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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Colonia (2015)

Colonia aka Colonia Dignidad
Director: Florian Gallenberger
Writer: Torsten Wenzel, Florian Gallenberger
Cast: Emma Watson, Daniel Brühl, Michael Nyqvist, Richenda Carey, Vicky Krieps, Jeanne Werner, Julian Ovenden
Seen on: 22.2.2016

Plot:
Flight attendant Lena (Emma Watson) comes to Chile knowing that she has a couple of days until she has to fly back. She meets up with Daniel (Daniel Brühl), a photographer who is involved in the socialist movement in Santiago. But while the two enjoy their time together, a military coup happens and Pinochet rises to power. Suddenly Daniel’s political activism is a huge security risk for both of them. Daniel is promptly abducted. Lena manages to find out that he must have been brought to the Colonia Dignidad, a sect/military prison nobody gets away from, run by Paul Schäfer (Michael Nyqvist). Desperate and without receiving any help from the authorities, Lena decides to make her way there on her own to try and free Daniel.

Colonia got a lot of bad press and while it certainly won’t win any “film of the year” awards, it’s not quite as bad as that. Still, if you miss it, you won’t miss much.

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Regression (2015)

Regression
Director: Alejandro Amenábar
Writer: Alejandro Amenábar
Cast: Ethan Hawke, Emma Watson, David ThewlisDavid Dencik, Aaron Ashmore, Aaron Abrams, Devon Bostick, Dale Dickey, Adam Butcher, Lothaire Bluteau
Seen on: 18.10.2015

Plot:
Angela (Emma Watson) has accused her father John (David Dencik) of abusing and raping her. While Angela remains at the church where she sought refuge, police detective Bruce (Ethan Hawke) tries to figure it out. But John claims to have no recollection of ever assaulting Angela. So Bruce looks to psychology professor Kenneth (David Thewlis) for help. Kenneth suggest hypnotic regression therapy to figure out what is going on. Soon Bruce finds himself deep into a farreaching network of satanistic abuse.

I suspect that I would have liked Regression if the general plot development hadn’t been so completely clear to me from the start. Although even so it wouldn’t have been completely unproblematic.

regression

[SPOILERS]

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Noah (2014)

Noah
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Writer: Darren Aronofsky, Ari Handel
Based on: the bible and other religious/mythological texts
Cast: Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins, Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, Douglas Booth, Nick Nolte, Mark Margolis, Kevin Durand, Marton Csokas

Plot:
Cain’s descendants industrialized and ravaged the earth, while Seth’s descendants try and live a harmonious life with nature. Noah (Russell Crowe) is one of the latter and he and his family are the last ones.That’s when God sends Noah a message: he will send a big flood to renew the Earth and only Noah, his family and the animals of the earth are supposed to survive. But Cain’s descendants, led by Tubal-Cain (Ray Winstone) don’t think much of that plan.

I was serisouly let down by Noah. I’ve loved Aronofsky’s work so far but this film is not only boring over long stretches, it shows severe misogyny.

noah[SPOILERS]

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This Is the End (2013)

This Is the End
Director: Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen
Writer: Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen
Based on: the short film “Jay and Seth vs. The Apocalypse
Cast: Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, Danny McBride, Michael Cera, Emma Watson, Mindy Kaling, David Krumholtz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Rihanna, Martin Starr, Paul Rudd, Channing Tatum, Kevin Hart, Aziz Ansari, Jason Segel, Brandon Trost, Jason Trost

Plot:
Jay Baruchel comes to LA to visit Seth Rogen. He had planned to have a weekend full of movies, video games and weed at Seth’s place, but Seth gets him to go to James Franco’s housewarming party. While they’re there, the apocalypse happens – literally. None of them ascends into heaven, but at least Jay, Seth, James, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson and Danny McBride also don’t fall into the hell pit that opened just outside the door. But what should they do now?

I was afraid that I wouldn’t like This Is the End and I was right. Apart from a few moments of actual fun, there was nothing that I could enjoy about it.

thisistheend

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The Bling Ring (2013)

The Bling Ring
Director: Sofia Coppola
Writer: Sofia Coppola
Based on: Nancy Jo Sales‘ article The Suspect Wore Louboutins
Cast: Katie Chang, Israel Broussard, Emma Watson, Claire Julien, Taissa Farmiga, Leslie Mann, Gavin Rossdale

Plot:
Marc (Israel Broussard) is new to his school but quickly connects with Becca (Katie Chang). The two of them obsess over fashion and celebrities together, which leads to them heading to Paris Hilton’s home when they know she isn’t there. They find the key, they enter, they steal a bit, they tell their friends about it. And then they return and take their friends with them. Pretty soon, robbing celebrities becomes a regular thing for all of them.

I’m not a big fan of Coppola’s work and this movie proved to me again why that was the case. It was weird and boring and generally pretty damn awful.

The-Bling-Ring

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Director: Stephen Chbosky
Writer: Stephen Chbosky
Based on: his novel
Cast: Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ezra Miller, Nina Dobrev, Dylan McDermott, Kate Walsh, Johnny Simmons, Nicholas Braun, Mae Whitman, Julia Garner, Paul Rudd, Melanie Lynskey, Joan Cusack

Plot:
Charlie (Logan Lerman) writes anonymous letters to somebody he doesn’t actually know. He writes about returning to high school after his best friend killed himself the year before. He writes about the books he reads and the special support he gets from his English teacher (Paul Rudd). He writes about his Aunt Helen (Melanie Lynskey) who died. He writes about his sister (Nina Dobrev) and her boyfriend (Nicholas Braun). And when he meets Sam (Emma Watson) and her step-brother Patrick (Ezra Miller) he writes about them, their relationships and how through their friendship he slowly starts living his own life.

After I fell in love with the book so surprisingly but oh so deeply, I have to admit that the movie is not quite as good as that. But it is an excellent piece of work that I did enjoy a whole lot.

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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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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is the last movie in the Harry Potter series originally written by Joanne K. Rowling. The film was directed by David Yates, written by Steve Kloves and starring pretty much every British actor ever Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Ralph Fiennes, Alan Rickman, Michael Gambon, Helena Bonham Carter, Maggie Smith, Matthew Lewis, Tom Felton, Evanna Lynch, Jason Isaacs, Warwick Davis, Bonnie Wright, David Thewlis, Ciarán Hinds, Julie Walters, Kelly Macdonald, John Hurt, Helen McCrory, Domhnall Gleeson, Jim Broadbent, James Phelps, Oliver Phelps, Mark Williams, Robbie Coltrane, Jamie Campbell Bower, Gary Oldman and Emma Thompson.

Plot:
Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) slowly uncovers the final secrets surrounding his life while his fight with Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) draws to an end. After pretty much everything has gone to hell, things – and people – are finally coming together for the final battle while Harry, Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint) try to destroy the remaining horcruxes.

After HPatDH:1 2 pretty much had to be a cinematic revelation (I still can’t believe how boring 1 was), just in comparison. And that worked out. Is it the best movie ever? Well no, David Yates is still its director. But it’s a decent and fitting ending to the series.

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is – as you all probably now – Number 7 in a series of seven books by Joanne K. Rowling. It was made into two movies, this here is Part 1, which was directed by David Yates and stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, (continuing in no particular order) Bill Nighy, Rhys Ifans, Julie Walters, Bonnie Wright, Alan Rickman, Helena Bonham-Carter, Ralph Fiennes, Imelda Staunton, Jason Isaacs, Tom Felton, Jamie Campbell Bower, Timothy Spall, Robbie Coltrane, Brendan Gleeson, David Thewlis, John Hurt, Miranda Richardson, Warwick Davis and Michael Gambon.

Plot:
[Hell, if you don’t know what Harry Potter is about, you might not want to start here. Anyway.]
Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) leave school to find and destroy the horcruxes that keep Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) alive. But the search is more difficult and dangerous than they anticipated.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: I think both the books as well as the movies have reached their peak with number four (though The Prisoner of Azkaban is a close second). HPatDH1 did nothing to change my point of view on that. The pacing’s bad, the direction is worse and there’s no reason to drag this out in two films, since nothing really happens in this one anyway.

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