Black Panther (2018)

Black Panther
Director: Ryan Coogler
Writer: Ryan Coogler, Joe Robert Cole
Based on: Stan Lee and Jack Kirby‘s comic character
Part of: Marvel movies
Cast: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Sterling K. Brown, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Martin Freeman, Andy Serkis, Florence Kasumba, John Kani, Isaach De Bankolé, Stan Lee
Seen on: 16.2.2018
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Plot:
After the death of his father, T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) has to return to Wakanda to claim the throne. Returning means reuniting with his friends and family. But the transition of power is a delicate time. And there is more than one threat to Wakanda and T’Challa’s rule.

I didn’t hear a single bad word about Black Panther before I saw it, so my expectations were pretty high. And I’m happy to say that they were absolutely more than fulfilled. Black Panther is a visually, narratively and politically strong film that’s also simply entertaining.

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (aka Episode VIII)
Director: Rian Johnson
Writer: Rian Johnson
Sequel to: Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back, Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi, Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens
Cast: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Harrison Ford, Adam Driver, Carrie Fisher, Mark HamillOscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, Benicio Del Toro, Frank Oz, Justin Theroux, Noah Segan, Michaela CoelWarwick Davis, Joseph Gordon-LevittJoe Cornish, Edgar Wright
Seen on: 18.12.2017
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Plot:
The Resistance are still doing their best to fight against the First Order, but they are taking serious hits. Poe (Oscar Isaac) is frustrated with the slow progress of the Resistance. Meanwhile Rey (Daisy Ridley) has gone to Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) to get Jedi training. And Finn (John Boyega) wakes from his coma on the Resistance ship and teams up with Rose (Kelly Mary Tran) to make sure the Resistance stays safe.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi was good entertainment but it didn’t capture me emotionally as much as it should have and thus didn’t manage to convert me from being mildly interested in the Star Wars films to want to dig deeper. But then I didn’t expect it to.

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War for the Planet of the Apes (2017)

War for the Planet of the Apes
Director: Matt Reeves
Writer: Mark Bomback, Matt Reeves
Based on: Pierre Boulle‘s novel
Sequel to: Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Cast: Andy SerkisWoody HarrelsonSteve ZahnKarin KonovalAmiah MillerTerry NotaryTy OlssonMichael AdamthwaiteToby KebbellGabriel ChavarriaJudy Greer
Seen on: 16.8.2017
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Plot:
Caesar (Andy Serkis) just wants to live in peace with his group of apes and his family. But the humans are still hunting them. Especially the army troop led by the Colonel (Woody Harrelson) are not prepared to let any of the apes live, no matter how secluded. After a particularly gruesome attack that strikes at the very heart of Caesar and his apes, Caesar snaps: no longer will he try to resolve things peacefully. Instead he will get his revenge.

War for the Planet of the Apes was okay, despite some serious issues. But it’s nothing that will stay in my mind for very long – or at all.

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (aka Episode VII)
Director: J.J. Abrams
Writer: Lawrence Kasdan, J.J. Abrams, Michael Arndt
Sequel to: Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back, Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi
Cast: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Harrison Ford, Adam Driver, Carrie Fisher, Mark HamillOscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Max von Sydow, Peter Mayhew, Gwendoline Christie, Simon Pegg, Greg Grunberg, Warwick Davis, Iko Uwais, Judah Friedlander, Daniel Craig, Alec Guinness, Ewan McGregor, Frank Oz
Seen on: 21.12.2015

Plot:
It was 30 years ago that Darth Vader was defeated and the Empire fell. And it’s about as long that Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) has disappeared from the Galaxy. The Resistance is still looking for him. Pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) is hot on the trail of a missing map piece for that search when he comes under attack. He hands the map to his droid BB-8 and sends it on its way. Rey (Daisy Ridley) works as a scavenger on that very same planet and she stumbles first on BB-8 and then on a stormtrooper (John Boyega) who deserted. Before they have a chance to think, they are on the run – and run straight into Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew). Together they decide to try to find Luke.

I’ll come right out and say it: I’m not a Star Wars fan. I watched Episodes 4 through 6 when I was a kid and thought they were okay, watched Episode 1 when it came out and thought it was so stupid, I never even watched 2 and 3. When 7 came out, I hesitated for a while to watch it, but ultimately I figured why not? I have watched films for less reason than the cast of this one alone. And I have to say, I don’t regret watching it. In many ways it has the IQ of a potato, but it is seriously entertaining and very nice to watch.

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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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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Director: Matt Reeves
Writer: Mark BombackRick Jaffa, Amanda Silver
Based on: Pierre Boulle‘s novel
Sequel to: Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Cast: Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Keri Russell, Gary Oldman, Toby Kebbell, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Kirk Acevedo, Nick Thurston, Judy Greer

Plot:
In the ten years since the events of the last film, the world has changed a lot. Most of the humans have been eradicated by the Simian Flu, the few survivors struggling to get by. In the meantime the apes have thrived in the Redwood Forest around San Francisco where Caesar (Andy Serkis) built an entire community and refuge for the apes. But now humans have not only returned to San Francisco but also the woods, looking for an old dam and with it, electricity. But can humans and apes ever coexist?

I rather enjoyed the last film, despite some of the more stupid things in it. But this one here was too stupid: it lost me pretty quickly and after it lost me once, there was no going back.

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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Director: Peter Jackson
Writer: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Guillermo del Toro
Based on: J. R. R. Tolkien’s novel, and other books of his
Prequel to: The Lord of the Rings
Cast: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Ken Stott, Graham McTavish, William Kircher, James Nesbitt, Stephen Hunter, Dean O’Gorman, Aidan Turner, John Callen, Peter Hambleton, Jed Brophy, Mark Hadlow, Adam Brown, Ian Holm, Elijah Wood, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, Andy Serkis, Sylvester McCoy, Barry Humphries, Lee Pace, Manu Bennett, Bret McKenzie, Benedict Cumberbatch

Plot:
Many, many years ago, there were dwarves living in Erebor, amassing huge riches until they were attacked by the dragon Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch). They lost their mountains, their gold and were scattered in many directions. Now Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) last descendant of Erebor’s king, is ready to get it all back. So he put together a group of loyal dwarves, but asks the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) to find a 14th member for their party. Gandalf recruits the hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman). Bilbo is reluctant – as a hobbit, he generally doesn’t think much of adventures or leaving home at all – but he is finally convinces and so all of them set off for a great adventure. An adventure that proves more dangerous and connected to more things than initially assumed.

For practically anybody of about my age (and of a nerdy/geeky persuasion), the Lord of the Rings films were more than just movies – they were events that opened me and my friends up to many things, but especially to the intricacies of internet fandom and all that entails. It seems clear that 10 years later the Hobbit can’t quite reach that status anymore. But An Unexpected Journey is a film that I enjoyed for the most part.

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The Adventures of Tintin (2011)

The Adventures of Tintin
Director: Steven Spielberg
Writer: Stephen Moffat, Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish
Based on: Hergé‘s comics
Cast: Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Cary Elwes, Toby Jones, Daniel Mays

Plot:
One day Tintin (Jamie Bell), a young reporter, stumbles upon the model of The Unicorn, a ship that was lost at sea (and with it, the treasure it was carrying). Tintin just thinks it’s nice but when several people immediately try to buy it off him (for outrageous prizes), he is intrigued and starts to investigate. But Mr Sakharine (Daniel Craig) one of the prospective buyers, doesn’t give up easily and even resorts to kidnapping. And so Tintin is whisked away on an adventure, together with the eternally grumpy Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis).

Tintin is a gorgeous looking movie* with a good voice cast. Unfortunately, it is also a Tintin movie.

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Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

Rise of the Planet of the Apes is the prequel to Planet of the Apes. It was directed by Rupert Wyatt, written by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver and stars James Franco, Andy Serkis, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow, Brian Cox, Tom Felton, David Oyelowo, Tyler Labine, David Hewlett and Ty Olsson.

Plot:
Will (James Franco) is trying to develop a new drug that is supposed to combat Alzheimer’s. They are testing them on apes already and seeing good results. But right when they’re trying to take this a step further, something goes terribly wrong and Bright Eyes – they’re most successful ape – attacks her caretaker Robert (Tyler Labine). So the experiment is shelved. But Bright Eyes only freaked out because she had a baby – Caesar (Andy Serkis). Will takes Caesar in and soon discovers that he shows extraordinary mental faculties. And since Will’s father Charles (John Lightgow) suffers from Alzheimer himself, Will decides that he will continue the testing quite illegally.

I expected Rise of the Planet of the Apes to suck very hard. But I was pleasantly surprised by it – the performances are excellent, the script didn’t suck most of the time and the CGI was pretty good. Apart from a few moments where they just lost me, I really enjoyed myself.

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Brighton Rock (2010)

Brighton Rock is Rowan Joffe‘s adaptation of Grahame Greene‘s novel, starring Sam Riley, Andrea Riseborough, Helen Mirren, John Hurt and Andy Serkis.

Plot:
In Brighton’s 1960s underworld, two gangs clash together. In one of them, the young Pinkie (Sam Riley) quickly rises to power through a mixture of ruthlessness and psychopathy. When the waitress Rose (Andrea Riseborough) becomes a witness to one of his crimes, Pinkie decides that wooing her would be the best way to go. But there’s also Ida (Helen Mirren), the owner of the café  Rose works at, who sees the danger for Rose and relentlessly tries to save her from Pinkie.

This movie has a lot of potential which it mostly just squanders. There are some beautiful shots, especially of Brighton itself, but I just wanted to hit most of the characters most of the time (and some all of the time). At least there’s Helen Mirren..

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