Split (2016)

Split
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Writer: M. Night Shyamalan
Cast: James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Betty Buckley, Haley Lu Richardson, Jessica Sula, Brad William Henke, and in a cameo: Bruce Willis
Seen on: 11.2.2017

Plot:
Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy), Claire (Haley Lu Richardson) and Marcia (Jessica Sula) are in highschool together. Casey is not exactly friends with Claira and Marcia, but one afternoon she catches a ride with Claire’s father. And it’s just on this afternoon that the three girls are abducted by a man (James McAvoy). Only that he doesn’t seem to be just one person – he can be very different indeed. And he is preparing for something. Something big. Something that is coming for them.

I hadn’t meant to watch Split with its treatment of mental illness of which I had heard only bad things beforehand. But when it became a social occasion to meet with a friends and celebrate a birthday, I ended up seeing it anyway. While competently made on a cinematic level, it turned out to be even worse than I thought regarding the mental health issue, so file this under “I watched it so you don’t have to.”

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Rock the Kasbah (2015)

Rock the Kasbah
Director: Barry Levinson
Writer: Mitch Glazer
Cast: Bill Murray, Bruce Willis, Kate Hudson, Zooey Deschanel, Leem Lubany, Arian Moayed, Scott Caan, Danny McBride, Fahim Fazli
Seen on: 5.4.2016

Plot:
Richie Lanz (Bill Murray) is a tour manager who has seen his heyday. Now he only has a handful of unknown acts, the most promising of which is probably Ronnie (Zooey Deschanel). When Richie hears about the tours for soldiers stationed in Afghanistan and what people get paid for those tours, he’s determined to get Ronnie there, despite whatever protests she might utter. She can be convinced but once they land in Kabul, she loses her nerve and takes off with the help of mercenary Bombay Brian (Bruce Willis). As luck will have it, though, Richie stumbles upon fresh new talent in the form of Salima (Leem Lubany). He is determined to get her to the TV show Afghan Star. Only problem is: Pashtun women are not allowed to sing and perform in Afghanistan.

Well. Rock the Kasbah is certainly a film. But it’s a film without direction or much thought or much to recommend it, really.

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Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014)

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
Director: Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez
Writer: Frank Miller
Based on: Frank Miller’s comics
Sequel/Prequel to: Sin City
Cast: Mickey Rourke, Josh BrolinEva Green, Jessica Alba, Rosario Dawson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Powers Boothe, Dennis Haysbert, Ray Liotta, Christopher MeloniJeremy PivenChristopher Lloyd, Juno TempleStacy KeachMarton Csokas, Jamie Chung, Julia GarnerJaime King, Lady Gaga, Bruce Willis

Plot [with SPOILERS for the first film]:
Basin City is called Sin City for a reason. A town full of crooked politicians, even more crooked cops, murderers, sex workers and pretty much everyone who was thrown out everywhere else. Marv (Mickey Rourke) spends most of his time when he isn’t fighting with somebody in a strip club where Nancy (Jessica Alba) dances. Nancy is still hung up on Hartigan’s (Bruce Willis) suicide to save her and tries to kill Senator Roark (Powers Boothe) who is to blame and regularly plays poker at her club. He always wins, of course, until Johnny (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) shows up. But the Senator can’t have people beating him. Dwight (Josh Brolin) is also at the strip club a lot. He is still obsessed with his ex Ava (Eva Green) who suddenly shows up in his life again and severely disrupting it in the process. Now he needs Marv’s help.

I couldn’t tell you what the difference was between the first film and the second since it looks equally great, has an equally good cast and tells equally problematic stories. But in Sin City everything works. In Sin City: A Dame to Kill For I spent very long stretches feeling very bored.

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Re-Watch: Sin City (2005)

Sin City
Director: Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez, (Quentin Tarantino)
Writer: Frank Miller
Based on: Frank Miller’s comics
Cast: Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis, Clive Owen, Jessica AlbaElijah Wood, Rosario Dawson, Benicio Del Toro, Powers Boothe, Michael Clarke DuncanRutger Hauer, Michael Madsen, Devon AokiJosh Hartnett, Alexis BledelJaime King, Carla Gugino, Brittany Murphy, Nick Offerman, Nick Stahl

Plot:
Basin City is called Sin City for a reason. A town full of crooked politicians, even more crooked cops, murderers, sex workers and pretty much everyone who was thrown out everywhere else. After the last good cop Hartigan (Bruce Willis) saved Nancy (Jessica Alba) from a pedophile and Senator’s son (Nick Stahl), he had to take the fall for it. But now he is out of prison and full of worry for Nancy’s continued safety. Nancy works as a stripper in a local club. At that same club, Shelly (Brittany Murphy) works as a waitress and she’s freshly in love with Dwight (Clive Owen). But her ex Jackie (Benicio Del Toro) is not done with her yet and Dwight suddenly finds himself in over his head in the part of town run by the sex workers. One of them (Jaime King) was just murdered – while Marv (Mickey Rourke) slept next to her no less. Now Marv is determined to find her killer and to exact vengeance.

I remember when I first saw Sin City – I was completely blown away by it (back then I was also a rather unaware baby-feminist, so I barely noticed the incredible sexism). Now I look at it with a more critical eye, but it’s still an awesome film.

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Re-Watch: The Expendables 2 (2012)

The Expendables 2
Director: Simon West
Writer: Richard Wenk, Sylvester Stallone
Sequel to: The Expendables
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Nan Yu, Liam Hemsworth, Jet Li, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Scott Adkins, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Chuck Norris, Charisma Carpenter
[Here’s my first review.]

Plot:
Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) and the rest of his crew (Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Jet Li and Liam Hemsworth) have just saved a Chinese businessman who was kidnapped, when Church (Bruce Willis) calls in a favor: they are supposed to retrieve something from a safe in a crashed plane in the Albanian mountains. To crack that safe, they need to take Maggie (Nan Yu) along (though Yin Yang [Jet Li] stays in China). What should be a very quick and not very eventful mission, goes south when Villain (Jean-Claude Van Damme) appears.

When I saw Expendables 2 for the first time, I finally watched the kind of film I wanted The Expendables (1) to be and it made me happy (I liked it so much I watched the first one again which I shouldn’t have). On second watch it isn’t quite as good anymore, but it is still above and beyond the first film.

The_Expendables_2

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Re-Watch: The Expendables (2010)

The Expendables
Director: Sylvester Stallone
Writer: Dave Callaham, Sylvester Stallone
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Mickey Rourke, Eric Roberts, Charisma Carpenter, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger
[Here’s my first review.]

Plot:
The Expendables are a group of mercenaries, most notably Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone), Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), Ying Yang (Jet Li) and Gunner Jensen (Dolph Lundgren). They mostly go around blowing up bad guys and getting tattoos from Tool (Mickey Rourke), who always throws some wisdom into the mix. When Barney gets the job to get rid of the General, a tyrant on a small Latin-American Island, he has to face is own humanity. And he has to blow a lot of shit up.

I knew that The Expendables wasn’t a good film. In the spirit of completism and masochism, puzzledpeaces and me decided to take the release of the third one as the perfect opportunity to make it a triple feature. So here we are and I can honestly say that it is even worse than I remembered.

the_expendables

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Red 2 (2013)

Red 2
Director: Dean Parisot
Writer: Jon Hoeber, Erich Hoeber
Based on: Warren Ellis‘ and Cully Hamner‘s comic
Sequel to: Red
Cast: Bruce Willis, Mary-Louise Parker, John Malkovich, Helen MirrenAnthony HopkinsByung-hun Lee, Brian Cox, Catherine Zeta-Jones, David Thewlis, Neal McDonough, Titus Welliver

Plot:
Frank (Bruce Willis) and Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker) are starting to settle down. But Frank’s past, Sarah’s sense for adventure and Marvin (John Malkovich) make it pretty impossible for them to really live in peace. And so they soon find themselves hunting down what remains of Project Nightshade, a super-secret Cold War weapons project.

Red 2 was fun. Maybe not as much as the first one, but it gets pretty damn close. Great characters, nice dialogues and awesome performances.

Red2

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Re-Watch: Red (2010)

Red
Director: Robert Schwentke
Writer: Jon Hoeber, Erich Hoeber
Based on: Warren Ellis‘ and Cully Hamner‘s comic
Cast: Bruce Willis, Mary-Louise Parker, John Malkovich, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Brian Cox, Karl Urban, Julian McMahon, Richard Dreyfuss, James Remar
[Here’s my first review.]

Plot:
Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) enjoys his retirement. Most notably, he enjoys his monthly calls to his represntative at his insurance company, Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker). Shortly before he gets the courage to actually see her, though, his CIA-operative past catches up with him: a kill squad comes to his house and levels it pretty much completely. Frank survives, the assassins don’t but now Frank has to get Sarah to safety and then call on the help of his old squad – Joe (Morgan Freeman), Marvin (John Malkovich), Victoria (Helen Mirren) and Ivan (Brian Cox). All the while he’s being hunted by CIA-agent William Cooper (Karl Urban).

Red still is one hell of an entertaining movie. I think I enjoyed it just as much as the first time round.

red

[SPOILERS]

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G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013)

G.I. Joe: Retaliation
Director: Jon M. Chu
Writer: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick
Sequel to: G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
Based on: the toys
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Adrienne Palicki, D.J. Cotrona, Byung-hun Lee, Ray Park, Jonathan Pryce, Ray Stevenson, Elodie Yung, Walton Goggins, RZA, Arnold Vosloo, Channing Tatum, Bruce Willis

Plot:
Since the last movie, Duke (Channing Tatum) has taken over the leadership of the G.I. Joes, with Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson) as his second in command. Both Cobra Commander and Destro have been imprisoned and there should be an end to them. But it isn’t so. While on a mission that all the Joes (save Snake Eyes [Ray Park]) are on, they are attacked and nobody but Roadblock, Lady Jaye (Adrienne Palicki) and Flint (D.J. Cotrona) survive. The Cobras have not only killed the Joes, but also completely destroyed their reputation. And now it is the job of the three survivors [plus Snake Eyes] to set things right again.

Since I’m one of the few people who enjoyed the hell out of the first G.I. Joe movie, I expected grand things from this one. And it fully delivered. It doesn’t make much sense or is smart at all, but it is so. much. fun.

GI_Joe _Retaliation

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A Good Day to Die Hard (2013)

A Good Day to Die Hard
Director: John Moore
Writer: Skip Woods
Sequel to: Die Hard, Die Hard 2, Die Hard: With a Vengeance, Live Free or Die Hard
Cast: Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, Sebastian Koch, Yuliya Snigir, Radivoje BukvicMary Elizabeth Winstead and about three delicious seconds of Aldis Hodge

Plot:
John McClane (Bruce Willis) hasn’t heard from his son Jack (Jai Courtney) in years, and he now finds out that Jack has been arrested for murder in Russia. So John flies to Moscow to help, if possible. But as he arrives at the courthouse, a bomb explodes and Jack makes a run for it, together with political prisoner Komarov (Sebastian Koch). Turns out that there is more to the story than a delinquent son and John finds himself in the middle of it.

Oh boy. I think the most positive thing I can say about this movie that it’s at least not as racist and misogynistic as Live Free or Die Hard. But everything else… No. Just no. There is really nothing redeeming about it.

a_good_day_to_die_hard

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