Game Night (2018)

Game Night
Director: John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldstein
Writer: Mark Perez
Cast: Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, Kyle Chandler, Sharon Horgan, Billy Magnussen, Lamorne Morris, Kylie Bunbury, Jesse Plemons, Michael C. Hall, Danny Huston, Chelsea Peretti
Seen on: 12.3.2018
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Plot:
Max (Jason Bateman), Annie (Rachel McAdams), Sarah (Sharon Horgan), Ryan (Billy Magnussen), Kevin (Larmone Morris) and Michelle (Kylie Bunbury) have a regular game night together. Tonight, Max’ brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler) is hosting the party, when men come into his house and take him away. Believing it to be a roleplay, the six players set out to get Brooks back. But things may be more serious than they appear at first.

I didn’t expect much from Game Night and basically just watched it because I had a gap in my schedule where it fit perfectly. But I was pleasantly surprised: Game Night is an entertaining film that made me laugh out loud.

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Wonder Woman (2017)

Wonder Woman
Director: Patty Jenkins
Writer: Allan Heinberg
Based on: William Moulton Marston‘s comics character
Cast: Gal GadotChris PineConnie NielsenRobin WrightDanny HustonDavid ThewlisSaïd TaghmaouiEwen BremnerEugene Brave RockLucy DavisElena AnayaJames Cosmo
Part of: DC movies
Seen on: 20.6.2017
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Plot:
Diana (Gal Gadot) grew up on the isolated island Themyscira populated only by women. But not any women: Amazons, warriors with an amazing lifespan from a time where gods still walked the earth regularly. Taught by her mother, Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) and her aunt Antiope (Robin Wright), commander of the guard, Diana grows up with a strong sense of right and wrong. So when the world outside literally crashes into hers in the shape of World War II pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), Diana is sure she is meant to help to end the war, even if it means going against the wishes of her mother.

I maybe wasn’t quite as enthusiastic about Wonder Woman as I would have liked to be (as it’s a female superhero in a film directed by a woman), but I did enjoy it a lot. Definitely the best of the DC movies so far.

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Frankenstein (2015)

Frankenstein
Director: Bernard Rose
Writer: Bernard Rose
Based on: Mary Shelley‘s novel
Cast: Xavier Samuel, Carrie-Anne Moss, Danny Huston, Tony Todd
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 24.9.2015
[Reviews by cornholio and Maynard.]

Plot:
Viktor (Danny Huston) and Elizabeth (Carrie-Anne Moss) have been working on artificial life for a while and they finally seem to have made it: their specimen (Xavier Samuel) fulfills all expectations, but it is not quite stable yet. As tumors start to take it over, Viktor and Elizabeth decide to put it down. But it manages to escape its own death sentence. Unleashed in the world far from laboratories, it starts looking for a place where it can stay and fit in.

Frankenstein is a very clever new take on a story that sometimes feels done to death. But I’m not sure whether it doesn’t ultimately undermine its own attempts as well. Be that as it may, it is certainly worth checking out.

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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 Congress (2013)

The Congress
Director: Ari Folman
Writer: Ari Folman
Based on: Stanislaw Lem‘s novel The Futurological Congress
Cast: Robin Wright, Harvey Keitel, Jon Hamm, Paul Giamatti, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Danny Huston, Sami Gayle, Michael Stahl-David, Michael Landes, Sarah Shahi

Plot:
Robin Wright (Robin Wright) is an actress past her prime who lives with her two children Aaron (Kodi Smit-McPhee) and Sarah (Sami Gayle) near an airport. Her agent Al (Harvey Keitel) does his best for her, but he has seen better times, too. So when Robin gets the chance to get on the next technological step and scan herself entirely so that a CGI version of herself will do all her acting for her, she takes it despite her trepidations. But technology doesn’t end there.

This movie is a mess. And not a beautiful one either, but one that, after a great start, leaves you confused and bored.

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Hitchcock (2012)

Hitchcock
Director: Sacha Gervasi
Writer: John J. McLaughlin
Based on: Stephen Rebello‘s book Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho
Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson, Danny Huston, Toni Collette, Michael Stuhlbarg, Michael Wincott, Jessica Biel, James D’Arcy, Kurtwood Smith

Plot:
Alfred Hitchcock (Anthony Hopkins) just finished his last film and is looking for his next project. But nothing seems right to him. While his wife Alma (Helen Mirren) is happily working on a novel by her friend Whit (Danny Huston), Alfred gets increasingly jealous of both Whit and their creativity. But then he discovers a novel – Psycho – and is convinced that he found his new hit, even if everybody else seems to doubt it. Everybody but Alma, that is.

Hitchcock was partly really good and partly not that much. I was entertained but it smacked of “the woman behind the strong man should be happy that she gets to be there at all” syndrome. And it just ran a little long.

Hitchcock

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Wrath of the Titans (2012)

Wrath of the Titans
Director: Jonathan Liebesman
Writer: Dan Mazeau, David Johnson
Sequel to: Clash of the Titans
Cast: Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Rosamund Pike, Bill Nighy, Édgar Ramírez, Toby Kebbell, Danny Huston

Plot:
People are stopping to believe in or pray to the gods, which weakens them considerably. Zeus (Liam Neeson) tries his best to avoid that, even asking his son Perseus (Sam Worthington) for help, who now leads the life of a quiet fisherman and doesn’t want to hear about it. But when Ares (Édgar Ramírez) and Hades (Ralph Fiennes) betray Zeus and Poseidon (Danny Huston) and capture Zeus, Perseus sets out ot save his father – and the world with the help of Queen Andromeda (Rosamund Pike) and Poseidon’s son Agenor (Toby Kebbell).

Much like the first film, Wrath of the Titans is a movie of the “plot? What plot?” variety. But the special effects are still great, the cast mostly has fun and the dialogues are cringe-worthingly awesome. There are also more daddy issues to ridicule in this one film than in all of the Nolan movies put together, which is quite an achievement. It’s entertaining.

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The Conspirator (2010)

The Conspirator
Director: Robert Redford
Writer: James D. Solomon
Cast: James McAvoy, Robin Wright, Kevin Kline, Evan Rachel Wood, Tom Wilkinson, Justin Long, Danny Huston, Colm Meaney, Alexis Bledel

Plot:
After the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, the conspirators are quickly arrested. Among them is Mary Surratt (Robin Wright) who is pretty much suffering for the crimes of her son. But the whole country is so riled up that nobody really cares. Frederick Aiken (James McAvoy) takes on her defense in the military trial that is set up for her and where her constitutional rights are abused the whole time.

The Conspirator is a movie with a mission that gets so righteous and sanctimonious that it’s barely bearable. The cast ends up being its only redeeming feature.

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Robin Hood (2010)

Robin Hood is Ridley Scott‘s newest movie, starring Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, Max von Sydow, William Hurt, Mark Strong, Oscar Isaac, Mark Addy, Matthew Macfadyen, Scott Grimes and Kevin Durand.

Plot:
King Richard Lionheart (Danny Huston) has been on his crusade for many years and is on his way home now. Unfortunately, he never reaches Britain, dying instead in one last battle.
In his army is the archer Robin Longstride (Russell Crowe), who by coincidence stumbles upon a massive conspiracy against Richard, led by Godfrey (Mark Strong), a confidant of Prince John (Oscar Isaac), but ultimately also plotting against John.
Anyway, Longstride takes on the identity of Robert Loxley and they story only gets more convoluted from there.

I hadn’t heard anything good about this movie beforehand (the most positive “review” was from a co-worker who said, “I expected it to be really bad and with that expectation, it was reasonably entertaining”), so I didn’t expect much (even though I’m one of the five people on earth who actually like Gladiator). But even so, I was incredibly disappointed. This movie is not only bad, no, even more damingly, it is boring as hell.

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X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)

It is time. I have pushed away the review of X-Men Origins: Wolverine long enough.

I have to apologise in advance: Hugh Jackman, I like you. Therefore I’m sorry. Liev Schreiber, you’re hot. Therefore I’m sorry. David Benioff, I loved 25th Hour, Stay and Troy (and I probably would have liked the Kite Runner had I seen it). Therefore I’m sorry. Gavin Hood, I’ve heard great things about Tsotsi. Therefore I’m sorry.

But X-Men Origins: Wolverine sucks great big ass.

Plot:
The movie tells the origin story of Wolverine, starting with his childhood in the 19th century, continuing through several wars until it reaches almost today. Logan aka Wolverine [Hugh Jackman] travels through the history with his brother Victor [Liev Schreiber], most of the time they are soldiers. One day they get recruited by William Stryker [Danny Huston] for a special ops team consisting of a few mutants [Most notably Ryan Reynolds, Will.I.Am and Dominic Monaghan]. While Victor is getting more reckless with every day, Logan can’t handle the unethical violence anymore. So, he parts ways with the rest of the group. But things can’t end like this and they don’t.

The movie has everything in abundance – plot holes, bad CGI, worse CGI fridging, WTF moments, … the only thing it lacks is quality and a little more naked Hugh Jackman and Liev Schreiber. This is already a contender for worst movie of the year in my book.

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[SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS]

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