Plot: After his father’s death, David’s mother Clara (Morfydd Clark) got married to Mr Murdstone (Darren Boyd) who doesn’t really want anything to do with David (Jairaj Varsani). So at the first chance Murdstone and his sister Jane Murdstone (Gwendoline Christie) send David off to London where he is forced to work in a bottle factory and lives with the always-hounded-by-creditors Mr Micawber (Peter Capaldi). David grows up there in harsh circumstances, but when he hears that his mother died and he wasn’t even notified to attend the funeral, he has had enough. Grown by now, David (Dev Patel) makes his way to his aunt Betsy Trotwood (Tilda Swinton), hoping to find more luck there. But it’s only the beginning of his journey.
The Personal History of David Copperfield has an almost anarchic sense of humor and a wonderful energy that made it absolutely entertaining and just a blast.
Plot: Alice (Emily Beecham) is a botanist working on creating the perfect plant – a plant especially designed to make everyone happy who smells it. It appears that her attempts have been met with success and Alice decides to take one of the plants home against company policy. She presents it to her son Joe (Kit Connor) as a gift and calls it Little Joe. But the longer Alice deals with the plant and sees the effect it has on Joe, the more worried she becomes.
Little Joe is stylistically interesting, but everything else is a drag that quickly turns boring. I really wanted to like the film much more than I did.
Plot: Many years ago, Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) stayed with the Banks family to take care of Michael and Jane. Now Michael (Ben Wishaw) is a father and widower himself and he and Jane (Emily Mortimer) try their best to provide everything Michael’s children (Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh, Joel Dawson) could need. But they are struggling, emotionially and financially. So Mary Poppins makes a return to the Banks’ home to help them once again.
Mary Poppins Returns is nice enough, but it didn’t really make me happy, given that it doesn’t really know if it is a remake or a sequel, makes some questionable choices, and generally it just doesn’t hold a candle to the old film.
Having settled with the Brown family and in the community, Paddington (Ben Whishaw) is happy. And his Aunt Lucy’s (Imelda Staunton) 100th birthday is coming up, so he is looking for the perfect present. He finds it in Samuel Gruber’s (Jim Broadbent) shop: a pop-up picture book of London. But he needs a job to earn money to get it – which is not so easy as a small bear. And then it seems that Paddington isn’t the only one interested in the book at all as it gets stolen, and he gets in trouble for it.
As with Coco, I heard a lot of good things about Paddington 2 beforehand, and again I thought that the resulting film was even better than I expected from what I heard before. It’s a wonderful film that had me floating on a pink cotton candy cloud out of the cinema. What more could you ask of a film?
Alan’s (Tom Hanks) life has fallen apart quite quickly. He and his wife separated, there’s a weird growth on his back, and his position in his company is being called into question. To at least keep his job, Alan has to go to Saudi Arabia to convince the king to invest in the company’s holographic conference software. When he gets there, though, the king is nowhere to be seen and Alan is completely overwhelmed by the way business is being done. But with the help of driver Yousef (Alexander Black) he starts to find his way, literally and figuratively.
A Hologram for the King feels completely inconsequential. It’s nice enough that I could have liked it, it’s problematic enough that I could have gotten angry about it, but instead it simply didn’t seem to affect me at all.
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.
David (Colin Farrell) was recently divorced. As a single person, he has to check into the Hotel and find a new suitable partner in 45 days. If he doesn’t, he will be turned into an animal – like his brother was turned into a dog – and if nobody is there to take him in, he will be set loose in the woods surrounding the Hotel. So David tries to find somebody who is like him, but that’s easier said than done.
My history with Lanthimos’ movies has been mixed so far but The Lobster might be his best film yet. It’s certainly his most accessible film, although it is still very, very weird and not easy to get into, and my personal favorite.
Maud (Carey Mulligan) has spent more or less her entire life working as a washer woman in a factory. Quite to the contrary to her co-worker Violet (Anne-Marie Duff), Maud is trying to keep her head down. Violet, on the other hand, is a passionate suffragette, fighting for women’s rights. But the longer Maud hears about this fight, the more she finds herself drawn to it, slowly stumbling into the movement until she herself has to make some hard choices about her life.
The reactions to Suffragette I encountered so far were lukewarm at best – and I’m the next person with that reaction to add to the list. It’s not really a bad film, but it isn’t very good, either.
Einar (Eddie Redmayne) and Gerda (Alicia Vikander) are both painters and a happily married couple. While Einar may be more successful than Gerda, at least for now, that doesn’t keep her from continuing to work. When her dancer friend Ulla (Amber Heard) is late for modelling, Gerda asks Einar for help. He feels silly at first, but as he gets in the role, something happens. Einar creates Lili and slowly Lili fights her way to life inside of him.
The way I just described the plot already shows that The Danish Girl is a deeply problematic film – because that is actually an accurate description of how it portrays being trans*. It boils down to a film that is completely misguided and misinformed about what transgender actually is and tears everything apart that stands in the way of that distorted vision, even the basis in reality that it supposedly has.
Herman Melville (Ben Whishaw) finds the last survivor of the Whaleship Essex, Thomas Nickerson (Brendan Gleeson) and interviews him about what happened out there. Nickerson tells him how Owen Chase (Chris Hemsworth), who was promised a capitaincy by the whaling company, gets sidelined in favor of George Pollard (Benjamin Walker), an inexperienced young captain who brings the right pedigree to the table. Chase is pressured into being Pollard’s first mate and despite strong tension between the two men, they set out to go whale hunting. But pretty much everything that can go wrong on the whaling trip, does.
When I saw the first trailer for In the Heart of the Sea, I thought that it was actually a prequel movie for Moby Dick. Turns out, that’s not true: instead it’s the fictionalized story of the real life ship wreck that to some extent inspired Melville to write Moby Dick. And while I don’t care much for Moby Dick itself, so I have the suspicion that I wouldn’t have liked a prequel story better. At least if it was a boring reiteration of a story we’ve seen a million times alread like this film turned out to be.