Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Director: Destin Daniel Cretton
Writer: Dave Callaham, Destin Daniel Cretton, Andrew Lanham
Based on: Steve Englehart and Jim Starlin‘s character
Cast: Simu Liu, Tony Chiu-Wai Leung, Awkwafina, Meng’er Zhang, Fala Chen, Michelle Yeoh, Wah Yuen, Florian Munteanu, Andy Le, Benedict Wong, Ben Kingsley, Mark Ruffalo, Brie Larson
Part of: Marvel movies
Seen on: 6.9.2021

Plot:
Shaun (Simu Liu) tried to built a life for himself, away from his father Wenwu (Tony Chiu-Wai Leung) and Wenwu’s private army, the Ten Rings – including actual ten rings that give Wenwu awesome powers. And for the last decade, Shaun has been pretty successful in his endeavor. Not even his best friend Katy (Awkwafina) suspects that there is more to him than a party-loving valet. Until a group of fighters led by Razor Fist (Florian Munteanu) attack Shaun and he has to finally confront his past, his family, and his future. Not without Katy, though.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is a thoroughly enjoyable film with a good mix of fighting, emotions and humor. I had a very good time with it.

The film poster showing Shaun (Simu Liu), his father Wenwu (Tony Chiu-Wai Leung) looming large behind him, wearing the ten rings. The two can be seen fighting as smaller figures in the front. Other important characters are arranged around them.
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Good on Paper (2021)

Good on Paper
Director: Kimmy Gatewood
Writer: Iliza Shlesinger
Cast: Iliza Shlesinger, Margaret Cho, Ryan Hansen, Rebecca Rittenhouse, Matt McGorry, Rebecca Delgado Smith, Beth Dover, Kimia Behpoornia
Seen on: 4.9.2021

Content Note: fatmisia, abusive relationship, (critical treatment of) misogyny

Plot:
Andrea (Iliza Shlesinger) is a stand-up comedian who has been making good progress with her career, although the big break-through is still missing and she would like to get an acting role to hit it big, finally. With working on her career, her romantic life has taken a back-seat. And this doesn’t change when she meets Dennis (Ryan Hansen) on a plane, although they immediately get to talking. Dennis is a great guy, though, and they start hanging out a lot – as friends. After a while, though, things do take a turn for the romantic. At the same time, Andrea starts to question what Dennis told her about himself.

Good on Paper has some funny moments, but it didn’t really draw me in. It was entertaining enough, but it just wasn’t great.

The film poster showing Andrea (Iliza Shlesinger) looking sceptical as Dennis (Ryan Hansen) holds on to her, smiling widely.
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Sweet Girl (2021)

Sweet Girl
Director: Brian Andrew Mendoza
Writer: Gregg Hurwitz, Philip Eisner
Cast: Jason Momoa, Isabela Merced, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Amy Brenneman, Adria Arjona, Justin Bartha, Raza Jaffrey, Lex Scott Davis, Michael Raymond-James
Seen on: 3.9.2021

Plot:
Ray (Jason Momoa), Amanda (Adria Arjona) and their daughter Rachel (Isabela Merced) used to be extremely happy together until Amanda got very sick and the medication that was her last hope of survival was too expensive, and the generic version pulled before it ever reached the market. After her death, Ray has sworn revenge on the pharmaceutical company that is responsible for the decision. And Rachel can’t help getting dragged into his plans.

Sweet Girl is at its best when it isn’t focused on the action. Unfortunately, it seems to be convinced otherwise. When it should have remained simple, it goes big. But still, it’s worth it for Momoa and the father-daughter-chemistry he has with Merced.

The film poster showing Ray (Jason Momoa) and Rachel (Isabela Merced) walking fiercely. He is holding an axe and his face is bruised.
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Reminiscence (2021)

Reminiscence
Director: Lisa Joy
Writer: Lisa Joy
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Rebecca Ferguson, Thandiwe Newton, Cliff Curtis, Marina de Tavira, Daniel Wu, Mojean Aria, Brett Cullen, Natalie Martinez, Angela Sarafyan
Seen on: 31.8.2021

Plot:
In a Miami almost entirely drowned Nick (Hugh Jackman) and his employee Watts (Thandiwe Newton) run a small reminiscence business. Their clients come to relive their memories in the most realistic way possible with them. Everything changes for Nick the day that Mae (Rebecca Ferguson) comes in, hoping to find her lost keys. Nick and Mae become very close – until Mae disappears, leaving Nick scrambling to understand what happened with her, with them. Unable to let go, he digs into her past and uncovers more than he bargained for.

I had not realized going into the film that it was a noir set in the future. If I had, I may have liked it a little better, but fact is, I usually don’t like noirs and Reminiscence reminded me again why that is.

The film poster showing Nick (Hugh Jackman) standing with a gun in his hand, pointed at the floor. Behind him is a half-submerged street with boats and the other main characters are superimposed over the setting orange sun.
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The Green Knight (2021)

The Green Knight
Director: David Lowery
Writer: David Lowery
Based on: the legend of Gawain
Cast: Dev Patel, Alicia Vikander, Sarita Choudhury, Sean Harris, Kate Dickie, Ralph Ineson, Erin Kellyman, Joel Edgerton
Seen on: 26.8.2021

Content Note: mention of rape

Plot:
Gawain (Dev Patel) likes to drink and sleep with Essel (Alicia Vikander), a sex worker in the local brothel. He does not like to take things seriously or to take on responsibility. His uncle the King (Sean Harris) and his Queen (Kate Dickie) see something more in him though, and his mother (Sarita Choudhury) also has plans for him. But on Christmas, Gawain’s reckless fashion leads him to accept a game from the Green Knight (Ralph Ineson) in probably the worst way – with long-reaching consequences.

The Green Knight is an intense film with absolutely stunning images that did get a little exhausting for me at times. But I’d still recommend it, especially on the big screen.

The poster showing Gawain (Dev Patel) wearing a golden crown, a dark look on his face.
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A Classic Horror Story (2021)

A Classic Horror Story
Director: Roberto De Feo, Paolo Strippoli
Writer: Lucio Besana, Roberto De Feo, Paolo Strippoli, Milo Tissone, David Bellini
Cast: Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz, Francesco Russo, Peppino Mazzotta, Will Merrick, Yuliia Sobol, Alida Baldari Calabria, Cristina Donadio
Seen on: 22.8.2021

Plot:
Elisa (Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz) is trying to make her way to her family in the south of Italy. To get there, she has found a rideshare – a camper van driven by Fabricio (Francesco Russo), a travel blogger. Along with them are grumpy doctor Riccardo (Peppino Mazzotta) and young couple Sofia (Yuliia Sobol) and Mark (Will Merrick). They set off, but soon things take a very bad turn. They find themselves stranded in front of a hunting cabin – and the hunters soon follow.

A Classic Horror Story thinks that it is much smarter than it actually is, and adopts such a sanctimonious tone, I quickly grew to dislike it – despite some really strong elements.

The film poster showing a woman standing in a doorway. She is in shadow, and some kind of horns are growing from her head. The landscape behind her is drenched in red light.

[SPOILERS]

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Free Guy (2021)

Free Guy
Director: Shawn Levy
Writer: Matt Lieberman, Zak Penn
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Jodie Comer, Lil Rel Howery, Joe Keery, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Taika Waititi
Seen on: 16.8.2021

Plot:
Guy (Ryan Reynolds) is a bank teller and his best friend Buddy (Lil Rel Howery) is a security guard in the bank. Everyday they go into work and everyday the bank gets robbed. More than once, mostly. Guy is a cheery person, though, but he does wonder whether life holds more for him than bank robberies. He dreams of the girl he saw once, though Buddy doesn’t believe she exists. Until Guy really does see her, decides to break his routine and talk to her – Millie (Jodie Comer), as he learns. What he doesn’t know, though, is that his world is actually a game and Millie is a player, while Guy is an NPC, a non-player character, who shouldn’t be able to make the decisions he makes. Also, Millie is playing for a particular reason.

Free Guy looked fun, but I didn’t expect it to be as much fun as it was. It’s a film that I think will satisfy gamers, as well as people like me who only have a rudimentary knowledge of the kind of computer games that it plays with. I’d say it’s a full success.

The film poster showing Guy (Ryan Reynolds) from behind, standing on a rooftop overlooking a city skyline full of plans, rockets, hot air balloons, parachutes and an explosion. He has a goldfish bowl with a goldfish in one hand and a disposable coffee cup in the other.
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Fear Street: 1666 (2021)

Fear Street: 1666
Director: Leigh Janiak
Writer: Phil Graziadei, Leigh Janiak, Kate Trefry
Based on: R.L. Stine‘s series
Sequel to: Fear Street: 1994, Fear Street: 1978
Cast: Kiana Madeira, Olivia Scott Welch, Benjamin Flores Jr., Julia Rehwald, Fred Hechinger, Ashley Zukerman, Darrell Britt-Gibson, Jordyn DiNatale, Elizabeth Scopel, Gillian Jacobs, Emily Rudd, Sadie Sink, McCabe Slye, Ryan Simpkins, Ted Sutherland, Sam Brooks, Jordana Spiro
Seen on: 12.8.2021

Plot:
Deena (Kiana Madeira) has a vision of how everything started with Sarah Fier (Elizabeth Scopel) in 1666, seeing events through her eyes to learn how Sarah’s curse started, and how Deena can hopefully finally end it. It appears that Sarah used to be a normal teenager, trying her best to take care of her brother Henry (Benjamin Flores Jr.) and her father (Randy Havens), and even the unfortunate widower Solomon Goode (Ashley Zukerman). But after a visit to The Widow (Jordana Spiro) everything changes.

Fear Street: 1666 was a really nice finale to a very satisfying trilogy – one that doesn’t only deliver emotionally, but also gives us some surprises that completely paid off for me.

The film poster showing Hannah/Sam (Olivia Scott Welch) tinted in green above a tree, a hooded figure carrying a torch and Solomon Goode (Ashley Zukerman).
Read more with slight SPOILERS

The Suicide Squad (2021)

The Suicide Squad
Director: James Gunn
Writer: James Gunn
Based on: various comic characters
Sequel to: Suicide Squad
Cast: Idris Elba, Margot Robbie, John Cena, Joel Kinnaman, Daniela Melchior, David Dastmalchian, Sylvester Stallone, Viola Davis, Peter Capaldi, Michael Rooker, Nathan Fillion, Jai Courtney, Flula Borg, Mayling Ng, Pete Davidson, Sean Gunn, Storm Reid, Alice Braga, Taika Waititi, Pom Klementieff
Part of: DC movies
Seen on: 9.8.2021

Plot:
The Suicide Squad has some new recruits and a new mission on Corto Maltese. Instructed by Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), they are dropped off on the island that recently saw a regime change. And so, Bloodsport (Idris Elba), Peacemaker (John Cena), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), RIck Flag (Joel Kinnaman), Ratcatcher 2 (Daniela Melchior), Polka-Dot Man (David Dastmalchian) and King Shark (Sylvester Stallone) find themselves on different paths to the island capital to gain control of a secret weapon in a stronghold in the city.

I was debating with myself whether I actually wanted to go see The Suicide Squad, given that Suicide Squad wasn’t good (to put it mildly), but ultimately my love for the cast won out. And I’m glad it did – The Suicide Squad is a whole lot of fun.

The film poster showing Bloodsport (Idris Elba), Peacemaker (John Cena), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), RIck Flag (Joel Kinnaman), Ratcatcher 2 (Daniela Melchior), Polka-Dot Man (David Dastmalchian) and King Shark (Sylvester Stallone) in a star-like formation, surrounded by explosions.
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Fear Street: 1978 (2021)

Fear Street: 1978
Director: Leigh Janiak
Writer: Zak Olkewicz, Leigh Janiak
Based on: R.L. Stine‘s series
Sequel to: Fear Street: 1994
Cast: Emily Rudd, Sadie Sink, McCabe Slye, Ryan Simpkins, Ted Sutherland, Sam Brooks, Kiana Madeira, Olivia Scott Welch, Benjamin Flores Jr., Gillian Jacobs, Jordana Spiro, Ashley Zukerman
Seen on: 8.8.2021

Plot:
After Deena (Kiana Madeira) and her friends tracked down the sole survivor of the massacre at Camp Nightwing, and the only person they know who escaped the witch, they ask her (Gillian Jacobs) what happened at the camp in 1978. Back then sisters Ziggy (Sadie Sink) and Cindy (Emily Rudd) couldn’t have been more different, but they were both at the camp and preparing for the annual Sunnyvale vs Shadyside capture the flag game. But then Cindy’s boyfriend Tommy (McCabe Slye) is attacked, apparently without reason, by the camp Nurse (Jordana Spiro). And that’s only the beginning of the bloodbath.

Fear Street: 1978 has the challenging job of making us care for characters and a story of which we already know the ending, but it does so very well, mixing likeable characters with backstory revelations that kept my interested and involvement in the story.

The film poster showing an axe, a pitchfork and a knifedrenched in blood, all stuck in the floor.
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