Dolittle (2020)

Dolittle
Director: Stephen Gaghan
Writer: Stephen Gaghan, Dan Gregor, Doug Mand, Chris McKay
Based on: Hugh Lofting‘s books
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Harry Collett, Carmel Laniado, Antonio Banderas, Michael Sheen, Jim Broadbent, Jessie Buckley, Kasia Smutniak, Emma Thompson, Rami Malek, John Cena, Kumail Nanjiani, Octavia Spencer, Tom Holland, Craig Robinson, Ralph Fiennes, Selena Gomez, Marion Cotillard, Frances de la Tour, Jason Mantzoukas
Seen on: 13.2.2020
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Plot:
Doctor Dolittle (Robert Downey Jr.) has a gift: he’s a veterinarian who can talk to the animals directly. But every since his wife (Kasia Smutniak) was lost at sea, he hasn’t worked anymore. This changes quickly, when he gets two visitors in a day: the first one is Tommy (Harry Collett) who brings in a hurt squirrel, and the second is Lady Rose (Carmel Laniado) who brings the news that the Queen (Jessie Buckley) may well be dying if Dolittle doesn’t help – and that would mean that he’d lose his entire estate. Forced from his isolation, Dolittle takes on the case – and Tommy makes sure to be part of it.

Dolittle has potential – Downey Jr. surrounded by animals voiced by a whole lot of excellent people? What can go wrong? A lot, apparently. Maybe this film should serve as a case study for that.

The film poster showing Doctor Dolittle (Robert Downey Jr.) surrounded by various animals.
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Last Christmas (2019)

Last Christmas
Director: Paul Feig
Writer: Emma Thompson, Bryony Kimmings
Based on: the Wham! song (kinda)
Cast: Emilia Clarke, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh, Emma Thompson, Boris Isakovic, Patti LuPone, Sue Perkins, Lydia Leonard
Seen on: 16.11.2019

Plot:
Kate (Emilia Clarke) works as an elf in an all-year Christmas story run by Santa (Michelle Yeoh). She dreams of being a singer, but spends most of her time drinking, having random hook-ups and generally being a little flaky. She’s also technically homeless and distances herself from her family. That’s when she meets Tom (Henry Golding). She feels drawn to him, even though she also thinks he’s weird and she’s a little put off by his goody two shoes nature. But their connection is nevertheless undeniable.

Last Christmas is rather cute until it jumps the shark. I mean, it’s still enjoyable thanks to Clarke and Golding, but the big reveal did have me facepalming. A lot.

The film poster showing Kate (Emilia Clarke) and Tom (Henry Golding) on a park bench.
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Late Night (2019)

Late Night
Director: Nisha Ganatra
Writer: Mindy Kaling
Cast: Emma Thompson, Mindy Kaling, John Lithgow, Hugh Dancy, Reid Scott, Denis O’Hare, Max Casella, Paul Walter Hauser, John Early, Luke Slattery, Ike Barinholtz, Marc Kudisch, Amy Ryan, Bill Maher, Seth Meyers
Seen on: 2.9.2019

Plot:
Katherine Newbury (Emma Thompson) is the only woman in the sea of late night hosts, but her success in dwindling. When it is pointed out that she only works with men, it’s the kind of thing that could be the last nail in the coffin of her career. So a woman is needed to make her all-white, all-male writer’s room a little more diverse. That woman is Molly (Mindy Kaling) who, knowing nothing of th reasons behind her employment at first, is overjoyed. And she brings along enough energy and enthusiasm to get things moving in the right direction for Katherine as well.

Late Night is no cinematic revelation, but it is very entertaining and it profits immensly from the fact that it is made by women of color who bring their perspective into the film in a much-needed way.

The film poster showing Molly (Mindy Kaling) leaning her head on Katherine's (Emma Thompson) shoulder. Molly is smiling, Katherine looks astonished.
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Re-Watch: Sense and Sensibility (1995)

Sense and Sensibility
Director: Ang Lee
Writer: Emma Thompson [here’s my review of her screenplay and production diaries]
Based on: Jane Austen’s novel
Cast: Kate Winslet, Emma Thompson, Gemma Jones, Hugh Grant, Alan Rickman, Greg Wise, Emilie François, James Fleet, Tom Wilkinson, Harriet Walter, Imelda Staunton, Imogen Stubbs, Hugh Laurie, Robert Hardy, Elizabeth Spriggs
Seen on: 20.7.2019
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Plot:
Sisters Elinor (Emma Thompson) and Marianne (Kate Winslet) couldn’t be any more different. Elinor is always calm, collected and responsible, while Marianne is passionate and impulsive. It is no surprise that they find very different men to like as well – Elinor falling for Edward Ferrars (Hugh Grant) and Marianne for Willoughby (Greg Wise). But whether they will be lucky with their loves is another question entirely.

I am honestly surprised that I never reviewed this film here on this blog so far – I am sure I have watched it several times since I started this blog. Be that as it may, it is one of my favorite films and I don’t know how many times I saw it already. But I love it every time I watch it again and this time is no different.

The film poster showing Marianne (Kate Winslet) in one image as she laughs, and Elinor (Emma Thompson) in another image, smiling softly.
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Sense and Sensibility the Screenplay and Diaries (Emma Thompson)

Sense and Sensibility the Screenplay and Diaries collects Emma Thompson‘s screenplay for the 1995 film, adapted from Jane Austen’s novel, as well as Thompson’s diaries for the production of the film.
Finished on: 20.7.2019

I really love the film (I’m rather surprised that I never reviewed it here), so when I heard that the script was published, and that there was even additional material in the form of Thompson’s diaries for the production, I knew I had to track it down. And I’m absolutely glad I did. The script itself is an extremely nice read, but the real treat are the diaries – a warm look behind the scenes with a wonderful sense of humor.

The book cover showing two stills from the film, Kate Winslet as Marianne Dashwood and Emma Thompson herself as Elinor Dashwood.
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Men in Black: International (2019)

Men in Black: International
Director: F. Gary Gray
Writer: Matt Holloway, Art Marcum
Based on: Lowell Cunningham‘s comic
Sequel to: Men in Black, Men in Black II, Men in Black III
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Kumail Nanjiani, Rebecca Ferguson, Rafe Spall, Emma Thompson, Liam Neeson
Seen on: 19.6.2019

Plot:
When she was just a little child, Molly (Tessa Thompson) had an encounter with an alien and the Men in Black. She has been trying to find out more about the organization ever since. One night, she finally hits gold and manages to find a MiB investigation in real time, following it to the MiB headquarters where she is finally uncovered. She can even convince Agent O (Emma Thompson) to let her work there on a probationary basis. Molly, now Agent M, is sent to London where she starts to work with Agent H (Chris Hemsworth). The two soon realize that there is a threat to the MiB – and it may not be alien, but coming from the inside of the organization.

Men in Black: International is fun and nice enough to watch. It’s probably the best MiB since the first, though still a couple of leagues behind that one. I enjoyed it, but I’m not too excited about it.

The film poster showing Agent M (Tessa Thompson) and Agent H (Chris Hemsworth)  cradling huge weapons on their shoulders, Agent High T (Liam Neeson, smaller, holding a memory eraser, Agent O (Emma Thompson) looking sternly as well as a couple of aliens and a pug wearing a suit.
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The Children Act (2017)

The Children Act
Director: Richard Eyre
Writer: Ian McEwan
Based on: his own novel
Cast: Emma Thompson, Stanley Tucci, Fionn Whitehead, Rosie Cavaliero, Ben Chaplin
Seen on: 20.9.2018

Plot:
Fiona (Emma Thompson) is a judge who lives for her work. Her husband Jack (Stanley Tucci) has been fully supportive of that – so far. But he doesn’t want things to continue as they are. Fiona can’t deal with that revelation as she’s just taken on a new case about Adam (Fionn Whitehead), a teenager just shy of his 18th birthday refusing a blood transfusion for religious reasons – a transfusion that he needs to survive. Fiona has to decide whether he should be forced to have the transfusion despite his wishes. The only way to speak with him personally is if she visits him in the hospital – a visit that has a profound impact on both her and Adam.

The Children Act is a well-done film that tells an emotional story. It was a good film, but I think my favorite part of watching it were the reactions of the school class who watched it in the cinema with me.

The film poster showing Emma Thompson as a judge in court.
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Beauty and the Beast (2017)

Beauty and the Beast
Director: Bill Condon
Writer: Stephen Chbosky, Evan Spiliotopoulos
Based on: Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont‘s fairy tale
Remake of: Beauty and the Beast
Cast: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Kevin Kline, Hattie Morahan, Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson, Nathan Mack, Audra McDonald, Stanley Tucci, Gugu Mbatha-Raw
Seen on: 29.3.2017

Plot:
Belle (Emma Watson) lives in a small village with her father Maurice (Kevin Kline), an inventor. Her life wouldn’t be so bad if the local library had more books and if village beau Gaston (Luke Evans) wasn’t constantly harrassing her with marriage proposals. Then one day, Maurice doesn’t return from the market as planned. When Belle sets out to find him, what she finds is an enchanted castle, where a Beast (Dan Stevens) is holding her father captive. Fearless as she is, Belle takes Maurice place. And she might just be what the Beast needed to break the curse that weighs on them all.

This live-action version of the film isn’t strictly necessary and there were a couple of things that really didn’t go all that well, but the film was nevertheless enjoyable and managed to capture the magic of the animated version at least in part.

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Bridget Jones’s Baby (2016)

Bridget Jones’s Baby
Director: Sharon Maguire
Writer: Helen Fielding, Dan Mazer, Emma Thompson
Based on: Helen Fielding‘s novels
Sequel to: Bridget Jones’s Diary, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
Cast: Renée ZellwegerColin FirthPatrick Dempsey, Gemma Jones, Jim Broadbent, Sally Phillips, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Shirley HendersonJessica Hynes, Ed Sheeran, Emma Thompson, Celia Imrie
Seen on: 5.11.2016

Plot:
Bridget (Renée Zellweger) is in her early 40s now, still single, still childless and she’s just been to the funeral of her ex Daniel where she met her other Ex Mark (Colin Firth) who is married now. So it’s a good thing that she’s focusing on her career, even though things aren’t entirely problem-free there. So Bridget needs a break and she catches not one, but two in short succession: First she meets the handsome Jack (Patrick Dempsey) and sleeps with him and then Mark tells her that he’s actually getting divorced and the two reconnect. In bed. But things will never be easy for Bridget: it turns out that she’s pregnant and she really doesn’t know who the father is.

It’s been many years that I saw the first two movies, but I remember them very fondly. And Bridget Jones’s baby was a very worthy successor: superfunny and very sweet.

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Burnt (2015)

Burnt
Director: John Wells
Writer: Steven Knight
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Daniel Brühl, Riccardo Scamarcio, Omar Sy, Sam Keeley, Henry Goodman, Matthew Rhys, Stephen Campbell Moore, Emma Thompson, Uma Thurman, Alicia Vikander, Lily James
Seen on: 16.12.2015

Plot:
Adam (Bradley Cooper) was the rising star in the cooking world before alcohol and drugs got the better of him. When his career was completely destroyed (plus the career of some of his friends for good measure), he set himself  the penance of shucking a million oysters. Three years later he is sober and as he reaches the final oyster, he is ready to give his career a new start. Activating all his old connections and bullying himself into a restaurant kitchen, he is ready to get that third Michelin star.

Burnt is a film about an asshole that for some reason is be believed the coolest person on the planet. The best that I can say about it is that it’s watchable and the cast is good. Other than that, though, I was mostly annoyed by it.

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