recognizes the curve of the piano in his mother’s house while looking at the last photograph. When asked, Mitty’s mom mentions having met O’Connell. She had told Mitty before but he was daydreaming and failed to hear her.

Mitty discovers O’Connell is in the Himalayas, and finds him photographing a rare snow leopard. When asked about the negative, O’Connell explains that the message on the gift wrapping to “look inside” was literal; the negative was in the wallet. When pressed to reveal the image on the negative, O’Connell dismisses the question and joins in a high-altitude soccer game with some locals. Mitty flies to Los Angeles but is detained by airport security during a misunderstanding. Mitty calls the only person he knows in Los Angeles: Todd Maher, a representative at eHarmony who has kept in contact during Mitty’s adventures.

While helping his mother sell her piano, Mitty recounts his story but mentions he does not have the wallet anymore. His mother says she always keeps his knickknacks and gives him the wallet that she retrieved from the trash. An emboldened Mitty delivers the negative to Life magazine, tells management that it was the photograph O’Connell wanted for the final issue, and berates Hendricks for disrespecting the staff that made the magazine so honored.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Poster

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Directed by: Ben Stiller
Starring: Ben Stiller, Sean Penn, Kristen Wiig, Adam Scott, Shirley MacLaine, Barbara Vincent
Screenplay by: Steve Conrad
Production Design by: Jeff Mann
Cinematography by: Stuart Dryburgh
Film Editing by: Greg Hayden
Costume Design by: Sarah Edwards
Set Decoration by: Regina Graves
Music by: Theodore Shapiro
MPAA Rating: PG for some crude comments, language and action violence.
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: December 25, 2013

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The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

After successfully crossing over (and under) the Misty Mountains, Thorin and Company must seek aid from a powerful stranger before taking on the dangers of Mirkwood Forest–without their Wizard. If they reach the human settlement of Lake-town it will be time for the hobbit Bilbo Baggins to fulfill his contract with the dwarves. The party must complete the journey to Lonely Mountain and burglar Baggins must seek out the Secret Door that will give them access to the hoard of the dragon Smaug. And, where has Gandalf got off to? And what is his secret business to the south?

The film follows the titular character Bilbo Baggins as he accompanies Thorin Oakenshield and his fellow Dwarves on a quest to reclaim the Lonely Mountain from the dragon Smaug. The film also features the vengeful pursuit of Azog the Defiler and Bolg while Gandalf the Grey investigates a growing evil at the ruins of Dol Guldur. The ensemble cast includes Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Benedict Cumberbatch, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Ken Stott, James Nesbitt, and Orlando Bloom.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is an epic fantasy adventure film directed by Peter Jackson. It was produced by WingNut Films in collaboration with New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. It was distributed by Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and is the second installment in the three-part film series based on the novel The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien. The film was preceded by An Unexpected Journey (2012) and will be followed by The Battle of the Five Armies (2014).

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

About the Story

At the Inn of the Prancing Pony in Bree, Gandalf persuades Thorin Oakenshield to obtain the Arkenstone to unite the Dwarves, and suggests that a stealthy burglar may be needed to steal the jewel back from Smaug.

One year later, Thorin and his company are being pursued by Azog and his Orc party down the Carrock following the events of the previous film. Bilbo Baggins informs the group that a bear is also tracking them, and are ushered along by Gandalf to the nearby home of Beorn to seek his assistance. Beorn is revealed to be a skin-changer who sometimes takes the form of the bear. That night, Azog is summoned to Dol Guldur and instructs his son Bolg to take over the hunt for Thorin.

The following day, Beorn escorts the company to the borders of Mirkwood, where Gandalf discovers Black Speech imprinted on an old ruin. This coincides with a telepathic message from Galadriel urging him to investigate the tombs of the Nazgûl. He warns the company to remain on the path and abruptly leaves. Upon entering the forest they lose their way and are ensnared by giant spiders. Bilbo then sets about freeing the dwarves with the help of the One Ring. He subsequently drops the ring and brutally kills a centipede-like creature to retrieve it.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

The remaining spiders are fended off by the Wood-elves led by Tauriel and Legolas. They in turn capture the Dwarves, and bring Thorin before Thranduil. He confronts the Elvenking about his neglect of the Dwarves of Erebor following Smaug’s attack 60 years before, and is consequently imprisoned with the other Dwarves. Bilbo, having avoided capture, arranges an escape using empty wine barrels that are sent downstream. While being pursued by the Wood-elves, they are ambushed by Bolg and his Orc party, and Kíli is wounded with a poisoned arrow.

They engage in a running three-way battle down the river, but ultimately the Dwarves are able to escape both groups of pursuers. Thranduil then seals off his kingdom when an Orc captive reveals an evil entity has returned and is amassing an army in the south, but Tauriel decides to leave and assist the Dwarves along with Legolas. Meanwhile, Gandalf meets Radagast to investigate the tombs of the Nazgûl, which are found empty.

The company are then smuggled into Esgaroth by a boatman called Bard. Thorin promises the Master and the people of Lake-town a share of the mountain’s treasure. It is then revealed that Bard is a descendant of the last ruler of Dale, and possesses the last black arrow capable of killing Smaug. Kili is forced to remain behind, tended to by Fíli, Óin, and Bofur, as the remaining company receive a grand farewell. Meanwhile, Gandalf travels south to the ruins of Dol Guldur, while Radagast leaves to warn Galadriel of their discovery at the tombs. Gandalf finds the ruins infested with Orcs and is ambushed by Azog. The Necromancer overwhelms Gandalf and reveals himself as Sauron.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Poster

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Directed by: Peter Jackson
Starring: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Benedict Cumberbatch, Luke Evans, Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving
Screenplay by: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Guillermo del Toro, J.R.R. Tolkien
Production Design by: Dan Hennah
Cinematography by: Andrew Lesnie
Film Editing by: Jabez Olssen
Costume Design by: Bob Buck, Ann Maskrey, Richard Taylor
Set Decoration by: Simon Bright, Ra Vincent
Music by: Howard Shore
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images.
Studio: New Line Cinema, Warner Bros. Pictures
Release Date: December 13, 2013

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Thor: The Dark World

Thor: The Dark World Movie

Thousands of years ago, a race of beings known as Dark Elves tried to send the universe into darkness by using a weapon known as the Aether. Warriors from Asgard stop them but their leader Malekith escapes to wait for another opportunity. The warriors find the Aether and since it cannot be destroyed, they try to hide it. In the present day, Jane Foster awaits the return of Thor although it has been two years since they last saw once another.

In the meantime, Thor has been trying to bring peace to the nine realms. Jane discovers an anomaly similar to the one that brought Thor to Earth. She goes to investigate, finds a wormhole, and is sucked into it. Back on Asgard, Thor wishes to return to Earth but his father, Odin refuses to let him. Thor learns from Heimdall, who can see into all of the realms, that Jane disappeared. Thor then returns to Earth just as Jane reappears. However, when some policemen try to arrest her, an unknown energy repulses them.

Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World continues the big-screen adventures of Thor, the Mighty Avenger, as he battles to save Earth and all the Nine Realms from a shadowy enemy that predates the universe itself. In the aftermath of Marvel’s Thor and Marvel’s The Avengers, Thor fights to restore order across the cosmos… but an ancient race led by the vengeful Malekith returns to plunge the universe back into darkness. Faced with an enemy that even Odin and Asgard cannot withstand, Thor must embark on his most perilous and personal journey yet, one that will reunite him with Jane Foster and force him to sacrifice everything to save us all.

Thor: The Dark World Movie

About the Story

Eons ago, Bor, father of Odin, clashes with the Dark Elf Malekith, who seeks to destroy the universe using a weapon known as the Aether. After conquering Malekith’s forces, including enhanced warriors called the Kursed, on their home world of Svartalfheim, Bor safeguards the Aether within a stone column. Unbeknownst to Bor, Malekith, his lieutenant Algrim, and a handful of Dark Elves escape into suspended animation.

In present-day Asgard, Loki stands imprisoned for his war crimes on Earth. Meanwhile, Thor, alongside warriors Fandral, Volstagg, and Sif repel marauders on Vanaheim, home of their comrade Hogun; it is the final battle in a war to pacify the Nine Realms following the reconstruction of Bifröst, the “Rainbow Bridge” between realms, which had been destroyed two years earlier. The Asgardians soon learn that the Convergence, a rare alignment of the Nine Realms, is imminent; as the event approaches, portals linking the worlds appear at random.

In London, astrophysicist Dr. Jane Foster and her intern Darcy Lewis travel to an abandoned factory where such portals have appeared, disrupting the laws of physics around them. Separating from the group, Jane is teleported to another world, where she is infected by the Aether. Heimdall alerts Thor that Jane has moved beyond his near omniscient sight, leading Thor to Earth. When Thor finds Jane, she inadvertently releases an unearthly force, and Thor returns with her to Asgard. Odin, recognizing the Aether, warns that the Aether will not only kill Jane, but that its return heralds a catastrophic prophecy.

Malekith, awakened by the Aether’s release, turns Algrim into a Kursed and attacks Asgard. During the battle, Malekith and Algrim search for Jane, sensing that she contains the Aether. Thor’s mother Frigga is killed protecting Jane, and Malekith and Algrim are forced to flee without Jane. Despite Odin’s orders not to leave Asgard, Thor reluctantly enlists the help of Loki, who knows of a secret portal to Svartalfheim, where they will use Jane to lure and confront Malekith, away from Asgard. In return, Thor promises Loki vengeance on Malekith for killing their mother. With Volstagg and Sif stalling Asgardian soldiers and Fandral assisting their escape, Thor, Loki, and Jane head to Svartalfheim.

There, Loki tricks Malekith into drawing the Aether out of Jane, but Thor’s attempt to destroy the exposed substance fails. Malekith merges with the Aether and leaves in his ship as Loki is fatally wounded while killing Algrim. Thor, cradling Loki in his arms, promises to tell their father of his sacrifice. Afterwards, Thor and Jane discover another portal in a nearby cave and reunite in London with Darcy and Jane’s mentor Dr. Erik Selvig — who was briefly institutionalized due to the mental trauma he suffered during Loki’s attack on Earth. They learn that Malekith plans to destroy the universe and restore the Dark Elves to dominance by unleashing the Aether at the center of the Convergence in Greenwich. Thor battles Malekith through various portals and across multiple worlds until one portal separates them, leaving Malekith unopposed on Earth. Thor returns in time to help his mortal comrades use their scientific equipment to transport Malekith to Svartalfheim, where he is crushed by his own damaged ship.

Thor returns to Asgard, where he declines Odin’s offer to take the throne and tells Odin of Loki’s sacrifice. As he leaves, Odin’s form transforms to that of a grinning Loki.

In a mid-credits scene, Volstagg and Sif visit the Collector and entrust the Aether to his care, commenting that, with the Tesseract already in Asgard, having two Infinity Stones so close together would be dangerous. As they leave, the Collector remarks, “One down, five to go.” In a post-credits scene, Jane and Thor reunite on Earth while somewhere in London a frost monster from Jotunheim, accidentally transported to Earth during the final battle, continues to run amok.

Thor: The Dark World Movie Poster

Thor: The Dark World

Directed by: Alan Taylor
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Ray Stevenson, Kat Dennings, Anthony Hopkins, Stellan Skarsgård
Screenplay by: Christopher Yost, Christopher Markus
Production Design by: Charles Wood
Cinematography by: Kramer Morgenthau
Film Editing by: Dan Lebental, Wyatt Smith
Costume Design by: Wendy Partridge
Set Decoration by: John Bush
Music by: Brian Tyler
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence, and some suggestive content.
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
Release Date: November 8, 2013

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Ender’s Game

Ender's Game Movie

Taglines: The future must be won.

Ender’s Game is an American science fiction action film based on the novel of the same name by Orson Scott Card. Written and directed by Gavin Hood, the film stars Asa Butterfield as Andrew “Ender” Wiggin, an unusually gifted child who is sent to an advanced military academy in outer space to prepare for a future alien invasion. The supporting cast includes Harrison Ford, Hailee Steinfeld, Viola Davis, Abigail Breslin, and Ben Kingsley.

In the future, humanity is preparing to launch an attack on the homeworld of an alien race called the Formics who had attacked Earth fifty years earlier and killed millions. Gifted children are trained to become commanders of a new fleet for this attack.

Cadet Andrew “Ender” Wiggin draws the attention of Colonel Hyrum Graff and Major Gwen Anderson by his aptitude in simulated space combat. They order the removal of his monitor, signifying the end of the cadet program. Ender is beaten up by Stilson, a student he defeated in the combat sim, but Ender fights back and severely injures him. Ender confesses his grief to his older sister Valentine, but is harassed further by their older brother Peter. Graff arrives to announce Ender’s entrance into Battle School. Graff places Ender with other cadets his age, but treats him as extraordinary, ostracizing him from the others.

Ender's Game Movie

Among other studies, the cadets are placed in squads and perform training games in a zero gravity “Battle Room”. Ender quickly adapts to the games, devising new strategies older students have not yet seen. Graff reassigns Ender to Salamander Army, led by Commander Bonzo Madrid. Bonzo is resentful of the new addition and prevents Ender from training. Another cadet, Petra Arkanian, takes Ender and trains him privately. In one match, Ender goes against Bonzo’s orders and working with Petra, achieves a key victory for his army.

Meanwhile, Ender plays a computerized “mind game” set in a fantasy world aimed to present difficult choices to the player. In one situation, Ender creates a solution to overcome an unsolvable problem. Later, he encounters a Formic in the game, and then a simulated image of Valentine entering the ruins of a castle. Inside, he finds another image of Valentine but as he nears, it turns into an image of Peter before the game ends.

Graff promotes Ender to his own squad, made from other students that have gained Ender’s trust. They are put in increasingly difficult battles. In one match against two other teams including Bonzo’s squad, Ender devises a novel strategy of sacrificing part of his team to achieve a goal, impressing Graff. Bonzo accosts Ender in the bathroom after the match, but Ender fights back and mortally harms him. Distraught over this, Ender prepares to quit Battle School, but Graff has Valentine speak to him and convince him to continue.

Graff takes Ender to humanity’s forward base on a former Formic planet near their homeworld. There, Ender meets Mazer Rackham, who explains how he spotted the shared-mind nature of the Formics to stop the attack fifty years prior. Ender finds that his former squad members are also here to help him train in computerized simulations of large fleet combat; Rackham puts special emphasis on the fleet’s Molecular Detachment (MD) Device that is capable of disintegrating matter.[note 1] Ender’s training is rigorous and Anderson expresses concern they are pushing Ender too fast, but Graff notes they have run out of time to replace Ender.

Ender’s final test is monitored by several of the fleet commanders. As the simulation starts, Ender finds his fleet over the Formic homeworld and vastly outnumbered. He orders most of his fleet to sacrifice themselves to protect the MD long enough to fire on the homeworld. The simulation ends, and Ender believes the test is over, but the commanders restart the video screens, showing that the destruction of the Formic homeworld was real and Ender had been controlling the real fleet this time. Despite Graff’s assurance he will be known as a hero, Ender is furious as everyone will remember him as a killer.

As Ender struggles with his emotions, he recognizes one of the Formic structures nearby similar to the ruined castle from the game, and believing they were trying to communicate with him, races out towards it. He follows the path set by the game, and encounters a dying Formic queen who has been protecting another queen egg. As the movie concludes, Ender writes in a letter to Valentine that he is heading to deep space with the egg, determined to colonize a new Formic world with it.

Ender's Game Movie Poster

Ender’s Game

Directed by: Gavin Hood
Starring: Harrison Ford, Abigail Breslin, Hailee Steinfeld, Asa Butterfield, Ben Kingsley, Viola Davis
Screenplay by: Gavin Hood
Production Design by: Sean Haworth, Ben Procter
Cinematography by: Donald McAlpine
Film Editing by: Lee Smith, Zach Staenberg
Costume Design by: Christine Bieselin Clark
Set Decoration by: Peter Lando
Music by: Steve Jablonsky
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some violence, sci-fi action and thematic material.
Studio: Summit Entertainment, Lionsgate Films
Release Date: November 1, 2013

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Mr. Nobody

Mr. Nobody Movie

Taglines: If you never make a choice, anything is possible.

A young boy stands on a station platform. The train is about to leave. Should he go with his mother or stay with his father? An infinity of possibilities rise from this decision. As long as he doesn’t choose, anything is possible. Every life deserves to be lived.

The film tells the life story of Nemo Nobody, a 118 year-old man who is the last mortal on Earth after the human race has achieved quasi-immortality. Nemo, memory fading, refers to his three main loves and to his parents’ divorce and subsequent hardships endured at three critical junctions in his life: at age nine, fifteen, and thirty-four. Alternate life paths branching out from each of those critical junctions are examined. The speculative narrative often changes course with the flick of a different possible decision at each of those ages. The film uses nonlinear narrative and the many-worlds interpretation style.

Mr. Nobody is a science fiction drama film. It was written and directed by Jaco Van Dormael, produced by Philippe Godeau, and starred Jared Leto, Sarah Polley, Diane Kruger, Linh Dan Pham, Rhys Ifans, Natasha Little, Toby Regbo and Juno Temple.

Mr. Nobody had its world premiere at the 66th Venice International Film Festival where it received the Golden Osella and the Biografilm Lancia Award. Critical response was generally strong and the film was nominated for seven Magritte Awards, winning six, including Best Film and Best Director for Van Dormael. The film was mostly funded through European financiers and was released in Belgium on January 13, 2010. Since its original release, Mr. Nobody has become a cult film, noted for its philosophy and cinematography, personal characters and Pierre Van Dormael’s soundtrack.

Mr. Nobody Movie Poster

Mr. Nobody

Directed by: Jaco Van Dormael
Starring: Jared Leto, Sarah Polley, Diane Kruger, Linh Dan Pham, Rhys Ifans, Clare Stone
Screenplay by: Jaco Van Dormael
Production Design by: Sylvie Olivé
Cinematography by: Christophe Beaucarne
Film Editing by: Susan Shipton, Matyas Veress
Costume Design by: Ulla Gothe
Set Decoration by: Regine Constant
Music by: Pierre van Dormael
MPAA Rating: None.
Studio: Magnolia Pictures
Release Date: November 1, 2013

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Riddick

Riddick Movie

Taglines: Rule the dark.

The infamous Riddick has been left for dead on a sun-scorched planet that appears to be lifeless. Soon, however, he finds himself fighting for survival against alien predators lethal than any human he’s encountered. The only way off is for Riddick to activate an emergency beacon and alert mercenaries who rapidly descend to the planet in search of bounty.

The first ship to arrive carries a new breed of merc, more lethal and violent, while the second is captained by a man whose pursuit of Riddick is more personal. With time running out and a storm on the horizon that no one could survive, his hunters won’t leave the planet without Riddick’s head as their trophy.

Riddick, the latest chapter of the saga that began with 2000’s hit sci-fi film Pitch Black and 2004’s The Chronicles of Riddick reunites writer / director David Twohy (A Perfect Getaway, The Fugitive) and star Vin Diesel (the Fast and Furious franchise, xXx). Diesel reprises his role as the antihero Riddick, a dangerous, escaped convict wanted by every bounty hunter in the known galaxy.

Riddick is a British-American science fiction thriller film, the third installment in the Riddick film series. Produced by and starring Vin Diesel as the title character, Riddick is written and directed by David Twohy, who previously wrote and directed the first two installments, Pitch Black (2000) and The Chronicles of Riddick (2004). The film was released on September 4, 2013, in the UK and Ireland, and September 6, 2013, in the United States. It was shown in both conventional and IMAX Digital theaters.

Riddick Movie - Katee Sackhoff

About the Story

Nine years after the events of Pitch Black, Riddick has become increasingly uneasy in his role as Lord Marshall of the Necromonger fleet. His refusal to swear into the Necromonger faith has caused dissent among his subjects and assassination attempts by his subordinate commanders.

Riddick strikes a deal with Commander Vaako; the location of Furya and a ship to take him there, in exchange for Vaako becoming the next Lord Marshall. Led by Vaako’s aide, Krone, Riddick and a group of Necromongers arrive on a desolate planet. Recognizing that it is not Furya, Riddick kills most of his escort when they attempt to assassinate him. In the chaos, Krone causes a landslide and buries Riddick alive.

Emerging from the rubble with a fractured leg, Riddick manages to reset and splint his broken leg and fend off native predators: vulture-like flying animals, packs of jackal-like beasts and swarms of venomous, scorpion-like water dwelling creatures called Mud Demons. Needing time to heal, Riddick hides himself within some abandoned ruins. Riddick later sees a vast savanna beyond some rocky cliffs, but the only passage through is guarded by Mud Demons, which inhabit several muddy pools.

As he builds an immunity to the Mud Demon’s venom, Riddick improvises melee weapons, while raising and training an orphaned jackal-beast pup. The two eventually succeed in defeating the Mud Demons and reach the savannah. Riddick soon realizes a massive series of approaching storms are unleashing countless more of the Demons, who must keep their skin wet at all times to survive. Needing to get off-world, Riddick activates an emergency beacon in an empty mercenary station, which broadcasts his identity and presence on the planet.

Riddick Movie - Katee Sackhoff

Two ships promptly arrive in answer to the beacon; the first a group of bushwhacker bounty hunters led by a violent and unstable man named Santana, and another better-equipped team of professional mercenaries led by a man who is not initially identified but is named Boss Johns. Riddick has left them a blood message vowing death to every merc unless they leave one of their ships and depart the planet on the other.

Rubio, Nunez and Falco are killed during the first night, forcing a reluctant Santana to cooperate with Johns. Riddick later manages to steal power nodes from each of the teams’ ships and then approaches Johns and Santana to strike a deal for their return. However, the conversation turns out to be an ambush. Johns’ second-in-command, Dahl, shoots Riddick with powerful tranquilizers. In an effort to defend his master, Riddick’s alien jackal brutally attacks Santana, but is shot multiple times in the throat.

Back at the Merc Station, Johns interrogates Riddick about the final fate of his son, William J. Johns (the mercenary from Pitch Black). When the storms finally reach the station, large numbers of Mud Demons emerge from the muddy ground, and besiege the station, killing Lockspur and Moss. Johns agrees to release Riddick in order to locate the hidden power cells. Santana stops him and attempts to kill Riddick, who is worth twice as much dead as he is alive. Riddick instead beheads Santana thus keeping his earlier promise to kill the merc and avenge the death of his pet.

They then fight their way to the ship which houses the hover bikes with Vargas being killed. Johns, Santana’s man Diaz, and Riddick leave the ship together on hover bikes on a mission to retrieve the power nodes. During their journey, Diaz knocks Johns’ bike over the side, causing him to crash. He is then picked up by Riddick.

After they reached the power nodes, Riddick reveals to Johns about his son’s addiction to morphine and a spineless attempt by his son to utilize a child as ‘bait’ for the hostile animals on the world they were stranded on ten years prior. With both of them distracted, Diaz attempts to kill Riddick and Johns. Riddick fights and kills him, but not before unintentionally damaging the only working hover bike (Diaz had already disabled the other one).

Riddick and Boss Johns fend off a seemingly endless horde of Demons while running back to the station. Riddick is severely wounded. Johns takes both nodes and abandons Riddick. After treating his wound, Riddick begins to fight a futile battle against the advancing Demons. Just when it seems he is about to be killed, Johns arrives in one of the ships and shoots the creatures while Dahl descends to rescue Riddick.

Riddick Movie Poster

Riddick

Directed by: David Twohy
Starring: Vin Diesel, Jordi Mollà, Matthew Nable, Katee Sackhoff, Dave Bautista
Screenplay by: David Twohy, Jim Wheat, Ken Wheat
Production Design by: Joseph C. Nemec
Cinematography by: David Eggby
Film Editing by: Tracy Adams
Costume Design by: Simonetta Mariano
Set Decoration by: Daniel Carpentier, David Laramy
Music by: Graeme Revell
MPAA Rating: R for strong violence, language and some sexual content / nudity.
Studio: Universal Pictures
Release Date: September 6, 2013

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The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

Taglines: You have been chosen.

Set in contemporary New York City, a seemingly ordinary teenager, Clary Fray (Lily Collins), discovers she is the descendant of a line of Shadowhunters, a secret cadre of young half-angel warriors locked in an ancient battle to protect our world from demons. After the disappearance of her mother (Lena Headey), Clary must join forces with a group of Shadowhunters, who introduce her to a dangerous alternate New York called Downworld, filled with demons, warlocks, vampires, werewolves and other deadly creatures. Based on the worldwide best-selling book series.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is a German-Canadian action-adventure science 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 an international cast, including Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Robert Sheehan, Kevin Zegers, Jemima West, Godfrey Gao, Lena Headey, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Aidan Turner, Kevin Durand, and Jared Harris. It was released in theaters on August 21, 2013.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

Production Notes

A seemingly ordinary young woman discovers a hidden world and an extraordinary destiny in The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, the eagerly anticipated big-screen adaptation of the first book of Cassandra Clare’s blockbuster fantasy adventure series, The Mortal Instruments.

Clarissa “Clary” Fray (Lily Collins) has been living quietly in Brooklyn for as long as she can remember, when she suddenly begins to see startling and seemingly impossible things. Just as suddenly, her single mom (Lena Headey) disappears after a violent struggle. As she and her best friend Simon (Robert Sheehan) search for her mother, Clary begins to uncover the dark secrets and darker threats in the hidden world of the Shadowhunters, angel-human warriors who have protected humanity from evil forces for centuries.

Surrounded by demons, warlocks, vampires, werewolves and other supernatural denizens of the Shadow World, Clary joins forces with young Shadowhunters Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower), Isabelle (Jemima West) and Alec (Kevin Zegers) to locate and protect an ancient Cup that holds the key to her mother’s future. Discovering abilities and courage she never knew she possessed, the young woman surprises even herself as she proves to be a formidable opponent against an array of deadly adversaries.

About the Production

In 2007 author Cassandra Clare introduced young adult readers to the reluctant warrior, Clary Fray, in The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, the astonishing first entry in what would become a fantasy-adventure empire. In Clare’s carefully constructed magical world, a young woman finds herself surrounded by warlocks, vampires, werewolves, demons—and the mysterious Shadowhunters, a hidden race of angel-human hybrids who secretly protect humankind from the ultimate evil.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

Clare began writing her New York Times, USA TODAY, Wall Street Journal, and Publishers Weekly best-selling series of young adult novels in 2003. “I’ve always been a huge fan of fantasy and epic stories of good and evil,” she says. “I wanted to write a coming-of-age story with a girl at its center, which I don’t see very often, and I decided to set it in New York City, because I had just moved there and fallen in love with its beautiful and amazing history.”

Four years later, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones hit the bookshelves and became a worldwide phenomenon, launching not just five more novels featuring Clary Fray and her Shadowhunter comrades in The Mortal Instruments saga, but three more multi-part series set in Clare’s brilliantly imagined Shadow World as well: The Bane Chronicles, The Infernal Devices and The Dark Artifices.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones was optioned for film in 2009, something Clare says she dreamed of but never thought would really happen. “It’s been quite a journey from the kernel of the idea of the book to the production of the film,” Clare says. “And it’s been surreal. When you write a book, you hope maybe someday it’ll be a movie, but you don’t count on it. I still can’t quite believe it.”

Producer Robert Kulzer read Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series at the suggestion of his colleagues, Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne, producers of blockbuster movies including The Lord of the Rings franchise. “When you read the novels, you discover a new world,” says Kulzer. “I found myself wanting to spend more time with these characters as they go on this incredible journey of discovery. There are so many surprises contained in this world and we want to create a similar sense of wonder in this movie.”

Kulzer shared his find with Don Carmody, with whom he has produced the five hugely successful Resident Evil movies. “Since the success of the Twilight movies, every movie producer has been trying to find their own equivalent,” Kulzer says. “After reading these books, we felt they had the potential to become a huge franchise.”

While Carmody was unfamiliar with the young-adult fiction market, he had a panel of experts close at hand. “It turned out that my teenage daughters are huge fans of the books,” the producer says. “They had grown a bit blasé about the movies I make, but this made them take notice. The Mortal Instruments is what they really want to see on screen. When I started checking around and realized how big the audience was for the novels, I enthusiastically came on board.”

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones - Lily Collins

The books have been translated into 36 languages with more than 24 million copies in print worldwide. A sweeping epic that spans centuries and continents, the series has inspired legions of dedicated fans, with whom Clare keeps in close contact through personal appearances and social media.

“As an author, one of the most amazing parts of the experience has been to be able to create a world that started off in my head and that so many other people now want to live in,” she says. “I try to stay in touch with them as much as possible online, through book groups, through signings and traveling the country. It’s been wonderful to be able to share the excitement with people who are as involved with the story as I am. They love the characters like family and now they are fully embracing the film’s actors as their avatars.”

As compelling as the fantasy elements of the books are, Carmody believes the appeal lies deeper. “It’s all about a young woman discovering who she really is,” he says. “It’s a brilliant premise and a great yarn, but it addresses themes that young adults are particularly interested in, because they are in the process of finding themselves.”

The producers spent two years developing the script, always keeping in mind that Cassandra Clare’s legions of dedicated fans were watching the process closely. “We had to be very careful when we altered the narrative or made changes in a character,” Carmody says. “The movie had to be as true to the books as we could possibly make it.”

Screenwriter Jessica Postigo Paquette was tasked with drafting three chapters in what is envisioned as a major franchise with an enviable heroine. “When I first read The Mortal Instruments, I fell in love with Clary Fray,” says Postigo. “She is no damsel in distress—in fact, she kicks ass. She is thrust into this parallel world that no one would ever have imagined even existed and handles it fearlessly.”

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

“I also love the realistic urban setting,” says Postigo. “Clary lives in Brooklyn and her life is not delicate or precious in any way. You want to know more and more about the characters. Despite having lived with them for years now, I never tire of them. I want to hang out with them.”

Postigo says her first responsibility is to Clare and the books’ fans. “It was very important for me to protect Cassandra’s baby,” says Postigo. “That’s how I saw it. I have so much respect for the world she’s created. The Mortal Instruments books are very different from any other young adult novel I’ve read.”

She was careful to seek the author’s counsel along the way. “Cassandra was an integral part of the process,” says Postigo. “We consulted her often while we were developing the script. She was always very understanding of our concerns and sometimes had a solution we hadn’t considered. She has such a strong, beautiful voice and she’s very smart about the way she chooses to collaborate.”

Clare also provided the filmmakers with an intimate understanding of her readers. “The fans have been very supportive,” says Carmody. “I know it helped that Cassandra was part of the process. Nobody knows this story like she does. She was extremely helpful with casting and with helping us communicate with the fans.”

With the writing process underway, finding the right director became the next step in the equation. “We were really looking for something very specific in our director — someone who had already worked in the genre world and knew how to manage the fantastical elements of the book with the special effects, and create an original world.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

When Harald Zwart, fresh off the enormously successful remake of The Karate Kid starring Jaden Smith, came in to meet with the producers, they realized he was the right director for the film – approaching the material, not from the genre world as they had anticipated, but from a grounded, character-specific perspective. Says Kulzer, “Harald had fallen in love with the characters and the world,” says Kulzer. “He wanted to recreate them just as they are in the book. Harald had a whole folder full of tear sheets and boards that he had put together. He had envisioned the characters, the setting, the color palette, even the magic, in such incredible detail.”

After a single two-hour meeting, Zwart was hired. “I said, Harald, I get the feeling you really want to do this movie,” Kulzer says. “He agreed to drop everything else he was working on and focus on prepping this film. He soaked up the world, reading all of the fan blogs to learn what they like and don’t like. If he had questions about anything, he went directly to Cassandra, which made it a very transparent and fluid process, because she is so intimately connected to the fans. If she mentioned any aspect of the film to them, we immediately had thousands of responses.”

The director says he was drawn to the excitement and the visual possibilities of the story, but his strongest connection was to the characters, especially Clary. “In some ways it’s really a detective story about a young woman searching for something that is lost,” he says. “On the way, she discovers that much of what she’s believed all her life is not true. Every day, the character has a ‘what?’ moment that turns what she thought was true upside-down. But Clary is a very powerful young lady and she takes control of her own life. One of the things I love most about the character is that when someone tells her not to do something, you know she’s probably going do it.”

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

Zwart and Clare made a strong connection and worked closely together to develop a cohesive world for the story. “The first time I met Harald in Los Angeles, he launched into all these questions,” says Clare. “It was so much fun talking to someone for hours about something that I’ve thought about almost exclusively for seven or eight years. It’s very real to me at this point. He didn’t have any experience with fantasy, so he was really fascinated by the rules and systems that you have to adhere to once you establish them. In Harry Potter, we know you have to point a wand and say a word to make magic. The magic in these books is completely different, but it is just as consistent.”

Most importantly to Clare, Zwart was completely attuned to the emotional lives of the characters. “In this genre, it is easy to get caught up in the visuals, and he definitely understands that aspect. But he knows that no matter how cool the movie looks, it’s no substitute for rich inner lives and emotional connections between the characters. Harald is a great director for the project because he is extremely interested in all the relationships: familial, friendship and romantic. That makes it feel real.”

Zwart also sought Clare’s advice on the best ways to fit the sprawling narrative into the limited length of a feature film. “When you adapt a very popular book, you have to make some difficult choices,” Zwart says. “You have to give up certain things for all kinds of reasons. Perhaps something doesn’t work for the logic of the movie, or it’s a stumbling block to moving the story forward, or simply for budgetary reasons. We did our best to preserve what’s really important, and thankfully, Cassandra was very supportive of the choices we made.”

Clare sounds more like a fan than a best-selling author when she speaks about viewing the finished film. “To be able to actually see the City of Bones, the greenhouse, the Institute, Java Jones, Clary’s apartment—all these places that I have described in the books, is an amazing experience,” marvels Clare. “The fans will finally get to meet the characters that they’ve come to love.”

Inside the Shadow World

In The Mortal Instruments book series, the world we know holds within it another, hidden world populated by magical beings engaged in a constant struggle of good against evil. Known as the Shadow World, it contains mysteries that go back a thousand years to a time when darkness was threatening to engulf the earth.

Ten centuries ago, the Black Death ravaged Europe and endless Holy Wars tore apart the Middle East. According to Cassandra’s Clare’s elaborate and meticulously plotted mythology, demonic forces trying to destroy humanity and take over the world for themselves were behind this strife.

Fearing that evil was about to triumph over good, the Angel Raziel took desperate measures. He mixed his blood with the blood of men in a mysterious crystal goblet. Anyone who drank from this Mortal Cup became part of a race of half human-half angel hybrids known as Nephilim or, more commonly, the Shadowhunters.

This singular race, gifted with great strength and magical abilities, has been protecting the human world against demons ever since. That battle has been ongoing in the Shadow World, although ordinary humans live their entire lives without ever knowing it exists.

“The Shadow World is not an alternate universe,” says producer Don Carmody. “It’s right here, right now. Humans just don’t see it, unless they are Shadowhunters who are there to control the demons and other creatures when they get out of hand and try to cross over into our world.”

The Shadowhunters pursue their enemies relentlessly, without thought for their own safety. “Their selflessness is what fascinates me,” Carmody says. “It’s a very difficult life. They’re constantly in danger of being hurt or killed themselves, yet they never think twice about stepping in when a demon crosses the line.”

For all their strength and unusual abilities, the Shadowhunters remain mortal, with all of the frailties that implies. “It’s important to remember that they are humans with human emotions and a thankless life,” says Clare. “Humans don’t even know they exist, much less risk their lives daily.”

Their primary job is fending off demons, the immortal source of everything evil, that continually try to wrest control of the earth from humans. These inter-dimensional beings, who travel from world to world destroying everything in their path, are divided between lesser and greater demons, with dozens of sub-species. When they are ‘killed,’ they do not actually die, but rather return to their home dimension where they exist in a weakened state until they recover from their wounds.

“Sometimes demons are disguised as other humans and sometimes they’re simply invisible to the human eye,” Clare explains. “They travel through the world, murdering people, taking over their bodies and destroying what has been created. Shadowhunters are our only protection against these predators.”

The Shadow World teems with other supernatural creatures, also known as Downworlders. Downworlders include warlocks, faeries, vampires and werewolves, each with their own unique histories and abilities.

Warlocks, like Clary Fray’s protector Magnus Bane, are the offspring of humans and demons, often conceived through trickery. Also known as Lilith’s Children, they are immortal and their demon ancestry enables them to perform magic. They can be male or female and are the most powerful of the Downworlders.

Vampires and werewolves are humans who have been infected by demonic viruses. In werewolves, the infection can be passed on through a werewolf bite or from parent to child. Their ability to shape shift from human form to wolf initially depends on the phase of the moon, but with experience, a werewolf can learn to control that power. They live in packs and the New York clan is led by Luke Garroway, who is a close friend of Clary Fray’s mother, Jocelyn.

Vampires, also known as the Night Children, are blood drinkers who must hunt between sunset and sunrise. A human can be transformed into a vampire by drinking vampire blood and then being drained of blood by a vampire. Traditionally, vampires and werewolves are mortal enemies, and both were formerly at war with the Shadowhunters, but an uneasy accord is now in place.

The Mortal Instruments, City of Bones Poster

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

Directed by: Harald Zwart
Starring: Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Robert Sheehan, Kevin Zegers, Lena Headey, Kevin Durand, Aidan Turner, Jemima West, Jared Harris, Jonathan Rhys Meyers
Screenplay by: Jessica Postigo Paquette
Production Design by: François Séguin
Cinematography by: Geir Hartly Andreassen
Film Editing by: Jacqueline Carmody
Costume Design by: Gersha Phillips
Set Decoration by: Patricia Larman
Music by: Atli Örvarsson
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of fantasy violence and action, and some suggestive content.
Studio: Sony ScreenGems
Release Date: August 21, 2013

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Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

Taglines: Where there are gods, there are monsters.

The story begins with a young Annabeth, Luke, Grover and Thalia running to Camp Half-Blood while being pursued by monsters. Thalia sacrifices herself to get the others into the camp, and her father Zeus transforms her into a pine tree, creating a magical border around the camp so that no other half-blood would suffer from a fate as she did. The scene then shifts to Percy during a camp competition against Clarisse La Rue. Percy loses the competition after he assists another camper, and is badgered by Clarisse.

Soon after, Chiron and Mr. D investigate a Cyclops that has somehow passed through the border, and the cyclops is revealed to be Tyson, Percy’s half-brother. After the campers pick on Percy and Tyson, the camp is suddenly attacked by a Colchis Bull, who breaks through the border and ravages Camp Half-Blood. Percy finally defeats it with the help of Tyson, Annabeth, and Clarisse, and Luke Castellan suddenly appears and confronts Percy, trying to convert the son of Poseidon to his cause. When Percy refuses, Luke disappears.

The campers soon realize that Thalia’s tree has been poisoned and that they have been left vulnerable to attacks. Percy asks Chiron about a prophecy he is involved in (for Luke had tried to bait him with the knowledge earlier), and visits the Oracle, who tells him of a prophecy of Percy either saving or destroying Olympus. Annabeth then proposes a quest to Mr. D, where they retrieve the Golden Fleece from Polyphemus in the Sea of Monsters and use it to heal Thalia’s tree.

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

Mr. D then announces the quest, but chooses Clarisse to lead the quest instead, much to Annabeth’s and Percy’s dismay. Percy then convinces Grover and Annabeth to accompany him on the quest, and Tyson joins them against the groups’ wishes. Annabeth hails the Taxi of Damnation, and Percy threatens the three drivers to tell him of his prophecy, and they give him a set of coordinates in the Sea of Monsters before ejecting the group from the cab in Washington D.C.

While walking down the street, Grover is kidnapped by Chris Rodriguez and taken to Luke. Meanwhile, Percy, Annabeth, and Tyson meet with Hermes and he gives them a thermos that releases the winds from the four corners of the earth, and a magical box sealer that, when taped around as a border, can make anything disappear. The three ride a Hippocampus to Luke’s yacht, The Princess Andromeda, where they are captured and locked in the brig. Percy frees them with the box sealer and they escape after fighting through Luke’s men and a Manticore, using the thermos to escape on the ship.

The group is consumed by Charybdis after Tyson loses the thermos, and they discover Clarisse in the monster’s stomach. Percy and Clarisse work together to escape Charybdis’s gut, and they arrive at CirceLand, Polyphemus’s lair. Percy finds Grover and the five escape Polyphemus, retrieving the fleece and trapping him in his cave. Afterwards, Luke arrives and demands the fleece from Percy, who refuses. Luke shoots a crossbow at Percy, but Tyson takes the bolt in the chest before falling to the water below, much to Percy’s shock.

Luke begins reviving Kronos as Percy laments over the loss of Tyson. The team then escapes captivity and a fight ensues. Percy grapples with Luke over the Fleece, but Luke easily gains the upper hand. Luke is suddenly thrown away by Tyson, revealed to have survived his wound, due to the water healing it, as he is Poseidon’s son. The group however watches in horror as Kronos rises from the sarcophagus. Kronos consumes Luke and Grover, before battling Percy. Percy realizes that Riptide is the “cursed blade” of the prophecy, and slays Kronos with it, who regurgitates Grover and Luke, the latter landing in Polyphemus’ Lair.

Their victory is short lived as Annabeth is stabbed from behind by the Manticore, who is killed in turn by Clarisse and Grover. Annabeth dies in Percy’s arms, but is resurrected by the Fleece. Percy then gives the fleece to Clarisse and they return to Camp Half-Blood. Clarisse places the fleece on Thalia’s tree. The group returns later to find Thalia alive, as the fleece “did its job too well” and returned her to human form. The film ends with Percy realizing that Thalia is a child of Zeus, and therefore is another possible child of the prophecy about either preserving or destroying Olympus.

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters Movie Poster

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

Directed by: Thor Freudenthal
Starring: Logan Lerman, Sean Bean, Nathan Fillion, Alexandra Daddario, Stanley Tucci, Paloma Kwiatkowski, Alisha Newton, Katelyn Mager
Screenplay by: Scott Alexander, Marc Guggenheim, Larry Karaszewski
Production Design by: Claude Par
Cinematography by: Shelly Johnson
Film Editing by: Mark Goldblatt
Costume Design by: Monique Prudhomme
Set Decoration by: Selina van den Brink, Shane Vieau
Music by: Andrew Lockington
MPAA Rating: PG for fantasy action violence, some scary images and mild language.
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: August 7, 2013

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The Wolverine

The Wolverine Movie

Based on the celebrated comic book arc, this epic action-adventure takes Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), the most iconic character of the X-Men universe, to modern day Japan. Out of his depth in an unknown world, he will face a host of unexpected and deadly opponents in a life-or-death battle that will leave him forever changed. Vulnerable for the first time and pushed to his physical and emotional limits, he confronts not only lethal samurai steel but also his inner struggle against his own immortality.

The most iconic character in the X-Men universe embarks upon on an epic journey in modern-day Japan in The Wolverine. Inspired by the celebrated Marvel comic book arc, Logan (Hugh Jackman), the century-old mutant known to the world as Wolverine, is lured to a Japan he hasn’t seen since World War II – and into a shadowy realm of Yakuza and Samurai.

Suddenly finding himself on the run with a mysterious, beautiful heiress and confronted for the first time with the prospect of true mortality, Logan will be pushed to the physical and emotional edge – further than he’s ever been. On a perilous journey to rediscover the hero inside, Logan will be forced to grapple not only with powerful foes, mutant and human alike, but with the ghosts of his own haunted past, as well. As The Wolverine crosses his adamantium claws with Samurai swords, striking out through a maze of love, betrayal and honor, he will truly come to know the price of a life without end.

“This story takes The Wolverine into a world that is vastly different from any seen before in the X-Men series,” says Hugh Jackman, who also serves as a producer on the film. “It’s visually different and the tone is different. There are a lot of battles in this story, but the greatest battle of all is the one within Logan between being a monster and a becoming a human being.”

The Wolverine Movie

The Wolverine first emerged in 1974, when the character made his premiere appearance in the very last panel of an issue of The Incredible Hulk — one that foreshadowed his joining the band of mutant heroes known as The X-Men. He would soon be world-renowned for his adamantium claws, his powers of self-healing and his primal “berserker” rages – all of which would serve to forge The Wolverine into a superstar of the superhero realm.

In the 1980s, The Wolverine truly came into his own – in a four-issue miniseries created by “X-Men” writer Chris Claremont and the legendary graphic artist Frank Miller (“The Dark Knight,” “Sin City”). In the series, the character makes a solo journey to Japan, only to be lured into a maelstrom of crime, betrayal and honor, in the midst of which he is forced to confront both his terrifying strengths and his undiscovered vulnerability. Trying to maneuver in a world he can barely understand, The Wolverine, for the first time, finds his inner sense of justice.

Long a favorite of fans of Wolverine, the arc had also been an inspiration for Oscar®-nominated actor Hugh Jackman, who has embodied the character in six blockbuster X-Men movies (and is currently before the cameras in a seventh film). Jackman saw in this untold part of the character’s history a rare chance to dive even deeper beneath The Wolverine’s indestructibility, and to illuminate his darkest aspects in a new way.

That desire got a boost when Jackman teamed up with James Mangold, who had previously turned the story of Johnny Cash into a riveting account of love and rebellion in Walk the Line, and re-jiggered the classic Western 3:10 to Yuma into a contemporary cat-and-mouse game set around mythic themes of friendship, duty and destiny. He was the right choice to bring a new view to The Wolverine, and to take the character outside the usual conventions of the X-Men storylines.

“Jim Mangold knows how to make a movie that is fun, has incredible action, and yet also delivers all the finer elements of character and storytelling,” says Jackman. “He pushed me to go deeper, angrier, heavier, more berserk in every way and in every take.”

The Wolverine Movie - Hugh Jackman

From the start, Mangold wanted to break the mold of the comic book-based film. Explains the director: “What interested me about The Wolverine was doing something quite different from the standard superhero movie, where it’s about stopping a villain’s diabolical plot. In this story, the action and suspense are built more on character, and are woven into a world that makes for a completely different kind of experience, one that you haven’t seen before.”

Though characters from Wolverine’s past are brought into the mix and there are allusions to what he has gone through in his previous adventures, the focus is on an alternate track from the X-Men movies.

“When you’re making a movie about a team of people like The X-Men, there’s only so much you can get inside their heads,” notes Mangold. “But this film is able to really get inside Logan, to explore who he is and the sources of his rage. He’s someone who has been used by the Defense Department, by the government, by enemies, by villains, even by loved ones. And over time his anger at that has grown, only to be multiplied by his natural, preexisting feral quality. Yet, within this story, he begins to he learn how this rage might be able to fuel and empower him.”

Ultimately, Mangold began to see the story more as an unflinching thriller about a man with a dark past searching for his future identity, than as something from a fantasy comic-book universe. “I think one the things that will most surprise people about this film is how real it is, how much you completely lose yourself in this world, in the action, the drama and the romance,” he comments.

Mangold was especially drawn to the uncertain junction where Logan finds himself at the beginning of this story: he’s been down many dark roads, feels he has lost or damaged nearly everything he loved, and is unsure if there is any path left to redemption. The one thing he has going for him is his immortality. But even that may be more of a curse than a blessing.

“One thing I find particularly interesting about Wolverine is his immortality, the fact that with his healing factor he can go on forever like a god, and because of that he also experiences the loneliness of a god. Even when Logan loses those he loves, he knows that he will keep going on,” Mangold observes. “He’s been going on for a century now, through wars and battles and deaths of his loved ones and he’s come to a point of great weariness. It’s a classic theme – the man who can live forever but suffers because of it. Logan is a damaged hero, and this story is very much about him looking to reclaim something he’s lost in himself.”

Mangold embraced the opportunity to take Logan directly into the heart of present-day Japan, which is as full of sleek, high-tech modernity as it is rife with deep traditions and hidden codes of honor. “This story takes Logan into a kind of fever dream of today’s Japan, full of Yakuza, Ninja, Samurai, Industrialist crime, mystery and mysticism,” the director explains.

The Japanese setting allowed Mangold and Jackman to re-imagine Logan in a fresh guise: as aRōnin. “In feudal Japan, the Samurai belonged to a master, and a Rōnin is a Samurai who no longer has a master to serve. So, he is a kind of a warrior without a purpose, without a cause,” Mangold explains. “Many of the people who made Logan feel part of a cause are now gone. So, he’s essentially a lost man, capable of doing anything, with no mandate. That’s an iconography that American Westerns and Samurai films share and now we’re bringing a comic book character into it.”

Juxtaposed with the beauty of Japan are intense action sequences, ranging from accelerating bullet trains to the towering menace of The Silver Samurai. But here, too, Mangold wanted to explore beyond the usual boundaries. “We were always thinking about pushing the envelope with the action and the visuals,” he says, “but doing so in a way that you never lose the sense that what is happening is very real.”

The entire production team was excited to be doing something unusual with a character that has become so beloved. Joining Jackman as producers on the film are Lauren Shuler Donner, who has been a vital part of X-men movie history from the very beginning, and Hutch Parker, who worked together with Donner to support Mangold’s vision.

“This really is the quintessential Wolverine story,” sums up Parker. “It takes him on a deep journey. It mines the essential conflicts within him. It challenges him, both physically and emotionally, in ways that we have never seen. It takes us into a Japan that is very real yet alien to us.”

Parker sees Mangold’s approach as a strong fit with the material. “Jim has built on what has come before in his own way,” he concludes. “He wanted to make this world viscerally real and was willing to not just show Wolverine’s rage but to answer the questions of why.”

Logan in Limbo

Though this marks the sixth time that Hugh Jackman has donned the persona of Logan – the most times a single actor has ever played a comic book hero — The Wolverine is like nothing that had come before. For one thing, as the film starts, Logan is unsure of what direction to turn as he heads to Japan.

“He’s someone who has always marched to beat of his own drum but at the beginning of our movie he’s probably more isolated than you’ve ever seen Wolverine,” explains Jackman. “He’s disaffected with the world, because he was created as a weapon and he’s rebelling against that – and he feels that he is a danger to society.”

Jackman goes on: “You will see Logan more vulnerable, more at risk, and more of a monster than you’ve ever seen him before. He’s struggling with identity, he’s struggling with his reason to exist, and now he faces the choice of whether to embrace his true nature or not.”

Jackman especially enjoyed taking Logan into Japan, which he notes “is like nowhere else on the planet,” a place that both haunts and changes Wolverine the more he engages with it.

“The atmosphere of Japan seeps through the movie,” Jackman observes. “For Logan it has the effect of wiping clean all his normal ways of interacting with people and reading situations. He has to start fresh. Japan is a fairly insular society with a very strong sense of its own culture and history, so Logan is really a stranger in this strange new world. He learns about the Samurai code, the training and the honor system. But he’s immediately distrustful of it, not dissimilar to when he first entered the world of X-Men. Yet, he watches and he adapts. He starts to gain respect for the idea of being a warrior, for the sense of service that they have. And he starts to become the better version of himself.”

From the start, Jackman was committed to taking Wolverine to new levels of physicality. The meant throwing himself into the most intensive and disciplined preparation regime he has undergone yet, combining rigorous diet, hardcore physical training, and intensive martial arts instruction.

“I’ve always loved playing this character but I have always had this thing of ‘I wish I had gone a little bit further physically with him,’” Jackman confesses. “This script gave me an opportunity to go further emotionally than I’ve been and I wanted to do the same physically. I started training and started a very strict diet far in advance since we had the preparation time. And I think the results have paid off because when I look at the screen, I see Wolverine there. I think it’s important for him to be lean, to see veins, to be vascular yet very strong obviously. I’ve always wanted people to look at the screen and go, whoa.”

Learning new fighting styles was also paramount to the performance. “I have always portrayed Wolverine as a street fighter and a pub brawler. His style is not pretty, he doesn’t want to hang around and jab at you, he just wants to take your head off in three seconds and move on. His fighting style is not studied in any way. But one of the great things about this story is that when he comes to Japan, he starts to really take that kind of discipline and training to heart.”

Jackman did the same, working closely with the leading stunt team 87Eleven to hone a variety of ninjitsu and other Japanese martial skills. “The team at 87Eleven were fantastic,” he says. “I was training every day and let me tell you, I thought the gym work was hard but training on the martial arts floor is ten times harder.”

The Wolverine Movie Poster

Wolverine

Directed by: James Mangold
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima, Hiroyuki Sanada, Svetlana Khodchenkova
Screenplay by: Mark Bomback, Scott Frank, Christopher McQuarrie
Production Design by: François Audouy
Cinematography by: Ross Emery
Film Editing by: Michael McCusker
Costume Design by: Isis Mussenden
Set Decoration by: Rebecca Cohen
Music by: Marco Beltrami
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence, some sexuality and language.
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: July 26, 2013

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