Ant-Man (2015)

Ant-Man
Director: Peyton Reed
Writer: Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish, Adam McKay, Paul Rudd
Based on: Stan Lee, Larry Lieber and Jack Kirby‘s comics
Cast: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Bobby Cannavale, Anthony Mackie, Judy Greer, Abby Ryder Fortson, Michael Peña, David Dastmalchian, T.I., Hayley Atwell, Wood Harris, John Slattery, Martin Donovan
Part of: Marvel movies
Seen on: 5.8.2015

Plot:
Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is released from prison and determined to go straight, at least for the sake of his daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder-Fortson) who lives with her mother Maggie (Judy Greer) and her new boyfriend (Bobby Canavale). But getting a foot on the ground as an ex-con is difficult and when Scott’s former cell mate Luis (Michae Peña) promises a riskfree way of getting some starter money, Scott gives in. What he doesn’t know is that Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) set him up to do just that because he wants to make Scott the new Ant-Man, a miniaturized superhero, despite the protestation of his daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly) who wants to take on the role herself. In any case time is ticking because Hank’s protégé Darren (Corey Stoll) is working on his own shrinking technology and is becoming more and more unhinged.

With all I had heard about Ant-Man before seeing it, I didn’t expect much. It turned out that it was more entertaining than I anticipated, but also completely infuriating in its choice of main character.

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Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015)

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Writer: Christopher McQuarrie
Based on: The TV show
Sequel to: Mission: Impossible, Mission: Impossible II, Mission: Impossible III, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol
Cast: Tom CruiseRebecca Ferguson, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Sean Harris, Simon McBurney, Jingchu Zhang, Tom Hollander, Jens Hultén, Alec Baldwin
Seen on: 5.8.2015

Plot:
The CIA, in form of its director Hunley (Alec Baldwin), is arguing for disbanding the entire IMF and Brandt (Jeremy Renner) is trying everything to keep that from happening. Unsuccessfully though. As the IMF is being shut down, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is this close to finally getting to the Syndicate, a shadow organization secretly controlling the world. But Ethan is captured and only manages to escape with the help of Ilsa (Rebecca Ferguson). After he is freed, there is no more IMF, nobody even believes that the Syndicate exists and it becomes clear that Ethan has to take matters into his own hands.

I think the best thing that I can say about Rogue Nation that at least it was still better than the M:I-2. It is pretty much the cinematic equivalent of a very drunk night out: kinda fun while you’re at it, but as soon as you get a little more sober again, you realize with mortification all the stupid, highly inappropriate things that happened and you feel hung-over.

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Re-Watch: Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011)

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol
Director: Brad Bird
Writer: Josh Appelbaum, André Nemec
Based on: The TV show
Sequel to: Mission: Impossible, Mission: Impossible II, Mission: Impossible III
Cast: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Paula Patton, Tom Wilkinson, Ving Rhames, Michael Nyqvist, Anil Kapoor, Léa Seydoux, Josh Holloway
Seen on: 4.8.2015
[Here’s my first review.]

Plot:
Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is currently in a Russian prison. But after another agent (Josh Holloway) gets killed, his team, consisting of Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) and Jane Carter (Paula Patton), breaks Ethan out of there and together they try to infiltrate the Kremlin to find more information about “Cobalt”, who is connected to the agent’s death. But the mission fails spectacularly and suddenly, the three of them plus data analyst William Brandt (Jeremy Renner) have to clear the entire IMF’s name.

Much as I remembered it, Ghost Protocol was one hell of an entertaining film. It’s far from flawless, but at least it’s straight-forward fun.

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Re-Watch: Mission: Impossible III (2006)

Mission: Impossible III
Director: J.J. Abrams
Writer: Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, J.J. Abrams
Based on: The TV Series
Sequel to: Mission: Impossible, Mission: Impossible II
Cast: Tom Cruise, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Billy Crudup, Ving Rhames, Michelle Monaghan, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Keri Russell, Maggie Q, Simon Pegg, Eddie Marsan, Laurence FishburneSasha Alexander, Tracy Middendorf, Aaron Paul, Timothy Omundson
Seen on: 4.8.2015

Plot:
Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) has retired from active field duty. Instead he teaches spy hopefuls and is about to marry Julia (Michelle Monaghan). But then IMF director Musgrave (Billy Crudup) contacts him: his student Lindsey (Keri Russell) was captured by blackmarket dealer Owen Davian (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and Hunt has to save her. Hunt reluctantly accepts and gets to work together with his team, consisting of Declan (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), Zhen (Maggie Q) and Luther (Ving Rhames). But the recapture goes wrong and Hunt soon finds himself in deeper than he ever expected.

Mission: Impossible III is a definite step up again after the second film (although that is not saying too much – it would have taken serious commitment to be worse than the second film). But depite the awesome cast, especially the antagonists, M:I-3 might be the film of the series that is most easily forgotten.

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Die abhandene Welt [The Misplaced World] (2015)

Die abhandene Welt
Director: Margarethe von Trotta
Writer: Margarethe von Trotta
Cast: Katja Riemann, Barbara Sukowa, Matthias Habich, Robert Seeliger, Gunnar Möller, Karin Dor
Seen on: 4.8.2015

Plot:
Sophie (Katja Riemann) has a difficult relationship with her bossy father Paul (Matthias Habich) and ever since the death of her mother, things haven’t gotten any easier. But when Paul stumbles upon a photo of famous opera singer Caterina (Barbara Sukowa) who looks a lot like his deceased wife, he asks Sophie to fly to New York to meet her and figure out the connection between them. And Sophie consents, almost despite herself. But getting in touch with Caterina isn’t easy as she’s abrasive and not interested in dragging up the past.

Die abhandene Welt has many strengths, but unfortunately also one stumbling stone that pushed me out of the film more than once. Still, there was more than enough good stuff there to make the film very much worthwhile.

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Re-Watch: Mission: Impossible II (2000)

Mission: Impossible II
Director: John Woo
Writer: Robert Towne
Based on: The TV Series
Sequel to: Mission: Impossible
Cast: Tom CruiseThandie Newton, Dougray Scott, Ving Rhames, Richard Roxburgh, John Polson, Brendan Gleeson, Rade Serbedzija, William Mapother, Dominic Purcell
Seen on: 3.8.2015

Plot:
Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is tasked with retrieving the stolen Chimera virus: a supervirus that kills within a short amount of time. To get it, he is supposed to recruit thief Nyah (Thandie Newton), but as it turns out not for her skill set but rather for the fact that she used to date Ethan’s former co-agent who is responsible for the theft of the virus, Sean Ambrose (Dougray Scott). Ethan is uncomfortable involving Nyah in all of this, especially since he finds himself falling for her.

Holy fuck, I had forgotten how absolutely atrociously bad Mission: Impossible II is. It’s abysmal. It’s frankly astounding that they ever got to make another film in the franchise because this film was certainly bad enough to irrevocably kill it.

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Re-Watch: Mission: Impossible (1996)

Mission: Impossible
Director: Brian De Palma
Writer: David Koepp, Steven Zaillian
Based on: The TV Series
Cast: Tom Cruise, Jon Voight, Emmanuelle Béart, Henry Czerny, Jean Reno, Ving Rhames, Kristin Scott Thomas, Vanessa Redgrave
Seen on: 03.08.2015

Plot:
Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is part of a team of spies led by Jim Phelps (Jon Voight). Their newest mission is supposed to prevent the sale of classified material. But things go very wrong and Ethan’s entire team is killed. All but Jim’s wife Claire (Emmanuelle Béart) that is. When Ethan’s loyalty is called into question and he is suspected of killing them off himself, he knows that he has to uncover and solve this mystery. Together with Claire, they ask Franz (Jean Reno) and Luther (Ving Rhames) for help, both disavowed agents and they take on the case.

Mission: Impossible follows the spy formula to the letter and while the plot doesn’t offer much that’s new, the execution is beautiful, although not exactly flawless.

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Medieval Towns and the Blue, Blue Sea

At the end of July/beginning of August, I went to the Côte d’Azur with my family for a week. It was a trip that was preceded by organisational difficulties that mostly came from the fact that we didn’t all book together and at once and that it is very difficult to distinguish between Saturday and Sunday. Also, my family on trips will cause chaos, period.

In any case, one of my sisters, V,  and her family flew in on Tuesday (which was planned), my parents flew in on Saturday (which was planned) and my other sister, A, her baby and me flew in on Sunday (which was not quite as planned). We flew to Nice and lived in Vence in two houses, one for V and family, the other for my parents, A, the baby and me.

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France is not only the land of ugly postcards, it is mostly the land of sexist postcards. The amount of naked (female) butts that you can send from there is staggering. So when I found these babies on my last day, I knew I had to throw money at them.

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The Night Circus (Erin Morgenstern)

The Night Circus is a novel by Erin Morgenstern.
Finished on: 31.7.2015

Plot:
Prospero the Enchanter and his frequent adversary A.H. make a wager to see who can educate the better magician: Prospero puts his daughter Celia into play, while A. chooses the young orphan Marco. And they set up the stage for the two of them to show off their skills: The Night Circus. Held only in black and white, filled with the finest artists around the world, both Celia and Marco keep enhancing it with their magic. But neither knows the rules of the game, nor the actual end goal. In the meantime, though, the Night Circus gains notoriety and its very own following.

The Night Circus has a very cool concept. But while I loved the idea of it, I didn’t fall in love with it as much as I could have. I’m not entirely certain why, though it might be to do with Celia and Marco.

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The Unwritten: On to Genesis (Mike Carey, Peter Gross)

On to Genesis is the fifth book (issues 25-30) in The Unwritten series of comics, written by Mike Carey, art by Peter Gross, with additional art by Vince Locke and cover art by Yuko Shimizu.
[Here are my Unwritten reviews so far.]
Finished on: 26.7.2015

Plot:
After Wilson’s Death his belongings are set to be auctioned off. Tommy is certain that some of those things will help to shed light on Wilson’s plans. But when he gets involved into the auction things don’t go quite as planned, but at least Tommy manages to get his father’s journals and finds himself seeing the world through his father’s eyes in the 40s. Literally.

The Unwritten continues to be an extraordinary series, even though with the issues collected here, it hit a bit of a snag and doesn’t feel quite as strong as the previous book. But that doesn’t meant that I didn’t enjoy it a lot.

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