What’s Your Number? (2011)

What’s Your Number?
Director: Mark Mylod
Writer: Gabrielle AllanJennifer Crittenden
Based on: Karyn Bosnak‘s novel
Cast: Anna FarisChris EvansAri GraynorBlythe DannerEd Begley Jr.Joel McHaleChris PrattZachary QuintoMartin FreemanAndy Samberg, Anthony MackieAziz Ansari
Seen on: 4.9.2016

Plot:
Ally (Anna Faris) has been dating for a while but so far she wasn’t very lucky. But then two things happen that makes her tackle the issue more aggressively: she gets fired from her job and needs to re-orient herself and she reads an article that says that women who sleep with more than 20 men usually don’t get married. After a quick count, Ally realizes that she slept with 19 men so far – and so she decides to look up all her old boyfriends to re-date them and not add to the list. To track all of them down, Ally gets help from her neighbor Colin (Chris Evans) who in turn gets Ally’s help to get rid of the girls he brings home all the time.

What’s Your Number? does pretty much everything wrong that a RomCom could possibly do wrong (apart from getting Chris Evans naked a lot, that’s excellent), but at least Ally and Colin are surprisingly likeable. But when that’s the best thing you can say about a film, it’s probably clear that the film really doesn’t need to be seen.

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[Slight SPOILERS]

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Triple 9 (2016)

Triple 9
Director: John Hillcoat
Writer: Matt Cook
Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Casey Affleck, Anthony Mackie, Woody Harrelson, Aaron Paul, Kate Winslet, Gal Gadot, Norman Reedus, Teresa Palmer, Michael Kenneth Williams, Clifton Collins Jr.
Seen on: 21.5.2016

Plot:
Michael (Chiwetel Ejiofor) used to be in the special forces, but now he works as a private contractor. And currently he’s been contracted by Irina (Kate Winslet) who runs the Russian mob in Atlanta. Although Michael is not particularly happy with his assignment, she forces his hand to pull off an impossible heist. Together with his crew, a mix of dirty cops and professional criminals, they realize that the only chance they have to pull it off is if they kill a cop as a distraction for their heist. But things don’t go as planned.

Triple 9 was one of the quietest releases ever, especially considering cast and crew involved in the film. After having seen it, though, it seems pretty clear that they simply didn’t want to waste any more money on a movie that fails in almost everything.

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Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Captain America: Civil War
Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Writer: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Based on: the comic by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby
Sequel to: Captain America: The First Avenger, Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Cast: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr.Sebastian Stan, Scarlett JohanssonAnthony Mackie, Don CheadleJeremy Renner, Chadwick BosemanPaul BettanyElizabeth OlsenPaul RuddEmily VanCampTom HollandDaniel BrühlFrank GrilloMartin FreemanWilliam Hurt, Marisa TomeiJohn KaniJohn SlatteryHope DavisAlfre WoodardStan Lee
Part of: Marvel movies
Seen on: 1.5.2016

Plot:
After the recent events surrounding the Avengers, the UN feels it necessary to institute some kind of regulation for the action of superheroes. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) who feels guilty about all the damage, destruction and death that happened on his watch and due to his decisions, thinks that’s a very good idea, while Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) fears that they will cease to be an effective task force, bogged down by bureaucracy, if they have to wait for approval by somebody else. And who’s to say that that somebody will make the right decisions and work for the right things? This disagreement causes a schism in the Avengers – a schism that only gets broader when Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) is accused of planting a bomb in the UN meeting where the regulation is to be discussed and Steve wants to protect him at all cost.

I like the Marvel Cinematic Universe. So far, the films were always entertaining, even if varying in quality. With Avengers: Age of Ultron, [or with Guardians of the Galaxy although that isn’t that closely connected] they started to stumble, though and those smaller missteps are starting to get more notable the longer the series goes on. Civil War proves that: while it was far from awful and delivered on many counts, I felt more unsatisfied with it than with most of the earlier MCU films.

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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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Ant-Man (2015)

Ant-Man
Director: Peyton Reed
Writer: Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish, Adam McKay, Paul Rudd
Based on: Stan Lee, Larry Lieber and Jack Kirby‘s comics
Cast: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Bobby Cannavale, Anthony Mackie, Judy Greer, Abby Ryder Fortson, Michael Peña, David Dastmalchian, T.I., Hayley Atwell, Wood Harris, John Slattery, Martin Donovan
Part of: Marvel movies
Seen on: 5.8.2015

Plot:
Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is released from prison and determined to go straight, at least for the sake of his daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder-Fortson) who lives with her mother Maggie (Judy Greer) and her new boyfriend (Bobby Canavale). But getting a foot on the ground as an ex-con is difficult and when Scott’s former cell mate Luis (Michae Peña) promises a riskfree way of getting some starter money, Scott gives in. What he doesn’t know is that Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) set him up to do just that because he wants to make Scott the new Ant-Man, a miniaturized superhero, despite the protestation of his daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly) who wants to take on the role herself. In any case time is ticking because Hank’s protégé Darren (Corey Stoll) is working on his own shrinking technology and is becoming more and more unhinged.

With all I had heard about Ant-Man before seeing it, I didn’t expect much. It turned out that it was more entertaining than I anticipated, but also completely infuriating in its choice of main character.

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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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Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Writer: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Based on: the comic by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby
Sequel to: Captain America: The First Avenger
Cast: Chris Evans, Sebastian Stan, Scarlett Johansson, Robert RedfordAnthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Samuel L. Jackson, Hayley Atwell, Frank Grillo, Emily VanCamp, Toby Jones, Stan Lee, Pat Healy
Part of: Marvel movies

Plot:
Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) tries adjusting to life in his own future but that’s not easily done. Especially when the few things he thought he could count on come crashing down around him. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) is attacked and with him SHIELD, the mysterious and deadly Winter Soldier is after Steve and Steve finds himself almost entirely on his own. Only supported by Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) he tries to figure it all out.

Captain America was an extremely entertaining film and I did enjoy it a whole lot. They were certainly able to do better than with the first one, though it still isn’t a perfect film.

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The Fifth Estate (2013)

The Fifth Estate
Director: Bill Condon
Writer: Josh Singer
Based on: Daniel Domscheit-Berg‘s book and David Leigh and Luke Harding‘s book
Cast: Daniel Brühl, Benedict Cumberbatch, Peter Capaldi, David Thewlis, Dan Stevens, Alicia Vikander, Michael Culkin, Moritz Bleibtreu, Carice van Houten, Laura Linney, Anthony Mackie, Stanley Tucci, Alexander Siddig

Plot:
When Daniel (Daniel Brühl) meets Julian (Benedict Cumberbatch) he is more than excited: Daniel has been keeping track of Julian’s hacking work and the WikiLeaks site he instated: a perfectly anonymous option for whistleblowers. Daniel wants to work with Julian and Julian lets him in, reluctantly at first. But soon their project gets bigger than they ever expected.

The Fifth Estate was an entertaining movie with a few lenghts and a disturbing subtitle-phobia. The cast was absolutely awesome, though.

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Runner Runner (2013)

Runner Runner
Director: Brad Furman
Writer: Brian Koppelman, David Levien
Cast: Justin Timberlake, Ben Affleck, Gemma Arterton, Anthony Mackie, John Heard, Sam Palladio, David Costabile

Plot:
Richie (Justin Timberlake) used to be somebody on Wall Street but then his world came crashing down. Now he’s back at uni, struggling to finance his studies and supplementing his income with referring people to online poker games. When he himself loses in one of them, he is certain that he was scammed. So he decides to find Ivan Block (Ben Affleck), the owner of the gambling site, and let him know how people use his site to their advantage. Ivan is impressed and offers Richie a job. But things are not all what they cracked up to be.

Runner Runner was so boring that I actually fell asleep for the last five minutes or so, during the very showdown. I just didn’t care for anything that happened in this film.

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Pain & Gain (2013)

Pain & Gain
Director: Michael Bay
Writer: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Based on: Pete Collinsarticles
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub, Ed HarrisRob Corddry, Bar Paly, Rebel Wilson, Ken Jeong, Michael Rispoli

Plot:
Daniel (Mark Wahlberg) believes in two things: fitness and the American Dream. But his dream awaits fulfillment while he toils away in a fitness studio. When he gets a new client – Victor (Tony Shalhoub), superrich superdouche, Daniel teams up with his best friend Adrian (Anthony Mackie) and the recently released from prison Paul (Dwayne Johnson) to kidnap Victor and take everything he owns.

Pain & Gain was way more fun than I expected it to be. Not only were the performances by the main cast great, but the script was really entertaining and Bay hasn’t directed as well in a very, very, very long time.

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