Aug 092018
 

Tomb Raider

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PLOTFollowing the disappearance of her father, Lord Richard Croft, Lara Croft makes a living as a bike courier. When she is arrested after a bike accident involving a police car, Richard's business partner Ana Miller posts her bail. Lara has never claimed her inheritance for many years as she believes her father to still be alive, but Miller warns Lara that if she does not claim it, her father's country estate, Croft Manor, will be sold off. Lara reluctantly accepts and gains access to a secret chamber in her father's tomb. There she finds a pre-recorded video message from Richard detailing his research into Himiko, the mythical Queen of Yamatai who was said to command the power over life and death. Richard warns Lara to destroy all of his research, but she ignores his warnings so that she can investigate further.

Lara travels to Hong Kong where she hires Lu Ren, captain of the ship Endurance, to sail into the Devil's Sea and the island of Yamatai. The ship capsizes in a violent storm and Lara is washed ashore where she is knocked unconscious. She awakens only to encounter Mathias Vogel, the leader of an expedition to locate Himiko's tomb. The expedition has been funded by a shadowy organization called Trinity, which seeks to harness and weaponize Himiko's power. Vogel takes Lara prisoner, claiming that he killed her father and revealing that he intends to use Richard's research to continue his expedition. He adds Lara and Lu Ren to his slave force; eventually, the two of them try to escape, and Lara is the only one successful.

After surviving rapids and narrowly avoiding going over a waterfall with the wreck of a wartime airplane, Lara is forced to kill a Trinity guard after nightfall. She follows a mysterious figure through the jungle, and discovers that the figure is her father, who stayed on the island to prevent Trinity from finding Himiko's tomb. After Lara convinces him that she is real and not a figment of his imagination, Richard treats her injuries. Despite his protests, Lara sets off the next morning to steal Vogel's satellite phone. Lara makes contact with Lu Ren, and he, along with the other slaves, stage a distraction that allows Lara to infiltrate the Trinity camp and take the phone. In the ensuing chaos, Lu Ren commandeers an assault rifle, provides cover for the escapees and guns down several Trinity soldiers, while Richard makes his way to Himiko's tomb and is captured by Vogel, who persuades Lara to open the tomb, something she has prepared for since she was a child. At that point, the entrance to the tomb self-destructs and falls away, thus enabling the party to enter that which has not been seen for at least two thousand years.

The party navigates a series of booby traps and locates Himiko's sarcophagus. When a Trinity soldier attempts to remove her corpse, he is infected by a highly infectious pathogen that reduces those infected to an aggressive zombie-like state. Lara realizes that Himiko was an asymptomatic carrier of the virus, who chose to entomb herself so that she could not infect others. Vogel concludes that he cannot remove Himiko's body and instead settles for detaching a finger, which he seals in a pouch. In the confusion, Lara and Richard overpower the remaining soldiers, although Vogel escapes and Richard becomes infected. Knowing there is no cure, Richard proposes destroying Himiko's tomb to prevent the disease from spreading across the world. Lara pursues Vogel as Richard sets off a bomb, killing himself and sealing the tomb. Lara confronts and kills Vogel by infecting him with the finger. She escapes the tomb as it collapses, regrouping with Lu Ren and the slaves; they commandeer a Trinity helicopter to escape Yamatai.

Lara returns to London, where she formally accepts her inheritance and inadvertently discovers that Trinity's front company, Patna, is actually a subsidiary of Croft Holdings. She proceeds to investigate Trinity further and begins to suspect that Ana is one of their agents who manipulated her into accepting her inheritance; this was to have Lara sign over control of Croft Holdings' business operations to her when Richard stopped cooperating with Trinity. Having witnessed Trinity's ruthlessness firsthand, she prepares for her next adventure.

In a mid-credits scene, Lara returns to Alan's pawn shop to buy back her pendant and decides to take two identical pistols.
2018Personal Rating60Rotten Tomatoes Avg53MetaCritic Avg56IMDb Rating63Combined Rating58.3

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May 262018
 

Mona Lisa Smile

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PLOTIn 1953, Katherine Ann Watson (Julia Roberts), a 30-year-old graduate student in the department of Art History at UCLA and Oakland State, takes a position teaching "History of Art" at Wellesley College, a women's private liberal arts college in Massachusetts. At her first class, Katherine discovers that her students have already memorized the entire textbook and syllabus, so she uses the classes to introduce them to modern art and encourages discussion about topics such as what makes good art. Katherine comes to know her students and seeks to inspire them to achieve more than marriage to eligible young men.

Elizabeth "Betty" Warren (Kirsten Dunst) is highly opinionated and outspokenly conservative. Betty does not understand why Katherine is not married and insists that a universal standard exists for good art. She writes editorials for the college paper, exposing campus nurse Amanda Armstrong (Juliet Stevenson) as a supplier of contraception, which results in Amanda being fired; other editorials attack Katherine for advocating that women should seek a career instead of being wives and mothers as intended. Betty cannot wait to marry Spencer (Jordan Bridges), as their parents have arranged and expect the traditional exemptions from attending class as a married woman: Katherine insists she will be marked on merit and attendance, resulting in more conflict.

Constance "Connie" Baker (Ginnifer Goodwin) begins dating Betty's cousin, Charlie (Ebon Moss-Bachrach), but Betty persuades her that he is only using her as his parents have arranged for him to marry Deb MacIntyre. Connie ends the relationship, believing Betty's story to be true. However, some weeks later, Connie and Charlie reconnect, with Charlie saying he has already decided for himself that he is not going to marry Deb, so Connie and he get back together.

Joan Brandwyn (Julia Stiles) dreams of being a lawyer and has enrolled as prelaw, so Katherine encourages her to apply to Yale Law School. She is accepted, but decides not to go because she wants to start a life with her new husband Tommy (Topher Grace). She tells Katherine that choosing to be a wife and mother does not make her any less intelligent.

Giselle Levy (Maggie Gyllenhaal) has several lovers and liberal views about sex. She admires Katherine for encouraging the students to be independent. Giselle earned the enmity of Betty, whose conservative views conflict with her liberal ones.

Katherine declines a proposal from her California boyfriend (John Slattery) because she does not love him enough and begins seeing the Wellesley Italian professor, Bill Dunbar (Dominic West). Bill is charming and full of stories about Europe and his heroic actions in Italy during the war. He has also had affairs with students (including Giselle), and Katherine makes him promise that it will never happen again. The relationship progresses, but when Katherine learns that Bill spent the entire war at the Army Languages Center on Long Island, she decides to break up with him because he is not trustworthy. Bill responds that Katherine did not come to Wellesley to help the students find their way, but to help them find her way.

Within six months of the wedding, Betty's marriage falls apart, as Spencer has an affair, and fails to find solace with her mother who orders her to return to her husband. She visits Katherine in her apartment and whom gives her solace. In turn, Betty regrets how she's treated Katherine with her poor behavior. Eventually, influenced by her, Betty files for divorce and looks for an apartment in Greenwich Village, Manhattan. When Mrs. Warren confronts Betty for what she has done, she reveals her frustration with her mother for not supporting her when she went to her for help when she found out about Spencer's affair and kicking her out of the house. She mentions that the only person who cared about her enough to help her out was Katherine. Therefore, Betty reveals she is going to have a life of her own, has applied to Yale Law School and will room with Giselle. As the two girls walk away, Mrs. Warren begins to regret her mistreatment towards Betty.

Katherine's course is highly popular, so the college invites her to return, but with certain conditions; she must follow the syllabus, submit lesson plans for approval, keep a strictly professional relationship with all faculty members, and not talk to the girls about anything other than classes. Katherine decides to leave to explore Europe. In the final scene, Betty dedicates her last editorial to Katherine, claiming that her teacher is "an extraordinary woman who lived by example and compelled us all to see the world through new eyes." As Katherine's taxi speeds up, all her students follow on their bicycles and Betty is seen struggling to keep up with the taxi as a last effort to thank Katherine for changing her life.
2003Personal Rating40Rotten Critics34Rotten Audience60IMDb Rating65Combined Rating49.8

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Dec 242017
 

A Christmas Carol

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Plot

In 1840s London, Ebenezer Scrooge is a mean-spirited businessman who receives his terrifying comeuppance. One Christmas Eve, he is visited by the ghost of Jacob Marley, his dead business partner. Marley foretells that Scrooge will be visited by three spirits, each of whom will attempt to show Scrooge the error of his ways. Will Scrooge reform his ways in time to celebrate Christmas?

Summary

My favourite version of the Dickens classic with a magnificent performance from Patrick Stewart just some awful child acting lets it down.

Released

1999


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