Re-Watch: Body of Evidence (1992)

Body of Evidence
Director: Uli Edel
Writer: Brad Mirman
Cast: Madonna, Willem Dafoe, Joe Mantegna, Anne Archer, Michael Forest, Julianne Moore, Frank Langella, Jürgen Prochnow
Seen on: 9.7.2018

Plot:
When millionaire Andrew Marsh (Joe Mantegna) is found dead from a heart attack, handcuffed to his bed with a sex tape of him and his lover Rebecca (Madonna), suspicions immediately fall on her to have purposefully fucked him to death. When it’s discovered that she stands to inherit a lot of money from him, suspicions turn into criminal charges and Rebecca is arrested despite her protestations of innocence. Her lawyer Frank (Willem Dafoe) is very much drawn to her and even while he starts to investigate the case, the two start an affair.

Body of Evidence is sensationalist crap. With a bit of a more feminist and less voyeuristic/fetishistic tendency, it could have gone in the direction of Gone Girl, but instead we got objectification and misogyny. It’s literally hateful.

Film Poster shwoing Madonna laying on a pillow, apparently naked.

[SPOILERS]

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Captain Fantastic (2016)

Captain Fantastic
Director: Matt Ross
Writer: Matt Ross
Cast: Viggo Mortensen, George MacKay, Samantha Isler, Annalise Basso, Nicholas Hamilton, Shree Crooks, Charlie Shotwell, Trin Miller, Kathryn Hahn, Steve ZahnErin Moriarty, Missi Pyle, Frank Langella, Ann Dowd
Seen on: 31.8.2016

Plot:
Ben (Viggo Mortensen) is trying to raise his six kids (George MacKay, Samantha Isler, Annalise Basso, Nicholas Hamilton, Shree Crooks, Charlie Shotwell) away from capitalist society. They live in the woods, engage in rigorous physical exercise and study hard and for the most part, they are really happy. But Ben’s wife and the mother of the kids, Leslie (Trin Miller) isn’t with them: she had to go to the hospital to treat her mental illness. Unfortunately, though, instead of getting better, she commits suicide. Ben and the kids decide to go to the funeral, despite the fact that it means that they have to confront not only a world very different from their own, but also Leslie’s parents (Frank Langella, Ann Dowd) who are critical of Ben and Leslie’s lifestyle choices.

Captain Fantastic is an interesting film set to inspire political debates, but with a – to me – disappointing ending.

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Re-Watch: Masters of the Universe (1987)

Masters of the Universe
Director: Gary Goddard
Writer: David Odell,Stephen Tolkin, Gary Goddard
Based on: the action figures
Cast: Dolph Lundgren, Frank Langella, Meg Foster, Billy Barty, Courteney Cox, Robert Duncan McNeill, Jon Cypher, Chelsea Field, James Tolkan, Christina Pickles
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 19.9.2015
[Review by cornholio.]

Plot:
Skeletor (Frank Langella) has taken over He-Man’s (Dolph Lundgren) world which is slowly falling to pieces. But Skeletor’s claim to fame can be halted if He-Man manages to break his hold on the throne of Castle Greyskull before the moon is properly aligned for the last transfer of power. But backed into a corner, He-Man has no choice but to flee through a portal opened by Gwildor’s (Billy Barty) cosmic key. Together with Duncan (John Cypher), Teela (Chelsea Field) and Gwildor himself, He-Man finds himself stranded on our earth and the cosmic key lost. Will he be able to return in time?

We used to love He-Man when we were children and we watched this film so often, my parents still quote “I HAVE THE POWER” at us. But it had been 20 years or so since I last watched the film, so I was extremely excited when I saw that it was included in the /slash’s program this year (preceded by a hilarious, if slighlty overlong, live enactment with action figures of one of the audio plays that were also produced in the franchise). But there was also a sense of trepidation there: how bad would it really be? How many of my fond memories are tainted by nostalgia and how much is actually fun?

It turns out, I need not have feared. While Masters of the Universe isn’t exactly a cinematic masterpiece, it is an extremely decent film, with a high entertainment factor and a lot of heart.

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Grace of Monaco (2014)

Grace of Monaco
Director: Olivier Dahan
Writer: Arash Amel
Cast: Nicole Kidman, Tim Roth, Milo Ventimiglia, Parker Posey, Derek Jacobi, Paz Vega, Frank Langella, Yves Jacques

Plot:
Grace Kelly (Nicole Kidman) left her Hollywood career behind to marry Prince Rainier III of Monaco (Tom Roth). Despite relishing her family, above all her children, Grace feels out of place in Monaco. So when she gets a role offer, she is extremely tempted to take it. But her timing couldn’t be worse as Monaco is threatened to be taken over by France. So instead of acting in a film, Grace has to start acting the role of the princess.

Grace of Monaco tells a rather simple story and probably over-simplifies the entire situation a lot. But in all its simplicity it works just fine.

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Muppets Most Wanted (2014)

Muppets Most Wanted
Director: James Bobin
Writer: James Bobin, Nicholas Stoller
Based on: Jim Henson‘s characters
Sequel to: The Muppets
Cast: Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell, Tina Fey
Cameos by [put in camouflage so you can still be surprised by the people who show up, if you don’t know already. If you wanna be surprised, don’t read the tags, either]: Tony Bennett, Hugh Bonneville, Jemaine Clement, Sean Combs, Rob Corddry, Mackenzie Crook, Céline DionLady Gaga, Zach Galifianakis, Josh Groban, Salma Hayek, Tom HiddlestonTom Hollander, Toby Jones, Frank Langella, Ray Liotta, James McAvoy, Chloë Grace Moretz, Usher Raymond, Miranda Richardson, Saoirse Ronan, Til Schweiger, Russell Tovey, Danny Trejo, Stanley Tucci, Christoph Waltz

Plot:
After solving their problems in the last film, the Muppets hit a bit of a low. They don’t really know what they should do now. That’s when Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervais) shows up and proposes a world tour to them. Kermit is hesitant but the others are in love with the idea. But Badguy has ulterior motives – he is teamed up with the most evil frog in the world, Constantine. And for his plan to work, Constantine impersonates Kermit while banishing the real Kermit to a Russian gulag.

I think I liked Muppets Most Wanted a little better than the first Muppets film. Maybe I’m starting to have more of a connection to the Muppets themselves. (There are so many Muppets in this paragraph alone. Muppets. Muppets. Muppets.) Either way, there is not much of a quality difference between this one and the first one.

muppetsmostwanted

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Unknown (2011)

Unknown is the newest film by Jaume Collet-Serra, starring Liam Neeson, Diane Kruger, January Jones, Aidan Quinn, Bruno Ganz, Karl Markovics and Frank Langella.

Plot:
Martin Harris (Liam Neeson) travels with his wife Elizabeth (January Jones) to Germany to attend a conference. While Elizabeth checks into the hotel, Martin ends up in a car accident. Cab driver Gina (Diane Kruger) saves his life, but Martin ends up in the hospital in a coma. When he wakes up after four days, he barely remembers anything. Slowly his memories return, but when Martin tries to find Elizabeth it is only to find himself replaced with another Martin Harris (Aidan Quinn) and Elizabeth not knowing him.

Unknown is exactly what it promises to be: a rather mindless action flick with a convoluted story and very mixed performances. It entertains, but not much more. Nothing less, either.

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The Tale of Desperaux (2008)

The Tale of Desperaux is the new animated movie based on the book by Kate DiCamillo, directed by Sam Fell and Robert Stevenhagen and with a very long, very prolific cast list: Matthew Broderick, Dustin Hoffman, Emma Watson, Tracey Ullman, Kevin Kline, William H. Macy, Stanley Tucci, Ciarán Hinds, Robbie Coltrane, Tony Hale, Frances Conroy, Frank Langella, Richard Jenkins, Christopher Lloyd, Charles Shaughnessy and Sigourney Weaver. [Phew!]

Unfortunately, in Austria we got only the German version, so I got exactly nothing from that cast – and not even famous German actors to do the parts. [Which is not to say that the speakers didn’t do a good job…]

Plot:
The kingdom of Dor has one thing they’re absolutely famous for: Soup. Every year, they have the Day of the Soup where everybody gets to eat the royal soup and party. One year, an accident happens – Roscuro [Dustin Hoffman], a rat, drawn in by the smell of the soup, stumbles and falls into the plate of the queen. When he tries to apologise, the queen has a heart-attack and dies. Filled with grief, the king banishes all soup and all rats from the kingdom and Roscuro goes into exile.
This is the world Desperaux [Matthew Broderick] is born into – a mouse, who unlike all the others, is not afraid, doesn’t cower, duck or shoo. When he crosses paths with Roscuro, they set out to save themselves and the kingdom.

The movie is really very sweet, quite funny and the story is interesting, though it did feel a little unconnected in the beginning – probably a problem of the adaptation. [And I did have some issues.] But it’s definitely a movie that kids will enjoy.

despereaux-poster

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Frost/Nixon (2008)

Frost/Nixon is Ron Howard‘s new movie, written by Peter Morgan (based on his play) and starring Michael Sheen, Frank Langella, Kevin Bacon, Sam Rockwell, Oliver Platt, Matthew Macfadyen and Rebecca Hall.

Plot:
Richard Nixon [Frank Langella] is the first president to resign after the Watergate scandal and shortly after, there’s a general pardon for him. David Frost [Michael Sheen], a talk show host, decides to interview him to get to the truth. What follows is a David vs Goliath style battle between two people who don’t know what to expect from the other.

The casting and playing, the directing, the screenplay are all formidable. It has a few lengths, though, and wouldn’t have suffered from a few cuts.

[I keep saying that about movies. I’m worried about my attention span. Seriously am.]

frostnixonforeign_000

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