How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019)

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
Director: Dean DeBlois
Writer: Dean DeBlois
Based on: Cressida Cowell‘s books
Sequel to: How to Train Your Dragon, How to Train Your Dragon 2
Cast: Jay BaruchelAmerica Ferrera, F. Murray Abraham, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Kristen Wiig, Kit Harington, David Tennant, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, Gideon Emery
Seen on: 13.2.2019

Under Hiccup’s (Jay Baruchel) leadership, Berk has become a sanctuary for dragons, and a bustling city filled with both humans and dragons. In fact, things are going so well, they are actually running out of space for everyone. But dragon hunter Grimmel (F. Murray Abraham) has set his sight on Berk and its dragons – Toothless in particular. And he finds the perfect bait for his plan.

I loved the first How to Train Your Dragon film a lot. And I very much liked the second one, but didn’t love it as much anymore. The third film, unfortunately, continues the trend and is the weakest one so far. It’s still cute, but it’s probably for the best that they (probably?) won’t continue after this.

The film poster showing Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) standing together with Toothless and Light Fury.
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Mary Queen of Scots (2018)

Mary Queen of Scots
Director: Josie Rourke
Writer: Beau Willimon
Based on: John Guy‘s book Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Margot Robbie, Jack Lowden, Joe Alwyn, Simon Russell Beale, Guy Pearce, Adrian Lester, Gemma Chan, David Tennant, Martin Compston, Ismael Cruz Cordova, Brendan Coyle, Ian Hart, James McArdle
Seen on: 30.1.2019

Mary Stuart (Saoirse Ronan) just returned to Scotland from France, making her even more of a threat to her cousin Queen Elizabeth I’s (Margot Robbie) reign. Protestant Elizabeth fears the younger, Catholic Mary, and hopes to strengthen her own hold on the crown by marrying Mary off to a Protestant Englishman. Politically, the right man for the job would be Robert Dudley (Joe Alwyn), but Elizabeth is hesitant because she is in love with Dudley herself. And Mary’s heart is also set on somebody else.

Mary Queen of Scot was so… long. I just couldn’t get excited about a film that drags and drags, despite some really excellent points it makes and despite wonderful performances. But dammit, it was boring.

The film poster showing Mary Stuart (Saoirse Ronan) and Queen Elizabeth I (Margot Robbie) both dressed in similar dresses in the exact same shade of gold.
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Ferdinand (2017)

Director: Carlos Saldanha
Writer: Robert L. Baird, Tim Federle, Brad Copeland
Based on: Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson‘s children’s book The Story of Ferdinand
Cast: John CenaKate McKinnon, Jeremy Sisto, Bobby Cannavale, Raúl Esparza, David Tennant, Gina Rodriguez, Daveed Diggs, Gabriel Iglesias, Flula Borg, Sally Phillips [I saw the German language version, so I can’t speak to their performances.]
Seen on: 27.12.2017

Ferdinand (Colin H. Murphy) is the son of a famous fighting bull and is expected to follow in his father’s footsteps. Or rather hoofsteps. But nothing could be further from Ferdinand’s mind: he is more interested in smelling the flowers, bringing him the scorn from the other young bulls. Ferdinand grows up (John Cena) into a formidable bull and as luck would have it, he gets stung by a bee, causing him to go on a rampage that brings him directly to the matador academy to train as a fighting bull.

Ferdinand is a sweet film that works hard to dismantle toxic masculinity in a way that makes sense for kids – and it does so quite admirably.

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What We Did on Our Holiday (2014)

What We Did on Our Holiday
Director: Andy Hamilton, Guy Jenkin
Writer: Andy Hamilton, Guy Jenkin
Cast: Emilia JonesBobby Smalldridge, Harriet Turnbull, Rosamund Pike, David Tennant, Billy Connolly, Celia Imrie, Ben Miller

Abi (Rosamund Pike) and Doug (David Tennant) are in the tricky part of their divorce where they can’t even stand to be in the same room together. Nevertheless they decide to pack up their three kids – Lottie (Emilia Jones), Mickey (Bobby Smallridge) and Jess (Harriet Turnbull) – and celebrate Doug’s father Gordy’s (Billy Connolly) birthday together like nothing happened. Which certainly isn’t easy for the kids, since they have to keep up the lies as well. But in the commotion surrounding Gordy’s birthday, nobody but Gordy himself seems to notice them anyway.

I expected What We Did on Our Holiday to be this classic RomCom, mostly about the parents and how they find back to each other. I was quite surprised when it turned out that it was actually about the kids and then it even took a turn into dark humor. And I liked the result a lot more than I would have liked the usual.

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Richard II

Richard II
Director: Gregory Doran
Writer: William Shakespeare
Cast: David Tennant, Nigel Lindsay, Sean Chapman, Michael Pennington, Oliver Rix, Jane Lapotaire
[No, I didn’t go to London again, I saw the live broadcast at my local cinema. I’m really happy about all this theater in the cinema, btw. It’s a wonderful development and we’re getting more and I love it.]

Richard II (David Tennant) has been king for pretty much ever, but when the Duke of Gloucester is murdered and Richard’s cousin Henry Bolingbroke (Nigel Lindsay) accuses Thomas Mowbray (Antony Byrne) of said murder and squandering royal money, the first cracks appear in Richard’s claim to power. He banishes Henry and Thomas both, instead of seeing die in a duel, but Henry isn’t satisfied.

Richard II is just like theater should be. The cast is great, the set design brilliant, the play is wonderful. Gave me goosebumps all over and made me realize I really have to read more Shakespeare. In short, it’s a full success.


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The Pirates! Band of Misfits (2012)

The Pirates! Band of Misfits
Director: Peter Lord, Jeff Newitt
Writer: Gideon Defoe
Based on: Gideon Defoe‘s The Pirates! in an Adventure with Scientists
Cast: Hugh Grant, Martin Freeman, Imelda Staunton, David Tennant, Brendan Gleeson, Jeremy Piven, Brian Blessed, Lenny Henry, Salma Hayek

Pirate Captain (Hugh Grant) dreams of the Pirate of the Year Award but doesn’t really stand a chance. In a desperate last attempt, he starts to board every ship he and his faithful band come past, hoping for one big loot that would make all the difference. And so it happens that he also boards the ship of Charles Darwin (David Tennant). Darwin discovers that Pirate Captain’s parrot is actually a dodo and promises him great riches if he came to the London science fair. And so Pirate Captain and his crew make their way to London, despite Queen Victoria’s (Imelda Staunton) hatred of pirates.

The Pirates! was brilliant in very many details and not brilliant at all in others. Overall it didn’t really come together to form one coherent whole, though it was enjoyable.

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Fright Night (2011)

Fright Night
Director: Craig Gillespie
Writer: Marti Noxon
Remake of: Fright Night
Cast: Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell, David Tennant, Imogen Poots, Toni Collette, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Chris Sarandon

Charley (Anton Yelchin) just went from geek to at least moderately cool, with the help of his girlfriend Amy (Imogen Poots). So when his former best friend Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) tries to convince him that Charley’s new neighbor Jerry (Colin Farrell) is actually a vampire, Charley shugs it off. But then Ed disappears and Charley starts to investigate. Soon he really does discover evidence that Jerry is a vampire. And since that discovery threatens Jerry, suddenly everyone Charley holds dear is in danger.

Even though I didn’t like the original all that much, I thought that I would give this one a shot for its cast and I actually hoped that a modernization might make it more accessible if you don’t have the nostalgia factor. Unfortunately that didn’t work out.

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Various TV Related Things

  • After my initial hesitation, Dollhouse won me over. It started with them having The Middleman (Matt Keeslar) [OH MIDDLEMAN, WHY DID YOU HAVE TO DIE?] on the show (Episode 2) and in a role that’s quite the opposite of his Middleman role. And then, at some point in Episode 3 they really had me, which is mostly due to Dichen Lachman and the way the overarching plot is going.
  • I finally caught up with Doctor Who (I tried not to watch Season 4 too quickly because then I’d have to be longer without any of it). And people, people… I’ve cried my eyes out! [SPOILER] How could they get rid of Donna Noble (Catherine Tate)? She was the coolest of the companions EVER! And then not even let her remember any of it? That hurts, that really, really hurts! [/SPOILER]
    But after the bumpy start I had with David Tennant (because I’m just a Christopher Eccleston fan), I’ve grown to really, really love him and will sorely miss him and now the next doctor is going to have a bumpy start. And the circle continues.
  • I watched the first episode of Castle. It has potential, but it starts off rather clichéd. If they can give it a bit more of a twist, it can be really good. Because Nathan Fillion is one of the few people who can do saucy (and I love him for it).
    Although it’s another one of those shows where they have the rational woman teamed up with the quirky man.
  • I also watched the first episode of The Mentalist. I don’t think that this one will keep me watching. I’m not much for police shows and you really have to give me characters I love to keep me watching (see The Closer). I don’t think that this will be the case here. But I might give it another try.
    And again, it’s a show with the rational woman and the quirky man teamed up…
  • I started watching Lost… I’m at the beginning of Season 1 (Episode 9) and have been for a while and I seem to be missing something – I don’t see the greatness that is supposed to be this show. Does it get better? Does it have a slow start? Or should I save myself time and stop watching?
  • In not so newsy news: I finished Black Books and oh, why does it have to be so short? How I Met Your Mother continues to be awesome. 30 Rock continues to be awesome. Are their any other shows along those lines? SitComs, which are actually funny?

Okay, that’s it. You know now that I spend WAY too much time watching TV shows. Anything you can recommend or would like to warn us about? Comment away!