Plot: Travis (Adrien Brody) is a pacifist in need of money. That’s why he agrees to participate in a study that simulates a prison to find out about the violent tendencies of people. He and 19 others get put into two groups of prisoners, while 6 men, among them Helweg (Travis Fimmel) get appointed as guards. They all get a set of rules to follow and things are on their way. But pretty soon, the “guards” turn vicious and the “prisoners” have to fight for basically their lives.
The Stanford prison experiment is a famous sociopsychological study that has seen its fair share of criticism, but has nevertheless persisted in its claim to fame. The Experiment takes that real-life science project, dials the bad things about it up to eleven and believes it has something meaningful to say about the human condition in that way. In short, it is a very bad film.
Plot: Cassius (LaKeith Stanfield) lives with his girlfriend, the artist Detroit (Tessa Thompson), in his uncle Sergio’s (Terry Crews) garage. Money is tight and that doesn’t really change when Cassius starts a new job as a telemarketer. But success is just around the corner when Cassius discovers his white voice and uses it in his sales. At the same time though his co-worker Squeeze (Steve Yeun) is starting to raise concerns about the products they are selling.
Sorry to Bother You is a wild film, in the best sense: it takes you into entirely different directions and it has so much fun with exploring and experimenting, that it doesn’t matter in the slightest when things get a little messy. I was thoroughly charmed by pretty much everything about it.
Plot: After the death of his father, T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) has to return to Wakanda to claim the throne. Returning means reuniting with his friends and family. But the transition of power is a delicate time. And there is more than one threat to Wakanda and T’Challa’s rule.
I didn’t hear a single bad word about Black Panther before I saw it, so my expectations were pretty high. And I’m happy to say that they were absolutely more than fulfilled. Black Panther is a visually, narratively and politically strong film that’s also simply entertaining.
Tom Ludlow (Keanu Reeves) is an undercover cop. He is successful, but he rarely sticks to the law. Neither does his superior, Jack Wander (Forest Whitaker), which is how Tom got away with it for years. But now Internal Affairs in the form of James Biggs (Hugh Laurie) have started to investigate, just as Ludlow’s colleague Terrence Washington (Terry Crews) has espressed doubts about Ludlow and his methods. It doesn’t take long for things to go from bad to worse for Ludlow.
Street Kings is an utterly grueling film, and not in a good way at all. While the cast promises much, the script doesn’t deliver and what you get is a boring film filled with unlikeable characters.
There are rumors that the Empire is building a great new weapon, called the Death Star. The Rebel Alliance has caught wind of that and hatches a plan to steal the plans for that weapon as they heard that there was a structural weakness that they may use to destroy it. They believe that Jyn (Felicity Jones) may be the key to success as her father (Mads Mikkelsen) seems to be involved with the planning. But Jyn hasn’t seen her father in 15 years and she’s also not all that interested in helping the Alliance. But they do reach a deal and Jyn finds herself accompanying pilot Cassian (Diego Luna) on the mission.
I will probably never be super excited about Star Wars – it’s just not my franchise. But I did enjoy Rogue One a whole lot, despite a couple of lengths it suffered from.
Twelve alien spaceships appear all around earth. They don’t seem to do much, but may be trying to establish contact. To try and figure out their language, linguist Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is contacted and contracted. In a team together with theoretical physicist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner) and others, and in cooperation with teams around the world, they try to figure out what the creatures could want – and if it’s peace or war they have in mind.
Arrival is the rare breed of science fiction that actually takes Science As It Is Properly Done Right Now seriously and obviously admires and respects it, which is absolutely refreshing as a lot of SciFi today feels mostly like militarized power fantasies with a bit of technobabble. For that alone, I had to like the film, but there are also the cinematography, the soundtrack and the characters to really make me love it.
When Malcolm (Shameik Moore) isn’t busy geeking out with his best friends Jib (Tony Revolori) and Diggy (Kiersey Clemons) about 90s HipHop, he dreams of college. Being from a tough neighborhood, he knows that he needs everything to go very right for him to stand a chance of being accepted into a good school. But then he meets Nakia (Zoë Kravitz) and decides to go to a party to meet her again. And that’s where the trouble starts as suddenly, he finds himself in possession of drugs belonging to Dom (Rakim Mayers) and he has to get rid of them without getting caught or pissing anybody of – which is easier said than done.
Dope is a fun film that tackles a lot of political issues in an entertaining and not too much simplified way.
Billy Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal) comes from a poor background and out of the foster system, but he has literally fought his way into a good life: he’s a successful boxer, happily married to Maureen (Rachel McAdams) and has a charming daughter in Leila (Oona Laurence). But everything changes when Maureen is shot. Billy falls apart and with him, everything he has fought for: he is banned from fighting, his daughter is given into foster care, he can’t pay his taxes and loses his home. So he has to start from scratch, looking to trainer Tick (Forest Whitaker) for help to get back on his feet, and most importantly to get his daughter home.
Southpaw doesn’t really tell a revolutionary story, but it tells it well. The cast is unsurprisingly excellent and the race angle is surprisingly not awful, so that’s definitely something.
Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker) grew up on a cotton farm where he officially wasn’t a slave anymore but he practically was. When he was old enough, he left there and after a period of hardship was lucky enough to find employment. Bit by bit he works his way up to becoming a butler and finally gets recruited into the White House. But racism is still a major issue.
The Butler has a great cast and the time passes rather quickly when you watch it, but it’s a manipulative film (which I was prepared for and which isn’t generally bad) that is so sweet that it leaves you in desperate need of insulin to manage it. And that was just too much.
Remy (Jude Law) has been working as a repo man for the Union (a medical company) with his best friend Jake (Forest Whitaker) for quite a while now, even though his wife Carol (Carice van Houten) repeatedly asked him to stop, since what he’s repossessing is organs. But Remy can’t find the courage to ask his boss Frank (Liev Schreiber) for a transfer into sales. After an accident, Remy wakes up in the hospital to find himself with an artificial heart. And that changes everything for him.
Repo Men tanked, as you probably know. It didn’t get good reviews and in Austria, it didn’t even get a cinematic release. So, my expectations were low, but I honestly have to tell you: Repo Men is not that bad. The premise is good (and better dealt with than in Repo! The Genetic Opera), the cast is excellent and the soundtrack is really interesting. Is it a perfect film? No. But it doesn’t deserve the bashing it’s gotten.