Plot: Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) and his wife Janet (Claire Foy) just lost their little daughter to cancer, prompting Neil, who also had some professional disappointments, to apply for a new program at NASA. They all move to Houston and Neil starts working on the Gemini project – the most important project in the space race between the USA and the Soviet Union. But it will take a while before Neil and Buzz Aldrin (Corey Stoll) undertake their historic flight to the moon.
First Man is made of excellent parts that nevertheless feels underwhelming as those excellent parts don’t really make for an excellent whole – even if I can’t put my finger on why that’s the case.
Plot: Dominika (Jennifer Lawrence) is a promising ballet dancer. Or rather, she used to be until an injury cost her her career. Instead she is recruited by her uncle Vanya (Matthias Schoenaerts) for the Sparrow School, a school designed to make spies. Training is hard, but Dominika makes it through. The target of her first mission is CIA agent Nate Nash (Joel Edgerton) who appears to have a Russian informant – and Dominika is supposed to find out who the informant is. But she and Nate gravitate towards each other – and that may threaten both of their missions.
I didn’t expect much of Red Sparrow, I have to say, but I filed it under “the things I do for Matthias Schoenaerts” and watched it anyway. I shouldn’t have – and neither should you.
After the death of Superman (Henry Cavill) Bruce Wayne aka Batman (Ben Affleck) tries to put together a team of superheroes. Diana aka Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) is already on board, but the recruitment of other team members is more difficult. Arthur Curry aka Aquaman (Jason Momoa) isn’t interested, Barry Allen aka The Flash (Ezra Miller) is very willing but also not easily pinned down and Victor Stone aka Cyborg (Ray Fisher) might even be dead. But when Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds) attacks Diana’s home Themyscira to acquire an artefact, gathering forces becomes an even more pressing issues.
I expected bad things from Justice League and was pleasantly surprised by what we got. That’s not to say that Justice League is a good film overall, but at least it has its moments.
Prince Hamlet (Benedict Cumberbatch) just returned to Denmark after his father’s death. His mother Gertrud (Anastasia Hille) has quickly remarried – and who else but Hamlet’s uncle Claudius (Ciarán Hinds)? But Hamlet’s father still haunts the castle grounds and he tells Hamlet that it was his own brother who killed him. Now it’s upon Hamlet to set things right again. But Hamlet’s grasp on sanity is slipping. Or maybe that is all a ruse?
I have seen Hamlet now in many iterations and just like Shakespeare’s historical plays aren’t for me, Hamlet isn’t for me either. This production certainly didn’t change my mind. (The only notable exception to that rule is Branagh’s Hamlet. And North’s To Be or Not To Be, which I have yet to read in its entirety/play through.)
Many years ago Dr. Litvenko (Ciarán Hinds) built the Agent Program: gentetically modified hitmen without remorse or fear. Realizing how dangerous this is, Litvenko disappeared, taking the science with him and making it impossible to create any more Agents. The Syndicate has been trying everything to restart the Program, but was unsuccessful. Now they’re desperate to find Litvenko. Litvenko’s daughter Katia (Hannah Ware) is also desperate to find her father and find out why he abandoned her. Just as she’s getting close, she meets John Smith (Zachary Quinto) who warns her that Agent 47 (Rupert Friend) is tracking her with orders to kill her.
I did not expect Hitman: Agent 47 to be a good film. In fact, it was the kind of film where puzzledpeaces and I packed a bottle of alcohol eached and just got really, really drunk during the film. For that it was perfectly chosen. For everything else, Hitman is a waste.
Many years ago, Anne Elliot (Amanda Root) was engaged to Frederick Wentworth (Ciarán Hinds), but took the advice of her motherly friend Lady Russell (Susan Fleetwood), as well as listened to the opinions of her father Sir Walter (Corin Redgrave) and her sister Elizabeth (Phoebe Nicholls) and dissolved the engagement since Wentworth didn’t have much standing. Quite by coincidence Frederick is back in her life after years in the Navy and has made a name for himself as well as a fortune. Anne is convinced, though, that he will never forgive her for her past actions. And when her cousin William Elliot (Samuel West) starts courting her, she might be getting another chance, despite being alread 27 years old and still unmarried.
Persuasion was so incredibly nice, I almost burned the cake that I was baking while watching it because I couldn’t bear to leave Anne and Frederick.
Conor (James McAvoy) and Eleanor (Jessica Chastain) used to be the perfect couple. But something happened and now they’re not. Eleanor is distant and doesn’t want any contact with Conor and Conor has trouble respecting that boundary. But Eleanor isn’t as done with Conor as it might seem at first and the question remains whether they can find back to each other or not.
The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby was good but not as great as it could have been. I expected a little more from the concept – TDoER: Them is a cut based on two films, TDoER: Him, which tells events from his perspective, and TDoER: Her, which tells them from hers. But the splice generally feels a little uneven.
Anna (Kristen Bell) and her sister Ella (Idina Menzel) were really close until Ella accidentally hurt Anna with her magic power that controls snow and ice. As a precaution their parents, the king and queen, effectively isolate Ella completely, much to Anna’s chagrin who doesn’t remember anything about the power. After their parents die, Ella is supposed to take over but things go out of hand and Anna finds herself on a mission to save not only Ella, but their entire kingdom with Kristoff (Jonathan Groff).
Frozen is beautifully animated, funny and very sweet. The plot is nice as well and surprisingly feminist. And to round things off, the music was really nice.
John Carter (Taylor Kitsch) calls his nephew Edgar Rice Burroughs (Daryl Sabara) to come to him, just before he dies. When Edgar arrives – just a bit too late – he gets John’s diary and starts to read about how John traveled to Mars many years ago with the help of a mysterious amulet. On Mars, he found himself captured by an alien tribe and then caught in a war that threatens the entire planet.
John Carter delivers exactly what you expect it to: brainless but extremely entertaining action with campy performances. Is it great film-making? No. But it’s great entertainment.
The young lawyer Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe) gets the job to take care of the estate of a recently deceased woman in a small town. So he leaves his small son (Misha Handley) at home with his nanny (Jessica Raine) to travel to the middle of nowhere. But when he arrives there, things quickly become very weird. And the estate Arthur has to work in seems to be haunted by a less than benevolent spirit.
There are two things that keep The Woman in Black from being a really good movie: 1, Daniel Radcliffe’s inability to act and 2, the ending that had me rolling my eyes so hard. But it’s an otherwise wonderfully moody movie with some good scares.