Downsizing (2017)

Downsizing
Director: Alexander Payne
Writer: Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor
Cast: Matt Damon, Christoph Waltz, Hong Chau, Kristen Wiig, Rolf Lassgård, Ingjerd Egeberg, Udo Kier, Søren Pilmark, Jason Sudeikis, Maribeth Monroe, Neil Patrick Harris, Laura Dern, Margo Martindale
Seen on: 1.2.2018
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Plot:
The world has latched onto a new concept: downsizing. People are literally shrunk down to five inches. Given that they need much less resources that way, their dollar stretches much further, buying them a life of luxury. Paul (Matt Damon) is intrigued by the idea and when his friend Dave (Jason Sudeikis) tells him all about his newly shrunken life and how great it is, Paul and his wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig) decide to take the leap themselves.

Payne isn’t my kind of director, and Downsizing is unfortunately no exception, despite the fun premise. The execution is racist, sexist and gets lost inside its own metaphor. I was hoping for more.

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The Legend of Tarzan (2016)

The Legend of Tarzan
Director: David Yates
Writer: Adam CozadCraig Brewer
Based on: Edgar Rice Burroughs‘ short stories
Cast: Alexander Skarsgård, Margot RobbieSamuel L. JacksonChristoph WaltzDjimon HounsouSimon Russell BealeJim BroadbentBen Chaplin
Seen on: 7.8.2016

Plot:
Years ago the man known as Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgård) became John Clayton once more and returned from Congo to his home country of England with his wife Jane (Margot Robbie). Now he’s trying very hard to leave his wild past behind him. But then George Washington Williams (Samuel L. Jackson) turns up in London, accusing a Belgian/Congolese mining company run by Leon Rom (Christoph Waltz) in the name of King Leopold of slave trade. He needs John’s help to prove it, so reluctantly, John agrees to return.

I didn’t expect Tarzan to be very good and it wasn’t. But it did surprise me in some of the ways that it was bad. That’s… an achievement, I guess.

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Spectre (2015)

Spectre
Director: Sam Mendes
Writer: John Logan, Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Jez Butterworth
Based on: Ian Fleming‘s James Bond novels
Sequel to: Casino Royal, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall
Cast: Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Léa Seydoux, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Monica Bellucci, Dave Bautista, Andrew Scott, Rory Kinnear, Judi Dench
Seen on: 10.11.2015

Plot:
The 00 program is still reeling from recent (forced) restructures. Now M (Ralph Fiennes) has to fight to keep it going at all as C (Andrew Scott) tries to establish a more technological data gathering approach to spying. Meanwhile, James Bond (Daniel Craig) is on a mission. A mysterious message from the old M (Judi Dench) reaches him, sending him to a funeral in Italy and with it right in the middle of Spectre – a secret organization that seems to have its hand in every major global event.

I’m not a huge Bond fan – which is probably why I enjoyed the most recent efforts in the franchise (well, apart from Quantom of Solace) as it seemed a step away from the worst of Bond’s inherent sexism. Plus, they were good actions films. Spectre, unfortunately, is a jump back into the 70s and with it, into all the Bond-pitfalls that the Craig-Bond-era has at least partly avoided. I was disappointed.

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Big Eyes (2014)

Big Eyes
Director: Tim Burton
Writer: Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski
Cast: Amy Adams, Christoph Waltz, Danny Huston, Krysten Ritter, Jason Schwartzman, Terence Stamp
Seen on: 05.05.2015

Plot:
Margaret (Amy Adams) just went through a divorce and moved to San Francisco with her daughter, ready to start a new life. She finds a rather unexciting job and spends her weekends trying to sell her portrait skills. There she meets fellow artist Walter Keane (Christoph Waltz) and the two of them hit it off. A short while later, they get married. When Margaret starts signing her paintings KEANE, bit by bit Walter starts to take credit for them. Margaret is appalled at first, but since Walter manages to sell the paintings very well, she gives in. But that deal can’t work forever.

Big Eyes is almost a return to very early Burton movies and the more restrained style he employed then (I’m saying more restrained and not actually restrained, because let’s face it, restraint was never his thing). I enjoyed it, though I really wish that the script had been written by a woman.

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The Zero Theorem (2013)

The Zero Theorem
Director: Terry Gilliam
Writer: Pat Rushin
Cast: Christoph Waltz, Lucas HedgesDavid ThewlisMélanie ThierryMatt DamonGwendoline ChristieRupert FriendRay CooperLily ColeSanjeev BhaskarPeter StormareBen WhishawTilda Swinton

Plot:
Qohen Leth (Christoph Waltz) works as an entity cruncher for a huge corporation. The hours away from home are torture for Qohen as he is waiting for a call, so he has been trying to convince the corporation that he could work from home. When his supervisor Joby (David Thewlis) tells him that Management (Matt Damon) will be at his party, Qohen decides that he has to go there and talk to him. And he actually succeeds in that plan and a little while later, he starts working on the Zero Theorem from home.

Gilliam knows how to make a world look cool and a film look pretty. The cast is wonderful, too. Other than that though, the film is a boring, sexist mess.

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Muppets Most Wanted (2014)

Muppets Most Wanted
Director: James Bobin
Writer: James Bobin, Nicholas Stoller
Based on: Jim Henson‘s characters
Sequel to: The Muppets
Cast: Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell, Tina Fey
Cameos by [put in camouflage so you can still be surprised by the people who show up, if you don’t know already. If you wanna be surprised, don’t read the tags, either]: Tony Bennett, Hugh Bonneville, Jemaine Clement, Sean Combs, Rob Corddry, Mackenzie Crook, Céline DionLady Gaga, Zach Galifianakis, Josh Groban, Salma Hayek, Tom HiddlestonTom Hollander, Toby Jones, Frank Langella, Ray Liotta, James McAvoy, Chloë Grace Moretz, Usher Raymond, Miranda Richardson, Saoirse Ronan, Til Schweiger, Russell Tovey, Danny Trejo, Stanley Tucci, Christoph Waltz

Plot:
After solving their problems in the last film, the Muppets hit a bit of a low. They don’t really know what they should do now. That’s when Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervais) shows up and proposes a world tour to them. Kermit is hesitant but the others are in love with the idea. But Badguy has ulterior motives – he is teamed up with the most evil frog in the world, Constantine. And for his plan to work, Constantine impersonates Kermit while banishing the real Kermit to a Russian gulag.

I think I liked Muppets Most Wanted a little better than the first Muppets film. Maybe I’m starting to have more of a connection to the Muppets themselves. (There are so many Muppets in this paragraph alone. Muppets. Muppets. Muppets.) Either way, there is not much of a quality difference between this one and the first one.

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Epic (2013)

Epic
Director: Chris Wedge
Writer: Tom J. Astle, Matt Ember, James V. Hart, William Joyce, Daniel Shere
Based on: William Joyce‘s book The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs
Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Josh Hutcherson, Colin Farrell, Aziz AnsariChris O’Dowd, Christoph Waltz, Beyoncé Knowles, Pitbull, Jason Sudeikis, Judah Friedlander, Steven Tyler

Plot:
M.K.’s (Amanda Seyfried) mother just died so he moves back in with her father Bomba (Jason Sudeikis), a very confused professor who is convinced that there are tiny people living in the woods and taking care of it. A theory that got him laughed out of every scientific community. But then M.K. discovers that he was right and finds herself caught in the middle of a struggle between the Leafmen who let the things in the forest grow and the Boggans who let them rot.

Epic was funny, totally sweet and very entertaining. I was very pleasantly surprised by the entire thing.

Epic

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Django Unchained (2012)

Django Unchained
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Writer: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L. Jackson, Kerry Washington, Walton Goggins, James Remar, Amber Tamblyn, Bruce Dern, Zoe Bell, Don Johnson, Jonah Hill, Franco Nero, Quentin Tarantino

Plot:
Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) is a bounty hunter who’s looking for a trio of brothers that he can’t identify. But he knows that the recently sold slave Django (Jamie Foxx) can. So he goes after Django and frees him in return for his help with the bounty hunting. Django agrees and the two of them start working very well together. But Django really wants to get his wife (Kerry Washington) back who has been sold separately. So he and Schultz hatch a plan how to get her out of the clutches of Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio).

Django Unchained was pretty damn great. It wasn’t perfect, but it was fun, had a great cast, beautiful cinematography and, as usual for Tarantino movies, an amazing soundtrack.

DjangoUnchained

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Carnage (2011)

Carnage
Director: Roman Polanski
Writer: Yasmina Reza, Roman Polanski
Based on: Yasmina Reza‘s play
Cast: Jodie Foster, John C. Reilly, Christoph Waltz, Kate Winslet

Plot:
Penelope (Jodie Foster) and Michael (John C. Reilly) invited Nancy (Kate Winslet) and Alan (Christoph Waltz) to their apartment after their respective sons got into a fight with each other. While they discuss how to take it from there, the tensions keep on rising. So they soon forget what originally brought them together, and the four of them start to tear into each other.

I very much enjoyed Carnage. It’s bitter, but in a very funny way. It was excellently written and even better acted. I would love not to like Polanski’s movies (what with him raping a child and fleeing prosecution) but unfortunately, this film is pretty damn good.

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The Three Musketeers (2011)

The Three Musketeers is the newest movie by Paul W.S. Anderson, written by Alex Litvak and Andrew Davies, based loosely (very loosely) on Alexandre Dumas‘s novel and starring Logan Lerman, Ray Stevenson, Matthew Macfadyen, Luke Evans, Milla Jovovich, Orlando Bloom, Christoph Waltz, Juno Temple, Mads Mikkelsen, Freddie Fox and Til Schweiger (for about 3 seconds).

Plot:
D’Artagnan (Logan Lerman) has dreamt of being a musketeer since about forever. Now he finally gets to go to the big city to fulfill said dream. But the first thing he does instead is get into trouble with Cardinal Richelieu’s (Christoph Waltz) henchman Rochefort (Mads Mikkelsen) and then he makes duel dates with all three of the most famous muketeers: Athos (Matthew Macfadyen), Porthos (Ray Stevenson) and Aramis (Luke Evans). But before they really get down to it, they have to unite against the Cardinal’s men and are quickly drawn into a plot devised by the double-to-quadruple agent Milady (Milla Jovovich).

The Three Musketeers is just as you’d expect it: a movie that leaves most qualities behind and concentrates entirely on fun. It’s awesome.

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