The Secret Life of Pets (2016)

The Secret Life of Pets
Director: Yarrow CheneyChris Renaud
Writer: Cinco PaulKen Daurio
Cast: Louis C.K.Eric StonestreetKevin HartJenny SlateEllie KemperAlbert BrooksLake BellSteve Coogan
Seen on: 11.8.2016

Plot:
Max (Louis C.K.) has the best life a dog could possibly have. He loves his owner Katie (Ellie Kemper) and she loves him and takes care of him. But then one day, Katie brings home another dog, Duke (Eric Stonestreet). Duke is huge and new and he’s here to stay. Max can’t have that, especially since Duke uses his size to bully Max. Their feud takes a turn for the worse when they are both captured by animal control, and then freed by the bunny Snowball’s (Kevin Hart) Flushed Animals resistance group.

I liked much about The Secret Life of Pets, but I didn’t fall in love with it as much as I thought I might.

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Concussion (2015)

Concussion
Director: Peter Landesman
Writer: Peter Landesman
Based on: Jeanne Marie Laskas‘ article Game Brain
Cast: Will Smith, Alec Baldwin, Albert Brooks, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Morse, Arliss Howard, Mike O’Malley, Eddie Marsan, Hill Harper, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Stephen Moyer, Richard T. Jones, Paul Reiser, Luke Wilson
Seen on: 22.2.2016

Plot:
Dr. Bennett Omalu (Will Smith) is a pathologist, specialized in neuropathology. He works in Pittsburgh where he is known for being thorough but maybe also a little strange. One day, a former football player’s body – Mike Webster (David Morse) – comes to Omalu. As he conducts his autopsy, Omalu is more and more intrigued by the case: Webster went from fame and glory to absolute destitution, apparent psychosis and suicide in only a short amount of time. And Omalu suspects that brain damage is the reason for his behavior – damage that he got from playing football. But the NFL is not only not interested in hearing his concerns, they are trying to prevent him from finding out more about it.

Concussion tells an interesting story and it does tell it rather effectively. It is hampered by the fact though that it is a very recent story and that obviously they were trying very hard not to scratch too much at recent wounds.

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The Little Prince (2015)

The Little Prince
Director: Mark Osborne
Writer: Irena Brignull, Bob Persichetti
Based on: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry‘s novella
Cast: Mackenzie Foy, Jeff Bridges, Rachel McAdams, Paul Rudd, Marion Cotillard, James Franco, Benicio Del Toro, Ricky Gervais, Bud Cort, Paul Giamatti, Albert Brooks, Riley Osborne
Seen on: 28.12.2015

Plot:
The Little Girl (Mackenzie Foy) moves into a new neigborhood with her Mother (Rachel McAdams). Her Mother is a hard worker and she has big plans for the Girl, plans that need her to work  very hard to achieve them. The Girl is motivated. But there’s also her strange neighbor, the Aviator (Jeff Bridges). The Aviator tells her the story of The Little Prince (Riley Osborne) whom he met many years ago. Bit by bit, the Aviator and his stories become more important to the Girl than her Mother’s plans.

The Little Prince is not so much an adaptation of the original novella as an extension and an expansion of it (you could say that it’s fan fiction). It’s a beautifully crafted film that harnesses the original message and reinforces the capitalism critique in it. I loved it.

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A Most Violent Year (2014)

A Most Violent Year
Director: J.C. Chandor
Writer: J.C. Chandor
Cast: Oscar Isaac, Jessica Chastain, David Oyelowo, Albert BrooksElyes Gabel, Elizabeth Marvel, Alessandro Nivola
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 28.10.2015
[Review by cornholio.]

Plot:
Abel Morales (Oscar Isaac) is working hard to make the company he has taken over from his wife Anna’s (Jessica Chastain) family a thriving success. But as they can finally make an offer on a plot of land that would give them a significant advantage in the business, they hit a snag: the trucks carrying the oil they are selling keep getting robbed. When Abel tries semi-official channels to try and figure out who’s targeting him, he comes under scrutiny of D.A. Lawrence (David Oyelowo) himself. Now he has only a week to fulfill the stipulations of the deal on the land, keep his business afloat and himself out of jail.

A Most Violent Year is a strong film that is always engaging and has great cast. But it does have a few weaknesses as well.

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Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983)

Twilight Zone: The Movie (is an anthology movie based on various episodes of the Twilight Zone show)
Prologue
Director: John Landis
Writer: John Landis
Cast: Dan Aykroyd, Albert Brooks
Segment Time Out
Director: John Landis
Writer: John Landis
Cast: Vic Morrow, Doug McGrath, Charles Hallahan
Segment Kick the Can
Director: Steven Spielberg
Writer: George Clayton Johnson, Richard Matheson, Melissa Mathison
Cast: Scatman Crothers, Bill Quinn, Martin Garner, Selma Diamond, Helen Shaw, Murray Matheson, Peter Brocco, Priscilla Pointer
Segment It’s a Good Life
Director: Joe Dante
Writer: Jerome Bixby , Richard Matheson
Cast: Kathleen Quinlan, Jeremy Licht, Kevin McCarthy, Patricia Barry, William Schallert, Nancy Cartwright, Dick Miller
Segment Nightmare at 20,000 Feet
Director: George Miller
Writer: Richard Matheson
Based on: Richard Matheson‘s short story
Cast: John Lithgow, Abbe Lane, Donna Dixon, John Dennis Johnston, Larry Cedar, Dan Aykroyd
Part of: /slash Filmfestival

Plot:
In the Prologue we see a driver (Albert Brooks) who picks up a hitchhiker (Dan Aykroyd), but things don’t go exactly as planned.
In Time Out, racist and antisemit Bill Connor (Vic Morrow) gets shown the error of his ways through involuntary time travel.
In Kick the Can, the residents of a senior home get another chance to play when Mr. Bloom (Scatman Crothers) joins them.
In It’s a Good Life, little Anthony (Jeremy Licht) has the power to make his life just as he wants it to be – something that Helen (Kathleen Quinlan) gets to experience herself when she meets him.
In Nightmare at 20,000 Feet, John Valentine (John Lithgow) battles with his fear of flying during a flight. But this time his fear might not be entirely unfounded.

I have never really seen the show, but I did like the movie. It was a nice and entertaining anthology, even though it didn’t blow me all away.

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Drive (2011)

Drive
Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Writer: Hossein Amini
Based on: James Sallis‘ novel
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Oscar Isaac, Albert Brooks, Christina Hendricks, Ron Perlman
Part of: Viennale

Plot:
The Driver (Ryan Gosling) is actually a stunt man, but he also works as a getaway driver for robberies. He is always on the move. The only constant in his life is his employer/agent/friend Shannon (Bryan Cranston). Shannon tries to find funding to get him established as a race car driver. When the Driver gets involved into a heist for the sake of a friend, things start to go wrong very quickly.

The buzz for Drive is pretty impressive. What’s even more impressive is that it’s also absolutely true. It’s an incredibly intense, well acted and beautifully shot film.

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