Kung Fu Zohra (2022)

Kung Fu Zohra
Director: Mabrouk El Mechri
Writer: Mabrouk El Mechri
Cast: Sabrina Ouazani, Ramzy Bedia, Eye Haidara, Tien Shue, Lina Hachani
Part of: SLASH 1/2 Filmfestival
Seen on: 5.5.2022

Content Note: domestic violence

Plot:
When Zohra (Sabrina Ouazani) meets Omar (Ramzy Bedia), they connect over a shared love for kung fu movies. It doesn’t take long until they are married and Zohra finds herself in a new city with a new job and a new friend in Binta (Eye Haidara). But after a rather smooth start, things get bumpy. Omar starts hitting Zohra and she finds herself unable to leave him. Instead she finds strength in training her fighting skills.

Kung Fu Zohra is probably the funniest film about domestic violence in existence, combining a martial arts comedy with astute commentary on DV – a combination that shouldn’t work but does somehow.

The film poster showing Zohra (Sabrina Ouazani) in a fighting pose wearing a red kimono-like shirt with an arab letter on the back.
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The Northman (2022)

The Northman
Director: Robert Eggers
Writer: Sjón, Robert Eggers
Cast: Alexander Skarsgård, Nicole Kidman, Claes Bang, Ethan Hawke, Anya Taylor-Joy, Gustav Lindh, Elliott Rose, Willem Dafoe, Björk
Seen on: 26.4.2022

Content Note: rape

Plot:
Amleth (Alexander Skarsgård) only barely escaped with his life when his uncle Fjölnir (Claes Bang) murdered his brother, Amleth’s father, King Aurvandil (Ethan Hawke) and took over the kingdom. Amleth, only a boy then, had to leave his mother Gudrún (Nicole Kidman) behind, but swore to save her and take his revenge. Now he is grown up and makes his living as a viking. During a raid, he hears news from his uncle and, pretending to be a slave like Olga (Anya Taylor-Joy) and many others, lets himself be carted off to finally fulfill the promise he gave as a boy.

I was hoping for The Northman to be a bit of a bloodfest, knowing that with Eggers, I’d probably get a bit of a challenge as well. But unfortunately, mostly what I got with The Northman is darkness – and I mean that quite literally. It’s a film we barely see and that was pretty boring to boot.

The film poster showing Amleth (Alexander Skarsgård) standing on a cliff, watching a fleet in the sea.
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The Batman (2022)

The Batman
Director: Matt Reeves
Writer: Matt Reeves, Peter Craig
Based on: Bob Kane‘s and Bill Finger‘s comics character
Cast: Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, Jeffrey Wright, Colin Farrell, Paul Dano, John Turturro, Andy Serkis, Peter Sarsgaard, Barry Keoghan, Jayme Lawson, Gil Perez-Abraham
Seen on: 9.3.2022
[Here are my reviews of other Batman things.]

Plot:
For the past two years, Batman (Robert Pattinson) has been a vigilante in Gotham City, one who divides opinions. On Halloween, he is called to a crime scene be Lieutenant Gordon (Jeffrey Wright): the mayor was brutally murdered, and a riddle was left for Batman. When he takes up the trail, it leads him to a nightclub run by Oz (Colin Farrell) with ties to Carmine Falcone (John Turturro). And it leads him to Selina (Zoë Kravitz) who works as a waitress there and has her own investigation. As more people are murdered and more clues left, it becomes a race against time.

I really did not expect much of The Batman. Everything about it screamed that it would not be a good experience. But it is a Batman film, so I couldn’t resist. Anyhow, turns out that I was mistaken: The Batman is even worse than I thought it would be.

The film poster showing The Batman (Robert Pattinson) standing in a fog of red lighting.
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Moonfall (2022)

Moonfall
Director: Roland Emmerich
Writer: Roland Emmerich, Harald Kloser, Spenser Cohen
Cast: Halle Berry, Patrick Wilson, John Bradley, Charlie Plummer, Michael Peña, Carolina Bartczak, Chris Sandiford, Jonathan Maxwell Silver, Eme Ikwuakor, Donald Sutherland
Seen on: 14.2.2022

Plot:
A few years ago, Brian (Patrick Wilson) and Jo (Halle Berry) were a team – in space, no less. But after a terrible accident after which Brian claims to have seen something inexplicable, unbelievable, he was discredited, while she went on to rise in the ranks at NASA. Now something is wrong with the moon though, and megastructuralist KC Houseman (John Bradley) who is convinced that the moon is a built mega structure is the first to figure it out: the moon is off its orbit. And it will collide with the earth if it isn’t stopped. But nobody wants to listen to KC, not NASA and not even Brian who KC tries to get to help. Who will be able to save the world?

Moonfall is one hell of a film. It is so completely out there, it’s basically its own megastructure orbiting the earth. And that makes it a whole lot of fun – at least as long as you don’t take it seriously for even a second.

The film poster showing a giant moon next to a small earth. There is a hole in the moon that hints at a built structure.
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Homefront (2013)

Homefront
Director: Gary Fleder
Writer: Sylvester Stallone
Based on: Chuck Logan‘s novel
Cast: Jason Statham, James Franco, Izabela Vidovic, Kate Bosworth, Marcus Hester, Clancy Brown, Winona Ryder, Omar Benson Miller, Rachelle Lefevre, Frank Grillo
Seen on: 31.1.2022
[ETA, 5 minutes after publishing this review: I absolutely forgot that I had already seen the film, so here is my first review, but I won’t be labeling this a re-watch.]

Plot:
Phil Broker (Jason Statham) used to be an undercover cop, but after his wife passed away, he took his daughter Maddy (Izabela Vidovic) and moved to a small town, looking for a quiet life where people don’t know about his past. But that quiet is threatened when Maddy fights a bully and Phil ends up in the crosshairs of the bully’s family, most notably his uncle Gator (James Franco), local thug and drug dealer. Gator just wants to scare Phil at first, get revenge for his nephew. But when he finds out about his past, things spiral out of control fast.

I didn’t know much about Homefront apart from the fact that Jason Statham is in it. So, it felt reasonable for me to expect some nice fights, but unfortunately, I did not get them. Instead I got a slightly confused storyline, tropey characters and a very boring film.

The film poster showing Phil Broker (Jason Statham) holding his daughter Maddy (Izabela Vidovic), a USA flag superimposed over his jacket. Below this image is an image of Gator (James Franco) in a blaze of fire.
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Kate (2021)

Kate
Director: Cedric Nicolas-Troyan
Writer: Umair Aleem
Cast: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Woody Harrelson, Miku Patricia Martineau, Tadanobu Asano, Jun Kunimura, Michiel Huisman, Miyavi
Seen on: 28.1.2022

Content Note: racism

Plot:
Kate (Mary Elizabeht Winstead) is an assassin who was basically raised by her handler Varrick (Woody Harrelson). Kate is starting to grow weary of the assassin’s life, but has agreed to finishing the job they’re currently on. Only she ends up poisoned and knows that she only has a day left to find out who poisoned her and why and to exact her revenge. The trail leads her to the Kajima yakuza and Ani (Miku Patricia Martinea), granddaughter of Kajima (Jun Kunimura). Ani’s and Kate’s path have crossed before, and soon Kate finds herself protecting Ani more than using her to get her revenge.

I thought that watching Mary Elizabeth Winstead kick ass for two hours (which was pretty much all I knew about the film going in) could not be boring. I was wrong.

The film poster showing Kate (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Ani (Miku Patricia Martineau) and Varrick (Woody Harrelson) in a neon frame.
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Red Notice (2021)

Red Notice
Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Writer: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, Gal Gadot, Ritu Arya, Chris Diamantopoulos, Ivan Mbakop
Seen on: 4.1.2022

Plot:
John Hartley (Dwayne Johnson) is an FBI profiler, working together with Interpol, specifically Inspector Das (Rity Arya) to finally catch renowned art thief Nolan Booth (Ryan Reynolds). Operating off a tip from the mysterious Bishop (Gal Gadot), herself an art thief, things go sideways for Hartley after he catches Booth: it looks like The Bishop set him up, too – and Hartley ends up not only in the same prison as Booth, but also in the same cell. Despite their antagonistic relationship, Hartley and Booth agree to work together to get The Bishop. But that’s easier said than done.

Red Notice is a heist movie with an Indiana Jones touch and a nice cast – so I really don’t understand why it is so very lukewarm.

The film poster showing Hartley (Dwayne Johnson), The Bishop (Gal Gadot) and Booth (Ryan Reynolds) in evening wear.
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Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)

Spider-Man: No Way Home
Director: Jon Watts
Writer: Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers
Based on: Stan Lee and Steve Ditko‘s comic
Sequel to: Spider-Man: Homecoming, Spider-Man: Far from Home
Cast: Tom HollandZendayaJacob Batalon, Marisa TomeiJon Favreau, Benedict Cumberbatch, Benedict WongTony Revolori, Jamie Foxx, Willem Dafoe, Alfred Molina, Andrew Garfield, Tobey MaguireAngourie Rice, Martin Starr, Hannibal Buress, J.B. Smoove, J.K. Simmons, Rhys Ifans, Charlie Cox, Thomas Haden Church
Part of: Marvel movies
Seen on: 20.12.2021

Plot:
Now that the world knows that Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is Spider-Man, Peter’s life is thoroughly screwed up. Although things could be so very good now that both his best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) and his finally-girlfriend MJ (Zendaya) know the truth. Not to mention Aunt May (Marisa Tomei). But things just can’t work that way anymore, and so Peter asks Dr Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) for a spell to make the world forget about Spider-Man’s identity. Things don’t work out the way he’d hoped, though, and the mess becomes even bigger than before.

Spider-Man: No Way Home is entertaining as hell, a cross-over of epic proportions and proof of that Spider-Man is never allowed to be happy ever. In short: it gives you one hell of a ride.

The film poster showing Spider-Man (Tom Holland) on a pile of rubble, surrounded by metal tentacles and the Green Goblin in the distance behind him.

[Slight SPOILERS follow]

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Eternals (2021)

Eternals
Director: Chloé Zhao
Writer: Chloé Zhao, Patrick Burleigh, Ryan Firpo, Kaz Firpo
Based on: Jack Kirby‘s comic
Cast: Gemma Chan, Richard Madden, Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Kit Harington, Kumail Nanjiani, Lia McHugh, Brian Tyree Henry, Lauren Ridloff, Barry Keoghan, Ma Dong-seok, Harish Patel, Bill Skarsgård, Harry Styles, Patton Oswalt
Part of: Marvel movies
Seen on: 18.11.2021

Plot:
Three thousand years ago, a group of humanoid aliens were sent to Earth to protect it and its humans from the deviants – monsters that love to eat them. Led by Ajak (Salma Hayek), they are a fierce group of warriors, all with their special talents. 500 years ago, they got rid of the last deviant and dispersed, waiting to be called back to their home planet. Sersi (Gemma Chan) ended up in London where she is dating the human Dane (Kit Harington) after a break-up with her fellow Eternal Ikaris (Richard Madden). Sprite (Lia McHugh), another of the Eternals, lives with her. Things appear pretty settled – until they are unexpectedly attacked by a deviant that already drew Ikaris’ attention. It appears that the Eternals have to come back together as their mission isn’t over yet.

Eternals gets many things right, even if it doesn’t fit easily with the rest of the MCU. Be that as it may, I enjoyed a lot about it, but not without some reservations.

THe film poster, showing the ten Eternals standing on a river shore in their armor.
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Re-Watch: The Matrix Revolutions (2003)

The Matrix Revolutions
Director: Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski
Writer: Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski
Sequel to: The Matrix, The Matrix Reloaded
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Harry Lennix, Harold Perrineau, Jada Pinkett Smith, Gina Torres, Mary Alice, Nathaniel Lees, Helmut Bakaitis, Lambert Wilson, Monica Bellucci, Collin Chou, Essie Davis, Nona Gaye, Cornel West, Bruce Spence
Seen on: 1.11.2021

Content Note: ableism

Plot:
Zion is still under threat, and their time is running out. Meanwhile Neo (Keanu Reeves) is unconscious, and Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) suspect that he is still in the Matrix, although his body isn’t plugged in. They start a desperate search for him. Meanwhile Neo learns more about The Matrix and his connection to it – knowledge that will hopefully lead to an end of the war between humans and machines. But whether he can achieve his goal before Zion is destroyed completely is still questionable.

Where The Matrix Reloaded was a step-down from The Matrix, The Matrix Revolutions is a plunge down for several stories. It’s a boring film that gives us an unsatisfying ending of the trilogy. I really hope that the new film will make up for it a little.

The film poster showiing Neo (Keanu Reeves) in the rain, but the raindrops are actually strings of Matrix.
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