Movie Review – A Separation

A Separation (2011)
Written & Directed by Asghar Farhadi

Simin and Nader’s marriage has reached a turning point. Simin wants to leave Iran while her husband wants to stay because of his ailing father, suffering from Alzheimer’s. Simin is adamant that their daughter Termeh be given opportunities that cannot be provided for her in Iran. As an act of protest, Simin separates herself and lives with her family waiting for Nader to at least allow Termeh to leave with her. Nader is forced to hire a housekeeper and nurse for his father during the days and settles on Razieh, a deeply religious young woman with a daughter. Razieh becomes distressed when she must change Nader’s father after he soils himself but keeps coming into work because her husband is in significant amounts of debt. One day a series of events transpire that lead Nader to believe Razieh stole money from his bedroom and left his father tied to a bed. An argument ensues with tragic consequences that will resonant within the lives of all people involved.

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Movie Review – Hugo

Hugo (2011)
Written by John Logan
Directed by Martin Scorsese

Hugo is a boy living in 1931 Paris, holed up in the clockwork behind the scenes of the Gare Montparnasse railway station. He has ended up in this strange place due to the death of his father and subsequent death by drunkenness of his uncle. The only thing Hugo has left to remember his father by is a broken automaton his parent recovered from the museum where he worked. Hugo swipes clockwork toys from a store in the station to use as spare parts in rebuilding the mysterious machine. Eventually, he’s caught by Mr. Georges (Sir Benjamin Kingsley), the toy store’s owner who is curious about the strange notebook of sketches in Hugo’s possession. Hugo befriends Mr. Georges’ goddaughter Isabelle (Chloe Grace Moretz) and the two work to uncover the secret behind the automaton. However, looming over our protagonist is the specter of the station inspector and being carted away to an orphanage.

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Movie Review – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)
Written by Bridget O’Conner & Peter Straughan
Directed by Tomas Alfredson

In 1973, Control (John Hurt), the head of British intelligence sends Agent Jim Prideaux (Mark Strong) to Hungary to speak with a general claiming a desire to defect to the West. Prideaux is shot when things go bad, and Control is forced to step down. Retiring alongside him is George Smiley (Gary Oldman), his longtime right-hand man. Shortly after Control passes away and Smiley’s wife leaves him (again). The twilight years appear to be a dark road ahead. Ricki Tarr (Tom Hardy) is a spy for the agency who has now gone AWOL and communicated with the prime minister’s office that there is a mole for the Soviets within the Circus (the nickname for intelligence). Smiley is pulled out of retirement to run a black ops investigation into the very leadership of Britain’s intelligence service, sussing out if the new head (Toby Jones) or his lieutenants are using their position to funnel sensitive information to the enemy. The deep Smiley goes the more he realizes that he’s lost himself in a world of paranoia and mistrust.

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Movie Review – Moneyball

Moneyball (2011)
Written by Steve Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin
Directed by Bennett Miller

The Oakland As general manager Billy Beane has just watched his team suffer a brutal defeat in the playoffs which leads to the departure of the team’s “superstar” players. With 2002 looming on the horizon, Beane has got to assemble a team who stands a chance in the division. On a trip to make trades with the Cleveland Indians, Beane meets Peter Brand, a statistician who sees the key to baseball as not finding stars but cultivating the guys who get hits and get on base. Beane and Brand present their potential players to the scouts and the team’s coach only to be met with stiff resistance. As the new team comes together, everyone must work to overcome the conflict, with Beane’s primary goal being an outcome that shows the Major League teams that baseball is more than a game of spending millions.

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Movie Review – The Ides of March

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The Ides of March (2011)
Written by George Clooney, Beau Willimon, and Grant Heslov
Directed by George Clooney

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The Democratic presidential primary has reached Ohio with sights on North Carolina afterward. Governor Mike Morris is neck in neck with his rival Ted Pullman, senator from Arkansas. Stephen Meyers is the junior campaign manager working to help Morris pull ahead and secure the win. He is invited to an informal meeting with the opponent’s campaign manager, Tom Duffy. Meyers weighs what to do, thinking about informing Morris’ senior campaign manager, then deciding against it and going in secret. At the same time, Meyers starts up with a relationship with Molly, an intern with the campaign. Through his involvement with Molly, he learns about a secret that his candidate has been keeping. Meyers is faced with the struggle of pushing forward for a candidate he believes will bring the change that is needed or adhering to his principles and bringing light to these secrets.

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Comic Book Review – Punisher: In the Blood

Punisher: In the Blood (2011)
Written by Rick Remender
Art by Roland Boschi

punisher in the blood

There was one significant loose end left at the end of Remender’s Punisher run: Jigsaw’s paternity of Henry Russo. There’s also the resurrected former sidekick Microchip running around. Moreover, to add to the chaos, a mysterious leather-clad masked woman appears on the scene, and Frank believes this is his wife, brought back from the dead by the Hood, still alive and kicking. Life isn’t going to get comfortable for Marvel’s top vigilante as Remender brings his run on the character to its conclusion.

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Comic Book Review – Venom by Rick Remender Volume 1

Venom by Rick Remender Volume 1 (2011)
Written by Rick Remender
Art by Tony Moore

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Flash Thompson has served his country in Afghanistan, given his all including both of his legs. However, this isn’t the end of Flash’s service. Project Rebirth has captured the Venom symbiote and allows it to bond with the military veteran giving him the ability to walk again and responsibility to carry out missions for the U.S. government. The catch is that he cannot stay bonded with the symbiote for more than 24 hours or he risks a permanent conversion. Almost immediately he secures an arch-nemesis and comes under the thumb of underworld boss The Crime-Master. Just like Peter Parker, Flash finds himself struggling to balance his relationship with Betty Brant, his ongoing conflict with his dying abusive father, and his job as a black ops operative for the government. With so much on one man, it is inevitable that things will break.

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