The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (2018)

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms
Director: Lasse Hallström, Joe Johnston
Writer: Ashleigh Powell
Based on: E.T.A. Hoffmann‘s novella The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, as well as the ballet based on this story by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Cast: Mackenzie Foy, Tom Sweet, Meera Syal, Ellie Bamber, Matthew Macfadyen, Morgan Freeman, Jayden Fowora-Knight, Helen Mirren, Jack Whitehall, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Keira Knightley, Misty Copeland, Max Westwell, Aaron Smyth, Sergei Polunin
Seen on: 26.11.2018
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Plot:
Clara’s (Mackenzie Foy) mother passed away not too long ago, but her father (Matthew Macfadyen) has one last Christmas present from the her for Clara and her siblings. While her siblings’ presents are rather self-explanatory, Clara gets a golden egg that’s supposed to open, but doesn’t. Her godfather Drosselmeyer (Morgan Freeman) is the one who made it, so Clara hopes that at his annual Christmas party, she might find more answers. Indeed, he leads her to the key, but before she can reach it, Clara finds herself transported into a completely different world – a world her mother apparently knew intimately. Clara meets the soldier Philipp (Jayden Fowora-Knight), as well as the regents of three of the four realms of that world. Quickly she is deeply involved in the politics of the four realms.

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is nice, but doesn’t really come together. Nevertheless, it is entertaining and cute in an entirely unimpactful way.

The film poster showing the main characters in very colorful outfits.
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Nocturnal Animals (2016)

Nocturnal Animals
Director: Tom Ford
Writer: Tom Ford
Based on: Austin Wright‘s novel Tony and Susan
Cast: Amy AdamsJake GyllenhaalMichael ShannonAaron Taylor-JohnsonIsla FisherEllie BamberArmie HammerKarl GlusmanRobert AramayoLaura LinneyAndrea RiseboroughMichael Sheen
Seen on: 29.12.2016

Plot:
Art gallery owner Susan Morrow (Amy Adams) receives a package in the mail. It contains the draft of her ex-husband Edward Sheffield’s (Jake Gyllenhaal) new novel and the information that he is in town and would like to meet her. Susan hasn’t spoken to him in almost 20 years and she is surprised by the novel and the meeting, but she starts to read the novel that was apparently inspired by her. It tells the story of Tony Hastings (Jake Gyllenhaal) who goes on a roadtrip with his wife Laura (Isla Fisher) and daughter India (Ellie Bamber) – a roadtrip that turns violent when they get into trouble with another car and its passengers.

Nocturnal Animals is a highly polished film that tells a story that goes under the skin. It’s definitely not a film that lets go of you easily, even if not everything about it works without a hitch.

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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016)

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Director: Burr Steers
Writer: Burr Steers
Based on: Seth Grahame-Smith’s novel, which is in turn an adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel
Cast: Lily James, Sam Riley, Bella Heathcote, Ellie Bamber, Millie Brady, Suki Waterhouse, Douglas Booth, Sally Phillips, Charles Dance, Jack Huston, Lena Headey, Matt Smith, Emma Greenwell
Seen on: 12.6.2016

Plot:
Early 19th century, England: A strange plague has befallen the land and the dead are rising. In the middle of all this confusion is the Bennett family. Mr Bennett (Charles Dance) has trained his daughters Elizabeth (Lily James), Jane (Bella Heathcote), Lydia (Ellie Bamber), Mary (Millie Brady) and Kitty (Suki Waterhouse) in the deadly arts, but their mother (Sally Phillips) tries everything to get them married. So it is just as well, when two new young men enter their social lives – Mr Bingley (Douglas Booth), amiable and sweet and Mr Darcy (Sam Riley), arrogant and proud. Will the Bennett sisters find their perfect guys and not get eaten by unmentionables?

After my experience with Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, I was very much prepared for needing all my sarcasm and irony (and alcohol) to enjoy Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Turns out that many of my fears were unfunded – P&P&Z is often intentionally hilarious, even if it does have some weaknesses.

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