Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Director: Matt Reeves
Writer: Mark BombackRick Jaffa, Amanda Silver
Based on: Pierre Boulle‘s novel
Sequel to: Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Cast: Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Keri Russell, Gary Oldman, Toby Kebbell, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Kirk Acevedo, Nick Thurston, Judy Greer

Plot:
In the ten years since the events of the last film, the world has changed a lot. Most of the humans have been eradicated by the Simian Flu, the few survivors struggling to get by. In the meantime the apes have thrived in the Redwood Forest around San Francisco where Caesar (Andy Serkis) built an entire community and refuge for the apes. But now humans have not only returned to San Francisco but also the woods, looking for an old dam and with it, electricity. But can humans and apes ever coexist?

I rather enjoyed the last film, despite some of the more stupid things in it. But this one here was too stupid: it lost me pretty quickly and after it lost me once, there was no going back.

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RoboCop (2014)

RoboCop
Director: José Padilha
Writer: Joshua Zetumer
Remake of: RoboCop
Cast: Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Abbie Cornish, Jackie Earle Haley, Michael K. Williams, Jennifer Ehle, Jay Baruchel, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Samuel L. Jackson

Plot:
OmniCorp are a robotics company who have been trying to get their robots on the ground in the USA as well. But people there don’t trust the judgement of robots. So when police officer Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) is critically injured by a bomb that was attached to his car, OmniCorp jumps at the opportunity. They ask Dr. Dennett Norton (Gary Oldman), to take the parts of Alex that are still functional and build a half-human, half-robot police officer with it. But that combination isn’t easily pulled off and even after it is, there are still problems to be encountered.

There were some things that I liked about the film but in fact the most entertaining thing about it was standing around with my friends for an hour afterwards and bitching about all its failures. And there were plenty of those.

robocop

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Lawless (2012)

Lawless
Director: John Hillcoat
Writer: Nick Cave
Based on: Matt Bondurant‘s novel The Wettest Country in the World
Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, Jason Clarke, Jessica Chastain, Guy Pearce, Mia Wasikowska, Dane DeHaan, Gary Oldman
Part of: /slash Filmfestival (it was the surprise movie)

Plot:
In the depression era, the Bondurant brothers, Jack (Shia LaBeouf), Forrest (Tom Hardy) and Howard (Jason Clarke), are successful bootleggers who have an understanding with the local police and a very good reputation. But then a new deputy – Charlie Rakes (Guy Pearce) – enters the scene. When Rakes doesn’t get what he wants, the pressure rises for the Bondurants. At the same time Jack, the youngest and softest, desperately wants to prove his worth and starts business with the mobster Floyd Banner (Gary Oldman).

Lawless was really great. Basically my only point of contention is that Gary Oldman was in it for a few minutes only (you can never have enough Gary Oldman).

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The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

The Dark Knight Rises
Director: Christopher Nolan
Writer: Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan
Based on: Bob Kane‘s comics
Sequel to: Batman Begins, The Dark Knight (1st review, 2nd review)
Cast: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Anne Hathaway,   Morgan Freeman, Burn Gorman, Ben Mendelsohn, Matthew Modine, Aidan Gillen, Juno Temple, Daniel Sunjata, Cillian Murphy, Liam Neeson

Plot:
Batman (Christian Bale) disappeared after taking the fall for Harvey Dent. But while Gotham City is getting cleaned up by the regular police now – and quite successfully so – a new threat is rising in the form of Bane (Tom Hardy). And when Bruce Wayne himself gets robbed by a Selena Kyle (Anne Hathaway), a cunning cat burglar, he decides that it might be time to come out of the retirement and face the world again.

I had very high expectations for this film (I mean, who hadn’t?) and while the film did not surpass them, it fulfilled them extremely well and was a very good ending to the trilogy.

[SPOILERS]

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Re-Watch: The Dark Knight (2008)

The Dark Knight
Director: Christopher Nolan
Writer: Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan
Based on: Bob Kane‘s comics
Sequel to: Batman Begins
Cast: Christian Bale, Michael CaineGary Oldman, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Morgan Freeman, Cillian Murphy, Eric Roberts, Chin Han
[Here’s my first review.]

Plot:
Gotham’s streets are considerably cleaner since the Batman (Christian Bale) started his work. Nevertheless, the mob is still going strong. So when the up and coming DA Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) and Lt Gordon (Gary Oldman) ask Batman to help with the rest, he doesn’t say know. But at the same time, a new villain is trying to make the Batman’s life hell: the Joker (Heath Ledger).

I know I just gushed about Batman Begins, but I have to gush even more about The Dark Knight. It does have its faults, but it’s fucking amazing and even better than the first film.

[SPOILERS]

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Re-Watch: Batman Begins (2005)

Batman Begins
Director: Christopher Nolan
Writer: David S. Goyer, Christopher Nolan
Based on: Bob Kane‘s comics
Cast: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Katie Holmes, Gary Oldman, Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman, Ken Watanabe, Cillian Murphy, Tom Wilkinson, Rutger Hauer, Mark Boone Junior

Plot:
After the death of his parents in a robbery and a foiled attempt to kill their murderer, billionaire Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) leaves the country to search for something else entirely. While his hometown of Gotham City is slowly falling apart and swallowed by crime, Bruce ends up first in a prison, then with the League of Shadows, a mysterious organisation that wants to fight corruption, where he is trained by Henri Ducard (Liam Neeson). But when Bruce finds out about the actual goals of the League, he decides that he’d rather come home to Gotham and fight crime on his own terms – as the Batman.

Batman Begins is a wonderful start to the trilogy, and a film that is not only still enjoyable when you’ve seen the 10th time (or so), but also one that stands the test of time very well.

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Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Director: Tomas Alfredson
Writer: Bridget O’Connor, Peter Straughan
Based on: John le Carré‘s novel
Cast: Gary Oldman, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hardy, John Hurt, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Toby Jones, David Dencik, Ciarán Hinds

Plot:
Control (John Hurt), head of the British Intelligence, suspects that there is a double agent very high up the ladder in “the Circus.” So he sends Jim Prideaux (Mark Strong) to Hungary to meet a source who can reveal the identity of the mole. But things go wrong, Prideaux gets shot and Control and his right hand George Smiley (Gary Oldman) have to retire. But then the agent Ricki Tarr (Tom Hardy) also brings the info about a double agent and Smiley gets hauled out of retirement to find said agent.

I was so looking forward to this film. I mean – look at that cast! What more could you wish for? [Except for a few women.] Unfortunately the movie ended up being so incredibly boring, I don’t even have words. Also, the brown, the brown! It kinda started hurting my eyes after a while.

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is the last movie in the Harry Potter series originally written by Joanne K. Rowling. The film was directed by David Yates, written by Steve Kloves and starring pretty much every British actor ever Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Ralph Fiennes, Alan Rickman, Michael Gambon, Helena Bonham Carter, Maggie Smith, Matthew Lewis, Tom Felton, Evanna Lynch, Jason Isaacs, Warwick Davis, Bonnie Wright, David Thewlis, Ciarán Hinds, Julie Walters, Kelly Macdonald, John Hurt, Helen McCrory, Domhnall Gleeson, Jim Broadbent, James Phelps, Oliver Phelps, Mark Williams, Robbie Coltrane, Jamie Campbell Bower, Gary Oldman and Emma Thompson.

Plot:
Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) slowly uncovers the final secrets surrounding his life while his fight with Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) draws to an end. After pretty much everything has gone to hell, things – and people – are finally coming together for the final battle while Harry, Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint) try to destroy the remaining horcruxes.

After HPatDH:1 2 pretty much had to be a cinematic revelation (I still can’t believe how boring 1 was), just in comparison. And that worked out. Is it the best movie ever? Well no, David Yates is still its director. But it’s a decent and fitting ending to the series.

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Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)

Kung Fu Panda 2 is the first feature film by Jennifer Yuh, written by Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger and starring the voices of Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Dustin Hoffman, Gary Oldman, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, David Cross, Michelle Yeoh, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Victor Garber, Danny McBride and James Hong. [Here’s my review of the first one.]

Plot:
Po (Jack Black), head of the Furious Five – Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Mantis (Seth Rogen), Viper (Lucy Liu), Monkey (Jackie Chan), Crane (David Cross) – is pretty content with his life. That is, until the kingdom is threatened by the evil Lord Shen (Gary Oldman) who developed a new weapon that is able to defeat Kung Fu and with which he plans to take over. But a soothsayer (Michelle Yeoh) has predicted his defeat – and his fate and Po’s seem to be more closely tied together than both realise at first.

Kung Fu Panda 2 is a very sweet film and an excellent sequel.The cast is good, the story is nice, but it’s the animation that really stands out: it’s that fantastic.

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Red Riding Hood (2011)

Red Riding Hood is the newest movie by Catherine Hardwicke, starring Amanda Seyfried, Shiloh Fernandez, Max Irons, Virginia Madsen, Lukas Haas, Billy Burke, Julie Christie and Gary Oldman.

Plot:
As long as they can remember, the inhabitants of Daggerhorn have been living with a werewolf at their doorstep. A situation that imposes some restrictions on them but that they have learned to deal with. Valerie (Amanda Seyfried) lives a rather normal life in Daggerhorn. She’s in love with Peter (Shiloh Fernandez), though her family, especially her mother (Virginia Madsen), wants her to marry the rich Henry (Max Irons). So Valerie and Peter decide to run away. But before they’re able to go through with their plan, Valerie’s sister is killed by the werewolf, Father Solomon (Gary Oldman), a werewolf-hunting priest, shows up and things change quickly.

Red Riding Hood delivers mostly what it promises: uber-camp. The only problem is that its three leads in the love triangle (Seyfried, Fernandez, Irons) actually take this film seriously. I mean, not even the set designer did – but these three do and it is a little weird. But then Gary Oldman makes up for it all.

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