The Lady in the Van (2015)

The Lady in the Van
Director: Nicholas Hytner
Writer: Alan Bennett
Based on: Alan Bennett’s actual experience with Mary Shepherd
Cast: Maggie SmithAlex Jennings, Jim Broadbent, Deborah Findlay, Roger Allam, Dominic Cooper, Frances de la Tour, James Corden, Russell Tovey, Alan Bennett
Seen on: 3.6.2016

Plot:
Alan Bennett (Alex Jennings) moved to a new neighborhood and he quite like it. Part of the neighborhood is Mary Shepherd (Maggie Smith), a woman living in a van parked in his street. She’s weird, often rough and has issues, but Alan does take a liking to her. So when her existence is threatened because her road is being declared a no parking zone, Alan permits her to park the van in his driveway. What was supposed to be only a temporary solution, turns into a long-term fact and Alan starts to find out more about Mary’s past.

The Lady in the Van was a sweet film, told with a sly sense of humor that keeps the story from turning too dark, even when the realities it faces are harsher. It’s an enjoyable mix, although it stays a little too shallow to use the potential for social criticism it would have.

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Warcraft (2016)

Warcraft
Director: Duncan Jones
Writer: Charles Leavitt, Duncan Jones
Based on: World of Warcraft
Cast: Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Ben Foster, Dominic Cooper, Toby Kebbell, Ben Schnetzer, Robert Kazinsky, Clancy Brown, Daniel Wu, Ruth Negga, Anna Galvin, Callum Keith Rennie
Seen on: 1.6.2016

Plot:
The orc world is being killed by evil fel magic, that slowly drains the life force of the entire planet. That’s why the warlock Gul’dan (Daniel Wu) creates a portal to the human world of Azeroth: he and his army plan to take over Azeroth for themselves. Among his generals is Durotan (Toby Kebbell) and his mate Draka (Anna Galvin) who risks the journey despite being pregnant; and as a translator they have the slave Garona (Paula Patton) who has the gift of languages. Meanwhile the humans of Azeroth are unsuspecting of the threat to their world. Only Khadgar (Ben Schnetzer) who used to study to become a mage notices the signs of fel magic use and warns King Llane Wrynn (Dominic Cooper). The King sends Khadgar and his own brother Anduin Lothar (Travis Fimmel) to find the mage and protector of the realm Medivh (Ben Foster) to ask for his help.

Warcraft really didn’t get much good buzz before its release, so I did not expect much of it, I have to admit (although I was hopeful due to Duncan Jones). But to my surprise I actually quite liked it, although it does suffer from the fact that it really is only one big piece of set-up and not a finished story.

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Miss You Already (2015)

Miss You Already
Director: Catherine Hardwicke
Writer: Morwenna Banks
Cast: Drew Barrymore, Toni Collette, Paddy Considine, Dominic Cooper, Jacqueline Bisset, Tyson Ritter
Seen on: 1.4.2016

Plot:
Jess (Drew Barrymore) and Milly (Toni Collette) have been friends for pretty much their entire lives, despite or maybe because their not inconsiderable differences. While Jess is trying to have children with her husband Jago (Paddy Considine), Milly, who lives with her husband Kit (Dominic Cooper) and their kids and is successful in her career, is diagnosed with breast cancer. Now they both have entirely new challenges to face.

Miss You Already is like a modern Beaches: a wonderful, touching film with complex, strong, female protagonists that unabashedly centers women in its narrative.

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Dracula Untold (2014)

Dracula Untold
Director: Gary Shore
Writer: Matt Sazama, Burk Sharpless
Based on: Bram Stoker‘s novel (in the loosest sense of “based”)
Cast: Luke Evans, Sarah Gadon, Dominic Cooper, Art Parkinson, Charles Dance, Diarmaid Murtagh, Thor Kristjansson

Plot:
When Vlad (Luke Evans) was a child he was enslaved by the Turks, despite being a prince, to ensure his father’s allegiance. He was raised to be a soldier and became such a good one that people nicknamed him The Impaler and he is finally allowed to return home. But when the Turks call for slave soldiers again, Vlad cannot consent – which means war. To be able to defend his family and his country better, Vlad makes a deal with a monster (Charles Dance) in a cave: for three days he will have the strength and abilities of a vampire while still alive. If he can resist the temptation to drink human blood in that time, he’ll even return to being human. But will three days be enough to defet the Turks?

I know going in that Dracula Untold was going to be the kind of film where I’d need vodka, so I wisely packed it. Rarely have I been so glad about my foresight because I needed every damn drop of it. In short, the film was really, really bad.

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Need for Speed (2014)

Need for Speed
Director: Scott Waugh
Writer: George Gatins
Based on: the video games
Cast: Aaron Paul, Dominic CooperImogen Poots, Scott Mescudi, Rami Malek, Dakota Johnson, Michael Keaton

Plot:
Tobey (Aaron Paul) loves cars, racing and everything to do with that. When he gets the chance to build a car with and for Dino (Dominic Cooper), he jumps at it, despite his intense dislike of Dino. Everything seems to go fine and they sell the car for a shitload of money. But then Dino frames him for manslaughter and Tobey has two years in prison to think about how to take his revenge. He decides to settle the entire thing with a race.

Need for Speed was partly fun and partly not so much. Basically it’s what you expect from a video game adaptation when you don’t expect to much, missing “actually good” and “so bad it’s good” both by a rather wide margin.

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Re-Watch: Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Captain America: The First Avenger
Director: Joe Johnston
Writer: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Based on: the comic by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby
Cast: Chris Evans, Hayley Atwell, Sebastian Stan, Tommy Lee Jones, Stanley Tucci, Hugo Weaving, Dominic Cooper, Richard Armitage, Toby Jones, Samuel L. Jackson
Part of: Marvel movies
[Here’s my first review.]

Plot:
Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) dreams only of one thing: he wants to be able to do his duty for  his country and fight in WW2. Unfortunately, he is small and sickly and is never accepted into the army, unlike his best friend Bucky (Sebastian Stan). During one last attempt to sign up, he meets Dr. Erskine (Stanley Tucci). Erskine is convinced he sees the right morality in Steve to take part in his experiment: Erskine is trying to develop a supersoldier. Steve jumps at the chance – but that’s only the beginning of his journey.

I had forgotten how bad this movie actually was. I mean, it’s entertaining and the cast is brilliant and it does have its funny script moments, but generally it is not a movie that is very thought through.

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Dead Man Down (2013)

Dead Man Down
Director: Niels Arden Oplev
Writer: J.H. Wyman
Cast: Colin Farrell, Noomi Rapace, Terrence Howard, Dominic Cooper, Isabelle Huppert, F. Murray Abraham

Plot:
Victor (Colin Farrell) works for criminal Alphonse (Terrence Howard). Alphonse has been receiving threating letters from an anonymous person, the last one attached to the body of one of his employees, and Victor’s best friend Darcy (Dominic Cooper) is supposed to find out who is sending the letters. What he doesn’t know is that Victor is the one sending the letters, enacting a complicated revenge plan. Victor’s entire life revolves around this plan until he is contacted by the woman who lives in the apartment across from him, Beatrice (Noomi Rapace). Beatrice was in a car accident and has a scarred face. Now she also wants revenge and thinks that Victor can get it for her.

Dead Man Down creeped up on me. There was practically no marketing, it only got a limited release and it was barely mentioned anywhere. And I really don’t get it. Not only does it have a good cast and a director who made a name for itself (which is very marketable) – the film was absolutely fantastic.

DeadManDown

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Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012)

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Director: Timur Bekmambetov
Writer: Seth Grahame-Smith
Based on: Seth Grahame-Smith‘s novel
Cast: Benjamin Walker, Dominic Cooper, Anthony Mackie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rufus Sewell, Marton Csokas, Jimmi Simpson

Plot:
When Abraham (Benjamin Walker) was a child, he had to watch as the vampire Jack Barts (Marton Csokas) killed his mother. Years later, still filled with thoughts of revenge, he tries to kill Barts and has to be saved by Henry Sturgess (Dominic Cooper) who then goes on to teach him how to fight vampires – but on the condition that Abe only kills the vampires Henry points out. After training is over, Abe moves to Springfield where he works for Joshua Speed (Jimmi Simpson) as a store clerk, studies law and kills vampires. But his thirst for revenge is still not satisfied.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is absolutely trashtastic. By which I mean, it is not a good movie, in fact quite the opposite, but it is an extremely entertaining one.

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Brief Interviews with Hideous Men (2009)

Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
Director: John Krasinski
Writer: John Krasinski
Based on: David Foster Wallace’s short stories
Cast: Julianne Nicholson, John Krasinski, Timothy Hutton, Chris Messina, Max Minghella, Dominic Cooper, Will Arnett, Christopher Meloni, Denis O’Hare, Josh Charles, Bobby Cannavale, Rashida Jones

Plot:
Sara (Julianne Nicholson) recently broke up with her boyfriend Ryan (John Krasinski). To cope with the ensuing funk she starts an interview project she wants to use for her dissertation where she interviews various men or records conversations she overhears. The subjects of these interviews are varied but mostly they revolve around sex.

I thought that the film’s set-up was a little weird, focusing away from the interviewee’s and on to the interviewer as it does. That just didn’t work that well for me. But the cast was good and most of the respective interviews very nicely done.

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My Week with Marilyn (2011)

My Week with Marilyn
Director: Simon Curtis
Writer: Adrian Hodges
Based on: Colin Clark‘s autobiography The Prince, The Showgirl and Me
Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Michelle Williams, Kenneth Branagh, Julia Ormond, Judi DenchZoë Wanamaker, Dominic Cooper, Toby Jones, Emma Watson, Derek Jacobi

Plot:
Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne) dreams of working in the film industry. Since his parents are well connected and know Vivian Leigh (Julia Ormond), and because he’s rather talented, he gets the chance to work with Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh) on his newest film, The Prince and the Showgirl. The star of the film is Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams). Things don’t go too well with her in the film, but Marilyn takes a shine to Colin.

My Week with Marilyn has great, great potential. Unfortunately, it’s also stuck with the most pointless main character. Still, you kind of appreciate the film for what it could have been.

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