The Penguin (Danny DeVito) was brought up in the sewers after his parents abandoned him because of his disability. Now he wants to rejoin society and he thinks that Max Shreck (Christopher Walken) is the person who can help him with this: Shreck is a popular business man who has successfully hidden the shady side of his business – but Penguin threatens to expose him. But even as Penguin’s plan seems to work, Bruce Wayne aka Batman (Michael Keaton) becomes suspicious. And he finds that his suspicions may align with the newly appeared Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer), even if their methods and goals do not.
Batman Returns does have some weaknesses and some moments that made me want to headdesk, but with that incarnation of Catwoman, I can’t help but love the film. And I definitely liked it better than the first one.
Nick (James Gandolfini) and Kitty (Susan Sarandon) have been married many years and have managed to build a very middle-class existence. When Kitty finds out that Nick has been having an affair, she’s outraged. Her three daughters Baby (Mandy Moore), Constance (Mary-Louise Parker) and Rosebud (Aida Turturro) are firmly on Kitty’s side, but also have their own issues to deal with. And Nick will have to figure out whether he wants to fight for his marriage or start a new life with the other woman, Tula (Kate Winslet).
Romance & Cigarettes is a very idiosyncratic film. A musical in that setting and with those costumes and an off-beat sense of humor, it’s funny and manages to entertain, but it’s also unfortunately steeped in sexism.
A few years ago, the panther Bagheera (Ben Kingsley) found a human baby and decided he couldn’t just let it die. So he brought it to the wolves Akela (Giancarlo Esposito) and Raksha (Lupita Nyong’o) who raised him as their own. Now the baby – Mowgli (Neel Sethi) – has grown into a child who feels perfectly at home in the jungle. But the tiger Shere Khan (Idris Elba) will not suffer a human in the jungle. With the threat of murder in the air, Bagheera decides that the safest option is to bring Mowgli back to the humans.
The Jungle Book is a weird film. On the one hand, it stays extremely close to the animated Disney version, on the other hand it often enters grimdark territory. That makes for a very weird mix that made me scratch my head more than once.
Eddie (Taron Egerton) has always had one dream: he will be an athlete. And not just any kind of athelte, an Olympic athlete competing for the UK. No matter the sport and no matter that he is perpetually hurting himself in his attempts. When he realizes that there is no British ski jumping team, he sees his chance and he grabs it. Making his way to Germany to train with absolutely no support apart from his mother’s (Jo Hartley) unflinching belief in him, he meets Bronson Peary (Hugh Jackman): Bronson came close to be one of the greats in his sport, but now he makes his money driving the snow groomer. Eddie does everything he can to convince Peary to train with him so that he can take his shot.
Eddie the Eagle is a fun, entertaining film. It’s not a big cinematic revelation, but it’s a very nice watch with a good story and two engaging leads.
Frankie (John Lloyd Young) is a hairdresser apprentice in the part of New Jersey that’s firmly in the hands of the mob. His best friend is Tommy DeVito (Vincent Piazza) he is constantly involved in some kind of scheme. But Tommy also has a band and Frankie has a beautiful, if unconventional voice. Together with Nick Massi (Michael Lomenda) and finally Bob Gaudio (Erich Bergen) they form a band – The Four Seasons. Slowly they start their way to the top. But their neighborhood isn’t easily left behind.
Jersey Boys starts strong, but can’t really keep up the momentum. At least the music is consistently good and quite contrary to most Eastwood films, it doesn’t really get boring.
Marty (Colin Farrell) is trying to write a screenplay. He has a title – Seven Psychopaths – and a rough idea for a first psychopath. But apart from a drinking problem, he doesn’t have much else. His best friend Billy (Sam Rockwell) tries to help, but is mostly caught up with the dognapping business he runs with Hans (Christopher Walken). But when Marty’s girlfriend Kaya (Abbie Cornish) kicks him out and Billy naps the beloved Shi-Tzu of the crazy Charlie (Woody Harrelson), everything unravels pretty quickly.
The marketing for this film is completely off. And when I say completely off, they decided to take away the movie’s selling point to make it look like a pretty standard action comedy. But it’s not – instead it’s an exercise in meta – and I loved it.
Abe (Jordan Gelber) works for his father Jackie (Christopher Walken), where he does a pretty bad job, actually, since his interest is mostly invested in his toy collection, and gets his butt saved more often than not by co-worker Marie (Donna Murphy). When Abe meets the depressed Miranda (Selma Blair), he asks her out and since she’s basically too lethargic to decline, that’s actually the start of something.
I saw an interview with Todd Solondz where he said that he wanted to test the audience’ limits of sympathy with the character of Abe. Well, I guess I failed that test because I just couldn’t bring myself to care about him – and with my lack of sympathy for him, the movie didn’t work either.