The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
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
Sequel to: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
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 BrownOrlando BloomEvangeline Lilly, Cate Blanchett, Sylvester McCoy, Lee Pace, Manu Bennett, Benedict Cumberbatch, Luke Evans, Stephen Fry, Ryan Gage, Mikael Persbrandt, Hugo WeavingChristopher LeeBilly Connolly

Plot:
The dwarves and Bilbo (Martin Freeman) have roused Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Smaug is on his way to lay waste to Laketown. But Bard (Luke Evans) manages to save the town from that fate by killing Smaug. Now the Lonely Mountain can be claimed by Thorin (Richard Armitage), who immediately starts looking for one particular gem – the Arkenstone – and slowly succumbs to dragon sickness. In the meantime various armies start to gather outside the Lonely Mountain, all with a different claim on the treasure and/or the people within.

I thought that the last installment of the movie really was quite disappointing. I mean, neither of the three can live up to The Lord of the Rings anyway, but at least Desolation of Smaug was entertaining. Battle of the Five Armies was too much battle, too little coherence and way too much Alfrid.

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What We Did on Our Holiday (2014)

What We Did on Our Holiday
Director: Andy Hamilton, Guy Jenkin
Writer: Andy Hamilton, Guy Jenkin
Cast: Emilia JonesBobby Smalldridge, Harriet Turnbull, Rosamund Pike, David Tennant, Billy Connolly, Celia Imrie, Ben Miller

Plot:
Abi (Rosamund Pike) and Doug (David Tennant) are in the tricky part of their divorce where they can’t even stand to be in the same room together. Nevertheless they decide to pack up their three kids – Lottie (Emilia Jones), Mickey (Bobby Smallridge) and Jess (Harriet Turnbull) – and celebrate Doug’s father Gordy’s (Billy Connolly) birthday together like nothing happened. Which certainly isn’t easy for the kids, since they have to keep up the lies as well. But in the commotion surrounding Gordy’s birthday, nobody but Gordy himself seems to notice them anyway.

I expected What We Did on Our Holiday to be this classic RomCom, mostly about the parents and how they find back to each other. I was quite surprised when it turned out that it was actually about the kids and then it even took a turn into dark humor. And I liked the result a lot more than I would have liked the usual.

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Quartet (2012)

Quartet
Director: Dustin Hoffman
Writer: Ronald Harwood
Based on: Ronald Harwood’s play
Cast: Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Billy Connolly, Pauline Collins, Michael Gambon, Sheridan Smith, Andrew Sachs

Plot:
At a home for retired musicians, the inhabitants are preparing for their yearly concert with which they also wish to raise some funds to keep the home opened. But things get disrupted when Jean (Maggie Smith) arrives at the home. Not only does Jean still stick to her diva ways, though she refuses to sing, she used to be married to Reggie (Tom Courtenay) who also lives in the home. Things between Reggie and Jean are unresolved, to put it mildly. But with the help of their friends Cissy (Pauline Collins) and Wilf (Billy Connolly), plus a planned quartet performance by the four of them, they start to put the past to rest.

Quartet was okay, but it certainly wasn’t great. Though it’s actually short, it dragged on. Plus, it remained annoyingly shallow and I just took an immediate dislike to Billy Connolly’s character.

quartet

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Brave (2012)

Brave
Director: Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman, Steve Purcell
Writer: Brenda Chapman, Mark Andrews, Steve Purcell, Irene Mecchi
Cast: Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, Robbie Coltrane, Kevin McKidd, Craig Ferguson

Plot:
Merida (Kelly Macdonald) is King Fergus’ (Billy Connolly) daughter. But despiter her mother Elinor’s (Emma Thompson) best efforts, Merida is not really interested in being a princess. She much rather spends her time shooting her bow and riding through the woods. When the queen decides that it’s time for Merida to marry, Merida decides that she needs a way to change her fate – by changing her mother. When she stumbles on a witch’s cottage, she gets a chance to do so – with unforseeable consequences.

I loved Brave. It was funny, sweet, entertaining, touching and beautifully animated. An absolute success.

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