Assassin’s Creed (2016)

Assassin’s Creed
Director: Justin Kurzel
Writer: Michael LesslieAdam CooperBill Collage
Based on: the video game franchise
Cast: Michael FassbenderMarion CotillardJeremy IronsBrendan GleesonCharlotte RamplingMichael Kenneth WilliamsDenis MénochetAriane LabedKhalid AbdallaEssie Davis
Seen on: 5.1.2017

Plot:
Callum Lynch (Michael Fassbender) was sentenced to die. But the Abstergo Company fake his death instead and bring him to Madrid. As Abstergo’s CEO Rikkin (Jeremy Irons) explains, Cal’s ancestor belonged to a brotherhood of assassins, and they need him to access his own genetic memories to find the Apple of Eden, an artifact that belongs to the Templars and that has been historically protected by the Assassin’s Creed. Cal is more than reluctant to participate until Rikkin’s daughter Sofia (Marion Cotillard) puts him into the Animus – a machine that makes it able to access his genetic memories.

Assassin’s Creed was impressively nonsensical and it was far from pretty enough to make up for the incredible stupidity. I saw it on January 5th and it was clearly one of my biggest mistakes of the year that I did not bring alcohol to the screening.

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Suffragette (2015)

Suffragette
Director: Sarah Gavron
Writer: Abi Morgan
Cast: Carey Mulligan, Anne-Marie DuffHelena Bonham Carter, Romola GaraiGrace Stottor, Ben Whishaw, Brendan Gleeson, Meryl Streep
Seen on: 09.02.2016

Plot:
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.

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Song of the Sea (2014)

Song of the Sea
Director: Tomm Moore
Writer: Will Collins
Cast: David Rawle, Lucy O’Connell, Brendan Gleeson, Lisa Hannigan, Fionnula Flanagan
Seen on: 6.1.2015

Plot:
Ben (David Rawle) and Saoirse (Lucy O’Connell) live with their father Conor (Brendan Gleeson) in a small lighthouse. Their mother Bronach (Lisa Hannigan) disappeared after Saoirse was born. When Saorise finds a pelt that belonged to their mother, she discovers that she’s actually a selkie. After spending a night in the sea with the seals, she washes up on shore where her grandmother (Fionnula Flanagan) finds her. Gran decides that the kids should come to the city to live with her. But there is a mission Saoirse as a selkie has to fulfill.

Moore’s first film The Secret of Kells completely enchanted me. Following that up is tough, but with Song of the Sea, he is more than up to the taks. It’s a sweet story that easily incorporates Irish mythology. Above all, it’s the beautiful imagery again that makes the film what it is.

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In the Heart of the Sea (2015)

In the Heart of the Sea
Director: Ron Howard
Writer: Charles Leavitt
Based on: Nathaniel Philbrick‘s book In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Benjamin Walker, Cillian Murphy, Brendan Gleeson, Ben Whishaw, Michelle Fairley, Tom Holland, Paul Anderson, Frank Dillane, Joseph MawleJordi Mollà
Seen on: 9.12.2015

Plot:
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.

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Re-Watch: Mission: Impossible II (2000)

Mission: Impossible II
Director: John Woo
Writer: Robert Towne
Based on: The TV Series
Sequel to: Mission: Impossible
Cast: Tom CruiseThandie Newton, Dougray Scott, Ving Rhames, Richard Roxburgh, John Polson, Brendan Gleeson, Rade Serbedzija, William Mapother, Dominic Purcell
Seen on: 3.8.2015

Plot:
Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is tasked with retrieving the stolen Chimera virus: a supervirus that kills within a short amount of time. To get it, he is supposed to recruit thief Nyah (Thandie Newton), but as it turns out not for her skill set but rather for the fact that she used to date Ethan’s former co-agent who is responsible for the theft of the virus, Sean Ambrose (Dougray Scott). Ethan is uncomfortable involving Nyah in all of this, especially since he finds himself falling for her.

Holy fuck, I had forgotten how absolutely atrociously bad Mission: Impossible II is. It’s abysmal. It’s frankly astounding that they ever got to make another film in the franchise because this film was certainly bad enough to irrevocably kill it.

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28 Days Later… (2002)

28 Days Later…
Director: Danny Boyle
Writer: Alex Garland
Cast: Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Noah Huntley, Brendan Gleeson, Megan Burns, Christopher Eccleston
Seen on: 01.03.2015

Plot:
After a group of animal rights activists tries to free monkeys that have been infected with a rage virus, all hell breaks loose. But Jim (Cillian Murphy) knows nothing of that – he wakes up in hospital 28 days later to find an apparently empty world. Looking for an explanation and narrowly avoiding the infected, he finds Selena (Naomie Harris) and Mark (Noah Huntley) who fill him in. Together they take up the fight for survival.

I have heard many good things about 28 Days Later… and so my expectations were very high. While the film is solid and good, it couldn’t quite match those expectations. But that doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy it.

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Calvary (2014)

Calvary
Director: John Michael McDonagh
Writer: John Michael McDonagh
Cast: Brendan GleesonChris O’DowdKelly ReillyAidan GillenDylan MoranIsaach De BankoléMarie-Josée CrozeM. Emmet WalshDomhnall GleesonOrla O’Rourke
Part of: Viennale
[Review by cornholio.]

Plot:
In the confession stand, Father James (Brendan Gleeson) hears from one of his parish that they were abused by another priest as a child and that they decided to kill Father James for it on Sunday. To kill an innocent to make more of a dent. So James has a week to put his things in order and try to figure out who confessed and see if he can’t convince him otherwise.

Calvary was hard to take, but in the best way. It was thoughtful, smart and opinionated; and had an absolutely stellar cast.

calvary

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The Grand Seduction (2013)

The Grand Seduction
Director: Don McKellar
Writer: Michael Dowse, Ken Scott
Remake of: La grande séduction
Cast: Taylor Kitsch, Brendan Gleeson, Liane Balaban, Gordon Pinsent

Plot:
Tickle Head is a small village in Newfoundland, in desperate need of jobs and money. They are promised a new factory – but it’s only possible if they have a resident doctor in the village. As fate would have it, there’s Dr. Lewis (Taylor Kitsch) who gets blackmailed into doing a month of work in Tickle Head. That is one month Murray (Brendan Gleeson) and with him the entire village plan on using to make Lewis fall in love with their village – and if that means that everybody learns how to play cricket, everybody learns how to play cricket.

The Grand Seduction was a charming little film that was utterly predictable and brought nothing really new to the table, but executed tried and tested tropes flawlessly. That makes it basically the perfect rainy Sunday afternoon movie.

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Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

Edge of Tomorrow
Director: Doug Liman
Writer: Christopher McQuarrieJez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth
Based on: Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s novel All You Need Is Kill
Cast: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Brendan Gleeson, Bill Paxton

Plot:
Humanity is at war with aliens and slowly losing. William Cage (Tom Cruise) is the face of the United Defense Force. But just the face – until he is sent into combat by General Brigham (Brendan Gleeson). Cage practically has to be dragged there and is promptly killed by an alien – only to awake again about 12 hours before his death. Together with the war heroine Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt) who has been through the same thing, he tries to put an end to the aliens.

Edge of Tomorrow is an exciting film with great special effects. It leaves no action movie cliché unfeatured, but it does so most charmingly. If you’re able to accept that this film will give you only tried and true tropes, storytellingwise, you’re in for a really good time.

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The Company You Keep (2012)

The Company You Keep
Director: Robert Redford
Writer: Lem Dobbs
Based on: Neil Gordon’s novel
Cast: Robert Redford, Shia LaBeouf, Julie Christie, Susan Sarandon, Nick Nolte, Chris Cooper, Terrence Howard, Stanley Tucci, Richard Jenkins, Anna Kendrick, Brendan Gleeson, Brit Marling, Sam Elliott

Plot:
30 years ago, The Weather Underground robbed a bank and shot a guard. Nobody was arrested. Now the FBI managed to arrest Sharon Solarz (Susan Sarandon). Her arrest has journalist Ben Shepard (Shia LaBeouf) digging into the story. He talks to lawyer Jim Grant (Robert Redford) who turns out to have been one of the Weathermen, Nick Sloan. Grant/Sloan goes on the run, but there seems to be more to the story than that.

The Weather Underground are certainly a topic that deserves discussion and cinematic treatment. Unfortunately this movie skirts the interesting bits and ends up being boring, unrealistic and self-congratulatory.

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