Re-Watch: Valmont (1989)

Valmont
Director: Milos Forman
Writer: Jean-Claude Carrière, Milos Forman
Based on: Pierre Choderlos de Laclos’ epistolary novel
Cast: Colin Firth, Annette Bening, Meg Tilly, Fairuza Balk, Siân Phillips, Jeffrey Jones, Henry Thomas, Fabia Drake
Seen on: 1.2.2016

Plot:
The Victome de Valmont (Colin Firth) and the Marquise de Merteuil (Annette Bening) are thick as thieves, united in their love to manipulate and destroy the people around them, a skill they have so artfully mastered that their ploys don’t fall back on them. Both have a new project: Valmont is trying to seduce Madame de Tourvel (Meg Tilly) who is staying at his aunt’s (Fabia Drake) summer home and who is widely known for her morals and her loyalty to her husband. The Marquise, on the other hand, is looking for revenge on ex-lover Gercourt (Jeffrey Jones) who just got engaged to the naive Cécile (Fairuza Balk) who has spent practically her entire life in a convent. So she enlists Valmont’s help to completely corrupt Cécile.

Valmont is in many things much less faithful to the original novel than Dangerous Liaisons, but that doesn’t hurt the film one bit. It’s a fantastic, enjoyable film with a great cast.

valmont

[SPOILERS]

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The Railway Man (2013)

The Railway Man
Director: Jonathan Teplitzky
Writer: Frank Cottrell Boyce, Andy Paterson
Based on: Eric Lomaxautobiography
Cast: Colin Firth, Jeremy Irvine, Stellan Skarsgård, Nicole Kidman, Tanroh Ishida, Sam Reid, Hiroyuki Sanada
Seen on: 6.7.2015

Plot:
Eric (Colin Firth) meets Patti (Nicole Kidman) by chance on a train and the two of them immediately hit it off. a short while later they get married and Pattie discovers that Eric is still stuck in his war experiences: as a young man (Jeremy Irvine), he was a prisoner in a Japanese labor camp for a good while and is now suffering from PTSD. When his best friend Finlay (Stellan Skarsgard) brings him a news report that shows his tormentor from back then, Takeshi (Hiroyuki Sanada), now working at a memorial of the labor camp and Eric decides to go back and make him suffer.

Railway Man is way too long and has so many issues I couldn’t like it one bit, despite the great cast.

The-Railway-Man[SPOILERS]

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Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014)

Kingsman: The Secret Service
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Writer: Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn
Based on: Mark Millar’s and Dave Gibbons’ comic
Cast: Colin FirthTaron Egerton, Mark StrongSophie Cookson, Samuel L. Jackson, Sofia Boutella, Hanna Alström, Jack Davenport, Mark Hamill, Michael Caine
Seen on: 20.03.2015

Plot:
Eggsy (Taron Egerton) is a specialist for getting in trouble. When he’s arrested and facing actual jail time, he calls a number on his dead father’s medal that Eggsy got from a co-worker of his father, with the instruction to call if he ever needed help. A short while later Eggsy is released and introduced to Harry Hart (Colin Firth). It turns out that Eggsy’s father belonged to a privately run spy organization – the Kingsman and Hart still works there. The Kingsmen have taken some serious hits recently and are recruiting. Hart sees potential in Eggsy and so Eggsy finds himself in an entirely unknown world a short while later – not only the spy world, but also the mostly snooty upper class.

Kingsman was a fun film that proves not only Vaughn’s talent for directing action movies with awesome soundtracks, but also that the spy genre can be made fun of very easily and very lovingly. It is not completely issue-free though, even if the good parts outweigh the issues.

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Before I Go to Sleep (2014)

Before I Go to Sleep
Director: Rowan Joffe
Writer: Rowan Joffe
Based on: S.J. Watson‘s novel
Cast: Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Anne-Marie Duff

Plot:
Christine (Nicole Kidman) has a special form of amnesia: she can’t remember the past few years, instead she can only retain a day’s worth of new memories at a time. That means that each morning she wakes up next to a stranger who turns out to be her husband of many years, Ben (Colin Firth). Then she spends the days trying to get her bearings in her life, but after she goes to sleep at night, it’s all erased and it starts all over again the next morning. But then one morning Christine gets a call from Dr. Nasch (Mark Strong). He claims that he has been working with her for a while, without Ben’s knowledge, and that she’s hiding a video diary. The Christine in the video diary has her suspicions about her general situation. Christine herself has to figure out what her life is and who to trust.

Before I Go to Sleep is not a revolutionary film but it is a pretty decent thriller with a good cast that works quite well. I enjoyed it.

Before-I-Go-To-Sleep[Massive SPOILERS]

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Gambit (2012)

Gambit
Director: Michael Hoffman
Writer: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Remake of: Gambit
Cast: Colin Firth, Cameron Diaz, Tom Courtenay, Alan Rickman, Stanley Tucci, Cloris Leachman

Plot:
Harry Deane (Colin Firth) is the art adviser for rich business man Lionel Shahbandar (Alan Rickman). He hates Shahbandar with a passion, so he hatched a plan to let him buy a fake Monet, painted by Major Wingate (Tom Courtenay). For that he needs the help of cowgirl P.J. Puznowski (Cameron Diaz). But as soon as they set the plan in motion, things are already going wrong and the entire plan is soon in jeopardy.

Apparently Gambit got really bad reviews. I don’t get it. It’s a perfectly entertaining film that makes its roots in the 60s felt and has a very nice sense of humor. I enjoyed the hell out of it.

gambit

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Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Director: Tomas Alfredson
Writer: Bridget O’Connor, Peter Straughan
Based on: John le Carré‘s novel
Cast: Gary Oldman, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hardy, John Hurt, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Toby Jones, David Dencik, Ciarán Hinds

Plot:
Control (John Hurt), head of the British Intelligence, suspects that there is a double agent very high up the ladder in “the Circus.” So he sends Jim Prideaux (Mark Strong) to Hungary to meet a source who can reveal the identity of the mole. But things go wrong, Prideaux gets shot and Control and his right hand George Smiley (Gary Oldman) have to retire. But then the agent Ricki Tarr (Tom Hardy) also brings the info about a double agent and Smiley gets hauled out of retirement to find said agent.

I was so looking forward to this film. I mean – look at that cast! What more could you wish for? [Except for a few women.] Unfortunately the movie ended up being so incredibly boring, I don’t even have words. Also, the brown, the brown! It kinda started hurting my eyes after a while.

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The King’s Speech (2010)

The King’s Speech is Tom Hooper‘s newest film, starring Colin Firth, Helena Bonham-Carter, Geoffrey Rush, Derek Jacobi, Jennifer Ehle, Michael Gambon, Guy Pearce, Eve Best and Timothy Spall.

Plot:
Prince Albert (Colin Firth) has a stutter. His wife Elizabeth (Helena Bonham-Carter) is very supportive and together they’ve tried almost every doctor. Finally, Elizabeth turns up Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), a failed actor who tries unconventional methods. Albert is hesitant about the whole thing but since his father King George V (Michael Gambon) grows older and weaker and his brother David (Guy Pearce) is unreliable and uninterested, he decides to go for it anyway.

The King’s Speech is an excellent film, with an amazing cast and a very good script (by David Seidler). The set and costume design was brilliant, too. I just didn’t like the camerawork very much.

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Easy Virtue (2008)

Easy Virtue is the adaptation of Noël Coward‘s play by Stephan Elliott. It stars Jessica Biel, Colin Firth, Kristin Scott Thomas and Ben Barnes. [And for IT Crowd fans: Katherine Parkinson.]

Plot:
It’s the 1920s. John (Ben Barnes) comes from an old British family, which is slowly crumbling apart. When he returns from his travels with his new wife Larita (Jessica Biel), an American race car driver, John’s mother (Kristin Scott Thomas) is shocked, though his father (Colin Firth) takes an instant liking to her. Larita tries her best to fit in with the family, but in the end a war breaks out between her and the mother.

I liked this film. The cast was good, they had some very, very nice jokes, a sweet soundtrack and it was generally entertaining.

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Dorian Gray (2009)

Dorian Gray is the newest movie by Oliver Parker, starring Ben Barnes, Colin Firth, Ben Chaplin and Rebecca Hall. It’s an adaptation of Oscar Wilde‘s novel, which I’ve reviewed here.

Plot:
Dorian (Ben Barnes) comes to London after his grandfather’s death; a naive, well-meaning young man. The painter Basil (Ben Chaplin) soon discovers him as his newest muse and introduces him to the high society, especially the cynical Lord Henry (Colin Firth). After the painting is done, Dorian gives his soul so that it ages instead of him. Thoroughly corrupted by Lord Henry, Dorian’s excesses get more and more depraved as his painting gets uglier and uglier.

This… well, this is not a good movie. I think that’s the simplest and yet the most fitting way to put it. Ben Barnes was miscast, the plot was changed, and not to its advantage and Oscar Wilde’s wit was practically eradicated. What’s left is a boring, trite and too long film.

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A Single Man (2009)

A Single Man is the first movie by Tom Ford, based on the novel by Christopher Isherwood and starring Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Matthew Goode, Nicholas Hoult and (in a mini-role) Lee Pace.

Plot:
George (Colin Firth) has a good life He has a nice house in a good neighbourhood and a work he loves. But ever since his boyfriend of many years, Jim (Matthew Goode), died, it all started to feel empty to him.
The movie shows one day in George’s life as he tries to cope.

A Single Man was great, totally deserving of the accolades it’s gotten. It’s a very aesthetic movie, wonderfully shot and very well acted. I wasn’t surprised how the plot developped but it was just beautiful to watch it unfold.

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