Hail, Caesar! (2016)

Hail, Caesar!
Director: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Writer: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Cast: Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich, Ralph Fiennes, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Veronica Osorio, Heather Goldenhersh, Alison Pill, Max Baker, Clancy Brown, David Krumholtz, Robert Picardo, Christopher Lambert, Fred Melamed, Jack Huston, Michael Gambon
Seen on: 21.2.2016

Plot:
Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) fixes problems for a big movie studio. And boy, are there ever problems: Baird Whitlock (George Clooney), the biggest star they currently have, is missing, possibly abducted. Star DeeAnna Moran (Scarlett Johansson) is pregnant und unmarried. Director Laurnce Laurentz (Ralph Fiennes) needs a new star for his film and the only guy available is Hobie Doyle (Alden Ehrenreich), talented stunt cowboy but acting is a whole other story. And the twin journalists Thora and Thessaly Thacker (Tilda Swinton and Tilda Swinton) are snooping around for a story, each in her own way and for her own column. And if all of that wasn’t enough, Eddie has an attractive job offer on the table he needs to decide on soon.

After the recent rather serious outings of the Coen brothers, Hail, Caesar! is a return to comedy, and a very successful one at that. The film is a romp through the studio cinema of the 50s, with the only drawback that they’re reproducing the white-maleness of those films as well. Other than that, though, it is simply fun.

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The Hateful Eight (2015)

The Hateful Eight
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Writer: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins, Demián Bichir, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Bruce DernJames Parks, Zoë Bell, Channing Tatum
Seen on: 2.2.2016
[I saw the roadshow version.]

Plot:
Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson) finds himself with a dead horse, a few frozen corpses he means to deliver to collect the bounty and in the cold in the middle of nowhere. It’s just his luck that John Ruth (Kurt Russell) comes along with his carriage, also transporting a body for the bounty, but a live one – Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh). Warren manages to hitch a ride with them to the next inn, Minnie’s Haberdashery where they are promptly snowed in. Trapped with a group of strangers in a snow storm, tensions start to rise.

The Hateful Eight was one of Tarantino’s weaker films. Definitely his weakest in a while. But a weak Tarantino is still a strong, well-made film. But it didn’t make me enthusiastic and I did have my issues with it.

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Magic Mike XXL (2015)

Magic Mike XXL
Director: Gregory Jacobs
Writer: Reid Carolin
Sequel to: Magic Mike
Cast: Channing Tatum, Joe Manganiello, Kevin NashMatt Bomer, Gabriel Iglesias, Adam Rodriguez, Amber Heard, Jada Pinkett SmithDonald GloverStephen Boss, Andie MacDowell, Elizabeth Banks
Seen on: 8.8.2015

Plot:
Mike (Channing Tatum) is hard at work, trying to get his construction business off the ground. But so far, it hasn’t quite paid off. When he is visited by his former stripper colleagues Richie (Joe Manganiello), Tarzan (Keven Nash), Ken (Matt Bomer) and Tito (Adam Rodriguez), he first declines their invitation to come to Stripper Con to make one big, last splash in the business. But he finally does give in and they are on their way. But one difficulty after the other hits their road trip and since they are all out of money, fortunately most of their problems can be solved by dancing.

Every once in a while, Magic Mike XXL has moments where it is exactly the film I wanted it to be. Unfortunately, for the most part it consists of dreary dialogue scenes and has some of the worst pacing I’ve ever seen in a film.

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Jupiter Ascending (2015)

Jupiter Ascending
Director: Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski
Writer: Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski
Cast: Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum, Sean Bean, Eddie Redmayne, Douglas Booth, Tuppence Middleton, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Christina Cole, Maria Doyle Kennedy, David Ajala, Doona Bae, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, James D’Arcy, Terry Gilliam
Seen on: 10.02.2015

Plot:
Jupiter (Mila Kunis) and her mother (Maria Doyle Kennedy) work as cleaners for rich people. Russian immigrants themselves, they can only dream of the riches they are cleaning. But there is something about Jupiter that catches the attention of some very powerful people who are not from earth. Former soldier and wolf/human hybrid Caine (Channing Tatum) is only one of a few people trying to get Jupiter. But he makes it his mission to protect Jupiter, whatever may come. And so Jupiter finds herself whisked from earth and crowned space royalty – and that’s only the beginning of the adventure.

I went into Jupiter Ascending armed with vodka and about 50 extremely negative reviews at the back of my head, expecting the worst. And it is true that it is not a particularly good film. But I had so much more honest to goodness fun in the film than I’d ever thought I would have, I can only recommend it.

jupiterascending

[Slight SPOILERS]

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Foxcatcher (2014)

Foxcatcher
Director: Bennett Miller
Writer: E. Max Frye, Dan Futterman
Cast: Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Steve Carell, Sienna Miller, Vanessa Redgrave
Part of: Surprise movie at the Viennale

Plot:
Mark (Channing Tatum) and Dave Schultz (Mark Ruffalo) are brothers and successful wrestlers, although Mark has always been in the older Dave’s shadow. But when the rich John du Pont (Steve Carell) approaches Mark to be the star of his Olympic wrestling team and in fact, put that team together, Mark sees an opportunity to finally get his own place in the spotlight. Instead, though, Dave joins them as the team’s coach and the increasingly erratic du Pont shifts his focus on Dave, leading to a completely unstable situation.

Foxcatcher has to be one of the most boring movies I’ve ever seen. It felt like it happened it real time – and since the film covers a period of a few months, of not more than a year, that certainly isn’t a good thing. And ultimately, when you’ve sat through the entire ordeal, it leads you nowhere at all.

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The Lego Movie (2014)

The Lego Movie
Director: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
Writer: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
Cast: Chris PrattElizabeth BanksMorgan FreemanLiam Neeson, Will ArnettNick Offerman, Alison BrieCobie Smulders, Jonah HillChanning Tatum, Will FerrellWill Forte, Charlie Day, Dave Franco, Jake Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal

Plot:
Emmet (Chris Pratt) is an ordinary lego worker, spending his days joyfully building things, though he is also a bit lonely. Everything changes though, when he sees Wildstyle (Elizabeth Banks), gets identified as the most extraordinary person and involved in the rebellion against Lord Business (Will Ferrell) whose main goal is to have everything in its place, chaos and with it diversity be damned.

The Lego Movie was a whole lot of fun, stitched together from references and meta jokes that nevertheless manage to form a coherent role with a rather surprising end, even if it sometimes runs a bit empty.
lego

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This Is the End (2013)

This Is the End
Director: Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen
Writer: Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen
Based on: the short film “Jay and Seth vs. The Apocalypse
Cast: Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, Danny McBride, Michael Cera, Emma Watson, Mindy Kaling, David Krumholtz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Rihanna, Martin Starr, Paul Rudd, Channing Tatum, Kevin Hart, Aziz Ansari, Jason Segel, Brandon Trost, Jason Trost

Plot:
Jay Baruchel comes to LA to visit Seth Rogen. He had planned to have a weekend full of movies, video games and weed at Seth’s place, but Seth gets him to go to James Franco’s housewarming party. While they’re there, the apocalypse happens – literally. None of them ascends into heaven, but at least Jay, Seth, James, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson and Danny McBride also don’t fall into the hell pit that opened just outside the door. But what should they do now?

I was afraid that I wouldn’t like This Is the End and I was right. Apart from a few moments of actual fun, there was nothing that I could enjoy about it.

thisistheend

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Don Jon (2013)

Don Jon
Director: Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Writer: Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore, Tony Danza, Glenne Headly, Brie Larson, and with cameos by [SPOILERS] Anne Hathaway, Channing Tatum, Meagan Good, Cuba Gooding Jr.

Plot:
Jon (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) goes out with his friends every weekend and brings home a new girl every weekend too. But actually he’s more interested in watching porn that is better than the actual sex for him. After Saturday’s fun, Sunday’s confession is a given, too. Then Jon meets Barbara (Scarlett Johansson) who is pretty and knows exactly what she wants. And that includes changing Jon’s life.

Don Jon was sweet and funny. Gordon-Levitt shows a good sense of timing, but sometimes he came on a bit strong and the message and plot could have been handled with more subtlety.

donjon

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White House Down (2013)

White House Down
Director: Roland Emmerich
Writer: James Vanderbilt
Cast: Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jason Clarke, Richard Jenkins, Joey King, James Woods, Nicolas Wright, Jimmi Simpson, Rachelle Lefevre, Lance Reddick

Plot:
John Cale (Channing Tatum) is a bodyguard and wants nothing more than to work for the Secret Service and on the protection detail of the president Sawyer (Jamie Foxx). Especially because his daughter Emily (Joey King) is a huge fan of the president. So when John actually gets an interview in the White House, he takes Emily with him. Unfortunately this just happens to be the day where the White House and the president are attacked. Suddenly everything depends on John.

It is hard to not compare this film to Olympus Has Fallen. And White House Down is the clear winner in that comparison. I didn’t even have alcohol and I enjoyed pretty much every second of it, even if not everything was supposed to be as funny as it was.

whitehousedown

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Side Effects (2013)

Side Effects
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Writer: Scott Z. Burns
Cast: Jude Law, Rooney Mara, Channing Tatum, Catherine Zeta-JonesVinessa Shaw, David Costabile, Mamie Gummer

Plot:
Emily’s (Rooney Mara) husband Martin (Channing Tatum) was in prison for the last four years, for fraud. Now he’s finally out and Emily should be super-happy as her life is slowly falling into place again. But unfortunately she’s not. Instead she’s depressed and really not doing well. After she drives her car into a wall, she starts treatment with Dr. Banks (Jude Law) who prescribes her various medications. But every medication has its side effects.

I really enjoyed the first half of this film. Unfortunately it then gets lost in a clusterfuck of tropes and plot twists and starts to suck really badly.

side_effects

[SPOILERS]

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