Love the Coopers (2015)

Love the Coopers
Director: Jessie Nelson
Writer: Steven Rogers
Cast: Diane Keaton, John Goodman, Ed Helms, Alex Borstein, Timothée Chalamet, Maxwell Simkins, Blake Baumgartner, Amanda Seyfried, Alan Arkin, Marisa Tomei, Olivia Wilde, Jake Lacy, June Squibb, Anthony Mackie, Steve Martin
Seen on: 9.12.2015

Plot:
Christmas is just around the corner and Charlotte Cooper (Diane Keaton) is preparing for Christmas dinner with her family – her father Bucky (Alan Arkin), her sister Emma (Marisa Tomei), her husband Sam (John Goodman) and their children Eleanor (Olivia Wilde) and Hank (Ed Helms) including his currently-divorcing wife Angie (Alex Borstein) and their children Charlie (Timothée Chalamet), Bo (Maxwell Simkins) and Madison (Blake Baumgartner). But not all is well with the Coopers: Sam wants to separate from Charlotte but has promised one last Christmas without the family knowing. Emma gets caught shoplifting. Bucky’s closest relationship – with waitress Ruby (Amanda Seyfried) – is threatened when Ruby tells him she will leave town. Hank has lost his job in addition to the divorce and doesn’t want to let his family know. And Eleanor would rather spend the day at the airport than one minute longer than necessary with her family. There she meets soldier Joe (Jake Lacy) and hits it off with him.

Love the Coopers is exactly what you’d expect from an USAmerican Christmas family movie. It’s basically trivial, but rather nice to watch.

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Re-Watch: The Last Unicorn (1982)

The Last Unicorn
Director: Jules Bass, Arthur Rankin Jr.
Writer: Peter S. Beagle
Based on: Peter S. Beagle’s novel
Cast: Mia Farrow, Alan Arkin, Tammy Grimes, Jeff Bridges, Angela Lansbury, Christopher Lee, Rene Auberjonois, Robert Klein
Seen on: 20.7.2015
[Here’s my first review of the film.]

Plot:
The Unicorn (Mia Farrow) hears that she is supposed to be the last in the world, the rest of the unicorns having been chased by the Red Bull. At first, she doesn’t believe those news and she decides to go looking for the others. But as she scours the lands, she doesn’t find them. Instead she hears more stories about King Haggard (Christopher Lee) and his Red Bull. Joined by Schmendrick (Alan Arkin), a rather inept wizard, and Molly (Tammy Grimes), a former robber, they make their way to the castle to find out about the unicorns.

They brought The Last Unicorn on a cinematic tour to Vienna. Peter S. Beagle was supposed to accompany the film, but it appears he fell sick, unfortunately. But in his place, they showed interviews with him and some other people who were involved in the making of the film, which was also very interesting.

It was the first time I saw the film in English, not German, and the first time I saw it in the cinema, and the first time I saw it after reading the book and somehow all three things took a bit of getting used to.

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Re-Watch: The Last Unicorn (1982)

The Last Unicorn
Director: Jules Bass, Arthur Rankin Jr.
Writer: Peter S. Beagle
Based on: his novel
Cast: Alan Arkin, Jeff Bridges, Mia Farrow, Tammy Grimes, Robert Klein, Angela Lansbury, Christopher Lee

Plot:
The Unicorn (Mia Farrow) hears that she is supposed to be the last in the world, the rest of the unicorns having been chased by the Red Bull. At first, she doesn’t believe those news and she decides to go looking for the others. But as she scours the lands, she doesn’t find them. Instead she hears more stories about King Haggard (Christopher Lee) and his Red Bull. Joined by Schmendrick (Alan Arkin), a rather inept wizard, and Molly (Tammy Grimes), a former robber, they make their way to the castle to find out about the unicorns.

I am honestly not sure how many times I have seen this film. It’s older than I am and it has been with me through my entire childhood (we used to watch it at least once a year, usually around Christmas). I hadn’t seen it for a while now, so I was very glad when the film still carried the same magic for me as it did back then.

The-Last-Unicorn

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Argo (2012)

Argo
Director: Ben Affleck
Writer: Chris Terrio
Based on: Joshuah Bearman‘s article [pdf link]
Cast: Ben Affleck, Tate Donovan, Clea DuVall, Scoot McNairy, Rory Cochrane, Christopher Denham, Kerry Bishé, Kyle Chandler, Chris Messina, Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin, John Goodman, Victor Garber

Plot:
In 1979, Iranian revolutionaries stormed the USAmerican embassy in Teheran. In the middle of this confusion, 6 employees managed to flee to the Canadian embassy and hide there. The CIA hires exfiltration expert Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) to get them out of there. So Tony concocts a story about the shoot of a SciFi movie to provide a cover for the six of them, which includes the basic pre-production of the film.

Argo is a classic, straightforward and very well-made thriller that hits all the right notes in the right way, even if it doesn’t surprise. But it makes the perfect case for a tried and tested format executed well.

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The Muppets (2011)

The Muppets
Director: James Bobin
Writer: Jason Segel, Nicholas Stoller
Based on: Jim Henson‘s characters
Cast: Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Chris Cooper, Rashida Jones
Cameos by [put in camouflage so you can still be surprised by the people who show up, if you don’t know already. If you wanna be surprised, don’t read the tags, either]: Jack Black, Alan Arkin, Zach Galifianakis, Ken Jeong, Jim Parsons, Kristen Schaal, Sarah Silverman, Donald Glover, Emily Blunt, Leslie Feist, Whoopi Goldberg, Selena Gomez, Dave Grohl, Neil Patrick Harris, Judd Hirsch, John Krasinski, Rico Rodriguez, Mickey Rooney

Plot:
Walter and Gary (Jason Segel) are brothers, but Walter is pretty different from the rest of the world. It is only when he finds the Muppets that he feels he has somewhere he belongs. So he jumps at the chance, of course, to go to Los Angeles with Gary and his girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams) to visit the Muppet Studios. But the studio is decrepit and threatened by Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) who wants to drill for oil there. The only chance to save it all would be to get Kermit and the rest of the Muppets together to raise 10 million dollars. So Walter takes it on himself to make just that happen.

I never watched The Muppets when I was a kid and apart from their Christmas Carol and a few choice youtube videos, I never really had much contact with them. So I felt like I was missing some ingredient in the whole thing (nostalgia? character background?), but nevertheless, I enjoyed the film. I just think you would get more out of it if you were more of a Muppets fan.

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Sunshine Cleaning (2008)

Sunshine Cleaning is a movie by Christine Jeffs, starring Amy Adams, Emily Blunt and Alan Arkin.

Plot:
Rose (Amy Adams) is a single mum who works as a cleaning lady. When her lover Mac (Steve Zahn), a policeman, tells her about the money that’s in crime scene clean-ups, Rose convinces her sister Norah (Emily Blunt) that this would be the perfect opportunity to make some money. Leaving her son in the care of her father (Alan Arkin), who is a freelance salesman, Rose and Norah get to it – with the help of cleaning supplies shop owner Winston (Clifton Collins Jr.).

Sunshine Cleaning is a really sweet comedy with great characters (and with some dark bits) . It’s one of those movies that got no marketing to speak of and it really didn’t deserve it. If you happen to catch it (and you should try to) you get a wonderful story about two sisters finding their place in life.

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Marley & Me (2008)

Marley & Me is directed by David Frankel, starring Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston (and Kathleen Turner and Alan Arkin in mini-roles). It’s based on the book by John Grogan.

Plot:
John (Owen Wilson) and Jennifer (Jennifer Aniston) are both journalists and got recently married. They move to the big city to try their luck and soon, John gets a dog for Jennifer who turns their life around. The movie follows the lives of John and Jennifer along their story with Marley.

Marley & Me was very sweet, but never really mushy. Actually, I think it’s one of the most honest and realistic portrayals of a relationship on screen I have ever seen – there are no big conflicts, but there are fights. There are big emotions triggered by small things. Not everything’s perfect, but in the end, there’s loyalty. I like it.

marley-and-me-poster

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