A Cure for Wellness (2016)

A Cure for Wellness
Director: Gore Verbinski
Writer: Justin Haythe
Cast: Dane DeHaanJason IsaacsMia GothIvo NandiAdrian SchillerCelia ImrieHarry Groener, Tomas NorströmJohannes KrischSusanne Wuest
Seen on: 28.2.2017

Plot:
Lockhart (Dane DeHaan) works for a company in trouble. They need their CEO Pembroke (Harry Groener), but he has been unreachable in a retreat in the Swiss mountains for a long time, so they send Lockhart there to get him. Once Lockhart arrives there, he is involved in an accident even before he gets to see Pembroke. His broken leg traps him at the retreat and he realizes that something strange is going there. The director Volmer (Jason Isaacs) may be hiding something. And what’s the deal with Hannah (Mia Goth), the only young person there who has spent basically her entire life at the retreat?

A Cure for Wellness is a clusterfuck of epic proportions. It’s overly long, makes no sense and is incredibly sexist, racist and ableist to boot. It’s pretty but that’s all it has going for it.

[SPOILERS]

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Bridget Jones’s Baby (2016)

Bridget Jones’s Baby
Director: Sharon Maguire
Writer: Helen Fielding, Dan Mazer, Emma Thompson
Based on: Helen Fielding‘s novels
Sequel to: Bridget Jones’s Diary, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
Cast: Renée ZellwegerColin FirthPatrick Dempsey, Gemma Jones, Jim Broadbent, Sally Phillips, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Shirley HendersonJessica Hynes, Ed Sheeran, Emma Thompson, Celia Imrie
Seen on: 5.11.2016

Plot:
Bridget (Renée Zellweger) is in her early 40s now, still single, still childless and she’s just been to the funeral of her ex Daniel where she met her other Ex Mark (Colin Firth) who is married now. So it’s a good thing that she’s focusing on her career, even though things aren’t entirely problem-free there. So Bridget needs a break and she catches not one, but two in short succession: First she meets the handsome Jack (Patrick Dempsey) and sleeps with him and then Mark tells her that he’s actually getting divorced and the two reconnect. In bed. But things will never be easy for Bridget: it turns out that she’s pregnant and she really doesn’t know who the father is.

It’s been many years that I saw the first two movies, but I remember them very fondly. And Bridget Jones’s baby was a very worthy successor: superfunny and very sweet.

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Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie (2016)

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie
Director: Mandie Fletcher
Writer: Jennifer Saunders
Based on/sequel to: the series
Cast: Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley, Jane Horrocks, Julia Sawalha, Robert WebbCelia ImrieMark Gatiss, Chris ColferKate Moss, Graham NortonGwendoline ChristieSuki WaterhouseLily ColeAlexa ChungStella McCartneyJerry HallEmma BuntonJon HammKathy LetteJeremy PaxmanDawn FrenchRebel WilsonBarry HumphriesJoan Collins
Seen on: 8.9.2016

Plot:
Edina (Jennifer Saunders) and Patsy (Joanna Lumley) have been best friends since about forever, spending most of their time battling the idea that growing older also means growing up. Instead they party in the world of high fashion all of the time. But they’re also struggling with keeping up their standard of living, Edina dreaming of finding a big client she can represent, and Patsy of finding a rich husband. When they hear that Kate Moss (as herself) is looking for new representation, they do everything to get close to her. But it ends in catastrophe: Kate is knocked into the Thames and disappears, and Edina and Patsy have to flee the country.

I’ve never seen the TV show this is based on/a sequel to, but I decided to see the film anyway because it’s rare enough to get such a female-centric film (both in front of and behind the camera). But honestly, I’m a little unsure what to do with this film – and I probably wouldn’t have if I had been familiar with the show before.

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The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2015)

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Director: John Madden
Writer: Ol Parker
Sequel to: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Cast: Judi Dench, Celia Imrie, Bill Nighy, Ronald Pickup, Maggie Smith, Penelope WiltonDiana Hardcastle, Dev Patel, Tena DesaeLillete DubeyVikram Singh, David Strathairn, Tamsin Greig, Richard Gere
Seen on: 9.4.2015

Plot:
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is doing well with its permanent senior residents. So well, in fact, that Sonny (Dev Patel) and Muriel (Maggie Smith) decide that they want to expand. But for that to work, they need an investor. They travel to the USA to talk to Ty Burley (David Strathairn), CEO of a chain of retirement homes there. Burley announces that he will send somebody to check out the hotel and make his decision based on that. But that’s not the only thing going on in the hotel: Sonny is getting married to Sunaina (Tina Desai), his mother (Lillete Dubey) keeps butting in – or at least that’s what Sonny feels. Two new guests arrive (Richard Gere, Tamsin Greig) and the old ones (Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Celia Imrie, Ronald Pickup, Diana Hardcastle) all have their own issues to deal with.

Much like the first film, the Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was mostly fluff. It was funny, sweet and rather enjoyable, if you don’t expect too much of it and just want to see great actors in an entertaining film.

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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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The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011)

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Director: John Madden
Writer: Ol Parker
Based on: Deborah Moggach‘s novel These Foolish Things
Cast: Judi Dench, Celia Imrie, Bill Nighy, Ronald Pickup, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson, Penelope Wilton, Dev Patel, Tena Desae

Plot:
7 British retirees travel to India where they take up residence in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. A hotel they wrongly believe to be freshly restored. Instead they find a crumbling building run by the overwhelmed Sonny (Dev Patel). And generally India brings them nothing they expected. Evelyn (Judi Dench) ends up taking the first job of her life. Graham (Tom Wilkinson) is looking for someone from his past. Madge (Celia Imrie) and Norman (Ronald Pickup) are just looking for a connection. Muriel (Maggie Smith) just wants a new hip, even if she has to take it from a brown doctor. While Douglas (Bill Nighy) and Jean (Penelope Wilton) really just can’t afford anything else. But even though all of them might not get what they deserve, they might just get what they need.*

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is fluff. Fluff with a great cast and a nice atmosphere and a whole lot of cultural stereotypes. But it’s entertaining.

*Apologies, Batman.

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