The Raven (2012)

The Raven
Director: James McTeigue
Writer: Hannah Shakespeare, Ben Livingston
Cast: John Cusack, Luke Evans, Alice Eve, Brendan Gleeson, Kevin McNally, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Jimmy Yuill, Sam Hazeldine
Seen on: 9.5.2022

Plot:
Edgar Allan Poe (John Cusack) is not what one would consider a successful writer. Barely making enough money, poverty exacerbated by a drinking problem, he has really nothing but a bit of infamy. He would like to marry Emily Hamilton (Alice Eve), and she him, but her father Captain Hamilton (Brendan Gleeson) disapproves. When a mother and daughter turn up murdered just like in one of of Poe’s stories, the suspicion of the police fall on him at first. Especially when another body turns up. But Poe can convince Detective Fields (Luke Evans) that he is not to blame. Instead, they team up to find the killer before he can use another of Poe’s stories.

Although the film is loosely inspired by some circumstances of Poe’s life, you should not make the mistake of thinking it is any way, shape, or form realistic. It’s the fever dream version of Poe’s last weeks of life. Unfortunately, it’s not a particularly interesting fever dream.

The film poster showing Edgar Allan Poe (John Cusack) walking fiercely, gun in hand. In the background behind him stretch a pair of red wings in which we can see a crying woman, a dead body and men looking fiercely.
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Paddington 2 (2017)

Paddington 2
Director: Paul King
Writer: Paul King, Simon Farnaby
Based on: Michael Bond‘s books
Sequel to: Paddington
Cast: Ben Whishaw, Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Madeleine Harris, Samuel Joslin, Julie WaltersHugh Grant, Peter Capaldi, Imelda Staunton, Michael Gambon, Jim Broadbent, Marie-France Alvarez, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Ben Miller, Jessica Hynes, Robbie Gee, Richard Ayoade, Brendan Gleeson, Joanna Lumley
Seen on: 9.12.2017
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Plot:
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?

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Trespass Against Us (2016)

Trespass Against Us
Director: Adam Smith
Writer: Alastair Siddons
Cast: Michael FassbenderBrendan GleesonLyndsey MarshalGeorgie SmithRory KinnearKillian ScottSean HarrisKingsley Ben-Adir
Seen on: 22.8.2017
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Plot:
Colby Cutler (Brendan Gleeson) rules his family with an iron fist, making sure that they’re all part of his criminal activities, but also provided for. But his son Chad (Michael Fassbender) has had enough of their life, of getting into trouble. He wants to make sure that his children are settled – literally it means leaving the collection of trailers that is their family’s home. But Colby won’t just let him go without a fight.

Throughout the film I was wondering whether the Cutlers are supposed to be Romani – because then it would have been one of the most racist films I’ve ever seen. It turns out that they’re actually Irish Travellers, meaning that the film isn’t racist, just stereotypical as fuck and pretty aggravating.

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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.

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