The Black Phone (2021)

The Black Phone
Director: Scott Derrickson
Writer: Scott Derrickson, C. Robert Cargill
Based on: Joe Hill‘s short story
Cast: Mason Thames, Madeleine McGraw, Ethan Hawke, Jeremy Davies, E. Roger Mitchell, Troy Rudeseal, James Ransone, Miguel Cazarez Mora, Rebecca Clarke, J. Gaven Wilde, Spencer Fitzgerald, Jordan Isaiah White, Brady M. Ryan, Tristan Pravong, Jacob Moran, Brady Hepner, Banks Repeta
Seen on: 27.6.2022

Plot:
Finney (Mason Thames) and his sister Gwen (Madeleine McGraw) live in a small town with their alcoholic father (Jeremy Davies). Boys have been going missing from the town for a while, and there are persistent rumors of The Grabber who nabs them. Finney finds that The Grabber (Ethan Hawke) is very real indeed when he himself is taken and locked into a sound-proof cellar. Desperate, Finney sees no way to escape. But then the disconnected phone on the wall starts ringing, and The Grabber’s previous victims start to give Finney advice. Meanwhile, Gwen tries everything to find Finney, and since she sometimes sees things in her dreams, she might actually be able to help.

The Black Phone is an atmospheric and very scary film that you shouldn’t look at too closely when it comes to plot.

The film poster showing The Grabber (Ethan Hawke) wearing his mask, his hands dissolving into a red liquid.
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Taking Lives (2004)

Taking Lives
Director: D.J. Caruso
Writer: Jon Bokenkamp
Based on: Michael Pye’s novel
Cast: Angelina Jolie, Ethan Hawke, Kiefer Sutherland, Gena Rowlands, Olivier Martinez, Tchéky Karyo, Jean-Hugues Anglade, Paul Dano, Justin Chatwin
Seen on: 24.5.2022

Plot:
When French police uncover a case that point to a serial killer, they ask FBI profiler Illeana (Angelina Jolie) for support, much to the annoyance of leading detective Paquette (Olivier Martinez). By chance, they find a new lead. Artist Costa (Ethan Hawke) was witness to an attack by the killer and can give a description. But this also puts him in the crosshairs. As the investigation intensifies, Illeana finds herself drawn to Costa. But will this attraction compromise her abilities?

Taking Lives is okay. The idea isn’t bad and the cast good, but the movie tries to surprise where its obvious and Illeana is filtered through the male gaze a whole lot which makes it a little tedious.

The film poster showing Illeana (Angelina Jolie) with a hand wrapped around her wrist, close to her neck.
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The Northman (2022)

The Northman
Director: Robert Eggers
Writer: Sjón, Robert Eggers
Cast: Alexander Skarsgård, Nicole Kidman, Claes Bang, Ethan Hawke, Anya Taylor-Joy, Gustav Lindh, Elliott Rose, Willem Dafoe, Björk
Seen on: 26.4.2022

Content Note: rape

Plot:
Amleth (Alexander Skarsgård) only barely escaped with his life when his uncle Fjölnir (Claes Bang) murdered his brother, Amleth’s father, King Aurvandil (Ethan Hawke) and took over the kingdom. Amleth, only a boy then, had to leave his mother Gudrún (Nicole Kidman) behind, but swore to save her and take his revenge. Now he is grown up and makes his living as a viking. During a raid, he hears news from his uncle and, pretending to be a slave like Olga (Anya Taylor-Joy) and many others, lets himself be carted off to finally fulfill the promise he gave as a boy.

I was hoping for The Northman to be a bit of a bloodfest, knowing that with Eggers, I’d probably get a bit of a challenge as well. But unfortunately, mostly what I got with The Northman is darkness – and I mean that quite literally. It’s a film we barely see and that was pretty boring to boot.

The film poster showing Amleth (Alexander Skarsgård) standing on a cliff, watching a fleet in the sea.
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The Guilty (2021)

The Guilty
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Writer: Nic Pizzolatto
Remake of: Den skyldige
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Riley Keough, Peter Sarsgaard, Christina Vidal, Eli Goree, Ethan Hawke
Seen on: 21.12.2021

Plot:
Joe Baylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a police officer. Due to some disciplinary issues, he has to man the 911 dispatch desk for a while. But he has finally come to his last shift before he can return to his actual job. Or at least that’s what he hopes – the decision should be coming in, and he hopes to be going out. When he receives a call from a kidnapped woman (Riley Keough) he quickly becomes very involved in the case, though.

The Guilty is practically a locked room drama with almost only one visible actor, the rest coming in over the phone. It demands a lot of Gyllenhaal, but he is absolutely up for the task. The film has some interesting things to say about police work and masculinity, but is still not radical enough for my taste.

The film poster showing Joe Baylor's (Jake Gyllenhaal) face made from letters, with the words "Listen" and "Carefully" emphasized.
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Maudie (2016)

Maudie
Director: Aisling Walsh
Writer: Sherry White
Cast: Sally Hawkins, Ethan Hawke, Kari Matchett, Gabrielle Rose, Zachary Bennett, Billy MacLellan
Seen on: 18.11.2017
1-gif-review

Plot:
Maud (Sally Hawkins) needs to get out from under her family’s wing. She sees her opportunity when she learns that grumpy Everett (Ethan Hawke) is looking for a housekeeper. Even though he is hesitant to take her on because of her disability, he doesn’t exactly have much choice and Maud is persistent, so they give it a try. In her off time, Maud starts to paint and polishes her personal style, while also finding a home in the community and with Everett.

Althoughe Maudie is a sweet film, I’m not entirely happy with it. Some things I knew going in would bother me, other things crept up on me during the film. Nevertheless I found it entertaining.

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Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Director: Luc Besson
Writer: Luc Besson
Based on:  Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mézières‘s comic Valérian and Laureline
Cast: Dane DeHaanCara DelevingneClive OwenRihannaEthan HawkeHerbie HancockKris WuSam SpruellAlain ChabatRutger HauerPeter HudsonXavier GiannoliLouis LeterrierEric RochantBenoît JacquotOlivier MegatonElizabeth DebickiMathieu KassovitzJohn Goodman
Seen on: 31.7.2017
1-gif-review

Plot:
Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Care Delevingne) are operatives, charged with maintaining peace across the universe. A new mission brings them into possession of a converter, the last creature of its kind. But they can’t expect to be the only ones who want that converter. Their mission brings them to Alpha, a city made for all kinds of species that harbors a secret in its heart.

The fact that this film thought that it would be the right move to take the comic Valerian and Laureline and transform it into Valerian alone, is already pretty indicative of the decision making in the entire film: it might look cool at first glance, but it’s short-sighted, stupid and offensive.

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The Magnificent Seven (2016)

The Magnificent Seven
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Writer: Nic Pizzolatto, Richard Wenk
Remake of: The Magnificent Seven
Based on: Shichinin no samurai
Cast: Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio, Byung-hun Lee, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Martin Sensmeier, Haley Bennett, Peter Sarsgaard, Luke Grimes, Matt Bomer, Cam Gigandet, Sean Bridgers
Seen on: 14.10.2016

Plot:
Rose Creek is slowly being squeezed dry by Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard). When one of the citizens (Matt Bomer) refuses to cooperate with Bogue, he is shot. His widow Emma (Haley Bennett) decides to go and look for help, somebody to take on Bogue. By chance she finds Chisolm (Denzel Washington) and becomes a witness to his skills as a gunman. She begs for his help and Chisolm agrees reluctantly. But first he’ll have to get together a team and so he gets in touch with a few old friends.

I have neither seen Seven Samurai, nor the old Magnificent Seven, so I was fresh to the story with this film and I really wasn’t particularly taken with it.

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In a Valley of Violence (2016)

In a Valley of Violence
Director: Ti West
Writer: Ti West
Cast: Ethan Hawke, John Travolta, Taissa Farmiga, James Ransone, Karen Gillan, Toby Huss, Tommy Nohilly, Larry Fessenden, Burn Gorman
Part of: the surprise movie at the /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 29.9.2016
[Review by cornholio.]

Plot:
Paul (Ethan Hawke) and his dog are travelling on their own when their paths cross with a drunk priest (Burn Gorman) who tries to rob them. Although Paul gets the better of him, after the encounter he decides to pass through the small town of Denton. But trouble follows him there and he finds himself provoked by deputy Gilly (James Ransone). After a quick fight and a polite visit by the Sheriff (John Travolta), things seem to be resolved. But maybe Paul can’t shake Denton quite as quickly as he thought.

In a Valley of Violence is basically John Wick in the Wild West, but since I’m not much of a Western fan, that transfer didn’t completely work for me, although there is much to enjoy about the film.

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Maggie’s Plan (2015)

Maggie’s Plan
Director: Rebecca Miller
Writer: Rebecca Miller, Karen Rinaldi
Cast: Greta GerwigEthan HawkeJulianne Moore, Travis Fimmel, Bill Hader, Maya Rudolph, Wallace Shawn, Fredi Walker-Browne
Seen on: 12.8.2016

Plot:
Maggie (Greta Gerwig) wants a child and she doesn’t want to wait until she meets the right man for her, she wants it now. So she asks old acquaintance Guy (Travis Fimmel) if he would be willing to give her his sperm and he agrees. But right around this time, she meets John (Ethan Hawke) and falls for him – and he for her. John leaves his wife Georgette (Julianne Moore) and the two move in together. A few years later, Maggie has a lovely daughter, but her love for John has cooled substantially. So she hatches the plan that maybe she could get him back together with Georgette.

Maggie’s Plan is an absolutely adorable, wonderful, funny and sweet film. It proves that a light film doesn’t necessarily have to be stupid.

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Re-Watch: Alive (1993)

Alive
Director: Frank Marshall
Writer: John Patrick Shanley
Based on: Piers Paul Read‘s book Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors
Cast: Ethan HawkeVincent SpanoJosh HamiltonBruce RamsayJohn NewtonDavid KriegelKevin BreznahanIlleana Douglas, Josh Lucas
Seen on: 6.1.2015

Plot:
A Uruguayan rugby team is on its way to Chile for a game. But as they fly over the Andes, their plane is experiencing trouble and they crash. Those who are not killed instantly face intense cold, hunger and still have to deal with the injured. As more and more time passes, it becomes increasingly less likely that a rescue mission can find them – they will have to save themselves.

I saw Alive when I was a kid and I was deeply impressed by it and the story back then. So I wanted to revisit it 20 years later to see if it still holds up to scrutiny. The result is rather mixed.

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