Our Kind of Traitor (2016)

Our Kind of Traitor
Director: Susanna White
Writer: Hossein Amini
Based on: John le Carré‘s novel
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Stellan Skarsgård, Naomie HarrisDamian Lewis, Grigoriy Dobrygin, Pawel SzajdaAlicia von Rittberg, Mark Gatiss, Jeremy Northam
Seen on: 19.7.2016

Plot:
Perry (Ewan McGregor) and Gail (Naomie Harris) are on holidays together in an attempt to get their relationship back on the right track. But things are tense. That’s when they meet Dima (Stellan Skarsgård), a rich, jovial Russian. He invites them for drinks and Perry accepts. Dima takes a liking to him and invites him to a party. It is there that he reveals that he works for the Russian mob and that he needs Perry’s help to deliver data to the UK – data that would secure Dima and his family refuge from the repercussions of the mob. Perry agrees to help, but when he hands over the data to agent Hector (Damian Lewis), the role he and Gail both have to play in the affair is unexpectedly far from over.

Our Kind of Traitor was a decent thriller that ends in cliché country. But for a while there, it is a good ride.

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (aka Episode VII)
Director: J.J. Abrams
Writer: Lawrence Kasdan, J.J. Abrams, Michael Arndt
Sequel to: Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back, Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi
Cast: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Harrison Ford, Adam Driver, Carrie Fisher, Mark HamillOscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Max von Sydow, Peter Mayhew, Gwendoline Christie, Simon Pegg, Greg Grunberg, Warwick Davis, Iko Uwais, Judah Friedlander, Daniel Craig, Alec Guinness, Ewan McGregor, Frank Oz
Seen on: 21.12.2015

Plot:
It was 30 years ago that Darth Vader was defeated and the Empire fell. And it’s about as long that Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) has disappeared from the Galaxy. The Resistance is still looking for him. Pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) is hot on the trail of a missing map piece for that search when he comes under attack. He hands the map to his droid BB-8 and sends it on its way. Rey (Daisy Ridley) works as a scavenger on that very same planet and she stumbles first on BB-8 and then on a stormtrooper (John Boyega) who deserted. Before they have a chance to think, they are on the run – and run straight into Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew). Together they decide to try to find Luke.

I’ll come right out and say it: I’m not a Star Wars fan. I watched Episodes 4 through 6 when I was a kid and thought they were okay, watched Episode 1 when it came out and thought it was so stupid, I never even watched 2 and 3. When 7 came out, I hesitated for a while to watch it, but ultimately I figured why not? I have watched films for less reason than the cast of this one alone. And I have to say, I don’t regret watching it. In many ways it has the IQ of a potato, but it is seriously entertaining and very nice to watch.

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Mortdecai (2015)

Mortdecai
Director: David Koepp
Writer: Eric Aronson
Based on: Kyril Bonfiglioli‘s books
Cast: Johnny Depp, Gwyneth Paltrow, Paul Bettany, Ewan McGregor, Olivia Munn, Jeff Goldblum
Seen on: 01.02.2015

Plot:
Charlie Mortdecai (Johnny Depp) is an art dealer not entirely against shady dealings, at least as long as he’s protected by his man servant Jock (Paul Bettany). Recently, Charlie and his wife Joanna (Gwyneth Paltrow) have fallen into debt, so when MI5 agent Alistair Martland (Ewan McGregor) asks Charlie for help with a case, Charlie accepts in the hope of making some money and despite the fact that Alistair has been in love with Joanna for years and therefore has it out for Charlie himself. Quickly Charlie finds out that the case might not be as straightforward a murder and theft as it seems at first.

I saw Mortdecai right after The Imitation Game and before Mortdecai I would have thought that The Imitation Game would turn out to be the worst film of the night. I was wrong. I didn’t expect much from Mortdecai, but even those expectations were too high.

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August: Osage County (2013)

August: Osage County
Director: John Wells
Writer: Tracy Letts
Based on: his play
Cast: Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper, Ewan McGregorMargo Martindale, Sam Shepard, Dermot Mulroney, Julianne Nicholson, Juliette Lewis, Abigail Breslin, Benedict Cumberbatch, Misty Upham

Plot:
When their father (Sam Shepard) dies, Barbara (Julia Roberts), Ivy (Julianne Nicholson) and Karen (Juliette Lewis) all gather home with their mother Violet (Meryl Streep). Everyone comes with their baggage: Barbara and her husband Bill (Ewan McGregor) are separated but haven’t told their family and their daughter Jean (Abigail Breslin) doesn’t deal very well. Ivy has a secret lover. Karen brings home her newest fiancé (Dermot Mulroney). And Violet, a mean-spirited pill-addict, likes to stir things up.

August: Osage County isn’t always easy to watch but it is always well-acted and engaging. Toward the end I thought that it got a little much but altogether it was a really good film.

augustosagecounty

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Jack the Giant Slayer (2013)

Jack the Giant Slayer
Director: Bryan Singer
Writer: Darren Lemke, Christopher McQuarrie, Dan Studney
Based on: the fairy tale
Cast: Nicholas Hoult, Eleanor Tomlinson, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Ian McShane, Eddie Marsan, Warwick Davis, Bill Nighy

Plot:
Jack (Nicholas Hoult) has always dreamed of giants, but his life is stuck more in reality. That is until he stumbles upon Princess Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson) and her knight protector (Ewan McGregor) at a play and saves her, then trades in his horse for a few magic beans and then Isabelle – who has been promised to the shady Roderick (Stanley Tucci) – shows up alone on his doorstep, looking for adventure. And suddenly Jack finds himself with his hands more than full, a magic beanstalk leading to the giants’ country in his garden and a mission to save the princess.

Jack the Giant Slayer is a movie of almosts. It is almost smart in the way it adapts the tale. Isabelle is almost an actual character. Nicholas Hoult almost actually acts. Ewan McGregor and Stanley Tucci are almost enough to make this movie worthwhile. But in the end, it just falls short of everything.

jack-the-giant-slayer

[Slightly spoiler-y, I guess.]

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Lo imposible [The Impossible] (2012)

Lo imposible
Director: Juan Antonio Bayona
Writer: Sergio G. Sánchez
Based on: María Belón’s story
Cast: Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor, Tom Holland, Samuel Joslin, Oaklee Pendergast, Sönke Möhring, Geraldine Chaplin

Plot:
Maria (Naomi Watts) and Henry (Ewan McGregor) and their three sons Lucas (Tom Holland), Thomas (Samuel Joslin) and Simon (Oaklee Pendergast) are flying to Thailand for their Christmas holidays. Everything is as they had planned – that is until a tsunami hits and splits the entire family up. Lucas and Maria find each other floating close to each other, but Maria is gravely injured. A few natives find them and bring them to the hospital but their adventure is far from over. At the same time, Henry who has found Thomas and Simon sends them to a shelter on their own while he continues his search for Maria and Lucas.

The Impossible is an absolute tear-jerker, and a completely effective one. It’s also perfectly acted and well-paced with a soundtrack that plays on your emotions as much as on their instruments.

The-Impossible

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Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (2011)

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
Director: Lasse Hallström
Writer: Simon Beaufoy
Based on: Paul Torday‘s novel
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt, Amr Waked, Kristin Scott Thomas, Tom Mison, Rachael Stirling

Plot:
Harriet (Emily Blunt) works for Sheikh Muhammed (Amr Waked) – a very rich Sheikh from the Yemen who would loves to flyfish and would love to establish salmon fishing in the Yemen. So Harriet gets in touch with fish expert Alfred (Ewan McGregor) to see if it can be done. Initially dismissive, if not to say hostile, Alfred declines a collaboration but is pressured by press secretary Patricia Maxwell (Kristin Scott Thomas) and finally gives in. But as the project slowly actually comes together, both Harriet’s and Alfred’s private lives are falling apart. But maybe a crazy salmon fishing project is just the thing they needed.

The movie has a whole lot of romcom potential and it does fulfill it for the most part. But in other parts, it just doesn’t work at all.

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Haywire (2011)

Haywire
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Writer: Lem Dobbs
Cast: Gina Carano, Ewan McGregor, Michael Angarano, Channing Tatum, Michael Fassbender, Mathieu Kassovitz, Bill Paxton, Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas

Plot:
Mallory (Gina Carano) works for Kenneth (Ewan McGregor), a private contractor who leases his people to the government for special assignments. But during the last job, something went wrong and suddenly Mallory finds herself on the run. At a small rest stop, her former partner Aaron (Channing Tatum) catches up with her but she kicks his ass and gets away with Scott (Michael Angarano), a rather willing hostage whom she tells her story to.

I really, really enjoyed Haywire – I was actually surprised by how much. It’s an engaging, intelligent and stylish thriller with good fight scenes and a really cool soundtrack.

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Beginners (2010)

[identities.]

Beginners is the newest film by Mike Mills, starring Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer, Mélanie Laurent and Goran Visnjic.

Plot:
After the death of his wife, the 75-year-old Hal (Christopher Plummer) finally comes out to his son Oliver (Ewan McGregor) and the world. He quickly takes a younger lover, Andy (Goran Visnjic) but almost as fast, Hal is diagnosed with terminal cancer. After Hal’s death, Oliver struggles with depression and lacks a general direction when he meets Anna (Mélanie Laurent) and the two of them fall for each other.

The film has many good things going for it. Most notably the wonderful cast, the dog and the fact that it actually pulls off the manic pixie dream girl trope. The problem is, though, that it is yet another artsy film about the woes of a white guy who is charmingly quirky. Which should be a genre unto its own and labelled as such so I can avoid most of its brethren.

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Re-Watch: Emma (1996)

[We’re nearing the end of my EmmaComparisonProject. So, if you’re tired of reading about this, it’s only Clueless tomorrow and we’re done. :)]

Emma is Douglas McGrath‘s adaptation of Jane Austen‘s novel, starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeremy Northam, Alan Cumming, Toni Collette, Ewan McGregor, Greta Scacchi, Polly Walker, Sophie Thompson and Juliet Stevenson.

Plot:
Emma Woodhouse (Gwyneth Paltrow) is “handsome, clever, and rich” and also very interested in matching the people around her. She credits herself with matching up her former governess Miss Taylor (now Mrs Weston) (Greta Scacchi) and Mr Weston (James Cosmo) and encouraged by that success, sets about her next “victim”, naive and unrefined Harriet Smith (Toni Collette). Despite the warnings of her friend Mr Knightley (Jeremy Northam), Emma wants to match Harriet with the local vicar, Mr Elton (Alan Cumming). For herself, Emma has no plans – other than Mr Weston’s son Frank Churchill (Ewan McGregor) (who she has never met) excites her curiosity.

It’s been a while since I have seen this film and I think that memory has slightly exaggerated its awesomeness. Especially the script and Gwyneth Paltrow didn’t impress that much this time round as they did before. But it’s still a wonderful movie and does have the best Mr Knightley, hands down.

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