The Leisure Seeker (2017)

The Leisure Seeker
Director: Paolo Virzì
Writer: Stephen Amidon, Francesca Archibugi, Francesco Piccolo, Paolo Virzì
Cast: Helen Mirren, Donald Sutherland, Christian McKay, Janel Moloney, Dana Ivey, Dick Gregory
Seen on: 10.1.2018
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Plot:
Ella (Helen Mirren) and John (Donald Sutherland) have been married for fifty years. But their health is failing both of them and their children Will (Christian McKay) and Jane (Janel Moloney) are watching them with hawk eyes as a result. Ella and John decide to go for one last adventure together in their RV, The Leisure Seeker, escaping their children’s overprotective custody and off they go.

The Leisure Seeker is a tear-jerker and a very well done one at that. Emotional story and great performances are sure to leave no eye dry. Mine were definitely wet a couple of times.

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Fierce People (2005)

Fierce People
Director: Griffin Dunne
Writer: Dirk Wittenborn
Based on: Wittenborn’s novel of the same name
Cast: Diane Lane, Anton Yelchin, Donald Sutherland, Chris Evans, Kristen Stewart, Paz de la Huerta, Blu Mankuma, Elizabeth Perkins
Seen on: 3.12.2017
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Plot:
Finn (Anton Yelchin) lives with his mother Liz (Diane Lane), a masseuse with a drug problem and dreams of going to South America to meet his father for the first time – an anthropologist working with a native tribe. But when Liz’ circumstances become worse, Finn finds himself relocated with her to the estate of Ogden C. Osborne (Donald Sutherland), a rich client of Liz’ who has taken a shine to her. Finn finds companionship with Ogden’s grandchildren Maya (Kristen Stewart) and Bryce (Chris Evans). Faced with a world entirely unlike the one Finn grew up in – the world of the super-rich – he turns his anthropological interest to them.

Watching Fierce People is a bit like being the proverbial boiled frog: it’s consistently awful, but the degree of awfulness is slowly turned up, so you barely realize how absolutely terrifyingly awful it really is until it’s over and you’ve watched it all.

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Re-Watch: The Mechanic (2011)

The Mechanic
Director: Simon West
Writer: Richard Wenk, Lewis John Carlino
Remake of: the 1972 Charles Bronson film
Cast: Jason Statham, Ben Foster, Donald Sutherland, Tony Goldwyn
Seen on: 29.8.2016
[Here’s my first review.]

Plot:
Arthur Bishop (Jason Statham) is a contract killer, the best there is. Even when his next assignment is his mentor and best friend Harry (Donald Sutherland), he only waits to see the evidence that Harry is guilty until he kills him. Yet, afterwards he takes on Harry’s son Steve (Ben Foster) as an apprentice, despite all his doubts about Steve as a person and social proximity in general, and teaches him everything he knows.

I completely missed that a sequel to this film was coming, so when I saw the posters for that, I was all excited and decided that I really needed to re-watch the first film – and then I missed the sequel because they didn’t show it at decent times in the original version and how can I watch a film with the Stat without hearing his voice? Does not work. In any case, watching The Mechanic a second time is as entertaining as watching it the first time, which is to say: very.

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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 (2015)

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2
Director: Francis Lawrence
Writer: Peter Craig, Danny Strong
Based on: Suzanne Collins’ novel (the second half)
Sequel to: The Hunger Games, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Donald SutherlandPhilip Seymour HoffmanJulianne Moore, Stanley Tucci, Sam Claflin, Jena MaloneWillow ShieldsPaula Malcomson, Mahershala Ali, Jeffrey Wright, Natalie Dormer, Gwendoline Christie
Seen on: 22.11.2015

Plot [with Spoilers for everything up until this part]:
Still reeling from brainwashed Peeta’s (Josh Hutcherson) attack on her, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) has no chance of really gathering herself. Instead she shoots promo videos for the rebellion and their cause. As outright war with the Capitol becomes ever more likely, Katniss decides that she has to put an end to things and the only way it will end is if Katniss kills President Snow (Donald Sutherland).

My expectations were pretty low for this final installation in the series since the second half of the last book was the weakest part of the series by far and that was the only thing that was left to bring to the screen. But Mockingjay Part 2 turned out to be better than I expected.

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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (2014)

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1
Director: Francis Lawrence
Writer: Peter Craig, Danny Strong
Based on: Suzanne Collins’ novel (the first half at least)
Sequel to: The Hunger Games, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Donald SutherlandPhilip Seymour HoffmanJulianne Moore, Stanley Tucci, Sam Claflin, Jena MaloneWillow ShieldsPaula Malcomson, Mahershala Ali, Jeffrey Wright, Natalie Dormer

Plot: [WITH SPOILERS FOR THE PREVIOUS BOOKS]
After the dramatic ending of the last Hunger Games, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) wakes up in the rebels’ headquarters in District 13. She discovers that Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) did not make it there – he was captured by President Snow (Donald Sutherland) and the Capitol. But with Katniss are Gale (Liam Hemsworth) and her family (Willow Shields, Paula Malcomson) – who made it out of District 12 right before it was completely obliterated – and a few other Hunger Game victors. While Katniss tries to make sense of the new world order around her, the rebels try to convince her that she should become the Mockingjay: the official symbol of the rebellion.

Mockingjay Part 1 was a very satisfying film, but it did leave me worried for Part 2, since there is not much left of the story that still worked for me in the book. But we’re not there yet, and this film, despite the occasional lengths, does very well.

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The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Director: Francis Lawrence
Writer: Simon Beaufoy, Michael Arndt
Based on: Suzanne Collins’ novel
Sequel to: The Hunger Games
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Stanley Tucci, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Donald SutherlandPhilip Seymour Hoffman, Toby Jones, Lenny Kravitz, Jeffrey Wright, Amanda Plummer, Sam Claflin, Jena MaloneWillow ShieldsPaula Malcomson

Plot (with SPOILERS for the first one):
With the way the Hunger Games ended Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) has definitely upset the system. So before she, Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and their entourage travel from district to district on their victory tour, Katniss gets a visit from President Snow (Donald Sutherland). He lets her know without a doubt that rebellion of any kind on her part will not be tolerated – and that she has to make this clear to the districts as well, where unrest is brewing. Since it’s not only Katniss’ life that he threatens, but also that of her family and friends, Katniss complies as well as she can. And then the rug is completely pulled from under her when she and Peeta are drawn back into the 75 year special edition of the Games.

Where the second book was slightly worse than the first book, I thought that the second film was even better than the first. It’s a fantastic sequel, great adaptation and a wonderful film.

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Re-Watch: The Hunger Games (2012)

The Hunger Games
Director: Gary Ross
Writer: Gary Ross, Suzanne Collins, Billy Ray
Based on: Suzanne Collins’ novel
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Stanley Tucci, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Donald Sutherland, Wes Bentley, Toby Jones, Lenny Kravitz, Amandla Stenberg
[Here’s my first review.]

Plot:
The USA don’t exist anymore. In its place are 12 districts and the Capitol that has the districts under its thumb. Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) lives in district 12, where at 16 she’s basically taking care of her mother (Paula Malcomson) and sister Prim (Willow Shields). Which means that she breaks the laws daily to go hunting with her best friend Gale (Liam Hemsworth). But Katniss’ life changes radically when the kids for the Hunger Games of that year are reaped. In the Hunger Games every year 24 kids, 2 more or less randomly chosen from each districts, are pitted against each other in a battle to the death until only one remains standing. And in this year 12-year-old Prim is chosen. In desperation Katniss volunteers to take Prim’s place. And so Katniss travels to the Capitol together with Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) the baker’s son – to certain death for at least one of them.

Despite actually getting the story for the third time, I was completely into it again and it made me cry. Again.

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The World Ten Times Over (1963)

The World Ten Times Over
Director: Wolf Rilla
Writer: Wolf Rilla
Cast: Sylvia Syms, June Ritchie, Edward Judd, William Hartnell and about two seconds of Donald Sutherland

Plot:
Billa (Sylvia Syms) and Ginnie (June Ritchie) are roommates and best friends. Both of them drift from guy to guy. Ginnie is currently seeing Bobby (Edward Judd), married son of a rich real estate owner who is very much in love with her – which she doesn’t know how to handle. Billa, on the other hand, is meeting with her father (William Hartnell) and tries to make him see the truth about her life.

This movie could have been really interesting – movies about female friendships usually are to me. Unfortunately this was apparently written by a guy who is convinced that women are mysterious, ethereal creatures who are impossible to understand, so just stop trying and worship them already. Which doesn’t really work.

The-World-Ten-Times-Over

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The Hunger Games (2012)

The Hunger Games
Director: Gary Ross
Writer: Gary Ross, Suzanne Collins, Billy Ray
Based on: Suzanne Collins’ novel
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Stanley Tucci, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Donald Sutherland, Wes Bentley, Toby Jones, Lenny Kravitz, Amandla Stenberg

Plot:
The USA don’t exist anymore. In its place are 12 districts and the Capitol that has the districts under its thumb. Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) lives in district 12, where at 16 she’s basically taking care of her mother (Paula Malcomson) and sister Prim (Willow Shields). Which means that she breaks the laws daily to go hunting with her best friend Gale (Liam Hemsworth). But Katniss’ life changes radically when the kids for the Hunger Games of that year are reaped. In the Hunger Games every year 24 kids, 2 more or less randomly chosen from each districts, are pitted against each other in a battle to the death until only one remains standing. And in this year 12-year-old Prim is chosen. In desperation Katniss volunteers to take Prim’s place. And so Katniss travels to the Capitol together with Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) the baker’s son – to certain death for at least one of them.

The Hunger Games is a tense and excellent movie that could have been better if it had dared to be as grizzly and outlandish as the book. Instead they played it safe. It’s still a really good film but I can’ thelp but feel ever so slightly woeful for missed opportunities.

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The Mechanic (2011)

The Mechanic is Simon West‘s remake of the 1972 Charles Bronson film, starring Jason Statham, Ben Foster, Donald Sutherland and Tony Goldwyn.

Plot:
Arthur Bishop (Jason Statham) is a contract killer, the best there is. Even when his next assignment is his mentor and best friend Harry (Donald Sutherland), he only waits to see the evidence that Harry is guilty until he kills him. Yet, afterwards he takes on Harry’s son Steve (Ben Foster) as an apprentice and teaches him everything he knows.

The Mechanic is everything it promised to be: a rather violent, well-paced and pretty mindless action flick with good looks (Statham*), talent (Foster) and ham (Sutherland). An evening’s worth of perfect entertainment.

[*teashoe, I can just about imagine your face when I say that Statham is good-looking. :P]

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