A Million Little Pieces (2018)

A Million Little Pieces
Director: Sam Taylor-Johnson
Writer: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Sam Taylor-Johnson
Based on: James Frey‘s memoir/novel
Cast: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Odessa Young, Charlie Hunnam, Juliette Lewis, Giovanni Ribisi, Billy Bob Thornton, David Dastmalchian, Dash Mihok, Ryan Hurst
Part of: Toronto International Film Festival
Seen on: 11.9.2018

Plot:
After falling from a balcony because he is so high, James (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) is finally admitted into a rehab center in Minnesota by his brother (Charlie Hunnam). As James slowly starts to work through is own issues and becoming clean, he gets to know his rehab colleagues, above all Lilly (Odessa Young) whom he feels very drawn to, his roommate (Giovanni Ribisi) and Leonard (Billy Bob Thornton) who becomes something like a guide for him.

A Million Little Pieces is a strong film that interestingly enough puts the body front and center, drawing on dance as a form of expression and is much more serious and less sensationalistic than I expected after the book’s history. I was much more impressed by it than I thought it would be.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson in the film.
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Nocturnal Animals (2016)

Nocturnal Animals
Director: Tom Ford
Writer: Tom Ford
Based on: Austin Wright‘s novel Tony and Susan
Cast: Amy AdamsJake GyllenhaalMichael ShannonAaron Taylor-JohnsonIsla FisherEllie BamberArmie HammerKarl GlusmanRobert AramayoLaura LinneyAndrea RiseboroughMichael Sheen
Seen on: 29.12.2016

Plot:
Art gallery owner Susan Morrow (Amy Adams) receives a package in the mail. It contains the draft of her ex-husband Edward Sheffield’s (Jake Gyllenhaal) new novel and the information that he is in town and would like to meet her. Susan hasn’t spoken to him in almost 20 years and she is surprised by the novel and the meeting, but she starts to read the novel that was apparently inspired by her. It tells the story of Tony Hastings (Jake Gyllenhaal) who goes on a roadtrip with his wife Laura (Isla Fisher) and daughter India (Ellie Bamber) – a roadtrip that turns violent when they get into trouble with another car and its passengers.

Nocturnal Animals is a highly polished film that tells a story that goes under the skin. It’s definitely not a film that lets go of you easily, even if not everything about it works without a hitch.

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Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Avengers: Age of Ultron
Director: Joss Whedon
Writer: Joss Whedon
Based on: the comics by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
Sequel to: The Avengers
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, Scarlett JohanssonJames SpaderAaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth OlsenPaul Bettany, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Stellan Skarsgard, Don Cheadle, Anthony Mackie, Hayley Atwell, Idris Elba, Linda Cardellini, Claudia Kim, Thomas Kretschmann, Andy Serkis, Julie Delpy, Stan Lee
Part of: Marvel movies
Seen on: 26.04.2015

Plot:
The Avengers – that is Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Bruce Banner/The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) – have become quite a team. In their most recent take-down of Hydra men, they managed to get back Loki’s scepter. Before Thor can take it back to his world, Tony and Bruce ask to analyze it and they discover a form of intelligence inside of the scepter. They decide to use it to try and create an AI as a defense program. They succeed and said program – Ultron (James Spader) – comes to life. Unfortunately he has his own vision of what a safe world looks like and the Avengers have to face Tony’s and Bruce’ creation.

I really loved the last Avengers movie, and this sequel has many of the same strengths. Unfortunately it also has a lot more problems than the first one, especially when it comes to plot and character development. Nevertheless I really enjoyed myself.

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Godzilla (2014)

Godzilla
Director: Gareth Edwards
Writer: Max Borenstein
Based on: Gojira
Cast: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe, Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen, Sally Hawkins, Juliette Binoche, David Strathairn, Ty Olsson

Plot:
Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) and his wife Sandra (Juliette Binoche) used to work at a nuclear power plant in Japan until an accident claimed Sandra’s life and left Joe convinced that there was something more to it. As he tries to figure out what it could have been, it’s his son Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) who suffers for it. Years later Ford is again called to Japan to help with his father who doesn’t care about the legality of his research that much. And it turns out that Joe was right all along and suddenly Ford finds himself in the middle of a fight against monsters.

Godzilla has beautiful special effects and a good cast but unfortunately also bland characters and a stereotypical story. It just couldn’t hold my interest.

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Kick-Ass 2 (2013)

Kick-Ass 2
Director: Jeff Wadlow
Writer: Jeff Wadlow
Based on: Mark Millar’s and John Romita Jr.’s comic
Sequel to: Kick-Ass
Cast: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloe Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Lyndsy Fonseca, Morris ChestnutClaudia Lee, Donald Faison, John Leguizamo, Jim Carrey, Iain Glen

Plot:
After the events in the last film, Hit-Girl aka Mindy (Chloe Moretz) now lives with her father’s best friend Marcus (Morris Chestnut) and pretends to be a normal high school girl. But instead, she’s fighting crime and training Dave aka Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). But Dave is dreaming of a superhero-team-up. And when Chris, formerly know as Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), decides to become the world’s first supervillain The Motherfucker, a team-up seems to become absolutely necessary.

I was really looking forward to this film. But I spent most of it in horror at the way they twisted the characters and the story and left the movie quite disappointed. It’s not that bad per se, but it rubbed me the wrong way in so many things.

kick-ass-2

[SPOILERS]

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Re-Watch: Kick-Ass (2010)

Kick-Ass
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Writer: Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn
Based on: the comic book by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.
Cast: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloe Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Mark Strong, Nicolas Cage, Lyndsy Fonseca
[Here is my first review.]

Plot:
Dave (Aaron Johnson) is a normal teenager who likes to read comic books and gets beat up a lot. But then one day he decides that, actually, nothing is keeping him from donning a superhero suit and changing the world for the better. This seems to work fine for about 30 seconds and then Dave is in over his head.

Damn, I had forgotten just how fricking awesome this film is. I still have a couple of issues but I left the film absolutely hyped. It’s fantastic.

kick-ass

[SPOILERS]

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Albert Nobbs (2011)

Albert Nobbs
Director: Rodrigo García
Writer: Glenn Close, John Banville, Gabriella Prekop
Based on: George Moore‘s short story
Cast: Glenn Close, Mia WasikowskaAaron Taylor-Johnson, Janet McTeer, Pauline Collins, Brendan Gleeson, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Mark Williams, Jonathan Rhys Meyers
Part of: The film will be shown on June 6th in Vienna as opening film of the identities Festival.

Plot:
Albert Nobbs (Glenn Close) has been working as a butler since about forever and in all this time nobody ever suspected the truth: that he is actually a woman. But then zie gets an impromptu roommate in Mr Paige (Janet McTeer) who turns out to be a woman as well. And not only that, she is even married! So Albert gets it in hir head that zie could get married, too. Especially since zie’s been in love with Helen (Mia Wasikowska) since about forever. So zie starts courting her, despite the fact that Helen is going out with Joe (Aaron Taylor-Johnson).

I liked Albert Nobbs a lot – right until the ending, which sucked. But it had amazing performances and interesting characters. So that’s at least something.

albert-nobbs

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Anna Karenina (2012)

Anna Karenina
Director: Joe Wright
Writer: Tom Stoppard
Based on: Leo Tolstoy‘s novel (which I wrote about very shortly here)
Cast: Keira Knightley, Aaron Johnson, Jude Law, Matthew Macfadyen, Kelly Macdonald, Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander, Ruth Wilson, Olivia Williams, Holliday Grainger, Emily Watson, Michelle Dockery, Steve Evets, Bill Skarsgard

Plot:
Anna (Keira Knightley) has been married to Alexei Karenin (Jude Law) for quite a while. It’s a marriage of convenience, but one that works quite well. Anna gives all her love to their son and seems content. That is, until she travels to Moscow to reconcile her brother Stiva (Matthew Macfadyen) with his wife Dolly (Kelly Macdonald) on whom he cheated. In Moscow, Anna meets Alexei Vronsky (Aaron Johnson), a young count who had been courting Dolly’s sister Kitty (Alicia Vikander), more or less seriously. Anna and Vronsky feel drawn to each other immediately – so much so that Anna basically flees back to St. Petersburg. But Vronsky follows her there, kicking off events that slowly spiral Anna’s life completely out of control.

The movie started and I immediately and irrevocably fell in love with it. And it didn’t disappoint me for one moment. It is a thing of beauty that I could watch over and over again.

Anna-Karenina

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Savages (2012)

Savages
Director: Oliver Stone
Writer: Shane Salerno, Don Winslow, Oliver Stone
Based on: Don Winslow’s novel
Cast: Aaron Johnson, Taylor Kitsch, Blake Lively, Salma Hayek, Benicio Del Toro, John Travolta, Emile Hirsch, Shea Whigham

Plot:
Chon (Taylor Kitsch) and Ben (Aaron Johnson) are best friends and successful drug dealers. They live with O (Blake Lively), the girlfriend of them both. They just received an off for a take-over/partnership from Elena (Salma Hayek), a drug baron from Mexico who is struggling a bit in her position of power. When Chon and Ben don’t plan on taking her up on the offer, Elena has her henchman Lado (Benicio Del Toro) kidnap O. And Ben and Chon will do anything to get her back.

Savages is one of the dumbest movies I have ever seen. And I really do mean ever, fully aware that I have seen Troll 2. It squanders a cast that is not that bad on a script written by people who should be forbidden from so much as looking at a pen or keyboard ever again in the future.

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Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging (2008)

Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging
Director: Gurinder Chadha
Writer: Gurinder Chadha, Paul Mayeda Berges, Will McRobb, Chris Viscardi
Based on: Louise Rennison‘s books “Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging” and “It’s Okay, I’m Wearing Really Big Knickers
Cast: Georgia Groome, Aaron Johnson, Eleanor Tomlinson, Georgia HenshawManjeeven Grewal, Karen Taylor, Alan Davies

Plot:
Georgia (Georgia Groome) and her friends Jas (Eleanor Tomlinson), Rosie (Georgia Henshaw) and Ellen (Manjeeven Grewal) are very normal teenagers. Not particularly popular, but they do have each other. When two new boys  – Robbie (Aaron Johnson) and Tom (Sean Bourke) move to their town from London, Georgia is immediately smitten and her entire life starts to revolve around the plans how she could end up with Robbie. But in her obsession Georgia may lose touch with the more important things in life, like friends and family.

Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging is a funny, sweet, light-hearted film that will appeal to teens everywhere, especially girls. I think I would have loved it when I was 13. Now that I’m a little older, I still liked it a lot.

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