Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House (2017)

Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House
Director: Peter Landesman
Writer: Peter Landesman
Based on: Mark Felt‘s autobiography (written with John O’Connor)
Cast: Liam Neeson, Diane Lane, Marton Csokas, Tony Goldwyn, Ike Barinholtz, Josh Lucas, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Kate Walsh, Brian d’Arcy James, Maika Monroe, Michael C. Hall, Tom Sizemore, Julian Morris, Bruce Greenwood, Noah Wyle, Eddie Marsan
Seen on: 15.11.2017
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Plot:
Mark Felt (Liam Neeson) expected to be promoted to the head of the FBI when J. Edgar Hoover stepped down. Instead FBI outsider L. Patrick Gray (Marton Csokas) is. But even though he feels resentful about being passed over, it’s Gray’s handling of one of his first cases – a surveillance operation based, apparently, on unofficial orders from the White House – that really sours things for Felt. He decides to bring the information about the Watergate case anonymously. to the public.

Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House shows that spying and whistle-blowing can be absolutely boring affairs. So boring, it’s astounding. I am honestly still in a state of disbelief how that happened.

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The Limehouse Golem (2016)

The Limehouse Golem
Director: Juan Carlos Medina
Writer: Jane Goldman
Based on: Peter Ackroyd‘s novel Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem
Cast: Douglas BoothOlivia CookeSam ReidMaría ValverdeDaniel MaysBill NighyPeter SullivanEddie Marsan
Seen on: 6.9.2017
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Plot:
Limehouse, London has turned into a terrifying place after a series of murders has taken place. Inspector John Kildare (Bill Nighy) is finally called in to investigate and he senses a connection to music hall star Elizabeth Cree (Olivia Cooke) who has been accused of poisoning he husband on the very night of the last of the killings. He starts interviewing Lizzie and is soon determined to solve both cases.

The Limehouse Golem is okay, neither particularly great, nor particularly bad – although it would have probably benefitted from a push in either direction. As is, it is a little too bland to be really memorable.

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Atomic Blonde (2017)

Atomic Blonde
Director: David Leitch
Writer: Kurt Johnstad
Based on: Antony Johnston and Sam Hart’s graphic novel The Coldest City
Cast: Charlize TheronJames McAvoyEddie MarsanJohn GoodmanToby JonesJames FaulknerRoland MøllerSofia BoutellaBill SkarsgårdSam HargraveJóhannes Haukur JóhannessonTil SchweigerBarbara Sukowa
Seen on: 4.9.2017
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Plot:
Lorraine (Charlize Theron) is a secret agent for MI6 who is sent to Cold War Berlin after the death of a colleague. She’s supposed to recover a list of MI6 agents that went missing. But the situation in Berlin is unclear, starting with the questionable trustworthiness of her contact David (James McAvoy). As Elaine tries to navigate the intricacies of a city at a (political) boiling point, things get more complicated with every step.

Atomic Blonde was a disappointment in pretty much every regard. It’s stupid and boring and I very much hated almost everything about it.

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Their Finest (2016)

Their Finest
Director: Lone Scherfig
Writer: Gaby Chiappe
Based on: Lissa Evans‘ novel Their Finest Hour and a Half
Cast: Gemma ArtertonSam ClaflinBill NighyRichard E. GrantHenry GoodmanRachael StirlingJack HustonAmanda RootEddie MarsanHelen McCroryJeremy Irons
Seen on: 19.7.2017
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Plot:
It’s the middle of World War II, times are tough and Catrin (Gemma Arterton) needs a job as her husband Ellis (Jack Huston), an artist, doesn’t make enough money to keep them afloat. She gets hired as a scriptwriter for propaganda films and quickly gets saddled with the task of writing the supposedly unimportant women’s dialogue. When she hears about a story about two young women who participated in the Dunkirk evacuation, she brings the idea for an entire film – which makes her co-author to Tom (Sam Claflin) and handler to the aging star Ambrose (Bill Nighy).

Their Finest is a beautiful, fantastic film that touches on many things, but most of all it pulls on heartstrings in the perfect way.

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Concussion (2015)

Concussion
Director: Peter Landesman
Writer: Peter Landesman
Based on: Jeanne Marie Laskas‘ article Game Brain
Cast: Will Smith, Alec Baldwin, Albert Brooks, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Morse, Arliss Howard, Mike O’Malley, Eddie Marsan, Hill Harper, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Stephen Moyer, Richard T. Jones, Paul Reiser, Luke Wilson
Seen on: 22.2.2016

Plot:
Dr. Bennett Omalu (Will Smith) is a pathologist, specialized in neuropathology. He works in Pittsburgh where he is known for being thorough but maybe also a little strange. One day, a former football player’s body – Mike Webster (David Morse) – comes to Omalu. As he conducts his autopsy, Omalu is more and more intrigued by the case: Webster went from fame and glory to absolute destitution, apparent psychosis and suicide in only a short amount of time. And Omalu suspects that brain damage is the reason for his behavior – damage that he got from playing football. But the NFL is not only not interested in hearing his concerns, they are trying to prevent him from finding out more about it.

Concussion tells an interesting story and it does tell it rather effectively. It is hampered by the fact though that it is a very recent story and that obviously they were trying very hard not to scratch too much at recent wounds.

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Re-Watch: Mission: Impossible III (2006)

Mission: Impossible III
Director: J.J. Abrams
Writer: Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, J.J. Abrams
Based on: The TV Series
Sequel to: Mission: Impossible, Mission: Impossible II
Cast: Tom Cruise, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Billy Crudup, Ving Rhames, Michelle Monaghan, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Keri Russell, Maggie Q, Simon Pegg, Eddie Marsan, Laurence FishburneSasha Alexander, Tracy Middendorf, Aaron Paul, Timothy Omundson
Seen on: 4.8.2015

Plot:
Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) has retired from active field duty. Instead he teaches spy hopefuls and is about to marry Julia (Michelle Monaghan). But then IMF director Musgrave (Billy Crudup) contacts him: his student Lindsey (Keri Russell) was captured by blackmarket dealer Owen Davian (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and Hunt has to save her. Hunt reluctantly accepts and gets to work together with his team, consisting of Declan (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), Zhen (Maggie Q) and Luther (Ving Rhames). But the recapture goes wrong and Hunt soon finds himself in deeper than he ever expected.

Mission: Impossible III is a definite step up again after the second film (although that is not saying too much – it would have taken serious commitment to be worse than the second film). But depite the awesome cast, especially the antagonists, M:I-3 might be the film of the series that is most easily forgotten.

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Filth (2013)

Filth
Director: Jon S. Baird
Writer: Jon S. Baird
Based on: Irvine Welsh‘s novel
Cast: James McAvoy, Imogen Poots, Jamie Bell, Jim Broadbent, Eddie Marsan, Joanne Froggatt, Shirley Henderson, Iain De Caestecker, Gary Lewis

Plot:
Bruce Robertson (James McAvoy) is every bad stereotype of a police man: he’s a misanthropic, sexist, racist, power-obsessed asshole who is supposed to investigate the death of a Japanese tourist. Instead he’d rather think about how to get the promotion to Detective Inspector, even though he doesn’t actually like doing his job. But Bruce is not only an asshole, all is not right with him in general. As his convoluted intrigues become ever more complicated, his mental state continues to deteriorate.

Filth isn’t always easily stomached and the ending didn’t blow me away, but other than that I really liked it. It was well-made, well-acted and kept you on the edge of your seat.

Filth

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The World’s End (2013)

The World’s End
Director: Edgar Wright
Writer: Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg
Cast: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Paddy ConsidineMartin Freeman, Rafe SpallEddie MarsanRosamund PikePierce Brosnan, Bill Nighy, Michael Smiley, Steve Oram, Alice Lowe, David Bradley, Julia Deakin, Reece Shearsmith, Peter Serafinowicz, Mark Heap, Ben Whishaw (at least I’m pretty damn certain it was him)
Part of: The Cornetto Trilogy
[Here are my reviews of the other two movies in the trilogy.]

Plot:
When they were still young and living in Newton Haven, Gary King (Simon Pegg) and his friends Andy (Nick Frost), Peter (Eddie Marsan), Ollie (Martin Freeman) and Steven (Paddy Considine) tried themselves at a pub crawl and came short. 20 years later, Gary is still obsessed with the idea of finishing and convinces the old gang to come. But things are a little weird in Newton Haven – weirder than in other small towns.

Since I love both Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, I was very worried that it this film wouldn’t be able to fulfill my expectations. But fortunately it did. It was awesome.

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Jack the Giant Slayer (2013)

Jack the Giant Slayer
Director: Bryan Singer
Writer: Darren Lemke, Christopher McQuarrie, Dan Studney
Based on: the fairy tale
Cast: Nicholas Hoult, Eleanor Tomlinson, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Ian McShane, Eddie Marsan, Warwick Davis, Bill Nighy

Plot:
Jack (Nicholas Hoult) has always dreamed of giants, but his life is stuck more in reality. That is until he stumbles upon Princess Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson) and her knight protector (Ewan McGregor) at a play and saves her, then trades in his horse for a few magic beans and then Isabelle – who has been promised to the shady Roderick (Stanley Tucci) – shows up alone on his doorstep, looking for adventure. And suddenly Jack finds himself with his hands more than full, a magic beanstalk leading to the giants’ country in his garden and a mission to save the princess.

Jack the Giant Slayer is a movie of almosts. It is almost smart in the way it adapts the tale. Isabelle is almost an actual character. Nicholas Hoult almost actually acts. Ewan McGregor and Stanley Tucci are almost enough to make this movie worthwhile. But in the end, it just falls short of everything.

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[Slightly spoiler-y, I guess.]

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Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)

Snow White and the Huntsman
Director: Rupert Sanders
Writer: Evan Daugherty, John Lee Hancock, Hossein Amini
Based on: the Snow White fairy tale
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth, Sam Claflin, Sam Spruell, Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, Ray Winstone, Nick Frost, Eddie Marsan, Toby Jones, Johnny Harris, Brian Gleeson, Vincent Regan

Plot:
10 years ago, Ravenna (Charlize Theron) killed the good king, imprisoned his daughter Snow White (Kristen Stewart) and took over the kingdom with her evil magic. But now that Snow White turned 18, she managed to escape her imprisonment. Since Ravenna desperately needs Snow White’s youth and beauty for her own magic, she sends the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) after her. But soon he rather joins Snow White in her fight against Ravenna.

Snow White and the Huntsman is the kind of film that opens with an apple tree in full bloom and ripe apples at the same time which tells you everything you need to know about the film: it puts style so high over substance that it leaves all logic far, far behind. Which would have been okay, if it wasn’t also incredibly boring.

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