Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Director: Destin Daniel Cretton
Writer: Dave Callaham, Destin Daniel Cretton, Andrew Lanham
Based on: Steve Englehart and Jim Starlin‘s character
Cast: Simu Liu, Tony Chiu-Wai Leung, Awkwafina, Meng’er Zhang, Fala Chen, Michelle Yeoh, Wah Yuen, Florian Munteanu, Andy Le, Benedict Wong, Ben Kingsley, Mark Ruffalo, Brie Larson
Part of: Marvel movies
Seen on: 6.9.2021

Plot:
Shaun (Simu Liu) tried to built a life for himself, away from his father Wenwu (Tony Chiu-Wai Leung) and Wenwu’s private army, the Ten Rings – including actual ten rings that give Wenwu awesome powers. And for the last decade, Shaun has been pretty successful in his endeavor. Not even his best friend Katy (Awkwafina) suspects that there is more to him than a party-loving valet. Until a group of fighters led by Razor Fist (Florian Munteanu) attack Shaun and he has to finally confront his past, his family, and his future. Not without Katy, though.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is a thoroughly enjoyable film with a good mix of fighting, emotions and humor. I had a very good time with it.

The film poster showing Shaun (Simu Liu), his father Wenwu (Tony Chiu-Wai Leung) looming large behind him, wearing the ten rings. The two can be seen fighting as smaller figures in the front. Other important characters are arranged around them.
Continue reading

Raya and the Last Dragon (2021)

Raya and the Last Dragon
Director: Don Hall, Carlos López Estrada
Writer: Qui Nguyen, Adele Lim
Cast: Kelly Marie Tran, Awkwafina, Gemma Chan, Izaac Wang, Daniel Dae Kim, Benedict Wong, Sandra Oh, Lucille Soong, Alan Tudyk, Dichen Lachman, Sung Kang
Seen on: 2.6.2021

Plot:
There used to be one country called Kumandra. But after a terrible plague, the Druun, that turned everybody it touched to stone, and that could only be stopped with the dragons – who all turned to stone themselves – the country split into five realms: Fang, Tail, Talon, Heart and Spine. The last of the dragon powers in form of a stone is in Heart, guarded by King Benja (Daniel Dae Kim) and his daughter Raya (Kelly Marie Tran). Benja would like to bring the five realms together again, but his plans don’t come to fruition. Instead, the magic stone is broken and the Druun return. There is only one hope for Raya now: finding Sisu (Awkwafina), the last dragon who supposedly was just lost and not turned to stone.

Raya and the Last Dragon is a beautifully animated, emotionally touching film. It is pretty much what you hope for when you go to watch a Disney princess film – an absolutely satisfying experience.

The film poster showing Raya standing in the middle, with Sisu above her. The rest of the image is separated in five parts, four representing one of the film countries and the fifth showing Raya and Namaari charging each other.
Continue reading

The Personal History of David Copperfield (2019)

The Personal History of David Copperfield
Director: Armando Iannucci
Writer: Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci
Based on: Charles Dickensnovel
Cast: Dev Patel, Tilda Swinton, Hugh Laurie, Peter Capaldi, Rosalind Eleazar, Morfydd Clark, Ben Whishaw, Benedict Wong, Daisy May Cooper, Gwendoline Christie, Darren Boyd, Aneurin Barnard, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Fisayo Akinade, Matthew Cottle, Jairaj Varsani
Seen on: 9.10.2020

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.

The film poster showing a colorful collage of the characters of the film, with David Copperfield (Dev Patel) taking center stage, between red curtains.
Continue reading

Gemini Man (2019)

Gemini Man
Director: Ang Lee
Writer: David Benioff, Billy Ray, Darren Lemke
Cast: Will Smith, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen, Benedict Wong, Douglas Hodge, Ralph Brown, Linda Emond, Ilia Volok, E.J. Bonilla
Seen on: 16.10.2019

Plot:
Henry (Will Smith) can look back on a very successful career as a hitman and has decided to call it a day. But his plans to simply retire are crossed when he receives the information that his last kill, and who knows how many, may not have been quite as purely motivated as Henry thought. As Henry starts to question his jobs, he quickly becomes a target himself. And who better to hunt a seasoned assassin than a younger, cloned version of him?

Gemini Man is not an awesome film, it’s a little too clichéd and predictable. But I have definitely seen much worse.

The film poster showing Henry (Will Smith) with an automatic weapon, behind him a fancy building and his own de-aged face in close-up-
Continue reading

Avengers: Endgame (2019)

Avengers: Endgame
Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Writer: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Based on: the comics by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
Sequel to: The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Avengers: Infinity War
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chadwick Boseman, Brie Larson, Tom Holland, Karen Gillan, Zoe Saldana, Evangeline Lilly, Tessa Thompson, Rene Russo, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian StanTom Hiddleston, Danai Gurira, Benedict Wong, Pom Klementieff, Dave Bautista, Letitia Wright, John Slattery, Tilda Swinton, Vin Diesel, Jon Favreau, Hayley Atwell, Natalie Portman, Marisa Tomei, Taika Waititi, Angela Bassett, Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer, William Hurt, Cobie Smulders, Sean Gunn, Winston Duke, Linda Cardellini, Frank Grillo, Hiroyuki Sanada, James D’Arcy, Jacob Batalon, Bradley Cooper, Gwyneth Paltrow, Robert Redford, Josh Brolin, Chris Pratt, Samuel L. Jackson, Yvette Nicole Brown, Ken Jeong, Ty Simpkins, Stan Lee
Part of: Marvel movies
Seen on: 1.5.2019
1-gif-review

Content Note: fat hate

Plot:
It’s been a while since Thanos (Josh Brolin) changed the entire universe. People are coping, but how well varies from person to person. Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), for one, didn’t realize at all what was happening, having spent years trapped in the quantum realm. But now he has finally been able to return to find the world very much changed. He seeks out the remaining Avengers, believing that the quantum realm may just be the very thing to help them undo what Thanos caused.

Avengers: Endgame basically had no choice but be epic (the sheer number of people and characters alone!) and it certainly delivered that. It does feel like a worthy end to the series, even if not everything about it works or is as good as it should be.

The film poster showing the main characters in a montage.
Continue reading

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Avengers: Infinity War
Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Writer: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Based on: the comics by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
Sequel to: The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Elizabeth OlsenPaul Bettany, Don Cheadle, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan, Tom Hiddleston, Sebastian Stan, Danai Gurira, Peter Dinklage, Benedict Wong, Pom Klementieff, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Gwyneth Paltrow, Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, Chris Pratt, Sean Gunn, William Hurt, Letitia Wright, Carrie Coon, Winston Duke, Florence Kasumba, Anthony Mackie, Idris Elba, Samuel L. Jackson, Stan Lee
Part of: Marvel movies
Seen on: 2.5.2018

Plot:
Thanos (Josh Brolin) has reached the final stages of his plan: he will collect all of the Infinity Stones and with their power reshape the universe after his own ideas. The hunt for the stones makes him cross paths with the Avengers on Earth, as well as the Guardians and the Asgardian refugees in space, leading to them coming together in a desperate effort to stop him and his plans.

Avengers: Infinity War is the culmination of more than a decade of films. That alone makes it a momentous, if not to say monumental film. And it’s not bad per se, but it does feel like a step down from the recent absolute highlights that were Black Panther and Thor: Ragnarok.

Continue reading

Annihilation (2018)

Annihiliation
Director: Alex Garland
Writer: Alex Garland
Based on: Jeff VanderMeer’s novel
Cast: Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tuva Novotny, Tessa Thompson, Benedict Wong, Oscar Isaac
Seen on: 7.4.2018

Plot:
Biologist Lena (Natalie Portman) joins a mission into Area X, an area where nature shows strange behavior that nobody is able to explain, after her husband (Oscar Isaac) went missing there. The expedition, led by Dr Ventress (Jennifer Jason Leigh), is supposed to find out more. Anything they can, really. The five women – Lena, Dr Ventress, Josie (Tessa Thompson), Anya (Gina Rodriguez) and Cass (Tuva Novotny) – set off and are soon faced with phenomena that are even stranger than anticipated.

I was very excited about Annihilation, having recently read the books and loved them and having mostly enjoyed Garland’s previous films. But I have to admit that Annihilation was a bit of a let-down for me. It might have been different if I hadn’t read the books, but I’m not sure.

Continue reading

Re-Watch: Sunshine (2007)

Sunshine
Director: Danny Boyle
Writer: Alex Garland
Cast: Cillian MurphyMichelle YeohTroy GarityRose ByrneHiroyuki SanadaBenedict WongChris EvansCliff CurtisMark Strong
Seen on: 27.11.2016

Plot:
2057. The sun is dying and the only solution humanity has found is to send a team of astronauts there to reignite it with a fission bomb or else find all of life on earth doomed. The first mission, Icarus-I, to do just that has already failed, now a new team, Icarus-II, is on its way. When they pick up the distress signal of the Icarus-I, they decide to pick up the bomb that the ship has aboard, as a failsafe for their own mission. But that bomb may come at a higher price than they expected.

When I watched Sunshine for the first time, I remember not being particularly taken with it. But it was one of those films where I started getting doubts about my own judgement and that made me curious to check it out again almost 10 years later. And in this case, it definitely paid off, although I still didn’t fall head over heels for it, I did appreciate it much more than the last time.

[SPOILERS]

Continue reading

Doctor Strange (2016)

Doctor Strange
Director: Scott Derrickson
Writer: Jon Spaihts, Scott Derrickson, C. Robert Cargill
Based on: the comic character created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko
Cast: Benedict CumberbatchChiwetel EjioforRachel McAdamsBenedict WongMads MikkelsenTilda SwintonMichael StuhlbargBenjamin BrattScott Adkins, Stan Lee
Part of: Marvel movies
Seen on: 8.11.2016

Plot:
Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a great neurosurgeon, and he knows it. But after a car accident that leaves him severely injured, Strange loses control of his hands – a skill absolutely necessary for his delicate job. He tries everything he can to get back to his former abilities. He is so desperate that when he hears of Jonathan Pangborn’s (Benjamin Bratt) apparently miraculous recovery, he asks him for the secret to it. Pangborn tells him of an temple in Nepal where they know about magic. Strange makes his way there, hoping to regain what he lost – and more.

If you manage to disregard the blatant racism in the film and its casting (and I can understand if you can’t manage this), Doctor Strange is an entertaining film that offers a lot of fun.

Continue reading

The Martian (2015)

The Martian
Director: Ridley Scott
Writer: Drew Goddard
Based on: Andy Weir’s novel
Cast: Matt Damon, Jessica ChastainMichael PeñaKate MaraSebastian StanAksel HennieChiwetel Ejiofor, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Sean Bean, Benedict Wong, Mackenzie Davis, Donald Glover
Seen on: 12.10.2015

Plot:
Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is one of five astronauts who come to Mars on a rather routine mission. But then things start going wrong and they have to leave – only that Mark gets injured and to his colleagues he looks like he’s dead. With a heavy heart, they decide to leave without him. But Mark survives miraculously. Now he’s alone. On Mars. With very limited supplies. And a broken communication system. And he only has himself to make his supplies last long enough so that he may be rescued.

Since I really loved the novel the film is based on and the previews I saw for the movie looked great, my expectations for the Martian were pretty high. So when I say that the movie totally fulfilled my expectations, you know that this is high praise indeed.

themartian Continue reading