Euphoria (2017)

Euphoria
Director: Lisa Langseth
Writer: Lisa Langseth
Cast: Alicia Vikander, Eva Green, Charles Dance, Charlotte Rampling, Mark Stanley, Adrian Lester, August Zirner
Seen on: 4.7.2018

Content Note: (assisted) suicide

Plot:
Emilie (Eva Green) and Ines (Alicia Vikander) are sisters who haven’t seen each other in a long time. Emilie has organized a holiday for the both of them, promising that they’ll visit the most beautiful place on earth. Ines is suspicious, but the two start their journey. Slowly both Emilie’s plans and the frail relationship between the two sisters come to light.

Euphoria is a touching film with great actresses that is a success when it comes to portraying the relationship of the two sisters and less successful regarding the big topic it tackles: assisted suicide.

Film poster showing Alicia Vikander and Eva Green in profile, looking in different directions.

[Slight SPOILERS]

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Ghostbusters (2016)

Ghostbusters
Director: Paul Feig
Writer: Katie Dippold, Paul Feig
Remake of: Ghostbusters
Cast: Kristen WiigMelissa McCarthyKate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Chris HemsworthNeil Casey, Ed Begley Jr., Charles DanceAndy Garcia, Ozzy Osbourne, Michael Kenneth Williams, Bill MurrayDan Aykroyd, Ernie HudsonSigourney Weaver
Seen on: 11.8.2016

Plot:
Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) is trying to establish herself as a physicist when an old book of hers resurfaces. She wrote it many years ago together with Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) on the subject of the existence of ghosts and other paranormal phenomena. Erin is afraid that the book will threaten her career despite the fact that she left those ideas behind. When she goes to speak with Abby to ask her to keep the book under wraps, she finds her working with Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) to prove the existence of ghosts. When they are actually called in to examine a haunting, everything changes: Erin tags along and can see the ghost with her own eyes. So the three of them team up with Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) and found the Ghostbusters.

Ghostbusters was a hugely enjoyable film that had me laughing pretty much all the way through – despite the fact that Feig’s humor is usually very much hit and miss for me. But with a cast that great, not much can go wrong.

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Me Before You (2016)

Me Before You
Director: Thea Sharrock
Writer: Jojo Moyes
Based on: Jojo Moyesnovel
Cast: Emilia Clarke, Sam ClaflinJenna ColemanMatthew Lewis, Stephen Peacocke, Vanessa KirbyBen Lloyd-Hughes, Samantha Spiro, Brendan Coyle, Janet McTeer, Charles Dance, Joanna Lumley
Seen on: 2.7.2016

Plot:
Lou (Emilia Clarke) loves fashion, her life, people in general, her family in particular and her job at the café. But when that café is shut down, Lou finds herself at a loss. She needs to find another job to help support her family but her options are very limited. That’s when she hears of a job with the local rich family, the Traynors. Camilla (Janet McTeer) is looking for a caretaker for her son Will (Sam Claflin) who was paralyzed from the neck down in an accident and she sees something in Lou that she hopes will give Will some of his joie de vivre back. A plan that initially seems to fail miserably.

Me Before You is a cheesy film, filled with romance and romanticization, quirky characters and grand gestures. If that’s what you’re looking for, you’re probably going to be very happy with it.

mebeforeyou

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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016)

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Director: Burr Steers
Writer: Burr Steers
Based on: Seth Grahame-Smith’s novel, which is in turn an adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel
Cast: Lily James, Sam Riley, Bella Heathcote, Ellie Bamber, Millie Brady, Suki Waterhouse, Douglas Booth, Sally Phillips, Charles Dance, Jack Huston, Lena Headey, Matt Smith, Emma Greenwell
Seen on: 12.6.2016

Plot:
Early 19th century, England: A strange plague has befallen the land and the dead are rising. In the middle of all this confusion is the Bennett family. Mr Bennett (Charles Dance) has trained his daughters Elizabeth (Lily James), Jane (Bella Heathcote), Lydia (Ellie Bamber), Mary (Millie Brady) and Kitty (Suki Waterhouse) in the deadly arts, but their mother (Sally Phillips) tries everything to get them married. So it is just as well, when two new young men enter their social lives – Mr Bingley (Douglas Booth), amiable and sweet and Mr Darcy (Sam Riley), arrogant and proud. Will the Bennett sisters find their perfect guys and not get eaten by unmentionables?

After my experience with Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, I was very much prepared for needing all my sarcasm and irony (and alcohol) to enjoy Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Turns out that many of my fears were unfunded – P&P&Z is often intentionally hilarious, even if it does have some weaknesses.

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Victor Frankenstein (2015)

Victor Frankenstein
Director: Paul McGuigan
Writer: Max Landis
Based on: Mary Shelley‘s novel
Cast: Daniel RadcliffeJames McAvoy, Jessica Brown Findlay, Bronson Webb, Daniel Mays, Andrew Scott, Freddie Fox, Charles Dance, Mark Gatiss
Part of: Fright Nights
Seen on: 12.5.2016

Plot:
Igor (Daniel Radcliffe) works in a circus as a clown. Due to his hump, he is decried as a freak and mistreated at every turn. People certainly aren’t seeing his medical talent, even though they are okay with him treating them. Things change drastically for Igor, when Victor Frankenstein (James McAvoy) turns up in his circus one night. Victor realizes how much of a diamond in the rough Igor is, helps him to flee, cures him of his hump and enlists him in his own experiments: Victor is set on freeing the world from death itself.

How many Frankenstein adaptations does the world need? No matter, there’s always one more. Victor Frankenstein isn’t a particularly good one at that, but I’m pretty damn sure it is the gayest one in existence. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen gay porn that wasn’t that homoerotically charged. And that did make it pretty fun to watch.

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Woman in Gold (2015)

Woman in Gold
Director: Simon Curtis
Writer: Alexi Kaye Campbell
Cast: Helen Mirren, Ryan Reynolds, Daniel Brühl, Katie Holmes, Tatiana Maslany, Max Irons, Charles Dance, Antje Traue, Elizabeth McGovern, Frances Fisher, Moritz Bleibtreu, Tom Schilling, Justus von Dohnányi, Olivia Silhavy, Ludger Pistor
Seen on: 8.6.2015

Plot:
Maria Altmann (Helen Mirren/Tatiana Maslany) had to flee Austria during the Second World War because she’s Jewish, and has never returned there since she was exiled to the USA and lost most of her family to the Nazis. But after the death of her sister, Maria realizes that she has the responsibility to guard her family’s memories. And part of those memories is the painting of her aunt Adele (Antje Traue), painted by Gustav Klimt (Moritz Bleibtreu), that the Nazsi took from her home and that is now hanging in a federal Austrian museum. As the Austrian government just started hearing restitution claims, Maria asks lawyer Randol Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds) for help with recovering that painting. They even travel to Austria together, where they meet journalist Hubertus Czernin (Daniel Brühl) who warns them that the Austrian government won’t be cooperative. That proves to be right and Maria and Randy have to dig in for a long fight.

After I read the first reviews, I didn’t expect Woman in Gold to be any good. But I was pleasantly surprised: it’s an engaging and well-made film that is only marred by the German used in the film.

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The Imitation Game (2014)

The Imitation Game
Director: Morten Tyldum
Writer: Graham Moore
Based on: Andrew Hodges‘ book Alan Turing: The Enigma
Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Rory Kinnear, Allen Leech, Matthew Beard, Charles Dance, Mark Strong, Tuppence Middleton
Seen on: 01.02.2015

Plot:
Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) is brilliant, but he is also very weird. When he shows up at Bletchley Circle, ready to crack the German code machine Enigma, he has trouble fitting into the team working there, led by Hugh Alexander (Matthew Goode). Hugh thinks they need to keep cracking the codes manually, while Alan is convinced that only a machine can crack Enigma. Things shift after Alan complains to Winston Churchill directly who puts him in charge, much to the team’s dismay. It is only after Alan hires Joan Clarke (Keira Knightley) and the machine starts to take on shape that the team comes around as well.

The Imitation Game is a mess, there is no other way to put it. I pretty much hated everything about it except the supporting cast, and even so most of them were underused.

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Dracula Untold (2014)

Dracula Untold
Director: Gary Shore
Writer: Matt Sazama, Burk Sharpless
Based on: Bram Stoker‘s novel (in the loosest sense of “based”)
Cast: Luke Evans, Sarah Gadon, Dominic Cooper, Art Parkinson, Charles Dance, Diarmaid Murtagh, Thor Kristjansson

Plot:
When Vlad (Luke Evans) was a child he was enslaved by the Turks, despite being a prince, to ensure his father’s allegiance. He was raised to be a soldier and became such a good one that people nicknamed him The Impaler and he is finally allowed to return home. But when the Turks call for slave soldiers again, Vlad cannot consent – which means war. To be able to defend his family and his country better, Vlad makes a deal with a monster (Charles Dance) in a cave: for three days he will have the strength and abilities of a vampire while still alive. If he can resist the temptation to drink human blood in that time, he’ll even return to being human. But will three days be enough to defet the Turks?

I know going in that Dracula Untold was going to be the kind of film where I’d need vodka, so I wisely packed it. Rarely have I been so glad about my foresight because I needed every damn drop of it. In short, the film was really, really bad.

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Alien³ (1992)

Alien³
Director: David Fincher
Writer: David Giler, Walter Hill, Larry Ferguson
Sequel to: Alien, Aliens
Cast: Sigourney Weaver, Charles S. Dutton, Charles Dance, Lance Henriksen, Pete Postlethwaite

Plot:
After just about escaping with her life, Ripley’s (Sigourney Weaver) escape pod crashes on a prison planet, leaving her the only survivor. The inmates/planet’s inhabitants are all male and strictly religious and Ripley’s arrival causes much tension. It doesn’t help either when she discovers that she crashed because there had been an Alien in her pod. The residing doctor Clemens (Charles Dance) is the only one who believes Ripley when she says that there is a threat – at least at first. While they wait for the Company to come pick up Ripley, things become ever worse.

Alien³ does have some interesting moments. Unfortunately, it decides to focus on the other things instead and ends up being way, way too long.

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