Monday, April 25, 2016


 Released Year: 2009
Directed by Henry Selick

Voiced by:
Dakota Fanning as Coraline Jones
Teri Hatcher as Mel Jones
Jennifer Saunders & Dawn French as Miss April Spink & Miss Miriam Forcible
John Hodgman as Charlie Jones
Ian McShane as Mr. Bobinsky
Keith David as The Cat
Hand made of sewing needles to re-make a doll to resemble 11-year-old Coraline Jones. A little later, Coraline and her family relocate from Pontiac, Michigan to Ashland, Oregon. They move into the Pink Palace Apartments, which are rather dilapidated and one hundred and fifty years old. It is also occupied by retired actresses Ms. Spink and Forcible, and eccentric Russian acrobat Mr. Bobinsky, who claims to be training a mouse circus. Coraline's parents work for a garden catalog and are often too busy to pay attention to her.

Coraline decides to explore their new home, meeting Wyborn "Wybie" Lovat, the grandson of the apartments' landlady, Mrs. Lovat. While exploring, she finds a small brick-sealed door. That night, Coraline follows a mouse through the door, where she discovers the bricks have been replaced by a long corridor. Coraline goes through it and finds herself in the Other World, which is a copy of her world and is inhabited by her "Other Parents", who look similar to her real parents, but have buttons for eyes. In the Other World, her parents are much more attentive and everything is more interesting and magical. Coraline falls asleep in the Other World, and awakens back home.

Coraline goes to the Other World three times despite warnings from her neighbors and a cat that can talk in the Other World. The other copies include a copy of Mr. Bobinsky, who runs a real mouse circus, copies of a young Ms. Spink and Forcible, who perform a theater show, and a duplicate of Wybie that cannot talk. On the third visit, the Other Mother invites Coraline to stay in the Other World forever, on the condition that she has buttons sewn over her eyes. Horrified by this, Coraline rejects the offer. After she refuses to accept the Other Mother's love, Coraline is thrown through a mirror into a secret room. Inside she meets the ghosts of three children (including Wybie's grandmother's twin sister), who were tricked by the Other Mother, into having buttons sewn into their eyes, thus trapping their souls. Coraline vows to free them by finding their stolen eyes. The Other Wybie helps her escape and stays behind, but when Coraline returns, her parents are nowhere to be found. After seeing her parents trapped in the mirror, Coraline discovers that the Other Mother has kidnapped them.

Coraline ventures into the Other World with a seeing eye stone she received from the real Spink and Forcible to play a "game"; to find her parents and the eyes of the ghost children. If she loses, she will stay forever. Using the stone, Coraline manages to retrieve the ghost children's stolen eyes from the warped versions of the Other inhabitants. She confronts the Other Mother, who has decayed into an arachnoid witch with the same needle-hands that made the doll. One of the children warns her that Coraline will never be let go even if she wins. Coraline finds her real parents trapped in a snow globe and manages to trick the Other Mother and escape, blinding her and severing her hand. Coraline's parents return with no memory of being kidnapped.

The ghosts appear to Coraline in a dream to warn her that even though she had freed them, she is still in danger. They tell her that she must get rid of the key, or the Other Mother will find it. They also tell Coraline not to be sad, because she is still alive. As Coraline prepares to toss the key into the well, she is attacked by the Other Mother's severed clawed hand, but is saved by Wybie, who crushes it with a rock. With Wybie's help, Coraline throws the key and the pieces of the claw hand down the well. Mrs. Lovat's twin sister is revealed to be one of the three ghost children. The next day, Coraline hosts a garden party with her neighbors and meets Mrs. Lovat, and prepares to tell her about her adventures.
 L² Scored: 5/10

L² Comment:
This animation is based on Neil Gaiman's 2002 same name novel which talks about a kid's fantasy horror kinda thingy. Well, for me this is just so so... first of all maybe the character design is not really that outstanding comparing to other similar animation... The storyline is also kinda expected, so overall it just a fair movie for me to watch on a boring Sunday night...

Sunday, April 17, 2016

The Relic

 Released Year: 1997
Directed by Peter Hyams

Casted by:
Penelope Ann Miller as Dr. Margo Green
Tom Sizemore as Lt. Vincent D'Agosta
Linda Hunt as Dr. Ann Cuthbert
James Whitmore as Dr. Albert Frock
Clayton Rohner as Sgt. Hollingsworth
Chi Muoi Lo as Dr. Greg Lee
John Whitney, an anthropologist for the Museum of Natural History in Chicago, studies a tribe in South America, and drinks a soup made by the tribesmen. Shortly after, Whitney accosts a merchant ship captain, asking him to remove from the ship the cargo Whitney intended to send to Chicago. Unwilling to delay the ship's departure, the captain refuses and Whitney sneaks aboard. He doesn't find his cargo and cries out.

Six weeks later, the ship arrives on the Illinois River, with its crew missing. Chicago PD homicide detective Lieutenant Vincent D'Agosta and his partner, Sgt. Hollingsworth, investigate the ship and find dozens of bodies and severed heads in the bilge.

Dr. Margo Green, an evolutionary biologist, arrives at work at the museum. She and her mentor, Dr. Frock, examine Whitney's crates. The crates are empty, except for a bed of leaves and a stone statue of the "Kothoga," a mythical forest monster. Noticing a fungus on the leaves, Margo takes some for analysis. That night, a security guard named Fred Ford is murdered in the same manner as the ship's crew. D'Agosta suspects a connection. Believing the killer is still inside the museum, he orders it closed until the police have finished searching. Dr. Cuthbert, the museum director, protests and mentions an important upcoming exhibition.

Margo discovers the fungus contains concentrated hormones found in several animal species. In the container of leaves, she finds a beetle which earlier crawled inside and has grown to abnormal size. The beetle has mutated into a hybrid creature, possessing both insect and reptilian DNA. Ford's autopsy reveals that his hypothalamus was extracted from his brain, exactly like the bodies from the ship. In the museum's basement, the police are startled by a homeless man and shoot him death. The man is found to be a convicted felon with a history of mental illness. Finding Ford's wallet on him, everyone except D'Agosta considers the case closed. Nevertheless, D'Agosta has to give in when the Mayor orders him to let the exhibition proceed.

On the opening night, D'Agosta orders locking down all areas of the museum except the main exhibition hall. Dr. Frock and Margo are the last ones in the laboratory wing, and are trapped there. They keep working, and discover that Ford's killer is after the hormones on the leaves. D'Agosta and several officers search the basement tunnels once again. They are attacked by an unseen creature, which kills a tracking dog and an officer. D'Agosta tells Hollingsworth to evacuate the museum, but he is too late. In the main hall, the headless body of the murdered policeman falls into the crowd, causing a panic. During the hysteria, the museum's alarms are tripped and their security system goes haywire. The fire doors close, trapping a small group of people inside, and the power fails. Two security guards try to restore the power, but are killed by an unseen creature.

D'Agosta finds his way to the lab, and meets Margo and Dr. Frock. They are then attacked by a Kothoga, an enormous chimeric beast. They manage to close a steel door to stop it. Margo theorizes that the Kothoga grew from a smaller animal that mutated after eating the fungal leaves in the crates. Dr. Frock expands on her hypothesis: without the leaves to eat, the Kothoga instinctively seeks the closest substitute: human hypothalami. The tribe that Whitney was studying must have discovered the properties of these leaves, and used them to turn a given animal into a biological weapon that would eventually die when it ran out of targets (they would first carefully hide themselves, and then loose the beast onto the territory of a threatening/rival tribe).

D'Agosta finds a radio and tells Hollingsworth to lead the museum guests out via an old coal tunnel. Several guests refuse to go, opting to wait for the fire doors to be opened from the outside. The Kothoga returns to the main hall and murders them, as well as the S.W.A.T. officers entering through the skylights.

Margo deduces that, as the Kothoga is part-reptilian, it is likely cold-blooded and can be killed with liquid nitrogen. She and D'Agosta collect the remaining leaves from the lab, but discover that Dr. Frock -who had earlier 'volunteered' to stay behind because of his wheelchair-bound condition -has already been killed by the creature. In the sewer underneath the museum, D'Agosta uses the leaves to lure the Kothoga away from the coal tunnel, allowing the guests to escape the museum. However, liquid nitrogen has no effect on the creature. Margo and D'Agosta flee. D'Agosta tells her to lock herself in the lab, while he tries to stop the creature. As Margo protests, her computer completes the analysis of the creature's human DNA, which was earlier determined to make up some 33% of the biological gestalt. The Kothoga was not sent back by Whitney, The Kothoga is Whitney, mutated after drinking the tribesmen's soup.

The Kothoga smashes into the lab through the ceiling, while D'Agosta is locked outside. The creature chases Margo and corners her. It suddenly pauses, seemingly recognizing her from its former life as Whitney. Margo starts an explosive fire that destroys the Kothoga, while she survives by hiding inside a maceration tank. As dawn comes, D'Agosta and a team of police break into the lab, see the charred remains of the Kothoga, and rescue Margo from the tank.
  L² Scored: 3/10

L² Comment:
This movie is based from the best selling novel of Douglas Preston's Relic (1995), but how best selling? I'm not sure, but if purely based on this movie, I don't think is best selling at all. First of all, the storyline is so predictable, its kinda like Aliens & Predators back in the 80s... Furthermore, the creatures inside totally look the same as the creatures from Aliens + Predators... Well, this will fall in my "one-off" movie list which I will not watch it again...

Monday, April 11, 2016

Angels & Demons

 Released Year: 2009
Directed by Ron Howard

Casted by:
Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon
Ewan McGregor as Father Patrick McKenna
Ayelet Zurer as Dr. Vittoria Vetra
Stellan Skarsgård as Commander Maximilian Richter
Pierfrancesco Favino as Inspector Ernesto Olivetti
Nikolaj Lie Kaas as The Assassin
Armin Mueller-Stahl as Cardinal Strauss
Under the watchful eyes of Father Silvano Bentivoglio and Dr. Vittoria Vetra, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) initiates the Large Hadron Collider and creates three vials of antimatter particles larger than any that have ever been produced before. Almost immediately, Father Silvano is killed and one of the vials of antimatter goes missing. At the same time, the Roman Catholic Church is mourning the sudden death of Pope Pius XVI in Rome and prepares for the papal conclave to elect the next Pope. The Camerlengo, Father Patrick McKenna, assumes temporary control of the Vatican. The Illuminati kidnap four of the 'preferiti' (the favourite cardinals to be elected pope) before the conclave enters seclusion and threaten to kill one candidate every hour and destroy all of Vatican City at midnight, using the missing vial of antimatter as a bomb. The Vatican summons symbologist Robert Langdon from Harvard University and Vetra from CERN to help them save the four preferiti and locate the vial.

Langdon listens to the Illuminati's message and deduces that the four cardinals will die at the four altars of the "Path of Illumination," marked by statues of angels in locations relevant to the four classical elements. Over the objections of Commander Maximilian Richter, head of the Swiss Guard, but with McKenna's consent, Langdon is granted access to the Vatican Secret Archives. He examines Galileo Galilei's banned book with Vetra. Following the clues and accompanied by Inspector General Ernesto Olivetti and Claudio Vincenzi of the Vatican Gendarmerie Corps, they arrive at the Chigi Chapel in the Church of Santa Maria del Popolo. There they find Cardinal Ebner dead, suffocated with soil and branded with an ambigrammatic word "Earth". They verify the second location is Saint Peter's Square but are unable to save Cardinal Lamassé; his lungs punctured and his body branded with "Air".

While Vetra studies Silvano's diaries, Langdon, Olivetti and Vincenzi locate the third church, Santa Maria della Vittoria, but are unable to save Cardinal Guidera from being burned to death. His body is branded with an ambigrammatic word, "Fire". The assassin appears and kills Olivetti and Vincenzi, while Langdon barely manages to escape with his life. Langdon and two Carabinieri officers race to the Water altar, the Fountain of the Four Rivers, where the assassin murders the officers and drops a bound and weighted Cardinal Baggia into the fountain. Langdon, assisted by bystanders, saves the cardinal, who tells him the Illuminati's lair is Castel Sant'Angelo. There Langdon and Vetra discover a hidden passageway leading to the Vatican, being used as a hideout for the assassin. Discovering a case with marks for five branding irons, they realize the fifth brand is for the camerlengo but are confronted by the assassin before they can alert McKenna. The assassin spares their lives, then cryptically warns them that his contractors were "men of God". He escapes but is then killed when his car explodes.

Inside the Vatican, Langdon and Vetra find Commander Richter hovering over McKenna with a gun, the Vatican symbol branded into McKenna's chest. Richter and Archbishop Simeon are shot by the Guards, and Langdon takes a key that slips from Richter's hand. The stolen antimatter vial is found in St. Peter's Tomb below the church, but the battery life is too low to risk re-connecting it to a battery. McKenna, a former military pilot, seizes the vial and uses an awaiting helicopter to fly above the Vatican. At a high altitude, he parachutes out as the antimatter bomb explodes overhead. McKenna is hailed a hero and savior, and the cardinals move to elect him pope. Langdon and Vetra use Richter's key to watch a security video showing McKenna speaking to Richter before the attack. The video reveals that it is McKenna, not the Illuminati, who masterminded the scheme. McKenna reveals that he murdered the previous pope because he felt the pope had betrayed the church by trying to bridge the gap between science and religion. Once McKenna had killed the pope, he intended to have himself elected to the papacy whilst rallying the most conservative Cardinals to his side. The recording is shown to the Papal conclave, and when it dawns on McKenna that he has been exposed he flees to a remote recess in the building where he is able to commit suicide by setting himself on fire.

The Vatican officially announces that McKenna died due to internal injuries suffered during his parachute landing, and Cardinal Baggia is named Pope Luke, with Cardinal Strauss as the new camerlengo. Strauss thanks Langdon for his assistance and gives Langdon Galileo's "Diagramma Veritatis" for his research, requesting only that Langdon's will contain a request that it be returned to the Vatican, and that any future references he may make about the Catholic Church in his future publications be done gently, to which Langdon replies, "I'll try."
 L² Scored: 6.5/10

L² Comment:
It has been such a long time I didn't watch any movie and update this blog... almost one month without any new update, a friend message me & order me to update soon or else he will dis-follow my movies' blog lol~

Well, I have been wanting to re-watch this movie, a sequel of "The Da Vinci Code". Angels & Demons was one of my favorite movie back in 2009 before i started to blog about movies review. However, watching it the second time, its a bit boring to be frank. Of course beside solving hints, Tom Hanks with a new girl running around like mad dog & the villain change to Ewan McGregor... Of course its a good movie still, but maybe not for the re-watching time...