By the Sea (2015)

By the Sea
Director: Angelina Jolie
Writer: Angelina Jolie
Cast: Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Mélanie Laurent, Melvil Poupaud, Niels Arestrup, Richard Bohringer
Seen on: 16.12.2015

Plot:
Roland (Brad Pitt) and Vanessa (Angelina Jolie) get away from home to spend some time in France. There Roland is supposed to write his new book and Vanessa, who is in a frail state, is supposed to have time and peace to recover. But things don’t really work out as planned. Roland is out drinking at the local bar all the time and Vanessa develops an obsession with the newlyweds (Mélanie Laurent, Melvil Poupaud) in the room next door.

By the Sea has its lengths, but other than that I really enjoyed it. The performances were great, it looked gorgeous and the story and characters were intriguing.

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Unbroken (2014)

Unbroken
Director: Angelina Jolie
Writer: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, Richard LaGravenese, William Nicholson
Based on: Laura Hillenbrand‘s book
Cast: Jack O’Connell, Domhnall Gleeson, Garrett Hedlund, Miyavi, Finn Wittrock, Jai Courtney, Luke Treadaway, Ross Anderson, Alex Russell
Seen on: 19.01.2015

Plot:
Louis Zamperini (Jack O’Connell) was a troublemaker as a kid until his brother Pete (Alex Russell) had the idea to channel his energy into running. And it pays of – Louie is sent to the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. A few years later, thought, he finds himself fighting against Germany and Japan in World War II. When his plane is shot down over the sea, somewhere close to Japan, and only Louie, Phil (Domhnall Gleeson) and Mac (Finn Wittrock) survive the crash, things don’t look too well. And it only becomes worse, when they are captured by Japanese soldiers and end up prisoners of war. But Louie doesn’t give up easily.

Unbroken is okay as a film. It’s a little formulaic and a little too on the nose, but it’s solid filmmaking that just doesn’t quite reach the emotional heights it’s aiming for.

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Maleficent (2014)

Maleficent
Director: Robert Stromberg
Writer: Linda Woolverton
Based on: Disney’s Sleeping Beauty / the fairy tale
Cast: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley, Lesley Manville, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, Sam Riley

Plot:
When Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) was a young fairy, she met a human boy and they became friends – until Stefan (Sharlto Copley) betrayed her in the worst possible way. Bent on revenge, Maleficent curses Stefan’s baby girl Aurora (Elle Fanning). For Aurora’s protection, three fairies (Lesley Manville, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple) remove her from her parents’ castle and raise her. But Maleficent herself is never far from Aurora.

I was really looking forward to Maleficent and my expectations were rather high going in. And they were actually surpassed. I absolutely loved Maleficent.

maleficent[SPOILERS, also for Frozen]

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Beyond Borders (2003)

Beyond Borders
Director: Martin Campbell
Writer: Caspian Tredwell-Owen
Cast: Angelina Jolie, Clive Owen, Teri Polo, Linus Roache, Noah Emmerich

Plot:
Sarah (Angelina Jolie) who recently married Henry (Linus Roache), led a generally very sheltered life among the upper class. But that world is pretty much shattered when Nick (Clive Owen) turns up at a charity event. Nick works as a doctor in a refugee camp in Ethiopia from where he dragged a starving boy to London. Nick rants against the charity which just stopped funding his refugee camp and impresses Sarah a lot, as much with his demeanor as with his speech. Inspired, she decides to help herself and organizes a giant care package that she accompanies to Ethiopia herself.

Beyond Borders is kitsch as kitsch can. Seriously, this is pure cheese. It’s basically a Nicholas Sparks novel in front of a humanitarian background. And as such, it is strangely entertaining.

beyond_borders

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Pushing Tin (1999)

Pushing Tin
Director: Mike Newell
Writer: Glen Charles, Les Charles
Based on: Darcy Frey‘s article “Something’s Got To Give”
Cast: John Cusack, Billy Bob Thornton, Cate Blanchett, Angelina Jolie, Jake Weber, Kurt Fuller, Vicki Lewis, Matt Ross

Plot:
Nick (John Cusack) is an air traffic controller – a job with a lot of responsibility and pressure. But he’s extremely good at it, he loves it and he’s happy with his wife Connie (Cate Blanchett). That is, until Russell (Billy Bob Thornton) shows up. Russell is aloof, cool and calls Nick’s entire standing into question. Threatened by everything about Russell, Nick gets into a giant pissing contest with him.

Pushing Tin has very funny moments and a pretty good cast, but boy does that testosterone-fueled competition between Nick and Russell get exhausting. A little more focus on the women would have made the movie so much better.

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In the Land of Blood and Honey (2011)

In the Land of Blood and Honey
Director: Angelina Jolie
Writer: Angelina Jolie
Cast: Zana Marjanovic, Goran Kostic, Rade Serbedzija

Plot:
Bosnia, 1992: right before the war starts, Ajla (Zana Marjanovic) and Danijel (Goran Kostic) are on a date and they get along just fine. But then they suddenly find themselves on opposite sides of the war: as a Muslim, Ajla is abducted and interred, while Danijel becomes a rather high ranking Serb soldier who happens to oversee the camp where Ajla is imprisoned. He tries to protect her but in such a situation, the motives of everyone become a bit shady.

In the Land of Blood and Honey is obviously a movie with a message and a mission but it manages to not let that take over. There are moments where you get to feel Jolie’s inexperience when it comes to directing, but altogether it’s a decent debut film.

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Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)

Kung Fu Panda 2 is the first feature film by Jennifer Yuh, written by Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger and starring the voices of Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Dustin Hoffman, Gary Oldman, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, David Cross, Michelle Yeoh, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Victor Garber, Danny McBride and James Hong. [Here’s my review of the first one.]

Plot:
Po (Jack Black), head of the Furious Five – Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Mantis (Seth Rogen), Viper (Lucy Liu), Monkey (Jackie Chan), Crane (David Cross) – is pretty content with his life. That is, until the kingdom is threatened by the evil Lord Shen (Gary Oldman) who developed a new weapon that is able to defeat Kung Fu and with which he plans to take over. But a soothsayer (Michelle Yeoh) has predicted his defeat – and his fate and Po’s seem to be more closely tied together than both realise at first.

Kung Fu Panda 2 is a very sweet film and an excellent sequel.The cast is good, the story is nice, but it’s the animation that really stands out: it’s that fantastic.

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The Tourist (2010)

The Tourist is the newest movie by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, starring Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Paul Bettany, Timothy Dalton, Steven Berkoff and Rufus Sewell.

Plot:
Elise (Angelina Jolie) is spied upon constantly, mostly by Inspector Acheson (Paul Bettany) because she was the lover of the mysterious Alexander Pierce, who stole quite a lot of money. When said Alexander gets a message to her that she should bord a train and pick somebody who looks remotely like him and make them believe it’s himself, Elise picks Frank (Johnny Depp), a math teacher who is trying to mend his broken heart in Italy. Hijinks ensue.

The Tourist falls surprisingly flat. It has a good cast and wonderful sets and a few good jokes. But it never picks up pace or draws you in. Also, it has plot holes the size of Alaska.

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Salt (2010)

Salt is a movie by Phillip Noyce and stars Angelina Jolie, Liev Schreiber, Chiwetel Ejiofor and August Diehl.

Plot:
Evelyn Salt (Angelina Jolie) is a CIA-Agent, and a pretty good one. One day, they have a walk-in (Daniel Olbrychski); a guy claiming to know of Russian sleeper agents who will shortly kill the Russian president. Salt, and her partner Ted Winter (Liev Schreiber) dismiss him as a nutcase, until he tells them that the name of the agent was Evelyn Salt. While Winter and Secret Service Man Peabody (Chiwetel Ejiofor) try to figure this out, Salt tries frantically to reach her husband (August Diehl), who doesn’t respond. So she flees and tries to find him.

Salt was well-acted and well-shot but the plot was just waaaaaay too predictable to make it really entertaining. When you try so hard to surprise people with your plot twists, don’t make the hints billboard-announcements, ‘kay?

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Changeling (2008)

Changeling is another Clint Eastwood project, meaning he did everything except playing the lead. And the only reason he didn’t do that is because Angelina Jolie payed him a very big sum to be allowed to do it. Well… probably.

I’ve had some major issues with it. And not in a good way. [Hm… can you have issues with something in a good way?]

Plot:
Christine Collins (Angelina Jolie) is a single mom in the twenties. After coming home from work one day, she finds that her nine year old son is gone. Months of search follow, led by the Los Angeles Police, which is more corrupt than anything else. Finally, they give her the news that her son has been found. Unfortunately, the kid they want to reunite her with, is not her Walter. When Christine tells them, they try to convince her that she’s fooling herself. What follows is the fight between a mother looking for her son and the police trying to get good press for once.
It’s based on a true story.

changeling-poster-fullsize

[SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS]

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