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Movie Review: “The 9th Life of Louis Drax”

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The 9th Life of Louis Drax

Synopsis: A psychologist who begins working with a young boy who has suffered a near-fatal fall finds himself drawn into a mystery that tests the boundaries of fantasy and reality.
Director: Alexandre Aja
Screenplay written by: Max Minghella
Based on the the novel of the same name by: Liz Jensen
Stars: Jamie Dornan, Aiden Longworth, Sarah Gadon
Release date: September 2, 2016

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Mystery. Thriller. Tragedy. The Supernatural.

This story of the troubled, accident prone child Louis Drax weaves these genres masterfully. Director Alexandre Aja (Horns, Maniac) creates a film that plunges the viewer in to an alternate realm where we are led to investigate the motivations of a powerful force – the subconscious mind. The film is adapted by actor, filmmaker and screenwriter Max Minghella (Agora, The Two Faces of January) from the novel by best-selling author Liz Jensen and produced by Minghella and his partners, including Aja. The creative team executes this adaptation of Jensen’s thriller novel very well, amplifying the scary inherent in the story.

Little Louis Drax (Aiden Longworth) appears fragile and ethereal, apt for a boy who has survived eight near death experiences. He clings to his beautiful mother, Natalie Drax (Sarah Gadon), a pale porcelain doll whose wistful blue eyes contain secrets. Troubled stepfather Peter Drax (Aaron Paul) provides tension and suspense throughout the film, always simmering and ready to boil over. An odd love triangle is created by the introduction of Dr. Pascal (Jamie Dornan) a brilliant pediatric neurologist with his own tension: a dissolving marriage. The intricacies of human emotional life, the interplay of desires and the enthralling leap in to psychosis ultimately hooks the viewer as we plunge in to the murky abyss of Louis Drax’s mind.

What power the brain holds, and how much cerebral ability still remains undiscovered and unexplained by modern science; these mysteries lay a strong foundation for the willing suspension of disbelief. The 9th Life of Louis Drax gains this suspension, granting the viewer a way to journey in to the layers of irrational, nonsensical human behavior; of actions wrapped in enigma, characters’ banter tied up with riddles… answers ultimately revealed through the inherently dumb cruelty of the antagonist, doing what leads so many criminals to get caught: leaving clues.

Rapport is established immediately with young Louis, who has survived so much just to reach his ninth birthday, and truly we want him to be okay. That Murphy’s Law seems to be in full effect in Louis daily life creates the logical conclusion that all is not well with the adults around him, that a powerful psychosis is at work in the Drax household. This intensifies the tension of what would otherwise be mundane and normal interaction between his parents. Natalie is a vision of loveliness, however her Stepford wife exterior conflicts with her personality. She oscillates between having the absent gaze of the “deer in headlights” and the intense emotional ferocity of a vixen intent on eroding her husband’s sanity until he is compliant. Aaron Paul is brilliantly cast as Peter Drax, we assume malice from his character even without evidence just by merit of his sharp eyed visage.

As Louis is lost in a coma and Peter is estranged, the main plot turns to Natalie’s subtle manipulations of neurologist Dr. Pascal. Dornan’s sexually frustrated doctor character throws off his mantle of medical discipline and professionalism in the vicinity of the femme fatale Natalie. That he is so cavalier does not go unnoticed, and adds to both the status he holds in the coma ward as well as amongst his peers. Dr. Pascal is ultimately the most creatively developed of all the characters, alongside Louis. Both the boy and the doctor have delved in to one the most difficult aspects of human experience – loss of voluntary motion, loss of bodily control and function. Louis is in a coma. Dr. Pascal’s history with sleepwalking is well promoted as a basis for his TED Talk, a subject he has included in books he has authored; this history reasserts itself and twists into the story. Reality breaks apart as the stresses of dealing with Louis Drax’s situation multiply for the adults around him.

The supernatural realm, which Louis inhabits and interacts with in his comatose state, bears mention… no spoilers here though. Metaphorically charged visuals boost the recurring theme of drowning, again touching on primal fears that grip human consciousness. The opening title sequence and the use of clever sound design elements help solidify this theme. The use of the supernatural and the subconscious both provide fertile ground for a story that brings the viewer in to deep dark emotional waters. Watching this story left a powerful take away: when the rational mind cannot find a way through fear, when neither harmony nor logic is present in a situation, the primal resources of instinct and superior intuition will be all that is left to come to our aid – so listen to the small voice within, as Louis Drax does.

Will you be seeing The 9th Life of Louis Drax? Let us know in the comments!

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Movie Review: ‘Our Kind of Traitor’

Synopsis & Info:

A money launderer (Stellan Skarsgård) for Russian gangsters asks a couple vacationing in Marrakech, Morocco, to deliver incriminating evidence to an MI6 agent (Damian Lewis).
Release date: July 1, 2016 (USA)
Director: Susanna White
Screenplay: Hossein Amini
Story by: John le Carré
Producers: Stephen Cornwell, Simon Cornwell
Our Kind Of Traitor
Our Kind Of Traitor

Review:

Our Kind of Traitor revolves around the idea of things not being what they should, carrying the viewer through a fast paced tale of intrigue that centers around one man’s inability to deviate from his principles. The attractive British couple seem the marriage of opposites. Perry (Ewan McGregor) is a professor of poetics, what we would call a romantic, married to a successful barrister wife, Gail (Naomie Harris), who is the yang to his yin. On a holiday in Marrakech to rekindle romance, the relationship politics make it tough for Perry to fan the flames. What sparks off instead is a chance invite Perry receives from flamboyant Russian Dima, whose apparent wealth and excessive lifestyle dazzles Perry. In short order, Perry is drawn in to Dima’s personal circle and shone a kind of attention and affection otherwise missing from his life. Dima’s circle becomes a noose that slowly tightens around Perry’s neck.

While Gail is juggling her professional responsibilities during the couple’s holiday in Marrakech, Perry is now fully absorbed by charismatic Dima’s invitations. From the first night Perry meets Dima he is drawn in to a Russian party, a bacchanal in which Perry naively attempts to defend a woman from a heavily tattooed man. Dima laughs as Perry’s gentlemanly chivalry supersedes his common sense, the tattooed man a criminal with jailhouse mementos covering his skin would not be a smart opponent for a scrawny British professor. Dima takes Perry in to his confidence quickly, with typical bravado.

As Perry believes that all is as it appears to be, he is not terribly reluctant to help Dima, whose plea is to save not only himself but his family which includes two orphaned girls and Dima’s three children. Perry doesn’t think it a terrible risk to travel a USB memory stick back to the UK and deliver it to M16 at Heathrow as Dima implores him to. Perry accepts all of Dima’s invites without consulting his wife Gail, whose legal mind most likely would have shut down any such activity immediately. The further strain to the couple’s marriage shows, but now the events are set in motion and Gail is propelled in to Dima’s schemes through no fault of her own.

The Prince personifies the somber and aggressive culture of the Vory, or Russian mafia. The new Prince is consolidating his inner circle and weeding out the old guard, his father’s people, a list that includes Dima. The mortal danger that Dima has placed Perry and Gail in by drawing them in to his world bubbles beneath the surface as the British couple continues to follow Dima’s plot. However, now that M16 is involved the intrigue widens considerably. London is a key player in the schemes that the Prince has for his new version of the Vory.

The slow motion opening shot of the film is a visual poetry of ballet that is superimposed against the snow dusted Russian countryside. Our Kind of Traitor travels through cold Russia to steamy Morocco, to the gray asphalt and grandiose architecture of London and Paris to the sweeping green beauty of the Alps. A journey of contradictions in both the characters and the settings occurs, where there is so much beauty there is also so much danger and corruption.

Perry carries the honor and burden of particularly British scruples, he is decidedly moral even while descending further in to the underworld of Dima’s reality. The decision Perry makes to help Dima is born not just from his belief system but also from the desire to leap out of the rut that his life and marriage have got stuck in. That leap of faith that Perry makes leads ultimately to the salvation of the characters involved in this story, who we would generically label as “the good guys”.

Our Kind of Traitor is based on the hit John le Carré novel, adapted for the screen by the writer of Drive Hossein Amini and directed superbly by the well experienced and acclaimed Sussana White. The cinematography of Anthony Dod Mantle and the music score by Marcelo Zarvos lend the story the visual and acoustic dynamics necessary to fully immerse the audience in the world of Perry, Gail, Dima, the Vory and the M16. Once past the gripping opening scene, the film has a hook in and doesn’t let go. As effective as Dima is in recruiting Perry for his needs, so the story captures the viewer to go along for the journey.

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Elizabeth Banks as Rita Repulsa Costume Reveal

Growing up in the 90s, you weren’t cool if you didn’t watch Power Rangers. If you were a girl and watched Power Rangers, you were something else, even though the show features two females. With several movies, and an amazing 14-minute fan film, Power Rangers is once again hitting theaters with an all new reboot, with Elizabeth Banks in the title villain role of Rita Repulsa.

ritapowerNow, in the show, she has some huge head contraption that makes her look like some crazed medieval sorceress crossed with Sailor Moon. This version though, that Elizabeth Banks wears…is quite different. Sleek. It almost makes you wonder if this movie will take on a less campy tone and be a little more darker, more mature even.sdfsd

You would hope so with Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz, the writers of Thor and X-Men: First Class, penning the script. However, director Dean Israelite puts that to rest by saying while it has been updated, it is still playful and fun take on the source material.

Honestly, I am not too sure how to feel about the look. It’s definitely different, but is it different good, or different bad? It seriously looks like Effie went a tad bit crazy after the events of Mockingjay and truly embraced the Capital and had some body modifications done and became a dominatrix.

But, that’s just my opinion.

What do you think? Is this a promise to what’s to come for the Power Rangers, or is it too drastic of a change?

Power Rangers kicks into theaters March 24, 2017

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New ‘Mockingjay’ Trailer Released: For Prim (Cue the Tears)

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DISCLAIMER FROM THE ARTICLE WRITER

I want to say now, this book series affected me more than Harry Potter, and I LOVE HARRY POTTER. It haunted me for two weeks after reading it and I’m not lying when I say that. This trailer, because of the content involved is making me cry (sob more like it). So if you have a deep love for Katniss and Prim, and Katniss’ desire to keep her sister out of the games and alive, here is your three-minute warning to grab some tissues before watching the trailer.

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Mockingjay Part 2 will no doubt pick up where the first left off. Peeta is still high on tracker jacker venom in the Capitol’s attempt to turn him into a weapon to kill Katniss. Together, they head off to infiltrate the Capitol and along the way gain more allies, and take over District 2, the weapons. There they learn special tricks, and begin building their own army. But when they get to the Capitol, they find out (to prevent further attacks) the Capitol is engineered like a game arena, complete with booby traps of its own. The rest…well, the rest is depressing.

The new trailer features a shadow warrior Katniss, in almost fanmade tribute style video editing, depicting Katniss’ and Prim’s deep love for one another, and how close they really were. It showcases the most prominent scenes for the two in little memory like sequences. The music sets the tone of how one is feeling while watching them. If you think you’re strong enough, here is the trailer.

Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 will hit theaters November 20, 2015.

Also, here is an additional trailer I just found that released a month ago called “We March Together”. It shows a lot of new footage from the first, including that scene with the little silver parachutes…

 

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‘Borderlands’ Film Adaptation in the Works

Borderlands is getting the cinematic treatment!

Lionsgate is planning to bring the hit first-person shooter game to the big screen, and they’ve recruited Avi and Ari Arad as producers to help bring the project to life. 

Borderlands has a unique story-driven narrative energy and rich multidimensional characters that position it to become a singular motion picture event,” said the duo in Lionsgate’s official press release.

The Arad’s are best known for their work with Iron ManSpider ManThe Amazing Spider Man,X-MenGhost Rider and Blade.

Unfortunately, Lionsgate did not mention when production on the film is scheduled to begin, nor did they provide a tentative release date.

Borderlands takes place on the planet Pandora, which is located at the end of the universe and has since been deserted by the mining corporation that founded it. But the planet still hosts a colorful cast of characters.

 The colonists are drawn there in search of a better life as well as vast mineral resources said to be on the planet, free for the taking, akin to a futuristic gold rush. Some time after settling, the colonists discover that there is little the planet offers aside from some decrepit alien ruins. When the companies mining the planet leave, they let loose the criminals they had employed as forced labor and left any other colonists there. Some of the settlers seek to get rich quick by discovering alien technology. Most others are just trying to survive. After seven Earth years, the planet’s slow orbit brings a transition from winter to spring, and many horrifying creatures emerge from hibernation.

A beacon of hope for the remaining colonists emerges in the form of a mysterious alien Vault carved in the side of a mountain. This Vault is said to contain vast stores of alien technology and secrets. The only problem is that the people who discovered the Vault were completely wiped out by some sort of protective force. The only evidence of their discovery is a scattered radio transmission, proclaiming the Vault’s majesty, but not its location. (Wikia.com)

The game was developed by Gearbox Software and published by 2K Games. It was originally released in 2009 for Xbox, PS3, and PC, and several sequels have been released since.

Are you excited to see Borderlands come to life? Let us know in the comments below!

 

 

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The 2015 Her Universe Fashion Show

The DJ plays and the lights dim, all around me the buzz of excitement can be heard. Everyone’s ready for the Her Universe Fashion Show to begin. This is the second year the fashion show is coming to San Diego Comic-Con, and it’s quickly becoming a staple of the convention. We are welcomed by a video from the night’s host and creator of Her Universe, Ashley Eckstein. In this video she explains the inspiration behind Her Universe, and how amazing it is to have this female oriented celebration of “geek couture” at San Diego Comic-Con. For years, girls have been told that we don’t belong in the geek world, and to be happy with the clothing that’s available to men. Her Universe knew that there were fangirls out there waiting for their geek fashion dreams to come true.

“Nothing epitomizes the transition of girl geek culture into the limelight quite like the rise of Her Universe.” – TIME

The fashion show begins, and we’re treated to a look at the current Her Universe line. It’s a bold reminder of how far girls have come in the geek industry to see how many fandoms are catering to us now. It’s also refreshing to see plus size models on the stage. Her Universe always creates fashions with every consumer in mind, and it’s beautiful to see the plus size girl represented in the spotlight. As the fashions make their way down the runway, I can see every girl making a mental note of which pieces they still need to own.

Ashley Eckstein appears in her first geek couture look of the night designed by last year’s audience winner, Andrew MacLaine. The first look is inspired by Star Wars and Princess Leia. It’s a gorgeous gown, complete with a sparkly, flowy cape. Throughout the night two other geek couture looks were premiered, each one more incredible than the next. Her second look is inspired by Black Widow, and is ready to kick ass and demand the respect of everybody in its presence. The third and final look is inspired by Haku the river dragon from Spirited Away. From every angle this gown is breathtaking; it was made in honor of Ashley’s reveal of the night that Her Universe’s next line will feature Studio Ghibli. The president of Studio Ghibli was actually in the audience, and received a standing ovation when he was introduced.

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The new Her Universe line has designs featuring Kiki’s Delivery Service and My Neighbor Totoro as well as Spirited Away. The styles range from cute fashion dresses to simple racer-back tank tops. There was a lot of excitement heard when the new cardigans were spotlighted. All pieces were featured in plus sizes with plus size models. Being able to see models of varying shapes and sizes on the runway, really gave you a better sense of what the clothing would look like when worn by you, and that made getting to view the premiere of the new line that much more exciting!

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The 25 finalists displayed their designs down the runway. Immediately the audience is blown away by the first design “Cutie Makes Her Mark – My Little Pony’ by Jessica Gonzalez. This gown features a pink cotton candy train that can be turned inside out to display a striped blue and pink pattern or the train can completely come off and the gown transforms into a party dress! All 25 designs were so creative and beautiful. Finalist Jennifer Newman created a “Unicorn In The Waves” look inspired by The Last Unicorn (one of my favorite movies), and I never knew that so much emotion could be captured in a piece of clothing, but just by looking at this gown you could see the elegance and freedom experienced by the unicorn when she returned to the ocean. “Party Like A Monster – Monster High” by Lauren Andrews reminded us that being girly and playing with dolls is geeky too. Kristin Koga gave us “The Greek Couture Burger (comes with tzatziki sauce) – Bob’s Burgers” showing us that high fashion doesn’t have to be a gown. Her design was cool and screamed hipster artist living in New York city. Harmony Leiker’s “Cocktails At The End of The Line – Tron” literally lit up the runway with her illuminated fabric. Adria Sanchez-Chaidez made the audience gasp with “It’s Bigger On The Inside – Doctor Who”. Her design featured a coat made to look like the TARDIS from Doctor Who, when the coat was taken off a beautiful dress was revealed that was inspired by the inside of the TARDIS. Tara Reich’s “That’s No Moon – Star Wars” look featured a high fashion skirt inspired by and made to look like the Death Star. Sam Skyler had an adorable design that featured a coat inspired by armored Baymax and revealed a white bubble dress underneath to complete the Baymax look. Finalist Laura Ortiz had a Jack Skellington inspired gown complete with a light up Zero. Oseas Villatoro stunned the audience with “Poison Ivy Green Love – Batman”, his gown featured a flowing green train reminiscent of growing ivy and the hairstyle on the model was fit for the grand prize at a hair show. Jesse Thaxton’s gown isnpired by Alien’s was rightly named “Alien Queen”; I’m positive the dress could’ve stood up on it’s own, and in the right light frighten anyone who looked upon it. Each of the designs featured on the runway left such an incredible impression, they’ll not easily be forgotten. I know these designers are inspiring a new generation of geek fashion as we speak. All of the 25 finalists beat out thousands of entries, and that in itself is an amazing feat, they’re all truly winners.

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That being said this was a competition and only two can be chosen. The winner chosen by the judges was “Joker’s New Look – Batman” by Kelly Cercone. Her design was a 50’s inspired Joker themed look that Grace Kelly could’ve worn. The colors were undoubtedly Joker, but the pallete was done in a way that wasn’t jarring, and accessible to all audiences. I feel that this played a huge factor into why she was chosen. The audience chosen winner was “Usagi’s Transformation – Sailor Moon” by Leetal Platt. Her design began as cute dress inspired by Sailor Moon’s school uniform and then it gorgeously transformed into Sailor Moon’s transformation sequence. Pink satin billowed all around the gown and it was a magnificent sight to behold, especially when modeled by the beautiful Chloe Dykstra.

 

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I know we’re all saving our money in anticipation of the exclusive Hot Topic fashion line the winners get to design.

The night ended with Her Universe inviting fashionable audience members up on the stage to strut their stuff. Ashley Eckstein then revealed the most exciting news of the night: San Diego Comic-Con is teaming up with Lionsgate for their new video on demand subscription channel, and this year’s Her Universe Fashion Show is going to be the first original series made by the channel. Viewers will get to see all of the behind the scenes action leading up to the Fashion Show! We’ll all definitely be keeping a look out for that. This year’s fashion show was filled with such creativity, I don’t know how next year can top it, but I can’t wait to see.

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“The Hunger Games: The Exhibition” Moves to San Francisco!

Sorry, New York, but your time with Lionsgate’s exhibit of The Hunger Games memorabilia is up!

In a statement to Variety, Lionsgate has confirmed that the next stop for “The Hunger Games: The Exhibition” will be Palace of Fine Arts Exhibition Hall in San Francisco after spending six months at Discovery Times Square in the heart of New York City.

The exhibit boasts a whopping 12,000-square foot spread and will feature everything from costumes and props to recreations of your favorite scenes from the franchise, plus a retail shop. It’s been organized into seven galleries: District 12, Tribute Train, the Capitol, Making the Games, District 13, Fan Gallery, and Katniss’ Journey.

In an effort to further expand the Hunger Games brand, Lionsgate will also premiere a live theatrical experience called “The Hunger Games StageAround” in England, as well as an attraction at Motiongate theme park in Dubai.

Head to San Fran to see the exhibit starting this Wednesday, July 1, and don’t forget to catch the final film in the franchise, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, out November 20!

Photos courtesy of Lionsgate Entertainment.

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New Hunger Games Featurette Clip Debuts at Comic-Con

blu-thehungergames-boxart300-jpg_220940The Hunger Games is set to release on Blu-Ray and DVD August 18. Last night at the San Diego Comic Con, Lionsgate debuted an exclusive clip from the special features that will be available on the discs. The clip give viewers an inside look at one of the more harrowing scenes in the movie as Katniss tried to outrun a wall of fire.

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New Movie Dredd Exclusive Trailer Debut

Dredd Movie

The popular comic book character Judge Dredd is getting a 21st century make over in the upcoming stylized action flick Dredd. The movie stars Karl Urban (Star Trek) as Dredd, the ultimate judge in law enforcement. This movie already looks like a sharp and gritty departure from the previous film based on the comic book hero starring Sylvester Stallone.

Set in a future American wasteland inside the fictional crime ridden Mega City, the “judges” who have been granted the the powers of judge, jury, and executioner, are the only thing that stand in the way of complete chaos. Machinima has the exclusive trailer available on their youtube channel.

“During a routine day on the job, Dredd is assigned to train and evaluate Cassandra Anderson (Olivia Thirlby), a rookie with powerful psychic abilities thanks to a genetic mutation. A heinous crime calls them to a neighborhood where fellow Judges rarely dare to venture- a 200 story vertical slum controlled by prostitute turned drug lord Ma-Ma (Lena Headey) and her ruthless clan. When they capture one of the clan’s inner circle, Ma-Ma overtakes the compound’s control center and wages a dirty, vicious war against the Judges that proves she will stop at nothing to protect her empire. With the body count climbing and no way out, Dredd and Anderson must confront the odds and engage in the relentless battle for their survival. -Lionsgate”

Dredd
Release: 9/21/2012
Director: Pete Travis
Studio: Lionsgate
Website: http://dreddthemovie.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dreddthemovie
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/LionsgateMovies

For more from Machinima:
http://www.insidegamingdaily.com/
http://www.youtube.com/machinima
http://www.youtube.com/machinimarespawn
http://www.youtube.com/machinimasports
http://www.youtube.com/machinimatrailer
http://www.youtube.com/machinimarealm

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