Re-Watch: Batman Begins (2005)

Batman Begins
Director: Christopher Nolan
Writer: David S. Goyer, Christopher Nolan
Based on: Bob Kane‘s comics
Cast: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Katie Holmes, Gary Oldman, Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman, Ken Watanabe, Cillian Murphy, Tom Wilkinson, Rutger Hauer, Mark Boone Junior

Plot:
After the death of his parents in a robbery and a foiled attempt to kill their murderer, billionaire Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) leaves the country to search for something else entirely. While his hometown of Gotham City is slowly falling apart and swallowed by crime, Bruce ends up first in a prison, then with the League of Shadows, a mysterious organisation that wants to fight corruption, where he is trained by Henri Ducard (Liam Neeson). But when Bruce finds out about the actual goals of the League, he decides that he’d rather come home to Gotham and fight crime on his own terms – as the Batman.

Batman Begins is a wonderful start to the trilogy, and a film that is not only still enjoyable when you’ve seen the 10th time (or so), but also one that stands the test of time very well.

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The Shadowed Sun (N. K. Jemisin)

The Shadowed Sun is the second book in N. K. Jemisin‘s Dreamblood Series. [Here’s my review of The Killing Moon.]

Plot:
10 years after the events of The Killing Moon, the Kisuati have taken over Guajareeh. But unrest is stirring and their rule is not easily accepted. The nobility as much as the priests of the Hetawa are plotting against the Kisuati, in very different ways. Trying to win back his father’s throne is the exiled Wanahomen, who is building an army with the help of the Banbarra and forging an alliance with the Hetawa. To ensure that alliance, Hanani the first female Sharer of the Hetawa and her teacher Mni-inh are sent to the Banbarra, while a strange plague takes ahold of the dreamers in Guajareeh.

I can just repeat what I’ve said in every single Jemisin review I’ve written on this blog: they are well-written and have interesting premises (otherwise I wouldn’t have read her entire bibliography basically immediately after they came out) but I still don’t actually care about the books. There’s no emotion. Unfortunately that is still true for The Shadowed Sun.

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The Way (2010)

The Way
Director: Emilio Estevez
Writer: Emilio Estevez
Based on: Jack Hitt‘s book Off the Road: A Modern-Day Walk Down the Pilgrim’s Route into Spain
Cast: Martin Sheen, Emilio Estevez, Deborah Kara Unger, Yorick van Wangeningen, James Nesbitt

Plot:
After Tom (Martin Sheen) gets the news that his son Daniel (Emilio Estevez) died in a storm while walking the Camino de Santiago. So Tom flies to France to pick up the body. But once he arrives there he finds himself changing his plans and deciding to finish Daniel’s pilgrimage for hime. Along the way, Tom quite involuntarily picks up Jost (Yorick van Wangeningen), Sarah (Debora Kara Unger) and Jack (James Nesbitt) who are all walking the Camino for their own reasons.

I was prepared for not liking the film very much – it is a film about a pilgrimage after all and I’m not good with religion. That being said, the film was surprisingly nice over very long stretches.

[SPOILERS]

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The Five-Year Engagement (2012)

The Five-Year Engagement
Director: Nicholas Stoller
Writer: Jason Segel, Nicholas Stoller
Cast: Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Chris Pratt, Alison Brie, Rhys Ifans, Lauren Weedman, Mimi Kennedy, David Paymer, Jacki Weaver, Jim Piddock, Brian Posehn

Plot:
Tom (Jason Segel) and Violet (Emily Blunt) are a very happy couple. Especially when Tom proposes, everything seems perfect. But before they can actually get married, life pretty much gets in the way of things. So they postpone the wedding and move to Detroit, where Violet got a job. And then they keep on postponing the wedding. But will there ever be the perfect time to get married?

I didn’t expect very much from this film – just a nice, shallow RomCom. But the movie was so incredibly funny, it not only had me laughing out loud, it actually had me in stitches on several occasions. Respect.

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Cosmopolis (2012)

Cosmopolis
Director: David Cronenberg
Writer: David Cronenberg
Based on: Don DeLillo‘s novel
Cast: Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche, Sarah Gadon, Mathieu Amalric, Jay Baruchel, Kevin Durand, K’Naan, Emily Hampshire, Samantha Morton, Paul Giamatti, Philip Nozuka

Plot:
Eric Packer (Robert Pattinson) is young and rich and drives through New York in his limousine trying to get a haircut. But since the president is visiting the city, traffic is pretty clogged up and this takes a lot longer than anticipated. Eric starts taking several meetings in his car but bit by bit his life is crumbling apart, as Eric purposefully loses money and sabotages himself.

Holy fucking shit, this movie is extremely bad. I thought that Cronenberg would outweigh Pattinson’s total lack of charisma, but unfortunately the script is a single excercise in what-the-fuckery that depends on said non-existant charisma and so the entire film is set up to fail.

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Coriolanus (2011)

Coriolanus
Director: Ralph Fiennes
Writer: John Logan
Based on: William Shakespeare‘s play
Cast: Ralph Fiennes, Vanessa Redgrave, Gerard Butler, Jessica Chastain, Brian Cox, John Kani, James Nesbitt

Plot:
Caius Martius (Ralph Fiennes) is a celebrated general, even though he is not particularly popular with the people of Rome who are starving because the rations go to the military instead of them. Caius Martius fights his blood-enemy Aufidius (Gerard Butler) in Corioles and is victorious, which gives him enough leverage to run for consul. Even though Caius Martius isn’t completely sold on the idea, his mother (Vanessa Redgrave) pressures him and he finally caves. But not everyone is a fan of Caius Martius and he quickly finds himself in trouble.

The play and John Logan’s script are really good, as is the cast. But the movie left me pretty cold – not only did I hate the camera work, the pacing was just off.

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The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

The Amazing Spider-Man
Director: Marc Webb
Writer: James Vanderbilt, Alvin Sargent, Steve Kloves
Based on: Stan Lee and Steve Ditko‘s comic
Cast: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Martin Sheen, Sally Field, Irrfan Khan, Chris Zylka

Plot:
Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) grew up with his aunt (Sally Field) and uncle (Martin Sheen) since his parents had to leave him because of his father’s science research. By now, Peter is an adolescent and struggles with the usual teenage problems, like being in love with Gwen (Emma Stone). But then he stumbles upon his father’s notes which in turn leads him to the research of Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans). While in Connor’s lab, Peter gets bitten by a weird spider and soon finds that he has developed superpowers.

I’m the first to admit that I’m not the world’s greatest Spider-Man fan. I had hoped that this movie would give me another fresh chance to fall in love with the character, but unfortunately it was way too dumb for anything like that.

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The Killing Moon (N. K. Jemisin)

The Killing Moon is the first book in N. K. Jemisin‘s Dreamblood Series.

Plot:
In Guajareeh, magic can be extracted from dreams. The people doing the extracting are the priests of Hananja, the dream goddess. The most specialized of which are the Gatherers who collect Dreamblood from a person’s last dream. Ehiru is the best Gatherer they have, but after a mistake he starts having doubts. These doubts ultimately lead him and his apprentice Nijiri to Sunandi, an embassador from Kisua and a conspiracy that apparently goes all the way up to the Prince of Guajareeh.

I was not particularly impressed with The Inheritance Trilogy and if deadra hadn’t lend me the books of the Dreamblood Series, I probably wouldn’t have read them at all. That being said, I did like The Killing Moon better than The Inheritance Trilogy and better than I thought I would. But I’m still not overly excited about it.

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Harvest of Art Festival

The Harvest of Art was a one-day festival in Wiesen with shows by Glen Hansard, Mumford & Sons and The Kooks.

Wiesen is a really nice festival location and we had almost perfect weather (it only rained before we came and only got a little cold towards the end). And the concerts were pretty nice – especially Mumford & Sons were great.

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Rock of Ages (2012)

Rock of Ages
Director: Adam Shankman
Writer: Justin Theroux, Chris D’Arienzo, Allan Loeb
Cast: Diego Boneta, Julianne Hough, Russell Brand, Alec Baldwin, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Paul Giamatti, Tom Cruise, Malin Akerman, Mary J. Blige, Bryan Cranston, Eli Roth

Plot:
Sherrie (Julianne Hough) just arrived in LA, dreaming of being a singer but instead she gets robbed straight away and somebody makes off with her record collection. Drew (Diego Boneta) who witnessed the incident manages to get Sherrie a job as a waitress at the living off its former glory Bourbon club where he works, too. The club is preparing for a huge concert by Stacie Jaxx (Tom Cruise) while Christian protesters lead by Patricia Whitmore (Catherine Zeta-Jones) try to shut down rock in general.

As long as the movie was camp, it was brilliantly funny. Unfortunately most of the time we’re stuck with the absolutely colorless and frankly just boring lead characters.

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