Re-Watch: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Raiders of the Lost Ark
Director: Steven Spielberg
Writer: Lawrence KasdanGeorge Lucas, Philip Kaufman
Cast: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman, Ronald Lacey, John Rhys-Davies, Denholm Elliott, Alfred Molina, Wolf Kahler, Anthony Higgins, Vic Tablian
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 24.9.2016
[Review by cornholio.]

Plot:
Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) is a professor of archaeology, but one who likes to get his hands dirty every once in a while and go on proper adventures. When the US government approaches him to find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis can get their hands on it, it seems the perfect moment for another one of those adventures. To find it, Indy has to first his ex Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen) who inherited an important clue as to its location. But Indy isn’t the only one who knows about that.

Raiders of the Lost Ark is an entertainment classic for a reason: a joyful, spirited adventure story that comes with sexism and racism as is to be expected for a story of its time, though that doesn’t make it any more fortunate. Despite that, I managed to enjoy a lot of it.

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The Tempest (2010)

The Tempest
Director: Julie Taymor
Writer: Julie Taymor
Based on: William Shakespeare‘s play
Cast: Helen MirrenFelicity JonesDavid StrathairnAlan CummingChris CooperBen WhishawDjimon HounsouRussell BrandAlfred MolinaReeve CarneyTom Conti
Seen on: 16.3.2016

Plot:
Many years ago Prospera (Helen Mirren) was betrayed by her brother Antonio (Chris Cooper). He sent her and her daughter Miranda (Felicity Jones) off on a ship so that they may die, but they managed to survive and have been stranded on an island ever since. They are almost the only inhabitants of the island, apart from Caliban (Djimon Hounsou), the spiteful son of the former island ruler, and the sprite Ariel (Ben Whishaw) who both have been enslaved by Prospera’s magic. Their existence is severely disrupted though when a ship sinks just off the island – a ship carrying not only Alonso the King of Naples (David Strathairn), his brother Sebastian (Alan Cumming) and his son Ferdinand (Reeve Carney), but also Antonio. Prospera knows that her time has come at last.

The Tempest is a visually impressive film with a great cast, but it never quite takes off – there are simply too many things that don’t work.

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Love Is Strange (2014)

Love Is Strange
Director: Ira Sachs
Writer: Ira Sachs, Mauricio Zacharias
Cast: John Lithgow, Alfred Molina, Marisa Tomei, Darren E. Burrows, Charlie Tahan, Harriet Sansom Harris, Cheyenne Jackson, Manny Perez
Part of: identities Festival
Seen on: 15.6.2015

Plot:
Ben (John Lithgow) and George (Alfred Molina) have been together forever and now, finally, gay marriage has been made legal, so they go for it and celebrate. But their celebration is of short duration since George is fired from his teaching job because of the wedding and Ben’s income isn’t enough to keep the two of them in their apartment. Desperate times call for desperate measures, so Ben moves in with his nephew (Darren E. Burrows), his wife (Marisa Tomei) and their son (Charlie Tahan), while George finds refuge with their neighbors (Cheyenne Jackson, Manny Perez). But the situation is less than ideal for everybody involved.

Love Is Strange is a nice film with important social commentary, but some pacing issues and an ending at the wrong time.

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The Normal Heart (2014)

The Normal Heart
Director: Ryan Murphy
Writer: Larry Kramer
Based on: Larry Kramer‘s play
Cast: Mark Ruffalo, Taylor KitschJim ParsonsMatt Bomer, Julia Roberts, BD Wong, Joe Mantello, Stephen Spinella, Alfred Molina, Denis O’Hare, Corey Stoll
Part of: identities Festival
Seen on: 13.6.2015

Plot:
It’s the early 1980s and Ned (Mark Ruffalo) has had it with the sex-obsession of the gay community who celebrate their fight and their right to (physically) love whomever they want to love. By chance Ned finds out that a new illness is making the rounds among gay men, maybe a kind of cancer. Maybe even something that is sexually transmitted. Ned takes up the fight to raise awareness for it, though his calls for caution in the sex department fall on deaf ears. As the illness keeps spreading, confounding the few doctors who bother to look into an illness that mostly concerns gay men, Ned’s activism becomes more frantic, estranging him even from his co-fighters.

The Normal Heart was pretty much like I expected it to be: grand emotions and forceful pulling on heartstrings, excellent performances and a whole lot of message.

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Monsters University (2013)

Monsters University
Director: Dan Scanlon
Writer: Dan Scanlon, Robert L. Baird, Daniel Gerson
Prequel to: Monsters, Inc.
Cast: Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Helen Mirren, Peter Sohn, Joel Murray, Sean Hayes, Dave Foley, Charlie Day, Alfred Molina,
Tyler Labine, Nathan Fillion, Aubrey Plaza, Bonnie Hunt, John Krasinski, Bill Hader

Plot:
Ever since he was a little kid, Mike (Billy Crystal) dreamed of becoming a scarer. Even though he’s not particularly scary, he applied himself and got into Monsters University. But competition is fierce and there are just some scarers who seem more naturally suited to the task – like Sully (John Goodman). The two of them quickly become rivals, until circumstances force them to work together.

Monsters University was nice. It was not as good as the first one, but the sequels rarely are. And it had enough good things to keep you very entertained.

MonstersUniversity

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Rango (2011)

Rango is Gore Verbinski‘s newest film, starring the voices of Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin, Ned Beatty, Alfred Molina, Bill Nighy, Harry Dean Stanton, Timothy Olyphant and Ray Winstone.

Plot:
An unnamed pet chameleon (Johnny Depp) spends his time setting up plays for himself and whatever he can find in his terrarium. But then he gets thrown out of the car by accident and ends up in the middle of the desert. On his own. In the small town Dirt he first only hopes to find some water but then he realises that it’s a possibilty for him to become somebody – and Rango is born, hero extraordinaire. But something weird is happening with the water in Dirt – and Rango takes it upon himself to find out what that is.

Rango is astonishingly beautiful, funny and a very nice play on Western stereotypes. It also tries to tackle some larger themes (especially about identity) but with less success, at least for its adult audience. Still, put together it’s a wonderful film.

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The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (2010)

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is the newest movie by Jon Turteltaub, starring Nicolas Cage, Jay Baruchel, Alfred Molina and Monica Bellucci.

Plot:
Merlin had three apprentices: Balthazar (Nicolas Cage), Maxim (Alfred Molina) and Veronica (Monica Bellucci). But Maxim betrayed him and worked together with Merlin’s nemesis Morgana. By sacrificing herself, Veronica traps Morgana and herself in a nestling doll, Merlin dies, Maxim flees and Balthazar remains to clean up the mess. Which includes finding the Prime Merlinian, who will be Merlin’s successor – and the only one able to defeat Morgana for good.
Very many years later (meaning: today), Balthazar is in New York and stumbles upon David (Jay Baruchel) – a clumsy nerd living in his own dream world, who turns out to be the seeked after Prime Merlinian.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice sucks. But since everybody involved knows and accepts that the quality of the movie is less than optimal, they’re having a lot of fun with it. Which means that the audience has a lot of fun as well. It won’t win any awards, it won’t become my favourite movie, but it passes the time nicely.

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Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010)

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is the newest movie by Mike Newell, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton, Ben Kingsley and Alfred Molina.

Plot:
Persia is a huge and powerful kingdom, led by the King Sharaman (Ronald Pickup) and his brother Nizam (Ben Kingsley). One day, they find a little street boy who stands out by being courageous and, impressed, Sharaman adopts him. The boy, Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal), grows up with the princes and as their equal. And then he goes to war with his brothers, against the Holy City of Alamut, under the supervision of Nizam. But there’s something mysterious about the city and the Princess of Alamut, Tamina (Gemma Arterton), is closely connected to the mystery. Soon, Dastan finds his fate ever more entangled with Tamina’s.

Prince of Persia is pretty awesome. It’s predictable, but in a very comforting way, it is full of one-liners, it is definitely one of the better-acted movies of its kind and it’s damn entertaining. In short, it’s everything you need from a movie like it.

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An Education (2009)

An Education is the newest movie by Lone Scherfig, written by Nick Hornby and starring Carey Mulligan, Peter Sarsgaard, Olivia Williams, Alfred Molina, Cara Seymour, Dominic Cooper, Rosamund Pike and Emma Thompson.

Plot:
The 60s. Jenny (Cary Mulligan) is an ambitious student, trying her best to get accepted to Oxford, constantly pushed by her father (Alfred Molina). When one day Jenny meets the charming, but much older David (Peter Sarsgaard) the life she wants to achieve with an Oxford education seems to be at her fingertips. David takes her to concerts, to Paris and shows her the big world. But it soon turns out that David is not all he cracked up to be.

An Education is a wonderful movie – especially the cast is perfect. Unfortunately, the last fifteen, twenty minutes of it, turns it all a little sour. But only a little – it’s still very much worth to see this film.

[SPOILERS]

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