Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Director: David Yates
Writer: J.K. Rowling
Prequel to: Harry Potter
Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan FoglerAlison Sudol, Colin FarrellSamantha Morton, Ezra MillerFaith Wood-BlagroveJenn MurrayCarmen EjogoJon Voight, Ron PerlmanZoë KravitzJohnny Depp 
Seen on: 26.11.2016

Plot:
Newt (Eddie Redmayne) studies and keeps magical creatures. But the political situation in the UK is becoming more and more difficult for them, so he makes his way to the USA where he hopes to find them a new life, even if it means hiding the creatures from immigration in a magic suitcase. But magical creatures aren’t the only one affected by politics – in fact, there’s only a very tentative peace between the non-magical and the magical world. Everything could be going easily, but Newt takes the wrong suitcase and it’s baker – and decidedly non-magical human – Jacob (Dan Fogler) who walks off with the creatures, while Newt gets arrested by the recently demoted auror Tina (Katherine Waterston). Chaos ensues – chaos that is more closely connected to the political uproar than it first appears.

I’m not a huge Harry Potter fan myself (read all the books and saw all the films though), so the news of Fantastic Beasts didn’t leave me very excited – and neither did the film itself. It’s sweet and I was entertained, but if it wasn’t connected to the Harry Potter phenomenon, I doubt that it would be a film that stays with people.

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Suicide Squad (2016)

Suicide Squad
Director: David Ayer
Writer: David Ayer
Based on: various comic characters
Cast: Will SmithMargot RobbieJay Hernandez, Jai CourtneyAdewale Akinnuoye-AgbajeCara Delevingne, Joel KinnamanKaren Fukuhara, Viola Davis, Jared Leto, Adam Beach, Ike Barinholtz, David Harbour, Jim Parrack, CommonScott Eastwood, Ezra Miller, Ben Affleck
Part of: DC movies
Seen on: 23.8.2016

Plot:
With the rise of superheroes and metahumans, Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) is convinced that the USAmerican government needs to fight back with metahumans that they control or they will be lost. She has come up with a plan to force a team of arrested metahumans in her employ in exchange for taking years of their sentence. When she stumbles on a way to control the archaeologist June Moon (Cara Delevingne) who was possessed by the millennia old Enchantress, Waller knows that with her, soldier Rick Flagg (Joel Kinnaman) and metahuman Katana (Karen Fukuhara), she has a weapon strong enough to keep the involuntary team together. So she gets started with Floyd Lawton aka Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Chato Santana aka El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) and Slipknot (Adam Beach).

I really did not expect Suicide Squad to be any good, but it did manage to surprise me in the many ways it wasn’t good. Yet, I admit that there was a kind of hypnotic “can’t look away from this train wreck” vibe about it, and every once in a while it really did strike gold. So, I guess, I’m giving this film a more positive review than I thought I would? [Which is not to be confused with me saying that it’s any good.]

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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Director: Zack Snyder
Writer: Chris Terrio, David S. Goyer
Based on: Bob Kane‘s and Bill Finger‘s comics character; and Jerry Siegel‘s and Joe Shuster‘s comics chararcter
Sequel to: Man of Steel
Cast: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Jeremy Irons, Holly Hunter, Gal Gadot, Scoot McNairy, Callan Mulvey, Tao Okamoto, Michael Shannon, Harry Lennix, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Carla Gugino, Kevin Costner, Anderson Cooper, Patrick Wilson, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Joe Morton
Part of: DC movies
Seen on: 1.4.2016

Plot:
The world loves Superman (Henry Cavill), if not to say that they actually worship him. With his superhuman powers, he is a tremendous hero, of course – but should he ever stop to help humanity, who could possibly put up a fight against him? That’s the question Bruce Wayne, aka Batman (Ben Affleck), asks himself. He has watched everything else around him fall, so it seems only a question of time until Superman falls, too. So Bruce starts to devise a plan with which he might be able to stop Superman, should it ever become necessary. And there are signs that it will.

Batman v Superman is not a good film. That wasn’t to be expected. But it is actually so bad at times, it becomes grotesque. Since I’m late to the party and Ben Dreyfuss already put it beautifully, I’ll give you the perfect quote about the film, before imperfectly listing my own thoughts:

It is incomprehensible! Nothing makes any sense! We all understand that plots in these movies don’t make sense. Of course they don’t. That’s standard. But in this movie nothing makes sense on a scene level. In a lot of movies that make no sense on a plot level, the person will say, “I am going to rob this fruit store,” and you can quibble about why a person would rob a fruit store, but the characters in the movie accept it and go about robbing the fruit store and we go along with it. They have conviction and authenticity and they really try to rob that fruit store good, even if we in the audience think they are being ridiculous for robbing a fruit store, because when it really works, it doesn’t matter. In Batman v Superman the characters say, “I am going to rob this fruit store,” and then go into the fruit store, throw fruit in the air, paint the walls with fruit, pay for the fruit, use the fruit as puppets in improv comedy, have a dance party with the fruit, build a home in the fruit store, burn the fruit store down, exit the smoldering husk of the fruit store and announce, “I robbed the vegetable store.”

batmanvsuperman[SPOILERS]

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Trainwreck (2015)

Trainwreck
Director: Judd Apatow
Writer: Amy Schumer
Cast: Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Brie LarsonLeBron James, John CenaVanessa Bayer, Randall ParkMike Birbiglia, Ezra Miller, Tilda Swinton, Daniel RadcliffeMarisa Tomei, Method Man, Matthew Broderick, Marv Albert, Chris Evert
Seen on: 18.8.2015

Plot:
Amy (Amy Schumer) doesn’t believe in relationships. She’d rather have sex with random guys while dating Steven (John Cena) who is nice to look at but not exactly a rocket in bed. But then Amy has to do a story on sports doctor Aaron (Bill Hader) for the magazine she works at. Amy has as little interest in sports as she has in monogamy, but Aaron is actually a nice guy. And he likes Amy. He even asks her out, forcing Amy to take a long hard look at her life and to decide whether it’s really the life she wants to lead.

I’m not a huge fan of Apatow (though I did love Freaks and Geeks), so I usually give his movies a wide pass. But I had heard good things about Amy Schumer, and since Trainwreck is also written by her, I decided to give it a try. And I have to admit that the movie worked pretty well for me.

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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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We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011)

We Need to Talk About Kevin
Director: Lynne Ramsay
Writer: Lynne Ramsay, Rory Kinnear
Based on: Lionel Shriver’s novel
Cast: Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly, Ezra Miller, Jasper Newell, Rock Duer, Ashley Gerasimovich

Plot:
Two years after her son Kevin (Ezra Miller) shot 9 people in his school, Eva (Tilda Swinton) is slowly coming to terms with what happened then and the part she might have played in this shooting. Slowly she unrolls her entire life with Kevin and the mounting tension with her husband Franklin (John C. Reilly) as Eva grows more and more suspicious of Kevin, even as a toddler.

Since I loved the book as much as I did, the movie had its work cut out for itself. Fortunately, Lynne Ramsay is really up to the task and has made not only a great adaptation, but also a wonderful film.

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