Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Director: David Yates
Writer: J.K. Rowling
Prequel to: Harry Potter
Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan FoglerAlison Sudol, Colin FarrellSamantha Morton, Ezra MillerFaith Wood-BlagroveJenn MurrayCarmen EjogoJon Voight, Ron PerlmanZoë KravitzJohnny Depp 
Seen on: 26.11.2016

Plot:
Newt (Eddie Redmayne) studies and keeps magical creatures. But the political situation in the UK is becoming more and more difficult for them, so he makes his way to the USA where he hopes to find them a new life, even if it means hiding the creatures from immigration in a magic suitcase. But magical creatures aren’t the only one affected by politics – in fact, there’s only a very tentative peace between the non-magical and the magical world. Everything could be going easily, but Newt takes the wrong suitcase and it’s baker – and decidedly non-magical human – Jacob (Dan Fogler) who walks off with the creatures, while Newt gets arrested by the recently demoted auror Tina (Katherine Waterston). Chaos ensues – chaos that is more closely connected to the political uproar than it first appears.

I’m not a huge Harry Potter fan myself (read all the books and saw all the films though), so the news of Fantastic Beasts didn’t leave me very excited – and neither did the film itself. It’s sweet and I was entertained, but if it wasn’t connected to the Harry Potter phenomenon, I doubt that it would be a film that stays with people.

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The Danish Girl (2015)

The Danish Girl
Director: Tom Hooper
Writer: Lucinda Coxon
Based on: David Ebershoff‘s novel, which was in turn a ficionalized version of Lili Elbe‘s life
Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander, Amber Heard, Ben Whishaw, Adrian Schiller, Matthias Schoenaerts, Sebastian Koch
Seen on: 25.1.2016

Plot:
Einar (Eddie Redmayne) and Gerda (Alicia Vikander) are both painters and a happily married couple. While Einar may be more successful than Gerda, at least for now, that doesn’t keep her from continuing to work. When her dancer friend Ulla (Amber Heard) is late for modelling, Gerda asks Einar for help. He feels silly at first, but as he gets in the role, something happens. Einar creates Lili and slowly Lili fights her way to life inside of him.

The way I just described the plot already shows that The Danish Girl is a deeply problematic film – because that is actually an accurate description of how it portrays being trans*. It boils down to a film that is completely misguided and misinformed about what transgender actually is and tears everything apart that stands in the way of that distorted vision, even the basis in reality that it supposedly has.

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Jupiter Ascending (2015)

Jupiter Ascending
Director: Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski
Writer: Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski
Cast: Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum, Sean Bean, Eddie Redmayne, Douglas Booth, Tuppence Middleton, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Christina Cole, Maria Doyle Kennedy, David Ajala, Doona Bae, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, James D’Arcy, Terry Gilliam
Seen on: 10.02.2015

Plot:
Jupiter (Mila Kunis) and her mother (Maria Doyle Kennedy) work as cleaners for rich people. Russian immigrants themselves, they can only dream of the riches they are cleaning. But there is something about Jupiter that catches the attention of some very powerful people who are not from earth. Former soldier and wolf/human hybrid Caine (Channing Tatum) is only one of a few people trying to get Jupiter. But he makes it his mission to protect Jupiter, whatever may come. And so Jupiter finds herself whisked from earth and crowned space royalty – and that’s only the beginning of the adventure.

I went into Jupiter Ascending armed with vodka and about 50 extremely negative reviews at the back of my head, expecting the worst. And it is true that it is not a particularly good film. But I had so much more honest to goodness fun in the film than I’d ever thought I would have, I can only recommend it.

jupiterascending

[Slight SPOILERS]

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The Theory of Everything (2014)

The Theory of Everything
Director: James Marsh
Writer: Anthony McCarten
Based on: Jane Wilde Hawking‘s autobiography
Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Harry Lloyd, David Thewlis, Emily Watson, Christian McKay, Simon McBurney, Maxine Peake
Seen on: 06.01.2015 [cornholio suggested I add that info to my posts, let me know what you think.]

Plot:
Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) is a brilliant, but a little aimless physics student who not only spends his time studying, but also having fun with his friend Brian (Harry Lloyd). During one of their outings he meets Jane (Felicity Jones) and they fall in love. But then Stephen is diagnosed with an illness said to kill him in a very short time. Supported by Jane, he takes up the fight to survive and finish his studies and surpasses all expectations – not only regarding his health, but also his scientific accomplishments.

The Theory of Everything is a nice film, but it is so completely paint by the numbers, that it is also boring. It never does anything really wrong, but there is also nothing that really makes it stand out.

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Les Misérables (2012)

Les Misérables
Director: Tom Hooper
Writer: William Nicholson, Herbert Kretzmer
Based on: Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg‘s musical which is in turn based on Victor Hugo‘s novel
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Eddie Redmayne, Sacha Baron Cohen, Helena Bonham Carter, Aaron Tveit, Samantha Barks, Daniel Huttlestone, Isabelle Allen, Colm Wilkinson

Plot:
Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) has just been released on parole after years in the galleys for stealing some bread. Police inspector Javert (Russell Crowe) doesn’t really want to see him go as he doesn’t trust in his rehabilitation. And he almost seems to be right – as Valjean takes the frist chance he gets to steal from a priest (Colm Wilkinson). But when said priest shows him mercy, Valjean takes the chance to build a life for himself, though skipping parole. Years later, he is a successful factory owner and mayor, when Javert comes to his town. At the same time, Valejan gets drawn into the life of one of his factory employees, Fantine (Anne Hathaway) and her little daughter Cosette (Isabelle Allen/Amanda Seyfried) and decides to help her.

Les Misérables is pretty epic, as can only be expected from a musical based on a Hugo novel. And while the cast mostly does very well with the epicness, neither Tom Hooper nor cinematographer Danny Cohen were up for the task.

les-miserables

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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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